Friday, November 29, 2013

Death Becomes Him - 30



Monday morning arrived, and with it Trent’s first day back to work after his vacation. He arrived empty-handed, much to Jennie’s feigned disgust until he pointed out that his things hadn’t arrived from France yet. He spent most of the day playing catch-up on everything that had happened since he left. That included checking out the new addition to the hotel being built on the property next door. Property which had belonged to a now defunct fast-food restaurant. He was pleasantly surprised to discover everything had run smoothly during his absence. Thanks to my good planning, and delegating who was to do what. He mentally patted himself on the back.

He arrived home soon after dark to find Rory bustling around in the kitchen. Wonderful aromas from something spicy set him salivating. Once they’d kissed, Trent went to the stove, lifting the lid on the pot sitting there.

“Jambalaya! One of my favorites.”

“I know,” Rory said with a wide grin. “I might not be able to eat it, but I sure had fun making it. And it’s hot, as in spicy, just the way I remembered you liked it.”

“You are too much. Thank you.” Trent got a bowl, setting it on a plate, and filled it from the pot. Then he frowned. “I thought you said you could eat too, if you wanted to.”

“I can, but…” Rory shrugged.

“But?”

“It just makes me remember when I was human so I’m better off passing on it. Does that make sense?”

“Yes it does.” Trent hugged him tightly. “And in case you have any doubts, other than your off-beat dietary needs, and the strength and speed things, and being able to see in the dark, and what have you, I think of you as totally human.”

Rory chuckled. “That’s quite a list. Still, thank you for saying so.”

“Where’s Beau,” Trent asked, suddenly realizing the dog hadn’t greeted him at the door.

“We went for a long walk just after sundown. I think I wore him out. Last seen he was sound asleep on our bed.”

“You were well covered I hope.” He knew, thanks to Emily’s blood and age, Rory could tolerate minimal sunlight if he dressed carefully.

“Of course.” Rory chuckled. “Drew a few looks given the temperature but we had fun so it was worth it.

As if talking about him brought him to them, Beau came bounding into the kitchen, skidding to a stop in front of Trent. Trent laughed, bending to pet him. “How on earth did you wear out this bundle of energy?” he asked Rory.

“We ran home down the alleys where no one could see us.”

“Oh boy. Poor Beau,” Trent said, petting him again. The dog didn’t seem to agree. He looked up at Rory with adoration. Shaking his head, Trent sat down to eat.

When Rory joined him, watching as he took the first bite, and then a second one, Trent dipped the spoon into what was some of the best Jambalaya he’d ever tasted, then held it out to Rory. “You did wonders with this. See for yourself.”

Hesitantly Rory leaned forward, sucking the spoon empty. “It is good,” he agreed.

“Better than good. It’s great. Get some for yourself. And before you protest I meant what I said, you are human in all the ways that really count. If eating reminds you of that, is it such a bad thing?”

“I—suppose not.” Standing, Rory went to the cupboard to get a small bowl, filled it halfway from the pot on the stove and came back.

“A spoon might be a good idea,” Trent pointed out, chuckling.

Rory grinned. “I can’t lap it up the way Beau does?” he asked, going back to get a spoon.

“You could, but…” Trent watched as he ate, noting the look of contentment on his face. “From now on, you’re on a solid as well as a liquid diet. Okay.”

“Yeah, okay.” Rory smiled happily. “I can deal with that—now.”

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Death Becomes Him - 29



It was closing in on two in the morning when Trent and Rory decided to call it a night. They’d hit two other bars, danced a lot, drank a little, and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. In the process they ran into another of their friends from before Rory had disappeared. He was a nice man, the polar opposite of Jamie, and the three of them spent a quarter of an hour happily hashing over old times.

As they walked back to where they’d parked the car, they passed the small building that had once been the home for Rory’s ‘Ghost and Vampire’ tour company. It had a ‘For Rent’ sign in the dusty window on the ground floor.

“Boy that brings back memories,” Rory said, pausing in front of it. “It looks as if it’s been vacant for a while which is strange. It’s a good location.”

