“Breakfast,” Eduardo says, laying down a plate a little to Mark’s left. There are pancakes on it, and normally Mark would be all over that, except the code isn’t cooperating at all and it’s beginning to piss him off.
“Yeah, moment,” he tells Eduardo and continues to press the keys viciously.
Eduardo sighs and walks out to the living room, where Jess is watching some cartoon or other. It could be the one about the aliens. Which probably doesn’t narrow it down at all, Mark guesses.
“Breakfast, Jess,” Eduardo says and Jess mutters something Mark doesn’t catch. Eduardo laughs. “I swear, both of you,” he says, maybe a little fondly. “Here’s a fork. Here’s a plate. Try not to get it all over the carpet, Jess,” he adds and comes back into the kitchen. “Do you need me to guide you to the fork and plate as well?”
“In a moment,” Mark repeats. So, okay, he sounds like his six year old daughter, sue him. “It’s not working as it should. Why isn’t it working?”
And then Eduardo comes to stand behind him and leans over his shoulder. “May I?” he asks, hand on Mark’s arm, and leans closer to look at the screen and for a moment Mark forgets what he was actually trying to achieve with the code, all he can think about is Wardo’s face close to his, Wardo’s warm breath tickling his ear. “Jesus, your algorithm is so hideous. I can’t look away,” Eduardo says jokingly and reaches out for something.
The movement pulls him away from Mark for a second, and Mark can breathe again, but he misses the contact desperately at the same time. Air, it turns out, is overrated.
“Here,” Eduardo pushes the plate with the pancakes away and leans in over Mark again. He’s holding one of Jess’ markers, the easily washable ones that she uses to draw on walls and everything else and then they wash away when she gets bored with a given picture. “It’s not perfect, but it should tie you over,” he offers and writes down a string of numbers and symbols and right now, Mark can’t breathe for a whole new reason.
“How did you--” he starts and turns his head to stare at Eduardo, who still hadn’t pulled away, his face all too close. “Fuck,” he mutters and reaches up, his hand on the back of Eduardo’s neck, pulling him down into a clumsy kiss.
The angle is awkward and over the sound of his pulse rushing and his heart trying to beat its way out of his chest, Mark can hear the sounds of a cartoon Jess is watching. That doesn’t matter at all, because the next thing Mark knows is Eduardo kissing him back, his hand in Mark’s hair, his tongue... Jesus fuck, Wardo’s tongue in his mouth.
Mark makes a low, keening sound, he’s not afraid to admit that it might sound needy and a little desperate, and tries to get closer.
“Mark,” Wardo starts, whispered against Mark’s lips.
“Can I get some chocolate sauce?” Jess calls from the living room and Wardo pulls away.
“Can I get some chocolate sauce what?” he calls back, and his voice is a little rough, but otherwise he doesn’t miss a beat. Mark looks up helplessly, because Eduardo’s hair is completely messed up and his lips are swollen and Mark probably looks even worse.
“Can I get some chocolate sauce, please?” Jess tries and Wardo nods and opens the cupboard. Jess apparently decided the sauce is worth dragging herself away from the cartoon and makes her way into the kitchen. “Thank you,” she says and doesn’t even blink at them, and sure, Mark usually looks a right mess most of the time, but Eduardo tends to be put-together and immaculate.
Mark did this. Messed him up like this. He wants to do even more, he wants to...
“I’m sorry,” Eduardo says and Mark freezes. “That was-- extremely unprofessional doesn’t even begin to cover it. Sorry,” he says again and Mark can just stare at him numbly. Wait, what?
Eduardo shrugs and cards his fingers through his hair. He messes it up even more in the process. “I realise you’ve hired me partly to avoid these kinds of situations. It won’t happen again and I think it’s probably best if we-- look, can we forget this happened?”
No. “Um, sure,” Mark nods, confused. A minute ago Eduardo was kissing him back, and now they’re supposed to forget about this? Can people even do that? He doesn’t think it works this way. “Sorry,” he adds, because maybe he’s expected to.
“No, it’s--” he sighs and shakes his head. “I think it’s time for Jess to get dressed. Excuse me,” he says and rushes out, and Mark stares at him dumbly before glancing down at the algorithm written in bright blue marker.
What the fuck was all that?
During the next few days Eduardo does his best to avoid being alone with Mark, mostly making sure that he’s always in the room with Jess. Mark doesn’t exactly make it difficult, he’s not that eager to set himself up for rejection.
It’s even easier considering that Mark is busy with the new features they’re rolling out this week, and Eduardo takes over most of the preparations for Jess’ birthday party.
Mark sort of wishes he was the kind of person who faces things like that head on and to fuck with everything. He can do that in business, he’s kind of known for that. He could write ‘consequences be damned’ on his business cards, right under the ‘bitch’ part (which isn’t actually there anymore, he doesn’t need it now) and no one would be surprised.
In this, however, he is a coward. He lets Eduardo change every subject to caterers and cake and gifts and guests, and hides behind his laptop most of the time, because it’s easier, it’s better, it keeps Eduardo from leaving him. Them.
“So,” Lisa starts after four days, arms crossed. “How are your attempts at seducing the nanny are going?”
“You’re fired,” he tells her and she sighs.
“Have you at least found out if he’s gay? That would be a good place to start,” she mutters and Mark looks away, thinking of the kiss, the way Eduardo stepped closer, kissed back in a way Mark thought was eager.
Lisa misinterprets his silence and sighs again. “Mark, you’ve created facebook, the most efficient way to stalk the people you like, it should be a no brainer.”
“It’s not on his profile,” Mark says flatly, because it isn’t. He wasn’t checking for that, not really, but he looked the profile over and there’s no mention option chosen for that particular box.
“Okay,” she says, not unkindly, and changes the subject to what she should get Jess for her birthday and whether Mark had time to do the shopping yet or if she should look through the online catalogues and e-mail him links to a few options.
That’s one subject change he welcomes.
The morning of Jess birthday Eduardo lets in the caterers and makes sure everyone knows what they’re doing before picking up his jacket. “I should--” he starts and Mark shakes his head.
He’s glad he’d seen that one coming. “Jess,” he yells and she comes back running. She’s been bouncing with excitement since last night, and now she’s practically jumping up and down. Eduardo let her choose her clothes herself and she paired up a princess tulle skirt with a Batman t-shirt. “Jess, have you invited Eduardo yet?”
“Right,” she nods and bounces away, just to come back a few seconds later, clutching an envelope. “Sorry, I forgot. Dad said I have to invite you, because you’re not working this afternoon. So you could be my guest. Here,” she hands him the invitation Mark helped her made in the morning, before Eduardo arrived. He got glitter on his fingers and then all over his clothes, and it’s not as pretty as the ones Wardo and Jess made last week for everyone else, but it probably doesn’t matter.
