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    Jwolf
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The English Year - 8. Friend Zone

Was the Friend Zone the End Zone?

“Hey, Corbin. Have a seat,” Dom said. His New York Russian town lisp came out much stronger when he was pissed, and I could tell he was pissed. I took a seat.

“Care to tell me why I just spent the last hour talking down a fuming Bridgette Waters?”

“If you talked to her for an hour, then I’m sure you know as well as I do.”

“I want to hear your side of everything.”

“My side of what, Dom?” I raised my voice. I shifted defiantly.

“Why is our Chi-O mixer cancelled?”

“It isn’t…”

“It very well is. Bridgette pretty much said if we change the date, they’re cancelling. No Margaritaville… this year or any year that she’s in charge.”

“She’s just pissed because instead of getting her sorority mixers, she’s been screwing her boyfriend at Lambda all summer and now she has no social calendar. Trust me, nothing is cancelled.”

“We made a promise to them, Corb. And let’s not forget, they booked with us when no one else would.”

“Listen to me,” I cut him short of what was inevitably going to be a long and winding lecture. “I know it isn’t ideal, but none of this is exactly ideal, is it? Do you think I love piecing an events calendar together? You all didn’t really give me much to work with here. Now, I have every intention of having Margaritaville on a different night…”

“The damage is done,” Brian chimed in.

“Says who?” I spat at him, turning my neck quickly. “Says Catherine?”

“Corbin, no one at Chi-O even wants to deal with you,” Brian answered. “Catherine said you’re done there.”

“Well that’s one success I can be proud of, then,” I hurled in his direction.

“You don’t get it,” Brian stood up. I folded my arms. “Our reputation is shot. We look like the big four douche bags that play these kinds of games.”

“And how exactly did the big four become the big four, Brian? Riddle me that.”

“We’re not ever going to be big four, Corbs,” Austin said. He didn’t sound too pissed. In fact, he mostly sounded bored.

“I get that. But I’m sick of scraping the bottom as if we’ve given up the chance. Fourteenth out of fifteen is not what I signed up for.”

“Because you had so many options,” Dom let slip.

“Fuck you,” I spat at him. “I chose this house just like the rest of you, don’t give me that bullshit.”

“Okay, just calm…” Hutch tried to step in and be the peacemaker.

“What the hell do you want me to do? Apologize? I’m sorry. Call KD and tell them I take it back? Cancel that mixer too? What good will that do? I made a decision to go one way and not the other. And I’m sorry that your girlfriends got hurt in the process, but at the end of the day, I did what was best for this house, not anyone else’s. Let’s not forget that Chi-O doesn’t mandate attendance at events. Our mixer with them last year was more like a bridge game. The brotherhood at large will agree that I did the right thing here, trust me on that. So you folks do what you need to do, but I am not going to switch the dates back.”

“That ship has sailed, trust me,” said Brian. “Even if you tried.”

“So I’m a little confused as to why we’re still meeting here,” I answered.

“We’ve talked about it, Corbin. And we’re not thrilled with how you’re running things.”

“Excuse me?” I squinted. I could feel my eye twitch as I grew more and more livid.

“We can’t afford to have a social chair who’s going to break every relationship we’ve spent years building.”

I almost couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I knew what was coming, and I let out a shallow chuckle.

“What are you saying, Dom?”

“Chi-O has asked us to take permanent action. We’re about to vote on whether to ask you to step down. We simply wanted to talk to you before we placed the vote.”

The words hit me like a punch to the gut. I swallowed hard, and fought back the urge to spit. I could feel a tear welling in my eyes. I shook my head.

“You can’t be serious.” I chuckled beside myself because what he was saying was so absurd. No one could come in in the situation we were in and do what I do. No one would be able to make the decisions I was making. No one would be able to see outside of the fraternity, and give them what they needed before they even realized exactly what that was.

“I’m sorry, Corbin,” Austin said.

“We’re going to give you a chance to defend yourself, but we’re taking the vote tonight.”

“And who would take my place?” I croaked. I felt like my voice would fail at any second. “Tell me that.”

“Jackson, for a while. Until he can train someone else.”

“This is a huge mistake,” I whispered. “If you vote to replace me, you will be making a big mistake.”

“Part of me doesn’t think so,” Oliver, the vice-president, said for the first time.

“And what the fuck do you know? If you want to teach me a lesson, go right ahead. But know that you are resting an entire rush season on the hinges of one sorority. Would this be an issue if you weren’t dating Catherine? Oli, if you weren’t with Meli Trem? Think about that for a second, and ask yourselves how your relationships with your girlfriends affect this brotherhood as a whole. If you fire me, I will leave this fraternity in a heartbeat. That is not a threat; that is a promise. I will resign, and I will do everything in my power to bring this place down. I love this house, believe me, I do. But this place has changed in the past two years, and I am sick of sitting back and watching it happen. And if this is the way you want things to go, then get rid of me and I will walk out of this house tonight, guns blazing. Do not mistake me.”

“Corbin, it won’t come to that, man,” Austin said genuinely. I stood up, pushing back onto my seat.

“We’ll see, Austin.” I turned to the head of the table and looked Dom right in the face. “Don’t do anything that can’t be undone.”

I stormed out of the room, fuming. My head was on fire. My book bag felt like a ton of bricks. I didn’t realize that Hutch was behind me until I heard him say, “We’re going to vote. I’ll come out and tell you what we decide in a little. I’m sorry, man.”

“So am I,” I hissed. Instead of sitting down in the great hall, I kept walking through the foyer and out the back door. I didn’t stop walking until I reached Jefferson Hall, climbed the stairs, and knocked on Pete’s door. Going to his place was almost like an instinct. Two weeks ago, I would have stormed straight to Amanda’s, but now… I don’t know. I went where I knew I’d feel more comfortable.

“Is everything alright?” he asked. He’d already switched back into pajama bottoms, as if he was allergic to the feeling of denim on his skin. He let me in, and I followed him right into his bedroom.

“No, everything isn’t alright,” I said softly. I took his lead and took a seat. “Everyone at my house hates me for what I did to Chi-O. Like, since when do they care?”

“Because you switched the dates?”

“Yeah…” he didn’t say anything, so I continued. “This is what I get for trying to do the right thing.”

“Was it the right thing?” he asked, looking in my eyes. He shrugged, and so I shrugged.

“I dunno,” I said honestly. I wasn’t sure what I expected to get out of Pete. I could sense that he didn’t approve of what I’d done. That’s fine… I didn’t expect anyone who had never been in my shoes to understand my actions. But one thing I was grateful I didn’t feel was judgment. Amanda would have judged me. Everyone at home was judging me, no surprises there. But Pete, possibly because he was completely removed from the situation, simply listened. His words were void of pretense. He inquired, that was it. And it was refreshing. “But there’s nothing I can do now.”

“What are they going to do?”

“Fire me…”

“They won’t, though. Not after all of the work you’ve put in.”

“They might. They could. I don’t see them doing it,” I said. “Brian wouldn’t vote against a pledge brother, no matter how pissed Catherine is. Neither will Hutch or Austin. Dominick probably just wanted to scare me… and Oli… I dunno. He’s a loose cannon. He probably just wants Jackson back in charge so that he can control Jackson.”

“Frat politics is real, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, it is,” I sighed.

“Can I just ask you… why were you so quick to make the switch on Chi-O? You don’t seem to like them much…”

“It’s not that,” I said. “Honestly, a few of them are very nice girls. You have to understand, Pete, that this school has very rigid social lines. It’s embarrassingly sad and archaic, but it’s true. A few years ago, we wouldn’t have even scheduled a mixer with Chi-O.”

“So why are you trying to go back there? If it’s a new era…”

“Because I just… I didn’t have a lot of options going into rush, okay? I was… I was a different person freshman year, and I play the game now, and I won’t apologize for that. And I won’t look back.”

That was all that Pete needed to know at that moment. He didn’t need to know that I had been a ragingly loose cannon freshman year. He didn’t need to know that I had embarrassed myself week in and week out by getting too drunk at parties and outing myself like an idiot. He didn’t need to know that I had unwittingly hit on one too many people, and by the time January rolled around, I’d essentially put all my eggs into the one basket that would still have me. He certainly didn’t need to know that I had almost lost my bid to Chi Beta too. That part of the story would stay with me. All he needed to know was that I’d turned things around, and I wasn’t going to drop the ball now that I’d worked so hard to erase the worst college start known to man.

