Club Albertane: After Dark

03 - Immortally Yours [Incomplete] - Jayson

My story begins like so many other stories do, on a dark and stormy night.  The rain fell hard on that cold autumn evening, blown violently to and fro by a wind straight from hell.  To some that storm seemed the end of the world, a new flood come to wash away the sins of all mankind.  To others, myself included, it brought a purging of another kind.  It wasn’t, unusually enough, the deluge that washed away my innocence.  That was something altogether different and where I will start my story.

My family and I were on holiday in England, having secured one of those quaint manors on the beautiful, British countryside for the month of November.  Our year, the one in which I turned seventeen, had been a hectic one filled with concert tours, album promotions and talk-show appearances.  We were ready for a vacation.  The thought of having nothing to do but relax consumed our minds and overwhelmed us with joy. 

We, my elder brother and I, had gone ahead of the family, leaving them in town to await my father’s arrival.  He’d had other business to attend to and was travelling separately.  I had been ill so my mother had allowed us to drive ahead to the manor so I could rest.  We’d had no idea that the rain would come.  In retrospect we should have stayed with the family, but we had no way of knowing about the coming storm.  Nor would it have stopped us from visiting our rented home, since that's where we ended up anyway…even if it was by accident.

You see we'd been driving for almost an hour down a narrow country road when our car began behaving strangely.  It finally quit running a few minutes later, leaving us stranded under a darkening sky and threatening claps of thunder.  Isaac, that's my older brother, he's twenty, tried his best to fix it, but ended up only uttering a few four letter words and kicking the car's front tire.

We decided to take our chances on foot, feeling sure that we'd come across a house before too long.  A good forty-five minutes later we were no closer to a house than we were when we'd started, and it had started to rain, slowly at first, gradually picking up in intensity.  It was by then almost completely dark.  For a full half-hour we walked in the massive cloudburst, our soaked clothing sticking to us like a second skin.

It wasn't long after we'd resolved ourselves to the possibility of spending the night in the torrential downpour that we saw the warm glow of a home up ahead.  We had no way of knowing at that point that it was actually the place we'd been looking for, and we didn't really care.  We were so excited to finally find possible shelter that it could have been Castle Dracula and we wouldn't have minded.  Although I would soon find out that the analogy couldn't have been anymore true.

Isaac and I broke into a sprint at the sight of the lights.  A few minutes later we were at the front door of a classic Victorian mansion, rapping at its door like madmen, longing for the dry warmth that lied within.  We were completely drenched.  It crossed my mind that perhaps someone with a tight grip on their mental faculties might choose not to let us in based solely on our appearance.  We were completely dependent upon the mercy of whoever answered our knock. 

When the door finally opened we were greeted by quite possibly the most beautiful creature I’d personally ever laid eyes upon.  He was absolutely stunning I’m almost ashamed to say.  Before that very moment I’d never in my life found another man attractive, much less gorgeous.  It frightened me to no end.  I’ve asked myself many times since then if it was that very moment that I fell in love with him.  It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment that it happened.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

He stood over six feet tall, with long, silky chestnut hair that flowed freely down broad shoulders.  Dressed to the nines, the handsome stranger sported a combination of black satin and denim that perfectly complemented his toned physique.  His eyes were a stunning amber hue.  They were difficult to miss, offset by his smooth-as-glass ivory skin, and when they met my own I felt as if I might faint dead away.  I think the correct word would be swoon.  Yes, I swooned in his presence.

  The feelings I experienced at that moment were unlike any other.  I was taken with him, caught in a spell of incredible desire.  From the first moment, I wanted him.  I wanted him like I’d never wanted another human being in my life.  I never in my wildest imagination thought I could be attracted to a man, that I’d want to be with a man.  I’d apparently been fooling myself.

He looked at me longingly, taking in my entire frame in a quick, nonchalant manner, almost unnoticeable.  I hoped beyond hope that my own desire did not appear as obvious.  I was extremely embarrassed, not knowing how to deal with what I was feeling.  Besides the fact that I must have strongly resembled a drown sewer rat.  He smiled at me brightly, casually glancing at my brother just to confuse the issue.  “Hello,” he said with an accent that was surprisingly American.  “You must be Isaac and Taylor.”

We looked at one another with confused expressions.  How would this man know who were?  We’d never met him before and he was calling us by name.  I nodded, trying to keep my own desire from oozing straight out of my mouth.  “Yes, we are,” I stammered, “but how did you know that?”

He held out his hand, which I accepted and shook firmly.  His skin was soft and cool to the touch.  “I’ve been expecting you,” he said.  “I was beginning to get worried.  Welcome to Tait Manor.  My name is Sebastian.”  He shook Isaac’s hand next, and then stepped aside, gesturing for us to enter.  “Come in.  You must be freezing.”

We stepped into the warmth of the foyer, our clothes dripping gallons of rain onto the fine polished marble floor.  Sebastian smiled.  “Here,” he said, “come warm yourselves by the fire.” 

He led us into what appeared to be the main sitting room, just to the left of the entry hall.  It was outfitted with elaborate furnishings, the likes of which I’d never seen.  The walls were adorned in expensive wallpapers of crimson and gold, with fine works of art spaced sparingly, creating a wonderful balance of fine decoration.  The beauty of the room was astounding.  The owners of Tait Manor had spared nothing, allowing their exquisite tastes and abundant wealth to show itself.

An immense fireplace was the centerpiece of the room.  It appeared to be made of granite, with intricate carvings of gargoyles at the corners.  The mantle was covered in small works of art, strange shapes and designs, the origin of which were unknown to me.  I was attracted to the burning logs below, their warmth calling out to me, promising to chase away the chill that had overtaken my body.

“If you’ll excuse me for a moment,” Sebastian began.  “I’ll get you some towels and dry clothes.” 

I felt my eyes follow him as he exited the sitting room.  He captivated me, although I didn’t quite understand why.  I put it out of my mind.  I tried to concentrate on stopping the shivering that had overtaken me.  My blood was like ice water, pouring through my veins, making every inch of my body feel the cold.  I felt my teeth chattering.

“Leave it to us to stumble on this place like that,” Isaac said, himself shivering.  “Who’d have thought that we’d find it by accident.”

