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“Jeremy, let’s just go,” Mark is saying, “or you could leave her a very frank note,” and Jez thinks doesn’t that fucking figure. That he’s too much of a pussy to even do anything to Cally’s caravan, even when it’ll be totally anonymous. She’s like one of those hot mermaid chicks that lures sailors into whirlpools where they meet horrible gruesome deaths, although in this metaphor the whirlpool he’s rescuing Mark from is a fulfilling sex life. It’s not a perfect comparison. That’s not the point.

The point is, they’ve done it once and Mark is completely whipped. ‘I-think-she’s-the-one’ whipped. It’ll be Cally, Cally, Cally for the next few months until she gets sick of him.

She can’t be that good. Jez can’t have missed out on that much.

“Or… we could piss on something,” Jez offers.

“No, Jez!”

“Yes, Mark. Come on, it’s all fucked. This is rock n’ roll! She screwed me over, now it’s her turn! Let’s fuck this place up, we’re the hammer of the gods!” He shoves something over but it just kind of makes this pathetic metal clinking noise as it hits the wall — oh, it’s a teabag tin. Not as impactful as he’d hoped.

“Jez, no!” Well. Looks like it doesn’t matter what he knocks over, Mark’s equally horrified by all of it.

“She smashed my dreams, let’s smash her caravan!” His eyes settle on a Sharpie. He heads for the wall and starts scrawling filth all over it. He can see Mark’s finally getting into it — he’s eyeing that stupid crystal skull on her table with interest. Good for him.

Jez hears a crash, and then Mark’s voice — “Ah, FUCK!”

“Oh, this feels good. This just feels so right, you know?” Jez says, ransacking her pantry. He glances back at Mark, who is standing there like an idiot, clutching his hand and swearing under his breath. It’s fine, he’s fine, he’ll be fine, as long as they just keep at this it’ll all be fine —

And that’s when Jez, completely unthinking, blurts, “let’s fuck on her sofa.”

Mark goes silent and looks up. His eyes — already having this glassy spooked-horse look to them as a sort of default — blink twice and then stare ahead.

“What?” he asks.

Fuck. Recover, recover —

“I didn’t say anything.” Nice. It’s Mark’s word against Jez. He has nothing on him.

“You literally just said that we should fuck on Cally’s sofa,” Mark says.

“Are you sure?” Jez asks.

“I — yes, of course I’m sure! I would not be using the word literally if this had not literally happened!”

Mark’s got him there. He switches to Plan B —if he says everything with unwavering confidence, Jez could probably convince him that between the two of them, it was actually Mark who suggested they have sex. He tries to sound as cool and casual as possible when he says, “Hm. Are you sure it was me who said that? I seem to remember that you were the one who suggested it.”

“Jez, what the fuck!” Shit. He’s getting a bit angry. Plan C, is there a Plan C?

“Well. Regardless of who brought it up, I actually think it’s kind of a good idea,” Jez says. Wait, where did that come from?

But it’s out there now and he has to commit, Jez reminds himself. No backtracking now. Full steam ahead. Go hard or go home, as they say.

“Jez —”

“Listen, Mark, I don’t get why you’re not milking this moment for all it’s worth. How often do I tell you that you’ve had a good idea?”

Mark’s mouth is a very tight line. Jez continues —

“And I mean, when you think about it, wouldn’t that be such a laugh? Just imagine. She gets back to the caravan and it’s all trashed. And she goes to sit on her sofa and there’s jizz stains all over the cushions. And it’s even worse, because it’s our jizz stains. It’s the ultimate middle finger to her. It’d be like us saying, ‘fuck you, Cally, we don’t need you, we’re both dumping you to go fuck each other’ —”

“Wait, why are you playing the jilted lover? You two were never even going out,” Mark says. “You had half a session of intercourse with her before she made you stop.”

“First of all, ‘intercourse?’” Jez replies. “Second of all, I’m not sure why you feel the need to keep bringing that up, but —”

“Jez,” Mark says, “I just — where are you getting this from?”

“I — what do you mean, where am I getting this from —”

“This is just… it’s all very well-thought-out. Oh, Jez. Please don’t tell me you’re gay,” Mark says. “I don’t — I mean, I’m not a homophobe or anything, but I haven’t particularly enjoyed hearing about your sexploits with women save for the fact that they’re with women, I imagine I’d get even less out of it if you started fucking men —”

“If we go through with this it wouldn’t be because either of us are gay, Mark. We’re motivated by a desire for justice rather than a desire for each other’s throbbing man-meats. The revenge-fuck transcends gender,” he says. They’ve both had their dicks in Cally, anyway, so it’s basically like they’ve already fucked each other indirectly, and then he feels his cock twitch a little bit and he makes himself stop thinking about that.