“I’m just sorry your fraternity is upset with you,” he said. I looked up at him. His gaze was genuine. I could tell he meant every word, and just hearing him say that made me feel better.

“Thank you.”

I hung around for a little bit longer, until I wasn’t so boiling mad. I knew that if I had stayed in the house, I would have done or said something I’d now be regretting. My impulse to leave, to seek solace with Pete had been correct, I told myself. And a couple hours later, as the clock rounded towards midnight, I made the walk back up the alley to Chi Beta.

Hutch was studying in the Great Hall when I got back.

“It’s about time,” he yawned. “I thought you’d never come home.”

“That would have made the vote easier, wouldn’t it?”

“Listen, Corbin…”

“I get it; you don’t have to say anything,” I cut him off. “And I’m not gonna quit the fraternity if y’all fire me. There’s plenty of havoc I can wreak from inside these walls.” I half-joked.

“Well you don’t have to worry about that,” he said. “Four to one. You’re still in.”

I nodded. I said goodnight to Hutch and made towards the stairs.

“Who was the one?” I asked; I didn’t think for a second he’d tell me.

“Dom… is serious about changing things around here,” Hutch said slowly. I swallowed. I was disappointed in Dom as a leader. If he was planning to run Chi Beta as a dictatorship, then maybe I should have let them vote me out. I knew I was in for it with him over the year, and I hoped he was ready for it.

The first full week of classes was always a pain in the ass. Teachers exerted their authority and muscle by front loading all reading and assignments. In business classes, there was no slack period. I had over four hundred pages worth of reading across my four classes for the next five days staring me in the face.

I spent most of Monday focused on school. I worked out for a little bit in the afternoon, had lunch with Amanda at her sorority house—after making sure that Steph Doleman had a photography class and wouldn’t be there. I talked to Pete briefly when he called me about chorus. I told him I was definitely doing it, and he said perfect, because he was to. The first practice was the following week.

On Monday night, I attended Monday Night Football at Lambda Chi’s Old House, just outside of campus in historic downtown Clifton Hill. It was a charming, old house that creaked like a bitch when it got too full.

I didn’t go to Monday Night Football to watch the game; no one ever did. And I didn’t go to Lambda for Monday Night Football because I had to. It was a premier place on Monday nights because Lambda always spent a shit ton on beer, but the real reason I went to Old House was to run into Chi-O social chair, Bridgette Waters or Brian’s girlfriend, Catherine. I knew they’d be around, and I wanted to clear the air.

“Are you sure they’re here?” Pete asked as we approached. There were tons of freshman hanging around the keg outside of the house. Three steps led from the lawn to the house. Once inside, two Beirut tables were set up. A TV hung perilously mounted in the corner. To the left was a small nook with a food bar and another keg. Straight ahead was a dirty kitchen, another small room with a TV inside, but most eyes were on the drinking game at the table. Further into the house was a long stairwell with a beer bong rigged to the second floor. Lambda claimed it was the longest beer bong on campus, but I had done one on Windy Hill that was almost two and a half stories long…

“I don’t know,” I said. “I think they have to be here. They usually are, at least.”

I searched for my friend Andrew as soon as we walked into the house. I didn’t know a ton of Lambdas, and no one would have asked what I was doing there this early in the year, but I didn’t want to chance it. Andrew and I had been friends since we did a musical together freshman year.

“Hey there, sexy,” Drew said to me when I walked out into the second recreation room, recessed deep into the old, lopsided house. Pete had taken cover with Amanda and Sacha and all of their friends holding court in the first recreation room.

“Are you talking to me or yourself?” I asked jokingly.

“It’s hard to tell these days, isn’t it?” I gave Drew a hug. He was a different kind of straight guy, in that I’d spent most of our freshman year convinced that he wasn’t straight at all. Besides calling me things like ‘sexy’ and ‘beautiful’, he had a penchant for dance, loved to flirt with anything and everything that walked by, and was as comfortable with his sefxuality as anyone I’d ever known.

But the older we got, the less convinced I was. I’d seen him date several girls, and had heard tell that his tongue was too long and too talented to belong to a gay guy. He would have been a hit in the community, so the fact that he never went there led me to believe that he’d given off a false positive read on the gaydar.

“How was Nola this summer?” I asked.

“Hot as shit. Spent the whole summer running around naked with Patrick and Nathan. You would have loved it,” he smiled wickedly. Nathan was one of Drew’s hotter pledge brothers, and Patrick was a friend of his from home, actively pursuing a career on Broadway. I’d met him once when he came to see Andrew and I perform Kiss Me, Kate freshman year.

“How is Patrick? Still stuck in y’alls closet?”

“Dude, Patrick is never coming out of that closet.”

“Well color him John Travolta.” I managed to elicit a smile out of Andrew. “Have you seen Bridgette Waters?”

“Umm… last I saw she was out back talking to her boy,” he said. He squinted his eyes at me. “We got an earful about you this afternoon, by the way.”

“I can imagine,” I replied. “I think I’m Chi-Omega public enemy number one.”

“And two… and three. And probably four through six, to be honest. Tread lightly, brother. They are in full tilt tonight.”

Andrew adjusted his crotch as he scanned the room, and I briefly wondered if the rumors about his endowment were true. I shook off my gaze, and made my way even further through the house.

I saw her just were Andrew had described she’d be. She was surrounded by her boyfriend, a couple of other Lambdas and a couple of other Chi-O’s. I was glad Catherine wasn’t in the mix… it would have been hard enough dealing with that without having to drag Brian down with me.

“Hey, Bridge,” I said, approaching tentatively. She held on to her Solo cup with two hands. “Can we talk?”

“I don’t think she wants to talk to you, man,” her boyfriend said loudly over the music.

“Babe, it’s fine. It’s fine,” she cut in. She didn’t sound as mad as everyone had made her out to be… maybe she realized that she had no legs to stand on with this one. Or maybe I’d given her enough time to cool down. I didn’t expect her to go easy on me, but I was hoping she’d at least approach this conversation with a level head.

For fear of saying something stupid in front of her boyfriend and getting kicked out of Old House one cocktail in, I asked her if she wanted to go outside.

“Listen, I just wanted to explain the whole thing,” I said once the fall air fell onto us. The music wasn’t quite so loud, and it felt better talking away from the crowd of watcher’s by.

“I don’t know if an explanation is necessary,” she quipped.

“I wasn’t trying to cancel our mixer. I just think we can find a better date for it.”

“You don’t have to justify anything, Corbin. You just want KD during your big weekend. We get it. It’s your social ladder to climb.”

“It isn’t like that,” I tried. I could tell she wasn’t feeling it. “And even if you think it is, the brothers had nothing to do with it. It was solely my call, and I apologize.”

“Thanks for the apology,” she said. She looked like she was on the brink as she pushed passed me to reenter the house.

“Wait, wait a sec…” I stopped her. “Look, I’m getting a ton of pressure to make this right. I know you have no reason to even listen to me at this point, but can we please reschedule our mixer for a different date this term?”

She stopped and looked at me like I was crazy. I waited for her not to say anything before I unleashed my secret weapon.

“It’s just, I know your girls would hate to see you lose a mixer, especially because you don’t have that many booked this year for some reason. And my guys live for Margaritaville and they might kill me if I lose it…”

I let her think on that for a second. In slacking in her planning, she’d kind of put herself into a bind, and she knew it. She couldn’t lose our mixer when the only other houses she had booked for the semester were Phi Psi, Pi Phi, and Lambda Chi. She didn’t even have anything planned with Sig Ep, and they were the kind of house to jump on anything.

“I don’t know, Corbin,” she said. “We were looking forward to being a part of that weekend with y’all this year. Everyone is disappointed and feels really betrayed at this point.”

“I know, and I get it. But think about this. If it’s later in the semester, a huge party like Margaritaville will have more of an impact on the girls you’re rushing. I was thinking it could be our last mixer of the term, which means y’all get our entire budget dump.”

I could see the wheels in her head turning.

“Which weekend were you thinking about?”

Bam, I thought. I had her. We discussed the details and decided the first weekend of December, right after Thanksgiving break and right before final prep started would be perfect. It would be a last hoorah before everyone hit the books.

I found Pete and Amanda after I left Bridgette, relieved that I was able to work everything out with only a little scathe to speak of.

I dreaded Chapter the next evening. During lunch with Pete on Tuesday afternoon, I told him that I wasn’t sure how the brotherhood would react when I gave the social report.

“Some of them will be thrilled that we’re mixing with KD, let’s be honest,” I said over dining hall tacos and Mexican rice. “The other half will think I’m the world’s biggest douche for cancelling with Chi-O. It’s like I’m the only one that can see the bigger picture here.”

