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Strictly Professional

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2019

 

Timmy tapped his foot impatiently, making the girl sitting beside him throw him glances. He couldn’t care less. Finally, something was happening. Something ... He couldn’t wait. When the students started to leave the class, he ran down to catch the professor before he left.

"Yes?" asked the baritone.

"Still on for tonight?"

The professor looked up to see who it was and furrowed his brows. "If you have anything to ask about the course, please contact me during the consultation hour, I have a class now," he says while gathering his papers.

“No, it’s just that… you said we’d talk.” Timmy chuckles nervously. "Come on, Armie, you know it's not about school. Come at eight tonight, I'll make-"

"Then I don't know why you are talking to me, Mr. Chalamet, I am sorry to interrupt. Is there anything else I can help you with?" He made to leave.

"Mr. Chalamet?! Why are you being like this?"

"Look, I don't want to get arrested, or worse, sacked with a reputation. So please-"

"Armie, I'm not gonna report- "

The professor ground his teeth. His eyes flared at the audacity. "That is Professor Hammer to you, young man. Now, I would appreciate it if you forget about and don't breathe a word of what happened and don't address me improperly ever again. Is that understood?"

Timmy’s eyes stung without his permission. He stood there like a dummy. Terrified, embarrassed, and hurt. "Y-yes, Professor." 

"Good. I'll see you in class, Mr. Chalamet."

 


 

 

Saoirse didn't notice Timmy sneaking out into the balcony but he knew she would find his seat empty soon enough. Thank god he got two beers out with him. He patted his pockets. God, please... I need them... Aha!

He pulled out a bent cigarette from his pocket. God knows how long it had been there, how many times it had been sat on. But he was thankful. He lit it up and there she was.

"Are you crazy? It's freezing out here."

"I need-"

"You needed some air?"

"Please stop cutting me off."

Saoirse frowned. Stop? When had she cut him off the last time? "Oh, so you need that sort of air." She chuckled but Timmy didn't join her. He kept letting the smoke out through his nose and, leaning onto the railing, stared into the middle distance. "Come on, you're missing the movie." She tugged at his elbow.

"You go on. I'll be there in a minute."

She looked down at the beer bottles. "Or two."

Timmy tried to laugh it off but it was as though his facial muscles wouldn't budge and he ended up choking out a weird noise.

"Come on, what's wrong, Timmy?"

He shook his head before he asked honestly, "am I not likable at all ?"

Saoirse chuckled. "What, Hammer told you off in class again? You should drop his course."

That was true. Professor Hammer had been pretty callous to him even before what happened between them happened.

Timmy shook his head. "It's just I behave like a baboon whenever I open my mouth in front of him. And I feel so pathetic." His eyes stung again. Stupid! He hoped Saoirse couldn't see the glaze of his eyes in the dark. "He is right, I don't deserve even the minimum respect. Damn, even I wouldn't respect someone like me."

"Or we can settle on the fact that Hammer is an asshole and his class is popular only because he is a hunk."

He hissed as the cigarette burned his finger. He had completely forgotten about it. He threw it away and put his finger in his mouth. "That's not true. He's brilliant."

"Oh God, you'd think he’s a saint even if he had killed someone. Do you idolize him or something? He's an asshole, Timmy, wake up, everybody knows that."

But Timmy knew that to be not true. Professor Hammer's assholery was a facade that he hid his insecurity behind. He was sensitive and soft when he was disarmed and completely open. Like he had been that night in Timmy's arms. But that's not something he could talk about, he couldn't risk it, for the professor’s sake. "He's strict, that's all." 

"He gave me a C. My one and only C in my whole fucking university life. I'm never forgiving him for that."

 


 

It was nearing eleven when they left Jacob's apartment and headed towards campus. He walked Saoirse back to her dorm even though he got hit for offering. "Are you trying to court me? Do you think this is the eighteen hundreds?"

"Shut up and walk with me. I would like to not drown in self-loathing for a little longer."

Saoirse's features softened. She knew Timmy struggled. "Pony... drop his course if it's doing more damage than good." 

Timmy attempted to roll his eyes without giving himself a headache. "Can we please not talk about him?"

"What do you wanna talk about then? What about that girl you were trying to flirt with?"

