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The couple on Jeno's LED screen kiss heavily, the sound of them making out filling up the room — he doesn't know any of the actors, but Mark had spent a good ten minutes explaining to him in detail where Jeno has seen them before (he hasn't), and then other five minutes gushing over them, the heels of his palms pressed to his eyes, Ooooooh my God Lee Jeno have you thanked the Heavens for gay cinema today? Have you? 'Cause I have!

Honestly, good for them. Jeno wishes he had paid enough attention to the plot in order to be happy for the two men finally getting together, but his phone vibrates every two minutes with texts from his coworkers — Renjun has been @'ing him in the chat obsessively because, if Jeno isn't working right now, then he must do his best to annoy him during any other activity. And what can he do about it? Man up and say that if Doyoung wanted him to ditch a movie night for work he should pay Jeno his extra hours?

Nah.

"Turn off your phone, asshole," Mark murmurs. He kicks at Jeno's legs under the blanket insistently. "It's annoying."

"It's work," Jeno responds as he checks his notifications. "Are you familiar with this concept?"

"It's even more annoying, then. I can’t believe you—” Mark makes a vomit sound. “—dream of labor, ew. Could 't be me.”

He rolls his eyes, turning the screen to the side. Mostly, it's just his coworkers losing their minds about their company's next big project and their boss's expectations on it. Kim Doyoung has a reputation as a prestigious architect, Jeno is well aware of that, and he's not shy about letting people know he's got high expectations because of it. In fact, Jeno should be doing his research right now, as the rest of his team is, but he's far too comfortable in this spot on the couch, his legs tangled in Mark's and under the fluffiest duvet he could find, to be bothered by this small lack of effort from his part.

The phone vibrates again in his hands. Mark whines: "Jeno, turn it off. You're ruining the mood, they’re literally making out right now."

"Okay, fine, Jesus," Jeno mutters. It's not like he's going to be fired. Doyoung loves him, and what Doyoung doesn't see, Doyoung doesn't know — he extends an arm to rest the phone on the coffee table, but it drops to the floor helplessly.

Jeno doesn't pick it up. Instead, he makes himself comfortable on the couch, pushing Mark's feet off his stomach — most of the time they fit just fine in here, but Mark has a bad habit when cuddling people that he just takes every space possible if you let him, which is why you must not move. Jeno sighs, wrapping a hand around his ankle to keep him from kicking, but Mark just scoffs and crosses his arms over the blanket, too engrossed in the movie to bother kicking him off the couch.

Granted, he's not that much into it like Mark is — Jeno can't even remember the names of the characters, or the overall plot. He supposes it's a cute story, he'll probably rewatch it one day just for the sake of it. Some gay coming of age that Mark's been talking about for months and that he didn't watch while on theaters because he always forgets to before they stop screening the movies, so he downloaded it in a shady website, like always, and here they are. Jeno rolls on his back and watches him instead.

It's always a funny experience, watching movies with Mark. He's the most expressive person that Jeno knows, couldn't hide his feelings and emotions if he tried to — he gawks and coos and grits his teeth and cries and laughs too loudly, always slapping the closest available part of Jeno's body. He doesn't know what's happening on screen, but Mark's eyes are this big, the sleeve of his sweater between his teeth, and he doesn't even blink.

Then, after a while, he frowns. Jeno does too. Before he can do something about it, Mark asks: "Is it like that?"

"What?"

"Is—" Mark motions to the screen. "Is this what it's like in real life?"

Jeno's gaze returns to the screen. "Ah," he lets out an awkward laugh. He didn't know there was a sex scene in the movie — it's the end of it, anyway, both men just lying in bed together, one with his cheek resting on the other's bare stomach.

He looks away. It's too intimate, Jeno thinks. He clears his throat. "I wasn't paying attention," he replies. "But hardly ever sex is like what we see in the movies."

"Oh, I see," Mark pulls his knees to his chest, which causes a momentaneous awkward moment in which Jeno has to find another position for himself, and then wraps his arms around his legs. "It's just— I don't know. Makes me wonder."

Jeno sits up, mimicking him, but Mark extends a hand and pushes onto his chest. He falls back onto the couch. "Fuck off, this is not a talk," Mark announces. "My virgin ass is unbothered still. I was just wondering."

"Just saying," Jeno responds. "That if you want—"

"I don't."

"If you wanted to talk about it, I'd listen," he adds. "I'll always listen."

Mark nods, turning back to the movie. He's flustered, so Jeno doesn't push it. His best friend's sex life, or lack of thereof, is anybody's business but his own anyway. Aside from the casual joke here and there from Mark himself, he doesn't really talk about it. Then again, if he did, Jeno would listen. For now, he nods to himself and turns around on his side, ready to watch the rest of the movie.

 

"Hypothetically speaking," Mark says one morning as they grab breakfast — as in, McDonald's at four thirty AM, and they haven’t slept. The back of Jeno's shirt is sticking uncomfortably to his skin due to the drink Jaemin had spilled on him during the party, and he simply cannot wait to eat as much as he can and then go to Mark’s place and sleep as much as he can. "If I were to ask someone to be my first, do you think I should make a proper invite, or just make a joke out of it to lighten up the mood?"

Jeno puts his McNugget down. "Huh?"

"Like, mark me in your ass!, or something just as funny and witty," Mark suggests. He wiggles his hands in the air. "Because, you know, my name is Mark."

"I know what you're called." Jeno replies, matter-of-factly. Mark's lips form a smile around the straw as he takes a sip of his Coke, his teeth slightly blue due to some new drink that Donghyuck had bought. "What are you talking about?"

Mark rolls his eyes as if he's stupid — he might be, right now. Jeno couldn't walk a straight line right now if someone paid him to. "My V-Card, duh," he says. "I'm thinking of asking Jaehyun to do it."

He shoves a bunch of fries inside his mouth and Jeno watches him, dumbfounded. "Ask Jaehyun to do what, now?"

"Pop my cherry, Jeno," Mark responds. "Cash in my V-Card. Deflower me. Take my virgi—"

He reaches out, pressing the palm of his hand to Mark's mouth. "I heard it the first time. Why Jaehyun? Why not—” Mark’s lips move against his skin as he gives him a shit eating grin that Jeno is glad he can’t see. “—someone else?”

Naturally, Mark licks at his hand like a five year old, and Jeno groans as he reaches for napkins. He's not sober enough for this, and not drunk enough either — he'd rather not have this conversation in an empty McDonald's, anyway.

Mark shrugs. "He seems like a perfectly good suitor for me," he starts counting on his fingers. “He's my friend, he's hot, he's single, Dejun says he's a good fuck and..." Mark gasps. "Wait. It could be Dejun. Why didn’t I think of that?”

