A Taste of Home Ch. 03byDanae72©
Two weeks passed, with Simon's days divided along clear lines. He put in a full day at work, either in the office or by chasing down leads, followed by a quick shower and change of clothes at home. Afterwards, he met up with Micah and they spent the evening and part of the night together.
It would have suited him to simply go to Micah's motel and have them fall into bed, but Micah insisted on them going out to eat. Even now, two weeks later, Simon had trouble accepting that he was seeing another man. He wouldn't call what they had a relationship, exactly, but right now it was the most intense thing he'd ever known.
He was also learning a lot about nightwalkers during their dinner conversations. For example, he never knew before that not all nightwalkers could breed. Only a few families could sire children. Micah believed there were seven or eight families in the world with that ability, no more. So far as he knew, the men of the Taylor branch were the only ones who ever sired more than one nightwalker child in a generation. Incredibly, only male children were nightwalkers. No female nightwalker had ever been born in their recorded history, which stretched back almost as far as the bible itself. Sometimes, a single nightwalker could have many sisters. Micah had one sister, while Kylen and Ghislain, Pen and Micah's fathers, had six sisters.
A nightwalker who was born could eat regular food, as well as go out in daylight, except for certain hours, while a nightwalker who was turned could not. It was fascinating, to think he was getting information that most people didn't have.
In exchange, Simon didn't give Micah as much information. He was vague about his family, other than to say he had no siblings and only a few other far-flung relatives he barely ever saw. When Micah tried to pry further, Simon changed the subject. Micah never pushed, although lately Simon saw that his tactics weren't fooling the man and that it bothered him not to have the same open answers he gave.
"Hey, Simon, I have to say that you look exhausted." Simon looked up at Jimmy and shrugged at the true statement. "She must be something else in bed, because I've never seen you this tired."
"She? Sorry to burst your bubble, Jimmy, but it's nothing like that. Just haven't been able to sleep much lately."
"Aww, my man, that's brutal. If you have to be exhausted, it should be because of a chick with a body that just won't quit." Jimmy sat at the next desk, which he used when the two of them worked as partners on a case. "You could have brought her to the dinner tonight. Remember, attendance is strongly recommended, unless we're on duty. Neither of us is, so we have to be there."
Shit, Simon had completely forgotten about that. Twice a year, the NCB and FDPA hosted a fancy dinner at the Grand Regent Hotel for its agents. Only an urgent case excused agents from attending, or those who had to remain on duty in case something came in. That duty generally fell to new agents, with one ranking agent to coordinate. He needed to find a date for the night, because going on his own would be hell. Who could he ask?
His first thought was to call Micah, but he quickly discarded that idea. No way was he about to show up with a man on his arm. It was only paranoia, but he was sure if he did that, his parents would find out somehow. They lived across the country and they didn't know anyone other than him in Rutherford, and he still felt they would know. Mentally sorting through the women he wouldn't mind escorting, he decided Audrey was his best choice. They had parted ways as friends, and she was always willing to get together. They always had a good time when they met up.
He picked up the phone and dialed her number, hoping that she wasn't busy. Since this was a Thursday, he might just be in luck. She'd been his date at last year's dinner and seemed like she'd enjoyed herself.
"Hey Audrey, this is Simon. How are you, Chérie?"
"Simon! It's been ages. I'm fine and glad to hear your voice, especially speaking that sexy French. What can I do for you, Hon?"
He almost asked his request in French, knowing she had a thing for the language, but couldn't quite bring himself to do that. "The Bureau dinner is tonight, and I hoped you were free to come with me. I know it's short notice, but I completely forgot it was this month. As soon as Jimmy reminded me, you came to mind." Simon knew she wouldn't be insulted.
"I'd love to! I'm not seeing anyone seriously lately, so being your date won't be a problem. How about you, not seeing anyone either?"
"Not really. My last girlfriend broke up with me a couple of weeks ago after a four-month relationship. Couldn't take the work and the hours. Of course, things have been really slow since then. Go figure."
