Conversations With Myself

A Novel by Altimexis

Book Two — Fragments

The Whispers of Time
 
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 Chapter 1 — Where’s Waldo

June 1979 • Chris-13

“Hey Michaels!” Grant Whitaker shouted to me from his spot in the lunch line. He was up near the front of the line, with at least forty or fifty kids in line behind him. There was an unwritten rule that you did not cut in line, especially if you were a lowly seventh grader, but there was an even more important rule — you did not under any circumstances snitch on a fellow student. It didn’t matter if the student was a total asshole — you just didn’t do it, and so the chances of getting caught cutting in line were slim. I quickly looked to make sure the vice-principal wasn’t watching, and then I joined my friend in line.

“Hey!” the kid in line behind me cried out when I cut in front of my friend, but even though the kid was a good foot taller than me, I just smiled at him and said, “What the fuck’s it matter to you?” This may have been 1979, but the ‘f word’ was something said in the locker room — not in casual conversation. If a teacher overheard me, I could get in big trouble and wind up with detention, but I was careful where and how I said it. And I’d learned through experience that a little detention earned respect from my peers, so it was really a win-win situation.

It was strange to think of Whitaker as a friend. He used to be one of my worst tormentors. He constantly teased me, and when I reacted badly to it, he moved on to physical bullying. I didn’t understand it before, but since my future self explained it to me, I now understand how the teasing and bullying are just part of an age-old ritual of learning to socialize with our peers. It was meant to be in fun and by dishing it right back, we were asserting our newfound authority as teenagers, or soon-to-be teenagers. Learning the give and take of relationships, responding appropriately to minor teasing and stopping bullying before it began were all part of growing up, so my future self said.

Whitaker sure was surprised when I suddenly stopped wearing my heart on my sleeve and actually gave back as good as I got. He began to respect me and to talk to me, and even to eat lunch with me. Soon, we were spending time at each others’ houses, and even sleeping over from time to time. In short, in less than a month we’d gone from being the bully and the bullied to not just friends, but best friends. And along with Whitaker came all of his friends, and as I gained a reputation for being ‘cool’, some of my old friends from elementary school that had shunned me were coming back as well. I wasn’t deluding myself into believing I was one of the popular kids, but I was popular among a growing circle of friends, and it felt great.

“Oh man, look at Stacey Williams,” Whitaker said as we grabbed our lunch trays and silverware. “She is sooo HOT! Wouldn’t you love to get your hands on her tits?”

No doubt about it, Stacy was hot enough to melt iron, but for some reason, she just didn’t do anything for me and so I shrugged my shoulders. Before, I would have tried to play along — to pretend — but I was learning that lies only led to more lies, and sooner or later, you ended up trapped by them. It was actually a few days before, when Grant had brought a Playboy with him to my house, that the issue of my sexuality came up. He was flipping through the pages, and the photos were obviously having an effect on him, but not on me.

“Hey Michaels, are you queer or something?” he asked me. Well, I sure as hell didn’t want to be queer, and I wanted to be labeled as being queer even less. 1979 in St. Louis was definitely not the time or the place to be queer.

On the other hand, a vehement denial could make it look like I was trying to hide something. That was one of the things I’d learned from Chris-16, too. Rather than try and play it straight and end up looking guilty, I decided instead to make a joke of it. “Of course I’m not queer,” I answered my best friend, “but what if I was?” I kept an absolutely straight face when I said it, too.

Whitaker sure was taken by surprise. I don’t think he ever even thought I might answer with a ‘maybe’ instead of an outright denial. He just stared at me with a dumb look on his face, and then he finally said, “Yeah, I know. Of course you’re not queer. You’d never be a faggot. You’re probly just a late bloomer. But I guess I wouldn’t care anyway, long as you don’t perve on me. You’re still my best friend”

“Hey,” I replied. “I ain’t no fag, but even if I was, what in the world makes you think I’d want your sorry ass.”

Whitaker looked at me for a while, and then he burst out laughing and so did I.

“So my ass isn’t good enough for you,” he stated more than asked, and I replied, “Nope!”

Grant slugged me in the shoulder, hard, and then he threw himself on top of me and we started wrestling around on my bed. I had successfully dodged a bullet. Grant Whitaker was still my best friend, and he’d told me it didn’t even matter if I were queer. Sometimes I couldn’t get over how much my life had changed since Chris-17 first contacted me.

