Dark Paths Ch. 01bySadieRose©
"This is a novel written in collaboration over the past 12 months or so with the lovely Bellora Quinn, who writes her own delicious tales of the lovely Xavier and his friends. (Check out my profile if you want to know more)
"The usual terms apply; copyright for Dark Paths belongs to Sadie and Bellora. Do not take, copy, reproduce or link to this story for any reason without permission from ourselves, or we will come after you with big sticks and make you cry. Enjoy!" -- Sadie xxx
Xavier got a look at the crowd from backstage. Packed! They had to be over capacity. Switchbacks was doing better then good, it was the new 'hot' spot in the city. The Friday and Saturday night shows brought the people in, the strippers joining in the after-show kept them there. It was a good combination for the club and brought in a mixed crowd.
Xavier's newest routine was so popular Zeph was having him perform it both nights. He had first heard the track on a download from the internet; the band, Whipsnade was from the UK, they had split a few years back but the sound was still raw and sexual enough to put the routine straight into his head. In addition the singer was hot enough to make him think of sex even without the bonus of his music. The combined sensuality of the song and the dance Xav had created was a perfect counterpoint to the high energy and sex appeal of the main show.
The lights went down and Xavier moved out onto the stage. Usually a few layers of clothes were part of every routine, the peeling down was a slow building up to the climax. For this song though, the clothes, or removal of them, was almost inconsequential. The whole dance was a tease. The long-sleeve black fishnet shirt showed more than it hid, and the 'painted-on' leather pants were laced up the sides loosely enough to show a line of skin from hip to ankle.
The first chords of the song slid out over the crowd and Xavier moved with the music like honey poured from a jar. The clothes came off, the money came in and, not for the first time, Xav was very happy he'd found that video of Whipsnade.
"You just gotta see this, man. You'll flip!" Former international porn superstar, now director and agent, Barclay Johnson Francis had a grin on his dark, handsome face that lit up the gloom of the rain-washed street. His lean, ebony-haired companion had allowed himself to be led down this narrow, ill-lit passageway, assured that the Lexus was too wide and there was no-where to turn around at the bottom. He had been in more dangerous cities than San Francisco, he supposed. And if there had been any trouble, he was more than capable of getting himself out of it these days; even 'before' any potential assailant set eyes on his companion. Clay had always been a big guy but now he was a wall of solid muscle. Somehow his casual suit jacket and pants still seemed elegant on him and he moved with a dancer's grace in spite of his bulk. He wore his hair close cropped and bleached blond these days. Rayne Wylde had no complaints. He was used to turning heads but they got double the attention tonight. Clay was well known in San Francisco's gay quarter and clearly his companion for the evening was causing a bit of a stir. Even though Rayne's band had never been huge in the States, people in this part of the city knew who he was. A little huddle of them followed the big black actor and the svelte, raven-haired, English singer down towards the entrance to the club that was their destination for the night.
The doorstaff were coolly efficient and they were ushered in without having to wait and shown at once to a table in a booth that was already crowded, with a good view of the stage. They were set up for an imminent performance. Rayne had caught a glimpse of dancers on the raised platforms as they came in and now he managed a slightly disparaging laugh as Clay settled in the seat opposite.
"Cage dancing?" he queried dryly. "I thought you were trying to shock me, babe. You'll have to try harder than that."
Clay said nothing but his grin grew wider as the MC made introductions and the music began to swirl through the darkness of the club, silencing the chattering audience and drawing their eyes steadily back to the stage. A few still glanced up towards the table where he and Clay were sitting and Rayne suddenly realised why. It had taken his travel-fogged mind a little while to realise why the music was familiar.
"That's..." he began, lifting an imperious finger towards the stage.
"Shhh..." Clay reached out and caught his hand, drawing it back down to the table, focussing him. "I told you you'd freak, man!"
Down below them on the stage, a lean figure melted from the shadows, pretty much as he always used to do himself. Dark Paths had been a traditional Whipsnade show-opener and as Rayne settled back in his seat to watch the kid dance he figured that it still sounded pretty good nearly ten years since he'd written it. And the visual accompaniment was quite a treat as well.
