A New Start

By Max Hewitt  Lilperv76@yahoo.com

Chapter 7

This story involves sex between men.  If you shouldn't be reading such things, move on.

The characters in this fantasy may not always practice safe sex, but in the world we live in everyone should practice safe sex.

It's okay to print this story out or save it to disc, but it remains my property.  Don't transfer it to another website or archive without my permission.

I'm lucky to have two great friends/editors, one in NJ and the other in the UK.  Thanks, guys!

*          *          *

(Back where we started)

Hal Charters had just left me with a taunt and the requirement that I go to the house of the local Alpha chapter at 9:00 the next evening.

I went through the rest of the day on auto pilot.  That evening, not feeling like cooking, I went to a quiet little place I'd discovered that wasn't too popular with the student crowd.

I ordered myself a glass of wine (a taste I'd picked up in grad school) and was staring blankly at the menu.

I began to think about what was going on in my life.

This just couldn't be happening again.  But it was!  Those pictures had followed me here.  Obviously Jake or Spence had been up to their old tricks.  Why wouldn't they leave me alone?  And what could I do?  I really wanted this job.  If I lost it because of those pictures, I'd have trouble finding another at any respectable university.  And, since a CPA must have a reputation for unquestionable probity, I'd be dead in any community where I wanted to work if those things were spread around.

*          *          *

Most college students are happy to graduate, but I had been happier than most to be leaving NSU.  I was going two states away to grad school, and I thought for sure I could make a new start.

I spent three years getting my MBA and accumulating some additional courses that would count toward a doctorate if I decided to go back.  I didn't have much social life.  Grad school, as I found out, doesn't leave much time for anything else.  Besides, I was a graduate assistant, a job that helped pay for my expenses.  I never had a relationship, though there were occasional nights with men or women.

I continued to pay my dues to the national fraternity, but I didn't have any connection with them except to get their quarterly magazine.  I never heard any more from either Jake or Spence, so I assumed that part of my life was behind me.

The June after my first year of graduate school I was the best man in Todd's wedding.  He'd just gotten his master's and was marrying a girl he'd met in grad school.  They were moving to Atlanta where Todd had a very promising job with Coca Cola.  It was great seeing him again, and I found myself wondering once more what it would have been like to have sex with him.  His bride was a beautiful woman, but I didn't fantasize about her.  That seems to have been an indication of where my interests were headed.
In my second year of grad school, the sexual encounters I had were mostly with men.

After getting my advanced degree, I moved back home and worked for my dad's firm, not as a gopher this time, but as their interim bookkeeper.  The woman who'd done the job had moved because her husband was transferred, and they were happy to have me  for a year while I studied for and took the CPA exam.  They should have been.  I'd learned their bookkeeping system under her, and they were paying me a lot less.  Of course, I was also living at home.  I gave Mom money each month, so everybody was happy with the financial arrangements.

I heard sporadically about Matt during this period but finally lost track of him.  When he graduated from Virginia and I graduated from Northern State, we had exchanged congratulatory emails.  He was as busy as I was in grad school, so we were seldom in touch after that.  Once again, when we got our masters' degrees, I heard from him.  He told me he was going on a dig somewhere, but it wasn't clear yet which one he'd be going on.  He said he might be out of touch for a while.

"A while" stretched into over a year.  While I was working for Dad's firm and living at home I called his mother, who told me that Matt had been in the Australian Outback somewhere and that they didn't hear much from him.  Now, she said, he was back in this country and teaching in the East.  I asked her to give him my regards the next time she wrote him.

Looking back on it, I don't know why I didn't ask where he was teaching.  To us, the East was anything the other side of the Ohio River.  I should have kept up, but I was busy with my job.  And, after I passed the CPA exam, I began applying to several universities.

