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    Jwolf
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The English Year - 27. Bullet Bites

The worst thing in the world you can give to someone that loves you is hope. It drives them crazy. That night, Pete’s words drove me crazy.

“Michael Loggerman, that is not fair,” I said with a strength in my voice that I knew wouldn’t last.

“Not fair? What isn’t fair, Corbin?” he spat back at me.

“You can’t tell me that you could change your life for me. There is a long way from could to would, last I checked,” I said, my voice railing with a combination of guilt, anger, and sadness. Had I expected this to be easy? Not by a mile. But I hadn’t expected Mike to sit there and tell me that he could have changed his life for me. Just a week ago, he’d said that he was stuck; he’d told me that there was nothing he could do for me, and that I was free to do what I wanted. Had he forgotten that fact? And somehow, because I didn’t want to go along with this half-baked hall pass, I was the one to blame for this break up.

Come the fuck on, I thought.

“Isn’t that what a relationship is, Corbin? The trip from could to would? Or do you think you just end up at the end of the alphabet on day one?”

“So now we are calling this a relationship? Because I’m confused, Mike. One second it is, and the next it’s just me biding my time until you figure out what you want to do.”

“That’s just semantics, baby,” Mike said, surprising me with how quick he was with the comebacks. I must have really struck a nerve with him, and he was challenging me at every turn.

“Well I have some semantics for you, Mike, so listen closely. Fuck you. Fuck your hall pass. Fuck the captain and VMI. If you want to be with me, then ask. Ask me to wait for you. Make me a promise on the other side. Bite the bullet, Mike. Tell me that if I wait for you, you’ll be there for me when you’re done. Don’t half-ass this shit, because six months is a long time, and I’m not saying I will fall for someone, and I’m not saying I won’t. All I’m saying is that I’m not going to let you loosen my leash while I try my best not to feel guilty about falling for someone else.”

“That’s a lot of semantics,” Mike said, his voice lower than before.

“Yeah.” My voice, meanwhile, was still high-strung and razor sharp. “Yeah it is.”

“Corbin.” I waited. I waited for him to give me his pitch. I waited for him to make his promise. I waited for an absolution that could change everything… would change everything. And that absolution never came. “Corbin, I can’t promise you anything right now.”

I shook my head, took in a shallow breath, and wiped the snot out from under my nose.

“But,” Mike continued. I pulled my knee up to my chest and waited for him to finish. “But rest assured, Corbin, that when I get out of this lockdown I will come fight for you. I might not have promises now, and who knows how I’ll feel then, but I know I’ll love you, and I know I will fight to get you back.”

In any other situation, those words would have melted my heart. Who doesn’t want a man who will fight for them? Who doesn’t want someone who will challenge what you know to be true, who will make you see things different? How could I not want that?

But how could I go back? How could I go back to being a glorified fuck buddy? How could I be Mike’s escape from the doldrums of VMI without so much as a promise for the future? Living in the moment was convenient when nothing ever changed. But things had changed, and I couldn’t go back to fucking Mike if it wasn’t ever going somewhere.

Could he change his life for me? Sure… but would he? When all of the possibilities were stacked together, would he choose me over everything he’d ever known?

If he wanted to fight for me, that was the question he’d have to answer.

I hung up with Mike without any more back and forth, feeling empty for the first time that week. I put my jeans and my boots on and met my sister downstairs. I was glad we’d decided to go to a movie that night because it meant we didn’t have to talk about anything. Instead, I got to sit there with a Coke as big as a bucket and let my mind wander into the life of this young girl who’d fallen in love with a vampire.

As shallow and vapid as that movie was, I couldn’t help but think about the similarities between my relationship with Pete and Bella’s relationship with the vampire guy that looked like he could have used just a little bit more bronzer prior to filming. There was an intensity between them that even they couldn’t explain. And even though she knew she could get hurt, even though she knew that falling for him was a mistake, she did it anyway. She let herself go. She allowed her heart to control her head.

And she got slashed by a hoard of vampires for it.

I woke up at four a.m. the next morning to catch my flight to Charlottesville. We had a mandatory rush meeting that night, the last one of the semester, and so I was forced to be on the first plane out of DFW back to the east coast.

“Have a safe trip, little brother,” my sister told me as she dropped me off at the terminal. We hadn’t talked much on the ride to the airport, and to be honest, I hadn’t talked to my siblings much all week.

“Hey, listen,” she said as I was opening the door. “I can tell that there’s something going on with you. And I’m not sure what it is, but I heard some of what you were shouting on the phone yesterday.”

I stopped in my tracks, one foot out the door. I wasn’t sure how to respond so I let her continue.

“You may think we don’t get what’s going on in Virginia, or that we don’t understand what’s going on with you because you’re gay. But love only works one way. And heartbreak is the same whether it’s on the left coast or the right coast. And as your sister, if you ever want to talk about something, anything, I’m a phone call or a plane ride away, okay?”

“Okay,” I said.

“You promise?”

“I promise. I love you,” I said.

“I love you too. Now hurry, don’t miss your flight. I’m not paying the change fee for another one.”

She smiled, and warmed the inside of my heart. I thought about what my sister had said all through check-in and security. It wasn’t until I was safely on my plane, headphones on, and eyes closed, that I thought about what had gone down during Thanksgiving week.

When reviewing my conversation with Mike from last night, I didn’t even want to call it a breakup. A breakup implies a union, a welding of hearts, and even though I knew Mike loved me, we were on two completely different pages when it came to what that love meant.

And then there was the Brit, who I’d successfully taken off ice, and who was once again clouding my best judgment. How could I have fallen so quickly back into his guarded arms? I was like a moth to a flame, and I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d just gotten myself burned.

Mike was a good guy. He could be a good guy for me. I could have waited around, stuck it out, let him see what else was out there while I stayed faithful in the wings, and I’m confident, eventually, he would have come back to me.

But what of the possibilities in the meantime? What about the Garth’s? What about the Pete’s? What about the guys that could’ve been? I owed it to myself to explore those possibilities, as slim as they may have been in some cases, without tying myself to the guilt of not waiting for Mike.

To be quite frank, six months without sex wasn’t going to happen. So instead of taking Mike up on his hall pass and feeling like a failure every time I dropped to my knees or grabbed my ankles, I decided to let it go. If it was meant to be, it would be.

Would… not could.

I told myself that at least a dozen times three thousand feet in the air before we began our final decent into Charlottesville. I met Hutch at the airport at 12:20, about an hour after my flight landed, so that we could drive the two hour leg of the trip back to Clifton Hill together.

The ride back was easy. Hutch drove, and we shared stories about Thanksgiving. I told him about my family, the Cowboys game, and everything in between. What I didn’t mention was seeing Pete again and faux breaking up with my faux boyfriend.

“Chapter at six tonight,” Hutch reminded me as he pulled his Xterra into the already full Chi Beta parking lot. “It’s mandatory, and the officers are taking attendance. It’s all about rush, so no worries about sitting through a long Dom lecture.”

I looked at him and raised an eyebrow.

“If it’s mandatory, we should order pizza. Just saying… six o’clock would be the perfect time to skip out and grab some Wendy’s.”

“Pizza… I’ll see if we can afford pizza.”

I unloaded Hutch’s car and schlepped my stuff upstairs to my bedroom. I took a short nap after unpacking my books out of my suitcase, and decided in an act of defiance not to set my alarm for 6 o’clock. Instead, I decided that if God wanted me at the rush meeting, he’d wake me up in time.

I didn’t have a chance to see what God’s will was, because at five till six, I heard a knock on my door.

“Rush! Everyone downstairs!” I recognized the voice as Alex’s, one of the seniors and Dom and Oli’s premiere henchman. “Let’s go sons-of-bitches, before I fuck your sisters!”

I heard doors slam around me as everyone zombie walked their way downstairs to what was billed as the most important chapter meeting of the year.

On the agenda: Rush. That was it. Sunday was our last night to shore up the rush list, make a strategic plan for how we were going to get our locks to help solidify our maybes, and how to impress those guys on the cusp just enough to make them forget where else they were looking. It was a big important meeting that was held every year, and it had been on our master calendar before school even started, so travel wasn’t an excuse. The agenda and minutes were all sent to nationals. After a particularly bad start to rush one year, a couple of representatives from nationals came to attend that final meeting, so it was a bigger deal than just your average chapter.

It was a big deal, and I had no plans of going.

The knocking and shouting subsided as the seniors rounded everyone up. I could hear footsteps shuffling in the hall as guys made their way into our library for the meeting. I looked at my watch. It was exactly 6 o’clock.

I started getting the ‘where are you’ texts at about 6:05, and I ignored all of them. I didn’t reply to Hutch or Austin, or even Brian who said he was ‘having’ to put me down for a tardy because he knew I was in the house and that I was probably just running late.