I don’t remember answering him.  I was lost in thought.  Images of Sebastian filled my head no matter how hard I tried to push them away. 


I snapped out of my stupor.  “What?”

Isaac shook his head.  “I said, who’d have thought we’d find this place by accident.”

I nodded.  “Yeah, tell me about it.  Damn, I’m cold.”

As if on cue, the door opened and in walked Sebastian, his arms filled with white, fluffy towels and a set of clothes for each one of us.  He smiled as he approached the fireplace.  “I hope these will fit you,” he said.  “My cousins come up from Hampfordshire about once a month so we keep some clothes for them here.  They’re about your age.”

He set the clothes on the mantle, pulling down a towel for each of us.  He handed one of them to Isaac, who uttered a thank you through chattering teeth.  He then offered one to me.  As I reached out for it our hands touched.  A shot of electricity blazed through my body as I felt my face flush.  The sensation of feeling his skin against mine suddenly excited me.  Neither one of us moved for several moments, I think we were both trying to savor the experience.  He pulled away first.

“You’re soaked to the bone,” he said.

“Yeah,” I replied, shivering.  I was too enamoured with him to say much else.

He smiled at me.  I felt as if I’d melt into a puddle on the floor.  “You’ll catch your death, Taylor,” he finally said.

  “Yeah,” I said again.  “I mean -” I was blushing.  I could feel it.  What was he doing to me?  “I’ve been ill.”

Sebastian simply offered a kind smile and took a step toward the door.  “You two get out of those wet clothes.  I’ll make you some nice hot tea.”  And with that he exited the room and shut the door.

“What was that all about?” Isaac asked. 

“What do you mean?”  My voice was muffled.  I had the towel over head in a vain effort to dry my hair.

“What’s going on between you two?”  Isaac peeled the shirt away from his skin and pulled it over his head.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Ike.”  I’d taken my shirt off too, using the towel to dry my bare chest.

“Oh, come on, Tay.  That guy’s got a thing for you.  He’s been checking you out the whole time we’ve been here.”

I laughed at him to cover my own discomfort.  I’d known what he said was true.  I was just unwilling to admit it out loud.  “You’re crazy,” I said.  “He’s just being friendly.”

“I’ll say he’s being friendly.  And you don’t seem to mind it too much.”

Isaac was so right, but I didn’t mind.  I didn’t mind it at all, but I could never let him know that.  It hurt me to keep it from him, though.  He and I had always been so close; we'd told each other everything.  I knew, however, that he wouldn’t understand.  How could he when I didn’t even understand it myself?

“Whatever,” I mumbled, shaking my head.

We finished dressing in silence.  The borrowed clothes fit us remarkably well and we’d no sooner got into them and settled back in front of the fire before Sebastian returned with hot tea and sandwiches.  “I see the clothes fit.”  He smiled as he placed the silver tray on the oak chest that sat in front of the sofa.  “My assistants have all retired for the evening.  This was all I could manage on my own.”

I was famished.  I tried very hard not to make a pig of myself on the small feast laid before me.  Ham sandwiches had never been so tasty to me before.  I think it had something to do with the company in which I was eating them.  Sebastian eyed Isaac and I curiously as we ate, not saying much until my brother finally broke the silence.

“So, Sebastian,” he said.  “How come you don’t have an accent?  You’re not from here, are you?”

Sebastian shook his head.  I’d been watching him too.  Every move that he made caused me to fall deeper and deeper in love with him.  “No, I’m not,” Sebastian said.  “I’m from the States – Tennessee, actually.”
I laughed.  “I thought I detected some sort of an accent there.”

“Well, being in England has helped squelch it a bit, but I suppose it’s something that will never truly go away.”

“How did you come to live here?” I asked him, completely hypnotized by every word uttered from his mouth.

“My father was one of the wealthiest men in the South,” Sebastian explained.  “When his business interests in America turned sour, we came to live here.  He’d been fortunate enough to make some wise investments in a fledgling British manufacturing company.  He and my mother are gone now.  This house gets awful lonely sometimes, but I can’t bear to sell it.  There are too many memories here.  I began renting the place out several years ago, like I did for your family.  I’ve done well with that.”

“You live here alone?”  Isaac asked.

“Well,” Sebastian began, “my assistants and I do.  They help me maintain the place.  They’re sort of like family to me.”

“So, there’s no…” Isaac began, gently nudging me so our host wouldn’t notice, “…Mrs. Tait running around anywhere?”

I felt like clubbing him right then.  He could be such an ass sometimes.

Sebastian raised an eyebrow.  He knew there was more to the question than was being asked.  He fell silent for a moment, looking at both Isaac and myself before answering.  “No, there isn’t.”  A look of sadness fell over his face.  “I was in love once, but it didn’t work out.”  He then peered deep into my eyes.  What he said next sent a shiver of ecstasy through my body.  “Perhaps I will be again.”

Isaac nodded.  “Perhaps you already are.”

That was it, the last straw.  I dumped my warm cup of tea in Ike’s lap. 

“Ahh!” he screamed.  “Smooth move, Tay.”  He jumped up from the sofa.

“Oh, man, Ike.  I’m sorry.” 

He just stared at me.  I was in for it later.  He knew I’d done it on purpose.

“I’ve run out of dry clothes, you moron,” Ike said.

“It’s no bother,” Sebastian said.  “There’s plenty more where those came from.”  He stood.  “Perhaps it’s time I showed you to your rooms.” 

“That would be nice,” I said, giving Isaac a look that would drop an elephant at fifty yards.

An hour later, after we’d both been led upstairs to our sleeping quarters, I barged into Isaac’s room, seething with anger.  “What the hell is wrong with you?” I screamed.  “Have you lost your mind?”

Isaac laughed.  “I could ask you the same question.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“You’re sweet on him, aren’t you?”

There it was.  He’d said it.  I wanted to say yes, to tell him that he was right.  I was sweet on Sebastian.  Hell, I was in love with him – deeply, madly in love.  Isaac wouldn’t understand that, though.  I did then what every other person in my situation would do.  I denied it.

“You’re whacked, Ike,” I said with a laugh.  “You’re completely clueless.”

