jenlog august 8th 09:46 p.m:
the heart is the toughest part of the body. tenderness is in the hands.
"Has anyone ever told you you're too hopelessly devoted to love?" Mark asks, half of his face covered by twilight as he clicks away on his computer, turned to the screen in that shy way of his, when he looks unreachable and nonchalant on purpose. It's the expression he wears when people ask too much, or when Jaemin is in the room, or when it's so late he has to put himself to sleep to avoid sharing too much.
"Why are you asking me this?" Jeno frowns under Mark's red quilt, only his face visible as he rests his chin on the soft material, squinting through the half lit room to get to Mark's slouched posture.
"Nothing." The boy waves his hands around awkwardly. "I'm just… Curious." Then he taps his own chin, letting his fingers graze on his top lip, his barely shaved attempt at facial hair looking funny under the computer's light. "It's not often someone I just recently met knocks on my door and asks me for help to sleep."
A wave of embarrassment hits Jeno over the head, but it's gone as soon as it comes - Mark is just so awkward. His words sound rather mean to non familiar ears, but Jeno has been studying him for too long to not know Mark is just terrible at letting himself be adored; terrible at creating spoken bonds. "You're nice," he hums, watching as Mark's cat jumps from his desk to the bed, making its merry little way to Jeno's chest. "I don't have anywhere else to go."
I don't have anywhere else to go. Those are some big words for Jeno. Big lies, too. He has somewhere to go to in moments of despair, but Mark makes him curious, makes him just that little bit of a loner. It's a feeling he could spend his entire life chasing - a soft restlessness on the back of his knees, a small heaviness on his eyelids, the roof of his mouth dipped in the taste of quiet and comfortable. Mark gives him the good type of chills, the blooming wish to get closer to someone by sharing the same experiences; when the world - big and scary as it is - shifts to accommodate a new closeness.
"Why couldn't you sleep?" Mark questions again, sympathetically now. His baseball cap is turned around, and his blond locks look like fireflies when they reflect the light. His skin has acne marks and scars all over, and his eyebags are two deep purple lakes, ones Jeno would like to caress sometime soon. The back of his teeth starts to hurt, somehow - how can you want someone this much? How can you long for their presence, how can you feel yourself slowly being pulled in, like magnets who have been getting closer and closer along the lines of time?
How can love be natural, he thinks; how can I be me, how can he be him, and how can we be us.
"Existential crisis." He flinches at the memory of his eyes closing in the dark room while his mind raced away, cold sweat trickling down his forehead. "Too anxious to sleep, I think."
I could use being taken care of, he wants to say. But from you, only.
Mark winces at the familiar face of anxiety. He's too nice, Jeno notices. He'll help anyone, take care of anyone; he's too nice. "I'm so sorry," his voice is ever so nurturing. "I have those too, sometimes. You can talk to me, if you want to."
"But I don't have anything to say." The words drip down his lips, lazy. "Unless it's about love… I don't have anything to say. I'd rather just hear you." Then he adds, as an afterthought: "If that's okay."
"Oh." He blinks, lips forming cautiously around the words. "I'm shy."
Jeno feels his lips being pulled into a smile, snaking up to his cheekbones. "You're shy?" he repeats, a bit in innocent disbelief. You'd think Mark, being the astronomical body he is, would never fit in next to such a word - shy. He is, and somehow it makes Jeno's insides warm and mushy, like mashed potatoes.
"Yes," Mark confirms. And his lashes are so beautiful - they're dark, and not as long as Jeno's, but still serve as a curtain to a beautiful galaxy, a black hole sitting on his pupils. They thread around his eyes, and make them that much more soft and unassuming.
Unassuming. Maybe that's why. Because Mark comes across as open minded, unassuming and caring; and Jeno, more than anyone else, could use not being perceived.
"I'm not," he says, leaning onto his closed fist and elbow. "Shy. I'm not." He sits up, resting his back against the wall. "But you make me a little nervous."
"Do I?" There goes Mark again, feigning nonchalance and letting his eyes wander through his screen. "Why?"
Jeno hums. "I don't know," he tells him, looking all the way down to Mark's skinny arms, his loose tank top making his shoulders seem broader. "I think I just want to say the right thing… To be interesting in your eyes… To make you pay attention, I guess."
Attention. Isn't that love? Having someone's undivided attention, in a moment where the world could end and their eyes would still be setting on you. To say, I see you entirely.
