Samhain in Salem, Part II

I can’t even begin to express how I feel. It has been a few weeks since the Samhain festival happened, but it has been such a total rollercoaster since, I have hardly had time to catch a breath. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of Eros’ influence has been a part of all of this. I refuse to trivialize it though, because it has been utter bliss. I should probably start back at the bonfire, since that is where the initial sparks took root.

~

I asked Alex, the nerdy but adorable bookseller at the Wicked Good Books bookshop, to join me at the bonfire. He said yes. Without missing a step, I took off to the square after leaving my shift to get him some flowers. I didn’t want to lose my opportunity to a mistaken impression that this was a friend or work type of date. My horns were tingling, and my primal instinct that had laid dormant for so long kicked into full gear. I knew what I wanted, and I knew he wanted it too, so there was no room for slip ups.

A quick note to the amorous: you mortals are so consistently ignorant on the little gestures. Cultural patriarchy and feigned chivalry has convinced many of you that flowers are for girls, and are a girly thing to give as a gift. So like the sheep, you often behave like the guy gets flowers for the girl. Here’s the truth though: if you ask a guy their favorite flowers, they can probably tell you, and that seemingly innocuous action can be a surprising aphrodisiac, and yes, you can thank Aphrodite for that word, as well as for that feeling.

This time of year, I like to find apple blossoms. Sunflowers can give the wrong impression of being “friendly”, but apple blossoms are by their very nature intoxicating, beautiful, and give its recipient that feeling of love and hope for a beautiful future. (one I hope to share with him as long as I can). I found a bouquet with them, along with some chrysanthemums to add some texture, then made my way to the entrance of the pavilion where the fire would be held.

Bonfire was probably the wrong term for what this gathering would be, but it was a pleasant hearth compared to this settling chill. I looked forward to it all the same. People were already filing in, and I have to admit, for the first time in a while, I was growing anxious. A woman in a hood stood near the fire with her arms crossed. Her eyes were locked with mine, only intensifying my anxiety that she somehow knew who I was.

About thirty minutes passed, as Alex had to finish cleaning up the shop. When he arrived, he was wearing a heavy peacoat and a flannel knitted scarf. He looked brilliant, handsome, and too intelligent for his own good. He smiled when he saw me, his dimples deepening as his gaze shifted from me to the flowers. “Are those for me?”

“Unless there is another dashing bookseller named Alex, and you’re an imposter.” I cringed at the words coming out of my mouth. Sarcasm? Really? I’ve got to stop spending so much time with Uncle Dionysis. He laughed all the same and took them, giving me a soft kiss on the cheek before blushing. We were both bright shades of red, to be completely honest.

“Thank you, Pan.”

We took our seats near the hearth, stopping a few times along the way as people greeted him. Everyone settled in, and the older woman unfolded her hands, and nearly radiating, smiled at everyone as she scanned the attendants.

“Good morrow, brothers and sisters.”

In unison, everyone replied, “Good morrow.”

“Before we start our tale this evening in celebration of a bountiful harvest and good health, I want to recognize someone here tonight. A special visitor we do not often have the privilege of sharing this night with.”

Like a hawk, her gaze fell on me, and I felt my heart collapse to the stones beneath my feet.

“Welcome, Pan. I have been told you visit us from Colorado?” I nodded. “Well, you are very welcome here.”

With a slight pause, she gazed back at the fire, and with one more sideways glance, she said, “We are very privileged to be in the presence of the horned god.”

Shit…I looked around. Everyone was staring at me, including Alex, but they were smiling. In unison, they chorused, “Hail and welcome.”

Alex gripped my hand, locking eyes with me. “It’s okay, I’ll explain later.” 

I was thrown off balance completely. They all knew who I was, but they were happy I was there. The storyteller continued, not bothering me with glances or comments. I drifted as my thoughts swam with what was happening and what I should do about it. Instinctively, I felt for the antennas on my headphones, convinced my glamour had faded somehow, but every time I did, a muffled chuckle was stifled from someone in the crowd and Alex would give my hand another reassuring squeeze.

“It’s okay, Pan.”

I don’t remember much else at the hearth, other than the storyteller nodding at me and Alex after she had finished sharing her tale. With no interruptions, we made our way out, the others saying thanks for coming as I walked by. We slowed considerably once we got to the empty street, Alex still holding my hand.

“You knew?” I asked as we wandered under street lights for a few blocks.

He didn’t respond right away, but smiled. “From day one, Pan.” Again, he gave my hand a reassuring squeeze and tucked his other hand between my arm and chest.

“How?”

“YouTube.”

What the hell was a you tube?

He continued, guessing my apparent confusion. “YouTube is a website for videos. You made a viral appearance recently at a farm with two very scared people. They titled it ‘The Second Coming Is Nigh’. Obviously, being in a town saturated in witch history, many of the townspeople knew who you actually were, and when you applied for the job, our store owner knew you had to come here to see how other people view you.”

