[Inspired by Edward Albee’s play/movie Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf]
“I thought I asked you to wear the tighter shirt under your jacket, Dillon--the one with the V neck that shows off the line between your pecs so well.”
“Gunther Strang is the chair of the English Department, Madge. And isn’t his wife the daughter of Montebello’s president? I didn’t think you’d want me to look like your boy toy.”
“Of course I want you to look like my boy toy, Dillon,” Madge said, as she rose from her dressing table, turned, and came in close to her young husband. “There’s no hiding the difference in our ages, so we might as well make the most of it. And it’s because Gunther Strang is chair of the English Department that I want you to look your most fetching. You know I’m up for tenure at the college this year and this is a one-on-one dinner for Strang to hone his assessment of me. I want you to look like a boy toy to him too. We’ve been over all of this before. I told you about Gunther.”
“Yes, I understand--which is why I didn’t think you’d want me to look like an Italian rent-boy. That wouldn’t be too subtle.”
“We’ve discussed Gunther before, Dillion. He’s not exactly the subtle kind himself. there’s a time-honored way of going about these things at this college. I’ve tried to make as clear as possible that you might have to help me with this. It’s not as if you haven’t--”
“You know I don’t like to discuss any of what has happened in the past, Madge.”
“Just humor me here, Dillon--and help me with this tenure thing with whatever it takes. The other shirt, I think . . . please?”
“Oh, OK,” Dillon said as he went back into the closet.
Madge and Dillon had been the scandal of the fall at the small, sleepy--somewhat moldy, even--private university, with the esoteric study programs, that was tucked away in the Great Smokey Mountains. She was an associate history professor, and Dillion, eight years her junior, was finishing out his fifth year of eligibility as captain of the tennis team by taking graduate classes at the university in history.
It wasn’t just the age difference that had fueled a scandal that was just one in a long line of scandals going back to the Strangs’ own marriage and beyond. Sondra McMillan Strang--the emphasis always put on the “McMillan” because Sondra’s father, Clifton McMillan, was Montebello’s iron-fisted president--had robbed the cradle herself when she lassoed the young, then-married history associate professor, Gunther. Over the ensuing years, Sondra, who had been born and raised at the university, had been in many a scandal with men attached to Montebello, with the joke being that a male faculty member couldn’t get tenure without laying the president’s daughter first. The most recent buzz was her rumored liaison with a math professor, being ultra juicy because the math professor was a twenty-eight-year-old woman.
The rumors that Dillon’s marriage to Madge had largely spiked, encompassed questions of the genders of his relationships at college. As well as being a first-class tennis player, he was one of the university’s premier blond, blue-eyed, championship smile hunks.
Montebello might be a small, sleepy private southern institution hiding in the foothills of the mountains, but it had more than its share of spice.
Dillon was trying to cut down on the spice when the hot redheaded English professor came on to him and even showed interest in marriage. He’d always figured in the back of his mind that she had some reason of her own for this marriage. Now he thought he was figuring out what it was. She’d never made any bones about how important getting tenure at Montebello was.
* * * *
Dillon pulled to a stop in front of the Strang cottage on the Montebello campus. The garden setting was impressive, but the house appeared just to be a small wooden outbuilding on a tree-lined cul-de-sac, with larger houses of other senior faculty surrounding it. Initially, Dillon thought it was someone’s garage.
“You sure this is the place? He’s chair of the English Department, isn’t he?”
“This is it,” Madge answered. “It’s bigger than it looks. It rambles back away from the street in a couple of later additions. But it originally was a caretaker’s cottage for the president’s house that abuts it at the back. The garden actually goes with the president’s house. The professor’s wife acts as her father’s housekeeper and hostess, so she has to live close. The Strangs have the run of the president’s house as well. Let’s go in. We’re fashionably late now.”
“You sure you want me to do this?” Dillon asked as Madge opened her door. She gave a heavy sigh and sank back into her seat, but she didn’t close the car door.
