She went to the Torquere LJ to find the ongoing story I’ve started there. I continue it every month, but I’m always willing to continue it on Torquere’s Blog if anyone wants me to. (I always ask–just say so on the blog)
I’m at Torquere’s Live Journal the last Tuesday of every month. My standing date with the Torquere Blog is the second Wednesday of every month.
Anyhow, here we go–A Roaming Heart (name chosen by SexKitten426)
let me know how you like this guy for Lucian
A Roaming Heart
Lucian Constantinescu smiled down at the old woman tucked beside him, patting the frail hand resting on his forearm. For several minutes, the two stood in silence, an island of calm as parties ebbed and flowed in the rooms behind them.
Time spent with his kirvi–his godmother–was precious to him, not least because he’d had so little of anything that passed for familial love in his lifetime. His people were by necessity nomadic. When he was still very young, his tribe had been unfortunate enough to cross into a disputed area. That mistake of chance had cost the lives of his parents along with the most of his extended family.
He, as well as the few other survivors, had been held in a camp, ultimately to be scattered among other camps, and fed into various government systems. After he reached his majority, it became Lucian’s goal to find the one person he was sure had survived, the closest thing to a grandmother that he could remember. They had been reunited for little more than a year, but it seemed as if he’d always known her. That familiarity was a balm to his soul, especially now.
The sound of a door opening somewhere down the long veranda broke the stillness of velvet darkness. More than one party was reaching its zenith in this exclusive hotel, as evidenced by the raucous music and cheering. The closing of the door cut the noise immediately, but the moment was lost.
“Something is bothering you, my Luca,” the old woman observed quietly, her voice clear in spite of the revelers’ noise. “Please tell me what is wrong.”
Gathering her a little closer, he steered her toward a nearby bench. “It is nothing, truly,” he assured her, though his voice was heavy. In her shoes, he wouldn’t have believed him either. “It has to do with Mason,” he finally confessed.
“Mason?” she queried. “Do you mean the young man who works with you?”
“Yes,” he answered simply, keeping his eyes fixed on the night.
“He is here somewhere,” he added, sweeping an arm widely to indicate the luxurious hotel and the parties in progress.
“I expect I’ll have to withdrawal from our partnership.” He kept his voice low, and miraculously, steady. “Our job is too dangerous to do with my…handicap.”
When she didn’t respond, he turned, looking into her eyes, allowing her to see the turmoil within. “Ah, my poor Luca,” she murmured. “Such pain. Such a heavy burden to carry alone. Are you certain you cannot share it with him?”
He wished he could reveal himself to his partner, but he couldn’t. Mason Ford was a ladies’ man, and a finer specimen of All-American heterosexuality would be hard to find.
If the attraction was only about his looks, things would be easier. There were an abundance of attractive, muscular men with caramel colored hair and dark blue eyes, additionally including, no doubt, a firm jaw and full, sensual mouth.
Unfortunately, Mason was also a good man, his insatiable libido notwithstanding. He lived by his convictions, was more than good at his job, was open-minded, and in short, the most endearing man that Lucian had ever loved and hated…or hated to love, as the case may be.
No, his partner couldn’t help him here. Luca was on his own.
The woman he’d been dancing with turned away to acknowledge someone more important, giving Mason just the opportunity he needed to escape her cloying embrace. It wasn’t hard to duck behind a waiter and slip quietly through the French doors separating the milling and gyrating throng from the long and wide veranda wrapping the hotel.
October was party-month here at the United Nations Hotel–every nation felt the need to celebrate the entity’s founding, resulting in more than one overlapping party. Normally, Mason considered the ongoing parties to be one of the premier perks of working for the UN and living at the hotel. But not tonight. Tonight, Mason was worried about his partner.
He hadn’t really wanted a partner, though he had known that one would be assigned to him whether he liked it or not. When he met Lucian Constantinescu, he was not pleased. His apparent partner was thin, looked young, wore his mahogany-colored hair long–almost shoulder-length, and looked back at him from empty dark eyes that chilled Mason to the bone.
Many months had passed since then, of course. It had been nearly a year since that disastrous first assignment. The disaster part could be laid squarely on Mason’s shoulders, if the truth be told. Wonder of wonders, though, his cold and aloof partner had not told the truth. IN fact, he’d stepped forward and taken a share of the blame, citing his own failure to communicate. There had been no failure on Lucien’s part, though. The only reason that particular mission had succeeded was because the other man had assumed his own duties as well as Mason’s, at the cost of a severe beating at the hands of some would-be terrorists.
