I Found Strange Pictures of My Dad in My Roommate’s Bedside Drawer – Story of the Day

My roommate, Emily, and I were close until I found photos of my dad in her bedside drawer. She claimed they were harmless, but the intimate hug I saw between Dad and her later suggested otherwise. Feeling betrayed, I rashly intervened to keep them apart.

I was overwhelmed with sadness in my dimly lit dorm room, staring at family photos that now felt like relics of a past life. My dad’s words, “We’re getting a divorce, Claire,” shattered my world, making the images of our once-happy family seem distant.

I was a college kid already, but the divorce was still a shock. Suddenly, I remembered Emily’s secret stash of alcohol. Our friendship had become my solace at college, turning her more into a sister than just a friend.

Desperate to escape my pain, I ventured into her messy side of the room to find any hidden bottle. As I rummaged through her things, guilt for invading her privacy battled with my need for relief.

My search led me to Emily’s bedside table, where I found something unexpected in the second drawer—photos of my dad in various settings around the university.

He was a professor at our school, and people knew him as Professor Gallagher. Holding the photos, I frowned as confusion and disbelief consumed me.

I remembered Emily’s comments about my dad’s classes. “He’s just the best teacher,” she’d say enthusiastically. But finding these photos in her drawer changed my perception of her words.

The room felt claustrophobic as I started sweating, and strange thoughts swirled in my mind. The admiration Emily had expressed for my dad and my parents’ divorce now seemed suspicious. But I had to ask her.

Just then, she walked in, her cheerful smile vanishing at the sight of the photos spread out on her bed. She swallowed as we made eye contact.

“I can explain everything,” Emily said, her voice trembling.

“What are my father’s photos doing on your bedside table?” I demanded, standing in the middle of our room.

“I don’t know what you’ve thought, but it’s not like that,” she said, raising her hands.

“Then explain it to me. You’re my best friend, Emily. I’ll understand,” I pressed.

She stayed quiet for a second, but I saw her eyes darting as if thinking of an explanation. Finally, she sighed. “The truth is, I’m in love with your father.”

“In love?” I echoed, my voice a mere whisper. But I cleared my throat and asked. “You mean you’re having an affair?”

“No, no, God, no. It’s just a crush. Nothing more,” Emily clarified. But I told her that my parents were divorcing, and her confession only made things worse for me.

Emily offered her condolences and assured me nothing was going on, a small comfort amidst the chaos that was my life. She then suggested we drink to distract ourselves, and I nodded since that was what I wanted in the first place.

The next morning, nursing a hangover, I dragged myself to a lecture, still thinking about Emily’s confession. However, I could not concentrate and later realized I needed someone to lend me their lecture notes.

I sent a message to a classmate and tried to snap out my troubling thoughts. Then, I tapped on the picture gallery and sighed at all my family photos. I knew right then that I couldn’t wait any longer. I needed to see my father and try to clear things up.

His office was in a different department building, but I knew exactly where. I was about to walk in like I owned the place, but I saw him inside through the small door window. My feet automatically stepped back as my world shattered.

Dad and Emily had been in a tender embrace. I felt my heartbeat in my ears as I ran off, drowning in my roommate’s betrayal.

I stopped and realized I was near the dean’s office. Dean Brown had always been kind to me, and I decided to tell him everything, confident he would understand.

***

“Are you sure about what you saw? Sometimes things can be misinterpreted,” Dean Brown questioned gently, but I was clear. I knew what I saw and even offered to bring him Emily’s photos.

He sighed. “I know that your parents are divorcing. Your father told me. I’m very sorry, Claire. Divorce is always hard for children, regardless of their age. Perhaps you’re taking things out of proportion because of that.”

“Their divorce has nothing to do with what I saw,” I said sharply. “A professor is in a relationship with a student. How can you dismiss it so easily?”

Dean Brown tried to calm me some more, suggesting he’d talk to Dad and Emily to ease my concerns. I was skeptical. He didn’t take me seriously in there.

