Mark looked over at his lover Jesse, who was sitting on the couch helping his youngest daughter with her math homework, and causing her to laugh at his examples. He had been seeing Jesse for two years, since they had filmed the Now You See Me sequel. Emotions ran from the script pages into behind the scenes rendezvouses and after they wrapped the film they tried to break things off but kept falling back into bed together, even though they had their respective relationships.
Jesse glanced at Mark and quirked his lips into a half smile. Mark shrugged and went back to drinking his coffee. He had dinner stuff strewn across the island as he prepared it for the oven. He finished setting up the vegetable lasagna then put it in the oven before he set the kitchen timer to remind them dinner was done. He glanced at Jesse and his daughter and saw she was doing a set of problems so he said, “Hey Jess, can you come help me in the garage for a minute?”
“Yeah, sure.” Jesse moved to stand up and follow Mark but Lydia stopped them in their tracks.
“If it’s just to kiss go ahead and do that in front of me.”
Mark almost dropped his coffee cup and Jesse dropped the book he was holding. He quickly righted himself and set the cup down and he went over to the couch and he asked, “What are you talking about honey?”
“I’ve known for a year. So do Bethany and Brian. We haven’t said anything to Mom.”
“What do you know?” Mark couldn’t believe he was asking his youngest daughter what she knew of his affair with Jesse.
Lydia looked at her dad and put her hands on her hips. “You look at Jesse like you used to look at Mom and you bring him around a lot when Mom isn’t here and he helps us with our homework and listens if we just want to talk. You smile more too.”
“Are you guys mad about this?” Mark asked as he knelt down next to Lydia.
“No. We want you happy.”
“What about Mommy? Do you want her happy too?”
“We do but we want to go with you if you and Mom separate.” His daughter confessed.
“We’ll see what we can do. Finish your homework and Jesse and I will be back in a few minutes.”
Mark and Jesse went out to the garage and Mark closed the kitchen door leading into the garage. Jesse twisted his fingers in his t-shirt and he bit his lip before he said, “Your kids know.” He frowned afterwards.
“They do.” Mark said as he took Jesse’s hands in his and then he pulled Jesse against himself and kissed him gently.
Jesse pulled away for some air but he didn’t step back. Then he said, “I’ll go before Sunny gets here.”
“No. Stay for dinner. I think the kids prefer it when you’re here. I’ll take care of Sunny if she says anything.” Mark said.
“But….but….” Jesse spluttered.
Mark pressed his finger to Jesse’s lips and he said, “Don’t worry. Enjoy dinner. I made lasagna just for you as it’s your favorite.”
“But….” Jesse tried again.
Mark took advantage of Jesse’s open mouth and pressed two of his fingers inside. Jesse automatically closed his lips around Mark’s fingers and sucked on them. When he realized what Mark had done, he slipped Mark’s fingers from his mouth and he glared and crossed his arms. Mark stroked Jesse’s jaw with his dry hand and said, “Stay.”
“Okay.” Jesse muttered.
Mark kissed him quickly and asked, “Now was that so hard?”
“Maybe.” Jesse said and returned Mark’s kiss.
They kissed for a couple more minutes and then Mark stepped away and said, “Let’s check dinner and gather the kids so we can eat.”
“Are we not waiting for Sunny?” Jesse asked nervously.
“She’ll be here soon. Let’s set the table and stuff.” Mark reassured.
“I can help set the table and gather our kids up.” Jesse said as he reached for Mark’s hand.
Mark gave Jesse a fond look and he said, “You just said our.”
“They want me around.” Jesse shrugged with a lopsided grin.
Mark grinned and said, “Let’s go.”
The two went back into the house and Jesse cleared the table putting everything where it went and then gathered dishes for the place settings. Mark went to the stairs and hollered at the oldest two, “Guys dinner will be ready in ten minutes. Come help Jesse set the table after you wash up.”
Brian and Bethany came down the stairs quickly upon the announcement of Jesse being there. Lydia was at the table sitting in her spot. “Hey Jesse.” Bethany greeted.
