So! It appears I am finally back with another slash story. In fact, I think this was the first slash story I ever wrote (but not the first one I ever uploaded). It is written in multiple first-person perspective (somewhat like "Cnidarian Lover" for anyone who has read my slash stuff before) and it was my attempt at a novel that I wanted to have in print someday, but, looking at it now, I feel like it belongs here instead.
I feel like readers on this site would better appreciate it than general print-media readers. It is decent; I'll give it that much. But fair warning for quality: it might suck character-wise, and there are definitely historical inaccuracies in here that I simply could not fix. But oh well. I do hope you enjoy it in this state, otherwise feel free to press the back button.
There wasn't one among any of them that were good enough for me.
"Good afternoon, Felix! It's wonderful to see you again," beamed yet another girl. She was sitting too straight, too stiffly. Could she not be comfortable around me? Could she not just be herself? That was really all I wanted in a bride! Well…maybe that and a love that occurred naturally, but that had never actually happened to strike at me before. The eagerness in her eyes practically screamed "I'm desperate! Marry me!"
Goodness, what were my parents thinking?
Come to think of it, we'd already been spending a lot of time together, yet it didn't seem like she'd actually gotten to know anything about me. It was time to test my theory.
I replied, "Oh, dear lady, I wish I could say the same to you, but did you happen to notice anything different about me?"
"Um, would that be your new cravat, sir?"
"…This cravat is my favorite. I've worn this cravat in the many times that I've been with you before!"
"Oh…" she seemed to sigh densely, as if she were some child watching milk spill and not knowing any better to wipe it up from the floor. A throbbing pain started to come upon my head.
"Well…I bid you good day, kind lady."
"No! Wait, sir—"
"Too late for that now, love. You should have acknowledged my new shoes. Now, good day."
Such conversations usually went this way when I conversed with the women my parents set me up with; that was, it went that way when I reached the point where I simply could no longer tolerate them. They just weren't appealing to me. I only wanted something else…a person who diverged from the restrictive and blind behavior of those women, women who looked to be married for reasons other than attraction or even love.
There was something about profound passionate fairytale love that drew me in; in fact, it appealed to me so much that I always looked for it in a woman. I wanted a sweet yet daring princess like Cinderella, or perhaps a Juliet who'd be willing to follow me to the ends of the Earth. She had to be obsessed with learning about my every detail, but at the same time be unafraid to chastise me with my faults. So if she did not act like that kind of princess, I rejected her. Thus, I've basically rejected all the women my parents have introduced me to. Honestly, one would think they'd have known my preferences by now…
I was listening in on one of my parents' conversations.
"Darling, Felix should be married while he's still in his prime," my mother sighed.
"He will be married soon, sweetheart. Just you wait, we'll find the perfect girl for him," my father responded.
"Pray tell, how would that be so?"
"A tea party, of course. I've many friends here in Delaware, with daughters our dear son Felix has not yet met. Such remarkable young ladies they are!"
That was a nice try, Father. I didn't think one tea party could find my true princess.
But at that time, I had no clue what fate had in store for me at this party. Although I didn't know it at first, I found the fated love of my life that day.
"Be nice to the ladies, understood, sweetheart?" my mother doted, her hand on my shoulder.
"Of course, mother. You and Father did raise me to be a gentleman, if I'm not mistaken."
"Yes, of course," she laughed, mussing my hair.
Then I met someone.
She was the daughter of a merchant who traveled back and forth from Britain to America. Under her cap, she constantly wore two thick braided locks of her horse-brown hair in a fishtail and her blue eyes glittered with mischief. I saw rebellious spirit in her smile, a passion that showed her to be a unique white swan among all the gray conforming ducks around her. She seemed vivacious and free-spirited compared to my former suitors who were uptight and awfully stodgy.
She was everything I ever desired in a woman…but something was missing: the natural thump in the heart or sudden "spark" that I'd always spotted in fairytale romance. Although she seemed different from other girls, it wasn't her that made me feel any differently from usual emotion.
It was her chaperone, her older brother.