He doesn't say anything else, and Jeno accepts it promptly. He knows it's too much - that he's too deep into this, that maybe harboring this restless interest in Mark could end with Jeno up in flames like previous love interests have. But what can a boy do, if not love too much, smoke too much, drink too much coffee, and wait for Mark Lee to tell him everything he's been dying to hear?
They stay in silence. Mark works his way through two coffee mugs, the one coffee from the convenience store next to the hotel that smells and tastes like shit. Jeno watches him quietly, but grows bored of it as he always does, opting to toy with Mark's suitcase; full to the brim with large shirts, the ones that make his body look like a formless blob, and a few, easy to stretch binders. Jeno traces the edges of his clothes adoringly, letting his fingers graze the threads, and if Mark notices it, he doesn't mention it.
Unspoken love, Jeno thinks.
"I'm always paying attention," Mark blurts, as if he had been debating on what to say for all this time. Flustered, he coughs out: "I mean... About you. Whatever you say is always the right thing."
"It is?" Jeno asks, genuinely surprised.
"Yeah." He nods, typing something on his computer to avoid making eye contact. "I'm… Not good at showing it. But yeah."
The raven haired boy shakes his head. "You are good at showing it," he corrects Mark. "I just want more. Of you."
"More of me?" He mimics Jeno's words, leaning his sunken in cheek on his closed fist. "That's a first. I'm too much, you know."
Jeno fights the urge to smile. "God bless the amount of you you are." He blows out to the air between them. "I can't get enough of it. Of you."
"You don't know what you're saying," Mark snorts. "You're just a dumb boy."
"And you're not?" He flirts back, raising an eyebrow to fluster Mark, which doesn't happen.
Instead, he looks around the room awkwardly. "Yes, but… I'm a boy on purpose."
"Can you be my boy on purpose then?" Jeno blurts out, his brain to mouth filter failing him not for the first time that day. It's just - that's a common inner debate. Jeno doesn't believe in moderation or discretion when it comes to such things; he always thought that if it can be destroyed by love, it will. Sooner or later, but it will. There's no point in hiding, no point in fighting back; all he believes in is letting himself go and hoping he'll get his heart back once the universe is done with him.
Mark blinks, dumbfounded. His eyes are feline and often unfocused, but right now he looks alive, blood rushing to his cheeks and eyes widening like he just woke up. That's a thing Jeno read about, months ago - love as a wake up call. I would've gone through life half awake, the writer had said. Haven't I met you.
Or something like that. He doesn't remember.
"We should go to sleep," comes his verdict, strong and quiet as the rocks when the waves hit them. He's flustered, reserved; Jeno wasn't expecting anything different.
But - and as dramatic as it sounds - the blush on Mark's sunken cheeks serves as the only thing Jeno yearns the most; the only type of warmth he'd set the world on fire for. It's a craving, and then it isn't, because how can someone want this big and still have it be a known feeling? No. How much Jeno wants that blush on his face is immeasurable. He's falling rotten in the amount of longing he carries for a boy.
"I kinda wanna get high." Jeno looks at him, tries to make his eyes convey the mischief and the excitement inside of him. In a way, it works - Mark looks a little taken aback by his face, and it makes something bubble up in the pit of Jeno's stomach. He bats his lashes. "Can we?"
But a question is hardly ever just a question. It's filled with a very vague doubt underneath; Am I pretty? Is this pretty enough for you?
By the way Mark gasps at little, the answer comes as no surprise. Yes.
When they wake up in the morning, sticky and sweaty and with dooming headaches, Jeno thinks to himself that boys - in any shape - are his favorite thing on Earth. Well, second only to strawberry pie, and caipirinhas, and the way Mark's feet curl when Jeno smiles at him. The way his lips pull up in an unsuspecting smile, teeth just a little bit sharper than usual like a blood sniffing shark. That's an aspect of Mark and by extension, Jaemin - with the noticeable passage of time, they start to look a bit haunted. Under the messy hotel lights, Mark's smile is cruel in how big the marks it leaves behind on Jeno's heart are; he's a never ending bruise, a scar that denies to fade, a bloody red splotch that can only get dirtier.
