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Morning After - Ghost/René Part 2

[cross posted were_ghost and bq_x_stain ]

Some minor NC-17

Mun’s Note: Continuation of Morning After


Part 2

René waited for Ghost, pacing back and forth anxious for his lover to arrive. He puffed away desperately on the clove cigarette. The impromptu meeting with Alfonso had not gone well.

René had been surprised to see Alfonso at the University, but what turned out to be a small encounter exploded into an argument. Alfonso wanted René to stop seeing Ghost so exclusively and ‘see other people’ at his benefactor’s request. The very thought infuriated René. Who the hell was his mysterious benefactor to say who René could and could not have a relationship with? It reminded René of his days of service as a thrall to the pious Romanian vampire, Doviculus.



Well, benefactor be damned, Ghost was staying in his life whether it was ‘approved’ by this benefactor or not.

Ghost spotted René waiting for him near the curb. His morning had been very productive despite the visit from Alfonso. The papers were properly signed and work would begin tomorrow on the loft renovations. In a few months he would have a decent place for the two of them. A place they could call their own, where they decided who entered and who didn’t.

Ghost pulled in close so René would have an easy time of it getting his cello into the car. They could go get some lunch and then Ghost would finally get to hear his lover make his music. Ghost stopped the vehicle and jumped out to help René with his instrument. The were was about to ask how his lover’s morning went, but he pulled up short. René looked agitated and was puffing on one of those clove cigarettes. He didn’t look happy. Ghost decided that wouldn’t do. He lightened his expression and plastered on a smile and tried to keep his tone cheerful. “Hey, baby, ready to go? Let me help you with that.” He reached for the large instrument. “Where would you like to eat?”

René tried to smile back. He hugged Ghost as tight as he could, afraid that Alfonso would come and take him away from Ghost. “Let’s go to the grill a few blocks down, I’m in the mood for a bacon cheeseburger.” he looked up at Ghost with a silent plea. He was trying not to give away his confrontation with Alfonso, but René knew he could not hide this from his lover long.

Ghost gave him a quick kiss and guided him into the car. “Your wish is my command. Bacon cheeseburgers it is.” The were sniffed the idea. “Roasted meat due east.” Ghost followed the scent to a little burger joint. “How’s this?”

René seemed distracted, he didn’t quite catch Ghost’s question at first. When he realized Ghost was speaking to him, he smiled slightly, hiding his chagrin. “Sorry, what was that?”

Ghost frowned and thought ‘okay, this is more than a minor annoyance’. His lover was not the same bouncy, flirty young man he’d dropped off a few hours ago. The were reached over and rubbed the young man’s leg. “We’re here, I think. Is this the place you were thinking of?” He pointed to the eatery in front of them.

“Yes, there is a burger with my name on it in there,” René said, leaning over to give Ghost a kiss. “I promise you’ll like this place.”

“If they serve meat and you are there to enjoy it with me, it can’t be too bad. Shall we go?” He let himself out of the car and moved around to open the other door before René could get out. There was something bothering his lover, and the were intended to pamper him until he relaxed enough to voice the problem. He helped the young man out of the car and into the burger joint with a gentle hand to the small of his back. He thought he felt tension in the muscles under his finger tips.

Ghost’s touch brought René comfort. He led them into the grill place, where a crowded line greeted them. René was not surprised; the food here was very good and at lunch time this place was always packed.

René stood in line and the aroma of fresh cooked burgers made his stomach rumble. He placed a hand on his stomach and chuckled just as he heard someone call his name. He turned his attention toward the front and saw one of his classmates standing behind a register, getting ready to open and help out with moving the line along. The young man waved over to René and the musician waved back. The other man chuckled, then waved René and Ghost over. “Come on, that’s Bob, a friend from school. Looks like we may get to eat earlier than expected.” He smiled up at Ghost.

René rushed over to Bob’s counter before anyone else took notice that it was open. “So who’s the hunk?” Bob asked with a playful grin.

“My boyfriend, Ghost,” René answered proudly.

