Not So Poetic

I didn’t pay very good attention when I came up to Nox’s room, or everything just looked the same. It was probably the latter. The walls were straight white with glowing runes on them. Each one was slightly different but they were all this light electric blue, if I didn’t think I’d get caught I would have touched one of the other doors. But I kept my hands to myself. I wasn’t here to get in trouble. I was walking around the hornet’s nest and I was escaping free and clear.

I found the elevator eventually, it had taken me longer to find it than it had to have Nox lead me to his room. I think I went in circles a few times.

I didn’t think about anything as I rode the elevator down. I wanted to push him from my head. His words, his friends – his fucking vampire friends. What I didn’t get is how he gave in so easily. He had started to protest but then he caved. I was liking this less and less. I knew he had certain preferences, but I was beginning to think there was more to it than that.

The elevator hit ground level and I walked out of the building without a second glance at the statue the brown eyed boy made. My little monster – and he had been mine then but I didn’t know who the fuck he was now. I walked out the front doors and when I saw the diner across the street I made a decision. I wasn’t hungry but I hated this feeling. And I wanted to feel happy.

He’d pretty much thrown me out. Twice. He chose his friends over me. His words didn’t say so, he’d told me I could stay. But he was relieved when I told him I was leaving. Fucking relieved. After I had calmed him down. I had information for Poet.

So after I sat down and order a large pile of pancakes topped with ice cream, a strawberry milkshake with fries I dialed Poet’s number. It wasn’t late not even nine yet.

Poet picked up the phone in a chipper mood, “Alex, my favorite telepath. What can I do for you?”

“You can listen while I tell you all about your fucking Venatori pet project.”

“Already?” He sounded surprised.

“He’s an open fucking book. Anyone can do this job. He says what he thinks and hardly ever lies. I think there is an obsessive compulsion with the truth along with 80 billion other things he’s OCD about.”

My food arrived and I took a sip of the milkshake and groaned. I really didn’t think that was a good idea. My stomach was still quite full from dinner and the milkshake was heavy.

“So what can you tell me about Mr. Sétanta. Something I don’t already know.”

Where should I start. “He’s afraid of heights, flying, needles and clowns. And I don’t mean normal people afraid. He’s a complete nut job, Poet. You know he’s friends with a lot of people, but he’s not like any other Venatori. None I know about, anyway, and he thinks very outside the box. I got the vibe from the people in the elevator that he’s an outcast. Someone they want to get rid of.”

“Interesting.” Poet said in response to my rambling.

“I did one up Reaper though. I got access to their network. You’ll get that bill soon as the cash clears into my hackers account. I’ll send the bill with the access.” I hadn’t had time to delve into the information, but I had the Wicked Truth copying everything to a secure file system so I can look at later.

“Alex, my boy. You’ve done great. Tell me though, what are his weaknesses? What can I do to exploit these flaws? How could I use his strengths to benefit me, and others like you. Is he malleable?”

“I just told you everything I learned.”

“So learn more Alex. I want everything.”

I growled. “Do you have any fucking clue what you are asking me to do Poet? He’s a fucking nut job. He’s been seeing a therapist for god knows how long. He had two fucking breakdowns in the time I was with him. You need to pay me more.”

“Alex. I’m already paying you five times, expenses and a favor. That is more than enough compensation for a little hand holding. Don’t you think?”

I growled. “Fine.” Then hung up the phone. I was looking at the plate and I was glad that I hadn’t gotten ice cream on the pancakes. I waited for my waitress to come back. I gave her a smile and she returned it in kind. “Sorry to do this but can I get this all to go.”

“Of course honey. Anything else?”

“No, that’s it.”

She took my plates away and left me alone to my thoughts. Poet wanted more. What the fuck was I going to do?

He’s So Broken

He talked. I asked questions. Words and thoughts were never the same, but for him I felt I didn’t need to read his mind to know the truth. I ate. Oh god, did I eat. I ate like there was no tomorrow. He kept asking if I wanted more and I kept saying yes. I didn’t need more, but I wanted it. “I’m going to have to careful around you.” He was going to make me fat. I sat on his couch lounging with an overly full stomach. I knew from his reaction that rubbing my stomach, was making him hot and bothered.

I hadn’t done it at first to tempt him, I really was full. But he kept staring and I knew where his mind went.

He asked, “Why’s that?” His eyes never leaving my hand rubbing my stomach.

“I keep eating like this I’m gonna get fat.” My shirt slid up my a little and his mind was distracted from the chaos inside. I don’t know how he lived like that. I could make out his thoughts but it was always tumbling. So busy. So much processing. There were small commands running through his head. I had no idea what they meant, didn’t understand them at all.

“I’ll make sure you don’t get fat.” He said looking up at me. I heard his breath catch before he could speak again. “I can help you work those extra calories off.” He slid off the couch and moved between my legs. His mind was iron sharp focused on one thing – me. It was peaceful in his mind. And it made me wonder if that was why he fucked those girls on the dancefloor – for the quiet in his mind.

He bit his bottom look as he looked at me. “May I?” He asked. He had one desire in his mind and that was to touch me.

But I played dumb, “May you what?”

“Touch you.” He was almost begging. His hands were at his side and his fingers were clenching and unclenching with his desire – no his need to touch me.

I wanted to know why he felt he needed permission. Why he could be bold and then shy all in the same moment. “Are you always going to ask for permission?”

He shrugged. “Probably. I have a tendency to touch too much. Margo says it’s my undeveloped need for comfort and safety by someone I trust and I’ve gotten this shit kicked out of me for innocent touching more than I have for gropping the wrong guy’s girl.”

