The Duchess’s consort was well looked after. After all, people would not look upon her favorably if she lived in wealth while her husband lived in squalor. His apartment, directly attached to the Duchess’s, included its own kitchen, lavatory, study, and smoking room. They were all, of course, smaller than the Duchess’s, as it also would look a bit unseemly if her consort were to have living conditions that matched or even exceeded hers.
The consort’s bedroom was, however, the same size as hers. This was a gift to him, and one she could easily give, as, hopefully, no one of importance would happen upon it and discover her indiscretion. When he asked why, she simply said, “You make me laugh.” and left it at that. The room was lavish. There was a large oak dresser, imported from the north; expensive jewelry, imported from the west; placed in an ornate ivory jewelry box, imported from the south; and a four post cherry wood bed with silk sheets, all imported from the east.
Underneath those sheets, the consort, Duke Theodore Mercier, felt a tickle as the ties of his lover’s mask brushed against his neck. With him was Gabriel Chastain, of the Chastain family of merchants, the wealthiest family of commoners in the area. And Gabe had one goal, to caress every inch of Theodore’s body with his lips, starting from the top. This was a time-intensive task, but he was a man who stuck by his word. And so, as he gripped Theo’s shoulders and pulled him close, as he straddled Theo, one leg on either side of his hips, Gabe brushed his lips gently down the side of his neck.
Theo sighed. “As much as I want to keep you to your word, you need to get dressed.”
Gabe pulled back, feigning shock and outrage, and placed his hand to his own chest. “I do? Monsieur, I do believe I am a little more dressed than you. At least I am wearing a mask, while the only thing covering you are those two very sturdy silk ropes.” Gabe tugged on the ropes lightly. “I’m quite impressed. Where did she import these from?”
Theo laughed, “You also need to untie me.”
Gabe got off of Theo and stretched in the sunlight pouring in from the still open window he used to enter. Theo stared at the way Gabe’s muscles moved in his beck, stretching taught, standing on his toes, and then releasing the tension. Gabe was quite a thin boy, and he grew up into quite a thin man, and Theo loved watching how his body moved.
Gabe turned back to Theo and said, “Maybe after I get dressed, if that’s alright with you, my liege.”
Theo retorted “You just want to see my hips a bit longer.” He danced a little, still constrained by the ropes around his wrists.
“Ha! Hardly a sin!”
“No, the sinning has been finished for quite some time, but hurry up. She is returning today, and I’d rather not be caught with my pants at my ankles.
Gabe picked up his wide-brimmed hat off the floor and placed it on his head. He turned towards Theo, adjusting the hat to cover his face in shadows while leaning against the dresser, one leg bent in the shape of a pulled bow. “Better start with this then, no? Don’t want her discovering my identity, now do we? Although, I have to say, I think it hides some of my better features.”
Theo responded, “I would have to politely but firmly disagree.” He stared a bit lower than Gabe’s shadowed face.
At that moment the door slammed open. Barreling in was one of the Duchess’s most loyal guards, Elise, dressed in the official, (stylish, yet practical) brigandine. The glint of the floral-shaped rivets, and also the forced-open door, shocked Gabriel and Theodore, which prevented either from covering the most vulnerable portions of themselves.
Elise shouted, “OH! Sorry, sirs! I can step out!” She turned away from Gabe, accidentally looking upon Theo, so she turned completely around and faced the door.
Gabe placed his hands on his now cocked hips as Theo looked over at him, then back at Elise. “Oh gods, she’s here, isn’t she.”
Elise said, “Uhm… yes, sirs.” She motioned with her arm towards Gabe, although never turning towards either of them. “You, uhhhh, you have to leave quickly.”
Theo spoke up, “Elise dear, has she reached the gatehouse yet?”
“I saw her chatting with the Merchant Chastain on the front step and came here right away.”
Theo began to panic, and in a half stifled shout said, “Oh gods, there isn’t enough time!”
Gabe began to quickly put on his clothes, grabbing items out of order; a doublet without an undershirt, and skipping the hose altogether. He took whatever he could. At the same time Elise mumbled, “Fuck it,” turned around and began to pack Gabe’s bag with the clothing and jewelry she was fairly sure was his. She was mostly correct, but she also packed a small jeweled dagger half wrapped in Gabe’s missing undergarments. She shoved the bag into the uncomfortably-dressed Gabe’s hands and pushed him toward the window. “Go through there! That’s towards the stable, you’ll find some hay to jump in, hopefully.”
Theo with the force of a yell, but the volume of a whisper, said, “Quickly!”
Gabe, still being pushed, said, “Shush, you aren’t helping.”
“Well, I’m a little tied up at the moment!” He tried to gesture with his hands, but the lack of range of movement undercut his frustration.
Gabe stepped up onto the sill of the window and turned around to blow a kiss to Theo when they all heard footsteps outside the still-open door.
Elise backed up and started motioning for Gabe to leave while backing up until she bumped into the Duchess in the door frame.
Elise started, half screamed, and then yelled “Halt! Thief!” She placed her hand on the handle of her sword, pretending to get ready to draw it.
The Duchess, startled, looked under Elise’s arm.
Elise shouted again, with a crack in her voice, “You will not harm my lady!”
Gabe waved to the room and jumped backwards, praying to any god that would listen that Elise was right about the hay.
The Duchess ran under Elise’s arm, reaching out as if to grab the thief. Her fingers closed around air. She turned around, and yelled at Elise, “Get him!”
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I am considering making this a longer form story that tells everything that happened before this. If I do, I may make it my NaNoWriMo project in November. The other two options are here and here. If you are a three dollar or more subscriber, I will be having a poll in my discord.
This one might also turn into a serialized piece. I really like the world in this one and want to expand on it a bit more.