Georges knew it was a family holiday, yet desperately wanted to be alone with Alexandre. Compared with this get-away in the Basque coast, those furtive moments in the greenhouse at Saint Claude’s were pure heaven… It was although his parents knew about his relationship with Alexandre, all the ins and outs of their secret love, and this did absolutely nothing to relax him. He was on edge. Secretive despite his typically intelligent and calculating personality.
On the other hand, Motier was having the time of his life. As he had never been to the South of France before — most of his summer holidays were spent in or around Paris — it was new and exciting for the boy. Besides, anywhere would be perfect as long as he was with Georges… As much as he adored and admired him, he couldn’t pick up on the fact that he was terrified behind that handsome poker face.
The apprehension of Georges grew worse and worse, particularly on those days where his little friend would insist on walking behind his parents so that they could hold hands in private. It wasn’t although he didn’t want to be romantic, he simply didn’t want people around to know that he was a romantic with boys… People would think he was mad; a pervert, or an eccentric. He didn’t want that in the slightest! Especially where his parents were concerned. If he were to be disowned, he would be worth nothing at all. The De Sarre family had a lot of wealth and he wanted to stay on their good side from a inheritance point of view… Besides, it wasn’t worth the humiliation.
Their brief visit was coming to an end. It had only been a short stay, but short and sweet is always best… To be honest, Georges would find himself lying if he said that he was sad that it was soon ending. Most of the trip had been filled with apprehension, and an emotion not exactly foreign from one that a hare being hunted down by a hungry fox would feel. The pressure of keeping forbidden secrets hidden was overwhelming.
He knew that Alexandre would be disappointed — or even depressed — to leave, so he would make the best of their last two days together.
Today the De Sarres, plus Motier, would be travelling up towards Paris en route to their country chateau. Of course they had been to Paris, the “city of romance”, many times, but today they would be going rollerskating. Georges wasn’t entirely keen on his mother’s idea, but complied anyway, feeling Alexandre’s excitement besides him on the back seat.
He was already wearing his alabaster roller-skates, along with the sailor suit and corduroy shorts that he had arrived at the Basque Coast in. Throughout the few hours it had taken to get to Paris, he had plenty of time to admire the boy’s tanned, hairless legs, soft and supple across his lap as the car wound its way up country lanes. At times when his parents were distracted, bending over a map, he would give those legs tender strokes and playful pinches, getting higher up his leg every time. What he really wanted to do was kiss them, leave burning trails up and down his thighs; yet he wouldn’t dare with his parents and butler so close at hand… There was plenty of time for that in the future, as he was sure he had once told Alexandre himself.
Finally, the last day had arrived. The previous evening had been spent almost entirely together, if it weren’t for the silly, annoying maid that had been sent by Georges’ mother to separate them for the night. They had come so close to making love. So close that it hurt to think of what could have been if it weren’t for the maid…
‘We’ve still got two hours before my father comes to collect me,’ Alexandre chirruped as they made their way into the garden. ‘Let’s go for a walk.’
Georges took him by the hand and led him down the path that he had taken every day since he could toddle. This path was where he went for privacy, when the bedroom just didn’t seem to be secret enough, and spying servants were everywhere…
The countryside surrounding the chateau was a lush velvet green at this time of year, fields of rape seed to the left, endless acres of lavender to the right, and nothing but a deep, luscious forest ahead. And Alexandre was leading Georges straight ahead, with no thought to what might happen there in the dark.
Within minutes of walking, the pale azure of the morning had almost completely vanished as the trees grew denser and denser. They were walking barefoot through groups of clovers, dewy from the droplets of rain that would never dry in the sunless solitude. Their faces appeared almost ghostly white in the darkness cloaking them, and yet neither boy showed any fear or indication that they wanted to go back.
Eventually they came to a clearing. Trees twisted and twined outward, giving an almost magical atmosphere to the place. Small patches of golden light were revealed through the thicker trees, surrounding a huge circle of the sky shown overhead, where tiny shadows of the trembling leaves danced. Only a couple of doves could be heard, along with the wind whistling through the forest like a hauntingly beautiful song.
Alexandre sighed softly, basking in the peaceful atmosphere. In only a couple of hours he would be on his way home, where his brother could tease and pummel him into a crying pulp… He lay down on the dewy field of grass and clovers, turned on his side and expected his friend to do the same. Closing his eyes, he smiled in bliss as Georges did exactly what he wanted him to do.
‘It’s so beautiful here. Do you come here often?’ he asked, entwining his fingers in Georges’.
‘I do, but never this far into the forest. Today is the first time I have seen this place.’
For the next couple of minutes there was silence, Alexandre lying still on his tummy, rummaging through the clovers in a distant kind of manner.
‘I don’t want to go home,’ he whispered, looking up at Georges through his lashes.
‘Ah!’ he cried, spotting something in the grass.
He pulled up a four-leaved clover triumphantly. Then he stared at it in marvel.
‘Look! I’m so lucky!’ he laughed, turning back over onto his back and staring up at the clover, holding it up against the sunshine. ‘But… you can have it, Georges. It’s for you, really.’
Georges muttered his amazement at how he could have found it so fast. Suddenly he felt guilty at having to send Alexandre home; if it weren’t for his parents, he would have liked to have Alexandre stay with him for the whole length of the summer holidays.
‘Thank you,’ he said finally, taking the clover delicately into his fingers and admiring it, just as Alexandre had done beforehand.
Again, the silence started, yet less moody than before. Alexandre was staring at his friend with an uncertain look in his eyes, yet determined, until he was straddled across Georges lap, just like the position they were in last night, before the interruption. His breath came out in moans and sighs as Georges pulled him closer, until he was almost melting against him, their hearts beating wildly like a birds’ and lips pressed together in their close embrace. Tiny fingers ran through Georges’ neatly waxed and styled hair as they kissed, moving to his neck as they had done on the beach at the Basque Coast.
Alexandre had no idea where he got these funny, almost thrillingly adult ideas from, yet took pleasure in experimenting anyway. Sometimes he thought it was his older brother’s influence — Maurice was almost pressuring him into thinking about making love with girls — and yet, at the same time, he knew it was because of Georges. Georges had once become innocent because of Alexandre’s childlike demeanour, and Alexandre became sinful under Georges’ influence, and now, they were both sinners in the Fathers’ eyes... Yet how could sin feel so good, so right, so natural? It was alien to the boy. Really, it was alien to everyone.
An hour and a half later, they were back at the chateau, Alexandre still trembling slightly and Georges in a daze. Those kisses and touches had strengthened their bond “as one flesh”, making it almost impossible to want to say goodbye for another four weeks. And as Georges sadly waved Alexandre farewell, he knew that nobody would get between them in the new term of Saint Claude’s, even if he had to sell his soul to the Devil.