I fiddled on my laptop, checking Perez Hilton’s website a couple of times before 6:11, when I decided to take a shower. 17 minutes later, after a very thorough rinse and repeat, I returned to my room and checked my phone. I had four text messages, each more insistent and angrier than the last, and two phone calls from Hutch and Austin. I knew the meeting was underway without me, and so I tossed my wet hair out of my face, tightened my towel, and sauntered downstairs to cause my disruption.

In just my royal blue monogrammed bath towel, I opened the door to the library, where every single member of my fraternity was gathered, listening to Dominick explain the importance of the next two weeks of rush.

“If you’re called on for an event, you need to make yourself available for that event. We all have schoolwork, and Hutch and the officers and I will try to work around everyone’s testing schedule, but studying isn’t an excuse to miss a rush event. Figure it out, pull an all nighter, spend your days at the library, whatever it takes… we need full participation if we’re going to keep our locks locked and move some of our maybes into the yes group.”

I listened to what he was saying with half an ear as I walked straight for the Domino’s pizza boxes that were lined up on the back windowsill.

“Thank you for joining us, brother Crowley. I hope we didn’t interrupt your grooming schedule.”

I didn’t even acknowledge Dom talking to me. Instead, I grabbed a slice of pizza, put it between my teeth, and then grabbed two more, one for each hand. Praying that my towel didn’t come undone with each step, I deliberately walked across the library without making eye contact with anyone.

All eyes were on me. The meeting had come to a screeching halt after Dom addressed me, and I could feel every member of my house watching as I walked through the room, and back out the door.

I didn’t breathe once until I got back upstairs and into my room where my phone was blowing up with messages.

From Hutch: I think Dominick might actually murder you tonight. Just an FYI.

From Roberto: Yo, bastardo. If I have to sit through this bullshit, you have to sit through this bullshit. Get your ass down here.

From Austin: Not funny, Corbin.

From Brian: If you don’t get your ass back down here, I might vote to kick you out of the frat myself.

I didn’t know if these guys had made the link between Dom’s calling Mike’s sergeant and my act of defiance. If they didn’t, they were idiots. I owed this fraternity nothing any more, and it was time for me to go through with my promises of making their lives hell, specifically Dominick, but also everyone else that stood in my way.

I knew the meeting was over when I heard a rush of voices and footsteps come up the back stairwell to the second floor. A minute later, I heard music start playing down the hall and I assumed that the house was fired up for a kickback after the meeting. It would be the last chance to party without the weight of schoolwork on our shoulders, and if I knew anything about this two week stretch of time from years past, it was that it didn’t necessarily matter how much schoolwork you had staring you in the face at the end of the semester: the expectation was to be available to entertain freshmen, specifically those on the top two tiers of our rush list, until the last bid was torn on January 11th.

A few minutes after I heard the second floor of the house reawaken with people, I heard a knock on my door. I took my headphones out of my ears, and with Christina Aguilera’s Fighter still playing in my head, I answered the knock.

Dom didn’t wait for me to let him in; instead he pushed his way in to my room, and closed the door behind himself.

“Can I help you?” I asked, my voice biting and crisp.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” he asked. I looked down at myself, shrugged, and then looked back at Dom.

“I was listening to music before I was interrupted. Stripped. Christina Aguilera. It’s a classic; you should check it out.”

“I don’t give a flying fuck what you were listening to, Corbin,” Dom’s voice was raised and agitated. “Why the fuck weren’t you at the rush meeting tonight?”

“I was there,” I replied, my eyes wide. I put a lilt of innocence in my voice. “The pizza was great. It really hit the spot.”

“I know you’re mad, I get it, and I’m sorry that it came to what it came to, I really am. And you’re right, maybe I overreacted by calling that VMI sergeant, or whatever. But you said you were coming after me, so come after me. But do not jeopardize the strength of this house because of some petty feud between the two of us.”

I looked at Dom. He genuinely looked concerned that I was sabotaging rush simply because I didn’t participate in his little meeting. I knew that his problem wasn’t my lack of participation; fuck, my role in rush hadn’t been that strong all semester long. I knew that Dominick was nervous because of what my absence implied: a line had been drawn and war had been declared, not just between Dominick and me, but between myself and all of Chi Beta. Dom knew what I was capable of, and the fact that I was acting on my threat once and for all must have scared the living crap out of him.

Instead of replying to Dominick’s plea right away, I simply looked at him and chuckled. It was a slow laugh at first before I cracked a smile and let out an audible sigh with my laughter.

“What’s so funny?”

“What’s funny is that you seriously think this is it. I told you to shore up your walls, Dominick, and I wasn’t playing. I am the big bad wolf and I will huff and I will puff until this entire house comes crashing down. One little stunt at chapter is nothing compared to what you’re in for, so it’s comical to me that you’re already freaking out when you have absolutely no idea how much of me is coming for you.”

“You’re crossing the line.”

“You crossed me!”

I took my voice from light and laughing to dark and threatening in the course of that little speech, and I could tell in the tremble of Dominick’s eye that I had struck a nerve.

“Fine, Corbin, but you’ve left me no choice.”

“Are you serving me with eviction papers?” I cut him off, taking a small step towards him.

“No…” he stumbled.

“Then I suggest you get the fuck out of my room.” My voice was ice cold, frozen. I could hear Dom take in a deep breath.

“I’m having the Executive Council vote to strip you of your social chair title,” Dominick said, his voice unwavering. I tilted my head.

“Christmas weekend is in a week,” I reminded Dom, cutting my eyes at him. There was no way he was taking that event away from me. Who would put all of the details together in six days? Jackson? Newby? Fuck that, I thought.

“Well then Jackson and Newby will need to get to work right away, won’t they.”

“How sad for me,” I replied, my voice oozing with sarcasm. I broke my gaze with Dom for the first time since he’d barged into my room.

To be honest, I didn’t expect him to drop that bomb on me, but as soon as he said it, I knew exactly how to play my reaction. I walked deliberately to my bed, picked up my cell phone, and turned back to face the president of my fraternity. I hadn’t flinched once since he dropped the news.

“Are you sure that’s the decision you want to make?” I asked, my voice even and strong. Dom swallowed.

“You’re leaving me with no choice,” Dominick repeated. I walked towards him, faster than I’d left, and didn’t stop until I was standing an inch away from him.

“This is your last chance to rethink what you’ve just said,” I said, my voice low, but every bit as powerful as it had been.

“You don’t threaten me, Corbin. We’ve been through this.”

“And we both know that’s a mistake on your part.” With that, I opened my phone, scrolled down my contact list and hit the green telephone button on the left side of my cell.

Inside, my heart was pounding and my thumb was shaking, but all Dominick saw was how steady I was, how ready I was to crush him, and how intent I was to turn my threats in to promises. I’d left him no choice, he said. But the way I saw it, in that moment, he’d left me with even less.

“Who are you calling?” Dom asked.

“You’ve left me no choice,” I raised an eyebrow and listened as the phone rang.

“Hi, Hannah Allison? It’s Corbin Crowley, at Chi Beta,” I said, my voice light and affected, the opposite of how it had been as I dressed Dominick down to the ground. “It’s good to hear from you too. Yes, I did. And how was your break? Awesome. Well, Hannah, listen, I hate to do this over the phone, but I’m looking at my calendar for next semester, and it looks like I’m going to have to cancel our mixer… I know, I’m beat up about it too, but here’s the thing, I’m not social chair anymore, so there’s nothing I can do to bring the mixer back… I know. Well, some of us were looking forward to it as well, but unfortunately without the support of our leadership, it looks like we’ll be sticking with Chi Omega mixers for the foreseeable future. I know. Well hopefully, you know, this doesn’t completely ruin the relationship between Chi Beta and Kappa Delta. Okay. Yes, let’s definitely get lunch tomorrow. At the srat house? Perfect, I’ll see you all then. Toodles.”

My eyes never left Dominick’s once during that entire exchange. I could tell he was trying to keep his cool, but his pale face had reddened at least two shades, and it was getting more and more difficult for him to maintain his composure.

“If there’s nothing else, I have a couple more phone calls to make,” I said after I’d hung up with Hannah Allison, social chair of Kappa Delta.

“Jackson will call them back.”

“When I’m done, no one will answer Jackson’s phone calls. Trust me.”

“We’re not done here, Corbin,” Dominick whispered, his voice one decibel away from breaking.

“I think we are Dominick. Now, didn’t you have a vote with the EC you were telling me about? You’d better explain to them before they cast their ballots why they’ll never see another mixer again. In fact, tell the freshmen boys you’re rushing the news as well. I’ll be here in my room if anyone has any question about our imploding social calendar.”

I crossed my arms and gave Dom a look that could stop an army. I knew he wasn’t pleased, but what in the hell could he do? I watched him retreat, back towards my door, and before our eyes broke, I gave him one more eyebrow raised threat.

As soon as my door closed behind Dominick, I sat down and looked at my shaking hands. I was glad that I didn’t show my intimidation in front of Dom, but part of me wondered what the hell I was waging this war for. I had shown Dom and the EC time and time again that I was above punishment. They could do what they wanted to me, and I would somehow find a way to slither back on top, but this… this melodramatic display felt like I was going up against the house for very different reasons.

