Julius doesn’t know the details of what happened in the laundry room. He only knows that I was involved. I finally found out the name of the girl Todd attacked. Her name is Anna and she is a freshman. When I went to go talk to her the same day she said she met him at the cafe. As usual, he was sweet to her then he changed. I let her know that she can come see me whenever she wants.
The rest of the weekend I stay in my dorm and do nothing. This was the last week before Thanksgiving break, but I made a last minute decision not to go home.
My parents wanted to go on a car ride to Virginia to visit my aunt who is 7 months pregnant and has 4 kids already. No thanks. When Mya told me she wasn’t going home either because her parents were going out of the country, it made me feel a little better.
I still have a nasty bruise and cut on my face so I was nervous about going to class. Julius doesn’t know that Todd hit me so tomorrow is going to be awkward. I consider covering the bruise with makeup, but it’s better to not hide it.
Mya and I spend most of Sunday eating pizza and watching cheesy movies. Whenever it dawns on me that tomorrow is Monday, I get a bad feeling in my stomach. I know it’s not going to go well, but it’s not like I can just not go. To save me some time, I’ll miss my T.A. hour and just come when class starts to avoid facing him.
“Come on, Krystal!”
“No, Please don’t make me go in there” I plead for Mya to just let me go back to my room, but she is pulling my arm down the hall.
“You can’t run from it, he is your man” she whispers really low so no one hears that part.
We are outside of the door and my stomach is jumping. I feel like I’m going to throw up in fear. I am scared of what his reaction is going to be when he sees me.
Mya stops pulling “Krystal, you have nothing to be afraid of. You fought back. Yes, he will be mad that you didn’t tell him that Todd hit you, but he will also be proud that you fought back.”
I take a deep breath “Fine”
As we walk in, my hair blocks the damage so Professor Ingram doesn’t see it at first. When we sit down I keep my head turned right to Mya. I know he is going to see it so there is no use in trying to disappear. When he closes the door to start class, I tuck my hair behind my ear making that side of my face visible.
When I finally look up, he is looking at me. His face is almost dead. His hand is still on the doorknob and I can tell he is squeezing it hard. When he finally lets go, he walks to the middle of the floor.
“Class I’m sorry, but I don’t have a lecture for class today. So you can either stay and do work or just sign in and leave. Have a nice day” He sits down at his desk as everyone gets up to leave.
When I get up to leave with Mya she turns around “Nope, not you. Sit down”
I flop back in my seat and watch the class empty.
When the door closes the room falls silent. I am about to speak, but Professor Ingram gets up and paces around the room rubbing his forehead. I figure this is a good time to speak.
“Professor Ing-” He holds his hand up making me pause.
“Krystal, why didn’t you tell me?”
“I....I don’t know.” My hands are shaking
“Let’s go into the file room” He walks towards the room, but I remain in my seat. “Now, please, Krystal”
I get up and go in and he closes the door behind me.
I stand there waiting for him to speak, but he is just looking down rubbing the bridge of his nose between his index finger and thumb.
“Krystal, why didn’t you tell me!?” He yells and smacks one of the file cabinets.
“I’m sorry” I whisper.
“You’re sorry? You’re fucking sorry! What were you thinking! I almost lost it in front of the whole fucking class!”
Tears start falling and I feel weird. “Julius”
“Just don’t talk right now, Krystal.” He mumbles. I begin to feel very overwhelmed. My chest tightens and I feel my face getting hot.
Professor Ingram turns to me “Krystal are you okay?”
“No, I’m not okay. I was attacked and now you’re yelling at me. So no I’m not fucking okay and I’m sorry I didn’t tell you.” Beginning to feel nauseous, I touch my uneasy stomach, feeling as if I am about to puke. I shake my head, trying to push it back down.
I feel it coming up and I slap my hand over my mouth and run out. I get across the hall to the bathroom and fall on my knees in front of a toilet. When all the contents of my stomach have been thrown up, I’m left sitting there trying to catch my breath.
I hear the door fly open “Krystal”
“Go Away!” I yell as I wipe my bottom lip with the back of my hand.
I hear water running then Professor Ingram is helping me up. I pull down the toilet top and sit on it. Professor Ingram kneels down in front of me with a wet paper towel and wipes my mouth.
I feel incredibly overwhelmed as tears continue to fall.
“Shh, I’m sorry I yelled at you. I’m not mad at you, I’m mad at him” His tone is back to normal.
I put my face in my hands “I was so scared”
“Tell me what happened.”
I sniff “I went down to wash clothes and Todd was attacking a girl so I picked a large wrench and hit him in his ribs. I helped the girl get out, but he pulled me down by my hair and hit me” I see him flinch at my words, “He started pulling at my clothes so I grabbed the wrench again and hit him twice.”
