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  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
    Jwolf
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  • 8,867 Words
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The English Year - 39. Aged to Imperfection

I’d pushed him. And would have done it all again, I thought. Pushing him had brought us to the brink. It was his job to pull us over.

And it was that waiting and agonizing that had aged me the most that year.

When I got out of the shower, I checked myself out in the mirror, ran my fingers through my hair and thought about the haircut I desperately needed. I should have gotten one when I was home for break, but there I stood looking at my hair as it framed my face and flipped out slightly from my ears and chin.

I looked at my face. I looked at the contours of my cheeks, the single crease that curved away from my eyes and towards my temple.

I looked older, I thought. I felt older. I felt like the last 48 hours had aged me in a way. I felt like I’d done some mature maneuvering. With Pete, I felt like I’d made the mature decision. I had acknowledged his pain in a way I hadn’t in the past five months. I acknowledged my doing in our relationship. I took responsibility. Responsibility aged a person.

With Dominick I had drawn a clear line that my ambition was outside of the frat house. The IFC was my next arena, and while I still planned to run things my way here at Chi Beta, that move, taking that power away from the president, was a line in the sand. The reputation of Chi Beta was mine, not just on a social level, but now on a policy level as well. Seizing power aged a person.

There was a brand new Hutch. Our relationship reached a different hurdle in the last two nights. Whether he liked it or not, he’d taken the baton Dom passed him, and in his own way had started running the race. Hutch was probably responsible for at least two of the new creases on my face. It didn’t feel great to be at odds with a pledge brother. It didn’t feel great to know that soon, down the line, I’d be going toe-to-toe with someone I was closest to in the entire house. We’d had our skirmishes before, but they felt less like ideological differences and more like episodes. Him batting for Dom felt more… final. Evolving relationships were definitely capable of aging a person.

And then there was David. He wasn’t responsible for aging me, I thought. Instead, I thought the age I saw in my face was in direct comparison to the youth and innocence I saw in his. We were only two years apart, but the growth and maturity I’d experienced in those two years paled in comparison to where David was now. Wide eyed. Eager, yet intuitive. He looked at me and saw the kind of leader and brother he wanted to be. I looked at him and saw a simpler past. It was like looking in the mirror and seeing Dorian Gray. Comparing your youth to someone younger, more beautiful, definitely aged a person.

And even looking at myself, the creases, the hair, the lines, I felt more confident for the first time in a long time. Everything was on the table-- with Dom and Hutch, with Lee and David, even with Pete. Everything felt honest. There wasn’t the guesswork of the first semester. I looked at my face, and with that age and wisdom, decided it was time for battle. In life and in love.

I went back to my room and found David dressed in a pair of my shorts and his t-shirt, clicking through something on his laptop. The freshmen were supposed to be studying, but with school not having revved up in earnest yet, I bet he was on The Facebook, or something like that. His legs were spread wide on my couch, and he looked up with a smile when I walked in.

“You look comfortable,” I joked.

“You look clean,” he replied with a smirk. I felt comfortable enough to pull my towel off and throw it in his direction. He caught it with a laugh and threw it back at my naked body. He wasn’t so intimidatingly perfect when he was clothed, I thought. Even still, it took everything I had to get dressed in something that would hide the fact I was sporting a half-chub instead of jumping his bones with it.

I dressed quickly in a pair of grey sweats and a white Calvin Klein cotton tee that clung to me nicely.

“I’m going downstairs,” I said when I was dressed. “Want anything from the kitchen on my way up?”

“No, I don’t think I need anything.”

“Okay. I should be back before you need to leave for the night, but wait for me and I’ll walk you down.”

David nodded. I walked downstairs to Dominick’s room, took a deep breath, and knocked gently.

“Come in,” I heard. I opened and entered. Dominick was seated at his desk typing on his computer. Hutch and Lee were both seated on Dom’s futon, seemingly getting work done as well. They looked like a big, productive family. The room was dark, with only the glow of laptop screens and only one lamp on in the corner. My eyes adjusted as I walked in, and addressed Dom specifically.

“Hey, do you have a few minutes to chat?” I asked. “In private.”

“Can it wait until after study hall?” I looked at my watch. The guys were to be in study hall until 9, and it was only a quarter till 8.

“I’m actually pretty tired from a long day,” I replied. “And I wanted to get to bed pretty early. If you don’t mind chatting now.”

Dom looked over his shoulder at the other guys, then back at me. He sighed.

“Guys, do you mind? Maybe hanging out in the library or downstairs while I talk to Corbin?”

Hutch shot me a look. I made every effort to keep my face still, to show no reaction. He closed his HP computer, pulled the cord, and wrapped it around his hand.

“We’ll be down in the kitchen, I guess,” Hutch said. Lee followed suit quietly. They were gone a minute later. Dominick swiveled his desk chair around and motioned that I could have a seat on his futon.

“So what’s up? Hutch said he updated you on the EC meeting this morning.”

“He did,” I said, sitting and crossing my leg over my knee. “Interesting turn of events, considering the sergeant-at-arms for the freshman was my initial idea.”

“Did you come to lecture me for proceeding without you? Because if so, that’s a non-starter, Corbin. You were detained in the health center, and we had business to attend to,” Dom was immediately on the defensive, and I always loved watching him squirm.

“It’s whatever,” I sighed, uninterested in getting into a pissing match with Dominick, especially when he felt he had the upper hand. That’s not what I had come down for. “But just know you are as transparent as you are short sighted. You saw an opportunity to screw me over, and you took it. I can’t fault you for that, and that’s not why I came down to chat.”

“So spill it,” he replied. “Why are you here?”

“To collect on the bargain we made yesterday. The Interfraternal Council.”

Dominick’s eyes narrowed.

“I just want to get some information on that. I looked at the university calendar before I came down, and it looks like the first meeting of the term is this Friday,” I said calmly.

“That’s correct,” Dom responded slowly. “First Friday of every month.”

“So how does that work, exactly? And how does the transition for me as our representative take place?”

Dom took a deep breath, and I could tell simply having this conversation was getting under his skin. I’d taken something away from him. Something substantial when it came to the office of the presidency. He’d bargained for it for a little, so I didn’t feel bad at all. And he must have known I’d be down to get specifics out of him sooner rather than later. Still, I could tell giving me this information, giving me the keys to the kingdom, was tough on him.

