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Rose Petal Hands

Author's note: I am an avid studier and researcher of history. The letters and essays I have read between the...  Show full author's note »
Author's note:

I am an avid studier and researcher of history. The letters and essays I have read between the two shows a remarkable hint at a romantic inclination between the two considering for their time such acts were illegal. I chose to write these pieces for I am attempting to bring to life the LGBTQ+ community by authoring pieces that give representation to a group of people who were forced to hide themselves all of their lives. The relationship and sexuality of Nathan Hale and Benjamin Tallmadge being an example. 

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Chapters:   1 2 3 4 Next »

Chapter 1 | Hues of the Leaves

September 14th, 1776 || 6:48 p.m.

 

6 days, 16 hours, 2 minutes till Nathan Hale’s death

 

“Reviv’d a little by your letter,

With hopes of speeding better,

At length I venture forth once more

But fearing soon to run ashore.”

 

_______________________

 

         

The poems at the beginning of every chapter are exerpts from poems written by Nathan Hale and Benjamin Tallmadge to one another. Starting in their youthful college days, Ben "Damon" and Nathan "Pythias" used nicknames from Greek mythological figures when speaking of one another. In historical background, Nathan is twenty-one and Ben is twenty-two. 

“Pythias?"

          “Damon!”

          Two bodies lunged themselves together in the translucent twilight, filling the hollow emptiness between their chest and arms. Benjamin Tallmadge recognized straight blonde locks cascading down the back of Nathan Hale’s azure uniform and his heart skipped a beat mere seconds prior; he could recognize him from anywhere. The slightly taller man’s hand folded behind the shorter’s back and looped their fingers into a connection, tugging their stomachs together and breathing in every single bit of each other. There was comfort now, in the brief alteration witnessed by rows of tents stretching out across the valley’s sloping hills.

          Ben buried his nose in Nathan’s collar, shutting his eyes briefly, leaning deeply into the interaction, “Pythias…”

          Breath on the back of his neck and a cheek held against his ear, “Damon…”

          Not wishing to cause a scene, they reluctantly tugged off one another, a shock attempting to displace them back together. They both hadn’t caught a truly extraordinary sight of one another’s faces quite yet and the tips of their noses brushed slightly as they extracted from one another, maintaining proximity, grasping hands on each other's forearms as if they were afraid each other would let go. Releasing and staring point blank at one another. Passion flashed in Nathan’s sky blue eyes and Ben swore he saw lightning flare across his pupils; the once boyish glare that his face owned was replaced with war like bags almost painted underneath his eyelids.

          At the same time, Nathan wished to trace the imprint of his thumb across the two wrinkles that now were forming at the center of his lover’s brow, those weren’t there before. Those two little wrinkles most likely from the New Yorker’s uncanny ability to scrunch his face quizzically ever so often. Some stubble ran across the line of Nathan’s jaw, a craving to kiss that bone didn’t subside, I’ll have to wait till later. Subsequently, Nathan gazed down to trace over the curve of Ben’s lips and his mouth began to grow ravenous--here he was, after weeks and he couldn’t even kiss him, let alone brace him for longer than a few meager seconds. His chest began to grow cold and he ached with longing for an awaiting touch. Their glares met wildly, holding depths so familiar, Ben was already plunged.

          The corner of Nathan’s thin, pale lips curled up, coiling his knuckles around that man’s bicep, “You’re here.”

          Ben didn’t say anything to reply, nodding and tipping his chin slightly; yes, I am--and I never want to leave. His bouche parted, a moderately giddy smile replaced it, perhaps lost in of how surreal it felt to have his living, breathing form in front of him.

          Their embrace slipped off each other’s shoulders and came to at their sides, keeping their shoulders connected. The evening sun was beginning to set on the valley, the background wash of laughter billowing in their ears from soldiers huddled in groups with a flask passing from man to man. A shuddering light breeze circulating against the backs of their necks, the tall daffodil grass skimmed their ankles in this closing summer ecstasy.

          “You know I missed you, Pythias.”

          Ben swallowed, feeling the weight of those words settle in the core of his throat tearing his glance off of him, looping their elbows together, “and I to you, Damon.” Turning towards one another and getting lost with the light scent of crushed flowers veining around their calves, a cool rush of the September draft colliding with their surface. “You need to shave.”

          Nathan rolled his eyes, throwing a hand to cup his own jaw, kicking up the side of his face and running his fingertips across the surface, “You haven’t seen me in a week and that’s what you choose to say?” he put up an act of hurt modesty but the stray hairs brushing the shelter of his eyelashes and both sides of his mouth turned up in a most remarkable simper that the sun seemed jealous of as it dipped behind the shifting hills.

          Clicking his tongue, and smirking, Ben nodded. You know I missed you so much that I have no words to formulate all my pulsations of the pain. Waking up at dawn to the line in the sky he’d see the vague and invisible form of him on the other side of the cot. They faced each other again and the shorter leaned over, hooking their arms together at the elbows, tugging him along to the backside of a tent, closer to the forest that cut across the edge of the meadow.

          “Well, are you going to speak to me?”, Ben twitted, their fingers scraped as he rose on the edges of his toes, haltering to whisper a muse in the taller’s ear, “I think it’s rather marvelous the way you sparkle as you speak of things you love.”

