“Why do I have to do this again?” Deanna asked again with a sigh. She was in the small office of advisor for the school. She had set up this meeting in hopes of finding out she was graduating at the end of the semester, and now she was left with more questions. The cramped walls with books and loose papers in folders were scattered everywhere so much was crammed in the office that she was starting to become slightly claustrophobic. It felt like the air was being sucked out of the room as she looked at the man in front of her.
“Ms. Watson, I know this is not what you expected, but the requirements for your major have changed. You have to do this one more thing to be able to walk with your class. I am sure that I sent you an email about this months ago.” Mr. Richerson stated as he pushed his glasses up his nose. “I am sure that if you go back, you will see it.”
Sir, I understand that you believe that you did, but I assure you I was not informed of this. So now I have to find a teacher two weeks into the semester that needs a teacher’s assistant when you know they all have the position full already.” Deanna said as she looked at the man. She knew she wasn’t informed of this because of the simple fact she would have been done here, making the necessary plans well before this. She was one to handle everything as it happens, so it would be absurd for her to push off the last requirement. She was now almost panicking. It was one thing to have to do this stupid thing to get the credit, but the other side how the hell was she supposed to tell her parents she wouldn’t be able to walk until the summer because of this one little thing.
Her entire college career had been nothing short of miserable. Her major was new at the university, and they kept changing the things required for it. They either added classes to it, or they changed classes nullifying the class she took the year before. Because it was a five-year course load and was both a Bachelor’s degree and masters rolled into one, it was going to be worth it in the end if she could ever finish the course load. The school changing it again was not the issue; it was that this time she was not informed.
Two weeks into the semester, and she had to find a teacher who would allow her to work for nothing so they could sign her release form. That was going to be impossible to do. She was sure the air around her was exiting the room as she tried to steady herself and continue to breathe.
“I do know of one professor that does not have an assistant at the moment.” Mr. Richerson said as he looked at the young woman in front of her.
“I’ll take the position,” Deanna said quickly.
“You will have to convince him, not me.” The older man chuckled softly as he handed her a piece of paper. “Good luck.”
“Good luck?” Deanna asked as she looked down at the name on the paper. A rush of adrenaline passed through her as she had to reread the name four times. “You’re kidding.”
“Like I said, good luck.” The man said as she stood up and started to walk out of the office and then the building. The sunlight brought her back to the reality that she had to go and hope that the professor’s name she had been handed was even on campus at the moment. She started her way to the building she knew he was working in. She had to hope that he didn’t remember her from four years ago.
Deanna Watson ambled along and tried to swallow the dread that was uprising in her as she remembered the class with the man. It was one of the lessons she had tried actively to forget. He was a good teacher. She had been a new student, and a little star-struck to even be around someone like him. He was one of the best in his field and very well known. She had read his papers numerous times before the start of the class. She had been slightly infatuated with him as well. A tall, well-built man who had a thing for looking at the part of the tired professor. His hair was so light in color; it seemed silver, and it was a bit longer than most of the other professors who tried to look professional. His amber eyes looked right through you when he did talk to you. He was a head and a half taller than her, and he seemed so much older as well though he was in his mid-twenties at the time that she had taken the class. Now he would be nearing thirty.
She had always been tongue-tied when she had tried to sound impressive. She had made herself look like a bumbling fool. She had avoided that professor after that. While she admired him, she did so from afar. She had hoped she would never have to speak to him again. Now fate was sending her into the lion’s den.
Before she could compose herself, she was in front of the building. She took a deep breath in and then let it out as she pulled the doors and walked in the building. The first thing she noticed was the hallway lights still looked the same with the flickering and the dim light they produced. This building was one of the oldest, and you could also tell by the smell. For a Monday midday, the building itself was almost empty. The students only came in here if a class was to be given. It was not one of the buildings people stayed in any longer than they had too. She always thought it was the creepy nature of the building itself that helped keep people away.
She reached the staircase and repeated the process of taking in the steading deep breath and then headed to the office she never went to as a student. It was two floors down from where she was. The dank air clouded around her. She had to wonder why the man in question would even take his office in the basement of the building, but it was probably so people wouldn’t bother him too much. As she reached the floor, she had to walk a bit more through the maze of hallways that were lining the bottom of the building. She reached one, and she was about to knock when the door went open, and two younger girls walked out, giggling to each other.