This wasn’t a difference in idealism. I wasn’t standing up for my belief that Chi Beta needed to climb back up the social ladder. I wasn’t challenging the status quo of what our officers thought we were, who we were, and what we could be. This was me retaliating. This was me reacting out of anger for something that Dom had done to me personally. This was me throwing away all of the hard work I’d done over the course of two and half years to build up Chi Beta because of a vendetta that had nothing to do with anyone besides Dom and I.

And even then, watching my hands shake and trying to bring my anger back down to an even keel, I didn’t know what else I could do. I couldn’t yield, my pride certainly wouldn’t have let me do that. And yet my pride had cost me the one position I cared about within this house.

I wasn’t fooled; even with my threat, the EC would vote to take me off Social Chair. Jackson would replace me, train Newby for the new year, and my only source of influence within the house would evaporate like spit on a Texas sidewalk.

I laid down on my bed, at a loss for what I was doing, unable to map out an endgame. Did I want to leave the fraternity? I wasn’t sure it had come to that. Sure the guys had been dicks to me all semester, but just like David had said, there was a loyalty there that even I, in all of my angst and anger, couldn’t fight.

Did I want to destroy the fraternity? That seemed a little intense, especially considering that I’d waged this war over Mike, who had in fact broken the rules by starting a fight in the house. There were a million reasons to want to sit back and watch Chi Beta crumble, and the punch heard round campus seemed like the least of them.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted. I wasn’t sure what my endgame needed to be. I wasn’t sure what outcome I was looking for, and searching my brain on that Sunday night, I couldn’t come up with a plan. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was floundering.

And yet, I was still in a position to end up on top. Whatever I decided to do, I still had a chance to make Dominick pay for what he’d done. Beyond that, I wasn’t sure exactly what I was capable of.

Monday morning was the start of upperclassmen Hell Week, widely known as Semester Scramble across campus. It was the time of the year that shit got real academically, and students put the pedal to the metal.

I could list all of the assignments, projects, and papers I had due over the course of the next ten days, but that would bore us both, so suffice it to say that I was so busy that my list had sublists of their own.

And yet, trying to wade through all of the drama that clouded my mind that Monday morning and concentrate on schoolwork proved to be absurdly difficult.

I left my English class at 11:30, woefully unprepared for the amount of reading I needed to do over the next two weeks in order to have a chance at passing my final. I thought about walking to the library, but didn’t want to run in to any of the Chi Beta seniors on campus. I definitely didn’t want to go back to the house, as I’d managed to escape for my 9 o’clock class without seeing anyone, and I planned on going as long as I could without being seen. I had made tentative plans to go to srat lunch with Hannah Allison and some of the other KD’s, but I didn’t have the energy or wherewithal to fake the funk that morning.

In situations like that, I would have called Mike and asked him to cheer me up. I would have let him talk me into forgetting everything that was happening on campus. I would have allowed him to put a smile on my otherwise bitchy resting face.

But I couldn’t call Mike. I’d pulled that cord straight out of its socket. And for what? To assuage my own guilt over liking someone while he sat in purgatory?

And that’s when I thought about Pete. As I stood outside of the English building, staring at the Chapel at the bottom of the hill from the Colonnade, I thought about the guy that had left me in this position to begin with. The reason I had no one call. The catalyst for this year I was having. I thought about Pete, and before I could think too much, I picked up my phone, scrolled for his name, took a deep breath, and pushed the green telephone symbol on the left of my screen.

I wanted to hang up after the first ring. We weren’t back in friend mode, what the fuck was I doing? One truce and one cuddle didn’t put us back where we’d been before this whole thing started. Our friendship had suffered a terrible blow over the last few weeks, and that kind of rupture wasn’t repaired in one night.

As I listened to the second ring, I decided that although friendships weren’t repaired that quickly, I still owed it to us to get the ball rolling. Why wait? We had to start somewhere, and it may as well have been at lunch.

And so with baited breath, I waited for Pete to answer his phone so that I could ask him to lunch; but he never did.

I almost had a panic attack when his phone directed me to his voicemail. Had I rushed the whole thing? Had I scared him off by calling him? Was I delusional in thinking we could go back to the way we were? Was I going to have to sneak back into the frat house and eat in misery by myself while wallowing at the mess I’d created around me?

And then, standing there trying to decide what to do, I felt my phone vibrate in my hands. I looked down and I had a text from Pete himself.

To Corbin: Finishing up a lecture. What’s up?

I replied without hesitation, not wanting to miss my window of courage.

To Pete: Lunch after your lecture? I’m starved.

After reading the message, I decided it didn’t adequately convey my desperation for a lunch companion.

To Pete: And I could use a friend right now.

Pete must have been typing his response while I was sending my second message, because not a moment later did I receive his reply.

To Corbin: I’d love lunch. Dining hall in ten?

I sighed my anxiety away for a moment, turned left out of the English building instead of right, and walked slowly towards the dining hall.

The next ten minutes were excruciating. I didn’t know what to expect from my lunch with Pete. Would things be normal like they’d been in the past? Would we have to build our rapport back up from scratch? I felt awkward waiting on someone I hadn’t had the desire to see in almost a month, but then again, when that desire had returned the previous weekend, it returned like a tidal wave, full force, and unbounded.

With a mixture of nerves and excitement, like a girl dressed for prom, I walked down into the D-Hall, swiped in, and looked around.

“Hey killer,” I heard after a minute that felt more like an hour. I had been pretending to use my phone against the entrance wall so that when Pete walked down the stairs and saw me, I wasn’t standing there, twiddling my thumbs awkwardly.

“Hey,” I replied, trying my best to keep my voice breezy and even. I looked up to see Pete smiling at me, the same smile that had melted me from across the room a semester earlier, and the same smile that had forced my hand into making the decision that dropped Mike the cadet and kept the rest of my options open.

“Shall we get some food?” Pete asked. I nodded and followed him into the line.

It was Taco Bar that Monday, which meant that the following Tuesday would most likely be a repurposed meatloaf or shepherd’s pie. Along with taco bar was a random manicotti station, and the usually stocked Panini bar. I decided to keep things simple with a well crafted taco salad over crushed hard taco shells. Six minutes and a slow pass through the dessert line later, I followed Pete to a booth around the corner in the annex that was surprisingly empty for lunchtime.

“I guess the freshmen are eating in the library these days,” Pete deduced.

“Yeah,” I replied, pulling my napkin out and forking at my salad. “They haven’t learned the art of pacing themselves during Semester Scramble.”

“What do you mean?” he asked, filling his mouth with his pudding first. How charming, I thought. He eats lunch like a little kid: dessert first.

“It’s a long three weeks. This first week is really about getting organized, and then next week is about finishing up all assignments that have a hard due date. After that, you have all of exam week to crunch and take your tests, so no use overloading yourself starting now. You’ll only burn out by the time exam week starts.”

It was my tried and true method, and while it was only good enough to score me a 3.1 GPA, I figured only stressing out as much as I had to added a few years to my life if it didn’t add any points to my test scores.

“Sounds like a plan,” Pete said. “Luckily for me, only my business school grades transfer across the pond. So that’s just two exams I need to study for.”

“Lucky for you,” I smiled. I looked up at Pete and decided that things could return to normal quicker rather than slower. There was no use doing this like girls and feeling each other out.

“So what’s new with you?” he asked as if I hadn’t just seen him three days before. I guess there was a whole month of activity missing from each other’s lives, and we hadn’t really gone into catching up at Dakota’s party.

“Oh, you know. The same old same old. Starting a war with my fraternity, striving for social dominance, trying not to get kicked out of school, and of the proverbial and elusive search for love,” I rattled off with a plastered smile on my face. This got a chuckle and a snort out of Pete, who had moved on from his pudding to his canned peaches.

“Starting a war with your fraternity? Sounds serious.”

I shrugged. “I mean… “

“War over what?”

“It’s just… it’s…” and then I hit a wall. Was it too soon to talk about Mike with Pete? I’d made my choice, and I had done what I had done to avoid the guilt that six months of feeling for Pete would bring me, knowing that Mike was sitting away in solitary. But part of me felt like discussing the whole thing with Pete was disrespectful in a way. And yet, there was no way to adequately describe why I was at war with Dom without starting with Mike.

“Oh, come on. We don’t need to do this slow build back to friendship thing. What happened with us happened. I’m ready to move on if you are.”

Confirming that we were both on the same page, I looked at Pete and told him why I was at war with Chi Beta.

“Okay. So after your… um… after Mike punched you… in the face… our president…”

“Dominick.”

“Dominick called Mike’s sergeant at VMI and had him put on a six month lockdown. Sort of as an insurance policy to make sure that Mike’s ban from our house sticks… at least for six months.”

“And that pissed you off.”

“It did. I feel like I have to avenge what Dom did, you know?”

“So what’s your plan? I’m sure it’s going to be scathing.”

