I'm lying here watching him, and I'm wondering. Tonight he was late coming to me. He's never been late before; he's often there early, at whatever tavern we agreed to meet at, ordering a drink, seemingly casual, but all the time he's looking for me. I see the look when finally his anxious eyes find me, the relief, and the lust. I'm always there; however early he is, I'm always earlier. I can't take the risk that he'll turn up and I won't be there and someone else'll pick him up instead. That's how it happened with us, you see. One night I was just minding my own business, having a drink or three, and then he was there, and almost before he knew it he'd rented out a room upstairs and I was face down on the bed, with his cock ramming into my ass. So I can't risk it. 'Sides, where else do I have to go?
Yeah, that first night was weird. I mean, it's not like he's my type. He's older, you see, sober, upright, respectable. Not my type at all. I'd gone into some tavern, can't even remember which one now. They all seem the same after a while anyway. So maybe I did react a bit strongly when he bumped into me, but he spilled my drink. It's not like I can afford for that to happen. I haven't worked since that last job I took as a merc over in Thrace. The pay's not bad, but it doesn't last, and once that job finished I'd felt like coming back to Corinth for some reason, and there's no work here at the moment. So anyway, I was on my feet, swearing at him, 'bout ready to reach for my knife. And damn me if he didn't start lecturing me. He's lucky his head stayed on his shoulders, the way he started in on me. It was just the apology and the way he'd been quick to buy me another drink before he started lecturing which kept me from going for him.
"It's not going to help, you know," he'd said. "Whatever you're trying to run away from, the drink won't work. I know. I've been there."
See what I mean? Him and Hercules are about equal on that, sticking their noses into other people's business and preaching at them. I mean can't a guy want to have a drink or two without having to have a deeper reason? And if he's that against drinking, what the fuck was he doing in the tavern to start with? I still don't know the answer to that one. And I still don't know why I didn't take a swing at him. For some dumb reason I decided to challenge him instead, and told him to get me another drink. I thought that'd get rid of him, that he'd be so disgusted that he'd take his do-gooding carcass off somewhere else. I should've known better really after all those years I'd had to suffer Hercules. He just got me another drink, and one for himself, sitting down next to me.
"So what're *you* running from?" I demanded when I saw that.
He didn't rise to it. "I'm not running," he said. "I just need a break from it all."
"All what?" Not that I was really interested or anything, but if it kept him from the lecture and kept him talking to me long enough to buy me another drink, it was worth it. Anyway, when I looked at him I found he wasn't really all that hard to keep watching. Older, yeah, but there was something about his eyes. They looked right into you, but not in a threatening way. Just enough to give you the impression that he saw what was really going on. And then he smiled.
Oh fuck. Ok, so I'd been a bit horny that night to start with, but when he smiled at me, I was just about squirming in my seat. My pants were on the tight side anyway - I'd muscled up a bit with all the training and stuff I did with the mercs - and with what my cock thought when it saw that smile... Fuck. So I looked back at him, finished what was left of my wine in one quick draught, and leaned over, close. Real close. "You really want a break from it all?"
Fuck me if he didn't pretend to be surprised. There he was, sitting next to me, buying me drinks, pretending to be interested in me; did he really think I was stupid enough not to know what he was after? But his protests didn't sound too real to me, and when I reached out to his goblet and wrapped my hand over his on the stem before lifting it to my mouth and taking a steady swallow, I saw what he wanted. I put the goblet down, and he snatched his fingers away as soon as my grip slackened. I just ran my tongue over my lips, making sure I hadn't wasted any - it was good stuff, the wine he'd bought - and watched him.
"Get a room," I said. "Unless you live close by."
He shook his head, like he'd been drinking before he came in or something. "I've got to get back," he said shakily. "I can't do this."
"Fine." I settled slowly back in my chair, and smiled as I watched his eyes move over my body. "Go home then," I said. "I'll find someone else." I settled lower in my chair, my legs spreading further. "Or not."
Gods, he was too easy. Within a heartbeat he was up at the bar paying the tavern keeper.
"Get some more wine," I called to him.
