Wow. I've finally gotten around to posting this. Since we first met Felix at the very end of chapter one, I've always wanted to share how he and Edward meet.
This is, of course, horror. Same warnings from LEL apply. Extra thanks to Livie79 and Halawia for pre-reading last minute! Y'all rock!
Felix Moore, M.D.
"Is it always like this?" he asked the plump, older woman as she slid his coffee over the counter. Black. No cream. A spoonful of sugar. Just the way he liked it.
"June and July are two of our busiest months. You came at a good time." She smiled, bearing her perfectly straight, but discolored teeth.
Felix nodded and raised his cup in thanks. "See you tomorrow morning." He turned to face the line of people pegged all the way out the door, and he, now, understood why Hofer's Bakery wasn't to be missed.
After filing past the tourists lined up to order their pastry and coffee, he found a seat on the deck of the old house so he could settle in to read the AJC, drink his coffee and eat the delicious danish. And even though he wished it were quieter, like he expected Helen to be, he enjoyed the hum of the crowd through the door, the clank of forks hitting plates, the whoosh of passing cars on Main Street and the warm, morning breeze whipping through the obstacles around him.
It was much different from the city, just what he needed for a weekend. He laid his leg across his knee, unfolded the paper and sipped his coffee loudly, spreading the sharp liquid across his tongue. A shadow moved over the porch, and footsteps, followed by the planting of a cane echoed through the wood, but he paid no further attention to the approach. It became background noise.
"Beautiful morning," a man said, resting his black and silver cane against the arm of the chair and folding his leg over his knee, mirroring Felix.
Felix allowed the paper to lax, and the man came into view over the edge. Very dark sunglasses shielded his eyes from the world under the brim of his black homburg hat, but his deviant mouth - pink lips pushing dimples into pale skin - escaped the shadow and seemed to glow in the morning sun.
He eyed the man's black suit, curious why such a young man would dress so formally. "Yes, it is," Felix muttered with forced disinterest. From what he saw he was quite attractive, but he didn't wish to start a conversation with someone at the moment.
"You're from the city," he declared with surety.
"Yes." Felix straightened his paper.
"You're here for pleasure."
Felix nodded. "You?"
"Business and pleasure," he said, holding the grin and his posture with great stillness.
Felix nodded once more and his eyes tripped over the front columns of the Sunday edition. He took another sip of his coffee then a bite of his danish.
"So." The volume of his voice startled Felix. He muttered an obscenity then gave him a stern look over the paper, the jolted nerves still twitched under his skin. The man no longer sat a table away; he had silently moved next to Felix, inches away. "How long are you in town for?"
He released a sigh. "I arrived Thursday, and I leave tomorrow morning."
"Back to the grid. What is your position in Atlanta?"
Position? What did he mean? Why is he so curious?
And as if reading his mind, he clarified, "What do you do? Forgive me for being nosy. I find it interesting that people would come here, of all places, to 'get away.'"
Oh. "It's alright. I'm a psychiatrist specializing in addiction. I work in several half-way houses, helping people cope with withdrawal and long-term treatment."
The young man leaned forward and flicked the brim of his hat up with his index finger. The cane pushed into the boards below as it bore his weight. "You'd get a kick out of me, Doc."
"Is that so? You're an addict."
"You could say that."
"I am saying that. Are you saying that?"
The young man's lips stretched, revealing his white teeth. It was an unnerving smile, causing Felix to squirm in his seat. "I like you, Doctor." He rose, inching around the tables and chairs to the exit. "You have a fire. Perhaps I'll see you around."
He disappeared down the stairs, happily planting the cane. His stride was perfectly balanced, showing no sign of actually needing it. Felix determined it was a mere accessory. He watched the young man stroll down the sidewalk for a moment then turned back to his paper and breakfast, not giving him another thought.
