One of his classes, on witchcraft, was particularly fascinating. There were a great many "witches" who had chosen the colorful location as their home, and supposedly a great deal of the city's history revolved around things intangible. Voodoo, black magic, high priestesses. Just as riveting as the syllabus was the man teaching it.
He was downright stoic. If anything, his lectures tended to be a trifle unromantic for such a topic. But, the most notable thing about Professor Burton was that he was stunningly handsome, almost beautiful. He could be reading from the telephone book and Tommy would happily sit in the front row and listen to his mellifluous voice, watching those full lips and sculpted features. The professor looked to be in his mid-thirties, with short dark hair and striking blue-green eyes. His body looked solid and muscular underneath his regrettably conservative clothes.
But, he wasn't reading the phonebook. He was speaking of witches, and whether they were real or notóthe witches certainly believed they were. And so, it would seem, did the professor.
"Do you think he's one of them?" he asked a couple of his friends as they left the class.
A tall, muscular boy with sandy brown hair snorted. "No such thing as witches, you dork." He nudged him as they walked.
Another boy, with short dark hair, shook his head. "I don't know, man. He's fucking creepy. I'd believe it."
Tommy looked up at the lighter-haired boy. Derek. He was certain Derek was straight, but he was still gorgeous in a homophobic jock kind of way. "If he is one of them, we should all be careful. He might hex us or something," he joked.
Derek rolled his eyes. "Yeah. Let him try, I'll kick his ass."
The darker haired boy, James, looked a little worried. "You never know. He could do that voodoo shit." He shuddered.
"I think he's harmless," Tommy said. "Actually, I think he's quite handsome in a dark, brooding sort of way." He watched Derek's reaction. Surely he had to know by now that Tommy was gay, if he had any sort of awareness about such things, at all.
Derek frowned, looking at Tommy. "I bet he's totally just some grown-up Goth."
"I bet he's not," James countered. "I'm not gonna piss him off, anyway."
Tommy frowned at James. "Whatever, it's not like there's any way to find out, anyway. I'm sure it's not something he goes around flaunting. Probably some school rule against it or something."
"I bet if anyone could find out, you could," Derek said, insinuation in his voice.
Tommy raised an eyebrow. "Find out if Professor Burton is a real witch or not? And how would I manage that?" he asked. Honestly, if Derek thought he could do it, he was highly motivated to try. He couldn't help wanting to impress the handsome young man. "Is this a dare of some sort? Because I have to tell you, that's one of my weaknesses," he said.
Derek grinned. "You know that's why I said it," he replied. "I've heard other rumors about him."
"Rumors, Derek?" Tommy asked, feigning innocence. "Cheating on his taxes? Stealing sugar packets from Starbucks to use at home, maybe? Or are you talking about having a preference for extremely sexy young men?" he asked with a wink. "You wouldn't be suggesting that I seduce a professor, would you?" He batted his eyelashes.
Derek blushed a little while James gaped and said, "I hadn't heard tható"
Derek interrupted. "I would never suggest such a thing. But if you want to win, I suppose you've got to use every advantage at your disposal."
"Win? And what do I win, by the way? If I'm putting my precious advantages on the line?" he asked. He ignored James' sputtering, smiling wolfishly at Derek.
Derek laughed. "Yes, such a hardship this will be for you. Well. If you win, and it's provable..." he considered. "Iíll do your laundry for a month?"
Tommy pursed his lips. "Hm, you drive a hard bargain, Derek, but I have a better idea." Now was the moment to see if Derek was completely opposed to the idea. He didn't seem disgusted about the possibility of Tommy seducing Professor Burton. He crooked his finger for Derek to come closer so he could whisper in his ear.
Derek raised an eyebrow but leaned in closer. "What?"
Tommy leaned up, his lips just brushing Derek's ear. He knew he would have to ease into it. "If I win, you let me suck your cock," he whispered, enunciating the words.
Derek's eyes widened and he gasped.
James frowned. "What?" he demanded.
Derek blushed and glared at James. "None of your business." He turned to Tommy. "I heard you right, didn't I." It wasn't a question.
