CHAPTER EIGHT

The first thing they'd done once they were out of the hospital was head off to their honeymoon. William felt a bit bad about running out on making a statement about events, but they left poor Byron behind to make a report and had him catch up to them a day later.

William had promised the police that they would be back in a week to make their own statements, but they were going on their honeymoon. To etch out their honeymoon week from their schedules he'd had to rearrange a lot of things and throw a tantrum or two. They were both so busy, and they rarely got the chance to be alone. It wasn't time he was willing to lose and he'd felt no shame in throwing his weight around to put off the police, especially since the man - Damien Prince - was behind bars.

He wasn't going to miss this chance.

Their plane landed in Sydney and they stepped out to incredibly beautiful weather. The sun was shining and the people they saw walking around exposed lots of bared skin and William immediately tugged Alan over to buy a ridiculous floral print shirt from an airport shop because it was the kind of thing American tourists always wore no matter the country they visited. Alan gave him an incredibly doubtful look at his explanation, but didn't object too much when presented with his own hideously loud garment.

It felt as though a heavy weight had been lifted from William's shoulders and he went about the task of thoroughly enjoying himself. He was going to indulge in every single stereotypical vacation act and take as many ridiculous photos as he could. By the time he was through, they would have a set of happy memories that neither would ever be able to forget.

He was a man with a plan, and he pulled Alan along with him.

There was surfing, swimming, sightseeing and sex. It brought them closer together and they were able to get over the worst of the fear they'd experienced. It was just so good to get away from it all.

.

"I wish we could just stay here forever," William sighed. He felt well-rested and languorous, his entire body humming with contentment.

They were lying poolside at their hotel, a pitcher and two glasses perspiring on the round table between them. Alan wore a pair of blue swim trunks and his bare skin was smooth and golden tan. He looked as though he went to the gym regularly, which earned him some passing glances.

William, though, was catching appreciative looks from members of both sexes. He was wearing a pair of black swim shorts that left a lot of skin bare. His body was supple and fit, all lean grace and narrow hips. Lying on his back with his legs slightly parted, he was like an invitation to every saint and pervert out there.

He didn't realize just how many would-be suitors James and Byron scared off with their harsh expressions and dangerous mien. If it had just been them alone, he would have been propositioned several times and Alan would have gotten very upset and things would have become awkward.

It had become a regular thing that he be heavily guarded at all times. Sure, Alan had his own visible bodyguard while he was wandering around, but William had two permanent guards - James and Byron - and a squad that rotated through. At first it had been embarrassing to be followed around all the time, but now it was just something that happened.

William sat up slightly and reached for his drink. He took a couple of large gulps, mostly draining the iced pomegranate tea, then he refilled his glass and settled back down with a sigh, the cool rim of the glass propped on his chest. "This has been a really great time," he said. "I think I would like to come here again."

"We can do that." Alan's voice was slightly muffled as he was lying face-down on his lounger with a large green towel spread out beneath him. "I've been having a really good time here too."

William eyed the curve of Alan's ass in those shorts, then had to shake himself to bring everything back into focus. "You're getting kind of very brown. Do you think it's time to go in?"

"Not yet, please," Alan murmured. He sounded like he might be drifting off to sleep.

William frowned. "I really don't want you to get skin cancer. We should go inside right now."

"Please, as though you wouldn't be able to find a cure for skin cancer if you thought I was dying." Alan snorted. "There's no way you would ever just let me go like that."

"That may be," William said sharply, "but it's time for us to go inside now."

Alan sat up with a groan, stretching his arms over his head and twisting his spine until there were faint popping sounds. "That feels good." He stood up, looking down to find his flip-flops and slip them on his feet. "I'm probably in shock, though. I never knew I'd married such a hard ass."

"You bet your soft squishy ass that I'm a hard ass." William grinned and stood up, gulping down the last of his drink before setting the glass on the table. "I think I could probably win awards for how frickin' hard my ass is."

"Can we stop discussing your ass and just go in already?" Alan said mock-impatiently, though he was smiling and his eyes touched William with fondness. "I'm thinking it might be nice if we had an early dinner. I'm feeling hungry."

