( Continued from Part 2 )
Hethurin waited impatiently as Aeramin unlocked the door. He was relieved to see the individual apartment wasn’t as bad as the hallway, though it was far from what he was used to. The kitchen, dining and sitting room were all one room, and a rather small one at that. Some of the kitchen cabinets that lined the one wall were missing doors. The old sofa against the opposite wall had some holes in the cushions, and the dining table in the middle of the room had mismatched chairs. A half-finished painting of a scene of children playing in Eversong sat on an easel in the corner nearest to the door next to the sofa. Hethurin decided that at this point it was best to feign ignorance. “Do you paint?”
Aeramin’s ear twitched. “No. My mother does,” he replied. “Don’t worry. She’s asleep now. My father isn’t due home for another few hours.”
“They don’t know what you do?”
His ear twitched again. “They know.” He opened a door, motioning for Hethurin to follow. “My mother signed me up for calligraphy classes starting next month. They’re discounted or something. I’m not sure how writing neat is going to help me find other work.”
“You never know. It could come in useful. There must be something you would rather be doing.” Hethurin looked around the small room. He recalled the apartment that Aeramin had lived in after first finishing his studies in Dalaran, or would live in. He supposed it technically hadn’t happened yet. This room was better than the apartment, but not by much. It was small with just enough space for the bed, a small dresser, and a bookshelf made out of some old boards and chipped bricks. There weren’t many books on the shelf, and the ones that were there were worn and looked as though they were probably outdated. The bed looked comfortable. He had to sit on it to allow Aeramin enough space to get into the room.
Aeramin looked at Hethurin as he closed the door quietly behind him. “I’d like to be a mage, but there’s no way I can afford it. I keep trying to save up, but there’s always some debt or another to pay.” He eyed the robes Hethurin wore as he spoke, “Are you a magister?”
Hethurin hesitated, but answered honestly, “Um, yes. I’m young, but I finished my apprenticeship a little over a year ago.”
Aeramin sat on the bed next to him, “I don’t suppose you would teach me. Obviously, I would not be able to pay you with gold, but I could provide other services,” he put his hand on Hethurin’s knee and slid it slowly up his thigh, “Oh, and I should mention your time with me has already started. I charge for every half hour, unless of course, you can teach me.”
Hethurin tensed at the touch, but allowed the other elf to continue. “I can’t teach you. I don’t have time.” he laughed nervously, partially at his own joke, and partially because of what was happening.
“I didn’t expect you would.” Aeramin frowned as he unbuttoned part of Hethurin’s robe. “By the way, what’s your name? I’m Aeramin.”
“Oh, m-my name? Um…” Hethurin stammered.
“You don’t have to tell me. It just feels a little less impersonal. That’s all.” Aeramin caressed Hethurin’s ear, and kissed his neck.
“I’m Rylad.” Hethurin lied. He had given up trying to stop Aeramin, and now he reasoned that he was just doing as he always did. Hethurin could go along with it, pay him, then be gone, and it would be just like any other night for Aeramin. It might even wind up being good. Hethurin hadn’t been with anyone like this since he left his aunt’s farm, and he had decided that what had happened there didn’t count. He had been afraid of it since then. He worried that it would remind him of what had happened. It could bring the nightmares back.
He quickly forgot his worries. He almost forgot to keep maintaining his illusion a couple of times. It wasn’t until Aeramin suddenly stopped, and threw the covers over him that he heard the footsteps outside the door.
Aeramin whispered as he quickly dressed, “Get out of here when you get the chance.” He nodded towards the window, “The drop isn’t far, first floor, or teleport. I guess you can do that, right?”
Hethurin nodded, “Yes, but what’s going on?”
“My father’s home early. I’m sorry, Rylad. You don’t have to pay. Just get out when you can.”
Hethurin opened his mouth to say something else when the person in the other room banged on the door. He yelled with the slurred speech of someone who had too much to drink, despite coming home early, “Aeramin! I told you not to bring anymore of them here! Get out here, now.”
(( To be continued… ))