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Beautiful With You Part Twenty-One
Chapter 21

“Audrey, did you even enter that contest?” Audrey felt her knees start to tremble as her eyes darted from Tom to Benjamin back to Tom again. The longer Audrey stayed silent, the more impatient Tom became, “Well? Answer me Audrey!”

Audrey bit her bottom lip and finally came clean, “Benjamin is right Tom. I didn’t turn in that project.”

“You-” Tom stopped himself from causing a scene in front of everyone so he just turned and stormed out of the house without saying anything to her, which still directed everyone’s attention to Audrey. She was at first unable to move her legs to follow him.

“Go on and talk him down,” Benjamin said softly, nudging her just enough to get her legs moving to follow him outside. Tom was sitting on the hood of his car with his arms folded and for the first time, she was seeing him scowl at her. She knew to keep her distance so she just stood in front of the car, “Tom I know I messed up. I should’ve turned it in.”

“You promised me Audrey,” he said, “You could’ve at least told me that you didn’t turn it in. I could’ve dealt with that. But you made me look like an a** in there.”

“You didn’t look like an a**,” Audrey said.

“I could’ve understood if you had just told me you didn’t turn it in,” he said again, “I know leaving everyone behind would’ve been difficult.”

“But you still made me promise you,” Audrey argued.

“Because I would’ve made it work!” he shouted, “I would’ve moved to London to make sure I was with you. I would’ve made that sacrifice for you.”

“Tom I’m sorry,” she said, “I was wrong. But what’s done is done.”

“You’re right,” he said. He slid off the hood of his car and unlocked the doors, “Get in. I’m taking you home.”

The drive back to Audrey’s house was a quiet one and she couldn’t bring herself to change that. Tom was so mad at her and she didn’t want to say the wrong thing. She could understand why he was so angry but she wished he would just understand. Maya had told her that if he loved her like he said he did, he’d be ok with it. It had made a lot of sense when Maya had said it but somehow it just wasn’t turning out that way. When he pulled into the driveway in front of her house, she didn’t get out of his car right away. She unbuckled her seatbelt and turned her body to look at him, “So, are we going to be ok?”

Tom’s tight grip on his steering wheel loosened and his body became less tense and he sighed, “I don’t know yet Audrey. You’re gonna have to let me sleep on it. I don’t know if I can just get over the fact that you couldn’t keep that promise to me.”

“I know Tom,” she said as she got out of the car, “I’m sorry.”

She closed the door and he left without saying anything else to her. She stood on her driveway for a little while on the off chance that he would come back and tell her everything was going to be ok between them. He never did so she went inside to escape the cold winter winds. Her parents were shocked by her early arrival. She had told them that she was going to a party with Jade and Maya and to not wait up for her, “Audrey, you’re home early.”

“Oh, the party got cancelled last minute,” Audrey said, smiling as best as she could even though she wanted to run upstairs and cry into her pillow, “So we came home.”

Audrey’s mom got up and looked out the window, “Jade and Maya didn’t come inside with you?”

“They were tired so they decided to just head home,” Audrey said, “I’m gonna go upstairs and get ready for bed.”

Audrey ran upstairs without waiting for a response and fell down onto her bed, pressing her face against her pillow. She cried hard into her pillow until her chest hurt too much to cry anymore. She had really messed up this time.

Richard obviously wasn’t the first person Maya had been intimate with. She’d slept with Frank before and of course the first time was uncomfortable. She was pretty sure no girl had ever been pain free her first time. Frank had been as careful as he could considering it was his first time too. All the times after that he was still a bit clumsy and every now and then he had been a little hesitant just to make sure he didn’t go past her comfort zone but she really couldn’t complain. Richard was definitely not what she had been used to but he had helped her by starting off tentative and eventually their bodies moved together with perfect rhythm. After the slow start, Richard was rough and dominant. Maya had managed to take the lead a few times but it ultimately coming back to Richard every time. Afterwards, they just laid together, their arms and legs all tangled up. Eventually, Maya fell asleep in Richard’s arms. When she woke up, it was still dark but Richard was gone. She rolled onto her side and looked at his digital clock. It was only 4:30 in the morning. She got up and put her clothes back on. She heard Richard in the living room and when she came out, he was sitting at his computer and he had suitcases on his couch.