“I’m not really afraid of the other one they’re looking at for tenure, Stan Snodgrass, but this is my last chance at tenure. I’ll take any extra edge I can get.”
“Don’t you mean I’ll take any edge you can get?” Dillon said.
“This is important to both of us. Remember what I did for you. I saved your reputation. And remember who puts the food on the table and provides both the table and the roof over the table. You may be a high-paid tennis pro sometime in the future, but not this week, and you have to eat this week.”
“And now you want me to sully my reputation again.”
“You’re in no danger of that. The Strangs are married, but they live entirely separate lives. You know how Gunther swings, and I’m sure you’ve heard that his wife bonks all male faculty members. Which means you don’t have much to worry about on that score. She’s a snob about who she fucks. I wouldn’t even be surprised if Sondra was being done by her father. The two of them are practically inseparable, and she won’t let anyone forget that she’s the university president’s daughter. She has no life beyond him. Well, other than the bottle. The woman is a lush. Strang has to carry her home early from almost every faculty party. No one says anything, though. She’s the president’s daughter.”
“So, why are you worried about this Snodgrass guy? Will I have competition from him with the professor?”
“Hardly. He’s in his forties and is an ugly beanpole. His wife is younger and quite the siren, but I can’t see Strang having any interest in him--and certainly not her. But it’s Stan’s last chance at tenure too, and he’s been walking around with an ‘I’ve got a secret’ expression on his face the last couple of weeks. I’m sure it’s just bluff to put me off.”
“And it is putting you off?” Dillon asked.
Madge’s expression turned ugly. “Of course not,” she snapped. “Let’s just go in and get this over with. Just charm the pants off the man--literally.”
Sondra McMillan Strang met them at the door of the cottage. Dillon got the reference to being a lush right off the bat. She was a bit slack mouthed, was using the frame of the door for support, and had a large, half-full glass of amber liquid, swirling a couple of ice cubes, in her hand.
Dillon had never met her before. Now that he saw her--a faded beauty in her late forties who was closer to Rubenesque than trim--he realized that he’d seen her many times before--always in the background, in the shadow of the university president when he made his formal appearances. Until now, she had just been part of the wallpaper to Dillon.
He instantly felt sorry for her, especially when they entered the bookcase-lined living room, with its study-like atmosphere and Dillon was introduced to Professor Strang. He obviously was a good bit younger than his wife was, perhaps about forty, and had been a real hunk in his day. He was a Germanic blond, with pale blue eyes and a classic, square-cut face. He came across as all vitality to Sondra’s fading beauty. Dillon didn’t know why he had the impression he did--that once she’d been the driving force in the marriage but that now she was pathetic and that her trysts with male faculty members, doing her to curry favor with her father, were a last-ditch effort to reel her husband back in. But this thought made him pity the woman all the more.
Madge had told him that the two were amicable but hardly a dedicated couple--but when he saw the two together he realized that President McMillan had bought Gunther Strang for his daughter with favoritism, which was a very strong motivator in the small world of a university campus. This so obviously was a case of a father keeping his daughter in thrall by keeping her close and nearly smothering her with entanglements.
Dillon hated to think it, but he would have guessed that her happy hour had started in her bedroom as she was getting ready for the evening. Her auburn hair, with its lacing of gray strands was not quite in order, and her lipstick had overshot the corner of her mouth when she’d applied it. Her shirtdress had been indifferently ironed and the buttons on the top were one off, causing the bodice to gape a bit unfortunately, as she was buxom, and, as she lurched more than moved about, she evoked the worry that one of the puppies might escape at any moment.
It was all a pity, as she really had a strikingly fine-featured face under the badly applied makeup and the most engaging violet eyes. If her attempts at a smile could only reach her eyes, Dillon thought, what a temptress she would be. Her body was curvy enough to be an asset still if only she made the effort to carry herself better.
