Box Shaped Heart Ch. 5

 

By Laura S. Fox

 

Copyright 2018 Laura S. Fox

 

All Rights Reserved

 

Gay Erotica

 

Intended for Mature Audiences Only

 

This story will contain graphic depictions of sexual intercourse, strong language and it is not meant for readers who are less than 18 years of age.

 

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"Curioser and curioser!" cried Alice ...

-        Lewis Carroll Alice in Wonderland

Chapter Five Curioser and Curioser

It was surprisingly easy to gain access to Carter Malis's room, aka himself, with Alex Ruskin's looks. Everyone knew him and everyone was certain he was some kind of friend to the man lying there, trapped in his own mind, and hooked on medical devices that barely kept him alive.

The nurse fretted around him for like a minute, during which he didn't dare to look at the pristine white bed. A single glimpse of a pale arm resting on top of the sheet was close enough to make him heave. Eventually, the nurse, another, not Marge, let him be.

"I let you two boys catch up. Talk to him, Mr. Ruskin. Hearing a familiar voice might help him find his way out of his coma."

She knew nothing. Alex's voice was nothing familiar to Carter. Yes, he knew the guy from all the ads, and the tabloids showing Aron and him attending various social functions. But, otherwise, if it was Alex Ruskin or one of the Kardashians, that was pretty much the same thing for Carter. He wasn't watching TV, either.

As soon as the nurse left, he gathered enough courage to walk towards the bed. His actual face was an unpleasant shade of deep purple, with dark spots in places. The device placed over the nose was slowly filling with air, condensing on the plastic. The rhythmic sound of breathing and the small beeps from the machines keeping his body alive were the only things breaking the silence of the room.

The nurse had told him that Aron had taken care of paying for Carter's medical bills, assuming that he already knew that. Aron hadn't mentioned it, but Carter was glad he still had a friend in his former best friend. The room where his body had been placed was nice, away from the crowded areas, and it seemed cozy. Not that the guy lying on the bed could care less about it all. He was obviously dead to the world.

"Hey," he whispered.

Could comatose people hear anything from what happened around them? He did not know. The stupid articles he had read on the topic completely by accident told all kinds of horrendous stories. People in coma seemed trapped in a nightmare, not able to move, or speak, or do anything. Just watch their dear ones debating whether they should pull the plug or not.

Well, he wasn't here for that.

"Hey, Alex," he spoke again.

What if Alex wasn't inside him? What if he was just trying to speak to an empty shell? He watched the screen on which the vitals beeped softly. The thought was rushing through him like murky water released through a draining pipe.

"It's like the weirdest thing happened, okay? I don't want you to freak out," Carter continued to speak gently. "But it looks like I'm Carter Malis and I'm trapped inside you, and, well, you're here, in a coma, and you're in my body."

The vitals continued their monotonous pattern. It was stupid to believe a comatose patient was hearing anything.

"So I'm going to touch you, okay?" Carter spoke, refusing to lose hope.

He was hesitant to touch the inert hand resting on the sheet. But eventually he took it and held it. He had no idea what he was supposed to do next. It was not like he was an expert in body exchange or whatever this was.

Hmm, maybe he was supposed to be closer? He hoped he didn't have to do something gross like kiss himself. But there were so many theories that the soul could travel out of the body through the mouth, via one last breath, or something like that. Maybe he could at least get closer to his comatose body.

The bed was wide, so it was pretty weird to try getting closer. Eventually, he chose to climb the bed, and lay next to Carter/Alex. Now he was side by side with the body, but he didn't feel anything. He focused and tried to even hold his breath, but there was still nothing.

All right, maybe he could try the kissing part. If Alex's soul wanted to get out of there, it couldn't because of that thing over his mouth. Gently, he pulled it up a little and attempted a kiss. Suddenly, the vitals began running amok, and, in pure surprise, Carter slapped the plastic mask back on his body's mouth.

A nurse rushed into a room and remained dead in her tracks for a fraction of a moment and then rushed to examine the patient. Feeling awkward enough, Carter got off the bed and watched the nurse adjusting the plastic mask on the patient's face. The vitals returned to normal. What if he had just missed his chance?

"What were you doing? Trying to kill him?" the nurse admonished him.

Well, it wasn't like he didn't know that thing kept the body on the bed alive, but it was a risk he had to consider. Or maybe the kiss theory was just a load of crap. He was so lost in his own musings that he didn't realize that the woman in white overalls was still waiting for an explanation.