After getting to know Lucien somewhat, Mason had learned that the other man’s cold and aloof demeanor did not go all the way to the bone–or at least not always, as far as applied to Mason. Anyone else would be frozen out if they tried to get too close.
Well, that had been Mason’s assumption, based on his partner’s behavior toward Mason compared to everyone else they met. Now, though, unless he was very much mistaken, Lucien was cuddled up to some woman and discussing him.
His partner’s melodious baritone was a voice he’d know anywhere, even to the backbeat of several loud parties in the center of a busy city. He’d never seen Lucien turned out so nicely, much less allowing another human being to touch him voluntarily.
Before he could reflect on that unusual happenstance, his partner murmured, “I expect I’ll have to withdrawal from our partnership. Our job is too dangerous to do with my…handicap.”
It took Mason a shocking moment to realize he was struggling to breathe, as shocked as he was to hear those words from the other man. He was so sure they were getting along. Every mission after the first one had gone swimmingly. And if anyone would know about Lucien having a handicap, Mason surely would.
He’d seen that chiseled body dance in and out of more dangerous situations than anyone on the planet. Dance was the only word to describe the way that Lucien moved. His body flowed like the the muscles of a big cat, like flowing water… “
Okay, where the hell is that coming from?” Mason grumbled, slipping into a shadow as the other man stood, leaving his companion and moving to lean on the carved balustrade hemming the patio.
“Are you certain it is a handicap, my Luca?” the woman asked, her tone just above a whisper, but clear, very clear.
From his vantage point in the shadows of a corner situated a step above the pair, Mason took a moment to look his partner over closely. The slacks Lucien wore fit as tight as any high-end glove.
They should, Mason realized, since they appeared to be dark leather.
For some reason, the thought of his partner in skin-tight leather made his heart beat faster, especially when Lucien leaned forward to rest on the railing, the black leather taut against his muscular derriere, framed nicely by the black and gold brocaded jacket he wore. The form-fitting jacket should have looked contrived, perhaps even tacky, and on anyone else, Mason was certain it would have. But on Lucien, the dark leather and silk with its heavily brocaded mandarin collar and slight flare at the hip looked elegant.
The sound of his partner’s voice jerked him back to the present, shocking him breathless.
“It is a handicap to be in love with Mason Ford, Bunică, no matter who you are. To be a man, to be his partner in love with him, it is a calamity.”
“Luca, such drama!” The old woman sighed. “Will he kill you? What will happen if he should know of your feelings?”
With an inelegant snort, Luca straightened, turning toward his godmother. “He would lose trust, perhaps. I will consider my partnership with him, as I said.” He extended a hand to her, helping her to rise. “You are, as usual, very wise. This is why I call you Bunică, in place of my grandmother, whom I never knew. You are very dear to me,” he murmured, pulling her in for a brief hug.
“You as well, child,” she returned, her voice a little thick.
“Enough of the heart and flowers, yes?” he teased, steering her around the bench and toward the end of the long veranda.
“Quite so. This the first time for you to lead your people as the son of the Băeşi and Lăutari. I know you have learned more the dance of violence, but even the sword has a rhythm all its own.”
“This is one thing I’m not worried about, Bunică. I’ve studied many years of dance–both in violence and peace. People are difficult, rhythm is not.”
The room they entered was alive with color. Silk scarves hung on every wall, with the flags from various tribes and clans hung throughout. Gold sconces punctuated the wall, with leaping flames adding to the festive gathering.
As the revelers began to recognize him, the crowd parted enough to lead his godmother to the center of the room, leaving her in the company of the Romanian representative for the International Romani Union.
His posting as a United Nations Peacekeeping Enforcer was in direct response to the recognition of The Romani Union to the United Nations. That the initial acceptance date fell on the same day of his posting to the UN force was not a coincidence. In fact, Luca often imagined two men facing each other, one with money in hand , the other holding a small doll which they traded simultaneously.
The crowd surrounding them was peopled with the dignitaries from thirty-six separate countries as well as the leaders of various tribes and bands in each of those countries. That alone was unprecedented. For one charged moment, Luca felt a jolt of worry. He quickly contained it, reminding himself that the security around the plaza this month was every bit as heavy as if the queen, the president, and the very heads of each of those thirty-six countries were in attendance.