“How was shooting today?” Brian asked as he gathered glasses for the table.
“Shooting is almost over so I had an easy day. How’s school been going for you guys?”
“It’s good. I got a B+ on the project you helped me with last week.” Brian replied.
“Cool. Glad I could help.” Jesse grinned.
“I got an A on my English paper.” Bethany said.
“That’s great Bethany. The topic was a touchy one and you picked a good length and common sense argument.” Jesse said.
Mark watched his kids with Jesse and knew that he would be filing for a divorce as soon as he could after he talked to Jesse about all of the long term things they were wanting out their relationship. When the table was set, Mark took out the lasagna and Jesse grabbed the salad bowl and garlic bread from the island, to set on the table. A few minutes later, Sunny walked in from the garage entrance, and saw her family plus Jesse sitting at the dinner table with a chair free for her as well.
She hung her jacket and purse on the door hooks and sat at the table. She glanced at her husband, then Jesse, and quirked her eyebrow in question. “Jesse?”
Mark replied before Jesse could and said, “The kids missed him so I invited him over for dinner since we didn’t have evening shoots.”
“Yeah. Jesse helped me finish my math worksheets for the week while Daddy made dinner.” Lydia said as she tried to help justify Jesse being at their house.
The older two sensed the tension so didn’t say anything. Sunny arranged her features and let a smile show. “Mark can I see you in the bedroom? Everyone else go ahead and start filling your plates. We’ll be back shortly.”
Mark gave a quick squeeze to Jesse’s knee before he vanished into the master bedroom and Sunny followed behind him. After their parents left the room and shut their bedroom door, the kids looked at Jesse and Brian said, “That doesn’t look like it will end well.”
“Maybe not.” Jesse said simply.
“I hope you don’t have to go away.” Lydia said as she picked at her food.
Jesse didn’t really know how to respond so he just shrugged and took a bite of the lasagna.
Bethany reached over and gave him a one armed hug since she was sitting next to him at the table and said, “We’ll love you no matter what.”
“Thanks Bethany. I love you guys too.” Jesse said quietly.
In the master bedroom, Sunny looked at Mark and hissed, “What’s he doing here?”
“He’s a friend. Your friends come over for dinner, why can’t he?”
“He’s gotten pretty comfortable with the kids helping them with their homework and probably doing other things with them that I don’t know about.”
“He likes our kids. They help steady his anxiety and he helps them with their homework if they need it. If you just have a conversation with him, you’ll realize he’s one of the smartest people out there.”
“How often is he over here and interacting with our kids when I’m not around?” Sunny’s eyes narrowed at Mark as she advanced on him.
Mark held his hands up and said, “He’s here occasionally.”
“That sounds like a ton of bullshit Mark and this is the first time he’s staying for dinner and not gone before I get home. The kids are just now mentioning that they know him and know him well enough to go to him for homework help and probably for other things as well. Are you trying to kick me out of our family?”
She was nearly nose to nose with her husband and he said, “No we’re friends. Can’t our kids like our friends that we invite over?”
“This isn’t the point. You’re getting sloppy Mark.” Sunny said as she turned away and started across the room again so they could eat dinner.
“Sunny?” Mark said.
“Don’t Sunny me Mark. Let’s eat dinner and Jesse is going to go home and we are going to talk.”
Sunny opened the door and Mark frowned as he knew what talk they were having in an hour or two. They returned to the kitchen and sat back in their places and they saw that everyone seemed to be sliding their food around on their plates. Sunny said, “Eat up before everything is ice cold.” They picked up their pace eating and Sunny kept an eye on Mark and Jesse.
After dinner was finished the kids cleaned up the table and put the leftovers away before they went to their rooms quietly. Mark gathered Jesse’s messenger bag and favorite sweater that he liked to wear when it was chilly in LA and he shuffled an awkward Jesse out through the front door down to Jesse’s car. “I’m sorry about dinner. I’ll see you bright and early on set tomorrow and we’ll talk.”
“Don’t apologize. Just let me know what’s going on and tell the kids I said goodnight.” Jesse said as he took his things from Mark’s hands and turned around to open his car door.
