The Halls of Academe Ch. 06

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by K. Nitsua. Newly revised version copyright 2010 by the author.


For a while after Nathan Lewis retracted his sexual harassment charge life seemed as if it might be getting back to normal. Drew and I could concentrate on teaching our classes and dealing with the end-of-semester rush.

Marcia Hannon stopped by my office soon after the meeting with Nathan in the Provost’s office.

“I got the word from Jon,” she said. “I hadn’t written Drew’s evaluation yet, so no harm done. There won’t be anything about the sexual harassment in it.”

“Thank goodness for small favors,” I said. I waited, but she didn’t leave. After a moment, she said, “You all have been through a lot.”

I snorted. “That’s an understatement.”

Marcia looked earnest and a bit pained. “Glenn, if I personally made things rougher than they had to be I’m sorry.”

I shrugged. “You did what the Provost told you to do.”

“I’m sorry all this came between us. I wish there was a way I could make it up to you.”

“Well,” I said, drawing out the word. “You could take over as Department Chair next year.” Her eyes widened. I couldn’t help laughing. “Well, you asked.”

Marcia shook her head, rueful amusement on her face. “I guess I do owe you one, Glenn,” she said.

“Think about it, Marcia. Word’s out about Drew and me. I don’t have any credibility as an administrator. Will you do it, not just for me, but for the department?”

After a moment she nodded. “Okay.”

I rose from my chair and hugged her. “Thanks. If you need help, just ask.”

“I’m not sure I can do this,” she said against my shoulder.

“You’ll be fine. Everything’s going to be fine.”

I spoke those words to her with more confidence than I felt. For one thing, even though the blackest storm over our lives had cleared, it still wasn’t all plain sailing for Drew and me.

One morning I stopped by his office to find him tapping on his computer keyboard. He wheeled around when I came in, with an expression of guilt that startled me. A quick peek didn’t show anything on the monitor that would have caused his reaction.

“What’s up?” I said, pretending I hadn’t noticed anything amiss.

Drew relaxed a bit, but his smile still seemed forced. “You scared me. I was just applying to this teaching workshop at Rollins this summer. Of course it’s the last day I can submit the form so I was doing it online.”

“You didn’t tell me you wanted to go to that.” I was puzzled. “You know, the Provost’s Office can fund your attendance. I would have recommended you.”

“Uh, yeah, I know.” Drew hesitated. “I actually went to Jon myself a couple of days ago. He had a bit of extra money left, so I’m getting my tuition and expenses covered. I’ll still have to pay my own way there. I was going to tell you, but I decided this kind of all at the last minute.”

“Well,” I said, feeling a bit hurt. “I wish I’d known. I could still give you something from the department’s travel fund.”

Drew raised his hand in a brusque gesture. “That’s okay. I don’t want the department paying my way, especially without the rest of the faculty being consulted. Thanks, though, Glenn.”

I knew better than to argue with him when his mind was made up. Still, my own voice sounded phony as I said, “I’m glad it’s only a week. I’ll miss you.”

Drew smiled, more genuine this time, and patted my hand. “We’ll survive. Free for lunch today?”

I felt a little better then. A little voice continued to nag at me, though, no matter how hard I tried to ignore it. A few days later Jon Evans called me in for a meeting. I went to the main administration building with something of a bad attitude. I was still annoyed at the Provost for leaking news of the harassment charge against Drew to Marcia, though it hadn’t done any harm in the end. My ability to hold grudges had been my undoing more than once but I couldn’t help it. Even now I sometimes fantasized about what I might do if I ever saw one of the board members who had fired me from my teaching job in Oklahoma long ago.

I have to give Jon credit. As soon as I sat down he got to the point.

“Glenn, I owe you an apology.”

I stared at him, not bothering to disguise my surprise. “For what?”

Jon’s eyes were clear and direct. I hadn’t seen that look from him in a while. “You were absolutely right. I never should have shared the information about Drew’s sexual harassment charge with Marcia. That was an inexcusable breach of a faculty member’s privacy. I’ve already apologized to Drew, but I wanted to let you know as well.”

“Well.” I was stunned, and it took me a moment to find my voice. “It’s all water under the bridge. At any rate it turned out okay.”

“Yes, for you and Drew. I wasn’t so lucky. I’ve lost your friendship.”

