Home of a mother, wife, writer

I wasn’t sure about today’s prompt of antagonist. Especially since writing any of the ones from my WiPs would be providing spoilers. Which is why you may notice the other man in this piece is never named. I’m not even to this point in Ready When You Are, but I’ll probably be using this when I get there.

“I deserved to have that position. I never could believe they just gave it to you.”

Kelan could only stare at the man across from him. “I wasn’t given anything,” he insisted. “I’ve worked for everything I have.”

The other man sneered. “You didn’t have to work for anything. You get what you want because of who your father is.”

He had no idea what his father had to do with any of this. And he wouldn’t let him be dragged through it. “Leave my family out of this. None of them deserve to be pulled into your hate.”

The man laughed. “You think I hate you? I don’t think that much of you.”

“Then, what has this all been about? Threatening to expose my secret unless you get what you want. But, you never told me what you wanted. Apparently it was my job.”

“It should have been mine,” the man said again. “I applied for it, too. And they should have hired from within. People deserve to know they have a queer teaching their kids.”

Kelan’s stomach twisted hard at that word. Oliver had told him a lot of others were taking back the term, that it wasn’t necessarily a slur. And yet, right now, from him, it certainly felt like one. “No,” he said. “No one deserves to know that I don’t feel like sharing my sexuality with. And it doesn’t have anything to do with my teaching.”

“Well, maybe you shouldn’t be teaching. Maybe you should have stayed out of my way.”

And they were back to this again. Kelan didn’t understand why he seemed to think he deserved the job. “Do you even have any experience with CAD. Have you ever designed a house, a cabinet, anything? Did you spend your childhood on construction sites, seeing first hand how all those plans could come together?”

He waved a hand between them. “None of that matters. It’s a high school Industrial Arts class. I could have taught it. Anyone could have taught it.”

Kelan ground his teeth together. This man had risked everything for Kelan, his job, his relationship with Oliver, his future. And for what? Because he thought he deserved something he hadn’t worked for? “There’s more to it than that. I have more experience than you.”

“Then, why haven’t you built any of those houses you’ve planned.”

I wouldn’t even set foot in a doll house you designed.

Kelan shuddered a little as his ex-sister-in-law’s words went through his head once again. It had been nearly twenty years, and he still couldn’t shake them. “I decided teaching was more for me.” Not completely true, but he wasn’t going to lay his vulnerability out for this man to see and take advantage of.

The other man smirked at him. “You couldn’t do it, either, huh? And here you’re judging me.”

“I’m not judging you for that,” Kelan insisted. “I’m judging you for being an entitled little prick. I’m judging you for being hateful, for using blackmail to try to get what you want. You should be happy now, since I’m on administrative leave, pending the school board’s decision on whether to fire me or not.”

“I won’t be happy until you’re gone, and I have your position.”

Kelan shook his head. “Why do you think that’s going to happen anyway? They’ll just as likely hire someone else for it.”

“I don’t see them wanting to bring in another unknown. Not after you.”

Kelan clenched his fists under the table. Why was he making such a big deal about this? Kelan’s sexual attraction was limited to people he’d formed an emotional connection to. It didn’t enlarge the pool. So why were people being so weird about it?

He stood up from the table, not seeing any point in continuing this. “I guess we’ll have to leave this up to the board, then. But, don’t contact me again, or I will be taking everything to the police.”

Kelan didn’t pay any attention to the people looking at him or the hissed words from the man still at the table. He just needed to get out of here. Maybe he could find Oliver, and they could still work things out.

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