Thank you very much (in advance) for reading! I'm a writing teacher myself, so I'm always happy (and eager) to hear any feedback you might have. This is an original work I've been toying with for a very long time, and I've decided to start releasing chapters of it to motivate myself to write. It's a balance between smut/fluff and a little bit of a plot.
This work is property of the author. Please do not repost without permission, but feel free to share links! It is also cross-posted on the Archive of Our Own, here: https://archiveofourown.org/works/14808072/chapters/34262904
For my more visually inclined readers, I imagine (and was inspired by) Pietro Boselli/Henry Cavill/Armie Hammer as "playing" one character, and Chace Crawford/(young) Rob Lowe the other. It's going to be a dual protagonist story, moving between their PoV. This reads best in the reader mode of your browser.
If you'd like to get in touch, hit me up at email@example.com
Chapter 1 -- Serendipity at the Gym
Jack really was not the exhibitionist type--in fact, that's why he always worked out in the early mornings at the faculty club. A relatively junior administrator on campus, he preferred the peace, quiet, and lack of prying undergraduate (and graduate) eyes that he couldn't get at the newer recreation center, even at 6:30 a.m. Though not a morning person at all, not even in the slightest bit, he always managed to drag himself out of bed and blearily force himself to use the treadmill and put in an effort with the weight room or with some solo yoga to attempt to slow his inexorable march through the final eleven months separating him from his birthday--or, as his friends had been teasing him, `gay death.' In his short time at Starkhaven University, he'd quickly learned that his nearly eight years in New York city had been insufficient preparation for the bitter winters that ravaged the plains outside Chicago, and his Texas upbringing left him completely unprepared for the cold, so on a particularly blustery morning at the end of January he found himself tempted to stay ensconced in his satin sheets and down comforter, but half of his staff had already had that idea by the time he managed to grab his blackberry and check his email half-awake under the covers.
Reluctantly, Jack flung himself out of bed into the cold air of his bedroom and then trudged to the gym. It was even more deserted than usual--not even the typical assortment of septuagenarian professors making slow laps on the track around the cardio floor. In contrast to the freezing temperatures outside, the building's old radiators were working overtime and the area near the two facing rows of treadmills in the center of the room was blisteringly, boilingly hot, so much so that Jack was nearly sweating even before he started his run. After several furtive glances around to make sure that he was alone, Jack peeled off his shirt and draped it over the arm of a treadmill.
After setting one of the hanging TVs to a financial news channel, Jack began to stretch before his run. As if on cue, someone walked into the room and disturbed his solitude. It was unfortunately not an aging academic, but instead the most stunning young man that Jack had ever seen. The stranger looked like he had wandered off from the set of a Men's Fitness shoot, with a stupidly-perfect amount of muscle bulging obviously through his form-fitting workout tights, the kind that came up to your mid-calf which Jack never had the courage to wear in public, and a tight tank-top. Jack swore that the other man's biceps were bigger than his own thighs, his chest was something Jack didn't think a real human could achieve without Photoshop, and his strong legs were in a shape that Jack had only ever dreamed about, even with well over a decade as a runner under his belt.
Jack had always appreciated a good physique, but muscles usually didn't strike him quite like that--twinks usually did it for him, because he didn't usually bottom and he always felt weird being smaller than whomever he was dating, but this stranger instantly hit the reset button on his preferences, and his mind immediately set to wondering how good those big muscles might feel pinning him to his bed, or, better yet, to the patchwork of rubber tiles covering the slate floor they were standing on.
What Jack thought was a split-second glance was actually several seconds of intense staring--a concerted effort on his part to memorize every curve and angle of the stranger's perfect body--but he only realized this after a soft, masculine "Good Morning," with lilting vowels that he had trouble placing with a recognizable accent.
Jack's blue eyes snapped up to meet the beautiful, hazel gaze that was now fixed on him, feeling his own cheeks grow hot from the shame of his indiscretion, expecting some form of rebuke. Starkhaven was a secular institution, but Jack had never quite shaken the fear of outing himself as gay that had followed him from childhood. The other man had wavy obsidian hair cut with a slight, calculated asymmetry to let it drape gracefully over the left side of his forehead, framing his perfect bone structure, the chiseled cheekbones and jawline that he had obviously stolen from some Florentine museum--handsome enough to make Jack exceptionally nervous. He reasoned with a healthy dose of self-deprecation, that such an attractive man as that probably wouldn't be receptive to his observations, but no scoffing or threat came.
