AU Ch. 07byFangsAnarchy©
Todd watched Maddox move sluggishly around the room cramming things haphazardly into a bag. "So we are leaving Saturday morning?" Todd asked, wondering why his friend was packing almost a full week before they left.
Maddox didn't answer he just moved to his closet. He had so much to do during the week that packing frantically the Sunday before was his only option.
"Cause you said you have classes all day Friday?" He tried again.
"Yeah, classes." Maddox answered picking out a black Calvin Cline denim jacket and then putting it back. "I wonder what Mark is doing for Thanksgiving?" Maddox hadn't even realized he was starting to say these things out loud.
Todd sighed, he truthfully didn't understand why Maddox didn't just go talk to the guy. Sure, he knew his best friend was shy but damn this was a whole new level "Well you see him a few times a week why not ask him." He shrugged, his eyes following as Maddox continued to pack his clothing like a squirrel hiding its nuts for the winter. There was little if any rhyme or reason to the movements.
Maddox looked over at Todd with his eyes narrowed. He was really starting to regret letting him in. If it had been left up to Maddox he would have just left Todd at the door. Still, the suggestion that he should do something proactive made Maddox stop in his tracks.
Disgusted with his own cowardice he leaned against the wall, sliding down it, head turned to the paint chipped ceiling. "Cause, he want's nothing to do with me." Maddox snorted feeling stupid and weak. He ran his hands across the grimy off white carpet.
Todd rolled his eyes. Clearly Mark wasn't any better off than Maddox, he couldn't just turn feelings on and off. Todd sat opposite his friend "Well why not fight for him." He suggested. Maybe the guy just wanted to see how much he really meant to Maddox.
"Because" Maddox snapped. He didn't understand why his friend was so insistent that he make the first move. He didn't know Mark. Mark was the aggressor in their relationship and Maddox respected that.
"Because why?" Todd pressed. He knew his friend didn't have a good reason to not talk to Mark. He was afraid, and justifiably so. It might not work out the way Maddox wanted and Todd knew that putting himself out there so soon after a divorce wasn't easy. Just the same, Maddox needed this push and Todd was starting to think Mark needed Maddox to be pushed too. That was why Todd had come over today. He was going to pester his friend until he did what was right. If not, he would regret letting Mark go for the rest of his life. Regret, a feeling Todd knew too well.
"Because I am going to respect him and know when he says a baby is too much then a baby is too much." Maddox's voice was growing softer by the second. Only proving Todd's point that he wanted Mark back. God he hated proving Todd right.
"What if he wants you to fight for him?" Todd pushed. He could see little white flags behind those familiar blue eyes.
Maddox nodded, maybe Todd really was right. He didn't have much fight left to argue with him anyway. "Can't hurt to try." He stated looking at Todd with uncertainty.
A victorious smile sprawled across Todd's face. He couldn't help but to be proud of Maddox for coming to that conclusion. "Is there anything worse than not having him?"
Maddox shook his head, realizing the question hadn't required an answer. Mark was worth the fight, no matter how bloody the battle.
Justin eyed his roommate with piqued curiosity. It was two days before Thanksgiving break and Mark clearly wasn't with mister asshole mystery man, thank god that was over. It was starting to become difficult to be happy for them. "So you decided to come with me after all?" Justin asked. He might have to call his little fuck toy Jin and tell him to find another place to go if Mark was planning on coming home with him.
Mark froze, he still hadn't told Justin yet. "No, sorry Just. I uh, I'm going with my friend from Chemistry class." He felt bad for the partial lie. He was planning on going to Maddox's to see... well he wasn't sure what he wanted to see but he had to try talking to him. Cassie was right, Mark loved Maddox. He wasn't sure when it had happened but it had happened. He loved him and using the inconvenience of a baby was no longer a place for him to run and hide. If Maddox rejected him, then he would take Cassie up on her offer to go home with her.
Justin looked a bit shocked "Why?" He snarled. He realized how harsh it sounded and sat on his bed. "Sorry, I just really wanted you to come with me."
Mark ignored the snapping and continued "Well, I am going to try and get Maddox to give me another chance." He straightened and watched Justin pout. "I'll come home with you some other time. I promise, this is just something I have to do and if it doesn't go well then Cassie lives really close by."
Justin nodded "No, it's okay don't worry about it. I just thought you didn't want to come home with me. Drama queen moment passed." He smiled evenly. "So mystery man has a name now?"
