Perkins indeed delivers. Two female students run out of the auditorium crying, one guy snaps a pencil from humiliation. His palm’s bleeding, and he’s pressing his shirt into it, but doesn’t dare leave. Analytical chemistry, ladies and gentlemen. You survive Perkins, you’ll survive anything. Maybe even a zombie apocalypse.
The yelling reaches its peak, when the door opens and the Dean of the Faculty looks in. You suspect that even he’s afraid of Perkins.
“I’m sorry to bother you, Ronald, but I need one of your students.” Everyone exchanges glances. “Miss Leary?” The Dean is looking at you. Bloody fuck…
You get up under a couple hundred of widened eyes and grab your stuff. You scurry down the aisle and almost curtsy in front of Perkins.
“I am sorry, sir.” He gives you a stare. You follow the Dean into the hall.
He gives you a look over. “Most unfortunate, most unfortunate…” What?
You are wearing a pair of old denim and an oversized sweater reaching mid thigh. You had a rough night, alright? The hair’s in an unassuming bun, glasses instead of lenses. After you pushed Phil out of your room, after a few minutes of increasingly steamy snogging that is, you had three minutes to get dressed. And no minutes for hair or mascara. And you hate it anyways. You are a ginger; you lot are allergic to everything.
You follow the Dean, and your heart’s throbbing in your throat. You reach his office, and he pushes you into a room full of people.
Suits clad people. Very important looking, posh, perfectly groomed men and women. And John Thorington.
“Ah, Miss Leary, thank you for joining us,” a man whom you recognise immediately stretches his hand in greeting. You shake it.
“It’s an honour to meet you, Dr. Yamataki.” He smiles and bows to you. You return the bow. Let’s face it, you have practiced in front of the mirror. Not that you were hoping to ever receive this giant, super prestigious, everyone-will-know-you-name-after-it grant and meet him in flesh, but just in case.
The world famous Dr. Sora Yamataki smiles even more pleasantly and claps your shoulder. “The honour is all mine. Allow me to introduce my colleagues.”
The next hour passes in haze. You give a short speech, answer their questions, and sign the papers. It seems to have gone well. You were calm and confident. Since you have dreamt of and imagined it for the past year and practiced in your head almost every evening. You even managed to insert your duck and a syringe joke. Everyone laughs. Except Thorington. Prick.
You quickly forget that he’s in the room, until one of the women doesn’t place her hand on his forearm and pronounce in an alluring lilting voice, “You were absolutely right, John. Miss Leary is indeed the best choice for the grant.”
It feels like being kicked into your stomach. But more painful. You owe him all this? All this is not because of your proposal, or your grades, or the endless sleepless nights you spent in the lab, but it’s him?! What is this?! Some sort of compensation for moral damages, in his perverted calculative mind?!
You feel nauseated and probably look greenish.
“I think we are overwhelming Miss Leary a bit.” His voice pours, low and languished. Can he be more of a condescending wanker?! Fucking tosser!
“I have to admit that is one of the most emotional days of my life, Dr. Thorington, but I’m coping.” You do not manage to fully devoid your voice of venom. The others laugh.
He gives you sideways glance from under a cocked brow. You’ve never hated anyone more than you hate him him right now.
Everyone is goodbuying and leaving the office. You bow to Yamataki, and he shakes your hand again.
“I will be following your successes, Miss Leary.”
The Dean leaves to walk the guests to the parkade and go for lunch with some of them later.
“Come back and see me tomorrow, Miss Leary, and congratulations.” You thank him and walk out into the corridor.
Thorington is standing absorbed in a conversation with the same lady who addressed him as ‘John’ in the office. She’s stroking his forearm again, and he leans in, lowering his upper torso to her. He is just so massive.
You clench your jaws and approach. She is hotly whispering something, his face is unreadable.
“Dr. Thorington, could I have a word, please?” You are shaking so much from hatred and humiliation, that you have to clench your hands on the handle of your messenger bag. He excuses himself and turns to you.
That is when you snap and grab his sleeve. You drag him into the nearest empty office, any decorum be damned, and he allows you obviously trying to avoid a scene. You push him in, as much as it’s possible to push this heavy body, and you lock the door.
“How dare you?” you hiss, still grasping for some remnants of sanity not to raise your voice.
“How dare I what?” He sounds confused. And peevish, as usual.
“I can’t do this, it’s fucking not fair… You can’t take this away from me… Now it’s like it’s not even real… Now I will never know!..” You aren’t making much sense, but you are just livid.
“Are you well, Miss Leary? You are hardly coherent.” I’ll show you coherence, you arrogant fuck! You pounce closer to him and poke his chest with your finger.
“I am not your doxy to pay me off with grant money!”
“You are not indeed. You were quite clear on this topic previously.” You poke him again.
“You just don’t do this!..” He grabs your hand.
“Be careful, Miss Leary. I do not react well to physical violence.” His eyes are dark, and you feel like slapping him again. Last time it was very satisfying.
He is squeezing your fingers and it hurts.
“I can’t believe you felt you need to pay me off…”
“You are completely mad, Miss Leary.”
“You got me the Yamataki money!..”
“I did no such thing. I voted for your candidacy among others who supported you. The vote was almost unanimous anyway.” He narrows his eyes at you. “Do you honestly believe I would meddle with the fate of that much funding for the sake of pleasing one little girl? Who is also prone to childish, unreasonable tantrums.” His words are like more punches into your stomach.
You are panting and try to step back, but he is holding your hand very tightly. His chest is heaving. Oh fuck, he is absolutely furious, and you just realized what you accused him of. Favouritism and fraud. Oh shit…
“I…” You really don’t know what to say, and then he throws your hand aside.
“Have your senses returned to you, Miss Leary?”
“Yes…” Your face’s burning.
And then he cups it and presses his lips onto yours.
Is it a kiss-Wren-without-asking month?