Chapter 21

Bad Influence

I tried to forget my encounter with Katherine and focus on being a normal student. Luckily, it didn’t take long until our afternoon in her office felt more like a dream. A very sexy dream.

Most of my class decided to go to a festival in San Myshuno to get a break from our studies. I really needed the distraction.

It was great hanging out with my friends, and I got to catch up with Jamie. We hadn’t been working out together for weeks because she was too busy preparing for some fitness competition.

Jamie was not up for getting high with us, though. Said it messed with her metabolism.

While we were smoking, Ivan suddenly got serious.

“Eric, there’s a rumour on campus that you hooked up with Dr. Gilscarbo. You gotta tell us if it’s true, man, she’s so hot.”

I tried to play it cool.

“Seriously, Ivan, don’t listen to rumours. If I had scored with the dean, don’t you think I would have bragged to you guys about it already?”

Ivan’s words stuck with me, though. I didn’t like that rumour going around. My future – and probably Katherine’s job – was at stake.

I figured that maybe the rumour would die down if I had a girlfriend on campus.

It was probably because I was high as a kite, but it seemed like a great idea at the time. Some dude had been trying to chat up Cierra, but I decided to distract her from him.

It worked. The dude left, and I did my best to charm Cierra.

We ended up kissing behind the toilet stalls, but there was no spark between us at all, and after a while we laughed it off and went back to campus.

One afternoon, a few weeks after the festival fiasco, I came back to my room to find a note that seemed to have fallen off my nightstand. I had no idea who had delivered it, but it was clearly from Katherine.

I showed up at the time and place on the note, unsure what to think. It didn’t escape me that the mailbox outside said Antony & Katherine Gilscarbo. She was married? It made sense. The house seemed too expensive for a dean.

As I knocked, I felt tense. I didn’t know why she had asked me to come, but we definitely needed a serious talk about what happened in her office.

But when Katherine opened the door, my mind once again went blank. All the things I had thought about saying to her – completely gone.

Speechless, I took her in my arms. She giggled, but quickly dragged me inside before we could be seen by any neighbours.

Like in a trance, I lifted her up.

“Where’s your bedroom?”

She laughed.

“Upstairs, first door on the left.”

Without putting her down, I kicked off my shoes and carried her upstairs.

I climbed onto the large bed with her still in my arms.

She smiled at me as I gently laid her down.

“I wasn’t sure you’d come.”

“One question, Katherine – your husband?”

A brief shadow crossed her face. “Conference. Do you mind?”

So she was indeed married.

To my surprise, I realised that I didn’t care.

We were like fire and gasoline, burning with an intensity I had never known.

It wasn’t until afterwards, when she fell asleep beside me, that I came to my senses.

What was I doing?

The following months were a blur. I felt like I was pretending to be just like everyone else, complaining about the professors and obsessing over exams, while at the same time hiding a terrible secret.

Katherine would walk by me in the library, give me a look, and we would hurry down separate staircases to meet in the rarely used basement.

It was a terrible idea. We were almost asking to be discovered.

But we didn’t care.

When we were together, the rest of the world and all of its silly little problems ceased to exist.

We were fire and gasoline. Nothing else mattered.

There were many evenings when I would come back from seeing Katherine, only to shower and then spend half the night doing my coursework to keep up.

I tried to compensate for all my disappearances by attending every single campus party. I wanted to be seen as much as possible so that people wouldn’t wonder why I was often gone.

I thought it worked, I didn’t hear about any more rumours. But maybe everyone already knew.

Suddenly, I didn’t hear any more from Katherine either. I tried to text her, but she told me to focus on my upcoming exams, then stopped replying. So I did. I still wanted to ace all of them, and whatever I had going on with Katherine had honestly been quite distracting.

But even while writing my final papers, I couldn’t stop thinking about her. We hadn’t seen each other for over a month, which was unusual. I assumed she was also busy. Maybe next year’s students were already sending in their applications?

I was relieved when she finally texted me to come over. Her house this time. I figured her husband must be out of town again. The thought gave me the tiniest pang of guilt, which I quickly ignored.

When Katherine opened the door, I tried to kiss her, but she gently pushed me away. Then I saw that she was crying.

I closed the door behind us and took her in my arms as she started sobbing into my shoulder. Then I noticed that the living room was filled with boxes.

I took her face in my hands.

“Katherine? Talk to me. What’s going on?”

She tried explaining through tears. At first I wasn’t even sure I understood her, but then it hit me.

She had been in denial, ignoring the signs for a while, but she finally took a pregnancy test about a week ago. It was of course positive.

She had to tell her husband – especially because the baby was unlikely to be his.

Antony obviously didn’t take the news of the affair well.

He yelled at her for what seemed like hours, even going so far as suggesting she get rid of it.

But Katherine refused. No matter who the father was, she wanted to keep this baby.

Antony then demanded a paternity test. If he was the father, he wanted to act like one.

Either way, though, he wanted a divorce.

And then he delivered the final blow.

“Kath, you’ve been sleeping with a student. I am very sorry, but I am going to have to report you to the board.”

Then he told her to pack up her stuff.

It was a lot to take in at once. I struggled to wrap my head around it.

I was completely overwhelmed. Katherine explained that the test results had come in yesterday, and Antony was not the father. It had to be me.

My brain struggled to process the information. I was going to be a father?

She had also begged Antony not to report her until after my graduation next week. Her career and reputation was ruined, but she didn’t want to risk my education too. I was thankful for that, at least, even as my mind was reeling.

What the fuck was I going to do now?

7 thoughts on “Chapter 21

  1. INTRO: My name is Dr. Katherine “Dumbass” Gilscarbo and I feel like doing something unbelievably stupid today. It is up to you to parse that. You know the kids who stand in front of me at the cafeteria and say shit like “isn’t it weird that e is a number that is the derivative of itself,” or “my roommate keeps stealing my shampoo so I got a box for all my toiletries, but it’s too small for my laundry detergent,” and I have to wait in line and put up with that? I am going to try and have sex with one of them. I do not foresee this going in a bad way at all. Or maybe I do, but the benefits outweigh the risks in my mind. Or my name isn’t Dr. Katherine “Dumbass” Gilscarbo.

    MATERIALS & METHODS: Cardigan (nothing underneath)
    That wine-colored thing Antony got me for Valentine’s and I was like, sure
    Sephora rewards program
    Heart-stompin’ heels
    Graduate degree
    Bomb pussy
    Library basement
    An even more comically public location
    Stickers because my FWB needs to make a diorama for chemistry class
    Reagents that were a gift from another lab, cute message thanking other lab for the reagents, too bad the reagents were sex-related and the other lab was just my husband Antony again

    RESULTS: it worked lol

    I am going to continue doing this until something goes wrong. This seems like the best way to go about something incredibly risky that will cost me my career, reputation, self-respect, and livelihood.

    DISCUSSION: I kept doing this until something went wrong, and the problem is, something went wrong. Really wrong. There is maybe a chance I should have stopped before something went wrong but like, nothing was going wrong. So I didn’t.

    CONCLUSION: Don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • (By the way, everyone, I am a normal person. I know a normal number of integral transforms, which is probably 5 or fewer, and in no way do polar coordinates make an appearance. Talk to me like I am a normal person, because I am. Don’t make this weird. Thank you, bye.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. This got intense. I feel kind of bad, but he even said it, “It was a terrible idea.” I hope he’s able to recover from this, but I’m not really rooting for him and Katherine to stay together. I worry about their child, though.

    Liked by 1 person

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