by athens7 as Jack (font: Courier New)
and mazaher as Patrick (font: Verdana)


1. The Christmas ball at the Grevilles', and what happened after that


Patrickís POV

There he is, chatting up Lady Greville. He said he would rather stay at home tonight, yet heís basking in her interest and lavishing her with attentions. I shouldnít mind-- not my business, is it? I ought to go and discuss the list of my possible engagements for the next concert season with Mr. Lloyd in the next room. In a little while Iíll go. What is she saying now... Sheís hiding behind her fan, that oversized lace monstrosity. She likes to play Carmen... I need another glass of hock and seltzer. What now: her hand on his arm... No! Heís mine! Mine! I will...
I canít.
I put down my glass before it slips my numb fingers, manage to remember just enough of my manners to lie to my host about a sudden malaise, and run out of the room, out of the building, out on the street before I dishonour myself and him by claiming my Jack from her clutches and from his own philandering.
The cold, damp air outside chills me to the bone. Or is it the chill of panic seizing me from within? A carriage clatters around the corner, answers my raised hand. Soon Iíll be away from here, Iíll be home, Iíll close the door and curl up on the sofa and die, because there is nothing else I can do.
But no, thatís his step coming, heís followed me, and a layer of shame settles over my desperate jealousy. I should have known. I am in horrible pain, and itís all of my own doing, and I am stupid enough that I ruined at once my standing with Lord Greville, my career as a pianist, and his evening out. I donít care a damn for the Grevilles, or my career. But I canít stand the thought that I displeased him out of a childish pique, while here he comes, following me as he promised, my faithful, his cool low voice giving the address --my address-- to the cabman.
I am ashamed, and so I attack him. If you want to hide a leaf, plant a forest. The annoyance in his words as he asks me what my abrupt flight was about is enough to set me biting at him in short sharp retorts. No, I canít look at him and allow him to see my humiliation, so I deflect his attention by insulting his appearance.
ďYou look like a butler,Ē I say, when what I really think is, ďYou look too good for Lady Greville... you look too good for meĒ.
As soon as the carriage comes to a standstill in front of my door, I bolt out, jump the steps, hastily press and turn the key in the doorlatch, trying to leave him behind. But again he follows, damn him to hell, he follows and sticks a boot between the jamb and the door Iím trying to slam shut in his face. Iím sure Iíve hurt his foot, but still he wonít leave me, he follows me inside, pressing me, until I turn to face him and still he advances, and I step back, and now my back is to the wall and he frames my face between his arms, and I am trapped.
Perhaps I want to be.
ďLook at me,Ē he says, words quiet and clear.
I am his, and I canít but obey.
Now he will see. He will see me, and I will be ruined, and he with me.
ďPatrick,Ē he breathes, and I know at once that the worst has happened. He lights up, flooded with innocent joy, as though the orphan he is had been invited, for this once in his life, to a Christmas family dinner. I am his joy, and so I am his destruction. The plague devouring me is catching, he is damned, he is lost, we are lost.
Hell begins right here.
So I kiss him.
Fiercely I kiss him, ravenously, as I work on his belt, his trouser buttons, his coat and waistcoat buttons, his shirtís tiny buttons, the hard button of his collar, all those exasperating buttons lined up on a gentlemanís outfit, and finally get to the string, blissfully easier to pull free, because I need to feel his skin on mine, and as soon as I have freed his belly and hips and he shudders at the cool air licking at him, I busy myself with my own clothes until the centre of us, the core of us, the place without words and without thoughts of us, is open and naked and touching.
I kiss him, I eat him up, and he kisses me back. He strokes my hips, then grasps me, pushing me harder up the wall, and I curl my spine and raise my legs to wrap them around his strong taut waist. I stretch a hand down and take him in hand...
He gasps, he trembles, and I moan in delight for the feel of him in my hand. He pulls back, trying to regain breath, but if he breathes he will come to his senses and leave, so,
ďTake me,Ē I growl.
ďI canít!Ē
ďYes, you can,Ē and quickly I spit on my hand already fragrant with his scent, and coat his prick, and guide him in.
This is forbidden, Iím stealing, Iím damned, but like a starving dog grabs a bone from the table even if it knows it will be whipped, I cannot stop. I push through pain, and I donít care. Pain is what I deserve, for wanting him, for daring to believe heís mine, for wanting this gemlike moment to last forever; pain is what he deserves, for daring... for daring to love me.
By force he is inside, filling me, and still itís not enough.
ďPlease,Ē I pray, and may the Devil bless him, for he begins to move.
All thought leaves me. I slide beyond pain into a pleasure that dissolves me. I cease to be, I return to the not-space-not-time when I did not yet exist, and nothing had yet been cursed by ruin. I float there safe, neither alone nor in his company, no duty no honour no sin no damnation, until I hear him shout his pleasure and his spasm brings me back to here-and-now, the molecules of my self coalescing into unity only to be shattered into pieces by my own climax.
I feel us slipping down on the carpet, I feel his shoulder under my fingertips. I grasp him tight, and shame returns in a giant wave, sweeping me away and separating us.
What have I done? What have I done to him?

It is at this point that our lives splinter and time takes different, parallel courses.


Jack leaves,


Patrick leaves