The Antique Dealer and The Beggar Boy
“Thanks for the lift, Ez,” Simon opened his eyes, grinning up at his noble Knight, “It saved my legs.”
There was a stunned second of silence.
“YOU WICKED LITTLE SWINE!” The noble Knight grabbed the sheets and flung them back. “You were awake all the time. I could have put my back out, carrying you up all those stairs.”
Simon let out a shriek of laughter, as he was snatched back out of bed and carried towards the door. “Ez, put me down, what are you doing, where are you taking me?”
“Back downstairs. You’re going to walk back up them; in fact you’re going to carry me up them. I’ll teach you to con me.”
Simon was almost crying with laughter by the time he was placed back on his feet at the bottom of the stairs.
Ezra glared at his partner through narrowed eyes, “come on then, prankster,” he stuck his arms out in front of him. “I’m waiting, carry me.”
“Okay,” Simon took a breath, managing to get his amusement under control. “I can do it, no sweat.” Gripping Ezra around the waist he heaved, nothing happened. He heaved again, still nothing. He broke once more into helpless laughter. “It’s no good, Ezra,” he wiped his eyes. “I can’t lift you up. I’ll have to wait until old age and infirmity render you weak and frail...your next birthday should see it!” He shot up the stairs two at a time, hurling himself on the bed seconds before Ezra caught up with him.
“Pest!” Ezra pulled Simon into his arms, kissing him thoroughly. “You can just go to sleep again, for real. I like you better asleep, you’re less trouble.”
“Love me though, don’t you?”
“Do you really have to ask that, Simon, after four years?”
“Yes,” Simon rolled away from him, lying on his back, gazing up at the ceiling. “People can stop loving you at any moment.”
Ezra lay on his side, tracing a finger down Simon’s delicately boned face. “I love you, Simon. I will never stop loving you, never.”
Simon turned his head to look at Ezra. Taking the hand that was stroking his face he kissed it, saying quietly, “until death us do part.”
“Don’t say that,” Ezra abruptly got up and began to undress.
Simon watched him moving around the room, “why do you love me?”
“I wonder sometimes,” Ezra pulled his top over his head and began unfastening his trousers. “I don’t know, Simes, I just do. Why does anyone love anyone else, desire, need, chemistry? I don’t know. It’s just how it is. The reasons don’t really matter, do they?” He folded his trousers and laid them on a chair, pulling off his socks and boxers he climbed into bed. “Why do you love me?”
“Who said I did?”
“Me,” said Ezra comfortably, turning off the bedside lamp.
Simon cuddled up against him. “I don’t know why I love you, I just know I do. Even when I hate you, I still love you. I loved you last night when we were watching that daft, sad film and I was trying not to cry, and you didn’t say anything and just put your arm round me. Like you said, the precise reasons don’t matter. You don’t love a person for one single reason anyway, it’s lots of things.”
They lay comfortably together, relaxed in a pre-sleep silence.
“What’s the matter?” Ezra jerked back to full wakefulness, as Simon half sat up in bed.
“Listen to what?”
“I can hear someone laughing, and music, downstairs, can’t you hear it?”
“I can’t hear a thing,” Ezra pulled him back down. “You’ve wound me up enough today, Simes. No more jokes.”
“I’m not joking, I really did...”
“You were either just drifting into a dream, or you heard a car passing outside with its stereo blaring.”
“It wasn’t car stereo sort of music.” Simon frowned into the darkness, “it was old people’s sort of music.”
“So maybe some tearaway pensioners are out for a late night burn up in their reliant robin,” Ezra kissed his head and said firmly, “go to sleep, or you’ll be too tired to help out at the shop tomorrow.”
Simon settled down obediently and Ezra closed his eyes soon drifting off into a deep sleep. It didn’t last long. He awoke with a start, staring into the darkness for a few moments, the dream lingering in his mind. Reaching out a hand he sought the reassurance of touch, but the bed was empty and the sheet cold, just as it had been in his dream. He quickly sat up, reaching for his robe, pulling it on he made his way downstairs.
Copyright Cat/Fabian Black 2010