He’s gotten Mark on it, though. He’s genuinely mulling it over, his nose crinkling in thought. Jez steels himself for whatever Mark is going to say, afraid of every single possible outcome.

“But I really do like Cally,” Mark says in that slight whine he says everything in.

It’s strange, how happy Mark seems to be in this alleged ‘relationship’ and how little Jez enjoys that. Misery is Mark’s natural state, he supposes. The way things should be. It could also just be Cally. Jez feels some kind of vague jealousy but he’s not sure who it’s aimed at anymore.

“How will she know it’s our jizz stains?” Mark asks him then. “Could be anyone’s.”

“Oh, like the Christian rock groupies are regularly hosting wild orgies? We’re the only people at this festival who haven’t taken a vow of abstinence,” Jez says. “It doesn’t matter. I’ll — I can write our names on the wall, ‘Mark and Jeremy came here.’”

“Jesus, Jez, that is not —

“You’re completely overthinking this. I want to give you a revenge-orgasm and you’re not even into it.”

Mark reddens at the word ‘orgasm.’ “Jez!”

“She kicked me out of my own bed and then my own band. She won’t fuck you unless you lie about believing in those stupid crystal skulls, and then tells you that everything you’re doing is wrong. Why the fuck are you settling for that? It’s a good orgasm, sure, but I could give you a good orgasm and I don’t make you lie about shit.”

Mainly because Mark doesn’t need to lie to him about anything. He doesn’t want Mark lying to him about anything. They both know that Mark doesn’t need to bother convincing Jez he’s a functioning, normal human being, much less impressing him like he needs to impress Johnson or Sophie or Cally.

Sometimes (all the time) Jez thinks he knows Mark better than Mark knows himself. Poor Mark can’t even recognize that Cally will move on from him sooner or later, and he’ll be left with Jez like he always is.

And maybe this whole thing is just Jez kickstarting that process a bit early, just to create a soft landing for Mark when he inevitably gets his heart broken. The rebound hookup (before the breakup even happens, to boot), plus revenge on the ex, plus the consolation he’s come to expect afterwards from his best buddy and flatmate, all rolled into a single suck-and-fuck sesh. Three birds with one stone. So efficient. He’s a machine.

God, Jez thinks, he’s such a good, smart, kind, sexy friend to Mark. Mark ought to be grateful. Mark ought to be sucking his dick.

“I do hate those crystal skulls,” Mark muses, the evidence of that hatred seeping red and slick into his jumper sleeve.

“And you also love me, your best friend, who your girlfriend just kicked out of his own band,” Jez reminds him.

Mark thinks a little more. Long enough to make Jez feel slightly insecure. Finally, he says, “before I agree to this I’d like to know who would be on top.”

“What?”

“Who would — you know, put it in?”

“Me, of course. Why is that a question? Mark, you fucking idiot,” Jez says. Stupid Mark. So used to following the rules that he can’t even grasp the logic behind a good revenge fuck. “I mean, think about the message it sends. You just had sex with Cally, and now she learns that you like taking it up the arse? Isn’t that so humiliating for her, knowing she can never properly satisfy you?”

“I mean — you’re the one who likes getting fingers up your bum, so I just figured it’d be me putting it in you,” Mark says.

Jez sits on the sofa. “I don’t know why we’re arguing about this. There’s no lube. All we can really do is — I don’t know, pull each other off or something.”

“No offense, Jez, but pulling you off on Cally’s sofa isn’t exactly how I pictured my afternoon going.”

Shit. Jez is losing him the more he tries to sell him on it. But he can’t just stop now — he put this out there and he’s going to stick to his guns. He’s finding it a lot easier than he anticipated to commit to the bit, though, which is really very unfortunate.

And then Jez says, “or,” and then kind of stops, because it’s a little bit embarrassing but also it’s his last bargaining chip.

Mark leans in. Okay, good, this is working. “Or?”

“I could — give you a blowjob?”

“Oh,” Mark says. He sounds… almost intrigued. He pauses and asks, “are you… any good at giving blowjobs?”

