The students clustered outside the auditorium waited to be shuffled in and seated. A few of the staff stood at the closed doors, some with their arms folded across their chests, others with their hands stuffed in their pockets. They talked with some of the undergraduate students. He saw a few of them exchange phone numbers, something he didn’t plan on doing. Not his real number, at least. He set up a Google Voice account when his professor told him that he needs to provide a number to his students. “You’re a graduate assistant not just a student,” he was told, “you’ll have to be available to your students. But you’ll be great. You’re a very nice young man.”
He almost didn’t come tonight but his resident assistant (and presently his only friend), Charlie, had encouraged him to go. “Just go,” Charlie said, “orientation is boring but it’s useful. Whatever questions you have now will probably be answered during the thing.” He still didn’t want to go but he trusted Charlie and didn’t want to disappoint him. He pulled on a baseball hat to hide but not so that he looks like he’s hiding. He should be so grateful if someone recognizes him but they might interrogate him. They might say, “Hey! Aren’t you RM?” then he could say ‘yes,’ smile, and walk away before they could ask, “What happened?”
Over the summer, he and Charlie corresponded and found common interests in art and music so when Charlie promised him a tour of the city- You’ll get to meet the MET, Charlie wrote, When’s your flight to JFK? (Charlie had sent a mass e-mail to the residents who would live on his floor, hoping to encourage school spirit and camaraderie but only he, RM, or rather Namjoon, had replied.)
Charlie had even been kind enough to drive him to school, too. “Carpooling is always fun,” Charlie said. “It’ll be like your first road trip in the States!” He didn’t correct Charlie. It hadn’t been his first road trip in the States but it would be his first without his best friends. Or bodyguards now that he thought about it. On the drive to university, he’d asked to stop at nearly every rest stop because of the Pokéstops and he wanted to take pictures of everything. With Charlie being so accommodating, he was able to catch all the Pokémon and take all the pictures.
(Charlie turned out to be a pretty good Instagram boyfriend though not as good as Taehyung.)
Music, art, childhood memories, and now similar humors- Namjoon hadn’t meant to find a new best friend so quickly. He wanted to take his time during his first semester- time he planned on spending in his room, in his shared office, or at the library alone in one of those study cubicles, headphones on- but he was grateful for such serendipity. He was glad life would give him something he would otherwise deny himself.
A few times he accidentally made eye contact with someone in the crowd but to discourage socializing, he made a point to memorize the faded marble underneath his sneakers. Namjoon ran a hand through his previously silver-blue hair; if he keeps his head down and shoulders drooped, no one will mistake him for the confident RM he used to be. Fresh start, he reminded himself. Start fresh. Let it go. Let it go, he sang. Not sang out loud of course. He sang to himself. In his mind. Of course not sang out loud. Keep it to yourself!
As soon as the wooden doors sprung open, the wave of undergraduate and graduate students rolled in. They gently shoved and pushed against him. Some of the students, already friendly with each other, sat in groups. Namjoon, once past the doors, stood at the back, letting the droves of people pass before choosing a seat for himself near the aisle and toward the middle of the auditorium.
He studied his peers, hoping for hints on how to behave. He’d never been to a new-student orientation and the last time he was around this many people he was on stage performing for them. He couldn’t remember the last time he was a part of them. Although, he was glad to be audience instead of performer. Now if only his anxiety would match his positivity: no one will recognize RM. There are tons of people who have no idea who RM is. They’ll love Namjoon!
He’d just finished examining the faux wood back of the seat in front of him when the heads of each school began introducing themselves, repeating the same wishes required in every encouraging, beginning-of-the-year speech. Then the MC, one of the admissions’ counselors, divided them into groups of six for “Icebreakers!”
Namjoon froze, feeling for sweat around his neck and armpits- not damp. Not yet, anyway. He should’ve seen this coming. Icebreakers are a natural, normal part of all orientations. What better way to orient to a new place with new people than with stupid, cheesy games? Get everyone to be awkward so that, really, no one will be awkward. …but no one will be awkward as him! This isn’t even the hardest thing he’s done. He shouldn’t feel so anxious but that’s making him feel more anxious.
The MC continued, “Since you didn’t choose to study your courses online, we’ve decided to torture you all with socializing-!” Namjoon buried his head into his sweater. He should’ve worn a hoodie, not a crew neck sweater. “Yes, with icebreakers, icebreakers- before we torture you with assignments and deadlines! Look up at the screens above me and you’ll see ten questions to ask each person in your group of six. Great and go!”