There was something weird about the vibe of the crowd tonight. Xavier could feel it creep along his skin as he danced, something expectant, anticipatory; an excited atmosphere that was two notches above normal. The set was coming to an end, he was down to the doeskin coloured thong that matched his skin so perfectly it might as well have not been there. Xavier was already moving toward the back of the dais when a girl from the audience managed to get up on stage with a boost from her friends.
Security was good but she was fast and she reached Xavier before they reached her. There were any number of choices Xavier could have picked, but he was a pro and he never passed an opportunity to play to the crowd. He let her put her arms around his neck. With a half turn he bent her back toward the crowd far enough that her hair nearly touched the floor and everyone got a great shot of the cleavage on display. With a comic leer he pantomimed a lick between the valley of those pert little tits and heard the noise level go up a couple decibels with shrieks and whoops.
Security finally got their asses over to him and pulled the girl off. It would have been perfect except she didn't want to let go. She'd gotten her hands wrapped around his forearms and when they pried her fingers off her nails left little half moon impressions, a couple of them so deep she actually drew blood.
Xavier's smile stayed in place though until he was safely out of view backstage.
"Jesus Christ, Rodney!" he bitched at the security guy that had stayed with him while the other hauled the girl out. "Could you move your ass any fuckin' slower?"
"Hey, don't blame me, you're the one let her get her claws in you." Rod said blandly.
"I'm gonna need a goddamn tetanus shot or something." Xav examined the twin trickles of blood running down his arm as he walked to the dressing room.
In the end, Rayne watched mesmerised with his elbows propped on the rail around the booth and his long fingered hands folded under his chin as if in prayer as the pale, sinuous boy writhed and disrobed on the stage below. His ice-green, unblinking gaze followed every slow undulation of muscle and flesh with silent, fascinated appreciation. Clay watched the singer in turn, a quiet chuckle escaping his lips. His young friend was every bit as engrossed as Clay had imagined he might be. It was a pity that PJ was not up to this. The Irishman would have enjoyed the sight of the young dancer giving his all, almost literally, on the stage.
When the girl scrambled up from the crowd and lunged for the sexy little stripper, Clay laughed appreciatively and shook his head. Rayne licked his lips ever so slowly as he watched the boy bend her back down towards the stage. He was forced to draw his lips between his teeth to hide the extension of his fangs as the dancer leaned forward over her in a suggestive pose, apparently running his tongue into her exposed cleavage. The boy's hair tumbled forward over her neck, hiding his real intent but he pressed her back so far that her nipples escaped the confines of her tight, tiny strapless top. Rayne caught his breath, not sure what he wanted most, the girl or the boy. The young man on the stage was coiled over her so that his spine arched and the watching Vampire could count every vertebra of his back, all the way down between the firm globes of his delicious arse. The thought of stroking gently with his tongue into that smooth, waxed cleft, then turning to suck on the girl's prominent tits almost caused his cock to jump out of the waistband of his low-cut pants.
When she drove her nails into the soft flesh of his arms he had to look away. He was close enough to smell fresh blood, even above the sweat and perfume of the crowd. It was a scent that called to his damned soul. The flavour of life!
"Hot stuff, yeah?" Clay called out to him over the fading strains of the music on the club's PA and the shrieks and whistles of the audience.
Rayne nodded his head rapidly, unable to deny it. He had come here tonight not thinking of where his next meal would come from. Now the lure of blood was reeling him in.
"Wanna go back-stage and press some flesh?" Clay asked and his companion turned his head, looking at him rather strangely. The unblinking emerald gaze was almost hungry.
"You can get us in there?" Rayne asked huskily.
"If you want," Clay laughed more awkwardly. "And you look like you want! Hey, I know a guy who knows a guy who works for the cats that run this joint. I'm sure I can get us back there."
"What's his name?" Rayne asked, his face devoid of expression. He was looking back down at the now-empty stage again.
"The guys call him Xav," Clay answered, pushing himself to his feet. "So, d'you wanna go down and say hi?"
Rayne Wylde rose with him, and his feral smile was answer enough.
Xavier washed the little cuts on his arm in the sink at the back of the dressing room. The bleeding had already pretty much stopped. Part of him still wanted to be pissy about it, but he couldn't help laughing when Rodney observed, "Well, you know that little hell-cat would leave scars down your back."
