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I wake early with Bridge in my arms. He has been asleep since dinner. When I came back Star was lying beside him, stroking his hair with a thoughtful frown on his face. When I entered the bedroom he stared at me for a long moment and then simply got up and walked out. Sacha stayed with him last night and I am bursting to know how it went.
Bridge stirs as I stretch and reaches for me sleepily. I brush the hair out of his face and leave my hand resting against his cheek. He feels cool and soft and sweet. Blinking open those breathtaking emerald eyes he smiles and turns his head to kiss my hand. Oh Hel, he’s so sweet. I lower my head to kiss him and that is sweet too.
“How are you feeling today?”
“Not so tired. I like Star.”
I am a little taken back by his directness and the direction of his thoughts. “I thought you were scared of him.”
“I was at first but he’s like me.”
“What do you mean?”
“He was hurt too. But it didn’t break him in the same way. It made me sad and scared but it made him angry. He’s hurting inside just like I was but he doesn’t realise it yet. When he does he will come to love us too.”
“I think he’s already half in love with you.”
Bridge gives me a strange look and then smiled. “Sometimes you can be so stupid.”
“What?” I am taken aback again.
“Never mind. Let’s get some breakfast because I haven’t eaten in forever. I fell asleep before I ate last night. You should have woken me.”
“If I had Star would have killed me.”
“He smelled nice.” Bridge says dreamily and I am surprised again by the way his mind works.
“You are such a truly beautiful person.” Bridge blinks and looks surprised.
“Yes, you are. And before I let you eat I have to make you more so.”
“You do? You can?”
I have to laugh at his wide eyed innocence. How anyone who has been through what he has been through can be that innocent, I don’t know. Perhaps when he was a child and the bad things were happening he locked away part of himself somewhere deep inside and this is the first time it has been safe to let it out.
“The only thing that can make you more beautiful is health and that is what I am going to give you.”
“Will you make me better today?”
“Not even I can do that Bridge. When I found you, you were days away from death. You were terminally ill and I can’t undo that in a day. You are still very ill my sweet one and it will take time to draw away from the edge. But you have nothing to fear I will not let you fall.”
Bridge looks at me seriously. “I knew I was dying but I didn’t know how close it was. At the time I wanted it so I suppose I didn’t notice how close I’d got. I can feel that it’s still there. I feel so tired all the time. It’s better but not if you know what I mean and sometimes…” He closes his eyes and sighs. “Do you really think you can make me better? I don’t want to die now.”
“Yes I can make you better and I will make you better. You’re not going to die now, I promise.”
He opens his eyes again and smiles up at me, touching my face gently. “I trust you.” His words are simple but the look in his eyes brings tears to mine. It has been so, so long since someone has so wholly accepted me for who and what I am and has put their life in my hands utterly.
“Close your eyes.” I whisper and he complies. I lower my head and lick his neck hearing his sigh as he relaxes and his arms fall away from me. When I sip his blood I taste the sickness strongly. My heart flutters… is it worse? No, not worse just… just… Before I was healing him because I thought it was right, because I wanted him whole for me. Now… now I’m healing him because I really want to, because I care about him, because… because I love him and if I lost him I would go insane. This is why I give my love so infrequently because I love so completely. I had never intended this. It has crept up on me. He has slipped under my guards, under my skin without me noticing.
The taste of sickness is no stronger than before… it is just more obvious, more obscene, more offensive. I will clean him of it as soon as I can, I will force it from his body, I will… but I have to do it carefully. If I try to force it from his body all at once then I will kill him. As much as I want to see it gone, to see him well, I have to take it gently and hope that he is strong enough to cope with it as it lessens day by day.
That is my greatest concern. He is so weak and frail I am afraid that exhaustion will take him before the sickness is gone. Although every day it will be less than the day before, during these first days his body will continue to fight it and there is always a chance that it will fail, that his heart will falter and stop, that he will simply become too tired to live. There is little I can do about that. All of the energy that it is safe for me to give him is given to reducing the sickness.
“Oh Bridge,” I whisper. “At this moment I would gladly die Aksaray Escort for you… but for me… for me you must live.”
