I heaved a sigh of long suffering patience. "No, Marko, I won't let you experiment with me," I said.
I determinedly scraped at one of the many well-attached "suncatcher" decals our new place's previous tenant had stuck all over the windows. Every. Single. Window. Top to bottom. She must have used a ladder. While I thought the things had made a pretty interesting stained-glass effect, Marko had whined about their presence since before we'd moved in. So, in a compromise, I'd agreed to help him scrape the messes off the lower window panes. I was not going to stand on a ladder and risk tipping my ass onto the floor scraping at anything higher than the lower sash's upper frame.
I stepped back from the window and plucked bits of colored plastic off the end of my scraper. I was sure the thing had a proper name, but "scraper" did me just fine. "But I know you, Fonzie!"
I rolled my eyes, doing my best to swallow my temper. I did not look at my best friend since childhood. We'd lived next door to each other our whole lives.
"That is not enough reason for me," I said. I swished the blade of my scraper around in the bucket of water we'd decided might help. A little. It wasn't. At all. "You know me. Hopeless romantic and all that. Tell me, when have I allowed myself to get into a relationship that lasted less than two months at least?"
I snarled back in my throat. Maybe if I ignored his whining he'd shut up about it. How his girlfriends had ever put up with him, I never understood. I barely could, and I'd known him since we were in fucking diapers.
And that nasal fucking twang. Where the hell had he found that? I hated my nickname, and that particular whine made it even more torturous than usual. How he did it without stuffing it up his nose halfway through and snorting as a result I didn't understand, either. I'd tried it. I always snorted when I got to the "nz" part. I suffered all this shit just because my mom had been obsessed with some idiotic TV show about the idealized Fifties. And most of my suffering came from Marko.
Well, I didn't exactly dislike my name when spoken by him--but he wasn't speaking it normally right now.
I threw my scraper into the water. It was a safe place for it to go. "Will you stop that?" I snapped. I waved my hands and stalked away from the window. "Just cut it out, Marko. You had many chances in college to experiment--with other guys. Well, now you've got the gay clubs and bars."
I headed for my bedroom.
"Fonzie!" No nasal twang this time. He also sounded worried now. Good. He needed to be worried.
"Blow it out your ass, you fucking queen," I snapped, entering my bedroom. "Good night!"
I slammed the door, then leaned against it, rubbing my face. He wanted to experiment with me because I was his friend. Because I was also, conveniently for him, gay. Because we were so close. The same old arguments from him, even if the nasal twang was new. Same old arguments from me. Clearly, neither of us had been listening to each other for years.
But that was it. Experiment. That was all. He wanted to test the waters, and he was too chicken-shit to wing it. He wanted me to be there to catch him. Well, I'd gone through it all already and I really didn't want to repeat it, even it was for my best friend. Even if my body screamed at me to just cave in and take what I could get. No. No. No. Not going to happen.
He knew my personal rules. No one night stands. No explorers or experimenters. I'd take virgins; I had been one once, after all. But I demanded the same thing of all whom I dated from the start. Commitment. Granted, I hadn't found anyone who could supplant Marko, but I'd done my damn best. I hadn't let myself get bitter or maudlin. I was still his friend.
And he wanted me to disrespect myself long enough for a few experimental flings with him.
I changed into a full set of button-up pajamas. I refused to sleep naked with Marko's whiney ass out there contemplating sex with me. If he decided to abandon his inhibitions, I'd need time to wrestle him off of me onto the floor before he got me undressed.
But after this argument, things started to get weird.
When, after our argument, he went silent, I'd rather expected it. I'd experienced more than one of Marko's silences before, so this one wasn't particularly new to me. What I had not expected were the od d glances he gave me.
These glances occurred mostly during the hours when we were at the windows, picking at the damn decals. We didn't have a TV, and we lacked library cards so we lacked books, and we eventually resorted to scraping the windows out of sheer boredom. Not being able to hang out and talk really jacked things up, you see. Since we weren't talking, and we still didn't have internet, all we had for "entertainment" was scraping the decals off the damn windows.
The first glance happened on the second day of the silence. It was summer, so we still had an hour or so to sunset even though it was eight. I felt Marko's gaze on me and ignored it for as long as possible. When it didn't go away, I stopped and looked at him. He'd stopped scraping, but started gain, going at it as if he was being paid a million bucks per removed decal. I returned to work.