"What?" Jeno asks as Mark pulls his phone out of the pocket of his leather jacket. For a moment, he's afraid that Mark is going to straight up call someone to have sex with him, be it Jaehyun or anyone else, but he simply opens his notes app and looks up at Jeno.

"C'mon, give me options," he says, before starting to type, his tongue poking out his lips in concentration. "Jaehyun… Dejun… If you say Donghyuck, I'll kill you. In fact, if you even mention this to Donghyuck, I'll kill you. Let me see. Lucas Wong. Oh, Mingi from my class—"

"You're writing names down," Jeno realizes. "You're making a list?"

"Do you think Chan would be a nice option? Like, Bang Chan?" Mark taps a finger against his cheek. "I don't know if Felix and them are exclusive. They're both so cute, though. You could get that intel for me, no?"

Jeno lets go of the napkins he'd been clutching in his hand. He feels hot all of a sudden, like the aircon inside this McDonald's has stopped working, and the three burgers he ate don't feel so good in his stomach now. "That intel," he repeats. "Intel on whether or not Bang Chan would bang you?"

Mark puts the phone down and leans over the table, his hands cupping Jeno's cheek and then pressing the back of one to his forehead. "Are you feeling alright? You just keep repeating everything I say. I told you not to trust Donghyuck's mixed drinks, if you feel like you need to puke, just tell me so I can find a trash can."

He gently tugs Mark's hands away from his face because they're smelling like Big Mac. "Dude, I'm fine. I’m just— are you serious about wanting to… Wanting to—"

"Have sex, yes." Mark leans back, sitting up straight. "You said you'd listen if I wanted to talk, so this is me talking. Ladies and gentlemen and all powerful overlords not hindered by the gender binary, it is time for my V-Card to be vanquished."

Jeno nods, rubbing the space between his eyes with the pad of his finger. He's sobering up, that being good or not — it's not that he's a prude. He had made his way upstairs back at Ten's place. He just didn't think Mark would ever bring the topic up. His best friend has always been very chill about not being interested in sex, but Jeno did notice he had been acting weird since they watched that movie. He feels kind of bad for not trying to talk about it sooner — he thought this would be just another of Mark’s phases, like that one time he said he’d become a pro gamer despite sucking at any and every video game he came across.

"You know you don't have to have sex because other people do, right?" Jeno asks tentatively. "Like, it's not— some people just don't do it, and it's perfectly fine."

"I am well aware of that," Mark replies, defensively. He crosses his arms around his chest. Shit. "I don't do anything just because other people do, Jeno."

"I know, and I didn't mean to say that."

"So why did you?"

"I'm sorry," Jeno repeats. He taps the side of his head with the heel of his palm. "I am not totally sober. I'm sorry. I didn't want to make you uncomfortable. I'm sorr—"

Mark's palm presses to his lips again. "I heard it the first time," he says, cracking out a smile. Jeno sighs in relief as he pulls back. "Sorry that I overreacted. It shouldn't be a big deal, okay? I just wanna go and do it to see if I like it." He pauses. "But like, not with some rando from Grindr, obviously. I have standards."

Jeno, for one, is glad that Mark didn't settle for the rando from Grindr option. He nods accordingly. "And I support you 100% as long as you're comfortable," he says, to which Mark starts cooing, so Jeno takes it as his cue to start collecting their trash. “I’m just… I’m just curious. Why now?”

"Because I think it must be nice?" Mark shrugs. He steals the last of Jeno's nuggets and takes a bite of it, waving it in the air as he talks. "It was never a big deal to me, I was just thinking about it during the party 'cause I kept seeing people going upstairs, you know, to the rooms. I mean, there must be something about sex that makes some people like it so much." He pauses, and rests his chin on his free hand as he looks at Jeno. "Yeah, I don’t know. Why do you like it, anyway?"

Then again, not in an empty McDonald's. Jeno opens and closes his mouth a bunch of times, unsure of what to say. "Let’s go home,” he says finally. Mark doesn’t bat an eye at the lack of an actual response.

The McDonald's attendees look relieved when they leave, but Jeno has to come back to their table not even five minutes later because Mark forgot his phone and claims to be too tired to come get it, and on the way back he keeps looking down at the cracked screen, thinking of the silly list of possible suitors for Mark's first time. If the burgers he ate tasted so good, why does he have a stomachache right now?

"Hey," Mark says as the sun starts to timidly paint the sky red and orange. All that crimson is mostly due to air pollution, that Jeno knows, but he still thinks it's so beautiful. It goes pretty well with Mark's pink hair, ruffled by the morning breeze as they walk to Mark's place, since it's closer. He nudges Jeno on the ribs. "Thanks."

"For what? Being the handsomest friend you have?" Jeno asks, running a hand through his own hair, and realizing it's sticky to the touch. Goddamn it, Jaemin. He pulls away in disgust as Mark laughs loudly.

"That, too, of course," he shrugs. "I don't know. For the food, the support, anything, everything. You're my best friend, Jeno. Thanks for it."

"Yeah?" he nods. "Well, you’re mine, too, so you don’t have to thank me for it. Ever."

 

It seems to him that Mark is taking this too seriously.

No, you see, Jeno gets it that he thinks his first time should be special — and it should be, because it would make Mark happy, so of course it should be. But he didn't expect the cherry popping operation (as Jaemin had kindly named an entire group chat for that once Mark mentioned the whole thing to him a couple weeks before) to go like this.

"A date," Jeno echoes. "You're going on a date with Dejun. Like, Xiao Dejun. Donghyuck’s bandmate.”

"That's what he just said, darling," Jaemin responds. He's visibly pleased with this — Jaemin loves meddling with everybody's love and/or sex life. It's like a business to him. It's what brings him joy. He's jumping on his seat. "Are you excited?"

"Yeah?" Mark raises his eyebrows, shrugging. His spectacles are slowly falling down the bridge of his nose and his hair is everywhere due to him running his fingers through it obsessively, as he always does when nervous. He's got a big assignment due tomorrow and is nowhere done finishing it, as Jeno can tell by the blank Google docs on his computer screen. "I mean, of course. It's Dejun. Who wouldn't be excited? I am very excited, that’s for sure."

"He never goes on dates with anyone," Jeno comments before he can stop himself. It's just that it's been puzzling him.

“Shocking, right?” Mark clicks his tongue as he types exactly two words on the document — his name. Jeno lets out a sigh for a variety of reasons.

“I mean, Donghyuck has told us countless times before that Dejun just doesn’t go out with people.” Jeno continues. He has tried to score a date with Dejun more than once, to no avail.

