The Four Horsemen 4 - Death (8 page)

BOOK: The Four Horsemen 4 - Death
13.11Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

“I’m sorry I’m not as goddamned perfect as you are, Jameson. Guess I’m not as smart either, or I would have known from the start what kind of asshole Lars was. Or maybe I was just hoping someone loved me for who I was, not what I could give them.”
“You’re so spoilt, Pierre. You don’t think before you do things, and then you expect other people to clean up your messes,” Jameson yelled.
Pierre could see his stepfather in his mind, face red and hands clenched. It was an image he was used to seeing for most of his life.
“What fucking mess did I leave behind this time? As far as I know, I’m the only casualty of this entire fucked-up situation.”
“The room you destroyed at the hotel. I had to pay out a good amount of money to keep them from suing you.”
“Suing me? Hell, don’t I own the fucking hotel?”
Pierre swung around and froze. Death leant against the doorframe, hands stuck in his pockets, watching him. Pierre’s cheeks heated, and he moved towards the other side of the room. Why was he embarrassed that Death had caught him acting like a brat? Nothing Pierre had done in the time Death rescued him had pointed to him being a responsible adult.
“Not yet. Until you turn thirty, your mother owns the hotel. You can still get arrested for trashing it. Where are you, Pierre? I’ll send a car to pick you up, and we’ll talk about your actions when you get home.”
“I’m not coming home. I have some things I need to take care of before I’m willing to set foot in your house.”
“Come home, Pierre,” Jameson pleaded. “We’ll get you the help you need, and maybe then you’ll see what you’ve been doing.”
Pierre shook his head, not ready to deal with any guilt Jameson and his mother would press upon him. “No. I’m not coming home yet. I’ll call in a couple days to let Mom know I’m okay. Don’t try to find me, Jameson. I can disappear if I have to, and you won’t hear from me at all.”
He hung up and started to throw the phone, but Death was there to stop him. Death took the phone from him, slipping it in his pocket before taking Pierre in his arms. Pierre shivered at the warmth radiating from the man, and also the security he felt wrapped in Death’s embrace. Christ! How messed up did that make him?
The pain and anger swelled and ebbed inside him, and he longed for heroin to chase the emotions away. It was one of the reasons he’d started using to begin with. So many emotions and no way to let them out. He encircled Death’s waist, gripping the back of the man’s shirt in his fists. Pierre burrowed his face into Death’s chest, breathing in the intoxicating and expensive cologne Death wore.
“I need a hit,” he whispered.
Death rocked him and ran a hand over Pierre’s back. Death’s touch soothed Pierre in a different way from the drugs.
“No, you don’t. You need to sit and think about what’s making you angry. Drugs mask the problems, Pierre. They don’t fix them for you. Once you come down from the high, everything you ran from will still be there, waiting for you.” Death eased him back and studied him. “Wouldn’t it be better to fix the problems instead of running from them? Once you find a solution to them, they’ll disappear, and you won’t ever have to face them again.”
Pierre had heard the same shit from his therapist at the rehab centre, yet somehow hearing Death say it made it sound different. He stared up into those black eyes, and something caught hold of him. Pierre slid his hand into Death’s hair and dragged the man’s head down to bring their lips together.
He expected Death to jerk away from him and berate him for kissing him, but Death did nothing except pull him closer. Their lips rubbed together in soft, gentle kisses. They were different from the kisses Pierre was used to getting from Lars and other men. They demanded he open for them. They invaded his mouth like there wasn’t any doubt he’d let them in.
Death teased and licked along the seam of Pierre’s mouth, asking for entrance. He didn’t demand or force. There was nothing except acceptance. Pierre pushed up on his toes, trying to get as close as he possibly could to Death without slipping under the man’s skin.
He gasped when Death grasped his ass and squeezed. Chuckling, Death swept his tongue into Pierre’s mouth, and Pierre tasted the whisky Death had sipped sometime earlier. Death ran his tongue over Pierre’s teeth.
Pierre wound his leg around Death’s thigh, wishing they were naked and he could feel all of Death’s skin against him. His lungs were burning for air when Death broke their kiss. Pierre hid his smile as Death rested his forehead on Pierre’s, trying to catch his breath.
“We shouldn’t be doing this,” Death pointed out.
“Why not? It takes my mind off the drugs.” Pierre tugged Death’s hair free of its tie and ran his fingers through the silken strands.

