Cupid's Sophomore Year, Semester 01byxaviermayne©
I have placed the two piles of clothes on a bench so that they can sort them out. They pick through for the underwear first, which I'm sad about, because it means that the sexy bits are going to be covered, but there's still a lot of hotness left on them. Dad grabs the bright blue D&Gs, leaving Junior with the basic black. As Junior handles the black boxer briefs he looks at me and cocks one eyebrow up. He knows I went shopping for the sexy underwear. I put on my best "I have no idea what you're accusing me of" look--the one I used in high school when Mom found questionable content in my web browsing history--and it seems to work.
I resign myself to losing sight of Mr. Goodgenes' goodies, but before he slips on the underwear he surprises me by standing up straight and walking over to where I'm sitting on the next bench over. He reaches out a hand. He's completely naked, and he's reaching out a hand.
"You've been so nice to help us, and we haven't even introduced ourselves. I'm Ted, and this is my son Skyler." I shake his hand, and then watch as his son comes over to extend his--it's too bad he had time to put the black boxer briefs on before doing so, but I'll take what I can get.
"Call me Sky," he says, smiling warmly and shaking my hand.
Oh, I will definitely be calling you--you have potential.
"I'm Josh," I say, hoping that Sky will remember it next time he needs someone to watch him shower. They smile and nod.
"You know, this place hasn't changed much at all since I was here," Ted says, looking about the shower room. I don't think it's changed much since Abe Lincoln took the train through town, but I don't say this.
"You went to the U?" I ask, because I'm polite, and because the longer I keep him talking the longer he'll stand there in just his son's underwear.
He smiles broadly at the memory. "I did. Played baseball all four years--we took regionals in my last two seasons."
"Dad," protests Sky, who's clearly heard this all before, and doesn't want everyone his dad meets today to be oppressed with the story. I, however, could listen to him all day.
Ted grins, with only the slightest hint of abashedness at aggravating his son. "Sky's going to play ball here as well. We'll see if he can best his old man's record."
"I wouldn't call you old," I laugh.
Oh, shit. Did I just flirt with some guy's dad?
This could be bad.
I look up quickly to see in Ted's face if I've crossed the line. What I see is a flash of a half-grin, which he tucks away instantly. I'm not sure if it was meant for me, or if it was just an instinctive reaction to being complimented on his physical form. Which, to be honest, must happen to him on a regular basis.
I decide to cut out before I embarrass myself or them.
"Well, if there's anything else I can do for you..." I venture, getting to my feet.
Ted and Sky are dressed now. Sky looks like every other jock freshman here today, but Ted--damn, there's something about his fully-developed body packed into those clothes that makes me just about weak in the knees. It wouldn't work on just anyone, but on him--it works.
"No, no, I'm sure you have lots of important things to do. Thank you so much, Josh. You've been great." Dad and son, in jeans, t-shirts, and sock feet, both nodding their thanks at me with 1,000-watt smiles--it's quite a scene. But I have duties, and they're no longer naked, so I must away.
"I'll see you around, Sky," I say cheerily as I back out of the shower area.
"Yeah, see ya," he calls back. I am probably deluding myself in hearing a note of genuine desire in his voice, but delusion has often turned out okay for me, so I'll take it. I'll make sure I find my way back to 230N in the not-too-distant future.
# 4 #
"So, what about jacking off?"
My day since showering with the Goodgenes boys has been busy but unexceptional. Just the usual parade of toned, summer-tanned flesh and expressions of vague confusion. Now it's getting on toward evening, the freshies have eaten their first dorm dinner (where do they even find a recipe for Salisbury Steak anymore?) and we're in the sex-segregated "Roommate Relations" information session. The questions until now have been predictable and booooring ("Will my roommate respect my severe nut allergies?" and "What do I do if he snores?"). Now it's getting interesting.
The guy who asked the question is about three rows back, and he's here with his posse. He's been watching me, and he's apparently decided to relieve the boredom by having a go at embarrassing me. His boys grunt with laughter at his sassy wit, while he reclines and practically dares me to react.
"I'd have to say I'm in favor of it," I answer in my most professional tone.
This takes him by surprise, though his reaction is not nearly as flustered as that of Marty, the hall director, who gapes at me like I just threw a lit firework at him.