It was why I didn’t feel so bad losing out on Lee and a second vote in the EC. I had traded something of value outside of the house. I was the new face of Chi Beta to the school, and that meant something. Something I could clearly see bothered Dominick greatly.

“I emailed Dean Coleman this morning to let him know we were switching things around,” Dom said, shifting in his chair. “You have to understand, this is really unorthodox, so I wanted to make sure it was even possible.”

I tilted my head slightly and cut my eyes at Dom across the dimly lit room.

“I would have liked to be copied on that,” I started, and then adjusted my tone. “What did he say?”

“He actually responded really quickly for a Sunday,” Dom hesitated. “He asked what took you so long.”

I smirked.

“He wants to meet with you at some point this week before the meeting on Friday, if you have time in your schedule. I would email him first thing tomorrow and set something up,” Dom instructed. I nodded, slightly blown away.

“Okay, will do. So how do the meetings work? I’d like to know what I’m getting into before I go talk to him,” I replied. I wasn’t there to torture Dominick; that was an added bonus. I was genuinely curious, and the more I learned, the more information I wanted. Dom sighed.

“Meetings start at 6, but cocktails and hors d'oeuvres start at 5. I’d get there early because the food is actually really good most of the time.”

“Cocktails?”

“Lots of whiskey gets passed around. Nice wine. It’s a great time to rub shoulders with some of the campus’ elite. Professors, guest speakers, notable alumni, all that good stuff. It’s definitely a boys club,” he continued. “At 6, the President of the IFC will welcome everyone and introduce that month’s topic.”

“Topic?” I asked, intrigued. I’d assumed the Greek elite just sat around thinking of ways to consolidate power and punish frats for breaking rules.

“Yeah, there’s always some sort of topic. Leadership, philanthropy, health and wellness, that kind of thing. Chris Turner is the President this year, so he’ll get up and introduce everything.”

Chris Turner was also the president of Beta, probably the highest profile fraternity on campus since being allowed back on campus two years prior. He was vice-president of the student body, and more or less a God on campus. I flushed thinking I’d be in the same room with him, and as Dominick continued, my brain swirled on how I would go about getting some face time with him.

“After Chris speaks, he’ll introduce the guest speaker on whatever that topic is. I think this Friday’s is an effective leadership topic, so get ready for a lot of buzz words. Sometimes there’s just one speaker, sometimes there’s a panel. You never know. That’s why they liquor you up first, I guess. After the guests speak, President Russell always says a few words, and then there’s a short break. Use the bathroom, refill your scotch, and you’re back.”

President Russell was the president of the university. I’d met him a few times, as he lived right in the heart of campus and was pretty accessible. Every year, his wife threw a cocktail party for the cast of that spring’s musical, so I’d actually been inside the president’s house a few times. His wife was charming, I remembered, and served incredible lemon squares. I was intrigued that I’d get face time with him as well this time.

“Then the real stuff begins. Minutes are opened. Anything that needs to go up for a vote is brought to the floor. Did you learn Parliamentary Procedure in high school?”

“Yeah, I went all the way to state in Parly Pro,” I replied.

“Good. That’s how motions are run. It’s super strict and the officers take it pretty seriously. Basically, anything that’s been tabled is brought up. If a committee wishes to bring in a new motion, they do so after that. And then things are debated, and most things are brought to a vote right then. Each committee is asked if they have anything to bring to a vote and they have a chance to present.”

“Committees?” I asked, soaking up as much information as possible. This secret world was so intriguing to me. I knew the IFC had this underground wealth of power, but hearing about it firsthand was incredible.

“The officers are the President of the IFC, Chris Turner this year, and then all of the committee chairs. There’s Health and Wellness that promote all the blood drive initiatives that you see. All that kind of stuff we have to do is through H&W. There’s Leadership, there’s Finance, there’s Philanthropy, Disciplinary Committee, and there’s Greek Outreach, that’s pretty much in charge of making sure we don’t all look like assholes in the community.”

“Have we ever held an office before?” I asked.

“Not that I can remember,” Dom replied. “Look Corbin, you have to understand. The chairs are voted on by this group. It’s a circle jerk, and normally these positions are passed down from house to house and no one budges. Betas, Sigma Chis, Kappa Sigs, those are the guys who get the seats.”

I nodded slowly, but didn’t answer. I didn’t like people telling me to be realistic. Dominick should have known better than that.

“I know what you’re thinking. Meet with Coleman, ask him any questions you have. But basically, you just show up, drink some amazing whiskey, listen, and try not to embarrass us.”

That's what you do, I thought. I had no intention of being a part of the IFC quietly. Not after I’d worked this hard just to get my foot through the door.

“Then it’s disciplinary stuff,” Dom finished. “And then they close the minutes, more mingling, and you go.”

I wrapped my head around everything Dom had told me. It was definitely the right decision to bargain for our frat’s spot on the IFC. It seemed to me Dominick simply showed up once a month, had some drinks, listened to other men talk at him, and left. Sure he got to mingle and rub elbows with the university’s upper crust, but what had he done with any of that? What had he accomplished for the house? What had he accomplished for himself?

“Thanks for all of the info,” I said to him, standing up and inching towards the door. “I’ll make arrangements to meet with the dean and let you know how it goes.”

I left Dominick’s room feeling overwhelmed, excited for the first time in a long time, and already thinking about how to improve my station as I ventured into this somewhat elite society of fraternity life I had only heard of, but had never really entered.

I went back up to my room where I found David laying out on my bed in my shorts and no shirt. He looked comfortably, one arm crossed over his forehead. He looked like he’d been thinking about the weight of the world when he fell asleep, and yet when I found him there, I couldn’t get over how peaceful and gorgeous he looked.

I decided plotting to take over my slice of the entire school could wait a minute. I crawled into my bed next to him. He squirmed a bit, yawned, and rested his arm around my back as I found a small nook near his chest that aligned our bodies perfectly. With his hand that wasn’t on my backside, David opened his eyes slowly, stroked my face, and pushed the hair away from my eyes and behind my ears.

“You, sir, are supposed to be studying,” I whispered.

“Are you going to tell on me?” he asked. I smirked.

