It was only a few days after that evening with the skinheads. I’d discovered a new pervy site (Gary had told me about it said I’d like it if I was into leather) when I stopped in my tracks. I was looking at a face I recognised. I stared in stupefaction. It was Phillipe - the boy I’d met in France a very long time ago and had transformed. Apart from a different hairstyle he looked exactly the same as the last time I’d seen him all those years ago but then I realised that of course, he would: he’d been a Vee since then.My mouth opened in disbelief.
I contacted him and sent a request for a video chat. To my surprise, after a minute or so he accepted. Did he really remember me, I wondered?
Oh fuck, it was so good to see him again. He was beaming. Did he remember me? Of course he bloody remembered me, he said, laughing. How the fuck could he forget the only boy he’d ever fallen in love with and, oh yes, who had also turned him into a Vampyre? I almost burst into tears as his eyes looked at me across the digital gulf I remembered that beautiful brown so well. He was back in Italy in Rome again, actually, with the love of his life Annette. I knew Phillipe was straight, and I asked him what the hell he was doing on a gay, pervy website. He laughed and said these sites were excellent places to find ideas that he and Annette could use. Yes, she was into erotic pain too. I chuckled I should have known it.
I was over the moon to hear that he’d found someone else to love and had settled down, if only, I knew, for a while: Annette was a mortal. We chatted into the early hours, catching up. He told me about his transformation, that he’d found out he needed leaves anything green would do it but raw broccoli was best. I laughed; at least that was easy to get, I thought, though possibly not as much fun as what I needed...
It wasn’t until towards the end of the call that he said he may have heard of Dominic. A friend of his had said that he’d met this amazing guy, who certainly sounded like he might be Dominic, in of all places Transylvania. Well, Romania as it is now. He didn’t know for certain it was him, but if it was him, he’d been in the city of Cluj-Napoca. This had, admitted Phillipe, been about six months ago, and he certainly couldn’t vouch for its being true.
My brain seemed to grind to a halt and I could no longer concentrate. I apologised, and Phillipe said he understood completely. After saying goodbye, we finished the call, Phillipe begging me to visit him if I got back to Italy again. I promised I would do that. I sat back and stared at the blank screen. My Dominic. In Romania. I’ll be honest, I considered selling up and moving there that very day, just in case it was him.
But then I shook my head slowly. I wanted to be with Dominic again just as desperately as I had done every day of my life since he’d left me, but over the years I’d asked myself another question: did he want to see me again? He was (even) older and more experienced than I was, and I had the feeling that if he’d wanted to, he could have found me by now he’d known a lot more Vees than I did. In my heart I was beginning to accept that either he was dead, or he really didn’t want to see me again. The thought was not a happy one, but long ago I’d promised myself to be realistic about this. I wouldn’t be going to Romania, I knew.
As I sat there remembering the old days in Venice, our drinking wine together, wandering around, visiting friends - and then thoughts of moving on from England went through my mind, it suddenly struck me that I had completely forgotten about taking David up on his invitation to visit him. I hadn’t thought of him for ages. He lived not too far out of London. I searched the house for the piece of paper with his address on it. Then I remembered that I’d put it safely in the wooden tea caddy box with the sketch and that beautiful letter from Dominic.
If I hadn’t had the directions that were also on the paper I would never have found his house - it was hidden away in the middle of a small forest. I pulled to a stop outside an impressive double gate with an intercom grating and a key pad by the side, and got off the bike. I pressed the call button and smiled at the gargoyles on the gateposts. They were quite hideous.
I recognised his voice straight away. “David! Squirrel! It’s Justin! From Venice!”
There was a pause, and then delighted laughter. “Justin? It can’t be. It is! I can see you!”
I noticed the tiny lens of a camera above the keypad. I waved at him. The gates began to swing open.
“I love the gargoyles.” I said.
“I hope you’re not being sarcastic - those are Hieronymus and Otto and they’re easily offended.”
I laughed and rode up the wide gravel drive to the equally wide main door.
“Fuck, you don’t look a day over two hundred. Come in, come in! God this is a wonderful surprise! How are you? What have you been doing? Sit down, have a drink and tell me everything.”
It was so good to see David again. He was a trim, elderly guy in tweeds, with snow-white hair, and he smoked a pipe. Seeing him brought back some beautiful memories of my days in Venice and, acutely, of Dominic. The evening passed in a haze of catching up and good alcohol. David had done well for himself and was delighted to hear that I had too. My leathers intrigued him. “You know, I never got into SM myself, but it’s always fascinated me. Very naughty, very - “ he searched for a word, “- rebellious.” He grinned and nodded at my leathers. “And you wear those like you were born in them. You look sexy.”
