I’m not giving up on the story, but posts will likely be much more random than I’d like. Please be patient, and feel free to follow my author blog for updates. (piaveleno.com)
I’m not giving up on the story, but posts will likely be much more random than I’d like. Please be patient, and feel free to follow my author blog for updates. (piaveleno.com)
Ash loved the night. He had since before that fateful bite that awakened the vampire hunter blood. It had been a night much like tonight – cold and crisp, the kind of weather that froze your nose from the inside out. Tonight was different. Tonight, instead of giving in to fear and walking away from the pretty girl making eyes at him, Ash was treating a wonderful woman who knew his secret to a special evening simply because she made his head swim with her cunning, playful, freckled smile.
It was weird and it was wonderful.
Ash stepped ahead of Ginger to push open the door. He stepped through and held it for her. He fell in beside her on the sidewalk, heading back toward the T-station.
“It was magical!” Ginger did a little skip-twirl move that was similar, yet nothing at all like a pirouette. She wasn’t tall and lithe like the ballerina on the stage, but Ginger’s happiness made her a hundred times more beautiful.
Ginger skipped ahead and spun around to face him. Ash stopped walking and just took in the vision of his lovely girlfriend.
His girlfriend. He never thought he’d be able to say that.
“It was,” he said. He nodded.
“I don’t want to go home yet.” Ginger reached for Ash’s hand and pulled him along as she turned and started walking again. “It’s a nice night.”
“It’s cold. I can see your breath.” Despite his objection, Ash didn’t steer them toward the steps to the T. He let her lead him right past.
“Nonsense.” She waved her free hand, dismissing his words. “Given the weather we’ve had so far this year, this is downright balmy.”
He chuckled. She had a point. Most of the snow had melted, but there were still dirty piles here and there. Before that last storm, the temps had been rocking into the teens. In November.
She squeezed his hand and slowed her walk. When he looked at her, her smile had faded from glowing to a normal level. “If you’re cold,” she started.
“No.” He brushed a hand down her cheek. “Well, yes, a little, but you keep me warm.” Cheesy, he thought, as soon as the words left his lips, but Ginger must’ve disagreed because her smile returned to a beaming grin.
Her voice dropped low and knowing. “I’ll keep you warm. Boiling, if you’d like.” Her gaze held a wicked glint, daring him to take her up on her not-so-subtle offer.
He didn’t know what to say. She knew he wasn’t normal. Maybe it’d slipped her mind. Instead of bringing the conversation down, he kissed her. As their lips brushed, he hoped she didn’t notice him trembling. She was a smart girl. By the time they returned to her place, she’d remember and he wouldn’t have to tell her no.
“Ash.” She did that often, whispering his name against his lips after a kiss.
“Ginger,” he whispered back, and kissed her again.
When he pulled away and nodded his head to the side to indicate they should keep walking, Ginger resisted. She squeezed his hand, and held his gaze for a long moment.
“I get it. You’re scared.”
“Okay, hesitant. But, Ash.”
He covered her mouth with one finger. “Can we talk about this later?”
Her gaze filled with doubt, but she nodded. When he moved his finger, she said, “Will we talk about this?”
He wanted to please her. He was attracted to her – that wasn’t the problem. The problem was, well, she knew. It’d gone beyond blurting out his secret at that first coffee date. She knew he still needed surgery. They’d talked about that. Briefly. Any attempt at intimacy beyond kissing and holding hands would result in frustration and embarrassment. He couldn’t.
Ash forced a smile. Already, she meant so much to him. He would hate every moment, but he would talk about it as much as she needed to. He wanted her to understand that if he could, he’d make love to her every single night, all night long.
The ratt-tatt-tatt of a machine gun was loud in the small apartment. Blood and guts splattered across the television screen. Mike swore, ducking to the side in his favorite chair narrowly dodging another zombie. One that looked surprisingly like Dragon. With the twist of his wrist and a twitch of his finger, he drew a pistol and blew Dragon-zombie’s head clean off its shoulders.