“You’re a lucky bastard,” Bob said approvingly of René’s choice in men. Bob gave Ghost a nod. “Nice to meet ya. Now I better take your order before the ol’ boss thinks I’m up here doing nothing.”

“Fair enough, I already know what I want. Bacon cheeseburger with everything, small onion rings, and a large sweet ice tea,” René said.

Ghost acknowledged the young man behind the counter. “That sounds good, just double everything except the drink.” He handed the young man a credit card before René could say anything.

And René was about to protest, but decided against it, just shaking his head and putting away his money. “Next time, I’m buying,” he said with a smile that faded as he noted Jeremiah and his crew entering the restaurant. Great, if my day wasn’t bad enough...

“Maybe if we ignore them, they will go away. Wishful thinking, I know, ” Bob suggested as he finished placing their order and handed Ghost a receipt with a ticket number.

“Wish he’d leave me alone,” René muttered under his breath.

Ghost noted the bully entering the restaurant. It didn’t really bother him. The boy was insignificant to the were, but the fact that his presence bothered René did matter. At the same time, he wished to teach his lover to ignore such useless people. His school year would not last for much longer, and then likely he wouldn’t be seeing the ignorant fool again.

Ghost slipped his arm around his lover’s shoulders and leaned down to whisper in his ear. “Relax, he is not important. We came in to have some lunch and that is what we will have. Besides, this is one of the closest hamburger places to the college. It stands to reason you would run into each other here. It is only a coincidence. Even fools must eat.” He kissed René’s ear and whispered, “But if it would make you feel better, I could direct a glare in his direction that will make him soil his pants.” Ghost grinned wickedly and wiggled his eyebrows.

“Nah, that’s more trouble than it’s worth. Besides, that would mean I acknowledge his sad existence, and I know it will bother him more if I just ignore him.” René winked at Ghost and leaned into him.

“I think if Jerry just admits to himself that he likes boys, you in particular, René, then he wouldn’t be such an asshole,” Bob stated. “He had his chance with you and blew it.”

“Nah, Jerry never had a chance with me. I didn’t want a homophobic gay boyfriend hiding behind the façade of being straight,” René muttered. “And told him as much.”

Ghost glanced over at the jock and stated matter-of-factly, “Oh, I think he likes that stick up his butt. If we pulled it out, he’d be terribly lonely.” The were wasn’t trying to look intimidating, it just came natural to him.

Jeremiah took note of René’s menacing boyfriend and wisely decided to not approach René here. He’d have plenty of time to approach the musician later on at school. And if René gave him a hard time again, then Jerry had a plan to make sure that Ghost would not interfere--at least not near the campus, anyway.

“Come on, gorgeous, let’s find a seat.” René motioned to Ghost, keeping his arm wrapped around Ghost’s waist as he nudged Ghost to follow him through the crowd.

The were pulled his boyfriend close and let René guide him to an open booth. Ghost let the young man slide in first so that he was insulated against the approach of any unfriendlies. He glanced at his watch to check how much time they had. There was still the matter of René’s condition when Ghost arrived to pick him up. Would this be the time to bring it up? There was also the issue of Alfonso’s visit. Did the man come by regularly and have open access to the apartment? Seemed to be a logical question. Ghost reached out and pushed an errant curl off René’s forehead and studied the beautiful chocolate eyes rimmed with black. ‘How to bring this up, hmmmm.’ Alfonso didn’t say anything about not mentioning his visit, just about the meeting with the benefactor. His boyfriend might like to know that this man entered the apartment when René was not home. “René? This morning...when I got back to the apartment...there was a man there waiting.”

René looked over at Ghost, perplexed. “A man? He wasn’t robbing the place was he? Wait, was it Alfonso? He’s the only other person that has access to the apartment, as it’s under the secret benefactor’s name.” René sighed. “Alfonso came by the university today, talked with me--we didn’t agree on things--he’s all wound up about you. Telling me it’s forbidden and that the benefactor would not approve of our relationship--which I don’t fucking get, ’cause it’s not like you’re the first guy I’ve been with, and Alfonso was okay with that other dude, so I mean, what makes you so different? Other than --” René stopped. That was it. Ghost was a werewolf...but how would his benefactor know that? Unless the benefactor was a were himself, which René highly doubted, or he was somehow aware of the supernatural--or worse, a vampire.

