Chapter 20

Lies! Lies! Lies!

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The Opened Door: Chapter 20

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SUMMARY: Two boys from dissimilar backgrounds, one trying to stay out of jail, the other privileged and seemingly destined for greatness. Thrown together by chance and only imperfectly aware of just how much they need one another, the boys struggle to connect across the many divides that separate them and slowly begin to recognize they may share more in common than they could have ever imagined. And yet whether they’ll be able to overcome their fears, doubts and insecurities and open up to each other remains to be seen. Please note that italics are typically used to indicate what a character is thinking or saying to himself.

WARNING: This story is a work of adult fiction and intended for mature audiences only. Unless otherwise noted, all of the characters in the story are fictional; any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. While some of the places described or mentioned in the story are fictional as well, others may be real. However, some liberties may have been taken with the truth to enhance the story. Please note that the story may describe, depict or otherwise include graphic portrayals of relationships between men and/or adolescent boys that are homosexual in nature. If you do not like or approve of such discussions or it is illegal for you to read such material, consider yourself warned. If you continue to read this story, you are asserting you are fully capable of understanding and legally consenting to reading a work of adult fiction.

NOTICE: This story is my property and protected by the copyright laws of the United States and other countries. It may not be reproduced in any form without my written permission. You may download a single copy to read offline and to share with others as long as you credit me as the author. However, you may not use this work for commercial purposes or to profit from it in any way. You may not use any of the characters or fictional places in the story in your own work without my explicit permission. Nor may you use, alter, transform, or build upon the story in any way. If you share this story with others, you must make clear the terms under which it is licensed to them. The best way to do that is by linking to this web page.

NOTES: Please check these notes every week. If there’s something I want to alert you to as I post each chapter, this is where I will I do so. December 14, 2015: Chapter 20 is narrated by Sean. Thanks for taking the time to read the story.

THE OPENED DOOR

Chapter 20

Just before I got to Wigglesworth, Holden came barreling out of the building.

“I’m on my way to Pinocchio’s to pick up the pizza. Do you want to come along?”

“Sure,” I replied.

Walking across Massachusetts Avenue, we made our way to the place and retrieved our meal for the evening. Then we returned to Holden’s room and devoured it, both of us famished.

“We’re going to have to start eating healthier,” I volunteered. “Otherwise I’ll get fat and you won’t love me anymore.”

“I’ll always love you, Sean,” he responded, smiling at me; “even if you become a little porker, I’ll still love you.”

“If you’re planning to use that as an excuse for porking up yourself, you can forget about it, Holden,” I said. “I have certain expectations when it comes to my boyfriends.”

“Are you planning on having more than one?” he shot back.

“Not if my present one stays lean and hungry,” I replied.

He tossed a piece of the crust at me, but I was able to dodge it.

Finally, a little before 8:00 o’clock, the two of us headed off to Robinson Hall. As calm as I tried to remain for Holden’s sake, I was nervous about our meeting.

I liked Professor Jeffords.

I liked him a lot and not just because we shared a similar passion for the Red Sox. Unlike most adults, he believed in me and had gone out of his way to help me; but it wasn’t just me he believed in. He believed in Kevin as well.

He had spent hours talking to him after school about everything under the sun, but mostly just reinforcing the message Kevin was getting from his older brother about staying in school in spite of the problems he was facing at home.

Kevin and I had talked about the dude once we realized both of us knew him; if anything, he had helped Kevin even more than me and I was grateful for that.

But now I was going to have to tell him the truth and he would be disappointed in me; probably more than just disappointed. He was going to be mad he had wasted his time on someone like me.

And yet as much as I wasn’t looking forward to our meeting, it was time to man up and do what needed to be done.

“I’m not looking forward to this,” Holden volunteered out of the blue.

“Tell me about it,” I said.

The building was abandoned by the time we got there, but from the outside I could see there was still a light on in Professor Jeffords’ inner office. His secretary was long since gone, but he must have heard us approaching because he was standing there waiting when we finally arrived.

“Gentlemen,” he said, greeting the two of us warmly; “so nice to see you. Come in and make yourselves comfortable.”

Once we did, I realized we had never discussed how to proceed exactly. Not wanting to put Holden on the spot with his adviser, I spoke up immediately.

