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Original Fiction
Written by Juxian Tang (juxiantang@hotmail.com)


Part 3 of 3

Thirty-seven hours later I came round in my bed in the bedroom of "Sunny II". The sheets under me were foul. I knew I was doing it under myself - but there was nothing I could do with it. I scrambled down on the floor. I felt so weak that I thought I wouldn't be able to stand up. My mouth was sand-paper dry - I had to be terribly dehydrated. Supporting myself against the walls, I got to the kitchen and drank water right from the tap.

The afternoon sun was orange and mild on my naked body that was covered in scabs and bruises - the ones I got on Sunday night. I forgot to feel them for almost two days and now the sensations were back.

"It will pass."

Ted's voice sounded in my mind. I nodded. It didn't matter what I felt.

"And, Jesse," he said. "Don't worry. You don't have anything. Any sick thing from them, I mean."

I believed him at once. Somehow he knew. I felt relieved. Nothing could mess around then and hinder us.

I didn't turn back - I knew he was behind me. I raised my hand palm up and felt him touching it. The feeling of being together flooded me.

"Eat something, Jesse," he said.

"Sure. Let's see what we have," I opened the fridge. "What do you think about yogurt?"

"I am very fond of yogurt," Ted smiled.

"And tuna. No bread. Do you think we can deal with it?"

"You'll go to the supermarket tomorrow," he said. "Let's leave it like that now."

I put a can and a pack on the table and sat down. I didn't see Ted - but I knew where he was - on the other chair, in front of me. I poked a spoonful of cherry yogurt to my mouth - and that was when tears burst out of my eyes.

Sweet and salt-bitter. Every time when I eat yogurt since then I feel this taste again.

"Why? Why did it have to happen like that?" I asked.

"Oh Jesse," I heard Ted's voice. Somehow I knew he stood up and walked to me - and then I felt - I almost saw him kneeling in front of me - I felt his body at my bare legs. His palms lay on my thighs and then I felt his cheek pressing to my lap. It was not the same as if a man of flesh and blood would do it - but I still recognized it unmistakably. He rubbed his face against my knees.

"I am sorry..." I whispered. "I am so sorry, Ted!"

"It's okay," he breathed out in my knees and I felt it - light and chilly. "You are here. I am here. We will be together. It's okay."

He lied. Then I didn't know it. His hands continued to embrace me, pressing us together - airy and tight at once - and then I felt him moving - and his lips - I knew it was his lips, warmer than anything else of him and softer, too - touched my pubic hair. He kissed me there. I made a deep breath. I raised my hands. I wanted to touch him - but I was afraid I would touch nothing. So, I just sat and waited. He kissed my member softly and his palm circled around my bruised balls. He didn't want to arouse me - he didn't try. He just caressed me - and I closed my eyes. I felt bitterly happy. Being in the arms of the man I loved, feeling his fleshless touches, whispering his name.

"Ted. I love you, Ted."

When we returned to the living room, I noticed the red light flashing on my answering machine and hit the button. It was Dennis. Nine messages. The tape was over or he would leave more, I suppose.

"Hi, it's me. I hope you are okay. Call me back when you can."

I dialed his number and heard his relieved voice:

"I called you I don't know how many times! I didn't know - what if you didn't like something on Sunday..."

"Of course, I loved everything," I interrupted him. "Just 24-hour bug. I got down from my feet next morning after I came from you. The temperature was jumping up and down - and this awful headache... By the way, you didn't get it?"

"No..." Dennis started.

"As soon as it passed, I fell asleep and was up only half an hour ago," I added cheerfully. "Sorry for worrying you."

"I will come," he said firmly.

"No!" this was sincere and I think he felt it. "You have to work, after all, if you want to eat."

"But you..." he started.

"No, don't come. Come..."

"On Sunday, as we agreed?" he asked.

"Yes, on Sunday."

It seemed to me there was the whole eternity till Sunday - and I was going to spend it with Ted.

The few next days were like in the mist for me. We didn't part with Ted even for a moment - except once, when I had to go out to buy something to eat for myself. It was a kind of impossible unity - the one that anybody hardly can know with another man. We could spoke without speaking - and every second when I wanted it, I could feel the subtle elusive touches of his hands and lips on my face and body.

It was Thursday, I suppose, yes, the evening of Thursday when I lay flat on the bed and Ted was fondling to me. For a moment his unforgettable radiant eyes looked at me out of nothing before he became invisible and I could feel his soft lips sliding over my jaw.

"Yes, kiss me," I asked softly.

"Don't fall asleep," he chuckled. But his touches were dreamy, too. I felt his hands getting under me - as if he wanted to raise me - and his mouth was locked with mine. It seemed I could breathe his breath. I licked looking for his tongue - and it was here, like a little draft - touching me in short flickering waves of the air. His palms lulled me while he covered my face with kisses. I could hear him whispering my name. I didn't know anything better than these moments. I wanted them to go on forever.

And then, in the same light soft voice, he said:

"I want you to do something for me, Jesse."

"There is nothing I won't do for you," I answered. I felt his face against mine, pressing almost playfully as his hands continued to caress me.

