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Red Ribbon

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“Welcome back, Schneider! Who shall I call for you today? We do have a few new hostesses if you’d like to take a look.”

Pacing past the tables of the bar, Schneider peels off his gloves as he approaches the owner of the establishment; a tan-skinned man with an ever-present smile. Schneider holds his silence for a moment, scans the interior. There are men loitering about, sharing beverages and eying up any woman that passes by, whether they work here or not. It’s not any ramshackle, substandard bar where any peasant could squat in. Here, there are more gentleman than low-life. Schneider would never go anywhere else.

“I want to see a line-up, Emanuel,” he says finally, his deep voice smooth like honey, flicking his piercing blue eyes over to meet the owner’s. Emanuel nods, smiles, turns out from behind the bar to enter the backroom. Schneider begins languidly unbuttoning his long-coat. Soon after Emanuel’s departure, a laughing throng of women come bursting out from the backroom. They’re all wearing varying kinds of frilly things and flowing dresses; all different colors of pink, cream, baby blue, and lavender. Makeup paints their smiling faces, their hair done up prettily. They all watch him with different levels of excitement. He has a bit of a reputation here.

Schneider eyes them all as he slides off his coat to drape it over an arm, baring his paisley-patterned waistcoat joined by a neatly done tie and a golden pocket watch which hung in display from a waistcoat pocket. The modest, hard-nosed woman who works with Emanuel at the bar approaches, offers to take his coat for him. Schneider politely accepts it with the slightest perk of his lips, passes it to her for her to hang.

Following the female whores are three men, wearing similar things, though not quite as daring. Every woman and man wore a corset and stockings. Most wore button boots, some wore no shoes at all, their stockinged feet on display. Schneider takes notice of the fact there is only one prostitute lined up wearing red, and it is a man. Schneider always had a liking for red. His open-front dress spills down the back of his legs in layered frills—it cut low around his shoulders and chest, baring his collarbone and the majority of his cleavage. He’s muscular, though not unbearably so. A red ribbon is wound around his throat, tied in the back. His hair is a striking silver, hangs low around his ears in long locks. Schneider stares at him. He’s a new addition.

“Here is your selection, Schneider,” Emanuel says, stepping back behind the bar again. He gestures with a lift of a hand and encourages, “Take your time to decide.”

Face stony, Schneider pans his gaze across the four women and the three men. The women are immediately disregarded; he’s not here for a woman this time. One man is a tall, lanky thing with a meek demeanor. Not his type. Beside him is a stockier, broad type with far too much body hair for his taste. It wasn’t much of a competition. The silver-haired beauty is silent, face neutral, though his vibrant green eyes are fearlessly trained on Schneider’s. He isn’t trying to play it up like the others. His hands are folded together in front of his immodest dress. Schneider spots a red-laced garter around his thigh.

“That one,” Schneider says lowly, tipping his chin up towards the man watching him. Emanuel glances over towards the silver-haired man who looks subtly surprised, his eyes wider. He doesn’t look excited. Schneider wants to change that. He will never forget him after tonight. He’ll make sure of that. Emanuel beckons the quiet whore forward with a curl of two fingers.

As if he were timid, the prostitute folds his hand behind his back as he approaches, his head dipped forward respectfully. He’s not flirting shamelessly and draping himself against Schneider like the women often do. Schneider likes it. Appreciation shows in Schneider’s blue eyes as he looks him up and down.

“Richard, give Herr Schneider here a lovely night. He’s quite a gentleman,” Emanuel says, setting a hand on his bared shoulder. The silver-haired prostitute peeks up at Schneider, offers a slight smile. Schneider searches his pretty face. Richard, huh?

“Come with me,” Richard speaks quietly, offering a hand. He has a lovely voice. Something even and balanced; not too high, not too low. Schneider looks forward to twisting it into moans. He takes Richard’s hand, holds it firmly. Richard’s even expression becomes surprised when Schneider clutches his fingers in his, leans in to kiss his hand on the knuckles, his long curls dipping forward from the motion.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Richard,” Schneider says with a slight smile directed Richard’s way, his azure eyes lightened with amusement and delight. Richard’s gaping expression becomes shy and flattered. He smiles faintly, which is quite a lovely sight. One hand delicately grasping his frilly dress, Richard gives him a polite curtsy with a cross of his ankles and a dip of his head. Schneider’s smile becomes a little wider. He’s adorable.

 

Led by the hand, Schneider is taken up the staircase at the back of the bar/whorehouse, guided to one of the vacant rooms. Richard is silent, timid, as he closes and locks the door behind them. Schneider is already working on his tie when Richard turns to look at him again, his fingers threading together in front of his short dress, a faint smile on his pretty face. Slipping off his tie, Schneider approaches the vanity mirror positioned at one side of the room. He folds the tie, drapes it over the surface. He dips his hand into the pocket of his waistcoat, removes his gold pocket watch to set it atop the tie. Turning to Richard again, he begins unbuttoning his paisley waistcoat.

“You are quite beautiful,” Schneider begins, earning a wide-eyed blink from Richard, “I had become rather bored with the selection of men at this establishment. I was considering directing my attention elsewhere, but Emanuel promised he would acquire someone more to my tastes. It seems he was true to his word. You are, indeed, similar to what I want in a man. How experienced are you?”

He slides off his waistcoat, exposing the entirety of his white dress shirt underneath, as well as his beige suspenders. Turning away with his long curls obscuring his profile from Richard’s gaze, Schneider drapes his waistcoat across the back of the cushioned chair.

“You are not the first man who acquired me for the night,” Richard says, his voice no longer quiet, nor shy, “But you are the most handsome.”

Glancing back towards him, Schneider arches a brow.

“Is that so?” he muses, smiling faintly with amusement. Richard is blushing. He looks delightful—Schneider could just eat him up. And he will.

Richard bites his lip, nods. Schneider turns to him, paces out to join him in the center of the room again. He cups his broad hands around his, threads their fingers together. He gazes straight into Richard’s timid green eyes as he brings his hands up to his face to kiss over his knuckles. His long locks brush across Richard’s wrists.

“And you are a flatterer,” Schneider murmurs, squeezing Richard’s hands. Richard smiles.

“An honest one.”

A thin smirk appears on Schneider’s lips. He gazes down at the “maiden” with lidded eyes. He releases one hand to cup his jaw tenderly. Richard looks up at him unwaveringly, cheeks warming. Schneider brings a thumb up to slowly rub it down over his bottom lip, which drags down along with the stroke, exposing his teeth. Richard’s vibrant green eyes are loyally fixed up on him, bashful and daring at the same time. Schneider peers down at him with that subtle smirk lingering. It seems like an intimate gesture, but Schneider was curious about the state of his teeth.

Before, he’s fucked a whore with decaying teeth—when he was a younger man—and it was not the most pleasant experience. Richard’s teeth are better than most. Nor does he have any sores that imply disease. Schneider supposes that’s to be expected; Emanuel has the healthiest prostitutes in town—though that is not a feat accomplished without effort. There are rubber condoms in the side table, an additional cost, and requirement, for the man hiring the services of the whore for the night. Additionally, Emanuel turns away any man with visible sores on his face. Sometimes it has slipped through, though that infected prostitute is immediately sent to a lower class whorehouse. Schneider prefers it like this. The cleaner, the better.

“I will undress you,” Schneider says softly, stroking his broad thumb down over the swell of Richard’s chin, searching in his yearning emerald eyes, “And then I want you to masturbate on the bed while I undress myself. Understand?”

Richard sucks in a shuddering breath, nods, admiring Schneider’s crystal blue eyes for a moment longer before he turns his back to him, saying quietly, “The corset, first?”

Without a word, Schneider reaches up to begin dexterously untying his corset, pulling firmly at the laces until it loosens evenly. Richard is silent, hands curled into loose fists by his sides, his head bowed slightly. Schneider steps around Richard to face him, earning a peek of timid eyes past silver bangs. Schneider reaches up to curl two fingers under his chin, gently tipping his head up with a faint smile on his slender face. Richard blinks, looks up at him with faint surprise.

“Hold your head high, darling,” Schneider murmurs, “Bashfulness is charming to only a certain degree. You’re worth more than that.”

Richard blushes. He nods a little, smiles faintly. Schneider reaches down to begin undoing the hooks of the busk, eyes downcast. Richard watches his handsome face as he finishes opening up the corset. Richard lets him slip it off. The waist of his red dress falls freely; it covers more of his upper thighs due to no longer being pinned to his torso. Schneider steps past Richard to drape the corset over the vanity surface. Richard moves to remove his bicep-length gloves, managing to get one down to his elbow. A hand suddenly clutching his wrist has him gasping, freezing. Lips press to his ear, speaking lowly.

“I believe I said I will be undressing you, beloved.”

Heart beginning to pound, Richard nods. He removes his hand from his glove. Schneider steps around him again, reaches out to cup both hands around his forearm. He gradually draws the glove down and off his hand, exposing strong fingers and prominent veins, joined by the striking red of his fingernails. Clutching his hand in his own before Richard could lower it, Schneider leans past him to drape the glove over his waistcoat on the back of the chair. Then he looks at Richard with a faint smile and dips his head down to kiss him on the knuckles. Richard gazes at him with a slight wariness, though he’s blushing again.

Again, Schneider draws his other glove down with both gentle hands, before draping them on the chair. Then he steps around him again, to begin unbuttoning his frilly red dress in the back. Richard is stiff, feeling Schneider’s confident fingers moving down his spine. The off-shoulder sleeves droop a little more, now that there is more slack around his shoulder blades, the dress loosened. Schneider’s broad, warm hands stroke down over his pale shoulders, earning a shudder from the smaller man.

“You’re beautiful,” Schneider murmurs from behind him—Richard startles slightly. He didn’t expect him to be so close, but he feels his exhales against his ear now. Schneider gingerly draws down his open dress with a stroke of his hands down along his biceps and forearms; Richard angles his arms so they slip out of the short sleeves. The long, waterfall-esque frills in the back brush across his calves as they lower along with the dress. Soon, Richard is left standing only in the cream-colored slip and the short drawers he wore, joined by his red stockings kept in place by garters.

Hands cup around his sides, over the soft cotton of his slip—kept tied around him at the breast by a red ribbon. They stroke up along his body, earning a slight shiver from him. Richard feels lips rest along the slope of his neck. He watches with downcast eyes as Schneider gently unravels the ribbon at his breast and begins to ease the slip down, exposing his naked chest and midsection. Once that pools at his feet, Schneider’s broad hands begin to work down his drawers, carefully. Richard’s heart is racing by now, his lip between his teeth, face burning. The cool air immediately clings to his naked skin.

Schneider silently asks him to step out of the drawers with a press of a hand to his calf. Richard obeys, quietly; Schneider picks up the slip as well and drapes them over the vanity.

“That is all,” he says lowly, earning a timid glance over a shoulder—Schneider is watching him with piercing blue eyes.

“Now, I’d like for you to get on the bed and do as I’ve asked.”

Richard nods politely and quietly paces towards the made bed, wearing only the ribbon around his throat and the crimson stockings which reach his pale thighs. Attempting to be seductive is unnecessary now—Richard can tell Schneider doesn’t care whether he puts on a show or not. He climbs onto the bed without bothering to be elegant or sexy. Then he turns, rests back on his elbows, his knees pressed together, legs angled to the side to maintain his modesty. He watches Schneider with a tucked chin, his green eyes timid. His silver locks fall across his temples and cheekbones prettily, accentuating the youthful beauty of his face.

Approaching with quiet taps of his Oxfords against the floorboards, Schneider stands before the foot of the bed, his chin raised and eyes trained down on Richard’s vulnerable position, his long curls curtaining his face.

“Spread your legs, show me your body,” he murmurs, a low command spoken so intimately it has Richard’s belly twisting with a heat. Biting his lip, Richard nods and slowly inches his knees open, sliding one stockinged foot across the length of the duvet as he lets his legs naturally spread. Nothing obscene, though; just a subtle peek of his body that Schneider devours through sight alone. Richard knows how to tease. He rests his hands over his thighs, playing it up.

“Now,” Schneider begins, his voice husky with lust, hands raising to run both thumbs under his suspenders, letting them fall from his shoulders, “Touch yourself for me, darling.”

It’s not often Richard engages in something like this. Usually the men that fuck him skip the simpler things of sex. The anticipation. The teasing. The foreplay.

This time, following that command, Richard is bolder in his display. He lets his knee slowly fall open, exposing the entirety of himself to the other man. Schneider stares with unwavering eyes and a clenched jaw as Richard cups a hand under his balls, cradling himself gently in manicured fingers. He strokes a thumb down over his flaccid length, yet to be aroused. He shows how delicate and fragile he is by running his fingertips up along the shaft again, and then down again to gingerly rake his fingernails over the sensitive swell of his balls. He looks up at the other man with heat in his eyes, his cheeks rosy. Schneider, meanwhile, watches intently while he unbuttons his dress shirt, getting it open and untucked from his slacks to reveal the undershirt below.

Being watched like this while teasingly, barely touching himself has a heat stirring in Richard’s belly. Blood rushes down into his cock, seeing that hungry look on Schneider’s face as he runs his hand up over himself, brushing his stiffening shaft up against his belly. He hides it from his gaze, curls his fingers around it loosely, without intent to pleasure himself. He never looks away from his client’s handsome face.

Schneider manages to remove his dress shirt and undershirt entirely, folds them and drapes them over the vanity, momentarily breaking his gaze from Richard to do so. There, he kneels to undo his Oxfords, before neatly setting them aside along with his socks. Then he reclaims his place at the foot of the bed, begins undoing his slacks with a noticeable crack in his patience. By then, Richard is half-hard, his awakening cock resting under his warm hand.

“Stroke yourself for me,” Schneider murmurs, momentarily breaking his focus to reach out and stroke a broad hand up over the soft cotton of his red stocking, across his shin. Richard bites his lip. He bears his weight further back onto an elbow as he begins slowly rubbing the palm of his hand against his shaft. The sensitivity and responsiveness of his body begins to amplify; he lets out a shaky breath, eyelids faltering slightly. Schneider’s hand retracts to get his pants open, finally. Richard’s heavy emerald eyes pan up across his body as he steps out of them, kicks them aside, leaving him bare save for his undergarments.