“You can come to my room if you need to escape them tar and feathering you,” Pete replied with his mouth full. “And my suitemate didn’t seem too bothered by the announcement that the mixer was cancelled.”

I almost blurted out that that was because Adam West was swinging on a pendulum between cocks and vaginas, and he would have probably preferred a mixer with the boys of Sigma Chi. I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want Pete to know he was living two doorways away from the campus’ biggest bisexual. I didn’t want Pete getting any ideas that would drop my stock and raise Adam’s.

The meeting started much like it always did, with Dom addressing the brotherhood. I made sure to be on my best behavior for that part, considering I was still skating on ice thinner than a sorority girl on a bulimia binge. After Dom went through general announcements, Austin gave the financial report. Once Austin sat down, it was my turn.

“So, by now you’ve all heard that we did some shuffling for Chi Beta Believe It Weekend,” I began, standing at the front of the Chapter Room. No one was on their phones. No one was whispering, and no one was missing. Thirty-two guys, some of whom were friends with multiple Chi-O’s stared at me as I made my pitch. “In short, we’ve got Theta and KD booked for that weekend, and Margaritaville with Chi-O is going to be on December 2nd.”

Four hands shot up at once, but no one waited to be acknowledged before they started shouting questions.

“Why are we doing a beach mixer in December?”

“Whose idea was this?”

“What the fuck?”

“Okay, okay,” I said, trying to calm everyone down. “Listen, it isn’t a huge deal. Chi-O is getting its own weekend later in the term. For now, we’re focusing on Chi Beta Believe It Weekend, and making it as awesome as possible.”

“How is mixing with KD going to make that awesome? They aren’t going to hook up with any of us,” one of the more unfortunate and outspoken sophomores said.

“Dude, I bet if you put down World of Warcraft for one afternoon and spent some time in the sun, you could get one of them to hook up with you,” I retorted. “Next question.”

“Why exactly are we doing it this way?” Jackson Pruitt asked. He was the only one in the room with prior social chair experience, so I didn’t mind taking his question seriously.

“Because,” I said. “I think we have a better chance at showing our social muscle if we stack that weekend with top tier sororities. We’re getting a late start on the year party wise, and we can’t piddle around with mixers. We’re only doing three this term, as of right now, and I want them to be with three of the better houses.”

The pandemonium started up again. Everyone had their own opinion. You would think I had cancelled fucking Christmas. Instead of being bitched at for another minute by people determined to talk over each other, I raised a hand and pressed on.

“Listen, guys,” I said once the room was calming down. “The mixer with Chi-O was not cancelled. They will get over being bumped by KD… that is none of our concern. All we can do is make sure that we kill it that weekend.”

With that, I sat down. I had nothing left to say. The guys would bitch and moan if we weren’t mixing with KD just as much as they would if we were. It was a lose/lose situation, and I had made the move that would benefit the house; I knew that. Everything else was moot.

Next up was Hutch to do the rush report.

“So this weekend is the annual Chi Beta Beirut Tournament,” he announced after going through some basic rule reminders about drinking with freshman and smoking anything herbal in the house. “I need to know your freshman pairing as soon as possible so that I can make the bracket and invite girls to play if I need to. Ideally, we’ll do a bracket starting with thirty-two teams, single elimination. A loser’s bracket will play parallel to the winner’s bracket, but they won’t be eligible for the prize.”

“What’s the prize?” one of the sophomores asked.

“I don’t know… Austin, what can we afford?”

“Fifty dollar gift card to Walmart,” Austin said without even thinking about it. There was no way he was shelling that out, but it was a good thing to promise people.

“Fifty bucks it is,” Hutch said. “Any questions?”

I wanted to ask if I could be paired with anyone but Lee. I was still upset by what he’d told David Marcossi and company, and didn’t want to get paired with him in any way.

Instead, I asked if it was mandatory that our partner be a freshman boy. I could ask about Lee when I had Hutch one-on-one.

“It can be a freshman girl, too,” Hutch said.

“You would,” Roberto threw a wadded up piece of paper at him.

“Just because some of us know freshmen, ‘Berto, don’t be mad,” Hutch spit back at him. It was a good callout.

“I know a freshman,” Roberto replied.

A being the key word there,” I chimed in.

“To answer your question, Corbin, yes. Your partner does need to be a freshman boy,” Dominick said, taking the reins of the meeting back. “The whole point of this tournament, and why we’re paying for it, is to get freshmen involved with actives.”

“Not so that you can flirt with a British guy,” Brian spat bitterly at me. I snapped my neck towards him. He gave me a look.

“Fuck you,” I said out loud, meaning for it to get caught in my teeth. The brothers in my close vicinity heard, and hissed at me quietly for cursing in the Chapter Room.

I had intended to nap as soon as Chapter was over. I’d had a long day that had included meeting with my theater advisor about my future, meeting with the chorus director about leading the tenor section, and having srat lunch with Alexandria in the hopes of finagling a Kappa mixer to complete the trifecta of Kappa, KD, and Theta in one semester.

I was positively exhausted and I hadn’t even started my reading that was due the next day.

But instead of reading or napping, I followed my pledge class up to Austin’s room to hammer out first dibs on freshman for the tournament. The worst thing would have been getting stuck with someone on our rush list I hadn’t met… the second worst thing would have been getting stuck with Lee.

“Corbs, should I put you down with your freshman boyfriend?” Hutch asked when I joined them in the room. Austin had already set up shop in his recliner and was trying to find the latest Always Sunny in Philadelphia on his DVR.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I sat down on the couch next to Roberto. I was relieved that Brian wasn’t there to be a bitch towards me. I wasn’t in the mood to play nice with him after his little comment in the meeting. “But I’d rather not be paired with Lee, if that’s what you’re referring to.”

“Not paired?” Hutch clarified.

“That’s right… not paired.”

“You two having a lover’s spat?” Roberto asked.

“That would require us to be lovers, so no… no spat.”

I hadn’t told my pledge class what had happened with Lee for a number of reasons. First, and foremost, the kid was still a rushee. At the end of the day, they wanted him in our fraternity, so hearing what he’d said would only complicate that. It wouldn’t make them stop rushing him, and I knew that. But it would put me in an awkward situation.

The main reason, however, was that I was embarrassed. I had been played sideways by a guy two years my junior. He’d figured me out, weaseled his way in, and used me. Was it any worse than me using him to get over Pete? Probably not. But I was the one who was supposed to be in control, not him. And yet there I was, pitching a tantrum about playing Beirut with him, and not being in control. No, I was determined not to say anything about what Lee had done until I had a retaliation plan. And the semester was definitely long enough for me to come up with a good one.

“So what’s the deal?”

“I just want to get to know a different freshman,” I said. “Diversify. I’ll play with David Marcossi.”

“Have you had one conversation with David Marcossi?” Austin asked, flipping through channels. Of all of us, surprisingly, he might have known David the best.

“Yes,” I said. I had had that one… in the bathroom… about Lee. “Me and David are cool.”

“Okay,” Hutch replied. “I’ll put you down with David Marcossi. You can text him.”

Hutch said that last part, looking right at me, as if he knew I didn’t have Marcossi’s number. Little did he know that I had access to the master rush list, and so I would be texting David Marcossi and not playing in the tournament with Lee.

“So who’s playing with Corbin’s boyfriend? I don’t want to be partners with anyone that’s touched you, maricon. No offense,” Roberto said, leaning back in his seat.

“Is that a slur, Roberto?” I accused.

“Shut up, man. You know I love you.”

“I’ll play with Lee,” Hutch said, taking notes for his own bracket-making purposes. “Corbin and David. Austin, do you think that guy from soccer will come?”

“I’ll ask him.”

“I’ll put you down with him. And Roberto… do you know Brandon?”

“I met him.”

“You get him.”

“Why?” Roberto whined, for no reason in general.

“That’s what you get for not knowing any freshmen,” Hutch answered. I sighed in relief that I had dodged having to deal with Lee during the tournament. I hung around long enough to show face, and then dodged off to take that much needed nap.

I spent the rest of the week squarely focused on school. I had another study date with Peter on Wednesday and on Thursday we went to the music building together to build our practice binders. The music was available for check out, and Professor Jerry always liked us to have a look at it before the first class.

As the week progressed, I felt like Pete and I were forging our way more and more into the friend zone. We texted constantly when we weren’t together, and when we were, we acted like we’d known each other for years. I asked Amanda about it as we walked back to campus from srat lunch on Friday afternoon.

