Shadows in the Light: Oscar’s Story – Chapter Nine
Thank you for following along with Oscar as we learn his origins. Today, someone has told a lie, and he’s about to find out that it might not have been such a good idea. Plus, information comes to light that will finally help Oscar ensure Max’s future. But what will it cost him?
Okay, I admit it, my heart was a lump in my throat when I got out of bed and couldn’t find Max in the kitchen or living room. He wasn’t on the deck when I went to check there. A million possible situations ran through my head, and not one of them ended well. The panic that welled up inside me refused to be contained. I needed Max where I could see him, ensure he was okay.
I checked every room in the house—twice—and still found nothing. I yanked my cell from my pocket, ready to dial Lilah, Rook, Kelly, Haven… Shit, I wanted everyone here to help me figure out where Max was. Then I saw it. Sitting in a tight swimsuit at the edge of the sea, the water lapping at his feet, head tilted back, full rays of the sun streaming down on his face, sat Max. He didn’t have a shirt on, and he was… singing. Badly. Oh, so fucking badly. I had never heard anything so beautiful.
Throwing open the sliding glass door, I stormed down to the beach and dropped to my knees next to him.
“What the fuck did you think you were doing?”
He tilted his head in my direction. “Uh, same thing I do most mornings before breakfast. I like to sit out here and watch the sun rise.”
“The sun rose hours ago.”
He sighed. “Yes, I know. It was glorious. The sky was awash in golds and reds as Apollo’s chariot dragged it into the heavens.”
I narrowed my gaze. “Are you drunk?”
His head flopped back and forth. “I don’t drink, remember? I’m a good boy. Didn’t do drugs, didn’t do alcohol. Didn’t do… sex.”
His words were a slap to my face. “You lied to me.”
He shrugged one shoulder. “If I hadn’t, would we have done that?”
“Shit, yes, we would have!”
He turned his attention fully to me. His eyes crinkled at the edges, like he was studying my face, trying to see if I was telling the truth.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Because I wanted you. I’m twenty-two years old. I’ve never had sex, because outside of marriage, it’s a sin, drugs are bad, people are inherently good. Evil deeds are the work of the devil.”
His string of words lost me. “I don’t understand.”
Max sighed. “My father was the biggest hypocrite. He kept talking about how good deeds were their own reward. How you had to serve your fellow man. Meanwhile, he was out taking houses away from people who couldn’t afford them, then spending money to make them better, so he could flip them. He was doing the secretary at the church, and we all knew it. He probably convinced himself that he was trying to provide for his family, but money had hooks in him and wouldn’t let go. When the market collapsed, he lost it all.”
“Still lost here.”
“I tried to be the son he wanted. He had his hopes pinned on me. I would go to school and become a doctor or a lawyer, I’d get married and me and my wife would have a bunch of kids. We’d be the trophy he could hold out to his friends and say, ‘check it out’. And I was on my way to living those dreams for him. I got good grades, I studied hard, did well on my exams. Turned down offers to party and sleep with Brian Thompson, the star of the football team. I was the kid my father always wanted.
“Then I discovered art. I can’t describe the thrill that rushed through me when my shaky hand put a brush to the canvas for the first time. The awe I felt as a world opened up to me, showing itself slowly with each stroke. And the satisfaction that came when it was finally done. To me, that was every bit as heady as an orgasm.”
I blinked a few times. “Seriously? I was there last night. Are you telling me you scream like that when you paint?”
He cheeks flared to a deep scarlet. “No. What we did last night? To me, that was every bit as good, or better, than how I feel when I paint.”
To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I should be flattered or insulted. “Is that a compliment?”
He laughed. “Yes, it’s a compliment. Last night was… I don’t even know how to describe it. When I paint, I put everything of myself into what I’m doing. Last night, I let go of everything and let you do what you wanted. The thing is? You took care of me. I told you I wasn’t a virgin, but you were still gentle and kind. I… I didn’t expect that.”
