“I should get something,” Marc said. “I’m the best goalie this fucking club has ever had.”
“Barasso,” Tanger coughed from the other sofa. Asshole.
Whatever. Honesty was for mornings, when Marc was no longer tipsy on Sid’s beer and the high of three hundred wins. “Three hundred wins,” he repeated. “That deserves a fucking reward.” A face full of shaving cream didn't count.
“I score the goal!” Geno protested. He lounged on the other end of the couch, limbs sprawled everywhere and wearing that shit-eating grin that made him the smuggest, happiest-looking bastard alive. He waved his beer bottle for emphasis, and a little bit of it sloshed onto the leg of his jeans. “I score two goals. I give you win. What reward I get?” Good humor crinkled at the corners of his eyes.
Marc shook his head, too comfortable to even muster a reply. He was warm with good fortune and good friends and passable booze. What more in the world could he possibly want?
Without thinking about it, his gaze swung to Geno again – still laughing, elaborating now on his OT goal with considerable embellishment that Sid disagreed with, and loudly. Old want thrummed suddenly in Marc’s chest. He hadn’t thought of that crush in months – years? – but tonight it seemed possible. Tonight, with sober clarity, Marc thought, Fuck it. Just this once..
“I’ll give you a reward,” he said, though the words tangled a little with everyone’s chirping. He pushed to his feet – not quite steady, but that was fine, he could still navigate around Kuni’s legs. Once he got to the other side, there was Geno, grinning up at him. Marc wedged his knee between Geno and Kuni, and then he settled onto Geno in something like a straddle, bracketing Geno’s thighs between his knees.
“What you doing?” Geno asked, still laughing. He put a hand to Marc’s chest, but not so firmly that Marc couldn’t lean in, one hand to the arm of the sofa and the other to Geno’s jaw like he’d pictured a time or two (or two hundred) way back when. Geno didn’t flinch or shift; he met Marc’s gaze with a grin like a dare, like the best of Marc’s impossible dreams.
Marc leaned those last few inches, and he kissed him.
He caught him open mouthed. Geno’s lips were a little chapped, his breath yeasty and flavored with hops. Warm. Wet. His shoulder shifted under Marc’s hand. His chest fell on an exhale, and he kissed back.
And then with the hand pressed to Marc’s chest, Geno shoved. Marc went flailing backwards, and it was a miracle Marc didn’t crash onto Sid’s gleaming new glass coffee table. Guys were cheering. That was definitely Tanger with the catcall. Sid was giggling too hard to manage any words, although he seemed to be trying now and then. And Geno—
Geno was spitting and sticking out his tongue and scrunching his entire face in disgust and still laughing. “What the fuck, Flower? You forget I’m guy?”
“Tanger’s the pretty one,” Kuni added. “Shoulda gotten your reward from him.”
“Fuck you, I’m most pretty.”
Marc stumbled back to his side of the couch. He could still taste Geno – or Geno’s beer, anyway. He could still feel Geno’s breath on his face; the comfortable, warm curve of Geno’s shoulder. Why the fuck had he never done that before? He couldn’t remember. He could have been kissing Geno all this time.
Marc woke up the next morning a little dry-mouthed, a little achy in the head. He blinked at the his ceiling, and then in a flash he lived it again – Geno, warm and shifting under Marc’s hand, his knees bony under Marc’s ass. That moment when Geno had kissed back.
Marc had spent a lot of years not thinking about those lips, about the way that smile crinkled around Geno’s eyes. Now he could go back to not thinking about it them, he supposed; now he remembered all the reasons why kissing Geno was such a terrible idea. The thought brought a little twinge. He ignored it like he ignored the others, in his hips and his wrist and his knee, the one that got cursed by that Flyers fan that one time and still ached with every large-scale magical emanation in the greater Pittsburgh area.
He drove in to Consol for morning skate. Tanger looked haggard, which made Marc feel, paradoxically, a little better. Geno dragged in late, to no one’s shock, and he summoned up a weaker grin than usual to Horny’s chirp. He’d had more to drink than Marc had thought. He might have forgotten all about last night. That was for the best, Marc told himself firmly.
Or if Geno remembered, he didn’t care. Out on the ice, he slapped Marc’s pad as he passed, cheeky as hell. He flipped a shot over Marc’s blocker and said “How you miss? So easy, even little baby goalie stop.”
