Choose Your Own Adventure Newsletter Serial
Here’s where you can find all the installments of my PNR Choose Your Own Adventure story. As a reminder, I will write a segment and give you options on which direction the story will go. The first choice was who are the MC’s. So in this case, vampire won, but there was a lot of curiosity about a ghost as MC. So I compromised and brought you all three!
Premise: My Roommate is a Vampire is about Lawson and Silas, roommates, who also have a third roommate, Frederick the (kinky) ghost.
Lawson buys a rumored haunted house to renovate and eventually flip. He puts out an ad for a roommate to help with costs and because he hates living alone. Little does he know, he’s not alone. The house is occupied by Frederick, who built the house hundreds of years ago.
Silas answers the roommate ad, looking for a place to live in Eaton Falls, where he may be able to join a coven. Silas and Lawson hit it off and Silas moves in.
Silas can see and interact with the ghost, which makes Lawson think he’s weird. Eventually, Silas introduces him to Fredrick. He’s a kinky ghost who loves watching the two men begin a sexy relationship.
Eventually, Silas fesses up that he’s a vampire and in love with Lawson. Lawson realizes he would never have to be alone again if he stays with Silas. Silas turns him, they have a celebration with Frederick and never sell the house.
“It’s perfect.” Gazing up at the decrepit house, my brain conjures what it could be with a little elbow grease and care. “I want to put in an offer.”
My realtor nods, pressing his lips together. “I do have to disclose that the house is rumored to be haunted.”
I turn to look at him. “Come again.”
“I know it sounds ridiculous, but I am obligated to tell you. Your neighbors certainly will.”
“Haunted, huh? Is that why it’s been empty so long?”
Ronald nods. “Yes. The locals won’t touch it.”
“Even better. I’ll get a priest to come and exorcise it when I flip it.”
“You believe in this stuff?”
“Not at all. It’s called good marketing.”
Ronald chuckles. “Ah, yes that is smart.” He pauses, shuffling papers in his hand. “Do you want to go inside?”
“No. I have a good feeling about this. Let’s just make an offer.”
Two days later, I’m the proud owner of a house that has seen better days. The owners couldn’t wait to get rid of it. With key in hand, I unlock the front door, stepping in for the first time. The musty smell immediately accosts me, causing me to step back from the intensity. Ugh. First order of business- tear out these awful carpets.
I close the front door, noticing how it sticks. That’s an easy enough fix. Glancing around the front room with my hands on my hips, I take it all in. The bones are good. Nothing like a two hundred year old house in a great neighborhood. It’s going to take a lot of work, but when it’s done I think it could be spectacular.
The front room, one used as a formal sitting room when the house was new, has water stains on the ceiling and peeling wallpaper on the walls. The front window though is gorgeous. Or it will be once it’s replaced.
To my left is the staircase. Dark wood and elaborate details certainly make a statement, and I can’t wait to restore it to its former beauty. Bending down I pull back a corner of carpet, smiling when I see the hardwood beneath it. I’ll never understand why previous generations felt the need to cover up this beauty. Hopefully the floors are in good condition and only need a good sanding and stain.
Next is the formal dining room- a massive space with an original chandelier hanging from a medallion. It’s a dark room but nothing that some good design choices can’t fix. I walk on to the kitchen and stop in my tracks. There’s a dead rat in the middle of the floor. The appliances and decor are circa nineteen seventy and the stench is so foul I pull my shirt over my nose in an effort to block it out. Full gut job.
The rest of the bottom floor doesn’t improve. It will all have to be gutted to the studs. It’s on a nice plot though with plenty of space for an enclosed garage to be built.
I roam upstairs, my steps slow up the creaky stairs. There are five bedrooms up here and three bathrooms. Two of them will eventually become a master bedroom with an en suite bathroom. There’s a small reading nook at the top of the stairs with gorgeous built-in shelves. Large windows occupy each end of the house, letting in light.
Leaning against the wall, I cross my arms. First order of business will be getting a roommate who doesn’t mind living in a fixer. It’s not that I need the income. I just need company. I can’t stand the idea of living in a house this size all alone. Unsurprisingly, building an amazing career flipping homes hasn’t done anything to cure my loneliness. I just have to hope there’s some single person out there who doesn’t mind living in the suburbs in a historic home that has seen better days, and hopefully doesn’t know about the haunted rumors. And if they do know, has the sense to realize there’s no such thing as ghosts.
A week later, I drag the last roll of old carpet out the back door, inhaling the fresh spring air and brushing dust off my jeans. I’m expecting three potential roommates to come check out the house. Hopefully one of them sticks. I barely got any bites on my listing, and all three of these people say they’re new to this area.
As I step in the house, I jump back as a dark shadow crosses my path. Blinking several times, I glance around. Am I seeing things? Or worse- is there an animal in the house?
Slowly, I exit the kitchen, peering down the hallway, and nearly jumping out of my skin when the doorbell rings. I laugh to myself. Obviously, it was just my eyes playing tricks.
I cross the house, pulling the door open to greet my guest. A man stands there, twisting the other direction as if checking out the neighborhood. He’s very tall with dark hair.
He turns quickly, smiling. “Hi. Are you Lawson?”
“Law. You are?”
“Please come in.”
Silas steps inside, offering his hand that I shake. “Gorgeous neighborhood.”
“Thanks.” I put my hands on my hips. “As I mentioned in the ad, it’s a fixer, but you can’t beat the location.”
“No. It’s quite nice.” He tilts his head back to look at the coffered ceilings. “Are you doing it all yourself?”
“Yep. I plan to have a contractor come out for plumbing and electrical but the rest is me. I flip houses for a living.”
“Ah. Is that why the room is so affordable?”
“Yes. I wanted to compensate for things not being perfect.”
Silas smiles. It’s a really nice smile. He’s very attractive. I wonder if he’s into guys or not.
“Would you like to see the space upstairs?”
Silas nods. “Please.”
I motion toward the staircase, as if he couldn’t see the massive thing dominating the foyer. We walk up and I notice as Silas seems to take in the details.
“This is my room for now,” I say, pointing to the first door at the top of the stairs. “Eventually I want to combine this room and the one behind it to make a suite.”
“Smart,” Silas says. “Will you sell this when it’s renovated?”
“That’s the plan. Unless I fall in love of course.”
Silas tilts his head then nods after a moment. “With the house.”
“Right.” Walking further, I motion to a room at the end of the hall. “I was thinking this room would be great for a renter. It has lots of natural light and it’s very close to the bathroom on this side.”
We step inside the room and Silas glances around. He walks over to the window, gazing out back, before turning to me. “It’s a nice room. I don’t require a lot of space.”
“What do you do for a living?”
“I’m a writer.”
“Ooh.” I cringe. “So will it be challenging for you during the day if I’m making a lot of noise?”
“No, actually. I’m able to block things out and I can always go to the library if need be.”
I nod. “There’s a cool attic space too. I thought it would make a great office. Maybe we can fix it up. I mean, assuming you want to live here.”
Silas focuses his blue eyes on me. “I would. I have a feeling we would get along.”
Silas turns his gaze behind me. His eyebrow rises and then he slowly smiles. I look over my shoulder finding nothing.
“Oh,” Silas says. “Sorry. I was just absorbing the space to see how it would feel to write in here.”
“Writers can be quite quirky sometimes.”
“So can house flippers. Should we shake on it, and then I’ll get you a packet of paperwork?”
“That would be great.”
He offers his hand and I shake it. “Look around. I’ll go down to my study to get the folder.”
I hurry down the stairs, pausing to shoot off texts to the other two people who were thinking of stopping by that the room is rented. I just have a really good feeling about Silas, and I’m not at all motivated by how gorgeous he is. Nope. This is about cohabitating compatibility.
By the time I grab the folder and go back upstairs, Silas is gone. I hear his voice though, so I follow it to the back stairs, noticing the door to the attic open.
I walk up, listening carefully, but his voice is too muted to make out what he’s saying. I knock softly on the door to alert him to my presence. He turns in my direction, smiling.
“Nice acoustics up here. Sometimes I dictate my words. It’s important to have a soundproof setting.”
“Ah.” That makes sense. He wasn’t just talking to himself. “Here’s the paperwork. What are you thinking timeline wise?”
“I’d love to get out of the hotel I’m in as soon as possible. Is tomorrow too soon?”
“No. That’s great.”
“Perfect.” He pulls a wallet from his abc pocket. “I took the liberty of bringing cash for the deposit and first month’s rent. I hope cash is alright. I don’t use checks.”
“Cash is great. I’ll rush the background check.”
Silas stiffens at that. “Oh. Right.”
“Is that a problem?”
“No. I just don’t have much history in the US. I was abroad for many years. No credit or address history.” He smiles. “No criminal history either.”
I laugh. “That’s good.Um, do you have anyone who could vouch for you?”
“Would my publisher work?”
“Yes, of course.”
“I’ll leave her number. Thank you for being flexible with me.”
Silas hands me a business card with his publisher’s contact information on it. As I’m walking him out, he pauses, his eyes lingering on the top of the stairs. “Would you mind if I set up the attic as an office? It calls to me.”
“Not at all. I have the study down here so it’s fine.”
“Thank you. I’ll clean it up. It’ll be nice for me to have some activity outside of writing.”
“Yeah, I’m open design wise. I have plenty of other projects.”
Silas chuckles. “Yes you do.”
“Oh, do you have a relationship or friends who might come over often?”
“Neither. As I said, I’ve been in Europe for a long time. I’m rebuilding my life in the states.” He searches my eyes. “Perhaps you’ll be my first friend.”
“Yeah, I hope so.” I scratch my forehead. “Um, I feel like I should tell you that the locals think this house is haunted.”
“Yeah. I mean, silly, right? I’ve been here a few days and haven’t heard anything weird. Just in case you hear neighbors saying something. Figured I should give you a head’s up.”
“Well, I’m sure we’ll do just fine. Maybe the spirits are friendly.”
“Do you believe in that stuff?”
“Very much so.” His eyes roam the foyer again. “You have nothing to worry about though. If a spirit didn’t want you here, you would already know.”
“See you tomorrow, Law.”
“Yeah, bye, Silas.”
I watch him walk down the steps and slide inside a deep burgundy SUV of some kind. He seems like an interesting guy. Maybe he’s right and we can be friends.
I turn to gaze up the stairs, wondering what caught Silas’s eye, but obviously, there’s nothing there.
Later that night, as I crawl into bed exhausting from staining woodwork and removing old wallpaper, my thoughts shift back to Silas. It’ll be nice to have someone in the house with me. I close my eyes, ready to succumb to sleep when a slamming door from somewhere in the house startles me awake.
Bolting out of bed, I rush to the hallway when the door slams a second time. There’s a cold draft coming from the back of the house. I creep in the direction, my heart racing with adrenaline, but when I turn the corner to peek upstairs, I relax.
The attic door is swinging back and forth. I bet Silas opened a window up there and forgot to close it. I trudge up the stairs only to find all the windows closed. The door still sways, so I chalk it up to a drafty house. I’ll have to look at it in the morning. For now, I prop it open with a few books so it won’t keep slamming.
Once I stand up, I swear I see a figure to my right, but when I look, nothing is there. Of course not! My brain is making up shit after being startled. Exhaling, I shake my head, before making my way back downstairs to my bed.
As I pull the blankets up to my chin, eyes still open in the dark room, I finally relax and drift off to sleep.
Pulling myself up, I swing my legs to sit on the edge of the bed, rubbing my groggy eyes and trying to clear my still sleep-swamped brain. I slept like a brick, deeper than I have in ages. Once I’m on my feet, I shuffle downstairs to the kitchen, stopping in the doorway. What the actual fuck?
On the small round table is a book that definitely wasn’t there the night before. I know this because I haven’t unpacked a single book yet, and if I had, it wouldn’t be in the kitchen. I walk over to it, picking it up slowly as my eyes dart around the dim space. It’s the history of the house. Hmm.
I flip through a few pages, finding sketches in its original condition and very old photos of the house over the years. Interesting. I open it to the title page, searching for the copyright date. Eighteen twenty. It’s written by a man named Fredrick Whittingham. Shrugging, I put it down again to focus on the coffee I obviously need. I have no idea how the book got there, but it looks like it might be helpful.
After the coffee brews, I take my mug and head to what will eventually be my study. It’s a gorgeous room with thick crown moldings, a high ceiling, and original trim. This is why old houses rock. They just don’t make them like this anymore. I sit on the armchair by the window left behind by the previous owner. A puff of dust surrounds me for a second. Nice. I spend the next few minutes simply thinking.
Moving here was impulsive, but something called me to it after I stumbled upon a website auctioning houses in the area. This house wasn’t part of the auction, but once the realtor showed it to me, I knew I had to have it. It’s in a fantastic location at the back of a cul-de-sac, flanked by woods and equally attractive homes. The town itself is idyllic, exactly what you picture for quaint New England. It’s the biggest project I’ve taken on to date, but no risk, no reward, as the saying goes.
At least I’ll have Silas here for a bit of company. He seems pretty cool, and I could tell he respected the house the same way I do. Hopefully, we’ll be compatible in the long term. This project will take me at least a year to complete if all goes as planned, and things never go as planned.
I spend the day making lists of supplies I’ll need from the hardware store. By the time the front doorbell rings, I’ve been lost in my ideas for hours. I open the door to see Silas there with a few suitcases and boxes. A brief call to this publisher yesterday, who couldn’t say enough kind things about the man, settled any lingering doubts I had, but honestly, I’m a gut check kind of guy. I knew Silas was cool.
“Thank you.” He nods, glancing around with a smile. “Just recalling how much I like it. It has such a good energy.”
“It really does. I’ll help you carry your things upstairs.”
It doesn’t take us long to get his things settled in. I stand in his doorway, hands on hips. “I’ll leave you to get settled. Come down when you feel like eating or just talking. Please make yourself at home. After all, you live here now.”
Silas flashes a brilliant smile. “Thank you, Law.”
I leave him, making my way downstairs to finish unpacking books in my study. The day slowly shifts to evening, and my stomach growling reminds me it’s dinnertime. I walk up the stairs in search of my new roommate. Maybe we can just order something in to keep things easy.
I peek inside his open bedroom door, finding it empty. Ah. I bet he went up to the attic. I ascend those stairs, peering inside. Silas is standing in front of a wall, gesturing and speaking softly. I watch him for a moment, brow furrowed. What is he doing?
He nods, as if he is listening to someone I can’t hear. Does he have a bluetooth on? I’m behind him, so it’s hard to tell. I step up, but the wood creaks beneath my feet, alerting him to my presence. Silas swings around, his face instantly turning red, but he forces a smile.
“Hello. I didn’t hear you coming.”
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you. I was afraid I was… interrupting?”
My eyes shift to the desk where there is zero evidence of anything set up for dictation. “How’s that going?”
“Just practicing. I had a scene in my head all day. Sometimes it helps to talk it out first.” He smiles again. “I warned you writers were quirky.”
I chuckle, rubbing the back of my neck. It’s weirdly cold up here. “Want to order dinner?”
“Uh, yes, that sounds great. Whatever you like. I’m not picky.”
“Perfect. I’ll be right down.”
Nodding, I turn to leave. I linger on the stairs for a moment, but it’s silent. I guess he just likes to talk to himself.
