Chapter 9

      "Hey Symphony. These are for you," her co-worker chirped, as she presented her with a huge bouquet of long-stemmed yellow roses.

        "Thank you!" she squealed delightfully, as she grasped the exquisite display with both of her hands.

      Although Symphony could already guess who the roses were from, she still found it to be a most pleasant surprise.

      While carefully placing the bouquet on her desk, her phone rang.  

       "Hello, Pathnostics and Co. How may I help you?" she answered in a professional tone.

       "Hey beautiful, did you get the flowers that I sent?" a males voice spoke warmly.

       "Dr. Black, is that you?" Symphony asked feeling perplexed. She knew Michael's voice but the unexpected call had taken her by surprise.

       "Yes, it is. And call me Michael... You're not at university today and we're speaking over the phone."

       As Symphony gazed at the beautiful arrangement, she smiled softly and said, "Yes, I got them... they're gorgeous. Thank-you!

       "Did you read the card yet?" He asked nervously with bated breath.

       "No, not yet!  I'll read it now," she spoke eagerly, quickly removing the card from the center of the bouquet.

       "No! Don't read it now. Please wait until I get off of the phone with you," he spoke hurriedly.

        Symphony giggled. "Why can't I read the card while you're on the phone?"

        His voice turning quiet, Michael closed his eyes and said, "I know that this might sound crazy, but I still get shy at times."

       While Michael's confidence had grown significantly throughout the years, there were still times when he reverted back to his younger years of being a bit timid in certain situations. He hadn't sent a woman flowers in years, and he was feeling extremely unsure of himself.

       Hearing the subtle anxiety in his tender voice, Symphony spoke sympathetically. "Oh Michael, I'm sorry... And no. It doesn't sound crazy at all."

        As he looked down at his watch, he frowned. He would have loved to speak with her longer but he had no choice but to end their call early.

       Shifting the phone to the other side of his ear, he took a deep breath and said, "No need to be sorry. But listen. I do have to go now. I have to teach my next class soon."

        "Wait! Out of curiosity... How did you get my work number?" Symphony blurted, suddenly remembering that she had only given Michael the number to her cellphone.  

      "I have my ways," he chuckled mischievously, "have a nice day. I'll call you later tonight."

       "Incredulous you are, sir!" she bellowed, "you have a nice day as well. Talk to you later."

        Smiling as she put down the phone, Symphony read the card that was attached to the bouquet:


[Yellow roses signify friendship, joy and caring. It's a flower that conveys warmth, gladness, and affection. All the things that I've experienced since meeting you. ~ Sincerely, Michael.]


       "Secret admirer?" her nosey co-worker chimed from around the corner of their adjoining cubicles.

       "No-no, I know exactly who they're from," Symphony beamed.

        "Well... he must be really into you, or you must have laid it down on him really good. That's one hundred roses! Not twelve, not twenty-four, but one hundred!"

       "I know... He's a real gentleman. His chivalry knows no bounds," Symphony chimed, as she smelled one of the fragrant blossoms.

       "You call him a gentleman? I call him a damn Prince!" Roxanne quipped.

        "Hmm... I guess you could say that as well, and a little extra. He used to be known as a King," Symphony giggled, remembering that Michael once went by the royal moniker 'The King of Pop.' And while he was never stripped of his throne, he chose to walk away from it on his own.

        "Umm... Girl, are you dating Royalty?" Roxanne eyed her curiously.

        Symphony smiled softly. "No... But he's royalty to me."

        "I hear that! Any man that sends a woman flowers these days is a keeper. Make sure that you hold onto him."

        "Right now we're just friends. But I do like him a lot. He's the most incredible guy that I've met in a long time.

        Roxanne sighed. "Well, if you don't want him, I'll take him. Does he have a brother?"

       Suddenly remembering that Michael hailed from a huge family, Symphony burst out laughing. "He has five but they all live on the west coast."

      "Well hell! I can travel! Are any of them single?" Roxanne yelped.

        "Oh, I don't know. But what I do know is that we better get back to work. We have a quota to reach," Symphony spoke in a more serious tone.

    Roxanne grimaced. "Thanks for reminding me. I hate this damn place."

    "So do I, but it's a job and pays the bills. Talk to you later girl."

     "Alright! But wait! Are we still on for Happy Hour Friday night?" Roxanne called-out before sliding back into her cubicle.

       Giving Roxanne a high-five, Symphony nodded her head and said, "Hell yeah! A drink is needed after working a long week at this place.


***

     [Knock! knock! knock!]


     "Damn it! As soon as I sit down to grade papers, someone always has to disturb me," he muttered. "Who is it?"

       "It's Raven! Open the door. We need to talk."