“He’s creepy, Taylor.  He’s weird and he’s creepy.”  I rolled my eyes, but Ike continued anyway.  “I’ve seen the way he looks at you.  He wants you.  He’s like a child molester or something.”

I gasped.  “Oh, god,” I said.  “You’re right, Isaac.  I’ll bet he was the second gunman on the grassy knoll, too."  I laughed heartily at my own joke.  Ike however didn’t appreciate it.

My older brother shook his head.  “You’re such a smart ass.”

“Well,” I shot back, “it’s better than being a dumb ass.”

Isaac stared at me for a good minute before he spoke.  “You like him, don’t you?”

“Damn it, Ike!”

“Holy shit, Tay,” he said.  “You really do like him.  My brother’s a fag.”

“Shut up!”

His mouth formed a crooked smile.  “All those Hanson haters were right about you all along.  You really are a little fairy.”

I lunged at him, knocking him back against a large oak chest.  It caught him completely off guard.  When he recovered, he stood tall with fire in his eyes.  He stared at me, raising his fist into the air, sending rivers of icy water flowing through my veins.  I had never before seen such anger in his eyes, at least not directed towards me.  It was borderline hatred.

“Get out, Taylor,” Ike said.  “Get out before I knock you out.”

“Isaac, I -”

His fist connected with my nose, marking the first time my brother had ever hit me outside of playful scuffling.  I think Ike was just as shocked about it as I was.  A look of horror spread over his face.  “Oh, shit, Tay,” he said.  “I’m so sorry.”

I backed away toward the door, tears filling my eyes.  I felt so betrayed.  He’d done the unforgivable.  He’d struck me.  It would never be the same between us.  “Damn you,” I said.  “Damn you to hell.”

I ran out of his room, slamming to door behind me.  The huge corridor seemed to swallow me whole as I sprinted back toward my own quarters.  Had it not been raining outside that night, I’d have gone down the stairs, out the front door, and all the way to Paris.  Instead I ran into my room and slammed its door as well.   I wanted to be far away from my brother.  How dare he pass judgment on me?  Who was he to condemn the…

At that moment I stopped myself.  I knew then that it was true.  I was in love with Sebastian.  No matter how hard I tried to deny it, or ignore it, I was in love with him.  And the fact that Isaac saw something wrong with it infuriated me. 

I stood for several minutes with my back to the door, tears stinging my eyes.  I was confused.  I had no idea what was happening to me.  My mind spun in a dozen different directions as I flung myself on the bed.  “Damn him to hell!” I whispered.

Exhaustion nagged at my body, longing for rest.  I felt my body curl itself into a ball on the bed, my heavy eyelids yielding to the dizziness and nausea that had returned from my earlier illness.  My little jog in the pouring rain had obviously not done much for my condition.

Perhaps this was all a bad dream.  Yes that had to be it.  Tomorrow morning I would wake up and all of this would have been a horrible nightmare.  Isaac would never have hit me and I wouldn’t have fallen head over heals in love with another man.  I remember thinking what a curious thing the mind was to have cooked up such a scenario when a knock came at the door to my chamber.

I sighed heavily.  Apparently it hadn’t been a dream.  It was real.

“Go away, Isaac,” I called.  “I’m too tired.”

“It’s Sebastian, Taylor,” a voice called back.  “May I please come in?”

The sound of his voice sent a wave of pleasure through my body.  How enamoured I was with him.  How I longed to be in his arms.  How I wanted him to make everything all right.  I knew it was crazy, but I invited him in. 

The door creaked open.  “Taylor, I brought you some…” 

Sebastian stopped as I raised my head up from the bed.   “Vous saignez, mi amour.”  He set the tray he’d brought in on top of an old oak chest.  He then approached the bed and sat down beside me, pulling out a handkerchief.  He must have noticed my confused expression because he translated his words.  “You’re bleeding.”  He conveniently left out the “my love” part, which had been the only thing I’d understood.  Hearing it come out of his mouth was like music to my ears.

“Isaac hit me,” I said.  “He’s never hit me before.”

Sebastian reached out his hand with the handkerchief.  “May I?” he asked.

I nodded.  He touched the hanky to my bleeding mouth with such tenderness and love.  I could do nothing but close my eyes and experience the moment.  It was strangely exciting.

“I heard the yelling,” he said.  “Why did he hit you?”

“He said something -” I launched into a coughing fit.  It hurt my entire body and I couldn’t stop. 

Sebastian stood up from the bed and retrieved something from the tray.  It was a small bowl.  “I was afraid of this,” he said.  “Here, try and take this.”

He held out a small teaspoon filled with a strange looking liquid.  I got a whiff as he brought it up to my mouth.  It smelled absolutely hideous.  I managed to stop coughing long enough to wrinkle my nose up.  “What is it?”

Sebastian shook his head.  “Oh, no,” he said.  “I can’t tell you that.  If I did you wouldn’t take it.”

“What makes you think I’m going to take it even if you don’t tell me?”

He smiled.  “Quit being a baby.  It’ll make you feel better.”

“What’s it gonna do?  Kill me?”

“No, silly,” he said.  “It’s an old home remedy.  It tastes like shit but it works like a charm.  Now take it.”

I opened my mouth, albeit hesitantly, and allowed Sebastian to insert the spoon.  I felt my face grimace as I got my first taste of the stuff.  I swallowed it quickly.  It did taste like shit, but it was warm and if felt good going down my raw throat.  “Oh, my, gosh,” I said.  “It’s horrible.  What is it?”

My face turned sour and Sebastian laughed.  “I’ll tell you what it is now, if you want to know.”

I nodded.

“It's an old Southern home remedy – Bourbon, honey, lemon juice, and peppermint candy.”

“Yuck,” I said.

“I guarantee, though, that you’ll feel better in the morning.”  He stood up from the bed.  “Lay down now and go to sleep.”

“Good idea,” I said, as I felt the bourbon start to kick in.  “So tired…”

“Here,” Sebastian said, “let’s get you out of those clothes.”

The warmth of the liquor poured through my veins like liquid fire.  It was so soothing to my weary body.  I struggled to lift the shirt over my head, but couldn’t manage.  I heard Sebastian laugh quietly as he reached over and lifted it off my torso.  He folded it neatly and laid it on a wooden chair across from the bed.  He gingerly reached down and unbuttoned my jeans, lovingly pulling down the zipper. 

