Theme is 'faery tales'. Write a retelling/modern version/retelling with a twist of a faery tale. May be set at any time you wish, may be fantasy or non-fantasy. You may write a retelling of a really obscure faery tale, or an obscure version of a well-known faery tale, so long as you provide me with the title of the faery tale you're using.
Must be written in the past tense.
Must use the words: bell, candy, flicker, flutter, ash, heart, princess, secretly, seek, confession, blade, twist, never-ending and lust.
One character must say: "I don't love you. It's just that your mouth is very pretty.
MUST BE SLASH (surprisingly enough)
Must be written in the past tense.
Must feature a sexual kink of some kind. Oh yeah.
No 1st-person narrative.
No long, drawn-out, meaningful moment.
Il était une fois une veuve qui avait deux fils…
Tristan never really minded all the work his mother asked him to do. What he minded was the fact that his brother was never bothered with anything. Tristan was not the stronger of the two or the best looking, but he was still human, and so still entitled to fair treatment. No? He often wondered how he drew the short end of the stick.
His friend Cindy was at one point in the same circumstance as him, but she went on to marry a prince. His friend Blanche was a complete slaves to those dwarves who lived on Enchanted Forest Drive, but that was out of choice, and it helped her get away from evil step mother. And she married a prince! That was the thing though; both his friends were treated badly by their step mothers. His mother was his own, and yet she insisted on treating him like the friendly maid. And where the Hell was his prince? All the guys that ever even looked at him twice were either quickly distracted by his unbelievably better looking older brother, or they were scared away by his intimidating mother.
Why did he have to be the ugly duckling?
Then again, even the ugly duckling—or Duckie as he preferred to be called—was living with a step family of ducks and once he found his own family he was beautiful again. He didn't marry a prince, but be realistic, what prince was going to marry a talking swan?
"Tristan!" his mother shrieked from her bedroom. It was 9:31; he was officially a minute late getting her breakfast.
"Good morning." He smiled as warmly as he could while setting her tray of food on the bedside table.
His mother removed her blankets and sat up in bed. "Open the blinds Tristan. This coffee better be warm." She put the tray on her lap started poking at it. "Where is my croissant?"
"On the tray, Mother." He tried not to sound exasperated, but the woman was honestly just looking for something to say.
"Don't take that tone with me, child!" She said sharply.
Tristan bowed his head. "I'm sorry."
She made an unintelligible sound as a reply. "Did you at least get Thierry his food on time?"
Tristan nodded. He wasn't lying about that Thierry's food was on time, he just didn't eat it. No, he was much happier throwing it at Tristan because he was not in the mood for eggs that morning. Maybe if Thierry had been the one who actually collected the eggs from those devil chickens he may have been in the mood. There was something about getting pecked by twenty or so angry hens that always made Tristan hungry.
"Where is my dear son, anyway?"
She was shameless; most mothers would at least pretend they didn't play favorites. "He's shopping. He and Victor have gone to town. Donkey Skin Shoppe I believe he said."Actually, Thierry had told him very precisely where to shove it before getting into Victor's carriage.
"Very good then, I'm thinking of heading there myself. Call Edmund and tell him to get the carriage ready. While I'm gone clean the house, I want dinner ready by sundown, and make sure to get water. I'm thinking of taking a bath today. Yes, get enough water for two baths actually; I'm sure Thierry would also like one."
Tristan resisted the urge to groan out loud. He hated collecting water. Why couldn't they be like every other person in town and bathe in the local bathhouse, or at least bathe at the river like he did? Then again, if they were like normal people, they wouldn't be Tristan's family. And, despite all the work, he should be grateful he has a parent alive.
"When would you like the water heated?"
"Don't rush me; I'll tell you when I'm ready." She spat out her mouth half full of chewed croissant. "Now go get the house clean, and it better be spotless, we're going to be having guests over tomorrow."
"Guests?" His eyes widened as he started praying to his so far nonexistent Fairy Godmother that he had heard wrong.
"Listen to what I say. I hate having to repeat myself."
"Sorry mother; I heard. We are going to be welcoming guests tomorrow."
"Yes, very important guests. Powerful men who were once friends of your father."
His ears perked up at the mention of his father. His mother rarely spoke of him; it was as though the second he passed away, he no longer existed. Maybe these guests will be different because he remembered his father as a great man, and any friends of his father must be good people.
"I want you to get two of our finest rooms ready for them. Make sure to make them absolutely gorgeous. Do not embarrass me. And make sure that while they are here you make yourself scarce." With that final warning, she shooed him out of her room.
Tristan despairingly made his way down the stairs towards the back exit. Edmund and his wife Margie lived in a little cottage near the cottage half way to the Enchanted Forest. They had two children who were now fully grown that they used to often try to lose in the Enchanted Forest, which was a terrible neighborhood for children to be. It wasn't that they didn't love their kids, but there was a time when they were dirt-poor. He remembered when he was younger his mother often suggested that they strand him there. Luckily, by the time his father died, he had learned how to earn his keep.
Edmund was a nice man, but his wife was almost as bossy as Tristan's mother. Every time Tristan was there, she would find something for him to do. Out of respect for Edmund, he never objected. There was something wicked about mothers who inhabited Happily Ever After. The majority of them made Tristan's mother almost saint like, after all, she only made him clean.
Tristan tugged his warn coat closer to him once he reached the cottage. There was always a strange inappropriate cold drift coming from the Enchanted Forest. Taking a deep breath, Tristan knocked carefully on the door, afraid that if he was too loud Margie would feed him to the witch who lived in the center of the Enchanted Forest. He took a deep breath, readying himself for whatever horror awaited him.
Luckily, Edmund was the one to open the door. He opened it quickly and stepped out; shutting the door behind him in way that wouldn't allow anyone to see who was outside, or maybe so Tristan wouldn't see what was inside.
"Yes?" Edmund sounded impatient and unhappy for the interruption.
"Mother needs to go into town."
Edmund scratched the back of his balding head and worriedly checked behind him. "Alright, I'll be there," he mumbled to himself, looking uncertain. "Now off you go. Go on." With that Edmund went back into the house and slammed the door shut.
That was certainly out of the ordinary. Then again, in Happily Ever After, everything was out of the ordinary. He would be surprised if he ever met one mother who didn't want to strand her children, or find one prince who wasn't looking for a real princess or a fairy Godmother who helped people who actually needed the help. He was bitter, which was a nasty personality trait that he really didn't need to add to his list of faults. He calmed himself down and got on to doing his chores. He would fill up the tubs first because they were the most time consuming of his jobs, it would take him up until lunch time, then he'd get on to cleaning the house. Fortunately, cleaning and cooking were something he could do at the same time.
Il fallait entre autre chose que ce pauvre enfant allât deux fois le jour puiser de l'eau à une grande demi-lieue du logis…
With two wooden buckets in either hand, Tristan started his thirty minute walk to the well. If it weren't for the urgency in which he had to finish his chores, the walk to the well would have been pleasant. After all, it was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, birds were singing, little woodland creatures were singing, flowers were singing. He still couldn't get used to that. It had just started happening in the past year. All the small animals and the flowers in Happily Ever After had started singing. Rumor had it that there was a fairy somewhere near. Granted their singing was rather beautiful, but after the first few weeks, constant music started becoming exceedingly irritating.
Tristan frowned as he almost tripped on his third singing squirrel that day. He'd really wished that the supposed fairy had stopped at singing flowers or maybe just the frogs. Ever since the squirrels discovered their knack for the musical arts they had taken up dancing. It was a rare day when a person could go past a squirrel and it wasn't trying to tap dance its way to a job with Twelve Dancing Princess, a recently established touring troupe.
"Greetings Tristan!" Lilly sang from her spot on the ground.
Tristan smiled and crouched down so that he could hear her better. "Morning Princess. How are you feeling?"
"I'm fine sweet friend of mine." Lilly was incapable of saying something without singing it, which Tristan found to be a curse. Lilly didn't seem to mind though because she was always chipper. Even when it rained and her soil became soggy.
"I'm heading to the well. Would you like me to bring you back a drink?"
"I think I'd like a drink. If it's no trouble get it for me on the double!"
Double ended on a high elongated note which had Tristan fighting the urge to cover his ears. It wasn't that the little flower sang badly, just that the fairy had given her a really high pitched voice.
He reassured his friend that he'd be back and continued on his way, avoiding any other magical woodland creatures.
