The Craft (Novel Version)
by Julien Gregg

Chapter Seven

Adam had a hard time with the way things were going over the next several weeks. It was getting harder and harder to think of Melvin as anything other than his actual boyfriend. They were kissing and making out like crazy all the time. Melvin sucked his dick every morning and Adam fucked Melvin every night. Sometimes it was hard, fast and designed to make him cum just from prostate contact. Melvin really seemed to like that. But other times it was the slow and sensual love making that had both of them whimpering against each other and Melvin leaving cum all over both of them.

They now studied naked and draped over each other. Occasionally one of them would absently rub a leg or other body part idly while they read over notes, made notes for papers they had to write or just read from their textbooks. Melvin had taken to either holding Adam's hand when they went anywhere or putting his hand in Adam's back pocket. They were legends at the gym for their workouts and a steamy session of oral sex they had in the steam room. That sort of thing was actually common at that particular gym. It catered only to gay men after all.

Pete and Lisa smiled at them a lot when they were all together. Adam was pleased by how they'd both made a real effort to be Melvin's friend. They sometimes called Melvin to hang out when Adam was in class. The group met twice a week at either the campus diner for lunch, dinner or coffee or the campus library for a study session.

Even more upsetting for Adam was the fact that Melvin told him he loved him every day. A lot of days he'd send random text messages to say he loved him and was thinking about him. A few times he'd added sordid details of things they'd done the night before that he'd particularly enjoyed and couldn't wait to do again. It was downright eerie for Adam.

Adam never cuffed him to the bed anymore. They slept in either Adam's bed or Melvin's, and a few times they'd pulled the mattresses off both beds to the floor and slept there. It was really like they were actually in love, and Adam wasn't sure he wasn't a little in love with Melvin for real. He'd tried several times to move their relationship back to what it had been, but it was impossible. Every time he looked at Melvin he wanted him. It was unreal.

Adam had paid for their trip to Key West for Spring Break and was happy to find a large group of gay college students celebrating their own Spring Break. He and Melvin didn't have to hide. Melvin's collar was stared at from time to time, but no one ever said anything about it. Some asked about their tattoos, knowing what the symbols meant. Adam explained that it was a joke between the two of them.

They now had funny stories to tell Pete and Lisa when they were together after the break. They had new secrets that weren't all dirty or spiteful. Adam had even bought a car for Melvin to drive. He did the laundry twice a week, shopped for snacks for their room and stocked the mini fridge that Adam had bought before the break. They now had a microwave, a real coffee pot, the mini fridge and custom built bookcases for their snacks. Adam had even talked to three different architectural students about building a bed frame that would hold both of their mattresses so they could sleep more comfortably. That was how he'd found out that married students could get a queen sized bed for their rooms.

It took only a phone call to get maintenance to come and take their twin beds out of the room and put the queen sized bed in. They were the talk of the dorm for a while because of that; blatant homosexuals setting up house on the third floor. Melvin took it all in stride. The straight man who was under the effects of a potion that Adam fed him in his coffee every morning was a better gay man than he was.

He socialized with other gay students, knew them by name and even hung out with them from time to time. Then he introduced Adam to them as his lover, and Adam was accepted into whichever group Melvin was hanging out with when that happened. They now had new friends that called and texted them about shows, parties or just hanging out. They were getting to be more and more like a normal, loving gay couple as the weeks passed.

Then as March gave way to April and the semester began to draw to a close, Adam started looking for a house. He found himself asking Melvin for his input as he looked, because he was going to live there as well after all. They looked in Washington Square to be close to campus, but they couldn't agree on any of the houses around that area. Finally they searched through Penndale and Pine Falls. They found an awesome three story Victorian in Pine Falls that sat in the middle of a block of other Victorians, some larger and some smaller than the one they were looking at.

Adam made an appointment to look at the house and Pete and Lisa went with them. The house was just as amazing inside as out. There were dark hardwood floors throughout the house. The only rooms without the hardwood were the kitchen and bathrooms. All three and a half bathrooms shared the same white ceramic tiled floors and beige walls. The kitchen had patterned ceramic tiles on the floor. They were white tiles with dark green and rust colored diamonds. The back splash just behind the white marble countertops matched the floor. The rest of the walls were off-white. The realtor called it eggshell.

The appliances were modern and brand new. The house had a brand new furnace, central air and a brand new water heater. It sat on a large lot with lots of back yard space. The front yard was almost completely taken up by flower beds. There were rose trellises around the covered porch and several different floral varieties in immaculate beds all over the front yard. The trees in the front yard were young pine trees that gave the front of the house shade.

The rooms were large and airy. The living room was huge with a bar and three stools in a little alcove just off the archway to enter the room. The wood that made up the cabinet of the bar matched the hardwood floors. Adam also noticed that the moldings for the archways, doors, windows, fireplace mantel and even the crown molding matched the hardwood floors.

Just across from the living room was the huge dining room with its crystal chandelier hanging from the center of the high ceiling. The room's outer wall was completely taken up by floor to ceiling windows with arched tops. Through the swinging door was the kitchen. There was even a study and a half bath behind the living room. Off the kitchen was a mud room that opened to the back yard.

There were two bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor along with the master bed and bath at the back of the house. The master bedroom had two huge walk-in closets. The master bath was masculine in earthy tones of dark green and rich browns. Wood blinds covered the two windows in the bathroom, and Adam especially liked the large whirlpool bathtub and enclosed shower stall in the corner. A long rich brown marble counter top had two deep sinks and the wall behind the counter was all mirror and lights. The wooden cabinets under the counter top was the same dark wood as the floors outside the room. It matched the moldings of the windows and doors.

The two bedrooms on the second floor matched the two others on the third floor in walls and flooring. Of course the flooring was the same hardwood as was throughout the house. The walls in all four of the bedrooms were the same off-white or eggshell wallpaper. There was also storage space on the third floor.

The house was amazing, and Adam couldn't believe it. They all loved the house. Adam made an offer not much below the asking price. Two weeks later his offer was accepted and the ball was rolling for him to own the house. He and Melvin would live in it over the summer. He was debating on asking Pete and Lisa if they wanted to stay with them when school resumed in the fall. He decided he'd talk to them about it over the summer when they called and visited.