Tommy leaned back with a catlike smile. He crossed his arms over his chest and nodded. He could tell the other boy wasn't dead set against it, or he would have told James.
Without looking at James, Derek mumbled, "Deal." He looked away.
Tommy nodded coolly. "All right. You're on, then." They continued on their way to their next class. He knew it wouldn't take much to seduce the professor. He knew just how to play those intense types, assuming he really did like boys.
* * * *
The next time they had their witchcraft class, Tommy stayed after to ask some probing questions about the lecture. He waited patiently for the professor's attention. He'd deliberately worn his glasses, rather than his contacts, hoping to put on a studious air.
The professor looked up from his desk. "Can I help you?" he asked.
"I'm terribly sorry to bother you, Professor, but I was wondering if you would perhaps give me directions to the graveyard you mentioned today? It sounds so fascinating. I thought I might go have a look in person." He nibbled on his lower lip, clutching a thin spiral notebook to his chest. He had worn his tightest, most low-cut black jeans, and he knew that his hips were just about at the older man's eye level.
The man's eyes went to Tommy's face after a very brief glance at his midriff. "Of course," he said after a moment. He pulled a pad of paper over to him. "From the dorms?"
"Yes, thanks. Is it a long walk? I haven't got a car. I can take the bus though, if I have to." He pushed his glasses up his nose and smiled sweetly.
The older man blinked, then began to write down instructions. "It's a bit of a walk," he said. "And I don't know how late the buses run." He smiled. "And of course you'll want to go at midnight, won't you?"
Tommy blushed. "Well, that does seem to be the time to go, doesn't it?" He stepped a bit closer. "Have you been there at midnight?" he asked breathily.
The older man looked up at Tommy, eyes a little wide. "Yes, I have. The magical resonances are much stronger at midnight."
"Maybe...oh, no, never mind," he said, shaking his head. He smiled again. "I'll find a way to get there, I'm sure."
The professor raised an eyebrow. "Well actually, if you could wait a couple of days, I'm going there myself. Besides, it's not really safe to be there by yourself."
"Really?" Tommy asked, looking at him guilelessly. "That would be incredible! I'm sure it would be much more rewarding to go with you than by myself. If you don't mind me tagging along, that is."
The professor smirked. "As long as you do exactly as I say, and try not to disturb the resonance."
Tommy nodded slowly. "Oh, I promise," he said quietly. He wanted to add that he was very good at taking orders, but he didn't want to start off too overtly sexual. He had to earn this man's trust before he let him get anywhere.
The older man stared into Tommy's eyes for a long moment before smiling slightly and nodding. "All right then. I'll pick you up at about eleven on Friday night."
"Brilliant," Tommy said, smiling. He was reasonably sure that if he was careful he could have the older man eating out of his hand in a few short days. "Do you have any sort of study group or anything? I'd love to discuss the subject in more detail. It's really fascinating."
The older man stood slowly, so that now he was looking down on Tommy. "Not at the moment," he replied slowly, picking up his notes. "But I'll take it under consideration. If there is enough interest, of course."
"Oh. Okay. Um. I'll just meet you out front of Xavier Hall, then? That's the dorm I'm in." He looked up at the professor, worrying his full lower lip between his teeth.
The professor's lips quirked. "I don't suppose I have to tell you to wear black."
That made Tommy smirk a little. "Oh well, that's handy. Most of my clothes are black," he said, chuckling. The man had a gorgeous smile.
"What a surprise," he answered, not unkindly. "And don't bring any electronic devices, like cell phones or iPods. Or you can leave them in the car. It's very important."
Tommy nodded. "All right. Because they interfere with the energy?" he asked, his expression innocent and wondering.
"Exactly," the professor nodded seriously. He finished packing his things and he came around the desk. "I will see you Friday night then, Mr. Edwards."
"Friday night," he said breathily. "Please feel free to call me Tommy, though. If you want to, I mean." He gave him a shy smile and started backing up, nearly bumping into a desk. "Eleven o'clock Friday," he said again, then turned and strolled out of the classroom with a little bounce in his step.