“Call him.” Crandall paced through Mike’s peripheral vision. Mike ignored him, tapping the game controller to reload as the next wave of zombies appeared from down the block.
“I’m not calling. Give him time to work.”
“We left there two hours ago.”
“In the middle of the night.”
Mike sighed. He did not want to argue. It wouldn’t get either one of them anywhere but annoyed. Instead, he said nothing, opening fire on the next wave of zombies closing in on his position.
He heard Crandall snort, a too familiar sound that told Mike he wouldn’t be giving in so easily. When Crandall stepped back into his peripheral view – this time close enough to the television screen to interfere with Mike’s game with no warning – Mike decided it would be best to postpone his own distraction until Crank settled down. He hit pause, set the controller on the arm of the chair, and frowned up at his lover. He loved Crandall with every bit of his being, but sometimes – like tonight – he could be a huge pain in the ass. They both knew it, and they both knew that wasn’t going to change anytime soon. Still, the love was there, for both of them. It gave Mike patience.
“How about some music?” Mike sat still. If he couldn’t divert Crandall, he’d play on and do his best to ignore the man’s demands. “We could work on that new song.”
“You trying to get us kicked out of this shit hole?”
Mike closed his eyes and resisted another sigh of frustration. When he opened them he said, “Acoustic.”
Crandall crossed his arms tighter over his chest. He looked like he was trying to break his own ribs in a bear hug. Before he could object, Mike tried again. “Chris will do what he said he would do. So we can either pass the time with something enjoyable or we can argue about it. Do you really want to fight, Crank? Because it’s not going to get you an answer any sooner.”
Crandall’s scowl drifted into confusion momentarily, and then shifted into resignation. He dropped his arms to his sides and rolled his head around, loosening tense muscles. “It’s not a new song,” he said. “LP recorded it years ago, and we can’t do it acoustic tonight. I want the piano version. Just you on the piano, and me singing. You’ll sing Shinoda’s part.”
“I…” Mike tried to remember the song. My December. He couldn’t recall the lyrics, and while Crandall might’ve played the piano arrangement for him as some point, Mike was blanking on the tune. “I don’t sing.”
“Bullshit. I’ve heard you.”
“Not on stage.” He wasn’t sure why he was objecting. Mike liked to sing, but he liked creating music much more. He loved the power behind his drum set, and he enjoyed writing the rest of the music with Crandall. Crandall had always been the singer and had always written their lyrics – when they bothered to use their own songs. Just as often, Crandall picked out songs to cover. This was a first – asking Mike to not only play something besides his drums on stage, but to also lend his voice to the performance. He wished he could remember how much Linkin Park’s co-lead contributed to that particular song.
“Shit, Mike, you won’t have a lot of lines. Try it before you tell me off.”
Mike did sigh this time. “I’m not telling you off. I’m telling you—”
“That you’re chicken shit?”
With a laugh, Mike shook his head. “Alright. If it gets your mind off being a pain in the ass, I’ll work on this song tonight. We can decide whether it’s worthy of performance later.”
“I’m sure it is. I’m just not so certain that it will be after changing my role in all of this.”
He wasn’t sure Crandall heard his last objection. Crank had already walked out of the room, probably to grab his keyboard and sheet music. Just another one of his lovable quirks – when most people would’ve said “I’ll just grab my gear” before leaving, Crandall simply walked out of the room, knowing damn well if Mike thought about it, he’d know exactly where Crandall was going and why. So why announce it?
Yep, lovable. Or at least quirky.
Mike chuckled, smiling fondly as he got up to shut off his game. He’d sing tonight. For Crandall. But singing and playing the piano on stage? Well, maybe after Crandall pried bloody drumsticks out of Mike’s cold, dead hands.
Mike watched Crandall pace around the room. He’d remained seated on a wobbly old wooden chair for as long as it took for him to share the details of the vampire prophecy and Judas’s demands with Father Chris, and then he was on his feet, pacing, prowling, like a caged lion, waiting for his keeper to leave the gate ajar. He could smell freedom, taste it, but didn’t know when his chance would come.
