Ivan Horton's Choice Ch. 02byAutumnWriter©
Ivan left for the upstate campus before the brothers arrived at the estate. It was late; night was falling. He had a long drive ahead of him and a chance to ponder his future. Many things had happened to him during the weekend visit. As he cruised up Route 17 he had plenty of time to play the weekend memory over.
Of course the visitations by Mrs. Tutlock to his bedroom were disconcerting. He had enjoyed the sex, but now wondered why he didn't regret his unfaithfulness to Robin more than he did. Beryl's admonitions about the longevity of his relationship with Robin were ringing in his ears. What did she know? Should he expect a 'visit' from her at his every visit to the estate; and where would that leave him if they were found out?
Robin's behavior disturbed him even more. He could get over her refusals, though irritating. He didn't believe her 'time of the month' excuse. Mostly it was her humiliating parading of him shirtless at the photo session that enraged him. How could she have done that to him? How could he have allowed it?
He thought of his own parents. He realized that he hadn't thought of them enough lately. He resented the Tutlock's snub. Ivan pondered the vast differences between their lives and the Tutlocks. They had not a fraction of the wealth of his in-laws to be, but he never felt threatened with expulsion from the house by an academic failure, and knew that his mother would never humiliate his father to display a personal trophy.
"Love will conquer all," he muttered aloud, with only himself to hear the words. How hollow they sounded, having only the value of the empty cliché that they were. He stared at the blackened road, following the headlight beam,
He told himself that things would have to change. He knew that he had to play by the Tutlock's rules, but only to a point. Although Robin was the heiress, he would be the husband. Their name would be Horton, not Tutlock. He would bed his bride and he would not be a plaything of her mother. Ivan challenged himself to live up to his bold resolutions.
Rebecca met Ivan in the carrel as scheduled. He presented his notes and lab report to her. He thought that she would be pleased. She glanced through it without speaking, making a few notes in the margins. She progressed to the point in the lab report where Ivan knew she would have plenty to talk about. It was a difficult part of the assignment. Ivan had tried hard, but knew that it wasn't perfect. Rebecca passed right through it.
"Done!" she said. "Do you have any questions about the next lab?"
"I'm surprised that you passed right over the hard part of the lab without a word about it."
"I'm sorry," she answered, realizing he was right. "I'm just not myself today."
"What's the trouble? Can I help?" he asked.
"I don't think so." She looked at him more closely, surprised that he cared at all for her troubles.
"I'm not myself, either," Ivan offered.
She continued looking without speaking. His approach to her was not what she expected.
"You tell me yours and I'll tell you mine," Ivan tried again.
She was uncomfortable, forced to deal with her pupil on a human level. She resolved to not be the one guilty of cutting off the contact.
"Let's go across to the student union and have something to drink," she finally gave in.
Ivan bought himself a coffee and Rebecca a tea. They found an isolated corner and relaxed into the chairs.
"Tell me yours first." Rebecca said.
The trip to Southampton wasn't very good." He began. "I have a lot of things to think about."
Rebecca listened silently as he recounted the events of his weekend to her. He gave her the facts, but more. He confided to her his feelings about them, and about Robin and her parents. He told Rebecca of his shame at his treatment of his own parents. It brought a glistening to his eyes, but he fought it back. As the words poured out of him he was shocked, but he couldn't stop. He had never done this; ripped himself open for others to inspect his doubts and fears. It felt good to unburden to the silent Rebecca. She only listened, issued no judgments. He noticed her eyes glistening once or twice, too.
He had been speaking for twenty minutes without stopping. The final item he divulged to her was his tryst with the smoldering Mrs. Tutlock.
"I wonder if I did the right thing in having sex with her." He said.
Rebecca finally answered him.
"There is only one acceptable circumstance to have sex with anyone," she said. "It's when you want the other person as a lover and he wants you. Then, you have to make sure that neither you, nor he, nor anyone else is hurt by it. You have to want to wake up next to him. You have to respect him ...and yourself. Otherwise, it is not the right thing to do."
