Vampires and Lovers Ch. 01byPelaam©
Chapter 1: The Beginning
Pelaam, August 2007.
Wyl trudged wearily through the driving rain. The chill he had been suffering had definitely taken a turn for the worse. He stopped as he coughed harshly, tears springing to his eyes in its aftermath. He panted, feeling cold and sore and light-headed. He really couldn't afford to take time off from the evening job in the bar and tomorrow was the start of the weekend patrons and the bigger tips. He didn't get paid if he didn't work and the tips were as important as the hourly wage. He sighed miserably. He'd thought he could trust Cathy. Although they'd never progressed to lovers he thought she'd cared for him. He gave a short bitter bark of a laugh that threatened to become a sob. She'd only cared for the free accommodation and getting her hands on his credit cards without his knowledge. Now she was gone and all the debts were his and his alone. //Will I ever know happiness? Will I ever know love?// The young man began to trudge again, silent tears mixed with the rain to fall unchecked down too pale cheeks. At that moment all Wyl wanted was to find himself warm, dry and with someone who genuinely cared for him. Was that really so much to ask of life?
He lifted his head to glance forward. His building was the last large house in a row at a junction of two busy roads. Sure enough, the same silent blond sentinel stood on the diagonal opposite corner from the house that included Wyl's tiny apartment. The man seemed unaffected by the cold wind or the rain. Wyl briefly considered that he should worry that the man had taken his post there and seemed to do so at just the right time to see Wyl arrive home. However the man had never attempted to cross the road or accost Wyl and the young man had never seen him during the day. The reason Wyl didn't worry was he somehow took comfort from the tall, broad figure. As irrational as it sounded, he was reassured by the silent presence. It made him feel as though someone cared enough to see he got home safely. Wyl always checked from his window when safe inside his room, but by then his watcher had always vanished. Wyl had harboured notions of coming home a different way to try and pass the man and see him up close, but then he'd become sick with this unrelenting infection and such ideas had been quickly abandoned.
Reaching his building, he struggled with frozen fingers to get the key in the lock. He bit back a sob of frustration as the small piece of metal seemed determined to resist any attempt to be inserted to unlock the door.
"Let me." A soft, warm voice whispered in his ear and a strong arm wrapped around Wyl's slender waist. Wyl briefly considered resistance, but his treacherous body had other ideas. He leant heavily against his benefactor as he was helped into the lobby. Wyl thought he must have fainted as, when he raised his aching head, he was already in his tiny room and settled on the battered settee. Noises from the cooking portion of his accommodation indicated the whereabouts of the stranger.
"Drink." The single word, authoritatively spoken, brokered no refusal. Wyl gratefully accepted the steaming mug and sipped at the tea. "You have almost no food. You are ill and are out without a proper coat. What are you thinking of still going to work and so poorly dressed in weather like this?"
The tone of censure from someone who'd shown him such kindness was suddenly too much for Wyl's fragile psyche to deal with.
"I've no food because my day job only pays enough to cover rent, utilities and the debts I owe due to a so-called friend maxing out every card I possessed. My bar job pays for me to eat and I don't get paid till Sunday and I ran out of money because of an emergency. I can't afford a better coat right now, this is all I have." Hot tears began to fall and Wyl felt the mug be removed from his shaking hands. He was drawn into a warm embrace.
"I'm sorry, little one."
This time the voice was comforting and Wyl found himself sobbing against the strong shoulder, instinctively seeking the bigger male's warmth and succour. Powerful arms wrapped protectively around him and Wyl let himself be gently rocked. For the first time since his early childhood Wyl felt safe and loved. He whimpered a protest as he felt the man move and then lips brushed gossamer-light across his temple.
"Let me care for you, angel," came the softly whispered request and Wyl found welcome darkness descending.
Wyl awoke the next morning feeling a little better. He had been stripped of his wet clothes and redressed in warm sleep pants and top. Although alone, he had a half-memory of being held in strong arms in the night. But apart from the blond hair and an impression of blue grey eyes, he couldn't picture the face of the man who'd helped him the previous evening. He slipped from his bed and stared at his settee. There was another partial memory of being comforted and held. He frowned at a slip of paper he could see on his old table. He picked it up and tears prickled at his eyes. It was a $20 bill with a note attached.
'Buy food. Check fridge.'