“Yeah, everyone keeps asking me if y’all are dating,” she said casually.

“Seriously?” I asked, sparking my attention. How had she not mentioned this before? Knowing how much I was falling into like with him, you’d think she might have said something to the effect of ‘you two keep acting like you’re dating…’

“Yeah. I mean, I know you’re not, so I can see past it. But if I didn’t know better, I’d think y’all were together.”

“Why is that?”

“He’s so natural around you, I’ve told you. And you are… gosh… you are so laid back when he’s around. You’re a much nicer person,” she smiled at me.

“Gee, thanks, bitch.”

“See what I mean?” I shook my head and smirked. “No, but seriously. Just some of the inside jokes you already have. You touch him constantly.”

“I do not.”

“His arm, his back. You really do. It’s adorable.”

“Do you think he knows?” I asked her. It was something I hadn’t sat down to process. If it was so obvious to everyone else that I was into Pete, it had to be obvious to Pete as well, didn’t it? There was no way he was oblivious.

“I don’t know. It doesn’t seem like he reacts,” she answered. “And to be honest, every once in a while, it’s almost like he’ll reciprocate. But I think that’s just you two being so natural with each other.”

“Or it’s him leading me on,” I replied almost bitterly. The conversation left a sour taste in my mouth. If Pete and I were walking around like a couple, why couldn’t we just be a couple? Wasn’t perception half of it anyway? When I went home and thought about the last couple of weeks, I decided that it did feel like we were dating, only without the sex. And what fun was that?

As if he were listening in on my thoughts, Pete texted me and asked what I was doing that night.

To Pete: Writing my column now. Getting drunk later.

From Pete: Mind if I join?

Of course I didn’t mind. It was almost like a reflex. But as I sat down to write that week’s article, I thought maybe I should have minded. Maybe I should have demanded more from Pete. Was I selling myself short in our relationship, allowing us to continue on as friends with a clear connection that everyone saw, but not the personal connection that I desperately wanted?

I spent the next forty-five minutes and 316 words delving into the subject: What happens when you cross into the friend zone with someone you like? Is there any escaping? Or are you doomed to be the guy he cares about but never kisses? Is the friend zone the end zone?

I concluded that I was about to enter the friend zone with Pete, and that if I didn’t do anything soon, I would be like a man stuck in quick sand… falling deeper and deeper into a path I didn’t want to take.

I won’t go into detail about Friday night. If you’ve read anything about Pete and me from the prior nights out, you know exactly how the night went. Drinking… dancing… sweating… wrestling. Playing with Mister… going to Waffle House… more drinking… passing out… and wondering when in the hell the guy was going to kiss me.

He never did.

I woke up late on Saturday morning, to a phone call from Hutch.

“Are you awake? Are you alive?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I croaked, my voice barely existent. I needed water like a bitch, and I crawled out of bed and walked to the bathroom across the hall.

“I was going to ask you to help me pick up the keg for the tournament, but Austin’s already ready. Are you going to be ready to go here in an hour?”

I yawned as I leaned over the sink to take a drink.

“I thought the tournament didn’t start until two?”

“Killer, it’s one p.m. What the fuck do you and that Brit do up so late at night?”

“We went to Waffle House,” I gagged, wiping the side of my face. “And then he came back here and played with my cat until we passed out.”

I thought about Mister when I got back into my room. I checked his water and food bowl, and made a note to fill both up and change his litter before I left for the tournament.

“Is that gay code for something?”

“No… he literally played with Mister until we passed out. It’s absurd.”

“Bone him already, we’re all tired of waiting,” he said.

“Imagine that,” I replied, sitting back down on my bed and rebalancing my head. I hung up with Hutch, tidied up my room, fed and watered my cat, and by the time I was showered and dressed at two, I felt like a new person.

The tournament was held on the second floor of the house. Two tables from the dining room were brought up. Hutch took off one of the doors that led to the laundry room and placed it on two painting tents. With those make shift tables, and the two tables that were stashed in the game room, we had six playing surfaces in all.

I sipped a vodka and Sprite while the first round got underway.

“Don’t you think you should go say hi to your partner?” Hutch asked once he’d hung the bracket and the first twelve teams took their side. I was in the bottom of the draw, so there were several first round games before I got a chance to play.

“All in good time, my friend,” I replied. I scanned the room and decided that Hutch was right. Everyone was hanging out with their partner, so I walked over to the where David Marcossi stood with a couple of other freshman guys.

“Are you ready to win?” I asked, extending an arm and shaking David’s hand.

“Are you ready to carry this team?” he asked.

“I thought you were good at Beirut,” I answered.

“Are you kidding?” one of the guys he was talking to laughed. “This fool couldn’t hit a cup of beer from two inches away.”

“Speaking of two inches,” David retorted with an unmistakable face. I laughed into my cup of mostly vodka… not so much Sprite.

“Don’t worry, Corbin,” he said, turning to me. The other guys turned and talked amongst themselves now that there were four in their circle and David and I were clearly about to converse. “I won’t let you down.”

“Better not, killer,” I smiled. “Where’s your other buddy?”

“Which one?”

“Lee,” I said, trying my best not to sound like I cared. I didn’t really, I told myself, but looking back, I’m sure part of me did.

“He’s coming over from Steph’s house. I think he went over there for an afternoon delight before the tournament.”

“Remind me to wash any balls that he plays with,” I said. David gave me a knowing smile, and I cracked up.

By the time we were up to play in the first round, we’d bonded sufficiently. David was a very funny guy. He had this dry sense of humor that made it impossible to tell when he was joking. At one point, he scientifically had Hutch convinced that being shorter gave him an advantage in Beirut because it was easier to lob the ball. I’m not sure how much Hutch had had to drink in order to believe that bullshit, but I thought it was hilarious that David was selling it to him anyway.

David wasn’t kidding about sucking at Beirut. We barely squeaked by our first match, mostly because I was tipsy enough to take some risky shots and lucky enough that they landed in. We beat a senior/freshman pair by two cups.

Our next round match wasn’t quite as tough. How two girls from Amanda’s group of friends made it in to the tournament at all was beyond me. How they made it passed another team was completely unfathomable. David and I barely drank four cups between us before we swept passed those girls and sent them packing.

It wasn’t until I was awaiting for my third round match up before I came into contact with Lee. I had seen him come in with Steph. I had seen him play a round with Hutch and win the match. I had heard him talk smack to pretty much everyone in the room.

But I hadn’t said anything up until that point.

“Avoiding me, Corbin?” he asked, following me into the hallway. I was headed to my room to get a sippy beer while I waited for the results of the second round.

“Why would you say that?” I asked tartly. I didn’t want to be too passive aggressive as to tip my hand, but there was no way I was hiding the fact that I was pissed at him.

“I dunno. What’d I do?” he asked, looking me right in the eye. They were beautiful eyes, and I could remember clearly why I’d trusted them… wanted them.

“I dunno, Lee. I guess nothing.”

“Okay…” he said. I turned and walked into my room. By the time I got to the door, I realized he had followed me.

“Do you need something?” I asked, letting my anger get ahead of me.

“Corbin, I just… what’s the matter?”

“Nothing,” I said, tempering my voice and controlling my face. I could have told him what David had told me. I could have ended the he said/she said right then, given him a chance to explain himself, and warned him about crossing me. I could have given him a free pass, let it slide, and I’m sure he would have taken it.

But I was determined to do it my way. There was something slimy about a kid that would use an upperclassmen for a hope at a bid… a hope that was attached to no absolution whatsoever. I was determined to embarrass him in some way like he had embarrassed me in front of the freshman class. I was determined to show him that he’d run his mouth about the wrong guy.

“Nothing is wrong,” I repeated. “I just haven’t seen you in a couple of days.”

I forced myself to keep a light demeanor.

“Yeah, I’ve been spending quite some time with Steph,” he said.

“A week and a half… things must be getting serious,” I said without a hint of irony in my voice. It was all in my head. He shrugged.

“Well, listen,” I said, grabbing two cans of Bud Light out of my fridge and handing him one as a Trojan peace offering. “I was thinking of hosting a card game tomorrow afternoon. You and Steph should come.”

“Tomorrow is Sunday,” he said as if that were a problem.

“Sunday Funday,” I said cheerfully. “You only live college once.”

He thought about it. As he thought, a plan formed in my mind about how I would get Lee back.

“I bet I could convince Steph to go,” he said. “It’d have to be pretty late though. I’m sure she wants to get some studying in.”