“If you really want to start up doing that again, maybe you should see how much they’re asking per month.”

Rory nodded. “Maybe I will. The rent’s probably through the roof, which is why no one’s there now.”

Trent chuckled. “Or maybe it’s haunted and the ghost scared the last tenants off.”

“Wouldn’t that be a laugh? It wasn’t before though, at least not that I felt.”

Slinging an arm over Rory’s shoulders, Trent urged him to keep walking. “You really could sense them?”

“I thought so. Could have been my over-active imagination but still… Yeah there were places that I knew were haunted.” He smiled, glancing at Trent. “You always thought I was crazy when it came to that, didn’t you?”

“As you said, too much imagination on your part.”

Rory grinned devilishly. “Want to test that theory?”

“Now?”

“Why not?”

“Umm, okay, I guess.”

“Come on.” Lifting Trent’s arm off his shoulders, Rory took his hand, walking back the way they’d come, then past Bourbon, heading toward Rampart. Half way there they turned again, ending up in front of a small, two-story house. 

“It definitely looks as if it could be haunted,” Trent said.

It was, by Quarter standards, fairly ramshackle. The wood was painted gray and  was fading where sun hit it. A narrow balcony across the second story had a rusted iron railing around it. Only the white painted frames around the windows and the front door looked new.

“Is someone refurbishing it?” Trent wondered aloud.

“Looks like. Last time I was here it was broken up into small apartments.”

“Was it part of one of the tours?”

“Yep. About a hundred years ago someone broke in and killed the owner and his wife. The wife moved on but the man still hangs around in what was the back parlor. He may be waiting to find out who his killer was.”

“A bit late for that now,” Trent said.

“True enough. Anyway, the few times I brought groups here I could sense he was watching and not too happy about it.”

“Was the parlor part of an apartment when you brought tours here?”

Rory shook his head. “If it had been, do you think the renters would have let us tramp through? The guy who owns the house set it aside and actually played off the fact it was supposedly haunted. That didn’t seem to bother the tenants. Hell, some of them probably rented here just so they could see the ghost if he decided to show his face.”

“Did he ever do that?”

“Not to my knowledge. The owner brought in one of those ghost busting companies. They said they caught him on film.” He chuckled. “I saw the film and it was about as real as…”—he grinned at Trent—“werewolves.”

Trent flipped him off before asking, “How do we get inside so I can meet and greet your ghost?”

“We could ring someone’s bell but they probably wouldn’t appreciate it at this late hour. Come on.” Rory opened a shaky gate between the house and the one next door, taking Trent’s hand to lead the way into the backyard since his eyesight was attuned to the dark, which Trent’s wasn’t. “That’s the room,” he said, pointing to a pair of windows. Going over to them, he stood with his head tilted, his eyes closed in concentration. “Not there,” he finally said, shaking his head remorsefully. “Now you’ll never believe me.”

“Maybe he has moved on. It’s been well over four years since you felt him.”

“I suppose so. We should probably go home where I can pout about no being able to prove my ‘powers’ to you.”

Trent grinned wickedly. “I think you’ve done that several times in the last couple of weeks, but I wouldn’t mind another demonstration.”

“Oh for the gift to fly the way Emily does,” Rory said, grinning back.

“Well you can’t so were relegated to my car.”

“I’d race you to it, but I’d beat you there hands down.”

“Too true, all things considered, so we will walk at a gentlemanly pace.”

Rory arched one eyebrow. “Well that would leave both of us out, but if you insist…”

Laughing, they paused long enough to kiss, “For inspiration,” Trent said, and then proceeded on their way home and to bed.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Death Becomes Him - 28



When they got to the first club, one they’d often gone to in the past, Rory almost changed his mind and suggested they go somewhere else.

If anyone’s here who knew me…

Trent obviously picked up on his hesitation. Putting his arm around Rory’s waist, he whispered, “Sooner or later you know you’ll run into some old friend or another. You have your story for why you were gone. Use it.”