Mark shrugs. “Guess I’m hot stuff,”, and Jaemin’s foot finds Jeno’s shin under the table with a nice kick.

"Ouch, asshole! Go fuck yourself, Jaemin."

"Language," Jaemin hisses. "We're in a library."

"A library's not a church," Mark and Jeno say at the same time. They share a look. Mark smiles in a way that his nose scrunched up, and Jeno can’t help but smile in return.

Jaemin sighs loudly, resting his chin on a hand. "You two are the worst," he says, and turns to Mark with one eyebrow raised. "Well, what are you going to wear on your date?"

Naturally, he is dressed to the nines, not a single hair out of place. It's not even like he has a job like Jeno does (which reminds him he has to leave in a few minutes), he's just the type of person to take their sweet time putting on heart shaped blush on their cheeks in the morning, every single day. Much differently from Mark, who’s clad in sweatpants and probably the first shirt he found in the morning — Jeno is sure it belongs to Donghyuck, given the holes near the collar and some grimey band logo on the front —, but it’s not like Mark dressed badly. He’s just always a step away from going to college in pyjamas, which is honestly fine, in Jeno’s opinion, because he dresses properly on every other occasion.

Mark lets out a long uhhhhh, scratching at his throat. He tugs at the collar of his shirt. "Absolutely not!" Jaemin slaps his hand on the table. His coffee nearly spills over Jeno's tablet, which the latter pulls to his chest protectively. "God, you can't be serious. Tell me you're not serious. Donghyuck sleeps in that, I will not let you go out with Dejun dressed like this."

"I'm kidding, I just wanted to see how you'd react," Mark laughs. Jeno lets out a small snort himself. He's ridiculous. "I don't know. It's just a date to see how things go. If we hit off, we hit off, but nothing ever happens on first dates, right?"

"That's debatable. Jeno popped his cherry on the first date while wearing khaki shorts, and I don’t want that for you."

"Hey," he looks up on his project. "It literally did not happen like that, you know it.”

"Right, right," Jaemin nods. "It wasn't even a date. And it was inside a tent, for God's sake."

"Na Jaemin."

Jeno pinches the bridge of his nose as the other two laugh, Jaemin giggling against the palm of his hand and Mark leaning onto Jeno's side to muffle his laughter against his shoulder. Granted, he lost his virginity to Hwang Yeji at summer camp when they were both counselors, and to this day he thinks she did it out of pity. It's a blessing that she decided to become a model and leave the country, because their parents are neighbors and Jeno doesn't think he'd be able to look her in the eye when he visited. And Mark knows that, which is why he's an asshole for laughing, so Jeno pushes him off.

"Aw, come on!" Mark wipes his teary eyes, still laughing. "There's no need to get all worked up over a silly, little joke, I'm sure you've gotten better over the years, no?"

"For your interest, yes," Jeno responds as goes back to his drawing, his cheeks too hot. "I've gotten a lot better at sex over the years, Mark. Thank you for your interest."

"Oh, wow." Jaemin says, totally not impressed. "If you're that much of a good fuck, maybe you should just go and solve Mark's problem yourself, then."

He stops, Apple pencil hanging in the air, and turns to look at Mark. The latter looks back at him with a dumbfounded expression before he starts laughing again. This time, Jeno does too, only so that it won’t be awkward.

Turning to Jaemin, Mark exclaims: "What are you saying!"

"Yeah, Jaemin, what are you saying?" Jeno echoes.

Jaemin shrugs. "Well?" He points at Mark. "You want a guy who's experienced and who you can trust. Jeno, as he just said, is experienced, and you trust him more than anyone else, so bang it out! Am I too ace to see a problem here?"

Jeno can't bring himself to reply. He didn't— he didn't even think of this possibility, and it seems that Mark didn't either, because he stares at Jaemin with his mouth hanging open for a few seconds before breathing out a "Whaaaaat?"

"It's just a suggestion," Jaemin raises his hands, leaning back on his chair. "I think Jeno's your guy. I'd offer my services but you know that's not how I roll."

"And I'm flattered," Mark nods, scratching at his cheek. "Well, um, we didn't— we don't—"

"Oh, would you look at the time," Jeno announces as he looks down at his wristwatch. Across the table, Jaemin raises an eyebrow at him, but Jeno ignores him as he starts packing his things, retrieving all the pens Mark had taken from his pencil case to doodle over his textbooks. "It was great seeing you people, but I have to leave for work to provide for my children."

"Yout cats don't even live with you, though," Mark points out, one of his hands coming up to pinch the back of Jeno's neck, to which the latter shudders for a moment before saying:

"Mark, you are the children in question. You eat all of my food."

"Because you let me?" Mark responds, offended.

Across the table, Jaemin rolls his eyes, but does reach out with a hand to fix the collar of Jeno's shirt before he gets up. "Now, give Sungchan my best regards, will you?" he says with a teasing smile.

Jeno wants to ask him to please leave his intern alone, but that would lead to an awfully long argument that they've had countless times before. Jaemin is very argumentative at all times, and he doesn't want to be late. Jeno bids his goodbyes with a kiss to Jaemin's cheek and his fingers through the short hairs on the back of Mark's head.

Hours later, as he's putting in the code to his apartment and listening to Renjun's long, long audio about the briefing they have to hand in before the end of the week, he suddenly remembers what Jaemin had said back at the library. You want a guy who's experienced and who you can trust, I think Jeno's your guy— what was he thinking? Jeno lets his forehead hit the door when he gets the code wrong for the second time and has to wait for a bit before trying again.

Eventually, you'll have to think about it, Jeno, Renjun's voice tells him, as if he knows just what’s up. He yanks his airpods off.

 

Objectively speaking, Mark and Jeno were many of each other's firsts.

He recalls some of these events as he waits for one of Donghyuck's tattoo appointments to begin, looking down at the way Donghyuck's leg is thrown over his lap lazily. His bare thigh, even though covered in tattoos, reminds him of the shorts Mark was wearing when he made Jeno meet him under the bleachers after class and started speaking too fast to be considerate of the way Jeno had just walked out of the worst Chemistry exam known to humanity: I need you to kiss me because I have a date with Kim Jiwoo in two hours and I have never made out with someone who isn't my own arm so please help me Lee Jeno you are my only hope.

Jeno asked him to repeat it. He did. Jeno then asked: Mark, why would you make out with your own arm? And so Mark kissed him square on the mouth, too much teeth and too much spit for it to be a proper kiss, but Jeno spent a week thinking about the phantom touch of Mark's tongue on his hard palate, and he doesn't even think he did a good job — it was his first kiss too.

