Cynthia Styrgon, the 20 year old raven-haired beauty, drummed her manicured fingers on the small exam desk. She eyed her watch for the third time in the last five minutes, and just as before she didn't like what she saw. Cynthia sighed heavily and looked at the figures on her paper for yet another time, though she didn't really see them anymore. Her thoughts went to the wedding that was scheduled for today, and the fact that she would be late arriving if things didn't speed up. The delay was to be expected but that didn't mean she had to like it, since she was the bridesmaid for her friend Veronica.
Again Cynthia looked behind her. Two rows back from her was William, her sister Penny's boyfriend, still contemplating his math exam and still very nervous. He was obviously having more trouble with the exam they were taking than she was — and most of the others in this room, which was nearly deserted since there were just a few minutes left.
Cynthia smiled encouragingly in William's direction, but he was concentrating too hard to notice. He was not stupid, far from it, but math wasn't his strongest subject at all. He would still get a good grade, she knew, he was just careful and therefore used all the time they got. Cynthia sighed. Well, he would have to turn his test in soon.
Her thoughts drifted toward the wedding once again. At least she had her dress on already, to spare time. It was a bit strange to take a math exam in such a formal gown, but this way they would reach the church much earlier— and just in time, even if William wrote up to the last minute, as usual. Also formally dressed, William had joked about their clothing issues before the exam, of course, wondering why the wedding wasn't done naked. That would save everyone a lot of time, and it was National Nude Day after all! Cynthia had blushed and threatened to hit him with the math book if he suggested that at the wedding. Penny's boyfriend was simply shameless!
The voice of Dr. Jones interrupted her thoughts, declaring the end of the exam. Finally! Cynthia jumped out of her chair and went to Dr. Jones' desk, handing her exam in with most of the other remaining students. While those few who had been left in the room went away chatting over the questions, the bridesmaid to be strode back toward William who hastily put the last answers on his papers before he let his pencil drop in exhaustion. Cynthia smiled.
"Hurry up, turn in your test. We'll have to run to be in time. Penny will be waiting for us outside already!" she urged him on.
"Oh no, he needn't hurry. I saw everything."
Dr. Jones voice was cold as ice when he said those condemning words. William was shocked and Cynthia whirled toward their teacher.
"What?" both asked at the same time, total disbelief in their voices.
"Oh, I saw him. He wrote for at least another ten seconds after I declared the exam to be over. He needn't bother to turn it in."
William stood there, his mouth open and his so methodically filled papers shaking in his hand. This was the last day of the semester, and he needed this grade badly!
Cynthia instead was stunned. "Ten seconds? You will give him a zero for ten seconds?" she asked incredulously.
"Yes, I will. There are so many papers to grade; I have no problem rejecting one. And now you may go."
Cynthia gasped. "You're using it as an excuse to have less work? Ten seconds? I can't believe it! You are unable to remember any name of any student you teach, you can't explain anything, and now you are trying to avoid work for just ten seconds?"
Jones snorted. "You overstep your boundaries, young lady. It's not up to you to judge my teaching or methods. I do as I please. And now get out of here, before I give you an F to teach you manners. I don't have to know your names; I already know the one on the top of my stack belongs to you!"
Cynthia was dumbstruck by this, but became furious in mere moments. She went two steps toward Dr. Jones, her fists clenched, her teeth grinding. William immediately went after her, putting his hands on her shoulders before she did anything she'd regret later.
"Do you know who I am?" she screamed at her arrogant teacher. She hated to invoke the Styrgon family name in this, wanting to achieve everything on her own and not to be in debt to her mother, the president of Styrgon Industries.
Dr. Jones stayed aloof. "No, I don't know your name, and I don't know his either, before you ask. And I don't care about either of them, thank you. I don't need to know the name of any of my students, even if they are wearing penguin clothes or nightgowns. Don't you know how to dress appropriately for a day like today?" Jones snorted in disgust. "Now, if you will excuse me? It's leisure-time for me, finally."
Cynthia couldn't believe what she was hearing. Veronica had picked the dress herself; the style was traditional in her family, honoring her heritage. William gripped her even harder, but Cynthia had no intention of throttling their teacher this time. His last sentence had given her an idea. Jones turned towards his stuff and Cynthia turned to whisper something to William. The young man's eyes grew wide.
"Just do it!" Cynthia urged her sister's boyfriend and then pushed him to the side. She was ready for Jones now.
"Dr. Jones!" she called to her teacher, deadly calm now. He slowly turned, his eyebrows raised.
"So you think I should wear something more appropriate for a day like today?" Cynthia didn't wait for his answer, "Whatever you say."