The walk to the well was usually never-ending, but he'd been so distracted with the guests that would be coming that he soon found himself there. He set the buckets down; first thing first, he was going to get a drink. It was a beautiful day, and beautiful days often included bountiful amounts of sun. When he'd finally arrived he was sweaty and covered in dust and bits of grass. A drink and a couple of minutes to rest weren't going to put him too far behind schedule. He took a deep breath full of fresh air and leaned back against the well.
It really was a nice day, not a single cloud in the sky. It was days like that which made his grateful to be living in Happily Ever After and not the Enchanted Forest. The forest was covered by canopies of leaves and branches, a person couldn't even see the sky. That was why people often got lost; because of its lack of sky and light, every corner of Enchanted Forest looked the same. A person could be going in circles for days before realizing it. That's what had happened to his father. He was lost in the forest until one day a traveling gypsy found his body. No one knew how he ended up there, but the gypsy had said he was holding onto a rose surrounded by fine rubies. Tristan's mother had thought he was cheating on her on with some gypsy tramp, as she put it, and even in death she never forgave him for something he'd never done.
Tristan felt that sometimes he should have resented his mother, but the possibly that his father had left her always made him quickly forgive her actions. He'd seen how horribly people acted when they were hurt, and maybe his mother had a reason for being the way she was. And no matter how badly she treated Tristan, he would always remember that she was his mother. He was thought to respect his mother and he did.
But it was no time to start reflecting on his life. He still had to make the trip back home and then another trip to the well for Thierry's bath. It was going to be a long day.
"Tristan!" Thierry called from the dayroom in a sickeningly sweet voice reserved specifically when he had guests over.
Tristan didn't want any of Thierry's friends to see him. His thin cotton shirt was worn and ripped and his trousers were covered in dirt and suds from having been on his knees scrubbing the floor.
He fixed his clothes to look almost presentable and headed to the dayroom. In there Thierry was sitting on a chaise across from a fat little blond man Tristan recognized as Lord Hansel, Edmund's son. Hansel was dressed in such finery that almost put Thierry's clothes to shame. Edmund and Margie may have been poor enough to be working for Tristan's mother, but Hansel and his sister had come across a great fortune during their time in Enchanted Forest, and refused to give their parents a dime of it.
Tristan sketched a bow out of respect after he was in the room.
Thierry eyed Tristan's clothes disapprovingly before speaking, "Get us tea and some sweets."
Hansel's beady little eyes lit up at the mention of sweets. "Yes I would like some candy." His cheeks flushed a bright red as he wiped his brow with a silk handkerchief. "Especially if they come in the form of a brown haired beauty," he added eyeing Tristan up and down.
Tristan was about to make a polite comment to get him out of the situation when Thierry laughed loud and sardonically. "Don't be silly Hansel. A man of your large stature can do so much better. Why I'm sure there are many ladies and gentleman out there chasing after you."
If possible, Hansel's face got even redder. He nervously ran a hand through his prematurely balding head. "I haven't had any offers."
"I'm sure they're just shy." Thierry squeezed Hansel's shoulder, smiling reassuringly.
He bowed again even though the two had lost interest in him, and then left the room.
Tristan really didn't know whether to be insulted or relieved. He picked relieved because no matter how insulting Thierry had been, having Hansel trying to court him would have been worse. He wasn't one to rely on wistful fantasies to guide him through life, but he wanted a prince not Hansel, even if not a prince, at least someone who would look at him with more than hunger and not even the lustful hunger. Hansel looked at him like he was a piece of chocolate cake covered in frosting. For once, he was glad for his brother's constant insults. It was better that Hansel didn't think that Tristan was worthy of him.
He returned to the dayroom and placed the plate of cake and candy on the coffee table before he snuck away quietly. Thierry and Hansel were discussing all the fine young ladies and handsome gentleman that would be lucky to have Hansel. That was one thing that Thierry was always good at, lying at the expense of making people richer than him feel better. There was no questioning of what his motives were in befriending Hansel. Life in Happily Ever After was about who you knew and how much money they had or how powerful they were.
That was one of the reasons Tristan had no friends. The other reason was probably his awful personality. That had to be it because an optimistic part of him refused to believe that all people thought about was money and power. There must be something more important.
When dinner was finally ready and the house spotless, the sun was almost completely set. After he served his mother and Thierry dinner, he made to retire to his room. He would have to wash the dinner dishes in the morning. His body was aching and his head was pounding. His fingers were raw and his brown hair hung limply in his face. If he looked as badly as he felt, people would start mistaking him for one of the wicked witches; all he needed was a wart on his nose a hunched back—which he was sure to achieve if he continued lifting water buckets from the well everyday.
As he was making his way upstairs, there was a loud ruckus outside. There were horses neighing and two distinct male voices talking loudly, one sounded young about his and Thierry's age, the other far older and wiser. Curiosity drove him to glancing outside the window. Were these people the guests they were receiving? Would he have to answer the door when they knock? His mother had made it clear that the guests were not to see him, but she probably meant he wasn't to mention that he was her son. That was always their best kept secret.
He walked back to the main floor and waited in front of the entrance for them to knock. He knew better than to make their guests wait. He stood anxiously waiting; debating whether or not to let his mother know there were people at the door. He certainly hoped they were their guests arriving early and not some poor travelers looking for rest. His mother had always been against helping strangers. Then again maybe his mother hadn't noticed, and if they were travelers, maybe he could offer them the stables. They weren't much, but it would shelter them from the night wind.
The loud knock on the door shocked him out of his thoughts. He counted till ten, and then opened the door. He wouldn't want too seem over excited if they were their guests. He bowed then stood up straight, hoping his posture would distract them from his clothing.
In front of him there stood two cloaked men. One was tall and broad and the other short and fragile looking. The shorter man removed his hood revealing a face that must have once belonged to a handsome and powerful young man. "Is this the Fée house?"
"Yes, my lord," Tristan replied. "Are you the guests we've been expecting?"
"Yes, I'm afraid we over calculated how difficult crossing the Enchanted Forest would be so we're a bit early. I hope its no bother."
"It's no bother at all, sir. Your rooms are ready. Let me get the Madame of the house. I'm sure she'd like to welcome you herself."
"That won't be necessary; she's probably already turned in for the night."
"My lord, she'd be quite upset with herself if she missed welcoming her friends." That was a blatant lie; his mother just needed to make sure that Tristan wasn't embarrassing the family.
He led the guests to the dayroom lighting the candles along the way with the candle he had been using for light. "Please take a seat and rest while I go get Madame. Would you like anything to drink or eat?"
"No thank you we'll be fine."
Tristan nodded at the man and the man's friend and ran up the stairs. He hoped his mother had yet to go to sleep because she hated being woken up after she'd fallen asleep. He pondered the possibility of getting Thierry too, but knowing his brother he probably had some young lady in there with him. That was something he wouldn't want to walk in on.
He knocked on his mother's door softy. "Madame, our guests have arrived." He waited for a little while, and when he received no answer he knocked again.
The door was wretched open in front of him making him recoil in surprised fear.
"What do you want?" His mother bellowed. She must have been sleeping. Her hair was sticking up every which way and her face had some weird green concoction on it.
Tristan fought back the urge to whimper in fear and replied. "Our guests are here."
"Why did you not tell me?" She slammed the door in his face.
There were noises inside, a lot of crashing and cursing, which indicated that she was getting ready. Less than a minute later his mother reopened her door, looking as radiant as she normally did. Her face was cleared of the green goo, and her hair was tamed and tied up. "Well?" She barked, this time quieter than the first. "What are you waiting for? Show them their room and take their bags. Then get them something to eat and drink."
"This is not the time to argue with me Tristan; you have already messed up once today." With a flourish she glided down the stairs.
Used to her maltreatment, and afraid of what would happen if he disappointed her, Tristan went down stairs to their awaiting guests. He showed them their rooms while balancing the few bags they had brought, refusing any help the cloaked figure had offered. With their bags in their rooms and the guests sitting comfortably in the dayroom, Tristan headed to the kitchen to prepare coffee and reheat what ever was left from dinner. When he reentered the dayroom, his mother was animatedly chatting with the two men.
The other man had finally removed his cloak and the sight of him made Tristan's breath catch. He'd never seen anyone quiet like him. Even Blanche's prince, who was the fairest in all the land didn't match up to this man. The man's blue eyes following his every move made his face heat up and his palms sweat.
Without saying anything, Tristan set the food down and made his escape back to the kitchen. Something about the beautiful man had unnerved him. Living in Happily Ever After, Tristan was more that just used to seeing good looking people. He lived with them, he worked for them. Almost everyone important in Happily Ever After was either gorgeous or hideous. There was no middle; the only normal looking folk were the insignificant peasants like him. The man's looks should not have had any effect on him.