“The reason we wanted to see you is I’ve decided to withdraw my petition for admission to Harvard, sir,” I said. “And, uh, neither Holden nor I are exactly sure how I go about doing that. But knowing there’s going to be some kind of meeting of the Admissions Committee tomorrow morning to discuss it, well, uh, I wanted to mention this to you in advance so you wouldn’t go out on a limb for me.”

“I see,” he said, frowning. “I’m very sorry to hear that, Sean. Does this have something to do with Kevin’s situation?”

“No; not really,” I replied. “It’s, uh . . . it’s a long story.”

“I have all the time in the world,” Professor Jeffords responded, leaning back in his chair to let me know he expected something more.

“Uh, well, I’d rather not go into it right now. I, um . . . I don’t want to detain you needlessly because I’m not going to change my mind.”

“I’m disappointed, Sean,” he replied, shaking his head. “You had me convinced this was what you wanted to do before I submitted your petition to the Admissions Committee; and the truth is I’ve been on the phone all week making the case for you with my colleagues on the Committee, then following up in person.”

Hearing that, I felt even worse. I wanted the man to like me, but his disappointment was obvious.

“Are you sure you want to do this, Sean?” he continued. “In talking with my colleagues, I’m confident the whole thing will be cut and dried.”

“When the Admissions Committee meets tomorrow morning, it will approve your petition; and since the Board of Governors won’t be meeting in person for a while, the Dean of Admissions has asked me to take a telephone poll of the Board to see whether anyone objects to our recommendation. If not, the whole thing will be over and done at that point.”

“Um, well, thanks,” I replied. “I appreciate everything you’ve done for me Professor Jeffords. I also realize how disappointed you must be. But like I said, I’ve changed my mind now.”

“And the reason for that is what exactly?” he asked.

“I, um . . . I just think it would be a mistake,” I responded.

“I see,” he said, scratching his neck; “a mistake? Why would it be a mistake?”

Shit, Sean; you should have thought about all of this more. You should have come up with some kind of plausible excuse.

“It just would be,” I replied, shrugging my shoulders.

“And you agree with this decision?” he asked, turning his attention to Holden.

“Not really Professor Jeffords,” he responded. “I don’t want Sean to withdraw his petition, but I don’t know what else he can do. It’s my fault actually.”

“Holden, stop,” I said, looking over at him and running a finger across my lips. “Zip it up for crying out loud.”

Professor Jeffords looked over at me, then back at Holden.

“I detect a certain degree of disagreement about this decision,” he said. “I think it’d be best if the two of you told me the whole story from the beginning; and we should probably start with you, Holden. What do you mean it’s your fault? What’s your fault?”

“It’s not his fault,” I interjected before Holden had a chance to say anything. “It’s my fault.”

“How?” Professor Jeffords asked, refusing to let go.

Realizing the man deserved an explanation, I decided to tell the truth.

“Um, well, I told you before I’ve been working several jobs trying to make enough money to put myself through college and that’s true enough. But at some point I realized I was never going to be able to raise enough money from the jobs I was working to go anytime soon.”

“So, uh, I took another job; one selling marijuana to students on campus.”

“I thought that would help me raise money faster and didn’t see it as something terribly wrong when I started. I mean, it’s not like I’m the only person selling marijuana in Cambridge; and I always said no when my suppliers tried to persuade me to sell other stuff, like cocaine, heroin, and meth.”

“The same with the students; if they asked me to sell stuff like that to them, I refused.”

“It was only later I realized the whole thing was wrong. It’s the suppliers who end up making most of the money, not the small time dealers like me; and while I never sold anything except marijuana, I’ve lost a few customers because they wanted something more and found someone else to sell it to them.”

“Maybe they wouldn’t have done that if I hadn’t sold pot to them originally.”

“I’m not proud to be telling you this, Professor Jeffords. And I want you to know I’ve stopped selling pot entirely now and I’m not going back. But I guess the damage is done. In any event, I’m sorry for not telling you sooner. I realize that was a mistake as well.”

“I apologize.”

“I see,” Professor Jeffords said. “And did you know about all of this before introducing me to Sean, Holden?”

“I did,” he responded. “In fact, it’s how we met. Campus security was chasing Sean one night in the Yard and I let him hide in my room. I apologize for not telling you this, Professor Jeffords, but I didn’t think it was that big a deal at first.”

“It’s not like Sean’s a terrible person. He was just trying to make some money so he could go to college. We talked about this before Sean even knew he could apply to the Board and he stopped before knowing that as well. It isn’t like he suddenly saw the light when the possibility of being admitted to Harvard arose.”

