Subject: The English Year Chapter 33 **Standard disclaimer applies. This is based on actual events, although names, places, and descriptions have changed to protect the identities of the living. Don’t read if you shouldn’t because you’re under 18 or live in a backwards area. I appreciate any and all feedback, so please email me at ail. Enjoy the story! If you would like information on how to access future chapters faster, please feel free to reach out. I also offer unlimited access to the author through my program. Thanks! “Did you honestly think I wouldn’t find out?” he asked, stalking into my bedroom like a man on fire. I closed the door behind him. “Will you keep your voice down, please?” I whispered, deflecting. “You aren’t supposed to be here.” “I don’t give a shit where I’m supposed to be,” Lee replied, crossing my room. I could tell he was worked up. I could tell just by the way he turned around and looked at me. I took a deep breath. “You sold me out.” “What are you talking about?” I asked, buying some time. I knew exactly what he was talking about, even if I didn’t know who’d told him or why. “The EC meeting this morning? You were supposed to vouch for me. You said that I’m a shoe-in. You said you would make me PCP and that we would run this place together. That I was on the mountain top. That I would be PCP and then I would be Pres-” “Lee, I need you to sit down and take a very deep breath,” I replied calmly. He continued to stand and look at me. I could tell his mind was pacing, even if his legs weren’t. I hadn’t factored his finding out about my betrayal into my plan, but at that moment, I had to do some serious damage control, or else everything I’d worked for would be for naught. “How could you do this to me, Corbin? Seriously? Tell me why I shouldn’t drop Chi Beta and rush some other fucking house instead?” “Okay, let’s not be rash,” I replied, taking a very calculated step towards Lee, breaking the barrier between us. I maintained my voice low and slow, hoping that he’d calm down enough to match me. “Your options are pretty limited at this point, Lee, and we both know it, right?” “How could you sell me out like that? And when were you going to tell me? When fucking David Marcossi was announced the PCP after rush? What are you pulling his strings now? I’m done? What the fuck? I thought we had a plan?” And then, with that, I had one. I didn’t need Lee or David. I didn’t need to choose one or the other. I had influence over both, with Lee being the more firm option of the two. But the question didn’t need to be which. Why couldn’t I have both? Why couldn’t I have my PCP and eat it too? “We did have a plan, Lee. And then you waltzed in here today and started acting crazy,” I told him, turning my betrayal 180-degrees back on him. I couldn’t deny what I had done; he already knew. All I could do was muster up some form of reason before letting him back in the fold. “What?” “Barging into my room, accusing me of passing you over and fucking another freshman? Listen, I thought you trusted me, and this morning you proved that you didn’t. Don’t. You’re a loose fucking cannon, and I can’t have loose fucking cannons anywhere near me, buddy. Sorry.” I looked him right in the eye. He knew he’d fucked up by coming in to my room guns blazing earlier that day, letting his paranoia show like a tramp stamp at a trailer park above ground pool. “So you told the EC I wasn’t fit to lead the class?” “Lee, if I’m being honest with you, after this morning, I didn’t think that you were,” I nailed, staring him straight in the eyes. Tell him the truth was a tactic that could easily backfire and blow up in my face. I had to gain his trust back, but the deed was done, and I couldn’t deny it. I had sold him out to the EC and somehow he’d found out. I wasn’t as concerned with how he’d found out in that moment. I would get to that later. For now, I needed to finesse Lee back into my corner, and if I needed to humble myself, tell the truth, and say whatever else he needed to hear in order to do that, I certainly would. “So what? We’re done? Just like that?” he drilled his eyes into me, and for the first time, I saw a fire in Lee that matched my own. The kid was no pussy. No pushover. He wasn’t going down without a fight, and I saw that same fight in him that was driving me against Dom, the seniors, and anyone in Chi Beta… Old Dominion… that stood in my way. It was almost like looking in a mirror. A taller, younger, but an equally aggressive mirror. “No. No fucking way… you’re not dropping me like this.” “Fine,” I answered simply, taking a step back. I took a deep breath. “What?” I could tell Lee was puzzled. I could tell he didn’t think changing my mind would be that easy. And yet there I was, with a new found respect for him, and a sudden David Marcossi problem I had to work out. “I said, okay fine. I might have been wrong about you. I might have been too quick to dismiss you. ” “You know me, Corbin. You know how much I want this,” he replied. I took a small step towards him, closing the chasm that existed between us. “I do. And when you came in here this morning and starting spewing irrational craziness, I thought that maybe you wanting this had gotten to your head. Listen to me, for a second, okay?” My voice was low, barely above a whisper, but it commanded the room. And in the dim light of my room, the faint sound of my pledge brothers playing beer pong next door, even that faint voice commanded Lee’s attention. “You’ve got to learn to control your emotions. No one else will control them for you,” I said slowly. “I will make you Pledge Class President. On that, you have my word. But there will be things that happen in this house that you won’t always understand, and I will need you to trust me, and control yourself. Is that clear?” Lee swallowed, and I took another step towards him. As I spoke, I reached my hand out and grasped his chin, like a mother scolding her son. I held him firmly, looked him right in the eye, and made my point loud and clear without raising my voice above a whisper. “I won’t always be around to rein you in. You have to start doing that sort of thing on your own. It took me a while to learn that as well, and that’s why I’m sitting here propping up a future president of this house instead of taking the seat myself. The faster you learn to control yourself, the further you’ll go.” I looked him straight in the eye and I knew that he understood every single word I had said. “Now then, get out of my room, and never come in here again accusing me of not having your back, do you understand me?” “Yes,” he swallowed, his first words in minutes. He looked at me with the same wide brown eyes that he’d looked at me the last time he’d come over to rip my pants off, and standing less than a foot away from him like we were, I felt the energy of that moment rush through me. I had complete control of that kid, and that turned me on. I was drunk with the power I had over him, and before break, when I used that power to completely dominate him, mind, body, and soul, I had never felt so in control. The memory of that day, mixed with the complete control I had over him that night sent a sensation all the way down my spine, to the tip of my fingers, and the end of my cock. But I had a boyfriend, I inhaled. I didn’t see my reflection in Lee’s eyes. I saw Nick Person’s. I