I felt slightly aroused as he gently lifted me so the jeans would slide off my legs.  His hand lightly brushed against my semi-erect cock as he pulled the pants off me.  Electricity shot through my body, I wanted him so badly.  I watched him through fuzzy eyes as he folded the pants and placed them on top of the shirt.  I was barely aware that I sat in front of this beautiful creature in nothing but my candy-striped boxers.  He looked over my body approvingly and gave me a loving smile. 

Sebastian pulled the coverlet back and scooted my weary body underneath it.  The cotton sheets were cool to the touch.  They felt wonderful against my fever-warmed skin.  I pulled them up to my chin and felt myself grow drowsier.

Sebastian smiled down upon me and gently placed his hand on my cheek.  “Goodnight, sweet Taylor,” he said.  “Rest well.”

The last thing I remember before falling into a deep and restful sleep was Sebastian’s sweet lips kissing my forehead.

I stared out the window at the pouring rain, kicking myself for being so incredibly stupid.  I never should have hit Taylor.  I loved him more than I love myself and never thought I would do anything to hurt him like that.  It’s just that I felt responsible for his safety - I had to look out for him.  He’s so trusting of people sometimes that it scares me.  He saw nothing wrong with this whole situation.

Sebastian was really giving me the creeps.  I’d seen that look he’d been giving Taylor before.  Those photographers that took our pictures gawked at him in the exact same way.  I knew what was on their minds.  But Tay could be so clueless sometimes; he saw some good in everybody.  I don’t think he realized how bad people could be sometimes; that some people might actually want to harm another person.

He trusted me, I know.  For twenty years he’d trusted me.  Now he probably never would again.  I was just angry and frustrated.  Mom always said that I needed to keep my temper in check.  She'd said that one day I’d lose control and do something that I would regret.  I honestly never thought it would come to that.  Oh, god, what had I done?

I sighed heavily and moved away from the window.  I was exhausted - it was time for bed.  Maybe things would look better in the morning.  As I sat down on the bed I heard a knock at the door.  My heart leaped inside my chest.  Maybe it was Taylor. 

“Come in,” I said.  The door opened and in walked Sebastian.  Just the person I wanted to see.  “What do you want?”

“I came to tell you that I have some business to attend to tomorrow,” he responded.  “If you should need anything you may ask one of my assistants.”

“Thanks,” I said, not trying to hide my smirk.

“Is there anything else you require this evening?”

I stood up from the bed, anger flowing through my body.  “Yeah, there is,” I said.  “You can leave my brother alone.”

Sebastian smiled.  “I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.”

“Bullshit,” I returned.  “You know exactly what I mean.  Stay away from him if you know what’s good for you.”

“Isaac, I don’t understand.”

“I’ve seen the way you look at him.  I know what you want to do.  If you try to hurt him, I swear to God, I’ll -”

He laughed.  It was an evil, “you-have-no-idea-who-you’re-fucking-with” laugh that chilled me straight to the core.  “Are you going to strike me too?” he asked.  He must have noticed the look on my face because then he said, “Yes, I know you hit him.  It sounds as if you’re the one he needs to be protected from.”

“Listen to me, you faggot, son of a bitch.  Don’t fuck with my family,” I said, shoving him sharply backward.  “Don’t you even think -”

In a split-second Sebastian had me pinned to the wall; so fast it knocked the wind out of me.  His hand was around my neck and he was lifting me off the ground.  He stared at me with his cold yellow eyes that held the devil inside them.  His strength was amazing.  I gasped for air as his grip on me tightened.

“Now, Isaac,” he said in a calm but threatening tone.  “YOU listen to ME.  If you strike that boy again - if you hurt him - I swear I will kill you.” 

Sebastian smiled an evil smile.  I stared in horror as his teeth, his canines, appeared to be growing!  They were sharp like the teeth of a wolf.  “Holy…holy…" I gasped.

“I have no qualms with ending your life right now.  You will not interfere, do you understand?”

I said nothing, too scared to think straight.

His grip tightened and he lifted me higher into the air.  “DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?” 

I nodded.

He loosened his grip and my body fell to the floor.  My hands went to my neck, I was gasping for my life’s breath.  In an instant Sebastian left the room, so quickly that my eyes couldn’t see.  One moment he was there, the next he was gone.  He'd simply vanished.

I laid there for several moments trying to regain my breath.  Sebastian’s attack had been swift and unexpected.  The strength contained within him was absolutely astounding.  I didn’t recall ever before feeling fear as I felt it while held in his iron grip.  I honestly believed he was going to kill me.  The look within his eyes was death.

Whatever he intended on doing with Taylor, he obviously wasn’t too concerned about interference from me.  He’d won the pissing contest by a long shot.  I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was no match for him, but I also couldn’t just stand by and let him do whatever with Tay.  The guy was definitely something out of a horror movie.  Those teeth of his were something else!  Teeth just like a… 

I stopped, my mind refusing to believe the thought that came next.  Teeth just like a vampire?  Was Sebastian a vampire?  His teeth, his eyes, his massive strength; was all that proof that he was actually a “creature of the night?”  Did they actually exist?  Was the product of novels and movies actually a matter of fact?  Had we stumbled onto a nightmare that would frighten even Bram Stoker himself?

Vampires are the things of folklore and fairy tales; they do not exist.  You imagined he had those sharp teeth.  You imagined it.  I told myself these things over and over in my head.  There had to be another explanation.  These things simply couldn’t be true.  Besides, why would a vampire go after Taylor and not me?  Isn’t my blood just as good as his?

It was obvious that Sebastian had a thing for Taylor, but was he in love with him?  Maybe that was what this was all about.  Perhaps he simply wanted to make Taylor his companion.  Wasn’t that what Lestat wanted with Louis in Interview with the Vampire?  And what was with Taylor, anyway?  I’d never known him to be gay.  He’d never shown the slightest interest in men before.  The only explanation is that Sebastian must have some sort of spell over him.  He was making Taylor want him.  That had to be it.

I yawned.  My body required rest.  Hopefully I can make better sense of this in the morning.  I lifted myself from the floor and crawled into the warm, inviting bed.  I literally fell asleep before my head hit the pillow.  I was that tired.

