Tasting Darkness By Jessica Hall Chapter 79

Read Tasting Darkness By Jessica Hall Chapter 79 – “Psst. wake up. We are leaving,” Lycus says, shaking Kalen’s shoulder and waking him. Kalen groans and rolls over to see Lycus hovering above him. “What’s wrong?” Kalen whispers, sitting up and rubbing his eyes while yawning. Lycus grabs Kalen’s face, that was still covered in lash marks. “We are leaving. We are better off on our own,” Lycus tells him, pulling Kalen’s pajama shirt off and dressing him. Kalen’s sleeping medication made him extra groggy and almost nonfunctioning,

“Where will we go?” Kalen mumbles, trying to lay back down when Lycus grabs him under the arms forcing him to his feet. “Anywhere they can’t touch you,” Lycus growls before chucking a bag over his shoulder Kalen doped off his face from the medication woke up later at the bus stop, having no memory of the walk there. It was freezing cold, snow-covered the ground and Lycus was rubbing his arms, trying to warm him, who was leaning on him. The motion having woken Kalen, he peered around, confused.

“Shh, go to sleep,” Lycus murmurs, and Kalen trusts Lycus to keep him safe, so he does just that.

They lived like that for years. Living day to day. Taking any odd jobs they could find, Lycus, at one stage, even became a male stripper to get them by. His werewolf genes made him appear older than he was, and as much as Lycus hated it, he did more than just strip for the filthy old pub tarts as he called them to get them by until he realized he was hurting Kalen and I was shoved into one of Kalen’s happiest memories.

Na

Lycus had just come out to the kitchen at the back of the strip club where Kalen washed dishes, covered i n sweat with money stuffed in his briefs. Kalen hung up his apron as his shift ended before stalking off out the back.

“Kalen?” Lycus asked, chasing after him and pulling clothes on as he chased after him, but Kalen hated seeing Lycus with women and found it made him jealous. He didn’t know what to think of the strange feelings he had for him. He thought it wrong to feel that way.

Trudging home in the snow, they were currently sleeping in a tent at a nearby park, both still too young to rent a place, and neither had ID. “Kalen, did something happen?” Lycus asks him, catching up to him, but Kalen ignores him and keeps walking home. When they get to the small park at the back of the pub, Kalen unzips the tent and climbs in, sitting on his makeshift bed.

“What’s got into you?”

“Nothing?”

“Well, something is wrong,” Lycus says, sniffing himself. He shudders, he hated how they pawed at him, hated the things he had to do, but he did them so they could survive. When Kalen doesn’t answer, Lycus growls before stomping out of the tent and toward the toilets. There was a shower in there, but it only had cold water, but it was better than nothing. When he returned, Kalen continued to ignore him.

“Kalen,” Lycus said, and he looked up at Lycus. He passes Kalen a burger he must have got on his way home. Kalen sighs but takes it. Lycus sits across from him, eating his own food.

“You were in the red room,” Kalen muttered, taking a bite of his sandwich. Lycus shrugs like it is no big deal.

“Filthy whore, she was married too,” Lycus says, his eyes flicking to Kalen’s.

“What?” Lycus asks, but Kalen shakes his head, going back to eating his food.

“You have been really strange lately. What’s got into you? Have you run out of medication? I can pull a double tomorrow?” Lycus tells him. Kalen mutters under his breath, and Lycus growls at him. Kalen knew he was annoyed. They told each other everything. Well, except for one thing, he never told Lycus how he felt about him. When they finish eating, Lycus rummages through their bags, looking for Kalen’s sleepina pills, and sighs.

“You are out. Why didn’t you say anything?” Lycus asks.

“I don’t want you selling yourself. I hate the smell of them on you,”

“It’s just sex. It’s no big deal,” Lycus says before he sighs.

“To me, it’s not! They are using you!” Kalen screams, and Lycus seems startled by his outburst. Kalen hardly raised his voice, and he was quick to apologize.

