Marcus doesn't even know what the fuck he's doing in this bar, is the thing.
His friend had all but begged him to come and watch some band he's never even heard of but who his friend assured him will be the next Arcade Fire. Marcus isn't sure he cares about the current Arcade Fire, let alone the next one, but it's not like he'd had other plans, anyway. And loud music and alcohol usually went well together, in Marcus's experience.
But Brady was supposed to meet him here forty-five minutes ago, and Marcus is on his third pint of Yuengling and the support act hasn't even gotten onstage. He flicks through his Blackberry one more time, hoping that maybe some new email that he can focus on will have appeared in the last two minutes, and then there's a loud squeal of feedback from the tiny stage in the corner of the bar and he looks up.
And keeps looking.
The guy is slight, tiny even for the sort of guy who wears skintight pegged white jeans, his guitar huge against his body. He adjusts the microphone down a little and picks out a few notes before clearing his throat and pushing up his thick glasses.
"Hi, I'm Esca," he says, his accent hitting Marcus across the face, "and I'm going to play a couple of songs for all you fine people, if that's all right." A small smile is playing at the corner of his mouth.
It's all right with Marcus.
He watches the whole set, drinking his beer faster than he intends to, but he needs something to distract himself from the way Esca looks while he’s playing his self-consciously quirky songs. It’s short, just an opening act, but Marcus is pretty sure he could have spent another forty-five minutes watching Esca sing with his eyes closed. One side of his mouth tugs up into a smile when he strings together some improbable internal rhyme scheme, his eyes cracking open as he looks out at the crowd.
Marcus closes out his tab after the set’s done, giving up on Brady and not interested in sticking around for the next act. He snags a postcard with Esca’s website printed on it on the way out from one of the tables, shoving it deep in his pocket.
When he checks out the guy's website the following week and discovers that he's the second opener at a club in his neighborhood, one with a proper sound system and actual stage lights, he decides it would be rude not to check him out again.
After all, he was pretty good.
Marcus thinks about inviting Brady along before dismissing the idea, not sure that he'll appreciate the charm of Esca's music. Once at The Rock Shop he starts to regret that, hanging out at the bar alone again before the first opener goes on. It's a trio of girls playing electropop on keyboards and a bass and sometimes a harmonica, and while Marcus isn't really sure he fully gets their artistic vision, the songs are peppy and fun.
The crowd starts to build during the break before Esca's set, and Marcus stands to join everyone in front of the low stage. He feels completely out of place, one of the only guys there without either a beard or a plaid shirt (or both), and he starts estimating the collective net worth of all these slumming trust fund babies.
That train of thought ends when the electropop trio finishes striking their gear and Esca comes on, carrying a mess of equipment and cables that looks like it all weighs more than he does. Esca doesn't seem bothered by it though, quickly organizing and then setting it all up with a precision that Marcus finds captivating. He looks down at his whiskey, suddenly feeling self-conscious about watching Esca work like this, but his eyes are drawn to the stage, like a moth to a flame.
Marcus is done with his drink by the time Esca settles himself with his guitar, feet playing over his pedals as he establishes his first loops. "I'm Esca," he says over the familiar bass line, "and tonight I'm going to warm you all up."
It's a line that normally would make Marcus laugh, inspire him to mock and critique, but right now Marcus is completely certain that Esca is right.
The first song is one he played at the gig last weekend, and Marcus moves with it, pressing closer to the stage when people escape to get another drink or go outside to smoke. That song shifts into the second one without pausing, this one unfamiliar, but Marcus catches on quickly, watching Esca's fingers on the frets as the song progresses.
Marcus can feel the crowd being won over, the shift in how they respond to each additional song, and he's weirdly proud that he knew about this talent first, that he can already mouth along to the chorus of the final song.
Esca's a charismatic performer, looking out into the crowd, smiling around his lyrics, and Marcus feels like he's looking right at him half the time. A trick of the lights, most likely, but it makes Marcus imagine that he's a special guest here rather than just a random guy who'd seen him once before by chance.
