Seducing Professor Coyle(7)

By: Darien Cox

Thorn was one of his oldest friends, one of the few people in his life he trusted completely. They’d met in college, back when he’d been Thornton Beverly, the closeted gay son of a very wealthy, and very homophobic property owner in southern Vermont. Peter had helped Thorn come to terms with his sexuality, to accept himself as he was, instead of the obnoxious, misogynist frat boy he was trying to be. He’d also helped Thornton hide his sexuality from his overbearing, emotionally abusive father, at least until he turned twenty-five, old enough to receive his ample inheritance from the family. Thorn had wanted to come out to his father after college, tired of the charade, itching to offer the man a final fuck you after years of taking his shit.

But Peter had convinced him that it would be far more satisfying flipping the old man the bird once Thorn’s money was in his account; being disowned and rich was far preferable to being disowned and poor. It was sound advice, and Thorn was forever grateful. Now, years later, Thornton Beverly was simply Thorn, disowned, but happy at his palace in the hills. While his frat boy ways hadn’t waned much over the years, he was no longer angry, and his parties were of a very different sort, the beer bongs and cheerleaders replaced with fruity cocktails and half-naked boys. Thorn was determined to provide an outlet where others could come and be themselves, and do as they pleased without judgment—something he’d been denied in his own youth.

Strolling through his study, Peter smiled, admiring the gleaming bookshelves that ran all the way up to the high ceiling, and the classic leather furniture and thick rugs scattered about the hardwood floor. He’d lived in a one bedroom apartment near the campus for a long time after taking the job at Kelsingford, unwilling to put down roots. He’d been afraid his past would come along and rip them up. But he was settled now, and had finally purchased a home: a gorgeous little colonial just a mile from the school. He loved it. Loved everything about it, especially what it represented. He was home. He was safe. And no one was going to ruin it this time, not like they’d done when he worked at the University of Vermont.

Peter had sweated blood to get where he was in his career, and he’d come close to losing all of it. Because of a boy. A stupid, greedy, arrogant boy. But that would never happen again.

Never again. He’d been unconsciously repeating those two words to himself ever since that afternoon. Ever since beautiful young Benjamin LeClair left his office. But there was no threat there, he assured himself. Things were different at Kelsingford College. He kept himself discreet. His social groups were elite and tight knit, and he trusted them. And unlike his younger, more naïve self, declaring smugly that every gay person should be out and proud, scorning those who weren’t, he now kept his personal life hidden. Even from the close colleagues he’d earned in the past four years at Kelsingford. As open and accepting as others claimed to be, he’d learned the hard way that declaring his sexuality made him a target to certain people.

With his carefully guarded life, he now felt secure, but all that quiet caution kept him bottled up most of the time. So when he did let go, he went hard. It had been far too long since he’d been to one of Thorn’s parties, and he needed it badly tonight. With Benjamin LeClair in his office earlier, his past had come crashing back to him. Only his practiced calm had kept him from gasping when the boy sat down, complaining about the grade and making accusations. One name dominated his thoughts through the entire meeting: Reggie Cutler.

But Benjamin was not Reggie Cutler. He didn’t even look like him, aside from the perfect body. Benjamin was like pure light: the sandy brown hair, sparkling green eyes. Reggie had been dark through and through: dark hair, dark eyes, dark soul. While Benjamin carried his own angry intensity, Peter didn’t sense deceit from him, only passionate determination. Reggie’s anger had been smug, spiteful, fueled with lies and a near sociopathic sense of entitlement. But as different as Benjamin seemed from the other one, their plea had been the same: Change my grade.

A single moment of compassion had nearly been Peter’s downfall all those years ago, and had unraveled his life badly enough that he’d left it behind. He’d been teaching a Shakespeare class that final semester at UVM, and when he went through the students’ first completed papers, Reggie Cutler’s had been a pile of nonsensical crap; it was obvious he hadn’t even tried. Reggie was a rock star on campus, an ice hockey player, so Peter assumed him to be dismissive of academia, and gave him an F on the paper.