Binding Moonlight

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 6 (v.1) - Chapter 6

Submitted: January 09, 2019

Reads: 24

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Submitted: January 09, 2019

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The moment Adonis spotted the mansion, he knew he was going to hate this kid. He had done jobs for wealthy people in the past, and he despised every one of them. They had all been stuck up, conceited, and condescending, lording their fortunes over everyone. And by the look of this place, this kid had a substantial fortune.

This morning over another less than satisfying breakfast, Nrekeeka had asked if he could drive out and pick up their newest resident. Even though chauffeur was not in his job description, he accepted the task. He hadn't been given anything more productive to do, after all. Retrievals were one of his field specialties, but those usually involved the risk of bodily harm. The most he had to worry about today was Tobi's spare car breaking down.

Setting the vehicle down as gently as he could without breaking something important, Adonis got out and clenched his teeth. He wasn't one to put off unpleasant tasks, so he walked briskly across the drive and up to the front doors, knocking on the oversized knocker. After only a few seconds, the door creaked open and a young, thin, effeminate male greeted him. The boy wore a bright smile to match his sparkling violet eyes.

“Hello!” he sang.

Adonis swallowed hard, caught off guard by the kid's appearance. “I am here to pick up Theo Sheridan,” he said, scowling.

“That's me! You must be Adonis, then? C'mon in,” said Theo, stepping back to let Adonis inside. “I didn't know when you'd be arriving, so I made sure to have all my stuff ready to go.” He continued to smile up at Adonis, unfazed by his dark expression.

Adonis dipped his head in a shallow nod, glaring at the two huge suitcases and two overstuffed duffel bags. “Is this everything?” he asked.

“Yup!” The brunet bent down and picked up the duffel bags. “Could you get those other ones, please?”

Adonis briefly watched Theo struggle with his bags before grabbing the suitcases and carrying them out to the car. He tossed them effortlessly into the trunk, and then took the duffel bags from Theo, throwing them in as well.

“Thanks. I am so glad to be getting out of here,” Theo stated, going back up the steps to close the door. “I'm so tired of looking at the same stuffy paintings all day!”

Adonis didn't reply as he got into the car. People who talked too much made him edgy. In his life, the fewer words people said, the better. He had learned a long time ago only to speak if it was absolutely necessary unless he wanted another bone broken.

“You don't say much, do you?” Theo asked, settling into the passenger seat. Unlike others who had asked him the same question, Theo's tone wasn't accusatory, mocking, or cruel. He merely sounded curious.

Adonis had been in this boy's company for all of five minutes, and everything he did seemed to throw him off balance. “No,” he said simply as they took off.

Crossing his arms, Theo reclined low in his seat and pouted. “How are we supposed to have a conversation?”

A conversation? Adonis didn't have conversations. He had orders. He had yes or no questions. He had short statements to relay facts. He could not recall his last real conversation.

“You aren't going to ignore me, are you?”

Adonis glanced over at Theo, who reminded him far too much of an abandoned kitten. His shoulders fell. “No,” he said again.

“It would really suck if I had to be around more people who just want to ignore me. No one, well almost no one, on my entire staff would talk to me,” Theo muttered. “So, how long have you been working for Nrekeeka and Tobi?” he asked, changing the subject.

This was only his second full day of employment. “Not long.”

“You must have some skills they liked. What can you do?” Theo's tone was light.

It appeared as though his one and two-word answers were not going to be sufficient with this boy. “I have both pyrokinetic and pyromorphic mutations, am well versed in computers, and I have some combat experience.”

Theo sat up straight again and turned to face Adonis with wide eyes. “Seriously? Awesome. I would love it if you could show me your morph some time. I've only seen other mutations on HTV.”

“I assure you, it is not as interesting as you seem to think.”

“Oh. Okay then.” Theo slumped in his seat, putting his feet up on the dash, his knees close to his face. Sighing heavily, he peeked at Adonis again. “If you don't smile occasionally, your face might break next time you try,” he teased.

Ignoring him, Adonis clenched his fists around the steering wheel.

“I thought you said you weren't gonna ignore me?” Theo's mouth curved at one corner and his eyes twinkled with amusement.

Letting out a slow breath, Adonis opted once again to remain silent.

“Are you always this patient with idiots?”

“Excuse me?” Despite himself, Adonis gave in to the bait.

Grinning, Theo shook his head and chuckled quietly. “Your head is going to explode if you hold everything in. I was bugging you, and you just sat there. It's okay to tell people they're annoying you. If you bottle everything up, you'll explode, or implode, one day. Believe me, I know. I did, and ended up destroying a ton of stuff. Broke four vases, smashed a couple windows, and somehow broke a table. The maids weren't very happy with me,” he said.

“It does not seem to bother you,” replied Adonis.