Jez clears his throat. This is a bad idea, every brain cell in Jez’s head is screaming at him that this is a bad idea. Mark isn’t even hot but somehow he’s gone from being ‘boring regular Mark’ to being ‘boring regular Mark only Jez wants to fuck him’ in a transition that’s happened so abruptly and inexplicably that it’s giving Jez whiplash. Or even worse, the transition has happened over a period of years and this is just the moment where Jez realized it. “I mean,” he says, “we all get high sometimes with our friends and. You know. Fellate them, it happens —”

“Oh, God, is this about you and Super Hans —”

“What I’m trying to say is, I have some experience with blowjobs. I can give you a blowjob, which is something I imagine Cally has been withholding from you,” Jez says. He straightens his spine. Looks Mark in the eye. Makes a declaration — “I will suck you off in a non-gay way on Cally’s sofa. Final offer.”

Mark pretends to ruminate on it. There’s this tiny pause he takes, where he’s trying to convince both Jez and himself that he’s conflicted about this. Or maybe it’s not that. Maybe he’s enjoying drawing this out as much as possible; maybe he’s on some kind of power trip watching what he thinks is the closest Jez will get to begging (although he’s underestimating him — in reality Jez will go far, far lower). Or maybe it’s option C: all of the above.

Whatever. Jez is definitely going to suck Mark’s dick and Mark knows it. After a bit, he says, “okay, fine,” in a way that’s clearly trying for calm and collected but only exposes its own self-consciousness.

So they’re really going to do this. No stopping this El Dude Brothers fuck train as it pulls out of the station and Jez is reaching up and dragging Mark onto him and oh God his tongue is in Mark’s mouth now. He’s kissing Mark Corrigan. Mark’s making these quiet “mmf” noises and Jez’s hands are kind of ineffectually grabbing at Mark’s jacket but they want to be in his hair or around his shoulders or anything closer than whatever this is.

Mark breaks away and Jez tries to follow him, mouth gaped open like a fish. He just kissed Mark. He just kissed Mark. He just kissed Mark.

Mark’s face is flushed. He’s holding Jez’s arms hesitantly, like his hands aren’t sure whether they should let go or not. He looks pathetic. He looks good. “Jez! I didn’t —”

“Sorry,” Jez says, his voice coming out shakier than he’d like it to be. Mark awkwardly removes his hands. There’s blood on Jez’s jacket sleeve now, a small streak, and thankfully it’s drying and kind of caking around the cuts on Mark’s hand so it probably won’t bleed out too much more, but —

Shit. That’s not sexy. That’s really not sexy. Focus, focus, focus.

Although Mark’s not exactly setting a sexy vibe either. He’s sat down on the sofa with Jez now and is still rambling on and on instead of actually kissing him like Jez wants him to. “— and just let me know what, um… acts we’ll be doing. I suppose now that we’ve broken that barrier I’m fine with kissing you — it’s not like we haven’t done it before, anyway — but just notify me in the future if we’re doing anything besides the agreed-upon blowjob,” he says.

Is that what all those women have been experiencing all those years? A sexual partner who talks like a corporate drone sending out a memo during foreplay? “Listen, can we just, like — go back to making out?” Jez asks.

“Oh. Well, okay,” Mark says, a bit taken aback, and then he and Mark are kissing again. Jez relaxes against him, lets him take the lead, and indulges in the unlikeliness of it all. Mark — his flatmate, his best friend — is kissing him. Not very well, but he’s certainly doing it.

He’s thinking that letting Mark take over might have been a mistake. It’s all very chaste. Not closed-mouth or anything, they’re not in primary school, but it’s obvious that Mark isn’t really sure how his own tongue works. And his hands are at his sides, balled up into doughy fists on the cushion.

It’s not like this is new information to him. The boathouse and all that. But now there’s no one watching, nothing to prove to anybody, and it feels less like gay chicken and more like — well, just gay, period.

He’s surprised that Mark’s skills haven’t actually improved much since then. Cally hasn’t taught him nearly as much as he thought and it’s making Jez feel just a bit smug. He bites Mark’s lip and Mark practically squeaks.

“That hurt,” Mark says softly, and his breath is hot on Jez’s cheek.

“My God, you are such a drag,” Jez replies. “You’re a sodomite now, Mark. Live a little.”

He gets a knee up on the sofa and takes off his jacket and leans in, leans on top of Mark. They’ve been keeping it entirely above the waist, although Jez is changing that — he takes Mark’s hands and guides them to his hips. Slides them up to make his t-shirt ride up around his stomach, and the skin-on-skin is… nice. It’s distinctly Mark, too, the feel of his hands kind of weird and noncommittal, but that oddly just kind of makes it nicer?

Mark pulls away again. “Right, so I’ll just get my trousers down and we’ll get started,” he says, sounding horrifically clinical.

“What!”

“If we’re here to do the deed, we ought to, you know. Do it. Get it over with.”

