British Billionaire's Unwanted QuadrupletsBy: Sophia Lynn & Ella Brooke
Dr. Ian Cartwright towered over his students as they looked up at him in rapt fascination. His words shouldn’t have come as a surprise; every student in the room was a senior. Every one of them had enough experience in business classes to give a lecture. But for some reason, every word Dr. Cartwright spoke seemed to draw them all in further.
Hazel Greenwood felt her chest tightening as he walked past her. The gentle wisp of his cologne caused a shudder to run up her back. It always did. As much as she had initially been resistant to take this extra business course, she had to admit that she looked forward to coming twice a week. Even if she wasn’t a business major. Even if she disagreed, in principle, with much of what Dr. Cartwright said.
She had gotten into a verbal altercation with her professor at least once a week since the semester had started, sometimes twice. Once she had gone to his office to discuss his comments on her audience analysis essay, totaling out their fights that week to four. At least he didn’t seem to hold ill-will toward her for their altercations. He smirked when he felt he was “correcting” her naïve assumptions about how businesses should work. It must’ve been entertaining to him.
On Hazel’s end, these fights were much less enjoyable. She’d never had so much trouble getting along with a teacher before. It wasn’t that he disliked her—Hazel wished that she could have that kind of excuse. Over the summer, Dr. Cartwright had hand-selected his class from proposals that the students had given to the program director in the business school. So even if Dr. Cartwright mocked her degree plan and thought that majoring in Nonprofit Management (in addition to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies) was a waste of time, Cartwright had chosen for her to be there. He should’ve guessed from her application that Hazel would have a fundamentally different understanding of how businesses should conduct themselves.
Leaning on her hand, Hazel looked over the complex maze of information on the board. This class was more of a practicum than a lecture since she and the others already had business plans set out for their ventures, but Dr. Cartwright liked to hear himself talk. Usually, on Tuesdays, there was no stopping him from giving a long, meandering rendition of one of his business experiences.
“You must never confuse language with communication. You can definitely have one without the other, but if you’re looking to make your business as efficient and well-functioning as possible—” Dr. Cartwright pointed his finger around the room at them as the two other female students swooned at his British accent. “—You mustn’t forget to engage in both.”
Hazel closed her eyes for a moment, trying to imagine what it would be like to watch Cartwright speaking without saying anything. Sometimes it seemed as though he did already, but Hazel felt like she must just be unable to parse his communication. Likewise, he didn’t always seem to pick up the meaning when she spoke.
It was easier to imagine Dr. Cartwright shucking off that stiff suit jacket, unbuttoning his shirt with one hand as he continued to talk and talk and talk. Button by button, he’d reveal a broad set of pecs that didn’t belong to a professor…
He wasn’t really a professor though. Dr. Cartwright came by his Ph.D. as an honorary award from the university. His qualifications lay instead in being a multinational corporate billionaire. His suits were filled in such a way that Hazel could tell he had plenty of time to work on his muscle tone outside of his business meetings and classrooms. There wasn’t a girl in the department who hadn’t gone out of her way to check out the ring situation on his left hand.
No ring. Definitely not married. Hazel could’ve confirmed as much before she’d even found out about Topics in Entrepreneurship 5436. Cartwright’s most recent divorce had been well-covered by the checkout magazines at every store. Since Hazel spent most of her nights swinging the night shift at the local discount grocery, Hazel had plenty of reasons to check in on the lives of the rich and the feckless.
Hazel flushed as her eyes popped open to the rest of the class looking at her. Daydreaming in class. How unprofessional. She was a senior now. She couldn’t be doing that stuff.
“I’m sorry, Dr. Cartwright. What were you saying?” Hazel said with as much dignity as she could muster.
His lips curved into a smirk as he crossed his arms and leaned back on his desk. “I was hoping you could elaborate for us how the Nonprofit Sector would handle a miscommunication between partners.”
Hazel frowned and thought on that. “I don’t know that our communication practices are that much different from in for-profit ventures. Maybe in that we have structures in place to mobilize a base of citizens to action…”