Mark squeezed Jesse’s shoulder and said, “I will.” He let Jesse get in the car and Jesse rolled the window down and went to open his mouth but Mark beat him to the punch and whispered, “I love you.”
Jesse nodded and said, “You too.”
Mark let Jesse drive off afterwards then he went back inside to face the music. He didn’t see Sunny so he figured she was in the bedroom waiting on him so he trudged over to the door and opened it up. He saw Sunny sitting on the edge of the bed and she looked over at him and wiped the edges of her eyes. He wanted to go to her and wipe the tears away but he didn’t really know if that was allowed during this conversation so he waited next to the closed bedroom door and twisted his fingers together like Jesse did when he was nervous and felt his heartbeat speed up.
“Have you and Jesse ever been intimate with each other?” Sunny asked after she took a deep breath.
Intimate? Mark thought was a very vague term for this conversation so he answered in the only way he knew, “We’re actors working on the same movie. Of course we’re intimate with each other.”
Sunny stood up and charged over to Mark and poked his chest with her finger. “You know exactly what the hell I’m talking about. Did you have sex with him in our bed? In our house? The garage maybe? Or did you decide that our family car that the kids ride in would be a good place to sneak a fuck?”
“I don’t invite him over here for sex. If he’s here, the kids are here. We help the kids with their homework and projects while you’re at work and then cook dinner that he doesn’t stay to eat because he thinks he needs to be gone before you get home from work. I talked him into staying tonight. That is what we do here.” Mark said.
“So you’re playing house with our kids, integrating this boy into a parental role, and you want me to think you two haven’t slept together yet?” Sunny spat.
“He’s not a boy. He’s a 34 year old man and if the kids ask him for something he always comes to me or sends the kids to me for a final answer. He’s not stepped on any of our parenting roles.” Mark said.
“You’re so very blind to this situation. The kids seem to look up to him like a parental figure just by asking him for permission to go somewhere, have something, really just by asking him he’s stepped into a parent role.”
She stepped away from Mark and started to pace that side of the room and run her fingers through her hair. Mark rubbed his face with both his hands and said, “I’m not blind Sunny. It’s nice that our kids can look up to another decent human being outside of family. I wouldn’t invite him over if I didn’t trust him.”
“Well I never want to see or hear that he’s been here without myself being present. The kids will also no longer see him without my presence.” Sunny said.
“That is unfair Sunny.” Mark said.
“Either you’re here with the kids and I or you spend your downtime with your friend. Your choice.”
“The children will be asking questions.”
“And they can ask all they want. Jesse is not allowed back inside this house. I don’t care how nice he is or how smart. I do not care.”
“I’ll sleep on the couch tonight. We’ll talk more tomorrow night since I have to be on set at 5 am.” He grabbed his pajamas out of his drawer and went to the hall bathroom to have a shower before he set the couch up to sleep. He finished his shower and changed into his pajama pants and a white undershirt before he went to the linen closet and retrieved a sheet, fluffy comforter, and a pillow. He made up the couch and brought his computer over so he could catch up on work.
An hour later, Bethany came downstairs and saw her dad on the couch with his computer on his lap typing away. She went over and Mark noticed her. He set his computer to the side and asked, “What are you doing awake Bethany?”
“Were you and Mommy fighting?” She asked as she climbed onto the couch and leaned against his side.
“We were just talking. Nothing for you guys to worry about.” Mark reassured.
“But I heard Mommy tell you that Jesse couldn’t come back.”
Mark wrapped his arm around her shoulders and he kissed the top of her head. He knew that Sunny had gotten a little loud at the end but he had hoped that none of the kids had heard any of it. “We’re talking things over. For now I’ll be here on the couch if you need me.”
“Okay but we really like Jesse. I don’t want to stop seeing him.” Bethany said with a frown.
“I’ll see what I can do honey. Now why don’t I tuck you back into bed and I’ll see you tomorrow night. I have to go to work really early tomorrow.”
“I got it Dad. See you tomorrow night. I love you Dad. Tell Jesse too.” Then Bethany went upstairs without waiting on her dad’s answer.