I heard his scraping cease. I felt his gaze again. This time, I looked at my watch before looking at him. He returned his attention to the window before himself.
I sighed and shook my head, dipping my scraper for something different to do. I scraped some more until I noticed that Marko had gone still again. Yes, I could feel his gaze.
"What?" I asked, not bothering to keep the impatience from my voice.
Skree, went his scraper, edge against the window pane as he started working again.
This went on for a good hour. Every time he stopped, I asked "what?" again. He'd scrape some more for a couple minutes, then gaze at me again. I finally gave up, threw my scraper into the bucket, and went across the room to flop on the sofa. It was either get away from Marko or throttle him until I'd alleviated my anger.
Skrit skrit skree. I closed my eyes. Skrit skrit skree. I threw an arm over my eyes, inhaling a deep breath for calmness. Skrit skrit skree. I couldn't help it. My hands clenched into fists. He wasn't talking to me and still he annoyed the fuck out of me.
Skrit skrit skree.
"Will you cut that out?" I shouted, sitting up.
Marko heaved a sigh, dropped his scraper on the floor and went to his bedroom. I watched him go, then flopped back on the sofa. Peace at last.
And it went on like that for the rest of the week. But Friday? Friday, he left. I'd kind of flopped into the sofa, staring at the damn windows when I'd gotten home from work, and he arrived home shortly after I did.
That drew my attention. I sat up, twisting around to look at him. He disappeared into his bedroom, reappeared a few moments later, shoes missing, unbuttoning his work shirt. He whistled on the way to the bathroom.
He'd been moping about and scraping "his" window in ways designed to aggravate me for the past four days, and now he was cheerful? He shut the bathroom door all the way and I heard the lock snap into place. It sounded loud in the silence he'd left behind.
I remained seated like that for the duration of his shower. The door opened, and Marko dripped across the hall, whistling, towel wrapped around his hips, holding his dirty clothes. Had he stopped whistling at all? He entered his bedroom and shut the door.
When he exited his bedroom again, he looked ready to party. He wore his tightest black jeans, a pristine white button-down shirt open halfway down his chest, and he smelled good. Not that he'd bathed in it, but he passed in front of the air conditioner vent and it sent whatever scent he wore my way.
I couldn't have taken my eyes off him if I'd been facing the windows; my eyes would have rolled back and developed the ability to see through my head just so I could look at him. I twisted further on the sofa, rising up onto my knees.
I licked my lips, watching him pass. He'd left his short blond hair untamed, and he walked differently. Hell, he almost prowled. I worked my jaw. I had to say something, and I hoped it wouldn't come out snidely.
"Hot date?" I asked.
My voice sounded too low to be heard, but Marko stopped at the door. He pulled his hand from the knob and turned around to face me. He folded his arms across his chest and leaned against the door, propping the heel of one boot on the toe of the other. Characteristic Marko. With added spice. He tilted his head to the side.
"Maybe," he said. "Jealous?"
I scoffed. "No," I said.
I had to resist a wince, because that lie hurt to tell. Hell yeah, I was jealous. I'd been jealous every single time he'd hooked up with a new girlfriend. Even if I'd liked them, I'd still been jealous.
"Good," he said, standing away from the door. He sounded hurt. "Because I'm doing only what you told me to do on Sunday."
Everything dropped out of me. I tried to say something, but no sound came. Marko left, locking the door behind himself. I stared at the door. It took a while for the shock to subside and the realization to sink in.
I'd thrown him away.
He didn't return home until almost five in the morning the next day. I knew this because I was awake in bed, staring up at the ceiling, straining my ears to hear his return. When the front door shut, I rose and headed to my bedroom door. I opened it just as he passed and he stopped to look at me.
I sought for something to say. "Have a good time?" is what I asked, as soft as I'd spoken the night before.
Marko shifted. He looked a little disheveled, hair truly a mess now, the shirt's buttons mismatched, half his chest still bare. I could smell the last remnants of his cologne and licked my lips.
Shit, here he'd been out all night and all I could think of was dragging him over to my bed, throwing him on it, and ravaging him. I caught myself, however. I'd lost my chance. I realized I was looking him up and down, from the top of his head to hem of his shirt, and raised my gaze to his eyes.
