Author: Persephone 100
Characters: OC’s – mostly Briar, Briar’s POV
Rating: NC 17
Synopsis: Briar has an experience that has a profound effect on him.
Disclaimer: All the characters, their world and all things Wraeththu belong to Storm Constantine, to whom I am very grateful.
Rain. I’ve never particularly liked it, even though sometimes a rainy day can be relaxing and give one time for retrospection but looking back on my life was something I avoided. Rain also meant I couldn’t drink my coffee on the rooftop garden. I always felt better up there where the air was fresh and I could imagine myself above all that was behind me as well as below me.
As I passively watched the trails of water trickle down the window, I sighed, thinking to myself they looked too much like tears. I felt a gentle hand on my shoulder. It was Naemien, my partner. I couldn’t call him my lover because I wasn’t in love with him, or my chesnari because I didn’t feel committed to him. He was my partner, the one I lived with, took aruna with, and the one with whom he shared the bounty of his success. He was the one I’d rooned, clawed and schemed my way up to be with. He was wealthy, powerful and strong, everything I’d thought I’d wanted. And here I was, his consort, with all the glamorous and luxurious trappings that went with that status.
He put his arm around me and kissed my cheek.
“A rainy day,” he said, “always seems to make my beautiful Briar sad and moody.”
He rubbed my back and whispered in my ear. “But no less gorgeous and desirable,” he added, kissing me on the neck.
“Well,” he said, stepping away. “I’ve got a meeting with some hara. I’ll probably be in my office and the conference room all day, but don’t concern yourself. I’ll have the serving hara bring us some sandwiches. See you at dinner, my lovely.”
I gave him a smile as he left, then continued gazing out the window. Part of my being Naemien’s partner involved my planning of all the parties and entertainment that was needed. I actually enjoyed that responsibility. I was also expected to be the perfect decoration for his arm and in his bed. He was kind to me and he was very handsome and a good lover. I enjoyed aruna with him and he never stopped telling me how much he wanted and admired me. I’d been very satisfied with our arrangement for almost seven years now, but…
Things had changed recently. I didn’t want them to but some events had made doubts creep into my psyche like vines can work their way into stone. My mind and heart had been a fortress; hard and impenetrable, able to stand all the slings and arrows aimed at it, but the vines…the insidious vines. I had no defense against the likes of them.
I shook off the thoughts for the moment and headed to my rooms to dress. I opened my closet, sarcastically amused, thinking that a family of four hara could have made it their living space, when I heard a voice. It was Lura, my personal servant.
“Good morning, tiahaar Briar,” he said with a slight bow of his head. Lura was subservient but with an air of elegance and cheerfulness. I’d liked him right away, and I don’t like many hara.
“How can I be of service today?”
“Can you make me happy?”
He looked a little shocked, his dark eyes widened in a bit of slight panic. I’m sure I confused him with my remark. I had to wonder what he was thinking.
I laughed. “Never mind, Lura. You’ve already lightened my mood.”
He looked relieved.
“You know, I don’t think I’ll even get dressed today. I’ll just stay in my dressing gown. But will you bring me a bottle of …” My mind went blank. I couldn’t think of the name of the very strong liquor I wanted him to fetch.
“Yes, yes that’s it. Thank you.”
Lura bowed and left.
Reyne. Just like what was falling from the sky. Why on earth had I not remembered its name? Maybe I wanted to forget.
Lura soon returned with the bottle as requested and I made myself comfortable in my large cushioned chair as he sat the bottle on the glass side table.
“That’s all for now, Lura. Thank you.”
“Very well, tiahaar.” He closed the door behind him.
I got a book and started to read but I was having so much trouble concentrating that I put it down. What was wrong with me? Why was I now questioning everything about who I was? Ever since the time after my inception I’d decided exactly who I was and who I’d be and nothing stopped me. I drank some more and then some more and finally the thoughts disappeared into the mist.
The next thing I knew, Lura was gently waking me.
“Tiahaar Briar? Tiahaar…?”
“Hmm? What is it? Something wrong?”
“No, tiahaar,” he said with an amused smile. “It’s just that it’s time to dress for dinner. Will you be dining downstairs with Naemien?”
“Oh, yes. Yes, of course. “ I answered, still groggy from my Reyne-y rainy day.
“Will you choose something for me, Lura?”
I went to splash cold water on my face and apply some cosmetics. When I returned, Lura was standing next to the bed where he’d laid out a black and purple pants outfit for me.
“That’s perfect, Lura, thank you. I won’t be needing you any more today.”
At dinner, Naemien went on and on about his business dealings with the hara that day. Even though a lot of his dealings were unethical, he always told me about them. He trusted me completely.
“You’re awfully quiet tonight, my love. But I guess I haven’t given you much of a chance to get a word in. What did you do today?”
“Nothing,” I said, somewhat surprised at myself for that being the honest truth. “Absolutely nothing.”
Naemien looked amused. “Well, you’re entitled to that, my sweet.”
Later, as I sat brushing my hair before going to bed, Naemien came into my room. I smiled at him as he took the brush from me and took over. I closed my eyes. He knew I loved my hair brushed.
“Dark as a moonless night and soft as silk, “ he said. He put the brush on the vanity and whispered into my ear, “May I stay?”
“Of course,” I said, turning to share breath with him.
Naemien was a very attentive aruna partner and always left me satisfied. He had a strong rather masculine body and there wasn’t much hint of his soume side apparent, even though we switched roles in aruna on a regular basis. I found myself truly wishing that I loved him, but I didn’t. I’d never loved anyhar and probably never would. Every har I’d been with had been either a means to an end or an object of pure lust for me, nothing more. I fell asleep to the sound of Naemien’s soft breathing.
Darkness. Murky darkness and a musty smell. Where was I? Voices. Other hara were here, but no. We weren’t hara. I was a boy, a young boy. So were the others. All encompassing fear. Crying, weeping, fear was all around us.
Then a flood of light, a slam of a door, footsteps, ominous footsteps. Several tall beings talking to each other.
“Bring that lamp over here.”
Big heavy boots and no shirt. Who was he? What did he want?
He knelt over me, held me down with one arm and slashed my other one and his own with a knife.
Pain. Searing pain. Why was he killing me? What had I done? He held my bloodied arm with his. Why would he stop the bleeding?