"Well, that was my last song. Thanks so much for being such a great crowd, and get ready for Jukebox the Ghost, they're gonna fucking kill it. Cheers, guys." And with that the set is over, and Marcus needs a drink.
He makes his way back to the bar through the throng of people, trying to avoid accidentally crushing any of the half-sized hipsters he's surrounded by. Once he's at the bar he feels invisible though, the bartenders helping about a dozen girls with bangs and thick glasses before he can even get one of them to make eye contact with him. When he gets the universal sign for 'one minute', he sighs up at the ceiling.
"Can I buy you a drink?"
Marcus turns to his right, about to answer sarcastically about the odds of that happening right now, when his voice dies on his tongue. He stares down at Esca who's looking back up at him, a beanie covering his hair but otherwise unchanged from how he looked on stage. Even the half-smile is the same.
Marcus clears his throat and makes himself speak. "You think you'll have better luck?"
Esca grins widely. "Hey Darren, how about a fucking pint?"
"You'll get that once the paying customers are satisfied!" Darren calls back, not even looking at them even though the crowd has begun to thin out again.
Esca points at Marcus. "I'm paying for him, doesn't that count?"
Darren turns around. "Why didn't you say so? You want another Jameson, uh--"
"Marcus," Marcus supplies. "My name's Marcus."
"Right. Are you having the same?"
Marcus had actually been planning to switch back to beer, clear his head a little, but right now that seems like the last thing he should be doing. "Jameson's fine."
"Actually, make it two," Esca says, holding up two fingers. "Whiskey sounds perfect."
Marcus watches as Darren pours their drinks behind the bar, noting that he's giving a second splash to each of them. He casts about for something to say, the silence between them heavy and pregnant despite the din of the crowd. "Shouldn't I have offered to buy you one?"
"What do you mean?" From this close Marcus can see just how bright Esca's blue eyes are, the life in them.
"You know, as a token of appreciation for the music," Marcus says, feeling more and more ridiculous.
Esca's laugh breaks through that a bit. "I can handle the bar tab. I'm more interested in people coming back to see more. I saw you at The Loon last week, right? You were at the bar." When Marcus nods, Esca smiles a little, cheek pulling up on the right side of his face. "Yeah, I thought so. You're pretty distinctive."
"Only in this crowd," Marcus says. He rubs over the back of his neck. "Most of the time I blend right in."
Darren plops down both drinks in front of them, and Marcus picks his up, grateful for the distraction. He gestures at Esca with the glass. "Thanks for this."
"I need to keep my fans however I can," Esca replies, taking a sip of the whiskey.
Marcus shakes his head. "Come on, you're better than that. This crowd was yours."
Esca's smile becomes wry. "Stick around for the next act and you'll see whose crowd they really are. But thanks. I'm getting there."
"I came back just to see you," Marcus says, suddenly needing Esca to know. He'd blame the warmth of the whiskey spreading through his belly, but he's pretty sure he'd say it even without that. "And I doubt I'm the only one."
He realizes a second too late that he's moved a bit too close to Esca than the crowded bar can really explain, his hand brushing Esca's side when he gestures emphatically. He tries to back up a little, freezing when Esca slowly drags his gaze up over Marcus's body until his focus arrives back on Marcus's face.
"I live right around the corner," Marcus blurts out.
Esca finishes his whiskey in one swig, the ice cubes clacking when he drops the glass back down onto the bar. "What are we still doing here, then?"
Marcus hurries to finish his whiskey, the burn in his throat soothed by the knowledge that this actually worked, that Esca's actually gay rather than just adopting the aesthetic like all the other fucking hipsters. He follows Esca out through the crowd, weaving through people and keeping an eye on the moss green of Esca's beanie, the sway of his skinny little hips.
