Dark Paths Ch. 03bySadieRose©
CHAPTER THREE -- A NEW MORNING
© Sadie Rose Bermingham & Bellora Quinn, 2008
"Welcome to Part Three of 'Dark Paths' the continuing evolution of Rayne & Xavier's passionate and bloody relationship. Many Thanks to all the people who've taken time to let us know how they feel about the story. You keep us going.
"The usual copyright restrictions apply. All words belong to Sadie and Bellora (with the exception of the lyrics to 'Shake That' which are the intellectual property of Marshall B Mathers III, Nathaniel D Hale, Steven Lee King and Luis Edgrado Resto - © songs of universal inc. & shroom shady music, 2005). No unauthorised reproduction or redistribution of this material is allowed, in any format. Ask, or incur our wrath (and as our partners will probably tell you, our wrath is not a thing to be lightly incurred or easily recovered from!!)
Xavier woke in a pile of warm blankets feeling slightly hung over. Which was weird because he hadn't been drinking last night. Still, he was dehydrated as hell, his tongue felt glued to the roof of his mouth. The thought of a tall glass of icy orange juice was enough to send a shiver down his spine. A glance to either side showed he was alone in the room.
Disentangling himself from the covers he also noticed he was sticky with dried sweat and other fluids. Fortunately he already knew where the shower was. Getting there, on the other hand, proved alarmingly difficult. Blood loss and getting fucked raw all night had taken quiet a bit out of him. Still, he was young and healthy and the hot water pouring over his body quickly revived him.
Soapy white lines trailed down his golden skin and rinsed down the drain. His sore ass reminded him he'd definitely played the roll of slutty twink to perfection. Damn Clay and his big dick anyway, he could keep that monster to himself. He shut the water off and got out, drying himself with one of those big fluffy towels in front of the mirror. Lifting his chin to one side he looked at his throat. There were two barely noticeable dimples in his skin; he had to look hard to even see them. No bruising, not even a hickey! That was something anyway, after Rayne had treated him like a friggin' Red Cross Happy Meal.
Xavier stopped his thoughts short and looked in the mirror. Where the hell was all this grumpy crap coming from? He hardly ever indulged in getting down on himself. He wasn't a brooder. He finished drying himself, pulled a comb through his drying curls and then walked back out into the bedroom.
Leather was never comfortable first thing in the morning, but he didn't feel right going through someone else's drawers so he wriggled back into his pants, the leather instantly moulding to him like a second skin. He left the fishnet shirt and boots on the floor and wandered downstairs barefoot, following his nose toward the kitchen. By the time he got there he didn't want OJ any more, he was craving strong black coffee
The kitchen - source of the aroma that drew him on - was set within a large, airy, open-plan breakfast room with the utilities and steel fronted cabinets at one end and a balcony with a view down to the (currently mist-shrouded) waters of the Bay at the other. The textured grey tiles were warm underfoot, as if heated from somewhere below. The white, vaulted ceiling and walls arched up over his head, twinkling with recessed lights that gave the whole room its bright aspect.
A young Latino man was currently at work on the griddle, flipping eggs and frying bacon and other variously delicious smelling things. He was naked, from the low waistband of his pale blue jeans up, with a long black pony-tail and an impressive tan. Clay was at the coffee maker, a glass and chrome contraption as large as a suitcase that looked like a futuristic nuclear powerstation in miniature. He was fully dressed in pale slacks and an open shirt and looking infuriatingly fresh considering the exertions of the previous night. Wetness from the shower still glinted in his close cropped, ivory hair and he was whistling cheerfully.
On the balcony in a comfortable looking leather wing chair was an older man clad in a knee-length white towel robe. He was lean and solemn faced with long, salt and pepper hair drawn back in a loose bunch at the nape of his neck. Currently the newspapers open across his lap claimed his full attention. A pair of golden, wire-framed glasses perched on the prow of his impressive nose.
Of the singer, Rayne Wylde there was no sign at all.
Xavier moved from the arched doorway into the room.
"Good morning," he said to Clay, causing him to turn and look over his shoulder. A small somewhat hesitant smiled touched Xav's lips. Morning was always a tricky time. He'd had declarations of love, propositions from sugar daddies, and been told to get the fuck out before wives or girlfriends got home; the last more often then not. He didn't really expect that from Clay, but you never knew. If he was about to get tossed out he hoped he'd at least be able to snag a cup of coffee first, and breakfast smelled damn good.
