AU Ch. 06byFangsAnarchy©
((Sorry everyone there isn't any sex in this. I split the chapter and so the sex was cut out. I promise to make up for it in 7 and 8))
"He had been distant this week. Every time I tried to invite him out he'd find an excuse. I feel like he knows I'm hiding something from him. I mean I'm not hiding it on purpose; I'm just waiting for the right time to tell him. "It isn't exactly an easy thing to talk about" Maddox reasoned aloud. Anytime he was close to telling Mark about the baby and him being the dad or saying he was the dad no matter what the DNA said Mark would pull away and get a far off look in his eyes. Something was bothering him, Maddox just didn't know what.
"I still think you should stay away from the whore. Why do you need to do the whole number one daddy thing?" Todd snorted still transfixed by the game on TV. It wasn't his team but football was football and he needed some sort of background noise. He wiped some chip grease onto his destroyed light denim jeans still stuck in his 90's golden high school days.
"Because family is important to me, even if the baby isn't mine I don't want an innocent child to be put through an already over loaded system when I am perfectly capable of raising it." Maddox said rubbing his temples. "When did life become so complicated?" He pouted. He knew he would have to tell Mark. He hoped he would understand why it didn't matter if the baby was his or not. "Gross Todd, here I'll get you a napkin."
"Life is always messy." Todd smiled seeing the lines of grease. Who did he need to impress with table manors? There wasn't anyone special in his life, and there probably never would be. "Look, Trissta is a pretty girl; she'll find some other poor sap to hold her hair for her. I get wanting the baby but is this really the right time?" Todd took the napkin and wiped his fingers before diving back into the chips. "Besides, this Mark kid has got you happier than I have seen you in years. I don't want you screwing things up like you always do by trying to be Mr. Nice." Todd wagged a now clean finger in his friends face "Mess things up with him and I will have to come over here and kick your ass."
Maddox, despite the heavy conversation, managed to change to Todd's playful mood. "Kick my ass huh? You are awfully fond of a guy you have never met. Not to mention I could kick your ass any day of the week." Maddox folded his thick arms over his Nirvana T-shirt. "I seem to recall beating you in wrestling in high school even though you were on the team."
Todd shoved Maddox they were both in great shape "Bull-fucking-shit you did. We can settle this right here right now." Todd got up and braced himself.
Maddox rolled his eyes "The ego on you is sickening!"
"Yeah well it's all I've got and besides I keep asking to meet him. You are just afraid that once he sees perfection, he won't want your scrawny ass anymore. I promise I'll let him down easy for you." Todd wiggled his butt back and forth trying to get his friend up and moving. If for no other reason than to shove him.
Maddox tensed "He wouldn't go for you, he cares about me. Sit down, you look like an idiot!" Maddox stood with his chin in the air. Play fighting while mad wasn't a smart choice but no one insulted Mark.
Todd arched an eyebrow. He had never seen Maddox defend anything let alone someone he was dating. "Chill man, I know he must care. You haven't put out yet and the guy is still with you. That has to count for something." He relaxed, sitting back on the couch and pulling the bowel of chips back into his lap. "I just want to meet em" Todd muffled through a mouth exploding with starch.
Maddox felt his entire face heat with blood. "I told you, I want our first time to be special. I've never been with a guy before so it's like loosing my v-card all over again." Only with Trissta it hadn't seemed important to him. Having sex with a girl had been something he felt he just needed to do and get over with. No wonder everyone knew he was gay. "Not to mention I just got my medical tests back today. We've fooled around some but it's not the same as doing... IT." Maddox had just found out from the doctor that he was clean. He needed to go back in six months to make sure but he was given the ok.
Todd shot his friend a come on look "It? How old are you 15?"
"We haven't had sex, happy?" Maddox hissed. He hated how blunt Todd could be sometimes. He always needed to make people feel uncomfortable. Usually Maddox was kind and shy, this Trissta thing had him uptight.
Todd continued to give him that knowing stare. He knew that Maddox and Mark hadn't been completely celibate. He didn't need details, but he did know his friend better than that.
Exhaling his defeat Maddox continued "Okay, we've fooled around a lot. I just really care about him and I want sex to mean more than just the finish line."
