Betty had just decided to give her grad student twenty more minutes to show up when it happened.
"Look," the girl said as she slid into the seat across from her. "I'm only here for a semester or however long it takes me to finish my thesis, so I'm not looking for a long term thing. All I want is someone who understands that I need to be left alone sometimes to work but who also wouldn't mind hanging out with me at 3 AM while we have a dance party and eat cold Chinese food in our underwear. Or pizza, if that's what you're into. I don't judge. Are you a heavy sleeper? Because sometimes I snore. That is the first and only time I have or will ever admit that, by the way, and if you bring it up again or try to tell someone else, be advised that I will go scorched earth and deny everything. And also I may need you to be my sounding board occasionally, but it's one of those things where you don't always have to pay attention, like I'd just need you to do the ol' 'yes dear' song and dance, unless I really did need feedback, in which case I'd make sure you knew ahead of time so you'd have a chance to really focus on me and my amazing talent for having opinions."
She paused to take a breath and gave Betty a dazzling smile. "So what do you say?"
"Uh," Betty began, flattered but too level-headed for a fairy tale 'fools rush in' romance. "I'm not sure—"
"Oh, that's fine, I know the competition can be fierce around here. Can I at least see the room before you decide?"
Betty blinked at her. "What room?"
"The... room you advertised on Gregslist? Three fifty a month plus split utilities?"
Oh . "No, I think you might... have the wrong person..."
"But..." the girl said, pointing at Betty's attire. "You're in the Union across from the computer labs wearing a purple dress..."
Betty dropped her eyes to her dress before examining the room. She craned her neck. "I think... that girl?"
Her interloper turned in the indicated direction. "Yeah, she didn't say anything about wearing a yellow jacket. That's like the opposite of purple! Not cool." She twisted her mouth around uncomfortably. "So you're not looking for a roommate."
Betty smiled. "Just waiting for a student," she said.
"Awesome. The first thing I wanted to do when I got back to Culver was harass a professor. Nice going, Darcy," she admonished herself. "Sorry about that, Doctor...?"
"Ross," Betty told her. "And it's not a problem. Good luck on finding a place to live, and... on your thesis."
"Yeah, thanks." The girl smiled again and made her way over to her prospective housemate.
Betty checked her watch; her grad student was now forty-five minutes late and officially on her bad side. She stood and shouldered her bag, trying to decide if it was worth it to go back and work through the final minutes of her office hours or if she should just write the day off as a loss and go home.
Her eyes strayed to the purple and yellow girl, who was shaking her head at the girl who had mistaken her identity. Darcy. She wondered what she was studying, who her adviser was, and if she would see her around campus again.
As she strolled across a manicured lawn toward her car, Betty thought about what would have happened if she had said yes immediately instead of hesitating. How long would it have taken for them to realize their misunderstanding? Could Betty have worked up the nerve to ask her if they could eat cold Chinese food at 3 AM in their underwear anyway?
"No, Jane, I’m telling you, she was crazy-pants," a voice intruded, shattering Betty's solitude and interrupting her thoughts. "She wasn't gonna be right for me, seriously; she actually told me she expected me to not bring any chocolate into the apartment. No. No, she's not allergic, she just— Yeah, not even in my room . I know."
Betty turned and saw the girl—Darcy—walking down the sidewalk toward the same parking lot she was headed to, her shoulder holding up the phone she was talking on while she sorted through a large collection of keys on an Avengers key chain.
"I miss New York already," Darcy confided to her phone as Betty continued toward her car, hoping the girl wouldn't think she was following her. "No, the fact that I don't have to drive there. You know, if they've got self-parking and self- driving cars now, they should have the decency to program them to come and pick you up from the Student Union. Tell Stark to get on that." She laughed. Betty liked the sound. "He'd better. He knows I have dirt on him. Tell him I expect a prototype in four months or less or Pepper will know all about the—Oh, hi."
Betty gave Darcy a small smile from the driver's side of her car when she was spotted. Darcy said, "Hey, Jane, I'll call you back, okay? Yeah. No, I'm fine, I promise. Okay. Bye." She laughed as she hung up.
"No go, huh?" Betty asked.
"We weren't a good fit," Darcy confided. "I don't like kale enough."
"Oh, I'm... sorry," Betty said. "You know, I... thought you were asking me out when you first sat down."
Darcy laughed. "Seriously? That's awesome and hilarious. I'd never thought about going for the direct approach, laying it all out like that right from the start, 'take me as I am' style. I'll have to try it for real sometime."
Betty nodded. "It's a pretty good strategy," she said.
"Ha, would you have said yes?" Darcy asked boldly, jokingly, Betty thought.
But she blushed anyway.
Darcy interpreted her expression and pumped her fist. "Yes, first day back, and already I'm making the coeds swoon."
Betty laughed, and Darcy blanched.
"Not that you're—oh, god. Well done, Darcy: sexually harassing professors in the parking lot. I'm gonna get kicked out of here before I can even find a place to live." She rested her forehead on her hand and sighed.
"It's fine," Betty assured her. "Actually..." She bit her lip and went for it. "I've got extra room at my place. If you..."
"Holy whoa, are you actually offering me house room after my crazy first impression and weird hitting on you? I think you might be my dream girl."
Betty smiled shyly. "What can I say? I'm a sucker for dance parties in the dark."
Three months later, at 2:47 AM, as they slow danced in their underwear, Darcy kissed Betty for the first time.
Wise men say
Only fools rush in
But I can't help
Falling in love with you