Rory nodded. “You’re right. I’m just being a chicken.”

Trent snorted, raking his glance over his lover. “A rooster, maybe, but far from a chicken.” With a wink, he undid enough buttons on Rory’s shirt to open it almost to his waist.

Rory preened a bit, and moved through the doorway into the club.

It was just as he remembered it, right down to the tourists standing somewhat hesitantly around the edges watching the man dancing on the stage at the far end of the room.

“Whew, now there’s a body for you,” Rory muttered in appreciation.

“Hands off,” Trent replied with a laugh.

Rory grinned, gave him a quick kiss, and they made their way to the bar.

“What’ll it be?” the bartender asked when they managed to squeeze in between two men near the end of the bar.

“Beer, please,” Trent told him.

“A glass of red wine,” was Rory’s reply, earning him a raised eyebrow and a nod from the bartender.

“Guess he doesn’t see you as the wine type,” Trent said with a light laugh.

“Well,” Rory whispered, his mouth a hairsbreadth from Trent’s ear, “I could have ordered a bottle of his best blood, but somehow I doubt that would have gone over too well, even in New Orleans.”

Now Trent really laughed. “Definitely not.”

The bartender returned with their drinks and for a while they just watched the crowded room, occasionally commenting on one man or another. Then Rory hissed softly, nodding toward one of the wide-open doors leading into the bar.

“Oh boy,” Trent muttered. “I didn’t know he was still around.”

The ‘he’ was Jamie Kent, a man who had come on to Rory more than once when Rory and Trent had been doing the bar scene a few years back. Jamie was with two other men. They started toward the dance floor, checking out the other customers. Jamie stopped dead, looking at Rory, then veered away from his companions, headed straight for him.

“When did you get back in town?” Jamie asked, flinging one arm around Rory’s shoulders, completely oblivious it seemed to the fact that Rory had his arm around Trent’s waist by that point.

“About a week ago,” Rory lied.

“And you didn’t call me?” Jamie said, pouting.

Rory chuckled. “Apparently not.”

Still ignoring Trent’s presence, even though he knew him, Jamie said, “So tell me all about—wherever it was you vanished to.”

“New York, and it was great, but not my kind of town I decided. Besides,”—Rory made a production of moving out of Jamie’s grip while tightening his hold on Trent—“I missed Trent, a lot. So here I am again.”

Jamie cast a sneering glance at Trent before turning his full attention back to Rory. “Do you have an apartment?”

Biting back a laugh, Rory shook his head. “I’m living with Trent, and his dog.”

That obviously didn’t sit too well with Jamie from the look on his face but he managed to say somewhat spitefully, “Congratulations. But if you ever need to get away from… the zoo…”

“I know where to find you, yeah. But I won’t so why don’t you go back to your friends,” Rory practically spat out, tired of Jamie’s games.

“Well you don’t have to get all pissy.” Jamie stepped back, grumbled something under his breath and walked away.

Rory started after him, his hands fisted, only to have Trent grab his arm. “Whatever he said, ignore it. It’s not worth getting into a fight over.”

Rory was tempted to repeat Jamie’s less than kind words about Trent but changed his mind. They would only hurt the man he loved and that he was not about to do. “You’re right,” he said. “How about we finish our drinks and go somewhere else where we won’t run into asses like him.”

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Death Becomes Him - 27



Stepping away, Trent took Rory’s hand as they began walking again. “We have all night, or what’s left of it. Do you want to do something, like go down to the Quarter?”

“Are you up to that?”

“I slept today, before we left, so I’m wide awake right now.”

“Sweet! Then let’s do it. After we take Beau home.” Rory smiled, squeezing Trent’s hand. “I like that word. Home. It will be. It is, now.”

“Now, and from now on, as far as I’m concerned. Or, to be practical, until we have to move somewhere else.” 

“Which shouldn’t be for a while yet.”