Wyl opened his small fridge. His eyes widened. There were containers there now that hadn't been there previously. One contained soup, another a meat sauce and a third held cooked pasta. Wyl was stunned at the kindness of the man who'd tended him. He wondered briefly how he'd been able to produce the food, but decided it wasn't worth worrying about.
His step a little lighter he moved into his miniscule bathroom and stared long and hard at his reflection. //Just where had Wylem Taylor gone?// he wondered. His dark unruly curls hung to his shoulders but were lank rather than healthy shiny tresses. His expressive brown eyes held a bone-deep weariness and dark shadows were clearly visible. His normally dark honey-tinted skin looked sallow and dull and whereas he'd always been slender, now he looked gaunt. He blinked a couple of times, but the apparition didn't improve or disappear. Wyl sighed. Had he really allowed himself to deteriorate so badly? He reached for his soap to get ready for his office job, his cold seemed a little better and Wyl hoped he was now over the worse. Tonight and tomorrow were best for tips and he could really do with the extra money and on Sunday he could stay in bed all day. He ignored a soft voice in his head telling him to remain home and prepared himself for the long day ahead.
Harsh hacking coughs made Wyl stop and struggle for breath. The bar had been very busy and smokier than usual -- or it had felt so to the ill young man. Wyl's initial feeling of being somewhat better that morning had deteriorated badly as the day had worn on. He'd been sent home a couple of hours early with promises that the tips would still be shared evenly. As Wyl started to move again a large arm wrapped around his waist and a dirty hand clamped tightly over his mouth. Wyl was lifted bodily and dragged back into the dark alley he had just passed. He screamed behind the calloused paw, but realised with mounting hysteria that with his throat as bad as it had been, his voice was barely above a whisper. A hand delved into his pockets and a snort of disgust was heard at the lack of money. Wyl didn't get paid till tomorrow and he had used the $20 bill for groceries before setting out to the bar. Wyl found himself spun round and pushed hard against unforgiving brick to stare with fear at the huge derelict before him.
"No money, boy?" a thick gravelly voice asked. The stench from the man's mouth almost made Wyl retch, but he shook his head and whispered:
"Just havta have a little fun with ya then." The man-mountain grinned showing a maw of broken, blackened teeth and the big body pressed closer allowing Wyl to feel hard evidence of the form that 'fun' would take.
"No, please," Wyl begged, but cruel laughter was the only response. He tried to fend off his would-be rapist, but his blows were weak and ineffectual. He was slapped hard, leaving his head ringing from the blow and he felt his jacket and shirt ripped apart. He was pushed to the floor and the huge male straddled his body, calloused thumbs rubbing over small brown nipples before moving lower. Wyl sobbed his denial, trying to push back the hands that tore open his pants to grasp with cold roughness at his fragile flesh. He screamed for help, but his voice was almost non-existent and he knew nothing could stop this behemoth taking what he wanted.
A howl and a feral snarl echoed in the alley as Wyl imagined he saw twin pairs of angry red eyes in the darkness. He sobbed uncontrollably as his body was violated. His attacker yanking at Wyl's torn pants, trying to reach the treasure hidden inside but suddenly the unwanted weight vanished and he was pulled into a warm, protective embrace. Wyl heard the sounds of a large vicious dog and screams of terror before a soft voice began to croon in his ear, banishing all other sounds. He felt himself lifted and cradled tightly to a powerful chest and he wrapped his arms tight around the source of comfort. He felt movement and buried his face into his saviour's body allowing himself to drift into unconsciousness.
Wyl had never felt so cold in his life. The only time he felt warm was when a large, hard body wrapped tightly around him. He whimpered piteously whenever the body moved away from him, settling only on its return.
He was certain his body was on fire and he thrashed to throw off the oppressive bedding, moaning in frustration as his hands were again and again tucked securely inside the covers, relaxing only as a large hand stroked his fevered brow. He drifted into unconsciousness again, days passing unnoticed by Wyl, the young man as much unaware of the passage of time as of the concern of those tending to him.
The young man blinked as he became aware of his surroundings. The bedroom was probably as big as his entire tiny apartment. It was opulently furnished with impeccable taste. Nothing was ostentatious, but the wealth was clearly apparent. Wyl was stunned to think he would be in such a room.
"I'm glad to see you finally awake." A deep growl of a voice had Wyl turning from huge draped windows to the opposite side of the room. His eyes opened wide.
