Tyler woke with a start on top of the bed. A portion of the blanket over him, the room dark and the fire crackled. As Tyler assessed his surroundings it was once more the smell of food wafting through the house that lured Tyler downstairs.
“Do you like to cook?” Tyler asked as he entered the kitchen.
Lannor smiled as he turned to greet Tyler, near knocking Tyler of his feet with his beauty.
“Yes, I do. I miss not cooking but if you’d rather, you can cook dinner tonight.”
“No. Please. Cook. I don’t mind at all.” Tyler sat down at the table to face Lannor. The one iridescent light above the table did little to illuminate the room and beyond the window dark ominous clouds filled the sky.
“More raining coming?” Tyler said trying to break the silence as he looked out the window.
“Yes. That time of year.” Lannor replied.
Silence once more filled the room and Tyler found his eyes falling on the back of Lannor as he worked. Everything about Lannor tempted Tyler and Tyler found it difficult to focus. It was the vibration of his phone on the counter by the microwave that broke Tyler’s concentration. Both Tyler and Lannor stared at the mobile phone and within several seconds, it vibrated again.
“It’s been doing that for some time?” Lannor said.
Tyler stared at the phone, confusion warning him to ignore it but he didn’t. When Tyler retrieved the phone and sat back down, he discovered dozens of messages from Damien. The phone, like lead in his hand, carried the world Tyler had been attempting to ignore but with a swipe Tyler read the messages. All were of a similar nature, asking Tyler where he was and to reply immediately.
Tyler didn’t realise he trembled until Lannor stood by his side and removed the phone from his hand.
“What is that?” Lannor asked.
“A mobile telephone. You can send text messages on it.” Tyler replied, his eyes fixed to the phone back on the counter.
“Is that what you received a… text message.”
“Yes.” Tyler murmured.
“Damien.” Tyler said the name as the pain of remembering their last meeting engulfed him.
“Who is Damien? A friend.” Lannor asked.
“My ex boyfriend.” Tyler replied.
“Ex boyfriend. What does he want?”
Tyler’s head snapped to look at Lannor. The manner in which he asked confused Tyler momentarily. There was an almost jealous type nature in the way Lannor asked, yet Tyler was sure he had heard wrong.
“Nothing. It’s nothing. Ignore it.”
“Will you respond to this text message?” Lannor asked, his voice once more inquisitive.
“No. It’s not important. Is lunch almost ready?” Tyler replied, returning to the table.
Lannor must have realised Tyler didn’t want to talk about it and returned to preparing lunch. When Lannor serviced the plates the warm dish of vegetable casserole looked better than Tyler had ever seen before.
“This looks and smells amazing. I’m tempted to let you cook every meal.”
Lannor laughed and Tyler’s body responded. Tyler cursed himself and focused on the meal instead. It didn’t go unnoticed by Tyler, Lannor was watching him as they ate. More than once Tyler’s cheeks flushed, and he found it difficult to ignore Lannor’s presence. When finished, Tyler insisted he clean up, and Lannor excused himself and returned upstairs.
The entire time Tyler remained in the kitchen his mind considered what Lannor was doing. Was he waiting in the bedroom for him? And if so would he be in his feline form or human form? Tyler found his thoughts more on Lannor than the messages from Damien. When done, Tyler took one more glance at the messages before deleting them. If Damien couldn’t be there for Tyler when it mattered, Tyler doubted Damien would be there now. Although, if the messages were regarding his death perhaps Tyler should reply. There were implications about being declared dead Tyler refused to consider. Instead, Tyler chose to ignore it a little longer.
With his inner thoughts in turmoil, Tyler made his way upstairs only to find the bedroom empty. After several deep breaths of encouragement, he searched the bathroom and smaller room. It was the smaller room Tyler found Lannor, sitting on the love seat, reading… the gay porn magazine. Tyler regretted enter the room and trying to retreat, Lannor spoke.
“There you are. Do you have time to talk?” Tyler cringed before turning to face Lannor, attempting to appear happy to discuss anything with him.
“Sure. I’ve got all the time in the world.”
Lannor patted the love seat beside him and Tyler regrettably and reluctantly sat down. The aroma of masculine sexuality lingered over Lannor and Tyler found himself drawn to it. Without realising until Lannor’s face lingered near his, Tyler had pressed his body in close to Lannor’s.
“Sorry.” Tyler murmured in an attempted to distant himself.