Heading to the kitchen, I try to shake off the odd feeling I had just now. I order the pizza along with a few soft drinks, then I spend a few minutes wiping down the kitchen table to make sure it’s clean enough to eat on.
Not long after, Silas appears in the doorway. He nods, walking across the space to me and sitting down.
“I feel a little awkward,” he admits, eyes cast to his hands. “I am used to being alone and speaking my characters out loud. You must think I’m so odd.”
Shaking my head, I sit across from him at the table. “No, not odd. I heard you talking to yourself, and I didn’t want to interrupt.” I tilt my head as the question pokes my mind. “It seems like you were also listening, though.”
Silas has a blank expression, not reacting to my words at all. “Yes, I guess I might as well explain. To me, it feels like my characters are talking to me, directing me, and my job is just to write it down. I know that sounds insane, but I promise you it’s very common amongst writers.”
I laugh softly, feeling my nerves settle. “That actually makes sense. Anyway, do whatever makes you feel comfortable. We’ll both get used to each other over time.”
“Yes, of course we will.”
After a mostly silent dinner, broken up by small talk about the house and town, we part ways again. I head to my bedroom to take a shower. As the hot water rolls over me, I stretch my neck under the steam, hoping to work the knots in my sore muscles out. Tomorrow I’ll be tearing out more stinky carpets. I’ll need my strength.
After my shower, I shuffle to the bed and practically collapse into it. My belly is full, I’m clean, and my eyes can barely stay open. As I pull the blankets up around me, snuggling into bed, I let sleep take over me.
It doesn’t take long, though, until an unsettling feeling wakes me up. I get a sense that something is staring at me. Or someone. I open my eyes slowly, finding nothing but an empty bedroom. Of course. It’s not like Silas would sneak into my bedroom and stare at me. That would be super weird.
No. It’s just my imagination. I roll over to the other side and close my eyes again, praying desperately for sleep. It finally feels like it’s coming again, so I relax into the mattress.
The next time I open my eyes, I’m not sure how long I’ve been asleep, but my bladder is annoying me. A quick glance at my phone shows midnight. Grumbling, I climb out of bed to head into the hallway for the bathroom. I can’t wait until I can turn this into a master suite.
Quickly taking care of my needs, I shuffle back to the bedroom, gasping when I step inside. Something dark quickly moves across the space and passes me, leaving an icy breeze in its wake. I immediately twist around, finding nothing but an empty hallway. Then I laugh. Oh, my gosh. I need to get a grip. It’s an old house. It’s going to be drafty and noisy. My eyes were probably just adjusting to the dark again. It’s fine.
The realtor’s words come back to me suddenly. “I have to tell you the house is haunted.” There’s no way that’s true. Ghosts don’t exist. Slowly climbing into bed, I gaze around my dark bedroom for a moment before I finally write it off and decide that I was just seeing things. Closing my eyes, I pull the blankets up under my chin, hoping that my mind will be quiet and I can start going back to sleep again. I’m positive that I was just seeing things.
I mean, what other explanation is there?
“You really shouldn’t do that, you know.”
Frederick turns to face me, a mischievous smirk on his face. “Just having a bit of fun. I’ve been bored until you showed up.”
“Why didn’t you make your presence known to Law?”
Frederick perches his almost translucent body at the foot of my bed. The handsome ghost looks like he’s no more than thirty, but he tells me he was fifty when he died. He’s dressed in clothing from the early nineteen hundreds, tailored slacks, a white dress shirt, and a fitted vest. On his feet are the loafers of his day. He’s very dapper and elegant, with slicked-back brown hair, a jaw that could cut, and warm, brown eyes.
“I have not had pleasant experiences with the living.”
“But you let him move in. You didn’t scare him away.”
Frederick looks down at his hands. “He is very handsome. And alone. He doesn’t bring with him shrieking children and a desperate housewife who will do nothing but turn my home into a garish nightmare.”
“Ah, so you prefer Law because he is single.”
“Yes. I decided to give him a chance.” He lifts his eyes to me. “Then you showed up. How fun.”
“Yes. Now we both have secrets to keep.”
“He does not entirely believe your story about listening to your characters.”
“Obviously. If you would speak up, I wouldn’t have to lie.”
“I’m not ready yet.” He scoots closer with a glimmer in his eyes. “Do you think he likes men?”
“I think he might. Are you interested in him?”
Frederick gives me a hard look. “I’m dead if you haven’t noticed.”
“Technically, so am I.”
“Yes, but you’re physically present.” He frowns. “What I would give to feel the pleasure of a warm body against mine once more.”
“It’s not your fault. But…”—that glimmer appears again—“I would not complain about living vicariously through you.”
“What are you suggesting?”
“I’m suggesting you seduce our handsome roommate.”
“And let you watch?”
Frederick nods. “Yes, I would find that most pleasing.”
“Perhaps I will, on one condition.”
Frederick narrows his eyes. “Name your price, vampire.”
“You show yourself to him. It isn’t fair if he thinks we’re alone when we’re being watched.”
“Yes, I know. He caught me earlier in his room. I am not ready yet though.”
“When you are ready, let me know.”
“You want to seduce him, don’t you?”
“From the moment I laid eyes on him.”
“He must think you are perfect. You look like a movie star from the golden era but modernized.”
“Thank you, Frederick. He made a point of saying he was single, so I hope that was subtle encouragement.”
“His expression shows interest. Even when he thinks you’re talking to yourself in the attic.”
I laugh softly. “I dislike lying to him though.”
“Then when will you share your news, my dark prince?”
His question makes me cringe. “Well played. I must be cautious. Mortals are often terrified when they learn of my existence. I don’t want to scare him away or force him to make me leave.”
“He will not make you leave. I will ensure that. I want you both here.” He turns onto his knees, crawling across the bed toward me, stopping just in front of my face. “I want you both to be mine.”
I want to reach out and touch his beautiful face, but I know I cannot. “You wish for us to live here forever?”
“Forever. You will turn him so he will never die, and our family will live together for eternity.”
“You do not wish to move on, Frederick?”
“Move on to what? More darkness? More solitude? I have waited a long time for the right person to show up to buy this home.”
I nod, searching his eyes. “I wish I could touch you.”
“I wish the same.” He puts his hands on my thighs. “Can you feel that?”
“It’s a light pressure.”
“The more we’re together, the stronger it will be. One night a year, the veil between our worlds thins. It is my one opportunity to experience mortal life.”
“Yes. All Hallows’ Eve.”
Frederick nods. “Then you both will make love to me. It will be wonderful.” His smile fades. “Until then, make him fall in love, Silas. Use your charm. Keep him for me.”
“I will do my best.”
“Good. Make sure he refers to the book I left on the table for him. I refuse to let him turn this into some modern atrocity. Past residents have used design books and TV shows. I will not stand for it. Law must understand that.”
“I haven’t seen the plans, but he sounds as though he simply wants to restore more than remodel.”
“Yes. That is why I allow his presence here.” He lies down, resting his head on my lap. “Does he smell nice?”
“He does. Very clean and crisp, like a beautiful spring day.”
“Hmm,” he murmurs. “I bet you want to taste his blood.”
“Desperately. I will have to go hunting soon. I’m almost out of my supplies.”
“Do you kill them?”
“Not if I can help it. I’ve learned to sneak into bedrooms and feed while they sleep. They think it’s a dream.”
“Like an incubus. Clever.”
“Small towns like this are notorious for leaving windows unlocked. They are so trusting.”
“How convenient for you.”
“Yes. Did you have a lover in life?”
“I did.” A wistful smile passes his lips. “His name was Henry. He was such a beautiful man. His parents died in an accident and left him quite a bit of money. He was a man of leisure, but our paths crossed one day, and he took me as his lover. We could not be open about it at that time. People thought of us as business partners. He helped me build this house with his funds.”
“It was. We planned to live our days here together.” His brow furrows. “But then I had to be an idiot and climb to the roof alone. He found my body later that day.”
“That must have been awful for him.”
“It was. His anguish tore my heart out. He loved me so. I tried to show him I was still here, but it takes time, you see.”
“Yes. You have to develop your ability to interact with the living world. I wasn’t strong enough. In his sorrow, he married a woman who had been in love with him for many years. He would speak to me, not knowing I could hear him. He said he would never allow another man to touch him. He condemned this house, not allowing anyone to enter or finish it.”
“How did it get finished then?”
“Twenty years later, his son showed up. Henry left it to him when he died. The son finished it and lived here for a while. I was happy then. It felt like I had a part of my Henry again. But when the son died, his family sold it.”
“Yes. The attic is full of memories of my and Henry’s lives. Please do not let Law remove it. It is all I have left.”
“I will protect it.”
Frederick exhales. “There’s a grave at the far end of the garden. Henry carved the stone himself. He would sit on the bench and talk to me for hours about his life. I was deeply saddened the day he died. I had hoped somehow he could come to me, but he is not trapped between worlds as I am.”
“I’m sorry, Frederick.”
“Thank you. Now tell me your story. How is it that you became a vampire?”
“I was attacked. I was walking home from dinner with friends. Simply jumped in an alleyway and fed upon. I begged him not to kill me. He asked what I would give him not to. I told him to name his price. He asked for my soul.”
“And you gave it?”
“Yes. I didn’t think it was much of a prize. Life was beautiful to me. I thought, how much better could it be if it never ends. It was a simple decision.”
“Do you regret it at all?”
“No. It has its bittersweet moments. Letting go of people you love. Knowing you will never see them in the afterlife. The worst part is fearing love.”
“What do you mean?”
“What you and Henry went through. Finding beautiful love and then relinquishing it when their life is over.”
“But have you never thought you could keep them forever?”
“I have never loved enough to want to. I do not allow it. I have seen my share of tortured souls who joined the darkness. I would not wish that upon anyone I cared for.”
“Perhaps the one you love will feel like you did. Even I do not resent my ghostly existence. It is fascinating watching the years change. Humans do enjoy creating, don’t they?”
“And destroying. A constant death and rebirth. I suppose it keeps things interesting.”
“Yes. What is your favorite invention?”
“Excellent question. The rise of the internet, probably. Anything you wish to know is at the tip of your fingertips. It’s given me a profession outside the public eye. I’ve even found vampire cults filled with oblivious mortals who allow us to feed. It’s quite remarkable.”
“That would be, yes.”
“What is yours?”
“Television. I get to participate in the world without leaving this structure.”
“That is wonderful.”
A loud crash from downstairs draws our attention.
“What was that?” I ask.
Frederick shrugs. “I’m usually the noisemaker around here.”
The two of us hop up, joining a startled Law in the hall.
“You heard it too,” he says to me.
“Yes. We need to be careful in case someone has broken in.”
He nods as both of us head for the stairs. I can sense his fear, and I wish I could tell him that there is nothing down there I could not handle on my own. As we near the bottom floor, it’s obvious something is inside the house.
Frederick moves ahead, unbeknownst to Law, who turns to face me. “Brace yourself.”
Chapter 5 Silas
The three of us creep into the kitchen, finding the back door swinging open. It appears intact though.
“Did you not lock it?” I ask Law.
“I thought I did.” He peers outside, reaching for the screen door to pull it closed. “Maybe it was just the wind?”
“Maybe.” I scan the area as Frederick floats around.
Law turns around, smiling. “Probably nothing.”
We both turn to go back upstairs, but Lawson’s shriek freezes me in place. I twist around to see him fall to the floor with some kind of creature on top of him.
“What the fuck!” I rush over to pull the animal off of him. It also shrieks, rising on its hind legs. “Racoon.”
“Fuck,” Law groans, pulling himself up. He has a small scratch on his cheek, and as his blood forms little beads on his flesh, my fangs descend with desire to feed.
“Do you need a doctor for that scratch? They have rabies, don’t they?”
“It didn’t scratch me,” Law mumbles. “It was my watch when I blocked my face.”
“Oh thank the gods.”
“Yeah. Where did it go?”
Frederick appears from the foyer by the stairs. “It is up here. So is something else.”
Law tilts his head. “What?”
“Oh, uh, I thought I heard something else. In the attic maybe.”
“Oh. The racoon must have run up there.”
“I can go.”
“We’ll go together.”
He walks to the sink and splashes his face, wiping away the blood, which thankfully, curbs my bloodlust.
“Ready?” Law asks.
We creep up the stairs, and I can feel Law tense as the noise gets louder. There are shuffling and scratching sounds, which makes sense for a raccoon but since I don’t know where Frederick went I’m not sure what we’re going to find.
Law reaches the top first, slipping inside. “Who the fuck are you?”
Chapter 6 Lawson
“Who the fuck are you?” the other man says just Silas reaches the top.
“The owner of this house. Silas, call the police.”
“No, wait!” The man puts his hands out. “Please. I can explain.”
“You better do it quickly,” Silas says in such a menacing tone it sends a shiver through me.
“Thi-this house is haunted,” the man says. I take a moment to study him. He’s tall and burly with a thick beard and muscles for days, but his voice is softer than it looks like it would be. “My name is Wallace. Wallace Theroux. I’m a ghost hunter.”
“And?” Silas demands, crossing his massive arms over his chest.
“And I had no clue someone bought this house. It’s been abandoned for years.”
“It wasn’t obvious to you that someone lived here now?” I ask.
“The back door was open and all the lights were off. It looks the same as it always does.”
“I haven’t lived here long. This is trespassing.”
“I know. Totally sorry. I didn’t realize…” His words trail off when the raccoon shows itself, creeping out from behind a box.
It takes one look at all of us and darts behind another pile of things.
“Great. I have two intruders.”
“I’m leaving,” Wallace says. “I swear I didn’t know. I didn’t take anything.” He holds his backpack out.
Silas takes it, peering inside. “Nothing inside of ours.”
“You, um, you both live here?” Wallace asks.
“Yes,” Silas answers. “And I am highly skilled in case you’re thinking of breaking in again.”
Wallace huffs. “The door was unlocked.”
“Do you just walk around testing doors at night?” I ask.
“No. I’ve been studying this property for years. Everyone who moves in is gone within months. They claim all kinds of paranormal activity. I’m just trying to find proof.”
“Why?” I ask.
Wallace swallows hard. “This house used to belong to my family. A descendant of mine. Henry Theroux built it.”
As soon as Wallace finishes his sentence, a tower of boxes falls to the floor. Silas rushes in that direction, kneeling down as though he’s helping someone. When I turn back to Wallace, his face lights up.
“Raccoon,” I correct. “I have to ask you to go now.”
“I get that. Listen, now that you’re here, is there any chance you’d be open to letting me study it? I’d only come when it’s not a bother for you, but night is much better for obvious reasons.”
“Ghosts don’t appear in the daytime?”
He shrugs. “They do, but there’s more energy for them at night. At least in my experience.”
“You’ve seen ghosts before?”
“Lots of times.”
“But not here?”
Wallace watches Silas restack the boxes. “Do you really want to know?”
“Okay. Yes, I’ve seen something here in the windows several times. Once I’m inside, nothing happens, but based on reports of people who have lived here, stuff gets wild. I’m pretty sure the ghost doesn’t want anyone here. He scares them away.”
“I see.” This guy is a total whack job. “Any idea who this ghost is?”
“Henry’s lover, Frederick Mason. He and Henry built the house together. He died in the process.”