Father Chris, on the other hand, reclined against the arm of the sofa, hands folded on his stomach as he stared toward the ceiling. Was he seeking Heavenly guidance, or just thinking about the best way to tell them both they were crazy?
“Tell me,” Chris said, “Why do you feel obligated to participate in this prophecy?”
Mike glanced at Father Chris, but the priest was watching Crandall.
Crandall froze midstep, his entire body tense. Slowly, he turned, glaring first at Mike and then at Chris. “They won’t leave us the fuck alone.”
“Crank…” Mike tried to interrupt, but Crandall plowed on, indifferent to who heard his foul mouth.
“Obligated? Hell no. Antagonized is more like it. I gotta do this to make them go away.”
Mike stood, and moved between them. Chris didn’t appear bothered by Crandall’s language, but Mike was. They weren’t in the church itself, but to Mike, the building and the priest deserved the same respect, even if they were in nothing more than a small reception room that was a part of Chris’s private quarters.
“We’d ignore them if we could, Father.” Mike heard Crandall’s soft footsteps resume behind him but ignored his friend for the moment. “They know where we live and aren’t afraid to show up at odd hours to put the pressure on. They’ve come to the dojo too, and the club.” Mike paused, the excuse sounded stupid in his head, but it was true, too: “We don’t exactly have a reasonable excuse to tell the band why we can’t go to a club run by vampires when it’s the best crowd we’ve ever played for.”
Chris smiled his understanding, patient smile. “Do you need more stakes, or blessed water?”
Mike shook his head. Crandall stepped up beside him and spoke. “We need information. We need another way to kill this vampire. He’s stronger than any other I’ve met, by more than I can measure. Stakes and water aren’t going to cut it. I doubt the four of us could bring him down with traditional strategies.”
“You think I have knowledge I haven’t shared.” Chris managed to sound as neutral as possible. Mike couldn’t tell if he was annoyed or offended or amused by this.
“Of course you do.” Crank shoved his hands deep in his pockets and fixed Chris with a hard, unwavering glare. “Everyone knows the church suppresses shit they don’t want out as public knowledge. How do we get our hands on that taboo research?”
Chris bit his lip and Mike was certain it was to hide a sudden smile. Interesting.
“The church does not–”
Chris’s sort-of-smile faded and he hardened his look to match Crandall’s fierceness. “Sit down, please, Crandall.”
When Crandall sat, Mike did too, more because he was stunned Crandall complied so easily than for any need to sit. Crandall could be polite to get what he wanted, but he rarely did so without a lot more prodding.
“The church, as I said, does not have that kind of information.” Chris’s tone was low and steady, like a hypnotist. “However, I know a place that does collect ancient lexicons.”
“Great.” Crandall leaped to his feet. “Let’s go.”
Chris nodded to the chair. Silent.
Crandall stared for a moment and then another. Then with a small nod of his own, Crandall returned to his seat.
Chris continued, “The owners entertain by invitation only. I’ll make a call and see if I can arrange a visit.”
“Thank you,” Mike said.
“Don’t thank me. Prophecy or not, a vampire that strong should be destroyed. However, I can’t promise you two will get an invitation to view the collection. If you do, I strongly suggest you consider how best to approach such an opportunity. If not handled with respect, I may lose a valuable contact to a world the church would not assist us with.
“Crandall, I understand why you make the choices you do, but I’m going to ask you to let Mike do the research.”
“What if I promise not to pick a fight with your friend?”
Chris laughed and visibly relaxed. “If you are able to keep such a promise, I would accept it.”
Crandall snorted and shook his head. “It’s not easy.” Then he smiled an uneasy smile. “I hope I’ll be engrossed in research and Mike can do all the talking.”
“That sounds like an excellent idea.” Father Chris stood, and Mike and Crandall followed him to the back door. “I’ll give you a call, Mike, as soon as I know anything.” He turned to Crandall. “You’ll need to be patient. Sometimes these things take time. My contact has a business to run on top of managing the collection.”
“I don’t know how much time we have,” Mike said, cutting off whatever Crandall was about to spit out.
