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  2. drpaladin

    Chapter One

    It's your prerogative, but it won't grow on me.
  3. Wesley8890

    Chapter One

    Interesting
  4. Parking my car on the side of the street, I aimed my eyes at the club which was a favorite location for those bloodsuckers. People called these creatures many names, from monsters and demons to gods who once dominated the imagination of the ancient Greek and Norse people. However, the majority today refer to these heathens as simply vampires, and my son was currently playing in the Devil’s playground. No person, alive or dead, was going to threaten my son’s life, except for me after I find him. After I locked my car, I grazed past the long line of people waiting to enter the venue. Most of them couldn’t have been more than college-aged freshmen, and that observation disappointed me immensely. To know that the younger generations were captivated by these blood-thirsty savages made me worry about the future for my kids and for humanity in general. I soon approached a bouncer who was guarding the entrance. With his bulging muscles that were constricted by his three-sizes-too-small shirt, I stepped in front of him without hesitation and said, “Excuse me, but I have to enter this club and find my son.” “I’m sorry, sir, but you’re going to have to wait in line like everyone else. Unless you’re VIP, I can’t let you in at this moment.” “I just want to get my kid out of there, and I’ll be gone.” The bouncer grunted. “How about you start by going to the back of the line?” This fucker thought he was intimidating when he crossed his arms and puffed out his chest. I just chuckled and stepped closer to the supposed badass. With my own arms crossed, I looked at the man who was at least fifteen years younger than me and zero years of actual experience in combat. Narrowing my eyes, I said, “Really? Make me then.” The bouncer smirked, probably thinking I was kidding. However, I stood my ground and continued to stare daggers at the man who was a good three inches shorter than me. A low growl came from the back of my throat, causing him to flinch and step back. I then bared my teeth, and the tough guy finally got the hint and stepped to the side in surrender. “Get of here as soon as you find your son,” the bouncer mumbled. I just grunted and went through the entrance with a group at the front of the line cursing. Ignoring them, I continued down a hallway before entering the main area of the club. With the pulsing lights and the throbbing beat of music that vibrated the floor beneath my feet, I ventured into the sea of contorting bodies. I scoffed at a man grinding his crotch against the backside of a woman as she made out with another female. I wasn’t a prude about what people did in the bedroom, just as long as it stayed in the bedroom and not in a public area where anyone could record a person’s every movement. A random woman started gyrating her thick ass against me, but I gently pushed her to the side before continuing my search. At the ripe age of forty, the club scene wasn’t for me anymore, if it ever was. I just wanted to get the hell out of here with my only son who I was going to drag by the collar of his shirt if I had to. Stepping into the lounge section of the club with low, round tables that were wrapped with curved seats, I was already sweating. This place was warmer than usual, most likely on purpose since vampires always liked their food warm. I thought I was going to have to return to the dance floor when I veered my eyes towards a group sitting not too far away from where I was standing. Then I found him. My boy was surrounded by other people who I quickly identified as his friends from the football team in which he was the star quarterback. He laughed heartily as he gulped down a beer from a bottle with a young-looking woman with a bob haircut hooked with his arm. Her lips kissed the side of his neck, causing him to smile. Then when I saw the all-too-familiar sharp teeth, I growled again and stomped towards the party. “Austin!” Austin’s eyes became wide open and when he looked at my direction, he spat his beer out and sprang from his seat. “Dad! What…What are you doing here?” “Shouldn’t I be asking you that question?” Approaching Austin, I grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and shouted, “The girls told me where you were going! You know better than this! Way better!” “Fuck…” “You’re beyond fucked after I take you back home. I can’t believe you abandoned your sisters to hang out at this literal hell pit!” “I was just having some fun with my friends. I wasn’t doing anything illegal,” Austin retorted. “Oh, and I suppose that young lady’s sharp teeth are dentures? You’re screwed, pal. There’s no way out for you.” I then moved my crosshairs at Austin’s teammates who all looked guilty like a puppy who just torn up a couch. “And if I discover that my son’s at another place like this one, I’ll call all of your parents personally and you can kiss your dreams to play in college football goodbye. Got it?” All five of them nodded quickly, and I pulled my son with me. He kept stumbling on his feet, but I continued walking despite his complaint to slow down. We soon made it out of the club, my hand still tight around his shirt’s collar. Several people outside laughed and pulled their phones out to take pictures of the spectacle. Austin cursed, but I didn’t care about his embarrassment. He was the one who decided to play with a person who could suck his soul as her meal. I felt no empathy for him at that moment. God forbid his mother was still alive and discovered this. I pushed my son onto the front passenger seat, and I quickly went around the front of the car to the driver seat. Turning on the engine, I performed a hard U-turn and started driving our way back home. We didn’t speak for the fifteen-minute drive, only the radio was filling the silence. Austin had his arms crossed with his body pressed against the car door. I could tell he was pissed, pissed that I embarrassed him in front of his friends who will gossip about this the next school day. However, I was even more pissed, which I would feel for my son rather than sorrow and grief if I discovered that his body was found at a dark alley with all his blood drained. I loved him too much to respect his dignity, and I promised Annabella that I would protect our three children with my own life. Austin was hating what I did, but in time he’ll understand. We eventually made our way back home, a small, two-story house in a quiet neighborhood. Most of the houses had their lights out since the time was two in the morning. After parking the car on the paved driveway, I got out of my car and made my way to the front door. On the small porch that was lit by a single light right above the door, I then turned to the car where Austin was in, a form of protest he did ever since he was five. This stunt didn’t work after he threw an apple at his kindergarten teacher, and it wasn’t working now as I motioned my hand for him to come out. A moment passed, and Austin got out of the car. I sighed as I unlocked the door and entered inside the living room where my twin girls, Isabel and Joanna, were sitting on the couch and watching the television. My next-door neighbor was sitting on the nearby recliner who stood and walked towards me with a smile. “Thank you for watching the girls,” I said, shaking my neighbor’s hand. “Oh, it was no problem. Your girls are perfect angels.” I heard the front door close with a loud slam that was proceeded with heavy footsteps on the stairway. “Sorry about that.” “It’s all right. Teenagers are a definite handful,” my neighbor said with a gentle smile. She then leaned forward and said, “However, I’d advise to give your son the firm hand if he ever acts that way in