A sheet of crumpled gold leaf
I’m hoping to have a series of posts about inspiration. The above question is something I get asked all the time. Today I’m going to look at a fave story of mine, originally published on my old website.
Old Gold was written after talking with two friends of mine. We were all interested in natural remedies and the properties of bathing. I started to thinking about service in a D/s context, and how acts such as bathing someone could be an act of love and devotion. I had a book called The Scented Bath, which provided the ingredients used in the story.
I sometimes have a hard time writing about very rich people (as I’m pretty poor!), but to cope with my unease, I made Mr Falkirk someone who has lost his fortune. I drew to mind all the older, white men who had dazzled me as a youngster, the stern school teachers, the luvvie actors I’d seen on television, and the tall, reserved men I spied through windows in bars, usually smoking a cigar, completely unaware that they were being watched. I wanted to capture the smell of tobacco, the tick-tock of old timepieces, and the rasp of moustaches on skin.
Faraj was a different character, but one who more resembled myself, if I could be quieter, and more graceful (hey, a gal’s gotta dream). It is sadly the case that serving someone is looked down on or dismissed, but you know that experience of eating a meal made by someone who loves you? It tastes a lot better than that frozen ready-meal you zapped in the microwave, doesn’t it? Yes, well I wanted to capture that feeling in the story. I wanted to write about two very different men finding each other at the end of an era: one has just lost everything he owned, and the other is about to lose his job and the man he secretly wanted.
The thought of carrying out an intimate, non-sexual act for someone makes me feel very content. Just the thought of someone caring and thinking deeply about my comfort would be something special for me. I hope that everyone reading this can experience that, either giving or receiving. I hope you enjoy my story below.
By J. Applebee
My name is Faraj. I’ve worked as a butler for the past eight years — three of which I’ve spent hopelessly in love with my employer. His name is Andrew Eustace Falkirk. His hair is the colour of old gold. My hair is the colour of the lacquered ebony boxes that sit piled high in his study. He has the faintest hint of a Dutch accent, though he rarely speaks to me anymore. I have an Arabic name, his is Scottish; both of our families once lived in Africa, but that was a very long time ago. England is our home now; my place is at his side.
My secret love for my employer could be seen by others as a conflict of interest, but it has only made me want to care for him in a more profound way. My pleasure is entwined in his — when he is happy, my heart soars. However, Mr Falkirk has not been happy for some time.
The bathing ritual is not really a part of my duties, but my employer needs this, and I will try to remain a professional. I’m hoping my instincts will pay off; I spent a long afternoon trawling through the bustling lanes of London’s Portobello Road Market for my supplies. Now small paper slips contain dried organic eucalyptus, lemongrass and marjoram. The powdered leaves are parched and brittle, but they hold a history of golden summers in their fragments. Tiny dark bottles contain oils and flower waters. I handle these bottles carefully as I am quite sensitive to the volatile essences. The combination of fragrances should be heavenly; they should relax and invigorate at the same time. My employer deserves the very best.
The water takes a long time to run. It’s a crime that Mr Falkirk only ever showers before running out to yet another meeting. The big clawed bathtub should never be dry — if it were mine, I’d use it three times a day, but it’s only a matter of time before both the tub and I are put into storage. I know he’ll let me go; he can’t afford to keep me, though I dearly want to stay.
The day is warm; I know he’s been out to another series of meetings in the city, and that he’s probably sweaty and dirty, but this isn’t about getting clean. This evening is about relaxation, about letting go of tension, of worries and regrets.
I switch off all the lights, and then place candles at strategic spots throughout the room. I could have done this with the lights on, but as I walk carefully in the dark, I can appreciate the sound of running water even more. Each time I strike a match, sheltering the flame with my hands, I feel myself relax more and more. I think about the spark that is Mr Falkirk; how adversity has dimmed his fire, but I dearly pray that it will never be extinguished. I return to the bath, give the cotton bath-bag a squeeze, and go in search of my employer.
When I find him, he is in his study, barricaded behind a large pile of papers, each one waiting for his signature. If it wasn’t for the rich cigar smoke that curls up to the slow-moving fan, I wouldn’t even know he was there. I nervously straighten my long apron before I speak.
“Mr Falkirk,” I say.
“It can wait!” he calls out in response.
“Mr Falkirk,” I say a little louder. After a few moments he pops his head over the parapet. He stands, and I take an involuntary step back. He is imposing; taller than I. He says nothing, but just looks at me whilst I try not to shrink beneath his stare. “Will you come with me, sir.” I don’t phrase it as a question. Even this slight offence could see me reprimanded, but I have to take a chance tonight. I must be bold.
When I first started working for Mr Falkirk, he had a full house staff. He used to have more money than I could imagine — so I’ve come to learn, and I can imagine an awful lot. Even now I imagine that he is richer than I, though his fortune has faded. But tonight isn’t about currency.
