It wasn't like waking up from a dream, it wasn't like the peaceful opening of your eyes after a long night's slumber...this was different. This was pain. Unbearable, agonizing pain. I couldn't even tell where or when it started, I just know that it continued to intensify, more and more by the second, FORCING me into consciousness. I might have slept forever it seemed, but that suffering was so incredible that it brought me back from the dead just to hear me scream. However, when I finally did open my eyes, the pain was so excruciating that I couldn't scream. The cry had gotten stuck, like a lump in my chest, and refused to surface. I couldn't even move. I felt my heart warp, pulse, and cramp up as it began to beat again for the first time in what must have been days. My body involuntarilly curled up into the fetal position and I was overcome with waves of intense heat and intense cold simultaneously. I shivered so hard it felt as though my bones would be rattled to pieces, and tears poured out of my eyes non stop. The pain was so unbelievably devastating that it was almost non-existant. My mind simply couldn't comprehend the level of bodily harm anymore. The only thing more terrifying than the pain I was feeling, was the thought of the pain I wasn't feeling. I tried again to open my eyes, but the world was a trillion times brighter than it had ever been. It was like staring into the sun unshielded. My ears were flooded with noises from every direction. Car horns, crickets, footsteps, conversations...it was like I could hear the entire city of Chicago all at once. I was overwhelmed with sounds, and my brain ached trying to seperate them all. I was full of confusion. Every time I tried to focus on one of my senses, a hundred others would compete for my attention.
As I lay there, curled up on the bed, I was consumed by this extreme hunger...more extreme than anything I've ever experienced. It was as though my stomach was turning itself inside out, PLEADING to be filled. I could cry, but I still couldn't scream. Just as well, the sound of my own voice would have deafened me if I could. I had to just lay there and take it, to suffer through this torture and hope that it went away. My God...is this my alternative? Is this what it feels like to come back from the dead? The movies always made it look so easy, what the hell was this all about? My stomach continued to flip and churn, and I could only curl myself up into a tighter ball, as if it would somehow ease pain. It didn't. The cramping and swirling of my insides made me nauseous a hundred times over, and I prayed to be freed from my ailments. I had no way to stop it. It just continued to pulse and spasm to the point where I could have sworn there was something inside of me, fighting to get out. I was slowly feeling my sense of touch as it returned to my fingertips, my blood filling my veins again at last. My eyes burned when they were opened, and burned even more when they were closed. So I tried desperately to alternate between the two. My throat was so dry, I almost choked, and a splitting migrane headache was the only thing that I could focus on to keep my mind off of the other pains going on throughout my body. I even had trouble breathing. It was irregular, foreign...like I had to teach myself to breathe all over again from scratch. After ten minutes or so of these 'growing pains', I was wishing I hadn't survived at all. I felt a blazing fever race over me, causing me to instantaneously sweat in buckets. I could feel the salty droplets pour out of my skin and crawl over my face. I was drenched in an uncomfortable pool of perspiration, sticky and cold, the sheets soaking up what they could and letting the rest soak the mattress beneath. My heart felt like it was collapsing onto itself over and over again, a torture that has to be 'felt' to be understood. I could faintly hear some of the others outside, hanging around the abandoned lot, and it brought back misted memories of what had happened to me. Even though it hurt my head to even think, I forced the memories out anyway. I remembered walking along the pier, the suicide, meeting Taryn, kissing my mother goodbye for the last time, the fight at school, and getting my ass kicked by those punks, the night club, and Trevor pushing Jun into traffic, and the whole experience came back to me. Then I remembered laying here, on this very bed, with Taryn in my arms. I was reminded of the two of us rolling around on these sheets, kissing, making love, enjoying our tender embrace. God, he was so perfect. I loved him with every inch of my being, and for a very brief moment, the pain didn't seem so bad. It was like a sudden intermission in my agony as my thoughts dwelled on feeling Taryn's smooth, sleek body wrapped around mine. I could still smell and taste and feel every inch of him as though it were still happening. As though I were still crushing his tender body against me. Then...another memory came into my mind. Taryn on top of me, whispering into my ear, begging me to turn back. Then I vaguely remembered a countdown. Five...
And then? What happened then? As I attempted to focus, the intermission came to an end, and the misery rushed back into me even worse than before. It was hard for me to concentrate with my body in as much pain as it was, but I had to remember, I had to know what happened to me. Then, like a bolt of lightning, the answer hit me. I saw the horrific image of Taryn thrusting his head back as I was ready to climax, and bearing his fangs! Those razor sharp, flesh piercing fangs! His eyes were glowing red this time, not the beautiful shade of gold as they had before. It was at that moment that my memories took on a life of their own, playing at their own speed, under their own control, with me helpless to stop the visions from returning to my mind. Taryn slammed his face downwards, into my neck, his teeth sinking deeply into my main artery. God it hurt, his fangs ripping through my young flesh and piercing through the muscles of my neck. I could have sworn his teeth had scraped the bone underneath. My orgasm was the only thing that kept me from forcing him off of me. The only thing that kept me from screaming out loud. I was so enraptured by the feelings of pleasure that he was giving me, that the pain was drowned out somehow. I just laid there. I laid there while he murdered me. It was like I could still feel him, sucking the life out of me, his teeth firmly planted in my neck, his body weighing me down to the bed. His arms and legs wrapped around me so I couldn't move...like some kind of hungry animal. I remember the world fading away from me, I remember feeling my body get cold as the last reserves of my blood were being drained from my weakened body. I relived the moment all over again, and this time, it terrified me. I was DEAD!!! DEAD!!! Omigod! What have I done???