“Oh god...” René’s eyes widened, and if it had not been for Ghost being there, René would have bolted out of the grill place, packed and disappeared.

Ghost followed his lover’s thinking and came to same conclusion. The were slipped his arm over the back of the seat and down onto the young man’s shoulder, gently holding him in place. He had a good idea what his lover was thinking. There was only one thing he knew of that got René that freaked - vampires. ‘Why didn’t I think of that? Another were wouldn’t care if René dated one of our kind, but a vampire? That wouldn’t be popular.’ Ghost still knew little of vampire politics, but he couldn’t see the two species getting along. “It’s all right, lover. It’s just us here.” He squeezed René’s shoulder, lending warmth and comfort to the slender body. “We decide our future, no one else.” Ghost touched his lover’s cheek. “What does this sponsor provide that I can’t?” He turned toward his boyfriend so he had his full attention. “I care for you a lot and think you have real talent. You wouldn’t have been in Julliard if you hadn’t. I would like to help support you while you are exploring that.” Ghost leaned close and laid a kiss on René’s forehead. “No one should decide who you give your heart to, my love, not even me, so even if some time in future you decide we aren’t right for each other, it will be your choice, not someone you have never even met.” Ghost sealed that with a sweet kiss.

“My benefactor pays for my school, my home, most of my bills--the utilities and car payment mostly.” René sighed; why had he not seen the warning signs before? How could he have been so blind? What if it was his old master secretly coming to claim him? No. That’s not how that aristocratic prick Doviculus worked; he’d want René to know it was him and revel in René’s fear...but if not Doviculus, then who? It mattered little, vampires were cruel sadistic beings. Whoever René had caught the fancy of this time, he was not about to go through that hell again. “You don’t know what they are like, Ghost--what they are capable of doing. I can’t become one of their thralls again, I can’t--” René stopped and looked around nervously. “I shouldn’t discuss this here. We will talk more later this evening. But not at the apartment--somewhere else--someplace safe. Your cabin, let’s go there.”

Ghost could see his lover’s fear. Personally, he should probably be afraid of the strength that Katarina wielded, but he wasn’t. He’d seen what the bitch had done to Lucinda’s pack, and yet he was willing to face her down if she ever went after someone he cared for again. Ghost pulled René back to him. “I could support any number of students musicians if I had the mind to, but you are right. There are some things that should not be discussed in...public. We can go to your rehearsal, then pick up a few things from your place and take the bike to the cabin. No one will bother us there.” He stroked the side of René’s face as he went through their itinerary. He wanted to soothe his lover’s nerves so the young man could eat some lunch. “Can you eat something? It looks like our order is ready. Don’t want you to pass out during rehearsal, now do we?”

This could work. René could fix that pot roast for him another time. Ghost could call in an order to Tristan during the rehearsal and then after a brief run by the apartment to drop off the cello, they could pick up the food and leave town on his bike. The cabin wasn’t much, but the bed was comfortable, and they could talk without fear of being overheard.

René nodded as he watched Ghost get up to get the tray of food, anxiously watching the area around him. René knew he could not stay away from the apartment forever, but for now he just couldn’t go back there--he needed some time away, to clear his head. Part of him wanted to confront Alfonso, but René decided that would not be wise...especially if Alfonso was working for the vampire.

The vampire.

The very thought freaked René out.

Ghost made the trip over to the counter and retrieved their order. Maybe the food would calm René down, but he doubted it. Carrying the laden tray back to the booth, Ghost was able to observe his boyfriend. René looked on the verge of panic. The were could smell the subtle increase in sweat coming off the young human’s skin. His own wolf was getting restless. He too sensed the young human’s fear and he wanted to protect. Ghost would leave New Orleans this minute with his lover, take him far away, but there was school to consider. René had worked hard to get this far and Ghost wouldn’t take that away from him. He already felt a bit guilty for his part in René’s agitation. If it weren’t for Ghost, Alfonso wouldn’t be making René’s life more difficult. Of course, if a vampire was behind this, then it wouldn’t matter. The were could help René finish his schooling elsewhere.