"I think," Marty blusters, "What he meant to ask was how we should handle privacy issues in the dorm setting." He looks at me with raised eyebrows, as if trying with mind control to get me to be vague and PG-13. He doesn't know me very well.
"I think," I reply, turning back to the gentleman with the burning question, "That since most of the guys in this room probably masturbate on a regular basis, they want to know how to make sure they don't get interrupted doing it or, possibly worse, interrupt their roommate while he's hard at it."
My interrogator's smirk wavers a bit, but he's going to keep trying to offend me. I don't give him the chance.
"So, here's what I'd say. Admit that you do it, that he does it, and figure out how to schedule it. Make sure you give each other a half hour alone in the room frequently--maybe even daily. That way you don't have to talk about it, since even mentioning the topic can embarrass some guys. I mean," I look at him, hard. "You probably rubbed one out this morning, and you shouldn't have to give that up just because you moved into the dorm this afternoon."
The entire posse is looking pretty embarrassed right now. Marty is simply spluttering, like a forgotten tea kettle on a high flame.
Quickly, Question Guy recovers. With his boys watching him, he needs to pull it together.
"Maybe you jerked off this morning, but I don't have to, asshole," he says, the sneer in his voice matching the one on his face.
"Oh," I shake my head empathetically. "Still doing it in your sleep, are you?"
Now he just looks furious. Straight boys are so sensitive!
"Look, faggot," he sputters, "Shut the fuck up about me!"
"Are there ANY other questions?" Marty manages to bluster over the chaos of chattering that has erupted. Question Guy is getting ready to continue his snarling salvo, but he's interrupted.
"What," comes a voice from the other side of the room, "If your roommate is a fag?"
I crane my neck to get a look at the source of this question--the voice is familiar, but I can't place it. Then I see him--it's Sky, from the shower earlier. I'm sure I've misheard his question--he wouldn't say what I thought he said, would he?
"I'm sorry, what--"
"What do you do if your roommate is a queer?" he enunciates clearly, slicing off each word as if it were poisonous. "What if he stares at your junk? What if he slips something in your drink and then rapes your ass when you're passed out?"
I'm stunned. I just stand there staring at him. This is nice little Goodgenes junior? Dude's a Hitler. I open my mouth to speak without really working out what I'm going to say, but he continues.
"I mean, if you catch your roommate perving on you you're allowed to beat the shit out of him, right? That's self-defense, right? 'Cause if a fag looks at me he's going to be shipped home in about a dozen little boxes."
Now I'm less stunned than I am seriously pissed off. I open my mouth and take a deep breath to power through the rant of all rants, but I don't get the chance.
"Dude, dial it back. Do you even know any gay people?"
It's a member of Question Guy's posse. He's looking straight at Sky, and he's pissed.
"I guess I do now," Sky spits back, looking the other guy up and down with disdain.
"Look, you gotta check your homophobia at the door," retorts another member of Question Guy's gang. "What makes you think they'd want your ugly ass anyway?" There are murmurs of assent from all over the room, which has clearly turned against Sky. I'm kind of proud of these freshies.
"I THINK WE'RE ABOUT OUT OF TIME!" bellows Marty. He take a couple of panting breaths. "Thank you for coming."
The guys filter out of the room, and I manage to slip away before Marty can lay into me for letting it get out of hand. I'm trying to figure out why I was completely blindsided by Sky--I'm usually pretty good at sizing people up. And I completely wasn't expecting him to be basically shouted down by the other people in the room.
But I don't really have time to think through it--I'm on my way to another room for a similar session, this one organized by Campus Pride, for gay, bi, and questioning freshmen.
The room is sparsely populated, with groups of two or three here and there, and a fair number of solitary guys. About a couple dozen are here total, which is not a bad turnout. I walk up to the front of the room.
"Hey guys, I'm Josh, and I'm the VP of Campus Pride. I want to welcome you to this special session on Roommate Relations. This is a safe space for you to ask questions and get support in what for a lot of us can be a challenging time."
I stop here, to let a latecomer enter.
It's Sky. No fucking way! He takes a seat near the door, and looks attentively at me. I try my best to look unruffled to the rest of the people in the room, while looking daggers at him. It's not an easy combo to master. I turn back to the room.
