London Loves Ch. 10bySadieRose©
© Sadie Rose Bermingham and Bellora Quinn 2013
Finally here is chapter the tenth. I know... I know... it's been ages. Sadie has been unwell so the last few chapters will either come all together or sometime before the end of the century, who knows. Anyway... thanks to everyone that's patiently, or not so patiently waited. Hope you enjoy it.
The usual warnings apply. London Loves...? is a tale of the supernatural, so anything could happen, and occasionally does. It also has lots of yummy boys getting it on with one another so if that makes you sick, go read something else and don't give us grief about it, we aren't touched by your sensitive nature or inability to follow simple instruction!. Finally, to anyone that reproduces this nonsense anywhere on any other site, or even on this one, you are scum and we are not above hexing, so you should hopefully soon develop nasty swellings on your most intimate regions, which will amuse us no end.
By the time they'd trudged all the way back to the house it was getting dark and Xav was glad he'd grabbed a jacket before they'd left to explore the woods. Rayne seemed untroubled by the chill in the air, and strolled along with bared arms and the wind stirring his dark hair so that it swirled like a pall of smoke. He had reached down to curl his fingers through Xavier's as they walked, and from time to time he stopped in his tracks to turn and kiss his mate, unable to get enough of the pleasure of being alone with him, though he knew it could not last.
"Awrr... cute!" a rich Cornish burr drifted down to their ears as they approached the steps leading up to the rear of the sprawling mansion. Gabriel was perched on the wall, smoking a roll up and making gagging noises at them.
Rayne flicked the bird at the cheerful gypsy Were and shook his head. "Haven't you got a bone to dig up or something?"
Gabriel just laughed wickedly at him.
Xavier noticed something more than Gabriel's teasing. The shifter was wearing a lightweight jacket and boots. Not so unusual maybe, except Xav tended to notice little things, such as how people dressed. Gabriel hadn't been wearing shoes yesterday, or this morning around the house and there was only a slight chill in the air, even now. It certainly was not cold enough to need warmer clothes on inside. Xavier tilted his head as he looked up at the wolf.
"Have a nice walk?" he asked, not bothering to hide the suspicious tone.
Gabriel's smile widened a little bit, looking very white and toothy in the shadows, although he said nothing. If he was embarrassed about being caught out, it didn't show.
Xavier snorted; "Geez, you could at least have the decency to pretend you weren't spying again!"
"I wasn't," Gabriel said. "Not fer long anyway. Her Ladyship was getting a bit worried when it started getting dark. I was just making sure you two hadn't got lost."
"Uh-huh," Xav responded cynically. "Or maybe, you were hoping to see something more than just the two of us walking back. Perv!" The merest hint of a grin curved his lips with his accusation.
If he was feeling mellow enough to be light hearted about it, sadly his lover was not.
"If I catch you with your nose where it shouldn't be, I will rip the fucker off!" Rayne advised the Were coolly.
"Gotta catch me first," Gabriel told him, completely unfazed by this threat. "And I'd not put money on it!"
Rayne bristled. "Don't be so sure."
Gabriel's stance changed too, becoming slightly more menacing. "Anytime you wanna go, Deadboy."
"Stop it!" Xavier threw his hands up, eyes screwed shut with frustration. "Will you two just... Stop. Doing. That? It feels like I'm in a goddamn pressure cooker!"
For a moment the preternatural pair suspended hostilities, utterly taken aback by Xavier's interruption. Gabriel adopted an expression of studied contrition. Rayne reached out to put a hand on his lover's arm.
"I'm sorry sweetheart. He just riles me, that's all," he apologised, knowing as he said it that he was an idiot. Xavier had just explained to him how he was open to other people's unwanted hopes and fears and random stray emotions, here he was making it ten times worse.
"We get off on dissin' each other," Gabriel said cheekily. "It gives Deadboy there a proper boner, don't it?"
Rayne glared at him with a fire in his emerald eyes that could have melted the Eiffel Tower. But he kept his mouth shut.
Xavier sighed, rubbing his temple with one hand. He had not exaggerated. Listening to them sniping at one another was bad enough. Feeling their naked antagonism and barely repressed tension was seriously grating on his nerves.
"You two are like fuckin' kids on a playground, running up and pulling each other's pigtails." he muttered as he headed inside. He almost hoped they would just fuck and get it over with so maybe they could relax.