“I see,” Professor Jeffords said, nodding at Holden.

“Well, no, that’s wrong,” he added, scratching his neck again. “Actually, I don’t see. Why are you telling me all of this, gentlemen? You could have kept your mouths shut and none of us would have been the wiser if you had.”

“The Admissions Committee would have gone ahead on Friday and recommended approval of Sean’s petition to the Board. The Board would have done so. Sean would have gotten the scholarship that goes with admission and everything would have been fine.”

“I don’t understand why you’re telling me any of this now.”

“That’s where it really is my fault, Professor Jeffords,” Holden answered. “I was talking to a classmate of mine, Roger Hancock. His father is on the Board of Governors and he knows Sean in passing. In any event, I told Roger that Sean was going to be going to school here this fall. He was skeptical at first, at least until I explained everything you told us about the special admissions process.”

“At the time, Roger seemed to be happy that Sean was going to be admitted. But he wasn’t; not really. He was just pretending. He thinks Harvard isn’t the right school for people like Sean; in fact, he looks down on Sean. He considers him his social and intellectual inferior. He thinks that about everyone.”

“Yes; I’m all too familiar with Mr. Hancock’s views,” Professor Jeffords interjected. “Like you, he’s one of the freshmen I advise and he’s made his opinions known to me all too well.”

“Then you know what’s he like,” Holden added. “In any event, Roger also knew Sean was peddling marijuana on campus. From what he told me, he never bought the stuff directly from Sean. He pays another student to buy it for him. And, like I said, he figured out that Sean was the person he was getting it from.”

“I still don’t understand,” Professor Jeffords said, confused.

“Um, well, the thing is, I told Roger I was gay last fall,” Holden continued. “And even though he says he isn’t gay, that he’s bisexual, he’s been after me ever since to have sex with him. But I didn’t want to and never did. I thought he had given up on that, but I was wrong. Wednesday evening he told me that he would tell the Board that Sean was a drug dealer unless the two of us had sex.”

“He says there’s a requirement in that ancient document you told us about that any student who applies has to be of outstanding moral character and have someone vouch for him; someone the Board already knows is of outstanding moral character.”

“Yes; that’s correct, Holden,” Professor Jeffords said. “That’s why I wanted to see Sean’s petition and the supporting documents first. I wanted to review them before adding the letter of recommendation I wrote vouching for Sean.”

Shit! The guy personally vouched for you, Sean.

See what you’ve done? You’ve made a mess of everything.

“To make a long story short,” Holden continued, “Roger doesn’t think Sean stands any chance of getting into Harvard once the Board finds out he’s been peddling marijuana on campus. But he promised he wouldn’t say anything to the Board if I had sex with him. In fact, that’s where I’m supposed to be right now; at Roger’s room.”

“And I was going to do it; I was going to have sex with Roger so he wouldn’t say anything about Sean, but Sean wouldn’t let me. He said it was wrong.”

“I told Holden that because I’m gay too and I’m in love with Holden,” I interrupted, “just like I know he loves me. But I also know enough about Roger to know he’s a very nasty person. I’m pretty certain he’d have sex with Holden and still find a way to let the Board know I used to sell marijuana on campus.”

“And, uh, I guess the final thing is Holden and I talked about all of this once I found out what Roger was up to; and neither one of us wanted you to go into that meeting on Friday with the Admissions Committee and get blindsided when all of this eventually came out.”

“We didn’t want you to get dragged into this mess, at least not any deeper than we’ve already dragged you in. We never intended to disappoint you like this, sir.”

“Now I see,” Professor Jeffords said, sitting back and relaxing. “And, yes, I quite agree with your assessment of Roger, Sean. He’s a quite odious young man indeed; evil would probably be a better word. I have to say he takes after his father in some ways in that regard. He would have done exactly what you said; had sex with Holden and still snitched on you. When were you supposed to see him, Holden?”

“Right now,” Holden responded; “8:00 p.m.”

“Could you call him then?” Professor Jeffords asked. “You could tell him you were meeting with someone this evening and that your meeting ran a bit late and ask him whether you could still come over tonight and have sex with him. Just talk to him and draw him out on that point. I know it would be hard to do that, but I wonder whether you could do that for me.”

“Um, well, I suppose,” Holden said; “but what’s the point? I don’t want to have sex with him.”