front of company again.” I just chuckled and said, “I’ll make sure it won’t come to that.” “I trust you. Being a single father is hard, so if you ever need me to watch over the girls when you’re at work, just let me know.” “I really appreciate that.” She nodded, and I led the elderly woman to the porch before saying goodbye. After entering back inside and locking the door, I pinched the bridge of my nose and wanted nothing more than to fall asleep. But when I heard the girls laughing from a cartoon they were watching, I knew I still needed to get those two into their sleepwear and to brush their teeth before going to bed. That was going to be a trial all by itself. Walking to the back of the couch, I place a hand on both my girls’ heads and said, “Did your neighbor take good care of you two?” The girls nodded, and Isabel then turned her head and asked, “Is Austin in trouble?” I looked at the cartoon of a man slamming a large hammer on a sneaky mole and said, “He certainly is.” “Good!” Joanna said which made me smile as I patted her blond-haired head. “At least you two aren’t. But you will if you don’t turn that TV off and get ready for bed.” Both girls sighed, but they obeyed my order and turned off the television before walking sluggishly upstairs. The living room was a mess with dolls and other toys scattered on the floor with an unfinished turkey sandwich lying on the coffee table. I yawned and took the sandwich to the kitchen where I threw it in the trash can before dropping the plate into the sink already filled with dishes. I then turned off the living room lamp, handling the rest of the mess was going to have to wait until tomorrow. I really needed to sleep if I was going to have any energy for work starting again tomorrow at noon. Thankfully, the girls were already in their pajamas with their teeth brushed and their small bodies tucked under their blankets. I kissed both girls on the forehead and turned off ceiling light, leaving only their nightlight on that rotated glowing silhouettes of ponies around their shared bedroom. I left their door slightly open before walking towards my own bedroom. Then I had to hear music coming from Austin’s room which made me almost forget why I wasn’t in bed and deep asleep right then. I didn’t bother to knock as I opened the door and saw my son lying on his bed. His stereo was playing some repetitive rock song, which I turned off with a pull of the plug. “Sleep. Now,” I ordered. Sighing, Austin turned his back towards me and didn’t say anything more. I knew I should’ve sat on the side of my son’s bed and asked him to talk to me. However, I didn’t have the time, energy, or patience to be fatherly, especially since I’ve been doing this role for eighteen years without any breaks. “We’ll talk about what you did after I get home from work tomorrow,”I said instead. I fully closed the door; I at least respected my son’s privacy. Walking into my room, I kicked off my shoes and took off my shirt I wore for work before flopping onto my king-sized bed and groaned after a spring stabbed my lower back. The cool bedsheets relaxed my sore muscles a little and as I pulled my phone out to place it on the nightstand, the damn thing started buzzing. I thought, who the hell called during two in the morning? Not even telemarketers were that annoying. Looking at the screen, I was surprised to see Anthony’s name. Tapping my thumb on the answer button, I said, “Hello? Anthony?” “Hey, Chief! Sorry for calling you so late,” Anthony said cheerfully. “Anthony, I told you countless times to stop calling me that. Especially since I’m no longer in the business that doesn’t even have ranks may I add.” “Yeah, yeah, whatever. I didn’t call you during two in the morning just to be lectured.” I yawned. “So, why did you?” Hearing a nervous chuckle, I then asked, “What is it, Anthony?” “Well…there’s this new…bounty that is now on the market, and I was wondering if you’d come along and—“ “No, Anthony.” “Oh, come on! This bounty is paying one-hundred thousand dollars, and all we have to do is locate some vampire who was drinking in public, and by that I mean—“ “Yeah, I know what you mean.” I sighed. “So, that’s the catch, huh? A vampire is the bounty.” “Just a vampire who has been recently turned, so he poses little to no threat.” “Then why the high bounty?” “Come on. Does that matter? It’s a hundred thousand freaking dollars, man! And with just the two of us, you’d have more than enough to pay any debts you have with tens of thousands still left over.” “Okay, hold on. Not only are you trying to convince me to go back to the bounty hunter business that I quit over five years ago, but you also want to handle this bounty with just the two of us. Is there something you’re not telling me, Anthony?” Anthony didn’t say anything for a moment, but then a heavy sigh was heard. “Well…fine. I’ll tell you. I’m in a little debt.” “How much?” “Not much. Just…twenty-five thousand.” I groaned and said, “You really need to stop spending money you don’t have, especially on a man who only loves you for the money you don’t have.” “I know, I know. I learned my lesson and broke up with the dude. However, he won’t give back any of the stuff that I bought him, and I need a way to pay some of my debt soon before I get repoed. Please, Damien! You can get seventy-five percent of the bounty. I just need the other twenty-five percent to pay for my debts. I won’t ask you for another bounty hunt ever again after that.” I didn’t say anything. I just stared at the popcorn ceiling that I looked at like the stars of the night sky. “Are you still there, Damien?” “Yeah.” “Just think about it, okay? I know your job as a security guard isn’t paying very much, so this bounty can help with a lot. Also, you’re an expert on vampires with your family being—“ “I really need to sleep right now, Anthony. Then when I get at least four hours of sleep, I’ll decide then, all right? You’re asking for a lot, and I need time to think.” “Yeah, I totally understand. I’ll let you think…but be quick since the bounty won’t be available forever.” “Yeah, sure. Good night, Anthony.” “Good night, Chief! I mean—“ Hanging up the call, I tossed my phone onto the nightstand and nestled my face into my pillow. Opening my eyes slightly, I saw the picture of my family, including Annabella who smiled radiantly. Suddenly the bed felt much colder, and I pulled the blanket over my body for the much needed warmth only another human could provide. Falling asleep took longer than usual. But my eyelids eventually became heavy, and the memory of my wedding day being the last thing I thought of before I drifted to sleep.
  5. In a world where vampires were not only monsters and demons, but were also gods and goddesses of various myths from Greek to Norse. And in today’s society, vampires are revered as celebrities and politicians, gradually sinking their teeth into every aspect of human civilization. Damien must live in this reality as a single father with three children as he tries to make ends meet for his family. Then after a bounty hunt goes wrong, he must confront his demons, both figuratively and literally. Mostly in the form of a twenty-something-year-old man who is more than meets the eye.
  6. Heh. See, to me all of this is great. The evocation of emotion is what I'm out to do. That might be "No, dude, no, don't let that twig screw you. Shit. You caved you weak bastard. Fine, he's hot and hung, but still." Then the next time Jed is having his way in spades with Wolfgang in the kitchen. 😉 How you feel and what you are saying, that's different from what I describe. All of what you're writing is encouraging. There's always going to be moments the plot doesn't go the way of the reader's imagination. That's always fine. I'm glad you like the story. There's more coming for it.
  7. Wayne Gray