“Fuck you,” Marc said, obscurely relieved. It was fine. Everything was fine.
That night, they beat the Leafs in OT on the back of Combs’ hat trick. Geno congratulated Marc for the win with a familiar shove to the mask, and Marc leaned with it, like always.
Another night after another home win. The whole team arranged themselves at a single long table and plowed through steak and potatoes and beer. Geno lounged to Marc’s right, enthusing over his game winner on Schneider, protesting every time anyone brought up his ten-minute misconduct. He drew conversation to him like a drain drew water, as always, but every so often he’d loosen his grip and let it move away from him for a while.
In one of those lulls, he leaned nearer Marc, and he said, “Flower, have to ask you question.”
Marc slanted him a glance. Geno’s brow was pinched in concentration, earnest as he usually was only just before a prank. “Yeah?”
Geno’s gaze shifted to the table top. Clear but low, for just Marc to hear, he asked, “Other week, why you kiss me?”
Marc pulled away and blinked at him, wary. “Why do you ask?”
“Just ask. Why you kiss?”
A week or more, and Geno had never so much as brought it up. Marc couldn’t begin to guess what he was getting at now. He had his answer ready, though. “It was just a joke. I was a little bit drunk, I got the win, you got the win – it was funny.” He tried to read Geno’s expression, which smoothed out into blankness as he went on. “I didn’t mean anything by it.”
Geno nodded solemnly, eyes still fixed on Marc’s napkin, heaped next to his empty plate. “Not a very nice joke.”
Marc hid a wince. “I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.” Immediately he regretted it; he didn’t apologize for pranks. Apologizing for this one was surely a dead giveaway, of—
—of what? Marc’s unshakeable crush on a teammate? Not even a crush. Just a—a wish that tickled sometimes. Anyway, nobody would think that. No one would look at him and think of that. He dated women – he and Sebastianne had been together almost three years. He played hockey, for fuck’s sake.
He’d told himself all this before. It convinced him now exactly as much it ever had. “Sorry,” he said again, despite himself.
Geno nodded again. “Yes. Don’t do again.” In one sudden motion, he pushed to his feet and began calling his goodbyes to the guys. Barely two minutes later, he was out the door into a December night that promised snow.
Marc elbowed Geno the next morning on his way into the locker room. “Early night?” he prodded, very casually.
Geno glanced over and opened his mouth. After a moment he closed it again, shrugged, and turned a bare shoulder to Marc. Well, Geno was never a morning person, but maybe Marc would just leave him alone, this once.
An hour later, Geno took a pass from Sid on the power play and one-timed it home, right over Marc’s shoulder. “Fuck you!” Marc yelled. Hell had no fury like a goalie scored upon – especially not in practice, by teammates that were supposed to be his friends. “You can’t do that twice, motherfucker!”
Geno threw a glance Marc’s way. Grinning, he took a slap to the shoulder from Sid and a fist bump from Tanger. And then he skated away, without a single word to Marc.
It took Marc a good twenty seconds of staring at Geno’s back before he thought to dig the puck out of his net.
After another win, Sid stopped Marc on the way out of the showers and asked if he wanted a midnight snack. “I don’t have to get food to talk,” Marc told him. Sid wasn’t particularly subtle about these things. “We can talk here.” Not here, maybe, standing in the hall, but Consol was a big place. There was surely some corner where they could find some privacy.
“I didn’t say anything about talking. I’m just hungry.” Unsubtle, relentlessly methodical – that was Sid.
They went for sandwiches. Sid’s was scrupulously inside the diet plan – which never failed to amuse Marc, after all those years of candy and pizza – and Marc’s was pastrami. If he was going to sit through Sid being captainly at him, he was at least going to have comfort food.
Resigned to his fate, Marc let Sid speculate about the Rangers and Lundqvist and Marc Staal until finally Sid put the last remaining bite of sandwich on his plate and said, “So, is something up with Geno?”
Somehow in twenty minutes Marc had forgotten why they were here. “Like what?” Marc asked cautiously.
“I dunno,” Sid said. He slanted Marc a glance of genuine concern, enough to convince Marc he wasn’t just playing dumb. “You’re just—not talking, really? I just wondered if something was up.”
“It’s nothing.” Sid’s eyebrows rose in disbelief and stayed there. Marc heaved a sigh. “It’s fine. I pissed him off a little bit. You know how he gets in a mood sometimes.”
“Pissed him off?”
