My Gothic Boyfriend XXVII

“Wow,” I heard Xanthus’s voice say from over by the stairs. “He… it’s amazing how much the water here can do.”

Justin looked up at him and gaped. Xanthus watched him curiously.

“Blackthorne…” Justin whispered to me, “his horns look so real.”

“I know, baby. It’s okay, he won’t hurt you.” Part of me wanted to chide Xanthus for not hiding his form better, but between him wanting to help and Justin actually being into stuff like that, I didn’t bother. “Is Grandfather safe?”

“He is,” he replied with a nod. “He asked me to bring you his cloak.” He held out the wide span of black fabric; the inside was lined with fine silk in a dark, dusty gray.

“Thank you, I murmured. I walked Justin out of the spring and onto the cool, soft grass; he wiggled his toes in it appreciatively.

Xanthus wrapped the cloak around Justin’s narrow body. “Go on up to the carriage. I’ll take care of the rest here.”

I nodded and lifted Justin into my arms; he felt as light as a feather. He clung to me as I carried him back up the steps. His eyes widened when he saw the bright clearing and the colorful trees.

“Woah… This place is amazing! Blackthorne, where are we?”

“We’re somewhere very special, Little Moon.”

His eyes darted all around the clearing as I walked back across the grass, over the little bridge, and up to the carriage. Xanthus had already gotten it turned around, and the horses were content to nibble on the grass and flowers nearby.

“Wow, they’re huge!” Justin declared when he saw them. “Hey, Blackthorne, that carriage is really cool, and the horses are amazing, but… I don’t remember coming here.”

“I know,” I told him softly. “I’ll explain it all to you.”

I opened the door on the shady side of the carriage, and he climbed inside. “Oh, hello Mr. Thorne,” he greeted my grandfather.

I followed him in and closed the door tightly. I sat down with Justin, across from my grandfather, who wore the form that Justin was familiar with rather than his natural one.

“Hello, Justin,” Grandfather replied, his voice low and smooth. “It is wonderful to see that you are doing better.”

“Better…” he repeated softly. “But what happened? I remember my entire body hurting, but not why.”

“If I may, Justin,” Grandfather said before I could even get a word in, “I would like to ask that we not discuss it for now. The entire ordeal has all of us quite shaken.”

Justin looked between him and me. I’m sure he understood how worried we both looked, because he eventually nodded. “O-okay… I…”

“You are rattled yourself, are you not?” Grandfather suggested.

Another timid nod.

“Give yourself time. Your body and your subconscious will appreciate it.

When Justin leaned against me, clearly exhausted, I turned to kiss the top of his head. That was when I realized that a faint blue-white aura surrounded him. It was slightly bright where the gash hidden by his hair had been, and around the eye that had been swollen. “Justin…” I whispered.

He saw the surprise on my face as I stared at him, and opened the cloak just a little to look down at himself. The rest of his body had that aura as well, and it was also brighter where he’d been hurt. “Woah… Am I really glowing? But…” He shook his head. “I’d say it was just my brain confusing things, but you see it, too.”

Justin looked to Grandfather, who also nodded to confirm it.

“It is a side effect of being in the healing spring,” he told Justin. “I hope you won’t mind that I ask you to stay covered. I’ve raised enough children that I have no qualms about your state of undress, but it is best that I avoid the light.”

“The light?” Justin repeated. “Wait, that water–” he looked to me, his eyes huge, and whispered, “This is a dream, isn’t it? I can’t glow after soaking in spring-water.”

“It will subside,” Grandfather assured him. “Give your body time to absorb all of it.”

“Abs– You’re serious aren’t you, Mr. Thorne?! But–” He turned to me. “How?!”

“Would you believe me if I said magic? Or would you think that was a dream as well?”

Justin rested his forehead in his hands and his elbows on his knees. “Ohmygod.”

“It’s okay,” I said, rubbing his back. “Just breathe. I think we have quite a few things to tell you, Little Moon.”

Okay…yeah, it sounds like it.

Grandfather had already removed his wide hat. now he unwrapped his scarf and pulled off his gloves. with a deft movement of his head, he shook off the illusion that made him look human and revealed his true form. His skin was a pale gray, rather like the moon, his silvery hair impossibly long. he turned his red eyes upon Justin, who gazed back in utter awe.

“Mr. Thorne…” Justin breathed.

“Yes, Justin, it is I. Despite this change in appearance, I am no less Emory’s grandfather.”

“You’re…you’re beautiful. Well, and kind of intimidating, but… wow. So, umm… does this mean you’re not human?”

“Not entirely,” Grandfather admitted. “I suppose part of my form is based on humans, though. And of course, I can father children with humans.”

“You have more than one?” Justin asked. He looked to me. “I didn’t think your dad had any brothers or sisters.”

“Justin,” Grandfather said, “you will learn a great many things today that are contrary to what you previously believed. I hope you can be forgiving for how we have misled you.”

“Ummm, yeah… I’ll hear you out.”

Grandfather gave him a kind smile. “Ah, it’s qualities like that that make me believe you are such a good match for Emory. Could you tell me, Justin, what you think I am?”

Justin stared at him for long moments; his mind was clearly racing.

“Are you thinking about how it’s not possible, Little Moon? Keep in mind that you’re glowing, and you were just healed from serious wounds by a magic spring. Go on, say what you’re thinking.”

