My Freshman Experience

by Joel Young

Chapter 10

Leaving the Door Ajar

I felt a rush of adrenalin when Mitch told me that my father had come to our room earlier that evening. I had so many questions that my head was spinning.

Why did Dad come to Oberlin? Why hadn't he let me know he was coming? Was there a problem at home? Was he just checking up on me? What did he think when he couldn't find me? What had Mitch said to him? And, how the hell had Adam known that a man with muscular arms was waiting for me in my room?

"My dad was here? Has he left? Did I miss him?" I asked.

"Yeah," Mitch said. "You missed him by about ten minutes. I just now went to bed."

"Sorry if I woke you," I said as I sat down. "I wish I had been here to see my dad."

"Yeah, well, we tried to find you," Mitch said, sounding slightly irritated. "Where were you?"

I didn't like Mitch putting me on the spot like that. So, I decided to use my 'go to' avoidance strategy – no lies, but no full disclosures, either.

"I took a walk with Peter," I said.

"We went to Peter's room. He told us you guys got back to the dorm more than an hour ago. He thought you came back to the room to study," Mitch said.

I was starting to feel trapped, so I redirected the conversation. "Did my dad say why he was here?"

"He was at a conference in Tennessee and wanted to stop by on his way home. You know, just to see how you were doing," Mitch explained. "He said he called the day before yesterday, and the desk clerk put a note in your mailbox."

"Shit!" I said. "I haven't checked my mailbox in a few days. I'll call my dad tomorrow. Thanks for helping."

"I said you might be with Adam. Your father waited here while I walked over to Wesley Hall to see if I could find you. But, Adam didn't answer his door," Mitch said. "A guy on the floor told me you and Adam might be in the art studio. Whoever that guy is, Joel, he really doesn't like you."

"That would be Sean," I said. "He's the guy I told you about that I knew from high school – the one who's carrying a grudge against me."

"Well, he certainly didn't try to hide his feelings. I didn't tell your dad about that," Mitch said.

"Thanks," I said. "Dad gets upset if anyone says bad things about me. He wants everyone to think I'm perfect."

Then, I realized the horrible possibilities from Sean's suggestion that Mitch look for me at the art studio!

Had Mitch gone to the art studio? Oh, my God! Had he seen me giving Adam a blowjob? Ahhhhh! I could barely stop myself from freaking out. I felt nauseated.

"Anyway," Mitch said. "It was getting late, so I didn't go to the art studio. Were you there?"

"No lies. No full disclosure," I thought to myself again.

"Yeah," I told Mitch. I felt tremendously relieved when I realized that my worst fears were not coming true. "I was there for a while. Adam was trying to finish a project. We didn't talk very much. Thanks again for helping my dad. I hope he didn't mess up your study time too much."

"It's alright," Mitch said. "But, I'd better get to sleep. I have an 8:00 o'clock tomorrow morning."

Thankfully, that ended the conversation for the night.

I called Dad at his office the next morning. He was a bit cool toward me. I apologized for not being there when he came to visit.

"I'm glad you've got friends to hang out with," Dad said. "But, you should have been there. I left a message that I was coming."

"I know," I said. "I didn't check my mailbox."

"Joel, that's not a good excuse," my dad said with a hint of anger in his voice. "What if one of my patients left me a message, and I didn't bother to check my mail?"

"I understand," I said. "It won't happen again. I promise!"

I met Adam for lunch right after I talked to my dad. Adam had an 'I told you so,' look on his face when I explained about my dad being on campus the previous night. I appreciated that Adam didn't rub it in that his premonition had proven true, even though I had been skeptical.

"The scary part was that Mitch almost came to the studio looking for me," I said. "Sean suggested we might be there."

"Sean?" Adam questioned. "How'd he get involved in all of this?"

I explained the rest of the situation to him, and Adam grinned. "You were afraid Mitch might have caught us, weren't you?" Adam asked.

"Of course!" I exclaimed. "That would have been mortifying!"

"Someday, Joel," Adam said. "You might want to consider coming out, starting with your friends."

"Even if I did," I argued. "I wouldn't want anyone walking in while I was giving you a blowjob!"

