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When Margot returned to campus, she was eager to see Robert again, but he turned out to be surprisingly hard to pin down. “I promise I will c u soon.” Margot didn’t like this; it felt as if the dynamic had shifted out of her favor, and when eventually he did ask her to go to a movie she agreed right away.The movie he wanted to see was playing at the theatre where she worked, but she suggested that they see it at the big multiplex just outside town instead; students didn’t go there very often, because you needed to drive.K.—you can murder me if you want,” she said, and he laughed and patted her knee.But he was still disconcertingly quiet, and all her bubbling attempts at making conversation bounced right off him.She wondered if perhaps he’d been trying to impress her by suggesting the Holocaust movie, because he didn’t understand that a Holocaust movie was the wrong kind of “serious” movie with which to impress the type of person who worked at an artsy movie theatre, the type of person he probably assumed she was.Maybe, she thought, her texting “lol r u serious” had hurt him, had intimidated him and made him feel uncomfortable around her. ” he demanded.“I’m twenty,” she said.“Oh,” he said.At the theatre, he made a joke to the cashier at the concession stand about Red Vines, which fell flat in a way that embarrassed everyone involved, but Margot most of all.
But now, when she said that about the movie, he winced a little, and a totally different interpretation of the night’s events occurred to her.
She thought he was going to go in for a kiss and prepared to duck and offer him her cheek, but instead of kissing her on the mouth he took her by the arm and kissed her gently on the forehead, as though she were something precious. “I will see you soon.”On the walk back to her dorm, she was filled with a sparkly lightness that she recognized as the sign of an incipient crush.
While she was home over break, they texted nearly non-stop, not only jokes but little updates about their days. “His name is Robert, and I met him at the movie theatre.
Robert was wearing a rabbit-fur hat that came down over his ears and a thick, old-fashioned down jacket.
She thought it was a good look for him, if a little dorky; the hat heightened his lumberjack aura, and the heavy coat hid his belly and the slightly sad slump of his shoulders.“You’re welcome, concession-stand girl,” he said, though of course he knew her name by then.
It seemed obvious to Margot that he was expecting her to say no and that, when she did, they wouldn’t talk again.