Lyman Hall knew when to keep things to himself. He wasn’t a very outspoken man, giving his opinion only when it was asked for. He preferred to observe others rather than to be a part of some debate. He had opinions; of course. He had many of them. He simply knew when it was wise to share them and when it was not. His thoughts on Edward Rutledge were thoughts that must be kept to himself.
Lyman walked through the halls leisurely, taking his time to admire the painting hanging on the walls. They were rather beautiful. Portraits of people, brave people who contributed to the world and society in some way. Lyman greatly admired them and wondered if he would one day be painted and if his portrait would be hung somewhere for people to admire. A selfish part of him wanted to be remembered, wanted to leave something behind. It was a dream that many men shared.
“Beautiful, aren’t they?” A familiar voice came from behind him. Lyman jumped and whirled around, spying Rutledge leaning against a wall with a familiar smirk.
Lyman nodded shortly before his gaze traveled back to the art pieces. “Yes, quite.” He agreed, leaning back on his heels. “I’ve always enjoyed appreciating them.”
“You must have an eye for beauty, then.” The South Carolinian approached until he was standing at Lyman’s side. “A fine eye indeed.” His gaze was locked on Lyman rather than on the paintings. He seemed to be studying him, waiting for something. Lyman couldn’t explain what that something might be.
Lyman shrugged modestly. “An eye for something, perhaps.” He smiled at the southerner. His gaze met the piercing blue of Rutledge's eyes as the man’s lips quirked upwards.
“Yes.” He chuckled. “I appreciate a man with an eye for the finer things in life.” He smiled. “Come, walk with me.” He suggested, gesturing for Lyman to follow him.
“Very well.” Lyman walked in step with the other man, the two of them journeying out of the hall and into the courtyard. They walked together, sweating under the summer sun.
“I find myself wishing to know more about you, Dr. Hall.” Rutledge eventually spoke. “You seem an interesting man.”
“Interesting?” Lyman asked. “How so?”
Rutledge shrugged. “There is something about you, something I can’t quite put my finger on.” His eyes met Lyman’s and he smiled. “Something I’d like to discover.”
Lyman swallowed and broke eye contact. “There’s nothing particularly interesting about me, sir. I’m afraid I have to disappoint you.” He could feel Rutledge’s gaze still on him.
“Oh, don’t say that.” Rutledge insisted. “You are hardly a disappointing man.”
“Is that so?”
“Quite.” Rutledge continued to walk, tucking his walking stick under his arm. “Ah, I feel a breeze in the air. It must be the lack of John Adams.” He joked as a calm breeze blew by, blowing through the man’s strawberry blond hair. Lyman found himself staring before he could help himself. He noticed how Rutledge’s eyes seemed to shine in the sunlight. Rutledge turned his head, catching Lyman’s stare. The older man flushed and quickly looked away. It was inappropriate to have such thoughts on the beauty of another man.
Lyman continued his walk, hoping that Rutledge would assume the redness of his face was due to the heat. “Perhaps Adams’ absence has granted us some mercy.” He agreed, refusing to even glance in Rutledge’s direction.
Rutledge let out a sigh. “Let us speak plainly.” He stopped in his tracks. “There is no need to play such games, dancing around each other like schoolgirls.”
Lyman froze. “I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean.” He said slowly.
“Oh, I don’t believe that.” Rutledge rolled his blue eyes. “I notice you staring.” He smirked. “I notice and I don’t mind it one bit.” He took Lyman by the wrist. “There is no reason to deny what you want.”
Lyman stared blankly at Rutledge, his expression showing no emotion. “What exactly is it that you believe I want?” He asked, feeling his heart hammer in his chest.
“Me.” Rutledge was suddenly in his personal space, crowding him against a wall that Lyman hadn’t noticed before. The older man’s eyes darted around, terrified of being caught in such a compromising position. “Have no fear, we are alone.” Rutledge assured him, as if reading his mind. “You have nothing to fear in this moment.” He leaned forward. “You hide your feelings, Dr. Hall. I am not such a man. I take what it is that I want.” He smirked and whispered in Lyman’s ear. “And right now, it is you that I want.”
Lyman’s breath caught in his throat and he found himself rooted to the spot, unable to move as Rutledge’s lips found his own. His eyes fluttered closed and he slowly returned the kiss, reaching up to cup the other man’s cheek, pulling him closer. He couldn’t be certain how long they remained like that, time slipping away under the summer sun. Eventually, Rutledge pulled away, a sparkle in his eye. “Oh, God.” Lyman breathed, Rutledge laughing in turn.
“I know.” He chuckled, stepping away. “If you would like to continue, you should meet me for dinner.” He tapped his walking stick to the ground. “I shall see you at sundown.” He turned on heel and was gone, leaving Lyman staring after him, a bit dizzy and at a loss for words. He made a note to be sure to meet the man for dinner that night.