“Of course not,” Professor Jeffords said. “Who would? But if you could draw him out while Sean and I listen in, then there would witnesses to his little blackmail scheme; and after we’ve finished up here and you and Sean leave, you could call him back and tell him you changed your mind.”

So that’s what we did. Holden called Roger using Professor Jeffords’ speakerphone and the two of them talked while we listened in. At first Roger was angry Holden hadn’t shown up on time and was making a lot of threats. But he calmed down after Holden explained he had a meeting that had run late and would be on his way over shortly.

At that point, things turned even nastier as Roger spelled out in detail his plans for Holden that evening. That went on much too long as far as I was concerned.

Indeed, I was barely able to contain my fury and Professor Jeffords seemed equally disgusted with what Roger had planned and the foul language he was using to describe everything in detail. But eventually the conversation ended with the understanding Holden would be on his way over shortly.

“Thank you, Holden,” Professor Jeffords said. “I know how difficult that must have been. I didn’t think it would get nearly as bad it did, but I got every word of it on tape,” he added, pulling a small, old fashioned, tape recorder out of his desk. “Sometimes I use this thing to tape my classes. I’m glad it was here tonight.”

“Why did you record that conversation, Professor Jeffords?” Holden asked.

“I wanted to have it in case Roger tries blackmailing either of you again later on,” he replied.

“Now, to get back to the subject, let me ask this question, Sean,” he said turning to me. “Were the two of you right when you told me you’ve stopped selling marijuana?”

“Yes, sir,” I responded.

“And do you plan to go back to selling it now that you’ve decided to withdraw your petition?”

“No, sir,” I said. “I mean, honestly, I don’t think marijuana is as bad as the government says. But everyone reacts to it differently and I didn’t like some of the things I was seeing. It made me feel guilty, me being the one that sold it to the kids having bad trips. So, no; whatever happens, I’m done with peddling drugs.”

“Honestly, I don’t know what the future holds for me exactly,” I continued, “but I want Holden to be proud of me because we love one another. That’s the big positive that’s come out of this, you know; it’s a long story, but basically we’ve told each other how we feel and that’s not going to change just because I’m not a student at Harvard. Isn’t that right, Holden?”

“Absolutely,” he replied. “Whatever happens, Sean and I are going to move forward together and that’s really the most important thing to me; and I think that’s true for Sean as well.”

“Let me ask this,” Professor Jeffords said. “Given everything you said, why don’t we just keep this among ourselves? There’s no reason why we have to have to tell the Admissions Committee. Like I told you before, I’ve been talking up your petition with the other members of the Committee. I’m certain they’re going to recommend approval to the Board.”

“But what happens then?” I asked. “What if Roger tells the Committee or the Board about me once Holden calls him back and tells him he’s not coming over tonight?”

“What if he does?” Professor Jeffords said. “Knowing Roger, I suspect he’ll do it anonymously or through someone else. He won’t want his fingers all over this. All he needs to do is to get the issue before the Board. Once he does, that would likely trigger an investigation. But you could lie, of course, deny everything; no one would ever be the wiser probably.”

“Um, well, with all due respect, Professor Jeffords, I don’t think I could do that,” I said.

“Why not?” he asked.

“It would be lying,” I responded; “and while I’m not proud of everything I’ve done in life, I wouldn’t want to try lying my way into Harvard. I don’t think it would work for one thing; more importantly, I don’t think I could live with myself if it did. I’m a lot of things, but I’m not a liar. That’s why I need to withdraw my petition.”

“I see,” Professor Jeffords said. “Well, if you’re not willing to lie, I guess nothing more can be done. Why don’t the two of you run along now? I can do what needs to be done to finish this business. I’ll call the Admissions Office first thing in the morning and arrange to take care of everything.”

“You don’t have to do anything, Sean,” he continued. “Nor do you, Holden; although I have to confess I’ll be a little disappointed if I see the lights on in your room when I head over to Harvard Square to catch the T back to Boston once I finish up here tonight. That would be very disappointing.”

He looked at the two of us and smiled and I remember blushing; and then the next thing I knew Holden was blushing as well.

“Thank you, Professor Jeffords,” I said, standing up. “I know how disappointed you must be with me, but thank you for not being too mad about it. I should have told you all of this upfront before you put yourself on the line for me.”

“You should have,” Professor Jeffords agreed, “but don’t worry about it, Sean. All of us make mistakes, but you’ve owned up to yours and I don’t hold it against you; quite the contrary.”