"Sonya. She won't have it."

"She gave you her number though."

"Only because I nagged her to death."

"Text her."

"I did. Last week. She read-zoned me."

"Plenty of fish in the water."

"None of which would have me." He shrugged. "And it's not like I am desperate to have a relationship or anything... I understand, though. I mean, what do I have to offer? Personality of a shoe brush."

Saoirse stopped walking abruptly. "Timmy, what's going on? I mean this is more than your regular moping. What did he say this time?"

Timmy kept looking down because he didn't know if he could risk looking up and showcase his vulnerability without feeling even more pathetic about it.

"Tim..."

"I just... um, I... I feel- I feel disgusted with myself, Saoirse. I hate my actions and I hate that I know that I'll do all of that again... And I hate the way people treat me, even you sometimes, and I know that it has nothing to do with them being assholes but has everything to do with me being a pathetic little shit and I don't wanna be like this anymore."

They breathed together for a while before Saoirse cupped his face. "One day, Timmy, one day someone's gonna love you so damn much that you will start to love yourself because you’ll see yourself in her eyes, see how beautiful, how brilliant you are. Until then, can you please listen to me and start respecting yourself or no one else will."

 


 

Timmy didn't want to believe it at first. The silhouette of a giant man standing under the streetlamp, smoke clouding around his face. Unmistakably, the silhouette of-

"Professor Hammer?"

He didn't look like he had just been found out. He took his time crushing the burning end of his cigarette against the bin before letting it fall into it unlike Timmy who had just thrown it off the balcony. 

"Can I help you with something, sir?" 

It felt weird talking to him in this way after he had held his naked body under him. But Timmy didn't dare. Professor Hammer felt disrespected this morning. Timmy can't repeat that. It was inappropriate.

He walked towards him with his hands in his pocket. A scarf wrapped around his neck with an intricate knot under his long coat. Smoke still coming out of his full mouth. "I am actually here to see you."

Timmy looked up at his dorm building. "How do you know where I live...? Or that I'm not already inside? If- if you don't mind me asking, sir."

"I know things, Timotheé," said Professor Hammer before he cringed at his own words and shook his head. "Did that… do I creep you out?"

Timmy kept looking at him, dumbstruck. 

Truth be told, Professor Hammer had come here because he was terrified. Terrified that Timmy would blabber to his friends or try to take revenge for being told off like that. He would go to the dean, maybe also the police. He would perhaps call it rape. Why wouldn't he? What happened was atrocious, disgraceful. He didn't even know this Timotheé Chalamet. But upon seeing his puffy eyes, his mooshed hair, the red tip of his nose poking out through the fluffy muffler that he wrapped around his neck and over his mouth, his confused eyes that, looking back, almost always looked sad, made Professor Hammer reconsider. Was he actually capable of doing such a thing?

"Look, I apologize… for my behavior this morning. I should have listened to you. The fault is mine."

"No… no, I should be apologizing, sir. It wasn't appropriate. Far from it."

"What's not appropriate is what happened that night. Does that make you feel disgusted?"

Timmy didn't answer again.

"I get it. You should be disgusted with me. I am the grown-up and I should have been the one to have stopped it. I wanted to let you know that I didn’t mean to- I mean… didn’t want to take advantage of- did you feel pressured somehow? I just want to make sure that I didn't hurt you in any way. You were drunk too perhaps-"

"And you were shitfaced. I was tipsy at most."

"That's-"

"Inappropriate. I know, sir."

The professor wondered where that sharp tongue had been the whole semester because whenever he opened his mouth in class, he made some dumb analysis. Could the professor really be blamed for telling him to ‘stop trying too hard.’ "Doesn't matter. Just tell me if it was 100% consensual, Timothée."

"I don't know, like I said, you were shitfaced, and you have to confirm the other 50%"

The professor sighed, annoyed.

Why do I always do this? "Relax, sir, I've been wanting to get into your pants for a long time. And I was in control, so-"

"That is very, very, inappropriate, Timothée. Don't ever talk to me that way… until the end of the semester. And then never take any of my courses ever again or I swear to God…"

Timmy is stunned for a second. A smile crept up on Timmy's face which the professor couldn't help but mirror. He turned around to hide it so as not to encourage Timmy.