Adam also studied witchcraft more thoroughly during that time. He found spells for health, to make crops and flowers grow, to confuse enemies and so much more. He studied the old traditions and started to follow them. He decided he'd celebrate the Sabbats. When he explained what he was doing to Melvin, the man told him it was his thing and he'd go with whatever Adam wanted to do, but he wasn't converting to any religion.

He ordered books, stones, crystals and various supplies from the internet. Then he had a lock installed on the last bedroom on the third floor of the house and declared it his private space. He had shelves built to hold his books that were so numerous now that they wouldn't all fit in the dorm room. The shelves lined one wall of the room he'd chosen in the house. He ordered a blank Book of Shadows and started to record his personal thoughts, put recipes for magickal potions, charms and spells in it. He cast a repelling spell on the book to ward off anyone who wanted to pry. He included Melvin in the spell because the recipe for the potion was also in the book. All of this he took to the house and put in his room.

"So how soon can you move in to the house?" Pete asked Adam as the two sat in the campus diner having coffee between classes.

"We can move in now," Adam replied. "It's all over. The house is mine now. I'm thinking about hiring a gardener for all the flowers."

"But you can't move in till summer because of your scholarship?" Pete asked.

"Right," said Adam. "That's fine though. I don't have furniture to fill the rooms yet. I figured I'd start looking for furniture closer to the end of the semester."

"Well there are only five weeks left," Pete pointed out.

"Yeah," sighed Adam. "That reminds me. I'm going to rent a truck, and Melvin and I are returning to Crete this weekend to clear out my storage there and turn in my key. I'll bring my bedroom furniture to the house and put it in the master bedroom on the second floor."

"You don't want new stuff?" Pete asked.

"No," said Adam. "My father built that furniture for me in our old garage before he died. That and whatever I can find that might still be in the house is all I have left to remind me of my dad."

"Have you gone through the house?" Pete asked.

"A little the night before the funerals," Adam said. "I was only looking for insurance papers and the like then. This time I want to clear the house out, sell the furniture if I can and get rid of all the junk. Mr. Denton took care of getting rid of the junk cars in the back yard. I'm thinking about having the yard landscaped and the house painted. I know a lot of renovation and cleaning will have to happen inside the house before it'll be marketable."

"So you're selling it?" Pete asked.

"Mr. Denton is still trying to talk me out of selling the house and car," Adam informed. "I really don't want anything to do with either of them, though."

"Well, I need a car," Pete said after a moment of silence as they drank their coffee. "How much do you want for the car in Crete?"

"Well I don't know," said Adam, thinking hard about it. "I don't want to charge you anything, Pete. I mean it isn't like I need the money or anything. Why don't we just say a hundred dollars and I'll find the title for you."

"Done," Pete said. "I've also got an idea about the house in Crete."

"Well, tell me," Adam urged.

"I'm going to need a place to stay in Crete this summer," Pete replied. "Lisa and I both think it's too soon to meet the parents or any of that. She'll spend a few weeks with her family, then she'll come to Crete to stay with me. I was going to talk to Hal about getting my job back at the station and then rent a place for us to stay in. So why don't I just rent the house. I'll even do a bit of the work that needs to be done in there."

Adam actually thought that was a great idea. So that Saturday, he, Melvin, Lisa and Pete drove to Crete. Adam and Melvin were in the truck that Adam had rented to bring his bedroom furniture back to Storyville. Lisa and Pete were in Melvin's car. When they got to Crete they quickly cleared out Adam's storage. Adam turned in his key and signed the paperwork to take the storage shed out of his name. Then they drove over to the house.

For three straight hours they went through every box, drawer and cabinet. Adam was pleased to find a box filled with pictures of his dad. Actually there were pictures of his father's family as well as pictures of Adam and his mother with his father when they'd moved into the house. He put that box in the truck with his furniture.

Pete and Lisa agreed that with a thorough cleaning the furniture in the living room was fine. So Adam decided to call around to find a store that dealt in leather furniture and could clean the pieces in the living room. The television was brand new and actually a flat screen HD model. Pete wanted to keep that as well. Adam informed him that all of the furniture, television and anything else they wanted was included in the rent. They settled on two hundred dollars a month, though Adam wanted to let them live there rent free for the summer.

Pete and Melvin walked around the house talking back and forth about what needed to be done. Pete said he could handle a lot of it, but Adam might want to hire a contractor. He promised to deal with all of that so Adam didn't have to return to Crete for anything. In the end Adam agreed to everything Pete wanted. He also found the title to the car as well as the keys. He called and notified Mr. Denton as to what was going on with the house and the sale of the car. Then they were driving back to Storyville. Pete and Melvin had suggested sleeping in a hotel room and returning to Storyville in the morning, but Adam didn't want to spend any more time in Crete.

So they pulled in to Storyville at nine that night. They parked the moving truck in the back driveway of the house and then piled into Melvin's car and headed back to campus. They went straight to the campus diner for a late dinner. Kelly was their waitress, but by now the novelty of Adam and Melvin's relationship was old news so she let them be.

By the time they got back to their dorm room it was almost curfew. They quickly stripped down and got in the shower. Melvin always insisted on washing Adam first, which always heated them both up. Adam relaxed and let Melvin's expert hands make him hotter and hotter while he cleaned the sweat and dirt from moving the furniture and walking in and out of the storage shed.

"I think we'll be happy in the house, Adam," Melvin said as he washed him. "I really love it."

"I love it, too," Adam said, thinking about Melvin's statement about being happy.

He was happy. That was what was strange. He knew that Melvin didn't really love him, that it was only the potion at work. It had started out as revenge, and though Adam had actually forgiven Melvin for what he'd done the potion was still in play because Adam didn't want to lose him. He was sure that if he stopped the potion their happy, loving relationship would fall apart. He supposed it could crumble completely or end in violence. He wasn't about to let that happen. So he had to decide if he was done punishing Melvin. He had to decide if he wanted to continue to let this potion induced relationship evolve.

He ran into the truth like hitting a brick wall at full speed. He was in love with Melvin. He couldn't believe it, but he was balls to bones in love with Melvin Borlan, his rapist. The potion made Melvin believe he was in love with Adam, and though it wasn't real, Adam was happy. It was a fucked up situation, and Adam had done it to himself. But if he wanted to think of it on the scale of revenge, what better revenge was there than making a man who had tried to destroy you believe that he was in love with you and that making you happy and giving you pleasure was his ultimate goal in life?