An explosion crackled through the air, and the bright light illuminated the smoke billowing into the atmosphere. Chimes of conversation filtered between each boom and pop, and Felix found himself watching the people around him more than the fireworks overhead. He watched their faces light up in various colors of red, orange, green and purple.
He studied their expressions, their marvel at such a simple thing that, no doubt, used to scare the daylights out of them when they were kids.
Then there were the kids; most of them held their palms tightly over their ears, their little faces buried into their mothers' stomachs.
Felix grinned then took a sip of his Jack and Coke.
The server, a pretty, young thing with blond hair and a fit body, stacked plates a few tables away, clearing off space for another group so they could enjoy the patio.
"Excuse me!" Felix shouted over the noise, grabbing the server's attention.
"What can I get for you, sir?"
Felix grinned, the alcohol bruising his ability to control his smile. Pretty, young thing. "Can I get another Jack and Coke, please?"
"Sure thing," the server said. He, too, returned a damaging smile before stepping inside the small restaurant.
Felix could only watch him walk away, knowing that's all he'd ever do is watch.
"Incredible view isn't it?" It sounded as though the voice questioned him.
He turned back to the fireworks, stunned to see the familiar face.
The stranger from earlier this morning was there, standing at one of the two empty chairs at Felix's table, his hands resting on the back. The hat was gone, as well as the sunglasses and Felix was shocked to find that he was younger-looking now. His burgundy hair lit up with the night lights, and his eyes were as black as coals.
"You again," Felix said, not knowing whether to groan in annoyance or admire the fine specimen.
The stranger smiled, once more setting the doctor to the edge of his seat. "You are displeased to see me?"
No. "Shocked, actually. I'd imagine it's rare to see a stranger twice in a crowded place like this, let alone the same day."
"The odds were against our favor, yet here we are." He stepped around and propped himself into the chair. "What are you drinking? Let me buy you your next round to celebrate this rare occasion."
The stranger slid his black jacket off his arms, the muscles flexing under the white, long-sleeved button-up shirt as he dropped it over the back of his chair.
"No, no." Felix straightened up in his seat. He had to clear the warm alcohol cloud which began to settle over his mind. "No, thank you. I'm good with this one. In fact, I was about to lea—"
"One Jack and Coke." The waiter set the amber tumbler in front of Felix. "Anything else I can get for you right now?"
The stranger's grin pushed further against his cheeks. There was a smugness about him, a confidence that most men could only dream of. Felix knew he was attractive, but wasn't without his physical flaws. Sometimes he thought the bridge of his nose was too big, or the widow's peak meant he would bald soon. Although he was in good health. He never missed his days at the gym, and it showed.
This stranger had nothing on him when it came to body type. He wasn't without his share of muscles, he was more slender, and the more he grinned, the more Felix found himself entranced by him.
"Go ahead and bring him two more," the man said.
"I actually can't bring him two more since the one he's drinking isn't empty yet, unless one is for you." the waiter said.
"One's for me," the man answered.
"Alright, I just need to see some I.D.."
There was a silence as he leaned forward in his chair, locking eyes with the young blond. "I assure you," the stranger said, voice deeper, eyes fixated, "I'm old enough."
Felix was surprised he could hear the exchange through the fireworks. The waiter's face gradually fell and he nodded. "Here, take this," the stranger said just as the boy began to turn away from the table. He pulled a fifty dollar bill from his wallet.
The waiter nodded once, eyes trained elsewhere, and took the fifty before sauntering away like he had just woken from a long dream.
"That was... weird," Felix said, watching the kid as he disappeared into the restaurant. The confident stranger squeezed his eyes shut and prodded at them using his index finger and thumb. "Are you alright?"
His black eyes opened and met his. Light surrounded them as the firework finale popped through the sky. Green. Purple. Yellow. Pink. Gold. They stained everything around him except the color of his eyes. They remained ebony, as though any light trying to touch them, brighten them, was swallowed into darkness. Felix found himself strangely drawn to them, stilling himself so he could stare, but the man turned away from the bright flashes.
