“You look so good,” Nico says, words mumbled against the warm skin of Marti’s neck.
They’re in the Villa Ada park and it’s late, later than they were supposed to leave, but good music and cheap drinks make time fly. Marti is being kissed drunk and senseless against a tree and he supposes that makes time fly too.
They came for a DJ set at the summer festival being held at the park, a free-entry electronic music night by the lake. The place was nice. He liked the atmosphere, noticed how the tall trees were washed white by the flashing lights of the main stage, while the fairy lights wrapped around the fence on the edge of the lake reflected little yellow dots on the surface of the water. Marti had come to the lake in Villa Ada before, but never for this festival.
The quiet of the park was broken by the volume of the music, the deep bass vibrating underneath his feet and inside his ribcage. His skin was sticky with sweat and humidity, but a miraculous light breeze made the high temperature bearable. Marti especially appreciated how there was plenty of space to dance without being squished between a dozen other sweaty bodies, and deckchairs strategically placed to sit and chill under the stars. He liked being offered a choice about the kind of night he wanted to spend, and he and Nico chose to spend it dancing and drinking for hours.
Now, Marti can hardly call stepping in a semicircle and bobbing his head and shoulders to the beat “dancing”. But he has learned not to care. Nico has taught him not to care, with his contagious energy and silly dance moves that Marti is embarrassingly fond of.
Beer makes people bold, but maybe summer does too, and they dared dancing closer than they usually allow themselves to, judging the environment and crowd to be safe. Stealing touches becomes an addictive game once you start playing it: a lingering hand on the hip, fingers brushing necks, a firm palm on the lower back to steer the other through the crowd.
Marti briefly linked their fingers in the queue for the bar, and every time Nico cupped a hand against his pierced ear to talk, he pressed his lips to it, hot and soft.
Well past three in the morning, Nico grinned at him with the tip of his tongue poking between his teeth and asked him if he wanted to leave. Marti nodded and smiled back, dopey and tipsy, letting Nico grab his wrist and guide him towards the exit.
Once outside the festival area, the park was dark and completely empty, illuminated only by moonlight and the glow of the party behind them. They walked towards the exit, the lake on their left, grass and trees stretching for kilometers on their right to the other edge of the park. Nico took his hand and dragged him in that direction.
Marti drunkenly stumbled a little to catch up with Nico's strides, his hisses of Ni, wait met with chuckles and a squeeze of his hand.
“You don't trust me?” Nico teased, turning his head with a smug smile.
He didn't have time to ask where they were going before he was being pressed against a tree and kissed.
And that, that was risky, Marti knew it. But it was thrilling, too, a sense of met anticipation unfurling in his lungs and stomach. He had wanted to kiss Nico the whole time they were dancing. Almost had. So Marti sighed and kissed Nico back, hummed happily in the back of his throat.
And this is where they are now. Nico kisses him and he tastes bittersweet, like beer and mixed drinks. He barely gives Marti time to breathe, one hand grabbing his waist and the other on his jaw and neck, pulling him closer, Marti’s own hands holding Nico’s face, fingertips sinking in his curls.
Marti can hear his own heartbeat, feel it pulsing in his temples. He tries to keep up with the intensity of it, how Nico sucks on his upper lip and licks inside his mouth, but he breaks the kiss on a drunk giggle he can’t hold back.
He likes kissing Nico so much.
"What if someone sees us?" he asks. Not because he's really worried about it, he just wants to exasperate Nico a bit.
“There's no one here, Marti", Nico groans, rolling his eyes.
Marti ruffles Nico's hair and it's so sweaty it sticks up like a wild mane. It makes him snicker like an idiot, and Nico presses his lips to his amused smile for another long kiss. He nudges Marti's lips open with his tongue and nudges his knee with his own at the same time. Marti slides a bit down and widens his legs so Nico can stand snug between them.
He mumbles something about how good Marti looks in his white shorts. Something about the way they make his thighs look. It makes Marti flush and hide his face in Nico’s neck, mouth at the side of it until Nico tips his chin up to chase his lips again.
Nico's hands are on his face and he uses them to tilt his head back to deepen the kiss, fingertips buried in the curls matted to the sides of his face, thumbs pressing his jaw slack. Marti exhales harshly from his nose and angles his head according to Nico's movements, the pressure of his hands. Nico curls his tongue around his, sucks on it, kisses him so thoroughly Marti can't keep up.
