The Plot Thickens...
Note from the author: This chapter was a lot of fun to write. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!!
CJ Chapter 25 Rush Week
The Tri-Delt Fraternity had a full week of activities planned for paring down the list of rush candidates to the 15 names that would be offered pledge bids. Activities included bowling, golf, tennis, attending plays, movies, informal meals, and of course, parties. Chris wanted to attend every function that he was invited to, but his commitments to the football team, Karate practice, and the orchestra concert preparation demanded a lot of his time. He was very happy when Mike presented him a blanket invitation to attend every event of the week. It was an unusual invitation, as the members normally invited candidates to one or two events so they could spend time getting to know the prospective pledges. Chris and Isaac were the only candidates to receive the blanket invitations, and they were both thrilled.
Mike had worked with Chris developing a list of guys that they both agreed would be excellent additions to the Tri-Delt house. Mike shared the list with his fraternity brothers, and everyone agreed that the list was an excellent start toward selecting the new pledges. The list included:
Mike realized that the list had 19 names, and appealed to Tom Jankowski and Joe McClure to convince the membership to increase the size of the pledge class to at least 20 or 25 guys. The Tri-Delts had never had a lock on the top candidates on campus like they had this year and the huge fraternity house had the capacity to take a larger pledge class. The membership meetings were frequent during rush week, as everyone wanted to pick the best candidates, knowing that many of the guys were rushing other fraternities. The Tri-Delt house was considered the premier fraternity on campus, based on the diversity of their membership, academics, and political presence on campus. The members were confident that if they offered a pledge bid, the candidate would accept.
Chris was invited to participate in Coach Patrick's weekly television show, and was happy to accept the invitation along with Delano, knowing that the show would be broadcasted by Channel 12 at Dimitri's Restaurant. Chris had convinced the Athletic Director to include the restaurant of his friends in the rotation of local restaurants used for the live telecast.
Jane Vincent was happy to see her favorite athlete, CJ Hammer before the televised program began. She hugged Chris and begged him not to embarrass her with any free commercials or invitations for a date.
Chris laughed and promised to behave during the interviews, telling Jane that she looked hot in her outfit. He was standing next to Jane's husband, David, when he invited them both to attend the next football game against Oklahoma, ranked Number One in the nation, and to have supper with him and his dad after the game. His dad had a block of choice seats for every CSU home game that they shared with family and friends. Chris knew that he would miss part or all of the football game, as that was the day that he was competing for the United States Championship in the World Karate Federation. He knew that his father, Jonathan Carpenter, had arranged for the family's private jet to take him from Chicago back to California, along with a few special friends. He hoped that he would be able to get back in time to help his team against the Sooners. Karate competition was very important to Chris, as it had taught him skills that had saved his life and the lives of people that he loved. He hoped that he was ready for the Karate competition, knowing that it would give Stephen Segall and Yoshi Yamamoto recognition for training him if he won the championship.
During the televised interview, Jane Vincent asked Chris about wanting to play professional hockey for the Detroit Red Wings. Chris laughed and said that there were two things that he couldn't do. First was any form of skating, and the second was to get her to go out on a date with him. Jane laughed and asked Chris why he had told the ESPN2 that he wanted to play professional hockey. Chris replied that the two announcers had made negative comments about the CSU football team and they needed to get a real life. He also added that she and her husband were two of his favorite people to be around. Jane Vincent knew that the candid comments from CJ Hammer would give her local station and the Fox Network a great deal of notoriety in the nation. She also knew that the ESPN2 announcers would be upset that Chris had lied to them during their interview.
The televised interviews continued with Jane Vincent asking Coach Patrick about the interference with CJ Hammer going to Chicago to compete in the Karate competition. Coach Patrick replied that CJ Hammer was only one player on his team, and the rest of the team would be ready to take up the slack as they faced the Number One team in the nation.
Jane Vincent and her husband, David, both gave Chris hugs after the television show was completed. They both loved Chris for giving Jane a multitude of exclusive interviews that had advanced her status with the local television station and the Fox Network. They enjoyed a delicious meal at Dimitri's Restaurant, knowing that the special service was due to Chris's friendship with Dimitri and Tomas Kostas.
Chris returned to the CSU campus, wanting to head for the Tri-Delt house for the rush week activities. He was still worried that something would go wrong during rush week, and that he wouldn't get a pledge bid. His fears would come to reality before the week was finished.
Chris did the things that any busy college freshman would do during the important rush week. He attended classes, football practices, orchestra concert practices, and several of the rush activities at the Delta Delta Delta Fraternity. He also worked hard in the Karate Room, knowing that he had to be in top shape for the national competition in Chicago. He left the campus on Friday morning, knowing that Stephen Segall would be waiting for him in Chicago for some last minute practice before the competition. Chris was pumped for the Karate competition, and loved having Uncle Steve and Aunt Karen share supper with him, B and Helen. He wished that some of his fraternity friends would have been able to travel with him, but he knew that they had to be on the CSU campus for the rest of rush week.
Saturday was a busy day, as Uncle Steve put him through an intense workout to prepare him for the competition. He knew that he would have at least four matches if he were successful. He spent a lot of time meditating with the famous Hollywood star to get his mind focused on the Karate competition. The audience for the competition went wild, as CJ Hammer won all four of his matches by scores of 3 to 0. He was now the United States champion of the World Karate Federation competition!