This is appalling. Jez is appalled. Their first time is not something to get over with. Wait, fuck, why did he just think that? ’Their first time’ implies more times. “What have you been doing with women to make you treat sex like a chore?” he asks. That first-time stuff can be for Future Jez to sort out.

Mark scoffs. “It’s a revenge blowjob, not our wedding night. Didn’t think it needed much romance, or anything.”

“This is ridiculous. I‘m not going to give a blowjob to someone who’s not in the mood. It’ll be like sucking off a corpse,” Jez replies.

Then Mark says, “I’m surprised you haven’t already plumbed those depths of sexual depravity — oh, wow, fuck —” because it turns out that Jez has found the right spot on his neck to start nibbling at to make him stop complaining. And if Jez is holding Mark’s hand now, if he’s intertwined their fingers, Mark doesn’t notice. It’s not important.

“Did you — d’you know when she’ll be back?” Mark says, and it comes out kind of distracted and shaky. He’s glancing at the door.

“Later. It’s not important. Whatever, it’s hot, she could walk in at any second —”

“Jez! It’s not hot, we’re definitely committing some kind of felony —”

Jez covers Mark’s mouth with his own again, pushing his fingers up through Mark’s hair. It’s shapeless, soft, a bit limp, like the rest of him. Mark seems to like this, responding with an enthusiastic moan. “I mean, ’s pretty hot when you think about it,” Jez murmurs, littering kisses along Mark’s jaw. “Us in here. All those Jesus freaks none the wiser about all the — you know, gay sex going on…”

Mark says nothing, just makes this satisfied “mm” noise and pulls Jez closer, actions that are supposed to convey some sentiment like “shut up and keep doing what you’re doing with your mouth and my neck.” Jez fully straddles him now and feels Mark’s warm lap, feels Mark, hard, against his clothed groin.

He grinds down and Mark groans, low in his throat. “That. Yes. Good. Do more of that,” Mark says, voice choked-off and ragged, and it unsettles Jez how much he enjoys hearing it. This is Mark, he reminds himself. The issue isn’t that Mark is a man, or that they’re mates or anything — it kind of is, but that’s not the point, those are things he’ll deal with later. The issue is that this is Mark. Uptight fuckwad Mark. No-redeeming-qualities-except-giving-Jez-room-and-board Mark.

And yet. They haven’t made it this far for no reason. Jez slides down, settling on the floor between Mark’s thighs. He’s going to touch Mark’s cock. He’s going to put his mouth on Mark’s cock. He runs a hand up and down Mark’s leg, settling it on his knee, then moving it in and up towards his crotch. At first Mark’s a bit tense but then relaxes the touchier Jez gets.

It’s at this point, face-to-dick with Mark, that Jez realizes the burden-slash-privilege that’s been placed on his shoulders. He can give Mark the best orgasm of his life in this caravan, on Cally’s sofa. He’s already got a metric for what he’s competing against, after all. Mark was more than happy to divulge everything and then some about what he and Cally were up to the night before.

He undoes the zipper of Mark’s trousers. Mark’s wearing plain black trunks. The brown buttered toast of pants. Mark’s looking right at him, because where else would Mark be looking, but it’s making him feel very awkward. Jez handles Mark’s cock through the fabric, gently tracing the outline of it, and Mark shudders over him.

He’s under a moral obligation to outdo Cally, really. If he’s not up to par, Mark might latch onto her in the same sad, self-loathing way he’s latched onto all his other Ones. Might be trapped in another shitty relationship he’ll inevitably want out of as soon as her flaws — of which there are many — start to grate on him. Rinse, repeat. The cycle begins anew and anew and anew. Total waste of his time.

So it’s in everyone’s best interest, then, that Jez make Mark come harder than he’s ever come before in his life. Make sure he doesn’t leave to pursue something he’ll regret. Break that cycle. Save Mark from himself.

Jez really is a saint, he thinks, as he draws Mark’s cock out of his pants and spits in his hand and starts jerking him off. He’s the friend Mark needs and the one he’s gotten but not the one he deserves. Mark’s panting shallowly. Jez removes his hand and he makes this noise at the back of his throat, not a whine but almost.

“Fuck, Jez, please, can you —”

God, it’s like the man has never been touched before. It’s sad. It’s making Jez hard. It’s been making Jez hard this whole time.

“Yeah,” Jez says, “yeah, I’ve got you.” He’s going to put his mouth on Mark’s dick now. It’s a nice dick, flushed red and kind of thick, which is just how he’d describe Mark in general, but it’s. Fine. It’s the kind of dick he has no problem sucking. He leans forward and takes Mark into his mouth, sucking at the head, and Mark gasps.