Namjoon didn’t choose his group but at the last minute, he agreed to be the sixth person in the person-sitting-next-to him’s group. He wasn’t sure who asked him only that he was asked and said ‘yes’. When he did have the courage to look up, he noticed that the person-sitting-next-to-him held his hand out and said, “Hey, I’m Shimon.” Namjoon shook his hand. Shimon wasn’t smiling underneath his neatly trimmed beard but his eyes, bright and wide, shone- they were the same color as his turban. He leaned one shoulder toward Namjoon as if to make sure he felt included. “What did you say your name was?” he asked.
“Oh, I-. I’m- my name is Namjoon,” he whispered even though he had no reason to. It wasn’t as if he were spilling a secret or speaking out-of-turn. He tried to match Shimon’s posture and waited but after a few more seconds of silence, no one answered any of the on-screen prompts.
What if someone asks him to start?
You’re beginning to wonder if you should invest in a personalized name plate. That would be snazzy. A fancy name plate to put on your fancy desk in the fancy corridor where your fancy office is. This isn’t your first time at an orientation for school but this is your first time as staff at an orientation for school. The crowd of students buzzing around you, awkwardly shaking hands and exchanging phone numbers, makes you smile, but you also can’t help but wonder which ones will be the first to drop out. Which ones will transfer?
You shake the negativity from your head and continue smiling at anyone who will smile back at you. Several return the kindness, taking it as an invitation to ask you your name and what they should expect at the orientation.
You introduce yourself as Laney, yes, like from the show ‘The Gilmore Girls’. Yes, you know, how ironic because you also happen to be Asian. No, you were not named after Laney from the show ‘The Gilmore Girls’. You are older than the TV show. It annoys you that that obvious fact amazes people but you quickly move on and tell them what to expect during the orientation. If they’d just quickly look through the pamplets that were handed out to them along with their Welcome Packet, they would know.
Freshman, you think, forgetting for a brief moment that people still think you look like a high school student.
When the doors open, you swim among the crowd until you find a seat near the middle, but still closer to the front than to the back. You’re joined by a few others who are quick to introduce themselves and you notice that these few have their pamphlets out. Some of them have even marked it up with doodles and notes. You’re proud of these people.
As the auditorium fills, you continue to make conversation with anyone who will look your way. You want to make sure everyone is welcome. You direct a few to some open seats, insisting that they sit next to strangers, “Make friends!” you encourage and only sit still when the MC starts the orientation. It is just like every other orientation you’ve ever attended though with a lot more orange.
Earlier that day, one of your professors had suggested you wear orange but you don’t own anything orange and, no, you don’t want to buy a school hoodie. You already have a ton of hoodies and no money for another one. Maybe another pair of jeans. You always have money for a good pair of jeans.
You do your best not to glance at your phone, trying to set a good example for the students around you. You don’t know that they wouldn’t blame you for pulling out your phone but you sit on your hands for the remainder of the orientation until it’s time for “Icebreakers!” Mr. States yells. You haven’t had a full conversation with Mr. States yet but you’ve never met anyone that loves a university more than him. “Icebreakers! Look up at the screens above me and you’ll see ten questions to ask each person in your group of six. Great and go!”
You look around your group of six, four of whom you picked. No one is volunteering to go first so, you decide to.
“Hey, okay, my name is Laney,” said one of the people in his group. He cautioned a look: a girl with wire frame glasses and big curly hair. When she flicked a few strands away from her face, he noticed their purple streaks. He sat up taller and leaned in to hear her over the other groups’ raucous.
“Hello,” continued Laney, “um, I’m the administrative assistant for an entire corridor of the professors here. I’m an admin for nine of them.” She cleared her throat and straightened her posture, her eyes darting among the other five. “I am also a full-time grad student, all night classes in the School of Public Administration and International Affairs. It’s nice to meet you all.” She waved prompting everyone else to wave. “Um, okay, let’s answer one of these questions. Ooh! Oh, okay, what is my favorite smell and why?” She tapped her sharp chin. “I love the smell of bonfires. Reminds me of camping when I was a kid. Next?” She turned to her left and right wondering to whom she should pass the proverbial mic.
The person to Laney’s left, a thin, gangly man, timidly raised his hand. “Hey, I’m Vivaan, um, a grad student in the same school as Laney.” He smiled at Laney. “I’m from the Toronto area and I will answer, oh!- which game show I would be best at.” He clenched his teeth and sucked in as he pondered. He snapped his fingers when he found the best answer: “Definitely America’s Next Top Model.” He struck a pose, his arm arched behind his head and his nose to the air, earning everyone’s smiles and snickers.
