What madness infects me that I can turn my lover away and wake up curled around my pillow, and yet be happier than the hundred times I've woken with him in my arms? It is cruel of me to push him aside and worse yet to take such pleasure in it, but it is like sunrise to be free of him at last. He has done what he could, but that was not enough, never enough, for what I needed was what he could not do.

I needed Camille, and at last, at last, I told him so, and he let me kiss him. The brush of his lips against mine was like fine silk after burlap, the warmth of his body sunlight after a candle flame, and when he said my name, I could have sworn my heart would burst with joy. He knows I love him, and he did not turn me away. I cannot even find the desire to berate myself for delaying as I did; no easy victory could be as ecstatic as this, and now I have won the most precious prize in the world.

I wept foolishly when I had to tell Narcisse to go, and left out a part of it -- that perhaps, somehow, Camille might do more than allow me to love him, for I hardly dare hope for that -- but it was good to shed tears for that. Thank God it is over. Every moment made me feel filthier until I could not look anyone in the eyes, least of all my own reflection. Perhaps he should have known, but it was easier for him not to know why I was reaching for him every moment, why I would rather feel his skin against mine than speak to him. Whatever his faults, he could help me stop thinking, as though he had inherited some of that quality from the wine.

He will start drinking again now, no doubt, and I have not even a friend's authority to ask him to stop. If I were in his place again, abandoned and lost, I would flee from reason as I did then. I am more than lucky that I have not felt that same pain again; I am blessed. I have the privilege of loving Camille, and the utter bliss of being allowed to act on it.

Even now, I think of things that do not belong in the same thought as he does, acts that would doubtless frighten him or disgust him. I cannot imagine proposing anything of the sort to him. It would be enough to scare him away, I am sure, and how could I explain the pleasure of it in a sensible manner?

So odd, that it is better to lie calm by Camille's side with my mind wild, talking of everything in the world, than it could ever be to chase impossible pleasures with Narcisse, numbing my thoughts every moment. This is my Symposium, bounded in white sheets and beauty; this, the love of my soul, the words he speaks as much as the light in his eyes, and both of these things as much as his body. If this love is not written on my soul in Camille's fine script, then I have nothing there.

It would be beautiful beyond words if only he wanted a tenth of what I want and what I dare not ask of him. But that is doubtless an impossibility, and I only torment myself with wishing for it. It is enough to kiss him and revel in the fire in my blood, enough to hold him in my arms. I know only too well that passion can make one feel dirty, and while nothing could ever tarnish what I feel for him, it might well hurt him. I would rather suffer anything than hurt him, and when it is this intimacy of minds, there is no hardship in letting my thoughts rule my body. I cannot remember being this content, and if I should drive him off, that would be more horrible than any night spent wishing.

<< Back to Bookfic
<< Back to Main