Chris celebrated with his dad, Helen, Steve and Karen before they all boarded the Carpenter Lear Jet to return to California. They celebrated Chris's victory and planned their next competition in Las Vegas for the World Championship. Stephen Segall was convinced that his star pupil would win the World Championship, as he had realized that Chris could take him out in direct competition without any problems.
Chris hugged his uncle, and reminisced about how they had met for the first time, and how his Karate training had started. He was a 12-year old boy who had been beaten close to death when Stephen Segall had visited him in the Dallas hospital. At times he had hated Uncle Steve for pushing him to overcome his injuries and begin his Karate training. He now knew that the pain that he had experienced was necessary to get him to the point where he could compete in Karate and other sports.
Back in Santa Barbara, the CSU Falcons were in the first half of their football game against the Number One ranked team in the nation. Oklahoma had come into hostile territory at Madison Field, but was in total control of the football game. They were leading by a score of 21 to 7, and had a first down on the CSU 19-yard line. There were five minutes left in the first half of the football game that was being televised nationally through the ESPN2 Network.
The ESPN2 announcers, Steve Michaels and Brett Carlson, had predicted a blowout by the Oklahoma Sooners, and were happy to announce that the Sooners were ready to drive a nail in the coffin of the CSU Falcons with another touchdown. Both announcers were pissed that CJ Hammer had lied to them about his hockey skills, and they wanted to gloat about a CSU loss to the top-rated team in the nation. The CSU Falcons had been elevated to Number 10 in the nation, based on their victories over Notre Dame and the University of Michigan.
"Oklahoma is ready to put this game out of reach for the CSU Falcons," Steve Michaels reported to the television audience. "The Oklahoma Sooners have been in total control of this game from the opening kickoff, and one more score will put this game on ice for them!"
The cheers of the CSU crowd interrupted Steve Michaels' comments as they watched the large screens at each end of the Madison Field. The crowd was cheering at the sight of CJ Hammer in his number 26 uniform as he ran out of the north end of the field and headed for his team on the west sidelines.
Coach Patrick motioned for his defensive captain to call time out, as he prayed that having his big freshman safety could stop the advance of the Oklahoma Sooners.
Chris ran to his coach, and begged to be put into the game. He had put aside any thoughts of his Karate competition, as he focused on the challenge to stop the Oklahoma Sooners from getting another touchdown. He was sore from the Karate competition, but knew that he wanted to help his teammates prevent Oklahoma from scoring another touchdown. The CSU team was pumped from seeing Chris run up the ramp to the football field, and hoped that his presence would give them a lift to get back into the game.
Chris talked to his teammates and coaches on the sidelines, and heard that Jarvis was being "double teamed" to keep him out of the Oklahoma backfield. Chris convinced the defensive coach, Gary Evans, to allow him to "freelance" as the free safety and decide if he would blitz or drop back into pass coverage.
"The CSU Falcons are on the ropes," Steve Michaels announced to the national television audience. "I have always believed that they were lucky in their previous victories, and now they are on their backs against the best team in the nation! When the Oklahoma Sooners score this next touchdown, they will put this game on ice, and the CSU Falcons will be done for the day!"
His prediction was totally wrong, as Chris blitzed, and dropped the quarterback for a seven-yard loss. On the next down, Chris blitzed again and deflected a pass into the arms of Toby Bass, who caught the deflected pass and returned it for 90 yards for a CSU touchdown. The crowd went wild as they realized that their team had just turned a blowout into a game where they had a chance to win. The score was now 21 to 13, with the Sooners in the lead.
Coach Patrick grabbed Chris and asked him if he could kick the extra point, as the starting kicker, Bill Spencer had been injured. Chris kicked the extra point and headed to the sidelines where he begged the coaching staff to let him kick to the Sooners the way he had practiced during the previous week. During the practices, Chris had demonstrated his ability to either kick the ball completely out of the field of play or high into the air to land near the five-yard line. The coaches realized that they needed to do something different to turn the momentum of the game in their favor. They needed Chris to handle the kicking duties for the rest of the game.
The huge screens at each end of the football field lit up with the written announcement" CONGRATULATIONS TO CJ HAMMER, UNITED STATES CHAMPION IN THE WORLD KARATE FEDERATION COMPETITION!" The partisan crowd went wild in cheering, "CJ Hammer, clap...clap..., clap, clap, clap!" The cheer was repeated several times, and had the entire stadium rocking. The fans realized that the return of their favorite athlete had made a major difference in the football game that they were watching, and hoped that CJ Hammer would help turn the game around.
Chris talked to his special team buddies and told them that he would kick the ball very high in the air to land on the 5-yard line. The special teams had practiced this before, and knew that if the ball hit the field, it was a free ball for them to recover. Two fast players had the responsibilities to be in the end zone in case the receiving team let the ball hit the ground.
Chris kicked off, hoping that his high kick would end in a "fair catch" by the Oklahoma Sooners, or that his teammates would cover the ball if it hit the turf. He was thrilled when Joey Harrison recovered the ball in the end zone after the Oklahoma receiver backed away from the ball, knowing that it would go into the end zone. It was a touchdown for the CSU Falcons, and the top rated team in the nation was rattled. After Chris kicked the extra point, the game was tied at 21 to 21.
