The Ghost of Vernazza
~ Part 2 ~
For seven days, Calix returned to their spot, always to find Aseel there waiting for him. Each day they would sit where they had that first day and share stories of their lives, and with each day, Calix found himself drawn to the other man more and more. He wanted so badly to touch Aseel’s smooth skin. To feel the slight shadow of hair on Aseel’s jaw scratch against his face, his thigh. Calix wanted to kiss those lips and taste the sweet man. The more Aseel spoke, the more captivating he became, and the more mesmerized Calix was. Most of the time as Aseel spoke, Calix’s eyes remained glued to those lips, watching every move, every lick of tongue, and every up turn as the beautiful man smiled. And every day as the village became alive with people, Aseel bit him goodbye, with promises of returning the following morning.
As Calix walked back through town he became suddenly aware of stares and whispered words as he passed. At first, he didn’t think anything of it, but by the seventh or eighth person he started to pay more attention. He saw the strange looks some were giving him, and other’s eyes filled with sadness as if they pitied him. A few of the whispers confused him and Calix forced himself to listen closer, blocking out the sounds of the day. Most were in Italian and he had no clue what they were saying, but he could tell it wasn’t good just from their tone.
“That’s the one. The American that sits up on the cliffside every morning talking to himself, and laughing as if having a conversation.”
“Do you think he’s well, or should we call a medico?”
Calix began to feel very self-conscience and decided instead of going exploring as he usually did, that today he would go back to his hotel room and write. He would jot down some of the stories that Aseel had told him and maybe one day they would come in useful.
He remained writing through the afternoon and even called for food to be sent up to his room. Finally, because of Aseel, he had a spark of inspiration and a new story gripped him. Calix worked all through the night, until the first light of day shone through the window and hit him in the eye, blinding him. Calix held up his hand and moved his head back to block the light. “Shit! Aseel!” Calix quickly washed up and changed his clothes, before heading out. It was bad enough people were starting to talk. What would they say if they saw him in the same clothes he had worn the day before, covered in wrinkles?
He walked quickly and begun to run as he hit the streets, then climbed the long narrow stone stairway up to the top and around the cliff, to their spot. His chest filled his happiness and a smile crossed his lips just thinking of seeing beautiful Aseel again. With his lungs burning from the climb, Calix hurried around the bend and stopped for a moment, then continued, looking around and walking along the path for a few more yards, searching for his man. His man? The thought made him freeze in his tracks as his breath caught. He expected his brain to protest and agree with the villagers that he had indeed gone mad, but it didn’t. The thought actually brought comfort and joy to him and filled his heart with hope.
He turned around and went back to their spot and waited. Maybe Aseel was late getting up, or something had kept him? Calix sat and waited.
After an hour, he stood and began pacing, stopping once in a while to look out over the Sea. By the time he heard the bustling of the town, Calix’s heart was clenched in his chest and he felt like throwing up.
What if Aseel realized exactly how Calix was feeling toward him and got scared? Were the people here homophobic, making Aseel afraid to show who he was and what he wanted? Maybe...maybe Aseel had also heard the whispers in the village and he wasn’t coming back. Maybe he had heard worse, or thought that Calix was crazy as well?
Calix spent the next four hours waiting for Aseel, but he never showed. As the sun rose high overhead, he resigned himself to the fact that Aseel wasn’t coming. Calix swallowed down the disappointment and hurt he felt and slowly made his way back down the stairs to the town bellow and went straight to his room.
Once there, after closing himself in, Calix stripped and climbed into bed, pulling the covers to his chin. He didn’t understand why he felt so disappointed, so despondent. Yes he had loved spending time with the beautiful Syrian man, and had many fantasies of pulling the man close and kissing him, but he had never actually touched Aseel. Why then did the thought of never seeing Aseel again hurt so bad and fill him with despair?
Tears burned the backs of his eyes and Calix closed them tight as he lay on his side and curled into a ball. Pain and loneliness like he had never experienced before engulfed him.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
It had been two weeks since he had gone to talk to Calix and each day Aseel grew more disheartened. The first week of watching while Calix shown upon the ridge where they had previously met had been so hard. Every day he fought with his inner demons to go to the gorgeous man and apologize for his absence, but Aseel knew he could not.