"Well, nothing bad happened," Adam said. "So, let's put all of that aside. We need to focus on our midterms."

Midterm week came and went. I was confident that I had done well on all of my exams. When I found out that I had aced my Chemistry test, I was elated! "I really owe Peter," I thought to myself. "Without him, I would have been lucky to get a 'C!'

Mitch decided to go home for the weekend after midterms; so did Peter. Adam suggested that he and I spend Friday night together in my room. I thought that was a great idea. Adam said he'd be over right after taking down his artwork in the gallery. Displaying his work was part of his midterm requirements. He told me that he'd finish up about 9:00 p.m.

That Friday night, I went to dinner with Tom. We were both relieved that midterms were over. And, we were both very glad that there was almost no homework to do that weekend. I felt so free!

Tom and I went back to the dorm and played Foosball in the recreation room. We had a blast. I really enjoyed being rowdy and loud, even though Tom beat the socks off of me. After maybe ten games, we went up to my room. Tom and I talked about a lot of things that night, including his sports memorabilia collection. He got very excited that I was interested in his hobby and that I asked a lot of questions.

Just before nine o'clock, I told Tom I was pretty tired after such a busy week. Tom said he was tired too, and he left. Adam arrived about ten minutes later.

"You get all your artwork taken care of?" I asked. "You know I would have been happy to help."

"Thanks, but there were lots of art students there. We all helped each other. It was fun," Adam said. "Now, it's time for you and me to have some fun!"

We lay down on my bed and cuddled up together. We just held each other for a while. There was no need to rush. We had the whole weekend ahead of us.

Adam had his arms around me, and we were kissing when it happened. I didn't know it, but I had left the door ajar when I let Adam in. We heard a knock on the door, and it swung open.

I was shocked when Tom looked into the room and saw Adam and me. Tom was holding an autographed catcher's mitt that I had expressed interest in seeing.

Tom stared at us. He looked stunned! "Oh, my God!" he said. "I'm so sorry!" He turned around, closed the door and left before I could say anything.

I stood up and went to the door. "I've got to go talk to Tom," I told Adam.

"Joel, I think you should wait," Adam said. "You know him better than I do, but I'd give him a chance to digest what he saw. You're not going to be able to convince him that he misunderstood the situation. The best you're going to do is help him accept it – and hopefully, keep our secret. Tomorrow is soon enough for that."

"So when I talk to him, I can be honest about us?" I asked. "You won't mind?"

"Joel, I'm fairly open about being gay. I don't talk about it much, but I don't lie about it either." Adam said.

I was definitely more upset about Tom walking in on us than Adam was. The entire situation changed my mood, and Adam and I didn't even make love that night. In fact, he wound up going back to Wesley Hall around midnight. We planned to get together on Saturday afternoon.

I knew Tom usually got up early, so I decided to try to catch him first thing at breakfast. I got to the cafeteria shortly after it opened. I saw Tom eating by himself, so I got my food and sat down at his table.

"Hey, Joel," he said as if nothing had happened. "You're up early."

"Maybe a little," I said. "I wanted to see if I could catch you at breakfast."

"Cool," he said. "So, are you going home for Thanksgiving? It's only two weeks away."

"Yeah. It's actually my favorite holiday. I wouldn't miss it," I said. "What about you?"

"I'm looking forward to it," Tom said. "I need a break from school, and some of my high school friends are planning a party."

I was done making small talk while avoiding the topic we needed to discuss. "Tom, I want to talk about last night."

"You want another shot at beating me at Foosball? Sure. But, I'm still gonna whop your butt," he said.

Tom obviously didn't want to talk about catching Adam and me cuddling and kissing on my bed. But, I needed to talk about it. If I didn't reach some understanding with Tom, I wouldn't be able to relax. I decided to jump right in, with full disclosure.

"Tom," I said. "Adam is my boyfriend. I'm sorry you had to find that out the way you did."

"So, Mitch was right," he said. "He thought you guys seemed to be – well – really into each other."

My stomach sank when Tom told me that Mitch had suspicions about Adam and me. Part of me wanted to crawl under a rock and hide. Part of me was relieved.

