That's Not The Norm

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I slammed the stack of plates onto the kitchen counter and tossed a handful of cutlery on top, not bothering to disguise how absolutely infuriated I was.

Normally I enjoyed working the occasional shift at my boyfriend's family's coffee house; things had improved considerably once I finally mastered the art of making macchiatos. It was just today of all days that work wasn't doing a damn thing for me.

No, I would've much preferred being at home, taking a bubble bath and moping, like I normally did whenever I was upset.

Being around so many glass dishes just made me want to smash things.

"Stupid, idiotic, dumb ass professor," I grumbled as I shoved the plates onto a shelf beside the sink. "Same dumb ass professor who said himself that correlation does not prove causation, only to turn around and mark the shit out of my paper because I make the same point? Ugh."

A hand reached out seemingly out of nowhere and caught my wrist as I made to grab a cutting knife from the dishwasher, startling me and making me jump about a foot in the air with a loud shout.

"Sweetheart, I'm a little afraid of what you'd do with that knife if your professor suddenly came through the front door."

"Jesus, Archer!" I gasped, leaning up against the counter, clutching at my chest. "You scared the shit out of me!"

My boyfriend's lips pulled up into a grin as he took the cutting knife from the dishwasher, reaching behind me to slide it into the knife block. "I did call your name about four times, Hadley."

It wouldn't have mattered either way - Archer had this habit of walking around without making any noise and it scared the living daylights out of me more often than not. He didn't outwardly say it, but I knew he thought it was amusing and tried to see how high he could make me jump each time.

"Oh," I said. "Sorry."

He shook his head, his grin widening as he took care of the cutlery still on the counter. "Professor Harris giving you more trouble?"

"Like you even need to ask," I grumbled.

I was close to finishing up my first semester of schooling for my masters at Stony Brook University, and with finals so close, I was about ready to start ripping my hair out. It was considerably more intense than working for my bachelors was, but nothing I couldn't handle.

Or so I'd thought. Professor Cal Harris was seriously picking at my last shreds of sanity. Dropping out was becoming more and more appealing by the day, but I knew I'd regret it for the rest of my life if I actually caved. I'd be much better off if the guy's damn class wasn't required for graduation.

Archer was supportive of my going straight for my masters after graduation last June. He was perfectly content with his time at the Pratt Institute as the conclusion of his schooling, but understood that getting my master's would only improve my chances of getting hired after becoming a certified counselor.

Even if Archer and I didn't always see eye-to-eye on certain things, at least we shared similar thoughts about the future - that is, we both knew it was going to be hard and frustrating and impossible, and we had to do the most we could to prepare for it.

I didn't see it as being pessimistic. I saw it as being realistic. Either way, my patience was seriously wearing thin at the moment. I probably would've done something drastic if Professor Harris had strolled through the door while I had a knife in my hand.

"Okay, okay, stop for a second," Archer said suddenly, catching me before I could pile anymore coffee mugs into my arms. "You're going to drop those if you keep at it."

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