Finally, Richard curls his fingers around his cock and begins to pull at it slowly, his mouth falling open. The intense gaze Schneider holds on him excites him more than the stimulation to his cock. Without hesitation, Schneider steps out of his underwear, leaving him bare. Richard sweeps his gaze along his exposed body, admiring his paleness, the muscular state of his slender arms, his soft belly yet firm chest. He’s beautiful.

Richard gapes a bit, staring at his naked body. Schneider reaches up to flip his long curls out of his face, and then with a creak of the frame, plants a knee on the foot of the bed before he crawls on, over Richard. Richard looks up at him with red cheeks and wide eyes, flustered—he opens his legs for him to get settled between. Schneider’s broad hand cups around Richard’s jaw, clutches it in his grasp. Speechless and motionless, Richard searches in his icy blue eyes, finds only lust and hunger. With his long locks falling to curtain his face, Schneider angles his head, leans in to crush their lips together. Richard makes a slight noise into it.

Raising his hands, Richard strokes them across Schneider’s chest to gingerly curl them around the back of his neck, fingers raking up through his lengthy curls. The kiss doesn’t last long; Schneider moves his lips against Richard’s with a passion, but nothing desperate and overwhelming. A firm pursing that Richard returns with a heavy blush and an excitement twisting in his belly. And then Schneider breaks it to kiss him gently over the corner of his lips, his cheek, his jaw, his throat—against the soft silk of the red ribbon. Further and further he descends, mouthing at pale skin until he nips his inner thigh between his teeth—right above the hem of his stocking. Richard jerks and sucks in a sharp breath.

Schneider’s long curls rest softly across Richard’s thighs and hips as he lower his head to suck his stiff cock in-between his thin lips, evoking a shudder and a weak moan from the whore. His broad hands are splayed around his hips, tucked partially underneath him and cradling his lower half as he begins to slowly bob his head, which only contributes to Richard’s gasping moans. The hot, wet sensation of Schneider’s mouth moving over him is something Richard seldom feels—there are a few clients who enjoy seeing him in the throes of pleasure, but they are few. Richard often has to resort to only his hand.

Without struggle, Schneider manages to take his length entirely into his mouth, his nose pressing into Richard’s belly, hair curtaining his face.

“Oh!” Richard gasps, his thighs clenching and hands grasping at fistfuls of the duvet, his entire body bursting with a heat. Schneider repeats this motion five more times: retract with tight suction, his piercing blue eyes flicking up to meet Richard’s lidded gaze, duck his head back in to take him deeply into his throat again. Only when Richard is shaking and his cock is flushed a prominent red does Schneider pull off entirely and crawl over the smaller man again. He lays himself upon him, draws his muscular arms around him. Richard turns his face into his neck, noses at his curly locks. He slides his stockinged leg up over Schneider’s, intertwines them.

“Would you like for me to retrieve the oil?” Richard whispers into his jaw, his hands roaming up across his biceps, feeling the swell of slender muscle under his fingers. Schneider hums lowly, strokes his hands over Richard’s broad back, along soft skin that feels wonderfully smooth and supple under his touch. Schneider grasps a gentle fistful of his silver locks, pulls his head back to kiss him with a firm purse of his lips before he searches in his wide green eyes and murmurs, “As well as a condom, darling.”

“Of course,” Richard whispers, smiling faintly with hooded eyes. After gently kissing him once more, Schneider plants his elbow on the bed and angles his body off of the other for Richard to turn and reach for the nightstand. After popping open the tin container holding the condoms, Richard takes one out and passes it to Schneider, before he grabs the jar of oil from the surface of the table. While Schneider rises to kneel and slip on the condom, Richard sweeps three fingers through the oil, sets the jar down, and then reaches down between his muscular thighs to rub them against himself.

He watches through lidded eyes as Schneider fits on the condom, before sliding closer to Richard, reaching out with one hand to cup it gently around his jaw. Richard searches his handsome face with a weaker gaze, his mouth falling open slightly. Schneider smiles thinly at him, almost unnoticeably so, and then leans in to kiss him lightly, tenderly. Richard makes a slight noise into it—kissing Schneider while languidly fingering himself makes for an intense combination. Schneider’s lips are warm and firm against his own.

Their mouths overlap together, a kiss that deepens into something open-mouthed and wet. Schneider is controlled and practiced about it: lets their tongues meet briefly, tastes Richard’s mouth with a sweep of his tongue before he simply goes back to kissing him. Bites at his full bottom lip, rolls it between his teeth before hungrily crushing their mouths together again. Richard is breathing heavily by then, with three fingers buried deeply inside of himself. His eyes flutter open to gaze at Schneider’s face as he consumes him through a breath-taking kiss.

Only when satisfied does Schneider pull away to kiss sweetly over Richard’s flushed face—against his brow, his forehead, and then the corner of his mouth before drawing back to glance down and watch Richard’s wrist move as he fingers himself.

“That’s quite enough,” Schneider murmurs, his voice rough and thick from the combination of the kiss and his arousal. Richard makes a weak, affirmative noise and removes his fingers from within himself. He feels overwhelmingly slick between his ass cheeks and it’s an uncomfortable sensation. He reaches for the oil again. Schneider takes it from him and moves up onto his knees. Richard watches, propped up on his elbows. Taking some in his fingers, Schneider reaches past his whore to set the jar on the nightstand. Then he clutches himself in that wet hand and strokes it over his aching shaft.

Richard watches with a bitten lip. His cock is pretty and rather big, though not ridiculously so. He’s more than what Richard typically deals with. That is, most men that fuck him aren’t impressive in size to begin with, so it wasn’t much of a competition.

“How would you like me?” Richard asks, a bit breathlessly. Schneider brushes his curls out of his face and then says lowly, “On your front.”

Obediently, Richard turns over, getting tangled among the covers on his belly, knees placed apart. Blushing, he grabs one of the feather pillows, leans into it with his arms wound around it for comfort sake. Schneider’s broad hands are on him then: one slides up over the underside of his thigh, hooks into his knee and gently pushes until Richard understands and slides his knee further up on the bed, further exposing himself and making for a more open position. He peeks over his shoulder, watches Schneider shift closer—he partially straddles Richard’s outstretched leg, kneeling over him. One hand rests over Richard’s asscheek, hooks a thumb into it to spread him open. Richard hides his face in his elbow.

He feels Schneider shift closer, and then begins rubbing the slickened head of his cock up over his taint, which has a shudder shooting up Richard’s back. He presses firmly into him. Slow and gentle, he begins easing in. Richard makes a slight noise, continues hiding his face in his arm. It doesn’t hurt—in fact, it feels almost good, and Richard is excited. He hasn’t been this excited during sex in a while.

Schneider then strokes both hands up over his sides as he slowly, carefully continues arching his hips in, until he presses up against Richard’s ass. Richard groans into his elbow, his back curling. Schneider moves closer by placing his hands on the bed on either side of Richard, leans over him with their legs tangling together.

“Does it hurt? How do you feel?” Schneider asks quietly, his voice deep and concerned from above Richard. Pausing, Richard is mildly surprised. Most clients don’t ask. Richard shakes his head and mumbles shyly, “I’m enjoying it. You may move.”

He shudders when he feels warm lips gently press over his shoulder and bicep. Schneider doesn’t move, at least for now. He just kisses over pale skin, noses at silver locks and the red ribbon at the back of his neck. Richard is silent and flustered, clutching the pillow to himself with his face in his elbow. A minute consisting of roaming hands and kissing lips passes, and then Schneider is curling both broad hands around the small of Richard’s back, leans a portion of his weight into him to keep him pinned. It turns Richard on, being pinned like this, especially by someone as confident and beautiful as Schneider.

Then Schneider slowly withdraws, before sinking back in with a gradual rock of his hips. Richard clutches a handful of the pillow, sucking in a breath between clenched teeth. The pressure of Schneider inside of him is different this time. The way Schneider touched him and pleasured him had resulted in Richard’s body to react with greater sensitivity—it has him curling his toes and making a slight noise when Schneider repeats the motion of rolling in and out of him. It feels good. He’s so deep inside of him.

Maybe it was due to the position, but each steady push back in has that certain spot inside of him lighting up with pleasure. It has a heat coiling thickly and heavily in his belly. Richard already begins to grunt and give breathless moans as Schneider rocks his hips against him, gradual and deep, his hands remaining curled around his lower back, keeping him restrained.

Once his body becomes more accepting, Schneider begins to thrust with more enthusiasm. His pelvis meets his ass with enough force that it drives Richard’s hips into the bed. It has his sensitive cock rubbing into the soft sheets. Richard jerks his head up and gasps—the feeling of the sensitive head of his cock grinding into the cotton has him whimpering and trembling. He spreads his thighs further apart, encouraging it. It makes for deeper, harder thrusts due to the change of the angle. Schneider is truly fucking him now, and it feels amazing. Richard moans, his eyes fluttering shut, manicured hands clutching tightly at the feather pillow.

“Good boy,” Schneider purrs, his voice noticeably breathless. Richard can’t resist anymore—he props up on an elbow and twists his torso just enough to look back at Schneider with an eagerness in his green eyes, his bottom lip between his teeth. Schneider is watching him with intenseness in his gaze, his long curls falling to frame his face like a curtain. It accentuates the haunting beauty of his face. Richard reaches out to stroke one hand up over his muscular forearm, up to his bicep.

Schneider removes his hands from the small of his back, places one on the bed for stability while the other clutches Richard’s roaming hand. He leans in with a dip of his head to kiss him firmly over the fingers and the back of his hand. Richard smiles faintly, shyly.

“I want you to get on top of me,” Schneider murmurs, lips moving against his fingers, his icy blue eyes intense and trained on Richard’s pretty, flushed face. He kisses him once more on the knuckles and then adds with a thin smile, “Darling.”

Then he lowers Richard’s hand and gets off of him to get settled against the gathering of feather pillows at the head of the bed. Richard moves up off his belly to crawl over the other man, flustered and equally excited. He feels Schneider’s rough hands stroke up over his body as he gets situated on top of him; he rests back on his calves, straddling his hips now. He raises up onto his knees to reach back and grip Schneider’s shaft. As Richard adjusts himself, Schneider strokes his hands over his clenching thighs, across his crimson stockings, and then reaches in with one to begin stroking at his flushed, dripping cock. Richard’s entire body jerks, a gasp ripping from his throat. He looks up at Schneider with an agape mouth and red cheeks.

“Go on,” Schneider insists firmly, searching Richard’s pleasured face as he continues pulling at his sensitive length with a tight grip and wet fingers. Richard whimpers, but obeys. He’s involuntarily shaking as he angles Schneider’s slick erection and rubs it against himself, before slowly sitting down on it. It slips easily into him. Richard eases all the way down, until he sits upon Schneider’s thighs. Richard hums with pleasure, biting his lip, and leans back with a shift of his hips just so it goes in a little deeper. Silent, Schneider strokes his other broad hand up over his back as he rocks his hips up into him, continuing to touch him unwaveringly. Richard cranes his head back, long silver locks a beautiful mess, and moans.

In the haze of sex, they lose their focus and just begin moving together, a back and forth rocking of their hips that has Richard moaning and Schneider stroking Richard’s dripping cock with greater enthusiasm. Unable to take it anymore, Richard begins to move his body up and down in a desperate attempt to gain more pleasure. He rides Schneider with a shakiness, his hands propped back against the bed for better stability. The way he kneels makes for shorter, less satisfying drops of his hips.

He then moves into something more suitable: he plants his feet on the bed, raising himself up higher. He leans forward, plants his hands on the headboard of the bed, begins to ride the other man with more force. He slams down onto him with rather a jarring connection of their bodies—Schneider grunts and stops touching him to grab his hips. He firmly presses his thumbs into his flesh, holds him tightly as he rides him. Richard moans, head tipping back again, his nails digging into the wood of the headboard.

When Schneider digs the heels of his feet into the bed for leverage and begins to thrust up into him as he comes down, Richard gasps and cries out, “Oh, God, yes!”

A few more jarring, hard thrusts and then Richard is coming with a choked whine, his knees curling in and pressing together over Schneider’s belly. His ejaculation shoots out to land across the red cotton of his stockings and Schneider’s chest. Schneider hums with pleasure and rakes his hands up over Richard’s sweaty back, his lustful blue eyes trained up on his whore’s grimacing face.

“Good,” Schneider murmurs, nearly a purr, continuing to gently rock his hips up into him. Richard collapses back onto his hands, panting with a dazed look on his face. He hasn’t come that hard in a long time. His shaking legs open again, and he continues weakly riding him with ups and downs of his body. Face and chest flushed with wild hair and lidded eyes, Richard looks utterly debauched. He’s beautiful and Schneider appreciates it greatly, consumes it greedily through gaze.

“I want you on your back now,” Schneider says lowly, breathlessly.

Nodding silently, Richard climbs off of him and then moves to lay down, lethargically. He sinks back into the feather pillows, eyes rolling shut and hands resting up by his head, across haphazard silver locks. His pale thighs press together, his stockings glistening in places with his cum. He looks angelic and utterly spent. Schneider drapes himself across him, cupping his sides with both hands. He leans in to kiss him lovingly over his heaving chest and belly, his long curls laying upon his flushed skin.

Richard hums sleepily, opening his eyes to watch Schneider with a weak smile. Schneider kisses him once more on his chest and then rises. He gently slides his hands between his legs, eases them open. Richard lowers his hands to prop them against the bed, adjusts himself and the angle of his hips. Schneider gets between his thighs, curls both hands around them to tug him closer across the sheets, into a more suitable position. Richard bites his lip, looks up at him with more alert eyes.

Pausing, Schneider takes a moment to lean over and reach for the nightstand. With three fingers, he scoops out more oil and then strokes it over himself—it had dried out. He adjusts his hips against Richard’s. He rubs his slickened cock against him before sliding into him again, eyes downcast to watch his shaft enter his body. Richard gasps, squeezes his muscular legs around him, the heels of his feet digging into his ass. He’s so sensitive now.

When Schneider begins to rock against him, broad hands roaming up over his sides, Richard’s mouth falls open. He glances down to watch Schneider’s body roll with the motion of it. Richard reaches out to press a hand to his stomach, feels it clench and move under his touch. Schneider is grunting softly, so quietly Richard barely hears it past the sound of their meeting bodies.

Gradually, Schneider’s thrusting becomes more intense. He hooks his hands under his knees over the soft fabric of his stockings, hikes his legs up with squeezing hands. Richard is moaning and digging his nails into Schneider’s flexing stomach. Now, Schneider himself is openly groaning, his head tipping back, long locks sweeping back over his shoulder blades.