Well, they never talked about it again, except for that one time, a few months later, when they were watching a movie at Kim Jibeom's house and Mark had leaned into Jeno's side, mouth pressed to his ear. I like boys, he whispered. And you found out because you kissed me?, Jeno gasped, I’m so flattered! In the blue glow of the TV screen, Mark had rolled his eyes as if it was obvious, and maybe it was.

Jeno misses the warmth of Donghyuck's thigh when he gets up for his appointment, and sits alone on this bench in front of the parlor, alone with his thoughts. What else? Mark was the first kid Jeno met on his first day at school and the first friend he took to his grandmother's house in the summer. Also the first person Jeno took on a ride after getting his driver's license. He was the one to pierce Mark's ear for the first time, which went horribly wrong, but he was also there holding his hand when Mark got his real first piercing. First tattoo, too — a stick n' poke done by this girl Jeno was seeing. I'm doing this for you, Mark had said as he inspected the smiley face on his elbow. Later on Jeno got the same one, just not with the same girl. Same best friend, though. Always.

There were so many others. So many. So should he— should he?

"You look like you're about to puke," Donghyuck announces as he walks out of the back room. Jeno blinks up at him, but he's too busy taking a look at the tattoo on his elbow. "I told you to stay here so you wouldn't see the needle."

"I didn't go in there," Jeno replies. "And I'm not about to puke."

"No?"

"No," he gets up and takes a step towards him. Donghyuck's tattoo is a shark's jaw, stark black ink against his skin. ‘Cause I’m one, too, he had said. Jeno thinks he’s much more of a clown fish or something. "Hey, is it indelicate to ask someone if you can take their virginity?"

"I think it's indelicate if you don't ask them," Donghyuck replies. He squints eyes at him. "Lee Jeno, whose V-Card are you planning to cash in and didn't tell me about? I thought we told each other about this kind of stuff!"

If you mention this to Donghyuck, I'll kill you. "No one's," he replies. "I was just— it’s irrelevant. Can we please go have lunch now? I'm so hungry, you have no idea..."

 

He's not thinking about it.

Well, maybe he is a little bit. Good thing about it, though, is that he and Mark have always been so similar, he's not surprised Mark is thinking about it too.

Just… Just not in the way that Jeno is.

"You're the only one who can help me," Mark tells him. He hands Jeno two bottles of lube. "Which of these is better?"

"Uh," he clears his throat, putting one of them back on the self. “Personally, I think the flavored ones can be a little overwhelming at first, so I wouldn't go for that. You can try it when you—" Mark's eyes are so big, the drugstore's lights reflecting on them like beacons. "You can try it some other time if you want to."

"Okay," Mark snatches the right bottle from his hand and throws it inside his basket. "So, I was thinking... Do you think I should top? On the first time? Do you think it makes a difference?"

Actually, the lights in here are starting to give Jeno a headache. The drugstore is empty if not for them and the cashier, a boy looking straight out of high school who's got headphones on and is too busy reading a X-Men comic to pay attention to them. Jeno pinches the bridge of his nose. "Yes? No? I don't know, what do you want to do? What do you think you'd like?"

The thing with Xiao Dejun didn't work out. Mark had texted Jeno like he's super duper hot and i'd totally fuck him but like, do i want my first time to be with another leo? nope. there was a lot of heavy petting tho so it was cool, and Jeno was both relieved and kind of mad at himself for being relieved. Who the fuck does Jeno think he is?

"I don't know," Mark mutters, frowning. "I told you, I've never thought about this before. What do you like?"

"Why do you keep asking what I like?" Jeno replies instead. "I'm not even gonna be there when you do it. It doesn't matter what I like or don't, it’s you we’re talking about."

"Because..." Mark shakes his head, turning around to head down the aisle. The tips of his ears are very red; Jeno follows him. "Jen, c'mon. You're pretty much the only person I can ask this kind of stuff about. Jaemin doesn't have sex and Donghyuck would never let me live if I said the word "bottom" within his hearing distance, because he’s a prick. And—!"

He turns around, successfully knocking down an entire row of shampoo, which Jeno starts picking up immediately. "You're my best friend," Mark tells him in a soft tone. "Also, I'm gay, and you're pan, we engage in similar activities. So, do you prefer to top or bottom?"

Jeno takes a deep breath. He puts the shampoo bottles in their rightful place and takes his time to keep it nice and tidy. Mark nudges him with the tip of his Dr. Martens. "It depends on the other person, or how I'm feeling at that moment," he says finally. Mark lets out a long groan and kicks him. "Okay, fine. Bottoming. But then again, it depends."

"And what exactly do you like about it?"

Jeno looks up. "Huh?"

"What do you like about bottoming?" Mark asks. What kills him is that he's genuinely asking, in the way that only Mark could ask — by being completely unabashed about it. Jeno gets up to his feet just as the door to the drugstore opens and a bunch of teenagers come in. "Hey, Jeno, what do you like about botto—"

"Do we have to talk about this here? Can’t we get home first, preferably where teenagers won't hear?”

Mark rolls his eyes, whispering fine, whatever under his breath as he heads to other aisles to finish his shopping spree. The entire time that they’re standing at the counter while the cashier slowly types in the code for some new face moisturizer that Mark found, Jeno is staring at the huge box of condoms — “You don’t need that many, I think?” “It’s better to be safe than sorry, dude!” — and the bottle of lube right next to a package of gum. He’s been in this situation countless times before, but it’s different — it’s different because Mark is going to use these things, be it with Jung Jaehyun or anyone else, and Jeno is…

Jeno is wondering why he didn't ask him. There’s no point in denying it. He’s really fucking intrigued now.

Does Mark not trust him? They’re best friends, they’ve been through so many things together. Does he think Jeno would be bad at it? He excels at receiving and he's stellar at giving — he's been told that before, thank you. Is he worried that this would ruin their friendship? Jeno isn’t. He’s had sex with friends before, sometimes more than once, and they’re still friends.

And he's already done so many things for Mark, no questions asked, and would do many more. Would jump out of a bridge for him, would hide a body for him, would...

Would take his virginity. Jeno would do it, and he’d be really fucking nice about it.

“Do you have change for fifty?” Mark’s voice asks, pulling him out of his reverie. Jeno’s eyes burn when he blinks, watching as the cashier nods. His name tag reads P., JISUNG and there’s My Chemical Romance blasting from his headphones, now resting around his neck. “Neat, thanks.”

“No problem,” the cashier tells them, and he lets out a soft snort as he packs all the condoms and the lube and hands Jeno the bag, as Mark is busy with his wallet. “You two have a good night.”

