Categories > Theatre > Rent > Good Intentions0 Reviews
Roger takes things a step further. Mark's reaction isn't what he expected.
"Hey," Roger whispers. "Everything okay?"
Mark looks up at him, "Yeah, I'm fine. Just thinking." This is so obviously a lie that Roger doesn't even bother pretending to accept it.
Instead, he just kneels on the sofa facing Mark, wrapping arms around Mark's legs and sliding into a comfortable sprawl with his chin on Mark's knees. Their faces are inches apart, Mark's legs are against Roger's chest (so thin... he's so thin...), and Roger's eyes are staring into endless blue that's usually obscured by his glasses. This close, though, the thick lenses don't make any difference.
"Brooding and insisting nothing's wrong is my routine. Get your own."
"I'm not brooding," Mark mutters, looking away and biting his lip.
"Sure you're not. You always sit curled up in a little ball like this and stare at nothing in particular." Roger snorts. "When you're thinking, you pace. You only curl up like that and gnaw on your bottom lip when you're brooding."
Mark stops gnawing. "Just how do you know all this?"
"I pay attention. How can you tell when I'm really sick or just hiding?"
"You get this little whine in your voice when you're sick and... Okay. Right. I get it."
"Yeah." Roger grins at him and leans in just a bit more. "So what's wrong?"
"Collins called." Mark's still not looking at him, and it makes Roger's heart break all over again, watching him like that.
"You told him?"
Mark nods. Roger reaches out and ruffles Mark's hair comfortingly, though he's distracted by the feel of golden silk between his fingers.
"I'm feeling a little better now, anyway. Bad day."
Roger pulls away. "I scored us takeout."
"Chinese, as usual?"
"You know it." He rummages through the bags he brought in with him, and hands Mark a carton before settling down at the other end of the couch.
The scent of Hunan pork wafts up from Roger's carton, and he smiles suddenly, spearing a piece of pork with his fork and waving it under Mark's nose.
"Look Mark, pork! Poooork... Doesn't it smell good? Bet you'd like to have some, but Jews can't eat pork, Mark..." It's stupid, but good old Roger Davis-brand stupidity never fails to make Mark smile.
Mark looks up from his vegetables and rice and raises an eyebrow. "I was never that good a Jew." He opens his mouth and neatly bites it off Roger's fork, chewing contentedly.
"I'm sorry to tell you this, Mark, but you've just lost all your Jew points. God doesn't love you anymore."
"You're right," Mark says, nodding seriously. "I'll have to have a very serious talk with Rabbi Himmelfarb next time I go home." He starts to smile a little then, and Roger smiles back.
It's funny, he thinks, how his own spirits seem tied to that soft upward curve of Mark's lips. All Mark has to do is smile, and everything's fine again.
"When are you going home again?" Roger asks him.
"No time soon," Mark mutters around a mouthful of rice. "I can just see her reaction when she sees me taking my AZT..."
"What, you still haven't told her?"
"...That her darling baby has the AIDS?" Mark scowls at his food. "Can't you just see her reaction?"
Roger grimaces. "Let me see if I can get this right: Marky, sweetie, I told you!" He's been around Mrs. Cohen enough to be able to mimic her voice reasonably well, at least. "I told you what would happen if you moved to the city with all those artists and people on drugs and that Davis boy! But you never listen to me, because God forbid you should listen to your own mother for once, and now look at what's happened to my perfect baby!"
"And that," Mark says, poking Roger with a chopstick, "is why I never pick up the phone when she calls. If I need to hear her nagging me, I can just ask you to do the voice."
"I live to serve," Roger says, smirking. "Speaking of... You want tea or something?"
He gets up, maybe a little too eagerly, but making tea gives him a perfect opportunity to watch Mark. He puts water on to boil and leans against the fridge, watching as Mark picks at his dinner, oblivious. He has a particular fascination with watching Mark use chopsticks... For all the comments about musicians having talented hands, it's a skill he's never mastered.
Watching someone eat with a pair of sticks shouldn't be erotic, he tells himself. It's just Mark, eating, the same way he always does. Nothing special about that. But that doesn't keep him from watching as each tiny morsel passes Mark's lips, and wondering just how long he'll be able to keep taking things slow.
The teakettle whistles, and he jumps, turning off the hot plate and dropping a teabag into Mark's favorite mug.