This time a vase falls from a shelf, shattering. Silas rubs his forehead.
“See?” Wallace says. “The ghost can hear us. Isn’t that right, Frederick?”
Dead silence follows his question.
“Listen, Wallace, I appreciate your interest, but now is not a good time. We’ve only just moved in and have a lot of renovations to do. Once the house is complete, I’ll be selling it.”
“Why?” Wallace asks. “To who?”
“To whoever wants to buy it. I’m a flipper. It’s what I do.”
“I want it. It needs to be back in my family.”
My interest perks up. “I’ll keep that in mind. I still have a lot of work to do.”
“What will you do with it?” Silas asks. “If you buy it. Will you live here?”
“No.” His face lights up again. “Tourist attraction. We could make so much money. I basically want it to be a bed and breakfast. A haunted experience. I’m sure it would piss the ghost off so he’d probably show up and cause mayhem.”
Silas moves into a defensive stance, as if blocking someone. What the fuck is happening right now.
“Right, okay, Wallace. If you don’t mind, it’s pretty late. I assume I won’t have to ask you not to let yourself in uninvited again.”
“Nope. I know you’re here now, but hey…” He reaches into his back pocket. “If you see any strange stuff, give me a call. I’d love to document it.”
“What is your goal?” I ask, looking down at his card. “You don’t want to banish the ghost, I take it?”
“Only if he doesn’t want to cooperate. I can always fake a haunting if I have to, but I’d rather have the real thing.” Wallace leans closer. “Rumor has it he pushed a woman from the upstairs balcony and then ripped off all the new wallpaper she had put in the dining room. Be careful, huh?”
“Noted. I’ll walk you out.”
I follow Wallace down the attic stairs. “You can put out dog or cat food. The raccoon will come out for it then you can get rid of it.”
I watch him leave, hopping onto a small motorbike as I lock the back door. When I turn around, I become aware that Silas isn’t behind me. I walk up the stairs quietly, gasping at what I see. Silas is grabbing books that seem to be tossing themselves from a shelf.
“Calm down. I will talk to Law. Be reasonable.”
I clear my throat and the books drop to the floor as Silas turns to look at me.
“Care to tell me what’s going on?”
“Uh.” Silas exhales, putting the pile of books he was holding on the floor. “I, um, planned to tell you eventually, but I didn’t want to freak you out.”
“There’s a, um—” His eyes shift to his left. “I don’t know. I think there could be a spirit here.”
“A spirit? Is Wallace rubbing off on you?”
Silas chuckles nervously. “No. I have sensitive intuition. I can feel things sometimes. Things mortals can’t always see.”
Silas blanches. “The living. Um, humans. Whatever.”
“You see dead people?”
“Why are you smirking?”
“You don’t believe in this stuff, do you?”
“I absolutely do. I have seen it with my own eyes. Did you not just see the books?”
“Obviously a draft or a raccoon. Have you seen it?”
“There are no such things as ghosts.” I blink a few times to ground myself. “Whatever I just saw has a reasonable explanation.”
Silas nods. “If you say so.”
“I say so.” Dragging my fingers through my hair, I glance around the space. Except for flying books, it looks completely normal. “In fact, maybe this is just one of those weird dreams. I’m going back to bed.”
We leave the attic together, but I’m all too aware of Silas’s shifty eyes as if he’s looking at something I can’t see. Maybe I’m in denial, but there’s just no fucking way ghosts exist.
Back upstairs, I pause in front of my bedroom door. “Um, good night, Silas.”
He nods. “Night, Law.”
I climb into bed, doing my best to ignore the uneasy feeling gripping me. If ghosts are real, and this house is haunted, what the fuck am I going to do?
Chapter 7 Silas
“You cannot let him sell this house to that heathen!” Frederick glares as he paces my bedroom. “A haunted Bed and Breakfast? Over my dead body.”
I tilt my head at him.
Frederick puffs. “You know what I mean.”
“When are you going to show yourself to Law?”
“He doesn’t believe in me.” Frederick huffs again. “Why should I bother? Sounds like a waste of time and effort to me.”
“That’s his obvious defense mechanism, Frederick. There’s no way he could ignore what he saw tonight for too long.”
“Do you think he’ll do it? Sell it to that awful man?”
“I don’t know what he’ll do, but that’s a long time from now. Right now, our goal should be getting him invested in keeping this house so we can all live here.”
Frederick leans against the wall, a pout on his face. “Maybe I don’t want him to live here anymore if he doesn’t believe in me.”
“You’re being childish, Frederick.”
“I’m being childish?”
“Yes, you are.”
He finally calms down and gazes out the window. “I always hoped one of Henry’s ancestors would take an interest in the house. One finally does, and he’s a bloody ghost hunter who just wants to exploit his family.”
“I’m sorry. That is upsetting.”
“To say the least. I don’t know what to do now.” He looks at me. “Tell me what to do now, Silas.”
“I think you need to show yourself to Law. Maybe he’s more open-minded than we think. He just was startled tonight. You know how it is. You’ve thought your whole life one way and then suddenly you’re faced with evidence of something different. It can be disorienting.”
“Yes, I suppose you’re right. I think you should continue to work on him first, though. I don’t want to scare him away. Right now, he’s my only chance at keeping this house the way I love it.”
I nod. “Yes. Okay. I think you’re right. I’ll talk to him in the morning once he’s had time to absorb everything that happened tonight.”
“Good. Ghost hunter,” Frederick mumbles under his breath. “He wants to profit off of me and his ancestor’s misfortune.”
“A lot of people are like that, unfortunately. He didn’t know you and Henry.”
“Yes, well. Now you know why I’ve never much been interested in letting them have my home.”
I tilt my head as I settle back into bed. “Did you really throw a woman from the balcony?”
“Yes. She didn’t die. I made sure she landed in a soft spot, but it was enough to get her out of here.”
I chuckle. “You are a force to be reckoned with.”
“That I am. You would be too if faced with all of eternity in the same house.” His expression softens. “You are faced with all of eternity too, aren’t you?”
“Yes. Although I’m free to move around. I’m sorry that you are not.”
“I don’t really want to unless people come to take away what’s mine. You can’t let them take this from me.”
“I’ll do my best. You know this. I would like to settle here as well.”
“Good. Then you’ll convince Lawson to stay.”
“I’ll do my best, I promise.”
“All I can ask, but if Law doesn’t agree, let’s just say it won’t be very pleasant around here.”
Frederick leaves through the wall, and I settle in for sleep. How I plan to break all of this to Law is a problem for the morning.
Once I’m up, I go downstairs to see if I could find Law to talk to him about last night, but the house is empty. I find a note on the kitchen table that says he’s gone off to the Historical Society. That’s a good sign he hasn’t changed his mind about restoring the house. All I can do now is wait for him to return. I wonder how he feels about what he saw last night. I don’t know how he can pretend that he didn’t see what he saw, but human denial is very powerful when it wants to be.
Up in the attic, I busy myself cleaning up the mess caused last night by our unexpected visitor and looking around for the raccoon. I find it cowering, scared in a corner.
“Hey little guy. Get yourself trapped?”
It looks at me mildly. I was expecting a battle.
“Let’s get you downstairs and find some food. Then we’ll get you out and back on your way.”
The animal makes no attempt to move, but it backs away a little more. I wonder if it’s actually hurt as I move towards it again. It shivers and makes a whimpering noise, but otherwise makes no move.
“You must be hurt.” Carefully, I move the boxes behind and pick it up, noticing its limp foot. “Oh dear. Yes, you are hurt. Maybe that’s why you were seeking shelter. Hmm. Well, I’m no wildlife expert, but I can probably get your foot fixed up.”
The animal just looks at me as if trying to understand what I’m saying. Even in my mortal life, I always had a way with animals. I figured they could sense I meant them no harm. I take the animal downstairs and work on bandaging its foot, and sure enough, it allows it. We don’t have any animal food that I can find, so I make do with people food, giving it some bread and cold cuts.
The racoon eats quickly, obviously famished, and drinks down the bowl of water I put out. Once the animal is taken care of, I set it up with a blanket and water in the laundry room before heading back to the attic.
The least I can do is try to get some writing done in between restorations. I don’t want to do anything without Law’s approval. A few books fly off the shelf and swirl around me before returning to where they were. I turn around to see Frederick behind me, scowling.
“You’re keeping that animal?”
“For now. It seems wounded.”
“Why not just eat it?”
“Eat it? Absolutely not. I don’t eat much meat, and I certainly wouldn’t eat a wild animal seeking help.”
Frederick grins. “Is that how you think of the wild humans? What are you doing for nourishment?”
Rolling my eyes, I sit at the desk. “I have a bit of a supply for while I traveled, which I am running out of. I need to get some more soon.”
“And how do you do that?” His tone is taunting.
“I’ll have to do some hunting soon. As I said before, small towns like this are notorious for keeping their windows and doors unlocked.”
“Yes, that’s how that terrible intruder got in here, isn’t it?”
“Exactly. I’m sure I won’t have any trouble finding an unlocked door I can just creep into when the time is right. As to your comment about wild humans, I don’t eat them, and I would certainly not attack one in need of care.”
Frederick studies me for a moment. “You could just tell Lawson what you are. Maybe he would offer himself to you.”
“You’re quite the hypocrite, Frederick. How do you think he would manage me being a vampire if he can’t manage you being a ghost?”
Fredrick chuckles. “Fair point. What do you think is harder to believe? Vampire or ghost?”
“Vampire. They can wrap their heads around ghosts eventually because they understand living to death. They do not understand living to nonliving, even though they fantasize about these things all the time.”
“They do, don’t they?”
“Mortals are funny.”
“They are. How will you tell him when the time is right?”
“I haven’t given it any thought yet. There’s been so many other things going on. Usually what happens is I don’t tell them. I just live my life quietly outside of their view. I’ve had plenty of mortal roommates over the years. Even though it would be easier to live alone, I find it lonely.”
“You’ve never had a coven?”
I shake my head. “I haven’t found one that’s a good fit. Maybe someday, but for now I’m happy being independent with company I seek rather than forced upon me.”
“That makes sense. I’m so happy you’re here. It’s so nice to have someone to talk to.”
“I know your desire is for Lawson to know about us both, and you have this fantasy of what we could be, but realistically, I don’t know if it’s possible. He might just kick me out.”
“Well, that’s why you should tell him what you are before I tell him, because if he kicks you out, he goes, too.”
“You would scare him away on my behalf?”
“Of course I would. You are my friend now. I want to keep you. Both of you. You’re so charming. I’m sure you could make him fall in love with you.” His smile grows. “Then we have such an opportunity for more.”
“He hasn’t given me any sign that he is interested in romance.”
“How could he? As you say, there’s been so much drama going on.”
“Yes, good point. Maybe once we have a little time to settle down and really get to know each other.”
“I’ll follow your lead. My methods certainly haven’t gotten me very far. Maybe yours will be better.”
“Well, I’ll do the best I can. I like this situation as much as you do. I think we just have to realize he came in here a skeptic. He thought he was buying a property that he could just turn over and make some money on and have no real attachment to. We have a lot of work to do to get him to see it differently and to get him to see us differently.”
“Yes, you’re right. I’m just too impatient, aren’t I?”
“You’ve been through a lot, and I think you’re more than patient. We need to give Law a little time to get used to this.”
“I’m going to work on my book a little.”
“I will leave you to it. I’m going to go look at the grounds outside and see if that terrible human did anything to it while he was here.”
“Good idea. Oh, and don’t eat the racoon, huh?”
Frederick laughs. “Lucky for it, I no longer eat.”
I watch him flow through the wall before I sit down to work on my book again. Even as a mortal, I never really thought I would become a writer, but now, seeing the world as I do, it’s so much easier. The stories practically write themselves. The funniest thing is they’ve been called realistic and terrifying, and the only comfort is knowing that the stories are fictional, which always makes me chuckle. Nothing about my life is fictional, but it definitely provides excellent fodder for stories.
Chapter 8 Lawson
“Can I help you, sir?”
“Hi. Yes. I’m looking for some historical documents. Maybe some history of the house I live in.”
“Oh, certainly. What is your address?”
“920 Rippling Brook Lane.”
“Oh, you moved into the old Thoreau property?”
“Yes, I did.”
“We have plenty. Follow me.”
The woman leads me to the back where I’m greeted with shelves and shelves of books and news articles.
“All this is about the house that I bought?”
“Yes. Didn’t you know the vibrant history of this house? It’s really the only reason that tourists come to this town.”
“I didn’t, but I had a ghost hunter snooping around the house last night.”
She ruffles her nose. “Oh, Wallace?”
“Yes,” I answer, surprised.
“He’s been trying to get inside that house for years. Been arrested numerous times for breaking in when it was vacant.”
Nodding, I frown. “He said he thought it was vacant again last night, but it wasn’t obviously. I live there now.”
She chuckles. “Well, that must have been a fright for him.”
“It was.” I step forward, gazing at the books. “He told me there was a lot of stuff about it being haunted.”
She doesn’t react.
“I mean, those are just rumors, right?”
Now the woman frowns. “I don’t know about that. The sightings and happenings are well-documented cases. Suppose you can call it what you like, but they seem to be much more than rumors.”
“You believe in ghosts?”
“I spent the night in the house. Once as a teenager, and what I experienced that night was definitely real.”
I study the woman for a moment. She doesn’t seem like a crack job.
“I guess I’ve never believed in ghosts.”
“No? Why did you buy the most haunted property in town?”
“Because I wanted it. I’m a house flipper.” The sour look on her face makes me stop speaking mid-sentence. “Oh. Is that a dirty word?”
“Sorry. We just don’t have good experiences in this town with people like you.”
“People like me?”
“You’re not the first flipper to come through this town, and you probably won’t be the last.” She leans closer to me. “Mr?”
“You can just call me Lawson.”
“No. Lawson is my first name.”
“Oh, okay.” She smiles a little warmer now. “If the ghost doesn’t want you in the house, he’ll make sure you leave.”
“Oh yes. It’s definitely a male ghost. He’s forced out numerous owners and many flippers. Somebody should have told you, but I don’t think you’ll get your investment out of this house.”
“My realtor did tell me. I just didn’t believe it.” I look around for a moment. “Maybe I should just read through some of these documents and see what I find.”
“Certainly. If Mrs. Lawson plans—”
I raise my hand. “There is no Mrs.”
“Oh.” She smiles. “Well, that is advantageous. Apparently the ghost really doesn’t like women.”
“Well, yes. You’ll read all about him in your research, but word is he was a gay man in life.”
“And apparently every woman who moves into this house does something he doesn’t like and he scares them off?”
“Uh huh. And how do the locals feel about that?”
“About being gay.”
She waves her hand. “Oh, nobody cares about that here. It’s more just that we’re aware that he seems to have some kind of problem with women specifically. Although he’s scared away plenty of men, too.”
“Good to know.”
“Well, I’ll leave you to it. If you need any help, let me know. It’s my job, after all.”
“Of course, thank you.”
After she walks away, I sit down and open the first document I find. It’s a newspaper article published at the time the original owner died. I read all about the history, his tragic death, and numerous times the house has been sold for unexplained happenings. The more I read the stranger the stories, get from a woman being pushed off the balcony out back to power and telephone lines being cut to children’s toys and other household items going missing.
