“…may their marriage be long, joyful, and one institution untouched by the revolution,” Max finished.
Camille toasted faithfully but Georges Jacques paused, his glass held tight in one hand. “You think that marriage won’t need to change?” he sounded slightly amused.
Over on the armchair Max waited before answering, thinking it over carefully. Camille’s eyes flicked to Georges Jacques, next to him on the chaise longue. Max had no need to weigh his words so carefully, Georges Jacques was waiting for him to finish speaking before he had even begun, already planning his next words. He was leading up to something.
“I should think it will, in many ways. But I see no need for that to affect Camille’s marriage.”
“That must be easy to say when you have only an academic interest in the subject. The same with so many things you give your opinion on. Women in politics for example, yet you only know them in one way. Women like Louise Robert and, you know… the other one.”
“Anne Theroigne,” Camille put in automatically. He turned his head to look from one to the other like a spectator at a tennis match.
“In the political way? That seems the perfect sphere of knowledge for forming an opinion on their aptitude for political worth.”
“Or do you?” Georges Jacques paused and looked into the middle distance for a second, as though puzzling it out. “What worth is purity without experience I wonder? What secrets are you hiding? Of course there was that thing with Adele...”
This would be a good point to say something, Camille thought. He stroked the blue velvet next to his knee absently, glass forgotten in his other hand. An hour ago when everything had seemed more promising, he might have changed the course of the conversation, or at least attempted to. But the rush of events and constant motion that had become his life seemed to have sped up to this moment and then suddenly stopped. He found himself transfixed, on the edge of speech but not quite able to get it out, wondering what would happen next, as if they were putting on a show for him. Disembodied, he was only an observer here and anything that happened from now on was out of his hands. That wasn’t true of course. It was only a mix of tiredness and alcohol, and maybe a little terror over the upcoming marriage paralyzing him. But he didn’t move. Maybe part of him wanted to see what would happen if Danton and Robespierre were left alone in a room together.
“I have heard your opinions on that,” Robespierre said, slowly, calmly. He held his glass lightly in his hand, his second of the long evening.
“Yes, what was it I called you? The famous eunuch. Well, would you disagree?”
“I’m sure that’s how some people see it.” They looked complete opposites now. Max completely composed, faintly bored, in contrast to Georges Jacques’ enthusiasm. Camille had asked them here in the hope that they could learn to get along but now he was suddenly sure that was never going to happen. Georges Jacques and Max should never talk about women.
Camille couldn’t care less why Max had signed off women, he was certain the roots went deeper than dedication to the revolution, but it seemed to work for him, so why question it?
He looked up, at the ceiling. It was, as yet, unpainted. The room’s furnishings were incomplete, some, like the chaise longue, all too familiar, others new, not yet his. Would they ever be? It was five days till the wedding. His wedding, he kept having to remind himself. He wondered briefly what Lucille was doing right now. Was she thinking of this place, planning their lives together? Was she talking it over with her mother? Or Adele? He hoped she had some plan because still for the life of him he couldn’t imagine this as their home.
He was brought back to here and now by Danton’s unexpectedly brutal tone. “What would you call it?”
Max wasn’t fazed. “Sometimes when one is dedicated to any one thing, whether a cause or a person, it becomes not only necessary, but desirable, to put aside all others to satisfy it. As Camille has found with Lucille.”
Georges Jacques laughed at that. Laughed and laughed. Don’t bring me into this, Camille thought. I was doing all right, over here on the spectator’s bench.
“Camille? Yes, I’m sure he loves Lucille a lot, who doesn’t?” Georges Jacques moved closer on the chaise longue to Camille, putting an arm around him, throwing a cushion out of their way. “How long will you be faithful to her? What do you think? What does her mother think?” he asked him.
Max gave him a sympathetic, almost apologetic look.
Camille floundered between the two. “Well of course, I, I will try, to be, I care for her very much,” he said, he thought unconvincingly, although that was true, or at least close enough to being true that it could easily come true. She was so very similar to him. He liked that. Sometimes it was almost like looking into a reflection. “I suppose I will have to ease into being faithful.”