A princely kiss of mine was placed upon her hand.
"It's nice to meet you, miss…?"
"My name is Margaret Beauregard," she giggled. "Oh, those are lovely shoes. They look quite new."
"Well, they are indeed new!" Already, she was seeing the details! I smiled at this. Over her shoulder, I glanced at the man standing behind her, somewhat distanced but still protective of Margaret. I pointed out, "Ah, who is this fine fellow?"
She gestured to her chaperone, "This is my older brother, Jonathan." The man was blatantly taller and older than me, his hair and eyes shared the same hue as the young lady.
"Call me Jonny," he smiled, reaching out to shake my hand. His grip was firm. For some odd reason, I already knew I could really get along with him immediately when our hands touched. During that short moment, I felt something bubbling up like tepid stew beneath my skin. He had a certain rough allure that I admired. I opened my mouth to greet him.
"My name is Felix Lindquist."
Jonny's smile immediately vanished.
"Well, we'd like to bid you good day, sir," Jonny scoffed, snatching his hand away and leading his sister away from me. Though they tried to whisper, I could still hear what they were saying.
"Jonny, what are you doing?" Margaret whined.
"Forget about him, Margie. He's selfish and immature. I've heard of the way he treats women."
"But brother, even so, that wasn't very polite! He is the host's son, after all, and I do find him somewhat charming."
"Just forget him," he cast a glance toward me, "I could care less for his class or his wealth, because you surely don't want an egotistical man like that."
Was that a challenge? Admirable or not, I wasn't about to be insulted by anyone, especially one of my father's guests. I was descendant of the Second Sons—a blasted prince by all means!—and I deserved to be treated as such.
So, for the remainder of the party, I tried to prove that I was anything but egotistical.
I asked, beaming sweetly and holding out a tray of mother's macaroons and brown sugar cookies, "Would you like a cookie, kind lady?" These cookies were my favorite; everyone who was friends with my father knew that.
"Ah, silly Whig! It's not called a cookie, it's a biscuit." She sneered out a disgusting little giggle, turning away.
What nerve this woman had! "Cookie" was a proper term to use, it was! This colony did have Dutch roots, after all, and if I wasn't mistaken, the word "cookie" came from their koekje. Nonetheless, I could say nothing to a woman who had already departed from my area of presence. Still forcing a smile, I moved on and looked for anyone else who wanted one.
Margaret looked my way and I could see her saying something to Jonny. He gave an unconvinced reaction and continued away.
Damn him; why was he so hard to convince? I wasn't self-centered or, at the very least bit, not really. What kind of man backed away from strangers without even giving them the chance to explain themselves?
It seemed Margaret was more gracious than her stubborn sibling; she was headed my way, her chaperone forced to trail behind her.
This was absolutely perfect.
"Hello, again, dear Margaret," I purred, "would you like a cookie?"
"Oh! Why yes, thank you." She smiled, taking one from the tray. She took a bite and made a hum of approval. "Mm, these are scrumptious! Did your mother make them?"
"Well, it's her recipe, but I baked this myself with a little touch of something else." It was a lie that I had made the confections, but it wasn't as though I'd never dabbled in the craft of baking before. I spent much time in the kitchen with my mother as a lad, so I'd in the very least learned a thing or two about what made a good macaroon.
"Oh my! You'll put maids and housewives to shame with such talent in baking; these are really delicious. Here, brother, try one." Jonny took one without a word, sending a scathing glare my way. I merely smirked in reply.
"Are you two enjoying my father's party?"
"No—uhff!" Jonny mumbled, cookie in his mouth. That earned him a hard nudge in the ribs from his sister, eliciting a soft sound of shock in the back of his throat as he choked a little on half-dry crumbs.
"Mind him not. Yes, this get-together is simply splendid." She smiled all the same, as though she hadn't just physically reprimanded her brother.
"Is there anything else I can get you two?"
"Well…" There was a bold look in her eyes, as she tipped the contents of her teacup into a potted plant beside me, "The bohea brewed today is a fine and dandy beverage, but perhaps you could supply a young lady… some whiskey?" Margaret asked, fluttering her eyelashes.