<<<<<<<<·>>>>>>>>

June 1990 • Chris-24

My life was a mess. There was no other way to put it, really.

After reviewing the findings of the Russian paper on the flux of the Earth’s magnetic field by Sergei, Chekov and Polanski, the members of my dissertation committee, including my major professor, concluded that the quantum variations I’d observed could indeed be explained away. Any theory of mine would have to account for this. It didn’t help that I knew that quantum variations were real. I had to be able to prove it to them without resorting to the use of TTT. After nearly a month of grueling work and redoing many of my key experiments, I was no closer to resolving the issue than I was after my failed thesis defense. In the face of the need to postpone my PhD for what would likely be another year, Rankin withdrew his offer of a postdoctoral fellowship, but made it clear he’d like me to reapply once my thesis situation had been sorted out.

At least I did have help. I was communicating with Chris-31 at least twice a week, and he and Jack Craegan from the future were hard at work trying to find a way for me to finish my dissertation and to get my life back on track. Our best hope was that I could work as a fellow in Rankin’s lab starting next year, and simultaneously begin my career at Lawrence Livermore. There was apparently a precedent for this sort of thing, and at least the Craegan of this time period was already in the loop and could make it happen.

The timeline wasn’t damaged beyond repair — at least not yet. With Marion Dawson’s help, we’d pick up the pieces and move on. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder where the guy with the Russian accent who’d crashed my thesis defense had come from.

<<<<<<<<·>>>>>>>>

June 2011 • Chris-45

I was sitting in the kitchen, dressed in a pair of briefs, sipping some coffee and reading the paper when Jen came up behind me. She circled her arms around my chest from above my shoulders, and gave me a quick peck on the cheek. I looked up at her, smiled and gave her a peck on the lips.

I truly loved my wife, but even after waking up in her bed a month ago, I still was confused as hell as to why my marriage hadn’t fallen apart the way it was supposed to. Not that I was complaining. She knew I was gay, but she still loved me and wanted to be with me. She never pushed me for sex, either, which was very strange. For a while there, after the failed terrorist attack of September eleven, the two of us had gone at it like jackrabbits. We were hot and heavy for a few years, and I’d even gone out and secretly gotten a vasectomy — something she could never know about — but then the sex gradually started to become less and less frequent. I think our last sexual encounter was in 2005 or 06.

I have memories of our having broken up and gotten a divorce. Even more troubling are the memories I have of having had a daughter as well as a son. These memories were tenuous, however, as if they were part of a dream and not reality. My reality was that we had lost a daughter, who was stillborn, and that Jen and I had worked through our differences and even the issue of my being gay, and decided to stay together. The memories of those things were as clear as day.

One thing that did come out of our decision to stay together was that, after Andy graduated high school in 2005, we agreed to have an open marriage and were free to pursue extramarital relationships. I strongly suspected that Jen was indeed having an affair — that was really the only explanation as to how the marriage had survived all these additional years, when it should have fallen apart long ago.

“You look like you’re carrying the entire weight of the world on your shoulders,” Jen said to me with a concerned look on her face. It was true — in many ways, I was. Jen didn’t know about OTT and sharing knowledge of its existence with her was something I could not do. Although it was well understood that top secret projects could not be discussed with anyone — not even one’s own spouse — even more than that, I didn’t want to burden her with knowledge of just how much risk the project entailed. No, it was much better to let her think that the project just wasn’t going well and that that was the reason I was worried.

“It’s just so frustrating,” I tried to explain. “The more progress we make, the farther we seem to be from our objectives.” That was certainly the truth, in more ways than she could know.

“You can only do the best you can,” she admonished me. “There’s no point to banging your head against a wall.”

“I know that,” I agreed, “but tell that to Jack. He’s under pressure, which means that I’m under pressure. That this is coming from the very top doesn’t help things.”

“What does John McCain know anyway,” Jen said with a laugh, and then her look turned more serious and she added, “except how to dig the U.S. deeper and deeper into recession.”

Sighing, I agreed. “It’s just human nature to ‘toss the bums out’ when things go sour. The stock market crash happened on John Kerry’s watch, and so the voters chose a fiscally conservative Republican at a time when they need a liberal democrat to loosen the purse strings and expand the job market, such as it is. I’m just glad we both have decent jobs.”

“Think there’s any worry McCain will get frustrated with your project and pull the plug on it, along with your job?” Jen asked in fear.