A knock on the door pulled Rodney away while Xav dried off with paper towels. He went to get dressed, only half-hearing the conversation going on at the door. He'd managed to wriggle into the leather pants just before Rod let whoever it was in. Christ, didn't that asshole know his job was to keep the crowd out where they belonged? He shot Rod a look over his shoulder that 'said' he was an asshole, but when he turned around his stage face was back in place, hands on his hips, the lacing of his fly only halfway done. The pose oozed sex and the look suggested you just might have a chance.
His eyes were drawn to the big guy first, which was pure preservation. You didn't let a mountain walk in without at least checking it out. His eyes lingered a little longer just because he was so striking with his dark skin and blond head, even though he was older than Xavier normally liked them. Then he looked at the guy that had come in with him, and froze. His jaw didn't exactly drop but his expression went from friendly tease to something approaching shocked surprise. He knew exactly who was standing in front of him; was intimately familiar with that cool, lime-green gaze from the internet video to Dark Paths.
"Holy shit!" Xavier exhaled, with his typical eloquence and a charming grin to match.
The pale gaze never wavered for a moment but the sensuous, full-lipped mouth below it curved in a slight, appreciative smile at the younger man's impulsive exclamation.
"Unholy Shit, even!" Rayne Wylde remarked in a quiet, smoky tone that was unexpectedly lower in timbre than his singing voice. "You know, didn't have to get dressed specially; although the look suits you."
The singer, in turn, was wearing a fitted black shirt with a hemline that stopped short of his waistband and had the long fingers of both hands tucked into the front pockets of his tight jeans, braced over the eye-catching swell of his crotch. Rayne was not as tall as Xav had imagined he might be from the video, probably only about 5'7", although he made up for the lack of height by way of his other attributes. His expression gave nothing away but he had a strikingly attractive face, a good complexion that didn't need stage make-up, although he 'was' wearing a few strokes of kohl and a shimmer of lip-gloss. He exuded a peculiar confidence that made onlookers take a step back. Somehow his slight stature was easy to overlook in the aura of self-assurance that enveloped him.
Long-lashed blue eyes slid over Rayne in a brief caress. The Englishman's voice was still sexy as hell, even more so with the edgy accent that you couldn't fully hear when he was singing. Xavier's plans for the evening abruptly changed.
"I was just getting ready to leave..."
"What?!" Rodney butted in.
Xavier rather reluctantly took his eyes off Rayne to glance at Rod. "Yeah, well, the trauma of being mauled by the harpy and all that." He waved his hand dismissively toward the hapless security guard and finished lacing up the front of his pants.
Rod rolled his eyes. "Right. What about the second set?"
"Cal can fill in."
"Are you going to tell Zeph?"
Xavier grabbed the fishnet shirt and shimmied into it. "Nope, you are. You're the one that fucked up after all."
"Aw fer christsakes Xav, he's gonna be pissed."
"He'll get over it. Not every day inspiration shows up in person." Xavier looked back at Rayne as he quickly crammed his feet into his boots. "Want to go get a drink somewhere not quite so crowded?" he invited.
Rodney was rolling his eyes again. "I can't even believe you. You're such a little dick."
Xavier was already walking toward Rayne and his enormous friend. "Not what your girlfriend was sayin' last night!" he shot back over his shoulder, and then his attention was all for Rayne again. "C'mon. If we go out the back we can avoid most of the droolers."
"Are you gonna get some shit off your boss for this?" Rayne asked, with more than a hint of humour in his quiet voice as he kept pace with Xavier in the passage behind the club. It was dark out here but he barely seemed to notice. His eyes hardly left the lean body of the young dancer, his fingertips maintained a gentle contact with Xavier's arm, just about where the girl from the audience had clawed him. Clay followed a bare pace behind them, shaking his head at the turn of events.
Xavier gave a low chuckle, "I make him too much money for him to give me any real shit." He glanced sidelong at Rayne. It was all just a little surreal, like a fantasy come to life. He looked almost the same as he did in the video and Xavier felt a little stab of heat at the memory of just 'how' inspiring he'd found it. He leaned in a little, so he was closer to Rayne's ear, "Did you like the show?"
