Ebony Campbell has a lot on her plate. Balancing two jobs, finishing her last year in college, and a new man in her life. Just as things seem to find balance, life kicks in and makes things tougher. Decisions must be made, and one could possibly leave the last seven years of hard work destroyed.
“Ms. Campbell, can I speak to you for a moment?”
Dr. Jacobs stood in the doorway of the break room, his expression stern.
Great, just what I needed, more stress.
I kept my sigh inaudible and gathered my things. “Yes, just a moment.” I stuffed my belongings into my locker and then followed behind him.
We walked down the long corridor beyond the restrooms, past the infamous supply closet, and stopped outside in the open air. He apparently didn’t want anyone hearing what he had to say.
“You will be starting fall classes soon, correct?”
Straight to the point, no small talk.
“Yes, next week.”
He nodded, adjusted his glasses on his slender nose. Dr. Jacobs was a decent man, though he lacked a lot in the looks department. He had an over-the-belt belly that reminded me of my dad and a receding hairline. In his day, he must have been a hell of a catch, at least to Mrs. Jacobs. What I could not understand is what a nineteen-year-old college freshman could see in him. What kind of favor did she earn by getting down on her knees for her best friend’s dad?
I rubbed my eyes and forced the memory away.
“I take it you’ve finished reading the text books I loaned you,” he continued, pushing his glasses up on his nose.
“You’ve had sufficient time to study them, nearly three months.”
It was more like two-and-a-half, but I was not about to correct him.
“I need them back. I can’t afford for you to be caught with them when school is in session. Someone might think I helped you cheat.”
“Help me cheat? I’ve never cheated”
“Shh!” He waved his stubby hands at me and glanced around to make sure no one was within earshot of my brief outburst.
I ground my teeth and lowered my voice. “Dr. Jacobs, you’ve known me for the last four years. You know I would never cheat. I never viewed your loaning me those books as a way to breeze through my classes.”
“Yes, well, others may not see it that way. I need you to return them tomorrow. The notes too, all of them. I trust you won’t forget.” Finished, he walked back into the building. I could have sworn there was a satisfied gleam in his eye and pep in his step.
Why the hell couldn’t he understand none of his games were necessary? I could care less who Dr. Jacobs screwed. Two months had gone by, and I hadn’t said a word. If holding his infidelity over his head was my goal, it would have been done months ago.
Fine. He could have his damn books back. And every last note card. They were outdated by twenty years anyway. What good could they do me? Outdated chemistry charts and facts would not compete with the modern day methods of animal husbandry.
But deep down, it felt like I was the one getting screwed. And it wasn’t in a good way.