“I understand.” Chris hugged Mike, and merely smiled fondly at Crandall, before shooing them out the door and into the fragile daylight.
Crank forgot to be Crank. Mike fucked him slowly. He made love with excruciating long and unhurried strokes that Crandall felt through his entire body from the intensity of being filled by Mike’s hard prick to the slide of Mike’s damp skin across Crandall’s torso as Mike flexed his abs and rocked his hips.
As if he knew exactly when Crandall needed it most, and maybe he did, Mike ran a hand down Crandall’s thigh where it wrapped around his waist and eased away, pulling out. He grabbed Crandall’s ankle and lifted his leg. “Turn over,” he said as he leveraged Crandall around to his stomach.
Crandall pulled his knees and elbow beneath him and arched his back shoving his ass high in the air. Mike didn’t make him wait. He caressed Crandall’s ass cheeks and then trailed his fingers around to grab Crandall’s hips like handles. He pulled Crandall’s ass close, nuzzling his cock against Crandall’s entrance. Crandall pushed back, already loosened up and still eager to be fucked.
And fucked was what he got. Good and hard and fast. Just the way he liked it.
As he panted out the last breaths of his orgasm into his pillow, shooting cum across the sheets, Crandall was vaguely aware of Mike pumping his short shallow thrusts that preceded his own orgasm. Exhausted, depleted, and beyond satisfied, Crandall rolled his head to one side and let his eyes drift shut as Mike’s warmth disappeared. A moment later, the mattress shifted beneath him as Mike flopped down beside Crandall.
“You okay?” Mike asked.
Crandall half-opened one eye. He knew he was smiling. “What kind of question is that?”
“Huh?” He closed his eye, but then felt Mike’s hand on his hip, still up in the air. It felt like too much work to move his knees to fall flat on the bed.
Mike gave a gentle push. “Don’t you want to lie down?”
Crandall made a noncommittal grunting sound in the back of his throat but went with Mike’s touch, letting him push Crandall until he toppled to his side. Yeah, that was better. Peeking through one eye again, he reached for Mike’s hand as it withdrew. He brought it to his lips and kissed one finger before sucking it into his mouth with a happy hum.
When he let Mike’s hand go, Crandall closed his eye, intent on dozing for a few minutes before dragging Mike out of bed for their usual post-show late-night breakfast at IHOP. His mind had other ideas. With the return of normal blood flow, Crandall remembered the pink note left on Mike’s windshield. With a grumpy groan he threw one arm over his face and flopped onto his back. He did not want to think about vampires any longer tonight. There had to be something they could do to get them to back off.
“Do you still talk to that priest?”
Mike was silent for a moment. Crandall tipped his cheek to the pillow and peeked at Mike from under his forearm.
“Father Chris? Yeah, sometimes. What’s got you thinking about him?”
“The church is known for its secrecy. Secret societies and shit like that. Maybe he has some secret vampire killing books at his disposal.”
“I would think he would’ve mentioned that before now.” Mike stared at the ceiling. Crandall could tell he was considering the option despite his objection.
“Have you told him about this stupid-ass prophecy?”
Mike’s brow wrinkled as he frowned. “I don’t think I have.”
“We?” Mike rolled to his side, his gaze locked on Crandall’s.
“Yeah, yeah, I gave you shit about the religious crap. Go ahead and tell me I have a shitty idea. I fucking dare you.”
Mike winced and shook his head. “We can try it. Couldn’t hurt.”
It could. All of that vampire shit could hurt. And that was exactly why Crandall wanted it out of his life. He’d find a way. Even if it meant killing the biggest, baddest vampire of all time. He was starting to think that really was their only way out.
Thoughts dissipated as Mike stopped in front of Crandall. He towered over Crandall, almost hovering, as if waiting for the panic attack that would hit so often when someone invaded Crandall’s personal space. It didn’t happen. Crandall couldn’t remember the last time it had. Not with Mike. Crandall’s breath quickened and his lungs swelled to keep up. He felt like there was little oxygen left in the room with Mike so close. So close. So naked. So hot and bothered for more.
