3. Rough Trade

Soundtrack and Video: Adam Ant, Goody Two-Shoes

Word gets out among the female population of Liamelia that the youngest Shelawn family footman is a sight worth seeing. Almost overnight, everyone from half-elf laundresses to gray debutantes starts making excuses to watch the comings and goings of the Shelawn carriage, lingering around the foyer and outside the reception rooms, and waiting to knock until the butler is out, in the hopes that Fabius will be on duty and answer the door. The butler finds he is constantly shooing away flocks of giggling parlor maids; female guests drop their handkerchiefs, find that they need lots of parcels held and messages sent. A worldly widow passes Fabius a note full of detailed and illuminating suggestions about services he might provide in addition to his usual duties, along with a detailed schedule of tips he could earn.

This is how Fabius discovers that he is handsome. Women of all ages, descriptions and conditions in life tell him so in more or less explicit terms. It’s like a switch flips on one day. Suddenly he’s standing in a spotlight, and everyone feels free to comment. It’s dizzying and bewildering, and the consequence is much different for a footman than it would be for a legitimate son of the Shelawn household. Perhaps most obviously, once women have checked him out thoroughly — really had a good look at his face, figure and bearing — their eyes naturally turn to the other exceptionally good-looking man in the house, Tereus. They notice that the beautiful half-Drow boy who opens carriage doors and carries parcels bears an uncanny resemblance to the general who retired under a cloud of scandal. People are reminded of the story, or learn it for the first time. It might not be any better if Fabius were a groom or gardener, but there is something particularly wonderful and terrible in the spectacle of Fabius dressed in livery, opening and closing doors, standing at attention, and performing small, public, ceremonial services in the presence of his indifferent father. No wonder, then, that Fabius first experiences his beauty as a genetic gift of uncertain value.

Seen from the outside, he is slim, below medium height, well-proportioned. His features invite comparison to angels or demons. His eyes are large, brilliant and deep-set. His nose is straight and finely molded. He has high cheekbones, a strong jaw and chin, and a high forehead. His lips are lush and inviting, with a perfect Cupid’s bow. Despite his physical strength, Fabius’ beauty has a candid, vulnerable quality. He’s smart, shy and troubled, and he hasn’t learned to adopt certain expressions deliberately, and to hide the violent emotions peculiar to youth: shame, disappointment, anxiety, impatience, piercing joy. Also, he never drinks, smokes or uses drugs, and doesn’t eat enough. These habits give him a crazed, burning quality, a kind of restlessness and vigor. Though his features will remain the same, Inglorion’s beauty will evolve with his character and station in life. Later, in manhood and middle age, Inglorion will become masterful and decisive, and will develop an air of command. Then he will have the same dazzling quality that Tereus did in his prime.

Because his features are flawless, Inglorion will always be beautiful. Age, combat, injuries, illness, power, responsibility, the weight of command — these will bound and temper his loveliness, give it a more masculine character. But his whole life, he will have the quality — angelic or demonic — of carnal beauty. Inglorion has many qualities that feel more personal and less incidental. He is brilliant, determined, willful, reckless, volatile, disciplined. However, Inglorion’s beauty is the first thing that people notice about him, and even upon long acquaintance, they never forget it. Some men’s lives are dominated by intellect; others by their passions or vices. Inglorion will live his whole life in the shadow of his own physical beauty.

One incident in particular teaches Fabius to own his looks and wield them like a weapon. A wealthy family comes to stay, bringing their four daughters, ages 14-20. They quickly become fascinated with him, and start making sport of him.

The role of footmen is largely ceremonial. Notoriously, footmen are selected for their looks and physique. Their livery traditionally includes tightly fitted breeches that mercilessly expose the slightest arousal. Some footmen pad the area to achieve a uniformly impressive effect; most trade tips about how to manage arousal. For 15-year-old Fabius, this is a particularly horrible aspect of the job. He tries to be pragmatic about it, but he feels that his cock is always in the wrong state, and always on public display, along with his face, hair and general appearance.

After three days of whispering, pointing and handkerchief-dropping, the sisters come up with a particularly bold game. When he is standing outside the formal reception rooms, the oldest girl walks up to the door, then stops suddenly to adjust her garters. She makes a show of it, bending over, lifting her skirt, smoothing her silk stocking over her exposed calf, knee and thigh, then untying and re-tying the ribbons. She’s got lovely legs and a plump little bottom, and she keeps darting glances over at him to make sure he’s watching. She finishes the left leg and switches to the right, going through the same ceremony of lifting her skirt, caressing her leg, fiddling with the clasps and ribbons. Fabius can plainly see the bare, tender, tawny flesh above her opaque stockings. He can see her inner thigh, and can almost make out the lower curve of her ass under her pantalettes. She’s wearing a tremendously low-cut dress, so her bosom is juxtaposed with the rest of the spectacle. All of this has the intended effect — he gets a raging hard-on, which is plainly visible to her. He can hear her sisters giggling nearby — she’s posted them as guards.

