No Regrets Ch. 04bynem0©
Pucky watched with his hands in his pockets as Jon handed Stella her keys. Jon had driven them back to his house after leaving Deacon's, where Stella had left her car earlier that day. Jon said something quietly to Stella and she laughed before giving him a quick hug. As Stella walked down the driveway towards Pucky, Jon waved and closed the door. Pucky leaned back on Stella's car and sighed. Stella cocked her head and put her hands on his hips.
"What's up with you?" Stella asked softly. "You hardly said a word the whole ride here. Jon didn't even want to give me a hug in case you thought he was making a move on me!" Pucky snorted and took his hands out of his pockets, wrapping Stella in a bear hug. "Are you ok?"
"Yeah," Pucky said after a moment. "But today was...weird, wasn't it?" Stella nodded into Pucky's chest. "I mean, it wasn't just me, right? Deac and Mark were..." Pucky trailed off, not sure what he meant to say.
"Mmm, they both seemed on edge about something," Stella agreed. "Do you think they were having a fight about something when we got there?" Pucky shook his head firmly.
"Nah, those guys don't fight," Pucky mused. "And they didn't seem tense towards each other either."
"I didn't get the feeling they were mad at us though," Stella said sleepily. "More like...I don't know, it was like we interrupted something." Pucky nodded silently. He frowned in thought for a few more seconds, and then squeezed Stella gently.
"Come on," he said quietly into her hair. "It's late." Stella stepped back from the embrace and nodded wearily. "Are you ok to drive?" Stella opened her mouth to say she was, when a yawn took over. Pucky grinned and gently pried the keys from her hand. "Come on, I'll drop you home and I'll bring the car round tomorrow, ok?"
"Thanks Puck," Stella murmured as she dropped into the passenger seat.
Puck drove through the dark streets silently as Stella dozed beside him. He pulled into her driveway slowly and cut the engine. As the engine ticked and cooled, Pucky sat back and looked at Stella.
"Stell," Puck said, gently shaking the blonde girl into waking. "We're here baby." Stella sat up and looked around, the top of her jacket slipping down off her shoulder. Pucky was absentmindedly pulling her jacket back up onto her shoulder where it had fallen from, when it came to him. "Hey, I think I might know why Mark and Deac were so strange today." Stella perked up and raised her eyebrows.
"Yeah? What's your theory?" Stella enquired.
"Well, when we got there, they both looked kinda shocked. And when you asked Deac how he was, he looked spooked, y'know? And didn't say anything, just sorta...gaped."
"Yeah," Stella nodded slowly. "He was a bit dazed."
"And I just remembered now, when Mark talked to you, he was putting a tshirt on." Stella frowned and shrugged her shoulders.
"So? They were in the pool, Puck."
"Yeah, but when we got there, it must have been off, right? Maybe...maybe Mark and Deac has just..." Pucky bit his lower lip and frowned.
"Just what?" Stella prompted. Pucky looked into her eyes intensely.
"His back, Stell," Pucky said quietly. "Mark's back, the scars...I think maybe Deac had just seen them, that's why he was so...spaced out."
"Jesus," Stella breathed. "You're right, that's totally it! I didn't even think about that, he's always got a tshirt on." They both sat in silence for a few moments.
"They musta looked pretty bad," Pucky mused. "For Deac to be acting like that. Usually he's pretty calm about things. Not much fazes him."
"Yeah, well not much fazes Mark either," she replied, "so those scars must be pretty bad for him to have hidden them like he has. Do you think he showed Deac, or he saw it by accident?"
"Nah, not by accident, Mark's been way too careful about that," Pucky said. "And he saw the way Deac was acting."
"Yeah, you're right," she agreed. "Plus the tension between them today was obvious. I wonder what brought it on?" Pucky made a face and sighed.
"Let's forget about it," he suggested. "It doesn't matter whether we're right or not, it's none of our concern, really." Stella nodded solemnly.
"You're right, none of our business," she agreed. Pucky leaned over and kissed Stella lightly.
"Shall I walk madame to the door?" Pucky asked with mock bravado. Stella giggled and kissed him back.
"No, because then you'll come inside and we'll never get any sleep!"
"Oh yeah? Who're you hiding under the bed this time, then?" Pucky demanded in mock anger. Stella grinned and opened the car door.
"Just bring my car back without any dead prostitutes in it, ok?" Stella wiggled her eyebrows and Puck laughed. Stella blew him a kiss and went to close the car door. Pucky stretched over and grabbed her arm.