    Acceptance

    Oopsie. So sorry about that lack of warning, tim. We all know voyages can be rough. So, keep an eye on them. Thanks for commenting and reading. 🙂
  8. Bill W

    Eureka!

    It's possible, Wesley, but it seems as if Revin had a bigger crush on him.
  9. Bill W

    Eureka!

    Happy Easter, Stix, and I felt this would be a good day to reveal the secret admirer.
  10. Wesley8890

    Eureka!

    It sound as if Wyatt might have a small crush on Tristan..
  11. kbois

    Chapter 22

    Cassie is definitely a prankster but I'm hoping that Kathy can keep her contained!!
  12. Dabeagle

    Panic!

    Jack feels pretty dumb. He's frozen in place, trapped between disappointing his best friend and his unhappy home life. Worse is his crush. He'll try not to panic as he falls deeper into his artwork where things can be as he'd like.
  13. Today
  14. Superpride

    Chapter One

    Yeah, sorry about that. I just wanted the title to match more with Sweetheart, West Virginia since the name is also a term of endearment. I’m control freaking like that. Hopefully it’ll grow on you as the story continues. And I also thought about the cereal when I changed the name haha.
  15. Mikiesboy

    Acceptance

    What a voyage these two are on...hopefully together always. Wonderful chapter...again missing a warning....😛
  16. The city where I would die to live... 

     

  17. The Garden City A tremendous tree for every ten feet Manmade metal machines roam around Countable more than trees in the sight Soap-alike boxy buildings, side-by-side Dividing them, wide pure black roads of tar Underground tunnels for the debris Endless varied opportunities afar Different smiles and colours of skins No room for one to walk beside another With artificial laughs and greedy kinship Enjoying the amusing cool weather The Garden City glooms with worship
  18. Aidan is so convinced that Heath is out of his league that anything someone says that contradicts that must be a joke. He also undervalues his occupational skills, but his employer is partly to blame for that because they want to take advantage of him as much as possible. Michael points out what Aidan has to offer and Aidan dismisses him while also exhibiting those skills effortlessly. ;–)
  19. I believe many people will have mixed reactions about this, but I hope to keep everyone surprised.
  20. hobo

    Chapter 1

    I really liked the beautiful story
  21. Bill Christiansen

    Chapter 22

    One wonders what Mom and Cassie have in mind for the boys to wear. Is Cassie a prankster? hum
  22. hobo

