Alphonse, the Comte du Toulouse, nearly knocked Luc down as he clattered down the front steps of the chateau in Villebourbon across the Pont Vieux bridge from the city of Montauban. Luc broke his fall by bracing himself on the ornately framed painting he had just carried out of the chateau to load into one of four wagons pulled up to the front entrance, each with a pair of skittish horses yoked to it.
Luc hurled an expletive in the wake of the hurrying comte, who turned, gave him a scathing glare of anger, and put his hand on the hilt of his sword. In normal circumstances, the comte would have Luc's life for the insult with impunity. The sound of the mob gathering outside the gates of the chateau, though, arrested his attention, and, with a sigh in grudging recognition of the changing of the times, the comte turned and fled toward the stables off to the left.
Luc Jalabert gave a laugh when Alphonse nearly lost his breeches as he scurried along. Luc knew what the comte had come to Villebourbon to do and what he was interrupted in doing when he heard the call of Madame Guillotine. It was no wonder that he hadn't fastened his breeches properly after he was finished with Luc's young master--if, indeed, he had been in Jacques' tender ass long enough to come.
The exhilaration of being able to laugh at the aristocracy and not die for the privilege coursed through Luc's veins. It was happening at last. In fact, he would laugh at this whole process of stripping valuables from the chateau and filling these wagons, if it wasn't such a convenience. The young comte, Jacques, Comte de la Arbois, was as out of touch as the rest of his class. He had no idea of what was happening out there beyond the gates. He thought he could just ride away with all of this wealth. The whole world was turning over. Luc wasn't helping to load these wagons to save some of the young comte's treasures. He was doing it to more efficiently serve the plunderers who shortly would be pulling down those gates and racing toward the chateau.
With a view toward the crowd beyond the gates, gathering in size, strength, and noise, Luc tore off the tunic he was wearing--the one that identified him as a servant of the House of Arbois--and tossed it under one of the wagons.
Dressed only in his breeches he ran up the front steps of the chateau and into the building. Other servants brushed past him, carrying sliver and other valuables out to the wagons.
Fools, he thought, at he took the interior stairs two at a time and raced down a long corridor, its windows looking out over the front court. His goal was the end of this corridor, where he was confident he would find the young Jacques in his bed chamber where Alphonse had left him.
The comte was, indeed, in that chamber, nude and laying on his back on his bed, knees bent and legs spread, still moaning from the visitation by the Comte du Toulouse.
So young and enticing, Luc thought. But so, so out of touch with the world in flames and the danger he was in.
"What is it, man? Why do you dare--?" The young man was incensed at the intrusion. Could he not hear the clamor beyond his thick stone walls? Was he as thick-headed as the walls?
The decibel level of the crowd beyond the two windows of the chamber overlooking the forecourt and beyond the gates of the chateau rose. At the same time, Luc heard the hoofbeats of a horse. He drew up to one of the windows in time to see Alphonse charging down the drive toward the gates. The gatekeepers, who were valiantly pushing at the shuddering iron gates from inside the compound, tried to wave him off, but the comte raised his sword, and, in resignation, the gatekeeper turned the lock in the gates and started to open them.
That was all the crowd needed. They surged forward, rocking and throwing the gates open and tearing them off their hinges. With a cry Alphonse rode directly into the crowd. He didn't make it outside the gate. As Luc watched in wonder of just how stupid and out of touch the aristocrat was, the crowd, flowing forward toward the chateau, engulfed his horse, and the comte was being pulled off the steed and sank below the heads and shoulders of the angry peasants.
"What was that? What was that cry?" Jacques asked as he came up on his knees on the bed.
Luc turned and looked at him, his staff going hard at the beauty of the young, pampered man.
"That was the cry of the future," Luc answered, the bitterness of nearly three decades of servitude rising in his gorge.
He had very little time to make his decision. The crowd would halt at the line of the wagons to take in the wonder of the treasures piled on them, far richer than any of them had ever before beheld or imagined, but their hesitancy would only be temporary. They wanted aristocratic blood as much as they wanted treasure.
* * * *
"Is there anything I can do to show my appreciation . . . Luc, isn't it?"