"The CSU Falcons have pulled a rabbit out of the hat," Steve Michaels announced to the national audience. "They were on the ropes and headed toward defeat, but they have dodged a bullet and have tied this game up! The Oklahoma Sooners will prove why they are the top rated team in the nation, and will respond with their offensive power!"
Chris repeated his towering high kickoff, that was fair caught at the five-yard line. With less than three minutes left in the first half of the football game, the Sooners wanted to push the ball down the field and regain control of the football game. On the next play, Chris blitzed, deflecting the pass into the arms of Jarvis Williams, who caught the ball and returned it for a CSU touchdown. The first guy to grab Jarvis in the end zone was CJ Hammer, who tackled his big buddy and drove him into the natural turf of Madison Field.
CSU now led in the game by a score of 27 to 21, and the crowd was going wild. Chris kicked the extra point, and the two ESPN2 announcers were shocked when they had to announce that CSU now led the top team in the nation by a score of 28 to 21.
"I am now a believer that one player can make a major difference in a football game," Steve Michaels announced. "CJ Hammer came to this game after his World Karate Federation Competition in Chicago, and he has sparked his teammates into a major attack on the Oklahoma Sooners. I admit that I was wrong in my previous comments about the CSU Falcons, as they are a team that deserves to be rated as the top team in the nation!"
The game ended with the CSU Falcons winning by a score of 56 to 21. Delano had won another game ball for his rushing expertise, and he was in heaven. The locker room was bedlam, as all of the coaches and players celebrated their victory, knowing that their national ranking would improve. David Patrick knew that the success of his football team was due to the return of his talented freshman, CJ Hammer, from the Karate competition in Chicago. The big blonde athlete added the spark to get the Falcons back on track in the game. As a way of rewarding the team, Coach Patrick called off the Sunday practice and film review until the regular Monday practice.
Chris knew that B had left immediately after giving him a hug after the big victory. Saul had an important fraternity meeting that he needed to attend, but he promised to see his son as soon as possible.
Chris, Delano, and Jarvis all wanted to get to the last rush party at the Tri-Delt house, hoping to make sure that the members remembered them the following day. Less than 50 rushees were invited to the last event of the important week. The party consisted of a buffet meal, open bar, and conversation with the members. As soon as the three football players got inside the fraternity house, guys who wanted to congratulate them on the fantastic football game surrounded them.
Mike Mahley pushed his way through the crowd to hug Chris, saying, "You were fantastic! I was so excited about your Karate championship and the way you helped our team win that I was ready to wet my pants!"
Chris returned the hug and picked Mike up off the floor, spinning him around. He wanted to kiss him on the lips, but knew that it was not the right place to show his affection for his best friend.
"Put me down, Fat Ass!" Mike commanded.
"If you don't stop calling me Fat Ass," Chris teased, "I'll throw you in the Dumpster!"
All of the guys were laughing at the exchange between the two guys, knowing that they were special friends. It was a great party, as everyone wanted to celebrate the Falcon victory against Oklahoma, and CJ Hammer's personal victory in his Karate competition. Both events gave California State University national recognition. Before the party ended at 10:00 p.m., each rush candidate was given a sheet of instructions for the remainder of the rush activity.
The rules were explicit:
1 Pledge bids will be personally delivered by a Delta Delta Delta member directly to the candidate before the 3:00 p.m. Deadline on Sunday.
The evening ended with the prospective pledges leaving the fraternity precisely at 10:00 p.m. A large group of guys headed back to the Jacobs Dorm excited about the next day's activities. Everyone was excited about getting their formal pledge bid, and wondered who would be included or excluded in the paring down from over 50 guys to a number that expected to be only 15 names.
Isaac and Chris got to their room and knew that they would have trouble sleeping that night. Chris was sore, but that was normal for any athlete who competed in contact sports. Isaac was tuned into Chris's emotions and knew that they both needed to unwind. He suggested that they head for the hot tub room, relax for a while, and then offered to give Chris a massage.
Chris smiled, knowing that getting in the hot tub with one or more hot, nude guys would take his mind off the body pain that he tried to hide from the other guys at the fraternity party. The main thing that was on his mind was getting his pledge bid. It was like his entire life was on hold; waiting for the pledge bid to be delivered. He would trade everything in his life to get that envelope in his hands. He made Isaac promise that they wouldn't talk about pledge bids, but knew that it would be on both of their minds until they had their envelopes in their hands.
Isaac and Chris went to the hot tub room where many other guys who needed to relax from the events of the day joined them. Many of the guys had been at the rush party, and needed a diversion from their concern for their own status with the Tri-Delt membership.
Chris got a ton of compliments for his Karate championship and his performance during the football game. He tried to be humble, as his main concern was what was happening at the Tri-Delt fraternity. He knew that the members were meeting to make the final selections of pledge candidates, and prayed that he would get his bid the next day.
Back at the Delta Delta Delta Fraternity, the members were meeting to make the final decisions about which men on campus should be given a pledge bid. A final list of 22 bids was developed, with the Pledge Master, Dave Wilbur, being given the responsibility to fill out the envelopes. Dave would address the pledge bids, and place them in the mailboxes of the Tri-Delt members to be delivered the next day. The entire membership was present for the important meeting, and knew that they were offering bids to the finest pledge class in the history of the fraternity. They all headed for the Recreation Room and bar to celebrate the greatest rush week that they had ever held.