Jeno wants to yell: WE’RE NOT HAVING SEX EVEN THOUGH I WAS THINKING ABOUT IT JUST NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, but he’s not about to have a meltdown in front of a kid. Also, did he just admit something to himself? What the fuck. They have to leave before he has a meltdown.

He takes the bag. Mark bids the cashier goodbye and tugs at the sleeve of Jeno’s jacket until he follows him outside. He pulls the bag from Jeno’s wrist once they’re in the street, and Jeno watches silently as he checks the content and pulls out the package of gum.

“Want some of this?”

Yes. “No, thank you.”

They walk to Jeno’s apartment in silence. At this point — the one in which Mark knows his code, can get in any time he wants, sometimes even goes there when Jeno isn’t home —, Jeno should ask him to ditch Johnny's ass and move in with him. It’s not like there isn’t a pair of Mark’s shoes at the entrance, or a spare toothbrush on the sink, or Mark’s favorite brand of soda in the refrigerator.

(To be quite honest, there are a bunch of Jaemin’s things as well, like clothes that don’t fit in his apartment. But Jeno would rather have Mark as a roommate anyway. He and Jaemin have a life-long plan of getting married at age forty in case they don’t find anyone else — he’s trying to live the best of his Jaemin-less life for now.)

“So, what do you like about it?” Mark asks once he throws himself over Jeno’s couch. “What do you like about sex?”

“Huh.”

“Come on, Jeno.”

“I like… Many things."

“Such as?”

He pushes a pillow to the side and sits down. By the time Jeno reaches for the remote, Mark’s head has already found a place on his lap. “Uhhhhh,” Jeno says eloquently. He puts on the news, just to have background noise. "I don't know."

"Jeno, you can do better than that."

"I…" he sighs, licking his dry lips. "I like the— the intimacy? Just— just being with the person, in that moment, it's nice." Mark lets out a hum in agreement. "And, like, obviously, it feels good— it feels very good when you’re… Into it. When you want it. I like… I like how it feels to want, to let yourself want, and to be wanted, too. That’s when it feels good for real.”

Mark nods. His hair has now faded to a light pink, bubblegum-ish, and it looks soft but feels dry and a little weird under Jeno’s fingers when he reaches out to brush it off his face, just to have something to do with his hands. “So, you like— let’s say, giving in to what you’re feeling.”

“Yeah,” Jeno nods. “Yeah, I guess that’s what draws me to it.”

Smiling up at him, Mark coos: “Awww, man, you’re such a cutie. I thought you were gonna like, describe things to me!”

“I will most definitely not do that.”

“Why, though?” Mark asks. He rubs at his own chin. “Are you gonna pop a boner if you do? Does talking about sex make you feel hot, Jeno?”

“I—” he frowns, pushing Mark off his lap. “You know what, you’re too crass for a virgin. I don’t think I want to help you anymore.”

Mark sits up, but immediately curls up to his side, one of his hands to Jeno’s shoulder. “I’m not saying this to make fun of you, seriously. I mean, I was at some point, but now I’m genuinely asking. Like, what gets you going?”

“Why do you want to know about me? Shouldn’t you be asking those questions to yourself? I’m not gonna be there, Mark.”

“I—” Mark lets out a long, frustrated sigh. See, Jeno wants to help him, but he doesn’t fucking know what he wants, so he just watches wordlessly as Mark puts some distance between them on the couch, pulling his knees to his chest protectively. “I don’t know, okay? I don't know. Asking you just feels like the right thing to do,” he shrugs. “You know I don’t— I don’t think about this. I’ve never been there. Never wanted to go there. And I want to know what to expect when I… Go there. With someone. And you have been there, so I’m asking you.”

He stays silent for a while. Jeno doesn’t breathe. Mark adds: “So I’m sorry if it’s weird that I’m asking about it all the time but—”

“It’s not weird,” he says. “Nothing about this is weird, Mark. You are not weird. It’s just that, sometimes, you’re too straightforward and I’m— I’m shy.”

“You’re shy?” Mark echoes.

“I’m shy.”

“Dude, you’re totally not, but whatever makes you sleep at night, I guess.”

“I am shy!” Jeno protests. Mark is laughing as he picks up one of the pillows on the floor and uses it to hit him on the arm. “And, by the way, I’m not the Mother Theresa of sex, so you should take everything I say with a grain of salt.”

“The Mother Theresa of— God, Jeno, how do you even find people who want to fuck you?”

He doesn’t reply. He lets Mark hit him a couple of times more before pulling the pillow out of his hold and throwing it over one of the chairs. “You’re an asshole, and I hate you, and I hope whoever pops your cherry remembers to put a paper bag over your personality before they do it.”

Mark gasps. “You don’t mean that. Lee Jeno, say you don't mean that!”

“I really don’t.” Jeno pouts, crossing his arms. “I feel bad now that I said it. I’m sorry, I would never put a paper bag over your personality.”

Mark’s smile is so big that it reaches all parts of his face, his eyes curling into half-moons, and he leans in to bury his face on Jeno’s shoulder pretty much like a dog would. “Such a cutie, Jeno!” he coos, patting his chest, and Jeno sighs loudly as he lets his head fall to the back of the couch, his hand resting on Mark’s nape.

The thing about it, really, is that Jeno wouldn’t have this any other way. He and Mark have known each other for ages, have got each other’s back in multiple situations, and Jeno really wouldn’t ever put a paper bag over his personality. He loves Mark. He really does. His backwards sense of humor, the hiccups when he laughs, his weird little rituals in the morning that clash with Jeno’s methodic ways, the doodles on his shoes, the way he’s physically incapable of throwing away pamphlets that he gets on the street, his unabashed way of thinking — Jeno loves him. Mark is his best friend, it’s obvious that he does.

Still— still. If they're best friends, why hasn’t Mark asked him? Jeno is still very much sad about it as he brushes his teeth before bed, looking at the reflection of Mark’s left foot hanging from the bed through the mirror, moving up and down and up and down and up and down because Mark has too much pent up energy in his body to just lie down and stay still.

“Do you have class tomorrow?” he asks, despite already knowing the answer. Jeno hums accordingly before spitting out the toothpaste. “Early?”

“It’s online.”

Mark sits up. Jeno can see him through the mirror, wearing one of the hoodies from Jeno’s company that he got on a giveaway once. I think this is the stupidest thing I have ever seen and I’m so going to wear it, is what Mark had said. He wears it every time he comes over, to the point Jeno never wears it himself so it's always available for him. “So can we watch a movie?” Mark asks. “Or some show, I don’t know, have you watched Snowpiercer? I don’t wanna sleep just yet.”

