GENRE: Gay Paranormal Erotic Romance
LENGTH: 36,453 words
Zeke Wu is stranded on the road after his car suddenly breaks down. Then he meets a strange old man who invites him to have a cup of tea. That's when his vision from the past grows stronger. He sees two men, Wayne and James, and though they feel familiar to him, he doesn't recognize them at all. At least not at first.
Sterling has been having dreams of Wayne and James for years now, but as he grows older, the dreams become more vivid, especially after an unexpected meeting with a strange old man who offers him a cup of tea. That's when he discovers he's Wayne's reincarnation in this lifetime, and he has an overwhelming desire to locate James. Or who James is supposed to be presently.
When they meet, Sterling feels an instant connection to Zeke, but it takes him a while to be sure that Zeke is the one he's searching for. Moreover, Wayne and James's love story ended in tragedy, and it seems his and Zeke's love story may follow the same path.
Will Sterling and Zeke get their happily ever after? Or are they doomed to follow in Wayne and James's footstep?
Note: may contain sexually explicit scenes of a homoerotic nature.
"This tea is incredible."
The old man chortled as he gazed into Sterling's eyes. His eyes even seemed to twinkle as he did so.
"It is, isn't it? Another young man told me the exact same thing quite recently. His name is Zeke Wu."
Sterling was taken aback upon hearing that. "What a small world. He works as a freelance photographer, and currently, he's helping me with my magazine."
The old man beamed widely. "Good, good. I'm delighted to hear that."
The old man had a seemingly mysterious smile on his face now. "Tell me something, my boy. How far are you willing to go to save the one you love?"
Upon hearing the question, Sterling's heart ached all of a sudden. He grabbed onto a spot on his chest right above his heart. His heart abruptly beat faster and harder, especially when he noticed the blood staining his pristine, white shirt. He dug his fingers deeper into his shirt and chest. His heart hurt. He could also sense the beginning of a headache. It felt as if something was pounding all over the back of his head.
Sterling trailed off as his vision grew blurry all of a sudden. He was also perspiring rather profusely now. Then something appeared inside his mind. It almost felt like it was a memory that was trying to claw its way to the surface.
"James, come on. We need to run faster. My motorcycle is right by the edge of the forest. Just a little bit more."
James panted over and over again. "I'm doing my best, Wayne. My chest feels as if it's burning, though."
Wayne looked at James with a terrified expression on his face. "I'm sorry. Should I carry you? Let me --"
"No, I'm fine. Keep going. We can't let my father and his favorite assassin catch up with us. She has a deadly aim. We will be killed for sure."
Wayne didn't get to finish his sentence. He noticed the gleam of metal from the gun under the strong moonlight. It must be the assassin. She was quite a distance away, but after working as James's bodyguard for so many years, he was aware of how deadly her aim was. He pounced onto James and shoved his boyfriend away. Then there was a loud bang. He fell down onto the ground as he pressed his right palm over his chest right above his heart.
"Wayne! No! Y-you can't d-die. No, Wayne. Please!" James shouted as he got down on his knees. "You promise we will run away together."
Wayne lifted his bloody palm and did his best to wipe James's tears away, but the pain on his chest was overwhelming. He was starting to feel cold and sleepy.
"James," Wayne whispered softly. "Will you hold me, please?"
James nodded frantically as he held Wayne's head and body in his arms. "Yes. Anything."
"Thank you. I love you, James."
"I love you, too. Wayne, please. Don't leave me. Please. You've promised."
Wayne gave James one final smile before shutting his eyes.
Sterling gasped as he tightened his grip onto his shirt and chest. Then he realized he wasn't bleeding at all. He must be hallucinating. He attempted to process everything that occurred earlier inside his head, but he couldn't make sense of it. He turned toward the old man, who was now looking back at him with sympathy in his eyes.
"Am I ... Wayne?"
The old man had a grave expression on his face. "Are you?"
"I ... I'm not positive, but I think I may be Wayne."
The old man grinned. "Okay then."
Sterling was momentarily speechless. His heart still ached a little.
"Was that a memory from a previous life or something?"
The old man sighed. "Don't ask me something you already know the answer to."
Sterling clenched his fists. "What happened to James?"
The old man looked really sad now, and that was all Sterling needed from him. James must have died, too. The only thing Sterling needed to know was when and how. He got up and walked away.
Sterling halted on his path and turned around. "Who are you?"
"What do you know about the red thread of fate?"
Sterling remembered hearing about it from his late paternal grandfather. He worked things out inside his head almost immediately.
"You're the deity of fate and marriage."
The old man neither confirmed nor denied it. "Listen to me, Sterling. Just because two people are meant to be bound together in a marriage, it doesn't necessarily imply it's a surefire thing. Sometimes, fate decrees otherwise. That's what happens with James and Wayne. I'm here to make things right for them."
Sterling nodded. "Where's James now? Or should I say who is he now?"