Oohs and aahs formed around them when the night sky stilled, the fireworks leaving their trail of smoke behind. "Some spectacle," Felix said, taking a swig of his drink.
"I'm very convinced you see one firework show, you've seen them all," the man responded, watching the crowd begin to pick up their blankets and gather their friends. "Even the people watching are the same. Same reactions."
"It's fun watching the children react to it though."
"I don't pay attention to the children as much. Some people tend to find that sort-of thing odd."
The retort amused Felix and he chuckled, although he wasn't sure why. "True," he said.
Just then, the waiter returned, setting down the drinks and making himself scarce before saying anything. The stranger eyed him the entire time before he turned his attention back to the dispersing people loading into their cars or walking back to their cabins. He watched them intently, as if he were studying. Felix noted this, and as soon as he did the man turned back to him and said, "So, you return tomorrow? Did you enjoy your vacation?"
"It wasn't bad. It was nice to get away for a few days."
"Do anything interesting besides watch T.V. and stuff your face?"
Felix grinned. His stomach was becoming increasingly warmer from the alcohol. What had he done to enjoy himself besides eat the local food, drink and watch T.V.? "Hiked a hell-of-a long way to a waterfall. I was sort-of disappointed when I got down there, though. I should've just stayed at the observation deck."
"I know the one you're talking about. It's much better from farther away, I agree. Much more impressive."
"Yeah." One, last swig finished off the Jack and Coke. By then, he was so used to the taste that his face didn't even curl. "I haven't done much of anything else."
"And you leave tomorrow. What a shame."
"Well, at least I got out of the city for a few days. It's nice here."
The man sat forward eloquently, his knee still folded over the other. Felix found him oddly enchanting, although a little strange. The way he caught his gaze, his eyebrow raised and smooth lips parted as he spoke made his breath stint. "But that's not enough is it?" he asked.
There was a sexual prowess in his question and it made Felix grin, his stomach and arms burning with alcohol, feeling lighter and lighter by the moment. "I had hoped to do more," he admitted.
"Then why don't we?"
"We?" This made Felix chuckle. "I don't even know your name."
"Well, Edward, what did you have in mind? What's there to do around here, anyway?"
"Not much of anything, I'm afraid. It does get rather boring."
"I was under the assumption that you were from out of town."
"I live right outside town." Edward's grin widened a little more. "So, why don't we see what kind of trouble we can get into? It'll be fun. I promise."
Felix glanced at his watch. Ten-thirty. "I don't know. I have to be up at eight in the morning and I need at least six hours of sleep to be fully-functional."
"So? You have two hours, Cinderella."
Felix weighed the options. He could go back to his cabin nestled up one of the many, small mountains. He would set his alarm then down a few more drinks before passing out. This dinner would be the end of his trip.
Or, he could give his last two hours to Edward, a young, alluring creature that he wouldn't mind knowing a little more. He seemed interested, and why wouldn't he be? Felix had money. He was fit, intelligent and wasn't without his good looks. Any man would be lucky to have his company. What did he have to lose? It was only a couple of hours.
"What can we do in two hours?" Felix asked.
"I can think of a few things. Pay your bill then meet me out front. We'll take my car." Edward rose and exited through a wooden gate which blended with the rest of the railing. Felix found his waiter, paid for his bill and tipped him twenty dollars then made his way toward the front, careful of his footing. He was more tipsy than he recalled sitting down.
Edward stood at the bottom of the porch in front of the restaurant, one foot propped on the first step. One hand was shoved in his pocket, the other hanging by his side. He seemed confident, relaxed. Out of all things, this intimidated Felix, yet only made him want this man more. His hair was darker without the lights glinting off his strands, his face less pale.
Without a word, he led Felix to a new, black Mercedes coupe with a Fulton County tag. "I thought you said you're local." Felix pointed to the tag.