“Let’s say eight o’clock,” I said, ushering Lee out of my room and back into the hall.

“Sounds good. What game?”

“Who knows? Fuck the Dealer… maybe King’s Cup.”

“I love King’s,” he said cheerfully.

“King’s it is,” I said, my plan falling perfectly into place. I spread the invitation to my game night strategically throughout the room for the rest of the evening as David and I sailed through the third round and found ourselves in the semifinals of the winner’s bracket.

“This is a fucking miracle,” David smiled at me. I’d watched the kid loosen up more and more as the day went by.

“For-fucking-real,” I replied. “Dude, you killed it last game. Hand hug.”

I put my hand up to his and we clasped our thumbs around each other’s hand. This gesture was coupled with a very bro-like slap on the back.

“Are you two fuckers ready to play?” Austin asked. It was he and his soccer frosh against us in the semis, and David and I were feeling like we couldn’t lose, even though those two were a strong team.

“As ready as your mom and a bottle of lube,” I shot across the table. Austin rightfully flipped me off, and I laughed.

Once the cups were set up, the beers filled, and the balls tossed for the first shot, I knew that David and I were in for our most challenging game so far. Austin sank the hero cup with no hesitation. His partner sank the one behind it. I looked at David, took the cups off the table and drank.

“We’ve got this,” I said cheerfully. I didn’t believe it for a second. Austin bricked his next shot, but his freshman made his. I looked up, took the third cup off the table and drank it. I tapped the ball on the table twice, looked at the triangle of ten cups across the table and focused. I shot the ball and swiftly made my cup.

I turned to David.

“You’re turn buddy,” I patted him on the back. He was taller than me, strong and athletic, and the sound his back made against my hand reverberated in the open room. He nodded, squared up and shot the ball.

“Ahhh… boom! Reload!” we shouted as soon as the ball went in a cup. It was a cheer I’d taught him to get us pumped up at the start of the tournament and one we shouted every time we got balls back.

The next two balls we shot were both bricks. We were still down a cup.

The game went back and forth until both teams were tied at four cups. I turned to David after making a ball and tried to pump him up. I adjusted the bandana around my head, squared away with him, and said, “They said we couldn’t do it buddy, but we got this… we got this!”

As soon as I turned back to watch Austin take his shot, I saw the ball fling low towards the table. Out of the corner of my eye, I sensed him flick the ball down, bounce it in the center of the table, and I swatted it with the back of my hand. The ball was inches from going in after the bounce, which would have given them two cup and a two cup lead.

“Fuck yeah!” David screamed, congratulating my block.

“Ah, keep it!” I shouted at the team across the table. David and I were on fire. We were drunk, feeling good and ready to end the game.

“Ready killer?” I asked David as he squared away to shoot. He smiled down at me.

“Born ready!” he replied, enthusiastically.

“Let’s do this.”

The rest of the game went by rather quickly. David made his next cup while I bricked mine, making the score three to three. Austin shot and made his cup. His partner shot and made a cup in the back row. They were up by one.

I breathed in, knowing this was it. Austin and his partner weren’t going to fuck around this late in the game and this late in the tournament. Not when the stakes were high and meant going to the championship match. A crowd had developed around our table, probably because of all the cheering coming from David and me.

I took a deep breath and fired away. My ball swished right into a cup, tying the game once again. I looked at David.

“No pressure,” I said.

“Oh sure,” he smirked at me. I watched him shoot the ball. It hit the rim of a cup, and then sort of rolled into the cup next to it.

“Ah boom! Reload!” we screamed. Our viewing posse was in hysterics, and we hadn’t even won the game.

We got balls back, and this time we didn’t squander the opportunity. David made his cup first, and faced with the last cup, I stood as firmly as I could on my two drunk legs, and fired away. The ball went careening right into the cup.

I remember the celebration like it was yesterday. No one thought that David and I would get this far, let alone beat a team anchored by Austin. We were in the final round of play. We had knocked over two solid teams to get there.

David and I were mollywopped in the championship by two seniors, but it didn’t matter. We’d done well for ourselves, and I had had a surprisingly fun day hanging out with David and my brothers.

“Good game,” I consoled him as we left our stand and let the two other teams set up at our show table. As the adrenaline wore off, I decided I needed another drink to keep me at a good place. It was close to dinner time, and there was still a ton of partying to do after.

“Want something to drink?” I asked my partner. He nodded and followed me into my bedroom.

“Beer or vodka and Crystal Light?” I asked him as I shut the door.

“Beer before liquor, never been sicker, right?”

“I guess,” I said. “I don’t pay attention to that stuff ever.” I picked out two beers and handed him one.

“So this is where the magic happens,” David smiled, looking around my room.

“I guess so,” I said. I watched him look around in awe.

“I could live in one of these,” he said. “Do you like living here?”

If he’d asked me earlier in the week, when I was being threatened with my position, I might have told him the truth. But instead, I gave him the answer I was trained to give.

“I love it. Honestly, the freedom. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.” I answered his question as earnestly as possibly. I really did love Chi Beta.

“I heard there’s a late night next weekend,” he said, sitting on my bed and continuing to look around.

“Yeah,” I answered. I sat down next to him, and sipped my beer. “Our strike is finally lifted next week, so we can throw a real party. It’s going to be bananas.”

“That’s what I hear. I hear if you can’t get laid during late night, you’ll never get laid at all.”

I let out a cackle. “Dude, you should have no trouble getting laid.”

And then David looked at me. I had a feeling where this was going based on the sideways puppy dog look on his face. He licked his lips and started to say something, but hesitated. I wasn’t sure exactly what he planned on saying or doing, or what he thought was going to happen, so I stood up, cleared my throat, and walked to the couch.

“So what’s the story with you and Lee these days?” he asked following me to my new location on my dingy couch. “You barely said anything to him at the tournament.”

I shrugged. “What is there to say, really?” I answered, trying not to let my voice falter. I was still confused by what almost happened on my bed. A million things ran through my head as I tried to carry on this conversation. The main one being: was that actually about to happen? “He has a girlfriend and I like someone else.”

I saw David’s face perk up. If I had thought for a second that he was interested in me while we spent the last four hour playing beer pong, I might not have egged him on. Where had this come from? Had the spark been lit that day? Had he been eyeing me for a while? Did this have anything to do with the bid certainty he thought was coming Lee’s way? Was I dealing with someone genuine or another bid digger?

Whatever was going on with him, I couldn’t get sucked in to it. Not while everything was so complicated with the three guys already in my life. I had Mikey and Pete, both confusing the shit out of me. And Lee, who brought one headache after another. If I encouraged David in any way, I felt bad for it, but I knew I needed to stop.

“Someone else? Like who? Another frosh?” he sounded eager. Interested. As if he’d picked up on a vibe. And that’s when I knew he was genuine. He wasn’t trying to get laid for a bid. Fuck, the kid had been around our house since O-week. That was how you guaranteed a bid; not by sleeping with the social chair.

“I don’t think you know him,” I answered honestly. I shifted on the couch to give us room.

“Are you two dating?” he asked, leaning on the back of the couch, his left arm draped casually towards me.

“No,” I chuckled. “He doesn’t even like me, I don’t think.”

“He’d be crazy not to.”

“That’s what I keep hearing,” I said almost under my breath. I looked at David again, and again his gaze was unmistakable.

No, I thought. Just because you’re drunk and vulnerable doesn’t mean this needs to go anywhere. I briefly wondered when freshmen in general became so cavalier about experimenting with other guys. When I was a frosh, I would flirt for days and days before making a move on anyone. And even then, I’d make damn sure they were interested. I’d hung out with David for an afternoon, and he was already getting comfortable on my couch.

I finished my beer, stood up and went to my fridge for another one. Instead of returning to the couch, I sat back down on my bed and shifted my feet so that I was leaning against the head board.

“Does the guy know you like him?” he asked from across the room.

“He has to,” I said. “I’m not very subtle around him.”

“But have you told him? Some guys can be idiots,” he said. His voice had returned to normal. He didn’t sound rejected, but I was confident he sensed that nothing was going to happen anymore. Mission accomplished.

“I dunno,” I said. “I feel like if I tell him, that’ll give him an opportunity to tell me he doesn’t like me.”

I was really opening up to this kid, and I wasn’t quite sure why. Maybe it was the alcohol. Maybe it was the fact that he disarmed me. I didn’t feel like I was talking to a freshman, or someone too close to the situation to have a biased opinion. He didn’t know me, and he didn’t know Pete, so maybe I felt like his reactions were genuine and untainted.