"Yes," Adam said. "I think we'll be happy in the house. I love you."

"I love you, too," Melvin said. Then they were kissing, and Adam tried to make himself believe that it didn't matter how they'd gotten here. They were here, and though he wanted things to stay the way they were he knew that he had to think of how to keep it that way without the potion.

The next day Adam felt more depressed over it than he had ever been. He supposed it was that he had decided that the potion wasn't enough to make his life with Melvin the happy ever after theme. He hoped that nothing would ever happen to derail the happiness he'd found, but he was sure that without the potion it would all be over. He was a witch, though. If he couldn't use magick to bend things to the way he wanted them then what good was any of this?

He mixed up another batch of the potion while Melvin was in class. After he'd added it to the coffee and put everything away he sat down at the desk, which was now the only desk in the room to study for his coming final exam in Religion. He had the highest grade in the class, and he was proud of that. Of course he'd learned things about the major world religions that had made him sick to his stomach. There were so many dark events in the past that could be tied to this religion or to that one. He'd covered all of that for his final paper in the class. The professor gave him extra credit for citing so many different sources.

Melvin was doing very well in his classes as well. His academic advisor had been against his decision to change his major, but even she had to admit that he was excelling in his new classes. Adam still had many ideas about business, and though he'd at first intended to put his and Melvin's educations to use in one business venture or another, and with Melvin being his slave, he now planned to start any business venture with Melvin as an equal. Well as equal as the potion would allow them to be.

"Hey," Melvin said as he came into the room. He walked over and kissed him. "I gotta run. Gavin and Paul are fighting and Paul wants someone to talk to while Gavin moves out of their room."

"That sucks," Adam said, wondering who Gavin and Paul were. He'd met so many of Melvin's gay friends that keeping them straight was sometimes difficult.

"Yeah," Melvin said. "I won't be gone long. Probably go straight to class from their dorm. I love you."

"I love you, too," Adam replied, kissing him again. "Tell Paul I'm sorry."

"Will do," Melvin said, and then he was out the door.

Adam had to get to his last class of the day anyway. He gathered his books and headed out. He was stopped when he got outside by one of Melvin's friends. He recognized him but couldn't think of his name. He smiled at the guy, but when the dark haired guy with the piercing blue eyes only glared back at him he stopped.

"What's going on?" he asked.

"How long has Melvin been fucking Paul?" the not quite stranger demanded, and Adam knew this had to be Gavin.

"What are you talking about?" Adam asked. Melvin wasn't fucking anyone. Adam had made sure of that with an order to be faithful. Of course he'd had cheerleaders in mind when he'd given the order.

"They're always texting each other," Gavin said. "I got back from my Civics class and they were in the dorm room together. Paul was in a towel."

"That doesn't mean he was having sex with Melvin," Adam replied. "If this is what you and Paul are fighting about, I suggest you go back and apologize to your boyfriend. Fair warning, though, Melvin is with Paul right now. I don't suggest you accuse them of anything. Melvin has a temper."

"Adam, are you that blind?" Gavin spat. His face was turning red, and Adam wasn't sure if he was the violent type or not.

"I'm not blind," Adam replied coldly. "I know my boyfriend, and I know he wouldn't fuck someone else. Besides, Melvin is a bottom."

That wasn't strictly true. Melvin was only a bottom because Adam refused to even consider letting him top him. He felt comfortable saying it, though, because Melvin would agree with whatever he said. He just couldn't figure out why Gavin thought Paul was sleeping with Melvin.

"Not according to Paul," said Gavin.

"Wait a minute," Adam sighed. "Did Paul tell you he was sleeping with Melvin?"

"He said something about Melvin being a better man than me," said Gavin. "Then he said that I should know which of us had the bigger dick."

Suddenly Adam remembered who Paul was. He'd been in the steam room the night that Melvin had sucked Adam's dick at the gym. They were both naked, and Melvin was hard when he stood up. Paul had seen him. Plus what Paul had said to Gavin, though it was designed to piss him off wasn't exactly an admission of guilt. It seemed more like taunting.

"That doesn't mean anything, Gavin," Adam said. "I can't say anything for your character, because I don't know you that well. But Paul is a member of the gym we go to. He's seen Melvin naked in the steam room, and he's seen him hard. We're not exactly exhibitionists, but we have been known to be rather affectionate in the steam room at times. That's where Paul has seen Melvin's dick. I don't know what you guys were fighting about, but I can assure you Melvin wouldn't have sex with anyone but me."

"Well I'm going to go over there and ask them both," Gavin said. "I have to get the rest of my stuff anyway."

Adam watched him walk away and then he texted Melvin to warn him about what Gavin was thinking and what he was planning to do. He went on to class, worrying about what Melvin would do to Paul if he asked him in the wrong way. Adam didn't know that Melvin would react violently. He only had the night of the rape to go by.

He worried about it all through his Accounting class. He paid attention to the lecture and even completed the calculations assignment, but his mind never left Melvin. When he got out of class he found a text from Melvin, telling him that he had gone to class without incident and that he loved him. Adam breathed a sigh of relief.

"So this Gavin guy thinks Melvin is having sex with his boyfriend?" Pete asked when Adam met him for coffee after class.

"Yeah," Adam replied. "Apparently Paul, that's Gavin's boyfriend, taunted him by saying that Melvin's a better man than he is, and that he has a bigger dick."

"How has this Paul guy seen Melvin's dick?" Pete asked. "Are you sure nothing's going on between him and Melvin?"

"Positive," Adam assured him. "Paul is a member of the gym we go to. He saw Melvin in the steam room, naked and hard."

"And why was Melvin hard in the steam room?" Pete asked, but Melvin came to the table then.

"I was hard in the steam room, because Adam thought it was funny to turn me on with an audience," Melvin said as he slid into the booth beside Adam. He kissed him when he was situated.

"Hi, baby," Adam said with a grin.

"Hi yourself," Melvin replied, grinning back. "So Gavin accused me of doing Paul."

"I thought he would," Adam sighed. "How'd you react?"

"I laughed at him," Melvin said with a smirk. "I told him that I wouldn't touch another guy when I've got you. He didn't seem to believe me at first, but then Paul told him he was nuts. Apparently Paul was under the impression that Gavin was sleeping with that cheerleader guy."

"Mark?" Adam asked. He could remember who Mark was because the guy was gorgeous and hard to forget.