Fuck, Marc really wanted to tell someone. He hadn’t until this moment, but now the words burned in his throat. “That fucking kiss. He got all fucking—I don’t know, weird, about it.”
“Oh.” Sid picked at a stray leaf of spinach and finally stuck it in his mouth. “But it was just a joke, right?”
Just like that, the fire in Marc flickered out again. So much for honesty. He slumped a little in his seat. “Yeah. It was just a joke.”
It was quiet for a while. When Marc dragged his gaze away from his own plate, Sid was considering him thoughtfully, still chewing. He swallowed and said, “I could talk to him, if you want.”
“God, no. Don’t do that.” Fuck only knew what Geno would say. Flower blew out a breath. “You can’t fix it, Sid. I’ll figure it out. We’re still playing okay.”
“You know that’s not the only thing I care about, right?” Sid regarded him soberly.
Marc was older than Sid, and he’d been here the longest of anyone, but right now under that gaze, while uncertainty twisted in his stomach, Marc felt about five years old. “Yeah. I know.”
Marc woke up restless and too early. He drove into Southpointe early and put in some time on the treadmill before practice – enough time that he had to hustle to get into his gear. It was something to concentrate on while the guys chirped each other. They chirped him, too, and he summoned up smiles as needed, though he thought they probably looked brittle.
He took to the ice. He methodically skated back and forth across his crease until the ice was exactly the right kind of rutted, with just enough purchase.
The skaters streamed out and began lazy circles around the rink. Sid swung behind Marc and stick-tapped the pipe as he passed. The sound woke Marc up. He stood tall; he threw his shoulders back. He couldn’t let these fuckers go a practice without him telling them exactly where they stood. He called down the ice, “You might as well not even try, poopy heads.”
That was not what he fucking meant to say. “What the heck?” That wasn’t either.
The guys hadn’t heard or maybe hadn’t registered the words. They were clustering around Johnston, and Marc skated up the ice to get the skinny. Once he had it, he skated back down to his crease.
The skaters came out in twos and threes, and Johnston blew his whistle to start each rush. Geno and Combs and Suttsy came slicing down the ice, an odd man rush. Combs caught a pass from Geno at the last moment and flipped it blocker side. Marc flicked it aside. “Try again, pukey butts,” he crowed, and nearly fell onto his ass in surprise.
Suttsy pulled up short. “Uh.” He cast Combs a glance. Combs shrugged, eyebrows high.
“What are you dumbheads looking at?” Marc demanded. Silently he tried to form his lips the word he’d meant to say, but somehow fuckers started with a D now. Combs started to snicker. Geno circled around, glancing between them with that familiar frustration of not being in on the joke.
“You gonna steal our lunch money?” Suttsy asked. Combs barked a laugh.
“Go stick your head in a toilet,” Marc said.
“Sure, Flower,” Combs said, laughing as he skated away. Geno trailed after, demanding an explanation.
“Good one,” Suttsy said, tapping Marc’s pad, and then he skated off, too.
Oh well, it was only practice. If this was a curse or some fucking thing, it didn’t seem like a dangerous one, and Marc could get it looked at after. Except by the third iteration of the drill, he’d gone past pissed and bewildered and into something else – fucking freaked, maybe – and Tanger clued in. “Hey, is something up?”
“I can’t freaking swear!” Marc said, throat tight. “What the crap, Tanger?”
Sid skated in, Kuni and Suttsy right behind with Johnston trailing. They made him demonstrate a few more times – to much snickering - and then Johnston said, “Why don’t you get that checked out with Angie. If it’s a curse, she should be able to make some suggestions before we fly out to New York tonight.”
Angie, in-house expert on mystical ailments and hazards of all kinds, did not have suggestions. “Your aura is fine,” she said, peering critically just above Marc’s head – where his aura lived, presumably. He’d always envisioned it as a halo, although the poster on the opposite wall suggested more of a full-body glow. “A curse would fragment, bind, or discolor it – I’d be able to tell. Yours looks healthy – stable, good color.”
“Good?” Marc said. Like he knew a thing about auras they hadn’t covered in his middle-grade health class. Come to think of it, he probably didn’t remember any of that, either. “That sounds good.”
“Oh it is,” Angie agreed, flashing him a smile. She settled back in her chair – wooden and upholstered in dark, rich colors, as opposed to what all the other trainers sat on. Maybe vinyl interfered with auras. Maybe the plants sitting in her office window helped them. “But it means your problem isn’t a curse.”
