Therapy

School is about to start for Laker and Rider. And Nick and Henry. They hit it off, and were still together two months in. Nick still hadn’t told Henry what he was. I’m not sure I could manage to hide it from my boyfriend for long. Stamina was one thing, but the strength, something else. But they were working so that was great.

I was spending a lot of time with Ant and Ryan. They were in New York City, or rather if I asked for them they shadow walked here from wherever they were. It was all sparring. Sometimes it was just chilling out.

My friends were all paired off now. Mia and Jace were busy with a baby. Sage and Dee were planning a wedding. We got together once and that was for Naya’s birth. She was such a sweet little thing. I was already in love with that sweet little face. Mia promised me I could babysit any time I wanted.

And I had actually taken her up on the offer once. I won’t do it again until Naya can pee like a normal human – diapers suck!

I was regularly seeing Margo and she was the only person I discussed my problems with. As far as everyone else was concerned. I had moved on, fuck I even had a boyfriend for all of 2 weeks.

I’d met Dan on the street outside Bonnie’s. He ran into me. Gorgeous blue eyes were the first thing I saw when he looked up at me. They weren’t the right blue, more gray than anything. But he had a nice smile. He apologized for spilling my coffee and then asked me out on a date. He said, and I quote, “You look like the kinda guy who would like some Italian. I know this great place, let me buy you dinner.”

He took me to Marco’s restaurant. Marco comped him and that was probably the end of what might have been a good relationship. From then on out he assumed I’d pay for everything. I’d be in charge.

He was a good fuck. Which had Margo rolling her eyes at the detail I went into. But she understood why I had. Dan was a dominant, but he took advantage of the fact I listened so well. He pushed my buttons and my limits and in 2 weeks both Ant and Margo were on the side of saying adios.

He tried to manipulate me into staying. But I don’t know. I grew a set of balls. I knew what I wanted. He bitched about that too. “Now you get a set. Asshole.”

It had left me feeling a little hollow inside again. But I had asked Ant to take me to the beach. There was something about it that drew me to it. I don’t know what. But it felt right. Ant and I ran the length of the beach that night. Under the stars, listening to each other breath and the waves crash against the shore.

I freaked out a lot about the sand. Ant laughed at me. “Just make it go away with water and air. Or better yet call it from your body with earth and make a pane of glass or something.”

I did the latter, and for each time I went for a run in the sand I did the same thing. Lately, that seems to be what I do when I’m feeling stressed. Talking about it helps, and Margo’s great for that. But I think it’s Ant who’s helping me keep my head on straight.

Vampire Den

The pull of the power outside had me walking down the street away from the party. Alone and in the dark. I felt like I was finally free – I didn’t have to put on airs that I was some happy-go-lucky guy with an open heart. I could be the empty shell I felt like. I’m sure Margo would have a lot to say about that.

I could hear her speaking to me in my head. “Why do you feel this way, Nox?”

“Because the guy in my dreams stood me up and never wants to see me again. And to top it off when I try to dream about him all I get is the fucking nightmare with blue eyes. He’s just torturing me now. And I never even told him about the dreams so what the fuck does that say about me.”

From behind me there was a voice. “It says you talk to yourself.”

I turned around and frowned, “Are you following me?”

He shook his head. “No, but there are vampires here complaining of powerful beings invading their home lands. And I had this strange feeling that you were about to do something stupid.”

“Stupid? Like go to a vampire den and let them feed off of me? Nah, never.” I scoffed at the idea I had actually be going to do and I turned back around and kept walking.

“You were happy the last time I saw you.” Ant said.

I nodded. “Last time you saw me I was full of hope that someone could want me for something other than my sperm or my blood, or something job to do.”

Ant side. “I’m not here because I want your blood.”

“No, you are here out of some preconceived notion I need your help.”

Ant laughed. It wasn’t the funny haha type laugh more the cynical one that said I right and that he wasn’t leaving.

“I can’t let you go into a den.”

“Why not?”

“What do you want Nox?” He asked me inches from my face. He was an inch taller and there was a slight looking up at him I didn’t remember.

“I just want to feel nothing.”

“And going to a den is going to do that?”

I shrugged. “Going to a den where a vampire can override my every emotion sounds like a plan.”

“You really want some strange vampire getting their hands on all that power Nox?”

“Why do I always have to do what’s right?” I know I sounded like a whiny little kid but I didn’t care.

Ant sighed. “Because that’s who you are. You are the kid who wants to save little ghost girls, who takes in a cat because she chose him, loves families that he would really love to hate.”

“How did you know about Ophelia?” I asked.