He’s never heard Mark sound like this. He’s never seen Mark want like this. Mark seems to enjoy women but he seems to enjoy everything Jez is doing even more, and Jez likes that.

He kind of, sort of, a little bit wants to hear Mark tell him again what a good job he’s doing, and tries to think nothing of it. This is just how their friendship works. This is how it’s always been. Jez, intentionally or not, scrabbling desperately for a chance to break Mark down, push him to say out loud that Jez has any claim to superiority over him, and Mark being a stubborn deluded dick who refuses to admit the truth. It’s not about Jez being good. It’s about Jez being better than Mark. This is what he tells himself.

Mark’s hand presses into his hair, gently grabs at it. It’s probably the one that’s been cut, based on the way Mark hisses and swears when he flexes his fingers. But then Mark’s saying “God, fuck, Jeremy, that’s really good,” and tightening his fingers and pulling Jez onto further down onto his cock. Things are — hurting, now, Mark’s got a grip on his hair and Jez is starting to choke on him, and Mark notices and relaxes his hand.

“Oh, shit! Sorry, mate,” Mark says, and lets go. “I didn’t — I don’t think I even realized I was doing that —”

No,” Jez says, a little too quickly. His tongue slips out, wets his lips, which Mark seems to like. Stuffy in here. Or maybe he’s just imagining it. “No, it was —” Oh, this is embarrassing — “Nice.”

Mark looks sheepish above him, face red from arousal but he also probably just feels a bit embarrassed too, because then he says brusquely, “right, well, we ought to just get on with it. I think I might — you know. Soon. Isn’t that why we’re here, anyway, to jizz on her sofa?”

Right. Yes. That. Her. Jez forgot all about that. He flashes Mark a tight smile and then goes back to it, sort of wishing he’d bring his hand back, but he doesn’t. After a minute or so, Jez reaches up and grabs Mark’s wrist — the non-bleeding one — and puts it back where it belongs. Mark’s hand feels good. Feels right. Especially when Jez uses his tongue in a certain way on the head of his cock and Mark’s loose grasp becomes a fist.

Cally would never go for this, he thinks. Cally would make him stop and try again the way she likes it. He does it the way Mark likes it, the way he didn’t even realize he wanted it. A surge of pride rises in Jez’s chest and then a surge of disgust over that pride. A weird sexy one-two punch.

He hears Mark, sounding absolutely wrecked, saying “Jez, I’m gonna —”

And when Mark moans and releases into his mouth, the thought crosses Jez’s mind that the compliments, the approval from Mark — maybe he just kind of… likes it. Maybe he wants it just to want it. Which is so mortifying because it’s Mark fucking Corrigan’s approval he’s gagging for, of all people. Literally gagging for.

Oh, God, wait, he forgot that semen tastes bad, he forgot how bad it tastes. He spits it up but the important thing is he’s spitting it up back on the sofa cushion. It globs onto the fabric, leaving a dark stain. Mark’s gone a bit pale and is looking away, probably to prevent himself from dry heaving.

Jez sits back up on the sofa, deftly avoiding the spit-jizz stain, and finds himself leaning in to try and kiss Mark again. He gets a small push on the chest in return. “Not until you brush your teeth,” Mark says, like a dad or something. Is that hot? That dad-and-boy stuff? He didn’t say it like a sexy dad, in any case, although it’s still kind of doing things to Jez — whatever. He adds it to the ever-expanding list of things he’ll sort out later.

He picks up his jacket and hands it to Mark, who wipes his dick off and tucks it back into his trousers. They’re just kind of sitting together now in silence and it’s oddly pleasant until Mark eyes Jez’s sneakers and says, “you’ve been getting an awful lot of dirt on her sofa.”

“That’s kind of the point. Plus I don’t think that’s the worst thing we’re leaving on her sofa.”

Mark nods. “Right. Yes,” he says. Jez is looking at Mark and Mark is looking at his lap. Then Mark says, “thank you. For — this.”

“Yeah,” Jez replies. “Um, no problem.”

More silence between them. Jez is still hard. Achingly hard. But he’s also not about to ask Mark to reciprocate, so he tries to think unsexy thoughts. His go-to unsexy thought used to be picturing Mark in the nude but that’s clearly not going to work right now. His dead great-aunt? That’s better.

Jez wants to put on his jacket but it’s got his spit and Mark’s cum on it. So instead he asks, “So… you’re not… staying with Cally, are you? Like you’re going to break up with her now, right?”

Mark looks over at him. “I suppose I have to,” he says.

“That’s a bit of a non-answer,” Jez points out.

Mark shrugs. It’s probably time to leave the caravan but neither wants to.