"I did say that." The doors unlocked with a pop. "Get in."
The dark leather seat was too small for Felix's large frame. He could barely lean back into the deep contours without wanting to lean forward again. Even with the lack of comfort, he remarked, "Nice car."
In fact, it was too nice for someone as young as Edward. He began to wonder how long he'd had experience driving such a machine, but like a seasoned, pro racer, with a touch of a button, Edward sent the car roaring. The dash lit up the darkened interior to glowing red. When they finally broke away from the crowd of people, the car screamed, as though it couldn't wait to go faster. Felix grabbed the 'oh-shit' bar above his head, his heart pounding in his chest. "What did you say you do again?"
They stopped at a stop light, and Edward looked to him. "I'm an investor."
"Young to be an investor, aren't you?"
"You're never too young for anything."
People crossed the street in front of them in hoards. Some held hands with each other. Some had food and drink, but they all wore a smile. Felix realized, then, that he wasn't smiling. In fact, he felt more nervous now than he had before he got into the car.
Edward's proximity was too close, with nothing separating them except the small, center console. Before there was a table and a few chairs, always space between their bodies, always objects blocking them from one another. In the new openness, it was different.
Suddenly there was music seeping from the speakers. An opera piece sung by a woman in what Felix believe to be Italian. The light turned green and they were off once more, rushing through the streets of the quaint town filled to the brim with tourists. Edward was going too fast for the conditions. He could injure someone, or them, Felix thought.
Another red light.
Edward moved his hand from the stick shift toward Felix. It startled him, but he looked to Edward when his fingers ended up on his thigh. His black eyes glinted from the interior lights, his amused grin showing off his teeth. They were different than before, sharper. Felix blinked several times, taken aback by the placement of Edward's hand, and the wild effects of the alcohol.
"Shh. Relax," he said, moving his hand to the inside of Felix's thigh. "You don't have to be tense, yet."
"What are you doing?" His voice wavered, not sure if he should be enthralled or frightened.
"Having fun, Doc. As promised."
His hand was on the stick shift again, his eyes on the pedestrians. He revved the engine, the loud growl catching the attention of the people passing in front of them. The car crept forward. The engine revved again, louder this time. The faces of disgust turned to worry and they began to hurry in front of the car.
They inched further. Another growl. Louder, more intense.
Felix could feel the car vibrate under him, could feel the power of the machine shake his veins.
The light still red, and the pedestrians, not trusting the driver of the car to not run over them, stopped, the coupe rocketed once more. Edward laughed, not even glancing in the rear-view or side mirrors in concern. He simply didn't care.
Soon, there was nothing except the crimson illumination from the dashboard, the opera music, the road before them and the dark, surrounding forest.
They were off the road, bumping down an uneven drive until a massive house appeared from behind a tall brick wall. A dark, single tower stood against the moonlight, angling into the lines of a mansion. A single window was alive with a steady glow.
Edward pulled around the circular drive, then into the large garage. Several more cars greeted Felix as he pulled himself from the seat and into the oily air. All of them were newer models. All black. One SUV stood tall at the end of the garage.
"Come this way," Edward said, his voice bouncing off the walls.
Felix followed Edward into the house and was surprised when he found the interior of the house wasn't what he thought it would be. He expected to see modern fixtures, gleaming chrome surfaces and eclectic furniture. Instead, he got old world: dark wood paneling, antique furniture,dusty fixtures and red walls adorned by hundreds of paintings, some of the likes he'd never seen before.
"Do you live here by yourself?" he asked, following Edward as he lit up the house one switch at a time.
"No. My butler is currently engaged in other activities. So he won't be around tonight."
"It's just the two of you then?"
They settled in the kitchen, the only room which seemed to be styled. The black marble counters and cherry cabinets gathered the soft, dim glow of the recessed lighting which Edward adjusted on the wall. "For now, it's just the two of us." He stopped behind the island as Felix stood with his hands resting on the back of the bar chairs. He was thankful for the space between them. "Would you care for a drink? Another Jack and Coke, perhaps?"