Back at the Jacobs Dorm, Chris and Isaac returned to their room. They were both tired, but knew that sleep would be very difficult, as they both wanted their envelope in their hands to seal their futures as Delta Delta Delta pledges. They shared their anxiety, and ended up in Chris's bed, hugging and talking about the guys they hoped would be their pledge buddies. Sex was not as important as sharing their feelings of anxiety. They ended up on Chris's bed, cuddling and praying that they would get their bids early in the following day.
Neither guy slept well that night, as they were both anticipating a Tri-Delt member delivering their pledge bid. Isaac knew that he was assured a pledge bid as a legacy pledge, due to his father's membership in the fraternity, but he still was nervous that something would prevent the envelope from being delivered.
Chris now wished that he had allowed his dad, Saul Bernstein, to send a letter to the Tri-Delt Fraternity to secure his own pledge bid. He was up at 6:00 a.m. and decided to go running to burn off some of his anxiety. It was still dark, but Chris knew that he couldn't sleep. He ran for 10 miles before he returned to the dorm to take a shower. He knew he couldn't eat any breakfast without throwing up, so he returned to his room to practice on his guitar.
Isaac tried to calm his roomie down, but it wasn't working. He complimented Chris on his guitar playing, amazed at the talent of his big buddy. He wished that he could speed up the clock, as he and Chris were waiting for the knock on their door that would announce delivery of their pledge bids.
Back at the Tri-Delt Fraternity, Dave Wilbur was filling out the envelopes with the cherished pledge bids. He had filled out all of the 22 bids, and had decided which members should deliver them to the prospective pledges. It was early on Sunday morning, and Dave had already put 20 of the envelopes in the mailboxes of his brothers to make the personal deliveries. He decided to take a break and have a cup of coffee before he finished his task. His cell phone rang, and he was told that his girlfriend had gone into labor, a month before the expected delivery of his first child. Dave was shocked at the information, and knew that he had to leave his fraternity to be with his girlfriend at the hospital. He ran into the room of the current president, Tom Jankowski, and tried to wake up his brother.
"I GOTTA LEAVE!" Dave screamed at a sleeping Tom Jankowski. "You have to take care of the last two bids for me!"
Tom Jankowski was hung over after the celebration of the previous night. He moaned his acceptance, but was never really awake enough to understand what Dave was saying to him. He fell back asleep.
The Tri-Delt members woke up to attend the breakfast buffet. The food at the fraternity had greatly improved after the change in the cooking staff that had been initiated by CJ Hammer's connection with the Jacobs Dorm chef and John's Steak House Restaurant. Everyone was pumped about having a pledge bid to deliver, knowing that the recipient would be thrilled.
Mike Mahley was disappointed that his mailbox was empty, hoping that he would be the one to deliver a pledge bid to the guy that he loved. He had tried to hide his intense feelings of love toward Chris from his fraternity buddies, and wondered who had been selected to deliver the special envelope to Chris. He went to the room of his biological brother, Jacob, only to hear moans of intense sex before he tried to open the door. He knew that Jake had been dating Shannon O'Brien, and correctly guessed that his brother was porking her. He returned to his own room and decided to take a ride on his Harley to get his mind off his love for CJ Hammer. He rode alone to the quarry when he and Chris had spent many hours talking. He sat on their special boulder, wondering who had been given the honor of delivering the cherished envelope. He had brought his CD player, and listened to the song that he and Chris had always shared when they were troubled. "Turn, Turn Turn" recorded by The Byrds echoed through his head, as he dreamed of a time when he could express his love for CJ Hammer. Tears flowed down his face as he listened to the song again and again, wishing that he had the strength to express his love to Chris. He rode his Harley back to the fraternity, sad that he wasn't with Chris on the special day, but knew that they would see each other that night.
Sunday was a day filled with emotions, as pledge bids were delivered to 20 guys on the CSU campus from the most desired fraternity. Phones were burning up as the happy recipients called their buddies to brag about getting their letters. Leif, who gave his special friend a kiss before he left to return to the fraternity, delivered Isaac's envelope.
Isaac and Chris celebrated when Leif brought the envelope at 2:00 p.m. The phone in their room was constantly ringing, as their buddies called to share their joy. Nathan and Cody were both crying hysterically as they announced that they had received their bids. They were so happy that they couldn't talk, as they sobbed and said that it was the best day of their lives.
As the clock moved, Chris became concerned. It was almost 3:00 p.m., and no one had delivered his envelope. Fear gripped his body, as he wondered what he had done wrong to not receive a visit from a Tri-Delt member. The phone rang, and it was Brendan O'Brien.
"I haven't got a bid," Brendan said to Chris, trying to hide his emotions. "What did I do wrong?"
"I didn't get a bid either," Chris admitted. "Maybe the guys delivering are running late. I have been puking for the last half-hour, worrying that I did something wrong too."
Isaac hugged his roommate and tried to comfort him by saying that his bid was going to be delivered any minute. Secretly, Isaac was pissed that his big buddy was being made to wait for the delivery that he knew should have been delivered before his own. When the clock turned over to 3:01 p.m., Chris broke down, sobbing uncontrollably on his bed. Isaac knew it was time for action, and he ran out of the dorm room to head for the Tri-Delt Fraternity.
At the Tri-Delt house, the members were preparing for the best Initiation Ceremony of their history. Everyone was celebrating in preparation for grabbing the locked mailbox at the end of the driveway. They all knew that the Pledge Committee would bring the box to the house and open it to reveal which bids had been accepted. Many of them were hoping that they would be the Big Brother for one of the talented candidates.