“Indeed I hope you and Holden will join me again for a Red Sox game some time; in fact I have three tickets for tomorrow evening’s game if you’re interested.”

“Well, um, that’s very generous of you under the circumstances, sir,” I said. “The thing is, I’m really ashamed of myself for all the problems I caused you. Why don’t you let Holden and me talk about it and then Holden will give your secretary a call tomorrow morning with our answer.”

“That’s fine,” he said, ushering us out to the hall. “I have a lot more work to do here tonight. I suspect you have perhaps ninety minutes to get back to Holden’s room and turn off those lights.”

With that he ushered us out of his office.

“He’s such a cool dude,” I said as we left the building.

“Tell me about it,” Holden responded.

It made me laugh. Holden was even beginning to pick up on some of my favorite sayings.

****

The walk back to Wigglesworth that evening was uneventful except for our stop at Roger’s residence hall.

“I want to tell Roger in person,” Holden insisted.

“Um, I don’t know, Holden,” I replied. “Are you sure that’s a good idea?”

“I’m sure,” he said. “You wait here.”

“No way,” I responded. “The two of us are a team.”

Walking up the stairs to Roger’s room, Holden knocked on the door.

The door opened and there was Roger wearing nothing but a towel around his waist.

“Oh good,” Holden greeted him. “I see you’re ready to go fuck yourself, Roger.”

With that he ripped off the towel, tossed it down the stairs, and pulled the door shut behind Roger, locking it in the process.

I remember laughing.

Roger was already aroused, but he wasn’t nearly as large as he had warned Holden. Truth be told, he was smaller than most that way.

As the two of us walked off, Roger became angry.

“You’ll be sorry about this,” he shouted; “both of you. No one messes with me like this.”

Turning around, I looked at him.

“I’d tell you to go fuck yourself, Roger; but with that tiny thing, I doubt you’d really enjoy it.”

Holden giggled; and then the two of us disappeared down the stairs, picking up the towel and tossing it out into the Yard in the process.

When we finally got back to his room, Holden immediately began turning the lights off.

“Let’s not disappoint Professor Jeffords again,” he said, grinning at me.

“Agreed,” I replied. “But do you think Professor Jeffords will actually walk by tonight? It’s out of his way to come by here.”

“I think so,” Holden said; “and I also think he’ll smile when he does and sees the lights out.”

That was pretty much the end of things that evening. We talked about the game and decided to accept Professor Jeffords invitation for Friday evening. And then we turned our attention to other things; more important things, things both of us reveled in for much of the night.

****

Friday passed uneventfully. Holden had managed to talk to Professor Jeffords and he had invited the two of us for dinner again. Even though it meant taking off from work early, I agreed. By now I was a fan of the man’s cooking skills.

He had pegged me as a meat and potatoes kind of guy and he was right about that. For the second time he served up a really delicious porterhouse steak, this time with fries. I devoured the thing.

“So much for healthy eating,” Holden joked.

Later, as we were preparing to leave for the game, Professor Jeffords received a phone call. I could only hear one side of the conversation, but it was revealing.

“Nice to hear from you, Miriam,” Professor Jeffords said;” and yes, certainly, you’re welcome to bring the couple up to look at the place. We were just leaving.”

“That was my real estate agent,” he continued, looking at Holden and me. “I’ve decided to put this place up for sale and move to a new home in Cambridge. It doesn’t have quite the same spectacular view as this place, but it’s much closer to Harvard and Cambridge Latin. I seem to be spending all my time at one or the other these days; and the new place is quite nice as well.”

I was disappointed to hear he was selling his place, but Professor Jeffords was older and I could understand wanting to be closer to where he worked.

Soon enough we were on the Green Line headed for Kenmore Square and then on to Fenway to take in the game. Like the first one I had taken Holden to, it was close right to the end. But it was as if the three of us were some kind of lucky charm because once again the Red Sox miraculously prevailed.

When it was finally over, Professor Jeffords apologized and asked whether we could accompany him back to his place.

“I had something I wanted to give you, Sean, but what I can say? My memory isn’t as good as it used to be and I forgot about it in the rush to get out of the place. I know it’s out of your way and it can wait until Monday if you want. But it’s really something quite unique, quite special. I think you would enjoy having it. But it’s up to you.”

