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What I love I devour

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Whizzer likes parties. He likes getting drunk, hitting on guys, and having fun. What Whizzer is less fond of are parties where everyone is too far up their own asses to relax and get into it. He tries to avoid those situations as much as possible, and yet here he is, stuck at this stupid party for the college staff a few days before school officially starts.

It isn’t all bad; they have an open bar at least. And to be fair, there isn’t much for everyone to really get into. It’s kind of pitiful excuse for a party. They’re in a wide room with white walls, bathed in the light of the fluorescent overheads, half of which are turned off. There are speakers near the front of the room and a man sitting near them, watching his laptop and doing his best to “DJ” the event. People stand around the edge of the room, talking to each other and pointedly ignoring the empty dance floor. Next to the speakers is a table of food that Whizzer hasn’t bothered to go look at, but even from the distance he can tell that it’s nothing special. The scene looks more suited for a middle school dance than a staff party for 30-50 somethings, except with a lot more alcohol. And thank God for that.

Whizzer leans against the wall near the door, his eyes scanning the groups of people around him. He hadn’t wanted to come to the party initially, but it’s first year here, and it’s not like he really knows anyone. He’d figured that coming might give him a chance to learn some names, meet some people in his department, get a feel for who he’d be working with. Unfortunately all he’s really accomplished is people watching and having a couple drinks. At this rate by the end of the night he’ll know no one and will also be spectacularly drunk.

Then again, he isn’t so inclined to stay the whole night.

He’s not doing much more than checking his phone when Charlotte walks up to him. He’d met Charlotte through Cordelia years ago, before he’d even thought about teaching. Cordelia had been catering an event he was hired for, and since then they’d been attached at the hip. She didn’t work at the school, but it was how Whizzer even learned about the job in the first place. Charlotte had mentioned one day how their photography teacher was retiring and how they were looking for someone to replace him and oh Whizzer, how’s the studio going? Need any extra work?

It wasn’t like he really needed the money or anything, but he figured it was something to do and it didn’t stop him from doing shoots on the side so why the hell not? Charlotte was a huge help in getting him hired and while he isn’t as close with her as he is with ‘Delia, he’s grateful to have someone to go to if he needs anything.

She looks like she’s having fun, or at least, she looks like she isn’t bored out her mind.

“How’s your night going, Whizzer?” she asks.

“Pretty decently. Are these parties always so exciting?”

“Unfortunately yeah. They may not be the most entertaining things but at least there’s alcohol.”

“Amen to that,” Whizzer replies, taking a sip of his drink.

“Have you talked to anyone yet?”

“No, boring old guys aren’t really my type.”

Charlotte rolls her eyes and pulls him by the arm. “Come on mr high standards, be nice, make some friends, socialize.”

Whizzer groans but lets her drag him along. They make their way across the room to a cluster of people near the food table. It is, as Whizzer expected, incredibly average.

“Whizzer, this is Jeremy, Kate, Ashley, Jessica, and David. Guys, this is Whizzer, he’s the new photography teacher,” she introduces. “They’re all in the science department.”

Whizzer let gave a small wave to the group. They all said hello and turned back to whatever conversation they’d been having before. He’s almost tempted to just pull out his phone and mess around on it for a while, but he agreed to be somewhat social, for Charlotte at least.

Instead, he turns his attention to the food table. It’s mostly junk, and he isn’t hungry but what can he say, he eats when he’s bored.

He’s absentmindedly picking through the options when a man comes up next to him. Whizzer spares him a glace, and tries his best not to do a noticeable double take.

The man is shorter than him, dressed in an awful combination of a green jacket, plaid dress shirt, a red tie, and khakis. His hair is a bit long, his eyes are a bit sunken in, and he’s not the most fit person Whizzer has ever seen, but damn if he doesn’t stare anyway. This is definitely not his type and yet?

Whizzer pulls away from the table and positions himself adjacent to Charlotte and the group in a way that lets him sneak glances at the man at the table. He’s attractive enough that Whizzer doesn’t feel weird about fixating on him, but has enough of a dad bod that he’s careful not to pay him too much attention. He still has some self respect.

Charlotte looks around and also notices the man.

“Hey Marvin! How are you? What’s going on?”

The guy, Marvin, looks up from his plate and walks over.

“Hey Char’, I’m pretty good, how are you? I feel like I haven’t seen you all summer.”

“I know, it’s been crazy, with all the events ‘Delia’s been catering and trying to find time to get together has been awful. Oh, Marvin, this is Whizzer. He’s the new photography teacher."

Marvin gives Whizzer a noticeable once over and Whizzer would be lying if he didn’t preen a little bit under his gaze. Marvin smirks and offers his hand. Whizzer shakes it.

“Nice to meet you. Whizzer, was it? That’s certainly a unique name.”

Whizzer lets out a little huff of laughter. “Yeah, I get that a lot.” Charlotte smiles at them before turning back to the rest of the little cluster, joining a heated debate on how necessary attendance should be. Marvin hasn’t really taken his eyes off Whizzer yet and it’s just a tiny bit creepy.

Whizzer glances down at Marvin’s plate which is piled high but a bit of everything.