One of the guys that was hoping for being selected as a Big Brother was Tom Broadbent, a transfer member from a college in Michigan. Tom had tried to convince the local membership that he deserved a Little Brother, based on his transfer status as a junior. He had been accepted into the house based on his transfer to the CSU campus and a letter of recommendation from his home chapter. The local members accepted his presence in their house, but knew that the guy just didn't seem to fit with the rest of the members. Tom Broadbent was 6 feet 4 inches tall, weighed about 180 pounds, and was strange looking. He had very pronounced features, and was described by many of the local members as looking like a weasel. He wore glasses, and tried to impress everyone by bragging about his sexual activities. His brags about his basketball abilities had been destroyed during many impromptu games on the fraternity grounds. The members didn't trust him, and had asked Tom Jankowski to check out his status with his former chapter in Flint, Michigan. He was not going to be a Big Brother to any of the new pledges, due to concerns of many of the members about his strange behavior.
Tom Jankowski had written letters to the address on the letterhead of the recommendation letter from the Delta Delta Delta chapter at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan. He had also called the phone number on the letter, and left messages on the answering machine, wondering why any chapter wouldn't have a member or pledge answer the phone within three rings. He received another letter stating that Thomas Broadbent was a lifetime member in good standing, and should be accepted to the CSU chapter. The letter seemed genuine, and the transfer member had been accepted. Tom Broadbent was living alone in a two-man room in the fraternity, as no member wanted to room with him.
Isaac ran up the sidewalk to the front door of the fraternity. He blasted into the fraternity living room and was immediately confronted by several members. Tom Jankowski was standing in the living room with several members, and was shocked to see Isaac break the rules by coming to the fraternity.
Isaac squared off against a multitude of Delta Delta Delta members as he screamed, "YOU DIDN'T GIVE MY BUDDY, CHRIS A PLEDGE BID, SO YOU CAN SHOVE MINE UP YOUR ASSES!" Isaac was ready to kick ass, and only Leif Johanssen was able to control him. Isaac had thrown his envelope on the floor of the living room, determined to follow Chris to another fraternity or college.
The members in the living room were shocked that any guy would destroy his pledge bid by violating the rules and enter the fraternity house. They immediately knew that something had gone wrong with delivery of the pledge bids.
Isaac was sobbing into Leif' shoulder as Tom Jankowski pleaded with Isaac to explain his actions. Reality finally hit the local chapter president, as he realized that Dave Wilbur had said something to him when he was still asleep. He now knew that all of the pledge bids had not been delivered, and ran to Dave's room. On the desk, he found two envelopes addressed to CJ Hammer and Brendan O'Brien, the top two pledge candidates. His blood ran cold as he realized that Dave had told him to take care of the last two bids as he left the fraternity. He was hung over from the celebration of the previous night, and now realized that he had really fucked up.
"We have damage control to take care of!" Tom announced as he handed Brendan O'Brien's pledge bid to Mike Mahley. "I know you wanted to be the one to take this to Chris, but I think he will listen to me if you aren't around. Take the other bid to Brendan, and explain what happened. I pray that both guys will understand how I fucked up!"
Mike took the envelope for Brendan, wishing that he were delivering Chris's pledge bid to him. His eyes were filled with tears as he shared the thoughts that he knew had been going through Chris's mind at not getting a pledge bid. He ran out of the fraternity and towards the dorm where he knew Brendan had been waiting for the pledge bid. He found Brendan outside, sitting on a wooden bench with tears in his eyes.
"I've got something for you," Mike said softly. "We really fucked up, and your pledge bid was sitting on a desk in the fraternity. I pray that you will accept our apologies and accept this bid!"
Brendan looked up and saw the handsome face of Mike Mahley. With shaking hands, he accepted the envelope and then broke down, sobbing on Mike's shoulder. He listened as Mike explained what had happened at the house and why his pledge bid wasn't delivered to him on time.
Mike hugged the tall basketball player and hoped that Tom Jankowski was successful in convincing Chris to accept the apologies of the Tri-Delt members in the late delivery of his pledge bid. He explained to Brendan what had happened to delay the delivery, and promised that both Brendan and Chris would be accepted as pledges.
At the Jacobs Dorm, Tom Jankowski knocked at the door for the room that Chris shared with Isaac. After several unanswered knocks, Tom opened the door to find Chris sobbing in the pillow on his bed. He walked into the dorm room and closed the door behind, looking at the huge body on the large bed, knowing that Chris was wiped out. He walked up to the side of the bed and sat down, hugging Chris and trying to calm him down.
"It's me, Tom Jankowski," he said as he tried to calm down the sobs that wracked the huge body. "I want you to listen to me. We fucked up at the Tri-Delt house, and it is entirely my fault. Dave Wilbur was handling the pledge bids and his girlfriend went into labor early this morning, a month earlier than her expected delivery date. Dave asked me to take care of two pledge bids, and I was too hung over to understand what he was saying to me. I've got your pledge bid in my hand, and I pray that you will listen to me and accept the bid to be my brother. Isaac came to the house and threw his pledge bid on the floor, saying he wasn't going to accept unless you were his pledge buddy. No one at the house knew that you and Brendan didn't get your bids until Isaac put it on the line for you. I feel like shit about this, and pray that you will listen to me!"
