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In the Woods Somewhere

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Weeks had passed since his first encounter with the house. Enough time to allow Waylon to settle into his apartment nicely and explore the town of Salem a little more often. See all the shops, all the locals that already smiled at him when he stopped by their coffee shops or their bakeries. 

Every so often, he still saw that old man sitting outside, sipping his coffee and watching him. Always watching in silence. When he finally began to forget, he’d see those eyes again - an abysmal, hyperfixed gaze - and the chills came right back, hooking their claws between each individual vertebrae of his spine and forcing a shudder through him. 

But Waylon didn’t need to see him to be reminded of that place. An old, perhaps decrepit building at first glance, and it was only that after all. A single peek shot over in a short burst of adrenaline-fueled curiosity, the sin of doing something he shouldn’t be doing, or something he was warned not to do. He felt like a child having to learn his lesson the hard way, for it was days on end after that which he dreamt of a face belonging to a man he had never seen before. Not in person nor media. 

A tall, broad-chested man with straight and proud shoulders and the features of an ancient Adonis. An olive-tanned complexion with muscles distinctly carved into his body, which could be seen in outlines beneath the clothing that fit him so well. He looked like someone straight out of the 1940s, with his neatly pressed, button down shirt, sleeves half-rolled to the elbows and suspenders pulled taut over his torso. 

His hair was neatly combed back, black as night and shaved on the sides. The intensity of his eyes is what made Waylon’s skin prickle with goosebumps and the eerie feeling of deja-vu. 

“Have we met before?” asked in a velvet-rich voice, his head tilting questioningly like that of a puppy, one large hand reaching out to press the tips of thick fingers to Waylon’s cheek. The skin itself was cold, and yet it burned against him, branded him to the bone. With his palm molding there to the curve of his jawline, the stranger of legend, Edward Gluskin, stepped closer. 

And closer. 

Until he towered over Waylon, a bright curiosity alight in icy hues. 

“I feel as though I know you.” 

Ah. His head is spinning, chest tight like he can’t breathe. What is this he feels? Why is he responding so easily and willingly to gentle touches and the deep timbre of this man’s voice? Feels like he’s meant to be here, standing up on tiptoes and watching as Edward bends to meet him halfway. It’s natural how their lips press together and how their heads tilt into the kiss, how his jaw falls slack and his mouth opens for him and the sharp prick of teeth at his lower lip-- 

A pair of hands slam down beside each end of the keyboard Waylon’s hands rest on and he jumps with a start, eyes round with surprise that quickly shifts to unease when he gets a look at the man looming over him. 

Blaire. 

His chest draws tight as he holds his breath, silently hoping for a personal assistant to come bother the boss or perhaps for an intern to come seeking Waylon’s help. 

Neither come to his rescue, because why would they? Waylon is still considered new here despite the month he’s spent typing away at his desk, eyes glued to the monitor as he sorted through numbers upon numbers in seconds. 

“Do I need to hover over you, Park, or are you gonna be a good boy and do your job?” 

You already are hovering over me. He doesn’t say it but the way he draws in a slow breath through the nostrils makes his frustration evident enough. It isn’t his fault he’s daydreaming about some stranger he’s never even met. 

“No, Mr. Blaire. Sorry, I--” a brief pause and a hard swallow follow suit. “I haven’t been sleeping all that great.” Which isn’t entirely a lie. Strange dreams bring forth the desire to keep oneself awake, especially when they begin morphing into wet dreams and fantasies-- 

“Well, I have a solution for that and I insist on helping my best software engineer get his shut eye-” 

“Mr. Blaire,” chimes in a few feet behind them, a gentle voice belonging to a receptionist Waylon has come to know as Chloe. She’s a sweet, young woman with a passion for her job and, right now, she’s also Waylon’s savior. At his ear he hears a low grunt from Jeremy and grits his teeth at the scent of strong caffeine (and liquor) on the man’s breath, blunt nails digging into his palms until he feels that ominous weight lift away from him. 

“Yes, yeah, I’m coming,” he snips with a dismissive wave of the hand, giving Waylon a final pat on the shoulder before he’s on his way to the elevator. 

Creep. Disgusting creep. 

The rest of his day he goes relatively unbothered, and manages both clocking out and making it to his car without running into said disgusting creep. He doesn’t bother sticking around in the parking lot, either, not even adjusting the heat or buckling himself in until he’s out on the road at least a mile away from the firm. 

“Hate that place,” mumbled to himself in a moment of self-pity and remorse for having ever left home to come right to the arms of a playboy and notorious groper. If he’s an alcoholic is beyond Waylon, but having booze on the breath at only ten in the morning doesn’t lean towards the guy not being an alcoholic. 

Hate is a strong word, though. He doesn’t necessarily hate the place , just the man in charge. The ride home is nice, at least. Only six in the evening and the sky is already dark with hundreds of stars dotting its black canvas, surrounding the fluorescent glow of the moon. At first it felt intimidating driving home with not a single lamp post in sight, especially when the sun eventually began to set earlier and earlier, allowing the nights to stretch endlessly. But he’s used to it now. It helps shield his view of the house on the side of the road, only a little over six miles away from work. The lights were never on, of course, and soon Waylon began to forget exactly where the spot was that the trees lined a path to it. 

He finds comfort in it. 

Or he did. 

Not too far down the road is a vague light, just bright enough against the trees that Waylon is enticed to slow down and find the source of it. With his foot on the brake, he leans halfway over the passengers seat for a better look. The front door is open, telling Waylon he severely underestimated just how large the door- or doors were. The light from within shines out in a large rectangle where the space is cut out for the doors, partially blocked by the dark figure of what appears to be a person stood at the front steps. As though they had been waiting for him to drive by. 

A sensation of sharp and chilling terror strikes through him while he watches the figure retreat a few steps back into the house. Watches while it reaches over and while the lights promptly go out, and the only view left behind is of a pair of eyes glowing green in the dark; staring straight out at him. 

Waylon makes a mental note to find a different route to work as he peels away from the house with a frantic rev of the engine kicking the car into high speed. 

That night, he sleeps with the lights on. 

The next morning, he calls out of work.