“So what are you gonna do? Sit around and not kiss other guys while you wait for him to figure it out? That doesn’t sound like much of a plan to me.” David stood up and walked back towards my bed. Maybe he wasn’t done flirting. There was definitely a tinge of yearning in his voice.

“Maybe I should tell him,” I said, taking advice from a guy three years my junior. “Maybe if I tell him, I’ll be free from it, you know? Either way, no matter what happens, I won’t have to wonder.”

David nodded. “And like I said, if he doesn’t like you, he’s crazy.”

I stood up abruptly. David was right. He was so totally right, and I was the idiot for not seeing it before. The self-torture, the wondering, the fear of being rejected… that was only wasting time. If I had been rejected by Pete a week ago, I could be in my room freely making out with the cute guy that had just given me sage advice. But I couldn’t make out with him because I was hung up on a guy that didn’t even know I was hanging.

“Let’s rejoin the land of the living,” I said, patting David on the arm. I grabbed two travel beers for us, and walked back into the game room to see the end of the championship match.

“Where have you been?” Hutch asked me as we stood around watching two seniors go head-to-head against Roberto and his partner.

“Talking to David,” I replied. Hutch cocked an eyebrow up towards me and I shook my head.

“One rushee at a time, please,” he said. I cracked a smile that left everything to the imagination.

I thought more about what David had said as the day dragged into night and everyone passed out for various naps around the house. I couldn’t sleep after dinner, even though I’d been drinking all day and needed some sort of a nap if I intended to go out that night.

Instead, I kept thinking about what would happen if Pete knew how much I liked him. One of three outcomes, I decided. He’d either tell me he wasn’t gay, but he was flattered that I liked him. Things would be awkward between us for a while, but they’d eventually grow back to normal. I’d learn to live around my feelings for him the same way I had when I had a mild crush on Hutch freshman year.

The other scenario involved him saying that he liked me too. That was the ideal reaction. We would date, not unlike we had been for two solid weeks. We would make out. I’d finally get to see him completely naked, feel his hard English cock, and experience what I’d only dreamed about since we met.

Finally, there was a chance he’d say he was gay, but that he wasn’t that into me. It was a possibility that I didn’t want to consider because it was a real one. Maybe he did just want to be friends. Maybe he had his eye set on a different guy. Maybe he’d already fucked around with Adam West in their little suite.

If that happened, I didn’t think our relationship could survive it. I couldn’t be friends with him knowing he was going to go and pork some other guy every time he wasn’t with me. It was weird as I thought that I could lose him to a girl, but I couldn’t lose him to a guy and be okay with it.

The fact of the matter was, nothing was going to happen unless I said something. I was tired of spinning my wheels, and so instead of taking an afternoon nap, I jacked off into a tube sock, put on a pair of pants and walked down to Jefferson Hall.

The entire time I strolled through the alley towards Pete’s place, I thought about the best case scenario when I told him. I thought about him saying that he felt the same way. I thought about him leaning down and kissing me, stroking the back of my head as he pulled my mouth deep into his. I thought about feeling his boner through his pants, rubbing against his with my own. I thought about fucking him, and vice versa, until we woke up his entire hall with the sheer intensity of our passion.

I thought about all of that until I got to his door. And then I thought about the likelihood of him saying the world’s most dreaded words to me: Let’s just be friends.

I knocked on Pete’s door, hoping he was there and making sure my boner from the walk over had gone down. I hadn’t called or texted before because I didn’t want to psych myself out. I had the energy, the momentum, and the buzz to do it right then and there. I was ending it. I was freeing myself. I was going to kiss the Brit.

Pete opened his door after a second. The first thing I noticed was that he was in just a pair of boxer shorts. The second thing I noticed was that he looked absolutely amazing.

“Wow,” I breathed out involuntarily. “Hi.”

“Hello there,” he answered. “Come on in.”

“Are you sure this is a good time? I sort of want to talk to you.”

“Oh yeah?” he asked. I followed him into the room. “What about?”

I sat down on his twin bed, and watched Pete sit down at his computer desk. I could do this, I thought. I was capable. He was just a boy. A boy that I hadn’t even known that long. A boy I could get over if the outcome was less than favorable. I was a catch, and if he didn’t hold out his hands, there were a cadet and two freshmen boys ready to catch me. I just needed to get it off my chest. I just needed to tell him. I just need him to… turn around.

He didn’t face me, but instead, looked down at his laptop on the desk. It was only then that I realized that his Face Time was on.

“Hey, Dakota,” he said into the computer. “This is Corbin.”

I stood up and looked past Pete’s shoulder to see the girl he was talking to on a computer screen in just his boxer shorts.

“Hey Corbin!” she said cheerfully. “You are as cute as Pete said you’d be.”

I raised an eyebrow. Pete turned to me and assessed my face. I could tell his pallor was slightly flushed.

“I told her that she’d think you were cute. Personally, I think she’s crazy,” he said.

“Shut up,” I replied. I looked the girl in the screen in the eyes. She was beautiful, I could tell that right away, even with the warped screen shot of her in a dorm room. Why were they chatting? How did they know each other? Who the fuck was she? And why was Pete nearly naked in a room with her?

As I smiled down at this girl, I realized that I didn’t need to say anything to Pete. His actions made things perfectly clear. He wasn’t gay, he was European. And I was reaching.

“Hey Dakota, let me let you go for a while, and talk to Corbin.”

“Okay, it was good to see you, Pete! Don’t be a stranger. Corbin, I look forward to meeting you for real next week! Tell Pete to get a haircut.”

They both said goodbye, and he closed his laptop.

“So you need to talk about something,” he said cavalierly, turning to me. I couldn’t concentrate. I couldn’t concentrate with him sitting there essentially naked in front of me. I couldn’t concentrate with Dakota’s face and voice playing through my mind.

“Who was that?” I asked cautiously, not wanting to sound aggressive.

“Dakota? Just a girl I went to school with,” he answered.

“She didn’t sound English.”

“She went to school in Dallas where I studied abroad the first time,” he said. “She now lives in DC. In fact, she’s thinking of driving down to hang out next weekend, so don’t make plans, will you. She really wants to meet you from what I’ve told her.”

I swallowed. A girl was going to drive three hours to visit a boy. There was only one way to interpret that, and if I didn’t get it then, I would never get it. Ever. I fought back the rejection from forming on my face.

“So what’d you want to tell me?” he asked. I swallowed, and decided it wasn’t worth it. Getting it off my chest wasn’t worth hearing the rejection that would surely follow.

“Nothing,” I replied. I prayed my voice would hold up. I was desperate for him not to know that I felt like a dejected seventh grader who had no date to the dance. I managed to pull my face together, temper my voice, and play the part of the cheerful gay friend to a guy that was clearly straight and talking to a pretty girl that liked him enough to visit from DC.

“…Just… what are you doing tonight?”

Hope you enjoyed that chapter. Thanks for the continued reads and support. As always, comments, reviews and feedback are welcome and greatly appreciated.

Copyright © 2016 Jwolf; All Rights Reserved.
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Poor Corbin can never get a break can he :( . I eagerly await the next chapter and to see what the visit from Pete's friend brings in terms of interesting dynamics.

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On 10/01/2012 01:27 PM, kryshim said:
Poor Corbin can never get a break can he :( . I eagerly await the next chapter and to see what the visit from Pete's friend brings in terms of interesting dynamics.
Hey Kryshim! Thanks so much for the review. The next chapter is really upbeat, and Dakota's effect on our two boys is hopefully surprising... that's all I'll tease for now :) I can't wait to hear what you think next week.
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And thus the knife goes deeper. Although one can never just walk into a situation and believe they know the full story right away. Appearance wise it would seem that Pete was into girls but could the underlying truth be that she is his best friend and he was simply talking to her and asking her advice about Corb? Could her trip have to do with Pete wanting her to meet Corb so she can give Pete her oppinion? I think Corb should just sit back and stay away from dippin his dipstick into any more freshman until he can sort everything out. We all know that is not what he will do but one can hope. Sadly I see Corb making some bad decisions with the upcoming night. I see a night filled with Oh's, Ah's and oh-yeah's and then a morning filled with regret and a damaged relationship bewteen Corb and Pete. Hard call to make in Corb's position based with what he has or thinks he has perceived.

 

JWolf, you are doing an extraordinary job of mixing me up, twisting me about and utterly confusing me again, lol. I love it! Keep up the great work and I am excitedly looking forward to the next chapter.