“It’ll be our little secret.”

David looked me up and down, taking in my entire face.

“Am I your little secret?”

I turned my head deeper into his armpit, away from his gaze.

“For now, I guess you are,” I replied. I put my hand on his chest and felt it rise slowly with his breathing. “Is that okay?”

“It’s whatever,” he replied. He didn’t sound angry or disappointed. He sounded like he had expected that response even if it wasn't the one he wanted. I moved my hand slowly down his chest, softly using my nails to trace the muscles that made up his sculpted torso.

“Look, you’re a pledge now, so I won’t be able to show you any favoritism,” I said. “I’ll protect you from things the best I can as your big, but if it were out there that we are sleeping together, it would be-”

“Slept together,” he cut me off. I turned my face to meet his gaze. He ran his fingers through my hair again.

“What?”

“We aren’t sleeping together,” he said. “We’ve only done it once. That just means we’ve slept together. Once.”

He was good, I thought as I brought my lips up to meet his. This freshman was good. He knew what he was doing, and he knew exactly how to get what he wanted.

And that night, in the remaining half hour of study hall, he got exactly what he wanted. As we made out on on my bed, feeling each other up, getting to know every inch of each other’s skin, I gave David everything he wanted.

He was so much taller than me, I naturally fell into the bottom role. That was fine for me, and I didn’t mind. He had a great cock and an even greater command of how to use it. But with Lee there had been a negotiation of who would take it and who would receive. I’d always fancied myself as versatile, but for some reason with David I easily felt comfortable taking the bottom.

That doesn’t mean I was submissive or a roll over. Our bodies wrestled for dominance as we made out. I crawled on top of him, brought both of our arms up to the head of my bed, and used my body to grind against his, creating a hot friction without using our hands. I could feel David moan as I took control of our second sex session.

Once, echoed in my ear.

We were crossing over from slept to sleeping, and that was okay.

From that position, David confidently and strongly turned things around, flipping me over onto my stomach and climbing on top of me. We didn’t stop kissing all the while, and one thing I still remember about David Marcossi is that he loved to kiss. No matter what was going on, you could find your way to his mouth, and he’d open it up and fill you with his tongue. He loved to explore my mouth. He’d use his tongue to go deep down my throat, pulling me in with his strong hands, and making sure I could taste every part of his mouth.

Before I knew it, I’d yielded control to David. He slowly lowered my shorts and the shorts he was wearing and teased me with the length of his dick, all while our fingers intertwined and he explored my mouth with his.

The seconds it took for David to get up and pull a condom out of my drawer made me feel empty. He was like a blanket I’d already gotten used to. Without his weight on me, I turned and watched him get ready for round two, craving the feeling of his warmth on top of me.

That’s when I realized I’d already chipped away a piece of myself for David Marcossi. In a short amount of time, I’d compromised something for him. He was new, unlike Lee. He was unpredictable, but not in a loose cannon kind of way. When Dom and Hutch had brought me down, they had wanted Lee for themselves. Secondarily, they had just wanted someone. I could have chosen Lee. But there was something about David I wanted to gamble on, and in doing so, I had chipped away a piece of myself. I’d carved a new line on my face. This attraction we shared had aged me a bit. Already. I hadn’t understood it when I made the trade, but understood it then, when I watched him roll the condom onto his impossibly hard dick, craving the feeling of him next to me, on top of me, warming… weighing me down. I felt empty watching him, and that wanting for someone specific, that feeling when he wasn’t close to me, that feeling was power. And it was power in someone else’s hands.

I pushed that thought aside, and as eagerly as he’d jumped off me to wrap his dick up in rubber, it was just as quickly that he returned to the bed. I got on all fours, arching my back down so my chest was on the bed and my ass was high enough for the tall freshman to have a perfectly square entrance.

“Are you ready, Corbs?” he asked. It was a loaded question, and I didn’t allow myself to think about any other implication other than getting my ass ready for what was about to happen.

“I sure am,” I replied. I felt his head push up against me, and slowly I felt the entire length of him slide in like it was made to be there.

“Fuck Corbs,” David sighed “You feel so fucking good.”

I didn’t respond. I couldn’t respond. Instead, I bit down on the pillow and moaned as I felt David’s long pecker slide right past my prostate, sending a sensation though my body I was sure he could feel.

It was our second interaction of the day, and for some reason this one felt more personal. There wasn’t the expectation of getting it done. There wasn’t as much of a time limit, as we had at least forty-five minutes before study hall technically ended. This time, I let myself relax and be vulnerable, submissive. And this time, David took charge and fucked me with some semblance of knowing what he was doing and not simply getting lucky with all the right moves.

With every thrust he made, I met him, pushing my hips backwards. At one point, I felt David’s hands on both sides of my ass, pulling me towards him, but at his rhythm. It was refreshing to have him take control. It wasn’t in a degrading or punishing way. In fact, with my movements, I felt I was giving him control. Either way, I bit down on my pillow, clutched the sides of my sheets, and felt the amazingness of David’s body fill me up completely.

Listening to his breathing, I could hear his breaths grow shallow and his sighs and moans quicken in pace. I felt him pick up the speed of his thrusts, clutching my hips firmer and tighter, digging his fingernails into me. At one point, David pulled my hands to my side as I dove face first into the pillow to keep from shouting out too loudly as he drove into me. He pulled my hands into his, intertwined our fingers. He fell on top of me with all of his weight, not skipping a beat in his thrusts, and impossibly close to my ear asked:

“Where do you want it?”

It was another loaded question from a loaded boy who was simultaneously figuring out his sexual prowess, understanding how much I was attracted to him, and was yet respectful and considerate of what I was feeling.

I turned my face to the side and took a deep breath, followed by a deep moan. Another thrust, and I bucked back to meet him. My answer was at the tip of my tongue, and I took another breath before I could say it. I decided at that moment to give David something. I gave him something I hadn’t given Lee. I gave him an edge over his pledge brother who he’d compared this entire experience too. He wasn’t first, I decided. But he’d been insecure about that, even if you couldn’t tell from the way he was fucking the living cum out of me.

I decided to give him something, something to reassure him. Something I hadn’t given to Lee, or even Nick. I gave him some power.

