Castle Roland

Forbidden Fruit

by David Lee


Chapter 5

Published: 18 Aug 16

Forbidden Fruit

Copyright © 2016
by David Lee

Fall semester continued to move along, but at a slightly slower pace. With the track season over, the intense practices ended. However, Joe kept on running a bit every day, and still hit the weight room regularly. He was pleased with the muscle definition he'd gained, which was confirmed with photographic evidence.

Coach Brad Branson had taken pictures of each of the team members wearing their team attire, split-side running shorts and a tank-top, the first day of the season. He had taken follow-up ones in the similar attire at the end of each month. Each guy had a copy, and there was a gallery of photos in the coach's office.

Comparing a new picture to the one from the previous month didn't show all that much improvement, but putting the first one and the most recent one side by side showed dramatic results. Joe wasn't going to get the big head over it, but he was beginning to see himself as Michael had seen him already. He was pretty hot!

His biology lab partner, Maddie White, was beginning to look at him as more than bright kid who was helping her to survive the class. From the bulge that could scarcely be restrained by heavy denim, she judged that he'd be larger than the vibrator she'd ordered on line. While that toy was fun, it would pale in comparison with having the real thing attached to a beautiful Latino! She fantasized about feeling his big cock buried deep inside her.

Joe never flirted with her like many of the guys on campus. Even the nerds drooled in her presence. She'd have to find a way to get to know Joe intimately. If nothing permanent came out of it, she might still have an awesome experience.

The pace of Michael's semester also slowed with the end of track. Of course, he and Coach Brems still supervised the weight room on a regular basis, and there were classes to teach and homework assignments to grade.

All the while, he was continuing his online courses and checking for jobs in towns closer to Iowa State. So far, nothing had turned up. Spring would be a better season for job-hunting because of retirements, but it would also be busier because of coaching track.

He would likely take that semester off from pursuing his degree. He was close enough that he could compete it in the summer. All he had to do was finish his thesis, which he felt didn't need much more work.

Maria was sure that she could bring Joe home for Thanksgiving break. Michael would be hard-pressed to find the time since the public schools didn't have as long a vacation as the universities. He couldn't take time off from school, but she could have her sister cover her daycare duties so that she could pick him up.

Michael was concerned about the condition of her car, and insisted that she drive his SUV. After a bit of resisting, she finally agreed to take it, but not without a few lessons in driving a vehicle of that size.

He invited her to drive them to Atlantic for dinner. It would give her the experience she desired, and give them both a change of scenery.

The Subaru was actually a bit smaller than her old Buick, and she soon discovered that it handled like a dream. It made her eager for a newer vehicle. When it came time to go car-shopping, she'd be sure to take Michael along with her.

Joe was excited to be home at long last, even if it was for only a week. Grandma's cooking tasted better than ever, and he could spend at least some time with his boyfriend.

While Michael and he didn't go out of their way to raise any eyebrows, Joe did stay overnight with him in his apartment on at least two occasions. The sex was good, but the togetherness of cuddling naked was ultimately the thing that Joe appreciated the most. He felt loved!

Maria cooked most of their Thanksgiving dinner, with Joe's help, but Michael said it was his duty to at least bring a salad and make two pies.

They invited Maria's sister, Rosa, to eat with them. Her children were all going to various in-laws that year, so Maria didn't want her to be home alone for the holiday.

Michael drove Joe back to campus on Saturday afternoon, and stayed over with him in the dorm, leaving for home on Sunday afternoon. Once again, they were becoming more open about their relationship. Of course, many of the residents wouldn't return until several hours after Michael had departed, so no one would likely know he was there.

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas was short enough that the guys figured they could bear being apart that long. Joe had several class projects which would keep him busy, and Michael had a full schedule as well.

Joe stayed on campus an extra day after his exams were over so that Michael could pick him up on Friday night. Waiting wasn't ideal, but Maria's car was acting up again, and Michael could leave the minute school was out for the day.

He arrived in Ames in time to take Joe out to dinner. Their favorite restaurant was nearly deserted with most of the students out of town already. Therefore, they didn't have to wait for their meal as long as usual.