William paused to give him a flirty glance. "Let's not go to the restaurant," he said. "Let's go back to the room."

"Really?" Alan grinned. "Okay."

It was a battle William barely won to keep from giggling, and even then he still made snorting-snerk sounds at odd intervals as they walked through the giant hotel toward the elevator that would take them to their suite.

There were masses of people strolling around the shopping area and even though there were seemingly dozens of elevators, they were all full. Still, James managed to grab them an elevator for the four of them alone and William couldn't help appreciating a guy that was willing to bribe anyone he had to.

He walked with Alan to their bedroom once they'd reached the suite, leaving Byron to order their dinner from room service. Then, even though he still felt a bit weirded out about his bodyguards being in the next room possibly listening in, William tugged Alan toward the bed. He reached out with his free hand and jerked the blankets back before shoving Alan down on the crisp sheets.

"Wow, you're really being bossy, aren't you?" Alan wore a shit-eating grin that William immediately wanted to bite off his face.

William straddled Alan's lap, pressing their groins together and rocking his hips while he kissed Alan loudly and sloppily, their teeth gnashing and their tongues tangling. "I wanna fuck you so bad," he gasped. He pulled back a few inches, holding Alan's cheeks cupped between his palms. "Tell me I can fuck you. Tell me right now."

Alan still wore that grin, his blue eyes sparkling dangerously. "Why are you asking? Just do it. You know you want to. Do me now."

From the tone in Alan's voice, there wasn't a single doubt in William's mind that Alan was going to fight him all the way. It sent a thrill through William, because even when Alam tried to play submissive, he was still a toppy-bottom.

It secretly made William hot.

"I love you, you know that?" He reached his hands between their bodies and ended up tangling with Alan's frantic hands as they fought to get their shorts off. William bent around awkwardly to use his hands to pull his shorts down his legs and flung them across the room before rolling back on Alan, huffing a laugh when he saw Alan's shorts still around one foot. It was just an amusing flash before he was going about the serious business of making love to Alan.

.

They were lying on their backs side by side, the sheets a mess around them, trying to catch their breath. The double doors leading out to the balcony were open and a cooling breeze drifted in to dry the sweat to their bodies.

William turned his head to look at Alan, a fond smile pulling up the corners of his lips. "You look good like this," he said. "Debauchery suits you."

Alan rolled his eyes, but William ignored his denials. He did look good: sun-gold skin splayed out across the white sheets, his sandy blond hair tousled around his head. So much naked goodness that William almost felt reverential looking at him, as though Alan was some holy object that William had been made to worship.

He had never felt like this before, and all these new feelings were tied to Alan and made him love him even more. It made William afraid sometimes, not that the feelings were going to overwhelm him, but that someone would try and take them away. It left him wanting to cling even tighter to Alan, which made him worried about becoming obsessive, but knowing the kind of man Alan was relieved William.

If anything ever happened, it wouldn't be something Alan would be a part of. William could trust Alan to be faithful and true, so all he had to worry about was something happening beyond human control, like a natural disaster or something. The kind of thing that no human could stop, because Alan was as protected in his day-to-day life as one man could possibly be, William's money had assured that.

"You've got a big line between your brows," Alan said. "What are you thinking about so hard?"

William blinked languidly. "Just that I really love you."

Alan smiled, a gentle crease of his lips. "I love you too."

Alan stretched his arms above his head, his body becoming one taut line of corded muscle and arching flesh. He held the pose for a long moment, his whole body tight, then relaxed with a satisfied exhalation. "I better start going to the gym more, otherwise I won't be able to keep up with you," he said.

William slapped the back of his hand against Alan's stomach lightly, liking the sound it made. "How about you go to the gym the same amount you are now, but work out with me more often?" He rolled over sideways and up onto Alan's body, digging the point of his chin into the center of Alan's chest so he could stare into the other man's face. He brought his arms up so his hands could rest on Alan's shoulders, fingers gripping the hard knobs hidden beneath that warm skin. "I'm sure we'd both enjoy that."