Richard watches his jaw clench and his neck flex, his hand roaming up over Schneider’s clenching stomach. Schneider’s thrusting slows to a gradual back and forth, until he’s regained his composure and he’s gazing down at Richard with a controlled expression again. The only indication of his orgasm is the heaving of his chest and the flush to his face. Richard hadn’t anticipated for him to spend so soon, after changing positions.

He lets Richard’s legs drape around him again, plants his hands on the bed for balance as he leans in to kiss Richard on the cheek sweetly, before he rises from between his legs and the bed. He removes the used condom, tosses it in the garbage bin by the nightstand. Richard sluggishly props up onto an elbow, rakes his fingers through his silver locks. He silently watches the other man. His back is broad and beautiful, narrowing into lovely hips and an even lovelier ass. Richard stares. Schneider turns to him and asks, “How long do I have with you?”

Richard pauses, looks up to meet his blue-eyed gaze. He smiles faintly.

“However long you wish. Won’t you come join me again?”

The faintest smile appears on Schneider’s lips. He nods, paces up to the bed, and lowers himself back onto it and ultimately onto Richard. Richard winds his arms around him, hands running across the muscular planes of his back, his smile wider now. Schneider rolls them onto their sides, legs tangling. He holds Richard like he was his lover and not a prostitute. He kisses his temple like he loves him, and not like he’s using him.

 

After twenty minutes of lengthy cuddling, Schneider had risen and is now fully redressed, tucking his gold watch into the pocket of his waistcoat once again. He looks immaculate, like their sex never happened. He gazes upon Richard coolly—Richard sits nude on the foot of the bed, legs crossed gracefully with his hands in his lap.

“How long is your contract with Emanuel?” Schneider asks, sweeping his eyes up along his pale, muscular body with silent appreciation. Richard holds his gaze, his own expression schooled again save for the faintest look of vulnerability in his green eyes.

“Undetermined,” Richard answers, “He doesn’t own me, but I’ve given him the reins for now.”

“For the earnings?” Schneider presumes, folding his hands behind his back with an upwards tilt of his chin, eyes searching Richard’s youthful, beautiful face.

“For a place to live,” Richard says, quieter now with an avert of his eyes. He stares at his red, frilled dress which remains folded on the chair where Schneider last left it before this all began. Schneider speaks lowly, almost with pity.

“…I see.”

Silence hangs for a moment. Richard is uncomfortable. Clearing his throat, earning a meek glance from emerald eyes, Schneider continues.

“Well, I do hope you plan to stay here, at this establishment, for some time,” he says, stepping closer to the bed with quiet taps of his Oxfords against wood, his pale blue eyes somewhat gentler as they gaze down into Richard’s. He stands over him now—the contrast is noticeable. A handsome, wealthy man dressed in elegant clothing emitting an air of power and superiority, versus the debauched prostitute lacking a shred of decency with uncertainty radiating from him. Richard gazes up at him warily, his long silver locks framing his face messily.

Schneider’s thin lips twitch into an awkward attempt of a smile.

“I enjoyed being with you. You’re beautiful, and quite my type. You truly satisfied me, beyond the physical sense alone. I look forward to hiring you again.”

Richard searches his face, brow furrowing slightly. He’s not sure how to respond to that. He nods, flicks his tongue between his lips. He manages a faint, strained smile, tilting his head slightly.

“Good. That’s what matters.”

Schneider pauses, searching his face. A more human expression replaces the forced smile on his face. His eyes are softer, his eyebrows unfurrowing, with his posture relaxing slightly. Schneider watches the other man as he asks lowly, “Can you stand for me, darling?”

Richard notices how he requested, rather than demanded. That has a more genuine smile warming up Richard’s face. He obliges and rises with an unfolding of his legs. He links his fingers together in front of himself, looks up at Schneider.

He flushes in the face when Schneider raises a hand and gently curls two fingers under his chin, tips his head back slightly. Eyes becoming lidded, Richard searches his client’s handsome face and watches with bated breath as he leans in. Schneider’s soft curls rest against his cheeks when their lips meet.

Chapter Text

The candlelight casts the softest, warmest glow upon his features. His eyelashes are long against his cheeks. His mouth is slightly open, his chest rising and falling with every breath. His legs are tangled in the sheets. He’s utterly bare, exposing milky pale skin to his hungry gaze. He has some hair on his belly, on his arms and thighs—Schneider finds it attractive on him. A hint of masculinity on his otherwise deceiving body. How could one man be so perfect?

Schneider gazes upon his sleeping face with a subtle fondness on his own. He lays nude himself, resting on his side next to his precious whore. He reaches up, extends his hand to slowly, gingerly brush Richard’s messy silver bangs from his forehead. So carefully, his fingertips touch only hair and no skin, if only to prevent disturbing his slumber. Richard’s eyes are roving under his eyelids. Schneider wants to know what he’s dreaming about. He wants to reach into his mind and read his thoughts, see his memories, explore what makes him him.

But, as bitter as it is to him, Schneider does not have that power. He may have some power over this man, but not enough. Schneider wants to clutch him in a fist, refuse to let him go. Is that possible? Can he put that claim on this whore? Gazing at him, silently admiring his angelic face, Schneider concludes he surely can. What is stopping him?

 


 

The sun is high and hot in the sky today. People are taking shelter under shade, women fanning themselves fruitlessly with fans, horses kept well hydrated by their caretakers, wet laundry hung out to dry. The streets are lethargically lively, but Schneider is not in the mood for it. He is made impatient by the heat. The screaming laughter of kids and the clacking of horse hooves on stone is grinding on his ears. The buzz of conversation, the rumbling of passing carriages and expensive cars. He strides quickly through the street, avoiding the clamoring people, the maze of stalls of goods and services, sticking to the shadows. He wears one of his wider brimmed hats, if only for meager protection from the sun. His curls are already clinging to his forehead and the sides of his face with dampness. He hates this weather.

Finally, he makes it to the fabric store not far from his own tailor shop, for a typical weekly prowl of fabrics. Once inside, it’s a bit more relieving. He removes his hat, contemplates stripping off his suit jacket, but decides it would be rude. The owner of the shop, a fair lady in her mid-thirties, greets him with a smile, familiar with his visits. He politely returns the bidding of a good afternoon she had given him, and then begins scanning with no further words.

He’s bathed in the season’s yellows, romantic blues, and deep greens. A splash of red there, a dab of purple here. At the moment, all he seeks is inspiration. In-between clients, he enjoys doing small projects to test his skill. Maybe this time he’ll attempt a dress. Typically, he works with men’s clothing, but that has become repetitive and dull.

He thumbs at some visually appealing fabrics, testing the texture. He pauses when he spots a cream colored fabric, with hints of deep plum—almost an ombre, one shade fading into the next like paint in water. It’s very lovely. He fingers that one as well, and is pleased with the sensation.

Surprising himself, his mind flickers to the image of his conquest donning a dress like this. Maybe one typical to his line of work; scandalous and revealing. But then again, Schneider has been curious to see the man done up in a modest, lady-like gown suitable for a walk in the park. He hums under his breath and pans his gaze across the varying colors. For something like a stroll, he would need colors more suitable for summer.

A pastel yellow. A kiss of blue.

 


 

Something claws at him. A mixture of jittery anticipation, guttural desire, and the need to capture something evasive of his grasp. It blends into one emotion that leaves him restless. As soon as he closes shop for the day, he goes home, cleans up, and then departs to disappear into the shroud of the night.

Within its darkness, he hires a carriage to take him deeper into the city. For the drive, he sits calmly and motionlessly, gazing out the window and watching the passing scenery. He attempts to control the unease inside himself.

Once he stands at the entrance to the pub/whorehouse, he doesn’t hesitate. He confidently opens the door and ducks inside. There are men seated about. Some with lit cigars, others with a drink. Women flock around, dressed up and looking disgustingly presentable in anticipation to be paid for sex. Schneider overlooks it all to pace towards the back counter. He smiles at the middle-aged woman who looks like she belongs anywhere else. Her hair is pulled up into a tight bun, her dress done up nicely and neatly. She seems more suitable to be a teacher than a hostess at a bar selling prostitutes.

“He’s busy with another client right now,” she says to him, eyes downcast as she continues working at a stain in the wood surface, “Not for much longer. Take a seat and I’ll come fetch you when he’s finished.”

“And what makes you think I seek his company tonight?” Schneider muses without bite as he languidly unbuttons his coat and slips it off, “Perhaps I yearn for a more feminine touch.”

She peers up at him with a sardonic smirk and a cocked brow. She doesn’t say anything, she merely places aside the washcloth and holds out a hand. Handing her his coat, he thanks her with a dip of his head and a smooth slide of an envelope into the same hand. She turns to hang his coat. He then leaves her be, to approach the round table in the corner, tucked close to a window. He smoothly takes a seat.

 

The estimation had been true enough; twenty minutes later, Schneider glances up to see the hostess leaning past the open door, the door leading into the belly of the establishment. She’s talking with someone. Then she steps back out, and looks over at Schneider. She nods towards him and then takes her place at the bar to return to her task of cleaning dishes. Schneider rises silently.

Weaving through tables, he slips past the bar and through the door. He quietly shuts it behind himself. He’s now in the small hallway, decorated by well-cleaned carpeting and art on the wall. There’s a small table nestled in the corner by the staircase—an embroidered tablecloth and a vase of proud flowers are placed atop it. The flowers appear as if someone has taken great care of them.

He hears a creak at the top of the stairs. He looks up to see Richard standing there. He’s wearing a flowing, multi-layered skirt and a top which hangs low on his shoulders, joined by a knitted shawl the shade of dark wine. It’s an overabundance of clothing, a shoddy attempt at looking feminine—as if he doesn’t know how to dress himself. He looks appealing, regardless. It’s not like he could ever look unappetizing. His silver locks are tucked behind his ears.

“Good evening,” Schneider greets him, stepping closer, placing one foot on the first step, his hand resting atop the banister. He looks up towards Richard with what he hopes is a calming expression. Richard readjusts the shawl around himself and offers the faintest hint of a smile. He looks beautiful. Schneider admires him silently. Richard clears his throat and speaks, softly.

“Good evening. Come join me.”

Schneider is happy to oblige that beckoning. He begins to ascend the staircase, keeping his eyes entirely trained on Richard’s. When within reach, Richard timidly extends a hand. With the slightest smirk on his face, Schneider smoothly takes his hand in his own, leans in to kiss the back of it, and then with that hand, he leads Richard down the hallway. He makes sure is Richard beside him, rather than behind, like a gentleman should.

The blatant sound of a bed hitting against a wall can be heard from the hallway, as muffled as it is. Schneider grimaces. He was under the impression the animals go to the lower-class whorehouse, not this one. Richard is silent, guiding Schneider to the furthest door on the right. He reaches out with his free hand to turn the doorknob and ease it open. They enter the sparsely, but neatly, furnished bedroom. The walls are covered in a tastefully floral patterned wallpaper, the bed donned by a duvet as deep a blue as the night sky.

The moonlight is seeping into the room through the drawn drapes of the small window, as well as from the window in the door leading to the balcony. Richard closes the door behind them and then gently slips his hand from Schneider’s to turn to him. He offers him a faint smile and asks, “Did you want my services any differently this time?”

“No,” Schneider begins, reaching out to idly stroke his hand down Richard’s arm, letting his fingers fall across Richard’s hand, “You are lovely how you are. This time, I want you to undress yourself for me.”

Richard nods a little, his silver locks falling from behind his ears to frame his face prettily. Schneider yearns to reach up and tuck it behind his ear again, but he feels that may be too intimate a gesture. Richard reaches up, curls his fingers into the hem of his shawl, and draws it off. He peeks up at Schneider before he turns to the vanity. He drapes the shawl over the chair before it, much like Schneider had done the first time they were together like this. He turns to Schneider, eyes downcast.

Meanwhile, Schneider folds his hands behind his back and watches with a cool expression, eyes glinting with pleasure. He enjoys studying Richard, absorbing his beauty and grace to his desire. Richard is meek as he slips off the low-shoulder top, exposing his bare chest and fit belly. He’s not wearing a slip, like last time. He’s wearing less. Perhaps he just threw this outfit on right after pleasing another man.

That doesn’t sit well with Schneider. He frowns, with this thought in mind.

He watches tensely while Richard drapes the top over the chair, before easing down his layered skirt. Revealed to Schneider are his undergarments and cream colored thigh-high stockings, tied off with ribbons. He folds the skirt and places it on the seat of the chair. After easing down his frilly bloomers, he’s left bare save for his stockings. Schneider is interested in seeing him totally nude this time, so he doesn’t interrupt him. He watches calmly as Richard sets aside the bloomers, before reaching down to untie one ribbon, slipping that beige stocking down and off his leg.

He has little to no leg hair. Schneider wonders if he shaves himself there, or it’s merely natural. Richard repeats the process with the other stocking, and then he is truly himself. Schneider is pleased. He offers the other man a slight perk of a smile when timid green eyes flick up towards him. Richard folds his hands in front of himself, as if to give himself modesty, and then speaks quietly, asking, “How would you like me?”

“If you would like to,” Schneider finds himself saying, surprising even himself in his offer of consent, “You shall undress me.”

They’re essentially swapping roles. He wants to explore Richard in these insignificant ways every time they meet. He wants to see how Richard undresses another man. How he behaves.

Richard blinks, looks at him with mild surprise. He nods a little. He steps closer to Schneider. They’re polar opposites: Richard is beautifully naked while Schneider is fully dressed, up to the last button of his dress shirt. Schneider enjoys having him this close. Richard smells like vanilla. He must have bathed before welcoming Schneider in. Good.

There is enough space between them that Schneider can take in the full view of him. His nicely shaped chest. His fit belly with a shadow of hair, his lean thighs. His arms are full and soft, his hands almost delicate. Richard’s eyes remain downcast, silver locks framing his forehead, as he reaches up to begin unbuttoning Schneider’s suit coat. He doesn’t rush. He is gentle as he slips each button from its designated hole. Schneider watches him closely, studying his face.

Soon, Richard gets his suit coat off, drapes it over the chair like he had done with his own clothing, and then turns back to work on his tie. No words are exchanged, but somehow, the intimate atmosphere only intensifies. Schneider watches him with lidded eyes, eager to touch him, but his self-control is stronger. Richard slips off Schneider’s tie. He then, carefully, removes his gold pocket watch. He turns to the vanity, sets both atop its surface, and then returns to Schneider to resume unbuttoning his pinstriped vest.

