MY ETERNAL LOVE
Dark Court 3
Brandon Thomas liked his job as an orderly at the Gervais Institute of Study, but then, things had started to get a little weird. The military moved in, and armed soldiers roamed the halls. Told to report to his supervisor, he's surprised to learn that he has received a promotion.
Brandon's promotion turns into a nightmare when he finds himself poked and prodded by a mad doctor and told he's become part of a government experiment. Escaping seems impossible, until a sexy man with beautiful blue eyes comes to Brandon's rescue.
One thing leads to another, and Brandon finds himself bonded to a Seelie elf from another world. On the run from the institute's retrieval team, Brandon tries to understand everything Kavin is explaining about his world and his kind, all the while wondering if the man is crazy. He has to be, right?
Seeking to keep Brandon safe, Kavin forces the man through the veil between worlds. When circumstances prevent Kavin from immediately following Brandon through the veil, Brandon ends up in the Unseelie Court and in the hands of a total stranger. With no hope of escape, Brandon wonders if he will ever see his perfect elf again.
An orderly a day keeps the doctor away.
And playing golf,
With all his millions,
And his brand new Mercedes,
While I live in a one bedroom crappy apartment and ride the bus to work every day,
An orderly day keeps the doc—
"What are you doing?"
Brandon Thomas stopped humming the little tune in his head and swung around to find an armed guard glaring at him. The man looked pissed . . . and like he ate rocks for breakfast. Brandon took a step back and fingered the ID tag hanging around his neck.
Oh, no. Not again.
"I'm an orderly. I work here," he said.
"What's your security clearance?"
Brandon arched an eyebrow. Every level of security had a different color. The bright, neon orange ID tag around his neck said he had level-seven security clearance. Was the guard blind as well as dumb?
"Level seven," Brandon answered.
He really hated those muscle-bound morons that inhabited the halls of the institute he worked in. And lately, they seemed to be paying him particular attention. If he didn't need the paycheck to pay the bills, he would have found another job months ago.
Unfortunately, the institute paid better than any other place in the small, piss ant town he presently lived in. If he could save up enough money to move somewhere else, he'd leave this place behind in a cloud of dust.
"What are you doing?"
Brandon glanced down at the cart filled with clean sheets. Seriously? Where did they find these guys? There had to be some sort of school for idiots that produced these dummies by the hundreds; the institute seemed to be filled with them.
Brandon gave the guard a forced smile. "I'm restocking the utility closet with clean sheets. It's part of my job requirements."
The guard lifted several sheets and looked under them. Brandon didn't know what the guy hoped to find, but he wished the armed man would just get it over with so he could get on with his work. He needed to get the restocking done before he could go to lunch.
"I'll need your name." The guard pulled out a pen and a small pad of paper.
Brandon held up his ID tag. "Uh, Brandon Thomas."
The guard scribbled something down. Brandon didn't like the way the man seemed to size him up, his gaze roaming up and down Brandon's body. His skin crawled beneath the creepy perusal.
"Okay, you can go."
Brandon smiled and pushed his cart down the hallway as fast as he could. He glanced back over his shoulder, shuddering a little when he saw the guard still watching him. He spoke into the small communication piece in his ear, but his eyes were intent on Brandon.
Brandon turned away and hurried down the hallway. His breath caught in his throat until he reached the utility closet and could hide inside. He pulled his cart in after him and shut the door, then leaned back against the wall to take several deep breaths.
That was really weird. Brandon hated the armed guards that roamed the hallways. They always seemed to want to harass him, even if he didn't do anything. So much so, Brandon had taken to going out of his way to avoid them.
His job as on orderly at the Gervais Institute of Study was quickly losing its appeal. Maybe the time had come to look for a new position, even if it paid a little less. Things were just getting a little too weird around here.
Brandon had only been working at the institute for a little over six months, but in that time, the number of armed guards onsite seemed to have doubled. The security measures certainly were greater than before.
Everyone coming into the institute had to have an ID tag. There were a series of security checkpoints to pass through, every one of them manned by a number of armed guards. And now, they seemed to freely roam the hallways.