"Good morning," Jack finally managed, his voice coming out dreamier than he'd meant it to. "Sorry for spacing out, there. I'm really not a morning person," he added, rubbing his arm and looking down at his feet. The two of them were about ten feet away, as the other man had thankfully not chosen the machine directly opposite from his, but instead catty-corner to it.
The stranger chuckled. "I didn't even notice," he replied, the accent still eluding Jack. Something European, but very mild. His hazel eyes flitted over Jack's exposed torso obviously, which made Jack's blush start to work its way down to follow, suddenly feeling the contrast between them to be a new source of shame and alarm, wishing that he still had his shirt on, or that he'd decided to shave before the gym, or done his hair, but the other man just offered him a small smile.
"Is it always this warm in here?"
Jack shook his head and bit back a quip about it suddenly being much hotter than it had been second prior. "No, this is new. It's an old building, so the weather must be too much for it," he reasoned.
"It's a nice contrast to the snow. We'll have to pretend it's summer," the other man replied, cheerfully. He sounded like a morning person. French, maybe?
"Absolutely," Jack agreed, stepping up onto his machine and starting the belt.
The stranger's eyes were on Jack again for a moment, as if he were deciding something, before he put his hands at the hem of his shirt and pulled it off swiftly, crossing his arms to show off his muscles just like in a cologne ad. Jack nearly had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from responding audibly to the other man's simply perfect abs--he didn't know how many abs one was supposed to have, but this guy seemed to have at least eight. He was the sort of man that Jack would have designed in a lab for himself, were he aware of his latent attraction to muscular jocks--big, defined, but not huge and out of proportion like a body builder--a sudden realization that he wanted that as much as he wanted to be that.
Jack offered him one more sheepish smile, before beginning his run. He slipped in his earbuds, but realized after a few minutes that he'd neglected to select a song because he was so flustered from the encounter. As they ran, Jack snuck a few more glances, but was caught every time and rewarded with a smile, and he could swear that he was catching the other man in return in his peripheral vision. About ten minutes in, Jack increased the speed and elevation--and so did his new friend, who clicked it up one more notch. Jack matched that, and then five minutes later it happened again, as he felt a strange sense of competitiveness with him. Running was his favorite way of staying in shape and he wasn't about to let this muscle guy beat him at it.
By the time Jack's 30 minute run ended, he was nearly sprinting, but was relieved to see the other man's machine slow to a stop as well--at least he hadn't been beaten in endurance. He threw his shirt over his shoulder and walked over to the bank of water fountains, and was quickly joined by the stranger.
"Ciao. Mi chiamo Luca," the guy offered with an extended hand. Ah, Italian!
"Shit. I knew it was a mistake to study French," Jack quipped, as he accepted the handshake. Up close the man seemed even taller, easily four or five inches taller than Jack was, and his grip was very firmed. "I'm Jack."
"I'm sorry--I sometimes forget English when I'm nervous," Luca said, reverting to his almost sing-song English. "It's nice to meet you, Jack."
Jack grinned, looking away for a second. "Me, too. Just with me, it's usually babble and stammering instead of an impressive display of bilingualism that takes over."
Luca laughed. "I somehow doubt that."
Jack shuddered slightly at that statement. They were standing close enough that he could smell Luca, and he was a little overwhelmed by the clean, masculine scent that he was putting off--like the accent, it was something that he couldn't quite place in his memory.
"Ok, you doubt that. I'll doubt that a guy like you has anything to be nervous about," Jack replied, mouth somewhat on autopilot. "I mean, it's rare that anyone can keep up with me."
"Now that I don't doubt."
Jack looked down at his own feet for a second. "So, why are you nervous?"
"I'm giving a presentation later. They gave me a guest pass, and I was hoping to blow off some steam, but it's only partially working," Luca said.
"Oh," Jack said, disappointed that Luca was apparently only visiting. He saw a single drop of sweat drip its way down Luca's chest and abs and he felt a sudden urge to dive in and lick it off of him. "What's it about?"
"I'm running a longitudinal study tracking the outcomes of patients who have had a certain new kind of brain surgery," Luca explained. Jack appreciated the lack of jargon.
