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The Deep End

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He could see it in his eyes, the way they sparkled bright and colorful with the soft glow of the projector. He wasn't paying attention to the movie, but neither was Mark. Instead, he was focused on how easily the light of the screen bounced off of his fading blue hair, and how his deep blue eyes seemed to wander even as they focus. He even held his breath as he lifted a pencil to his lips, chewing on it nervously as if he had any imperfections.

 

Psh.

 

Seàn McLoughlin probably couldn't even spell the word imperfection. Mark continued to stare at him carefully, watching ever so gently as Seàn twirled the pencil in his hands with skill, his eyes switching between it and the screen. He only spun it for a minute though, then he seemed to get an idea, and took his pencil to paper, ignoring the movie completely.

 

Normally, this was Mark's cue to intervene, to embarass his students in front of his peers, but he wouldn't do that to Seàn. He was curious to see what went on in that gorgeous head of his, so he rested his head in his hands, and watched.


 

Jack could feel those molten chocolate eyes watching him. He could practically hear the ragged, slow breathing of the man in front of him, but he payed it no mind. He was sure his pale skin was glowing red like fire in the light of the projector, even louder than the narrator on screen. He made gentle strokes with his pencil onto the paper, wanting to get some sort of rise out of his professor. He didn't want to be reprimanded, but he would do anything to not feel so...microscopic. The gaze that Mark held with him sometimes, it was almost too much. He looked at him as if he were a treasure, a prize, a full coursed meal after a week of fasting. He was ready to devour him.

 

Minutes drug on as Jack's breathing slowed down, his face paled again, and his hands were steady. He had no idea what he'd drawn, but time was up. The lunch bell rang, and he scrambled to get his things together as his classmates exited, cursing himself for opening his backpack in the first place. He caught bits and pieces of their homework assignment as the other students escaped, but he was still too focused on not looking up.


 

Mark felt like he'd won the lottery. Here it was, a minute after the bell had rung, and Seàn was still here. It was the perfect chance to see him in his full glory, exposed and blushing. He looked gorgeous this way, even as Mark flicked the lights on, startling his little Irishman into reality. "The lines will be pretty long now."

 

"Yeah, sorry, I'll be on my way."

 

"Nonsense. I'm going to go grab lunch anyways, I'll treat you."

 

"Uh...that's okay, I can jus' stand in line."

 

"Really, I insist." Mark shoots him a glassy smile, and Seàn falters.

 

"I might be late to my next class..."

 

"I promise we'll be back in a jiff."

 

He watches as he thinks it over, his blue eyes wide and wonderous, even as he nods. "O-okay. Sure, I'll go."

 

"Great." Mark grins, and he can tell Seàn regrets his decision immediately, but he won't go back on it. "I'll grab my keys."


 

The ride to the fast food place was treacherous for Jack. He sat still for the most part, listening to metal picked especially for him play over the radio. He kept his hands on his legs, gripping his black jeans with nervous,sweaty palms. Mark looked even better outside, where the sun outlines the fading red tips of his hair. He'd been told Mark dyed it for charity once, then loved it so much he continued to dye it up until he took this job. Jack figured he'd probably look alot less menacing with pink or red, but he figured that blue on him rather than Jack would be breathtaking.

 

"Did you hear anything I said?"

 

"Huh?" Jack replies, startled as Mark chuckles.

 

"What do you want? My treat."

 

"Oh...uh, a number two? No pickles?"

 

Mark nods at him, and for some reason it sends tingles down his spine to hear his order in Mark's voice. It's deep and resonant, with a hint of...finality.

 

"Are you enjoying your first year here?"

 

"I guess so...I haven't made many friends."

 

"Hm. I'm sure you're very popular among the ladies, at least."

 

"Sure am," Jack says, and he's not sure why he overshares, "too bad they're not too popular with me."

 

"Oh?"

 

"Yeah." He settles for, and then hot food is sat in his lap, and the car goes silent the entire way back.


 

Mark's hands are too tight on the steering wheel as his head races a million miles an hour. Could he be gay? Could he possibly like Mark? Either could be plausible...but neither could be plausible just as well. He turns slowly into his parking space on the lot, turning off his car and taking a breath. He then turns to see Seàn glances out the window, his hands tapping nervously on the bag of greasy food. Food that Mark didn't want at all. Mark reaches for it, startling Seàn again as he chuckles. "You're awful jumpy."

 

"Sorry...m'not used to random movement."

 

"It's okay, I was just going to split our food up...you've got about 20 minutes left for lunch. Figured you'd want to spend it with your peers."

 

"Oh, thanks." He says shyly, and Mark just wants to keep him there forever. Instead, he smiles and nods, separating Mark's salad from his burger and fries, and unlocks the doors.

 

"No problem. You know where the café is from here, right?" He watches as Seàn's hair flops as he nods. "Good. It's great to have you in my class, Seàn."

 

"Jack." He says, and Mark tilts his head in confusion. Was his name wrong on the roster?

 

"What?"

 

"Most people just call me Jack, not Seàn."

 

"Well, you'll come to find out in taking my class I am far from most people." Mark rebuts, standing up and brushing himself off as he locks his doors behind them. "See you tomorrow, Seàn."


 

"Okay...see you tomorrow, Mark." Jack says, and his body does all sorts of things as Mark shoots him a sharp smile, waving away as he heads to the café. He spots Felix sitting on one of the tables, entertaining a crowd of people he doesn't know as he spots Jack.

 

"HOW'S IT GOIN' BRO?" Felix yells, causing Jack to roll his eyes and sigh. Felix hops off the table and runs towards him, throwing an arm around him quickly.

 

"Hey, Fe. What're you up to?"

 

"Just making bros! It's like...a bro army over there, hey where have you been? I waited for you after class."

 

"I was..." Jack starts, his eyes automatically locking onto and following Mark as he moves through the café as if nothing happened, mixing and mingling with other teachers. "I got caught up gettin' food. Wanna split a burger with me?" He finishes, holding up the brown bag.

 

"Hell yeah boi!" Felix shouts, manuvering Jack towards their lunch table just as he makes contact with molten chocolate eyes.