Last night’s events flood my mind once more. I’ve done my best to block out what I witnessed, but I’m starting to think that maybe denial isn’t such a good look on me. I just can’t imagine the house actually has a spirit in it. I mean there’s no such thing as ghosts, but there sure is a lot of evidence to otherwise in these documents. I keep reading.
By the time I walk out of the private room, I’m stunned. This town obviously benefits from the ghost story, receiving visitors every year around Halloween who want to get a glimpse of the infamous haunted house. Something I didn’t know when I bought it. It looks like Wallace isn’t the only ghost hunter in town, either. Just the most persistent. Many others have visited as well. So now I have potential ghost hunters, an entire community who believes the house I own is haunted, a roommate who apparently sees and speaks to things that I can’t, and a raccoon in the attic. So far, this renovation is not turning out exactly as planned.
When I return home, the house is quiet. I walk through, listening intently for any sign of what I witnessed last night. As I enter the room that someday will be my study, I get a sensation of coolness I’m not used to feeling, as if the air conditioner is on.
I turn around to leave, but the door quietly closes. An overwhelming sense of not being alone fills the room.
“Is someone here with me?” I say aloud.
Nothing happens at first, but a second later I catch movement from the side of my eye. It sends a shiver down my back. Shit, something is here.
“Listen,” I say to whatever’s listening, feeling more than a little silly. “If there’s something here, I’m not gonna hurt you or the house. Okay? I have nothing against you. I just want to fix up the house. I swear it. Now, can I leave the room?”
Nothing happens, which makes me feel even dumber that I’m talking to nothing. Obviously, there was just a draft in the room that shut the door. Man. I’m letting that stuff I read get in my head. I walk over to open the door, but pause when I feel pressure on my shoulder, as though someone is touching me. With a gasp I look over my shoulder, but again, see nothing. Okay, I’m really losing my shit, aren’t I? I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation for all of this. That’s it. And the books flying off the shelf last night. Just a draft. I nod, my eyes darting around the room. Yes, that’s what it was. A draft. There’s no such thing as haunted houses.
I turn back towards the door, ready to open it this time. Once I get my hand on the doorknob, it opens easily. My nerves relax as I chuck. I’m just being ridiculous.
“Okay, everything’s fine. I’ll just go find Silas. I’m sure there’s a plausible explanation for all of this.”
As I step out of the study into the foyer, every window and door in the house opens and slams shut at the same time, sending a chill down my spine. Holy fuck! I take off running up the stairs, but as soon as I reach the top, I feel like I’m being prevented from going any further. In a panic, I twist around, run back down the stairs, calling for Silas, but my voice sounds like it’s in a tunnel far away.
On instinct, I run for the attic, climbing the stairs so fast I almost don’t realize I did it. I find Silas leaning over his computer, reading quietly. He looks over at me as I clamor up the stairs and fall to the floor on my hands and knees, panting.
“What’s wrong?” He rushes to my side. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I think so.” Fuck, I rub my forehead. “Something, um, something’s happening to me.”
“What do you mean? Do you feel sick?”
“No, I…” Pausing, I take a deep breath to calm myself down. “I’m seeing things.”
“Like, um, you know, things like I saw last night.”
Silas frowns. “I see. What can I do to help?”
“Tell me I’m not crazy. Tell me I’m not imagining these things, or hell maybe tell me I am imagining them. Nothing makes sense to me anymore.”
“Why don’t we start with you telling me what you saw last night?”
“Didn’t you see it too? You were standing right there.”
“Maybe we didn’t see the same thing, Law. Tell me what you saw.”
I open my mouth to speak, but words evade me. Something about voicing it feels unnerving. I brush my hair off my forehead and take a deep breath.
“I think I’m just letting my thoughts get carried away.”
Silas nods, helping me to my feet.
“I was at the Historical Society. I was reading all about the history of this house and this town and, you know, people say a lot of things about it. Things like the haunted stuff and it’s like what makes them sort of interesting. Almost like a tourist attraction. A lot of ghost hunters come here looking for fame and evidence, just like Wallace last night.”
“But it doesn’t mean it’s real. It just means that’s what attracts people to this town, you know?” I rub my hands together. “Like New Orleans or Salem.”
Silas nods. “Yes, I understand.”
“So I’m sure that all that information is just getting in my head, and the raccoon last night, knocking over shelves and just going crazy in here. It kind of unnerved me.”
“I’m not crazy, right?”
“No, of course you’re not crazy.”
“Okay, cool. I think maybe I just needed to hear that.” I gaze into Silas’s eyes, noticing again how vibrant they are. His attention makes my stomach flip in a really pleasant way.
“Would you like to hear what I saw last night?” he asks softly.
As much as I want to say I do, something in his tone scares me.
“I just want to work on the house. I want to make it really pretty again. Like it used to be.”
Silas nods as an expression comes over his face that fills me with warmth like nothing I’ve ever felt before.
“Do you like it here with me?” I ask him.
“I do,” he says softly, still holding my gaze. “I hope to never leave.”
“What do you mean? You want to live here with me forever?”
“Forever sounds good.”
“Don’t you maybe want to get married someday or something?”
Silas focuses on me a little more, and a sensation rolls through me that feels a little like when you’ve had a bit too much to drink. The room sways, but pleasantly, like a really nice, safe buzz.
“What’s happening to me right now?”
“What do you mean?” Silas asks, still holding my gaze.
“I feel funny.”
“Oh, that’s good. Amazing is nice.”
“It is.” I nod, floating in an almost dreamlike state.
“Tell me what your plans are for the house, Lawson.”
His voice settles in my chest, like a warm drink on a cold day, and I find myself leaning closer to him. “The house?” My words sound distant to my own ears. “I want to… I want to restore it.”
“And then what?”
“Um… keep it.”
“You don’t want to sell it?”
“No, no, I don’t want to sell it.” The words coming out of my mouth feel foreign to me.
“You want to live in this house?” Silas asks me.
“And you would never make it a bed and breakfast, right?”
“No. What a silly idea.”
“Right. This will be your home. Our home.”
I study his face, feeling a strong desire to agree with him. I nod.
“Forever,” Silas says.
And I repeat the word. “Forever.”
“Good. Tell me what you saw last night.”
I search my memory but only fragments come up. “The raccoon. What happened to it?”
“It’s downstairs in the laundry room. It hurt its paw. I’m taking care of it. I assume that’s okay with you.”
I gaze into his eyes, slightly woozy and gripping his arms to steady myself. “You’re so handsome.”
Silas smiles. “So are you.”
“Do you…” I pause, the words dancing on my lips but unable to utter them.
“Do I what?”
Swallowing hard, I let the question out. “Do you date men?”
Silas’s smile grows. “Indeed, I do. Do you?”
“Something else we have in common, then?”
“Is there something else you want to say to me, Lawson?”
“Am I safe here?”
“Oh, so safe. I would never let anything happen to you.”
“Because you’re mine.”
“Because I’m…” My brow crinkles as I try to make sense of his words.
“I think you’ve been under a lot of stress since you moved in here. You could use a little rest. Why don’t you go upstairs and take a nap?”
“Take a nap.” I nod. “I really should work on the house. Need to tear out the carpet today.”
“Tell you what. Tomorrow we’ll wake up early, and I’ll help you tear out all the carpets you
want. What do you think of that?”
“Great. Yeah, that’s great.”
“Good. Why don’t I walk with you to the bedroom?”
“I can manage.”
“I know you can, but I want to.”
“Yeah, okay.” I lean into him, aware of the coolness of his body, but the warmth of his words.
When I hear them, they have such a strange effect on me. Calming and intoxicating. Like nothing I’ve experienced before when interacting with another person.
“That’s because you and I have things in common we didn’t realize. We’re connected.”
I twist my head. “You heard me.”
Silas chuckles. “You must be exhausted and not realizing you’re even speaking.”
Once we’re in my bedroom, I walk over to the bed, gazing around the room.
“Everything okay?” Silas asks me.
“Yes. Sometimes I just think maybe I’m seeing things.”
“That’s normal for an old house. Isn’t it?”
“Yeah, it is. Definitely.”
“You’ll feel better after a good nap.”
“You’re right. I will. Thanks for looking out for me.”
“Of course. It’s my pleasure.”
After kicking off my shoes, I peel out of my shirt, pull back the covers, and climb into bed as Silas hovers over me, watching me with a concerned face.
“Can I tell you something crazy?” I ask him.
“You can tell me anything you’d like.”
“I just don’t want you to think I’m weird.”
He chuckles softly. “Writers never think anybody is weird.”
I laugh too. “Right. Um, when I got back from the historical society, I felt like I was being watched, and maybe even like someone touched me.”
I’m expecting him to look at me like I’m crazy, but instead, his expression softens. “The house is getting to you.”
“Yes, I think it is.”
“Here, lie down.” He helps me into bed, sitting on the edge, and stroking my hair from my forehead, causing my eyes to flutter closed. “I’ll tell you something, Law.”
“Your house is haunted.”
“There’s a ghost here with us. He’s watching you all the time. Making sure you take care of his house the way he wants it. He won’t cause you any harm, and I’m here to help.”
I fight to keep my eyes open, but it’s impossible as his quiet words wash over me.
“Safe. You’re very safe. I wouldn’t let anything hurt you. You understand that?”
“Never,” I whisper. “Safe.”
“That’s right. Give in now to the sensation of overwhelming drowsiness and when you wake up, I’m still going to be here. I’m going to take care of you. Everything is going to be just fine.”
“Fine,” I repeat.
“Now, close your eyes.” Silas kisses my forehead and then my lips softly, almost a whisper of a kiss. I close my eyes then, unable to keep them open a moment longer.
The next time I open them, I blink slowly, smiling and ready to ask Silas for another kiss. But he’s gone. I’m alone. How? I swear I only closed my eyes for a moment. The sun is still shining. I realize I must have been dreaming the whole thing. I am really losing my mind.
I pull myself up out of bed, more perplexed than I was when I came into the room. When I step out, the house is silent. I walk downstairs to find it empty and then head up to the attic.
Sure enough, Silas is there clacking away on his typewriter on his computer.
He turns around and smiles. “You’re up from your nap.”
“Oh. Yeah, um, how long was I asleep?”
He looks at his watch. “Three hours.”
“Wow. I guess I was tired.” I am so damn confused right now.
“Yeah, you seemed pretty out of it when you came home from the historical society. Did you find out anything interesting?”
“Didn’t we talk when I got home?”
“No, not too much. You came up here, told me you were really tired, and then you went upstairs and take a nap. That’s where you’ve been ever since. I’ve just been here working on my novel. You feel okay?”
I study his face for a moment, blinking rapidly. “So we didn’t… we didn’t talk about anything that I found out at the Historical Society.”
“And you didn’t, um, you didn’t come upstairs with me.”
He smiles “No. Did you have a dream?”
“I think I must have. Yeah.”
“You look well rested.”
“Yeah, um, I feel great.”
“Good. Maybe you just needed to get some sleep.”
“I suppose so.”
“By the way, I didn’t get a chance to tell you, but I found the raccoon this morning, and he’s got a little wounded paw, so I put him up in the laundry room for a while. I hope that’s okay. I didn’t want to just put him back outside to fend for himself with an injury.”
“Oh, sure. It’s fine. Do you think it’s gonna be okay?”
“I think so. He looks like he’s doing okay. He’s eating plenty. I thought I could go out later and maybe get some cat food or dog food for it.”
“Cool. Just be careful and don’t let it bite you.”
“It won’t bite me. I think that must have been why it was trying to get into the house last night. Maybe a brief reprieve. A little safety.”
“That makes sense.”
“Did you find anything good at the historical society?”
“I did. I think I’m gonna take a shower and freshen up a little, and then I can tell you everything I learned.”
“Is there, um, is there anything else that I should be aware of?”
“I don’t know. Any visitors? Did Wallace or anybody come back?”
“No, no, it’s been quiet all morning. This is the perfect house for writing. You know, up here in the attic, I almost can’t hear anything at all. It’s really nice. I’m so glad I found you.”
I walk back downstairs, completely confused about what I’m feeling. The last few hours feel like some kind of fever dream. Apparently, I imagined that strange interaction with Silas and the kiss. I must be more attracted to him than I realized I was, but that also means we didn’t talk about what happened last night.
In the kitchen, I pour myself a glass of cold water. Maybe I need to accept that there’s something unusual about this house. I’m experiencing things I haven’t before. I wonder how Silas would react if I told him I think the house is haunted after all.
And if that’s true, what the hell am I gonna do about it?
Chapter 9 Silas
“Well, that seemed to work out better than you even expected,” Frederick says once Lawson has left the attic.
“I wasn’t initially planning to use any charisma on him, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought an unconscious approach might work best for him.”
“It’s brilliant. So we know now that he is indeed gay.”
“Or at least interested in men.”
Frederick nods. “Yes, yes, whatever. If I’m not mistaken, it seems that he’s very much attracted to you, based on his reaction while you had him under your spell.”
I lean back in my chair, smiling. “Yes, that seems to be the case. I can’t say that I’m disappointed in that outcome.”
“Lucky. He’s so handsome.”
“He’s lovely. Anyway, I think I can work on him subconsciously. That will help his defenses go down.”
“I agree. It’s very smart.”
“Sometimes I have good ideas.”
“So now that you know he’s interested in men and also interested in you, are you going to romance him?”
“I think I might, yes. His lips are soft like velvet. Did you see the way he leaned into me when I told him I would protect him?”
“Oh, yes, I saw it. It was beautiful.”
“He is beautiful.”
“I am mad with jealousy. You get to touch him, see him, smell him. Does he smell wonderful?”
“Amazing. Perhaps the day will come when we’ll be able to talk to you as well.”
“I hope so. You think this is the way to go?”
“His guard is up right now. If he has to face reality, he might shut down. By getting his guard down, ideally he’ll be more open to what’s obviously happening around him.”
“Tonight I think I’ll just help him relax and help him understand even though there may be some supernatural activities around him, he’s perfectly safe.” I give Frederick a hard stare. “He is perfectly safe, isn’t he?”
“Yes, of course. He already told you his true intention for the house.”
“When will you make love to him?”
I chuckle. “I don’t know when that will happen. Be patient, you little voyeur.”
Frederick grins. “That’s all I have.”
“Yes, I know. I will do my best. Trust me, I’m just as interested in it as you are.” We both laugh. “I don’t always like using my charisma on unsuspecting mortals, but with you haunting him as soon as he got home, I felt it was the only way to calm his nerves.”
Frederick has the decency to look embarrassed. “I should have talked to you first. I thought it would be a good way for him to admit what’s happening around him, but the denial is strong indeed. So what should I do? Should I continue the hauntings?”
“Yes, but don’t do anything overly scary. We don’t want him to fear you. We want him to be intrigued by you.”
“What’s the difference?”
“The difference is we want him to want to explore and understand you. Not want to pack his bags and leave the house because he’s terrified.”
“Ah. Okay. I only have experience terrifying people. Give me some tips.”
“Maybe you could do little things. Like instead of slamming doors and windows…” I give him a look and he has the nerve to smile… “You can move things around or blow the curtains a bit. Appear out of the corner of his eye but quickly dissipate. Things like that. Make him feel your presence, but don’t scare him with it. Can you do that, Frederick?”