Thanks to a couple of very strong letters of recommendation and a tip from my graduate advisor, I landed a job in New England.  It was a good school.  An old school.  Very prestigious, and I thought I was on top of the world as I moved there.  This was my new start.  All the unpleasant shit was behind me, and I was now an assistant professor.  I was told that I should eventually get a doctorate, but that my CPA beyond my MBA was
a good credential.  Or at least I had thought the nasty stuff was behind me until Hal Charters showed up.

*          *          *

I was brought out of my reverie when I heard someone say, "Start with the clam chowder.  They do a good job with it here."  There was a full glass of wine on the table, and I had continued to stare at the menu, apparently.

I knew the voice, though I couldn't believe my ears.  I looked up to see Matt Evans standing there smiling down at me.  He was wearing a blue oxford shirt, a tie he'd pulled down a bit so he could unbutton the collar, and khakis.  Almost exactly what I was wearing.

I jumped up.  "Matt!  What the fu- that is, what in the world are you doing here?"

"I teach here.  What are you doing here?"  Before I could answer, he hugged me.  We pounded each other on the back before letting go.  

"Have you eaten?"

"No.  May I join you?"

"I'd be pissed if you didn't.  Sit down and tell me what's going on in your life."

I'd momentarily forgotten what was going on in mine.

Matt explained that he'd come to this university the previous year.  He said he had looked over the list of new faculty for his school, but that he hadn't paid any attention to the names of the new people in the business school.

We talked a while longer, catching up, as two old friends will do.  He seemed so pleased to see me that it was almost as if we hadn't been apart for eight years.  Of course I asked if there was anybody in his life.  He said no, and then turned the question back to me.

"Nope.  There never has been really."

He ordered a drink and we both placed our orders.  We started with the clam chowder, which even in my nervous state tasted as good as he promised it would.

Matt looked different.  He was thinner than when I'd last seen him, but that had been when he was playing football at Virginia.  Instead of being bulked up, he looked lean and wiry now.  He had lost the mustache and beard he'd grown there, and he was no longer wearing the stud in his ear.  I suspected that hadn't lasted any longer than Barry.  He was wearing his chestnut colored hair longer than I'd ever seen it.  It had a tendency to fall over his forehead.  It covered the tops of his ears and curled a little over his shirt collar.  He still had amazingly sexy brown eyes.  

When I asked him about the goatee and mustache, he said, "Would you believe, it's beginning to have some gray hair in it?  I don't need that.  Besides, the damned thing itched in hot weather.  Didn't you find that to be true?  And what happened to yours?"

"I had mine, lost it, grew it back, and then decided it was more trouble than shaving the whole face, so I just got rid of it."

A little while later, as we were working on our entrees, he said, "Thom, how are you?  How are you really?  You look, I don't know, worried, sad, something."

I wanted to pour out everything to Matt, to tell him what I was facing the next evening.  Who better to tell than my oldest friend?  But if I did that, he'd feel guilty, as if this were all his fault.  I had long since forgiven him for his part in all of it, years ago, in high school.  It was Kevin and Jake and Spence who had made my life miserable throughout my years at Northern State.  I hesitated to tell Matt, but he had asked, and I really did need to tell somebody.

"Matt, I do have a problem.  A real problem.  But I don't want to talk about it here.  Would you have some time this evening?  Could you come to my place for a while?"

His face showed his concern.  "Of course, Thom.  My place is only a couple of blocks from here.  Would you rather come there?"

"No matter.  That is, sure, if you don't mind.  I'm still in the process of furnishing my apartment, and it's not really ready for company yet."

We finished eating, talking of inconsequential things, knowing that a serious conversation was coming up.

At his apartment, he poured each of us a drink into snifters.  He said it was aged Australian brandy, which he'd come to like when he was down under.  

We sat and he invited me to tell him what my problem was.  

Several times during my narrative he interrupted to apologize, to say that he felt partially responsible, to ask how I could forgive him for helping to cause all that trouble for me.  Each time I reassured him, told him that I'd forgiven him for his part in the high school thing and that I really blamed Kevin, Jake, and Spence.

When I was through, he stood up and came to where I was sitting.  He took my hands and pulled me up.  He had tears in his eyes.