Ghost gently set the tray down on the table and deposited the various items in front of each of them. Slipping the empty tray onto the other booth seat, he slid back in next to René and reached for a hot fry. He blew on it and then nudged at his lover’s lips with the salty potato stick in hopes of encouraging him to eat.

René took the french fry and took a small bite. His appetite was gone, but he didn’t want to worry Ghost so he did his best to eat, though most of his effort consisted of tiny bites and nibbles of the burger and fries. He wore a faraway look and kept silent, as if contemplating something. And in truth, he was. René was considering his options; whether or not to leave Ghost at the request of his benefactor.

René reached out to touch Ghost’s hand. “Fuck it, I don’t care. Some benefactor I’ve never met isn’t going to tell me how to run my life. I’ll date who I want to date, sleep with whom I want...and it’s you that I want, Ghost. I’m not going to let this drive us apart, I’m not.” it sounded a lot braver than he felt, but it was the truth. René was not going to give up on Ghost, not after he had finally found what he so sorely yearned for--love. Perhaps it was too soon to think of it as that, but René felt strong and whatever that feeling was, it could not be denied. The thought of being away from Ghost was too painful to even contemplate.

“Then we will leave after your rehearsal. The cabin will give us privacy and security. The bike will give us speed if it is needed, though I don’t think it will be required.“ He finished his second burger and offered the last one to René. “You mentioned your studies. Do you need anything for that? I wouldn’t want you to do badly on your tests.”

“What? Oh, my exams...I can’t think about those right now,” René replied absently, waving the burger away. “I just need to get out of town and feel safe. If I could skip rehearsal, I would, but the director would fucking freak,” he sighed. He wanted to run and yet he knew he was trapped. But he had to think calmly, logically. René had promised himself that those creatures would not control his life again, and yet here he was obsessing. René needed some familiarity. “I can study once we get there. Not sure your bike can hold everything; maybe we should take my car?”

Ghost wished it was that easy, but the reason he had picked the place was for its isolated location. He was hiding there, and he didn’t want any paved roads leading straight to it. “We have to take the bike, no other way, but we will manage.” Ghost rubbed René’s thigh in comforting strokes, or at least he hoped they were giving René comfort. “I’m looking forward to hearing you play. You will play for me?” the were asked, trying to divert his lover’s attention.

“We can’t fit my cello on your bike,” René answered with a frown. “It takes up almost the entire back seat of my car. I can leave it at the school with a friend, and as for studying, I have my notes and such that fit into the backpack, so that should not be a big deal. I do need to get some clothes, but I’m afraid to go back to the apartment right now.” René averted his gaze. Ghost must think him weak to be so terrified. Perhaps I should just deal with this on my own? Face Alfonso alone, talk to him... René thought to himself. That way he wouldn’t be branded a coward in Ghost’s eyes. “Look at me, sounding like a frightened child. How ashamed you must feel of me. I have to go. I’ll sort this out, I promise.” René made his move to leave the booth. “I’ll call when it is done.”

Ghost reached for his lover’s hand, trying to gently halt his departure. He was glad now that he had hemmed the young man in. It made it harder for René to just bolt. “René, babe.” Ghost spoke quietly but urgently, trying to catch his attention. “Are we not together now? Were you not insulted by Alfonso’s demands that you not see me?” Securing the young man’s hand, he pleaded with his frantic lover. “Can we not face this together?”

Ghost leaned closer and lowered his voice, putting great emphasis on each word. “They know what I am... which means they are aware of supernaturals. What does that tell you about them? Do you really want to go face them alone?” Ghost knew he couldn’t stop René if he insisted on doing this on his own, but he was going to try his best to get the young man to see reason. “I will not control you. I will not tell you what to do, but I will warn you and do my best to protect you... not because I think you are weak or needy, but because you... you are....my mate.” Realization came at the same moment that the words left his mouth. ‘He is my mate. René is my mate. I must protect him.’ René was his mate, which meant that he would do everything in his power to insure his safety, even if it meant giving up his own life.

