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  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
    Mercury Eff
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A Night with no Stars - 15. Method in Madness

“Ok, get lost,” Aleks laughed, pushing him away playfully and then standing back on his toes to kiss him chastely one last time.

Wincent gave him a crooked smile. “Are you coming over after you get enough gayness from this place?” he asked.

Aleks snorted. “We'll see,” he winked when they got on the street. Aleks waved before heading back to the club. Wincent followed him with his eyes for a moment and then went in the opposite direction.

Aleks couldn't wipe the smile off his face. Sex did that to people and the rush of adrenaline was only making it better. Sonia had left him alone an hour ago, so he called Wincent, because... because he was in a gay club, where everyone was fucking and he wanted to, but while normally he would just pick up someone from there, today he thought that since they were already seeing each other... he might as well not look for anyone else. And yeah, this time it was him who was leaning towards exclusivity and getting deeper than he initially intended, but... things were good between them lately. Still casual, but nice, as if that morning when Wincent went nuts unlocked something in him. He'd become more open and willing to show that he cared, which both excited and frightened Aleks, but he decided to see where it was heading. And he would probably stick to this resolution if it wasn't for that damn phone call earlier. Because while his common sense was prompting him to bite the bullet and stand firm, Maks's voice... he wasn't sure if it wasn't just his imagination acting up, but he really sounded dead set on seeing him. He sounded as if something had changed and Aleks tried to keep himself from thinking that maybe he just needed time and now he decided that he... that he wanted to...

“What are you doing here?” He came to an abrupt halt when he saw the object of his pondering fidgeting in front of the club. He blinked, unable to believe that he was really there.

Maks took a step forward, looking very out of place. “I wanted to talk,” he said quietly. He sounded as if he was pissed, but desperately trying to hide it.

“Here?” Aleks asked, astonished, then closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “Jesus, come on,” he snapped, grabbing Maks's wrist and starting to drag him inside.

Maks balked. “Can we... go somewhere else?” he suggested weakly.

“You're not gonna catch gay in there,” Aleks mocked, rolling his eyes. He stopped at the entrance, crossing his arms expectantly. He looked around suspiciously when Maks followed him reluctantly.

“What's going on?” Maks asked with a frown.

Aleks glanced over his shoulder distrustfully one last time. “Nothing,” he muttered distractedly, leading him through a long, dim corridor. It was practically impossible that Partyka was still tailing Maks. He seemed to trust Aleks a whole lot more than at the beginning, and watching Maks must have been spectacularly boring, he was probably doing nothing but going to and from work. He took a calming breath. Yeah, it would be bad enough if Maks led them to a gay club and straight to him, but if anyone by chance saw Wincent here... that would be a shit show.

They got to the other end of the club to one of the furthest rooms, where the music was more subdued. Aleks smirked and plonked himself down on the black leather sofa, encouraging Maks to do the same. He did, cautiously taking a seat on the edge of the cushion, watching the surroundings nervously. Aleks took an opportunity to size him up. He looked good, unlike the last time they saw each other, when he was completely messed up and close to tears. They both were. Now he seemed determined. His lips were pressed tightly and he was staring at Aleks sharply. He was clearly tense and there was no trace of a smile on his face.

“So... what did you want to talk about?” Aleks finally started the conversation, fed up with the stretched-out silence. He didn't let himself get anxious very often lately, but now he felt his heartbeat accelerating. Maks's gaze pierced right through him and Aleks couldn't avert his eyes even if he wanted to. If Maks wanted to talk about them, then Aleks feared he might say 'yes' even before any question was asked.

“I saw you with that guy,” Maks blurted and immediately started to look ashamed, as if he'd only just realized that spying on people having sex wasn't socially acceptable.

Aleks's eyes widened, but he managed to hold back any other reactions. Thank God they'd been seen by Maks and not someone else. Or maybe it couldn't get worse than Maks.

“Wincent,” he figured, keeping his cool. It wasn't a question.

Maks nodded slowly. “What...” he faltered. “What are you even doing with him?” he asked flat out.

