Short story: Tim’s Thesis In Time

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At the time it seemed a good idea.

Tim had three weeks in which to complete his university economics thesis. What could be better than to take his laptop, Jayne, his university girlfriend, and spend a fortnight writing it up in a friend’s Spanish apartment overlooking the Mediterranean?

Both sets of parents were unhappy about this.

“I’m well aware you and Jayne are fond of each other but she’s going to be a distraction and you know how important it is to get your work in on time for that degree,” warned his father. “Besides you’ve still got some research to do. You can’t surely believe you can get all the information you want off the internet rather than using the university’s own facilities.”

“Don’t worry dad I’ve already got what I need so it’s just a matter of getting it in order. When I get home I can print it up,” was Tim’s over-confident response.

Jayne’s mother was equally unhappy. “Look dear why not let Tim get his thesis out of the way then go with him to Spain if you must.”

Tim and Jayne won the day and they couldn’t wait for Ryanair’s early morning flight to southern Spain.

On reaching Tim’s friend’s flat they did an immediate recce of the spacious apartment which more than met with their approval. As they stood on the balcony admiring the view they found themselves embracing passionately.

Two days later Tim’s computer was where he had placed it on arrival as the couple had been enjoying an almost continuous day and night of relaxing enjoyment.

“When you going to start on your thesis Tim?” asked Jayne as she lapped up the morning sun.

Reluctantly Tim went into the flat and reached for his laptop, privately acknowledging he was already behind even by his own casual schedule. He’d been working for 10 minutes when Jayne came in for a glass of chilled water. Passing behind him she playfully roughed up his hair and leaned over him. Gently stroking his chest, she whispered: “How’s it going lover boy?”

The distraction was too much for Tim as he swung round to kiss her.

The first week flew and by the tenth day, as they were enjoying yet more of the good life, Tim realised he was still only 10 minutes into his thesis and had less than two weeks to produce the final paper if he was to achieve his degree.

“Give me a break, Jayne,” he almost whimpered next morning as Jayne gave him a distracting girlish pout.

“Don’t you love me anymore, Tim?” she whispered in a voice that immediately had Tim feeling protective towards her.

Jayne’s helpless little girl ploy worked with instant results and the thesis was immediately forgotten as Tim kissed her passionately.

On reluctantly parting from their embrace Jayne said: “We haven’t been anywhere since arriving. Why don’t we eat out tonight and take in some of the local atmosphere?”

“OK but I must do some of my thesis. Look why don’t you go shopping and check out a likely place where we can eat. Take your time and while you’re doing that I’ll get on with my paper.”

Tim was barely aware of Jayne slipping out of the apartment as he tried to focus on his thesis. By the time she returned it was past nine and things hadn’t gone well. Great slabs of research had mysteriously disappeared from the laptop’s memory and he could see that what was supposed to be an 80,000 word document was looking decidedly skeletal on supporting data. He had tried unsuccessfully to get online but the apartment could only offer a dial-up link.

After 10 minutes of cursing and swearing Tim had given up and resigned himself to having to return to the university to seek out the information he thought he had downloaded before leaving England. He could already hear his father’s voice saying: “I knew this would happen. Why didn’t you stay in England to do your thesis and then, if you must, go off with that wretched girl.”

“Gee it’s hot. I need a cool shower before we go out,” said Jayne as she returned with her purchases.

“So how’d it go?” she added provocatively stepping out of her dress in front of him.

“Wow you look fabulous Jayne,” he replied as he forgot the thesis, mentally telling himself he’d somehow get it done back in England with his remaining week.

“What’s the time?” asked Jayne as she gave him a lingering kiss.

Tim reached for his watch. “A little after nine. Still want to go out?”

“OK but let me shower first. I won’t be long. There’s a nice bistro not far from here,” said Jayne silkily as she headed for the en-suite.

The late night meal complemented by two bottles of wine saw Tim proposing to Jayne and the couple returning to the flat for a night of yet more passion which found him so drained the following morning he felt a distinct aversion to his computer, the thesis and a rapidly-receding economics degree.

By the time they arrived back in England Tim’s distractions by an ever-more demanding Jayne had left him devoid of reality.

It was a very tired Tim who eventually met his furious tutor at the end of the third week. As he miserably tried to explain why he’d not delivered what was expected the professor summarily flipped through the half-completed thesis which he abruptly returned to Tim. Then, looking him straight in the eye, the professor said in a voice full of sarcasm: “Tim once I had great hopes for you and was expecting an economic thesis to end all theses.

“You’ve not only failed me but yourself and your family.

“Have you forgotten what I said three weeks ago?

“I said I expected your economic thesis ON time not a thesis IN time.’