"Wow. Are you a brain surgeon?"
Luca chuckled. "I'm more of a researcher than a practicing physician."
"That's not a no, though."
"No, it isn't."
"So, it's a yes?" Jack teased. Just by being in the faculty gym, Jack knew that Luca had to have been some sort of academic, but his first instinct was to guess that he was in the physical training department, not a medical doctor.
"It is." Luca laughed, as he put his shirt back on. Jack took the cue to follow. "You wouldn't happen to know where the weight room is, would you?"
"You can't tell it from looking, but, yes, I do. I was about to go there now, if you want to follow me," Jack replied, earning another laugh. "You're probably even strong enough to spot me," he added, not knowing at all how he was managing to be coherent around him, let alone joke around.
"I'd be happy to," Luca agreed, as they started to walk. The faculty health club was shaped like a "T," with a lobby separating the locker rooms from the cardio area. The weight room was a more recent addition in a space past the pool that made up the bottom of the "T," so the two of them walked through the heavily-chlorinated room before they got to an area with free weights and a few machines--it wasn't nearly as impressive as the student facility, but it got the job done.
"I really like your cologne, but I don't recognize it," Jack blurted out, smelling him again as they passed through the doorway.
"I'm not actually wearing cologne, but thank you," Luca replied, mildly.
"Oh. I'm not normally this awkward," Jack said, truthfully.
Luca shrugged. "You're much more forthright than most American guys. I like it," he said, which made Jack's heart skip a beat. "I was planning on doing chest. Where are you in your rotation?"
"Um, I was going to do arms today, but I can do chest. You should feel free to take the lead. You obviously know what you're doing," Jack replied. Luca smiled and led them through several different exercises, offering Jack tips and advice as he did so. Worried at first that Luca would be condescending, Jack actually found him to be exceptionally sweet and patient. Normally, Jack hated being told what to do, but he was surprisingly happy to take orders from Luca, especially when Luca reached down to correct his grip on the chest press machine, narrowing it a little.
"It's better on your shoulders to line up your index finger with the groove, here," Luca explained. "Not your pinky." Luca was standing behind the weight bench ready to spot him, and Jack found himself in the enviable position of having his head within inches of Luca's crotch. The stretchy material of his gym tights left something to the imagination, but not much, and Jack wondered if there was any area at all that Luca wasn't gifted in.
After doing his set, he traded places with Luca--who'd put almost twice as much weight on the bar as he had--and wondered what use he could possibly be in that situation, but managed to do it alright. He was impressed that Luca didn't do any of the typical macho, alpha male things like grunting while he lifted weights, even though he had the sort of body that would entitle him to them.
"I mainly workout here instead of the student rec, because there's no-one around, but I'm glad you were here. You've shown me how many mistakes I was making. But in a nice way," Jack noted, once they'd cycled back to the bench press and he laid back on it after a set.
"I'm sorry. I can't help it. I'm a personal trainer on the side," Luca said, softly. "You were doing a lot of things right."
Jack chuckled. "Of course you are," he murmured. "In Italy?"
"I'm from Italy, yes, but I came to the US for college and medical school. I'm at Columbia," he replied, leaning over the bar to look down at Jack, a posture that Jack didn't find unappealing.
"No shit? I went to Columbia Law. I thought for sure I would have noticed you around campus."
Luca chuckled again. "It's a big campus. I'm positive I would have noticed you, too," he said, which made Jack grin. "You're a lawyer?"
"Yeah, I work in campus administration here," Jack said. He got so distracted during their workout that he neglected to check his watch, and caught the time on a clock out of the corner of his eyes. "Shit! I have to be at work in Lincoln in 20 minutes," he said, bolting upright and nearly head-butting Luca. He still had to shower and get dressed, not to mention make it across campus in the snow.
"I hope I haven't kept you."
Jack shook his head. "No. It was me not paying attention to time. I was really enjoying myself," he said, quickly. He paused, rubbing his wrist for a moment. "Actually, I'd really like to buy you a cup of coffee to say thank you, it's just that I really have to run. If you'd've wanted that, anyway."