"That sucks, Simon." His job wasn't the reason his relationship with Audrey ended. They simply were better suited as friends with benefits when the occasion arose. It worked for them and that was fine. "Thank me in French and I'll be ready to go, and ready to dazzle, at six-thirty."
"Merci, mon ange. À ce soir."
Micah stretched and rolled over to look at the clock. Just after five in the afternoon. He had about an hour before the earliest he could expect Simon to show up at his door. Biting at his lip, he flopped back onto the pillow and wondered what to do. The past two weeks had been amazing. Every few days, he spent a couple of hours with Pen in the early morning, before his cousin went to work. They talked about the information contained in the documents Micah's father had collected, especially about their grandfather's plans to get rid of daywalkers. That information they passed on to Ryan, who used them to open an investigation with the FDPA. They were proceeding carefully, so Johan didn't suspect anything until they had enough evidence.
Other times, their conversations were about the difficulties Micah encountered in Canada in his work. Pen was outraged at the way Micah was fired from his last job, almost ordering Ryan to talk to his supervisors about starting a branch to help protect nightwalkers against that kind of discrimination. It only angered him more when Ryan and Micah pointed out that even if Ryan did so, it wouldn't change things up in Canada. Nonetheless, the passion Pen showed in wanting to help Micah only made Micah love him more.
When he left Pen and Ryan, if Ryan wasn't already gone to work, Micah returned to the motel to sleep until late afternoon. Then he showered and dressed, and spent most of the night with Simon. That part bothered Micah the most. While he was with Simon, things always seemed wonderful. When they were apart, especially right after waking up, his doubts crowded in.
Dinner was always enjoyable, even if it was always at his insistence. They sat and ate in nice restaurants, talking about countless subjects. Even though most of the sharing was one-sided, they had other topics to keep things moving. He understood that sometimes talking about family wasn't easy for some people, especially virtual strangers, and tried not to let it bother him.
They got back to the motel and that was when things became...more bothersome. When they kissed and touched each other, both men were on equal footing, giving and receiving pleasure without hesitation. Then Simon asked, begged even, for Micah to feed from him. At first, Micah tried to demur, saying that it wasn't a good idea to feed too often from the same feeder, but after the first few days, he knew that it was pointless. He drank just enough for Simon to feel it, then pulled away.
Simon then invariably positioned him for sex, many times not even taking the time to prepare Micah. Their coupling was fast and furious, all for Simon's pleasure, even if Micah also found completion. Later, once they were rested, it was time for another round. Sometimes this took place in the shower, always with Simon urging Micah down to his knees for a blowjob. He never returned the favor. By midnight, sometimes one in the morning, Simon excused himself to go home and get some sleep before he had to go to work in the morning.
"I have to figure this out," he spoke out loud to the empty room. "I have to figure it out before it's too late for me."
How to figure it out was still a mystery. Every time he tasted Simon's blood, he knew it would be harder to get away or stop. Simon was his, the certainty increasing with each swallow. Fuck, he just didn't know what to do anymore. Maybe he could talk to Pen about this, without naming names, although it wasn't likely the two knew each other. After all, if Simon knew Pen, he would have mentioned the strong resemblance between the two men right from the beginning.
Somewhat decided on a course of action, Micah rolled out of bed and picked up his phone. There were two messages, one from Pen and one from Simon. His mother hadn't called in more than a week, saying that she planned on being very busy and would call him, rather than have him call and not reach her. Getting worried, he promised himself to call her in the morning if she still hadn't gotten in touch. Jenny's schedule was unknown to him, so he needed to wait on their mother.
Pen called to invite him out to some dinner given by Ryan's Agency. Micah didn't know whether he should go or not. He didn't have anything appropriate to wear for something like that. Of course, it would give him an excuse to stay away from Simon for one night. He might even be able to find time to talk about the whole Simon situation with Pen at some point.
The second message, from Simon, decided him to accept the invitation to join Pen and Ryan. Simon apologized, saying that he had a previous appointment that he couldn't cancel. He said he would still love to meet with him later, but didn't know when he would get home and should probably go straight home to get some sleep.