That was a compliment coming from him. David was straight, and not a semenivore like me he needed nuts. Lots of nuts. That’s why we’d called him ‘Squirrel’.
I actually ended up more or less moving in. We passed the days talking, walking, I even took him for a short ride on my bike. It scared the shit out of him. The days passed very pleasantly.
One evening we were talking about past loves he hadn’t heard anything of Dominic since he’d left - and I told him about Phillipe. He thought for a moment and then an idea struck him. He stabbed the air with his pipe. “Why don’t you invite Phillipe and Annette over here for a holiday? There’s oodles of space in this house, and it would be wonderful to be all together for a while.”
That appealed to me, and I called Phillipe up on Skype that evening to ask them. Annette was with him in the room, and after a short discussion they both thought it was a great idea.
They arrived the following week. I experienced a mixture of intense emotions as I hugged Phillipe again. Affection, love? Even jealousy that Annette now had him though thankfully that didn’t last more than a second or two. My eyes were wet when we ended the embrace. So were his. “Oh god, you look just the same,” he said, beaming through his tears. “Of course you do. But I’m so used to seeing people age.”
I nodded in sympathy. “And you look just the same too,” I smiled, “but then you know that.”
“I never had the chance to thank you properly for what you did for me.Everything you did for me.”
I grinned and hugged him again.
He gazed at my face. “I’d forgotten just how gorgeous you are.” He pulled himself together. “Justin, meet Annette. Annette, you’ve heard about Justin.”
“Indeed I have. Lovely to meet you.” We shook hands, and I tried not to notice that unusually, for a woman there was a look of hunger in Annette’s eyes as she gazed at me.
Life in Phang Hall (David has always had a wicked sense of humour) was good. I went into the city most evenings on the bike to feed, but apart from that we all stayed in the grounds most of the time. David had been a musician in his early days and he had a complete recording studio in the cellar. I spent many happy hours playing with his synths and computers down there while Phillipe and Annette waged interminable computer wars upstairs.
One evening we were sat drinking an especially fine Armagnac when David’s phone rang. He picked it up, listened for a while, glanced at me, then got up and wandered out of the room to talk in private. He was gone for some time, and he was quiet when he returned.
It was the first weekend in July and David suggested that a trip to the Regatta at Henley might be fun so we all trooped down to the Thames for the day. It was wonderful. We ate ice cream, drank Champagne, sat on the grass and watched the boats. We even had a picnic Annette had made sandwiches and some little pastry things. It was a lot of fun, and when we got back in the evening David took his pipe out of his mouth and smiled. “Remember these times, Justin, they’re good ones.”
A couple of days later I was sitting in a reclining chair out in the garden. Even for July it was an exceptionally hot afternoon and I was sunbathing and sipping ice-cold lemonade. Phillipe and Annette had gone for a walk in the forest, and I was about to go back into the Hall and get more lemonade when a shadow fell over me.
“Ah, the servant,” I said to David, smiling, “I need more lemonade. Immediately.” I looked up, but with my very dark sunglasses on, all I could see was a silhouette.
He didn’t reply at first. Instead he knelt down on the grass by my knees, and took my hand in his. “Hello, my beautiful boy.”
I do not remember dropping the glass of lemonade, but I did.
He laughed in delight. “You’ve always had a habit of dropping glasses,” he said.
I bolted upright in the chair, stared, my heart almost stopped. It couldn’t be. It was. It was Dominic.
I stared at him in stupefied silence for what seemed like hours and then I burst into tears. He moved closer and held me tight. And I remembered his smell. It was beautiful. I rocked in his embrace, crying my eyes out and hugging him so tightly I was amazed afterwards that I hadn’t broken his ribs. I was incoherent. Every time I tried to speak the words got tangled up.
He pushed me away gently, and took a deep breath. I knew he was aching to kiss me, as I was him but I also knew that the kiss would be very different to how it had been when I’d been mortal. I didn’t care. I pulled him towards me and crushed his lips against mine.
After a moment’s hesitation he responded. No, the kiss wasn’t the same at all, but it was still one of the single most beautiful things that had ever happened to me.
“Oh God I have longed to do that for so long,” he whispered into my ear.
We kissed again.
After a while he said, “Come on, let’s go inside.” He stood up and held out his hand.
We went into the Hall and sat together in the lounge. David popped his head around the door for a moment, and then was gone again. He’d been smiling in delight.
