Brian's attempt to woo Jane in chapter 7

‘Jane is an anomaly,’ Brian thought, ‘an awkward, mysterious, complicated set of observations that don’t conform to my conventional assumptions.’ Maybe that was why he couldn’t shake her from his mind. She had a brilliant mind that compelled her to him. He’d never felt that comfortable around girls. He’d had a few relationships, but they all ended the same way: he’d get dumped for some more exciting guy. His dad said he was too nice, and maybe he was – he’d certainly had his fair share of being a doormat. He’d never lost hope – he dreamed of a Disney fairy tale, where the last person he expected turned out to be his soul mate. Maybe he was compensating for growing up without a mum. He probably needed to get real. Maybe with Jane the writing was on the wall. He should forget about her and knuckle down to his studies. The trouble was, he got excited every time he understood something new about statistics, and Jane was the person with whom he wanted to share his excitement.

‘The campus guy is an anomaly,’ Jane thought, ‘an awkward, mysterious, complicated set of observations that don’t conform to my conventional assumptions.’ Maybe that was why she couldn’t shake him from her mind. She was sure that he had the mind of an idiot, but his efforts to impress her were sweet. He certainly didn’t fit into her mental model of men. She’d got into the habit of being curt to men; it was what they deserved. She’d liked a guy, Josh, at school. She was crazy about him, but she was a nerd and he was one of the popular kids. She was not on his radar. Not until he asked her to the cinema. She could hardly breathe when he asked. She bought clothes, spent hours getting ready, and became the stereotype that she’d fought against being. She arrived and waited. Most of her class were in the foyer. She hadn’t expected that and it made her feel conspicuous and awkward. He was late and every minute increased her embarrassment and stress. She wanted to run. She should have run: it would have spared her. When he paraded confidently through the doors like a film star with Eliza Hamilton on his arm she knew instantly that she’d been set up. They turned to Jane, placed their fingers in an L on their foreheads, and mouthed ‘loser’, causing the foyer to erupt in laughter. Jane felt a rage that she hadn’t known she was capable of, but she didn’t run. She put her headphones in, calmly walked past Josh and smiled. It was a smile that wiped his own one from his face.

The funny thing was that Josh wasn’t popular for long. First a bunch of emails leaked in which he tried to sell information about the school football team, then he posted highly personal information about Eliza all over social media. He became an outcast. He lost his place in the team, his grades plummeted and no one spoke to him. He became a total loser. He protested his innocence, but only a genius could have hacked his online life so comprehensively. Jane smiled at the memory. Campus guy seemed different. He was sweet … but not enough to let her guard down.