Alan laughed and William liked the way his body jounced up and down with the sound in Alan's chest. Their legs were tangled together snugly and William enjoyed the feel of Alan's smooth skin beneath his cheek, the small patch of chest hair tickling William's nose. There was something so delightful about the way their bare skin slid together.

"Yeah, but there'd be nothing left of me. I'd be worked to the bone," Alan said.

"But what a way to go," William growled, a surge of possessiveness going through him. He wanted to keep Alan forever and never have to share the sight of him with anyone.

William turned his head so he could press his mouth to Alan's chest. He lifted himself up on his elbows and began giving Alan big, open-mouthed teeth impressions, lightly enough that it didn't hurt, but just enough to leave faint red marks that looked like kernels of corns against Alan's skin. He didn't like that they faded so quickly and began sucking on patches of skin until moist red circles were left behind. He smiled secretly to himself and started placing the kiss marks in a pattern.

He glanced up at Alan's face now and then to make sure Alan was all right with what he was doing, but Alan was just quietly smiling down at him, watching him work, his mouth shaping an occasional hiss at the sensation. It made William tickle Alan's sides with his fingers as he made the last mark on the skin just below Alan's belly button. Then he sat up. "Well?" he asked boldly.

Alan lifted his head enough to see what William had done, then snorted and rolled his eyes at William. "Really?"

"What? I think it's sexy. We should get you a tattoo," William teased.

Alan laughed and shook his head, holding his arms toward William. "Come here. I heart you too."

William grinned and climbed back onto Alan's body, letting those strong arms wrap tight around him. He closed his eyes and breathed in the warm scent of Alan's skin, digging his nose into the crease between neck and shoulder. His tongue darted out for a quick taste, but he was satisfied just with being held close.

=.= =.=

Alan thought that maybe he should be upset that he had a large heart made out of hickies down his chest and stomach, but all he could think about was how hot it had been seeing William sucking on his flesh. There hadn't seemed to be anything very sexual about it since they were both pretty spent, but it had still felt intimate, something just between the two of them.

There were things Alan let William do to him or for him that he'd never allowed anyone else. It sometimes took some cajoling on William's part, but Alan had been more open to trying new things with him, things he'd always refused to even consider with a different partner. It made him hope that this love lasted because he was tired of failed relationships and being alone.

Alan could see happily spending the rest of his life with William, but it was impossible for him to guess what the future might hold. All he knew was that he was happier right now than he'd ever been before and he was greedy enough to want to keep William forever.

There was a faint knock on the door, then Byron's voice: "The food's here."

Alan turned his head to look at the bedside clock and cursed. They'd told Byron to arrange dinner for 6:00, and right now it was 6:25. It made Alan wonder what the man had gone through, wondering when he was supposed to interrupt his employers while they were having sex in the middle of the afternoon.

"We'll be out in a minute," William called serenely. He sat up and climbed from the bed, stretching hugely, completely unashamed of his nakedness. He jerked his chin at Alan. "Come on," he said, "we need a shower."

Alan wasn't used to the idea of so many people invading his space, not in his supposed personal life at least. His professional life had seen him dealing with staffers and bodyguards, but he'd always tried to maintain some semblance of normality in his every day life.

Alan shelved the sense of oddity he felt and got off the bed and followed William into the bathroom. A handsome young man was offering to shower with him, and that was an entirely beautiful thing to Alan.

They shared the shower and quickly washed themselves before getting out, not even trying to indulge in anything more, though Alan couldn't help running admiring eyes over William's body from across the room as they dressed. It was distracting enough that he mis-tied his shoes, then had to laugh at himself and focus more attention on what he was doing.

Alan had never felt for anyone the level of emotion he had for William. Not just lust, but love and trust and admiration for William's complete brilliance. So much that there were some days when he had to wonder how he was able to even function out in public. His mind was completely wrapped up in William.

Alan's cheeks felt hot when they stepped out of the bedroom to find Byron setting their food out on the dining table. They'd been pretty loud before, but Byron didn't say anything and Alan pretended he didn't feel embarrassed and everything was all right.

"Thank you," William said, completely comfortable in himself.