“Wherever you want,” I whispered, then pulled my face back into my pillow and took a deep breath into the cotton. If it was possible, I felt David’s cock pulse inside of me even harder than it had been. I tightened around him. We were in perfect sync. In giving that power over to him, I allowed David to take full control of our collective orgasms.

He pulled out of me. I felt him pounce over the bed, and in a second, saw his dick right above my face. I grabbed my own dick, pulled on it a few times before it started shooting. I couldn’t tell you if it was my seed coating my chest, neck, and face, or if it was David’s. I closed my eyes, and simply let our simultaneous orgasms wash over me.

I’m not going to lie, I’m not always big on letting guys cum over me. It’s not something I’d made a habit of. However, something about giving David that choice and him seizing it without any hesitation… it was more than just how attractive he was to me. It was more than that, and allowing him to do that brought us closer.

“That was fucking hot, little,” I said, sitting up looking at him. He didn’t answer, and instead took my face in his hands and kissed me. It was only after I came down from the orgasm of fucking with David again that I suddenly felt aware of myself. I kissed him back briefly before I pulled back.

“It was, big,” he replied softly. I sprung up from the bed, crossed my room and wiped up on my regular bath towel before pulling on a pair of shorts.

“You should wear your clothes out,” I turned, handing David the towel to wipe himself up. He looked at me puzzled. “Not my shorts,” I clarified.

“Besides,” I continued. “They’re too small on you. You’re too tall.”

“Yeah, no, no worries.” I heard the tone in his voice. I turned around, pulled his face down to me by his neck and gave him another loaded kiss.

“You have physical training with Todd in the morning, right?” I crossed the room to my laptop to check the time. It was almost nine. We had perfect timing, I thought.

“Yeah,” he replied. “We have to be here at six sharp. Running shorts and a white tee shirt.”

“Go home and get a good night’s sleep,” I counseled. “It’ll be your last good one for a while. I’ll call you in the afternoon and see how you’re doing.”

“Okay,” he replied. I watched him gather his things, gave him a weak smile at nine when it was time for him to go down and join his class.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” I replied weakly as I walked him to the door, gave him a half smile, and watched him leave.

I was tired. I had enjoyed everything I’d done with David that day, but I was ready for a break. I was ready to clear my mind. I was ready to put the past twenty-four hours into perspective and move forward.

The problem was, as it is with most guys when they’re taken over the edge of orgasm, was that as soon as I laid my head down to think, I instantly fell asleep.

I woke up before my alarm the next morning, bright and early at 7:15. I shot up, took a quick shower and washed David off me. I got dressed in a pair of blue jeans, a black button down, my black leather jacket, and a red scarf I’d stolen from my sister over break. I went downstairs to grab a quick breakfast and ran into Roberto coming off whatever his morning workout was.

“Hey, Austin and I are getting lunch today at 1. Want to come?”

“Where?” I asked.

“Probably the dining hall,” he said. “I have a lab at 2.”

“Um, yeah,” I replied, grabbing a Pop Tart and putting it into my bag. I hesitated about the dining hall, thinking there was a great chance of running into Pete there. “Just text me where.”

“Perfect, mi maricon,” he panted. He grabbed a banana, bound up the stairs, and I made my way to campus.

My first task was emailing Dean Coleman, the Dean of Greek Life, to see when he could meet. I only had two classes that day, and would be out by noon. My schedule was stacked on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but minus the back to back English classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, those days would be relatively chill.

The dean emailed me as I made my way to Washington Hall for Professor Wall’s English ‘Young Ingenues’ class.

I pulled my things together after class, told Professor Wall I was super excited to get into another semester of intriguing reading with her, and schlepped towards Dean’s Row above the student commons.

I decided to do my usual routine of buttering her up, grabbed a couple muffins, and on my way to see Dean Coleman stopped by Dean Watson’s corner office.

“Hey Dean, need a snack?” I asked, poking my head in and presenting her the choices I’d picked up. She turned from her computer, swiveled in her chair and looked above her glasses at me. After a second of apprehension, she grinned.

“You aren’t trying to buy my favor again, are you, Mr. Crowley?”

“I’d never try to buy your favor, Dean. But I do happen to have one chocolate banana and one raisin bread. It’s up to you, but if I remember correctly you normally go for…”

“Raisin bread,” she smiled, opening her hand. I handed over a muffin.

“I can’t stay, I have a meeting with Dean Coleman, but I did want to stop by and say hi. And hopefully put a racquetball match with you, me, and Mr. Watson on the books, maybe?” I gave her my most charming smile, knowing that I wasn’t her favorite person those days, and more than aware that I’d have to kiss some major ass to get back to where I was with the dean.

“Thank you for the muffin. Email me and we’ll work out a game next week. Which PE are you taking this semester?” she asked.

“Badminton,” I replied.

“Ah, you’ll enjoy that. New young coach. Are you staying out of trouble? What’s your meeting with Clay about?”

It was interesting hearing the dean call her colleague by his first name. I never would have dreamed of calling him Clay as much as I would have thought to call her Dawn, but somehow hearing her humanize him right before I walked over to his office eased my mind about meeting with him.

“Nothing crazy,” I replied. “Just some IFC stuff.”

“Are you on the IFC? I wasn’t aware,” I inched back towards the door as I watched the dean unwrap her muffin.

“I will be representing Chi Beta for the foreseeable future hopefully,” I replied.

“Well then in that case you had better stay out of trouble,” she cautioned.

“I’ll do my best, Dean,” I replied.

“Thank you for the snack. Email me about racquetball.”

“Will do, Dean, thank you.”

I retreated, proud of myself and emboldened to walk into Dean Coleman’s office and have this conversation about how it was I came to be our house’s representative over Dominick.

“Have a seat, Mr. Crowley,” the dean ushered me in. I followed him to his large desk and sat down across from him. I generally enjoyed Dean Coleman. He was a frat star from a different era, but still attractive, kind of burly, and could be relied upon to be wearing khakis and a blue blazer at pretty much any function. “Thank you for meeting with me.”

“Dominick mentioned you wanted to chat before the IFC meeting this Friday, so I thought sooner might be better.”

“I didn’t have any agenda in sitting down with you, I just wanted to gauge how this shift came to be. It’s a highly unusual event for a house to change representation without something big happening or someone going to study abroad.”