“I’m sorry, forget I said anything,” Kalen mutters, rubbing his temples. He could feel a headache coming o

“I don’t mind. It is fine,” Lycus tells him. “I will speak to Bill about doing more shifts,” Lycus says, and Kalen curses, getting to his feet to storm out of the tent. Only Lycus grips his arm, tugging him back.” What did I say this time? What is wrong?” Lycus asks. This time he was becoming angry with Kalen’s lack of answers. Kalen’s face heats with embarrassment.

“I’m being stupid. It must be my meds,” Kalen tells him with a shake of his head, turning to leave the tent s o he could shower. Kalen froze in the shower, and by the time he got out and returned to the tent, he was shivering and regretting showering in the first place. His teeth chattered as he rubbed his arms, and tonight it was snowing, making it just a little chillier; Kalen hated the cold.

Lycus was reading with a torch between his teeth when he entered. Kalen falls onto the swag beside him, and Lycus looks over at him before lifting his blanket and chucking it over Kalen. Lycus would sometimes shift, knowing his fur would keep him warm and help warm Kalen.

“I’m fine,” Kalen growls.

“You’re freezing,” Lycus tells him as Kalen wriggles beneath his blanket. Lycus places his torch down before sighing and moving closer to Kalen.

“I can shift?” Lycus says, but Kalen felt guilty about their argument and believed he didn’t deserve a friend like him.

“Man, this tent is fucking boring when you are so quiet,” Lycus says, laying down.

“Why don’t you go sleep with one of your whores? I am sure they will keep you entertained,” Kalen spits bitterly, not meaning for the words to spill from his lips.

“What the fuck is your problem?” Lycus snaps at him before gripping his shoulder and flinging Kalen on his back. He glares down at him.

“Fucking answer, I am sick of your snide comments. Do you think I want to fuck them? It’s a job. It keeps u s fed,” Lycus snaps at him.

“Well, you seem to enjoy it, or you wouldn’t keep doing it,” Kalen growls.

“Ah, for fuck sake, if you have something to say, Kalen, fucking say it. I am sick of guessing where your head is at,” Lycus says.

“I don’t want you fucking them. You earn enough without fucking them.” Kalen tells him.

“Your medication is expensive. It’s the only way to cover it,” Guilt smashes into Kalen.

“What?” Lycus asks, but Kalen shakes his head, going back to eating his food.

“You have been really strange lately. What’s got into you? Have you run out of medication? I can pull a double tomorrow?” Lycus tells him. Kalen mutters under his breath, and Lycus growis at him. Kalen knew he was annoyed. They told each other everything. Well, except for one thing, he never told Lycus how he felt about him. When they finish eating, Lycus rummages through their bags, looking for Kalen’s sleeping pills, and sighs.

“You are out. Why didn’t you say anything?” Lycus asks.

“I don’t want you selling yourself. I hate the smell of them on you,”

“It’s just sex. It’s no big deal,” Lycus says before he sighs.

“To me, it’s not! They are using you!” Kalen screams, and Lycus seems startled by his outburst. Kalen hardly raised his voice, and he was quick to apologize.

“I’m sorry, forget I said anything,” Kalen mutters, rubbing his temples. He could feel a headache coming o

n.

“I don’t mind. It is fine,” Lycus tells him. “I will speak to Bill about doing more shifts,” Lycus says, and Kalen curses, getting to his feet to storm out of the tent. Only Lycus grips his arm, tugging him back.” What did I say this time? What is wrong?” Lycus asks. This time he was becoming angry with Kalen’s lack of answers. Kalen’s face heats with embarrassment.

“I’m being stupid. It must be my meds,” Kalen tells him with a shake of his head, turning to leave the tents o he could shower. Kalen froze in the shower, and by the time he got out and returned to the tent, he was shivering and regretting showering in the first place. His teeth chattered as he rubbed his arms, and tonight it was snowing, making it just a little chillier; Kalen hated the cold.

Lycus was reading with a torch between his teeth when he entered. Kalen falls onto the swag beside him, and Lycus looks over at him before lifting his blanket and chucking it over Kalen. Lycus would sometimes shift, knowing his fur would keep him warm and help warm Kalen.