Chapter Six

“I don’t want to be a substitute for the heroin. I can’t become your new addiction, Pierre.” Death set Pierre aside and stalked off, not happy with how he’d allowed his lust to take over. He searched his pockets for another hair tie and pulled his hair back into a tail again.

He shot Pierre a glance. The younger man had his fingers resting on his lips with a stunned expression on his face. Death didn’t know if the expression was because Death denied him or because the kiss was just that awesome.

“You don’t want me then?”

Snorting, Death strolled back to Pierre and grabbed his hand. He pressed it against his erection straining the front of his pants.
“Does it feel like I don’t want you?”
Pierre grinned with wicked joy, but Death shook his head.
“Just because I want you doesn’t mean I’ll take you. You have issues, Pierre. The first of which is your lack of impulse control. Your need to dull the harder emotions for fleeting highs like heroin or sex.” Death brushed a lock of hair back from Pierre’s face. “Trust me when I say I’ve been where you are. I didn’t use heroin or opium to soften the edges of my pain. I used alcohol, and by drowning my sorrow, I let someone I love down when he needed me most.”
“Won’t happen to me because no one needs me. I’m expendable, tossed away at the slightest whim.” Pierre winked at him. “But that doesn’t mean I’m not fun while I’m being used.”
Rolling his eyes, Death turned away from Pierre. He headed towards the door but kept an ear out for Pierre. The mortal followed him as he made his way out to the living room. Death dropped onto the couch, resting his elbows on his knees. Pierre chose to curl up in one of the large chairs flanking the couch.
Pierre’s skin was pale now with a grey tinge to it, telling Death the need was starting to build inside. Pierre seemed to be going longer and longer without having to shoot up. Maybe Lam and Day’s idea of weaning Pierre off the heroin was working, though there was going to come a day when Death didn’t have any more heroin to give Pierre. That day would be the beginning of a new life for Pierre, hopefully a clean and sober one.
“How did your phone call go?” He needed to take the conversation back to what was really bothering Pierre.
Pierre shrugged. “It started out okay, but ended like most of them usually do.”
“How’s that?”
After hearing just the tail end of Pierre’s part, Death had a good idea what Pierre meant.
“Jameson telling me what an ungrateful child I am. I’ve never understood how well I’ve had it. He always has to come and clean up my messes. How I should have listened to him when he told me Lars was a user.” Pierre plucked at the frayed hem of his T-shirt. “Is it too much to ask to for someone to want me for myself? Yet no one ever has. I mean, even my real dad abandoned me with my mom. I shouldn’t be surprised.”
Death could see Pierre was working himself into a funk. He clapped his hands together and stood. “You should go take a shower and change into some nice clothes. There are some hanging in the closet that’ll fit you. We’re going out to walk around and maybe grab a very late supper.”
Pierre perked up, his eyes shining at the thought of getting out of the apartment. Death would probably end up regretting it, but there wasn’t any real reason to keep the man locked up in the apartment. Death was getting restless as well. Lam hadn’t come with any orders for him or the other Horsemen lately, and Death wasn’t used to just sitting around, waiting for something to happen.
It was time to leave the city and head out to the country. Somehow, he’d had managed to hold onto the family country estate, even after his death and the Revolution. He’d bought it from Emilia, and she was glad to see it go, saying it reminded her of him. Of course, he went through a middleman to buy it.
“Go on. Your need isn’t very strong right now. Maybe if we distract you, you can go a little longer.” He waved towards the bathroom.
Pierre shot out of the chair and raced down the hallway. Smiling, Death tugged out his phone and dialled the caretaker for his country place, letting the man know he would be out there by the end of the week. The place would be stocked with food and drinks, along with whatever else the caretaker thought he’d need. It would be aired out as well by his housekeeper.
He listened to the shower turn on, and moved out on to the balcony, trying to remember the last time he had someone in the apartment for an extended period of time. Or the last time he took another person out to the country house. Leaning against the railing and looking out over the Latin Quarter, he realised it had been a very long time since he’d become attached to someone or cared enough to let them into his life.
Oh, he never went long without sex, but Death usually fucked them in a hotel room where he could leave whenever he wanted, and they didn’t have to talk at all. No awkward next-morning moments or anything like that. He didn’t do relationships, not even when he was mortal.
I do remember spending a night or two in your bed.
“You were the only exception to my rule, and look how that ended,” Death spoke out into the darkness.