The phone rang in his hands and he smiled to see his cousin's name appear. "Hi Pen. I'd love to go to this dinner with you guys. How fancy is this thing, because I really didn't think to pack all my formal wear." His voice made it clear he was teasing, even if there was a thread of seriousness beneath.
"Don't worry about a thing, cousin o'mine. Ryan is on his way to pick you up as we speak. He'll bring you here and I have a few things that should fit you, even if you are a tiny bit bigger than I am. We have almost two hours to make you look absolutely fabulous, in a tasteful, understated way of course."
"That sure of me, were you? Well, you were right; my plans for this evening were cancelled not long after you left your message." Micah smiled at the pleased sound his cousin made over the phone. "I'll shower and dress quickly so Ryan doesn't have to wait for me too long."
Micah jumped into the shower and hurriedly washed himself up. His hair should have plenty of time to dry before they left for the dinner, and if not, he would just dry it later. He chose a pair of ratty jeans and a too-tight shirt for the quick trip to Pen's apartment and went outside to wait for Ryan to pick him up.
Leaning on the wall beside his door, Micah looked up at the sky, still blue with only a few puffy white clouds. He loved summertime, when the days were longer and he enjoyed a semblance of normality. Well, what passed as normal for most people. Micah loved sunlight and often pushed even his own limits to take advantage of it. Even so, his skin reflected no knowledge of the sun. He saw this most clearly when sitting with Pen, whose skin held a honey-tint his own lacked. Micah looked pale and pasty, white and unhealthy. It proclaimed his status more clearly than anything else could.
As a young child, his mother and father lectured him many times on the chances he took with his life. His father often needed to race him home or his skin would have felt the burning kiss of the sun. It took until he was nearly twelve before he understood his limitations. Micah couldn't understand until then that just because he could stand the sun part of the day, didn't mean he was safe all the time. More confusion came when he learned that other nightwalkers couldn't stand even the slightest hint.
Eventually he learned the truth, managed to keep his difference to other nightwalkers a closely guarded secret and didn't take the same kinds of chances. Most of the time. When he went for runs, however, he sometimes still waited until the last possible moment before the dash home.
"Well, if I wasn't seeing it with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it," a familiar voice drawled from off to his left, the direction of the main parking lot. Jack sauntered closer, eyes narrowed in anger. "You shouldn't have left me, Micah. You should have known that Becky meant nothing to me compared to you."
What the Hell was fucking Jack Lancelot Miller doing here in Rutherford? Micah took a deep breath and fought to show no reaction after his initial start of surprise. "We were over anyway, Jack. Seeing you with Becky just ensured there wasn't a scene. I got fired from my job and I knew you wouldn't want me around if I wasn't working. You made that clear enough, often enough."
"We were not over. I was charged with keeping watch over you, and I will keep up with my duty until I'm told otherwise." Jack grabbed hold of Micah's arm in a tight grip as he spoke. Micah could have easily shaken him off, but he was too stunned for the moment to think clearly.
"Charged? Who charged you? What are you talking about, Jack?"
"Damn, I shouldn't have said that. It doesn't matter now, I guess. Your grandfather wanted to know about your activities and your location, and he hired me for the job. He doesn't think it wise for you to associate with the riff raff in this town, even if they are relatives. He wishes you home, so you will pack up your things and come with me."
Micah didn't feel that deserved an answer and wrenched his arm away. Although he had no feelings for Jack anymore, the fact that at one time he'd almost loved a man who was with him only because of his grandfather sickened him. Had Jack never felt anything for him at all? Was he only playing a part? Did his grandfather take advantage of an existing relationship, or did he manipulate the whole thing?
Growling deep in his throat, both wanting to know the truth and afraid of hearing what the truth was, Micah stalked towards the front of the building. He hoped Ryan arrived soon so he could leave. Tonight he would check out of the motel and hope that Jack and his grandfather didn't find him again. Perhaps he could convince Ryan to rent the room so nobody could trace him with his name.
His previous association with Jack was his undoing. Jack was not harsh or violent at all during their relationship, which spanned a little more than fifteen months, so he didn't really expect anything. Micah allowed the hand on his arm to turn him about, although he did intend to pull away immediately. What came next, however, shocked him once more into immobility.
