Summer term, 1910
He imagined the silence was like that of a crowd, awaiting a tightrope walker about to attain the half-way mark over a deep crevasse. A single misplaced foot, an ill-advised sound or word and all he hoped for would fall apart. He scarcely dared breathe when Clive had flopped down on the floor, leaning half against Maurice’s armchair and half against Maurice as he apparently perused a tome on Orlando Gibbons’ madrigals and the role of the countertenor.
The slim back pressed against his legs, the head full of sly asides and caustic comments was resting against his knee. He watched the low angled afternoon sun gleam on Clive’s dark wavy hair, the way a bit of chestnut was hinted at in its depths. At the end of a chapter, the man at his feet sighed, and heedless of the book’s spine, placed it face down on the carpet, and snuggled into Maurice like a blue eyed exotic cat into a sunny patch on a well waxed parquet floor.
Almost as though it was independent of his control, only obeying his yearning wish to touch, Maurice cupped his left hand and trailed his fingers along Clive’s head, through the short hair on the side up into the longer hair flopping by his temple, then curving down along the soft skin of his neck.
Clive’s reaction was not what he expected and feared. It was not a brusque brush off of “Greek tendencies” or a snide rejoinder about the superiority of the needs of the Christian soul to the body’s pagan desires. God knows he had heard Clive speak about the true nature of manly bonds being mental and spiritual, with nothing of the depraved and sexual about it. Maurice was not convinced by the argument that a sensual bond was a lesser one, nor did he think Clive had completely convinced himself that such a bond, free of all fleshly delights with another man, was what he truly wanted.
Instead, Clive had stiffened in shock before he leaned again into Maurice’s outer thigh.
Maurice stroked him again, the dark hair soft as a cat’s well-groomed fur. His hand returned for a third time. Slowly he leaned over, placing his head atop Clive’s as his hand continued in its smoothing caresses. Clive stretched up his arm, resting his hand over Maurice’s bent head and neck as Maurice half-smiled. He continued to stroke his beloved’s hair. Clive blew out a ragged breath, turned his face up to Maurice and pulled himself up and over into Maurice’s lap, like a downing man into a rescuer’s rowboat.
He drew a deep uneven breath, but didn’t speak as he threw his arms around Maurice, hiding his face in the seated man’s neck. Scarcely believing his luck, Maurice slowly and cautiously slid his arms up, embracing his friend, reveling in the pliant warmth, the lithe body impressing on him. He turned his face into Clive’s face, nuzzling his cheek, his mouth moving toward Clive’s-- until there was a sudden clatter in the corridor which sent Clive scrambling to stand a few feet away beside the mantle, affecting a casual pose as he attempted to hide his ragged breathing.
Their classmates poured into the room, exulting in an athletic triumph and seeking more college fellows to join their celebratory party at the pub down the street. The pair’s silent moment of communion was irreparably broken and a willingness by Clive to indulge in such physical closeness did not arise again.
There was only a soft scuffling noise as someone climbed the ladder to the ground floor roof outside Maurice’s guest room where he tossed impatiently in the humid air, unable to sleep. The under-gamekeeper’s boots moved across the roof and the young man climbed in the open window, bringing a smell of damp earth and cool outdoors air inside.
Curious as well as faintly alarmed, Maurice sat up in bed, watching as the curly haired man approached his bed, picking his way carefully through the moonlit room. He held a finger up to his lips for a few moments before he leaned over the bed and sat down, embracing Maurice, Alec's hot tongue exploring his neck before he captured Maurice’s mouth in a molten kiss.
Maurice didn’t even think of protesting, it had been ages since he had let himself be approached by another invert, far too long, a lifetime since Clive had let his eyes linger with desire on him. Risley’s scandalous trial had put the fear of the law in him. He had no desire to emulate Oscar Wilde’s martyrdom and punishment. He had assiduously played the role of moral rectitude, of the normalcy expected of a stockbroker.
There was nothing of Clive’s evasiveness, the mocking fondness or the physical shrinking away in Alec Scudder’s approach. An eager tongue tested the seam of Maurice’s pliant lips and a calloused brown pair of hands gently tipped his wondering disbelieving face upward. His body followed, his spine arching him up into the younger man’s embrace. Clever hands spread open his pajama top, teasing his nipples with teeth and lips, his murmured praises lost against Maurice’s burning, flushing skin.
“I want you to spend in my mouth, sir,” he whispered raggedly, pushing the sheet and light coverlet off of Maurice, exposing his navy blue pajamas stretching over his growing erection. He ran his warm palms over Maurice's exposed stomach. "Can I take these off?" he asked, fingers slipping under the waistband, stroking a line of heat ever lower.
Wondering if he was trapped in an elaborate fever dream, Maurice nodded, and let his willing hips be shifted, then lifted so the other man could pull the pajama bottoms down to his ankles and over his feet.
The gamekeeper eagerly moved down the bed, pinning Maurice’s thighs with his strong fingers. He licked a moist strip from his left knee to his straining cock and inhaled the heady musk. One hand gripped Maurice before trailing callused fingertips across his furry ball sack and back to the base of his penis.
“What a beauty,” he murmured and placed the red swollen tip between his lips, his tongue swirling over the exposed glans, licking away precum droplets.
Fearful of being heard, Maurice released a muffled groan into his forearm as an amazing wet heat sucked him in, deeper and deeper until he couldn’t hold back, his other hand gripping the curly haired head in place until he came all too soon, shuddering in waves into the willing mouth, the swallowing throat.
With a final gasped “God, Scudder!” he released the man, stroking his hair back from his radiant face, the grinning mouth with lips red from effort and wet with saliva and come. He looked thoroughly debauched, young and beautiful.
Feeling faint guilt at using the man in such a fashion, his uncouth coming without a warning, he wiped Scudder’s face clean with a corner of the sheet.
“Do you want me to--?” he asked in a half-whisper, gesturing in a manner similar to a hand job. He wasn’t sure if he was hopeful or fearful that his offer might be accepted, thereby increasing their chances of being caught by an early rising servant.
The young man shook his head, smiling. He didn’t say a word as he left the room the way he had entered. This silence, unlike Clive’s awkward years of silences, promised that they were far from finished with each other. There would be more breathless silences, and later, in a time and place of their choosing, a place for unfettered orgasmic sounds.