“It’s fine with me if it’s okay with Holden,” I said, thinking that perhaps he had some small piece of Red Sox memorabilia he wanted to give me. “It’s not like we have any big plans for the evening.”

With that we made our way back to the North End. Professor Jeffords sat the two of us down and then disappeared into the kitchen.

“There was a note from my real estate agent on the table,” he said, returning.

He was holding some kind of bottle and three small glasses.

“The couple that inspected the place loved it and they’ve put down a deposit. So that’s one less thing to worry about.”

“I have something for the two of you,” he added. “It’s a glass of sherry. That’s the traditional drink of choice at the College, at least among faculty and graduate students. But you’ll have to be good and not tell on me because technically I’m breaking the law by giving it to the two of you.”

“But I thought it would be appropriate because I have another gift for you as well,” he said, handing me an envelope.

I remember being curious, wondering why he had made us come all the way back to his place just to hand me an envelope.

Slipping it open, I retrieved the contents and began to read.

HARVARD COLLEGE | Office of Admissions and Financial Aid

Mr. Sean Tierney
79 Tremont Street
Cambridge, MA 02139

Dear Mr. Tierney:

On behalf of the Board of Governors of Harvard University, I am pleased to inform you that your petition for admission to Harvard College has been approved. After careful review, both the Admissions Committee and the Board concluded you and Harvard are an excellent match.

Sean, on a more personal note, I want to say your petition was one of the very best I’ve ever read. It was both moving and heartfelt, as was the letter of support from your sponsor, Professor Jeffords. The case he made for
your admission was a very strong one indeed.

Your academic record is most impressive, but Harvard expects more of students than just academic excellence.

Your honesty and integrity, ability to learn from mistakes, and character suggest you’re a student with something special to offer. Such a combination of intellectual curiosity and dedication to family and friends made it clear to all of us that you are a great match indeed for Harvard.

The words seemed to blur together after that, but then I noticed still another sentence.

Your admission comes with a scholarship that will pay all expenses during the coming year. If you continue to meet academic expectations, as I fully expect, this award will be extended in future years.

I couldn’t believe what I was reading. It was incredible. I handed it to Holden, then turned and stared at Professor Jeffords.

“But, um . . . but you said you would take care of everything,” I finally blurted out.

“And I did, Sean, I did;” he responded, smiling. “I think I took care of everything quite nicely.”

“How?” I asked.

“It wasn’t as hard as I expected,” he replied. “I received a call from the Dean of Admissions Friday morning before our scheduled meeting. He told me someone had slipped a note under the door the previous night; an anonymous note that accused you of peddling drugs on campus and providing a list with the names of students who could confirm that if an investigation was undertaken.”

“He asked whether he should cancel our meeting on your petition under the circumstances, but I told him no; that I wanted to go forward with it even though he warned me the outcome would likely be negative.”

“When I got there we went over your application and everyone agreed you were academically qualified. However, the allegation of drug peddling was quite a serious one indeed. It was then I brought out my little recorder. I explained the situation to the Committee and then played the conversation between Holden and Mr. Hancock.”

“What I don’t think either of you realized was that I continued to record our conversation after that phone call. So the Committee heard the rest of it as well; how you were done with peddling marijuana and why; and also about how you couldn’t lie to the Committee or the Board.”

“The Committee was quite impressed with your integrity, Sean. The vote was unanimous although with an understanding both you and Holden will be volunteering some time with our campus drug counseling program next year.”

“At that point I was asked by the Dean to call the members of the Board to see whether they would ratify our decision. I called all of them except Mr. Hancock’s father and each of them quickly gave their assent. Then I called the senior Mr. Hancock.”

“He started giving me a song and dance about how he had heard a rumor you might be involved in dealing drugs on campus. Indeed, even after I told him the other members of the Board had already given their approval, he indicated he couldn’t do so until there was a thorough investigation of the matter.”

“I told him I didn’t have a problem with that, but that I had a piece of evidence I thought relevant to any investigation. Then I played the tape for him, including everything Roger had said.”

“That was the end of the matter. He quickly agreed that perhaps he had misunderstood the situation; that he didn’t want to be a roadblock if the other members of the Board were willing to approve your petition. And then he gave his own assent.”

“After some further discussion he also agreed Roger would benefit from a year away from Harvard; one spent working for a charity I know in Boston that helps runaway and homeless youth.”

