VaiTides – Chapter 11

As Jarrick and Darion spent a few minutes reconnecting, Tolrek processed Jarrick from his head to his feet.

The Tildari was of a smaller stature than Darion but he was still imposing. With broad shoulders, a well-defined torso and toned thighs, it appeared that he enjoyed sculpting his body. The fact that he was highly attractive did not go unnoticed by Tolrek, nor did his obvious interest in Darion.

Jarrick’s rich brown eyes were intently focused on the negotiator. He was examining Darion’s face, enjoying the sight of the one who had been away for an unbearable amount of time. The Tildari’s well-shaped mouth curved with pleasure at a joke Darion made and the sensuality in the motion bothered Tolrek.

The rebel suspected that there was an intimate bond between Darion and Jarrick. The two were standing close together as they conversed; the chemistry between them caused Tolrek to feel as if he were a great distance from them. Jarrick also seemed to be unwilling to mask his reaction to Tolrek. The rebel was getting the distinct impression that the Tildari was not particularly pleased to see him. Whenever Jarrick did bother to glance in Tolrek’s direction, there was an unmistakable coldness in his eyes.

“Darion, we should go to your place,” Jarrick stated, tapering off the conversation.

“Wait,” Darion said. “Before we leave, let me introduce you to—”

“Tolrek Marou,” Jarrick finished, his tone a shade below derision. “I’m well aware of who he is.”

Jarrick gave Tolrek another glimpse. Tolrek looked at Darion to see if the negotiator had registered the displeasure in Jarrick’s voice. Darion chose not to show that he had indeed noticed.

“Tolrek, this is Jarrick, my friend and…” Darion’s voice tapered off, as the atmosphere became more uncomfortable.

“We were lovers for years,” Jarrick announced.

He purposefully let the words hang in the air. Then he turned briskly on his heels to go to the parking garage, expecting the others to follow him. They did.  As they walked, he continued with his explanation about Ashrom.

“He’ll return from his trip in about two days. He wanted me to apologize on his behalf, since he was unable to be here. He’s at a meeting with the Behadan.”

Once the three were settled into the car and on their way to Darion’s home, the negotiator asked more questions.

“How is the Behadan?”

He was eager to have news about Kyniska Fehr from someone who often had contact with her. He had been following her ascent to her current position, admiring her intelligence and finesse. More than once, he’d considered returning to Tildar to see if he could work with her. However, as she was gaining more influence, he’d found another challenging opportunity on Vaironia, one involving Tolrek.

“She’s doing very well,” Jarrick replied. “She’ll most likely be our head of state for another six years. The country has flourished incredibly under her.”

Jarrick’s admiration of Tildar’s current leader transmitted clearly in his voice. Darion understood that the respect given to the Behadan was well-earned. Tildar had increased its standing in the galaxy, with numerous nations wanting to do more business with the realm. Of special importance were the empire’s methods for training troops, as other countries wanted to learn the techniques. Ashrom, with his incredible mind for military tactics, was at the forefront of improving the effectiveness of the armed forces. The Behadan especially appreciated his council.

“I’ve heard that the Behadan highly values Ashrom’s opinions,” Darion mentioned, since he’d kept himself informed of the events on Tildar.

“That is true, as is expected and deserved.”

Darion and Jarrick continued to speak about some of the most recent Tildari events. When Darion realized that the subject was not one Tolrek was as familiar with, he tried to find another matter to discuss. However, even when he steered the conversation towards military tactics, a favorite of Tolrek’s, the rebel still had few things to say. Instead, he sat in the backseat, focusing on the interplay between the negotiator and his former lover.

~~11.1~~

Darion and Tolrek would be staying at one of the Navarr family homes. Located about two hours from the Tildari capital, the secluded, beachside villa was a favorite place of Darion’s. The staff had stocked the abode with everything he and Tolrek would need. Someone would be checking once a week to replenish materials.

