Sinclair has had enough of university and is counting down the days till she can finally be done with it. Literally nothing there interests her—well, except for a certain professor who threatens to turn her world upside down. He swore he’d never do anything while Sinclair was a student. After all, waiting three months is nothing…or absolute agony when lust and desire are involved.
Age Rating: 18+ (Content Warning: Child Abuse, Alcoholism, Human Trafficking, Child Trafficking)
The Gentlemen’s Club by HF Perez is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.
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Thirteen Years Ago
“Daddy, please! Please, don’t leave us. Please!” The tiny child was sobbing hysterically, clinging to his pants. The man moved with purpose, uncaring, dragging the little girl.
No! She didn’t let go. How she wished her hands were bigger so she could surround his limb with enough force to make him stop. Unconcerned. Irritation marred his features.
It was no use. The small frame that was her body got dragged along. He continued to walk towards the door.
”Leave him be, brat. He doesn’t want us anymore.” No! That was not true. She was daddy’s little girl. He loved her. He read her stories at night and he would always bring her chocolates.
Her swollen eyes pleaded with him. “Please, daddy. Don’t leave me.”
He doesn’t even look at her. His face was graven and his hands were clenched. His anger was palpable and he looked outside where his car was parked. The engine was left running.
Dad shook his head, removed her hands around him none too gently. She stumbled when he pushed her a bit hard. Shock filled her. He had never hurt her before. She was his little girl. He loved her.
He took that advantage and he got out the door, straight to his car without a backward glance. Not even once.
Why? Had she done something wrong?
“Mom?” That one loaded question was ignored. She continued to drink tequila straight from the bottle.
“Yourrr…dad…willl…not…come backk! Remmm…mem…berr that, brat!” She looked at her with malice, and with a cruel smirk, dismissed her with a flick of a finger, wanting her daughter away from her sight.
Sinclair ran to her bedroom and cried herself to sleep.
Dad will come back. He must. He loved her.
Her tummy rumbled. She ignored it.
Daddy, please come back.
“Son of a bitch! You are a fucking burden! Brat! Idiot! You won’t fucking eat. Bitch!” She trembled from the hits she was receiving from her mother. Her fault.
It was always her fault.
She ran to the kitchen to serve her mother her dinner.
There was constant roaring in her ears when mother was hitting her a bit too hard with a bottle. It hurt a lot. Bees were swirling inside her head. Big fat bees.
Her mother would always aim for her head.
Moving fast despite her size, she scrambled to make things right. She didn’t want to make her mom angry.
To salvage the dinner–scrambled eggs and toasted bread–she scraped the edible parts to a different pan. This time the flame on the stove was just right.
Tremors ran through her small body. She had to serve her food soon or else…
Sleeping outside on a cold night was no fun. That was her constant punishment aside from her mother’s physical abuse.
Damn these tears! Make it stop.
She was startled from the tap on her thin shoulders, she held tight to avoid falling from the makeshift platform she was standing at.
“I said are you done, brat!” Jeez. She didn’t hear her. She read her lips instead. “You move too fucking slow! Hurry up! I’m hungry.”
“Yes, mum,” she mumbled.
It had been like this for a year now. Her mother’s liquor addiction has worsened.
Thank God, her aunt owned the diner where she worked and the mortgage in this house was paid or they will be out on the streets.
Her beatings have worsened as well. The teachers began to notice. Sinclair would always tell them she fell from the stairs, from the bathroom, everywhere.
She didn’t want her mum to go to jail and she didn’t want to go and live at an orphanage.
At her age, almost nine years old, she understood these things. She had to.
Five Years Later
Yes! Aunt Lydia had finally consented for her to work part-time at her diner. She knew she was only fourteen.
So, her Aunt told her what she will mostly do was assist the cook and wait on orders if the diner was a bit busy.
It was okay. As long as she got tips. Her goal was to go to college. She would need money for that.
Sinclair wanted to be a teacher. Which she will be someday.