The master bedroom opened and Sunny stormed out. “What the hell was that?”
Mark looked up and said, “Keep your voice down. The kids are still awake.”
Sunny clenched her teeth and said, “What the hell did you just tell Bethany?”
“I answered her questions.” Mark said nonchalantly.
“How long and far has this affair with Jesse gone on?” She stayed rigid in posture while she contained the volume of her voice.
“We got closer after we filmed the sequel and it went from there. I’ve rarely brought Jesse here but I wasn’t lying when I said that we didn’t do anything here besides cook dinner and help the kids with their homework from school.”
“So you two have been having sex behind my back?” Her hands were balled into fists at her sides and had bit her bottom lip to keep it from trembling.
“We had sex a few times.” Mark admitted.
“Get your duffel bag and go. I don’t think I can look at you right now. I’ll tell the kids you have turnaround shooting so it’s easier to stay near the set so you’re on time.”
“I’ll tell the kids I’m leaving. They deserve that much.” Mark said as he got off the couch and went into the bedroom to pack his bag and change into his favorite worn jeans and grab his favorite leather jacket. After putting his computer and ipad in his computer case he set the bags by the door and went upstairs, the time already passed ten. He knocked on Brian’s door, then Bethany’s and he said, “Let’s go talk in Lydia’s room.” He wanted to cut off questions until they were behind closed doors. He knocked quietly on Lydia’s door and went inside followed by his two older kids.
Brian shut the door and Lydia sat up in her bed and rubbed her eyes. “What’s the matter Daddy?” She asked as he sat on the edge of her bed. The older kids sat indian style on the floor by the bed.
“Your mother wants me to leave. We talked and she doesn’t want to see me for a few days.” Mark said quietly.
The kids took his cue and Brian asked, “We heard she doesn’t like Jesse and doesn’t want him to come back at all.”
“She’s allowed to be mad but I’d prefer it was directed more at me than Jesse. What I did, am doing, I knew could split the family up but I love Jesse.”
“Do you still love Mommy?” Lydia asked.
“I do but I love her differently then Jess. More like friends, at least to me.”
“Are you and Mom going to get a divorce?” Bethany asked.
“I think we are and I don’t want you guys to blame yourselves. We’ll figure out the custody arrangements and I’ll try and get things settled as quickly as I can so that we can figure out our new normal.”
“Will you stay with Jesse?” Brian asked.
“Most likely if he’ll have me at his place.” Mark said with a small frown appearing on his face.
“You two are together though, like you were with Mom?” Bethany said. “We had it right?”
“Yeah you guys had it right but we’ve been really busy with our movies and his plays so we’ve not had much time to talk about too far into the future which we’ll have to do now.”
“I hope Jesse still likes us and let’s us stay you guys.” Lydia said as she picked up her turtle that Jesse gave her two years ago.
Mark held his arms open and Lydia and Bethany climbed into his lap, Brian stood by them and let his dad wrap his arm around his waist in a group hug of sorts. “He loves all three of you very much. We’ll get through all of this, okay?”
“We will.” Bethany said.
Brian looked down at his dad and said, “Thanks for being honest with us Dad.”
“I always try to be.” He let go of his kids and they moved back to their spots and he stood up. “I need to get going for now before your mom comes in and tries to physically throw me out. I’ll see you guys in a few days. I love you guys.”
“Will we see Jesse too?” Lydia asked with her lip jutted out in a pout.
“I don’t know. We’ll see what happens but you guys will be seeing Jesse though again. Just maybe not the rest of this week.” Mark answered honestly.
“Okay. We’ll be patient.” Bethany said.
“Be good for your mom.” He said as he went to the door.
Afterwards, Sunny met him at the door and handed him his bags, and said, “Get out.”
“I’m going Sunny.” Mark took his bags and left the house. He drove towards Jesse’s small apartment and called him.
Jesse picked up on the third ring and said, “Hey. How’s everything?”
“I’m going to get a hotel room. I told the kids that Sunny and I were getting divorced.”