“That’s the problem… I don’t actually have a plan. I’m kind of in this limbo where I’m so angry and I just want to burn things down, but I don’t want to lose control. Dom did this to Mike, not the house, and yet I can’t figure out how to get to Dom without destroying everything. And it’s already cost me a shit ton, so… I just don’t know.”

“What has it cost you?” Pete asked. I looked up at him. He looked genuinely interested, and so I pressed on.

“They took away my social chairmanship, so there’s that. I’m sitting here, and I should be freaking out about Christmas Weekend in five days, and someone else is freaking out for me. Jackson will get all of the credit and the respect for all of the work I’ve done this year.”

Pete’s eyes narrowed as he tried to contemplate what I was saying. I could see the wheels in his head turning.

“So if Dom returned you to your social chairmanship, you’d drop the whole thing?” Pete asked. I could tell by his inflection that he was confused.

“No,” I answered quickly. “I just… no. I would need more than that.”

“Like what?”

“I don’t know.”

“When all is said and done, what do you want out of Chi Beta? For you to end this feud you’ve got going on, what do you really want out of them?”

I thought about that for a second. I’d started this war with my so-called brothers over Mike, and here I was ready to burn it all down because of him. But sitting there talking to Pete, I realized it wasn’t because of him at all. The reason I’d let my fight escalate to the point it had reached was because there had been a fundamental lack of respect from the brothers towards me for far too long. Dom’s latest act, his calling of the VMI guard, had been the last straw in a long line of being looked over.

“I guess I just want respect,” I said, looking down and then back up at Pete. He raised an eyebrow, and then asked the one question I needed to hear in order to get off my pity party and start wheeling and dealing the way Corbin Crowley knew how.

“So how are you going to get that respect?”

The words rang in my ear. I didn’t answer right away, and instead I thought. I thought about what I wanted, what the ideal situation would be. Sure, I could go back to being social chair, but I’d been there, and I’d done that. I knew better than anyone at Chi Beta that I held our social status in the palm of my hand, and while I had done things to boost our place in the school’s overall hierarchy, I wanted my influence to reach beyond that.

“Do you want to be an officer?”

Pete’s questions continued to jog my brain, probe my ideas, stimulate my plans. Sure, I could make a pitch for an office, but would that satiate my desire to be in charge?

“Do you want to be president?”

I shook my head. That wasn’t it.

“No,” I said, thinking out loud. “Presidents are babysitters.”

Pete raised an eyebrow.

“So what do you want?”

What did I want? What would make me feel as if I’d accomplished more than plan a few parties and keep the guys of Chi Beta in the good graces of the girls at the top notch sororities? What would make me feel accomplished? What would make me feel like I’d earned the respect of the brothers who could barely even look at me at that point?

And then it hit me. I needed to think past that semester, that year, and that senior class. I needed to think bigger than I’d thought before. If I was going to go back to Chi Beta and drop the war that I’d started, if I was going to humble myself in the sight of the guys I’d spent the past few weeks pissing off, if I was going to earn the respect of everyone at that frat house, I’d need to go beyond myself and the influence I thought I could wield. I needed to influence the future, impose a legacy that would carry on after I was gone- one that would supersede the Dom’s who had come before and would resonate with the Dom’s that came after. I needed to think bigger, do bigger, and make changes that would last a long time.

My mind was racing before I even left lunch with Pete. It was like a spark had been lit under me, and I began to put plans into motion.

The first thing I did was attend chapter that evening. I didn’t want my presence to be disruptive, but I also wanted to put a peace offering forward. Instead of snarking through chapter, especially while Jackson gave the social report that should have been mine to give, I sat with my class and listened intently.

“I’m surprised to see you here, maricon,” Roberto said as we all sat on the leather couches waiting for chapter to start. I’d practiced my responses to what the guys would say when they saw me cooperating.

“Yeah, well. I can only stay mad at you all for so long, right? We are brothers after all,” I responded, putting my phone away and listening to the roll call.

“Here,” was all I said when my name was called by Brian, whose job as historian was to take attendance at all chapter meetings. Brian paused, looked at me, and I shrugged as humbly as I possibly could.

After a brief chapter meeting, which I could imagine was just a recap of the bigger meeting we’d had the night before, the classes broke up to discuss their plans for the freshman that they’d been assigned.

We had a Wednesday night beer pong tournament planned with our guys in the game room that I signed up to play in, alongside David Marcossi as my partner. On Thursday we were having a pregame in Hutch’s room before going out to the River Houses for the annual Christmas in the Country party that officially kicked off Christmas Weekend.

“Anyone have any ideas what the big parties are for Christmas Weekend this year?” Hutch asked. “I want to sound like we’re in the know in case freshmen ask.”

All eyes turned to me. Of course I knew where to see and be seen the following weekend, and so without an ounce of attitude, I filled the guys in.

“The River Houses on Thursday for sure. If we pregame early enough, we could take some of the locks to County Seat for their pregame.”

“Are any of our guys cross rushing with the guys that live at County Seat?” Hutch asked.

“I doubt any of our guys are cross rushing with Beta. Besides, we’ll get there at the tail end; the place will be packed with girls waiting to walk over to the river houses. I’ll make sure that some of the Thetas are there to hang out with us and we can walk over with them. That should impress.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

“Besides what we’re doing and the late nights on Friday and Saturday, there’s a big party at the Sigma Chi house…”

“On campus?” Austin asked.

“Yeah, on campus. I think they’re bringing a band in from Charlottesville. I know that everyone is going to be on Windy Hill before late night, so if we got some guys to go out to that, we could draw a crowd back into town.”

“Do you want to be in charge of organizing a group then, Corbin?” Hutch asked, buying into my eagerness to help. It didn’t take much to convince the guys that I had turned over a new leaf, that I had seen the error of my ways and had decided that cooperation was better than all out defiance.

“I can do that,” I said. The meeting shifted to the status of the guys at hand, and I could tell that Hutch was hurrying through his one sheet to appease Roberto who was clearly growing restless. I doubted he could put the name to the face of half the guys on our portion of the rush list, and I could sense Hutch’s impatience with him.

When it got to Lee, my ears perked up. I had an idea for him, but I needed to sense just where Hutch was with our prospect of rushing him.

“He’s been a little distant since the break, but I’m trying to get him over here a few nights this week. He’s still pals with David and Brandon, right?” Hutch asked to no one in particular. I didn’t answer, and avoided Hutch’s gaze.

“Maybe talk to Steph Doleman about him and see where his head’s at,” Austin chimed in.

“That’s a good idea.”

I continued to keep my mouth shut until we’d gone through all the names and had decided what our final push plan would be for each guy. I was given the task of talking to David Marcossi, who had apparently expressed that his parents weren’t too keen on the idea of him going Greek.

“Your parents didn’t want you to rush, did they, Corbs?” Brian asked me when the subject came up.

“My dad pretty much said I was going to hell if I joined a frat,” I replied.

“Maybe you talk to David sometime this week. Take him to dinner or something, bring him up to your room and tell him what you told your parents to change their minds. Guilt him if you have to, that kid has smoked so much weed off of our seniors, he at least owes us the courtesy of pledging.”

“Just try not to sleep with him,” Roberto charged, drawing a snigger out of Austin and a stern look from Hutch.

“I’ll do my best,” I said, my one flash of attitude for the night. As we all dispersed after that, I pulled Hutch aside and asked him if I could talk to him.

“Yeah, what’s up?” he asked. We were the last two in the library after everyone had gone off to their respective rush assignments, which mostly meant a casual beer kickback at our off campus house.

“Look, I heard what you said about Lee, and I want to help bring him in to the fold in any way that I can,” I said as sincerely as possible. I didn’t confess that I was the one who had told him to leave the fold to begin with.

“I think maybe you should leave Lee to me,” Hutch replied. “I’m sure he’s just nervous about suicide rushing or something.”

“Is that what he told you?”

“He said he didn’t want to commit to Chi Beta without knowing what else is out there.”

“And that makes you nervous?” I asked, catching Hutch’s eye. He shrugged. “Listen, I was where he was when I was a freshman. I had outed myself to the frat; I’d spent most of my semester here. I knew I wanted to be a Chi Beta, but there was the nagging feeling that I didn’t give myself a fair chance to see what else was out there. I’d be willing to talk to him. What could it hurt?”

In the last part of the speech I’d practiced in my head since lunch that afternoon, I made it clear that my help came with a price. I lifted my inflection and curled chin down towards my shoulder, cutting my eye at Hutch so that he knew there was a catch. He caught my drift without any assistance, and asked me what was in it for me.

“Look, I fucked up when I went against Dominick and the officers, and I know that I’ve acted like a baby back bitch the last couple of weeks, and I get that. I just… I want to prove that I’m a team player, and I want to make things right.”

“And you want social chair back,” Hutch finished the words before I had to.

“I think if I can deliver Lee, and show that I can put our differences behind us to bring him back into the house, I’d say that deserves my chair back.”