Luca smiled. "Absolutely. I'll be here again bright and early tomorrow... Maybe we could workout together again, and then I could take you up on that?" he said, sounding hopeful in a way that excited Jack. The thought of getting up early on a Saturday ranked among Jack's worst nightmares, but he was willing to suffer through it for a chance to see Luca again--he was struck by how nice Luca had been, apart from his obvious hotness, and he would take any chance he could get to get to know him better, in any sense he could get.
"It's a date," Jack agreed. "Er. Well. I mean--," he started, but Luca cut him off.
"Date sounded right to me," he offered, with a wink.
Jack grinned. "See you tomorrow, Luca," he said, before racing off to the locker room. He grabbed his gym bag and the folded-over garment bag containing his suit and locked himself into one of the individual changing rooms, which had a shower, toilet, and sink. As he locked the door, his hand hovered over the lever for a second--a great deal of him wanted to leave it open, or wished that he'd invited Luca to join him, but that wasn't precisely the flirtatious vibe that they had going on. He'd picked up guys in college at the gym, but that was all very much more direct. With Luca, it seemed like he might actually want to get to know him.
Still, the encounter had left Jack incredibly horny and he was harder than he'd ever been when he hopped into the shower. He stroked himself thinking about what would happen if Luca walked in. Would they kiss, or would Luca just shove him against the wall and go to town? He was so strong, not that he'd have to be, given how much Jack wanted him. Or would he drop to his knees? He had perfect, pillowy lips that would look great stretched around Jack's cock. And a muscular ass that was begging for a date with Jack's tongue. His whole body was, actually, and Jack wanted to trace and lathe every single muscle, to get up close and personal with his amazing, masculine scent, to show him exactly how much he appreciated the hard work he put into his body.
Jack's mind was a mess of hormones and images, fantasizing not in any particular sequence of doing every conceivable thing with Luca. As he frantically jerked himself off, he was fucking, blowing, and getting plowed by Luca. He reached around with his other hand to touch his hole and that was enough to send him over the edge, just his fingers brushing against himself and he was cumming all over the wall, biting his cheek again to avoid screaming. He couldn't imagine a more embarrassing scenario than to be overheard masturbating to someone he'd just met--unless except Luca'd taken it as an invitation to join.
Panting and groaning for a second, Jack was surprised and frustrated to find his mind still filled with images of Luca. He wanted him even more, which was exactly the opposite of the point of jacking off in the first place. Slightly embarrassed at himself for letting his horniness get the better of himself, he made sure that all of the evidence washed down the drain, before scrambling to get dressed into his favorite blue suit.
About halfway across campus to his office he realized that though they had a coffee date set, he had actually forgotten to give Luca his phone number, which made him want to fling himself into the snow, but also made waking up early again all the more important, as there was no back-up. Once he made it up to the 24th floor of the administration building, he found even fewer of his staff there than he'd anticipated. As Chief of Staff he supervised the President's office staff and liaised between the various vice presidents, the president herself, and the board of governors, but on that snowy day he found himself sitting at the reception desk.
The president's schedule was printed out in front of him, and he glanced at it for a moment before starting on his email, before returning to it quickly upon seeing a familiar new word.
"11:00 a.m. - Interview w/ College of Medicine Candidate Dr. Luca Cipriani, for Asst. Prof. of Neurological Medicine."
"Shit," Jack said aloud. The man he'd just jacked off to wasn't just a visiting scholar, he was there to interview in his office for a job in just under three hours.
Meanwhile, Luca was finishing off his workout in the faculty club, and Jack was still very much on his mind. The lean blond had been able to combine nerves, confidence, and a sort of sweetness that Luca wasn't used to with New York guys. His advisor had told him specifically to avoid any sort of behavior during his job visit that could be misconstrued as unprofessional, but that flirtation had definitely been the highlight of his visit to Starkhaven. He'd developed an immediate soft spot for Jack, golden hair and all, and that came with the instinct that he was someone worth getting to know.
Most American guys seemed to either just want sex or to string him along, but Jack had been flirtatious and open, without also groping him or propositioning him, which Luca liked. It gave him a definite confidence boost as he went into his talk, an audition to prove that he was a good enough scholar to get a job on campus, and then through his interview with the university's provost. What he wasn't expecting, though, was to walk into the university president's office and see Jack sitting right there, looking picture-perfect with a slim-fit suit and his blond hair perfectly coiffed, offering him a friendly, gorgeous smile.