Chris listened to the soothing voice of his buddy from the Tri-Delt fraternity and turned over on the bed. His tear-streaked face saw only love, and he pulled Tom down on the bed to hug and continue sobbing.
"I didn't know what I did wrong!" Chris sobbed. "Nothing in the world is more important than being a Tri-Delt pledge!"
Tom hugged Chris and wished that he had been more awake when Dave had been in his room and asked him to take care of the last two pledge bids. He waited for Chris to compose himself, and then he handed the special envelope to the star athlete.
"It's past the deadline!" Chris said as he looked at the most important mail he had ever received. His hands were shaking, and he refused to touch the envelope, knowing that the rules had been very clear.
"FUCK THE DEADLINES!" Tom exclaimed. "I'm the Chapter President, and I'm here to take your signed pledge bid back to the house! This was MY fuck up, and not YOURS! Please accept this bid, as I want you as my fraternity brother!"
Chris reached out with his trembling hands and accepted the envelope from Tom Jankowski. He was shaking so bad that he couldn't open it, so Tom helped him.
"I pray that you will sign the bid and let me take it back to the house," Tom said. "I wanted everything to go perfect this year, but I have already fucked that up!" He leaned over and gave Chris a kiss on the lips, remembering the many times he had shared a bed and intense sex with the big blonde with the Texan drawl.
Chris returned the kiss and read the card that was enclosed in the envelope. He struggled out of his bed and went to his desk to get a pen. He signed the card, accepting the pledge bid, and filled in the three spaces for his choices for a Big Brother. He put the card back into the envelope and handed it to Tom.
Tom accepted the envelope and gave Chris another hug and kiss before he left the room. As soon as Tom left the dorm room, he met Brendan O'Brien who had come to visit his big buddy. Brendan's eyes were filled with tears as he hugged Tom and said that he had given his accepted pledge bid to Mike Mahley. Brendan broke away from the hug to enter the dorm room and hug Chris, knowing that they both were going to be pledging buddies. Tom left to return to the Tri-Delt Fraternity, hoping to make sure that no more problems affected the day's ceremonies.
Chris and Brendan hugged and cried together. The tears were a combination of anxiety, despair, and celebration over their futures as pledge buddies. They finally realized that their dreams of pledging the Delta Delta Delta Fraternity were going to come true, and they dried their tears and tried to compose themselves.
Back at the Tri-Delt house, Leif Johannsen was trying to calm Isaac Mendez down. Leif had tried to pick up the pledge bid that had been delivered to Isaac, but Isaac had placed his foot on the envelope that was on the carpeted floor of the living room. When Tom and Mike returned to the living room, holding two envelopes, they announced that CJ Hammer and Brendan O'Brien had accepted pledge bids, and had let them deliver the bids to the fraternity.
Isaac looked at the two members and knew that they were telling the truth. He knew that he had violated the written rules for rush candidates, and was now ineligible for being a pledge.
Leif bent down and lifted Isaac's foot, retrieving the envelope that Isaac had been standing on.
"I think this fell out of your hand when you were trying to place it in the mailbox," Leif said as he handed the envelope to Isaac. "I'm sure that no one saw you come into the house today, so just drop the envelope in the mailbox or give it to Tom. I think that Chris might need some help getting ready to come back here at 6:00 p.m."
Isaac hugged the guy that he hoped would be his big brother and accepted the envelope before he handed it to Tom Jankowski. His eyes were filled with tears as he headed out of the house to return to the Jacobs Dorm.
Chris was hugging Brendan and crying on his shoulder when Isaac returned to their dorm room. He broke away from the hug with Brendan to grab Isaac and pull all three guys together. The emotions in the room turned from sadness into celebration, as they wanted to pack their gym bags and select the clothes that would make the best impressions on the Tri-Delt members when they walked to the house.
Back at the Tri-Delt Fraternity, Dave Wilbur had returned to a house in total chaos. His girlfriend had been released from the hospital after the doctors had determined that she had experienced "false labor". He was very upset that there had been a problem with delivering the pledge bids, and accepted the blame for not making sure that Tom Jankowski was fully awake when he told him about the two bids remaining on his desk.
The locked mailbox was brought into the house, with all of the members wanting to help in the matching of big and little brothers. Dave and Tom took the envelopes and headed to the Officers' Quarters to finalize the pairings. They already guessed at most of the pairings from the way the prospective pledges and members had bonded during the rush week activities. Members that were eligible for Little Brothers had already submitted the names of the guys they wanted to be connected with, and the only issue was to read the pledge bids to see who the new pledge wanted as his Big Brother. Not every guy would be granted his first choice, and it was the responsibility of the Pledge Master and Chapter President to make the final pairings.
Mike Mahley couldn't stand the suspense, and pounded on the door of the President's Room to demand entrance. He wanted to know who was going to be Chris Hammer's Big Brother, and he wasn't going to wait any longer to find out. He demanded to know the answer, and was faced by Dave Wilbur.
"I've looked at a list of a ton of brothers who want Chris as their Little Brother," Dave said to Mike. "When I looked at Chris's choices for a Big Brother, I see Number 3 on his list as 'Mike Mahley'."