Mark stretches his arms out, tired, and Jeno watches him through half closed eyes, trying to not make it obvious that he's been staring. He came to a conclusion after falling asleep, one that seems much more viable now that he's sober: Mark, in everything he is and everything he does, is just like a knife slicing down on dead meat, the sorry sound of inox against tender flesh. He's the aftermath, too; the sad sigh, the bloodied knee, the smell of life and no escape. He strikes through Jeno, a guitar string that hurts his fingertips, and it's a very twisted way of wanting what you kinda maybe might not be able to have.
Has anyone ever told you you're too hopelessly devoted to love?
Mark as the insensitive hand of a housewife who has burned herself through cooking every day of her life, Mark as the muffled scream of a drowning body, Mark as the burning hot sun on an open wound, Mark as a cold shower, Mark as waking up inside of a dream, Mark as a quiet moan, Mark as-
Mark. Has anyone ever told you you're too hopelessly devoted to love?
Has anyone ever told you you're like a liver eating angel? Has anyone ever told you you're like a lamb with the sharpest teeth, the deadliest bloodlust? Has anyone ever told you you could rip the skin from my ribs, you could pull apart the hairs from my scalp, you could break every single one of my fingers, you could take me out with just a breathy laugh?
But he doesn't say that. And Mark doesn't get to hear it.
Instead, he goes for an easier saying: "Good morning," he greets.
Mark grunts back, making himself smaller under the thin duvet. His hair sticks out to every direction possible, hoodie carelessly sticking to his body, and it's a soft press of real life sprawled over Jeno's romantic daydreams. He reaches a hand out, to rest over Mark's thigh, and the older doesn't flinch away. He accepts it greatly, letting his other hand slowly find Jeno's, and that's just how it is. Jeno convinces himself to not read too much into it; not now.
He sinks back into sleep, eyes closed. Mark is, on top of everything, the unwinding and loosening of Jeno's tense muscles.
marklog august 9th 01:28 a.m:
there’s a little girl in my head & she screams 'unloved! unloved! unloved!' every moment of my life.
"Chin up." Jaemin's fingers tap on Mark's chin, his face close enough to count the eyelashes on the bottom of his bright contoured eyes. His eyeshadow is a fluorescent tone of orange, light as day and absurdly so. It makes him look too beautiful, too vibrant; all Mark wants to do is keep staring. "You don't have anything to see on the ground."
"I'm sorry," he murmurs, holding his chin high up as Jaemin offers him a tentative smile, his chapped lips pulling a devilish grin around his teeth. Jaemin's smile rips his entire face apart, overjoyed as he always seems to be; and Mark feels lost. It's easy to feel like that with him, despite the intense bond between them.
"You don't need to be sorry." Comes his answer, voice softening around the edges to a more tender tone. He policies himself a lot around Mark, far too used to speaking sharply, even harshly at times. But Jaemin - he just gets people. He adapts himself for everyone, makes relationships easier, notices you better than anyone else could. When he looks at Mark, it's almost like he's saying: I see you. When no one else does, I do. I will.
"I'm sorry about a lot of things," the boy announces.
Without looking up from brushing his hair, Jaemin tells him: "And you're forgiven for all of them."
"You don't even know what they are." Mark can't help but smile, his face probably lightening up like Christmas lights. It feels old fashioned and generic to point out love without its negative side, but when Jaemin says those things, it goes kind of like this: You are the first person to have given me redemption. If I were starving, I'd still wait for you take the first bite.
"I don't have to." He smiles back at Mark, the black spray of his bangs contrasting with the blonde hair and his over the top makeup, making him look… Invincible, somehow. Like a superhero, the ones you see on movie screens. "You are forgiven, Mark Lee."
"And you are an angel, Na Jaemin," Mark confirms as if on a secret, looking at Jaemin's body and thinking - this is flesh well used. This is a space well occupied. "A dumb one. But an angel."
"I'm not a dumb angel!" Jaemin smiles, unbothered. He never bothers with anything; it's a miracle, really, that Jaemin is here physically. Most of the times he's living inside his head.
"You're not a smart one either..." He insists. Then he lets his face soften up in its edges, melting to the exact point of tender he wishes he could give Jaemin: "I mean it, though. You're the… friend I call when I want to die, did you know that?"
"I did. I do." Jaemin nods quietly, avoiding Mark's eyes all of a sudden - good at giving love, bad at accepting it. Typic Jaemin. "It makes me sad when I think too much about it."