          Nathan wallowed, “Exactly what, may I question?”

          “Myself of course.”

          “What a lovely friend I have acquired.”

          Ben squeezed Nathan hand in his palm, nearing the opening of the forest and beyond, “Nathan Hale, would you care as to join me for a walk?”, he smirked, a flattering resolve of pride striking the creases of his face and Nathan couldn’t help but laugh. Ben stopped walking, striding in front of him to block him leaning over, bowing his body forward, curving his feet. His hair floated forward so rather majestically that when he looked up, Nathan saw a flash of fervency flare across his abyssal pupils so passionately that an existence rearranged inside his gut. He gazed down at Ben’s beckoning lips as they seemed like fingers that wrapped around his collar and tugged them roughly close. There was a manner to this in all its elegant simplicity.

          “Benjamin Tallmadge, there would be nothing which would give me more pleasure.”

 

_____________________

 

          Nathan Hale let Benjamin Tallmadge grab him by his arm, rushing un-watched into the trees with a grip on his wrist that gradually slid to lace his fingers the farther they ventured into these woods. If this connection could not bare witness to faces, it would be tragically seen by the sky, the clouds and the sun; with this there will forever be eyes on them. Only the greatest joy seemed to pour in him and every inch of his body glowed as they trampled over roots, dry bush and bronze leaves with the crunch of their boots against the earth underneath their footing. He was being plucked along, not realizing where he was going but being led.

          Once, wandering in his own head and Ben stretched back a branch letting it go in the rush, it flew against Nathan’s nose; there was a moment of concerned sentimentality before laughter took the place of such serious actions. They continued on their way, Ben rushing so quickly it seemed his own aura was having trouble keeping up and Nathan waved to that wild, wandering soul beside him. The current was rustling through his tress and he didn’t ponder just how much longer they had to march. He was so tempted to rip him back and take those full, rouge lips as his own but patience tipped him over.

          “Ben!”

          Ben paused, catching his breath, scratching his hair, c***ing his head to the side and staring rather questioningly at the man behind him.

          “Race you.”

          “You can’t be serious, Pythias...”

          Before he could finish his sentence, Nathan kept his grip on that hand, speeding ahead, slapping the tree branches back as he ducked low to the ground. Nathan peeled to a haul when light emerged at the verge of the clearing and he flickered several times, his eyes adjusting to luminous now streaming through the crimson and ginger leaves on the trees.

          Ben took a step forward, laughing, breathing in and stepping over the fern ivy into the spanning, yellow weeds of the expanse, turning back and pausing.

          “I win.”

          Nathan didn’t argue, shoving him in the shoulder, rolling his optics, a tongue parting through the cracks in his teeth.

_____________________

 

          They both fell into the tall grainy grass, seemingly on top of one another. They both respited, Ben on top of Nathan’s stomach and his shadowy all-consuming eyelashes fluttering down with a sort of purity that caused Nathan to freeze, his lips parted ever so slightly mesmerizing in the wind that rustled through Ben’s curly hair as it covered his vision. Everything seemed to cease and there was desperation in between their glancing stares, the sunset seemed transfixed on burning their shades and amber fixed with stardust simplified their entire existence together on the hill top with the oncoming Autumn air and the craving they both held. 

          Their eyes met, finding each other at the threshold of the woods with the hues of the leaves raining down across the Earth, enchanting themselves into everything. The button at the top of Ben’s shirt was open, revealing the skin below to his collarbone; he saw everything he recollected and had memorized. He witnessed such the burning desire and the yearning that had manifested itself in his soul like an addiction, perhaps a disease. He bore the familiar gold flecks sprinkled across his chestnut eyes, Ben always said it was result of spending too long gazing at Nathan’s hair and the sunlight those strands held; he’d caught it. With reason, those wrinkles in between Tallmadge’s brows frightened him and he yearned to trace their imprint delicately like a scar with a history of pain.

          Their heads came closer, slowly, until their noses smoothed and ravishing anticipation took over as they culminated in sync. Lips sliding back into place where they belonged and Nathan led his forearms to loop around Ben’s back, gathering him closer than he possibly ever could, sensing his shoulder blades tense, maneuvering underneath the jacket as thumbs came to the back of his neck, bridging to press against the bottom of his jaw and their mouths, hot and not coming apart with shut lids and their hips; finding some type of rhythm, condescending together into a crescendo, rising and falling with every heavy, thickening breath.

          Ben broke off so suddenly that Nathan continued searched for those lips in the air, up until the back of his head came to fall against the soil in discontent and longing. There was a loss of touch on his neck and those same hands gliding up his jaw moments ago now were themselves deviating the buttons open on the front of his shirt as Ben slipped lower until he rose higher on his knees above Nathan, pinning back his arms and landing a kiss on the Adams apple in the column of his neck. 

          Ben released, tugging Nathan’s tan, faded breeches all the way off of him, about to proceed with his actions when Nathan stopped him, grabbing his jaw forcefully and straining him up to his meet his semblance, fingers pressing on his cheeks as their eyebrow raised in confusion. A line of communication built in the secret language they’d acquired from so many stares across a classroom. A surge of devotion so blinding, gushing it immersed him and his tongue to quiver intensely. 

          Nathan was holding his world in the stretch of his arms. 

Chapters:   1 2 3 4 Next »


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