The Halls of Academe Ch. 07byKen Nitsua©
Revised version copyright 2006 by the author.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is the final chapter and the conclusion of "Halls." Thanks to all of you who've written and told me you've enjoyed Glenn and Drew's story. This will be the last of the "Steelman Tales" for quite a while, I suspect. KN
I didn't have much time for the next few weeks after Drew's departure to mourn his absence--there was too much work to be done as the beginning of fall term approached. The immediate task was to find a temporary replacement for the following year. I finally hired a graduate student and teaching assistant from the large state university nearby, a pleasant, earnest young woman halfway through her dissertation.
Marcia and I met for lunch the day after the candidate's interview.
"Good hire," she said. "Promising scholarship, terrific teaching evals, nice person."
I nodded. We ate in silence for a few minutes.
"How are you doing?"
I knew what she was asking. "Oh, okay. It was hard for a while, but it's getting better. I miss him a lot, of course."
She nodded. "It was fun having someone of that caliber around, even it was just for a year. Kind of a wake-up call for the rest of us. I finally finished and submitted that article I've been working on forever."
I smiled. "Good timing. You're going to be pretty busy once school starts."
She grimaced. "Don't remind me." She shot me a sly look. "You know, now that Drew's gone..."
I patted her hand. "Sorry, but I'm still stepping down as chair. Hiring Patricia was my last official act."
Marcia shrugged. "Had to give it a try. Do you want me to initiate her paperwork? Might as well get started."
I had told myself not to expect any regular correspondence from Drew, so I was pleased to get an e-mail from him soon after the semester started.
"I'm going crazy trying to keep my head above water, but I wanted to let you know my book is out," he said. "I'm sending you a copy."
When it arrived I opened it. Drew had inscribed a message in front: "To Glenn, thanks for everything. Love, Drew." I was torn between being annoyed that it wasn't more personal and pleased that he had at least written the word "love," even if he couldn't say it to me.
Messages from him were infrequent that fall. I was glad, in a way, because it was easier for me not to dwell on his absence, at least during the days. Still, when I saw the e-mail from him a couple of weeks later, I opened it immediately.
Drew was in a chatty mood, talking about his new position. "Working with grad students is a bit of a change from Steelman, but I'm getting used to it. One of my colleagues here, I have to say, is quite extraordinary. And I'm not just talking about his intellect
A hollow feeling rose in the pit of my stomach as I read his message. During the crisis last spring I had promised to give Drew some space. Though my brain knew most likely he was never coming back to Steelman, my heart had held out the hope that we could continue, in some fashion.
Drew, it seemed, had other plans, and was wasting no time in putting them into action. Try as I might to rationalize that it hurt.
The next few days were difficult. During school hours my work kept me company but I couldn't work around the clock. In the evenings the house was silent and empty without him there. My empty bed was barren and uninviting. I found myself waking in the middle of the night, not being able to go back to sleep.
On top of everything else I was climbing the walls. It wasn't just Drew's intellectual company I was missing.
That weekend I went back to the park, knowing this time exactly why I was going. I hiked along the same back trail I had taken months earlier. I passed several other men but ignored all of them. Now that I was here I suddenly found myself not in the mood. After half an hour I decided to give up and leave. As I was walking back toward the trailhead and the parking lot, though, I saw him.
He was a short, dark-haired man, with a mustache he had probably grown to make his smooth, unlined face look older. Even so, he looked to be no more than in his mid-twenties. He was dressed in a form-fitting gray T-shirt and jeans, typical cruising wear that showed off his tight, muscular body.
He was standing in the woods, a little bit off of the trail so that he was in shadow, his thumbs hooked into his pockets. His gaze was direct and unmistakable. I stared back, wondering if someone this young and attractive could possibly be interested in me.
He turned and walked further back among the trees, throwing a glance back over his shoulder. I felt the heat rise in me and made up my mind, stepping off the path to follow him.
"Excuse me," a low voice said behind me. I turned, startled. Another man stood on the trail, about the same age as my object of interest, though not as attractive. He was tall and lanky, dressed in polo shirt and shorts, with dark hair and a neatly trimmed goatee. His eyes were framed by wire-rimmed glasses, giving him an owlish appearance.
I nodded quickly back at him and turned to follow the other man.