I panicked, but was still unable to move, unable to scream. My body hadn't regained control of itself yet, it could only react to the pain at this point. I wanted to scream for help, to cry out and beg God for forgiveness...but I couldn't move at all! I was powerless, and all I could do was cry as the voices in my head went wild with hysteria. I heard the others just outside of the van, talking. I wanted to call out to them, to let them know I was awake and needed them to stop this unrelenting misery! But the harder I tried, the more it hurt, and the more it hurt, the more helpless I became. Finally, it got to be so much that I could feel my senses dulling, and I lost consciousness again. This time, I welcomed the darkness. Everything else was too much to bear right now. As sleep took over once again, I let out a sigh of relief. I didn't care if I slipped into a coma, or worse. As long as I found a moment's peace in a deep...dreamless...sleep.
The next time I awoke with a slight gasp. How long had it been? A few hours? A few days maybe? A year could have passed and I wouldn't have known it. My body still ached from my awakening earlier, just before I had lost consciousness again, but a majority of it was gone this time around. It felt as though my body was beginning to work on its own again. My heart was beating, my lungs expanding, my muscles loosening from their tightened state. I was still afraid to open my eyes, for fear of being blinded by the world's light once again. I attempted to roll over and lay on my back, and that's when I became aware of another presence beside me. Was it Taryn? Was I actually sleeping in the bed with my killer? I froze, not knowing what to expect when I opened my eyes. The beautiful, untouched face of an angel that I had fallen in love with, or the horrible visage of that monster that took my life. I was too scared to move, too scared to even breathe. I just pretended to sleep, with my eyes closed and my ears open. Then, I felt his hand gently brush a few loose strands of hair off of my forehead, and he scooted down in the bed to throw an arm over me. He sighed and snuggled next to me, much like a child would with his loving teddy bear. I could easily recognize his scent, his gentle touch, and suddenly, that fear I had for him faded away. It was my Taryn, it could only be Taryn. I relaxed and cautiously opened my eyes a little bit. There he was, my beautiful boyfriend, laying right beside me. His face only inches away from mine. His eyes were closed, and I took the opportunity to just stare at him for a while. So this is it...this is what I gave up my life for. It was worth it. In him I found all the comfort I would ever need in this life or any other. I thought about him, my eyes tracing every delicate feature of his young, boyish face, and I was compelled to move forward and place an angel kiss on his lips. It was a gentle kiss, one of love, one of life.
Taryn's eyes sprung open immidiately and he jerked back. He looked startled at first, but then his eyes brightened up and he broke out in the biggest smile I'd ever seen. He was so cute. "YOU'RE AWAKE!!!!" He screamed!
His voice sounded like it had been intensified by 500 surround sound speakers, and it raced through me like a sonic boom! My ears rang for a full minute afterwards! "OWWWW!"
"Oh no!" Taryn said, worried, but still incredibly happy to see me moving again. He playfully giggled, putting his hands over my ears lightly to block out some of the sound, and said, "I guess you're still a little sensitive, huh? I'm so sorry babe. Don't worry, it'll go away. Your body has gone through a lot of restructuring, it's just gonna take your brain a little longer to catch up is all. How do you feel?" He said, almost whispering now.
"Like I've got the worst hangover in the history of mankind and then some." I whined.
"Awww...I know, I know. It gets better, I promise, ok? And I'm gonna stay right here with you until it does." He said, placing a few sweet kisses on my lips. I laid my head on his chest and he hugged me tenderly, gently stroking my hair, petting me and kissing me softly on the forehead. I tried to move my arm around to hug him back, but even the slightest movements hurt me. I just threw it across his chest and let it dangle there. Every muscle in my body felt like it had been run through a machine, but knowing I was in Taryn's arms made the pain bareable. Another brief intermission from everything that could possibly hurt or stress me in any way. There's nothing more beautiful. I felt him hug me tighter and sigh in my ear, and then, before I knew what hit me, I lost consciousness once again. Hopefully the next time I wake up, I'll be able to get out of this bed. I've got a whole new life to discover.
When I woke up the third time, the pain had all but dissappeared. Just a little ache in my arms and legs, and my eyes were a bit sore. I finally felt somewhat 'alive' again. I actually had enough energy to pull myself into an upright position in the bed, and looked down to see Taryn still sleeping peacefully by my side. I brushed the reddish brown locks of hair from his face and leaned over to kiss him on the lips. The very taste of him was pure magic. I just held myself there, kissing away at him until he finally woke up. He moaned sleepily and smiled up at me. "Sorry, I just woke up, and I wanted you to know that I feel a lot better now." I said.
"Good to hear. 'Yawn' I can't tell you how worried I was about you. I know how much it hurts the last couple of days."
"Last couple of DAYS? How long have I been asleep?"
"Um...I think three, maybe three and a half weeks." He said, his sleepy voice masked with a sexy haze.
"THREE AND A HALF WEEKS??? JESUS!!!"
"Hehehehe, afraid you missed your soap operas or something?"
"I knew it had been a while, but I didn't think it had been quite THAT long. Wow..." I looked down to see Taryn fighting to stay awake, his beautiful green eyes were just tiny slits, hovering over his delicious smile. "What time is it?"
"Um...'yawn'...about 5:45 I think. The sun's coming up soon, so we all came in for the night." He looked sooo tired, I hated to keep him up. But when he looked into my eyes and saw my excitement to be awake again, he fought off the sandman and pulled himself up into an upright position. He was staying awake...just for me. "So how do you feel? We've got so much to show you Justin. It'll be great having you around. 'Yawn' You're not like the others."
