The Erotic Études Opus VI
Étude IV - To Heidelberg (Rosen I)
There were so many things I never asked Rosen before leaving Leipzig, because I did not dare. I told myself that there are things not written in letters, and to a degree, this is very true; however, there would have been a way to ask him whether he still wanted me. And so, as the last miles wore away on my journey to Heidelberg, I found myself more and more anxious, profoundly worried that he had changed his mind about letting me stay with him for the last two months of the university term.
I began to consider alternatives. My mother had a cousin in Heidelberg named Gustav, and as a precaution, I had taken his address and sent him a letter, ostensibly so that I could pay him a visit. In the event things went awry with Rosen, I could retreat to Gustav's house. If he didn't live too far from the University.
The carriage road followed the river, and I dreamed, waking, of walking there with Rosen. Ah, to see him again! My worry dissolved in the fond memories of the camaraderie we had shared as children; playing along the Mulde, catching frogs, and teasing the girls in Latin class when they lisped through their declensions.
He was waiting for me at the station, and embraced me warmly as I debarked from the carriage, mouth full of a thousand questions. He looked older, wearier, worn down, perhaps, by the strain of overstudy. Rosen was a perfectionist, and determined to be the most studious in everything he did. He had little patience for music or socializing. In many ways, we were complete opposites. But the look in his eyes told me I had not erred in my plan, and that he was truly happy that I was joining him. Leipzig had not been kind to me, and I had poured all of my dissatisfactions out in a year's worth of letters to him. His invitation was a godsend.
It took little more than an hour for me to get situated: I had brought very little, thinking to spend the generous advance my mother had sent me on new clothes, books, and pens.
"I suppose you want to meet him right away?" he said offhand, once I had unpacked my single trunk.
"Thibeaux!" Rosen replied. "Isn't he your entire reason for coming?"
My face must have betrayed my shock, and I shook my head. "No, Gisbert. I came because of you. And because I couldn't stand Leipzig and Emil another month!" I put my arms around him, and he put his head against my shoulder.
"Lord, I've missed you," he whispered.
And we went out for a quick dinner at the café closest to the University, and then to Thibeaux's for tea.
I was shy of the professor, who would be teaching my law seminars for the remainder of the term, but he was perfectly affable. The inevitable lull occurred after the niceties were exchanged, and Dr. Thibeaux peered at me over his glasses, then said, "Herr Rosen tells me that you are a virtuoso. I have a fine Flügel in the library if you would be so kind as to play for us." I blushed, furiously, and cast a look of reproach at Rosen, who avoided my gaze. I resisted for a time, but in fact I was happy to be invited, because I had just come from a rousing success at some concerts in Zwickau and hoped to repeat that success in Heidelberg.
And for my new professor and my dear friend, I played Moscheles' Alexander variations, which I had perfected during my months of lessons with Wieck in Leipzig. Rosen clapped wildly after a passably good performance, and I smiled. Thibeaux shook my hand.
"My God, Robert, you have been practicing! You are twice as good as ever I heard you before!" Rosen enthused. And I blushed again.
"I am truly sorry that I did not invite my colleagues to hear you, Herr Schumann," Dr. Thibeaux enthused. "I won't make that mistake again, and I hope you will play here again soon!" He stood, signalling that our visit was ending. He smiled briefly. "Frau Thibeaux will be returning any moment and I would not want to have to explain why I am not preparing for tomorrow's lectures!" We hurried out into the warm spring night, and I grasped Rosen's arm as we made our way back to my new home with Rosen in the Marienstrasse.
I couldn't practice, because it was too late. So instead, I opened a bottle of wine. Rosen had none, so I finished it myself, and staggered to bed at midnight.
The clock in the belltower of the Dom struck the hour, and it seemed the very sound struck me to full wakefulness. Distantly, I heard the mournful shriek of a cat, perhaps fleeing an owl. Whatever dream I had been caught within, fled entirely, leaving me shivering, overcome with an unnamed fear, and tears began to run freely down my face. An unformed dread had pooled in my belly, and was working its way into my chest. I was unable to breathe.
I felt along the edge of the table for the matches and the candle, and lighted it. The feeble flickering of the light in the draft of the room gave an eerie cast to my shadow as I crouched in the bed, a sudden noise at the door startled me, and I nearly cried out. It was Rosen.
"Robert - what's wrong? I woke and thought I heard you crying. You are crying!"
I put my hands over my face, embarrassed. "You shouldn't see me like this, Gisbert. Go back to bed."
"No, I don't think I should. I remember how you got after your father." He came into the room then, setting down his own candle, and sat next to me on the bed, putting his arm around my shoulder, pulling me to him. I collapsed against him, and no longer able to hold back, sobbed loudly as he patted my back, comforting me as a father would a small child who had awakened from a bad dream.
"It was a nightmare, wasn't it?" he asked quietly.
"Yes, yes, it must have been."
"Travelling never agreed with you. We should not have gone out. You should have rested here instead. You're too excitable for so much exertion," he murmured, smoothing my hair. Under his ministrations, the tight pain in my chest eased, and my tears, at last, stopped. At his urging, I lay back down, and he climbed into the bed with me, in his dressing gown, and I drifted off in the comfort of his arms. I woke to feel the pressure of his lips on mine, and waking, returned his kiss with some force.
"Do you feel better?" he asked.
"Yes, I like this, too," I replied, and resumed kissing him. One of the candles had guttered, leaving one feeble light flickering behind us.
"I'm sorry," he said, pulling away slightly. "With you lying there so peacefully, I couldn't resist. You are just so beautiful when you sleep."
"Don't be sorry, Gisbert," I replied, "It's fine. You are so good to me. Do you want me now?" He did not reply, but I felt him nod in the intensifying darkness.
I moved the cover aside, grasping with a seeking hand for his growing erection, and when I touched it, pushing the cotton gown aside with my fingers. He sighed, reached for me with his hands, stroking my hair as I moved down to take his penis in my mouth.
It was a brief, but intense, encounter. Rosen thrashed as his climax built and I held him firmly, squeezing out his ejaculation and drinking it down. He moaned loudly as he came. His breath caught in his throat and he lay panting for some minutes, and spoke, but his words were incoherent. I stretched out next to him, still aroused, but soon relaxed, and placed a gentle kiss on his cheek.
It had been several years since we had last been intimate, but before my Abitur, Rosen and I had an almost exclusive, and very secretive, relationship. I had cooled on him when my mother encouraged me to spend more time with Emil Flechsig, and to go to Leipzig under his supervision. But despite what either my mother, or Rosen, thought, my relationship with Emil was only very briefly sexual, before I found other, more willing companions. But I had always felt more attached to Rosen, perhaps because of his profound, caring nature and tenderness. And this had not changed at all in the intervening two years.
I began to drift into sleep, and just as I did I heard Rosen say very quietly, "thank you, Robert. I love you very much."
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The Erotic Etudes Index
[ I ]
[ II ]
[ III ]
[ IV ]
[ V ]
[ VI ]
[ VII ]
[ VIII ]
[ IX ]
[ X ]
[ XI ]
[ XII ]
[ XIII ]
[ XIV ]
[ XV ]
[ XVI ]
[ XVII ]
[ XVIII ]