had cancelled on spending the night with him to move chess pieces, and here I was thinking about having one of those pieces go down on me. I’d approached the line with David Marcossi and I had controlled myself then. I had just given Lee a speech about controlling himself, and as much as I wanted to dominate him all over my Zach Efron blanket right then and there, I knew that I couldn’t. I couldn’t lose control. I took a step back and folded my arms. I waited for Lee to make a move towards the door, and after reading my face, understanding that we were done for the night, I watched him cross in front of me, exhale and make for the exit. I felt in his energy that he thought we’d end up fucking again that night. I could tell that he thought that was the natural progression of our meetings now. He could object to what I was doing, I’d put him in his place, and he’d submit to me. I wondered if that’s what he craved about our relationship, and as I watched him sulk towards my door, I almost felt bad for denying him. “Lee,” I called before he had a chance to leave. He looked back at me. My room was dark and I could barely see his face. It was probably a good thing. Had I seen the look in his eyes, I might have softened my resolve and let him back in. “I don’t know what I need to do to make you trust me, but you have got to trust me. We’re in this boat together now, okay?” He nodded. A moment later, he was gone, and I exhaled. Lee had every right not to trust me, and yet somehow I had turned my actions around in his mind. Exhausted, I planned my next moves while taking my clothes off, crawling in to bed, and preparing myself for a week of political maneuvering and social climbing. Monday morning marked the official start to formal rush. It was what 90% of our campus had looked forward to for an entire semester, and it was finally here. Fraternity and sorority reputations were either upheld or destroyed in that week. You had one chance to craft the class you needed to carry on your legacy, and this was that chance. For freshmen, the stakes were even higher. The next four years were determined by the house you chose, and better yet, by the house that chose you. The friends you made, the reputation you held, the clubs you tried to get into later on in your career all had a bearing on the house you landed… and the pressure was as thick in the air that Monday morning as the cold January fog. I went to class as normal, trying my best to sit through my professor’s syllabus presentations. Being a junior, most teachers in the business school assumed you knew how to read a syllabus, and therefore I had to push my mind to concentrate on some actual lecturing. By the time I broke for lunch at one, I was spent, with two classes left to go that afternoon. “Funny running into you right here,” I heard as I passed the last building on the colonnade on my way home. I turned to my right to see Nick Persons standing right there, arms folded around a book and a binder, his face beautifully framed by his hoodie. I smiled immediately. “Hey there,” I replied. “Not funny at all, considering I told you my schedule on our way back to Clifton Hill the other day.” “I might have committed it to memory,” he said cutely as I circled the building, out of the way of the students following the sidewalk behind me. “Mmhmm,” I smirked. “And I might have waited here strategically to run into you,” he added. “That’s some stalker behavior,” I joked. Nick smiled, hunched his shoulder, brushing off my accusation and smiled down at me. “How’s your day so far?” he asked, leaning against the building. A waft of steam escaped from his mouth when he breathed. “Dreadful. I have two more classes later, and I’m already ready to quit. My Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule is brutal.” “Want me to kiss you and make it better?” I smiled up at him. Yes, I thought. Of course I did. But I played coy. “Would that be wise, Romeo? It is rush, after all. Our houses might not take too kindly to us talking, let alone making out on the colonnade for every freshman to see.” “Fuck freshmen,” Nick smirked. A pang ran down my spine as I thought about the night before, when I’d come dangerously close to doing just that not once, but twice. “Fuck our houses,” Nick continued, leaning over and planting his tongue right into my mouth. I couldn’t even fight the sensation, knowing that we were out in the open, and that anyone could walk by and see two guys, two prominent Greek members, making out at the edge of Holcamp Hall. The kiss was that good, it made me forget about the trickle of students that were still rushing to class. His breath was warm, juxtaposed by his cool lips, pressing against me, drawing me in. “You’re a good kisser, Crowley,” Nick pulled away, licking his lips and leaning back against the building. “What can I say? You’re a great stalker,” I smiled. “You said you have lunch right now?” he asked abruptly, standing up, uncrossing his arms, and putting one around my shoulder. “When’s your next class?” “I have a 3:30 and a 4:30,” I answered. “Shouldn’t you know that?” I joked. “I did know that.” He looked at the clock on his cell phone. “Follow me.” I walked in step with my boyfriend back onto the colonnade, marching on the cobblestone sidewalk, through the ancient arches that framed each of the five buildings. I wondered where he was taking me, and it wasn’t until we walked to the other end, to the fifth building, and turned left, that I knew we were going into the languages department. “What are we doing in here?” I asked, memories of almost failing Spanish my freshman year running back. I hated that building. “Follow me,” he insisted again. This time, I followed Nick down two flights of stairs to the basement of Turner Hall, far below any floor I’d been to in the building. As we rounded one more corner, and went down four more stairs, I heard a door click open, and followed my boyfriend into a cold basement. I could barely see anything until I heard the click of a light string being pulled. A lone bulb illuminated Nick’s face as he turned to grin at me. “Where the fuck is this?” I asked as Nick took a step closer to me. He shucked his backpack and set the book he was holding on top of it. Next he went for my shoulder strap and pulled my bag off. “It’s the basement of Turner Hall,” he whispered, pulling his face close to mine. “I know it’s a basement, but-” I didn’t get a chance to finish my sentence. Instead, I was met by the soft, cool lips of the beautiful guy standing in front of me. I took a deep breath, and for a second, everything around me melted. It didn’t feel like we were two stories below students learning another language. Campus felt miles away, and I was lifted into Nick’s kiss. I moaned as he pulled me closer, our crotches coming together. Mine was hard, and even through the bulge, I could feel Nick’s impossibly hard boner pressing up against me. I pulled in, shifted up onto my tip toes, and caused a rush of fiction to pulse between our raging boners. I let go of Nick’s mouth to take a breath, and second later, he was back, pushing himself onto me, warming me, making me feel as safe as I ever had been. He ran his hand through the hair he’d wanted me to cut over break, and I ran my hand down his abs, our bodies separated ever so slightly. I made my way to his belt line, pulled at the