HE WILL PAY
Someone is watching Raffles and Bunny.
An established relationship story.
Written: October 2012. Word count: 1,200.
From across the room I watch them standing so very closely together. So that is 'Mr. Raffles's insignificant little friend', is it? I confess he is even more insignificant than I had imagined him to be; even more of a non-entity than rumour made him out to be.
Indeed he is so very undistinguished that for a moment I wonder why the great A. J. Raffles, the man who could have anyone he wished to be his close, intimate friend, would choose such a man as Harry Manders. A man who from his demeanour and from what I have heard fits so very well the name I understand he was given at school. The name only one person calls him; the name only one person is allowed to call him, because he gave him the name 'Bunny'.
'Bunny'. What man would allow himself to be called such a name once he had become a man? It is almost insulting, demeaning - not a man's name at all and yet he not only allows himself to be called 'Bunny' he apparently likes being called it, or at least he likes one person calling him it.
As I take a sip of champagne from the glass I hold and continue to stare at them, the reason they are such intimate friends becomes quite clear. So the occasional veiled whispers I have heard are indeed true; I wonder how many other people believe them? Probably, given the fact that neither man has been ostracised from society, very few, if any. However, I have no doubt at all and it explains a lot of things.
I have no doubt because I know the way A. J. Raffles looks at someone whom he wishes to get into bed. I know because he once looked at me in the way he is now looking at his pet rabbit - a term I know that angers him. Except the look is not just the way he looks at someone when he wishes to entice them into bed, it is the way he looks at someone when he actually cares and cares very much. Their relationship is not a new one, of that I am quite certain - and I am not just speaking of what I am quite positive happened between them when they were at school.
I empty my glass of champagne and take another one the footman offers me. As I sip the fine liquid I begin to plan; he will not get away with what he did to me. No one takes me to bed and then simply walks away from me into the arms of someone else - and certainly not when the someone else is as insignificant as A. J.'s pet rabbit is.
No, he will pay, Mr. A. J. Raffles will pay for what he did to me and I know exactly the way to make him pay. I could talk about him openly; I could in effect ruin his reputation; I know enough people to know that the wrong word said into the right ears would mean no one would invite him to their table or ball or country house match ever again - and I doubt England or Middlesex would pick him to play cricket for them again. And in time I am quite certain the news would reach the ears of the police and then the great A. J. Raffles might well find himself imprisoned for his crime.
However, that would be too simple, far too simple and it certainly would not have the effect for which I am looking. Yes, he might be ostracised, cast out of society but I know him; he actually would not really care - if anyone can survive not being in society it is he. I believe he would even survive goal. For all his airs and graces and his impeccable dress, his fine taste in good, wine, whisky and Sullivans, he can adapt; he would not merely survive, he would make a new life for himself and no doubt his pet rabbit would remain by his side.
So ruining him would not be payment enough; that is not what I shall do. What I shall do is to take my revenge in the way that will hurt him the most; in the way that quite possibly will destroy him. He will pay for what he did to me with the life of his pet rabbit.
Oh, it will not be easy nor is it something which I will be able to accomplish overnight. I have heard enough to know that his rabbit is rarely if ever not at his side; wherever A. J. Raffles is his insignificant little friend will be found. But I am in no rush; I can wait; patience is always something I have had in abundance. And I believe my revenge will be all the more sweeter the longer it takes to obtain.
After all, the more time they spend together, the closer they will become and the more deeply he will fall in love. Although the fact he clearly loves his pet rabbit is something I find incredibly difficult not only to believe or understand but also to accept. How could anyone love that man? But A. J. Raffles clearly does, which I suppose proves one never does know another person, not even if you share a bed with them.
It will be fairly easy, given we move in the same social circles, to observe them and see if there are any patterns to their behaviour; to see what occasions might bring about them not being together. And even if he sees me, he is not going to think anything is amiss; I doubt he would even avoid speaking to me or acknowledging me - I never was under the illusion that I was his first lover - always of course he remembers me.
At that thought I grip the stem of the champagne glass even more tightly and stare at them. He now has his hand on his pet rabbit's shoulder and is gazing down at him in the way only he can look at another. His pet rabbit is starting back up at him and the look in his eyes shows he is completely under the spell A. J. Raffles can cast upon another person. He is besotted, in awe of, worships, more deeply in love than I believe I have ever seen a person be, is utterly and totally devoted.
For a fleeting second I hesitate; maybe I should not seek revenge, at least not in the way I have planned; is it after all the rabbit's fault? But as I watch the man I now hate brush the hair from his pet rabbit's forehead the hesitation goes.
He will pay. A. J. Raffles will pay. And if the cost is a life, what does it matter? I will have my revenge on the man who took me to bed and walked away from me for the thing he now has his arm around. He will pay and he will pay for what remains of his life; that I vow. He will pay.
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