My heart stopped. Now this girl, she was as different as I made her out to be. I wasn't head over heels in love or anything of that sort, but she wasn't like the other high-strung women my parents made me court. I liked this Margaret so far.
"Why, I could most certainly supply you such a beverage."
Jonny butted in, "Well, actually, Father said she shouldn't be drinki—ehrr!" She nudged him in the ribs again, harder than before.
"Ah, no worries, Jonny, this shall be our little secret. What about you? Would you like anything?"
"Um, no. No, thank you, it's quite alright." He replied, forcing a smile, his hand over where his sister nudged him.
"Oh, are you sure?"
"Yes, I'm quite sure."
"Alright then; I'll be right back." I smiled.
I didn't trust that blasted fellow; did he get his some sort of disgusting enjoyment from breaking women's hearts? Why would he target my sister?
Anyhow, I wouldn't let her get hurt in any way by anyone on my watch.
I crept up behind him, watching him open the door to what seemed to be their cellar. He left the door a crack open; I closed the door behind me and made my way down the steps. It was a dark room drenched in the pungent scent of alcohol. So this was their cellar.
In the dim light, I watched him pour something from a bottle into a teacup.
"Don't think I didn't hear you behind me, Jonny." I stiffened as he spoke suddenly. Not wanting to seem deterred, I replied in a cold voice.
"Oh, you. Do you have any clue of what you do that so verily disgusts me?" I growled.
"To be honest, I have no clue what it is I do to appall you so but, let's just call that an endearing flaw, shall we? Are you sure you wouldn't like at least a swig of whiskey?" He said, turning around and handing me the half-empty bottle.
"Stop this 'I'm-very-selfless' charade! If you think you can win my favor just by putting on an act, you're wrong! This is your own fault that I treat you this way!" I raised my voice, pushing the bottle out of my face.
"What's my fault?"
"Don't play dumb with me! I know what you're trying to do to my sister!"
"Well, I'm certainly not trying to get her drunk, if that's what you're thinking. She did ask me for a whiskey, so I'm simply being a good host."
"Agh! No, just admit it!"
"That you're trying to break my sister's heart for your own twisted entertainment, just like you did with all those other girls!"
All of a sudden, he gave me a very hurt look. I felt a little guilty, but shook my head and didn't buy into it.
I sneered, "Don't give me that look, liar!"
"Is that the kind of man you think I am?" he asked very softly, eyes still full of hurt. "I was just trying to get you to see me as considerate!"
"You're lying, I know it." I seethed, though my voice wavered slightly.
"You have no right to judge me like that. You really don't know who I am." He croaked slightly, stepping past me to get to the stairs. "I've no intention to hurt a lady as remarkable as your sister." I watched as he walked up the steps.
That was when the guilt set in.
He was right; who was I to judge him based on the rumors? Rumors weren't always accurate now, were they? Really now, I hadn't even seen him talk to Margaret in the least, so how would I ever have known what his intentions were? Maybe I'd get a chance to get to know him better. Now, I was curious.
Who exactly was this man?
"Here's the whiskey as requested, Margaret." I handed her the glass, flashing her one of my sweetest and most princely smiles.
"Oh, thank you, Felix." She replied, taking the glass. "Now, did you have a nice chat with my brother?"
"Why, yes, I did."
"What did you two talk about?" I suddenly saw a panicked look on Jonny's face.
What was I supposed to do? Was I going to tell the truth to even things out? A mere glance to that panicked expression did me in. That look on his face made me feel guilty to even think of doing such a thing.
A prince would've done the noble thing.
"Oh, we didn't discuss anything too important, just some small talk." I lied. His face softened in relief. I smiled at him. Damn his rough allure.
"Pardon me for a moment, um, where's your privy?"
"Go to the back door down that hall, and it'll be to the left." I responded, pointing to the corridor.
"Ah, thank you." She set her glass down on the nearest table and scampered away.
"This is still part of the act, isn't it?" That dullard; how could I be acting that time?
