He shakes his head. “No, Bria.. Miss Parker had an emergency, a friend of hers was in the hospital having brain surgery and had some complications. She left abruptly but only after completing her entire paper and handing it in. I discussed the matter with the testing consultant present and we both agreed it wouldn’t be fitting to fail her under those circumstances.”
The Dean nods. “Okay, I will confirm this with the testing officer. Do you spend a lot of time with this particular student outside of class?”
Only when I really want his head between my legs.. I can’t keep being quiet here.
“Professor Joseph has tutored me outside of classroom hours but that’s only because he wants to make sure I succeed, he’d do the same for any of the other people in that class if they needed it. He’s an amazing professor, I’m only getting the grades I am because he’s so good at his job. Trust me, ask any of the bitches that taught me in high school and they’ll tell you I’m not exactly academic by nature.”
Connor gives me an appreciative smile, which I return.
“I’m not here to dispute Professor Joseph’s skills as a teacher Miss Parker, his record speaks for itself. I’m here about his ethics as a professional. I am aware you were in attendance at his daughters birthday party, were you not?”
How the fuck does he know that?
“She was but only because-”
“My little sister is in Hope’s dance class, they’re friends. It was May that was invited not me.”
The Dean looks over me. “And you were the only person that could take her? Your mother wasn’t available?”
My mother hadn’t been available since 2005 love.
“Miss Parker has custody of her little sister, has done so since she was seventeen. She’s all May has and is an incredible caregiver despite the added pressures of working full time and attending night school in order to give them the chance of a better future.” Connor beams with pride as he looks at me, so much so the man before us sinks into his chair.
“I’m sorry Miss Parker, I wasn’t aware of your home situation. I understand now why you may have needed Professor Joseph to provide you with additional support. It does still leave us with the issue of this.” He taps the image in front of us on the desk, looking down at it I know there’s only one way out of this for us.
I’m sorry Connor, for all of it.
“That’s my fault.” Connor freezes, looking at me like he doesn’t know where I’m going with this but I do. “I kissed him, forced myself on him in fact. He didn’t even kiss me back. It was me, all me.”
The Dean looks down at the image. “Are you sure Miss Parker? That looks very reciprocated to me.”
I nod. “I’m sure. It was after one of our tutoring sessions. I jumped on him so he’d have no choice but to catch me or let me fall, then I kissed him. I know it caught him off guard, he definitely wasn’t expecting it, he didn’t have the chance to pull away but when he did, he informed me it was inappropriate and immediately put an end to it.”
The Dean looks at Connor. “Why didn’t you report this to the school?”
Connor looks completely flustered. “I um...”
“I begged him not to. After he rejected me I was so embarrassed. I pleaded with him not to tell anyone, I didn’t want people finding out and he knew I’d never try anything like that again. Don’t blame him, he was just protecting me, he didn’t want me to drop out of class and mess up my whole future.”
The Dean let’s out a large breath, relaxing slightly into his chair. “Professor Joseph you should’ve reported that, this whole situation could’ve been avoided.”
Connor nods. “I realise that sir, I thought at the time I was doing the right thing by letting it go but I see now that was wrong and how it could’ve been misconstrued.”
The Dean leans forward, taking out a pen and a form. “I’m going to need you to tell me how this started and why Miss Parker. I’ll need all the details for the report so I can make my decision on what happens next.”
As he looks down at his sheet I stare directly at Connor, ready to speak straight from the heart and tell him the truth about how I feel about him, to tell him everything he deserves to know as he stares back into my eyes.
“I’ve been infatuated with Connor since the moment I met him. He was, no, his is so different from any other man I’ve ever met. His soul is completely pure, his heart bigger than any other I’ve ever known. He has shown me love and kindness, he has given me understanding where most people would show disregard. He is a hero to his daughter and rightfully so.”
Connors eyes grow moist, he knows why I’m saying this and he needs to hear it. “When we met I thought I knew men, I knew how they worked and what I needed to do to get what I want from them, but not Connor. He showed me that some men genuinely just want the best for you, no strings or ulterior motives, just a good decent man who wants to open someone like me up to a world of possibilities they never thought they were good enough for.”
His hand shakes as he tries to stop it reaching out to take mine. “He’s a very easy guy for women to fall for. He’s strong and caring, he has the cutest fucking kid I’ve ever met and every second I’m not with him I miss his smile. I’m so sorry I’ve done this, that I ever thought it would be okay to put him in this position. I’m sorry but I wouldn’t take it back, I’d do it all over again exactly the way I did because kissing him has been one of the highlights of my life.”
I shake my head at him, I don’t want him to stop me. I can feel the tears threatening to fall but I won’t let them, not here.
Turning back to the Dean I already know what the answer is going to be. “You’re going to make me leave aren’t you?”
He lowers his pen. “I’m sorry Miss Parker, I have no other choice. It’s clear your feelings for your professor run far deeper than any of us could’ve imagined. It would be inappropriate for you to stay in Professor Joseph’s class after that confession.”
I nod but I see the rage rise within Connor. “That’s not fair, she didn’t do anything wrong. She can’t help how she feels about me anymore than I can help how I feel about-”
Placing my hand on his knee I cut him off. I don’t want him doing anything he’ll regret later.
The Dean nods at me. “There’s another night school on the other side of town that has this course running. I’m friendly with the Dean there and I’m sure he’d be happy to accept you as a transfer Miss Parker. It’s clear your Professor has a lot of faith in your abilities and I would hate to see that light go out when there is clearly so much potential. Are you happy with that?”
I nod. “My friend Rayna has just started the nursing course there, she said it’s a nice school. I’d appreciate you arranging that for me, thank you.”
Connor looks irate but he keeps his mouth shut.
“Very well Miss Parker. I must stress though that any further contact between the two of you must be strictly forbidden. Although I appreciate you are both consenting adults, I feel it would reflect poorly on the institution for your relationship to continue. I’d ask for the next year at least you keep all contact to a minimum, I understand you both have children in the same dance class but outside of that I see no reason for you to have contact at all. I’m afraid I must insist on this if you wish me to lay this matter to rest here today.”
I can see this is killing Connor but it’s the right thing to do, I could’ve ruined his life today, I can’t risk that.
“I won’t come near him. I’ll stay away.”
Connor can’t even look at me, nodding his head towards the Dean whilst staring at his knees.
“Then we’re agreed. Miss Parker I think it’s best you go home now. I’ll arrange your transfer but it may take a few weeks to complete. I’ll have the receptionist send you all the work you miss between then and when you start your new course so you don’t fall behind. Try to make better judgements in future Brianna, it’s my understanding your new Professor will be a woman so hopefully that limits the possibility of you ending up in this same position again.”
Connor smirks. He knows that with me, it’s always a possibility.
“Thank you. You may go now Miss Parker, I just have a few more questions for Professor Joseph.”
I stand but so does Connor. This isn’t how either of us hoped this would end. I can’t say another word or I know I’ll break. Instead I give him a wink that I know will make him smile before sliding out of the office with my head held high.
Fate. It’s a funny fucker isn’t it.