Nico doesn't often kiss him like this, hungry, sloppy. There is always a perfect balance of give and take in their kisses, a familiar meeting each other halfway that's become muscle memory to Marti, a carefulness in the way Nico holds him, like he is something precious. So when Nico kisses him like this, Marti doesn't know how to catch up, overwhelmed and so responsive to this kind of physical attention that his brain switches off, reacting in slow motion.
He feels himself melt into Nico's touch and back into the tree, thankful that he's propped up against it because he doesn't think he could stand on his own right now, legs too shaky to hold himself up, hands hanging uselessly around Nico's neck as he exhales through his nose and moans softly into Nico's mouth.
He lets himself be kissed hard and breathless and lets Nico take, lets that balance of give and take tilt and doesn't mind a single bit.
Nico presses his full weight on him, slotted between Marti's legs. The music from the DJ set is still playing in the distance, and Nico moves his hips to the thump of the bass. He's half hard, Marti can feel him against his stomach, and it makes his breath catch, makes him squeeze his eyes shut to focus because he's getting hard himself.
It's not easy to stay grounded when Nico pants drunk sweet nothings between kisses, that Marti can only respond to by clutching him closer and whining into his mouth. Nico latches his lips to his jaw, kisses him wet and messy down the column of his neck, bends down to smooth his left hand over Marti's thigh and hitch his leg up, almost hook it around his hip. He caresses his kneecap with his thumb and his lips never leave Marti's.
Marti is tipsy and being kissed so dumb he can't move, but he holds onto the last thread of sanity left in his brain and plants his shaky hands on Nico's chest to reluctantly push him back, blinking at him with heavy eyelids.
"Can we go home?"
"Can I suck you off?" Nico replies, hands slipping under Marti's shirt.
Marti snorts, tapping his useless fingers on Nico's cheek.
"I'm not getting my dick out in a park," he hisses.
It makes both of them laugh, their drunk silliness breaking the thick cloud of lust hovering over them in that moment. Nico rests his forehead against his to catch his breath, chest heaving. Marti starts feeling his hands and toes again, tingly from the blood rush, brain still processing in slow motion, heart pounding. He's sure if he closed his eyes and listened, he could hear Nico's too.
When he suggests they get a cab home, Nico snags Marti's phone from his back pocket with the hand not currently on the side of Marti's face and dials the number to a taxi company.
He fumbles over directions, not knowing the precise address to the entrance on the lake side of the park. It makes Marti burst into giggles, to the point where Nico covers his mouth with his palm, that Marti licks without hesitation, earning a wide-eyed scandalized reaction from Nico.
"You know there's an app for that," he can't help teasing when Nico hangs up.
"Shut up," Nico whines, leaning his head on Marti's shoulder. "I'm drunk."
Marti laughs and strokes the back of his head, looking down at him with a fond smile.
They take a few minutes to adjust their hair and clothes. Marti shakily pushes himself up and off the tree and dusts off the back of his shorts, but the dirt won't come off.
"They're ruined," he frowns.
"I'm so sorry," Nico says, saccharine and mocking. He doesn't mean it all. From the look on his face, Marti may even think he's proud of it, for whatever reason.
Marti acts offended and pushes him lightly, but Nico pulls him back in with both hands around Marti's wrists and kisses him again, slow and gentle. It’s a whole different kiss and Marti has to break it to preserve his brain from turning into mush again.
"You ruined my shorts. You have to make it up to me."
"Oh," Nico says, raising a brow. "And how?"
Marti hums and pretends to think seriously about it. He rubs Nico's lower lip with his thumb, dragging it down a bit.
"I have a few ideas."
It’s hot. It’s too hot.
They were supposed to go to the beach with the boys today, but after going to sleep sometime around five in the morning they woke up past noon with the dull headache and dry mouth of a hangover, considered taking the train to Ostia in thirty-four-degree weather for a minute and decided to camp out in Nico’s living room instead, lying on the couch with the bliss of air conditioning on.
Nico's parents weren't home, anyway, wouldn't be for another couple of days.
Marti is sitting between Nico's legs with his back to Nico's chest, both of them in their boxers. He's comfortable. Warm but not sticky, not sweating. Nico is brushing the top of his shoulders with his thumbs in a lazy back and forth that Marti is mirroring with the hand smoothing over Nico’s thigh.
Air conditioning is the only thing that makes touching possible in this heat. That makes sleeping in the same bed possible. Nico has it in his bedroom too, something Marti is very thankful for and takes advantage of as much as he can, having spent every summer of his life without it, often sleeping upside down in his bed hoping to catch a breath of wind from the open window. So they could have stayed in Nico's bed, but the living room is closer to the kitchen, and moving from the bed to the couch would give them the illusion of actually doing something, Nico said.