“Of course it’s a stupid curse! Do you think I call people potty brains on purpose?”
“It’s not a curse, but—” she added, as Marc opened his mouth to protest again “—that’s not the only thing it could be. Since it’s clear from your aura that no one is imposing any external force on you, that means this is probably the effect of some internal change.”
“What kind of internal change?” Marc asked suspiciously.
She shrugged. “It’s hard to say. Everyone’s different. Some kind of conflict you’re struggling with right now? An anxiety? Maybe a fear you’re harboring. Whatever the problem is, this is a symbolic manifestation of it.”
“Uh.” Marc did not like the sound of that. “Like what kind of problem?”
“Sometimes it’s hard to tell. Trouble with speech usually comes down to some kind of communication issue, though. Someone you’re having trouble talking to? Someone you didn’t tell the whole truth?”
It took Marc all of half a second to think of a recent conflict to which that description might apply. Fuck. “Are you sure this isn’t Jen Bullano’s fault? She’s always trying to get me to stop cursing on camera.”
Angie considered him for a moment. “It’s possible?”
“But probably not,” Marc finished for her, heart sinking.
She grimaced sympathetically. “It takes a lot of emotional turmoil for your inner self to manifest this way. Unless you and Jen are in some kind of death feud…”
“Right,” Marc said.
“It could be tied to another person,” Angie offered. “The way your aura’s taken some new tints on at the edges – that suggests it could be responding to someone else and their inner conflict.”
“Oh,” Marc said weakly. So it was all Geno’s fault? Marc wanted to work up some righteous indignation over that, but it didn’t seem right. This would never have fucking happened if Marc hadn’t kissed him. Some reward, Flower. “Okay, so how do I fix it?”
“The usual approach is the resolve the conflict—”
“Oh, well, that isn’t flipping happening.”
“—but eventually these kinds of manifestations do fade with time,” she finished smoothly.
“How much time?” he asked suspiciously.
“It’s impossible to say. Anywhere from a couple of days to a decade or more.”
“Well, poop,” Marc said.
“You gonna stop all the shots from us buttheads today, Flower?” Bortz called from across the locker room. Downs snickered. Kuni was clearly fighting back a smile. The hilarity did not pall with time, apparently.
“Don’t listen to these boogers for brains,” Paulie told Marc. “They’re just jerks.”
“Dipsticks,” Marc muttered despite himself. He wrestled his practice jersey over his head and vowed that today he would keep his mouth shut. If he had to yell, it’d be strictly PG-rated insults that he could choose himself. Today he’d keep it clean.
Ten minutes later: “Hah, going for the chest hole this time, snot face?”
Like he had ever, in his eleven years making himself understood in this stupid fucking language, managed to keep it clean. Well. It was only humiliating if he let it be, right? And the guys got a kick out of it.
He caught Geno smiling once. The smile fell away once Geno noticed Marc looking at him.
It was fine. Marc could put up with this shit until it went away.
“I can’t freaking stand it,” Marc said, and dropped his head to his arm. “You know what that butthead Kreider did when I called him mayonnaise brain?”
Sid paused, a piece of bread sticking out of his mouth. He gave the question careful consideration. “He laughed?”
“Until his stupid helmet fell off.”
“I mean. It’s kind of funny?” At Marc’s glare, Sid only grinned wider. “No, seriously, Flower, this shit is hilarious. If it were anyone else, you’d think so, too. You’d plan this, if there was any way to plan it.”
“Yeah,” Marc said grudgingly. And grudgingly he took a bite of his chicken pesto sandwich, even though he didn’t feel like eating. “We didn’t have to do this captain talk thing, you know. There’s nothing you can say that will make this poop go away.”
Sid cleared his throat, and Marc had a sinking feeling he knew what Sid was going to say. “I actually was going to ask about you and Geno.”
“Gosh darn it, Sid.”
“Is he talking to you at all?”
“I told you, you can’t fix it. I can’t fix it. No one can freaking fix it.”
“You could try?” Sid offered. “I mean, I think he’s kind of fucked up about it. And—I think you are, too.”
Marc opened his mouth to protest, but no words came. He closed it again.
“Look, Flower, is there some other dimension to this I’m not getting?” Sid peered at him, all captainly sympathy in his eyes.