Quiet. Dark again and quiet. I knew I would die.
Delirium, horrendous pain, screams and hallucinations. Why did I go to hell? Had I been so bad?
Nothingness. Finally, blessed nothingness.
Light. No pain, just weakness.
Another tall being.
“This one.” He pointed to me. “Clean him, feed him and bring him to me.”
A squeaky cot, hands all over me, grunting and laughter. Violation, one after another. “Help, help me, help me!!!”
“Briar? Briar! Wake up!”
I opened my eyes, sat up, realizing I’d been awakened in a cold sweat. Naemien turned the bedside lamp on as I tried to catch my breath. He took me into his arms, stroking my hair.
“The inception dream again?” He asked.
“Let me get you a drink.”
I downed it and two more gratefully.
“Okay now? Do you want to try to sleep? Want the light on?”
I nodded to the affirmative for all three and let Naemien hold me until I fell asleep.
For the next several days I hardly saw Naemien. He was busy with his business and if he was rooning, it wasn’t with me. He hadn’t come to my room. We weren’t jealous of each other and gave each other free rein to roon others to our heart’s content. I sometimes pondered about that. We’re told that hara shouldn’t be selfish with each other, but ours was a partnership of convenience so it wasn’t a matter of being unselfish, it was more a matter of indifference.
I’d always been able to avoid looking back. I did what I had to do. No regrets, no reexamination, no guilt. That was counterproductive and useless to me, and I’d never had a problem adhering to that code of mine–until now.
Just before I’d taken up with Naemien, I’d lived with a fairly successful har named Leath. He was gorgeous, ambitious, strong and streetwise. He worked for Naemien and it didn’t take him long to rise to the rank of one of his most valued employees. But once I’d been introduced to Naemien, seen his opulent dwelling unit in the sky and realized he was the har at the top, it was all over for Leath and me. I set my sights on Naemien and didn’t have any trouble getting him. I’d always been able to get what I wanted using my beauty, brains, determination and seductive skills.
When I left all the other hara I’d used on my way up, it had been no big deal. But Leath–poor Leath–had actually had the misfortune of falling in love with me. Of course that didn’t stop me. But the sight of that beautiful strong har begging me to stay, tears on his face, desperation in his eyes, still has the power to haunt me if I let it. He’s the only one I ever even gave a thought about after I’d left him.
Because he was a favored employee of Naemien’s our paths had to cross occasionally. When they did, he looked at me with a loathing I knew could only have come from my having scorned him. Sometimes I felt bad for him but that was his problem after all, wasn’t it? I didn’t tell him to fall for me did I? The fact that he abhorred me actually made me feel better.
Whenever he showed up at one of our dinners or parties, he was always alone. I also knew he lived alone and being the fucked up har that I am, I took satisfaction in the knowledge that I was irreplaceable to him. But one day that changed. He’d found two abandoned young hara – twins – in the wild and had taken them in. He brought them to a party and for the first time, I felt a twinge of jealousy; an almost alien feeling for me. I’d grown accustomed to the fact that Leath never got over me and it bothered me that two lovely young twin hara were his ’houseguests’ as he introduced them. At first I shook the feelings off and laughed at myself for even having them for a moment. But that was the first ‘vine’. It sprouted and took root and grew.
I wasn’t in love with Leath, but I didn’t want any other har to have him either. I didn’t like the way I felt. It distracted me and made me angry, so I decided to do something about it. I seduced Vasha, one of the twins. I knew he had a large crush on me and after quickly rooning him on a rooftop chaise, I showed up at Leath’s several days later to take aruna with my new young lover. The desired effect was almost immediate. Leath got angry and asked him to leave, then I showed up and had a night of aruna with Leath. I thought I’d gotten the situation back to where I wanted it but Leath threw me out, telling me he was over me and to never come back.
I was angry and vowed revenge, but I never did anything more. Later I found out Leath was in love with the other twin, Vesta. They became chesna and had twin harlings of their own. Then I heard they’d blood bonded.
For the first time in many years, I felt defeated, rejected and I had to surrender to the fact that I wasn’t invincible. A bit of a hard lesson for a har like me. So here I am in my ‘penthouse’ where I’d always aspired to be. I sighed, wondering why in the world I was feeling dissatisfied. And why now?
I continued sipping my wine until my reverie was interrupted.
“Hello, beautiful!” Naemien said, grinning as he came over, gave me a peck on the cheek and sat beside me.
“I’m sorry I’ve been so busy lately but I wanted to make sure we had dinner together this evening. Business before pleasure, you know.”
“Well, you wouldn’t be where you are if that hadn’t always been your policy.”
“True, very true. I knew you’d understand. You always do.”
After dinner, we sat on the lower balcony with some liqueur.
“Oh, I want to throw a party this weekend,” Naemien said. “I’ve hired quite a few new hara and I want to welcome and impress them. Does that give you enough time to plan and orchestrate everything?”
I nodded, grateful to have something to occupy my time, and more importantly, my thoughts.
“Yes, that’s plenty of time. I’ll start tomorrow.”
“Good! I know with you in charge it will be perfect as usual.”
He touched his glass to mine with a smile. “To you, my beauty.”
Naemien gave me all the information I needed to start planning the party. There would be cocktails and hors’doeuvres, dinner and partying until all hours in the clubroom afterwards. I spent the week planning and making sure everything was taken care of. It was my forte and I enjoyed it. Well, my real forte was seduction, but party planning ran a close second. I decided to decorate everything in gold and black: black tablecloths, gold flatware, plates and serving dishes, etc. I even insisted on very dim lighting of the chandeliers, with golden candlelight the means of illuminating the dining room. If Naemien wanted to impress the new hara, I’d make it happen.
The night of the party I decided to even dress in black and wear gold jewelry. I hoped it wasn’t too much, but that’s what I wanted. As I sat at my vanity applying the finishing touch, some red lip color, Naemien came into my room. He was dressed for the party, his dark hair slicked back into a short ponytail.
“You look ravishing, my sweet, as usual. Every har will be jealous of me.”
“Every har would be jealous of you without me in the mix.”
“But not AS jealous,” he said, laughing. “Well, our guests will be arriving soon. See you downstairs.”
