Feature Writer: MissKitty1974 /
Feature Title: Opium Dreams /
Story Codes: Erotic Horror /
Synopsis: Adrian from Temptations’ Kiss relives a moment in time /
The Opium dreams were gentle, a salve to Adrian’s tortured mind. The memories were still just as clear, but more pleasant, less sorrowful, playing out in his head like a film. He lay back comfortably in the couch, and dreamed, a mild, sweet smile on his face…
The midsummer’s night was warm, and the bar patrons spilled into the street like the light from the open door, drinks in hand, laughter on their lips, music in their ears. A young musician followed them out into the gaslamp light of the cobbled street, a well-worn violin under his chin, his step light, if a little weary.
His wire-rimmed glasses glinted on his handsome, if sober face, his amber eyes closed in the rapture of the music, his thin, lanky body moved as though in a loving dance with his instrument. As the tune came to a close he looked around to feel out the crowd, what they were in the mood for, when a dark shape materialized beneath a pool of lamplight that took his breath away.
There stood a young man with very old eyes, dressed in the finery of an aristocrat; his deep blue vest of fine brocade, his breeches of dark velvet, his black boots polished to a high shine, his shirt snow white, his long raven black hair tied back in a wide, black ribbon, an ebony walking stick with a silver cap lightly held in delicate, long-fingered hands.
The young man’s dark eyes caught the musician’s unabashed gaze and his high arched eyebrows raised in interest. Blushing furiously, the violinist ducked back into the bar, suddenly self-conscious that he had been caught staring, and made his way to the back of the dark room where he could catch his breath and have a drink. Why on earth had he been staring at that man? What had caught his attention so? But he could not get the beautiful vulpine features out of his mind, and he felt sickly vulnerable.
Later that night as the bar closed he found himself walking slowly along the waterfront of the river, still trying to shake the vision of the beautiful man from his thoughts, slightly tipsy from the whiskey.
In the pool of shadow between the streetlights two glowing slitted red eyes followed his every move, noting his weakness, his distraction, and a feral grin joined the crimson gaze.
He paused to lean against a streetlight, the cool metal a blessing against his burning forehead, and sighed deeply, completely unaware of the stalking figure behind him. A gasp escaped his lips as lean hips pressed against him from behind, and two ivory white hands found their way into his curling auburn hair and across his chest. He felt hopelessly trapped despite the fact that neither of his arms were bound, and his breath caught in his throat, his body very still as though in the presence of a predator. All he could think to say was, “Oh dear God, please don’t kill me.”
The voice in his ear was a silken, soft purr with an exotic foreign accent that made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. “Now why would I want to do that? I would sooner destroy a Da Vinci original than a work of art such as yourself. Don’t you think it’s a little dangerous to be wandering about out here by yourself?”
“I-I’m used to it. I’ve never been followed before. I have no money…”
“That would be why nobody follows you, my friend,” the stranger replied smoothly, his long, white fingers caressing his chest through his thin, linen shirt making him shiver.
“What do you want from me?” he said breathlessly, his hands grasping at the air to keep from giving in to his trembling knees. I should not have had that last whisky shot, he thought. The hand that was idly stroking his chest snatched his fingers and a soft coo of admiration met his ears.
“You have the most beautiful hands I have ever seen,” the stranger purred, rubbing the musician’s hand with a soothing, expert touch that relaxed the sore muscles, and made him involuntarily tip back into the man’s lean chest with a sigh.
“Th…th…thank you,” he whispered.
“What is your name, boy?”
“Michael … who are you?”
The hand that was curled in his hair now stroked down his cheek, following the line of his trimmed beard, the smooth thumb tracing the mustache over his lip almost lovingly. Michael could feel his heart pounding in his throat, deafening in his ears, his chest feeling as though it would burst, but from fear or lust he was not sure.
He did not think he could trust this man, but he had never had anyone make him feel so vulnerable, yet so safe. The stranger seemed reticent about revealing his name, but replied, “My name is Adrian. That is all you need to know, for now. I’m not here to hurt you. On the contrary, I want something else from you. Turn around, Michael.”
Adrian’s hands remained around Michael’s waist as he turned to face him, though Michael closed his eyes to avoid getting trapped in his gaze again. The soft fingers on his cheek and over his eyes were blessedly cool, and the haze of the whiskey seemed to melt away from his weary body. He could feel the man’s breath on his cheek he was standing so close; warm, and tinged with red wine. He leaned in so close that he could feel the black hair, soft as cornsilk, brush against his face. “Open your eyes, Michael,” Adrian whispered softly.