"I want you to know that every time I've thought about you over the last eight years, I've felt terrible guilt.  That's one reason why I haven't kept in better touch with you.  I just thought you wouldn't want to have anything to do with me.  Now that I know those pictures followed you around and made your life miserable, I feel even worse."

"Please don't, Matty.  I have long since quit blaming you."

He hugged me again.  Then when he pulled back, he was smiling.  "I've wished all this time that there were some way I could try to make amends."

"That sounds like the Matt Evans who's always been my best friend.  Just telling me that helps a lot."

"Well, I can do better than that."

"What do you mean?"

"Let's sit again, okay?  You want some more brandy?"

"No, I'm okay, thanks."  We sat.

He leaned forward in his chair, forearms on knees, full of eagerness and sincerity.  "It is a wild coincidence that we're here at this university together.  I can still hardly believe we both wound up here.  Do you remember Mr. Carnes, our English teacher, who taught us about the deus ex machina?"

I hadn't thought about that in years.   "Yeah, the god out of the machine, a device where somebody shows up at the end of a story and makes everything end happily."

He beamed at me.  "Not bad for a business major.  Now, the neat thing is, I'm going to be your deus ex machina.  I can fix this for you!"

I was dumfounded.  "What, I mean, how -- ?"

"I don't want to sound mysterious, but I need to make some phone calls.  Try not to worry tomorrow.  Go ahead and keep the appointment with Hal Charters at the Alpha house at 9:00 tomorrow night.  I'll be there, too."

I still didn't understand, but he wouldn't explain further.  He didn't exactly rush me out the door, but he did say, with a wonderful sparkle in his eye, that he needed to get busy.

He hugged me again.  "Thom, it's going to be great having you here.  I hope when all of this is over, we can be good friends again."

"I think we already are, Matthew."

"Just teach your classes tomorrow and try not to worry.  It will be okay.  Trust me."

I was a bit nervous all the next day, but not really apprehensive.  Somehow I believed that Matt would do what he'd promised.  

When I arrived at the chapter house, I was met at the door by a guy who introduced himself as the vice president of the chapter.  He greeted me politely, and told me that Hal was waiting for me in the library.  Yes, they actually had a large, book-lined ground floor room with a fireplace (not in use at the moment) with leather-covered sofas and wingback chairs.

Hal looked a bit different from when I had seen him the day before.  He was wearing a blazer with the fraternity patch on the pocket.  He came up to me with his hand out.  Not wanting to seem churlish, I took it.  

"Professor Benson, thanks for coming.  Can I get you a drink or something?"

When I refused, he asked me to sit in one of the big chairs.  He took a seat on the end of a nearby sofa.  

"We need to wait just a minute.  Our faculty advisor wants to be here for this, but he just got a phone call."

Hal had been pretty smooth so far, though he fidgeted enough as we sat there to indicate he may have been as nervous as I was.  He was just making some observation about the university's first home football game, coming up that weekend, when the door opened and Matt came in.

Hal jumped to his feet, and I stood up, too.

"I believe you two gentlemen know each other," Hal said.

"Yes, we do," Matt replied.  He shook hands with me.  "I'm sorry to keep you waiting, but I just got off the phone with one of the national fraternity's legal consultants.  So, let's all sit."  He sat opposite me in another of the big chairs, which left the sofa for Charters.

Things were beginning to come clear for me.  Hal had referred to Matt as the chapter's faculty advisor.  Ach, so!

"Mr. Charters, do you have something to say to Professor Benson?"

"Yes, sir, I do."  He stood up, went over to a table, picked up a manila envelope (it looked like "the" manila envelope), and returned.  Holding it out to me, he continued, "This has come into my hands.  No one else in the chapter has seen its contents.  I think you may wish to destroy those contents.  I assure you that neither I nor any other member of the chapter has originals or copies of these pictures in print form, on CD or DVD, or stored anywhere on computer or online."

I looked at Matt, who smiled and winked at me.