Namjoon would’ve taken a picture but he didn’t have their permission.
And so they went around- after Vivaan was Shadequa (who prefers Shasha and her first celebrity crush was Shego), then Teresa (if she were a vegetable she’d be a tomato- is she a fruit, is she a vegetable?), Shimon (his favorite children’s book is The Velveteen Rabbit), and lastly, “Hi. Hi guys, my name is Namjoon,” his voice cracked so he cleared his throat. He took a deep breath, “I’m also an international student, like Vivaan here, but from Korea, not Canada.” He laughed though everyone else only smiled.
He lowered his gaze to his hands which were busy unweaving the hem of his sweater so he clasped them together. He continued, “Yes, international students for life,” Vivaan high-fived him through the air. “Um, I’m a graduate assistant for Professor Karle in the School of Archeology with an emphasis in globalization and cultural change. I will answer, uh-.” He scanned the screens but he already knew which one he wanted to answer. “If you ever wrote a book what would you call it?” He grinned. “That’s easy. Moonchild. I’d call it Moonchild.”
“What would it be about?” Laney asked, her head cocked to the right, just the hint of a smile gracing her round face.
Namjoon blushed, hesitating to answer- now he’s sweating- everyone’s brown eyes piercing his thickening facade. After a couple of breaths, he answered, “It’d be a memoir.”
She wound a purple curl around her finger. “Oh, cool. I dig it.”
He asked, “Do you write?” to turn the attention on her and away from him.
She clapped her hands together, “I do! I write restaurant reviews on Yelp! I’m an Elite member so maybe I’ll invite y’all to a Yelp Elite event one day.”
Namjoon wanted to ask what Yelp was but, trusting the excitement of the rest of the group, he refrained.
The following fifteen minutes flowed like the Han River on an empty Monday morning- quiet and steady- all their initial shyness and obligation blossoming into friendship. To Namjoon’s surprise, he even willingly shared his phone number, his real phone number, and was excited to be a part of their group chat which Shimon named back-up friends because Laney refused to let them call it MaMa lAneY’s 🐑🐑🐑🐑🐑.
“Why are you guys sheep?!” Much to her chagrin, Laney was nominated the mother and therefore leader (she is the oldest, they argued, she has to be the mother-leader) but a woman of formidable humor, she graciously accepted the title.
Shimon shrugged, “I, like, never use that emoji. I just picked a random animal.”
The admissions’ counselor from the stage took to the mic and called for everyone’s attention. He spouted out answers to frequently-asked-questions about social life, dorms rules, and university pride. (If Namjoon heard the word ‘orange’ one more time he’d leave the room.) “Okay, great! So, we’re gonna give you guys a forty-five-minute break until your next social and that, everyone, will be in the cafeteria. It’ll be a good time with food and you guys love free food! Who doesn’t? It’s college! You’re all broke. Okay, see you in forty-five!”
Much of the audience stood up and left but not Namjoon’s group. They sat in their fractured circle playing Heads’ Up on Vivaan’s phone coughing from laughing so hard at each turn. They laughed even harder when they watched the recording of their game. They made other friends at the next social but somehow ended up sitting together at the same table well into the evening.
He hadn’t meant to find new friends so quickly and yet he was nevertheless happy for their company. Perhaps when studying in the library he could find a cubicle with two sections.
Back in his room Namjoon sat at his desk and stared out his curtain-less window. He sat in the uncomfortable desk chair letting the day wash over him.
He did it.
Today’s done. It’s over.
It won’t ever happen again. The next time he attends orientation he’ll know what to expect. He reached for a book he was almost done with, just five more pages, but couldn’t focus on it so he pulled out his journal- the only other thing he unpacked- to write. He looked for a pen but found only a dull pencil. At first he was disappointed but when he heard the pencil softly scratch against the thin paper he felt his shoulders droop and his heart rate steady.
No one recognized me, he wrote, thank god. I’m glad I’m here but I can’t believe I’m here. What the here am I doing here? I made friends. I even gave them my phone number. My real one! Shimon. Vivaan. TeResa. Sha(sha)dequa. Laney. Laney has purple hair. I should dye my hair again. Purple? No, no, no. Teachers don’t have purple hair. But they could if they wanted to. No. Me in purple hair will remind someone of who I used to be. I don’t want that. What am I doing here? What am I doing here? What am I doing here? I’m here. That’s it. I chose to be here. No one forced you. They encouraged you to go. They miss you. I miss them. It’s done. Whatever I’m doing here I know I’ll be great. I’ll be great. I miss the guys. The guys would say I’m doing great. Guys. I should call them soon.