"I don't know how I feel. I mean, am I really dead? I mean, I can feel my heart beating and everything." I asked, as I moved around to lay back on Taryn's chest. He carressed me tenderly and it felt so good.
"I guess you could 'technically' say you're alive, but on a whole different level now. And make no mistake, your body will eventually breakdown and cease to work if you don't keep it fed."
"So, we'll just have to stock up on burgers and fries for the next hundred years or so, huh?" I grinned, but Taryn didn't say a word. I could feel a slight trembling in his chest, and it was as though time stopped for a second. He just went back to smoothing my hair out and kissed me on the forhead.
"Sure...burgers and fries." Something about the way he said that caused me feel uncomfortable. So I decided to drop the subject, but I knew something was up.
"So what now? I mean, what do we do tomorrow?" I asked.
"Tomorrow, you can go outside again if you feel up to it. We'll all get together and talk to you, explain the 'house rules', help you find yourself again...it'll be great. The night..'yawn'...the night can be sooo so beautiful sometimes Justin. We'll teach you a few tricks here and there, and we'll just....we'll just hang out...you know...?" He yawned.
"Cool. I can't wait. I want to know everything! How you guys get around, and how you met, and how to run fast like you did on the beach that one night. And I wanna go back to that club, what was the name of it anyway? That place was cool. And maybe we can take a walk on the lake or something. Maybe even go back to the pier. It IS where we met afterall. And then...." But when I looked back, poor Taryn was fast asleep again. Sweet little angel, he was all tuckered out. He tried to keep me company, but I guess when bedtime comes, it comes for real. He looked like such a cute little boy, all relaxed and breathing softly like that. I just sat up and pulled the blanket over him, kissing him delicately on the cheek so as not to wake him again. He needed his rest. Me, on the other hand, I had been asleep for three and half weeks now, the LAST thing I wanted to do was go to sleep again. Besides, I had bedsores all over me from being laid up for so long. So I walked over to the small table in the corner of the van, switched on the little desk lamp, and just started doodling on a piece of paper. I had about 12 hours to kill!
The first few hours went by pretty fast. I spent most of it looking at myself in the mirror. Nothing had changed about my appearance at all. I don't know what I expected, maybe to get all pastey faced with golden eyes. I looked at my arms to see if they had gotten stronger or something, but it all looked exactly the same. I must have checked my teeth a million times to see if I had fangs....nothing. Hmm...maybe it didn't take or something. Who knows? The next few hours after that I found myself wishing I had a tv or a radio or SOMETHING to keep me busy. The only thing I had to play with was myself, and I was still a little too sore to even do that. I paced, and I doodled, and I talked to myself, and I doodled some more, and then I paced again. This was even worse than waiting for school to let out the day before summer break! By the fifth hour I was using a tablecloth as a cape and doing Dracula impressions in the mirror! C'mon Taryn! Wake up early or something! Then again, I guess he waited three and half weeks for me, the least I could do was wait another six or seven hours for him.
As more boredom set in, I later climbed into bed with Taryn and just wrapped myself around him. Wow, his body was so smooth and loose that it just melted into mine, and I was in heaven. He was just flexible, and tender, and oh so warm...I just couldn't help kissing every inch of him. I couldn't stop. In all the hours that I had been awake, he never once moved. Not a twitch, not a deep breath, not a fluttered eye, nothing. It was the most peaceful slumber I had ever witnessed. He had the softest, cutest little snore. I almost couldn't hear it at all until I got right next to him. And his face was so clean and frictionless. I couldn't help but rub my nose against it, over and over again. Then I slid my lips up and down his angelic face and hugged him against me until I was almost ready to explode. I spent what must have been two hours curled up next to his almost lifeless body, kissing and cuddling with him, praying he would wake up soon. And I hate to admit it, mostly because it makes me feel so helpless, but I was totally head over heels in love with this boy. This gift from Heaven. I'd tell him again as soon as he woke up. And every single day afterwards, from now until eternity. What are the odds that I'd EVER find someone else who would make me feel this way? He could have been ugly with a third eye and green skin, and I'd still be in love. There was just something so complete about him. Something so complete about ME when I was with him. There was something about his nature, his sense of humor, the way he made me feel inside. I had never experienced that before. It was a jittery excited feeling that kept him in my thoughts every second. How could I possibly throw this away? How could I even screw this up? I won't. I'm going to make a go of this. How many times does true love come into your life? Twice? Maybe three times if you're not selective. The fact is, Taryn makes me happy, he makes me feel sexy, and wanted, and loved, and I wallowed in the pride and joy of having him sleeping next to me. Me and my lover, together forever. What a concept. I'm never going to let this opportunity pass me by. There were so many things in my life that I just 'ran' away from. So many things that I had just given up on without even giving it a chance. All because, deep down, I didn't think I was worth it. So I got a little scared, and threw away every chance I had to be happy. And now I'll just have to live with those regrets. But THIS person is real, he's right here next to me, and he makes me feel beautiful. I won't run away from this! I'm going to tell him I love him, and I'm going to prove it to him every chance I get. Because it's not likely that fate is EVER going to drop an opprortunity like this in my lap ever again.