From long familiarity with the ritual of such evenings, the four settled in. Guiding Madge to a sofa in the middle of the room, the two women sat, and Sondra conversed in standard faculty-night formula with Madge. Meanwhile, with a hand and head gesture and a smile, Gunther pulled Dillon over to a bookcase, where he’d been standing, leafing through a book, when the guests arrived. Checking on the two women from the corner of his eye, Dillon sensed Sondra coming to life more and growing more attractive with each passing moment as she leaned into Madge and freely used arm gestures in her conversation. The two had found a topic they could work over and both at least could pretend to be interested in.
“Have you found an interesting book?” Dillon asked the professor, working to engage the scholar’s interest. Madge had told him that Gunther’s specialty was nineteenth-century German literature. Dillon had no interest in, or knowledge of, the subject.
“Yes, I often find myself stopping when I pass one of the bookcases and pulling a book out at random. As you notice, our little abode here is a firetrap with cases stuffed with books lining all of the walls, but what it lacks in safety, it makes up for in good insulation.”
“Is that a German novel?” Dillon asked.
“But of course--by August, the duke of Saxony-Gotha in the early nineteenth century. It’s Ein Jahr in Arkadia. Do you know it? Are you a literature scholar like Madge?”
“No, not really. I’m studying history--Chinese history. And I couldn’t even begin to catch up with what Madge knows about American literature.” Might as well work in a plug, Dillon thought.
Strang was standing near him, very close. He cut a fine figure and was dressed in an almost medieval billowy cotton shirt that was buttoned only half way up and loose-fitting cotton trousers. The shirt was gauzy and Dillon was able to ascertain that the man’s torso was well-muscled and his chest was matted with curly-blond hair. Dillon guessed he was playing Renaissance man tonight.
“You didn’t say anything when I told you what book this was,” Strang said. He was holding the book nearly under Dillon’s nose with one hand and was palming the young man’s shoulder blade with the other.
“I’m afraid I don’t speak German,” Dillon said. “I took Latin as an undergraduate. And I’m struggling with Mandarin now--and losing that battle, I’m afraid.”
“Ah. The title translates as A Year in Arkadia. It’s a rather famous--infamous to some--homosexual text, as was August--homosexual, not a text. It’s a love story between two military men in the duke’s service, although there are those who believe the duke himself was one of the men he wrote about. The German intellectual movement in those days was so much more open than in later years, you know. There was Heinrich Zschokke’s Der Eros oder Uber der Liebe, or Eros or Concerning Love, from the same period, not to mention Alexander Von Sternberg’s later Jena and Leipzig, and the even later Fridolin’s Secret Marriage by Adolf von Wilbrandt. Really, Uranien love, the love, what they called Heavenly Love--intimate relations between an older man and a younger was quite openly written about then, and in quite open language. It was only later that--”
“Let’s not forget the distaff side, darling,” Sondra chimed in from across the room. “Lesbians had their day during the Gründerzeit Movement era too. Don’t forget Frank Wedekind’s Die Büchse der Pandora--Pandora’s Box or, even later, Aimée Duc’s Are These Women? But perhaps you’re boring the young man with your fetishes--excuse me, your enthusiasms. I think you’re overwhelming the young man.”
Indeed, Dillon did feel a bit overwhelmed. The man was coming on strong. In addition to the obvious enthusiasm for the subject, the professor seemed to be aroused by it as well. His hand had dropped to one of Dillon’s butt cheeks, and Dillon could clearly see that the man was hard. His trousers weren’t constructed to conceal. Dillon suspected that was wholly on purpose.
“I’m sorry,” Strang said. “Am I boring you?” His voice sounded like he was concerned, but he didn’t take his hand away from Dillon’s butt.
I get it that you want to be boring me, Dillion thought. But that’s not what he said. “No, not at all,” he answered dutifully. He was actually relieved. He’d thought he’d have to do the work to get the dance started, but Strang had started it as soon as they’d entered the house. It almost was as if Sondra would know how this would go and was aiding it. She had Madge shepherded off to a corner of the sofa and, sitting turned in the sofa herself with her back to the men, she seemed almost to be running interference for her husband.