He meant to write more but his ringing phone surprised him and made him break his pencil in half. He doesn’t have a pencil sharpener. Maybe the school bookstore will have one.
He reached for his phone and answered it when he saw it was Professor Karle calling. “Namjoon, it’s me, Pablo. What do you say, since we’re both still pretty jetlagged- want to meet in my office to go over a few things before your first official day tomorrow?”
Your drive from your apartment to the school won’t take you very long but you still wake up two hours before you have to leave. You meditate after a quick workout and take your time blending together a smoothie and frying two eggs. You purposefully left your phone in your room because you don’t want to watch anything or play any games while you eat.
Last night your phone sent you a notification stating you’d spent eleven hours on your phone. Eleven! Well. You were answering a lot of e-mails and phone calls. It wasn’t all fun and games…
You run for your phone in your room and enjoy a thirty minute vlog from your favorite Youtuber while you eat. Worth it. At least thirty minutes of your eleven hours on your phone will have been just for you.
You should probably turn on the overhead lights but the twinkle lights are so pretty and nothing should be too bright before sunrise. That would make the sun jealous. You have just enough time to hop into the shower and apply make-up, thankful that you planned hairwash day for Saturdays instead of your usual Thursdays. A lot had to change when you moved upstate but you needed the change.
It wasn’t until you got your own place that you realized how many restrictions you had had in place. You loved your previous roommates and you miss hanging out with your sisters and cousins but Virginia Woolf was right: there’s nothing like having a room of one’s own. Well, an apartment of one’s own in an area that is significantly cheaper than where you were previously renting.
As you walk out to your car, you run into Mr. Chakrabarti. Mr. Chakrabati had his grandsons help you move in and three times he’s brought you the most delicious paneer masala you’ve ever had. Most of the other residents keep to themselves but Mr. Chakrabarti talks to everyone. He even keeps the postal worker company, sometimes walking the block with them. “First day of school today?” Mr. Chakrabarti asks as he waves. “Don’t be nervous! You’ll be great!”
You thank him and promise to tell him all about it later.
You sit in your car for a moment before starting it, taking in your surroundings. You should bring your car in for a wash. It’s been two months. Your car deserves it. …it also deserves a name.
The drive to school reminds you of a zipper: the tall trees that line the road are the teeth and your car is the slider, zipping and unzipping the earth.
Zippy the Car? Zipper. Zipper the Car. That’s better. Zipper the Car it is. Zipper? Won’t that just make you think of pants?
Oh yeah, you need to return that scarf. The receipt should still be in your wallet. You haven’t cleaned out your wallet yet. You’ll probably have time tomorrow. Ah, no. Tonight after work because tomorrow you have classes. Ooh! And then you can get that burger you’ve been craving. Would Mr. Chakrabarti like a burger? Probably a veggie burger. Was there a good veggie burger at that restaurant? Eh, she’ll just check Yelp later.
When you arrive at the office, no one is there. You prep the coffee machine and leave your cup of tea to steep on your desk, your arms already cradling a stack of papers. You need to distribute a hard copy of your hours to each professor in the corridor. You’ve made extra copies just in case they lose it and they probably will. As you walk down the hallway, flipping on the lights and sliding your schedules in their mailboxes, you start to hear voices. The hallway bends to the right and you see two shadows. They’re mumbling about açaí bowls.
One shadow asks, “A what, Dr. Pablo? A sassy bowl?
“An açaí bowl,” the other shadow, Dr. Pablo, explained, “is why I believe in God.”
“I thought it’s because you’re Catholic,”
“My friend,” Dr. Pablo pronounced ‘friend’ as ‘prend’. “God’s not so pragmatic as all that. This is the açaí fruit-.” (Proot.)
You walk a little further down the hall, flick on the lights and grin as you watch the two shadows blink uncomfortably under the lights.
“Ah, Laney! Magandang umaga! Morning, morning.” Dr. Pablo bowed his head. “Did I forget to mention I’m a night owl? Ah, yes, have you met my GA, Mr. Kim?”
You walk closer, your hand outstretched to Dr. Pablo’s to give him a copy of your schedule. He takes it and stuffs it into the inner pocket of his tired linen jacket.
Yeah, he’s gonna lose it, you think to yourself. Good thing you’re gonna e-mail them a copy, too. You nod at Mr. Kim and reach out to shake his hand and tell Dr. Pablo that you met last night.
