tagGay MaleTangled Web

Tangled Web

byRolandQ©

CHAPTER ONE

A glance at his closet was all you need to know Mr. Marcus. There, hanging in fussy uniformity were his jackets, trousers, shirts, and even ties, various yet not too varied shades of gray. Flannel, tweed, corduroy - softened with age, defying passing trends. And yet, almost hidden in the back was a dress shirt, white with light blue checks, the shirt he wore when he felt especially daring.

Today was such a day. The early fall light fell magically through the leaves of the tall trees surrounding his little house, the change of season announced by branches of red and gold among the green. The tang of fall air, warmed by a lingering summer sun drew him out of his grayness, calling for a gesture, he decided on the special shirt and to forego a tie.

He walked along the path that led from his home to the college administration building where he worked as an accountant, though every three semesters he taught an introductory accounting class. Mr. Marcus was proud of his membership among the faculty, it was a small but important distinction among the business office staff. He was occasionally invited to faculty events, each time he felt honored. The Provost called him by his first name, Stuart. Everyone else knew him as Mr. Marcus. He was secretly pleased to his toes when a student from one of his classes recognized him and addressed him as Professor or Doctor Marcus, though he always fastidiously corrected them that he did not deserve those titles.

The 'girls' of the business office, as they were called but had long passed middle age, noticed his rakish change of fashion. He blushed at their compliments, remarking that the beauty of the day called to him.

His feeling of daring was again piqued as he stood in the lunchtime line in the cafeteria. He chose, not the usual luncheon special, but a bologna sandwich, apple and bottle of iced tea. Why? So he could enjoy his meal a plein aire. On such a lovely day, only French would do to express his thoughts, though his French had long since faded to a few bons mots.

An ancient stone bench at the foot of a grand maple called invitingly from across the Quad. The stone was warm from the sun as he sat. His senses were alive with the smells of fall, the warm sun on his face and hands, the sounds of birds and student conversations. His seemingly pedestrian lunch abounded with flavor. He closed his eyes, raised his face to the sun and drank in every sensation.

"May I share your bench?"

From deep in his meditation, Mr. Marcus heard the deep, rich voice reminiscent of a rumble from the great Chaliapin whose recordings lay gathering dust in a cupboard in his living room.

"Of course." The daring Mr. Marcus of a moment ago withdrew into the painfully shy Mr. Marcus, accountant. He lowered his gaze to his feet. There to the left of his own carefully polished, tightly tied shoes were naked, somewhat furry ankles above scuffed loafers many sizes larger than his own. Frayed cuffs of khakis in need of pressing led past knees to long, muscular thighs evident in the pant's legs. A hand rested on one of these thighs, the back covered by fine hair, golden in the sun light. The hair coarsened on the veiny forearm, exposed by shirt cuffs rolled to the elbow. The blue shirt sleeve strained against the bicep it enclosed. The broad expanse of shirt across the chest had three buttons open, exposing pectorals covered with dense hair. The neck was closely shaved, the chin strong but showing a shadow of beard. The lips were full, in a broad smile, teeth a little irregular, but very white. The nose was angular with signs of a long ago break. And the eyes, blue like the sky, gleaming with intelligence. Mr. Marcus licked his lips.

"I'm Calvin Stephenson." He held out his large hand for Mr. Marcus to shake. "I'm covering classes in Economics for Dr. Childress during her absence. This sure is a beautiful campus, nothing like UCLA. When I heard about the chance to teach here, I jumped. Thankfully, the administration liked me well enough to make the offer, so here I am. Too bad about Dr. Childress, I hear its cancer. They can do a lot more with that these days. And you are?"

His words were like a bass aria, resonant and rich. The sound struck Mr. Marcus's ears and vibrated in his chest, a vibration he could feel to his core.

"Oh, forgive me. I was lost in this lovely day. I'm Stuart Marcus, sometimes accounting teacher, usually assistant to the college treasurer. Nice to meet you Professor Stephenson."

"They usually call me Calvin, or to my close friends, Cal. Stu, you're one of the administration people I need to see today, process payroll forms and all."

No one had called Mr. Marcus 'Stu' since he was an undergrad, many, many years before. The sun paled in warmth to the radiance of 'Cal'.

"Welcome to the college, Calvin, Cal." Mr. Marcus's daring was returning. "We're on the ground floor of the main building any time you can stop by. We'll get you all settled in."