I couldn’t stop looking at Dominic. I still thought that this must be some dream and that I’d wake up any minute. But it was real, and he was sat by my side, holding onto my hand tightly with both of his as if he were afraid that some strange force would pull me away and out through the window. I noticed then that there were tears all down his face as well.
“Oh Justin. My Justin. My beautiful boy. You look wonderful.”
“So do you. Oh fuck, you look… Oh it’s amazing to see you again.” I wiped my face. “I wondered…” Should I say it? Yes, I had to tell him. “I thought that maybe you didn’t want to see me again. I mean I thought you could have found me any time if you’d wanted to…” I ran out of words.
His face softened even more. “A long, long time ago, in another life, I told you something: I told you that I had never loved anyone as much as I loved you, Justin. But I tell you now that I still have not loved anyone as much as I loved you and still love you. There has not been a single day since then when I haven’t thought about you, longed for you, wondered where you were, how you were doing.”
He sniffed. “A few weeks ago I heard that you were here. I ached to come to you. I’ve lost count of the number of times I got halfway through dialling Squirrel’s number and then closed the phone. I didn’t dare do it. I had the same kind of thoughts that you did. Did you want to see me again? Or had the way I left you made you hate me? And then a couple of days ago I suddenly just couldn’t stand it any longer. I had to know. So I rang David.”
“Hate you?” For a moment I didn’t understand those words in this context. “Hate you?” Wide-eyed, I shook my head. “Dominic. I have never hated you. Icould never hate you. I love you. I have always loved you. Every day of my life I have loved you.”
He smiled gently. “I will never, ever leave you again.” He took my chin in his hand and gazed at me. Even though I knew mine were the same, I’d forgotten just how clear and blue his eyes were. “Come back to Venice with me, Justin.”
I grinned, and hugged him. “Oh yes, oh yes,” I whispered into his beautiful neck.
As I write this, it's December. Outside my window the winter sun is setting and the creatures of the night will soon be abroad. I'm sitting here at the computer with a large cup of hot chocolate, near a very cosy fire, and I don't intend going out anywhere for anybody. And anyway, it’s raining. My beautiful Dominic will be down to join me in a bit at the moment he’s upstairs torturing some lucky boy. Occasionally we team up and do some sexy guy together. We both get off on that, and it usually takes the boy a week to uncross his eyes and to recover after each of us has fed from him. There is no jealousy Dominic and I know we can’t have sex, and working on a guy together is the closest we can come to that although being in the firing line of each other’s powers sometimes makes it unbearable. But we’ve learnt to be careful and very directional when we’re both working on someone.
The ‘children’, as we’ve taken to calling Phillipe and Annette, are battling green intergalactic monsters on the PC in the next room I sometimes tell Phillipe that I know the only reason he fell in love with her is because she’s as addicted to computer games as he is. Their house is only a couple of canals away so they pop in often.
I fed very well earlier; leatherboys on motorbikes are just unusual enough in Venice, even today, to act as a sort of filter: anyone who takes an interest in me in my gear at least when I have the helmet on so that my face isn’t turning them into gibbering idiots is worth investigating further. Dominic and I each have a good number of boys who are regulars and there’s a very impressive collection of equipment to use on them in our dungeon.
I’ve started painting again. It’s just for my own pleasure, but Dominic says it’s good, and I should show it. But then he would, bless him.
A plane streaks slowly and silently across the sky outside I watch it through the raindrops running down the window. I smile. Things have changed over the years, Venice as much as anywhere, but I love being here; it still feels like home. Dominic’s old house the one where we lived together is long gone; there’s a supermarket there now.
Yes, there are downsides to being a Vee, but the advantages make it worthwhile. Boy, do they ever. Life is about as good as it gets. When the children are not here Dominic and I do what we used to in the old days: talk we each have a lot of life to tell the other about - walk, sit on the verandah when it’s warm and drink wine, watching the twinkling lights of Venice. We’re thinking that it might be nice to spend a few months in Canada one place neither of us has been. But possibly not for a while; we’re happy here.
Very occasionally I think back over my life and feel sad: Guido is long dead; Chris the sexy young Rocker boy also; Benny the Breaker all gone, years ago. And I worry about Phillipe: he’s perfectly well aware that he’ll see Annette get old and die. It won’t be easy. It never is.
The world will continue to change. People will come into our lives, and go out of them, like they always have done. But whatever happens, whatever else changes, we’ve got each other.
And in the end, that’s all that matters.
For Dave 1933-2015