"No, no!" he protested, a bit too forcibly. "I was just ... trying to get a reaction out of him."

"A reaction? By suppressing his air supply? His lungs would not work on their own, you know? I realize that you are some big star, Mr. Ruskin, but that definitely doesn't make you an expert in health care," the woman glared at him over her thick-rimmed glasses.

Wow, someone who didn't like him. Didn't like Alex, actually. Well, that was refreshing. But that didn't change the fact that whatever he had tried hadn't worked. He must have had a really desolated look on his face, as the nurse's pursed lips began to melt into an apologetic smile.

"Are you close to Mr. Malis?"

"Not really, my husband is friends with him, but the fact that we were both involved in the same accident ... makes me think I have a duty towards him. To help him get well," he said quickly.

The nurse came close to him and patted him on the arm.

"Leave that to us, dear. Visit him, talk to him, but please don't ever touch anything again. We're hoping that he will wake up soon."

"Okay," he nodded.

Well, it looked like the nurse now no longer wanted to leave, which meant that visitation hours were done for the day, or at least for him, the guy who tried to not so accidentally kill the patient by taking off the mask.

"I should get going," he said and the nurse nodded at him with a hint of relief in her myopic eyes.

Great, now he was nothing short than the enemy of the state in the woman's eyes. He wondered if he would get another chance to be alone with his own body, and try to reach Alex on the other side.

***

Well, it looked like he was going to spend at least some time in this body, so it was for the best to get to know it. He took off all his clothes and stood in front of the full-size mirror in the bathroom. Vanity was too little a word to describe that space. It was a temple worthy of a beauty queen. Carter had browsed through all the lotions, creams, and whatever other stuff was, just to get a bit acquainted with Alex's lifestyle.

He had given up by the time he read on a cream that said it was for afternoon treatments. He hadn't lived under a rock, and he had a vague idea about beauty regimens since he had once had a girlfriend obsessed with her nighttime treatment, but having a cream for afternoon care sounded pretty extra.

Now it was time to examine himself a little. It was quite strange that he no longer felt that uneasy inhabiting another dude's body. Wasn't supposed to be a rule about this or something? You shan't feel good except in your own skin? Maybe he was still trapped in a nightmare and this was going to end soon.

No, dreams could not be this long and vivid. He was just trying to fool himself, nothing else. For lack of anything better to do, he began examining Alex's body in the mirror. How could the guy survive while being this skinny?

The most annoying part was that he didn't look bad like this. Alex was fine-boned, and had a harmonious, lean body. There weren't bones sticking everywhere; if anything, he had the body of a young dancer. And seeing that Alex was what? 25? 26?, that said something about the fucker's good genes.

And everything about him was so flawless and symmetrical. His face was really worthy of starring in commercials. Alex had striking green eyes, perfect eyebrows, probably manscaped, of a darker ash blonde compared to his hair, hair that was shaved fashionably high to complement the quiff.

It was so easy to change facial expressions that Carter found himself fascinated with making faces in the mirror. A little pout, and the guy looked like he could convince Cleopatra to surrender her throne just to see him no longer miffed like a child. A small smile, and he looked sexy. Yeah, that was a panty-dropping smile, right there. Well, that if the guy had been into girls, which he was not. Anyway, he clearly could charm anyone out of their pants, and probably more.

Carter sighed. So the guy was perfect. A look at the plump lips made him instantly think of Aron's words. You're amazing with blowjobs, the guy had said. No wonder there. The guy had the most beautiful lips Carter had ever seen, and it was not that unfathomable to imagine him getting on his knees and servicing his husband with his mouth.

He groaned, as his eyes traveled lower. His damn cock was springing up to attention. He could not remember ever having gay thoughts in his life before the accident and this stupid body swap. But all this had to happen because Alex was gay, and this was his body, hence gay thoughts. Although the brain seemed to belong to Carter, for now.

But was he really sure about that? From a physical point of view, the brain actually still belonged to Alex. And the neural pathways or whatever those were called were trained to think of blowjobs, and gay sex, and a sexy husband who had gone down on ...

Carter straightened up and exhaled. Could this make him gay? Living inside a gay guy's body? Was it really cheating if he slept with Aron, while being Alex? It was basically the same body. Wait, what was he thinking again? The episode from last night was already making him think that he was crossing barrier after barrier like he was a runner on steroids.