Taking the envelope, I said, "I see.  Well, in that case, Mr. Charters, I think I must thank you for your consideration.  Professor Evans, I believe I have reason to be grateful to you as well."

"Don't mention it," he said, still smiling.  Then he stood.

"Well, gentlemen, I believe that concludes our business for this evening.  Hal, I'll see you tomorrow.  In my office, please."

"Yes, sir.  I'll be there."

We all walked to the door of the library.  

"Professor Benson, on behalf of the entire chapter, I'd like to say that as an Alpha alumnus, you are welcome to use any of our facilities here.  If you're interested, we have our own very well-equipped gym.  And you will be welcome at any of our social functions."

"Thank you, Mr. Charters," I said, trying not to grin.

As we went down the steps in front of the house, all the tension released.  I felt as if all the stuffing had been knocked out of me.  I was off the hook, at least temporarily.

"Man," I said, "I don't know how you did that, but I really thank you.  Let me buy you a drink."

He gave me that great smile and said, "There's more.  Let's have that drink at my place while I explain."  I'd walked, but his car was there, so we rode together the dozen blocks to his apartment.

As we sipped more of the Australian brandy, he explained that he'd gotten on the phone after I left the night before.  There had been a series of phone calls during the day.  He'd had to talk between classes, and the last call had come in on his cell phone just as our meeting with Hal was supposed to start.

"So, tell me what this was all about."

"Well, calling off Hal Charters was easy. I just told him that if he used those pictures or even told anyone about them, I'd have him in front of the Provost, the Inter-Fraternity Council, and the national before he knew what had hit him.  He told me that he hadn't let anyone else see the pictures and in fact hadn't mentioned them to anyone.  He was planning to use them for his own purposes, he said.  When I mentioned all the trouble I'd make, he quickly agreed to give them to you and forget they ever existed."

"I don't know how I'll ever thank you for that.  But you said there's more?"

He grinned.  "Yep.  I figured we could put an end to this once and for all if we put pressure on the right people.  What slowed me down was that you'd only given me the first names of two presidents of the Northern State chapter who were blackmailing you.  Jake we got pretty quickly.  It took a while to figure out that the second guy was John Spencer.  You'd called him Spence, and I jumped to the incorrect conclusion that his first name was Spencer something or other."

"You said something about "we" putting the pressure on?"

"Yeah.  I called the national office and talked with people there.  I got referred from one to another for a while, but eventually got the right guy.  You know, the national doesn't look too kindly on brothers blackmailing brothers."


He took a deep breath, reached for his drink and took a sip.  "That's good stuff.  Costs a fortune, but we have to have our little excesses once in a while, don't we?  This is one of mine."

"Matt, please . . . ."

"Oh, sorry.  Well, here's the bottom line.  Both of those former chapter presidents, Spencer and the other one, have been contacted by the legal rep of the national.  They've been told that if they make any more trouble for you or any other brother, they'll be in deep shit.  The national will use its `full resources' to make them wish they hadn't."

I put my head back against the chair.  It was really all over.  I could hardly believe it.  And it had been Matt Evans who had fixed everything as he had promised.  

I wound up spending the night.  While he was moving slowly in and out of me, smiling down with those wonderful brown eyes, I remembered something.  Something I wanted to tell him when I could talk coherently.

As we snuggled afterward, basking in a post-coital glow like none I'd ever experienced, I nuzzled his neck.  "The first time you fucked me, you told me you'd always wanted to do that.  Remember?"

"That's very true, but I'd forgotten I told you."

"Well, I just want you to know that since then, you've featured in many of my sexual fantasies.  But I have to say, you're much better in the flesh."

"Ain't nothing wrong with your flesh either, Brother Benson!"

At the end of the semester I moved in with him.  The following summer we got a larger apartment and moved in together.  No one at the university seems to mind that a couple of very junior faculty members are discreetly out.  I might add that those two junior faculty members are very much in love and together have made a new start.

The end.