“Your mate?” René asked softly, automatically sitting back down, unable to hold back the smile on his face. “Does that mean what I think it means? Wait, don’t answer that here, we’ll discuss it later...too many eyes and ears here.” He scanned the place and noticed Jeremiah not only texting but also sneaking a photo of him and Ghost. It may have seemed innocent enough, but the picture taking was a bit strange. René knew a vampire spy when he saw one; the look on Jerry’s face as he glanced over at the couple, the way Jerry always followed and harassed him at school with questions. It all made sense now. “That son of a bitch,” René muttered under his breath. “He works for them,” he told Ghost.

Ghost agreed with everything that René had just summed up. It frustrated him a bit that he knew so little about the dealings between vampires and weres here in New Orleans. If the jock decided to follow them and he kinda....disappeared out in the bayou, would there be direct repercussions against René? He didn’t look in Jeremiah direction but leaned into René again. “Maybe. Better that we stay calm and go about our regular routine. If you’re right, we don’t want to tip them off about our little trip. We do what I mentioned, practice, apartment, then cabin. No one knows where I live and I can lose any tail. We will talk there, but first I want to hear you play.” Ghost touched his face, stroking it gently, hoping to soothe the spooked and now angered young man. “Will you play for me, my love?”

“Yes,” René whispered. “I will play for you.” He pretended to take interest in a french fry, “We should go and head over to Roussel Hall for practice.”

Ghost nodded discreetly and crumpled up his used napkin before tossing it on his plate. “Just be casual. Do what you would normally do and I will follow,” he whispered.

René took Ghost’s hand and leaned into him to give him a kiss, “Well, it’s what I would normally do,” he grinned as he followed Ghost out of the booth and back to the car. It felt good to be out of that place, but the trepidation followed René closely. He remained quiet on the way back, his mind spinning from the afternoon’s revelation.

***
Roussel Hall

The orchestra readied themselves for practice, René took note of the few spectators in the seats besides Ghost as he lovingly tuned his cello. Once everyone was ready, the conductor wasted little time to get practice underway and the music quickly filled the auditorium with the sounds of Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 in G minor.

René’s eyes would wander over to Ghost, his look smoldering as his fingers skillfully glided over the strings. He was playing for Ghost. Every note that he coaxed out of the instrument was dedicated to the werewolf.

Ghost reclined in the auditorium seating and drank in the music. The corner of his mouth twitched, his lids lowered to half-mast. The upbeat notes of the symphony combined with the warm sultry look his lover was giving him to lift his spirit, and lightened the tense mood that had been prevalent since the were’s run in with Alfonso. Ghost felt as if he could accomplish anything as long as René kept looking at him that way.

The director stopped them before they could finish the performance, criticizing a few players for not being at their best, René included amongst them. “I expect more from you, Mr. Tremaine. You’re playing sloppy today. Focus, focus, focus.” He tapped his baton on the podium loudly.

With a sigh, René nodded. The conductor always pushed him, not that it was a bad thing, but René was in no mood for it today. However, the rebel at heart knew better than to talk back to his Maestro. “Sorry, you’re right,” he muttered, re-positioning the cello between his legs.

The director seemed surprised at René’s lack of attitude and raised an eyebrow, but did not look a gift horse in the mouth and instructed his orchestra to begin the symphony again from the top.

Alfonso had entered the music hall and frowned as he overheard the director scolding René for his lack of focus. It was as his mistress, Monica, had said; the werewolf was a distraction. They needed to get René’s away from that Stefan Volkov person, and quickly.

Monica’s thrall took a seat toward the back, hidden in the shadows so René could not notice his presence. Alfonso scanned the crowd as the orchestra hit a crescendo, and frowned again as he noted that Stefan was in the audience. This would not do.

