impertinences: (a crimson future)
you're too young & eager to love ([personal profile] impertinences) wrote on November 10th, 2016 at 10:12 am
The man in the King’s bed is beautiful.

You would not expect less.

His eyelashes are thick and long; they brush the tops of his cheeks when he blinks, slow and leisurely, a half-awake feline still basking in the sun’s warmth. There is something overtly feminine about him despite his muscled chest and well developed arms. It is, you think, the leanness of his torso, the small expanse of his hips, the fine fingers that could play the keys of a piano or trip up the knots of a spine. There is something familiar in him too. The hands that are almost too big, the moss-colored eyes, the square cut of his jaw when he turns his head to see past you towards the door.

Despite the thick fur rugs, the burning fire, the heavy wrap around your nakedness, the scalding pulse of your heart, you are still cold. You feel the ice in your feet and how it crawls up your legs, tightening the muscles, to settle as dread in your stomach. You pull the wrap closer around you before turning your head.

“Your Majesty,” the beautiful man says.

“My Lord,” you echo with your cherub voice, dipping into a curtsy that is small and informal.

Renan passes his fingers over your shoulders. He sweeps your wrap away in one gesture and appreciates the way your skin prickles as a result. As if to appease the anxiety that brims in your eyes, he stands behind you, a solid weight and warmth that you curl into. His arms are heavy when they wrap around your stomach. You used to do the same to Gerhard, although he never had his brother’s width and broadness. Still, you had always felt safer there, more sure-footed, than you do with the King.

He strokes your arms slowly, blunt nails scratching. You breathe out broken air against his chest.

“Who does he remind you of?” The king asks, wine on his words.

You turn your face back to the bed and the man it holds.

“No one,” you lie.

Renan makes a noise from his throat, an amused chuckle that you can feel in his chest; he senses your dishonesty.

“I want to watch,” he says into the shell of your ear, pressing his lips just below, to the curve of your jaw.

You don’t ask why.

He’s a courtier, and you have seen him often around the palace, but you cannot remember his name. He kisses you slowly – slower than you would have imagined possible – and the strange newness of his mouth makes heat and shame flutter in your stomach. He does not look so much like Gerhard now that you are closer, now that you can see the bridge of his nose, the crooked arch in his ears, the dull shade of his hair. But you can pretend when your eyes are closed, so you keep them shut.

The King doesn’t mind. It’s not you he wants looking at him.

Gerhard used to spend afternoons with his head in your lap. You read poetry to him, slowly and haltingly, laughing at the way rhythms and words tangled uselessly in your mouth. He was patient; he was endeared. He would say a line and have you repeat it, kissing your hip or stomach every time you were successful.

He used to make your hands shake when he would trail his mouth lower, unabashed at the intimacy, the exposure. He was gentle and, as in all things, a scholar – eager to learn, to lay claim to the new unexplored map of your body, to become a virtuoso of the instrument that was you. You would tangle your fingers into his hair and pull and knot until his laughter washed over your thighs, and then he would sooth. He liked to take you from above, keeping your bodies locked tight, his forehead pressed to yours, his hands traveling from your hair to your hips, ever bracing.

You would leave him, always, with a bruised, overly-kissed mouth.

You would leave him.

You had always fit better with him. Even after months together, your body refuses to meet Renan’s perfectly. You turn when he would have you arch; your hips are too small for his large hands and it sometimes feels as though he would like to crush you between them; you bite when he would prefer to kiss.

You are startled by your own basic muscle memory and weakened by the nostalgia it brings when Gerhard catches you (you catch him) in a dark hall befitting dark intentions. He has not been drinking, but you cannot remember how many glasses of wine you had with dinner, if you ate or merely picked at the baked partridge. You have felt like air for so long, requiring little sustenance, and your bones are starting to show your secrets. Gerhard notices – your thin wrists, the sharp contour of your collarbone, the tightened bindings of your corset.

“You’re wasting away,” he murmurs into your hair, soft and sad. You feel the trembling of his mouth and the mixture of emotions pouring from him. He is hurt and he is angry and he, like you, is confused. But the weight of his hand on the small of your back and the closeness of his body tells you all you need to know: he misses you. You cling to this as you would to a rock in storming waters.

“Soon, I’ll be nothing but bones for him to batter away at.” You mean it as a joke, but the humor fails and the bitterness is not nearly strong enough.

Gerhard’s hand on your back stills. He holds his breath.

“Is that what you want?”

You don’t understand the question until you realize he is holding you, hard, at the waist. You tilt your face up to his. You want many things, your eyes seem to say, and what Gerhard sees there is enough to convince him to act. He kisses you, his teeth catching your bottom lip, almost clumsy in his aggression. His fingers dig, his long gait pushing you, forcing you against the cold wall where the merciless stone scratches your back through the fabric of your gown. Still, you tangle into him easily, leaning up to meet his mouth, your legs wrapping around his waist when he lifts you.

His strength surprises you. It always has.

One of your shoes slips from your foot and clatters, impossibly loud, to the floor.

You turn your face to the wall when he enters you, rough and quick, your cheek hot against the cold surface. You hold on to his shoulders, brace yourself against the stone, pressed against a hard place and what you can only surmise is a punishment wrapped in a plea.
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