Claude-Michel stood behind François and slid
his friend’s breeches down his slender hips, then grasped the shaft of François’s erection.
François gasped, blowing a bubble in the girl’s blood before resealing the wound with
his lips. Claude-Michel guided François’s erection into the girl, in spite of her panicked
undulations, and François pounded into her relentlessly.
It wasn’t long before François raised his head and cried out. The girl had grown quiet,
and simply stared at them with wide eyes. François rolled off her and lay on the bed as
Claude-Michel grinned at him. Then Claude-Michel took his turn, piercing her again
with his fangs and penetrating her with his erection as François watched sleepily. She
whimpered quietly and tried to move against him. François and Claude-Michel looked
into each other’s eyes with the tenderness of lovers.
In the hours before dawn, Claude-Michel had Jean pack our things, and supervised as
François and I wrestled the groggy prostitute into my extra dress. They arranged her on
the bed in a position resembling repose, but she groaned and tried to turn over.
“Tie a cravat around those bites,” he said. “Loosen her clothing, too. The landlord
knows what she was here for.”
Jean stood by the bed, inspecting the riding crop Claude-Michel had come in with as
“Jean!” Claude-Michel said sharply, looking satisfied when the poor boy jumped.
“Stop daydreaming and get to work.”
“ Oui, Monsieur ,” Jean replied, and put the crop away hastily.
“Where will we go?” I asked Claude-Michel. “It was difficult to find this place.”
“I do not know,” he said irritably. “But we cannot remain here. The girl will talk. And
she has marks.”
“Perhaps you should have thought of that before,” I said.
He grabbed my arm and whirled me around to face him. I looked him in the eye and
would not back down. At that moment, I did not care about punishment.
“Someone is jealous,” François sing-songed, and sat on the bed near the girl, his
hands behind his head.
I wanted so badly to tell François what I thought, but my courage was short-lived. I
was relieved when Claude-Michel let me go to call Jean over to give him money. “Pay
the landlord for an extra day. Do not tell him we are leaving for good. And buy wine,
bread and cheese for yourself and the girl.”
“Yes, Monsieur ,” he said, and hurried away.
“Who do you think she is jealous of, Claude-Michel—you or me?” François asked.
“Shut up, François,” Claude-Michel said, and went to the window. “I have to think.”
“But of course,” François replied, and closed his eyes.
I sat on the couch with my arms crossed. So far the day had started terribly. Within
moments, however, Jean burst into the room with promising news.
“ Messieurs , there is something you should know about. A man downstairs needs
guards for his carriage to protect his sister.”
Claude-Michel, who had moved away from the window in favor of pacing, looked
up. Then he hurried out the door. I had to follow—so, of course, François wasn’t far
Downstairs, we could not help but hear their conversation. There were two men,
perhaps a little older than I, sitting near the cold fireplace.
“But I can’t take my sister across the country with no protection!” the youngest of the
two said. He looked like a rosy-cheeked cherub. “What of bandits?”
“You can’t allow her to miss her own wedding either,” his friend said sympathetically.
“Anyway, what happened to those men you hired?”
“They got a better offer somewhere else. There is the irony of hiring men—those vulgar
enough to protect one from criminals are often no better than criminals themselves.”
“I don’t see that you have a choice, Bernardo. It would disgrace your entire family—
and you especially, since you insisted on bringing your sister