“Whether either of them will learn anything from that experience remains to be seen. But they would be far unhappier with the scandal that accompanies being expelled from Harvard, which was the alternative. In any event, I’m confident Roger’s father will make sure Roger keeps his distance from the two of you.”

“Incredible,” I said, stunned by what I had just heard.

“Oh; and there’s one other thing, Sean,” Professor Jeffords said.

“What?”

“That place I’ve purchased in Cambridge? It has what’s called a mother-in-law apartment on the second floor, a private suite with its own key and a separate entrance. Not being married, I don’t have a mother-in-law. But it occurred to me that perhaps Kevin would be interested in living there; assuming his mother and older brother didn’t have any problems with that.”

“There would be a curfew, of course, and some mandatory inspections, but I wasn’t planning to charge any rent, at least as long as Kevin keeps up his grades at Cambridge Latin. Do you think Kevin’s mother and older brother would have any problem with that arrangement?”

“No; I don’t think they will,” I responded, stunned by the man’s generosity.

“Well, then, welcome to Harvard, Sean,” he said lifting his glass and smiling at me.

Holden and I lifted our glasses as well. The three of us brought them together momentarily and then each of us took a sip from our drink.

“Congratulations, Sean,” Holden said, setting his glass down.

Then, to my surprise, he threw his arms around me and kissed me right there in front of Professor Jeffords.

“I would be inclined to do exactly the same thing, Sean,” Professor Jeffords said, smiling. “But I suspect it might not have quite the same effect coming from me given how old I am.”

“Oh, but you’re wrong, sir,” I said. “It would be welcomed.”

Then, leaning over, I kissed Professor Jeffords on the cheek.

He returned the favor and then hugged me.

“It’s only the first of many doors to come, Sean. But with Holden beside you, you’ve begun what will prove an exciting journey through life; one that’ll challenge the two of you and strengthen your relationship as long as you remember love is what makes all the difference.”

The End

Interested in another and perhaps better story involving students at Harvard?

16 thoughts on “Chapter 20

  1. It’s quite a lovely finale, Kit. Thank you so very much for all the care and love you put into this story. I can only guess about what difficulties you had writing it and struggling with it. But two good guys found love with each other, Kevin found an awesome mentor and guardian, and good won over evil. And lucky Professor Jeffords gets to live with that cutie. What could be better? What more could we ask? I thought I heard the triumphal Star Wars victory march in the background. It was a delightful parable, and a generous gift to your readers. Thanks again, Kit.

    1. Thanks, Dean. I’m glad you enjoyed the ending and I appreciate your continuing encouragement and support.

      It was all very predictable, of course, and there are times when I wonder whether Tim was right. Maybe I should have ended it at Chapter 19 and left it up to readers to decide for themselves how everything turned out.

      But most readers prefer happy endings to endings that challenge them in some way and there’s nothing wrong with that. I like happy endings too although I’m not promising every story will necessarily have one. That’s not the way it always works in real life.

      But, then again, a lot of people read fiction to escape the realities, grim and otherwise, of everyday life. Like I said, there’s nothing wrong with that; and there’s no guarantee the good times will last forever, of course. Sean or Holden could flunk out, I suppose. Kevin and Bobby could break up. Professor Jeffords could die like all of us must.

      But, for now at least, all’s well that ends well 😀

  2. Haven’t commented much but been keeping up with the story every week! Bravo! Loved it! Thank you so much for sharing and I look forward to more stories!

    1. Thanks, Jordan. It’s nice to know I didn’t lose you along the way 😀

      Like I said in the intro to the chapter, be sure to come back on Thursday. I’ll have more to say about what’s ahead in 2016 although probably not enough to do much more than tease you. But I’m already starting to reorient myself to the coming year and look forward to seeing you back once I can get up the energy to get started.

  3. Yet another of your superb stories —designed to keep us guessing and yet with points being made for charity; love; tolerance; moral turpitude and culminating with good triumphing over evil — the good guys win!!! Thanks for coming back to the writing forum —I always enjoyed your other stories and was disappointed when you announced you were quitting writing — at least for a while — welcome back to the writers column — I hope to be able to read more great tales!

    1. Thanks, Cowpuncher. That sounds like you enjoyed the story, at least enough to stick around to the end. That’s always a compliment no matter how you cut it.

      As for the rest of it, sometimes you need a break. Sometimes you run out of ideas. Sometimes you have trouble balancing all the things going on in your life.