"It's Timmy."

"What?"

"Nobody calls me Timothée."

"Til the end of the semester. I am Professor Hammer to you and you are Mr. Chalamet to me. And after, we can have the talk that you wanted. Okay?"

"Yes, Professor." 

He offered his hand that the professor took before saying goodnight.

When Timmy got into his room, he pulled out his phone and put a note on his calendar.

December 3rd: intro to philosophy final

 

Chapter Text

2026

 

It happens kind of the same way again.  Timmy doesn't want to say that he followed him out. Nobody would notice Timmy's absence here. Not even him. Timmy didn't have many friends while he was in this university. God knows why he was invited to this reunion. And why he didn't decline is beyond his own understanding. But there he is, walking towards Timmy with his assured gate and that bloody golden band on his finger. Seven years, a long string of lovers - and Professor Hammer is still the most beautiful man Timmy has ever laid eyes on. 

He doesn't look surprised to see Timmy outside. So he did follow him.

"Why'd you leave?" 

Seven years. And the first thing you say is this?

Timmy raises his fingers holding a burning cigarette as an answer.

"Can I get one? I left my pack at home." He walks up to sit beside Timmy on the tiny raised footpath. Timmy is swamped with his perfume. He has changed it since the last time they were this close, thank god. It doesn't bring back memories.

Without saying anything, Timmy simply gets his cigarette case out of his breast pocket and offers him. He has come a long way from smoking bent cigarettes.

"What are you up to these days?"

"Touring," says Timmy.

"Really? That's amazing! You're finally doing what you wanted."

Timmy patiently listens to him rambling about how happy he is for him, congratulating him. Then he takes a breath and smirks sadly at his own luck. "I can't believe you bought that."

Hammer furrows his brow.

"I'm not touring, are you crazy?" Why are you pretending that you don't know?  "I'm doing some play off-Broadway." When Hammer doesn't react, he adds for his dignity's sake, "it's gonna be on Broadway though, in like six weeks or something." 

Hammer, then, smiles. "You're gonna be a celebrity. Never took you for the type."

Timmy chuckles and shakes his head. Being around him still hurts. He wanted to test that. He was sure it wouldn't hurt anymore up until the point the crowd divided to make way for this giant. He is still the center of anywhere he goes. He hurt like hell. And it's hurting still. What is he doing here? There is no future here. His university, this campus, his asshole batchmates who are probably loaded by now with a stable job and spouses and kids, his old crush along with the old pain right in the center of his chest - these are all things of the past. And dwelling in the past is an out-and-out crime.

I'm gonna leave.

"I work my ass off six days a week, I don't know what the fuck I'm doing here on my only day off."

Hammer shrugs "Easy. You've come here for me."

"Don't be such an asshole, Professor. It doesn't suit you anymore." Timmy stands up, marring the bud of the cigarette under his heel, making to leave.

"Why?" asks Hammer, still sitting on the footpath.

"Hm?"

"Why doesn't it suit me anymore?"

It stuns him for a second. But he quickly replies. "Because I've grown. I don't look at you with heart eyes anymore."

Hammer nods. Smiles. "So it's your perspective that's changed."

 

The first time they'd been together, Hammer wasn't even sure who Timmy was. His face looked familiar. But in that haze when the hands of the clock slump with your brain cells, everyone looks pretty. And Timmy had him at his lazy "hey". Leaned against the poachy wall with leisure, as though waiting in the bushes for his prey to feel comfortable before attacking. Hey, that's all it took. What conversation they shared, Hammer has long since forgotten. He was so drunk he was sure alcohol, not blood, was coursing through his veins. What he remembers is seeing the bush of curls bobbing over his pelvic area and remembering telling this bush off in class when he had found it bobbing with slumber in the middle of a lecture.

"You're in my class…."

Timmy smiled around the head of the cock. "Hello, professor." The cheeky devil.

By the time Timmy was pounding into his body, Hammer had made up his mind about quitting his job and going to an Indian ashram to spend the rest of his days there, as one does, if only he would be allowed this - getting fucked by his student.

That desire had spilled out of his body with the ejaculation it would seem, and what he was filled with instead was regret and shame.

