A WEEK IN PARIS
~ Paris ~
~ Paris ~
Eliot had been fine for most of the day. The two and a half hour journey on the Eurostar had breezed by with the help of the movies he had downloaded to his tablet. He hadn't felt nervous at all, that was until he stepped off the train.
He had met David on Facebook. One of his friends, Lee, had stayed with David as part of a student exchange programme when they were at school and the two of them had remained friends. After several instances where the two men found themselves in a conversation in the comments of Lee's posts, Eliot had sent David a friend request. What followed was nearly six months of the two of them talking, first in private messages, than through texts, and finally culminating in video chats.
It was probably silly to feel so much for a man he had never actually met, but he couldn't help it. Talking to David was the best part of his day. They had even had dates where they would watch the same movie at the same time while talking on Facetime.
Now they were finally going to meet in the flesh.
The platform was crowded. Eliot moved with the hive, his gaze scanning signs as he looked for the place he was supposed to meet David.
"Eliot," he heard the now familiar voice call to him.
Turning, Eliot's heart leapt in his chest as he finally came face-to-face with the man who had already come to mean so much to him.
He couldn't stop the grin from spreading over his face. The two of them pushed through the crowd to get to each other and when they were finally in reach Eliot dropped his bag and the two of them wrapped their arms around each other.
"You're here," David said, his accented voice like heaven in Eliot's ear.
Eliot squeezed him harder and buried his face in David's neck. He had wondered, all too often, what David smelled like, and now he knew. He smelled faintly of cologne and sandalwood shampoo.
Eliot had known he was falling for David already but being there, holding each other the way that they were, he knew that by the end of the week he was going to be in love.
When they finally pulled apart they both just grinned at each other.
"So, how was your journey?" David asked as he picked up Eliot's bag.
"Good," Eliot said. "Boring, but good."
David stood there and stared at him for a moment. "I can't believe you're finally here."
"I know. All those evenings talking on the phone and now here we are," Eliot said, unable to wipe the smile from is face.
David reached out his hand and cupped Eliot's face. "Let's go."
Eliot followed David to his car feeling lighter and happier than he had in a long time.
* * * *
Finally having Eliot there, in his apartment, after all those months of talking and flirting, actually felt a bit weird. Through FaceTime they had talked about pointless random things, mocked each other's cultures, and had some pretty heated debates over who was the best Doctor in Doctor Who. It was clearly David Tennant, Eliot didn't know what he was talking about. What kind of maniac picked Christopher Eccleston anyway?
Now that Eliot was finally here, standing in David's kitchen looking awkward, things seemed a bit different, strained even.
Conversation had been a bit stilted in the car. David spoke English fluently and Eliot knew some French, though he had been learning more through an app on his phone.
"So," Eliot began as he stood by the counter. He scratched the back of his neck. "Um, do you live close to where you work?"
David could see that Eliot was nervous but he didn't understand why.
"Is everything okay?" he asked, deciding to ignore Eliot's random attempt at small talk.
"What? Yes. Why?"
"Eliot, it's me," David said. "You're acting like we're strangers."
Eliot put his face in his hands and groaned. "I know. I'm being an idiot. Now that we're here together I don't know what to say or how to act."
David smiled at that. "You're nervous."
Eliot frowned. "Maybe. A little."
That was it. David couldn't go another second having never kissed him. He walked the few steps that separated them and framed Eliot's face with his hands. He stroked his thumb over Eliot's high cheek bone and slowly leaned in for a kiss.
He had thought about kissing Eliot a lot over the past few months, and more than kissing, but nothing his imagination could dream up could possibly compare.
He felt the moment Eliot relaxed into it. All the tension left his body and he put his arms around David's waist.
When David broke the kiss he looked into Eliot's darkened eyes.
"I had a whole evening planed for us," David told him. "It included dinner at a restaurant and a walk along the canal."
Eliot smiled at him. "That sounds nice."
"Or we could spend the rest of the day in bed," David suggested.
Eliot's eyes went wide for a moment before he started nodding. "That sounds even better."
* * * *
Eliot should really have known better than to get into a long distance relationship. The week they had spent together had been amazing but it was over way too soon. He didn't want to go back to London and only get to see David every other weekend. He had always looked forward to their FaceTime dates but now that he had touched David, and made love with him, he knew that it would always feel lacking.
What had been such a happy visit, filled with laughter, was ending on a much more sober note.
David drove him to the train station in the pouring rain. The weather seemed fitting for his current mode.
"I'll call you tonight," David told him as they walked from the car to the platform. Both their hair was wet but it wasn't cold.
They stood and stared at each other for a while, simply drinking each other in.
Off to the side there were kiosks selling magazines, candy, and flowers. With a wry smile on his face, David quickly darted off.
"Hold on," he said to Eliot.
Eliot watched him, wondering how bad his need for chocolate was that he was interrupting their big goodbye. When David saw him come back with a single red rose in his hand Eliot felt like crying. Instead, he laughed.
"Thank you," he said as he accepted the rose. He leaned in and gave David one last kiss as his train pulled into the station.