“German literature may be a bit heavy for the boy, Gunther,” she said. “Perhaps he would like to see the greenhouse. Your orchid collection may be much more interesting to him.”
“Am I embarrassing you by talking about homosexual novels?” Gunther asked Dillon.
“No, not at all,” Dillon answered, looking into Gunther’s eyes and fluttering his own eyelashes.
“Well, I’m delighted to hear that. I’d gotten the impression from scuttlebutt around the college that it wouldn’t be an uncomfortable topic. But the orchids. Would you like to see them?” Gunther asked, looking deep into Dillon’s eyes. “Would you like to see the orchids? Cook won’t have dinner ready for a half hour or more yet. I know Madge’s love is English literature, and Sondra majored in that as well. The women would best be rid of us for a while anyway. It will be just the two of us in the greenhouse for the interim.”
“Yes, of course, I’d love to see your orchids,” Dillon answered. And Madge wanted me to get you alone for as long as it took to win you over to her cause anyway, he thought. This was proving to be easier than he had feared it would be, although the next fifteen minutes or so might be dicey.
But it was going surprisingly smoothly.
* * * *
There was a reason Dillon’s assignment was going smoothly, which was revealed to him as soon as they entered the greenhouse, a Victorian confection attached to the side of the vehicle garage for the president’s house and jutting out into a garden illuminated by well-placed and –disguised lights to give the impression of a fairyland. The lights were blazing on the first floor of the president’s house and the tinkling conversation from a cocktail party in progress could be heard across the expanse of the garden. Dillon knew from Madge’s instructions for the evening that President McMillan was in Atlanta to give a speech, so he reasoned that the party must be one of the many that was booked for a college organization and that didn’t require McMillan’s presence.
Still, the nearby party across a firefly-sparkled garden, with the swirl of heads, torsos, and raised glasses visible through the wide expanse of greenhouse glass and the hanging orchids, lent a surrealistic effect to the straightforward talk of Professor Strang now that the two were alone.
“We don’t have long, and I sometimes need a good buildup, so we might as well get right down to it,” he said as he and Dillon drew into the humid atmosphere of the orchid display.
“Excuse me?” Dillon answered, not so smart that he could flip that fast into a new, fast scene.
“Tonight is about Madge’s tenure prospects. You are here to plead her case with your body, are you not? I don’t need the preliminaries. I knew of your past reputation on campus before Madge came to me and told me you’d take cock if I’d treat her favorably in the tenure deliberations. I made no promises but said I’d give you a whirl. Now that I see you in person, I’ll be quite willing to give you that whirl.”
Dillon could have feigned that he didn’t know what this was all about, but he did, and the professor was right. A half hour--twenty-five minutes now--wasn’t long for him to make the case that Madge had insisted that he do.
Besides, Strang’s cock was already out of his trousers, he was fisting it, and it already was hard. With a sigh, Dillon knelt down in front of him and took the cock--a rather nice one--in his mouth.
The surrealism continued for Dillon as, with his trousers and briefs bunched around his ankles, he was bent over a cleared-off ledge with his nose nearly plastered to the glass of the greenhouse wall. His eyes watched the swirl of the party in the president’s house through the large windows looking out on the lit garden and Gunther Strang stood close behind him, hands grasping Dillon’s hips, and cock working in and out of Dillon’s ass channel.
Gunther was muttering in guttural German, so Dillon decided the professor must be enjoying himself. So, assignment completed as far as Dillon was concerned; he’d done what Madge had pressured him to do. It was up to Strang now to decide whether this favored Madge’s candidacy for tenure. Dillon felt a little guilty, though, because he was enjoying the working of Gunther’s cock inside him. Despite all of the rumblings on campus during his earlier life at Montebello, Dillon did enjoy having a man’s plump cock inside him rubbing against his prostate. And he did enjoy soaring on a high and releasing his seed from a man’s attention. He even, tonight, enjoyed the surreal effect and danger of doing it here in the greenhouse where anyone who decided to get a smoke or a secret grope in the garden could come away from the party in the president’s house and discover Gunther and him going at it.