Ghost growled softly at the criticism from the director. What was wrong with the man’s hearing? The piece was beautiful. ‘The man must be deaf’, he silently scoffed. His boy was a beautiful sight sitting there with his instrument tucked securely between his legs like he was enfolding a lover. Now there was a nice thought. The were could envision the young man’s legs wrapped around his waist, playing him like a finely tuned instrument. Beautiful music indeed.

Ghost’s phone flashed, interrupting his erotic daydream. His attention shifted to the small electronic device. There was a message from the realtor. He needed to take this but he didn’t want to disturb the practice or call attention to himself. The were carefully “faded”, making himself less noticeable, and slipped out of his seat. He was almost out of the practice hall when he smelled something familiar. The odor wrinkled his nose - Alfonso. The man didn’t give up. He was going to make sure Ghost left. The were growled menacingly. ‘Not likely, bud.’

Ghost quickly took the call and returned to his seat. No one seem to take notice. As the practice continued, he laid out the plan in his head that would see René safely to the cabin and Alfonso would be none the wiser, or so he hoped.

Alfonso watched the were as he got up to leave and then re-entered the seating area. He was certain the wolf had picked up his scent; no sense in hiding it from the were. Alfonso’s brown eyes locked with Stefan’s for a moment, but then the thrall averted his gaze back toward the stage with a sigh. René’s tendency to disobey was evident, but it was not Alfonso’s call about Stefan. That would depend on what René’s mother, Monica, thought of the werewolf, and there would be no definite ruling on it until tomorrow evening.

‘Interesting.’ The lackey had seen him leave. That was another piece of the puzzle. Alfonso had some extra talents. Now Ghost wished that he had questioned the old vampire more thoroughly, but there was nothing to be done about it now. It would make things more difficult, but not impossible, or... could this be handled a different way? Ghost considered the facts. René needed time to calm down and think things through. He also needed time to finish his studies and his performances and then graduation. So what were his options? Take René and run? No, that would just feed his young man’s fear. Ghost was acquainted with that solution; it solved nothing. Perhaps this benefactor could be reasoned with. Of course, if it was as his lover suspected and his benefactor was a vampire, there was no telling. Damn, he really should have asked Sean a few more questions. Ghost went right on thinking as the practice progressed.

***

René had lost himself to the music, attempting to put all thoughts of Alfonso and his suggestions to leave Ghost out of his mind. When rehearsal was over, René gently picked up his instrument and motioned for Ghost to meet him behind stage.

Ghost punched in the number for The Den. “Hey, Tristan, Ghost here. I wanted to place an order for dinner for me and René.” The were shifted the phone to his other ear and glanced at the stage. The piece the orchestra had been playing was fading away. “What does René normally like to eat when he working?” He listened to Tristan’s suggestion. “Okay, that’s good. Give me that and a large batch of your chili and some cornbread. Any of those tasty pantries available?” A glance at the stage showed the musicians arranging their sheet music and packing away their instruments. He needed to hurry. “Sounds good. I’ll be by to pick it up in the next, say...20 minutes. Can I come around to the back entrance?” The were nodded. “Thanks, man. See in 20 or sooner.” He closed the phone just as he saw René motion to him.

Ghost made his way in the direction that his lover indicated. Now he would see what kind of trouble they were in. Would Alfonso prevent the two of them from leaving together, or forbid René from leaving town?

Alfonso debated following the couple, but knew his mistress would not be pleased if he upset her only child, so instead he decided to leave and wait for her to arise for the evening.

René smiled up at Ghost as he cleaned his cello before putting it away in its case. “Hey, beautiful, ready to get the hell out of town?” he winked, trying to make light of the situation. Truth was, he was anxious to go. “Let me give this to my friend over there and I can pick it up from him later, then we can head out.”

Ghost moved close to his boyfriend and scented the air. The smell of Alfonso was getting fainter but not completely gone. They needed to be cautious so they weren’t followed. “Anytime you are, lover. That rehearsal was beautiful. Can’t wait to get you alone so I can show you how much I loved it.” He winked suggestively, though he was very much on alert. He needed to check on their “friend’s” whereabouts. He still wasn’t sure if the man would cause trouble. He could do a little reconnaissance while René passed his cello off to his friend. “You secure your instrument and I’ll be right here.” At that moment his phone sounded, giving him an excuse to move away and quietly check the hall.

