Edie’s anger from the night before resurfaced as he flashed a boyish, flirtatious smile and then slid her thesis proposal, the article, and her letter into his briefcase.
“Dr. Foster, do you think perhaps another professor would be better suited to supervise my thesis?”
The words flew from her mouth as the knot that had taken permanent residence in her gut tightened, superseding the surge of longing she felt when his eyes were on her and the inevitable goose bumps that pebbled her flesh when he smiled.
Dr. Foster dropped his briefcase, some of the contents spilling on the floor. After the thud of the leather hitting the hardwood, there was silence for several moments.
“Miss Moreau, I . . . well I don’t think that is necessary, unless you’re considering changing your topic, which I assume isn’t the case given the proposal you’ve just handed me.”
“No, no change of topic, Dr. Foster.” Her tone was as icy as she could muster in his presence, his winsome eyes sad and even repentant, she thought.
“Well, good. As I’ve said, I am new at this and I hope you’ll be patient with me, but no, I don’t think there is a need for you to find another thesis director.”
“Well, I’ll leave you to your reading then,” she said as she stood.
“Miss Moreau, I . . .”
“Yes, Dr. Foster?”
“I hope your weekend is wonderful. I’m sure you’ve missed your family.”
“Have they ever been to Boulder?”
“No. They’re both eager to see the city.”
“And you, no doubt.”
“Yes, of course, and me.”
“Well, it’s supposed to stay cold over the weekend, but no snow is expected, so you should have nice weather.”
“Yes, well, see you Monday, in class” she said, wanting to end the conversation as it segued into her personal life.
He stepped out from behind his desk and matched her footsteps toward his office door.
“If you want another advisor, I will make that happen,” he said sincerely, now standing a few feet from her, blocking her path to the door.
Edie’s resolve to leave his office and never again open his mail or return a flirtatious grin or accept coffee from him wavered now that he was in arm’s reach. He was intoxicating, his towering frame filling the doorway, his scent invading her nostrils, his eyes soft and forlorn as they watched her. She wanted to reach up and run her fingers slowly down his unshaven cheek, lingering on the patches of gray that dotted his stubble, and she was certain he would welcome her touch.
But it wasn’t her cheek to caress. She was appalled that she had allowed this nonsense to continue. She was also unsure of the ramifications of asking for another PhD to direct her thesis. Academically, Dr. Foster was her best match, and she knew the alternative would likely be Dr. Lizenby.
“I’m sorry I mentioned it. Please let me know what you think of what I’ve written, of my thesis proposal, that is.”
“Yes, of course. I look forward to reading it and discussing it with you. Your writing is a nice reprieve from undergraduate essays.”
“Well, thank you. I’m enjoying the work, so far.”
“Good. I’m glad to hear it. Enjoy your weekend.”
“Thank you, Dr. Foster. We will.”
The literal man our nation needs, the figurative man our homes need. pic.twitter.com/qYhEJmmfGG— Anna James Zeigler (@ajzeigler) June 20, 2021