"It makes me sad too." Mark hums, watching as the other stares at himself on the bathroom sink's mirror, his shoulders larger than the universe; it's 1am again. And his dark jacket makes his back look like a starry night sky. "But I want you to know that I love you. You're the one person I can say it to." Please take it. Please don't make me grief the love I don't have anyone else to give to.
Jaemin's breath gets visibly stuck in his throat, his lips opening slightly, in a gentle gasp. He manages to make drowning seem easy. "I love you too."
"Don't look all mushy." Mark smiles awkwardly, the tension between them bearable only because of Jaemin's distance. It's upsetting, really, how love hardens at being spoken about - Mark wonders how people manage it. How they can face someone and just speak on their hearts without this huge wall of human nature making them want to cover up and avoid vulnerability. "It's true."
His (best?) friend's smile gets adoring, a little moonstruck if you will. "Okay," he answers, tongue curling softly. Okay. Okay. It's so weird how such a word can mean I love you by the look on his face, but I love you in itself can never mean as much.
Maybe love is in the hidden. Maybe love is in the dark void of the night, rather than in the stars.
Maybe there isn't such a thing as "love" - maybe it's just the face you make when the words leave your mouth to someone's ears.
"Okay," Mark tells him. What can be said?
jenlog september 14th 07:18 a.m:
i love you. i want us both to eat well.
Mark, who is pretty in huge white shirts that make him look like a formless blob. Mark, who has sandy blonde hair that gets so long he sometimes has to borrow Jeno's scissors to cut it. Mark, who has dainty hands and strong thigh muscles. Mark, who sits across him at the breakfast table, quietly munching on the piece of mandarin Jeno had just fed him out of sheer stubbornness.
"You have to eat, you know," he starts. Mark's eyes meet Jeno's frame, understanding where this is going even if he doesn't say anything. He listens. He's getting better at listening. "I worry."
"I know you do," Mark grimaces, taking another piece of mandarin from Jeno's awaiting fingers, covered in juice. The sun zeroes in on their shoulders, warmth spreading across the hotel's empty restaurant, and life is nothing short of a movie. "But I swear I'm fine. You don't have to keep checking in and out of the hotel for me. I promise you I'm eating."
"I check in and out because I can't bear being away from you," Jeno simply answers, tapping a napkin to his fingers softly. "And because I'm scared you're going to disappear from my sight."
"Well, I'm not." The boy stretches out his arms, carefully letting his body unwind. "You don't have to spend that much money. Seriously. I'm fine."
You're not fine if you don't have anywhere to go , Jeno wants to say, but quickly wills it away. That's Mark's life, and he has no say in how he lives it; especially when it has been like this long before Jeno came. Not everyone needs the stability of a house, not everyone wants to spend their entire life in one city. It's okay, he forces himself to believe. And it is. It is. Mark is not planning to disappear.
"That's not my point," he points out. " My point is that I want you to have three meals a day. And to take care of yourself. And I'm willing to pay for this shitty hotel for an entire year if it means you'll be okay."
"Jeno," Mark starts, gingerly reaching out for the other boy's hand. "I'm much stronger than I look."
"I know you are," Jeno feeds him another piece of fruit, watching as Mark's eyes glisten under the morning sun, two golden spheres staring back at him. He's a lamb - a man eating lamb, but one still. "But I care. And I worry. And I know," he flinches slightly. "I know you and Jaemin aren't on good terms right now for me to trust he's taking care of you."
The boy frowns. "I don't need him to take care of me either."
Jeno is about to bite back at him when Mark's eyes reluctantly soften, his bitten lips somewhat one of the few worthy parts of being alive. "But I know you do it out of love. I'm sorry. I'll try."
Jeno sighs, relieved. "Thank you." Then he smiles, a soft looking smile that melts against his lips. The type of smile he sees in books, the type of sun setting on lips that makes you wonder. Amiable and pliable as the wind, Jeno makes himself at home in the space that sits between them. "Let make take you for a ride sometime soon."
"In your motorcycle?" Mark raises an eyebrow, the corners of his lips dripping an easy smile. Jeno's hands lay restless on his lap. No one has ever wanted anyone this much.
"Yeah," he plays it cool. "In my motorcycle. To the sunset."
"That's romantic," the other boy points it out, eyes glossy under the sunlight. "Mr. Darcy, do you still like me?" He bats his eyelashes, silly, the way he does when he wants to put up a front. Jeno sees how hard he's trying to not run away even before Mark notices it himself.