"I want you to bring Con Baxter here," he said.

I am not sure if there was another thing I expected to hear less. I opened my eyes. Ted put his fingers on my temples and massaged them - but I stopped relishing it.

"Why?" I whispered.

"You promised me. Or was it just words?" he didn't stop caressing me. "Never mind, I will understand. One can say anything while..."

"It was not just words," I shook my head and sat on the bed. "I mean it. I love you, Ted. I will do everything for you - everything I can. I just want to know - why do you need him?"

He touched me again and I wrapped my hands around myself to stop it. When he spoke, his voice sounded helpless - like a little lost boy's voice.

"I don't know," he said confused. "I don't know myself. I just feel I need it. It will change a lot. Please, Jesse!"

"You don't have to implore me," I felt something was breaking in me and I bit my lips with the pain of it. "I'll do it. Oh Ted! I don't want to do it - but I will. Anything you want from me."

"It won't be bad," he said and reached his hands to me. Even though I pressed my palms to my face I couldn't escape his touching. He dealt with it the same easily as he dealt with my clothes. I felt him getting under my hands and patting my face again. "It will be good. I just know it."

"Good for whom?"

"For me. For you," his voice sounded in my mind. "Don't reject it!" he pushed my hands away and I felt he had my face in his palms now. "I know, Jesse. You know I know it. We just have to do it."

"Do you want me to bring him here so that you could kill him?" I asked.

"How will I kill him?" he chuckled a little. "Con is a strong man. And I... I am nothing. He made me nothing. Please bring him. Something will be. Please do."

"But how?"

He told me how. He made me lay down on the bed again - and he showed me - that is, somehow he was in my mind and made me see. And again I could do nothing - just watch - the same as some days ago when he showed me his agony. He was over me - he was inside me - we were one.

And when he stopped training me, he didn't leave me, too. He leant over me and caressed me - but it was only physical because there was agony in my mind. He showed me his own agony when he was in the cold and darkness, its fear and misery and endless loneliness that was swallowing him. Pete was still there now. And Ted wanted to get him out. And he didn't want to slip back to the cold. He asked me to help him. But I already agreed, how couldn't he understand it.

"I am so sorry I can't go with you," he said to me when next evening I was going for Con Baxter.

I nodded. I drove my car as a sleep-walker. I could hear the radio pouring out the music but I couldn't say what kind of music it was. I followed the road rules meticulously but if I had to, I wouldn't recall anything from my way to the city. I parked the car at the disco-bar with the flickering neon sign - I knew I had to come there but I couldn't even read the name of it - and walked inside.

It was hot and noisy and crowded - and for a moment I wondered dully how I would find Con Baxter there - even though his face stood in front of my eyes. But then I moved forward - nothing hindered me - and I saw him sitting at the table.

It was the strangest feeling - I don't know what to compare it to - when in reality I looked at the man that I imagined for so many times. I felt my throat was closed as if I was choking. It was Con. Everything was as Ted told me.

He was alone and a couple of empty glasses stood on the table in front of him. He didn't drink at that moment - but I knew he drank before and was eager to drink more. Only he was broke, that's the thing. That's why his eyes wandered - he hoped to see any of his friends, even though he quarreled with them for some unimportant reason and told them not to get before his eyes. Or to see anybody he knew - who could put a glass for him.

He was younger than me - but he didn't look like that at all - tall and strong, with board shoulders and muscles bulging on his arms. I could see it because he kept his leather shabby jacket on the table under his elbow. And I could see one more thing that didn't strike me when I saw him in my dreams and visions. He was beautiful. Con Baxter was beautiful.

It was crude beauty, of course, beast-like - with his steel muscles and the expression of a raging bull in his huge dark eyes. But his features were chiseled cleanly - square jaw, narrow nose and long eyebrow arches. And this hair. Oh this hair! I felt my mouth gaping when I looked at the long swirling strands of his black hair falling wildly over his shoulders.

His hands lay on the table leisurely - but I felt shivering when I looked at them. I remembered these hands pushing my head under the water.

I looked at him. People went around me without touching me - and I looked and couldn't make a step towards him. Fear gripped me - that he would see me watching and I would spoil everything - but I couldn't make myself move. Ted's strength that he managed to pour out into me was gone somewhere.

"Con," I whispered. In the noise of the music he couldn't hear me, of course. He continued to look around with his brooding stare - not stopping at me. I raised my palms to my face, shielding myself from everything for a moment - and I called another name - Ted's name.

"You know you promise, Jesse," I said to myself. I knew I would do it.

I don't remember how I got to the bar-stand and asked for a couple of "Red Label". I walked back with the glasses in my hands and I was ready to see that Con was gone - or that there was somebody sharing his table with him. I didn't know what I would feel then - joy or disappointment - maybe, nothing. My feelings were under press; I didn't have to feel much until I would finish my assignment.

Well, Con was there. I came up to the table and put the glasses on it. He looked at the drinks first - and only then at me. I sat down and smiled and pushed one of the portions to him.

"Who are you?"

"Jesse," I said. "And you are Con. Wayne introduced us - remember?"