cold metal erdemli escort securing his jeans, and released. With a moan, I felt Nick’s hands join mine as he fumbled for his button, and then mine. We clawed at each other’s pants, stepping out of our jeans and boxer briefs without once letting go of our tongues. It didn’t take but another few seconds before Nick and I were out of our sweaters and shirts, and our bare bodies rubbed against each other in the dimly lit basement of the languages building. As my skin adjusted to the draftiness of the room, I felt Nick grab a hold of my cock. I moaned as he squeezed hard. I pulled him in even further, and almost bit his tongue from the sensation his cold hands caused around my hot throbbing cock. “God,” I whispered, afraid to let my voice go as I knew students were conjugating Spanish verbs two stories above. Instead, I exhaled and let myself feel how amazing Nick’s body felt next to mine. “I want this.” It was a command. He didn’t give me a choice. My cock was his, and I moaned at how masculine Nick was able to make the act of bottoming. I nodded, our lips still pressed together. I watched as Nick stepped back, fumbled for a condom in his backpack, and came back up with a smile. “How did you find this place?” I asked as he unwrapped the rubber. “The German TA showed it to me,” he smiled mischievously. I didn’t ask why the German TA would show a sophomore student a secluded sex basement that definitely was frequented very often, but my mind instinctively knew exactly why. Maybe that’s how Nick had stayed under the radar for so long… by fucking TAs instead of undergrads. I shook it off as I felt him grasp my dick again and roll the slick rubber over it. “Are you in the Colonnade Club?” Nick asked as he turned himself around, propped up against a shelving unit against the wall, and perked his ass back towards me. He reached around and helped guide me towards him, and before I had a chance to answer, buried my bone deep inside his warm ass. “Oh fuck,” I moaned, my mind forgetting the question and focusing on how tight my boyfriend’s ass was, pulsating my cock as I inched forward. I grabbed his shoulder for leverage, and let myself feel every inch I could inside of him. “Are you?” he asked. “Am I what?” “In the Colonnade Club?” he asked. I still wasn’t over how much conversation Nick liked to have while we fucked. “No,” I sighed, pulling almost all the way out, and then slowly pushing myself back into him. His body bucked back to meet me, and I sighed with pleasure. The Colonnade Club was someone who’d hooked up in each of the five buildings along the colonnade. It was a challenge that folks strived for starting their freshman orientation, and few actually accomplished. Gaining access to the buildings wasn’t difficult. With the exception of Washington Hall in the middle, the other four buildings were kept open 24/7. It was finding a willing participant and a secluded location inside the buildings that was tricky. “A guy as hot as you,” Nick turned his head to smile at me. “I assumed you would be.” I smiled back at him, pulled his shoulder towards me, and ground all the way into his ass. “You’ll have to help me change that,” I smiled, pulling out and fucking him again. We’d come a long way in our rhythmic love making, Nick Persons and I. He knew just when to push back to meet my thrusts, and based on his building moans and cries for me to fuck him, I was figuring out just how he liked being boned. In our short relationship to that point, I hadn’t topped him often, but every time I did, I felt more connected to him. And that day, in the middle of a school building, while every other student on campus was wheeling and dealing for social supremacy, I connected with my boyfriend for upwards of twenty minutes. The room was small and maneuvering was difficult, but it didn’t stop Nick from arching his back, pulling me close, and kissing me while I buried my dick inside of him from behind. I felt every movement of his body flow through me. Every breath created a pulse in his ass that pulled at my cock, eliciting the beginnings of an orgasm deep down inside. We were careful not to make too much noise. In fact, besides our breathing, soft moaning, and the slap of my skin against his every time I pulled in to the hilt, the room was still and silent. It was just the kind of fucking I needed to get my mind off everything that was going on back at the house. The next week would drain me, and this distraction gave me fuel. I didn’t even begin to let my ongoing drama with the Brit get into my brain. I had everything I needed in that small little room, and I wasn’t about to let a noncommittal British guy cloud that. Twenty minutes and a load of cum deep inside of Nick Persons’ ass later, I pulled my jeans up with a heave, kissed my boyfriend’s lips, and rested my hand on his glistening shoulder. “Four more buildings to go,” he smiled at me. This kid was making it hard for me not to give in to him completely. He was the real deal, unafraid, passionate, funny, and our chemistry was palpable. I could feel myself falling, and I wanted to. Everything inside of me wanted to fall for him. And like we’d agreed before, I was trying. And trying had never felt so good. I didn’t have enough time to walk back to the house and eat before my next class, so I trudged to the student commons, grabbed a sandwich and a coke, and walked back to the business school for my afternoon session of classes. Nick and I agreed that we’d try to see each other when we weren’t obligated to doing frat stuff, but I knew from experience that interfraternal friendships, no matter what kind, always took a back seat this week, until all the dust from rush settled and pledge classes were in place. I finally made it back to the house after 5:30, took my stuff upstairs, and went down to the basement for dinner. Everyone was there, as we had a mandatory chapter meeting at 6:30, just like Sunday’s everlasting session. The freshmen would all gather in the commons area on campus for their final debriefing before rush dates the next day, and we would do the same in our library. Seeing everyone there reminded me of my conversation with Lee, and exactly what I still needed to do before the week kicked off. I made a plate of pulled pork and coleslaw, sat down by my pledge class, and turned to ask Dom if we could have a few minutes to chat after the rush session. After careful consideration all day long, I had come to the conclusion that either Dominick or Ollie had spilled the beans about my sellout of Lee Dornan. It wouldn’t have made sense for Brian or Hutch to tell him. They would have come to me before giving sensitive information about an EC meeting to a freshman. Newby might have said something, whether he knew he was breaking a major EC rule or not, but I was fairly certain he didn’t have enough of a relationship with Lee to even care. That left the seniors, desperate to pull the reins in on whoever the rest of us chose for PCP, probably wanting to turn Lee against me and my class in the event that the tide turned and he was voted into leadership. I could see paranoid Dom hedging his bets, using what I’d done in the meeting to ensure that no matter how the vote went, he’d buy the freshman’s loyalty. Little did he know that loyalty wasn’t for sale. That night’s meeting was the most detailed we’d had in all of rush so far. We