"Look," Mark pushed, pushed over them like a truck, "we're going to run the fucking sketch like it is." He sucked back at his cigarette (more angrily than necessary) so the smoke ran out with his words as he muttered on. "Maybe it's not fucking art, but it's better than that piece of shit Kevin wrote."
Kevin tried to mug around at the others like a kicked puppy, but there was something a little too fragile about it, and they looked away. When Dave shifted beside him, Kevin looked at him hopefully, as though he thought he might have a savior, a champion, but David was only sliding down further in his chair, sighing.
Scott was the one who spoke up. "Lighten up, Mark. I want to run it, too, but that's no reason to be an asshole."
No matter how bad the infighting got, Kevin was off-limits. David and Bruce, previously unwilling to be heroes, chorused mumbled agreement (now that someone else had stood up first). Since they never agreed on much of anything, Dave muttered something about taking down the date and time for posterity.
The sincerity of Kevin's silent gratitude came off him in waves, and Scott managed to smile at him, a little. Kevin was all right, after all.
Mark was not. Not just then. "Jesus!" he snapped, "It's your sketch, too. A little fucking help would be nice."
Scott rolled his eyes and reclined a little further in the ratty sofa. "Fine, fine. Good comedy, ironic statement about relationships and stereotypes, effective absurdist angle, high creepiness factor, sufficiently transgressive, blah, blah, blah."
"Thanks," Mark said, acidly, "very helpful." His look said as plain as day, 'We're going to have words, later,' but Scott just raised one eyebrow, unimpressed, and rolled over. That argument died out, unresolved, but they argued everything else they could get their hands on late into the night.
"Look, it's not going to be up to us," Scott insisted, when they'd gotten into the taxi (between them, they thought they could scrounge up cab fare). "Yes, we'll lobby for it, but it's not us-versus-them, right now. It's not that sketch-versus-this-sketch. If the rest of them don't like one angle--"
"But if 'that sketch' gets in, this doesn't," Mark interrupted. He patted his pockets down, looking like he wondered if he could get away with smoking in the backseat, but apparently decided against it.
"But that's not even what the fight was about, is what I'm saying," Scott sighed. "And anyway, look, maybe we can tie it into one of the other sketches, make it a theme, it'll be harder to cut, then."
"Or it'd at least take something else with it when it went," Mark said darkly.
"Mark," Scott snapped, but stopped when Mark glared at him, raised his hands a-la surrender, sighed instead. He leaned toward the window, and looked out at the star-twinkling of buildings passing by in the dark.
After a long moment, Scott admitted, "You're right. I do want this one in. A lot. I think it'll be a blast. But what's with you?"
"Nothing," Scott repeated with a dull laugh. "All right," he said, and they waited out the cab ride in silence.
Neither spoke, even when they stopped outside the dilapidated apartment building Scott was living in, but when Scott started to go for the door, Mark paid the fare and got out, too, following him to the door. He didn't look at Scott, but stood by and waited while Scott got his keys, some kind of tense.
Scott watched him uneasily, appraising--hadn't he seen that look before, somewhere?--but finally nodded up towards the building. "Invite yourself up, why don't you? Come up to my crappy place. I can make us some real coffee for a change, and maybe we can decide where to piggyback Dracula or the Leafs fan on another sketch. I wasn't planning to sleep any day soon, anyway."
Mark looked like he was digging in his heels, restrained. "I just--thought I'd stop outside for a cigarette. Walk or catch the bus from here."
"In Alphabet City? I don't think so." Scott unlocked the main door, making for the relative safety of the hall. "You can smoke on the balcony," Scott soothed. Then he turned and went, pretty sure he'd be followed.
Mark stretched out on the stiff chaise--which he'd dragged to straddle the doorway onto the not-really-a-balcony-so-much-as-a-fire-escape. He was lying out the wrong way, with his head low and his feet high (and outside). He hadn't lit the cigarette yet, but it was dangling from his fingers over his chest. His other hand was under his head, and his t-shirt had pulled up and free from the waist of his jeans with the stretch.
Scott lay back on the carpet, arms crossed over himself. He decided it was better he not really look at Mark, just then. Not while he looked like that. Not until he knew what the hell was going on.
