It was a couple of weeks into
Jamal’s final semester at the Borough of Manhattan Community College
(BMCC) and he was just getting adjusted to night classes. Having been
allowed to leave work an hour early, he headed straight to school to
finish some reading that he needed to do for his public relations class.
The plan was to grab a bite to eat in the school cafeteria and find
the quietest and most inconspicuous corner to sit in.
While standing in line to pay
for a slice of pizza and grape juice, Jamal felt a tap on his shoulder.
“Well hello stranger, how are things going in the corporate world?”
It was Ms. Jones, standing behind him in line holding a tray with a
sandwich, salad, and Pepsi on it. “Hey Ms. Jones, it’s good to see
you. I’ve been meaning to come by and visit, but with my new night
schedule I usually don’t get to school until around 6:00pm and then
I am rushing to get to class on time.”
“No Ms. Jones, I would never
betray your trust like that. You are my favorite professor.” He replied
“Relax Jamal. I was just joking
Breathing a sigh of relief
that he did not mistakenly offend Ms. Jones, Jamal asked if he could
join her for dinner and she agreed. After paying for their meals and
carefully selecting a table in the center of the cafeteria so that no
one could mistake their innocent dinner for a tryst, they settled in
and began to play catch up.
“So how is the internship going
“It’s pretty good. I am definitely
learning a lot. Initially, I didn’t see how I could fit into a law
firm, but I didn’t know that I would be placed in their accounting department.”
“Oh yeah, like any other corporations,
there are different departments that make the whole project work. Ms.
Smith tells me that everyone is pleased with your performance. She
also told me about your interview.”
“Yeah, I try not to think about
that. It was definitely one of those rare times when I was off my game,
but I’m glad that I got a second chance. Trust me Ms. Jones, it will
never happen again. Just like a boy scout, I will always be prepared.”
“That’s good to know, because
I was shocked when she told me what happened. Not only did you make
yourself look bad, but you put me on the line too for referring you.
I’m glad that you were able to bounce back though. Now tell me, how
often do you see Ms. Smith at work? Do you guys get to spend anytime
together?” Although Jamal received this line of questioning as a teacher
merely checking up on her star pupil, Ms. Jones was actually prying.
She still hadn’t gotten over her best friends’ attraction to Jamal.
Even though she convinced herself that Leslie wouldn’t stoop that low,
there was this feeling that she just couldn’t shake. So Ms. Jones decided
to play eye spy without Leslie finding out.
“Well, I really don’t see Ms.
Smith too often. When I do, she is always trying to oblige me. I have
been given free reign to stop by her office at will. She says that I
can utilize her office even if she isn’t there. She also frequently
offers to take me out for lunch, but I haven’t taken her up on it yet.
I guess I’m going to have to give in pretty soon, so that she doesn’t
think that I’m trying to avoid her. It’s just that I want to make an
impression on her and I don’t want her to think that I’m just along
for the perks.”
“I understand Jamal. But don’t
put so much pressure on yourself. Lighten up. It’s ok to be ordinary
every once in a while. No one is perfect and you are too tense to be
so young.” Satisfied that Leslie hadn’t breached her promise yet, she
began to collect her items to leave. “Well, I have to go back to my
office and grade some papers. I’m normally gone by now but I’m trying
to stay on top of everything this semester. Stop by my office when
you get a chance. Remember, if you ever need to talk I’m here for you.”
“Ok, Ms. Jones. It was nice
breaking bread with you. Take care, and don’t work too hard.”
Jamal really looked up to Ms.
Jones with admiration. No other professor inspired him as much as she.
Sometimes Jamal had to catch himself as he would begin to fantasize
about her as a little more than just a professor. It was always the
same scenario, Ms. Jones went from dowdy professor to sexy seductress
in a manner of minutes. But for whatever reason, Jamal could never
get past the part where she leans over to kiss him. This is always
where the fantasy ended. He rationalized that it was probably some
Freudian hang-up where he had too much respect for Ms. Jones to fully
objectify her. He would always blush from embarrassment once he snapped
out of fantasyland.