Byron nodded. "You're welcome." He gave them both a smile and left for his own room in the suite.

William sat down and casually began cutting his meat. He paused and looked at Alan. "Anything wrong?"

Alan shook his head and sat in his own chair, laying his napkin across his lap. "Nothing." 'I just had a big moment of disconnect,' didn't want to come out of his mouth, not when William was looking at him so invitingly. It had just suddenly struck him that he was very far away from small town life in Iowa. "Let's eat."

.

When he'd been quietly freaking out about his need to have the perfect wedding, Alan had barely given a second thought to the honeymoon other than to offer suggestions about where it should take place. Now, whenever he thought of his wedding, the honeymoon would be a big part of the memory because it had been wonderful with no big disruptions or real irritations. Every other vacation he'd had in his life had brought him some form of misery in one way or another, some bit of something that would spoil part of the memory for him. But their honeymoon had been absolutely perfect.

Whenever something looked like it was about to ruin some aspect of their fun, James or Byron was there like magic, or William was just so overpoweringly HIM that no one could do anything to stop him.

Even though Alan was a politician, seeing "William Neeley" work left Alan a bit in awe, and maybe somewhat afraid. Because William Neeley was just so overwhelming that no matter what he turned himself toward, William was an unstoppable force. People practically leapt out of William's way when they weren't bending over backward to make him happy.

Nearly the entire flight home, Alan kept glancing at William and feeling as though there was something he should say, but he didn't know what, so he stayed quiet. It was nice to bask in the quiet contentment of having enjoyed the best trip of his life. It made him wonder how he had ever gotten along without William before.

They changed out of their holiday attire and back into their usual suits before the plane landed. Alan made sure to tuck his garish shirt safely in his bag; it was a souvenir of a trip he never wanted to forget. He almost regretted having to set aside his relaxed vacation persona for his more serious self..

By the time they'd climbed into the back of the car for the drive home, Alan felt relaxed in a way he'd never experienced after a trip before. Usually there was some bit of lingering stress that kept his brain grinding away, but being able to turn his head and look at William sitting next to him made everything all right. He couldn't help a smile to go along with his lazy sense of well-being.

"What?" William asked, glancing up from his Cyphone, though his fingers didn't stop their twitch-typing. He noticed Alan's eyes and shrugged. "Yeah, this isn't the most efficient way of inputting data, but until I'm prepared for cranial surgery it's the best option I have available."

Alan blinked. "I don't think I want to ask. Though I would just like to say that I am very against the idea of you putting needless holes in your head, so please make sure to notify me before you do it."

William flashed a smile. "Noted. Now, why were you giving me the upside down 'U' eyes?"

"I don't even know what that means," Alan said.

William demonstrated, half-shutting his eyes in an obnoxiously self-satisfied manner. "Like this."

Alan sighed heavily, though he couldn't help a quirky little smile at just how cute William could be. "I would sign an affidavit saying that I was not looking as ridiculous as that," he said, "though I may have been indulging in a bit of newly married bliss."

William's fingers, which had still been texting away, slowed then stopped. He looked down at his phone for a long moment, then locked the screen and tucked the Cyphone into the pocket of his suit jacket. He gave a gentle smile, then scooted as close to Alan as he could manage with his seat belt on and leaned his head against Alan's shoulder. He reached out and grasped Alan's hand with his own, entwining their fingers together on Alan's thigh. "I'm feeling pretty blissful too. Just thought you should know."

Alan squeezed William's hand and gazed out the window, watching the city pass by as they were carried along toward their building. William's head was a warm weight on his shoulder and he honestly couldn't think of any place he'd rather be. It was strange how quickly his life had changed and how okay he was with it all, when nothing had come to him so easily before.

Alan sighed contentedly. He never would have thought he could be so easily tamed, but William was special.

=.= =.=

Though he hadn't said anything to Alan, there was a part of William that wished they didn't have to go home. He'd been happy in Australia, relaxed in a way that he hadn't been in a long time. It was tempting to beg Alan so they could stay longer, but he knew CyberAngel Industries was waiting for him and he had employees depending on him being mature enough to come back to work when he was supposed to.