He shudders and sighs as I carefully drain him, very much aware that in his condition I cannot afford to take much and so I hold back as much as I can while still bleeding my healing into him. This is an enzyme that is only produced during feeding; it helps the body heal the wounds of penetration and replenish the blood loss. I cannot give it to him any other way but I hate the fact that I have to drink from him to heal him.
Bridge moans softly and as I stroke his side and belly, he shivers and moans again. I take things as slow and easy as possible. He is relaxed and sleepy and gives himself willingly to me. This kind of surrender is dangerous and intoxicates me so it is not easy to hold back. I reach down and take him into my hand, slowly masturbating him as his breathing and pulse rate increase making it easier to feed but harder to restrain myself.
Bridge rides waves of ecstasy gently, as he does everything else. There is no animal in Bridge, no wildness. He is all sweetness and gentleness; light sighs and sweet moans. He does not scream, he does not thrash, he simply trembles and raises himself slightly off the bed as I raise him higher and higher until he grunts and convulses briefly, spurting powerfully, before collapsing inwards, panting.
I raise my head and look at him. His eyes are half closed and there is a smile on his face. I brush away the soft hair and kiss him. He sighs deeply.
“I’m tired, Luma.” He whispers.
“I know, little one, I know. But soon you will be better. Now you have to do something. I have taken from you and now I have to replace what I have taken as you are not strong enough to do it yourself. You must drink from me.”
“No.” His eyes widen. “Can’t he do it like he did yesterday? I don’t want to hurt you.”
“It won’t hurt me Bridge, trust me.”
“I… don’t know if I can.”
“I’m sure you can.”
“I…” I silence him with a kiss and when I break it he is silent and still. I keep a knife in my bedside table and I take it out and slice it across my wrist. At first I drip the blood into his mouth and he swallows convulsively when it hits the back of his throat. After a while the blood starts to fizz in his veins and he suddenly grabs my wrist and pulls it down to his mouth sucking gently. I smile, a feeling of warmth seeping through me. I have never had anyone feed so gently.
Before it gets to the stage where I am going to have to pull away Bridge lets me go. “I’ve had enough now.” He whispers, his eyes heavy.
“Yes, you have. Exactly enough.” He looks exhausted and I am a little worried by that. The process of exchange is tiring, it can be exhausting, but he wasn’t so tired yesterday… was he?
“I’m sorry Luma, I don’t think I can go down to the kitchen to eat after all.”
“That’s alright. You stay here and rest. I have to go and do some things and when I get back I’ll bring food with me. I won’t be long.”
“Can you ask Sacha and Star to come and stay with me? I don’t want to be on my own.”
“Why, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing. I just don’t want to be on my own.” He seems better now, more alert. Maybe I relaxed him too much. He is so delicate it’s hard to know how much he can take.
“I’ll call by on my way out. Shall I ask them to bring you something to eat?”
He smiles brightly at me. “Yes please.”
“I’ll tell Chancey to give you something special.”
He raises his arms and puts them around me pulling me down gently for a kiss. “I love you, Luma.” His words come from nowhere and they shake me. No one has said that to me like this, spontaneously, sweetly, sincerely; no one since Her. But this is Bridge, and as much as it shocks me, as much as I want to pull away, as much as I want to slap him and tell him never to presume to say anything like that to me again, I smile, brush his cheek and murmur. “I love you too, Bridge, with all my heart.” His smile is worth everything.
I don’t knock on the door to Sacha and Star’s suite. There is no door in this house that I knock. They are both dressed in robes, sitting in the armchairs, one each side of the fireplace and they are talking animatedly. They both look up when I come in. Sacha gets to his feet and runs to embrace me. Star just glares.
“Don’t you ever knock?” he snaps.
“No; never. Go and get dressed, there is something I need you to do.”
“Yeah, right. Maybe you have power over me, can make me feel things and do things I don’t want to do but don’t expect me to do anything for you voluntarily.”
I almost smile. “So you are not going to do what I want you to do.”
“Very well; although Bridge will be very disappointed.”
“Bridge?” Suddenly he is interested. I am slightly disappointed that the look in his eyes is for Bridge and not for me, but how can I be envious of Bridge?
“He’s Aksaray Escort Bayan not feeling well and he wants you to keep him company.”
