“Anyway, what brought you down from the manor to see me?” Lazarus asked, a shaky smile pressed to his lips.
“I was concerned that something was ailing you, my friend. Your visits were becoming so frequent that an unannounced week long break troubled me,” Gabriel’s eyebrows dropped into a small frown as he spoke, his concern genuine enough. He had missed Lazarus’ presence, and quietly wondered if the boy’s embarrassment at their accidental touches at lunch had been a cause for him to stay away. “What was it that kept you from seeing me?” The words slipped out almost by accident. Gabriel’s almost childish curiosity overflowed from his mind to his mouth. He cursed inwardly when he realised what he had said, but retained his composed face outwardly; the words were out, and it was too late to do much about it.
Lazarus blushed a little and had to fight the urge to flop back onto his bed and wrap himself in the covers so he didn’t have to face the question. “My, uh... my sweetheart left me, unexpectedly,” he muttered quietly, dropping his gaze to his fingers twisting betwixt each other in his lap.
Gabriel tutted, ignoring his heart beating in sympathy for his friend, “women, eh?” he chuckled, ignoring Emily’s thinly veiled look of disapproval. “Did she give you a reason?”
“Parents disapproved or somethin’,” he shrugged noncommittally.
“I see very little about you that could be disapproved of,” Gabriel smiled. Lazarus returned it wryly. He could see everything that there might be to disapprove of. “I see you disagree,” he laughed lightly, “come, return with me to the manor, and we can waste the night on wine and games.”
Lazarus awoke with a start. His head hurt, and nausea had him firmly within its grasp. The previous night was hazy at best within his mind, and thinking about it only seemed to make him feel worse. He barely even acknowledged that he was not at home, too occupied with keeping his stomach under his control.
Emily knocked lightly on the door, though the noise echoed as loudly in his mind as if each tap had been an explosion. When he made no more sound than a quiet groan, Emily let herself in, doing her best to be as quiet as possible.
“You’re awake,” she smiled, pulling the chamber pot from under the bed and resting it in his hands. He tried to smile back, but his stomach twisted uncomfortably, punishing him for his indulgence the night before. She wiped his mouth with a damp cloth when he was done, her touch gentle and almost soothing. “Young master Emerson was afraid you’d never wake up after last night,” she chuckled softly, taking the chamber pot back and placing it on the dresser.
“I’m beginning to wish I hadn’t,” he gave her a weak smile, “I feel like I must’ve drained your wine cellar.”
“Not quite, sir, not quite,” she laughed. “Would you like some tea? Or perhaps a coffee?”
“Anything that won’t make me puke,” he muttered, wondering if he was going to vomit again.
When Lazarus was finally feeling well enough to leave the bed and venture downstairs for breakfast, it was late in the evening, and instead of something simple, he was greeted with a rich dinner.
“You certainly know how to drink,” Gabriel’s amused voice spoke from his usual seat at the dining table. Lazarus sat opposite, willing the room to cease its spinning for just a few seconds.
“I’m never drinking again,” he moaned, massaging his temples and shutting his pale eyes. “I didn’t do anything stupid last night did I?” Gabriel thought back to the evening’s events.
“I like men,” Lazarus giggled drunkenly, lazing in a chair in just his breeches and loose shirt. “I like men in ways I shouldn’t. I’m wrong and disgusting,” his head lolled back as he barked a laugh at the ceiling. Instead of recoiling away from his friend in shock or horror, Gabriel blinked, surprised at the frank confession.
“You’re just drunk, Lazarus,” he said weakly, part of him hoping it was simply the copious amount of alcohol in his system that was talking like this.
“Nuh, nuh I’m not,” he slurred earnestly, half lifting his head again to look at Gabriel.
“You are. You’re incredibly drunk, and making things up.”
“I like men, Gabriel, and my god, I love to fuck them,” his tone was somewhere between self-disgust and lust as his mind was filled with perversions.
Gabriel shook his head, “no, you managed not to make too much of a fool of yourself.” His own lie intrigued him. Was he not supposed to eschew the boy now he knew he was so full of sin and wrongness? Instead, he shuffled his foot forward, tentatively moving until he touched Lazarus. “Won’t you stay another night, Lazarus?”