"Thanks Stu. This college is certainly friendlier than I'm used to. I will say the visiting faculty accommodations are bit like going back to college. I had forgotten what a dorm bed was like until somewhere in the middle of last night. The food in the cafeteria isn't bad, but I do miss having a kitchen to cook in for myself. I really enjoy cooking."

Mr. Marcus leaned back to take in the man next to him. He would have guessed football or rugby would be his likely pursuits, not cooking. The intense masculinity of this man was off putting to Mr. Marcus who was self conscious in the presence of most men. He made the excuse of needing to get back to work and scuttled off. As he crossed to Quad, he looked back twice, both times meeting the eyes of the large man who waved and smiled at him.

***



Safely back in his office, he sat at his desk, hearing his own heart beating loudly, and not from his hurry across the Quad. He logged onto his desk top, entered his security codes and stared at the screen full of numbers. His mind played over and over the scene on the bench. He prayed that he had not offended Professor Stephenson. He consciously slowed his breath and calmed down, a feeling of excitement hollow in his chest.

"Professor Stephenson to see you, Mr. Marcus." It was Gladys, a sunny but portly member of the business office front desk staff.

Mr. Marcus's heart raced again. "Professor Stephenson" he offered in greeting.

"Cal" the large man corrected engagingly. He held out his hand across the desk to Mr. Marcus. Mr. Marcus shook it, thrilling at the touch that repeated the greeting from outside.

"I've got all the forms right here" he said, indicating a daunting stack of papers on his desk as he sat. Cal moved around to lean over Mr. Marcus, reading over his shoulder. Cal rested one hand on the desk, the other on Mr. Marcus's shoulder. Mr. Marcus breathed in his scent of aftershave and man musk. His head reeled. He gathered himself to continue their business, producing forms and responding to the documents Cal presented. "There's just a few forms you have to sign. Do you have proof of citizenship with you? Yes, a passport will do. Social Security Card? Okay. Number of dependents? Zero? Marital Status? Single. Okay." Mr. Marcus noted these items with interest.

"No girlfriend, either" Cal offered suggestively.

"None of my business" replied Mr. Marcus tartly. He stacked up the forms, giving Cal copies. "Here's a temporary ID card that will get you into campus facilities like the library, gym, and so forth."

"Do you use the gym?" Cal asked.

"I try to get a swim in a few times a week."

"Maybe I'll see you there sometime."

"Perhaps."

"You said you teach accounting, that means we're in the same department. I guess business courses don't rate their own department at a liberal arts college. Makes sense to me. You can help me get acquainted with the other faculty members."

"Anything I can do to help, of course," was Mr. Marcus's solicitous reply. Cal thanked him again and went out passing the business office staff. Mr. Marcus heard their giggles and chat about the handsome new professor. He shared their fascination.

***



Mr. Marcus lost himself in swimming laps. It was the most quiet time in his quiet life. Sight and sound were lost to the water as it passed along his skin like a soothing caress. He retained the calm of his swim as he entered the locker room, making his way to a distant corner that offered a semblance of privacy.

Mr. Marcus heard him before he saw him. The distinctive voice of Professor Stephenson, greeting students warmly, completely at home in the athletic environment. The sound came closer. And there he was, consuming the open space at the end of the aisle of lockers. Mr. Marcus felt cornered. Why should he, he wondered. It was just another man in the locker room. And yet not just another man.

Cal stood naked, save for a damp towel around his waist. Mr. Marcus looked up at him, trying to keep awe from his face. "Stu" Cal exclaimed with affection. As Cal moved toward Mr. Marcus, the outline of his cock shifted against the damp towel, the large outline of the glans impossibly far down, nearly at the bottom of the towel. Mr. Marcus's own penis twitched. "Glad to see you here. Have a good swim? I was hitting weights."

"I can tell." Mr. Marcus admired the still swollen muscles on Cal's chest and arms.

"Trying to stay in shape. Tough to do with desk jobs like ours. Especially with cafeteria food."

"Um, I, uh, well, if you'd like, and I don't intend any obligation, but I do live just off the campus, the small house along the short cut to town. My kitchen is certainly not to gourmet standards, but it's quite serviceable. You'd be welcome to use it." Mr. Marcus had stepped beyond his comfort zone.