That was one of the many things they’d talked about, while making their plans. There would come a time when people might begin to notice Rory didn’t seem to be getting any older. Then they’d have to find a new city, a new house, and new jobs. Until then however, they were going to live their lives to the fullest in New Orleans.

Trent whistled for Beau and when the dog reluctantly rejoined them, put his leash back on before they headed to the house. 

Rory snagged his backpack from where he’d dropped it on his arrival and the two men went upstairs to change clothes. Since they were sharing the bedroom, there was a brief moment as they stood semi-naked while deciding what to wear, when it seemed their plans might change. Then Rory chuckled. “Fun first, sex later.”

“Sex isn’t fun?” Trent replied in amusement.

Rory laughed. “Okay, rewording that. Fun first, then fantastic sex to top off the evening.”

“That works.”

They finished dressing, Rory in tight black jeans and a wine-red silk shirt, Trent in blue jeans and a less flamboyant pale blue shirt.

When they were back downstairs, telling Trent he’d only be a minute, Rory went to the kitchen, took a container of blood from the cooler bag and emptied it. “Do you have plastic sacks somewhere?” he called out.

“Under the sink.”

Finding one, Rory wrapped the empty blood container in it and deposited it in the trash can. Then he rejoined Trent and they took off for the Quarter.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Death Becomes Him - 26



“I feel like we’ve inherited a grandmother, or a maiden aunt,” Trent said, laughing.

“I suppose on one level, we have,” Rory agreed, wrapping his arms around Trent. He instantly dropped them and moved away when Beau growled. “Oh boy, we could have a problem.”

“Beau,” Trent said sternly, pointing to the floor, waiting for the dog to come and sit. “You are to behave. Rory is here to stay so get used to it.”

Beau cocked his head. Trent could almost see him saying ‘Why?’ if he could speak.

“Because I love him, and he loves me, and we’re going to be living together. The three of us.” He petted Beau, beckoning for Rory to come closer.

Beau growled again, but this time it was only a halfhearted one. When Rory cautiously held out his hand, Beau sniffed it, looked at Trent, then back at Rory, and woofed softly.

“Good dog,” Rory said, inching his hand over Beau’s head. Carefully he patted it, smiling with relief when Beau allowed him to. “I wonder, did he growl because he was protecting you, or because he doesn’t like vampires?”

“A bit of both, probably. It took him a while to let Emily get close.”

“Well, Beau,” Rory said, kneeling in front of the dog, “You don’t have to guard him from me. I’d never hurt him.”

Beau stared at him for a moment, then licked his face, turned and bounced to the front door.

“Time for his walk,” Trent told Rory. “Oh boy, I’d better call Jennie to let her know I’m back.” He did so while putting Beau’s leash on him. “Yeah, it was fantastic,” he told her when she asked. “But I’m glad to be home. I’ll see you on Monday. And thanks for taking care of Beau. When my stuff gets here… Yeah I shipped it. I didn’t want to pay for extra baggage. Anyway, when it gets here I have something for you…”—he laughed—“No I’m not telling you what. You’ll just have to wait and see.” He thanked her again and hung up. By then Beau was dancing with impatience.

“You coming with us?” Trent asked Rory.

“You bet.”

The walk to the park was done in fits and starts as always, thanks to Beau’s need to check out things along the way. But eventually they made it there and Trent let Beau off his leash, knowing the dog wouldn’t go far.

As it was dark of the moon, the only light came from the few street lamps beside the benches.

“A fitting night to come back,” Rory said, linking his arm with Trent’s. “There was no moon the night I was attacked. It sort of completes the circle.”

“And begins a new one.”

“Indeed.” Embracing Trent, while keeping a wary eye on Beau, Rory kissed him. “I missed the city. I missed you. I’m so glad to be home.”
  
“You have no idea how happy I am that you are,” Trent replied, feeling a sense of relief at Rory’s words. Not that he’d doubted Rory would regret leaving the chateau to return to what might be considered the real world. But still… He hugged his lover tightly.

Rory chuckled. “You trying to squeeze me to death?”  

“I don’t think that’s possible.” Trent winced a second later, realizing what he’d said.