“I think so. I’ve never done it before but I can try.”
“Act like you do with me. Just hover. Be around, interact lightly.”
“And you think that will work?”
“I think it will work because every night I’m going to use some charisma on him in his subconscious mind.”
Frederick crosses his arms. “Isn’t that kind of sneaky? Seducing him while he’s under your charm?”
“Oh no. I plan to seduce him fully awake.”
Frederick rubs his hands together. “This is going to be delightful, isn’t it?”
“I do hope so.”
A while later I hear Lawson in the kitchen so I head downstairs to see how he’s doing. He’s standing at the counter, his hair and skin still damp from his shower. He’s only wearing a pair of sweatpants that hang low on his waist, highlighting his very biteable ass. Oh, how I would love to sink my teeth into his flesh. My cock swells just from the thought of it.
Lawson jumps. “Gee. You scared me. How are you so stealth?”
I smile. “Sorry. Do you feel better?”
He nods. “I do. I was making a sandwich. Are you hungry?”
“I’m still full from breakfast.”
“Is that how you stay so fit? You don’t eat much.”
“I snack a lot. It suits me more than big meals.”
“I’d love to sit with you for a bit though. I could use a break from staring at a computer and talking to myself all morning.”
Law chuckles softly. “I welcome the company.”
I join him at the small kitchen table, watching as he chugs his glass of water, and doing my best to ignore Frederick perching himself on the counter behind Law.
“Everything since the racoon last night feels like some kind of weird dream.”
“What do you mean?”
Law picks at a piece of bread. “I know the house is old, so it’s gonna have quirks. Make weird noises and stuff.”
“But I swear I saw books flying off the shelf and you calmly picking them up. Did I see that?”
Frederick scrunches his nose while I try to figure out the best way to answer this without using charisma. “Yes, the books were falling off the shelf. Nothing too odd about that. I’ve noticed the floors up there are pretty uneven in spots. We should probably reinforce them.”
He nods, studying me before taking a bite of his sandwich. I stay silent while he chews. “Uh, huh. That’s reasonable.”
“But then I came back from the historical society, and I was positive someone touched me. All the windows and doors slammed shut at the same time. Just a breeze? Uneven floors?”
I shrug, remaining as neutral as possible. “Weird. Did you find out anything at the society?”
“There are rumors about the house being haunted. Sightings, weird happenings. The former owner, the man who built it, scares people away.”
“But he hasn’t scared me away. He hasn’t tried. At least not based on what I read. So either there’s no ghost or…”
“Or he doesn’t want me to leave.” He laughs softly. “You must think I’m nuts.”
“No. I don’t.”
“The realtor warned me, and the guy I bought it from couldn’t wait to get rid of it. I chalked it up to nonsense, but I do sometimes feel a presence here. Like someone is watching me.”
I search his eyes. “What do you feel right now?”
“Normal. Maybe because I’m with you and not alone. Maybe the rumors are getting to me.” He shakes his head. “I don’t know what to think. What do you think?”
Choosing a version of truth, I reach for his hand and gently squeeze it. “I feel a presence here too, but to me it feels friendly and welcoming. Nothing for either of us to be concerned about.”
Law nods, glancing over his shoulder. “So you can feel how cool the room is right now?”
Frederick watches us wide-eyed, gesturing to me to kiss Law in some sort of juvenile pantomime.
“In my travels,” I continue, “I’ve learned to stay open-minded, and to accept that the world isn’t always what we think it is. Things exists that perhaps we only thought of in books and movies.”
“Like the supernatural books you write?”
He nods, chewing his bite of sandwich slowly. “You believe in it then? Ghosts and other things?”
“I do. I’ve experienced things that science can’t explain.”
“But… you believe we’re safe here?”
Frederick slides off the counter, gently placing his hands over Law’s shoulders and kissing his temple. Law visibly shivers, eyes wide and focused on me.
“I feel it again. Someone touching me.”
“Does it feel bad or dangerous?”
“No. It almost feels like it’s trying to comfort me.”
Frederick moves away, disappearing through a wall.
“How do you feel now?”
“It’s gone. You felt it too?”
Law sits back in his chair. “When I got back, I thought… I mean… I felt…” He shakes his head. “Can I ask you a personal question?”
“Are you romantically interested in men?”
“I am. Is that a problem?”
“No.” He huffs a laugh. “I’m gay.”
“Ah. How fortunate to have something so important in common.”
“Why did you want to know?”
“I just thought we should know that about each other. Since we live together and all. Not that I plan to bring home a lot of guys or anything. I mean, you can, if you want. It’s your home too.”
“I don’t plan to do that. I already have my eye on someone.”
The disappointment on his face delights me, but before I can continue, he scoots his chair back abruptly and walks off, leaving his empty plate on the table. I’m out of my seat and blocking him before he can even blink.
He gazes up at me with a pinched brow. “How did you get here so fast?”
“I hurried. You didn’t let me finish, Lawson.”
His shoulders drop. “Okay. Go on.”
“I’m interested in you.”
He stares at me with no reaction.
“I wasn’t going to say anything this early on so I didn’t make you feel uncomfortable, but since we were on the topic, I just wanted you to know, I’d really like to get to know you better. On a different level than merely roommates.”
“If you’re not interested, no harm. I will be absolutely platonic and professional.”
“That’s so cool.” He offers a hesitant smile. “You like me?”
“Very much. We don’t know each other well, but there’s a connection. I can sense it. Do you share my interest?”
He nods. “Yeah. Definitely.”
Frederick appears right through the stairwell, hovering on the banister with interest.
“Well then, would you like to have dinner tonight? We could go out and see what this town has to offer us.”
Frederick narrows his eyes and pouts at me, but I ignore it. I need a proper chance to enchant Law without a naughty ghost lingering nearby.
“I’d love that.”
“Good. Shall we go check on the raccoon now?”
Frederick walks behind us, pushing my shoulder like a child throwing a tantrum. Inside the laundry room, the raccoon is curled up on a blanket by its water bowl. It looks up casually at me and Law, but then startles as its eyes shoot past us.
Law looks over his shoulder, then runs his hands over his arm. “It’s cool again. Do you think the animal can see it?”
“The ghost or whatever?”
“Oh. Um, perhaps.”
I kneel to soothe the animal, checking its bandages. It allows me but flinches when I touch its paw. “Still wounded.”
“Do you think we should call an animal rescue?”
“Hmm.” The animal gazes up at me, almost as if it’s requesting to stay. “Maybe in another few days if it’s not improving. You don’t mind, do you?”
“Not at all. I just don’t want it to suffer.”
“I think he seems happy. Assuming it’s a boy.”
Law kneels too, tentatively reaching out to pet the animal. It seems to like him, butting his head against Law’s shin. Law smiles. “He’s sweet.”
“Small too. Maybe it’s still a young one.”
“Yeah, maybe.” He pets it again. “You can stay as long as you need to, little guy.”
As the racoon curls up again, tucking his nose into his folded arms, I’d swear he understood Law’s words.
Law smiles, turning toward me and slightly wobbling on bent knees. He grabs my thigh to balance himself, his eyes meeting mine.
“It’s not cold anymore,” he says.
“We could always stay in tonight.”
I start to agree until I remember the naughty ghost. “I’d rather go out. We could both use a change of scenery, don’t you think?”
We stand and leave the laundry room, walking slowly to Lawson’s study.
“How is the book coming along?” Law asks as we sit in the two chairs by the window.
“Slowly.” I chuckle. “There’s some pressure on me for this one. The bad guy is supposed to die, at least that was my plan, but I’ve gone and made his backstory too compelling. Fans want a redemption arc.”
“Ooh, interesting. What did he do that was so bad?”
“Well, he’s a vampire. His moral compass is broken, as is the case with vampires. Some manage to cling to their humanity, finding unintrusive ways to feed and survive, but others fall quickly into darkness.”
“Fascinating. You speak about them as though they’re real.”
“So, what did he do? Bite someone?”
“He killed the hero’s father. Because of that, the hero is a vampire hunter.”
“Yes, there is a powerful attraction between them, but obviously they have some baggage to work through.”
Law chuckles. “Just a little.”
“So that leaves me trying to figure out how to bring them together in a way that makes sense.”
“I don’t envy you, but it sounds fascinating. I would read it.”
“You could read the first book in the series if you’d like to. I have extra copies.”
“I’d love to. I’ve never known an author.”
“Well, it’s very glamorous, trust me. Spending hours in a dusty attic speaking to fictional characters and hoping somehow they speak back.”
Law smiles. “It must work.”
“Is it what you’ve always done?”
“Um, no. I’ve had a variety of odd jobs. Nothing special.” I can hardly tell him the many careers I’ve had in my lifetime. “This suits me best. I can travel and be creative.” And change my pen name when it’s time for me to reinvent again.
“Yeah. I kind of envy you. I’m not creative at all. Flipping houses is fun, but I won’t always be able to, you know? Someday I’ll be too old. Gotta save my money now so I have something to fall back on.”
“I have a hard time staying put. I could never work in an office at a desk all day. Tried it.” He chuckles. “I do like Massachusetts though and there are plenty of homes here to flip.”
“You want to sell this house when you’re done?”
Law opens his mouth, but pauses, a confused look on his face. “Um, I did, but I don’t want to now.”
“You look confused.”
“I am. I’m not sure when I changed my mind, but I did. I think I could grow to love the house. Maybe I like the company too.”
“Of course, you’ll probably leave someday.”
“I hope not.”
Law’s cheeks blush slightly. “Yeah. That would be cool.”
He exhales slowly. “Speaking of the house, I wasted this whole day. I need to get the carpets upstairs ripped out.”
“I’ll help tomorrow.”
“Are you sure?”
“Absolutely. I can always use the break from writing.”
“That would be great.”
I look at my watch. “What time would you like to go for dinner?”
“What if we go early and then walk around town before it gets dark?”
“Great.” Law offers me a shy smile that lights me up inside. “I’m gonna shower. I’ll see you back here in a couple of hours.”
“Sounds good, Law.”
As he walks up the stairs, I twist around to find Frederick blocking me.
“Rude. Taking him away from me.”
“Calm down, Frederick. It’s just dinner. We’ll be back. I want to get him to relax.”
“You want to seduce him where I cannot watch.”
“Do you really think I’ll make love to him in a public restaurant?”
He twists his lips. “I suppose not.”
“No.” I walk through him to the back of the house. “He is obviously aware of your presence. I think getting out is good for him. He’ll be able to process things. I know what I’m doing.”
“Fine. I will continue to trust you.” He narrows his eyes. “Please do not take him from me.”
“How would I? We live here and we both intend to.”
Frederick pouts but nods. “Fair enough.”
The ghost dissipates as I return to the attic. If I’m a lucky man, tonight I’ll taste Law’s kiss without a horny ghost hovering over me.
Chapter 10 Lawson
A few hours later, I enter the restaurant we chose with Silas by my side. Other than errands for the house, I haven’t explored my new city yet. Leaving the house was a good idea.
Silas smiles at me as we wait for the hostess to take us to a table. Being in his presence is oddly comforting, as if we’ve known each other for years rather than days. Finding out he’s interested in me is a pleasant surprise. Now I don’t have to hide how hot I think he is. But we still need to tread lightly. Getting romantically involved as roommates has the potential to blow up on us and ruin our living situation. I’d hate that.
We’re led to a table. Silas moves quickly to pull my chair out, making the hostess smile.
“Ah, chivalry isn’t dead,” she says, handing me the menu.
“It never will be with me,” Silas answers.
“Lucky,” she says to me, winking as she leaves.
“Thanks, Silas.” I smile at him feeling like it’s my first date ever.
“My pleasure. I’m thrilled to have time to get to know you more.”
I chuckle, glancing at the menu. “Unfortunately, there’s not that much to know. I’m not a fascinating guy.”
“I doubt that.”
I make a quick food decision and put my menu down. “I’m more interested in you. You said you’ve traveled a lot.”
“I have. I think I’ve seen most countries in the world. All the large cities. I have spent a huge chunk of my existence battling my wanderlust.”
“That’s why you’re a writer? Easy to travel?”
“I’m a writer because I have stories inside me that need to be told. I tried conventional employment, but it was never a fit for too long. Banking was nice. I did well with that for fifty years or so.” He stops himself as a strange expression spreads across his face. Then he chuckles. “Fifty years. I meant five.”
“Ah, that makes sense. You’re obviously too young to have had a job for fifty years.”
“So you enjoyed banking?”
“Money interests me. The way it works, the power it gives, the freedom to be had when used wisely. I save almost all of my money except for minimal living expenses. I prefer freedom over material possessions.”
“Yeah, I get that.” I sip my water. “I was broke for a long time after starting this business. I had to put all my money into it until I could start making a profit. It’s going well now though.”
“And you prefer roommates for the company?”
“That and it cuts down on my overhead. This house was a risky choice. Normally I go for highly marketable neighborhoods and amenities, but I wanted to challenge myself and restore a historic home. It’s a gamble, especially one with a colorful history.” I smile. “But someone will want it. There’s a buyer for every house.”
Silas nods, focusing his eyes on me without speaking. My body warms from his attention.
“Although, the longer I’m there, the less I want to sell it,” I continue. “Maybe it’s a place I could settle. There are a lot of homes in this city that could use an update. I could have a home base for once.”
“That sounds nice. I’ve personally tired of constantly uprooting my life. I’ve been searching for a place to settle for some time now. My agent suggested a creepy New England town to complement my storytelling brand.”
We order and sip wine, chatting about the house and the town, but the longer Silas talks the more interested in him I become. He’s fascinating. He’s lived so much life in a short time. I feel like I could sit and listen to him talk forever.
After dinner, we walk through the town center. I notice the many glances in our direction.
“Have you noticed how many people are looking at us?” I ask.
“Yes. Do you suppose they know you bought the haunted house?”
“Oh. That makes sense. I was worried it was because we’re both men.”
Silas shakes his head. “I don’t think so. I’m familiar with the look of homophobia. This is more curiosity.”
“Ah. They just want to check out the freak who bought the creepy house.”
Silas laughs. “And the freak who moved in with him.”
After our tour of the town, we return to our house. I’m not sure how a date ends when you live together. In the foyer, we gaze at each other, awkwardly. Then Silas takes the lead, stepping forward and sliding his hand to the back of my neck.
“Is this okay?”
I nod, lifting my chin up. “Yes.”
Then he lowers his head, pressing his lips to mine in a sweet kiss that quickly turns heated as I press against him. His hold on me tightens as he walks us backward until my feet hit the stairs. At that point, I practically wrap around him like a monkey as he lowers me down.
I explore his warm mouth, inhaling the sensual scent he gives off. He moans, sending vibrations through me, and like the sex starved man I am, I lift my leg and wrap it around his back, my breath catching as his hardness meets mine.
We make out on the stairs for several minutes. I’m desperate for more, but I know we need to slow things way down. Decisions shouldn’t be made under the influence of lust. I pull away slightly to catch my breath, gazing up at the handsome man with hooded eyes.
“Wow,” I whisper.
“My gods, you are beautiful when you have been kissed properly.”
Gods? I blink, trying to ground myself after that. “I’ve never been kissed like that.”
Silas smiles, standing up and offering his hand to help me off the stairs. My eyes roam across his body, noticing the prominent bulge in his slacks. “I would be a lucky man to be able to kiss you again.”