"Yeah?" Stella turned and looked down at him.
"Love ya, girl," Pucky said softly with a gentle smile. Stella squeezed his hand and released it.
"Back at you, Robin," she said and quickly slammed the door. Pucky narrowed his eyes and opened his door, poking his head out and pointing at his girlfriend menacingly as she ran up the driveway giggling.
"Last time I say something nice to you!" Pucky hissed at her, a grin hanging about the edges of his mouth. Stella blew him a raspberry and disappeared behind the closing door. Pucky shook his head and reversed out of the driveway. "If she thinks I'm filling the car up before I bring it back, she's dreaming," Pucky muttered to himself, laughing ruefully as he pulled into an all night gas station.
Deacon looked up as the kitchen stairs creaked and a groggy faced Mark scuffed across the tiles. Mark yawned heartily and rubbed his eyes, flopping down in the nearest chair. Deacon grinned around a mouthful of milk and Cheerios, Batman of the Future flashing quietly on the screen in front of him.
"Tired?" Deacon asked playfully. Mark scowled and scratched his head.
"Fuck you," Mark said gruffly. Deacon laughed.
"That was last night's game," Deacon replied flippantly. "You're old hat, man." Mark huffed a laugh and staggered over to sit beside Deacon on the sofa.
"How do you have this much energy already?" Mark asked grumpily. "I mean, it's not like I did all the work last night. You have thighs of steel, my friend." Deacon blushed and choked a little on his cereal. Mark smirked and took the opportunity to lean across and snatch the spoon from Deacon's hand, using it to scoop the soggy cereal into his own mouth.
"Hey!" Deacon protested with a cough. "Get your own!" Grinning, Mark swallowed and leaned over to press his lips briefly against Deacon's. Deacon smiled and rolled his eyes. "Ok, I forgive you."
"Jeez, you're easy!" Mark laughed. Deacon snorted.
"You've nailed me several times over, and we haven't even been on a date yet," Deacon said dryly. "I'd say that makes me as easy as you can get!" Mark laughed again, and then they both sat and watched the TV silently, sharing Deacon's bowl of cereal. After a few minutes, Deacon looked at Mark and bit his lower lip. Still watching the TV, Mark darted his eyes to the side and raised his eyebrows.
"This is...easy," Deacon replied quietly. Mark turned and looked at his friend.
"Yeah, it is," Mark agreed. "And?"
"That's it," Deacon said, and looked back at the TV. Mark smiled and also turned back to the insipid cartoon, his hand finding Deacon's, their fingers linking together easily. As the credits flashed by on the TV screen, Mark pushed himself up off the couch, took the empty cereal bowl into the kitchen and placed it in the sink. He walked over to the patio doors and used the doorframe to stretch his back out. The sun was once again out in full force, and it was turning into a beautiful day.
"We should do something today," Mark declared. Behind him, still sprawled on the sofa, his lover groaned.
"We did something yesterday," Deacon whined. "Let's just go back to bed and...do something else." Mark looked over his shoulder and smirked at his friend.
"How bout we go to the beach? It's gorgeous outside, and I bet the surf is great," Mark said, grinning as Deacon's mess of blonde hair popped up from the couch.
"Yeah? Will you come in too?" Deacon asked hopefully. Mark screwed up his face and rolled his eyes. "Please?" Deacon pleaded, his eyes sparkling with anticipation. Mark laughed and nodded reluctantly.
"Okay," he agreed. "But you make me look like such a retard out there." Deacon got off the couch and trotted towards his bedroom.
"Yeah, like you need any help looking like one," Deacon said, a huge grin spreading across his face as he dashed through the kitchen. Mark just laughed.
Twenty minutes later the boys were standing on the warm, golden sand and looking out at the ocean, the sun shining relentlessly overhead. There was no wind, but the swells were easily five feet, and slow starters - perfect. Deacon stripped his shirt off and replaced it with a rash shirt, his lower body already clad in board shorts. He bent over to strap the ankle line of his board to his leg, and then heaved the board up under his arm. Grinning widely, he turned to Mark.
"C'mon, you promised!"
"I know," Mark replied. He sighed and bent to strap Deacon's spare board to his ankle. "You go ahead, I'll be there in a few minutes." Deacon looked at Mark sceptically.