The man in the doorway was several inches over six feet tall and powerfully built. Black leather trousers and a plain white t-shirt displayed his raw masculinity to perfection. Straight raven-black hair reached past his shoulders. His eyes were an indefinable shifting of brown and blue and they seemed to gaze at him with a mix of amusement and affection.
"I'm Gabriel," the man said as he strode to Wyl's bedside. He placed a large hand at the young man's brow and gave a satisfied nod.
Wyl knew instinctively this was not the hand that had soothed him, yet he felt safe with this man he had only just met.
"My mate will bring you something to drink. It has been hard to even keep fluids in you these past few days, but the worst is behind us now. You will be very weak until we rebuild your strength."
Wyl blinked his understanding, irrationally certain he was understood. Gabriel smiled at him, displaying strong white teeth. Wyl mused on the word 'mate'. Somehow that word seemed appropriate coming from the big male.
"My mate," the deep voice resonated pride and Wyl looked past him and gasped quietly.
This time it was a young blond male that stood in the doorway. Wyl was certain he was taller than the newcomer and he stood at just five feet ten inches. He and Gabriel were a pair of opposites: blond to dark, fair to bronzed, slender to broad, petit to tall and yet as they stood together Wyl could see the love that blazed between them. Wyl gazed into eyes that sparkled like the blue of a clear summer sky.
"I'm David." A soft melodious voice floated to Wyl's ears. He watched mesmerised as Gabriel bent to nuzzle at the soft golden silk of David's hair before the men openly kissed. Wyl wondered why he wasn't repulsed. Men shouldn't ...they mustn't... yet these looked so right together. Wyl decided it was too much for him to understand.
The two men worked effortlessly in tandem to raise Wyl and help him drink what was a well-blended homemade soup. It was delicious and Wyl found he was able to finish the whole mug to matching smiles of satisfaction from his unlikely nurses. As the mug was removed, David's hand caressed Wyl's brow and again he knew this was not the hand he remembered.
"It was Vincent that calmed you during your fever," David supplied as though reading Wyl's thoughts.
"Vin...cent," Wyl repeated and was aghast at how hard it was to speak one single word. He was shocked at the croaking, rasping sound.
"Vincent and Seamus had to go out," Gabriel added. "He'll be sorry he wasn't here the first time you awoke properly."
Wyl frowned as he gazed at the huge bed in which he lay. He had other fragmented memories.
"You slept best when Vincent slept with you. You've been here nearly a week. We had to bring out a physician who gave us very strong antibiotics. You were so ill we thought we might lose you."
The concern in David's voice was too much for Wyl to cope with. Large tears began to spill and he was gathered into the smaller man's embrace. Deceptively strong arms encircled Wyl's too-thin frame.
"Shh, shh, little one," David soothed. "You're getting better now."
Wyl could feel love flow from the small blond and he sobbed quietly releasing his pent up emotions.
"It's alright, little one. We're here now and you won't ever be alone again," David promised as he rubbed the thin back. He carefully lowered the young brunette, pleased to see the tears had stopped. He stroked Wyl's brow, humming softly, until the other man had slipped back into sleep.
When Wyl next awoke he could see there was light behind the deep blue drapes and he realised he wasn't in bed alone. He turned to gaze, strangely unafraid, at the man who shared his bed. He took in the neatly cut sandy-blond hair and the almost chiselled face with a strong jaw. Even with part of his body covered by the thin sheet, the power was evident. Dark gold hair dusted across the broad chest and two thick, pink-brown nipples peeked through the fur. As his eyes travelled back up, Wyl found himself staring into blue grey eyes.
"You called for me in your sleep or else I would have thought you well enough to sleep alone now." The voice was pitched a little deeper than David's, soft, but with an authoritative ring of confidence.
"Vincent," Wyl said, pleased his voice seemed a little stronger. A warm feeling flooded his body as the big blond smiled.
"Yes," he confirmed.
His hand reached to caress Wyl's brow and the young man closed his eyes, leaning into the touch. Wyl felt the hand withdraw and gazed at the man who had slipped from the bed. His eyes roamed over the toned, muscular physique, the only barrier to Vincent's nudity were a pair of tight-fitting black boxers.
"I'll arrange some breakfast for you," Vincent said and strode from the room. Wyl's eyes saddened as he watched the man leave. He couldn't understand his reaction. He didn't want to share his bed with another man -- did he? It was wrong. Confused as well as saddened, Wyl slid deeper beneath the covers.