“You have lovely hands,” Schneider murmurs, tracking the movements of his fingers—his nails are colored a deep red. Richard makes a slight, flustered exhale and it has Schneider smiling faintly. He looks up to see Richard with a furrowed brow, his lips pressed together as if he were embarrassed.

“Thank you,” he murmurs, quietly. Schneider finds it endearing.

Gradually, Schneider’s vest is removed, then his button-up shirt, leaving him in his undershirt. Schneider moves his arms and torso however he needs to, Richard’s hands skimming across his arms and skin as he undresses him. It’s a quiet, intimate moment—almost as if they were practiced lovers. Richard is careful to fold and set aside each piece of clothing. Schneider notices Richard’s fingers become clumsier in their trek to undo his belt, followed by the buttons to his suit pants.

“That will be enough,” Schneider says quietly, stroking his roughened fingers along Richard’s wrist. Richard politely removes his hands and bites his lip. Schneider meets his eyes and says, “Sit on the bed for me. I’ll join you.”

Richard silently obeys. Schneider steps out of his pants and his undergarments while Richard takes a seat on the bed, legs pressed together, feet against the floor, hands curled in his lap. Now he gets to observe Schneider as the older man folds his pants and sets them with his other articles of clothing. He removes his socks lastly and then paces up to join Richard. Although, surprising him, he places his hands upon his milky pale thighs, easing them open gently. Richard lets him, looking up into his hooded blue eyes with slight surprise in his own.

Schneider’s curl shroud his face as he stands over Richard, tall and imposing. Richard sweeps his gaze down across his body. His chest is flat, his belly bearing a slight pouch—but it’s attractive. He has slim hips, but powerful thighs. Curls of hair surround his soft shaft, in a visually appealing way. He’s beautiful. Schneider can read this in Richard’s appreciative eyes when they sweep back up to meet his own.

Gingerly, Schneider strokes his palms and lax fingers up across Richard’s biceps, along the curve of his shoulders. His fingertips trace his collarbone. Richard watches Schneider’s face with unrelenting eyes, his mouth slightly open, cheeks ruddy. Schneider doesn’t look away either. He maintains that piercing eye contact while stroking his hands up over Richard’s throat, to gently cup his jaw, fingers resting over his cheeks and ears. He brings a thumb to his chin, strokes the pad of it directly underneath his bottom lip. Richard’s eyes are devastatingly vulnerable—almost yearning.

“You are breath-taking,” Schneider murmurs gravelly, studying his soft, delicate features, “And I want you to enjoy yourself. I want you to always enjoy your time with me. I will make sure of it.”

Richard swallows hard. Schneider’s words seem to overwhelm him; he’s blushing heavier now, his brow slightly furrowing. Shyly, he averts his gaze and whispers, “A feat which is not difficult for you to achieve. You are a man unlike any other.”

“We’ve shared only a night together. You are convinced of this so quickly; or is that what you tell all of your clients?” Schneider muses, a slight smirk pulling at the corner of his lips. That earns a sharp flick from Richard’s eyes. They’re not quite as vulnerable anymore. He looks defensive.

“Shall I retract my statement?” he murmurs icily. But then he blinks, immediately recognizing his mistake. He looks ashamed.

“I would never force myself to utter such words to the filth that filters through here. I will not cater to the pride of a man, a man who seldom cares about anything but himself,” he shakily whispers, as if he felt exposed beyond just the physical sense. This interests Schneider. He waits patiently for him to continue. Richard doesn’t disappoint. He continues in a grated murmur, his jaw clenching under Schneider’s hands, his eyes piercing and remaining trained up on his.

“You know how to appreciate the things you find beautiful. The pleasure of your partner seems to be important to you. I am far from knowing the sincerest, truest form of you, but even from this glimpse you’ve shown me, I can say you are different.”

Schneider smiles faintly. He strokes his thumb across Richard’s hotly flushed cheek, searching in his steeled eyes.

“I find you interesting,” Schneider begins lowly, “You’re not afraid of me? Of what I could possibly be hiding? What if I were to be one of those men, after all? I have the power to do so many unspeakable things to you. You have given me that power. You are utterly vulnerable to my hands.”

Richard looks momentarily wary. He licks his lips and takes in a shuddering breath. He speaks coolly, his eyes fixated on Schneider’s.

“If that’s what you wanted, you would have done so already. A man trembling to hurt another will not hesitate when he’s cornered his prey.”

“But, among those men that are eager to hurt, one must be different,” Schneider replies with amusement in his eyes, now stroking his fingertips through Richard’s soft hair, “You say I am a man unlike any other. With this logic, a violent man can be unlike any other violent man. One so cunning and conniving, he will lead his victim to believe they can trust him. Am I wrong?”

Pausing, Richard looks astonished with a furrowed brow and alarmed eyes. Then, surprising the other man, he laughs. He sits back, removing himself from Schneider’s hands, and demands past his chuckling, “What is this? Are you attempting to frighten me? Or is this how you prelude to a romp? I must say, I’m quite aroused by this conversation, if that is your intent.”

Schneider smiles faintly. He gingerly presses his curled fingers under Richard’s chin, thumb resting against his bottom lip. Richard’s amused expression weakens. He gazes up at Schneider with calmer eyes. Schneider speaks lowly.

“I only tease. I find your words endearing. You are endearing.”

“Don’t patronize me,” Richard whispers, “If you have forgotten, I am a man myself.”

“Are you?” Schneider murmurs in return. Richard’s face becomes stone at that.

Schneider supposes he’s moving in the opposite direction he should. He shakes his head a little, and then lets out a breath.

“I apologize. That was rude of me.”

Perhaps he still envisions prostitutes as lesser class people. That they don’t deserve his respect. And yet, Richard has effectively been changing his outlook. His views. Richard is simply special, that is undeniable. Schneider can tell already. He finds it amusing how they’ve come to this mutual conclusion so swiftly. They are different, to each other. One night of passion and it’s become irreversible.

“It’s alright,” Richard says quietly—Schneider sees how he looks down to the left, his hand raising to rub at his own forearm in a withdrawn gesture. Schneider hums.

“No,” he disagrees, “I shouldn’t have said such a thing. Your words hold more weight to me than the words that typically come out of a whore’s mouth.”

Richard seems conflicted by this statement, judging by his expression. Schneider leans in to kiss him on the forehead, nose meeting silver locks.

“I want to kiss your mouth,” Schneider whispers, his other hand stroking up over Richard’s bicep, “But I won’t ask that of you if you do not wish it.”

“No, no,” Richard softly whispers, looking up at him with gentler eyes, “You may. I’m not quite sure what possessed me to say such things. This is our time. I needn’t ruin it.”

Searching his face, Schneider finds willingness and a hint of bashfulness. He nods, gently cupping his hand around Richard’s jaw, thumb against his cheek. Gazing at him, he sees Richard’s eyelids falter as he begins to lean in, angling his head to properly kiss him.

Gingerly, Schneider presses his lips to Richard’s, so lightly it’s more a caress than a kiss. But soon, it does delve into something stronger, more passionate. Richard reaches up to clutch at his wrist, angling his head to deepen it. Their lips purse together, kept chaste for now. Richard’s lips are soft and plush under his own, easy to succumb and give. Schneider keeps his thumb pressed to his cheek, fingers in his hair, pulling him in, his other hand stroking down across his throat to settle on his chest. He’s warm, and his skin is utterly supple under his touch. It makes Schneider ravenous for more.

With his hand on Richard’s chest, the other on his cheek, Schneider stands between his spread knees, leaning in over him almost possessively as they continue to kiss. The back and forth overlapping of their lips has become heated and intimate; Schneider only breaks away when he becomes breathless. He kisses Richard on the cheek as Richard pants, turning his face into Schneider’s broad palm, as if to nuzzle into it. Schneider smiles faintly to himself, gazing down at him with amused, almost fond, eyes. He strokes his thumb against Richard’s cheek, while his other hand ventures further south to run across Richard’s soft, lightly hairy belly. His fingers tease at the wisps of hair between his thighs, before roaming his hand across one of his muscular thighs. He curls his long fingers around him there, squeezes firmly. Richard lets out a huffing exhale against his hand.

“Lay back for me, darling,” Schneider murmurs, fingers sliding across his thigh. Richard nods into his hand. He peeks up at him with meek eyes and ruddy cheeks. He’s precious. Schneider smiles faintly at him. Richard obeys and scoots back onto the bed.

He rests himself against the pillows, placing his hands along his hips in a shy, albeit tantalizing, gesture. He watches Schneider with beckoning eyes. Schneider admires the view; Richard laying atop the plush duvet and feathery pillows of the bed Schneider shall take him upon, silver locks slightly skewered, his cheeks flushed, hands on his hips, knees shyly pressed together, his soft shaft between his thighs, shrouded in darker curls of hair.

“You are beautiful,” Schneider murmurs as he moves to kneel on the bed, sliding closer to the other man. Richard bites his lip. He willingly, if only shyly, spreads his thighs for Schneider to fit himself between. Without force, without greed, Schneider lays himself atop him in an intimate embrace, their bellies aligned, Richard’s thighs closing around him, his hands raising to cup around Schneider’s sides. He gazes up at him with more alert eyes, the green of them vibrant and alluring. Schneider smiles down at him, thinly, and brings a hand up to cup his cheek again, thumb against his chin, fingers cradling along his cheekbone and into his hair.

“Are you comfortable in this arrangement?” Schneider asks quietly, searching in his eyes for any barriers, any uncertainty, “You can tell me the truth.”

Richard flicks his tongue between his lips and nods. He seems a little flustered as he murmurs, “Yes. I am.”

He averts his gaze as he begins to stroke his soft hands up along Schneider’s sides, to curl them around his shoulder blades. At first, Schneider isn’t convinced, but he becomes pleasantly surprised when Richard pulls him closer. Collapsing onto an elbow, Schneider ends up even closer than he had been. He tucks his chin, looking down to see Richard nuzzle into his chest and neck, his exhales heavy and hot against his skin, hands clutching at him. He squeezes his legs around him, feet sliding down along Schneider’s calves. It’s a full-body embrace. It seems almost desperate.

This is more intimate than the sex. Schneider is rendered speechless. He feels Richard’s slow breathing against himself; his chest pushes up against his own, relaxed and deep. He’s warm. He’s undeniably soft. He smells wonderful. Schneider succumbs to his own desire: he turns his head down to press his nose among wisps of silver, closes his eyes, breathes him in. His own lengthy curls fall across Richard’s cheek. Richard’s arms clench around him, fingers clutching at his shoulders, and then he’s pulling back.

He won’t meet Schneider’s eyes as he whispers, “May I touch you?”

Schneider feels vaguely moved by such a question, spoken in such a way.

“Of course,” he murmurs, “However you wish.”

Richard gives him a faint smile. He strokes his hands over Schneider’s sides as he asks, “Can you rest back on your knees for me, then?”

Schneider is not one to withstand being asked to kneel, but he will, for him. He nods. He detaches himself from Richard, and obliges him. He sits back on his calves, resting on his knees atop the bed. Richard immediately follows; he gets up, scoots closer to him, looks at him with a shy smile as he reaches out to rest his hands over his muscular thighs. He strokes them up along the taut muscle, thumbs digging in slightly. His vibrant emerald eyes remain trained up on Schneider’s as he lets his hands roam upwards, caressing his softer belly, his sides. Up to his chest, he runs his fingers and palms across his nipples and then he brings them around to cup his rib cage on both sides, feeling each intake and exhale of his breath.

Kneeling there with an impassive expression, Schneider watches the other man, his own hands resting lightly upon the bed, allowing him unspoken permission to continue. Richard drops his gaze to watch himself bring his hands back down to Schneider’s thighs. He gently places them on the inside of them, peeking up at Schneider as he begins to lightly push. Schneider obliges, silently, with a cool expression. He slides his knees further apart, revealing his shaft—which is becoming slightly interested—and the groomed curls of hair which surround it attractively. Richard smiles faintly, admiring his body, in all its lean, muscular elegance.

“You are quite beautiful yourself, you realize,” he murmurs, glancing up towards his schooled face, “And while you may not see myself as one, men can be beautiful.”

Schneider pauses, brow furrowing. He feels conflicted about this. He contemplates what to say, and then opens his mouth.

“I… I had been mistaken,” he says, quietly, “I do see you as a man.”

“Do you?” Richard muses, continuing to lightly run his hands over Schneider’s thighs, occasionally raking his nails up and down with a faint smile on his fair face, “Men come to us, yet they specifically hide, or neglect, that fact. If not that, they begrudgingly accept it. It is hard for a proud man to accept that he would dare to take another to bed. So he conjures delusion that we are not men, but things. Does this apply to you?”

Squaring his jaw, Schneider is now the one to feel defensive. He presses his lips together. Somewhere in the back of his mind, the anger prods at him, reminding him that Richard is just a whore, and he shouldn’t even think to say such things to him. But yet again, it is Richard. Schneider lets out a breath. He won’t punish him for speaking his mind.

“No,” Schneider begins lowly, “I have no reason to hide who you are from myself. You are a man. That is undeniably true.”

Richard’s smile becomes a touch more genuine. He nods. He shifts closer towards the other man, and whispers, “I can be more than just a man to you, or even less, but it won’t change what I truly am. I can be whatever you want me to be, but I don’t want there to be delusion.”

This relaxes Schneider, minutely. He searches Richard’s face, finding no discomfort or distaste in any of his features. He seems totally relaxed now. Schneider, even if unbeknownst to himself, appreciates that. While he is a prideful man, he does not want to be a brutish man, one who takes and cares not for anything else, as Richard had eloquently put it earlier. Schneider reaches out to stroke his broad hand across Richard’s bicep, to then cup his jaw again. Richard dips his head towards it, giving Schneider a light smile.

 

The oil lamp on the nightstand is casting a warm glow throughout the room. It illuminates Richard’s shapely legs, his soft hips. His muscular chest, his jawline, his messy silver locks which fall across his forehead and cling to his cheek. His pretty lips, his strong brow. Light bruises left by Schneider decorate his throat and his chest. Unspoken, intentional marks of ownership. Schneider gingerly traces each one with the lightest touch of his fingertips. He’s laying on his side, close to his resting whore, his cheek to the pillow, curls splayed out to touch Richard’s shoulder. His own gaze is following up from his fingers, across Richard’s throat, seeing the way he swallows, and then up to focus on his face. He knows Richard is awake. His breathing isn’t deep enough. His suspicion is confirmed when Richard blearily opens his eyes, just barely, enough to glance down and watch Schneider’s fingers trace along the bruises on his pectorals. His mouth is slightly open, his cheeks warm.

