Every set of eyes swiveled to look at him walking down the aisle like he owned it. It wasn’t just because he was excruciatingly late to his own family’s funeral but also because of how alluring his personality was. In a leather jacket and torn jeans, he looked like he was ready to walk on a runway, not in a funeral. His hair was messed up like he couldn’t bother to have combed it when he woke up in the morning and fell in his eyes in a way that intensified his already mysterious persona. His high cheekbones and square jaw looked like it had been chiseled by Michelangelo. His beard was as unkempt as his hair but he was one of the few people who could pull it off so perfectly, it made you doubt your own reality. His face was deeply tanned into a royal bronze, accentuating his ruggedly handsome movie star looks. The only part of him that displayed how the deaths were affecting him was the dark shadows under his exhausted eyes.
There were three corpses, one of a very dear friend, lying behind me in their coffins but my only thought was, “Please let him not be straight.” Girls say that all cute guys are either taken or gay and us gay men are out here like, “Where exactly? We can’t find any.” True story.
He walked straight up to me, his eyes narrowed slightly on my face. “Ajax Myron?” he asked.
I nodded and extended my hand. “That’s me. I’m assuming you’re Emmett Delcour.”
One corner of his luscious lips lifted in a slight smirk which I would within good time come to associate with his signature smile. “Thank you for the patience.”
“It did take a lot of patience. It’s a good thing I’m such a saint.” My lips pressed together in a straight line at the reminder of the hellish torture, quickly snapping my brain away from the holy hotness in front of me. The amount of growls I’d had to bear from Elena’s cousin, Evan Saunders, only I knew. First, he wasn’t ready to bury Elena along with Stuart in the same coffin. It took a lot of persuasion from me and threats from his wife, Rayne, to convince him. They had died together like a Shakespearean tragedy, their dead bodies wrapped up in each other’s arms. It was only fitting to bury them together too. Since Stuart’s only family who lived here, his mother, died the same day too, there was no one around to organize the funeral. I had to step up and take the responsibility of handling everything until Emmett, his brother, came back from his posting in Afghanistan.
Stuart had been an intern in my orphanage and I had tutored him for his exams many times. I secretly had a little crush on him but I never confessed because he was straight, a fact that was reinforced when he got Elena to one of his classes. The love they had for each other shone in their eyes. I couldn’t help but be happy for them.
I was probably the only person Stuart could call a ‘friend’, owing to his lack of a social life and I adored him, regardless of his sexual orientation. The news of his death came as a shock to me. But the bigger shock was how he, his mother and Elena, along with three other dead bodies of unrecognized men were found in an abandoned underground subway site. No one knew exactly what had gone down and it would always remain a mystery because the people involved had died along with the answer, and the dead can’t spill any secrets.
The minister shook Emmett’s hands, visibly relieved that we could finally get on with the service. We had waited for two hours for him to arrive. He requested the gathering to take their seats and introduced the service.
As I led Emmett to his seat, I asked him, “What took you so long?” Blame me for being pissed. You would be too if you were handling a pissed off NYPD detective, known by others as Evan. I just liked to think of him as an asshole.
“I didn’t want to come,” he shrugged. “I was trying to blow it off but you guys won’t get the show moving without my sweet ass.”
I bit tongue to hold back the many curses and settled for glaring at him. His family was dead and he wanted to blow off their funeral. If I hadn’t been so pissed, I would have understood that that was precisely why he didn’t want to attend it.
“Glares are just provocative on you, sweetheart. Only serves in making me want to kiss you and I don’t want to steal the show today,” he said, the arrogant one sided smile back on his devilishly handsome face.
I turned my attention to the minister who was saying a prayer to hide my eyes which would clearly show exactly how much I wanted him to do just that. I was like a fourteen year old girl with daddy issues. Danger tempted me more than dark chocolate, beckoned to me like an old friend with a knife behind its back, and everything about Emmett Delcour screamed bad news. If I could ever imagine Satan in a romance novel, he would be the exact image of him.
My attention zoomed in again when the minister asked the family members and friends of the deceased to speak their parts. When Emmett showed no signs of getting up, Elena’s mother took the stage. One by one, her relatives and friends shared heartbreaking eulogies but it didn’t affect me that much because I had never really known her that well. Once they were done, the minister asked Emmett to take the mic.