Her humming stopped whilst she entered their home. Mom hated her daughter’s voice but ever since her aunt bought her hearing aid, she couldn’t stop. She smiled.
Her aunt and her husband were God-sent.
“Mom?” She called excitedly.
The house was too quiet.
Oops, she didn’t mean to swear.
The house was a mess. Beer bottles were everywhere. Leftovers rotting. Her nose wrinkled at the foul smell.
Did mom have a party while she was at school? She usually does at night but Sinclair made sure to escape and took off to her aunt.
She didn’t like the predators her mom brought home with her. They would always look at her strangely.
Where was she? She was not at the diner where she was supposed to work.
Frowning and adjusting her hearing aide, she called out once more.
Where was she? Her heart began to thump. Panic setting in.
Sinclair ran to her mom’s room.
It was empty.
Mother never came back after that day. She waited and waited. And waited.
They both left her. Was it because she deaf? And she became a burden? But it happened from her mom’s beatings. She couldn’t help it.
The child services came by. Aunt Lydia took full custody. Sinclair begged her to let her stay in her own house.
At first, her aunt didn’t want to but finally relented when the child escaped every night.
She had to wait for her mom. Maybe she will come back one day.
Senior high came, she was not there. She received her medals alone. No parents, no friends, no family.
Aunt Lydia sold her diner at Rose Hill a while back and moved to Fort Worth USA, where uncle Steve was assigned. She refused to go with them.
Telling them in no uncertain terms she must be here when her mom decided to come back.
Except Mother never did.
Sinclair declared herself an orphan at age eighteen.
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This was the third trimester of the year, three more months, ninety more days, and she’s done.
No more late nights at the library. No more three jobs to keep her afloat. No more walking three miles a day when she missed the bus.
Just three more months and five more majors standing in her way. And this day was the first in the countdown.
Sinclair’s head ducked, avoiding fellow unis converging on the spacious hallway. Everyone belonged in a group. Except her.
She couldn’t stand them. And they sure as hell couldn’t stand the poor girl at the campus.
Someone even pointed out that she smelled funny.
Funny? At least she smelled clean and not like an overdose of potpourri. Yuck! The thought alone could trigger her allergies to strong smells.
She favored fresh flowers though. And when she had enough money to buy a nice cottage, she will surround herself with a beautiful garden.
Girls giggled when she passed by, pointing at her. She paid them no mind.
She was funny because she didn’t smell like a million bucks? The petite and graceful girl mentally scoffed. They found it irritating because she got the opportunity to attend a rich kid’s university.
She knew they were out of her league. Never one to shy from facts. Her clothes were bought from bargain sales and her bag was a hand-me-down. At least she was enjoying honest living.
The money she earned was clean. That made her proud.
And hey, she was riding on a full scholarship. It was a million euro chance and she had never regretted taking advantage of her blessings.
People bump at her on purpose, she braced herself, since she was small, she made it a mission not to be thrown to kingdom come and worst, fall on her arse. Her audience would surely cheer.
Why were the rich folks so freaking big? What do they eat? Bricks? The thought made her snort. Obviously. Most of them have bricks for brains.
Going directly to her locker to deposit her heavy books and backpack, she neither look left nor right. All she wanted was to start her day.
Her lips twisted in a grimace at the schedule she was gripping in her hand. Her brains would be tested starting today.
Advance Special Care studies. Well, that’s a breather.
Advanced Literature. Ah. Favorite.
Yup. And last but not least five to seven o’clock for the library.
Not affording the expensive books, she had to make do with the cheap resources she could find. If manning libraries were her answer then who was she to complain.
With her old laptop under her armpit, she was off to her first subject of the day.
Thank you to all the Buddhas in the world, it was finally the last subject of the day. To add icing to her cake, it’s literature. Hallelujah!
Well, she was not a Buddhist. Nor a Catholic. Though, she had nothing against religion. To each their own.
Arg! This mind of hers confused her at times. To think at the age of twenty-one she should no longer be at odds with herself. Her mind, body, and soul should be in harmony.
Fat chance of that from happening. Concentrate, Sinclair!