He was over reacting; it was okay for him to be effected by an attractive man. It was normal, it wasn't every day that a man as good looking as that one was in his presence without Thierry to distract him. He should enjoy what little time he had with the idea that the man could maybe be interested in him before Thierry had a chance to bring reality crashing back.
Tristan didn't know when he fell asleep, but he woke up the next morning at dawn. Outside the rooster was crowing loudly enough to wake people at the Enchanted Forest. It wasn't the first time that he wanted to cut off that rooster's vocal chords so that it no longer crowed. His head was pounding and the sound of the bird—one of the few that were spared from the fairy's gift—wasn't helping matters. It was a miracle how Thierry and his mother slept through the noise.
He needed to get started on his chores, despite the lack of sleep. But first thing first, he needed coffee otherwise he might make a fool of himself trying to function without being awake.
He buried his hands in his hair, it was greasy and knotted because he didn't have a chance to wash up recently. He made it his goal that day, that once he was finished he'd walk the few leagues further to the river when he went to fetch the water and bathe. He could still feel the grime from the day before on his body. He detested when guests visited because it always more than doubled his work, and his mother was nastier than ever.
Tristan reluctantly got out of his chair and dragged himself to the stove. He put what was left of the water to boil and made his way to the cupboard. He would just have to make enough for himself. If their guests were anything like his family, they wouldn't be up for another four hours or so.
While the water boiled, Tristan got started on the dishes from both dinner and tea with the still nameless guests. But, knowing his mother, he wouldn't even get introduced to him. After all, he was the help, and the help was to remain out of the way working diligently to please. That was what he was going to do. Drink his coffee, get breakfast ready and served, then spend the rest of the day doing work that needed to be down outside, minimizing his chances of running into the guests.
Once the water was boiled he poured himself a mug of it and mixed it with the coffee. He sat at the table ready to enjoy his few minutes of respite before the rest of the world awoke. Coffee was one of the few guilty pleasures he allowed himself. It was expensive, but he saw no problem if he also had some of it if his family insisted that he buy it, as long as no one found out. Taking a sip of the rich dark drink, Tristan let his head rest back against the seat. It really was good coffee.
A loud cough demanding his attention startled him into standing up, almost knocking over his mug. He clutched the sides of the table in attempts to calm himself. Tristan glanced up to see who the intruder was, but immediately averted his eyes when he saw that it was the handsome guest. His eyes took an unexpected interest in his mug and what little coffee left that hadn't sloshed onto the table top. The man had a developed a habit of catching Tristan when he was looking his worst. Then again, his best wasn't any better.
"Breakfast will be ready shortly, my lord. I'll bring it up to you." Tristan's eyes remained fixed on the table as he spoke. It wouldn't do him any good to see the man, it was bad enough that he was caught doing something he shouldn't have.
He heard more than saw the man pull out one of the chairs at the table and sit down. "That won't be necessary; I'll be having my food here."
"Yes, sir," Tristan replied his voice low. He turned clumsily away from the man and set to preparing his breakfast, cutting the fruit and buttering the bread. The work was a good distraction from the eyes he could feel watching him. He almost dropped everything he'd prepared when he turned and his eyes met with the man's brilliant blue ones. Something about the way the man was looking at him set his heart a flutter.
He frowned bemused and set the food in front of the man. "Would you like anything else?"
"No, thank you…" he let the sentence hang. "What is your name?"
"Tristan," he replied unsure of whether or not it was such a good idea to give his name, or even be talking to the man.
"Nice to meet you Tristan. I am Marcel." He gave him a half smile before digging into his plate. "Would you like to join me?"
"No thank you, sir." He immediately ran out of the room. He wouldn't give his family a chance to catch him dawdling when he should be working, even if it meant not getting to spend time with the handsome man. Marcel.
Through out the day as Tristan chopped wood, collected eggs, served breakfast, and worked at cleaning the house without being seen, his mind was on one thing alone. Marcel had managed to capture his thoughts and refused to let go. It was a curious feeling he'd never experienced before. It made him feel like singing, and Tristan absolutely hated singing.
Speaking of singing, Lilly was gently swaying back and forth in the wind humming an undistinguishable tune. She waved a little leaf that Tristan assumed was supposed to substitute for an arm at him when she spotted him. "Morning fellow!"
"Hello Lilly, are you thirsty?" he asked holding out a flask of water.
"Yes, yes, yes!"
Smiling, he poured half the contents of the water on her. "Better?"
"Most definitely good sir," she chirped. "You must be going to the well, but come back soon otherwise I'll think you fell."
"Actually, I'm going to the river first. I'm afraid I look quite a fright."
Lilly giggled. "You're the handsomest man I've ever seen. In the looks department, you my friend have been blessed."
"Don't be silly, I'm the only man you've ever seen."
Lilly shook her head, her leaves shaking in the wind. "Not true! The fairy is a man through and through."
"Describe him for me Lilly." He sat down cross legged in front of her, intrigued. He had time to waste; his mother and brother were taking their guests to a ball thrown by Cindy's prince.
"He was strong and handsome! There is no one like him, any where at all." She started to sing. "And when spring came, music for me to sing he did bring."
"He sounds charming," Tristan commented.
"His eyes were big and blue, and I was broken when it came the time to say adieu." An amorous smile played on her lips. "He was so handsome and nice for giving me this gift so I can hum."
Tristan patted Lilly's head softly. "Well I think it's time I go bathe. Wouldn't want you to wither from my smell."
The river was as cold as always, but it felt refreshing after the long walk to get there. He stepped deeper into the river, completely submerging his lower body, up to his torso. He scooped the water into his hands and washed his face clear of sweat and grime. He felt the stubble that was growing along his jaw and regretted not bringing a blade to shave with. He'd just have to do it when he got home. Hopefully his mother wouldn't notice his scruffy face. She hated men who didn't keep clean. His father had been such a man. In the winter time, he kept a beard that completely covered his neck, and he let his hair grow past his shoulders. His mother hated anything that reminded her of her late husband, so she insisted that both her sons keep their hair shorter. Thierry's fashionably reached a little passed his jaw line, while Tristan's was closer cropped. His hair was long enough that it was constantly in his face, but not long enough to be tied.
Tristan ducked under the water drenching his hair thoroughly. When he resurfaced he caught sight of a shadow. He needn't worry himself though; it was probably just another little fuzzy singing creature. When the shadow passed again, he turned to see what it was. A surprised gasp tore out of his throat at what he saw, and he went deeper into the water in attempts of preserving his dignity.
Staring at him from the river bank was an elderly woman clad in rags. She looked tired and warn, like she was about to fall over. She was calling out something to Tristan but because of the rushing water her words were lost.
"Madame, if you'd turn around, I'd really like to be dressed while speaking to you." He walked closer to the river bank keeping a crouching position to insure nothing was seen.
Obediently the woman turned around.
Tristan ran up to where he had left his clothes and began dressing. It was starting to prove to be a strange couple of days. "What can I help you with, Madame?"
"Oh my dear boy, I've been walking for the past few days and I'm exhausted and hungry." She turned to face the now fully clothed Tristan. "Can you help and weary old woman out?"
"Of course, but I'm afraid we're a bit far from the house."
Grabbing onto a tree, the lady lowered herself down to the ground. "I'd don't think I can do much more walking today."
"If you don't mind waiting, I'll go and fetch you something to eat." He offered feebly. "You'll be fine right?"
"Yes, yes my boy. I'll just rest until you return."
That day, Tristan's walk from the river to the well and then to the house and back to the river again had been the fastest he'd ever moved. Fear for the well being of the old women kept him distracted from the ache in his feet or the stitch on his side. Breathing heavily, he set a plate full of breakfast leftovers in front of the woman, along with a pitcher of water he'd gotten on his way back.
"I'm so glad you returned dear, but you didn't have to trouble yourself and create such a feast for me."
Tristan chuckled running a hand through his damp hair. "It's far from a feast."
"You really a nice beautiful boy," the lady said between bites. "I don't know what I could have done if I hadn't run into you."
Tristan hopped from foot to foot, his face heating at the lady's compliment. He wasn't used to being called beautiful, even if it was an old woman calling him that, he still felt light headed. Is that how Thierry felt every time someone complimented him? It would certainly explain why he was constantly looking for someone to notice him. "I'm sure there would be many people who would gladly help you."