Eduardo gives him a slightly accusatory look, like he’s sure Mark had planned this. Well, he did, so what.
He shrugs. “I’m sure Jess really wants you to come,” he offers and Jess nods eagerly, looking up at Eduardo. She works up the pout, too, which is better than Mark had planned.
“Of course. I’d love to,” Wardo tells Jess before looking at Mark again, exasperated and fond and worried and maybe, just maybe, happy. Mark can’t quite tell, it’s a complicated mix of flickering emotions, but he doesn’t think Eduardo is too angry, so he counts this as a win.
Jess beams and runs to pick Leia up and go back to the garden, where they’re setting up the tables. For now it’s just Mark and Wardo, a first moment like that in days. Since the kiss.
“I--” he starts and abandons whatever it was pressing its way to his lips when he notices the look of almost-panic on Eduardo’s face. “Your algorithm was very helpful,” he says instead. “You ever think of career change, I think we could use you at facebook,” he offers. He hadn’t thought about it before, to be honest, but it’s not untrue. “I didn’t even know you--”
“Yes, well. I majored in economics for a while,” Eduardo shrugs. “Didn’t quite work out.”
“It said Harvard on your resume, I assumed it was something useless, like English Lit,” Mark offers and it startles a laugh out of Eduardo. “Why did you drop out?”
He’s done the math. If Eduardo stayed on they could have met back then. At a party, introduced by acquaintances. (Not friends, Mark’s not delusional, he hadn’t made many friends back in college.) It feels like such a wasted opportunity. Missed chance.
“I’ve had-- I’ve had a disagreement with my father about some ‘life decisions’ I’ve made,” Eduardo shrugs. His hands had balled into fists and Mark wishes he could take the question back. “I needed to find a job and fast, and a friend of a friend needed a full-time babysitter. I’ve always liked kids, it worked out.”
“I’m sorry,” Mark says, knowing Wardo will understand. Not about the last part, about asking the wrong questions.
“It’s fine. I’ve always intended to come back, finish the degree once I’m more financially secure. This year I’ve--” he stops suddenly, like he realises he said too much. Mark runs the sentence over and feels worry settle in his chest.
This year. Wardo plans, or planned, to go back this year. “What are you--” he starts. What are you doing working here, then, he wants to ask and doesn’t manage to finish before the front doors open, because his family couldn’t be bothered to knock, of course.
“Go,” Wardo says, smiling slightly. “I’ll find Jess,” he adds. Mark hesitates and Wardo’s smile grows softer. “I’m going to be right there.”
“Alright.” Mark will take what he gets.
Right now he gets his insane family. Here’s hoping they don’t quite scare Wardo away, if Mark hadn’t managed to do that so far.
The party spirals into chaos pretty damn soon. Controlled chaos, sure, no one sets anything on fire or breaks anything especially valuable, but there are around twenty kids aged four to seven, all hyped up on sugar. Mark’s head hurts after twenty minutes and they hadn’t even got close to cake or presents.
He remembers telling himself never again last year, the first year when Jess was big enough to want a party like that, not just a small family thing with cake. Mark’s pretty sure he was standing in the same spot in the garden, right by the steps, and promising himself never again.
“Stop frowning, your face is going to stick like that,” his mother tells him.
“I can’t believe you’re still perpetuating this lie.”
“What lie? I look at pictures of you in the papers and online and I’m pretty sure your face did stick that way,” she says flatly before smiling as she looks towards Jess, who is currently sitting on the ground, getting grass stains all over her skirt. Together with Katie and JJ they’re trying to put a ribbon on Leia’s neck. The cat is having none of that. “She’s grown.”
“I’ve been told it happens to the kids her age. Completely normal, no need to panic,” Mark says automatically.
“I’ve meant to say it’s been a while since I last saw her,” his mother offers and shrugs. “She’s happy, you’re doing great,” she adds, and normally Mark would huff at that, he doesn’t need validation. Except it’s his mother, so maybe he does. “But, you know,” she starts and lets it hang in the air and Mark rolls his eyes.
“Is this about more grandchildren or my non-existent sex life this time?”
“I have enough grandchildren for now, thank you. And I’d rather refer to this as your love life, if you want a refresher on the sex talk, ask your father. Although I suppose you can find better information on the internet these days.”
Mark snorts and shakes his head. “I’m fine,” he says. “And more importantly, Jess is fine.” He used to worry he wouldn’t be enough.
Jess looks up just then and grins toothily, waving at them. Mark’s mother waves back. “Of course you’re fine. I’d still like you to be happy, too,” she says and raises her hand at him before he can say anything. “Yes, I’m done.”
“I was just about to ask,” he nods. “Or bring you cake or something.”
“There’s still half an hour before the cake is scheduled,” Eduardo says, appearing by his side. “Here,” he says, pressing a can of Red Bull into Mark’s hand. It’s cold, and that would be the reason for Mark’s shivering and that’s the version he’s sticking to.
They don’t have Red Bull here outside, Eduardo must have gone to get it from the fridge. Last time Mark seen him, Wardo was discussing, of all things, cough syrups with Janice and Nate, one of Katie’s dads. Not that Mark was spending all of the party keeping tabs on Eduardo’s whereabouts.
He glances down at the can in his hand and wonders if it’s at all possible that Wardo’s being doing the same.
Eduardo misinterprets his look. “I know I’m enabling you, but you looked like you needed it,” he says, then turns to Mark’s mother. “Mrs Zuckerberg, can I get you anything?”
“You’re not working today,” Mark says quickly. He doesn’t want this to be about Wardo’s work. Besides. “And it’s not even in your job description,” he adds sulkily and Wardo nods.
“True. But I’m polite full time.”
“Yes, it’s one of your more annoying qualities,” Mark agrees, and he can’t hold back a smile, which is unfortunate, because his mother’s eyebrows rise all the way up and she mouths ‘oh’ at him before strengthening up, all smiles and evil plans.
“I’d love some ice tea,” she says. “But Mark can get it,” she adds quickly and reaches out to join her arm with Eduardo’s.
“Don’t scare him away,” Mark warns. It’s only a few seconds later that he realises how this could be interpreted. He meant as a nanny, for heaven’s sake. He meant Jess loves Wardo best of everyone who took care of her before, and--
Yeah, okay. Fighting the losing fight and lying to himself were never Mark’s favorite occupations.
He tries to be gone for the briefest possible moment, but when he comes back, his mother is smiling fondly and Eduardo seems flustered. Mark narrows his eyes suspiciously but Eduardo shakes his head. “It’s fine,” Mark must look unconvinced because Wardo reaches out and squeezes his shoulder. “I think it’s time for cake,” he adds.