Aleks raised his eyebrows. “I'm fucking him,” he informed him with a trace of a gibe, because it seemed pretty obvious to him.

Maks pulled a face. He meant... in a more general sense. “Why him though?” he asked dumbly. Now they were actually talking about it he had trouble with holding his gaze and had to avert his eyes.

“Why not him?” Aleks shot back. “Because I like him. Because I think he's hot.”

“He's not,” Maks disagreed instantly.

“Well, apparently we've got a very different taste in men,” he said haughtily with a half-smile.

The old Maks would argue that he didn't have any taste in men. The new one didn't even have to think about his answer. “Yeah, mine is narrowed down to one.” He cleared his throat when this time it was Aleks who almost blushed and averted his eyes. “So... you're doing it only with him?” he uttered, trying not to sound accusing.

“No, Maks, with everyone who buys me a drink,” Aleks taunted.

Maks's eyes narrowed. “And to think for a moment I felt special,” he muttered, not able to fully hide his dejection. All of a sudden he had no idea why he was even here, because he hadn't been able to get him out of his mind for the last few weeks and here Aleks was, blowing someone else happily and joking about it on top of that.

“Yeah, don't flatter yourself,” Aleks snorted half-heartedly. “What did you want to talk about?” he repeated calmly.

Maks felt all of his carefully prepared words evaporating from his head. What was he even trying to do here? What did he think would happen? That they would jump into each other's arms and declare their love? That he would dump Ewelina and they'd live happily ever after? God, it was fucking unrealistic. Aleks looked more like he was going to laugh in his face the moment Maks suggested something along those lines, and he didn't even know if he seriously intended to suggest it. The worst of it all was that he knew that Aleks had every right to be hostile, but he really wanted him to stop. He needed to push his buttons and make him drop the armor. “I wanted to talk... about you and me, about us, but that was before I found out that you blow just anyone,” he scoffed.

Just as he expected, he was instantly pinned down by an angry glare. “Excuse me?” Aleks asked in disbelief. “There is no us, Maks, and you got the credit for that. Which means that I could blow every guy in this club and you can do shit about it,” he said disdainfully, then looked around pointedly. “Like him,” he picked a random, dark-haired guy and started to stand up ostentatiously.

Maks rolled his eyes. “Jesus, Aleks,” he hissed, grabbing his elbow and yanking him back to the sofa. “Ok, I get it. God, you're such a brat sometimes,” he muttered in annoyance.

Aleks raised his eyebrows. “I'm a brat?” he echoed incredulously. “Yeah, because you are so incredibly mature,” he mocked. “You know exactly what you're after and what's your fucking point. That's why you came here, to tell me that I'm a brat?” he asked in challenge, raising his voice slightly.

“No, I came to tell you that I've missed you,” Maks growled. “And that I still miss you and that I've been thinking about you all the fucking time, and now I've seen you with some other guy and it pisses me off!”

“Sorry, Maks, it's not my fault that you have a split personality and you keep changing your mind. I've left you alone, cause I thought that was what you wanted and that it would be for the best, so you can't now blame me for...”

“I don't blame you,” Maks objected vehemently, knowing deep inside that it was a blatant lie.

“Yeah, you do,” Aleks stood his ground stubbornly. “But you have no logical reason for it, so just admit you're not actually mad at me, you're just jealous of out of your...”

“Of course I'm jealous!” Maks shouted. “Do you think I want to see you with anyone else?”

“Does that version includes us being together or should I just never be with anyone again because it doesn't sit well with you?” Aleks asked with fake curiosity.

Maks opened his mouth to keep arguing, then closed it. “Jesus, I don't know,” he muttered eventually, still sounding upset. “I thought we could think about it...”

“You know, I'm getting really sick of all this thinking of yours,” Aleks cut him off impatiently. “Stop fucking overthinking everything and do something for a change...”

Maks leaned in abruptly, pressing his lips against Aleks's and cutting him off mid-sentence. Aleks shut up, because he didn't have any other choice, and opened his mouth involuntarily. One of Maks's hands went up into his hair on autopilot, while his other arm wrapped around his waist and pulled on it, never breaking the kiss. Aleks sighed into his mouth and pliantly let himself be maneuvered to his lap. Maks let out a pitiful whimper when he felt a hard bulge in his jeans right next to his own.