"I'll see you in three weeks," Eliot told him.
"You'll see me tonight," David pointed out.
God bless modern technology.
They didn't say goodbye, it would have felt too final. Instead, with his rose in hand, Eliot boarded the train and watched David through the window until the train pulled away.
* * * *
Going back to his apartment alone felt more horrible than David could put into words. He was used to living alone but now his apartment felt so empty. He already missed Eliot.
It was a Sunday and there was nothing David had to do so he did the only thing he really wanted. He went back to his bedroom with the intension of crawling back into bed and burying his face in what was now Eliot's pillow.
The sheets were still rumpled so it wasn't until he was on the bed that he noticed there was a piece of paper folded up on top of his pillow.
David opened it, knowing that it could only be from one person.
I'm writing this while you're taking a shower. I've just finished packing up the last of my stuff and I'm sitting on your bed hating the fact that soon we're going to be back in different countries.
Before I came here I already knew that I was crazy about you, but now I know that it's more than that.
Just know that no matter how far apart we are, I love you.
David smiled as he looked down at the letter. That was the first time Eliot had said those words to him and he had said it in a letter.
* * * *
Eliot looked out the window at the passing scenery. It gave him some comfort to know that it was raining in both France and England at the same time, like maybe they weren't so far apart after all.
He was about a half hour away from his stop when he got a text alert. Pulling his phone out of his duffle bag he smiled when he saw that it was from David.
I love you too.
ALEX BLAKE AND THE DOLLHOUSE
London-based private investigator Alex Blake has a secret: he can see things that others can’t. For two years, he’s been working closely with Detective Inspector Jack Danvers, keeping his involvement in official police business on the down low. When a serial killer starts stalking the streets of London, Alex and Jack team up to get to the bottom of these bizarre and twisted murders.
When Alex starts seeing through the eyes of the victims, it begins to take its toll on him, forcing him and Jack even closer together. Dead girls posed like dolls and visions of torture don’t frighten him nearly as much as the prospect of opening up his heart and letting someone in.
Still, if they can catch this killer—and stop the visions that are plaguing Alex—maybe they have a chance of making things work.
The December wind whipped across the beach with a vengeance. The stars looked clear in the night sky above, far enough away from the city to avoid being drowned out by all the artificial light. Rain battered down on the dead body in the sand, washing away any of the blood the incoming tide hadn’t already taken care of.
She was frail, or had been in life. Now she was nothing.
“I was supposed to be in bed,” Alex Blake moaned to himself as he carefully made his way across the sand to the crime scene. It was four in the morning. Murderers had no respect for people’s sleeping patterns, nor did Detective Inspector Jack Danvers, for that matter.
Alex pulled his leather jacket tighter around his body. Not that it would do much good with the way the rain was coming down. There was a lot of activity as police officers kept back a couple of onlookers with their ever-effective police tape.
He stopped at the tape and waited for one of the officers to acknowledge him. There was a woman there, Sergeant Claire Reynolds, who didn’t seem to like him. Alex didn’t take it personally. It was more the mystery surrounding him that she didn’t like.
“He’s expecting me,” he told Reynolds.
She looked him up and down, as though staring at him would somehow help her figure him out.
“What for?” she asked. She, like a lot of the other officers at the scene, was wearing a clear cape with a hood to protect her from the rain. Alex wondered where he could get one of those.
“You’d have to ask him,” Alex told her.
“Alex,” the man himself suddenly called out from across the beach, waving him over to where he was standing by the body. Alex looked back at Reynolds with a raised eyebrow and waited until she reluctantly lifted the tape for Alex to walk under.
As Alex ducked under the tape, he plastered on a sweet smile and said, “Have a great day, Sergeant.”
As he walked past her he smirked to himself, knowing she would be glaring at the back of his head. The sound of the wet sand under his feet made him grimace. Despite the fact that he had lived his whole life close to the beach, he wasn’t really a fan.
He made his way closer to the body, only to stop dead before he could reach it. The lingering smell of fear was so potent that Alex thought for a moment that he might be sick.
“Alex?” Jack Danvers called to him. He left the group of police officers he was with and jogged over to him, putting his hand on Alex’s shoulder and urging him to take several steps back. The sudden added space helped some and Alex turned to look at him apologetically.
“Sorry. Fear’s always the worst,” he explained. “Every emotion has a different smell, touches a different part of my body.”
“Sounds kinky,” Jack joked. Alex glared at him and once again pulled his jacket tighter. His wet hair was plastered to his face, some of it having escaped his bun.
“So why am I here, Jack?” he asked the detective as he took in the man’s damp appearance. Jack Danvers was a good-looking man; there was no denying that. He was six feet tall, with hair so dark it looked black and eyes so blue they looked like ice. He kept his stubble well-groomed and he always smelled of the cinnamon chewing gum he liked. He had taken it up when he quit smoking and now seemed to have replaced one bad habit for another, though granted, this one was less likely to kill him. Alex suddenly found himself wondering how many people died each year from choking on gum. He would have to Google it later.
“Well, as you can see, any evidence left behind by the killer has washed away by now,” Jack explained.