Or something like that. He didn't have time to argue the flaws in Nico’s logic before Nico was taking his hands and helping him up off the bed.
At least they're not hungover anymore. So that's a good thing.
"Who invented air conditioning?"
It's a rhetorical question, and he'd be surprised if Nico had the answer to it. Or maybe not so much. Nico is a well of curious facts.
"Someone who needs to be made a saint."
Marti hums in agreement. "Too bad not all of us can afford this bourgeois luxury," he teases, craning his neck up.
"Then aren't you lucky that your amazing boyfriend has granted you access to this comfort?" Nico says, pinching the back of Marti's neck. Marti chuckles softly at his funny eyebrows.
"I am very lucky."
He's not talking about the air conditioning.
Marti settles back against his chest and caresses Nico's knee. He glances up at the big white windows with the blinders half drawn. At the puppets hanging by their threads. At the painting on the wall. At the stacks and stacks of books, vinyl records, DVD cases. Everything here is so familiar it feels more like his home than his own does, and yet he could discover something new on those shelves every day.
He looks down. They're almost lying down, but their feet don't even reach the other end of the big leather couch.
Marti is very fond of this couch. Of the memories it holds.
He snuggles up to Nico and leans his head back on his shoulder. Nico rests his chin on top of it. He starts absentmindedly playing with Marti's right hand: lifting it up and turning it around like he's studying it, lacing and unlacing their fingers. He lays it back on top of his own leg palm-up and traces it lightly with his index finger. Marti silently follows the movements with his eyes, lips curling up in a smile.
"I think this summer is going to be good," he says.
"Because of the air con?"
"No," Marti scoffs, elbowing Nico lightly. Nico chuckles and kisses the top of his head.
He caresses Nico's thigh, trying to put his thoughts into words.
"Last summer was... really bad. For me."
It's a bit sudden, this change of mood. Nico senses it, maybe, and flattens his hand on top of Marti's to hold it. He doesn't know what Marti's about to unpack on him but he’s already comforting him.
"Because of your parents?" Nico asks.
Marti nods. "Yeah. But something else, too."
He's never talked about this before, not even with Nico. There's still something too shameful about admitting it. He swallows, focusing on their intertwined hands as he gathers the words.
"I had feelings for someone. Long before that summer. It was the first time I liked a boy, and it made me do some shitty things to some people I care about.”
He frowns, worrying the brown leather of the couch between his fingers. An unconscious, nervous gesture.
“He and his girlfriend broke up before school ended, and in part, it was my fault. I felt so guilty, all the time."
Marti feels, in a way, like he's reliving another moment of revelation, on a different couch. Only the subjects are reversed, and this is not nearly as scary. But he doesn't know how Nico will react, and the words feel like lead at the bottom of his throat.
"It was Gio."
His heart beats loudly in his chest. Waiting for Nico to say something is nerve-wracking, and he doesn't dare look at him.
"I get it. You have good taste in men."
Marti scoffs, incredulous, and turns to slap Nico's chest.
"You're so stupid."
"What, am I wrong?" Nico says, smiling at him.
Marti shakes his head, chuckling despite himself. Here is he, pouring his darkest secret out, and Nico still manages to be the surprising one.
Nico clears his throat, then. "Seriously, though. I get it. He's your best friend. He's safe. He's wonderful. It makes a lot more sense than you may think."
He sounds honest, and kind. Marti sighs.
"I guess." He looks down, spreads his fingers out on Nico's thigh. "I don't feel guilty about that. Not anymore. But I meddled with his and Eva's relationship. I can't live that down. Eva and I are okay now but..."
"Does he know?"
"No. I can't tell him. Someday, maybe. When we're old and wrinkly."
Nico hums and squeezes his hand. "It's Gio. You know he'd understand. He'd forgive you."
Marti shrugs. "I don't know."
He can't tell Gio what he did to him and Eva, because he can't tell Gio the reason he did it. He can't put their friendship at risk. Not now.
Nico brushes away the hair at the back of his neck and presses a kiss to it. “Can I ask how you got over him?", he mumbles, cheeky. Marti grins and tilts his head back, booping Nico’s nose.
"A weirdo followed me into the radio booth."
Nico laughs and brings his face up for a kiss. He moves to lie down and drag Marti half on top of him.