The woman set down the piece of bread she was currently eating and her face sagged unhappily. "I certainly hope so. The world would be a much better place if people weren't too concerned with themselves to stop and help an old woman." The shadows from the low hanging trees that grew by the river making her look sadder.
Tristan glanced uncomfortably at his surrounding, his eyes bouncing from the river to the trees, and then back to the woman. He hated to admit that there was too much truth to her words. If his mother knew that he'd given her food for free he would be punished, despite the fact that the food would have been discarded anyway.
"For your help I will reward you."
Before the woman got a chance to continue, Tristan interrupted. "It's really not necessary. It wasn't a problem."
"No, no, don't argue with me. Everyone should get what they deserve."
"But I'm sure anyone else would have done the same…" he continued.
"Don't be silly, son. You and I both know no one would have bothered for I am just a poor beggar woman. What have I to offer?" She gave him a look that said he better not interrupt again. "For your kindness and good heart I will make it that with every word you speak, a flower or a precious stone shall fall from your mouth."
"I did not do this seeking…" Tristan immediately stopped speaking. Out of his mouth came out a ruby, a pearl, two roses, and two small diamonds. His eyes wide with fear, he caught the treasures in his hand before they fell to the ground. He couldn't feel them; if the sun hadn't reflected specks of light from the jewels he would have never known they were falling.
"And that is why I grant this gift to you. It is those who do not seek that are the most deserving." She reached over and patted a bewildered Tristan on the head. "Now, I think its best you go back home before your mother has a chance to scold you."
Vous êtes si beau, si bon et si honnête, que je ne puis m'empêcher de vous faire un don. Je vous donne pour don. Qu'a chaque parole que vous direz, il vous sortira de la bouche ou une fleur, ou une pierre précieuse…
Tristan's walk back home was full of thoughts about what had just happened. Had he finally met his Fairy Godmother? No, she would have said so. Maybe she was just a fairy and he'd been lucky enough to be the one there to help her. Who the woman was, was the least of his problems. What was his mother going to do when he spoke and jewels came out?
The answer to his problem was a simple one. He'd just have to keep him mouth shut while there were people in his presence. He can never speak again. At home it wouldn't be much trouble; his mother would probably be grateful to him never speaking again. He could always point at things when he didn't to stop by the market place. It wouldn't be hard at all, as long as he remembered.
He pushed the weathered wooden door that lead from the garden into the kitchen open. He had to make dinner and clean the bedrooms. The house was uncommonly clean since both Thierry and their mother had taken their guests to the opera. They weren't due back until around the ninth bell or even later.
The beautiful rocks were burning a hole in the pocket of Tristan dark brown warn cotton trousers. It felt as though they didn't belong to him, as though he'd stolen them, nothing had ever made him more dishonest. Diamonds and rubies did not belong anywhere near someone dressed like him. He knew that if his mother were to ever find out she'd say the same thing. She was in the habit of always going through his things to make sure that he hadn't stolen anything from her. That was ridiculous; no one steals from their on mother.
He'd deal with the gemstones later; he'd just have to be really careful for the time being.
Thierry's room always proved to be the hardest to clean. If Tristan didn't know any better he'd have to assume that he was purposely messy so that Tristan had more to clean. But Thierry had been a messy child long before Tristan was even put in charge of the cleaning. He had clothes strewn over his desk, under his bed, in every place but where they belong. Cursing his brother under his breath, Tristan set about putting away the clean laundry and the dishes from the morning's breakfast.
His mother's room had the ability to frighten him every time he entered it. It was spacious and dark with no trace of color in it. Though cleaner than Thierry's, the room was a greater pain to clean. His mother demanded perfection and no less was acceptable. He had to make sure that the room was spotless every day. That everything that shined should be shiny and everything that should be folded should be folded according to how she liked it. There were many instances where he'd folded something wrong and couldn't lie on his back for weeks afterwards.
Every guest they'd received before at the house had been exactly like his mother and brother, messy and inconsiderate. So when he's walked into the room of the old man and found it to be completely clean and organized, aside from the dishes which were placed on the bedside table, besides a bed that was made, he was more than pleasantly surprised. Marcel's room proved to be no different. It was neat and organized and smelled nicely of the woods. One night only and the room already smelt distinctly of the young man.
Tristan really wasn't in his right mind when he crawled into it to see how good it smelled. He also wasn't in his right mind as he pulled the covers over his head and sunk deeper into the bed taking in the woodsy spell. He'd never though that any human being could smell that good. It was as though Marcel spent most of his days out doors bathing in the river. Bathing was not something Tristan should imagine Marcel doing. He was going to be in trouble enough if he were caught in the man's bed, the last thing he needed was to get caught aroused in the man's bed. How embarrassing that would be.
It was dark outside when Tristan woke up. The room was bathed in calm candle light, and he was warm and cozy, which wasn't normal. His little bed in the attic was the last thing from cozy, and the little room always had an unpleasant dampness to it, even in summer. Something wasn't normal. Tristan pulled the covers that weren't his away from him and glanced around the room. That's when he remembered lying in the attractive man's bed. The lit candle suggested that someone had been there because when he'd fallen asleep, it was still day time.
What time was it, and more importantly, who lit the candle?
He was still alive, so it couldn't have been Thierry or his mother. He thanked the fairies for the small miracles as he attentively stepped out of the bed. It was so warm in the main rooms; it was a shame he was no longer allowed to sleep in his old room.
By the desk Tristan could make out a figure slumped over. It was Marcel. For where he was standing, he could see, from the light of a flickering candle, that Marcel was sound asleep. The man was slumped uncomfortably over a large pile of open books and crumpled up papers. Tristan slowly eased towards the door hoping that the creaking floorboards wouldn't wake Marcel. The door must have been only a few feet away, but those few feet felt like the farthest he'd ever walked. Once standing in front of the door, he stopped to calm his breathing. With his heartbeat only slightly slower, Tristan reached over to open the door. But finding it locked only helped the panic spread through him.
Why did the man want to keep him locked in? He tried the door again out of naïve optimism, but only to end up with the same results. He didn't much mind being stuck in the same room with the handsome Lord, but he certainly minded the results of what staying would mean. If his mother were to find out what he did she would make sure that he would never be able to lie down again.
He worried his bottom lip between his teeth and ran a hand through his hair. There was no way he could just wait for the man to wake up and open the door for him. He had to find the key himself. But where could it be? When Tristan had opened the door, he'd left the key in the lock so that the guest could find it easily, but clearly Marcel must have moved it. He also probably had it somewhere near him.
Holding his breath in hopes of eliminating some of the noise, Tristan tiptoed closer to the desk. Though the squeaking floorboards overshadowed any other noise he could have been making. He kept a firm eye on Marcel as he got closer. Marcel didn't look as though he would be waking up any time soon. Though he didn't look comfortable, he was fast asleep.
Marcel shifted in his seat causing some of the books near him to fall to the floor with a booming sound that sounded even louder in the frighteningly silent dark room.
Tristan jumped back and froze. With his eyes wide and his breath held he appraised Marcel. Marcel was still breathing deeply and his eyes were closed. Tristan took that as a sign to mean the man slept like the dead, and once again began inching closer to the desk where the keys should be. The desk was an absolute mess, books and papers and envelopes were scattered all over the surface. But other than the ink for the quill pen and ink, there was nothing but paper.
He knew it wasn't the time and that he certainly should be looking for the key and not enjoying how the candle light made his skin shine or how his blue eyes looked half lidded with sleep. Sleep? How was he able to…?
"Hello," Marcel greeted his voice soft and a lazy smile playing at his lips. He ran his fingers through his curly hair to give them the appearance of being tamer.
Tristan's eyebrows disappeared into his hairline in surprise. He shifted his gaze from the lord and cupped a hand across his mouth as he spoke. "I… I'm. Hello." He didn't care that his words came out mumbled as long as the man didn't see the emerald and the delicate purple iris that fell from his mouth. "My lord," he added as an after thought.
Marcel yawned, throwing his arms above his head to stretch. "I honestly need to stop falling asleep at my desk before they take to the bell tower to ring the bells." He bared white teeth in a charming grin. "It's nice to wake up to you."
All the sudden the room got a bit too hot, and Tristan felt like his heart was in throat. He took a few steps until he felt at a safe distance from Marcel. "My lord, I didn't mean to fall asleep, I just…" There was another flood of gems and flowers that he was barely able to catch in time. He slipped them into the pocket of his trousers.