One thing I knew was that OTT was never in danger of losing its funding — not after we’d prevented the terrorist attacks of 9/11, but I couldn’t tell Jen that. Ironically, Andy knew far more about what happened that day than Jen did, but even then, it was only a feeling he had rather than actual knowledge. “I don’t think there’s any danger of my project getting cut,” I told her. “There’s too much riding on it for McCain to even think about it.”

“You going to be working late tonight?” she asked.

“Yeah,” I told her, “so don’t bother waiting up for me.

As I left the house, I thought about how Jen, more than likely, thought it was I that was having an affair. After all, I stayed at work all the time, and sometimes didn’t even bother to come home. My second lab wasn’t in the basement, either, as it probably would have been if I’d lived alone. With Jen there, I couldn’t take a chance on her finding out what OTT was all about, so I’d rented a storage locker. It was in the storage locker where I stored my equipment and performed my private late night conversations with Chris-43. It was there that I’d be going after work.

When I got to the lab, however, I immediately knew something was wrong. Security was tight as a drum, and Jack had the most forlorn look on his face that I’d seen since his wife and kids were killed in an automobile accident fifteen years ago.

<<<<<<<<·>>>>>>>>

June 1997 • Chris-31

“What do you mean Sorenson’s disappeared?” I asked Jack when he confronted me upon my arrival. “And who the hell is Sorenson?”

“Come into my office, and we’ll talk about it,” was all he would say out in the open. I followed him into his office, and we both sat down in chairs around the small round conference table that occupied one end of his office.

“Does the name, Marion Dawson, mean anything to you?” my boss asked. Marion Dawson! Man, that was a name from out of the past. Dawson had been my mentor throughout my years in high school, teaching me advanced math and physics in a special weekly program at the University. I gave up three years of Saturdays to Dawson’s program, not to mention working for him the summer I was sixteen, but those days spent studying with Dawson had allowed me to leapfrog ahead of the pathetic high school science and math curriculum. They also allowed me to finish high school in three years instead of the usual four.

Not only that, but Dawson gave me so much more. Before I met him, I was a pathetic, shy, tormented, miserable junior high student. Dawson gave me confidence. He showed me what I could accomplish because I was smart. Thanks to Dawson, my last year in junior high and my two years in senior high were infinitely better than they might otherwise have been. Before Dawson, my performance in school had been mediocre at best. Under Dawson’s mentorship, I’d come into my own and got straight A’s, not just in math and science, but in everything but gym. Thanks to Dawson, I got into the prestigious Physics program at Stanford. I owed Dawson everything.

“Marion Dawson was my mentor in high school,” I replied. “He taught me advanced math and physics. He made me what I am today.”

“He also was accused of molesting some kids,” came Jack’s retort.

“But they recanted and no one else ever stepped forward,” I countered. “The whole thing was bogus.”

“And you were aware that he was accused of trafficking in child pornography,” Jack added.

“Yes, and they even supposedly found evidence in his home,” I agreed. “It happened in ’88 or ’89 or thereabouts. But then he suddenly was completely exonerated, and it turned out there was no evidence at all. Everything was falsified, and it turned out he’d been nothing more than the victim of a witch hunt.”

“Did it ever strike you as being strange that the Feds had such an air-tight case against Dawson, and then it simply evaporated?” Jack asked.

“I just assumed that the evidence was manufactured or planted in the first place,” I answered honestly. “We all know it happens. Someone just got a little too enthusiastic and believed that the end justified the means. One of his or her superiors must have gotten wind of it, or perhaps some evidence came to light that would have contradicted the so-called physical evidence, had the case gone to trial. Faced with potential exposure, the Feds backpedaled and all charges were dropped.”

Jack then slid an ID badge across the table. I picked it up and was astonished by what I saw. The badge bore the name ‘Jeffrey A. Sorenson, Ph.D.’, but the picture was a dead ringer for Dawson — an older version of the Marion Dawson I remembered, but Dawson just the same. And then it came back to me.

“Oh yeah, now I remember him,” I stated in disbelief. “He was Dawson. We were the ones that framed him for child pornography, and used it to bring him here to work on OTT under the Witness Protection Program. It was my future self that thought of it, but when we got him here, it was as if OTT never existed. Something he’d done in St. Louis was critical to OTT’s future, and bringing him to California had disrupted it.

“We sent him back to St. Louis and everything was OK, but how in the world could I have forgotten something like that?” I asked.