I slept hard that night, more deeply and soundly than I’d ever remembered sleeping before.  No dreams, no waking up during the middle of the night, just a long and restful sleep.  My body had apparently needed it.  The first thing I remember upon waking was a lovely young woman, not too many years beyond me with age, opening the curtains to my room. 

“Good morning, milord,” she said in a thick cockney droll, adding a curtsy.  She was dressed in a crisp, white servant’s uniform; her beautiful red hair was pulled tightly to the top of her head.  Her skin was smooth and silky, I wanted to reach out and touch it.  “Did you rest well?”

“Yes, thank you,” I responded, sitting up in the bed.  “Good morning.”

“My name is Marcella,” she informed me.  “I’ll be your personal assistant for the duration of your stay.  Do you require breakfast this morning?”

I rubbed my eyes.  “That would be nice, Marcella.  Thank you.  My name is…”

“Isaac,” she interrupted.  Then, she blushed.  “I beg your pardon, milord.”

“It’s okay.  And you can call me Ike.”

“No, milord, the master would never allow it.”

“The master isn’t here, Marcella.  I insist that you call me Ike.”

She blushed again.  “Thank you, Ike.  I – I’m a pretty big fan of yours.”

“Thank you.  Is there any place I can grab a quick shower before breakfast?”

She smiled.  “Out the door and to your left, sir.  It’s the second door on the right.”

“And our luggage…”

“Steven and Robert retrieved it this morning,” she said.  “It’s right here at the foot of the bed.  They also repaired your car.  I’ll go and see about your breakfast.”  She turned to leave but stopped.  “Oh, yes.  The master asked me to inform you that the bridge over the main road is out and that he would see about alerting your family in town.”

With that, she left the room, shutting the door behind her.  I sat there for a moment in the bed, trying to collect my thoughts.  I knew that I had to do something about Sebastian, but it seemed so hopeless. 

I made myself get out of bed and walked to my suitcase, pulling a fresh set of clothes out.  A shower would do wonders for clearing out the cobwebs that lingered in my brain, which is exactly what I needed.  I walked out of the room and made my way to the bathroom, casting a casual glance towards Taylor’s bedroom door.  I wondered if he was awake yet.  I wondered if he wanted to see me.

Our fights usually didn’t last over a few hours.  By then we were usually back to our old selves, laughing and cutting up.  Hopefully that would be the case this morning.  Of course, I had never hit him before.  That did sort of change the rules a little bit.  One moment in time, one snap decision, had made everything different.  That one action had quite possibly built a wall between the two of us that might never be broken down.  Well, I suppose that it would have to wait until I finished my shower.  I’d be thinking better by then. 

I must have stood under the water for a good half-hour that morning.  It felt absolutely wonderful to me, the scalding hot water raining down upon me just as the real storm from last night had.  I must admit thought that it had helped me think a little more clearly.  I still didn’t have a plan on how to help Taylor, but at least I was in a better frame of mind to think of something.

Upon returning to my room, I noticed that Marcella had brought me breakfast.  It was sitting on a fancy bed tray covered with an ornate silver lid.  A glass of orange juice sat beside the plate, next to a carefully folded cloth napkin.  I sat down on the bed to see what marvelous feast awaited me.  As I lifted the lid, I was greeted by a classic American breakfast: pancakes, sausage links, scrambled eggs, and buttered toast.  A small container of heated maple syrup sat next to the plate, along with several pats of butter.

I made quick work of the delicious breakfast.  Just as I had finished, Marcella returned to the room.  She was very beautiful and I found myself staring at her.

“Was your breakfast alright?” She moved over to the bed to fetch the tray. 

“Yes, it was fine,” I responded.  “Say, Marcella, is my brother up yet?”

She shook her head.  “No, sir.  Not yet.  The master left strict instructions that he was not to be disturbed.”

I laughed at that.  “Oh, he did, huh?  Where is this master of yours?”

Marcella bit her lip, as if she wanted to say something but didn’t know exactly what.  “The master -” she began.  “The master works early into the morning.  He sleeps through the day.  Actually, we rarely see him until nightfall.”

“Tell me about him, Marcella.”

“Oh, no, I’m sorry,” she said with a nervous smile.  “I really must go now.”  She moved towards the door, the tray shaking in her hands.

I moved closer behind her.  “Is he a vampire?”

The tray clattered to the ground with a thunderous racket.  Marcella stood there for a moment staring at the mess.  “Oh, cripes!”  She kneeled down to the floor and began picking up what was left of my breakfast. 

I moved to help her.  I noticed as I knelt beside her that her hands were trembling greatly.  “Marcella,” I began, “what’s wrong?”

She continued to pick up my breakfast, ignoring the fact that I was trying to talk to her.  I grabbed her firmly and shook her to get her attention.

“Listen, Marcella,” I said.  “I have reason to believe he might try to hurt my brother.  If you know something about him, then you need to tell me.”

“I…I -” she stammered.  “I cannot.”  She stood up from the floor, taking the tray with her.  “I must bid you good morning.  I have work to do.”

“Marcella, wait,” I called after her.  It was too late, however.  She was already gone, having left the mess on my bedroom floor.  It was obvious that she was hiding something, but why?  What would she have to be scared of?  That is unless that she knew I was telling the truth.  She knew what Sebastian was.  She knew, perhaps, the things he had done and the things that he intended to do.

Sebastian must have paid his help will.  Either that or he had them all frightened into silence.  And it only increased my curiosity more.  Who was he and what did he really want with my brother.  I mean, of course, besides the obvious.  And more importantly, could I stop him?

I was in a race against something I knew nothing about and the penalty for failure might mean my brother’s life.  Not knowing what else to do, I set off in search of Marcella.

I honestly do not recall the number of times I’ve killed in the hundred or so years I’ve been a vampire.  In the beginning it was new and exciting.  I craved my next kill like an alcoholic might crave his next drink.  Although I don’t see much difference in what I am and what an addict is.  We both crave something – we need it like we need our next breath.  The only difference is that I need blood to live. 

The rush that a kill used to bring cannot possibly by measured on any scale; the need so great that we can think of nothing else until it is satisfied.  Now, however, I kill because I have to.  The excitement has withered a bit.  I still crave blood and killing, but it has become boring and lifeless.  I think it is because of the horrible loneliness I feel in my heart. 