“I’ll be right there.”
I looked at my reflection and sighed. Another party, perfectly planned and about to be perfectly executed. I just couldn’t get excited about it or anything else, it seemed. Little did I know that was about to change or what was in store for me that night.
As the guests began to arrive, I took my place beside Naemien and greeted them as they entered. It was all pretty routine, until I felt something as I took the hand of one of the guests in greeting. I looked up into the most unique light brown eyes I’d ever seen. A handsome, tawny-haired har nodded to me as he held on to my hand just enough longer than necessary for it to be meaningful. As he walked away, he glanced back at me over his shoulder with an almost imperceptible flirtatious smile. I blinked and stared, feeling butterflies in my stomach, then I became flustered. It was so unlike me! I looked around but no har seemed to notice, least of all, Naemien who was busy bullshitting with one of his flunkies. I collected myself and concentrated on the task at hand.
When no more guests appeared at the door, we began to partake of drinks and hor’deurves. I found myself searching the crowd for the golden-eyed har that had so affected me. I finally found him across the room, talking with several hara. He looked over suddenly and caught me staring. I quickly looked away, embarrassed. What was wrong with me? Usually if I was attracted to a har I walked right up to him and began turning on the charm, beginning my seduction. They would be the one to get flustered. Was I losing my touch? I quickly grabbed another glass of sparkling wine and downed it.
At dinner, the har was seated far down the large table from me, so I made conversation with the hara around me but I couldn’t help stealing glances at him. Later when we’d retired to have some after dinner drinks, I didn’t see him. I became very disappointed, thinking he’d left early. Also I chided myself for not even catching his name.
However, when we all filed into the clubroom, he was there near the raised stage talking to one of the members of the band I’d hired. I went to the bar at the side of the room and got myself a bottle of something strong and a glass. I then sat alone at one of the tables.
Naemien was in his element, laughing, showing off and generally being the brash but gracious host.
While the band was tuning up, the only har I considered even close to being a friend, Tamira, came over and sat with me for a while. When the music started, his chesnari came over and they went off to dance.
After a few drinks, I began to feel more like myself again and considered in my mind why I was so disquieted by the tawny-haired har. Maybe he’d just taken me by surprise or maybe Leath’s rejection had affected me more than I cared to admit. I had just decided to find him and ask him to dance when I looked up to see him standing right in front of me, his hand extended.
“Care to dance?” he asked smiling.
“I’d love to,” I answered, hoping I sounded cool and collected.
He placed his hands on my hips as I placed mine on his shoulders.
“I’m Andwin, by the way.”
“My name is–”
“Briar. I know,” he interrupted, grinning. “Naemien’s chesnari. I see the rumors are true.”
“Rumors? What rumors?”
“About your legendary beauty, of course.”
“I see. Well, I’m sure there are a lot of others as well. Not all of them are true, I’m sure. For instance, Naemien and I are not chesna.”
“Well, it wouldn’t matter to me if you were.”
“What does that mean?”
He laughed and didn’t give me an answer. When the music ended, I asked him to join me at my table for a drink. I ordered a glass for him and we sat down.
“Nice place you have here,” he said, downing his first glass all at once.
“We like it.”
“How long have you and Naemien been, uh…whatever you are to each other?”
“Seven years.” I knew he wanted me to elaborate but I didn’t.
“Long time,” he remarked as he poured himself a refill. “I couldn’t stay with one har that long.”
“Wouldn’t that depend on the har?” I said with my most seductive smile. “Besides, like most hara, we certainly aren’t exclusive.”
“Well, that’s good to know.”
I decided to change the subject.
“In what capacity has Naemien hired you?”
“Courier,” he replied, downing his second glass in one gulp. He gave me a wily smile and added, “For now.”
I smiled back. “So you’re ambitious.”
He leaned closer. “Very.”
He swilled down a third glass and said, “Come on. Dance with me.”
We positioned ourselves as before but soon he slid his hand down to my backside. I gave him a “look.” He gave me a lustful half-smile. I pressed myself against him and laid my head on his shoulder. He held me tighter and nuzzled my ear.
“Briar,” he whispered. “I think you’re my kind of har.”
“And what kind might that be?”
“Gorgeous, available and willing.”
We laughed together. He was really turning me on.
“I hear you have a rooftop garden with an amazing view of the city,” he said brushing the hair out of my eyes and looking into them. “Would you show it to me?”
“Gladly. Follow me.”
He grabbed the bottle of liquor and we headed for the roof. I took him back through the dining room to the stairway. Once on the roof, I led him to the railing to look over Metrarkka. There below us were the myriad lights of the large city and above us were twinkling stars and a silver half moon.
“Wow! It’s beautiful,” he enthused, swilling from the bottle and offering it to me.
“Yes, it is.”
He took the bottle from me, sat it down and gazing lustfully into my eyes, he pulled me to him and pressed his lips to mine. Soon we began kissing more passionately which led to our sharing breath, the silken feel of his tongue on mine. He showed me black swirling clouds with lightening flashing between them and dark rough waters. I sent him images of my desire from deep within me.
“Mmmm, you’re myrrh and black roses,” he murmured, pulling us together at the hips and kissing my throat. I was overwhelmed with my need for him: his scent, the feel of his lips on my skin, and the hardness of his ouana-lim against me. I felt weak in the knees as I became soume and managed breathlessly, “Come to my room.”
I led him down the spiral staircase that went from the rooftop directly to my rooms. Once we were inside I turned on a small lamp and locked the door. I walked back toward him as he stood next to the bed. I removed my top and began to undo his shirt that laced up the front. When we were half undressed, he grabbed me into an embrace and once again we shared breath. Afterward, I stepped back and removed my pants. He looked me up and down with awed approval and a decidedly feral look in his eye.
“Gods, I’ve never seen a more beautiful har,” he said, admiration clearly evident in his tone.
I slowly moved back to him and with my lips to his, undid his pants. As I touched him, he moaned and kissed me more fervently. I peeled his skintight pants down and he stepped out of them. He laid me back on the bed and began to kiss and nip my neck. When he flowered in my hands, I rolled us over, quickly positioning myself above him and placed him inside me. As I slowly sank down on him, I felt pleasured shivers slither up my spine and all through me. I couldn’t help my noises as we moved together. As I placed my hands on either side of him my eyes fluttered closed as all I could feel was the luscious sensation of his ouana-lim inside me awakening all my sikras. Soon I felt the ecstatic spasms of release pulse through my body and as they began to subside, I heard him gasp and felt his ouana-lim throbbing inside me.