“I’m fine,” Kalen growls.

“You’re freezing,” Lycus tells him as Kalen wriggles beneath his blanket. Lycus places his torch down before sighing and moving closer to Kalen.

“I can shift?” Lycus says, but Kalen felt guilty about their argument and believed he didn’t deserve a friend like him.

“Man, this tent is fucking boring when you are so quiet,” Lycus says, laying down.

“Why don’t you go sleep with one of your whores? I am sure they will keep you entertained,” Kalen spits bitterly, not meaning for the words to spill from his lips.

“What the fuck is your problem?” Lycus snaps at him before gripping his shoulder and flinging Kalen on his back. He glares down at him.

“Fucking answer, I am sick of your snide comments. Do you think I want to fuck them? It’s a job. It keeps u s fed,” Lycus snaps at him.

“Well, you seem to enjoy it, or you wouldn’t keep doing it,” Kalen growls.

“Ah, for fuck sake, if you have something to say, Kalen, fucking say it. I am sick of guessing where your head is at,” Lycus says.

“I don’t want you fucking them. You earn enough without fucking them.” Kalen tells him.

“Your medication is expensive. It’s the only way to cover it,” Guilt smashes into Kalen.

“I don’t need them,” Kalen says, but Lycus growls.

“Yes, you do, we tried that, and you went into withdrawal and had a fucking seizure,” Lycus growls.

“Not if that is what you have to do for them, no. I hate that you fuck them!”

“It’s just sex, Kalen. It means nothing to them or me,” Kalen shoves him back and sits up.

“You keep saying that, but I can’t stand knowing the person I love is their fucking some bitch just to keep u

they use you. I hate living like this. I hate seeing you with them!” Kalen yells, blurting everything out, only realizing what he said when it was too late to take it back. Lycus tilted his head to the side curiously.

“You love me?” Lycus asks, and Kalen’s face heats and his eyes widen in fear.

“No, you know, like a bro-” his words are cut off when Lycus pounces on him, a scream bubbling up his throat. He had pushed Lycus too far. Lycus would abandon him too, he thought, until Lycus kissed him.

“You love me?” Lycus mumbled against his lips. Kalen says nothing, in shock that Lycus’ lips were pressed to his. He had always secretly wondered if they were as soft as they looked. But his kiss was rough as he forced his tongue into Kalen’s mouth when he didn’t answer.

“Is this what you want, Kalen? You want me?” Lycus asks, pulling back to look at him. When he does Lycus rocks his hips against Kalen, and he realizes Lycus had an erection. Kalen gasps, and Lycus is watching him breathing heavily, an unsure look on his face. For once, Lycus looked scared.

“Please say something,” Lycus says to him.

Kalen looks away from him. “What I want is wrong,” Kalen murmurs.

“Then I guess it is wrong for me to want to want the same thing,” Lycus says, and Kalen looks at him. Kalen thought Lycus was playing with him until he looked at him.

“You’re not grossed out?” Kalen asks.

“For wanting you too? No! I always have. I just didn’t want to act on it. Didn’t want to lose you, in case you didn’t feel the same way,”

“You want to be with me?” Kalen asks, confused by his own words.

“Wouldn’t be here if I didn’t,” Lycus tells him before smiling and dipping his face closer to Kalen’s.

He presses his lips against Kalen’s, his tongue moving across the seam of his lips. Kalen’s lips part before Lycus deepened the kiss. “Just so you know, I love you too,” Lycus whispers. That was one of the first times Kalen felt truly happy. He got a glimpse of happiness. It was also the same night Lycus marked him.

But now that Lycus was aware sleeping with women hurt Kalen, he stopped, which sent them back to having nothing. Lycus was okay with that as long as he had Kalen. Kalen, however, felt he was ruining Lycus’s life. Stopped him from becoming who he could become, and when their magic manifested, fear rushed through Kalen when he saw Darius and Tobias’s names appear on their wrists. The marking made more shocking when they realized they were mates all along.