Hutch cut his eyes at me as if he didn’t fully trust what I was offering. He was probably wondering what I was hiding, what I knew about Lee that I could use to get him back, but at that point, he was desperate. Even if I had some form of blackmail to swap the freshman, it was better than nothing.

“I can talk to the officers for you, if you bring Lee back in to the mix. It’ll be a solid gesture of good faith.”

“All I’m asking is that you talk to them and put in a good word. And ask them to revoke my fines,” I added. Hutch rolled his eyes.

“Get Lee back, and I’ll see what I can do.”

It was the closest I would get to a guarantee, and as Hutch turned and walked away, I smiled at myself for pulling off the first leg of my plan.

The next day was another full day of classes, studying, and playing nice with the guys at the frat house. After chorus rehearsal, I spent the evening studying in the library and generally cutting up with Newby and the other sophomores before everyone got dressed and went over to the seniors’ house for a hookah party.

I had been playing nice for almost two full days at that point, and I was getting tired. The last thing I wanted to do was go over to the seniors house and fake it for everyone while passing around a half lit hookah pipe. Plus, I’d managed to avoid Dominick throughout my rebranding campaign, and I figured the longer I could do my part without running into him and having to answer his questions, the better.

And so instead of changing and getting dressed for hookah night, I decided to throw out a Hail Mary and call Pete.

We’d seen each other at chorus, and it had been cordial. I liked that we weren’t awkward around each other, and so I figured why not see what he was up to that evening.

“Don’t you Founders ever study?” he asked after I asked him what he was doing later.

“Occasionally,” I replied. “But why study when there is so much else to do?”

“Like what?” he asked, and I could picture his perfect eyebrow raising above his perfect eyes.

“Like you could come over and watch a movie with me,” I said, throwing the invitation out there as flippantly as possible as to not sound too eager. “My house is throwing a hookah party, and I really don’t want to smell like cheap Indian food for the next three days, so I’m staying far far away from that.”

“And you’re inviting me over to watch a movie instead?” he asked. “What if I planned on going to said party?”

“If you planned on going, you would have said so when I asked you what you were doing tonight,” I replied. “Busted! Now drop off your books, and come over.”

“I really should study,” he protested. “Especially if I plan on getting belligerent all weekend long.”

I decided that instead of pushing, I would try the opposite. I told him that was fine as indifferently as I could muster, not wanting to sound disappointed in any way.

“I guess I have plenty of time to ready and study tomorrow,” Pete said as soon as I’d pretended not to care that he wasn’t coming over. “What’s one movie?”

“Just one,” I smiled.

“Alright, Mr. Crowley,” Pete replied. “You win, as usual.”

I smiled, hung up, and waited for Pete to come over.

“So did you have a picture in mind when you called me, or do I have a say in what we watch?” Pete asked, fifteen minutes and one quick change later. I’d spruced up my bedroom as well as the TV room downstairs, and had managed to microwave some pizza bites in case one of us got hungry.

“Of course you have a say,” I answered, pulling out my modest DVD collection that I kept in a shoe box in the corner of my closet. I handed it to Pete, who’d sat down on my bed and immediately started playing with Mister. “In fact, I’ll just let you pick any of these.”

I sat down across from him on my desk chair and pulled Mister towards me while Pete pulled the box onto his lap. Mister meowed in protest, but eventually gave in as I held her to my chest.

“Devil Wears Prada, of course,” Pete laughed. “How many Sex and the City DVDs are there?”

“There’s six,” I smiled. “I haven’t had a chance to order the DVD of the movie yet, but soon there’ll be seven.”

“Well, we will just give that one a skip,” he looked at me with a smirk on his face. “Let’s see… these are all chick flicks.”

“I consider that to be a homophobic slur.”

“I’m serious! Devil Wears Prada, Sex and the City box set, Pretty Woman, Chicago…”

“Wait a second, Chicago is not a chick flick, it’s a movie musical, and it’s a fucking classic.”

Pete looked up at me with curt eyes.

“Fine,” he relented. “But the rest of these. What’s… My Best Friend’s Wedding?”

I snatched the DVD case out of his hands.

“It’s what we’re watching. And you’re going to love it.” I stood up and walked towards the door to lead Pete and myself downstairs.

“What’s it about?”

“You’ll see. You’ll love it. Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, Rupert Everet. It’s a classic,” I answered, already humming I Say A Little Prayer in my head. “I can’t believe you haven’t seen it, actually.”

“Yeah, well,” Pete answered, following me as I bounded down the stairs and in to our TV room in the basement. It didn’t take me long to load the DVD and for us to hear Wishing and Hoping cascade across the sound system.

“I’m going to regret this,” Pete said, sitting next to me on the couch and reaching over to grab a pizza bite.

“Shut up.”

We watched intently, interjecting only when one of my favorites parts came on and I recited the script along with the cast.

‘I’ve got moves you ain’t never seen,’ I said along with Julia Roberts’ character, getting a laugh out of Pete. I could tell he was enjoying the movie beside himself, even when he protested halfway through that the plot was decidedly unrealistic.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, seriously, how could someone not know that their best friend is in love with them for that long? He had to have some idea before he went off and boffed Kimmy.”

He looked over at me, and I met his eyes. Really, I thought? You could go how long without knowing that someone likes you? Pete and I had hung out for over two months before I got the courage to kiss him, and that came as quite the shocker to both of us.

“Guys can be dense sometimes,” I replied, giving him the side eye.

“Can they?” Pete asked, piercing me with his eyes. I looked back at him and felt a radiance between the two of us. Forgetting what was even happening on screen, I nodded. “If you were in love with your best friend, would you tell him? Or would you wait nine years… or until it’s too late?”

I swallowed.

“I would want to tell him,” I answered honestly. “But experience shows that I’m the wait nine years until it eats you up inside kind of a guy.”

I swallowed again. What was Pete getting at with that? Was he asking me something? Was he hinting at something? After all of the times he’d pushed me away, after all of the ways in which he had decided not to requite the way I felt about him, was he asking me to tell him again?

I thought about it. I really did. I thought about taking Kimmy’s advice.

‘If you love someone, you say it. You say it right then. Otherwise, the moment just… passes you by.’

I’d had those moments with Pete. I had had the words at the tip of my tongue, and the one time I’d said it, the one time I bit the bullet and said how I felt, the bullet came right back and bit me in the ass.

“That’s too bad that you are,” Pete said with a sigh. And then he said something that rocked me to the core. “I guess I am too.”

He sat back in his seat on the couch, faced forward, and wordlessly watched the rest of the film.

I didn’t sleep well that night. I couldn’t. How was I supposed to get any rest when Pete had dropped that bomb in my lap and then left right after the credits rolled with no more than a side hug and a ‘See you soon.’

It was a classic case of saying more than you intended, I thought. The timing was there, the atmosphere was perfect. Pete and I had been vibing, and everything was laid out for him to say what was on his chest.

But he didn’t, and in those five little words, he said more than he could have with the three I really wanted to hear.

What killed me, what kept me awake that night, what would keep me awake for many nights to come was the fact that Pete insisted on reopening that door. He insisted on giving me just enough hope to keep me from moving on. It was torturous was what it was, moving on from someone just to have them pull you back in with little things like that, and it made me feel equal parts pathetic and hopeful for a relationship that had just a smidgen of possibility.

The worst thing in the world you can give to someone that loves you is hope. It drives them crazy. That night, Pete’s words drove me crazy.

I could say that I woke up the next morning and got ready for class, but that would imply that I ever went to sleep, when in reality, I spent all night tossing and turning, trying to decipher the straight code of a man I couldn’t quite figure out.

Pete’s words rang in my ear as I went about my day, half listening in class, half reading my books, unable to concentrate on any one thing in particular. I couldn’t stop thinking about Pete. Pete who had had opportunity after opportunity to tell me how he felt. Pete, who I had dropped everything for; Pete, who held my feelings in the palm of his hand. Pete, who I had given up on Mike for, but who couldn’t admit, who couldn’t bring himself to say that he liked me. Pete, who I would have followed to the ends of the earth.

I’d bitten the bullet for Pete, and he’d thrown that very bullet right back through my heart.

I couldn’t call Mike to get Pete off my chest, that was for sure. That ship had sailed, and even if I could get a hold of him in his state of solitude, what words could I possibly say to the guy that continued to land in second place?

Without that option, I thought about who else I could call. Who else could I reach out to take my mind off the guy who couldn’t tell me he liked me?

I reached behind door number three and sent out a message to what I felt was my third and final option.

To Corbin: Why should I come over? So that you can yell at me again?

To Lee: I promise. No yelling this time… in fact, very little talking.

To Corbin: You told me to stay away from the house.

To Lee: I changed my mind.

There was a long pause in his response as I sat in my bed wondering what I should say to entice the freshman to come over.

To Lee: You know you want to.

To Corbin: What should I wear?

I smiled.

To Lee: Something easy to take off…

I smiled at the hold I had on Lee. It must have been similar to the hold that Pete had on me, expect for the one detail that Lee and I had had sex and that any time I beckoned him over, sex was very much on the table. Still, despite his best interests, he couldn’t not come over when I called, just like when Pete summoned me to do anything, or when I had a moment’s free time, I occupied myself with him. This time, I fought that mental occupation and waited for Lee to come to my bedroom.