Yes, he wanted to be with Calix, more than he ever wanted to be with anyone ever before. When he was in Calix’s presence he felt whole and happy for the first time in many years. He dreamed of going to Calix and being held in his arms, of feeling their lips come together, and of taking Calix’s manroot inside him. Just gazing upon the man made him feel a connection to another like never before.
As the days passed and they talked more and had gotten to know one another, Aseel knew that he had fallen in love with the sweet man. And looking into Calix’s eyes, he knew he was not alone. He could see the love for him glowing from Calix’s gaze. He could see the want and desire, and he craved it more than breath.
He knew he had to come to reason. What they shared could not be. They were from two different worlds and could never be together. When he had walked along the town he had heard their whispers and could see their stares. So, with a heavy heart, Aseel knew what he must do. He had to let Calix go. The beautiful man had his life to live and Aseel could not be a part of it.
But he had found that the more he tried to fight it, the more intense his need to be with Calix became. He tried to stay away, but the pull was too great. On that first morning, he had been determined to stay away, but after a few hours, Aseel lost the fight. He needed to see him. He needed to be near Calix.
Aseel approached their spot to find that Calix was not there and his heart hurt. He knew it was his own fault. He stepped to the edge and looked out over the Sea, wishing he could just leave this place. Too much pain remained here, and now the loss of Calix would be added to it.
Aseel turned, placing his back toward the Sea and closed his eyes against the agony that filled him. Suddenly a voice was heard and Aseel opened his eyes to see who it was. “I feel sorry for the man. He comes here every day talking to himself, laughing and looking like the happiest man in the world, but now he just looked so sad. Did you see him, Stanly?”
“Yes, Gwen, I saw him. How could I not, he almost ran us off the steps just now.”
Aseel’s heart clenched in his chest as he turned and looked down the long stairway, looking for a sign of Calix. Had he waited all this time for Aseel to show? What did he think happened to him? Would he come back?
The streets were too clogged with people and he could not find Calix. Aseel ran along the buildings, close to the walls as he dodged around people. Stretching his neck he looked down each ally as he passed, stopping a few times to look in store windows, but still he could not find Calix. After taking one full pass throughout to village and not finding Calix anywhere, suddenly a thought hit him and Aseel’s heart clenched in his chest.
“The train.” Besides by Sea, it was the only way in and out of Vernazza, and Calix would not have taken to the waters. He knew from their long conversations that Calix loved looking out over the Sea, but because he was so far from home and wasn’t familiar with these waters that he was a little afraid of them. Calix had told him he arrived by the train, so that is how he would leave. Had his love left the city? He didn’t think Calix would leave so soon, but where else could he be?
Aseel ran to the train platform and his shoulders dropped as he sighed heavily. The platform was empty and there was no train to be found. Defeated he slowly walked back toward the village, his thoughts on Calix and how much he would miss him.
Assel was so lost in his own thoughts that he hadn’t realized where he had walked to until he heard a familiar voice speaking from above. He stopped and looked up to find Calix standing on a balcony a few floors up, with something pressed to his ear, and he was talking as he paced from one end of the balcony to the other. The Hotel. He had been so dumb not to think of that. Of course, that is where Calix would have gone.
“I will. Okay. Yes, but...I found something here and I will need more time. Perfect. Thanks,” Calxi said, then pulled the item from his head and tossed it on the table beside him. Aseel watched as Calix gripped the iron bars of the railing at his waist and dropped his chin to his chest and sighed heavily. He wanted to reach out and touch the beautiful man. He wanted to comfort him and feel Calix’s arms around him.
Aseel opened his mouth to speak, but before he could, Calix spun around and walked back inside his room, closing the doors behind him. He knew he had to let Calix go, but he needed to see him one more time. Look into his amazing eyes again, and hear the tinkling of his laughter, so that he may take that with him after Calix was gone.
As he had walked away on that first day, the longing so great Aseel didn’t know how he had managed to walk away and not just go to Calix’s room and declare his love. It was the thoughts of how they had no life together that kept his feet moving farther away from his love.