His gaze lowered, and he traced a finger along my right collarbone. I shivered.
"I should have listened sooner, Fonzie," he said. "I'm sorry I didn't. But I always dreamt . . ."
He dropped his hand and turned away. I caught his arm.
"What?" I asked. "What did you dream?"
"God, don't do this to me, Fonzie," he whined, rolling his head back.
"Just tell me what you dreamt," I said. "Please."
Marko started to pull away. I tightened my grasp.
"Please," I whispered, desperation in my voice.
He pulled his arm away, but turned to face me again. I heard him swallow, and he pressed his lips thin for a moment before speaking.
"I dreamt," he murmured, finger tracing my collarbone again, his gaze following his finger. "That, my first time, it would be your lips I'd be kissing. I dreamt that it would be your flawless freckled skin I'd be nibbling. I dreamt that it would be your copper hair I'd be tangling my fingers in. I dreamt that it would be you plunging into me, making me come, making me scream for everything you could give and then some." His gaze rose to meet mine. "I dreamt that you'd be the only man I'd ever give myself to."
I couldn't speak. Hell, I could barely breathe. What was he saying? That I was the only man he ever wanted to try anything with, or that he wanted to be with me forever?
Marko's gaze lowered, finger trailing down my chest until it left my body altogether. He sighed, looking discouraged, and turned away. I watched him, trying to speak, and a coughing sound came out. Marko ignored it, opening his bedroom door. He stepped in.
"Marko." It came out harshly.
He said nothing at first. I gripped the knob on my door, turning it slowly, wishing I could go after him.
"What, Fonzie?" he asked.
I swallowed. I wanted to ask who he'd found to spend the night with, but couldn't bring myself to. Instead a crazier notion rose to the front of my mind. The idea that I should take a chance.
"I--" I swallowed, because that hadn't sounded like anything more than a croak. "Marko, please come here."
He backed up into the hall and came over. He didn't meet my gaze. I swallowed again, raising my hands. I flexed my fingers a couple times, then unbuttoned the first fastened button on his shirt. It took me a few more moments to find the courage to lean forward and kiss his chest.
"Fonzie . . . what are you doing?" Marko asked.
I sucked a spot as I continued unfastening buttons. "What's it feel like?" I asked.
I unfastened the last button and pushed Marko's shirt further open, straightening to look at his chest. I'd seen it many times, of course. I raised a hand to smooth it from Marko's shoulder down, drawing my palm away to trace a finger in a circle around his left nipple. His breath caught, and he grabbed my hand. I looked up at him.
"Why?" he asked.
I forced myself to keep my gaze on his face, and I watched it for any shift of expression. "Because I want you," I said, unable to admit how I really felt just yet.
Marko's breath paused again. "You do?" he asked, almost whispering. I saw his disbelief.
"Yes," I said, nodding.
I reached up with my left hand to cup the side of his face. I leaned forward and pressed my lips to his. Marko parted his and I sank my tongue into his mouth; his entwined with mine. I moved closer to him. His hand released mine and I wrapped my right arm around his torso.
Marko's hand slid up my arm to wrap around my neck. I moaned a little, finally feeling what I'd always wanted to--the wrap of his arm behind my head. His right arm came around my body, hand smoothing up my bare back. He held me in the kiss for a nice long time, and I gave every bit that I had to give. When his left arm relaxed, sliding to my shoulder, I pulled back. Marko panted, and I rested my forehead against his, trying to recover from the faint wave of vertigo that struck.
"Fonzie," Marko murmured. His left hand slid around to the side of my head and he rubbed his thumb in front of my ear.
I rubbed the tip of my nose against his. "What?" I asked, a little afraid, remembering that he might have only wanted me for once or twice. But, God, I wanted this. I didn't know what would happen if he didn't want to be my boyfriend, but I wanted this.
He slid his hand back around to the back of my neck and shifted to kiss me. I participated again, shifting my arm to feel his skin. This time, when it ended, he nibbled my lower lip. I opened my eyes to find him looking at me.
I grabbed the edges of his open shirt and backed into my bedroom, pulling Marko with me. He followed, looking down. I watched, too, and saw that he took care to not step on my toes. I chuckled at that.
"What?" Marko asked.