I collapsed on top of him and we both lay there catching our breath and coming back to ourselves.
Finally, I moved off him and lay beside him, my head on his chest. He leafed his fingers through my hair and over my back as our bodies cooled.
“You’re really something,” he said.
“You’re not bad yourself,” I replied, chuckling.
“You got anything to drink?” he asked.
“I’ll get it,” I said as I got up. First I went into my bathroom and cleaned myself a bit, then as I went to retrieve a bottle on the side table, I threw him a clean towel. He watched as I came back to bed with the bottle.
“I could look at you all day,” he remarked.
“How about all night?” I queried, smiling.
“That, too,” he answered, after taking a huge gulp of Reyne.
We shared the bottle and in a short while he placed it on the bedside table. I lay next to him and began to run my thumb and then my lips and tongue over his nipple.
“Mmmm,” he purred. “How did you know that one roon with you wouldn’t be enough for me?”
“Just a guess, I…”
He silenced me with his mouth on mine and we set off on another arunic romp, with me being ouana. After our second time, we both fell asleep.
At some point in the night I was awakened by the sound of Andwin getting dressed. I was a little disappointed.
“Yes, I think I’d better. Not that you aren’t tempting,” he said with a roguish smile.
“I meant it when I told you Naemien and I aren’t at all exclusive with each other.”
“I know, but I don’t think it would do for me to show up at his breakfast table with you. After all, he just hired me.”
I heaved a sigh. “As you like,” I said, uncovering myself and gazing lustfully into his eyes. “Are you sure you want to go?” I asked in what I hoped was my sexiest voice.
“Gods! Don’t do this to me!”
“Do what?” I rolled over and gave him a coquettish smile.
“Auugghh!” He exclaimed as he ripped off his pants and shirt and pounced on me. After yet another delectable bout of aruna, he got up and got dressed again.
“I really have to go this time!”
“Alright, I guess I understand ,” I said, giving him a teasing smile.
After he was dressed, he knelt on the bed, kissed me and said, “We really must do this again sometime. Sometime soon.”
“Yes, we must.”
He left quickly after that, giving me a smile over his shoulder just before he closed the door behind him.
The next day at breakfast, all I could think about was Andwin and our delicious night of aruna. As I sipped my coffee, my erotic reverie was interrupted.
“Briar?” Naemien said. I snapped out of it.
“Where were you just now, my sweet?”
“Oh, uh, nowhere. I just…didn’t get much sleep last night.”
He chuckled. “Yes, that was some party. You’re to be congratulated on yet another fabulous soiree.” He hurriedly finished his breakfast. “Well, I’ve got some business across town. What will you do today, lovely?”
“I don’t know. Shopping maybe.”
“Well, enjoy yourself. I’ll probably be back for dinner.” He gave me a peck on the cheek and left.
I sat alone at the table with another cup of coffee, trying to sort out my thoughts. I’d had countless one night stands with hara and had no desire whatsoever to see any of them again. What was it about Andwin? I felt a longing, a yearning feeling. I wanted to be with him again, very much. I wasn’t comfortable with this unfamiliar sensation in my being. I tried to shake it off and decided I would go shopping. Maybe that would clear my head.
It didn’t. I kept thinking back to how it felt when he touched me, the fact that I liked his smile, his sexy sense of humor and his self-confident attitude and began to agonize over the fact that I had no idea where he lived or if I’d ever even see him again. Why was this happening?
Suddenly I was shocked out of my obsessive thoughts by a familiar laugh. I was in an open-air type market that sold miscellaneous items and when I looked over toward the next stall, there was Leath. He was holding a harling as Vesta, his chesnari, stood beside him, holding the other twin. I quickly hid myself behind a tent and watched them.
They were laughing at their small harlings who were reaching toward one another and giggling. Leath and Vesta moved closer together so their twins could play together. Leath looked into Vesta’s eyes as he smiled back and they kissed. They looked so happy. So disgustingly happy! Then I felt ashamed at my reaction. Why shouldn’t they be? I dumped Leath for Naemien. He had been in love with me and I hurt him. I should be happy for him. That sort of thinking was difficult for me. Even though I’d never loved Leath, I was insulted when he got over me and I was jealous of the fact that he could be so in love. I knew that was messed up thinking, but I just couldn’t help the way I was. I decided to go home and get drunk.
That night, I had the nightmare again; the one about my inception. But this time I awoke alone. Naemien hadn’t come home for dinner and hadn’t come to my room. I turned on the light and fortified myself with a drink. I then began to do some self-analysis.
My inception had been a horrid torturous experience and my first aruna nothing less than pelki by all the hara in their gang. They’d killed the humans, including my parents and pillaged the town, taking us young boys with them to incept. After my “initiation” into Wraeththu, I was used as a slave. I cooked and served food, washed their clothes and was sexually abused on a regular basis with any har who wanted me. I’d wanted to die.
Finally one day as they fought amongst themselves over something, I managed to escape. I made my way to Metrarkka and lived by begging, rummaging through garbage and selling myself for money, food, clothes, shelter – anything. But I was empowered by the fact that now I was doing the using. I soon realized that my better than average beauty was my ticket to success. I used the first har that fell for me to get a place to stay, regular meals and clothes. After that I used har after har to get increasingly better housing, food and clothing until I’d worked my way up to Naemien, the top har. I never had feelings for any of them. The only one I came close to feeling bad about leaving was Leath. I’d at least been attracted to him and he was rich and successful, but not as rich and successful as Naemien, so I moved on.
I soon became tired of thinking and went back to sleep.
A couple of weeks went by and I still couldn’t get Andwin out of my mind. One evening Naemien told me some hara were coming over for a meeting with him and he asked me if I’d arrange for some refreshments. As I stood in the outer room of his office and meeting room overseeing the delivery of the food and drinks, the hara arrived. My heart leapt when I looked up to see Andwin walking in with another har. He smiled at me and said something to the har who went on into Naemien’s office. Andwin approached me and took a slip of paper out of his pocket.