"You better be," Deacon said, before dashing off into the water, a huge grin on his face. Mark watched with squinted eyes as his friend crashed into the water, launching over waves on his board and paddling languidly out past the breakers. A warm smile spread over Mark's face as he admired his lover's graceful, sinewy movements in the water. A small frown of concentration marked Deacon's face as he appraised the waves coming towards him, dismissing each one as he waited for the perfect ride. Deacon leaned forward on his board as he eyed a fast moving swell moving in to the shore. Making a split decision, he swung the board around and lay down on it, facing away from the approaching wave. Deacon started kicking and plowing through the water furiously, using all of the power behind his toned arms to keep in front of the swell. Mark watched from the shore as Deacon's back and shoulder muscles rippled in effort. He didn't think Deacon was going to make it, that the wave was going to pass him before the swell broke. But like a long distance runner garnering that last bit of strength for the final sprint, Deacon produced a last burst of energy and surged forward.
The swell crested as Deacon leapt to his feet on the board, his body tense in a low crouch. The lip of the wave continued to heave forward, and Deacon straightened up slightly, riding the barrel of the wave as it crashed down in his wake. Mark shook his head in amazement as, a minute later, Deacon curbed his board into the wave and dove under. A few seconds later, Deacon's head popped up from behind the dying wave, a huge grin of triumph on his face. Mark had seen this scene countless times, but today it was different. Now he could appreciate not just the athleticism and skill of his friend, but also his agile body, his straining muscles, the way his wet hair hung over his face, and the way he flicked it back, a movement so uncontrived but so very sexy. Mark's smile widened as he felt the thoughts go straight to his groin. He picked up the board and slowly made his way down to the water, laughing as Deacon beckoned him in urgently.
"This was a great idea," Deacon shouted over the waves. "It's awesome out here." Deacon turned his board around and started to paddle back out. "Come on!" Mark sighed and struggled through the waves, catching some pathetically small breakers, spending most of his time watching in awe as Deacon displayed the mastery of his sport. After toppling off the board before even catching the wave he was aiming for, Mark wearily made his way back out towards Deacon.
"Get out here so we can work on your technique," Deacon called out. Mark gasped as a wave dumped him, and glared playfully at his friend, who was effortlessly straddling his board as it crested each swell.
"I don't have any technique," Mark replied. "You just like to torture me." Deacon laughed loudly as Mark misjudged a wave and came up spluttering and disorientated.
"Hey," Deacon said as Mark finally reached him, panting. "I can't help it if you're so easy to torment." Mark manoeuvred himself onto his board and grinned at Deacon.
"Yeah, well just remember," Mark said menacingly, "that payback is a bitch." Deacon raised his eyebrows.
"Is that a threat?"
"That's a promise, my friend." Looking around to see if anyone could see them, Mark leaned over and quickly kissed Deacon, only to lose his balance on the board moments later and topple off into the water with a surprised 'Whoah!' When Mark resurfaced, coughing and disgruntled, he glowered at Deacon who was shaking silently with laughter, holding his sides, tears streaming down his face. Mark grabbed Deacon's foot and pulled roughly, causing him to lose his balance and tumble into the water as well, a comic look of shock on his face. Deacon rose to the surface and frowned at his friend.
"You're a dick," Deacon said simply.
"What?" Mark asked in indignation. "You started it." Deacon's lip curled into a smirk.
"I mean, you're a dick for dragging me out here," Deacon explained. "I wanted us to stay home and...y'know." Deacon wiggled his eyebrows. "But no, you said we had to do something. So we're out here, and now you decide that you liked my idea better." Mark grinned and ran his hand up Deacon's thigh under the water.
"So what if I do," Mark said playfully. "There's hardly anyone out here." Deacon snorted.
"Slight problem of mechanics, man," Deacon replied. "Have you ever tried to fuck someone on a surfboard while its in the water?" Mark's hand continued up Deacon's thigh and up the leg of his shorts.
"No, but what's the harm in trying?" Mark bargained. He moved even closer to Deacon and used his other hand to try and push his lover's shorts down. Deacon's eyes widened when he realised Mark was serious, and he pushed Mark away fiercely.
"Are you fucking nuts?" Deacon hissed at Mark's bewildered face. "What if someone sees us?"
"Settle down, man," Mark said gently. "I was just playing." Deacon pushed his wet hair off his forehead and smiled gingerly.