"Just… just, let's talk sometime…" Timmy hesitated. Hammer wouldn't look back at him. He was turned towards the window, pretending to be asleep, knowing too well that he wouldn't sleep a wink tonight. "Is Friday okay? Cause I can't tomorrow, I have a test to prepare for. "

All Hammer did was hum. Even before the sun was up, he headed out for a long run. He wouldn't be back until he had to get ready for class. And thank God, as expected, Timmy had left. But he'd left a note.

 

I have class, gotta leave :) Friday 

          -Timmy 

 

 


 

 

How could he not have known? Wasn't it obvious that they should end up like this again - his back pushed against the wall, huffing into each other's mouths - all this talk, one way or another, always his back against the wall?

Hammer's ringed hand roams all over his body. And when he takes him home, peels his clothes off one by one, "no rush" he says, touches his throbbing cock and it hurts and its cold again his skin, Timmy requests softly, "take the ring off?"

 

 

Chapter Text

2026

The same night

 

 

"What was it that you wanted to do to me that night?"

Timmy registers what the Professor has just said. He wants to make his lips move to form his answer. But… what was the question again?

"Huh?" Hammer urges on as he tries to steady Timmy on his feet. 

Timmy is sure there is some sort of a chemical in the air of the Professor's apartment. Wait… how did we get here? 

He called a cab. Timmy has been on his lap the whole way. All he remembers is sapphire blue in the dark, in the red, green, yellow of the traffic light, and the pitter-patter of their lips.

"What?" Hammer sits him on the bed and, like an infant blindingly searching for its mother's chest, Timmy latches onto his lips. "What was it? That night… the first night."

Timmy remembers this. He was gentle with the Professor. But he wanted to do something the next time. Something that he jokingly let him know after. "Bey… ben…" he manages in his chemical haze.

"Bend me over, and?" the Professor helps.

"A-and… fuck you…"

"And fuck me from behind? We'll see about that." 

Hammer flips him over on the bed like a rag doll and there is something warm and sticky circling his hole. Timmy lets his dopey eyes rest finally, not fighting to see clear or make sense of it all. It's amazing. He can't remember when was the last time someone took this much time and care to massage him there. But then again, he can't remember a lot of things right now. But why deny the bliss that numbness of the mind brings. 

He calls out his name with the little self-control that he has and moans. "Armie…."

"Yes, Armie ."

I can call you that now. He wants to say in reply.

After eons - or so it seems - when Armie is satisfied with his handiwork, he makes Timmy's ass arch up and presses a hand against his shoulders. "What a sight…."

It doesn't hurt, it doesn't hurt at all. Or is he numb again? Timmy opens his mouth in the silent exclamation of pleasure. Finally, finally. I've missed you. My inside has missed you. 

Hot liquid burns the skin of his nose as they glide down. This must be it, nirvana. All the philosophers must have been talking about this. Did they have their Professor Hammer too? The erômenos to my erastês. My beloved. They must have had. Because nothing else, no one else even compares. The whole of the universe inside him. Nothing exists outside his body, consisting both hemispheres. I am. I am…

 

Timmy is out of his mind. So he doesn't, he can't notice. And it takes a while for Armie to notice Timmy's mouth, open, sucking in air every ten second with a gobbling noise like a gaping fish out of the water. The side of his face flat against the bedding, his body limp, unmoving.

"Oh my god… oh god…" Armie pulls out and flips him on his back. "Timmy, hey…" He lightly slaps his cheek but Timmy won't open his eyes. Armie panics and grabs his phone, making him sit up against the headboard. Timmy's head doesn't wobble without support, at least he is alive. He opens his eyes by the time Armie presses his phone against his ear. 

"911. What's your emergency?"

Timmy slowly gets the phone from Armie's ear and disconnects the call.

"Hey… you okay?" Armie touches his shoulder, trying to see his face for signs of discomfort.

Timmy puts up a hand to make him stop crowding him. The same hand goes to rest against his own chest. A hollowing pain there. As though a magnet is instilled there, a magnet that pulls muscles, blood, air. And there is no place to accommodate the air that he sucks in. An air-eater resides within him. The gobbling noise continues for a good fifteen minutes. He tries to relax his tightening muscles, muscles that have received the signal of panic. The more he struggles, the worse it will get.

