“He fucked a student!” Claire lashed out, as Dean Parker stared at her in surprise at her outburst.
Leaning forward, the Dean braced his elbows on his desk, “Miss Anderson, if you would please calm down.”
“Calm down? I spent all weekend trying to be calm and it didn’t work. I thought I could do this, I really did, but he’s at the library all the time and so is she, I can’t stand to work there knowing that I’ll see them. Dean, please understand, with my dual degree in legal studies and library sciences….”
“You are exactly where we need you,” the Dean finished.
“But there are other libraries.”
Before the Dean could respond, his secretary rushed into the office.
“I am sorry to interrupt, sir, but your eleven o’clock is here.”
“Two more minutes, Mrs. Meade,” the Dean said to her before she nodded and left the office.
“Dean Parker, surely…” Claire’s voice trailed off as he held up his hand for silence.
“Miss Anderson, there are no rules against liaisons between professors and graduate students. If she were an undergrad, chances are he would be called before the ethics committee, but she isn’t. On top of that, Professor Daniel Simons is a tenured professor whose publications have helped with alumni donations.”
Claire balled up her fists tightly, “So that’s it then.”
Rocking back in his chair, he steepled his fingers as he stared at her thoughtfully. “Maybe not. There is a new student.”
“So?” Claire did not understand why the Dean was telling her about a student. It had nothing to do with her transfer.
“He is a high profile student and it is important to keep him around.”
Claire frowned, “Okay, then. What does that have to do with me?”
“I want you to show him around campus.”
Claire raised her eyebrows. “Ah, no thank you.” She had no intention of babysitting some rich kid.
“If you do that for me, I will make sure that you get the transfer.”
Claire’s jaw hung open. Was he actually blackmailing her? “This isn’t fair.”
Shrugging his shoulders, “As a private university, you know that we get the majority of our funding from donors. Having high profile students and professors on campus goes a long way toward securing that funding. There is a rumor that he doesn’t plan on remaining at Harvard but if you could get him to stick around until at least half-way through the term and possibly get him to attend an upcoming donor function, it would help tremendously. In return, so long as he remains until say,” the Dean paused, rubbing the stubble on his jaw, “Harvest Festival in mid-October, I will do my best to see that you are transferred to a library that Professor Simons doesn’t frequent; perhaps one off campus.”
Claire stared at him now completely sure that he was blackmailing her.
“I don’t know,” she replied quietly, dipping her chin. “Who is this student anyway?”
Claire’s eyes flew open. “Taleb?” The guy with his own female fan club. Great.
“I guess you know about him already. As you can see, he is an important figure. We need to keep him satisfied and at our university.”
“Okay,” she said reluctantly. “But what do you want me to do with him?”
“As an alum here, you know this campus and the local area well. You were an academically excellent student with a great reputation and you work here. Show him around and give him a taste of Western culture.”
“I guess…” Claire trailed off.
“Claire, I have every faith in you that you will know exactly what to do,” the Dean said cajolingly. “Just make sure he is impressed.”
Before Claire could reply, someone burst into the office, someone tall, dark and handsome. She recognized him immediately – Taleb.
Another man followed quickly behind him as Claire raised her eyebrows at the sudden intrusion. She was shocked to see him, especially after they had just finished talking about him. He was much more handsome up close with his dark brown hair and sexy beard that looked about a week old.
“We had a meeting at eleven sharp,” he said to the Dean. Claire looked at him as he stood there huffing in indignation. She did not appreciate the fact that he had just burst into the office without invitation and now he was interrupting their conversation. He seemed rather rude.
“Apologies, Sheik Sharqi, for keeping you waiting,” the Dean said to him quickly, jumping up from his chair. “This is a good time to introduce you both, actually. This is Claire Anderson; she will be showing you around campus and the area.”
Claire felt awkward as the Dean introduced her to him. She was not prepared for all this to happen so quickly, after all, she had only just agreed to do it. He turned briefly to face her before turning back to the Dean. Claire’s smile rapidly shifted to a frown as he didn’t bother to greet her. She could not believe that this was the same man that Kim had spoken so highly of. Maybe there was some sort of mistake.
“I do not need anyone to show me around,” Taleb told the Dean, completely ignoring Claire.
“Given that you are new here, we thought that you would benefit from having one of our graduates and current employee show you around the campus and make sure that you have everything that you need.”
Turning his head, Taleb sized Claire up as she sat there slouched in her chair wearing a pair of baggy pants and a well-worn Harvard hoodie. Returning his attention to the Dean, “No really, I do not require a…babysitter.”
“Miss Anderson is nothing of the sort…”
As the Dean continued to talk, the conversation became white noise for Claire as she crossed her arms and openly glared at Taleb’s back. She didn’t care who he was, he needed to learn some manners.
Why was it that all the good-looking ones were such assholes? Why did he have to be so attractive? He could easily grace the cover of one of her romance novels. And a sheik? Really? He was every woman’s fantasy, including hers, and he was looking at her as if she were nothing more than a fly on the wall.
Wait. Why was he looking at her?
Claire snapped out of her thoughts when the Dean cleared his throat. Looking up, she was surprised to see all three men staring at her curiously.
“Sorry, did you say something, sir?” Claire asked apologetically.
“I was confirming that tomorrow morning was convenient for you to meet to begin the tour.”
Nodding her head, she was about to respond when Taleb interrupted.
“Fine, I will meet you on the front lawn at eleven. Don’t be late,” he told her curtly before he strode out of the room with the other man following behind.
As he walked away, Claire was unable to hold it in any longer as she shouted to his disappearing back, “Nice to meet you, too.”