Wednesday, 13 December 2006, 23:00[/center]
He’s gay. That’s what that means. Gotta be. And yet, strangely, this made me utterly elated. Awesome.
I then felt a presence behind me, and I immediately felt uncomfortable. I whirled around only to meet this infamous “Derek” glaring at me from only a couple feet away. I locked. The hell does he want?
Jack instinctively took command of the situation. “Derek, what’s shakin’? How was your evening?” he inquired joyfully.
Derek was silent for a moment, refusing to avert his gaze from me. His eyes were different than most others I had seen around the bar… a darker amber shade, glowing more intensely than I’d ever seen. He wore what seemed to be a scowl on his face, as though he was VERY unhappy with my presence. I felt endangered until he finally dropped the scowl, glanced at Jack, and spoke. “Fine. Just fine. And who might this fresh, young man be?” he asked in a deep, unfriendly tone.
Jack moved beside me and gestured toward me. “Derek Zevran, Kaedan Carter. We went to high school together years back. We’re catching up and reminiscing old times. Kaedan, this is Derek. We… work together.”
I glared at Derek, who reciprocated. He grinned, displaying his fangs in what appeared to be a menacing manner. “Work together, huh. Guess that’s one way of putting it. Don’t want a Lifeblood knowing all our secrets, now do we. Watch yourself, Jack. I’ll sure as hell be watching you and your boy.” He returned to his barstool.
I really hate all this shit. Why did I even come here?
Jack looked at me, apparently noticing my extreme discomfort. “Hey. Don’t worry about him. He’s a grumpy asshole who probably hasn’t gotten any pussy in years... I can see you’re not comfortable here. Would you like to have a drink at my place? I can assure your comfort and safety there. Walking distance.”
I thought a moment, analyzing his motives and expression… and body, as usual. “Uhm… OK, why not,” I stammered hesitantly. What am I doing… He could be luring me for some demonic plot or something… Man, I don’t know what to think about these freaks!
Jack flagged down the waitress and handed her a fifty, motioning for her to keep the change. He turned to me and smiled. “Let’s roll.” He led the way through the bar, waving to the barkeeps as he passed them by. I couldn’t help but notice Derek watching our exit with great interest.
Rain greeted us upon opening the front door. It was now piss-pouring, echoing through the dead streets. A fog was appearing from the chill in the air. I hated to leave my baby parked in such a place, but I was in no condition to drive. Jack pointed across the street to a high-rise apartment building. “Right over there.” He wasn’t kidding about walking distance!
We dodged the rain as best we could, jogging across the pavement and onto the walkway up to Plateau Apartments. As a total gentleman, he swung the door open and held it for me to make my entry. “Thanks, man.”
“Of course.” He followed me into the gorgeous lobby, decorated from marble floor to crystal chandelier. here was such an elegance about the décor that I was in awe. I glanced at the paintings, lighting, mosaics… I was stunned. How much does it cost to live here!?
Jack dug into his pocket for a card, flashed it in front of the elevator reader, and re-pocketed it. The doors chimed and parted. “Hey. Your eyes are falling out of your head, might wanna catch them!” He laughed. I walked into the elevator, Jack following closely.
“This place is amazing… how much does it cost for you?” I asked curiously.
“I own it. It’s my business. My tenants pay from one to two grand monthly, depending on the layout.” He winked.
He OWNS this building? The hell has he been doing the past four years to earn that? The elevator stopped and the doors opened to the third floor. A cool blue glow rained down from the ceiling lights, highlighting the shadows of the myriad paintings and abstract sculptures in the hall. I was stunned.
Jack walked out of the elevator and turned to face me, smiling. “All of the art here was crafted by the tenants. I give them discounts for as long as they display their works—Good for business, and I enjoy looking at them.”
In a daze, I slowly joined Jack. The walls were nearly covered in unbelievably gorgeous paintings and photographs marking any genre you could imagine. Art was never my forte, but even I was astounded by the detail and emotion woven into each—even with my impaired vision. I didn’t know what to say. “Cool.”