Brandon wasn't allowed in the lower underground levels of the building. His security clearance wasn't high enough, but he'd heard stories of strange things happening—military testing, alien experimentation, even genetic manipulations.
Brandon had thought the stories outlandish, but he started to think they might be true. The military had commandeered the institute's lower levels three months ago and things had been extremely strange ever since.
Brandon shook his head, laughing at his crazy ideas. Dr. Harold Gervais had established the Gervais Institute of Study in order to study genetics and their effects on the human body or some such shit like that. Brandon didn't much care. His position here wasn't some exciting career; it was just a job.
He quickly stacked the clean sheets on the shelves, then wheeled his cart out. He purposely went in the opposite direction from where the guard stood. Meeting up with him twice in one day would be more than Brandon could handle.
Brandon had something of a smart mouth, and he knew it. He didn't think he could keep his mouth shut if faced with the guard a second time. Knowing his luck, he'd get shot instead of just fired.
Brandon hurried down the hallway, took his cart back to the laundry area, then checked out for lunch. He grabbed his iPod and sack lunch and made his way to the cafeteria. He waited in line to grab a juice, then found a quiet corner to eat in.
Plugging the earphone buds into his ear, Brandon ramped up the music, drowning out all of the sounds around him. He dug into his lunch, and as he ate, he watched out the window. Brandon worked the night shift, so the darkness outside was no surprise.
What did surprise him was the level of activity visible through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Armed guards ran around by the main gate. A black car sped up the driveway. The vehicle stopped at the security gate, then drove on through.
Brandon pushed the top of his head against the glass so he could watch. A guard opened the car door, and three men in military uniforms and a couple more in business suits climbed out. They spoke with the guard briefly, then walked into the facility.
Okay, that was a little weird. Brandon didn't think it was normal to get visitors late at night. He preferred the nightshift because the place was quiet, most of the personnel having gone home for the night. Visitors this late—especially ones wearing full-dress military uniforms and looking rather intense—couldn't be a good thing.
Brandon went back to eating. Visitors or not, he had work to do, and he only had ten minutes left for lunch before he had to get to it. Besides, he was just an orderly. Whoever those people were, they meant nothing to him.
Someone touched Brandon's shoulder, and he jumped. He swung around to find his supervisor standing beside him. He pulled off his earphones and waited.
"As soon as you are done with your lunch break I'd like to see you in my office, Mr. Thomas."
"Uh, yes sir."
Brandon's heart began pumping again as he watched his supervisor walk away. He racked his brain, trying to think of anything he might have done to get called before the big boss but came up blank.
He did what was required for his job. He wasn't late for work, ever. Mostly because the last bus to the facility dropped him off a half hour before his shift started. The busses didn't start running again until an hour before he got off work.
With shaking hands, Brandon gathered up the remains of his lunch and dropped it in the garbage bin. He pulled his iPod off, shoved it into his pocket, and made his way to the supervisor's office. The entire time, he prayed he still had a job.
Brandon knocked and waited for permission to enter. Mr. Clausen called out, and Brandon opened the door and walked in. Mr. Clausen sat behind a large desk, typing away on his computer.
Without waiting for an invitation, Brandon sat down in the wooden chair across from the man and waited. As he did, he glanced around the room. The office seemed pretty typical of a supervisor's office—one large desk, a filing cabinet, a bookshelf with books, and a couple of chairs.
The room was sterile, not a personal item in sight, just like his supervisor, Mr. Clausen. Brandon never really liked the guy, but what could he do? Mr. Clausen had been at the facility for years. Rumor was they'd built the facility around the man.
Mr. Clausen finally looked up at him, and Brandon braced himself for the loss of his job. His nerves didn't settle much when the man flipped open a folder in front of him, and Brandon recognized it as his personnel file.
"You've been with us for almost six months, Mr. Thomas, correct?"
"Uh huh, and during that time, you've served as an orderly?"
Mr. Clausen closed the file and folded his hands together, looking at Brandon. "Do you like your job, Mr. Thomas?"
"Well, it's not what I want to do for the rest of my life, but I suppose I'm happy enough with it for now." Brandon knew that probably wasn't the best answer he could have given his boss, but he wasn't going to lie. He figured the man was smart enough to see right through him if he tried, so why bother?
