If You Ever Forget: Chapter 2
The moment they stepped off of the boat, his stomach turned multiples flips and he found himself lurching into the sea. Everything was okay until he had hit the loading deck. The damnable thing had lurched and wobbled with all the activity going on on the boat and it only took a moment for his brain to register the movements. He had kept the storm from raging until he hit solid ground and then he could hold it down no longer. He could feel Charlly looming over him with concern.
"That is the forth time you have done that, you sure it is just seasickness?"
Torry nodded, he was not a fan of things that lurched uncontrollably and he had a fear of drowning. Combined, the two made for a combination that made him easily panicked and easily sick. "I just really hate sea travel."
Charlly was nice enough to heft both of their bags over his shoulder as Torry wiped his mouth with his handkerchief. Neither had many personal items since the school they attended required uniforms and other clothes were easily re-worn. Unlike the females of their society, they had no qualms over re-wearing an outfit.
Torry smiled his thanks and searched the docks for his driver who would be carting him back home. Charlly however slung his arm round his neck with his free arm and dragged him closer. "Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that when I mailed our return letters... I sort of didn't?"
Torry gave him a horrified look of exasperation. "What do you mean you unfathomable twit! How did you sort of not?"
Charlly laughed heartily and began to steer him away, something he was more than use to. Once that arm got a hold of a person, they were destined to be carted off to Charlly's desired location. "Come now, don't go getting your under garments in a knot. If we would have informed our parents that we were coming home, they would have been here waiting to cart us off to entirely different places. We live no where near each other, a good three hour drive to be exact!"
Torry huffed in irritation. "My parents were not expecting me back for another year in the first place! Now to show up unexpected... has any of my mail gone out?"
Charlly put on his faux hurt expression. "Of course, I am not that much of a dense. Sure it took me an extra year to finish and you one less year to finish, but I am not that dense." His arm slid from Torry's neck and he scratched his nose in a sheepish manner. "Besides, I wanted to hang out with my best friend before I had to get into family stuff. I already know my father wants me to learn the ropes of our family business... We may not get to hang out too much for awhile."
Torry's heart turned a small flip, just a teensy one, this was actually mister masculine Charlly showing his sentimental side. It was Torry's turn to smile cheekily and slide his arm around Charlly's neck, even if he had to stretch a slight bit. "Ah, don't tell me you are being emotional because... you know only pansies are emotional."
One of those trademark burst of laughter came from Charlly's wide mouth. "Hey... hey! This is Friend Code number Nine, the taller one is never, ever, the pansy... understand, and if you ever forget, the punishment is the usual."
Torry's laughter was a lighter sound, less gruff and more musical. "What? What kind of rule is that one, that is almost as stupid as number three, if one of use cries in front of the other, they can't speak for two weeks. Your code is nonsensical."
The Code was in fact a pact of rules, mostly made up by Charlly when they had weird moments. For instance the one time Charlly had given Torry alcohol. Charlly was adamant about Torry not having the stuff, although he himself was a hell-raiser, he didn't want Torry following in his every footstep. The one time Torry got drunk (a way for Charlly to prove that he could not handle liquor), he and Charlly had found themselves in the same bed the next morning. Charlly always slept naked and who knew why Torry had no pants on. All that mattered was the moment they woke it had been beyond awkward. Torry had slept under the covers and Charlly above, but the real problem was they were both cuddlers in their sleep. That had led to the Friend Code. Number one indecently being, if ever one woke in the bed with another male, the incident was to be left unspoken. Along with the Friend Codes, one came up with a punishment if the latter ever forgot the pact. Both had agreed to the punishment of their hardest punch, incidentally Charlly's hurt a whole hell of a lot more.
Charlly turned up his nose and that arm was once again in its seemingly favorite spot, around Torry's poor, unsuspecting neck. "See there you go again using those mammoth words. Just use simple words man, in the time it takes you to even think of non... nonsensical, you could have an entirely new sentence."
Torry rolled his eyes. "Where are you taking me anyways?"
Charlly looked at him as if the answer was obvious. "To one of my father's establishments, where else?"
Torry blinked, butterscotch eyes darkening with questions. "You never told me what your father owns, but I always imagined it to be some type of club."
Charlly's grin was wicked. "It is indeed some type of club..."