He was asking me to forgive him. I stumbled over my words. “I was angry too, Jon, and said things I shouldn’t have. I’m not exactly objective when it comes to Drew.” There was a lump in my throat and I was embarrassed. “But I appreciate çanakkale escort you saying all of this. And I still consider you a friend. Even if you do make thirty thousand a year more than I do.”

Jon laughed, but when he spoke his voice was gruff. “For that kind of dough you’d think I wouldn’t screw up this bad.” He expelled a long sigh. “Thank you, Glenn.”

I changed the subject as quickly as I could. “Is it true Drew came to you about attending the Rollins teaching workshop?”

“Yes. I told him he could ask you to fund him, but it seemed important to him that–well, forgive me, Glenn, but he didn’t seem to want you to know that he was interested in going.”

I shook my head, not disagreeing. “Why would he be that way? I support anyone in the department who wants to improve their teaching.”

Jon was silent for a long moment. When he spoke again he chose his words carefully. “Glenn, I’ve heard some advance buzz from a friend at Stanford U. Press about Drew’s book. The word is it’s good. Good enough to put Drew on some pretty big radar screens in academia.”

He paused. “What I mean is, I think we have to prepare ourselves for the fact that he might be gone, very soon.”

I stared at him. “Jon, he promised me he would stay at Steelman. That he intended to be here for a long time. Why would he say that if it weren’t true?”

My steps were slower than usual as I walked away from the administration building. Try as I might I couldn’t get Jon’s words out of my mind. But if Drew were really looking for another job, why was he going to the teaching workshop? There was no opening at Rollins that I knew of, and anyway, he’d be aiming higher than that sort of institution.

The Steelman campus was dotted with shade trees that kept the heat of the approaching summer somewhat at bay. Standing underneath one some distance away I spotted a familiar figure, his back turned. I’d know those broad shoulders and tightly packed buns anywhere. But what was Drew doing under that tree?

Just as I started walking toward him he ducked behind the trunk, as if he’d sensed movement and wanted to conceal himself. He was holding his cell phone to his ear. Though I could hear his voice it was too far away for me to make out the words.

I stopped in my tracks. Something about his behavior, the furtive manner in which he was having a conversation with an unknown person, brought the doubts that had already been planted in my mind rushing up to the surface.

All of a sudden I didn’t want him to see me. I started off in the opposite direction, taking a roundabout route to my building and to my office, trying to concentrate on the walk and the exercise, making my mind a blank.

I was fairly successful at that until I got back to my office and sat down at my desk. It wasn’t until I’d been there several minutes that I realized that the tightness in my chest had nothing to do with my recent exertion. I closed my eyes, heaved a sigh, and put my head down on the desk.

We were in the middle of exam week and I was grateful for that-I had nothing to do for the rest of the day. After a few minutes I got up and went home.

Since mid-semester Drew had been spending more and more time at my place, to the point where we were practically living together. He usually came back in the late afternoon, in time for us to eat dinner. Today I found myself dreading his return. I didn’t want to confront him-after all, what had I seen? But my suspicions and anxieties were increasing to the point where I couldn’t just act as if nothing were going on.

The afternoon wore on and turned into early evening. There was no sign of Drew. I called his apartment, on the chance he had gone there. No answer. Calling his office produced the same result.

I watched the TV screen without seeing anything, scanned the newspaper without remembering a thing I’d read. Finally I gave up and sat on the couch in my living room, staring into space.

I suddenly realized I was on the verge of jumping in my car and driving to that park I’d last gone to a few months before, just after Paul had posted the hateful signs. The desire to seek quick release was so great it was a physical struggle to keep from going out the door. “Don’t do it,” I said out loud. Finally the craving passed.

I don’t know how long it was before I heard his footsteps. The door opened and Drew came in, flooding the room with his cheerful energy, shocking after the gloom that had filled it for hours.

“God, I am sorry. Believe it or not, I just came from school.”

“I called your office.” Despite my efforts to keep my voice even Drew sensed something was wrong. He raised his eyebrows.

“I was giving a final in World History Survey. Didn’t I tell you? Anyway, it must have been harder than I thought. Three students took till the very end of the period. I had to wait it out and collect their papers. That’s what took so long. Toward the end I was sitting in the hallway outside çanakkale escort bayan the exam room, drumming my fingers. Sorry, I should have known you might be trying to call.”

I shrugged. “Doesn’t matter.”