For that matter, at one time or another, they probably would be.
A man stepped forward holding two violins, one of which he handed to Luca. Accepting the dark instrument and bow, the two men bowed before stepping back. Around the room, people had started snapping their fingers in fast-paced rhythm.
Immediately, Luca touched the bow to its strings, drawn into the music as if born to it. When he could no longer keep from moving his feet along with his bow, he held the violin and bow out, dancing forward when he was relieved of his instrument.
He briefly registered the arrival of several men on either side of him, all dancing as he was. The violin’s tempo sped up as each man jumped and kicked, tapping and dropping their heels in a resounding beat.
Any residual thoughts of his partner were completely driven away by the sound and sway of the intricate dance.
It wasn’t difficult for Mason to slip into the room behind Lucian and his grandmother. With as tight as security was, anyone on the hotel property would have had to have clearance to get in. When the crowd began to part for Lucian and the old woman, he was taken aback, but quickly steppedto one side.
“What’s going on?” he asked a man beside him, taking a chance that he or a neighbor would speak English.
“That’s Lucian Constantinescu! You don’t know of him?” The man’s voice turned suspicious. “Who are you?”
“I’m new here,” Mason responded uncomfortably, his smile strained.
“Ah. Well, his parents and their parents were important in their tribal groups. His survival alone brings many communities together. He is a bridge of the old and new ways. When his band was killed and he was taken, it was dark for us. In reparation for this tragedy, the Romanian government educated him and reintroduced him to his heritage. He is our offering to the United Nations force and a gift from our people…”
The man stopped talking suddenly and turned to face the center of the room, snapping his fingers enthusiastically. As if everything he’d just learned about his partner wasn’t enough to make his head spin, seeing Lucian accepting a violin and stepping into the center of the circle shocked him completely.
The music that filled the room was incredible. The tone was darker than he usually heard from a violin, but the astounding rhythm made it nearly impossible to stand still. When Lucian began to sway sinuously as he played, Mason’s mouth went dry.
Candlelight flickered and reflected off of Lucian’s oh-so-snug leather pants, seeming to emphasize each muscle and curve working in sensual harmony to the rhythm of the snapping and the racing violin. Another violin began to play, along with a cello and any number of other instruments that Mason didn’t care about.
Lucian had stopped playing, holding his violin and bow out, his body still in motion. Once free of the instrument, Lucian seemed to break loose. His feet moved faster than Mason could see, perhaps making it up as he went, though in perfect harmony with the music. It was a mad flamenco-style dance, interspersed with slaps, claps, and pirouettes. It had to be free-form, he was sure of it.
This guess was soon proven false as other men began to join him, each dancing in sync with Lucian. Riveted, his eyes never left his black and gold clad partner. He knew very well that Lucian hadn’t had time to practice with these men. Lucian had been out of the country for most of the past month. How did they manage it?
The crowd was clapping and snapping now as each man in the line took turns moving forward for a solo dance while the rest tapped and swayed in a simpler rhythm behind him.
“At least he isn’t belly dancing,” Mason murmured, not sure his heart could take it.
“Not yet, eh?” the man beside him answered with a suggestive smirk and elbow to the ribs. “He must dance and play for all his people.”
Before Mason could completely process the meaning of the man’s words, the tempo of the music and the dancers began to slow. While the majority of dancing men had slowly melted away, Lucian had kept moving, hips swaying to a more Eastern tune. Turkish, in fact.
When Lucian turned his back to the crowd and slipped his jacket off, giving an unimpeded view of his partners flexing and swaying rear-end, highlighted in tight black leather, Mason thought his heart would stop. Seconds later, Lucian swiveled to face the crowd, his abdomen rolling in time with his hips.
“Excuse me,” he choked out, when he could breathe again.
Without waiting for a response, he pushed his way through the crowd, desperate for air. Finally making it out the door, he stumbled across the veranda to the balustrade, gratefully gulping in the autumn air. When his heart began to slow and the sweat on his face began to cool, something new made itself known.
He hadn’t realized how hard he’d been–how turned on. It seemed his body didn’t need foreknowledge to meet its demands. Watching his very male partner dance in tight leather was unbelievably erotic. The evidence was conclusive: he’d come in his pants.
“Hey, buddy, you look a little …” Mason groped for a word that would spare him a double-entendre. He finally settled on, “You look tired, partner.”