She makes a show of noticing his interest, slowly lowers her skirt, shakes it into place. She strolls over to him and murmurs, “Did you see anything you liked? Do you think you should be looking?” She’s standing quite close to him. She smells of amber. She’s on her tiptoes, leaning forward, trying to force him to meet her green gaze. She’s a redhead, and her breast is particularly creamy and pale, with a few delicate, tawny freckles.

He’s silent. He can hear her sisters giggling. She’s beautiful, of course, and his cock wholeheartedly approves. The rest of him feels ashamed and vaguely nauseated. “Well?” she says.

He refuses to answer, or to meet her eyes. He stares straight forward, just as he’s been taught. One of the sisters whistles a warning, and she retreats, gives an imperious little nod indicating that he should open the door. They sashay through one by one, tittering, smiling, their green eyes laughing at him.

He has no formal recourse, naturally. It’s part of the job. Barmaids get their asses pinched, and footmen get teased. Some of them enjoy it and play along. Fabius resolves to get revenge.

He knows which bedchamber is hers. Luckily the other sisters are not out in society yet, so they’re staying in the nursery. That night, after the household has retired, Fabius sneaks up and taps gently on her door. “It’s Fabius. Open up.” She hasn’t heard his voice and doesn’t know his name, so he prays she’ll realize who it is.

He hears her on the other side of the door. “What do you want?”

“I have a message for you. Come on, open up. Just for a minute. It’s urgent.”

There’s a pause, then, to his shock, he hears the lock turning, and she cracks the door, peeks through. She’s wearing just her nightgown. Her hair is down, unpowdered. “What do you want?” She seems intrigued, not frightened or angry.

“Just to talk to you. Come on, let me in. Someone will see me standing out here in the hallway.”

She looks uncertain for a moment, but something about his appearance wins her over. He’s wearing a half-buttoned shirt, breeches and an earnest expression, and his hair is out of its queue and down around his shoulders. She steps back to admit him.

He’s never done anything quite like this, so he proceeds by intuition and guess. He closes the door and locks it behind him. Since explanations could only be awkward, he simply takes her into his arms and kisses her passionately. She responds in kind, and soon they’re groping each other and dry-humping through their clothing. He picks her up, carries her to the bed, strips off her nightgown, and alternates between kissing her and sucking her nipples. He allows her to strip his shirt off, lets her run her hands over his shoulders and chest. She marvels, “You really are beautiful.”

In the candlelight he can see that she’s fascinated, enchanted. Cruel tricks aside, she thinks he’s beautiful, and truly wants him. He reminds himself that she’s spoiled and beautiful and rich, and used to getting exactly what she wants. 

He continues his plan, then, by plunging his fingers between her thighs. She’s wet, but he wants her desperate, so he begins to finger her, searching for her clit. She grabs his head and pushes it, saying, “Go down.” He hasn’t done this before, so he proceeds by guess and lets her do a lot of the work. Her flavor is exquisite, and she seems more than willing to rub herself against his lips, chin, jaw and nose. He’s careful to stop before she can climax. She reaches out to grab his cock through his breeches. He lets her feel it for an instant, then pulls it out of range, says teasingly, “Yeah? Is that it? Is that what you want?”

She nods, smiles, whispers, “Come on!”

He holds back, says, “You have to say it. Tell me what you want.”

“Fuck me.”

“Yeah? That’s what you want?” He unbuckles his breeches slowly, takes his cock out. It’s playing its role perfectly — it’s painfully hard, and there’s a bead of liquid at the tip. “Then tell me. Say you want my cock.”

“I want your cock. I want you to fuck me.”

He kisses her violently, makes her taste herself on his lips. She grabs his cock, tries to pull him towards her. “Come on.” For just a moment, he’s tempted. She’s young, beautiful, more than willing. Now, too, there’s a certain sincerity about her. He can see that she’s intoxicated by his face, his form, and, yes, by the stiff length between his legs. But he proceeds as planned, whispers in her ear, “So you want to fuck the pretty Drow footman, honey? You want a little rough trade?” She probably doesn’t know the term, but it sounds properly crude. 

She nods. “Yeah. Come on and fuck me.”

Fabius pulls away completely and deliberately, rolls off the bed, stands up, buttons his breeches and buckles his belt. He looks down at her shocked face and says, “Well, that’s too bad, honey, because I don’t fuck little spoiled gray bitches.”

Her expression of rage and humiliation is all he could wish.

“You bastard,” she hisses.

He picks up his shirt, puts it on. “Anything else?” He studies her face. Her eyes are narrowed, calculating. “Your door was locked when I got here. Only the housekeeper has a key. You let me in. Any story you tell will have to account for that fact.” He leaves.

He returns to the servants’ quarters. Before descending into trance, Fabius savors her longing and beauty and, yes, his triumph. He comes with shattering force. He knows that though his beauty comes from Tereus, it is just a tool, and he can use it however he wishes. 

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