Mark didn't understand why his heart suddenly stopped beating. He trusted Justin didn't he? Why was letting Maddox's name out such a bad thing. "I do want to go home with you Justin. Honestly I was going to stay here but... I really screwed up this time. I really screwed up the last time I let him out of my life too. I need him." Mark laughed softly a blush creeping up his cheeks. Since when did he admit to needing anybody. He vowed to never need something or someone after Noah was so cruelly ripped from him.
Justin hugged Mark's slender waist "I am sure mystery man will take you back. I mean look at you, you're perfect." He felt a small twisting in his stomach. Then something registered "Didn't he dump you the first time?"
Mark laughed "I didn't say he dumped me I said his job wasn't good for us to be together. I let you assume what you wanted. I know that was wrong and I should have trusted you but I'm far from perfect. I trust you Justin, you are my best friend so I'm going to solve the mystery. Just please promise not to tell?" Mark asked.
Justin nodded trust was a good thing, clearly what Mark and this Maddox guy had was on shakey ground. "I won't tell a single person." Justin's heart was beating faster "Cross my heart." Justin hadn't let go yet and he just looked up at Mark with innocent curiosity. Mark was going to tell him, this had to mean something right?
Mark leaned down so his warm breath prickled against Justin's skin "His name is Maddox Cotedivoux and he's the chemistry teacher." Mark whispered against Justin's ear.
Justin's eyes bugged out of his skull. His mouth dropped and his fists clenched. He jolted out of Mark's embrace his bed hitting the back of his knees causing him to sit.
He was stunned. Justin's mind raced trying to piece it all together. He noticed Mark was staring at him uneasily waiting for an answer.
"I'm happy for you Mark" He got up and hugged Mark firmly and then let go as he shoved his hands in his pockets sheepishly. He should have kept better control of his emotions. Justin knew he was better than that.
Justin tried to make his smile look sincere "Guess that answers my gay prayer huh? He is a lucky man." He regained composure and managed to look happy for Mark, not a minute too late. How dare that teacher go after his roommate. What low life can't find a damn date in his own age group. He was abusing a position of power on a weak student. It wasn't as if the guy was bad looking. He could have his pick of men, real men. Not students.
Mark relaxed, feeling the tension leave his body and fall into the floor. He knew Justin hadn't seemed enthralled with the idea of a teacher dating a student, but it was Justin. He felt his roommate hug him tightly everything was out in the open. The only one who he still had confessing to do too was his Maddox. He would tell him about Noah and Cassie and now Justin. He would tell him about the tattoos and scars. He would tell him all of it, including that he loved him. He just prayed Maddox would listen.
Justin's phone vibrated with a vengeance in his pocket. He huffed his annoyance. "Rents are here. I'll see you after break. Good luck Mark." He blew his roommate a kiss and skipped out of the room, pink Victoria's Secret bags in tow.
Mark grinned. Justin seemed fine, everything was going to be fine.
Todd nervously cracked his knuckles. He was out going, and easy to talk to, however, the phone call he was about to make was entirely out of character for him. He knew that. Perhaps that was why he was so nervous.
Todd held his open cell phone in his hand. Mark's number already dialed. Really he should just let Maddox do this on his own but Todd knew that if what Maddox had with Mark was over Maddox would be devastated. In all honesty he wondered how his friend would handle a failed marriage and a failed relationship.
With an exasperated sigh Todd hit send. He had to know where Mark stood on the whole thing before he pushed Maddox any harder about talking to him.
Mark was cramming the last of what he needed into a modest duffle bag. Justin had left about an hour ago and Mark was heading out to meet Cassie. His phone vibrated across his desk. He picked it up without looking at the number "Hang on I'll be down in a minute."
"What?" The rough voice questioned through the phone.
Mark looked startled. He held the phone away from his face and realized he didn't know the number. "Who is this?"
"I uh, I'm a friend of Maddox's" Todd said uncertainly into the phone. "This is Mark right?" He asked suddenly nervous that he had memorized the number wrong. There was a first time for everything.
"Yeah, how is he?" Mark collapsed on the unforgiving dorm floor. Uncertainty and regret plaguing him. He should have never let Maddox go.