His head jerked round, and for an instant his eyes moved round the room, looking to see who had heard. I don't know what he thought this place was. They might have blinked if he'd taken me on the table, but more likely they'd have been laying bets about how long he'd last. Still, he did what I told him, and then bolted for the stairs like he was ashamed of what he was doing. I finished off his wine, and getting slowly to my feet, picked up my sack and followed him.
If he did have any inhibitions, they sure as hades vanished the minute the door was closed. His tongue was so far down my throat that I began to think he'd never get it back, and then his hands were tearing at my clothes so he could rub his body against me. Gods, his body. Like I said, he's a bit older, but he's in better shape than some guys my own age I've had. The minute I started touching him I wanted to explore further, but I knew what he wanted from me so I just unfastened his pants and pulled them open before my hands closed round his cock. He pulled his head back from me then and stood there, groaning, while I started to work him. He was beginning to tremble, like he hadn't had any recently and was desperate, and I knew it wouldn't take long. So I dropped onto my knees and took him into my mouth and swallowed him all the way. Nice party trick, I'm told. Certainly means I'm popular. And it definitely sent Jason - not that I knew his name then - just about wild.
It wasn't long before I was face down on the bed, pants around my knees, and he was fucking me. Like I said, I don't think he'd had any lately and it wasn't long before he was crying out and coming. He was so still afterwards that if it hadn't been for his panting, I might've thought his heart had given out on him or something. He certainly came hard enough for that to be a possibility. Then I felt him move out of me and off me, and I rolled over, my hand going down to take care of business for myself. He'd been too quick for me.
He stopped me, his hand on my wrist, and he just looked me in the face. I looked back, surprised at first, then puzzled. He was looking at me like he... well, I don't know like what, really. It wasn't a look I'm familiar with. Then his eyes dropped and he let go of my wrist, only to take my cock in his hand. I jolted at the touch and he smiled down at me, making my breath come even faster, then his lips covered mine and his tongue was thrusting in again, in rhythm with his hand sliding up and down my cock. It wasn't long before I was gasping and moaning into his mouth, and my seed was hot on my belly. He smiled again, then, and lay back, looking up at the ceiling.
I glanced sideways at him, trying to work him out. He'd seemed like an easy mark, a room for the night in return for a quick fuck, and I didn't know which of those I'd needed more, but I suddenly wasn't in any hurry for him to leave.
He must've felt my eyes on him or something because he turned and looked back at me. "I don't even know your name," he said, and there was something like guilt in his eyes.
I stared back, surprised again. "Iph," I said. I don't use my full name in Corinth. It's too close to home for comfort.
"Iph," he repeated. "I'm Jason."
"Named after royalty, no doubt," I jibed. Just for something to say really. Then I looked at him and realised he was a bit too old for that to be the case. Now I might not be the world's best at making conversation, but I'm not completely tactless, so I didn't say it. I just decided not to talk any more. I'm not much good at it. So instead I bent and licked at the sweat on his shoulder. I'd pulled his shirt off earlier but his pants were still sort of on, so I decided to undress him properly. Then he returned the favour, and we ended up this time with me on my back, and him looking down at me as he fucked me.
So that was the start of it. He stayed the night, and he fucked me again in the morning, and we never really talked but he wondered the next morning if he would see me again. And I said yes, if he wanted to. And now it's months later and we see each other as many nights as we can, even if he can't stay the whole night every time. At first I thought he was married or something, but he swears he isn't. And I believe him. There's not many people you can believe, but he's one of them. He'd probably thump me if he heard me say it, but he's an old-fashioned kind of guy. Honest. Honourable. Conservative, compared to some of the guys I've been with. The first time I asked if he wanted to tie me down and do stuff, I thought he was going to blow something, and I don't mean me. He's a quick learner though and I'm beginning to wonder if maybe it wasn't that he's not used to doing that sort of thing, but that he was somehow safeguarding me. Cos he loves me, you see. Well, he hasn't said it, but he shows it. He always meets me when he says he will, and he looks after me. I don't have to worry about the next meal any more, or where I'm going to sleep.
The problem is, with not having to worry about that stuff any more, it gives me time to think about other things. About what it's like being so close to home and not going there. I avoid the areas of town where anyone who I used to know might hang out, but sometimes... I don't know, I think sometimes I want to go and see Mother. Other times I think I don't, but that I should. Maybe I'll do it. Sometime.