Tapping her dainty fingers on her outdated laptop during the interval, she was busy saving lectures she could remember.
She consciously adjusted her hearing aide. Damn! It was getting annoying. She will have to replace the earpiece soon. The static kept distracting her during lectures.
Girls were giggling to her far left and it caught her attention. Though flitting, it would still make her feel like she was their subject of amusement.
For once, she promised to devote herself to Buddhism if they’ll just leave her the fuck alone.
Leaning more towards their voice, she gave a sigh of relief hearing their conversation.
“Have you heard the news?”
Oh, their favorite subject. Gossip. Sometimes they put gossip girl to shame. And she loved that series. Pity.
“About what?” More giggling. And it was annoying even to a deaf with a malfunctioning ancient aide.
“We have a new professor and he is gorgeous as fuck! Can’t wait to have in-depth study sesh with him.” Seriously, their folks were wasting money.
“Oh. I heard about that. My mum is bosom bows with his mother. He is the first-born of a Viscount. From a true English High society.” Well, that’s new.
“Yeah, I heard that too. He came from UCLA. There was a scandal of some kind. You know.”
“Pft. I won’t mind the scandal at all if I can have him where I want him.” God! Apparently, being a slut was universal. One didn’t have to live in hovels where prostitution was rampant to be one.
“Shhh, the deaf girl can hear you.”
“Really, she is deaf for a reason, Sandy.”
I hear you perfectly, bitches. Hmmph!
Sinclair tapped her forefinger on the left ear a bit where she could still pick up sounds. But she had to concentrate to hear properly and she had to read lips. The right lobe was hopeless.
It was damaged beyond repair. And she was really saving for the new medical device soon.
She locked her jaw to dispel the memories assailing her all of a sudden. To think by now she would have gotten over her past somehow.
Learning a valuable lesson from it. She had lived with a strict principle.
Love is pain. Never ever open your heart to anyone.
Stay alone. Solitude is a true companion.
Those were her mantras. She had never dissuaded from it. Not even once.
Dispelling her gloomy mode, she gave her attention back to her work.
The silence inside the room made her look down towards the entrance. She was the only one sitting at the back of the class. All her life she had always tried her best to be a wallflower. Unnoticeable.
Frowning, she glanced at the silhouette filling the opened door. And her jaw dropped. She blinked.
God in all the heavens! Well, it’s not too late to be a devoted Catholic.
Why was the man entering the classroom having some kind of a halo following him? Was it a trick of the light?
Sinclair heard the girls to her right sighed. Disgusting. She blinked again then averted her gaze. She was not falling for this shit.
Was he their literature professor? Yeah. From his confident posture, he must be.
It was surprising though, he looked too young to be lording over a group of a hormonal mix of young ladies and men. All looking at him like he was the most expensive chocolate.
But…she guessed looking at the man was acceptable. She shrugged.
He was beautiful. He was in a Cavalli gray suit or maybe an Armani.
Doesn’t matter. He will look gorgeous in anything. And those glasses?
Why does he look stylish on it when her own pair made her look like a nerdy Mongoloid?
He was tall. She was expecting him to look very English but he was not. He was mixed. And his eyes, the pair as dark as the night. Chiseled jaw, flawless skin, and astounding physique.
His muscles rippled under his suit when he walked.
Sinclair again looked away. She was not a giddy teenager and she was not interested.
The beautiful man started to talk. And she gave her attention to what he was saying.
By reading his lips, because he was a bit far and he was not using a microphone, she was able to get the gist of what he was saying. Just the usual shit on the first day.
So, it’s official. He was really their lit professor for three months. Him? The God of handsomeness. Uni girls will be all over him in no time. But not her. Never her.
Busy with her thoughts, she was heedless of the tittering of the girls beside her until she noticed the professor moving towards them. Uh oh. Happy day for the bitches.
Shit! She couldn’t blame them. He was climbing the steps and his lean muscles beneath his clothes were enticing.