When Jarrick left them, Darion gave Tolrek a tour of the property. Najrina followed them, curious about her new surroundings. The negotiator saved their bedroom for last. Tolrek viewed the expansive bed, then looked at Darion meaningfully.

“What?” Darion asked.

“It has been a long time.”

“Since?” Darion stared at him, raising an eyebrow and continuing to play obtuse.

“Since you’ve taken a bath, wise ass. Let’s go clean ourselves.”

Darion grinned when he felt Tolrek’s hands on him. The rebel was steadily undressing him.

“Oh, you and your perverse needs.” The negotiator gave a dramatic long-suffering sigh. Tolrek just smiled and finished removing his clothing.

“Surely, your exercises have taken effect by now,” he said. “Am I really in danger of being hurt by you? I mean, in ways we both don’t want.”

Tolrek appraised his now naked lover and motioned for Darion to return the favor.

“Need it, do you?” Darion teased, as he began to unclothe the rebel.

“Not as much as you,” Tolrek replied, knowingly. “It has been difficult for you to hold back these past few weeks.”

“I still don’t believe I’m ready,” Darion murmured, unbuttoning Tolrek’s pants. “But we can at least bathe together. Maybe I’ll even take you in my mouth.”

“Oh, you’ll do more than that,” Tolrek stated confidently, chuckling wickedly.

Their hormones beginning to take over, the two made their way to the bath hall. To the left of the hall’s entrance was a station for cleansing. A sauna was located on the opposite side. In the center of the room was a pool. Darion looked at the gauge on a nearby wall, which indicated the temperature of the water. Then, he turned a golden dial next to the gauge, starting the process to heat the pool.

After cleansing each other’s bodies, he and Tolrek slid into the perfectly heated water. The two kissed, the desires they had pushed aside for several weeks being stoked by the warmth of the water. Feeling playful, Tolrek bit the negotiator on his chin, surprising him but making him laugh at the impish gesture. Darion pinned Tolrek against the edge of the pool.

“Maybe I should bite you back,” he whispered. Darion exacted his revenge, leaving several marks on his lover’s shoulder.

The rebel reached beneath the water and found that the negotiator was already hard. He gave Darion’s cock a strong squeeze. Tolrek’s hand was beginning to destroy the last remaining amount of Darion’s concerns about having sex. He’d felt he hadn’t been quite ready to be with Tolrek, as he was worried about the increased difference in strength. But the rebel was succeeding in pushing aside his doubts and getting him highly aroused. Darion was now groaning softly, his eyes shut tightly as he attempted to manage the cascading rush of desire that was flooding through him. It had been almost ten years since he felt it to this degree. With his seal completely removed, his full carnal nature was reawakening.

“No,” Tolrek said, understanding what Darion was trying to do. “I refuse to let you hide.”

“But I—”

“Use my body, Darion,” Tolrek said.

“What?” The negotiator’s eyes had flown open. They were dark with need, showcasing how much he wanted to unleash what was in him. “Do you really know what you’re saying?”

“No, but I’d like to learn.”

“Oh, you will.” Darion’s voice had gotten deep, a roughness to it that Tolrek had never heard. The look in the negotiator’s eyes was fierce enough to make the rebel feel apprehensive. However, he was not going to change his mind.

“I’ll be fine,” he said, mainly to reassure himself more than anything else.

Darion perused Tolrek’s face, trying to see if there was any hint of hesitation.

“If you’re unable to move in the morning, it will be your fault,” he warned. “This is your last chance to back away.”

“No; I want this. I’m sure.”

“You’d better be,” Darion said, suddenly firmly gripping Tolrek’s chin in one hand. He held it so the rebel could not help but look into his eyes. “Now more than ever, your ass is mine.”

Darion trailed one finger over Tolrek’s mouth, then pulled him close for a teasing kiss. Tolrek smiled, enjoying the mischievousness until the nibble became a bite. He pulled away from Darion and put a forefinger to his lip and surveyed the damage. Darion had drawn blood.

“We should have a safe word,” Darion said.