David entered with a tray and a smile, but at the small sad form huddled alone in the huge bed, the bright smile turned melancholy. He wished Vincent had brought the tray but his irritation at the bigger man's behaviour had to be pushed aside in favour of caring for the young man before him. He placed the tray on the bedside locker and sat, gently caressing the mahogany curls. He hummed quietly until sorrowful chocolate orbs locked with his own concerned turquoise ones.
"Why so sad, little one?" he asked gently. "None of us would seek to hurt you, we love you."
"You can't love me," Wyl said, his voice dull. "You're a man."
"Men love, little one," David persisted, trying to reassure Wyl as one would a small child.
"Not other men," Wyl clarified. "That's wrong."
"It's never wrong to love," David admonished gently. "Hatred is wrong, bigotry and cruelty are wrong, intolerance is wrong." He made sure Wyl was looking at him. "Do you think I am wrong to love Gabriel?"
"No," Wyl said slowly. He was still surprised that that didn't seem wrong to him.
"Neither is it wrong for me to love you. Nor you to love me...or Vincent," David's eyes were fixed on Wyl trying to gauge the younger man's reaction. "You do feel something for him. Don't you?"
"Yes," Wyl whispered, "But I don't know what it is." Wyl's voice was that of a frightened child and it made David feel even more protective.
"Do not be afraid to love, Wyl," he said. "Now I want you to eat," he added briskly.
"Will Vincent come and visit me?" Wyl asked in a tiny voice.
"Would you like him to?" David asked. At the small nod, he smiled. "Then I shall make sure that he does, but only if you finish your breakfast. Deal?"
"Deal," Wyl gave a hesitant smile.
True to his word, after the breakfast things were cleared away, Vincent came back into Wyl's room. The older man sat at Wyl's side and explained that he and Gabriel had been nearby when Wyl was attacked and had brought the young man to their shared apartment. Wyl's health had then taken a serious turn for the worse. His body had been ravaged by fever and they had all been afraid for him.
"I have been back to your tiny apartment," Vincent concluded. "All your personal belongings are here and I compensated your landlord for your unexpected departure."
"I'll have lost my last week's wages from the bar and my tips by now," Wyl groaned.
"You won't need them," Vincent said decisively.
"But I do," Wyl replied. "My debts..."
"Have all been cleared, including your overdraft. You no longer owe anyone anything," Vincent said. "I paid them all."
"But...but how do I repay you?" asked Wyl.
"By taking care of yourself, angel," Vincent replied softly. "By getting fit and well."
"But..." Wyl began. It couldn't be that simple. "My jobs..."
"They have both been informed that due to ill-health you will not be returning. You can write to confirm this when you feel more able. Now, no more discussions, you need to rest," Vincent commanded. "Lie down."
Wyl found himself obeying instantly. He gazed up trustingly into Vincent's warm blue eyes. His hand seemed to reach of its on volition to caress the strong cheek.
"You look sad, Vincent," Wyl murmured, his eyes getting heavy. "I don't want you to be sad,"
"Don't worry about me, angel." Vincent replied as he stroked Wyl's brow. "Sleep now."
As Wyl drifted away, he was certain he felt lips brush his temple.
Seamus' green eyes flashed angrily at the other big blond. He and Vincent were almost identical in build, but his blond hair was the darkest of the three and like a shaggy mane. He was also the senior of their group and currently annoyed at the other man.
"This solves nothing, Vincent," he snapped. He watched the other blond begin to pace anew, aware that they were in turn watched silently by David and Gabriel.
"He thinks love between men is wrong. We all heard him in his fever, begging his step-father not to touch him. How can I possibly woo and win him?"
"He doesn't see my relationship with Gabriel as wrong," David supplied. "And he does feel something for you; he just doesn't recognise what it is as yet."
"He's your destiny, Vincent," Seamus added. "The one you've searched for: the other half of your soul."
"I want him so much I ache," Vincent groaned. "My blood sings when I go near him."
"You need to feed, my brother," Seamus said more kindly. "You have barely fed since he came here."
"My body cries for his blood: the blood of my Own. How do I tell such a beautiful, broken boy that I love him and want him at my side for eternity? How do I tell him I am what he would understand as a vampire?"