After registering on Monday, Aurelia took the whole night off from work in order to rest up for school tomorrow. Since she no longer worked at the club, the time she took off was from her switchboard job in the main office of the local mall.
There just has to be another way to earn an honest living at night, Aurelia mused, ready to abandon the exotic dancer background of her favorite CSI character without abandoning the dream of having that character’s current on-screen job.
Although Aurelia was off tonight, she didn’t head straight home after registration. Instead she made her way over to the student center to check the employment board again. First things first.
Perusing her schedule once more, Aurelia noted the dates and times of her classes. She also noticed that she had a new science professor on the roster, an instructor by the name of Dr. Baron Weaver. That class was at sharp, making it her very first class of the day.
Oh goody, my last class ends at , Aurelia mused, reading further down the list. She was pleased that her new class schedule still left room for her switchboard shift. This meant that she wouldn’t have to get her hours reduced at the mall.
Now if I can just find a job at a 24-hour supermarket, I’ll be set, Aurelia thought.
With a job like that, she could work from and still get enough sleep in time for her first class. She’d probably still be able to squeeze in her Saturday volunteerism at a local soup kitchen.
Furthermore, if Aurelia actually got a cashier’s job at an all-night grocer, she would be eligible for food discounts. Which meant she wouldn’t have to go back to eating Ramen noodles and hot dogs. Nor would she have to depend on those free meals at the soup kitchen, but instead let someone needier have that food. But most importantly, she’d finally be able to hold her head up high again.
The whole time Aurelia had worked in the adult entertainment industry, she’d kept her gaze averted as much as possible in public. She’d been so afraid of someone from school or work recognizing her. That’s why she’d chosen to work at Dingo’s. It was in another city and mostly frequented by older men, who had solid bank accounts specifically set aside for that kind of entertainment.
College students in Alcove tended to camp out at local strip clubs where the patrons were just as young as the girls on stage. Not at places where they might run into their fathers and uncles. Even a few grandpas. Most of the people Aurelia worked with at the mall were women and thus less likely to have visited Dingo’s anyway.
Even though she was completely out of the adult entertainment industry now, she couldn’t help thinking about some of the things she’d done there. Particularly the things she’d done with him…the professor.
Aurelia thought about him even now as she greeted one of her real professors from last year as they passed each other on the student center stairs. Her body tingled at the memory of that heated hotel encounter. An encounter that she would very much like to repeat, despite how badly it turned out at the end.
That’ll never happen, Aurelia thought, convinced that some good things only came around once.
* * *
The next day, Aurelia found herself running severely behind schedule. She mentally kicked herself all the way down the hall for being late on the first day of class. And for a new professor at that, somebody she wasn’t familiar with.
Would this new professor view her tardiness harshly? Casually? Would he be quick to forgive once she apologized? Or would he be like a former professor of Aurelia’s that still resented her for something she did in her freshmen year?
I guess I’ll see when I get there, she thought, forging ahead.
This forensics class was too important to her future career to miss or mess up. And based on the brief bio she’d been given of her new professor in her registration packet, Dr. Weaver was just the man to teach her everything she needed to know about her profession of choice.
According to the bio, Dr. Weaver had an extensive background in science, forensic and otherwise. Academically, he had several degrees, most of which were in medicine and one in engineering. Professionally, he had worked as a forensic engineer, crime scene examiner, crime lab analyst, and medical examiner. He’d been teaching part-time for the last three years, opting to teach full-time this year.
Dr. Weaver was also a huge CSI fan. That little tidbit had been added to the bio to give it a touch of humor and to make him seem more personable to his students. It worked. Aurelia liked him already, sight unseen.
By now it was obvious that she was a fan of CSI, too. She’d gotten the idea to work as an exotic dancer from that television show. CSI was also part of the reason she was running late today, or rather was on island time right now, if you will.
Now Aurelia wished she hadn’t stayed up late last night looking at that CSI marathon. Now she wished she’d just recorded the marathon and watched it later when she had more time.
Hearing a man’s authoritative voice coming from the room designated for her class, Aurelia increased her steps. She was almost running down the long hallway now. Just outside the classroom door, she suddenly stopped short.
It sounded so familiar. Too familiar.
Could it be? Aurelia asked herself, almost afraid to peek around the corner of the door to find out as delicious tingles attacked her body. And yet she had to.
Leaning to the left, Aurelia saw…
And worst of all, he saw her, too.
Baron couldn’t miss her, considering the fact that he’d been just about to close the door and officially began his instruction.
Who’s the dumb-dumb now? Aurelia mused, feeling like a straight fool as she forced her legs towards the door and mentally prepared herself to face the consequences of yet another bad decision.