It was hot.
Mark didn’t know what it was that made the sun blare in the sky, or the heat index sky rocket, or why it felt like a desert outside.
But outside was nothing compared to inside his apartment, or whatever it was. Sean was no where to be found after Eduardo coming in and the “too young to be doing hits of coke” girls left last night. Dustin was going to go find someone, or anything that would get the air conditioner to work.
It felt like the very particles of his skin were ablaze wherever Mark went.
Mark chose to take his laptop to the patio, and try to code there. Eduardo was swimming in the pool, backstroking and doing laps to cool off. It was a bit awkward, Wardo here in Palo Alto and in his pool. It was awkward that Mark was in such proximity to him, watching him drift from one end of the pool to the other in such a graceful way. His muscles flexing with each stroke they took against the blue pool water.
It was better than frying from the insides out in the house. So here he was, trying to code in the hot, hot sun. There was no shade. There was barely any air.
Mark hated the heat.
At least he took his hoodie off, he was in a t-shirt that he was almost certain wasn’t his. And good thing Dustin had bought lawn chairs, Mark was not sitting on the heated pavement that felt like a boiling pan under his feet.
He was sweaty.
It was hot.
Mark hated the heat.
He doesn’t know how long he’d been sitting there, stringing lines upon lines of code with his fingertips. But he felt overheated, his shirt sticky with perspiration and sticking softly to his torso. He grimaced as he looked down at himself.
“Have you drank anything, Mark?” It was the first thing Eduardo has said to him since the fiasco the night before. He was toweling off, walking towards him with water cascading down his body. Mark had to look away before he thought about how luminescent Eduardo’s tan skin lit up with the sun, as if they were equals.
Mark shakes his head slightly as his eyes fixated on the computer screen. He hears Eduardo sigh, motherly, and he could tell that Eduardo’s eyes were inspecting him with concern. Could feel it without looking at him.
“My God, Mark. Your skin is turning red, did you put on sunscreen before you came out here?” Eduardo’s voice seems a bit appalled and Mark looks at his arms, and yes they were a shade of red.
Mark shrugs, muttering a “no” at Eduardo nonchalantly. Eduardo makes a noise of displeasure as he walks briskly into the house.
“Here.” Eduardo voiced from his side, Mark could feel his body heat on the outside of his thigh, Eduardo was sticking a bottle of sunscreen in front of his vision.
Mark takes it and sets it next to him, his fingers clacking on the keys again. Eduardo doesn’t move.
“If you aren’t going to put it on yourself, then I will. You even soaked through your shirt, Mark take it off at least.”
Mark would normally have had a witty retort or something to say at Eduardo suggesting he take off an article of clothing, but Mark was too hot and sweaty and entirely too dehydrated to argue.
He feels stiff as he sits up, removing and closing the laptop, and then lifting his sweaty shirt off of himself. And he sits there a moment, because that really does feel a bit better. Less suffocating.
Mark doesn’t like being exposed. But Mark hates the heat more.
“Sunscreen, Mark.” He almost grunted in annoyance at Eduardo’s caregiving tendencies, but refrains.
“I don’t need it.” Simple enough, and Mark doesn’t understand why Eduardo doesn’t leave him alone. Especially after their hallway conversation the night before.
Come to think of it, Eduardo was dripping wet then, and he is now, also. Mark really needs a distraction.
Coding it is.
Eduardo’s voice was stern, almost like a father scolding his child. Mark was not Eduardo’s child, he nearly grimaced at the thought and his coding teetered to a stop.
Did Mark mention how much he hated the heat?
Neither Mark nor Eduardo move for a few seconds, Eduardo boring holes into Mark’s frame as his arms are crossed pensively.
Eduardo won’t do anything, maybe yell a bit and then walk off. But that’s what Mark is hoping for.
That’s it. Finally. Now back to coding-
Except Eduardo isn’t moving towards the house, or pool, or away from Mark at all.
Eduardo is sidled behind Mark, and the closeness and body heat makes Mark shiver.
“I told you, if you aren’t going to put it on yourself. Then I am.”
And Mark could feel Eduardo’s words, the moist breath on his skin, the back of his neck and behind his ear. Eduardo barely whispering right behind him and almost flush against him. It’s a bit much, and it has Mark reeling.
Mark blames the heat. Because the heat is stupid.
And Mark hates the heat.
Mark nearly jumps when cold, sticky sunscreen is palmed on his shoulder, a hiss escaping his lips in detest.
Eduardo chuckles, and Mark feels it reverberate through his entire being. And it’s strong and weird and comes in waves. And it’s one of the best things Mark has ever felt.
Mark manages a nod as Eduardo is rubbing his shoulder and down his arm in calculated, articulate strokes. Mark’s eyes closing involuntarily and subconsciously leaning back into Eduardo.
“Not just for the sunscreen.”
Something in Eduardo’s forlorn and too-soft voice shakes Mark, and wakes him up.
He feels Eduardo shift behind him, and he tenses as he feels Eduardo’s skin press against his own.
Eduardo’s chin is on his right shoulder.
It’s almost unbearable, and it’s too close for comfort and it’s hot.
But Mark doesn’t nearly hate it as much as he should.
He can feel the motions of Eduardo’s chest as he takes in air. The tiny puffs of breath igniting the expanse of Mark’s neck.
“I’m just sorry for everything, Mark.”
His throat constricts and Mark feels like he can’t breathe. But it’s also a good feeling. And it’s indescribable, and Eduardo is everywhere, filling his thoughts and is all over his flesh and it’s good. It’s good.
Mark turns his head so that it’s facing Eduardo, and Mark knows they share the same look. Their eyes meeting and it feels light, and heavy. And hot and cold. And it’s confusing. But fuck it, Mark would deal with the complications.
And Eduardo is so beautiful, hair matted to his forehead, his eyes wide, and his cheeks are a little burnt, lips being gnawed on. And Mark finds him incomparable with anything and everything.
And Mark realizes, for the first time that he doesn’t want Eduardo to be left behind. He doesn’t want to lose Eduardo. Mark wants Eduardo.
“Yeah. I’m sorry, too Wardo.”
There’s a lot behind those words. Things that make Mark furrow his brow and Eduardo sigh against his shoulder blade.
And there’s so much to be said.
“Hey guys, guess who got the AC back? This guy!” Dustin is exclaiming and proud, and ushering them inside.
And there’s just not enough heat to say it all.