He chuckles “A wrench?” I nod “You handled yourself very well, Krystal”
I peek between my fingers and he is smiling. I lower my hands and he wipes the leftover tears away. He leans forward and kisses my forehead. I take a couple deep breaths to calm myself. Professor Ingram reaches into his pocket and pulls a stick of gum out. He unwraps it and hands it to me.
“Chew this, you’ll feel better”
He is right, the peppermint taste eases my stomach.
“Krystal, I’m going to go talk to your math professor and get you out of class for the day. I going to take you home with me so I can keep an eye on you. Okay?”
I nod “Okay. Just make sure you get my assignments”
He smiles “Always worried about homework”
“Always” I mumble.
I go to the back of the building where his car is and get in. No one is around so I didn’t really have to sneak. He also has tinted windows so it’s not like someone is going to see me sitting in here. I lean back and take a deep breath. I’ve barely had time to really breathe or sleep these past few days.
I jump when Julius opens the door. I’ve got to stop being so jumpy. It’s going to give me a heart attack one day. “You okay, Krys?
I smile and nod. “Yeah”
He reaches over and grabs my hands. It is nice knowing that the rest of the day is going to be normal and uneventful. I just want to get some rest. When we get to his apartment, He sits me on the bed and asks me to lift my arms. Without asking why I lift my arms, Julius pulls my shirt over my head and drops it on the floor. Then he takes my shoes and pants off. All I’m left in is my underwear and bra.
“Alright, get in bed” He pulls the covers back and I get in. “There now get as much rest as you want.”
He walks out of the room and I close my eyes. I try not to let my thoughts consume my mind, but it’s impossible. I roll over numerous times trying to relax, but all fails. I decided to get up and make a request. I hop out of the bed halfway crazy and tired. I stop at the entrance to the living room and lean against the door, watching Julius watch TV. I clear my throat and he turns around.
“Umm, I can’t sleep. It’s like I can’t turn my thoughts off and it’s not letting me rest. I really want to sleep. I’m exhausted so I was wondering.....If you would come lay with me.” I nibble on my bottom lip waiting for him to answer.
He cuts the TV off and gets up ’Sure, I’m kind of tired too”
I crawl back in the bed feeling so drained. Julius pulls his shirt off then pants. He crawls in bed in his boxers and pulls me close. “Now, sleep”
I lay my head on his chest “Mmm, sleep. Such a beautiful word”
“Did you sleep last night?”
“No. I couldn’t. Every time I was about to, Todd flashed through my mind and I would jolt awake. It was borderline torturous so after 3 times, I gave up on sleep” I mumbled.
He kisses my forehead “I hate that he did that to you. That he can still have power over you and be far away. It’s not fair for you.” The sound of his voice eases me.
“You know your voice has power over me”
I prop up on my elbow “It’s soothing. It makes my breath steady and clears my mind, but your touch does the complete opposite.” I lay back on him and he chuckles.
“Yeah, I’ve noticed that” He runs his hand down my spine and I catch a chill.
“You did that on purpose” I frown
“Yes, I did” He leans in and kisses me. His hand runs down my body and stops at my hip. When he pulls back he smiles and lays back. I take a deep breath and relax against him. He starts rubbing my head and that’s all I need. I’m out like a light shortly after.
When I wake up, I’m alone. I stretch and roll over onto a piece of paper.
Had a class. Be back soon.
I put the paper on the nightstand and get out of the bed. I wander around the apartment for a bit before retreating to the couch with a bowl of cereal even though it was 3 in the afternoon.
After a while, I get a little bored and decided to snoop a little. I know it’s wrong, but I’m alone. I open up a few drawers and see nothing much, just papers and whatnot. I go into the bedroom and go through the nightstand and stumble upon a picture frame. Julius is in the picture with a really beautiful blonde. They are holding hands and looking happy. Maybe she is an ex-girlfriend. I’m not saying I’m jealous, but he decided to put it away instead of throwing it away.
I make the wise choice to stop snooping before I get caught and it’s a good thing I did because Julius comes in 20 minutes later.
“Hey” I say innocently sitting on the couch. He walks over and kisses me then sits a folder in my lap.
“It’s your work for math” He says as he heads into the kitchen.
I’m glad he remembered. It wasn’t much so I decided to go ahead and do it now so I won’t have to worry about it later. As I do the work at the dining room table I see Julius eyeing me. I’m only wearing one of his shirts so my bare thighs are out.
While doing homework, I pause and think about the fact that I’m in my English professor’s apartment acting like this isn’t wrong, like he couldn’t get fired for this. It’s not like he is giving me special treatment or extra grades, but I doubt the school would understand.