Ant shrugged. “I have moments where the auspex is clear and you are easy to read.”

I sighed. “Ant I need to drown in something.”

Ant took my elbow, “Come on.” He didn’t walk in the shadows, he took me to a subway station and while we waited for the train he let go of my arm. “I’m trusting you to stay with me.”

I nodded. “Okay.” I was intrigued.

Going Out

When everyone else was leaving i caught up with Nick. “Hey. You still want to go out and hook up with guys.”

Nick grinned, “Wing men?”

I shrugged. “Maybe. I met a guy on the plane flying out to Colorado. I told him when I was home again I’d call him see if he wanted to hook up. He was fledgling.”

“You had sex with him?”

I smiled. “Well yeah. He was cute, but not my speed. More yours really.”

“Sloppy seconds?”

I shrugged, “Are you going to slap love in the face just because I fucked him?”

Nick sighed, “As long as it’s understood we are all going out as friends and you aren’t going to steal any of my men?”

I laughed. “We do not have the same taste in men, Nick.” I really wanted someone a whole lot different. I’d been hiding from things because of a dream. Not anymore.

“Sure, meet you downstairs at 8?” Nick asked.

“Sounds good.” I said and Nick hailed a cab and a yellow taxi pulled up and he got in, I shut the door behind him and watched him drive off. My brother was 3 months younger than me but he felt so much younger for some reason. Maybe it was Laker and Rider rubbing off on me.

I looked at my phone and found the number. There was a certain nervousness to my stomach as I waited for him to pick up. “Hello?”

“Henry, this is Nox. We met on the plane last year?”

“Hey Nox.” He sounded happy to hear from me. “I remember you. How could I forget you?” I imagined him blushing. “What’s up?”

“I’m back in the City and was wondering if you wanted to go out we me and my brother. Three men looking for a hookup. And you can meet my brother. I think he’s more your speed than I am.”

Henry laughed. “Yeah I can do tonight. I was planning on going to a frat party if you guys want to come hang.”

“Sounds like a good place to start.”

I had a date. though it was a bitter reminder of lost date.

But I was determined to move on.

Nick and I met in the lobby of the AU building at 8pm and I told him about the party and where Henry was taking us. Nick laughed, “I was planning on going there tonight.”

“So maybe you and Henry know each other?” I said.

Nick shook his head. “I don’t hang out with too many humans. It’s hard to explain our life to them.”

“So don’t, just be an eccentric rich kid. That’s who I am to Jace. Or that’s what Mia and Sage play it off as. He think I’m hiding among the poor folks.”

“I don’t know how you do it.”

“You’ll learn.” I said as we got on the train and headed into Harlem. Vampire territory but it was were the frat party Henry told us to meet him at.

Both Nick and Henry would be closing out the year with this party. I was surprised they were still having frat parties.

I could feel it the moment we crossed into vampire land. The energy all around us shifted and I shivered noticeably. “You all right?”

I nodded. “Yeah we just crossed into vampire territory.”

“Are we going to be alright?” Nick asked.

“As long as you don’t go home with a vampire you will be perfectly fine.” I joked.

The party was already going when we got there. And I couldn’t see Henry anywhere, so we went inside. Nick looked at home, he even knew a few faces. I grabbed a beer from the keg but the power outside called to me.

I was staring hard through a window trying to gauge the distance of that power when a hand on my shoulder drew my attention. A familiar face stared back at me and I grinned at him. “Hey Henry.”

He cozied up to me and pressed a kiss to my lips which had me melting at the touch. Memories drawn so tightly of his body against mine. And visions of blue eyes staring back at me. I must have frozen because Henry pulled away. “Something wrong?” He asked.

I grinned at him and hid behind the mask. I didn’t let him see the pain that was hidden deep inside. “Not a thing. But I thought you would have learned by now, I’m not your type.”

He blushed. I grabbed his hand. “Let me introduce you to my brother.”

I found Nick on the dance floor with a girl. She was grinding against him like he was the hottest guy in the room. And while I agreed with her assessment of things, she was wasting her time. I took Nick’s hand and pressed Henry’s into it. I leaned in to Nick and whispered, “This is Henry. He’s the fledgling I was talking about.” I turned between the two men I was introducing. Herny was picking up the dance pace with me and I wanted to curl up and do bad things with him. But this was a nice kid and I was not nice. I didn’t want to be nice. “This is my brother Nick. Before I knew he was my brother I wanted in his pants. See if you can do better than me.” I said then slipped out from between the two and they started dancing together. That girl all but forgotten to Nick with a cute boy in front of him.

