They were discussing us again.

The Girls discussed us a lot, I knew. Me and Reagan. We were sitting in the Main Seminar Room that day with our feet up on the cheap table the professors use for department meetings, and we exchanged eye rolls. Why? Because they were discussing us again.

“It’s the way of the world, man.” The prophetic words of the immortal Dave, greeting me at orientation when I’d started the program. “They treat you like a piece of meat here, and then as soon as you’re off-campus they act like you don’t exist.” A piece of meat, yeah; Dave was famous for being treated that way. The guy could pull pussy like nobody I’d ever seen. “Meet up with them at a bar in the neighborhood? Man, these girls are the most stuck-up bitches ever.”

He’d been right, too, not that I’d tried to hook up with any of The Girls; I don’t shit where I eat, and when you’re in a grad program with a bunch of women, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize they’ll all know if you put the moves on any of them. Not that that stopped me from admiring them, of course. Which was fair, because nothing seemed to stop them from discussing us.

Like now.

I could see the glances, snaking across the room from where they huddled in the corner. We were all waiting for Professor Lim to arrive for our required second-year seminar, the one on Nontraditional Roles For The Modern Library, and Reagan sighed. “You think they’re all in synch?”

“Do what now?” I blinked. I’d been busy checking out Erin’s tits where she sat by the windows, while carefully adjusting my twitchy cock. Jaqui hadn’t stayed over last night, and I’d really been looking forward to being with her. I was almost uncontrollably horny. It was like being a college freshman all over again. I stirred. “What’s that?”

“In synch.” Reagan pushed his glasses up on his greasy nose and grinned his unpleasant smile. “Like, menstrually.”

“Eww.” I was only 24, with no sisters, so menstruation remained a vaguely unsettling mystery to me in those days. I just knew that Jaqui tended to simply avoid me for a few days each month, but one of the many things I didn’t feel like thinking about was The Girls shoving tampons into themselves. “Dude. Keep it down.” I glanced over. “They’re already talking about us. I don’t think we need to give them a reason to get skeeved out by us discussing their periods.”

He shrugged easily and returned to his phone, where some sort of internet poker game had swallowed him up. Off to the side I heard The Girls crescendo into a higher and more urgent whisper before, suddenly, I caught Brandi’s high, honking laugh. They were already gazing at me when, startled, I glanced over: four female faces, staring intently, a couple of them nodding coolly. I know I was blushing.

Most of them weren’t hot, per se; only Megan Ringo, with the first-years, truly qualified as a knockout. But they were women, and young, and smart, and Reagan and I were the only guys in the whole program. So there was always a secret ripple of sexual tension at moments like this, with The Girls looking boldly at me while I just smiled like a dumbass.

I waited a decent interval before I blinked innocently at them. “What?” I said loudly, and the tornado of female laughter that came whooshing back at me left me redder than before. Except for Jenn. She was just squinting thoughtfully at me.

“Nothing, Mikey,” mocked Brandi, yawning extravagantly. She was a coffee snob, and all the seminar room had was a Keurig nobody cleaned. “Just girl talk.”

“Yeah.” Aimee tossed back her long black hair. “It’s not always about you.” They giggled some more, and when I glanced back toward Reagan he was nodding sagely. His expression was loud: yup. Synchronized.

I sighed. Professor Lim showed up a mere seven minutes late, and I took my feet off the table and got ready to work.

* * *

I lay that night, my cock throbbing inside my boxers, gnawing at my fingernails while the endless low roar of the streets painted my ceiling with passing headlights.


The text had come in at 11:30; her apologies. She had to study for her licensure test. I believed it; this was her third try, meaning she’d need to take classes if she failed again. But I was getting thoroughly sick of nights by myself; what was the point of having a grad-school girlfriend if the two of you couldn’t fuck endlessly?

Without even thinking about it my fingers were tracing along my belly, through the hair there, prodding with loathing into my boxers. I hadn’t needed to do this since I’d started dating Jaqui; fuck. Having a girlfriend is supposed to immunize you against having to whack it. But my girlfriend wasn’t here and my hard-on was, so I lay my head back on my pillow and reached down to grab the hot, sweaty rod I’d produced in my boxers.

Masturbation is like riding a bike. You never really forget how to do it.