“I think that could be arranged. As much as I’d like to do more, I think we should…”
“Take it slow. I agree. Besides, I rather enjoy the sweet torture of anticipation.”
Now he sounds like a writer, all poetic and shit. “You’re something else, Silas. Truly unique.”
He smiles with a simple head bow. “As long as you like me.”
“I definitely like you.”
Segments 8 and 9
I watch Law walk up the stairs, turning back twice to smile at me before he disappears from my view. I told him I would get a drink of water to put some space between us. I’ve craved his kiss for so long, but damn, the reality was much better than I imagined.
While in the kitchen, I sip my water, then decide to check on the racoon in the laundry room. When I enter, the animal looks up at me, wiggling its little body as if to express happiness to see me. I sit on the floor and reach out carefully to scratch its head. It’s usually unwise to pet a wild animal, but being immune to disease and injury lessens the risk.
The animal startles and scoots back. I look up to see Frederick. “Hello.”
“You lucky rake. You tasted his kiss.”
“I did,” I answer with what I’m sure is a smug smile. “He is everything you can imagine and more.”
“Why are you not making love to him?”
“Patience. Besides, I enjoy the courtship phase.”
Frederick twists his lips in disagreement as he hovers above me. “Well I don’t.”
Rising to my feet, I chuckle. “Well, you’re not in charge. I’m sure your voyeuristic tendencies will be rewarded in due time.”
“Not soon enough,” the ghost grumbles. “First you take him to dinner outside the house then you leave us both unfulfilled.”
“As much as I’d love to slip into his bedroom and ravish him from head to toe, I am not, in fact, a rake. I can be a gentleman, and that is exactly what Law deserves.”
“How do you know?”
“Because I know. I can sense his heart.” I check the water bowl for the racoon and slip out of the room, Frederick following closely behind. “And I’ll remind you, that our goal here is long term. There is no rush.”
I return to the kitchen with Frederick still on my heels. “Curious. Are you able to orgasm in your state?”
A naughty grin pulls at the ghost’s lips. “Somewhat. It’s not like it was, of course, but I can feel the general sensation. I can feel a man throb in my hand. I just lack some of the details.”
“Now a question for you?”
“What are you doing for nourishment? Shouldn’t you need some by now?”
As if on cue, my stomach growls. “Yes. I may have to slip out tonight.” The idea leaves me cold. “Fuck.”
“I don’t want to. I want Law. I have another bag I believe. Otherwise, I can slip inside a hospital and grab a bag.”
Frederick rubs his hands together. “Ha. Your patience will fail. It is not only his body you need.”
“You may be right.”
I walk up the stairs to my bedroom, glancing at Law’s and wondering what he’s doing inside. Is he stroking himself with pleasure, thoughts of me dancing in his mind? Or is he sound asleep, vulnerable and exposed to me? I like him too much to take advantage of him at this point, but my fangs practically tingle with desire to taste him.
In my room, I open my small ice chest. Sure enough, there’s only one bag left. I remove it, warming it in my hands for a few minutes. I despise drinking bagged blood, but it gets me by when hunting is either not possible or not desired, as is the case now.
Frederick appears, perched on the dresser in the room. He crosses his leg over the other, straightening the delicate cuff of his sleeve.
“You could just go into his room. You could have warm blood, fresh from the source.”
“Stop it, Frederick. I will not use compulsion. It’s bad enough I’ve already used it to calm his fears. I will not take advantage.”
“Hmm. I’m impressed. You do really like him, don’t you?”
“Yes.” I pull the tab on the bag, gazing at it with disdain, before lifting it to my mouth and drinking it down. Although it’s not my favorite, it definitely soothes my bloodlust as it flows down my throat. It’s enough to get me through the next few days. I have time to figure out my next source.
“What do you like so much about the mortal?” Frederick asks, appearing at the foot of my bed.
I consider his question while I remove my clothes. “He’s refreshing. Honest, a little vulnerable. He’s also confident and sweet. He looks at me like…”
“Like he wants me too.”
“Who wouldn’t want you, Silas? You are devastatingly handsome. You’re charming, cultured. He’d be a fool not to desire you.”
“Thank you.” Once I’m naked, I slide between the sheets, much to Frederick’s chagrin.
He lies next to me, gazing up at the ceiling. “He is growing on me. Obviously, he’s attractive, but I like his energy.”
“Dinner was nice?”
I turn my head to face the ghost. “Yes. Our conversation flowed. It’s not awkward at all to be with him. There have been so many men in my life. So many meaningless faces and interactions. Nothing memorable, but something about Lawson.” I shake my head. “I know I could never forget him.”
“Especially if you keep him.”
The idea floats through my mind. Me and Law, building an actual life together in this home. Sleeping in the same bed, making love and creating memories. I can see his eyes in my mind as he offers his neck to me, feel his body slump against mine waiting for the moment his eternal soul replaces his mortal one, smiling as his eyes open and focus on me, his maker.
“You are thinking of him?” Frederick asks.
Lying in bed, I close my eyes and replay the kiss. I’ve been lying here at least an hour, unable to shake the tingling sensation running through me and get some sleep. I keep trying to force my mental checklist back to the gargantuan tasks I still need to tackle, but… I lift my fingers to touch my lips. It’s as if I can still feel his kiss. Still taste him. Still feel his hardness pressed against mine.
Knowing he’s just a few steps down the hall is both comforting and nerve wracking. I rub my aching cock through my boxers. I could get up and go to him, slip into his bedroom, and ask him to follow through.
Flipping to my other side, I close my eyes. Again. Hoping for sleep. Again. Taking it slow is the right thing to do. I know this. Just wish my dick would get the message.
After another twenty minutes of tossing and turning, it’s clear that I’m not falling asleep without some assistance. I open my nightstand and grab the bottle of lube and my favorite dildo inside. It costs a car payment but it was worth it to have it the way I wanted it. It’s got a base on it so I can ride it, and it’s beautifully thick, just like Silas felt against me earlier.
I slick my fingers with lube then begin the process of opening myself up, my mind imagining it’s Silas the whole time. I can hear his rich voice in my mind, praising me as his fingers stretch my hole. Heat creeps up my spine and my skin flushes with desire. My cock bounces, leaking precum from the swollen head.
I slide myself down on the dildo, exhaling slowly as visions of Silas hooking his strong hand around my neck play in my mind. Leaning forward slightly, I grab the headboard to balance myself, then move slowly up and down, the thick dildo creating a pleasant burn.
Fantasies of my sexy roommate flood my senses. The way he smells, earthy and sensual, his deep, rich voice, the way his eyes seem to see deep inside me. Before long, I’m fucking myself hard and fast, breathing heavily and thankful for thick walls so he can’t hear me. My orgasm builds slowly, but then takes off, rushing through me like a surge of heat.
“Fuck,” I grunt, shifting slightly to hit my gland. “Oh yeah. Ah fuck. Silas.” His name is just a whisper, bringing with it a mix of shame and desire. I shouldn’t be so brazenly using him as fuel, but I can’t help it.
My final vision is of Silas walking in on me right now, watching me fuck myself, but deciding to join in. He pushes me back on the bed, removing the dildo and stuffing himself inside me with one stroke. I arch my back, feeling the pleasant burn as Silas grips my ankles and pounds my hole.
Reaching for my cock, I stroke it, my hand sticky with precum and sweat, but oh fuck, this feels good.
“Come for me, Law,” fantasy Silas whispers.
And that’s all it takes. My orgasm barrels through me, shooting from my cock in long thick spurts that splash across my thighs and stomach.
Eventually, my movements slow and I roll to my side, letting the dildo slide from my body. I’m dripping in sweat, but finally sated and sleepy. I don’t even bother to clean up as I pull the sheet up, and finally, let myself drift. As my eyes flutter closed, a dark shadow by the window catches my eye. A shot of adrenaline shivers through me, but I’m too fucked out to care at this point. I wave in the direction of whatever that is and give in to exhaustion. If it’s a ghost, I hope it enjoyed the show.
In the morning, I wake up feeling hungover from my self-induced fuck fest. Stretching my arms up, I slide from the bed and shuffle to the bathroom to take care of my morning needs and shower the dry cum off of me. My hole throbs, bringing a smile to my face. Seeing Silas might embarrass me for a few minutes. Worth it.
After I’m clean and dressed, I return to my bedroom and sit at the small table by the window,
open my laptop, and wait for it to boot up. I need to see what’s on my agenda for today. I still need to rip these carpets upstairs out and start the tedious process of stripping the wallpaper. I hope Silas’s offer to help still stands. It’ll make the chore go by a lot faster.
I look over my list, now a few days behind where I wanted to be. Sitting back in my chair, I gaze outside. It’s an overcast day, making me want to do the opposite of working hard all day. I’d rather climb back into bed, preferably with my sexy roommate.
Speaking of Silas, curiosity bubbles up and I end up searching his name on my browser. Right away, all his bestselling horror novels pop up. I spend a few minutes reading through glowing reviews, but then an article catches my eyes.
Fan Theory: Silas Noctum Is More than One Man
I click it and read through it. The article compares Silas to many other popular horror novelists, but what’s really interesting is that the authors referenced span several hundred years. The author of the article continues to speculate that Silas is the pseudonym of a conglomerate of people who continue writing decade over decade.
I scoff. That’s a ridiculous theory. First off, I know Silas, but secondly, even if that were somehow true, how could each person maintain the same writing style? The commenters on the article seem to agree with me, until one comment jumps out.
Maybe he’s a vampire.
People jump onto that comment, agreeing that he knows too much about them, and that his vampire lore stands out from the others in the genre.
I leave the article and move on to another one, another conspiracy theory, that goes so far as to compare Silas’s current work with those from past writers. I have to agree the evidence is compelling, but it would be more likely that Silas copied those writers than him actually being the same writer or part of some weird lineage.
Next, I find a video interview of Silas. I click it, watching him shift uncomfortably in his seat. The man across from him looks like he’s meeting Santa Claus. The excitement on his face is obvious. They chat through several of Silas’s books, and then the interviewer asks the question.
“Do you want to address any of the silly conspiracy theories about who you are and what you write?”
Silas chuckles, dragging a hand through his silky waves. “As you said, it’s very silly to believe I’m part of some sort of writing illuminati.”
They both laugh.
“As for the vampire rumors…” Silas gazes directly at the camera. “I say people can believe whatever they like.”
The interviewer’s laugh fades as he studies his guest. “Keeping the intrigue alive. I like it.”
After I click off of that, I sit back in my chair. It makes sense given his profession he wouldn’t mind the vampire rumors. I write down some of the author names he was compared to and shove the note in my pocket. Next time I’m at the library, I’ll have to check out a few.
I finally make my way downstairs for coffee to find a fresh pot brewing. Silas is in the backyard holding the racoon in his arms. Guess he’s not afraid of rabies. After filling a mug, I stand at the door and watch him walk the racoon around, looking in trees and bushes. Is he looking for its family? Dang. Could the man be any sweeter?
He turns and meets my eyes, smiling shyly as he returns with the animal who seems quite docile in Silas’s arms.
“Hi. Whatcha up to?”
“I wanted to see if this little guy had any interest in venturing outside or if his family might be around. Nothing.”
“Yeah, he doesn’t look like he’s interested in leaving.”
Silas rubs the animal’s head. “Could we keep him?”
“He’s a baby. We could take him to the vet and make sure he’s healthy.”
“It’s a little unconventional but I don’t mind. He’s cute.”
Silas’s face lights up. “Thank you. I’ll take full responsibility for him.”
“That’s okay. I can help out. Does he have a name?”
“Hmm, no. I suppose he needs one. What is a good name for a racoon?”
Silas tilts his head.
“Because he looks like he has a little mask on.”
Silas chuckles. “Bandit it is. I’ll put him up for a bit.”
Silas disappears in the laundry room. When he returns I’ve settled at the dining table. He sits across from me, a big smile on his handsome face.
“Did you sleep well?”
“I did.” Eventually. “You?”
“Very.” He reaches across the table and lightly brushes his fingers over my hand. “I really enjoyed last night.”
“In fact…” He leans across the table toward me. “I haven’t stopped thinking about it.”
My stomach flutters. “Me neither.”
His smile morphs to a sexy smirk. “Would it be too forward if I kissed you now?”
Shaking my head, I find myself leaning in practically before he finishes his sentence. Silas presses a sweet kiss to my lips, moves back slightly, then brushes his lips on mine again. Our eyes meet, and something in his warms me like standing in the sun. He reaches for me, his hand moving behind my neck, and pulls me in again, his tongue requesting entry as he slides it across the seam of my mouth.
I let him in, happily sinking into the heat of his mouth. We kiss like this, straining across the table, until he breaks it, pressing his forehead to mine.
“Your taste is addictive.”
I exhale slowly. “Your kiss is deadly.”
He smiles, pulling back slowly. “Yet, it will never harm you.”
“I know.” Clearing my throat, I shift in my seat, aware of my semi-hard on. “What are you doing today?”
“Whatever you need. I promised my assistance.”
Relief washes over me. “Great. I need to get the carpets out upstairs and start on the wallpaper.”
“I am at your service.”
Watching Law doing manual labor, sweat drenching his body, his chest heaving with exertion ignites the bloodlust I’ve worked so hard to tame. His scent wafts around me, pulling me to him like a moth to a flame.
More than once, our eyes meet, unspoken heat simmering between us. Perhaps he would allow me to wash him later. I would start at his toes and kiss and lick my way up to his delectable mouth. My cock swells at the memory of holding him close to me. The desire to taste him is driving me mad. Perhaps I should go out tonight and find a warm body to feed from. A cold bag of blood will do nothing to quell my need.
Hours later, we sit together on the floor, our backs against the wall, sipping cool water. The work was nothing for me, but I do my best to look as worn out as the pretty mortal does. Frederick made himself scarce, hiding in the attic to avoid directing Law while he worked.
It bothers me that I am keeping secrets from him, but I’m not sure he’s ready for the truth. I’d hate to lose what we have.
“I was gonna go out and get some more adhesive remover and maybe a stop at the library. Do you want to join me? We could grab lunch somewhere.”
“That sounds nice.”
“Meet in the foyer in twenty minutes?”
I stand first, offering my hand and pulling him up until his chest is pressed against mine. His hands settle on my shoulders as an adorable flush creeps up his cheeks.
“Your scent is delightful to me.”
Law studies my face. “Really?”
“Yes. I love the smell of…you. Uncovered by washes and colognes. Just the very essence of you.”
A smile graces his face. “You say some cool shit sometimes. Must be the writer in you.”
“Perhaps, but I assure you I am genuine in my admiration.”
“I believe you.”
“Law…” His breath hitches upon hearing his name. “Perhaps it’s too forward, too soon, but if you allow me to, I would love to wash your body later.”
His eyelids flutter. “You want to bathe me?”
“I do. Desperately. You would owe me nothing in return. I expect my pleasure to end there.”
He swallows, and his pulse picks up. I can hear the blood rushing in his veins, calling out to me.
“You can answer me later. I will accept no, of course, if you don’t feel ready.”
Law nods, pulling back gently. “Just gonna throw on a clean shirt.”
“I will do the same.”