“Hi,” he said with a warm smile. “I was hoping to see you tonight.”
“How have you been?” I asked, not really able to think of anything else to say.
“Just fine, except for one thing.”
He leaned close and murmured into my ear. “I’ve been missing you.” He slipped the piece of paper into my hand. “Here’s my address. Please come to see me…soon.”
He pulled away and gave me a grin. I looked up into his eyes. More hara entered the room so he winked at me and made for Naemien’s office. I hoped I looked cool and collected on the outside, but I was thrilled. I went to my room and read the paper.
1220 Sunset Avenue
I knew the area. It sounded like a boarding house address and was on the western end of a fairly decent part of the city. I smiled to myself, thinking I’d like to rush over there tomorrow but I didn’t want to look too anxious, so I waited about 5 days until the weekend was over and decided to go one night when Naemien had informed me that he’d be gone until very late. Why was I being so secretive? It’s not like Naemien and I ever gave each other a play by play of our encounters with other hara, but I’d never kept any of my dalliances a particular secret and neither did he. Maybe it made it more exciting to me, I don’t know. But instinct or whatever kept me from discussing it.
I engaged a carriage and gave the driver the address. He stopped in front of a rather plain but well-kept building. The door opened to a hallway on the right and a stairway to the left. The first door was marked 1A, so I assumed Andwin’s place would be on the second floor. I knocked on his door, my stomach tickling with butterflies and took a deep breath. I was just thinking that maybe I should have sent him a message to be sure he’d be home, when he opened the door.
“Well, hello,” he said, looking me up and down. “I thought maybe you’d forgotten all about me.” He gave me a smile that told me he knew better. “Come in!”
I walked into a room that in human times would have been called an efficiency. It was one large space, divided up by only the furnishings. There was a door on the right which I assumed was the bathroom and in the far left corner there was an ornate curtain that I assumed surrounded his bed. The furniture looked used but clean and tasteful.
“Have a seat,” he offered motioning to the couch. “Care for a drink?”
He returned with a bottle of red wine and two glasses. After pouring them for us he raised his and said, “To you!”
I smiled, nodded my thanks and we drank.
“This is quite nice,” I remarked, looking around his room.
He looked at me with a wry smile.
“Not really. However, I certainly don’t plan to stay here. This is my starter place,” he said gulping his wine and pouring himself another glass.
“That’s right. You said you were ambitious.”
“And I meant it. More wine?”
I looked into his golden eyes and he all but paralyzed me with a lustful stare.
“You’re even more beautiful than I remembered.,” he said.
I laughed, probably a bit nervously. “Remembered? It’s only been a few days.”
“Seems like an eternity.”
He was really turning on the charm–and it was working. He set his glass down and took mine from my hand. He moved closer and ran his fingers into my hair, kissing me on the neck. A small pleasured sound escaped my lips in spite of myself.
“Mmmm, your scent,” he purred. “It’s driving me crazy.”
I turned his face to mine and we kissed and shared breath. He overwhelmed me with his images of bright sparkling streams, rushing water and then eddies of swirling colors. He quickly unbuttoned my shirt, then moving down my body with nips and kisses, he pulled off my pants. Suddenly, he stopped.
“You’re ouana,” he said, smiling.
“Yes…” I replied, catching my breath. “Does that surprise you?”
“Frankly, yes.” He chuckled. “But in a good way.”
“Don’t let my looks fool you,” I said. “I love to be ouana.”
“You’ll especially love it tonight.”
He took off his shirt, slid his hands under me and the next luscious sensation I felt was his warm mouth engulfing my ouana-lim. I moaned unable to control myself and when I felt myself flower, he released me. I pushed him back on the couch and pulled his pants off. I pushed inside him, luxuriating in the sensation and in his pleasured sounds. When I was about to find my release, he clenched me with his soume-lam, making my completion amazingly pleasurable. He followed soon after. I gently separated us and squished beside him on the couch, my face nuzzled against his neck. He turned and gave me a long slow kiss. After a few moments he got up and went into the bathroom. When he came back he smiled at me and pulled me up off the couch and into his arms as he whispered, “Let’s move to my bed.”
He pulled back the curtain and as I lay down under the covers, he fetched the wine and glasses and set them on the bedside table. We propped ourselves up with pillows as we drank the wine and Andwin smoked a cigarette.
“This must be quite the slumming trip for a har like you, Briar,” Andwin said with a teasing smile.
“Not at all. Did you think I was born in a penthouse?”
“So you worked your way up.”
“You have no idea.” I drank down my wine and poured myself another.
“Hmm, so you’re ambitious, too.”
I gave him a meaningful smile as I reached across him to set my glass on the bedside table. As I did so, he put his arms around me and held me closer, nibbling my ear. He murmured into it, “You and I were made for each other.”
We had another amazing arunic encounter. He did things to me and with me that were so exciting and pleasurable that I never wanted it to end. Finally exhausted, we fell asleep.
In the wee hours I awoke and went to use the bathroom. When I came back to bed, Andwin stirred and woke up. I laid my head on his chest, satisfied and wanting only to go back to sleep.
“Are you sure it’s okay for you to stay?” he asked.
I yawned. “Of course it is.”
“Won’t Naemien wonder where you are?”
“Stop worrying about that. He doesn’t concern himself with my rooning. It’s fine.”
“I’m sorry. It’s just that I wouldn’t want him to get pissed off.”
I raised my head and looked at him.
“Are you kicking me out?” I asked.
He chuckled. “No har in his right mind would kick you out of bed, Briar.”
“Then relax…mmmm.” I laid my head back on his chest and quickly fell asleep.
I awoke the next morning to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Andwin was sitting at his small table, clad only in some drawstring pants, sipping his. He gave me a smile as I got dressed and joined him. He then graciously offered me an apple with my coffee.
“I have to leave,” Andwin said with a sigh. “I’ve got to get to a har’s place to pick up something. You’re welcome to stay–”
“No. I’ll go, too. But thanks.”
When we’d finished with breakfast, we walked downstairs to the front door, where Andwin grabbed me into an embrace. We shared a long goodbye kiss.
“Shall I get you a carriage?” he asked.
“No, you go on. I can take care of myself.”