“Margo your girlfriend?” He spoke in so many first names like he was close to so many people, yet I knew he didn’t have a girlfriend.

“My therapist.” He said. It was a sigh of relief. I don’t know why knowing he wasn’t doing this alone made me relax a little, but it did. Maybe he wasn’t as broken as he could be.

“So you are just fucked up not dating someone.” I joked.

He laughed. God I loved that sound. I had missed it all these years. “Yeah. I’m fucked up.” He agreed.

His hair was falling in his face and I had the urge to move it for him but he did it himself but I wanted to touch him. I sat forward and touched my finger to his temple. “So why do all of you wear this tattoo. Says hey look there is a cult of psycho killers living here.”

“Only people attuned to the occult can see the tattoo. Normal humans just see a human. It’s the only defining feature between a Venatori and a Human. At a visible level. Genetically there is a big difference. Blood type, cells that sort of thing. But it’s part of our ceremony at graduation. A test of sorts. You’ll see kids running around without the mark, we don’t get them till we are 18.”

“Has anyone ever told you you talk too much?” I asked. I knew someone had to have said something. But maybe he didn’t speak so much around others he kept it to himself. His thoughts had returned to the chaos of before, the moment of clarity gone.

“All the time.” He grinned at me with a playful smirk on his face. “But there is an easy way to shut me up.”

“What’s that?” I asked. And the chaos turned into another direction. One moment after another of what I could do to shut him up. And every single scene in his head was making me hard. “Take your pick.” he said. All I heard was the desire in his voice.

“None of those ways actually help me work off those calories we were talking about.” I quipped back at him. I had to divert my own libido for the moment. He was a one night stand type guy – a player – I couldn’t fall into his bed and hope to return not if I wanted to do what Poet needed. I needed to make sure he wanted me back over and over again. I knew I was good but I didn’t think sex was going to get me asked back for another steak dinner.

He laughed and my efforts to derail myself vanished with his words. “I have a name now I can scream out if you wanna go with what I suggested at Aspect.”

I shifted closer to him and his thoughts were focused on me, on kissing me but he wasn’t touching, he wasn’t doing anything but kneeling there – waiting.

“Why don’t you just touch me?” I asked so close to him that I felt the shiver run through his body.

His “I can’t.” came out weak and breathless.

“I know you want to, it’s the only thing on your mind.”

He met my eyes, I wanted him to touch me. His hands stayed in place He wanted to but he stayed himself. “You didn’t say I could.” He needed permission. His mind was chaos again. I felt his need for permission and his confusion as to why I didn’t give it to him.

“Why do you need permission?” I asked as I slid off the couch forcing him backwards. The only place I had to go was onto his lap. I rested my thighs around his and I felt his hardon. I wanted to twist and grind against him but I trapped him against the table completely immobile and asked again, “Why?”

He dropped his eyes to my chest and the words were just a whisper, I only heard him because it was in his head too. “Because it was what I was taught.”

“You were taught to have sex?” I laughed. It wasn’t funny. It was tragic. It made me angry and I needed to move. My anger was enough to derail me. I moved suddenly from him, he felt lost and cold and hurt in his head.

He gasped. “Not to have sex. I was taught I had power even though I was a bottom.” The last part of his statement came out a growl that i wasn’t sure was more anger or frustration – probably both.

It took me a while to register what he’d said. How much he was like Janice and Jared. Did this whole fucking town have a kink in that vein. “You don’t look or act like a bottom.” I paced at first then stopped when I noticed the cat lying on his pillow. He’d been angry at her for doing that before. She lay there doing nothing, listening to us. Did she really have all his secrets? I would need to find out.

“Looks can be deceiving.” He said as he got up from the floor with the dishes in hand and headed into the kitchen I assumed to wash them. Another piece of his compulsions – he can’t let shit be dirty? But I was distracting myself from the problem.

“”Why did you need to have power?” I asked him. I needed to know. I needed to know how fucking deep this went. Was he another fucking sub?

He shrugged., “Why do you think?”

“I don’t know.” I said. I didn’t have to look far inside his head, he gave the the answers I was looking for. I got the play by play of the first time he had sex. How old he was. With a man who could break him in half.

I saw the images playout in his head, bent over the crates getting fucked until the man came. The things the man said to him echoed in my mind. But I knew something he didn’t. I knew that wasn’t his first time, it may be when his body felt the physical touch of a man, but I had been inside him first and he didn’t fucking know. He didn’t remember and I couldn’t take it anymore. He didn’t remember me. I was done with him. And now he was back in my mind, in my heart and for what? I growled, “I gotta go.” I was already on my way to the door as I spoke those words.

“We still on for tomorrow?” His voice shook as he asked and I stopped.

What? I blinked at him “I…. ” Were we?

“It’s not a problem. I’m used to people treating me like shit. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” He raised his hand and the door opened. He had dismissed me.

His thoughts were narrow, it wasn’t clear like before, but they all said the same thing. Monster, Not worth it. He hated himself. He expected everyone to treat him the same, and here I was doing the same thing. It jabbed at my heart. I should have gone, but that small voice in my head said I’d hate myself in the morning. I growled at myself as I turned back towards the kitchen instead of the door. Poet better thank me for this later. I put my hands on the counter trapping him beneath me. He couldn’t escape me anymore than he could his spiralling thoughts of self loathing.

“Why are you still here?” he asked.