I feel his eyes on the back of my head as I lead the way to the bathroom, but I don’t dare to look around. I open the heavy bathroom door, and wait for him to go inside. I catch sight of his face as he moves further into the room. He does not look happy. But then as my heart begins to clench, I see his nose twitch. He’s smelt the fragrant bath I’ve drawn for him. He walks on as if pulled by the warm vapour. The water has taken on a marbled surface where the oils have not fully dispersed. It has become the colour of old gold from the herbs in the cotton bath bag. He looks down into the steaming bath, and then back up at me as if he’s been presented with an alien species. He smiles and nods agreeably. Mr Falkirk starts to unbutton his shirt, but my hands gently replace his as I take over.
“Neroli?” he asks. I nod as I remove his silver wristwatch. “Wintergreen?”
“Eucalyptus, sir.” I pull his shirt tails from the waist of his slacks.
“Lemongrass,” he says, inhaling deeply. His chest expands against mine; my own breath falters in my throat.
“You have a keen sense of smell, sir.” His sweat-stained shirt comes off smoothly.
“You know you don’t have to do this,” he says softly as I reach for his belt. He peers down at me, and I hesitantly look up from beneath my eyelashes; his blue eyes lock onto my brown.
“Please, sir,” I whisper. His hands fall to his side, and I continue unhindered. As I finally remove the last of his clothes his skin fairly glows. He’s caught the sun — his freckles are more pronounced, and his flesh is golden. He is naked before me — I keep my eyes above his waist. This isn’t about my desires, as much as I wish it were. Tonight isn’t about me getting what I want.
I gather up his clothes, and place them out of sight to be cleaned and pressed later. Whilst my back is turned I hear the gentle displacement of water; the soft slosh as he steps in. However, the long draw out groan he makes when he slips fully into the tub makes my skin come alive. My forearms are covered in goose bumps where my shirtsleeves are rolled up.
Triple milled Castile soap lays on a stand near the bath. I have a loofah, sea-sponges and Egyptian cotton bath-towels ready. A bathrobe made from the same special material will encase him in plush warmth when he’s ready to emerge, but I’m hoping that won’t be for a while yet.
My bare feet pad to another corner of the room where a small record player is nestled. Vivaldi plays at a low level, after all this isn’t about music appreciation.
I pour a small Cognac into a large goblet, and then I take my place at his side, kneeling by the bathtub. I adjust my apron discreetly, and pass him the glass of brandy. He takes a sip, and hands the glass back to me with eyes closed. He looks serene in the golden-hued water; younger than he is. I have seen old photographs of my employer in his personal archive. Pictures of Mr Falkirk when he was a child — not even a teen. I have packed away dozens of sepia-tinted photographs of my employer as he flew kites with unguarded moves that left him free and breezy. So many memories have been put into storage, and some would say that’s where they belong, but when you lose so much, your memories are all you can hold on to. However this isn’t about the past.
When I next look up from my thoughts, he is gazing at me. I sit us straighter, my knees a little sore on the black tiled floor. He slides further down into the golden water with a quiet sigh. Only his head is visible.
“How long have you been planning this, Faraj?” I smile when he says my name — it’s not pride or vanity I feel, but a simple delight.
“A long time, sir. It is just so rare for you to stay in for so long.” If truth be told, I had wanted to do this for an age. I was overcome with joy when I realised that he would be spending the whole weekend undisturbed. Two appointments had cancelled at the last moment, and it caused the opening that I was in need of.
“I wouldn’t be stuck here if that representative from the Cedar group hadn’t bailed out at the last minute.” He mutters, “Damn hippies,” under his breath, and I pretend to not hear him. “I wonder what Gerald Cedar would make of me if he could see me now?” he continues with a chuckle.
“I think he would be envious, sir,” I remark, a little too easily before I remember my manners.
“He would think I was taking advantage of my position. He and his bloody company think they can manage my life.”
This isn’t what I wanted tonight to be about. I didn’t want him to be thinking about business. He is a tenant in his own home; he is a man who has lost so much, but he has not lost me. I will remain with him until he tells me to go.
“But let’s not talk about that now,” he says, as if he can read my mind.
I place the stand with the washing supplies close to him, and then I retreat to the vapour-fogged windows whilst he cleans himself. Soon I hear the sound of water moving as he steps out of the tub. I go to where the towels sit, but suddenly Mr Falkirk steps in front of me. Water streams off him, running over his body and around his feet.
“You were right, you know,” he says quickly. “If he could see me, he would be jealous.” I look down at his words. I feel the blood rush to my face as he speaks.
“I’m glad you enjoyed your bath, sir,” I say quietly, still gazing at the marbled puddle that surrounds us both now.
“Look at me.” I almost imagine that I hear the desperate quality to his voice, and I stare even harder at the marbled water. Everything dissolves into a dream until he lifts my chin with his wet hand. “I believe I requested your attention,” he says softly.
“Sir,” is all I can say. My tongue is heavy and wooden, so Vivaldi speaks for me instead with a melody that is light and free.