"Indeed, that is my name, comte," Luc answered, amused that the current head of the family, even though not long a man, should have to struggle for his name. Luc and all of the Jalaberts back in time that he knew of, had worked for--virtually been owned by--the House of Arbois. Luc had saddled Jacques' horse for him from the time the young master could walk.
And was there something the young comte could do for him now? Obviously the hardness of his cock pressing at his under drawers--all that he was wearing because Jacques was wearing his breeches--told Jacques everything he needed to know about how he could show his appreciation. And the way the young comte was looking at the well-muscled, older-by-six-or-seven years stable and garden servant made clear that he wouldn't mind servicing that cock in appreciation for having been saved.
Not that he was being saved, Luc thought. Only saved--and maybe savored--till a time of Luc's choosing when he would turn him over to the mob.
Luc had jerked the young comte off the bed in his chamber and pulled him to one of the windows on the front of the chateau to show him the imminent danger he was facing in a way that was more convincing than trying to tell the little piece of man's desire what the real world had in store for him.
Jacques whimpered at the sight of the mob of peasants surging from the chateau gates, now off their hinges and hanging askew and useless, and moving, as a living blob, across the forecourt toward the wide steps up to the chateau's reception rooms. But he was too transfixed by the turning over of his world order to move.
That was until Luc slapped him across the face and said, "Bear up. You must. We have but moments to escape. The scullery door will be one they won't readily notice. Pull on some breeches, sire, and let us be away."
He almost bit his tongue at having used the word "sire," but he had done so all his life. He couldn't change in a trice. The word did the trick, though, bringing Jacques back into his slipping sense of reality enough to send him to the foot of his bed to pull a set of silken breeches up from the carpet.
"Not those, you fool," Luc hissed. "If you are seen in fine silk such as that, there will be no hiding who you are. Have you nothing of rough material?"
Jacques gave him a dumbfounded look.
"Ah, of course you don't," Luc spat bitterly. "Here put on mine," he said, as he started to unbutton his breeches and pull them down his legs. "You'll swim in these, but at least you will be taken for the peasant I am."
"But you . . ."
"It's not uncommon that men of my like cannot afford even the roughest of breeches. I supposed you and your kind never gave that a thought. I will go unnoticed in my drawers."
Their clothing adjusted, the two had raced down the corridor to the stair hall. Before Jacques could plunge down the main staircase, though, Luc pulled him back.
"No. We would be racing into the mob," he hissed. And sure enough, the foyer hall at the bottom of the staircase already was teeming with the screaming mob. They were only hesitating because they were still fighting over the spoils they'd seized from the wagons outside. Any second, though, those who didn't have treasure grasped in their arms would be mounting the staircase to liberate their share to search for their human prey.
"This way!" Luc cried out, surging through a hidden door in the wall and, pulling Jacques with him, down a dark, rough-walled hall.
"A hall here? I didn't . . ." Jacques said, his voice breathless.
Of course you didn't know this hall was here, you spoiled child, Luc thought. You Arboises have lived in this chateau for two centuries and yet you have no idea where your servants come from and disappear to to do your bidding. They come from hidden doors in the walls, you dolt.
He didn't say this, though. What he said was, "A servants' staircase. This will lead us down to the scullery--and with no time to spare to be out into the gardens where the garden maze can be used to our advantage."
It wasn't a spur-of-the-moment plan. It had been Luc's own escape plan. He'd known for days that the anger of the villagers was building, inflamed by the reports from Paris of the storming of the palace and of other chateaus of the nobility in the provinces. The revolution had come at last.
Luc had positioned ladders on either side of the garden walls of the chateau deep inside the maze in the rear garden--for his own escape when today had come.
He had no idea why he was including the young comte in this escape. Or, rather, he did know as soon as he had seen the naked young man, exhausted and sensually satisfied by the Comte du Toulouse, fresh from his bed. He knew that before the young comte was taken by the mob, he wished to have his half hour with him. He had dreamed of a half hour with young Jacques for years.
