Winter's Bite

There was something very odd about Roan.

Elijah had been watching his neighbor for almost six months now, and he'd come to the conclusion that there was something off about the man. At first, he hadn't known what, but it hadn't taken too long. Once the exhaustion of the fall semester had worn off and the winter break loomed, Elijah had more time for spying.

Not spying, he told himself as he sipped his morning coffee. Spying was rude. He was just... aware.

They had only spoken twice, and both conversations had lasted no more than five minutes. Once, when Roan moved in and Elijah had gone over to welcome him to the neighborhood, and a second time as they were passing one another on the sidewalk outside their homes. It was how he knew Roan's name, that he was from New Mexico, and that he lived alone, though Elijah would have discovered that final fact out on his own rather quickly. Other than that, Roan kept to himself, and Elijah, between grading papers and preparing classwork, became more and more curious about the man.

Roan had no car. That in and of itself wasn't a huge warning bell. After all, with the push to go green, cars were slowly becoming passé. There were cabs and buses and carpools. But Roan didn't use public or semi-public transport. Every night, shortly after the sun set, Roan would step outside his house, lock the door, and set off down the road.

Roan just walked. He didn't run. He didn't jog. He never looked to be in a hurry. His neighbor simply walked down the dark road and disappeared out of sight. It was somewhat unnerving to see night after night, but Elijah felt compelled to return to his window every night after full dark and watch. He didn't know if he was hoping Roan wouldn't appear one of those days, if he was hoping for just the slightest deviation in a peculiar nightly ritual, or if he just wanted to drink in the sight of Roan's perfect body hugged by leather pants that had to have been painted on.

Elijah coughed and dumped the rest of his coffee down the sink. He was going to be late. Nothing moved next door. It was daylight out. Roan never came out during the day, so it was sort of creepy to watch the silent, unmoving house over his morning caffeine fix. This, he decided, was spying, and that was in poor taste. He shook his head, grabbed his bag and keys, and headed off to meet the carpool. As he looked over his should at Roan's house, he shivered.

Definitely something weird about his neighbor.

Elijah opened a bottle of beer, took a sip, and perched on the edge of his living room chair. His eyes were trained outside the large windows in front of him, watching as the sun slowly sank below the horizon. As the orange faded from the sky, replaced by the deep violet of night, his heart began to race. Like clockwork, the front door opened and Roan stepped out.

Roan was tall. Slim. Gorgeous. He had short, dark hair, serious eyebrows, and eyes like coal. Dark and serious, eyes that Elijah had often wondered about. What would Roan look like in throes of passion? He shook his head. Throes? He really needed to not be melodramatic about the man. Yeah, he'd wondered more than once what it would be like to suck Roan off, see pleasure in eyes that—from a distance—seemed regard the world around him with an air of boredom.

Elijah shook himself as Roan pocketed his keys and began walking down the dark street. Again. Where the hell was he going anyway? There wasn't anything of interest for miles! Especially not of interest for someone dressed in leather and mesh. Elijah shifted on his seat, his beer forgotten, as he moved from window to window to keep track of Roan's departure. Roan looked dressed to kill, just like he did every night, but where in the world could he be going to from here that he could walk to? It didn't make any sense, and Elijah didn't have the courage yet to confront Roan and satisfy his curiosity.

Roan disappeared into the darkness, and Elijah sat heavily in his chair, drinking his beer.

Roan never came out during the day. Elijah had spent a couple of sick days throughout the fall semester to check. Roan didn't own a car. He never brought anyone home with him. He never brought anything home with him. No take away, no groceries, nothing. He didn't receive packages or mail. In fact, Elijah couldn't remember anything happening next door save for the nightly ritual of Roan's departure and his return just before dawn.