"Sorry," he said quietly, hoisting himself back onto his board. "I guess I'm still a bit more on edge about this whole thing than I thought I was." Mark draped his arms across his board and nodded.
"Yeah, me too actually," Mark agreed. "It's fine when we're alone, but when I see someone else, even a total stranger, I get all..." He trailed off with a shrug. The boys floated on their boards in silence, both consumed in their own guilt and confusion. Deacon shook himself out of it and looked at his watch.
"Look," Deacon started. "It's one o'clock now. How about we go to Harbour and get some lunch, then just hang out?" It sounded like a simple enough proposition, but Deacon had an underlying motive. He had been more than a bit worried yesterday that what had transpired between him and Mark was obvious to everyone. Even more concerning than that in his mind was the idea that the two of them wouldn't be able to hang out as friends anymore, that they had crossed a line and couldn't be friends and lovers.
Although he had loved the sex and wanted it to go on as long as possible, Deacon needed to know that if or when the physical part of their relationship ended, the connection they shared as friends hadn't been destroyed in the process. Mark nodded slowly at the suggestion, but pointed his finger threateningly at Deacon.
"Okay," Mark replied. "But if you trick me into eating anchovies again, so help me God, I'll rip your eyeballs out and use them as golf balls!" Deacon rolled his eyes, trying to suppress a smirk.
"I keep telling you, that was a completely innocent mistake," Deacon said. Mark shook his head and grinned.
"I'm not getting into this argument again! Come on, I hear a pizza calling me in the distance," Mark said, and he turned towards the shore and started paddling lazily. Deacon smiled and followed him in.
The two friends spent the rest of the day hanging around the beach, swimming and lazing about until early evening. Any doubts that Deacon had had about their relationship that morning were long gone. At first, it had been awkward; every time he had looked at Mark, Deacon couldn't help but think of what they had done together. But however intense and memorable it had been, their physical relationship had not even been alive for a week. Their friendship, on the other hand, had been through almost seventeen years of changes, fights and hardship, and the trusting connection they had forged over the years presided over any other thoughts they were having.
As the day wore on, the two boys had unconsciously slipped back into their easy friendship. It did seem to Mark, however, that another dimension had been added to their relationship. What they had started together couldn't and wouldn't be completely forgotten by either of them, no matter what the situation, and it had furtively permeated into their body language and conversation. Nothing that anyone else would be able to put their finger on, but their easy conversation and laughter had evolved into something even more formidable. Mark wasn't sure if it had been the addition of sex, or the confessions they had shared over the past few days - he thought maybe it was a combination of the two.
When the air had started to cool down, and the crowds were packing up on the beach, the boys had headed home. They had picked up burgers on the drive home, and now lay on their backs on the patio, a lighter and an old breathmint tin full of marijuana sitting between them. A gentle breeze danced across the water in the pool, the light of the moon catching on the ripples and making the tiny waves sparkle like gems.
Deacon gazed up at the clear night sky and marvelled at the stars above them. Mark sat up slowly, and picked up the breathmint box. Balancing the tin on his knee, he used the bright moonlight to roll a joint. When he was happy with his work, he twisted one end and lit it. The paper caught the flame, and a dense bluish smoke drifted up towards the stars. Mark took a long drag of the joint, and held the smoke in his lungs as he passed the joint to Deacon. Deacon absentmindedly accepted it, and let it smoke away in his fingers. Eventually, he spoke.
"I am, I think," Deacon said. Mark let out the smoke in his lungs with a cough, and looked down at the blonde beside him.
"You are what?" Mark asked. Deacon took a few small puffs of the weed and held it. As he exhaled, Mark was sure there was a sigh caught up in it somewhere.
"A fag," Deacon replied sadly. "I think I am one. I got fucked and I loved it, and..."
"I liked...blowing you," Deacon confessed. "Not just because you enjoyed it, but actually doing it, I really liked it." Mark shrugged and lay back down beside Deacon, who passed the joint to him.
"So? I liked it too," Mark said simply, and took another drag from the joint. Deacon looked sharply at Mark.
"You did? I mean, you liked...sucking me off?" Deacon asked warily. Mark made a face and nodded as he let smoke drift from his nose.
"Yeah," he answered after a pause. "I liked sucking your dick. So what? Whose business is that except ours?" Mark laughed at his haughtiness. "Besides, it's not like you want to blow every guy you see on the street. Just me, right?" Mark asked with a grin. Deacon laughed and accepted the joint back from Mark.