“No,” he whispered. Arturo stood outside the glass doors, beyond
the fragile cloud of heat. The gold cross in his fingers played
against his lips. Then opening the shower door, he handed David
the long burgundy towel. His hands were glossed, whiter, as if he’d
taken no blood.
“I’ve collected the boy you abandoned. I drink him and I taste
you instead. This battle is old with me, David Gedden.”
“What do you want from me?”
“To give you what you want.” Stepping closer, Arturo ran a
marble finger across David’s forehead.
David laughed. “You know what I want?”
Those cold fingers hardened, pressing against David’s temple.
His strength could cut the skin, bore through bone.
Fear churned in him, rising up his throat. “Don’t assume
I want Stephen,” he whispered. “This is his vengeance on Alec.
Stephen might not even know it. He doesn’t know what he wants.”
“Oh, he knows quite well what he wants, my friend.” The fingers
slid down David’s cheek, to his shoulder, then Arturo ran his
hand down David’s bare back, slick marble sliding to the base of
He couldn’t take his eyes off Arturo’s. This is how victims let
themselves be killed, he thought. “You gave me a choice before,
and I made it. Have you come to kill me then?”
smiled with cruel amusement, and a quivering shock ran up David’s legs.
Arturo’s hand moved down farther. David didn’t move away. He couldn’t.
Arturo’s lips brushed his, and his words were a breath on his
“Perhaps you’re not quite Alexandros. So unsure, you are.” He
kissed him, his cold lips softening against David’s still wet from the shower.
Then Arturo pulled back, staring at David with a look of
surprise. “You don’t believe Stephen loves you? You are sure he
“That’s not…” David stopped as Arturo took his hand.
He placed David’s hand on his cheek. The hard skin became
supple as David touched him, even coloring a little. “Make me
alive, and I will give life back to you. I am life. You must choose
What was life? David saw images of Stephen, laughing before
the waves, the white flash of his shirt in the moon, the shine of his
hair, his lips ripening. Arturo placed David’s clothes in his hands,
and David began to dress.
“My fate’s not in the hands of one simple desire,” he said, avoiding
Arturo’s eyes this time. “You can tell Stephen that.”
Leaning on the bathroom door frame, Arturo’s stance was quiet,
his eyes gentle even, and he spoke with open regret. “Desire
is not simple, nor easily reconciled.” Then he put out a hand to
David, and whispered, “Come.”