“There y’go, skinny latte and a low-fat muffin.” Peter put the cup and plate down in front of Dervla and his own mug of chocolate opposite to her.
“Thanks are you sure you don’t want me to pay for my own, I really don’t mind.”
“I’m getting an allowance from Phil and there’s not a lot to spend it on yet. I s’pose when I start at the college it’ll be different but anyway I wanted to buy you a drink.”
Her eyes twinkled as lips curved slightly. Peter picked up his cup, the liquid inside slopped a little as his hands trembled. He had day dreamed about this and now here they were, together and alone.
“So, you been busy? I don’t hear you about the house and I’ve never seen you around. I know that house is big but, well y’know.”
“I’ve been studying hard and I am often out. I have a lot of friends around and about and I like to catch up when I’m back from Cambridge.”
“Cambridge, wow you must be pretty clever.” Shit, that sounded so lame but she was still smiling and she simply shrugged her shoulders and broke a piece off the muffin concentrating on the small gesture so she didn’t have to respond. Was she being polite or laughing at him under the civilised behaviour. He was unsettled and unsure of himself this was harder than he had expected.
“So what are you studying? Sorry reading, that’s the right term isn’t it, reading. What are you reading.”
“Yes reading, but to be honest people don’t bother as much any more, well not when they’re home. Anyway, English Literature mainly and a couple of related things.” He knew she was being modest with this response but fair enough he loved that about her.
“I’m going to do computer science. Well I hope so it’s early days you know. I have some catching up to do. Dervla?”
“How much do you know about me?” Why should she know anything, why should she be interested, but he had to ask.
She looked up, sipped her Latte and meeting his eyes her expression serious she said “I know about your background, a bit. I know you were having a rough time. I know that your parents are struggling and I know that Phil and, erm well Phil is trying to help you sort things out. I really admire the fact that you are giving this a go. I know you are having to really work hard at it all and I wish I could help you and maybe later I will be able to.”
Now he felt a little discomfited, she knew all about him, how come. When had they been talking about him? Had she known that first night, she must have done. That’s why she hadn’t been frightened or even all that surprised when he had appeared in her room. A bubble of anger surfaced, not at her never at her but at Phil. It can only have been Phil and how dare he, talking behind his back. She leaned across the table and laid her hand over his whitening knuckles.
“Don’t be upset, please don’t. It will all be clear soon and you’ll understand that it is all for the best. Come on let’s get out of here and hit the shops what do you say.”
He smiled as he pushed his chair back. This was special, this was what he had wished for. He wouldn’t spoil it but later he and Phil would have a conversation, oh yes.