Crandall couldn’t breathe, but it wasn’t anxiety; it was pure lust. A moment later what might’ve been hesitation became definitive decision. Mike leaned over Crandall, making Crandall arch back to tip his face up and meet Mike’s mouth with his own. Mike caught his face between his palms with a light touch – one Crandall could easily escape if he needed to – and deepened the kiss with a probing tongue.
With that kiss, Crandall suddenly needed that agile, exploring tongue on his balls. He pushed Mike back and scooted further onto the bed. He let his knees fall open as he lay back, watching Mike devour him with his gaze.
Mike didn’t need to be told. He put one hand on the bed beside Crandall’s ribcage and stretched forward to kiss him once more. Then, Mike moved to Crandall’s neck, teasing with light brushes of his lips and he eased his way down to Crandall’s shoulder, moving along his collarbone until Crandall gasped with both pleasure and frustration.
“Mike…” Crandall snarled at the whine in his voice. Mike owned him completely.
“Shh,” Mike whispered against the flesh between Crandall’s sensitive nipples.
“Don’t fucking shush me.” Crandall cut off additional words to voice a soft cry of encouragement as Mike’s lips closed on his right nipple. Mike flicked his tongue over the sensitive bud and then moved down Crandall’s sternum. Crandall pushed Mike’s head lower and Mike let him guide his mouth lower, pausing only to dip his tongue in Crandall’s belly button making him squirm.
“Do you want to cum?” Mike’s words ghosted over Crandall’s swollen cock. If he did that again, Crandall expected the question to become suddenly unnecessary.
Crandall didn’t answer with words. He lifted his hips, pushing his cock against Mike’s evil, teasing lips. He reached for Mike’s head again, but he didn’t need to. Mike opened his mouth and sucked Crandall’s head between his lips. Crandall moaned out a string of curses as his shaft slid over Mike’s warm, strong tongue. “Oh, goddamn, fuck yeah.”
He tried to hold back but Mike’s mouth felt too damn good. Warm and wet and so fucking damn good. Crandall’s moaning grew louder and shorter as Mike sucked him right to the edge of orgasm and then threw him over with a calculated twist of his tongue across his slit and around the sensitive flared head of his cock.
Crandall’s orgasm crashed down around him as he thrust up into Mike’s mouth. He swore. He called Mike’s name. He cried out without words. Shooting cum and seeing white starbursts behind his tightly closed eyes.
Moments, minutes, or maybe even months later, Crandall returned to his senses as if floating back into his body from a faraway distance. Mike had nestled himself between Crandall’s thighs, his weight a light comfort supported by Mike’s hands planted on either side of Crandall’s head. Crandall made a happy, satisfied humming sound in the back of his throat and Mike responded by rubbing his hard prick against the crease of Crandall’s left hip.
“Wear you out?” Mike asked. He lowered his head, his hair tickling Crandall’s face as Mike ran tongue and lips over Crandall’s neck and up to his ear, sucking in the lobe.
Crandall dug through the fog of an amazing orgasm to force his hands to Mike’s ass. He pulled him closer and bucked his hips up against his lover. His prick might be taking a breather, but Crandall still wanted to get fucked hard.
“Not yet,” Crandall said. He rolled his head to the side, giving Mike more access to his neck. Something that used to bore him made his cock refill in record speed when Mike did it. As Mike traced the hard cartilage of Crandall’s ear with his tongue, he moved one hand down Crandall’s body to wrap long fingers around his balls, rolling them together until Crandall was once again panting and squirming and doing his best not to demand Mike get on with it and fuck him hard and fast.
Mike moved his hand from Crandall’s balls to his hole, one finger exploring, pressing gently. “Ready for me?” Mike asked.
“Since before we got home.” Crandall squirmed. He didn’t like fingers as much as he liked Mike’s thick cock. “Mike…”
Mike ceased the objection with a kiss. He lowered more of his weight onto Crandall, dropping his weight onto one elbow so he could slide his forearm under Crandall, cradling his head, and pulling him deeper into the kiss. Crandall forgot his objection, his rush to fuck, and everything else in the world with that kiss. Thinking…overrated. He just wanted to be. With Mike. All night long.