He gazed at me impassively. “I told you I wouldn’t.”
I started to assure him that it wasn’t required but the minister had other plans. He interrupted bluntly, “But you’re their only family. You have to.”
“Are you fucking kidding me?” he said, bewilderment lacing his words. Without waiting for a reply, he stood up and stormed off, the echoes of the door slamming shut behind him in the silent hall grappling with the shocking audacity. Within seconds, a chorus of whispers started up in the suffocating room full of self important aristocrats, most of them pretending to be appalled that he didn’t care.
Once the ceremony was over and everybody had left for their homes, I started to go home too but for some inexplicable reason, I turned my car back when I was halfway there. I had a weird feeling that there was something I should have been doing but I couldn’t point a finger to what exactly. Trying to grasp the unfamiliar unease, I decided to go with my instincts which led me to the cemetery. Out of everything, the cemetery, a place that always gave me the shivers. I couldn’t erase the image of dead bodies buried just inches from me. It made my skin crawl.
Sun was shining bright above my head, casting a small shadow of my six feet four inches tall frame on the rosebushes beside me. The sound of the dry autumn leaves crunching beneath my feet was the only thing that could be heard in the hushed graveyard, like the dead were trying to communicate with me in the only language they could- silence.
Elena and Stuart’s grave was at the edge of the cemetery. Leaning against the makeshift wooden wall beside it, I saw Emmett, one hand supported on his bent knee, a bottle of Jack Daniels dangling from it. Half his face was hidden behind the hair falling on his head tilted downwards. Like fuck he didn’t care.
I debated on whether to leave him alone and let him have his moment with his family but by then he had been alerted of my presence. His red-eyed gaze met mine from across the graves, his lips wavering a bit as they lifted up in a cocky smile.
“Dr. Dreamy,” he slurred, cocking his head to the side. “Must be my lucky day.”
So, not straight, after all.
“You were thoroughly missed at the ceremony,” I said, still unsure on joining him.
He beckoned to me and patted the floor beside him. “Really? Who missed me?”
I pursed my lips as I regarded his inebriated state. “I did.” Finally, I shrugged and went to sit down beside him, my trousers immediately soaking up the moisture in the overgrown grass.
He chuckled at my response and offered the half empty bottle to me but I declined. Up close, I could see his eyes were a really light shade, more amber than brown, like the color of a strong single malt Irish whiskey.
“So what’s your mojo?” he asked. He was becoming incoherent by this point. I actually had to lean in to hear him clearly.
“I excel in the levitation spell,” I replied. I’d meant it to be sarcastic but it ended up sounding lewdly suggestive.
He raised an eyebrow, shadows dancing across his eyes. “I know you do. I’ve got concrete proof of that,” he said, his mouth so close to my ear that I could feel his breath on my skin.
I turned my head slightly towards him and realized that he hadn’t moved back at all. Our lips were within breathing distance of each other. His eyes were smoldered into honey through the haze of alcohol. I just had to tilt my head downwards to meet his lips.
As soon as that thought entered my mind, he closed the distance between us and pressed his lips against mine, the drops of whiskey on his lips seeping into my mouth along with his expert tongue. His hands came up to tangle in my hair, the cold glass surface of the bottle pressing against my neck, little drops of condensation inching their way inside my shirt.
My tongue moved inside his mouth like it had a mind of its own, exploring every warm inch. I put one hand on his waist and the other one on his sculpted abdomen. He was insanely well built but maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised, considering the fact that he was in the army. His beard was brushing against my skin, firing levitation spells on my end of the wand.
It was only when his lips dragged down to my jaw, pressing sensual kisses along the edge, that I was able to pull myself out of the lust filled haze and think clearly. Emmett had been working in conditions so violent, he couldn’t possibly be unscarred from his job. He had just lost his whole family and he was drunk enough to not know left from right. I couldn’t take advantage of him in that state. So I did what any upstanding man would do- I took him home.