“I’m surprised you’re still dressed,” Lee said, sauntering into my room, believing that he was in control.

“It’s more fun when you take my clothes off for me,” I tilted my head seductively, wondering if this would even make me feel better in the long run.

Lee stood next to me and began unbuttoning my shirt, starting from the top and working his way down. He tried to lean in for a kiss, but I shifted my head around. This was a working meeting, I thought. Intimacy wasn’t part of my mental game.

“Wait,” I said, grabbing Lee’s arm. I had him right where I wanted him. It was time to get business out of the way before I allowed Lee to go any further. He took a step back and sighed.

“The last time you did this to me…”

“This isn’t like the last time. I just… okay, I might have been a little too harsh when I told you to stay away from Chi Beta.”

“You think?” Lee took another step back. “But I get it, Corbin, and I’m on board. You want someone my year that you can fuck when the whim arises. You know that I won’t risk losing Steph by fucking any other guys on campus, and so you have me wrapped around your finger to come over and suck you off whenever you want. And that all gets complicated if I rush here, and move in next door, and disrupt whatever it is that you have going on in your personal life already. You tell yourself it’s for the good of the house because I’m scum, and untrustworthy, and willing to do whatever it takes for a bid, and you tell yourself that so that you can sleep better at night. If that’s what this is, if that’s what these little mind fuck booty calls are, then tell me now so that I can sleep better at night too.”

I was taken aback by Lee. He’d stood up to me in the past, sure, but never had he come so prepared to challenge what I was doing. He was wrong, but I respected the effort.

“I look up to you, Lee. And I’ve underestimated you.” I took a step towards him and lowered my voice for greater effect. I slowly put my hand on his shoulder. “You are intelligent and you’re crafty, and determined, and you have to understand that I see a great deal of myself in you. And at the beginning, when I realized just how intelligent and determined you were, that scared me. I was intimidated, I admit that. I wanted to stifle you, and I did that the best way I knew how.”

I reached down with my hand and traced it over Lee’s chest. I could see the affect I had on the boy as I did, not once looking away from his eyes. I drew him in, and I held him there.

“But I’ve come to realize over the past couple of days that I shouldn’t be afraid of who you’ll become when you’re my age. I should encourage it. Guys like you and me, Lee, we’re built to do great things. While everyone around us reacts, we choose. We determine what happens in our environments and we influence those decisions.”

Lee swallowed. I went in for the jugular, prepared to reap my reward from Hutch when the next part of my speech, the clutch part, landed on Lee’s perched ears.

“I decided that I want to empower you, Lee. I want you to use your intelligence and your determination for Chi Beta, not anyone else. I want you back, and not because I can’t get enough of this,” I paused to trace the back of my hand over Lee’s hard cock. “But because I think that with my guidance, you can do great things for this house.”

Lee took a deep breath.

“Like what?”

“You name it.”

“How do I know this isn’t a trick? How do I know that you aren’t just trying to humiliate me again?”

“I do things for a reason, for a purposeful gain, Lee, and you know that. What do I stand to gain by bringing you here, unzipping your pants, and promising you the world?”

I unzipped Lee’s pants slowly, licked my lips, and then took a step back. Lee leaned forward, almost lunged, craving the touch of my hand. I chuckled inside. I owned this kid, I thought. And he was about to be my ticket straight to the top.

“What do I get out of it? If I come back, what’s in it for me?”

I smiled. I had him; the only thing left was to dangle one last carrot in front of his face. I’d done some shitty things to that kid, and I knew he wouldn’t just come crawling back to the frat without some assurances. I was prepared for him to ask me that, and in my answer I laid the first foundation for my endgame.

“I’m glad you asked that. I don’t expect you to just rush here without the promise of something, especially from me, seeing as to I’ve… screwed you over so many times. How does president of your pledge class sound?”

It was a promise that I wasn’t sure I could deliver. I would try for sure, and even if I fell short, I would find one way or another to harness Lee’s ability to manipulate. It was an easy promise to make, and so I threw it out there.

“President of my pledge class? The seniors said that’s a bitch job.”

“It is. It sucks, you get all the calls in the middle of the night, you deal with all of the bitching of your pledge brothers, and generally, it’s a thankless job. But the last six PCP’s have all gone on to be Presidents of this fraternity. They’ve gone on to serve on the school’s Inter-Fraternity Council. They’ve gone on to use what they learned as PCP to wield more power than any of their pledge brothers… if they want to. I can get that for you, Lee. And together we can rule this place. With my help, you can command more influence within your class, fuck within the whole house, than you ever thought possible.”

I could see the wheels turning in his head. I had decided after Pete’s pep talk that I needed to think past myself, past this year, and past Dominick in order to satisfy my decision to come back to Chi Beta. And thinking past myself meant thinking for the future. I would be a senior soon, a senior with one chairmanship and no vote on the EC. I would be a lame duck senior, unless I took what time I had left that year and turned Lee into a stud. If I could build him up, and keep him in my control, then I could effectively have a voice on the inner circle of the frat.

Pete had asked what I wanted in order to stay in Chi Beta, and I was finally ready to answer that question. I wanted power.

And I exercised the strength of that power for the next forty five minutes as I sat back and watched as the candidate for my outlet of power got on his knees and sucked every inch of my dick simply because I asked him to.


Hi All! Thanks for your patience with this chapter. I hope it lives up to the wait! I can't wait to hear what you think, so feel free to leave questions, comments, and reviews, and join in on the lively discussion in the message boards. Until next time!

Copyright © 2016 Jwolf; All Rights Reserved.
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I guess Pete deserves some praise for getting Corbin to think more long term about what he want from the frat instead of just reacting instinctively to the present situation. But I still think he is toxic for Corbin. The sad thing is Corbs knows it, but he can't help himself.

The situation with Mike kills me, but I don't know what else Corbin could have said or done. Maybe being without Corbin for six months will make Mike get his priorities right. But at least he is honest and doesn't promise more than he can keep.

Oh and I still want Corbin to get revenge on Dom, but just seeing Dom wait nervously for the next brick to drop may be enough for now.

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On 11/10/2014 06:06 PM, Timothy M. said:
I guess Pete deserves some praise for getting Corbin to think more long term about what he want from the frat instead of just reacting instinctively to the present situation. But I still think he is toxic for Corbin. The sad thing is Corbs knows it, but he can't help himself.

The situation with Mike kills me, but I don't know what else Corbin could have said or done. Maybe being without Corbin for six months will make Mike get his priorities right. But at least he is honest and doesn't promise more than he can keep.

Oh and I still want Corbin to get revenge on Dom, but just seeing Dom wait nervously for the next brick to drop may be enough for now.

Thank so much for the review! I'm going to think about the word you used, toxic. It's an interesting take on their relationship. As for dom, Corbin might not have had a plan going in, but he definitely has one now. More to come.
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On 11/10/2014 06:45 PM, Irritable1 said:
Yeesh. Tim has it right. "Toxic" is definitely the word.
Reminds of the Britney Spears song :) thanks for the comment!
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On 11/11/2014 12:17 AM, secretsides said:
OOOOH I feel Corbin sliding to the 'dark side'. :o). go get 'em Corbs !! :). :)
Love the different reactions to Corbin going to the 'dark side'. Can't wait to hear what you think as his master plan unfolds. You know what they say, the best laid plans of mice and men.
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I was reading all the reviews calling Pete toxic. I am not really sure that he is. I am not always sure he is the best thing for Corbin but I am not always sure there is a person who is best for another. I still think that Pete is so confused about himself. Its hard to be something for someone else when you dont know what your ownself is yet. ( thats a horrible sentence, I know ) But my thing is this. Corbin is stuck in the middle right now. Mike has decided to get his head out of his ass. I don't agree with what Domidick did but I think he may have helped them out in the long run. Mike and Corbin are going to have time to step back and look at what they want from each other. Pete is being forced to figure himself out. I think they should just have a threesome and be done with it! Sorry, kidding, sort of... Now on to the whole Lee thing.

Lee is an interesting little dude. I think that everyone needs a Lee, You know, someone to scratch your back or the back of your throat, which ever itches at the time... Corbin is smart to bring Lee into his inner world. I think that they are going to be good for each other. I think when Corbin looks at it he is going to see that Lee is a lot like him and he will do great things. As for Domidick and the seniors. They are all dicks. I can't even say they are out for their own benefits. They are just ugh... Anyways, I am glad that you finally posted. I had to read 2 chapters because some how I missed the last one! Oh well.

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Interesting! Seems Corbin had no choice but to respond to Mike the way he did, so that puts that affair to rest for 6 months and then, as Corbs says, what will be will be.