"Your immediate superiors have very good things to say about you, Mr. Thomas. You've never been late for work, you haven't taken any sick days, and you complete each task set before you in the allotted time."
Brandon twisted his hands together. He really hoped all the things Mr. Clausen said were good things. "Uh, thank you, sir."
"After some discussion, we've decided to promote you."
"A promotion, sir?" There was higher level to being an orderly?
"Yes, report to the south elevator," Mr. Clausen said. "A guard will escort you to level three, where you will receive a complete physical, which is required for your new position." Mr. Clausen handed over his personnel file and a red security pass. "Do you have any questions?"
"Uh, what is my new job, sir?" Brandon asked, completely bewildered. One moment he'd been sure he'd lost his job, and the next moment he'd received a promotion. Talk about an emotional rollercoaster.
"That will be explained to you after your physical, Mr. Thomas. Now get going. They're waiting for you."
"Yes, sir." Brandon left his former supervisor's office and walked down the hallway toward the south elevator. For the life of him, he couldn't figure out how he'd ended up with a promotion. He was an orderly. It didn't take a rocket scientist to be an orderly. He restocked shelves, ran errands, and cleaned. He wasn't trained for anything else.
He wasn't sure he wanted to attend college, mostly because he didn't know exactly what he wanted to do with his life. Growing up in the foster care system didn't give him a lot of good role models to follow.
Brandon knew there were good foster parents out there; he just seemed to have been placed with ones who didn't care for him beyond the money the state supplied for his upkeep. They weren't bad foster parents. They just didn't seem to care. He left as soon as he was legally able to.
After graduating from high school, he'd wandered for a couple of years, working one job for a little while before moving onto the next. The six months he'd had this job was the longest he'd ever been employed.
In Brandon's mind, he wasn't "promotion" material. There were a lot of other people who worked here a lot longer than he did. So, why had they picked him? Brandon pondered the question until he came to the south elevator and faced the two armed guards there.
Brandon held up the red security pass Mr. Clausen gave him. "I'm supposed to report to level three."
One of the guards took his pass and checked it over while the other just stood there and eyed Brandon. Again with the creepy perusal. Brandon hid his shaking hands behind his back. He swallowed past the lump in his throat and tried to look anywhere except at the guard.
He used to think men in uniform were the sexiest creatures on earth. He spent hours upon hours watching war movies, looking through military magazines, and hanging out where ever military men were.
And then he had come to work at the institute. At first, Brandon had gloried in all the muscle-bound men surrounding him. Then, little by little, he had come to realize that the ones stationed at the institute were complete morons and quickly lost his fascination.
If they weren't harassing him, they were pushing him around and making crude jokes. Brandon knew he wasn't some muscle-bound freak, but he wasn't exactly small, either. He stood five-foot ten-inches and weighed upward of 180 pounds, big enough.
"Come this way." The guard finally finished examining Brandon's new ID.
Brandon glanced up, watching as the guard inserted a passkey into a small security pad and typed in an alphanumeric code. A moment later, the elevator doors opened up to reveal two more guards. Brandon was ushered in.
A wave of anxiety nearly forced Brandon to step back off the elevator. No job was worth this, he thought, but someone pushed a button and the elevator doors closed before he could move. They had to see the sweat pouring down his temples; he sure could feel it.
The elevator ride seemed to go on forever, which Brandon found very strange. There were only six floors to the entire building, three of them at basement level. The military occupied the bottom three. It shouldn't have taken more than a few minutes to reach any of them.
Finally, the car came to a stop. The doors slid open. Brandon spotted two more armed guards outside the doors. Three more waited directly across from them. One of man stepped forward.
"Come this way, please."
Brandon fell in behind the guard, two more following behind them. The hallway they walked through looked stark. The walls were white. The doors lining the corridor were white. Even the tiles on the floor were white. Everything seemed to be blaringly white.
The only things relieving the stark lack of color were Brandon and the three guards escorting him. Creepy, Brandon thought. And what did his new job entail?.Why would they need an orderly?
"Wait in here," the guard said as he opened a door and gestured for Brandon to enter. Brandon stepped into the room, quickly glancing around. Again with the white everywhere. He was beginning to see a theme in the color scheme.
