This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author's imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, business establishments or events is entirely coincidental. Comments and feedback are highly appreciated, send to firstname.lastname@example.org
When I wake up Mark is gone. I survey the empty bed with a longing at the pit of my stomach. A kind of never ending sadness makes its way through my bones, and a feeling settles, like dust: he will never belong to me, and I will never belong to him. The finality of it, the horror of missing him, drains the life force out of me.
I close my eyes and let it sink in. I lay there motionless, when I hear the gentle patter of his bare feet moving across the room. I feel the bed dip and when I open my eyes I'm staring into the mesmerizing green of his. We continue to lay on our sides, just staring into each others eyes as if it is the last time. As if we want to memorize every fleck, vein, and eyelash. Any sort of speech would ruin this. This moment is perfect. It is ideal. It both stops time, and it moves time at cosmic speed. It is immeasurable in its meaning and power. This moment, it could ruin me forever. This flawless patch of time, never to be attained again.
And then it scatters, just as fast as it happened, when Mark's phone rings. I begin getting dressed as he answers.
"Bad news," he says as he gets off the phone.
"What is it?" I ask putting my shoes on.
"Jason is missing, again," he says exhaling sharply.
I feel a sting of guilt. I should have tried harder, I should have said something more profound to him. Something to make him feel better. As if on cue I hear Mark say, "It's not your fault Jeremy, you did the best you could."
"It is my fault, I should have tried harder. I should have known the right thing to say," I reply, close to tears now. Thinking of Jason out there, all alone and confused and hurt, kills me.
"There is no right thing to say Jeremy, you know that. There's nothing I could say to you that would make you feel better about what Breckett did to you, and there's nothing you could have said to Jason that would have made him feel any better either. There is no right answer, there is no right thing to say. It's a horrible thing, and that's the reality of it. You did the best you could." I sigh, still feeling immeasurably guilty.
"Don't worry, we'll figure something out," Mark says, sounding more dejected than he probably knows.
We check out of the hotel and drive back to my apartment. We sit in the parking lot for a while, awkwardly grasping for words. I open the car door, and give Mark one last look. My mind searches for something eloquent to say. Something that would tie our whole relationship up nicely, with a bright red ribbon on top. Something that would bring closure. Something that would be worthy of an ending.
"IÉuhhÉwhenÉIÉ," I mumble and he looks at me as if trying to read my face.
"Bye," I finish, lost.
"Jeremy," he starts and then stops himself. "Hold on," he says, putting the car in park and getting out.
"Yes?" I ask hopeful as he stands in front of me.
"It does mean everything, it really does. I want you to know that."
"Don't say that, it makes no sense for you to say that," I reply confused.
"I know, and I'm sorry. I just need you to really know that, and to understand what it means. Ten years from now, when you're in your kitchen making lunch with someone you love, or playing with your dog, or going to the movies with a friend, or feeling sad, I want you to know, deep down in your soul, that I have loved you and will continue loving you to the point of insanity. I will think of you for the rest of my life, everyday. And the spare moments we have spent together, I will stretch them out to last me a lifetime. In the little time that we have spent together you gave me enough love to last me a lifetime, do you understand? We have loved more than people who get to spend eternity together. Nothing will take that away," he says as tears stream down my face.
His words are beautiful, but they bring out a surprising emotion in me. I shake my head in anger.
"Well, I want you to know something as well Mark. I want you to know that we could have been really happy together. And I want you to know that I can't survive off of memories for the rest of my damn life. I love you. I want to actively love you, and not the ghost of you. I want to see you everyday. I want to grow bored of you. I want your habits to start annoying me. I want to fight and make up with you. I want the ordinary to set in, because I'm tired of putting this relationship up on a pedestal and having it loom over me and make me miserable with its lost perfection. Do you understand? You have crippled me for a lifetime. So as sweet as your words are, go to hell with them," I say and walk away from the most confused face.
I get home and scream as I shut the door.
The next few days are like a daze. I feel a constant heavy burden on my heart, like I can't breathe. And with each day I feel Mark slipping further and further away from me. I will never be his, and he will never be mine, I keep reminding myself. The declaration stings like a fresh wound each time I repeat it.
One day my cell phone rings and I look at it startled. Mark's name flashes prominently on the screen.
"Hello," I answer hesitantly.
"Jeremy, I'm outside, is it okay if I come up? I have some bad news I wanted to tell you in person," he says.
"Uhmm, yeah okay," I answer confused.
"I'll be right up," he says and by the time I open the door his handsome face is already there to greet me.
"Hey," he says without a smile.
"Hey," I reply, "come on in."
We walk to the living room and sit on the old beaten up couch. Mark glances up at me, looking worried.
"What is it?" I ask concerned, "Is Jason okay?"
"Yeah, Jason is fine. He's been staying with a friend. This is about Breckett."
"Okay, what's up?" I ask growing impatient and anxious.
"He's dead," Mark replies gravely. I sit stunned for a moment. I take a deep breath.
"What, how?" I ask.
"He hung himself last night." I try to process the information. Mark looks at me carefully.
"What?" I ask, when his eyes grow more concerned.
"You're crying," he gently states. I touch my face, and sure enough feel the wetness of my salty tears beneath my fingers. I look down at my hand and start laughing. Mark looks even more concerned. The laughter comes in harder and harder, from the pit of my stomach. I'm laughing and crying, and the whole scene is hilarious and grotesque.