“I am sorry to disappoint you both, but I assure you that not every professor does trade those types of favors for better grades.” A male voice said as the two girls turned back to look in the office.
“Well, your loss, professor.” One of them said as they walked away.
“And of course, they left the damn door open.” Deanna heard him say as she moved closer to the open door. She walked over to the opening and knocked on the door frame.
“Professor?” Deanna asked as she felt his amber eyes on her. He was looking her over. A hint of recognition was there, but he was trying to place her. Four years did make a difference. She did hardly look like the same person she was four years ago.
“Can I help you?” he asked somewhat curtly as he watched her take a step into the office.
“I am Deanna Watson. I took your class a few years ago.” She started, and he nodded as he realized who she was.
“How can I help you, Miss Watson?” he asked.
“Well, sir, I have a problem. I have been here for five years for my major, and the school has constantly changed my requirements. One was added before the semester, and I was not informed of this until today.” Deanna said as she was about to go on.
“Miss Watson, I am sorry I have about a million papers to grade, and I have had quite a few people dropping by. Can you please get to the point?” he asked as he sighed.
“I need to act as a TA for a professor for a semester to be able to graduate. You are the only one left without one.” Deanna said as she looked at him. His eyes shot up to look over her again. They widened as they did seemingly starting to glow.
“I don’t have TA’s,” he said. He sat back into his chair, “There was never any budget for it, or so I was told.”
“I won’t be getting paid. I just need the credit.” She said as she looked at him. Her stare was just as fierce as his.
“Take a seat, Miss Watson.” He said as he looked at her standing there in the doorway. “I think we have some things to discuss.”
“Yes, Professor,” Deanna said as she moved through the maze of papers and stacks of books that were piled on the floor. As she sat, he watched every move she made. His eyes glowed as she moved closer.
“And do you remember the course from so long ago?” he asked as he raised his eyes brow that was so faint one really had to look to see it. Though in the low light of the office, Deanna could see it. She felt the same that she did four years ago when talking to him. She was choosing her words with care, so she didn’t sound like a complete moron.
“I remember enough at the moment. I can always go over my notes if I have too.” Deanna said. “I wouldn’t mind going over the text as well if I had to too.”
“Okay, here is your test.” He said as he looked at her. He handed her a paper that was on the top of the stack he was working on, “Go over this and see if it touches on the reasons that often proved to be why someone would commit murder.”
“You want me to grade the paper?” Deanna asked.
“I want to see if you can understand what they are trying to say.” He said with a slight chuckle as she took the paper. Deanna reached down into her backpack and pulled out her glasses. She sat back in the chair and crossed her legs as she settled to read the paper. She knew he was watching her. She tried to read the first line of the document and was utterly at a loss at what the writer had to say. The handwriting was horrid and looked like a three-year-old had tried to scribble what they thought were letters. Deanna tried again and again to read the paper. “So, you can’t either?”
“I think I have a few issues with it,” Deanna said.
“You think?” he asked.
“Okay, I am trying to read it, and I am sorry it looks like something my little brother would draw,” Deanna said.
“I take it your brother doesn’t know how to write well?” he asked.
“He’s is one.” She replied with a half-smile.
“I see.” He said, “Now, if you were me, how would you respond to this paper as a grade?”
“I would have to write that no credit would be given until I could read it.” Deanna said, “I mean, they could type it.”
“That is true, so why didn’t they in the first place?” he asked.
“That, professor, is a question only they can answer,” Deanna said, and he chuckled. “I honestly have no clue.”
“Good answer.” He said. “I don’t normally have an assistant for many reasons. I am very set in my ways. You will have to learn my way of doing things and do things on my time frame.”
“I can do that.” She replied, looking at him. She was more surprised that he was considering it. She looked at him with open eyes.
“I will be hard on you.” He said as he looked at her face and saw that she was easing a bit.
“Most professors are.” She laughed.
“Then, you start now unless you have a class or some pressing plans.” He said.
“I don’t.” she smiled and took a look at him again as he watched her place the smaller bag she carried into, the larger one. She was trying to minimize her things in the small room. “Let’s get to work, Professor.”