set up crews to stage and tear down each night’s formal dinner here in the library. Dom and Hutch walked us through seating strategies so that freshmen felt like they were around brothers without everything being forced. They briefed us on acceptable topics of conversation as if we’d never spoken to another human being before, and by the time we were done, I had lost any and all interest in rushing anyone to begin with. As tedious as the exercises were, they were also necessary. Sophomores had never been through rush, and even those of us who had been through rush could clam up when things got awkward and forced. The last thing we needed was freshman feeling uncomfortable during our last chance to impress them. And so we practiced. And when we finally adjourned four hours later, I followed Dominick up to his room, closed the door, and took a seat before he offered me one. Dom sat across from me on his wooden desk chair, his coffee table lined with LSAT preparation books creating a barrier between us. “What can I do you for, Corbin?” he asked, folding his arms, already defensive. “So the EC didn’t really come up with a name to push for PCP last night, did we?” I asked nonchalantly, not wanting to come across as too aggressive too soon. He was already defensive; I could take it easy on the attack. “I guess we didn’t, but I’d rather focus on getting the guys in the house first. We technically have until next Sunday when they meet for the first time to come up with someone,” he replied. I nodded. “I just… well, I’ll just come right out and say it. Someone told Lee that I threw him under the bus last night at the EC meeting.” I watched Dom’s reaction carefully. His face remained still, but his complexion went a shade lighter. “What do you mean?” “I mean that someone on the EC is giving a freshman sensitive information. And I know I didn’t tell him anything, and I know for sure it didn’t come from Brian or Hutch, because… well… why would it?” “Why don’t you go ahead and make your accusation so that we can discuss it and move on?” “I think that either you or your crony Oliver told Lee that I said he was unfit to be PCP. Why either of you would do that, I do not know, but he definitely knows what I said in a closed meeting, and he tried to use that information against me.” My voice was even and straightforward. “You have no proof that it came from my class. Did you question Newby?” “Seriously? Newby couldn’t craft together macaroni and cheese, let alone some plan to bring the freshmen class against me before they even step foot in this house. This has you written all over it; I’m not stupid.” Dom looked at me, calling my bluff on what exactly I knew. He knew I had no proof, just a strong hunch, but with only five names to pick from, all I needed was a hunch. And the fact that he didn’t deny involvement, whether directly or indirectly, meant I had picked up the correct scent. “What do you want?” “I want Lee to be the PCP.” I didn’t flinch or hesitate. I knew the implication, and I knew the objection that was coming, but I didn’t care. I had thought about it all day, and I had finally come to a decision. I went for the Hail Mary. I was choosing both. I went to honor my promise, knowing that if I did, and I continued to work on my relationship with David Marcossi, I stood to have two allies in the freshmen class instead of just one. “You’ve got to be shitting me,” Dom replied, sitting up in his chair. “Not even a streak,” I breathed. “You just said not a day ago that he wasn’t fit to lead that class.” “I was wrong,” I deadpanned. “No. You aren’t doing this. You aren’t fucking flip flopping to serve some fucked up political agenda of yours.” “You don’t have a choice,” I said, raising my voice for the first time in our conversation. “I warned you all about this kid. I told you he was dangerous, and guess what? I was fucking right. You told him what I said in the EC meeting, and you know what he told me? That if I didn’t fix this for him, that if I didn’t make it right, he would walk out with everyone else he brings to the table. You trusted a freshman with information, one I warned you about, and he turned the screw, Dom, so when I tell you that he’s in as PCP, and that I don’t care whose arm you need to pull to make that happen, I’m not even fucking kidding.” I sat back in my seat and let everything I’d said sink in. I could read the calculations working in Dom’s brain, and he knew I was right. “I can’t,” he said. “My class wants Artie. They’ll know if I defected.” I watched as Dom sat back, counting the votes in his head. Artie had his, Oliver’s, and Newby’s vote, this much was a lock based on our EC meeting the day before. Lee had the vote of Austin, Brian, and presumably myself. In a tie, Dominick would vote, and Artie would win. He was right, everyone would know he defected. “Well you’re gonna have to fucking figure that out,” I replied mercilessly. I didn’t care how he came up with the correct vote, just that he did. “I’m not the one that made this mess. If I had had my way, Lee wouldn’t have known he was out and someone else was in until he’d already signed that bid card and he had nowhere else to go. As it stands now, this is a mess you and Oli created telling him what I said, and this time you’ve got to own it and fucking fix it. What would you tell me if I’d gone running off to a freshman about something that happened in a closed door meeting? Your hands are just as tied as mine are on this one.” I watched Dominick swallow and I knew that I had him. “I will see… what I can do.” “That sounds a lot better than where we were a few minutes ago, but I’m still not entirely convinced.” “Fine, Corbin. You win.” “Oh, no, I really don’t. I don’t want that kid in charge of anything as much as you do. But this shit storm is already here, and I’m just trying to make the best of it. Damage control, you know?” I shrugged, not breaking my eye contact with a defeated looking Dominick. I knew he was more afraid of breaking the news to his class than he was actually giving Lee the seat of power. I felt the pit in my stomach subside a little as half of my agenda went my way. Now it was time for the big fight, and I knew this one wouldn’t go quite as smoothly. “I have one other thing to bring up to you,” I said, again, starting as nonchalantly as possible. Dom didn’t respond. He tilted his head and waited for me to finish. “I think that the freshmen class should have another seat on the EC.” It was the idea I’d come up with after agreeing to make Lee the leader of his class. It was my way of keeping my promise to him without giving him absolute power over the situation. It was also my way of leveraging my new friendship with David. If this went through, I’d have two votes I could count on to do whatever I wanted on the EC. Plus mine… which meant on any given subject I was just one vote away from a tie, two away from a majority. “You are out of your fucking mind. You can have Lee on the council, but that’s fucking it. We’re done here.” “I don’t think we are.” “Do not overstep on this, Corbin. There is no fucking way we put two freshmen on the EC.” “Why? Nothing in the bylaws stipulates a mandatory number. Putting an at-large freshman back on the council gives us that even tarsus escort number, and your ability to break a tie, remember? And if everything goes according to