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What I cannot say out loud

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A soft sigh, your eyes are still heavy with sleep, you are so comfortable. You blink a few times, it takes you a moment to get your surroundings after you’re woken up by the rising sun. The cream coloured sheets you’re under are luxuriously soft, the bed decadently large. But also disappointingly empty. The memories from last night come back rapidly and you understand why you feel a bit sore. Sore, but very content.

You had not planned to be trapped in Valerius’ estate by the storm the night before. But you had been secretly pleased to be able to spend time with him. You had been more than secretly pleased to end up in the consul’s bed by the end of the evening.
After weeks of subtle and less subtle flirting, the sexual tension between the two of you had almost become unbearable. Although that was nothing compared to the flutters in your stomach every time he looked at you, to the way your heart skipped a beat whenever your name rolled from his tongue like you were the most precious treasure in the whole world, to the small smile on his face that only you were allowed to witness. You two were so goddamn much in love, it hurts. But the consul would never admit to being able to harbor such feelings for anyone. Consul Valerius is very proud of that fact that he doesn’t do feelings.
Yet Valerius had kissed you yesterday night, kissed you like he was a starving man, touched you like he could never get enough of you. He had taken you to his bedroom, had made love to you. Passionately, intimately, at times even tenderly.
The memory brings a smile to your face and you decide to go look for your consul, feeling the need to share the relaxed and happy afterhaze you are in right now.

You open the door of the bedroom, a black and golden dressing gown that belongs to the consul wrapped around you to protect you from the morning chill. You think Valerius might be in his library, or maybe he’s having breakfast in the dining room or he could be in the salon with a glass of wine, which would also double as breakfast. That man has no regards whatsoever for acceptable drinking hours.
You are surprised though when the soft sound of someone playing the piano reaches your ears. Does he…? You didn’t know Valerius could play an instrument, he never talked about it. For a moment you are in doubt whether you should interrupt him while he is playing but your curiosity wins and you follow the music.

It leads you to the end of the hallway, the notes floating out of the open door of what appears to be the musical room. Silently, as not to disturb the consul, you gaze inside and your breath hitches in your throat. Valerius looks nothing but ethereal.
He is seated in front of a giant piano, wearing nothing but a pair of linen pants. His long hair cascades down his back loosely, for once not tamed in his signature braid. The morning sun casts a golden halo all around him, bathing him in light, taking your breath away. Slender fingers dance over the keys, producing a soft melody that you don't recognize.

You should have guessed that he played the piano, with hands like that. You distinctly recall them tracing patterns on your back when he held you before you fell asleep together. Not having seen a days work, his hands are so very soft and elegant but also strong and warm. And now, they have ceased playing.

Valerius is watching you from where he is sitting at the piano. He doesn’t speak, doesn’t know how to say what he wants to say. He barely even knows what he want to say.
He does know that he wants you to stay. Now, later, forever.
The consul isn’t used to these sort of things, to declarations with great emotional meaning. He doesn’t make love, he fucks. He doesn’t let people stay until the morning after, doesn’t fall asleep happy with them in his arms. He doesn’t do feelings. Period.
Yet, there you stand, the most stunning and beautiful thing he’s ever seen. You’re the first person to ever hear him play since he was a child and he doesn’t even mind. He wants you to know, want you to see him at his most vulnerable.

For some, loving comes effortless and easy, it’s in their nature. Valerius has no such nature. Then why does he feel so content to have you here, in the place where he hasn’t allowed anyone to enter? Your presence is like a warm blanket wrapped around his shoulders when he hadn’t even realized he was cold. He wants you, needs you, desires you in a way he never desired someone before. He doesn’t do feelings, truly. Except for you, maybe.

With a barely visible inclination of his head he invites you to sit next to him, in front of the piano. Valerius sofly strokes your cheek with his knuckles, there’s a tenderness in his touch that you never expected from him. At least not before last night.
He has to look away from you, away from the open adoration on your face, away from how you lean into in his touch with so much trust. It’s a sentiment that he’s become acquainted with since he met you but still doesn’t know how to respond. He barely knows what he feels himself, has only just allowed himself to admit that he might actually have feelings.

Valerius starts to play again, a different melody this time. It starts out slow, hesitant, almost like a question. You’re mesmerized by his fingers, delicately gliding over the keys. The soft sound of the piano touches you straight in your heart, the story it is telling so intimately close. The song gains in strength and you close your eyes, letting the music wash over you.
It’s all Valerius. It’s beautiful. It’s no longer a question, but a declaration. A declaration of hope, of careful optimism. A declaration of things left unspoken. A declaration of love.

You can’t help but gasp when you open your eyes again. The golden halo that surrounded Valerius is now weaving through the room while he plays. It’s all him, his personal brand of magic, created just for you. He doesn’t even realize he’s doing it.

The music slows down again, coming to an end. Or is it a new beginning?

You place a gentle kiss on his bare shoulder before leaning your head against him. Maybe one day, Valerius will say it out loud. Maybe one day, he’ll find the right words to show you a feeling so strong he can barely begin to comprehend it. But for now, this is enough, he is enough. For you are his and he is yours.