I watch the memories play out before stopping again, it slows down, and I am sucked into it. It was a week after their 18th birthday. Both of them were sitting at the park under a tree in the sweltering summer heat. Kalen had felt faint all day from having not eaten. Neither of them had found anything much to eat, and the days were so hot now. Lycus was too weak and dehydrated to try to get to the forest outside the city so Lycus could hunt for them and Kalen was withdrawing from having no medication today.

“Maybe they will help?” Lycus murmurs.

“Are you insane? That is Darius Wraith. He will kill us,” Kalen murmurs. Everyone knew the Wraiths, and

even they fear the demonic- Fae King.

“We don’t know that. We are technically his mates,” Lycus says.

“Yes, if he wanted us near, he would have called on us by now,”

“Well, we haven’t exactly called on him. Besides, I don’t see much bad stuff about Tobias in the news. He might come?” Lycus tells him.

“No, it isn’t worth the risk. And what about that reporter, Tobias killed him in front of the cameras. And I thought fate couldn’t fuck us over more, so to prove me wrong they had to fate us to the two most influential families, fucking a demonic-fae King and a Vampiric Prince? Seriously, Lycus, they find us, either would kill us, or me anyway, I am the weakest link”

“We don’t know that,” Lycus said, sending a flare of magic into his infinity mark before Kalen could stop him.

“What have you done?” Kalen gasps, horrified as his mark tingles. He looked at it. Mine name was faint, not like the rest on his wrist.

“Anything has to be better than living like this,” Lycus says, only the tingling stops, and Lycus huffed.

“See, told you,” Kalen mutters when they feel the mark stop.” I wonder who rejected it,” Kalen said, a little sad. He rubbed his wrist before laying back down and resting his head on Lycus’s shoulder.

“We’ll figure it out. Maybe once she comes of age, they will accept us,” Lycus murmured to him. They both fell asleep, and Kalen was later woken when someone kicked his foot. He yawns, shaking his head and sitting up. He peers down at Lycus when someone clears their throat.

Turning his head, he comes face to face with Darius crouching next to him in a suit. He eyes Kalen’s mark on his neck before looking at Lycus. Darius’ brows furrow while Kalen tries to shake Lycus awake petrified, his heart pounding in his chest when he notices Tobias standing behind him also staring at them.

Lycus groans and sits up before noticing them and ripping Kalen behind him with strength that clearly indicates what Lycus was. Darius tilts his head at Lycus, looking him over.

“You are the one that called on us,” Darius asks.

“Yes,” Lycus says while Kalen was worried Daçius would kill him for it.

“Why are you at the park? Do you live nearby?” Tobias asks, and Lycus looks up at him. Tobias tries to look around Lycus at Kalen, who is peering over Lycus’ shoulder.

“We live here, but you can go. He didn’t mean to call on you,” Kalen blurts. Darius looks up at Tobias, who nods to him before Darius stands.

“Come on then, I can’t leave you here knowing that,” Darius tells them.

Lycus looks at Kalen over his shoulder. “Where would you take us?” Kalen asked, wondering if they were being led to their deaths.

“Home, now come on. I wanted to come earlier, but I was in a meeting. Now hurry up. I have another in an hour and need to get you set up back home before I go,” Darius tells him.

“You will let us stay with you?” Lycus asks, a little shocked.

“Well, I won’t have my mates living in a park, now hurry up,” Darius says, checking his watch on his wrist.

“Don’t leave him waiting. You piss him off. He is insufferable. He can hold a grudge like he bloody invented the word,” Tobias says, clicking his fingers.

Darius took them in and provided them everything they ever needed or wanted, looked after them despite

his father clashing with Lycus constantly, yet Darius was always quick to get on Lycus’s side, which often turned into a battle of power. Darius barely winning against his father, no matter how much he copped a beating, in the arena which I recognized now as the outdoor obstacle course, though back then it was a

simple training arena.