Armie is sat there frozen, asking dumbly if he is okay, if there is anything he can do.

When Timmy opens his eyes again, he feels dizzy. He attempts a smile at Armie whose eyes are still wide and bewildered. "You can touch me now," says Timmy, using the least amount of air.

Armie blinks and breathes. "What… what I did I do?"

"You didn't… my lungs. Haven't been the same since the infection. Gets worse in winter… in that position."

The Professor takes in the information. Blink. "When?"

"Couple of years ago."

"And you still smoke.”

Timmy wants to laugh but he doesn’t know if his lungs can take it right now.

"You moron.... Even I quit.”

“But you said-”

“I didn’t forget my pack, genius.”

Of course, now that he thinks about it, of course. Professor Hammer never forgot his smoke and his morning jog. What did the years do to him in my absence?

Armie keeps shaking his head, as though he still can’t quite make sense of it all, still in shock. He almost killed him. "I'm such an asshole…"

Why were they whispering? Timmy shakes his head. He is tired, he can't do much more than that.

"I should have asked. I should have-"

"You didn't know."

"Why didn't you stop me?"

Timmy smiles. "After all this, Professor, if you think I will ever have the strength to say no to you... do you even know me?"

It is too dark to see the whites of his eyes. The moonlight plays its tricks. The glaze in the Professor's eyes must be its mischief. It must be.

He cups his jaw in that huge palm of his with its naked fingers, "Still?"

Timmy closes his eyes with the touch, turns his face and buries his mouth in that palm, kissing it. It's still the same, soft and reeking of ink and crisp paper. There's no need for words, they sit naked before each other.




Chapter Text

2026

 

When was the last time Timmy had woken up naturally without the shrill noise of his alarm? He can't remember. Probably when life was much simpler. When it was up to him if he wanted to miss classes. Never Professor Hammer's class though; he would wake up at the crack of dawn to attend his class even if it meant he would doze off during. He doesn't have that option now. He can't miss a single show without it being previously discussed. So his alarm is set for six o'clock every morning no matter what. He has a routine without which he feels as though he will fail. 

His eyes catch the tiny furrowed skin between the Professor's brows when his vision finally clears. He is still asleep, but he won't be if Timmy doesn't stop his alarm. So he does, and places a soft kiss between his brows, almost not touching, because touches as such are not allowed in full awareness, not now. Only in the tender hour of dawn, pressed between dreams and consciousness, are they tolerated. And the crease slowly but surely disappears. The Professor looks younger when he sleeps, his professional mask taken off - Timmy misses that. He misses that still when he sleeps with someone new and finds them looking the same the next morning. Hammer always looked older for his age. Not his fault. Just his giant structure. That's what disgusted people about them. That's what caused his mom to worry. The words thrown around still echo in his mind, they haunt his dreams.

Nine years. It's not much. Nobody bats an eyelash when a forty-year-old is dating a forty-nine-year-old. Especially if a woman is the younger partner. Why is it an abomination when the people involved are younger? 

Nobody would care if they dated now as they are older. Something as pure as this was disturbed by man-made standards. Now, look at where they are. Timmy - half a man. Scorning at his youthful years with disgust. The Professor - sleeping with his ex-student while his wife's picture stares at them from the bedside table. How happy they look there. Her bright white teeth outshining his as they stand by Niagara Falls, the Professor holding her from behind in his loving arms. 

Maybe Timmy is the only one who was affected by all this. 

In the darkness of the night, Timmy didn't see anything but sapphire blue, naked body, muscled but agile above him, glistening with sweat at times, and then the night breeze calmed him, licked the beads off his skin, hidden from Timmy’s eyes. But now in the young light of the morning, Timmy sees everything. He sees the presence of another everywhere. The room has a feminine touch now that it lacked before, back when falling onto the bed in tangled limps didn’t feel like a sin, when the memory of the night before wouldn’t be tainted with repugnance. The presence is even evident on his Professor. From the ring that disturbed their lovemaking to the way he wears his hair. But now, stripped from the hairdo and his clothes, his Professor felt like his again. For a little while? 