"I wouldn't go in there if I were you."
I wheeled around. "Why the hell not?"
The man shook his head. "Vice cop."
"Really?" I said, surprised.
He nodded. "It's a sting operation. His friends are back there. You unzip, they nab you. I saw them take a couple of guys away in handcuffs a while ago."
"No kidding." I stepped back onto the path. "Well, thanks for telling me. We'd better get out of here." I started to walk past him but he put a hand on my arm.
"Do you have to leave?"
I snorted. "You just told me the place is full of cops."
He lowered his voice. "You have a place? I'd ask you back to my apartment, but I have a roommate."
This was moving faster than I'd intended. I was on the point of making some excuse but there was something about him, an urgency that matched mine. Against my will desire surged up, mixed with a peculiar excitement at the thought of outsmarting the police. "We can go in my car. I'll bring you back here."
"That'd be nice. My name's Jason, by the way, Jason Stedman. Pleased to meet you," he said, offering his hand. I shook it and said my name, suppressing a smile at his formality.
We crossed the parking lot and got in my car. There wasn't much talk on the way home. I regretted my rash decision, though Jason seemed nice enough. It was one thing to go into the woods and impulsively relieve an unbearable need. Picking someone up and bringing him home was a much more calculated act. I didn't like what that said about me.
"You a professor?" Jason asked, when we entered my house.
"How did you know?" I replied, a bit startled that he had figured that out.
"Chronicle of Higher Ed," he said, pointing to a newspaper sitting on the table just inside my front door.
"Oh. Sorry, the house is a mess. I wasn't planning on company."
"Unexpected company's the best kind." Jason smiled and put his hand on my chest. "Thanks for inviting me."
I felt myself responding to his touch and it made me nervous. "Are you always this polite?"
Jason unbuttoned the top button of my shirt, his eyes dark with desire. "Actually I'm not nearly as well-mannered with my clothes off."
He slipped his hand inside and found a nipple. I drew in my breath, and my cock suddenly came to life.
"I love older men, especially when they're as hot as you," Jason murmured as he pressed his lips to mine.
A few minutes later we were on my bed. Without his glasses Jason looked even younger. His body was lean and long, not at all like Drew's. His chest and stomach were dusted with fine dark hair. His arms and legs were corded with muscle, roped with veins. His cock was as slender as his body, as straight and as hard as only a young man's organ can be.
"You must exercise," I said.
"Distance running," Jason said as his lips roved down my chest. He looked up and grinned. "And sex."
He took me into his mouth, running his hands up and down my thighs. I raised my knees and raised my head, watching him work. My body liked what he was doing. It felt good to be wanted. I couldn't help letting out small murmurs of pleasure as he flicked his tongue around my crown and into the opening at the top of the head.
"You're good," I said.
He paused and smiled up at me. "Thanks, man," he said, before resuming his labors. In another minute or so I gasped and pulled away.
"Don't want to cum yet. If I do we're through for the day."
Jason nodded. "I wouldn't want that. You have a great cock. I'd love it if you'd fuck me."
I was going to demur, until I remembered I still had a half-empty box of condoms in the medicine cabinet. Drew and I, of course, hadn't used them lately. I watched the muscles working in Jason's small, firm butt as he went to get them.
He came back to the bed holding a foil packet. He tore it open and hooded me, greasing the outside with neat precise motions using the lube that I handed him. Then he straddled my body and took hold of my cock. A moment later I felt the squeezing warmth of his ass on my shaft. Jason's eyes widened and his mouth opened. He smiled at me.
"Just what the doctor ordered," he said, as he began to ride my erection, pumping his long thighs with quick, enthusiastic motions, jacking his own stiff cock at the same time, making his balls jiggle up and down.
I started thrusting up to meet his downstrokes, which got his vocal approval. Soon I sat up and turned him onto his back, bending him double underneath me as I drilled into him with long deep strokes.
Jason's hand never stopped moving on his cock. "Yeah, fuck me. Oh yeah. Feels so good, your cock inside me. Going to shoot. Oh fuck, here it comes...Oh yeah," he groaned, squeezing his eyes shut and grimacing as white spurts shot from the tip of his rod and across his body.
As his orgasm passed his eyes sought my own. "Jack yourself off in my face," he said. When I didn't respond right away he repeated his request with more urgency.