"I didn't mind." Marcel, still smiling, stood up and copied the steps that Tristan had taken so that he was standing right in front of him. He rested his hand on Tristan's shoulder and turned him around. "Why won't you look at me?"
With Marcel so close to him, Tristan knew better than to try speaking, so he just shrugged his shoulders. He hoped that Marcel wouldn't think he was being disrespectful. Then again he was already going to be dead once his mother found out he had fallen asleep in the man's bed; in comparison, shrugging his shoulders instead of replying was nothing to fret about.
He looked up his dark eyes meeting stunning bright blue ones. He gulped back the anticipation and slight traces of arousal he felt. It really wasn't a good time for that. Tristan was surrounded by that smell that had been on the bed along with a hint of tea and honey. The man was going to drive him craze and the hand on his shoulder so warm and strong wasn't helping matters.
Reaching out with both hands Marcel grabbed a hold of Tristan's face in his hands. "You look flushed. Are you alright?"
Alright? Not really, he felt as though he was going to pass out from the lack of oxygen and blood going to his head. Despite being almost a whole head taller, Tristan felt extremely small and vulnerable next to Marcel. The man wasn't only stronger than him, but stood in a way that demanded obedience and attention. All that Tristan could do to keep from running away was to bow his head and break eye contact.
Marcel stepped even closer to Tristan. They were forehead to forehead, their noses almost touching. "I might do something stupid right now."
When Marcel brushed his lips softly against his, Tristan really know what to do other than just tense up. His hands were sitting rigidly at his side, his eyes wide open staring at Marcel's out of focus face. It wasn't until the initial shock of what was happening grew fainter that he closed his eyes and started paying attention to what Marcel was doing with his lips.
The kiss was soft and not so surprisingly pleasant. Tristan had certainly never been kissed like that before. Then again, kisses were rarely part of the salacious rendezvous he had when ever extra time in town permitted. Tristan was awkward and clumsy, but he quickly found that he was too eager to join in. He carefully placed his hands on Marcel's chest and enjoyed the kiss, until the need for air persisted.
Marcel took a few steps away from Tristan. He stood scratching the back of his head and smiling sheepishly. "I really shouldn't have done that." He ran the knuckle of his left hand down Tristan's face; then he hastily pulled away. "I think I will go to the library now. I do have a bit of work to do."
Well, before that morning Tristan was able to say that he'd never been woken up with a bucket of cold water thrown at him—well never before had they thrown the actual bucket. His head throbbing from the impact of the object connecting with his head, he sat up in bed. His room was still dark which meant he hadn't overslept. The only source of light was from the candles his mother and Thierry held.
"How could you?" His mother shouted ripping his blanket off the bed.
Thierry grabbed a hold of his hair, and pulled him into standing. Once Tristan was standing Thierry pulled him close by the grip he had on his hair so that they were nose to nose. "You have really done it this time, you dirty little bastard."
So that was it. Marcel had told them what had happened when they were gone. He was really done now and he didn't even get a chance to enjoy memories of the kiss from the night before. His stomach twisted and tightened at his misfortune. It would just figure that just when his luck was turning around—with the fairy's wish and the way Marcel had behaved the night before—that he would be dead.
"Where did you get them?" His brother's grip on his hair tightened.
"Who did you steal them from?"
His eyes widened in understanding. Marcel hadn't told them, and for a second Tristan almost let himself breathe out a sigh of relief. But the truth remained that he was lying on a fortune with no way of explaining how he got it. He could just tell them the truth. The act of talking alone would prove he wasn't lying.
"They are rather beautiful," Thierry said gathering a few of the gems Tristan had lost while he was asleep. "Maybe Tristan has been selling himself, Mother."
From the dim candle light Tristan could see his mother's monster grimace.
"This is no time for mockery and jokes, dear." She sat down delicately on the unmade bed. "After all, who would be so desperate?"
Thierry threw his head back and laughed a blaring and cruel laughter. "True, true but who is rich enough in this god forsaken town to be carrying such fine rocks that would let Tristan get close enough to steal from them." He let go of his hold on Tristan's hair and pushed him to the ground. "Tell me brother," Thierry spat the word out like it was poisonous, he emphasized his repugnance by the kick he landed on Tristan's side. "Who did you steal these from?"
Tristan grabbed his side gasping for the breath that had been knocked out of him. "I did not steal anything." He clenched his eyes shut and waited for the world to erupt. He felt his stomach turn as though he was going to empty all he had eaten the day before onto the floor. The sound of the jewels hitting the floor was almost deafening in the now quiet room. He stared hard at the pieces of shiny wealth on the floor, begging himself not to start crying.
The Madame of the house stood up from her chair sufficiently intrigued. She placed a hand on Thierry's shoulder bidding him to take a step back. She crouched down so that she was at level with Tristan. "Now, my dear son." She'd never called him her son before. "I suppose you have an interesting confession to make."
He glanced up at her surprised. He bid himself not be hopeful for the small acknowledgement from her. She was never going to think of him as her son; after all he looked too much like the man that had once broken her heart.
"Thierry, help your brother sit up and bring him something to drink."
"But, Mother," Thierry began to argue. "Oh… Alright, I won't be long." It seemed that his mother's intentions finally dawned on him, and without delay he went on his way.
Que vois-je là! dit sa mère tout étonnée; je crois qu'il lui sort de la bouche des perles et des diamants. D'où vient cela, mon fils?
While Thierry was gone, Tristan's mother coaxed out of him the story of the old lady and the fairy gift she had bestowed upon him. He told her that he had been at the river by the well getting water because he knew better than to give away that he was taking the time to shower. He would certainly be punished if she knew he had been wasting time instead of working.
As he spoke, the Madame of the house collected all the jewels that fell from Tristan's mouth leaving behind the flowers.
"Thierry dear, you'll be the one responsible for the water this week."
"But mother, it will take ages just to walk there. I do have important meetings to attend to. Lord Hansel invited me and Lord Marcel to the club tomorrow." He sat down a glass of brandy for both Tristan and his mother. The other he kept in his hand sipping at it occasionally.
"Tristan was telling me about how he met a fairy by the well and she granted him the ability to create such beautiful things when he speaks."
Thierry grimaced at the idea that he would have to walk all the way to the well; even the prospect of wealth wasn't enough to distract him from that. "One of us is enough, Mother."
"If you are so lazy, then just ask Edmund to drive you there." She waved a dismissing hand at her eldest son. "As for going to the club, I'm sure Tristan would like a chance to see what he's missing."
Tristan's eyebrows furrowed in confusion. Why was she being so nice all of a sudden? He knew his mother and brother were very greedy, yet he never knew to what extent. But going the club with Marcel would certainly be a pleasant experience. Maybe there would be more kisses like the one before. Even if there weren't, he'd be just happy if the man spoke to him again.
Thierry scoffed. "Mother, you could not possibly be suggesting that Tristan should go to a club. Our family will become a laughing stock. We can't send him to meet with proper people dressed as he is."
Thierry was right; Tristan didn't even own a formal jacket or a cravat, let alone ones that would be appropriate for the club. At least his brother didn't let him build up too much hope. Thierry was always very good at that. After all, how absolutely incongruous he would look there amongst all the Lords and Marquises. No, the clubs were no place for him.
"It's just drinks and card; I'm sure you have something old that might fit him."
Tristan sat quietly barely listening as his mother argued back and forth about what was going to happen. In the end, his mother decided that he would be asking Lord Hansel, as prettily as he could, whether he may join them at the clubs in place of his brother. Tristan didn't think that it would be very wise for him to be speaking in front of anyone.
Thierry, unhappily, lead his brother to his room so that he could pick something for him to wear. "Do not think that just because the fairy blessed you that you're going to be replacing me. The fact that you speak diamonds does not change the fact that you have no place in our society," Thierry said once they were alone in his room. "In fact, once I also become blessed you will return to being nothing to mother. She doesn't love you. I don't love you. It's just that your mouth is very pretty."
Tristan stood quietly listening to what was being said. He wasn't going to argue; he was a realistic man.
"Especially when it's making me rich." He patted Tristan mockingly on the cheek. "Now why don't we find something that will make even you look presentable."
Thierry rummaged through his closet pulling out pits and pieces of clothing. So that's how he managed to get the room to look so chaotic. Tristan scowled at some of the things Thierry was choosing. He couldn't possibly be expected to wear that. All those bright colors and the breeches looked so small, nothing like his relaxed trousers.
"No need to make faces," Thierry said shoving an ensemble at him. "Your face is contorted enough as is. Now get dressed while I see if I can find anything to take care of that mop on your head."