No, that wasn’t fair. They’d been friends for too long for that. Sid was worried about him, not just the team, and Marc didn’t know how to deal with that. He never fucking did. Usually it was his play that got him to this place, this black slippery hole of can’t-get-out, but even all that experience had taught Marc fuck-all about how to take this kind of concern with grace.
Sid looked down at his plate. “Because you know, it’d be okay, if there was.”
There was a knot in Marc’s throat. It took him a little while to get words past it. “Thanks. I appreciate that.” After a pause, he added, “I don’t—I haven’t got anything else to say right now.”
Now that Marc let himself pay attention, he caught Geno stealing furtive glances at him with a crease between his brows. It was pretty clear Sid was right. Geno wasn’t quite okay, and it wasn’t just Marc’s usual chirping with him back and forth that was lacking.
They’d been friends a long time. Not the kind that took their troubles to each other – Marc had Sid for that, and Tanger and Duper, and Geno had his own little circle, on the team and off. Still, he fucking liked the guy; of course he did. Everyone loved Geno. He wouldn’t have wanted to kiss him otherwise.
Which brought him right back to where he started.
At practice, Geno slid a filthy goal five hole. “You freaking booger face!” Marc yelled. “Just try that again.”
Geno turned to Combs, skating up behind him. “Booger face?”
Marc couldn’t hear just what Combs said – he was kind of trying not to – but suddenly Geno started to laugh, loud and helpless. It came out in gusts until finally he was bent over, his stick across his knees, not even trying to get himself together again.
Marc hadn’t seen him laugh like that in weeks. Just the sight of it triggered all sorts of unhappy twinges in his chest. He missed that. He missed Geno. Asshole, bully, occasional partner in crime: Geno.
Marc caught Geno headed out of Consol. “Can I have a minute?”
A shadow of dismay crossed Geno’s face, but he quickly rallied. He nodded.
Marc led him down the hall. He ducked his head into the equipment room. There was nobody at the grinder or cutting sticks, so Marc closed the door behind them. Now that he had Geno standing in front of him, though, face blank but edging towards mulish, he realized he had no idea what to say.
“I’m sorry?” he offered. That seemed like a good start. “I’m sorry about that thing, a couple of weeks ago. When I kissed you.” Geno’s face went coolly blank, and Marc hurried on. “It was—I didn’t think you’d care.” I didn’t think you’d be a gay-hating asshole.
Geno opened his eyes wide, like he was waiting for more, and then he shrugged sharply and took a step towards the door.
“This is what I’m freaking talking about!” Marc said. Geno paused. “You barely talk to me anymore. I think you’re being a jerk, but I’m freaking apologizing anyway, because I didn’t mean to upset you.” He took a deep breath. “So many years we’ve known each other, so many pranks. I didn’t think you’d care about a stupid kiss.”
Geno’s shoulders slumped, all the fight gone out of him. He looked sadly at Marc, like Marc was disappointment of a goalie and a friend, and then he braced himself against the countertop and eyed the ground.
They had been friends a long time. And maybe—maybe Geno deserved to hear Marc say what he really meant, even if it sucked. Even if he already suspected anyway, at least it’d be out in the open, and that’d be better, right?
Marc summoned his courage, and he said, “It wasn’t a joke.”
Geno’s head snapped up.
Marc’s throat was a desert. He swallowed. It didn’t help. “I didn’t do it for a joke.” Geno just kept staring, waiting for Marc to babble something more. “I just wanted to. I, uh. For a long time.” They were short words, and yet they felt so big. They filled the room until Marc could hear nothing else.
Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Geno peering at him. Behold, here was Marc-Andre fucking Fleury, who thought about guys sometimes with his hand on his dick. Who thought about his teammate – but only at long, careful intervals, because he couldn’t afford to fuck things up. (Ha.) Here he was, a hockey player who wasn’t really exactly straight. A number one pick, even.
“I—” Geno croaked. His voice sounded like he hadn’t used it in a year, although Marc knew that wasn’t true. He’d heard him chirping Tanger in practice less than an hour ago. “I never want to do that. With you.”
“Yeah, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have fucking accosted you, I guess—”
Marc blinked. “Before what?”
Geno’s eyes were very wide. “I never want to kiss you before.” Marc’s mouth dropped open, and Geno hurried on, “I have rule, don’t think about teammates, but then you kiss me, and I think maybe—but then you said it’s just a joke, it doesn’t matter, and—and I feel so fucking stupid.”