"Joel, it's okay," Tom said. "I admit I was shocked when I walked in on you. It's just that I've never seen two guys – you know – together like that. But, I'm cool with it. It doesn't have to get in the way our friendship."

I was still feeling shaken, and I didn't say anything.

"May I ask you something?" Tom said. "Something personal?"

"Okay," I said hesitantly.

"Are you - well, you know - always that way?" he asked. "I mean gay."

"Actually, I'm bi," I said. "I had a girlfriend most of last year."

"So, kind of AC/DC, huh? Did you break up with Darlene because of … because you like guys?" Tom asked.

"You mean because of Adam?" I asked. "No, Darlene broke up with me. She wanted to date other guys."

I was surprised when Tom abruptly changed the topic of conversation. "Peter and I were talking and having a few beers last weekend," he said. "We talked about circle jerks. It got really awkward."

Peter had already told me about the conversation they had last weekend. I knew Tom had left the room disgusted when Peter admitted to jacking-off another guy during a circle jerk. I decided, however, not to tell Tom that I already knew the story - well, at least one side of the story. I didn't want to betray Peter's confidence.

"Tom, a lot of guys have circle jerks in high school," I said. "It doesn't necessarily mean they're gay. Why was talking with Peter so awkward?"

"He told me that he had jacked another guy off," Tom said. "I didn't want to talk about it anymore, so I left the room."

I knew Peter thought Tom had left the room because he was disgusted. I decided to ask about that. "Were you embarrassed, or disgusted?"

Tom was silent for a while. "If I tell you something, Joel," he finally said. "You promise not to tell anybody? I mean it. You can't tell anyone - especially Peter!"

"I'll keep my mouth shut," I told him.

"Oh, my God," Tom said. "I can't believe I'm going to tell you this."

I said nothing, waiting for Tom to speak when he was ready.

"I didn't leave because I was embarrassed - or disgusted," he said. "I left because I got a boner."

"Tom," I said. "Didn't you ever talk about sex with your guy friends? I mean when you were in high school. I bet you did, and I bet all the guys got hard. It's only natural."

"Well, yeah," Tom said. "But we talked about girls."

"Did you check out the other guys? To see if they were hard?" I asked.

"Okay," Tom said. "Some guys did that. Once, two of my friends got into an argument about who had the bigger dick. They pulled them out and jacked off to get them hard. The rest of us had to be the judges."

"See! That's just innocent sex play. It doesn't mean anything – except that you were all normal guys with teenage hormones. Really, let it go," I said. "You're into girls. Don't worry about anything else. It's no big deal to get hard when talking about sex with other guys."

I saw Tom thinking about what I had said. But then, he hung his head. "I'm still a virgin," he said, sounding embarrassed. "I've never gone all the way with a girl or a guy."

I could feel the pain that Tom was experiencing, and I wanted to help. Part of me, however, wanted to be done with the conversation. But, Tom was a great guy. He deserved my patience and support. I decided to help him in any way I could. But then, he asked another personal question that made me uncomfortable.

"Have you - you know," he said, stumbling around about what he wanted to ask. "I mean, have you ever done it? Like going all the way?"

"You mean, am I a virgin?" I asked.

Tom nodded his head without looking at me. I felt put on the spot, so I tried to make a joke. "That boat sailed a long time ago," I said. "In fact, I've been pretty much a slut since my junior year of high school."

Tom looked up at me, and he seemed shocked. So, I laughed and hit him on the arm – in a teasing manner. "Look," I said. "I'm not really a slut, but I have had sex with four people – three guys and one girl. Now, you get one more question, and then I'm done talking about me."

"Was one of the guys Adam?" Tom asked.

"Yes. And now we're done talking about my sex life," I declared. "So, what are you going to do about Peter? Do you think he's upset about what happened?"

"He seemed upset when I left the room. He was asleep when I got back," Tom said. "We haven't talked about it since."

"Are you going to talk to him about it?" I asked.

He answered my question with a question. "Do you think I should?"

"That's something you have to decide for yourself," I told Tom.

"But, what would you do?" he asked.

"Hey," I said, trying to joke around again. "I'm mostly gay. Do you really have to ask what I'd do with a good looking guy like Peter?"

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