He didn't nod. He took whiskey and downed it as I continued to sit and twist the glass in my fingers. I thought I could drink now - but I didn't have to. After all, I had to drive - at least for that.

"Had a difficult day?" I asked. There was a pause before he reacted. He looked at me and I felt I was collapsing under the heaviness of his gaze.

"What?" he said expressionlessly.

"A bad day, huh?" I repeated outvoiceing the noise. He muttered something. I pushed my drink to him. He took it and drank it.

Later I often thought how it could be that everything went so smoothly for me. Con Baxter was not the kind of guy who used to get drunk with strangers alone in the bar. But that day he made everything as if he was supposed to slip into the trap I prepared for him. I took two other portions of whiskey - and then two more - and he drank both. I told him something - I didn't remember what exactly - and I was sure he didn't listen to me. He took what I gave him as if it was the most natural thing - and he hardly favored me a glance - but it was okay for me - I didn't want him to look at me, not after he had done it once and I nearly was broken under it.

Then I looked at the flock of empty glasses in front of us and said:

"I have a bottle of "Ballantine's" at home - what do you think about it, Con? I mean it looks like too expensive to take these tiny doses here."

He raised his blood-shot eyes at me and I stood it. A contemptuous smile curved his lips - as if I begged him for something, not offered him. But, in fact, it was true.

"Only it is a long way from here," I added hastily - but somehow I knew it would make him agree rather than change his mind.

"Where?" he said one word through his clenched teeth.

"Fifty miles," I answered. "I own a cottage. A quiet place."

"Ballantine's", he repeated - and then he got up without adding anything.

I knew it was his answer. I followed him to the exit, feeling how my heart trembled madly even through the artificial tranquility that Ted gave me.

Con looked at me only when we were outside.

"Where is your car?"

He was drunk. He put his feet on the ground firmly but his torso swayed and it made his snake-like locks float in the air. I opened the door of my car for him and he flopped inside. I stood under the dark sky for several seconds, clenching my fists. I managed to do it. For you, Ted.

Con jerked with the music during all the road, in wild messy motions. I looked at him with a corner of my eye wondering in a distant way how even in such drunk state his face stayed so clear and handsome. Why was he given it? The shattering contrast between his looks and his soul. He paid attention to me only twice, once when asking for a cigarette - I didn't smoke but I had a pack - I supposed he could want it - and the other one - when he suddenly looked straight at me, trying to appear sober, and said:

"You are taking me to your place so that I can fuck you, you faggot?" my nostrils flared but I kept silent. "Never mind," he laughed slapping me on my shoulder. "Two hundred bucks and I'll screw your ass inside out - mommy don't cry!"

I bit my lip to remain silent. So, irreconcilable Con Baxter - hard-boiled Con Baxter - didn't see anything bad in earning money with hustling? I turned to him slightly and smiled letting him think whatever he wanted.

I drove to "Sunny II" and put the car in the garage. Con appeared half-responsive to real life and only when I switched off the radio, he asked:

"Here? Already?"

I didn't know if he would recognize the place should he had been brought there by day and in a normal state. He seemed pretty unaware now. He scrambled out of the car and tried to light another cigarette for himself. His movements were so messy that he nearly set on fire a strand of his hair. I felt a kind of shame at that moment. I made him drunk almost to the point of fainting - and now he was trapped and suspected nothing about it.

A cat and a mouse. This thought flashed through my mind - but I didn't know who was the cat and who was the mouse, really. We entered the room. I didn't sense Ted. Perhaps he was hiding from Con - was there a tiny chance that this bastard could perceive him? Or he was preparing - I didn't know what for.

"Well, where is your "Ballantine's"?" Con asked without smiling, shooting a glance at me. It was probably the only thing he remembered. I nodded.

"Here you are," I opened the bar and took out the sealed bottle. "Exactly for you."

It was the truth. But he didn't know it and, anyway, he got too busy opening it. I put two glasses - as if I was going to accompany him.


"I'll use ice only to push it up to your ass, shitty queer," he blurred. He downed the glass and only then sat down on the sofa. He didn't ask me why I didn't drink. "A nice place you have," he looked around.

Doesn't he recognize, resounded in me. He looked around once more as if something disturbed him and my heart faltered.

"I am sorry," I squeezed out, "one moment."

I walked to the bathroom almost running.

"Yeah, go to shit!" he jeered and I felt easier. He didn't suspect anything.

In fact, I think it was the moment when he started suspecting. He recalled there was a bathroom even though he didn't see it. It was the first step. Perhaps it didn't work so clearly in his mind - but it did happen. He was scum, Con Baxter, but not an idiot.

"Ted," I opened the water and whispered under its noise looking at the mirror. "Ted, please!"

I didn't know what I asked for. Misery and fear covered me. Maybe, I just hoped to see how the mirrors would dim for me and get strong again.

And it was when I heard how a howl rose in the living room. It was such an animal-like hoarse evil sound that my hair raised on the tips. I needed a couple of seconds to realize it was Con's voice.

I froze. At first the only thought came to my mind - that it was Ted appeared in front of him. But then I heard Con screaming:

"You bitch! Where have you brought me to?!" and the sound of shattering glass.