"That's the one," Melvin replied.

"So was he?" Adam asked.

"Don't know and don't care," Melvin replied. "I told them both that I didn't want any part of their drama and went to class. I got a text from Paul apologizing for everything. I haven't replied. I'm kinda mad at him for even insinuating that I'd sleep with him."

"You guys are sick, you know?" Pete said, smiling at them.

"How do you figure?" Melvin asked.

"Well I get that you guys are like over the moon for each other, but you don't even care where you are or who's watching you when you kiss each other," Pete explained. "Now I hear that Adam likes an audience."

"Shuddup," Adam laughed. "It was actually Melvin who started things in the steam room. Apparently he couldn't wait until we were home where we'd have privacy."

"In my defense," Melvin said, smirking at Adam. "He put the idea in my head. He told me that if I didn't stop teasing him about how much of a wuss he was being that night he'd make me blow him in the steam room in front of everyone. I just called his bluff."

"Too much information," Pete said, making a face as Lisa came to the table. She kissed Pete before she even slid into the booth.

"Talk about sick," Melvin said. "You guys just kiss and touch each other no matter where you are and who's paying attention."

"Your point?" Pete asked.

"Equality, Pete," Melvin said with a grin. "If straight people can be affectionate in public then I don't see why Adam and I can't display our affection for each other no matter where we are."

"Damned right," Adam agreed, leaning over and kissing Melvin again.

"Well I'm all for it," Lisa said. "We were talking about this in my Humanities class today."

"You were talking about Melvin and Adam being able to make out in public in class?" Pete asked,.

"No," laughed Lisa. "There are lesbians in the class, and they were saying that it was unfair. They made pretty much the same statement that Melvin made just a minute ago."

"Lesbians are big advocates for equal opportunity PDA," Melvin said, deadpan.

Later that night when they were alone in their dorm room, Adam told Melvin exactly what was said between him and Gavin earlier. Melvin assured Adam that he only had eyes for him, and Adam told him that he'd tried to tell that to Gavin, but Gavin wouldn't buy it.

"He's just insecure," Melvin said to that. "He knows that Paul isn't really ready for the type of relationship that Gavin wants."

"What type of relationship does Gavin want?" Adam asked.

"The type that we have," Melvin said seriously. "Gavin is jealous of the way you and I are together."

"Melvin, I didn't even know who Gavin was when he stopped me outside the dorm," Adam informed. "It took me a minute to realize he was Gavin. I mean he looked slightly familiar, but I don't know all of your gay friends well enough to put names to faces half the time."

"Well don't you think it's time that you get to know them better?" Melvin asked.

"Well I suppose, but that wasn't the point I was trying to make," Adam pointed out. "What I was trying to say was that I didn't understand how Gavin could be jealous of us if I didn't know him well enough to put his name to his face. How does he know what kind of relationship we have?"

"Because I talk about you like a love sick puppy when I'm not around you," Melvin admitted. "Adam, sometimes I don't think you know just how much I love you."

"Well it's certainly nice to hear you say it," Adam said, kissing him.

He thought about what Melvin had said about him not knowing how much he loved him all night long. He was awake almost the entire night thinking about it. Did Melvin understand just how much Adam loved him? He wasn't sure he did or that he even could. How could he know that he loved him so much that he kept giving him a potion to keep him? He'd never be able to tell him about it.

Adam tried to make an effort to get to know some of Melvin's friends, but they turned out to have interests that Adam didn't share. A lot of them were all about equality for gay people, which Adam agreed with, but some of them were one step away from activists. Adam could understand why they wanted to take a stand, and he could even understand why they might want to start letter writing campaigns to congressmen. He just wasn't that kind of guy. He would support whatever cause he felt was right, but he wasn't about to get out there and make a statement for the world to see. He'd made a statement with Melvin for the entire university. That was enough, however with some of these guys it was clear that Adam was the underachiever in the realm of gay rights.

He talked to Pete about it, and Pete told him that he didn't see why Adam had to be all gung ho for gay rights if he didn't want to be. After all in the state of Iowa gays and lesbians could marry, they could adopt children and they were given the same rights as heterosexual married couples as far as taxes, communal property and the like. That left Adam with a lot to think about over the next few days.

Their freshman year was only a few weeks away from being over. He imagined that he'd have the summer to decide what he thought of Melvin's more radical friends. He wasn't going to invoke the potion to make him stop hanging out with any of his friends, though. That just seemed wrong. After all it was no longer about punishing Melvin for the rape. The relationship was probably one of the strangest in history, but it wasn't about revenge anymore.

Gavin and Paul actually patched things up. Adam and Melvin had dinner with them at the campus diner and both were all apologetic to Adam over the drama. Melvin made it clear at that dinner that he was completely and totally in love with Adam and that other guys simply didn't interest him. Adam thought about what he'd said and was reminded that Melvin wasn't actually gay or bisexual. The potion was responsible for all of this.

He found himself wondering what Melvin would think if he really knew that his perfect gay man routine was brought about by a potion that Adam had been slipping him for what had started out as revenge for the rape and then turned into Adam's desperate need to hang on to the man he loved. Adam knew beyond doubt that if he stopped giving the potion to Melvin things would change, and they would change fast. Melvin's heterosexuality would reassert itself and it would destroy their relationship. He shivered as he thought about it.

That thought bothered him for a long time after that. For the last two weeks of classes it was all Adam could think about. He went back and forth on the issue, telling himself that Melvin really did love him and the potion only let him know it and then reminding himself that Melvin wasn't gay and that the potion was responsible for all of it. He agonized until the last day of classes and then devised a plan to find out once and for all what Melvin really felt.

He put his plan into motion as soon as he got back to the dorm room. Everything was in boxes that were still in the room other than Adam's lock box which contained the potion and Melvin's coffee and coffee pot. Adam took the can of coffee and left the room. He put the coffee in the tuck and drove to the supermarket to buy another can of the exact same coffee. Then he went back to the dorm and took enough out of the can so that Melvin wouldn't notice.

When Melvin came back to the room after his last class he kissed Adam. Then they were loading everything that was left in the room into the back of Adam's truck. They turned in their keys to the dorm room and Adam drove the load to the house. Melvin followed him in the car. They gave each other gentle massages in the bed that Adam had slept in for most of his life. Then they made love like love starved men which ended in a shower and cuddle session. Melvin fell asleep rather quickly after they got into the bed. Adam stayed awake for quite a while.