"That would be great. I really appreciate the offer. Hey, how about tonight? I could stop and get a few things. What do you like? Fish? There's a market just in town, right? How about seven?" Cal was unstoppable. Mr. Marcus nodded 'yes' to all questions. "Oh, is there a Mrs. Marcus I should include?"

Mr. Marcus explained that his wife and he had separated a few years before. While they had not processed a divorce, she now lived in New York. They did not talk.

Cal accepted this without comment. Cal opened a locker a few removed from Mr. Marcus's locker and snapped off his towel. His heavy cock swayed, trapping Mr. Marcus's attention despite his efforts to look away. He felt diminutive in all ways in the presence of Cal.

Cal hummed happily as he dressed, telling Mr. Marcus of the various faculty and administration members he had met. Most, it seemed to him, either lived at a distance from the campus or were very involved in the lives of their children. It made the campus a lonely place for a single man, ironic with the presence of thousands of nubile young students. He accepted the very strict but appropriate guidelines on faculty/student relationships, acknowledging that only trouble lay in that area.

Once fully dressed, Cal took a moment to check his image in the mirror, then waved to Mr. Marcus with "see you at seven" and disappeared around the corner.

***



Mr. Marcus walked toward his home. He wondered how the evening would play out. What could he, drab Mr. Marcus, have in common with the vibrant, handsome, and sensual Cal Stephenson? Mr. Marcus knew he needed to tidy up his house. While naturally neat, he had lived alone in the house for over two years. No one had visited him in all that time. Upon entering his own home, he noticed for the first time the many small accents his wife had added -- pillows on the couch, a vase long empty of flowers, student paintings on the walls. It was a nice house, small but comfortable. Mr. Marcus straightened up as he could, stashing unread magazines into a drawer. He went into the bathroom to make sure it was presentable, only needing to put out fresh towels. As he passed, he looked into the bedroom. The double bed sagged in middle, not so comfortable as familiar. It looked lonely. He sighed.

A great rapping came from the front door followed by lively hallooing. Cal had arrived, not waiting for an answer to come through the door. "Sorry I'm early, but I didn't see any sense passing right by here to go back to the campus and then turning around. I've got some cold stuff anyway, and it wouldn't fit into my 'dorm' fridge. Kitchen through here?" Cal passed the stunned Mr. Marcus. "Hey, do you have a grill?" Not waiting for an answer, Cal bounded out the back door. A moment later, he poked his head through the back door and shouted, "Just enough charcoal, do you have any newspaper I can use to start it? The salmon will be great over the coals." Mr. Marcus provided a stack of newspaper. "Thanks. Hey, open the wine. I got a couple of bottles of a pretty good white -- and it's already cold." Mr. Marcus searched for wine glasses and a corkscrew, finding them in the unused dining room. He opened and poured the wine, taking the glasses out to the back patio where Cal was lighting the grill. "Great house. Right near campus, and yet very private. Lovely view from your patio here. Hey, the wine is as good as the clerk said."

Mr. Marcus had as yet to say a word. He stood to one side of the patio, feeling self conscious in his own home. He sipped the wine, cool and crisp, much like the evening air. He closed his eyes trying to find enough confidence to speak. An arm wrapped around his shoulders. "Thanks, Stu, for letting me barge in on you. I really appreciate the chance to prepare a real meal. It will be nice to eat with another adult. The students, they're great, but they're in another place than we are, it's not the same as spending time with adults."

Mr. Marcus felt the warmth of acceptance from a peer. "Yes, yes it is." Mr. Marcus prayed for the moment, for the partial hug to continue. It ended too soon.

"There's stuff in there for a salad and some couscous. I think it's a good mix of the major food groups. And I'm liking the entry from the 'wine' group" Cal jested.

The smell of the grilling fish was exquisite. "I bought wild salmon, so much better. How do you like it? I like it a little more done -- unless I'm having sushi."

Mr. Marcus retreated to the house to set the dining room table for two at opposite ends. He wondered if candles would be too much. Cal came bustling into the kitchen to prepare the salad, helping himself to the contents of the cabinets for spices, utensils and dishes. He seemed more at home in Mr. Marcus's kitchen than Mr. Marcus. When the salmon was done, Cal brought it into the dining room on a platter, dashing back to the kitchen for the other dishes. On seeing Mr. Marcus's table arrangement, Cal took a step back, took a moment for thought, then immediately rearranged things so they would face each other across the narrow width of the table. He spotted candles on the sideboard, centered them on the table and lit them.