He'd thought he would never have Aleks on him again. Thank fucking God he was wrong. He felt his hands cupping his face, his lips and tongue were getting more forceful, as if Aleks was trying to suck his very being from him through his mouth. Maks returned the kisses just as hungrily, letting his hands slip down and rest on his ass. It was the first time he'd ever touched it, but Aleks didn't seem to mind, he just hummed contentedly, unconsciously shifting between pressing against his hands and his crotch. His lips were even better now that Maks was sober; soft and full, they tasted like lemon, rum and tobacco, and his hips were twitching in his lap the same way they had back then.

Suddenly Maks felt that he needed more hands, so he could touch him everywhere simultaneously. Aleks's lips broke off from his and moved to his chin, and his hand sneaked under his t-shirt and started to wander up his chest. Maks tilted his head, still gripping his hair firmly and groaning softly when he felt a warm, wet tongue exploring his neck. His pants were so tight by now, he felt that if Aleks's hard on rubbed him a few more times something very embarrassing was going to happen, but he couldn't make himself stop. The tension was building up too fast for him to keep up and after weeks of waiting for it with only his imagination and right hand for assistance, it was going to get released very soon and probably with great force.

“Excuse me?” they heard a voice dangerously close. Aleks looked up distractedly. “I'm sorry, but I have to ask you to move to that room,” a young guy who seemed to work here said, pointing the door on the left and looking down on them regretfully.

Maks needed a moment to understand what was happening and why Aleks wasn't kissing and grinding on him anymore, before it suddenly hit him that they were in a public place. A gay club, sure, but still. They were groping each other shamelessly on that God damn sofa and people were watching . The old Maks didn't consider anything but chaste kisses acceptable outside of the home's safety. Yeah, he was frigid and always had been. He knew he must have been beet-red and was unable to utter a word.

Aleks recovered much quicker and sent the guy an apologetic glance. “It won't be necessary. No worries, we're gonna control ourselves,” he promised with a trace of amusement. It was too decent a club to have a blatant darkroom, but they had to provide some place for all these horny men to blow off some steam. The guy smiled back and left after winking at Maks, who was still stupefied.

He didn't snap back until he heard Aleks's snort. Maks fixed his gaze on him and for a moment he looked uncertain, before he started to move away from his lap. “I'm sorry. I got a bit carried away,” Aleks murmured, avoiding his eyes. He stood up and took his phone from the table.

Maks opened his mouth to object, because he was still a little dazed and his foggy brain couldn't comprehend why Aleks was suddenly leaving.

“Your decision-making process is getting better. Keep working on it,” he said with a trace of smirk on his face. “But you're wrong. I don't blow just anyone,” he added, then turned on his heel and headed towards the exit.

He sat on that damn sofa for another few minutes, wondering what had just happened. Aleks had left. He didn't stay with him, because Maks was acting like a complete dick, turning up whenever he felt like it and expecting Aleks to be his. But he wasn't. He could be, he even appeared to want to be, but it required effort and sacrifices that Maks wasn't sure he was ready for. It required a declaration and he couldn't help but wonder whether he'd already made some declaration or did he still know shit.

Apparently he still knew shit.

He would probably have sat there and wondered forever if not for a tall, tanned blonde who sat down across from him, gazing him curiously. “It's unbecoming for a hot stuff like you to sit alone,” he started with a broad smile. “Can I buy you a drink?” he added hopefully.

Maks blinked uncomprehendingly. “Sorry, I'm kind of spoken for,” he replied without a second thought, not sure who he meant by that. Only after uttering these words did he realize how hollow his voice sounded.

 

***

 

He picked himself up reluctantly to go open the door, even though Ewelina's company was the last thing he felt like right now. It turned out it wasn't her.

