“May I put my arm around your shoulder?”
It was (in retrospect) a very innocent request. The rain was intense and the late spring breeze was still bringing chills to the bones. I thought it would be easier with my left arm around her to keep us both warm and dry within the perimeters of my umbrella.
I didn’t wait for her reply. It was after all, just a friendly and gentlemanly gesture. Until I noticed my involuntary sniffing everytime her long hazel hair was getting blown into my face.
Despite my valiant attempt to keep us from getting wet, we were soaked from waist down upon reaching the lab. We thought it was better to proceed directly to the locker room down the basement to change into dry clothings. Luckily, our lab shares facilities with the more patient-oriented clinical department. There were plenty of hospital garments in the locker room usually worn by doctors and nurses.
We parted ways upon entering the basement corridor. Me, to the left and she to the right. As I was deciding which clothings to use (should I go for the surgeon’s green or the usual plain white?) I noticed that we were out of towel in the men’s changing room.
I dashed out of the room, to ask her if they got extra towels before she could get into the women’s locker room. Unfortunately, she was already inside. I knocked on the door and casually asked if they got extra towels. She said I should come inside and help myself as there was no one else there but her. She was already in the shower and thus unable to help me.
So I carefully proceeded inside the room while consciously avoiding taking a glance towards her direction. I went directly to the pile of dry towels in the open cabinet, took one, mumbled something that sounded like “thanks” and walked towards the door.
But she called out my name as I was going out.