“There’s been no change in leadership at Chi Beta, if that’s what you’re getting at.”

“So break it down for me, Mr. Crowley. You have quite the reputation and high profile on campus. Is the IFC your next club to infiltrate for The Founder or something?”

I shifted in my seat.

“No, not at all.”

“Then help me understand why you, a junior and non-officer in your house, suddenly feel the need to be on the council?”

“I’m sorry, is it not allowed for juniors to be on the council? I was under the impression that Lambda has a junior president now who serves on the council,” I replied defensively.

“It’s not uncommon, no, but it is unusual. And the combination of that plus you’re stepping in mid-year--” I cut him off.

“Look, if you’re concerned you’ll have to come down to Chi Beta and stop some kind of coup d'etat, I wouldn't worry about it. Dominick Slavin’s position as our president is as secure as ever.”

“Then why the switch? If you’ll allow me to be frank.”

“You’re allowed to be frank, Dean, if I’m in turn allowed to be vague.” I shifted forward in my seat. Maybe I was feeling empowered by my brief conversation with a more important dean down the hall. Maybe I was just tired of being questioned over the last 72 hours. Maybe I felt like there wasn’t anything Dean Coleman could do to me in this situation anyway. Either way, I treaded just to the edge of the line, and in hindsight, may have crossed it.

“Our house decided to make a switch,” I proceeded cautiously. “I decided my influence for Chi Beta is better served in a higher profile capacity, and as you stated, my reputation on this campus supports that. I didn’t think it was a problem, Dean, switching up our strategic leadership. But now I wonder, why the sudden interest in our house?”

I folded my arms over my chest and sat back in my chair. Dean Coleman cut his eyes at me, but I gave him nothing to read from my face or body language.

“Your house has been on my radar since the start of last semester. You all have done a great job of staying out of trouble, and you in particular, Mr. Crowley, have done a wonderful job of keeping your social calendar full and safe, minus that episode with Melanie Chu.”

“Which was resolved to the satisfaction of all parties involved,” I interjected.

“It was, from what I heard,” the dean lowered his voice. “I just want to be assured by you that there isn’t anything nefarious going on that I need to know about before I let you on the council.”

I thought about pushing the issue and asking if the dean had any authority whatsoever in keeping me out of the meeting, but decided to go a different route. He was clearly suspicious of some secret agenda I might have, so I decided to play this a different way.

“Listen, Dean, if I’m completely honest, the social committee at Chi Beta has been at odds with our core leadership. My vision for the house includes a higher social cache, and since our executive council sees things differently, we all decided maybe it would be best for me to head up our representation outside of the house, while they continue to maintain the standards we’ve all tried so hard to achieve this last semester. With Dom at the helm, of course.”

“Most fraternity presidents are capable of spearheading both.”

“Most fraternities don’t have someone like me being a pain in their president’s ass on a weekly basis.” I laid my guard down and decided to just be frank with the dean. “We’ve decided to divide and conquer.”

“Conquer what, exactly, Mr. Crowley?”

“Just our slice of the pie,” I replied. “We took a recruiting hit a few years ago with a smaller class. And then the strike the next year. Our name used to mean something on campus, and I’d like to bring us back there before I leave.”

I looked the dean in the eye. It was the most honest I’d been about this entire situation in a while, and he seemed to buy it.

“For example, Dean, Chi Beta used to be really involved in Greek outreach and philanthropy efforts on campus. Health and Wellness too, used to be something we were passionate about. Things like that.” I decided to go ahead and plant the seed. I could always act coy and brand new at the actual meeting itself, but the fact I was having this meeting with the dean in the first place meant I didn’t need to beat around the bush much with him. I had planted the seed, and so I brought my voice back down to a breezy register and continued. “It’s just those little things I may like to see us pick up again. I don’t know; I’m excited to meet other leaders on campus, learn a great deal from them, and see how Chi Beta can contribute to the overall Greek life experience on campus while maybe gaining a tad more influence on things that go on here at OD. If I can do that and take some ideas back to my house, I would say it's a mission accomplished.”

The dean took a sip from his coffee mug before he addressed me slowly.

“Welcome to the IFC, Mr. Crowley,” he replied with a nod.

“Is that all, Dean?” I asked.

“It is,” he stood and I followed suit and walked behind the dean to the door. We shook hands as he opened the door for me. “Corbin, let me offer you a piece of advice. I trust you know what you’re doing, I would be a fool even as a dean on this campus to underestimate someone like you. But the IFC is different from the Fancy Ball committee or the newspaper or even the school’s Student Exec Committee. I’ve seen you come into these things, guns blazing and full of fire. I’d say take it slow with the IFC. Play things a little more subtly. Feel the institution out first. If you have an end game here, let it materialize organically. Don’t force anything and end up drawing unwanted attention to yourself by the guys who are already on the council. Do you get what I’m saying?”

The dean looked me in the eye, his hand square on my back. He patted my shoulder twice. I nodded, turned, and exited Dean’s Row.

Dean Coleman had read me like a book, and whether it was in his power to stop me or not, he knew I wasn’t going to the IFC to sit back, drink some Maker’s Mark, and let other guys my age make policy decisions that affected the whole student body. I appreciated the warning, and in a way was impressed with myself that my reputation necessitated that it needed to be said in the first place.

I might have lost my mojo with the likes of Peter and the bitter guys back at Chi Beta, but I was still Corbin Crowley, and based on that last minute of my meeting with Dean Coleman, I reminded myself that name still commanded some respect.

As I walked down through the University Commons, I looked at my watch and decided I did have time to meet my pledge brothers for lunch.

I didn’t hesitate, and I shouldn’t have hesitated in the first place. Who cares if Pete would be there. It wasn’t a large campus-- I was bound to run into him at some point. And running into him in a public place didn’t mean I was rushing him. I’m sure it would be a quick and cordial greeting if I did see him, I wasn’t going to let that dictate where I went or what I did. My only required action in this new space of ours was to not rush him. That’s exactly what I was doing, I thought.

I went down the three flights of stairs, passing the Commons entrance and all of its giant windows and large welcome desk. I went down another flight and was greeted by Vera at the entrance of the Dining Hall.

“Hi Vera,” I greeted with a smile.

