Authors: Angela Castle
GRYPHON MELDS: BOOK 1
Gryphon Melds 1
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Names, characters and incidents depicted in this book are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author or the publisher.
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Cover Artist: Jess Buffet
Editor: Dennis Hays
I want to thank everyone who helped me on my personal journey, those who stood by my side and helped me stand strong, when I was feeling weak.
Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied. This is especially true when the abuse is psychological, rather than physical. Noticing and acknowledging the signs of an abusive relationship is the first step to ending it. No one should live in fear of the person they love. If you recognize yourself or someone you know in this kind of relationship please reach out. There is help available.
Every woman deserves to be treated with respect.
Arial’s hand trembled; she placed the scissors down on the counter top, before glancing back at the mirror of the Melbourne bus station her mass of long, dark red hair tumbling down over her shoulders and past her waist.
‘Your hair is your crown and glory, you are my princess.’
Her mother always encouraged her to keep it long. Not once had her hair seen a pair of scissors.
She backed up, coward. Glancing away from the mirror, not wanting to see the guilt and pain in her own face—not wanting to see her face at all.
‘You’re a pale, fat bitch. Only thing I like on your body is your meaty tits; I can fuck them without having to go near your fat cunt’
The stinging words of Carl rattled in her brain, and her whole body thrummed with an internal pain, making her feel low and worthless.
Five years of his verbal shit left its mark, more than she cared to admit. It became a daily battle to live, wanting to end the pain in a less than healthy way, feeling utterly unloved and worthless. She knew it wasn’t right. She finally tired of living in fear and treading on egg shells around the man who once claimed to love her.
“I am not worthless,” she whispered to the mirror.
Arial thought back over the past few days and the tiny thread of positive thought, which helped her first pack a bag and plan. But the coward inside made her hide it in the bottom of the cupboard and wait until he fell asleep. She had then taken his ATM card and removed the maximum amount from the bank on Wednesday, knowing he wouldn’t check the account until Friday. He would be thoroughly pissed with her now.
She left on the early morning, five o’clock bus out of town, and endured three days of travelling from one city, and then across to the next, finally arriving in Melbourne, bone weary and scared.
How would it help her start a new life by cutting her hair? How could she ever go against her mother’s last wish?
She shook her head, snatched the scissors off the counter, shoved them in her bag and pulled out her brush, and with each stroke, she thought about what she needed to do. There wasn’t enough money to get an apartment by herself, but she needed a place to live. A hotel would eat up her money, and the hotel would record her name. She couldn’t use her bank or credit cards. No doubt Carl would have them cancelled by now anyway.
She paused, glancing at the rubbish bin sitting in the corner of the bathroom, the white and black edge of a newspaper poked out. She walked over and fished it out; it was a few days old. Still, she flipped through the crumpled pages until she found the classified ads.
‘Room to share - Single female over the age of twenty one wanted to share water view apartment.’
Of course! The utilities would be in someone else’s name, no one would have to know she lived there if she paid board.
More doubt crept into her mind. Would they accept someone without a job? She would find one. She nodded.
Be confident and self-assured, or at least pretend to be.
Swiftly, packing her bag, she finished twisting her hair up on to her head in a neat bun before exiting the bathroom and locating a pay phone. With her mental fingers crossed, fishing some coins from her pocket, she dropped them in the coin slot, hearing them tinkle as she pushed and dialled the number.
* * * *
Ben closed the door with a heavy sigh, listening to the click clack of high heels fade from his hearing. Balancing on the precipice of having to accept defeat, mingled with a touch of desperation, made his teeth clench. He drew in a slow, calming breath before raising his head to meet the steady, hazel gaze of his best friend and melded bond, Steve.
Growing up within the same community, as it was with their kind, the young boys would be drawn to one another, forming a firm strong bond and friendship for the rest of their lives. Ben and Mark had grown up two houses apart, from Steve and Tom, each twin living with their melded parents. Once it was clear Ben and Steve, and Mark and Thomas were destined to be melded pairs, all six of their parents, decided to share a large house, which was not uncommon for their kind. It made for a large, loud and happy family. Balance was the soul and driving force behind their need to be tighter, not in any sexual way, but as a deep friendship and a counter balance to each other’s opposite natures. Soon enough the boys became men and continued their friendship through all the stages of their lives.
Steve stood bare footed in the kitchen, leaning against the marble counter top. They knew each other too well—Ben felt Steve’s edginess.
“Remind me, whose brilliant idea this was?” Ben pushed off from the door and joined Steve, who handed him the cloth to wipe down the counter tops while Steve stacked the cups in the dishwasher.
Steve’s lips quirked up at the corner, knowing damn well it was Ben’s idea to place a ‘Room to Share’ advertisement in three different papers, specifying the third tenant to their large apartment be a single female over the age of twenty-one. This way the women would come to them, rather than going out to search.
They’d rejected their eightieth application from the tall leggy, bottled blonde who looked like she wanted to fuck Ben right there on the spot but ignored Steve.
“Does this mean you want to go back to the bar and club scene? Maybe, we could start visiting local churches, community places?”
Ben groaned; he hated bars and clubs. With their sensitive smell and hearing, it was like putting a megaphone in their ears and yelling while shoving dog shit right in front of their noses.