“Well, what does that mean for you and me then?”

My question was genuine, but a little surprised by it, he untucked his hand, stopped and looked me straight in the eyes. “What do you mean? You’re the god that pretended to be mortal and flirted with me.”

“Well true, but does it change anything? Does it change this date?”

He was frowning now, but his eyes were still locked on me, still warm and kind. “I don’t know. I accepted your invitation knowing who you were. Does me knowing your true being change your interest in me?”

Damn…every good intention and I have nearly screwed it up every step of the way. Time to salvage the moment. I wanted him more than anything. Even more so that he had accepted, knowing who I am. Without a moment’s hesitation, I let go of his hand and gently held his face in each of my palms. Waiting for a split second to see the recognition in his eyes and the approval in his smile, I pulled my lips towards his, and like a ravenous hound, he plunged into it, grabbing my forearms.

There can be a hundred first kisses, but nothing is more devastating than that singular moment of connection with someone you are bound with in anticipation. He was perfect sexual bliss, both masculine and feminine strength, woven into the complexity of this almost hapless gay nerd. He was confident and hungry, broken but driven, and in that instant spark only one thing made sense.

We were still at the street corner, so the moment was washed away as fast as it had started, but the passion burned in each of us, enveloping the space around us like a blanket of heat. We both smiled as we looked at each other, both a little short on breath. Without even thinking, I blurted out, “I want this.”

“Me too.” Both of our eyes lit up barely containing the fires burning inside of us. “Want to come back with me?” he asked.

“Where?”

“My place,” he laughed and without waiting for a response, began pulling me back towards the bookshop. I gladly followed. Once we got there, he took me to a door next to the bookshop entrance.

“Here we are.” He fumbled with his keys a minute, but soon we were inside, standing in the stairwell. Pausing, he looked back at me and with an embarrassed look on his face, added, “Please forgive me for my mess.”

I smiled and pushed past him. “Come on.”

His small flat was perfect. It was filled with the smell of books, and the way he had added his touch of life reminded me of my own cabin in Colorado. I looked at him. Nothing more needed saying; I could see from his expression that I was wearing my heart on my sleeve. We awkwardly moved in to kiss again, like we hadn’t just passionately locked in on the street a few moments earlier. The energy immediately flowed back in and we both struggled to find where to put our hands as we made out in the entryway. Flinging off our jackets, barely breaking away from each other’s lips while we did so, his hands shot to the collar of his shirt. He pulled away for a moment, his eyes opening to search for an answer. “Is this okay?”

I chuckled. “Yeah.”

He pulled away his shirt as I reached for mine. He was slender, a bit of love packed in around his waist, but his torso was long and ivory. He was a bit distracted too, as my shirt came off. “This doesn’t feel right, Pan.”

“What do you mean?” I panicked, unsure what happened in such a short instant.

“It isn’t anything big, it just feels off because I know what I see in front of me isn’t all of you. I mean, I still want to be with you, any way I can be with you. I just want to make sure you want to be with me however you feel comfortable.”

Obviously, everything was full and real, but my glamour was in the way. I smiled, and as I locked eyes with him, the glamour faded, and my horns and hooves began to appear. I couldn’t help but to think what may be running through his mind, but his eyes stayed locked on mine. Once they had fully appeared, he took stock of what he saw before him now.

“Do you want to continue?” I asked.

His hand was raised, he looked back at me. “Can I touch them?”

I nodded, and he slowly raised his fingers to the outer edge of one of my horns, studying it as he felt along its grooves, then switching to take in the other, a curious smile pulling his dimples back out. He looked back at me, laying his arms over my shoulders and biting his lip said, “Right, let’s go over there.”

We laid down together on his bed and just looked at each other. His smile hadn’t faded, but the fires were momentarily dancing inside of us as we took in each other, like we were looking out at someone we each felt we had yearned for our whole lives. I was overwhelmed. Without thinking any coherent thoughts, I touched his hair and said, “You’re perfect.”

He blushed, but he didn’t look away. He leaned in and we began to kiss. The fires had been released and no amount of self-control or self-awareness was getting in the way this time. Everything accelerated and as we kissed, his hand moved down my chest to my waist band. This was it, and he was perfect.

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Pan (Rhett Martens)
Pan is and always has been at the heart of his scribe, Rhett Martens. In Rhett’s free moments from working as a web-developer, he writes fantasy, horror, and occasionally humorous biographies about his life as a previously homeschooled, evangelical Christian, turned flaming homosexual pagan (does that make me a witch on fire?). He shares way too many cats with his fiancé as they bounce from apartment to apartment. Activism, our environment, loving their cats, and accepting people of all orientations and genders is at the heart of who Rhett is, as well as who Pan might be in the 21st century.
Pan (Rhett Martens)

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