Tristan's hand unconsciously went to his hair; it wasn't that bad maybe unfashionably long, but it was clean and it felt soft. When Thierry left the room, Tristan began struggling to dress himself. Once the breeches were up he felt like he couldn't move they were so tight. The shirt and the jacket were alright, but he was ashamed to admit that he didn't even know how to put on the cravat.
"Why am I not surprised that you cannot even dress yourself?" Thierry came back into the room; he frowned at Tristan and batted his hands away. "I honestly do not know what Mother is thinking. Just the idea is laughable." He fiddled with Tristan's neck piece, making faces at it when it refused to cooperate. "I can put you in my finest clothes, but you'd still be you. And that is the problem." He stepped back taking in his work. "It will have to do. Now about that hair, please tell me it's clean."
"It's clean," Tristan said dryly.
A smirk found its way to Thierry's face as two pearls tumbled out of his brother's mouth. "Hmm, maybe all this is worth it after all." He pocketed the gems. "These will look most dashing on my new cravat pin."
Tristan shrugged. He had no idea what his brother was going on about. He didn't care what Thierry did with the pearls; he didn't much care for the gems. He found the flowers to be much more entertaining.
"Sit there and keep your hands away from your hair. You are not to touch it until after the club." He pulled and tugged at Tristan's hair all the while humming unhappily to himself. "I don't know why it's so uncooperative. You'd think we didn't have the same parents or something." He pulled the comb through Tristan's hair without any semblance of gentleness.
Tristan looked at the mirror. His hair was pulled into a small tale at the base of his neck. He knew his hair would feel stiff without touching it. What had Thierry put on it?
"Put these on." Thierry threw a pair of black boots at Tristan. "Lord Hansel will be here soon. Make sure you do just as Mother asked. Don't foul up our social standing too much if you can help it."
"He's going to see this," Tristan said gesturing to the gems that fell from his mouth.
Thierry scratched his stubble covered chin thoughtfully."I suppose we just have to share. You can tell him that a fairy blessed our family when you were a child or something similar nonsense." An almost evil grin dominated his feature. "Anyhow, if Lord Hansel had it his way, your mouth will be otherwise occupied today. You won't even have a chance to speak between pleasuring him."
Tristan shuddered, his stomach twisting and turning; he was going to be sick. "Surely he does not expect…"
Thierry watched with allure as a few flowers and two opals fells out of his brother's mouth. He ignored the flowers and cheerfully picked up the gems. "You cannot afford to be so picky, especially with how you are. You are fortunate someone of Lord Hansel's grandeur has even noticed the simplicity that is you. He could easily be the only person who'd ever want to be intimate with you."
A knowing smile found it's self onto Tristan's face, but he quickly pushed it away. Thierry had no need to know about what Tristan and the baker's son did last month or what he and the black smith had been up to the month prior to that. Tristan may have been a stranger to True Love, but he knew intimacies very well. He wasn't going to bring that up though, or they would find a way to keep him from going to town. After all he was a boy and like all boys he couldn't just rely on his hand.
"I suppose you also need to ask Lord Marcel if you may join them," Thierry said. "He does not seem too repulsed by you so I suppose he will not mind."
He was going to have to talk to Marcel? He couldn't even be in the same room as the man without his legs turning to custard, let alone talk to him. And, after the events of the night before, it would be a miracle if he was able to not faint from lack of blood to anywhere other than his face.
"Why is your face red like that?" Thierry regarded him with a raised eyebrow. "It wouldn't happen that you are smitten by our guest would it?"
Tristan pressed his lips together into a tight pale line. He wasn't going to answer that.
"Oh you poor pathetic little thing, you are, aren't you?" Thierry's insufferable laugh filled the room; he was clutching his stomach with one hand and holding onto his bed post with the other to keep from falling. "I do believe that might have been the most amusing thing I've heard all day."
Tristan failed to see what was so droll about his unspoken confession. It wasn't as though he was in love—well even if he were Thierry didn't know that—he just found the man to be appealing.
"I was hoping I would not need to tell you this, but I suppose you've just proved me wrong. Lord Marcel, or should I say Prince Marcel, the third son of King Gregory the Second, is slightly out of reach for you."
It would have to be that way wouldn't it? Tristan couldn't have been interested in the seventh son of some unimportant lord. No, it had to be the Prince. But that's how all the stories went. The Prince always fell in love with some lowly maiden who ended up was at some point a Princess, like with Blanche or Cindy. He wasn't going to let himself get his hopes up any more than they had been. He should know better than to expect a "happily ever after" because where he lived "happily ever after" was saved for beautiful women with evil stepmothers.
"I'm not smitten." He was finally able to mumble. He hoped Thierry would just drop the subject.
Thierry was still laughing. "You must admit though, the idea of you love-struck for a Prince is absolutely the funniest thing since what happened to wolf friend of yours."
Tristan really would rather never mention what Red did to the wolf again. It wasn't like he was going to eat her or her Grandmother; he just wanted what was in the basket.
"Go down stairs and get breakfast ready, we'll be eating in the dayroom. Do not get the clothes dirty."
Things hadn't changed. Tristan was just wearing nicer clothes. He wasn't allowed to eat his breakfast with the rest of the family. He was to serve it before they came to the table and be gone before someone saw him. Things were actually worse if Tristan took the time to consider it because washing dishes in a coat and cravat was torture.
Tristan smiled weakly as he walked into the bright dayroom where lord Hansel was waiting for him. Seeing the man stuff one pastry after the other into his mouth with disregard to proper eating manners was enough to make his stomach turn. He held back any disgusted sounds he suddenly had the urge to make. "Good Morning, My Lord." He quickly snatched up the rubies that tumbled out of his mouth.
Lord Hansel was just short of growling at who ever distracted him from his food. Noticing Tristan he immediately smiled. "Why are you dressed up?" He didn't bother with swallowing before speak.
His upper lip curled up and he took a step back. If the way Lord Hansel ate didn't make him want to loose his breakfast, the way the man was looking at him certainly would.
Lord Hansel was sizing Tristan up like he was a prized cow or something similar. The lucid leer on his face speaks volumes of what he's thinking. "Not that I'm not enjoying it mind you." He snorted to himself at his attempt of flirting.
The smile Tristan gave him was more of a frown than anything. "I was wondering if you'd allow me the privilege of accompanying you to the club instead of my brother. For you see, he is ill."
Lord Hansel's usually beady eyes got big, almost too big for his plump red face. He'd noticed the gems. His eyebrows rose up, and his mouth hung agape. "Did…"
"Yes sir," he said slightly amused by the speechless man. "They are yours, if you'd like."
"Hm. I suppose it is the least you can do since I'm letting you join us." He collected the stones and put them away so that no one can separate him from them.
Content with the small fortune he'd just acquired Lord Hansel sat back on the chaise, ready to once again return to devouring the pastries.
As for Tristan, he felt awkward and out of place. What was he supposed to say? Nobles often conversed about things he knew nothing about. Every time he'd overheard some form of conversation between Thierry and a friend it had been about food and girls and clothes and dueling. Tristan had never even held a dueling pistol and he indeed had no interest in any girls.
An attention demanding cough sounded behind him. He twirled around only to come face to face with Prince Marcel. He gulped uncomfortably and quickly bowed. "Your Highness," he spoke into his hands, catching what ever fell out.
Marcel grinned, big and goofy, as he stared at Tristan. "Hello, Tristan."
Tristan straightened up and returned the smile equally as bright.
Tristan's face began heating up as he shamelessly admired the Prince's appearance. When he'd seen him before Marcel was either wearing a hood or it was dark, which completely distracted from how absolutely good looking the man was. He was tall and broad just slightly shorted than Tristan's awkward height. He was fit, oh yes, extremely fit; his clothes clung to him in the most breathtaking way. If his face hadn't been red enough, he was afraid that when Marcel caught his eyes, he turned almost purple.
He was about to speak—maybe to apologize for the way he was behaving—but Lord Hansel stood up proud and tall. "Your Majesty." He bowed grandly with unnecessary theatrics. "It is my honor to have finally made your acquaintance."
"Yes," the prince said with a slightly amused smile. "It surly is, Lord..."
"Hansel Von Schubert and I must tell you I am most pleased that you will be joining us for lunch this afternoon."
Marcel laughed a loud vibrating laugh. "The Grand Duke has finally banished me from my room. He insists that I socialize." He turned to Tristan with that same goofy grin. "I would much rather spend my days reading."