The damning part was, he was walking towards her. Why? Dumbfounded, she tilted her head up and looked at his lips to read him.
He was looking at and addressing her directly. Sinclair gulped.
She must be drooling. No! Panic mode she was and she knew she was blushing furiously.
He was still saying something and because she was in shock, she couldn’t make out what he was saying. Tilt to your left, Sin.
“She can’t hear you, professor, she’s deaf and a simpleton.” One of the bitches snickered with her gang.
She blushed deeply in embarrassment. Great! The first time her girly self had a crush and she already felt like running away from him.
Admitting it, Sin?
He turned his attention sharply to Sandy. That’s the girl’s name. I think.
Could the floor just swallow her whole?
“I beg your pardon, miss? I don’t tolerate rudeness in my class. If you can’t be civil, step out.”
She shivered from his deep angry voice. He reprimanded softly but the threat was real. It registered with the way his body stiffened and with the way his gaze sharpened.
The room grew silent once more.
He turned his attention back to her. She gulped.
“Are you ok, miss…” his eyes softened.
“Yes…um… Professor.” She squeaked. Why couldn’t she breathe?
“Can I request you to sit in front? Please…Ms,” His perfect eyebrow rose in a question.
Oh, her name. He wanted to know her name. “I’m Sinclair Yuan, sir.”
He smiled slightly. Jesus! He shouldn’t do that.
“Come, sit in front, Ms. Yuan.” The professor waited for her patiently to rise. Being a true gentleman, he held out his hand to help her up.
No. Nope. Not happening.
But she found herself getting up as he requested. And her cold hand was warmed by his.
Don’t read too much into it. He sympathized with you because you are deaf and petite and pasty.
Sinclair glanced at the girls and they stared back in disbelief. They couldn’t believe this was happening. Neither could she.
Escorting her to a seat right on the front row on a chair in front of his desk, he cleared his throat after he made sure she was comfortably settled.
Sinclair blushed harder.
“Good morning. This is advanced literature, where we analyze, evaluate, scrutinize every world-famous sonnet, poems, scripts, texts, and writings, and so forth.” He began.
“Nope, we are not going to do role-playing. We are too old for that. And we are not in high school anymore.” His diction precise and his posture commanding but relaxed.
Everyone gave a sigh of relief.
She had clearly heard the amusement in the professor’s voice.
“What we are going to do is master them by heart, so when your pupils or students ask about it. You will know what to answer. And most importantly, you will know how to teach it.”
Feeling at ease despite the incident with the bitches, her lips curve in a smile. She loved kids. That’s why she was here.
“But before that. I want to introduce myself.”
He turned to walk towards the whiteboards. Nice butt. Sinclair!
Nicholas Stafford IV, Ph.D. in Education. Major in World Literature and Natural Science.
His name alone spoke of leadership and aristocracy.
When he faced them once more, his eyes bore into hers.
He walked to stand directly before her. Shit! Not again. “Ms. Yuan, what is your favorite poem?”
Why her? She hated being in the spotlight.
“I…ah…Song To Celia, sir. But…um… I have several.” Damn. He smiled patiently at her stuttering.
See? He pities you.
“Ah. By Ben Jonson. Care to share a verse?” Why was he doing this to her?
Do what? He is your professor. That’s what they do. Teach and discuss.
He was waiting patiently for her answer.
Taking a deep breath, she tried to calm herself. Don’t make me stammer, please.
“Drink to me only with thine eyes
And I will pledge with mine.
Or leave a kiss but in the cup
And I’ll not look for wine.” The words were almost whispered.
Professor Stafford blinded her with his white teeth at her words. His eyes gleamed.
Her heart skipped a beat. No! Not happening. She was too old to have a crush. Not him. Not ever.
Those tempting gaze left her. She gulped a breath.
“And that is the first poem we are going to study. I will give you fifteen minutes to do research on it then we will discuss it.”
Thank God they had a diversion for the day. Just for the day.
She’d have to be in his presence five days a week for three months.
Just great. Really great. Note the sarcasm.
Is it too late to shift classes?
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