He had no idea how much control it took to keep from taking him like I wanted. Seeing him spread out for me like that, giving himself to me, I had been in awe. Yeah, a lot of guys had bent over for me, but not one ever gave me themselves. Still, he had, and because he lied to me, that meant I needed to address that little problem right now.
I sat on the beach beside him. He yelped when I grabbed his arm and dragged him over my lap.
“You know what happens when someone lies, right?”
Before he could answer, I brought my hand down hard on the sopping wet suit he wore. The smack was incredibly loud, as was his cry.
He struggled in my arms. “Stop that!”
I tightened my grip, because he wasn’t going anywhere until I was done. Bringing my hand down again, I swatted the other side.
“You lied to me, and I can’t have that. Your safety is in my hands. If I’m going to make sure nothing bad happens to you, I need to know everything. When you aren’t truthful, I might make a mistake and you’ll end up getting hurt.”
Four more swats—two to each cheek—and I let him go. He scrambled off my lap and stood, glaring at me, his arms crossed over his chest. He might be trying to be indignant, but the way the front of his suit was pushed out, told me everything I needed to know. I grabbed his leg and pulled him closer. Then yanked his suit down to his knees. He gasped and covered his crotch.
“Put your hands down.” Not a request.
He dropped them to his side. I reached out and slid my fingers over the taut skin of his cock. “Why are you trying to hide this from me?”
Max mumbled something, and I could see shame clearly written on his face.
“Look at me.” Slowly he turned his head toward me. “Now what did you say?”
“I said I’m small, all right? You’re…”
He held his hands apart like two feet, and I snorted.
“I’m also a foot taller than you, and outweigh you by probably a hundred pounds. I’m pretty sure it’s natural for me to be bigger.”
“Yeah, but I’m…” He sighed. “I’m very small.”
For the first time I focused on his cock. Okay, fine, it wasn’t the biggest I’d ever seen, but it wasn’t tiny either. It was five, maybe five and a half inches. It fit perfectly on his body. I leaned forward and took him into my mouth. He gasped and tried to push my head away. Fat chance. I wanted to do for him what he’d done last night, licking and sucking. I’d only given head a few times, and hated it, because I always choked. Max was the perfect size for me. I could go all the way down and nestle my face in his pubes. And from the sounds he was making, he had no problems with that at all. It wasn’t long before he put his hands on my head, trying to push me away. Fat chance.
“Stop. I’m gonna—”
Whatever it was he had been about to say was lost in a strangled cry. He pumped his load into my mouth, and it was good. A little salty, but also a little sweet. Kind of like Max himself. When I pulled off, his legs wobbled. I took his hand and helped him back down onto the sand.
First blow jobs are always intense. “Food for thought. You lie to me again, and you’re not getting another one of those.”
Not that I had any say so in the matter. As soon as Lilah got here, I was going to put my cleverly detailed plan into action. And, if all went as I expected, I would probably have a target on my back and could never see Max again.
When Lilah arrived, Max’s face went from one of happiness, to one of abject misery.
It wasn’t a question, so much as a statement of fact. “Yeah, I need to go take care of… something.”
“Does it have to do with me?”
I could lie, but that wasn’t my style. “Yep.”
“Don’t go.” His lip jutted out slightly. “Please.”
Lilah glanced between us, then must have realized something had happened, because she got this cat with the canary smile. “He’s got to go. Trust me, it’s for the best, otherwise you’ll be hiding forever.”
“I don’t care. As long as—”
I grabbed him and pulled him to me, not giving a shit what Lilah thought, but also to have him avoid saying something he’d regret. When I claimed his mouth, he sagged into my arms, allowing me to control the kiss. He made that small whimper I enjoyed hearing. When I broke away, he looked up at me.
“You’re not coming back, are you.”
Again he wasn’t asking.
“I’m going to do my best, but I won’t make a promise I can’t keep.” I let my gaze slide over to Lilah. She noticed me and nodded. “If something happens, Lilah is going to make sure you’re safe. Listen to her, do what she says, and for fuck’s sake, don’t stop painting.”
