Author Topic: Something Borrowed, Something Blue  (Read 4298 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Existentially Odd

  • Navigator
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 12603
  • Wanderer
    • View Profile
Something Borrowed, Something Blue
« on: January 20, 2020, 04:03:02 AM »
(Continued from Something New)

The drive to their final destination only took fifteen minutes. The whole time had been spent with them laughing at each other's singing of the songs they danced through the radio stations to find, hands smacking other hands away in order to seek out something new after a few bars of recognition or when a song became boring. Ben knew modern songs, Kerr didn't. Ben also had an impressive skill with lyrics, Kerr learnt, when he was able to sing most of them word for word. The laughter came at the expense of Kerr's awed expression and it was as contagious as the smiling had been.

When they reached their goal, the laughter died and the air around them settled into something more sombre. Kerr was sorry about that.

Ben's expression was unreadable as Kerr pulled into the carpark of The Outlook and stopped at the door. It wasn't a parking zone, it was a drop-off point for valet workers to take cars and park on patrons' behalves - once the business was in operation. If only Kerr could decide what sort of business it should be. For now, he stopped in front of the grand glass doors and allowed Ben to get out first so that he could grab a small box from the glove box before he followed. He pocketed it and unlocked the building in silence. Finding the keys without Ben figuring out what he wanted had been a chore, since the project had been completed in the time he'd been 'dead'. For that reason, he'd come here to pull his penultimate stunt but he was aware that Ben could think it was in poor taste. He hoped he wouldn't sour the evening.

He locked the doors behind them and they strolled across the carpet, past the reception area and into the first entertainment space. In his head, it would be a restaurant, filled with tables and chairs and booths but it was stark and empty now, smelling of fresh paint and new electrical fittings. He didn't bother turning on lights because they could see perfectly in the ambient lighting. The windows on the far side of the huge room were open to the vista of the endless ocean, the moonlight picking out the shimmer of the polished wooden flooring, the glint of the glass and steel in the bar and kitchens off to the right and the elevator doors to the left. Most of the complex had been gouged into the cliffs themselves but there were many levels to access, so two elevators had been installed.

Taking Ben's hand, he led him down the step from the carpeted entry and across the wooden floor, past the elevators and towards an open doorway straight ahead. Beyond it was a carpeted corridor that led eventually to a room Kerr had envisioned would become a ballroom dance space, for it was graced with shining polished wood floors and even grander lifted ceilings littered with chandeliers and lights. In between the two was an architectural marvel that it had taken many meetings with engineers and architects to accomplish.

The size of a small club, the second room in the complex was constructed entirely of glass and it was suspended off the cliff, over the ocean. The joists and moorings that supported the heavily-reinforced glass floor were cleverly lined up so as not to obstruct the view they got when they stepped from the carpeted corridor and onto the glass. Kerr looked down instinctively, feeling a moment of disparity as it seemed his foot was hovering over the ocean churning far below. He watched, awed, as the cold water threw itself against the rocks hugging the base of the cliffs. IThey had an amazing hundred and eighty degree view of the ocean and the coastline it bit into. Kerr marvelled at all of it as they stepped into the room he'd envisioned would one day be an intimate performance space.

There was a raised glass stage at the far end of the room, enough for a small band or a comedian to occupy, depending on the need. Kerr headed for it, intending to sit on the stage with Ben and give him a little warning about what he was going to do here but he didn't want to rush their approach or perhaps spoil Ben's appreciation of the view.

Offline Trillian

  • Devil's Advocate
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 11497
    • View Profile
Re: Something Borrowed, Something Blue
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2020, 07:55:03 PM »
Ben was only vaguely aware of the Overlook's areas. He'd come to the property after it was finished and looked around but it had been Kerr's plan and so it had remained empty and too difficult for Ben to do anything with. It was easier just to ignore it.

Now, with Kerr alive again, the Overlook no longer represented his grief or the secret Kerr had kept from him. He'd dismissed it as an investment and potentially a surprise, and Kerr had told him as much, proving Ben's guess right. It didn't have the potency it would've had Ben not stumbled across it when going through Kerr's estates with the lawyers. He pushed those stale memories away and focussed on where they were going.

Ben normally didn't walk out over the ocean. The glass floor gave him vertigo. He disliked the way he felt when stepping out over this area even though he knew it would be a drawcard. He kept his eyes slightly above the horizon as they made their way towards the stage but his attention was dragged down to the floor where he was headed and it was enough. He moved forward too rapidly for his feet to catch up and he stumbled, only Kerr's hand kept him up. He breathed a small laugh of embarrassment and pulled his gaze upward with more exaggeration, staring at the ceiling until they arrived at their destination.