Still, the temptation was there, and it brought a roiling sense of sick through his stomach to realize that he was going to be facing the kind of questioning and observation that he'd always hated and had spent his life desperately avoiding.

William was the President of CyberAngel, but he was happy to let Lee Anderson be the face of the company and acting CEO. It meant that he didn't have to worry about paparazzi being able to track him down easily - not with his security to get in the way - and he got the freedom to enjoy his day-to-day life.

The closer they got to their building, the more upset his stomach felt. There were going to be police and questions and all the things he had purposely cut out of his life. It was his nightmare and he would have to confront it.

William pushed his face closer against Alan's shoulder, breathing in his scent. William had a fondness for expensive cologne for himself, but he preferred Alan smelling the way he did. Skin and deodorant and a whiff of aftershave that William had to get close to sniff, nuzzling his nose against the soft folds of Alan's suit jacket. He could feel the warmth and solid strength of Alan's body through his clothes and it gave him a sense of security, a safety that had been missing from his life.

"Hey now, what are you doing?" Alan's chest vibrated beneath William's cheek as he spoke.

"You smell good," William said, sniffing extra loudly for emphasis.

Alan chuckled. "You enjoy yourself then." He pressed a kiss against the top of William's head and went back to staring out the window.

William sighed and pressed closer against Alan, fighting the need to crawl into the other man's skin. He was nervous about going home, about having to face everything that had happened.

He squeezed his eyes tight shut and tried to pretend that everything was going to be okay, but his brain insisted on filling itself up with dark thoughts. Too much had happened in too short an amount of time and he didn't know how he was supposed to cope with it all.

He'd almost died multiple times at the hands of a madman. The woman he'd loved really had died because of the man - because of Damien Prince.

The idea that Prince had been stalking him for years made William's stomach ache. The man had killed Melissa, then waited years to try and come after him too. It was a frightening thought he didn't know what he was supposed to do with. Just the idea that the man could have been following him around, watching him and waiting for a chance to kill him, it was the most disturbing thing he'd ever dealt with.

Melissa Kim had been brutally murdered. The only part of her that had been untouched was her face, which had worn an expression of absolute horror. Her black hair had been a tangled fan laid out across the bare mattress, the sheets and blanket having disappeared somewhere - they were never found and it was assumed the killer had taken them with him. It hadn't been of big concern to William at the time; he'd walked in through the door and made his way into the bedroom where he'd found her splayed across the bed, blood having poured out to stain the mattress and the hardwood floor below.

They'd told him he was in shock at the time, and looking back he thought that he probably had been. Everything was kind of faded and confused in his mind when usually his memories were crisp and hyper-clear. It disturbed him because he owed a large part of his success as an inventor and businessman to his eidetic memory. So to have blanks in his memory, faded spots all tattered and torn away, it made him feel uneasy. He couldn't help wondering what else he might have forgotten. It was as though the second he walked through the door and saw her lying there-waiting for him to find her-the world had stood still, then crumbled away.

William didn't remember calling the police. He didn't remember hours in the interrogation room explaining that he didn't know what had happened, that he didn't know what was happening. Everything had been all jumbled up and blurry and so bright it had hurt his eyes and made him nauseous.

It was only later when he found himself huddled on RJ's couch wrapped up in a blanket that it finally sunk in and he realized what had happened. Melissa was dead and he was alone and whoever had done it had gotten away.

For years afterward, William had poured money into investigators and pressed the police so they would keep her file active, but nothing had ever been found and he'd finally gotten on with his life. He'd met Alan and they were extremely happy together. He was beginning to really live his life again, not just toil through the days.

Which is why he was so upset about Melissa's murderer popping back up in his life, stirring up all the old grief and loss and adding fear into the mix because he had nearly died. He could only be relieved that at least Alan hadn't been hurt, hadn't been targeted the way Melissa had been.

If he had walked through another bedroom door to find someone he loved waiting for him, skin already cooling and eyes emptied of life... It would have destroyed him forever.

Damien Prince was locked away and William had always thought he would feel vindicated to finally have everything over, but he didn't. Instead he felt as though something awful was going to happen. The peace he'd found for himself was broken.