But it was nice until the end. I had no complaints.
“None? Wouldn’t you have rather I made you my lover and set you up in your own house?” He rubbed his hands together, working to erase the faint memories of how Oliver’s skin felt under his fingers.
Certainly, but I knew the rules when I became a whore. A man like you doesn’t get attached to a body he can buy at a pleasure house. Of course, when I chose my life, I wasn’t expecting to meet someone like you.
And Death hadn’t expected to meet someone like Oliver. He closed his eyes, bringing up an image of his lover. A brilliantly white smile with crooked teeth in a lightly tanned face. Bright, green-gold eyes filled with such admiration for Death it hurt sometimes. Oliver pressing his slender body into Death’s, silently begging for him to take him the first time Death had bought him. The sex had been something more than between a patron and a whore. Every time after that was etched into Death’s memories, and every encounter afterwards never lived up to those nights in Oliver’s arms.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered, knowing it was too late for absolution.
It wasn’t really Oliver’s voice he heard in his head. It was his own mind making up the words he hoped Oliver would say if he were still alive. He’d begged forgiveness at Oliver’s graveside many nights in the years following the young whore’s death. Yet he never felt like Oliver heard him.
“Death? Where are you?”
“Out here.”
After turning, he leaned against the rail to watch Pierre walk out on the balcony. The clothes he’d bought for the younger man looked good on him. A green silk T-shirt complimented his eyes, and the tight jeans framed his slender hips and pert ass. He wore black dress shoes.
“Are you ready to go?”
Pierre’s eyes glowed with excitement, and Death’s breath hitched in his chest. On more than one occasion he’d seen just such a look in Oliver’s eyes when Death walked into the room.
Was this his chance at redemption? Pierre wasn’t a whore selling himself on the street, though he had sold himself to men for drugs and other things. It wasn’t like Pierre had to do it to survive, but still he had at times in his life. Could Death saving him from killing himself with drugs erase the mark made against Death’s soul when Oliver died? Did it matter all these centuries later?
“Death? Are you ready to go?”
Death smiled at Pierre’s eagerness. “Yes. Let’s go.”
He snatched up his wallet, keys and double-checked to make sure he had his phone before they left. Death also grabbed two jackets, handing one to Pierre as he stepped into the hallway. It was still a little cool in April in Paris. As they waited for the elevator, Pierre could barely hold still. Death shot him an amused glance.
“Why didn’t you say something about going out before this?”
Pierre shrugged. “I figured you wouldn’t let me because I could get away and track down a dealer.”
“You could still ditch me and score yourself some,” Death pointed out.
He chuckled at the disbelieving glance Pierre shot him.
“Somehow, I think you’d be able to find me without any trouble, and my ass would be grass if you found out I bought drugs.”
Death inclined his head as the elevator arrived. He motioned for Pierre to enter the car first.
“You’re right about me finding you, but I’m not your parents, Pierre. I would hope you would be able to resist the temptation. Yet you haven’t shown much ability to control yourself. Who knows? Maybe by the time I’m done with you, you’ll have grown up a little bit.”
Pierre looked like he wanted to argue, but they arrived at the lobby before he could think up something to dispute what Death had said. Death escorted him out of the building and onto the crowded street. Pierre shrunk back into Death at the sound and sights greeting them, but Death simply took Pierre’s hand in his and started strolling along with the flow.
He nodded to people he recognised but didn’t stop to talk. This wasn’t about chatting or visiting with neighbours. It was about getting Pierre out and working on his cabin fever. Pierre clung to his hand at first, not lifting his head very often.
“Are you afraid someone will recognise you?” he asked after Pierre turned his head away from a random tourist taking a picture.
“Yes. If they get a picture of me with you, wandering around here, it’ll get posted online, and Jameson will see it. He’ll have this place blanketed with men looking for me.” Pierre shrugged. “I don’t want to go home yet. I want to kick this habit, but rehab centres don’t seem to work for me.”
“They didn’t work for you because you weren’t ready for them. Did your parents force you to go the first two times?” Death eased them around a street performer, dropping money in the man’s bucket as they went by.
“Thank you, sir,” the man called out and Death waved a hand at him.
Pierre studied the people swirling around them. “Yes. They admitted me both times, telling me they were concerned about my health, and they worried I was killing myself slowly. Really I was just embarrassing them, and they wanted to hide me away for a while until the news moved on to something else.”