“Long time no see, baby,” she said in that classic southern drawl that cheered me up every time.

“Is there any food left?” I pretend to reach into my wallet for my university swipe card, even though I knew there was no way Vera was making me pay.

“For you baby, I’ll make sure they have enough. It’s fried chicken today. Want me to have Mark whip you up a fresh batch?”

I beamed and nodded.

“You go get whatever else you want, and I’ll have him bring you some. You sitting with those other boys from your house? They’re over there,” Vera pointed to a corner table. I filled a small plate with salad and cottage cheese and then made my way to where Austin, Hutch and Roberto were already seated.

“Where’s Brian?” I asked, plopping down in the fourth seat that was wedged between the corner column and an open window. “Srat lunch?”

“I think so,” Austin replied. He’d been in charge of that gathering’s invitations it seemed. Brian missing meant one thing-- his girlfriend Cathy had insisted on him joining her for lunch at the sorority house.

“That’s where I should have gone so I wouldn’t be stuck in this corner,” I moved my elbows up and in either direction hit the wall and window glass. I pulled my fork up and started eating my salad like a T-Rex. “So… what did I miss?”

From the looks of it, everyone was in the middle of their first plates. Roberto still had half a panini and a full salad plate in front of him. Hutch was working on some fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Austin had put together quite a large salad and was still going to town.

“Not much, really,” Berto replied. “We all want to know what went down with you and the Brit after we left you in the health center.”

“You want an update, but none of you came to see me when I got out yesterday,” I said, turning my face slowly to Hutch. We made brief eye contact before he went back to concentrating on his plate.

“We assumed you’d be volatile,” Roberto said, stuffing his face with a melty cheesy sandwich.

“Ah, volatile,” I smirked. “Nothing noteworthy happened after you guys left. I passed out and he slept there with me.”

“Bed or chair?” Austin asked.

“Chair. There’s no room on those beds for two people.”

“The way he kicked us out, I assumed he’d find a way,” said Hutch. “He told us he’d take care of you, and that it was the one chance he had to prove he liked you without you being able to run away or, as I quote, ‘put a wall up’.”

I nodded. Should I have been pissed someone used a semi-hospitalization as a coercive way to get his point across? Or was it just cute enough he dismissed my best friends to ensure he’d have a chance to get through to me? Was it romantic, I thought? Or manipulative?

Mark, Vera’s dining room partner and the best guy on campus to get to know, brought over a plate with a freshly fried chicken breast, still steaming, juicy, and clearly a special order. I smiled and said ‘thank you’ to him as he set it down and told us ‘Vera said us boys need to stay out of trouble now’.

As I dug in with my knife and fork, I turned and addressed Hutch.

“Well, he got his point across just fine. In the morning when we finally talked he said he cares for me… about me. Loves me, I guess, I don’t know if he took it that far. But he has these feelings which was great to hear, but he also resents me.”

I couldn’t find the words to tell my brothers about the conversation. As I began to explain what happened with Pete and me, a sense of shame came over me. It was then I realized I’d caused all of this. I’d driven us to where we were. Saying it out loud, that he resented me, made it all the more real. And it made me all the more vulnerable.

“Wait what?” Hutch interjected.

“Yeah,” I replied. “He’s pissed at me because he thinks all last semester with everything I did to bring our relationship closer together, I rushed him. And he’s not ready to make any choices or anything like that, and I rushed him into having to choose between me and his previous life.”

“He actually said that?” Austin asked, squinting. “You aren’t paraphrasing.”

I looked up from my plate.

“I mean, is he right?” Hutch asked, breaking the silence. I shot him a look and then returned to my plate of comfort food.

“Yeah, kind of,” I replied between bites. “I just… I didn’t think someone needed to be pushed into coming out as gay. I don’t care about all of that, or labels, or what you tell yourself and your family. I didn’t rush him to come out, come out. But in rushing him to decide if he likes me, of course I pushed him to have to decide if he likes guys.”

“Are straight guys capable of liking one guy without liking all guys?” Roberto asked. I shrugged. I didn’t have the answer to that.

“I don’t think so,” Hutch was the first to answer. “For me, if I found myself having feelings for a guy, singular, I would question what it means in aggregate. At least I’d want to know.”

“I agree,” Austin said.

“I don’t agree,” Roberto added loudly and confidently. “I think you can fall in love with someone’s spirit without making it about a gay or straight thing. I think the difference is do you fall in love enough to make it romantic?”

“And maybe that’s where we are, you know?” I followed up. “Maybe we’re stuck between he loves me for my spirit, and is trying to figure out if he wants to make it romantic. He did kiss me before I got discharged.”

“What kind of kiss, maricon?”

“A kiss, kiss?” Austin asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Like a kiss, kiss. Sitting on the side of my bed, hands on my face, tongue in my mouth, chills down my spine, toes curling, can’t even remember my own name kind of kiss.”

“Damn,” Hutch exhaled. “I might need a cold shower.”

“Now a kiss you can’t fake,” Roberto said. “So he said he hates you for rushing him, he kissed you like a super romantic movie scene kiss, and then what? Nothing?”

“I haven’t talked to him since we left things yesterday,” I said. I avoided looking Hutch in the eye. “I’ve just been trying to sort things in my mind since then. The questions are how do I give him space? And for how long? And do I wait while he decides?”

“Definitely wait,” Austin said. “Come on, this is the closest you’ve gotten with this guy. He’ll come around. You wait.”

Austin and I made eye contact, and he raised his eyebrow at me. It was sage advice, and I could tell he was serious. I was both surprised and grateful I had these pledge brothers there to not only support me, but to take a vested interest in my love life. They didn’t have to, but that eye contact with Austin reminded me they were, in fact, rooting for me to get the guy.

“I think you’ve waited plenty and this guy needs to shit or get off the pot. He can’t just kiss you like that, change everything again, and then disappear and you just sit around.” I couldn’t tell if Hutch was coming to my defense because he meant it, or because he knew I hadn’t waited all that long to begin with, and didn’t want me to feel bad about it. Part of me thought saying that was his way of letting me off the hook with David. “That’s just my opinion.”