“You realize you’re inviting yourself over, right?” Jeno responds as he shuts the bathroom door behind himself. “You said you had to go home and write your term assignment.”

“I can always do that tomorrow, Jeno. But your 4K TV? That’s for today.”

He sighs, nodding. “Okay but, how about we just watch something in bed? I don’t want to fall asleep on the couch and fuck up my back.”

“Why? I’ll carry you to bed.”

“And let me fall to my death like when you decided to throw me over your shoulder? Keep on dreaming.”

Mark scoffs as he flops back to the mattress, crossing his arms like a small child. “That was one time, dude."

“I still have a scar,” Jeno argues, picking his notebook up from the desk. “Like, on my head, from the stitches I got. Now my hair grows all weird because you tried to kill me, and I’ll never forget it.”

Mark does not believe it, so he spends a good ten minutes with his hands in Jeno’s hair trying to look for it — maybe, maybe it has faded over time, it’s not like Jeno can actually take a look at it, it's just something Heejin had found out once in a not-so-PG-13 situation with her fingers in his hair. Which is actually really funny in retrospect, when he stops to think about it, so he just keeps browsing through Netflix while Mark inspects it, giggling to himself.

It's sort of an odd position to be, with his back to Mark's stomach, but Jeno doesn't hate it. It's actually quite comfortable like this. They should do it more often.

"Yeah, I found the scar," Mark announces. "Jesus Christ, I'm sorry." He presses a kiss to Jeno's hair and wraps his arms around his head, squeezing tight. "You poor, poor thing, I promise never to hurt you again, Jen."

With his nose pressed uncomfortably to Mark's elbow tattoo, Jeno taps his arm. "I can't breathe," he says, and when Mark drops his arms on top of his shoulders, though keeping the side of his head leaning against Jeno's, he adds: "So, Snowpiercer?"

"I'd actually rather watching The Walki—"

"No."

"Fine. You're such a party pooper."

Even Snowpiercer is a little bit too gorey to watch right before going to sleep, but Jeno manages to doze off around the third episode. When he wakes up again, the lights are off and he's lying on his usual side of the bed, closest to the window, face all but buried in one of the pillows.

He blinks, drowsily, but closes his eyes again due to the light coming from Mark's phone. The latter lets out a soft oh and locks the screen, letting it fall to the side. "Sorry for waking you," he whispers.

"Sorry for falling asleep," Jeno responds. "Wanna continue watching?"

"Nah, this is fine. I wasn't paying attention anyway.."

Jeno hums. His room's got thick, dark curtains on the windows so he really can't see much aside from the vague shape of Mark's shoulders — but the phone lights up with a notification, and Mark's glows blue for a second, big eyes watching him, his mouth hanging open just slightly before it's all dark again. He kind of wishes for it to happen again, but Mark slides the phone under his pillow.

"I—" Mark breathes you. "I wanted to ask you something."

The room's so quiet, Jeno can almost hear the sound of his own heart doing a backflip. This is it. He's going to ask him. Jeno didn't think this moment would ever come around. Mark's going to ask him to—

"When you're with someone, how do you..." oh crap. "How do you make them feel nice?"

A pause. He adds: "I know I asked this a billion times but… Tell me? Please? I'll never talk about it again. I wanna know what I have to do."

It must be the fact that the lights are out, that Jeno feels too comfortable under the covers of his bed, that they're both on the verge of falling asleep, or that Mark isn't asking about it to tease him and he knows it. For any of these reasons, or perhaps none at all, Jeno finds himself replying. "Well, um, it depends, right?" he whispers. "It depends on how you're feeling, and who you're with, but… It all comes back to the things that make you feel nice, okay? Don't ever do things that don't make you feel good." Mark hums accordingly. "Some people like stuff that others don't, sometimes you're up for things one day and in the other you're not. It's about the mood."

"Okay," Mark whispers. "It's a trust your guts kind of thing. What do you like, though? Give me examples."

Jeno hums. What does he like? He likes a lot of things. Depending on the person, he likes some things better than others, but he's not hard to please in general. But it's different, it's different because Mark is asking him, and he never talked about these things out loud. " I like— I like being touched… ?"

"Why are you asking me?" Mark asks playfully. "Why, are you suddenly shy?"

Jeno groans, reaching out with a hand to blindly push him on the shoulder before tucking it against his chest. "Shut up. It's just— I like it. When they put their hands on me. I like touching, too, but sometimes… If someone doesn't like it, I don't do it. But I always like it when they touch me."

He stays silent for a moment, and then asks: "What about you? Do you like it when people touch you?"

Mark hums. "I guess."

"You guess?"

"I feel like..." he sighs, rolling onto his back. "I don't think anyone has ever touched me in a way that matters. It feels nice, sometimes, yeah, but it's not— it's not enough. It never was. Do you think I'm weird because of this?"

"You seriously have to stop calling yourself weird, and comparing your experiences to other people's. Just stop it. You’re not like everybody else — people are different."

"Okay, mom," Mark groans. "Fuck, this is so complicated. I really just want to get laid and I want it to be good. What does a guy have to do around here to find the perfect guy?"

Jeno bites the inside of his cheek with so much force that it draws a bit of blood. "Sometimes," he responds quietly. "The perfect guy was there all along, and you were just busy trying to make the wrong ones work. But once you know— you’ll know."

Mark stays silent for so, so long that Jeno's afraid that either he fucked up for good, or the other just fell asleep. But then, Mark lets out a gasp, which startles the shit out of him, and props himself up on his elbow — for a moment, the stupid part of Jeno's mind (which comprehends around 80% of his brain mass, as told by Renjun countless times) thinks he's going to kiss him. And he waits for it. Eyes closed and all.

The kiss never lands. Why did he ever think he would, anyway? Jeno opens his eyes and finds Mark typing furiously on his phone.

"What are you doing?"

Mark's face glows blue in the dark, and he looks up at him with an excited smile. "Asking if Jaehyun wants to hang out, duh."

"Oh," Jeno responds. He closes his eyes again, turning to his other side. "Yeah, okay."

“You think that’s a good idea?”

“I mean, if you want to go out with him, go for it,” he mutters. Jeno hears it as he drops the phone to the bedside table, and lets out a gasp himself when Mark tucks his chin on the curve of his shoulder, arm wrapping around his torso.

“Do you think I’m a cutie worth Jaehyun’s time? Be honest.”

“Yeah.”

“You don’t sound like you mean that.”