I paused to tap his boot with my toes. "You taking such care," I said.
He chuckled, too. "I don't want to hurt you," he said.
I stopped walking, having reached my bed. I pulled the shirt open and down Marko's arms. He unbuttoned the cuffs and allowed me to push the garment completely off his body, then reached up to run his hands over my chest. He looked up at me.
"Are you sure you want this?" he asked.
"Yes," I said. I turned us around and pushed him down to sit on the bed. "As many times as you want."
He looked surprised for a moment. "I want it a lot," he said, reaching for me.
I stared at him, stunned again. "Define 'a lot.'" I said.
His fingers found my erection in my pajama bottoms and caressed it. I moaned a little. Marko watched me.
"As long as you'll have me," he said, his left hand rising to pull down the waistband of my bottoms.
I tried to speak, but no sound came out. Marko lowered his gaze and pulled my pajama bottoms and underwear down. My cock came free and he extended a finger to touch the tip. He roved his fingertip in a circle, first drawing it through the precum dripping out and then spreading it around the head of my cock. I moaned a little.
"I want to . . ." Marko murmured, voice so soft I almost didn't hear it as he continued to trace the head of my cock with his fingertip.
I licked my lips. "You don't have to," I said.
He looked up. "But I want to. I'm just not sure how."
I chuckled a little. "Any of your girlfriends ever give you a blow job?" I asked.
"A couple," he said.
"Well, think about what you liked about it, then go from there."
"Okay," he said.
Marko returned his gaze to my cock and inhaled a deep breath. He leaned forward, wrapping his hand around my erection gently, his left hand grasping my hip. He stuck out his tongue and licked at the precum, making me gasp, then sat back. When more liquid appeared, he tasted it again, and I groaned. I let him do this a few more times as he kept tasting, then chuckled.
"Marko, it's not an ice cream cone," I said.
He went still, then broke up into soft nervous laughter. He bowed his head for a few moments, then looked up at me, still smiling a little. I grinned down at him.
"You really don't have to do anything," I said, caressing his scalp. He hadn't put any gel in it, and I ran my fingers though his hair a couple more times. "You really didn't spend the night with anybody, did you?"
He looked embarrassed, and shook his head. "No," he admitted. "I--I did it to make you jealous."
I pulled back from his grasp and knelt before him, then framed his face in my hands. His stubble scratched the heels of my palms.
"Why didn't you just tell me?" I asked.
"I was afraid to," Marko said.
He sighed, gaze falling. "I was afraid you wouldn't want me."
I kissed him, pulling back before he could reciprocate. "I do," I said. "I have for a couple years now."
His gaze rose. I could see his disbelief. I kissed him again. This time, I kept it going for as long as he wanted. He grasped my shoulders and held on tightly. When we parted, he yawned.
"Tired?" I asked.
Marko nodded, covering his yawn. I yawned as well.
"Sorry, Fonzie," he said.
"That's all right. Finish getting undressed and we can curl up together and sleep."
He smiled. "I'd like that."
I grinned at him, rising. I removed my pajama bottoms and underwear, then got into bed. Marko joined me a minute or so later. He came over to me and I wrapped my arms around him. We kissed and he wiggled against me, his erection pressing and rubbing against my leg.
I awoke from a wonderful dream when I groaned in pleasure to find the dream reality. I moaned, picking up the covers to find my best friend beneath. He had apparently found his courage. I shifted a little, but as he'd straddled my legs, I couldn't move much. His head stopped moving and he looked up, an abashed expression on his face.
I smiled. "Oh, by all means continue," I said.
He chuckled. "I can't decide," he said, rising a little.
In the darkness beneath the covers, I saw his arm move and followed that movement with my gaze for a few moments before realizing, when he gasped, that Marko was stroking himself. I shifted my hands and reached for him with one while still holding the covers up.
"Come here, Marko," I said.
He bent forward and crawled up, dropping onto me. I kissed him and he pushed his fingers into my hair, clutching it. His hips shifted, rubbing his cock against me and I copied the motion, moaning softly. Marko whimpered.
He pulled his head back, ending the kiss. "I want you to take me," he said.
I embraced him. "You sure?" I asked. "It may hurt. We should really take our time."
Marko nodded. "I'm sure," he said. He shifted his hips again, whimpering. "I want you."