He thought about what would happen when Melvin didn't get his dose of the potion the next morning. The coffee can he'd bought was in the kitchen next to the coffee pot. Melvin hadn't even bothered to look into the can as he only drank coffee in the morning. Adam had no idea how long it would take for the effect of the potion to wear off. The book was no help. He'd read the section on that potion twenty times. It was only meant for one time use. He was sure that no witch who'd ever brewed that particular potion had ever used it in quite the way he had, so there was no one to ask about things like this.

He was very tired and had no new insights when the alarm went off. They got out of bed together and Adam waited while Melvin made the bed. Then they took their shower together and had breakfast. Adam nearly wept when Melvin made his coffee. They sat there while Melvin drank his cup of coffee and read the newspaper. He looked up from his untouched plate when Melvin put the paper down.

"Hmm," he said, looking at his coffee cup.

"What?" Adam asked.

"The coffee tastes different," he said. "It's almost like it's stale or something."

"It can't have gotten stale," Adam said, trying hard not to let his nerves seep into his voice.

"I'll pick up another can while I'm out with Paul," Melvin said as he got up from the table and dumped his coffee cup in the sink. He placed it in the dishwasher and then walked over and kissed Adam. "I'll see you a little later."

"All right," Adam said, biting back his fear. "I love you."

"I love you, too," Melvin said as he walked out of the room.

Adam waited until he heard the front door open and close before he got up and emptied his plate into the trash. He rinsed it and put it in the dishwasher and then turned and stood with his back against the counter. He sighed as he looked at the clock. He was supposed to help Pete pack for the trip to Crete after the party he was supposed to be throwing for their friends to celebrate the end of the semester.

He had last minute groceries to buy and food to cook. He couldn't stand there all day and worry about what would happen with Melvin. He went out to the garage and put all of the empty boxes he'd saved for this very day into the back of his truck and then drove it to the dorms.

"Hey," Pete said when Adam showed up at his door. He took some of the boxes out of his arms and stepped aside to allow him to enter the room.

The whole place was almost completely packed up. Adam had never seen it like this before. The shelves were empty. The glass pieces were wrapped in bubble wrap and sitting on Pete's bed. His roommate's bed was stripped bare. There were boxes and bags sitting on that bed. Pete put the empty boxes on the bed beside the others.

"I see you're almost all packed," Adam said.

"Yeah," chuckled Pete. "I guess I'm a little excited to get out of this room for the summer."

"I hear you," Adam said. He looked around and sighed. "Where do we start?"

"Adam, are you all right?" Pete asked, looking concerned.

"Just fine," Adam said, forcing a smile. "Where do we start? I've got to get to the grocery store and then back to the house to get the food ready. You and Lisa will be there at six, right?"

"Sure," said Pete. "She's already packed. She leaves for home first thing in the morning. I'll just be putting her stuff with mine to take to Crete."

They worked in relative silence after that. Pete told him what went with what in each box and then they were taping the boxes closed. They carried them down to the trailer that Pete had rented from the moving company. It was rigged to the back of his car and already nearly full of Lisa's boxes. They got it all on packed tightly into the trailer and then he helped with a tarp. They tied that off and then Adam left Pete to head to the grocery store.

When he got back to the house, Melvin's car was in the garage. He sighed and started to worry. He carried the groceries into the kitchen and began to put them all away. Melvin didn't come in to help him. The house was eerily quiet. Melvin usually made some kind of noise. He'd turn on a television, a radio or something. Adam went to look for him and get it over with. What he found nearly undid him.

Melvin was not in the house. The closet in their bedroom was open and all of Melvin's clothes were missing. On the dresser was the collar that Adam had locked around Melvin's neck. It had been cut off his neck. Adam supposed it was bolt cutters or something like that. It was clear what had happened. The potion was out of Melvin's system and he'd fled when he realized that he really didn't love Adam.

Adam supposed it could have been worse. Melvin could have been waiting for him when he came home to beat the shit out of him or worse. Adam refused to cry over this. He had to convince himself that it had all been revenge and that his revenge had played out. Melvin was gone, and if the man didn't really love him then he didn't want him there, did he?

He made himself busy cleaning up the mess that Melvin left behind. When that was done he went down and started to get food out of the fridge, but then decided that he wasn't in the mood to cook dinner. He called Pete and told him that they would just have a meal at the diner. He didn't say anything about Melvin leaving.

Instead of cooking he went to the moving company and bought boxes, a roll of packing tape and a tape dispenser. When he got back to the house he contacted a second hand furniture store to come in two days to look at all of his furniture. He didn't want the house without Melvin. He'd put the house on the market and either move back into the dorm or rent an apartment.

He packed up all of his books and witchcraft supplies and then moved on to his personal stuff. He put his clothes in suitcases and left them in the closet. Then he went down and started the dishwasher. When that was done it was time to head over to the diner. He just wasn't prepared for what was waiting for him at the diner.

Paul was waiting outside the diner when Adam parked his truck next to Pete's car. At first Adam thought that Melvin was with him and that this would be the site of the huge beating he was about to receive. Then he saw that there was no one with Paul. He wondered what the guy wanted. They were friendly but not friends after all. He got out of the truck and went to get it over with.

"Adam," Paul said when he stepped up to him. "Melvin didn't want me to tell you this, but I put him on a bus for Ohio just a few minutes ago. I don't know what's going on. He wouldn't tell me, but he was very upset."

"Thank you for telling me," Adam said as pleasantly as he could, though inside he was dying. "At least this way I know where he's going."

"Adam, did you guys have a fight or something?" Paul asked.

"No," he replied. "I don't really want to discuss this right now, Paul. My friends are waiting for me inside. Thank you for coming to tell me."

"All right," Paul said. "You're welcome. I'm sorry for whatever is going on."

"Thanks," Adam said as Paul walked away.

Adam didn't feel like explaining anything to Pete and Lisa either, but he knew he couldn't stand them up. They'd come looking for him if he did that. He sighed and then went into the diner. They were sitting at their usual table. Adam smiled at Kelly and then headed for the table.

"Adam," said Lisa with a smile. She looked around for a second and then the smile slipped. "Where's Melvin?"

"On a bus to Ohio," Adam said as he sat down. "You guys been here long?"