Okay, he thinks, time to relax a little. But Mark makes relaxing so very, very hard. He turns again and peers into the fridge.
"Whose beer?" he askes, pulling out a lone bottle of Dos Equis.
"Yours, if you want it," Mark calls back, and Roger cracks it open and drinks greedily. Something needs to happen. Something needs to happen soon.
Once he's got a bit of beer in him, it's enough to calm him down so he can pour hot water into Mark's mug and bring it and his beer over to the couch. He sets the mug on the table by Mark to steep, and while he's doing that, he swears he can smell Mark, even under the tea and Chinese food. He takes another long pull from his bottle, and settles down on the couch again, contemplating that perhaps waiting for Mark to realize how much they need each other wasn't the best idea.
The line between 'things Mark needs to figure out for himself' and 'things Roger needs to figure out for Mark' keeps blurring in his head, and he's got a vague suspicion that's a bad thing.
On the other hand, things have gone so well so far...
Mark seems content to eat in silence and let him brood over it, which is all to the better as far as he's concerned. It's a given that Mark loves him, that he wants this as much as Roger does; Roger's long since learned to ignore the little voice that asks him if he's sure about that. If he wasn't sure, he wouldn't have done what he did. Otherwise, that would make him...
He doesn't finish that thought.
So Mark wants this, but obviously, he's still adjusting to the fact that they're both positive. Still, Roger could... help him adjust? Maybe.
He's so lost in those thoughts, chasing each other round and round in his head, that he only looks up once Mark clears his throat.
"I'm... kind of tired," Mark says, fiddling with the hem of his shirt.
Mark's takeout carton is empty, and so's Roger's, for that matter. Roger wonders how long he's been sitting there with his thoughts going in circles, but it doesn't matter, because this is a sign.
This has to be a sign.
He follows Mark into the bedroom, watching him strip down to just corduroys, and every movement's a kind of perfection, even when Mark bangs his knee on the dresser and curses under his breath. And when Mark pulls on a t-shirt, that's a bit disappointing, but still okay. Roger watches the skin slide over the sharp angles of his shoulderblades as he pulls the shirt on, and it's better than okay.
Roger, for his part, just peels his shirt off and climbs into bed wearing jeans and socks. Already, his skin's itching for the feel of Mark against him, and when Mark climbs into the bed next to him and rests a head on his shoulder, it's so good it makes his nerves ache.
He wraps an arm around Mark's waist, telling himself that if it's a sign, Mark will do something. If it's a sign, Mark will do something. If it's a sign, Mark will do something, but Mark's breathing is evening out as he falls asleep, and it's entirely likely it wasn't a sign at all.
Unless it was a sign he should do something. He promised himself he'd let Mark take the lead, but...
But Mark's lips are so close, breath warm against his skin, body pressed to his, and Roger can smell him, feel him, almost taste him. Needs to taste him. One kiss won't hurt, with Mark soundly asleep.
Just one kiss.
He shifts in bed, tilting Mark's face towards his, and Mark's lips are parted, and it's nothing much to just brush his lips across Mark's, or to dart out a moist tongue, tasting...
And then he can't remember why just one kiss was worrying him so much. He's kissing Mark deep and lovingly, and Mark's moving against him, still mostly asleep, and kissing back, and this... This is right.
And then Mark opens his eyes. And everything goes wrong.
Mark's shoving him away roughly, and the look in his eyes is pure panic, thin hands clutching Roger's shoulders. This is all wrong. All wrong.
Wrong wrong wrong, echoes the voice in his head, and a dimmer echo of crazy and murderer, which can't be what's going on because didn't Mark want this?
Mark doesn't look like he wants this, though. Mark is wide-eyed and shaking and holding him at arm's length, looking like he's still not sure what's going on, and Roger does the only thing he can think of.
Mark curls in on himself as if he's been hit, still shaking, and Roger grabs his pillow.
"It's your bed," Mark says finally, and Roger just shakes his head.
"My fault. I'll go."
"Look, I'm sorry! I'm just not like... I didn't think...! Roger, don't," he says, but Roger's already grabbing a spare blanket, and Mark's not moving, which just confirms this was exactly what he shouldn't have done.
Roger's cold and he's alone, and everything is wrong, and so he leaves Mark there in his bed, shaking and staring into the darkness after him.
He thinks maybe he hears Mark sniffling a little, but he's probably wrong about that, too.