Seducing Professor Coyle(3)

By: Darien Cox


Ben shrugged. “I guess.” The truth was he wasn’t sure he would have. Coyle’s class was the only one that practically put him to sleep, and he was usually jumping the gun to get out of there as soon as his watch told him it was over. And a few times, he’d sneaked out early.

“Well, if you’ve attended all my classes as you claim, you would have received your test back, graded. You must have it somewhere. It’s Friday. Take the weekend to go through your things. If you find it, bring it to me on Monday, and I’ll adjust your status.”

Ben nodded grimly. He never hung on to tests, or at least he didn’t think so. He didn’t actively toss them in the trash, but he didn’t file them or anything. His entire life was on computers; he was pretty disorganized when it came to hard copies. Still, he prayed he had the damn test stuffed in a notebook somewhere, or scattered among his things back at home. Maybe he’d shoved it in the coffee table drawer, as he often did with things he wasn’t sure he’d need again. Or maybe it was under the stack of old bills he kept ‘filed’ on his bedroom bookshelf.

“Benjamin.”

Ben looked up at Dr. Coyle. He’d been lost in his own miserable thoughts, and realized he’d been sitting in the chair saying nothing, shoulders slumped. “Yeah. Sorry. Thinking.”

Coyle sighed. “I’ve had a lot of students come into my office, trying to squeak by on shoddy work. My gut tells me you’re honest, not trying to get away with something. I’m not unreasonable, but I can’t change your grade based on nothing. Please. Try to find the test.”

Ben stood, snatching his grade printout off the desk. “And if I can’t?”

Dr. Coyle shrugged. “Then there’s nothing I can do.”

Ben stared at him. “Nothing? I refuse to accept that.”

Something passed over the professor’s face that made Ben frown. It was a sudden change in his expression, a crack in the mask. For that quick, fleeting moment, he swore he saw fear in the professor’s reflective blue eyes. It confused him. It wasn’t like he’d threatened the guy.

“Dr. Coyle? Are you all right?”

Coyle stared into his eyes, and for another long moment, he seemed lost, somewhere else. The prolonged eye contact unnerved Ben. But in the stratosphere beneath his awkwardness, it unfurled something else. His mouth went dry, a slight flutter in his chest, and for a moment he wanted to dive on the professor and kiss him. He blinked, shaking it off with a deep breath. Christ, Ben thought, has it been that long since I’ve gotten laid? Talk about hard up.

“Dr. Coyle?”

In a flash, the professor’s stoic countenance returned, and Coyle blinked slowly. “I’m fine, Benjamin. Please, if you don’t mind, I have a lot of work to do.”

Ben met his eyes. Coyle looked quickly away, fussing with the folder on his desk. Finally, Ben turned and headed for the door. “Then I’ll try and find the test,” he said. “Even though you lost it.”

He glanced over his shoulder as he left the office. The professor was watching him again with that strange, panicked expression. As Ben stepped out and closed the door behind him, he let out a breath. He moved back down the marbled hallway, away from Coyle’s office. His anxiety over his grade was still present, but it had been temporarily pushed aside for the feeling that something significant had just happened. What exactly it was, he had no idea.

He left the building and headed toward the parking lot, trying to shake the eerie sensation that something was coming, something more than the crashing chaos of failing a class that would prevent him from graduating. It was that faint glimmer he sometimes got when things were about to change in his life, a slight shift in the wind, an electric buzz in the air.

He got in his car and pulled out onto the road. During the short ride back to his apartment, he made a conscious effort to subdue the strange feeling, along with the sudden erection that pulsed painfully against his jeans.



****



“Benny, what the freaking hell are you doing?”

Ben looked up from the living room floor, where he sat surrounded by papers he’d torn out of the coffee table drawer. He’d done the same to the kitchen, office, and his bedroom, making a righteous mess but not finding what he sought in the process. “I’m looking for a lit test I took weeks ago, one that Dr. Coyle claims I never turned in.”

Ben’s roommate Dominick stood with an armful of grocery bags, his nose wrinkling as he surveyed the mess. Moving to the kitchen, he set his bags down and pulled out a six pack. “I need a beer for this. And it looks like you could use one, too.”