As he told her what he wanted her to do, she went to work on the other side of his desk from where he was sitting. She was looking at the papers, and one by one, she was reading through them and then placed a post-it note on each with her notes, which, when she passed the papers over to him, he looked over and glanced at the documents and then graded each. As he entered the grades into the computer that was on his desk and waited for the next paper, she handed him he was finding that this system was better for him. They might finish the major stack of documents in a matter of hours instead of his three to four days.

He was smiling to himself as they worked. He was watching everything Deanna did close to the clicking of her pencil to the thoughtful notes she was writing on the notes. He was thinking of class she was in and her as a student. She had changed. She had matured quite a bit in the past few years. She had been one of his younger students in his first year teaching. She was cute if he remembered correctly, but she was too young to even look at. He had tried to ignore her and move on. She was not one of the females who came to him to try and get a better grade or even for help when it was plain to see she wanted to do well in his class though she was grasping for the concepts. As he looked at her now, he was impressed with the four years worth of change in her. Coming to him could not have been easy to do. He had garnered a reputation of being difficult, and he didn’t mind that.

“If we are to work together, don’t you think that I should know your major?” he asked with a smile as he looked at her. She looked up from the paper.

“Laboratory criminalistics.” She said as she went back to the paper. He could see her in a lab working behind the scenes. The thought was shocking though she didn’t seem to care about the high stakes of the field. It wasn’t a good fit for the girl she had been.

“And why exactly is being a TA part of the requirements for this?” he asked, remembering why she was there sitting in front of him. Most of his students he never saw after his class.

“Apparently, I have to have some public speaking experience as well as office skills.” She replied as she looked up to meet his eyes. She wasn’t afraid to speak like she once was. He wondered if she had become comfortable in her skin as she got older or if it was that she was just more comfortable in her life.

“I guess I could see that.” He said as he looked at her.

“Professor, is something wrong?” Deanna asked.

“We will be working together; I think you should call me by my first name when students aren’t around.” He said without thinking. “Call me, Max.”

“Deanna.” She said as she went back to the papers in front of her.

“I will need a copy of your class schedule to make your schedule for here.” He said rather casually as he entered another grade into the computer.

“I only have two classes. Both are on Wednesdays in the afternoon.” She replied. “One to six.”

“Well, that makes this rather easy for us then.” He grinned. He watched as she handed over the last paper in the stack he had given her. He looked at her notes and then submitted the grades into the system on the computer. “That is the fastest I have ever got through a class assignment.”

“Anything else?” Deanna asked as she looked around.

“That was just one class. I am afraid I have six more to get through.” He said as he looked at her with that grin growing.

“Well, then I guess we should get back to work,” Deanna said as she waited for him to hand her another stack of papers in a file. She started reading, and as she went on, she would pick out the critical points and jot them down. She could remember this assignment and how much she hated it, herself. 

They managed to work in silence for most of the time. Every once in a while, the pair stole a glance at the other or as a paper was passed between the two. Deanna was comfortable with the silence. She spent most of her time working on her papers for her post-graduate degree. Deanna was already writing and researching her dissertation. Though she needed a few years in the field with some experience under her belt to ever be taken seriously.

When they were finally done with the seven stacks, she looked around to find that he seemed more relaxed. He was watching the computer as it shut down and then he placed it in his bag. He then looked up at her as she was waiting for something to do. “It is five o’clock. I am surprised we got done before tomorrow. I think this might work out well, Miss Watson. Deanna, I mean.”

“Well, Profes… Max,” she said as she saw his eyes flash, “I can do this anytime, but I will have to read over my notes for each assignment for the stuff later on in your class if it hasn’t changed too much.”

“I rewrote the course two years ago, so I will have you sit in on the class lectures so you can help with the assignments. When I did, I, unfortunately, wasn’t thinking about the amount of paperwork the more homework and papers I would be assigning. I have to wait to redo the course again if I am picked up for next year.” Max said as he sat back in his chair again.

“Why wouldn’t you be picked up?” Deanna asked.

