This is another story set in the Tanners and the Brute universe. For Charles' first appearance, read Tanners and the Bankers Boy on Literotica.com. Read part one of Charles' story here and part two here.
"I did not expect to be called so soon." The baritone startled Charles in the shadow of the orchard.
"Your goatherd doesn't mind, I presume, swollen as she is with your spawn." Charles meant the words to bite, but his heart was not them. Moonlight dappled Tanners' broad shoulders as he moved softly to meet the banker's son. It must be the demon that allows him to go undetected by Father's watch, Charles thought wryly. Such a doltish creature should at least lumber.
"You've been crying," Tanners said in wonder, reaching towards the young master's face.
Charles knocked the rough hand away. "I stared too long at the moon. The light made my eyes water."
"Why are you sad?"
"Damn it, piss-gatherer, I'm not sad," Charles snapped, "I am impatient. I need you for one purpose only, and begin to think a carrot would do your job better."
Tanners shifted his weight, the soft pearly light catching the bright blue of his eye. His gaze was calculating and a little cold. Good. The devil's out.
"Rich pup," the peasant replied evenly, "you think to deceive me yet again, but the evidence lies red in your eyes and silver on your cheeks. It is sight enough to shrink any sane man's meat."
"You are far from sane," Charles replied. Perhaps this had been a bad idea.
"It can't be your fine wife," Tanners continued, unperturbed by the barb, "and your arguments with your father bring only anger and that self-loathing I find...enticing."
Charles was silent. Had he underestimated the man this whole time, or was there truly a crafty demon looking out of his left eye?
"So it must be that mysterious love of yours," Tanners concluded. "And your snide attitude leaves you with no confidant save I. After all, what would your privileged sycophants say to your lust for cock?"
For a moment Charles cursed his involvement with the peasant. "You've sharp senses, even for a cur."
"I'm no dog." The rejoinder was swift and defensive, a sure sign that the simpleton was re-emerging.
Just fuck me, and make it hurt. The words stuck in his throat and instead Charles replied, "I know. I'm sorry."
Tanners blinked owlishly at the young master's apology. His expression softened. "Why are you sad, Charles?"
Don't presume that sheathing your sword in my ass gives you the right to call me by name. Something was indeed terribly wrong, because the thought crumbled under the sudden weight of the young man's sympathy. Charles sat down with his back against an apple tree, staring through the pale blossoms at the shimmering moon. "I've lost a friend because of you."
The tanner's son sank to his haunches beside Charles. "Was it my fault, or was it something you said?"
Charles turned to study the other man, but the shadows prevented him from telling whether simple Tanners or sharp Tanners was asking the question. "Oh, it's something I said."
"It's always something you say."
"I told my friend Wolfgang about us," Charles confessed, gesturing between himself and Tanners. "He was shocked and disgusted. He berated me for deceiving my wife, and for choosing you. He told me he felt sorry for you, for being drawn into my web."
The larger man nodded. "I don't like to hurt you, even if you are very cruel."
Most assuredly the simpleton. "Do you feel used? Have I damaged your delicate sensibilities?"
"No," Tanners responded after a moment of thought. "After we meet, the beast slumbers for a while. It's safe that way. It will leave Melody and the baby alone."
Charles nodded. So that's why he has never refused to come. "Wolfgang finds it reprehensible."
"Why tell him, then?"
"I've never kept a secret from him!" Charles exclaimed in exasperation. "Your goatherd, is there nothing she doesn't know about you? Do you not understand the concept of deep, abiding friendship, the kind of bonds that hold stronger than blood or marriage?"
Tanners chuckled at the mention of his little bed warmer. "Melody doesn't like you, but she doesn't mind when you call. She's with child, did you know that? I wonder if it will look like me."
Charles shook his flaxen head. "I can't fathom your odd relationship with that elfin wench, but that disclosure, that honesty, is what I have—" he corrected himself "—had with Wolfgang. He noticed when you blushed at the market, and I was unable to stop myself from telling him why."
"The one with hair like sunset on the clouds?" asked the tanner's son, "With the nice smile, who follows you everywhere? He looks like grown baby angel."
"Wolfgang doesn't follow me...idiot, do you understand that he reacted poorly to our meetings?" Charles huffed his irritation. "He's the son of a prominent solicitor. He could be of great danger to you."
"But you said he was angry with you," Tanners pointed out. "Did you say that the demon forced you?"
"Did you say something to make him jealous?"
"Then why would he wish to do me harm? You are still hisfriend, and have given him no cause to wish vengeance on me. Besides, the brute squad is rumored to return. Keilan will protect me. I like him more than anyone else in the world."
His lack of concern was not soothing to the banker's son. Charles fumed mutely, watching the peasant stretch out his muscular limbs and play with a fallen apple blossom.
"Bastard son of a tanner," he gritted out after a long moment, "I summoned you here not for this unlearned, plebeian wisdom, but for the flesh dangling between your legs. You can put it to far better use than that wagging tongue."
Tanners raised his head and pointed an accusatory finger in Charles' direction. "This is why your friend doesn't like you anymore. Every phrase from your lips is a riposte or a jest. I've never met anyone so insincere," he said bluntly. "I wager you dismissed his confusion and curiosity with nonchalance. Any man with balls intact would take offense."
"Enough. Just fuck me." Charles slid his hand up Tanners' strong thigh, but was stopped before he could gasp his prize. "Please."
"Though you begging for cock is a welcome sound, I'm not hungry." The peasant rose gracefully to his feet. "Your fair companion is no enemy of yours or mine. Go to him and explain yourself, but leave your manipulative spirit behind."
"He'll be asleep."
"Yes, but only because my thoughts were too tumultuous to sleep," Charles muttered.
Tanners shrugged. "Trust your ability to make a man lie awake at night, plotting arguments and insults to serve you with the morning sun." He disappeared into the darkness as silently as he had come, slipping away before Charles could muster another excuse.