In the stress of the situation Cassandra was overdoing everything. She had checked her portfolio three times that morning to assure herself of its contents, and now she withdrew one of five copies with an exaggerated gesture.
Dr. Thorn tipped up her deeply-tinted glasses to look over the page, then returned them to her nose. "Two are my fellow faculty members. Very nice, Miss Eliot." She was so calm, so business-like, Cassandra's mind flew ahead to the future, imagining working with Dr. Thorn and discovering the real person, if there were one. Dr. Thorn was every bit as cold and more intimidating than Cassandra had imagined, and she was glad she had overprepared for her interview, as it had given her more confidence.
She felt a stunned reprieve when she realized Dr. Thorn was closing their interview. She shook hands with Cassandra and smiled with a limited degree of warmth. "You are a promising applicant, Miss Eliot. It has been a pleasure."
Cassandra rose as Dr. Thorn did so, bowing her head respectfully as the scientist passed her on her way to the door. Cassandra looked after her, studying the fine, elegant cut of her white suit. Before she stepped outside, Dr. Thorn swathed her black hair and pale neck with an elegant white scarf.
Cassandra didn't realize she was shaking her head in mixed amazement and dismay until the barista came to her table to clean up, at least on pretext.
"How did things go?" he asked with a curious smile.
Cassandra sank slowly back into her seat. "As well as they could go. I didn't flub up. I don't think it would have mattered if I had. Dr. Thorn is a scientist through and through, interested in evidence, not presentation."
"I thought I recognized Dr. Thorn."
"Has she interviewed other applicants here?" Cassandra asked hesitantly.