He was at the bathroom door faster than a lightning - and he was so strong that when he drove his shoulder in it, the hook flopped out as if it was on glue.

The opening door threw me on the sink - and I looked frozen at Con Baxter who appeared in the door. He was in fury. No, it is not enough to say it. I have never seen such raving anger before. His hair float like snakes around his dark face - like snakes on the head of Gorgon - and his eyes - they were almost white with hatred.

"You dead man, where did you drag me to?" he hissed out.

He had a half of broken bottle in his hand. That was what smashed. The "rosette" of it pointed straight at me.

"Playing with me? You think you can cheat me? I finished off one fucker right here and you'll..."

He moved on me on the half-phrase. I rushed aside escaping the splinters of the bottle. But I didn't escape his other hand. It had to be the same easy for him to cope with me as to catch a cat. He grabbed my neck and threw me face on the wall. With a soft juicy sound blood spattered out of my nose, leaving the long streak on the tile. I stumbled. I expected the rosette driven into my kidney; I tried to turn around to face Con and knew I wouldn't be able to do it. But he was in the mood to play, I suppose. His heavy fist drove in my temple and everything in front of my eyes went black like under dark wave.

"Here is goes, fucker," Con's voice brought me back. I had slid down and now he pulled me by my shirt. I heard the material ripping. "Hey!" he laughed - I knew what he saw - my scars, of course. "Looks like somebody already worked on you. Never mind, now I'll carve your face even better!"

His fingers dug in my throat as he pressed me to the wall - and even though everything was switching off in front of my eyes because of hypoxia I still could see the rosette closing on my face.

"Mommy don't cry!" he yelled out - and it was the last words I heard from Con Baxter.

His hand with the bottle aiming to my face froze in the air suddenly. But it was not because he changed his mind. I could see it. He stopped because some other hand gripped on his wrist and held him. An invisible hand. I saw Con jerking. He didn't understand. The expression of puzzlement appeared on his face for a moment. He even looked at his wrist - and could see nothing. And then I saw how Ted started bending his hand backwards.

Con's muscles swelled with tension - and even though he had another enemy now, his other hand continued to crush my windpipe with the same frenzy. Red and black stains floated in the air in front of my eyes as I tried to get a gulp of oxygen. Ted pushed the bottle away from me farther and farther - but Con didn't let me go, he just didn't.

Then the mirror behind him burst in splinters. The noise made him falter - but not enough. It was the splinters raising in the air and sticking into his back and neck that made him yowl like a beast. And only then he let me slide out.

I flopped on the floor catching for the air and awful pain burned in my throat. I saw how Con turned around on the place, yelling and tearing the splinters from his skin. Trickles of blood leaked on him everywhere. His blood-shot eyes looked around but he didn't see anybody. Then Ted hit him in the stomach. It was horrible. The force was so great that it raised Con's body in the air and threw him against the tub. I bet this blow would kill anybody else - but not him. He growled shaking his head as if in disbelief and started rising on his feet again.

Ted struck his face now - I saw Con's head jerking - and then another blow threw him into the tub. He tried to get up again - and ran against an invisible wall. Ted kept him prone in the tub - as much as there was place for Con - and he struggled and flailed madly trying to get out.

I shivered sitting on the floor and looking at it. I didn't know if Con knew what happened to him. He just knew that he was overwhelmed with something that he couldn't see - something hostile to him. He tried to fight it and failed. And he was afraid.

He still bucked but Ted kept him firmly on the place. He won. I sighed with relief. And at the next moment I suddenly understood that everything only started.

It was like a transparent shadow freaking from the air on Con, on his face, filling his nostrils, mouth and eye-sockets. Con screamed. That is, he tried to scream. He was probably hurt agonizingly. But the shadow was drowning the sounds.

I watched how it penetrated him. And suddenly his face distorted. Not its features - but something inside it - bones and flesh. It kind of bloated from inside as if it was going to burst. His mouth got ajar again - but now it seemed to me he didn't only try to scream. He tried to push out what invaded him. In vain. His eyes bulged horribly. I could hardly stand looking at it. I moaned in fear.

And then I heard Ted - as if my sound reminded him about me. His voice sounded clearly and loudly inside my head - but I barely recognized it. It was not my Ted's soft voice. It resounded with force and anger. Not anger against me - but it touched me, too.

"Get out of here! There is nothing for you to look at!"

He stopped abruptly. As if he couldn't afford to waste even a bit of his energy on me. I rushed out of the bathroom and the door shut behind me with a huge clap. I didn't try to push it - and I was sure I wouldn't be able to open it even though there was no hook on it any more.

I got to the living room and curled in the armchair. The breath was getting less painful for me. I found a handkerchief and wiped the blood from my nose. There was noise behind the door - I can't even describe it. At first I shivered but then tremendous tiredness overwhelmed me. There was nothing I could do about it. I just sat and waited.

It went on for three quarters an hour. I knew it - I could see the clock. In the end the light faltered and for some moments the cottage was drowned in the darkness. Then it lit up again and I heard nothing but silence. I gritted my teeth. It was even more dreadful than the noise. The silence so absolute that I could hear how the water was running from the tap. I never turned it off. Then I heard somebody moving. A horror gripped my throat. Some awful thought overwhelmed me - I imagined that I would see a horrible creature now, emerging out of the bathroom, something from Stephen King's books, some Outside One.