When he was away from Alan now, there was always this moment when he came into a room expecting to see Alan's bloody body spread all over the place. William's whole body would tense up, bracing for the emotional damage, then he would see Alan and the relief would leave him chilled and wrung out.

He was terrified that he was going to lose Alan and there was nothing he could do about it. All of the old feelings were stirred up and William didn't know how to set the fear aside. It was a gaping maw waiting to suck him down into the realms of terror and loss.

William didn't know what he would do if he lost Alan the same way he'd lost Melissa. He didn't know how he would be able to survive it. And the thought terrified him.

He'd had a pretty instant case of attraction toward Alan and he'd come to the rather logical conclusion that he was in love. He just hadn't realized how deep he'd gone, not until Prince had popped up and reminded him how easy it was to lose everything he had.

One lone madman-a man that he'd never met before in his life-had taken Melissa away from him and left him to scrabble about picking up the pieces. He'd gotten himself back together and kept moving forward, scarred and wounded on the inside, but William had made it. He'd found love again.

The thought that he could have been killed was a disturbing one, but the idea that Alan might have died instead... it sent a shiver of unease through him and he wanted to clutch Alan close and never let him go.

"Are you all right?" Alan asked quietly.

William buried his face further against Alan's chest, snuggling into the crease between Alan's arm and side. He could feel the warmth Alan exuded, the glorious sense of safety, and he wanted to wrap it around himself forever.

"Seriously, are you okay?" Alan sounded genuinely concerned.

William held still for another long moment-just breathing-then finally sighed and tilted his head back so he could meet Alan's eyes. "I don't want to go home. I wish we could have stayed away even longer."

Alan's lips curved up in a slow, gentle smile. "Me too, but we both have responsibilities we have to get back to. Still, it would have been nice if we could have had a few more days."

"Please, I would have wanted a few months or even years. We could have frolicked outside and chased the sun across the sky and seen all the world has to offer," William said a bit wistfully. "I have a lot of money. More than enough to last both our lifetimes and probably longer even. We never would have had to come back."

"Except it wouldn't have worked," Alan said. "You would have gone crazy without your lab and there's no way you could have ever left RJ like that."

There was such certainty in his voice that William would do the right thing, that William didn't want to tell him that he'd been seriously thinking about it. For most of their honeymoon he had toyed with the idea of their running away from all of their responsibilities and enjoying a life of wild and carefree pleasure. It was only the knowledge that Alan would never go for it that had stopped him, and escaping his life didn't seem as enjoyable if he was doing it alone.

"Yeah," William sighed. "There's no way I'd ever do it." Not without you. "I'm rather scared to check my email because I'm pretty sure it's full. CyA needs me."

"'CyA?' I like it." Alan began combing his fingers through William's hair in an absentminded manner. "It would have been nice to run away for a little while, but someone would have come looking for us. It's better that we come back of our own free will rather than being dragged back kicking and screaming."

"I suppose you're right," William said.

"We'll run off someday," Alan promised. "Just the two of us and no distractions. It will be a fabulous retirement."

William sat up and twisted around so he could press his lips to Alan's in a quick peck, then he pulled away to look into his eyes. "You want to retire with me when we're both old, old men?"

Alan blinked. "Of course. We're going to grow old and crotchety together. We'll probably have a few dogs, maybe a cat, and we'll live on a large estate with a covered patio and a porch swing built for two."

"I'll put my science lab at the back and we can have a guest house so RJ has a place to stay when he comes and helps me with my projects," William said with growing enthusiasm. "We can't have him in the house with us because we'll be, you know, having sex everywhere." He gave a cheeky grin and got a laugh out of Alan along with a deep kiss that left him grinning and breathless.

He'd been freaked out at the idea of going home again, but that anxiety was pushed aside by the knowledge that Alan wanted to grow old with him so much that he was making plans for what they should do for their retirement.

I'm going to take such good care of you, William promised. I'll be so good to you.

He would protect Alan and make all of their dreams come true and it was going to be beautiful. Because he had always done his best work under the influence of love.