There, that was subtler than 'can I fuck you stupid when we get to your car?'
The singer carried on stroking the backs of his fingers possessively up and down Xavier's slender arm as they reached the end of the passage and stepped out into the light where a sleek black Lexus convertible was still waiting for them.
"You were fuckin' hot out there," he answered in that soft, even voice that still made so many Whipsnade fans shiver when they heard it. "You could have had any woman you wanted from that crowd tonight."
"He's playing it cool, baby. He couldn't take his eyes off you," Clay laughed suggestively.
If Rayne Wylde was irritated by the attempt to undermine his casual manner, he did not show it. A small smile played about his lips and he kept his gaze on Xavier's arm, on the small patch of drying blood in the mesh of his shirtsleeve.
"I hope you've got permission from my publishing company to use Dark Paths," the singer said lazily, diverting the conversation as Clay opened the back doors of the immaculate convertible. "They'll come down on your head like a ton of bricks if they think you've skimmed them out of performance dues."
Xav smiled at the comment. Hard to tell if he was only teasing or if there was an undercurrent of peevishness in the tone.
"The club handles all the licensing requirements," he answered as he slid in next to Rayne. "They provide the entertainment, I'm just part of the decoration." He was busy trying to figure out Clay at the moment. He had pegged the guy as a possible bodyguard. A little well dressed for hired muscle but clothes didn't necessarily mean anything. Now he was reassessing that. Clay had climbed straight in the back with them and wasn't putting out that whole intimidation vibe for another thing, he looked too amused to be on a job. So, what was he? Just a friend... or more?
There was any number of inane questions floating around in Xavier's head. What was Rayne doing here? Had he heard about show or was it pure coincidence? How long was he in town for? Could he get a better look at the package he'd checked out discreetly in the dressing room?
What he said was, "I found a video of a concert where you were singing that song. The music was so sensual I had a routine for it almost before the song ended. And the lyrics are just raunchy enough for the crowd to eat it up."
This time the smile was more genuine, as Rayne Wylde settled beside him on the back seat with his elbow on the headrest so that his right hand draped down idly within touching distance of the young dancer's exposed nape. He caressed the exposed skin there as their driver gunned the engine and the car pulled smoothly away into the night.
Since leaving the club Rayne had maintained a light, physical contact with Xavier. He found it oddly comforting. Maybe it was the blood? He had grown to understand that he experienced shared emotions and even physical sensations with those who let him take their blood. A little shiver ran through him. If he was bonding with Xavier even before he had tasted the boy... he hardly dared to imagine the mind-blowing potential of making out with the sexy little dancer. And he was sure that he was not reading those signs incorrectly.
Xavier wanted him. And from the way he had been checking Clay out as they got into the car he was possibly up for a threesome. That idea had potential. He figured that the boy was too young to remember Clay's heyday in porn movies, although to many of Frisco's older gay men the handsome, black stud was an icon. Certainly everyone over thirty that they had met tonight knew him by name and a few of the youngsters did too.
"We used to start a lot of the shows with Dark Paths," Rayne murmured now, leaning close and keeping his voice low so that Xavier had to move towards him to hear his words. "It always did it for me! When we laid the first tracks down for it I remember thinking that I'd probably never write a better song. You did it justice tonight, sweetheart. It's not got me hard like that for years!"
Heat suddenly pooled in Xavier's middle. The little touches and brushes of Rayne's fingers tingled along his skin.
"Glad you liked the appetiser." His voice was already getting that husky timbre around the edges. This was nuts! He had met Rayne all of ten minutes ago but he hadn't been able to take his eyes off him for more than a couple seconds in that time span.
"Can I kiss you now?"
Without turning his head the singer let his pale eyes flicker briefly to meet Clay's and the huge black guy uttered a booming laugh and shook his head.
"Jesus, Wylde! I don't know how you do it but that's mighty impressive all the same! Even PJ couldn't pull them in that fast!" he chuckled.
Rayne's gaze was back on Xavier's expectant face now and he shifted slightly so that he could run his fingers through the fine downy hair at the back of the younger man's neck, cradling Xavier's head in his gentle hand. The other hand came up to cup the dancer's face, stroking the smooth heat of his cheek.