Yes, I have a heart – a heart that aches and longs for love.  No kill, no amount of blood, could ever fill the void I feel in my gut.  My only companions in this life are my assistants, those who take care of my home and me.  They, however, are so afraid of me that they would hardly count as friends.  Their fear has grown out of superstition only.  They’ve seen how I sleep during the day and only go out at night.  What else could they possibly think? 

Their fear of me, however, is unwarranted.  I would never harm them.  They’ve served me well in their time; their loyalty is to be commended.  That is why I would never think of feeding off of one of them.  It’s part of an unwritten code that I’ve made for myself.  I do not kill those that are loyal to me; I do not kill women or children.  I’d assume feed off of a lowly gutter rat than take the life of an innocent child or a defenseless woman.  I only feed on men, my preference being young, attractive ones.

I have always been fascinated with men, I don’t know why.  Long before a handsome, young buck made me into what I am I held a fondness for my own sex.  I detest being labeled as “gay” or “homosexual,” although I suppose that’s what I am for lack of better terminology.  It is my fascination with men that started this hundred-year journey. 

As I stated before, it was a handsome, young man that made me a vampire.  I remember it now as if it only happened a few days ago.  I was twenty-three at the time, having just celebrated my birthday, and my family had made its way to England.  My father’s textile business had folded in the States and we came here to live because he had wisely made investments that would allow us to live in the manner in which we’d become accustomed.

The summer of 1888 was an exciting one for me.  Having worked a number of years for my father, I had finally decided to enter the University and get the education I’d always hoped for.  I would start school in the fall, studying to be a physician.  I was thrilled that my life was finally beginning.  Finally I would be able to leave behind all that I’d known and learn new things.  The prospect filled me with joy.

I met Matthew at one of those ghastly society parties my parents were always throwing.  He was the nephew of one of my father’s business associates and was quite handsome.  His glowing flaxen hair cascaded down his left shoulder; his eyes were as blue as the ocean.  He captivated me.  I wanted to hold him in my arms and make love to him.

He flirted shamelessly throughout the evening, making wry comments filled with sexual innuendo.  It was like he knew how I felt and was teasing, sending me into a frenzy of erotic tension.  There I was an ignorant little virgin being flirted with by the most amazing man I’d ever seen and I was enjoying it.  It was at that moment that I knew whom I was and whom I wanted to love.

Late into the evening he and I sneaked our way to the stables and talked for a while.  I remember being lost in those eyes of his and longing for him to take me into his arms.  It began as he gently lifted his hand to my face and pushed away a long strand of my dark hair, tucking it behind my ear, sending jolts of erotic fire through me.  I grabbed his hand and held it firmly, pulling it to my mouth, kissing it. 

Matthew pushed me gently against the wall, his other hand slowly unbuttoning my shirt.  He leaned in close to my face, so close I could feel his sweet breath on me.  I remember his hand moving under my open shirt, caressing my breast; him taking my chin in hand and kissing me full on the mouth, his tongue probing me like a hot, flaming arrow.  We kissed for a long time, tasting each other, feeling each other.  He moved to my neck, gently biting and licking. 

It was then that he kissed his way down my bare torso, running his hands down my sides.  He gently unfastened my trousers and released my bulging member, taking it into his mouth.  Matthew was so very gentle with me that night; he knew it was my first time.  I loved him so much for that.  After I’d released myself into him, he rose up, and took me into his arms.

He kissed me passionately, then moved his beautiful mouth up to my ear and whispered to me.  I’ll never forget the words he spoke.  I sometimes here them in the wind, and I turn to see if Matthew is there, having returned to me.

“It can be like this forever,” he said.  “We can be together always.”

I moaned a response, not able to form a coherent sentence.  I was lost in the moment.

“Is that what you want?” he asked.

I simply nodded.  Had I known what he’d meant by those words, I would have said no.  I would have run away from there screaming.  If only I had known then what I know now, I wouldn't be here sharing this story.

“So it shall be,” he said as he tilted my head to the right.  He gently kissed my neck.  Then, I felt a sharp and horrible pain as Matthew sank his teeth into me.  For a very short moment, I struggled.  I felt the very life being taken from me; my blood flowing out of me and into him.  The very second I knew I was going to die, Matthew withdrew from me and I fell almost lifeless to the ground.

I remember watching Matthew in horror, wondering what he would do next.  He crouched down beside me, put his wrist to his mouth, and bit.  Matthew then held his wrist out and commanded me to drink.  I felt myself salivate at the very sight of his life’s essence dripping from the open wound.  I grabbed his wrist and took into my mouth, drinking long and deeply.  The taste was rich and luxurious, like nothing I’d ever experienced before.

I sucked greedily at Matthew’s wrist, draining him of his blood, until he pulled away.  Then, the incredible pain hit me from within myself.  I felt like I was dying; for all intents and purposes, I was.  I was being robbed of my mortality.  I remember clutching my stomach, trying to squeeze away the pain.  My head throbbed, my mind spun.  And then it was all over. 

I arose from the stable floor a vampire.  Suddenly all things were made clear.  I felt strength and power that I’d never known before.  I looked upon Matthew with my new eyes and found him even more beautiful.  In the months that followed, Matthew instructed me in the ways of a vampire.  We fed together, made love, and planned to build a life as soon as my studies were complete.

A number of years went by and my parents, whom I loved dearly, passed on in a tragic fire that consumed the very stables that Matthew and I held so dear.  He and mother were trying in vain to rescue our horses, but to no avail.  After that, I lost my desire for everything.  My studies, my lover, and myself, none of it mattered anymore.  I fell into a deep depression.  I withdrew from the University and spent my nights holed up in our bedroom.  I didn’t even go out to feed.

Poor Matthew worried himself sick over me.  He tried everything he knew to light the flame of joy that had once burned bright in my life.  He finally gave up and left, saying that he loved me too much to watch me wither away to nothing.  I never saw him again after that.  I should have never let him leave me.  I knew he loved me and I loved him.  All I could think about, however, was the horrible pain that gnawed at the very depths of my soul.  Losing my parents had devastated me, but losing my lover was even worse. 