He gave a slow blink, then he rushed from the room. Lilah stepped over to me and put a hand on my arm. “You’re doing the right thing.”
“Are you trying to convince me or yourself?”
She gave a sad smile. “It’s what you were born to do.”
“Oh, hell no. I was born to run a store, but life had other plans for me.”
She cocked her head. “Won’t ask.”
That worked out, because I wouldn’t tell. I leaned over and kissed her lightly on the cheek “You’ll take care of him. Swear to me.”
“Yeah, I’ll keep him safe. Rook has a place I can take him if necessary.”
“He hasn’t told anyone, right?”
She frowned. “No, he hasn’t said a word, and he won’t. You can count on Rook. He’ll take this secret to his grave.”
I scowled at her. “Don’t be so melodramatic. As long as you’re sure he won’t tell anyone. Max’s safety is my priority.”
Lilah smirked. Fucking smirked. “Yeah, I can see that.”
“Fuck off.” I waved a dismissive hand in her direction as I went to grab my plane ticket and bag.
“I’ll see you when you get back.”
“Max, I’m leaving.” He didn’t reply. “Max?”
I set my back down and stomped to his room. When I threw open the door, he wasn’t there. When something thumped in my bedroom, I walked to the door and opened it. Max lay on the bed, curled on his side, with my pillow tucked to his chest. “I don’t want you to go.”
This scene right here? It’s why I don’t do emotions. Max’s feelings were hurt, and now I had to take the time to soothe his ruffled feathers. I sat on the edge of the bed and rubbed his back.
“It’s going to be fine.” Shit, I wonder if I could convince myself of it.
“How?” He sat up, and turned toward me. The anger I saw in his expression had me worried. It was an emotion I’d yet to see from Max. “Tell me how it’s going to be fine, because to be honest, I can’t really see it. I know your job, I know the people you work for. Can you really tell me you’re going to walk in there, and everyone is going to say, ‘oops, our bad’ and it’s over with? I’m not stupid, so please don’t treat me like I am.”
I blew out a breath. He wanted honesty? Fine. “Okay, you’re right. I’m going to walk in there, and I’m going to either kill someone or I’m going to end up dead. Shit, if I kill him, I’m still probably going to end up dead. And guess what? I’m fine with that. They murdered your family, remember? I saw their bodies. I’m as responsible for it as they are, and I sure as fuck won’t forgive it. The only part of this equation that concerns you is that I want—no, I need—to be sure you’re okay. You’re my responsibility, and don’t you ever forget that.”
“How the hell are you responsible for it? Did you hold the knife? Just because you weren’t inside the house when it happened, doesn’t make you any more responsible than I am.” He sneered at me. “You know, I thought you were smarter than that. Guess it shows how much I know.”
I gripped his arm firmly. “Okay. You’ve had your say. If this is the last time I see you, do you really want those to be the last words you are able to say to me?”
He opened his mouth, then closed it. His eyes clouded over, and his lip trembled. “I know I’m acting like a spoiled child. I just… I really don’t want to hear from Lilah that you’re not coming back.” He slid closer. “Please don’t let us get that phone call.”
I leaned over and kissed him again. This time slow and lingering. When I licked his lips, he opened for me and sighed when I kissed him. I wanted to tell him he wasn’t acting like a brat. He was acting like a man who’d lost everything, who needed something to hold on to. The problem? I didn’t believe that for a second. I’d seen him break down and cry for his loss, because most people would. But I also saw the steel in his spine. No matter what happened, I knew for a fact that Max would go far if he gave himself the chance.
When I broke the kiss and stood, he grasped my arm. “Promise me.”
I wanted to tell him everything would be fine, but I couldn’t lie to him. “All I can say is I’ll do my very best. Hopefully that’ll be enough.”
He didn’t follow me out of the room, but then again, I didn’t expect he would. I grabbed my bag and headed out the door. One way or another, this would end soon.