Daddy Business by R.W. Clinger is now available!
At thirty-four, English professor Paul Avery cannot see himself as a father. In fact, he thinks children are little beasts. To his surprise, he meets two men with sons during the month of May and his negative view about children begins to unexpectedly change.
Enter Matthew Hildebrand, one of Paul’s students at Castling College. Matthew is twenty-two and the father of Aiden, a six-year-old adorable little child. Soon Paul is befriended by the father and son team.
Then Paul meets handsome and professional architect, Dugan Brae, who is thirty-five and the father of seven-year-old Colby, a gifted little boy. After much convincing, Paul agrees to go on a date with Dugan, and surprisingly, the two hit it off. Plus, Paul finds Colby irresistible, creating a fresh friendship with the child.
As May turns into June, Paul is pulled in different directions by both Matthew and Dugan. And in due time, Paul must make a decision. With whom does he fall in love? Either one gains him a son, creating an instant family. Through the daily trials and tribulations of dating, babysitting, and just having a good time, will Paul find the man of his dreams and become a happy father in the process?
I sat in room 219 again at Doonmyer Hall. The classroom started to fill with my students. Star pupils of Medieval Reading like Tess Larkin, Blaze Chandler, and Mike Roddington found their seats. One of my least favorite students, a slacker if there ever was one, Tom Dragon, slumped into a seat, half asleep.
The weather that morning felt chilly and circulated a cold wave throughout the classroom. Rain had taken over the day presenting thick gray clouds, cracks of obnoxious thunder, and flashes of lighting.
Frankly, a lot of people didn’t like the rain, but I had been a fan since childhood. Storms were soothing to my ears and soul. Sometimes I couldn’t ask for a better springtime downpour, which mellowed me out.
After beginning a lecture on Sir Gawain the Green Knight, Matthew strolled in with his kid, late. Had it been a student I didn’t like, I would have politely asked them to be punctual and stop disrespecting me and Castling College. Matthew couldn’t help but being cute, just as his son, and I let him slide into the room, unpack his notebook, a pencil, and become settled.
We made eye contact approximately three minutes later. Daddy and professor locked eyes and both of us smiled. The mutual gaze felt intense and unending, pulling us together. Then, Daddy winked at me and steered his view to his son, who became fidgety in his seat, squirming.
Because I had a funny inkling that Matthew would return with his son, Aiden, I went to class prepared. Inside my knapsack were two toy trucks. One red and one blue. Both were a vintage cast-iron with black plastic tires. And both were approximately three inches long.
I removed the two toys from the knapsack and set the pair on the desk in front of Matthew’s son. Aiden’s blue eyes lit up and a smile became similar to his father’s; both lit up his face.
Daddy mouthed, “Thank you,” to me.
I mouthed back, “Welcome,” and continued my lecture.
As I taught historical facts about the Green Chapel, Aiden played with his gifted trucks. The class and I heard the boy make two consecutive vroom sounds. And then, at the corner of my left eye, I watched Daddy lean over his son and tell him not to make any noise.
Aiden, being respectful of his dad’s wishes and instructions, played with his trucks on the desk’s surface and kept quiet, enjoying himself with the toys.
* * * *
Dugan followed me home in the pouring rain. On my front stoop, face to face with him, staring him down, I asked, “What are you doing here?”
“I wanted to see you.”
“But this is my house. I live here.”
Because of the loud, pouring rain, he raised his voice with me, “I couldn’t show up at the college. You would have thought I was insane.”
“Insane is you calling me all afternoon. Nine times in all, and two while I was driving here.”
He gave me a puzzled look. “I can’t find my cellphone. What do you mean I called you? My phone’s been missing since I left home this morning. I couldn’t find it.”
“Well, whomever has your phone has been calling me all day.”
He huffed and asked, “Can we talk about this inside? We’re getting wet out here.”
I left him inside. Why not? What did I have to lose?
“There’s no reason for you to be snooping,” I told him in the foyer as he looked around. My eyes stayed on his gawking.
“It’s a new place. I’m intrigued. You should be flattered that I like the joint so far. Can you maybe get towels for us?” he asked.
“Sure,” I answered, and dashed into the kitchen where there was a half bathroom with a toilet and sink. A single, narrow closet inside the bathroom housed towels.
Once at his side again, I gave him a towel.
He stepped into my living and looked around. “We should have a cup of tea together, what do you say?”
I followed him. “It sounds more like you’re the host and I’m the guest.”
“A man needs to let another man know what he wants. Otherwise there isn’t an open channel of communication.”
“No tea,” I flat out told him. “I have things to get done tonight.”
“You can be difficult, Paul, can’t you?”
“I can. And you’re a little too hooked on me. If you want us to be friends, you need to slow your pace down. I’m not one to move fast. Trust is a big issue with me.”
He breathed on me; a warm exhalation from his mouth bathed my face. I thought he was going to kiss me then, but he didn’t.
“What’s going on, Dugan? What do you want?”
He didn’t answer me, staring into my eyes, smiling.
I couldn’t be sure what he really wanted. Only time with him could tell …