I eventually got up and paced around some more, finalliny looking at the clock and seeing the time at 5:30 PM! YES! The sun will be setting soon, and then Taryn will finally wake up! Thank goodness! It was beginning to feel like a prison in there. Lord knows I couldn't go outside or anything while the sun was up. I got back into bed and reclaimed my postion next to my gorgeous model of a boyfriend, anxiously awaiting the moment that he opened his eyes again. I stared at him, focusing on his face, waiting for a sign. ANY sign. Wake up. Please? I've been waiting all day! Come on baby...just wake up for a few minutes, kiss me, and go back to sleep if you want. I miss you already. But he didn't, he never moved an inch. So I just laid there, with my head on his chest, for another hour or so before I heard his breathing change slightly. I looked up at his face, and saw some life return to it. He raised a groggy hand to wipe his eyes, and then he smiled down at me.
"Hey Justin. I'm sorry, I passed out on you, didn't I? I didn't mean to." He said.
"No no, it's cool. I'm just so glad you're awake. I missed you." I giggled shyly. The look of flattery on Taryn's face was beyond beautiful, and he leaned in to kiss me sweetly on my lips. "Can we go outside now?" I asked. I was so excited to start my 'new life' with Taryn by my side. So far, all I've seen was the inside of this van, and it was starting to make me a bit stir crazy.
That's when Taryn smiled wickedly at me, raised eyebrow and all, and whispered, "What's your hurry?" He gently took my hand in his, and began rubbing it softly over his tender stomach. His eyes met mine in a passionate gaze, and I wallowed in the love induced sensations as they crawled over my entire body. Our lips were so close together, but we didn't kiss right away, we just held our erotic eye contact as we synchronized our heartbeats again for the first time in almost a month. His stomach was so smooth, so warm, it was almost like baby skin. I would never tire of touching him. Taryn closed his eyes, and let a soft moan escape his lips. Then, as if they had a mind of their own, my fingers slid ever so slowly downward into the elastic of his boxers. I slid my hand underneath the band ever so slightly and heard Taryn gasp as my fingers began to playfully twirl and tug at his silken pubic hairs. Every touch made him shiver, and the feeling I had inside grew stronger every second that we were together. My hands began to travel down further, past his erect member and on to carress his warm soft nuggets underneath as he finally leaned in to kiss me passionately on the lips. I massaged the warm sack, rolling it between my fingers as our kissing became more intense.
"Taryn! You up? Wake up dude, we've got a lot to do tonight!" Came a voice from outside. I hesitantly withdrew my hand from his shorts and we ended our little erotic game. No time for fooling around I suppose. We both sighed out of dissappointment, but Taryn just kissed me and grinned.
"Don't worry, we'll have plenty of chances for that over the next thousand years or so." Then he giggled and got out of bed. Wow...a thousand years with Taryn! The very idea of it was orgasmic. We could honestly stay this way forever. We'd never get old, we'd never outgrow each other, never bruise, never gain or lose weight, and we'd never get a single sag or wrinkle in our skin. We'd be this way for all eternity. And we could share each other's love until the last of the stars fell from the heavens. Nothing could be more perfect. "Well...looks like we've got a new life for you to begin. C'mon." Taryn said, and he extended his hand to help me up. I took it, and kissed the back of his knuckles tenderly before rising to my feet. We checked ourselves to make sure that our 'arousal' was neatly tucked away, and then walked to the side exit. As he opened the door to the van, I stepped out into what looked like a whole new world.
As I took my first few shaky steps out onto the ground, I looked up to see the whole camp staring at me. Almost everyone was there, their piercing eyes burning through me as though they were waiting for me to make some great 'Back From The Dead' speech. I wasn't quite sure what to say, so I just kept my eyes to the ground and continued to walk forward. I can't really explain it, but the entire world looked different to me somehow. Like I had been looking at it through a blurred sheet of plastic all my life and finally had it taken it away. Everything was so crisp, so clear, so...'alive'. As I walked, I could clearly hear my footsteps as they crushed the sandy earth beneath my feet. I looked down, and I could see each and every single grain of sand as if each one were an individual with thoughts and dreams of its own. The air around me tickled my sensitive skin, my ears picked up every faint sound, my nose every scent. I just felt in tune with everything. I looked up at the sky and saw it in three dimensions for the first time. I could see stars that I never even knew were there. Suddenly the world seemed so much bigger, so much more magnificent in it's perfection. How could so much have passed me by while I was alive?
As before, Doc was the first one to greet me. He rolled up cheerfully in his wheelchair and looked up into my eyes. "Boy, you came out of it a lot faster than we expected you to. I figured you'd be in for another week easy. How do ya feel?"
"....I don't know. Kinda weird actually." I said, not knowing how else to put it.
Doc just flashed me a big grin and patted me on the back. "Ahh...don't worry about it. You'll get used to it. Right now, everything is all 'wow' and 'neato', but after a week or two you won't know the difference." He had the most alluring boyish grin, it was downright contagious. In his lap, he was holding a laptop computer. Obviously one that he built himself. You could tell from the mismatched parts. It was then that Doc spun around and looked at everyone else, who was still standing silent. "Well? What's everybody gawking at? C'mon, we've got a new recruit!"
At that moment, they seemed to loosen up just a bit. I expected them to come and welcome me, but instead they split up and dispersed to different ends of the junkyard. I noticed that Trevor didn't come to see my 'awakening'. I don't think he likes me too much. Who cares? I've got Taryn and that's all there is to it. I saw Jenna walk over to me, her blond hair rustling in the wind, and she took me by the hand. "You're gonna love it here Justin. I'm so happy to have you join us." Then she looked at my arm and pushed up the sleeve a little bit. "Can I see it?"
"See what?" I asked.