“I like him,” Mark’s mother whispers into his ear a moment later. And while his mother doesn’t always warm up to people that fast, this is not surprising. It’s not like anyone could dislike Wardo. The problem is with Wardo liking everyone right back, and it’s difficult to tell if...
“Yeah,” Mark says and concentrates on getting the candles in the cake to stand up right and not drip wax over the icing. Right before Jess blows them out he catches Wardo’s gaze and wonders how wrong would it be to hijack the birthday wish.
“Hey, well done,” Wardo says a few moments later, when Jess hugs him. Maybe not that wrong, Mark thinks. Maybe she’d like this too.
Mark breathes that little bit more easily when everyone is gone. Well, not everyone as such, his parents are planning to stay for two more days. The official version is that they want to spend some time with Jess, but Mark quietly supposes it’s a plan to drive him insane.
“Yes, that’s exactly it,” his mom says and pats his hand. “Now, though, we’re tired. No, we can find our way to the bedroom, don’t trouble yourself. It’s been lovely to meet you, Eduardo,” she adds, the sentiment echoed by Mark’s father, who shakes Wardo’s hand before picking up Jess and carrying her to her bedroom.
Mark rolls his eyes. “I’m sorry about them,” he tells Wardo who smiles softly.
“They’re great,” he says and picks up a few discarded paper cups. Mark frowns at him.
“Didn’t we have this conversation already? You’re a guest today.”
“The party’s over.”
“Guest status includes the clean up. Seriously, Wardo, leave it,” he mutters and awkwardly grabs at the cups.
“I’m pretty sure you don’t even know what is suitable for the dishwasher and what isn’t,” Wardo points out. Probably not unreasonably.
“Paper cups are suitable for the trash. I can deal with those.”
Wardo hesitates for a moment, his expression slightly quizzical. “You clean those up, and the paper plates. I’ll load the dishwasher.”
“Mark,” he shoots back easily. “That’s not work. I’m helping a friend clean up after a party.”
Mark stares at him. Okay. This is acceptable. He’ll take this, if that’s what he’s given. “Fine. I-- Thanks.”
“Don’t mention it.”
They’re done in less than half an hour. Wardo’s scarily efficient and Mark doesn’t want to be left behind, so the house is clear of any evidence of the party, save for Jess’ pile of gifts still on the coffee table in the living room, pretty soon.
Wardo closes the dishwasher’s door with satisfaction and looks around. “Okay,” he says, with a ring of certain finality. “I should be going, then.”
“I’ll make some coffee,” Mark suggests, ignoring the last part. If he ignores the last part maybe it will be forgotten. “There’s some cake left, I think.”
“Wardo. This is me offering some coffee to a friend who helped me clean up after a party.”
Mark holds his breath, but Eduardo just looks at him and laughs, shaking his head. “I did set myself up for this, didn’t I?” he mutters and shrugs. “Coffee’s fine. No cake. I don’t think I’ll be able to look at cake for the next few weeks.”
Cake needs to go, obviously. Mark nods and sets the coffee maker on and doesn’t protest when Wardo takes out the mugs and sets them on the counter. He doesn’t care for another round of work/guest discussion, and besides, when Wardo steps closer to open the cupboard, it brings him close enough to Mark to touch, warm even through the layers of clothing.
Yes, Mark has been reduced to this. Fantastic.
“Want to watch a movie?” he offers and Eduardo shrugs.
“Not particularly. But I could be persuaded to a round of Mario Kart,” he says laughingly. “I’m pretty sure I can kick your butt.”
“Butt? Dustin was so right last halo night, your trash talk needs serious work.”
There’s something wrong with the satisfaction he feels when Eduardo flips him off half-heartedly, just the slightest wave of his hand, middle finger extended. Mark would miss it if not for the fact that he tends to watch Wardo like a hawk in the moments like this, when they’re on the edge of something happening. Before someone inevitably steps back.
They play a round, and then two more, because Mark argues it should be two out of three. He looses all three, and doesn’t mind all that much. Wardo has practice, they play this game with Jess.
“Or, you’re just really bad at this,” Eduardo tells him pleasantly and glances at his watch. “Fuck, when did it got that late?”
“A dollar,” Mark mutters automatically. Jess’ policing is catching, he actually almost said that to Thiel last week. “Nevermind,” he mutters at Eduardo’s look. “Come on, you’re going to be back here in what, seven hours? It takes you an hour to get here in the morning, maybe less now to get home as there’s no traffic. Stay. There’s the guest room,” he adds, because this could be interpreted... totally right. But wrong for the moment.
“There’s actually no guest room, your parents are there.”
“No, my parents are in my bedroom, I’m in the--” Mark stops and backpedals. “I’m sleeping on the couch,” he tries unconvincingly.
“Sure,” Wardo tells him, not unkindly. “Sure you are,” he glances at his watch again and sighs. “I’m here only in the morning tomorrow anyway, I can sleep it off in the afternoon,” he says, and Mark wants to ask him if that means he’s staying, but he bites his tongue and waits. “Want to watch that movie? I’m not taking your room,” he adds.
“I don’t sleep anyway,” Mark offers. “Much, I mean.”
“Yes, I’ve noticed,” Wardo nods. “We should discuss this at some point, but I thought, one loosing battle at a time and I’ve chosen trying to get you to eat something healthy,” he offers and leans forward to pick up a disc from next to the dvd player. Star Wars is always there and always a good choice, so Mark doesn’t protest.
He probably wouldn’t protest the fucking Princess Bride at the moment, though.
He thinks he actually falls asleep for a few minutes during the Jabba Palace sequence. It’s the whole day, with the party and all the kids and too much cake and Wardo. When he blinks back into consciousness, he’s a few inches closer to Eduardo than he remembers, leaning to the side enough so that his head is almost on Wardo’s shoulder. Not quite, but almost.
Wardo hadn’t moved at all, hadn’t reacted to this, like it’s a normal occurence. Considering all the movie nights and the fact that they always sat on this couch while Jess sprawled on the floor... It could be. Maybe Mark hadn’t noticed because Jess was always there, a safety buffer of a sort.
“I don’t get it,” he says.
“Leia is his sister,” Wardo says without missing a beat. “I could draw you a chart.”
“Not that,” Mark mutters. He’d roll his eyes but he doesn’t want to waste time or effort. “Why do you-- I mean. It’s not just me, is it? It’s not just--” he waves his hand between them hopelessly. It’s not coming out right, the words don’t work properly. Eduardo, however, seems to understand easily.