"I don't want to impose."
"Please, you're not. Have a drink."
"Alright, but only if you will."
Edward's mouth ticked at one corner. "Fine. I'll have a drink. Jack and Coke for you?"
"That'd be fine." Although he really didn't think he needed another drink. The effects from the last two had began to make him dizzy, but nevertheless he accepted the tumbler from his host when he stood in front of him, extending it with his pale, bony fingers. He cleared his throat, once again affected by the proximity. "Thank you."
Edward allowed him to take a few sips before he pushed Felix's black hair away from his face with a stroke of his fingernail against his forehead. "Money, alcohol and beauty," he said. The same fingernail ventured down his cheek, the side of his throat and to the thin dress shirt hugging his muscular chest. "Is that your addiction?"
Felix couldn't help but smile at him, wondering the game he was playing. While he was used to his boyfriends wanting to touch him, he couldn't help but feel this time was different. Edward's touch was menacing, if not a dangerous thing, but his stomach lit with the burn of alcohol and desire.
He wanted to brush his lips against Edward's to feel if they were as smooth as they looked. "Right now? You are." He felt foolish for saying what he felt. He looked into his eyes then, noticing there was no limit to the black, as though his pupils swallowed the irises. His skin, while not thin, was lined with blue veins across his forehead and under his eyes when he looked close enough. How long had it been since he slept?
Felix turned his head to the side. "What's wrong with your face?"
"Do you find me unattractive?"
But, it was a ridiculous question. Even if Felix had answered yes, Edward wouldn't have believed him. He was the type of man who knew how he affected people, and used it to his advantage. Despite being slightly frightening, he held a charm about his person, an air of sophistication; when paired with his youthful beauty, he was quite attractive, indeed.
"No, of course not."
Edward's cool fingers were against Felix's other cheek. "But you're frightened."
He was indeed. "No."
"Perhaps if you knew me better you would be."
"You're a dangerous man then?"
"Very, but you already know that. Regardless, you can't keep your eyes off something of mine, and I'm curious what you think will transpire tonight."
"Well," Felix started then finished off the rest of his drink with a swift tilt of the tumbler. "I would like to find out more about you. You mentioned this morning that I would get a kick out of you. I'm interested to know how you think so. Cocaine? Alcohol? Meth?"
"I'm a pack-rat, actually. Can't seem to let the past go."
"That doesn't seem so bad. A lot of people have that problem."
"A lot of people don't collect the things I do." He smirked.
"Go on," he nearly whispered, intrigued. "What do you collect?"
His grin grew, a playfulness about his face now, that didn't hint at a boyish charm. Felix couldn't ignore the way his heart began beating quicker the closer Edward was near him, as if preparing him for flight. He couldn't quite wrap his finger around why this was so. He was intimidating, dominant, and perhaps it's the side that came out in the bedroom.
He twitched with an erotic thought, and with that Edward began to back away, where they'd come from moments earlier. He unbuttoned the two buttons on his black blazer, revealing the cream shirt underneath while backing into the dimly lit hall. "Perhaps I should just show you."
Felix grabbed his glass from the counter then followed his captor down the familiar hall to another with barely a glimpse of light illuminating their way. The rap of their shoes on the hardwood re-verbed in whispers. No paintings or art graced the walls as far as Felix could tell. Everything was bare, the scent musty. Anxiety drummed on his heart, causing his pulse to quicken as he watched Edward's dark figure ahead of him.
He stopped, turned and his eyes flashed in the shadow as he found Felix still following close behind him. The sound of a door knob creaked followed by the moan of a door. Edward, seeming to know where he was going, stepped inside the pitch-black room while his guest lingered on the cusp of shadow and pure darkness. He braced himself against the door frame with a palm holding his heavy body up. There was a rush of unevenness, as though the house were lopsided and circling around him.