“I’m sorry,” I said, extricating myself from his embrace and standing up. As I dusted my trousers of the bits and pieces of grass, I said, “I’ll drop-”
He groaned, rubbing a palm over his face and brushing back the hair falling in his eyes. In had ball my hands in a fist to not reach out and brush the silky strands back myself. “Don’t act like some noble prince charming or whatever. You want it, I want it. What’s the fucking hold up?”
“You’re drunk,” I told him calmly. “At this point, even you don’t know what you want.”
He stood up with some difficulty, almost tripping over as he steadied himself without the support of the wall. “I’m not that drunk,” he said bravely.
I rolled my eyes. “If you spell your name correctly, I’ll do you right here, right now.”
He snorted, mimicking my eye roll. “It’s e-m-t.” His eyebrows turned down in concentration as he realized that something in his answer was wrong. “No, wait. It’s e-b-t. No, no, no. E-m-r. Jesus Christ!”
I had to chuckle at his futile attempts to spell him own name. He looked so adorable in his addled state, like a child who was being put to an unfair test.
Hearing me chuckle, he glowered, which only served in making him look even cuter than he already was. “My name is Emmett. At least I remember that,” he snapped.
This time a full laugh emanating right from my belly escaped from my mouth.
“I don’t know why I thought that was a better thing to say,” he said. “I’m gonna blame the alcohol.”
I put an arm around him and led him to my car, zigzagging our way through the graves. For the first time in life, being in a graveyard didn’t bother me as much, not when I had Emmett pressed against my side who was an avid talker after two bottles of scotch down his throat, although I couldn’t, for the life of me, understand a single word he said. So I nodded along, making vague consenting noises and pushed him in the car. If anybody had seen me make him settle down and put a seatbelt around him, they’d either think he was imbecile or that I was kidnapping him.
I remembered the way to Stuart’s place which is where I was presuming Emmett was shacking up too. Upon reaching there, I helped Emmett out of the car who had finished the bottle in his hand and was stumbling worse than a one year old who still hasn’t learnt walking. I supported him by his waist till we reached the door, and I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. If I couldn’t get him to bed, there’s no harm in getting a feel.
He tried putting the mouth of the key into the keyhole but his vision was starting to cross and he just ended up banging it on the wooden surface of the door. Whatever was in that bottle was more than neat scotch. He had to have added some sort of drugs to go from seductive to dysfunctional in a matter of minutes.
With a huff, I took the key from him and started to open it myself. As I was doing so, I noticed him from the corner of my eyes. He was bewildered that the bottle was empty, which was evident from the way he was trying to shake it to wiggle a few drops out of it. When that didn’t work, he smashed the bottle on his head. If it wasn’t for the fact that I handled mentally unstable kids for a living, I would have freaked out and ran screaming the other way.
I calmly took out a handkerchief and dusted off any pieces of glass that may be stuck in his hair, checked his scalp for any sign of injuries, which thankfully weren’t there, and stowed his ass back in the shotgun seat. I took him to my place and put him to bed after giving him a mild sedative that would ease his disarrayed condition and knock him out for a while.
I stared at his sleeping form for a couple of minutes. I didn’t want to be a creep but I was way too curious for my own good. He wouldn’t be up for another couple of hours and who knew if he would do the courtesy of telling me what he spiked his drink with. I had to find out myself. Plus, being a doctor, it was my duty to find out if he was posing a serious risk to his own health. Or that’s what I rationalized in my mind.
I took a syringe and carefully extracted some blood from his non-inked forearm, covering it up with cotton once I was done. He hadn’t moved an inch which I took as a positive sign and left him alone.
I owned a five story building, the top floor of which was my apartment and the basement contained my laboratory. All the floors in between were my orphanage, the ground one having the classrooms and playrooms and the three floors had rooms for the kids. The fourth floor was for my personal use with a clinic where I met patients round the clock and conducted meetings with other doctors if necessary. Practically my whole life was being spent in the same building.
This enabled me to leave Emmett alone for a while, safely tucked in my bed, to go to the lab and test his blood for drugs. I ran it under different screening tests, starting with the mildest ones in hopes that he hadn’t gone for major stuff. His symptoms didn’t exactly say that but blame me for believing good about people initially.
The result made me suck in a breath of air. Gamma hydroxybutyric acid. He had been using a date rape drug.