Jack chuckled. “Wait here for a moment. I’ve been renovating 374 and I just have to pick up something before we head up. I’ll be right back.”
I nodded, half listening, as he walked off. My eyes darted from piece to piece, drinking in the beauty. I walked up to one of the sculptures and carefully caressed the curves and edges. There wasn’t one flaw I could make out. I leaned down and peered through the small circular hole in the center and saw a photograph that caught my eye on the far wall. I stood and walked over.
Jack was centered, with Derek and another man at his flanks. They appeared as though they were best friends, grinning happily. It couldn’t have been that old, since Jack looked the same as he does now, though there was something about Derek that I couldn’t put my finger on. His complexion, demeanor… just seemed out of person; I couldn’t imagine the Derek that I met at The Hunt being so happy-go-lucky. So if Jack ‘works’ with Derek, he works here? I’m so confused. How do they know each other?
I felt my heart leap from my chest as a chuckle sounded behind me. My back wrenched erect and I whipped around to meet Jack’s omnipotent eyes gazing at the photo I was just examining. “Good old times, before Derek’s accident. We were best buds before then. I think that was taken three years back, during my Junior year at CSU.” He glanced at me. “He really is harmless. I met him my Freshman year. We were both majoring in kinesiology at the same time.”
Jack’s face grew solemn, as though he had disappeared into his memories. His mouth moved thoughtlessly. “Electricity can do awful things to a brain, especially the voltage released in a thunder strike.” He grew silent for a moment.
I felt sorry for Jack—and Derek, for that matter. “What uh… What happened?”
Jack snapped to at my words. “Just an accident. He was outside during a thunderstorm a year ago and didn’t realize it was that close to home.” He smiled graciously, as though he was thanking me for the offer of empathy. He held up a toolbox. “Got my shit. Wanna head up to my place?”
We returned to the elevator. Jack swiped his ID card, immediately opening the doors of the waiting elevator. We entered, with Jack turning to press the button to floor 33. I couldn’t help but notice that ‘33’ was located directly under ‘R’. Penthouse? Duuuude. I grinned with excitement.
The doors closed and the vertical journey began. Ding… Ding… Ding… Ding…
By the tenth floor, Jack cleared his throat. “I haven't had company in some time… with all the projects I'm undertaking, the apartment's cleanliness can go a bit awry. Hope you're not put off."
Ha! I'm sure it's nothing like my apartment. "Naw, dude. Totally understand. Shit happens and piles up—just part of life."
Jack smiled. "Derek is my most frequent visitor, though even his visits have become more sporadic as of late. He works the security and information systems for the building." He motioned to the elevator's floor display, which blinked 23 at that instant. "He lives on this floor, though he lived up in the pent for a while."
"Why'd he move?" I inquired.
Jack looked extremely uncomfortable with the conversation's tangent. "People change. He wanted a place of his own; he even refused my offer of free rent. Even I'm not sure if I completely know him anymore." The glow of his green eyes seemed to dim solemnly. I felt bad for bringing it up.
The elevator announced our arrival. The doors parted, streaming in light. Jack motioned for me to exit first. "After you. Welcome to Chez Mitchell." He chortled.
Jack's apartment was comprised of the entire floor; the view was amazing. My eyes immediately caught the wall of windows which looked out into Long Beach from every direction. Rain drizzled down the panes like a thunderbolt, the pitter-pattering softly echoing throughout the place. It was like a bachelor's studio, but fit and sized for royalty.
Jack walked to the island bar and began preparing a set of drinks, watching me in my amazement. It was like he was constantly in my head, analyzing my thoughts and taking comfort in them. I made my way to the west window and stared out at the beach. The ocean was roaring in displeasure, rain demolishing any iota of a reflective sheen.
Before I was aware of it, Jack was behind me, once again, drinks in hand. "It's a nice view, huh?"
I jumped and turned. Jack grinned kindly, canines displayed in that sexy, barely-showing way. I could compare it to Tits wearing panties that showed almost everything, but nothing at the same time—or at least it had the same effect on me. My crotch came to life.