The call was from Tristan. “Hey, man. What? Yeah, we could use some cold drinks. Thanks. We’re kinda going camping. I’m taking René to my cabin. You got anything we can easily carry everything in? I’m takin’ the bike.” Ghost smiled at the positive response. “One more thing, we may be in a bit of a hurry, so could I start an tab with you? I’m good for it, honest.” Ghost nodded. “Great, you’re a lifesaver. I’ll call you right before we get there and you can put it out back.” Ghost ignored the joke about kidnapping his help. “Thanks again. I’ll send some extra business your way.”

Closing the phone, the were raised his head and scented the air again. The odor was definitely fading. The man was moving away from them. ‘Time to go.’ Joining the young man again, he moved in close. “Ready?”

“Yeah, I’m ready.” René took hold of Ghost’s hand and did a quick introduction to his friend before leaving the orchestra hall. “So do we chance stopping by the apartment, or do we head straight for your cabin?” René asked once they were safely outside and out of earshot from anyone that may have overheard.

Ghost politely acknowledge his lover’s friend and led him back outside. He sniffed the air again, but to his relief the troublesome human was gone. That was not to say that the man might not show up at the apartment and keep René from leaving. “You are safe for the moment.” Ghost pulled him close and laid a chaste kiss on his forehead. “I might suggest a quick shower while we are there. The facilities are nonexistent at the cabin, plus we must exchange your vehicle for my bike. The car will never reach it.”

René took a deep breath. “It’s still daylight, so we should be safe. It won’t take me long to pack and get ready.” He paused a moment. “So are you telling me you have no indoor plumbing at your cabin?” he chuckled.

“I’m a wolf.” He shrugged. “It was never an issue but no, there isn’t.” Ghost guided René back out to where the car was parked. “If we decide to stay, I could have some necessities brought in.”

René turned around and wrapped his arms around Ghost’s waist, drawing him close. “Well, I am a boy so some things won’t be too much of a problem...but I do like to bathe. Is there a stream or something nearby where I can wash up at least?” He placed a heated kiss onto Ghost’s moist lips, tugging on the bottom lip as René pulled away.

The were’s lip buzzed from the intimate bites. He would bring water to Hell itself if it would make his mate more comfortable, but he couldn’t get anything there before midday tomorrow, or could he? “There’s a stream a short lop from the cabin. I wish I had more to offer, you deserve better but I hadn’t expected guests. It was a hideout, not a weekend vacation place.” Ghost felt like he was letting René down and making excuses. It saddened him. He could hear his wolf whimper.

Resolving to fix this, he made a decision. “While you get cleaned up and pack a few things, I’ll put in motion what is needed. I should have done this long ago. We may need the place again and it would be more comfortable if it was better equipped.” That decided, he left René to climb into the car and headed around to the driver’s side.

Once settled into his seat, René leaned over and touched Ghost’s cheek. He could see the concern in his lover’s eyes. “I don’t mind getting a little medieval with you.” He grinned devilishly. “Besides, the stream could have other interesting possibilities...” René ran his hand up Ghost’s thigh.

“You just keeping thinking positively.” Ghost was going to head straight back to the apartment, but if someone was watching them, stopping to pick up some dinner wouldn’t seem unusual. The food would keep until they reached the cabin. “I hope you don’t mind. I ordered food from The Den. We can take it with us. Tristan clued me in on what you like.” Glancing down at the fingers stroking his thigh. “in food anyway.” He smirked.

“I’m hungry for something else.” René whispered against Ghost’s ear, his hand lightly groping Ghost’s groin. The cellist wanted to take his mind off the stressful events of the day and he knew that his lover would not mind complying.

Ghost growled, or was that his wolf? Most likely the wolf; he was the simpler of the two of them. With him it was eat, sleep and have sex - simple. The man-half was torn: part wanted to get the Hell out of Dodge, and other wanted to do something naughty with his mate. Naughty won for the moment, especially with his lover fondling his jewels. The young man really did have some superior skills. Ghost turned his head and pressed his lips against René’s.