“Come over to my apartment. We can make tea and talk.” Jesse suggested.
“Are you sure?”
“One hundred percent Mark. I’m in this with you for as long as you’ll have me.” Jesse confessed.
The confession stunned Mark as they hadn’t really talked about being long term/life partner and he almost dropped his phone but he recovered and said, “I’ll see you in twenty minutes.”
“I’ll be here with tea.” Jesse confirmed.
“Alright. I love you.”
“Love you too. See you shortly. Now hang up and drive properly. Bye.” Jesse hung up with a chuckle echoing in Mark’s ear and he dropped his phone in the passenger seat.
Once he made it to Jesse’s building he parked his car in an overnight spot and grabbed his bags and phone from the passenger seat. In the lobby he buzzed Jesse’s apartment and Jesse let him in the elevator. Mark rode the elevator up to the fourth floor and went down to the end of the hall where Jesse had the small corner apartment. He tried the door and found Jesse had unlocked it for him. “Jess, babe.” Mark called out.
“In the kitchen.” Jesse replied.
Mark set his bags on the couch and locked the door back properly and went into the kitchen to see Jesse with his hair mussed and a pair of pajama pants on with socked feet. “Hey Jesse.” Mark said as he leaned against the counter’s edge.
Jesse handed Mark a cup of tea and a sandwich and when Mark took a bite of his sandwich, Jesse rambled, “We can try and get the judge to see New York as our home base and we’ll have to find a bigger apartment so that when the kids visit they have space. Maybe we can talk to Sunny and see if she’ll move to the city so everything will be easier. I just want all this to work out.”
Mark let Jesse talk while he ate and when he finished his sandwich he said, “All valid points but we don’t have to talk about this in one breath. Let’s sit on the couch….”
“Can we go to the bedroom and talk?” Jesse interrupted.
Mark looked at Jesse and noticed he looked tired. “Yeah. Let’s get comfortable and then we’ll go to sleep. Early day tomorrow.”
They went into Jesse’s room and Jesse helped undress Mark down to his boxers. Mark rested his hands on Jesse’s hips and Jesse’s paused at Mark’s. “Shall we?” Jesse whispered.
Mark kissed Jesse’s mouth and whispered, “I will take care of you tonight.” Mark let his hands push Jesse’s sleep pants and boxer briefs off and Jesse stepped free of the rest of his clothes. Jesse pushed Mark’s boxers off and they laid on the bed. Mark got comfortable and started to kiss Jesse’s neck and moved his way down his chest until he was able to nip at his hips and then he swallowed him down to the root.
“Oh….fuck!!! Mark!!” Jesse yelled. Jesse tugged at Mark’s hair and Mark pulled off and gazed up at his lover - his chest heaving and his stomach trembling. “Fuck me Mark?” Jesse asked as his fingers carded through Mark’s curls.
Mark rested his head on Jesse’s thigh and caught his breath before he moved back up so that they were side by side and Jesse pulled Mark into a sweet kiss. Mark prepped Jesse and pushed himself inside. He braced himself and Jesse wrapped his legs around Mark’s hips as he started to thrust. He trailed his wet kisses over Jesse’s neck and down to his small but pert nipples. In between kisses Mark whispered, “So so beautiful. Love you so much.”
Jesse canted his hips and he whispered, “Love you too Mark.”
Mark could feel his orgasm curling in his lower back and he pushed Jesse’s hands down and he arched as he filled Jesse with his come. “Oh gods….oh….fuck….”
Jesse held him close as Mark’s hips slowed down and he choked, “Exactly.”
When Mark moved to the side, Jesse went to wrap his hand around his erection but Mark stopped him. “Let me.” Mark whispered as he kissed him on the shoulder. Mark tangled their legs together and wrapped his own hand around Jesse’s erection. A few strokes and shared whispers had Jesse arching against Mark’s body and moaning loudly as his orgasm was milked from his body.
Jesse wrapped his arms around Mark’s body and whispered, “Shower?”
“In the morning.” Mark said sleepily as he curled up next to Jesse.