"Now, what questions can I answer for you?"
There's silence, and some shuffling and fidgeting, but I know to count to twenty and wait for responses. I'm only on eight when the first hand goes up.
"Yes?" I ask. The hand belongs to a slight boy in the second row, who is clearly petrified to speak.
"I was wondering," he squeaks, then clears his throat and attempts to speak more forcefully. It doesn't work. "How would you deal with a r-roommate who is hom--homophobic?"
"That's an excellent question," I say supportively, smiling my brightest at him. Poor fella, he needs every bit of positive affirmation he can get. "You should know that all freshmen will be going through sensitivity sessions this week. The university will not tolerate people being disrespected or threatened because of their sexuality. If you have any reason to suspect that your roommate has a problem with you because of sexual orientation, you should talk to your RA, or to the Hall Director, or to me or someone else from Campus Pride. We can help you." He smiles, weakly at first, and then more confidently. "If your roommate has a problem with your sexuality, that's his problem, not yours."
"But," says another voice from across the room, this one deeper and more forceful. "What if you find yourself being attracted to your roommate? I mean, we're living pretty much on top of each other. It could be awkward."
"Yes, it could get awkward. But I think you'll find that living that closely with someone means that you see them when they're not at their best. It's kind of hard to fall for someone when you see him picking his nose, or wearing the same underwear for the third day, or making out with his girlfriend while you're trying to sleep. People think that dorms are some kind of hotbed of lust, but it's almost never that way." Well, it sort of is for me this year, but I paid my dues, right?
"But what if you end up with an amazing guy and you just really want to go for it?"
"I would say be careful, especially if he identifies as straight. I think it's almost always better to hang back and don't push it. Even if that means feeling like you're letting a great opportunity go."
"So," says another one, this one looking at me skeptically. "You're telling us you were never attracted to a straight guy?"
"Oh hell no I'm not saying that!" I say, laughing. "Most days I've been attracted to six straight guys before breakfast. But I don't go all flirty on them or anything. Sometimes appreciating them from afar, or just being friends with them, is the best way. Most straight guys, given the right opportunity and the right kind of offer, are still straight. Even the ones that may let you do stuff sometimes, most are still straight and always will be, and that's just a recipe for you getting hurt, emotionally or otherwise." I sound like I really believe this. Do I?
We go through several more rounds of Q&A about more mundane things, like how to handle bringing a guy back to the room, whether bisexuality really exists, that kind of stuff.
The guy who had been first to speak raises his hand again, even more tentatively than the last time.
"I wonder if...I just...I mean, I think that...what happens when--" He seems to realize he's not making sense, but he's clearly thinking of something that's causing him some pain. His eyes well up, and is he really? Yes, he's shaking.
"Hey," I read his name tag, "Grant, take a deep breath. We're all here for you, buddy. You can tell us anything."
I flash a quick look at Sky. I swear to god you fucker, you say anything right now and I will yank your spine out your asshole.
Grant takes a couple of halting breaths, and seems to compose himself.
"I thought my best friend, last summer...I thought we were, you know, kind of taking the next step, but it--" A sob escapes him, but he closes his eyes and breathes deeply again, and he forges on. "He said he was okay with it, but after, he...he--" Grant looks up at me with tears streaking down his cheeks. "He beat me up pretty bad, and drove away and left me."
Oh my god.
Out of the corner of my eye I see movement. Before I have time to react, Sky gets up, walks over to Grant, sits down next to him, and--what? He puts his arm around him. Grant is clearly shocked, but he just kind of loses it, and sobs into Sky's shoulder.
"It's okay, buddy," Sky says, his voice soft but strong. "It's okay. We're all here, and no one's going to hurt you like that again. You have friends in this room, and we've got your back." These consoling words make Grant break out into a seizure of sobs, and the meeting is pretty much over. Gradually the others in the room come together around Grant and Sky, and each one pats him on the back, or puts an arm around him, or says something supportive to him.
It's about the most amazing thing I've ever seen. And in the middle of it, getting his shirt soaked with Grant's tears, is Sky. What the fuck?