Torry could not help but stare and gape at the place they had just entered. While Charlly heartily received hugs and kisses from an array of women and received handshakes and as it seemed, customary headlocks, he could not help but simply stand there and stare.
Whenever Charlly had spoke of his father's establishments, it had been in a manner not befitting what they actually were. He had always called them large and decorative, with host and routine clients who loved to come and enjoy a show, a nice glass of brandy, and forget about their troubles at home. What he had failed to mention was that the host were indeed scantily clad women, and the establishment was what one called an Escort House, a few notches up from a whorehouse, and forgetting one's troubles involved well... Torry did not want to know what those sounds were coming from the back rooms.
Charlly had dragged him into a greeting room, a place where the women were dressed with more class and having a quiet brunch with each other. A man in his early forties was directing a few gentlemen, describing each lady they perhaps would have enjoyed. It was obvious it was the gentleman's first time in such a place because they looked both eager and nervous all at once. Some of the more experienced gentlemen looked far too at ease.
He wondered what he must have looked like, standing near the door as he was, wanting to do nothing but turn around and walk out. A few passing ladies gave him inviting winks and his blush caused them a fit of giggles. One gentleman even patted him on the shoulder and told him to buck up because they didn't bite... well most of them didn't. He was going to kill Charlly, and slowly at that.
As if he could feel Torry's ill will, Charlly dislodged himself from the company of two ladies, seemed to think twice and clasped their waist with each hand. Before he knew it, all three were standing in front of him, the two ladies eying him oddly.
"Rose and Lilly, meet Torry, handsome little devil isn't he, and a virgin too, you ladies could show him a nice time? My treat of course." Charlly laughed at the new blush spreading across Torry's face. "Relax Butterscotch, I'm not going to lock you in a room with them, although you might really enjoy it."Lily, dressed incidentally in a low cut white dress, and Rose, dressed in a deep crimson in the same fashion, both giggled.
Charlly may have loved to joke about everything under the sun, but Torry did not think this was funny. He did not condone these places. Poor women were most likely paying a debt forced on them by some male relative, after all, everyone knew that was the newest way for a man to get out of debt. Some most likely had no other skill, and this business was lucrative as far as money went. Yet still, he saw no reason for someone to have to use their body to stay alive. If he were rich enough he would not make a whore—escort house, he would make a boarding home where people could have food and a warm bed while learning a skill.
His mouth turned down instantly, oh how he wanted to give Charlly a piece of his mind. If he was his best friend, he should have known that a place like this was absolutely not his scene.
"Oh Butterscotch," the one named Lily with her nose of dusted freckles laughed and it was a shrill sound. "That's the color of your hair. I could not think of it! Oh and so you taste like butterscotch too. I've had it once and it absolutely melted on the tongue."
A wink and he was done with the hot feeling rising to his cheeks. He turned on his heels and exited the room. He would be damned if he let Charlly embarrass him, and how dare he use that nickname in front of someone else. He had been annoyed enough with such a silly nickname but when it stuck, he made it Friend code number four. Number four stated that only Charlly could call him that and only when they were alone.
He heard his name called but he ignored it, he had no clue how to get out of the large house but he could at least find somewhere alone to sit and stew. He did not know what to expect when he came home, truly he could most likely enjoy a year of two to himself before his father cast him into the social society. He was sure their relationship would stay the same, they would go out together, laugh and enjoy themselves, enjoy each other... but perhaps he could not handle Charlly's social circle. Oh he was social and eagerly made new friends, but he could never fake his emotions, part of the reason he would never make good parliament despite his adept mind. Perhaps he was over thinking the situation, he tended to do that when it came to all things Charlly. A bad habit truly, a vexing habit.
The house was set in neutral tones, tan walls with pale yellow designs, dark tan carpets with rich browns to match the mahogany panels lining the lower walls. Eggshell curtains lined the many windows and he stopped to feel the breeze against his face, he may have hated the sea but he loved the smell. He could see a man and woman strolling the courtyard below. She was lovely, her hair auburn and piled atop her head, her parasol tilted just so to block the sun from pale skin. Her dress was simply, thin and draping her form in a pale green cloth, showing her every curve and her small waist. She looked unconditionally happy as the man spoke to her in words he could not hear. He was handsome, tall and dark, eyes the color of storm clouds. He blinked and shook his head, chastising himself for thinking of the man's good looks rather than the female's. Another bad habit, one he really had to break. He wondered however how she could look so happy. Surely she worked here but she looked as if she had no qualms over knowing that she was perhaps only something that interested this man for now and once he had his fun he would go back to a life which she was not included. He could never do it, it would simply hurt too much. His heart did another small flip, why did he think such a thing? He had no one to love... at least not that he knew of...
