All Things In Good Time

© Joan Ann Lansberry

Meeting Of The Minds

Michael blushed red, and this took some doing, for his blush-resistant blood to do so, when he looked at Sebastian, in those 'form fitting' shorts, which Sebby had made even more risqué by pulling them down low to his hips. He felt so sexy, showing off his flat belly, as well. Michael glared at him, shook his head, and then made announcements, ''Okay, Livia and I are going to pick up the moving van. Gwen is an excellent and experienced packer. She can advise the rest of you on filling those boxes,'' he said as he pointed to a pile of still-flat boxes on the floor.''We don't have a great plan, we'll take it by ear, but it will work. We should be back in less than an hour.'' Off they went.

The three remaining grabbed boxes and assembled them, following the instructions. Gwen began carefully putting things in her box like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, taking care fragile things were well-protected. She looked with horror at Sebby's box, a mish mash of stuff thrown in and escaping the top. ''This will never do. You need to be able to put the lid securely on so they will stack.'' Both Goldie and Sebby listened, and did likewise. ''I've always moved by grabbing my little sack, and going. I've never had possessions beyond what I can carry. I miss that sack. '' Seb commented.

''Well, uh, I've just moved once, and Michael and I just threw things in black bags which we carried. He thinks I have a lot of stuff. I gather neither you nor him have had much possessions. I guess the black bag idea won't work,'' Golden said, as he took awhile figuring out what to put in his box. It was awfully confusing.

Soon, Mike, Livia and the van had arrived. Big items went in first, and the little stuff went next. ''Vampire strength is really great,'' Sebby thought, as he lifted heavy things rather easily. He found himself taking the heaviest items, for he was stronger than the rest. The apartment was cleared out in two trips, with a brief stop for 'food' inbetween.

When dawn came, their new house was filled with all their things, strewn here and there. They were so exhausted, they all fell to the floor in a pile together, for it was the only clear spot. Michael complimented Sebastian on his excellent work, before they dosed off. This made Sebby glow, for a compliment from the tight lipped one was rare indeed.

They had everything put away, including buying a third bed, before Wednesday, and the arrival of the cows. Michael educated everyone on all the tasks the farm required, so that everyone would know each. They'd be doing each. It took a week for them to get the gist figured out, and knowing the farm would run well.

Everyone enjoyed the easy feeding. Michael had devised a schedule and special colored ear tags for the cows, so that none would be drained too much accidently. It was a system that worked well.

Nearly everything was perfect. One day, everyone felt like rejoicing in a 'kiss-fest'. All five would take turns kissing, so that every possible combination of pairs had a chance to kiss. Golden enjoyed each of his kisses so, lingering with each one. Gwen found it very exciting. When she got to the newest member, she trembled with excitement, receiving the wild one's tender devotion. Livia was appropriately rapacious, as well. All pairs had kissed, and then it got down to Michael and Sebastian, who stood facing each other awkwardly.

''Don't watch,'' Michael begged the others uneasily. So they left, chattering happily, and the two eldest remained, looking at each other. Sebastian had that 'hurt puppy' look he did so well. Michael was so squirmy, ''Just whose idea was this, anyway?'' he asked himself. Sebastian broke the silence, ''You still don't like me?''

Michael stammered, ''It's, it's not that, I've never kissed a man before! I'm not 'that way', you know.'' He looked miserable with discomfort. He didn't want to hurt the flamboyant stranger. ''Am I still a stranger to you, still so strange?'' Sebastian asked, as he looked right into those fearful gray eyes.

He stroked Michael's cheek, and it didn't feel so wooden this time. He was getting used to the feel of vampire skin. Michael seemed so small and sad. ''Let's sit down and talk about this,'' Sebastian said, as he stroked Michael's shoulder. Michael nodded, and lowered himself to the floor.

''Yes, I am still the backward farm boy. I've done a lot of reading during my centuries, but book reading is not the same as experiencing things directly. I marvel at all the experience you've had,'' Michael began, hoping for a tentative bridge hold.

Sebastian smiled and agreed, ''Yes, I've had a fair amount of experience. You've spent your years living in libraries, all alone. I can't imagine that. I've never been alone. After one relationship ends, I quickly find another. I'm not sure I could stand to be alone.''

