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The Cox and the Stroke | Modern AU | Cadell

Robert Saint-Leger

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Beverley pushed open the door to their room and tossed his notebook on his bed. It was formal dinner that night, and he was thinking of entirely fucking it off. His gown was crumpled somewhere at the bottom of his wardrobe, probably underneath his training skins for rowing.


Wearing dark-washed jeans and the vertical striped blue and white polo of the OUBC, Beverley grinned at his long-term room-mate.


"Fancy fucking off formals tonight and going to a club, Morty?" he asked, licking his lips with a sort of inherent delinquency.


"I hear some study abroad students have arrived. Nothing like Americans, who think posh heirs to earldoms and their mates are prime fucking."


He grinned.


"No coxing and stroking tomorrow morning. Got to take advantage of that and all." Waking before dawn was a right pain in the arse and most weeks was a 6 day a week gig.

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Morty, as his friends called him instead of his ridiculous Welsh first name, was lying on his own bed when his roommate unceremoniously announced his arrival, texting one of the Women's Club coxes Beverley had tried to set him up with. From the confused look on his face, it was not going well.


Maybe I should just get back to Kierkegaard... he thought with a glance towards an open textbook. Existentialism seemed like a better bet than trying to chat up this girl. ...or not, the thought finished when Bevs came up with a better idea.


"Well, if my choices are getting plastered and watching Lord Bevs work his magic on some Americans or sitting through formals like I gave a damn, I guess I'm coming with." Tossing his phone to the side, he returned Beverley's grin. This wasn't the first time Beverley had roped him into something, if rowing or his roommate's passing marks in Eton were any indication, and it definitely wouldn't be the last.


"Where are we going then?" He asked, getting off the bed with a soft groan for his tired arms. The cox was smaller than the rest of the crew, but still had to be in shape in addition to being a leader. "And ugh, thank God. Remind me again why I still do it?" There was a smirk to show he was joking, but more than once he'd considered quitting rowing to focus on his studies or get more into the newspaper a few people he knew were starting.


Rolling up the sleeves of his loose-fitting V-neck sweater, Morty glanced over at the earl's heir. "Oh, you remember Charlotte? I tried texting her. It's as if she can't be arsed to give me the time of day." With a sigh, he looked around for his wallet. He definitely didn't want to look cheap around his friend the rich viscount.

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"Are you being flippant? The 'lord' part is only cute to impress the Americans. I could not honestly care less unless I'm at some snobby society event."


Thank God there were no more mandatory events his father was going to force him to go to.


"I depend on you to let all the ladies know I'm heir to an earldom and a big, bloody castle in Kent. All you have to do is say..." here he looked at the book spine, turning it. "...Kierkegaard with your accent and you'll get laid. Or Nietzsche. Americans will eat it up." He grinned. It was a joke but not far from the truth. There were tactics to employ.


It was not as if cruising for foreigners was a new activity. It was an amusement for Beverley. When in doubt, throw around a lot of money.


He pulled off his polo and pulled out a black button-down with a faint grey paisley to it.


"That martini bar? Girls like martinis, and they have top notch whiskeys too."


Chuckling, Bev pulled his arms through the shirt and pat his best mate on the back, "Because you're my best mate, and I need you." He tutted. "You know I don't listen to orders very well, and we've got the best timing working together face to face."


He started buttoning up the shirt. "I'd bloody well lose if I had to stare at some ugly mug while pushing my lungs, legs, and arms to the limit and all. That would just be too much torture."


Sometimes female coxes were the worst and especially ones that coxed for a male crew. They saw athletic blokes with sexy bodies all the time. He could not just tell Morty to take off his shirt and make eyes at her.


"You know women. They fucking play hard to get. She's still around male rowers loads. She knows most of us are full of shit, but you're different." He paused. "In a good way, mate. She'll come around."

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"Sorry. Just having a laugh at your expense, mate," Morty grinned. "I wouldn't still be around if you were one of those snobby twits." When they'd met at Eton, that was actually what he was expecting from Bevs.


He let out a laugh at the joke about Kierkegaard, but wondered if something similar might work. Maybe some woman would be interested in a short, skinny academic type like himself. Not bloody likely, all things considered, he thought, but what came out of his mouth was another joke. "Kierkegaard," he sneered in an exaggeration of his Welsh accent. "Like that?"


"I've got your back, though, you know that."