“Hey,” Rory kissed him quickly, “I am dead, technically. It’s a fact of”—he grinned—“life. So don’t try monitoring your words thinking you might upset me. After four years plus, I’m not too touchy about it.”

“All right. Point made and taken.”

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

'The Actor and the Thief' has arrived at Wilde City!

'The Actor and the Thief' 



Blurb:
Once they were a couple. Now—they’re far from it.

Just out of prison, Craig heads to Denver. At the same time Adam, on tour with a Broadway show, arrives there. Also heading to Denver are two men bent on finding Craig for their own nefarious reasons.

When Craig and Adam accidentally meet sparks fly, but not of the good kind. Then Craig finds his mentor murdered and believes he’s the reason why. He calls on Adam, the only man he can trust for help. Can they work together, and possibly re-kindle their love? Or will Adam walk away again?

Excerpt:


You’ve grown older. Craig studied the photo in the newspaper. But then, haven’t we all when it comes down to it? He smiled ruefully while tamping down a seesaw of emotions brought on by the picture.
He had picked up the Denver Post at a newsstand that carried a large selection of national newspapers, intending on checking the classified ads for apartment rentals. Instead, he’d seen the photo in the entertainment section. Adam Murray, its subject, was even handsomer than Craig remembered. Sure, there were a few more lines in his face, but he didn’t look fifty, even though Craig knew he was.
Not a gray hair, except at the temples. Unlike me. He ran a hand through his own graying hair and sighed. Gray hair, gray eyes, prison pallor. Put me against a concrete wall and I’d disappear. The wages of sin, I guess.
He wondered if Adam would even recognize him if they ran into each other on the street. Or remember him, as far as that went. It had been a long time, twenty years to be exact.
Tossing the newspaper on the nightstand, Craig leaned back against the headboard of the bed in the dingy motel where he was staying. He looked around the room, considering his options. At least he had them. He’d served out his sentence rather than take early parole. Thus he didn’t have to report in to a PO and be stuck in the city for the duration.
Next time I make damned good and sure there’s not a secondary alarm system. Six years because I got complacent is six years too many. Still, maybe it’s time to consider something else, like a new career or… something.
The problem was he’d been a burglar, and a good one, for most of his adult life. Thirty years, if he counted his time in prison. Most of it had been spent working for the man who had first brought him into the business.
“It’s easy money, Craig,” Sammy had said way back when. “Easier and safer than what you’re doing now.” At the time, Craig had been working construction.
Outwardly, Sammy was your friendly local pawnbroker. Craig had met him when he brought in an item to pawn. An item that wasn’t really his to get rid of. He’d seen a bag sitting on the seat of a car when he’d stopped to get gas. The owner was inside the station. Craig had taken advantage of the fact and snagged it. It held what turned out to be a very expensive camera. Sammy had taken it, paying Craig the going rate. It had been easy money, so Craig had returned regularly with other ‘found’ items.
As a result, Sammy had become one of Craig’s only real friends. If you can call someone who pulls you into a life of crime a friend.
In time, Sammy told Craig he was more than just a pawnbroker. In actuality, he ran a nice side business obtaining certain items for clients, which of course involved sending someone out to get them. Once Craig got over his qualms about the idea, he decided he’d take Sammy up on his offer to work for him. He’d gotten intensive training on how to break into homes and businesses and soon became one of Sammy’s best people, often traveling out of town for jobs. The only catch to the whole situation was the threat Sammy had made. If Craig was caught and arrested, he had better get out of it if he could, take the fall if he couldn’t, and never, ever give up Sammy’s name or else. Sammy left him to contemplate what the ‘or else’ could mean.
Despite that, Sammy had done right by him for almost a quarter of a century, paying him well for his work. Now Craig had money stashed away. A fair amount of money actually, if he could get to it. That was the reason he’d served his full sentence. The money was in another state, halfway across the country from where he was at the moment. He had plans for it and for his future.
Time to come up with some transportation and blow town.
 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Death Becomes Him - 25



A week later, Trent was beginning to wonder if ‘making it work’ was going to happen. It had nothing to do with their feelings for each other. If anything they were more in love than they ever had been.

