Later that same evening, just before the supper tray was brought in, John came looking for me in the billiards room.
I glanced up from where I was half-lying on the green baize of the table ready to make my shot, but I refused to say a word.
He shuffled uncomfortably, and I could not help but notice the bulge that again marred the smooth line of his trousers. I was sorely tempted to drop to my knees, unbutton his trousers, and free his prick. I wanted to know what he tasted like. Instead, I lowered my spectacles on my nose and observed him from over them.
“I… I want… ” He licked his lips and gestured helplessly, an action one seldom associated with a Hood.
“You will have to tell me what it is you want, John. I am not psychical.” Meanly, I decided that he would have to ask. For too many years I had been shunted aside in favour of his brothers, and I could not resist just a tiny bit of revenge.
His teeth worried his lower lip. It was obvious he was torn. He sent me a glance from beneath his lashes, but I waited patiently.
“What you were doing in the stable… ”
“Making love to Jemmy?”
Furious colour mounted his cheeks. Did he truly think I would denigrate the act, simply because my partner was a servant?
He avoided my eyes but nodded. “Yes. That.”
“You will speak to no one about what you saw.”
“NO! I would not!” Of course he would not. He swallowed. “I… I want… ” The smooth line of his trousers was still marred by the engorged shape of his prick. John might be embarrassed; he might be unhappy with the state of affairs, but he was still aroused.
He turned away, and my eyes dropped to the tails of his evening coat. I couldn’t help but imagine the firm curves that they covered. I’d seen them a time or two when as boys, he and his brothers would strip down to their drawers and go swimming in the pond near the folly. I’d joined them just one time, still with hopes they would befriend me, but I’d been wrong. After they’d very nearly drowned me, I’d never again made that mistake.
“You want to bugger me?” I gave a harsh laugh. No need to sugarcoat it. John would never see it as making love to me. “Why should what you want make a jot of difference to me?”
He shook his head, and seemed to have to force the words out. “Not… not that.”
It took a moment for his admission to sink in, and then I took pity on him. “You want me to… sodomize you, John?” I dared not call it making love, dared not bring up the word love at all.
He glanced at me over his shoulder and nodded jerkily, his face as pale now as it had been flushed. “Just this once, Awful. And… and you must promise me no one will ever find out! If Robin ever learned of this… ”
“You trust me not to reveal your dastardly secret?” He must want it – I would not permit myself to think he might perchance want me – very badly. “I do believe I am flattered. However, you need have no worry. This Laytham is honourable in his own way.”
Besides, Robert would kill me for touching his brother. Did John think I was unaware of that? Did he truly think me that witless?
I brushed how he must view me from my mind – there were better things to think of, such as how I wanted to crowd him against the wall, my fingers locked in his, keeping him motionless. How I wanted to rock my hips against his, allowing him to feel my arousal against his arse.
But perhaps he felt at a disadvantage, his delectable arse presented to me. As if he knew where my thoughts were travelling, he flushed once again and turned to face me.
I took a step toward him, and while he stood firm, his eyes widened and his lips parted. What would he do if instead of drawing in a breath, as he was endeavouring to do, he drew in my tongue instead?
I worried that any precipitate actions would spook him. I’d always been good with nervous animals, and John was no different. I smiled ruefully and approached him no further.
“No one will ever learn from me that you want to be in my bed, and I promise you will enjoy it very much.” In fact, I intended to make this so good that a single time would not be enough.
“Then let’s get this done… ”
I backed away from him, and it actually seemed as if he would reach for me, but then his hands fell, fisted at his side.
“I have a condition of my own though, John.”
“What?” he asked harshly. “I can promise you nothing… ”
“I am aware of that. Do you think I am desirous of a pledge of undying love? How missish,” I mocked. I would have wagered my soul for that, but I was not so foolish as to wish for what I could never have. “My condition is a simple one: you will cease calling me ‘Awful’!”
“That is all?” Again he bit down on his lower lip, although this time apparently harder than he’d intended, for he winced, and I felt the blood flow more heatedly through my veins, wanting nothing so much as to soothe that tiny hurt. “But how shall I explain that to Robin?”
I shrugged. “Tell him it is childish, tell him you have outgrown it, tell him what you will.” I turned as if to walk away.
“Very well,” he agreed. I faced him once more, an eyebrow raised, and he concluded reluctantly, “Ashton.”
“Shall we give supper the go-by tonight?”
I could have sworn in frustration, but I forced my expression to remain bland, inquiring.
“No,” he said in a more moderate tone. “Everything must appear as usual. We cannot be seen leaving at the same time.”
“Very well,” I conceded, “but know this, John. If you call me ‘Awful’ – ”
“I promised I would not, didn’t I?” His reply was surly, and for a moment he was not in the least attractive.
And yet I found I didn’t care. I was about to have my fondest desire fulfilled, and to that end he could be as surly as he chose.
He hurried from the billiards room, and I stared after him for a moment before I finished knocking balls into the pockets. Then I laid the cue aside, smoothed my hands over the placket of my trousers, tugged at the sleeves of my tailcoat, and left the billiards room.
The family was ensconced in the rose sitting room as I strolled in.