“Well, teaching was something I never planned on doing. I was asked to help develop a new course for those going into the crime scene fields. I thought it would be a good idea because what they had been teaching wasn't relevant to what we actually did when going over a scene. I watched too many people burn out because they didn’t know what they were walking into.” He said as he moved his hands to his desk and then steepled his fingers, “The problem was I had no idea what it was like to be a professor. So the school offered me this position for five years while I work on the new major requirements and courses. My five years are up at the end of this year.”

“But you didn’t give up your career in law enforcement either?” she asked as she stared at him.

“No, I didn’t.” he said with a half-grin, “So I have been working as a consultant for the different departments in the area as their second pair of eyes for the detectives while I did all of this. The real problem is the course is no further along than it was five years ago. I did build the entire course and have everything laid out for them to look at, but like with you, they keep changing everything all the time.”

“So, you understand my frustration with that,” Deanna said as she crossed her legs and leaned back as well.

“Better than most here, I do.” He chuckled. “Deanna, I will be straight with you. I would go ahead and sign the papers for you because I know how the school is. However, I think I could work out a better system if you chose to help out here that would not take up all your time.”

“Thank you for being honest about that. I was slammed this morning with this news and then the runaround with the administration saying

that they emailed me, but I know I didn’t get any email from the school.” Deanna said with a grimace now on her face, “I was dreading having to tell my parents I wouldn’t be graduating in May, and it would take one more semester.”

“I see.” Max said as he thought about what she was saying, “It does happen.”

“I am sure it does,” Deanna said. “My parents, however, want it over with. They didn’t exactly understand why I chose this program over the others out there or this major. It isn’t like they are paying for it, but they will hold it over my head like a sword if I don’t finish this semester.”

“Those type of parents.” Max chuckled. “I know a few of those.”

“I do thank you for the job, and I will continue on. It isn’t like I have that much to do during the week, so now I can fill my time.” Deanna stated, and he looked her over again.

“Well, I have three requirements if you want the job for good,” Max said as he stood up and rounded the desk and then leaned back on it as he was now in front of her. He towered over her as he leaned down.

“Those are?” Deanna asked hesitantly. She thought she had the position already.

“One, I want you to be here when I have office hours and lectures so you can help with grading the papers. Two, on Fridays, I will order dinner, and we will go over each student and their progress or decline so I can send messages to them on what they need to work on. Three, that if something is bothering you about this job, you have to tell me first, and we will try to work it out. I am a hard boss to work for, but I do try to be fair.” Max said as he looked down into her eyes to try and read them. When she let out the air she had been holding and smiled, he knew he was moving in the right direction.

“I can do all those things,” Deanna said with a smile.

“Also, I really don’t want anyone else hanging around when you are at work,” Max said as he stood to his full height in front of her as she stood up.

“That won’t be a problem,” Deanna said as she bent down to pick up her bag and place her glasses and pencils in there.

“That won’t be a problem? Why?” he asked, slightly surprised by that phrase to the statement.

“It isn’t like I have anyone to want to come and hang out as you said.” Deanna smiled.

“No boyfriend?” he asked.

“No,” Deanna said as she looked up to see the look in his eyes change for a second. “I haven’t had much time to have the normal college experiences. I was focused on my school work.”

“I’m sorry.” He softly said, “I just would have thought.”

“Thought?” Deanna asked as she looked at him, and she thought she could see a faint blush in his cheeks.

Nothing. It’s nothing.” He said as he moved away from her for a moment as she looked at him, confused. “I will see you tomorrow then.”

“Tomorrow.” She said as she looked at her watch and knew that if she hurried, she could get to the bus stop before the next one came. She smiled and turned to walk out of his office. “Good night.”

Max Anderson looked at the doorway that she had just walked out of. He wondered how she had matured so much in the four years since he had seen her. She had gone from a young girl to a full woman in that time. She was small. A little shorter than he usually was attracted too. The curves, though that she had were exactly the correct ones to get any man’s attention. She had his the moment she knocked on his door. He sat in the chair and groaned. He had dug his grave by agreeing to have her as his TA. He looked down and had to adjust himself in the seat. This was going to be a painful semester for him.

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