“It’s a bad idea, Mark,” he says, Mark’s name different on his lips, low and pleading. Mark waits. “No. It’s not just you. Of course it’s not just you.”
“Then why--” Mark moves to sit up straight, to look at Eduardo when they’re doing this. “Wardo.”
“If it doesn’t work out, I lose you. This. I don’t mean the job,” he shrugs with one shoulder, looking away for a second. “This. You and Jess.”
Mark’s pretty sure he forgot what breathing was, but it doesn’t seem to matter this particular moment. “It’s stupid,” he says, ignoring the fact that it’s exactly what he’s been thinking. That he can’t lose Wardo. That he doesn’t have a good track record with keeping people, no matter if they choose to leave him or.. well, he doesn’t get to keep people. Jess, but Jess is his daughter, that’s different. “It’s stupid,” he repeats. “Jess loves you.”
“Mark,” Wardo starts and swallows the rest of the words when Mark leans in, his hand on the side of Wardo’s jaw.
“This is your last moment to tell me you don’t want this,” he says, with more conviction than he feels. Then, he rethinks. “Please don’t say you don’t want this,” he adds. “I don’t know what I would do if you left, and Jess would never forgive me, and--”
Wardo makes a small sound, like a choked laugh, or a groan, and shifts closer suddenly, effectively silencing Mark by covering his lips with his own. It’s... Fuck, it’s so much better than that first kiss, because now the angle is just about perfect and Mark can, after a second or two of elated panic, practically crawl into Eduardo’s lap. Eduardo doesn’t seem to mind, just pulls him closer by his t-shirt, pulling it that slightly up in the process, his fingers brushing Mark’s skin lightly.
Mark shivers and then laughs, he can’t help it. “I can’t actually believe I’m making out on a couch like a teenager, with my parents upstairs.”
Eduardo groans, this time there’s no mistaking the sound. “Not to mention your daughter. Fuck.”
“I don’t think I can right now,” Mark says matter-of-factly and Eduardo closes his eyes and leans in to rest his forehead against Mark’s chin, his shoulders shaking slightly as he’s clearly trying not to laugh out loud.
“I should seriously go now,” he mutters and Mark tightens his hold on Eduardo’s hand instinctively. “I said should. Don’t think I would, driving right now would probably not be advisable.”
“Oh,” Mark mutters. Yeah. Okay. “I could--” he starts and Eduardo tilts his head up to kiss him briefly.
“We’ll-- talk tomorrow, okay? I promise I’m not going anywhere. Go to sleep, I’ll take the couch.”
Mark looks at him for a moment and nods slowly. He gets up and picks up the blankets from the closet, they’re here for when he’s wired in and doesn’t have time to unplug and go to sleep upstairs. Right now, they’ll do.
“You won’t take the guest room and I refuse to sleep there on principle, because you’re not taking the guest room and you are the guest now, we’ve established that. This isn’t the right moment for the long argument, so I’m just making this easy. Unless you want to share the bed upstairs?” he offers.
“Your parents--” Wardo starts and Mark almost laughs. His mother would love this. She would whip out her cellphone and start taking pictures. On second thought, creepy.
“Wouldn’t mind,” he shrugs. “But fine. Here,” he tosses Wardo a blanket. “Everyone’s dressed and everyone has their own blankets. It’s all so very proper, Victorians would be proud,” he says dryly. It’s a good signifier of how great his mood is, he seriously feels fantastic. “Okay?” he asks, settling next to Wardo.
The couch is big enough, extended into a letter L, they could probably sleep here comfortably and barely touch, but that’s not what Mark is after. He lets his head drop to Wardo’s shoulder who nods and leans in, kissing the top of Mark’s head briefly, in agreement.
“Okay,” he mutters.
He wakes up to the sound of a cartoon with an annoying theme tune. Jess is sitting on the floor with a bowl of cereal, engrossed in the screen.
Mark rubs at his eyes and tries to orient everything. Jess on the floor, Wardo... Wardo’s in the kitchen, Mark can hear him, talking to Mark’s mother. Well, that doesn’t necessarily have to be bad, but there’s a slight chance she brought pictures with her. The childhood pictures.
He has no idea why she does that. Why anyone does that. Sure, he’s carrying Jess’ picture in his wallet, but he doesn’t whip it out every five seconds to show people. He does that only when they ask, and reluctantly at that. There’s been a wave of interest from the press right after she was born and he’s not exactly wild about exposure, that leaves a distaste.
His mother has no such qualms when it comes to him.
“Mark,” she says brightly when he walks into the kitchen. “There’s been a change of plans.”
Mark glances at his father, who looks up from over the coffee cup he’s clutching and shrugs, all ‘what can you do.’ Then, only then, because he’s been saving the best for last, he looks at Wardo, who smiles softly at him, and Mark smiles back, relieved and happy.
He can tell his mother is watching them closely, which is the only reason he doesn’t reach out immediately and pull Wardo close.
“Change of plans?” he prompts. “Tell me it’s that you’re leaving early,” he says mock-hopefully and she swats at him.
Not that he doesn’t love his parents’ visits, but he’d rather be left alone with Wardo for a while.
“We’re taking Jess to the Junior Museum and Zoo this morning,” his mother says. “I mean, me and your father. And we’d drive her to the judo class in the evening, Eduardo here was so nice as to go through all the directions with us, and we’re taking your car, I’m told it has a good gps system--” she shrugs.
“You don’t have to,” Mark starts, but what he thinks is fuck, yes. Maybe he did hijack Jess’ birthday wish, or maybe he’s still asleep, because it seems like everything is working in his favor, whatever he wishes for immediately realised.
“I’m curious about the judo class,” his father offers. “And Jess is really excited about the zoo. She wanted to take her cat with us, have her meet the tigers and lions,” he sees Mark’s expression and grins. “Don’t worry, Eduardo explained it wasn’t the best idea.”
Mark glances at Wardo and shakes his head. Seems like Eduardo had already completely charmed over his parents. It’s unsurprising, but little scary. “Okay,” he gives in. Fine, it’s not really giving in if he wants them out faster.
“Great,” his mother beams. “Jess, we need to get going,” she calls out and Jess comes bouncing in a few seconds later. “Have fun, boys,” his mother adds.
“Thank you, Karen,” Wardo says, sounding for all the world like he’s trying not to laugh, his cheeks a little colored.
Everyone spills out of the kitchen, Mark’s father patting him on the back on his way out, and Mark rolls his eyes. “Everyone is so subtle I can’t even.”
Wardo’s lips twitch in a smile and he steps forward, before hesitating, before stepping forward again. Mark doesn’t... he knows it’s tentative, that it’s still new and uncertain, but he’s sure. He knows Wardo to be sure too. “Hey,” he says and Wardo’s smile grows wider.