rush, we’re looking at a pretty big class. They’ll want adequate the representation.” It wasn’t lost on Dominick that I wasn’t speaking for the freshmen class, but rather in my own best interest, and I could see the look of annoyance on his face. “They will be plenty represented with their Pledge Class President on the EC.” “Lee.” “What?” “With Lee on the EC. I just… I want to hear you say it, because I don’t fully trust you.” “With Lee as their Class President. That’s all the representation a freshman class needs. They won’t even be brothers for another two months. What the fuck are you angling for?” “I just think it’s only right for them to have stronger representation.” I could tell Dom saw right through my innocent rebuttal, and so I went for the jugular. I took a deep breath and exhaled. “You know what? Nevermind. Maybe I’ll just take this to the brotherhood to decide. Maybe we can see what they think after I tell them you leaked sensitive information to a potential new member.” I looked at Dominick, enjoying the view as he squirmed in his seat as I spoke the truth, barely above a whisper. There were times when yelling and threatening Dom was effective. This wasn’t one of those times. This was fact, plain and simple. He’d fucked up; I had no angle but the truth. And so I laid it out there for him as simply as I could. “Do you think they’ll sit back and do nothing? Do you think they won’t care? That they won’t impeach you, Dom? That your entire presidency won’t go down in flames? And that you, for the last six months here on campus won’t be a walking pariah inside this house? Do you think that when Andy Drieling finds out what you did, he won’t bring the wrath of nationals down on you? That he won’t investigate our entire rush, possibly end pledgeship, and then of course remove you from whatever seat of power you somehow cling to? You fucked up, Dominick, and you fucked up even worse by going behind my back to a freshman who is loyal to me, and trying to sway him and his entire class away from me.” “You wouldn’t dare take this to national.” “You think I won’t? Remember what you told me when you had Mike put away for six months? The house wanted blood? Well guess what? The bitch is back, and I’m back for blood.” I blinked for the first time in what felt like ages. The screw was in. I had Dom on his heels, and I knew that he had no choice but to do things my way. But I couldn’t take any chances. I couldn’t risk him calling my bluff. Of course I wouldn’t risk an entire pledge class in order to fuck him over, but he didn’t need to know that. And I knew Dom well enough to know that he wouldn’t risk it. “I know you, Dom,” I continued, slowly. “I know that you won’t let your entire career at Chi Beta go to waste. I know that you won’t let me rewrite your history, steal this last semester away from you, and taint everything you’ve already accomplished as president. But I am prepared to do just that. I am prepared to burn this house to the ground if you don’t take my way out. And let’s not get this twisted in any way, shape, or form, Dominick. What I’m offering you is one hell of a way out. Give me two freshmen on the EC, and you get to leave here with the legacy you’ve already built. It’s that simple.” I watched him contemplate his options, of which he had but one. And then I saw something in his eyes that I wasn’t expecting. A fight. He opened his mouth, and for a moment tried to fight back. “You’ll still only have three votes on the EC,” he replied, his voice shaken. I could tell he was grasping. I smiled, let out a short chuckle, and corrected him. “Four.” I stared him right in the eye. “You and two freshmen make three. Assuming you can control them both all semester. And don’t think your class will blithely follow you with their votes when you start acting crazy in the EC, Corbin.” “I will control the freshmen all semester, and I’m fully aware Brian and Austin won’t blithely follow whatever I want. But I have you. Which would make me, two freshmen, and you. And a tie vote, if necessary.” I cut my eyes at Dominick, not only turning the screw, but pulling it out and letting him bleed slowly. “This doesn’t end here. I can bring you and everything you’ve ever done in this house crashing down at any point until you walk down that graduation aisle. Or you and I can work together and build a legacy for six more months.” I took a breath for the first time, knowing I’d cornered Dom, used his own hubris against him, and I had finally won. “You keep asking if I want your job, if I want to be president of this house. If I want to sit where you sit at chapter meetings.” I shook my head and let out a low chuckle. “You’re a groundskeeper, Dominick. That’s it. I own the fucking building. Don’t ever forget that.” I stood up. “Get some rest. We have a fraternity to run.” I walked confidently out the door, took a deep breath, and sighed. As I walked to my room, I knew that I wouldn’t need Dom’s vote for everything I had planned for the rest of the year. But it felt good to know that my extortion had worked; that my hunch that Dom’s legacy was more important to him than anything else I could offer, and that threatening to take that away because he blabbed to an untrustworthy freshman had given him my ace in the whole. I felt accomplished, proud, and for the first time in a long time, I felt like I was back in control. I climbed the stairs up to my room, spent. I probably could have crashed right then and there, in my clothes, and not thought twice about it. But instead, feeling as accomplished and untouchable as I did, I took out my phone and texted a freshman. To David: How was your rush meeting today? I stretched, put down my backpack, and took off my pants before climbing into bed. I felt my phone vibrate just as I turned my light off. The glow of the screen, reflecting off my face, was the only light in the room. From David: Pretty thorough. So many rules, you know? To David: I know… From David: In fact, I think you texting me like this is breaking at least one of them. I swallowed, knowing how correct he was, and barely caring. There was something about texting David that night that was exciting, and so I responded instead of following the rules. To David: Are you going to tell? I waited what felt like an eternity for him to reply back. I fiddled with my phone, not wanting to miss the text when it came in. From David: The seniors want me to go to their house and smoke a bowl. That would be breaking the rules too… I swallowed. I knew I was treading down dangerous territory. I had just reamed Dominick downstairs for jeopardizing our rush by telling Lee what went on in a closed meeting, and here I was texting a freshman during no-contact, a clear violation with the school. And yet, I couldn’t help myself. To David: Are you going to go? From David: Too risky, I think. Besides… It was those three dots that made me think David Marcossi could be trusted. Those three dots that kept the conversation open… made us both culpable. I had crossed the line, while David towed it. But with those three dots, he made me believe he was willing, if not eager, to cross the line with me. To David: Besides what? He replied almost immediately. From David: Besides, if I’m going to break the rules, it’d better be worth it. I smiled at myself, and asked the inevitable question. The question that could