“Hi,” Wiki smiled broadly, raising a bottle of wine encouragingly. “Are you up to some chilling and necking this this with me?” she offered cheerfully, slipping past him inside without an invitation. He didn't see any other option than closing the door behind her.

Wiki wasn't all that sure that invading Maks's place was a good idea, but she hoped he wouldn't mind, because lately it felt like they'd become closer. They hadn't been very tight before, which wasn't all that surprising, after all up until recently she was still a child and then Maks left. But now she was almost seventeen and it made them more equal, and after those few days they'd spent together it felt like they were on their way to becoming... friends? Maybe not yet, but she really wanted them to be. She liked the idea of her and her big brother being friends, hanging out together and telling each other stuff. She'd never had that before and they could do that now that they were both adults, right?

Besides... she knew something about him that no one else did, at least she didn't think so, and was there anything that brought people together more than a shared secret?

Maks didn't seem disgruntled by her visit or anything, but he seemed a bit uncomfortable. Wiki wanted to show him that there was no reason for that, but she wasn't sure how, because her brother was just an awkward kind of guy, it was his default mode.

Maks poured the wine into two glasses, trying to avoid her eyes and avoid wondering where she got it from. It was unnerving, sitting across from someone who knew or at least could very well guess what was happening in his head. Maybe she didn't know the whole story, but she was more or less aware of the recent turning point in his life. And on one hand he was afraid that she would want to talk about it, but on the other... maybe they should, maybe even an introvert like him wasn't able to handle everything on his own. And she was his only shot.

After a few minutes of not very entertaining small-talk, during which Maks mostly inquired about how she was doing in school, she brought herself to ask casually, “So how's Ewelina? Cause I know you two are still together.” He didn't answer at first, so she fixed her big, questioning eyes on him, trying to pretend that she was only asking out of innocent curiosity.

Maks cleared his throat. “Yeah. Yeah, we are,” he confirmed without elaborating.

Wiki kept staring at him searchingly. “Ok,” she acknowledged. “So...” she hesitated for a split second. “What about Aleks?”

This time Maks was silent even longer, fidgeting with his glass nervously. “Aleks,” he echoed deliberately, as if he was tasting this name on his tongue. Aleks. Aleks, Aleks, Aleks. “I'm not sure,” he sighed, deciding that he might as well try to talk about him, even though he didn’t really know how to go about it. He could barely grasp Aleks and how he felt about him in his own mind, how was he supposed to put it all into words?

“But... have you seen him?” Wiki asked cautiously.

Maks nodded slowly. “I've seen him. Yesterday,” he specified.

When nothing came to follow this up, Wiki pressed urgently. “And?”

“And... nothing,” Maks admitted in surrender. “We... had a fight. Kind of, and after that things seemed to get better for a bit, but then he left practically without a word and I don't know now if he's...”

“Call him,” she advised instantly.

Maks looked skeptical. “You think?” he asked pathetically, his voice full of doubt.

Wiki bit her lip, looking for the right words. Finally she took a deep breath. “Look, Maks, I know that maybe my opinion is not something you care very much about...”

Maks opened his mouth to protest, but she didn't let him.

“...but what I know is that I've never seen you so... uninhibited... as you were with him. And so open. You've never been like that with Ewelina, you always seemed distant and bored, and when you're with him it's like you suddenly come to life. I had literally no idea what was going on when I first saw you two. It was like you turned into a completely different guy and I actually want to kick myself that I didn't see it coming, because when I think about it now it's been fucking obvious all along. If I were you, I wouldn't just give it up. You would be an idiot if you gave it up,” she said stubbornly.

Maks gaped silently at the table top.

“What's the problem? That he's a guy?” she added much more gently.

Maks nodded slowly.

Wiki looked like she wanted to roll her eyes, but managed to hold back. “Maks, guys have been having sex for ages. Not even for ages, since people have been walking on earth, they've been having sex with each other in many different configurations. Sure, some of them are more... mainstream... than others, but it's not exactly any newsflash. So if it's only peace and quiet you're after, then ok, do your sensible thing. But if you're after something more, something we're all looking for, then giving it up just to keep your life easy and bland, and keep other people off your case is really not worth it,” she said, visibly trying to sound lenient, but there was a trace of judgment in her voice.