"Hey honey!" the muscular black guy greeted him with what looked like a genuine smile. "Don't 'you' look great in the morning? You want breakfast or just something to drink while you check out Chavez's ass?"
He winked at the young Latino who seemed to be in charge of food. The lean, firmly muscled youth at the griddle blew him a kiss without missing a flip.
The bit of tension in Xavier's shoulders eased and his smile grew a little more relaxed. "Coffee would be great," he said, coming further into the room. The guy at the grill looked up casually, then back down at the food but his head came quickly back up for a longer look. Xavier tried not to smirk as he took the proffered mug from Clay.
"Thanks." He sipped tentatively, then drank deeper as the rich flavour of dark roast slid over his tongue. Xavier sighed appreciatively. Dappled morning light streamed in though the window, playing off the highlights of gold in his dark blond hair and sliding over his smooth skin. Not even a hint of shadow touched his cheeks and the only thing that saved him from looking like total jailbait right at that moment was the cut little body he sported and the cocky confidence he wore like a badge of honour.
Chavez the chef seemed to appreciate it for sure. He was not the only one discreetly checking Xavier out though. From the balcony he now became aware of the steely blue eyes watching him contemplatively over the lip of the San Francisco Chronicle. The face that framed that watchful gaze was one of those ageless visages that could have belonged to a man of forty or eighty. The fading colours of his long, straight hair suggested an older man but there was a twinkle in his eyes that belied it right away.
Those blue eyes only left Xavier's face when Clay returned to the table and set down a bowl-sized cup of black coffee by the fellow's right hand. Xavier's bed mate bent and kissed the top of the older man's head, murmuring something briefly to him as he released the cup and saucer. The older guy, whose build still vaguely hinted that once there had been a fairly buff and well-worked body beneath his loose robe, now lifted a hand to touch Clay's cheek affectionately before returning his attention to Xavier.
"Don't stand there like a stork," he said at last, beckoning to the blond boy. His accent carried faint traces of Ireland and Europe, interwoven with a Bay Area drawl. "You're making my neck ache. Come and sit down, let's get a better look at you."
Clay was already taking a seat to the fellow's left, with his back to the balcony railing and he pushed the opposite chair back towards Xavier with his foot now in a lazy approximation of an invite.
Xavier stepped outside with his coffee in hand. The air held just a bit of crispness this morning, tightening his skin and making his smooth nipples into little pebbles. He sat in the offered chair and set the mug down. Putting one elbow on the table so he could rest his chin on his palm he gazed at the older man with sexy half-lidded eyes.
"Getting a better look?" His lips curled; not exactly flirtatious, just knowing.
"I could look at you all day, Baby," the older man assured him with a smile that was just as calculating as Xavier's. "You're a sight for sore eyes."
He sat back, folding his paper and resting it on the corner of the table. Long, tanned fingers pushed his glasses up into his salt and pepper hair.
"I've seen you before," he said at last. "You dance at... Switchbacks is it? You're a great little mover."
Clay was grinning like the Cheshire Cat behind a glass of fresh juice.
That actually managed to surprise Xavier. He wasn't sure quite how to respond but was saved from having to do so as Chavez brought out a large tray piled high with food. He set it down in the centre of the table and placed plates and silverware in front of everyone.
"Help yourself, sweetheart." Clay said. "Keep your strength up." He winked conspiratorially.
Xav was not shy when it came to food. He had a bottomless pit for a stomach and kept pace with Clay no problem, eating as much as the much larger man. When he finally slowed down to nibbling on a piece of toast Clay had to chuckle. "Were you on the verge of starvation, or do you eat like that all the time?"
Xavier shrugged, "If I don't eat like that I start dropping pounds. The customers want to look at cut, not scrawny." He took another little bite of toast and dropped the crust back on the plate. "Um, where did Rayne go, by the way?" he asked, licking the traces of butter from his fingers.
The other two men exchanged a knowing look. Clay reached for some more toast and the bowl of kedgeree in order to avoid having to actually speak. His companion just smiled and shook his head.
"Mizz Wylde is a law unto herself," he said mysteriously. I believe she had an appointment this morning. Something to do with a TV show?" He looked a question at Clay, who shrugged roundly, mouth still full.
"Uhuhh," he answered ambiguously.
The older man held out his hand at last.