“Ah. Deigning to join us at last, Awful?” Robert raised his teacup to his lips.
“My word! Do you mean to say I’ve been missed? How remiss of me! Had I known, I should have put in an appearance much earlier!”
He scowled at me. On those rare occasions when I responded to his needling, I invariably succeeded in making naught but a fool of myself. But knowing I’d soon have his brother beneath me- The corner of my mouth turned up in a smirk, and his eyes narrowed.
“You’re in a jolly good mood.”
“And why should I not be? It’s my birthday, and I’ve received a splendid gift- ”
“Hell and the devil!” John’s cup had slipped from his fingers to land on the Savonnerie carpet. He was pale, and there was an almost frantic look to his eyes. Did he fear I’d say something aloud, gloating over his perceived weakness for a male lover?
“… from Uncle Eustace,” I concluded in all innocence.
“Really, John!” Aunt Cecily protested. We all knew better than to swear in her presence.
“I beg your pardon, Aunt Cecy, Arabella.” He scowled down at the broken cup.
“Well, enjoy the gift while you may, Awful,” Robert snapped as he went to the bell-pull to summon Colling, “for I’ve no doubt Sir Eustace will take it back when it best suits him!”
I knew that even better than he, for my uncle never gifted the Hoods or Arabella with anything, leaving that to his wife.
I ignored Robert’s hurtful words and turned to Aunt Cecily, who was offering me a cup of tea. “Thank you, Aunt, but no.” I had no desire for any of the tiny sandwiches or iced cakes on the supper tray either, for John would soon be mine. “I believe I’ll retire early.”
He began choking.
“John, what’s amiss with you tonight?” Robert pounded him on the back.
“Enough. Enough! You mean beyond me spilling tea all over my favourite waistcoat? Nothing, Robin.”
“Well, you do seem to be at sixes and sevens this evening.” William picked up the pieces of John’s cup and put them on the supper tray.
“It’s nothing I tell you!”
I swallowed a smile; John did seem disgruntled. Too often had I been the object of the brothers’ mockery, and in spite of my feelings for him, I couldn’t help but take a bit of mean pleasure in his mishap, for that was indeed his favourite waistcoat.
I retrieved a candle and walked out, of course unnoticed by anyone.
Colling was bustling toward me.
“Mr John’s spilled his tea. I’m sure you’ll deal with it in your usual competent manner.”
“Indeed, Mr Ashton.” He went on to answer the bell, and I made my way to the still room.
How much time would I have, I wondered, before John came to me? I took one of the bars of the soap Aunt Cecily had made from the receipt the first Sir Osburt’s lady brought with her from her homeland, and then strolled up to my bedroom. It wouldn’t do to appear as if I were in a rush.
Upon opening the door, I couldn’t prevent a sigh. My room was in darkness save for the faint moonlight that drifted in, for the curtains weren’t drawn, and the hearth was cold.
I set the candle on the nightstand and went to the windows. It was the work of only a moment to close out the night.
After I lit the oil lamps, I tugged the bell-pull. Usually I’d make do with chill sheets, but not this night.
Soon a fire was blazing in the hearth, warming the room. I knew it would be a while before a housemaid answered my summons, so I took the opportunity to have a quick wash.
Perhaps the spicy scent of the soap would be an additional lure to John. It was said to be an attraction to a lover.
I found a nightshirt that hadn’t been worn. It was uncomfortable against my skin – perhaps that was why I’d never worn it – but I didn’t anticipate wearing it for long.
There was a timid tap on my door, and I drew on my dressing gown before calling out, “Come.”
“Y-you rang, Mr Ashton?” It was a tweenie, one of the youngest maids on staff. Of course, none of the housemaids would stoop to answer my call, although if it was one of the Hoods ringing they would stumble over themselves to do their bidding.
“I want a bed warmer, Maggie.”
“M-me, sir?” She turned so white I thought she would fall in a faint.
“I want you to fetch me a warming pan,” I clarified.
“Oh! Yes, sir!” She scurried out as if the hounds of hell were on her heels.
I shook my head. What had they told her below stairs?
I paced from the window to the door.
Everything was in readiness. My bed was nicely warm and the little jar of lotion that Jem had given me was sitting on my nightstand.
All that was needed now was John.
I worried my lower lip. Should I have told him I would go to him?
But no, the possibility that Robert might see me entering John’s room would have resulted in his brother denying my attentions, no matter how much he might desire them.
I paced to the window once more, brushed aside the curtain, and stared out into the darkness beyond my window. There was nothing to see, but it was better than staring about my room, pondering if I should have had flowers brought from the conservatory, if I should have brought up some of the sweet-smelling candles Aunt Cecily favoured.
The door opened. I turned and all worrisome thoughts fled my mind.
“John,” I breathed. “You came.”
“I… ” He looked uncertain, nothing like the cocksure young man who’d been one of the banes of my existence, and I felt my heart melt.
“Hush.” I crossed the room and made sure my door was locked. “You won’t regret this.”
He gave a harsh laugh. “I already regret it.” His gaze travelled about the room, touching briefly on the fireplace, the armoire, the small table that held a basin and ewer, shying away from the bed, which was, or so I thought, invitingly turned down.
