Delaying the Truth
Writers: Heather F
Date Posted: 14th May 2017
"Temperamental, just like a woman." Benamil said to Wind as he pitched new hay into her stall, despite her annoyed huffs. The dappled runner had been treading over the old hay and giving him 'the look' all morning, but now that he was changing it out she still wasn't happy.
"Long time no see." The voice over Benamil's shoulder made him freeze, except for his heart, which was racing so hard he was afraid Arion could hear it.
Setting the pitchfork against the stable wall, Benamil closed Wind's gate, and then turned and face the vintner. As he looked at the blonde, the last words that Arion had said to him over two months ago came back.
**"What sort of reaction were you expecting? Did you think I would be happy? Return your feelings? You know as well as I do that being gay around here is as good as being labeled a pariah."**
"Yeah, I took a trip." Benamil said.
Arion nodded slowly, hazel eyes a piercing amber in color as he studied Benamil, "A trip huh? Seemed more like you ran away. You drop that... news... on me and then left the next day for a month?"
Benamil shoved his fingers up into his hair, searching for the right words, especially since the stable wasn't the best placing to be having _this_ conversation, "Can we talk about this somewhere else?"
The vintner looked as if he were going to press the issue here and now, but instead he snapped his lips together, "Fine, I'll be by your room later, and you'd better be there."
Benamil skipped dinner that evening, opting instead to go to his room and pace the floor while he waited for Arion to arrive. He'd been trying all day to think of what he was going to say, what he could offer Arion in exchange for the vintner not telling anyone at the Hold about him.
Arion's knock at the door was sharp and powerful, but he let himself in, "You didn't run. I'm surprised." His voice was dry and hard, not at all like his normal tenor tone.
"I deserve that," Benamil said, standing in the middle of his main room, hands in his pockets.
"And more," Arion said, closing the door.
"You haven't, um, said anything to anyone, have you?" Benamil asked, with a nervous lick of his lips.
"Is that really what you think of me? That I would go around telling people?" Anger made Arion's voice tremble.
"I didn't mean it as an insult," Benamil's hands left his pockets as he held them up. "Like you said, if anyone knew, it would make me a pariah."
Arion seemed to calm down a little, "It would. Sleeping with another man is unnatural, dirty, wrong... At least, that's what people would say, isn't it?"
Each word pierced Benamil. Taking a seat in one of the winged-back chairs, he motioned for Arion to sit in the other. "Yes, that's what people would say."
"Why did you run? I came up here the next day and you were gone. They said you went to the Weyr."
"Why do you think I ran? I was... scared. Of what you thought of me, of what might happen if my family found out." Benamil braced his elbows on his knees, studying the thick weave of the area rug.
Arion's eyes were narrowed, as if he was trying to determine if Benamil was being truthful, "What did you do at Dolphin Cove?"
That was an easier question to answer. "Laid on the beach, mostly. It was strange having no cold days or snow."
"You were gone a long time. I thought you had decided to stay there. Why didn't you?"
Benamil shrugged his shoulders, "I thought about it, Headwoman Chaysea offered to give me a permanent weyr there but... Amber Hills is home," he looked up at Arion.
"I see." Arion said slowly, he tilted his head then. "So have you kissed a man? Or done... anything? I mean, you were at the Weyr."
The beastcrafter's eyes widened, "No, I've never...."
"Then how do you know you like men?"
"I didn't say I liked men, I said I liked you." Benamil pointed out.
"But how do you know you like me if you - "
"I just know, allright?" Benamil interrupted.
Arion stood and motioned for Benamil to do the same. Benamil pushed to his feet with a little sigh. **What now?**
"There's something you don't know about me, I - "
"Benamil, sir?" A voice and knock sounded on the other side of the door.
"Hold that thought," Benamil told Arion before crossing the room and opening the door to see one of the family's oldest servants at the door. He'd served Lord Benaroy when he was still alive. "What is it Yaermen?"
"Lord Zathris wishes to see you immediately, urgent news from Lantern Ridge has come in, and the Lord wants your help."
Benamil's brow furrowed. What could he possibly do to help?
"Thank you Yaermen." Benamil turned back toward Arion, who had crossed the room upon hearing the old drudge's words. "I apologize. Can we continue this conversation later? I've got to see what Zathris wants."
"Of course," Arion nodded and watched as Benamil turned and walked with Yaermen down the corridor, "we will continue this."
Last updated on the May 17th 2017