“Well in your case, you hadn’t even joined the lab yet, and you were a very sleep-deprived new daddy,” Craegan suggested, “but the details are sketchy for me, too, so I think our fading memory of past events is an artifact of OTT.

“Here’s what’s going on, Chris, and it’s a doozy.

“Your notes from the past… the notes you have had each of your counterparts keep from the very beginning of OTT… indicate that we brought Sorenson back to California in this time period very recently… within the past week, and yet our personnel records show nothing more than that he worked for us very briefly in 1989. It’s a direct contradiction and, given the choice, I tend to believe the notes made by Chris-30, as they haven’t been tainted by events that have transpired since.

“The reason this even came to my attention is because I put a man on verifying your notes a while ago, more as an early warning system for unintended alterations in the timeline. I didn’t want to take a chance on our being unaware when something had changed, but I didn’t tell you about it because you were the source of the notes, and I didn’t want to do anything that might alter the way you kept your notes. I needed to be sure your notes were pure and unadulterated… not that I didn’t trust you, but we all change our behavior unintentionally when we know we’re being watched.

“Anyway, when it was brought to my attention that Marion Dawson was supposed to be part of our team, under the name ‘Sorenson’, but that we had no record of it, I went and tracked what had happened to Dawson in the interim.”

SHIT!” I practically shouted. “Marion Dawson disappeared in 1989. I remember it now… in fact, I don’t know why that didn’t come back to me right away.”

“I think it’s an artifact of TTT,” Jack hypothesized. “When there’s an alteration to the timeline, some of our memories change right away, while others seem to take more time. I think it probably has something to do with the degree of uncertainty associated with the permanence of the change. The more the chance that something will happen to reverse the change, the fuzzier the memory will be.”

“An interesting idea,” I noted, “and it makes a hell of a lot of sense.”

“So Dawson disappeared in 1989 without a trace, but this time it didn’t spell the end of OTT,” Jack realized aloud.

“So either whatever it was that we disrupted the first time happened in the interim between our returning Dawson to Missouri and his disappearance…”

“Or he made provisions to keep his program going after his disappearance, and that was enough to restore the integrity of the future of OTT.”

“Exactly,” I agreed.

“And indeed, it turns out that he did make provisions as spelled out in a detailed manual that he left behind,” Jack interjected. “I actually checked into this. It was as if he knew he wouldn’t be able to continue to oversee the program, or at least suspected the fact, and took appropriate action. He even had a grant application, ready to go, that insured continuation of the program after his disappearance. It was all well-planned.”

“I didn’t know about any of this,” I said.

“The FBI and the CIA actually looked into it at the time of his disappearance, since the whole thing seemed odd, but they never found any other evidence to support that he knew he’d be leaving,” Jack explained. “He even left a roast simmering in his crock pot the morning of his disappearance. The best conjecture the Feds could come up with at the time was that Dawson was concerned that something might happen to him, but he had no idea that something actually would.

“Wow, it’s like something out of a spy novel,” I commented.

“And more so by the day,” Jack concurred.

“But why are we acting on this now?” I asked. “Why didn’t we take action when he first disappeared?”

“That’s a very good question, Chris,” Craegan answered. “My best guess is that our memory of his involvement on the project disappeared along with him, so we didn’t miss him at all at the time. He was just a professor at a Midwestern university who vanished, but there was no reason for us to connect him to OTT. We just discovered his involvement with us and tied it to his disappearance because he was supposed to have started working for us again this week, and it was that notation in your notes that brought the discrepancy to my attention.”

“Another paradox,” I commented.

Exactly,” Jack agreed.

“So what do we do?” I asked.

“Tonight you will make contact with both your past and your future self,” Jack began. “Your future self was going to contact you anyway, and after you learn from him what changes have taken place in the future as a result of Dawson’s disappearance, you’ll then contact your former self and fill him in on what’s happened, or in his case, is going to happen. Perhaps you can find a way to keep Dawson’s disappearance from taking place and thereby restore the timeline.”

“I’ve never contacted both my past and future selves in one evening,” I noted. “I don’t know if I can.

“I have faith in you, Chris,” Jack reassured me, “and now that we know a bit about what’s going on, we have no time to waste.”

<<<<<<<<·>>>>>>>>

June 1983 • Chris-17

“Professor Dawson,” I started to ask as I hashed out the math associated with a twelve-element vacuum tube design, “you told me you’re gay, and that’s kind of how you know what I’m going through. When did you realize you were gay, and how did you deal with it as a kid?” My time with Professor Dawson was growing short. In a matter of days I’d graduate high school, and then I’d spend the summer in Dawson’s lab before heading to Stanford, where I’d soon be starting college as a sophomore.