No one was talking, though. No one was even smoking, and that seemed wrong.
Scott finally made the attempt. "Sorry for pushing you away, like this--the smoke detector's been throwing a hissy fit lately."
Great. Brooding. Scott tried again, forcing joviality into his tone. "Think there's still enough room over there for me to join you? I'm dying for one, myself." (He wasn't, particularly, but it was a good premise.)
Mark shoved himself over in the seat, against the edge, which Scott supposed was a kind of assent. He could perch on the arm if he was careful, so he did.
He lit his own cigarette, before dropping the lighter on Mark's stomach as a hint. Once he'd taken in enough smoke to soothe the jitter of nicotine dependency, he held it carefully out over the top of the chaise, so it dangled over the metal grill below (rather than the upholstery).
And Mark still hadn't lit his.
After a few more interminable minutes of watching him do nothing, Scott finally snapped, "Oh, give me that," and snatched the cigarette from Mark's loose fingers, raking his fingers across Mark's belly to collect the lighter, as he did. He braced the cigarette between his lips and lit the damn thing himself.
As he did, he tried not to think about how he'd accidentally run the t-shirt up a little higher, with that move, baring a little strip of skin over Mark's waist. He tried not to look, not too much.
He pocketed the disposable and extended his hand, to make the transfer. As a lungful of smoke sighed out, he offered the cigarette carefully down to Mark's lips.
After a beat, Mark broke his silence and asked, "Aren't I going to catch gay from that, though?"
"Oh, yes," Scott agreed. "Well-known fact." He transitioned flawlessly into the mode of charming educator, plastering on his best 'bullshit' smile. "You heteros can't catch it from accepting handjobs or blowjobs from queers, but sharing saliva and hand-holding spread the gay like wildfire." He fanned a hand dramatically.
Mark feigned hesitation, then arced his head up, arms still down flat beside him, to snatch the cigarette between his teeth. "Well, that's a risk I'm just going to have to take," he said around it. A drag, and then he deadpanned, "Ooh, there it is, I can feel it coming on..." He sank back into the chaise with a well executed sigh.
Scott laughed. "Honey, if it was that easy, this would be a very different world."
Mark smiled for a moment, but sank back into moody quiet almost immediately, and Scott, all nerves in the young silence, patted the upholstery and stood. "So, hey, let me get you a beer."
Mark nodded, contemplatively sucking back at the filter before flicking ash over the threshold.
Scott considered bringing back paper and pens, but didn't want to be boring. He considered asking Mark if he had anything better than alcohol on him, but didn't know if it would be such a good idea, just then. He opted just for the beer, instead.
When Mark showed no inclination to move for that, either, Scott went ahead and popped the tab for him. It had worked with the cigarette, hadn't it?
As predicted, Mark drank on suggestion. Scott rolled his eyes and wondered what he'd do if he was handed a loaded gun. Or a cock.
Scott flushed, and scolded himself for the thought. Where the hell was his mind, today? Maybe the sketch had got him going. Rough trade, and all. Why hadn't Mark pulled down his shirt, yet?
"You know, this is a theme with us," he said, almost idly, before he could think better of it.
Mark grunted. "What is?"
"Turning you gay."
Mark's attention seemed really caught for the first time, and his eyes flickered over the ceiling for a minute, like he were reading invisible lines, reviewing evidence. He settled on a cautious, "Is it?"
"Hell yes, Attila." Scott arched out over the chaise to drop a dangerously long thread of ash onto the grate. He'd forgotten it, and gave it attention just not to waste it. "And I did an entire monologue on fucking you."
Mark nodded slowly and alternated drugs, hand to hand. "...Fem Out," he supplied, once he'd swallowed. "I'm gay in Groovy Teacher, too..."
"Though that was Dave's thing," Scott admitted, "usually it's you and I doing it. Like Leslie the vampire fag." The coup.
"If they let us keep him," Mark muttered, glumly.
Scott ignored this outright. "It just seems like whenever we're locked away together, you become the gay aggressor for me."
Mark wasn't so game to psychoanalyze, and shrugged, looking away. "Where would the fun be if you played it?"
"Oh, I'd have plenty of fun. And when am I ever an aggressor?"
Mark snorted. "You just gave me gay laced cigarettes and beer. That's all it takes, right?"
