#60: What You Do

The product of a generous alumni donation, the DeMonterey Tutoring Center at Northshore University was a bustling, state-of-the-art building located in the center of campus. With two full computer labs, eight private study rooms and a spacious open lobby with several group-study tables, the center facilitated all tutoring activity on campus.

...with one exception.

The smooth, grassy aroma of oolong tea wafted through the air battling the natural antique musk of Stein Hall. While the building had received some state-mandated seismic renovation, the facilities committee did not prioritize it for any further improvements, as it remained one of the few vestiges of 'old campus.' With a barebones computer and projector setups in the classrooms as the only visible evidence of the 21st century, it's vintage academic charm made it a popular choice for upper-division lecture courses. It also happened to be the location preferred by the Mathematics Department's most popular and respected tutor.

Eva drummed her fingers on the wooden desktop, waiting in anxious anticipation as her tutor, Krysta Dinh, meticulously evaluated her Statistical Methods homework. Where her professor's primary focus was explanation and examination, with little patience for anything in-between, Krysta challenged Eva to re-frame the problems into real-world scenarios and play with the results. While frustrating at first, Eva found the method improved her confidence as well as her overall conceptual understanding of the subject.

"This is good," Krysta said, "but you still seem shaky on statistical relations. For next week, please bring three use-case scenarios for us to discuss that pertain to your assignment."

"If you can't apply it, you don't understand it," Eva said, holding up a finger.

"Your brain will be better-served contemplating probability distributions than remembering my silly quotes, but I concur." Krysta handed Eva her graded practice exams. "I will see you next week."

"Thank you! You've been so helpful, Miss Dinh."

Krysta frowned. "Eva, I told you. 'Krysta' is fine."

"Sorry!" Eva waited a moment while Krysta checked her phone. "Miss...um, sorry. Krysta. `Can I ask you a question?"

"We have a few minutes left in our session, so you absolutely may still ask a question."

Eva bit her lip. "It might be kinda personal."

With an amused smirk, Krysta sat up in her chair. "Lay it on me."

"Do you...like what you do?"

Krysta raised an eyebrow. "What I do? Can you clarify, please?"

"I had someone tell me that...I mean, I heard that you..."

Krysta leaned forward letting her breasts rest on the desk in front of her, a hint of cleavage appearing in her collar of her oversized tan v-neck sweater. "That I…?"

"...that you graduated from Stanford and that you turned down a Doctoral Fellowship."

Eva did not know what reaction she expected from Krysta, but it was not the abject confusion she'd received.

"I'm sorry! I'm not, like, trying to judge you or anything. You're such a brilliant mathematician, and you understand it all so well. Why are you only tutoring? You could teach this class!"

Krysta chuckled as she resumed packing her notebooks and laptop. "I think one of the biggest mistakes one can make in their life is to choose a career based on what you are good at, rather than what makes you happy. Tutoring works with my schedule and allows me the flexibility to do the other things I enjoy. But yes, that is all true." Krysta's attention strayed for a moment. "Wait, I know my alma mater is on the webpage, but where did you hear about the fellowship?"

"I overheard the department secreta-a-a-administrator asking about it."

Eva suddenly had Krysta's full attention. "Vincent?"

"Yeah, when I was first getting scheduled with you. I was looking for an expert in stats, and he said he'd heard from Dr. Wood."

"Ah, yes. Dr. Wood was unenthusiastic about my hiring."

"Because you'd turned down the fellowship?"

"Among other reasons, but also because the same school had rejected his daughter both as an undergraduate and a doctoral student. So, Vincent asked about me? Did he say anything else?"

"No, I just overheard that bit."

Krysta noticed the deer-in-headlights look on Eva's face and offered a gentle smile. "It is not a big deal, Eva. I was only curious." She noticed a shadow pass by the frosted window on the door. "My 3:00 is here. Is there anything, else?"

"No, I just also wanted to tell you that you look nice today. You should wear makeup more often."

Krysta laughed, patting Eva's shoulder as she guided her towards the door. "Thank you, Eva. I will keep that in mind. See you next week."

Eva waved and left, stepping aside as a tall woman with short black hair, a colorful tattoo sleeve, and two shoulder bags entered. She gave Eva a polite nod before slipping in and abruptly shutting the door behind her. Looking back, Eva offed a puzzled frown before turning and walking away.

"Right on time, as always," Krysta said, shoving her bags under the desk.

"Because I'm a professional," Julie said, as she assessed Krysta's frumpy wardrobe. "Is this what we're starting with?

"Hardly." Krysta removed her sweater to reveal a white blouse stretched taut across her enormous bosom with the buttons hanging on for dear life. She then pulled off her leggings and slipped into a short gray skirt.

Julie nodded with approval. "The re-return of the sexy teacher. Nice."

"Thank you. Also, in other news, Vincent asked about me."

Julie snickered. "The young-and-dreamy new department admin inquires about the busty-yet-demure tutor who's secretly a topless pinup model. The ecchi writes itself."

"Really? 'Dreamy?" Krysta grimaced. 'Handsome,' I am not a teenager."

"But he might be."

"Julie, he is twenty-three...ish. Look, he graduated last year, so obviously he is at least—"

Julie snickered. "Twenty...two?"

"No, I am not doing this right now. I have another tutoring session at 3:30. Hurry up and get started." Julie snickered, and Krysta narrowed her eyes. "What is so funny?"

"It's been a while since you've had a crush. It's weird." Julie held up her camera and framed her impatient subject. "Oh, nice. Let's start with that look."