I shoved my boxers halfway down my thighs, the streetlights glinting through my window; my dick cast a weird sundial shadow across my belly, then the fingers of my left hand were caressing my balls while I ran my right hand along the sides of my trembling cock. Good lord. It felt good, almost Jaqui-good. This would take all of three minutes, I told myself, craning my neck to look down my body.

Nah. More like two.

I did a quick crunching sit-up, the saliva already drooling out of my mouth, and landed a big bubbly loogie smack on my head, right alongside my piss-slit. The spit gurgled down to meet my hand as I wrapped it around, fingers and shaft moist now, and then I lay back down and started running my hand up and down with firm, long strokes, my scrotum jiggling in the other hand.

I sent my mind elsewhere, out of the stinking city apartment, out of the narrow Jaqui-less bed, out of my legs fighting the elastic of my boxers; I was desperate to cum, the hand around my cock making sickening wet slithery sounds, my left hand tightening on my balls. I was holding my breath within just a few seconds, knowing it was close, squeezing hard at the base of my head on every upstroke now.

Like the best orgasms, it surprised me when I came; a tingle behind my balls, then the rushing sensation inside my shaft, and then the long gaspy exhale of breath in time with the first warm thick slap of semen along my chest and stomach. The second rope was more powerful, a splatter surprising me by landing on my chin; it hadn’t often gotten up that high.

I relaxed slowly, sordidly, my body covered thick with its own cum, and as I drew a quietly shuddering breath I realized I hadn’t been thinking about Jacqui when I came. I’d been thinking about Erin Lewes and her big, perfect tits next to the seminar-room window.

* * *

Class the next morning was an elective, four of us from the GSLMS sitting in on an undergrad secondary-ed course on classroom management. I wasn’t on the education track, but, well, I needed an elective and there weren’t that many. Library schools don’t really have an infinite number of dedicated courses. So.

I was way up in the back, where I could gaze absently down at the sea of heads before me, almost all of them female. Forget library school: education courses are an estrogen factory too. Combine the two, and you get what Reagan and I had and what Dave had dealt with in his time: honorary womanhood.

The hubbub rose as the guy two seats down from me plunked himself down. “Hey, man,” he nodded. We didn’t know each other’s names, but we always sat back here. He looked like a junior, probably.

“Hi.” I was liberating my laptop with a screech of Velcro. “Full class today.” The undergrads were doing a test review, meaning we grad students would get to leave early. I started to spy my people in the crowd, clustered thickly on the right side by the door; the first-year kids from my program tended to stick together. I’d just barely learned their names (other than the fetching Megan Ringo, that is, who’d made herself known the moment she came into view). The redhead on the aisle was Olivia, then Rebecca next to her with the two friends she carried in her sweater. Then goofy Peyton, with the halfhearted dreads. She was from Alaska or Montana, somewhere like that. On the aisle behind them was Brandi, from my year, making sure everyone could see the logo on the side of her coffee cup.

That left Chelsea Whicker, on her fourth or fifth year in a two-year program, to show up chronically late. Her and Jenn, who’d given me the thoughtful glance in the seminar yesterday. I was glancing down to enter my password when she came sliding in with four minutes before the class was due to start.

As always, the dominant impression was height: Jenn had apparently played volleyball in college, though she only came up to my forehead. She talked, moved, and thought with a haste that always seemed a little breathless, and now I saw her crouch down next to the first-years for a quick little huddle. I noticed her curls toss slightly as she jerked her head. Toward my row.

Of course. They were discussing me.

I nestled back in my seat as my laptop whined its way toward the course documents. Today’s lesson was on adolescent psychology. Great. Erikson and his crises. I was just starting to page mindlessly down past the diagrams when, amazingly, I noticed that Jenn had made her way to my row and was currently walking right toward the empty seat next to me.

The fuck!

“Hey, Mike.” She had a nice smile under sharp blue eyes. “Mind if I slum it back here with you?”

“Uh, sure.” I smiled back, wondering what her game was. The Girls were always very nice to Reagan and me, but they didn’t make a habit of sitting with us in class. “Be careful, though. We spend most of the class back here surfing the web and watching porn.” A couple seats down in the other direction, the other guy was leaning forward so that he could stare at Jenn’s yoga pants with unhidden interest.