The problem came, for him at least, with adjusting both to Rory’s schedule and to his eating habits. It was fine in theory that Rory lived on blood. In reality it was more than strange to watch him empty a bag or two of the red stuff as if he was drinking, well wine, which seemed to be his other choice when it came to liquid refreshment. Rory had suggested he go do something else while he fed if it bothered him so much.

“Not happening,” Trent retorted. “It’s a part of you I’m going to have to live with so I have to start now.”

Rory had smirked, stepping close to Trent. “Bet you won’t want to kiss me right after I finish this,” he said, holding up a second bag.

“No bet. Brush your teeth and then—yeah I’ll kiss you, and maybe do other wicked things with you before I go to sleep.”

“That’ll be soon enough,” Rory replied. He knew because his internal clock, a necessity for a vampire so they’d know when sunrise was near, told him it was getting close to midnight.

Trent had tried going to bed later than he was used to so that he could spend as much time as possible with his lover. It was working to some small degree but he still found he was exhausted when two or two-thirty in the morning rolled around. He also realized that when they returned to New Orleans even staying up that late was going to be a problem unless he could come up with a legitimate way to change his working hours to accommodate it.

As Trent’s second week at the chateau came to a close, a third problem cropped up. It involved getting Rory from there back to New Orleans.

“How did you get here?” Trent asked after a long and fruitless search for a flight from Nantes or Paris or even Madrid that wasn’t so long it involved daylight hours.

Rory grimaced. “By Air Emily.”

“Oh boy. Do you suppose she’d be willing to bring you back to New Orleans? She could leave you at my house and I’d meet you there.”

“All we can do is ask.”

Emily not only agreed to take Rory, she suggested she transport Trent as well. “Not at the same time of course. That’s beyond even my abilities.”

Both men sighed with relief and then spent the next day packing everything Rory would be taking back with him. They also packed most of what clothes Trent had brought with him to the chateau.  Then they took a night trip, using Emily’s large van, to transport the bags and boxes to Trent’s hotel in Tournon. While Rory slept, Trent took everything including his suitcase to a shipping firm, telling them when he’d be back in New Orleans so they could be delivered. Then he joined Rory in bed, and when they both were awake they enjoyed a rousing bout of hot sex before piling into the van for the return trip to the chateau.

Two days later, with only a small backpack for his few remaining clothes, Trent experienced the strange thrill of being ‘flown’ from the chateau to his home.

When they arrived there, Emily insisted on meeting Beau. It was—interesting. Beau seemed very uncertain what she was. He treated her warily, the way he did the neighbors cats when they came into the backyard. It took him a good fifteen minutes before he allowed her to come close, and another ten until she was allowed to pet him.

“At least he’ll be sort of broken in for when Rory arrives,” Emily chuckled as she got ready to leave. Placing her hands on Trent’s shoulders, she said, “Take care of Rory. He’s very special to me.”

“I will, I promise,” Trent said in reply.

Then, standing on tiptoe, she kissed his cheeks and vanished.

Two hours later, because as she’d explained earlier she needed some recuperation time, she reappeared with Rory. He dropped his backpack on the sofa and took the cooler bag he was carrying into the kitchen, depositing it on a shelf in the refrigerator before returning to the living room.

After cautioning him to ‘behave’, Emily hugged him tightly, told both the men she’d be back to visit from time to time, and then did her disappearing act.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Death Becomes Him - 24



“I know I want to be with you. I missed you every day while we were apart. If I hadn’t been so afraid of how you’d react, I’d have come back as soon as Emily thought I was ready to face”—Rory chuckled low—“life so to speak, on my own.”

“Then let’s figure out how to make it work. I have almost three weeks until I have to be back. We can spend it coming up with a plan.”

Rory cocked an eyebrow. “Just planning?”