The room's decor was just as sterile as the hallways. An exam bed sat in the middle of the room. Cabinets with metal handles ran all along one wall. Another wall had a sink and countertop. Beyond a single chair, there was nothing else.
Brandon tried the cupboards but found them locked. He could see little bottles of stuff and trays through the smoky glass, but he couldn't tell what they were. He wandered around the room for a few minutes, pacing as his nervousness increased.
When the door opened and a man in a white doctor's coat walked in, Brandon nearly jumped out of his skin. The man had a clipboard, and he seemed to be reading it and making notes.
"I'm Dr. Carson. Are you Brandon Thomas?" the man asked as he glanced up.
"Please disrobe and get on the table."
"Excuse me?" Surely Brandon hadn't heard what he thought he'd heard.
The man waved his hand at him. "Take off your clothes and get up on the table. I need to examine you."
"It's for your benefit, Mr. Thomas," Dr. Carson said as he walked to the counter. "I need to assess your level of health."
"I was perfectly healthy being an orderly before," Brandon replied. "I should be perfectly healthy being an orderly now."
"Orderly?" Dr. Carson chuckled. "Who told you that you were going to be an orderly?"
"My supervisor, Mr. Clausen. He said I was getting a promotion."
"Oh, my, that is amusing." The man chuckled again. "I don't think I've heard that one before. I'll have to remember it. My colleagues will find it very entertaining. Now, disrobe and get up on the table, dear boy. I need to complete my exam."
Brandon started backing toward the door. "I don't think so. I think I'd rather pass on the promotion and go back to my other job."
"I'm afraid that's not possible, Mr. Thomas. You've already been chosen."
"Chosen for what?" Brandon asked as he took a couple of more steps toward the door. He was beginning to think someone was playing a huge joke on him. Either that, or this guy was nuts.
"All in good time, dear boy." Dr. Carson patted the exam table. "Now, off with the clothes."
Brandon shook his head. No way, no how. No crazy-as-a-loon doctor was getting a gander at Brandon's nether regions. Not for all the tea in China. Brandon grabbed the door handle and opened the door. He turned to run and hit a solid wall of hard flesh.
Brandon had just a moment to look up and see the face of a guard before the man picked him up and placed him on the exam table. Brandon tried to get away, struggling, hitting, and biting, but strong hands grabbed him, holding him down until the doctor wrapped restraints around his arms and legs.
Once Brandon lay secured to the table, the doctor retrieved a small bottle of clear liquid from the counter. He turned back, shaking his head as he stuck a syringe into the bottle's rubber stopper and pulled back on the plunger to fill the tube.
Brandon watched, wide eyed and speechless, as the doctor wiped a spot on Brandon's arm with an alcohol swap, then inserted the needle and the liquid into his arm.
"This could have gone much easier on you, Brandon," Dr. Carson said, "if you had just cooperated. Now we have to do this the hard way."
Brandon tried to protest, but his tongue started to feel funny, thick like, and it kept sticking to the roof of his mouth. His head began to grow heavy, so heavy he couldn't lift it. When the guards released his restraints and started to cut away his clothes, Brandon tried to stop them, but his arms wouldn't move. Nothing worked.
After that, things grew fuzzy. He knew several people came and went. He knew they stuck a syringe in his arm quite a few more times. He thought they took blood at one point but didn't have the strength to lift his head to see.
All Brandon could do was lie there while people did things to him—insert probes, draw bodily fluids, give him shots, and examine him from head to toe, inside and out. He felt invaded, attacked, but he couldn't do anything but whimper.
Someone pushed his hair back from his forehead. Brandon looked up to find the doctor from when he first came into the room leaning over him. He moaned in fear. The man was smiling down at him as if he were proud or something.
"You've done very well, Brandon," Dr. Carson said. "I'm going to give you something to help you sleep, and then you'll be taken to your room to rest. I'll check in with you in a few hours."
Brandon tried to shake his head, groaning when he felt the small pinprick of a needle entering his arm again. Within a few moments, his eyes grew very heavy, and he only wanted to sleep. He caught sight of two guards walking into the room right before he lost the ability to keep his eyes open.