But, seriously, now he was starting to get a bit curious. How would it be to ...? He turned to examine Alex's backside. A cute, pert butt came into view. Hell, Carter was straight, and yet he could still appreciate that sight. Slowly, he grabbed his buttocks and pulled them apart. From there, a small pink hole was staring at him like it wanted to ask him what the fuck he was looking at. That was the thing Aron had stared at last night and jizzed all over.

Carter had seen Aron's cock. He had held it in his hand. And that thing was huge. There was no way that cannon could pass through that tiny hole. No wonder Alex was such a fussy lover. That had to fucking hurt. Yeah, Carter could sympathize with the guy. And Aron could just go suck it.

Actually, no, not suck it. That had instantly brought images of Aron on his knees, looking at him with hooded eyes and swiping his tongue all along Carter's shaft. It hadn't mattered that it was basically Alex's cock; Carter had felt it. And it had felt pretty darn good.

Well, at least, his theory of having too tiny an asshole to withstand a fucking from his beloved husband was holding water. The proof was right there, in front of him. Aron should have known better than marry a skinny guy, no matter how beautiful, with a tiny fuck hole. Everything Aron was enduring now was his own making.

He was pleased with that realization. He was not going to regret fending off Aron's advances from now on. It was only right to do that and he was sure of it. All he needed to confirm his decision was to take a look at Alex's tiny asshole in the mirror.

***

How could he change back into his body, though? Maybe he could just ask Google. People were talking about the weirdest things online right now, so if anyone had happened to go through the same experience, they were likely to share their experience and thoughts on social media.

Half an hour later, Carter was still as unknowledgeable on the matter as he had been when he had opened the laptop. He was about to just go to the kitchen and grab something to eat, when he heard, quite distinctly, a phone ringing.

He searched with his eyes until he noticed the smartphone on the nightstand. A pretty thing, dressed in a rose gold case and decorated with Swarovski crystals. That had to be Alex's phone, there was no other explanation.

He had a mind to just let it ring. But maybe it was Aron, worrying about one thing or another, and wanting to check on his husband. Eventually, Carter decided to grab it from the nightstand. It wasn't Aron. He just put it back, decided to continue his foray in the knowledge of body-swapping that was the Internet.

The phone rang again. Well, he could not avoid being Alex forever. Maybe just talking to someone Alex knew on the phone was a good start. Plus, he didn't want to create any more suspicions and he didn't want to have doctors really look at his head and decide that he was the perfect candidate for a visit to the loony bin.

The name on the screen said Yolanda. Sounded like someone working in the fashion business. Well, he had to do it, anyway. So he inhaled and swiped right. The phone wasn't locked.

"Alex, I am so going to kill you!" a high-pitched voice made him take the phone away from his ear and grimace as if he had just had lemon wedges for lunch. That was probably the kind of meal Alex usually indulged in.

"Hey, Yolanda," he answered, a bit unsure.

"Don't hey, Yolanda, me, you fucking diva," the female voice on the other end reached an even higher pitch. It was probably out of any musical scale in existence, and it broke the sound barrier faster than a supersonic jet. "Get your ass right here, right now. And if I catch a single scratch on that beautiful face of yours, I'm sending you to Switzerland for a full recovery treatment!"

Carter jumped to his feet and hurried to look in a mirror. He was in no mood to go to Switzerland. His body was still in the hospital. He exhaled in relief as he noticed that there was no trace of the scratches from before on Alex's handsome face.

"No, I'm totally perfect," he hurried to communicate the results of his examination to the woman on the other end.

"Good," the woman seemed a bit appeased. "So what are you doing at home? Get your ass here right this instant!"

"I'm still on medical leave," he said sharply.

Whoever this Yolanda was, he didn't like her. She was a shrew and a slave driver. Supposedly.

"Honey, you're on medical leave if you have a medical problem. Can you stand?"

"Yeah, I can," Carter replied.

"Then chop-chop! Come to work or else."

"Or else what?" he tried his luck.

A growl that might have belonged to a lion on a diet or a pissed wild cat was the only answer.

"Alex, you don't want to know what else means in my vocabulary," Yolanda said sweetly, but Carter was no fool.

That woman was probably sharpening her nails right now. He shuddered at the sudden image of Cruella de Vil crossed with Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada flashing in front of his eyes.

"So, do you need me?" he examined his face again in the mirror. "Like right now?"

"Like this morning, but let's just pretend that I can live with you being fashionably late."

"Fashionably late? It's 1 pm," Carter snorted.

