Brian's attempt to woo Jane in chapter 12

Brian had been astonished to see Jane in the library, and even more so when she dropped her guard enough to ask his name. He’d momentarily cursed his parents for calling him Brian, but Jane didn’t seem to care. They’d even continued a bit of an awkward conversation about music before Jane quickly excused herself and ran off. She’d looked pale, like she’d remembered something horrific. Brian wasn’t used to seeing her like that: she was always so self-assured. He wanted to know what was up, but despite his attempt to follow her he lost sight of her as she darted across campus. The episode played on his mind: he didn’t want her to feel bad. He had no way to contact her, though, other than by going to places where she hung out. He loitered on campus, but it was hopeless. He bumped into Alex. She seemed irked about his encounter with Jane. She said Jane was bad news. He pressed Alex for information, but she gave nothing away except that Jane often went to Blow Your Speakers, the record store in town, at the weekends. Brian knew it well: they had vinyl and coffee mornings on a Saturday. He’d always avoided it, fearing it would be full of pretentious hipsters. This Saturday he made an exception and sat among people in skinny trousers and strange hats, who sipped coffee, twiddled their moustaches and tried to choose more obscure cuts to play than the last person. He’d had enough and got up to leave as Jane walked in.

Jane was shocked to see Brian, but resisted the urge to flee. Brian smiled, rushed over and placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. Jane flinched. Brian asked if she was alright and explained that he was worried he’d upset her. Jane was silent, unsure what to say, so Brian filled the silence with his statistics lecture. He needed to work on his social skills.