Obsidian eyes flicked up in cold acknowledgement before dropping back to stare blankly into the steaming cup of whatever-it-was that Lucian drank.
A head appeared in their door frame, calling, “You’re wanted in the office!”
In response, both men nodded, rising silently to their feet. Any lingering weariness from the night before seemed to melt away from Lucian’s frame and face as if imagined. Walking shoulder-to-shoulder, Mason was reminded of the disparity in Lucian’s behavior when they were alone compared to in public, as they were now.
Although the two were simply walking the hallways toward the boss’s office, Lucian’s demeanor had chilled considerably. More than one coworker had moved to speak, dropping back to wave instead upon seeing Lucian.
Was Lucian’s semi-glare this morning a sample of warmth? But no, couldn’t be–Mason had seen him with that older woman last night. His partner had been affectionate to his companion, loving. And that dance…
He shook his head tightly, answering Lucian’s look of inquiry with a week smile and abbreviated shrug. A dark, elegant brow lifted with questioning concern. That single, minute movement on his partner’s face drove a bolt of desire straight to Mason’s core.
God, I’d better get myself together! What the hell is going on with me?
“I’m fine, partner,” Mason mumbled, stepping in front of Lucian when the other man held the door open for him. Disbelief shaped Lucian’s frowning face. “It’s fine,” Mason mumbled again, stepping through the door, wondering just which one of them he was trying to reassure.
Lucian listened stoically to the mission briefing. As always, awareness of Mason’s presence, his mood, his whereabouts in the room, all hovered at the edge of his consciousness. It hadn’t escaped his notice that the American was acting a bit oddly today.
“I’ll offer my apologies personally to the IRU, Peacekeeper Constantinescu. Did you have any remaining diplomatic duties to attend?”
Searching his memory for any promises made or requests given, Lucian recalled, “Da-Yes. I am expected to speak with the Romanian attaché along with EU Commission representative to discuss my work here.”
“Is that something I can do?”
The offer, sincerely made, still took him by surprise. Their leader, Brigadier General (Ret.) JeandréBoef, late of the SANDF (South African National Defense Force) was not an accommodating man. He reminded Lucian a great deal of an angry police chief he’d seen in one of Mason’s favorite comedy movies. His civility was a sign of how important the situation was–not only the upcoming mission, but also the continuing cooperation of the International Romani Union.
“You may call on this woman,” he said finally, jotting down his godmother’s name and number on the back of a business card. “Her name is Tatjana Dinicu. Please address her as Rani Danicu–she has earned great respect among our people.”
“Thank you. Report in as soon as possible upon your return, please,” he finished with a sharp nod of dismissal.
As the two men made their exit, Lucian kept an eye on his partner, noting that, even though Mason seemed to be focused on the mission ahead, he still seemed nervous. Every few feet, the normally happy-go-lucky American would sneak a furtive glance at Lucian, quickly looking away.
The instant they passed through the door of their shared office, Lucian seized Mason’s bicep, jerking and then pushing, slamming him against the wall next to the door. At the same time, he kicked the door closed, denying interruptions.
“What is it?” he hissed. Mason’s wide-eyed start of surprise showed a hint of fear. “You are bothered. With me. Why?” Lucian rapped out.
“Uh, yeah, no, um…” Mason stammered, swallowing heavily, his eyes dropping to Lucian’s mouth and then down. His leg twitched a bit where Lucian’s thigh and knee braced it firmly against the wall.
Anger flared briefly, enough to fuel a dark and deadly glare of promised suffering–a look he’d seen many times on the face of the battle-numbed face of his hand-to-hand combat instructor. While he never intended to develop such an expression, the officer had taken Lucian aside and encouraged it.
“You have suffered, your parents are dead, all of your family. When I see anger in your face, sometimes I see violence there as well. Use it. Frighten these other, larger, bragging idiots. You can kill, death has stopped in front of you.”
After that little speech, Lucian took his advice to heart, employing it now in a way he’d never expected. “Talk,” he growled, nauseaus at the fear in Mason’s eyes, though he believed this was necessary. They were embarking on a deadly mission. His partner’s unusual anxiety with him could not be allowed.
“You’re in love with me and you’re–oh god–you’re hot. What the fuck? I don’t know what to do!”
That, he’d never expected. Stepping back in shock, Lucian turned away, distantly realizing that he’d let his partner crumple to the floor.