That first week had been hell. Aseel went to the overlook where he could keep an eye on their spot, but Calix would not be able to see him, and every day he watched as Calix showed and spent hours waiting for him, before finally giving up and walking away. But it was the look in Calix’s eyes that broke him more than the need. The depth of the wonderful man’s heartache was visible in his eyes and facial expression, and on the way he carried himself. He hated that he was causing Calix so much pain, but it was how it had to be.
As much as he wanted to be with Calix and he knew that Calix returned his feelings, Aseel knew down into the deepest depths of his soul that they could not be and he had to let Calix go.
Raven Stone is an almost 500 year old vampire who is next in line for the throne to become the king of not only the vampires, but of the paranormal race as a whole. But to claim the throne he must to complete his Coterie, a circle of five men of different breeds of paranormal who are his destined mates. And he must claim them all before his 500th birthday, or he will lose the throne forever, and for the first time in paranormal history the Stone family will not hold the honor.
Raven has already found and claimed four of his mate’s, but his birthday approaches and forces are against he and his mates from finding their last mate. When Raven smells the scent of their last mate on a greedy vampire who leads the Clearnight Haven coven, he and his mate’s, Lorcan, Ash, Ciro, and Jareth, travel to the small town in upper Washington State in America.
Joel is a human who works at the local newspaper as a junior reporter, but if he can get the story of the century, he hopes it will be enough to convince his boss that he should be promoted to one of the senior reporters.
The town bigwig and major asshole, Malcolm Dean has gone missing, and no one even blinks an eye from his loss, but when the mysterious billionaire Raven Stone comes to town and takes over all of Dean’s business holdings, Joel smells the story he’s been looking for.
As Joel sneaks around trying to uncover what Raven Stone looks like and who he is, an even juicier story, with a bigger fish, an evil man named, Mario Gallo, gets dropped in his lap.
When Joel goes to The Raven Club to do a story on Raven Stone he never expected to find five men that he feels an overwhelming attraction to. After a night of mind blowing pleasure with the five men, Joel is shocked to learn who these men truly are and who they say he is to them. Joel isn’t ready for what they offer him and he runs, concentrating on his story, when suddenly Joel disappears.
When Raven and the others learn that Joel has gone missing, they know he is in danger and they must find him before it’s too late. And if they find him, will they be able to convince Joel that he belongs with them?
“Why am I here again?” Joel asked himself. “Oh, yeah. Because I’m a stupid turd.” Joel sighed and looked down the alley at the back door to “The Raven” club. He just needed one damn picture to go with his story. If he could get this story, his boss promised him a promotion to reporter for the newspaper he worked for. He had been stuck as a research clerk for five years now and he was tired of getting passed over time and again. He knew Mr. Devlin didn’t think he could get the scoop on the new hotshot in town, but he was hungry for this promotion. So, he would do whatever he had to do to get it.
The back door to the club opened and Joel held his breath. He raised his camera and got ready. Please let it be Raven Scott. Nobody had been able to get a good shot of the newest mega millionaire to the area since he arrived six months ago. The guy remained a mystery to most people around here. He stayed to himself and never did any interviews. Every paper and news station within a hundred-mile radius was scrambling to get the scoop on him.
Not that having a rich businessman to the area was new, but the details of Raven Scott’s appearance raised suspicion. Previously the small city of Clearnight Haven, in one of the uppermost parts of Washington State, was basically owned by Malcolm Dean. The man owned about eighty percent of the businesses in and around the area. He was a powerful force around here and everyone feared him. Then one day he just disappeared. No one knows what happened to him and only the city officials seemed to care.
He was a ruthless prick who thought he was better than everyone else and thought he was above the law. He did what he wanted, when he wanted, and spread his money around to make things disappear that could cause trouble for him and his associates. People got out of his way when he walked down the street, afraid he would zero in on them and bring trouble to their lives.
So, when the man just dropped off the face of the planet, the residents of Clearnight breathed a sigh of relief. Life had been better here since the prick left. That was until a month later when all his properties were bought up by Scott enterprises.