“That’s quite a horde of food you’ve got there.”

“That’s a little rude of you to say.”

“So was your comment about my name.”

Marvin raises an eyebrow. “Touché.” He glances back down at his plate, as if remembering the topic of conversation. “I was planning on getting enough food to last me the night and then staying in a corner for the rest of it. These parties aren’t exactly my favorite.”

“Then why’d you come?”

Marvin shrugs. “It’s something to do, Charlotte’s here. Plus, there’s an open bar.”

“That’s fair,” Whizzer says, going to take a sip of his drink only to find that it’s practically empty. “Speaking of which…” he says, gesturing with his cup towards the bar. “Want a drink?”

Marvin follows him over and they end up talking. It’s not until several drinks later, when they’re both a lot less than sober, that the conversation turns into something not so casual. The room has thinned out a bit and they’re now sitting off to the side. Whizzer’s been finding reasons to brush against him more than is necessary, laughing harder than he should and putting a hand on Marvin’s thigh to steady himself. Whizzer isn’t one to be coy. Being straightforward is easier, and seems to yield better results.

Marvin has had this half lidded gaze for the past 30 minutes or so, and apparently he’s more of a lightweight than Whizzer. His cheeks are red and his shoulders are slumped forward a little and all of it should turn Whizzer off but for some reason it doesn’t. It totally does not.

Marvin reaches out a hand and rubs the material of Whizzer’s collar, seemingly not caring that Whizzer is still very much in it.

“This shirt looks good on you. It’s so soft. How do you find shirts that are this soft?”

“I’m not sure it’d matter if I told you.”

Marvin’s eyebrows furrow. “What’s that supposed to mean.”

“It means you dress 30 years older than you are.”

“My clothes are fine.”

“Please, you look like someone who thinks chess is exciting.”

“There’s nothing wrong with chess.”

“Oh my god.”

Marvin huffs out a sarcastic laugh. “Well sorry we all can’t be quite as flamboyant as you are.”

Whizzer’s joking demeanor quickly falls. His eyebrows shoot up. “Excuse me?”

“Oh please, you’ve got your shirt unbuttoned practically halfway down your chest. Would it kill you to be a little more…discreet.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t realize the way I live was subject to your standards.”

“I’m just saying you could dial it back.”

“And I’m just saying that we all don’t have to be as closeted as you are.”

“Excuse you, I’m out.”

Whizzer scoffs. “Barely.”

Marvin turns his body away from him. “I don’t have to take this.”

“You’re the one who brought it up.”

“I’m perfectly comfortable with who I am.”

“Okay.”

“And I don’t need you to tell me that I’m not gay enough for your standards.”

“I said okay .”

“Just because I have some concept of decency-”

“Do you ever stop talking about yourself? It’s really off-putting”

“Oh, I’m off-putting?”

“Yes.”

“I’m not the one who’s wearing clothes that practically beg the room to look at me”

“We’re back to clothes now?”

“I guess we are.”

“I don’t see how wearing flattering clothes makes me off-putting but go off I guess.”

“You don’t seem to understand the concept of modesty.”

“Okay well listen here Marv , I didn’t spend the night talking to you because I was in the mood to get a lecture about how I live. I started talking to you because I was a couple drinks in and I was bored and you looked mildly interesting. Apparently I was wrong, so you can take your pretentious ass and preconceptions about ‘decency’ and leave me alone now, okay?”

“‘Preconceptions about decency’? You’re ridiculous.”

“Thanks, I try, now fuck off.”

Marvin turns toward him, mouth open like he’s about to say something, but instead of continuing their argument, he falls forward and throws up on Whizzer’s shoes.

“Oh my god, what the fuck,” Whizzer says.

Charlotte rushes over, taking Marvin by the shoulders with a concerned look.

“Goodness, Marvin are you okay?”

“Does he look okay?” Whizzer replies sarcastically.

Charlotte shoots him a glare and helps Marvin up, leading him away towards the bar to get some water, leaving Whizzer to deal with his shoe situation alone.

He carefully takes them off and heads towards the door. Charlotte can find a janitor to deal with the vomit on the floor, that’s none of his concern anymore.

Whizzer ends up in an uber on his way home. So maybe his night went a little worse than he expected, but at hopefully the school year itself will go better. Anything is better than the night he’s just had.

********

Whizzer explains his night to Cordelia over lunch the next day.

“He’s an asshole ‘Delia, how do you guys put up with him? He’s arrogant, obnoxious, self absorbed, snide, I can’t stand him.”

“You just don’t know him Whiz, he can be a decent guy. He just has a little bit of maturing to do, that’s all.”

“If he hasn’t grown up by now he’s never going to. Trust me, I know his type.”

There’s a lull in the conversation for a moment where they sit in companionable silence. Whizzer stares at his salad, contemplating. Marvin may be an asshole but damn if he isn’t hot. He doesn’t seem to think the best of Whizzer but that’s fine. Whizzer has ways of being...persuasive.

“I’m going to sleep with him,” he announces.

“Whizzer don’t-

“No, I’m gonna.”

This year might be more fun than he thought.