A lamp brought the room to life, illuminating its secrets contained within. An impressive space with deep wooden walls harboring an antique poster bed in its center. Golden drapes covered the windows, keeping any moonlight from invading the private sanctuary.
"Please, come in," Edward motioned as he took off the first layer of his black suit. He draped it over a chair at the end of the bed.
"Where is this collection of yours?" Felix asked, releasing himself from the door frame so he could enter, having to steady himself before he could take his first step. He could feel a faint smile pull at his lips as a thought passed through his head: he's trying to seduce me.
"It's hidden away."
Edward met him half-way through the room, popping open the top button of his silk-like shirt which appeared like velvet in the dim light behind him.
"It's a private hobby, then?"
He nodded twice. "Very private. One might call it an obsession, a never-ending hunger."
"They have support groups for that," Felix mused, his comments becoming one with the alcohol.
"No need. I have you. What would you do for someone in my situation, Doc?"
Felix stumbled slightly, bumping into Edward. He placed his free hand on his shoulder, holding himself up. There was a charge between their bodies, and their proximity began to affect Felix. There was no denying his attraction, then. "Deny you the very thing you want," he said with a smile.
Edward moaned, and his mouth seemed to swell as he inched closer to Felix's neck. He placed a hard lick against his throat with the flat of his tongue. Felix groaned in response, pushing his erection into him. "Some might say that's dangerous." He licked him again, the heat a ballad of aromas dancing on his tongue. Musk. Spice. Warmth. Savory. He wrapped his arms around the man and began to squeeze. Felix writhed against his unusually tight grasp. "But you're lucky I enjoy games."
He took one last lick before baring his teeth and sinking them into the soft flesh.
Pain bursted through the walls of the alcohol. Felix cried out and tried to move away. A fire began to spread in his neck, and even with all his strength he couldn't break free from Edward. The glass he held fell to the floor and shattered at their feet.
The excruciating, sharp pain dissipated, and with it, his body grew limp. Edward uncoiled and simply held Felix's neck to his mouth, his fingers wide against the man's muscular back, his other hand gripping his hair as he moaned against his skin. His blood was hot, laced with adrenaline and desire. With each pull, he sucked away life.
He didn't wish to consume all of him, yet, so he pulled away, Felix still limp and defenseless in his arms. His eyes were wide, searching. His throat unable to force a scream as he was dragged to the bed and placed there. He shivered, wanting to place a hand over his throat to keep the blood from spilling, but nothing happened. His arms stayed by his side, paralyzed.
Blood, his blood, smeared Edward's lips, his cream shirt collected the excess dripping from his chin. He leaned over him, his knees pressing next to Felix's thighs. "You've gone soft so quickly," Edward whispered, brushing a knuckle across Felix's cheek. His jagged, blood-stained teeth bared in a smile. "Don't worry. It won't last long. You'll be back on your knees in no time... begging."
What has he done to me?
"I would think it was quite obvious. What does your gut tell you?"
Did he? No, it's impossible.
"It's possible. I'm what you think I am, what you thought I was a moment ago."
Tears began to form in Felix's eyes. Emotions welled so furiously that his face began to scrunch as he cried.
"You want to say it, don't you? Like the very word will be your salvation."
His breaths were heavy, his cheeks wet with tears. He knew he would die here, painfully and alone.
"Say it!" Edward screamed in his face. His voice was deep and threatening, a perfect match to the corrupt teeth in his mouth. Drops of blood splattered on Felix's cheeks and chin from Edward's lips.
He wanted to scream the word as it rose in his throat like bile. He saw his body cold and blue with death, frozen and drained. Who would look for him? Who would find him? And it was there on his lips as he began to quake with fear, understanding.
"Vampire!" he cried.
The declaration echoed through the halls as if confirming.
The song used for inspiration was:
Redemption by Zack Hemsey