“I don’t doubt that for a minute. Come back soon,” he added, giving me a playful smack on the backside.
He left me with a smile and I walked a block or two in search of a carriage and went home.
On the way my mind was full of Andwin and our time together. I liked everything about him and thought only about the next time we’d get together, even though I didn’t know when that would be. I felt like I would like to see him every day. I knew I shouldn’t think like that. I was entering dangerous territory. It wouldn’t do for me to fall for any har. I’d never had any problem avoiding it before and I was certain this time wouldn’t be any different. Or was I…?
When I got home, I immediately went to look for Naemien. I found him where I thought he’d be: in his office. He looked up from a ledger he was studying.
“Well there you are!” He remarked, grinning. He never questioned me about my whereabouts or escapades. “I was about to have lunch. Will you join me?”
“Yes! I’m famished.”
A few days passed and much as I hated to admit it to myself, Andwin crept into my mind with unsettling regularity. I wanted to see him again and I didn’t know whether to wait for an invitation, just show up at his place or invite him to mine. Finally, I decided even though Naemien didn’t care, inviting Andwin here might be a little rude, so I decided to go see him.
I wanted to take him out to dinner and go dancing or something before we took aruna. When I knocked on his door, I started to feel a little nervous. What if he didn’t feel like seeing me tonight? What if–? Just then he opened the door. He was dressed only in some old jeans with holes in them, his hair pulled back into a ponytail. He looked positively irresistible.
“Briar! What a pleasant surprise.” He grabbed me and kissed me, leaving me a bit breathless when we parted.
“I want to take you out,” I said.
“Take me out?” He grinned. “Where?”
He laughed. “Okay. Well, sure. Let me get dressed.”
When we walked out into the street he asked, “Where are you taking me?”
“Well, you know the area–you choose.”
“There’s a nice place a couple of blocks from here.”
“Then let’s go.”
We walked into an area with several eateries. He pointed to one called Baylin’s Bistro.
“The food’s good there,” he said.
We had a pleasant dinner and a good time talking. Afterwards I suggested we go to a club. Again, he chose and when we sat at the bar, he insisted on paying for our drinks. After having a few, I asked him to dance with me. As he took me into his arms, I felt a thrill go through me. As we held each other close and swayed to the music, he nuzzled my neck and said into my ear, “You’re the most exciting har I’ve ever known.” I began to think that maybe he felt the same thrill that I felt.
After a few more dances, Andwin whispered, “Let’s get out of here.”
He laid some money on the bar and we walked back to his place.
As soon as we were inside the door, he grabbed me and kissed me hard as I backed up against the door. He nipped at my neck as he quickly began to remove my pants. I breathlessly undid his as well and we swiftly shed them. He guided my hand to his fully hard ouana-lim as I grabbed his hair and moaned into his mouth as we shared breath. I felt dizzy with my immediate need and as he lifted me up I locked my legs around him as he entered me and began thrusting. I closed my eyes and let the overwhelming sensations of our frenzied movements possess me. I was rather loud and later wondered if all the other hara in the building could have heard me since I was right inside the door! But at the moment all I could do was to drink in all the deliciousness of Andwin and what he was doing to me. It didn’t take us long to reach completion and afterward, I went limp and remember him carrying me to the bed and laying me down.
He walked away and came back to bed with a bottle of wine, handing it to me before lying down beside me. I drank from it and realized at some point he’d removed his shirt and I was still wearing mine. I supposed our pants were still lying in a heap by the door.
“That was amazing,” he said, propping his head on his hand and smiling at me.
“I hope I wasn’t too loud,” I remarked, drinking from the bottle and chuckling.
He leaned closer, licking his tongue over my lips and kissing me. “Never,” he murmured into my ear.
Gods! I wanted him again already!
After another night of arunic bliss, I took a carriage home. Being away from Andwin made me yearn for him and looking forward to our next tryst filled me with excitement and anticipation. I should have known I was in trouble and on one level, looking back, I think I did. But I didn’t care. He was the object of my desire and affection and I couldn’t help myself.
One night after an amazing gambol, Andwin looked earnestly into my eyes and I had the feeling he was hesitant to say what was on his mind.
“What?” I asked. Is something wrong?”
“No. I…just want to ask you a favor and I don’t know if I should.”
I smiled. “Silly! Ask me anything.” I leaned over and kissed him. “If it’s in my power to do it for you, it’s yours,” I replied, chuckling.
“Well…” He paused, looking down and then he looked back at me. “Naemien said at the last meeting that we were doing so well that he was going to hire some more hara. That means some of us might be given a position over them, you know like an overseer, a boss. And I was wondering if you could or if you would, you know, put in a good word for me…somehow.” He gave me a pleading look.
“Of course I will. I can’t promise Naemien will listen to me about his business, but I’ll do my best. I’ll tell him what a good aruna partner you are and how satisfied I am.”
He gave me a look that was priceless!
“Hahaha! You should see the look on your face!!” I said.
“Shit, Briar!” Then he laughed and grabbed me, growling into my neck.
“Seriously, Andwin, I’ll talk to Naemien. I’ll tell him I’ve heard good things about you.”
“Thanks. Really, thank you.” He gave me a lustful smile. “Now, where were we…?”
Several evenings later when Naemien and I were eating dinner he began discussing business with me. I decided the time was right to bring Andwin to his attention.
“Things are really going well. I’m going to take on some new hara.”
“I guess that means some of your loyal employees will move up a notch.”
“Yes, that’s true.”
“You know, just sort of through the grapevine, I’ve heard that a har named Andwin showed some promise.”
“Andwin? Oh, yes. Yes he has. He’s gone the extra mile for me quite a few times since I hired him. He seems ambitious, too.”
“Do you think he would be a good candidate for a better position?”
“Yeah, sure he would. I’ll mention it to him at the next meeting.”
I smiled to myself, thinking how happy this would make Andwin, but I didn’t think I should act like it was a done deal just yet. I didn’t want him to be disappointed. With Naemien, you never knew.
The next time we were together, I told Andwin what had transpired but warned him not to count on it until he heard it officially from Naemien. He was still ecstatic and thanked me profusely.