Anyway, I keep getting off the point. The thing is, I don't know what it is with Jason, why he can't see me every night, why he never takes me to his home, but it doesn't really matter. He's there for me cos he needs me, and as long as I can keep it that way, it'll be ok.
Sometimes he lies there on the bed and makes he undress in front of him, while he just watches. "You're beautiful," he tells me sometimes. One time he finished the sentence out loud. "And I'm not exactly in the bloom of youth. Why d'you do it, Iph? Why do you want me?"
Because you're older and I'm beautiful, which means you need me. Because you love me. But I couldn't say it, of course, so I just smiled at him as I stood there naked, and then settled my legs further apart and wrapped my hands around my cock, thrusting forward slowly with my hips until I was rocking myself into my hands and all the time watching him, watching his eyes greedy on my cock, and then as greedy on my face. He told me once that I reminded him of someone. "Come here," he said at last, and then I was on the bed and he was taking me, bringing me off with one hand even as he was fucking me hard.
But tonight it was different. He was late. He's never late. And it was... I don't know, if it didn't sound crazy, I'd say it was like he wanted to get it over with. Once he was done, he got up off me and stood up beside the bed, where I could hear him getting undressed. I turned over to look up at him, and realised suddenly that he wasn't getting undressed, but doing his clothes up again. I sat up.
I heard it in my voice: panic. I told you I wasn't good with words; I'm not good at hiding my feelings either. So I stuck to what I am good at and crawled across the bed towards him and reached out to where he was doing his shirt up.
"We've only just started," I told him as my hand slipped inside and my fingers brushed over a nipple. He breathed in quickly, and I knew I was already beginning to get somewhere. His hands froze on the fastenings of his shirt and I took the opportunity to begin unfastening it again, fingers slipping inside, touching and gently squeezing. His eyes closed then and I knelt up so that my mouth could close around one of his nipples, while my hands moved down his stomach, and ran inside the waistband of his pants. He was beginning to breathe more heavily, and the sound reassured me. My mouth began to trail down across his stomach until he was making small noises. Then I nuzzled against his cock through the leather, and as I felt him begin to react, as I could smell his cum on him, I started to bite gently at him through his pants. His hips were hitching forward, thrusting into my face, and I ran my hands over his leather-covered ass while I carried on promising with my mouth.
After a while of this I knew that he wouldn't leave until it was finished, so I undid his pants and began licking at his cock, cleaning the cum from it before I sucked it in. He pulled me off it and thrust me back onto the bed before turned me over, his arm heavy in my back so I couldn't move, and just shoved inside me. No hand searching for me, just grunting and desperate pumping as he took his pleasure and my cock practically dug its way through the mattress beneath me. Finally he came, and at the sounds and the feel of his need inside me, I did too.
He stripped off after that, and joined me in the bed, but it was like he wasn't there with me really, just his body.
So now he's been asleep half the night and I've been awake, lying here and watching him, and wondering what's going on. Is he bored of me already? He can't be. He's got to need me. He loves me. I have to remind him of that. I roll over and start slowly working my way down his body with my mouth until my lips close softly around his cock and my head moves up and down on him, my hair trailing over him just as he likes it. He pretends to be asleep until he can't pretend any longer, and he's choking out endearments all of a sudden, pet names that he's never called me before, and my hand slips down and I start pulling hard at my cock as the caring in his voice gets me going even more than his swollen cock against my tongue. My hand's working faster and faster and I'm whimpering around his cock, even as he thrusts it in deep enough to choke me, and then as his seed spurts inside my mouth, I'm coming, hot wetness going everywhere. I have to pull my mouth off him cos otherwise I'm going to end up biting him. It takes me a while, and my hips are still moving gently, my hand stroking slowly over myself, when he's moving. I want nothing more than to collapse on top of him, just to be with him till he's ready for me again. But he's pushing me gently to one side and sitting up, swinging his legs round till he's sitting on the edge of the bed, elbows propped on his knees, and hands running through his hair. He won't look at me.
I crawl over and kneel behind him, my body pressed close against his back, my mouth close to his ear. "Leaving so soon?" I murmur, my voice deliberately low and suggestive. "We were just getting started."