Just as his drowsy vision focuses on Hammer,  it is as though his bad angel has been kicked off his shoulder by his good one. And he sees Hammer for who he is - a married man who is cheating on his wife, someone else’s guy, a grown man who thought nothing of fucking and dating his student. It fills Timmy’s mouth with bile. Even without recalling the minute details, Timmy is hit with the revulsion that he has cultivated through the years. 

Before he can get a second thought, he finds his pants, shirt, and coat, and dashes out of the apartment, wrapping his scarf around his neck. The wind bites like darts sticking into his cheeks and eyes. Under the scarf, his hidden mouth huffs in its silent howl.

When he gets to the metro station, he is seven minutes early for the next train. He leans against the dirty wall. How far away yesterday morning seems. He can’t believe he is here again. He hates this feeling of filth. As soon as he gets the slightest vibe of this filth from someone, something that had found its inception in the Professor, he runs away as fast and as far away from it as he can. This is one of the reasons why he disconnected himself from everything, every social media where he saw the smiling faces of the wicked man and his pure, beautiful wife. Did she know? Timmy hopes to god she does, at least now. 

He rubs his eyes clear. That metal rub again, that disturbed his pleasures last night. That metal rub again against the tender skin around his eyes. When he opens his eyes, he sees the offending golden band around his finger.

 


 

 

December 3, 2019

 

Why is she taking so fucking long? What the fuck are they talking about? God! At least try to hide your blush!

Timmy was running out of things to put in his bag, and of patience. The girl talking (read: flirting) with Professor Hammer, was also prolonging her stay hiding the same purpose that Timmy was - to find the Professor alone and have his whole attention. 

But Timmy was determined. It was the promised day. He didn't care if he had to talk to Armie in front of the girl. Nothing could stop him now. He was on cloud nine. 

And ( thank fuck!) the girl left as she sensed the determination in his steps and heard him clearing his throat. 

He tried to be not so giddy as last time, the very thought brought back a sense of nausea and shame. He was still not quite over it and sure wasn't about to let it happen again. "Hey." He contained his smile to being just-polite.

"Hello, Timotheé," said Armie, in his usual indifferent tone, knowing without looking who exactly it was, gathering his papers. But when he didn't get an answer, be did look up. "Yes?"

Fuck it. Timmy hopped a little, grabbing Armie's face before he could protest, and kissed him square on the mouth. How could he not? This whole semester had been torture. More so after Armie had made the promise. His early morning lectures that would make Timmy semi-hard just watching his lips move. Timmy had long since stopped trying to prove himself because - first of all, he was embarrassed and knew that Armie saw right through him, he didn’t want to push it - fuck, how could anyone possibly seem smart to him. He is so fucking brilliant. Brilliant, beautiful, and rich? There had to be a catch - or so Saoirse thought. Timmy could not disagree more. Armie was perfect. 

Armie, in turn, did not call Timmy out in class. His keen eyes saw everything that happened. Sometimes Timmy would doze off, then shake his head, and then drink water from his bottle. Then he would find Armie giving his lecture, directly looking at him. That was his sign. Sometimes Timmy would find his mouth slightly ajar, his head resting on his palm while staring at the Professor, lost in the thought of future that was full of possibilities. The first date, first Christmas, first birthday together, lazy afternoons, weekends, cooking dinner, and then, naughtier thoughts. Armie, with an intent glance, would then clear his thought.

They were both avoiding talking to each other unless it was absolutely necessary. Because how do you talk to your professor/student with the knowledge that he is your potential date? They were scared, as well, of ruining it by talking before they were ready. For a while, Timmy had thought Armie had forgotten, had reconsidered, had met someone better who had a brain for a change, had stopped giving a shit about his idiot student. And Armie had thought Timmy had gotten bored, was definitely sleeping with someone interesting and not old - why wouldn’t he, he was a college student?

But no, none of that. The shared smirks, the silent signs, the smiles at the end of the class, the ‘see you Monday’s - they were all the reassurance they needed. 

And this

He dared. He fucking dared to make a tiny sound at the back of his throat. What he noticed, after he let Armie go was that the Professor neither tried to stop him nor push him away. But he was startled. His hands beside him in the air still. His brows raised. And a shit-eating grin on Timmy’s face.