Naemien called a meeting about a week later and informed Andwin that he would be in charge of four hara, giving him more power and more money. However, I didn’t find that out until the next time Andwin and I saw each other. He’d sent a har to discreetly tell me that he’d like me to come over to his place, so that evening I went to see him. When he opened the door, he presented me with a beautiful bouquet of a dozen velvety black roses and a very passionate kiss.
“Naemien put me in charge of four hara and I get paid more, too. And I owe it all to you.” He kissed me again.
“Not all,” I replied. “You’ve worked hard. You earned it yourself.”
“I know, but I’m sure your efforts on my behalf sealed the deal. Really, Briar…thank you.”
“My pleasure,” I said, as I put my hands on his hips.
“Let’s celebrate!” he said.
He treated me to dinner at a very nice restaurant and then we went back to his place, where he asked me to sit on the bed and gave me a mysterious smile. I wondered what was up. He took a small box out of a drawer and gave it to me.
“This is for you.”
I opened it to find a beautiful silver chain.
“Oh, it’s gorgeous! Thank you!”
Thinking it was a necklace, I began to fasten it around my neck.
“No,” he said, smiling. He unbuttoned my shirt and slipped it off my shoulders, then laying me back on the bed, he slid off my pants.
“It goes here.” He put it around my waist, kissing my stomach.
“Mmmm…it’s beautiful…I love it…” I began to breathe harder as he moved his lips up my body to place them on mine. As we kissed and shared breath, I lost myself in his images of blooming flowers and petals swirling into a rippling pool. I became ouana and he gave himself to me with complete abandon. It was so satisfying and the evening had been so wonderful, so perfect. I fell asleep in his arms and even though I had to leave the next morning, I felt so utterly content.
For the next few days, I was in such good spirits. I was happy for Andwin, but I also began to let myself think that he was beginning to have feelings for me. The gifts, the lovely evenings together and the incomparable aruna all indicated that to me.
Naemien even noticed my good mood and mentioned it to me one night after we’d taken aruna.
“You seem happy lately, my love. Any particular reason?”
“No, not really,” I replied, trying not to look guilty. “Just a mood, I guess.”
“I hope it lasts. I like to see you happy.”
I felt such affection for him in that moment and more than a modicum of guilt. I knew he didn’t mind me rooning others but the guilt stemmed from my feelings for Andwin. The fact that he wasn’t just a roon and that I felt strongly for him made me feel awful because Naemien was so good to me. I didn’t like feeling all mixed up like that!
But no matter how I felt, I couldn’t stay away from Andwin. One night I decided to surprise him by coming over very late. I knocked on his door, full of anticipation. It took him a while to answer and I almost gave up, figuring he was out or asleep. He opened the door, dressed only in some loose pants.
“Briar! Uh, hi. I, I never expected you so late.” He looked a little too surprised, I thought. I heard movement inside his room.
“Oh,” I said. “You’re not alone.”
He shrugged and looked uneasy.
“I’m sorry,” I said, managing a smile. “I shouldn’t have come so late.”
“No, it’s fine. Come in. You can join us,” he added, smiling and taking my hand.
“Oh, no…no. I’d be intruding.”
“Not at all,” he said. Aniia’s just a friend, you know.”
I took a deep breath, put on my best “I’m fine with this” face, smiled seductively, patted Andwin on the cheek and said nonchalantly, “No, you two have fun. I’ll come back another time.”
I walked away and looked back over my shoulder giving him a wink.
I walked on waving back at him and headed down the stairs and out into the street. Luckily the carriage I’d engaged hadn’t left with another customer, so I quickly got back in and instructed the driver to go.
“Where to?” he inquired.
“Anywhere. Just go!”
I gathered my thoughts enough to direct the driver to a bar I knew of where I could drink alone and undisturbed.
“Shall I wait?” he asked when we’d reached our destination.
“No. Thank you.” I answered, paying him.
I entered the bar and asked for a private room, then I ordered a bottle of sheh and began to drink it. After I’d calmed myself down a bit, I began to think.
Oh, Gods! Why did I go there so late! I should have known. Did I really think…? Yes, I did really think I was the only har in Andwin’s life right now. I was such an asshole! Such a fucking besotted fool! How did I let this happen to me? To ME! The har that has no feelings for any har. Stupid! Stupid! I hit my forehead with the heel of my hand. I gulped down the sheh like there was no tomorrow. And part of me wished there wasn’t going to be one.
You can join us…Aniia’s just a friend–you know… Andwin’s words echoed in my head. I’d never been one for threesomes or group aruna. Oh, I’d tried it a couple of times, but I’m too selfish, too vain. I like a har’s attention on me and me alone. I didn’t want to share Andwin with any har! I wanted him to want me–just me! Oh, gods! Shit! I put my head in my hands.
I’d always distanced myself from every har, even the one I lived with. It was my protection, my shield, my strength. I let that barrier down one time. One time!! Shit! I knew I was beautiful and that Andwin lusted after me and that he had fun taking aruna with me. Fun–that’s all it was to him; that and an advocate for his promotion in Naemien’s ranks. He’d used me for entertainment and personal gain. I sighed and the tears came. Just like I’d used every har I’d ever known since after my inception. Maybe karma really exists. Maybe what goes around really does come around. Just desserts, come-uppance, taste of his own medicine, got what he deserved, etc., etc. All these phrases came roaring into my head, and knowing how richly I deserved what I’d gotten, I laid my head on my arms on the table and cried my heart out, for the first time in many many years.
The next thing I was aware of was a serving har gently nudging me awake.
“Hmmm?” I managed, drunkenly.
”I’m sorry but we’re closing. Tiahaar?”
“Umm, okay. I’m going.”
“I’ve gotten you a carriage.”
“Thank you. How much…?”
“You already paid for the sheh, tiahaar.”
I nodded and staggered to the carriage.
Once I got home, I headed straight for bed and passed out.
The next day, I slept through until afternoon. Finally, I got up and took a shower. When I came back into my room, Naemien was sitting on my bed. He looked concerned, but still gave me a smile.
“Lura said you were still sleeping. Are you alright?”
I nodded. “I’m fine. I had a bit too much sheh last night, that’s all.”
He patted the place next to him and I sat down.
“Briar…you know I don’t pry into your personal affairs but I’ve noticed you haven’t quite been yourself lately. Do you want to tell me something? Is there anything I can do?”