Theo shrugged. “Why would it? Honestly, it felt good to break everything. It's not like it was irreplaceable. Well...a couple of vases were, but that's beside the point,” he said, waving his hand. “All I'm trying to say is you'll feel better if you vent once in a while.”

Taking one hand from the steering wheel, Adonis ran it through his hair, growling deep in his throat. “Shut up.”

Theo raised his eyebrows. “Huh?”

“I said shut up. Stop behaving like you know who I am. We are not friends, and you know nothing. All you are is a sheltered, spoiled, rich brat,” he snarled, keeping his eyes on the road ahead.

Jaw dropping, Theo gaped at Adonis with wide eyes. “I... uh, I'm sorry,” he mumbled, sinking into his seat. Sucking on his bottom lip, he stared down at his lap.

Puffing out a sharp breath, Adonis glanced at Theo. The petite brunet was sulking, eyes downcast, worrying his lip between his teeth. Once again, Adonis was getting the abandoned kitten vibe. Scrubbing his hand over his face, he shook his head. “I was told you live alone in your manor,” he grumbled, unable to believe himself.

“Yeah, so?” Crossing his arms over his chest, he frowned.

“Do you not have a family?” Adonis asked through gritted teeth.

“I'm sure I did at one point. No one will talk about it, and I don't remember them. I asked about them a lot when I was little, but eventually, I gave up.” He shrugged. “I don't think about it much anymore.”

Adonis nodded.

“What about you?”

“Me?”

The pout disappeared. “Who else would I be talking to?”

Adonis had the sudden desire to bash his head on the steering wheel. Theo's questions were irritating enough, but then he had to go and make that face. It reminded him of someone he knew years ago, someone he avoided thinking about, but Theo brought her image back to him.

“What about your family?” Theo asked again.

“I suppose you could say I do not have one,” he muttered.

“What do you mean? Of course, you don't have to explain if you don't want to.”

Licking his lips, yet another sigh passed between Adonis' lips. “I have parents, but I would hardly call them family.”

“That rough, hey?” Theo's voice was soft when he replied.

“Quite,” Adonis said. “My father was an alcoholic and my mother beat me.”

“Oh my god. I am so sorry. I didn't...I'm really sorry.” Theo wrapped his arms around himself, squeezing his shoulders as he stared at his feet.

“The past is the past,” Adonis stated. He didn't really want to make the kid hate him, especially not within an hour of meeting him, but he needed to learn not to pry. His parents were not something he spoke about because it was no one's business but his own. He hadn't talked much about them since he left their house on his fourteenth birthday, and they were best left forgotten. Stating their behavior so bluntly was meant to startle the boy and make him realize his error.

Theo fell silent, occasionally shooting a glance over at Adonis. He would fidget in his seat and stare out the window for a while, then sit up and face Adonis like he was about to say something. He always decided against whatever it was he wanted to say, returning to staring out the window. Sighing intermittently, the soft sound seemed to serve no other purpose than to make Adonis feel disgustingly guilty. There was absolutely no reason for it, but the guilt was there nonetheless.

The atmosphere in the car grew unpleasant. Adonis was doing his best to ignore Theo in the passenger seat. For someone so small, the boy certainly had a presence which was not easily overlooked.

Adonis had met and worked with many different people over the last few years, but none were anything like Theo. The last man he had worked with was loud, overbearing, uncompromising, and unforgiving in every aspect. Theo was quiet, meek, gentle, but yet still surprisingly unafraid. He was a conundrum. Adonis preferred things to be straightforward, and it was not a quality Theo possessed. At least not as far as he could tell.

“Nrekeeka didn't tell me much about the building,” Theo finally said, unable to stand the silence any longer. “What's it like?”

“Certainly nothing like where you came from,” Adonis replied coldly.

A deep scowl quickly washed over Theo's face. “What? I'm not expecting it to be! If I had known I'd been working with someone as bitter as you, I might have thought harder about taking this job. You know, just because I have money, doesn't mean I'm a snotty asshole who expects to be treated better than everyone else. If I wanted a mansion, I'd stay where I was!” the kid shouted. “Would I be taking the job of a chef if I wanted to sit around all day like a spoiled brat? I'm doing this because I'm sick of doing nothing! I want to do something for myself. I want to live somewhere I won't get lost if I go to the kitchen for a glass of water when I'm half asleep. I don't know who you've had the displeasure of meeting, but I assure you, not everyone with money wants to shove it in other people's faces!” Theo's cheeks burned bright red when he finished, but he wasn't angry. He was embarrassed.

He didn't let it show, but surprise jolted through Adonis. Anger was nothing new to him. He had pissed off a lot of people in his life, intentionally or not. The embarrassment, however, was not something he was familiar with. The kid blushed right up to his ears, and once again, it threw Adonis for a loop. In the brief time amount of time since they met, he had been annoyed, guilty, angry, and completely befuddled. He couldn't wait to hand him off to Nrekeeka and Tobi.