His hand strokes my face gently for a moment, and then a wet forefinger brushes over my lips, slipping inside to run along my front teeth. I silently kneel in the puddle of cool water, aware of the feel of it through the fabric of my apron and my trousers. I drench myself in the moisture that clings to his hairy thighs — the water that has made his fair hair almost as dark as mine. His cock comes to life before my lips even get close. I breathe over his skin, and it twitches against my face.
“Faraj,” he says my name slowly, and with so much affection that it is unlike anything I’ve ever heard. I feel my own cock strain in the confines of my underwear, but I don’t move to adjust myself; my hands are busy elsewhere, stroking reverently over damp flesh. He firmly holds the back of my head, and guides me onto his cock. I lower my head down, sucking him in as I move. I can taste the faint qualities of the herbs that he soaked in, and I can smell the light scent of the soap he used. My nose ends up in the wet curls around the base of his cock, and this is surely the closest I have ever been to my employer. The years of longing fall away as my mouth clenches around his thick shaft. I pull back a little, and then swirl over the cut head, making him swear out loud above me. My fingers grip his backside, and one finger taps gently against his opening. He holds my hair tightly, and thrusts into me in time with the music.
“I’m not a young man,” he says almost with embarrassment. “I can’t last when you do that.” I swallow his length in a slow gulp, and he continues with a strained voice, “But you do that so very well.”
This isn’t about my job. The week after next will see the end of the month, and I’ll be asked to leave. I’ll find another job, I’m sure of it, but I will never have another employer like Mr Falkirk. I don’t make a habit of falling in love with the master of the house. But I am in love with Mr Falkirk, and this is how things must play out between us — it is more than I could ever have wished for. Tonight was about an act of service from one man to another. This does not diminish me; it makes us both stronger. There is no shame in submission. There is only pleasure here tonight. When he finally comes, holding onto my head so hard, that I am surprised by his strength, he says my name over and over again. I feel like the richest man in the world.
He stills inside my mouth as I suck the last of him down. My tongue is gentle against his sensitive cock as I lovingly clean him.
“You never said a thing,” he whispers as he helps me to stand. “Why didn’t you tell me how you felt?”
“You are my employer. It’s not fitting,” I say as if what we have just done was good form.
He barks out a laugh at that, before he states, “Well then, Faraj, you are formally fired.”
I take a step back with the shock of his words. My mouth hangs open, and my heart stutters in my chest. Then I take in the wide grin on his face, and I realise what he’s done.
“Your severance pay will be generous, but under the contract I signed with the Cedar group, I’m not allowed any employees of my own.” He crosses his arms defiantly. “They have no control over my friends or lovers.” My heart soars when he says that. He uncrosses his arms and holds them out to me.
“There’s no contract that could make me love you more than I do now,” I say, and now it’s his turn to stagger back; his feet skid in the water, and he stares at me. I never meant to say it out loud. I’ve let myself slip up in the most unprofessional manner.
I hand him one of the fluffy green towels, silent as I move. He takes it from me with shaking hands. As he dries himself, I bend to wipe the water off the floor, but then I become aware of Mr Falkirk standing over me once more.
“Sir?” I ask automatically. He has wrapped the towel around his waist, but I can’t look up at him — I feel too ashamed to meet his gaze.
“Call me Andrew,” he says with a smile, and then hauls me up into a bear-hug of an embrace. “You don’t work for me anymore, remember?”
I nod as my arms slide across his back. I think I won’t have any trouble remembering this fact. His kiss leaves me as breathless as his hug. The music chooses that moment to end, and I am left in Andrew’s arms, noisily catching my breath as he holds me.
“You really love me?” he asks, whispering the question into my neck.
“I love you, Andrew,” I say, forcing the words out of my mouth without a tremor.
“I have little to offer you, Faraj,” he says apologetically. I hug him tighter, and kiss a trail down his neck. My love was never about his possessions.
“I have all I desire right here,” I respond, sighing against him.
The tiled floor is chilly on our bare feet as we walk out of the bathroom. I pass the claw-footed bath tub as we leave. The water is a faded golden colour now, and I spot a small sea-sponge bobbing up and down. My ex-employer holds my hand, his pale skin flickering with the candlelight. He draws me onwards to his bedroom, to the future that awaits both of us. This isn’t about saying goodbye in the only way I know how. This night has turned into a new beginning.
“Funny,” he says gently as he opens the door to his room, and ushers me inside. “If I hadn’t lost everything, I would have never found you.” His Dutch accent is stronger now, and I know that some part of him is angry with his situation, but I believe it is only a small part. I try to silence him with another kiss, but he places a finger to my lips. “I may no longer be a rich man, but I have wealth indeed.”
When he closes the door behind me, I try to imagine him in a bare room with no possessions at all. The opulent colour of his hair makes this impossible to do, and I’m glad. He will always have me, until he tells me to go. My title may have changed from butler to lover, but my place is still by his side. It isn’t about gratitude, it’s all about love.
If you enjoyed this story, please support my work and buy one of my many books!