“Not well? Is he alright?”
“I told you last night Star that he is not alright and he won’t be for some days yet. I am drawing out the sickness but it has already significantly weakened his body and there is little fight left in him. I can’t do both, I can’t cure the sickness and give him strength and I can’t push too hard with the cure because he doesn’t have the strength to take it. I am walking a fine line and it’s going to be a few days before he really starts to feel better.”
“And in the meantime? He’ll be alright? I mean… I know that he is not alright but… he won’t…”
“I won’t let him die, Star.” I say fiercely and suddenly realise how much of the concern I had been holding close to myself these last day or so I have unburdened on his shoulders. He gives me a very strange look and then nods briefly and disappears.
“Could you go down to the kitchen and ask Chancey to make something very light but appetising for Bridge?” I ask Sacha. “He’s hungry but I don’t think he could manage anything heavy. Tell Chancey I need to build up his strength, he’ll know what to do.”
“Yes, of course. Shall I go to him then, with Star?”
“Yes, he asked for you too.”
“Radu,” He looks at me with eyes that are dark and shadowed with fear. “Bridge is going to be alright isn’t he… I mean when you heal him?”
I look at him for a moment; his earnest face, his shadowed eyes. “I hope so Sacha, I really hope so.”
“Where are you going?”
“To the transfusion suite. I have an appointment with Serif.”
“Serif? Oh yes, I remember. Rather you than me.”
“Hmm. I think perhaps he is just what I need right now. On reflection, go straight to Bridge. I will speak to Chancey and send up his breakfast. I have other plans. I need to take blood. I have given too much of myself these last few days I need to seriously replenish. Perhaps that will enhance my healing abilities.”
“How long will you be?”
“I don’t know. Stay with Bridge until I get back. It will probably be after lunch but Chancey will know where I am if you need me.”
“Is Bridge…? Is he…?”
“He’s in no imminent danger Sacha. I am worried about him but for the moment he is just very tired. His body is weak but his spirit is very strong. I will continue to give him healing every day and within a few days he will be much better. As long as we can keep him calm and strong until then he will be recovered in a week or so.”
“Keeping him calm is no problem. I have never met anyone so calm.” I can’t help but smile at that.
“You’re not wrong Sacha. Keep your eye on Star. He is very fond of Bridge already. Perhaps this can be used to make his connection with us stronger. If I could only get past his anger and pride…”
“We spoke a little last night. I think that Bridge is right. He is afraid. It’s not about you or us though. I think the fear comes from before. It’s been with him a long time and I think it’s going to take him a while to let it go.”
“I’m glad that he is, at least, talking to you. Did you take him?”
“No. I suggested it but he was resistant and so I didn’t push. We slept in the same bed but we didn’t embrace.” There is something in his voice that makes me look at him more carefully.
“Do you regret that?”
“Yes. He’s very beautiful and once he starts to relax he is… different. I… I am very attracted to him. Not…” he looks up at me anxiously, “… that I have pushed aside my love for you…”
“In this house love is not jealous or selfish. We are a family of four and when Star is ready our love will be freely given between us all. It is right that we should feel love for each other.”
“Do you…?” Sacha blushes deeply and looks very nervous. “Do you love me?”
I open my mouth for some bland comment but his eyes catch mine. I find myself reaching out to cup his chin and draw him forward for a tender kiss. “Yes, Sacha, I love you.” And, I realise, I do.
It is with a lighter step I wander down to the kitchen and find Chancey in animated conversation with Mario. They are cooking up something that smells vile.
“Chancey, could you have someone make up a light breakfast and take it to my room. Bridge is not feeling well. He needs something to build up his strength but he isn’t up to anything too heavy. Sacha and Star are with him and I imagine they will eat whatever you can give them.”
“Star?” Chancey asks with a puzzled frown. I laugh.
“I’m sorry Chancey, I forgot. Aqua is to be known as Star from now on.”
“Because it is his name which he demanded I return to him.”
“Very well, My Lord.”
“Is there anything I can do for Bridge, My Lord?” Mario asks softly.
“I don’t know. He is weak and tired. He needs to find more strength.”