"Honestly, he's doing great." Todd paused. He couldn't tell how Mark felt and now the guy wasn't talking. He wasn't about to tell Mark that Maddox was pinning away for him, and planning to try and win him back. It would only make his friend sound pathetic if the emotions were not returned. As much as Maddox didn't want help, Todd wasn't going to let him walk like a dumb lamb to slaughter.
"Oh... well I am happy for him then." Mark offered. His throat felt like it was trying to accommodate an ostrich egg. Why was this guy calling? To tell him what an idiot he was for running away from Maddox, again. He already knew that and sure as hell didn't feel like having that fact rubbed into his face. Maybe this time really was one time to many. Mark started to worry that maybe simply running to Maddox wouldn't be enough this time. His heart felt like a stone, falling to the decayed leaf matter at the bottom of a pond never to be seen again. He loved Maddox Cotedivoux; it had just taken him too long to figure it out.
Todd smiled; Mark sounded so disappointed only an idiot would think it was over. "Well thanks for talking to me Mark. You're still in town right? I mean you didn't leave for home yet, did you?"
"No, I was going to try and talk to Maddox and if... if he didn't want to see me I was going to go home with a friend. So I guess I'm just going home with a friend." Mark shook his head, why was he spilling his guts to a total stranger. "Why are you calling me ag-?"
"Look Mark, I need you to go get a cup of coffee today at one alright? There is a really nice little place called Golden Brew, on Main Street. You'll be able to be there right?" Todd implored rocking on the balls of his feet. He wasn't about to let either one of them go home alone for Thanksgiving. He also wasn't going to spoil Maddox's plan to show Mark how special he was, all he was going to do was to provide a good meeting spot. Todd didn't even know the guy, but he felt he deserved a little help in getting his man back after learning about Trissta.
"Yeah, I guess. I still don't se-" Mark was confused at the strangers sudden happy chatter and request for him to go to a coffee shop. However the guy claimed to know Maddox and that was more than enough to interest him in a quick cup of coffee.
Cutting him off, "Good! Just coffee, one." and with a click Todd was gone. He sighed heavily. Well at least that was working out.
Mark studied his phone for a second. "Alright..." He said to no one in particular. A quick cup of coffee couldn't hurt. Besides maybe Todd, Tag... whatever the hell his name was, was going to tell him something important about Maddox. Paranoia surged through Mark, hoping this guy didn't have plans to tell him to stay away from Maddox. He looked at his phone and realized he only had 20 minutes to finish packing before going to meet this friend of Maddox's.
Twenty minutes later, Mark's phone vibrated in his pocket, being a little gun shy after his phone call, Mark looked at the caller ID. This time it read Cassie "I'm coming just looking for my jacket." Mark flicked his tongue ring against his teeth. He was trying to decide if he should take Todd's advice. He wanted to see Maddox, which meant going to his apartment. Still, Mark's heart was fragile and maybe it would be better to see what the friend had to say.
Cassie laughed "You need to think that hard about a jacket hun?"
Cassie continued "Whenever you are really thinking in class you flick your tongue ring against your teeth. Makes a very unattractive clicking sound."
Mark blushed he hadn't realized he did that. "Hey, you wanna get a cup of coffee before we hit the road and I pour my heart out so it can be stomped on? One of Maddox's friends called and I want to see what he wants before I make an ass of myself."
Waiting for an answer Mark looked over at Justin's bed. His eyebrows pushed together causing a crease in his pale forehead to form. "Alright I'll be down in two minutes." Mark walked over to the bed and examined some strange dark spots marring the pink camo comforter.
"Sure, and I really don't think you are going to have your heart stomped on, or that you'll make an ass of yourself. You should see the way he looks at you in class. Actually now that I think about it you two really should be more careful about that. I mean hell if I can figure it out someone else can too."
The smile in Cassie's voice almost drug Mark's attention away from the stain. "Mmm I'll be down soon." Mark hung up. The stains were familiar to him; still he didn't want to assume that of his roommate. Mark clicked his tongue stud against his teeth and suddenly the few scars patterned across his ribs burned. Patters of self-inflicted misery. Mark hadn't done it often, but sometimes when the pain was just too bad he had cut. He recognized the stain to be blood and hoped it was just from a nose bleed. Why self-injury was the first though he had was beyond him.
Noticing he was clicking his tongue ring again Mark's mood lightened. Damn that girl for pointing that out to him. His thoughts were taken to chemistry class, or rather his chemistry teacher, as he walked out of his dorm room for the Thanksgiving break.