I didn’t know what to say. It took me a while to find the words. “I wasn’t angry with you. But I couldn’t listen to how you let people hurt you.” And to my surprise they rang true.

“You were the one who pushed.” He sighed. And I knew. I knew I had pushed to find the answers. I broke him. “Please back up. I don’t like feeling trapped.” he said catching me off guard.

My entire body froze. “That wasn’t the vibe I got earlier.” but I backed up anyway. It wasn’t far but he breathed a sigh of relief.

“That was different.” He said. The chaos was building in his head.

“How?” I asked.

“Before it was about sex. Now it’s not.”

“Who says it’s not?” I needed to make sure he was still on board, sex seemed to clear his mind. Make him think straight.

“I’m about to have a fucking meltdown, and it is hardly sexy to watch me break.” His voice cracked on the edge of crying. What the fuck? A minute ago he’d been trying to seduce me and now this? This was going down hill faster than I could swim.

“This why you see a therapist?” I whispered into his ear as I wrapped my arms around him pulling him against me. He thrived with touch. He’d said so himself. I pressed my face against his neck and just pulled him against me. Safe is what he needed. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do this. He was broken into so many little pieces I didn’t see a way to keep it all together. Poet was not paying me enough.

He lost what little control he had over his emotions and tears dripped from his chin to my arm. “Among other things.” He said, and I felt him trying to keep from listing all the things that were wrong with him. And from the thoughts I could manage to make out there was a lot.

I turned the water off and pulled him away from the sink. I didn’t know how to fix it. I hoped he’d fix himself with enough warmth and care so I took him to his bed. The cat looked up at me and after stretching she jumped down and the door closed after her. That was handy I thought as I sat down on the bed and kicked off my shoes before shuffling into the middle of the bed pulling him along with me.

“Jesus Fucking Christ, Nox. You need to calm down.” I jammed my fingers into my hair and grabbed. I pulled in frustration. He didn’t curl towards me choosing to wrap himself around his pillow, that wasn’t going to work, if he was going to do that why the fuck was I lying in bed with him. “No. Turn around, come here.” I pulled at his arm and his shifted willingly and curled against my side pressing his face against my neck. Inside he tried to calm down by counting backwards. The litany of numbers was the only thing in his head. Well that and how much my scent felt safe and calming and like home.

His thoughts drifted in and out. I don’t know how long we laid in bed. I tried not to think about it. And he didn’t seem bothered by lying in bed with a virtual stranger. I remembered doing this so many times before. So many times of just holding him while he talked to me. So many…
There was a loud blaring sound and Nox bolted upright. “Fuck. That’s Ant, trying to get in.”

“What?” I asked.

“I told you my friends were coming over, He’s a vampire he’s trying to shadow walk into the apartment.” He waved his hand and his phone floated to him. I watched awed and a little freaked out. He tapped away on his phone, and then looked at me. “You can stay. I can tell them next week.”

I sat up and looked at him and didn’t even have to try to read him. If I stayed he was going to worry about the change in his routine and upsetting his friends. If they came he’d settle down, all the anxiety I’d somehow caused would go away and maybe he’d be easier to read the next time I saw him. It really was a no brainer. “You need some fun in your life right now I think.” I said. I scooted to the edge of the bed and stood up. “We’ll see each other tomorrow. I’ll pick you up here at 3 and we’ll take the train together.”

Nox sighed with visible relief, thoughts of routine and free time spinning through his head. I wasn’t sure if he was glad I was going or that we were still on for the next day, but he was grateful

He looked up at me with those big brown eyes and I knew he’d do anything for me in that moment. Another time he’d looked at me like that flashed into my mind, when he’d told me about wanting more with Ant, when he’d had that fucking bite mark on his neck. Just like that time jealousy roared through me and before I could stop myself I was asking him for a favor. “Just… can you not let the vampire bite you? Please?”

“But..” He said looking into my eyes and I could hear him thinking Ant will be hungry. Thank fuck his need to obey me was stronger than his need to help his friend and he nodded quickly. “Okay.”

“Just like that?” I asked, hiding my relief with a satisfied smirk.

He nodded and strands of his blue tipped hair fell into his face and I pushed them back. His head leaned into my touch and he said, “Just like that.”

I dropped my hand and found my shoes to slip back on. “Tomorrow.” I said.

He gave me wry smile and nodded. That was all I needed I really needed to be away. I needed space, my space – not that posh apartment I stayed in for Janice – my space.

Doubts

We made some small talk. I asked about the magic room we were in. I pried again into his friends and boyfriends. And we ended up talking about his differences between him and other Venatori.

Nox said, “I don’t kill monsters.” very adamantly. His thoughts were clear.

“You’re a hunter aren’t you?” I was tired of standing and sat down in the closest barstool. Nox was watching his cat and his thoughts clearly said this was her seat.

“I am. But I don’t kill unless I absolutely have to.”

“This some new trial the Venatori are doing? Like, let’s see how well this goes over.” I found it strange that he was so different from every other Venatori I’d ever met. But he had always been.

Nox shook his head. “No. Just me being me. You’ve obviously been following me, so you have to know I have friends who aren’t exactly human or Venatori.” He was friends with the Prince of the Vampires. Their golden boy. I knew he had werewolf Alpha friends and vampire friends and other friend throughout the city. I’d seen pictures of him with them. Among others.

“You don’t seemed bothered by this knowledge?” I asked then finished of the last of the beer he preferred. I’d seen him drinking it whenever he went out. I think I was going to need to dispose of all the beer in that fridge and replace it with something decent. He drank wine, I’d prefer that to a beer. Whiskey was better. But the last time I saw him drunk his mother had died. I wasn’t sure I could handle him in a drunken state. He was a mess sober.