Death didn’t believe Pierre’s parents were entirely selfish with their actions. He had the feeling they did worry about Pierre, but the younger man was stuck in his childish world of believing no one loved him. He moved Pierre’s hand to the crook of his elbow, and Pierre didn’t object as they wandered.
“Where did this belief no one loves you come from?”
Pierre stopped in the middle of the stream of people to glare at Death. “What makes you think I believe people don’t love me? There are a ton of people who love me, and I spend a lot of money to ensure they do.”
Death tugged on Pierre’s hand, forcing him to move. He wasn’t interested in stopping at the moment. There was a particular restaurant he wanted to eat at, and they had reservations there in ten minutes.
“Ah, see, having someone act like they love you because you’re paying them isn’t the same as them loving you because you’re you.”
He spoke from experience. Most of the people, who hung around him when he was mortal, did so because of his money, not because they liked him or even knew him for that matter. Death hadn’t cared since they’d barely registered on his radar as living. They weren’t important and never had been even before Oliver’s death. Afterwards, they were more like ghosts flitting in and out of his world and had no effect on him whatsoever.
“How would you know?” Pierre stumbled along beside him. “Were you rich when you were alive?”
“I’m alive now, just in a different way, and yes, I was extremely rich for the time period. Hell, I’m ungodly rich now since I’ve had centuries to build up my fortune.” He smiled and nodded at Pierre’s shocked glance. “So yes, I understand what it’s like to be surrounded by people who only care about your money, but I think you’re doing your parents a disservice by thinking they were only concerned about their image.”
“How would you know? Have you talked to them? Are you their therapist as well as mine?” Pierre pouted.
Death rubbed his thumb over Pierre’s bottom lip. “No, honey, I haven’t talked to them, and I’m not taking their side. In fact, I’m not taking any side to this issue. I was simply stating you should try to see the whole picture instead of your narrow view of it.”
“I don’t want to talk about them or this whole situation anymore.”
“All right. What do you want to talk about?”
Death ignored the stares of strangers as they walked by. He knew how odd he looked with his grey hair and black eyes. Most people assumed he wore contacts, and he wasn’t about to dissuade them of that idea. Maybe he should have grabbed his sunglasses, but wearing those at night tended to cause even more curiosity, and he didn’t want to make Pierre uncomfortable.
“Do you have a destination in mind or are we just walking along?” Pierre edged a little closer, hugging Death’s arm tight for a moment. “It’s like we’re a couple, and they say springtime in Paris is for lovers.”
“Have you never done anything with another man like this? Just spending time together?” Death enquired when they arrived at the restaurant.
Pierre stayed silent while the hostess greeted Death before leading them to a private table in the corner where shadows would hide them from prying eyes. Death took Pierre’s jacket and hung it up with his on the hook on the wall beside their table. He held out a chair and waited until Pierre sat before he pushed it slowly up to the table, like any gentleman would do for his date. He took a seat and nodded as the waiter approached with a bottle of wine.
“Would you like a glass?”
Nodding, Pierre stared at him with a puzzled look on his face. The waiter poured a little bit into Death’s glass, who made all the right moves before pronouncing the merlot perfect. Like there was any doubt, considering it was his own personal bottle he’d sent over before they’d left the apartment.
The waiter filled both glasses to just the right spot and left after a slight bow. Death waited Pierre out. He knew the man was bursting with questions, but decided he would have to ask them before Death volunteered anything.
“Are you a regular?” It seemed Pierre was going to go with a safe question.
“You could say that.” Death smiled at the chef when he headed in their direction. “You could also say I own the restaurant.”
The chef greeted Death with a barge of Portuguese, and Death replied, noting Pierre’s surprise. After the chef left, promising to cook Death and his guest the most wonderful dinner ever, Pierre took a sip of his wine and frowned.
“So you speak Portuguese?”
Death chuckled. “Pierre, I’ve been around for centuries, and while I don’t particularly like people, I haven’t lived like a hermit either. Unlike my counterparts, I chose to remain in the city of my birth and watch it become the vibrant city it is at the moment.”
“Your counterparts? You mean the other Horsemen?” Pierre kept his voice down, obviously understanding he shouldn’t be letting anyone overhear their conversation.

BOOK: The Four Horsemen 4 - Death
13.11Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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