“Perhaps Escort Aksaray if you gave me more information, My Lord, I would be able to be more help.”
I look at him sharply for a moment but his expression is anxious and he seems sincere. His glance is intense, which I realise is his way. The temptation to unburden my fears is too great and I sink into a chair with a sigh. Chancey’s eyes widen as I have never done anything like this before.
“He has cancer. It is very advanced, spread throughout his body. He’s had it for some time and when I found him he was days from death. He also has a number of sexually transmitted diseases and is HIV positive. I believe that he has carried internal scarring from previous violent injury too.”
Both Mario and Chancey gasp. Mario looks concerned but Chancey is devastated. I smile at him reassuringly.
“None of this is a problem. I can draw it all out of him, repair the damage. It will take some days but I can make him whole again.”
Mario looks downright unbelieving and even Chancey is doubtful.
“Pardon, My Lord but in the outside world that is a death sentence.”
“We are not in the outside world now Mario. As I told you, when I took him he was very close to death and now death is no longer imminent for him. However, the cancer in particular has seriously weakened him and I am afraid that he does not have the strength to keep fighting until I have cleared the sickness from his body.
“I only need a few days… two, perhaps three and I will have turned it around and be able to concentrate on building his strength. I cannot do that now. I have limited capabilities and if I stop suppressing the cancer it will spread again more quickly than before. I cannot risk diverting my healing to increasing his strength or it will be self defeating.
“The treatments are tiring in themselves and he is finding it difficult to recover from them. I strongly dislike the fact that I have to feed from him to release the healing toxins into his blood but there is no substitute. However it means that I have to drain him and even though I feed him straight after, it weakens him. My greatest fear is that his heart will give out before he is robust enough to fight. If that happens there will be nothing I can do. My venom is distributed in the blood and if the blood stops flowing then I am helpless.”
“My Lord, I hesitate to ask because I know that you have no reason to trust me, none at all but… If there is any way that I can go back into the world, just for a short time… there are things I can do to help. My grandmother was a herbalist. She had no formal training but she was the one who treated anyone in the family who was sick, and she did it well.
“She is the reason I chose to become a doctor and she has taught me most of what she knows. I was out of my depth with Taz as I had no idea what was going on, what I was dealing with, but I do know how to effectively build up strength and there also may be things that I can do should there be… problems, My Lord.”
“Are you not able to tell Chancey what to get for you?”
“I’m sorry My Lord but, given a few days I might be able to teach him how to recognise the plants and where to find them but he would not be able to obtain the equipment I need.”
I look at him thoughtfully. His eyes are anxious and sincere. I am pretty sure that the things he has experienced here have made him loyal and steady but he is so new.
“Go and speak with Bridge, then you may go… with Chancey accompanying you.”
“My Lord. What would you have me talk to Bridge about?”
“I don’t care. I just want you to talk to him.”
“Because once you have spoken to him you will not be able to betray him.”
He looks surprised but then he smiles. “Of course, My Lord.”
“Meet Chancey back here when you are ready to go.”
Mario bows formally and leaves.
“What do you make of him?”
“I like him, My Lord. He is passionate and committed to helping people. He has already added a lot to my knowledge and he knows his stuff with the herbs.”
“Do you trust him to come back?”
“I don’t know. I couldn’t guarantee it but I don’t think he would betray us… still…”
“I have my knife My, Lord. If he tries to run I will kill him.”
“That might be over reaction Chancey but… just be careful.”
“For Bridge, My Lord, I will see he gets what he needs and brings it back.”
“Good. Before you go there are some things I want you to arrange.”
“Whatever you wish, My Lord.”
“I have been giving out a considerable amount of my venom recently and I need to feed well today. I also need some relief. Of course I will take Serif while he transfuses but I need more. I was hoping that I could transfuse you and Ara together and spend some time with each other but that is not going to be possible now. Perhaps tomorrow.”
Chancey smiles, his eyes alight. “I will look forward to it, My Lord.”
“I have fed from everyone too much in the last few days and things are becoming complicated. I need to hunt again. Have two rooms prepared.”
“Yes, My Lord.”
“Good luck Chancey.”
“I don’t need it, My Lord.”
“I don’t doubt it.”
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