Interwoven in their hopes and upbraided in selfishness.
He had said it first, she had merely echoed his wishes.
"But he's so oblivious."
Franz answered blandly, gaze settled steadily upon Albert's sleeping form. "That is why I will be the one he kisses first."
Confidence came with breeding, came along with his title and demeanor. Yes, he was insecure in some of his thoughts, but not in his feelings. Not in his capabilities. Franz d'Epinay felt assured of what the clutching sensation of his heart was and he would risk a detachment with Eugénie for it.
She turned to face him. They were both sitting upon the beach, Franz' hands partially sunken down into the white sand. It would prove to be simple for him. To gain a step ahead of her. Franz had that flawless face, the silken hair Albert seemed so fond of twisting his fingers through, the shoulders Albert so effortlessly draped his arms over. It would be a simple matter of suggestion. But Franz d'Epinay was subtle. He would not ask.
"Albert," he said, and his voice was quiet.
Il est seulement une garçon.
Smile upon his lips, Albert looked to him, hands at the buttons of his white dress shirt. "Franz, Eugénie will be here soon. We can eat dinner together."
He allowed his eyes to drop away from Albert, moved his head so that his hair fell to frame his face. There was very little vanity he exploited, but for this...for this he would use what he had to force the issue.
Stepping forward, his hands settled upon Albert's. The other boy stood patiently, waiting for him to speak.
"Have you ever been kissed, Albert?" With gentle insistance, Albert allowed his hands to drop down to his sides, leaving only Franz' fingers to close the last button of his shirt.
A blush crept up his face as he glanced away. "Of course I haven't!"
Of course not. "Then would you like me to kiss you?"
Blue eyes widening, a small sound of surprise leaped out of Albert's throat before he could stop it. The expression in his eyes was a mix of disbelief and...something Franz could not discern. In a soft whimper, he let out, "Franz?"
Les trois amis...
He finished buttoning Albert's shirt, fingers pausing to properly adjust the collar, nearly in contact with the rapid pulse at his throat.
And he left Albert standing in his gold-lit room and walked away.
"You're being too brash with him, Eugénie. You still think it will work?"
Slipping into her sun-dress, she adjusted her new hat, taking an appraising look in the mirror. "He won't understand unless I'm brash."
Franz remained sitting, one leg drawn up on the chair and glanced toward the rows of photographs atop Eugénie's vanity. He stared hard at the lone picture of Albert, eyes closed, head resting atop newly-cut grass.
Licking her lips, she ruffled his hair. "Let him make his choice."
It was raining.
Ils sont trois amants...
A rushing pound of water cleaning out the impurities of the ground, threatening the old roof of the church.
There was security in the rain, in the candle-lit darkness and the secrecy held in by the stained-glass windows and empty altar. Franz nearly felt guilty about not telling her about this. His place with Albert.
Finding a towel inside the extra clothes chest kept beneath a fallen pillar, he wiped off his face and arms. Their clothes were utterly soaked and Albert shivered beside the single candelabra.
"We'll have to wait until morning to leave. I didn't think it would be this dark." Albert's face was a touch pale, although his cheeks were rouged with the exertion of having to run to get out of the storm.
"It's not fair if you take him away from me...he's my friend too, Franz."
"I would never be able to take him away from you. He isn't mine to take away."
His lips crushed against Albert's mouth, his hands heated against the cold of soaked through cloth, clinging to tan skin.
Albert jumped back, startled. "Franz!"
Mais, seulement deux savent.
Franz kept one hand clamped firmly to Albert's chest, the other laid flat beside Albert's head, resting steadily on the stone wall. "You never told me no." And with that he bent down again, a second kiss settling on Albert's trembling lips, his hand moving to the buttons of Albert's shirt.
Albert closed his eyes, hands shaking slightly as he placed them with unease on Franz' shoulders. How was he going to react to this? Placing his foot between Albert's, Franz slid open the buttons of his shirt, peeling the wet cloth away. His mouth moving away from Albert's, he stepped back, pulling him forward and leading him toward the altar. Pressing Albert's body to the firm stone, he forced him to partially lay down as he tore the shirt away, kissing him again.
His voice was broken, his face flushed in wonder. "Franz..."
"Promise me you'll let him have a choice."
He'd stopped himself.
He'd had to.
With a press of his body against Albert's, he stepped away from the flustered boy and promptly prepared their two sleeping bags and went to sleep.
Eugenie would not have forgiven him, if he had not given Albert the choice.
"You won, didn't you?"
He sighed, letting his head rest in her lap as she ran her fingers gently through his hair. "No. I kissed him first."
"So did you stop him or was he the one who stopped you?"
Closing his eyes, Franz let out a sigh. "It was me."
Nodding, Eugenie bent her head to kiss his cheek. "Then he has proved not so oblivious, hasn't he?"