Smiling at me, he replied, “Chris, I kind of always knew. Some people don’t figure it out until they’re adults, but ever since I can remember, I was aware that I liked boys. I distinctly remember back when I was only seven having a huge crush on my best friend. It’s not unusual to feel an attraction to boys at that age, and it’s certainly not unusual to be curious about one’s body then, either. Little boys play doctor, they touch each other and experiment a little bit. But even then I knew that I wanted to do these things for the rest of my life. Girls… I could not have cared less about.

“As I got a bit older, my attraction to boys grew stronger and more focused. The sexual aspects came more into play and I desperately wanted to get naked with other boys. I had a yearning… I didn’t know exactly what for at that time… but it was very strong.

“I was never effeminate, so no one ever accused me of being a sissy or anything like that, but in the latter part of elementary school, which ran to eighth grade, by the way, I heard other kids bantering around with terms like ‘queer’ and ‘faggot’, and so I looked them up. I learned that the proper term was homosexual, and that it was considered a mental illness, but I immediately knew that that’s what I was. I also knew that I wasn’t sick, so obviously the textbooks were wrong. It wasn’t the first time I’d found a mistake in a textbook, so I’ve always been skeptical of the written word.

“Still, it was quite clear what the other kids thought of people like me, so I decided to ‘stay in the closet’ as kids say today. From what I read, however, I knew that there were others like me, and that one day I would find a lover.”

“So did you?” I asked.

Suddenly, Professor Dawson’s entire demeanor changed. Whereas he’d been happy and alive a moment before, he now seemed shaken, withdrawn and without life. “His name was David,” the professor began, “and we met in college. He was pre-med and I was in the physics program. He was the first person I’d ever met who could stand my quirky mannerisms, and I thought he was beautiful. We hit it off and became fast friends, but I never thought he could possibly be like me.

“Still, we spent all our time together, went to movies together, ate out together… for all intents and purposes, we dated. At the start of our sophomore year, we talked the school into letting us room together, but I didn’t realize at the time just how hard on me that would be. I went from spending all my leisure time with him to spending nearly all my time with him. He liked to go shirtless, which was heavenly and torture, all at the same time. And when we were in the showers together, it took everything I had to keep from having erections. I couldn’t help it… I’d fallen hopelessly in love with him.

“One thing I did notice about David was that he never seemed to date. I never saw him express any interest in girls, but I just assumed this was because he was shy. What I didn’t realize was that he was going through exactly the same thing that I was. We were a couple of twenty-year-old boys who were hopelessly in love with each other, in a society in which it was deemed wrong to express that love. And if you think it’s tough on gay kids now, imagine what it was like in 1954.

“It all came to a head on Valentine’s day in 1954. David bought me a card and stuck it into my mailbox, signing it only, ‘Your Secret Admirer’. I think he was trying to see how I would react to the card, trying to figure out what ‘girl’ had sent it to me, and it might have worked that way had he printed the signature rather than writing it. When I saw the card, I recognized the handwriting instantly. We’d certainly spent enough time reviewing each other’s notes.

“When I saw him that evening, I confronted him. I asked him why he gave me a Valentine’s card… that I knew it was him because of the handwriting. He broke down and cried, and I ended up hugging him and crying too. He asked me if I hated him, and I told him on the contrary, that I loved him with all my heart. We spent the whole night making out, and our relationship progressed from there. We were never apart again, until the day he left for boot camp.”

“Boot camp?” I asked.

“He couldn’t afford to pay for medical school on his own,” Professor Dawson explained, “so he joined the army as a way of financing his education. When he joined up, we were at peace, and the likelihood of him seeing combat was small. In return for having the military pay his tuition and basic expenses, all he had to do was to promise a couple years of his life as an army physician and a commissioned officer. And even if we did go to war, it wasn’t like he would be on the front line. If we went to war, all bets were off for everyone’s lives, anyway, so it seemed like a reasonable trade off.

“I wasn’t crazy about the idea of being separated for a couple of years, but I knew he’d come back to me after it was over and we’d spend the rest of our lives together. Little did I know when I sent him off to boot camp that that would be the last time I would ever see him.