On the trip home, Michael asked Joe to drive part of the way. He wanted to give his young lover a chance to gain more experience on the open road and, given his long day, it would probably be safer if he weren't behind the wheel.

Joe was rested up and raring to go. Michael's few-minutes of shut-eye lasted until he felt the car slowing down to turn into his parking place behind the hardware store.

"Wow! Are we here already?"

"Yup, you really zonked out! Are you rested up now?"

"I am. What did you have in mind?"

"I was hoping you'd let me sleep here tonight."

"Of course I will. Are you eager to go to bed?"

"Yup, but not necessarily for sleep…."

Michael's winter vacation this year was split up differently from the last two. Joe and he spent Christmas Eve with Maria, even attending midnight Mass with her. The next morning, they drove to Ames to be with his family a couple of days.

Maria spent the day with her sister and family. Everyone had to adjust to the fact that children and grandchildren alternated between their immediate family and the in-laws at holiday times. As long as they made sure no one was left alone during festive occasions, it all worked out.

Michael and Joe actually took turns driving this time. The day was beautiful, and quite bright because of the recent snowfall that completely covered the fields. Thank God, the roads had been thoroughly plowed, so the trip didn't take any longer than usual.

The Cooper's house was beautifully decorated for the season. Michael was pleased that his little brother could grow up in such a pleasant and loving environment. He wasn't jealous. He'd had plenty of love, and he'd never really missed the things that Noah would take for granted.

The aroma of dinner in the oven, combined with a slight scent of the logs burning in the fireplace, completed the homey atmosphere. It was a truly merry occasion.

Kristen had gone all-out on dinner. Instead of the usual rump roast she'd "splurged" on when Michael was a boy, now it was prime rib. He mentally calculated the amount of money she's spent on it, realizing that would have been nearly purchased a month's groceries when he was growing up. Having Phil's salary combined with hers, she could easily afford it. Michael was happy for her.

After dinner, they exchanged token gifts. Noah got his share of them. When he opened the one from Michael and Joe, his face lit up. It was a book about Thomas the Tank Engine, so he immediately climbed onto the sofa for them to read it to him. He had heard other stories with similar plots, so when it got to the part about what happened because of the washed-out bridge, he shook his head and said, "Confusion and delay!"

The story inspired him get out his bin of train sets, and the three "boys" played with them on the floor. Noah may have been the only child in his household, but he wasn't selfish. He made sure that his guests chose the color of engine they wanted. They, in turn, attempted to leave his favorite red ones for him to use.

Their evening meal was a buffet made up of leftovers along with a pot of barley and vegetable soup. No one was very hungry, but all ate something.

When it came time for bed, Kristen told Michael that there were two rooms made up for their use, but that she wasn't trying to interfere in their lives. If they were used to sleeping together, that would be fine too.

He thanked her for her thoughtfulness, and said that if she was truly comfortable with it, they would be happy to share a bed, cutting down on the amount of laundry she'd have after they left.

She smiled at his response, and gave him a reassuring hug.

The guys spent the last few days of break, including the early part of New Year's Eve, with Maria. She rarely sat up long enough to see the year in, and they left her house around 10:30 to have their own little celebration at Michael's apartment. Everyone was asleep before midnight.

Michael made another trip to Ames on the third weekend in January. He booked a room at the Days Inn as he had back in the fall. Neither Joe nor he was frightened of being outed, but he knew they'd feel freer to express their desire in a locale with no interruptions.

Joe seemed a bit preoccupied at times, but appeared to enjoy their cuddling sessions more than usual. For both of them, the security of each other's arms was as important as being baptized in jizz, though they certainly loved the latter as well!

Having to say goodbye on a Sunday night was becoming more and more difficult. Michael was trying to rectify that situation by sending applications to every high school within a 50-mile radius.

In February, Michael received a letter from the principal of Ames High School where he'd graduated nearly seven years before. Dr. Williams asked him to come for a face-to-face interview at his early convenience.

