Aidan’s Journey Excerpt, The Anatomy of a Seduction, Part One
Every Sunday, I’ll be posting excerpts from Aidan’s Journey. For the next few weeks, I’ll post excerpts showing Aidan’s growing entanglement with the nefarious Rodney Montgomery, aka Professor R.
The star of the University of Virginia theater department, Aidan Emery is lusted after and admired for living out and proud. He uses his talent and good looks to his advantage and never sleeps with the same guy twice. But his glamorous patina has been carefully honed to hide the pain he carries inside.
Aidan wasn’t always such a player. He starts college naively romantic, hungry for the attention he can’t get from his workaholic father and mentally ill mother. Unfortunately, that leaves him ripe pickings for predatory professor Rodney Montgomery. Rodney’s flattering regard seduces Aidan into a dysfunctional relationship that destroys his innocence.
Life looks up for Aidan when he finally breaks free of Rodney’s pull and moves to New York City to make it as an actor. Meeting sweet fellow actor Patrick Jaymes seems like the start of a fairy tale. But before Aidan can rebuild his life into happily ever after, family secrets rip him wide open, leaving him easy prey when Rodney decides he’s not willing to let Aidan go.
One of the most disturbing parts of Aidan’s Journey is the emotional abuse that Aidan suffers at the hands of Professor R. Aidan’s background and relative inexperience leaves him easy prey. Here’s an excerpt of their initial encounter when Aidan is a first year student and only seventeen.
Professor R managed to worm his way into my life despite my initial reluctance to have much to do with him. He was involved with the drama department and helping Eli with the musical, so he was hard to avoid. One night in mid-September, I was walking out of the coffee shop with my Americano when I heard someone calling my name. I turned and saw Professor R sitting at a table.
“Oh, hey, Professor R.”
“Would you care to join me?” he asked with a welcoming smile.
Not really, I thought, but sat down anyway. Father had drummed into me the importance of “making connections,” especially with important or powerful people, and Professor R was a pretty prominent figure at U.Va.
“So, Aidan, how are you finding university life?” Professor R had been raised in London and had the most wonderful voice, low and rich, with a sexy British accent.
As I was thinking about what to reply, he smoothed his mustache with one finger, which drew my attention to his full and sensual lips. I tried not to stare, but the man was truly gorgeous close up, like movie-star handsome. His skin was the color of café au lait, he had big, dark brown eyes, thick, dark hair, and the aforementioned mustache. He was tall and slim, with broad shoulders, and he dressed with impeccable taste.
“Good, so far.” I gave an enthusiastic nod, playing my Aidan-the-charmer role to the hilt. “I’m enjoying my classes and, of course, being in the musical. I love theater.”
“Good, good.” Professor R regarded me with a thoughtful expression. “What is it about theater that you enjoy so much?”
[And that, right there, is what first attracted me to Rodney: he listened. He seemed genuinely interested in me. I look back on it now with a more cynical eye. Rodney’s abiding attention was designed to hook all of the many undergraduates he bedded through the years. Who doesn’t want a dashing, worldly man hanging on your every word? It was flattering as hell, especially to the boy I was at seventeen.]
I don’t remember what I said in response to his question, but what followed was a half hour of me talking and Professor R listening as I waxed enthusiastic about life and school and the theater.
At the end of it, he leaned back in his seat. “This has been fascinating.”
You’re kidding, I thought. I viewed myself as inherently boring, which was why I liked to play other people and had adopted the role of “charming Aidan” at U.Va. I didn’t think the real Aidan had much to bring to the party. “Really?”
“Yes. I wish I could stay and hear more, but I’ve got a meeting. But do stop by my office in Bryan Hall anytime you’re in the vicinity. Actually, can you stop by tomorrow afternoon? There’s a book I think you’ll enjoy, given what you’ve told me.”
“Tomorrow?” I thought about my class schedule. “Is three okay?”
“Three is excellent.” Professor R flashed me a smile that lit up his whole face and afforded a great look at his teeth, which were white and even. “I’ll see you then.”
I watched him walk away, all of my prior suspicions forgotten. Rodney had that effect on people. Being listened to the way Professor R listened to me as a young first year was new and intoxicating. I wasn’t going to sleep with the guy, but I was looking forward to talking to him again.
I started visiting Professor R in his office once or twice a week, hungry for the approval and interest of an older man, something I’d never gotten from my father. Rodney was not only older, but worldly, intelligent, and successful, a perfect stand-in for dear old Dad. I wasn’t aware of that then. I just knew it felt good talking to him.