It's amazing how his friendship with Pete gives him inspiration for the damndest (not sure that's a word) plots as it seems Pete somehow sparked his imagination for this plan to go beyond the now, and has led him to apparently tow the line (though this is all entirely a manipulation of the highest order). Corbs is such an incredibly intelligent politician in his manipulation of people and events. A master in the art! Maybe that's the attraction Pete holds - Corbs never seems quite to be in control there nor able to manipulate Pete and Pete leaves him in this terrible place of inconclusiveness and uncertainty, which is like a drug, luring him in.

I feel a little sorry (only a little mind you) for Lee. He's on his way to become another Corbin it seems.

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On 11/11/2014 01:25 AM, Carrie76 said:
I was reading all the reviews calling Pete toxic. I am not really sure that he is. I am not always sure he is the best thing for Corbin but I am not always sure there is a person who is best for another. I still think that Pete is so confused about himself. Its hard to be something for someone else when you dont know what your ownself is yet. ( thats a horrible sentence, I know ) But my thing is this. Corbin is stuck in the middle right now. Mike has decided to get his head out of his ass. I don't agree with what Domidick did but I think he may have helped them out in the long run. Mike and Corbin are going to have time to step back and look at what they want from each other. Pete is being forced to figure himself out. I think they should just have a threesome and be done with it! Sorry, kidding, sort of... Now on to the whole Lee thing.

Lee is an interesting little dude. I think that everyone needs a Lee, You know, someone to scratch your back or the back of your throat, which ever itches at the time... Corbin is smart to bring Lee into his inner world. I think that they are going to be good for each other. I think when Corbin looks at it he is going to see that Lee is a lot like him and he will do great things. As for Domidick and the seniors. They are all dicks. I can't even say they are out for their own benefits. They are just ugh... Anyways, I am glad that you finally posted. I had to read 2 chapters because some how I missed the last one! Oh well.

So glad to read a review from you! Thanks so much for taking the time to write something up. I always love your takes on the subject. I read the 'toxic' comments as more of Pete influencing Corbin to make questionable decisions: re his revenge plan, dumping mike, the list goes on. If they were perfect for each other, this would be a very short story :) I love that someone isn't sketched out by the lee/Corbin dynamic. I wonder how you'll feel as it unfolds. Thanks again!
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On 11/11/2014 05:39 AM, Jaro_423 said:
Interesting! Seems Corbin had no choice but to respond to Mike the way he did, so that puts that affair to rest for 6 months and then, as Corbs says, what will be will be.

It's amazing how his friendship with Pete gives him inspiration for the damndest (not sure that's a word) plots as it seems Pete somehow sparked his imagination for this plan to go beyond the now, and has led him to apparently tow the line (though this is all entirely a manipulation of the highest order). Corbs is such an incredibly intelligent politician in his manipulation of people and events. A master in the art! Maybe that's the attraction Pete holds - Corbs never seems quite to be in control there nor able to manipulate Pete and Pete leaves him in this terrible place of inconclusiveness and uncertainty, which is like a drug, luring him in.

I feel a little sorry (only a little mind you) for Lee. He's on his way to become another Corbin it seems.

I think you're spot on that Corbin sees in Pete someone he can't necessarily manipulate. I'd say that's the same thing with Mike as well. With those two, Corbin isn't the master planner he is used to being. I'm glad you continue to enjoy the depiction of the relationships so far. One caveat: who said Mike is on the back burner for the entire six months...?
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Corbin did the right thing with Mike. I would have said the exact same thing...

I don't think the Brit is toxic for Corbin. He's confused... He wears his heart on his sleeve and can't help himself with Corbin. I love that about him.

Lee is stupid to fall for Corbin again. He should know that Corbin is using him one way or another. But maybe he likes that... who knows...

Great chapter... can't wait for more as always :)

 

Thanks

pfox

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On 11/12/2014 07:47 AM, pfox25 said:
Corbin did the right thing with Mike. I would have said the exact same thing...

I don't think the Brit is toxic for Corbin. He's confused... He wears his heart on his sleeve and can't help himself with Corbin. I love that about him.

Lee is stupid to fall for Corbin again. He should know that Corbin is using him one way or another. But maybe he likes that... who knows...

Great chapter... can't wait for more as always :)

 

Thanks

pfox

Thanks for the review pfox! I'm glad there's another person in the Pete camp. I think you're right, he is a complicated individual which might be what's splitting people on him. As for lee, well I won't spoil what's coming... So nevermind :) thanks again!
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Dammit! I'm always so late to the party!!! :P

 

"These are all chick flicks."

"That's a homophobic slur." Funny line, Corbin!! :D

 

All I can say about Mike is I'm glad he was honest with Corbin. He could have changed his life for Corbin but would he have? He doesn't even know.

 

I'm glad Corbin and Pete are back to being friends.

 

I'm not sure why Corbin would use Lee the way he did. He always has another agenda when he's "dealing" with others. lol It's never as he says it is. lol I mean, I know why he's using him; it'll be a major coup getting Lee to join Chi Beta, and therefore he's hoping Domidick (haha, LOVE that one, Carrie! :D), will reinstate his social chair position, why is he using Lee for sex? Corbin's not interested in Lee; he doesn't even like him! lol

 

I don't think Pete is toxic for Corbin. I think what Jaro said is true: that Corbin can't manipulate Pete into doing what he wants, like he manipulates everyone else, and yes, the same holds true for Mike. He can manipulate Lee all he wants it seems! lol :P

 

Another awesome chapter, Jon! :) Can't wait for more!!

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On 11/14/2014 08:03 AM, Lisa said:
Dammit! I'm always so late to the party!!! :P

 

"These are all chick flicks."

"That's a homophobic slur." Funny line, Corbin!! :D

 

All I can say about Mike is I'm glad he was honest with Corbin. He could have changed his life for Corbin but would he have? He doesn't even know.

 

I'm glad Corbin and Pete are back to being friends.

 

I'm not sure why Corbin would use Lee the way he did. He always has another agenda when he's "dealing" with others. lol It's never as he says it is. lol I mean, I know why he's using him; it'll be a major coup getting Lee to join Chi Beta, and therefore he's hoping Domidick (haha, LOVE that one, Carrie! :D), will reinstate his social chair position, why is he using Lee for sex? Corbin's not interested in Lee; he doesn't even like him! lol

 

I don't think Pete is toxic for Corbin. I think what Jaro said is true: that Corbin can't manipulate Pete into doing what he wants, like he manipulates everyone else, and yes, the same holds true for Mike. He can manipulate Lee all he wants it seems! lol :P

 

Another awesome chapter, Jon! :) Can't wait for more!!

Don't be tardy for the party... whoawhoa!! Thanks for the review! Loved it as usual. The next chapter begins with a scene with Lee and Corbin that I think will answer your questions about that dynamic... So far we've only seen Corbin have sex with someone he has some sort of feelings for (even Lee the first couple times, there was something intriguing there...) There's a shift in Corbin that is much more... well, I'll let you read it for yourself very soon. Thanks again!
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Hi here

thanks for the link you gave me. As you can see I finished it in two days and I'm already regretting it that I didn't take it slower. I hope the next chapter is soon. I love the main two characters, their dynamics and relationship that is still in Forplay even after 27 chapters. I think Corbin can be a serial romantic which ok, I don't see him as immature because he is only 20 y.o. if I'm not mistaken, maybe he drinks too much. And Pete, well I don't know what his deal is, I can figure it out but I'm sure you have a logical explanation as to why and what his feelings are for Corbin.

I'm not very good with reviews and it's harder to write them in English, but let me tell you I'm swallowing the words as I read them so that can tell you that your writing is good. Maybe what bothers me are all those fillers in between the main storyline, mostly fraternity and party related. Actually it's not that it bothers me because I know that that's the story structure and that they are there for a reason, but when I read a chapter I can't wait till I get to the part that focus on the three main characters but mostly Pete and Corbin.

Now to questions. I wonder how much of if any of this stuff is autobiographical. Do you read any stuff from other writers. And when is the next chapter :P ?

Tom

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On 11/21/2014 04:09 AM, Alvin002 said:
Hi here

thanks for the link you gave me. As you can see I finished it in two days and I'm already regretting it that I didn't take it slower. I hope the next chapter is soon. I love the main two characters, their dynamics and relationship that is still in Forplay even after 27 chapters. I think Corbin can be a serial romantic which ok, I don't see him as immature because he is only 20 y.o. if I'm not mistaken, maybe he drinks too much. And Pete, well I don't know what his deal is, I can figure it out but I'm sure you have a logical explanation as to why and what his feelings are for Corbin.

I'm not very good with reviews and it's harder to write them in English, but let me tell you I'm swallowing the words as I read them so that can tell you that your writing is good. Maybe what bothers me are all those fillers in between the main storyline, mostly fraternity and party related. Actually it's not that it bothers me because I know that that's the story structure and that they are there for a reason, but when I read a chapter I can't wait till I get to the part that focus on the three main characters but mostly Pete and Corbin.

Now to questions. I wonder how much of if any of this stuff is autobiographical. Do you read any stuff from other writers. And when is the next chapter :P ?