Ivan sat silently, mouth gaping, absorbing the truth of what Rebecca had said. He was impressed at the passion of her words. Although he said nothing to her, he knew at that moment that the engagement with Robin must be broken. Rebecca made him see sex as something more than a pleasure--filled prize parceled out in proportion to strength and beauty. That was the totality of feeling between him and Robin, and he finally learned that it wasn't enough.
Manhood was summoning Ivan forth from youth. It was a call that came a little late for some things, but he would not refuse it now.
"Now you tell me yours," Ivan almost forgot the deal.
"That's alright." She answered. "I just have to go to a dinner tomorrow night that I really don't want to attend."
A person who did not know Rebecca well would not have recognized her as she stood on the hot sidewalk in the late afternoon sun. There, she awaited her ride to the unwelcome dinner. If a single word was required to describe her it would have been 'delicate'. She had put aside her overalls, which made one think that she was a little overweight. She wore, instead, a sophisticated ensemble of georgette material in a black and white print. On top, was a sleeveless shell that she could cover with a black sweater of light material. In the heat she just held it along with her small handbag. On the bottom were matching pantaloons cut full so that at first glance one thought of a floor-length skirt.
The outfit accentuated her thin frame and pale white skin. Her feet, which peeked out from the bottom of the pantaloons were clad in thin-strapped sandals with a little heel to raise her up just slightly. She let her black hair fall free, unveiling her tresses with the natural tight curls. It cascaded down to her shoulders like a waterfall of ink, and contrasted with the skin of her bare arms. She even set aside the glasses with the dark frames, wearing instead her 'good' pair with the small lenses and almost invisible wire rims. It was a look that Rebecca could make provocative or neutral, depending on her intent. She waited patiently for her ride.
It was her idea to wait on the sidewalk. She told her escort it would be easier to do that than find a place to park in College Town. Her real reason was that she did not wish to admit the man into her abode.
Promptly, a luxurious Saab pulled around the corner and Rebecca instantly recognized the driver. It stopped and she climbed in.
"Good evening, Professor Gilbert," she said softly. The air conditioner in the car was running, so she draped the sweater around her shoulders, covering her bare skin.
He pulled into traffic and then turned to admire her.
"Rebecca," he said, "You are absolutely stunning!"
She didn't answer.
"I just know that this restaurant in Elmira will be exactly the right place for us to discuss your future," he went on. "It's one of the best that I know in the area."
Rebecca was tongue-tied for small talk. She sought a way to gracefully cease conversation.
"May I play some music, Professor?"
"Of course, Rebecca," he answered. "I have mostly classical. You might try some Beethoven."
She disdained the hauntingly restful strains and deep, passionate bass chords of the Master.
"Have you any Bach?" she asked.
"Possibly," he replied, a little disappointed. "Look through them."
She found one and started it up. She turned up the sound on the passionless mathematical precision.
She looked at her mentor driving the car. At middle age he had not lost his looks. He was neither fat nor slender. His hair was light brown, showing speckles of gray. He sported a van dyke beard. One could never quite discern his expression because the corners of his mouth hid behind it. He was well-dressed and his car well-appointed.
It was a twenty mile drive to the restaurant and they said little on the way, listening to the music, instead.
Finally, the Saab pulled to a stop in front of an old, but polished building. In front, hung a simple sign, Price's Inn.
"Here we are!" Professor Gilbert announced. A valet opened the door for Rebecca and the Professor joined her on the sidewalk. He handed the keys to the valet and they entered the Inn.
It was a nice dinner at the old inn. It was seldom that Rebecca was exposed to such things. The décor of the restaurant had an understated elegance. It wasn't the darkly lit café style that Rebecca had expected. Their conversation centered on 'shop talk'. Professor Gilbert enthralled Rebecca with descriptions of research projects to be, awards that his other grad students had won, new additions to the labs. All the time the focus returned to Rebecca and her career. It was heady for her. She knew that her imagination was soaring; she allowed herself a self indulgence.
The waiter arrived with the dessert menu.
"Professor Gilbert, I couldn't!" Rebecca exclaimed while glancing at the menu of sweets. She would really have liked one, but knew how much he had already spent on her.
"Oh, I insist that you have one," he answered. "We must always be sure to taste the sweet things as we go through life."