I watch him as he walks to his bedroom before slipping inside my own. I grab a fresh shirt and head to the bathroom to splash some cool water over my face and through my hair. Frederick appears behind me.
“What is he doing with the floors?”
“Restoring the hardwood where he can.”
Frederick smiles. “No tacky carpet?”
“And he’s getting rid of that terrible wallpaper. Will he replace it?”
“Only with paint, he says.”
The ghost looks relieved. “Perhaps I can truly trust him.”
“I believe you can.”
“Where are you going?”
“Out for errands and lunch.”
Frederick follows me back to the bedroom, perching on the edge of the bed. “You will be proud of me.”
“I followed Law to his bedroom last night where he started to touch himself.”
My gaze narrows. “And?”
“And I left. I didn’t stay.”
I tilt my head. “Truly?”
“Well, I stayed briefly. I wanted desperately to watch, but it didn’t feel right. He is your lover, not mine.”
My demeanor softens. “That is kind of you, Frederick.”
“Are you proud?”
“Indeed I am.”
“I want him to know of me, Silas. Perhaps he would not mind my presence. He might even allow me to…well, you would both have to allow me to observe.”
I nod. “We are close. I don’t want to go much further without disclosing what I am.”
Frederick’s face lights up. “I believe he will accept it. He is…special. Different from the others. Don’t you think?”
“Yes. I do. But we must continue to be patient.”
I glance over my shoulder to make sure I’m still alone. “I think I need to hunt tonight.”
“I thought I could get by with the blood bags, but as much as it pains me, they aren’t enough to calm the bloodlust. Not with Law around.”
“Then you should. It’s not sexual. Right?”
“No. Of course not. It’s only sexual when I want it to be. Otherwise, it’s merely a transaction.”
“Then you are not hurting Law. Choose an unattractive person. Or a woman. You’re not attracted to women, right?”
“No. Good idea. I’ll go out after Law goes to sleep. The worst thing that could happen is for me to reveal myself by biting into his flesh.” A shiver of desire runs through me. “I could lose myself in him if I’m not careful.”
“Then it is wise to feed.”
“Very well.” The idea of feeding from another sours my stomach, but I must do it to keep Law safe. I’ve seen what can happen when one loses control of his blood lust. That’s how mortals die.
Being a vampire is not always pleasant, and tonight will be a reminder of that, but if it keeps Law safe from the beast within me, that’s what I’ll do.
By the time we return from lunch, exhaustion tugs at me, so I excuse myself to take a nap. If I’m being honest with myself, I think I needed a break from my sexy roommate. His offer to bathe me is on a loop in my head, and I’m close to tearing my clothes off and throwing myself at him.
That’s just not a smart idea. We’re still getting to know each other, and wisely taking the progression of our relationship slowly. As I flop down on my bed, I wonder though. Am I just holding myself back from something amazing? Am I letting fear of previous failed relationships taint my perception of Silas?
I rub my forehead, letting my eyes pull closed as I give in to some much needed sleep.
The bed dips, stirring me from my nap. I roll over, slowly blinking my eyes to focus. There’s a man sitting there, gazing at me with a smile on his face. My brain tries to place his face, but comes up blank. Who’s in my bedroom? I shoot up as clarity hits me, finding myself alone. A shiver runs through me as cold air swirls around me then dissipates.
I rise slowly, glancing around. I know I saw him. Unless…maybe I was dreaming it. No. I shake my head. Silas thinks there’s a spirit here too.
After splashing water on my face in the bathroom, I leave my bedroom and wander downstairs to a quiet house, stopping when I reach the living room. The remaining walls are painted, the trim stained, and the tarp removed from the floors. It looks so good.
I head to the attic to thank Silas, but it’s empty. Back downstairs, I check the yard, but he’s not there. The laundry room either. He must have gone out. Bandit pokes his head from the comfy box Silas fashioned for him, wiggling his nose as he sniffs in my direction.
“You hungry, little guy?” I chuckle. There’s probably not a time when a racoon isn’t hungry.
I head back to the kitchen and open the fridge to grab him some veggies and berries. When I turn around, he’s right behind me, perched on a kitchen chair.
“Hey there, Bandit.” I put the plate in front of him, watching with amusement as he uses his cute little hands to pick up each piece and sniff it before putting it in his mouth. Then I remember some of the cute videos I’ve seen, and pour him a bowl of water. Sure enough, he starts to wash each item before munching on it. Gotta admit, he’s pretty cute.
I return upstairs to ponder my task list and what’s next to tackle. The sky outside is starting to darken when Bandit waddles up and hops on the bed right beside me. He gathers the covers around him like a little den before curling up and settling in. Um, okay. Make yourself at home, I guess.
After a few minutes, my curiosity pulls at me, and I dig in my pocket for the list of books I looked at earlier. Instead of the library, I go to the online bookstore, searching for the titles and downloading available samples. I spend another hour reading through the samples, noting the similarities in writing style, author voice, and even some specific word choices. I can see where the rumors are coming from.
One of the books is really good so I download the whole book. This one is written by Silas, not by the past authors rumored to be the same person. Obviously, that’s ridiculous and impossible, but it’s still interesting.
Lying next to our new pet, I dig in, nearly devouring the book, but one line towards the end chapter catches me. One of the main characters is gazing at the object of his desire and says, “sometimes the answers you seek are staring you in the face. All you have to do is open your eyes.” He then sinks his teeth into the other man’s neck, drinking his blood.
The scene makes my skin tingle. How descriptive it is, how the other MC is so seduced by his vampire lover. A morbid curiosity takes over me, wondering what it would be like to have my blood drank by a vampire. Silas’s writing makes it seem like an appealing idea.
I hear the front door open and close and hop up to greet Silas. When I’m halfway down the stairs, he gazes up at me, but his expression is stormy, his eyes wild. He looks paler than usual.
“Hello,” he says, with no hint of affection.
“Are you okay?”
“Why would I not be?”
I shake my head, at a loss. “You just seem a little off.”
“I’m…I’m fine.” He forces a strained smile to his face. “Just need a few minutes.”
“Yeah, of course.”
He marches toward the attic before I barely finish speaking. Hmm, okay. It’s the first time I’ve seen him rattled. I wish he felt comfortable enough to tell me what it is, but I guess we aren’t there just yet.
I head back to my bedroom, sitting on the bed next to Bandit and scratching behind his ears. Glancing at my tablet, I pick it up and read the last few chapters. The vampire of the story sits in a dark room, gazing at the roaring fire in the fireplace, thinking deep thoughts. He wonders how he can tell his mortal lover that he is actually a vampire, and if doing so will cost him the love he has sought for so long. He would rather die than spend eternity without his lover.
My thoughts drift back to the author himself, tucked away in my attic just feet from me, obviously harboring something he’s nervous or unwilling to tell me. Other details from the novel flood my mind. The nomadic vampire disguised as a regular man, the lack of family or other ties, the need to feed from unsuspecting humans, always worried someone will find out your secret.
Silas has no family, travels the world, and definitely has a mysterious vibe to him. A laugh bubbles up from deep within me. Okay, I need to stop. My roommate is not a vampire, for fuck’s sake.
Now I understand why his writing is so popular. He makes it feel possible that vampires walk amongst us, hidden in plain sight. His story is so realistic, it had me questioning my own reality for a second. I need to get a grip. Vampires don’t exist.
Everybody knows that.
Lying on the floor of the attic with my eyes closed, I feel Frederick’s presence.
“Go away, ghost,” I growl.
“It’s my home. I’ll go where I want. What’s the matter with you, vampire?”
With a heavy sigh, I open my eyes, glaring at my supernatural friend. “I’m starving.”
“Didn’t you go out to feed?”
“Yes.” I sit up, scratching my head as my fangs throb to be released. “I couldn’t do it. I had a human woman in my arms as she slept, but I couldn’t do it. I left her and ran to the hospital. I snuck through the halls, arriving at the blood storage unit. I grabbed a bag and choked it down, but it did nothing. In fact, rather than quell my hunger, it seems to have intensified it.”
“Oh no. What will you do?”
“Will you die without blood?”
“No. I’ll only wish I could. It is painful to go too long without it. I just don’t understand why the bagged blood didn’t help.”
“I have a theory.”
“What if you’ve somehow developed an immunity to anyone but Lawson?”
I scoff. “Ridiculous. I haven’t even tasted him yet.”
“No, but your desire is strong. You want to.”
A growl escapes my lips as my stomach roils with hunger. “Dammit. I cannot. He doesn’t know what I am.”
“So tell him, vampire. Tell him.”
“What if…he doesn’t want me anymore?”
“What if he does?” Frederick hops off my desk and walks to the window, gazing out. “What a time to be alive, Silas. You can love a man and he can return your love. You can marry and have all the things I never could. You have lived long enough to see our emancipation from the bigotry of the past. Embrace it. Delight in it. Do it for all those who never could.”
His words hit me square in the chest. He’s right. It’s cowardly of me not to reveal myself to Lawson, but I either need to face it or leave. Otherwise, I will become dangerous to someone I hold dear.
“Alright, Frederick. You have swayed my fearful heart. I will tell him.”
I nod, trembling from a mixture of anxiety and joyful hope. “Now.”
Chapter 16 Silas
I wait for the sun to rise before approaching Lawson. I find him sitting at the kitchen table, sipping coffee as he looks over papers with Bandit curled up in a chair next to him. I couldn’t shake my very real fear of his reaction, but at the same time, the possibility of a positive reaction teases my emotions as well.
He glances up as I enter the room, his face lighting up with a smile. “Morning.”
“Morning.” I sit next to him as the racoon looks up, sniffing in my direction before dropping his head again. “What are you up to?”
“Looking over my project plans to check what supplies I need. Sleep well?”
“Uh, not at all actually. There’s something on my mind.”
His brow furrows. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“I do.” I rub my forehead. “We’ve established a closeness between us that’s important to me.”
Law smiles, nodding. “Me too.”
“And because of that, there’s something I want to tell you. Something about me.”
Lawson stands, walking behind me and squeezing my shoulders. “Are we at the baring our dirty laundry stage already?”
Before I can speak, he slides his head down my chest, softly massaging me, his sweet breath fanning my face as he nuzzles my cheek. Any thoughts I had of talking evaporate as bloodlust seizes my chest.
“You always smell so good,” Law whispers, igniting passion deep within me.
My body reacts immediately — heart rate speeding up, cock swelling, fangs descending. “Law…”
“I didn’t sleep well either, Silas. All I could think about was how close you were, and if I got up I could be in your bed. I know we said we’d take it slow, but…” His teeth graze my ear lobe, and that’s it. I can’t take it anymore.
I’m out of my chair, abruptly shoving it over, and tearing out the back door before he can see what his closeness has done to me.
I need air before I attack him.
Chapter 17 Lawson
It takes me a second before I can process what just happened. I was positive he was feeling the
same desire for me, but obviously something else is wrong.
Bandit makes a few squeaky sounds before scampering off his chair and running off. I’ll have to
deal with that later. Right now, I have to find Silas.
I charge out the back door behind him, spotting a glimpse of his shirt as he slips into the woods behind the house. I jog after him, but he loses me. Damn, he’s fast.
I push through the trees, dodging tangled branches, as I listen for him. The woods are so thick, sunlight can barely penetrate it.
His voice is oddly deep and slightly off. Is he hurt? I keep searching, hearing a rustling sound. I run in the direction, feeling spurred on, as if some invisible force draws me closer to him. When I find Silas, he turns his face away, making a sound like a hissing cat.
“Please, Lawson. Leave me.”
“What is wrong with you? Are you sick?”
“No. Yes. Please. You shouldn’t see me like this.”
The intensity of his shout makes the leaves rattle and birds take flight. I should probably be afraid, but instead I step closer, touching his shoulder.
He turns with his head bowed.
“Does this have something to do with what you wanted to tell me?”
He nods, his head still downturned.
“If you have a… condition or something, just tell me. It won’t change how I feel.”
Silas slowly lifts his head and all I can do is gasp as I take a step back. His eyes glow red, the pupils dilated. His teeth though. Long sharp fangs protrude from his mouth sending a shiver through me.
“What is…how are…” I try to swallow but my throat feels like I drank sand. “I don’t understand.”
“Lawson… I’m a vampire.”
I’m pretty sure Silas just told me, with a completely straight face, that he’s a fictional bloodsucking monster.
“A vampire. I’ve wanted to tell you because it’s nearly impossible to have feelings for you without showing myself to you. I took it slow in the hopes that you’d see my humanity instead of… this.” He gestures to his face. “I ran because my desire for you is too strong to ignore. I didn’t mean for you to find out like this.”
A shocked laugh bubbles out of my chest. The logical part of my mind knows this is ridiculous. Vampires are not real. Clearly he must be delusional.
The articles I read about him play in my mind. His mysterious background and how he’s traveled and lived in so many places at such a young age. He has no credit, no traceable identity except the publisher. Then there’s the obvious physical transformation. It would be pretty close to impossible to look like he does right now other than special effects and massive makeup.
He leans against a tree, clutching his stomach as if he’s starving. He’s pale, breathing hard as he gazes at me.
His face flinches. “How?”
I shrug. “How old are you?”
“That doesn’t prove anything.” He extends his arm. Using an unusually sharp nail on his other hand, he slices into his skin. Bright red blood spills from his wrist, but then as I watch with amazement, he pinches the skin closed as if nothing happened.
I open my mouth to speak but I can’t. Silas turns to the tree, grabbing a branch above his head, and shimmying up the tree until he’s a mere speck at the top. It took a few seconds. He drops down from the dizzying height, landing easily with only a soft rustle of leaves beneath his feet.
The world around me swirls and I feel too light on my feet as my vision goes white.
“Is he okay? What did you do, vampire?
“I tried to tell him, Frederick. Like you’ve been pushing me to do. I told you it was too soon. Now look at him.”
“Don’t blame this on me. If we did it my way, he’d know about both of us.”
“You stay hidden. We can’t have him having a heart attack on us.”
I try to wake from my dream, struggling to make sense of the muffled voices.
“Law? Come on, darling. Wake up, please.”
I force my eyes open to see Silas gazing down at me. He looks completely normal, making me wonder if I’m losing my mind. “Silas.”
“Are you okay? You fainted.”
“Fainted?” When I’m able to focus, the familiar sight of the living room settles me. “Why?”
“I imagine I gave you quite a shock.”
“Shit.” I bolt upright. “I wasn’t dreaming.”
Silas frowns. “No.”
A man appears right behind Silas and I scream, scrambling back on the couch. “Who the fuck are you?”
Silas exhales with a huff, glaring over his shoulder. “I told you to stay hidden.”
“It’s my house, vampire. I do what I want.”
“Wha…” I shake my head. “What do you mean your house?”
“I live here,” the man says. “As I have for hundreds of years. Of course, inhabit might be a better word since I’m no longer living. We haven’t formally met. Frederick Mason.” The man, dressed in early turn of the last century clothing, extends his hand, his body flickering a bit like a bulb about to blow out.
I make no move toward him and he huffs.
“Fine. I suppose you’re a bit overwhelmed now.”
“Am I dead?”
Silas frowns. “Of course not. You are perfectly fine.”
“We are dead,” Frederick says with a smirk. “Me more than Silas.”
“You’re a… a ghost?”
A memory flashes back in my mind. “Frederick Mason. Henry Thereaux’s lover.”
