My happiness knew no bounds when I got accepted into Boston University for higher studies. I come from a humble background, and my parents could not afford to send me to a reputable university, so I had been trying for a scholarship for almost two years, and finally, I had made it.
However, life was still a little tough for me. Even though I didn’t have to worry about my tuition fees, I had to work part-time at a cafe to manage other expenses. And then, because I didn’t know anyone in Boston, I had a hard time finding a safe place to stay. But despite the difficulties, I was happy.
I was happy that I had finally reached a place where I could get a good job and make my parents proud. I was happy that I could finally give them a better life once I completed my studies. But just when everything seemed to be falling into place, there came new trouble knocking at my door: the biochemistry professor, Mr. Harris.
I’ll never forget the day I met him for the first time. We had our internal test that day. I had finished my paper on time, but when I handed it over to Mr. Harris, he refused to submit it and tore it up in front of my eyes.
I was shocked.
“I’m sorry, Miss Roberts, but you’re late. The test ended 60 seconds ago,” he told me.
Meanwhile, one of my classmates named Kevin submitted the test paper after me and left. Mr. Harris didn’t tell him anything and accepted his answer script. This irked me even more.
“But Sir, Kevin submitted the paper after me. This is not fair,” I told him.
Mr. Harris gave me a stern glance. “Oh, really?! How long have you been serving on the Supreme Court, Miss Roberts? What gives you the right to tell me what’s fair and what’s not fair?” he said.
“You’re violating my rights, Mr. Harris!” I responded firmly.
Mr. Harris started laughing. “I dictate the rules here, Miss Roberts! And my verdict is that you’ve failed the test!” he said.
I got scared and began pleading. “Mr. Harris, please don’t do that. I’m studying on a scholarship here. I can’t afford to lose this opportunity. Please don’t.”
Mr. Harris gave a sly grin. “Oh god, look at poor Roberts, struggling to find her way in this cruel world. But you’re missing one important detail, Miss Roberts. There’s no free ride here,” he said.
Do you think I got this scholarship easily?” I told him firmly. “I studied really hard, and I work at a cafe to support myself. If I fail this subject, I’ll lose this credit, and all my dreams will collapse just because of this one credit.”
So, do you really need my help? Do you really this credit?” Mr. Harris asked, taking a step forward.
“Yes, Sir. I do. I need this credit,” I said in a low voice and started moving backward. But Mr. Harris kept coming closer.
“Well, in that case, there’s one way to solve the problem,” he said. “I have time tomorrow…at 7 o’clock…at my house. Do you get me, Miss Roberts?”
I was taken aback. “No way. I’m not doing this,” I said, my voice trembling with fear.
Mr. Harris smirked. “Do you really think you’ve got an option here, Miss Roberts? I don’t think so. So, be ready to pay the price!” he said sternly.
“No…I won’t… I won’t do this,” I said and ran out of the exam hall. I went straight to the faculty head’s office and decided to report the entire incident that had happened.
“I’m sorry to bother you, Mr. Carter, but I want to change my professor,” I told the faculty head.
“And you are…”
“Catherine Roberts. Biochem, 1st year. ” I said.
Well, Miss Roberts, I suggest that you perhaps study a little harder?” Mr. Carter told me.
“You are misunderstanding me, Sir,” I retorted. “I studied really hard for this exam. It’s just that Mr. Harris wouldn’t allow me to pass the test.”
Mr. Carter gave me a confused look. “Well, I’m sure there must be a reason for that. Why isn’t he passing you?”
“Well…It’s that…he’s been harassing me!” I somehow gathered the courage to speak.
Mr. Carter got up from his seat. “Harassing you?!” He looked at me in shock. “That’s a very serious accusation, Miss Roberts!”
“I’m not lying, Sir. He says I’ll have to “pay” for my credits,” I responded in a low voice.
Mr. Carter started laughing at me. “I think the misunderstanding is at your end, Miss Roberts. You see, you don’t need to pay for extra credits at this university. I’ve known professor Harris for over 30 years. He’s a kind person and a brilliant professor. In these years, you’re the first person who’s ever thrown an accusation at him,” Mr. Carter told me.
Trust me, Sir. He is not what he looks like,” I said.
“Well, do you have proof, Miss Roberts?” Mr. Carter asked.
“No, I don’t. But Sir…”
Before I could finish, Mr. Carter cut me off. “Well, I just think you’re taking the easy way out, Miss Roberts. He’s giving you a failing grade, you’re angry at him, and you’re making these accusations. But if you continue to make these accusations, I’ll fire a complaint against you. So, please leave.”
I had no choice. I left. I decided that I would repeat the entire semester and clear the subject later. It would be costly, but I had a job and thought I could make it work if I saved enough money. But Mr. Harris ruined that as well.
“Here’s your coffee, Sir,” I said as I placed the order on Mr. Harris’s table. Mr. Harris came to the cafe that evening. I hated being nice to him and calling him “Sir,” but I had no choice.
Would you like something else?” I asked him.
He pulled out a pen and began scribbling on a tissue. As soon as he finished writing, he rolled the tissue and began stuffing it into my jeans pocket. I instantly pushed his hand away, and in that attempt, the coffee fell on him.
You idiot! Where’s the manager? Call the manager right now!” he yelled at the top of his voice.
Miss. Lizy, the cafe manager, came running. “What have you done, Catherine?! How can you be so careless?” She looked at me furiously.
“I can’t believe you’ve hired such inexperienced people,” Mr. Harris told her. “What’s more, even after making a mistake, she just stood there instead of apologizing!”
Miss. Lizy lost her cool. “You’re fired, Catherine. Please leave. I can’t believe you’re so rude to our customers!”
“But Ma’am…” Before I could finish, Miss Lizy interrupted me. “I don’t want to listen to anything. Just leave!”
I ran to the reception desk in tears to collect my stuff and left the cafe. But I had decided to teach a harsh lesson to Mr. Harris — a lesson that he would never forget.
Luckily, I met Mr. Harris outside the cafe.
“Oh, poor Catherine. I got you fired from the cafe in 10 minutes. I’ll get you kicked out of the university just as easily,” he threatened me.
“Fine. I’ll agree to whatever you say,” I said. “Just don’t kick me out of the university.”
Mr. Harris smirked. “Now that’s like a smart girl. Here take this.” He gave me some cash. “Buy a new dress for yourself, preferably something in red. I’ll be waiting for you,” he told me and left.
The next day, I went to Mr. Harris’s house at 7 p.m. He had decorated the entire living room, and there was a wine bottle kept on the center table.
As soon as I entered, he grabbed my waist and started forcing himself on me. But I pushed him away and ran out of the house. Mr. Harris chased me down, but what he saw outside his home left him shocked.
The house was surrounded by police cars, and Mr. Carter was standing at the doorstep. I was able to expose Mr. Harris and his evil intentions, and he was arrested. But that wasn’t the end.
After being fired from the cafe due to Mr. Harris, I was offered a job as a lab assistant at the university, and two years later, I was placed in a good company with a high salary package.