Once he was sitting he felt relaxed enough to look out at the view before turning towards Kerr, anticipating he'd brought Ben here for something to say.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

  • Navigator
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 12603
  • Wanderer
    • View Profile
Re: Something Borrowed, Something Blue
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2020, 11:12:33 PM »
Kerr was disconcerted by Ben stumbling, realising that the glass room had thrown him off balance. His expression was concerned as he caught Ben to keep him upright, reconsidering what he was about to do.

Once they were sitting on the stage and facing back the way they'd come, it was better but Kerr still wasn't convinced this was the best location for his surprise. The stage was high enough that it was comfortable to perch on

"Are you okay in here? We can go back out to the main room if it's throwing you?" he offered, giving Ben's thigh a concerned squeeze. "Just because I like this room doesn't mean you have to," he laughed wryly.

Offline Trillian

  • Devil's Advocate
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 11497
    • View Profile
Re: Something Borrowed, Something Blue
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2020, 12:01:02 PM »
"Do you remember how we went to see the Alps at Dachstein in Austria? They had that new viewing platform made out of glass and we went out on it. When we were there I held onto the railing with both hands and said there must've been ice stuck to my soles because my boots were really slippery." He breathed a sigh and gave Kerr a sheepish look. "Yeah."

He wished the glass floors didn't make him feel that way. Both Ichabod and Kerr had laughed when they'd looked down at their feet. Ben tried looking down once and his stomach had churned.

"I'm okay if I'm sitting down," he said, because he was. "And the view is nice." He didn't want to ruin whatever Kerr had in store for them.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

  • Navigator
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 12603
  • Wanderer
    • View Profile
Re: Something Borrowed, Something Blue
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2020, 11:40:59 PM »
Kerr only looked more disconcerted as he was reminded of Ben's reaction in Austria. He'd forgotten about that. He wrapped an arm around him and leant forward to kiss his forehead tenderly.

"Well, this may not go as well as I'd planned, then," he admitted sheepishly, "but I was going for an effect, you see. I was thinking about those creatures we met at the carnival - the gorgons." He would not taint this date by mentioning who they'd accompanied. "I was wondering what the truth about them was and whether we had any information on them in our library. Spoiler alert: we don't," he chuckled before he continued more seriously.

"But then I got to thinking that our library isn't - technically - complete. There are other sources of information that I have access to." With a moment of concentration, he thought about the portal in his chest opening up, not bothering to touch it or close his eyes this time. He stood up just as the vertical, elliptical black storm cloud floated into existence before them. Light and shadow danced across the surface of it, along with a rainbow of colours shooting through every now and then.

He stepped closer towards the portal, watching Ben's reaction carefully. Kerr left about a metre of empty glass floor between him and the inky maw. He wasn't trying to add dread to his display... just a bit of dramatic flair. "So I thought I'd try accessing the vault without going in there. I've wondered about it for a while. It's connected to me, it feels me ask it to open and close, so maybe it can hear me and give me stuff out of it without me going in there? I'm going to borrow some books from this library," he said confidently but then his face softened as he looked into his lover's amazing eyes.

"I thought I'd do it in front of you just in case anything goes wrong and I get sucked in or something - which I'm sure won't happen!" he assured Ben hastily. "But if it does, you know I'll be back as soon as possible and exactly where I am. Sound like a logical idea?" he asked Ben, unwilling to lift his hand towards the portal until Ben had had his say.

Offline Trillian

  • Devil's Advocate
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 11497
    • View Profile
Re: Something Borrowed, Something Blue
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2020, 08:27:22 AM »
Kerr knew of Ben's fascination with different species of supernatural, hungry for knowledge about them. The lesson plans in Dreki's Supernatural Myths and Reality class was geared towards those who hadn't done the research for themselves so he hadn't bothered sitting in on it. Kerr had seen the different books on Ben's nightstand, most of them checked out from the Academy library, a few books borrowed from his lecturers when they'd got to talking about his interest.

When the portal opened up, Ben was drawn towards it. He wanted to touch it to see if his hand would feel something other than air. He watched as Kerr approached, envious of his ability to walk on the glass floor without issues. Ben didn't trust his vertigo wouldn't mess with him enough to send him sprawling headfirst into the vault. He was embarrassed by his inability to keep his balance. He shouldn't have lied about why he'd been holding so tightly to the railing. If Kerr had known the truth, he likely wouldn't have brought him into this room.