"Thank you for telling me, Marti."
Marti smiles and kisses Nico again, long and gentle. He already feels so much lighter with a portion of this weight off his chest.
"It’s going to be a good summer," Marti says, "because I’m with you. If the me from last summer could see me now, he wouldn't believe it."
Nico smiles so softly, it melts Marti’s heart like the July sun.
"I can say the same."
Being with Nico is like constantly being distracted. One moment, you’re walking into the kitchen to get a late-night snack, the next, you’re kissing him against the counter.
Marti likes Nico’s kitchen for many reasons, its wide counters being one of them. Perfect to sit Nico up on them.
He bends down, grabs the back of Nico’s thighs and lifts him up. Nico gasps, his o-shaped mouth turning into a grin as Marti steps between his legs and wraps Nico’s legs around his waist. Nico is taller than him now, and Marti has to lean up to kiss him. He lazily parts his lips, rolls his tongue, one hand coming up to stroke Nico's neck. He bends his head and presses kisses down the side of Nico's neck, rubs the tip of his nose down the column of his throat. So much bare skin in front of him, he wants to pay attention to all of it.
Nico’s chuckle snaps him out of it.
“Do you want some fruit?” Nico asks, twirling a red curl between his fingers. “Marisol bought it at the market.”
“Sure,” Marti smiles up at him. “In the fridge?”
Nico nods, pouts when Marti uncrosses his legs to move. Marti opens the fridge and grabs the bowl of fruit with peaches and cherries from the bottom shelf, then searches for a knife in the drawer while Nico makes grabby hands at him. He stands back between Nico’s legs and places the bowl down by Nico’s hip. He looks up and Nico looks like a happy cat, with the way his lips are curled up at the corners. He bends down and kisses the corner of Marti’s lips, squeezing his waist with his thighs.
Marti peels the peach, cuts it in half and offers it to Nico, who takes a bite straight from his hand. The peach is ripe, and its juice runs down Nico’s lips and Marti’s hand. Nico takes Marti’s wrist and kisses the side of his hand, sucking the juice from it. Marti mirrors him, leaning up to kiss Nico’s sticky chin.
“What are we doing?” he chuckles, scrunching his nose. Nico laughs too.
They finish the peach with Marti standing comfortably between Nico’s legs. It’s messy, and Nico nips on his fingers when Marti feeds him, makes a whole show of sucking on them to rile Marti up. Marti squeezes Nico’s thigh as a warning and shakes his head at him.
He doesn’t need to get ideas. They spent the best part of the last three days naked. He can still picture Nico after Villa Ada, pushing him against the wall by the front door as soon as they stepped inside and going to his knees, his pretty lips wrapped around him and getting him off hard and fast, Marti’s dirty white shorts on the floor. All the showers they took together, lips sliding across wet skin, Marti hugging Nico from behind and reaching around to stroke him.
Marti cranes his neck up and kisses Nico deep and slow, fingers sinking in the hair at his nape, until Nico is moaning into it and pulling back.
Marti gloats, satisfied.
He takes a cherry and puts it between his teeth, and Nico leans in and bites the other half. He plucks the pit from his lips and looks like he doesn’t know where to put it. Marti offers a hand for him to throw it. Nico blinks at him, looking surprised.
“Really?” Like that’s supposed to gross Marti out.
Marti shrugs. “Of course.”
Nico smiles softly and puts the pit in his palm.
They eat all the cherries. Not all of them come with kisses, but almost. Marti eventually throws all the pits back in the bowl, not wanting to leave his precious spot between Nico’s legs to reach the trash bin.
The window behind Nico’s back is open and the cool night breeze feels wonderful on his skin. A soft tune plays from the stereo in the living room, and they sway a bit, Nico’s arms around Marti’s neck and Marti’s around his waist.
It’s one of those moments that are so perfect, you want to freeze time and keep reliving them forever.
Nico yawns and rests his forehead against Marti’s.
“Wanna go to bed?” Marti whispers, and Nico nods.
“Okay,” he says. “Hold on.”
He moves his hands under Nico’s thighs and Nico crosses his legs around his waist, holding onto his shoulders as Marti lifts him up again. Nico is heavy, but he can carry him to bed. He even makes a detour to turn off the music.
“I wouldn’t mind being carried like this the whole time,” Nico says, leaning in for a quick peck.
Marti huffs, crossing the threshold to Nico's room. “You overestimate me."
“Next summer, then. You’ll get buff. Lift me like a feather.”