“Well,” Trent grinned. “We could take moonlight hikes and watch movies and read to each other and…”

“Screw each other’s brains out? We used to be real good at doing that.”

Trent pretended to think about it. “That’s another option if we get bored.”

“Then I intend to be bored a lot.” Rory put one hand at the nape of Trent’s neck, leaned in and kissed him passionately.

Trent gave back as good as he was getting, urging Rory to open to him. Not that that was hard to do. He savaged Rory’s mouth hungrily until his tongue touched one of Rory’s eyeteeth. Pulling back in surprise, although he figured he shouldn’t have been, he said, “They’re sharp.”

“Yeah, well.” Rory looked distraught. “They need to be.”

“But… you feed from bags.”

Rory nodded. “They aren’t exactly paper-thin. Besides which, I think it’s, well hereditary isn’t quite the right word.”

“Genetic? Not sure that is either but I get what you mean. Way back before blood came in bags you’d have needed them sharp to feed from”—Trent shuddered a bit—“live donors.”

“Yeah.” Rory ran his tongue over one tooth. “I guess it is pretty sharp. I never really thought about that until now. Well except just after I was turned.” He chuckled. “And even then, there were more important things to worry about, like accepting what I am and learning to live with it.”

“You do—now?”

Rory nodded. “Not as if I’ve got much choice you know. Can you accept it?”

Trent traced a finger over Rory’s lips. “I can. I have. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here. Right?”

“Right.”

“So, where were we?”

“Making out?”

Trent laughed. “Yep, just like in high school.”

“You seem to be fixated on that time,” Rory replied with a grin.

“I am, because it was when I realized we loved each other. Not that we didn’t blow that out of the water when we went off to college.”

“True, but we made up for it later.” Rory kissed him lightly. “And now, we can make up for it again.”

“If something else doesn’t separate us. Fate seems to be having fun with that.”

“We both want this, I think, so she can go take a flying fuck.”

Trent broke into laughter. “Presuming she is a ‘she’, I totally agree.” He gazed at Rory, nodding. “Yeah, we both want it. And this time, damn it, we’re going to make it work the way it should.”

Friday, November 15, 2013

Death Becomes Him - 23



“Another question. Are you stuck here?” Trent asked.

“Meaning?”

“I guess, are you here because you want to be, or because you have to be?”

Rory shrugged. “I’m not being held against my will. I like it here. I’d like it better back in New Orleans but too many people might wonder where I’d gone off to and why it took so long to come back. Besides which, even if I went back, could I come up with a good excuse for why I never do anything during the day? And in a few more years it’s going to be pretty obvious I’m not getting any older.”

“So then we move somewhere else.”

Rory looked at Trent in surprise. “We?”

“Just a thought.” He smiled, stroking Rory’s shoulder with his thumb. “I could make you the night manager at the hotel. That way you’d have an excuse to sleep in during the day.”

“Like I know anything about that. Besides which, if I was going to work nights I’d start up my tour company again. That is something I know how to do.”

“Good point. Do you sleep all day, or just stay inside where there’s no sunlight?”

“I sleep a lot during the day, like ten hours, but Emily says that will change as time goes on. And not, in case you were wondering, on my native soil in a coffin.”

Trent clutched his chest. “Another myth blow to pieces. Next you’ll be telling me you don’t have to hunt… Okay, never mind that. You already said you use bagged blood. You’d have to find out where the local vampire blood bank is.”

Rory grinned. “In Jacques St. Germaine’s house.”

“You’re kidding!”

“Yeah, I am.” He pulled away to look at Trent. “You’re serious about my coming back with you, aren’t you?”

“I think so. Yeah I know, that’s probably not the most definitive answer, but we could make it work, if we both were willing to try. It’s would take my getting used to the idea that there are a lot of things we can’t do that we did before. But hell, I’m not doing them now. I really haven’t since the first time you vanished.”

“That’s stupid.”

“That’s me and you know it. I never was the ‘let’s go out and paint the town red’ type of guy. You’re the one who pushed me into doing things. When you disappeared”—Trent shrugged—“I had no reason to.”