Michael was thrilled at the possibility of replacing Coach Weld who was retiring in the spring. His former coach, and mentor, had promised to put in a good word for him; therefore, getting an invitation to interview was a hopeful sign.

After a series of phone calls, everything was arranged, and Michael took a personal day on Friday to make the trip.

He decided not to tell Joe about it in case it didn't pan out. He didn't want to get his hopes up, only to have them dashed if this turned out to be a "courtesy" interview. Any number of administrators seemed to feel that they needed to grant interviews to applicants they had no intention of hiring. Perhaps they were afraid someone would sue the district if they weren't given a chance, or maybe they considered it an act of kindness to give applicants more experience in the process.

Dr. Williams greeted Michael warmly, asking to be called by his first name.

"If you insist, sir, I'll address you as 'Harry,' but it's difficult to do so having viewed you as someone who practically resided on Mt. Olympus! You never acted like a god, yet many of us students saw you in that light. Gods are omniscient and omnipresent. You always remembered our names, and you seemed to be everywhere at once, especially if we were planning some kind of prank!"

"I'll admit that I've often had an uncanny knack for predicting where trouble might be brewing. However, that comes more from still having an immature boy living inside this middle-aged body than having some kind of god-like foreknowledge.

"I never remember you as a troublemaker in any sense of the word. You were serious about learning, and maintaining your GPA, as well as running like the wind. Two of your records in track and field have yet to be broken, and we have the trophies in the case by the gym to prove it."

"Thanks. You know as much about my high school years as I do!"

"I know about your successes at the university level and in the school where you're currently teaching too. I've also noticed that when you're interviewed for the sports pages you've always credited your teams' efforts for their winning records. You've remained humble, even though we all know you were the catalyst that made it happen. That's the kind of person I want as Jim Weld's replacement. You could continue to bear the torch he's lighted."

"Um, does that mean I have a chance at the job?"

"Absolutely! It's yours if you want it. I have interviewed a number of people, and no one has the background you have. Your newly acquired major in counseling puts you above anyone who's applied. Most coaches teach some form of social studies, as you have been the past three years. However, I'm up to my armpits in history teachers, but we have a counselor who has just resigned in order to take a job in Florida near his parents. You fit our needs perfectly!"

"I'd be honored to serve under you, sir."

"Let me rephrase that the way I want to hear it. You'd enjoy serving WITH me."

"Okay, I'd love to serve my old alma mater with you, Harry."

"That's the spirit! I anticipated that you might, so I had HR draw up a contract. You'll come onto the salary schedule at the level of a fourth-year teacher who has a BA plus 45 hours of additional credit. If you finish you MA by September, that will bump you up by another $1,000 per year. Of course there's also the schedule C contract for your coaching duties. I'm afraid it's only an additional $4,000, and you well know that amounts to about 25 cents per hour with all the time you'll put in."

"The regular contract will be a BIG boost from what I'm being paid now!"

"Please take the contracts and read them over carefully before you sign. Bring them back as soon as possible, so we can present them to the board."

"If I may sit in the teachers' lounge to look at them, I think I can take care of it right away."

"Great! However, if you want to concentrate without any distractions, I'd recommend the conference room next door."

Michael took the principal's advice and spent a bit of time carefully reading all of the details. It was a pretty standard form, almost a clone of the contract he'd signed for his current job, so there was no fine print to be wary of.

When he went back to the office, the door was open and Harry motioned him to come in.

"Ah, you haven't signed it! Is there a problem?"

"Yes, but not what you're thinking," Michael grinned. "I didn't expect to be offered the position today, so I didn't think to bring a pen."

"If that's the only problem, I can fix it quickly. Here's a brand new pen with the school's name and logo. I suggest that you use it, and keep it as a reminder of this significant day."

Michael signed the contract, and pocketed the pen. He was thinking about putting it, along with his copy of the contract, in a special box to keep as a memento.

After seeking out Coach Weld to tell him the news, he drove to campus to find Joe.

Michael rapped on the door of Joe's dorm room several times with no answer. Damn! There's no telling where Joe might be – the weight room, library, student union. He should have texted ahead. He had just turned on his phone to do that, when the door opened to reveal a haggard freshman who looked like he hadn't eaten, showered, or slept in days.