 

Saddly though I feel like my Corb and Pete hope will go about as well and my Kyle and Coop one. Just so you are aware....I still have that t-shirt. Its just tucked away now at the bottom of my drawer. tongue.png LOL

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And they say women are complicated! lmaosmiley.gif This whole Corb and Pete thing reminds me of something Oscar Wilde said. Paraphrasing - there are two tragedies in life; not getting what you want in life, the other is getting it. sceptic.gif

Corb was masterful in this chapter doing his social chair thing. I really enjoyed those segments. The friend zone/end zone thing was clever.

 

Super chapter!! worshippy.gifworshippy.gif

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Corbin is so self assured in just about every aspect of his is life, except for his relationship with Pete. I hope he gets to the point to where he can at least speak enough about his feeings to Pete, to where Pete will give him some indication if he is genuinely interested in Corbin as more than a friend.

 

So proud of Corbin for not being a slut when it came to David. The pie was there for the taking, but he resisted, because of Pete, only to feel like crap when he went to see and talk to Pete.

 

Hopefully things will get sorted out when Dakota comes to visit. Great Chapters

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RAWR! Silly Corbs, The only way to get what you want in life is too ask for it. Damn it. I feel bad for the goober because everytime he screwsup his courage to move forward, something pushes him back. I do hope he gets it in gear soon. I am also starting to get a little curious about this David dude who I want to keep calling Morrissy. There is something fishy there. I am not entirely sure that Lee was the baddy in that little shananigan. I am interested to see where everything shakes out next week. Good Chapter. Keep up the oh so wonderful work. thumbsupsmileyanim.gif

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On 10/02/2012 03:27 AM, CW Prince said:
And thus the knife goes deeper. Although one can never just walk into a situation and believe they know the full story right away. Appearance wise it would seem that Pete was into girls but could the underlying truth be that she is his best friend and he was simply talking to her and asking her advice about Corb? Could her trip have to do with Pete wanting her to meet Corb so she can give Pete her oppinion? I think Corb should just sit back and stay away from dippin his dipstick into any more freshman until he can sort everything out. We all know that is not what he will do but one can hope. Sadly I see Corb making some bad decisions with the upcoming night. I see a night filled with Oh's, Ah's and oh-yeah's and then a morning filled with regret and a damaged relationship bewteen Corb and Pete. Hard call to make in Corb's position based with what he has or thinks he has perceived.

 

JWolf, you are doing an extraordinary job of mixing me up, twisting me about and utterly confusing me again, lol. I love it! Keep up the great work and I am excitedly looking forward to the next chapter.

 

Saddly though I feel like my Corb and Pete hope will go about as well and my Kyle and Coop one. Just so you are aware....I still have that t-shirt. Its just tucked away now at the bottom of my drawer. tongue.png LOL

Thanks so much for the review! I'm really glad that you're all twisted, confused, and eager for the next chapter. This isn't intended to be any sort of mystery, but an honest portrayal of these two guys' relationship. I think one key line to support your theory is "'Hey Corbin. You're just as cute as Pete said you are...'" Expect answers in the next chapter, but as usual... I hope they surprise you :) I think it's time for a new shirt (or no shirt... that's an option too...) How about a Corter shirt? Or Petin...?
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On 10/02/2012 05:11 AM, Conner said:
And they say women are complicated! lmaosmiley.gif This whole Corb and Pete thing reminds me of something Oscar Wilde said. Paraphrasing - there are two tragedies in life; not getting what you want in life, the other is getting it. sceptic.gif

Corb was masterful in this chapter doing his social chair thing. I really enjoyed those segments. The friend zone/end zone thing was clever.

 

Super chapter!! worshippy.gifworshippy.gif

Thanks Conner! I'm always a little wary about how much of the Greek stuff to put in each chapter. I'm glad you're still finding it interesting because there's a little bit more social business for Corbin to sort through. Until then... :)
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On 10/02/2012 06:17 AM, joann414 said:
Corbin is so self assured in just about every aspect of his is life, except for his relationship with Pete. I hope he gets to the point to where he can at least speak enough about his feeings to Pete, to where Pete will give him some indication if he is genuinely interested in Corbin as more than a friend.

 

So proud of Corbin for not being a slut when it came to David. The pie was there for the taking, but he resisted, because of Pete, only to feel like crap when he went to see and talk to Pete.

 

Hopefully things will get sorted out when Dakota comes to visit. Great Chapters

I think you hit on something brilliant that I've been trying to portray. In fact, I might have to steal some of your words. I think part of the reason Pete confounds Corbin so much is that he IS usually so self assured and this Pete character is forcing him to second guess everything. Don't worry, I think the next couple of decisions Corbin makes paint him in a mature light... here's to hoping at least.
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On 10/02/2012 06:30 AM, Carrie76 said:
RAWR! Silly Corbs, The only way to get what you want in life is too ask for it. Damn it. I feel bad for the goober because everytime he screwsup his courage to move forward, something pushes him back. I do hope he gets it in gear soon. I am also starting to get a little curious about this David dude who I want to keep calling Morrissy. There is something fishy there. I am not entirely sure that Lee was the baddy in that little shananigan. I am interested to see where everything shakes out next week. Good Chapter. Keep up the oh so wonderful work. thumbsupsmileyanim.gif
Thanks for the review Carrie! I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter. I wouldn't worry too much about David... I won't spoil anything of course, I'll just say that. Things move forward for Corbin/Lee and Corbin/Pete in a big way next week, so until then...:)
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I have a agree w/Clockwork; I know it's hard (haha, no pun intended ;) ) for Corbin to see Pete sitting there in only his boxers, looking amazing and talking to some beautiful chick on the computer. He's jumping to conclusions and assuming things. I think I agree w/Clockwork that Dakota (way cool name btw, for a girl or boy) could be just a very good friend and nothing more. I noticed Pete didn't say she was his BEST friend, or best female friend, but a good friend. And obviously such a good friend that he's totally comfortable sitting there half-naked, and looking amazing, dontcha forget. ;) She can't be his g/f; they didn't say the 'L' word at all, not that they have to be in love, but even when they ended the call, it was a strictly platonic way to end it, in my opinion. I think Corbs is jumping the gun here and assuming too much. And you do know what they say about when you assume things. lol

 

I was actually thinking someone (girl or boy) was going to walk out of Pete's room when Corbin rang the bell. Seeing him in only his boxers gave me the impression that maybe he had company. Luckily it was only FaceTime w/a friend.

 

I wonder why Corbin thinks he's juggling all these boys: Pete, Lee, Mike and maybe David (big surprise there; I thought he was straight! lol). First Lee, I thought that was dead and buried, although Lee didn't get the memo yet. Corbin knows what Lee did to him and I'm sure he won't go THERE again. Although I did wonder when I read what Carrie thought; about DAVID being the instigator maybe, and Lee didn't have anything to do with it. That maybe David lied to Corbin so Corbin would get pissed at Lee and then David could swoop in and take over. Hmmmm, I never thought of that actually. I'm wondering if there's any truth to that. Although Corbin did admit he saw pure honesty and genuine caring there with David. I'd like to think that David is a good guy, but then of course I thought that of Lee too, and see where THAT got me. haha

 

So I think Corbin is putting way too many eggs in his basket; forget Cadet Mike; he's a shit, forget Lee, same reason, David is sorta up in the air, but could be back down on the ground if Pete is a no-go.

 

Oh, and when Corbs noticed Pete talking to Dakota, I had to re-read it four times to realize Pete wasn't pretending to be Corbin. The way he said, Hi Dakota, this is Corbin, I thought he was introducing HIMSELF as Corbin! Oh, but big hint about Pete: Pete told Dakota Corbin was cute. How many straight guys even NOTICE what another guy looks like? lol Pete called Corbs cute, oh, not just 'cute', but 'as cute as Pete said you were', which means very cute in my book. The Book of Cute.

 

Another awesome chapter Jon! I'm really looking forward to their night and the next day when Corbs takes revenge from Lee. Should be interesting.....