Their sex had been different this time. Schneider contemplates how it could’ve changed so drastically, so soon. There had been a desire for pleasure, but a different kind. Richard clung to him tighter, moaned louder. Their skin never disconnected, limbs entangled and bodies absolutely joined. Richard never seemed to want to stop, but nor did Schneider. Only when Richard was physically unable to keep going did he collapse into the blankets like a fallen angel. And here they are now. Schneider wonders if its selfish of him to wish this night never came to an end.

“You don’t have to go,” Richard whispers to him, “You can be my only lover for the remainder of the night.”

Schneider doesn’t say anything. He resumes stroking his fingertips along pale skin, so gingerly and delicately, as if Richard is made of porcelain.

Such a statement has Schneider thinking. Richard is something—no, someone—he shares. He shares his beautiful body with other men. Men who do not deserve this lovely creature. They do not deserve to lay their hands on something so flawless. He is momentarily disgusted by the thought. He is not the only man who had been inside of him tonight. Will there ever be a time when he is the only one? And does it really matter?

Does Schneider really care about this whore, or is this all merely a charade? A deceiving dance that Richard is partaking in?

Who is the one that is being seduced? Richard, or himself?

 


 

He hasn’t visited him in a week. Schneider has been overwhelmed by the commissions of multiple clients. He’s been busy with non-stop drafting, measuring, cutting, sewing. If he’s not working, he’s far too tired to even consider going out to the deeper pits of the city. He spends his evenings reading or writing at home.

So when he’s doing his weekly shopping at the cluster of food stalls in the center of town, at around noon, he’s scrutinizing a loaf of bread when he takes notice of a head of silver. Beyond the shoulders of men and women, the silver-haired stranger stands with their back to Schneider, a basket hooked in their elbow, one hand holding a bitten apple. They pause to examine a stall to their left; they turn to face it, and then Schneider sees his profile. It’s undeniably him. His locks of silver frame his face. There’s his feminine nose, his strong chin, his almost child-like eyes. He’s not far. Schneider can see the way his lips turn up into a faint smile.

Something hot prods Schneider in the belly. He’s surprised to find himself nervous, seeing him in public like this. He sets down the loaf of bread. He doesn’t even bid good day to the keeper of the stall before he slinks off, weaving between people. Richard then waves a hand towards whomever, before turning and walking away. He brings the apple to his mouth, taking a bite. He disappears behind a throng of people. Schneider furrows his brow. Before he even reconsiders what he’s doing, he begins pushing beyond the crowd, cradling his bag of food to his chest as he moves.

When he finds him again, Richard is standing at a stall selling fine cloths and silks. Standing behind a stack of wooden crates, Schneider is beginning to feel like a creep as he peers past them. But it can’t be helped. His curiosity must be sated. He stares at the other man.

He’s wearing a loosely fitted white shirt with sleeves which go down to his elbows, joined by olive green pants and black suspenders. It looks quite good on him. Schneider is hypnotized by this image of Richard. Richard in his most comfortable state. No masks, no costumes, no roleplay. He’s simply Richard. Schneider wants to speak with him.

He decides to stop being a coward. He emerges from behind the crates, steeling himself, and passes stalls and people to approach the other man.

Richard is totally unaware. He’s stroking at a baby blue sheet of silk with yearning fingers, distracted as Schneider comes to him. Standing behind him now, Schneider’s heart is fluttering, and he’s not sure why. Why does he find himself so nervous around him? Perhaps it’s anticipation?

He clears his throat. Richard pauses and turns to look over his shoulder. He sees Schneider, and then he goes pale. He turns to face him, looking him up and down as if he’s seen a ghost.

“S-Schneider,” he stammers, dropping his half-eaten apple into his basket and clutching the basket to himself, as if to act as a barrier, “Did you follow me?”

Schneider blinks. He furrows his brow. He holds up his bag of various foods, still clutched to his side, indicating that that had been far from his intention.

“No. I happened to see you. I thought I could say hello.”

“Why?” Richard snaps, startling Schneider. He did not expect that response. Richard shakes his head, lips in a line, brow knit. Letting out a rushed breath, he then says with downcast eyes, “My apologies. I’m sorry. I—Come with me.”

He begins to walk away, still clutching his basket to his chest. Schneider calmly follows after him, still a bit stunned by Richard’s brash response. They end up in a more private area. Windows surround them, but they’re all closed, no faces in their panes of glass. The wind is rushing through their hair, and nearby clothing which hangs on a line. A cluster of birds fly by, singing. Schneider’s anticipation is gone, replaced by stone. He watches the smaller man closely, his own expression bearing nothing. Richard reaches up to tuck his hair behind an ear, readjusts his basket on his arm, and sighs. He looks up to meet Schneider’s eyes.

“Please be honest with me. What do you want from me? Why must you approach me? Do not tell me you’re becoming infatuated with the concept of something more than just our nights together. I have had clients in the past who had sought me out, to take more than just what they paid for. Do not ruin what I see in you, Schneider.”

Schneider arches a brow.

“And what do you see in me?”

Richard squares his jaw.

“Answer my question and I’ll answer yours.”

Schneider pauses, and then huffs a laugh. Richard looks up at him with slight awe, blinking rapidly. He probably did not anticipate laughter of all things from him. Schneider nods. He owes this man that much, at least. In retrospect, he should’ve reconsidered what he was doing, but perhaps he was following his heart rather than his brain.

“Fair enough. I saw you in another light, in another setting. In different garments. I saw you. I was enraptured by it. I didn’t want to lose sight of that, so I approached. It may have been wrong of me. I shouldn’t have invaded in your life outside of your work. As for what I want from you… Even I don’t know the answer to that.”

That is probably the most honest he’s been in years. He watches Richard’s face with a mask on his own.

Richard lets out a breath. He seems to relax a bit at that, the tension in his shoulders and jaw alleviating. He gives Schneider the weakest smile, an unspoken appreciation for his honesty.

Schneider wants to reach out for him, to touch his cheek, but he refrains from doing so. He searches in Richard’s youthful eyes. Richard looks down to the side. Schneider sees the way he licks his lips. A bit of pink is flushing his cheeks. Cute. Richard speaks quietly.

“What I see in you is potential.”

A moment passes, silence punctuated by the bustling of a busy market in the background. The breeze rushing through their clothing. Schneider studies Richard’s flustered, yet daring, expression as he speaks lowly.

“I see. I hope I won’t disappoint you.”

“If you do, that’s quite alright, too,” Richard says with a shrug and a faint smile, “You came to me only for sex. I have no expectations.”

“I came to you for intimacy,” Schneider corrects, stiffly.

“Intimacy,” Richard echoes, his eyes becoming unfocused as if he’s looking through Schneider. He then smiles faintly, almost bitterly. He speaks in a harsh whisper, his fingers becoming white-knuckled around the handle of his basket, “So do you believe we make love? Rather than a screw in the sheets, you like to fantasize it as something more? Do you picture me as yours, Schneider?”

“You are mine,” Schneider insists—then, he realizes his heart is pounding, his cheeks hot, his hands sweaty. Richard is flustering him. This is unusual.

“You are mine,” he repeats, earning a look of shock from the other man, “At least for that night. You even promised me it yourself, Richard. You are whatever I want you to be. Does that not include the role of my lover? Of being mine, and only mine?”

“Is that what you want, after all?” Richard whispers as if his voice is being stolen from him, his face red, eyes wide and vulnerable, “That I am only yours?”

Schneider opens his mouth. He freezes. He realizes he spoke too brashly. He never realized how deeply this apparent infatuation ran. It’s becoming clear now that that is what he wants. The thought of bringing Richard away from that place had been prodding at him subconsciously. How long has Schneider been searching for someone so perfect to him?

“And if it is?” he sternly replies, a bit confused himself. He’s sure it’s showing on his face. His skin is hot. He licks his lips and continues, uncharacteristically nervous.

“Would that be so unacceptable? I won’t steal you. I won’t coerce you into doing anything you would rather not. I pay to visit you, and I will continue to do so, if you shall have me. Does it harm either of us for me to have these desires? I would never force myself upon you. You said there is potential. For what?”

Richard shakes his head, blinking rapidly, as if he’s overwhelmed. He then suddenly pushes past Schneider to escape the nook they had stepped into. Schneider stands there, watching him go. He wonders if he’s already destroyed what Richard sees in him. Was it not honesty that Richard wanted?

 


 

Schneider manages to withstand his unease for five days, until he cannot any longer. He has to see him.

The carriage ride is torturous. He cannot stop fidgeting his hands and fixing his hair. He more or less jumps out when it comes to a stop, and has to stop himself from striding straight for the door of the establishment. He calmly approaches, his brow knit tightly, lips in a frown. He pulls open the door, slips inside. It’s very late. Schneider had decided to visit a bit spontaneously. There aren’t many men here. Just a few drunk attendants and a couple whores spread about.

Instead of the typical hard-nosed woman at the bar, it’s Emanuel. He glances up, and then brightens when he realizes who he’s looking at. He places down the book he was holding, to gesture at Schneider as he happily calls out, “Welcome back, Herr Schneider! You know, many of my girls are asking about you. Why haven’t you hired their services? You know how riled women can be over a handsome gentleman like yourself.”

Schneider approaches him and the bar during his lengthy greeting, hardly bothering to force a polite smile.

“I wish to see one of your male whores tonight,” he murmurs, “Richard.”

Emanuel continues pleasantly smiling. He nods.

“Very well. He has no client with him now, so you may go up. You know where his room is.”

Schneider doesn’t wait. He returns the nod. After passing over his envelope of money, he leaves the bar to quietly open the back door and slip within. He is in the hallway once more. An oil lamp burns softly atop the table with the vase of flowers. It casts a warm glow. Schneider attempts to be as stealthy as possible as he begins to ascend the stairs. They creak only slightly.

Once in the hallway, he begins towards the door he often finds himself entering. He hesitates before it, hand raised with a knuckle pressed lightly to the sturdy wood. He leans in, straining his hearing. He catches the sound of crickets. Richard must have opened his window, or perhaps he’s standing at the balcony. He does so when he feels like smoking, Schneider has become familiar with.

Schneider knocks quietly on the door. A pause. Then the quiet creak of footsteps, which approach the door from the other side. Schneider steels himself, taking in a breath. The door is then unlocked and slowly pulled open, revealing Richard’s youthful face and vibrant eyes. He looks up, sees Schneider, his eyes widening with recognition. Then he presses his lips together; Schneider sees his jaw clench. Gazing at him in the soft light of the hallway, Schneider notices the exhaustion in his face.

“Schneider,” Richard murmurs, leaning against the door frame, “You’ve come too late. Or rather, too early. It is nearly sunrise and I am exhausted.”

“I needed to see you,” Schneider hears himself saying, painfully honest, like he’s peeling himself open. He takes in a breath and continues in a low murmur, searching in Richard’s guarded eyes.

“I wanted to apologize for what I had said. You wanted to… Restrict our relationship to something professional, or at least as professional as it can be, and I unwillingly, perhaps unintentionally, crossed a line.”

Richard regards him with a gentler expression, though it is subtle. He hesitates, contemplating. When he speaks, it’s softer.

“Come inside.”

He opens the door. Schneider gratefully steps within. Glancing around, he notices the door to the small balcony is open. He smiles faintly to himself. The balcony it was, then.

Richard quietly shuts and locks the door, before crossing the room to do the same to the balcony door. Then he turns back to the other man. He’s wearing a nightgown—colored like sand—joined by a thickly knitted shawl—colored a soft gray. They look lovely on him. Schneider is uncertain where to go from here, for once. Richard is quite skilled at throwing him off. He hasn’t faced someone like this before. Someone who makes Christoph Schneider unsure of himself.

“Remove your coat,” Richard says, “And your shoes.”

“We needn’t be intimate,” Schneider murmurs, his gaze swimming down across Richard’s figure, before meeting his eyes again, “It is what I paid for, but I merely wanted to speak with you.”

Richard offers him a faint smile.

“We can be intimate without having sex,” he says, “I don’t possess the energy for that, regardless.”

Schneider is momentarily confused. He was under the impression being intimate is the last thing Richard wanted. He’s pulled out of his frozen state when the other man approaches, his bare feet quiet on the carpet, and reaches out to hook his thumbs into the collar of Schneider’s coat. He slips it from his shoulders, and off his arms, his green eyes downcast to watch himself do so. Schneider silently lets him. Richard takes a moment to drape the expensive article of clothing on the backrest of his chair. Then he moves to kneel before Schneider.

This is surprising, to say the least.

Heart fast, Schneider watches the other man. The nightgown he wears pools around him on the floor. He reaches out. With delicate fingers, he unties the laces to Schneider’s dress shoes.

“Lift your foot for me,” he murmurs. Schneider obliges. Richard carefully, slowly slips off the polished shoe, sets it aside, and then repeats the process with his other shoe, until Schneider is without them. The gesture had been shockingly intimate—there is no other word for it. Richard kneeling to remove his shoes for him. An unspoken display of forgiveness. Or perhaps acceptance.

“Remove your tie and vest,” Richard continues, looking towards the bed with the inviting duvet and plentiful feather pillows, “And even more, if you wish. Then join me on the bed. My legs hurt, so I must rest.”

Schneider clears his throat, locating his voice.

“Very well. Please, lay down. You shouldn’t be in pain.”

Richard directs a faint smile his way and then begins towards the bed. Schneider cannot help himself but watch, admiring the almost graceful way he moves. Crawling onto the thick blankets, his gown falling over his body and legs like a waterfall of cloth. He moves to lay down, before wiggling under the plush covers. He brings them up to his chest, curls his arm around them, sags back into the pillows, and watches Schneider with sleepy eyes. Schneider smiles, warmed by the visual.

He then turns his gaze away and brings his hands to his chest. He unbuttons his vest. He strips it off. He lets it fall to the ground. He finds himself unable to care about the state of his exorbitant clothing, each stitch more expensive and haughty than the last. He unravels and slides off his tie to let it join the vest on the floor. He unbuttons his white undershirt for the first four buttons, letting his skin breathe. He then undoes his belt, unbuttons his slacks, lets them fall to the carpet, soon joined by his socks, leaving him in only his white shirt and undergarments.