“Listen, Adonis, I'm sorry about bringing up your parents, and I really don't want to argue since we're going to be working together. How 'bout I make something for you when we get there? I can cook or bake anything you want. I'd like to break in my new kitchen,” Theo said after a few minutes of awkward silence. He turned his big purple eyes on Adonis and all the man could do was let out another sigh.

 

***

 

Adonis was disappointed to see Tobi's car was not in its usual space on the parking pad. He would have to babysit a while longer, it seemed.

Closing his eyes, he tried to will away a growing headache. Turning the vehicle off, he and Theo got out of the car and went to the trunk to retrieve the luggage.

“Kind of odd to live in an industrial section, isn't it?” Theo commented, hauling his duffel bags from the trunk.

Adonis said nothing as he grabbed the suitcases, closed the trunk and let them inside. He started toward the elevator, deciding it would be easier than hauling the heavy luggage up the stairs.

“Umm...you wouldn't happen to have stairs, would you?” Theo muttered from behind him when the elevator door slid open.

Glancing over his shoulder with a mostly unintentional glare, Adonis asked, “Why?”

“Well, you see I—uh—I'm...let's just say I'm not very fond of elevators.” A nervous giggle escaped his throat as he readjusted his grip on his bags.

“This way.” Walking past the elevator, Adonis escorted Theo up the concrete stairwell at the back of the building. Once upstairs, he took Theo to the room next to his and hit the keypad. “This will be your room,” he told the boy, going inside and setting the suitcases down at the foot of the bed.

“It's perfect, thank you.” Theo smiled up at Adonis as he put his bags down. He quickly took in the bedroom and the attached bathroom before turning back to Adonis. “Any rules I need to know?”

Adonis repeated the few things Nrekeeka explained to him when he arrived. “I am sure she will tell you this again when she returns.”

“Not a problem. So, um, would you mind giving me a tour? Just so I don't end up in the wrong place by accident, y'know?” Theo's expression, while still cheerful, was a little shyer as he held Adonis' gaze.

Nodding, Adonis went back into the hall, first pointing out the other bedrooms. As they moved on, he made sure to open each door to show Theo the rooms. They finished with the upstairs and moved back downstairs. He wasn't entirely sure why, but he saved the kitchen for last.

“Holy crap! It's huge!” Theo exclaimed as he went inside. “It's almost the same size as my kitchen, but up to date. This stuff is all top of the line!” All of the new appliances were shiny chrome and black, the countertops stone, white tile on the floor, cream-colored walls, dark wood cabinets, and a large island counter.

Adonis leaned against the counter, crossing his arms over his chest, smiling to himself as Theo started opening drawers and cupboards. This was the first time he had ever seen someone so excited because of a kitchen.

Theo started pulling out bowls, spoons and measuring cups. “Time to break in my kitchen! What should I make? I can make pretty much anything.”

Adonis stared at Theo.

“I told you I was going to make something for you when we got here, didn't I? So what'll it be?”

Exhaling slowly, Adonis thought for a moment. “Can you make—no. Never mind.” Adonis stopped himself, shaking his head.

“Oh, c'mon. What do you want? Anything!” Theo held Adonis' gaze, eager to get started.

“Peanut butter cookies,” stated Adonis, feeling childish for requesting something sweet.

“Great choice. Have a seat, and they'll be ready in a jiffy.” Theo immediately searched for the ingredients and piled them on the island counter with the bowls and spoons.

Resigned, Adonis sat on one of the stools to watch. The brunet didn't even bother to find a recipe before tossing ingredients together, combining them in a big blue bowl. He whistled cheerfully as he mixed the dough, holding the bowl against his chest with one arm. Setting the oven to preheat, he turned back to face the man.

“I'm glad I get to cook for new people,” he said. “You know, out of all the employees I had, I could only carry on a conversation with four of them. The head maid, the butler, the chef, and my tutor. They were fun to cook for,” he continued, taking a bit of cookie dough and rolling it into a ball. He shrugged, placing the ball onto a sheet pan.

“Why are you telling me this? I am a complete stranger,” Adonis said, leaning on his folded arms.

Theo glanced up, seeming confused by the question. “What do you mean? How else are we supposed to get to know one another and become friends if we don't talk?” he asked with a smile.

“I am not here to make friends. I am here to do a job,” grumbled Adonis, watching as Theo gently flattened each dough ball with a fork before putting the first batch in the oven.

“Why not both?” Theo wondered, stacking dishes in the sink. “The first batch will be ready in about ten minutes,” he added.

“Thank you.”