 

Oh, and on a totally unrelated note: Your alma-mater is coming to our high school TOMORROW! Yep, Old Dominion will be in Danbury, CT. tomorrow to talk to seniors about the school, and next week they'll be at our mall participating in a big college fair. I was so excited when I saw that, that I immediately had to write it down so I'd remember to tell you. :)

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On 10/03/2012 11:50 AM, Lisa said:
I have a agree w/Clockwork; I know it's hard (haha, no pun intended ;) ) for Corbin to see Pete sitting there in only his boxers, looking amazing and talking to some beautiful chick on the computer. He's jumping to conclusions and assuming things. I think I agree w/Clockwork that Dakota (way cool name btw, for a girl or boy) could be just a very good friend and nothing more. I noticed Pete didn't say she was his BEST friend, or best female friend, but a good friend. And obviously such a good friend that he's totally comfortable sitting there half-naked, and looking amazing, dontcha forget. ;) She can't be his g/f; they didn't say the 'L' word at all, not that they have to be in love, but even when they ended the call, it was a strictly platonic way to end it, in my opinion. I think Corbs is jumping the gun here and assuming too much. And you do know what they say about when you assume things. lol

 

I was actually thinking someone (girl or boy) was going to walk out of Pete's room when Corbin rang the bell. Seeing him in only his boxers gave me the impression that maybe he had company. Luckily it was only FaceTime w/a friend.

 

I wonder why Corbin thinks he's juggling all these boys: Pete, Lee, Mike and maybe David (big surprise there; I thought he was straight! lol). First Lee, I thought that was dead and buried, although Lee didn't get the memo yet. Corbin knows what Lee did to him and I'm sure he won't go THERE again. Although I did wonder when I read what Carrie thought; about DAVID being the instigator maybe, and Lee didn't have anything to do with it. That maybe David lied to Corbin so Corbin would get pissed at Lee and then David could swoop in and take over. Hmmmm, I never thought of that actually. I'm wondering if there's any truth to that. Although Corbin did admit he saw pure honesty and genuine caring there with David. I'd like to think that David is a good guy, but then of course I thought that of Lee too, and see where THAT got me. haha

 

So I think Corbin is putting way too many eggs in his basket; forget Cadet Mike; he's a shit, forget Lee, same reason, David is sorta up in the air, but could be back down on the ground if Pete is a no-go.

 

Oh, and when Corbs noticed Pete talking to Dakota, I had to re-read it four times to realize Pete wasn't pretending to be Corbin. The way he said, Hi Dakota, this is Corbin, I thought he was introducing HIMSELF as Corbin! Oh, but big hint about Pete: Pete told Dakota Corbin was cute. How many straight guys even NOTICE what another guy looks like? lol Pete called Corbs cute, oh, not just 'cute', but 'as cute as Pete said you were', which means very cute in my book. The Book of Cute.

 

Another awesome chapter Jon! I'm really looking forward to their night and the next day when Corbs takes revenge from Lee. Should be interesting.....

 

Oh, and on a totally unrelated note: Your alma-mater is coming to our high school TOMORROW! Yep, Old Dominion will be in Danbury, CT. tomorrow to talk to seniors about the school, and next week they'll be at our mall participating in a big college fair. I was so excited when I saw that, that I immediately had to write it down so I'd remember to tell you. :)

Hey Lisa! Another awesome review (I swear they keep getting longer! I love it :)) you're right about Corbin jumping to conclusions. But isn't that what makes things like this fun? No worries, though... All will be revealed next chapter. And expect Dakota to be a force of change for these two boys. Also, as you'd expect, Corbin draws a pretty distinct line in the sand with Lee... They'll both know where they stand with each other very soon (and so will chi beta... Dun dun dun) I'm glad your still enjoying yourself. Six days... You and Carrie should start a support system.
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Love the way you write :) The setting, dialogue, and characters flow naturally. Sorry if I was a little harsh towards Big Haired Bitches-- I just really didn't like how the main character was going. I don't like shallow, "social climbers" and in some ways Corbs has that attitude, but for him it is more a flaw that makes him human. He is actually able to reflect on the behavior and feel some kind of remorse for his actions. I think Big Haired Bitches had potential as there were some twists and comedic relief, just lacking some emotion, if that makes sense? Perhaps if you continue it, put it through Eric's POV. He seemed to be the victim of a lot of trouble and there is some mystery about his past and present. Have him end up with David and punish Logan for "playing the game." haha..

In this story, my absolute favorite character is Pete.. he's friendly, cute, smart, moral but makes mistakes (i.e. human).. Also, I think what I like most about Corbin is that, even with all his bravado and people skills, he is still insecure around Pete.. there's also that snippet about his back-story and it seems like although he's trying to leave that self behind, his old-self still pops up from time to time..

Anyways, keep up the good work :)

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On 10/05/2012 07:26 PM, semaj565 said:
Love the way you write :) The setting, dialogue, and characters flow naturally. Sorry if I was a little harsh towards Big Haired Bitches-- I just really didn't like how the main character was going. I don't like shallow, "social climbers" and in some ways Corbs has that attitude, but for him it is more a flaw that makes him human. He is actually able to reflect on the behavior and feel some kind of remorse for his actions. I think Big Haired Bitches had potential as there were some twists and comedic relief, just lacking some emotion, if that makes sense? Perhaps if you continue it, put it through Eric's POV. He seemed to be the victim of a lot of trouble and there is some mystery about his past and present. Have him end up with David and punish Logan for "playing the game." haha..

In this story, my absolute favorite character is Pete.. he's friendly, cute, smart, moral but makes mistakes (i.e. human).. Also, I think what I like most about Corbin is that, even with all his bravado and people skills, he is still insecure around Pete.. there's also that snippet about his back-story and it seems like although he's trying to leave that self behind, his old-self still pops up from time to time..

Anyways, keep up the good work :)

Hey Semaj! I thought I responded to this a while back, but I guess it never went through. Thanks again for an awesome review. I respect your thoughts on BHB, mostly because I share the same sentiment. I do think the story had potential, and hopefully I'll get the inspiration to rework some of it. I'm glad you love Pete... he's a good guy and I'm glad it's coming through why Corbin would like him so much (that's been my biggest anxiety with writing a full on romance...). As for Corbs, I think you're right about him being flawed, but for me that's the fun in writing a well-defined character. He has his flaws, but at the end of the day, he's a romantic and very charming... I hope you'll keep following along :)
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this is turning into a piece of art... characters are well built. it is a bless to read it.

thanks so much for sharing :)

 

pfox

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On 04/18/2013 06:43 AM, pfox25 said:
this is turning into a piece of art... characters are well built. it is a bless to read it.

thanks so much for sharing :)

 

pfox

Thanks for the major compliment :)
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I agree with Carrie and I cannot believe Corbin did not see the possibility of David lying about Lee because he's into Corbin and wants to pull him away from Lee. But I guess that's what happens when you kill too many brain cells with alcohol ;)

And why Corbin didn't see that Dakota is Pete's Amanda is an even bigger mystery.

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On 05/23/2014 03:37 PM, Timothy M. said:
I agree with Carrie and I cannot believe Corbin did not see the possibility of David lying about Lee because he's into Corbin and wants to pull him away from Lee. But I guess that's what happens when you kill too many brain cells with alcohol ;)

And why Corbin didn't see that Dakota is Pete's Amanda is an even bigger mystery.

Thanks for the review Tim! I always enjoy reading your thoughts and comments. Keep em coming!
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There are so many morsels of deliciousness in this chapter. One of my favorite things is first kisses and all the drama that precedes them. From Drew, who seems to be one of those ambiguously flirtatious characters, to David who is teetering on the edge of romance to unintentional "wow" of appreciation, you are really setting your readers up for so many different possibilities. 

BTW - do we get to learn more about Jackson Pruitt? In a significant way ;)? Given the social chair connection, I wonder about the more precise nature of the Corb-Jackson dynamic. 

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5 hours ago, jlee09 said:

There are so many morsels of deliciousness in this chapter. One of my favorite things is first kisses and all the drama that precedes them. From Drew, who seems to be one of those ambiguously flirtatious characters, to David who is teetering on the edge of romance to unintentional "wow" of appreciation, you are really setting your readers up for so many different possibilities. 

BTW - do we get to learn more about Jackson Pruitt? In a significant way ;)? Given the social chair connection, I wonder about the more precise nature of the Corb-Jackson dynamic. 

Thanks for the review! I hadn’t thought much about the Corbin-Jackson dynamic. It may come into play later on if/when Corbin has a little of his own. It would be fun to explore what Jackson thinks of Corbin’s use of their ‘family’ office. 

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16 hours ago, Jwolf said:

Thanks for the review! I hadn’t thought much about the Corbin-Jackson dynamic. It may come into play later on if/when Corbin has a little of his own. It would be fun to explore what Jackson thinks of Corbin’s use of their ‘family’ office. 

Maybe he can find out over a steamy one-on-one. 

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