Crank sat back on his heels and wiped the back of his hand across his mouth. It still amazed him almost every single time he and Mike had sex. He didn’t care about his personal space. Not only that but he craved Mike’s presence. His presence, his sex, his scent, his taste, his voice, his everything. Crank leaned in and licked Mike’s half-deflated cock.
Mike flinched. “Whoa, man, give me a minute.” As Mike brushed his fingers down Crandall’s left cheek, Crandall leaned in to the tender touch. Crandall let his eyes drift shut and inhaled deeply through his nose. Mike’s smell filled him. A musky masculine scent with underlying threads of sweat and leather.
Crandall sighed softly. He licked his lips, savoring Mike’s lingering taste before rising up on his knees and turning his face up. He rested his chin on Mike’s stomach as he pressed his palms to Mike’s leather-clad thighs. Running his hands upward, he grinned at Mike’s sleepy post-orgasm expression.
“Only one minute,” Crandall said. “At the end of that sixty seconds, I expect you naked and hard and pounding me into that mattress.”
Mike’s eyes fluttered as he made a soft, deep sound that landed somewhere between a moan and a whimper. Yes, he had power over Mike in such simple words. He thrived on that power. Crandall rose to his feet, and as he did, dragged his hands up Mike’s legs, caressing thighs, hips, and torso. As he reached his full height, he pressed his entire body against Mike’s, pinning him to the wall.
“Naked,” he whispered again, lips brushing against Mike’s as he spoke. He wrapped his arms around Mike’s neck and then tugged at the elastic holding Mike’s hair at his nape. “Now.”
He kissed Mike, long and slow, and then pulled away, shedding his clothes as he moved to the bed. When Crandall turned around and dropped onto the mattress, Mike still hadn’t moved any more than was required to stroke his cock back to attention. Crandall watched Mike tugged his prick for several long, teasing seconds. It was unnerving the way he could become Mike’s entire focus.
Crandall blinked as if coming out of a dream. It was that way for both of them. Nothing else mattered when they were alone. Hell, it went beyond sex. Mike gave him the strength and desire to live more. To get out of his own head. Crandall had more friends because of Mike, and as much as he complained about them, he wouldn’t trade them for anything.
Watching Mike’s reaction, Crandall leaned back on his elbows and letting his knees fall open. Mike looked ready to come again. Standing alone. Watching. Cock hard, leaking precum. Crandall wanted every ounce of what Mike had to give. Pleasure all night long. Mike could do no wrong. He knew Crandall’s body better than Crandall did. It was disturbing relief to surrender. To realize Mike was the only true lover he’d had. Sure, he’d gotten off before. Even had great blow jobs before. But Crandall had never given all, or even most, of himself to anyone, while Mike didn’t have to ask or beg or demand. Crandall surrendered, and surrendered one-hundred percent, because it was Mike.
“Why the fuck do you still have your pants on?” Crandall pressed his tongue to the back of his teeth. Snark came too naturally. Mike’s penchant for drawing out the foreplay was something Crandall snapped about frequently but he had to admit, he loved every moment of it. He had a hot, sexy boyfriend who knew exactly what he was doing. Including letting Crandall think he was in control. Mike had been all along.
Crandall exhaled sharply and struggled to draw in his next breath. The thoughts running through his head were dangerous. He didn’t want to explore them further but they remained, dancing around the physical sensations and visual distraction. Mind at war, Crandall fought to focus on Mike as he moved to action.
Without taking his gaze off of Crandall, Mike kicked off his boots and shimmied out of his pants. As he crossed the room, he pulled his shirt over his head. That single-minded focus stole Crandall’s breath. It felt like the beginnings of a panic attack, and yet, it was so different. His breathing, shallow and ragged. His focus, tunneled until only Mike existed in the world. His nerves, prickles and shivers danced across his skin. Sweet anticipation. Something he knew with no other lover. Intense need. Not just lust. Not just aching balls. Need. Sweet and dangerous. Uncontrollable and necessary. So very necessary. To his very existence. Mike.