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Darrin glanced toward the door to his office. He thought he’d sensed someone. Someone lurking at his door. Darrin chuckled to himself at his alliteration. Mitch’s harassment about his writing must be having it’s effect, because that definitely had a Poe feeling about it.
Darrin shook himself. I’m losing it and I’m not even chair yet. You aren’t suppose to lose control before you even get the job. Right? He glanced up and discovered he’d been correct. One of the other faculty was leaning against his door frame. To make matters worse it was one of the new guys who he’d thought had his back, only to be thrown under the bus, or more accurately in this case the one-ton feed truck. He tried not to scowl, but had a feeling he failed miserably.
“Hey, Orin. What’d you need?”
The young man never looked up from the floor as he ran his fingers through his hair. Whatever it was that he wanted must have been wearing on him, because his normally perfect hair looked like Darrin’s when he first woke. He wasn’t certain if that was to his benefit, or detriment. He studied the man silently, determined to let him stew for a few minutes. Eventually, Orin cleared his throat and began.
“I guess I owe you an apology. For yesterday.”
Darrin frowned but kept his silence. He let the words hang for a few minutes before replying. “Yeah. I think you do owe me an apology.”
This time the younger man did look up, in shock. This wasn’t the typically easy going Darrin that was known as a nice guy. It took the younger man several minutes before he pulled himself together and nodded. “You’re right. I do owe you an apology, and I’m not the only one who does. We were pretty much chicken shits yesterday. So, sorry. It shouldn’t have happened.”
Darrin stood staring at the man for a long moment. But he really was a nice guy, and he just couldn’t keep Orin squirming. But he wasn’t going to completely let him get off without any questions.
“What happened? I didn’t do anything to you and you turned on me once we get to the faculty meeting.”
This time it was Orin’s turn to look disgusted. “They fooled us, the black hats. And we were too stupid to recognize we were being played.”
Darrin fought back the urge to laugh when Orin used slang term the younger faculty used for the old guard. But he refused to make this any more comfortable, he wasn’t trying to be a dick, but he also wasn’t going to let him off by saying it was nothing. “You have to watch who you trust. There are some real dick’s in this place.”
Orin sighed and motioned toward the extra chair in Darrin’s office. “Can I talk to you for a minute?”
Darrin cocked his head and studied the younger man. After a few moments passed he shrugged. “I suppose so.”
Orin closed the door and slid into the chair. It was easy to see what a state he was in. His hands were shaking and he never let his eyes meet Darrin’s. They sat in silence for several minutes before Darrin began to feel a little sorry for the guy. The whole conversation was beginning to feel like a student who he’d caught cheating on a test. He leaned back in his chair and exhaled. “What is it, Orin? Believe me, I doubt anything you could tell me would shock me at this point.”
Orin nodded, but still avoided looking up as he began. “You’re married? Right? To a guy?”
This time Darrin was the one cringing. This conversation he’d been involved with before, and it seldom had a good ending, And if it went the direction where he was making the assumption that he and Mitch shared their bed with anyone who wanted to play with another guy, then this conversation was going to end up pissing everyone off.
“Yes, I’m married, and yes, Mitch is very male. Why?”
Orin rushed forward and spewed out the words. “I haven’t told anyone because he wasn’t here but now he got hired by the chemistry department and so he’ll be on campus and since we’re married it will be okay but I thought maybe you’d have some suggestions I know my timing sucks but it’s been eating at me and I was hoping you’d help.”
Darrin’s jaw dropped open. Not the direction he’d guessed. Not at all.
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