“What’s with the suitcases?” Maya asked. Richard turned his chair around to look at the couch, “Oh, I’m going home for the holidays. I got a head start on packing.”

Maya wouldn’t have thought anything of Richard’s response if he was actually looking at her and he had some color in his face. She approached him and looked over his shoulder at the computer screen, “Is everything ok?”

“Yeah it’s just I got an e-mail from the dean,” he said, “She said she heard that a professor was sleeping with a student and then said anyone who was caught would be reprimanded or fired.”

“Did she say who it was?” Maya asked, reading over the e-mail.

Richard shook his head, “No. But you and I both know who she’s talking about.”

“Richard, it’s gonna be ok,” she said, “No one is going to catch us.”

He didn’t respond to that, he just ended their conversation with, “I should take you home. I uh, have a lot more to do before I leave for the holidays.”

“Richard,” Maya whispered. He grabbed his keys and his coat and walked out the door towards his car. Maya scoffed and threw her arms up, slamming her hands back down as she angrily took her coat and followed him.

After a long weekend of both her parents asking her about the guy who had been following her and taking pictures of her, she was glad to finally be able to get away from them at school that Monday morning. She’d never been so happy to get away. She walked into Norman’s classroom to find him and the dean sitting there waiting for her. Norman looked like he hadn’t slept at all this weekend, “Is everything ok Dean Brant?”

“Everything is fine,” Dean Brant said, motioning to the chair next to Norman’s desk, “Please, have a seat.”

Jade slowly approached the chair and set down her bag and sat down. She looked at Norman, trying to figure out what the hell was going on but he would not look back at her. He kept his head down, rubbing his exhausted eyes, “I received this in the mail on Friday.”

Dean Brant held up the same envelope Jade’s mom had gotten and a sudden wave of nausea rolled in, her breakfast threatening to come back up but she managed to hold it down. Dean Brant dropped the photographs on Norman’s desk and he turned his chair around, probably feeling as sick as Jade, “I want one of you to explain this to me. Norman? Jade?”

Neither one of them wanted to tell her anything but they both kept looking at each other to try and get the other one to say something. Dean Brant became impatient and focused solely on Norman, “Maybe I should just talk to you since it’s your job that’s on the line.”

“I realize it was inappropriate to date a student,” he said in a quiet, hoarse voice, “But do I regret that decision? No. She’s an adult. She’s not sixteen.”

Dean Brant’s face turned red with anger and she slammed her hands down on the desk, “We have rules Professor Winters and I expect you to follow them! If you end this relationship now, I won’t fire you and we’ll get rid of these pictures and we’ll forget this ever happened.”

Norman turned and stared at Jade for the longest time. Jade knew that he wasn’t even thinking about the decision. He’d already made it. He was just trying to think of a way to say he was choosing Jade over his job. But she just couldn’t let him do that to himself. She stood up and covered his mouth before he could say anything, “Alright! It’s over. If you’re gonna fire him for this then I’m ending it.”

Jade grabbed her bag and started for the door before any of them could see her cry. She heard Norman following her and she turned around to stop him. He grabbed her hand and held it tight in both of his, “Jade, we don’t have to end this. I can find other work.”

“I’m not gonna let you,” she said, “It’s hard to find work. I can’t let you take the risk. If that means we have to end this then I can live with that. I love you too much to let you do this.”

She pulled her hand away and left the room. Once she was outside, she let her tears fall and she ran for her car. She got into the backseat of her car and locked herself inside, curling herself up in the backseat. She grabbed onto the necklace Norman had gotten her for Christmas and she sat up. She took off the necklace and dropped it into a small pocket in her purse, crying even harder, feeling a strange, painful sensation in her chest like her heart was breaking.

La la la, this is totally unrealistiiiiiic hahahah! But I don't care. I'm just rolling with it haha! I've learned that whatever I don't know about university I just make up wink hahahaha

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