“I think...” Maks started hesitantly. “I think I might have found it already,” he confessed quietly.

Wiki blinked and an excited smile started to appear on her face.

“I think I might have fallen a little bit in love with him,” he uttered, barely able to force these words out of his mouth, but he wanted them out there. He added 'a little bit' to play it down, but if that was little love then he'd rather not know how big love felt; it must be cataclysmic and capable of destroying everything within a fifteen kilometre radius.

Actually, that sounded like him and Aleks all right.

Wiki stared at him, her smile broad and her eyes both dreamy and teasing.

“But,” Maks added, because he didn't have it in him to be all head in the clouds. “But what if it doesn't work out and goes to hell? I won't be able to... go back,” he said lamely.

This time Wiki had to roll her eyes. “No, you won't,” she confirmed calmly. “It's not a game, you can't load your last save. So if that happens you will have to deal with it, just like all the other people do every day with the consequences of their decisions. That's why we're sitting here trying to figure out if it's worth the risk.”

It sounded reasonable, but it wasn't how Maks was seeing it. It didn't matter whether it was a risk worthy decision or not, it was still the only decision. “What about Ewelina?” He wasn't exactly sure what he was asking.

Wiki winced quietly. “Ok, that's gonna be unpopular,” she warned. “I think you need to be selfish this once.”

Maks smiled bitterly to himself, because he felt that he was selfish all the time.

“Don't consider her in this. Focus on you and find out what you want. See how it's gonna go with Aleks. Dump her whenever you're ready. You don't have to tell her shit. You don't have to explain yourself to anyone. It's not other people you're doing it for, you're doing it in spite of them. This one is only for you, so you might as well not take their feelings into account.”

Maks stared at her for a long moment, astonished. Was it that easy, should he just... let things happen and watch the outcome? Go to Aleks, apologize, feed Ewelina some bullshit that she hurt him too much and it wouldn't work, and just go for broke? Give himself and Aleks a chance to build something under normal circumstances, when they both knew where they stood? That was all his mind could handle right now. If he saw that the thing with Aleks was actually going somewhere, then he could consider further steps.

He had listened to Wiki's words and realized that... she wanted it to work. She wanted Maks to be with Aleks. A single person in the whole world knew and approved of the idea. So maybe... maybe it wasn't so doomed after all? Though he couldn't help but think that she was just a teenager and didn't know how the world worked. No, he corrected himself. She was sixteen, not twelve and understood everything perfectly. It was just the way she was and would be the same when she was forty, she'd still be breaking the rules, questioning the status quo and defying convention. It was a matter of personality, not age. Maks wasn't like that, but maybe it was about time to drop the model behavior and do something his own way for a change. He should already have done it when he was choosing college. He should have cut himself loose back then instead of trying to fit into all of these impossible expectations he cared nothing for. Well, better late than never.

That thought made him jump out of his chair, drink the rest of his wine, then refill the glass and down it in one gulp, for courage. He grabbed his phone and went to the balcony, accompanied by Wiki's exhilarated smile and her 'you go, girl!' exclamation. He didn't even pull a face, too focused on what he was intending to do. He paused at the sight of his name on the screen. He needed to harness the turmoil in his head first, so he started to repeat it in his mind again. Aleks. Aleks. Aleksss. Just push the green button. There you go. He waited with his heart in his throat for the ringing to end.

“Hello?” Aleks said. He sounded wary, as if he wasn't sure what to expect from his call and would rather not reveal anything until he determined it.

Maks took a deep breath. “Hey,” he said quietly, trying to collect his thoughts.

“Hi, Maks. What's up?” Aleks asked dryly.

“I'm fine,” Maks said automatically, then reconsidered. “No, I'm actually not. I'm sorry for yesterday. That wasn't how I wanted to do this, but I just saw you with that guy and... it all went to shit, because seeing you with... anyone... which means with him... makes me wanna break something. But it doesn't excuse the way I acted, I really shouldn't...”