And here, with slitted eyes and a small smile, in the harbor of the Jalabert family hovel at the edge of the village of Villebourbon, Jacques Arbois was virtually offering himself, in gratitude for deliverance, for what Luc had dreamed of having for years.
Did it matter that Luc intended to turn Jacques over to the vengeance of the mob after having satisfied his lust on the young man? Were the Jalaberts that resentful of their Arbois overmasters?
He didn't want to think of that. And Jacques didn't give him time to think about it. The young man knelt in front of where he was standing, pulled Luc's drawers down to his ankles, and wrapped his hands around Luc's erect cock. Luc kicked the drawers away from their bodies, cupped the young comte's curly haired head between his callused hands, and gave a deep moan, as Jacques took Luc's staff into his mouth, allowing Luc to guide the movement of his hips and the young man's lips.
Luc's bed was nothing more than coarse sacking laid over a pile of hay, but neither man seemed to mind as their bodies undulated and writhed against each other, the larger and heavier Luc lying on his back, his arms wrapped around Jacque's torso as he pumped up into the young nobleman hard and deep to the cries from Jacques for "more" and "deeper," until, pushing himself up into a straddling positions with his fists buried in Luc's beefy pecs, Jacque began to ride Luc's cock with a rolling motion of his buttocks.
Holding the young man's narrow waist between his broad hands and helping to provide the leverage that raised and lowered Jacques channel on his cock, Luc looked up with fascination and a new-found appreciation that drained away the pent-up anger of the years into the face of the young comte. Transported to an ecstasy that transcended the class divide. They were just two, young, healthy men enjoying each other's bodies--striving to bring each other to a shared ejaculation that knew no privilege or place in the pecking order. It was no longer aristocrat subjugating the downtrodden classes, but Luc, with his big, thick cock, giving a beautiful, needy young man the fucking of his life.
Jacques cried out "Yes, yes, yes!" when Luc gave him his peasant seed, spouted out deep up inside the young man in three strong spurts, as, collapsing on Luc's chest, Jacques also came between their heaving bellies.
Spent, but still maintaining the intimate connection of Luc's cock buried deep inside the young comte's channel, the two clung to each other, panting and moaning.
Luc felt like he should apologize. It hadn't taken much of Jacque's attention to his staff with a warm mouth before Luc lost control, dragged Jacque to his pallet, and took him roughly and deeply. But what apology could he make to a young nobleman he, in a matter of moments, intended to turn over to the mob wandering and pillaging the burning chateau at the other end of the village?
Jacques reached up with a hand, laying it on Luc's cheek and guiding Luc's mouth to his.
Maybe in a matter of hours, Luc thought, as Jacque's tongue pushed its way between Luc's lips and the big man felt himself tremble and his lust begin to rise again.
Or maybe in the morning, he thought, as he rolled his body over the young comte's, trapping the beautiful little body below him, belly to sacking, and, still mounted on Jacque's buttocks, began to pump.
* * * *
Luc had plenty of time to think it over, those two hours before dawn that he was awake, holding fast so as not to disturb the young man, whose beautiful body was stretched out on top of his on the pallet, Jacques' curly head nestled under Luc's chin.
Yes, the young comte was a delight to fuck, willing for it--obviously wanting it--even though Luc was a peasant. Luc had been able to disdain the young man as long as he knew he was being fucked by another aristocrat--in fact, a far more powerful man than Jacques was, Alphonse, the Comte du Toulouse. But as willing and pliable as Jacques had been with him--that had given Luc pause and occasion never to want it to end.
But the House of Arbois had subjugated the family of Jalabert for so long that Luc could not dismiss the scourge of history out of hand. In those two hours before dawn, he had steeled his resolve to turn Jacques over to the mob at daylight. All it required was marching him into the center of Villebourbon, where the villagers' fury must be well-honed from having missed capturing the young comte the day before.
But then Jacques stirred on his breast, his lips kissing Jalabert in the hollow of his neck. Then the young man's hand strayed to Luc's cock, and the stable man began to rise again, breathing heavily and murmuring his pleasure.
