Dinner; a time most families spend talking about their day or what's new in their lives; a time for laughing and being merry. That's not the case in my home. My name is Aerien Marriott, son of Aalen Marriott; Price of Olenfeld. My life is an utterly complete joke.
I played with the bits of parsley in my half eaten potato stew and watched my father make gestures as he spoke from the other side of the table.
"This is an outrage! How could you just sit back and let this happen, Sire?" His head advisor was on his feet and leaning far over the table shouting inches from my father's face. My father's other advisor, however was calmly eating his soup and looking back and forth between the two.
This is how father
spends every meal. Talking business with his men.
I sighed heavily and obviously hoping father would hear over the loud smacking of his gob.
"Winjal, you don't understand. If I increase prices, it could risk severing the relation between us and Morkar. We made a deal with them, don't you remember?" Winjal's expression became discouraged. He hates more than anything to be put down by father.
"The price they pay for our goods is even more just than what we pay for theirs! I don't want to offend them again and have a repeat of what happened last time. Now sit down and eat your soup. I don't want to hear any more on the subject. Iris, what have you got for me this evening?" They turned to him and watched and he dabbed his mouth gently with a napkin.
After seeing my father's head advisor, people find it hard to believe Iris is one too. He's an elf; slender and tall. His clothes were of the richest fabric and his hair smooth and long.
Winjal, on the other hand was large and greasy. He wore the clothes of a noble, but was filthy and smelt of sweat and must. His eyebrows were thick as well as his arms and legs. He looked like a drunk, but was simply lazy and unkempt. And frankly, no one can figure out why he's the head advisor. He might even look handsome if he cleaned up. But there was really no hope for that.
"Well sir, the building of the bridge over the Jarinel River has finally completed. Also, your sister and nephews will be arriving tomorrow morning."
"Very good! Tomorrow
will be quite a day!" For a minute everything had quieted down. All
was calm, and I thought that finally we would have a normal
Maybe now I'd get to ask him about that violin I've been waiting for.
"So… Your sisters a widow now?" My father gave a deathlike glare to Winjal as he sat there innocently interested, cleaning the spoon around in the bowl of my favorite tableware. He's going to break another one, acting again, insolent like that.
"Stay away from her, oaf. She just lost her mate. She doesn't need you making her uncomfortable during her stay." Winjal shrugged and continued to eat. It wasn't until the table grew silent that I realized Iris was staring at me. An embarrassed and almost shocked feeling came over me. However, I couldn't help but stare back.
"Aerien." Everyone's attention was directed to my father.
"Yes sir?" I watched him nervously as he continued to shovel large chunks of potato into his mouth.
"When your cousins arrive, I do expect you to spend time with them. You know that." My family and I were never very close. When we did visit each other, I'd always end up with an intentional black eye or broken limb. There were five of them. All boys in fact. My father knew I didn't care for them much, but I'm eighteen now, most of them are near my age or older, and in his eyes there is no more time to "play around."
"Yes Sir," I replied quietly, feeling defeated.
"May I be excused?" He nodded and began speaking again to Winjal. Iris however, was watching me again as I got up and walked by. What an odd man. He's always so quiet… So observant. He rarely speaks to me or anyone for that matter. However, he is entirely loyal to my father. You could say they're practically best friends.
I reached the entrance to the hallway and looked back to find Iris still eyeing me intently. I stopped and watched him too. I'm not sure there's ever been a time Iris and I had exchanged glances for more than a moment. But this time was different from those past encounters. He wanted something of me, it was obvious.
I felt my cheeks become warm with a sense of nervousness. Standing around longer would make me look more foolish than I already do. I turned away, hesitating. I wanted to look back at him again, to meet his eyes once more. However, I left.
So many thoughts ran through me as I headed to my room uneasily. Why was he staring the way he did? There was no true expression to his face at the time. So what could he have been thinking? What does he want?
I flopped onto my bed as my butler came out of bathroom with this morning's towels he must've forgotten to take care of.
"Hello, dear." He sighed as he put the towels into a maid's cart outside the door.
Tarin and I have always been very close. He's a bit older than I, but has the maturity of an elder, and the heart of a child. He quietly came back in and closing the door behind him asked,
"Are you ready for bed, darling?" Being so close he calls me whatever he wants when we're alone. Just as I have my silly nicknames for him too.
"Yeah…" I answered quietly. He sat me up and began to undress me.
"Tare-bear?" He looked up to me concerned, and I leaned back as he slid off my socks.
"Father's advisor, Iris… He was acting weird today." He stood me up and began to unbutton my pants, but when I spoke he looked up at me. My pants were halfway down, so my nether regions sat bare just inches away from his face.
"What do you mean, weird? Did he touch you? Did he hurt you? Tell me now." Impatience and anger grew in his voice. He's always so cute when he worries about me…
"Tarin, no! He just… Stared from afar, that's all! Now get my nightgown, I'm cold!" He looked down and realized I was still naked and smiled.
"My apologies, Aer." He took my pants and folded them neatly before taking his time to get my gown. I stood around and began to shiver.
"Just forget it you toad! I'll sleep like this again." I crawled into my silky warm bed as he came back with a gown.
"Feels better anyways…" I mumbled.
"You're so stubborn." He threw the gown and sat near my legs on the side of the bed.
"Tell me more aboutIris." He said with a seductive tone and smile. I giggled, but anxiously. I wasn't sure what he was getting at.
"What's there to say?" I scooted farther under the bright red covers and watched him smirk.
"Well.. What do you think about him as a person?" He hesitated. "I mean do you find him.. Attractive?" I stared. Attractive? A man? I'd never!
"W-what? Iris? No. No no, absolutely not. He's… He has a..." I directed his eyes toward my penis. Strange though, his eyes didn't meet mine again for a few moments after that..
"So? What of it?"
"What of it? Tarin, he is a man! Do you understand how men do it?" His eyebrows raised in surprise.
"No! What I meant was... Was... Men…Are... Have a..."
"You like Iris!" He shouted! Completely in fear and unable to say anything, I sat in silence staring with my mouth open.
"You… You like men, Aer!" I pulled the blankets over my head, embarrassed.
"Darling.. Talk to me please. You're my best friend, you know that. You can tell me anything." I felt him crawl over me, and slowly pulled the covers down just above my eyes. He was just inches from my face, and his hair hung down and tickled my cheeks.
"There's absolutely no need to be afraid, my dear." He kissed my forehead softy.
My heart began to race, and for what reason, I have no idea. I've never felt something like this before. Especially not for my best friend, practically my older brother. But his closeness made me feel so warm and comfortable just now. His eyes met mine once more.
I stared at him and went over his questions once more. I haven't really ever been that interested in ladies… Or more importantly, their… Areas. The only girlfriend I've had was mine when we were 12, and only for a short time. Her name was Feleen.She was gorgeous. Just as beautiful then as she was the day our guards carried her severed head and body from the east yard of our castle. I missed her that day. She was a good girl until the end. If we hadn't fallen distant, I might've been able to save her life.
Things have changed though, since I was young. I fell less for the women who tried hard to get men, and more for the men who entranced them.
"Yes.." I whispered gazing dreamily into his eyes.
"Yes, Tarin, I-… I believe I do like men."