    Chapter 1

    schöne story hat mir sehr gefallen.
  23. Chapter Eleven – A Risk Worth Taking “A night to remember,” Aidan mumbled to himself as he took the package just delivered by his door, and went inside. He inhaled once and then exhaled. He hoped Heathcliff wasn’t in the mood to make fun of him, by sending him something like knee-high socks and pom-poms. At first glance, there seemed to be no pom-poms. Good. He could breathe normally. So Heathcliff had opted for normal clothes, by the looks of it. What the hell was that guy thinking? That Aidan didn’t have a pair a jeans and a t-shirt? He took a small critical look at the jeggings neatly packed. And then he took out a white tee with some imprint on the front face. With a shrug, he decided to try them on. If they didn’t fit, he could make fun of Stone later, seeing how stubborn he had been about knowing a man’s measurements just by looking at him. Well, the jeggings fit, but jeggings fit anyone. Aidan looked in the mirror and grimaced. Of course, Heathcliff had to choose something that gave his ass a lift job. Like it wasn’t enough that he had that kind of butt. Obviously, Heathcliff still wanted to make a little fun of him. But, Aidan thought, as he looked again critically at his behind, his ass did look good in those jeans. He just hoped the t-shirt wasn’t going to be tight fitting. Unlike the fitness guru he had to babysit, he had no six pack to show off through his tee. Of course, Aidan remembered and his mood dipped. He was invited to hit the clubs with Heathcliff only because he needed to keep his eyes on that wandering dick. At least, the t-shirt was comfortable and not revealing. That pre-washed style was precisely what Aidan liked when he wasn’t in a suit. And it fell below the waistline, so his ass wasn’t going to stick out too much. The jeans were ankle-cropped, so he needed some loafers to match them. No wonder, he thought as he looked inside the box. Heathcliff had thought of everything. He took out the soft suede shoes and tried them on. Not only they fit; they were also comfortable. Aidan took one last critical look at himself in the mirror. Well, he did look nice. He looked nicer than usual, and seeing that he had just put on some jeans and a t-shirt said something about Heathcliff’s taste in clothes. Probably the guy could work in the fashion industry if he didn’t care about being a fitness guru anymore. Too bad Heathcliff didn’t have the same good taste in men. Aidan stopped himself with a grimace. He was acting like a jealous prick, and, even if there was no one to see him doing that, it was still wrong. And Heathcliff had great taste in men. Only the most gorgeous male specimens to ever walk the earth landed in the guy’s bed. So, in the end, he was just a jealous prick, Aidan thought grimly. And why was he jealous, anyways? Heathcliff had basically said that he wanted to fuck him. Aidan could say the word, and that would happen. But then what? Setting aside the fact that it would have been dangerous to get freaky with one of the company’s business partners, there was nothing to look forward to after that. Men like Heathcliff Stone were good to be erotic fantasy material, but nothing else. As he had said before, for Heathcliff, it would have been just another conquest. And that man loved to move on fast from one guy to another, almost as much as he liked men in general. Aidan didn’t want that. He would not be able to face Heathcliff again if they were to screw once and then meet again like they were people working together and nothing more. In a way, he could understand why office romance was so frowned upon at his company. Working side by side with someone one had been so intimately with once the passion fizzled out had to suck balls. Aidan didn’t want to test how much of that theory was correct. As always, he needed to play safe. His phone interrupted his train of thought. Looking at the screen, he smiled against himself. Of course, Heathcliff had to call him, ask if the clothes fit and gloat about how right he always was. “Hey,” he began. “Have you already tried on the clothes, bunny boy?” Aidan rolled his eyes. Was Heathcliff easy to read or what? “Yes, and they fit, thank you very much. Now, before you start congratulating yourself, yes, I admit, they are perfect. Even the shoes. You could be a fashion designer in your spare time, or a seamstress, as I said.” “Have you tried on everything?” Aidan was a bit puzzled. “Come on, Stone, you don’t suspect me of not knowing how to put on a pair of jeans, I hope. And I have plenty of jeans, you know?” “Bunny boy, listen closely. Have you tried on everything?” “Yes, you spoiled fitness guru, impossible being that you are,” Aidan said with a huff. “I currently wear the t-shirt, the jeggings, and the loafers. Are you satisfied now? How much of a control freak can you be? I won’t make you look bad at the club, don’t worry. I promise you won’t even know I’m there.” “Hmm. You haven’t tried on everything,” Heathcliff said. “I hope there wasn’t some snafu with the delivery. Go look inside the box.” “Okay,” Aidan replied. “Can you please tell me what should I be looking for?” “It’s a surprise,” Heathcliff’s voice dropped low. “Just look for it. And, of course, once you find it, put it on.” Aidan shrugged and began rummaging through the box. With a frown, he extracted a small package he had missed before. He pressed the phone between his cheek and shoulder so that he could rip open the package. And almost dropped the phone when he looked at the small strange object in his hands. “Seriously, Stone?” He threw the offending thing on the bed. “Of course. Come on. Your outfit will not be complete without it.” “A thong? Pink on top of everything else?” Heathcliff’s chuckle on the other end was making him shiver. The man had some nerve. “What? I think it would show your naughty side.” “I don’t have a naughty side! And for your information, underwear is worn underneath your clothes. So there’s nothing to show!” “Yes, you do have a naughty side.” Heathcliff was ignoring what he was saying on purpose. “But you’re shy, too. First, I thought black would be a good fit, but I changed my mind. Pink is your color, bunny boy.” “I can’t believe you!” Aidan sputtered. “So, are you going to wear it?” Heathcliff asked, completely ignoring Aidan’s indignation. “What I’m going to do is that I’ll turn it into a sling and I’ll come by your house to break all your windows,” Aidan said with