He continued on, hearing his name again from behind. He did not want to be found yet, he wanted Charlly to suffer and wonder what he did wrong. Another turn and the soft sound of music caught his ears. He trialed towards a room whose doors were slightly opened, a warm light radiating from within. One look inside revealed a bar, quaint in quiet, the only occupant was a man sitting near a music box belting out soft tunes. The place was elegantly done, dark red walls and a rich maroon floor. Small tables were set up in an eye pleasing fashion, dark brown wood polished to shine in the dark glow of the lamps. A rich smell was coming from within, drawing Torry inside without realizing it. The door opening caught the lone figures attention, dark eyes met his, gray, flecked with an almost golden brown, black tresses sliding as his head lifted. His eyes were like the man's he saw before, brothers perhaps? He nodded in a polite fashion, embarrasses for staring too hard into mesmerizing, intense eyes. The man's expression did not change, he simply gave the faintest nod before his eyes closed and he was back to enjoying the sweet tune.
Torry found his way to the bar, much like the table the long block of wood was dark and polished and smooth to the touch. One would think it was marble instead of wood.
"Hello Sir, what can I get for you today?" The bartender was a young gentlemen, young in features with a warm and welcoming smile.
"Hello," Torry said with a smile in return. "What is that smell?"
The bartender smiled all the more. "Ah you mean the hazelnut? See that gentle man over there, he likes his liquor with a touch of sweetness."
Torry sniffed again and sighed. "I don't suppose you have anything besides liquor?"
The Bartender chuckled, " doubles as a cafe, no liquor before noon, that gentlemen is a very special guest so I take exception."
Torry eyed the room, so warm and cozy, no wonder no one was about, if Torry had to occupy this place, it would be his favorite room... before noon. "Might I have any suggestions?" Torry frowned thoughtfully. "I need a pick me up."
The bartender nodded, understanding his meaning. "Relationship woes? Those are the worst, I'll get you my special."
Torry smiled his thanks. Relationship woes? He supposed that was what he should call it, a friendship was a relationship after all. It was like a intricately planted garden, one wrong step and a flower was crushed, ruining the entire effect.
His attention slid to the man behind him, he was half cast in light and had a look of his face of utter concentration. The music belted out another soft tune and he took a sip of whatever he was drinking. Torry could not be sure but a contented sigh seemed to come from his lips.
The noise behind him brought him back and the bartender was placing down a frothy brown drink. It smelled sweet and radiated warmth, it was topped with something white and fluffy and hazelnut was sprinkled across the top. His stomach rumbled. He blushed as the sound was quite loud and wondered why he was so hungry. That was right, the ship had docked so early that they had not served breakfast.
Another laugh from the bartender and he was walking away again, returning just as quick with a fresh scone which smelled tantalizing.
He graciously thanked him, "Ah I'm sorry I didn't get your name."
"Call me Roy, and you new? Never seen you around here, I would remember a face like that."
Torry chuckled nervously. "I'm Torry. No, I'm just here because a friend dragged me along. This is not my sort of place."
Another amused laugh came from Roy, "I can tell, most guys don't seek to get away from the lady company."
Torry frowned. "How does one come to work here, like you of course, if I may ask?"
Roy shinned a glass to perfection before picking up another. "Ah, odd story. A relative of mine works here, you would know him if you saw him, he's precious to me, so I wanted to make sure he was alright in a place like this." Roy smiled thoughtfully, "besides guards, and the chaperone, a maybe a cook, there was not much room for a male occupation. Know how I got in?"
Torry shook his light head, his hair sliding all the more out of place, revealing that it was actually longer then it appeared to be in its combed back style. He pushed a stray lock back behind his ear, thoroughly enchanted by the story.
