“Hey, there is a quick way to test if you have feelings for me, you know?”
Efren’s fingers dug into his shirt’s front, pulling Marc gently lower while he tiptoed, meeting his lips half way down. He didn’t hurry, hadn’t closed his eyes, nor was there fireworks, but oddly he couldn’t keep the smile away and his lips curved up, opening slightly.
Marc waited. He had stopped only a bit higher, hovering over his lips, hesitating.
If he backed out now, Efren knew it would be over. There would be no reason left for tantrums, or arguments. Five years of their lives would simply vanish and there would be no more late nights keeping each other company.
But he saw Marc’s body react. It heaved, running out of air his chest collapsed into itself, pulling its warmth away from under his knuckles. Then it returned, hotter than before. The fingers still gripping his arm dig deeper and moment after his breathing hitched, he felt their lips meet, heat exchanging hosts.
His eyes fell shut and for a moment Efren let his mind enjoy the contact, confused at the same time. He wanted to prove to Marc that what he felt was simple misunderstanding, but what he felt against his lips was far from being simple infatuation. His heart hammered it home – Marc had stepped up to the challenge and done it!
Marc pulled away, and he sucked in the breath he had been holding like a teenager, who’d received his first kiss. When he opened his eyes, Marc was staring straight at him, serious.
“So much of food hygiene.” Efren joked and Marc smiled. “I’ll see you in few days. I’m sorry.” He reached up and gave a quick peck on his lips with a pat on his cheek, leaving Marc to gather his wits before he had to get back to the kitchen.
By the time he was by the back door of the restaurant, he was gulping down the horrible feeling that perhaps this was the last time they met. Despite the butterflies in his stomach, he knew in his heart that he couldn’t take him along. It had felt like a good bye and it carved out his insides that he had let it feel like it to both of them. He had flashes of sun filled living rooms, Pearl watching TV while Marc gives him his beer glass and clinks his bottle against it. Like shoddy commercial. He wanted to be in it.
It struck him hard to realize that after all the years of hating it, he suddenly understood his father’s reasoning. There was no way he could leave his blue eyed family. He wanted to come back to them, hear Marc’s voice, deal with Pearl’s problems and be called pedophile every once in a while. OK, he snorted, perhaps the latter was unnecessary. But he wanted to be part of their lives and if for now Marc preferred him on the edge, maybe he could change his mind? There wouldn’t be much different from how it was till now, would it?
Half an hour later he was back home. He left the papers on the living room desk, which by now had began to fill both his and Steven’s office needs, and searched out the piece of paper he had with the potential flats. His coughing had got worse, but he figured the faster he had this done, the better he would sleep. Five minutes later he had an appointment and he changed out of his sweaty clothes. He had just enough time for a quick shower. He gulped down several cold tablets and drank enough water to fill a small well, then showered and by the time he had finished his small lunch, he was feeling good enough to try stay up and working for another hour. He could think about packing and moving when he was feeling better.
He tried to occupy his time with work, but set it aside fast, knowing he couldn’t concentrate well enough not to make mistakes. He kept checking the time and when it finally had reached quarter of an hour, he got up, made sure he looked at his best and went. He decided to get a gab instead of using the public transport. Too many possibilities to be seen. Instead, he called a cab. At least they wouldn’t be under Steven’s thumb, he mused.
Ten minutes later the cab stopped in front of an old orange house. Going by the pictures, it had undergone a renovation few years back, but the inside of it was still old, thus the cheap price suitable for students. It seemed quite popular among them, according to the forum he happened on, but given the circumstances, this had to be it. He gave a quick pray that it would be available too.
The woman waiting on the entrance was plump at its best. She was dressed modestly in purple office suit, covering up the too open cleavage with pink scarf and put on her best selling smile. She wasn’t young, but she looked good.
“Mr. Wooldridge?” She greeted him with a handshake and off she went with her typical selling articles like real full size bath, large windowsills, big living room, which according to her was luxury – if only she could have a glimpse in Steven’s, she would hesitate to repeat that statement. Efren nodded when required, but most of her talk went past him. His mind kept going back to Marc’s mouth and Pearl’s smiles, which she had to get from her father.
“Can I sign the contract today?”
The woman seemed taken aback by that question, although Efren thought it was the best time to ask. Maybe she hadn’t expect to find tenant so fast?
“Tomorrow.” She offered.
Alright, he nodded, tomorrow then.
When he got back home, the first thing he heard was his cell. He checked the id and frowned.
“Efren? What the hell are you doing searching new flat?”