"Yes, like in the definition of a rock star on coke, dear. Come now, don't keep mommy waiting."

Mommy? He was damn certain that devil of a woman had not one maternal bone in her skinny body. Well, she had to be skinny.

"Wait, I need to eat something first," Carter said.

"Eat? Come now, Alex, fashion icons never eat. Come lean and hungry, dear. This is what brings home the dough."

Carter shrugged. He was just going to grab a burger on his way to wherever Alex was working.

"Okay. Just give me the address."

"What?" the voice reached the top notes from before in less than a fraction of a second.

"Ah, didn't I tell you?" Carter said airily. "I'm kind of amnesic."

"Shit," the woman seemed appeased now, but, surprisingly enough, she sounded more human. "Should I let you rest then?"

"Nah, the doc says I should go back to familiar things, and it will all come back to me."

"Great! Don't worry! I'll be here for you!" Yolanda said brightly.

He wasn't sure he liked it when she said that.

***

He was more than content with the cheeseburger he had on the way to work, and he was now ready to face that harpy named Yolanda. Lean and hungry, my ass, he thought to himself. He was not one to be denied his protein. Maybe he could fatten Alex a little while at it. The guy was going to throw a hissy fit when they were going to get back to the way they were supposed to be. And when that was going to happen, he was ready to grab the popcorn and watch the show.

The fashion studio was housed by the same building sheltering a beauty mag and a fitness club. It all looked hip and, of course, fashionable, and it sort of intimidated him. But, as he passed through the chrome plated revolving doors, he could only think of one thing.

Don't blow it.

A doorman dressed in livery that looked taken from a musical hurried to welcome him, offering him a pass since he naturally didn't have his. From there, he was guided to an elevator and sent directly to Yolanda's office.

He could tell, even without looking that everyone was talking about him. In hush-hush voices, but all a smile as they greeted him. And all these people looked like they were candidates to Next Top Model. He had to admit that he felt thankful he was walking in Alex's shoes for a change. All these beasts dressed in designer clothes looked like they were about to rip him to shreds and the only thing keeping them from doing that was that Alex had creed. Like fashion creed, not street creed, and in this people's eyes, loaded with too much mascara, that was all that mattered.

He was ready to face Yolanda Jones, as he read the name on the door. Yeah, he could take her.

"Alex," a woman measuring no more than 5.1 sauntered from her desk and hurried to him.

She looked nothing like Meryl Streep or Cruella. She was just a short lady, dressed smartly in a pants suit the color of duck eggs, sporting a black bob with blue reflections. Her small round eyes reminded him of Marge from the hospital. And where he expected to see cruelty and the determination and lack of human empathy necessary for swinging a whip, he saw only kindness.

"So glad you're fine," she said as she began touching him everywhere like she wanted to make sure that he had all his 206 bones. "You had me worried, pumpkin!"

"Yolanda?" he said expectantly. Maybe this woman was just the secretary.

"Yes, dear?" she said quickly.

"I thought you were going to have my head over the phone."

"Why would I? You're here," she said matter-of-factly. "Well, sometimes you need a little kick in the teeth. Figuratively speaking. Trust me, you bring out the worst in me. Before I met you, I almost never used four-letter words. Now, onto serious business. We have to prep you for the shampoo commercial at 3, and then we need to talk to the guys from that cosmetics company, you know, the one with the organic products. Dear, please do bear in mind to channel the bitchiest you, because we need to be tough. These people think that if they add a smidge of green to a label, they're suddenly emissaries from God Almighty. In other words, they think they are entitled to a cheaper deal. Are you with me? And are you really fine, sweetie?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. And about all you said, sure thing, boss," Carter said with a small smile.

Yolanda Jones was not a wild cat, but more of a mother hen.

"Okay," she said, shaking her head and making a few hairs flew out from her perfect bob. "You never called me boss," she added.

"Well, you're the boss around here, right?" Carter shrugged.

Maybe the more he was blowing his cover, the more the powers that be were going to notice the mistake they made by misplacing him and Alex Ruskin. It was an alternative to consider.

"Right," Yolanda said hesitantly, but didn't pursue. "Go make yourself pretty. Ah, and your new assistant should arrive around 5, after we're out of the meeting. Please, Alex, don't be harsh on the boy. I told him not to come since I didn't know for sure that you were going to be here. You know he has amazing references ..."

"Don't worry, I won't be hard on him," Carter waved.