“I dare not,” he replied, his throat tight.
“What are you afraid of?” Adrian put his arm around Michael’s trembling body, his other hand still caressing his face, light as a moth. Michael’s hands came up to rest uneasily on the other man’s shoulders, not pushing him away, just feeling the smooth flesh beneath the silk, putting something, anything, between him and this compelling stranger.
“I…I…” Michael stammered, feeling stupid and childish. He felt like he was hiding under the blankets from a bogeyman that was offering little more than attention, and a little adulation. He cracked open his eyes to peer at his assailant, and indeed, it was the dark, handsome stranger he had seen outside the bar earlier that night. From up close the man’s features were flawless. His skin was alabaster perfection; his thin, delicate lips curved sensuously, his nose narrow, straight and aristocratic, his eyes… My God, his eyes! They were slitted like a cat’s, softly glowing claret beneath long, dark lashes and high arched brows. He smiled almost sweetly, but there was something in the quirk of his lip that suggested more wicked thoughts. Michael wanted to stroke the long, raven hair that now fell in unbound waves over his narrow shoulders…
“That wasn’t so bad, was it?”
Michael forced himself to breathe deeply, slightly irritated with the man for being so damn smug, but not daring to let it show. Instead, he said, “What do you want from me, Adrian?”
“Oh, now,” the dark creature cooed nonchalantly, toying with Michael’s collar, letting his unsettling eyes rove over Michael’s exposed chest before meeting his eyes again, “That would be telling, wouldn’t it? What fun would life be if we knew all the answers right away?”
Adrian’s grin was a little wider now, and Michael could see the tips of his unusually long canine teeth peeking out over his lip, biting it coyly. The look in his eye was anything but. An involuntary shudder rippled through Michael’s body at the confusion, which seemed to do little more than pique the predator’s interest. Adrian moved impossibly closer, his lips just a hair’s breadth away from Michael’s, his burning eyes half-lidded, and he whispered, “Lei è spaventato, il mio amico?”
“Wha…?” was all he managed to say before the stranger closed the last scant inch and kissed him soundly. He could just feel the fangs behind the silken lips, but they did not hinder the long, warm, wet tongue as it caressed Michael’s lips, seeking entrance. Michael’s gasp of surprise parted his lips just enough for the invasion of his mouth by it, and he was suddenly swept up in the kiss, the warm night around them fading like a memory.
Michael had been with men before, been kissed and fucked by all manner of rough types seeking a little warmth and his expert touch in the night, and sometimes it was even enjoyable. Sometimes he got paid, sometimes he just got beaten, but it had never been this overt, this sudden, this… passionate. He knew nothing would ever be the same again.
When Adrian finally pulled away, Michael found himself completely wrapped in the stranger’s arms, his callused fingers buried in the soft black waves of his hair, his heart pounding. Michael tried to pull away, but was stopped by the lamppost behind him, and Adrian only pressed closer to him, his lean, hard-muscled body flexing deliciously beneath the silk and brocade. Michael could not stop himself from touching the man’s beautiful body, wondering what it would be like to see it unclothed, if he wore nudity as gracefully as he wore his finery. He could feel the bulge of his excitement through the rich velvet of his trousers pressed against him, and knew without a doubt what this man wanted from him.
“Come back to my hotel with me, Michael,” Adrian whispered.
Michael suppressed a shudder, but followed the dark stranger obediently. He was led to a beautiful hotel, Adrian speaking to the deskman in rapid Chinese on their way up the stairs to the suite he had leased overlooking Shanghai. Michael was stunned by the opulence of the room, the velvet and brocade appointments, the absinthe bottle and goblet on the mantel of a huge fireplace, the view out the lavish windows. Before the silence between them could become uncomfortable there was a knock at the door, and two tiny Chinese ladies came in bearing a washtub, clean towels, richly scented soap and steaming hot water. Adrian poured a measure of absinthe over a sugar cube set in a slotted spoon into the goblet as the bath was prepared, and offered Michael the glass.
“I thought you could use some refreshment,” he said simply.