“That’s me. I built this home.”
“Frederick,” Silas growls, rubbing his forehead. “Can you please give us a moment?”
“No.” I sit up. “I want to know everything. I haven’t just been seeing things, have I? It was you?”
The ghost looks smug. “All me. I like you though. I want you to stay.”
“Lots of reasons.” The ghost perches on the edge of the sofa, straightening his vest. “Firstly, your plans are true to the original character of the home. You don’t have plans to let the public in here, and you seek to have male lovers in your bed. Something close to my heart.”
The past few weeks of strange noises and dark glimpses start to make sense. The books in the attic the night Wallace broke in, Silas talking to someone I couldn’t see. Strangely, it all makes sense.
“I’m not crazy.”
“Not in the slightest,” Silas says warmly. “I wanted to tell you sooner, but I didn’t want to frighten or have you send me away. I care for you, Law, deeply.”
“And as much as I’d hoped the three of us could make a cozy love nest,” Frederick begins, “even I can see that what the two of you have is exclusive. I’ll continue to exist vicariously.”
I rub my forehead. “Let me see if I have all of this straight. The ghost of the man who built this house is sitting right in front of me.”
“Correct,” both Silas and Frederic answer at the same time.
“And you, Silas, are a vampire. For how long?”
I nod, letting that sink in. “And you, Frederick, want me to stay here and fix up the house?”
“And never sell it.”
“And you, Silas, still want to be in a relationship with me?”
“More than anything.”
“Uh huh. Could I have a few minutes alone?”
Both, uh, men leave the room. Rising from the couch, I pace the room as all the happenings and conversations we’ve had slot into place. The rumors about the house, the realism of the books Silas writes. Silas, climbing a tall tree in a matter of seconds, comes back to me. There’s no way a regular man could do that, so he’s either a superhero or a vampire, neither of which makes sense.
But what does make sense is how connected I feel to him. How right this house felt from the very beginning. The truth reflected in his eyes as he shared his intentions with me. Even Frederick somehow makes sense.
I walk down the hall to the kitchen to find both men standing there. Bandit sits at Silas’s feet, completely comfortable. They look at me with nervous expressions.
“Thank you, Frederick, for showing yourself to me. Now I understand that I’m not just losing it. I’m honored to be able to restore this house to its former beauty, and I would love to have your input in the process.”
Frederick beams. “I would love to.”
“Good. Would you mind if I talked to Silas alone?”
“Not at all, and I’ll actually stay away and not eavesdrop.”
I stifle a laugh as the ghost floats off, Bandit chasing behind him with squeals. Silas stares at me, his gaze intense, his energy tense.
“I had some time to think about it,” I begin. “I had looked you up, you know. Your career and stuff. I read the rumors.”
“At first, I thought it was a compliment of your skill. But given what I witnessed today, it’s obvious that you’re not just an imaginative writer. You write from your own experience, don’t you?”
I swallow, feeling every nuanced bodily reaction. “How does it work? A relationship with… I’m just a regular man, Silas.”
“I know. There are several options. Well, two, really.”
“The first option is we live out your remaining years. When your time ends, so does mine. It is difficult to end an immortal life, but not impossible.”
“How would you do that?”
“Drink from the dead. It’s a painful death, but over quickly.”
I cringe from the thought. “Okay.The other option?”
“I could turn you.”
His answer makes me pull my head back. “Turn me? Do you mean, make me a vampire?”
He nods. “Yes. We would be together for eternity, never growing old, never getting sick.”
“Does it hurt?”
“Yes, but only briefly.” He makes no move toward me, but I swear I can feel desire pouring off of him. Sure enough, his eyes begin to glow again, his teeth sharpening into fangs. “It would be my greatest honor to be your maker.”
My chest tightens but in an oddly pleasant way. My feet bring me forward, as if moving on their own volition, until I’m standing right in front of the vampire.
“You do not fear me, do you?”
“Lawson, do you still…feel for me?”
I nod as the logical part of my brain fights to be heard, but the part of me that wants to be loved muffles it. I should be afraid. I should run. But I know I won’t.
“What now?” I ask.
“That’s up to you.”
“What do you want to happen?”
“I want to take you upstairs and ravage you with my desire. Then when you are thoroughly sated, I would quell my own hunger.”
“You would bite me?”
Silas nods. “I am starving, unable to feed from anyone since I met you.”
My stomach flutters. “Really?”
“That is the reason behind my reaction earlier. I want you so badly, Law. In all the ways a man can. Your body, your blood, your soul.”
No one has ever wanted something long term with me much less eternity. “Um, are you sure you won’t get tired of me? Eternity is a long time.”
“I am sure. I’ve never wanted to make a lover, but almost since the moment I saw your face, it’s all I can think about. Let me love you, Lawson.”
I don’t know where it comes from, but as I step into his arms, the desire to belong to him is so strong, I’m shaking from it. “Show me how you love, Silas.”
Chapter 18 Silas
Filled with joy, I scoop Lawson into my arms, taking the stairs so quickly, we reach the top in the blink of an eye. Law chuckles, gazing around.
“When I choose to be.” I carry him to my room so his scent will linger on my sheets. Setting him down carefully, I stand back, simply taking him in. “I’ve imagined this moment so many times.”
Law smiles, rising on his elbows. “So have I if I’m being honest.”
I fall to my knees in front of him, my hands on his thighs. “I vow to you only honestly from this point forward. I only intended to shield you. Give you time to accept all of this.”
“I’ve always been better at jumping in the deep end and swimming myself out.”
“I know that now.”
He glances around the room. “We’re alone, right?”
“Yes. For all his boisterous demands, the ghost is quite respectful.” Smiling, I stroke his thighs. “When we first met, he wanted us both. Romantically.”
“How? He’s a ghost.”
“Right. The veil is very thin on Halloween.”
Lawson frowns. “He’s lonely, isn’t he?”
“Yes. While vampires are known for their polyamorous ways, I’m afraid I cannot even imagine sharing you. Not even with a ghost.”
“Same. Maybe there’s a way he can still be happy?”
“If we could find his lost love. I have no idea how to conjure a ghost. Do you?”
“Perhaps.” I crawl up his body, pressing him into the mattress. “A problem for another day.”
I attack his lips, sinking into his kiss as his fingers tangle in my hair. It doesn’t take long for us to tug at our clothes, removing them until our bodies touch.
“Silas,” Lawson whispers against my lips. “Need you.”
“May I enter you, my love?”
His consent is heady as I kiss my way down his body, resting between his legs. His cock is hard and leaking, but that’s not my immediate focus. I want something lower.
Spreading his legs, I gaze at the puckered hole waiting for me. Lawson watches me with hooded eyes, his bottom lip trapped between his teeth as he nods in encouragement. What he doesn’t know is that there’s something unique about making love to a vampire. He’s about to find out.
I dive between his legs, burying my face in the space I long to taste. Lawson shivers when my tongue makes contact with his hole, his thighs quivering as they press against my head. A few laps is all it takes to soften and open him up, but I linger, enjoying his addictive taste just a little longer.
When I finally pull myself away, Lawson is writhing beneath me, clawing the sheets. I stroke my erection as I watch him, my vampire features taking over me. I feel my fangs elongate, my nails growing, and my body heating with desire.
Lawson gasps, but this time, instead of fear reflected in his eyes, there is only desire. I move my fingers down to feel his entrance, circling his rim, before I can no longer hold back. Entering him slowly, I watch his face react with awe as I bottom out easily.
Smiling, I exhale, wrapped in pure pleasure. “All the gods, Lawson. Your body is perfection. I’d swear the fates created you just for me.”
His mouth agape, he blinks rapidly. “Silas…”
“It has been so long… Perhaps it has never been like this. So completely right.”
I move within him, slowly grinding my hips against his body, every stroke as magical as the one before it. His body is tight but yielding, hot, and desperate. Digging my fingers into his hips, I lift his body slightly to get the best angle, and pound into him. I never promised I was a gentle lover.
Lawson whimpers and moans beneath, completely boneless in my clutches, but eyes fixed firmly on my face. I know he can see the glowing of my eyes, the way the veins in my body rise to the surface of my flesh, the hungry growls from my lips.
“Bite me whenever you want to.”
A moment of hesitation grips me. My hunger is so pronounced I could easily go too far and drain him. Then I would have no choice but to turn him to save his life.
He grips my forearms with both hands, pulling himself up until he’s straddling my waist. “Drink, vampire. As much as you need.”
“But…” I throw my head back as my cock surges within him and he squeezes me. Lawson kisses my neck, holding onto my shoulders as he rides me.
“No buts. Drink.” He cups my face. “Turn me.”
My eyes widen. “No. It’s too soon. You need time to think about it.”
“I don’t.” I stop rocking for a moment. “I thought it through. I’ve been searching for something that felt like home for years, running from place to place, from bed to bed, looking for anything that would settle my heart. I found it here in this house with you. I don’t have to run anymore. I’m home.”
“You’re home too, Silas. We’ll figure everything else out. You’ll teach me how to be a vampire and we’ll make this house everything we’ve ever dreamed of. We’ll make Frederick proud. Do it.”
A part of me still fears his decision is rushed, but the other part that wants him can no longer hold back. So I grip his neck, tilting it back, and sink my teeth into his flesh. As warm blood fills my mouth, his words run through my mind.
I am home.
Chapter 19 Lawson
If I had ever bothered to wonder what a vampire bite would feel like, I would have imagined pain, but this is far from that. It’s more like…pressure, a pleasant sting, and now, as my blood rushes through my veins, euphoria.
Silas manages to continue fucking me like a boss as he drains my blood and that euphoria is replaced by something much more demanding. A hunger, a wish to close my eyes, as my energy starts to slip away.
I probably shouldn’t be turned on, but my every sense is overstimulated, and I cry out with a hoarse voice as my cock spills between us. Silas makes a growly noise as he flinches, his thick cock pulses within me. I fall slack in his arms, realizing with no uncertainty that I am dying right now. Probably should have asked how this would go, but I let my heart speak for me, and my heart wanted to be Silas’s forever.
“Si…” My words trail off as my heart beat slows. “Dy…ing.”
“Yes,” he whispers, stroking my hair. “You are dying, but not for long. Trust me.”
I nod as my vision goes blurry. “Trus…”
My limbs feel too heavy for me and my head falls back, supported by Silas’s strong arms. He’s whispering things I can just barely make out.
I want to speak but my words are lost as my eyes slowly close and I give in to the darkness.
I jolt awake as my mouth feels with something warm and sweet, igniting a hunger in me like nothing I’ve ever felt. I gulp the viscous liquid down, feeling it seep into my veins and spread throughout my body. The more I drink, the more my strength returns.
When I open my eyes, my vision is sharp and crisp, the colors of the room enhanced. I hear sounds in what seems to be a quiet room, rustling noises, the wind seeping through the crack of a window, and then the sound of a soft drum beating. Buh bump, buh bump.
Silas appears above me, smiling down at me. His warm hand brushes my cheek. “Hello, my love. Welcome back.”
“Where did I go?”
“You died, but now you are alive again.”
He helps me sit up, our naked bodies no longer joined together, but when I look down at myself, blood streaks down my chest.
“Am I bleeding?”
“No. I fed you.” He cups my face. “You drank from me, uniting us for all of time.”
I gasp as a wave of love and affection slams into me. “I can feel your emotions.”
“Yes.” He puts his hand over my heart. “Try it. Send me your emotions.”
I close my eyes for a moment, concentrating on how I feel about him. I feel it leave me, like a strong force rising from my chest.
“Yes, my love,” Silas whispers. “Beautiful.”
Opening my eyes, I glance around. “Where is that sound coming from?”
“Rustling. Like papers.”
Silas laughs softly. “That is Bandit in the laundry room, fixing his bedding.”
“I can hear that?”
“Yes. All your senses are enhanced.”
“As long as you feed as you should, you will never tire, never weaken. You will always be in the prime of your health.”
I try to take a deep breath but find it isn’t really necessary. Yet, somehow I’m breathing. “And the drums?”
“That’s my heartbeat, lover. Listen. You’ll hear my blood in my veins.”
I focus for a moment and sure enough, the whooshing sound of liquid meets my ears. “Wow.”
“You must be hungry still, yes?”
My stomach rumbles in reply. “Yes.”
Silas tilts his head, exposing his neck. “Then feed.”
My mouth throbs. I reach up to feel my fangs elongate. They are sensitive to the touch.
“You cannot hurt me. Drink what you need.”
I practically lunge at him, my teeth easily piercing his flesh. As my mouth floods with his taste, I slump against his body, drinking him down. My brain barely registers the fact that I’m greedily consuming blood, but the thought is shoved aside by a stronger one. This man is my entire universe. I feel the rightness of us in my bones. I regret nothing.
Two years later
“What a weekend.” I gather the flyers off the island. “Last week, an epic bestelling book launch, and today another successful open house. I project we’ll end up with a bidding war.”
Silas kisses my cheek. “Well deserved. This is one of our better projects.”
We step out of the house together and walk hand in hand down the street five blocks to our one home. In the two years since that fateful night, so much has changed. I’ve found love, a sense of permanence, and a never ending supply of houses that need renovation.
“What do you suppose Frederick is up to?” I ask as we turn onto our street.
“The same thing as usual.”
I laugh softly. “Probably right.”
Sure enough we enter the house to the sight of Frederick and his ghost lover Henry. It only took four witches, a medium, and a demon to locate the lost soul and bring him back to the house he was always meant to be in. Turns out he was locked in purgatory, forever searching for his Frederick. So now our house is haunted by two ghosts. Two very horny ghosts.
Henry is much more reversed, quickly gasping and disappearing from out sight, but Frederick simply frowns, his nude body sprawled on the couch.
“Bad timing, gentleman.”
“When is a good time?” Silas asks. “You know you have your own bedroom for such activities.”
“We like to switch it up.”
Henry appears again, completely dressed. “Come, Frederick.”
Henry is still a bit shy around us. He hasn’t had the time to adjust to the modern world around him like Frederick has, but he’s kind and clearly very much in love with Frederick. Frederick stands, tugging on his ghostly britches.
“By the way, Bandit’s back.”
“Oh.” I rush to the back door, with Silas quickly behind me.
We go outside, finding the racoon burrowed behind one of the bushes. We set up a dog house for him and he spends lots of time in it. Even though he disappears for weeks at a time, he always comes back.
He lifts his head, sniffing and squeaking at us before crawling over to Silas and bumping his leg like a cat. Silas reaches down and scratches his ears and I do the same, receiving a happy squeak from the animal before he dives into his house. The weather is turning so hopefully he’ll stick around for winter like he did last year.
Silas wraps his arm around my waist as a leaf falls from a tree, swirling in front of us before it lands on the ground. I gaze up at my gorgeous man. Turns out being a vampire isn’t all that different from being a mortal man, except for our food sources. Thanks to finding the witch, we both learned about a donation service in town. There are mortals who willingly offer themselves to vetted vampires. Gotta admit, it beats a blood bag anyday.
“Our dinner will be here in an hour,” Silas says, referring to the two men we ordered. “What should we do until then?”
“Hmm.” I tap my chin like I’m thinking. “How about a shower and then you rail my ass like only you can.”
Silas smiles. “Sounds delightful.”