Namjoon smiles and starts, “We’re both still pretty jet-lagged. He just came back from the Philippines a couple days ago and me from Korea last week. Up until, like, last night, we only talked through video chat and we were supposed to meet yesterday during the day but he had a thing. And then he and Charlie- my, my RA- wanted me to go to orientation even though I felt bad and I should’ve been working it and so-. And so we end up meeting at 11.30 nighttime and, uh, yeah, yeah. Here we are.” He waves, looking at everything but you. “Good morning. 좋은 아침입니다.”
You nod, raising your left eyebrow, fighting the urge to laugh at his nervousness. Your entire job is to encourage your students and peers. You can’t laugh at the newest friend you made.
Namjoon explains, “Oh, ‘좋은 아침입니다’. That’s- that’s Korean for good morning.” He swings his arms as he turns to Dr. Pablo and asks, “Okay, so how did you say it in Tagalog, Dr. Pablo?”
Dr. Pablo and Namjoon stand there for another minute before you try and step back, explaining you have to get the day started but Dr. Pablo invites you to breakfast with them in the cafeteria. He throws on his backpack and grins, his apple cheeks nearly touching his wide forehead. “We’ll keep you company, Laney. By the way, don’t call me Professor. We’re kin. You’re not even a student of mine. You can call me Pablo.”
You attempt to object but Dr. Pablo insists: “Tito Pablo if you’re so inclined. The cafeteria’s açaí bowls are surprisingly good.” He then hands you a ‘Will Return at’ sign. “Put that you’ll be back at 8.30. Office hours don’t start until 9.00 anyway. Trust me, any professor who walks in here will understand. Especially Carney. It’s açaí bowls. Now, tara na!”
“They’ll make you believe in god,” Namjoon added.
Helplessly, you obey but add that since you’re not living on campus you don’t have a meal plan.
Dr. Pablo tsks at you. “What, you think I can’t get two açaí bowls by accident?”
The five-minute walk from the office building to the cafeteria is the best perk of his job, Dr. Pablo tells you and Namjoon, otherwise, he would’ve taken a job at another university. Dr. Pablo goes on and on about the importance of food for the mind and soul, saying, “One cannot learn on an empty stomach.” He describes some of his favorite dishes from his favorite cuisines but, probably tired of his own voice, asks Namjoon, “Namjoon, what’s your favorite food?”
“Blue socks,” Namjoon answers, his eyes bulging out of their sockets, blood running up his neck and into his cheeks.
You can’t help it. You laugh- a sharp snort you cover with both your hands. You want to show that you’re not laughing at him but with him so you add that you like blue socks, too. It’s true. Socks are your favorite fashion accessory.
Namjoon grins, his eyes returning to their normal size. “Yeah, but I like hats the best. I always buy a good hat when I see it.”
As you stand in line for the açaí bowls, you discover that you both love baseball hats and beanies. When you place the bowl in Namjoon’s hands and he sees the açaí for the first time he utters in realization, “Oh! That’s açaí. Okay, okay. I’ve had this before.”
You and Dr. Pablo finsh your bowls first and as you wait for Namjoon to finish selecting his toppings, you and Dr. Pablo chat in Tagalog for a bit. You ask Dr. Pablo if he knows of any good places for a veggie burger.
You all decide to eat by the windows overlooking the campus’ main square where you and Namjoon talk more fashion. Neither of you meant it, but you kinda left Dr. Pablo out. In fact, if he hadn’t sat between the two of you, you would’ve forgotten about him entirely. He didn’t seem to mind, though. He spent most of his time watching the undergraduate students scramble across the square to their early morning classes.
About twenty minutes into eating breakfast and discussing the best kinds of socks, Dr. Pablo excuses himself, “I’ll see you at 11.00, Mr. Namjoon. I’m glad you like the açaí bowl.” Namjoon moved to follow him but Dr. Pablo continues, “No, no, enjoy yourself. Eleven o’clock. I look forward to your new outfit of the day!”
“You have a great outfit,” Namjoon says to you.
You smile and thank him, and suggest you should head back to the office.
He takes your dishes with his and you regroup at the cafeteria entrance.
He asks about what he should expect. It’s been a long time since he’s been in school. He loves learning but teaching is very different. You tell him that you have a background in education though you only taught high school history for one year before deciding to go back to graduate school full-time. You offer your advice should he ever have need for it. He thanks you for your help and almost walks into the building with you but then quickly backtracks. “I- I have to change. My- my clothes are not ready. But I’ll see you later!”