He could sense Yolanda was uncomfortable around him and he wanted to put her mind at ease.

"Promise?" the woman stared from below.

"Yeah," he shrugged.

Maybe it was a good thing he had a new assistant. He was going to be able to relax in the presence of someone who didn't know Alex Ruskin personally. But, until then, he had plenty of things on his plate.

***

A few hours later, he was groaning while letting his head drop on his desk. He even had his own office. Now he sort of felt for Alex. After having his hair washed, brushed and styled for at least five times until the director shooting the ad was satisfied, he could tell that his scalp wanted to join a union and ask for humane working conditions.

At least the part with the organic cosmetics company had been a bit less demanding. The poor guys had been so scared by the frown on his face that they had decided to accept all the conditions pushed under their eyes by a dutiful and very professional Yolanda.

Now he was just going to wait for his new assistant and then he was free to go.

A playful knock on his door made him raise his head.

"Come in," he shouted, unsure if that could be easily heard through the metal door. It made him feel like he was in a bunker.

Someone slid through the door swiftly, like he was trying to come in unnoticed. The visitor was a guy in his late 30s, prematurely bald, and, by the size of his belly, the kind who didn't seem to mind seconds.

"Yes?" he asked, seeing that his guest was busy stealing glances towards the door like he was prepared to see someone walking through it and following him.

"I don't have a lot of time, but I did arrange ... those for you," the man spoke, as he began to unhook his belt.

Carter stared at the man's fatty fingers struggling with the fly. What was this guy thinking? That this was the toilet? When the guy pulled out a flaccid cock, Carter just looked away. Okay, so Alex Ruskin could indeed make everyone lose their pants, but what the hell was this?

The man finally seemed to notice his lack of response.

"Alex, please, you promised," he began to beg.

Carter was cringing so hard that he thought he was going to puke. His eyes traveled to the guy's cock and he winced.

"Put that thing away, man, what the fuck?" he spoke.

The visitor stopped, hanging his fingers awkwardly on the edge of his pants. He was now staring at Alex.

"Come on, you promised," the man said, now more impatiently.

Carter took one deep breath.

"I have no idea who the fuck you are and what you say I promised you. But I'm a married man, so take your dick out of here."

He hoped he looked menacing enough as he pointed towards the door. The man cursed as he pushed his dick back inside his pants.

"You said you would suck my dick if I helped you with those," the man pointed a fat finger at him.

Carter snorted.

"Like I would get on my knees for you. Whatever you did for me, undo," he said nonchalantly.

He had no idea what the guy was babbling about. The man now seemed on the point of choking.

"Really, dude, don't have a heart attack here. I don't know CPR," he warned, again pointing at the door.

The guy finally understood and crawled towards the exit. To Carter's surprise, another shady looking character sneaked inside as the first one left. He had a hunch this one was also going to wave his naked dick at him, by the look he gave him.

The difference was that shady character number two was a handsome young man, with a swarthy complexion and a sleek air about him, like he was an animal grown for his coat. What was the name of that little critter? Ah, a chinchilla. The truth was that he was not that shady. His eyes were shifty, though. Carter took in the tall man, and his lean build smartly dressed in a designer suit. Was he probably a model buddy or something? He definitely looked the part.

"Seriously, Alex, to get on your knees for that guy. I knew you to have standards," the new comer pointed towards the door. "And, for fuck's sake, be a little less obvious. If people are seen coming and going here like from a public toilet, you're going to have people talking."

"Duly noted," Carter said dryly.

Of course, if guys around here were used to visit Alex's office, dick in hand, the comparison was probably correct.

"Now who the fuck are you, and what brings you here?" he gestured towards his guest with a pointy pen he just grabbed from his desk.

The model buddy looked hurt when his eyes trained on Carter.

"Are you for real, Alex? Don't pretend you don't know me! What the hell?"

"I've just been released from the hospital. It looks like I have amnesia," Carter spoke.

It was the easiest way to fend off these creeps. His mind was a blank slate, pristine and untouched. Unlike Alex's dance card, obviously.

"Oh," the man spoke, a bit taken aback. "Well, I don't mind refreshing your memory," he seemed to bounce back rather quickly and started to walk towards Carter with a sly smile on his lips.

Carter raised his hands in defense.

"How about you stay right there and tell me your name."

He dutifully grabbed a notebook from the desk and set his pen on a blank page. And then he looked at the guy.

"Wow, you're serious," the guy spoke. "You really don't remember me? Wait, do you remember others, or you simply don't know a thing?"