Mike was ready to cry. He had prayed that he would be Chris's first choice as a Big Brother, and wondered who was Number 1 and Number 2. He felt like he had been kicked in the balls, but decided to let one of his brothers have the honor of bonding with Chris. He was ready to return to his room, hoping that he could hide his tears of disappointment before he left.
Dave Wilbur was a real tease, and continued by saying, "Number 2 on Chris's list was some guy named Michael Mahley, and Number 1 is some ASSHOLE named Michael James Mahley!"
Mike screamed with joy as he hugged both Dave and Tom. His dream had come true, and his best friend had left no doubt in the minds of the Tri-Delt members who he wanted as a Big Brother! He was sobbing as he hugged his two brothers and couldn't wait to put the pledge pin on Chris's chest. It was going to be the best day of his life!
The group of prospective pledges gathered together in front of the Delta Delta Delta Fraternity property. The group of 22 guys congratulated each other on getting pledge bids to the most desirable fraternity on campus. Chris was thrilled to see that all of the guys on the list that he had developed with Mike Mahley were ready to enter the house and become pledge buddies. Chris introduced himself to three guys that he had never met before, and apologized for not meeting them during the rush week activities. All of the guys were pumped, and wanted to get inside the house to begin pledgeship.
Chris told the crowd that he had been researching the fraternity, and had learned that prospective pledges were expected to line-up at the back door of the fraternity and wait for invitation to enter. The prospective pledges were to be in height order, from shortest to tallest, and not make a sound until invited into the house. After they had been initiated as pledges, they would be allowed to come and go through the front doors of the fraternity. The prospective pledges quickly lined up, with Cody Emerson as the lead figure.
Cody was still in orbit at getting a pledge bid for the best fraternity on campus, and had called his parents to announce his new status. His parents shared his excitement, knowing that their young son hadn't reached his 17th birthday, and was now accepted by his peers on the CSU campus. Cody had hidden his age from everyone on campus except Nathan Pease, knowing that the two small guys shared special attributes. Cody didn't know the special attributes that he had that would help in saving the life of a very special guy in his life in the future.
Inside the Delta Delta Delta Fraternity, the active members were preparing the Recreation Room for arrival of their new pledge class. Everyone was celebrating and getting ready for the formal ceremonies that would bond 22 new guys to their very selective organization. The bar was open, and everyone was having a beer or drink before the new pledges would be admitted to their house.
In the Officers' Quarters, Tom Jankowski had already welcomed an unexpected guest to the house. He was thrilled to invite the guest to attend the initiation of the new pledge class, and knew that the local membership would be pleased when the surprise guest was introduced.
It was exactly 6:00 p.m. when Dave Wilbur went to the front door, expecting to see a group of happy faces. The front porch was empty. He ran back to the Officers' Quarters and into the President's Room.
"The porch is empty!" Dave yelled. "Not a single guy is there!"
The surprise guest smiled and said, "There used to be a rule that pledge candidates had to come to the Initiation Ceremony through the back door of the house."
"We stopped that practice a couple years ago," Tom Jankowski said. "If they are at the back door, I wonder how they knew to go there?"
Dave was embarrassed that he hadn't introduced himself to the stranger. He shook the man's hand before running to the back door to the fraternity. He smiled as he counted 22 happy faces. The pledge candidates were lined up in ascending height, each handsomely dressed, and carrying a gym bag with the required change of clothing and their backpacks filled with books.
"Wait here!" Dave ordered. "No talking!" He ran through the house to get the members of the Pledge Committee from the living room, telling them that all 22 guys were waiting at the back door.
Tom Jankowski had left his guest in his room to find out if any of the candidates had arrived. He was very nervous that he or his brothers had made another mistake, and that the candidates weren't going to show up. He was relieved to see a line forming in the hallway to the back door of the fraternity. 22 handsome young men were lined up in the hallway, with each of them wearing a blindfold. They had their hands on the shoulders of the guy in front of them, with Dave Wilbur leading Cody Emerson slowly toward the Chapter Room where all fraternal ceremonies and meetings were held.
The blindfolded pledge candidates were led into the Chapter Room and told to stand silently. Dave walked down the line of handsome guys, positioning them to face toward the altar. Ben Cleary, Vice President, and Tom Jankowski, President, were standing behind the ornate altar, waiting for Dave to present the pledge candidates to them and the members seated in the candlelit room.
"Brothers Jankowski and Cleary," Dave Wilbur began, "I present these men to begin the journey toward membership in our fraternity. Gentlemen, you may remove your blindfolds now."
The pledge candidates all removed their blindfolds and were awed by the beauty of the richly decorated room. Visitors to the fraternity were not allowed in the Chapter Room, so none of them had ever seen the walnut paneled walls that were covered with photos of all of the past and current members. Each year, professional photographers took pictures of the members that were organized in alphabetical order, with the presiding officers' photos lining the bottom of the collection. The wall behind the altar was a mosaic of ceramic tiles. The background was white with three concentric triangles of gold that framed a golden eye. (The symbol for the Greek letter, Delta, is a triangle) The altar was made of white marble that had been ornately carved with the same three Deltas covered with gold leaf. Three triangular candleholders were on the altar, each holding a flickering yellow candle.
"Thank you, Brother Wilbur," Tom Jankowski said. He was wearing a long robe of yellow with three black Deltas on the left side of his chest. He was holding a polished wooden staff that was topped with a faceted clear stone. The stone was lit from inside, and as Tom moved the staff, a myriad of light beams danced around the walls and ceiling of the Chapter Room. Ben Cleary was wearing a similar robe, except his was black with three yellow Deltas.