Thinking about what he was heading off to do Mark's heart somersaulted. He and Cassie were supposed to go to Maddox's apartment. She promised to be there as he begged for another chance. He wasn't good at admitting he was wrong and he was even worse at feeling helpless. Mark had always been on his own after Noah. Cassie had forced him to admit he needed Maddox in his life, that it was ok to love him and not forget Noah.
Making a mental note to ask his roommate about the stain when they both got back from break, Mark chose to forget about it and focus looking for Cassie's car. He was going to go and try to fix things with Maddox which was more important at the moment. Seeing Cassie's black Charger he smiled and walked towards her fidgeting with the straps on his back pack as he went. It was a nervous unsure sort of expression, he was happy to go see Maddox again, but dredging the chance of rejection. "Coffee first" He silently reminded himself.
Cassie looked Mark over the question burning in her eyes. "So, why are you suddenly so insistent on getting coffee?"
"His friend called me. He said I should be there at one. He probably was calling to tell me that I should just leave Maddox alone." Mark winced and pulled his knees to his chest. "He probably has some really great guy by now. Maybe we should just go to your home, I don't think I want to hear what this friend of his has to say."
Watching her friend deflate Cassie shook her head, "Nope, either we go straight to his house or we see what this Todd guy wants. "Either way I ain't letting you off the hook." It was disgustingly adorable how much both of them wanted each other, only a blind fool wouldn't notice that they both missed each other.
"Coffee" Mark said flatly, that was the safer option after all. Self-preservation of the heart, it would be easier to hear a no from a stranger than Maddox.
"I still don't see why I should bring him coffee." Maddox protested.
Todd shoved Maddox towards the coffee shop even though his friend wanted to go to Mark's dorm. "Because... you two met over coffee. It'll be romantic or some shit."
Maddox rolled his eyes "... Or some shit? We met over a pool table and alcohol." The protest was evident in his short tone. "Besides, I want to catch him before he leaves." It had taken Maddox this long to work up the courage to go fight for Mark. Now that he had however he was in a hurry to have him back, or know for sure that it was over. "Besides, since when do you know or care about what is romantic heartbreaker?"
"Always, besides you met him for real over spilled coffee. First day of class you made an ass of yourself and dropped it."
Maddox flushed, that moment when he had realized Mark was his student had caused him to drop his coffee. "Ok, but I really don't think he'll remember that or think me bringing him a cup of coffee will be roman-"
"Yes he will, and you two got back together the first time over coffee too. Your shirt is still stained. You really should just throw the damn thing out man." Todd persisted. He waited an extra ten minutes to make sure if Mark was coming he would already be there. If not then Todd would convince his friend to not go and it would be less messy.
Maddox opened the door and was instantly assaulted by rustic music and the scent of coffee brewing. He moaned softly, he loved coffee and it usually seemed to sooth him. Todd knew him too well.
Todd's eyes scanned the room, settling on Mark and relief flowed through him. He came; clearly he wanted Maddox as much as Maddox wanted him. "Why don't you ask him yourself if he remembers?" Todd stated turning Maddox so that he saw Mark. Todd happened to notice the very attractive blonde sitting across from The slender male.
As Mark turned around, Maddox looked into his eyes seeing all the fear he felt reflected there. On auto pilot Maddox walked over. "Hey Mark." Maddox said softly.
Cassie looked up to see her teacher and sexy hunk friend. Deciding Mark and Maddox would like some alone time and she would enjoy some alone time with his friend. "Hey, Todd was it? Why don't you buy me a latte?"
Agreeing with Cassie Todd offered her his arm and led her away so Maddox could slide in where Cassie had been sitting.
Mark twisted his napkin feeling so small in the oversized coffee house chair. "Your uh friend told me I should be here." Mark knew now that Maddox was here to tell him it was over. He had to be. Still, he had to try something "I'm sorry Maddox, I shouldn't have come and I'm sorry I ran... again." He blurted out; this wasn't how he meant for it to go.
"No, no I should be sorry. I shouldn't have let you walk away Mark. I wanted to give you time to think and I thought that you might never..." Maddox was shaking with all the nervousness that had built up. Clearly fighting for Mark hadn't turned out even remotely close to how he planned. Still he had to admit, Todd was right to tell him to come here, this was a better place to be rejected than a dorm room.