Welcome to The Echo’s annual feature — Summer Soap. Now in its fifth year, Summer Soap is a daily fictional serial run over 12 parts, which began last week and runs till Saturday. Called Cork’s Quick Coupler, this story, set in the world of speed dating, was written by Jessica Militante, from the MA in Creative Writing Programme at UCC. You can catch up with previous epsiodes at echolive.ie.
Episode 8: Student-Teacher Conference
I felt the table shift beneath my elbows, like new pressure had been added to the other side. My next date must have arrived.
Chatting with Theo seemed to have restored my faith in the male population and I felt myself looking forward to my last two dates. I refocused my attention on the person in the chair across from me — and then I immediately wished I hadn’t.
Danny Erickson was one of the instructors for my Research Skills for Musicians module. One of my very hot instructors. And he was currently in the chair across from me.
“Danny? What are you doing here?”
“Oh, just thought I’d drop in and see how that paper is going along,” he said, scratching at the back of his neck.
Danny really was gorgeous. His eyes were such a light blue that they were nearly translucent, and his hair was wavy and black. Once while I was in his class, Ciara had to bring me the sheet music I’d left at home. She came in, saw him, and didn’t stop texting me about it for the entire three-hours of the class.
At one point during her messaging, her phone autocorrected ‘Danny’ to ‘Daddy’ and now that’s how we referred to him. In private, obviously.
Oh god, please don’t let me call him that by accident.
“That was supposed to be a joke. I just made it even more awkward, didn’t I?” Danny said when I didn’t respond.
“No, not at all! Sorry, you just reminded me that I haven’t finished my paper yet,” I said. It wasn’t the best save but it also wasn’t a lie. I hadn’t even started that paper.
“We don’t have to talk shop, if you don’t want to.”
“Yeah, that’s probably best. Don’t want anyone to think I’m getting extra help outside of class,” I said.
Wait, did that sound like flirting? I’d definitely have to drop out of my program, out of sheer mortification, if my instructor thought I was trying to hook up with him.
Danny didn’t seem to be weirded out though. Instead he looked slightly concerned.
“You know that is exactly what my office hours are for, right? You can always come to me if you are having trouble, Julia.”
Some movement behind him caught my attention and I glanced over to see Ciara totally losing her mind. She was pointing back and forth between Danny and I, laughing her ass off, while her date just sat there looking confused.
“What if I’m having trouble with an unhinged roommate who is overly involved in my love life?”
I inclined my head towards her, and Danny turned to look. When Ciara noticed us both looking, instead of stopping and pretending to be minding her own business, she had the audacity to wave. Unreal.
“I don’t think I can help you out with that one. Didn’t she disrupt my class the other day?”
I may have failed to mention that when Ciara brought me my sheet music, she had thrown the door open and dropped to the floor, army-crawling to me like she was in a low-budget spy movie. By the time she reached me, the whole class was silent, and everyone was watching her.
She popped up from the floor and slipped me the papers before noticing Danny at the front of the room. She turned back to me and mouthed, “Oh my god,” then just strolled out.
“Yep, that was her.”
“I thought so. I’ve run into her a couple of times at the Starbucks on Opera Lane. Haven’t been able to look her in the eyes without wanting to crack up. That army-crawl,” he said before shaking his head at the memory and laughing.
I raised an eyebrow. This was news to me. I knew for a fact that Ciara avoided Starbucks coffee at all costs. She said it tasted like dirt water and she found the mermaid on their logo to be disturbing. What would she have been doing there so often?
“Again, I’m so sorry about that. I had no idea she was going to do that when I asked her to bring my music.”
“Nah, don’t worry about it. That was one of the most entertaining things I’ve seen in a long time.”
“Well, I promise it won’t happen in the future,” I said. “She cured me of ever forgetting anything at home again.”
“To be honest, I wouldn’t mind. Just warn me next time so I can film it and put it on YouTube.”
As he spoke, he turned to look back at Ciara. She was talking animatedly to her date who looked like he was ready for the three minutes to be up three minutes ago. Was that Colin? That must mean that she and Danny had already had their date.
When Danny turned back to me, he was smiling. Interesting.
“Did your guys’ date go well earlier?”
“Yeah, I think, I mean I guess, it seemed like it,” Danny said, scratching the back of his neck again.
“And for the last time: switch!”
“Saved by the bell,” I laughed.
“It was nice talking to you, Julia. Now get that paper finished!”
He shook his finger playfully at me.
“You too, Daddy — I mean Danny.”
Shit, I almost made it!
He laughed good-naturedly.
“No worries, you’re not the first student to accidentally call their teacher ‘Dad.’”
Kill me now.