conviction. Heathcliff laughed. “Ha! Good luck finding any pebbles on my perfectly manicured lawn.” “I’ll bring my own, don’t worry,” Aidan replied. “Aww, are you really that upset, bunny boy?” Heathcliff drawled the words on purpose. “Of course I’m upset! You’re blatantly flirting!” “And? Who has ever died from flirting?” “I feel the itch to strangle you a little. Probably with that pink thong you so carefully chose for me. So there’s a start for everything.” Heathcliff was laughing so hard right now that Aidan had to keep the phone a bit away from his ear. “I like you, Aidan Spark,” Heathcliff said as soon as he managed to regain his voice. Aidan wanted to say something but had no idea what he could say to that. Also, his cheeks were on fire now, and it wasn’t because of his indignation over the pink thong. He felt warm all over. “Don’t forget. Nine pm, sharp.” “Are you going to leave without me if I’m there, let’s say at one minute past nine?” Aidan said, trying to pretend he was cool and collected. “No, if you’re not here, I’ll come to get you,” Heathcliff said softly. “And I’m going to have you wear that thong, whether you like it or not.” “I’ll be there on time. I’d rather wear my own underwear,” Aidan said dryly. “Good. See you, bunny boy.” Aidan swallowed hard as he stared at his phone after the conversation was over. Yeah, Heathcliff was playing in the big league while he, Aidan, was not even qualified to be called an amateur. *** Heathcliff whistled a happy tune as he watched himself in the mirror. The long sleeved shirt was dark blue, as his pants. His choice of outfit was a bit more serious than what he usually wore when he went out clubbing, but more than ever in his life, he wanted to impress his date. He opened one button more, but then he reconsidered. The point was to avoid going over the top. Aidan Spark was not going to know what hit him. If the bunny wanted to keep things professional, that was an approach Heathcliff was more than willing to try. But first, he was going to put Aidan through his paces. After all, Heathcliff was dying to see more of the real Aidan. Usually, an ass like that and a cute face like Aidan’s were enough incentives for him to make a move. But now, for some reason, he wanted more. He could not exactly define what that was, but he intended to explore it thoroughly. Yes, Heathcliff admired himself in the mirror one last time. He looked like he meant serious business. He checked his wrist watch, and, on cue, his doorbell rang. The bunny was there, right on schedule, as expected. He opened the door with a bit of impatience and smiled fondly as his eyes set on his babysitter. Aidan looked perfect in the clothes Heathcliff had picked for him. Also, he looked more his age, and more relaxed. His hair was a little tousled, too, and Heathcliff expected that some hairstyling attempts had been made in that area. Aidan looked good, but also, very much surprised. “Is this what you’re going to wear?” Aidan pointed at Heathcliff. “No ‘hello’, no nothing?” Heathcliff chided his guest, opening his arms wide. “Sorry, hi,” Aidan said right away. Heathcliff knew he couldn’t help it. He reached out and ruffled Aidan’s hair. A pair of miffed eyes stared at him, their owner obviously taking affront. But Aidan didn’t move his head away, so Heathcliff’s touch turned into a caress. For a couple of seconds, they stared at one another. Aidan was the first to react, breaking the silence. “Well, what’s with the business smart yet casual look? We won’t look good together! I mean --” Aidan stuttered. “I thought you were only going to lurk from the shadows? Where are your NDAs, bunny boy?” Heathcliff inspected Aidan like he expected him to produce official papers out of nowhere suddenly. Aidan took out his phone out of a back pocket and showed it to Heathcliff. “It’s not customary for how my company does things, but I think going digital for one night won’t hurt anyone,” he explained. “Oh, I see. You’re always ready, like a boy scout.” Heathcliff smiled. “What don’t you like about my clothes? Don’t you think I can get enough attention dressed like this?” He pointed at his body on purpose. Aidan’s eyes were looking him up and down with a hungry look. It was a good thing that bunny boy was so young. He had no censure when it came to things he didn’t think visible with the naked eye by others. “Of course, that’s not the point.” Aidan shook his head. “But you’re overdressed, and I’m underdressed, given the circumstances. I thought you were worried I’d make you look bad. Now it looks like you only care about me doing exactly that. I could have worn a suit,” he said, pursing his lips. “No, bunny boy, you couldn’t have.” Heathcliff smiled and stepped out of the house. “Now let’s go. Since we’re in a professional relationship, I only thought it suitable to dress the part.” Aidan shook his head and exhaled. Heathcliff had every reason to be pleased with himself. Regardless of what he was saying, bunny boy was into him big time, and Heathcliff was going to capitalize on that attraction. He only needed to play his cards right, and his prey was going to be ensnared before the night was over. *** “Why are you walking two steps behind?” Heathcliff asked, throwing a curious look at him. “I don’t want people to have the impression that we’re together. While I’m here on official business, I have no wish to sabotage your chances to get laid,” Aidan said quickly. He was pretty nervous if anyone asked him. Not that he had never been in a gay club, but this time and this place were different. First of all, they were inside some posh establishment, and they had gotten in without waiting one minute at the door. The bouncer had thrown Aidan an appreciative look and acted friendly toward Heathcliff. Then he had allowed them to walk inside, not without throwing a short ‘nice catch, Heath’ at Heathcliff, and being met with an all-knowing smirk. Oh, Aidan had seen everything but said nothing. After all, it was no wonder that bouncers and whatnot knew Heathcliff. What was surprising was the bouncer telling Heathcliff that. Seeing what kind of men were usually in the man’s bed, Aidan must have looked homely and average. Maybe it was some inside joke. Maybe, from time to time, Heathcliff chose some random guy for a pity fuck, and that was it. With that conviction in mind, Aidan decided to stay a little back and let Heathcliff bask in the usual attention. It looked like his companion had a different