Roy pointed a finger at the drink he placed in front of Tor and mentioned for him to take a sip. One sip and Tor thought he was in heaven, it was so rich and creamy, sweet but it had a strong taste of caffeine, something that he was not prone to drinking due to the bitter taste and the fact that it made him restless. The white froth almost had no describable taste but it mixed well with the underlying taste of chocolate. He had no clue what he was drinking, but whatever it was, it had him making a loud noise akin to a purring sigh. The moment he heard the rather amorous sound, he blushed and glanced back, hoping he hadn't disturbed the only other guest. The man was in fact giving him a lazy stare, one dark brow arched in either amusement or interest. Either way, that sound was best left for other moments.
Torry turned back and fingered the rim of his cup. "Oh my goodness, that was delicious... what is that?"
Roy winked and shook his head. "Chef's secret, but tell you what, I can tell I like you, come around enough and I might tell you a secret."
Torry smiled, if he was ever in this area, with or without Charlly, he would have to stop by. He took a bite of the scone and found that it was filled with delicious meat and cheese and he purred a bit quieter this time.
"You like food don't you?" Roy said with amusement at the sheepish look Torry gave him. "Ha, its okay, I do too! That's how I got my job, the boss, that is Mr. Franc, the elder Mr. Franc, loved my drinks as well. He is away today, taking in stock of his other buildings but you can usually catch him here every morning any other time."
Torry had more questions, but the doors were noisily thrown open and his name was half called before it ended and he heard Charlly stomping towards him.
Roy gave him a nod, "Charlly, its been quite awhile, how ya been?"
"Roy," Charlly said with a friendly disposition, "I've been good, glad to see you still working here, I would have missed your coffee if I came back and you were gone." Charlly's attention was now trained on him, then went to the food and drink in front of him. "Cozy?" He asked in a growl.
Torry took offense to the tone. "Quite."
"Great, I am fucking glad, because I had to look all over the place for you! Why the hell did you run off? You don't just run off, this place is dangerous if the wrong guy sees you alone in a-"
Torry huffed and angrily glared at Charlly. "I am not a woman and I do not need your supervision! Obviously you do not know me well enough if you had to look all over the place, where else would I go?" He did not feel like being chastised, it should be him who was upset. Oh wait, he was. "How dare you bring me here?" Torry was on full tirade mode and he was determined to chew into Charlly for once. "What on earth made you think I would like it here? Unlike some people I have morals! I don't want to screw every passing girl!"
Charlly actually looked offended. "What the hell does that mean? Are you implying that I would screw anything on legs that had a vagina?"
Torry blushed. "Urgh you are so crude! And no I am not suggesting that, you are far to picky for that. After all you think you are God's given gift." He turned away angrily and refused to look at Charlly. "Ass."
Charlly was having none of that. He did not sit well with being ignored. "We are not done! I did not come here to fight. What is your problem anyways? What's wrong with coming here."
Torry looked exasperated. "Do you not know me at all? Have the last three years taught you nothing about me? And how dare you break number four." He punched Charlly square in the arm, proper punishment for breaking a rule.
"Ow!" Charlly rubbed at his arm, Torry actually did have a nice right hook. "You're mad at the nickname? I thought the ladies would find it amusing, I did not mean anything by it. And, I only brought you here so you could see what the family business was. I was planning on bringing you to this room the whole time."
Torry scoffed and turned away again, but Charlly's hands on his shoulders had him turning back against his will. "I am serious Tor, I know you wouldn't like a place like this, part of the reason I never told you what it was. I wanted you to taste some of Roy's trademark cuisines."
Said Roy had been leaning back against the drink cases the entire time, a pleasant grin stretched out on his eggshell brown skin. Roy looked eccentric, his skin was a light brown and he had golden hair pulled into a messy ponytail. His eyes were also a deep green, far darker that Charlly's own. The colors should have crashed but in reality they made a nice package. Torry wondered just how eccentric Roy was, as far as he could tell Charlly spoke to him like a good friend rather than an employe.
Tor huffed, his steam easily leaving him as it often did where Charlly was involved. "I do love this place already... and the cuisine."
Just like Torry, annoyance quickly paved way to brighter emotions and Charlly was giving him his trademark, best friend grin and capturing him in a headlock. Torry protested and had to brace himself on the only place he could, which was Charlly's thigh to keep from spilling out of the bar stool and onto Charlly.