He leaves his clothing on the floor. He approaches the bed. Richard watches him silently, his eyes more awake. Tracking him.

Schneider sweeps his curls out of his face and then climbs on, to join the other man. Richard slides over, pulls open the downy covers, revealing his curled legs and the soft sheets. Schneider fits himself underneath, sinks into the feather mattress and pillows. Richard tucks the duvet around them both. Then, surprising Schneider, his softer hand finds his under the covers. With Schneider’s hand resting limply, his fingers are relaxed, curled, which makes it easy for Richard to slides his fingers around them, clutching them gently, thumb stroking across the back of his hand in a back and forth sweeping motion.

“I must admit,” Schneider whispers, gazing at Richard’s sleep-heavy eyes with a calmness in his own, “I am confused by this outcome.”

“I had time to think,” Richard says quietly, blinking slowly, voice sluggish with exhaustion, “And I came to the conclusion I want you as well.”

He leaves it at that. Then he closes his eyes. He turns his face into his soft pillow and squeezes Schneider’s big fingers in his own. He doesn’t let go. Schneider’s curiosities aren’t sated by that answer, but they are quelled. He is comforted by that, at the very least. He smiles faintly, watching Richard’s lax face.

The younger man sinks further into the bed, swarmed by the thick blankets, his silver locks splayed across his pillow. His mouth gradually falls open as his breathing deepens. His grip becomes weaker and weaker, until his hand is limp atop Schneider’s. Schneider watches him throughout his descent into slumber, finding him utterly beautiful—somehow, even more so when exposing this completely vulnerable version of himself to Schneider. A version of himself that is totally peaceful.

It occurs to Schneider that Richard trusts him enough to sleep in his presence. Without the haze of post-sex, it becomes such a recognizable reality. A staggering one, at that. And Schneider is happy with this. He’s happy to be here, even without the sex. He’s happy to share a bed with Richard, when neither of them are bare of clothing.

With a smile fading on his face, Schneider closes his eyes and finally welcomes sleep.

 


 

In the morning, it happens so naturally. The sun is bathing across them through the window which hangs near the bed. The birds are singing, heard distantly through the window. Schneider is stirred from sleep by the shifting beside him. He tiredly opens his eyes to see Richard lazily propped on an elbow, sagging back onto it heavily, as if he can barely hold himself up. He’s rubbing at his face with a hand, and then peeks over at Schneider. Schneider searches his pretty face. Richard offers him a faint smile. Schneider sneaks his hand over under the covers to stroke his broad fingers up over his wrist. Richard’s eyes soften. He then leans in to kiss Schneider on the forehead, a surprise to the older man.

Without another glance, Richard slides out from under the covers and approaches the basin in the corner of the room. The shifting of water and dripping of droplets fills in the quietness of the room as Richard takes hold of the cloth he uses to wash his face every morning. He takes the bar of soap resting on a little table nearby, kept in a bowl, and scrubs it into the cloth, until suds form. Then he gently rubs at his face with the soapy, wet cloth, cleaning away the oil and uncleanliness built overnight.

“Good morning,” Schneider finally says, spoken quietly, as he watches the other man. Richard rinses the cloth and then eases down the shoulders of his sleeping gown to begin cleaning his neck, his upper back, and his shoulders. He throws Schneider a slight smile in lieu of a spoken word, and then refocuses on his task. Schneider finds himself utterly enraptured, enjoying this very normal, yet vulnerable, image of Richard. His silver locks are somewhat disheveled from the night of sleep. The soap suds and water glistening on his pale, smooth skin is tantalizing. Richard is showing very little skin, but Schneider is ravenous for him.

“May I have a moment of privacy?” Richard asks him, softly, without looking back towards him again. Schneider pauses, and then moves to get out of bed.

“Of course. I’ll be on the balcony, darling.”

He’s still only dressed in his white shirt and undergarments, but he doesn’t care. It’s early in the morning, and if anyone saw him, he doubts it would matter much considering the location. He approaches the door to the balcony, unlatches it, pulls it open, and steps out. It’s not the largest balcony, but it’s enough to fit two seats and a small table between them, as well as area to stand. He closes the door behind himself to assure Richard his privacy. Then he turns and leans over the railing, his curls falling to frame his face. He feels the discomfort of sleep on his own face as well. It would be rude to ask to share his place of bathing, though. He supposes he’ll leave soon. He assumes Richard has errands to attend to, men to please later tonight.

For five minutes, Schneider watches the sky. The building is compacted in a cluster of many, and the balcony is facing a back alley. No one frequents it, so he’s free to relax without any peering eyes—save for, perhaps, the windows from the opposite buildings.

When the door creaks open again, Schneider turns to see Richard step out. He’s changed into a lace dress. It’s bordering on scandalous, to step outside in it. It’s floral patterned, and Schneider can tell that he’s put on a slip underneath it. The lacy sleeves reach his elbows. It’s beautiful on him. Richard is beautiful. He had brushed his hair, which now hangs prettily around his features. Schneider offers him a faint smile, charmed by his appearance.

“You are more alluring than the morning sun, Richard,” he muses, reaching out a hand. Richard takes it, gives him a bashful smile in return. Schneider guides him closer, brings his hand to his face to lean in and kiss his knuckles, gently and warmly, his blue eyes trained on green. Richard blushes. He steps up beside Schneider.

“No effort went into my appearance,” Richard replies quietly, squeezing Schneider’s bigger hand while bringing his other hand up to sweep a few silver locks behind an ear, “Though, I’m pleased you find it appealing. Thank you.”

“When do I not?” Schneider chuckles. Richard grins a little. It’s endearing. Schneider stares, consuming it visually.

“May I kiss you?” he asks softly, his own expression softening to something yearning. Richard searches his face, his own becoming gentle. He nods. He shifts closer, leaning against the railing himself now, and looks up at him with batting eyelashes and a coy little smile. Schneider finds himself lovestruck. He reaches up to gingerly stroke the back of his knuckles along Richard’s chin and jawline, gazing at him with fond, lidded eyes. Then he leans in, slowly, lengthening the anticipation. Richard closes his eyes, his lips slightly open, willing, welcoming.

Schneider hesitates, searching his face, and then closes the distance to kiss him, finally closing his eyes as well. He cups the side of Richard’s head, pulling him in gently, coaxing him ever closer. Richard’s lips are full and soft against his own. He tastes the dull flavor of soap; toothpaste. He must have brushed his teeth. Good. That pleases Schneider.

Their kiss begins slow and tender, a back and forth pursing of their lips that has the wet sounds of their moving mouths join the singing of nearby birds. Richard is utterly delectable. Irresistible. Schneider knows he could kiss him forever. Until the sun fell and rose again.

Richard strokes a hand over Schneider’s wrist, fingers curling around his arm gingerly as he begins teasing Schneider with his tongue, tasting just the seam of his lips. Schneider hums deeply and strokes his thumb over his cheek, encouraging it.

The kiss delves into something deeper, more intense, and slightly open-mouthed. Richard is breathing heavily by the end of it, and Schneider cannot get enough. He reluctantly breaks away if only to catch his breath as well. He nuzzles into Richard’s flushed face, his nose skimming along his cheek, wet lips kissing lightly over his lower jaw.

“I’m… Not wearing anything underneath this dress,” Richard whispers suddenly, earning a more alert glance from Schneider. They lock eyes. Richard licks his lips. He brings his hand down from Schneider’s arm, and Schneider withdraws his hand from his face if only to watch. Richard begins slowly, shyly hiking up his dress, exposing his pale legs, until he shows Schneider his groin. His shaft is stiff, arching up appealingly, flushed a darling pink. It is utterly filthy and beautiful. Schneider growls and crowds him against the railing, hooking an arm around his back if only to ground him against himself. Richard gasps, looks up at him with red cheeks and wide, eager eyes.

“You are like the devil taunting me with wicked gifts,” Schneider groans, leaning in to begin mouthing at his neck. He brings his other hand in, stroking it over his chest, clothed by lace, and curls his fingers into the collar to pull it down, just enough to kiss at his collarbone. Richard moans.

“I want you,” he whimpers, “Please forgive me for my boldness.”

“There’s nothing to forgive,” Schneider murmurs against him, nuzzling into his jaw and neck, his own curls tickling across Richard’s skin. Richard shudders, and Schneider feels it, with his strong arm wound around him like so.

“I don’t care to return to the bed,” Richard whispers, “I’m unashamed for people to know you have claimed me.”

“Richard,” Schneider says sharply, pulling back to look at him with shock. “Public indecency could have us in cuffs.”

“Then let me be quick about it,” Richard replies, hushed, with coy eyes and flushed cheeks, “I can pleasure you with my mouth. It is so early in the day, no one will cross below us, or peek out the back window to a dirty alley.”

Schneider’s resolve is crumbling. He cannot admit to Richard that the thought arouses him. He is wary of becoming a man known for getting arrested for public fornication; it could devastate his reputation as a tailor. But one head is certainly taking over the reins of rationality, over the other. He nods, and whispers, “Quickly.”

Without having to be told again, Richard pushes Schneider back, just enough to kneel. He looks up at him with heated green eyes, his plush lips slightly open with want, as his hands reach up to cup around his groin, fondling his stiff cock through his boxers. Schneider grunts, eyes becoming hooded. He places a hand on the railing, gripping it with whitening knuckles. The other finds Richard’s hair, fingers threading through silver locks. Richard doesn’t hesitate. He drops his gaze to watch himself pull down Schneider’s underwear, revealing curls of hair and a lengthy shaft which flips up from its confinements.

Richard grips the base, angles it up. Schneider is already shuddering with arousal. Pre-ejaculate is dripping from the tip of his cock. Richard leans in to lick it up with quick swipes of his tongue. Schneider moans, softly. Richard focuses; he sucks the head into his mouth. The sensation is truly amazing. The intensity is increased tenfold merely by the absence of a barrier. Only then does Schneider actually recall they should be using a condom. He voices his concern.

“R-Richard,” he groans breathlessly, “Shouldn’t we be making use of a condom?”

Withdrawing, Richard licks his lips and looks up at him with dilated eyes.

“If you had an ailment,” Richard murmurs, “You wouldn’t have come to see me like you have. At the very least, you would have alerted me. You are a genuine man.”

He’s not wrong. Schneider can’t even put together a response before Richard is leaning back in to suck him into his mouth. Schneider’s eyes flutter. He cups a hand around the back of Richard’s head. The younger man begins moving his mouth over him, never ceasing suction, his fingers remaining curled around the base of his shaft, keeping him in place. The wet sound of him repeatedly sucking him into his mouth is vulgar and seemingly loud. Schneider is groaning under his breath, watching with lidded eyes.

Seeing Richard’s full lips wrapped around his shaft, his brow furrowed with concentration, cheeks red, repeatedly taking him into his mouth—Schneider already finds himself so close to that precipice. He’s shaking badly, his belly bursting with a roaring fire. It feels so good. Richard isn’t patient, it seems; he pauses momentarily, if only to catch his breath and lick at the head. Teasing curls of his tongue around the pink swell of the tip, before letting his tongue roam up from the base to the frenulum. Schneider notices he’s crouching with his legs spread open, knees against the floor of the balcony. His dress is hiked up just enough to expose his thighs and the head of his cock peeking out from under the lacy gown. It’s a scandalous sight. Schneider stares, enjoying it. Only when Richard takes him into his mouth again, Schneider loses focus. Without coherency, he tightens his grip in Richard’s hair and moans.

“E-Enough,” Schneider gasps, unable to regather his composure. Richard pulls off, licks his lips, and grins up at him, blatantly pleased he reduced him to such a mess. Schneider cups his broad hand under Richard’s jaw, eases him up until he’s on his feet. Richard never stops touching him. He cups a hand under his cock, begins idly stroking at him. Schneider is finding it hard to reclaim the reigns. Richard is becoming bolder lately. He’s noticed.

“Let us move to the bed,” he barely manages to say, nearly a growl, gently clutching Richard’s jaw, “If you’ll let me, I want to be inside of you. I want to reduce you to a mess of a man, as much as you have done to me.”

Richard’s grin softens to a coy smile. He nods, his eyes hungry.

 

On the bed, Richard ends up on his hands and knees. Schneider is kneeling behind him, their legs aligned. After a rushed, albeit careful, minute of preparation, Schneider grabbed a condom, slipped it on. Richard is watching over his shoulder, his eyes bashful and cheeks pink, silver hair clinging to his lips with saliva. He keeps pushing his ass back against Schneider’s groin—he’s so devastatingly horny, it’s apparent to Schneider and it makes it difficult to focus. Schneider sweeps the head of his cock between his asscheeks, evoking a shudder and a gasp. Then he smoothly pushes inside. Richard moans openly, clutching tightly at the covers. Schneider cannot control himself.

He grips Richard’s soft hips, and begins to thrust into him. He drives into him, a man drunk on pleasure in search for more. Richard cries out, head thrown back. If they made love in the past, they’re truly screwing now. Richard is beautiful: his body is clenching and relaxing, moving, arching, his hands desperately clutching fistfuls of the duvet. Schneider is grunting, while Richard is crying out. Their sex is far from quiet. The smacking of skin meeting skin pierces the silence, joined by Richard’s shouts.

“Oh, Schneider!” he howls, pushing back into his hips eagerly, greedily, “You feel so amazing! Faster! More, please!”

He has never seen Richard this reactive, this hungry. Schneider is breathless, eyes wide, fixated on him—his mind is utterly blank, consumed by his lust and desire for the other man. He has never been driven to such lengths before. Richard’s back is broad and soft under his touch; Schneider brings a hand up to roam it across the length of his back, to thread his fingers in soft locks. Without aggression, he strokes at his hair with appreciative fingers while rocking into him from behind. Richard turns his head into it, gasping and breathing his name.

“You are so beautiful,” Schneider breathlessly moans, “My beautiful Richard. I want you in ways beyond how we’re joined now. I want you.”

The suffocation of his lust and pleasure reduces him to this; mindlessly confessing things he shouldn’t. Leaning in over the other man, Schneider kisses over the soft skin of his back while he reaches around to gently clutch his stiff cock in big fingers. He begins languidly stroking at him, fingers roaming up over the sensitive head, evoking a sharp shudder from the younger man. A ragged moan crawls from Richard’s mouth, his entire body rippling with tension. Schneider’s curls lay across his back, his forehead to his shoulder blade, while he focuses on touching him. He continues gently rolling his hips against him; a combination of sensation if only to deliver the other man greater pleasure. He begins nipping at the flushed, soft skin of his back, his lengthy hair stroking across every spot he acknowledges, acting as a departing caress. Richard is groaning and shaking, his legs clenched up against Schneider’s. Surprising him though, Richard turns his body, breaking out from his caress and flopping onto his side. Panting, he says in ragged voice, “Schneider, please, I can’t—T-Too much.”