He shook his head and finished his beer. Between the fantasies he had about Roan—God, he wanted to be the focus of that intent gaze and the long fingers he'd glimpsed from time to time—and the creepy behavior, Elijah's curiosity was perpetually and annoyingly piqued. He needed to figure out a way to talk to Roan, to be invited inside. Maybe Roan was just a busy bartender who was on a celibate rebound or something. Yeah, Elijah thought, it could be he's just come off a bad relationship.

When Martin had dumped him, Elijah had been useless for a good week, and then he'd been antisocial for months. That, Elijah decided, made plenty of sense. Maybe all Roan needed was a friendly neighbor to help him get over the post-dump blues.

Elijah grinned as he went around and locked up the house. Yeah, maybe all Roan needed was him. He'd catch Roan tomorrow night, before the man could escape into the night. He flopped into bed, tired but pleased with himself, and grabbed a pile of papers to grade.

Tomorrow, he'd pay a visit to his solitary neighbor.

Standing on Roan's doorstep, freezing his ass off, Elijah had a moment of foolish embarrassment wash over him. What the hell was he doing? Was this really the best idea he could come up with? He looked down at the plastic measuring cup in his hand. The cliché was just too much, and he turned to walk away. Maybe he'd try again another night. Just as he was about to step off the porch, the door opened. Elijah turned around and just stared.

Up close, ready to go out, Roan looked even more amazing than he did from a distance. Those eyes, which watched him warily, were like onyx in the pale, handsome face. Elijah couldn't look away. His heart pounded in his chest, and he swore that Roan's lips curved up in a slightly amused smile. Roan didn't say anything, though, and the silence stretched out between them before Elijah could finally summon up the excuse he'd lamely concocted to speak with Roan.

"Do you have a cup of sugar I could borrow?" he asked. Had that really been his voice? It sounded nothing like the voice that gave six lectures a day to rowdy high school students. It was breathy, choked, and uneven. God, he sounded like an idiot!

"A cup of sugar?" Roan tilted his head, and now there was no mistaking the amusement on the flawless face. "Your other neighbor is a sixty-five year old woman with eight grandchildren, and you're asking me for sugar?"

Elijah's cheeks felt warm. "Eustace goes to bed around seven. I didn't want to disturb her."

"And what could you be cooking at eight-thirty at night that needs a cup of sugar and can't wait until tomorrow when you head off to work?" Roan tapped his chin for a moment, and then crossed his arms. "Tell the truth, now. What are you really after, Elijah?"

The way Roan pronounced his name, drawing it out, making it some kind of obscene caress with sharp edges, made Elijah's skin prick, and he forgot utterly about the cold. He swallowed. "I just thought you might—"

"You just thought you might be able to wriggle your way into my house."

Roan leaned forward, and Elijah barely held back the moan in his throat as he caught a whiff of whatever aftershave he used. It smelled spicy and clean, and Elijah wanted to kiss and suck at Roan's throat and jaw, taste and smell him. "No," he tried again, his voice weak, soft.

"You wanted to see if you could unravel the mystery of your neighbor. You thought," Roan said, his voice dropping as he leaned in even closer, "that you've done enough spying, it's time for you to penetrate."

Now Elijah did moan, the plastic measuring cup clattering to the porch floor. The sharp sound startled him, and he blinked several times, trying to come back to himself. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said, the words leaving his lips quickly. "Spying? Why would I spy on you?"

"I don't know, but you do. I can feel your eyes on me every time I leave this house. You watch me until I turn the corner." Roan's eyes seemed to flash in the dimness of the porch light. "I would ask if you like what you see, but I know you do."

Elijah closed his eyes for a moment. He wanted his heart to not beat so fast. He wanted his pulse to be quiet in his ears. And, God, he wanted the hard-on he was sporting to go away! This wasn't going quite how he'd envisioned it. When he opened his eyes, Roan's face was right in front of his, and Elijah was almost instantly lost in the darkness of his eyes.

"Come inside," Roan said, his voice low, hypnotic. "Sate your... curiosity."