have sunken me for good. I had a gut feeling that I could trust David. My entire plan to control as many votes on the EC hinged on that gut feeling. And so I went with it, knowing the consequences. To David: Oh yeah? Worth it how? There was a long pause before he replied, and for a second, I thought maybe I had read the situation incorrectly. What if he wasn’t towing the line with me? What if he’d taken the rules in their rush meeting seriously? What if my violation of the rules was about to cost me everything. From David: I’d rather come smoke with you. And there it was. David was with me, on this side of the line. Aware of the consequences, what it could mean for us to be in communication, let alone hinting at meeting up, doing something that was strictly forbidden on so many levels. To David: Then why don’t you? From David: And fuck the rules? I stretched in my bed, and made the decision to not only cross the line, but eradicate it altogether. It was a calculated risk, one that could come back to bite me in the ass. And as I typed my message to David, a stir under my sheets made me forget that risk completely. To David: And you know… whatever else. I hit send before I had a chance to take it back, rethink what I’d sent. I immediately took a deep breath and waited. I waited for a response from a freshman that I had asked only yesterday to trust me. Waited to see if my gamble would pay off, or if it would completely topple my frat house of cards. I waited, and waited, and with a sigh, finally read his response. From David: How do I get in without being seen? I exhaled. To David: Walk to the library, along the colonnade. Tell your roommate that’s where you’re going. When you get to the President’s house on campus, turn right like you’re going into town, and follow that sidewalk to our alley. Come in through the basement. I’ll make sure there’s no one there. My heart beat fast. I had to control my breathing in order to control my heartbeat. If I was nervous, if I wasn’t in control, I’d mess up. And I couldn’t afford to mess up. From David: Okay. Come now? To David: Yeah. I’ll meet you in the basement. I sat up, took a deep breath, and turned the light of my phone off. I asked myself one more time if what I was doing was worth it. If the payoff of gaining David’s trust was worth the risk… was worth everything. There was no turning back at that point, and so I pulled on a pair of sweats, put my phone in my pocket, and tried my best to walk as nonchalantly as possible downstairs to our basement without rousing any suspicion. The house was practically empty. A couple of guys were studying in the library, but no one was in the Great Hall. It was the last night of the week to get any work done, essentially, and I knew most of the guys would take advantage of that. I turned the corner to go down one more flight of stairs to our basement, where we ate lunch and dinner, when I heard my name. I gasped. “Where are you going, Corbs?” I stopped in my tracks. “To get a drink,” I replied quickly, turning around to see Hutch and Austin standing there. I tried not to look as guilty as I felt, wondering if I had any or too much color in my face. Either would be telling, and so I turned to them, as calmly as possible. I hoped the coast was clear for David downstairs and that he wasn’t walking into anyone in the basement before I had a chance to check. “Did you check your email?” Austin asked. “Dominick sent something out to the EC. About our pick for PCP. We won’t meet again until after rush, so we need to email him our vote. Very anonymous like. I wonder why.” “I haven’t checked, but I’ll do so when I get back up to my room.” I thought maybe that was all he wanted. And then I watched him turn and take a step towards me. “Were you serious, what you said about Lee? Hutch thinks you were being dramatic, but if the kid’s a loose cannon… I dunno…” I took another deep breath, feeling my palms get sweaty. What if David were walking into the house right then and there, as we spoke, into a trap? What if someone was studying in the dining room and I didn’t have a chance to stop him from coming in? “I think I was being a little dramatic, yeah,” I replied, knowing the outcome of the vote regardless of how my pledge brother cast. “I told you,” Hutch said, patting Austin on the back. “So you think Lee then? Not Artie? Or David?” “Lee, absolutely, yeah. You know me… always letting my emotions get in the way of reason?” I said flippantly. “Okay then,” Austin replied. “I’ll tell Brian too. Gym tomorrow?” “Absolutely,” I replied, turning my body, but trying not to seem antsy. I didn’t breathe again until I was downstairs. The basement was empty, and I sighed. I walked through our party room, which still had a faint smell of beer and cleaning solution from our last Late Night, and waited for David to come through the door. “Follow me,” I whispered a couple minutes later, leading him back outside, through our alley and then through the parking lot of the church that neighbored our house. We crossed the street, so that we could see the fire escape near my bedroom from the post office on the other side. It was cloak and dagger, but it was the only way I could feel safe about smuggling him in. We watched for a minute, seeing if there was any external movement coming from the house, and when we felt safe, and bold, we dashed across the street, up the fire escape, and into my bedroom. I turned to David after my window was shut, a wide smile across my face, and panted. “That was crazy!” my excitement brimmed despite me keeping my voice low. I took a step towards David and let out a sigh. “We’re here,” I said. “We are,” he replied. “That was very Harry Potter and Marauder’s Map, you know?” I let out a smile. “How are you? How do you feel about rush?” I took a step towards my bed, turned, and watched David follow me. He sat next to me, close, but not too close. There was still plenty of bed he could have used, and yet our knees weren’t more than a few inches apart. “I’m a little overwhelmed, I’m not gonna lie. Just… I don’t understand why they make it such a big deal. Most of the guys know where they want to go. If ya’ll want us, that should be it. We spent all first term getting to know you.” I nodded, sensing how stressed he was about the week ahead. I took a deep breath. “I know, but this part of rush is more for the guys that aren’t suicide rushing.” “Is that what I’m doing? Coming in here like this, putting all my eggs in one basket? Suicide?” “Pretty much,” I agreed. “What if it backfires and I’m fucked? What if I get balled for something I didn’t even know? What if I get dis-” I put my hand closest to David on his knee closest to mine, and with my other hand, raised a finger and interrupted his mini-meltdown. “Shhhh….” I said softly, putting my index finger on his lips. My eyes travelled from his eyes, down his face, and then back up to his lips. I caught myself in the moment, forced myself to see Nick’s reflection in David’s eyes, and quickly moved my hands off his body. I felt like I had just touched a hot stove, and I knew that David could see akdeniz escort my feelings written all over my face. I needed him not to be able to see my face. I needed him not to be able to see how much I would have wanted to pounce on him, right then and there, had it not been for the fact that my boyfriend lived