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Fundamentals of Air Conditioning and Risk Management

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"So, you…?" Ian Duncan poured himself another glass.

"So I asked everyone to turn around and imagined conversations with them."

"Why?"

Jeff’s brow furrowed. "Why did I ask them to turn—?"

"I thought you said the computer started up because of a feeling. Did you lie about that?"

"No, no... It did." Jeff emptied his glass.

"Carry on, then."

"I— I really should go home."

"You're avoiding now, Winger. It obviously meant a lot if it opened the door."

"There was more than a literal door that got opened."

Duncan poured more whisky into Jeff's glass. "Do tell."

"Do you know something already?" Jeff picked up the glass and eyed his friend suspiciously.

“Oh, I— I just know it wasn’t Britta.”

Jeff swallowed and then drank from his glass.

“And I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Pelton either, no matter what he tells everyone.”

Jeff’s eyes widened. “Oh god,” he drank the rest of the whisky. Duncan picked up the bottle again, but Jeff put his hand over the glass. “You’ve guessed then.”

“I guessed long before you started drinking. So, are you going to do anything about it?”

“Do anything…” Jeff reached for the bottle, but Duncan pulled it away. Jeff glared at him, “What could I possibly do?”

“I don’t know,” Duncan shrugged. “Tell her?”

“Or I could just drink the shame away.”

Duncan scoffed. “What’s to be shameful about?”

“She’s twen—” Jeff shook his head. “I’m for—”

“Come on, you’re not married. You don’t have kids. She might be a little too short for you, but that’s due to the Kentucky Fried hormones you ingested as a teenager.” Duncan laughed, “And clearly the ages don’t matter that much since you could barely get them out.” He stood and walked back to his desk.

Jeff sighed. “Why did I come to you for life advice?”

“Is that what you came here for? I thought it was my liquor.” Duncan put the whisky bottle in the top drawer.

“I think I’ve had too much to drive.”

Duncan shuffled towards the door, “Just as well there are a few students staying back tonight. I could get one of them to take you home.” Duncan touched his forehead. “I might get one to take me home too,” he opened the door and sneaked a peek along the hallway. Duncan smiled at the smartly dressed young woman walking towards his office. “Miss Edison, what are you still doing here?” Duncan turned back to smirk at Jeff’s annoyed expression. He stepped outside the room, keeping the door ajar, and held onto the wall.

“Professor Duncan, are you okay?” Annie sniffed the air. “It’s a bit early for that isn’t it?”

“Not for me, but,” Duncan pushed the door open, “Maybe for him.”

Jeff dropped his hands from the window and smiled at Annie. He pocketed the key he’d found in Duncan’s top drawer. “Hello Annie.”

“Jeff?” Annie glanced at Duncan and walked into the office. “Why were you—?”

“Mr Winger needs a ride back to his place. Do you know where that is?”

“Yes, but—”

Jeff shook his head. “I can just get a taxi.”

“Nonsense, carpooling is good for the environment.”

Annie eyed Duncan suspiciously. “Since when do you—?”

“Goodnight Winger. You too Miss Edison.” Duncan patted Jeff’s shoulder and pushed him away from the desk. He waved as Annie left the office and gestured for Jeff to follow.

Jeff stopped at the door and scowled. “It’s the student-teacher thing too.”

“Why?” Duncan walked towards Jeff. “You should be thankful she’s now a student teacher.”

“What?”

Duncan held the door and swung it between his fingers. “Oh, you didn’t—?” He laughed and pointed, “Icebreaker.”

Jeff stepped back as the door slammed shut.