“Four, almost five years, of spending your days busting your ass then going home to an empty house…”

“Not empty,” Trent put in. “I have Beau.”

Rory chuckled. “Somehow I don’t see you taking him to a club, or a movie, or even out to dinner.”

“True. He’s a lousy dancer.” Trent grinned, then sobered. “I miss the fun we had, the life we were starting to put together for ourselves. I want that again.” He cupped Rory’s face with his hands so that he could kiss him. “I want you again.”

“Are you sure?” Rory’s gaze seemed to search for some confirmation that Trent truly meant what he’d said. “It wouldn’t be easy.”

Trent smiled. “I think we’ve already established that. Hell, we made it through high school despite the fact we’re gay and had to hide our feelings for each other from everyone we knew there. I think we’re old enough, and smart enough, to pull this off if we want to.”

“Perhaps you’re right.”

“You sound as if you’re not certain.”

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Death Becomes Him - 22



“Behave?” Rory grumbled. “What does she think I’m going to do, drag you into my lair and have my wicked way with you?”

Trent shrugged. “Maybe. Not that I’d let you.”

“Oh?” Rory scowled, gulping down the rest of his wine.

“We need to talk about—things, before that happens.”

Brightening somewhat, Rory replied, “Yeah I guess so. Like what happens now that you’ve found me? And that brings up another point. Why the hell did you come looking? I had the serious impression you were more than willing to see the back of me the last time we were together.”

“I know.” Trent sighed then said, when he was certain Rory was paying attention, “I didn’t mean to. What I said, it came out all wrong but it took me forever to figure that out. I don’t know how many times I replayed the final bits of our conversation over in my mind until I realized how I’d screwed up. I—I thought you walked away because you decided coming back had been a mistake. Especially the way I was acting.”

“You did nothing I hadn’t expected,” Rory said quietly, reaching for Trent’s hand. “Even at the last, when I thought you were telling me you wanted me to leave; I knew that was going to be the end result.” He smiled, squeezing Trent’s hand. “There’s something a bit—spooky about a boyfriend who’s turned into a vampire.”

“No shit,” Trent muttered whole-heartedly. “Although”—he intertwined his fingers with Rory’s—“I’m beginning to get used to the idea. At least I think I am. I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t.”

“I hope that’s true. I’d hate to think you just dropped in to say hello and then go on your merry way.”

Trent snorted. “I might do that to a next-door neighbor, but somehow coming thousands of miles, then driving a ton more up a steep, winding mountain road hardly constitutes ‘dropping in’. Don’t you think?”

“Yeah, I guess. I forget human’s…”—Rory paused, shaking his head in dismay—“I shouldn’t use that word right now I suspect. It just accents how much I’ve changed.”

Putting his arm around Rory’s shoulders, Trent said gently, “You told me, that night, that just because you’re a vampire doesn’t mean you’ve changed who you were. You used to be a good person. A bit strange since you believed all the things you told the tourists, or at least most of them. I remember you saying you felt ghosts in some of the houses you took them to.”

“But remember, I never said I knew there were vampires around.”

“No, what you said was, if there were you wouldn’t be the least surprised that they didn’t show themselves because a stake through the heart would be painful. By the way, is that myth true?”

“Umm, yeah. But think about it. If someone staked you, you’d die. Right? Why should it be any different for us?”

“Good point.” Trent smiled, then kissed Rory’s temple. “What about all the other myths, like crosses and holy water and crossing water… Okay, that last is obviously false or you’d have been stuck in the Quarter for the rest of you very long life.”

“Big time. According to Emily, and after all this time I have no reason to doubt her, there are very few of those stories that are true. At least as far as protecting yourself from us, or killing us.”

“And being bitten by one doesn’t turn someone into a vampire?”

Rory laughed. “That’s werewolves, and to the best of my knowledge they do not exist.”

“To the best of my knowledge, until a while ago, neither did vampires so don’t count the poor werewolves out.”    

“Good point.”