Todd nodded; Maddox always had been a bit of a romantic "So when do you plan to take him home? Now that you have the alls clear paperwork there's no more reason to wait." Todd nudged his knee into his friends suggestively. He was not going to allow the man who had been named the best thing to ever happen to Maddox slip through his friend's fingers. "You could bring him to my Halloween party?" Todd asked hopefully.
"I can't take him home you know that. He is a student. My parents wouldn't approve and I still need to tell him about the baby. God he'll probably leave me before we make it through our first year." Maddox cradled his face in his hands. "So clearly a party with my old buddies wouldn't be a good idea either. Hell I shouldn't have told you, he means everything to me and if anyone finds out..."
Todd sighed heavily "Alright, but I still think it would be good for you two to start doing couple things. What is the fun in having a forbidden romance if you always play it safe?" Todd rested a hand on Maddox's knee "And honestly Madd, your parents will love him. I would have dumped you already if I was him."
"Why's that?" Maddox snarled. It hurt entirely too much to think about Mark leaving him.
Todd was amused by his friend's possessiveness "You don't put out, you keep him a dirty secret, you keep big things from him..." Todd shrugged ... And you know he seems distant but you haven't even asked why."
Maddox deflated. He knew his best friend was right. The good thing about Todd was he would always tell it like it was even if it hurt you. "I thought it would be best to give him some space. He knows he can tell me anything." Maddox felt like such a shitty person.
Todd draped his arm over Maddox's shoulder "Bring him to Thanksgiving at your parent's. He can meet me, the family, and the bitch." He leaned back lacing his fingers behind his head. He sighed as if he had just laid out a master plan to end world hunger. "You can confess your secrets and lick his wounds. I think the family time might do him some good and might help him get over whatever it is he needs to get over."
"She isn't a bitch." Maddox defended. "Trissta was a good friend to me. I lead her on and ruined her life. She wasn't ready to be married. I shouldn't have married her knowing my heart wasn't in it. It's my own fault that I got cheated on." Maddox regurgitated everything Trissta had led him to believe.
Todd sat up straight bracing his hands on his thighs "Yeah and I told you not to marry her. I also told you not to stick your unsheathed cock in her either. How the hell would that have saved your marriage huh? It's not like you guys were trying to have a kid and now... oopsie looks like we should have listened to Todd. You never listen to me man. I know what I'm talking about. I knew you were gay, I think even she knew. Your heart wasn't in it, and now we know your fucking cock wasn't in it!" He laughed.
Maddox's jaw seemed to unhinge "She didn't ruin my life. Trissta is the reason I met Mark. If I hadn't been so upset I wouldn't have been in Gold. I am the one who proposed to her. I should take responsibility. And stop being so damn crude."
"Can't help it, and it is half her fault too. She had to say yes to make it an engagement and say I do to make it a marriage. Her eyes were so blinded by the diamond that your entire savings account bought that she said yes." Todd clenched his jaw. In his mind there wasn't a single redeemable quality to Maddox's soon to be baby's mama.
Maddox scowled. Why couldn't everyone just get along. He had made peace with it all why couldn't they? Not to mention he still had to break the news to Mark and hope and pray that he would stick around. "Look, you are supposed to be my friend. Please just make this easy on me when you're around her alright? I know you hate her and think she is selfish and will be thrilled when she is in another state, but I want to raise the baby. Mine or not I don't want the baby going to some unknown family. Personally I think it's selfish of her for not wanting to be a mom, but I already trapped her in a sexless loveless marriage and I can't justify judging her. So, she is coming to Thanksgiving dinner so that we can work on our friendship and she can be involved or not in the baby's future. Please Todd, for me and my sanity just be nice. I swear if you aren't I won't be able to consider you a good friend." Maddox warned.
Todd deflated "I promise I will be so nice to the wicked witch that you and Mark can have all the time you need to be alone. All kidding aside though, it really is an admirable thing you are doing for this baby. Most women can't even get a man to help take care of a kid that is theirs. You let her dump a kid that might not even be yours on you entirely with no strings attached." Todd looked over his friend, he wasn't good with tension. "Besides I am sure you can find someway to make it up to Mark, since you aren't bringing him to Halloween." Todd pushed his tongue against his cheek suggestively.