"Iph, don't." He shrugs me off and stands up and starts to get dressed. I bite down the anger; if I lose it now, he might not want to see me again.
"Tomorrow night?" I say instead. Don't push it, don't push him, and everything'll be ok.
He swings round. "I - can't."
The look on his face tells me there's more. "Ok," I say quickly. "Leave me a message with Andreos about when you can get away next. He knows where to find me."
"Yeah, you're right, I'd better get moving too." I practically leap off the bed and start getting dressed, so fast and so frightened that my hands won't work properly. His hands suddenly close over mine and stop me. Eventually, I look into his face, and I know he won't let me run from this one.
"I'm sorry," he tells me quietly. "Iph, I can't see you any more. I've met someone."
I just look at him and wait. There's more. I know there's more.
"I mean," he laughs slightly and releases my hands, turning away. "She's always been there, but I never thought she'd... well, she's special, you know, and I didn't think she'd ever be serious about me."
Why does this have to change anything? I want to scream it at him but I can't. Gods, why?
"Look, I know we've had fun." He laughs again. "A *lot* of fun," he adds. "And I'm grateful for it. But I'm serious about her, and I can't risk fucking it up. I don't think she'd understand."
I stand there, my face showing nothing, mainly because it's frozen.
He turns back to look at me, and I don't know what he sees but suddenly he's reaching out a hand to my arm. "I'll make sure you always have everything you need," he tells me, his voice warm and reassuring. The voice I'd thought meant he loved me. "You won't go without."
I'm still silent. He's looking at me, eyes searching my face, the beginnings of comprehension in them. "Gods, Iph, you didn't think..." he starts, sounding horrified.
That's when I lose it. And I don't come back to myself until he's lying in a curled ball, trying to protect himself from me. I realise what I'm doing and I suddenly think I'm going to be sick. I lurch away from him and lean against the wall, my head thumping in time with my heart. I hear him begin to move, and I know I have to get out of there. Wrenching the door open, I stumble down the stairs, mopping at the blood from where he tried to defend himself, and keep on going.
The last few days haven't been too good. The wine's helped, and I picked up a soldier the other night who fucked me raw. He loved it. Didn't help me much. Still, it's been too long and I've got to get out of here. Get out and do something. Maybe work as a merc again. Or... well, that's about it, really. Can't see myself as a farmer, somehow. But before I do that, I need to see Mother. It's been a few years, and she doesn't even know if I'm alive. And I know it's crazy but I can't help thinking that maybe, if Hercules isn't around, I can stay for a while. Just, I don't know, spend some time here.
So that's why I'm walking up the familiar path towards the house. I've already seen there's a horse tied up outside, so I'm being careful till I know who the visitor is, just in case it's Hercules. Not that he rides, but, well... It's not worth the risk.
In the end I decide to go straight to the back door and see if I can get a clue there. There's no sound from inside. I knock on the open door, then stick my head round and call quietly. Nothing. They're probably off somewhere. I put my sack down on the kitchen table and look round. It smells just the same, newly-baked bread, and there are still fresh flowers in the vase on the dresser. The living room hasn't changed much, either, though there's a couple of new tapestries. I guess Mother has more time on her hands now we've both gone.
Gods know why, but something makes me push open the door to the room that Hercules and I shared for all those years. It's obviously Mother's work-room now, bits of material in the process of being made into clothes are strewn over both beds. And it's as though the pieces of pastel-coloured muslin have taken over so that there's no trace I was ever here. I close the door firmly. Looking in there was not a good thing to do, not the way I'm feeling right now. I don't think I'm going to be able to stay after all, even if she wants me to.
I'm turning away when I hear something from her bedroom. Without even thinking, I cross the few steps to her door and push it further open.
I don't know how long I stand there, but it's a repeat of the noise that brought me there which brings me to myself again: the creak of the bed as Jason nestles closer against my mother, his arms around her, and his bruised face buried into her hair. She's smiling in her sleep and she pulls his arms even nearer to her.
I back away silently, till I reach the kitchen. Then I pick up my sack and leave.
Don't know what I'm doing any longer, don't know where I'm going. I just know there's nothing for me here any more. I've got to keep on moving, keep on going. Maybe sometime I'll find somewhere I can stop. Or maybe not.