“You’ve already beaten me without asking if that was okay,” Tolrek reminded him. “It seems a bit late to try to create safety.”

“That was punishment. You didn’t deserve a choice. This is sex play and it could get rough.”

“Then ‘submit’ will be my safe word. And when you stop because I use that word—”

“You’re thinking I’ll be submitting to you…”

“Yes…”

“You’re obnoxiously clever.”

“Wasn’t that already clear to you?”

Darion studied his lover’s face and smiled. Then he kissed Tolrek fervently, images of what he wanted to do romping through his mind.

“Stay here; wait for me,” the negotiator instructed. Tolrek watched him leave the bath hall. He returned a few minutes later, carrying a black velvet bag. Tolrek was intrigued.

“Get out of the pool,” Darion ordered. “Kneel before me.”

Tolrek exited the water, his reaction to the situation walking the line between excitement and fear. He went over to Darion, positioning himself obediently in front of the negotiator. The aura rippling off the negotiator was different than the one Tolrek had known. It was as if Darion’s tattoos pulsed with the power inside of him.

Darion untied the velvet bag and slowly withdrew a blindfold, the first of several items he had. He set the bag on a nearby marble bench. Then, the negotiator put the blindfold on Tolrek. Darion’s predatory smile was the last thing the rebel saw, before his eyes were completely covered.

“Touch me,” Darion instructed.

Tolrek reached out; his hands splaying against the negotiator’s stomach.

“Good, now go lower,” Darion told him. Tolrek did his bidding.

“You want my hands here?” the rebel asked, when he reached Darion’s thick cock.

“Yes. Stroke me.”

“You’re already breathing kind of hard,” Tolrek noted, after giving him a few solid tugs.

Darion brought his cock to Tolrek’s mouth. The rebel parted his lips, grazing the negotiator’s engorged head with his teeth. Tolrek increased the force of the bite until Darion complained. The rebel circled his tongue around Darion’s cock, then took the tip into his mouth. He rolled the head against the roof of his mouth. He remembered how much the negotiator had liked this action the other times he’d done it. The deep, soulful groan that Darion released let the rebel know that was still the case.

Tolrek took Darion further into his throat. Holding him there for a few moments, Tolrek reached to fondle Darion’s balls. The rebel felt Darion’s sack pulse and squeezed it, encouraging the motion. Darion gasped, knowing what was imminent. A burst of white cream filled Tolrek’s mouth and he swallowed. Darion gripped Tolrek’s hair, as he shuddered through the last moments of his release.

After he had recovered, the negotiator was even more in the mood to be playful. He took the flexible, leather restraints out of the velvet bag and bound Tolrek’s hands to one leg of the heavy marble bench.

“I wasn’t going anywhere,” Tolrek said, laughing.

“And you won’t now, unless you take the bench with you.”

Darion circled his lover, considering various possibilities, the first being how he wanted the rebel displayed. After he positioned Tolrek on his knees, he liberally spread lubricant against the rebel’s opening.

“I sure hope that’s enough,” the negotiator said, sounding quite nonchalant. “These might be kind of large. Maybe I should have started with a smaller set. No matter.”

“What exactly are you—” Something in the shape of a sphere was pushed into the rebel. “D, what is that?”

Tolrek winced, as his body tried to accommodate the unknown object. Then suddenly it was in and he sighed with relief. Too soon. Another was being placed in him. And another.

“These are a type of sex beads,” Darion explained as he inserted a fourth ball. “This string consists of 10 of them, each slightly thicker than an inch. I especially like this set; the beads have varying temperatures. The odd-numbered ones are cold; the evens are hot. Ingenious, don’t you think?”

“D, I’m not sure about this.”

“Are you about to use your safe word?” Darion asked, his tone sulky. He had more things in mind.

“If I were, you shouldn’t try to dissuade me,” Tolrek responded, laughing at his lover’s attitude. “But go ahead with what you’re doing, for now.”