“No problem. Cooking is my favorite thing to do. There's something so satisfying about mixing together a bunch of different things to make something new and tasty. Plus it's fun.” Grinning, Theo sat down across from Adonis. “What do you like to do for fun?”

“Fun?” Adonis frowned, not sure how to answer.

“Yeah, what do you like to do? I'm sure even someone as sour as you has fun once in a while,” Theo replied with a huff, though his eyes sparkled with amusement.

Licking his lips, Adonis crossed his legs. “I do not have time for frivolous activities,” he answered, his voice as flat as his expression.

Theo returned the blank stare. After a moment, he tipped his head to the side, studying the man. “Why do you try so hard to be disliked?”

“I do no such thing.”

“Man, it's like you go out of your way to be a dick. It wouldn't kill you to be nice, you know. Maybe at the very least polite.” Theo rolled his eyes. “It isn't hard, I promise.”

Polite? Adonis didn't think he had been rude. He had been telling the truth. There was no time in his day to do things he used to enjoy. All of the things he had done for fun became frivolous when he was struggling to make rent and buy food. Entertainment didn't have a place in his life.

Theo exhaled quietly, the smile back on his face. “I can see in your eyes, under all of your pain and burden, there's a nice guy.” When he finished speaking, he turned away to retrieve the first batch of cookies from the oven.

Adonis watched silently as the brunet switched one baking sheet for another, setting the fresh cookies on the counter to cool. “When I was small, I had a neighbor who would bake these for me,” he said when Theo placed a plate piled with cookies before him. “She was an elderly woman, maybe in her seventies or eighties, but kind. Kindness was unheard of in my neighborhood. I enjoyed her company, but one day I went to visit only to find she had died the night before. I was devastated. These remind me of one of the few pleasant memories I have of my childhood.” Unsure why he felt compelled to share the story, he decided it could serve as a peace offering of sorts.

“Then I hope I can live up to your memory,” Theo answered.

Adonis stared at the plate for a few seconds before selecting one of the warm treats. Hesitating, he gave in and took a bite. As soon as the flavor hit his tongue, he started salivating. He found himself smiling as he ate. He was barely finished swallowing the last mouthful of the first cookie before he picked up a second.

“How are they?” Theo asked, the corner of his mouth quirking upward.

Swallowing his mouthful, Adonis nodded. “Good, thank you.”

“I'm glad.” His words and expression were sincere. Adonis had to look away, uncomfortable with his kindness.

“Ah-ha! I knew I smelled cookies!”

Theo grinned brightly as Tobi rushed into the kitchen and immediately started stuffing his face with the fresh baked goods. Nrekeeka followed, rolling her eyes at the man.

“Hello boys,” she greeted.

“How are you doing today?” Theo asked cheerfully, a subtle undercurrent of concern in his voice.

“After the visit with Shelsea, I feel better. Thank you.”

“I'm glad to hear it,” replied Theo as he went to mind the last of his cookies.

“So did Adonis show you around and explain everything?” Nrekeeka asked, taking a seat next to the white-haired man.

Theo nodded. “I believe so.”

“Good. And since you're here now, do not let Tobi near the stove,” she instructed.

Tobi grumbled something, crumbs flying out of his full mouth.

Scowling, Nrekeeka smacked Tobi on the back of the head and tugged on his braid. “Don't talk with your mouth full.”

Tobi coughed, glaring at Nrekeeka. “I said I resent that.”

Theo hid his smirk as he turned away to start on the dirty dishes.

Pushing himself to his feet, Adonis moved around the island counter to stand next to Theo. “Would you like some help with those?” he asked, making Nrekeeka and Tobi glance at one another.

“Sure! You can dry them for me,” Theo replied, tossing Adonis a dish towel.

Nrekeeka raised an eyebrow, pulling Tobi away from the cookies. “You do know we have a dishwasher, right?”

“I know, but I prefer doing it this way.” Theo shrugged one shoulder, handing a bowl to Adonis.

“Right, whatever. Come on Nrekeeka, we've got some training to do. And let go of my hair, dammit!” exclaimed Tobi, flailing his arms.

Ducking effortlessly out of his reach, Nrekeeka rolled her eyes again. She waved at the boys, following Tobi from the kitchen.

Theo and Adonis remained silent as they finished cleaning. Putting the dishes away, Theo checked his watch.

“I suppose I ought to start on dinner. Would you like to help me?” the brunet asked, checking out the contents of the fridge for inspiration.

Adonis found himself nodding. “I suppose I could.”

“Good! It'll be fun to cook with someone.”

Shaking his head, Adonis' frown returned. Theo's behavior confused him. No one had ever been so adamant to befriend him before. He had to admit though, the kid was interesting.


© Copyright 2019 Kristin Kuffner. All rights reserved.

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