      But then there are times when things come together easily so you’re probably stuck with me for another year or so. But that’s all I can promise right now.

  4. Hi Kit
    It was nice that one of your “silent” readers commented this week. I know you have more adherents than you know about.
    Re Ch 20: Well done. After last week’s cliff-hanger I was wondering how you were going to be able to resolve all those strands in just one more chapter! You did superbly well.
    The protagonists were confirmed in their relationship having made a really good choice – honesty without compromise and, via that, throwing themselves on the mercy of their mentor.
    The mentor, aka “the knight in shining armour”, performed his role to perfection – rescuing not two but three of our characters.
    The villain stopped twirling his moustache and is likely to no longer be tying poor damsels (of whatever gender) to the railway tracks (at least in Cambridge) for a while.
    The villain’s father also had his “come-uppance”!
    After all, unlike “homosexuals” ;-), villains are created by “(bad) nurture rather than (aberrant) nature”!
    I can’t wait for your 2016 release!
    In the meantime, big warm fuzzies for the season we are in. Have a great (winter) break. I’m about to head away for a fortnight’s midsummer camping in rural NZ 🙂
    Over the Xmas/New Year period in the lower bit of the North Island of NZ there is a camping ground that has been the site of one of the largest gatherings of GLBTIQXYZ people for over 30 years.
    You or your readers might like to look up “Vinegar Hill”. It is a lovely spot in a gorge of the Rangitikei River.
    I’m planning on being there for somewhat over a fortnight. Sun (I hope), not much rain (I hope), and no wind. (Even I, as a committed atheist, pray for that!) Chilling out. Doing my cryptic crosswords. Enjoying the camaraderie around the bonfire every night.
    Nothing is better for the non-soul ;-).
    Cheers
    ME
    Signing off for the years 😉

    1. I won’t even make any effort to replay to that tome, gopher. I’ll just say that you’ve proven a welcome addition to my readership with your willingness to comment.

      You’ve made some excellent points and surely deserve a break as well.

      Have fun wherever you end up. We’ve actually been having summer-like weather here for much of December so I won’t begrudge you your shot at the Sun.

  5. Hi Kit
    You Have once again written a great story and very cleverly drew it to happy conclusion. I must admit you had me wondering why Professor Jeffords was selling his current residence and telling Sean and Holden about it. A great ending for all concerned.
    I look forward to your future endeavors in2016.
    I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Healthy New Year.
    Tom

    1. I’m glad you found the ending satisfactory, Tom, and look forward to seeing you back here in the new year.

      Thanks for the holiday greetings. I hope your own holidays are fun-filled and festive as well.

  6. Hi Kit,

    The end of another great read. You have a rare talent for writing stories to paper and I am grateful. I’m glad Roger and his Dad got their come-uppance. Sometimes things do turn out well. A big Thank You! Please have a Merry Christmas and a successful New Year.

    George K.

    1. Thanks, George. How many stories have we been through together now? When I first started posting Connected, I never thought I’d still be around a few years later.

      But it’s been fun and I probably have at least one more year in me. See you back here in 2016, George, and I hope your Christmas is a merry one indeed.

  7. Another feather in your cap. Great story, and most of us like a happy ending. You managed to keep us on edge for most of the story and that is part of skill in your writing. Take as long as you need to recharge the batteries for the next one, and if you like the one after that. I am sure that most of us will be around to appreciate/enjoy them for as long as you want to write them. All the best for the season. Take care

    1. Kind words and nice compliments are always appreciated, Captain. Thanks for sticking with me through some trying times.

      I’m going to start experimenting with the site over the weekend so I’m not sure how much of a break it will be for me 😀

      But I suspect I’ll get some time off and that should help. You do have to find time to write new stories, of course, and I have a couple more rolling around inside my head that haven’t quite come together yet. Maybe January will help in that regard.

  8. My last sign-off was before my real sign-off 😉

    Today is the day I head to a (hopefully! NZ summer!!!!)

    Both Tom and George said it more succinctly than my recent tome!

    Except, as a committed atheist I won’t wish you more than a “happy festive season”!
    I do allow myself to wish you a great next year.

    Keep the stories cumming. LOL.

    1. Have fun, gopher, and enjoy your summer holiday; and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2016.

      As I mentioned to the Captain, it would be nice to find some time to do some new writing rather than just editing stories that are already pretty far along. Maybe that’ll happen once I get through all the holiday festivities.

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