``Come on, it will only take five minutes.''
``You should have done it already.''
It was Terence's voice. Good, maybe he could help me with the computer, he is very good with computers. There are people around until midnight or even after usually, but today the place was empty, just after ten o'clock. I turned around.
Two other friends were with him. They were dressed in tuxedos. They froze.
``Is it you?''
``Uh, yeah. I just have to print something.''
``You look fancy.''
They exchanged glances. I didn't know his friends, but one of them was very handsome.
``Can you give me a hand?''
``I'm sort of late, Joan.''
``Fine, just a second. It's logged in, now print that. The printer is over there,'' he said to them. He came to me; he looked so different from his usual jeans and t-shirt, even the way he moved was different. For the first time I felt some attraction to him.
``What's up, Joan?''
I explained the problem, trying not to stare at him. He nodded, grabbing a chair and sitting by my side. I could scent his aftershave, and it turned me on. Then he took over the keyboard and started to fix whatever was wrong.
``Where are you going, so fancy?'' My voice was a little more curious and flirting that I'd have liked.
``It's a... sort of a dinner.''
``It must be important.''
The tapping on the keyboard halted for a fraction of second.
``Not really. I think I know what is wrong.''
``Good.'' But I wanted to know more. ``Is it some event of the university?''
``Ahn, no, it is not.''
``Invite her, Terence,'' said one of his friends was behind us. The handsome one.
``It will be boring,'' Terence said, grimacing at him. His friend grinned. It was not going to be boring.
``Maybe she will like it.''
Why does Terence not introduce us? And why does he not want to invite me?
``Fine, invite her. Joan, this is...''
``Anton,'' he completed. ``Would you like to come?''
``Where are you going to?''
``It's a gathering... of some good friends, people that share the same interests. There will be food, drinks, music.''
``I think I'm underdressed.''
He grinned, Terence shook his head very slightly.
``We can find something for you to wear.'' Somehow, that phrase gave me a shiver; perhaps the way he measured me from head to toe.
``Ah, here's the problem,'' Terence said. ``It's fixed, Joan.''
``Are you coming with us, Joan?'' The third friend was leaning against the wall, behind Anton, holding a sheet of paper folded in half. Anton was smiling, such a smile. ``Come, it will be fun.''
I turned to Terence. He hesitated, but relented.
``You are invited. But we are late. If you want to go, let's go now.''
He stood up. The three were looking at me. And I saw, hanging from Terence's pocket, something I couldn't recognize at first.
``What about the dress?'' I asked.
Then I recognized it. A mask. A black silk mask. I'm sure it was.
``Don't worry, we'll call someone to take one to the party. What size do you wear?''
Terence pushed the mask back into his pocket. I could swear it was a mask, not a handkerchief.
``It'll be too much trouble. I'll need shoes, and make-up, and all that. Maybe another time.''
``Do you live nearby? We can take you there. Can you dress quickly?''
``I'm a woman,'' I said, laughing to cover my nervousness. ``Another time.''
``Shall we go, gentlemen?'' Terence tried.
Anton looked at me one last time.
``A shame. You don't know what you're missing.''
``Next time, I promise.''
They started to walk away. Terence was the last one, but he turned back to me, grinning and holding one finger in front of his mouth. ``Shhhhhh...'' Maybe I'll ask him tomorrow what this was all about. No, tomorrow is Saturday. Next week, when he is back into his old jeans. Sometime he is alone. Or maybe I'll not say a word.
I wish I had a boyfriend. I'll be daydreaming the whole weekend.