I didn't particularly want to pull out of his ass, but I obeyed and pulled off the rubber. Jason closed his eyes as I straddled his chest, murmurs of anticipation rising from his throat. The thought of humiliating him with a faceful of cum was hot, and my cock, which had softened partway, grew steely hard again as I jacked it above his eager face. In just a few moments I groaned and pitched forward, unloading onto his forehead, cheeks and lips in long, hot spurts. Jason smiled, keeping his eyes tightly closed, as he tossed his head from side to side.
After a few minutes I rose to my knees. My thighs ached from the unaccustomed exertion. "If those cops could see us now," I said, still panting.
Jason opened his eyes gingerly and grinned. My cum was running off his face and onto the sheets, a white clot clinging to his beard. "Score one for the sodomites."
The mindless desire that had carried me through the day was gone. Suddenly I wanted this to be over. I went into the bathroom and got rid of the condom. When I came back out with a towel Jason was still lying on the bed. He smiled and raised an arm in invitation, but I didn't take the hint. I tossed him the towel, picked up my clothes and started to dress.
"I'll take you back."
"Is it okay if I clean myself up a little first?" Jason asked.
I'd seen the hurt look pass across his face and felt ashamed. "Sure you can. There's another towel by the shower if you need it. Listen," I said, as he got up and walked toward the bathroom, "Thanks again for cluing me in on the sting."
Jason came over and hugged me. He really was a sweet guy. "Don't mention it. What would your students do without you?"
Back at the parking lot he turned to me. "I'd like to see you again, Glenn."
I shook my head, trying to figure out how to let him down gently. "I don't think so, Jason. I--well, I have a partner." At least in my mind.
"Oh." He turned and stared out the windshield. I had the feeling this wasn't the first time Jason had heard those words. "Well, seems like you guys have an open relationship. Maybe we could do a threesome sometime."
"Yeah, maybe." I didn't have the heart to tell him the truth.
"I'm a grad student at the University. Just go their web site and search under my last name. It's Stedman--S-T-E-D-M-A-N."
I nodded, wishing he'd leave. "Got it, Jason. Take care of yourself."
I breathed a sigh of relief when the car door finally slammed. As I was backing out to head toward the exit, I saw the young man Jason had stopped me from following emerge from the trail. I braked to a halt, curious. Another man was walking next to him. They were close together, and at first I thought he had picked up a trick, that Jason had been mistaken. Then they turned in a strange unison and I saw the glint of metal. The second man's hands were handcuffed behind his back.
I drew a bath when I got home. Soaking in the hot water was comforting, as if I were cleansing myself of sin. And there was a lot of sin to be cleansed.
I realized what had driven me to the park. I'd been angry and jealous that Drew had found someone new with such ease. In my zeal to get back at him I'd used a nice boy as an object to get my rocks off, someone who deserved better. I'd also risked arrest as a sex offender, which would have torpedoed my career.
Dried off and dressed in a bathrobe, I sat in my living room and picked up the picture of Drew and me together at the lake. I hadn't looked at it often these past few months, finding it too painful to think about happier times.
Tonight, though, something was different. The people in the photo seemed like two strangers. Drew and I had had something good, maybe even great. But it was gone. Making a fool of myself was not going to bring it, or him, back.
"Get it together," I said out loud. I put the photo down, got out a stack of blue book exams I should have started grading earlier that day and began reading.
I wrote to Drew the next day, saying that I was looking forward to seeing him at the national conference, and to meeting his colleague. It was easier than I thought it would be.
After that escapade I stuck to more productive uses of my spare time. It finally sank in that Marcia taking over as chair meant that I had time to read things other than department budgets, committee meeting agendas and student papers. I read Drew's book. I grabbed time in the library, reading articles in journals I had previously merely skimmed. I pulled out the text of a presentation I had made several years previously, and began to work on turning it into an article.
Almost before I knew it February rolled around, and I was on a plane heading for Chicago and the national historians' conference. While I was waiting in the crowded, noisy lobby of the downtown hotel to register, shifting my weight from one foot to another, I heard my name called. I turned to see Drew approaching, beaming, followed by another man. He hugged me hard, then stepped back and scanned me from head to toe with a critical eye.
