California Zephyr Ch. 03

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Part Three


The hiss of water through the shower nozzle sizzled like static as it discharged a silvery spray of water over the two glistening bodies beneath. They pulled closer together for a moment, joined at the hip and mouth, searching hands gliding slickly over smooth wet skin, then dipping lower, groping and rubbing harder and more urgently. Cory’s blond head tipped back and the Vampire’s lips parted, taking possession of his throat as he gasped with delight. Rayne’s hand kept on pumping as his fangs extended and he bit deeper, letting the hot, rich spill of his lover’s blood fill his mouth and run down over his tongue. He gulped and swallowed, then suckled harder, rubbing faster, feeling Cory buck against him keening and panting like an injured animal.

The boy was impossibly randy. He should not have been able to stand, by rights, after the things they had done to him last night. Rayne Wylde was supremely impressed that he could even get it up again, let alone be so very close to climax. The Vampire fed for a few moments more, timing his withdrawal from Cory’s neck to perfection. Hungrily he kissed the boy for a little longer to be sure the vein was properly closed, then, as the muscular little blond began to sob with pleasure and desire, he sank slowly to his knees and swallowed the boy’s chunky, circumcised cock deep into his mouth, sucking slow and hard and caressing between the kid’s tight young cheeks with his knowing fingers until Cory exploded with a long, shivering moan of relief.

The youngster was still gasping and sobbing when he rose, licking his lips and grinning like a wolf standing over a fresh corpse. For a little while he kissed the boy again, sucking on his tongue to quieten him, still working his fingers vigorously between those tight young buttocks. During last night, Marc had monopolised the boy’s arsehole almost exclusively. Before Cory went back to work, Rayne Wylde intended to redress the balance slightly.

“Oh Christ..!” Cory exclaimed softly as Rayne turned him and spread him firmly against the wall. Then, as the Vampire’s long, hard cock eased into him without preamble (or lube) and began to fuck him slowly and rhythmically; “Holy Jesus! Yes!!”

It felt peculiar to wake up alone with no concept of the time or even where he was. The swaying of the train beneath Marc was so familiar now that it had become a curious, techno-lullaby and he stretched deliciously sore muscles and rolled over to lie on his back in order to look around him. Initially he was unconcerned at the idea of being on his own, but as time progressed it felt more and more awkward and he made himself sit up, searching for something to occupy himself until the others returned. Rayne had put the camera away, but he knew where it was normally kept and convinced himself that, since he only wanted a reminder of just how he had come to be so wonderfully sore and exhausted this morning, surely there was no problem. A little diligent rummaging under the bed produced the black, rubberised laptop case. Fortunately it had not been locked and he flipped the catches and pushed back the lid. As expected, the glistening camera nestled in beside the Vampire’s travelling Notebook, packaged with rolled up socks and other personal items. Tucked in beside it was a fat, black, leather-bound organiser.

Marc hesitated, his finger hovering over the filofax. It occurred to him that he knew very little about his lover. They had shared intimacies that would make even committed partners blush, and yet he knew next to nothing about the man who had shown him so much pleasure. The temptation made his fingers itch.

Ever so softly he let them brush the matte leather surface, hesitating for a second or two to listen for warning footfalls in the corridor outside. When no sound came to him over the steady clacking of ironbound wheels on the tracks below, he lifted out the organiser and unfastened the small, elaborate buckle that fastened it.

It wasn’t really prying, he told himself adamantly, flicking his way rapidly through pages of detail that meant nothing to him. There were names and numbers and e-mail addresses for a selection of record companies, bars, publishers, travel firms; a plan of the London Underground system; a quick reference conversion table; a pocket containing travel documents; an A-Z section with more personal looking addresses, in which only the name ‘Simon’ followed by an 020 number meant remotely anything… and it was not necessarily the drummer of Whipsnade, Marc reminded himself solemnly.

He was on the verge of closing the file and putting it back when he found the photographs. They were tucked away right at the back and he almost missed them; a handful of mismatched snaps from the past twenty or thirty years. One black & white shot, tattered and crumpled from time and constant handling, showed a man and woman in their mid-twenties, perhaps. The girl was taller than her dark, hirsute casino şirketleri companion, with long, straight, black hair and the tiniest, belted mini-dress. Her huge, pale eyes were made up like Liz Taylor in ‘Cleopatra’ and her full, rouged lips were not quite smiling, in an expression he found touchingly familiar. The man was beaming through his bushy beard, one arm around her waist, clearly proud and possessive of his beauty, as Marc supposed any straight guy would be.