“Vietnam happened, and David was among the first to be sent over. His unit was overrun early in the war, but for some reason he was never listed as a prisoner of war. His parents and I spent hundreds of hours on the phone and even went to Washington to try to get the military to force the North Vietnamese to admit that they had David, but we got nowhere. It wasn’t like his plane was shot down over enemy territory, after all. We knew his unit was captured by enemy forces. He wasn’t a soldier. He was an army doctor. The North Vietnamese had to have taken him into custody.

“Here it is, a decade later, the war has come to an end and our troops have withdrawn. Now it’s unlikely we’ll ever find out what happened. I’ve resigned myself that I’ll never see my David again.”

“Do you think maybe you’ll find another boyfriend?” I started to ask, but before I could even add that it was probably what David would have wanted for him, the professor interrupted by shouting, “I DON’T WANT ANOTHER BOYFRIEND! I only want my David back. I’m still not ready to give up on him.”

“I think I understand,” I replied.

“Speaking of boyfriends, I take it you still haven’t contacted Frank Sanford?” Professor Dawson asked.

“What’s the point?” I asked in return. “Without my own wheels, it’d be pretty hard to go see him, and showing up on the bus and walking to his house would be decidedly un-cool. And what could I tell my folks to get them to drop me off at his house? Yeah, I can just picture it now… ‘Hey Mom? Hey Dad? Could one of you please give me a ride so I can go visit my boyfriend?’ Yeah, that would really go over well.”

“I’m sure if you wanted to, you could find a way… come up with something more original than that,” Dawson challenged, and then he asked, “So have you had any luck replacing your car?”

“I wish,” I complained. “Since I wrecked my car, our insurance premiums have shot through the roof. It’s not like my folks have a choice in the matter, either. So long as they have a teenage boy in the house who’s been in a car wreck, they have to pay the higher premium, even if I never drive again. Dad confiscated all the money we got from the insurance from my car being totaled… not that it was a lot… and if I want another car, I’m gong to have to raise the money to buy it on my own.

“I went looking at some used cars, thinkin’ I might use some of the money I earned working for you last summer, but Dad insists I save most of it for college. He’s willing to let me spend $250 of it on a car, but that doesn’t buy shit… literally! I’d have to spend at least twice that to get something half as nice as what I was driving. At least I’ll soon be making money again, this summer.

“I’ve been wondering,” Professor Dawson began, “how are you getting here?”

“Dad’s kind enough to drop me off on Saturday morning, but then I have to find my own way home. Occasionally I can talk the parents of one of the other students into giving me a ride, but no one else lives near me and so I can’t do that regularly, so I usually end up riding the bus. It takes me three different buses to get home, and you wouldn’t believe some of the weirdoes that ride the bus. It really sucks, man. During the week I’ll have to take the bus both ways.”

“I really don’t like the idea of you riding the bus alone,” Dawson revealed. “Not from here.

“I’ll tell you what,” the professor continued, “$250 is really pocket change when it comes to our budget for OTT, and you’re an integral part of the project. I’ll lend you the money and once you’re on the payroll, you can work off the loan. In fact, if I hire you as a graduate research assistant instead of as a high school student, I can pay you $7.50 an hour, since the work you’re doing on the project is certainly worth a hell of a lot more than minimum wage.

“I’ll advance you $750 up front. After all, $500 isn’t going to buy you anything more than a rust bucket, but with a grand, you can get something decent… something sexy enough to take Frank out on a date in. And as much as you’re working on OTT both here and at home, you’ll put in your hours in no time.”

“You’d do that for me?” I asked in disbelief.

“Chris,” he said as he put his arm around me and drew me into a hug, “You’ve become much more than a student to me, and I hope I’m much more than a teacher to you. You’re a good friend, but even more than that, I love you like the son I never had. Fathers do things like this for their sons, and I’d like to do it for you.”

With tears in my eyes, I drew Professor Dawson from the half-hug he was giving me into a full, crushing hug. I truly loved the man. He really was like a second father to me.

The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of David of Hope and Anthony Camacho in editing this story, as well as the support of Awesome Dude for hosting it.
This story is purely fictional and any resemblance of characters to real individuals other than named historical figures is purely coincidental and unintentional. Some characters may be gay and at times engage in homosexual acts. Because the story explores characters at various stages of their lives, they may be underage during early sexual explorations. Obviously, anyone uncomfortable with this should not be reading the story, and the reader assumes responsibility for the legality of reading this type of story where they live. The author retains full copyright, and permission must be obtained prior to duplication of the story in any form.

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