I regarded his earnest face. His kindness and concern was too much for me and I broke down, covering my face with the towel I was using to dry my hair. He put his arm around me and I laid my wet head on his shoulder and sobbed.
“It’s alright, Briar. Whatever it is it will be okay, I promise.”
All these emotions swirling around inside me: guilt, disappointment, rejection. And then the added gratitude I felt for Naemien’s understanding; his very much undeserved kindness. He pulled back, and took the towel away from my face. He looked into my eyes.
“You know, I’ve never seen you cry.”
“That’s because I never do.”
“This har must have really gotten to you.” He smiled. I must have looked completely shocked and bewildered.
“Did you think I didn’t know?” He said. “I’ve been around a long time. The good mood, the smile on your face, the late nights out. I knew you had a lover and you know you’re free to do whatever you want. But if he’s the one who made you cry, I’d like to kick his ass.” He smiled. “Don’t worry. I’m joking.”
“You don’t have to say a word. I even know who it is.” He chuckled. “I didn’t until you recommended him for a promotion.”
“Oh, gods! I’m sorry.”
“You’ve got no reason to be, my sweet. And he earned his position. Also any har who has your respect, has mine.”
“How can you say that! How can you be so…so…”
“Understanding? Accepting? Like I said, I’ve been around for a long time; so long that I don’t want to tell you. Time and experience–that’s how.”
I stared at him in near disbelief. “We’ve been together seven years, Naemien, and right now I feel like I don’t even know you at all. You’ve never told me anything about your past, not really. Just that you started with nothing and worked your way up.”
I studied his face like I’d never seen it before. “How old are you?”
He laughed. “I’ll tell you this much. I was thirty-one when I became har.”
“What? And you survived!”
“Barely. Har after har refused to incept me, saying I’d surely die. But I didn’t want to be human in a harish world. I would rather have died. Finally, for a price, a har gave me his blood. All I remember was horrible pain and then oblivion. When I was through the change I staggered out into the street and collapsed. I remember voices seemingly in the distance–two hara talking.
“What the hell is that?!”
“Looks like a har–I think.”
“Is he dead?”
“Not quite but it looks like he soon will be.”
“Shit! Should we do something?”
“I don’t know. Take him to Lorrin, maybe?”
“I guess it’s worth a try. Grab his feet.”
“Long story short, Lorrin saved my life, took my first aruna with me and found me my first job–errand har. I worked my ass off, made contacts, and finally after many years, ended up the har you see before you.” He stretched his arms out and smiled. Then he became very serious. “I’m not proud of some of the things I’ve done but I’m proud of where it’s gotten me. And who it’s gotten me,” he added teasingly into my ear. He made me smile.
“I want to tell you what happened,” I stated.
“You don’t have to, Briar.”
“I want to. The truth is I let myself start to fall for a har and I thought he felt something for me, too. Turns out all he wanted was a bit of fun and a promotion. He did to me what I’ve done to every har I’ve ever known, except you. You were the goal: the har at the top. I didn’t even let myself fall for you. By the time I met you I figured I was incapable of such feelings. My heart was stone. One har even told me I didn’t have one. He was right. I’m ambitious, self-serving and cold. But in spite of my vanity, I can admit this–” I looked Naemien squarely in the eye. “You deserve better.”
He put his hand gently on mine. “We’re a lot alike, you and me. I think that’s part of why we stay together. We want the same things from life–the best. I know I have that in you. You’re beautiful, accomplished, capable and perfect for me.”
“Naemien, please…” My eyes filled with tears.
“I won’t lie to you, Briar. At first I saw you as a prize. The most beautiful har there could ever be, my most lovely gem and perfect decoration. Something to show off. But you proved to be so much more than that. You’re intelligent, competent and a bit devious. Just like me. In time I knew that I felt more for you. At first it was admiration for more than just your incomparable beauty. But now…I can’t imagine my life without you. I’ve grown to love you. And I ask only one thing from you.”
I regarded him, wondering.
“That you never leave me.”
I opened my mouth to speak but he shook his head.
“Nothing will change, my love. You’re free to do whatever you want, take aruna with whomever you please, spend lots of money.” He laughed. “Just please…” His voice broke. “Please don’t ever leave me.”
I hugged him fiercely, like my life depended on it–on him, because I knew it did.
“Oh, Naemien,” I sobbed. “I won’t! I won’t, I promise.”
After our intimate talk that day, I felt close to Naemien–really close. I had a strong and genuine affection for him. I began to spend nights in his room with him and even if we didn’t take aruna, I slept there, simply enjoying the comfort and security of his presence. And in return, he began to spend more time with me instead of working continuously.
I felt myself changing a bit inside. I felt like my stone cold heart was warming and softening. Eventually, I even managed to send Leath and Vasha a letter, apologizing for the way I’d treated them both.
Naemien and I didn’t seek out the company of other hara for aruna. I knew that eventually other hara would come into our lives in that respect but for the time being we were exclusive. I wondered: is this what it means to be chesna?
One day Naemien actually asked me to be his chesnari. I was deeply touched and of course said yes. It seemed strange after being together for seven years, but the idea of officially being chesna was meaningful to us both. In his typical style, Naemien wanted to throw a big party to celebrate. As the party was winding down, I got us each a drink and sat next to Naemien. He took it and gave me a rather mysterious smile.
“You look positively glowing, my love. One would almost think that you were with pearl.”
I laughed. “No, no, I’m just happy, that’s all.”
He regarded me, smiling. “Would that be something you’d like?”
“You…you mean a harling?”
“Sure, someday, I mean. I could host if you’d want.”
I laughed heartily.
“What? You don’t think I would do it?”
“The thought of you in hostling clothes? With a protruding belly? I think that might destroy your ‘tough har’ image forever! I can’t imagine it!”
“Well,” he said. “I think I’d like a son to leave all our hard-earned money and possessions to.”
“No offense Naemien, but I think even I’d do better at hosting than you would!”
“You’d make a most beautiful hostling, my sweet.” He leaned over and kissed me. I couldn’t help but smile. Then I laughed out loud.
“What’s so funny? he asked.
“That I’m actually considering it!”
Naemien drew me closer. “I really do love you, Briar.”
~~~~::::====*** THE END ***====::::~~~~