Maddox flushed. Todd could be uncomfortably vulgar sometimes. "Stop, we wouldn't do that. Plus I told you why I couldn't bring him. I doubt he will even want to come after I tell him about Trissta."
Todd wiggled his eyebrows "Yeah right, he stayed with you this long hasn't he. Either way I want to meet this guy who makes it so you can't wipe that goofy grin off your face."
"I do not have a goofy grin." Maddox was a terrible liar and he was soon grinning like a homeless man on house arrest. It didn't last long "Yeah well Mark and I have to be really careful. People are already starting to wonder."
Todd crammed some nachos into his mouth. "Like who?"
"Like how about I had to have a conversation with my boss about rumors circulating about me dating a student." Maddox folded his arms. That had been exceedingly uncomfortable.
"No shit really? What did you say?" Todd's eyes were wide.
"Thank god the rumor is a female student so I didn't have to lie. Mark and I just need to be really careful. So that means no Halloween party, and having Trissta come around again might get rid of some of the doubt. I can't be accused of dating a student if it appears like I am reconciling with my wife. Triss is ok with Mark and..."
"And you really think he will be ok with you palling around with your ex wife? Like I said Halloween." Todd saw the glare Maddox gave him "Alright, alright then tell him after he meets her, sees how much of bitch she is and how much of a fairy you are he shouldn't have any problem. Trust me, this isn't gonna go down easily"
Maddox hung his head, "Todd, I have to tell him before that. I can't just go on pretending for a month that everything is alright. I plan to tell him before our next date."
"What if he decides he doesn't want to go on the date after the Trissta bomb?" Todd asked.
"Then, I come over shoot the shit with you and wait for you to pick up the pieces. Like always right?" Maddox asked hopefully.
"Yeah, I always will man." He patted Maddox's back. "I just hope for your sake it goes well. This seems like the first thing in your life that is actually good for you."
"Please, Just, I don't want to go alone." Mark pushed out his bottom lip subconsciously. Three years ago on this day had been the day his beautiful sweet Noah had come home in a pine box.
Noah's family had nothing more to do with him after the day he turned eighteen. The military had paid for a small basic military funeral. A few of Noah's army buddies had been there and Mark had kept his distance. If anyone asked, he was just a friend. He wasn't sure what would happen with "Don't ask don't tell" but he wanted Noah to have a good funeral. Mark remembered going back later that night. He fell asleep on top of the freshly piled dirt; Noah's quilt was all he had left. He would never look into his brown eyes again. Never to feel Noah beneath him like they had always planned. Noah would always be the only one to ever top Mark. He would keep that special.
"Why not take mystery man with you? You really need to tell him Mark." Justin liked that his roommate came to him with all of his problems. However he knew that Mark not wanting to lower his walls for mystery man meant that maybe things were not going great. Justin wasn't sure why that made him so happy. He had no reason not to like the mystery man but he hated him. He wasn't good enough for Mark. Mark needed someone like Noah, some cute little thing with soft eyes willing to bottom all night long. Someone who would know that even the strong Mark needed to be held and topped. Justin shook his head.
"I'm just not ready yet. I'll tell him on our date tonight promise."
Mark looked so wounded Justin couldn't say no. "Alright, get your shoes. We'll stop by the flower shop first. I haven't gone to his grave in a while."
Mark looked at Justin "what?"
"Grave, I haven't been to a grave in a while and I didn't know if people still brought flowers." Justin led Mark out to the car. That had been a little too close.
After picking up the flowers to put on Noah's grave Justin drove down all the familiar roads letting Mark tell him where to turn.
Mark thought about how strange it felt to be in his old home town. He winced passing by the house he had grown up in. Worse still was seeing the empty swing out front of Noah's old house. He scooted down in his seat not wanting to remember.
"Almost there babe." Justin rested a hand on Mark's thigh.
Mark watched the cemetery come into view. He hadn't had the strength to come here by himself and he hadn't trusted anyone not to laugh at his weakness. They stopped at the cemetery parking lot and Mark walked proudly to the military burial site. Mark laid the flowers down against Noah head stone. He felt Justin's arm drape around him. They both had tears in their eyes.
"Dude, you need to chill out. I don't think he's gonna have a problem with this. We went through all the possible ways to tell him and you said it yourself it was better to tell him sooner rather than later. Things will be fine"
Maddox whirled on Todd "Really? How would you feel if your new girlfriend said hey I'm knocked up by my current husband who I am not even divorced from?"