"Wait a minute," Pete said. "Why is he going to Ohio?"

"I suppose to visit his parents," Adam said. "I don't really know to be honest. He didn't tell me he was leaving."

"Oh, my God, Adam," Lisa said, grabbing his hand from across the table. "What happened?"

"Nothing happened that I know of," Adam replied. "I came back from helping Pete pack the trailer and found all of his stuff gone. Paul was outside when I got here to tell me that he'd just put Melvin on a bus to Ohio. He didn't know anything more than I did, so I came inside."

Lisa pulled out her cell phone and started to dial Melvin's number, but Adam stopped her. "He left his cell on the dresser in our room."

"Adam, what is going on?" she demanded.

"Lisa, I swear I don't know," he said. "We didn't fight or anything. When he left to hang out with Paul this morning he kissed me goodbye, told me he'd see me later for dinner and told me he loved me. That was the last I heard from him. I swear."

"Things have been good between you two?" Pete asked. "I mean you haven't said anything to make me think different."

"That's because things have been great between us," Adam replied honestly. "Look, I don't know what's going on. Melvin left me. That's all I know. I don't really want to talk about it. You guys are leaving in the morning, and I want to spend this time with you without talking about something that is really doing a number on me, all right?"

But, as he'd suspected that wasn't all right. Pete grilled him for almost the entire dinner. Lisa cried and alternated between putting her head on Pete's shoulder and holding Adam's hand. They did order food, but Adam picked at his and Lisa wouldn't let go of either of them long enough to eat. It was a lost cause, so he finally asked Kelly to take the food away and just bring coffee.

He told them again that everything had been great between him and Melvin and he didn't know why Melvin had left. He just knew that he was gone and that was all. No, he didn't plan to head after him. If Melvin wanted to be gone then he'd let him have what he wanted. Lisa argued with him about that for a long time, but finally she said she'd let it go. Adam knew that once she got back to her parents' house she'd question Melvin. He just didn't know what Melvin would say.

Adam didn't cry until he was back at the house, leaning against the inside of the front door. He slid down the door and hugged his knees. Then he really let go. It was just as he feared. All right, Melvin didn't take revenge on him for all of it, but he left. He didn't love him. It had all been the potion. He'd been a fool to let himself fall in love with Melvin when he'd known on some level that it would all end one day when he stopped giving him the potion. Melvin wasn't gay, he wasn't in love with him and there was nothing he could do to change that. He certainly wasn't going to cast a spell to have a man who clearly didn't want to be anywhere near him.

He went up to his bathroom and got in the shower. Then he started to cry again. Everywhere he looked he was reminded of Melvin. He hoped the house sold quickly. He didn't want to spend the summer in it. He didn't have to. It didn't matter if it sold or not. He would move into an apartment closer to campus and wait it out. He didn't even want to return to the university. He thought about that as he dried himself after the shower. He went to bed and cried himself to sleep.

The next morning he and Pete saw Lisa off at the bus station. Then he said goodbye to Pete, promising to come to Crete if he needed to get away. He knew he wasn't going to Crete, though. A plan had formed in his mind that morning, and he put it into play as soon as Pete drove away. The guidance and advisory staff were still in their offices. Adam went to his advisor and asked for his transcripts. He told her that he wouldn't be returning to Storyville University in the Fall and wanted his transcript so that he could give it to the school he chose to attend the following semester.

He knew where he was going though. His second choice after Storyville University had been Stattler - Mead University in Crippin, Illinois. He'd been accepted there the year before, so he was sure he could just transfer. He had his transcript. The house was packed. He was ready to go. All he needed was to find a house in Crippin. He looked online for real estate in Crippin, Illinois and found several houses near the campus that were for sale. He took virtual tours for a few hours and then contacted a realtor to talk about three of the properties. He told her he would be in Crippin in two days to look at them.

The next day he sold everything in the house except his bedroom furniture to the second hand store people when they came. Two hours after they left they returned with a moving crew and a check for the money. Adam accepted the check and then sat on the back porch to wait for them to pack it all up and move it away. When they were gone he got in his truck with his suitcases and started the long drive to Crippin.

It was a near six hour trip and he stopped for gas and food twice. He pulled into the city just after nine that night and quickly found a Holiday Inn. It was a large three story white building with potted trees in front. He pulled his truck into the covered circle drive in front of the lobby and got out. Inside he found light blue carpet and white walls. There were people at the reception desk but he paid very little attention to them even when he was speaking to them. He checked in with his credit card and paid for two weeks. Then he went up to his room, took a shower and collapsed in the bed and slept.

The next morning he met Angela Waggy at the first house he'd looked at. She was a forty something year old woman with long dark hair that she kept pulled back. She smiled when she saw him and her entire face lit up. Her brown eyes sparkled when she smiled. She was dressed in a dark blue jacket with matching slacks and white blouse under the jacket.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Wells," she said, shaking his hand.

"Thank you," he said as he looked around the front of the house.

It had a small yard with hedges in front of the house on either side of the porch steps. There was one tree in the center of the left section of the yard with white and yellow flowers growing in a circular bed around its base. The house was two stories tall with white clapboard siding, a slate roof and matching black shutters on the windows. A large covered front porch could be accessed by three concrete steps at the end of the walk. There was a two car garage attached to the house on the right with a large driveway between the garage doors and the street.

They went inside and Adam looked around the foyer. There was dark red brick like tile on the floor just inside the door and then dark hardwood. The foyer opened onto a hallway with more of the dark hardwood. The kick and crown molding matched the floor as did the doorways that led to the living room, dining room and finally the kitchen. The living room and dining room were large and bright with the bay window in the living room and two large windows in the dining room. The kitchen was an absolute disappointment. It was small and very poorly lit. The appliances were out dated and the counter space was almost nonexistent. It was also the house that was furthest from campus.

He didn't even bother to go upstairs or to look at the back yard, even though Angela had tried to talk him into it. Instead he drove to the second address, following behind her shiny gold Volvo. The second house was the most expensive of the three. It was a town home that was located six blocks from University Row. He liked the flowers and shrubs in front but didn't like the fact that there was only a covered carport beside the house.

The building itself was white stucco with a small porch. The front door opened into the living room which he didn't like. The room was big but the floor was covered with chocolate brown carpet. The walls were on the darker side of beige and there was only the one set of double windows in the front. There was a doorway to the absolute left of the room that opened on a hallway with more of the chocolate brown carpet and dark beige walls. There was a tiny half-bath which was all floor to ceiling white tile. It had no window and looked cramped.