He still looked uncertain. “I feel like I’m going to wake up and find out this is all just a dream. But okay, what do I have to lose?” He took a breath and told me, “He reminds me of… y’know, the vampires from the movies and books and stuff.”

“You have a keen mind, Justin,” Grandfather said with a wry smile.

“What?” he replied. “I– I was right?!”

“You are,” I nodded.

“Woah…” Justin stared at him for a moment. “I was sort of half-kidding, but wow! Wait, Blackthorne, doesn’t that mean you’re half vampire? Like a dhampir?”

“I suppose you could say my father was,” I replied, “although he wasn’t told what he was.”

“What? How could he not know?”

“I do not tell all of my progeny about my origins,” he explained. “Many would not take the information well, and my goal on Earth is not to create more people who know about vampires, but to continue my bloodline. Only those best suited are told about what I am and this world.”

“‘This world’…” Justin repeated. “Okay, I thought this place was too pretty to be Earth.”

“Quite so,” Grandfather agreed. “As my grandson’s beloved, you are very welcome here in Tierney Ríocht, Justin.”

“‘Tierney’? That sounds like something Killian would say in Irish.”

“It means ‘chief’ or ‘lord’ in Gaelic,” I told him. “And ‘Ríocht’ means ‘kingdom.’ I won’t overwhelm you with explanations about the linguistic connections, but I can tell you that there’s a lot of magic here, and I really think you’re going to love it.”

“Are there other vampires, too?”

Of course he would ask that before anything else magic-related.

“There are,” my grandfather told him. “In fact, my bloodline is quite strong.”

Justin looked him over thoughtfully. “Do you mean the bloodline you’re part of, or something more?”

Grandfather’s smile widened. “You are such a sweet young man. I am the grand-master of my bloodline, Justin. My full title is Lord Damien Averel Thorne.”

Justin smiled up at him, clearly impressed. “Wow, it sounds so– wait, Blackthorne wasn’t Averel…”

“The lonely vampire from the story you like me to tell you?” I asked. “Yes, he is.”

His eyes went huge. “So– you mean– the story is true?”

“In a way,” I said, “but Grandfather isn’t quite as lonely now.”

“I’m so relieved,” Justin told my grandfather. “You’re so kind; I wouldn’t want you to be so sad. And your name is beautiful, by the way.”

“I’m glad you think so,” Grandfather said. “I do like your sense of wonder and imagination; the same goes for Emory. It is because he is open to ideas of what lurks in the shadows, magic, and other worlds that I was able and willing to tell him the truth of what I am.”

Justin nodded. “Yeah… I guess thinking about how the real world is so bleak and boring just makes me so unhappy, so I like to read fantasy stories and think about other worlds and what else might be out there.”

“And here you are now, meeting the real me, and paying a visit to my world.”

We talked together until Xanthus returned. He’d filled the amphorae with spring water, and had collected several baskets of the berries that grew nearby. Additionally, he’d gathered up Justin’s clothing so that it wouldn’t be left on the ground next to the spring. Once everything was safely stowed in the carriage, he was formally introduced to Justin, who was actually very excited to meet a satyr.

It was agreed that Justin shouldn’t go back to Earth until his glowing subsided. The way time passed differently between our two worlds, it should work out without raising too much alarm. As Xanthus drove the carriage back to the castle, we talked about how we would be letting Justin’s mother know why we hadn’t shown up to watch the fireworks at his aunt’s house, and assuring her that he was okay, just not feeling well. There was zero chance of telling her what had actually happened, and I wasn’t sure how much I would ever tell Justin– at least, not unless he asked and made clear that he needed to know precisely what had happened.

“So,” Justin said, “I know my clothes were ruined and you had to get them off of me to put me in the healing water. But do either of you know what happened to my phone?”

I look to Grandfather, hoping that he would have an answer. He reached a hand into the breast pocket of his shirt and pulled out the tell-tale black rectangle.

“I made sure to collect it,” he said. “It did sustain a little damage, but surely it is not beyond repair.”

“Oh wow!” Justin exclaimed. “Thank you!”

I accepted it from Grandfather so that Justin could remain covered, and looked it over. It was dirty from whatever it had landed on in the alleyway, and the screen had a couple cracks across it, but the case had done its job and mostly protected it. I powered it off and slipped it into my own pocket.

In my grandfather’s world, technology from back home only worked if it didn’t need any type of satellites or towers. Of course, once it ran out of power, there was almost no way to recharge it while in Tierney Ríocht. Once we were back at his castle, Grandfather could form a portal leading back to Earth so that I could have a few minutes to reconnect and send a message or two to Justin’s mother.

About Legends of Lorata

Eleanor Willow is the author of the high fantasy series Legends of Lorata, which takes place on a medieval-style world filled with elves, dragons, and faeries. There is also a fourth race, one that is rare and magical: the angelic Starr. Lorata is a distant planet watched over by four deities: good, evil, elemental, and celestial-- and there are plenty of legends about them all! One of the most important ones is the prophecy of Jenh's champion, Loracaz, who is promised to return to the realm whenever evil threatens to take hold. There are currently three books completed, and the first one can be read online. Book four is currently being written, and a fifth will most likely be in the future.
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