His hair was accosted by Charlly's hand and he mewled in protest. He was squirming to get free and his hand accidentally slipped to uncharted territory.
Charlly barked with laughter and stilled his roughhousing. "What are you trying to give me a hand job? I am surrounded by women I would like one from, but thanks anyways."
He was so crude, Torry thought with a huff refusing to blush and add to Charlly's amusement. He ground his palm down and Charlly yelped and released him. "You ass, you have obviously become a pansy."
Charlly spluttered. "Rose wiggled me up before I came to find you. What can I say, junior is a man of opportunities."
Torry shoved at him and fixed his hair. "You are such a pig." He was able to finish his meal in peace, his face slightly flushed from being roughhoused. Even cooling the meal was still the best he had had in a long time and he could not hide the expressions of enjoyment on his face. When finally he thanked Roy and tipped him, rising to leave with his noisy host, he found Charlly looking into his face intently. "What is it?"
Charlly shook his head as if not to answer so Torry halted directly in front on him and crossed his arms. "What is it? You were thinking very hard just now and you don't think hard about anything."
Charlly chuckled. "I can't tell you what I was thinking because it was inappropriate. Maybe I will tell you someday." Or maybe he would not. After how did you tell a friend, a male friend at that, he made rather... pleasing noises when he ate something he really liked. He also had a pleasured face that made one wonder what he looked like in the midst of release. He was not going there...at least not now, not til he explored why he had such a thought and why he had thought such a thing more than once.
Tor frowned and looked over, noticing that they had stopped in front of the man's table. He felt embarrassed to have made a scene in front of him. Charlly noticed Torry's direction and seem to just notice the guest. "Lord Vlad? How long have you been here."
For the first time Tor heard the man's speech and was not at all surprised at how it sounded. "I have been in attendance since the early morning. I traveled far since Roy was temporarily in this building's establishment. I had an urge to have one of his drinks."
Charlly nodded as if they had had the conversation before. "Well we are sorry that we interrupted your solitude."
Torry made no protest as he was dragged away, but he could not help but glance back at Mr. Vlad who had a quizzical smile on his face.
"Okay I have to admit, its breathtaking."
Torry stared at the expanse of grass, the wind blowing over the green carpet which met the sea. It was that time of year when the flowers where just starting to dot the land with color. Charlly had told him that he had a place for him to see and when they had arrived he was stunned to silence. It was so pretty in a place where the green was slowly disappearing.
They now sat on a hill and the wind was gently blowing the scent of the sea towards them. They had just sat in quiet neither having much to say. They did that a lot, just sat together, it was odd to some people but it was bonding to them.
"By the way," Charlly suddenly said as he leaned back in the grass. "I have Friend Code number six." The Friend Code never went in a specific order after number four. In truth neither knew how many they had, they simply remembered what they were.
Torry to leaned back. "Oh?"
"Yes, if either of us has something on their mind, they speak it, no matter what it is, and if we do not, the punishment is a wrestling match."
Torry laughed. "And if we forget?"
"Then the other person has the right to force the other to kiss anyone they want."
Torry nearly rolled in laughter. "What? What made you think of that?"
Charlly shrugged and smiled. "Oh nothing."
"Well then you have to tell me what you were thinking of earlier."
"No I refuse." The amusement in Charlly's voice was evident.
"What... oh you ass, you made me fall for that! I do not feel like evoking the punishment for rule number six."
"Rule number six?"
Torry rose and pushed at his chest. "Don't you even-"
"Torry... I seemed to have forgotten rule number six... oh darn, I think I have have to accept the consequences."
Torry laughed again. "There is no one around for you to kiss!"
Charlly rose and wiggled his brows. "Well then, I think the default falls on you."
Torry blushed something fierce and huffed. "You just love teasing me don't you." Charlly's face coming towards him, making motions with his mouth like a fish had him laughing and pushing him away. Charlly grabbed for him however and that wrestling match he had denied was now ensued.
When they were both tired and panting, their clothes rumpled and grass poking out of their hair, Charlly fell back and Torry was sprawled out next to him, his head falling to rest on Charlly's arm since he was captured in that arm again.