I finally decided that I had to go on.  Matthew leaving was enough to wake me up and live again.  Deciding against returning to the University, I took over my father’s textile business and made it thrive again.  I worked hard for a number of years, making more money than I could ever possibly spend, finally selling the business to an American interest.  Since then I’ve lived alone in this horribly empty house, waiting for the moment when I could once again fall in love.

I’d lost all hope until last night, when the sweet angel walked through my door.  When I set my eyes upon him I was instantly in love.  I haven’t felt that since I first laid eyes on Matthew.  I’ve searched all these years for someone special, someone I could spend my life with.  I’ve never met anyone that could see straight into my soul like Taylor.

I know he feels the same, although he’s a bit confused about it.  One of the “gifts” possessed by us vampires is the ability to read the thoughts of mortals.  It seems a bit unfair, I realize, reading someone’s mind without his or her permission.  Being a vampire, however, changes all the rules.  It’s hard to know what applies anymore.  I would normally never do such a thing but I simply had to know what he was thinking.  

He’s frightened by what he feels for me.  I can’t say that I blame him.  It’s a frightening thing when one first realizes they’re attracted to someone of their own gender.  I’m a bit hesitant to push forward as I don’t wish to frighten him away.  I must have him for my own and I don’t think I could stand to lose him so soon.

I’ve thought of nothing else but Taylor since our meeting.  It was him I thought of last night as I was “feeding.”  As I said before, I have an attraction to young, good-looking men.  Most would find that an odd thing considering my age.  There is something about that boyish aura put off by a fine specimen that drives me absolutely insane.  Fortunately for me, it is never hard to find someone willing to indulge their secret passions.  I’m rather comely myself, not that I like to brag.

I found this little lamb at a local pub, one that I frequent.  His name was Ian and he was quite delicious, in more ways than just the obvious.  Ian was an athlete through and through.  His gorgeous muscular body begged to be freed from the bounds of his clothing.  He sported average length, dirty-blond hair and the brownest eyes I’d ever seen on anyone.  I found myself mesmerized by his entire presence. 

He was sitting at the bar, nursing a drink of unknown substance, when I approached him.  I knew from the moment that he first spoke that he would be mine that evening.  There’s something in the body language - the facial expressions - that gives it all away. 

Ian’s smile was captivating.  I found myself almost giddy in his company - hypnotized by his lively and enchanting British accent.  Everything about him was appealing, not only physically, but emotionally and intellectually as well.  Ian was an educated young man, surprising considering he didn’t look a day over eighteen.  We engaged ourselves in the social pleasantries of “chit-chat” and, having enjoyed each other’s company immensely, decided to return to his flat and “get down to business.”

It always amazes me how ignorant people are.  They don’t even realize that death is staring them right in the face.  I’ve never forced anyone to go with me - they’ve always been willing.  And not a single one of them has had any hint of my plans to drink their life from them.  Of course, in all fairness, that would be the last thing they should expect.  I just find it amusing how willingly they are lead to their own passing. 

Ian lived not far from the pub, in a small, modest apartment that was sparsely furnished.  I found through further conversation that he shared the apartment with his cousin.  They were both attending the University together and split the cost of living to make ends meet.  The cousin, it seems, was back home in America visiting his family, so Ian had the place all to himself.

He smiled as he led me inside his home, eagerly waiting our coming night of passion.  Eerie shadows were cast when he turned on the tiny lamp that sat next to a tired old sofa.  There was absolutely nothing fancy about his place - no attempt to appear wealthy - and somehow that made Ian all the more appealing.

He seemed a little nervous, the poor child, as he led me into an even more sparsely furnished bedroom.  Ian smiled coyly as he set himself down on the full-size bed - eager to get down to business.  I happily complied, my insatiable hunger causing me to almost pounce and devour him in one quick motion.  I held back, however, because I enjoyed torturing myself. 

Prolonging my pleasure made their blood taste even sweeter.  Besides, I enjoyed fucking around as much as they did.  It was like foreplay to me.  And drinking their blood was my orgasm.  The whole idea is so incredibly sensual.  It truly drives me mad.  I’m sure it must seem very perverse to most, although I would venture to say that many mortals fantasize about drinking blood at one time or another.

It is a rush, as I said before, something that cannot be described adequately with words.  When I feel and taste someone’s life passing over my tongue, I am the most powerful being on the planet.  It is also incredibly arousing. 

"God," he said, "you're beautiful."  His hand gently grazed my leg, which sent waves of pleasure echoing throughout my body.  He stared deep into my eyes, a half-smile forming on his sweet lips, which begged to be kissed.

I leaned in closer, the sweet smell of Ian filling my nostrils.  His hand was caressing the inner part of my thigh now, moving ever so close to the flaming mound of desire that grew within my loins.  As our lips met, Ian's hand found my throbbing manhood and gently began to caress it through my black jeans.  I let out a pronounced moan as his tongue probed deep inside my mouth.

We continued kissing for what seemed like forever as my hands found their way to his firm chest.  His nipples were hard and I took one of them between my fingers and squeezed tight.  It was Ian’s turn to moan, as he pushed his tongue farther into my mouth, his own hand rubbing the bulge in my pants harder now.  He slowly moved it upward and unbuttoned my jeans, unzipping them with a certain amount of flair and expertise.

He gingerly reached in and took my erect penis into his hand, slowly moving it up and down.  I was lost in ecstasy.  I wanted him badly – I needed him.  As beautiful as Ian was, however, it was Taylor’s face I saw as I moved down his neck and kissed it aggressively.  I could feel the blood throbbing hot through his veins.  I could smell it as it pumped faster and faster.  Saliva poured into my mouth as my canines extended, preparing for the kill. 

I poured out my tongue and bathed his neck in my juices.  His taste was sweet and salty at the same time.  I wanted to take him – to feel his very essence flow over my lips and drain him of his very life.  I wanted it so badly, but the images of Taylor filled my head.  The body before me suddenly became Taylor’s, and as such, the recipient of all the things I wanted to do to it.  It was too soon.  I couldn’t kill Ian just yet.  I wanted to fuck around some more.  I wanted to fuck Taylor.

