Carrick looked back steadily. "Since you were ten," he repeated. The slave's meaning was clear. He himself knew from unhappy experience what such a childhood was like. He pressed the hand that he still held in quiet understanding.
The vampire's eyes tracked Hermes' movements as he moved to the mirror and allowed the smiling mask to roll down over his face. "I told you I don't lie to you, Hermes," he said quietly. "Extend me the same honestly, if you will."
He stood up and stepped quietly over to his slave, standing behind him so that they were both reflected in the mirror. "Call the doctor and make an appointment, then take a couple of hours to yourself," he said. "Read, or rest, or do whatever you want. Then come and find me at midnight and we'll school Aethon over some jumps out in the paddock." He wrapped his arms lightly around the slave's naked waist, and kissed the top of his head.