There was that odd edge to Roan's words that kept Elijah's hair standing on end, but that modicum of uncertainty didn't bother his cock. Oh, no. It read between the lines of Roan's invitation, and Elijah inwardly sighed. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? He didn't bother to pick the measuring cup up. He simply stepped over the threshold and into the semi-darkness of Roan's home. He surprised himself by not jumping when Roan shut and locked the door.

The house smelled a little on the musty side, but the heat was going so the air was warm. He felt feeling slowly returning to his fingers and nose. How long had they been out on the porch? Shouldn't he have been far more aware of how cold he'd been? The thought left his mind as quickly as it had entered it, and Elijah's attention was drawn to the sparse, modern interior of Roan's home.

Black and white with splashes of scarlet. It was beautiful, if a little disturbing. He stepped into the incredibly clean living room, his eyes sweeping over the white sectional, the black end tables and ottoman, and the blood-red throw pillows. There was no art. There wasn't a television. In fact, the room didn't look lived in at all. It was just one more peculiarity on top of a heap of them where Roan was concerned.

"Do you have—"

Roan was right behind him when he turned, a hungry sort of smile on his lips now. "Are you still going to ask me for sugar? Or were you going to ask if I happen to keep lube and condoms somewhere in here?"

Elijah's cheeks were almost painfully hot as he stared at Roan. "I was going to ask if you had something to drink, but I see where your mind is."

Roan chuckled. "It's where yours is. You didn't wear a long enough shirt to hide your hard-on. Or is it the sugar that turns you on?"

This wasn't how Elijah had envisioned this meeting. He swallowed, eyes darting around the room, a sense of embarrassment washing through him. "I should go." Roan was right there in front of him now, practically pinning him to the wall. There was a hungry look in the dark eyes, and Elijah's heart was racing.

"Go?" Roan purred out. "Why would you go? Now you can see up close what you've been watching for months."

"Months?" Elijah stared up at Roan. "I don't know—"

Roan tsked. He grabbed Elijah's wrist and dragged him through the living room. There were blinds over the massive side window, and the blinds were half open. He could see his own house, the kitchen window clearly framed by Roan's windows. His pulse jumped, and he tried to form some sort of excuse, but then Roan was whispering in his ear.

"I see you. In the morning with your coffee, staring at my house. I see, even from here, the lust in your eyes. You barely know me, but you want me." Roan's lips moved over his throat, and Elijah couldn't hold back the moan as the sensation went straight to his cock. "And every night, you stand in your living room, watching me as I lock up," Roan continued. "You follow me from window to window, until you can't see me anymore. You've even set your alarm to wake up before you must just to see me come home. So, tell me, Elijah, you don't know what I'm talking about?"

He'd been discovered. While he'd been watching Roan, Roan had been watching him. Why did he feel such a thrill of excitement at the knowledge? Elijah shifted against Roan, and that's when he felt it. Roan was as hard as he was. He smiled slowly at their reflection in the window. "It's not sugar that turns you on, either," he whispered.

"No," Roan growled. "No, it's you."

Before he knew it, Elijah's shirt had hit the floor and Roan was licking and sucking at his throat. Broad, hot hands moved over his stomach, his chest. Elijah squirmed, his hands flailing a little, unsure of what to touch, what to grab hold of. He moaned loudly, Roan's fingers having found his nipples. They were pinched, pulled, gently twisted, all while Roan's wet mouth and sharp teeth played with his throat. Every time he tried to turn around, to kiss and see Roan for himself, there was a tightening of the arms around him and a soft sound of warning from Roan. After four tries, Elijah simply gave in, rubbing his ass against Roan's body, his hands finally bracing themselves on the window.

It wasn't long before his jeans and boxers dropped to the floor, Roan's hands skating lower, cupping his ass, squeezing the flesh mercilessly. Elijah was drunk with sensation, moaning and crying out at every touch, every nip of teeth. His cock was hard and heavy between his legs, desperate for even a teasing stroke, but Roan was too focused on his ass and throat. The prolonging of that gratification, of being jerked off fast and hard against the window, only compounded his need for Roan.