But the door opened and there was Con standing on the threshold. Con? Only for a second I thought so. Then I realized absolutely clearly that it was Ted. I can't say how I understood it. His dark handsome face was unchanged and his long hair still hung loosely around his face - dripping water for some reason - but his eyes were the eyes of Ted. Soft mournful Semitic eyes.

And of course I could feel him. I would recognize him in every body!

He possessed Con. I realized it only after the very clear thought about bodies visited to my mind. He lived in his body now, made it walk, its chest rise, its lips smile. What did he do with Con? Turn him away and made him take his place wandering around earthbound? I didn't have the answers then. And I didn't have time to wonder.

Because Con's lips moved apart in an easy generous smile - a shy smile, friendly and affectionate, the one Con never had - and Ted's voice said:

"Come here, Jesse. What's wrong with you?"

And with the sound of this voice I felt how every bit of fear was washed out of my soul. I stood up; I felt faint - a bloody handkerchief fell out of my hand - and as Ted made a step towards me I stepped towards him, too.

"Oh dear," he said under his breath, "we waited for it for so long."

His warm strong palms lay on my cheeks.

He raised me on tiptoes to reach to my mouth; I felt his breath - clear breath of Ted, not nicotine and whiskey of Con. His lips were soft and warm and resilient. He licked a puffy split on my lower lip - so lightly that the pain was exciting.

And suddenly it reached me. Ted was with me! In flesh and blood. I could feel him, could touch him, could sense him all at once. How much I wanted it!

I gasped. He didn't let my lips go, the kiss was deep and strong and I braced my arms around him reveling in the strength of his shoulders, in the warmth of his arms, in firmness of his rib-cage pressed to mine.

"You are here," I whispered into the kiss. "You are back."

It was a miracle. Con's exquisite strong body - the body of a beautiful beast - was filled with Ted's sweet caring spirit. I melted in his hands, yielding to his strength - and I felt loved and protected by him.

My bottom belly was pressed to his - and I could feel his hard member there, under Con's leather pants, the same stiff and throbbing as my own cock was - and then, in the next second, Ted pushed his palm to my crotch and squeezed it lightly, as if checking it weight. I caught the air. It sent a pang of arousal through me - so wild that it couldn't be compared with anything I felt before. It seemed my cock burst out with blood overfilling it. I clamped my thighs trying to get more feeling from his hand there.

"Yep, dear," Ted said parting from my mouth, "now we'll have it all."

We walked to the bedroom having each other in our arms - and there we pulled the clothes off hastily. I whimpered slightly in impatience - and there were the words leaking from Ted's lips:

"Yes, Jesse, yes, right now."

His body was smooth and golden, with big brown nipples standing very erect - and I really moaned when he pulled down his pants. I saw the tower of his long massive cock raising from the dark bush of his pubic hair - and two huge dark shapes of his balls under it. I started sliding down on my knees to worship it but he didn't let me. He took me around my ribcage and laid down on the bed. His mouth greedily leant to my throat - kissing and nibbling it - it still hurt after Con's hand but at the same time his touches turned me on - even more if it could be possible.

I felt his teeth under his lips; he lowered down to my chest, clamping his mouth on my nipple. Now and then I felt the push of the round head of his huge cock against my thigh. It was wet with precum seeping out of it. My own cock was dry - I was so aroused that it seemed to burn out any juice in it. Ted's palms slid over my belly, smooth on my rough scars - but I was not ashamed in front of him. He saw me naked so many times while he was a ghost and stroked me so many times then. There was nothing in my body he didn't know and nothing that didn't belong to him.

But it was for the first time when he really could explore me. He clung to me, kissing my belly, taking bits of skin in his mouth and sucking them. I was like mad - he filled me with bliss. His breath was hot and cold on my pubic hair - and then he enveloped his lips around my cock. I whined. The sensation was so strong. Ted's loose locks brushed my thighs. I stuck my fingers into his beautiful hair and pressed his head closer to my member. He let it in - so easily and completely. I raised my hips involuntarily asking for more sensation, wanting to be deeper in him. His mouth touched the base of my cock. It went smoothly into his throat, then out again. I moaned in frenzy. I was dissolving in pleasure. I pulled his head up and down with this gorgeous hair - and he obeyed my guidelines perfectly. His gullet was velvety and hot and I felt I was losing the earth with these smooth strokes.

I nearly convulsed when cumming. The pain shot through my balls and it seemed the sperm that was spurting out of them was thick and boiling. I ejaculated for awfully long, for minutes, it seemed to me. It was my first orgasm for the last months.

Ted let me rest cuddling me in his arms for several minutes. I wanted to get down to his cock but he didn't let me. He made me lie and his lips slid over my closed eyelids while I continued to feel his urgent erection butting against me.

At last he whispered:

"Come on, Jesse..."

I could answer him only with a happy drunk smile. Come on, Ted. I will be always ready for you.