“Timothée!” he warned in a hushed tone and checked the empty doorway.

“Sorry. Sorry.” said Timmy, raising his hands and backing away a little.

“No, you’re not.”

Timmy shook his head. As Armie goes back to sorting the papers, Timmy continues. “So, we can, like, meet up now?” He had practiced this conversation so many times. It could not go wrong. “Like, maybe after you’re off today, we can talk?”

Armie furrows his brows. “I finish at three. You want to meet up at three ?”

Timmy nods eagerly. “Sure. There’s a cafe about a block…” he trails off as he sees Armie closing his eyes and sighing. 

“Kids…” he says under his breath. Finally, he makes eye contact and the look almost scares Timmy. “I am taking you out to dinner. Friday. I’ll make a reservation and pick you up at seven. Sound good?”

Timmy nods, dumbstruck. Professor Hammer is gonna pick me up for dinner! Take that, Saoirse!

“Now, I have to go. I’m sure you have to as well.”

Timmy let him go but then he remembered. He got his phone out of his pocket. “Wait, Armie, I need your number.” Armie did stop but he didn’t turn around. And when Timmy half-ran to him at the door, he saw his serious expression. Timmy began to panic. “I mean- I… if you- if you don’t mind, of course. It’s absolutely fine if you don’t want to. Can I? Could…”

“Who said it was okay to call me Armie?”

He’d done it again. He wanted to dig a hole in this concrete and bury himself in it. “I… I can-”

“Still Professor Hammer.”

Timmy nodded. His eyes wide and scared.

“The results aren’t out yet.”

“No,” he agreed dumbly. “...And when is it? Out… I mean.”

“Three days.” Armie snatched the phone from his hand and started typing fast. A tiny smirk appearing on those perfect lips. Then he hands it back.

Asshole... 

“See you Friday, Ti… ‘Timmy’, you said?” said Armie, already walking away, not waiting for an answer.

Timmy stood there for a moment. On the phone, the Professor had saved his number under ‘Armie’.

Asshole!  

Chapter Text

 

2019

 

"Hey, Chalamet, heard you switched sides?" said Ansel, from two tables away in the cafeteria.

Timmy had known him since middle school. He had grown seven niches in one summer and was the butt of the joke ever since. Nothing too serious though. The bullies never think they are bullies cause 'we're just playing y'know.' Timmy never was rude to him - meaning he didn't talk to him at all. He didn't want to get tangled into any of it. But he remembered the first time they ran into each other on campus. Ansel's eyes had turned into two big orbs and, as Timmy said hello, glad to find a familiar face among strangers, Ansel had fled - straightened his back and marched straight ahead. It turned out that they were placed in the same dorm. Apparently he had now become a ladies man, a famous fuckboy that girls pretended to hate. And now he and Timmy awkwardly ignored each other whenever their paths crossed, until today. 

So Timmy furrowed his brows for more than one reason. "Meaning?"

"Heard someone saw you shoving your tongue down some professor's throat the other day. From philosophy department."

A chilling air grasped his lungs and the sensation ran through the whole of his insides. "Excuse me?!"

Ansel could see the anger and fear in his eyes. He chuckled and tried to pass it as a joke. "Come on, man, I'm only teasing." When Timmy still stared at him, unable to talk, Ansel walked up to him and touched his shoulder. His tone was serious now but Timmy didn't appreciate him touching him. "Hey, I'm sorry. I was kidding. I didn't mean-"

"Is it Professor Hammer?" came a female voice from another table. Timmy's shock and silence only confirmed it. "Oh my god, I knew he was hooking up with students! He's too ridiculously handsome to not to be the type."

Timmy looked at Saoirse sitting opposite him. But as she opened her mouth to protest, a friend of the girl half ran to Timmy excitedly. "Is he as hot as he seems through those designer suits? 'Cause I sometimes think he's wearing spandex or something. His body is insane! Does he?"

"Can we be friends?" Squealed another. "I've never had a gay friend!"

"Will you listen to yourself!" Saoirse yelled. 

It did make everyone shut up and forced out another 'sorry' from Ansel (to which Saoirse's answer was short and simple. "Fuck you.") She grasped Timmy's  hand and marched out.