I grabbed another beer and stepped outside and watched the crowd out there. The party was spilling into the street and I could feel the power of the vampires all around. I wanted to be bad… What better place.

Engagement

I sat there for a long time. Probably too long with family and friends out in the dining room waiting on me. Long enough that there was a knock on the door and I looked up and saw a pair of blue eyes staring back at me and I lost it.

Sage was kneeling in front of me. His hands on my knees, “Jesus, Nox I didn’t think I looked that bad.” He joked.

“What’s wrong? Did things go bad with your dream guy?”

“You could say that. He never showed up.”

“What?” Sage sounded confused. “Jace found him. Told him to come see you. He said he’d swing by after he finished his drink.” Sage sighed, “At least that was what Jace said.”

“He never came by and I’ve not seen him in my dreams since that night. I should have known it was just a game.”

Sage wrapped his arms around me and hugged me. He didn’t linger long. Touch was still his biggest aversion. Though he was clearly getting better at it since I last saw him. “I have something that might not cheer you up but I was going to tell you on Friday night but you were busy.”

“I was saving my dad.”

Sage nodded. “I know I get it. I asked Dee to marry me.”

My eyes went big and he was grinning. “She said yes. I want you to be my best man.”

I nodded and wrapped my arms around my friend, “Yeah, whatever you need.”

He stood up and laughed, “Well right now I need you out with the rest of the party. You okay with that?”

I sighed. “Yeah. I guess.”

I walked out with Sage holding my hand. He was doing it to comfort me. Not the other way around. I put on the faked happy smile and I walked into the dinning room to see people I hadn’t expected. Not only was Dorian sitting at a table with my father, but Jesse and the boys were sitting with Dae’lin, she had the boys laughing. Jace and Mia were sitting with a woman I didn’t know, but Sage left my side as Mia wrapped her body around me the best she could. Sage sat down next to the woman with brown hair and equally brown eyes – had to be Dee.

Iris and Nate were here, as well as her younger children, but her husband was not. Nick was sitting with her chatting away. Which reminded me, I needed to call Henry.

Margo was sitting with Dorian and my father and they were all chatting happily. This was my family. Mia dragged me along behind her and sat down next to her. I didn’t bother giving Jace a glance, or much cared either way. I was fairly certain he was a prick and didn’t actually do what he said. Always jealous…

Dinner was fabulous. Marco pulled out all the stops, with the appetizers, the entry and even dessert – chocolate cake covered in a decadent chocolate sauce. No frosting – just cake and the sauce. He knew me so well.

The boys and Jesse were leaving the next day so I bid them farewell they were going to the airport and staying in a hotel with a free shuttle. Dorian was returning them in a car he said. I gave them all the fake smile but I was genuine in my feelings that I’d miss them. I heard the boys as they were leaving, ‘can we have a phone of our own so we can talk with Nox whenever we want.’ Jesse never answered them. I hoped he relented.

Belated Birthday Dinner

I woke on the couch bloodied and beaten but the boys were still curled up around me. I was hesitant to move as I wrapped the elements around me. The feeling nearly made me nauseous. But at least it wouldn’t scar. Not that it mattered, I had more than enough scars from a lifetime of pain to last the rest of my life.

The eyes were red tonight, not the beautiful blue of his… He was no longer part of my dreams. No longer part of me. I felt alone for the first time in my life. Truly alone despite having my brothers curled up against me.

Early that morning Dae’lin gave me a job. She had me canvasing the city looking for caches of power. She said all new city hunters spend a week patrolling the city. She gave me an area and said that was what I had to do. Looking at the map it was only a small section of the city. I could do better than that. But she said I could do it tomorrow. Today I could spend with my family. Dorian had plans she said.

Which brought a question to my eyes and she only smiled. “Just have some fun. You’ve been alone too long, Nox. Dorian is just looking out for you.”

I knew that. I spent the day with Jesse and the boys. I gave them the grand tour of New York City. They wanted to stop and see everything so we didn’t really get to see much by the time we were to meet Dorian at my favorite Italian restaurant where his current boyfriend worked.

Sometimes I wonder if Dorian and Chef Marco had been together since I was a child. I think I would have noticed the hidden smiles and the soft touches they had for each other before. But I was a child. I sighed as the feeling of loneliness washed over me again. I pushed it aside as we walked in. The place was empty at this hour. “A private party?” I looked at Jesse.

He smiled. “A belated birthday dinner, though it is technically lunch.”

Dorian greeted us with Marco by his side. His hand was at the small of Marco’s back and he looked at me with a shy smile.

I laughed, “Are you officially introducing me to your boyfriend?”