"You like to read!" Because of his excitement, Tristan neglected to hide the flowers tumbling from his mouth.
Marcel leaned over and gathered the four different colored roses. He smiled congenially as he handed them over to Tristan. "I do often find myself lost in great literature. Is it often that you…?" He gestured at the flowers with his hand. "Is that common?"
"No you Highness," Lord Hansel interjected. "I've seen jewels come out of his mouth."
"Hm. That's truly a shame for the flowers are much more interesting."
Tristan worried his bottom lip between his teeth, trying to contain as grin. "They truly are, sir, but I'm afraid the gems are much more regular." As though to prove a point to the prince, a rainbow of gems fell to the ground with a clunk.
Without giving anyone else a chance to, Lord Hansel instantaneously began collecting them. "If your Highness has no use for these, I would like to keep them."
Marcel frowned. "I would think that I am hardly the person to ask."
"It's perfectly fine." Lord Hansel waved a somewhat dismissing hand.
The prince's eyes narrowed into a dangerous glare. "Are you positive?"
"Yes, yes. Thierry and the Madame do not mind one bit."
Marcel rolled his eyes, and Tristan had to clap a hand over his mouth to keep from giggling at the childish gesture.
His features softening, Marcel turned to Tristan. "How about you sir, do you mind?"
Tristan was sure he looked foolish, but he'd never been asked if he minded before. It was always, Tristan do this and that and quickly. He didn't mind giving up the jewels; he had no use for them. "Yes, I have no use for them."
"Riches like those do sure come in handy; they could get you anything your heart desires."
"I have everything I need, sir." He caught a vibrant scarlet flower and handed it to the Prince. "It is not much, but please do accept it as a form of gratitude."
"Your attendance is treat enough." Marcel smiled and grabbed hold of the beautiful flower. He let his fingers linger over Tristan's; he leaned in close to his and whispered in his ear, "Are you familiar with what a scarlet tulip connotes?"
Face bright, and quiet possibly the same color as the tulip, Tristan shook his head.
Lord Hansel coughed loudly demanding that the attention be back on him. An odd look covered his face, a look that Tristan could not decipher the meaning of. "We should be leaving now. It's almost lunch time, and the carriage ride is a rather long one," he spoke sharply, offering his arm for Tristan to take.
Hesitant, Tristan took Lord Hansel's arm and allowed himself to be lead out the door. With some difficulty Tristan was prudent not to pull his arm away, as much as he wanted to.
The carriage itself wasn't as spectacular as Tristan expected from the lavish lifestyle Lord Hansel prided himself with, but the inside was at least not a surprise. It was made of dark wood and the seats covered with lush fabrics that Tristan didn't have the up bringing to recognize and curtains made of silk. The inside was every bit as gaudy as the lord.
Lord Hansel led Tristan into the carriage sitting so close to him it was suffocating. The only thing that interested the lord was regaling the prince with his tales of gallantry and fine jewels or houses made of candy and witches as wicked and dire as the winter sickness. It would have all been rather amusing had Tristan not heard it every time the man visited his brother. After all there was so much of a story a man can hear before even cannibalism becomes mundane.
The prince also seemed rather unimpressed, he nodded when ever appropriate and asked the right questions, but he kept his eyes on the window staring at something interesting on the outside. Tristan wasn't sure what interesting thing the countryside offered, especially to someone like Prince Marcel who was accustomed to the city life.
"It's hard to imagine how you can even look at sweets without feeling ill after your encounter," Prince Marcel remarked.
Lord Hansel smiled smugly, "You see your highness, I am a brave man."
"As is obvious by your courageous behavior when faced by the witch." Marcel's words sounded dry and humorless, as though he was mocking the lord, but Lord Hansel was absolutely clueless. He just continued to smile.
"You have been quiet, Tristan." Marcel commented.
"Yes," Hansel said tightening his grip on Tristan's arm. "It is a shame, truly." With his free hand he fingered the jeweled buttons on his coat.
Marcel's eyes narrowed. "I wager you also have an interesting story to tell. How exactly did you come to possess such a gift?"
"I am not sure…." He smiled weakly, his mother wouldn't be happy if he told. He could just leave out bits and peaces. "I know it was a fairy who gave it to me, but I do not know why."
"I can just imagine what reasons." The look from when Hansel had first seen Tristan that afternoon had comeback.
Must the man look at him like that? It made him feel repulsing. Tristan shivered scooting away from Lord Hansel as much as the carriage allowed. He was suddenly feeling extremely claustrophobic and uncomfortable. He felt caged in the small space, but it wasn't so much the space as the company. He leaned his head back and closed his eyes; maybe he would just imagine Lord Hansel wasn't there.
The trip went quicker when he began ignoring it. The two nobles conversed while he imagined he was with Lilly or pretending to clean the library instead of the carriage. His mother had done him a favor turning him into their maid; he was not made for the noble life. He was made for cleaning not pretending to care about things he didn't understand. Maybe it was for the best that he stood no chance with Prince Marcel.
The carriage came to a stop in front of a grand house in the décor that was reserved for the center of town. It was large with modern architecture and beautiful bricks. Well kept greenery showed a distinct walk way to a majestic front entrance.
Upon entrance Lord Hansel introduced them as his guests when a steward asked for their membership. He also went to great lengths in humiliating the steward by explaining exactly who he was asking membership from.
Prince Marcel scowled at Lord Hansel. "The man is only doing his job, sir." He turned to the frightened and shaking steward. "There is nothing wrong with a man who does his work as he should, and you sir, have done wonderfully."
"Thank you Your Majesty," the boy said catching the coin Marcel had tossed at him. "Thank you very much."
The room they had been led to was all rich colors and expensive art. The walls were covered by gold and burgundy wallpaper, and on them hung tapestries that told stories about Happily Ever After's past. There were stories as old as when Prince Charming the First—probably a descendent of Marcel's—married a mermaid to Cindy's wedding to Marcel's oldest brother. The men standing about looked as though they also were part of the decoration. They were dressed finely and some looked like royalty.
To say he felt intimidating would be ridiculous. Had Lord Hansel not had a firm grip on him, Tristan would have thrown himself out of the first window they'd passed. Everyone was pretending that they weren't staring at them and everyone looked so much better than him. They were whispering as though they knew Tristan didn't belong, and they probably did. Most of them were Thierry's friends and they'd seen him before on his hands and knees scrubbing the floors as they stumbled in at six in the morning with his brother, drunk and not yet ready to return home to their wives or parents.
With the hand not trapped by Lord Hansel, Tristan held clenched his coat. He walked with his eyes focused on the ground; even the comfort of having Marcel right besides him was not enough to calm him.
"You do realize you are easily the most handsome one here."
Lord Marcel's words and the feeling of the man's hot breath on his neck almost made him fall to the ground; luckily he just stumbled then regained his balance.
"It's just walking, boy. I was hoping you'd be able to manage that much."
"I apologize, sir," he mumbled to the floor, his face more heated than before, but the pleasant feeling he'd gotten from Marcel before was completely gone.
"Mph… Roses." Lord Hansel stomped on the flowers and yanked a dismayed Tristan along.
Tristan felt a gentle brush of hand against his side and dragged his eyes up to meet Marcel's.
"Does he always treat you like this?" He whispered into his ear.
Tristan shrugged. "No," he replied, and honestly he wasn't lying, Lord Hansel usually just looked at him like he was a favorite dessert, he'd never before bothered to talk to him.
The prince gave him an inquisitive look, but didn't say anything.
Lord Hansel led them to a group of men who were sitting around a table playing a card game drinking wine. "Your Highness, I have a few good mates who would be honored to make your acquaintance."
Marcel smiled large and tight. "Good afternoon, gentlemen."
"Your Highness." Each man bowed grandly and ridiculously. Tristan held back his snickers, but did they look like fools.
One of the men stood out towards them and extended his hand towards Marcel. "I am Georges Le Blanc, the Earl of Le Bois Dormant."
The Earl and Tristan had once been good friends. Once when Tristan was the second son of a marquis and they had been on the same standing. When at sixteen Tristan was pulled out of social society after his father's death, Georges no longer saw it fit for them to be friends. Instead, he became very good friends with Thierry and even better at pretending he never knew Tristan.
"Fée." He nodded at Tristan, a bemused look on his face.
Tristan bowed but kept silent. There was no need for them to know of his gift. It was trouble enough that his family and Lord Hansel knew; he didn't need more people coaxing him to speak.
The other lords introduced themselves to the prince, each not paying any mind to Tristan. They all knew his, so introductions were slightly unnecessary. It was obvious though that each was curious to ask why he was there, wondering if it was fit to be polite to him again.