“Maybe I like hot guys following me around?” Nox wasn’t lying as he took the empty bottle to the sink and asked, “Another?”

“I’m good.” I said leaning on the counter to play to the words I was about to say to him, “Or are you trying to get me drunk so you can take advantage of me.”

He grinned at me, “I don’t need you drunk to do that.”

“So you just gonna take me here, now?” I teased.

“I might.” He shot back at me.

“I’d like to see you try.” In that moment it was the ruth. I wanted to see him try, my heart was beating in my chest and he was all in too. Or not. Maybe I was I projecting what I wanted him to feel because he didn’t take up my dare at all.

Instead, after a few jokes he said, “After we eat.” He set down a steak and set it aside to rest. It looked and smelled amazing, rekindling my appetite despite my disappointment.. The bread was perfectly crusty as he cut it. The vegetables even looked good and I wasn’t big on the green things, not that there was anything green on the plate.

“You might want to move to the couch while we eat, or Fee might steal your steak. You are in her seat.” Nox really loved his cat. I asked about her a little more in depth as I took our plates to the table, he grabbed wine glasses and a smaller plate and brought them over.

She was toilet trained, and possessed. I really couldn’t believe it but I was dwelling on the idea that he didn’t like the beach. But he tried to convince me that he could handle it. Yet everything I’d seen today said he couldn’t. My one place to be free and he would freak the fuck out.

I cut a piece of my steak and stuck it in my mouth and it melted in my mouth. I drooled, actually drooled. “Holy fuck. You always cook like this?” He reached up and wiped the drool from the corner of my mouth. I wanted to kiss him. “Do all Venatori cook like you?” I asked instead

“Hardly. I learned from a top rated chef when I was a kid.” He said it like it was nothing. Like it was nothing so matter of fact. But he was a trained killer. Everything about him was learned to kill. But he danced like a ballerina. He cooked like a chef. He thought outside the fucking box. Why did Poet want to destroy him?

“Is there anything you can’t do? Hunt monsters, make statues, cook?” I asked before feeding myself more of everything on my plate.

“Don’t forget the running from clowns, crying in elevators and cleaning hordes of sand and being pussy whipped by a cat.” He joked.

Ophelia meowed behind us in agreement. “You can be quiet, Fee. Or I’ll eat all the leftovers.” Nox called at her without looking

“Do you always have conversations with your cat?”

He nodded, “Fee knows all my secrets.”

“Oh really?” I looked back at the cat who sat on the counter lapping at a bowl of milk. “Ophelia, you and I need to have a little chat.” I wondered if she was telepathic and that was why she was trying to beat down my shields earlier, was that how she and Nox had a conversation. Or was it merely just banter they had learned.

Nox was in good humor with his response. “Good luck with that. She’s a brat.”

Fear and Anxiety

I arrived early and started to walk up to the elevator and decided that I’d better wait downstairs. I sent him a text. It might be better if we’d agreed to meet at my place.

A: Funny thing? I don’t know exactly where you live.

N: I’ll be down. It’s easier to show you than tell you.

He had responded faster than I expected. I wandered around the lobby and found myself staring at the plaque on the statue that took up residence in the middle of the whole place. It was different. But it was the plaque I kept staring at. ‘Atlas made by Nox Sétanta circa 2002’. He was ten when he made this… how? I didn’t understand their magic. But who did.

I heard Nox coming before I felt his presence next to me. He was waiting for me to ask him if he made the statue. The plaque was pretty definitive. I doubt someone would lie about it. I looked up at him with a knowing smirk and then he clamped down his shields and I was thrown out of his head. I flinched involuntarily as I mentally recoiled back into myself. It was like a life line being cut. I slapped my arm like one of the ants in the globe had bitten me and looked up to see if I could spy a hole. “Can they get out?” I didn’t really care, it was just a cover to hide the fact that he’d cut me off.

He was grinning at me and shrugged. He was amused that I didn’t ask the one question he expected me to. “I don’t know. I don’t really know how they got in there, so I guess they can get out.” And his response hadn’t surprised me, I wished I could hear inside his head.

“Why did you make this and why so big?” I asked out of curiosity.

Nox went on to explain ad nauseum. “Dae’lin, my instructor, told me I had to do an art project instead of an artifact of war as I usually did every year for the art of war fair we have in the Academy. I didn’t want to to do it and up until the last day I stalled. It was a quick assembly and it wasn’t even original. I used an art history book and copied it throwing in the glass globe that could sustain life without any assistance. I only had seeds. It rains inside on really sunny days when the sun from outside warms the glass. It’s kinda cool to watch really.”

I listened. I remember doing the same thing when we were younger. He liked to talk. And he talked a lot. Nothing really had changed. And really nothing had changed with me as I asked another question, “So you used science and magic?”

He lit up with my questions but didn’t elaborate just said ‘Yeah’, like it was no big deal. Then he asked, “You ready to go up?”

I was more than ready to go up. But the play on words went straight to my cock. “You have no idea.” But I knew that he was thinking the same thing even if I wasn’t in his head.

Nox made his way to the back of the elevator when we got in. I stood next to him. I could feel the anxiety wafting off of him. I wasn’t an empath and he was shielded so tight I couldn’t hear anything from him. I wondered if everyone could feel it. His hands clamped to the rail and he shut his eyes tight. “I’m guessing you don’t like elevators.” I whispered in his ear. I could smell that familiar scent again and I stared at the spot on his neck I loved to kiss.