She laughed, but just a little. “Liar. I’m a library student. I know which sites they block in here.” She settled into the seat beside mine, then pushed her thick hair back past her ear in frizzed waves. “This is good. I wanted to talk to you about something,” she added, a little tentatively.

“Yeah?” Jenn was a heavy hitter in our program. Our cohort had elected her to run all our fundraising, which the university demanded as part of some sort of philanthropic requirement. Usually, the library program ran – of course – a book fair. “Little old me?” I usually kept to myself within the program.

“Yup. Little old you,” she replied slowly, but by then the professor was stalking in followed by our scurrying Chelsea, and that meant whatever she had to tell me would need to wait until the break.

Thick, powerful waves. That’s what Jenn’s hair looked like, stirring in the sough of breeze from the vents behind our seats, and I wondered why I’d never paid much attention to it before. Probably because it had never been this close before, close enough that runaway tendrils and wisps drifted toward me, along with a strong smell of coconut from her shampoo. She had a long, twisty rope of hair falling along the left side of her face, and I had to suppress the urge to hook it out of the way.

At last, the shuffle of papers and the snapping of laptop lids announced the break, and all around me people stirred to their feet. I arched my back against the seat, then let my head loll sideways toward Jenn. “So.”

She glanced over and nodded slowly. “So.” She was toying with the corner of a notebook, almost as if she was trying to avoid speaking. The corner of my eye caught Rebecca and Olivia, several rows down, twisting around to look curiously at us. Jenn cleared her throat. “We had a new idea for the philanthropic fundraiser this year. Did you want to get involved?”

“Sure,” I shrugged. I hadn’t last year, beyond donating a couple of books. “Cashier? Or I can move shelves around.”

She smiled a little, distracted, and started to play with her hair. It wrapped thickly around her finger, almost a living thing. “That’s the thing, though, Mike. We’re thinking of not doing a book fair this year.”

“No?” My eyebrows rose.

“No. Aimee read an article online about some veterinary students in Australia or New Zealand. They do a huge fundraiser every year to help out animal charities.”

“No shit.”

“Nope.” She was looking down at where her phone rested dormant on the thigh of her yoga pants. “They make, like, all kinds of money.” She licked her lips, and I knew there was something she was working up to tell me. “Hand over fist, in fact.”

“Yeah?” I pitched my voice lighthearted. “Bake sales? Car wash?” I let my eyes go comically huge. “Bikini car wash?”

She giggled, relieved all of a sudden. “Funny you, uh, mention that.” Then, she took a deep breath and started in.

* * *

I took Jaqui out for Greek food that night, the two of us going for iced coffee afterward to the accompaniment of onion-scented kisses as we strolled. The city was busy all around, and it was great… except that I knew I’d need to tell her about Jenn’s idea. The sooner, probably, the better. Jaqui was probably not going to like it, I realized. “Oh!” I began, as though the thought had just then occurred to me. “Guess what? I got asked to help out with this year’s departmental fundraiser.”

“Mmm? The book fair?” She was looking good that night, tight jeans and a sleeveless T, and my cock stirred every time I looked at her. We’d been dating for seven months and I still wanted to tear her little body apart. She snuggled up to me as we walked. “I like that your school makes you guys raise money for charity.”

“Yeah…” I pursed my lips, then started in. “Well, we’re not going to do the book fair this year.”


“No. You know Jenn Deutsch? Sort of our class leader?” They’d met, briefly, when she’d come to pick me up one day, but I had no illusions that Jaqui would remember one girl out of the four or five I’d quickly introduced her to that time. She was kind enough to give me a benign nod, though, so I plunged onward. “She’s got a new idea, based on what some veterinary students do down in New Zealand? Australia?” I shrugged, making a big effort to keep my voice light. “They make a calendar.”

“Mmhmm.” She snuggled closer, the two of us in step. Our coffee place was just ahead on the left. I took a deep breath.

“It’s a little bit risqué,” I admitted, shrugging because I knew she could feel it. “Apparently.” There was no apparently about it, though; I’d been on the internet as soon as Jenn had left me after class. The calendar was most definitely a little bit risqué. “Sells like hotcakes, though,” I added desperately. She was tensing a little.

