He could no longer follow the well-crafted sentences of the book. His eyes read and re-read the same words over and over as if he had suddenly become drunk.
Intoxicated would be a better word.
He desperately wanted to lift his eyes to see her. That old unsure voice, the one that never allowed him to make the first move, however, was moaning at the back of his mind.
What if I lift the book up so that I can see her over the top of it, he thought. That would seem more confident. Surely?
The moaner inside shrugged at the compromise.
Without looking up, he took a quick slurp of his warm tea and then, as calmly as he could he sat upright in the wooden chair, with the book in front of his face like a shield.
He felt like a spy following a mark.
Shaking the silly thought from his head, he casually lowered the book a fraction to allow his gaze to flow over the top.
‘Hi, I’m Misha,’ the girl told him sweetly, from the vacant seat across his table.
He confidently replied by dropping the book and knocking over his tea.