Dr. Vampyre by S.N. McKibben
When a college professor is blackmailed by a student, he has to walk the fine line of being true to his principles and not letting his bloody secret out.
Dr. John Tennison, professor and physician, wakes up every morning and counts his spoons—a measure of how many tasks he feels he can accomplish during his day. One spoon to walk down the stairs, one spoon to teach a class, one spoon to deal with tardy students. Lupus limits him, but he still gives lectures and works at a hospital. He also makes time for friends, and once a week visits Sanguine Loon’s to sate—or subvert—his one strange desire. His nemesis, the one thing besides lupus that keeps him from leading a normal life, is the blood at the bottom of a little paper Dixie cup.
While Tennison’s blood-drinking habit is a secret, it’s well known that he’s the campus asshole and has no tolerance for students who show up late. When he kicks Vogue model Ylati Badashi out of his lecture hall for wandering in ten minutes late, she’s having none of it. She pouts, she seduces, she blackmails, and puts Tennison at odds with his butler, and finally she tells him the truth about why she needs to be in his class.
Tennison is a man of principles, and though he swears he won’t change his mind, he starts to react unexpectedly to Ylati even as he hates her for making him suspicious of his trusted butler. Tennison has to find out where Mitch goes on his nights off and must deal with a budding attraction to a woman he occasionally hates, all while learning new secrets about himself. It’s going to take a lot of spoons.
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I stroll into my lecture hall at exactly nine fifty a.m. and the whispers stop. Old and new faces attentively follow my shuffle as I round my desk to the dry erase board at the front of the room. I pick up a marker that could make any fifth grader swear off glue and write Dr. Tennison – Blood cell biology.
Thankfully, the counselors and older co-eds let it be known that I am “a real dick” and have an aversion to those who are not on time. So, I rolled my eyes when at ten minutes after ten, she of the model-thin body, sporting six-inch stilettos, tight jeans, and a frou-frou blouse, walked in.
“Ms. Tardy, don‘t bother.”
She gave me the oh-gosh-I’m-really-sorry face. “Are there any more seats?”
“Not for you. Please, don’t waste our time. I don’t take add-ons.” I reached under my desk for the medical book I would use to assist in today’s lecture.
“But, I registered for the class.” Ms. Tardy pouted.
“I don’t care. You’re late. No more room. Get out.” The slam of the thousand-page medical dictionary I tossed on my desk should have been enough articulation in my statement for her to leave.
“I got here as soon as I could!” Her whine climbed the scale into annoyance territory.
“Which is not good enough. You’re done.” I pointed at the door. “Get out.”
“Oh come on. What could I have missed in five minutes?”
“The point . . .” I flashed my Rolex from under my sleeve and checked the time. “. . . And it’s been twelve minutes.”
“That’s not fair!”
“What would not be fair is to make a pulmonary patient, lying open on the table, wait twelve life-or-death minutes for a replacement valve. I’m here to teach. One of those lessons I wish to instill is an appreciation for the value of time.”
Ms. Tardy stood there in her tight jeans and pursed lips with a hand on her hip. She looked familiar, but I couldn’t place her. ”You can go now.” I waved a hand in a sweeping motion. “There isn’t room for you anyway.” There were seats in the back, but she looked like a front-of-the-class, I-want-all-the-attention kind of girl.
“But I pre-registered.” She used her hands for emphasis and struck a classic pose that probably got her into any club or out of any trouble she came up against.
Snorting out my disgust, a glimmer of recognition hit me and I looked harder at Ms. Tardy.
This face before me belonged to Ylati Badashi, the recently “retired” model, and her million dollar Vogue body was in my lecture hall. She must have taken my fluster of disdain for admiration, because her supposedly non-collagen-filled lips curved. But it was that I-have-you-now twinkle in her eye that jostled loose my wrath.
I whisked my walking cane from under my desk. Quick as a turtle in sand, I advanced on her with my geriatric, cane-wielding old man shtick, trying to scare her off my lawn. The fear in her eyes fueled my words. “Get out of my hall!”
I was seething by the time she turned tail and bolted out of the room. She looked like a shackled cat running from the spray of a hose. The image brought tears of laughter to my eyes. It had been a while since I’d laughed that hard. I’m sure my students never see me so much as smile.
Even though I knew the price for expressing my emotion would cost me another spoon and wreak havoc on me later, I couldn’t help the satisfied feeling of living up to my so earned title among the students, Dr. Asshole.
“Dr. Tennison, are you alright?” One of my more faithful students, Ms. Phillips, actually sounded concerned.
I returned to my drab demeanor, leaned heavily on my cane, and grunted an acknowledgment to the third-year co-ed. My physical display allowed the monster of lupus inside me to seek retribution and sap away my energy. Disgruntled for wasting precious vitality on a fritter of a person, I forced down my angry self-reprimand. There was no use getting angry over getting angry.
I resumed my emotionless state and taught as I have for the past nine years—with ruthless abandon. No whining, no excuses, and if you’re late, you fail. If you can’t beat my turtle-ass to class, you’re wasting my time, your time, and everybody else’s time.
Stephanie reads for the love of words, and writes fiction about Dark Hearts and Heroes revolving around social taboos. When ever asked, she’ll reply her whole life can be seen through a comic strip ~ sometimes twisted, sometimes funny but always beautiful and its title is adventure. Come play!