Hello Hoppers and welcome to day 2!
Since this is a 'fall' hop I decided to show you an excerpt from one of my books that takes place during the fall. Papa knows Best is about two college teachers and how they’re relationship progressed during the school year. Can you get anymore ‘fall-like’ than that? Dominic “Papa” Pappas, a young and skilled photography teacher falls for the well known for being a hateful, but brilliant philosophy professor Bradley Louis.
This is their first meeting.
Be sure to make your comments on their meeting I the comment section to be entered into the contest. :)
Just a few more seconds, almost in position…
“Papa, what the hell are you doing? You can’t just take pictures of people without their consent,” came an urgent whisper out of nowhere.
Startled by the voice, Dominick jerked the camera away. “Damn it, Ben. You made me lose the shot.” He sat up and started flipping through his latest pictures.
“I told you before, man, you can’t do that. This isn’t that small college you used to work at. Everyone knew each other there and didn’t mind when you walked around snapping pictures. They knew eventually it would end up in the paper somewhere and they would have their fifteen minutes of fame.”
Pleased with the latest shot on his camera, he greeted his friend. “I’m having a great day, Ben. How are you today?”
“Papa, are you listening to me? Seriously, you have to stop snapping pictures of people you don’t know, especially that guy. You don’t want to be messing with him. Do you know who that is?”
Ben’s uneasiness brought him away from his camera again. “No, do you?”
The waitress reappeared with her pad in her hand. “Hello, Ben, can I get you something?”
“Yeah, whatever the special is today will be fine with a large Dr. Pepper. Thanks, Deb.” When she was out of earshot, he answered his friend. “That’s Professor Louis, he teaches psychology. He’s been here forever.”
Papa put the camera on the table and sent a glance over to Professor Louis. He was still sipping his tea and reading the paper.
“Psychology, huh, what else do you know about him?” Papa asked as Ben reached over to take his Coke.
“Well, I hear he’s a very good teacher. He’s brilliant and he really knows his stuff, but he has the reputation of being the grumpiest professor on campus and he isn’t very social, either. He’s never been seen at any faculty functions, big or small,” he said with a chuckle, then took a gulp from the glass.
Papa chuckled, too. “Really? What else do you know?”
“What,” he said, putting the glass down. “Uh-uh, I know that tone.”
“That ‘I want to get to know him, so tell me everything you know’ tone.”
“Come on, man, I’m not using a tone. I’m just asking a question.”
“Papa, that man is old enough to be your father, shit, your grandfather!” Ben said in an astonished whisper.
Papa sat back in his chair. “Geez, Ben, I just wondered what else you knew about the man. It’s not like I asked if you knew if he was gay or not, or if he had a lover or even where he lived.” Papa sent another quick look over to the professor and then leaned back on the table and added, “Unless you know any of that stuff and want to tell me.”
Stunned anew, Ben looked at him wide-eyed and then laughed. “Uh-uh, no way.”
“Come on, Ben, I just want to meet him.”
“No, I’m not getting into that. Do you know how much trouble you could get into? It’s not good practice for teachers to be fooling around with one another. Well, unless you were married or already fooling around before you got here. This school is bigger than the last one you taught at, but it’s not big enough to hide a scandal of two male teachers getting caught fooling around.”
“What the hell do you think we’re going to do? Sneak kisses in his office or walk around campus holding hands like two giddy school kids? Get real, Ben.”
Ben held up his hands. He knew that tone, too. “Okay, okay, I’m sorry. I’m not trying to say you don’t know how to be professional. I’m just trying to look out for you. When you and Rick were first together it was kinda like that, all carefree and unconcerned about what anyone else thought.”
“That was a long time ago, and there is a time and a place for that. Rick was all about PDA and breaking rules. I wouldn’t put mine or Professor Louis’ career in jeopardy like that.”
“You’re right, I know you better than that.”
“Look, think about it like this, you’ll just be introducing two fellow teachers. This is my first year here. He could show me around campus and tell me where the good eating spots are. Besides, he teaches psychology, maybe he could teach me something,” he added, giving him a laughing grin.
