WHEN PERARRE RETURNED to work after being out for a week, the Professor greeted her with a slight lift at the corner of his mouth that might almost have been a smile. “Good morning, Miss Tabrano. I hope you are feeling quite recovered from your cold.”
“I’m feeling much better, Professor, thank you. And you?”
“I’m quite well, thank you.”
“Thank you for helping me that day,” she said. “And for the book.” She wanted to ask if he had recovered completely from his own sickness, but was reluctant to embarrass him by bringing it up. She decided she would leave it up to him to mention if he wanted to.
“You’re quite welcome,” he said, glancing through the papers on his desk.
Perarre took her seat at the work table and began looking through the translation she had been working on, trying to figure out where she had left off. She was wearing her hair in a braid; she was still too fatigued from her illness to wrestle with pinning it up. She wondered if the Professor would say something to her about it.
“It’s good to have you back,” he said after a moment. “I had become accustomed to working with you present, and found it difficult to adjust to working alone again.” He shuffled his papers a little longer, then set them down. “I am not a bad person, Miss Tabrano,” he said, still without looking at her.
“Of course you’re not,” she said, surprised that he would say such a thing.
“I know I’m not popular, or even well-liked, but…” He trailed off awkwardly.
Cold, impersonal, unpleasant Professor Rossony had missed her, and cared about what she thought of him? Perarre suspected that trying to figure it out would give her a headache. “I’m glad to be back, Professor.”
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