His philosophical words confused her and she was deciphering the double meaning as she noticed him moving his chair a bit closer to her. Until then she had hoped that his womanizing reputation had been unearned. He had behaved perfectly. She remained silent and waited for him to speak.
"One sweet thing that we have in our department," he began, "is the closeness that we all share. Don't you see that, Rebecca? I decided to invite you here to get acquainted, rather than in my stuffy office. Hasn't it been a nice dinner?" He was leaning toward her ever so slightly, a body language that declared a sharing of personal space.
"I guess so, Professor." Rebecca answered softly. It occurred to her at that moment that although he spoke of closeness he had never invited her to use 'Boyd', his given name.
"You see," he continued, "we need this feeling of 'closeness' to function well together. I try to foster it, especially with female students who need help from those of us in power. I have power to use and share. All my grad students, who's Assistantships are renewed, have a close relationship with me."
He closed his large hand over her small one. "We have so much to give to one another, Rebecca." He finally fell silent, waiting for her acknowledgement.
Rebecca cast her eyes down. Hopeless desperation descended upon her. Her isolation was overwhelming, smothering her resistance. She was over twenty miles from her apartment and anyone else she knew who could help or guide her. Her career, just starting, now depended upon her yielding up herself to the man next to her. With her body, she would give up the principles and self esteem that formed her core. She had carefully tended and nurtured them, promising to never lose them. In a split second of agreement they would be trampled forever. She knew that the Professor, once she favored him, would keep his promise. Her success would be assured. She knew, too, that a refusal would spell banishment.
She had promised herself that she would not allow herself to fall to this fate. Her abilities and hard work should be enough. There were, however, many brilliant high school Biology teachers. She hoped for more than that. How expensive could be her self-respect? Was it just foolish pride that demanded the surrender of all that she hoped and worked so hard for?
She asked herself "why not?" Surely, she was no virgin and had no lover at the moment. She had been in bed with a dozen men. On another occasion, a date regaling her with such a fine night out might be one invited to her bed, at her decision. These thoughts played in her mind as she slowly gave way; a little sacrifice of principle for a larger goal. It was such a disappointing result that she should have predicted.
Gilbert patiently waited for her to sort through her options and arrive at the decision that he knew she would. As she nodded her assent it confirmed the lessons he learned in many such encounters.
"I took the liberty of renting a room upstairs. It will be very nice. You'll really be impressed. We'll have breakfast in the morning right here in this dining room."
Gilbert signed for the dinner and the two rose from the table. They stopped at the desk where Gilbert asked for the key. The clerk was expressionless, and didn't even glance at Rebecca. Still, a dirty feeling washed over her. She was ashamed, but committed. She assured herself that she would get over it in time. She reasoned that it was 'just sex'— enjoy it. Many others had before her.
They mounted the stairway and climbed to the second floor. There were only eight rooms in the small inn. They found theirs at the end of the silent hallway. Gilbert turned the key and swung the door open. Rebecca surveyed the small, but luxurious room. It was dominated by a king-sized bed fluffed in the middle by a downy comforter. She knew that soon she would be there on her back, nude, servicing his pleasure.
They were silent. The only sound was rain pelting the window. She stripped off her sweater and set it on a nearby chair. Gilbert did the same to his sport coat and tie. He kicked off his shoes.
He didn't remove more of his own clothing. As was his custom, he would strip her first. He enjoyed viewing them, nude, lying in the middle of the bed, waiting for him. Some tried to curl up and hide themselves. Others lay motionless in acceptance. A few, the wild ones, would lie with outstretched arms beckoning him. Then he would strip off his own clothing and look at their eyes as they watched his erection descending on them. For him, this opening ritual was as exhilarating as the actual taking. Of the three types, he enjoyed the second type most: those who had allowed his power to cow them.
Rebecca stood motionless, waiting for his advance on her. It came quickly. He approached her and peeled her glasses from her face, then kissed her. He tasted of coffee and smelled of after-shave cologne. He grasped the bottom hem of her top along with the underlying camisole and began to slowly lift it. As his hands reached midway up her torso, the bottom halves of her breasts were revealed. He noted for the first time that evening that she was braless. He slowed, savoring the unveiling. He took a second to admire the slim waist with the smooth white skin. He wondered how it tasted. He would find out soon. He inspected the round half circles of her semi-revealed breasts. In his mind's eye he pictured her nipples framed by areolas, firm and dark brown. It was almost a shame to complete the lifting of top. The anticipation of the dessert brought almost as much pleasure as the tasting.