“No, you shouldn't,” Aleks agreed, interrupting him. His tone was cryptic. “But it's fine. I get it. Thinking about you with Ewelina doesn't make me very happy either.”

Maks felt his stomach twisting unpleasantly. No, of course it didn't. What he was doing was even worse, because Aleks was aware that whatever was happening between them, Maks was still officially with her. But if he was jealous too that meant he cared. Not that Maks didn't know that before, he'd known that for a while now, even if last night's encounter had put some doubt in his mind. But apparently he did, he just pretended he didn't to keep his dignity intact.

“I know. I know it doesn't,” he said miserably. “But listen, I know I behaved like a complete tool and I don't blame you for leaving last night. And if... if you really like that Wincent guy better... if he's what you want,” Maks stumbled, then picked up bravely. “Then I'll leave you alone. Then well, I dug it up for nothing. But if... if you're not...” he faltered again, thinking he'd probably made a complete fool of himself, because Aleks was still silent, but he needed to at least try.

Aleks finally exhaled shakily. “Maks, it's not about who I like better,” he said wearily. “If I don't come first to you then you don't come first to me. That's how it works. I don't wanna impose and I've tried to make it easier for both of us, because I know that you have your own life and your fiancée, and... I respect that. In a way,” he muttered skeptically. “But the ball is in your court, if you'd rather keep things as they are now then fine, but... please, stick with it. You can't keep pulling me in and then pushing me away, we will kill each other.” He sounded as if he didn't expect his words to have any effect and that was what mobilized Maks the most.

“Where are you?” he asked out of the blue.

For a moment Aleks seemed too surprised to react. “On a bus,” he said slowly. “Why?”

“But where?”

“Wilson Square,” Aleks answered uncertainly.

“Are you going somewhere?” Maks asked dumbly.

The silence on the other end sounded judgmental. “No, Maks, I just like to sit on a bus and enjoy the view.”

Maks completely dismissed his sarcasm. “Yeah, you're not going anywhere. Get off at the next stop,” he instructed. “I'll come to you.”

“Why?” Aleks seemed to consider his options for a moment. “Where?” he finally managed to ask a practical question. “On the Gdansk Station?”

“What? No,” Maks bridled, thinking on his feet. “Downtown. Theatre Square. I'll be there in twenty. I need to tell you something.”

“You can't tell me now?” Aleks asked doubtfully, though he was starting to sound amused.

“No,” Maks replied without elaborating. “Wait there, ok?” he pleaded before hanging up. Only then he realized that it might have been pretty rude, so he charged back inside, typing furiously on his way.

5:55 pm. To: Aleks. Will you wait?

His phone pinged barely a few seconds later.

5:55 pm. From: Aleks. Yes, Maks, I'll wait, but it's starting to rain and I'm not gonna hang around there like an idiot forever, so hurry up.

Maks smiled to himself, racing through the living room.

Wiki's eyes were wide. “What's going on?” she asked in confusion when Maks grabbed his jacket, ordering a cab at the same time.

He looked at her distractedly, unable to wipe a dazed smile off his face. “I'm going,” he announced enigmatically.

She must have understood what he meant, because she instantly cheered up as well. “See!” she shouted triumphantly. “I knew you were a bright boy. Keep it up.” She stood up from the table. “I'm gonna go too then, I don't wanna be here when you come back to fuck,” she teased, though it didn't sound malicious at all.

Maks knew he should probably at least blush, but he was too light-headed and giddy to care. “Ok,” he just said absently before shutting the door behind them and running down the stairs. It wasn't until then that he realized that he was dressed in his old, ripped jeans and a dingy t-shirt he wore only to sleep, and he hadn't combed his hair at all, which probably made him look like a bum. He decided to brush it off. He was biting his nails the whole way to the city center.

He was getting close to the Central Railway Station when the drizzle started to turn into a torrent. Heavy raindrops hit the car roof like small meteorites and their rumbling echoed in his brain. Finally he got out of the car, thanking the driver politely. He felt as if he got completely soaked in the first three seconds he spent outside. He had no hood or an umbrella, so he just shrugged and rushed ahead with water running down his face and back. But it smelled like spring. It was a typical April shower, one of those that wreaked a short havoc and disappeared as if they were never there. Aleks was a bit like that. He also wreaked a short havoc and disappeared.