But it was not blow-job he meant. He held me prone and I felt his fingers crawling to my perineum and finding my opening. It still hurt after Jimmy and his friends but I was sure Ted wouldn't ever hurt me. He didn't. He wetted his fingers with spit so abundantly that they slid inside almost imperceptibly. He slid two of them in and out, turning them slightly, widening it for himself. I loved it. Pleasure was like a warm surf rising in me. His long strong fingers played with my anus, distended it, spreading wetness on it.

Then he pushed them even deeper and found my prostate. It was another sensation. I inhaled sharply. I was oversensitive to everything he was doing - and now it was like he sent the needle from there right through my cock - but it was not pain, it was delight.

"You will love it, dear," he muttered licking my nipple as his fingers played sending me to heaven with pleasure. I was close to shooting again when he pulled them out. His eyes were laughing and enigmatic when he spat on his palm and rubbed it over the head of his cock. I waited for him to say how he wanted to do it. He wrapped his arm around my waist and turned me face down. I rose on my knees and elbows and put my forehead on my hands. For some reason this animal-like submissive pose aroused me even more. My cock was trembling in anticipation. I could feel Ted setting behind me. He was still moistening his cock and I almost wailed in impatience. I heard him chuckling softly - and then the head of his cock pushed into me.

I grunted. It was very wide. The way how it distended me was frightening. But there was no pain. No bitter pain, at least, the pain I felt was more like excessive pleasure. I didn't feel the splits on my anus ripping. He penetrated me smoothly and neatly, in long forward and backward movements - until I felt his hot belly against my ass and his hairy heavy balls against my own scrotum.

"Yes, Jesse, yes, that's it," he sighed out starting thrusting.

It was eternity of bliss. His strokes, as he sent his gorgeous cock inside my body, conveyed the waves of pleasure through me as if out bodies were linked in sensations. The fire of pleasure rose and rose. There were moments when I felt I couldn't stand it any more, there couldn't be such delight - and then Ted slowed down a bit to let it ebb - and then we got up again. I don't remember what I was saying. Words were fleeting from my lips, pitiful and blissful. I pleaded him to have mercy on me - and pleaded him not to stop. My breath was like sobbing and I caught it with open mouth. At last he speeded up once more - in such frenzy that he moved me forward with every thrust. His ball-sac slapped against mine loudly and his cock flew inside my rectum wet and slippery.

I cried out when cumming - and at the next moment he froze - only his cock still pulsed inside me - and I felt his sperm shooting - icy and boiling, filling me full.

We cummed twice more this night. Between it we lay together, cuddling and kissing, exploring the bodies of each other with our mouths and fingers. We barely spoke - it seemed unnecessary. We felt each other so well - and, in any case, there were years for speaking in front of us.

* * *

It was nearly down when Ted at last switched off the light. In the dim room he leant to me and kissed one of my eyes and then the other one closing them.

"My Jesse," he whispered and I floated to sleep in the strong warm embrace of his arms.

A bad dream came to me. I thought they wouldn't come any more - not when Ted was with me now! But it did. I saw Ted in it - in his real body, not in Con's gorgeous shape. His face was pale and weary as if he was exhausted - and there were bitter wrinkles around his lips. He looked at me with a tired distant gaze - like an adult at a boy - and that's was how I felt - small and blundering.

I didn't know why I couldn't come up to him - but I even didn't try. I watched him as he looked at me - and then his lips moved and he said one phrase:

"I can't call you my beloved."

He said it - and even though it seemed mysterious to me, sorrow suddenly rose in me like a storm wave, sweeping me, emptying my heart. I wanted to cry but I couldn't. There was just sucking emptiness inside me, an aching hole of grief. I stopped seeing Ted but the feeling stayed. I floated in it for eternity.

But even then I didn't wake up. I woke up in the late morning, when the sun passed the bedroom mostly and its rays were not fierce any more. I lay in the bed alone. At first I tried to tell myself that he could be in the kitchen, making coffee for us - or in the living room, in the armchair - as I used to see him when he was a ghost.

He was not there. I knew it - I got up and looked for him, of course - only I knew it was futile. He didn't meet me in another room. He didn't go for a walk or to the bakery to buy hot croissants for our breakfast. Con's crude leather garment was gone. The splinters of glass were thrown neatly to the trashcan. And "Sunny II" was empty.

I sat at the kitchen table, put my face in my hands and cried.

I lost Ted. I thought I found him last night and we would never part now. He was in flesh and he was with me. Only in flesh he turned out to be a ghost even more. I will never see him again, I thought, will never touch him, never hear his voice. He was gone forever. He left me.

I felt choking with tears. Why did he have to do it? Why couldn't he stay? Yesterday I was sure he wanted to stay - but I was wrong, of course. He never wanted it.

He never wanted me, maybe. All he needed was my help to bring him to the world - and he was quite skillful in driving me to do it. He used me while he had to - and now there was nothing more I could do for him. "I can't call you my beloved." I bit my lips with bitterness. How could he do it to me?

And at the same time a voice inside me repeated - it was right, it was fair. I used to think that we were supposed to meet - and it was true. But why did I think that we were supposed to meet to be happy? How could I hope to be happy after what I had done? There are things that had to be paid, sooner or later. Didn't I bring enough grief in the world?