“Hey yourself,” he mutters and finally steps in close enough for Mark to lean in and, well, lick his way into Wardo’s mouth, that would be the right way to phrase it. He takes his time, makes it last, slow and coaxing, until Wardo sighs into his mouth and turn in his spot, just a little. Mark goes with him easily and presses forward, Eduardo’s back against the kitchen sink now, and it’s probably not the most comfortable place (against the fridge could be slightly better), but it’s, yeah, it’s good. “I should--” Wardo starts and Mark makes a sound or protest and tightens his hold on Wardo’s shirt.
“No,” he says, because nothing good ever starts with ‘should.’ He thinks he could get closer if, yes, Wardo shifts and spreads his legs a little, enough for Mark to step in between them, tightly pressed against Wardo now. “Better,” he mutters against Wardo’s jaw.
“We have whole day, you know,” Wardo mutters, but he doesn’t sound like he wants to stop this right this second, because next thing he does is lean in for another kiss, his teeth gently dragging at Mark’s lower lip.
That hadn’t connected before. Sure, Mark noticed that his parents and Jess were gone and he had Wardo all to himself right now, but the whole day part didn’t quite register. “Fuck,” he mutters and Wardo laughs.
“A dollar,” he says brightly and Mark gives him a look, which only makes Wardo laugh more. “And you haven’t eaten breakfast.”
“Don’t need to. Don’t really want to,” Mark says petulantly and bends his head to kiss down the line of Wardo’s neck, cover his pulse point with his lips, feel the blood rushing. Wardo’s hand on his neck trembles lightly, and he presses harder.
A whole day of this. Mark could get used to that.
Mark gets persuaded to eat breakfast, after all, partly because Wardo all but pouts at him (he’s as effective as Jess, Mark knows it doesn’t bode well), and partly because he promises waffles. Mark has managed to learn how to produce reasonable pancakes, but there’s something about waffles that eludes him, so if Wardo wants to make them, well, who’s Mark to say no.
“You can check your messages while I make them,” Wardo tells him and Mark tries to call up a ‘who? me?’ look but probably fails miserably. Eduardo snorts. “I do know how you get when you don’t check on your other kid.”
“I’m sure everything’s fine,” Mark says unconvincingly. He’s sure everything is. Dustin would call him otherwise. Probably. He shrugs at Wardo’s knowing look. “I’ve checked in yesterday morning.”
“Afternoon,” Wardo corrects him. “You’ve been trying to surreptitiously check your messages during the party.”
“Apparently not surreptitiously enough.”
Wardo shrugs. “Or maybe I’ve just been paying attention,” he says earnestly and Mark swallows, warmth settling in his stomach at that. “Your last moment to check in,” he adds and turns to the fridge and Mark frowns, realising what’s bothering him about this. It’s not Wardo’s easy acceptance of the fact that Mark’s always going to be stealing moments to check on facebook.
“This is just like a normal day,” he says. It comes out like a complaint, and it sort of is.
Wardo looks up and stares at him for a moment before comprehension dawns and he smiles and shakes his head at Mark. “Okay. I want waffles and if you don’t, no one’s making you eat them. And for the record, making you breakfast was never in my job description to begin with, but you really need someone to make sure you eat at regular times and not just junk food. Two, you can make dinner. Three, shut the fuck up and check your messages like I know you want to.”
Mark bites down the grin that’s threatening to break. “That bossiness of yours is a really unattractive quality.”
“Sure, Mark,” Wardo drawls and fine, Mark wouldn’t believe himself either.
“I hope you’re okay with pizza for dinner,” he adds and turns around to localise the closest laptop. Coffee table in the living room, right.
“I’d say I wasn’t that cheap a date, but yeah, I probably am,” Wardo says mournfully. He moved to follow Mark and stand in the kitchen’s doorway, like he’s unwilling to let Mark out of his sight. It’s a stupid thought, he probably just didn’t want to yell while Mark was in the living room, but... But he steps closer and cards his fingers through Mark’s hair, tilting his head up.
“Wait,” Mark says and takes a moment to put the laptop back on the coffee table. “Okay,” he offers. When Wardo doesn’t immediately move, Mark reaches for his hand and returns it to the previous position on the back of his head. “Okay,” he says again and Wardo laughs quietly, like he’s laughing at himself as much as he’s laughing at Mark.
“I can’t believe you sometimes,” he mutters and yeah, people said that to Mark before, usually with exasperation or anger, but Wardo makes it into something new, something amazing. He makes it sound like Mark is something amazing and that’s... He’s only been amazing to Jess before, and Jess is six, she’s easily impressed by silly things.
“Are you going to kiss me sometime today?” Mark asks impatiently and Wardo nods.
“I was just--” he starts and Mark decides he might as well take things into his own hands and kisses Wardo. It’s not intended as slow or lazy anymore, as much as he liked those. He’s pretty sure he wants this to lead somewhere. Wardo’s fault, for making that cheap date remark. Mark kind of wants to test that.
“Fuck,” Wardo mutters when he pulls away finally, his lips swollen. He licks his lips. “A dollar, I know,” he adds and Mark nods.
“I’m not afraid I’d go bankrupt, but you should watch it today,” he offers. “Especially as I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to fire you at some point,” he says and looks down, looks away, looks anywhere but at Wardo at this moment. It’s what needs to happen if they’re to really start anything serious, and he wants serious. He also wants Wardo here all the time, and Wardo’s contract was a pretty good way of ensuring this.
“Damn you,” Wardo says, his tone a little theatrical, with a smile underneath. Mark dares to look up. “I was going to give you my two weeks notice.”
“You still can,” Mark offers. “But it’s not-- You’re staying, right?”
“If you want me to,” Wardo agrees. He sounds a little unsure and Mark can’t have that. He feels like he’d trip over his words if he tried to say anything, but he most definitely can kiss Wardo again, let his hands tangle in Wardo’s shirt, let his lips form the words he’s not sure how to say against Wardo’s skin.
Wardo groans and steps back. “Screw waffles,” he mutters, a non sequitur to Mark’s slightly addled brain. He catches on after a few pathetic seconds, enough time for Wardo to step back and turn away.
“Where are you going?”
“Your bedroom,” Wardo says, like that’s obvious. “Check your e-mail and join me?” he adds, smiling a little shyly and Mark glances down at his laptop.
“Screw e-mail,” he mutters.
He gets to the bedroom a few seconds after Wardo, who has already discarded his button down and is standing there in his undershirt.
Mark wants to laugh about the undershirt, because really, California and button downs and all. He also wants to say something suave and off-hand, like ‘my, aren’t we presumptuous’ or something, but as it is, he trips over the unspoken words and breathes in.