That familiar disbelieving look appeared on Ben’s face, telling Papa once more that he was full of shit. He had seen it many times over the years. He and Ben met in college when Papa was a freshman and he a sophomore. They were in the same photography club. Ben liked taking pictures, and Papa had a gift. Their teacher helped get him a job as a freelance photographer to help pay his way through school. With his friend being an education major, the teacher thought it was a good idea if Papa took his gift and shared it by teaching others, and thus he followed his friend into teaching.
With two other Dominicks in their group of friends, it was Ben who started calling him Papa as a play on his last name. It had been twelve years since he graduated from college to pursue his teaching career behind his friend. They were the only ones in their group who stayed in touch and became as close as brothers, leaving Ben the only one to still call him Papa.
“You don’t even know if he’s gay, Papa. You go over there and approach Professor Louis like that and he’s not gay, that’s going to freak him out.”
“Yes, yes, I know, but one knows his own, Ben. I got a good feeling about him.”
Ben glanced conspiratorially at the professor. “I don’t know, Papa. Even if he is gay, you know how those old schools are. They grew up in a different time. Most of their generation isn’t very tolerant of ours.”
Papa sighed. “I know, Ben, but there’s just something about him. Look, I’m not going to do anything crazy. I just want to meet him, that’s all. Can you introduce us?”
Ben sighed and picked up Papa’s Coke again. “All right, all right, I’ll see what I can do. My freshman English class is down the hall from his office.”
The waitress returned with Ben’s lunch and they ate quietly. Papa continued to look over at Professor Louis to keep up with his progress. When Papa finished the half burger and the few cold fries that were left on his plate, he wiped his mouth and stood up abruptly.
“Where are you going?” Ben asked with his mouth full.
He picked up his camera. “I’m going to ask permission to use the pictures I took of Professor Louis, like you said. He’s almost done and I have a class in half an hour. So it’s now or never, right?”
Papa walked away before Ben could swallow and talk him out of the move he now deemed stupid as he stood in front of the man trying to find his voice.
Professor Louis looked up at Papa over his glasses. Papa continued to stand there mute for several long seconds until Professor Louis leaned back in his chair, wiped his mouth, and held out his hands gesturing toward him.
“Well, are you just going to stand there watching me eat or did you actually have a reason for coming over here?”
Papa’s lips moved, but no words came out, then suddenly the audio connection to his brain returned and blurted out, “My pictures!”
Professor Louis raised an eyebrow. “Eh? How’s that again?”
Papa cleared his throat and tried again. “Mind if I sit?” he asked as he pulled out the chair and sat down.
A smirk showed on Professor Louis’ lips and his eyes glistened with amusement. “Obviously not. What can I do for you? Are you a student?”
“What? No, no, I’m not a student. I’m a teacher.”
“Is that right?”
“Yes, my name is Dominick Pappas. I teach photography here,” he said and held out his hand. ”I came from another school and—”
Professor Louis shook his hand and leaned on the table, cutting him off. “Yes, yes, that’s quite the tale. What does all that have to do with me?”
“Oh, yes, well, as a photographer I take lots of pictures, you know.”
“Really?” Professor Louis said with false astonishment, muffling a laugh. “One would never have guessed.”
Papa paused, staring at the professor for a moment, then sent a look to his friend, who was peeking at them from behind the menu Papa had earlier. He took a breath before addressing the professor again.
“Yes, well, I did have a reason for coming over here. I took a few pictures of you and I wanted—“
Professor Louis’ face no longer appeared amused. He straightened up in his chair and held Papa in place with a stern look. “You did what? When?” he asked crisply.
“I, uh, well, while you were eating,” Papa answered in almost a whisper.
Professor Louis pressed his lips into a thin line and then pushed his chair back abruptly. “You did what?” His voice still held its crispness. “You had no permission to do so. I don’t know you and I don’t like my picture taken. That’s three reasons for not doing what you did. You will erase those pictures from your camera immediately, and I don’t want to see them anywhere. Is that understood?” He snatched his jacket off the chair and his ticket from the table. “Good day to you, photography teacher,” he said ending their conversation, and walked away.
Papa watched him as he paid for his meal at the register and left the restaurant without making even the smallest backward glance. He left the chair and returned to the table with Ben.
“Well, that went well.”
Papa knows Best is available now at Phaze! or your favorite online retailers.
Jaxx is out until tomorrow