Rayne followed him in and Gabriel was right behind him after he snuffed the embers of his smoke.
Inside Xavier was assailed at once by two things that helped to bring his tension levels down a degree or three; an absolutely mouthwatering smell wafting from the kitchen, and some pop trash turned up loud on the sound system coming from the same direction. Xavier drifted that way as if pulled by a lure. He stopped in the doorway for a moment, a grin quirking his lips as he watched their host shimmying around the kitchen stirring various pots and pans on the stovetop to the tune of Lady Gaga's 'Love Game'.
His mood shifted again as he absorbed some of Dom's happy good-humour and he snickered and shook his head as the older man unselfconsciously sang along with the refrain, "...lets have some fun, this beat is sick, I wanna take a ride on your disco stick." Xav could just imagine whose disco stick Dom wanted to ride.
This time he didn't mind so much the way his emotions changed as he was pulled in by their host's playful mood. He glided into the kitchen pulling off his hooded sweatshirt, swaying and undulating to the music and laughing as Dominic licked his lips at him from behind the rising steam. Xav camped it up, dancing across the kitchen and somehow managing to look both comedic and sexy as hell at the same time. Then he hopped up on the countertop, crossed one knee over the other and made a show of inhaling the delicious aromas Dom was stirring up from his pots.
"Hiya, what's cookin?"
"There you are, darling!" Dominic passed him a long handled spoon containing a mouthful that was richly, darkly, sinfully sweet and side-stepped neatly to the stove, ducking down to check on something that was bubbling away there like a proper witch's cauldron. "I knew your radar wouldn't let you miss dinner. You two have been working up a decent appetite, I trust?"
He glanced up and winked at Xavier knowingly. Beyond them, Rayne and Gabriel circled the long dining table and settled at opposite ends of it, trying very hard to be good but still managing to bristle at one another.
Xavier licked the spoon Dominic handed him and mmmmm-ed appreciatively. He managed to sound sexual without even trying too hard. Gabriel didn't say a word but the glance he cast in Xavier's direction was as hot as the items bubbling on the burner. The object of his attention, who had been trying to ignore the occupants of the table, missed the glance but looked over at them anyway because the tension level had suddenly ratcheted up by about ten notches over there. He slid down from the counter and moved to go sit next to Rayne, but as he did so he noticed something he had missed when he first saw Gabriel in the gathering gloom outside.
"You look different," Xav blurted out as he dropped into the chair next to Rayne, his expression slightly puzzled as he tried to put his finger on just what exactly it was that had changed about him. He couldn't settle on one thing; Gabe's features were slightly sharper, his eyes somehow more 'set' in his face, his strong jaw a little more defined. The overall effect did not deter from his handsomeness one bit, but it gave him a more predatory appearance that unsettled Xavier.
"It's her time of the month," Rayne snickered bitterly. "Bitch could do with a shave if you ask me!"
"Girls!" Dominic warned them in a low tone, though Gabriel did not rise to the bait. He just smiled wolfishly at Xavier.
Xav was not sure if Dominic was including him in that warning tone too, but he looked up apologetically anyway.
"I, um...didn't mean anything by it."
"No offence taken," Gabriel said affably, although he made sure the comment was directed at Xavier and didn't necessarily include Rayne.
When Xavier looked at him again though, he got caught by his eyes, lost for a moment in all the little shades and flecks of silver and grey. It was sort of like a vampire trick, but not quite the same, he didn't feel the sort of pressure on his mind that he'd known when Jabez had forced him, or Elian had invaded his memories. Still, when he suddenly pulled his gaze away he was flustered and usually when Xavier was flustered things came out of his mouth that he wouldn't normally say out loud. He looked back up and met Gabriel's eyes steadily without letting the wolf draw him in this time, just to prove he could.
"So, Rayne said you were born a werewolf, not like in the movies where someone gets attacked and turns into one. When you were little did you change into a puppy?"
Rayne cackled and slapped a hand over his mouth when Dominic gave him another 'warning' look. Gabriel Arden leaned back in his seat though and said; "Come sit on my knee and I'll tell you all about it."