Ian’s hand was moving up and down faster and faster, bringing me nearly to orgasm.  I moved my hand down to his, removing it from my hardness.  “Not just yet,” I said, through quick breaths.  “There’s a time for that, and a place.  I want to do it inside you.”

He smiled sweetly as I pushed him gently onto his back.  I leaned in and kissed him hard on the mouth.  His hand caressed my cheek, inviting me to probe deeper into him with my tongue.  My hand inched its way down his chest, over his flat stomach, inside his pants.  I pulled roughly at his tight black T-shirt, pulling it from inside the baggy blue jeans. 

As I tugged upward on the tight fabric, my hand gently grazed the soft skin of his tummy.  It was like the purest of silk, tender, and smooth.  I wanted to bathe every inch of it with my tongue, to lick the steaming, hot blood from his firm, muscular body.  It was all I could do to contain myself as I pulled the black shirt over his head and threw it to the floor. 

“Oh, yeah –" Ian moaned.  “Oh, Jesus…”

I continued to bathe his body in my saliva as I moved farther and farther down his smooth chest and stomach.  I stopped when I reached his jeans and slowly, methodically began to unbuckle the belt, which held them up.  Ian's manhood was tearing at the denim, begging to be released.  I unbuttoned the Levi’s and ripped down the zipper.  I tore at the jeans like a madman trying to get them off his body.  As I did, I was treated with the lovely sight of black silk boxer shorts, tented up by Ian’s erection.

I grinned like a child in a toy store as I slowly unbuttoned the fly to his boxers, exposing his gorgeous phallus, which begged to be paid attention to.  I moved in closer and gently kissed the head, soaking it with my saliva.  It was sweet and hot in my mouth, and I moved down until every last inch was inside me. 

Suddenly, as if some strange mystical force had taken over, I went on autopilot.  The only thing I saw in my mind was Taylor Hanson.  The boy I loved was beneath me, the recipient of all the pleasure I could give him.  There was no Ian, only Taylor.  And I was making love to him like my life depended on it.  In my ears, I heard Taylor’s angelic voice screaming my name, begging to release his orgasm into my mouth.  His hot, young body was writhing in sexual ecstasy. 

I continued working Taylor’s firm penis, licking every inch.  My head bobbed faster and faster as my hand caressed the boy’s firm chest.  I managed a quick glance upward.  Taylor’s face was grimaced in an orgasmic expression, a thin layer of sweat formed on his brow.  His beautiful, blond hair whipped back and forth as his head spun wildly in different directions; his hips bucking underneath me, moving in rhythm with my own motion.

"Oh, God!" he screamed, as his entire body shook and I felt his essence roll into my mouth.  It was warm and salty, and I lapped it up greedily.  At that moment, my image of Taylor faded back to Ian.  I caught myself before I could look disappointed, sporting a wide smile as I looked up into his eyes.  "That was incredible," he said.

I kissed my way up his torso, pausing to bathe one of his nipples with my saliva.  I know what you're thinking; I really do get into this.  Well, I suppose you're right, but I figure that the condemned should at least have one hell of a time before their death.  And I do love to put on a good show. 

Ian's hand made their way down my back, planting them on my bare backside.  I moved up to his neck, where I could see his veins throbbing, almost taunting me to bite down.  The smell of his blood, rich and hot, filled my nostrils once again.  I could no longer stand myself.  I kissed Ian ever so gently one last time as I put my hands to his arms, pinning him against the bed.  His penis became erect once again, revealing that the boy did in fact enjoy rough play. 

I heard him let out a moan as his hands squeezed firmly on my rear end.  I moved up to his ear and whispered softly, "This will only hurt for a moment."  It was then that I sank my teeth into his neck.  As his delicious life spilled over my tongue and down my throat, Ian let out a helpless cry.  He resisted only for a few moments, trying desperately to get up.  It only took a few minutes to drain him completely, and as I felt the last few drops sliding into my mouth, he once again released himself underneath me. 

I collapsed on top of him, breathing a contented sigh of exhaustion.  He'd tasted wonderful.  I moved down to his waist and licked him clean, tasting blood and semen.  Raising myself from the bed, I lovingly covered his beautiful body with the wrinkled sheet.  I couldn't help but notice how peaceful he looked as I did so.

It was almost a shame to have wasted such a beautiful boy.  I did have to feed, however, and I'd given him what he most desperately wanted in his last few moments.  After redressing myself, I disappeared into the darkness outside of his apartment.

And that is how I have spent every night for as long as I can remember.  I've lured pretty young boys off somewhere, fucked with them for a little while, and then removed them of the burden of their miserable existences.  Sometimes I take more than one in an evening, depending upon how hungry I am.  It gets frustrating sometimes – I wonder if I'll ever find true love again.  That's what makes me different from the boys that I fuck with.  That's exactly what they were looking for – a fuck. 

Each night I hoped that I might find that one person that I'd want to spend eternity with.  None of the boys ever meant anything to me, which is why I have no problem robbing them of their lives.  Callous?  Cold?  True, but I'm a vampire.  One must be callous and cold to exist as a creature of the night.

"Good day, Sebastian," a voice said as I entered the darkness of my bedroom.  "Out kinda late, weren't we?"

My room was a thick layer of black velvet.  Not even the light from the hallway could penetrate the darkness that oozed from floor to ceiling.  These were my own personal quarters, protected from the harsh sunlight that would be invading the nocturnal bliss at any moment.

I stepped inside and shut the door.  "Hello, Lucas," I said.

The violent scratch of a match being lit, and all the fireworks that came with it, attacked the inky blackness of the room.  The orange glow of the tiny torch moved a few inches to its right, finding a home over the wick of a candle, which was swiftly lit.

Lucas pulled the match away and blew it out seductively, the hard lines of his boyish face hauntingly illuminated by the warm aura.

"It's been a while, hasn't it?"

"Yes," I answered.  "It certainly has."  Not long enough!

"Did you miss me, Sebastian?"  Lucas stood up from the bed, resting the small candleholder on the nightstand.  He made his way over to me and stared with those piercing red…yes, red…eyes.

"Miss is such a strong word, Lucas," I answered.  "I barely noticed you were gone."

Lucas laughed.  "Silly Sebastian."  He slithered over to me, resting a hand on my chest.  His touch, as it always had, ignited fires of catastrophic destruction inside me.