This story is rated R, although the first part contains no sex.
The boy couldn’t have been but twenty, still youthful as the morning sun. He sat below the heavy boughs of the apple tree, singing softly into the still afternoon heat.
“The windows to my soul
Death was nigh
In the swirling darkness
I took a deep breath
And called into the ether
‘You are my only love’”
The wind woke and whispered through the leaves, tousling his sandy hair where it fell against his tan shoulders.
“Love you I shall
Even as the darkness
Wraps its’ arms about me
The infinite sea is crashing
Waves coming to wash me away
Into nothingness, still I call out over the waters
‘You are my only love’”
Ethena had come around the bend in time to catch these verses, her feet stilling in the dust and grass. Her breath held in her chest, lest he notice her and cease to sing.
The stars answer
Their light singing around my soul
Vowing to penetrate the darkness
To shine on my love
For one who loves so deeps
Must be the one perfect love”
His head turned as he intuited her presence, his voice falling and stilling, like a sparrow coming in to land. His cheeks burned a smart red as he took Ethena in.
“Oh, don’t stop singing!” Ethena cried, her heart fluttering as he rose, his bare shoulders rolling.
“Tis time I got back to work.” He stooped as he said it, hiding his blush with his straw-hat, turning away into the dusty dappled sun of the apple orchard. He was so quick, his embarrassment lighting like fires under his feet. So quick that she could scarcely raise a hand to gesture a parting gesture.
* * *
Ethena moved the candlestick again, trying to imagine how the room would look in the dark. One at the head of the bed perhaps, to frame her in glow, one on the vanity to throw light into the room. It wasn’t but an hour since Ethena’s father had left, carriage wheels spinning and bouncing down the long dirt track that led towards the city. He’d be back tomorrow, and it was her job to keep everything from falling into shambles. A job she rarely took seriously.
Lacie’s head poked in the doorway, looking flushed. “I’ve found him out!” she gushed.
Ethena sat down hard on the bed, she hadn’t expected Lacie to come through so quickly.
“Who? Tell me instantly.”
“Mr. Nathanson’s son, I’ve summoned him already.”
Mr. Nathanson’s son? Well no wonder. Mr. Nathanson was himself handsome as the devil, and strict as.
“Jus’ came back to town, been abroad with his mother. He’s mak’n him work to pay for his higher education,” Lacie explained, smoothing her dress, “even though they’ve more than enough to pay for it.”
“The lazy don’t sup at his house.” Ethena looked thoughtful. “How have you summoned him?”
“Some important work that simply couldn’t wait, said it was far too late t’ fetch your father back from town. Mr. Nathanson didn’t hesitate to offer him.”
“Have you seen him?”
“Exquisite.” Lacie squeezed her eyes shut, remembering. “He was chopping wood, like a whip of flesh.” She shuddered involuntarily. “Will we really be able to play with him, won’t he tell on us?”
“You have my promise.” Ethena smiled kindly at her friend. “He will sing for us tonight, and for no one else.”