plan. Heathcliff grabbed him by the shoulders and made him walk side by side with him. If things were going to keep up like that, he was lost, Aidan thought. He could smell Heathcliff’s expensive cologne and feel his warmth. If the man was going to do as little as breath in his direction, his legs were going to buckle under him. Good thing Heathcliff was keeping him close. “Are you okay, Aidan?” Heathcliff whispered into his ear. “Are we on the first-name basis now? I thought you were all business tonight,” Aidan whispered back. It was nice to hear Heathcliff calling him by his given name. Too nice, actually, and that was a huge problem. His legs weren’t quite bucking under him, but he needed to draw all the irony he could muster to avoid making a total fool of himself. The more he wanted to swear off Heathcliff and to entertain any idea of erotic nature about him, the deeper he was sinking. Aidan had a mind to make a run for the door and spare himself the embarrassment. “I like your name, you little fire,” Heathcliff’s voice dropped low. Aidan gasped. What the hell? Had Heathcliff been looking into the meaning of his name? Why? With some difficulty, he got a hold of himself. “I like your name, too, although you’re nothing like the tortured hero from Wuthering Heights,” he replied casually. “Would you like me to behave like a tortured hero?” Heathcliff asked smoothly. “No, actually, I’d like you to have fun tonight. I know it’s been a lot. People at my company can be overbearing sometimes. So feel free to hook up, and I’ll take care of NDAs and whatnot without getting in your way.” Heathcliff chuckled. “So generous of you.” “People are looking at you.” Aidan gestured with his chin toward no one in particular. Of course, there were plenty of interested looks thrown their way. Aidan wasn’t in the least surprised. Carefully, he extracted himself from Heathcliff’s hold. “Come on,” he said. “There are so many gorgeous men here tonight. You must be thrilled. Look, someone’s already coming your way.” Aidan was sure he was babbling like an idiot, but he could not help it. A man in his late thirties, with a nicely groomed beard, dressed up about the same as Heathcliff was making his way toward them. Well, the guy was handsome, tall and strong, but he was not precisely Heathcliff’s type. Probably Heathcliff was going to let him down gently. Aidan stepped aside, determined to give his companion free rein to mingle. But, to his surprise, the stranger stopped in front of him. “What’s your name, cutie?” The man towered over him. Aidan almost took one step back. From up close, the guy was pretty impressive. “My name … Um … Sorry, I’m working tonight,” Aidan said quickly, putting his hands over his chest in an unconscious defensive gesture. The man blinked a couple of times and then smiled. “May I ask what your job is about? You don’t look like a waiter or a bartender. Are you maybe a stripper?” The stranger leaned in closer, and Aidan gulped. A stripper? That was not exactly a good idea for a joke. But the man’s interest seemed genuine. “No.” Aidan shook his head energetically. “I must look after someone. I can’t say more. It’s, um, confidential.” He searched with his eyes for Heathcliff. His charge was several feet away, relaxing on a sofa, and already engaged in conversation with a handsome man. Heathcliff’s companion was a guy in his late 20s, with longish brown hair, and by the looks of it, he was also pretty attractive. The pang of jealousy Aidan had felt earlier squeezed his heart. But that was why he was there. Heathcliff would do what he wanted, with whom he wanted, and Aidan wouldn’t stop him. “Mysterious. I like it.” The man who had approached him drew closer. Aidan looked up. “I’m sorry. I wish I could, um, make your acquaintance,” he struggled to find his words, “but I’m working tonight.” “It’s okay,” the man said with a broad smile. “Here’s my card. If you’re ever not working, and in the mood for a drink and more, call me.” Aidan was pretty stunned as he stood there with the man’s card in his hand. Eventually, he shook his head and looked over at Heathcliff. Well, it didn’t look like there was any progress on that front. Heathcliff seemed to enjoy his conversation with his companion, but, by body language signs, there was no sexual interest just yet between them. Aidan decided to scoot over and climb a high seat at the bar so that he could observe his charge without being too intrusive. Suddenly, he felt a pat on his back. He turned to look at the bartender who welcomed him with a bright smile. The man was as young as he was and wore what could be called fascinating eye contacts that made his eyes look like a tiger’s. Aidan was probably gawking. The bartender smirked. Of course, he shook his head. If he sat at the bar, he needed to order something. He was going to ask for some sparkling water and hope he didn’t have to break the bank for it, seeing how posh the place looked. “This is for you.” The bartender pushed a small tray with three drinks on it toward him. Aidan stared stupidly at the tray. “What?” he barely managed. “I didn’t order anything. And I can’t drink!” “Oh, baby, you’re so sweet.” The bartender guffawed. “Just take the tray over to Heath’s table. The red one’s for you,” the man added and winked at him. “What’s in it?” Aidan looked at the tall glass suspiciously. Well, obviously, neither the Old Fashioned nor the Roman Holiday could be for him. “Don’t worry, darling. It’s just a Shirley Temple. For a cutie like you, it’s just what you need.” By how the bartender grinned, Aidan was pretty sure that wasn’t a Shirley Temple. But, with a sigh, he took the tray. What was Heathcliff playing at? Wasn’t he supposed to lay back and let Heathcliff fool around? For the moment, he wasn’t going to protest. He was just going to take the drinks to Heathcliff’s table and find out what was going on. Maybe Heathcliff didn’t like that guy and was using Aidan to pretend he was taken? It wasn’t exactly in his job description, but Aidan could do that. However, there were three drinks there, so that scenario was unlikely. He walked over with the tray in his hands. Heathcliff seemed deep in conversation with his companion, just as before. Could it be the two were just friends? Aidan felt relieved. He placed the drinks carefully on the table. Heathcliff finally looked at him. “How come you’re not on the dance floor? I thought someone was already courting you.” Aidan pursed his lips. Was it okay to