Diagnosis

Kate had been feeling ill, so I drove her to her doctor’s appointment. I waited in the small waiting room while she went back. I wasn’t officially her spouse; they didn’t let me in the back. Not that Kate needed me, but I felt like I should be there to support her. It was a nagging feeling. The same feeling I had the day my mother died.

I couldn’t shake it. A sense of dread filling my body.

Kate walked out from the back rooms with a feigned smile on her face. To the casual by-stander, everything was alright as I rushed to her side. “What’s wrong?” I asked.

She shook her head, “Nothing, my dearest.”

I wanted to call her out on her bullshit. But that wasn’t for now. I could let her be, let the lie that sat between us fester until I was ready to blow — which was right about the time we were alone in Serenity, on our way back to the new apartment we shared. “Tell me what’s wrong, Kate.” I demanded.

“Nothing.” She said sweetly. “Nothing’s wrong.”

“You know damn well I can see a lie, Kate. It’s part of what I do.” I didn’t dare pry into her head. I promised myself I wouldn’t do it. 

“Nothing. is. wrong. Alex.” Kate declared. The way she said my name, I knew I’d better drop it, or I’d be on the couch that night — and maybe every night after that. Fuck, it was bad if she wouldn’t tell me.

****

Three days had passed and the lie still hung between us. Kate had another appointment, one she didn’t want me to come to. Her daughter was taking her. Which meant I had to be scarce, since her grown children didn’t know I existed. Kate lived alone — still in mourning over her late husband, who had preceded me by at least ten years. But her kids still thought she was a solo lady. And she didn’t want them to meet me — I was younger than her youngest. She was a cougar, and I was her lion cub — or so she always claimed. 

I paced in our empty apartment. Like me, this place was unknown to her children. It was ours. It had been since shortly after we met. Kate tired of meeting in hotels, so she bought a new apartment, gave me a key and said, “This is our home.” And I’ve been here for the past year — living in the lap of luxury that I didn’t provide. I could, and Kate knew it, but she paid for everything. She was my sugar mama. It was a funny thought — how the tables had tipped on our relationship — the only genuine relationship I’ve ever had, other than the pretty boy in my dreams.

Waiting was never a strong suit. I growled and threw a pillow across the room. I rushed to the offending article of decor and picked it back up, fluffed it and put it back on the couch where I’d retrieved it from. I hated waiting.

I wished in that moment I could talk to my pretty boy — wished that I could summon him like he did me. But our connection didn’t work that way. I was a dream walker — he was just some random human with whom I connected. He was my first connection. The first shared dream, and the first of many things I learned about myself. Liking men hadn’t been something I was one hundred percent with when my mother tasked me with making a mark mine. I’d done it, I had enjoyed it. But it was the dream that followed that made it worth the while. 

My Pretty Boy played with his box like he always did. He was just five — the same age when we met. He’d always felt like this little boy — always a monster. And I wished I could free him from himself. He was beautiful in every aspect. His heart was so large.How he could open up to me without remembering. He recognized me but remembered nothing we’d done or said. 

And out of the blue, my Pretty Boy asked, “How was it?” He looked up at me with big chocolate colored eyes in the face of a child.

“I’ll tell you when you grow up.”

A shimmer in the dream and he was himself. I knew it was him, and not a guise. The eyes fit the face. He was beautiful in all his self doubt. “I’m grown up.”

I smirked, “Elaborate on what you want to know.” I knew what he was asking.

“Did you get your mark into bed so you could take what you needed to?”

I nodded, “Yes. He was more than eager to bed me.”

“So how was it?” His eyes dropped to the floor and red rushed to his ears, “How was the sex. Did you like it?”

“It was different, and new, and I enjoyed it.” I took a few steps closer to him and lifted his chin so he’d look me in the eyes. He was cute when he was shy. “Why do you ask?”

He tried to drop his gaze, but the result made him stare at my lips. “I…” he stammered.

“You what?”

He shook his head and raised his eyes to meet mine. “Would you do it again?”

“Why?” I smirked, I could feel his thoughts in my head. The pressing desire to be naked with me. To feel what I had felt with another man. He shook with desire for me to take and ravage him wholly.

We had kissed before. It was sweet and gentle, and I knew there were more feelings than when we were kids. He turned away from me — embarrassment crept through his emotions. His mind was an open book to me here, unlike anyone else I’d ever met.

I wrapped my arms around his waist and pressed a kiss to his neck. He tilted his head to the side to give me access. I pressed the palm of my hand against his cock and he groaned. “Please.” He begged.

It was better on the second go — though that was probably just the dream. He was perfect — and I was perfect. Everything about that night was perfect — except the black blur whisked him away to be tormented by whatever kept him from remembering me.

I tried night after night when it started. I tried to find him, but it was pointless. I could see his shining simmering bubble in Erebus, but I couldn’t enter, it was like a wall and I couldn’t break in. I tried now and again to mend it, but I was unsuccessful.

The door of our living room opened, snapping me from my memories. “Kate. What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, my dearest.”