He saw him soaking wet in front of the Grand Theatre, clearly looking like he had no business hanging out in front of the Grand Theatre. He had a hood on that didn't seem to help him very much. He raised a cigarette to his lips, not realizing that it was also completely soaked and futilely tried to take a drag, then glared at it and tossed it on the sidewalk. He pulled out the package to get another one, then looked up and saw a familiar figure heading towards him. He put the cigarettes back and gaped expectantly at Maks, who knew he needed to take charge of this conversation.

“You do come first,” he blurted without any greeting, standing a couple steps from him, looking helpless.

Surprise crossed Aleks's face, but it disappeared as quickly as it came. “It doesn't feel that way,” he said quietly. There was a trace of hope in his voice, but he didn't seem ready to trust it yet.

“But it's true.” Maks took a few more steps and stopped right in front of him. “I know it doesn't. But I always think of you first. Actually... I always think of you,” he corrected himself, realizing that it was just as true.

Aleks looked uncertain for a moment. “Me too,” he whispered at least, because the first move belonged to Maks and he made it, and he couldn't read his mind. He needed assurance just as much as Aleks did.

A shy smile appeared on Maks's face. “And I wanna do something about it,” he announced purposefully.

Aleks snickered and somehow managed to roll his eyes in a way that was almost adoring. “Go for it,” he shrugged. His smile widened when Maks's fingers caressed his cheeks gently and then moved up to take the wet hood off his head. It was still raining, though not as intensely as a few minutes before. Aleks scrunched up his nose and Maks laughed softly before leaning in and pausing with their noses touching and their lips barely a few inches apart.

“People are watching,” Aleks whispered, impatient with the prolonged suspense.

Maks looked around stealthily. “No, they're all trying to get out of the rain,” he hushed him. “No one is paying attention to us.” He closed the distance between them. He'd never kissed Aleks like that, it was always frantic, delirious and wild. It was the first time he just pecked his lips, with no hurry or purpose, like it was the most natural thing in the world. Because it was.

“Jesus,” he heard a voice behind his back and turned around. The guy who just passed them glanced over his shoulder with a frown. He didn't even seem appalled, more abashed. When he realized they were looking at him, he smiled awkwardly and walked away quickly, shaking his head.

Why did someone always have to interrupt them?

They looked back at each other and snorted in unison. Aleks seemed to sober up from his high after a few seconds of elated grinning. His brows knitted. “What about Ewelina?” he asked quietly, not really wanting to ask that question, but feeling he must. He was very aware of Maks's hand still stroking the side of his face.

Some shadow crossed through Maks's face and his smile dimmed as well. “I'll take care of it,” he assured him.

“When?”

“Soon,” Maks promised, not very keen to get more specific.

Aleks was too happy to entertain the thought that considering Maks's previous speed of decision-making, in his vocabulary 'soon' probably meant 'never'.

“What about Wincent?” Maks flung back.

“I'll take care of it,” Aleks echoed with raised eyebrows, because for him there was quite a difference between a person you've slept with more than once and a person you've decided to propose to.

“Come home with me,” Maks asked quietly. There was a trace of pleading in his voice, as if everything depended solely on this one 'yes' or 'no'. The rain intensified again.

Aleks was stalling on purpose, both because he wanted to keep him on his toes and couldn't stop devouring him with his eyes when he was all bright and pure and his hair was disheveled and matted so that it made him look like a wet dog. “Ok.”

Thanks for your feedback! Big thanks to Mawgrim for editing!

Copyright © 2021 Mercury Eff; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

So true...

“Don't consider her in this. Focus on you and find out what you want. See how it's gonna go with Aleks. Dump her whenever you're ready. You don't have to tell her shit. You don't have to explain yourself to anyone. It's not other people you're doing it for, you're doing it in spite of them. This one is only for you, so you might as well not take their feelings into account.”

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