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"Stay."

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They meet near the river just as darkness falls over the world. The moon peeks out from behind the black clouds, casting a soft silvery light across the tall grass and twinkling in the soft brown eyes of the young Englishman who gazes up and up and up at the huge, stoic warrior standing there in his arms.

He has never known a man like Kocoum; Kocoum is dark and mysterious, towering over him like an alluring shadow until he can hardly remember how to breathe. He is the one good thing that Thomas has discovered since arriving in this New World. Kocoum is his secret, his escape, his first bedfellow and his first love.

They meet at the river every night, stealing kisses and gently making love beneath the shelter of the trees, in constant fear that a lonesome soul might walk past and witness such a sinful display of passion. But Kocoum outweighs Thomas’s faith in God; he succumbs to the urges that he suppressed for so long, in the name of the Lord and the Church. Kocoum’s people fail to see the sin in sharing your bed with another man. Thomas wishes his own people were so understanding.

‘Stay,’ Kocoum mumbles against pearl pink lips, wishing he could stay here for the rest of his life, tangled between the creepers with his small, red haired lover, ‘stay and never leave. Please stay.’

Thomas wants to, badly. He knows that this expedition was never intended to last forever. He has a life back in England; a mother, a father and a younger sister who mean the world to him, who he still cries for at night when the other settlers are asleep and there’s no one there to console him.

But at the same time he can’t bear to leave; Kocoum has taught him so much, about the natives and the animals and the New World as a whole. He can’t afford to go back to England and return to being the naïve, ignorant boy he was when he first set out with the Virginia Company.

He doesn’t reply to Kocoum; just kisses him again and wonders if John is out tonight as well, pledging his love to his native princess under the stars. John has "met" Kocoum before -- when the warrior had a knife to his throat -- but he has yet to discover the extent of his relationship with the lad he took under his wing.

Thomas isn’t sure if he wants John to know. Sometimes he wishes he could just disappear into the darkness with his secret lover and never return.