"Jenna...come on, you'll embarrass him." Taryn began to blush a bit. He lowered his head bashfully and his cute smile was buried behind his beautiful locks of reddish brown glory. "And you'll embarrass me too." he whispered.
"Give it up Taryn. I've never seen one before. I think it's so sweet." Jenna replied, and she lifted my sleeve even further to see the band Taryn had placed on me before my transformation. But it wasn't a 'band' anymore, it was an intricate design that seemed to be permanently attached to my arm. It was just beneath the surface of the skin, but dark enough to be seen through it. I looked back up at Jenna and saw her begin to get misty eyed. "Ohhh....this is like...wow...you guys are sooo cute together." Then she walks over and gives Taryn a big hug.
"Hey now! Don't get all mushy." He grinned.
"I'm so happy for you Taryn. I told you you'd be happy again, I told you."
"Yeah...you did." Taryn sobbed, getting a bit emotional and hugging Jenna tightly.
"This is going to be great for the both of you. This is so...so..." And then she got all teary eyed and had to walk off to collect herself. She was certainly an emotional one. But I must admit, that bond did hold a certain level of importance to me. I mean, he gave it to me out of the love in his heart. He wanted us to be together, and he wanted everyone to know it. I never thought I'd find someone so special in my life. Or in my death, as the case may be.
I knew that this whole thing was going to take some getting used to, but I was willing to give it my best shot. This place could really be a 24 hour party zone if we really wanted it to be. And finally, I was a part of something. Something real...a family.
Bryson seemed to take on the leadership role out of the whole crew, and he called Taryn over to talk to him for a while. I wasn't quite sure what it was, but he seemed like the father figure type, even for a 16 year old. So I stood alone in front of the van, all by myself, and figured that I had better make some friends around here. This is my new family afterall. No time like the present. I already knew not to try to start any conversations with Max. He'd just as likely rip me to shreds if I said something in the wrong tone of voice. I'll work up to that little meeting later. Dylan would have been one of my first choices, but he seemed to be hiding over in a corner of the lot somewhere. Dylan was a real cutie, no reason for him to be so scary. His sandy brown hair and bright hazel eyes would have any girl swooning if he gave her the chance. But there was something cute in his shyness, and right away I knew that he was one of the few who could be trusted if I had to make choices. I looked over at him, but everytime I made eye contact, he shied away from it. Considering he still appeared to be kind of intimidated by me, meeting him would have to wait too. I sighed to myself and wondered if, even now that I was adopted into their world, I had a chance of fitting in here. Lord knows I didn't fit in anywhere else in my life. Suddenly, like a decayed flashback, I got a clear image of the kids at my school. The beatings, the laughing, the teasing. It was just a memory, but something about it was just so real. I had to actually focus just to block it out and return to normal. I really hope things will be different here. That's when I saw Dion and his dog sitting on top of a stack of cars like before. He was just staring out at the moon, his face the same unreadable expression. There was something so calming about him, so soothing. It was like he had all the answers and would be willing to help me find them if I only asked the right questions. His skin was like a thick chocolate cream, smooth to the touch. His eyes never wandered from the silver moon, but Dion never gave me a reason to worry about anything in the short time I had talked to him. Bingo...not a bad start there.
I walked over to the bottom of the stack of cars he was sitting on and asked if I could come up. He simply nodded and waited for me to make the climb to the top. I sat behind him and looked over the side to the ground below. "Hi. Remember me? I'm Justin."
"Yes," he said, never once turning around, "I remember who you are. I had a feeling you would stay once Taryn told you how he felt. You looked like you were waiting for it. You know, he wasn't too happy until he met you."
"Not at all. He had a bit of a rough time at first, blending in and all. Then something weird happened and he began feeling really depressed. Up until a few months ago he was crying every day. He wouldn't even really talk to us anymore, he just shuffled off to the lake every night and went right to sleep as soon as he came home. Then...you come walking along the Pier one night, and he somehow found solace in your nightly travels. He used to watch you all the time. We were afraid he was becoming obsessed. He talked about you constantly. What you looked like, what he thought you might sound like, what he thought your life was like. It was crazy. And it only got worse the first night he actually spoke to you." Dion's voice never really fluctuated all that much when he talked. He never seemed to get excited, or become sarchastic, or anything at all. It felt like everything he said was pure fact and delivered with an ease that made it seem like he had a script for what he was about to say.
"He...he didn't tell you what happened....with me and that night...did he?" I asked, wondering if my suicidal loser reputation had preceeded me here.
"Vaguely. But don't worry, he only told me, Jenna, and Dylan. And only because he needed help. He was very distraught over you. We suggested he speak to you, but we never thought he'd take it this far."
"Why did he?"
"Because Justin...when he finally got a chance to talk to you, he fell in love. No more mystery, no more crushes, no more cheap infatuation. He began to honestly fall in love. Taryn is a sentimental guy like that."
I wasn't quite sure how to respond to that with anything more than a modest grin and a few thoughts of my lovely boyfriend and I spending more time together at the end of the night. "I love him too." I said bashfully, a grin plastered on my face. And Dion actually turned around and gave me a big smile, patting me on the shoulder.
"I know you do, kid. And frankly, I'm already impressed with what I see in you." Wow, he liked me! Dion liked me! So if all else fails, I'll know I at least have two or three good friends in my corner. I scooted a bit closer, feeling more comfortable now, and ran my fingers over Napolean's fur. The pooch rolled over onto his back and growled happily. That's when I saw a large gash down by his stomach. It had to be at least 8 or 9 inches long, and by feeling around, it seemed like a few of his ribs were broken.