Camille felt Georges Jacque's hand at his hair. He let his head fall back with the pull as fingers tugged through his curls.
“Of course Camille here has a wealth of experience you could only imagine,” Georges Jacques said meaningfully.
Camille opened his eyes to see Maximilien watching them. He stood. “Well this has been a pleasant evening. But maybe it‘s time for us to leave Camille to settle in to his new home.”
“No, don’t go, come over here,” Camille said hurriedly. That little pause in time had gone, and things were speeding up again, so he knew he had to say something. He had to get them to meet in the middle, he kept thinking. And here he was in the middle.
But he had said the wrong thing. For the first time, Max looked flustered. He said a quick goodbye, something about tomorrow at the Jacobin club, and headed to the door. Camille watched him go with a sense of regret. A word that could have been said, that would make everything right, change everything, had been missed. Well this had worked out well.
The fingers had left his hair. He leant back against the back of the chaise longue, listened to Georges Jacques and Max’s clipped, polite goodbyes. Georges Jacques' had more than a hint of triumph in it.
He would go to see Max, tomorrow, make this right. Say Georges Jacques had had too much to drink. Well that was true, if not the reason. Or would it be better to go after him now? But he had a feeling this wasn’t the time to leave.
Georges Jacques came back. He felt it in the lowering of the sofa next to him. “Why did you have to tell him that?
Danton’s arm was around him again. “Why not? It‘s true, isn’t it?”
“That’s hardly the point, Max is very…”
“Pure, innocent, uninterested? Incorruptible?”
He resented the inference on the last one, just a little. He was hardly a corrupting influence, and if so, only sexually, which was the least worst one.
“Honestly, I don’t understand what you see in him.”
Camille shrugged his arm off, or attempted to. “Perhaps he doesn’t understand what I see in you.”
“Then he is blind. Everyone knows what you see in me.”
Camille opened his eyes to see Georges Jacques unexpectedly close, and opened his mouth almost as though in surprise, but not really. Part of him had always known this would happen, eventually. When they kissed it tasted like, well an ordinary mouth but it wasn’t. It was fucking Georges Jacques. He could feel the tense line of scar tissue running across his lip. He was quieter when he was kissing, Camille thought.
Georges Jacques pulled away and regarded him. “Well you do know all about this kind of thing,” he said, as though nothing had happened.
Camille regarded him right back. “You know I do.”
“I suppose I do.” And he kissed him again.
There was a point in there, Camille thought. That he knew something Max didn‘t, Georges Jacques didn’t. But he could feel him starting to pull away already, in his kiss, the enthusiasm, that forward momentum was no longer in it. He didn’t want this to be all. Leave now and it could be over forever, or at least not tonight, what was the difference when you were young, and time might be short. They were revolutionaries after all. Didn’t Georges Jacques know that?
“Can’t you understand Max at all? How he thinks about purity?” Camille asked when he pulled back first, away from Georges Jacques
Georges Jacques huffed. “Of course I can.”
“You just don’t agree with it.”
“There are some limits to even-” he stopped to reach down to the floor and take a drink. Camille remembered he was drunk too. “Even my imagination.”
“Though you seem to want to expand it.”
“Well you always ask.”
“Yes I suppose I do.”
“I think you’re more similar to Max than you admit, you know?”
“Oh do you?”
“Oh yes. You have some rigid moral codes that you would never cross.”
“Do I?” Georges Jacques downed his glass and sat waiting.
“Maybe not politically, but-” his stutter was coming back, he was more nervous than he would admit, would show, he forced himself on. “But socially. You‘re not so different from him.” he wasn’t sure about that really. Already doubt was creeping in. of everything, this and everything else.
Georges Jacques was looking at him, looking genuinely surprised. That gave Camille some ground to stand on, a steady footing to get his balance. He liked surprising him. Liked surprising everyone, but Georges Jacques was tougher than most.