There was another photo of the woman, this time more casual, smiling, sitting on a beach towel in a blue and gold bikini, in a faded colour print from the early seventies. Her hair was still long, but pulled back in a tail that cascaded down her back and her huge eyes were hidden behind large, owlish, turquoise sunglasses. In front of her a little, naked, sun-tanned boy; round-faced with thick, dark, bobbed hair; made sandcastles with the earnest concentration of the under-threes. By the woman’s side a slender girl of around five, with a single long, black plait held in bobbles, played with a doll and gazed into the camera seriously.

The third made him smile… it was clearly taken in the early eighties and showed two young lads who reminded him of his own teens, decked out like mannequins in ruffled shirts and huge, dark, pleated trousers replete with zips and buttons in obscure places, tucked into soft, suede-leather pixie boots. Their painted faces gazed back defiantly at the camera, bleached out even more by the flash that picked out the razor lines of their rouged cheekbones and pouting lips, and the dark, imploring pierrot eyes that made them look more girl than boy. The kid on the right had dark, reddish hair, cropped close at the back, but longer and spiky on the top. His companion was leaner and blond, with a tumble of pale fringe, which obscured half of his sharp-featured face. His visible eye was wide and pale, in a ‘Boy George-esque’ stare and his royal-purple shirt was half open, almost off one shoulder. A studded belt clung to his skinny hips for dear life.

Marc was chuckling so much at this delicious little period piece that at first he did not even realise that the blond was Rayne and his companion had to be Whipsnade’s drummer, Simon Hathaway! When it sank in he sat gazing at it for a while. His lover must have been about fifteen… possibly younger. Innocence masquerading as outrage. He smiled more ruefully for his own childhood then and looked on at the rest of the pictures.

The others were more recent. Two featured a little girl whom he initially thought must be the child from the second shot. The fashions realigned his opinion… these pictures were only taken in the last few years and the girl wore pale blue jeans and a brightly coloured ‘My Little Pony’ tee-shirt in one, where she was seated on a stone wall stroking a black and white cat. Her heavy black bangs were pinned back from her round, pale face with butterfly grips and she stared at the camera determinedly as if schooling herself not to smile. Her eyes were slightly screwed up against the sunlight but he could see that they were pale as ice, like the beautiful woman’s eyes…. and Rayne’s. In the other snap, the child was standing beside a small, curvaceous female whose waist-length hair was slightly curling as though it had once been braided or dreadlocked. She wore it pulled back in a tail from the top of her head and her long, hippyish skirt blew against the curves of her body in the breeze. The child wore pink shorts and a black tee shirt with a silver motif. Her hair was pigtailed and she had dark sunglasses perched on her nose.

He stared at this for a long time. The woman also resembled the classical beauty from the first pictures but he thought that she looked more like Rayne. Slowly he was beginning to piece the shots together. The woman in the last one was his companion’s sister… which meant that the first picture was of Rayne’s parents… and the baby on the beach…

Marc smiled again… so absorbed in his detective work that he did not look up until the door of the sleeper compartment clicked softly shut and he found himself looking up into Rayne’s quietly perplexed face. The singer’s wet hair was pushed back from his sculpted face; fine brows were drawn down like the wings of a distant bird in flight, touching the bridge of his nose and arching back over his coldly-colourless, unblinking gaze. The Vampire stood, barefoot in a loose shirt and pants, touchingly vulnerable yet coldly outraged, and licked his lips tentatively.

His voice was little more than a breath of sound.

“What the hell are you doing?”

Automatically, Marc dropped the photographs, trying to fumble them back into the case without looking down. His heart had begun to pound again as he edged away, conscious of the other man’s disturbingly quiet anger. The conspiratorial feel of the last few moments shattered irrevocably.