“How much is a ‘little bit?'” she asked quietly. She’d slowed down a tad.

“Oh,” I said, slightly too fast and slightly too loud, “it’s nothing naughty. The pictures don’t show anything obscene, you know, or they wouldn’t be able to sell the calendars.” Jaqui was quiet. Ominously so. We weren’t in step anymore, her body lurching against mine.

“So.” She was still quiet. “Like, what? Themed pictures? Like, December is a nude chick with a bow over her pussy?” She was making an effort to sound jokey, but she was failing. I indulged her with a laugh, also too loud.

“Hell no!” I pulled her tighter and matched my stride back to hers. “I told you, it’s nothing naughty. Just, you know… sort of suggestive? I guess?” She wasn’t convinced. “The Australians show their asses, is all.”

“Nudity.” She said it flatly, immediately. “That’s why they sell.” She sighed. “Are you the only guy involved, Mike?”

I swallowed. The answer was yes, so far; Jenn had leaned over and whispered, blushing in a coconut-scented cloud, that she was hoping I’d say yes because she thought the girls would be uncomfortable with Reagan. “There’s Jeff Reagan, too. You’ve heard me talk about him.” I cleared my throat. “She says she only needs me for like one picture. March, I think.”

She steered me into the coffee place. “Well. How do you feel about doing it?”

I released her as we got in line, the place crowded. It was all ceiling fans and oak walls, with copper tabletops. “It’s a fundraiser,” I said defensively. “The whole department’s doing it. So.”

She sighed and shrugged, and when she smiled she was making a real effort. I appreciated that. “I mean, come on Mike. I know how sexy your ass is. I don’t mind you showing it off, I guess, if you don’t. But it’s sort of weird, right?” We were nearing the barista. “Like, posing? With your classmates?”

“Nah.” I tossed my head with exaggerated care. “No biggie. We had that pool party at Aimee’s last month; I’ve seen them in swimsuits.” It wasn’t the same, and I could tell when her smile tightened that she didn’t think so either. I spread my hands. “The vet students down in Australia do it every year. They go back to class the next day. It really shouldn’t be any big deal.”

“Not to you.” She was peering up at the menu, her small mouth pursed. “I mean, it’s fine Mike. Not a big deal, like you say.” She wanted it to be a big deal, though, to me. I could tell easily, and I’m not the brightest guy in the universe. I thought about leaning in to kiss her cheek, but decided it wasn’t the time.

“If you want,” I added out of the blue, “you can come to the shoot. Jenn says some of their boyfriends are probably going to come. You know, to show it’s not a thing.”

“Sure.” She sounded tired, or at best neutral. It was the kind of tone that told me I should probably quit while I was ahead and shut up. “I’ll see how my studying goes.”

The coffee was great, but apparently the studying was too. Because she left me alone again that night to go home and do some.

* * *

“Yeah.” Jenn seemed nervous, up there at the whiteboard, but nowhere near as nervous as I was. I’d lodged myself firmly in the back of the seminar room, my feet once more propped on the long table. Nobody was looking at me, but I told myself everyone was thinking about me. “So, the dean signed off on this because I told him there wouldn’t be anything tasteless in our calendar.” She blushed deeply, smiling, as a wave of laughter surged around the table. She raised her head, then, and looked at me. “Mike, we’ve already had discussions about this. Ideas, thoughts, stuff like that.” She ran a glance across The Girls. “Like we discussed, Mike’s agreed to do March.”

“Fuck yes!” Erin was grinning at me now, and across from her Olivia gave me a broad wink. “Now we’re talking.”

“Sales,” Olivia nodded with a funny grin. I got a sudden sick feeling as I realized the idea for March’s picture, whatever it was, had probably started in the minds of these two. They confirmed it when Erin reached across the table for a high five.

“It’s going to be the best pic in the calendar.” Erin sat back with a sigh, arching her back a tad too much, the tits massive in her hoodie. “The rest of you? Good luck looking as good as we will.”

“It’s not a competition.” Rebecca rolled her eyes. “This is for charity, remember.”

“Everything’s a competition,” Olivia laughed. “It’s fine. You just enjoy your… what, October?”

“October.” Rebecca drew herself up, apparently proud of her idea. “Jack o’ lanterns!”