Replaced

They lie in the tall grass naked side-by-side, hearts still beating fast from their earlier exertions and the illicitness of outdoor lovemaking. Murata is draped all over Yozak, sprawled out across the man’s chest, protecting himself from the rough ground below.

“Do you still think about him?”

Murata knows instantly what he’s asking about. “If it weren’t for the paintings in the castle,” he replies simply, “I would have already forgotten his face.”

He decides not to add that ginger hair has replaced blond in the memories that haven’t yet faded completely away; Yozak already looks pleased enough with himself.

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