The kitchen was an eat-in and though there was a lot of counter space, the countertops were a dreadful mustard color that clashed with the bright blue cabinets and brown tiled floor. He hated this one even more than the first. Without bothering to look upstairs or even to listen to what Angela said about how he could update the small house he walked out the front door and asked to see the third house, which was the one he was most interested in to begin with.

The third house was a dark brick one story with a covered front porch. The house sat on a hill that was cut off with a brick wall, making the lawn flat. The front door opened on a foyer that was a little small but had nice dark hardwood on the floor with matching kick and crown molding. There was a three globe hanging light in the small foyer and coat hooks on a white board in the center of the outer wall. The room was floor to ceiling white plaster with a textured ceiling. A large archway opened on the living room which was large and bright with double windows in the front and two in the outer wall. The hardwood ran throughout which he liked.

Another archway opened on the dining room which was just as large as the living room. The hardwood and moldings continued into this room as well. A dark oak door in the near center of the back wall opened to the master bedroom with more of the same dark hardwood, matching kick and crown molding. The rooms were all very bright with lots of large windows. The master bedroom had a walk-in closet with an on suite bathroom. In the bathroom the hardwood was replaced with a white tiled floor. There was a large tub in the floor in the right corner with a toilet in the left corner separated from the tub by a half wall with frosted glass on top of a plaster molding.

There were double sinks in the sparkling dark countertop with a cabinet with two doors and three drawers underneath. A shower stall stood just beside them. There were two windows in this room and both had frosted glass for privacy. He liked what he'd seen so far and headed back into the dining room and through the arch to the large kitchen. One whole wall was counter and cabinet. The wall cabinets were broken by a square window that let in a lot of light. There were no appliances, but that didn't matter to Adam. There were sliding glass doors that led to a deck off the back of the house. The lot was long and looked very well cared for.

The doorway in the kitchen would lead back to the dining room, beside that was an archway that led back to the hall. Adam walked through it and found two dark oak doors in the wall to his left. The first opened on a moderate sized bathroom complete with a tub and shower combo, a pedestal sink and toilet. Beside the toilet was a linen closet. The lone window was frosted for privacy but let in a lot of light which was great.

The second door opened on the second bedroom. It was large for a second bedroom with a decent sized closet and two windows. The floor was also hardwood with matching kick and crown molding. From there he opened the door at the end of the hall and found the third bedroom. This room was a bit smaller with another moderate sized closet. Both rooms had windows that let in plenty of light.

There was also an attached garage that was accessed from the kitchen. Inside the garage were a set of steps that led down to a full sized basement that was all cinder block and concrete. It extended under the entire house with lots of rafters and little rectangular windows that lit up the space nicely. These were up high almost to the tops of the walls. The water heater, furnace and electrical panel were all down in the basement, and Adam thought it would be easy to build walls around the heater and furnace. He could even disguise the panel in some way.

He told Angela that he would pay the asking price which wasn't all that high and handed her a check for five thousand dollars from his bank in Storyville. She assured him that his offer would be accepted, handed him her business card and wrote down his cell number. Then he was driving around the neighborhood to get a feel for the place.

There was a grocery store that was part of a national chain two blocks away with three college bars, two diners and a row of stores another few blocks down. The campus was very close. He could walk to and from if he lived there and attended the school. He took a chance when he got back to the hotel and called the admissions office of the college to see if he could talk to someone about enrolling. His luck was great that day as he talked with a woman and after a few moments was assured that his acceptance was still in effect. He made an appointment for the next morning to talk to her about classes, his major and to give her his transcripts from Storyville and to pay the tuition for the fall semester.

Stattler - Mead University was a large campus. The buildings on the main campus all matched which was nice. They looked like brick bungalows all set up like a little village. The lawns were immaculately manicured with large oak trees, nice shrubs and a lot of flower gardens. He parked his truck in the lot and quickly found the admissions office in the Student Services building at the front of the campus.

The inside of the office was brightly lit with speckled gray carpet, white walls and a huge dark oak desk with blotters and bins all over it. He told the secretary that he was there for a meeting with Jane Hall and then had a seat in the darkly cloth covered chairs to the left of the door to wait. His wait wasn't long before an older woman with very short dark hair that was riddled with grey came out to get him. She was dressed in a hunter green pants suit with a cream colored blouse under the jacket and a matching ruffled green scarf around her neck. Her hair was cut so short that it was spiked on the top of her head. Her glasses were black wire rimmed and seemed to complete her look. She smiled at him and introduced herself as Jane Hall.

"Won't you come back, Mr. Wells?" she asked.

"Adam, please," he said as he rose and followed her back to her office.

Her office was large with an entire wall of floor to ceiling dark oak book cases. These were crammed full of books on every subject of scholastics he could think of. Her desk was dark oak and nearly covered with Green Bay Packers merchandise. Her coffee cup was the green and yellow with their emblem on the side, her picture frame was green wood with a yellow insert around a photograph of her with another woman who was probably around her age. They were both smiling and she had her arm around the other woman. Adam thought that perhaps this was her lover and that she was a lesbian.

"All right, Adam," she said as they sat down. "Let's talk about your major."

"Well I'm a business major," he said, smiling. He handed her his transcript from Storyville sat back. "I've had good marks for the entire year, and I was part of a planning team for a business project that they'll be finalizing next semester."

"Yes, I see it here," she said, looking up at him over the folder and smiling. "This all looks great. I see no problems."

Then he filled out the enrollment forms, paid his tuition and selected classes. There were the second year business requirements and then electives. She talked to him about housing and he told her he'd put in an offer on a house not far from campus. She told him that Crippin was a great place to live and wished him happiness and luck with the house. Then he was back at the hotel. He was there for an hour before his cell chirped at him.

It was Angela telling him that his offer was accepted. He gave her his bank information, made a call to the bank to make the transfer of funds and then called Angela back to see how long it would take to close the sale. She assured him that he'd be in his house by the end of that month.

He returned to Storyville the next day, leaving a week earlier than he'd thought he'd need to. He packed up all of the odds and ends that were left. Searched the net for furniture stores, accessory stores and other things he'd need in Crippin. Then he called Pete to tell him what he'd done.