I decided to face my father for real, but he wasn’t in his office. I looked around to see if anything was amiss in his space – an explanation to ease my worries. Instead, I discovered red women’s panties.

But I didn’t have time to digest it as footsteps echoed outside. I rushed and hid under Dad’s desk. It was him and Emily again. I heard Emily’s voice and felt nauseous.

“I don’t know how much longer I can lie to her. She’s my best friend,” Emily murmured.

“It’s also hard for me not to tell her anything, especially such happy news. But we need to wait until the divorce is over. Claire is taking it very hard,” Dad replied.

I was going to puke. They talked some more about me and my pain. Ha! As if they care! But eventually, they left.

Emerging from my hiding spot, I found an announcement about presentations for a grant, the one I had been working on so tirelessly. I had completely forgotten the date: that evening.

The final project was the culmination of all my efforts for this past semester. I had to focus on that. Everything was ready, but I wanted to rehearse.

I tried to center myself back in my dorm, pouring over my notes and rereading my speech. Despite the chaos in my personal life, I was determined to excel in my presentation.

***

As I waited for my turn in the auditorium, Dad approached me. “Claire,” he started. “I spoke with the dean. There’s something important I need to tell you.”

I braced for his confession. But before we could delve into it, I was called to present.

Stepping onto the stage, the weight of the betrayal I felt from Dad and Emily battled with my determination to succeed. Luckily, my passion for the topic took over, and I delivered a compelling presentation, earning enthusiastic applause.

Afterward, Dad approached me. His genuine pride clashed with the betrayal I felt, leaving me torn and confused. The image of the red panties popped into my head, and I turned back to the stage.

Grabbing the microphone again, I made the hardest choice of my life. “Thank you, thank you to everyone who came today for the presentation, to everyone who supported me,” I said, the sound echoing through the auditorium.

“I feel that I need to share something important with all of you,” I continued. “Today, I experienced betrayal from two of my close people. My father, Professor Gallagher, and my friend and roommate, Emily, are having an affair!”

I produced the red panties as evidence. Everyone gasped, and I saw Emily fleeing in tears.

Dean Brown intervened, leading me offstage as the whispers from the crowd and my own emotions enveloped me. Outside the auditorium, confronted by my father, I accused him of destroying our family for his affair, crying and yelling like a maniac.

“I didn’t sleep with her, Claire! Emily is my daughter!” Dad screamed, and I shut my mouth. This revelation turned my world upside down again.

“What?” I choked.

“I found out about it recently,” he continued, his voice much calmer. “I was with Emily’s mother shortly before I met your mom. It was a time in my life I’m not proud of. I was irresponsible. So, I had no idea about Emily until recently.”

“So, you’re not divorcing mom because of Emily?” I asked, sniffing.

“Of course not,” Dad sighed.

“But you still slept with someone else,” I accused, holding onto the last shred of my argument: the red panties.

He clarified, “They are your mother’s, Claire.”

“Dad, I… I’m so sorry,” my voice shaky, realizing the chaos I had caused.

His response was somber, “I appreciate your apology, but the damage has been done.” He walked away from me. I wanted to run after him and apologize more, but I had to stay behind.

Just then, we were called back to the auditorium. They announced the grant winners, and I was not among them. Dean Morgan approached me afterward, revealing that my outburst had disqualified me from the running.

I cried harder then and didn’t stop until the following day. Emily didn’t come back to our room that night. But I got up early and went to Dad’s office only to learn that Dean Morgan had made him resign.

“Dad, please, there has to be something we can do. It’s all my fault,” I pleaded, crying more.

“It’s too late, Claire,” he replied. “But honey, we all make mistakes. What’s important is that we learn from them and try to do better in the future.”

“I’ll try to make this right. I’ll find a way to fix this,” I promised.

“I know you will,” Dad said with a sad smile. “You’re strong and determined. Just remember to think things through next time. Don’t let your emotions guide your actions.”

I’ve carried those words in my heart since.

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