"What are you feeling?" he asks.
"Relief. I feel relieved. I'm glad he's dead," I say, surprising even myself. And then I immediately feel bad. He was somebody's husband, somebody's son. He mattered to someone, and because of that I hurt for them. My laughter comes to an end. It feels like I've just ran a marathon. I feel high on the news, my endorphins are wrecking havoc in my brain. And I look at Mark. This gorgeous, warm, kind man, and I know that I want to be with him until my last breath. I think about the odds, I think about how it wasn't meant for us to be together. How it just wasn't written in the stars, as my mind often tells me.
"Fuck the stars" I say out loud, defying fate.
"What?" he asks confused.
"I love you. I have loved you for so long now. And I'm not going to let you get married. Do you hear me? That just isn't going to happen. I won't let it happen. You're mine, and I'm yours. Do you understand?" He sits there looking at me like a lost and wounded child.
"I'm not leaving you Mark," I state firmly, but on the verge of tears. "I'm not leaving you," I repeat. He swallows hard at first, still looking at me confused.
"I love you," I whisper looking at him and his expression softens.
"You know that I love you too. Always," he states. "But,"
"No, don't start. I don't care. I'll tell her, I'll tell her everything, and I'll tell Hightower everything. This is over. You're not leaving here," I say with finality. The kind that surprises both of us. I stand up and pick up the phone. I dial Elisabeth's number as Mark looks on helplessly. I'm not sure if he's angry, scared, shocked or all at the same time. He gets up and takes my phone, slowly. He gently presses the end button.
"Mark," I say on the verge of tears. He looks at me for a minute then leaves. Just like that, he's gone. And the pain is worse, and more confusing than ever.
I sit on the couch, numb, trying to figure out how I'm going to survive the pain in my soul. Hours pass and then I hear a knock on the door again. When I open the door, wearing an old Budweiser sweater and sporting a red tear stained face the last person I expect to see is Mark. But there he stands. Beautiful beyond words. And at that moment I realize something. The sight of him will never stop taking my breath away. I notice a large overnight bag in his hand and look at him questioningly.
"Fuck it," he says dropping the bag and grabbing my face in his hands. He kisses me with such ferocity that I'm scared he might break me, but I don't dare to stop him. Being kissed by Mark is the most blissful experience. His soft yet strong lips, his tongue intertwined with mine, his hands on my face, holding me firmly in place, so that I don't disappear. When he comes up for breath, I gaze into his eyes, and they're different. They're alive. They are free.
"I told them the truth. It's over. I want you Jeremy. I don't deserve you, but I want you, and I'll do everything I can to keep you." The words sound so impossible I stand there stunned.
"You can say something now. Or slap me, or something," he says with a nervous chuckle. It's the most endearing thing I've seen all day.
"IÉ" I mumble, "I want to.." I continue as Mark looks at me with questioning eyes, "Let's go to bed," I finally mumble out. He looks at me a bit surprised.
"Sure," he answers. We walk into the dark room and I lay on the bed. He lays down next to me.
"Mark?" I say.
"Yes?" he answers gently.
"I didn't mean to go to sleep," I mumble nervously.
"Oh!" he retorts. He turns on his side and looks at me.
"I want you, so much" I whisper. He smiles.
"I want you too. You have no idea," he says in a now deeper tone of voice that makes my insides clench. He kisses me slowly, yet deeply. I touch his face with one hand, and explore his arm with the other. I feel his muscles flex under my hand.
We both remove our shirts and he slowly covers me with his body. We continue kissing, feverishly but slowly. Both afraid, both hoping that it isn't just some delicious dream that will disappear when we open our eyes in the morning.
I undo Mark's zipper and reach inside to feel him in my hand. He inhales sharply.
"How much do you want me?" he asks, very seriously and taking me off guard.
"So much," I whisper back not being able to look at him, since dirty talk is totally a new thing for me. He smiles and kisses me.
"Tell me while you look at me baby," he pleads. I muster the courage to look in the deep pools of his green eyes.
"I want you so much," I say and immediately feel his lips press into mine with overwhelming force. He takes of my shorts and underwear in one go, and removes his own right after. He flips me over onto my stomach and I feel him trace butterfly kisses down my spine. As he gets lower and lower I grow more and more nervous and tense.
"Relax," he says kissing just above my buttocks.
"Mark," I say unsure, putting my hand over his hand which rests on my lower back.
"You're so beautiful, I need to have every part of you. Please," he says gently.
"Okay," I reply unsure as he goes back to kissing my back. I gasp as I feel his wet tongue gently graze over my most intimate parts. Then I gasp more as he continues putting steady pressure on it, licking and kissing, in a maddening cycle.
"Crap, I'm gonna cum," I mumble embarrassed, involuntarily arching my behind further onto Mark's face. He just "mmm's" in response and continues his blissful torture. I grab the sheets and experience the most intense orgasm of my life.
I continue lying on my stomach, panting for air. My whole body tingling. After a couple soft kisses on my behind, Mark moves up and grabs my body. He turns me so that we're spooning. I feel like I'm in a trance, my body completely spent and my mind exhausted. As I fall asleep I hear a whisper in my ear "mine forever." I smile and barely audibly whisper back "yours," before drifting off.