Michael explained, ''It is very hard for me to approach people. I don't even like dealing with humans on a casual basis. It's not that I don't like them, it's . . . I've been afraid. Gwen was the first human I spoke to in any serious way since my mother died in 1829. That's nearly 175 years of solitude. And I had a terrible time relaxing with her, even. I don't think I did until after we had the vampiric exchange. Lonliness drove me to complete that, despite the awkwardness. And she encouraged me. That helped a great deal, too.''

Continuing his curiousity about Sebastian, he looked into those mysterious green eyes and asked, ''How do you manage it with them, not revealing who you are? Aren't they bound to notice things which cause suspicion? The memory of my father, telling me I was filled with 'many devils' stays with me.''

Sebastian's eyes gained a faraway look, as he drew up his own distant memories, and he agreed, ''Yes, as my sweet Ursula aged, and I did not, her sister and brother-in-law, my son, as well, were convinced I, too, was of the devil. Only she, she has been the only human to know all about me and love me completely. I really should have found some way to get us that house she wanted. Maybe Cecilia and Iodine wouldn't have poisoned my son against me.''

He sighed, and his shoulders fell, remembering, ''After Ursula died, and John took after me with the fiery torch, I hopped on the first boat to America. It was kind of desperate, but he'd terrified me. After that, I never let relationships last longer than twenty years. I began as a twenty year old with each, and knew I couldn't pass for any older than a youthful forty. Yes, it was difficult. As vampire lore became more common, I had to be increasingly careful.''

He ran his slender fingers through his long red hair, and continued, ''But you'd be surprised to learn how many lonely women and men there are, who do not care that I can't go out in the day with them, at least without being covered head to toe. Their lonliness blinds their suspicions, and maybe I charm them, too.''

Michael listened, wide eyed, ''How do you explain your inability to eat the foods they do? I've imagined the gulf to cross far too wide. It was only after learning that Gwen was sympathetic to vampires and knew we weren't evil, which was from reading e-mail and her website, learning safely from a distance, only then did I dare approach her.''

Sebastian still played with his hair, ''I've always said it was food allergies, but I must have charmed them all. They were so happy with what I COULD do for them, that although I couldn't eat the magnificient food they longed to reward me with, they forgave me my pecularities.''

Michael came to a realization, ''You knew ALL about them, but they knew little about you! That's only a difference of degrees. In my reading, I have come to know much of their hearts. A good writer can make you feel as though you are right inside their minds. Thus it is, I have experienced life vicariously. They knew nothing of me, the reader, but I knew ALL of them, the writer!''

With that, he looked directly into Seb's green eye's, probing for more understanding, ''You, my brother, have been as lonely as I have. It's given you comfort that you were able to give these humans physical pleasure, but as for a complete soul exchange, since your Ursula, you've been as lost as I was!''

Sebastian's eyes widened with that remark, becoming even more green, ''Yes, you're right! I've never realized that before. I tried to lose myself in sex with them, and for the most part, it took my mind off this fact. Maybe it's why I could never stand to be alone. If I had been alone for any length of time, I would have realized this, and become inconsolable.''

Michael elaborated, ''They could never see the moonlight as you do, you could never see the sunlight as they do, yet you could reveal not one detail of this. The whole world as you experience it, could not be revealed. And you could only imagine their world, as they experience it, from distant memory. Though I must say, the marvel of modern movies helps keep that memory alive. Did you, too, rejoice in the first colorized movies and their glorious sunrises?''

Sebastian tried to recall, ''I've seen a few movies, not many though, and only when some lover was keen to go. Yes, the movie is nice, but frustrating. I want the film to show me things as I would see them. Maybe because it only reminds me that I am different, NOT human.''

Michael disagreed, ''For me, it's been another safe way to get inside the human skull. Since the beginnings of movies, I've spent all my Sundays and some of my weekdays in the movie theaters. I've seen most of the movies ever made. Though I've avoided the violent gangster genre. This has been one of my few escapist pleasures.''

Sebastian smiled, adjusting his concept of Michael from the purely puritanical one he'd had. Michael, too, was adjusting his concept of Sebastian from a lowly degenerate, to one who'd spent his life reading humans like they were books. That Seb preffered the sexy kind of book only made him smile. Each found a familiar light in the other's eyes.

Go to Chapter Forty, Meeting Of The Hearts
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