Chapter 23

       "Goodmorning, President Myers." Michael greeted loud and clear, extending his hand towards him.

        Giving Michael's hand a firm shake, he spoke briskly, "Goodmorning, Dr. Black. Please have a seat."

       As Michael sat down, he drew a shaky breath. He was feeling quite anxious, but not due to President Myers or the meeting at hand. He was more so upset he had gotten himself caught up in an unnecessary predicament. That being said, he didn't regret anything he had done regarding Symphony. She was the best thing that ever happened to him, and he was in love with her.

       The only thing he regretted was fooling around with Raven. But at the same time, how was he to know she couldn't behave like a rational adult.

      Taking a seat behind his desk, President Myers spoke cheerfully. "Let me start by saying I appreciate your three years of hard work, Dr. Black. You're a wonderful asset to our music department and the best music professor we have."

       Michael smiled, feeling honored he had taken notice of his efforts. Just as Michael had put his blood, sweat, and tears into his music career⁠— he applied his rigorous work ethic to his teaching as well.

       "Thanks so much, sir. Thank you for your kind words. I love teaching here. It gives me great pleasure to share my love of music and instill knowledge in my students. When they leave my class, I want them to feel confident in the pursuance of their music degree."

       "That's great to hear, Dr. Black." President Myers spoke cheerfully before turning serious. "Your service is very much valued here, but of course, I didn't schedule this meeting to discuss how wonderful you are. I called you here to discuss a serious matter. As you are aware, Peabody doesn't have any rules against dating students. But I do ask that you respect the property and be mindful of others. Last week, a fellow professor informed me that she saw you kissing a student in your classroom. Is that true?"

       Without hesitation, Michael answered the question immediately. " Yes, It is. But I'm sure the professor didn't see me kiss, Ms. Wilson — the student who of which is my girlfriend. And let me be clear — I don't make it a habit of dating my students; Ms. Wilson is the first. I did have one other relationship of sorts here at Peabody, and that was with the chorus teacher, Ms. Foster. Ever since I broke off my acquaintance with her, she's been making life hell for Ms. Wilson and me. Is she the one that said she saw me kissing in my classroom?"

      

      "I'm sorry, Dr. Black, but I can't reveal the professor's name. Look... I have no problems with you dating your student. I, too, also dated a student of mine — she's my now wife. I just ask that you be responsible. And speaking of Ms. Foster, I don't know of your situation with her, but please inform me immediately if she bothers you again."


      "Thank you for being so understanding, President Myers. But please... I don't want Ms. Foster to get into any trouble. She is a wonderful professor, but we have our differences. I've already discussed my grievances with her off-campus grounds, and I'm praying she moves on."


     "Are you sure, Dr. Black? I don't mind conducting an investigation. Harassment isn't allowed here and can be draining on the body... I don't want this to affect your teaching."


     "I know. And trust me; it won't. If Raven causes me any further problems, I'll be sure to notify you."


     "Ok. Sounds good, Dr. Black. But back to why I called you here. Please remember to be mindful and respectful of all campus policies, rules, and regulations. If you can't adhere to this — I'll have no choice but to take disciplinary action against you."

       Michael nodded. "Yes, sir... I'll remember."

       Standing up from his chair, President Myers shook Michael's hand once more and said, "no problem Dr. Black. Take care, and have a nice day."

       "Thank you," Michael spoke appreciatively. "You have a nice day as well, sir."

      After Michael exited the room, President Myers shot off a quick email to Raven — if it was one thing he didn't tolerate, it was harassment and bullying of any kind.

 

***

       "Hey, sweetheart. You're home early," Symphony cooed. "Is everything alright?"

      "Yeah-yeah. Everything is fine." Michael yawned, feeling tired from the long day. "I spoke with President Myers this morning."

      "How did it go? Do we have to stop seeing each other?" Symphony spoke quietly on the verge of tears.

      Wrapping her into a warm embrace, Michael stroked her hair and said, "I need you to be a bit more optimistic. No... We don't have to stop seeing each other. I explained everything to him, even our situation with Raven. He wouldn't tell me who it was that reported me, but he did say it was a fellow teacher. We have to be careful about displaying our affection in my classroom. If caught, I could face disciplinary action."

      Symphony glanced upwards at Michael and smiled. "This is such a relief to hear. But fuck! I don't want him coming down on you. Guess no more making out on your lunch break."

      "Oh, I wouldn't say that. We can always drive back to my place during lunch. I can't live without my afternoon sugar," he chuckled.

      As Symphony kissed the tip of Michael's nose, she giggled softly. "You're something else, but that sounds delightful. Making love in your classroom was fun in the beginning, but to be honest, I'll take a soft surface over a hard desk any day. I can't take any more splinters up my ass."

       Shaking his head sideways, Michael grimaced. "You should have told me. I would have laid down a blanket for you."