"Putting the 'buy' back in 'bisexual,'" Scott quoted from their would-be sketch, by way of agreement. "You're right, how could you ever stand up to my charms?" he asked, indicating the bounty before them.
Mark tried not to look like he was laughing at his own line, but failed, in the end. "Man, I can't wait to run that. The CBC'll love it."
"Them and me both, honey. Now shut up and keep drinking."
"Why, have you got some suspicious, conveniently unmarked videos to show me?" Mark arched his eyebrows and glugged at his beer as low-brow as he could, wiping his mouth on his arm and belching when he was done. "Eh?"
"Oh, stop it, you know how hot the hoser thing gets me." Scott fanned himself, and hoped it came off as joking as he meant it to look. It was a little too desperate.
"Oh, you and me both, honey," Mark echoed, as camp as he could, and they laughed until a little of the tension had bled out at the edges.
Once it had died down, Mark sighed, and shifted into a slightly more relaxed sprawl. "You know," he said slowly, "I remember finding a couple of those."
Scott frowned. "What, hosers?"
"Suspiciously unmarked tapes of yours." His voice had changed just a little, and his eyes were fixed on the ceiling, again.
Scott shook his head dismissively. "Nuh-unh, when did you ever find my porn?"
"You know." Mark waved the cigarette vaguely toward Toronto. "Back in that shitty little basement apartment, when you stayed with me."
"Shit. Did I really leave it out?" Scott half covered his face with one hand.
Mark shrugged, "Must've fallen or something. And, of course, I just had to know what the strange videos were, under my sofa."
"Stop it," Scott scolded, grinning in pain and shoving him lightly, "you did not. Don't fuck with me like that."
"I seriously did!" Mark insisted, elbowing Scott in the hip lightly. "I was--I don't know, I was stoned and probably looking for Narnia, but I wound up on the floor trying to swim under the sofa. Knocked something loose."
"Oh, God... And I had such shitty porn, those days... Do you remember, um, which one it was?"
Mark shook his head. "Too stoned. Oh, you know I think it was in German, though. 'Ooh, Sheisse, ja, ja!'" he mimicked, uncannily as ever, writhing and panting. "'Gib los en meine Bum, ja!'"
Scott hid his face in the chaise, so he couldn't see Mark slapping his own hip. "I remember that one!" he cried, laughing. "And God, you're too good at that."
"Ich komme!" Mark wailed, to prove him right.
"Watched a lot of gay German porn, have you?" Scott muffled into the fabric.
"Picked up bits and pieces of German, here and there," Mark said, putting away the moan. When Scott still didn't lift his face (it was too red), Mark nudged him again with an elbow. "Diplomatic brat, remember?"
"Well, those are some very strange phrases to pick up."
Mark shrugged. "I'm just putting it together from the stuff I remember, it's probably wrong. I always learned just enough to get me into trouble."
Scott lifted his face a fraction to raise an eyebrow. "Mostly things you'd find in gay porn?"
"In any porn. And the German stuff is all fucked up. There are just some things I don't need to see. And that's saying something--"
"--Coming from you."
"--Coming from me, yeah. Seriously. I'll look at anything once--"
"--at least," Scott amended. "Before rendering judgment.".
"Exactly. That's me--open-minded."
"Well, okay," Scott challenged, finally coming up and settling his chin on his arm, "how open-minded are we talking, here?"
Mark paused for a moment, spending a little time with the alcohol and nicotine, before looking at him directly for the first time that night. "Well, I'm lying here drinking, alone with you on your couch, and we're talking about gay German porn and the seduction of straight men."
Scott drank, just to have an excuse for his swallow.
What the hell was he supposed to say to that? He couldn't even tell if he was being made-fun-of teased or cock-teased, and neither was very nice, when you got right down to it.
"Right," he said, nodding, trying hard to hang onto his good humor, trying hard to think of a way to joke and still work in a 'put up or shut up.' "Mark," he said sweetly, as casually as he could, "are you just fucking with me, or are you trying to put the 'bi' back in 'bi-curious'?"
Mark choked on his beer, laughing. "Bi-what?"
Scott rolled him onto his side and slapped him on the back, helpfully. "Think of it as being not entirely sure you're not just a little bit curious about experimenting with the dark side."