He wants to get his hands on them, wants to see how far around his hands can get, and once they're out in the cool autumn air he gives into the temptation.
Esca turns around into his touch, leaning up to kiss him hard. He pulls him in tight, body snug up against Marcus's, and suddenly the block and a half to his apartment feels way too far. Marcus makes himself break away though, tugging Esca by his hand towards his apartment.
He stops suddenly on the sidewalk. "What about your gear?"
Esca shrugs, his eyes focused on Marcus's mouth. "I can pick it up after Jukebox finishes, it'll be safe back there with their guys."
Marcus nods. So a short visit and back. He can work with this. "We'd better get there then."
Esca turns him around and pushes him forward. "I'm not the one who stopped us in the middle of the sidewalk. Very gallant of you, though, to be thinking about my gear and not your cock. I'm flattered, really."
"I can multitask," Marcus says, walking faster. "I have an MBA, after all."
Esca snorts. "I bet that gets you all the boys."
Marcus shakes his head as he walks up the steps to his brownstone. "That is the lie that every business school in this country sells its students. That and that the money makes it all worth it." He unlocks the front door and pushes open the heavy door. "I'm on the third floor."
"Yeah, I can see that having money is a terrible affliction," Esca says from behind him. "Race you up the stairs!" He pushes in front of Marcus and takes the stairs two at a time, and Marcus isn't immune to the appeal of a little competition. Esca's headstart gets him to Marcus's floor before him though, and he's leaning up against the door, panting and pink-cheeked.
Marcus can't get the fucking door open quickly enough.
They tumble through into Marcus's living room, hands grappling at each others' shirts and mouths busy. Marcus considers the couch but decides to just head straight for the bedroom, pushing Esca back through.
"Not even going to offer me a drink?" Esca says breathlessly, his hands on Marcus's belt pulling him forward.
"You want a drink?" Marcus asks between kisses, his mouth already addicted to his taste.
Esca ducks away for a moment, face scrunched up as he pretends to consider. "Thanks, but I'm not thirsty."
"Good to know," Marcus says, going back in for his mouth and getting his hands around to Esca's ass. He's skinny but fit, and Marcus can feel the strength in his muscles when he strokes his hands up under Esca's shirt, all his soft skin. Esca tugs up on his shirt until Marcus stops kissing him long enough to whip his shirt off over his head. Before Marcus can get his arms back around him, he's distracted by Esca's fingertips stroking over his pecs and then twisting his nipples.
Marcus inhales sharply and Esca flicks his eyes up to him before doing it again, harder. Marcus closes his eyes and tips his head back, his cock jumping in his pants from the touch. He bites his lip against the pain and can feel it when Esca steps closer, his mouth and then his teeth suddenly around his right nipple.
"Fuck," he breathes, swaying forward into the touch.
"I was hoping for this," Esca murmurs into his skin, one hand cupping Marcus's cock through his pants. His hand is strong and just firm enough, and Marcus wants it against his bare skin, wants to feel the rough calluses as he strokes him. But then Esca pulls away from him completely, and Marcus brings his head up and opens his eyes.
Esca's shirtless now and working his skinny jeans down his legs, somehow making even that look graceful. His cock is clearly outlined through the thin cotton of his briefs, and Marcus wants it, wants to feel the weight of it.
The expression on his face must be fairly transparent, because Esca smiles at him, stepping out of his pants and moving close again. Marcus gets his hands around to Esca's ass as they kiss again, Esca fitting in his arms perfectly.
Esca surprises him again. Kissing across Marcus’s face, he finally whispers, "You're going to suck me now." Marcus squeezes his ass tighter, pulling his hips against his own, and Esca bites down on his ear. "Get on your knees, Marcus."
He does, sinking to the floor, the light pressure of Esca's hand on his right shoulder just an extra incentive. Esca's already sitting on his bed, and Marcus lets himself press his face into the front of Esca's briefs, inhaling his scent there. He nuzzles his balls, swiping at them with his tongue through the fabric, kissing his way up his cock.