give away what his role was, in front of the other? “I’m Michael.” The stranger stretched out his hand, putting a stop to his dilemma for the moment. He took the man’s hand and shook it. Michael was indeed a looker, from up close, too. But he didn’t seem to be Heathcliff’s type. He didn’t seem the flirtatious type, nor was he the kind to star in fashion magazines. Michael had an appeal that didn’t come from the way he looked. His brown eyes were honest, as was his smile. Aidan felt instantly drawn to him. “I’m Aidan,” he replied. “I know.” Michael’s fully-dimpled smile broadened. “So you’re in charge of our dear Heath here?” “Um, sort of. I’m just …” Aidan trailed off, not really knowing what to say, and looking desperately at Heathcliff for a cue. Who was looking at him like a tomcat waiting for a little mouse to make a move. So he was made a fool of, after all. It didn’t matter. Two could play that game. “I must make sure that all of Mr. Stone’s sex partners sign NDAs so that they don’t go running their mouths off to tabloids and ruin our brand,” Aidan said in one go. Michael stared at him, a bit surprised, and then burst into laughter. Aidan didn’t have the guts to look at Heathcliff right now. Probably he wasn’t grinning anymore. “Well, that’s a noble mission, Aidan,” Michael said. “Come, sit next to me.” “Aidan will sit next to me,” Heathcliff intervened. Aidan remained unflinching, looking first at Michael, and then at Heathcliff whose face, no surprise there, looked now like cut in stone. Oh, damn, had he gone too far by blurting out the truth? Sometimes, he needed to check himself. Only a child made such mistakes. “Oh, Heath, please, let’s not fight. Aidan will get bored while you go hunt down your hookup for the night. I only wish to keep him entertained.” Oh, good, Michael wasn’t the hookup for the night, Aidan thought, feeling relieved. He seemed way too nice to be some one night stand. “I’m sure you’ll make him neglect his duties,” Heathcliff replied smoothly. “I can sit between you two,” Aidan said, and instantly thought he had just committed another faux-pas. Two pairs of eyes, one brown and warm, the other blue and slightly pissed, set on him. “Good decision, Aidan.” Michael encouraged him and made room so that he could take his seat on the sofa. The moment he sat, Heathcliff stretched one arm and draped it over his shoulders. “Aren’t you a bit overbearing, Heath?” Michael laughed. “Give our little friend here some room to breathe.” Casually, Michael put one hand on Aidan’s knee. “If you’re ever interested in ditching your job as Heathcliff’s babysitter, I’d like you to come work for me. Do you have any experience with nightclubs?” Just as quickly, Michael removed his hand. The man was a bit of a flirt, after all. Wait, nightclubs? Aidan finally felt his brain catching up with the surroundings. “Is this place yours?” he asked directly. Michael chuckled. “Yes. How do you like it?” “It’s really nice,” Aidan said enthusiastically. Heathcliff’s hand on his shoulder squeezed, and he was being pulled slightly toward the other. Michael seemed to observe everything with an amused smile. “But, unfortunately, I don’t have any experience with nightclubs,” Aidan added, this time regretfully. “No worries.” Michael adjusted his position so that he could face Aidan. “I can show you all the ropes.” “I don’t really think I would be qualified. Plus, I don’t think I have any experience with, well, anything.” Aidan felt the need to be honest. Michael’s eyes lit up. “You’re so adorable! And modest. I understand why Heath is so taken with you.” Aidan gulped and cast his eyes down quickly. Taken with him? Heathcliff? Michael didn’t know his friend that well, then. But Heathcliff was taken with many men, on a regular basis, so it was normal for Michael to say something like that. “We have only a work-related relationship,” Aidan said without looking up. “Interesting,” Michael commented. “Heath, what do you have to say in your defense?” “Maybe that you’re too close to my babysitter. Seriously? Offering him a job? Good babysitters are so hard to find. You wouldn’t believe it,” Heathcliff replied. Aidan exhaled. Of course, it was all a joke. Good, now he knew where he stood. “Are you having fun, Aidan?” Michael asked. “Your club is fabulous, Michael, but I really am here because of work,” Aidan said apologetically. “I feel for you.” Michael patted his knee. “But I was actually wondering if you’re having fun as Heath’s babysitter.” “I wouldn’t call it fun. It’s, um, interesting,” Aidan said slowly. Talking to people like those he was seated with at that table felt a bit like walking on eggshells now. “Then let me help you do something fun for a change,” Michael stood up and stretched out his hand. “Let’s dance. And maybe I can convince you that my offer is worthy of your consideration.” Aidan stole a nervous look toward Heathcliff who was still holding him by the shoulders. “Go on,” Heathcliff smiled at him. “I think you’re entitled to a little bit of fun. Also, I trust Mikey here to fend off the competition.” “Okay,” Aidan replied, not really understanding what Heathcliff was getting at by that. “But it’s only one dance, and I’ll get back. Please, if you hook up, at least take the guy’s name so that I can, you know, do my job.” Heathcliff burst into laughter. “How fast do you think I can hook up?” “You’re you,” Aidan said simply. “I bet you can raise one hand and say one word, and you’ll have to beat everyone off with a stick.” “Hmm, maybe I should do that before you leave the table,” Heathcliff purred and began caressing Aidan’s nape with the tip of his fingers. Aidan shuddered. Everywhere Heathcliff touched him felt electric. Or maybe he was impressed by being there and in such company. He stood up a bit brusquely and took Michael’s hand. As he turned to look over his shoulder, he noticed Heathcliff’s eyes. The man was looking at him in a way that was not easy to define. Was there a tiny bit of longing? No, that couldn’t be. Heathcliff was not the longing type. “I must say that I’m pleasantly surprised with Heath.” Michael helped him move to the rhythm on the dance floor, still holding his hand. “Why?” Aidan asked directly. Michael knew how to move. It was like he was made for the dance floor. The best part was that Aidan found it easy to take after him. At least he didn’t appear to have two left legs. The curious and even somewhat jealous looks thrown in his direction told him that Michael