Running Round the Table

How Carol met Leo

Carol came to Bournemouth University from a neighbouring village.
Daughter of the personal bodyguard of a famous American Golf player, her
family had never struggled financially. Her father had never let anyone
forget it either. Intelligent and well spoken, she had come to
Bournemouth to study English.

Carol first saw Leo at orientation, during fresher’s week. The
University’s indoor sports hall had been hired for the day, and was home
to several queues covering different ranges of the alphabet. New
students were lined up in the queue representing the first letter of
their surname, to collect their student cards and loan cheques. Leo
Carruthers was in the very first queue, Carol Smith was in one of the
last, at the opposite end of the hall. Even from this distance, and
amongst all the people and hubbub in the room, Leo was harder to ignore
than to spot.

She had caught his eye on entering the hall, and felt a sudden rush of
excitement by it. Carol had never been the type to become foolish over
a man, but for some reason he suddenly became the most interesting thing
in the room. Apparently she wasn’t alone, as part of the reason Leo was
hard to ignore was that he was almost completely surrounded by people
who were originally queuing sensibly nearby, a gathering that also
attracted the gaze of most others in the room. For some reason he was
commanding a very captive audience, who seldom spoke themselves, and
more than occasionally erupted into laughter.

The very thought, sight and sounds of him were like mental quicksand.
The more she thought of him, the more she wanted to think of him; the
more she saw him, the more she wanted to see him. He wasn’t even much
to look at. Quite short, crimson tinged dark hair, slender frame,
smooth features and sharply dressed. He seemed better dressed than he
was. None of this made sense in Carol’s rational mind, but as she
returned to her halls, she knew she was taken. She had to meet him.

This was no difficult task. In the first week the student’s union bar
hosted some kind of themed night, every night. Very few of the new
students had the wherewithal to venture further during the first week,
while untamed youth, excitement and the desire to be friends with
everyone fuelled their stamina to cope with 5 consecutive nights out.

She found Leo, but once again he was too engrossed in conversation with
other people to make a clean approach. She spoke to the people
surrounding him instead, biding her time.

Working her way around his group, one thing became clear. This man kept
very esteemed company, and didn’t suffer lesser beings. Amongst his
company was the son of an MP, a successful entrepreneur and several
budding models. At one point a guy dared to do what she hadn’t, and
directly slotted himself in coversation with Leo. Much like Leo the guy
wasn’t much to look at, but was a touch scruffier and held himself a lot
less confidently. Intiially, Leo seemed happy to see this new intruder.
Carol watched the exchange intently, ignoring the drunk friend babbling
at her.

“Hi! I’m Greg!” He said with a sprightly tone.
“Leo. Nice to meet you!” They shook hands. “So what do you do, Greg?”
Greg looked a bit puzzled by the question.
“You mean what do I study?”
“I guess.”
“Oh, Computing Science.”

Leo frowned slightly, “Hmm.” Greg looked hurt by the reaction, equally
as slightly. “What do you parents do?” Puzzle again, Greg spoke.
“Umm, well my Dad is a mechanic at Kwik Fit, and my Mum works for the
council.”
“Oh, what does she do there?”
“You know, admin and stuff.” Greg said, suddenly unsure of himself.
Leo’s frown turned to a sneer. “I think your friends are calling you.”
Greg looked around, and then back.
“No, I’m uh, here on my own.”
“Go away.” Leo’s face expressionless, his tone deadpan. The people
surrounding him looked around awkwardly. Greg looked heartbroken.
“Sorry.”
Eyes lowered and voice reduced to a mumble, he turned around and walked
off into the crowd. Leo, now grinning, turned to his friends. They
smiled back.

“Wow.” Carol thought. “What a complete cunt.”

She had never enjoyed the company of nasty people before, and wasn’t
capable of being mean herself. There was no reason why she should like
this person, but she liked him more than ever. She worried though, what
if he dismissed her like that? She needed something to impress him
with, and she needed to compliment his ego.

She picked her strategy and got her chance later that night.

“Hi Leo, I’m Carol. You’re quite popular around these parts, I had to
say hello to the man himself!” Leo was taken aback. He grinned, wide
eyed. The feelings that had been rushing through Carol up until now
suddenly swelled tenfold. He moved to respond but she beat him to it.
“My father is Tiger Woods’ personal bodyguard you know.” His grin
widened.
“Really?” Leo said with enthusiasm. “Well we should get to know each
other then.”

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