        Already knowing what was to come, Michael sighed as he opened the door. "Please lower your tone, Raven. My hearing is just fine. Now, what do you want?"

        "Shut up smartass!" she scoffed, "so you're dating one of your students now? Since when have you started doing that?"

       Grabbing her gently by the arm, Michael pulled her into his classroom and said, "Raven, please. You need to calm down. I'm not dating her but even if I were, it should be of no concern to you, he replied indifferently.

       "Don't fucking tell me to calm down! I'm not a child, Michael."

       "Well, you're sure as hell acting like one right now. And wait! Shouldn't I be the one that's upset?" he hissed while pressing his back against the wall. 

        "Why would you be upset?"

        "Come on Raven! I've told you many times before how I was to play 'Edgar Allen Poe' in a movie that got canned. Wouldn't that play be something you'd think I'd be interested in?"

        Now standing in front of him, Raven lowered her voice. "I'm sorry, Michael, but why would I waste my time by taking you?"

       "Wow! That's kinda messed up considering that we're friends and all. I thought that I would have been your first choice but apparently not," he spoke sourly while rolling his eyes.

       "Come on! Stop trying to make me feel bad for not asking you. You've made it pretty clear that you don't want anything more from me, but Todrick does. He asked me to be his girlfriend."

       Michael glowered. "So if that's the case, then why are you so concerned about the company that I choose to entertain?"

      Raven cocked her head to the side and squinted. "So you have nothing to say about Todrick?"

       "No! not at all," he spoke uncaringly, shrugging his shoulders up and down. "As I've told you plenty of times before, who you date, or sleep with is of no concern to me."

       Knowing he was right, Raven soon apologized. Although she was insanely jealous, she knew she was out of line. If he didn't question her about who she was seeing then why should she? The whole situation had taken her aback because it was the first time that she'd actually seen him out with another woman.

       Kissing his chest softly, Raven got down on her knees. "Please. Let's just forget about this conversation altogether. I've missed you so much... I'm glad you're feeling better," she spoke in a smokey tone while unzipping his pants.

       Upon seeing his huge erection, she licked her lips and said, "Mmm, it seems like you've missed me too."

        Michael knew he probably shouldn't have a hard-on in the midst of an argument, but from the moment Raven got down on her knees, he knew what was to come. Turning down sex with her had always been a constant battle for him, and more often than not, his lower region seemed to have a mind of its own.

        Stroking his dick slowly, Raven licked a sliver of precum from his tip.

       "Damn baby... That feels so good," he groaned, as he placed his hand delicately atop her head.

        "I bet she can't blow you like I can," she purred sexily before deep throating him.

       Choosing to ignore her comment, he moaned loudly. He was far too gone to address what she had said, even though it pissed him off dearly.

       When he exploded into her mouth, he immediately regretted letting her suck him off. With his newfound feelings for Symphony growing, he felt a change coming over him. While he enjoyed the familiar 'comfort-sex' that Raven provided, it was no longer enough.

       Pushing his dilemma aside, he pressed Raven against the wall from behind. Considering that she had given him a blowjob, he found it only fair that he'd pleasure her as well.

       After lifting her skirt around her waist, he yanked her underwear down, helping her to step out of them. As he slid his now hard again dick inside of her, she winced in pleasure and said, "Mmm! Yes, Michael baby. Fuck me good, please!"

        While thrusting in and out of her relentlessly, he kissed the back of her neck, imagining that she was Symphony.

       As thoughts of his fantasy continued to mix with his reality, he became unusually silent.

       "Is everything alright, Michael?"

       "Yes, Raven. Everything is fine."

       "Then why are you so quiet?"

       "My throat is sore."

        Knowing the response he gave was pure bullshit, he prayed she would stop talking. He just wanted to hurry and make her cum. He knew if he had called out Symphony's name while fucking her, it would've caused one hell of a shitstorm.

        When Raven called out his name, he placed his hand over her mouth to muffle the sound of her voice. All he needed was for someone to hear them having sex in his classroom. He didn't have time for the embarrassment or ramifications it would have caused.

        Immediately after bringing Raven to a powerful orgasm, he picked up her underwear from the floor, extending them towards her. "Here! Please hurry. My next class is starting soon."

       After smoothing her skirt down over her hips, she snatched her underwear from him and said, "Damn! Can I catch my breath first?"

       "Please forgive me but I just..."

       Cutting him off mid-sentence, Raven huffed loudly and said, "stop worrying, Michael! We haven't been caught in three years of hooking up and there's still ten minutes left before your class begins. I'll slip out through the back door."

        When Raven finally left, Michael let out a heavy sigh of relief. After taking a seat at his desk, he banged his head lightly on its hard surface and said, "how am I to move forward with Symphony when I keep letting shit like this happen?"

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