The fuck was brief, as Luc sat, cross-legged on the edge of his pallet, and Jacques sat in his lap, on the cock, his torso arched back and his fists pressing into the dirt floor in front of them. It was the look of want and ecstasy--and of trust--on Jacques' face as Luc pushed and pulled his channel on the cock, though, that got to him. They cried out their mutual coming almost simultaneously.
* * * *
"Whose are these? Certainly not yours; they are much too small for you," Jacques said as he received the breeches and tunic--both made out of rough cloth, but clean--from the shaking hands of Luc, who had pulled them from out of the bottom of an old trunk at the head of his pallet.
"My younger brother's," was all that Jacques said.
"There isn't time for more talk; you must be off before dawn," Luc interjected, his voice almost one of irritation. It wasn't irritation he felt, though. It was the sensation of still being conflicted. He probably should tell Jacques about his younger brother, Leon. The comte probably deserved to hear the story. But if he told it, his resolve not to turn Jacques over to the mob would dissolve.
The young comte had killed Luc's brother and probably hadn't even known he'd done it. He had come down the steps of the chateau, in a hurry, and telling all assisting him of his hurry. And in the hurry of the carriage to be off--who knows where; who knows what was of such import that it required haste and the lack of care--Luc's young brother, Leon, coming around the corner of the chateau on some kitchen errand or other had gone under the wheels of the carriage.
The carriage hadn't even stopped. There was somewhere the young comte was going in a hurry. The comte probably never even knew that his carriage had run down and killed one of the Arbois servants.
But Luc had known. Leon had been the last of the Jalaberts, save Luc. Luc had not forgotten, and he had held the unknowing, uncaring nature of the heir of the Arboises against the young comte. This is why he had conspired with the revolutionaries of Villebourbon and had passed the word when they could trap not only the Comte de la Arbois but also the even greater catch, the Comte du Toulouse, at the Arbois chateau.
But that was before he had known--in every sense--the young comte. That was before he had learned how innocent and sweet the young man was. And how blind he was to the changes in the world. Luc realized now, though, that Jacques was trapped in the world that was being ripped away--that his naiveté was the product of his class, not something that he purposely cultivated and exploited. Not like the Comte du Toulouse, older, more knowing, more naturally cruel.
Thus it was that, after Jacques had changed into the rough peasants' clothes, Luc led him out to the lean-to stable attached to one side of his cottage. There was stabled a magnificent horse.
For a moment Luc was afraid that Jacques would recognize the horse and remonstrate Luc about it being here. But Jacques was as blind to this former possession of his as much as he was to the rest of life around him. Luc had taken the horse from the chateau stables two days prior, the stable master having already fled on one of the best horses of the House of Arbois. He had considered it his due. He knew it to have been one of the horses propelling the carriage that had run over his younger brother.
Not that Luc ever held that against the horse when he had been grooming it.
But now he was giving it back to Jacques. Not to the Comte de la Arbois, but to sweet, young, innocent Jacques.
"I don't know when I'll be able to return--"
"Shush, young Jacques," Luc said, laying a finger on the young man's lips before possessing them with his for the last time. "Just go swiftly, before the break of day." And then, almost as an afterthought, "But where will you go?"
"North toward Paris, I suppose. I'll take the road through Montauban."
Luc tensed. This was his last chance to serve the revolution, his last opportunity to break the hold that the young man had taken on his heart and his loins. The road through Montauban led through the center of the village of Villebourbon. And the road to Paris would be suicide for a French aristocrat. Riding the horse that he was, having the bearing he had, despite the clothes he wore, would not serve to hide Jacques' class for long.
"No, not through the village," Luc said, spitting the words out as if ejecting all of the bile he had built up in his life. "Avoid all villages. Ride straight south for the Pyrenees and cross over into Spain. That's your only hope."
One last kiss and Jacques was off to whatever fate he would meet, while, as the dawn flickered in, Luc returned to the dim retreat of his cottage. He was still conflicted over the choice he had made, but, regardless, he felt he was a free man now. No private little vignette of one man's relationship to another would stand in the way of the revolution sweeping across France, but the blood of no man who had willingly, sweetly, and innocently given himself to Luc as Jacques Arbois had, would be on Luc's hands--and conscience.