"Before we begin the Ceremony of Pledgeship," Tom announced, "I have a special person to introduce to everyone."
A door at the side of the Chapter Room opened and a man dressed in an expensive suit walked toward the altar.
Chris looked at the man who had walked into the Chapter Room and let out a scream as he broke away from the line of pledges to run toward the man.
"B!!!!!!!!!!!!" Chris screamed.
"HAMMER!!" Tom Jankowski screamed. "GET BACK IN LINE!!!"
Mike was sitting next to his brother, Jacob, and asked, "What the hell is Chris's dad doing here?"
"Give Chris and me a minute!" Saul Bernstein asked the Local Chapter President.
Chris picked up his dad and spun him around, yelling, "I MADE IT! I MADE IT!" Tears were flowing down Chris's face as he hugged his dad and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
"What the fuck is going on?" Ben whispered to Tom.
"Jesus," Tom said. "I wanted this rush week to go perfect, and it seems like everything is getting screwed up!"
Saul told Chris to put him down. He turned to face Tom and Ben, saying, "I think you and the members deserve an explanation for the unruly behavior of this renegade pledge candidate!"
"This better be good or we will pull one guy out of this ceremony!" Tom said angrily.
Saul smiled and began; "My name is Saul Bernstein. I attended CSU a long time ago, and had the honor of being the President of this chapter of the Delta Delta Delta Fraternity. Until yesterday, I held the office of Western Division Vice-President of the National Delta Delta Delta Fraternity."
"Holy Shit!" Mike exclaimed to Jake. "Chris's dad is a member! Chris never told me! He should have been given a legacy pledge bid like Isaac!"
"About eight years ago," Saul continued, "I was visiting an orphanage in Dallas, Texas. I met a young boy with golden blonde hair, vivid green eyes, and a vocabulary that was so nasty that it would make a sailor blush! I became friends with the trash talker and ended up adopting him. The boy's name was Christopher Jonathan Hammer! This big lunk is my son!"
"HOLY FUCK!!" Tom exclaimed, "Chris, you lied to us!"
"I never lied to you, Mr. Jankowski," Chris replied, giving Tom the respect that all pledges were expected to show toward members.
"You never told us that your dad was a member!" Tom insisted.
"You never asked me!" Chris replied honestly.
"Get back in line with your buddies," Saul directed, giving his son another hug and congratulating him on getting a pledge bid.
Tom tried to regain his composure and control of the meeting.
"I was just about to introduce Brother Bernstein to all of you," Tom began. "As he said, until yesterday, Brother Bernstein was the Vice-President of our National Fraternity. He was at an important meeting yesterday and today where he was elected President of our National Fraternity, replacing Brother John Hall, who decided to retire. I think Brother Bernstein deserves a round of applause in celebration of his election!"
The members all stood and applauded, as Chris broke ranks and ran to hug his dad again.
"I'm so proud of you!" Chris said as he hugged his dad. "Congratulations, Old Man!"
"Chris Hammer!" Tom yelled. "If you break ranks one more time, or show disrespect to another member, I'll paddle your ass right here in the Chapter Room!"
The Chapter Room erupted with laughter. All of the members knew that Tom was a stickler when it came to performing all of the ceremonies precisely as outlined in the Fraternity Handbook. Everything in Tom's life was perfectly in order, right down to his closet and desk, where everything was neatly arranged. Moving something on Tom's desk would result in him going berserk! The brothers all knew that, and often moved things around just to mess with Tom's mind.
"Candidates," Tom began, "please put your blindfolds back on."
Tom then began reciting the opening comments for the Pledgeship Ceremony.
"You come before the altar of our Fraternity, blind to the true meanings of the Three Deltas. As the eye in the center of the Deltas displays, you will have your eyes opened to the secrets and mysteries of our Fraternity during your pledgeship. You will learn to trust the members of our Fraternity, along with your pledge buddies. Trust is the foundation of our Fraternity, and is symbolized by the base of the Largest Delta. Without trust, our Fraternity will collapse!"
Tom continued reciting the words of the Pledgeship Ceremony flawlessly. Each pledge sensed that someone was standing in front of him, placing a pledge pin on his shirt over his heart. The pledges all repeated the Pledge Vow that Tom broke into phrases for them.
"Now that you have take the Pledge Vow, and have a pledge pin on your chest," Tom said, "it is time for you to remove your blindfolds and greet your Big Brothers who are standing in front of you. It's also time for you to greet the membership of the Fraternity that you have sworn to protect with your life!"
The new pledges all removed their blindfolds and saw their Big Brothers standing in front of them. Chris had tears running down his face as he saw Mike Mahley standing in front of him, offering him a hug. He grabbed Mike and lifted him in the air, spinning Mike around. The other pledges were hugging their Big Brothers at the same time. All of the pledges had tears of joy running down their faces, as they now knew that their status was established. The Chapter Room was total bedlam, as members and pledges greeted each other in celebration.
"IT'S TIME TO CELEBRATE!" Tom Jankowski yelled. The crowd headed toward the Recreation Room and the well-stocked bar for a cocktail hour before a special supper meal.
Still to come...
romance and tragedy are bed partners...the Angel of Death circles the CSU campus...Cherokee's are special people...
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