Well, no point in keeping him on tenterhooks. I removed my dressing gown, letting it puddle at my feet, and went to him.
“You’re overdressed.” Without giving him time to think, I began to strip him of his clothes, letting them lie where they fell.
“M-must I be naked?”
“You’ll be more comfortable.”
He stood there, not helping, but not hindering either.
And in spite of his apparent reluctance, his prick was engorged by the time I had him naked.
“Very handsome.” I reached out to run my fingertips along his length, to cup his testicles, to rub lightly the skin behind them, ghosting cross his fundament.
“Oh!” His eyes widened in apparent surprise, and a drop of liquid formed at the tip of his prick.
“Haven’t you done this before?”
“You know I haven’t!”
How would I know that? We weren’t the best of friends, indeed weren’t any sort of friends in the least. However, I kept those words unsaid.
“Have- er- have you?”
“You saw me in the stable this afternoon.”
“But yes, I’ve done it enough to know the ins and outs of the deed.” I smiled, but he didn’t seem to comprehend my little joke.
Oh, well. No matter. We were here to fuck, not to have a dalliance.
Still… I wanted him panting with need of me.
I caught the liquid on my thumb and brought it to my mouth. My eyes on his, I let my tongue sweep out and taste him.
He frowned. “That’s- ”
“Delicious. You taste delicious, John.” I could have got drunk on him, but that wasn’t something I was about to confide in him, not just then.
Perhaps one day?
“How… ” Tremors ran through his body, and he licked his lips. “How do you want me?”
“Lie down, please.”
He obeyed without further comment, and his legs fell open as if of their own accord.
I disposed of my nightshirt as quickly as possible, for fear he might change his mind.
His eyes drifted down my body, drawn to the spot where my prick rose thick and proud. He swallowed heavily, but didn’t seem inclined to bolt just yet.
“I won’t hurt you, I promise.” I kept my spectacles on, the better to see him with, and climbed onto the bed.
“Why not? It’s what I’d- ” He bit back the remainder of his words, not that that was necessary. I was no fool. I knew full well that had our positions been reversed, John would have taken great pleasure in – well, perhaps not hurting me, for he was a Hood and thus an honourable man – but in cowing me.
Conversation at a time like this was overrated. I leaned forward and took him in my mouth, pushing his foreskin back with my lips.
A keening wail emerged from him, and his entire body stiffened as he thrust his hips up, driving his prick deep into my throat. Had no one ever done this for him before? Oh, I believed him when he said he’d never lain with another boy, but surely the lasses of Harrow on the Hill hadn’t been blind to his many attractions!
I gripped the base of his prick, giving it a squeeze, and drew off.
“NO!” he wailed again. He reached for me frantically, attempting to push my head down, and if I weren’t so aroused myself I would have been amused by his neediness.
However, I knew it would be all over with him if I continued, and as much as I loved him, I was not about to let John achieve satisfaction unless I did as well, for I didn’t doubt he’d catch his breath, gather his clothes, and make a hasty departure.
He had said this was to be the only time, but I wanted more than one single occasion, and I intended to see that in the end, he did as well.
“Ashton, if you don’t stop larking about, I swear I’ll draw your cork!”
He hadn’t called me ‘Awful,’ and that gave me cause to hope.
I reached for the jar of lotion and scooped a goodly amount onto my fingertip.
I worked the lotion into his fundament, and he gasped and tightened around my finger. I made no move to press in deeper or to withdraw. Abruptly the grip loosened, and I pushed my finger in further until I found his sweet spot.
This time the sound he made was more like a desperate mewl.
I removed my finger, coated two with the lotion, and returned to preparing him for the invasion that was to come.
He gripped my shoulders, his nails digging in almost painfully, but he was thrusting back against my fingers, and this also gave me hope.
“Are you enjoying this, John?”
“Are you mad?”
I stopped rubbing that spot within his back passage.
He bucked against my hand, twisted and turned, but I didn’t give him more of what he was now desperate to have.
“Yes, I’m enjoying this! Dear god, what are you doing to me?” he whimpered. I withdrew my fingers, and he became even more frantic. “Please! Please!”
“Onto your side, if you please.”
He obeyed with alacrity, unwittingly raising his right leg, giving me access to what lay in the shadow of his buttocks.
“Yes, dear one.” As much as it had given me pleasure to hear him beg in my fantasies, now I found it degrading.
I coated my prick and settled myself behind him, entering him with a single, swift movement. The last thing I wanted was for him to stiffen and possibly cause himself pain.
It was fortunate that the rest of the family resided on the first floor, for he howled.
“More!” he panted. “More!”
I slid an arm around his shoulders and gently stroked the curve of his Adam’s apple, all the while lazily making lo- buggering him.
“Harder! Harder!” he demanded.
I knew he was going to be sore in the morning, but I couldn’t deny his request. I curled the fingers of my right hand around his prick and stroked him to the rhythm of my prick pounding into him.
It didn’t take long after that. With another howl, he spent into my hand, and the clenching of his inner muscles pulled me over the abyss after him.