“Oh,” Marc said faintly. He stared at Geno staring back at him, face open and uncertain. Three weeks of awkwardness scrolled through Marc’s mind between one blink and the next, and it was like finally seeing a page the right way around after trying to read it backwards all this time. His heart sank. “Oh, Geno, fuck. I’m sorry.” He meant it this time like he hadn’t before, gut-deep.
Geno shrugged. “It’s okay. Makes sense, why you don’t say anything.” He huffed. “I don’t say anything. I mean.” He licked his lips. “First I don’t say anything about—about kiss. And then I can’t say anything to you. Like my words all fucked. You start talk funny, and I can’t even chirp you.” Geno looked so aggrieved over this tragic injustice that it took Marc a moment to follow.
“Wait. You couldn’t talk to me? At all?”
Geno nodded. “I think it maybe something you do, but then Angie just say it—” Geno grimaced and waved his hand. “It’s metaphor.” He spit the word like it tasted bad. Marc could relate.
It explained some things, too. That sick, tight feeling in Marc’s stomach eased a little more.
He peered at Geno, at his craggy, goofy face, and slowly it dawned on him that here, too, was a guy who thought about guys sometimes with his hand on his dick. The thought just about knocked the breath out of him.
Geno shifted a little under Marc’s gaze. “What?”
Marc shrugged, helpless to explain. “I thought it was just me. On the team,” he added, when Geno kept looking confused. “All these years, I thought I was the only one.”
That same realization kindled in Geno’s eyes. He ventured a smile: fragile, hopeful. “I start to think maybe, when you kiss me, but.”
“I’m really fucking sorry about that.”
“It’s okay,” Geno repeated. For the first time since this shitshow began, Marc began to believe it was. Then Geno blinked. “Hey, you say fuck again.”
“Uh.” He had. He fucking had. “Fucking all right!” Marc pumped his fist. Fuck it felt good. “You fucking beautiful fuckface.”
Geno grinned back for one beat, two, and then his gaze dropped. “Flower?”
“Yeah, what is it, fucker?” Marc asked, because he could. The things he wanted to say were finally coming out of his fucking mouth again. He’d never have dreamed he could be so grateful for it.
“You say you kiss because—because you want. Is that—do you only want it one time?”
He looked up, expression as naked as Marc had ever seen it. Caught in that brave stare, it took a moment for Geno’s question to process. Marc’s mouth fell open. “Uh.”
Geno searched his face, waiting.
Marc had spent the last couple of weeks not sure even his friendship with Geno was salvageable. He certainly hadn’t had time to wish for anything more. But before that – before he got drunk and stupid on three hundred wins – very rarely, he’d daydreamed. About Geno’s dick, because surely even the straight guys couldn’t always help that, but about his fingers, too, and his laugh, and other fucking embarrassing things.
His head was full of reasons why he should say he’d just been curious, he liked guys but not Geno, he’d liked him once but not anymore. It’d be bad for the team, bad for the room. A distraction. There were so many reasons to lie.
But not today. “No. Not just one time.”
Geno took a breath, and with it he seemed to come to a decision. He approached Marc cautiously, like Marc might startle away – or like Geno might, if Marc did anything but stand very, very still. He lifted a hand to Marc’s shoulder. He leaned in, and he pressed his mouth to Marc’s, deliberate and careful. Geno’s lips were a little chapped, like the first time. Unlike the first time, Marc’s heart was rabbiting in his chest; his pulse rushed in his ears. He shifted in closer and pressed his hand to Geno’s hip, fingers curling over the waistband of his sweats.
Too soon, Geno pulled back. He looked Marc over carefully. Marc had no idea how he looked – scared? Hopeful? Turned on? None of them would be untrue.
“Good?” Geno asked, eyes wide and anxious.
“It was great,” Marc hastened, before he saw that familiar smirk at the corner of Geno’s mouth. “Oh, is that how it is, asshole? See if I want to kiss you again.”
“You want,” Geno said smugly, as if he had never in his life been unsure. “I’m give best kisses.”
“Oh, you think so,” Marc said, advancing on him.
Geno backed away, grinning as bright as Marc had ever seen him, like the gleam on the Stanley Cup under a hundred stadium lights. “I don’t think. I know.”
“We’ll see about that,” Marc said, pinning Geno against the countertop. “Motherfucker.”