"Bi-curious," Mark repeated, getting a feel for the word. "Huh. We probably couldn't use that one, could we? No one would get it."
"Probably not fast enough," Scott said calmly, though he wanted to shake Mark for an answer to the question. "Though it seems pretty obvious, to me."
"Yeah, but you're... you know, around more people who are."
"Mark, you're living in New York, right now," Scott explained, as if to someone painfully naive. "Where I live. We live in the same city. We're probably around the same number of them, they're just not telling us. Shame though it is," he added as an afterthought.
Mark didn't seem to know about that one way or another, so he nodded.
"It's--well, you know this, but that's kind of one of my things," Scott admitted. "You know the white trash brutes, who don't know if they want to hit you or fuck you?" he sighed smoke out slow, closing is eyes. "But maybe I'm just self-destructive."
Mark shrugged. "Forbidden fruit, hint of danger. I can dig it. Like schoolgirls, kind of thing."
"I... guess you could compare rough trade to schoolgirls. Sure, sort of. And I mean, I know better than to hit on the construction workers by the office..."
"...But I still want to."
Mark nodded. He'd stayed on his side when Scott had rolled him, and now he shifted to get more comfortable there, pulling his feet down from the crest of the chaise. "So the just... open-minded straight guys aren't as much of a thrill?"
Scott coughed and rearranged himself, too, settling a little further away. "Well, no, that's a lot of fun, too," he said, nervously.
Mark nodded again. He finished the cigarette and the beer at the same time, and disposed of the one in the other, reaching out to set them down.
Scott reflected later that that was when his brain had stopped working, that that was when he'd stopped trying to make any sense of the conversation, because Mark had rolled onto his stomach and stretched to find the floor. That was when Mark had decided his ever-present red over-shirt was too warm, or was tangling him too much, or whatever, and had shrugged it off, too. And that was when he had stretched out again, just too far, to lay it on the floor, baring the small of his back and starting to lose his balance off the edge of the chaise.
So Scott, consummate gentleman, had made a desperate grab for his flailing, cursing friend, to keep him from falling. And it had worked, because he'd overbalanced himself onto the chaise, and kept Mark in place by falling on him, pinning him to the cushion with his own body.
At some point, in the new tangle of limbs, he dropped his own dregs and stubs, though they must have landed safely enough, because nothing caught fire, and they were only minimally splashed, but he didn't realize it as he did it. They were just gone.
He was a little too distracted to mind.
All he knew was that his hands were very suddenly free to gather Mark safely back onto the chaise and under his own body.
They both took a while to catch their breaths, rigid and frozen.
"You okay?" Scott asked, uneasily, once he could speak.
"I'm... not going to fall any farther, I think," Mark said.
"So... you can relax," Mark tried, again.
"Oh," Scott sighed, "right." He shifted his weight off of his hands, and let himself collapse a little onto the body beneath him with a relieved groan. "That better?"
Mark grunted. "Yeah, that's exactly what I had in mind."
Scott didn't know if he was joking and didn't care. "Great, I'm much more comfortable this way."
"Good." Mark shifted beneath him.
Scott did lift up a little, then, just in case it was a 'let me up' shift, but Mark didn't go very far. He just rolled back onto his back, to land face to face.
And stomach to stomach.
And knees to knees.
And then he folded his hands back behind his head and said:
"Is it really any fun to just blow a guy?"
Scott closed his eyes and tried not to groan out loud. He dug his fingers into the chaise. "Um, for some gay men, yes, it can be a lot of fun."
"'Cause that's always the bargaining chip with women," Mark said, starting to mumble. "They never do it for their own good..."
Scott shook his head slowly. "No, I think some of them do, they just still play you for favors for it, because they can; men are obsessed with having their cocks sucked and will do a lot to get it done."
Mark nodded slightly (he only had so much room between Scott's face above and the chaise below). "Yeah, I guess."
Scott nodded, too. "The balance sheet just turns, for heteros, when you tally on the disincentive of a male mouth doing the sucking. It may be just as good, but they have to feel like they're the ones doing the favor or else they're being queer."
"So the short answer is 'yes.' Why do you ask?" Scott asked, brightly.