"Oh my God...what happened to you big fella?" I asked, petting it much more carefully now.
"Napolean here had a little accident about 3 years ago. A hit and run driver. I found him laying almost dead by the side of the road...I guess my heart went out to him."
"So you bit him?"
"Yeah. The others tease me about it all the time. But hey, his pain is gone, he get's a second chance, and I've got a new buddy. So it's all win/win. Isn't that right bud?" Dion rubbed noses with the dog who licked his face happily. The two of them were kinda cool together. A happy couple indeed.
"Can I ask you something?"
I took in a deep breath, wondering if he was going to take this question the wrong way or not. It was a simple question really, but I could never tell with these guys. "Um...like...what the heck do you guys DO all night long?"
This comment actually prompted another look from Dion, "What do we do? Hmmm...not so hard to explain, really." I scooted even closer to make sure that I got his message. "We think, we experience, we philosophize...we get a chance to really find out what life was all about. Now that we're looking at it from the outside."
"So....that's it?" I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it was something more along the lines of late night parties and lots of sex.
"Pretty much. You see, with normal society the goal is to rise above the others and end up on top. With us, it's all about unity, it's all about understanding one another. Not just trying to get ahead by any means necessary. We better the whole by bettering ourselves. We're all different, and now that time is not a factor in our lives, we have the opportunity to experience all of those differences."
"Wow...so you mean..." And that's when I heard Bryson call for me. He motioned for me to come over, and Taryn did the same. Too bad, I was really enjoying talking to Dion. He had some really good ideas, I'd have to indulge in more of them later on. "I think I've gotta go."
"That's cool. Head on out. Welcome to the family kid." And with that, I waved goodbye and climbed down to join Taryn and Bryson in a corner of the lot away from the others.
"Alright," Bryson said, "Now normally we don't let a newblood roam the streets for the first few days after coming back from the 'big sleep'...but your boyfriend here has been a bug up my ass for damn near a month about it, and I can't take anymore. So...you guys got three hours. And NO MORE! You got it?" Bryson demanded. He kept up a stern image, but he seemed to be an old softy at heart.
Taryn practically jumped for joy and grabbed me by the hand to take me out. "THREE HOURS, TARYN!!! I mean it!" He hollered after us, but we were too busy running and laughing to care. And we ran, and ran, and ran...and I was surprised that I was keeping up. We weren't going all that fast, but usually I make it a block and a half and then tucker out. We made it all the way downtown before I even broke a sweat. We just had this unlimited energy coursing through us, and it felt as though I could run to the ends of the Earth if I had to. We continued Eastward, jogging along happily, Taryn leading me to God knows where. Just feeling his hand in mine was so liberating, so incredibly amazing. It felt good to be this carefree.
Finally, after about twenty five minutes of running non stop, Taryn took me to a secluded spot by the Aquarium near Lake Michigan. A little elevated grassy lawn behind us, and the lakes shimmering waves in front. We slowed down and finally stopped running, still giggling a little bit. It didn't take long for us to catch our breath, and that's when Taryn flashed me a sexy grin and looked into my eyes. I could feel his gaze, and it made me weak in the knees to share it with him. He gently grabbed both of my ears to pull me in and give me a big kiss on the lips. "I am SO glad to have found you Justin. You make me so very happy."
"I love you Taryn." No matter how many times I said it aloud, no matter how often the thought crossed my mind, those few words continued to give me a rush like no other. To say it, and really mean it...I crumbled every time.
"I love you too." And we began kissing delicately once again, but all of the sudden, out of nowhere it seemed, I felt a sharp pain race through my right leg. Then through my left. And they tightened up, the muscles becoming rock hard and freezing that way.
"AHHHH!!!!" I shouted. I collapsed onto the ground and winced as both my legs cramped up tighter than they ever had before. God it hurt! So much, it was giving me a headache! Taryn kneeled down next to me in a hurry and grabbed one of my legs, trying to rub it out. It was one of those pains that is so bad that you can't even reach down to feel it yourself. You just can't right away. "What....ahhh...what happened?!?!"
"I'm sorry, I guess your body still has some catching up to do. Hehehe! I guess if you run 25 to 30 blocks non stop through the city without some hefty cross training, you're gonna get some nasty leg cramps, huh?" Taryn lifted my leg and tried to massage it a bit more. But it was so tight that his fingers couldn't even knead out the cramp for the first few minutes. Mental note...NEVER run that far or that fast, ever again. As Taryn began to finally loosen up the muscle a bit, and the involuntary tears stopped pouring out of my eyes, we looked at each other and observed a slight moment of silence. Nothing to be heard but the wind around us.
"It's weird, isn't it?" He said, "Seeing the world through new eyes. I only wish I could have seen it this way before I crossed over."
"Yeah." Was the most intelligent thing I could muster. I mean, here was this beautiful boy, my boyfriend no less, massaging my legs by the lake. Who would have ever thought it possible? I didn't know what else to say really. I just stared at him in awe.
"Penny for your thoughts?" He asked.
"Oh...um...I don't know. Hehehe...I'm just...forget it." I stuttered. I really didn't know what to say. How to convey these feelings in my heart. And he knew it.
"You know, I kinda miss reading your thoughts Justin. Not that I pried too deeply into them, but...it was quite an experience. You have a beautiful mind."
"Yeah! How did you do that anyways?"
"Mind reading? Oh it's not so hard. Really. I can...I can teach you if you like." Sweet! My first little vampire trick. I was like a kid with a new chemistry set. I couldn't WAIT to learn some stuff!