They were both laughing and Torry thumped Charlly's chest with the back of his hand. "You exasperate me, do you know that?"
Charlly was quiet for a long moment . "Hey Tor... after this, we have to part ways. How do we know after today we will never just get to be free again?"
Torry glanced towards Charlly whose expression was unusually serious. "What makes you ask?"
Charlly shrugged. "I don't know. I know what is in store for men of our ranks. Into society, learning the business, building fortunes, getting wives." The last made him shudder. "It all sounds tedious and aging."
Torry tousled his hair like he would a puppy. "Okay then, Friend rule number three. We will never forget that we are the best of friends. Through thick and thin and whatever else you happen to get into. And maybe, at least once a year, we take out a day to just be..."
"Boys?" Charlly offered when it seemed Torry could not think of the word.
"Yeah," Torry said. "We will go someone and just be who we are, not titles, no worries, just boys and their fun."
Charlly laughed and returned the hair tousle. "You are such a pansy."
"If I am a Pansy, then you are the best friend of a pansy," Tor countered.
Charlly tightened his headlock. "Wouldn't have it any other way."
Torry was nervous when the coach deposited him and his bag on his door steps. The place was the same as always, nestled in the midst of the new brick homes, the black iron gate keeping it separated from the street. His home was a rich red, the bricks warming with color as the suns fading rays hit them. He rung the doorbell, wanting to surprise his family.
It took a bit of time before the door was opened and his sister Cecil appeared in the door way. He had a hat atop his head and his head tilted so that the shadows framed him face.
"I'm sorry sir, but we are not accepting visitors at this time, besides, all the available paintings have been sold."
Tor smiled brightly and glanced up. "What no visitors? Even if its your own missing brother?"
Cecil gasped, her chocolate tresses which were artfully curled around her hair bouncing as she pounced on him and hugged him for dear life. "Good Lord Torry! Brother is that you? What on earth are you doing back!"
Torry dropped his bag at the front door as he closed it behind them, dragging a clinging Cecil with him. He was finally able to hug her fully and plant a thousand freckles for all of her freckles. "I seemed to have finished school early. Happy to see me?"
Cecil had tears in her eyes as she kissed his cheek. "Oh brother! I've missed you so much! It's been so hard."
Torry petted his soft hair. "What do you mean sweetheart?"
Before she could answer, a call from the banister had them both turning.
"Cecil, was that another solicitor or was it- Torry... is that you?"
Torry placed his sister's feet back on the ground and held out his hands to his mother. She used too be taller but he had sprouted a good three inches. "Mama, missed me?"
Tears sprung to her chocolate eyes as well as she ran into his arms. He collected both of them and gently stroked their heads. "Shh you two, why so many tears, I would have expected you to be happy."
His mother looked up, her dark eyes filled with so much emotions that Torry had to frown. "What's wrong... is everything alright with father?"
"Everything is fine with father," Cecil answered almost bitterly. She glanced into Torry's face, "It's just that-"
"Who is that?" A voice behind them made them turn. His father stood behind him, his face looking oddly haggard in the dark lighting. Come to think of it, his entire family looked a bit tired, as if something was weighing down on them. His eyes took in the house, things looked lessened, as if some of the furniture were missing, and the walls were bared. There was also a chilly draft in the room.
He released the women and walked over to his father. "Father," he said with a nod, looking the man in the eye.
His father still leaned against the wall, not making any motion to greet or embrace him. "Torry you are back sooner than expected. I suppose this was a blessing, not having to pay for your forth year. I take it you completed the task in three?"
Torry nodded, not understanding why having to pay for his fourth year of school was a problem. "Yes I did... how are things here?"
His father was quiet. The whole house seemed quiet, far too quiet for this time of day. Come to think of it, the doorman should have opened the door, not his sister.
He glanced around at his family and it suddenly occurred to him that something was very wrong.
"Tell him," his mother's voice suddenly spoke quietly, harshly, something that she had never done.
He glanced at his father, hoping that things with their relationship had not gone wrong, that they were not divorcing. His father's eyes closed momentarily before he locked eyes with Torry. "I have driven our family to debt. Torry, we are dirt poor."
A/N: Yeeaaah, so I am trying to work on guy conversation, like not female written guy conversation but conversation that two regular guys might actually have... Kind of hard.