Lydia could have sworn Galen flushed at her gentle teasing. “Sorry. I guess my brain just wasn’t changing gears fast enough. I’d blame jet lag but I think it has more to do with you. For some reason when I’m around you all the blood drains out of my brain into my pants.”
“What a lovely thing to say.” Oddly enough, coming from Galen, it was a uniquely touching compliment. He was so smart, so tuned into the intellectual side of his nature that being able to rattle that was a powerful feeling indeed.
“Pizza it is then,” he said, running a hand through his hair. “Is pepperoni okay?”
She smiled at him. He really was adorable. “That would be fine. I’ll make a salad to go with it.”
Apparently that was acceptable, since he changed the subject and started eyeing the scattered photocopies on her desk. “So the catalog is all done? You’ve got everything accounted for?”
She shook her head, slid the copy of the scroll across the blotter. “There are a few I can’t figure out—like this one. What do you make of it?”
He read the Latin and Middle English words easily but stumbled over the French. It was nice to know there was something in the academic world she was better at than him. She filled in the missing phrases.
Galen gave a baffled shrug. “Could it be a song? A really awful love poem by some barely literate knight who’d gotten his head bashed in one too many times? I mean all this stuff about binding the maiden with the power of the ring—what a really lame analogy for marriage.”
“That’s about the best I could come up with too, she admitted. “But it’s such a beautifully illuminated scroll and the case…” She kissed the tips of her fingers.
“Ah. So it was a rich knight who’d gotten his head bashed in,” Galen teased.
“Probably. Anyway, it’s after five and I’m about done with it for today. Anything else you need to do on campus before you leave?”
“No, I’ve already been by my office and taken care of everything there. Why don’t I leave now and swing by my house to drop off my stuff and change. Then I’ll pick up the pizza and meet you at your place.”
“Okay. Just give me a few seconds to put things away here.” She leaned over him and wasn’t horribly surprised when he took the opportunity for a quick grope. She leaned her breast into his hand for just a moment, enjoying the play every bit as much as he seemed to be.
He stood and kissed her then turned toward the door. “I’ll just leave now and you can follow in a few minutes. That way no one will see us walking out together.” He blew her another kiss before he walked out the door and closed it behind him. She noticed he checked the hallway first.
Lydia slumped back into her good chair and leaned her elbows on the desk, feeling like she’d just been kicked in the gut. He was that ashamed to be seen with her? She’d thought—hoped—they’d gotten a little past that point. She wasn’t a student anymore, so it wasn’t like he could get in trouble for seeing her. Was he that ashamed of their relationship? It didn’t make any sense. She blinked back the tears that had welled up in her eyes. After all they’d shared—what they’d just shared, here on her desk—she found it hard to believe that she really meant so little to him.
She picked up the scroll copy and stared at it some more.
She’d managed to get two major obsessions in her brain and it was less than a month into the summer, only a week into the job. That couldn’t be good. Between the stupid scroll and Galen, she was undoubtedly losing her mind.
She’d told Galen about the scroll and the scroll case she realized, but not about the ring. She’d meant to but somehow once she got talking about the scroll, the ring had just slipped her mind entirely. Just like what happened every time she thought about telling anyone else about the scroll at all. She’d never even gotten it listed on the official catalog documents. Galen would be a good one to ask for advice, she knew. With his strong set of ethics, he’d be able to assure her of doing the right thing.
She carefully tidied her desk, placing all the various papers in their folders and each folder into the proper file tray. She was a little sloppy at home sometimes but she liked her workplace organized. By the time she was done, she’d managed to get Galen’s defection into perspective. It was okay for him to want to wait to go public, she told herself firmly. There was no guarantee their relationship was going to work out and if it didn’t, she could see where he would lose face among his colleagues. She couldn’t blame him for wanting to be cautious until they were sure that whatever was between them was a real and lasting thing. The same went for meeting his son. If their relationship did turn out serious, then she’d meet Jason eventually. If not, there was no reason for Galen to have to explain things to his son. Lydia had plenty of time. She could afford to wait for Galen to be sure.
That was the crux of it, though. She was waiting for Galen to be sure. She already was. Like it or not, she’d fallen head over heels in love with Galen Forsythe. She thought he was getting close to feeling the same for her but there was no way to be sure, of course. Just because she was in love with him, didn’t mean he’d fallen in love with her. All she could do was wait and love him the best she could in the meanwhile.
Once everything on her desk was put away, she printed off a copy of the incomplete inventory for Galen and put it in her briefcase. The copy of the scroll translation she’d showed him went in as well, though she didn’t know why. She really didn’t have any plans to work tonight. She planned to eat pizza and salad with Galen then show him her collection of silk scarves. She had an urge to let him have his way with her while she was tied to the bedposts tonight.
With that pleasant thought in mind, she shut down her computer and left, locking her door behind her.