The Marrakesh Machine
Eldon’s blunt nails dug into his palms as the Marrakesh Machine rose, lanterns glowing with hues of deep purple, orange, and gold. Fly, fly, fly, he silently urged the machine as he watched from the ground. It rose jerkily—making his stomach wobble with nerves—before the convection currents stabilized. Fifteen years of designing ,modifying, and begging for money to build his invention had gone into this moment. Along with three years of toadying to Lord Withrow Nelson III’s every whim.
Involuntarily, Eldon gave a brief glance at the man who’d funded this project and caught him staring. Lord Nelson was infuriatingly handsome, with brown curls and the most arrestingly angular features Eldon had ever seen. Eldon felt a curious quiver in his stomach that had nothing to do with the flight of his beloved invention and resolutely turned away.
The Marrakesh Machine continued to rise, soaring into the clouds as the sun began to appear over the trees, the pilot barely visible as a dark speck inside the glass carriage. Eldon’s heart soared with it. He’d wanted to be the man to fly his invention but Lord Nelson wouldn’t hear of it. The man’s supercilious attitude vexed him, but he had deep pockets.
“You’ve done it, McCreary. Brilliant work.”
“I owe you, Lord Nelson,” he said gruffly.
The man had spent every idle moment needling Eldon, questioning his design choices. Eldon McCreary was the professor and inventor; he was the expert, not the wealthy young lord. But said lord was the only one who believed in Eldon’s invention, the only one willing to risk money on a wild flight of fancy. In three years they’d often come to verbal blows, and nearly physical ones, but his patron had improved Eldon’s original design. He had a sinking suspicion the machine would never have worked without Lord Nelson’s suggestions.
Lord Nelson stepped closer, dark eyes strangely intent. Eldon knew Lord Nelson was a gentleman of a certain persuasion—according to the whispers in London—but Eldon was not. Or at least he’d never considered the idea until recently. Much as he hated the man, he stirred something in Eldon he didn’t find entirely comfortable. Relationships between men weren’t expressly forbidden, but they were hardly encouraged.
“It seems our partnership has nearly ended,” Lord Nelson said, reaching out to grip Eldon’s waistcoat with his brown leather clad hands and Eldon’s back stiffened.
“Indeed.” Eldon’s stomach felt as though there were convection currents at work in there as well.
“Unless you’d perhaps consider one of a different sort.”
Eldon’s eyebrows rose. “After we debut The Marrakesh Machine?” Today was merely the first successful test flight, they wouldn’t be debuting it to the world for another few weeks. “I have a number of designs in the works. There’s one that will revolutionize the world—”
His words were cut off by Lord Nelson’s mouth against his own, the kiss skillful and demanding. He wished he could say he hadn’t seen it coming, or that he disliked it, but that wasn’t the case. What that meant for the man’s patronage….
“Lord Nelson!” He protested as he pulled back.
The man’s mouth turned up at the corners. “I think under the circumstances you can call me Withrow, or at the very least, Nelson.”
“Nelson,” he managed.
“Now, McCreary.” He’d never heard the lord’s tone sound so soft. “I’ll come by your rooms later to discuss the terms of our new partnership. I think it’ll be every bit as successful as our current one.”
Glancing up at The Marrakesh Machine as it began to make a gentle descent, Eldon felt as though he was still flying, but whether it was from the success of his invention or the touch of the man beside him he wasn’t entirely sure.
A successful partnership indeed.
I definitely went over the word count this week and could have written more, but I tried to keep it concise as possible.
Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other author’s flash fics for this week! There are some really incredible ones
I look forward to seeing you next Monday!