His voice was distant as he spoke. “Fear of heights. Among other things.”

I couldn’t delved into his head but I knew I had to distract him from the rising elevator. “Like what?”

He turned his head and opened his eyes “Heights, flying, needles, clowns,” he said and I started into those big fucking brown eyes and so many memories rushed into my head. I could kiss him right now and be back in those moments.

I tried to remember what he said… Clowns? “Clowns?” I asked. “Some tragic circus death? High flying trapeze fall to his death.” I joked.

His smile lit up his face again, “No nothing like that.” Why did he have to smile like that at me. At some stranger?

“So tell me why are you afraid of clowns, Nox?” My voice was low and husky and I saw him respond to it just as I had myself. He was undoing me without blinking. And I seemed to be having a similar effect on him as he looked away from me.

It happened so suddenly I didn’t really know what was happening when he leaned against me and buried his head against my shoulder. I was about to wrap my arms around him but he jerked away. “Sorry.” He mumbled.

I grabbed his waist and pulled him close to me and whispered, “It’s okay.” I pulled him closer holding him tighter against me. “Stop shielding so hard.”

He opened to me, it was just a tiny little opening, I doubt anyone else could have found the hole even if they had been looking. He kept saying the same thing over and over in his head, need to be safe. I had found something important. He never felt safe. His whole body was tense until he buried himself against me. It was him against the world. I could understand that. I sent him my own thought. You are safe. And oddly enough in that moment he was safe. I wanted nothing more than to make it all stop. I don’t know how he disarmed me so easily.

The elevator dinged and a small brunette tapped on Nox’s shoulder and when he looked down at her he gave her wry smile, “Thanks.” He removed himself from my embrace taking my hand and I followed him out the door, “My floor.” He said reassuringly.

The woman clearly knew Nox, and knew him well enough to interrupt a cuddle session. I was a little jealous, “Who was she?” I asked trying to hide that fact, maybe I was a lot jealous. Fuck!

We started down the hall and that was when I noticed all the doors so fucking close together. Not even a step apart. You could open one door from in front of the other. Nox answered me but I barely heard that she was his boss. “Another question.” More important question in my head at the moment, “What’s with all these doors? You live in a fucking closet?” What kinda life was this. Torture! No wonder he hated it here.

He wasn’t shielding from me anymore but he wasn’t revealing anything with the doors and his words only made me more confused, “You’ll see.” He said.

One of the marks on the door started to glow and I looked back down the hall. There was no fucking way I was going to find this room again. He touched it and it opened. I wanted to touch one of the doors see if opened too at my touch, but Nox was ushering me into a studio apartment. I took a step back and looked at the space between doors and then looked through the doorway. “A fucking TARDIS?”

“If by that you mean it’s bigger on the inside – yeah. TARDIS fits.” He grinned at me. I shook my head in disbelief as I entered the apartment. This was beyond sci-fiction.

The toilet flushed and I had a flash of anger. He didn’t tell me he lived with anyone. My head swung to the direction of the sound and the ugliest cat I had ever seen walked out of the bathroom. It looked up at me with yellow eyes and I could feel the thing trying to get inside my shields. Burrowing and digging at my shield, but she got bored and turned away and jumped on to the bed and curled up on a pillow completely ignoring us.

Nox growled, “Fee…”
She stood up showed us her ass and snubbed us with her back. I bit back my laughter. “Your cat alright?” I asked.

“Ophelia is fine, other than being onery why?”

I shook my head and my hair fell across my eyes. His thoughts were louder here. He wanted to push them away. But he didn’t come near me choosing to walk into the kitchen and look in his oven. His apartment smelled amazing. I answered his question, “No reason. She just looks a little mangy.” I said loud enough for the cat to hear and I felt a swat at my shield.

Nox was full of information as always. “That’s just the way her coat is. She’s a Lykoi – a werewolf cat, she doesn’t have an under coat, so it’s all coarse hair and thin.”

How ironic. “A Venatori with a werewolf cat as a pet. I bet that gets all sorts of laughs by your peers.”

Nox shrugged. “My peers don’t come into my apartment very often.” such a lonely life he lived. Did he have any friends? He continued, “Or at all. Drink? I have water, wine, I think I have a beer or two in there from last week and coffee.”

“You’re the one cooking you tell me.”

“Beer?” I wasn’t much of a beer drinker but it would do. And I knew from watching him, that was all he drank.

He used some sort of magic to pop the top of our bottles and then handed one to me. I had so many questions. But I was more fascinated by his preparation of dinner. We were having steak, and whatever was already in the oven.

I leaned against the bar and asked one pressing question. “So aren’t you afraid some Venatori is going to kill you ’cause you are breaking some sort of law talking to me about magic?”

He laughed. A real laugh, nothing hidden about it. “Obviously you know about magic at least enough to know what I am, and that we have magic. So no, not really. Besides you’re a path. From what I can tell you are a telepath.” He said as he applied salt and pepper to both sides of the steak he was about cook.

“So why am I not dead if you know what I am?” That was my biggest question. If he knew I was a path, why was he even flirting with me. And why didn’t he try to kill me before – Venatori kill dreamwalkers and there was no denying I was one to him.

“Why would I kill you? Have you done something wrong?” He asked.

“No.” I said curtly.

“Are you planning on doing something wrong?” He winked at me playfully. And I knew exactly what he was thinking.

“You think highly of yourself and your skills don’t you.” I quipped back.