Jeno pauses, licking his lips. “I think you’re beautiful, Mark,” he replies. “But most of all, I think you’re kind, and funny when you don’t try to be, and extremely smart, and too brave for your own good, and I think you’re worth everyone’s time. Anyone who thinks differently has something terribly wrong going on, and none of them are worth your time to begin with. I think that’s something you should keep in mind.”

Mark stays silent for a long while, his breaths hitting the side of Jeno’s face softly, and his fingers clench around the fabric of Jeno’s sleepshirt for a moment before he takes a deep breath, body going lax behind him as he whispers: “Okay. Don’t let the bedbugs bite, Jen.”

 

"You're jealous."

"I'm not."

"Jeno, you're jealous. You can’t say all that shit and not want me to think you’re jealous.”

"Well, that’s where you’re mistaken, because I’m definitely not jealous."

"You so are." Heejin responds as she sets her water bottle down, going back to her sit ups. "You're. Jealous. Of. Mark. Lee. Just. Admit. It."

"I. Am. Not. Jealous. Of. Him." Jeno says between his own. "Also. Fuck. You. For. Suggesting. That. You. Prick."

"Excuse me?" Heejin asks, crossing her arms tightly over her chest as she lies over her mat. Jeno takes it as an opportunity to do a few more sit ups than her, and then does the same. "Did you not spend the last hour and a half telling me just how much you think Jung Jaehyun being Mark's first is a bad idea? It's not like I came up with this on my own. I know you, remember?"

He looks around, to see if anyone's paying attention to their conversation. Heejin has a habit of being the second most indiscreet person he's ever known — the first would be Mark, of course. But Mark does it because he doesn't have a brain to mouth filter; Heejin does it because she likes embarrassing the shit out of Jeno.

"Yeah, go on, say it louder so everyone in this gym will hear," he complains. "I'm not jealous of anyone, and I’m certainly not envious of Jaehyun. I'm just— I'm looking after my best friend."

She gives him a look. He adds: "My guy best friend, God, we've talked about this. You're the only girl for me, okay?"

Heejin sticks her tongue out at him and sits up. Jeno watches as she fixes her ponytail before looking at him over her shoulder: "Jealous. Like a dumb teenager."

"I'm not, though."

"Why do you care if Jaehyun and him hook up, then?" she asks.

"Because," Jeno sighs. He sits up as well, crossing arms over his knees. "He told me stuff and I know how much it means to him, even if he pretends it doesn't. You know it, too. So excuse me if I— if I care about him. As a friend does."

Heejin lets out a laugh. "I'm friends with Mark, and I don't care who he loses his virginity to, or how that happens, for that matter."

She gets up, extending a hand for him to take, and Jeno eyes her short, painted black nails grumpily before letting himself be pulled to his feet. "Are you, perhaps, suggesting that I'm—?" he asks. "Because I'm not."

"I'm smart, but I'm not a mind reader," Heejin replies. She touches the underside of his chin. "Use your words like the grown boy you are, hm?"

"You're insufferable, actually," he sighs. “I don’t— I don’t know where you’re going with this. Actually, I do know and I don’t like it. Forget about it. Can we go to the treadmill now? Please?"

Heejin rolls her eyes, pushing his shoulder playfully — or not. Jeno sighs as he stumbles backwards, watching as she begins walking, and trails after her like he always does.

 

It’s not that he thinks Jung Jaehyun is a bad person, much to everyone's (or Heejin's) surprise.

He’s not. He’s actually very decent, in Jeno’s opinion. Jaehyun is kind, Jaehyun is caring, Jaehyun has given him all of his notes for a class that Jeno had signed up to at the beginning of the year — he was a great senior. Jaehyun is very nice. And he’s very tall. And he’s very handsome. And he never skips leg day.

But Jeno never skips leg day, either. He bites down on the straw of his boba tea a little bit too aggressively as Mark inspects the new wheels he got for his skateboard.

“Friday, then?” Jeno asks, because he can’t help himself. Mark nods as he turns the package around in his hands — his nail polish is chipped, almost entirely gone because he’s got a habit of biting it off when he’s distracted. Dude, you got nail polish on your fucking teeth, Jeno tells him sometimes. Why are you looking at my mouth?, is what Mark always replies, winking teasingly. “Where are you going?”

“A club.”

“A club? For a first date?”

“It’s not a date,” Mark replies as he looks up. “His friends are going to be there. I’m done with dates, I want it casual.”

Jeno slurps his milk tea loudly — Mark winces. He doesn’t like that kind of noise, or chewing noises for that matter. Jeno lets go of the straw. “Sorry. I thought you wanted it to be romantic.”

Mark’s ears become red as tomatoes, he looks forward to the street in front of them. The street lights bounce off his glasses, and Jeno had offered to drive him around today, but he said no. You should take the bust more often, Jeno!, he said. Mark is the kind of person that is never going to get a driver’s license because he doesn’t want to be responsible for bad traffic, and because he cares too much about his carbon footprint. “I never said that,” he replies. A bus passes by, but it’s not the one they need. The ground shakes beneath Jeno’s feet because of it. “I’d rather it be casual. I can just say that I’m bored and he’s going to be like let’s go to my place, then, and I’m going to be like hell yeah, and then I'm going to take his clothes off.”

A beat of silence. Mark scratches at his own cheek awkwardly.

“Do you—” he pauses. “Do you wanna go, too?”

Jeno gapes at him. “Are you asking if I want to join you and Jaehyun—”

“No!” Mark exclaims. Now the blush has spread to his cheeks, too, and Jeno feels his face getting hotter too. “God, Jeno. Monkey brain much?”

“I’m sorry,” he replies exasperatedly, averting his gaze. Jeno spots their bus at the distance and gets up. “I got distracted. Do you want me to crash your date? I don't want to be a third wheel. It was bad enough that one time you were going out with Kim Hongjoong and dragged me everywhere.”

“There’s going to be other people there, though! You must as well find someone for yourself. I'm literally helping you out here.”

The bus stops. Mark shoves the wheels inside his bag and grabs Jeno’s tea that he had forgotten on the bench. “Like, think about it. Cha Eunwoo. What do you think, hm?”

“Cha Eunwoo and Kim Mingyu have been together since last spring break.”

Mark gasps. “Say what, now?”

“Mark, everybody knows that,” he responds, glad that Mark is now too distracted by that new discovery. Jeno reaches out to get his cashbee from his bag and hands it to him. They have matching ones — My Melody for him, Kuromi for Mark. It started out as a joke in middle school but eventually progressed into a thing; Jeno has a drawer full of trinkets Mark has given him through the years. “Seriously, do you live under a rock? It’s all Mingyu posts about on Instagram.”