"When it's colder, a fire in the fireplace will be great." Cal was planning ahead.

They sat and ate the meal Cal had prepared. It was as delicious as any Mr. Marcus could remember. The wine was perfect. Cal held up most of the conversation, though Mr. Marcus did share a few anecdotes about the college. He had been there as an undergrad, gone to the city for graduate school, and had returned when finished with his master's degree to join the business office, so knew the college and its denizens well.

He had met his wife there. How had he begun speaking of his wife, he wondered? The story came out of him, almost against his will. They had purchased this house and lived their together he thought happily. A few years before, Mr. Marcus's wife had tearfully shared with him her disappointment at not having had children. For Mr. Marcus, it hadn't been a conscious choice, it had just never happened. Mr. Marcus's wife despaired of her life. She announced one day that she needed a change and had moved out that afternoon. Mr. Marcus had not seen her since. She called to tell him she would not be coming back and that if he wanted a divorce, she would cooperate, she wanted nothing from him.

So at the college, in this house, he still was. Cal made sympathetic noises throughout Mr. Marcus's story. Cal got up from the table, offering to help clean up. Mr. Marcus refused, already regretting that this would hasten Cal's departure, but too late, it was done.

"Let's do this again soon, please?" Cal tried to persuade.

"Any time at all. This was the best evening I can recall."

"Kind of you to say that."

"Tomorrow?" Mr. Marcus was optimistic.

"I'm afraid I have to run into the city tomorrow, maybe the next night?"

"Sure, whenever it works for you." Mr. Marcus tried to dampen his disappointment.

Cal wrapped his arms around Mr. Marcus in a great hug, leaving Mr. Marcus breathless, bid him good night, and set out for the campus on his bicycle. Mr. Marcus stood on the porch, watching the retreating figure until he passed out of sight. A slight scent of Cal lingered in the house when Mr. Marcus went inside. He breathed it in. He was grateful to touch the plates and silverware Cal had used, happy to be in service to Cal as he cleared the table and washed the dishes.

***



The following day, though as bright, held no sunshine for Mr. Marcus. He plodded through his day, skipping his swim, and retired to sulk at home.

Another day passed, but Mr. Marcus did not see Cal around the campus. He went to the athletic facility, did a perfunctory swim, but still no Cal. He began to feel like a stalker. They had made no specific date for dinner, there was no obligation, only Mr. Marcus's wish to see Cal.

Cal called late that night. "Hey Stu! Sorry I didn't make it tonight. I got caught up with some students reviewing papers and stuff. We grabbed a bite down at the pub and things ran late."

"No problem, Cal, we didn't really have anything definite. Whenever it works for you, I'm always around." Mr. Marcus replied sadly.

"Great. I look forward to getting together again. Let's see what happens." Cal was enthusiastic, but non-committal.

Mr. Marcus struggled through another day. No one noticed his sadness around the office. He guessed it was too much like his normal disposition. Oh well. He had an evening meeting with the treasurer to review the status of the endowment -- better than expected, yet never enough. The treasurer suggested that Mr. Marcus organize a meeting with the development department to explore ways to increase funds for the college. Mr. Marcus nodded his acceptance of the task.

The walk back to his house seemed to take longer than usual. Mr. Marcus felt the emptiness of his house when he went in. He took a TV dinner out of the freezer and turned on the oven. He hated the noise of the microwave and was usually content to wait for the longer conventional cook time. Nothing to do until bed time anyway, not that he was sleeping much lately.

Then he heard it. The sound of bicycle tires on his gravel drive. His heart was in his throat. He was here! "Hey Stu! I made it after all. And hey, I've got surprises and treats." Cal came through the front door laden with bags.

"How did you manage to carry all these things on your bicycle?"

"I'm a big guy, I can manage."

"I've got a car in the garage I almost never use. Please feel free to make use of it. It would be good to get it out once in a while."

"Thanks, Stu, I'll take you up on that. I'll get the grill going, more charcoal right here. We're having steak and baked potatoes tonight. It's 'man's night', tonight. I've got the makings for Manhattans, for which I confess to a weakness. You get some glasses and ice. We'll start out a little sweet with a cherry, but finish straight up. Bourbon that is." Cal made the drinks and handed one to Stu. Hell, Mr. Marcus didn't drink, certainly not bourbon, this was Stu coming out of his shell.

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