“I got you to my apartment didn’t I?” Touche.

High Maintenance

He’d called me asking about the card. I didn’t have to try any harder to get his attention I had it now. Now it was only a matter of time before I was coaxing the questions Poet wanted answers to. He deserved every ounce of whatever Poet wanted to dish out. I didn’t feel guilty when I didn’t sit down at the table like I usually did to watch the pretty boy walk past me to get his groceries. I waited across the street at the diner. It was a really good diner considering it was mostly greasy food that went to your waist.

But the milkshake and fries were excellent. I hadn’t tried the pancakes yet, but I had it on my list of things to do on this case. I knew where he was going so I didn’t need to follow him. He’d be in the butchers a few moments and then he’d be off to the market. Timing the situation so he ran into me was not original since I’d already done it once but he just looked at me and stammered an apology. But the only thing on his mind then had been my eyes – not how hot I looked or how he wanted to fuck me. Just my eyes. There was a small amount of fearful thoughts lingering around how much he loved my eyes. I wondered what that had been about.

But he was inside too long. I checked my watch and noted he was running late. I might have to change tactics. Did he go out the back? I took out my phone and hoped I could pick up his cell phone to track him. He’d called and now I had the number and it wasn’t hard to do. I’d had the Wicked Truth show me how so I didn’t have to keep bothering him for trivial things. It had cost me extra but it was well worth it.

He was still inside. I made a bold move and decided to go inside. I opened the door. I could run into him anywhere and it would work. He was coming out as I was going in. I ran into him phone first. I quickly turned my phone off so he didn’t see the tracking software up.

“Funny running into you here.” His face lit up with that grin. Part of me wanted to punch him but the rest of me couldn’t help but smile. And then he bit his bottom lip as he stared into my eyes. “Boris, right? No it was Bob wasn’t it?”

“Haha,” I said, he thought he was funny. But the joke hurt more than it should have.

He grabbed me by the elbow and pulled me off to the side so we weren’t in the way. He was thinking about the butcher and his wife’s business. He seemed to have a big heart – that was going to be easy to manipulate. His thoughts drifted to me and I knew I had him hook, line and sinker. He was mine.

“I need to go get the rest of my groceries.” He said with a smile that I’d seen so many times before, one I had hoped he had reserved only for me, and here he was shining at a stranger. I felt so much more used now than before. He was such a fucking player.

But I put on a well practiced grin and let the act go on. I wanted this favor. “I know.” I said. I felt very much like Han in that moment. Maybe I should shoot first?

“So you have been following me. Why?” Nox asked but there was no hint of anger in his voice or his thoughts. He really didn’t care that I was.

“Why do you think?” I laughed. I wanted to hear this.

“Honestly, no clue. But I do need to get walking, you going to follow me there?” He asked like he didn’t know the answer already.

“Why would I want to do that?” I said sarcastically.

His shoulders went up in a shrug and said “I don’t know that either.”

I knew a lot about him, but I didn’t know what he actually bought so I peeked inside and sitting on top was steak. Not cheap steak either, it was a beautiful piece of meat. “I might follow you home if you’re cooking any of that.”

And there was that grin again. Fuck if he couldn’t kill me with it. “You can walk with me and I’ll cook dinner for you.”

I faked surprise and happiness. Though if he was cooking steak then as long as he didn’t ruin it I was game. “I suppose I could endure that. But isn’t lunch next?”

He didn’t answer my question. Fucker. He opened the door and I had no choice but to follow. Or… I rushed ahead, not that it was that far, and opened the door for him. He grinned at me again, “How gentlemanly. I’ll drop my groceries off, go for a run then grab lunch on the way back. I could skip my run and cook but..” the sentence trailed off but his thoughts did not. He didn’t want me to find out about his neurosis about structure. Not that I didn’t know that already from his timely departures and arrivals. Everything was perfectly timed.

And I also knew he was fitness nut. He ran everyday at the same time, twice a day. I thought I liked running. “Don’t tell me you need to run off extra calories.” I gave him a good once over before looking at my watch to check the time, he was almost back on schedule. “I could think of other ways you could work off extra calories.”

He blushed. What the fuck? Did I just make the player uncomfortable or was he playing shy to get in my pants. From the sound of his thoughts he was acting out of character. I threw him, and I liked that fact very much. I could use it to my advantage.

He stared at me while we walked, but he forced himself to look away. He was doubting himself and wondering if I was a telepath. I could read his thoughts. Now was the time to make the move. “All this food for your boyfriend?” I was pretty sure that there were no girls in his life, but there were plenty of guys he was cozy with.

I mean I watched him on the dance floor with girls plenty of times, Poet had more videos of that than I could count, and I’d see it for myself. But those were nothing – he never kept their numbers and he never saw them again. Never slept with the same girl.

He blurted out, “I don’t date.”

“So what was the other night, you were just looking for a quick fuck?” I shouldn’t be so hurt by the fact that he had wanted sex. But it wasn’t that it was sex he wanted at the club but he had just wanted sex. He wasn’t looking for Mr. Right. I don’t know why it bothered me so much.

“I…” he stammered and after a moment he shrugged, “I’m sorry, but yeah.” He apologized…

“So dinner is just a means to get in my pants?” I surprised myself with the bite in my words despite the smirk I knew I wore.

“No!” he shouted gaining a few disgusted looks as people walked the other way from us overheard. He continued in a lower voice, “No, I… It’s just me cooking for you.” And there was nothing but truth in his voice, his thoughts were a mess, he was racing in so many directions.