“You’ve had a head start,” he says instead and it sounds like he’s complaining, when all he meant was... please continue. Or, I should help.
“And you’ve obviously made the world record in fast e-mail checking,” Wardo tells him. “I was going to wait with the important part, don’t worry,” he says, and if Mark wasn’t paying very close attention to him now he’d probably miss the way he shifts, just a little, and that draws said close attention to the fact that Wardo’s hard. For Mark. From the making out downstairs and the fact that they’re in Mark’s bedroom and they’re going to...
So, fine, two conclusions. One, Mark is a fifteen year old (he’d say twelve, but he doesn’t think he was that interested in sex when he was twelve,) and very close to the point where it wouldn’t take him much to come in his pants. Brilliant, Wardo’s going to find it charming and not at all desperate.
Two, he should have taken the time with the e-mails. Wardo could have started without him, Mark’s fine with the thought. He’s more than fine with the thought of Wardo naked in Mark’s bed, stroking himself while he waits. Mark might have even had a passing thought or two about a similar scenario.
A passing thought or two, who is he kidding.
“Hey,” he says to Eduardo, who smiles and pulls him close.
“Hey,” he offers and tugs at Mark’s shirt impatiently. “You need to catch up,” he offers and tugs at the hem again, with more purpose this time, pulling it off over Mark’s head. He makes a point of dragging his hands against Mark’s skin, eliciting a groan out of Mark. Well, maybe more like a moan. He emerges blinking and his hair is probably a right mess and Eduardo’s looking at him with wonder and fondness and... well. It’s probably too early to call it...
“Come here,” Mark mutters roughly and places a hand on the back of Eduardo’s neck, pressing pointedly. Wardo’s lips are slick, the whole kiss messy, a little urgent. They’re trying for too many things at the same time now, Wardo’s undershirt, Mark’s pants, not even breaking the kiss. Mark doesn’t even care how uncoordinated and a little awkward this whole thing is, because at some point he steps forward and Wardo automatically follows, until the back of his knees hits the bed and Mark pushes a little against his chest.
Wardo laughs into Mark’s mouth and tugs at his hand when he gracefully falls back. Mark’s less graceful at falling onto him, but he slides down easily enough, and pushes Wardo’s thighs open, kneeling between them.
Eduardo props himself up on his elbows and stares at Mark, his eyes wide and dark. “Fuck,” he mutters.
That’s the general idea, Mark wants to say.
Now that you mention it, he wants to say.
But he just nods dumbly and breathes out a quiet “yeah,” because well, that’s the general sentiment. He hadn’t managed to pull Wardo’s shirt all the way off, and it’s just hitched up, rolled up around his chest, right above his nipples. His pants have the top button undone, the white underwear peeking through, and his lips are red and swollen and Mark hadn’t even thought hair could defy gravity like that... To put it plainly, Wardo looks like a wet dream. Mark should know, except his dreams were clearly subpar.
“Shirt,” he offers and Wardo stares at him before he gets it and pulls himself up to pull it off.
“Done,” he shoots back and grins. “We’re abandoning full sentences, right?”
If he can still even think in full sentences, Mark’s doing this wrong. “Hold that thought,” he mutters and tugs at Eduardo’s pants, lowering the zipper down slowly. Wardo’s hips twitch and he throws his head back, his breathing heavy. He obligingly arches his back and raises his hips to let Mark pull his pants down. Down, not off, there’ll be time. Now Mark wants to lean in, kiss the skin of Wardo’s hip, trail wet kisses across his stomach.
“Mark,” Wardo says, on the edge of pleading, and Mark hums against his skin. “If you don’t--” he starts and Mark would smile, but his preoccupied.
“Threats? Now?” he asks, nosing a trail down the front of Wardo’s boxers, mouthing his cock through the cotton. Wardo makes a sound that goes to Mark’s own dick, direct, electrifying line.
“Mark,” he says again, like that’s the only conscious thought he has, like Mark’s everything right now. The white cotton is wet and almost sheer through right now, and Mark mouths the lenght down, until Wardo is blindly grasping at his hair and keening. “Mark, please.”
The way his name sounds right now, it could be enough to bring Mark off. He presses hard at his own dick, willing it to wait a moment, and pulls down Wardo’s underwear, taking him in his mouth finally. He’s not... it’s been a long time, and it’s clumsy and it doesn’t seem to matter at all, because Wardo’s hands are balled into fists, grasping the sheets tightly, and his voice is rough, hooked on a litany of Mark’s name, with the occasional ‘Jesus’ and ‘fuck’ thrown in for a good measure, and then, right before he comes, muttered words in Portuguese, something Mark doesn’t understand but they wash over him, warm and perfect.
“Here,” Eduardo mutters, liquid and slow, tugging Mark up to sprawl over him, kissing him like he’s trying to chase his own taste, licking at Mark’s lips. “Let me,” he adds, tugging at Mark’s pants. Thankfully, they’ve dealt with the buttons earlier and it doesn’t take long for Wardo to stick his hand in, start stroking slowly, like he wants to drag it out, like they’re in no hurry.
Fuck it, Mark saves slow for later. Now he presses on Eduardo’s wrist and mutters “harder,” into Wardo’s mouth. He’s not sure it’s audible at all, but Wardo gets the idea, stroking faster, leaning in to whisper something against Mark’s neck.
He can’t even make out the words over the ringing in his ears, but Wardo’s lips are moving against his skin, and Mark thinks he feels his name forming, right above his pulse point, hot and wet, and he jerks into Wardo’s hand, biting his lip when he comes.
Wardo says something a moment later. Maybe minutes later. Mark is still lying on top of him, something of a mess in his pants, and he should move any second now, but his bones are kind of melted, or at least feel like it. “What?” he says and Wardo shrugs, like it’s not important, but he’s laughing, like the laughter is bubbling up in him. “What?” he repeats, propping himself up a little, and Wardo shrugs and kisses his nose.
“Better than waffles,” he offers and Mark shakes his head at him, because honestly, Wardo’s ridiculous. He shakes his head at himself, too, because Wardo is ridiculous and Mark’s in love with him, so he has no high ground to stand on.
They get pizza for dinner. Well, something like breakfast and lunch and dinner rolled into one, because they never get around to making waffles.
Wardo grumbles something about healthy options, but a, he’s actually the one to hand Mark the menus and b, Mark doesn’t mind Wardo’s grumbling at all, especially not now that he has a vast array of ways to shut him up.
This is why the pizza gets cold and they have to microwave it.
Mark’s fine with that too, for some reason microwaved pizza tastes better.