"My affections and wishes are unchanged; but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever." Jeno smiles, a quick one, like a warning sign. Like a deer caught in the headlights, knees locked in place; go on, his eyes say. Run me down.
Mark's cheeks blush a pretty pink, two peaches on each side of his face as ripe as the rising sun on Jeno's back, taking a ride on cupid's most wanted wings. If hearts had teeth, Mark's would chew his and spit it out.
"You're sappy, Jeno," he answers through a mouthful of butterflies. Something in Jeno wants to tell him to spit them out, but Mark is quick to swallow them along with Jeno's breath. He murmurs quietly: "I have never met someone like you."
"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?" the younger boy tentatively asks, like an unsuspecting child letting their arm sway inside a gazelle's cage.
Mark thinks for a second, his eyes traveling to the ceiling as he plays with the sliced mandarin on his hands. "It's a good thing." His eyes admirably go back to Jeno's. Whenever Mark Lee looks at him like that, it's hard to not want more of him. "It's a really good thing."
"I suppose you don't want to elaborate on that, do you?" he asks once again, just to be sure.
He whistles. Then shifts on his chair. "What I will say is…" he starts. "I'm sorry that I haven't been with you ever since middle school. I'm really sorry about that. Feels like I should've met you sooner."
Jeno is taken aback, once again. Mark, he soon realized, is bad for his heart; he's often a surprise. You can't really predict what comes out of his mouth next - believe it, Jeno has tried.
"That's… the most intimate thing you've ever said to me." He gasps, pressing a hand to his beating heart. "I mean… I'm used to talking out of my heart alone but… Wow…"
The boy laughs, breezy, and Jeno is overjoyed. That's what all these people have been talking about, then - recognition through the other. Love. Tenderness. Things Jeno has forgotten about.
"Stop being silly." Mark giggles. A few things, only a few things can be more important than that.
"No." Jeno blows out in a mushy smile. He started to wonder about his pupils, if they were blown out; if, somewhere on his face, his joy managed to shine through in millions of passing colors, bursting like a painting, like a kaleidoscope. "Let me take you out. Let me take you for a ride. Please."
The older boy gazes at him gently. "Okay," he whispers, words maneuvering gingerly around his tongue.
It does feel like he should've met Mark earlier on, but that's something Jeno can live with. He plans to make up for all the moments they haven't been together; plans to have back every second of not knowing Mark.
This is for you, Universe, he thinks as he reaches out to hold Mark's hand. This is for every moment you have kept us apart.
marklog september 15th 04:53 a.m:
we have this deep sadness between us and it spells so habitual i can’t tell it from love.
Mark's hotel room is the cheapest, most raggedy looking one he could afford when he first crashed on this punk lifestyle of his - which, in itself, is more of a glamorous version of what it actually is. Being a type of "forever home", the small hotel by the roadside ended up being the place he mostly came back once he didn't know where to stay the night. Jaemin oftenly comes with him, them sharing a couple bedroom to save money and time despite the clear awkwardness in sharing such a small space, designed for tenderness they're not sure they can reach for inside of themselves.
It's one of those nights, then; when Jaemin's eyes are wide open under the moonlight and the window is like a portal to a world where Mark as a person doesn't exist. They're lying in bed, face to face, and Jaemin's face is so, so soft - in a way that's hard to explain. In his mustard yellow pajamas, his small hips make him seem like a cartoon character, or one of those tipsy angels from old comedy movies. With the moon against his back, Mark almost wished he grew wings right then and there, the white, golden ones that drip the sweetest cherry wine. In his sleep drunken state, it's almost like Jaemin's face was a never ending sentence, like a parallel universe Mark could just reach a hand through.
His best friend blinks like a wild cat, dark eyebags reflecting Mark's, and he smiles ever so lightly, a gust of wind cutting through his chest.
"'The new boy likes you." He all but whistles, lips pouted around his words. Jaemin cares a lot - maybe even more than he should. Mark wonders how much he gives to himself, when a good part of him is just scattered around the city, worrying for friends and family and lovers.
"Yeah," Mark yawns. Silly, Jaemin sticks a finger on the inside of his mouth, like a little kid.
It's hard to not smile. And Mark is so weak.
