Silver adjusted his monocle as he opened the book Crispin handed to him, humming softly in pleasure and approval. “Exquisite. If you ever manage to convince your father to part with this, do tell me.”
Crispin grinned. “I am afraid the only way he will part with it is in death, but given my brothers seldom remember the purpose of books, it likely will be mine to inherit.”
“Then I suppose I shall have to begin convincing you to give it to me,” Silver said with a smile.
“Not if I convince him first,” said a new voice, and both men looked up to smile in welcome at the newcomer – Elias, who studied folklore and legends. Crispin had met him while pursuing his own art history degrees, when they had met over a painting pertinent to both their studies.
Silver had never been terribly good at focusing on one branch of study; he admired that they could. All three of them had met while seeking a rare volume of folklore etchings.
They all shared a love of rare books.
Currently they sat in their mutual club, meeting to examine the book Crispin had managed to life from his father for the day.
A debate quickly launched as they paged slowly and meticulously through the book, a work of legends and their likely historical basis, interspersed with drawings nearly as controversial as the theories themselves.
They were so locked in friendly, scholarly argument Silver did not really notice when the steward appeared with tea and accompanying snacks, merely noted that suddenly he was eating and drinking as he negated an outlandish theory proposed by Crispin.
Soft, familiar laughter finally broke through the arguing, and he jerked up to glare. “Pierce. What are you doing here?” Pierce was not even a member of this club; he would go mad with its scholarly setting.
Beside him, however, was Jude, who was indeed a member. They both wore fond, amused smirks. Pure mischief sparked in Pierce’s eyes as he replied, “Jude and I have a bet going against Lord Bartholomew. We are meeting to ensure he loses.”
“What are you doing to my brother now?” Crispin demanded, voice full of fond, tolerant amusement as he looked at Jude.
“Nothing he didn’t ask for,” Jude replied, as full of mischief as Pierce.
Silver rolled his eyes. “If Lord Bart comes after you, do not expect assistance from me, Pierce.”
Pierce merely laughed. “No fears, but he will not come after us. Are you three having fun? We only meant to retrieve something Jude forgot here, but when the Steward mentioned the Pretty Scholars were here, we had to stop in and say hello.”
“The what?” Silver demanded, wondering just who in blazes Pierce was calling pretty and if he stood a chance of ruining the man. “Who are you talking about?”
Jude threw his head back and laughed, catching Crispin’s hand when Crispin attempted to swat him.
Pierce grinned. “The Pretty Scholars,” he repeated, eyes bright with mirth. “Three brilliant scholars, arguing over a book in the middle of their club, and looking entirely too pretty doing it.” Pierce winked. “Though of course, you are the loveliest of the three. No offense to the other gentlemen present.”
Silver glared, ignoring the fact that his cheeks suddenly felt hot. “Pierce,” he hissed. “Go away.”
Laughing, Pierce blew him a kiss and turned away, Jude snickering quietly beside him. “Yes, my star. I’ll see you for dinner tonight.”
“Maybe,” Silver muttered, glaring at his departing back for that ‘my star’. He was going to make Pierce stop saying that, one of these days.
Elias snickered. “Shall we return to finding fault with your theories, Silver?”
“Oh, I’m not the one at fault,” Silver declared, and the debate began anew.