Chapter 5

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Nick looked over at Ellis, a soft sort of smile on his face as he watched the young man relax in bed. It looked as if he might fall asleep again. But they'd been mostly sleeping for three days now and Nick was getting tired of living in a hotel... It was cramped and boring... He was always addicted to the rush and excitement of the world around him. His hard exterior, dry humor, and dead cynicism were his protection from the things he hated that came with all that excitement... Like love...

Love wasn't something Nick dealt well with... In fact, he hated love. The very thought of it sickened him... Because love was something he'd given... But never received. From anyone...

Ellis looked over at Nick, raising a brow.

"Whatchyoo starin' at Nick?" he asked with a little laugh. Nick shook his head and laid his head down on the pillows once more, closing his eyes.

"Nothin' Ellis..." he said softly. Ellis reached down and gently ran his fingers through Nick's hair.

"You look all... Deep. Like yer thinkin' er somethin'..." Ellis commented, his head tilting to the side a bit. Nick looked up at Ellis and opened his mouth to say something. Then stopped for a moment, closing it once more. Ellis looked down at him curiously, and Nick sat up against the head board.

"Who was Keith...?" Nick asked. Ellis smiled sadly.

"Keith was everything man... He was my buddy... My partner in crime... My first kiss. My first love... We grew up together an' did everythin' together. Nothin' in the world could sep'rate us. We was like two peas in a pod..." Ellis said with a little laugh. Nick swallowed uneasily.

"What happened to him...?" Nick asked slowly. Ellis' eyes got glassy, tears forming and catching in his eyelashes.

"He uh... Got bit... Turned real slow like... I... I tired to tell him that he was gonna be okay an'... And he just shook his head an' told me to shoot him... But I couldn't... I couldn't do it... So he shot himself... He didn't wanna be a monster..." Ellis' shoulders shook a little with the confession, and his bright eyes were filled with tears, and darkened with sadness. He could hardly hold back his sobs. Nick wrapped Ellis up in his arms and let him break down and cry... It was hard to grieve when fighting for your life... And grief was finally catching up with both of them.

Ellis sniffled and soon calmed down enough to speak again.

"How 'bout you Nick... Where was you when the infection hit...?" he asked. Nick closed his eyes tightly, the question hitting him hard.

"Just north of Savannah... I was.. Riding the river boats..." he said softly. "See... I did live in New Jersey.... And after my ex wife and I split she headed back to Savannah to live with her parents... She took my two daughters with her... So when the infection hit I... I was close and I ran head on into it lookin' for 'em...."

Ellis stiffened a little.

"We... They... Nick I..." he wasn't sure what to say, and at a loss for words. Nick shook his head and gently rubbed Ellis' back.

"Her name was Sharon... Me ex wife... She had been immune... But Hannah and Ester... They... They weren't..." Nick said softly. "When the infection hit I got to them as soon as I could but... They were..."

Nick swallowed hard.

"They were twins... You know... Both of them were Seven years old... I..." Nick closed his eyes tightly. "I wanted so badly for them to be alive... And well... But Sharon couldn't stand what they'd become and she..."

Ellis sat up on his knees and quickly pulled Nick close, holding him against his chest, letting Nick let go of his own sorrows. His own pain... Nick gently gripped the back of Ellis' shirt and let some tears slip out but only a few. He wasn't a man who cried often... And now he definitely wasn't going to. It was then that something in the back of Ellis'mind clicked. He felt tears come to his eyes once more.

"Twins...?" Ellis asked. "Hannah and Ester...? Oh Nick..."

Ellis broke down and began sobbing. Nick frowned deeply. Something wasn't right. He lifted Ellis' chin to look at him.

"Ellis... What? What is it...?" he asked weakly. Ellis shook his head and got up, going over to his still dirty and discarded jumpsuit, unfolding the top part and pulling out a crushed up dandelion, dead, but still mostly in tact. He stood slowly and looked over at Nick, the image Hannah and Ester that day the infection hit was so vivid in his mind. And they looked so much like their father.

"You know... I had... I had this friend named Dave too... Worked at the shop with me an' Keith... Fixin' cars with us. He was older guy. Round thirty nine 'er so... An' was engaged to this real sweet gal... Her name was Sharon and she had two daughters named Hannah and Ester... They always came to the shop... Sometimes to get things fix, sometimes to visit Dave... I... I knew 'em pretty well... Hannah was so shy an' Ester was all rambunctious. Ester wanted to fix cars too..." Ellis choked out between sobs. The color drained from Nick's face as he looked at Ellis in shock. Ellis walked back over to the bed and set the little flower on the bed.

"Hannah gave me that flower the day the infection hit... An' that was the last time I saw 'em... Dave went to rescue but..."

Ellis shook his head.

"They looked just like you Nick... with that same pretty auburn hair and those bright eyes... I... I was gonna be Uncle Ellis..." he sniffled.

Nick pulled Ellis back into his arms.