Michael accepted the bitter green liquid and downed it quickly, letting the odd, magickal burn of it glide through his body like a specter, then regarded the freshly made bath with no small degree of envy. It was not so much that he did not bathe, but never with really hot water, and such fine soap… His dark benefactor gestured to the steaming water with a smile. “All for you, my dear. Enjoy it. It is not every day that you will be doted upon by nobility. By the time you are finished, your dinner will be here…”
“Dinner? Sir, I do not know what I have done to deserve such royal treatment… or what I will be expected to do to repay you… I am poor…”
Adrian chuckled, “Just enjoy it, will you? I think you worry too much.”
Michael undressed, trying not to notice the way Adrian’s eyes followed his every move, devouring his naked flesh as he eased into the deliciously hot water with a long sigh. The stranger handed him a glass of the same red wine he was drinking, then stood by the hearth to watch him bathe with ravenous eyes.
“What brings you to Shanghai, Michael?” he asked conversationally.
“I was press ganged out of Portland Oregon a year ago,” he replied, scrubbing at his skin to avoid looking him in the eye. “One minute I was toasting the health of the proprietor, the next minute I was being dragged through the shanghai tunnels under the city and sold to a merchant captain heading for China. I escaped, eventually, once I got here…”
“Leave a sweetheart at home?”
Michael sighed, “Yeah, a couple.”
Adrian laughed, bemused. Michael blushed and attended to his bath again. By the time he was coming up sputtering from his final rinse off the two Chinese servant ladies had returned with a dinner fit for a king and were laying it out on the table. He ducked modestly behind the lip of the tub until they left, giggling behind their hands. Adrian brought him a towel, chuckling still, and Michael dried off his lanky body, casting surreptitious glances at the feast laid out on the table. When Michael was dry, wrapped in a large towel around his waist, Adrian again gestured toward the table.
“You must be starving, boy. Eat. Most musicians I know are perpetually one night away from eating the gut strings of their own violins. I think you are no exception to that.”
“Won’t you be joining me?”
Adrian bowed politely, “I’m afraid I must decline, this time, my dear. I have already eaten this evening. I had not been expecting a guest at my table tonight, though it is an unexpected pleasure, to be sure.”
Michael dug in ravenously, all sense of propriety gone at the first whiff of the roast duck on the platter before him. The dark stranger watched as Michael made short work of the meal, his expression unreadable, though he seemed to be enjoying watching Michael eat as much as Michael was enjoying the food. When he was done, Adrian poured him another glass of wine and leaned against the window frame to regard him with an appraising smile. Michael was still clad only in the towel wrapped around his waist, his clothes having been taken by the Chinese ladies to be cleaned, and he felt rather exposed to the man’s ravenous eyes.
“What do you want of me, then?” Michael asked quietly.
Adrian approached him slowly, his eyes downcast to the elaborate rug at his feet, circled around behind Michael, and stroked his bare shoulders sensuously with his long, cool fingers. “I think you are too used to people having their way with you and leaving you … unsatisfied,” Adrian said softly, planting a kiss on the back of Michael’s neck that sent shivers up his spine. “I believe you are concerned about my intentions, and I would not blame you, save that I am not here to take advantage of you. I admire your lust for life, your passion for music, and your beauty. I would love to hear you play again. I, too, am a musician, but alas, my instrument of choice is all the way back at my home in Milan. I see in you a kindred spirit, even if our reasons for being here are far different.”
He circled around him again, teasing his bare skin with soft strokes, now and then meeting his eyes. Now Michael could really see that the man was not human, though how much he cared anymore was questionable. There was something in those slitted red eyes that seemed lonely, not really lost, but longing for something unexplainable. This proud creature would not beg, would never stoop so low, but he could yearn deeply as any man. Michael felt perhaps he was misinterpreting the passionate being’s intent, applying the logic of all the other rough, uncultured brutes only interested in his body for an hour to a creature of infinitely classier bearing than he had ever met. The stranger stopped circling him, standing instead near his shoulder and gazing out the window at the city lights below.
“I could love a man like you, Michael,” he said quietly. “There is something about you that I could relate to. I could take you away from all this. No more press gangs. No more selling yourself to survive. No more playing in bars and taverns to make a few paltry silver to get yourself through. No more fear. No more cold nights. What do you say?”
It sounded too good to be true, and Michael stared at his unexpected benefactor in disbelief. Adrian stood very close, his soft midnight hair brushing against Michael’s shoulder, peering over at him through long, soot black eyelashes, his expression sincere. They were almost the same height, Michael having a scant inch over the other’s head, but their eyes met easily.
