Now that Laurie's been invoked twice in two weeks, he's talking inside my head. So he thinks I should post an excerpt from "A Moment in Time."
This story takes place after Jim Rain's death. Laurie has returned to London, returned to the place where his brother's power holds sway and where he is seen as a strange sort of vampire to consort with humans. His brother has ordered him to stop his involvement with humans. And Laurie, being Laurie... does what he will anyway...
What is below is merely an excerpt from he beginning of the story. To read the rest, check out Cherished Blood from Circlet Press.
"Can I get you something?"
The girl's dress was cut low, giving a broad view as she leaned over the table suggestively, breasts almost brushing Laurie's arm. He smiled distractedly, muttering, "Red wine," as he waved her away.
She pouted, straightening up. "Will that be all, sir?"
He glanced up, seeing her smile at him and pose. "The wine will be all," he said firmly. She frowned and walked away, leaving Laurie to survey the club again.
It was a typical club in this new era of darkly gothic music. Laurie felt this new generation was the most comfortable he had found since his birth time. With his pale skin, long hair, dark clothes, and flowing poet's shirt, he fit in as if he were born to this time instead of centuries before. The music swirled around him, an underlying rhythm almost like a heartbeat seeming to crawl inside his soul. So many people... so fragile.
"Here's your wine." The glass was set down with a slight thunk, and the girl waited only long enough to get her pay before hurrying off to a more accommodating customer. Laurie didn't even notice her leave.
He reached into his pocket and withdrew a vial, emptying it into the wine. He swirled it with a finger as the deep red liquid grew cloudy and thick. He sucked the finger clean, watching the dancers speculatively. Spotting his quarry among the throng around the bar, he quickly downed the contents of the glass. He left the empty behind on the table as he walked away, licking his lips clean.
"Would you care to dance?"
The young man looked up, surprise mirrored in his chocolate eyes. Laurie smiled reassuringly, "Of course, if you would prefer not to..."
The man smiled then, sliding off the bar stool. "No, actually I'd love to."
"Well then." Laurie held out a hand, clasping the stranger's firmly in his own. He drew him out to the dance floor, already moving to the slow beat of the music.
He had dark hair, cut shorter than most of the others in the club, and those deep chocolate eyes. Laurie had to smile at his quarry. He slid his hand's around the other's back, pulling him closer as they swayed to the beat.
"Isn't this where you deliver a corny line?" the stranger inquired, chuckling. "Or shall I play the dominant and do the honors?"
Laurie frowned, stepping back slightly. "Just because we are both men does not mean we need to play at any roles." Perhaps he had made a mistake. But he had been watching him for several nights before deciding to approach. He had considered every option, and this seemed to be the correct one. Had he been wrong?
The stranger shook his head, smiling ruefully. "I'm sorry. I'm not very good at this."
Laurie began to move off the dance floor, drawing the other man with him to a table in one corner of the club. "Perhaps we should talk." If he were wrong, it would be better to find out now, rather than later. And only honesty would tell. "Do you drink brandy?" At the stranger's nod, Laurie caught the waitress and gave her the order, before settling in at the table. "Where should we start?"
Dark eyes blinked once, and then looked away, off to the dance floor. "Maybe we should start with introductions."
"Lawrence Cuthbert. Most people call me Laurie."
The other man smiled. "Ryan James." He looked just a little more comfortable, and Laurie began to relax. He was moving too fast. He hadn't made a mistake, just a miscalculation.
"Tell me a little about yourself," Laurie encouraged.
Ryan shrugged. "There isn't really much to tell. I'm a student at the university. Majoring in biostatistics. It's a good enough field." He seemed to be defending a choice he hadn't made.
"Good enough," Laurie agreed. There was a long silence, as Ryan toyed with his drink. "Can I be honest?" Laurie finally broke the silence. "Would you prefer if I let you alone?"
Ryan glanced up sharply. "No. It isn't that at all." His eyes softened as he looked at Laurie. "Actually, I..." He shrugged. "It's just that I had a companion, and he only moved out about a month ago. I guess I'm not as over it as I thought."
"It does take time," Laurie agreed, reaching out to take Ryan's hand. When the other didn't resist, he squeezed gently. "I'm sorry to have moved so fast."
Slowly Ryan's other hand stole up to cover Laurie's. "It's all right. I was just a little scared for a minute there." He stood, still holding Laurie's hand. "Let's try this again. Would you care to dance?"
"I'd love to." Laurie smiled, allowing himself to be led to the dance floor.
As they danced, Ryan relaxed, his body swaying closer to Laurie's until the two relaxed together on the dance floor, moving easily in synch. Laurie ran a hand over Ryan's back, drawing it up over his shoulder, then touching the pulse on his neck. It fluttered quickly under his fingers, as Ryan's head fell to Laurie's shoulder, exposing the neck to his touch.
Laurie licked his lips, trying to hold the hunger at bay. The night was growing late, and the hunger came more from desire than any true need for sustenance. Gently he pressed a kiss against the skin just below the curve of Ryan's jaw, feeling the pulse jump as the other man sighed. Then he drew away. "I think perhaps it is time for me to go," he said softly.
There was a flicker of regret as Ryan said hesitantly, "I don't live in the dorms. I have a private flat now that Evan's left."
Laurie allowed his own regret to reach his eyes. "It's too soon. You need more time." He slide his hand away from Ryan's neck, over his shoulder, down to his hand. With a gentle squeeze, he stepped away. "Perhaps tomorrow evening you'll be here again?"
Ryan relaxed slightly. "Perhaps." There was a teasing glint in his eyes.
"Then perhaps so shall I," Laurie teased in return.Posted by Deb Atwood at July 01, 2002 09:54 PM | TrackBack