"You're moving to Illinois?" Pete asked in a dismayed tone. "Adam, what brought this on? Is it because of Melvin?"

"It has everything to do with Melvin, Pete," Adam said, letting his heartbreak seep into his voice. "There are memories and reminders of him everywhere here. I can't stay here. I've already transferred to the university there and I've purchased a house in Crippin."

"Adam this is all very fast," Pete said with a sigh. "I guess there's no talking you out of it."

"No there isn't," he said. "We'll keep in touch, Pete. Don't think for a moment that you and Lisa will be rid of me."

"I wasn't worried about that, Adam," Pete said. "It just won't be the same without you in Storyville next semester. I'll miss you, man."

"I'll miss you guys, too," he said. "But like I said we'll keep in touch. We'll visit, and maybe we can even take Spring Break together next year."

An hour later he had an even harder conversation with Lisa. She told him that Melvin wouldn't discuss him with her and when she'd tried to push it he'd just walked away from her and hadn't talked to her since. She was upset that he was leaving Storyville but said she understood why he was going. She expressed her confusion over his break up with Melvin and promised to get to the bottom of it. She only tentatively promised to let it go when he'd insisted. In the end he promised to be in Crete the day she arrived to hang out with her and Pete and to talk it all out. He informed her that it was too late to change his mind.

The next day he received an offer on his house in Storyville. It was way below his asking price, but he accepted without a second thought. He moved his bedroom furniture to a storage facility on the other side of town, checked into a hotel for his waiting time and basically became a recluse. His heart was broken and no amount of talking or visiting with anyone would change that. It had to mend, and it wouldn't do that in Storyville. Going to Crete wouldn't help. There were worse memories waiting for him there.

Those memories hit him in the gut like a fist as he drove into Crete the day that Lisa was scheduled to arrive by bus. He drove down familiar streets reliving all of the hell his life had been in the past. He passed the gas station where he'd worked and drove by the school. Then he finally drove to the house and stood there in front of it for a long moment until Pete came out the front door.

"Adam!" he cried in delight. "I was hoping you'd get here before I had to go and get Lisa. You wanna come?"

"Sure," he said, though he didn't want to get into that car.

He sighed as he got in and buckled his seat belt. Pete talked a mile a minute about all the work he'd been doing on the house. He assured Adam that he wouldn't recognize the place. Adam smiled and listened but didn't offer any words of his own. They pulled into the parking lot of the bus station to wait for Lisa to arrive.

"So, Crippin," Pete said with a sigh when he'd turned off the ignition.

"Yeah," Adam said. "Closing on the house there will be soon. I've even sold the house in Storyville. Took a lot less than I was asking, but I'm well rid of it nearly."

"Adam, I wish you'd stay," Pete said. "I know it's hard for you with Melvin gone, but what if he comes back?"

"He won't come back, Pete," Adam said softly. "He probably hates me now."

"But why?" Pete said. "Have you talked to him since he left?"

"No," Adam replied. "I'd imagine I'm the last person on Earth that Melvin wants to talk to. Pete, can we not talk about Melvin?"

"Sure, I guess," sighed Pete. "I just don't understand what happened."

"That makes two of us," Adam said as a bus pulled up. "Is that her?"

"Yeah," Pete said. "Right on time."

They got out of the car and headed toward the bus. Adam was dreading seeing Lisa, fearing that she'd have something to tell him about Melvin. He wanted to know how he was doing, but at the same time he didn't want to hear anything about him or be reminded of the fact that he'd walked out of his life.

She was the third person off the bus. Then she was in Pete's arms. He lifted her off her feet and spun around, holding her tight. Then she was holding onto Adam like her life depended on it and nearly cutting off his breathing. She let go of them both to get her bags and then they were in the car and she said the very words that Adam didn't want to hear.

"I talked to Melvin about you, and he finally opened up," she said as Pete backed out of the parking spot. "To be honest I got a little angry with him after he stopped talking."

"Why?" Pete asked. Adam remained silent and dreaded what she was going to say.

"He said he was confused," she said. "He said that he wasn't gay or bisexual, and he didn't know what had come over him with Adam. When I asked him if he loved him he said he didn't think he ever loved Adam. He admitted that he raped him and said that he'd have to live with that for the rest of his life, but he said that what went on between him and Adam had his head all screwed up. He had to get away to think about things, and he's decided he's not coming back to Storyville."

"That prick," Pete said.

"I told him that Adam had sold the house and left Storyville," she said. "He said he didn't care where Adam was anymore and he never wanted to see him again."

Each word was like a nail hammered into his heart, but he kept a tight control on his emotions. He'd expected this hadn't he? If he was truthful with himself for just a tiny moment he'd have to admit that he'd hoped beyond all sanity that Melvin had actually loved him, but he'd expected this and a lot worse. He no longer wished he hadn't switched the coffee and stopped the potion. He was getting in too deep with Melvin, and one day it would have happened. How would it have gone if they'd gotten married or something like that? It was bad enough that Melvin hated him, but it would have been worse if he'd hurt him physically.

He excused himself when they got back to the house. He wasn't ready for the sight of the inside of that house just then. Not with all that she'd said about Melvin. He got in his truck and went for a drive. He ended up at one of the last places he expected. The mall was never a hangout for Adam growing up. He'd never spent any of the money he'd made for more than food and the occasional article of clothing. Those he got at thrift stores to save money for his trip to Storyville, so the mall had never held any allure for him.

He parked in the lot and went inside. It wasn't a huge place. It was all one story. The outside was white brick with black doors and windows. There were young oaks in the parking lot surrounded by white brick circles. The inside was bigger than he'd expected but not by much. The floor was covered with brown bricks. The walls were the same white as the outside. The only differences were the stores. He walked down the line of stores, looking into each and not setting foot in any. Then he got to the food court which was just four little food stalls and about ten tables with chairs. Across from this was an auto parts store and behind the counter was Aaron Coleson.

Adam nearly stopped breathing as the boy looked up and recognized him. Adam stood there, looking at Aaron for a long moment. Aaron hadn't changed much. His wavy hair was cut short and there was a lot of product in it to keep it under control. He was dressed in a navy polo shirt with the store's logo on the right breast, khaki pants and brown dress shoes. He'd been stocking something when he'd looked up at Adam. A new plan began to build in Adam's mind as he stared into Aaron's green eyes.



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