The Lover: A Short Taste


Beware of beardless youth for they are a greater source of mischief than young maidens.” ~Muhammed

Radu’s dance did little for Mehmed’s vow to uphold the sense of rigid decorum taught to him by the Molla. The firm spine of his education and breeding, when tested, pressed like glass beneath glass, hairline cracks formed by the weight of equal desire. With an undeniable grace of movement, soft skin singing along fine, slender bones, and muted light glinting off his perfectly dressed hair, Radu found reassurance in Mehmed’s refined reserve, something his father had never mastered. Though more than a few pretended not to notice, fearing Mehmed’s stern, protective gaze, Radu commanded the room. The rest were either too drunk or lulled to sleeping with the heat and soft rhythm of the musicians. It was a slight Mehmed could forgive. This display was, after all, for his benefit.

It was more than inappropriate, though the party was private. Radu was not a slave to entice or entrance, but undeniably few could perform the illicit movements as skillfully. The green sash hung low on his hips, accentuating each shift. His feet fell soft on the rugs, the izmir escort borrowed bands of golden bells a waterfall of sound that followed his wrists and ankles. When he lifted his head and looked up, his hair tumbled back from his face, revealing eyes as brilliant as jewels. When those eyes lighted on him, Mehmed shivered. When Radu finished, Mehmed stood and offered him his arm, unashamed. The boy smiled at him beatifically, welcoming. Boy. Mehmed reminded himself that the other was no longer a youth.

They sat together after that, engaging the rest in courteous conversation over tired topics. It was not long before those remaining politely lost themselves to drink or fairer forms of entertainment. Alone, at least figuratively, Mehmed’s fingers strayed over the soft hair and smooth skin of his friend’s belly. Radu lounged against him, not startled by the touch. As if waking from a drowsy sleep, he sat, smirking as he skimmed up Mehmed’s body with his own. His finger moved over the lips, tracing the shape. Keeping his blue eyes open, he closed the distance between them, his tongue following where the tip escort izmir of his finger led him.

Mehmed’s lips parted, demanding Radu devour him. Before he could seize his friend’s lips with his teeth, Radu recoiled and smiled teasingly, refusing to allow the heir apparent to command that kiss. Mehmed admitted temporary defeat, retreating a breath or so away, recouping his pride and preparing to address the insult with more forceful persuasion. Radu would deny him only as long as he was able to deny himself. The shy tilt of the head was no indicator of the thoughts racing behind those eyes. Deceiver. Liar. Beloved. Mehmed could see the other evaluating their positions, the advantages of surrender and the likelihood of victory. Everything in Mehmed’s body sought ownership of him, yet he was no more Mehmed’s possession than he had been Murad’s, this was clear. Mehmed pressed himself closer, seeking to crawl into that skin, forgetting himself and positions and propriety. Be with me, he thought.

As if triumphant, Radu seized his arms. Dextrous and fine like the dance, tongue slipping over tongue, until izmir escort bayan Mehmed resurfaced from the wave, breathless. Radu closed the kiss with a soft, cautious finale.

“I am not your slave,” he reminded the Sultan, pulling back. “I am not the Bagoas to your Alexander, no matter how much I would like to stay close to you.”

“No,” Mehmed agreed. “Hephastion, yes. Maybe Caesar’s Nicholas.”

The Wallachian held his chin up, resolute. “You may ask anything you like of me. But your body makes demands and I will not be a servant to that desire.”

Mehmed smiled and shook his head, leaning across the space between them to place a kiss of pax on Radu’s forehead. A solemn second kiss followed, on the bridge of the freckled nose, and a third, deeper and passionate, reminiscent of the former encounter. With more care than skill, he tugged on Radu’s lower lip, beseeching silently, and placed his hands on his shoulders, meaning to draw him into an embrace.

The lover resisted. His lips were a thin line. He did not move. Strangely, however, Mehmed felt no anger. All reason had burned in the conflagration of the first eager kiss; there was no room left in him for any other fire. He was no longer the Sultan’s heir. He was the beggar in rags, the dervish in hair shirt, gripped by ecstasy in the throes of the dance, in the presence of the loved one.

“Kiss me again,” Mehmed pleaded, “Before I am mad.”

Loyally, Radu did as he was bid.

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