Chapter Eighteen - NewFrance

Aquatecture

FireBird

Because Priam was with me, I told my secretary I would be accepting no jobs.

Maybe I was being overly confident, maybe I was being a fool. But as I'd told Jean; to be with Priam was beyond price. Priam would be remembered long after the jobs were forgotten. He would be the last thing I remembered the day I died.

Perfection doesn't last. I know. I am not thinking happily ever after. I'm thinking this minute. Now, when he is young and beautiful, I will not waste a second I can feed my soul with him.

I went to the pool, swam in the largest pond, ten strokes up, ten back. At some point he was there. Accustomed to the pool, he found it too small and wished to try the river.

Though the river current strong, I wouldn't warn him. Lilseine ran to the sea along a smooth channel. There weren't dangerous rocks or rapids, if he was taken away by it, I could rescue him.

He didn't spend more than fifteen minutes in the river, (I watched discretely), then flung himself out, to lie panting on the grass.

I came to him, sat beside him, put his head on my lap, stroked his forehead, and with my fingers trailing down his throat I asked;

"Did you live in the country?"

I felt his pulse, it jumped a bit, he didn't speak.
I moved the conversation to how I came to buy this land. I spoke three minutes, just to
distance the question. For Priam had dark corners. And I didn't need to uncover what
he didn't wish to share. At least, I didn't need to uncover them, now.

He rose, we walked back to the house, he was completely relaxed in his nudity. But he
was a Superboy, perfect, nudity was normal for them at home, I had heard.

He went into his room, didn't ask me to join, so I didn't. I looked over my mail, sent a message to my office to dun Dalmar the remainder of my bill, then went down to the gym to exercise for twenty minutes, up to change my clothing, move into the kitchen for coffee.

"If he keeps strolling about nude I might not be responsible for my actions," Jean told me.

"Do you want me to say something?"

"Please, not," she tossed and we laughed.

Then I shared;

"He wants to meet my parents." I mention.

"I have spoken to your mother already, she was most concerned you did not contact
her. I explained why."

"You are a troublemaker, Jean."

Priam entered in jeans and no shirt. Jean passed comments in French which I would not translate. He took a cup of coffee, sat beside me.

He had washed his hair and oiled it, oiled his skin, and did whatever Superboys do to be gorgeous. Then he bustled to prepare lunch, Jean watching him, licking her lips, I pretended not to see. She left the room for a few minutes, then returned, advising;

"He is very tidy, I can not even be sure he uses his room, and the bathroom is wiped down."

"Are you speaking of me?" Priam asks.

"Yes," I smile, "Jean is saying how neat you are."

"What language do you speak?" he asks leaning against the counter.

"French. This is Newfrance, settled originally by people from France..." I trailed off,
captivated by how his hip bone jutted from the slacks.

Jean, who also spoke English asked; "You like the house, yes?"

He looked at her, surprised, thinking she was monolingual, nodded.

"I sink de house likes you too, Monsieur Pri yam," she stapled on.

He didn't know how to respond.

She looked at me, shrugged, went to set the table outside on the patio. I heard a chime,
so went to the computer, where a message from Dalmar was coming in, asking me how I survived the explosion.

I sent my usual form letter:

"Once the quarry is captured
and contained and there is a
period of upwards of one day
before retrieval, due to press
of work, I utilise A.I. As you
are aware, the prisoner was
in a perfectly retrievable
condition and the fact I was
not physically present has
no bearing on the contract."

The Bastards. Go to kill me, then argue about payment.

I came to eat, unable to dislodge my annoyance and told Priam.

"Perhaps they believe I was also not present," he mused, a tinge of ice in his voice.

"Well, they can't prove it now. All I know is that I put the prisoner in the force field, and
they blew up the ship."

But my answer didn't warm him.

"Priam, you're safe here. And you'll be safe with me."

He glanced at me, kept eating.

"Unless they are avid to get back whatever it is, and will search for it, and...well, if they
ask, I can say it was on the ship. That you had it with you when I caught you."

"How did you do that?" he asks.

"Do what?" I chew.

He pinned me with his beautiful eyes; "Get me on the ship."

"Trade secret," I toss.

"I remember being on Smudge, I remember approaching Ahmet, then I was standing
in a force field."

I kept my head down, concentrating on my plate.

"You don't trust me?" his voice was melting chocolate.

I'm a liar of the first order. A very good one.

"I can't tell you, if we work together, I'll have occasion to show you."

"Is it something you do?" he tries.

"Yes, it is a special power of mine," I say in a half and half voice, then meet his eyes.
And I stopped trusting him at that moment.

I began to feel he was with me to find out how I did what I did so he could do it to his enemies.

Maybe that wasn't the whole answer. Maybe he liked being with me, liked my house,
my pool, the fact I had deep pockets, but if it was Jean who had captured him on Smudge, would he be sitting here with her?

I rose from my seat, went towards the pool, looking into the water. I will not let this spoil
now. I repeat it over and over as if I'm trying to hypnotise myself.

I kneel, wash my face, wash the tears out of my eyes. Grief has descended upon me as
if he's gone without good bye.

I hear my cheery voice bubbling with;

"...to have him in your bed, even
for a week, it's worth it."


It's worth it. It will be worth it.

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