"Ummm....let's see..." He looked around to see if he could find any pedestrians walking by, but the place was pretty much empty. Then he said, "Okay, how about you just do me?" I flashed him a wicked grin and he rolled his eyes playfully "'Do me' as in read my MIND ya pervert!" We grinned and he let go of my now relieved leg muscles. He sat across from me, indian style, and he looked directly at me. "Ok, now vampires can't really read other vampire's minds unless they want them to. So I'm going to send you a message, and I just want you to tell me what I say. Ok?"
"How exactly do I do that?"
"Just look me in the eye. Think about everything that I am, and everything that I'm not. Single me out from every other entity in existance, and just focus on entering my subconscious mind."
"Oh yeah, sure, that'll be easy." I smirked.
"It's easier than you think. Just give it a shot." He uncrossed his legs and leaned back on his elbows. I looked deep into his eyes, and found myself getting lost in them. God, could he be any more attractive? I attempted to do what he said, but I just felt silly. Like I should be wearing a big swami hat and curly shoes in a circus tent or something. Seperate him from everything in existance? How in the hell does one go about doing that? "Come on Justin, you can do it. Concentrate. What do you see?"
"I see a gorgeous teen boy dying for a blowjob?" I giggled.
"BESIDES that!" Seeing his playful grin excited me so much. Taryn's smile was all the sunshine I'd ever need in the years to come. But right now, I was determined to get this right. So I concentrated even harder. "Did you get it?" "No, nothing at all."
"It's ok, you will learn it eventually. You've just gotta learn to let go of what you know." He said.
"Yeah, you're still using your brain. You've got to learn to use your MIND. Your emotions, your very essence. Right now you're still thinking of your brain as a machine. It's not. It's so much more."
"Let me try again. Please? I'll get it right this time." Taryn agreed and this time he stood up and got closer to me, staring into my eyes up close. I did what he said. I seperated him from everything else, I focused on him and only him, and I reached out to see what I can find.
"Remember, this isn't physical Justin. It won't sound like a voice or a whisper in your ear. It'll be different. You won't hear it, you'll just know it." I focused even harder, trying to push myself somehow. But I didn't know how to push myself 'mentally'. I tried breathing different, or staring harder, or gritting my teeth, but nothing worked. "You're still focusing on the physical Justin. It's not in how you breathe or any of those things. Just 'feel'...it won't take you any effort at all." I must admit, I was getting a bit frustrated with it all, and was about to just give up and go home...when something strange happened. I heard static. Well, not really 'heard'...but it was there. It was like remembering the sounds of a dream you had years ago, faint and distant, but somehow still real. It was there and not there at the same time. Hard to explain. And that static was covering up a jumble of voices. All of them Taryn's. Taryn's voice when it was happy, when it was sad, when it was angry, and at different ages, different pitches...it was like hearing every thought he had ever had in his life, at twice the speed, all at once. The jumble was so confusing it was hard to even imagine what any of the voices were saying, but one seemed to stand out from the rest. I looked at him, and suddenly the world around him faded away and his presence was the only one I felt. It seemed, for a quick moment, that even I had dissappeared from existance, and Taryn was all that remained. And then I heard his message.p> "I THINK I GOT IT!!!" I shouted.
"You do?!?!" He said.
"YES! You're thinking 'My doves flew through the cars to safety!' right?" I said, excited, and proud of what I did.
"Hahahahaha!!!" Taryn laughed and gave me a strange look. "Why in the hell would I say THAT?"
"Well....I don't know! It's YOUR kinky message!"
"Why don't you try it again there Copperfield?" He said, and with a giggle, looked into my eyes once again. This time it was a bit easier, not that I really knew what I was doing to make it work in the first place. "Okay...now what am I thinking?"
The feeling came back to me for a split second, and then left me. Then it hit me again, and left me. It was hard to stay focused on it once I had everything working right. Finally, I got to a point where I could hold the feeling long enough to give it another shot. "You're thinking...." And the same garbled message came to my mind, but as I focused on it a little bit more, it began to morph and change, becoming more evident in my thoughts. It began to take shape. It said 'my love flew through...' no wait...'my doves you threw because of safety'? 'Safely?' 'Doves'...no no...'love'...okay, I KNOW it's 'love'. And soon, the entire phrase came to me clear as day. And I said it outloud.
"I love you...because you saved me." I said, and Taryn gave me a very pleased look. He nodded his head, and walked over to gently rub his hand over my face, brushing my sandy blond hair out of my eyes.
"You did, you know? My world was so dark, Justin, so incredibly dark before you came into my life. I didn't see a way out of it all. I thought I was going to be alone forever."
"You're not alone Taryn, you've got me now."
He began to tear up, and that wonderful glow returned to his eyes, illuminating his whole face, making him all the more beautiful. "You have no idea what it was like. To feel like you have everything, and one day find out that you're just not happy. It's like you've been faking it your whole life, and you just can't go on with the lie anymore. It hit me all at once, and suddenly I longed for the sunlight again. For my second chance. I still do sometimes."
"That's why you were at the pier that night. Isn't it?" I asked.
Taryn nodded. "I still go there at night, looking out into the waves, and wishing that I could see one of those beautiful sunrises that I told you about. I felt so lost. Knowing I needed something, but not knowing what I wanted. Knowing I wanted things to be different, but not knowing what to do to change my life. It was such a helpless feeling. A waste of ambition. The night that you came to end your life, I thought about doing the same. I thought about just putting an end to all of this lonliness and misery and sacrificing myself for just one more sunrise. But you changed that for me, Justin. You gave me something to look forward to. Something to live for. It was you who reminded me that love can still exist in a heart as dead as mine was."