Drew pursed his lips, and the challenging look I knew so well appeared. “Okay, this isn’t just about my being late. Want to tell me what’s on your mind?”

I took a deep breath, then plunged ahead. “Why are you going to that teaching workshop?”

His eyes shifted. “Why does anyone go?”

I rushed on, even though I already knew the answer. “You wait until the regular deadline to apply for travel money is long gone, then you go to the Provost without telling me, even though you know the department could pay your way. Don’t make me drag it out of you, and please don’t lie to me.”

Silence, then Drew nodded.

“Okay. A couple of weeks ago I got a call from the chair at-“

Despite myself I was impressed. Jon had been right.

“They’ve had an unexpected opening. Someone in their department got booted. Sexual harassment.” He snorted. “How ironic is that?

“Well, when they told me the reason the guy had left I had no choice. I told him the whole Nathan thing right then and there. Waited for him to say thank you and hang up. Well, he didn’t hang up.”

“Anyway, the chair’s one of the keynote speakers and presenters at Rollins this summer, so he suggested I come, just to talk. Said he wanted to keep the whole thing low-key, not do a formal interview. Doesn’t have to anyway, because this isn’t the permanent job. If he likes what he sees at Rollins, he’ll offer me a one-year visiting position. It’s just one year, Glenn.”

I stared past him at a spot on the living room wall.

“You know damn well that’s not true. You’ll go, you’ll be brilliant, they’ll offer you the tenure-track job. Bingo.”


“Don’t tell me you’d turn it down. Don’t insult my intelligence.”

He was silent. Bitterness welled up in me.

“All that stuff about staying here for a long time. I might have known it was bullshit.”

His eyes snapped with anger. “You have to make this just as hard as you can, don’t you?”

My temper flared in return. “Like I’m supposed to make it easy?”

Drew sighed. “If you only knew what hell I’ve been going through. To leave this place. To leave you, even if it’s only for a year. I can’t imagine it. But, Glenn–“

I waved a hand. “Don’t.” A long pause. I had to force my next words out. “If I were in your place I’d do the same.”


“I want to be by myself for a while.” He started to speak again but I cut him off. “Please.”

I heard the front door slam. I didn’t move for a long time after that. It grew dark. I didn’t turn on any lights.

Finally I stood, meaning to try and fix myself something to eat. Instead my feet led me out the front door, down the street, and toward Drew’s apartment building.

I climbed the steps to his second-floor flat and rang the bell. He opened the door immediately. I stepped in and fell to my knees in front of him.

“Please don’t go. I love you,” I said.

Drew grasped my arms and lifted me to my feet. His eyes were dark pools of hurt. He put two fingers to his lips, then placed them on mine. I pulled them away and kissed him, hard.

“Make love to me.”

He nodded. We went to his bedroom. Slowly he removed every stitch of clothing I had on, kissing what he uncovered. When I was naked he led me to the bed and made me lie there, watching him do the same.

Drew and I had done it in every conceivable position, played bondage games, laughed, joked and shouted while we played. Tonight there was none of that. We were silent, clinging to each other, looking into each other’s eyes at every possible opportunity. I kissed him until my lips were chapped and sore, sometimes hard and passionate, thrusting my tongue in to meet his, sometimes soft and tender, caressing his lips with mine. I closed my eyes as his own lips and tongue found all of my sensitive places, my nipples, my navel, the insides of my thighs, and finally, my hard, aching cock and hungry ass.

When he finally turned me onto my back, spread my legs and entered me I grabbed his butt and shoved him as far inside me as I could, then wrapped my arms around his body and drew him close. I was bent double underneath him, my calves braced against his shoulders, helpless and vulnerable.

“Hold me. Fuck me.”

Usually Drew laughed when I let my need show too openly. Now he simply nodded as he took possession. I gasped softly every time he hit bottom, until finally my hand grasping my cock drew the orgasm from me in hot spurts that mixed with our sweat, gluing us together. Seconds later Drew squeezed his eyes shut, his breath hissing through gritted teeth as he shot his load into me.

We kept hold of each other in the aftermath, our breath bathing each other’s faces.

“I wish I could make it easy for escort çanakkale you to leave,” I told him. “But I can’t.”

Drew smiled. “I don’t want it to be easy.” He kissed me, for the hundredth or so time that night. “Let’s not fight anymore. We have the whole rest of the summer.”

He made it sound like such a long time. I nodded and closed my eyes as I buried my face in his hair.