across town, in a red brick house with white pillars, not unlike my own. I needed him not to read me like an open book, and so I made a suggestion I thought would help. “You look tense,” I said quietly. I stood up and took a step away from my bed. “Here. Lie down.” I watched David as he stood up, his body tall and lithe. He kicked off his Converse sneakers and crawled onto my bed, face down, his hands crossed under his head. With David unable to read my face, I finally let my gaze wander across his well built body. I bit my bottom lip, remembered Nick Persons, and then climbed onto David’s back, straddling him. I grasped his shoulders in my hands, kneaded them firmly, and listened to the sigh that escaped the freshman as I began to massage his shoulders. I was right, he was tense, and I could feel every inch of his tension beneath me. “When I was pledging, I felt exactly like you do right now,” I said softly, letting my hands work his strong shoulders and back. “I thought I had put too much stock into Chi Beta and ruined my chances. I didn’t know who else would pledge, and I thought, what if I had fucked something up and I got balled from here to?” “They’d never ball you.” “They almost did,” I said truthfully. “I had been a loose cannon for too long my first semester, and Chi Beta very easily could have joined the other houses and written me off.” “They didn’t, though.” “They didn’t, but I was still just as anxious.” I took a deep a breath. “But you know what made me feel better? What gave me the confidence to go through this week?” “What?” “Joe Edelman. He was a junior, I was a freshman, and he sat me down, just like this… well, not exactly like this, but he did. He sat me down, and he told me that I wasn’t wrong for putting all my eggs in one basket. He told me that some guys just have that connection to a house, and that that connection was stronger than the promises that would be made all week, the wheeling and dealing and fathers calling, and legacies begging that will go on all week long until the final lists come out. He told me that I would fit in here just fine, and that he would be honored, once I signed my bid, if I asked him to be my big brother.” I felt David shift underneath me. I had started with my pelvis over the small of his back, but as he shifted under me, I felt his ass lift to where my crotch was, so that I could massage lower on his back than I’d been. It took everything I had in that moment to continue talking and not let my mind wander to what my cock was lined up with. “You know what else he told me,” I continued after a deep breath and a sigh. “What else?” David asked, his baritone voice muffled by the pillow. “He told me that not only would I be perfect for Chi Beta, but also that if I wanted, I could have a real influence here.” “What do you mean influence?” I could tell David was grasping at what I was telling him. He pictured himself in that conversation, and I knew I had to connect the dots for him in order to understand. “Have you ever thought about leadership, David? Making a difference?” “I feel like that’s more Lee’s thing. And some of the other guys.” “Maybe,” I replied. He turned his head to look at me before relaxing again. By now, I’d worked my way down the sides of his back, to where his shirt met his beltline. I decided to indulge myself in one way or another. If I couldn’t lick the donut to see how sweet it was, I could very well look. I had a boyfriend, I thought, but I wasn’t blind. “Here, take your shirt off, so I can get a deeper knead.” I sat back on my heels while David shifted, lifted his arms, and pulled his shirt over his head. He flung it on my desk chair before laying back down, his back muscles barely visible in the dim glow of my room. I couldn’t see every line in his back, but as I resumed my massage, I could definitely feel each and every hard muscle that made up his frame. “For some of those other guys, leadership is linear. It’s a position, a command that the rest of us follow. It’s making sure the rest of us live up to the rules that are already established. It’s Pledge Class Presidents and Presidents of the fraternity, and members of the Inter-Fraternity Council. But there’s a big difference between that kind of leadership and the influence that Joe Edelman was talking about.” I felt David relax even more as I spoke. He didn’t respond, and so I continued. “Guys like us, David, we don’t live up to the rules… we make the rules. We see what people want and need, and we choose for ourselves.” “What makes you think I’m like that?” I leaned forward so that I was whispering directly into David’s ear. I could feel the hair on the back of his neck under my breath just as much as he could he feel my chest pressing against his skin. “Where do you think everyone else in your class is tonight? In their dorm rooms studying, probably, minding the rules. If they decided to sneak out, where’d they go? To the senior’s house to drink a couple beers, maybe smoke a bowl or two. You came here because you wanted to. You didn’t follow the crowd or play it safe. You could have gotten caught climbing up that fire escape, but you wanted to see me, you wanted this, and so you took what you wanted and you made your own rules.” I let my voice linger. I felt David shift underneath me, and I knew I had him. What had taken me an entire semester to cultivate with Lee, I had just built with David. The difference was, I liked David. He wasn’t a game player, a dealer. But I knew in the right hands, I could take his quiet confidence and turn him into a major force. And as he shifted, as I watched him roll himself over underneath my thighs so that I was straddling his lower stomach, him looking up at me, his half hard dick pressed against my back, I knew that David and I had a connection that would serve both of us well. And as I looked down into his eyes, I knew that I could cross the line with David. The connection was there. It was all in the name of rush, and I could do it without Nick Persons ever finding out. All I needed to do was lean down, open my lips to his, and take our connection to a more intimate, and oral, level. And that’s when I heard the knock at the door. “Oh shit,” I exhaled, jolting back to reality. “Corbin, are you awake? Can I come in?” “Just a second!” I shouted out of reflex. There was no way to pretend I wasn’t home. The glow of my computer light cast a shadow in my room, and whatever rustling Dom had heard to give him confidence to knock on my door and assume I was awake was enough to get me busted. “I just need a second. Can I come in?” I jumped off my bed and motioned for David Marcossi to get up and hide in my closet. As he waddled tenderfooted across my room, I noticed the distinct outline in his jeans of a boy who had definitely enjoyed his massage. I couldn’t help but smirk, getting caught be damned, as I pulled the curtain to my closet closed, jumped my couch, and opened my door with a heave and a smile. “Hi,” I said to Dominick, not letting him cross threshold as I held my door just open enough to see his face. “How can I help you?” “Can I come in?” he asked, pushing my door open. I resisted, but ultimately took a step back and let him come in. My heart raced at the thought of being caught with a freshman in my room during formal rush, and as I glanced from Dom to my closet, I could clearly see