"We haven't been introduced," he said with an apologetic smile. "I'm PJ... or Paddy, I don't mind which. This is my house and a part of my film studio. Rayne is staying with me while he's in Frisco... 'if' you were thinking of hanging around 'til he comes back?"
Xavier wandered around the room slowly; nothing else to do at the moment. He'd been given leave to do what he liked, watch TV, listen to the stereo, whatever. Right now he was just checking things out. Whoever PJ's designer was had good taste. Dark wood floors, over sized furniture in cream and brown with gold and blue accents, nice art on the walls, no cheap shit. Everything spotlessly clean.
The plasma screen took up nearly the whole of one wall, the rest of the electronics were discreetly tucked away behind panelling and glass doors. The speakers must be hidden in the walls somewhere. Very neat!
He turned when he heard the soft pad of feet coming into the room. Not who he expected; Chavez smiled at him, even white teeth brilliant against his tanned skin.
"Just checking if you need anything."
Chavez sat on the arm of the couch, watching Xavier as he resumed his slow meander about the room. "Barclay says you're staying a while."
Xavier glanced at him but didn't say anything.
"Do you want me to send someone to pick up a few things, something else to wear?" the young Latino enquired, the polite edge to his voice suggesting that this had maybe been someone else's idea.
Xav looked down at himself, bare except for the tight leather pants. "Don't like what I've got on?" he asked dryly.
Chavez grinned. "You can walk around naked for all I care, only thinking of your comfort, man."
"Hmm, I suppose I should go get a few things."
"You can go shopping if you want, I'm sure Barclay wouldn't mind if..."
"No thanks." Xavier cut him off flatly.
Chavez only grinned wider at that. "No need to be proud, man."
"Nope, I'm just not a whore."
Chavez snorted softly, but the smile he gave him was a little more genuine. "You clean?"
Xavier stopped his wandering and turned to face him. "I look like a junkie to you?"
"Maybe. Hard to tell sometimes."
It was Xavier's turn to snort, but he answered; "Yeah, I'm clean. Not that you should believe me if I wasn't."
Chavez grinned at him, unfazed. "Well, I don't believe nothin' til I seen the tests, but Clay trusts you well enough to do you bareback. But then if you take a guy you've only just met without a rubber there's some that would say you're asking for an invite to hell... or lookin' to dish it out!" He fished a set of keys from the pocket of his snug jeans and twirled them around his index finger adding as an afterthought; "Is PJ right? Are you a dancer?"
Xavier arched a brow at him, "Now, why is it that you know such intimate little details, but not the big ones, I wonder?" No answer seemed forthcoming, but he did manage to make those dark eyes look a little uncertain. "Yeah, I work at a club. Let's go!"
Xavier gave directions as Chavez drove. The little motel dive he'd been holing up in for the last couple days looked even more bleak in the bright light of day. At least the car was less likely to disappear from the lot. Chavez looked like he didn't want to get too comfortable while Xavier went about stuffing some things into a bag.
"Nice place." Chavez said dryly.
Back in the car Xav pulled out his cell and listened to the messages that had piled up. Josh had left a dozen; everything from pleading to threatening to taunting. He deleted them all and put the phone away. His mood had shifted though, and he was quiet and pensive during the drive back.
"You okay, man?" Chavez asked him at last, stroking his fingers distractedly around the tactile swell of the gear-shift on PJ's convertible Lexus SC 430 as he stared ahead through the tinted lenses of his shades. "I wasn't meaning to run you down over the room or anything. We all been through lean times, y'know? If you need a hand up..."
He left the invitation open, perhaps remembering how defensive Xav had been about the offer to go shopping. All the same he glanced at the blond beside him with a quick, reassuring smile.
Xavier turned his head slowly to look at him. "I picked the rat hole because I got kicked out of where I was staying, and just haven't decided what I want to do yet, not because I can't afford better," he said evenly. "I already told you, I'm not for rent, an' I didn't try an' hustle your friends."
Chavez shrugged. "Okay man."
Xavier sighed tiredly. The little dimple marks on the side of his throat itched and he rubbed them. He got the oddest sensation, sort of like a mix between sexual desire and wanting a fix... that same kind of craving, that made it hard to concentrate on anything else. He hadn't had that feeling in a long time, and it made him a little twitchy. He took his hand away from the bite mark and the feeling died down a bit.
They rode in silence for a while, then Chavez asked, "That one that left all the messages, he the one that kicked you out?" It had been hard not to listen, the angry voice had been pretty loud while Xavier checked his 'phone.
