Friday, November 28, 2008

Scars by Jessica Freely

Blurb: In Scars, David and Seth begin to experience repercussions from the night they met. The police have found the body of the gang member Seth killed to protect David, and the other gang members are out for revenge. David's employer, Mr. Haverstock, is keeping tabs on the case and is asking David a lot of questions. When new information that links Seth to a prior murder is revealed, David's trust in Seth is tested. Meanwhile, Seth's search for a job hits a major snag and he resorts to old habits. David's quest to learn the truth about Seth's past may uncover more than he wants to know.

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Closing up the book shop, David marveled at what a difference a day could make. Yesterday at this time he'd been bored, lonely, about to be… He shook his head and focused on Seth, standing by the door, waiting for him. Now he had someone to walk home with, someone to make love with, someone to share his home and his life with. All of his fantasy men from the books he read -- Scaramouche, d'Artagnon, Sakr-el-Bahr -- paled in comparison to the flesh and blood reality of his true hero, Seth.

As they walked home David took comfort in Seth's proximity. He was tired now, and the euphoria from the sex was dying down and they were coming up on the place where it had happened.

Seth, as if sensing David’s unease, edged closer to him. "It's okay."

David nodded. "I know." And he did. The empty lot next to the Stamping Plant brought back bad memories, but he knew he was safe with Seth. His real fear was not for himself. "But… the cops were investigating this morning. Mr. Haverstock told me."

Their feet echoed on the pavement as Seth became even more quiet than usual. At length he sighed. "I guess that was bound to happen."

Even though there was no one around, David lowered his voice. "We should have disposed of the body somehow. I never even thought of that."

Seth shrugged. "Me neither but then, I didn't expect… Anyway, don't worry about it. The only person who can ID me is you."

"What about those other two guys, the ones who ran away?"

"No," said Seth. "They're Lions."

"The gang?"

"Yeah. They won't go to the cops. They handle a thing like this themse--"

For the first time since the night before, true terror gripped David by the guts. "Shit!"

Seth waved his hands. "It's okay. No, no. Don't worry."

David grabbed Seth by the arm and started dragging him at a trot. "Let's go." He looked up and down the street. It was empty, which was not unusual at this time of night. What with the economy around here, a lot of people had moved out of state. Vacant lots and abandoned buildings were as common as occupied ones.

Seth refused to be dragged. He continued to walk at a normal pace as David tugged on his arm like a yappy dog. "You're only calling attention to us."

He was right. David went back to walking normally, beside him, but he kept scanning the street. "You need new clothes, and a shave. And tie your hair back so you won't look the same. Anybody's looking for you, they'll be looking for a homeless guy. Not you."
"…they'll be looking for a homeless guy. Not you."

Seth bit back a gasp of surprise. In wonderment, he let those incredible words sink in. The night was dark and chilly, and dangerous, but it was as if he and David walked in a little bubble of warm light. His body, still filled with pleasure from their lovemaking, felt relaxed and the cool air felt good on his skin. David was beside him, whole and unharmed and real. This was real.

When he thought of what he had escaped from, and what he had settled for, walking home with David like this was far beyond anything thing he could have imagined or hoped for.

They came to the apartment building and David fished the key out of his pocket. "I'll have to get another one made," he said with a smile.

Seth smiled back and tried to ignore the sudden thickness in his throat. He didn't want to waste another single moment on tears. He'd nearly cried again after their lovemaking tonight. Surely, David was getting sick of that. It was just that this was so new, so different from anything he'd expected. It was all such a beautiful dream, and of course, Seth knew that they'd awake from it eventually. Something would put a stop to this -- the police, the Lions, the differences between them. But for now, he wanted to savor every second of this special time.

David opened the door and Seth followed him into the small apartment made even tinier by the shelves and shelves of books lining nearly every wall. They shed their jackets and draped them over the arm of the large, overstuffed armchair in the living room. David turned to him and wrapped his arms around Seth's waist and it was the most natural thing in the world for Seth to circle David's shoulders with his arms. The two of them fit together perfectly. Like they were made for each other. Seth smiled and shook his head, silently laughing at his own sappiness.

David tilted his head, looking up at him. "What is it?"

"Nothing. Just… everything."

David's smile was tender, his laugh understanding. "I know what you mean."

Surprise made Seth blink. Could it be that this turn of events was just as unexpected and precious for David as it was for him? He thought of David living alone here with his books. As yet there'd been no mention any family or friends. Looking at David now, he saw the loneliness in his eyes, the longing. There was only one answer.

Seth bent his head and captured David's mouth in a kiss. Soft and tender, their lips caressed each other and their tongues met in a sweet, slippery dance of taste and touch. They wrapped their arms around one another tighter, bodies pressing together as the kiss deepened, as they drank from one another all the love, companionship and desire they longed to give and receive.

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