"Hey... Shh..." he soothed softly. Ellis clung to Nick.

"What happened to 'em Nick....?" Ellis asked weakly, holding on to the other man for dear life. There was a long drawn out pause between them before Nick spoke, his voice barely above a whisper.

"She killed them before they killed her... And... And that's what happened..." Nick said softly. Ellis gasped back a wail of sorrow and held tight to Nick.

"Well what happened to Sharon...?" he asked, his voice cracking.

Nick tensed, remembering what he'd done to the woman... He was still angry... Still hated her... She'd killed his children... And he would never regret ending her life.

"She's dead now..." he said flatly. Ellis nodded.

"Good... Serves her right..." Ellis rasped, letting Nick hold onto him. It struck Nick as interesting, that he and Ellis had common ties through his children... Like they were destined to meet one another some day... It was sort of comforting... In it's own odd way... Nick kissed Ellis' cheek.

"I loved my girls very much... And... And I'm glad you knew them too Ellis..." he said softly, gently pulling Ellis into his lap. Ellis smiled at him.

"You're a good man Nick... I don' believe that you coulda abandoned them like Sharon said..." Ellis commented. Nick shook his head.

"No Ellis... I... I did leave... But I never abandoned them. I was there for every birthday, holiday, and vacation. I visited them as much as I could... but I did travel a lot... Came with the life style..." he admitted softly. Ellis leaned in and kissed him softly.

"Well, you got me with ya now... I don't care what kinda life style you live... I wanna be by your side... Ya'll saved my life on more than one occasion. I done been through hell with you... An' I ain't got no one else in the world... Just you..." Ellis smiled a little as Nick reached up and brushed his fingers through his soft brown hair. He leaned into the touch, and then let Nick pull him into a kiss. Ellis moaned softly as Nick's tongue slipped into his mouth, that familiar taste of the other man making him weak in the knees. He moved so he was straddling Nick, and Nick eased down onto his back, holding Ellis' face as they kissed passionately. Nick was doing his best to show his feelings through his actions, and Ellis read them loud and clear. He knew Nick felt the same...

Nick slid his hands up under Ellis' shirt, touching the soft skin everywhere he could reach, grinding his pelvis against Ellis' firm and supple ass. It felt wonderful to let go. To be near some one. He let himself be stripped, and watched with hungry eyes as Ellis shed his own clothes. He'd never seen this much of the other man and as he lay there looking at Ellis who was on his knees between his parted legs, he couldn't have been more attracted to anyone on the planet as he was to this man in front of him... Much as Ellis acted like a child... In a moment like this, where Ellis commanded his attention and with skill and a level of grace Nick hadn't thought possible, Ellis was touching him... He knew Ellis was just as man as he. With a level of maturity he'd not seen from him before. Ellis' lips were kissing his bared skin, finding his sensitive nipples, and teasing them just as if Ellis had known his body for years.

Ellis' hands slowly caressed Nick's thighs, surprised to find out just how soft they were. Ellis found himself fascinated with Nick's sensitivity... With how different he looked and sounded when he was in pleasure. His snappy tone dissolving into something more gentle, like the purr of a cat. Ellis would grin when Nick gasped or moaned, and Ellis was only beginning. His mouth continued to lave affection on Nick's nipples and then he moved lower, his tongue teasing the velvety skin of his manhood. Nick gave a subtle groan, tilting his head back and closing his eyes. That was a sensation he'd missed greatly.

He was able to let go. Ellis' lips thoroughly slicked and pleasured him. He sat up enough to look down at the younger man, moaning when he saw Ellis' stroking himself. He licked his lips and tapped Ellis' shoulder. Ellis let Nick's member slide from his lips and smiled warmly, his strokes ceasing. Nick swallowed a little uneasily before he grabbed a box from the nightstand drawer. He pulled out a condom and pressed it into Ellis' hand. Ellis' cheeks flushed heavily as he looked at the object then back to Nick. A few moments of understanding passing in the silence between them. He licked his lower lip nervously, before he opened the package and slid on the protective latex. He looked at Nick who smiled a genuine and encouraging smile, opening his legs invitingly for the young man, who slid between them once more.

Nick groaned in discomfort at the slickness help aid the penetration. But only just so. Ellis's chest was pressed to his own, his hands moving to wrap around Nick, and Nick likewise, wrapped his arms around Ellis. He found himself gasping and groaning rather easily as Ellis moved his hips, a slow and sensual rhythm sending shivers through both of their bodies. Their mouths connected sloppily in a kiss, tongues colliding and teeth clicking together from the sort of careless and overly needy sensations filling them both. Sweat made them slick, the friction becoming slippery and more pleasurable for Nick's member trapped between their torsos. He moved his body to meet Ellis' own, the world melting away, leaving nothing but the two of them.

The moments of delectation passed achingly slow and orgasm seemed to come all too soon for each man. It was carnal perfection. And within each other's arms they collapsed into sleep, to dream of a better future...