“Why are you sorry?” Lannor asked.
“No reason.” Tyler replied, eyes averted, staring at his hands held tightly together on his lap. There was something about Lannor that was sexually frustrating and Tyler wondered if the women who came in contact with Lannor found he had the same effect on them. Tyler thought of his Aunt Elizabeth. How had she managed in her time living there? Lannor had mentioned they were lovers.
“You don’t age, do you?” Tyler suddenly asked.
“Not while I’m in this state.” Lannor replied.
“Is that why Aunt Elizabeth left?”
Lannor closed the magazine but left his finger in the page he was on.
“Yes. Everyone else who remained eventually died. Elizabeth thought to spare me the pain.”
“But you’d have rather she stayed?” Tyler asked.
“Yes. It would have been better than being here alone.” Lannor hesitated then asked, “Do you know how she’s going?”
“I don’t. Sorry. My mother doesn’t speak to her sister at all. The last time I saw Aunt Elizabeth I was a child.”
“I remember her telling me about you. There’s a photo of you with her in the living room somewhere.”
“Really! I should find it.”
Lannor nodded, “I can help.”
Tyler caught Lannor’s eyes, and he smiled.
“I guess we're both got problems to sort out.” Tyler said.
“Although yours seem to be much easier to resolve than mine.”
Tyler gave a chuckle, “True. So when your mother said understand love, and the sexual kind hasn’t been working for you, what do you think she meant?”
“I have no idea.” Lannor replied with a deep sigh.
They sat in silence before the rustling of the magazine drew Tyler’s attention. But before Lannor could open the magazine, Tyler placed his hand over the cover.
“I’m not sure I can explain this to you?” Tyler said.
Lannor looked down at Tyler’s hand on the magazine.
“I was shocked,” Lannor began and Tyler’s heart sank, “but also aroused.”
Taken back by Lannor’s admission Tyler removed his hand.
“Lannor, is this the first time you’ve seen something like this?” Tyler hesitantly asked.
“Yes, It is. It’s not that I wasn’t aware but this…” Lannor held up the magazine. “It’s openly displayed and arousing to the body.”
Tyler couldn’t help but smile. “It’s meant to be that way. Magazine such as these are designed to bring pleasure.”
“But it doesn’t feel right?” Lannor explained.
“What do you mean?”
“Pleasure is experienced when with another person. Yet my body reacts to what I read. The images reinforce the words and I cannot remove them from my mind. I do not understand why I can be stimulated by this.”
Speechless, Tyler stared at Lannor unable to supply an answer. Somewhere in the room, Tyler heard the sound of a clock ticking, as his eyes stayed glued on Lannor’s.
“Lannor,” Tyler began unblinking, “Sexual experiences don’t have to be with other people. You can become aroused when alone and still enjoy some levels of pleasure.”
“I don’t understand?”
Tyler could not manage to find the right way to explain the situation.
“Magazine’s like these offer sexual stimulation to assist with arousal and pleasure when alone.”
The expression on Lannor’s face told Tyler he did not know what he was talking about.
“You do pleasure yourself?” Tyler asked.
Still, Lannor glanced blankly before his face lit up and said, “You mean what you did in the bath by yourself?”
Tyler turned a scarlet red as the memory returned.
“Yes.” He slowly replied.
“I see. So this,” Lannor held up the magazine, “is common.”
Tyler’s eyes widened. Never did he imagine he’d be having this type of conversation in his lifetime.
“Magazine’s such as these are. They have one’s with women only and other with men and women.”
“And they are acceptable?”
Tyler let out a deep breath. “Well… these one’s with all men not so much. Many people consider this abnormal. Like my parent’s.”
“You’re parents don’t support you choices?”
“No, they don’t. They would rather people believe I’m dead?”
“Surely they would be happy you found love?”
“You’d think but no, they weren’t happy. And when I told my boyfriend, he dumped me.”
“Oh. I see. That is why you arrived here upset.”
“Yes. But it’s in the past now. I’ll get over this.”
Lannor gave a small nod, “It would seem we have both experience broken hearts. Although mine more so that yours.”
“Yes, well, maybe we can better understand your position together. See if we can’t work out what it was your mother meant.
Lannor’s smile radiated and Tyler’s heart fluttered. Tyler silently chanted to be strong, however the growing temptation to seduce Lannor burned fiercer than sensibility.