“Is that what you think?” Those hands were on him again, joining with the lips, pulling him to Georges Jacques, up against his mountain of a body. He was crushed against him, those arms tight, around his back, his waist, a grip he couldn’t pull away from. Not that he wanted to. Go with it, his brain told him. You might not get another chance. His cock didn’t need such words. Neither, from the brush against his as he shifted closer, did Georges Jacques’.
“Come with me,” said Georges Jacques when he finally paused for breath. He seemed to need it just as infrequently when kissing as when talking. His eyes flicked to the bedroom.
“No, here is fine.” Camille figured this would be the perfect initiation for the chaise longue, if it was to bear the weight of both Annette and Lucille. Besides on the way to the bedroom either one of them could lose their nerve, and he couldn’t risk that happening. He felt the weight of Georges Jacque’s doubt, threatening to ruin the moment, as hard against him as the cock pressed against his thigh, except he had to battle this one. He reached up, pulled him down, kissed him, only to have the kiss taken over by Georges Jacques, leaning over, crushing him, and smothering him with his mouth. He realised, Georges Jacques might back out, but he would never allow him too, not now it had gone so far.
He had never been with anyone like Danton before, the bulk and energy and intelligence combined. But then Georges Jacques had never been with anyone like him.
“What would Robespierre think if he walked in and saw you now?” Georges Jacques growled against his throat.
“Max?" His eyes were wide as Georges Jacques drew himself up onto his elbows to look down on him. Why bring Max into this? “He probably wouldn’t believe it.”
“Yes, he does have a blind spot when it comes to you.”
His eyes involuntarily went to the door. There was no-one there though, so back to the matter in hand. Above Georges Jacques had stopped moving, his breath close, hitting his cheek. Camille couldn’t bring himself to look back up. Really neither of them could back out now, it would mean making this into something other than a fun interlude between sessions drinking and planning the revolution. It would place too much importance on it, make things difficult, change things. It was up to him to make this good. He pulled his trousers down with a jerk quick as he could, freeing his cock and started work doing the same to Georges Jacques’.
“Right, now we..?” Camille looked up to see the expression of grim determination on Georges Jacque’s face, and realised what he meant.
He took his cock in hand, pumping it. “There are other things.” Camille figured he would be better at showing than saying right now. He arched his back up to put their cocks in line then took them in one hand, stroked up and pulled down. He worked their cocks. Part of him wanted to look away but didn’t, staring into Georges Jacques’ face, which looked very serious. He wondered what he was thinking now.
Squeezed harder, moved faster, then heard him hitch his breath and felt him stiffen, then he was moving closer, pushing his hand away to take both of their cocks in one big fist, squeezing, kissing him hard. Camille came in a rush, before he was ready, aftershock washing through him as Georges Jacques took his hand away and Camille wished it back. He was still kissing him, no less ferociously, and Camille gasped for breath when he finally pulled back. Georges Jacques hadn’t come, Camille realised. The alcohol’s fault, probably.
Georges Jacques kissed him once again before saying. “Why don’t you put your mouth to better use?”
He got the hint, got down off the couch and onto his knees as Georges Jacques shifted position. From here on out he was mostly just showing off. He pulled out all his best moves as he looked up beneath half-lidded eyes to watch the expression on Georges Jacques’s face change.
Afterwards, Camille was glad to see him look both fairly impressed and more than satisfied as he settled back onto the chaise longue next to Georges Jacques.
“Not so bad?” he asked.
“Not bad at all.” Georges Jacques tangled his fingers in his hair, running them through and again they were sitting there, almost as though nothing had happened. Almost.
Camille closed his eyes, relaxed back. He would have to apologise to Max tomorrow, he thought. Go see him before the wedding, then arrange another meeting between the three of them. It had to be the three of them, alone again. There had to be some way to bring them together, Robespierre and Danton, and who was better equipped to do that than him? Maybe not sexually, though tonight had made him see that as more likely, rather than less, but somehow. Already he could sense the cracks running through their formative movement, between friends, lovers and enemies, threatening to turn into chasms if unchecked. Together the three of them would create an unstoppable force. Apart? He had to bring them together, because if he didn’t he and the revolution would be pulled apart between them.