IX. On Purpose
Short chapter, I know, but I wasn't feeling too well. I know that's no excuse, but I hope you like this chapter because there's a lot of Apollo/Morgana drama.
Although, in all honesty, when isn't there?
I kept my head held high, tightened my core, and thought murder.
Unoriginal, I know, but it helps me. And gods knew I needed all the help I could get. Today, I was walking into my first class after my month-long holiday, and coincidentally, it was Professor Donahue’s.
I was angry with him. He didn’t come and help me with the glass despite promising to do so and sent a nymph in his stead. To spite him, I had researched on the topic we would learn today and had donned the most badass collection of apparel I possessed (at least, according to Tori).
I wore a black dress, boots, and a denim jacket, and had learned the art of the winged eyeliner (not like I excelled at it—Tori was the one to do it on me).
I walked into the classroom, not sparing a glance at the Professor, before settling into the chair right at the front. I took out my highlighted notes, prepared to be smarter than him at this lecture. He would not know what hit him, because I would get that A star, whatever it took.
I left Esme Estate unceremoniously in the middle of last night with Persephone, when I handed her the thank-you notes I wrote Aphrodite, Hecate, Hades, herself, Artemis, and a collective for the whole of Olympus. She gave me a pouch and an envelope from Hecate and asked me not to open it until this evening. She also implored me to open the note Hecate gave me in the vial. I did, and it said: anger is but a by-product of pain.
“Morning. We have discussed naming characters, outlining their personalities, and writing character arcs.” he began, not meeting my eye at all. Coward. I smiled sweetly though. My time would come. “Your submissions for the essay on character flaws were abhorrent, and I would like to point out that ninety percent of you scored below a C on that one. Congratulations, folks. This is your new personal low.”
I had gotten an A on that one.
“Let’s see whether you learned from the essay. What are the different emotional wounds a character can have?”
I raised my hand slowly, and I was the only one in the room to do so. I grinned. Perfect opportunity. He glared at me as he said, “Miss Sallow?”
I cleared my throat. “Fear of not being a good person,” I counted on my fingers, “fear of being unworthy of love or unwanted, fear of being without worth or without value, fear of being without personal significance, fear of being incapable or uninformed, fear of being without security or guidance, fear of being trapped in emotional pain, fear of being hurt or controlled by others and a fear of separation or conflict.”
He gave me a slight smile before turning to the faces of our classmates. “But sir,” someone said. I did not know him. “You didn’t teach us these.”
“Where do you study, Mr. Cavanaugh?” he asked. Oh, snap. That’s the psychology teacher’s son.
“At this school, Professor?” he replied, more like a question than an answer.
“Incorrect. You study at the University of Alessia, which is an Institute, not a school.” He had that look on his face, the one he had when he would roast a student. “The difference between the two, in case you have forgotten, Mr. Cavanaugh, is that a school aims to teach students, while an institute aims to promote a cause. With Alessia, the cause is learning.”
He sauntered towards him, and the faces of the students swiveled to follow the Professor. “We are not required to feed you learning on a silver platter, Mr. Cavanaugh. We are required to teach you how to learn. And research is one major part of learning.”
“Now,” he turned around, walking back towards the front of the classroom. “Who can tell me which system Miss Sallow was talking of?”
I raised my hand cheekily, but so did Professor Cavanaugh’s son. I really admire his guts, few would answer the question of a teacher who just burnt them in front of the entire classroom.
“That is correct.” He paused and turned to me, still avoiding my gaze. “Miss Sallow, which methods of personality typology do you recommend the rest of us to use? After all, you’re the only one in this room who takes Psychology and English, despite Mr. Cavanaugh being quite knowledgeable in the subject.”
I smiled. He was walking right into my trap of a plan. “Personally, the Enneagram is my favorite. Not only does it help you craft a person’s fear, but it also explains potential backstories, motivations, how they act under stress, how they act when they’re thriving, etc. It’s a pre-defined framework.” I paused because I just realized he might think I was lazy. It was already a comment he had passed on one of my assignments.
“I also like the Big 5. It’s the only scientific personality test in the world, and it rates you on five parameters. The combination of your scores on each parameter defines your personality. When I already have a kind of a mental idea for who my character is, I use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.”
“Thank you, Miss Sallow. Continuing, we will explore relationship arcs today. What are the kinds of attractions? Yes, Miss Albert?”
“Sexual and romantic.”
“Correct. And the types of love? Mr. Danvers?”
“Eros, Philia, Agape, umm…” he stopped. “I don’t remember the other three.”
“Very well. Miss Crusoe?”
“Correct. The other one, Miss Sallow?”
“There’s actually three more,” I smiled sweetly. “Mania, Pragma, and Philautia.”
“What does each one mean?” He scanned the room. “Yes, Miss Sallow?” he almost sighed.
“Eros is sexual attraction, Philia is affectionate love, Storge is familiar love, Ludus is playful love, Mania is obsessive love, Pragma is enduring love, Philautia is self-love and Agape is selfless love.”
“That would be correct. Moving on, the relationship arc.”
The whole class, I was the only consistent speaker. I knew he could see I had prepared on purpose, because of my notes, and I could tell he was really annoyed. At the end of the lecture, he distributed the most recent papers and put mine at the bottom of the pile. On purpose. Well, it wasn’t like I was getting annoyed.
Okay, fine. I kinda was, but I didn’t want him to see I was getting annoyed.
He placed my paper on his table and said, “Class dismissed. All those who haven’t received their papers, please stay back. I would like to have a chat with you about communication ethics.”
When people saw I didn’t budge when they were leaving, they laughed. Communication ethics. What did they know?
When everyone was gone, he turned to me. “What do you want?” I asked, meeting his gaze rebelliously. He sighed.