Adel, Part 4
In which Adel’s brain is broken completely by Bathasar, Teman and Nadir.
It took him a few days to get time, but finally on the third evening, he sat in a chair opposite Bathasar in front of the malik’s fire, sipping wine.
“Tell me what is on your mind, my friend,” Bathasar said, with a smile.
Adel scowled at him. “I can’t want to spend a bit of time with my friend?”
Bathasar laughed. “I know you too well, Adel. You prefer to spend your time more constructively than that. Though you ought to loosen up a little and enjoy yourself more.”
Adel shrugged. “I take time to read before bed.”
“That is not what I am referring to,” Bathasar said with a chuckle. He opened his mouth to say something else when the door opened and two men walked in.
Adel blinked at them. One, he knew was Teman, the pleasure slave Bathasar had with him at all times. The other was unfamiliar to him.
“Adel, these are my loves. Teman, you’ve met before. And this is Nadir ibn Fahyim.”
Adel stared. “Loves? Both of them?”
Teman and Nadir chuckled and Bathasar grinned. “Indeed. I love them both. Teman, as you know, has been with me for quite some time. Last year, while Nadir and his partner Cyrus spent a good deal of time with us, helping me with something, he and I fell in love, as well.” He tugged on Nadir who laughed as he fell into Bathasar’s lap. Teman sat on the arm of the chair, pulling Nadir back against him and Bathasar kissed each of them before looking up again. He grinned at the obvious look of shock on Adel’s face. “I do believe we’ve struck my friend mute.”
Teman and Nadir smiled, though Nadir blushed. “It is nice to see you again, Adel.”
“Uh, and you, Teman. It’s nice to meet you, Nadir.” He didn’t know if he should offer his hand or not, but Nadir solved it by holding one out. They shook and Adel sat back.
“It’s nice to meet you, too. His Highness has told us about you. Your lands are part of the horse farms to the north?” Nadir asked.
Adel nodded. “Indeed. Have you been up there?”
Nadir smiled. “We went up last year with His Highness. It is a beautiful place.”
“Thank you. I’m rather fond of my home. Were it not for Bathasar, I would be there now.”
Bathasar snorted. “He likes the palace life, but refuses to admit it.”
Adel scowled. “Ha.” He looked away, then back, smiling. “Okay, I will admit that there are some definite advantages to being here.”
“Like the pleasure slaves?” Teman asked.
Adel shook his head. “No, I do not request them. I was thinking more of the library and baths.”
Teman nodded. “It is a splended library, isn’t it?” He looked down and kissed Nadir’s forehead. “We spend too much time in there, I think.”
Nadir grinned up at him. “I have not heard His Highness complain.”
“And you won’t. Neither of you will let me give you anything else.”
Both Teman and Nadir laughed. “Of course not,” Teman said, leaning in and kissing Bathasar again.
Adel felt a bit lost, watching them. He hadn’t missed the collars both of them wore, yet Bathasar had told him that Teman was free to leave and a slave in name only. And the collar around Nadir’s neck, though different from Teman’s, was not the same as the regular slaves. On top of that, they both wore clothes. It was altogether confusing.
“In fact, my love,” Teman said, “we were coming here to see if you wanted to go with us. Cyrus has been busy with Salehi.”
“I have promised my friend some of my time. I will come join you when we are through.” Bathasar brushed a thumb over Teman’s cheek and Adel could not mistake the expression of pure love on his friend’s face. An expression he also wore when looking at Nadir. After he exchanged kisses with them, they both stood.
“We will wait for you there.” Nadir left another kiss on Bathasar’s cheek before stepping back.
“I doubt we’ll be too long, my sweet love. Enjoy the books.”
With waves, the two men left and Adel forced himself to focus on Bathasar, who was looking at him with amusement.
“Are you all right?” Bathasar asked, grinning.
Adel shook his head. “I don’t know.”
Bathasar laughed. “I can understand the… three of us confusing you. I will refrain from making it worse.”
“Did you say Nadir had a partner?” Adel asked.
“Or not. Yes. Nadir and his partner Cyrus handle the pleasure slaves. They are responsible for training, organizing, and watching over them. They, too, love each other and have for many years.”
“But… Nadir loves you?”
Bathasar nodded. “Yes. And just to make sure you are completely lost… Teman also loves Cyrus, who returns those feelings.”
Adel dropped his face into his hand, prompting chuckles from Bathasar. “I… it’s… I…” He shook his head and looked up. “I can’t begin to untangle that.”
* * *
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