Mark laughed, but he was short of breath. "No reason. Are you..."
"...One of those gay men who like to do it just because?" Scott finished.
Mark's eyes moved more than his head, but it looked enough like a nod.
"Well, you could find out pretty easily."
Scott had never registered Mark as looking frail, before, and he wasn't sure he did, now, but it was a possibility. He was on edge--the same look he'd had outside, when he was playing off any interest in coming inside.
That's where he'd seen that look. In that bar, when the straight boy had asked, "So what's it like, anyway? Not that I'm into it..." That look like fighting with the devil and angel on each shoulder, like being pushed and pulled at once.
Scott smiled, and hoped he looked relatively non-threatening (or at least only threatening in a good way). "Ask me to do it, and then see if I try to get you to paint the kitchen after."
"Wow, you can paint in here? My landlord would kill me."
"Yeah, it's part of the lease agreement--so long as it 'improves' the apartment, I can do whatever I like to it. I thought I might knock out a wall and annex the next apartment."
"Oh, stop it, Mark, you know how hot German gets me."
"Ist das recht?" Mark grinned. "Du liebst meine Deutsche-sprechen?"
The voice was a little goofy, and so was the expression, but Scott groaned. "Do you really think it's safe to taunt me, considering the advantage I have over you at the moment?"
"I could totally take you," Mark scoffed.
"Well that's fun, too," Scott teased, but here, Mark got a little pale and tensed into one big knot beneath him.
Ah. The invisible line had been crossed.
"But back to blowing you," Scott said, to make or break it.
"Yes," Mark blurted.
Scott took a second to try to rope his racing brain into action deciphering that, but it wouldn't. "'Yes' what?"
"Yes, sir?" Mark tried, weakly.
"No, I--honey, I mean 'yes' to what? Though that was cute." He reached to brush over Mark's nose affectionately with a thumb.
"To--" Mark stopped before the encroaching stammer could cut in, looking around for help or strength. Apparently finding none, he looked decidedly aside, swallowed. "I think I need another beer," he finished, lamely, in a mumble.
Scott sighed nearly silently. "Sure thing." Awkwardly, reluctantly, he found a safe place for his knee, planted his hands, and pressed up and off.
He managed to find the cans and butts, and even dab up the worst of the spill, before Mark had even sat up. But then again, Mark was moving pretty deliberately. When Scott left for the kitchen, he was recovering his over-shirt and checking his pockets as if in slow-motion.
But when Scott got back with another couple of beers--and, being ballsy, a bottle of CC and a rocks glass--Mark appeared to have come back up to speed, because he was almost done rolling. He was sprawled against the back of the chaise with one foot planted up beside him and the other leg sprawled out beside, dangling over the edge.
He'd made room for Scott at the foot. Plenty of room.
"Oh, good," he said, nodding toward the bottle as he licked the onion skin to stick it down. "Perfect."
Scott tried to decide if it was actually one-too-many, what with the pot and the beer, but couldn't work up enough sense of responsibility to put it away. Mark wanted it, right? That was enough reason to keep it.
"I wasn't being fair," he began, sitting down in the space made for him while Mark lit up. "The making-you-the-gay-one is probably on me."
Mark looked up, but was too busy holding his lungs full of smoke to speak.
"It's just that you're the only one I could imagine dating, I think. You're not quite as much the skinny little girl the others are."
Mark nodded as he began to sputter, losing the battle with his lungs. After about three seconds' debate about whether it was a bad idea or not, Scott waved for the joint, pulling some of the smoke Mark was coughing up along with it.
He couldn't work up Mark’s kind of commitment. He took a couple of short hits, and covered his less spectacular cough in his elbow while he handed it back, to set down the beer and pour the whisky.
Mark took another marathon lungful and was halfway there. By the time Scott was palming the rocks glass off on him, he was carefully pinching off the end to save and depositing it into a pocket. He chased it obediently, to cut through the coughing, but most of the tension had already drained, visibly, out of his body.
"Yeah." Mark's smile was a little sleepy, but lucid.
Scott opened his mouth to speak, but closed his eyes, instead, as a pulse of the pot hit him--and must have visibly rocked him, because Mark laughed. "Man, you're high already."
"I am not." Scott pushed Mark's knee in protest.