Carter swung his head from one side to the other, with a forced smile on his lips.

"Well, I do know and remember the important stuff. And people. Like Yolanda." He was such a huge liar. "And Aron." Not an equally big liar here.

"Aron? Your cheating husband?" the man threw him a look like he couldn't believe a word.

"He's not a cheater," Carter protested.

"Well, I don't blame the guy. If he knew how much dick you get on the side ..."

Even Carter was taken aback by how the pen in his hand flew like a projectile. He had apparently squeezed too hard. The guest looked at him surprised.

"What?" he asked innocently. "It's not like I'm going to tell," he glared. "I don't want to be at the receiving end of your wrath."

"Well, until I get the hang of everything around here," he said slowly, "how about we, ahem, suspend our little arrangement?"

The man looked at him pensively.

"Are you kicking me at the curb?"

Carter pondered for a couple of seconds. On one hand, Aron didn't deserve to be cheated on like this. Well, not like this. Not at all, actually. On the other hand, he had the time travel slash body swapping rule of not intervening. What was he to do?

"You know what?" he told the guy, smiling widely. "I just realized that I'm happily married and that I want to stay this way."

"Really? After Aron cheated on you?"

"He didn't cheat," Carter said slowly.

"How can you tell?" the guy snorted. "Come on, you're a catch, Alex, but it's not like Aron is not a looker. He can make a lot of guys drop to their knees and show their appreciation. And you know that."

"I had a recent head-on with Miss Death. I think it was a signal for me to mend my ways. So this is what I'm doing. Plus, I took a vow when I got married. I'm not going to sully that by sleeping around. Well, at least not anymore."

"I'll be damned," the guy whispered. "Are you sure? What about me?"

"What about you?" Carter shrugged.

The man's frown deepened. There was something in the way the guy looked at him that told Carter that the guest was pretty shaken by the change in what he knew. He was too young to hide his feelings well.

"All right, Alex. I'll give you a few days. You'll come around. And think whether Aron is really the faithful husband you think he is. He could have anyone."

"Ah, well, he has me, and I have him," Carter said sharply. "Now, I believe you have plenty of other things to do."

"I freed my schedule so I can see you," the guy protested, and his sweet brown eyes turned pleading.

Ugh, he could not stand the puppy eyes look. When some girl did that to him, he somehow always ended up buying something expensive for her.

"Too bad," Carter reigned in his temptation to give in to the temptation to comfort the guy. "See you around."

The man left without a word. Funny, he hadn't mentioned his name. That was pretty rude. Plus, he hadn't even cared to ask whether Alex was all right after that freakish accident he had been involved in. Ah, well, chinchilla slash puppy eyes guy could go fuck himself.

He let his head rest on the desk again. So Alex was a huge jerk, sleeping around and keeping his husband on a tight leash at home. What if the guy was engaging in risky sex behavior on a constant basis? He could feel cold sweat on his back. Maybe the guy had some STDs or something. Damn it! And Aron had no idea! He needed to get this stupid body tested. What if the guy didn't even care about using protection?

Another knock on the door made him groan. He shouted for the new comer to come in. Without lifting his head off the desk, he just raised his hands, exposing the ring finger on the left with the wedding band and pointing at it with the right.

"Married! Happily married!" he yelled, hoping that the new guy was just going to leave without additional explanations.

"I know, boss," a young voice said brightly. "I know everything about you."

Carter raised his head and took in the new apparition. A young man in his early twenties, with a messenger bag thrown casually over one shoulder, wearing a plaited shirt and washed out jeans, was smiling at him from the door. He wore thick rimmed glasses and seemed to have done that before it was cool, and his preppy chestnut hair was perfectly glued to his head.

"Hello, Mr. Ruskin. I'm Mark Williams, your new assistant. Pleased to meet you," the young man hurried to him, keeping one arm stretched.

Carter stood up and shook the guy's hand, surprised that it wasn't another man wanting sexual favors from him.

"Hi, Mark. And welcome. Sorry if I'm a mess. I just got back from the hospital."

"Yes, I heard," Mark kept his hand in his.

For a second, Carter thought he saw the assistant's eyes flickering in kaleidoscopic colors. But the next one, they looked just an ordinary brown. It had been, probably, just a trick of the light.

TBC

Author's note:

I am away for almost the entire month of August, which means that for a few weeks, there won't be updates. I will resume the regular posting when I get back.

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