“Tomorrow.” Jesse pulled his blanket over the two of them and he curled up against Mark’s side and fell asleep.
The two were jarred awake by Jesse’s phone going off on the nightstand. Jesse picked it up and realized they had missed the alarm set and that Dave was calling him. He pressed answer and held the phone to his ear, “‘lo?”
“Dude, Jesse! Where are you? The director is getting worried that his leading actors are bailing on him.”
Jesse rubbed his face a couple of times and tried to quick start his brain. “Sorry Dave. Overslept. Had a long night.”
“Dude get some coffee and get here quick. I”m trying to get Mark’s phone but he’s not answering.”
“Don’t worry. I got it. See you soon. Give the director my apologies.”
“Where’s Mark?” Dave asked curiously.
Jesse glanced at Mark propped on his elbow and said, “On my couch. Now we’ll see you guys shortly. Sorry for oversleeping.” Jesse shut his phone off and looked at Mark. “We might be in trouble today.”
“I’ll talk to the director and apologize about us being late. Let’s clean up and go through a drive thru for coffee.” Mark said.
“Sounds like a plan.” Jesse grinned and he kissed Mark on the cheek before he rolled out of bed and went to the bathroom to start the shower. Mark got himself fresh clothes and joined Jesse in the shower. The two kept everything perfunctory and dressed quickly before Jesse locked his apartment up and they left for the studio.
On the way there, Mark said, “About last night….”
“I understand what happened. We’ll get everything sorted out and see where things go from here.” Jesse waved it off.
“I know you understand but I’m talking about if the judge doesn’t go by just the words out of my children’s mouths and he wants us to show a deeper commitment. I don’t want my kids or people in general to look at us and think lesser than what we are.”
“So is this your way of asking if I want to get married after you’re divorced?” Jesse snickered.
“Most likely. I wish it was a more romantic setting.”
“We’ll get take out tonight and I’ll blow my future husband. I told you I was in this for the long haul.”
Mark ran his fingers through his hair while keeping one hand on the wheel and he said, “Okay, yeah, okay.”
Jesse turned around in his seatbelt and watched Mark gather his thoughts and he took Mark’s hand in his and said, “We’ll talk and figure out the best route to go. For now we can call our lawyers during a break and have them come up with a fair decree and work out the custody papers for your kids.”
“They’ll be your kids too after this.”
“I know they will.” Jesse grinned.
“What did I do to deserve you Jesse?” Mark asked.
“Well the fact that when you dropped to your knees and blew me after we read through the river scene for the sequel and then the fact that you basically had me to yourself for a few months. I’d say that’s working on building a relationship. I knew that we needed to be patient though so I didn’t push you to leave your wife or kids. I didn’t want you to have to choose but Sunny made the choice for us and we’ll just build from here.” Jesse rushed as he threaded their fingers together.
“I like the way that sounds. Thanks Jesse.”
“You’re welcome Mark.” Jesse kissed the back of Mark’s hand and then let him drive them to the studio while he composed himself.
Six months later, Mark and his family, moved through a 5 bedroom, 3 bath house in Queens that he and Jesse found. This was their fresh start - the kids were ecstatic, Jesse and he were very happy, and their fans even with the honest story out there about the affair were supportive of the new couple and left them to their privacy. Mark and Sunny would share custody but on their papers due to their children’s insistence that they wanted to stay mainly with their dad and Jesse, the judge awarded sole custody to Mark with no child support to either parent and Sunny would get the kids when both Mark and Jesse were away for films.
The judge noted Jesse as the third parent and gave a verbal address that even if Mark was filming unless it was the kids weekend with their mother that they could remain in the house with Jesse as primary caregiver until Mark returned. Mark and Jesse had their lawyers draft a simplified sheet for all three to sign so that the custody rules would be followed and Mark figured it best so that Sunny wouldn’t try to undermine his and Jesse’s main authority. Copies made and they were posted on each parent’s refrigerator.
Now Mark knew he could focus on what he really wanted out of life and when the kids were in their new rooms, he pulled Jesse close and whispered, “I love you.”