"If it works like that, if you can ask for anything you like from there..." he didn't finish his sentence because there were no words for how amazing it would be. His hopeful expression likely said enough and the growing smile finished the rest. "Do you even have to reach in or just stand in front of it and ask? Will it hear you and spit out what you want?"

And then a fearful tendril crawled up his spine, and his face fell. "Hold on, if it's a different dimension running on its own time, will it chop off your arm if you reach in? Do you have something else you can poke in there instead?"
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

  • Navigator
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 12603
  • Wanderer
    • View Profile
Re: Something Borrowed, Something Blue
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2020, 11:19:06 PM »
Kerr's heart responded to Ben's smile and the rest of him shimmied in the face of his genuine excitement. His questions far exceeded Kerr's ponderings and he glanced at the pearlescent darkness near him curiously, almost as if he expected it to hurl things at him just for wondering about whether it could. Ben's tone on his final questions had him looking rapidly back at his love, hastening to dispel his fears.

"No, no!" he insisted, his expression encouraging. "I've stuck my arm in there before and nothing gets chopped off. It just feels like... hrrm, like it's stretching, I guess? It's weird but not dangerous to bridge the gap. I think, if I were mortal, I'd be in more trouble and maybe it'd get bloody but the temporal anomalies don't affect vampires because we're time-resistant already. In a sense. See?" he asked, sticking his forearm into the middle of the swirling blackness up to his elbow.

When he pulled it back out, his arm was perfectly fine but he held it out for Ben's inspection nevertheless. "You can come put your hand in and feel it, if you like? Charon's man came back perfectly intact. As long as I approve of you entering, you're safe. I believe the guardian wouldn't allow trespassers entry - and I feel like it may get really bloody, in that case, if someone tried - but there's no way she'd reject the love of my life," he grinned encouragingly.

He stepped up to Ben and held out his hands, willing to let Ben cling to him so he could support him across the glass floor. Just that short movement sparked another question. "I wonder if it would follow me, so we can go out to the main room?" he queried, frowning over his shoulder at the portal before looking back at Ben. Of course, he could just dismiss it and re-summon it once he'd got Ben out of the glass bubble room suspended over the ocean but Ben's curiosity was contagious and he wanted to try and pull it along after him. He grinned at Ben. "Care to accompany me and we'll see if it's a good puppy?" he joked.

It was a convenient deflection away from Ben's fear, giving him a good reason to leave a place he felt uncomfortable.

Offline Trillian

  • Devil's Advocate
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 11497
    • View Profile
Re: Something Borrowed, Something Blue
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2020, 06:01:03 AM »
Charon's man had stepped all the way in so he didn't think Kerr's example was valid when speaking in terms of reaching in. He'd come back after a week because he'd stayed in the vault a few seconds, giving a book to Charon and an amulet to Kerr. The amulet was locked up until they could figure out what it did based on the symbol etched on it.

Ben took Kerr's arm and focussed on the portal. It was like looking at an upright rolling fog atop an oil spill. "It won't follow you," he said, giving Kerr a curious look. "It didn't move when you walked around the room at Charon's place." His gaze returned to the portal. It looked like it was hovering above the ocean thanks to its placement in this room.

Holding tightly onto Kerr, Ben reached a hand out to the portal as they got closer. Kerr would feel his excitement humming along their bond. It wasn't the same as a surge of adrenalin that humans possessed, or the way their hearts pounded in their chests, but the physical connection gave the same clues.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

  • Navigator
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 12603
  • Wanderer
    • View Profile
Re: Something Borrowed, Something Blue
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2020, 10:38:41 PM »
"Yes, but I didn't want it to move then," Kerr countered, believing that his desires mattered. "If I do now, it'll probably listen to me." There didn't seem to be a lot of point in trying, however, because Ben kept his gaze focussed on the portal and didn't react so badly to the glass floor under his feet. He also reached forwards before they could discuss the relocation of the portal again.

There was a curious resonance shift when Ben's arm went into the dimensional rift. Nothing especially tangible happened but it was like a mild... weight (?) pressed upon his chest. Perhaps it was more of a tightening across it. It had happened when Charon's volunteer had gone into the portal and it had disappeared when he'd come out.

It had been strange, really, because it wasn't like a physical sensation so much as a lightening of a part of him that wasn't really even connected to him. It had taken him a while to figure out what the subtle shift had been because his visitor was in the vault a week and he'd got so used to the feel of it, he'd forgotten he was in there - until he was out.