"Bastard, that wasn't an act. Nothing ever was! Why would I go to the trouble of making you look bad in front of your sister?" I half-heartedly pouted at him.
"Well, why not?"
"I don't know," I caught myself saying softly, "You just—you seem different to me. I mean, you sure do know how to make a fellow feel… strange." I'd never been good with comprehending my emotions, so I usually just followed my intuition. I always trusted my instincts, always followed my heart. It almost always turned out well when I followed these instincts of mine. It was almost like I had actually premeditated what my future would be.
For example, I'd only met him today, but I felt like we were going be with each other years.
"Huh? Strange, you say?" he squinted.
"That's all. I won't say anymore. It really is nothing worthy of fretting over. And anyhow, I despise explaining my feelings to strangers, so let's not press any further, eh?"
"I see." He gave a nod, with some sort of sympathetic look in his eyes, as though he completely understood what I was getting at: the fact that I had no clue how to explain my feelings. Now looking upon his expression, upon those understanding features, I felt odd; I thought it was a sort of admiration, but it didn't really feel like that. There it was again, prickly and warm in my veins, asking me something that I didn't really understand.
Oh, but, then again, what did I know about my feelings?
"I'm probably just being ridiculous though," I waved to him, "so just forget I said anything." I waltzed back up the stairs, Jonny following.
I could've sworn he was going to say something more to me, but perhaps that was only my imagination. He was merely a stranger. What curiosity could he have possibly had of me?
I wanted to say something to him, but I held myself back, knowing better.
Confessing to feeling strange around a fellow man was not an ordinary everyday thing. What did he mean by that? Could it be that he felt… attraction towards me? If so, perhaps he could've related to what I'd been through before with my best friend… but no, I simply had to forget it.
Those events were long past and too painful to remember. Besides, the odds were against it, against him knowing what it was like. He was blatantly attracted to my sister anyhow, and my duty tonight as a chaperone was to make sure it stayed that way for her. It was my job to keep her in line tonight, so that she may not lose his favor for her as a potential bride.
I stood silent.
My sister returned from the privy. She could tell straightaway that we were uncomfortable with the silence.
And so predictably, she assigned herself the task of lightening the mood.
"Alright then, would you care to dance with me, Felix?" Margaret asked, extending her hand toward his. I didn't have time to chastise her. Only then did I realize that music was being played in the background. I glanced toward the trio of violinists.
"Well, shouldn't it be the other way around, him asking you to dance?" She turned around to meet the face of the voice. It was our father. Her face instantly dropped.
"That's very unladylike of you, dear." He frowned.
"I'm sorry, Father." She replied, forcing a smile, curling her hands into tight fists behind her back. She never meant it sincerely when she apologized for what Father called "being unladylike".
"Well then, let me be the one to make the correction." Felix smiled, offering his hand to Margaret, "Would you like to dance with me?"
"Yes, I would," she replied sweetly, briefly shooting an invisible glare toward Father. Pleased, our father smiled and walked away. I watched as Felix and Margaret danced.
I took a look at my little sister's eyes. She didn't seem like she was infatuated with Felix; she was simply flirting a bit, so I supposed no sort of harm could come to her if she wasn't even taking him that seriously.
I shifted my eyes toward Felix's. Upon further inspection, I didn't find any mischievous sort of glint in those eyes. In fact, his eyes seemed to have a very caring, honest look to them; one might've even said that his eyes held a rather princely charm to them.
He peered my way for a moment and shot me a smile. Yes, even that smile had a bit of a princely charm to it. I cast a smile back at him, relieved.
Maybe this fellow wasn't really what the rumors made him out to be. I guess he, perhaps, just lacked the wit to really know how to treat women properly. If that was the case, it was my duty to take him under my wing and educate him. That was… if I ever had the chance.
Whether or not I'd see him again depended on his desire to seek out my sister.
The party ended, leaving nothing behind but remains of bitten food and stained ceramic teacups. Servants and maids picked up after the mess.