Drew left for the Rollins workshop a couple of weeks later. When he came back we picked up where we left off. Other than a few general questions I asked him nothing about his week there, and he didn’t volunteer anything.

I was in my office one day later that month when the phone rang. I picked it up and heard an unfamiliar voice.

“Professor Reynolds? This is–“

It was a name anybody in our field would have recognized–the kind of academic who appears on CNN to provide background on a breaking news story. I also knew he was the chair of the department at the school that was interested in Drew.

I managed to get out, “What can I do for you?” without sounding like an idiot.

“Do you have a few minutes to talk? It’s about a colleague of yours-James Druther Ohlen.”

“Drew. Absolutely.” I don’t remember what I told him–the usual compliments. I ended by giving Drew my highest recommendation. I bade the renowned professor a cordial farewell and put down the phone.

“Have we lost the magic, Glenn?” Drew asked in my bed that evening. It was one of the rare times my body hadn’t leapt to attention at the mere sight of him. I told him who had called, and watched his face change. I couldn’t resist a little dig.

“A lot of places will do that nowadays, Drew. They’ll call people who aren’t on your reference list, just to see if they can dig up dirt. Little do they know.”

I stroked his back.

“Of course, I had to tell him you were a lousy teacher and a worse colleague. Just to make sure you’d stay here.” His eyes widened. “Gotcha,” I said.

He laughed and swooped down, pinning me to the mattress. “Asshole,” he said, just before he kissed me, hard. Our lips and tongues did battle and I felt the heat that had been absent so far that evening rise.

“So what are you going to do with this asshole?” I asked him.

“One guess,” he said, as he started to lift my legs.

“Not so fast.” I grabbed his hands and shoved them away, shaking my head. His eyebrows rose and he tried again. Same result, only this time I kept my grip on his wrists. He laughed at the challenge.

“Okay, if that’s the way you want it.”

We began to wrestle with furious concentration, arms and shoulders straining, muscles bulging as I fought to get and stay on top.

“Oh, shit!”

We had gotten too close to the edge of the bed and rolled off, hitting the floor with a thud, fortunately both on our sides. The match continued unabated, the bedroom filled with our panting and grunting. The erotic nature of our struggle hardened our cocks to steel. Despite the fact that Drew was younger and stronger I gained the upper hand and managed to pin his shoulders to the floor.

“Fucker,” he said, grinning. His chest hair was matted with sweat. We were both gasping for air.

“Concede?” I managed to get out. He nodded. I let him go and straightened, keeping a wary eye on him, but Drew just lay there, chest still heaving, a slight smile on his face.

“What are you smirking about?” I asked.

“Wondering what you’ll claim as your prize,” he said.

“One guess.” I got to my feet and grabbed the lube by the bed. I stood over him as I greased my dick. Drew watched me with rapt attention.

“Stand up, turn around and grab your ankles,” I said.

Drew’s smile broadened into a grin. “Yes, sir,” he said as he obeyed. “Oh fuck, my hamstrings.”

I looked at him, bent double in submission. His muscular cheeks were spread wide, exposing the small, tight hole surrounded by fine hair. My cock hardened even more as I took in the sight. I grasped his hips, and a moment later I was inside him, watching his sphincter kissing my shaft as it slid in and out.

Drew’s breathing was harsh and noisy. When he tried to raise his head I put my hand on the back of his neck and forced it down again, tipping him forward so that he was off balance, totally dependent on me for support.

I fucked him long and slow in that position, until finally my arms tired of holding him up. I stepped up the pace as I reached underneath his body, grabbed his erection and began to stroke it hard.

“Oh, shit,” Drew gasped, as long ropes of cum shot downward out of his bursting cock, some onto his neck and chest, but most striking his face.

By now my breath was coming in short harsh gasps. “Fuck that’s hot, watching you take it. Take it…Oh God!”

My rod pulsated as it unloaded into him. When I was finished I pulled Drew to a standing position, wrapped my arms around his chest and backed up until we fell onto the bed, me underneath, my cock still in him. I drank in the odors of sex, sweat and semen, licking up a trickle of cum running down his cheek.

Finally we uncoupled and lay side by side, still panting. After a while Drew raised himself and looked into my eyes.

“I’ll miss this,” he said. “I’ll miss you.”

“You’d damn well better,” I said, swallowing the lump that had suddenly risen in my throat.

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