Suddenly, Jamal felt a tickle
on his right hip. His phone was vibrating. Thinking it was his baby
Lela, because she normally called him at this time, he automatically
answered the phone without checking caller ID in a sexy voice, “Hey
“Baby? Mmmh. Now just when
did I become your baby?” It was Leslie on the other end poking fun
at Jamal. Surprised, Jamal apologized for his behavior. “Oh I’m sorry
Ms. Smith, I thought you were Lela.” “Don’t apologize for talking sexy
to me but do apologize for calling me Ms. Smith. How many times have
I told you to call me Leslie?” For Jamal’s sake, he was lucky that
the visual cell phone had not been invented. Otherwise, Leslie would
have seen him blushing uncontrollably. If she could feel his temperature
rise through the phone, her ears would have definitely been burning.
“What’s the matter, cat got
your tongue.” Jamal didn’t realize that he still hadn’t responded to
her so he was a little startled by her statement. “Like I told you
before Ms. Smith, I mean Leslie, it’s a little difficult for me to call
you by your first name. You have to give me some time to get adjusted
to that.” Jamal stated trying to give Leslie the respect that she was
denying him. “Well, I hope it doesn’t take too long for the adjustment.
Just like your internship, I like fast learners. So learn to take Ms.
Smith out of your vocabulary or else you will offend me.” Leslie knew
that this last statement would appeal more to his upbringing. Since
he was raised with morals and standards, offending her was the last
thing that she knew he would do.
“Anyway Jamal, I didn’t call
to give you a lesson in how to address me. I want to know why did you
leave work early?”
“Oh, Mr. Edelman said that
there wasn’t much left for me to do today, and so he allowed me to leave
an hour early to go to school.”
“Ok. I was just checking.
I had come by to invite you to dinner in my office and they told me
that you had left for the day. I was a little concerned, so I decided
to check up on you. I’m happy to hear that you are ok.”
“Yeah, I’m fine. Thanks for
checking up on me.” Jamal felt somewhat special that she cared that
much about him. He figured she was looking out for him as a favor
to Ms. Jones’.
“Jamal, since I am your mentor,
I want us to keep regular appointments with each other so that I can
see how you are handling things and to lend any expertise or advice.”
Prefacing their meetings as advisory sessions was Leslie’s way of getting
Jamal in her office alone on a regular basis. The routine would also
be used as a decoy to anyone who suspected anything going on between
them. “Are there any days during the week that you don’t have to go
“Yes, I am free on Mondays,
Wednesdays, and Fridays. I take two classes on Tuesday and Thursday.”
“Great, then let’s meet every
Wednesday at 5:30pm. I will supply dinner for us and we can go over
any concerns at work and strategize how to start your business. Be prepared
to stay as long as necessary.” Jamal’s perked up at the idea of starting
his business. Leslie could sense the sudden arousal in his speech that
was now more enthusiastic than at the beginning of their conversation.
She knew that she was working him well.
Jamal excused himself as he
clicked over to receive a call from Lela. While on hold, Leslie began
to fantasize about the escapades that she hoped would take place in
her office. She knew there was a purpose for that giant maple wood
desk in her office that she picked out two years ago. It wasn’t just
the pure beauty and color of the wood, but the sturdiness that Leslie
desired. It withstood the wrestling matches that she and her ex got
involved in on many occasions. She was confident that Jamal’s masculinity
would not harm it either. Knowing that Jamal would never hang up on
her she waited patiently for him to switch back over. She was beginning
to get annoyed when she heard his voice.
“I’m sorry, Leslie. I hope
I didn’t have you on hold for too long. Lela can sometimes talk a mile
a minute without taking a breath. When she gets like this, it’s difficult
to get a word in. You have to wait until you catch her inhaling and
then you have to jump on the opportunity to speak quickly before she
blows it out.” Leslie chuckled at his description, of Lela’s loquaciousness
to amuse him. She could really care less about his little tales of
puppy love. Lela was the one distraction that Leslie had to get rid
of. It was just a matter of time in Leslie’s mind, before she would
sink her teeth into him. Once he had a real woman, she thought, he
would forget about that little girl.
“So Jamal, do we have a date
for next week Wednesday?”
“For sure Ms., I mean Leslie.
I will be there at 5:30 sharp. Is there anything that I need to bring?
“No, you alone will be just
It was just Thursday, so Leslie would have to wait six more days before she would begin to lure Jamal into her web. The plan of deceit was already in motion.