"Joe, what's wrong, are you ill?"

"I feel like crap."

"Did you catch something? Should I take you to the doctor?"

"I've really fucked up, Michael!" Joe exclaimed, as the tears began to fall.

Taking his young love into his arms, Michael held him, patting his back as he had in the locker room a couple of years before. This time, he offered comforting words.

"It's okay, Joe. You'll be okay. Whatever is wrong can be fixed."

"Maybe not. She says she's pregnant, and I have to marry her," he sobbed.

"Well, perhaps the girl is mistaken, and besides, pregnant or not, no one HAS to marry anyone these days. This isn't the 19th century!"

"If I don't, she's gonna claim I raped her! You know how many guys have had their futures ruined by allegations of rape. Even when it's not true, the stigma can follow you forever. Everyone always takes the girl's word for it!"

"That doesn't happen as much anymore. Remember the scandal over the 'Rolling Stone' article in which it turned out that the young lady was lying? It was all made up. If there's no evidence, there's no case."

"I've been so scared!"

"Do you want to tell me the story from the beginning?"

"Not really, but I will. I haven't wanted to face you because you may hate me when you hear the details. At the very least, you're going to be so disappointed in me."

"Please don't assume what my reaction will be."

"You remember that my lab partner, Maddie was having difficulty in biology. She was repeating the course because she didn't pass it last year, and it still wasn't going well. Jordan and a couple of other people in the class were in the same boat. So, we held some intense study sessions here in my room, since it was a place where we could work without a lot of distractions.

"Anyway, one night Maddie and another girl were talking disparagingly about gays and picking at Jordan because of his orientation when we took a break. They said their ministers knew that no one had to be gay; it was a choice.

"I begged to differ. I said that their minister wouldn't say that if he were gay; people born that way know they didn't choose to be different.

"Then they turned on me, and said I probably thought I was gay, but that if I had sex with a female, I'd be cured of my mistaken notion. Maddie said she would prove it to me. She was on the pill, and we could try it - with no strings attached. It would be a scientific experiment. Like a fool, I let curiosity get the best of me. I'm so ashamed."

"As I recall, I suggested that you might want to have an experience with a girl so you'd know for sure. I can't fault you for that. So how can she claim you got her pregnant if she's on birth control?"

"She later said that she had lied. Her church doesn't believe in birth control."

"I suppose you didn't use a rubber then."

"I DID! She said it must have leaked."

"Joe, there are red flags all over the place! If she belongs to a strict fundamentalist church, she wouldn't be having sex outside of marriage in the first place. A true believer shouldn't have enticed you, and she shouldn't have lied. This is all wrong. It's like she was setting you up."

"I know, but what can I do?"

"We have to get some kind of evidence. How many other kids heard her offering to take you to bed?"

"At least three, Jordan, Mindy, and Jorje."

"Okay, there is proof that you didn't force her to have sex. She was a consenting, adult partner. Now, what confirmation is there that she's pregnant?"

"I guess there's a test kit she got from the drugstore."

"And, you've seen the results?"

"No, I took her word for it."

"Her track-record for truthfulness it's exactly stellar!"

"I guess I've been so blinded by the guilt that I haven't been thinking rationally. How do we get the goods on her?"

"Do you have a tech friend who could put a mike in your room? You could invite her over to 'discuss' your future and ask some leading questions. She'd probably spill enough to hang herself."

"Yeah, Jordan could do that. Wouldn't it be illegal, though?"

"It's legal in this state as long as one of the parties knows it's being recorded. You'd be covered since you'd know."

Their conversation was interrupted by a knock on the door.

"Who is it?" Joe called.

"It's Maddie; let me in! You haven't answered my texts or my calls. You can't avoid me any longer! I won't have it. If you don't let me in, I'm going to the dean and tell him you raped me!"

"Where can I hide?" Michael whispered.

"There's almost nothing in the closet Kevin used.

"That's ideal; those louvered doors won't shut out much sound. I'll be able to record your conversation on my phone. This could be an answer to prayer!"

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