“Are you serious? You’d take me back to… Milan, was it?”
“I would. All that and then some, if you promise to come with me.”
“What do I have to do?”
Adrian smiled again, and this time he was so close that Michael could see his long fangs peeking from beneath his delicate lip, though his shy expression suggested he was not going to use them, and Michael was confused. “Do?” the Italian mused, “All I ask of you is that you remain with me, as my companion, play music with me, let me spoil you at my leisure. Nothing even need happen tonight, I would let you sleep in my bed completely unmolested if that was what you wished. We leave for Milan in the morning; my business is finished here. Will you come with me?”
Michael considered this, then decided that anything was better than his life as it stood. Best-case scenario, this eccentric fellow would dote upon him until he tired of him, but he would be the hell away from Shanghai. Worst case, he would still be the hell away from here. It was decided. He smiled at his new friend. “You have yourself a deal, friend.”
Adrian seemed pleased, but the hunger in his eyes lingered. Michael barely knew what overcame him as he took the lean body of the exotic stranger in his arms and kissed his beautiful, delicate lips, savoring the feel of his sleek skin under the silk shirt, the inviting response of his mouth under his. He knew he had been thinking about doing this ever since seeing the Italian outside the tavern, but had been denying himself the pleasure of fantasizing about it.
He also knew that nothing he could have fantasized could ever have been as good as it truly was with him here in his arms, now. Adrian’s arms came up around him, his cool hands caressing him sensuously, and he all but melted into the embrace. It was everything Michael had ever wanted, and he heard himself whimper softly in his throat as Adrian kissed his way from his mouth to his cheek to his collarbone. “God,” Michael breathed, “I want you. I’ve wanted you since I first saw you.”
“I know,” his lover replied, “I could see it in your eyes. I want you, as well.”
“Please,” Michael begged, feeling impetuous, but he knew he could no sooner lie to this sensual creature than he could to himself. “Get the taste of this godawful city out of my mouth and out of my life. Please….please….please….”
Adrian straightened from where he was kissing Michael’s chest to look into his eyes, an expression of sweet concern on his vulpine face. He frowned, stroking Michael’s face tenderly, his fingers feather soft on his lips as though to hush him. “Non disperare.” He took up Michael’s hands and kissed his callused fingers, then went about turning down the lamps in the room, bringing down the lights to the softness of candlelight. It soothed Michael’s anxious mind, and he willingly allowed himself to be led to the big feather bed and sat down beside his new lover.
Adrian stroked the hair away from his eyes, gazing into them as Michael loosened the ties of Adrian’s silk shirt and let it fall down his slim, bone white shoulders. The violinist lost himself in the claret depths of his lover’s eyes, unheeding of the loss of the rest of Adrian’s clothes, and his own towel, as Adrian moved over him in the low light, straddling his lap and gazing down at him from above. Michael kissed Adrian’s smooth, hairless chest, wrapping his arms around his slim waist, and delighting in his beautiful, pale skin, sleek, muscular build, and the growing erection that pressed against his belly.
Adrian muttered breathlessly in Italian as Michael laid him down on the bed, tickling the sensitive skin of his belly and thighs with his moustache as he lavished his body with kisses. He dared a long, slow lick up the underside of his lover’s erection, eliciting a low, shuddering sigh from his pale throat.
Encouraged, Michael gripped Adrian’s hips from beneath and took in his cock all the way down to the curling black pubic hairs, inhaling his scent of woodsmoke and leather, and began to move up and down in long, languorous strokes. Adrian’s back arched, his breath hissing between his teeth, and he reached down to bury his fingers in Michael’s curling hair, moaning softly.
Adrian’s body bucked beneath him, and Michael crawled up over him to kiss his lips again. The lithe Italian was panting now, clutching at his lover’s body in a fever of passion, baring his teeth and pulling him closer to kiss him past the wicked fangs. Adrian’s pale hands sought Michael’s own straining hard on, and stroked it expertly between them, rubbing against it like a cat.
Michael gasped and arched his hips into Adrian’s cool grip, moaning into his seeking mouth as he kissed him again. All the sensations from the gentle to the sublime brought on Michael’s climax with some small surprise at how swift it had come for him. Adrian purred as Michael spent himself over his long-fingered hand, holding him against him with his free arm and milking every last drop of his passion from his shuddering body.