"Mother, I rather enjoyed the company of Margaret and Jonathan Beauregard. Could you perhaps request that I stay with them a few nights? Get to know them better?" I sheepishly inquired. I realized it was an odd sort of way to get to know a woman, staying in her home instead of taking her out on dates, but my parents were desperate for me to get married. So were the parents of those young ladies who let me stay at their homes. But this was a first; I actually wanted to be with a girl.
Well, that wasn't entirely the case. Though I really enjoyed Margaret's company, but it wasn't her I was exclusively interested in; it was something about her brother. Something about Jonny drew me to him, made me want to know more about him.
"Oh, my little boy's in love!" She squealed, pulling me into a tight hug. I simply rolled my eyes and hugged her back. "Yes, I'll arrange with her parents immediately!"
Did she not hear me say "Jonny" alongside Margaret's name?
She scurried over to Father's side, waving her arms about and jumping as she raved and squealed in the distance. Father jumped alongside her, celebrating. He caught up to Margaret's father, asked a question and received a nod in reply to it.
I smiled when I suddenly found myself on their carriage, wedged between Margaret and Jonny. Their father drove and their snoring mother slept soundly, taking up all the space in the seat across. It was a long-winded ride there; Margaret had fallen asleep on my shoulder.
I took a glance at the girl and smiled, already getting the feeling of destiny with her. Perhaps I'd finally found my perfect princess.
I just needed a bit more time to fall in love with her, since that hadn't happened yet…
"Do you know how to treat girls?" Jonny suddenly asked. I looked up from the head on my shoulder.
"Hmph. I'm a perfect gentleman; of course I know how to treat girls!" I pouted, crossing my arms.
"I don't know, not with all those broken-hearted girls you've left in your wake." He giggled in a sing-song voice, nudging me lightly.
When I thought about it, he did have a point. But still, if those women were looking to love me, I wanted fairytale love; I wanted to be treated like a prince.
"Well then, do you know how princes treated women? I honestly don't think you do…" Oh my, did I say all that out loud?
With an abashed blush, I crossed my arms and groaned, "Bollocks. Well then, if it's obvious I apparently don't know how to treat women the way a prince does, then maybe you should educate me."
"Gladly," he purred in my ear, with a low husky voice, "You say only nice things to her like this," he turned my face toward his then tucked his hand under my chin, "tuck your hand underneath her chin like so," he tilted my head slightly so my gaze met his, "and gently lift her chin up a bit so her gaze meets yours. Then you gaze into her eyes and either smile at her or tell her she's beautiful." I took a look at those stunning sapphire eyes and felt my breath hitch slightly. Why were my cheeks burning so intensely? He abruptly pulled away and laughed, "See, it's even taking effect on you, and you're a man! Now that, that is how a prince treats a lady!"
"Are you calling me effeminate?" I smiled, sending a half-hearted glare.
"No, just teasing." He smirked, nudging me with his elbow. "And I'm hoping you'll use my advice on Margaret. You'll need it if you want to win my parents favor in making my sister your bride."
I laughed, "And exactly why would you care for the outcome this courtship?"
"Because, my dear fellow," He lowered his tone to something rather suggestive, "It appears that you've captivated my interest to the point that it would actually madden me to lose contact with you. It would be a great shame to lose out on the chance to get to know you better. So for my sake, if not Margaret's, please do try to stay within my parents' good graces." My heart stopped in much different way from before. In fact, it seemed to lurch and stumble out of its ordinary pace. It was quite the miracle at the moment that I could still find capability to convey proper speech.
"I've only just met you. How could it drive you to madness not to see me again?"
"Well," he pointed out huskily, "I've only just met you, and yet you've said you feel strangely about me already. Now, it'd madden me if I never got to understand why…"
He seemed to be waiting for a response, so I indulged with him the privilege of receiving one.
"Hm. I suppose then…" I began coyly, "that we'll discover why together."
Right then, I wondered how many women's parents trusted him. Interesting character he was; but dangerously mischievous.
Forgetting the young lady on my shoulder, I looked at the roguish man laughing beside me.
Did I know exactly who I was dealing with?