“I dunno,” I sighed. “I just think if I were waiting, starting now, it would be one thing. But we’ve done this song and dance for months now. It’s about to be February. There’s Fancy Ball, and Down Under, and Foxfields, and all of the music festivals. Does he really expect me to wait through all of those events? What if he never understands how he feels? If I hadn’t pushed us to where we are now, we wouldn’t even be here. We wouldn’t be past a handshake if I hadn’t pushed things forward. There’d be nothing to resent me for because we’d still be speaking in code and wondering ‘is he or isn’t he’? I dunno. I just… sitting there listening to him say those things, I felt for the first time we were both in this relationship. But I don’t know if he felt the same thing about me. I need things from him to keep going through this. I’m in this, but I can’t be in it alone while he bides his time and I spin my wheels.”

Saying those things out loud to my pledge class made it clear Pete and I were in two different places. He was opening the door, peeking his head through, and wondering what was on the other side. I was on the other side and I was ready to be here with someone.

At that lunch, I finally got the chance to verbalize to my guys what it all boiled down to for me. While I understood where Pete came from in saying I’d pushed him into feelings for me and having to decide what that meant, I couldn’t help it, and I wouldn’t apologize for it. Pushing him meant bringing us to where we were. Pushing him meant getting us to that kiss. Pushing him meant opening his mind up to the possibility of us.

I’d pushed him. And would have done it all again, I thought. Pushing him had brought us to the brink. It was his job to pull us over.

And it was that waiting and agonizing that had aged me the most that year.

“So the question is, what are the rules of waiting? Can you call him?” Hutch asked.

“I don’t think you can call someone who said you’re moving things too fast,” Austin replied. “I think you wait for him to call you, mi maricon.”

“Okay, but mutual events? You’re bound to run into him?” Hutch replied.

“I think we get to a place where we can run into each other without ripping each other new assholes,” I said quietly dissecting my piece of chicken. I wasn’t all that hungry anymore.

“Yeah, I think it definitely needs to be about going with the flow for a while. Let him come to you,” Roberto responded. “But no other boys. Don’t confuse the message. He needs to know you’re waiting for him. You’re all in. No random makeouts!”

I looked up and smirked at my pledge brother.

“No random makeouts, you’re right,” I replied. He didn’t need to know the guy who was distracting me through all of this was anything but random. He was family.

I thought about what my pledge brothers had said. My every instinct, every Corbin fiber of my being, thought I should shoot Pete a text. It had been a day and a half since he’d dropped me off at our back steps, and living in this limbo, waiting for him to call, wasn’t characteristic for me.

But it was the reason why we were where we were. I couldn’t call. I couldn’t text. I couldn’t pressure or push. He had to do this on his own timeline.

I thought about how different this was for me. How much I’d grown since leaving Pete the last time.

Aged.

Our relationship had evolved in a big way that weekend, I thought, and so had I. I didn’t call. I didn’t text. I waited.

So I walked back to the house, and I waited. Only when I got back to my room after lunch, there was a surprise sitting on my bed, waiting for me.

Thank you all for your continued support. As always, your feedback, reviews, and comments are greatly appreciated. There is also a great forum to discuss characters, theories, etc. Please join in the conversation. Thanks so much!

Copyright © 2016 Jwolf; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments



Oh come on! That cliffhanger was a punch in the gut 🤣

 

Edited by Israfil
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1 hour ago, Nikko said:

Hey!  That's not fair!  Who's on the bed?  LOL

Come on. That’s too easy. 

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9 minutes ago, Israfil said:

Oh come on! That was a punch in the gut haha

Sometimes you've got to build in a little suspense. You'll find out soon enough. 

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1 hour ago, Jwolf said:

Sometimes you've got to build in a little suspense. You'll find out soon enough. 

On a follow up note, I agree with Corbin, he wouldn't have gotten to this point with Pete if he hadn't pushed him. So...kind of a no-win situation, honestly.

Also, even though we know this is all being told by Corbin years later, it's still stings when he talks about people in the past tense like with Dave. Sure, it's quite likely he and Dave don't really go anywhere but the past tense makes it seem a lot more....final, like now we know for sure it doesn't work out but also that he's just not in Corbin's life at all. Especially when in that moment they really seem good for each other.

Damn, I might be more of a romantic than I thought. Goddammit.

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3 minutes ago, Israfil said:

On a follow up note, I agree with Corbin, he wouldn't have gotten to this point with Pete if he hadn't pushed him. So...kind of a no-win situation, honestly.

Also, even though we know this is all being told by Corbin years later, it's still stings when he talks about people in the past tense like with Dave. Sure, it's quite likely he and Dave don't really go anywhere but the past tense makes it seem a lot more....final, like now we know for sure it doesn't work out but also that he's just not in Corbin's life at all. Especially when in that moment they really seem good for each other.

Damn, I might be more of a romantic than I thought. Goddammit.

I'm not sure what the best way to address this question is, because it's super valid, but I also want to steer clear of anything that is a spoiler. Since you brought up David, I'll use him as an example. Even in past tense, I think Corbin is viewing this all as past tense. I wouldn't pay too much attention to when things are brought up in that tense, because basically as a writer its a tool I've used to show some separation, and in a way try to make Corbin more likeable in that, 10-12 years later he's able to show some learning from those moments. With that being said, I'm in contact with a large percentage of the guys are in the story, whether or not they stay focal or come and go. Hope that clarifies things. More to come!

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Great chapter! Covered some ground, good to see Corbin piecing it all together. But that cliffhanger..... don’t make us wait too long. Thanks so much for sharing your talent with us.

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34 minutes ago, Rolfe45 said:

Great chapter! Covered some ground, good to see Corbin piecing it all together. But that cliffhanger..... don’t make us wait too long. Thanks so much for sharing your talent with us.

Next chapter is already in the works. You know I love a good cliffhanger! Thanks for the comment. 

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I absolutely love how active you are recently, though in a planet that’s virtually closed, not surprised? Also what’s this doing to real Greek life across the u.s?

 

stay safe and I’m sooooo excited for more 😛😛😛😛😛

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Thanks, Jwolf. Corbin’s life is very complicated? Or complicating? I don’t know which. I love the frequency that the chapters are coming too. I’m eager to find out who is sitting on Corbin’s bed. Maybe Mike? That would complicate things even more.

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6 hours ago, Mark M said:

I absolutely love how active you are recently, though in a planet that’s virtually closed, not surprised? Also what’s this doing to real Greek life across the u.s?

