...The next sheet showed two figures, one kneeling in front of the other, head bowed, while the standing man’s hands were upturned just above the kneeling man’s head. The expression on the standing man’s face was rapturous as he gazed towards heaven. Andrew stared at the scene for a moment, “The baptism?” he asked.
“Yes,” said Mark, grinning a little as he added, “I’m so pleased you recognised it.”
Andrew cocked his head to one side. “It would be hard not to. Your work is strikingly simple, yet so revealing.” Mark almost looked embarrassed, but he smiled. The other two drawings were of the raising of Lazarus and Christ on his cross. “These will take you quite some time,” Andrew ventured.
“What better use for my time and the talent given to me by God?” Mark shrugged. “Of course, I will still have to help work on the necessary stonework around the abbey, too, so I will only be able to work on this for a portion of my daily labour, but I don’t mind giving of my own time whenever I am able.”
“Your own time? I’m surprised you have any time to yourself with your five hours of physical labour each day and the many prayers you must perform.”
Mark frowned a little. “I am young and strong. I can always find a way to give of my time in the service of God.”
“Hmm. I understand you feel some kind of commitment to your calling, even if I don’t fully understand it.” He smiled at the monk, glancing at the table again. “What other drawings have you to show me?”
Mark eyes widened and he rolled up the rest of the drawings. A faint flush rose up his cheeks as he said, “Oh, those are only some earlier drafts, not worth looking at now you have seen…”
Something niggled at Andrew and he couldn’t help his suspicion over Mark’s nervous reaction. Abruptly, Andrew grabbed the roll of papers from Mark, who cried, “No! Give them back.”
Andrew frowned. “I won’t damage them, you know.”
“They’re mine,” Mark said pettishly. “Give them back.” He held out a hand.
Needing to know, Andrew ignored Mark. “What else do we have here? Could it be there is something here that Sir Richard ought to be informed of?”
“No, please.” Mark gasped as Andrew laid them on the table and unrolled them. Mark took a step back, and Andrew felt the monk’s eyes boring into him as he looked through them, putting aside those he had already seen.
Andrew’s movements slowed as he looked at the collection of intricately drawn depictions of male nudes. Beautiful, delicate…aroused men.
“God’s death!” He glanced up at Mark. “Why did you keep these?”
“They are my punishment,” Mark replied, the anguish plain.
“What?” asked Andrew, not understanding how such beautifully rendered male bodies, all anatomically correct and in contact with each other, could be a punishment. Mark didn’t answer, and Andrew looked at the monk. His face was flushed and he couldn’t meet Andrew’s gaze. “Answer me!”
Mark’s head lifted at the tone in Andrew’s voice and, in a low voice, he answered, “These drawings remind me two men together is an unnatural act and such men should be punished. These drawings bring to mind that such activities offend the eye and mind of our Saviour.”
Andrew snorted. “So you keep these and look at them, just to remind yourself of how bad they are?”
“If nothing else, that must offend the artist.”
“What is it?” Andrew asked, his eyes narrowing. “What haven’t you told me?”
“There is nothing else to say.”
“Yes, there is. I sense it.” Holding the drawings tightly in one hand, Andrew advanced on Mark. “You’re not telling me everything, Brother. Is it because you hide a desire for the men in these drawings? Is it because you allow your cock to get hard when you secretly go through these images?” Before he finished speaking, Andrew’s hand shot out and he grabbed Mark’s genitals through his habit. As he’d expected, Mark’s cock was indeed hard, forcing the monk to admit, at least to himself, that Andrew was right.
Andrew smirked at Mark, whose face was pale except for two bright spots on his cheeks. Andrew’s gloating was tainted, though, as such close contact with the man he desired caused his own cock to fill and rise rapidly, so fast it became painful...