"Gentleman, I'm afraid my stomach is calling—" Lord Hansel began to say.
"Your stomach is always calling you bloody squab." Lord Franklyn, the viscount of Baslin, joked, clapping Lord Hansel on the back.
Lord Hansel stood up straight, his shoulders squared and his lips pressed in a tight line. "There is no shame in a man with a healthy apatite. Mr. Daviess."
"I do believe I am also quite hungry if you do not mind." Marcel broke in. "Shall we take out seats."
Lunch found Tristan sitting rigidly next to Lord Hansel staring at his fish as though it would soon decide to walk out of the club. He wasn't hungry. He may not have eaten in the morning, but his nerves vowed that he wouldn't be eating then also. He hated to just sit and play with his food because it probably tasted better than anything he'd ever get a chance to eat again, but it felt as though he'd spent his night feasting on ash. Maybe that was a side-effect of the gift.
He was so intent on watching his fish that he almost jumped out of his seat when he felt something brush up against his leg, his brother's breeches not substantial enough to block out even the lightest of touches. Just as he started to calm the touch came back—feeling distinctly like a foot, this time higher and inching even higher up his inner thigh.
With wide eyes he inspected the other two people at their small round table. Lord Hansel wasn't even looking at him; instead he was animatedly talking to the prince. The prince though as before was not even looking at Hansel. No, his blue eyes were connected to Tristan's, and a smirk was fixed on his face. He was leaning back in his seat with his hands crossed; he wasn't eating either.
Tristan's tongue darted out to wet his dry lips, but it didn't help any. The foot was now dangerously close to his hardening dick. What was Marcel thinking? Not only were they in a pubic place, but it was completely inappropriate for a prince to be behaving like that with a servant.
He barely held back the loud gasp when Marcel's foot reached its destination. Tristan sat up straight in his seat, one hand holding on tightly to his fork and the other onto the table. Short nails scratched at the table as the foot on his lap began moving, teasingly slow.
"Are you enjoying your lunch, Highness?" Lord Hansel asked taking large bites out of his own lunch.
"Very much so." Marcel emphasized every word with a vicious jerk of his foot. His eyes were sparkling with mirth, but his voice sounded dangerously low and husky.
Tristan on the other hand was trying not to rock back against the moving foot. His face was flushed and breathing was becoming more and more difficult. The room was hot, and he kept tugging at his neck piece in slight hope that it would cool him down. He couldn't believe what Prince Marcel was doing to him. How absolutely mortifying, yet so very enjoyable.
Tristan came with a loud cough. He relaxed into his seat for a moment disappointed to feel the foot retreating. Part of him still could not believe what had just happened and the other part was praying that his waistcoat was longer so that it would cover the small stain that the thin material of his pants would never cover.
"That was not fair." Tristan muttered his face flushed.
"What was not fair?" Lord Hansel asked irritated at what was on the table: two daisies, a carnation, and a violet.
Laughing, Marcel reached over the table and grabbed hold of one of Tristan's hands. "But you did enjoy it." He smirked, his thumb stroking the inside of Tristan's palm.
Tristan turned his head away but didn't retract his hand.
"If you do not mind me asking, what is going on?"
"Nothing that concerns you."
"Thank you for this afternoon Lord Hansel, it was most pleasurable." Prince Marcel shook hands with Hansel when they'd arrived at the house. "You may of course stay for dinner, but I will be retiring to my rooms early tonight."
"Yes, thank you very much my lord," Tristan mumbled, his face still red, but this time from Marcel's secretly wondering hands in the carriage. He didn't know what the man was thinking, but he wasn't going to lie and say he does not like it. He was standing by the prince looking down at his feet. "I enjoy myself greatly."
"Hm, that's nice, indeed." He retrieved the gems from Tristan's outstretched hands. "I'll be heading out now. I have important business to attend to."
Marcel led Tristan into the house with his hand on the small of Tristan's back. "I'd like you to come with me to my room please." He leaned down and whispered into Tristan's ear.
Tristan shivered and nodded his head. "Yes, sir."
"I think considering the situations. I'd really love it if you were to use my name."
Tristan nodded again, not sure if his voice would work. He was led to the prince's room then urged to take a seat on the bed.
"First I'd like to apologize for being so forward. I am not usually one to act in such lust." Marcel paced back and forth in front of the bed, his hands behind his back. "It's just well… It's hardly a secret but I'm extremely smitten by you."
"That's impossible!" Tristan exclaimed standing up.
"No, I'm sure no falling for you would have been the difficult part. And do believe that I have been trying. I just hope that I haven't made you too uncomfortable."
"You have made me a bit more than just uncomfortable." He hadn't meant it to come out sounding as terrible as it did.
"Please do forgive me." Marcel held on tightly to Tristan's hands between his own. "I behaved like a bloody fool."
Tristan couldn't help but laugh. "I'm not upset with you."
"That could easily be the best thing I've heard in my life. Well second."
Tristan's eyes furrowed in confusion. "If you do not mind me asking highness, what was the first?"
Marcel leaned in close. "That sweet choked sound you made when you came," he murmured into Tristan's ear before he nipped it.
Tristan made a low growling sound as the teeth were followed by lips and a skillful tongue. He let go of the prince's hands to bury them deep into Marcel's thick black hair. He redirected the man's head until his lips were pressed firmly against his. Those lips tasted better than he remembered.
Marcel's hands slipped down to Tristan's waist, grabbing a hold of him and pulling him closed, until his lean body was flush against the prince's. "This is nice," Marcel said resting his head against the taller man's.
"You fucking bastard!" The shout had come from downstairs and it sounded distinctly like Thierry.
"I was."Tristan frowned. "But my brother calls." He tried to pull away but Marcel wouldn't let him.
"I did not hear anything," he mumbled kissing Tristan's neck, his forehead, his lips.
"Where are you, you little whore?"
Marcel was the one to pull away this time. "I will not stand for this."
Tristan grabbed the sleeve when Marcel neared the door. "Just let me go talk to him."
"No!" Marcel shouting looking angrier than he'd ever seen him look. "I have seen how they and the whole bloody town treat you. I do not know why you even tolerate this."
"He's my brother. They're my family, just let me go speak to him."
With a sigh Marcel relented. "Fine," he said kissing Tristan's head. "Just let me come with you."
Downstairs the ground was full of insects and snakes along with overturned furniture. Thierry must have been really angry.
"You fucking bastard look what you did to me!" As he spoke all sorts of disgusting looking insects came out of him mouth. "You lied to me!" He paid no mind to Marcel as he approached his younger brother.
"What did I lie about?"
"You fucking lied. You said she would make me speak diamonds, you said she was an old hag and all I got was a young bitch asking for money!"
"She's a fairy, she can change forms," Tristan said calmly. "I did not lie."
"Yes you did, you filthy whore."
"Sir, I will not stand for you calling him names." Marcel's tone was harsh.
"Your highness, I'm sorry to have disturbed you but—"
"I do not want to hear it," he shouted. "Inform the Grand Duke that I have taken one of the horses and will be heading out early."
"But Highness, surely."
"Please stop speaking, you disgust me."
Tristan was mortified, "Your highness please do not leave."
Long fingers caressed Tristan's face. "There is no reason for me to stay. I'm leaving and you are coming with me, for now. We'll take care of everything once we reach the castle."
"Coming with you?"
"Yes, I'm sure you'll love the palace." He pressed his lips against Tristan's. "I don't think I can leave you behind now, even if you wanted me to."
"What is going on?" Thierry had calmed down considerably.
"It's of no concern to you." Marcel reassured. "Be sure to thank Madame for her hospitality."
"Do you think you can keep a secret?" Marcel asked helping Tristan up onto the saddle.
"Sure." Tristan smiled over his shoulder at his prince.
"Good," Marcel said climbing up behind him. He wrapped one hand around Tristan's waist and grabbed a hold of the reins. "I think I may be in love with you."
"Hm, is that so?" Tristan kept his head down, not wanting the prince to see him smile.
"Yes. I do believe I do."
"No, I don't think so; the prince always falls in love with the fairest of them all."
Tristan snorted back a loud burst of laughter. "That was awful."
"I thought it was poetic."
"You my dear prince are not a poet."
"I suppose not. I am rather charming and handsome though."
Tristan grinned. "I suppose."
The ending is rather rushed, so do expect it to be edited along with the rest of the story soon.
Well, here is to hoping that you will enjoy it.