“I’m sorry….” he said defensively. “I was looking for the camera… casino firmaları I thought… y’know… last night… the photos… I wanted to look… I didn’t mean to…”

He backed off as Rayne came to the bed and sat down on the edge of the mattress, picking up the snaps and glancing at them as he restored them carefully to their proper place. He closed the fastener then tucked the organiser away in his case without a word. Somehow that was worse. Marc put a hand to his mouth and curled up feeling guilty and miserable with his back to the panel wall. Rayne closed the lid and put the laptop back under the bed. Without looking up he said; “Put your clothes on and get out.”

Marc swallowed against the lump in his throat. Helplessly he shook his head.

“I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to…”

“I don’t care what you meant to…” Rayne lifted his head, looking back at him with such a wounded expression that his companion wanted to curl up and die. “My private life is none of your concern, d’you understand that? That’s what the word ‘private’ means! Now put your things on and just go, will you!”

Trembling, Marc wriggled to the end of the bed and searched for his things, wishing he had just ignored the filofax and concentrated on the camera. Maybe, if he had, they would now be curled around each other again, looking at last night’s pictures and exploring a few new options, perhaps. He thrust the idea away and bit his lip to stop it quivering as he pulled on his shorts and jeans unhappily.

“I only wanted to know more about you,” he protested when Rayne did not say anything else.

“You could have ‘asked’,” the singer flashed back without looking at him. He was sitting back against the pillows now with one knee drawn up, rubbing his forehead with the long fingers of the opposite hand.

“I’m sorry,” Marc said again, in a small voice. He pulled on his tee shirt and sat down to wrestle his arms into the sleeves of his shirt. “They’re nice pictures though… it’s not like they’re something you should be embarrassed about. Just family… Your mom’s very pretty.”

Those glacial green eyes met his own again briefly.

“She ‘was’, yeah.”

Marc buttoned his shirt slowly, assimilating this.

“Who’s the little girl? She looks like you.”

He risked a glance when there was no immediate reply. Rayne was looking back at him contemplatively as if measuring his words, deciding what he could and could not say.

“Her name’s Sadie Rose,” he answered at last, atonally.

“’s a pretty name. Is she your sister’s kid?” Marc figured he was chancing it, but perhaps… just perhaps Rayne was mellowing. He seemed very protective of his family. It was true that he kept them very private. In questionnaires, he never revealed much about his home life… Until today Marc had not even known that the Whipsnade vocalist had siblings.

“Mmmm…” Rayne responded non-committally. He lowered his head, interlacing his fingers in his lap.

“You must be very fond of her… to carry her picture with you.” Marc pulled on his boots and glanced up again.

Rayne met his eyes briefly then tilted his head back, looking upward wearily and exhaling a long sigh of impatience. He lifted his hands to the nape of his neck and sat for a while in silence whilst Marc hunted for the rest of his belongings. At last he said; “Will you just leave. Now!”

Marc stood up a little straighter and faced him, fighting down the rising hysteria. He knew that he had done a particularly stupid thing, but if he walked out of here like this then the chances were that he would never see Rayne Wylde again and he hated to think that the singer’s memories of him would boil down to this single, acrimonious scene. Not after the last couple of wonderful days.

“I didn’t mean to make you angry,” he said as levelly as he could. “I mean that. I really like you Rayne. I’ve really… enjoyed… being with you. I don’t want to…. I mean… I can’t stand the idea that you….” Words choked him and he lowered his head dejectedly.

Silence closed around his words for a moment, broken only by the steady rhythm of the wheels on the track. Then Rayne murmured; “I think you’ve read more into this than you were entitled to, sweetheart.”

Marc looked up at him hopelessly. Pale lips twitched in a slight, sarcastic smile on the singer’s handsome face.

“It was just a fuck,” Rayne Wylde said impassively. “That’s all! Just sex. Fucking ‘great’ sex… but that’s it. Two nights on a shared mattress does not give you conjugal fuckin’ rights, darlin’! I don’t hate you. I don’t feel ‘anything’. I just want you to go… okay?”

His companion looked down again, crestfallen. At last he nodded, but made no effort to move away.

Rayne sat forward on the bed.

“Do you understand?” he demanded, more firmly.

In a small voice, Marc responded; “Yeah. Yeah… I understand.”

Apparently satisfied, Rayne slumped back against the pillows güvenilir casino again. After a moment or two, he added; “All right… fuck off!” and Marc grabbed his bag and fled before he could possibly embarrass himself more.