Elijah never felt Roan's bare chest against his back. He never heard anything other than his harsh breathing. What he did feel was the press of Roan's cock against the crevice of his ass. It was like a burning brand, the smooth, silken glide of hard flesh. It pulled another needy moan from Elijah. His head was spinning as Roan's heated mouth returned to his throat, sucking and biting at the pounding pulse there. He was going to leave a mark, Elijah thought distantly, but he didn't care. All he wanted was relief. Roan knew how to work a guy up, and Elijah was about ready to explode.

He was pushed more firmly against the window, pinned there by the unusual weight of Roan's body. Elijah hadn't thought Roan would be so strong, but he didn't care. He liked that strength. It made his blood rush with lust and need. "Please," he panted, pushing back, shamelessly rubbing himself against Roan.

"Please?" Roan asked, the one word almost a pure, feral growl.

"Please," Elijah repeated, his nails scraping uselessly at glass. They were ruining the blinds, but Elijah couldn't think straight. He didn't care about anything but the man behind him. "Roan!"

Only then did Roan wrap his hand around Elijah's cock. Roan pumped him in time with the snap of his hips, thrusting his cock along the length of Elijah's crack. The lips returned to his throat, and Elijah tilted his head, offering himself up to Roan with a breathy moan. He was going to come. It was too fast, too sudden, but his balls ached. The pressure was intense, and in the back of his mind he simply couldn't believe he was doing this, fucking his neighbor without so much as a kiss, but then Roan bit him and all thought but pleasure fled from his mind.

Elijah bucked in Roan's arms and came over the hand the moved swiftly over his cock. He was sure some of his come even spattered against the window. The orgasm was intense, and he shuddered when Roan moaned and wetness smeared along his lower back and ass. Soft kisses were peppered along his throat, sticky, slick kisses, and Elijah's head swam. He'd come hard, and now all he wanted to do was lay down. Elijah wanted to sleep. The world blacked out, and his body slumped in Roan's arms.

The sunbeam fell across his eyes, and Elijah groaned. His head was pounding. What the hell had happened last night? He'd visited Roan. Yes, and they'd fucked. God, had they fucked. But then it all got hazy. Slowly, he sat up in bed.

His bed.

He was in his own bed in his own house.

And his head was killing him.

Elijah slowly stumbled out of bed and into the bathroom. He splashed cold water on his face and leaned on the cool edge of the sink. That's when the bruised twinge of pain shot down his neck and made his headache that much worse. Fuck, how much of a mark had Roan left?

He slowly righted himself, fighting back the wave of nausea the pain brought on. Squinting at his haggard reflection, he tilted his neck and looked at the hickey Roan had left. Yep, bright and deep, Roan had left his mark.

Then his blood froze in his veins.

At the center of the mark were two fine holes, scabbed over and almost healed.

He rushed through the house to stare out his kitchen window. Usually, all he saw across the way was the cold, white wall of blinds. Today, the blinds were broken, askew, the windows smeared with what Elijah knew to be his own come. In the deep shadows of the living room, though, something moved. Elijah squinted, stared, and Roan's face came into view.

Roan smirked, his eyes dark, fathomless.

As Elijah stared, Roan stared back.

After a long moment, Roan mouthed two words and disappeared into the cool darkness of the house. Elijah turned and leaned against the kitchen sink, panting, those two words he'd read on Roan's lips echoing in his head.

'After dark.'

He knew what they meant.

He knew the invitation Roan had just extended.

Elijah covered the vampire's mark on his throat, his heart racing and his cock already stirring between his thighs.

He nodded, decision made. "After dark it is, then."

All works contained here are copyrighted to S.L. Armstrong. No reproduction or usage is permitted without written, express consent by the author.