"No. He's the 'reason' I got kicked out," Xavier answered miserably. "Stupid bastard."
Xavier gave him a look. "Are you always so damn nosy?"
Chavez gave him that unfazed look and Xavier had the feeling it made a lot of people want to just smack the shit out of him.
He put his hand on his chin and looked out the window. "It's a long story. Don't know exactly what happened. Josh and I have history, but I dumped him. He showed up at the club a couple days ago, said he wanted to talk. I think he must have slipped me something, I don't know. He says I asked him for it. I woke up at his place and my whole world was fucked. Everybody's pissed at me."
The Hispanic guy tapped his fingers lightly on the steering wheel as if listening to an inner tune. He shook his head slowly, still watching the traffic.
"Were you... with someone, in a relationship? Is that what he fucked over?" he asked carefully. "Is that why you weren't playing safe with Barclay and Wylde last night? You figured you'd nothing to lose?"
Xavier did the slow head turn again and looked at Chavez. He didn't glance back at him this time, just kept his eyes on the road.
Xavier sighed. "Yeah, I was with someone. I've been with Kat for almost three years. Never cheated on her, stayed clean." He chewed his thumbnail absently. "I didn't know what happened with Josh, I couldn't deny what I couldn't remember. So, she dumped me. I thought maybe I would just let her cool off, go back and try an' explain." Xavier snorted derisively. "It took me a few days to figure out that I hadn't just decided to take a little trip on my own. I was gonna call Katya and try and talk to her but before I did Josh really fucked things up for me. That motherfucker took pictures of us, of 'me', of what I did that night, off my head, with a bunch of other guys. He sent them to her, and she blocked my calls." He sighed again, resigned. "So, she won't have anything to do with me, and that dumb fuck keeps calling thinkin' I'm gonna go running back to him or something." He turned to look out the window again, falling quiet for a moment. "Could be worse I guess. I went and got tested, poked, prodded and cultured. Least they didn't give me nothing."
The Hispanic youth nodded his head thoughtfully. He did not seem riled by Xavier's response though and only mused; "Yeah, I figured something like that. I'm not judgin' you man. But you wouldn't be the first. I'm not worried for Wylde; that dude thinks he's fuckin' immortal. Batshit crazy, if you ask me! But Clay's my buddy, I owe him my life and I don't wanna think some kid's gonna mess him up. Maybes you'll find out if you choose to stick around, but we look out for one another at PJ's. 'kay?"
The cab took Rayne Wylde down to the Embarcadero and he walked back up from there towards the Channel 7 studios on Front Street, mostly because he needed to clear his head after the hectic events of the previous day. He had spent nearly twenty minutes in the shower this morning, just letting the hot water stream over him, washing away the stickiness of last night's urgent, fabulous sex. Harder to shift was the lingering awareness of the young dancer's fragmented memories. He was still shuddering as he got out of the shower cubicle and roughly towelled himself down. The boy's recollections had triggered his own dark thoughts of his youth and Brian; memories he thought he had buried firmly when he became a vampire but that still surfaced to trouble him from time to time.
At least the early sunlight was bright and warm this morning, maybe the walk would heat his blood up and instil some positive vibes. He could not let the past weigh him down today. It had been a long time since he was last on TV; this concession would cheer up the Board at SOLD who were about to release a retrospective Whipsnade B-side collection; Destiny Reversed. The band had already vetoed the idea of a singles collection, viewing it as a sign that they were irrevocably over. Destiny Reversed was their compromise position. Not that any of them seemed particularly interested in getting off their arses to promote it. Oh no, that was all Rayne's job, or so it seemed.
This morning he would do a short interview for one of the ABC media shows and record a couple of solo Whipsnade flip-sides. He didn't really mind. It might even be a bit of a laugh. Hardly anyone in the USA knew who Whipsnade were in any case!
Lan, a cheerful Sino-American boy with narrow hips and sleek, indigo coloured hair, took Rayne up to the recording studio, cooing enthusiastically over his long, tailored, black-velvet McQueen coat. In make-up a teenage girl named Chelsea messed with his floppy, sable hair and gushed endlessly about his 'fabulous skin'. His eyes flickered restlessly from her copper curls to her perky, braless tits. Chelsea's nipples were like ball-bearings under the fine material of her tight, low-cut magenta jersey. They rose and fell before his eyes every time she paused for breath and he wondered idly what they would taste like.