"Just yeah?" he wiggles his eyebrows cheesily. His bleached blonde hair looks lovely tonight, almost as if he just fell out of heaven and has no intention of getting back; a mischievous angel, punished for his hedonism. "I've seen how you look at him. It's like he puts the stars in the sky. Like he hangs the moon in the darkness of the night. And he says you're so pr-"
"Enough." Mark raises a finger to his lips, shutting him off.
Jaemin snickers, but doesn't push it. He stays very quiet, then; in a way that's unusual to him, but Mark knows he's trying to keep his manic behavior at bay to not bother his sleep. When he closes his eyes, it's almost like him and Jaemin are the only people in the world, but that might owe to the fact that he's a little bit high, a whole lot tipsy. Jaemin's hand lays between them, warm and stubborn like matter that refuses to stop existing.
"Jaemin," Mark calls, slightly opening his eyes and feeling his eyelashes clog his vision. "Are you in love with Donghyuck?"
Jaemin laughs, airy and silly like he's just been accused of a crime he did commit, and gladly so. "Yeah."
"Are you…" he starts again, opening his eyes just a bit more to see Jaemin's smile and the tip of his nose standing between his eyelids, holding his heart strings open. Something in Jaemin is always opening and closing - like butterfly wings. "Are you in love with me?"
In a heartbeat, Jaemin answers with the same breathy laugh, clearly stoned out of his mind but still so, so truthful. "Yeah."
He's so sweet. Sickeningly sweet, deliriously sweet, like comatose patients who see their dead children dancing and laughing in their dreams. Lying just a few centimeters apart from Mark, in his mustard yellow pajamas, looking like a baby and high out of his mind like Mark sure is too. Is there anything more peaceful in the world? Is there anything else - all over the universe, is there? How isn't Jaemin the only thing in the world?
It feels organic. It feels truthful; falling into place. The sky is blue, Jaemin is in love. Grass is green, Jaemin is in love. Mark is dumbfounded, Jaemin is in love.
"But…" Jaemin starts again, his voice clearing up. " Donghyuck." He breathes out like it's a prayer, a sentence so short only Mark could understand what he's implying.
But Donghyuck, Jaemin says. But what he means is: but there's him, and he comes between. In terms of how much love I pour onto you two, Donghyuck is a shooting star and you're the dark, answerless void.
"What's it about him?" Mark asks through a tired sigh. Rejection - in any form - is a restless child, wriggling out of loving arms and screaming out painful cries.
"He makes me feel…" he throws his hands around, searching for words in his clogged mind. "Loved."
"Loved?" the other boy raises an eyebrow.
"'Yeah." Jaemin agrees. "The thing Jeno does when you're sleeping on his shoulder and he makes them look broader. That's loved."
Spluttering, Mark flinches away from Jaemin. "It's not. "
"It is," his best friend slash first love agrees. "But you don't notice, do you?"
I'm often looking at you instead, Mark wants to say. But he doesn't; he wouldn't bring it up in a conversation about Jeno. Somehow, it feels like he could hear it, like he'd teleport here, to Mark's room, and listen. It feels like Jeno is watching.
"No." Mark shakes his head. "I don't know about… Loved. Or love. Or lover."
"Eh," Jaemin blurts out mindlessly. He's close, and intoxicated, and Mark knows where they're going even before he steps on the pedal. "Wanna make out? No strings attached?"
No, because I'm tied to you. Yes, because I feel bad about leaving the slurred romantic side of our relationship behind. No, because you make me so sad. No, because you love Donghyuck.
Jeno's face from last night shows up on his mind, stoned and giggling to Mark's chest.
"No," Mark says. Because Jeno comes between. "I'm tired."
"Goodnight, friend." Jaemin pets Mark's hair with a soft smile, his own eyes heavy.
Friend, friend, friend. As far as Mark is concerned, friend melts inside the mold of a bad word just as easily as it fits reality.
jenlog october 3rd 1:57 a.m
if you love me, mark, you love me in a way i don't understand.
"When did you know?" Jeno asks, kicking rocks on the street as the night sky hangs above them in a weird, knowing way. The blue traps the entire city in a quiet setting, a handful of stars angrily trembling along clouds, pulsing with unimaginable energy that Jeno somehow shares within himself. "Like, about being trans. When did you know?"