He turns to run back to his dormitory and you walk inside without a look back.
Namjoon only had time to shower for a minute because his RA, Charlie, stopped to talk with him.
Charlie, his first friend at school. The first thing Namjoon had noticed about Charlie is how talkative he is. Even in their e-mails, Charlie waxed eloquent on miscellaneous stories, often including fun facts about their university. Today was no different. They chatted a bit in the foyer, briefly exchanging the day’s antics, agreeing to meet for dinner. “I’ll be with my cousin, Remy. Is it okay if they join us? Great! Mi familia es su familia.”
Namjoon bowed. “Gracias, mi amigo.”
Charlie’s green eyes widened, wrinkling his tanned forehead. “¿Tú hablas español? Mi hermano, ¡no sabia que hablas español!”
Namjoon had no idea what Charlie said and replied with the remnants of his Spanish vocabulary, “Ah, yeah. Gracias, gracias, mi amigo. Uh, ¡hasta luego! …at dinner.”
Charlie grinned, doing his best not to laugh openly at Namjoon’s nerves. “¡Hasta luego!” He spun sharply on his toes and sped to class.
Namjoon hadn’t unpacked anything but had only moved his clothes from his suitcases to his laundry bin. Ah, his laundry. He hasn’t done laundry yet. Standing in his robe, he looked at the bare, tapioca-colored walls. He should start decorating. If his best friend, Taehyung, were here he would’ve had the place completely decorated on the first day. There would be framed posters and pictures and stylized bookshelves showing off some of Namjoon’s favorite books, but Namjoon’s only managed to pull a white bed sheet over his bed. He definitely needs curtains, too.
It’s too hot for a sweater but he needs to look as collegiate as Laney.
What’s a collegiate look-? Monotone! That should be educational enough.
He shuffled through his suitcase for his black highwaters, his gray shirt dress over which he’d wear his heather-black long sleeve. His sister would be pleased. Ankle socks! Or, no, no, she won’t be able to see his ankle socks. Oh, that’s right, his blue-striped crew socks with black Oxfords- she’ll love that because he’d said blue socks. It’ll be funny. And she likes socks. She said so.
He dressed, reviewed his reflection in the narrow mirror and smiled. Perfect and easy. One less thing to be anxious about, but with still an hour and a half (getting the right tuck and fall took an hour of adjusting in front of the mirror) to spare, he decided to unpack his clothes. He hung what could be hung in the closet and folded what could be folded in the dresser.
With the last half-hour, he looked around his room satisfied with his progress. Hoseok, his best friend, would be proud. Namjoon stuffed his laptop and tablet into his messenger bag, swung it over his shoulder, and was soon back in the office. At the end of the hall, just before strutting past Laney’s desk, he took a moment to catch his breath. Oh, she’s not at her desk. He stood there, tapping his fingers on the strap of his messenger bag and fought the urge to spin on his heel in retreat.
“Oh, Namjoon, you’re back, hi.” Laney stood at the door of the small copy/break room the nine professors shared. She didn’t quite look at him at first, not until she set down the stack of papers cradled in her arms, and then she looks up and asks, “Did you need something?”
He nods. “Oh, no. I just got here.” He keeps nodding.
Laney smiled. “Of course, you can’t need anything yet. Oh,” she waved her finger up and down, “This I like. Can I see your shoes? Oh my, God, yes, I love Oxfords! I’ve been looking for a new pair myself. I can tell, you are going to love thrifting.” She waved her finger again. “I approve. Oh, also, I do believe Professor Karle is already back there but he didn’t seem to be in a rush so-.”
“You dress well, too,” Namjoon interrupted with a compliment. He thought to himself, Didn’t I compliment her earlier?
Laney paused, smoothing out her pencil skirt. “Aw, thank you. I try, I try.” She gave a little curtsy, her kitten heels sliding across the water-stained carpet.
Namjoon stopped nodding, smiled, bowed, and made his way to Dr. Pablo’s office where he had to force himself to pay attention to whatever last pieces of advice Dr. Pablo had for him. From this point on, Namjoon would be upstairs with the other GAs in their shared office on the floor above and while communication would be constant, they’d only have to meet face-to-face once a week. “Are you ready, Mr. Kim? You have three classes today.”
Namjoon smiled, tapping his toes. “Yes, sir, Dr. Pablo. I am.”
To read the rest of the chapters, click here. I’ve posted the rest of the fanfic on An Archive of Our Own.