“So now you don’t want to fuck me?” I asked confused. He was such a mess. I don’t think the dreams even hit close when he was with me there. He didn’t answer me instead turned back around and went down the alley and leaned against the wall. I watched as he slid down the wall and dropped his head against the wall. His thoughts grew more tangled as the seconds passed.

“You drive me fucking nuts, Alex.”

Now he remembers my name. “You remember my name?” I joked. I knew he remembered it. But it still stung after all these years.

“Of course I remember your name. How could I forget it?” And he kept making the past hurt even more.

I growled out. “I don’t know, I’ve known people to forget a lot of things in a short period of time.” He’d forgotten me too many times to count.

“Who ever wants to forget you is an idiot.” He sighed. I wasn’t sure if it was in frustration or something else. But his thoughts were a mess as he breathed in through his nose and out through his mouth. Classic calming techniques. I was going to have to raise my price if Poet wanted me to deal with this shit. But I couldn’t help but feel bad for him. He looked in pain, like his body hurt. I tried to make out something in his head something to help or hurt or just something. And then I heard the voice telling him. This isn’t him. He’ll be so jealous. There was venom in his reply to himself. He’s the one who didn’t show up.

Was he talking about me? Dream me. I showed up goddammit. His anxiety was making me crazy. “You okay pretty boy?” I asked.

He nodded and then stood up. “Yeah.” He didn’t look okay, but he continued. “Sorry. This is me. Anxiety is my very own personal demon.” And then he walked away from me – again. What the fuck, that was my move. I was getting tired of chasing him. But Poet was making this worth my while. I guess that favor meant more than the dealing with this shit.

But he looked broken, dejected as he walked ahead. I caught up, “I was only joking about the getting in my pants thing.” We walked a few more steps and I tried to change the subject, “But why don’t you date?” I mean he was a hot guy, he could have any one he wanted – and I mean anyone.

His response surprised me. “I tried once. Guy used me. But he’s not the reason, had a guy stand me up.”

“I know that feeling.” I growled. He stood me up not the other way around. Fucking emergencies – yeah right. “No girlfriends?” I asked to make sure I covered all my bases. Poet would want to know.

“Never. I’m not that into girls.” he said plainly.

“Really? So the dancing and sex on the dancefloor was just, what? Accidental? You were dancing and accidentally fucked them too? Oops, sorry about that, my dick just slipped in there,” I mocked him. Really he had to be into girls, he sure as hell fucked a lot of them. I wasn’t sure why that made me anymore jealous than before.

He smirked, “Yeah? You think I could get away with that? Oops sorry, slipped!” He rolled his eyes and continued with a grin though his words were serious, “I admire women. I enjoy their body, their curves, their softness. But I could never give my heart to a woman. No point in dating her when I know for a fact I’d be miserable.” He winked at me, “And they are missing my favorite part of the body.” And the truth of the whole conversation was that he was gay. He didn’t identify that way in his head but he knew that sleeping with women was only about sex. There was nothing but sex with a woman. I saw thoughts of abandonment but nothing concrete to go on. He’d had mommy issues when we were younger, he was still harboring those same feelings even after her death. Probably more so now than before.

He was just as easy to read here as he was in the dream. I thought Venatori had good shields. But I was getting distracted in his head. Wasn’t exactly sure how he functioned at all with that tangled mess. He liked men… I was a man. I looked down and then back up with a smirk on my face.

He laughed. “Yeah you got it.” And he smiled that fucking smile… Why the fuck did he have to do that.

He nodded down the street where the open market was. “Got a few things here to pick up.”

I knew that. I pulled my lips in mild amusement. I had to bit my tongue not to repeat myself again. I knew his schedule almost as well as he did.

“Am I amusing you?” He asked.

“You are.” Nox stopped in front of stall and I stood behind him until the crowd pushed me closer to him. I could smell him – the real him a soft smokey scent but mostly it was just clean no real fragrance what-so-ever. I remembered being this close to him before, I wanted to put my hand on his hip to pull him against me. I wanted to fuck him, I knew it was just lingering memories. He had me digging in my head too far.

I reached out and put my hand on his hip, the hem of his t-shirt was under my fingers and I thought about shoving my hand underneath. I felt him shudder beneath my fingers and he gasped, “Please don’t.”

I stopped moving. Had he heard my thought. I hadn’t been paying attention to the conversation just the feeling of the man in front of me. He leaned back against my chest and whispered, “Wasn’t talking to you.”

I pushed him away from me, he stumbled a few feet as I walked away while he finalized his business. I walked ahead and waited looking at the items at the next booth. It wasn’t anything interesting more of the same as the booth Nox shopped at. It made me wonder why he shopped at specific booths, and why he never actually did the shopping himself. “Do you always have an order ahead of time?”

“I get the same thing every week with little variation.”

I wondered why, I didn’t think I asked it outloud but he answered anyway.
“It’s easier that way.” He didn’t want to elaborate and I didn’t think it was important. Poet wasn’t going to manipulate his eating habits. He broke me from my thought with a laugh then asked, “Where to now?”

What? I must have looked as confused as I really was because he continued “You’ve been following me for weeks. So what do I do next?”

He knew I’d been following him. He’d pretty much said he knew that before why was it bothering me now. I had to rack my brain for the answer. If he hadn’t said anything I would have know the answer. “The grocery store for things you can’t get here I guess. You have everything else.”

We walked in silence. His mind started to churn again which was making me feel anxious so I took his hand in mine and tried to pull him out of his thoughts. “Why didn’t you talk to me before?”