Darius’ father saw Kalen as a weakness, that being proven when Kalen nearly got them all killed in an ambush, he ran after Lycus thinking he was hurt, but he was being the bait. It almost cost them all their lives when Kalen alerted everyone to their location. It was declared after that night that Kalen wouldn’t go on the scout teams. He would remain home in the castle. Which just added to his depression until Darius handed him a tablet one day.

“What’s this?” Kalen asked, looking up at him.

“The school opened up a buddy system. Lycus said you were bored,”

“You’re lying?” Kalen accused, observing Darius’s aura. Darius laughs and nods.

“Yes, I am. Tobias opened up a buddy system at the school, made it mandatory, and you have been assigned a friend to talk to, give you someone outside this room to speak with when we aren’t here,” Darius said, kneeling between Kalen’s legs. He hands the tablet to Kalen, and Kalen takes it from him curiously

“Lycus won’t like me talking to random people,” Kalen tells him.

“This one he approves of,” Darius tells him.

“What would I say, though? I don’t do anything. I am useless,” Kalen says, and Darius growls at his words.

“Don’t speak like that. Don’t listen to the shit my father spouts about, but talk to her. She is waiting for a response. The school logged her in this morning. She will be waiting to speak with you,”

“It’s a girl?” Kalen says, shaking his head. “I can’t speak with a girl,” Kalen says, trying to hand the tablet.

“You can because she is our keeper, our mate. You can’t hide from her now, can you?” Darius laughs, and Kalen bites his lips nervously.

“You think she will want to speak with me?”

“She has no choice but, yes, Kalen. You are worthy of your mates, of her, or the fates wouldn’t have given her to us,” Darius tells him. Kalen sighed when Darius spoke again.

“No names. You must not tell her who you are. That is the rule of the school, not ours, by the way.” Darius nods and Kalen unlocks the tablet.

“I thought you said no names,” Kalen asks, staring at the pen name. Darius smiles slyly. “You told her yours,” Kalen laughed.

“No, I didn’t,” Darius says.

“THIARW is Wraith spelled backward, definitely your name,” Kalen laughs.

“Our name, you are a Wraith too now,” Darius tells him.

“What?”

“We all have to take a name, so what better name than to take the name of the demonic king? No one will dare touch you when you share ‘my name,” Darius tells him. Kalen sniffles and nods, his thumb brushing over the tablet. Darius turns to leave his room when Kalen speaks.

“Darius?” he calls out. Darius stops and turns to look at him.

“Thanks,” He says, holding up the tablet.

“No, thanks. We are mates. What’s mine is also yours,” Darius tells him. Kalen nods, and watches as Darius leaves. Even with Darius’s words, he still felt unworthy.

Kalen messaged me, and I replied. At first obligated to, until I was just as obsessed with him as he was with me. He was the highlight of my day, and I was his. Until I stopped replying.

Kalen was excited because he would meet me today, and he waited patiently, but today he couldn’t contain his excitement as the memories moved along. That excitement died along with him. Five years and, he was able to tell me who he was, only I never replied, and he spiraled.

I was the last rejection he could take, so he hung himself. He believed he ruined everyone’s chance to have their keeper. He convinced himself he was the reason I ran. Then he convinced himself they would b e better off without him. So he repeatedly killed himself, becoming more unstable each time he came back to find I never came back for him.

My heart broke, knowing I was his last straw, a life of rejection, and the one person who should love him most. His keeper never came for him. No. Instead, I ran from him, and in turn, I killed him. That knowledge burned my soul, marred my heart, and broke the spell I was under as I lurched forward, ripping myself out of his memories and into the present world. Kalen sat next to me staring at me.

Kalen dropped his head. “It was you all along,” I whispered. Tears glistened in my eyes before spilling over. I never ran from you Kalen. I was trying to find you, find my internet friend,” I tell him and he sucks in an unsteady breath.

“You’re not mad, I didn’t tell you?” | shake my head. “No, I am mad Iran,” I tell him before throwing myself in his arms.

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