I don't know what made me more miserable - the thought of being left or this realization. My heart was breaking because I missed Ted so much! I missed his touches already, him speaking to me, his kindness. I needed him - "here, around" - as he used to tell me. And what would be with me when he didn't get back today and tomorrow - for all days of my life? I just couldn't live these days without him.

My tears ran dry after a while and I just sat with my face buried in my palms while my mind wandered over the things that made me miserable and made me scared. Because I was scared, too. Yesterday, when Ted appeared in front of me, he deleted the memories of the mortal combat in the bathroom - when he won Conrad Baxter and obsessed him. Was it now Con's spirit, earthbound by anger and fear, drifting around in "Sunny II"? Or did Ted send him to hell?

And what did Ted want? He never told me. To live another life in the body of his murderer, maybe? To use Con's health and strength and beauty to enjoy everything he was robbed of?

My mind was in agony with all the thoughts that crowded it. But after several hours the intensity of my feelings went down. I felt so drained out that I was about to fall. I sat for a while with wide-opened eyes listening to the silence in the cottage. It seemed even more overwhelming to me because I knew there wouldn't be any more strange sounds here, any voice calling me from nowhere.

Then I stood up and brought myself in order as much as it was possible. I walked to the bedroom and pulled the sheets away from the bed. I was afraid to breathe in because I knew I would feel the smell - Con's smell and smell of our love-making - and then I wouldn't know what would happen to me - I couldn't cry any more.

Having dealt with it I went to the living room again and turned TV on. I was not sure why I did it - I just knew it was right - with some after-effect of the knowledge Ted gave me. I sat in front of the screen and looked at it until it became dark behind the windows.

The 9-o'clock news let me know what the plan of Ted was, after all.

The street in the downtown was bulked with police cars and there were yellow bands outlining a square place around the doorway of one of the houses. I saw clear chalk contours on the bright wet asphalt - four contours - as the announcer spoke excitedly:

"One more shocking crime in out city. A 19-year-old without any reason opened gun-fire from an automatic gun at his friends. All victims were dead by the moment when the police arrived. The killer didn't resist the arrest. He dropped the gun on the ground and said: "I did it. They were fuckers - mommy don't cry!"

There was more what they spoke about - about violence in the streets and availability of weapons, about the groups of young men and that the killer was the leader of one of them - he executed his buddies coldly and openly right in the street. That he was considered a violent young man but he was never called to account for anything. A sequence flickered - the policemen dragging the man to the car. His face was lowered but I could see his flying snake-like strands of black hair.

I didn't make a sound when seeing it. I was not shocked. I understood it. That was what Ted wanted to do. To overpower Con and to use his body to kill Baxter's Boys. He didn't drive Con out. He won him and captured him, trapped in the tiny cage somewhere in his mind. He made Con get the gun - Ted couldn't know where to get it, Con could. And Ted had to use his knowledge the same as he used the body.

And whatever Ted did - Con presented there, too, aware of everything, able to do nothing. He had to try to escape, try to fight - but it was useless. He was there when Ted took the gun in his - Con's - hands and shot and shot at his - Con's - friends. He was there when the police seized him and when Ted signed the death sentence for him confessing that he had done it.

Did Con think about what I thought? That these things were not the worst. That the worst was to come when Ted decided at last to leave him. Would it be on the trial? Or when Con would be moved to the death cell? Whenever it would be - I was sure Ted wouldn't leave him a way out - and Con would have to drink all misery and fear that could be measured for a man.

I sat at the TV looking blankly at the screen for hours. I didn't know what to do and I didn't know what really I wanted to do. At last I stood up and walked to the bathroom. There was an untidy square of stone wall on the place where one of the mirrors had been. The other one was still there, just with a few long splits crossed it. I looked at the tub but I was not afraid I would see Con Baxter lying there. I knew I wouldn't. Neither Con nor Ted would come to me any more.

I opened the drawer and pulled a pack of blades out of it. It had to be so dizzyingly easy - I almost could feel how it would be. In hot water the pain of the blade across my wrist wouldn't feel at all. And I could close my eyes to see nothing.

At that moment a sudden sharp pain pierced me all through - as if a hot rod went along my spine and was pushed into every my limb. I fell on the floor with my arms and legs wringing in the spasm. My fingers became claws losing the blades. I lay on the floor curled and unable to move while the pain was coursing through me, leaving me numb and motionless.

Perhaps I just had a cramp because during so many hours I didn't move. I sat like frozen at the TV - then I walked without thinking about it at all - and that's when it struck me. I lay on the floor for hours until the numbness was gone little by little. Then I gathered my members as much as I could, got to the bed and switched off completely and at once.

I nearly jumped up when the sound of approaching car woke me next morning. For a moment I sat staring in front of myself and my mind threw away everything what was dispensable - until it found the answer. It was Sunday. My God. Of course. It was Dennis - just as he promised. The car's engine shut down and I heard his hasty steps on the stairs. I got up and walked to the door. Dennis's cheerful voice hurried me up:

"Hey, still sleeping? And I brought something tasty for us."

