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460 pages, ebook
First published September 24, 2014
All Henry wanted in the world was for a boy who had the freedom to choose anyone or anything to choose him.
A man of their class without a companion might as well be no gentleman at all.
And then he had a thrilling thought: if you were willing to be outcast, if you were willing to disappoint people, you could do anything you wanted; you could be happy.
How humiliating it would be to not have a companion slave! If Father wold not give him one, maybe he would at least allow Henry to go to a different school, some abolitionist institution where his companionless state would not be unusual or shameful.
But how would Henry get anywhere in life without a slave of his own? A man of their class without a companion might as well be no gentleman at all.
What Henry wanted out of life was to share something tender with another young man, to reveal his secret self and act out all his shameful fantasies with his precious friend, and he wanted to be able to do this without censure or reproof.
Although Henry would never be allowed to have this sort of relationship with another free boy, he could have some of what he wanted with a slave; he would be encouraged to have it, even...However there were limitations on what a gentleman could do with a slave and still remain a gentleman and everyone understood what they were. There would be no kissing, no caressing, no mutuality; such things were the province of fairies and queers, and Henry would not be allowed to become and invert.
He wasn't willing to concede he was a fairy, but he might well be queer.
Every line of his body was taut and graceful. Again, he met Henry's eyes and gave him a shy, beguiling smile. Henry looked away to hide his blush. The boy was so beautiful he made Henry's heart ache.
"He belongs to you now." Father reminded him. "He'll attend you at school , of course and Timothy will want to teach him a few things. Beyond that, you may do with him as you see fit." Here, Father cleared his throat. "Within reason." Henry blushed and turned away as Father added in a low voice, "You'll remember what we've talked about. He's a handsome boy, and you're both of an age..." It was too mortifying for words and Henry hoped that Martin hadn't overheard.
Martin helped him pull his shirt over his head and put it in the laundry basket with the collar and cuffs. Before Martin could put his hands on Henry's fly, Henry hurried to unbutton his own trousers and let them drop to his ankles; he did not want Martin touching his waist, his hips, his thighs. He did not trust his body to behave in proximity to Martin. He stood in his undershirt and drawers feeling miserably vulnerable and exposed.
Martin knelt at his feet, removing Henry's socks. He looked up at Henry and smiled. "Do you change your underthings with your dinner clothes, Sir?"
If he said yes, he'd have to be naked in front of Martin. "Uh, no," he said.
"Is there anything I might do for you, Sir?" Martin asked. getting more slowly to his feet. "Anything at all?" When Henry did not immediately answer, he added, "I should be very happy to serve you. That is what I'm here for," in a low, intimate tone.
"Is there anything I might do for you, Sir? You've been so generous with me, Sir. I'd be pleased to be of service." He stood before Henry, hands behind his back, shifting from one foot to the other. He looked so hopeful. He had to be wondering what was wrong with Henry. Maybe he even guessed.
Martin, though, seemed happy with Henry's paltry compliments. He ran his hands over Henry's body, such voracious hands. "You want to be a real lover to me, don't you, Henry?"
"Yes," Henry said fervently. "Yes, I do."
"Then we'll be lovers, Sir, and no one else need know."