Marco smirked, “No. Not something so silly.” Though Marco grabbed Dorian’s hand and moved behind him wrapping his other arm around his waist. It was a cute gesture until I noticed what he was truly showing me.

A pair of gold rings adorned their left hands and i grinned, “You got married.” I cocked my head to the side and looked at Dorian. “Does this mean you are moving out?”

Marco turned lose his husband and pulled me off to the side. “I have known him a long time, the magic of your world is extrodinary. Come to the kitchen with me.”

I smiled and followed Marco into the kitchen. “Dorian loves you like a father.”

“He does now.”

Marco nodded, “Yes you were once a petulant child he abhorred and pawned off on me so that he could have a few hours of peace and quiet.”

I grinned but Marco continued, “Dorian will still be available for you, his door just now opens to our home. It never ceases to amaze me the things you and your people can do. And I’ve known your whole life that you could wield magic, but you never once told me of it. Never used it in the kitchen?”

“I wasn’t allowed to as a child. Your are human.”

Marco nodded. “And you learned to cook so well. I made you something. Just for you. Well I didn’t make it, I ordered it.” Marco lead me into the office of his kitchen and handed me a box neatly wrapped in butcher paper.

“Dorian says you needed a pick me up. Care to tell me what has you broken today? We used to talk about love, life… he sat down and whispered sex.”

I laughed. “It’s not something I can easily explain. Too many changes. I…I think I was in love with an idea and it turned out wrong. That’s all. I don’t deal well with change. it’s all too much.”

Marco shook his head, “It’s more than that, but I understand. You will still visit now that we are more than just friends?” He joked.

“I’ll still come by once a month and bother you.” I said as I opened the present. I tore through the paper and carefully opened the box. Inside was a black apron and on it said, ‘World’s best son’.

I felt the tear welling up in my eyes as Marco wrapped his arms around me, “I know you know your father now, but Dorian and I will think of you always as ours. We always have, Nox. Whatever is eating at you. Remember we love you. All of us here.”

The tears flowed and Marco wiped away them as they fell. “Come out when you are ready, the food should be being served now. Join us when you’ve collected yourself.” He squeezed me one more time before he left the office and I fell into the chair like a limp rag.

Birthday Visitors

I got a phone call, it was half past six by my account and I answered the phone. “What?” I knew I sounded grumpy but I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I wanted to get wasted, and high but I kept myself locked in my room instead. I wanted to see him so badly but anytime I tried the nightmares came and I was losing my mind.

A familiar voice sounded on the other end. “Hey Nox. You think you could open the door? Mr. Dorian said if we knocked we’d get shocked.”

I willed the door open but I didn’t move from the corner I was sitting in on the other side of my bed. Ophelia meowed and jumped on my shoulder which drew their eyes to me. I saw the boys, and Jesse standing in the door.

And in the next heart beat the boys were sitting next to me and leaning their heads on my shoulder. Jesse shut the door behind him and turned on the light above the sink and started washing the dishes. Ophelia disengaged from me and jumped up on the counter to watch, she hoped for food – real food.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

Rider smiled up at me, “Mr. Dorian said you’d been having a rough time, so we came to help cheer you up.”

I gave my half brother a half smile and he and Laker both giggled. “This place is weird.” Laker added.

I nodded, “Takes a little while to get used to.”

The boys and I chatted while Jesse made food. I don’t know what he was making but it smelled good. My stomach rumbled.

He set plates up and I managed to stand up with the boys still attached to me. “Put a plate out for Ophelia too. Just the meat.” I said and I carried the boys to the couch and dropped them on one side of the L shaped peice of furniture. They were a fit of giggles when I came back and put a plate in front of them.

Laker laughed, “You have no TV. What do you do all day?”

I shrugged. “I think Sage put Netflix on my laptop.” I grabbed the laptop from the counter with a weave of air and set it down on the table and Rider was the first on it and scrolling through things finding what he was looking for before you know it.

The next few hours, we watched several movies and tv shows the boys thought I had to watch but they fell asleep resting against me. I was nodding off when Jesse tapped my foot with his. “I’m going to leave the boys here with you. Mr. Vega said you needed someone to keep your mind off things and they seem to be helping you. So I’ll be back in the morning to cook some breakfast.”

I nodded and while he was getting up I set the door to recognize him. “You should be able to just come on in when you get here.”

Jesse looked at me and then at the door which was glowing an odd blue as the magic faded. “That’s some lock.”

I nodded as I leaned my head against the back of the couch and let myself drift to sleep. I prayed for blackness… Nothing but the dark.