Kerr watched Ben's face, a smile dancing around his lips. "Feels okay, doesn't it?" he prompted, the grin finally landing and curling the edges of his mouth upward. Kerr turned and looked at the portal, deciding he might as well up the ante on the test he'd been planning to perform. What could go wrong - nothing would happen? "Give Ben a book with information on Gorgons in it," he told the dancing rift, forcing the desire to see a book about Gorgons be placed into Ben's hand to reverberate through him.

Offline Trillian

  • Devil's Advocate
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 11497
    • View Profile
Re: Something Borrowed, Something Blue
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2020, 11:46:50 PM »
Ben was thoughtful when Kerr pointed out his desire with the portal. They'd discussed it but it seemed peculiar to him that Kerr could make it move around with his mind. He didn't know why not since he controlled the thing to appear with his mind. Ben's own assumption made no sense to him in hindsight and he made a soft 'huh' sound over it.

When his hand reached in, he'd expected to feel something gooey or liquid. Instead he perceived a mild temperature change and nothing more. It dropped a few degrees, like someone had the air conditioning on at full blast. Perhaps the cool air kept the books in good shape to stop them from deteriorating. Time worked differently there, but it was the other way around to what he would've expected; time was slower on his side.

Kerr's command resulted in an almost comical look of surprise on Ben's face. Immediately a book was thrust into his hand. He clenched and fumbled, dropping it. As soon as his hand opened the book was pressed into his palm, like someone forcing him to take it. He grabbed it and snatched his arm back, holding the book to his chest protectively. The sensation of being blind while something manipulated the world around him was too eerie. As soon as his hand was retracted though, he wanted to try it again. First he would look at his prize.

It was a brown, leather-bound book titled 'Petrification' and it had a fish emblem stamped onto the cover. Confused, Ben removed his hold on Kerr and opened the book, turning pages until he found a contents page. The book was divided into sections, with multiple chapters beneath each section. Gorgons were in section four and there were five chapters to read on them.

He closed the book and marvelled at Kerr. "This is the best," he gushed.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

  • Navigator
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 12603
  • Wanderer
    • View Profile
Re: Something Borrowed, Something Blue
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2020, 02:02:59 AM »
Kerr's eyes widened, mirroring Ben's expression when he really did pull a book out of the portal. "It worked!" Kerr exclaimed with an uncharacteristically high-pitched giggle, his disbelief obvious.

What had been only a theory was a more convenient reality than he'd expected; not only could he extract items without the burden of temporal distortion but it didn't even need to be his arm in there. Ben's other query came to mind but he watched Ben examine the book first, shuffling into a better position to be able to see its contents.

Chuckling, Kerr's gaze roved Ben's face, allowing his pleasure to settle into his chest and warm him. He'd hoped for such an outcome and there was no better feeling than impressing his best friend, enhancing the joy of their date. "Maybe. Maybe we can do better," he said, waggling his eyebrows mysteriously before wrapping a hand around Ben's bicep and shuffling him gently to the side of the portal, his arm falling to wrap around Ben's waist once he felt they were both out of the way.

"Send out all the books with information on Gorgons," Kerr commanded the portal, offering Ben a shrug that said, 'Let's see if this works'. He wasn't sure it would - hell, he only thought to try it because of what Ben said - but, soon enough, they came. Although not hurled out of the vault with excessive force, multiple books plopped out of the inky blackness with some precision. They landed on the glass floor in a surprisingly tidy stack.

Kerr made a noise somewhere between a squeal and a cough as he watched it happen. "Fuck me," he breathed in wonder, crouching down and picking the pile up. He straightened them and counted, holding the spines towards Ben so that he could read their titles at the same time. There were nine texts, of varying thicknesses and coverings. From their titles, he could tell that most of them weren't about Gorgons specifically, the creatures would only get a mention somewhere within.

The one that interested him the most was only a little book, about the size of his hand. It was sitting atop the pile, bound in leather and less of a book than a journal. Kerr juggled his book pile in order to open it. It was handwritten, entitled 'Myne Tyme With Gorgons' in fancy, hard-to-decipher script. The pages were brittle with age and he glimpsed a few faded diagrams as he carefully waved it from side to side (too cautious about its fragility to flick through it). Kerr emitted a little sound of wonder, shaking his head as he handed it over to Ben. "Where did Halen even get half this stuff?" he boggled in awe.