Eventually the emotional crisis level in the room drops a bit, and we wrap it up. As the guys leave the room, Sky seems to be hanging back a bit. He's talking with the much more composed Grant, who finally is able to walk out under his own power as I finish straightening up the room. Now it's just Sky and me left. He walks up to the front of the room where I've just put the chairs back in order.
"Hey," he says.
"What the fuck is with you?"
If he's taken aback by my question he doesn't show it.
"What, I'm not allowed to help a brother out?"
"That's not what I was asking about. How do you go from Super Bigot to the Gay Avenger in the space of an hour?"
Sky smiles slyly.
"Oh, that," he says, and did he just wink at me?
"Yeah, that. You went all homophobe before, and then you walk three doors down and you're suddenly the wind beneath Grant's gay wings. What the fuck?"
He tips his head to the side, considers me for a moment.
"Wanna grab a cup of coffee?" he asks, as if this is a natural response to what I have asked him.
I'm pissed that he's ignoring my question, but coffee doesn't sound bad right now. I know I should stop drinking as much of it as I do, but as addictions go, caffeine's not the worst thing in the world.
We head for the junky replica of a cafe that the dining commons provides, which is pretty much deserted at this hour--it's nearly 9pm. I get a small coffee, while Sky orders a double shot of espresso--he pays for both before I have a chance to even reach for my wallet. At least the schizo bastard is a gentleman in this one respect.
We walk over to a table near the window looking out over the main plaza, and we sit.
"So," I start, "What the hell is your deal?" I take a significant sip of coffee here, mainly to punctuate my scalding interrogative. Unfortunately, the coffee is also scalding. I don't spit it out because that would ruin the tough image I'm going for--I think my mouth is going to blister tomorrow.
"I would have thought it would be clear to a smart guy like you," he murmurs slickly, and then sips his espresso. He's much better than I am at this drinking-like-James-Bond thing. He looks cool and collected, and not at all like his mouth is going to blister. I hate him more now.
"Guess I'm stupid then. I just don't get you being a complete asshole homophobe and then practically cuddling with poor Grant--you could have wrapped the two of you in a rainbow flag and not lost an ounce of subtlety."
"I was just managing the crowd," he says insouciantly. Another elegant sip of espresso. "Doing what needed to be done to keep things moving productively along."
I squint at him, trying to make sense of this.
"I see you're still confused," he states, noting the obvious. "Okay, here's the deal. That shithead in the first meeting was trying to push your buttons, and you were letting him--no, wait, hear me out," he says, holding up a hand against my objection. "He was showing off for his buddies, and the game he was playing was to shock you. It clearly didn't work--you saw his sexual provocation and raised him an ad-hominem aspersion."
"Damn right I did," I say proudly. "He needed to know who he was dealing with."
"Yeah, that was your first mistake," Sky says, shaking his head and taking another sip of espresso.
"What? Why was that a mistake?"
"Because you pushed him into a corner. In order to save face with his buddies, he had to see your insult and raise you a scatological reference."
"You meant the part where he called me an asshole?"
"Yep, that part. Then you made your second mistake."
"Oh, I can hardly wait to hear this."
"You advanced the supposition that he still experiences wet dreams, which is anathema to an adult male, because it implies that he has no better outlet."
"Okay, so that was kind of clumsy, but it was all I could think of at the moment. Dude was pissing me off." I take a gulp of coffee, which burns burn burns all the way down. I don't care.
"Exactly right he was, which is what he had set out to do. But now you've impugned his masculinity, so he's double pissed. That's when he breaks out the f-word."
"Two of them, actually--faggot and fuck."
"That's when I knew the wheels had come off the cart. So I saved your ass."
"How, exactly, was the bigot act supposed to save my ass?"
He smirks at me, as if he's about to divulge some shocking secret.
"Back-blaze," he says triumphantly, as if this explained everything.
I stare at him, willing my eyes to generate a searing heat ray that will melt his smug grin.
"You know," he continues, still smirking, "Like what they do when fighting a forest fire. You light a small, controlled fire to remove fuel from the main blaze. That's what I was doing."
"I still don't get how that was supposed to help," I say, unable to keep a note of irritation from my voice.
"Look, Shithead Question Guy called you a faggot because it was the next worst thing he could call you after 'asshole.' So, in order to keep him from going further, I jumped over him and busted out the whole queer-bait gay-panic thing."