Momentarily surprised, Schneider is unsure what he means by this, but the yearning, flustered expression on Richard’s face reassures him. Schneider crawls over the younger man, kisses at his bicep and shoulder along the way to his jaw, and ultimately to his lips. Richard moans, stroking his shaky hand up over Schneider’s shoulder to gingerly cup his cheek as their lips move together. Richard is making the most delicious noises into it, a soft whimper-like sound that only spurs Schneider on.

“What do you want of me?” he murmurs against Richard’s lips, his care for the other man overruling his clouded state of mind, his body’s cry for more pleasure. Richard tips his head back into the covers, looks up at him with kissed lips, red cheeks, and hazy eyes.

“I want you behind me… Hold me.”

Schneider smiles faintly, gazing down at him with fondness in his eyes, his curls shrouding his face. He nods. He leans in to kiss Richard in a fleeting joining of their lips, which the other man weakly returns. Then Schneider moves to lay behind him. He spoons up close to him, chest to his back, and leans in over him, pinning him down. Richard sighs in pleasure as Schneider mouths over his neck and jaw, nosing at his silver locks. Then he brings a hand out to grasp Richard by the knee—Richard willingly lifts his leg, for Schneider to hook his arm around, bracing him open and willing to receive him.

“Guide me,” he murmurs against his skin. Richard reaches down to cup a gentle hand under his slick shaft. He rubs it up against himself, holds it in place, until Schneider slowly pushes into him again, sliding in past his fingers with a careful arch of his hips. Richard moans. He removes his hand, clutching at the covers instead. The position is beneficial for Richard, Schneider knows. A perfect angle to strike that spot inside him that has him crying out.

And cry out he does. When Schneider begins to thrust into him, Richard arches underneath his weight, tugging steadfastly at the blankets as he moans and gasps in pleasured agony. Schneider bites his earlobe between his teeth, a possessive bite. He holds it as he continues driving into him, snapping his hips against him with enough force it has the sound ringing throughout the room, punctuated by Richard’s sobbing moans.

Schneider feels Richard’s arm moving back against him, a repetitive back and forth motion; he’s touching himself. Richard’s entire body is locking up, muscles tense, back arching, his leg squeezing around Schneider’s arm. Schneider leans in to begin biting over his throat and the back of his shoulders, sucking harshly to leave behind even a little bit of himself. A very ungentlemanly thing to do, but all he can think about is leaving Richard with marks of this night, marks that will have him think of this moment the following morning.

Feeling Richard’s inner muscles clenching around him drags Schneider ever closer to that precipice. It only takes a dozen more firm, deep rolls of his hips against Richard, his face buried in his neck, his long curls splayed across Richard’s flushed, sweaty skin, for him to drown in the waves of ecstasy himself. Richard is shuddering underneath him, shaking as he pants, shuddering violently from the aftershocks of his orgasm. Schneider groans, unable to censor himself and hold it in. He shakily rocks into Richard a few more times, easing out the remnants of pleasure, until it becomes too much. Then he remains seated inside of him, their bodies aligned intimately. Schneider takes in a deep breath, letting Richard’s leg slip from his grip. Richard threads it between Schneider’s, lazily, comfortably.

Raising a hand, Richard brings it back to begin stroking gentle fingers through Schneider’s hair. It feels lovely. Schneider nuzzles into his neck, breathing hard himself. He brings his arm around Richard’s midsection, tightening it in a form of an embrace. Richard hums and slips his fingers from his hair to instead stroke his hand over his forearm.

They lay in silence for a few minutes, breathing each other in and bathing in the afterglow. Schneider cannot recall a time they remained like this for so long, nor in such an intimate position. He realizes he’s greatly enjoying it. He feels utterly content. He kisses Richard on the jaw, then up over his ear.

He gently, slowly slips out from Richard to sit up. Richard does the same, sluggishly propping up on his hands while stretching out his legs, flexing his toes. He looks at Schneider with a faint smile and warm eyes. Schneider first removes the condom and tosses it into the garbage bin before he resettles on the bed, runs his fingers through his own long locks, brushing them out of his face. He speaks lowly, looking into Richard’s sated emerald eyes.

“I have a favor to ask of you, darling.”

Richard pauses. His smile fades into something thoughtful. He nods slowly.

“What is it?”

Schneider studies his features closely, watching for any discomfort or uncertainty as he says, “I wish to take your measurements, if you’ll let me.”

 

As soon as he was given consent, Schneider had redressed with excitement swelling within him, and reassured the other man he’ll return immediately. With that, he gave Richard a departing kiss, before hurrying out of the establishment. He stopped at a fabric store a few blocks down; he would’ve just grabbed a measuring tape from his own house, but the store is closer, so it will do. He quickly buys one and hurries back to the whorehouse.

Considering the early hour (a glance at his pocket watch said eight), the pub isn’t even open yet. The door is locked. He didn’t consider this. So he stands at the front door, fiddling with the measuring tape in his pocket as he considers where to go from here. An idea comes to mind.

He slips in-between the buildings, to enter the alleyway behind. Once finding the proper window—second floor, furthest to the right—he grabs a handful of pebbles from the ground. He hasn’t done this in decades. Just before he can commit and rear back his arm to toss one at the window panes, he sees the balcony door open. Richard steps out, with a shawl draped around his shoulders. He leans against the banister, gazing down at Schneider with a thin smile. Schneider lowers his arm.

“I presume you wouldn’t be opposed to letting me back inside?” he calls, a hopeful expression on his face. Richard’s smile grows into an amused grin. He laughs.

 

Once back inside the privacy of Richard’s room—after crossing paths with another whore in the hallway, who seemed surprised by his presence—Schneider sighs, unbuttoning his long coat. Richard is still terribly amused as he takes a seat on the edge of the bed, watching with a smile as Schneider slides off his coat and hangs it by the door. After digging out the measuring tape from the pocket of his coat, he turns back to Richard. Richard sweeps his gaze along his form—Schneider is wearing pin-striped slacks, a matching vest, and a softly colored beige undershirt, joined by a tie and a gold watch; the outfit from the previous evening.

“Please, remove the shawl for me, darling,” Schneider says as he unravels the tape, eying it and adjusting it in his hands. Richard stands from the bed, silently obliges by letting the shawl fall from his shoulders.

“And what is the purpose of this?” he asks quietly as he steps up to the other man. Schneider smiles down at him as he reaches up to curl his fingers under Richard’s chin, an affectionate touch.

“To take your measurements.”

Richard pauses, and then scoffs. Meanwhile, Schneider starts by bringing the tape around his waist.

“And for what reason?” Richard repeats himself, with more force this time. Schneider hums, mentally taking note of the number for his waist.

“It’s a surprise. Savor the anticipation, because it is a surprise I think you will enjoy. Now, hold still.”

 


 

In-between tending to his clients, it takes time. And during this time, the occasions they see each other become frequent, much more than they had before. Something undeniable had changed between them, but it had yet to be addressed. What line had they crossed? What point of no return did they pass without looking back? Had Richard looked back? Will he ever? Schneider knows he, himself, won’t.

The other man makes him happy. That is something he can’t deny. The way his heart swells when he merely lays eyes on the other man. The warm, tingling feeling that sparks in the pit of his belly when Richard smiles at him. The true feeling of contentment that Schneider feels when they lay together in bed. No matter if it’s post-coitus, to simply lay and talk, or to share a night of sleep together. Every moment of intimacy is treasured. Even when alone, Schneider thinks of him. He wonders if he’s doing well. He wonders if Richard misses him when they’re not together. He wonders if Richard thinks of him like he of Richard. He wonders if he’s the only man who Richard had perhaps, maybe, developed a bond towards beyond the simple exchange of goods. He wonders if this is all merely a masquerade; deception. If it’s merely a fantasy conjured in his mind, and Richard felt nothing of the sort.

He wonders if this is love. Could it be?

And during this time of constant contemplation, Schneider works diligently on his gift until it’s done, months later. When it’s done, he holds it in his hands with such reverence as if it were a symbolizing ring and not merely an article of clothing. He really could just strangle himself until he stops thinking of such idiotic daydreams. Richard reduces him to a man unlike Christoph Schneider.

The same night he finishes the piece, he carefully folds it and packs it into a bag. The carriage ride to the city is making him quite antsy and impatient. He yearns to see Richard’s face again, and the fact he will very soon doesn’t calm his restlessness.

Eventually, he’s standing at the door. He steps in without hesitance. He offers Emanuel a faint perk of a smile—which the other man returns—and then passes the bar to enter the back door. Without even a pause in his step, he ascends the stairs, turns the corner, hurries to the door farthest on the left. There, he freezes.

He hears the sound of Richard’s voice, twisted into noises and gasps undeniable in their sexual nature. The sound of skin meeting skin.

Schneider’s heart plummets. He feels sick. He cannot stomach this. And he won’t stand for it. How dare another man lay his filthy hands on Richard? How dare they? Schneider is shaking with his rage. He can’t see beyond the red which overcomes his vision. Before he can even think to stop himself, so self-assured in his goddamn right to protect his lover, Schneider tests the door with a shove of his shoulder, finds it locked. He doesn’t care.

The sounds beyond the door have gone silent. He doesn’t even notice beyond the blood rushing through his ears. He yells as he kicks open the door with such force, the wood splinters and the lock unhinges. The door swings open to slam against the wall. He charges in, taking in the sight of Richard on his hands and knees, a man who doesn’t even deserve to lay his filthy eyes on Richard kneeling behind him.

“Schneider!” Richard yells, scrambling away from his client just as Schneider throws down the bag and charges over to grab the other man by the throat. The pig looks utterly shocked, and then furious as he curses at him. He’s effectively silenced when Schneider cocks back his fist and then drives it into his face. The other man collapses, ending up on his ass on the floor. Schneider follows, stepping over him and pinning him with a hand around his throat, leaning over him with one knee upon the floor. With a controlled demeanor and a face made of stone, Schneider rears back to swing his fist into his face again. The jarring sound of fist meeting bone joins Richard’s angered yelling. Schneider manages to get three more powerful strikes into his reddened, twisted face before arms wind around his elbows, yanking him back and off of him. Schneider growls, taking two unsteady steps back.

Violently, he jerks out of the restraining hold and turns to see Richard standing there with an enraged, flushed face, now wearing a slip which he had pulled on rather haphazardly. Schneider is momentarily surprised by the power behind that grip—he didn’t think the other man was so strong.

“What the hell is the matter with you?!” Richard screams at Schneider, shoving him, though it’s ineffective in its intent. Schneider stares at Richard with a confused, angered expression. Countless thoughts filter through his mind—why is Richard in bed with another man? Why did it make him so blindingly angry? Why is Richard angry at him? Wouldn’t he thank him for saving him from that creature? Why was Richard in bed with another man?—but he can’t focus on any, much less find the answer to them. Richard is so upset, he’s shaking, his teeth grit, his eyes fiery and simmering with boiling frustration.

“Did you think anything changed?” Richard snarls at him, realization lighting up his eyes, morphing into disbelief. He continues, hissing between his teeth with such disgust it pierces Schneider’s heart, “I am not yours. How dare you barge in like this? Have you any respect for me? I truly cannot believe you let it get to your head like this!”

Richard is then running his hands up through his silver hair, looking lost. Schneider isn’t sure what’s going on anymore. He opens his mouth, closes it.

“Why?” Schneider finds himself asking, his voice steely and cold, “You know I would give you anything. Why must you turn to such filth?”

Richard rubs his hands over his face, sighing heavily. He then turns away to grab a shawl draped over his vanity chair. He angrily wraps it around himself and stomps out of the room. Schneider follows after him. The man, knocked out cold on the floor, is left there without a thought.

“Please, let me explain!” Schneider growls as Richard charges down the stairs, grabs the banister, and sharply swings around to rush to the backdoor. Meanwhile, Emanuel is looking through the door to the bar, obviously hearing the commotion from above. He sees the pair rush past, and Schneider takes notice of this. He waves him off with a violent swing of his hand, conveying he stay out of it.

“Do not follow me, Schneider!” Richard yells, his voice deepened with threat, as he shoves out into the back alley. Schneider, naturally, doesn’t listen. He joins him in the darkness of the back alley, unconcerned about everything but Richard. Richard is trying to escape. He’s rushing to slip beyond the buildings, to avoid Schneider, but Schneider isn’t having it. He runs to cross the distance before snatching Richard by the bicep. Richard whirls around to look at him with a glare and bared teeth.

“Listen to me!” Schneider snaps, refusing to let him go. Richard stills, clutching his shawl around himself, his angered expression weakening to something more wary and displeased. Schneider speaks before there could be any chance of Richard denying him this.

“I am sorry for acting so rashly,” he says genuinely, a painfully open expression of hurt in his eyes, “I… I came to see you, and I overhead something so foul—I couldn’t just walk away. You have to understand. I couldn’t.”

He pauses, takes in a breath, and lets go of him. Richard doesn’t run. He stands there silently, barefooted in the filth of the alleyway, his eyes searching Schneider’s conflicted face, his lips in a line. Schneider continues quietly, looking away.

“You’re right. I let it go to my head. I felt there had been something beyond the… The masquerade. That, perhaps, you felt the same for me as I you. I don’t know why it never occurred to me that you would continue working as you always had.”

“Why wouldn’t I?” Richard mutters, earning a glance from Schneider, “How else do you propose I feed myself? Where else would I live, if I wasn’t fulfilling my side of the contract? You do realize this is my only option.”

Schneider contemplates what to say. The darkness surrounds them. He can see Richard only slightly through the gentle light filtering out from the windows of the buildings trapping them. Schneider clenches his hands into fists, feeling lost for words. Richard speaks again, softer this time.

“Even if I were to reciprocate your feelings, Schneider, what could I do with them? They wouldn’t save me from this lifestyle. All they would do is hinder me. To yearn for a life I could never have. Feelings aren’t something I’m privileged to have. Do you understand? It leads nowhere.”