“How,” Eduardo says, shaking his head, “do you even manage to survive? And raise a reasonably healthy kid?”
That’s because Chris comes over and fills Jess’ head with some nonsense along the lines of carrots being good for you, and then she insists on hosting a carrot week and Mark gets the damn thing every day for at least one meal. No, he doesn’t know either.
He doesn’t say that, however. He takes a bite of his pizza and chews slowly, kicking at Wardo’s ankle gently. “Who knows. Maybe someone should conduct a study,” he offers. It’s an opening. He could lead this into ‘maybe you should conduct a study’, by which he’d mean ‘move in with us.’
Eduardo looks at him for a moment, his eyes half closed, like he’s too tired to open them properly.
He could be. Mark feels like his bones are melted and his muscles practically gave up a while ago, that could be true of Wardo right now too. And Mark’s that little smug about it, so sue him.
“Stanford,” he says, like it’s a relevant point in the conversation.
“Peanut,” Mark shoots back. “I’m not sure I know the rules to this game.”
“I thought--” Wardo starts and shifts, sits up and leans down to put the pizza box on the coffee table. He looks... not quite serious, not as such, but there’s a trace of nervous energy about him, like this is something important, not longer a half-assed conversation about pizza and eating habits. “The plan was, always, to go back to Harvard.”
He’s said that before. Mark isn’t sure he wants to look up, but Wardo’s hand is on his wrist, thumb tracing absent circles. “Always?” Mark prompts, holding his breath.
He breathes out. “What happened recently?”
“You’re either an idiot or fishing for--” Wardo starts, words forgotten when Mark kisses him. He’s done that a countless number of times today and it still hadn’t stopped making his heart skip beats. It could get dangerous at some point. “So, I guess you approve?” Wardo mutters. “Stanford’s close enough,” he adds, like he doesn’t want to be away from Mark either. That’s kind of brilliant.
“It’s acceptable,” Mark allows.
“Provided they accept me,” Wardo points out.
“Who’s being an idiot now?” Mark shakes his head. Wardo hadn’t let go of his hand and Mark turns it around in his grip and laces their fingers together. “I don’t want to pry,” he starts and Wardo shakes his head.
“You’re dying to pry,” he accuses Mark, but he’s smiling, so it’s probaby fine. Mark wanted to ask for a long while now, but the first time this was mentioned Wardo had changed the topic and by now Mark had learned that there’s something like invasion of privacy that was usually frowned upon and didn’t give in to his instinct about internet, erm, research.
“Fine, I might be,” he says and Wardo smiles. “Why did you drop out in the first place?”
“I was nineteen,” he says ruefully. “I came out to my parents, got into a huge row with my father. Things were said. Ended up making dramatic gestures and dropping out, finding a job and trying to make it own my own.”
“And your father?”
“He’s a stubborn asshole, but that’s not an isolated quality in our family. Took us a long while but we’re almost civil during family dinners now. Helps that he lives in a different state,” he adds. “It also helps that I grew out of making dramatic gestures to impress him or shock him. I might have been a little prone to that. And nineteen, and desperate to prove something. I don’t--” he shrugs and Mark nods.
He thinks of Erica Albright ad Facemash and the final clubs, of being nineteen and stupid. “Yeah, I think I get that. I have things I probably would do differently, but, well, I like when I ended up, so maybe not so much.”
Wardo’s smile is soft, the kind that makes Mark want to lick it off his lips slowly. “There’s that,” he agrees.
At some point, they fall asleep on the couch. At some later point, Mark wakes up to Jess poking at his nose not so gently.
“What?” he asks, swatting lightly at her hand.
“Grandma said not to wake you,” she offers. She’s holding the biggest stuffed penguin in the world. No, really, it’s almost as big as she is. It’s dark outside, too, they must have went somewhere after the judo class. Judging by Jess’ shirt, probably for ice cream.
“I have a hint for you, you’re doing it wrong,” he informs her. He wants to stretch, his leg has gone numb. Except that Wardo’s sprawled across the couch with his head on Mark’s stomach, and so moving is out of the question.
“I want to watch tv,” Jess says. There’s some logic in this. “Wardo’s asleep?” she asks, her tone hopeful, clearly wishes he isn’t, or wouldn’t be in a moment, so she could turn the tv on.
“Wardo’s asleep,” Wardo confirms, his eyes still closed shut. “But you can turn it on provided it’s not Hannah Montana,” he adds with a small frown, like he has Views about Hannah Montana. Mark tries hard not to think that the frown is the most adorable thing, but that ship has sailed a long time ago.
“Okay,” she beams and sits down on the carpet, her back against the couch, making sure the penguin is seated next to her, facing the tv. “Grandma went to bring you blankets.”
“I think it was when she assumed we’d still be asleep when she comes back,” Mark offers.
“Yeah. She said I might get a new nanny. Is Wardo going away?” she asks, her gaze fixed on the screen. Mark recognizes this, she does that when she doesn’t want to show that she cares about an answer. He does that too, except his shield of choice is his laptop.
Wardo shifts then, sitting up. Mark’s mostly disappointed, though now he can move his leg, so there are bright sides. And Wardo’s not gone far, still pressed closely against Mark. “Not as such, no,” he says. “You still will get a new nanny,” he adds, glancing at Mark, like he’s making sure it’s okay for him to say this.
“Why?” she asks, now tilting her head to look at them.
“It’s-- Wardo can’t really work for me anymore.”
Wardo laughs and slides down the couch gracefully, landing on the carpet next to Jess. On the other side than the penguin is. Mark can’t even.
“Jess,” he says seriously, but the smile is still there, hiding in his eyes and the corner of his mouth. “Would you be okay with me dating your Dad?”
Mark’s stomach is doing some damn stupid things right now. So is his heart. The traitors.
Jess thinks about it for a moment. “But you aren’t going anywhere?”
“Okay,” she nods. “Are you going to move in?”
“I don’t--” Wardo starts hesitantly but Mark leans forward a little.
“Why are you asking, Jess? You’d want that?” he asks and fine, it’s low and it’s cowardly, but he’s not above using Jess for this. With the eyes and the pout she’s like a secret weapon.
“Yes!” she exclaims happily.
Wardo looks up at Mark, surprised and a little annoyed at the same time, but mostly, mostly he looks like he doesn’t mind. Like he wouldn’t mind. Like he’d want that. “Mark,” he says warningly.
“You’re not going to be around so often when the classes start. Your classes and hers,” he adds. “She’s going to miss you.”
“Mark,” Wardo mutters. “Don’t-- I know Jess-- What do you want?”
That one’s rather easy. “You,” he says and shrugs. “I don’t know--,” he starts and stops immediately. “You. Move in with us.”