“Alright.” Darion placed another sex bead inside the rebel and Tolrek’s entire lower-body twitched. “I like them in you …”

Darion announced that he would be leaving the bath hall for a little while. The negotiator grinned at the visceral sight. Then, Tolrek heard his footsteps fade.

“Darion?” Tolrek called out.

He tried to keep track of how long the negotiator was gone but the beads were taking up much of his attention. He pulled against the bonds. Suddenly, something brushed against him and there was a low purr.

He wasn’t sure what the hettira was thinking. A series of disastrous images went through his head, as he considered how wrong things could go. He called out for the negotiator. Darion returned, encountering Najrina examining Tolrek by prodding his swinging testicles with one large paw. The negotiator laughed loudly and maneuvered the pet out of the bath hall. He closed the door firmly on her.

“You’re lucky you came back,” Tolrek grumbled.

“No, you’re lucky.” Darion patted Tolrek on his rear and chuckled. “Well, you’d still be useful to me, even if Naj de-balled you.”

“Oh, aren’t you funny?” Tolrek was about to go on a tirade when Darion knelt behind him. The rebel pushed away his annoyance, as Darion took his cock and began to stroke him.

“I would never actually take it lightly, if you were hurt,” Darion soothed him. “I want you whole, Tol.”

Darion’s fingers worked on Tolrek, expertly manipulating him, taking him to the brink again and again. Tolrek cried out when the negotiator slowly pulled the sex beads from his body, in time with a sequence of strong strokes.

Darion quickly replaced the beads with his cock, tunneling into the rebel. After only a few thrusts, he had his second release. Unintelligible words escaped the negotiator. At the same moment, thick jism flew from Tolrek, the sensation of coming was increased by knowing Darion was also feeling immense pleasure.

As Tolrek’s breathing calmed down, Darion unbound him and removed the blindfold. His eyes still clouded with desire, Tolrek turned to face Darion.

“D, tell me what you were trying to say.”

“What do you mean?”

“Right when you were coming, you were talking. You hardly ever do that during sex.”

“Oh…I said, ‘Why do you affect me so much?’  Are you better off for knowing that?”

“Yes…”

The negotiator smiled and nuzzled his lover’s neck.

~~11.2~~

“My brother will be arriving soon,” Darion said. “Before you meet Ashrom, there are a few things I need to discuss with you. He is strict about protocol. Also, he seldom likes anyone, especially right away. It’s doubtful that he’ll be unreserved around you during this trip, if ever. Please behave accordingly.”

“Darion, do you think I’d shame you in front of your brother?”

“I don’t know what drives you sometimes. Just remember there will be a harsh punishment, if you make me lose face.” Despite Darion’s words, Tolrek chuckled.

“You’re nervous,” the rebel noted, poking Darion lightheartedly in his chest.

“What causes you to make that comment?”

“Your speech is so formal. Plus you’re standing rigidly. Your brother must be quite intimidating.”

“It is just that he’s the oldest of my siblings and his station in Tildar is high. I have to show respect to both of those positions…” Darion looked down at the floor and sighed. “And, I’m not presently on the best terms with him. I won’t explain why. Just be polite.”

Darion didn’t have a chance to further insist that Tolrek behave himself; Ashrom’s car pulled into the driveway. Darion began to pace in the front of the door.

“I’m surprised you have more nervous energy, after how much you bothered the dining staff,” Tolrek commented.

The chef and his assistants had recently left, feeling quite eager to vacate the property. Darion had been uncharacteristically demanding, causing even the usually unruffled chef to become anxious.

Still watching the negotiator, Tolrek wondered just how intimidating Ashrom Navarr was, if he could have Darion that agitated. It didn’t take long for him to find out. The doorbell rang and Darion answered it, with Tolrek at his side. Jarrick was with Ashrom but Tolrek barely paid any attention to the one accompanying Darion’s brother.

“It is good to see that you are well, hakyon,” Darion said. He was addressing his brother with the formal Tildari title for “older brother.”