Self-deprecation -his favorite defense mechanism- aside, it did feel nice to hear encouragement from his mate. "That's how they'll remember me: Morty, he was the cheeky bastard who got Bevs to listen." He did have to admit that he enjoyed rowing, and the cox was a more cerebral role than he had imagined when he first joined, again back at Eton.


"I don't know if she's even playing at this point, but thanks. I figure I'll keep trying, maybe invite her out after the next regatta, yeah?" He pulled on a pair of black loafers, reaching for the Rolex his mum gave him for his birthday. "I heard about that new artsy place in town. I wonder what films she likes."


"You ready? I could use a whiskey, come to think of it." He grinned again. "And a girl wouldn't be too bad either."

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"Just a snobby twit around my father's mates and at the seasonal posh events," he said, rolling his eyes. The only good thing about it was that money knew how to party. If you were young, there was a way to take advantage. He would bring Morty anywhere Morty would let him.


"Yes, but tilt your head, lift your chin, and close your one eye just a bit," Beverley advised with a laugh, having learned the rather alluring poses a man could offer to a woman. The sausage-fest of Eton was long over, and he was fucking happy that was a few years in the past.


"I know, and I need it." Beverley did not have the most self-control. Without Morty, he might have been sacked from the boat club by now, amazing stroke or not. He tried to stay disciplined for his father, and he truly was obsessed with rowing, but there was a large piece of him wanting to go wild. Sometimes he just did not think enough of consequences.


Coach had sprung a saliva test on him the morning he had been late, and he had passed, but he would be lying if he said there had not been times where he would not have passed. He had missed out on Olympic quals because he couldn't pass a drug test. His father had been furious. He had been furious. Furious with himself.


"Someone has to have the dirty jobs," he replied, about Morty getting him to listen. "And don't let me get totally soused, and no E, no charlie, and no blunts either. Kick me in the balls if you have to."


He laughed, "Well, you can always surreptitiously put some crap on the outside of her crew's boat, and then be such a gentleman and offer to help her clean it?" He said, grabbing his smart leather coat. "I don't know shit about what she likes."

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"You mean you didn't enjoy last summer's soiree hosted by the Duke of Godknowswhere and his lovely daughter, the one with the mustache?" Cadell affected a posh accent and laughed even more at Bevs' advice. "Am I trying to get laid or doing a fucking interpretative dance?"


Why he couldn't just meet somebody nice without having to do some bizarre mating ritual beforehand was beyond him. After a moment's pause, he added, "But no, seriously- does that work?"


His sister Ellie had once said he was an idiot for trying to help "that fuck-up Beverley" in addition to everything else Morty had to deal with.The fact of the matter was that he wasn't going to abandon a friend who had helped him through a lot of issues. "And no hard shit, got it. Come to think of it, though, last time we were there I was the one on E, while you just watched."


There was a hilarious in hindsight story behind that, especially since he hardly touched anything harder than alcohol and the occasional joint. Even that was rare, weed tended to make him skittish.


"I wish I knew. It might be easier to talk to her if I had any idea of what to, well talk about. Apart from rowing, all I know about her is that she's gorgeous." Putting on a subdued wool pea coat, he suddenly remembered something. Digging around for a notebook, he tossed it to Bevs. "Here. I saw your Poli coursework and made you some notes. No answers, but they should help." It had only taken him a couple hours, and he was more than happy to help.

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"You've got to look posh and mysterious for the Americans, like the British on the telly," he explained. "But not the comedians, obviously." He pushed his fingertips in the pockets of his jeans. "Of course it works. With your intelligence, you could pass for Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock, and that gets all the girl's knickers wet with your accent and fancy talk."


He spoke like a true authority on how to lay American girls. It had been a pass-time since he was sixteen or so. Eighteen year old Americans had been incredibly willing to sleep with the heir to an actual lord. At least the blonde ones had been.


"And you're far better looking than most those actors, mate."


Even now, it was hard not to want to smoke a fag. He was trying to be so good for his training.


"That was funny," Beverley said, with a grin. Well, if he couldn't do it, he might as well get his kicks through his mate.


"We all wish we knew what women wanted. You're in good company there." His fuck-buddy Claudia was the only woman who made much sense to him and that's because she did not do serious relationships and loved his motorbike and riding. "You took notes for me? Bloody hell, I owe you. I always owe you." He opened the notebook and took a look.


"Then again, you read that for fun." He chuckled, clearly not understanding why someone would enjoy some of his Poli readings.


He tossed the notebook on his bed with the other and then headed for the door, holding it open and then locking it behind them. "I can't help you with classes, but I can help you get laid." He grinned.

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