Inspecting the books still in his arms (and finding them an unnecessary inconvenience to lug around), Kerr decided the two books currently in Ben's hands had the best potential for information. If they needed to know more, they knew where they could find the information! "I'm going to put these back, unless you want to keep any of them?" he prompted Ben, giving him a chance to claim anything that interested him before he walked back to the portal. It was time to try to reverse the borrowing process.

"Please store these again," he asked as he thrust the books stack into the portal, balanced on both hands. A familiar cool, stretchy feeling enveloped his forearms. The weight of the books was almost instantly gone, before his elbows had even fully locked. With a breathy laugh, he withdrew from the portal, turning and waving his empty hands at Ben as if he'd just performed an amazing magic trick and needed to prove his skill. "That's pretty fucking cool," he chuckled, incredibly impressed with the portal's newfound versatility.

Offline Trillian

  • Devil's Advocate
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 11497
    • View Profile
Re: Something Borrowed, Something Blue
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2020, 10:26:31 PM »
Ben watched the stack appear like a cartoon or a very nifty special effect. A chill of pleasure travelled along his spine, making him shift beneath it. He still held the two gorgon books in his hands but wanted to look through the rest. Kerr asked an astounded question about Halen before he picked up the stack and sent it away. Ben felt their loss.

"He was a... he was a dragon, and dragons collect treasure. This was his treasure," Ben said. He didn't mourn Halen's loss as they'd both done each other a disservice, but he was a little sad that he couldn't ask questions. At least now he could learn the things Halen knew.

"I have Halen's journal. Only one of many, probably. Can you ask Portal if she can send out Halen's other journals?"

He'd learnt more about certain artefacts and species from browsing Halen's notes than he had reading entire chapters in the Academy's library. There were more books still at the Luminary, the ones that hadn't been put into Kerr's vault but were too powerful for Ben to want them accessed by students as well. Whenever Digital had a free moment away from looking after Lovebite, he'd scan books for Ben, and had written software so that words were searchable in the scans. Sam was using the same software at the Academy, but he was in a separate system to Ben's collection... or rather, Halen's collection.

"It is pretty fucking cool," Ben repeated with a chuckle.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

  • Navigator
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 12603
  • Wanderer
    • View Profile
Re: Something Borrowed, Something Blue
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2020, 09:32:03 PM »
Kerr made an impressed/enlightened noise in the back of his throat at Ben's observation that Halen's treasure was not what traditional tales would have readers believe. A dragon that treasured information was a formidable foe and an admirable friend. Kerr burnt with a fresh wave of hatred that Lazarus hadn't been able to appreciate the wonderful and unique intellect he'd destroyed in his paltry quest for something as trivial as power. It was such a travesty that all they had to document Halen and his powers were the things he'd left behind.

He chuckled along with Ben but had a question about his request. "Sure, I could do that but do you really want to carry them around now? I mean, me summoning the portal here was symbolic, more than anything," he grinned, wrapping his arms around Ben's waist and pulling him close. "It met my theme and I thought it would be a cool feature of our date. In actuality, I can open the portal and borrow or return things for you anywhere, anytime - aaaand I can see by the twinkle in your eye that I've inadvertently turned you on! Aww yeah," he laughed mockingly but happily, making an exaggerated face of jubilation - accompanied by an uncharacteristic fist pump.

Kerr realised he would be better off with a change of venue for the final feature of their date - one that didn't freak Ben out. He listened to Ben's answer regarding summoning the journals here and now to give him a hint as to what should come next.

Offline Trillian

  • Devil's Advocate
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 11497
    • View Profile
Re: Something Borrowed, Something Blue
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2020, 10:05:58 PM »
"Of course!" Ben said, shaking his head at himself. "It's like having a Kindle for artefacts," Ben marvelled. "I have this really strong desire to ask for all the things right now in this moment, even though it's super inconvenient. Kid in a candy store?" he guessed, but then he realised the sensation was greater than that.

It was like Christmas morning as a little kid, as one who still believed in magic. The sensitivity in his stomach as it tensed not with fear or anxiety, but excitement. Fighting the urge to rush in and tear presents apart because this moment was the best moment; the one filled with possibility and potential. He'd longed to see his family's plastic tree turned into a real one, decorated with shiny baubles instead of a bit of tinsel and lights and surrounded by a ton of gifts like they always did in the movies. And then he saw it and there was a tinge of disappointment that no magic had occurred to make the place look nicer, but there were presents. Gifts were rare in the Samson household. Toys were cheap and often not the thing that Ben asked for. He learned the truth early about Santa because most of his friends were gifted multiple awesome presents and he usually only had one - one that he'd liked until seeing how he was overlooked. He'd thought about why, because he was always trying to be a good boy and his friend who had the most toys from Santa was constantly up to mischief in school, and he was often bribed with gifts and holidays from his parents. With clues like that it wasn't hard to figure out.

