I live blissfully unaware of whatever is going on until someone, one of my students to make matters worse, brings it to my attention.
I'm teaching a small group of them, about fifteen students in a small classroom, so it's quite obvious when two of them start whispering and shooting me almost pityful glances.
"Care to share?" I playfully ask the two girls, making sure not to invade their privacy but still letting them know I'm not really okay with whatever kind of secrecy is going on right now.
The brunette immediately turns her phone around, making sure I can't see, so I huff. "I know I may not have been clear about this, and I hate being that prof, but I'd really like it if you guys would keep your phones in your bags during my class if you're going to act all secretive."
"I'm sorry, I...," the girl apologises, but I just wave it away.
"It's alright, just... put it away, okay? I'm legally not allowed to take it from you, and I won't, it's just I'd rather not have you guys be distracted. If it makes it easier, I'll include a five minute phone break in the middle of the class."
      After class, the brunette comes up to my desk. She has an apologetic look on her face, standing on the opposite end.
"Miss Middleton?" she fiddles with her phone awkwardly. "I wanted to apologise for the whole phone thing..."
"Don't worry about it," I tell her, "I'm just new to this whole teaching thing, so I'm trying my best to be good at it."
"And you're doing really well," she assures me, a faint smile on her face. "You're a lot better than some of the other profs we have.. which is why I wanted to let you know why I was on my phone..."
"Oh, no, you really don't have to," I smile, "don't worry about it."
"No, but I think you should know.. because people are talking, and I don't want you to be unprepared..." She unlocks her phone, turning it my way.
There it is, a nice instagram collage I wish I would never have to see. Lucien in some kind of night club, a woman all over him - and him all over her.
Words burn in the back of my throat, words my students can never hear me say or they'll lose all respect for me.
The way he's touching her, kissing her, getting close to her. Oh boy, he's so broken hearted, isn't he? So terribly hurt by our mutual decision to break up, to go our own ways? Still so scared of what the future is going to bring, unsure of what he wants, trying to figure that out on his own?
The girl holding up the phone must notice my reaction, because she turns the phone away from me again. There it is again, the sad look on her face, like she pities me.
"I'm sorry... I thought you might want to know before people start asking questions."
"Thank you... Louise, is it?" She nods. "I appreciate it."
      My mood hasn't gotten much better, and I swear every student walking down the hall is staring at me. Look at her, poor little new professor, dumped by her boyfriend - who was way too good for her anyways, too.
It's nearing dinner time when I sit down in one of the lounges specifically placed for teachers, a cup of steaming hot coffee in my hands. It's thursday, my last day of the week, which has gone totally unnoticed by me whilst I was getting used to my new schedule.
"Long day?" I recognise William's voice immediately, and I can't help but sigh loudly.
"Very."
"Shouldn't you be getting home?" he smiles, putting on his jacket. "Your weekend has started, hasn't it?"
"I should," I tell him, way too honestly, "but I'm still trying to actually go. There really isn't much for me to go home to at the moment, besides a very loud cat."
"Ah, yes," he shrugs, "I heard something of the sorts. I'm sorry..."
Another loud sigh as I hide my face in my hands. "If I knew my personal life was going to be smeared all throughout the halls, I wouldn't have even considered taking the job."
"Not to worry, Emmeline, they'll all have forgotten about this within a week, when someone else does something interesting. Take it from me."
He's right, because I remember this from my time at uni. People would gossip about someone for a while, then move on when things weren't juicy enough anymore.
"In the mean time... some of us boring profs are going out for some drinks, celebrating our early start of the weekend... care to join us?"
      I want to say no, but why should I? Kenna can feed Frank, and besides, if Lucien can go out and have fun, so can I.
It's a casual bar visit with five people in total. There's William and I from the law faculty, Carla and John from some kind of economic faculty, and Jesse, who teaches mathematics courses. It's a nice bunch, all around their thirties.
We have some beers, but keep it classy, knowing there could be students everywhere.
There's casual chats, and no one seems to care about social media, so no one brings up the gossip.
Carla and John are the first ones to leave, telling us they have to go home to their partners or their kids. That leaves me with William and Jesse, who have gotten themselves into a conversation about a subjects I know nothing about.
I'm reminded of how I used to feel when Lucien talked to friends from the internet, dropping names and words I'd never even heard of.
"So, Emmeline," Jesse smiles, ordering all three of us another beer. "We have totally been boring you, haven't we?"
I shake my head, smiling. "Oh, no, there's just.. a lot on my mind, right now. I'm sorry."
"If anyone understands," William tells me, tilting his head towards Jesse, "it's this guy. Not to display all of your personal stories, Jesse, but.. his ex left him a year ago, and left him with their kid."
I feel like a total asshole now, wallowing in self pity because my ex moved on too soon for my liking. He could've done worse - he could have left me pregnant, or with a child.
"You say that as if she's a burden," Jesse adds on, "but yes, it's true. We mutually decided that Kate would be better off with me, but it didn't make the pain any easier. So if you ever need someone to talk to about heartbreak... you know where to find me."

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