 

They sat still for a long while on a patch of grass, looking at nothing. "Fuck…" Timmy breathed finally. "Fuck, he's gonna kill me."

"Is that true… what that guy said?"

"No… we never kissed in public. At least not since we officially started dating."

"Timmy… you're gay." Saoirse looked at him.

"I know…"

"Why didn't you tell me? And why didn't you tell me about Hammer?"

"It wasn't my secret to tell… the second part, I mean."

"And the first?"

"I don't know, Saoirse. I haven't really thought about much, to be honest. At first I wasn't sure. And when I was, then I wasn't ready I guess."

Saoirse took a deep breath. "I hope you know what you're doing, Timmy."

He shook his head. "He's gonna kill me."

 

He wasn't going to kill him, Timmy knew. What he feared was something much more serious. He was afraid that Armie would think he had spread the rumor or was boasting to his friends. He was afraid Armie would end it. Christ, this will be a record. It hadn't even been two weeks. 

So he took a deep breath before he rang the bell that evening. He was buzzed in and, as he timidly walked in, he found the Professor in the kitchen, chopping tomatoes on a cutting board, a glass of wine sitting on the aisle. Timmy put his bag on one of the chairs. He knew from the way the Professor finally looked at him that he knew. 

"Look… I-" Timmy started but was cut off.

"I got called into the dean's office today."

Timmy covered his mouth in shock. "You're not sacked…"

"No, I'm not sacked, Timmy." 

Timmy let out the breath he was holding. " Oh, thank god…" He flopped onto a chair, dropping his head onto his hands. "I don't know if I could bear it if you were."

"They just wanted to make sure it was… alright, if it had started while you were still in my class. Which then - as much as I hated it - I lied and said it didn't, and…" Armie trailed off, still cutting vegetables, as though there were things that he was feeling but couldn't talk about. Guilt, shame, embarrassment, what?

Timmy looked at his face, brows furrowed, looking intently at the greens in front of him, a dark shadow over his face. He stood up and walked around the aisle to get to him. He hugged him softly from behind, kissing his shoulder. "I thought you'd blame me."

"For what?"

"For spreading the news or whatever."

"How did you hear about it?"

Timmy sighed. "This guy I know from Middle School..."

Armie finally stopped chopping and turned around in Timmy arms so Timmy could  burry his face into his neck and shoulder and breath in his scent. "What did he say?" he asked cautiously.

"He basically… he outed me. In front of people."

Armie wrapped his arms around him, putting his fingers in his hair and softly massaging. He kissed his temple. And under his breath he said - Timmy could just make out two words - "oh, sweetheart…"

This was all new to them. Who knew the stoic professor hid this amount of care and gentleness in him?

"Why did you think I'd blame you?"

Timmy shrugged. "I dunno… I'm young and an idiot. Any rational person's first guess would be that I blabbered about it."

Armie was silent for quite a while. And Timmy thought their conversation had ended before Armie took a deep breath. "But, Timmy, I trust you…"

Timmy lifted his head and kissed the man. He felt something that he had never felt before. Is this what it was like to date actual adults? The deletion of distrust and jealousy and petty rows?  I'm never dating people my age ever again. "Can I stay for dinner?" 

"Ah, no."

Timmy let out a whine. "Why? I'll help!" said he, taking the knife off the cutting board, ready to chop the next vegetable he saw.

Armie furrowed his brows and carefully took the knife from him. "You wanna stay for dinner, then you'll want to stay the night, and we all know what you want in the night."

"I won't, I won't. I promise. We'll just cuddle."

Armie thinks for a second. "You'll take the couch."

"Now that is just cruel."

But of course they ended up in bed together. Only cuddling, as promised - much to Timmy's dismay. When Armie said he wanted to start again, he meant it. But this wasn't bad. Compared to where they'd been, compared to what the whole day had been like, this wasn't bad. Their relationship wasn't a secret anymore. Timmy hadn't realized that it was at some point. But not after December 3rd, and definitely not now. It had all seemed so easy from then that they never stopped to think it all through. But now, after the day's occurrences, even innocent cuddling in bed while bantering about the pretentiousness of philosophy seemed salacious.