Dining Lessons

“So this fork for salads only? And a separate one for…fish?” Becket picked up the delicate, tiny fork and blinked at it, then made a face and set it back down. “I don’t get you nobles.”

Glen chuckled softly from his own seat, far more interested in the way the sunlight from the balcony of their room made his pale lover almost seem to shimmer, the hints of flesh visible beneath the light white linen shirt.

But Becket had been curious about dining etiquette and Glen had promised to teach him everything, so focused he would remain. This was probably the first time he’d ever enjoyed it, even if – or maybe because – Becket spent more time discussing every last little thing rather than learning any of it.

“It has less to do with the food than the company,” he said as Becket started fussing with the different spoons. “When the person on your left is smarter than you, and the person to your right more clever, and the person across more powerful, you take gleeful note that none of them know which fork to pick up for the strawberries and decide secretly they must be morons for not knowing something so simple.”

Becket frowned at a butter knife. “That’s stupid. Trina is a twit, Gorkey rehearses everything before every social encounter – a maid told me — and Moira keeps power like a broken cup holds tea.”

Glen blinked. “What?”

A slight flush stained Becket’s cheeks. “Well, that’s where they were all sitting last night, right?”

“Yes…” Glen said slowly. “How did you know?” Becket never attended fancy things if he could help it, though he would always go along with whatever Glen asked.

Becket shrugged. “From what you said last night after the dinner, and what you said now. I don’t know why you let them bother you. You outshine all of them.”

“Thank you,” Glen said, feeling warm all the way through. He’d never been quite the leader his mother was, and his status had not improved with his taking a peasant for a mate. Strange how none of that mattered so long as Becket approved of him, when once every opinion had weighed so heavily.

Returning the smile, Becket then turned back to the table. “So why are there so many glasses.”

“Wine, water, tea,” Glen rattled everything off, rambling off into the different kinds of wine and tea and how they fit the various types of dinners and banquets.

Becket made a face when he finished. “And everyone calls me the strange one. I’ll take a simple ale or plain cup of black tea any day. I’m glad none of this was necessary where I grew up, I would have starved.”

“Given you eat nothing but apples, and those are easily obtained, I doubt you would have starved,” Glen teased gently.

“That’s not true,” Becket protested. “I eat lots of others things. I had cake earlier.”

“Spiced apple cake,” Glen countered.

Becket began to look a bit worried. “I had biscuits for breakfast.”

“With apple jam,” Glen said with a grin.

Flushing slightly, Becket slunk down in his seat. “I had tarts for a snack.”

“Fruit tarts, one of those fruits being apple.”

“There was other stuff in them,” Becket muttered.

Glen snickered. “And don’t think I don’t know about the piece of apple pie you snitched.”

Becket’s cheeks burned a dark pink. “I really do eat other stuff!”

“Hmm,” Glen said with a smile. “I wonder.”

“So I like apples,” Becket said with a sheepish grin. He stood up and snatched a bright green apple from the bowl in the center of the table, then moved around and sat down on Glen’s lap.

Glen blinked, always disconcerted – though in a pleasant way – when Becket did such things so casually. He wrapped his arms around his demon and licked apple juice from his pale lips, unable to resist temptation when it was so close.

Becket hummed in pleasure and kissed him, long and slow, wrapping his arms around Glen’s neck.

So different, their meals now, than the stiff and awkward things they used to be. The happiness it brought nearly made him dizzy

“I don’t believe this is part of standard etiquette, demon,” he murmured, but as Becket twisted and shifted to straddle him, Glen lost whatever interest he still had in lessons.

Becket snickered. “Maybe you just don’t know which utensil to use.”