But he'd had the last laugh after all because now he had eternity to get everything he'd ever wanted. He had a man who loved him, who he was connected to in ways he'd never dreamed of. He had the one thing he'd wanted his whole life; to be a vampire. He no longer wanted for anything. He was on the cusp of a political victory and he would actually get to prove himself as someone worthy of respect. He could make a difference in the city he'd grown up in. And knowledge of the supernatural. So much knowledge right here, at his fingertips.

The memory and realisation took less than a half minute as he stared first at the portal and then at Kerr with lively eyes. "Your portal owes me," he said, the words half in jest, half in seriousness.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

  • Navigator
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 12603
  • Wanderer
    • View Profile
Re: Something Borrowed, Something Blue
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2020, 11:05:34 PM »
Kerr chuckled indulgently at Ben's admission that he wanted to ask for everything immediately. It wasn't like Kerr hadn't tapped into that desire in order to enhance the date but he couldn't help but be smug about how it had gone. Better than expected, really - though being described as a 'Kindle for artefacts' was definitely not the most flattering or loving endearment Ben had ever used. He hoped his love worked on that one.

"Yes, it does," he agreed to Ben's sobering statement that the portal owed him. It owed them both, for stripping them of eighteen months together and making Ben believe he'd been abandoned. Like Kerr had done again a couple of nights ago, except willingly this time. Not his finest hour.

Not liking the dark path they'd turned down, Kerr made a conscious decision to change course. He waved a hand in the portal's direction (purely symbolic again, because he actually cancelled it with a simple thought) and it disappeared. "Change of venue," he declared, leaning down to kiss Ben at the same time his arms about him tightened. He picked him up effortlessly and whirled him out of the room, setting him down on the solid carpet beyond. "Have you seen the grotto? I want us to finish up there," he declared, exchanging his hold on Ben's body for his hand alone.

He listened to Ben's answer but it didn't deter him from his path. He headed back out to the main restaurant area and led Ben across the empty floor towards the front of service counter that separated the restaurant from the kitchen. Between it and the bar was a staff only service door that Kerr pushed through. It led to a utilitarian hallway with a few doors leading off it (to the kitchen, restrooms, supply rooms).

They approached the last one on the left, which had an electronic keypad beside it. He recalled his implementation of this club's security system and the night he'd had his fingerprints and retinas scanned (in secret because the club was Ben's surprise). He guessed that the keypad only needed a fingerprint based solely on its shape and, when his thumbprint made it beep happily and an unblocking noise was heard in the door, he knew he was right. He adjusted the lighting in the area ahead of them to low (using the digital pad) and gestured for Ben to precede him through the door.

Beyond it, the cliff that they were tunnelled inside of reigned. The floor was carpeted in a red carpet runner that disappeared ahead of them. Subdued lighting shone upward at quite distant intervals along the edges of the plush carpet. The walls and ceiling were roughly-hewn rock, proving that someone had laboured specifically to gouge this tunnel into the cliff. The floor sloped gently upwards as they continued forwards, following its winding path for about thirty metres.

The end of the tunnel opened up into an expansive grotto. This pocket of space was organic, the ceiling soaring well above their heads. The large opening at the face of the cliffside had been filled in with retractable glass (the track at its base giving this feature away). The floor was covered almost to the edges with the same red carpet as the runner, though there were downlights interspersed with the uplights in here. A huge black grand piano stood not far from the glass wall that blocked out all the rushing wind that came with an eyrie such as this, the rest of the floor space dominated by two marching rows of ten exquisitely-polished and glossy church pews (complete with padded kneeling benches) directed at the piano/glass wall.

Kerr led Ben to the pew in the front, where their view of the moonlight glinting upon the open ocean wasn't obscured by the piano. He pulled Ben down to sit beside him and tilted his hips to get the small box out of his pocket. He handed it to Ben without ceremony, smiling at him in a manner that advertised he was excited for Ben to see it. "This is a gift I know you won't need but it's for good luck. And to add a bit of pomp to your appearance once you're the district leader. May its symbolism of immortality, transformation and protection prove useful to you."

Inside the box was his something blue; a sapphire-crusted scarab beetle lapel pin.