The look in his eyes was keen and serious, all the playfulness dropped for a moment. Nor was it an entirely suggestive remark. He kept his eyes on Xavier the whole time, refusing to be distracted by the background sniping. Xavier's upper body tilted toward him ever so slightly but he was almost unaware of it, as if he was being tugged very gently by an invisible thread. He suddenly shook his head as if throwing it off and his eyes narrowed on Gabriel.
"Knock it off!" Xavier growled.
"Knock what off?" Gabriel asked mildly.
"Whatever you're doing..."
"You know what it is, even if you won't say it." Gabriel smiled at him. "You felt the wards yesterday when you came in, you shrugged me off just now. You feel magic even if you're afraid of it."
Xav rolled his eyes. "Whatever. Just don't try and pull that shit."
Gabriel made a little gesture with his hand. "I was just testing you a bit."
"Well, don't," Xav warned him again.
"Come over here and sit on my knee, and I won't pull no tricks this time," the wolf invited again.
Xavier drummed his fingers once on the table, looking at Gabriel shrewdly. Rayne hadn't said anything, and out of the corner of his eye Xav saw he'd taken up a casual, almost bored pose, though no one in the room was fooled by that for a moment. When his lover was looking less than interested you could practically put money on the fact that he was coiled and ready to pounce. With a little sigh, Xav got up and moved over to Dominic's handsome boyfriend and perched lightly on his thigh, his curiosity getting the better of him.
Now Rayne stiffened slightly, his attitude a little sharper and his mood definitely darker. It was Dominic who moved to quiet him though, melting into place at his back and running long strong fingers over the tight muscles in the vampire's slim shoulders as Gabe Arden surveyed Xavier appreciatively, without laying a hand on him.
"That's better," the Were grinned. "You're a saucy little thing, aren't you? You like a bit of non-human kink, huh? Just like Her Ladyship..." and he nodded towards Dom Warren with a salacious smile. "I can handle that."
Xavier smiled back at him, his eyes taking on a sultry cast that any number of men at the clubs he'd worked in the past would have recognised just before they'd emptied their wallets for him. Not being in the game anymore didn't mean he had forgotten how to hustle when he wanted something.
"Just because I like Rayne's fangs as much as his cock, it doesn't give you a leg up with me, honey," he purred sweetly.
Gabriel laughed; a rich, deep, masculine growl of genuine amusement.
"Oh I like you, babes!" he commented straight off. "Definitely no shy little wallflower, you! I'll tell you straight, sweetness. I don't need no leg up. I can make my way with my own natural attributions, an' you know what they are already don't you, my little tease?"
He leaned forward touching the tip of his sun-tanned nose to Xavier's and looking him in the eye with that unblinking dark-silver gaze. Rayne let out a little hiss of warning through clenched fangs and Dominic's hands tightened on his shoulders again.
"Shhh darling, it's all right," he whispered, reading Xavier well, even as his undead lover focused all his wrath on Gabe. "Calm down. They know what they're playing at here."
Xav leaned back a little, even as he said it, and put his hand on Gabriel's chest to gently push him back and get some space.
"I know plenty of hung studs babe, and that don't turn my head none either." Xavier switched on a dazzling smile for the Were though and leaned in close again. "You know what would really turn me on?" he asked in a seductive husk, wriggling just a bit in his lap, his lips close enough that Gabe could feel the warmth of his breath on his own lips (well, if he was going to be called a tease he could at least play the part!). "Be nice to my boyfriend!" He said each word clearly and leaned back again, crossing his arms and giving the wolf a challenging look.
Gabe's lips twitched as he tried to stay serious. His gaze wandered briefly to Rayne Wylde and there was heat in his dark eyes as he murmured; "I could be plenty nice to him, but he don't like it like that. Mizz Deadboy prefers it nasty, don'tcha babes? Rough and very, very nasty!"
He uttered a little growl as he said it and Rayne made a noise somewhere between a laugh and a sneeze.
"In your dreams, furball!"
"I know I'm in yours," Gabriel told him with a grin. "The ones where you wake up screamin' and not in a bad way."
"Leave it, Gabriel!" Dominic said, in a tone of voice that he rarely used. It had a cold, sharp edge and his lover sat back with a humourless smile.
Rayne's breathing had quickened and he shrugged Dominic off now and moved to his feet. Xavier moved to his feet as well, suddenly feeling the lash of Rayne's turbulent emotions as his lover let his grip on them slip for just a moment. Turning to face him quickly, Xav reached out, not with his hands or his body but something deep inside. It snaked around Rayne and held him there, calling him back even before he fled.