Very few people in Clearnight Haven even knew what Raven Scott looked like. He was never seen out in public during the day and very rarely at night. From what Joel had heard, the man was a recluse that stayed mostly to his mansion over near Slip Point. It was very secluded and surrounded by a brick wall about ten feet high. The only glimpse you could get of the place was passing the huge main gates. Even then you couldn't really see the house. One could also go out onto the Strait of Juan de Fuca and drive past with a boat, but Joel didn’t have a boat. So, he was stuck here trying to follow the guy.
The door swung open and four men stepped out into the alley. Three of them were huge with bulging muscles. They all wore black suits, shiny black shoes, and black sunglasses. It reminded Joel of ‘The Men in Black’. They must be bodyguards. But why would they be wearing sunglasses at two in the morning? That wasn’t all that caught his attention. The big dudes looked around as if trying to make sure the coast was clear. They surrounded the fourth man and waited. What were they waiting for? As soon as the thought entered his mind, a long black limousine came toward the group from the far end of the alley.
“Come on you big blockheads, move so I can get a shot,” Joel whispered under his breath as he aimed the camera at the group. Through the viewfinder of the camera it looked like the man in the middle turned his head in Joel’s direction as if he had heard Joel’s whispered words. But he didn’t turn his head completely, so no clear shot yet. The car pulled to a stop in front of them and one of the guards opened the back door and stepped aside, allowing the guy in the middle to step forward and enter the car. Just before the man entered, his head snapped in Joel’s direction and his eyes stared right at Joel through the camera lens.
Joel was frozen when those eyes looked at him. His breath caught in his throat and his heart began to beat faster. He was the most stunningly beautiful man that Joel had ever seen. His shoulder length straight black hair was so dark it looked like he had blue highlights running through it. A strong, square jaw with just a slight stubble of dark hair, that surrounded full, pink, kissable lips. A sleek nose that went up to two amazingly beautiful deep cobalt blue eyes, and the longest, thickest, black lashes he had ever seen on a man.
Joel’s eyes scanned down what he could see of the man's body and what he saw was wide shoulders and maybe a strong chest. He really couldn’t tell under the black dress shirt the man wore under his black suit. Movement through the camera drew his attention back to the man's face and the hottie was still looking at him. But now he wore a smirk on those delicious looking lips and his eyes shone with amusement. Joel’s cock went granite hard in zero point one seconds.
When the man started to bend to get in the car, Joel quickly snapped off a picture. All heads then turned in his direction. He closed his eyes and cursed his stupidity. He forgot to shut off the damn flash. When he opened his eyes, he saw two of the large men turn and take a step in his direction. He swallowed hard as sweat broke out on his brow. Run, you stupid ass. But Mr. Hot-as-hell’s lips moved and the two guards stopped and turned back. The hottie flashed Joel one more sexy grin and then disappeared into the back of the limousine. The three brutes followed and the door closed. The car headed in his direction and Joel quickly jumped around the corner of the building and pressed his back to the bricks, hoping they wouldn’t see him.
The car came out of the alley and stopped at the corner, but it didn’t move on. Joel stared at the rear blackout window and he could swear he felt the man’s eyes on him, boring into his soul. A heat started within his chest and his foot moved, taking a step forward. Joel felt like he was being pulled toward the car by an invisible force. Just as his foot was about to hit the pavement he pulled it back and shook the dizzying sensation from his head. Air rushed back into his lungs and he gulped the salty air. The car rolled forward and turned left. Joel stood motionless as he watched the taillights disappear.
Maggie has been married for twenty years and has four children. She is a Long Island girl who now lives in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Maggie has always loved anything that has to do with the arts. Music is one of her biggest passions. She was a photographer and artist in her earlier days and spends hours sketching anything that catches her eye. Maggie loves to write about big, strong, tough men who have a softer side. Most of the time you can find Maggie running around with her kids, sketching, or sitting with her laptop creating new characters, as music always plays in the background.
To find out more about Maggie, what she’s working on, and what’s coming next, please visit her Website at:
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Siren author page: http://www.bookstrand.com/maggie-walsh
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Maggie-Walsh/e/B00NB8YAGS/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1426884194&sr=8-1