didn’t keep it a secret that he was the owner of the place. But even without that, the man would have drawn plenty of interest. He didn’t have only the moves of a dancer, but also a body that seemed shaped by such activities. “Because he brought someone like you with him. Usually, he’s all about social butterflies.” Aidan nodded, not knowing what to say. Michael suddenly pulled him close, almost making their bodies touch. But his talents as a dancer shone through, and Aidan was just close enough to feel the other’s body heat and nothing more. He could tell he was a little overwhelmed. “It’s just work.” Aidan shook his head. Michael was a bit taller so he could stare down at Aidan. “By what Heath tells me, it’s more than that.” “Um, what does he tell you?” Michael chuckled. “That you’re a fascinating person.” “He says that because I’m not the usual type he hangs out with. Not that we’re hanging out. I need to watch over him because, you know,” Aidan said quickly. “Work,” Michael completed his phrase and looked at him a tad amused. “I mean it about the job, Aidan.” “But we just met,” Aidan pointed out. “There is no way you could know I’m qualified. Or at least that I have what it takes to assist you.” Michael nodded, and then pushed Aidan slightly away, only to make him twirl and end up with his back flush against him. Aidan felt a little dizzy, and not because he had just performed a perfect pirouette like a ballerina. Michael smelled nice, and Aidan could feel his breath on his cheek. “Heath tells me you’re talented. Bright, even. Also, that you know how to deal with difficult situations.” “He’s just saying. Also, I believe he has too much fun teasing me. So, please, take what he says with a pinch of salt.” Michael’s low chuckle sent shivers down his spine. “Heath is rarely impressed with a man’s intellect. You’re an exception, sweetheart. So, if we could get over your modesty, please tell me, what would you do to bring this place up to speed with the 21st century?” Aidan was taken aback by the sudden question. But, as Michael continued to guide him and make him dance, really dance, he began thinking. “How is your social media presence?” he asked. “Facebook page, Twitter account, Insta, all that jazz,” Michael replied. “What about engagement? What’s the average number of likes, tweets, and so on when you post something new?” Michael laughed. “Let’s say that I’m doing a fine job keeping people interested in my venue in the real world. I don’t think I’ve posted anything new in about three months.” “Three months?” Aidan expressed his surprise. “Then I’m sorry to break it to you, Michael, but that’s like the equivalent of being social media dead.” “I thought so,” Michael sighed. “What about your website?” “Err, let’s say I haven’t had enough time to take care of that,” Michael replied and smiled charmingly. “You need a website,” Aidan said, trying hard to ignore Michael’s enticing sway of the hips as the man pulled him close again. “And a social media manager. For starters, I mean.” “See? And you say you have no experience,” Michael said brightly. “Let’s go back and enjoy our drinks. Heath must be already bored out of his wits.” Aidan looked back at the table, only to find the place empty. Instantly he felt the now familiar pang in his chest. So Heathcliff had found someone quickly after all. “Ah, he’s gone already,” Michael noted, too. “I hope I can be good enough company. What do you say, Aidan?” “Sure,” Aidan said. “But please, don’t let me keep you from seeing about your evening, as usual.” Michael’s face was all a smile. “We could talk more about what I can do with this place.” “Certainly.” Aidan nodded. “But are you sure you want to spend your Saturday night talking business?” “Definitely.” Michael gestured for him to take a seat. “Okay,” Aidan began, but his eyes began searching around. “I’d say that you should start …” he trailed off as he noticed Heathcliff standing not far away from them, and talking to a young man dressed in a white tee that probably showed a perfect set of six packs. The kind he didn’t have, Aidan thought ruefully. A pat on his shoulder woke him up from his thoughts. “Do you want to know what you should do right now?” Michael asked him. “I’m sorry.” Aidan shook his head, feeling guilty. “Where were we? Ah, we were talking about--” “We can talk some more about that another time. Now take a sip from your drink,” Michael encouraged him, “it will give you strength.” Of course, as the guest, Michael probably wanted to know his opinion about the cocktails served there. Aidan dutifully took a sip through the straw. “There’s alcohol in it!” Michael laughed. “Of course. It’s a Dirty Shirley, not your usual Shirley Temple, but that’s just a small detail, right?” “I wouldn’t call one ounce of vodka a small detail,” Aidan said wryly. “Someone knows his cocktail recipes.” Michael laughed. “Now take another sip of liquid courage, go over there, and ask Heath to dance.” “Why would I do that?” Aidan asked, feeling a bit hot, and not just from the drink. “Because he told me that’s what he’s hoping for tonight,” Michael replied promptly. Aidan blinked a few times. He looked at Michael, but it didn’t look like the guy wanted to play him. “Why? Is he getting cold feet? Does he think one percent of the male population here would reject him or something? I bet he aims at a perfect score,” he babbled. “What does he need me for?” “Why don’t you find out?” Michael said with a small, secretive smile. Aidan looked at his host, then over at Heathcliff. The young man in the white tee was well into Heathcliff’s space, yet, Heathcliff didn’t seem to take the reins, as expected. Aidan took a long sip from his drink. What was the worst that can happen? In a few words, he would make a fool of himself. Heathcliff could tell him to fuck off so that he could see about his mating strategies for the night. Somewhat, with Michael’s encouragements, and the alcohol in his system, Aidan felt like the worst was a risk worth taking. TBC
  24. Mine too, one of the few times Finland ever speaks Sorry about the Flames, Wildone Happy Easter
  25. BASILB

    IMG_20190417_120940.jpg

    This is recent expression of freedom and self acceptance.🚬 💖
  26. drpaladin

    Chapter 18

    We'll see. I bet I'm right though and I only bet on sure things.
  27. JeffreyL

    Rain

    I am enjoying getting to know Tom and Charlie! Looking forward to more. Thanks.
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