"Oh Taryn..." I said, hugging him tightly and letting him sob quietly over my shoulder. "I had no idea."
"I love you Justin...I love you so much. You're the light that I've been looking for my whole life." He whispered. I melted in his arms and his tears provoked waterworks of my own. To think, all this time I thought that it was him who had saved me from my misery. When in reality...we saved each other. By finding the other half that we were severly lacking. That we were so desperately searching for. It was an occurrence that neither one of us could ignore or walk away from. As Taryn cried into my shoulder, I hugged him tighter and tighter, hoping that he could feel my love for him through my embrace. And he sent me another message, which I seemed to read without even knowing it. It said 'I want to spend forever with you.'
I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I gushed outloud, "I want to spend forever with you too Taryn!" And I felt this energy pour out of me uncontrollably. It was like a mega rush of adrenaline and it shot forward without warning.
Taryn cried out in pain and held both sides of his head, falling to his knees in front of me. What happened? What did I do? Did I hurt him? I lifted his head and saw a small trickle of blood dripping from his nose. He teetered on his knees for a second, and then laid down on the ground. "Oh...oh man...I'm sorry! Did I do that?"
"It's...ahhh...it's okay dude. You just...um...pushed a little too hard is all. I'll be ok, just give me a minute." He said, rolling over on his back and covering his eyes. He was trying to hold it in, but I could tell that whatever I did to him really hurt. I felt so bad, and I wasn't even sure what the hell I did. I just felt so emotionally alive at that moment that it just spilled over by mistake. I laid down next to him on the cement and just enjoyed the silence for a while.
"I'm really REALLY sorry Taryn, ok?"
"Shhhh...I know. You didn't mean it. You'll get the hang of it soon. We'll practice." And just then some older gentleman went jogging by and saw us laying side by side on the ground. And this time, there was no jumble at all as he looked at us. His every thought was crystal clear as he passed by. A complete open book. Taryn and I both sensed him saying 'Fags! Get a room, will ya?' And we looked at each other for a second, and then just laughed ourselves silly! I don't know why, but we were litterally bursting at the sides at the very notion of being caught like that...and not caring at all. We'll be cuddling in hotels and on sidewalks long after that old geezer's GRANDCHILDREN are dead! So the hell with him! He only wishes he could be as happy as we are. Taryn seemed to feel a bit better and we both stood up groggily to look out into the lake again. I must admit, it was beautiful.
"I never get tired of the view from this place. Or any place by the lake really. I come here with questions in my heart, and the waves seem to whisper the answers. It's so enchanting at times."
Taryn was beginning to confuse me a bit. "What do you mean?"
"The lake. It just never changes. All of the properties and physics of it remains the same. The only thing that changes is your perspective of it, depending on where you are. Reminds me of life in general is all."
It still baffles me that he had such an eerie understanding of things and how they worked. It just changed the way I saw the little things in my life. "And what about your life? Specifically, I mean."
"My life? It's all a hazy memory to me now."
"Do you ever miss your family?" I said, knowing that it might be an offensive question to ask, but my curiosity got the best of me.
"....Sometimes...yeah, I suppose I do. I occassionally wonder what they're up to, what they're doing. How they felt when I dissappeared on that rainy day long ago. I'd be lying if I said they never crossed my mind." Taryn lowered his head and I hugged him from behind. "But like I said...that was a long time ago."
And that brought up yet another question that I've been dying to ask. It scared me a bit, but it would haunt me forever if I didn't. "Taryn, can I ask you a serious question?"
"Um....you're not...you're not 14 years old...are you?" He looked over at me, knowing that just because he was frozen in the body of a 14 year old boy, it didn't mean he was actually 14.
"I'm going to be honest with you...I've been with the others for ten years now, Justin. I'm 24 years old. 25 as of April." The words alone shocked me, and I was in complete disbelief. "Does it matter?" Taryn asked me, a little worried about the answer, but trying hard not to let on.
I leaned in, and kissed him softly on the lips. "Does it look like I care?" And the truth is, I didn't. When love comes to your door, no matter what shape or form it takes, you invite it in or risk never ever finding that kind of perfection in your life again. Sure, you'll find someone cuter, someone funnier, someone smarter. But love? Love is a rare thing indeed, and there's no 'what if' game to be played once it's gone. Wow...24 years old....kewl. If my mom ever found out, she'd kill me. Then it hit me...my mom never would find out. In fact, it hadn't really crossed my mind in all the commotion, but I had technically been 'missing' for almost a month! The kids in school, my teachers, my mom, Richie...as far as they were concerned, I had just vanished without a trace. And a slight pang of regret nudged me in the side. Regret for not telling my mother goodbye face to face. For making her worry about whether I had run away, or gotten hurt, or worse. For not seeing Richie one last time in the hospital. I felt the guilt take over and I wondered if they were out there somewhere, crying over me.
"C'mon, we should get going. Bryson said three hours, and I don't need the hassle for coming back late. I suggest we WALK this time. Hehehehe!" Taryn said, snapping me out of my dream world. I long for the day that any of this comes off as 'normal' in my eyes, but for right now it's fun learning about him. About everything that makes him who he is. Even his faults were attractive to me, not that I knew of many. We walked away from the lake, arm in arm, back to what I was now going to start calling 'home'. All the way back to camp, I just listened to him speak, cherishing every beautiful word. And when it was my turn to talk, he looked as though he was doing the same. My new life...my alternative to what I had before...as of that moment, I didn't see a downside.