“It has been years since you’ve visited, Darion,” Ashrom replied, as he entered the foyer. “Did you forget that you are also Tildari?”

“I apologize for my long absence,” Darion responded. He became silent, suddenly unsure of what to say next.

During the awkward silence that followed, the rebel took the opportunity to view Darion’s older brother, curious about Ashrom. Like Darion, he possessed steel-gray eyes, with a dark blue ring around them. He was a darker complexion than Darion, the Tildari sun bringing out the rich brown of his skin. Ashrom was also of a greater height than his younger brother, reaching almost 7 feet. His face was handsome, unmarred, except for a deep scar across the broad bridge of his nose. His physique was beyond reproach, the black suit adorning his body showcasing the care he took in keeping himself in peak condition. To Tolrek, he appeared to be the archetype of the Tildari male.

“There’s so much catching up to do,” Jarrick said, breaking the silence. He gave Darion a look of encouragement, still remembering how Ashrom sometimes unsettled his younger brother. Even during childhood, Ashrom had been austere, often acting mature beyond his years. He also excelled in many areas. Though Darion and Aleena were successful, outclassing others in their studies and steadily honing their fighting prowess, both of them were humbled by their older brother’s accomplishments. Ashrom saw it as the duty to be the sibling they looked up to, in more ways than one.

Tolrek was surprised by the change in his lover’s demeanor. He was used to seeing Darion in control. He had to stifle a laugh at the deference he’d heard in Darion’s voice. Then, for the sake of the negotiator, the rebel also took on a similar tone.

“My name is Tolrek Marou,” Tolrek introduced himself, bowing. “I am honored to be in your presence, Sir Ashrom Navarr.”

Ashrom’s penetrating gaze now landed on Tolrek. Darion watched intently, hoping that Tolrek would remember his earlier words.

“There’s no need to bow to me, Captain,” Ashrom remarked, suddenly pounding Tolrek heartily on his back.

“Thank you,” Tolrek replied, resolving not to flinch. He was glad that Ashrom’s reaction had been friendly, though Ashrom’s approval actually caused pain. Tolrek marveled at his strength.

“I’ve heard about your actions and I respect you for them,” Ashrom continued. “It’s a shame my younger brother was involved with imprisoning you. You must tell me of your deeds. We’ll trade some great stories over dinner.”

Ashrom’s previously reserved manner was gone, surprising the others, especially Darion. However, he was pleased.

“Well then, we should eat. I have to return to the capital in a few hours,” Ashrom stated. “I have a journey to make in the morning. Otherwise, I would take more time for small talk.”

“I didn’t mean to inconvenience you,” Darion said, earnestly. “I’m glad you were able to come here.”

“You could have stayed in my home at the capital,” Ashrom mentioned.

“You should understand why I didn’t bother,” Darion replied, his voice holding a bit of sharpness. “Didn’t you just criticize me about Tolrek?”

The two stared at each other, the tension between them rippling in the air.

“Ashrom, your trip tomorrow is very important,” Jarrick reminded the official quietly. “I’m sure you wouldn’t want an argument with Darion weighing on your mind.”

“He can separate his emotions from everything else,” Darion said, glaring at his brother.

“And you can be just as mercenary,” Ashrom replied coldly. “You excel in ways I find distasteful.”

“So then you both have something in common,” Jarrick quipped. Despite their annoyance with each other, Ashrom and Darion laughed, the strain disappearing for the moment.

“I’m sorry, hakyon,” Darion murmured. “I didn’t mean to be rude.”

“Neither did I, kikyon,” Ashrom said, using the formal Tildari term for younger brother. “There are obviously things we should discuss. While you’re here, please make time to come talk to me.”

“I will,” Darion promised. “For now, let’s have a good meal together.”

Tolrek had listened to the exchange, wondering about the rift between Darion and Ashrom. Jarrick was adept at managing conflicts between the brothers, having a level of closeness with them that Tolrek didn’t share. The rebel began to feel left out.