Mark hums from behind him, walking along Jeno as the silent street gets left behind them, every step making the place - and the wold, in itself - a little bit more his than it was before. Jeno gives him a side eyed glance, and for a moment he's scared Mark is going to jump him, but he doesn't. Instead, he yawns; then says: "I don't think I ever knew. I think it found me."
Jeno hums back, pleased with the answer, but Mark continues, breath slightly short because of the cold night air and the long walk they're taking: "But if you want, like… A time, then it was around ninth grade. I always thought I was a late bloomer, but… Most kids find out about it much later in life. Not everyone..." he rambles, throwing his hands around. "Knows about the trans community in middle school. Or high school. So there's that, yeah."
He's unusually chatty, but that's how he's been lately. Jeno thinks it's the booze talking, but maybe - possibly, kind of - he's starting to open up, to actually… fall (rise, bury, hunt, drown, swim) in love with him back. Jeno sees it, or rather imagines it, in how Mark smiles a little wider lately, taps his legs a little slower, slurs drunk I love yous more confidently. Jeno doesn't know what to do about that.
"Yeah… Ninth grade." Mark finishes his long answer. "Jaemin met me a few months later. In freshman year." Then he flinches as if he's been burnt, and quicks his pace to walk right next to Jeno, their hands boldly bumping against each other. In some way, Jeno feels like he's drowning in salty, open sea. "But why?"
He shrugs. "I just wondered."
"Wondering is nice." Comes Mark's quick answer, mindless around the slopes and curves of words in his mouth. "I wonder all the time."
"Do you wonder about me?" Jeno asks before his mind even registers it. This is love, anyways - do you wonder about me? Am I in your mind? Do you make home for me in your heart?
Mark smiles. "Yes." Then on a leap of blind faith, he grabs Jeno's hand, interlocking their fingers in unusual braveness. "So much that sometimes I wonder if I made you up inside my head."
"You haven't," he slurs out, tightening their fingers together. "But if you did, thanks for the six pack."
"You have a six pack?" Mark's eyes widen.
God, he's so cute. "Shut the fuck up," Jeno scrunches his nose, embarrassed. "Don't tell anyone I said that."
"No, no, I…" the boy starts, but eventually lets his voice trail down, cheeks reddening. After a while, he gets cheeky: "Sexy."
It's entertaining to see Mark's features changing along with his thoughts. In some way, he seeps through easily - Jeno feels like he's known him for years.
"Die." He jokes, wanting to playfully slap him but too afraid to let go of Mark's hand and then never holding it again.
"You first." Mark smiles again.
This time it's softer, quieter, a small opera echo inside of a loud room. He's like a ghost, then, all teeth and the faint hint of lips pulled upwards, like he can't bear to hold this much love in. Jeno feels as if his heart had been ripped open, the wind rushing through it and touching everything there is to see. It's refreshing; and frightening.
"Can I kiss you?" Jeno suddenly asks as they're approaching home. Mark blinks at him, surprised, and he rushes to add: "Not now. But sometime soon. When I feel like it's the perfect time."
"You may," he answers, avoiding Jeno's eyes shyly. It's heartbreakingly beautiful. "Sometime soon."
Love - love is real. It has to be. Jeno really wants it to be.
marklog october 3rd 3:16 p.m
i'm doing a balancing act with a stack of fresh fruit in my basket. i love you. i want us both to eat well. we’re not allowed to buy blackberries anymore because they’re mean to their workers and you read left-wing news sites. till when? i asked and you said nothing. so that’s one healthy food off the list. i’m still buying pineapples and you’re still eating them. i guess you’ve never seen the websites about those.
Jaemin holds Mark's hand like a child, tapping his feet on the floor impatiently as they wait for Jeno in the hotel's big entrance, surrounded by fake marjorie and uncared for plants, growing wild like Jaemin's blonde hair which is almost reaching his mid neck now.
"Will Jeno be here soon?" Jaemin asks, fidgeting with Mark's fingers. "I know it's your date but I'm so excited. He has a motorcycle, Mark. That's so dreamy!" he sighs, a smile plastered over shark teeth.
"He said he's coming," Mark answers, a soft smile pulling itself through his lips.
"Ugh, you have the I wanna marry him look." His best friend pinches the bridge of his own nose, pulling away from Mark's hand. "God, God, God… The Donghyuckisms of Lee Jeno."
"The what?" he raises an eyebrow, shooting Jaemin a pointed look.