Tom

Alvin! I'm glad you found the website and story okay. 2 days to finish all 27 chapters is quite the accomplishment! I'm so glad that you enjoyed it. I think with the filler in each chapter, it's magnified when you read multiple chapters at once. Taken one chapter every couple weeks, the way it's released here, I'm of the mind that the filler serves the story. But I agree, if I were to bundle this up in one publication, there are a lot of scenes that could get cut. The majority of the story is autobiographical with only some minor changes that don't affect the story and the outcome. I try to read different stories here and there, but honestly when I'm not working or watching Real Housewives or Scandal, I'm writing this story. Thanks again! And another chapter should be up... hopefully, before the Thanksgiving holiday :)
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Oddly enough i'm not going to touch on the Pete/Corbin reunion and how I fear he's fallen into old patterns or the departure of the Vmee

..way too many feels there. I'd rather wait it out and see how you'll let it all unfold. What I am dying to know, like for real's it's been bugging me. What of our very own Benedict Arnold, Amanda, the levels of disloyalty she showed during their break out turned me red

she had the opportunity to be impartial and play peacemaker but instead she chose sides. The wrong side considering she was Corbin's friend first. Where do they lie now?does the truce with the Brit absolve her of her sins?lol I just wanna know chase that would have bothered me if I were Corbs.

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On 12/05/2014 12:35 AM, BlackArrow said:
Oddly enough i'm not going to touch on the Pete/Corbin reunion and how I fear he's fallen into old patterns or the departure of the Vmee

..way too many feels there. I'd rather wait it out and see how you'll let it all unfold. What I am dying to know, like for real's it's been bugging me. What of our very own Benedict Arnold, Amanda, the levels of disloyalty she showed during their break out turned me red

she had the opportunity to be impartial and play peacemaker but instead she chose sides. The wrong side considering she was Corbin's friend first. Where do they lie now?does the truce with the Brit absolve her of her sins?lol I just wanna know chase that would have bothered me if I were Corbs.

I must have missed this somewhere along the way! There are some plans to have Corbin and Amanda interact, probably as we round out to towards the next semester. Their lives are too intertwined to avoid it. Hope that enough of an answer for you without giving anything away :)
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I can't see anything toxic about Pete. He's been quite ok the last couple of days - or is it weeks already?

But Corbs is one toxic guy. Petty, vengeful, with an uncontrolled temper. Happy to not only destroy the social calendar for the term or year, but ready to even destroy the whole Chapter of his Brotherhood. For just one of his endless feuds. Yes, it IS all about perceived dominance and power for him, and he is more than willing to throw everybody, friends included, under the bus. And while that may make him politician material, he is currently a detestable human being. The ongoing manipulation of Lee, while still using him for convenient booty calls, when other sources for sexual gratification have dried up, is just one example. If Lee really has the brain we are led to believe he has - he should run for the hills, and find a frat where he would not be with Corbs in constant contact, competition and suffer the sexual innuendo (to say the least), while in whatever relationship with Steph or any other girl (or boy) for that

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On 1/18/2020 at 12:31 PM, IBEX said:

I can't see anything toxic about Pete. He's been quite ok the last couple of days - or is it weeks already?

But Corbs is one toxic guy. Petty, vengeful, with an uncontrolled temper. Happy to not only destroy the social calendar for the term or year, but ready to even destroy the whole Chapter of his Brotherhood. For just one of his endless feuds. Yes, it IS all about perceived dominance and power for him, and he is more than willing to throw everybody, friends included, under the bus. And while that may make him politician material, he is currently a detestable human being. The ongoing manipulation of Lee, while still using him for convenient booty calls, when other sources for sexual gratification have dried up, is just one example. If Lee really has the brain we are led to believe he has - he should run for the hills, and find a frat where he would not be with Corbs in constant contact, competition and suffer the sexual innuendo (to say the least), while in whatever relationship with Steph or any other girl (or boy) for that

To be fair, and I may have mentioned this elsewhere - this is why we read this story. Corb's not nice but he's smart and the people he's screwing over aren't exactly shining examples of humanity either. So it's fun.

Plus, it's a college frat, man. No one's really getting hurt - it's not like he's putting poison in people's drinks or hiring assassins. At worst, his victims will be a little sad - which, as fratty jocks in the south, could probably do them a little good. Take them down a peg or two and not think so highly of themselves ;)

Edited by Israfil
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In reading these chapters, I sometimes wonder, even though he's given a brief history of his homelife, if Corbin comes from a totalitarian home where love and affection are as absent from the home as any real communication and sharing. Granted, his sister did say she loved him and was there for him at the airport drop-off but, though she said it, it seemed labored. Additionally, when Corbin exited the car, that's all there was - like getting out of a cab. Hell, when I drop off a family member at the airport - especially if they're going to be gone for a while - I'm like a good Italian, expressive and whaling my love and affections for them begging them to reconsider leaving and coming back sooner. LOL!!! (No disrespect meant to my Italian friends for the over dramatization! But the visual was in your head nonetheless.) Now, to the movie scene, My Best Friends Wedding, how appropriate to broach the subject of love. WTH? Pete seems to have a personality that loves and attaches deeply yet is so hesitant to really plunge in. It's as though he attached to someone very early in life, someone very close to him, and they left. A pain that is very difficult to get over when it comes to allowing someone to get that close to you again. So, if we have Corbin on one hand that doesn't really know how to express a honest and depthful love - only one of ambiguity and surface - while on the other hand we have Pete who is quite the opposite when it comes to love - a deep and abiding river of truth - one has to wonder where this hope will take both characters. Quoting a line from the movie Threesome, when Stephen Baldwin tells Josh Charles, "what you need is dick - big, hard, dick!" This might be the perfect line that Pete needs to hear to jump. Gawd knows Corbin doesn't need to hear it, he's already jumped on so many it's like the revolving door that used to be on my house. Thank gawd that thing is gone! LOL!!! 

Edited by Chris L
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I think we all have or at least need someone like Lee in their life.  It probably would not hurt to be Lee, although I’m not sure I ever was, maybe can’t see the truth in my life to admit to it.  I know in my fraternity days I had someone like Lee, a kindred in-the-closet spirit so to speak.  I know he definitely boosted my ego and power trip.  For different reasons I had a Lee type person in my latter 30’s. I’m not sure what I provided to him, for me it was again a power trip to help my ego.  Just an honest assessment of a darker period in life.

I find it interesting that someone thinks Corbin is just now coming to a dark side, I was under the impression he lived there most of the time.  I agree he and Pete are toxic.  I still want/hope he and mike find their way back to each other.  College is fun, it’s about experimenting, it’s about a lot of things.  Mike may not be perfect and it could be an imperfect relationship, but he is finally honest with himself and Corbin that he loves him.  I get he doesn’t promise anything too, at that age 6 months is almost eternal.  They both need to grow up.  But I still like the “idea” of Mike and Corbin together.

Now something in the back of my head that I keep thinking… even Jonathan said this is basically an autobiographical account with some modification. So we’re all sitting here assessing Pete Mike and whoever else… Some or all of us may have to eat a lot of crow at the ultimate result of who Corbin ends up with.  Maybe neither of these guys.  I’m sometimes thinking I should temper my words, what if I’m trashing his husband or something. 

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9 hours ago, 62Sooner said:

I think we all have or at least need someone like Lee in their life.  It probably would not hurt to be Lee, although I’m not sure I ever was, maybe can’t see the truth in my life to admit to it.  I know in my fraternity days I had someone like Lee, a kindred in-the-closet spirit so to speak.  I know he definitely boosted my ego and power trip.  For different reasons I had a Lee type person in my latter 30’s. I’m not sure what I provided to him, for me it was again a power trip to help my ego.  Just an honest assessment of a darker period in life.

I find it interesting that someone thinks Corbin is just now coming to a dark side, I was under the impression he lived there most of the time.  I agree he and Pete are toxic.  I still want/hope he and mike find their way back to each other.  College is fun, it’s about experimenting, it’s about a lot of things.  Mike may not be perfect and it could be an imperfect relationship, but he is finally honest with himself and Corbin that he loves him.  I get he doesn’t promise anything too, at that age 6 months is almost eternal.  They both need to grow up.  But I still like the “idea” of Mike and Corbin together.

Now something in the back of my head that I keep thinking… even Jonathan said this is basically an autobiographical account with some modification. So we’re all sitting here assessing Pete Mike and whoever else… Some or all of us may have to eat a lot of crow at the ultimate result of who Corbin ends up with.  Maybe neither of these guys.  I’m sometimes thinking I should temper my words, what if I’m trashing his husband or something. 

So you're firmly team Mike, huh? Interesting take on Lee. Definitely a complicated situation, but I think you're right in that every once in a while we want someone we can exert full control and dominance over. It just pops in there every once in a while. I'm glad that's a universal experience, at least for some. 

Yes autobiographical. Just like I said, feel free to criticize Corbin, you're free to criticize any of these guys as well. No current feeling would be harmed, trust me. 

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