He shrugged. “I’d probably not be talking to you now if you didn’t run into me.” I felt the truth in his words. I was inconsequential on his radar and it hurt.

“Why not? Too good for me?”

He sighed, “Because you didn’t look like you wanted company, ” and pulled his hand from mine. I hoped it was just to open the door but then he kept walking ahead of me. He was losing his cool.

I didn’t mean to say it so bitterly, “You mean kinda like you look right now?” but that was how it came out.

“I…” He sighed. “I like your company, but you seem to get annoyed at everything so…”

So what? But he felt so pitiful and lost in his head. He hated himself, and I wasn’t helping matters any.

“I’m sorry.” I apologized, “You just remind me of someone. A bad memory.”

A wry smile splayed across his lips as he spoke, “I know the feeling.” But his thoughts were off in the distance remembering. Or trying not to remember. We were both trying to forget the same thing. And being here with each other was making all those feelings and memories come to the forefront. We both stayed in our own thoughts as he grabbed his groceries.

As we stood in the checkout line he asked, “You mind a late lunch, early dinner. I have friends coming over after the sun goes down, they’ll play poker and try to get me to play with them, which you are more than welcome to join, but I kinda want to cook for you just me and you.”

“A date?” I asked sceptically.

“I wouldn’t call it that.” Nox shrugged. His mind was line a sieve, leaking out all the anxiety and hatred and chaos.

He was so fucking high maintenance! I pasted on a smirk and teased him, “Sounds like a date to me.” Poet definitely wasn’t paying me enough.

There was hope and exasperation in his voice. “Fine, call it a date. You wanna stop by at 3?”

I looked at my phone, opened the calendar and pretended that I had something else going on. But my schedule was wide open, I only had to worry about Janice calling in for some sub care because she utterly sucked at it, but I was free. “Yeah, I’ll have to rearrange a client but I can make three.”

“Great.” He said then bit his bottom lip. I wanted to do that for him. Old memories were hard to shake. And I’d truly wanted to do more back at that last stall. He continued, never noticing how my train of thought had gone straight to my cock. “I’m sure you have better things to do than follow me around shopping. I mean you were walking into the butchers when you ran into me.”

“Ah fuck!” I growled. I didn’t have any business but it was part of the show “See what you do to me?” I winked at him to add to the allure. “I’ll see you at 3 pretty boy.” I leaned in and kissed his cheek then winked again before I headed off the way we’d come. I felt like a school boy leaving his boyfriend for the first time. I was happy in a way that I shouldn’t be but his fading thoughts as i walked away made it all that much better. I listened to the voice in his head that said fuck he was hot! Until I could no longer hear him through the din of other peoples voices.

I had a few hours to kill before I headed his direction. There was only one slight problem. I didn’t know which apartment was his. But I’d worry about that later. I needed to clear my own head – distract my mind. Get him out of my head. He was such a mess.

Dreams and Letters

I had been so tired I hadn’t paid attention when I hit the pillow. I hadn’t anchored myself and I found myself on the sandy beaches I’d once fled to for comfort. Comfort after a certain man with big brown eyes never fucking showed up.

I growled at my scenery but it was much more peaceful. But those brown eyes still haunted me. Why the fuck was he haunting me. Now of all times, in this place. Why did I have to see him in this mark? The eyes, the schedule. I could time my little monsters dreams almost to the minute. I knew exactly when he’d come in and when he’d be whisked away by the darkness.

He’d used this face a number of times, and always when he felt vulnerable. After his mother died in particular came to mind. Clutching my box of things to his chest believing in me. That smile. That fucking smile!

I jolted upright in my bed and I threw the pillow across the room. “Fuck!”

And I had to stay. Poet wanted information. And Poet owing me a favor was worth a lot more than the money. No questions asked he said. But I had to do this job. I had to get close to the fucking kid that broke my heart.

I had to get all of this pent up anger out. I needed a long hard run, but first, I pulled out my laptop and fired up an email program that I hadn’t used in over five years and I wrote my pretty boy – fuck! I’d called him that without thinking… Did he put things together? I don’t know… I didn’t care.

I wrote hurriedly my fingers tapping across the keyboard as my thoughts spewed into the short letter. And I hit send. I didn’t even reread it. I didn’t care. I deleted all trace of it being sent and then then I shut it down. I wanted to hit the delete button. But I still couldn’t make myself do it. I hadn’t for five years, what made me think I could do it now.

Fuck!

I changed quickly into running clothes, it was 4am, the streets of New York City would still have some amount of business too them, but I was going to run until these thoughts were cold and dying and I could function again. I had a job to do nothing more.

June 17, 2017 3:49 AM
To: mylittlemonster@email.net
From: mylittlemonster@email.net
Subject: Fuck you!

Fuck you, Pretty Boy,

I haven’t written you in well over five years. And for good fucking reason. You sent your fucking friend to tell me off. And now of all things, of all the fucking times. I had to meet some of your faces. Why the fuck couldn’t you have used actors or something – people who I’d never in a million years run into or could even think were you. You and your big fucking gorgeous brown eyes.

Anytime I think about them I want to melt and whither away from the pain, but here they are fucking staring at me. Why the fuck did you use your real face? Why did you use your friends?

Now I have to push aside all these feelings. Feelings I’ve held on to and pushed away for so long just so I can do a fucking job. One that is worth more than my feelings towards you.

Why the fuck pretty boy. Why the fuck to do I have to know your name now? I hate you. You know that. I fucking hate you.

Alex Kennedy 27 years old