"You," he announced, "Look terrific. Not being chair agrees with you."
"So do you," I said, which was the truth. My heart was pounding at the sight, scent and touch of him after months of separation. I could intellectualize all I wanted about the two of us moving on, but my body had other ideas.
Over his shoulder I caught the eye of his companion. "And this must be Anton."
Anton Messier was a well-groomed and very attractive black man. From the very first time Drew had written me about him I had wondered whether they were sleeping together. Now that I saw Anton in the flesh I was sure that was the case.
Drew must have told Anton about our history. He went out of his way to be deferential to me, even though my credentials were nowhere near his in prestige. It was hard to resist his charms, and after half an hour it was as if we were old friends.
The three of us went to dinner the next evening, after Anton had delivered his paper. Once or twice during the meal I caught Drew looking at me with a gentle, conspiratorial look on his face. I smiled back, though I wondered what was up.
Late that evening, while I was watching TV back in my hotel room, I heard a soft knock on the door. When I opened it there stood Drew and Anton, dressed casually. Anton was holding a bottle of Scotch and a tub of ice.
"How about a nightcap?" Drew said.
"Sure, what a nice surprise," I replied, letting them in.
We poured ourselves drinks and lounged, Drew and I stretched out on each of the two double beds, Anton sitting in the one easy chair. We swapped stories of university faculty and sexual harassment accusations.
"Speaking of which," I told Drew, "Nathan Lewis is back at school this year."
Drew rolled his eyes. "Don't remind me."
"He's actually been all right. Seems a lot happier. Says hello in the hallway. I heard he moved out of his father's house into his own apartment."
"That's a step in the right direction."
Conversation continued to flow as gently and easily as the liquor. On top of the wine I'd had at dinner it didn't take long until I was buzzed.
Eventually there was a lull in our chatter. Drew pulled his shirt out of his jeans, yawned and scratched his stomach. I found myself staring at the strip of taut, hairy skin that he was exposing, as well as the healthy bulge in his denims. Not long ago I'd had that body for my own. For the first time that evening I was envious of Anton.
Drew caught my eye just then. He smiled at me, then cast a glance across the room.
"Excuse me. Nature calls." Anton got up, a bit unsteady, walked into the bathroom and shut the door.
"Jesus, it's hot in here," Drew said. "Mind if I get a bit more comfortable?" He kicked off his shoes. Thinking he was going to stop there, I was flabbergasted when he unbuckled his belt and began to peel off his jeans. I stared as he stripped down to a pair of skimpy, well-filled briefs.
"What the hell are you doing?" I demanded. Suddenly the front of my pants felt awfully tight.
Drew smirked. "Getting more comfortable, like I said."
"You do remember we're not alone, right?"
Before Drew could reply I heard the toilet flush, and the bathroom door opened. Out came Anton, carrying his clothes. I gaped at his glowing, muscular form, and what I saw between his powerful thighs.
They glanced at each other, then looked at me, wide grins on their faces. I said what we all already knew.
"You guys planned this."
Drew stood up and came over to my bed. Both he and Anton climbed onto the mattress and descended on me.
"We're going to ravish your body," Drew said, then caught himself. "Only if you let us, of course."
"Please, Dr. Reynolds," Anton said. "You are a most attractive man. I would be honored."
His courtly tone made me chuckle.
"Far be it for me to turn down a Harvard man," I said. I pulled him toward me and got my first taste of his full, sensual lips. As we kissed I stroked his wiry hair, cropped close to his head. His smooth tongue slipped over mine as if they had been made to fit together. His breath was scented with scotch and garlic.
After that it was easy for Drew and Anton to relieve me of my clothes. Drew chuckled approvingly when he saw my own minimal underwear-I'd given up wearing boxers.
"Fucking hot," he said as he peeled the briefs down my thighs.
When all three of us were naked we flopped on the bed in a writhing tangle of limbs, mouths, and cocks. A part of my brain was aghast at what I was doing, but it didn't have the power to stop me.
My mouth enjoyed the novelty of having a choice of cock to suck. I did Anton's while jacking Drew's organ with my hand, then switched. A fleeting thought crossed my mind as I took Drew in my mouth that it would have been nice for us to be alone, but it was lost in the mounting frenzy of our lust.