It was a slow process. His relationship with James had been fast, burning with ease like dry timber. This new relationship was torturously slow for him. It was like watching a slow burning candle, drops of wax rolling slowly down the side, usually cooling into beads where they stuck.
They greeted one another with coy kisses, only when they were sure they were alone. When they sat together, they were closer than they had been as just friends, but never close enough that it could be seen as something it shouldn’t be if a servant or a member of Gabriel’s family were to wander in. At meals, they would still be seated opposite each other, but their legs would brush under the table and an electric glance would flit between them.
Lazarus longed to be able to touch his beau. Gabriel was still shy and uncertain, so much so that they had not even shared a bed at night yet, or attempted anything other than those small, chaste kisses. He was not uncomfortable with the looks of lust that Lazarus gave him, but he was not entirely sure about the idea of giving into them, either.
The frosty weather was as slow to retreat as Gabriel was to warm to the idea of moving their relationship on. Lazarus grew impatient, often staring out of the windows when he was bored, a scowl upon his fine face as he saw the snow still had not melted. He wanted to share his tree with him, give him the confidence that he would never find within the confines of the manor. However, it was still too cold to stay outside too long, so until spring finally arrived, he was forced to keep his romances between the walls of the music room.
“It’s growing late,” Gabriel announced one particularly cold evening. Lazarus was sat beside the library windows again, a book in his hand and an extinguished candle beside him. “Lazarus.” He looked around, finally blinking. “What’s so interesting that’s out there?”
“A place I know. You’d like it, I think,” Lazarus replied, pulling on the ribbon that had been holding his hair back all day. His light hair swung forward, draping over his shoulders and stretching down over the back of his chair. He put his bare feet up on the window ledge, looking back outside. Gabriel rose, bringing his candle with him. Chair legs scraped softly against the wooden floor, stopping only when Gabriel had positioned it next to Lazarus so that he too would be able to gaze out of the window. He perched on the edge of the seat, staring intently out of the window, attempting to see what Lazarus was seeing. A smile crept onto the boy’s face. “You can’t see it from here, stupid,” he mocked gently. Gabriel scowled a little.
“Then why are you looking out of this window so much?”
“Well, it’s part of your grounds, ‘n’ lookin’ out helps me remember it.”
“Were you trespassing when you found this place by any chance?” Gabriel asked, one eyebrow arching upwards.
“Might’ve been,” he shrugged, still smiling. “Dun really matter now, anyway. It’s nice there. Pretty.”
“Where is it?”
“The woods. It’s just this tree, right, but it’s perfect for sitting in with someone,” the memories of sitting in that tree with James filled his mind. “I wanna share it with you.” Gabriel saw the look of longing in his eyes and nodded a little.
“As soon as it’s warmer, we shall find it.” Lazarus agreed with a smile. “Come, we should probably sleep.”
“Can we share a bed tonight?” Lazarus asked, the same question he asked most nights. Gabriel sighed.
“You know we can’t. One of the maids will see in the morning and don’t look at me like I don’t know they gossip,” he said, noticing the look Lazarus was giving him.
“They ain’t gonna tell, though, will they?”
“They might tell Father,” he shuddered a little at the thought. Lazarus swapped his chair for Gabriel’s lap, wrapping his arms around the young lord’s neck.
“What he don’t know won’t hurt him. They ain’t gonna tell.” Gabriel didn’t look convinced. “S’not like we’re gonna be fucking all night. They ain’t gonna find us in a tangled mess.” The young lord wrinkled his nose a little at the language he was using. Though they were both comfortable enough around each other to talk in their own accents, Gabriel still found it vaguely distasteful when he employed such vulgar language.
He leaned into Gabriel’s chest, resting his head on his shoulder.
“I’m sorry,” Gabriel murmured, running his fingers through the long hair, sweeping it away behind the boy’s ear so his face was exposed. There were dark shaving nicks along his jaw that contrasted startlingly with his pallid skin. “You should be more careful with that razor, Lazarus,” he said touching one of them gently.
“Ah, fuck off,” Lazarus grumbled slapping the smooth hand away from his face, “you sound like my mother.” Gabriel laughed, bending to peck him on the cheek.
“Take that back and I’ll consider sharing my bed with you.”
“I take it back,” Lazarus replied instantly. Chuckling, Gabriel dislodged him and got up.
“Time for bed, then.”