Steve liked the darker atmosphere of the clubs, the smell of women, sex, and booze. Women were easy to come by, a smile and a wink in a woman’s direction made them drop their panties and beg to be fucked by either, or both of them.
Steve grabbed a beer from the fridge before moving into the large, open space living room. He flopped down onto the couch, placing his feet up on the matching dark brown ottoman. Ben followed suit with his own beer. “It’s been two weeks of interviews, or rather sniff, scratch and bye, bye baby.” Steve took a long swallow.
“I guess my parents’ stories kind of lead me into a false sense of hope that it would be easy.” Ben stared at the blank, large screen television, not in the mood to do much of anything, but wallow in self-pity.
Steve snorted. “When is anything in life easy?”
Ben raised his beer bottle and clinked his and Steve’s together. “At least we still have each other.”
“I love you man, but I ain’t gonna fuck you.”
Ben shook his head. “Fucker.”
Steve’s lips quirked up. “Dick-face.”
Ben punched Steve’s shoulder. “Fucking behave.”
“When you do, I will.”
Ben held back his groan, and turned his mind to the problem at hand. “Churches, really?”
Steve shrugged. “Nice sweet women, just like you man.”
Ben quirked his eyebrow at his friend. “You calling me a woman?”
Steve shrugged, taking a swig of his beer. “Hey man, if the panties fit.”
“How the hell did we become melded again?”
“Lucky fuckers, that’s how.”
“Yeah.” Ben dropped his head back onto the couch. “Fucking lucky fuckers with no one and nothing to fuck, but our fists.”
“Pull out your little black book and go get laid.” Steve shifted his arse to pull his phone from his back pocket. He punched a button and the screen lit up.
“Unlike you, I don’t keep those numbers.” Ben shook his head as Steve trolled through phone numbers of the lucky women who were brought to screaming orgasms by them. Rarely did they go back for seconds, never wanting to give the women hope of a real relationship, but Steve kept their numbers. ‘For emergency fucks.’ He told Ben.
Ben didn’t want any emergency fucks. More and more, his longing was for ‘their one and only’ but as the days and years passed, it became less and less likely they would find her.
A heavy weight settled on his chest; as upbeat as they tried to be, sometimes it felt hopeless. Who knew where their real ‘one’ was.
Ben’s phone vibrated in his pocket, making him groan in frustration. He glanced at Steve who shrugged, still going through his fuck list.
Ben fished out his phone, knowing they couldn’t afford to ignore any opportunity. “Ben McCallun.”
Um, hi, sorry to call at this late hour; did you put an ad for a roommate in the paper?” There was a lot of noise in the back ground, a muffled announcement made him realise whoever was calling was doing it from a public place.
Ben sat up at the child-like, feminie voice. Sweet goddess, his cock swelled with sudden interest.
At just the sound of a voice? Great, I’m turning into a fucking pervert now.
“Sorry, sweetie, we’re looking for someone over twenty one.”
“I’m twenty seven.” Damn, he could hear the sorrow in her voice. “Sorry, to have bothered—”
“Come tonight!” Ben’s outburst made Steve glance up from his phone.
“Pardon?” Her soft voice sounded confused.
“We haven’t met the right one, I mean the room’s still available. You could come and see it tonight, if you wanted. What’s your name?”
“Anne, my other roommate and I are both home tonight, so if you wanted...?”
“Yes, I will, thank you, the address?”
He rattled off the address.
“Um, okay, so in an hour, is that okay?” She sounded, oh so sweet.
“Perfect, see you in an hour, Anne.”
The phone clicked, the line was dead; he dropped his phone and stared at it.
“Curious, never seen you get a stiffy over a phone call before.” Steve said.
“She sounded like a kid, all soft and husky.”
“Don’t judge a voice till you see the cover.”
Ben rolled his eyes. “Shallow fucker.”
“Come on, you’ve heard the saying, a voice for radio.”
“She had the voice of a phone sex worker,” Ben muttered.
Steve’s eyebrow quirked. “And you would know because?”
Ben flipped him off, and got up off the couch suddenly filled with nervous energy.
Get it together man; no way after one phone call can you know she is the one.
“Maybe you should handle this, then.” Ben gave Steve a ‘help me’ look.
This time Steve rolled his eyes. “Together buddy, like we always do. Till then I’m gonna go for a run.”
“Right, together.” Ben glanced at the clock, wondering why the hell an hour suddenly felt like a lifetime.
* * * *
Okay, so she told them her middle name, what if they asked her to show identification?
. She would have to come clean and tell the truth. Lying on the phone was one thing, lying to someone’s face, not a chance. They would throw her so damn fast and far, her fat butt would hit the door as it slammed behind her.
Navigating in the dark, in a strange city, was not easy. The bus driver was kind enough to point her in the right direction. It took thirty minutes for the bus to reach the sea side suburb of St. Kilda, situated in one of Melbourne’s more affluent areas, and then fifteen minutes to walk around and find the right street. She swallowed as her hand pushed open the apartment complex doors. It had to be the tallest building in the area. No way could she afford to live in a place like this, even to share. Water view apartments no doubt cost millions.
Her head drooped from sheer exhaustion, but she kept her feet moving, one in front of the other as she reached the elevators. Figures it would be on the top floor. It was stupid to think they would accept her as a house-mate right off the bat. The paper was several days old, they must have gone through more than several applicants by now, and if none of them were successful...