       Symphony's squeal of laughter was muffled against Michael's chest as he pulled her closer into his arms. "I didn't want to ruin the spontaneity. But back to your discussion with President Myers. Will he take any action against, Ms. Bunny Boiler?"

       "You're on a roll today!" Michael chuckled. "But yes. He said he would open an investigation into the matter if she persists. I told him up until now, she hasn't been a bother as of late... But I would let him know. Raven is crazy, but I don't want to get her into any trouble."

      Sitting upright, Symphony frowned. "Michael, I know how sweet of a person you are, but I'm warning you. If Raven does anything else, I will be having a chat with her. We can't keep letting her get away with this."

      Michael sighed. "I know, sweetheart! I'm not letting her get away with anything. I just don't want to cause even more drama at a higher level. If she does something else sneaky and underhanded, we'll report her together."

      "And I will be pulling her aside for a woman to woman conversation," Symphony added.


***

       When Raven's doctor entered the room, she nearly fell off of her chair. Her anxiety was at an all-time high, and her heart was beating extremely fast. Never in her life had she felt so afraid.

       "Well, It looks like you're 100% healthy... And pregnant. Congratulations, Ms. Foster!" Dr. Gray beamed.

       "Are you sure? Raven gasped. "No! This can't be correct... I don't even look pregnant. "

        As Dr. Gray handed her the results of her bloodwork, she cleared her throat and said, "I can assure you that the pregnancy test performed was one hundred percent accurate. You're two months pregnant. And Ms. Foster, each woman wears pregnancy differently. There isn't a specific time when mothers-to-be start showing."

        "Shit! I don't believe this!" Raven cried out as she stared at the test results in disbelief. "What the fuck am I going to do?"

         Patting Raven on the shoulder, Dr. Gray spoke with deep concern, "Is something wrong, Ms. Foster? You don't sound too happy. Would you like to talk about it?"

      "No-no... I'm alright. It's just a shock. I'm not ready to be a--" Raven sighed as she stopped speaking mid-sentence. She knew most women would be elated over being pregnant, but she wasn't. She didn't want to be a mother.

      Jumping to her feet, Raven made her way towards the door. As a million thoughts raced through her mind, she felt sick to her stomach — possible morning sickness aside. "Thank you for your concern, Dr. Gray. But I have to get going now," she babbled, running out of the room.

     Later that evening, Todrick noticed Raven being more quiet than usual. She was usually full of bustling energy, but as of late had become more lethargic. He knew part of the reason was due to her not feeling well, but he felt there was something additional she wasn't telling him. "Hey, baby. Are you alright?" Todrick spoke tenderly as he caressed her shoulder.

       "I'm pregnant," Raven spoke sourly, turning her back towards him.

       "Really? Are you sure? When did you take a pregnancy test?" Todrick shook his head in bewilderment.

      "I took one at the hospital a few days ago. During my appointment, my doctor hadn't been able to figure out the cause of my sickness, so she suggested I take a pregnancy test."

       "Wow! This is terrific news! Todrick yelped excitedly, "I'm going to be a father!"

      Turning to face him, Raven grimaced and said, "please stop! Just stop! I don't even know if the baby is yours."

      "What do you mean, Raven! Who the hell else would be the baby's father?" He shouted angrily.

       "Don't fucking shout at me! I'm two months pregnant for goodness sake... I'm under enough stress as it is. While you and I were being intimate, I was also still involved with Dr. Black for a short time. He and I always used protection, but there was this one time we didn't, and I wasn't taking my birth control as I should."

       Taking her by the hand, Todrick lowered his head and apologized. "Listen, Raven. Please forgive me for getting upset, but you have to know how I feel. If that baby belongs to Dr. Black, don't expect me to stay with you. I'm not taking care of another man's child — especially a man I despise."

       Dabbing her eyes, Raven spoke quietly. "Todrick, I don't want children at all. This isn't just about Dr. Black."

       "So... Let's say the baby is mine. Are you telling me you don't want to have my child?"

       "Todrick. Please listen to me. I love you very much, but I'm sorry. No, I don't want to have your baby... Nor Dr. Black's."

      Todrick fumed. "So what the hell am I sticking around for? I'm out! Have a nice life, Ms. Foster."

      Slamming the door behind him, Todrick stalked angrily out of Raven's home. As he took a seat on the porch, he broke down in tears. He loved Raven with all of his heart and was willing to give her another chance, but only if he was the father of her child.

       When Raven went to lock the door, she noticed Todrick was sitting on the steps with his head slumped in his hands. Taking a deep breath, she opened the door and made her way towards him. As she wrapped her arms around him, she kissed him softly on the cheek and said, "I'm sorry, Todrick. Please come back inside. Let's try to work things out."

      Turning to face her, he kissed her hand and said, "ok," as he stood up and followed her back into the house.

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