I can't wait to see what Nicola brings us next! I am sure it will be absolutely scandalous!
Everybody’s eyes still off of me, I grab the second puff and jam it in my mouth.
“Just wanted to say a few words to welcome our new Master,” Osgood says. Compulsory pause. Hand to God, he must practice this stuff in front of a mirror. “So I present to you all, with greatest delight and excitement, Professor Benjamin Beck.”
I pay no attention. I turn away so nobody sees me chewing while I pretend to gather up napkins from the coffee table. That’s when I hear a voice, his voice, that voice, saying, “Please, Dean, call me Ben.”
I freeze. Slowly, with little shuffles of my Danskos, I turn around and stop chewing.
It’s Ben. He’s in a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches.
It’s Ben. Ben is the Master.
I fucked the Master.
No, the Master fucked me.
Oh shit. Oh shit!
Except I can’t. I can’t take my eyes off him. And there’s nowhere to go. My mouth is full of artichoke cream, I’m in the crush of bodies, pinned next to the curve of the grand piano. I’m stuck, staring. At Ben.
Just the sight of him makes my whole body tighten, and I can literally feel myself getting wet. Let me feel you, beautiful. Let me feel it.
Osgood raises his glass and says, “Join me in our traditional Durham toast…”
At that moment, Ben’s eyes fall right on me.
His face says, Holy shit.
I clutch my cocktail tray. Oh God. What have we done?
All the fellows echo back, “Welcome, Master Beck!”
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