It took more than the half hour, and Dillon didn’t make any effort to bring it to an earlier climax. When the two men returned to the cottage living room, though, the women said nothing about the extra time and dinner was still not on the table.
“Has Sondra been chewing your ear off about women’s literature in nineteenth-century Germany?” Gunther asked Madge jovially as they strode, all smiles, into the living room.
“Something like that,” Madge mumbled, but she was looking a bit distracted and nonplused. Dillon hoped she was having remorse about what she had pressed him to do--and that he’d carried through and done for her. He felt a little pleased with himself that she was in this disconcerted mood.
In contrast, Sondra had become more aware and was moving more self-confidently--more erect and more in command and, yes, looking more lovely--than she had looked when the men had departed the house.
Dinner was an anticlimax. The Strangs prattled on almost solely between themselves through the meal, being clever and witty in their choices of comment, both all smiles and vivacious, while Madge was somber and noticeably withdrawn, and Dillon was icy with her, shooting her “Aren’t you proud of what you made me do?” glances when he got the chance. There were points to be won by playing the martyr here; he didn’t have to reveal that he’d enjoyed Gunther’s cocking.
He also played up to Gunther. This only partially was as punishment to Madge. He, in fact, wanted Gunther to know he could have him again. What Gunther had done had brought back memories to Dillon of a time of greater sexual fulfillment than he had gotten from Madge in the short time they’d been married. Sex with her had been better--enhanced by being forbidden--when they were having their affair, than it was afterward, when they were married.
Madge maintained her distant mood and downcast eyes after they’d entered the car for the short drive back to their house.
“Aren’t you going to ask me whether--?” Dillon started to ask as he pulled the car away from the curb.
“No,” she fairly spat out, turning her head to the passenger window. “I could see that you managed.”
“And you don’t have anything to say? No word of thanks?”
“Yes, of course, thanks,” she shot back. “Now, if you don’t mind, I have a splitting headache and I’d rather not engage in silly chit-chat on the way home.”
Dillon shrugged and turned his attention to the road. He actually thought the evening had gone quite well. Madge’s behavior now only enhanced the glow he still felt from Gunther Strang’s attentions. This just added to his resolve to see Gunther privately again when the chance arose. He was pleased that Gunther had suggested it, and he hadn’t hesitated to agree to it.
And he didn’t really give a fuck if Madge got tenure or not. He had the distinct feeling that they wouldn’t last much longer as a couple regardless and then he didn’t give a shit where she went. She was just a user.
* * * *
Sondra and Gunther Strang stood at one of the cottage’s living room windows looking out onto the street and watched Dillon and Madge drive away. Gunther had an arm around Sondra’s waist, which is as close as he’d gotten to her in several days and was as close as he would get to her for several more. Both were smiling, their eyes were blazing, and they were humming the same tune softly.
“Did you enjoy him?” Sondra asked.
“Yes, of course. He’s quite a luscious piece. And he must have enjoyed it too. He said he’d be happy to do it again anytime we could arrange it. And you. Did you get into Madge’s panties?”
“You know I did. Probably not as enjoyable an encounter as you had--she was stiff at first and held back until I spelled out the tenure issue with her. Then she was fine. Moody afterward, as you could see when you returned.”
“So, are you going to support her for tenure with your father? It continues to amaze me that these faculty people don’t understand the control you have over your father--and that neither Madge nor Stan Snodgrass seem to realize that the route to currying favor for tenure here doesn’t arrive at me--that it’s in the hands of Clifton McMillan and goes through you.”
“I don’t know yet whether or not I’ll support her over Stan Snodgrass. Madge is ambitious and has a great body, but she’s a grasping bitch--and a cold one at that, during the act. Stan and his wife are coming for dinner on Thursday night. I know it will be a dull evening for you, being forced to discuss French Romanticism with that blowhard Stan all evening, but his wife is quite a sweet little thing. If she is as accessible to another woman as campus rumor has it, Thursday might just be Stan Snodgrass’ lucky day.”