Silence hangs between them for only a moment. Schneider risks taking a step closer, to look at Richard with hope in his eyes, eyes shadowed by sympathy.

“Do you?” he whispers, reaching out to gently curl his fingers around Richard’s bicep, atop his shawl, a touch he hopes isn’t too daring, “Do you reciprocate even a portion of what I may feel?”

Richard swallows hard. He presses his lips together, looking at Schneider with weak eyes. He takes in a breath.

“I… I think I do.”

“Then come be with me.”

It comes out of his mouth before he could even think to filter his words. Schneider clenches his jaw, eyes widened. He doesn’t retract what he’s said. He had meant it sincerely. It’s what he wants. It’s what he’s considered endlessly for months now.

“What?” Richard breathes, looking at him with aghast. Steeled, Schneider continues.

“I have only known emptiness in my home. A house much too big for one man. Yet I live there, uncertain if it will ever change. But it can, Richard. It can, because I want you to be with me,” he says with breathlessness in his voice, excitement, hope, his eyes brightening, a smile curling at his lips, hand squeezing around Richard’s shoulder, “You needn’t be in such a place any longer; you can live in a house much more suitable for you. I can show you a better life. Let me help you find work beyond this. I can help give you a second chance. I won’t provide for you if you wouldn’t wish for it, but I can help you get your feet back on the ground.”

He’s so overcome with emotion, he falls silent, his jaw clenching. He opens his mouth again, taking in a shuddering breath, and brings his other hand up to stroke the back of his knuckles over Richard’s flushed cheek. Richard looks at him with a furrowed brow and searching eyes. Schneider leans in to rest his forehead against Richard’s. Richard automatically angles his head, just slightly, as if to accommodate for a kiss that doesn’t come. It emboldens Schneider. He speaks softly, his heart restless, face hot.

“I had doubted it, but I know that I love you. It’s undeniable now.”

The moment that follows is so thick with tension, and silence, Schneider finds himself frozen, breath caught, waiting for the words he wants so dearly to hear. No words come. Instead, Richard brings his hand up from his shawl—Schneider anticipates to be shoved away. Richard brings it around him, clutching at the collar of Schneider’s coat, and then properly angles his head to crush his lips to Schneider’s.

Schneider is momentarily stunned, taken by surprise, but then easily melts into it. Closing his eyes, he whole-heartedly returns it, with passion behind every hungry purse of his lips against Richard’s. Richard holds him so tightly, almost desperately. The kiss becomes uncoordinated and messy—they’re both brimming with unspoken words and restless energy. Richard breaks away, looks at Schneider with wide eyes and an open mouth, breathing heavily.

“I—I can’t, um,” he begins, and then takes in a deep, shaky breath before trying again with softening eyes, “It will take time. I cannot simply drop the contract and walk off. I need to speak with—with Emanuel.”

Schneider takes a moment to digest this, and then a genuine grin breaks across his face. Richard is stunned, staring at this rare visual. Schneider clutches his hands in his own, holds them tightly as he asks sharply, breathlessly, “Are you saying you will stay with me? Please do not let me misunderstand anything.”

Richard bites his lip. He nods a little. Even the simple nod has Schneider filling with such joy, but Richard speaks, regaining his full attention once more.

“I’ve had… Similar thoughts. But I couldn’t possibly voice them,” he whispers, shame on his face, “I never wanted to succumb to my feelings, Schneider. I know that they will only do me harm but—I had no idea that your feelings ran so deeply. I didn’t want to take advantage of you, nor did I want to assume anything that could lead to you… Never returning to me.”

Richard sighs, shaking his head.

“I apologize. It’s difficult for me to put my feelings into words at the moment.”

“No, no,” Schneider breathes, overjoyed and overwhelmed. He strokes his hands up and down over Richard’s biceps, saying with wide, excited eyes and a smile, “It’s quite alright. I understand. Regardless, it’s cold outside tonight. Let’s go back inside. We can talk about it further there.”

Richard pauses, and then nods. He chuckles, reaching up to daintily sweep his silver locks behind an ear.

“I forgot about the issue we left behind. I’ll have to explain to Emanuel… Without incriminating you, of course. Let’s say this man attacked me and you came in and saved me.”

Schneider laughs.

“You conniving, terribly brilliant man. Let’s go.”

He’s not quite sure of the reason behind it, but Richard’s face lit up quite noticeably at what he said. Schneider takes his hand. Richard lets himself be guided towards the backdoor of the building.

 

The man was missing from the room by the time they returned. Unsurprising; it’s not like he could turn to the police or make a huge fuss about it. Unless he was idiotic and wanted to make matters worse for himself. Emanuel was standing in the hallway along with two other whores, speaking amongst themselves. Richard and Schneider return—Schneider slipping his hand from Richard’s—and gain the eyes of the trio.

“What on Earth happened here?” Emanuel demanded. That has to be the first time Schneider has seen him look genuinely upset. Emanuel has been very talented at maintaining a mask of pleasantness. Richard offers a faint, reassuring smile as he readjusts his shawl around himself.

 

Their story soothed Emanuel’s anger well enough. The client had left without forcefully reclaiming his money, so it’s hardly a blow to the establishment, or to one of his whores. He leaves with a nod and a sharp gesture of his hand for the other prostitutes to go back to their business. Richard and Schneider re-enter the bedroom. Schneider sees blood on the carpet, in droplets by the foot of the bed. Ah, right. The aftermath of his rage. He lifts his hand to inspect his knuckles. They’re torn and bleeding.

“Oh, I hadn’t even noticed,” Richard murmurs, moving to Schneider’s side with quiet steps, reaching out with a gentleness to cup his broad hand. Schneider furrows his brow. His knuckles do burn a bit, but it’s merely from the open skin. He flexes them. He’s pleased to find none are strained, at the very least.

“Come here,” Richard says softly, guiding him to the basin in the corner of the room. Schneider takes a seat on the small, wooden stool as directed by the other man. Richard kneels beside him. While continuing to hold his bloody hand in his own, Richard turns to the basin, and guides his hand into the cool water—for the purpose of reducing swelling, and cleaning the blood. It feels good. Schneider watches silently as Richard looks up towards him and smiles faintly.

“I’ll fetch some bandages and disinfectant. Keep your hand in the water.”

Schneider nods. He watches as Richard stands. He hurries out of the door, his shawl flowing behind him as he goes.

 


 

The following day, the sky is full of dreary clouds. Schneider awakens to the drumming of rain. It’s soothing. He blearily blinks, and lethargically props up on an elbow. He looks to his side to see Richard bundled up in Schneider’s blankets. It’s odd, this visual. Having the other man in his own bed, at home. All he’s known is the bed in Richard’s room. This is new, and greatly preferred.

The memory of the previous night floods his mind. The hours long conversations they’ve had, delving into the what-if’s and maybe’s of Richard leaving that wretched place to stay with him. They had spoken about their relationship, and what it means, and if they want to take it someplace further. They discussed Schneider’s plans, Richard’s desires, and their respective boundaries and requirements. Every word spoken made it seem like it would become a reality. Schneider doesn’t truly know him, but he feels like he knows no one else. That Richard is the only man he cares to know. The ultimate conclusion is that they have crossed another point of no return, except there is no confusion or uncertainty about it. It’s undeniable that Richard never looked back, he was right beside him the entire time. Schneider looks forward to what the future holds.

With this thought, he smiles to himself, gazing at Richard’s sleeping profile.

And then he recalls the gift. After their talk late into the night, Schneider suggested he come with him to sleep with him at his home, if only to show him the place. Richard seemed reluctant for only a moment—perhaps he felt it was moving too quickly?—but then agreed without another second of thought. And yet, when they arrived at Schneider’s abode in a more wealthy area of Berlin, when no other person walked the street and the moon was high in the sky, they hardly looked at all. Richard gave the two story a brief glance, awe on his face, and then looked at Schneider with a tired smile and admitted he would rather just sleep and explore tomorrow.

So they had, and here they are now. Schneider watches him for a minute longer, enjoying this feeling of contentment, joined by the sound of the rain and Richard’s mumbling in his sleep. Then he reaches up, his bandaged hand emerging from the covers to stroke at Richard’s messy locks with careful fingertips, brushing them from his face.

“Richard,” he murmurs. Green eyes open. They’re a little bloodshot; considering how late they went to bed and the hour now, he’s not surprised. But Schneider has plans, and the day is only so long. He leans in over him and kisses him lovingly on the forehead.

“Let us bathe and then I have something to give you,” he whispers, resting his forehead against the top of his head, his long curls shrouding them both. Richard’s hand slides up over Schneider’s side under the covers, a sleepy, affectionate touch. He drowsily nods, and then releases a big yawn with a pinching face, which Schneider pulls back to admire with a loving grin.

 

An hour later, they find themselves cleanly bathed, freshly shaven, with brushed hair and scrubbed teeth. Schneider has never done this before in his life; the monotonous daily rituals of life, richened by the company of another he enjoys being with. It’s surprisingly fun. Richard is endearing to him.

They end up in Schneider’s bedroom. Richard is seated on the foot of the wide bed with the many feather mattresses and downy covers, wearing only a loose, flowing shirt that hangs from his shoulders. He smiles with curious anticipation as Schneider retrieves the same bag from his closet. He approaches Richard, and hands him the bag. Richard takes it, eyebrows raised, and peeks inside. Schneider speaks lowly, folding his hands behind himself.

“Don’t worry about handling it poorly. It’s merely cloth.”

Earning a glance from wide, emerald eyes, Schneider nods towards it with a faint smile. Richard refocuses on the bag. He dips his hand inside, removes the first folded article of clothing. He lets it fall open and is greeted by a waistcoat. He takes in a sharp breath. Schneider gestures with a wave of his hand and a slight grin, saying impatiently, excitement evident in his tone, “Yes, yes, come on. Let’s get through its contents before we linger on one piece at a time.”

Richard laughs, a beautiful sound that warms Schneider. Richard nods and then digs out the rest. Schneider takes the bag, sets it aside, and watches as the other man stands from the bed, cradling the articles of clothing to himself before turning to the bed and setting them down. Then, piece by piece, he unfolds them, rests them across the newly made duvet. Once it’s all laid out, they both stare down at the entirety of his new suit—a look of shock is on Richard’s face, while smug appreciation is on Schneider’s.

“Where did you—How much did this cost, Schneider?” Richard demands shakily, looking at him with weary eyes and a small, concerned smile. Schneider huffs. He reaches out to affectionately stroke Richard’s silver locks from his face, to tuck them behind his ear as he muses with lidded eyes, “Nothing. The fabric was plentiful, and my time was easily sacrificed. I made it, darling. At my shop. For you.”

Richard’s face opens up with surprise, awe, and then settles into realization.

“My measurements!” he blurts, “It all makes sense now!”

Schneider pauses, fingers in Richard’s hair, and then laughs.

“Yes, yes. You figured it out. Now, will you indulge me and try it on? Be my model, Richard. I must know if it truly fits you.”

 

It takes effort, time, and Schneider’s help to get it all on, in an appropriate manner, as it should be. Richard has never had the privilege of dressing up, even in such day-to-day clothing, as he confessed to the other man as they stepped him into the slacks, buttoned up the shirt, slipped on the vest, adjusted the cuffs, straightened the collars, tied his tie, fitted the accompanying watch into the pocket of his vest. Schneider had specifically picked one from his own collection, as a spur of the moment final touch. Richard is overwhelmed, Schneider can tell, as he brushes off his shoulders, running his hands down over the sleek, soft fabric of his beige undershirt, before doing the same to his vest, smoothing out invisible wrinkles.

Taking a step back, Schneider devours the sight of it. A grin spreads over his face.

Richard’s hair hangs around his face as it typically does, but it suits him, and it only adds to the charm of this entire look. His vest is snug around his torso, slim in the way it should be. The sleeves of his shirt are at the perfect length. The cuffs are done up neatly, glimmering cufflinks keeping them secured. His tie is immaculate around his throat, the collars as straight as a razor. The buttons to the vest were hardly overlooked; they shine in their golden state. Joined by the gold watch, Richard looks as if he were a prince and not a prostitute.

“You are just—” Schneider begins, pressing his hands together as if in prayer, fingertips to his chin, and finds himself lost for words, yet again. He takes in a breath, grins, and proclaims, “Handsome. Flawless. Dazzling. My God, Richard.”

Richard looks remarkably flustered. He looks down at his bare feet, face red, and mumbles, “I feel ridiculous dressed up like this yet with nothing on my feet.”

Schneider clicks his tongue, realizing he is very right. Holding up a finger, he silently excuses himself to hurry to his walk-in closet. He grabs a pair of black socks as well as a pair of blindingly polished dress shoes. He hands the socks to Richard, sets the shoes on the floor beside him. Richard stands there, clutching the socks in his hands with open arms, and then looks at Schneider with a helpless expression.

Laughing, Schneider shakes his head, and reaches out to take the socks from him. He throws them without care onto the bed, takes his hands in his own, and muses with fondness, “It hardly matters. Come, you must see yourself.”

He finds himself vibrating with excitement. It’s been so long since he felt so alive with emotion. He can hardly keep track of himself and his urges. He’s being spontaneous, he realizes.

Richard nods and lets himself be led to Schneider’s full-length mirror. They both stand before it. Schneider is behind him, smiling at their reflection. Richard gapes at himself. He looks at Schneider sharply, eyes wide and mouth hanging open, and stammers, “What have you done, Schneider?”

Schneider laughs again, louder this time, and winds his arms around Richard. He leans in to nuzzle into his neck, his lengthy curls falling across Richard’s chest, and kisses over his jaw.

“I have made something truly perfect. You are the only man I’ve known who is both the definition of beautiful and handsome.”

Richard scoffs and turns in his arms, just enough to look at him with a furrowed brow and a sardonic smile.

“Oh, now who’s the flatterer?”

Chuckling, Schneider nips at his ear in silent retaliation, before peeking at their reflection again. He pauses momentarily, stunned to see himself so obviously, disgustingly in love. His face had been bright with joy, his arms wound tightly around Richard, their faces intimately close—he’s seeing even himself in a new light. Richard smiles faintly, bringing his hand up to rest it over Schneider’s forearm.

“Thank you, Schneider. It’s… It’s a beautiful piece of art. I could never thank you enough.”

Humming, Schneider’s expression of surprise melts into a warm smile and kind eyes. He kisses Richard on the cheek and murmurs with deep intent in his voice, “Christoph. You may call me Christoph. I am yours, after all.”