Chapter Seven / TrustMature

“Did I get you in trouble?”  Henry asked as they sat in Seymour’s kitchen, drinking tea in the pale, predawn light.

            “I don’t think so.  If he’s angry with me, it’s ’cause I puked on his shoes, not because you were there.  He already knew that I sleep with humans.”

            “Did he know that you sleep with men?”

            “Not to my knowledge,” said Seymour.  “But I wouldn’t be surprised if he did.  It isn’t exactly something I make any special effort to hide.  And it is worth noting that it was the word ‘gentleman’ that he kept repeating, rather than ‘man’.  I suspect he was more perplexed as to how I managed to lure a rich person into my bed than he was concerned about your gender.  And I think you quite handily answered all of his questions upon first glance, no offense.”

            “What do you mean?”

            “He thought you mad.”

            Henry sighed and looked up at the dim grey sky outside the window.   “It must be nice, not having to hide.”

            “I don’t have to hide my sexual orientation, yes.  But I do have to conceal every Rezyn-damned relationship I enter into.  The ban on interspecies sex is selectively enforced.  I’ve never heard of a case brought against anyone who wasn’t a merman.  I have to be cautious.  But what do you have to hide?  Is the nobility really so backwards as to persecute you?”

            “No,” Henry said.  “The nobility is not concerned in the least with whom I am attracted to.  Their only interest is in whether or not I can produce an heir.  Carvil is a valuable fiefdom.  It has been in my family for nearly 1000 years.  My brother would have inherited it from my late father, but he renounced his birthright.  I have a younger sister, but no younger brothers.  I am the last in my house.  Already there are plots and counterplots, alliances forming and mutterings of violence, over who might claim Carvil after me.  If rumor got out of any circumstance that might reduce my likelihood of fathering biological children, that would surely make it worse.”

            “I see.  So what are your options?”

            “Marry a woman and procreate with her, or bide my time until my inevitable death, probably within the next decade.”  The young lord finished off the dregs of his tea, pulled a face at the bitterness, and set the mug back down on the table.  “I mean, I could muster my forces and hole up in my castle, but to what end?  I don’t wish to spend the rest of my life at war.”

            “Why are you telling me this, Henry?”

            “What do you mean?”

            “Don’t you think it’s risky, taking me in confidence?  We first met less than twelve hours ago.”

            Henry exhaled and folded his arms upon the table, his body slumped, defeated, drained of his characteristic dignity and grace.  “I don’t know.  I guess I trust you.  I can’t say why, I just do.”  He looked up at Seymour, and his helplessness shone in his mismatched eyes.  “Am I making a mistake?”

            Half-smiling, Seymour pushed back from the table and spread his arms.  “C’mere, Henry.”

            After a moment of hesitation, the mage stood up, approached him, and sat down on his lap.  Seymour wrapped his arms around him and hugged him tightly.

            “Listen,” he said, nuzzling the side of Henry’s neck.  “I’m not a good person.  I’ll be the first to admit that.  In all honesty…well, I’m not particularly honest.  But you can trust me.  On the important things, you can always trust me.”

            “Thank you, then.”

The End

12 comments about this story Feed