 

stay safe and I’m sooooo excited for more 😛😛😛😛😛

Thanks for the comment. I’m sure Greek life will look a lot different in the fall. But I’m told hear and alcohol kill the virus, so maybe packed basements are safe 🙂 

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51 minutes ago, Arran said:

Thanks, Jwolf. Corbin’s life is very complicated? Or complicating? I don’t know which. I love the frequency that the chapters are coming too. I’m eager to find out who is sitting on Corbin’s bed. Maybe Mike? That would complicate things even more.

Oh Mike jumping his own lockdown would complicate things... that’s a guess. I wonder who everyone is thinking will be on there. Either way, like you said, with Corning whomever it is it will complicate things further 

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Love this series!!!!!!  I’ve read it from beginning to end over the past two days.  Now I’m desperate for the next chapter!!!

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On 5/7/2020 at 9:16 AM, Jwolf said:

with Corning whomever it is it will complicate things further 

Did you mean Corbin?

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2 minutes ago, Okiegrad said:

I’ve read it from beginning to end over the past two days.

So, for the last two days you’ve done nothing but read the English Year. Impressive!

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1 hour ago, Okiegrad said:

Love this series!!!!!!  I’ve read it from beginning to end over the past two days.  Now I’m desperate for the next chapter!!!

Wow! Thank you so much for binging the story. Glad you enjoyed it! More to come soon 

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1 hour ago, Arran said:

So, for the last two days you’ve done nothing but read the English Year. Impressive!

Exactly.  Well, I’ve had to work a little, but every free moment I’ve had, I’ve done nothing but read.  I stayed up until almost 3 am reading lol.   I seriously couldn’t put it down.

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5 hours ago, Okiegrad said:

Exactly.  Well, I’ve had to work a little, but every free moment I’ve had, I’ve done nothing but read.  I stayed up until almost 3 am reading lol.   I seriously couldn’t put it down.

The chapters are quite long, which you well know, and there are 39 of them, so hats off to you for getting through them in only two days. Welcome.

Oh, and be real nice to Jwolf so we can keep him writing. He has a tendency towards truancy. Aye, Jon?

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8 minutes ago, Arran said:

The chapters are quite long, which you well know, and there are 39 of them, so hats off to you for getting through them in only two days. Welcome.

Oh, and be real nice to Jwolf so we can keep him writing. He has a tendency towards truancy. Aye, Jon?

I've been known to take a nap or two. I'm working on it. 

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I hope it's Lee who is waiting on Corbin's bed.....naked.  Or a naked Mike would be just as good. Even better would be both of them! :lmao:

Unfortunately real life is never (well, rarely) that interesting, so it'll probably turn out to be Dominick. (Then again, a clothesless Dominick would be .... completely unrealistic and out of character.  So nevermind.)

Thanks for another fantastic chapter.  I love that we got to find out Dominick's last name.  And, I can't wait to see what kind of drama Corbin is going to instigate at the IFC.  I hope that whatever Corbin does at IFC has the indirect result of making Dominick look ineffectual, incompetent, and weak.  I also hope that Corbin will follow the Dean's advice by laying low....at least at his first meeting.  Knowing Corbin, though, I would surmise that the odds of him laying low at the first IFC meeting, are about equal to the odds of it being a naked Dominick who is waiting for Corbin on his bed.

Speaking of Dominick, does he have a girlfriend in the story?  Isn't it a little bit "suspicious" that he seems to be spending all of his time hanging out with Hutch and Lee?  Are you (=JWolf) able to tell us if the real-life Dominick is dating (or married to) a woman today?  Or did he turn out to be gay?  Even if he's not gay, I still think that he (Dominick) subconsciously (or possibly even consciously!) wants to find out what it would be like to get fucked by Corbin.

I also am starting to wonder why I am so fixated on Dominick....

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Hmmm. Dom is an interesting foil, so no surprise that he fascinates you. I’d say you’re right- it would be slightly out of character for Corbin to lay low, but the IFC is whole different ball game so we’ll see. Until next time 

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Austin, the great sage! Sometimes, often times, people come into and through our lives that mold us and shape us into who we are today. I can see Austin, Roberto, and Hutch are Corbin's molders at this juncture. Finally the clay is getting a little less watery, more moldeable, and is beginning to form into the impressive individual he has the opportunity to become. No one could've said it any better than himself, when with David, Corbin acknowledged he was maturing, taking accountability, ownership, and responsibility of his actions. This is the Corbin - a fine young man - that one would hope one day he would grow into. The prassy, sassy, chug-a-lug is finally growing up. Though, I wonder, would Pete have made it to this point on his own? When insects are drawn to a light do they really have a choice? One might argue yes but the reality is that when two magnets are in proximity of each other, there is a force that cannot be denied. I actually think and believe that had Pete and Corbin met and just allowed the friendship / relationship to evolve along a natural progression that Pete might have been more open to a loving, enveloping, caring, nurturing mate than the often hateful, reactive, bitchy bitch that he encountered all too often. Peter was scared shitless and confused about the boner moaner in his pants after he kissed Corbin the first time and it sure didn't help instill any confidence for Corbin to rip him a new asshole when he was already disturbed by what had occurred. All that would do would be to make one withdraw even farther from the feelings that he may have had in the first place. I think Pavlov reiterated that for every college freshman through his reinforcement studies. All that said, I'm glad we are where we are, moving forward in a positive manner. Definitely looking forward to seeing who's sitting on Corbin's bed. Is it Pete? Possibly. Is it David, still there? Very likely. Is it Lee, to scratch an itch? Practically. Maybe it's Mike? A little too early yet. Lastly, Nick? For amends? So I wonder what it is that Pete wants to talk about since the Freshmen are occupied, Nick has pledge duties, Mike's still in lockdown, and, from Corbin's intuition, Peter would've been at the dinning hall during the time he was there ... except he was the surprise, in private, sitting on Corbin's bed, waiting .... Yes, enquiring minds want to know :)  

Edited by Chris L
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On 5/8/2020 at 3:56 PM, Okiegrad said:

I’ve read it from beginning to end over the past two days.

Guess that makes two Okiegrads binge reading. Haha!

Edited by Chris L
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