Cursing beneath his breath, Jack punched Micah in the stomach, then brought his knee up to clip Micah's chin. The blow caused his teeth to bite into his tongue and the taste of his own blood flooded his mouth. The wounds closed instantly, of course, but the sting of pain lasted longer as he remained doubled over, spitting out the blood instinctively. Fury caused Micah's blood to boil and he slowly straightened, locking his eyes on the man who suddenly took on the aspect of prey.
Micah should have been afraid of the instincts that took him over and demanded he rip out the throat of the pathetic human who dared lay hands on him. He wasn't afraid because those instincts turned him into little more than a monster, overruling the conscience and morals instilled by a lifetime of lessons at the hands of his mother and father.
Perhaps if he saw his reflection, he would have been able to stop his hand, which shot out before either man could blink to wrap itself around Jack's vulnerable throat. His eyes changed reflect the bloodlust overtaking him, bright red bleeding from the pupil to stain the whites. His fangs grew to lengths they'd never known, razor-sharp and ready to rend and tear delicate flesh. His fingernails grew into curved claws, which dimpled the skin beneath them, making sure his prey couldn't escape.
Not even the dreadful hiss, a sound he never made before in his life, penetrated the fog of the beast. Micah brought his arm in, almost dragging Jack towards him, moving slowly to make sure the other knew exactly what was going to happen. The fear and terror in those blue eyes made him want to roar in triumph. That he was bound, certain to die if his fangs broke the skin and tasted blood, didn't enter his mind.
In all, from the time Jack first punched Micah to the moment the two of them were a breath apart from one another, little more than twenty seconds passed, if that much. Something caught Micah's attention just before he leaned forward the last little bit. He paused, cocking his head to the side to see if he needed to defend his meal from another. What he heard was his name, spoken calmly but with underlying authority. It was enough, barely, to begin bringing him back to himself.
"Micah. Micah, it's Ryan. Please, you don't want to do this. Let him go and let me take care of him for you. I've already called it in and someone will be here very soon. If you do this, you'll die and Pen will never forgive me. Think of your mother and your sister, Micah and let the man go. I saw how he attacked you, I know you're only defending yourself, but you need to calm yourself."
The words wrapped around Micah and began to soothe him. The rapid beat of his heart slowed and the mist of rage drained from his vision. Ryan kept talking, repeating the same words in a chant, talking him down. Micah felt the tenseness drain from his body and allowed his fingers to relax their hold from Jack's throat. Small droplets of blood welled up, but the damage was minimal and would heal quickly. Nearly two minutes passed before Micah felt like himself again and the realization of his actions nearly crushed him.
He wanted to run away. He wanted to rip out his own heart and end his existence. To know how lost to himself he'd been scared him more than he could imagine. Micah didn't run away, or do anything more than fall to his knees and hide his face in his hands. How could he ever trust himself again? What would happen next time he lost his temper, if there was no one around to help him calm down? The only consolation was that if he did lose his temper and tried to attack someone, he would die, hopefully before causing any serious injury.
"Micah, come with me now, I'll take you to Pen so he can fuss over you."
Ryan spoke in a low voice, not afraid of him, not condemning him, and it was too much. With a keening cry, Micah began to cry, throwing himself at his cousin's husband. Those strong arms wrapped around him without hesitation and he felt safe. He loved Ryan, not in any carnal way, but like a brother or a best friend.
"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry Ryan," he sobbed, allowing himself to be urged upright. "It happened so quickly and I couldn't do anything to stop it. What if you hadn't come? I could have killed him. Now I understand why people are afraid of nightwalkers, why they've always been afraid of me, even though I never did anything before tonight."
"No, don't think like that. You are a good man, Micah. Everyone loses their temper from time to time, especially when they're provoked."
"But I wasn't even myself anymore! I became something less than human, a beast living on instinct and thirsting for death and blood." Ryan held him tight for several more moments, until his sobs faded and his body stopped shaking. "I never want to feel that way again."
"Then I'm sure, now that you know the possibility exists, you will find another way to manage your anger. If you can, what can you tell me about this man? Why did he attack you?"