"I thought I was supposed to be the one getting you trashed," Scott murmured, tipping his head back. "But I'm not high, I'm just... spinning a little."
"Oh, oh," Mark said, excited, shifting forward, "lie back, watch this. Look, tell me which way it's spinning--"
As Scott flattened himself against the chaise (keeping his feet firmly planted on the floor, and hanging on), Mark reached out and started moving his fluttering hand in an even counter-clockwise circle above him, running against the current of his vision.
It looked like the world was on two circular tracks, twisting against one another.
"Man, I know," Mark said. "Okay, watch, watch..."
Scott watched as the circle of his hand narrowed, like a hypnotist's wheel, twisting closer.
It shouldn't have been so amazing, he knew that. He was just being stupid, but...
"Wow..." He broke into a fit of giggles. "Okay, stop, stop. How'm I--how am I supposed to blow you if it looks like you're going in circles?"
"Just have to go in circles, too. Look, follow my hand..."
Scott turned his head to follow as the circle drew away, towards Mark, and drew him on, in, towards his waist. When he rolled onto his stomach (carefully, still clinging to the furniture), his eyes latched and everything stopped spinning abruptly, as if Mark's body were the center of the universe.
Fitting, at the moment.
"That's much better," he said, as Mark chuckled and lounged back again.
"Here," Mark said, offering the rocks glass back to him.
"I better not. You have some more, okay?"
Mark shrugged, and went to it as Scott found his way back up onto his elbows.
"I swear, I got stoned-er watching you do that, you really fucked with me there."
Mark chuckled. "Like you haven't fucked with me a little?"
"Well, not yet... Which reminds me..." He fixed as stern a look as he could manage at the moment (which wasn't very) on his friend. "Yes to what?"
If Scott was reading him right, Mark was still nervous, but not apprehensive, this time. He looked like he was weighing his options. He knocked back another gulp, and gestured with the glass. "Dutch courage."
"Sorry, honey, that's Canadian. Are you stalling?"
"Works out the same. No, just--needed it. Yes to you."
"To me?" Scott arched an eyebrow.
"So, you mean--"
"--I'll even paint your kitchen. ...Maybe."
Scott's mouth went dry. After a long, silent moment, he rasped, "I think I will have that sip, thanks."
Mark nodded, and handed it over.
"But, you know," Mark said, "only if you can catch me before I sneak out like a bastard in the morning to catch the first bus."
Scott finished the glass in one, and set it aside. "Wow, you're already not staying for breakfast?"
"You know men," Mark said in one of his girl voices, feigning exasperation with the sex.
"Don't I ever." And watching him carefully for any sign of a freak-out, Scott reached for Mark's fly, to pop the button.
"What if I promised to do it again in the morning? Then would you stick around for cornflakes and semi-gloss?"
"Hard to say," Mark said, stiffly. "In the morning, it won't have been two months since the last time I've been laid."
"Aah, at last the truth comes out. You probably won't be drunk or stoned, either," Scott allowed, as he tugged the zipper down.
"Probably not." Mark's hands were gripping the chaise like a lifeline.
"Well, we'll just have to see if my mouth's merits speak for themselves, then."
Mark nodded, but only barely. If he was making an attempt to speak (and it looked like he might be), it wasn't working. And Scott wasn't in the mood to wait.
Strike while the iron's hot, right?
He sank his fingers through layers, to see if the iron was as hot as all that, and found it was certainly thinking about it. Though iron would have been an overstatement.
No matter. He could deal with that.
But Mark was gaping at him, so he looked up on his way down. "Just close your eyes, baby, and try to keep breathing." He didn't wait to look and see if Mark did or didn't. He shuffled his fingers gently until Mark, lovely Mark, strained against him, solid, before swallowing him up.
Mark cursed, above him. "Jesus!" came out muffled, as if he were covering his own mouth.
Scott grinned around his mouthful.
He loved--loved--doing this. Maybe it was just that he had an oral fixation (it would explain the smoking), or liked the weird power you had over someone you were blowing (despite the 'submissive' posture), but everything about it was important. Every physical piece of it--the equipment, the tastes, the reactions, the equipment, even the sloppy, wet sounds--was thrilling.