Alex nodded and looked over at the body again. There was a group of officers trying to set up tarps over the area to protect what little evidence remained, but it was too late. The poor woman had been dumped out there more than an hour ago. The killer was either smart, or just got lucky with the rain.
“So she was killed for sure? I mean, no one smells that scared if they die from natural causes, but still, your medical examiner has confirmed it?” Alex asked.
Jack reached into his pocket and pulled out his pack of gum. He offered Alex a stick and he shook his head. “To help with the nausea,” Jack explained.
Alex took a stick, not sure that it would help, but he supposed it couldn’t hurt.
“Medical examiner’s on his way, but no one stabs themselves that many times,” Jack pointed out. “She was definitely killed.”
“So you want me to see if I can pick up on anything. Got it.”
“After you,” Jack said, sweeping his hand out in front of him as though he were a maître d’ showing Alex to his table. Alex chewed the gum and swallowed several times, trying not to let the scent of fear overwhelm him.
Jack Danvers had always done what was expected of him. He married a nice girl who wanted a family, got a good job, bought a house, had a kid—got divorced. Now he was lying naked on the bed of his friend and colleague, his male friend and colleague.
Their kiss in the hall had quickly turned frantic and Alex had started to pull at Jack’s clothes. It felt as though one second they were kissing and the next he was being pushed down, naked, onto Alex’s bed.
He wasn’t sure about this, not by a long shot, but his body seemed to be very much on board, even if his mind wasn’t.
“Jesus,” Jack said as Alex pushed down the sweatpants Jack had lent him. He was hard. The sight should have turned Jack off. It should have been a shock, like a bucket of water in the face. Instead, it made his own cock twitch.
“This is a really bad idea,” Alex said as he crawled onto the bed and straddled Jack’s lap.
“It is,” Jack agreed even as his hands found their own way to Alex’s waist. He was slim, but by no means skinny.
“We should stop,” Alex said. His voice was a breathy whisper as he brought his mouth down close to Jack’s.
Jack responded by kissing him again. He let himself fall back against the pillows, bringing Alex down with him. He didn’t know where to put his hands. It felt like the waist was a safe place to keep them but at the same time he wanted more. He didn’t know exactly what it was he wanted, and he couldn’t deny that he was nervous as hell, but at the same time he felt exhilarated.
Alex’s tongue slid against his own in a deeply sensual way. He had only dated a few women since his divorce, and never more than a handful of times. He’d taken a couple of them to his bed and had thought himself satisfied. Alex’s body moving against his own, his tongue making love to his mouth, and his hands threading through and pulling on his hair, was more exciting than anything Jack had experienced with those women.
He groaned deeply and decided to give in. If he was doing this, then he was damn well going to commit. He ran his hands down to Alex’s ass, his blunt fingers digging into the supple flesh of his cheeks.
Alex moaned into his mouth, showing Jack that his touch was appreciated. Alex’s long hair fell down over Jack’s face. The fresh scent of lemongrass filled up his senses. He needed to touch it, to feel it between his fingers.
He brought one hand up and stroked it, gently running his fingers through the still damp tresses. He could feel Alex’s cock, hard and close to his. If he was going to freak out and have an existential crisis, then now would be the time. He waited for his mind to react negatively in some way, but it didn’t. He wanted this; he wanted Alex.
“Fuck,” Alex said as he finally broke their kiss. His lips were wet and a little swollen. It made Jack think about how they would look around his dick. “What do you want?”
Jack knew what Alex was asking but he had no idea how to answer.
“I ... I don’t ... fuck,” Jack swore. “I have no idea what I’m doing.”
Alex looked down at him with hesitation in his eyes and Jack worried that he’d said the wrong thing. He might not know exactly what he wanted, but he certainly wanted something.
“Maybe we really should stop,” Alex suggested, even as his cock twitched against Jack’s skin.
Alex was giving him another out but Jack already knew there was no way he was going to take it.
“Or maybe you should tell me what you want,” Jack countered as he gave Alex’s ass another squeeze.
Alex’s gaze drifted hungrily over Jack’s face and down to his chest. “I want you to fuck me.” Jack’s entire body tensed. He had never done that before, not even with a woman. He knew the basic mechanics but he didn’t know exactly how it was supposed to work or how to make it feel good for Alex.
“I, um, doesn’t that hurt?” Jack asked, making Alex smirk at him.
“Don’t worry about me,” Alex said. “If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t ask for it.”
Jack was still feeling hesitant about it, but then he wouldn’t be the one with something up his ass. He willed his body to relax as Alex reached over to the nightstand and procured a condom and a bottle of what Jack could only assume was lube.
The pot that had made him perhaps a little more at ease over what was happening was starting to wear off and he had to admit that he had some doubts. It wasn’t the fact that Alex was a man. It was the fact that Alex was his friend. Was an orgasm really enough to risk their friendship and working relationship over?
Alex tore open the condom wrapper and shimmied down Jack’s body, his hair tickling his skin as he went. He watched with rapt fascination as Alex leaned down and licked a line up the underside of his cock. His breath hitched in his throat.