Todd wrinkled his nose "Well, I told you to make sure the kid was yours first. You are the one who doesn't seem to care who the Y chromosome belongs to."
"Not helping." He snarled, Maddox didn't even have the energy to argue that the baby would only have a y if it was a boy.
"Relax, look you sure you don't want me to stick around? I mean this is only what, date two? I still think you should wait." Todd looked at his best friend hoping things would work out. It was easy to see how much Mark meant to him.
Maddox hit the couch in defeat, feeling Todd sit next to him. "Yeah well, waiting feels too much like lying."
"Any idea how you're going to tell him man?" Todd asked.
Maddox nodded "Yeah, just rip it off like a band aid."
Todd rested a reassuring hand on Maddox's "Alright man, well I'm gonna get going. He should be here soon right?"
Maddox looked at the clock, it had to be broken. The damn thing was ticking way to fast. "Yeah."
"Look, just... just tell him how you feel."
Maddox tried to smile as Todd walked out the door. It didn't convince anyone and soon he was resorting to other means of making time pass.
Maddox's teeth tore through his fingernails looking for words that would make this easier. He knew what he was going to say, it was simple. "My ex wife is pregnant. She doesn't want to be a mom. She wants to be friends so she can make sure I am a good father. I need to be a good father because mine or not I want to raise the baby. I may never see her again, but I will have given a baby a home." He recited out loud. Simple, Mark was a college kid. He was young and had his entire life ahead of him. He wasn't going to stick around with a pathetic single father.
An entire back of Newport's later, Maddox felt sick. He sat back down on his second hand couch unable to get comfortable. He couldn't honestly remember where the pack had come from, he had quit smoking years ago, knowing they were bad for his health. They didn't seem so bad now that Mark might be out of his life again.
A knock on the door made Maddox go cold. He knew it was Mark. He knew Mark was expecting to go on another date. Maddox just hoped he would still give him the chance for that after the bomb was dropped.
Mark already looked like a beat dog. Something must really be bothering him and it just made Maddox feel guilty. He noticed that Mark had on big sunglasses and a hood. It was adorable and a painful reminder how they had to hide every little aspect of their relationship.
Mark however managed to put on a happy face. "Hey babe" Mark kissed Maddox's scruffy cheek. "Trying a new look?"
Maddox's lip quivered, Mark had a pet name for him. He didn't deserve it, it just felt so good. "Sorry" He apologized trying to swallow and finding the task impossible. He knew he wasn't apologizing for the scruff.
"What's wrong you look like someone ran over your cat." Mark walked in waiting for Maddox to follow. "Seriously babe, you're worrying me."
"I uh... I need to tell you something." Maddox bit his already chewed lip, willing himself to just do it. Fast and painful just like a band aid.
"Ok, tell me." Mark tilted his head. He had been planning to be truthful about Noah but now didn't seem like the best time. He reached out to wrap the stronger male in his arms and was confused when he backed up. "Did I do something?" He wondered if somehow Maddox had guessed about Noah. How he hadn't told him he couldn't love him because he had promised Noah he would never love again. Maddox would understand this was as far as he saw them going.
Maddox shook his head "My... Trissta is pregnant." Maddox blurted out. His heart stopped.
Mark's eyes narrowed. "Pregnant? Who is the dad, from what you told me I bet she doesn't know." Mark snorted, closing the door and taking off his hood and glasses.
Maddox took a breath trying to get vital oxygen to his lungs. "She said it's mine."
Mark wouldn't have had a problem with Maddox about to be a father. He had a problem with that bitch lying to him. He didn't have to meet Trissta to know she wasn't a good person. "You didn't believe her did you?" He laughed the idea was ridiculous.
Maddox was silent.
"Baby, how could she possibly know that? Tell her you want a paternity test. Problem solved. If it's yours well then we will deal with it."
"I uh, I think it's mine too. If I don't step up and say its mine, and sign the birth certificate then I have no rights to it and she will put it up for adoption" Maddox watched Mark's face curiously. He knew if Trissta put the baby up for adoption, and it turned out the child didn't have his DNA, he would loose the baby forever.