René did not exactly understand what it was about Ghost that heightened his sex drive, but it seemed the more time spent with the wolf, the more René craved his intimate touch--almost to a point of desperation. Not that René was complaining. The sweet kiss that Ghost returned made René’s toes curl--in a very good way. René moaned as Ghost’s lips crashed into his. His hands wandered over Ghost’s pants, tugging at the zipper. He cared little that they were in a public parking lot, the area where they were was dark enough.

Ghost pushed his hips up into René’s touch. All the upheaval of today and the fear he smelled on his mate had his wolf pawing to get out. He tore this mind away from his arousal long enough to scent the air. They were alone and his mate needed this, but the car was just too small for what he wanted to do. “I need you.” He growled in frustration. He had to get his lover back to the apartment fast. Ghost would not be the only one getting satisfaction this time. The were reluctantly ended the passionate kiss and started the car. “Hang on, baby.”

With a slight blush, René pulled back. “Sorry, I can’t help myself. I don’t know what comes over me sometimes when I am around you.”

Ghost pulled the young man back and tucked him as close to his side as the gear shift would allow. He’d love to just settle his lover in his lap and let the young man ride him to oblivion, but his bulk was already taking up most of the seat. “I have a theory about that. I’ll tell you later.” The were was thinking that this must be what the bonding of two mates felt like, but could it happen between a werewolf and a human? “I love you just the way you, never apologize for wanting love.”

Ghost left the college campus behind and headed straight for Tristan’s restaurant. True to his word, there was a large carrying bag outside the back door. Ghost stopped long enough to roll down the window and scoop it up. He passed it to René and pulled back out into the street heading for the apartment. “Hold onto that. We can eat when you are safely in the cabin.”

René looked up at Ghost and grinned, looking forward to an intimate night with his lover.

*****

Later at the cabin, with his stomach full and his arms full of his young man, Ghost thought back over their “escape”. At the apartment, he’d sent René off to pack his things and take a shower while he called his supply manager to arrange for a helicopter drop of a portable shower, toilet and food prep equipment. Alfonso never showed his face, and the dash for freedom was turning into a holiday away from it all. He rubbed the top of his lover’s head with his chin. “Better?”

René stuffed one last shirt into a bag. “Yeah, I’m feeling a little better. I was afraid Alfonso would come in guns blazing, so to speak. He was so adamant when he talked to me earlier, telling me that Melinda was the better choice.” René muttered the rest under his breath. “Not that she isn’t hot, but I should be with who I want, right? Not be forced.”

“Of course, as long as it’s me.” Ghost leaned over and kissed the young man’s ear. He tightened his grip and breathed in his lover’s scent. “You are here with me. We are alone. No one will bother us here.” The were’s lips followed the curve of the human’s ear until it curved under. One little nip at the lobe and the kisses traveled to René’s neck.

“Mmm,” René let out a small moan. He could already feel himself hardening as Ghost’s hot breath caressed his neck. “As much as I want to, shouldn’t we wait till we are safe and away?” Despite the fact that René was all hands on Ghost in the parking lot earlier, being at the apartment made him wary again.

“Let us be off then. Your chariot awaits, my young sir.” Ghost gave a courtly bow and motioned toward the door.

René grinned and picked up the silver frame containing the photo of him and his mom. “I’m guessing some of the lore is true and you and silver aren’t friends, so...” he muttered, taking the photo out of the picture frame. “I’ll buy another frame later, but this is the only picture I have with my mom.” He lightly touched it, a look of nostalgia on his face as he tucked it safely into one of his music folders.

Ghost just smiled at his lover’s thoughtfulness. He didn’t have the heart to tell him that Alfonso had threatened him with it. “I’ll help you find something appropriate to replace it. Moms are special and need a place of honor.” Leaving the treacherous metal behind, Ghost guided his lover through the door on their way to some hours of peace and quiet.

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