“This is too soon and it’s a colossally bad idea,” Wardo says. The words don’t matter that much though, because his tone is soft and he nods automatically, shifting in his place a little to sit on his heels, kneeling-up-but-not-quite. “Come here,” he says and tugs at Mark’s shirt. “Okay,” he says before they kiss lightly, like they’re sealing a deal.
Jess watches them sceptically when they pull away. “Are you boyfriends now?”
Mark’s not sure about the words, he’s never been a good boyfriend and besides, it doesn’t have the permanency he wants. He’s not sure what to call it, though. “Maybe.”
“Boyfriends?” Wardo says, like he’s trying the word out, and frowns. “I don’t know.”
“Katie has two dads,” Jess informs them, almost absently. Mark wants to point out that yes, he knows that, but she continues. “They’re not married though, they have-- that thing,” she looks at Wardo expectantly.
“Civil union?” he supplies and she shrugs.
“Think so. Are you gonna get that? Does that mean Wardo’s going to be my Dad too? None of Katie’s Dads is her real Dad, though” she adds.
Mark stares at her. That’s a little more questions than he was prepared for. It only shows that sure, Jess is a great secret weapon, but once she starts she’s a force to be reckoned with.
“Why don’t we give them some time to figure it out,” Mark’s mom says from the doorway. She’s probably been standing there for a while and Mark’s never going to live that down. It might show on his face because she nods. “No, you’re not. And Eduardo, I expect you at Thanksgiving, maybe you’ll figure it all out until then, though as I know Mark, I’m not holding my breath,” she says, smiling to soften her words. “Come on, Jess, Grandpa is trying to make pancakes.”
“Can Abraham get some too?” she asks, picking the penguin up. Wardo’s biting his lip, like he’s trying not to laugh.
Wardo doesn’t look up for a long moment after they’re gone, his gaze fixed on something interesting on the floor. Maybe the carpet pattern.
“I want that,” Mark says. He hadn’t planned on saying it, but it’s out before he can think twice. His voice is a little shaky, but audible enough. It makes Wardo look up. “I know it’s too soon, too fast, too whatever. But I need you here and I want to work up to that.”
“Sounds like a good plan,” Wardo tells him, smiling widely.
Sounds like a brilliant plan, if you ask Mark.
“What did you do?” Lisa asks first thing Monday morning, once she gets in. She sounds angry and Mark tries to remember any important appointments he might have missed and comes up with nothing.
“What?” he asks her and then, belatedly, frowns. “Also, I’m your boss,” he reminds her. She isn’t supposed to yell at him. She hasn’t, yet, but she looks like she wants to.
“I got an e-mail from Eduardo with his two weeks notice. So, what did you do?”
“Why do you assume I did something? Ever crossed your mind that I might have fired him?” he asks, and okay, it sounds ridiculous to himself, but how would Lisa know?
She crosses her arms, unimpressed. “What for?”
“For giving Jess unrealistic expectations about hair,” he says flatly.
“And that’s why he is giving you a two weeks notice,” she points out, not unreasonably. Damn, that’s what he gets for hiring a smart assistant.
“Well, I decided to be nice about it and not ‘fire him’ fire him. That way he gets references and all,” Mark waves his hand, encompassing the ‘and all’ part of it.
“Big of you,” Eduardo says from behind Lisa. She turns on her heel to look at him, takes a moment, and then turns back to look at Mark. She takes in the smile Mark absolutely can’t hold back and claps her hands.
“Okay, I forgive you,” she says magnanimously. “But only because this is brilliant.”
“Excuse me, you forgive me what exactly?”
“That I’m going to have to find a new nanny,” she offers, her tone taking on a certain ‘duh’ quality. “It was only entertaining the first three times. No, I’m lying, it was never entertaining. Well, maybe the last time,” she smiles at Wardo again. “Which reminds me, do I get a raise for hiring you a boyfriend?”
“You don’t have to look this time,” Wardo tells her. “I know people.”
“Is this a nanny mafia thing?” Mark can’t help but ask.
“That’s it exactly,” Wardo nods. “But we don’t talk about it,” he adds conspirationally and walks around Lisa to sit on the edge of Mark’s desk. “Good morning,” he says, leaning down a little instinctively, but hesitating, like he’s not sure what the rules are at Mark’s office.
“Good morning,” Mark echoes decisively and tugs at Eduardo’s sleeve until he leans into a kiss. That’s much better.
“I’ll go get my phone,” Lisa says loudly. “This would make a fantastic profile pic.”
“I could fire you.”
She shrugs. “But you most certainly won’t. I’m the most awesome assistant you’ve ever had and not only you’d be lost without me, and only partly because no one else would make sense out of my filing system, but also because I found you a boyfriend.”
“Go file something,” Mark tells her and turns to Wardo. “Don’t mind her, she’s insane and is not going to be working here for long.”
“So, I am getting a raise. Thanks, boss,” Lisa concludes and finally, finally, leaves. Wardo shakes his head and kisses Mark again, too briefly, but Mark will get his due later.
“What are you doing here?” he asks Wardo after a moment, once he remembers how to use words.
“Drove your parents to the airport,” Wardo reminds him. “Dropped Jess off with Janice, I’m on my way to pick a few things from my place.”
Right, Mark remembers that. They’ve actually made plans yesterday and he insisted Wardo should just move in immediately, before he changes his mind. Mark hadn’t voiced that last part out loud, but his point stands. “And what are you doing here?”
“Taking you out for breakfast, which I’m sure you didn’t have. You’ve been at this since what, four?”
The server was crashing since three, Mark’s been called in after an hour. He wasn’t even going to go, he could monitor things from his place, but Wardo rolled his eyes and called him a cab. “You want to,” he cut Mark’s protests short, and he was right, but still, Mark felt that little bit guilty. They’ve just started this and...
“Hey,” Wardo says, standing up and kissing Mark’s forehead. He’s done the same thing half-awake at three in the morning, and it has a seriously calming effect on Mark. He leans into Wardo’s neck and nods.
“Okay, let’s go,” he says. Lisa makes a thumbs up gesture at him when they’re leaving the office, and she’s not the only one, seems like the news has spread among everyone, even the interns. Especially the interns, they seem particularly agitated and smiley. Mark rolls his eyes.
“Back to work, show’s over,” he tells Lisa, who shrugs.
“Are you sure it’s not just beginning?”
Wardo looks at Mark for a moment, head tilted, like he’s considering something, before he pulls at Mark’s hand, smiling, and drags him into the elevator. He’s kissing Mark before the doors are even starting to close and Mark doesn’t even mind the fact that half the interns are probably desperately looking for their phones to snap a picture.