Genevieve Smith finished her TA duties by handing back graded papers to the physiology students as they left class. It was 4:43 pm on Friday and she was excited to head back to her dorm for much needed rest and relaxation.
That was, until she saw the Department Chairman come in and inform her Professor of a last minute crisis. Genevieve did her best to eavesdrop without being obvious. Before her curious ears could tune in, the Chairman rushed off into the busy hallway. Her Professor was left looking slightly miffed.
“Can I help with anything?” Genevieve asked when class officially ended and all the students had departed.
Professor Heredia sighed softly. “Looks like I’ll be sticking around a bit longer.”
“Really, why? What was that all about?”
“Apparently the faculty member who was supposed to give a speech for tonight’s Couple’s Dance had to cancel at the last minute. Now I’m required to ‘volunteer,’ which means I have to attend.”
Genevieve was surprised. “They couldn’t find anyone else? I thought lots of teachers were going to the dance.”
“I got the feeling that since Board members will be there, the school intends to highlight the diversity in their faculty. So they dragged me into the mix. It’s something I’ve become accustomed to.”
“Jeez. Does that tick you off?”
“Not at all,” the Professor replied light-heartedly. “I love representing the Hispanic community. Just not on a Friday evening after teaching my most difficult class of the semester.”
Genevieve was of the same mind. They both needed a break and wanted to get the weekend started. Neither of them were the type of women who were interested in a romantic dance at school.
Nonetheless, she loved this Professor (having taken two of her courses during previous semesters) and was receiving credit for being a TA. Always a loyal student, Genevieve was determined to lend support, even though she was exhausted.
“Is there anything I can do to help?” Genevieve offered. “I don’t know, maybe I can help prepare your remarks. You don’t want to look like that guy who tried to wing the Graduation speech last year. He seemed… nevermind.”
Her voice cackled a bit as she held back laughter. The Professor shared the same sentiment with a chuckle of her own.
“I’d hate to ruin your Friday, though.”
“Nonsense,” Genevieve replied with zeal. “I can stick around a while longer if you need me.”
“Do you have plans?”
“Not until 7. So I can stay a while, then go back to the dorm and get ready to go out with my sorority sisters.”
The Professor smiled, “You’re a lifesaver, Geni. I’m not very good at coming up with these sorts of speeches. Normally, I’m the one who likes being romanced. I’ve never spoken about it publicly though. It’s a bit embarrassing.”
“Well, first thing’s first, Professor. You need to look the part. It’s a dance and everyone will be dressed formally. Do you have another outfit? Or are you going to wear… no offense… that?”
Genevieve looked over the teacher’s attire. As usual, Professor Heredia was dressed casually, as many teaching professionals are in this day and age. The outfit reflected her middle-age status, making her look like a sexy Latina librarian. A long, thin wool jacket was draped over a loose t-shirt. Jeans and hippie style clogs completed the ensemble.
“No offense taken. And no, I’m not going to wear this.”
Genevieve was curious. “Then?”
“Ah, my little apprentice, one day you’ll have learned all my secrets,” the teacher said humorously. “A career woman must always have a backup plan when it comes to wardrobe. That’s lesson number one for the evening. If you stick with me, you’ll learn a lot.”