Some of the other occurrences during the dinner didn’t help to reduce his concerns. He recounted for Ashrom his role in the war against Ersha, his subsequent rebellion and his imprisonment. Yet, he still noted how often Jarrick glanced at Darion or offered to refill his glass. He remained engaged in the conversation as much as he could, considering the mounting jealously he was feeling. He was tempted to address Jarrick’s actions but opted not to do so, realizing it would only bother Darion. He knew that the negotiator was eager to make sure the meal was as enjoyable as possible. Tolrek would do nothing to ruin that, as much as it troubled him to see Jarrick’s ease with Darion.

~~11.3~~

A few days later, Tolrek was reminded of the displeasure he’d felt the last time he was around Jarrick. The Tildari had come by the villa again, arriving to bring a message for Darion from Ashrom.

“Darion’s on the phone right now,” Tolrek explained. “I can deliver it to him.”

“I would prefer to give it to him personally.”

“Oh I just bet you would,” Tolrek grumbled.

“Excuse me.”

“Just come in and wait.”

While Darion continued his conversation, Jarrick and Tolrek sat across from each other in the living room. A heavy silence settled between them, until Jarrick broke it.

“You are the one who has Darion…preoccupied,” he said.

“Yes, I would be the one,” Tolrek replied, tilting his chin stubbornly.

Jarrick studied him for a few moments, assessing what worthwhile qualities Tolrek could possibly have. He’d been bothered by Ashrom’s praise of the rebel. Jarrick believed that the more Darion and others favored the rebel, the less chance he’d have of regaining a place in the negotiator’s life.

“You don’t seem to be much of a challenge,” Jarrick mused. “I’m not sure why the Vaironian government had such difficulties with you.”

“Actually, I hardly tested the government,” Tolrek responded. “My actions were mainly nonviolent. I merely appealed to what was right, primarily using my words. Of course, being the best Krezka pilot didn’t hurt. Many were aware of what physical damage I could inflict, especially with 500 dedicated fighters by my side.”

“You speak boldly for a mere Pet. I’m surprised Darion hasn’t reined you in; you need to be broken.”

“Perhaps he doesn’t feel the need to grind anyone under his boot.”

“I require discipline from all who are around me, even if they are here as Darion’s guest.”

“I assure you that I have discipline to rival anyone in your country, especially you.” Tolrek stood and boldly regarded Jarrick.

“Then perhaps you would like to prove it,” Jarrick responded.

“If you can stand to be humiliated,” the rebel countered.

Jarrick bit down on his jaw, finding Tolrek to be highly annoying. He stood, going over to the rebel, emphasizing the difference in their height.

Najrina had been resting by Tolrek’s foot. She quickly launched herself upright, pushing between Tolrek and Jarrick, her tail flicking angrily from side to side. Her amber eyes reflected a warning that would only be issued once.

“Easy, girl,” Tolrek murmured to her. When she had calmed, he smiled at Jarrick and also stood. “Your height certainly doesn’t affect me. I’m used to Darion. He has several inches on you—in more ways than one, I bet.”

The sexual barb caused Jarrick to lose the last of his composure.

“I would welcome a competition with you,” Jarrick growled.

“Time and place.”

“Mivden Academy. Training grounds at 9 AM tomorrow. My students will see what happens, when one’s arrogance exceeds one’s skill.”

“Tolrek is forbidden from battling with you,” Darion announced.

They turned to see him standing there, observing them. Engrossed in their argument, they hadn’t realized that the negotiator had appeared. Tolrek cursed under his breath and Jarrick, likewise, was unhappy about the negotiator’s decree.

“At any rate, Jarrick, I apologize for being late. I believe you have a package for me,” Darion stated.

“Is that all you’re going to say, after what you just heard?” Jarrick asked.

“No. My nephew had more to tell me than I expected,” Darion joked. “Apparently, he’s still moping, since I wouldn’t bring him on the trip. It’s amazing how a child can cause you to feel so guilty.”

“Darion…” Jarrick complained.