Suddenly Rebecca cried "No—No—No!" She ripped away from his grasp, ran out of the hotel room, down the stairs of the inn and out the door. She didn't stop running until she arrived at a gas station down the street.
Rebecca was out of breath and crying. Her hair and clothing were drenched from the rain. There was a pay phone, but she had no money. It occurred to her that in the summer the campus, miles away, was nearly deserted and all her friends were gone. There was only one person that she could try. She dialed information.
At the campus Ivan was playing pool at the fraternity house with his friend, Gerry. Like Ivan, Gerry was a fellow football player and recalcitrant scholar stuck on campus for the summer. The phone rang. Gerry answered it and Ivan went downstairs for two more beers.
Gerry called out to Ivan, surfacing from the basement with two bottles. "Ivan, there's a collect call for you—someone named Rebecca—you wanna take it?"
"What would she want?" Ivan wondered out loud. "Alright! I'll accept the charges." He called back to Gerry and strode for the phone room.
"Ivan, please help me. I don't know who else to call. Please come get me." He could tell Rebecca was crying.
After Ivan hung up the phone and turned to his friend. "Gerry, we've got to go to Elmira."
Ivan knew little about Rebecca's plight. On the way he told his friend what he did know. The friendship that Ivan and Rebecca struck up wasn't a particularly deep one, but it was enough to bring him out on a rainy night to her aid.
Rebecca waited at the gas station for Ivan to arrive. It had just closed, so she stood in the rain, wet and shivering. As she searched the dark streets for an approaching car, Professor Gilbert approached her.
"Rebecca, I've finally found you. Please come back to the hotel room. We can start where we left off. All will be forgiven."
"I won't go back there!" she yelled back at him. "You made me into a whore!" She backed away from him and buried her face in her hands, weeping.
"It's not like that, Rebecca," Gilbert answered calmly. "We were just making friends. Think of what you're giving up." He had experience dealing with hysterical courtesans.
At that moment a car pulled around the corner and slowed at the station. Inside were Ivan and Gerry. They saw a man and young woman arguing in the rain. Ivan recognized the gas station from Rebecca's directions, but did not recognize her. He expected her in her customary overalls.
"It kinda' looks like her, Gerry, but I've never seen her dressed like that," he said.
"Let's get a closer look," his friend replied.
"It's her!" Ivan exclaimed as they got closer.
As the two young men jumped from the car, Gilbert backed away from Rebecca. She ran to Ivan and threw her arms around him.
"Please take me home!" she blurted over her tears.
"Are you alright—do you need a doctor?" Ivan asked. Rebecca shook head.
"He's got my sweater in his room," Rebecca said to him.
Ivan stared at Gilbert through the pouring rain. He could see the fear in the eyes of the weaker man. Ivan, though he didn't know him, acquired a quick contempt for the dandy.
"Get it!" he commanded Gilbert in as stern a voice that he had ever used.
Gilbert was grateful for the dismissal and turned back to the Inn.
Ivan turned to his friend. "Gerry, please go with him and make sure he does it."
Gerry McMahan had spent four years as tackle to Ivan's quarterback. He was accustomed to hearing his commands. It has been his function to respond to them. Now he noticed something new in Ivan's manner and the way he asked. It made him want to comply, not out of function, but respect.
As Gerry followed after the fleeing Gilbert, Ivan called after him.
"There's a handbag, too. Make sure her keys are in it. There's a pair of eyeglasses," Ivan called after them as Rebecca furnished more information.
Ivan helped the humbled and trembling Rebecca into his car. He started the engine and the heater. She lay across the back seat. As Ivan covered her with a blanket from the trunk she murmured "Thank you", and started to drift off to sleep.
Soon Gerry returned with the abandoned items.
"Rebecca, meet Gerry!" Ivan called out, but she was already dozing. Ivan looked at his friend seated next to him and shrugged.