Especially the equipment. Hot and rigid and smooth...
He could admit it: he was a born cocksucker.
But having some lovely man's body under his (or on top of his) was always right. Even if it belonged to Mark--straight, smart, grumbling Mark, with whom he'd have to work like normal the next day, and for a lot of days after, God willing. Even if it was a danger to their livelihoods (or maybe especially).
He could feel the tight muscles in Mark's thighs straining, felt him jump whenever he teased him too much, or let his fingers stray too far south, or moaned enough to send little vibrations through him. And Mark, despite his clear tension, was very generous--he gasped, grunted, groaned, and cursed profusely, even when he was stifling on or biting his own hand.
A couple of times when he got too close, he blurted, "Nn--stop, stop!" perhaps out of some unfortunate sabotaging Tourette's or reflexive frightened hetero-voice in his head, but he always redacted, snatching at Scott before he could obey and pull away completely, muttering apologies as he did. After the second time, he stammered out, "If I s-say stop again, just--just ignore me, I'm an idiot."
Scott stopped long enough to promise he would, and to admire the fact that Mark had strung together an entire, almost-coherent sentence.
And he didn't stop again--despite three similar outbursts, one bout of what was possibly shocked laughter, and the string of profanity that started issuing out of Mark about the same time his cum did.
He held on until Mark stopped twitching, and cleaned up with his tongue, just to be dirty about it.
"Fffuck," Mark hissed, at a particularly well-aimed swipe of tongue along over-stimulated nerves, and finally gathered up enough strength to push back at Scott in a plea for a halt. "Okay, okay... "
Scott patted his knee and got up to fetch a washrag. When he came back, he dropped it, damp, into Mark's extended hand, and poured himself some whisky.
Mark was still panting.
"You okay, there?"
Mark nodded, slowly reassembling his propriety.
"Don't want to hit me, kiss me, or cry?"
"Nah. ...Well, maybe a little bit."
Mark paused. "All of the above?"
Scott patted him again and laughed. "That's okay. If you decide you need to do any of those, you just let me know."
Mark laughed, too, still a little short of breath. "Okay. Um, you?"
"Fine, fine. I mean, totally fucking horny, but that's to be expected. I should have jacked off while I was doing you, I didn't think of it. To tell the truth, it's been too long since I've been laid, too."
"As a heart attack." He took the washrag back from Mark, balled it up and aimed for the sink, sank it in one. "God, that was hot."
"It's--you're--" Mark struggled for words, settled on, "Thanks. Seriously."
"Any time, sister, any time," Scott said, smiling, and thought he probably meant it.
A pause started there, and threatened to grow awkward and long, so Scott shook his head and plowed forward. "Anyway, where should we set you up for the night? Sofa or chaise? We can pull it in, you don't have to sleep on the fire escape."
Mark looked at him strangely, before asking, "What about the bed?"
"Uh-unh. I'm sorry, honey, you don't get the blowjob and get to kick me to the couch."
"No, I mean--" Mark took the rocks glass and swallowed at it. "Is it like a twin, or something?"
Scott leaned back, to fix an appraising stare on him. "It's a full."
"Then couldn't we share?"
Scott lifted his eyebrows. "We could totally share, I just wasn't sure you'd be feeling up to that."
Mark shrugged, in a way that looked awkward to Scott, but what he said was, "Why the hell not?"
"Oh, I just figured sex and a cuddle was too much to hope for."
Mark laughed at him outright.
"Well, I've proved what a predator I am," Scott pressed.
"Oh, yeah, I'm really terrified of being subjected to another round of fellatio." Mark rolled his eyes. "I mean, I'm not asking for one, I don't--need to cuddle, or anything, it just... It seems stupid, under the circumstances, for someone to sleep on the couch."
Scott watched him, again, for any signs of agitation (or unexpected mooniness), but found none. So, he shrugged. "All right, then. But I have to warn you, I sleep naked and steal the covers."
"Me, too," Mark said.
The next morning--very, very late in the morning, after they'd both stumbled through their first cups of coffee--Scott said, "Hey, just tell me--was it worth painting for?"
Mark gave a furtive look around. "You know, I've got an early bus to catch..."
Scott smirked, and smacked his arm, across the table. "Eat your damn cornflakes."