"The Donghyuckisms." Jaemin repeats himself. "What I mean is: I want to marry Donghyuck and-"
"Already?" Mark cuts him off with a side glance.
"Maybe." The boy avoids Mark's eyes, his oversized shirt showing his collarbones in the slightest, cold breeze hitting them. Mark shivers. "Maybe so."
Mark is about to answer, but Jeno beats him to it by driving right before their eyes, his motorcycle ruffing with life as he does that thing people in movies do, taking his helmet off and shaking his black, shiny hair. It's so ridiculous Mark has to take a minute to take it in, eyeing the boy up and down.
"Hi." Jeno muses. His smile is so bright.
Jaemin pushes Mark to him, making them come closer, and quickly goes back inside with a short nod to Jeno, something like Hey, good luck with dealing with Mark Lee's love. Jeno will need it, but he doesn't know that yet.
"Hi." Mark smiles back, hopping on the motorcycle with a drum beating heart. "Where are we going?"
"We're just taking a ride, Mark," he says, grabbing both of Mark's hands and placing them on his stomach, arms firm around his waist. "There's nowhere to go but the sunset."
Jeno's back is glued to Mark's chest, warm and strong and a river of unanswered questions, something unspoken sticky between their skin. There is only so much Mark can hold on to, he figures; there's only so much Jeno to his weak heart. It's hard to touch him and it's hard to stay away - which somehow translates to love.
"Okay," the boy answers, breathless. "Take me to the sunset." And drown me there.
And Jeno does. They drive for hours, bodies clasped together, the wind harshly blowing on Mark's face. It's a knife in both the business end and the sharp tip, soft and hard, the exact dosage of life creeping under his fingernails. Mark feels everything tingle - his eyelashes, his fingertips, his feet, his knees. It trembles. The world; it trembles. Jeno shakes the world.
It's nearing the sunset when they finally stop in an empty road, fields of green hugging man made concrete and blanketed by the big, burning sun. It's red and it burns, the chore of the Earth staring back at Mark like it's welcoming home again, inviting him to go up in flames, to be hung on a ray of sunlight. There it goes again, that funny feeling - the mouthful of butterflies, cramped inside the tight space between his lips, behind his teeth and up his throat. Mark wants to spit them out to Jeno's mouth, wants to see him swallow it, and the obscenity of his desire disgusts him. Not only it's too big, it's too human; there is, and there never has been, an end to it. Mark doesn't know how he ever believed he could run away.
Jeno is sitting by the roadside, an hydro flask on his hand and his other hand playing with the green grass, looking terribly tiny under the sunset. He's a gentle type of genius, as Virginia Woolf got called by her lover back in their time. How did the saying go, again? I'm reduced to a thing that wants Jeno. Their voices whisper to Mark's ears as he stares at Jeno, being swallowed by the sky. My dear Honey, they say. Dearest Honey, sweet Honey , darling Honey, my poor dear Honey.
He approaches him carefully, skipping in joy as he makes way to sit beside Jeno, wrapping an arm around his wide shoulders. The top of his shirt is warm and pleasant to the touch, Jeno accommodating himself against Mark's chest; there's a rush of more butterflies, and he's scared that they'll come out, but Jeno presses his back against his stomach gently and he doesn't care about it anymore.
But when we sit together, close… we melt into each other with phrases, Virginia Woolf wrote. We are edged with mist. We make an unsubstantial territory. The world can end. The world should end. Everything that's not Jeno - it can burn to the ground.
Without an ounce of thought, Mark nuzzles his cheek against Jeno's. The skin is so tender - it molds to Mark's likings so softly, and Jeno is so warm, so pliant. He can't believe he spent so much time running from this when Jeno is everything he could've asked for. Jeno turns around just as Mark is about to, and without ceremony their lips touch, in a quite unplanned plan. It's an accident, but it doesn't feel like it - the Universe pushes them together, lips molding against each other, and everything gets stupidly warm. Jeno is a fever Mark can't sweat out.
"Jeno, Jeno, Jeno…" he dumbly repeats. Jeno smiles against his mouth. "I'm so happy, Jeno. Jeno, Jeno ," he whispers, trying to mend their faces together, trying to fade into Jeno's strong nose.
No one, he thinks. No one else in the world . They eat fruit and kiss a thousand times again, making up for the thousand lives they've been in love before. Mark falls asleep that night with the entire world on his shoulders. No one but you.