Xav's brows were pinched slightly with confusion as he took in Rayne's expression. He could feel that his lover was angry, furious even, but also he was quite anxious and... something else, something harder to define. Like a mix of shame and arousal.
"He's not just teasing, is he?" Xavier asked in a whisper, watching the look that was in his lover's wide, green eyes. Rayne's pupils were wide and dark, lips parted wetly as his tongue darted across them again.
"You dream about him?" Xav asked softly, feeling like he was being pummeled by the heightened emotions rolling off of Rayne, and confused because Rayne acted like he couldn't stand the werewolf.
Rayne shivered fiercely. "Not him, exactly."
Xavier's lips started to form another question but before he could ask who it was exactly that Rayne dreamed about, the answer clicked in place and he suddenly knew why he was feeling Rayne's chaotic swirl of emotions, and why his lover was trying to hide them. In an intuitive leap he figured that if it wasn't Gabriel that put that guilty arousal on Rayne's face then it must be someone like Gabriel.
Xav's eyes dropped to the line of skin showing down the middle of Rayne's unbuttoned shirt and although the faint tracery of scars was hidden, he could see them clearly enough in his mind's eye. Scars made by some kind of Were. Scars that Gabriel had deliberately brought to his attention earlier and that Rayne deliberately hadn't talked about. Xav had thought he wasn't saying anything about how he came by those scars because it was too painful for him to talk about, but he wondered now if it was more than just the pain that had kept his lover's mouth shut.
Xavier blinked twice, rapidly, as he tried to sort out how he felt about Rayne dreaming about the guy that put those scars there, and not in a bad way... He remembered again, their brief conversation on the beach outside Aldo's villa, Rayne talking about the 'animal' that had ripped into him, how Rayne's voice had not been frightened or angry, but shivery with excitement and arousal. He'd put it down to the vampire being confused and still trying to remember what had happened to him, but now Xav was looking at it in a different light. His lover had even defended the guy, Henning, when Xav had gotten pissed off about him hurting Rayne.
Xav dragged his eyes back up and they locked with Rayne's for a moment. As hard as the other man was trying to hide it Xav could see through the anger and anxiety to that hint of arousal. Xavier had known that Rayne went to the club in Paris wanting to work out his frustration and sorrow with pain, he understood that. What he hadn't known was that the man he'd chosen to dish it out was not just an animal in the figurative sense, nor had he realised how much Rayne had gotten off on submitting to a powerful, brutal creature that could top him properly.
His expression suddenly closed down and this time it was Xavier that turned on his heel and stalked out. His temper simmered just under a boil as he stormed down the hall toward the staircase. He wasn't even sure why he was so pissed off.
No, that wasn't right. He knew, he just didn't want to admit it. He was pissed because Gabriel had suddenly made him feel inadequate. If what Rayne really wanted was someone that could overpower and dominate him, Xavier wasn't it. Not only that but, yet again, Rayne had shut him out about something serious.
How was it that Gabriel should know what Rayne dreamed about, what he really wanted, but Rayne wouldn't give Xavier the first clue? About anything! Rayne said he was important to him, and yet he told him nothing! He hadn't told him about Matt, he hadn't told him about Clint, he hadn't told him about the girlfriend or wife or whatever the hell she was in Manchester. Now he was finding out that Rayne would rather have a strong dominant partner in bed, in the most humiliating way possible. Why didn't he just tell him if that was what he really wanted? Why did he have to let him find out like this?
I wish you were my equal, Xavier, but you're not...
Those words still haunted him, and maybe now he knew a bit more about what lay behind them. Xav could never physically overpower him, so he went to someone else, someone who could, someone who Rayne didn't have to worry about hurting if he got a little careless. Why would he bring Xav here, why would he say Xavier was important to him if he wasn't what he wanted? The one area where he thought they were most suited, where nothing ever went wrong between them, was sex. Now he felt like Rayne hadn't even been honest with him about that.
Xavier had been trying to give him his space, trying to not push him, but if he asked anything at all about his life Rayne brushed him off and changed the subject. Empathy was one thing, but other than the emotions they shared while they were fucking each other's brains out Rayne shut him out of every other area of his life, and now even in that one safe haven he found secrets.