Tyler woke with a start. Not sure what caught his attention but several things stood out. The first, he was in bed. The second, he was still in the old house. When Tyler sat up to ponder his situation he notice he was in his pyjamas, which he considered odd. There was a fire burning in the fireplace and the unmistakable smell of toast coming from the kitchen. Someone was there - other than Tyler.
Tyler pulled the covers back, found and put on socks before making his way downstairs. Quiet not to disturb whoever was in the kitchen, Tyler’s curiosity mounted. Visions of the day before flooded back and Tyler could make no sense of it.
As he reached the doorway of the kitchen Tyler came to a sudden holt.
“You.” Tyler said in shock, staring at the man in front of the oven.
The tall man, his long shiny black hair hung down his back to his waist, turned to glance at Tyler. The man’s green eyes appeared even brighter in the sunlit room.
“You’re the angel?”
The man’s brow creased, and he replied, “I would prefer you called me Lannor.”
“Am I dead?” Tyler asked.
“Of course not. What gave you that idea?”
Tyler glanced towards the table, laid out for two people, the newspaper from the day before gone. Tyler pointed at the table and Lannor answered the question before Tyler could ask it.
“An article in a newspaper is no reason to presume you are dead even if it says you are. I suspect the article is a fabrication. Why that would be the case, I have no idea.”
Tyler dropped his hand, his expression forlorn as his eyes became downcast. Then it was true; his parents had wanted him dead rather than accept he was gay. Lannor stepped forward distracting Tyler.
“You!”, Tyler said again. “If you’re not an angel where did you come from?”
“Come from?” Lannor repeated. “Well, it’s a long story.”
Tyler shrugged. “I’ve got time.”
Lannor’s gaze pierced Tyler’s and his found his body respond. They did not break their gaze until Lannor turned away to attend to the food cooking on the stove.
“Sit down. Breakfast is ready.” Lannor returned to preparing breakfast and Tyler sat opposite Lannor so to watch him.
Lannor was mesmerising and Tyler found himself immediately attracted to him.
“Where do you live?” Tyler asked.
“Here.” Lannor replied.
“Here?” Tyler found the response confusing.
“Yes, here.” Lannor repeated and as he placed Tyler’s plate in front of him, Lannor stared down at Tyler.
Tyler swallowed before breaking the gaze to stare at the breakfast provided by Lannor; eggs on toast with whole baked tomatoes on the side.
“Thank you.” Tyler said and Lannor sat down opposite him.
They ate in silence yet Tyler couldn’t help but observed Lannor the entire time. Lannor ignored him as he ate.
“So did you return yesterday?” Tyler asked.
The look Lannor gave Tyler prior to placing the fork in his mouth was amusement. Confused, he returned to the rest of his breakfast. It wasn’t until the end of breakfast Tyler realised he hadn’t seen the cat. He leaned his chair back on the two rear legs and glanced under the table and then looked towards the kitchen door.
“Have you lost something?” Lannor asked.
Tyler looked up at Lannor, who now stood against the counter watching Tyler. Again his expression made Tyler think he was being laughed at.
“The cat? I haven’t seen it this morning.”
“The black one with bright green eyes.” Lannor describe the cat with mirth in his tone.
Tyler stared at Lannor dubiously.
“What have you done to the cat?” Tyler asked.
A smile spread across Lannor’s face and Tyler didn’t know if he should be worried.
“The cat is fine.”
Tyler found growing distrust towards Lannor and yet it was hard to feel malicious toward him given his exotic look and alluring presence. Tyler cursed himself for not being more wary.
“While I clean up, why don’t you take a bath and relax. Then once you’re done, we’ll talk.”
Tyler eyed Lannor with suspicion.
Lannor smiled. “You have nothing to fear. I was familiar with Elizabeth when she lived here.”
Tyler’s suspicion grew. Aunt Elizabeth was in her late sixties and lived in the house for almost thirty years before leaving. If Lannor knew her he’d have been a child and that didn’t explain why he now lived there. It was too much to consume.
“I think I might have a bath.” Tyler said, standing.
“Good idea. I’ll meet you back here after.”
Tyler gave a nod and left the kitchen. On his way towards the stairs, he paused and looked back over his shoulder. The sound of water running and cutlery hitting the bottom of the sink convinced Tyler wasn’t dreaming. As an afterthought, he pinched his arm and pain made him cringe. Back in the bedroom, Tyler sat down on the bed, staring at the door. It wasn’t often he found himself dumfounded, but this was one of those times.
In all honesty he didn’t know what to do next.
The minutes passed and when the black cat came striding through the door relief washed over him.
“There you are.”
Tyler came forward and picked the cat up, holding him close to his chest.
“You will not believe the past twelve hours.” Tyler rambled as he moved towards the door and looked out towards the stairs. Silence on the floor below had Tyler concerned and he re-entered the bedroom and closed the door.
Tyler leaned against the door and stroked the cat quietly purring in his arms.
“There is a gorgeous man in the kitchen right now. I don’t know if I want to run or jump him. This isn’t good. His name is Lannor, and he told me to take a bath. I can’t do that while he’s here.”
The cat rubbed his head under Tyler’s chin bringing a calm sensation over Tyler.
“Do you think I’m being too cautious?”
The cat continued to rub against Tyler.
Tyler pushed off the door and opening it again, listened once more. The house was silent.
“Do you think he’s gone?” Tyler whispered.
The cat twisted in Tyler’s hands and he allowed him to jump down. The cat then walked to the top of the stairs and stared back at him. Tentatively, Tyler edged out of the bedroom and behind the cat. When the cat made down the stairs, Tyler followed. There was no way getting around the stairs creaking on his descend and at the bottom in the front foyer he was sure Lannor would know he was there. The cat walked towards the kitchen and Tyler, letting out a deep breath, followed.
Tyler pause before entering the kitchen and poked his head around the doorframe. The kitchen was empty, only the cat on the table greeted Tyler. On the sink, the breakfast dishes stacked and drying, and the sun shone through the bay window making the room glow. Tyler leaned back to glance towards the front door; the house silent. The meow from the cat drew his attention, and it was then he noticed the small note in front of the cat by his front paws.
At the table he picked up the note. Have a bath. We’ll talk later.
“What do you make of this?” Tyler asked the cat.
The cat jumped from the table and left the kitchen, Tyler followed trusting the cat to know what was right. At the front of the bathroom door, the cat turned to stare at Tyler before walking in. The sun streaming from the small narrow window at the end of the hall caught the cat’s eyes and the intensity of colour did not go missed by Tyler. A shiver ran down his back as Tyler pushed the door open before entering the bathroom.
Not sure what he expected, the empty room brought relief. The cat once more found its place on the large wooden shelf and stared at Tyler.
“I’m not sure about this?”
The cat gave up on Tyler as he manoeuvred around the large shelf and curled up, head tucked under his front legs.
“Is that your way of telling me I should stop worrying?”
The cat raised his head, one eye on Tyler, before once more burying his face.
Tyler embraced his chest; shoulders hunched forward, hands rubbing his upper arms, hesitant. So much had occurred and Tyler felt his mind was ready to shatter.
“Too bad there’s not a lock on the door.” Tyler murmured.
There was no response from the cat.
Tyler let out a sigh. To give himself some reassurance, he closed the bathroom door as he wondered if this was a mistake.