Rayne let him go at finish. For a while he leaned against the pillows, staring at nothing, running those parting words over his tongue again and again. He could not help the disquieting feeling that maybe he had been too hard. For a moment or two as the kid stood there like a kicked dog, refusing to back down, he had come close to relenting. Acknowledging it did not make it easier to bear. It was one of those stupid things. He had once supposed that as he got older things would get easier; life would make gradually more and more sense until he was seamlessly in tune with everything around him. Instead, his world had become increasingly chaotic.

He was a musician and writer without a band. His bassist, and founder member, Ciaran, was currently painting vast, abstract canvases for a gallery in Kerry, Eire, where he lived with his wife and two young kids. Sean Courtney, his guitarist and co-writer was running a bar and rock venue in King’s Cross. Simon Hathaway divided his time between his ungrateful wretch of a boyfriend and the charms of Jabez Evermann, Rayne’s Vampiric mentor, back in London, and seemed quite content to be unemployed. For Rayne it was harder; he had never done anything else but sing and play. This was an exercise in how well he could adapt to the world outside his private shell and right now he was wondering if he had done the right thing in coming out here.

It was incontrovertible fact that Grant Jackson had hired him because he wanted a known Face; someone with that inherent shock factor that would make people want to read his magazine. He wanted someone whose style could grab readers by the brains and the bollocks simultaneously, and Rayne certainly had that gift. So far there had been no complaints from the editorial team, but he was on the other side of the Atlantic, they were hardly going to send a hit squad after him for taking the money and spending it on drink and sex. Not when they wanted an article out of this adventure that was heavy on those particular attributes.

He laughed humourlessly to himself and shook his head. It was not as if ‘Zipped’ was a heavy piece of social commentary. ‘Fuck’, it was hardly even on the same level as ‘Hello Magazine’ when it came to serious journalism! Nevertheless, the rag had a certain cultish credibility, which had attracted him in the first place. That and the fact that it’s founder and Editor-in-chief looked good in a combat jacket and black bondage pants, and even better out of them! Grant appeared a young thug with his pierced eyebrows and shaven head, but he was a sweetheart in real life; a complete pussycat. Rayne had not quite been seduced… the kid was barely his ‘type’ after all, but Grant was persuasive enough to sell him ‘any’ line he thought might push his magazine onto the shelves of the major retailers. If Grant Jackson had proposed that he should cycle nude across Alaska then Rayne would have taken him out to dinner to discuss it. He wouldn’t have agreed but ‘Hell’, he would have enjoyed Grant’s attempts to convince him!

None of this was any help in his current situation. They were still miles from San Francisco and he was feeling suddenly very solitary. An Englishman abroad, in ‘every’ sense of the word; stranded on a tourist island several thousand miles long and only about fifteen feet wide! Twisting about, he let the blind up from the window and sat back against the wall, watching the sunlight gilding the red-gold plateau outside.

This morning he had woken in a town called Lovelock, which seemed hopelessly appropriate to the delicious tangle of human bodies on his bed. Now he was waiting for a halt called Deadloss, since that was how he was feeling. Rayne Wylde, the man who screwed up a thousand potential relationships! He had the idea that there should have been tumbleweeds billowing past the window, but there was only the hot, red-gold landscape, like a painting of something not quite real. Air conditioning hummed softly over his head and beyond the toughened glass Nevada hurtled by, burning up under an uncaring sun.

Reaching into his pocket for his cigarettes he pulled out a crumpled, empty packet and swore virulently to himself.

“You okay?” Cory enquired a little mazily as Marc perched himself on a bar stool and asked for a coffee.

The blond kid looked pale and rather bleary-eyed but his companion supposed he could not be blamed for that. Last night had been a marathon, and if ‘he’ ached everywhere, Marc dreaded to think how Cory was feeling. His memories still showed him intermittent flashbacks of the last twenty-four hours and he rubbed his forehead as he tried to block them out now.

“Uh… tired I guess.”

“Yeah…” the barkeeper laughed weakly. “Totally fucked!”

He winked and turned away to wrestle with the caffetiere. Marc shook his head, giving in to a morbid chuckle.

“How was he, this morning? When you got up?” he asked when Cory came back with his double espresso.

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