"Here ya go." Jack offered me a light brown colored drink in a martini glass. He took a sip of his crimson liquid. I hesitated.
"No, it's not," Jack stated before I could ask. "It's a Bloody Mary, minus the blood." He chuckled, walking toward the couch. I took a gulp of my drink and followed, plopping down on the opposite end of the same couch on which Jack was seated. I propped up my feet on the coffee table and relaxed against the arm.
Jack picked up a remote from the end table beside him and pressed a button, which raised a huge plasma screen television from a compartment beneath the floor. The screen awakened, drowning out the sounds of rain hitting the window glass with pure surround sound. "Anything in particular you'd like to watch?" he asked.
In sheer enthrallment, I failed to avert my attention from the breathtaking beauty on the screen and euphony that was pleasuring my tympanic membranes. I had never in my wildest dreams seen an image so clear.
"Hey. Drool master." Jack leaned over the middle seat and punched my shoulder. "Might want to catch that tendril before it escapes and stains my couch!" he grinned, pointing at my gaping mouth.
In horror, my mouth clamped shut, teeth pinching my lower lip. My left wrist darted up to and across my mouth in a wiping motion. I grimaced from the electric pain that shot my brain due to my accidental oral self-mutilation. I glanced at my wrist, noticing nothing even remotely wet, and instinctively fired off the shittiest look I possibly could at Jack. "Fuck you, dude," I sulked. "Jesus Christ, that hurt like a bitch!" I cradled my mandible in my hand, forefinger putting pressure on my wounded labium.
Jack went in to an all-out hysteria. His powerful, bass voice engrossed the penthouse as he heaved in amusement. Though my expression was still locked in pout, I couldn't help but to find his joviality refreshing and warm… not to mention sexy. I stared at him statically, absorbing his every twitch and gasp for breath. His widened mouth looked ever so appealing as his subtle fangs pointed out from his jaws, almost baiting me and reeling me toward them. Damn, what is it with this guy that turns me on so freaking much?! I swear, it's like everything he does is like having huge tits in my face!
After a moment, Jack began to regain his composure, wiping his eyes and attempting to restore a normal rate of breathing. "You should have seen that from my perspective, K. It was priceless!" He winked at me. Again, my tool flexed.
K? Who calls me K? Whatever. "You suck."
Jack's left brow rose. Grinning devilishly, he bantered, "You have no idea how well." His eyes briefly flashed a vivid tangerine hue.
Yep, he's a pecker necker… Why is this enticing me so much? I'm not a faggot… "What's that supposed to mean?" I challenged, narrowing my left eye.
He guffawed and turned his eyes toward the television. "Never mind."
"Tell you what, exactly?"
Slightly annoyed, I huffed. "Dude, seriously. Out with it."
Jack returned his gaze to me. "Do I need to spell it out for you, happy-pants?" he alluded, eyes briefly glancing at my obvious bulge.
Again horrified, I briskly shoved a hand down the front of my shorts and adjusted my man meat, failing to rid myself of my arousal. I leaned away from Jack, lifting my right foot onto the couch to block his view of my junk. "C'mon, man… That was low…" I countered sheepishly.
A buzz drew both of our attentions. Jack casually pressed another button on his 'magic' remote, muting the TV and apparently activating a microphone. "Jack Carter. How can I help you?" He asked the air.
An accelerated, almost child-like, medium-high-pitched voice emanated from the surround sound system. "Hey man, hey—it's meeeeee. Can I come up? Huh-huh?"
Jack smiled, obviously knowing the visitor well. "'Course, Aaron! Come on up--I've got company."
"Kay-kay! Woohoo! I'm comin' up!" A chime signaled the pager's termination.
"Friend of yours?" I inquired.
"Yeah. Aaron's a good kid. He's a bit wild, but he's a loyal friend. Not to mention I never have any trouble with the electronics in the building for very long with him around. He was a technology prodigy as a kid… Now he's just plain a computer genius."