Disclaimer: I have and make claim to nothing.
Mark watched Roger. He saw the curve of his shoulder reflecting moonlight from beads of sweat. His hair, still damp from the shower, clung thickly. In the dark this was all Mark could see, but he knew more. He knew from the tightness in Roger's shoulders that he was awake and from the small shudder as he breathed knew that he still felt a pulse in his groin.
It had been nearly two years--long enough, certainly, to deem the relationship serious and, equally, long enough for Mark to know how to get what he wanted. This was usually fairly easy. Roger was the sort to promise the world and apologize not for his inability to deliver, but the time it took with a constant belief in the future. His dying body went unacknowledged in those moments, and he was doing well. His T-cells were up, he got out, he was happy.
This meant that Roger was more agreeable than usual. Unfortunately, what Mark wanted was one of the few things Roger would not be willing to give. He would promise any object, let Mark do whatever to his body, but this…
"Roger…" Mark's hand began on Roger's shoulder, then followed the curve of his body, coming to rest on his chest.
Roger took Mark's hand and kissed it. "Mmhmm?" he asked. You have only to ask, whatever it is, he thought, but if Mark wanted to flirt Roger was not about to stop him--providing he was the flirtee, of course.
"I want to meet your parents," Mark announced.
Roger froze. "You… uh… huh?" he babbled. He rolled over to face Mark. "No, you don't, baby."
Mark laughed. It was a quiet laugh composed more of exhalation than actual amusement; there seemed no need for sound in their private world, secluded as they were beneath the covers. Each felt the pressure of the other's breath and the thump of his pulse. "Yes, I do," he said.
"No." Roger shook his head. "You don't."
"Yes, I do," Mark insisted, grinning. He reached out and rested a hand above Roger's ear, toying with his hair. "I want to know where you came from."
Roger groaned. "You know where I came from. New Jersey."
Mark laughed. "Yeah," he said, "but… I don't know your parents."
For a long while, Roger was silent. He and Mark unconsciously synchronized their breathing, so that the sounds of inhalation and exhalation magnified slowly to fill the room, pressing on their skulls. Mark's hand remained on Roger's head, but it fell still, awaiting a response.
"Neither do I," Roger said at last.
Mark climbed on top of Roger, straddling him and rubbing his shoulders. Roger gave the sigh that accompanied rolling eyes lost to the darkness--You won't win, Mark. "I want to meet your parents," Mark sang. Six years of living with Roger had taught him that words sung out pierced defenses much more quickly than those spoken.
Roger shook his head. "You don't need to," he sang back.
Mark pouted. His fingers roamed through Roger's hair. "I want to know you--"
Roger covered Mark's hands with his, a somewhat awkward gesture with Roger lying on his back and Mark's hands in his hair. "You know me," Roger whispered. He had had enough of song and something, Mark heard by Roger's tone, had upset him.
"But I want to know you better--"
Roger pushed himself back and sat up. Mark was now in Roger's lap, precisely what Roger had wanted. He pulled Mark into a hug, skin against skin. "No one could."
Mark drew back. Romantic nothings would not win him over, this time. "I could!"
"Please, Mark, we're perfect." Roger drew Mark in again, kissed his neck and held him tightly. "I love you, you know me--"
"I love you!"
Roger chuckled. "And I love to hear you say that!" he retorted. "You do know me, Mark, just like I know you. I gave up peanut butter for you. You understand my fear of dental floss."
"I don't understand it… I respect it."
"See, we're perfect," Roger concluded. He tried to lay down, taking Mark with him, but Mark refused.
"Are you ashamed of me?" he asked.
Roger refused to be drawn in. He asked, "Do you think that? How can you?"
"The way you act!"
Fight fire with fire then. "My hand in your pocket at the market? The way I kiss you and touch you? I just don't want to bring you home."
"Do you think your parents won't like me?"
"Is it because I'm Jewish?" It was a cheap shot and Mark knew that. Objecting to Jews in Jersey was like objecting to sunshine in Los Angeles.
"You know that's not why."
Roger released Mark. He fell onto the bed and rolled onto his side. "What will it prove?" he asked the darkness of the room. "What will it gain you?"
"A better understanding. Or no more sex!"
Roger sulked. "Just for the weekend."
After a short, triumphant cry, Mark kissed Roger and settled beside him. "I can't wait."
TO BE CONTINUED!
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