two socks standing at attention where the curtain didn’t quite meet the floor. “Do you need something, Dom? I was trying to catch some shut eye?” “Yeah, I was just hoping you were awake and we could talk about this other vote situation really quick.” “Okay,” I took a deep breath. I expected Dom to object, yet again, to the idea of having two freshmen on the EC. I wasn’t prepared to fight him, especially then, and I knew that if he brought up an objection I would fold on the spot, just to get him out of my room and out of my way. “How do you want to play this?” “What do you mean?” “I mean, coming from you, it’s dead on arrival. No one will buy that you have good intentions on something like this, let’s be honest.” I nodded, knowing he was right. None of the brothers on the EC, including my class, would support a motion filed by me to drastically change the makeup of the Executive Council. “And it’s a little absurd coming from me. I would have no reason to want an extra freshman on the council.” “Okay,” I replied, unclear how this required my help. “I just… I don’t know how you want this played out. I figure I can convince Ollie and your class once the motion is out there, but neither you nor me can put the motion out there.” I thought for a second. “What if Lee makes the motion?” Dom stared at me blankly. “After rush, we let the dust settle for a week or so, and then at Lee’s first meeting, he makes the motion. It’ll be believable coming from a freshman. We’ll have the votes, unless you double cross me, and it’ll only be left up in the air for a few days.” Dom nodded. “Let’s get the PCP situation sorted out, and then I’ll talk to Lee. I’ll make him think it was his idea,” I added for good measure. To say that my palms were sweating would be an understatement. Dom nodded at me in agreement that letting Lee make the motion was probably the best course of action. “Is there anything else?” “Not really, no,” Dom said, taking a step towards my door. “Just that I need you on your best behavior this week. A lot of the freshmen look to you as a leader, and you are. And I just… I need your cooperation until we get this pledge class sorted out.” I gave Dom my most cooperative smile. “Of course,” I replied, stepping him out of the door, locking it behind him, and breathing for the first time in several minutes. “Oh god,” I sighed, opening the curtain and seeing a smiling David Marcossi looking down at me. “That was a close one,” he whispered, stepping out. “It really was,” I smiled, relieved. “And I don’t think I could handle another one like that.” “You want me to go?” “No,” I answered truthfully. “But we can’t risk someone else coming up here to talk to me, you know. And your roommate is probably wondering how much studying you have to do on the first night of the term, so…” “Yeah, no, I was ready to go anyway, actually,” David said nonchalantly. I couldn’t help but smile as he awkwardly looked for his shirt, and his shoes. I wondered how Dom hadn’t noticed how much other guy’s stuff there was lying around. Two backpacks, an extra pair of shoes, a disheveled window curtain. My room wasn’t the neatest, but David’s stuff wasn’t exactly hidden, either. “What did Dom mean about the second vote on the EC? And Lee?” And it was then that I realized David had heard everything, and that there was no way of lying to him about it. “You said yourself that Lee is the kind of leader that does well as PCP and things like that,” I answered, taking a seat on my couch next to David. “And the EC agrees.” “I thought we got to vote,” David tied his shoes, not looking up at me, giving me no indication of how much he fully understand our brand of democracy. There was no way I could tell him that their vote meant nothing in the end, that on Sunday, them picking a PCP was a formality already decided on, whispered into people’s ears, and precounted before pieces of paper and 2 pencils were even handed out. The convention had come and gone, the electoral college had made it’s pick, and a week earlier than he should have known what that meant for fraternity, I couldn’t let David in on our democratic little secret. And so I went against everything I’d felt all night long, pushing my guilt to the side, and doing what I needed to do for fraternity. “David,” I said softly. “Look at me.” He turned his head to face me. I had seconds to act before I’d have to explain, and so I acted. I pulled his face in close to mine, and instead of explaining that things went on that were already decided, that Lee was the forgone PCP for him and his class, and that I had different plans for David, I reached out, pulled him by the back of the head, and planted a deep kiss right on his lips. I was right about the connection. Everything about it was right there. Our massage session, the boners I’d had talking to him, being close to him, pressing my chest against him, all came rushing back. It was a kiss that could end a conversation, and so I did what needed to be done. And as I kissed David Marcossi, right there on my couch, I felt like I had taken a big bite out of some forbidden fruit. I knew I was making a mistake, but I couldn’t stop myself from making it. I knew my justification was lame at best, but that didn’t stop me from darting my tongue in and out of his mouth, rubbing my hand from his neck, down to his chest, and moaning ever so softly deep into his throat. “Wow,” David exhaled after I’d given him the best kiss I knew how. I felt his hand that had been resting on my knee travel up my thigh, slowly, deliberately. And it was that feeling that pulled me back into reality. I had a boyfriend, I thought. And while I could justify a kiss to protect my house, anything more would have been blatant, unjustifiable. Cheating. And I was a lot of things, but not a cheater. I took David’s hand by the wrist. “I think we should call it a night,” I smiled softly. I watched as he licked his lips, looked me deep in the eye, and sat back, resigning to me as I ended things. I silently watched David put his shirt on, grab his backpack, and crawl through my window. I didn’t speak, because the only words that would have come out of my mouth would have been to ask him to stay. I wanted him, that much was clear. There was a simple connection there, clean, uncomplicated. Unboring. But I couldn’t have him, because I already had someone. Someone who had made me a promise, and someone who I had promised to give my best effort too. And so as I watched David crawl out of my window, I crawled into bed, thinking about my boyfriend, and the portion of the line that I had already crossed, minimizing it. Justifying it. Telling myself that kiss had meant nothing more than protecting a fraternity secret from a curious freshman. And I went to sleep just fine that night, telling myself that line over and over. That kiss had meant nothing more than protecting a fraternity secret from a curious freshman. And even as I went to bed, repeating that line to myself, I knew deep down in my guilty committed heart that I didn’t quite believe the lie I was telling myself. *Thanks for reading and following along. I appreciate any and all engagement and interaction! If you’d like information on how to access updates faster, please let me know! As always, all feedback is appreciated and can be sent to ail

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