"Oh, fuck," he hears Esca say above him, hands in Marcus's hair and on his face. Marcus brings his hands up to peel down Esca's briefs, freeing his cock. He leans back for Esca to get them down off his legs, taking a moment to stare.
Esca is fucking hung, the size of his cock almost comical on a guy with his build. His dick is flushed red, the smooth skin stretched taut over the length. Esca gets a finger under his jaw and makes Marcus look at his face, smiling down at him before he takes himself in hand and strokes, pulling back the foreskin.
"Come on," Esca says, pushing his cock out at Marcus while pressing gently on the back of Marcus's head.
He wraps one hand around the shaft and takes his first taste, swirling his tongue around the exposed head before closing his mouth around the first couple of inches. He listens to Esca's sharp intakes of breath as he sucks him, taking him in further and further as his mouth and jaw relaxes into the task. The feel of it in his mouth is overwhelming, the pressure of Esca's hands on his head and face keeping him focus right there, his entire world narrowing down to just this.
Time stops having any meaning as he keeps on sucking him, his hand on Esca's dick wet and slippery from his spit. Esca's cock is leaking more and more, his flavor intensifying on Marcus's tongue, and he picks up the pace, wanting to chase that, wanting more. Esca begins to flex forward into Marcus's mouth, hands tightening in his hair, and Marcus moans around his cock when Esca tugs his hair, pulling hard.
"Oh fuck, Marcus, your mouth," Esca says, the words making Marcus's entire body warm. He redoubles his efforts, keeping his lips soft around Esca’s cock as Esca fucks his mouth. "Marcus, I'm close, fuck, so close."
Marcus keeps his hands steady, not pulling his mouth off Esca's cock, and finally Esca groans and comes, flooding Marcus's mouth. He struggles to swallow it all, Esca still thrusting forward, but he does as best he can, licking his cock clean.
He finally sits back on his feet and looks up at Esca, his lips buzzing and swollen. Esca reaches out with his hand and drags one finger over Marcus's lower lip, spreading his own come there. "Get up here."
Marcus stands up, kissing Esca as he twists them until they're both on the bed together, Esca finally undoing Marcus's pants and getting them down around his knees. He reaches into Marcus's briefs and grips his cock firmly, hand perfect and tight around him. Esca sets a fast rhythm, and Marcus pants up at the ceiling, knowing he won't be able to last.
"So fucking hot on your knees for me," Esca says into his ear, and Marcus throws his head back and comes, thighs tensing up, his entire body wrung out. Even after he's come Esca keeps stroking his cock, and Marcus whimpers but lets him, twitching at the stimulation. "Fuck."
"Hmm?" Marcus turns his body towards Esca, a little puzzled at the expression on Esca's face.
Esca shakes his head. "Just not really what I was expecting from this gig, that's all." He gives Marcus's cock one last stroke and then takes his hand away, wiping it off on the covers.
"Funny, this was totally my game plan," Marcus says, feeling goofy and a little tired. He wasn't normally one for pillow talk, but he'd take as much time with Esca as he could get.
Esca slaps him on the ass before getting up out of bed. "Not all of us are planners, MBA. Now where the fuck are my pants?" He makes a little "ah!" sound and reaches down, pulling on his briefs.
"Heading out?" Marcus tries to keep his voice casual.
"Yup, Jukebox is probably just finishing up now, and I gotta get my stuff. I'm not looking forward to schlepping it up three flights of stairs, but I should be back in about fifteen."
Marcus stares at him, mind racing. "You're coming back?"
Holding his shirt out like he's examining it for stains, Esca nods and then looks at Marcus. "That was my plan. Unless you have a rule about not dating outside your social sphere."
Marcus shakes his head. "More like the opposite."
Esca gives him the half-smile Marcus can already tell is going to be very dangerous in the future. "That's what I thought."