“I’d rather not act as a referee,” the negotiator told him, growing serious, “There are greater concerns than feeding your egos. And no, I won’t elaborate.”

Darion motioned for Jarrick to hand over the device carrying the message from Ashrom. Then, after speaking with him for a few more minutes, he bid Jarrick goodbye.

When Jarrick left, Darion activated the electronic message that he’d been given. The correspondence was official, as Ashrom had filmed it in his office in Tildar’s capitol building. Ashrom’s goal was to remind Darion that, under no circumstances, were he and Tolrek to call more attention to themselves than was absolutely necessary. He also spoke in code about the various reasons Darion had come to Tildar.

Darion smiled at his brother’s austere attitude but knew the importance of keeping a low profile. Being on Tildar served a greater function. The Behadan was providing Darion and Tolrek with a haven, while Beilon determined the depth of the plot against them. Ashrom’s message was one of the few official communications that made it clear that the visit was not merely a vacation. After the message finished, the device erased its contents.

“Don’t be so solemn,” Darion said to Tolrek, whom he’d permitted to hear the message. “Just make sure you don’t cause problems. And I’m especially warning you again about not fighting with Jarrick!”

~~11.4~~

Though Tolrek had put aside Darion’s order earlier that day, the topic came to his mind later that night. The two were in bed, with Tolrek giving Darion a massage, causing the negotiator to sigh with pleasure. Tolrek knew he could often get what he wanted, when Darion was in such a relaxed mood.

“D, why won’t you let me fight Jarrick?” Tolrek asked, as he kneaded the negotiator’s firm shoulders.

“I knew you wouldn’t let this go,” Darion replied. “Tol, Jarrick is quite driven to prove something to me. And if it means going through you, then he will.”

“What is he trying to do?”

“Jarrick and I have a long history and, for him, some things are unfinished.”

“What exactly does he mean to you?”

Darion thought carefully about his response, then spoke haltingly.

“Jarrick and I…we…he and I were together for almost four years.”

“I see. Are things definitely over for you?”

“Why wouldn’t they be?”

“You tell me. He sure was eager to see you at the airport. And you certainly didn’t look bothered.”

“Well, it has been seven years since I was on Tildar. Also, Jarrick and I have known each other since childhood. Please don’t antagonize him.”

“Oh come on, would I do something like that?”

“Yes, you would. You’ve sensed that he’s severely bothered that I brought you here. Don’t cause problems.”

“I understand. I’ll try to do my best.”

Darion pulled Tolrek down next to him, surveying the rebel’s face.

“And yet, somehow, I’m not reassured by your words.” Darion stroked Tolrek’s face. Then he kissed him softly. “I want you to succeed at not being a pain in the ass, if only while I’m on Tildar. Don’t cross me on this issue. Now, let’s change the subject.”

“To…”

“To what I want from you.”

“Which is?”

The sound of the videophone caused them to pause. The system alerted them that the caller was Jarrick.

“You could just ignore it,” Tolrek said.

“Perhaps it’s something important.”

When the negotiator went to answer the call, Tolrek frowned. Jarrick, yet again, was demanding Darion’s attention. Darion agreed to meet Jarrick at his home, ignoring Tolrek’s penetrating eyes.

“Enjoy the time with your old lover,” Tolrek taunted while he watched Darion dress.

“Be quiet.”

“You know, you two could have one last romp, just to get it out of your systems. The attraction is definitely still there.”

“I decide who I fuck,” Darion shot out. The comment burned. Darion could see it in his lover’s eyes. “Tol, I didn’t mean that.”

Tolrek stretched out on his back and looked up at the ceiling.

“If you say so…Anyway, I shall allow you to kiss me before you leave.”

Darion chuckled, knowing he’d received forgiveness for his words. He planted a firm kiss on the rebel’s mouth.

“That’s all? No tongue?” Tolrek complained.

“There will be more for you, later.”

“I expect you to deliver on that promise, with fervor.”

Read VaiTides Chapter 12…