I opened the door and Dennis with his hands full of the parcels fell inside the cottage. For a moment he stopped staring at me with huge eyes - and then I made a step to him and put my arms around him.

"Throw them," I whispered shaking the parcels out of his hands and burying my face against his neck.

"Jesse," his voice was startled. "Are you all right?"

"Don't ask me questions, just don't ask," I breathed out kissing him. I couldn't press him tighter but I tried - and I wiggled my bottom belly squashing it against his.

"Oh..." he started something and then he just resigned. His hands lay on my shoulders - very lightly for the first moment - and then he jammed me against himself, digging his fingers so deeply in my flesh as if he wanted to merge with me.

It happened between us right on the floor in the hall, stunningly quickly, and only after that we walked to the living room and snuggled together on the sofa. Dennis's long narrow palm was smoothing my hair as I lay with my arms wrapped around him - I didn't want to let him go, not for a moment.

"Jesse," he whispered and I hardly could hear him but I knew what he said. "You are with me - at last."

* * *

I was wrong when I thought that Ted would never come to me again. It happened a year and a half later, one night in the end of December. I returned home from the Christmas party we had at the office. Yes, I worked again. Dennis recommended me to the company they were partners with and I suppose my employees were contented with me. It was not really convenient to drive for the whole hour to the city in the morning and in the evening - but I got used to it - the same as Dennis got used to make these trips several times a week when he wanted to see me.

I loved "Sunny II". I would never leave it for a flat in the downtown.

I opened the door - ugh, my cottage looked like a sugared cake buried in the heaps of snow - and as soon as I made a step inside, I felt I was not alone. I recognized this feeling at once.

Oh you don't have to think I was sincere when I told I knew Ted wouldn't be back. Despite everything - I continued to wait for him. For weeks and for months. I read every article about Conrad Baxter's affair wondering if Ted was still with him. I thought he had to be gone when the death sentence was announced - or, at least, when the appeal was declined. I thought that, maybe, then... and my heart faltered with every click, every new sound in the cottage.

But then I stopped waiting. Well, who knows what is more bitter: not to get what you want desperately - or to get something you already stopped wanting. "I can't call you my beloved." I entered the living room, switched on the light and saw Ted sitting in the armchair.

He looked the same - and surely, he was not going to ever change - only now he was not alone. A Siamese cat curled on his lap - and Ted's hand didn't caress emptiness any more. It slid over the silky cocoa-colored fur. Pete raised his blue unkind eyes at me and yawned demonstratively.

"Hi boy," I smiled looking at him. "Nice to meet you."

"And me?" Ted asked softly. I made myself to look at his face straight. I didn't know what I felt. Should he come two or three months earlier - I would either fall on my knees in front of him - or would bite my lips in anger. Now I even didn't know what to say to him. I shrugged.

"Do you hate me very much?" there was just a tiny trace of challenge in his voice. I smiled with relief.

"No. Not at all. Is Con dead?"

"Yes," he said.

"Now you are free."

"Yes," he nodded again. "And I found my Pete. We'll leave together."

"Good luck," I meant it. These were final words - I was ready to see how Ted's figure would fade after them. But instead of it he spoke again, hastily:

"I just wanted to thank you, Jesse," he shifted uneasily and Pete on his lap looked at me with disapproval. "Without you I would never get out, never. I would stay at the earth forever, hang around alone. I have a thing for you. A gift. Something in return."

I looked at him incomprehensibly. And then he waved his hand slightly. He melted - his transparence became nothing and only his dark eyes and Pete's blue eyes still looked at me until they were gone, too. But I continued to feel that there was somebody. And when I turned to the bookcases, I saw a figure there, leaning with his elbow against the board. My heart sank. I recognized him. Of course - how wouldn't I? Even though I was sure I would never see him again.

"Elmor," I called.

The gaze of his soft shortsighted eyes fell on me and I saw him smiling quietly. With his usual gentle smile that I never found any special when he was alive - but could never forget since then.

And suddenly I heard him speaking to me. In my mind his voice was telling me that he loved me, that he would love me forever. That he was wrong about me - but now it was okay - he was tranquil, he had forgiven me and he knew I had forgiven him. And he waited for me. One day - no matter when - we would meet and then we would be together again - for eternity.

"Elmor," I cried; tears washed my face freely and I didn't wipe them. I could see him even through the blur. I could hear him even when sobbing. "Oh my Elmor."

And at that moment another figure appeared at the window. A tall slim man with chocolate-colored skin. His teeth flashed white when he smiled at me. He waved his hand before vanishing but I knew what he wanted to pass to me. Johnny Taylor had forgiven me, too.

And then I heard Ted's light voice sounding in my mind:

"Are you happy, Jesse?"

"Yes, yes," I could only whisper. "Thank you!"

He sighed minutely and it seemed to me that I heard relief and regret in it.

"Farewell then," Ted said and at that moment I realized finally that it was all. Now it was forever. And then his melting voice added one more phrase:

"I love you, Jesse."

"Bye, Ted," I answered inaudibly.

What to add? They were gone. I don't see ghosts any more.

The End

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