Rolling his eyes, Mark pushes past him to get in first, and Jeno is giggling as he trails after him. When Mark sits down, leaving the spot by the window for him, he crosses his arms tightly over his chest. Jeno nudges him on the side.

“Don’t be mad at me, you love me too much for that,” he taunts.

“I’m not mad at you,” Mark pouts. “I’m mad that Mingyu is off the market. Like the mark-et, if you get what I mean. Fuck. I thought they were just very good friends.”

Jeno groans. What do all these guys have that he doesn’t? Literally nothing. Maybe he should start pulling more weight at the gym, then Mark would realize he is still in the mark-et.

Actually, he has always been in the mark-et. There's no point in denying it to himself anymore. He, Lee Jeno, has always been in the mark-et — he just didn't know that before. Now all he has to do is make Mark realize that on his own, because Jeno is sure as hell not telling him any time soon.

Leaning into his side, Mark asks: “You got a stupid look on your face. What are you thinking? Did you want to kiss Mingyu, too? I don't blame you, I think we all did at some point.”

He doesn’t respond. Jeno leans his head against the window. The city passes by quickly on the other side of the glass, a kaleidoscope of colors, and Mark drops his head to his shoulder, a comfortable fit.

“You don’t have to go if you don’t want to,” he says at last. “I just thought I’d feel more comfortable if you were there.”

“Then I will,” Jeno replies. “I’ll be there if you want me to.”

Mark nods. His hair tickles Jeno’s cheek. “Neat. You should let me do your makeup!"

He does. When Friday comes around, Jeno waits patiently as Mark, perched up on his lap with bony knees on both sides of Jeno’s hips, dabs a bit of glitter on his eyelids and applies eyeliner on him — “I always thought that the word guyliner was stupid, but doesn’t it sound so cool when you say it?” —, highlight on his cheekbones, all the things Jeno could do himself but would rather have Mark doing it. Back in the day, when Jeno was still coming to terms with the fact that he doesn’t have to violently reject femininity in order to present himself the way he feels comfortable with, it was Mark who taught him the ropes of winged eyeliner.

“This makes your face look even sharper, did you know that?” Mark asks as he holds Jeno’s chin between his fingers, gentle but assertive. He presses his face so close that Jeno can feel his minty breath on his cheeks, holding the eyeliner pen up in the air in order not to mess his work up, and squeezes Jeno’s cheeks. “Oh, if looks could kill~ my sexy little Jeno.”

“Shut up, loser,” Jeno mumbles, closing his eyes.

When he opens them again, they’re at the club, and he’s got the second drink of the night in his hands. All before that was a blur. Jaehyun’s friends are older, all of them tall and beautiful, very much like Jaehyun himself — Jeno spends some time chatting with Minghao about architecture, watches as a couple that he doesn’t know heavily makes out at their table, and gets up to find himself something stronger to drink.

He’s lost track of Mark by the second round of shots. The latter had been giggling at everything Jaehyun was saying, squeezing at his biceps with a hand because he’s flirting and— and Jeno wasn’t looking. He wasn’t paying attention. He was just looking out for a friend, okay? He wanted to make sure that Mark wasn’t drinking too much, that he wasn’t doing something he’d regret later, that he knew Jeno could and would throw a punch if needed.

Admittedly, Jeno isn’t all that guilty that he’s searching for Mark in the crowd. He doesn’t know any of these people, it’s only natural that he does so — downing the last of his drink, Jeno thanks the barman and heads to the staircase.

The club’s a two story building, crowded bar and neon lights downstairs, more private booths upstairs. He makes his way past the people by the stairs and goes up, trying to ignore all the couples — and throuples and so on, who is he to judge? — making out, and lets out a sigh in relief once he spots a familiar mop of pink hair.

Surprisingly, Mark’s not with Jaehyun, but alone, sitting at one of the private booths with his phone in a hand and a drink in the other. He looks up when Jeno pulls away the tulle curtain and smiles. "Hey, you,” he says.

“Hey, yourself,” Jeno responds as he sits down by his side. “Where’s your date?”

He shrugs, tongue poking at his cheek. “Had to pick up a call, it’s been a while. Hey, did you know that Jaehyun works at that place you told me—”

Jeno isn’t really paying attention — it isn’t Mark’s fault. Usually, Jeno pays attention to everything he says, sometimes even more than Mark deserves because he’s got the stupidest ideas every once in a while, but now, Jeno leans sideways on the back of the couch and watches him.

He meant what he said the other night. Mark is beautiful. If Jeno had to make a top 10, no, a top 5 of attractive guys, Mark would deserve the third spot. Hell, maybe he'd even score the second. When he gets rid of his old sweatpants and big hoodies, when he puts own shirts that actually fit him and brushes his hair — he’s pretty cute. He’s pretty and cute, Jeno thinks, and he’s really worth anybody’s time. He reaches out to brush off a bit of concealer that Mark hadn’t blended in completely, almost mechanically.

Mark doesn’t even realize the motion, too engrossed in his own talking, but holds onto Jeno’s wrist out of habit, brushing his thumb against the thin skin of his pulse. “And then, obviously, I told Johnny that—” Mark gestures vaguely, his drink threatening to spill out. Jeno pulls the glass from his hand and takes a sip, Mark giving him the stinky eye. “Yo, that’s Jaehyun’s.”

“Not anymore, no,” Jeno replies.

“That’s actually so unsanitary,” Mark rolls his eyes, pulling at Jeno’s wrist until he scoots closer, their shoulders touching. This close, he’s able to see the very faint lip gloss Mark had put on smudged on the corner of his mouth.

“Did you kiss?” he asks, genuinely curious. Mark frowns for a moment, and then laughs it off, shaking his head negatively. “No?” He takes another sip. “Guess I’m more acquainted with Jaehyun’s saliva than you, then. How do you feel about that?”

Mark groans, eyes fluttering close. “I think that’s it’s still so unsanitary,” he repeats. “God. Remember when we both kissed Yangyang? Like, ten thousand years ago on that school trip? He was over the moon.”

“No,” Jeno shakes his head. “What I remember is that I kissed Yangyang, and you got mad that I did it first, so you kissed him, too. And then he was over the moon.”

Mark waves it off, muttering something about Jeno having a biased take on the facts because Yangyang used to have a small crush on him, and he still hasn’t done anything about his smudged makeup, so Jeno reaches out to brush off that bit of gloss on the corner of his mouth. But Mark moves right before he does that, Jeno’s thumb pressed to his bottom lip — it’s soft and pink, just slightly shimmery, and his lips part for a second, breath coming out in short puffs.

It takes too long for Jeno to retrieve his hand, too long for it to be an accident, but he’s drank a few and the lights are too dim and he can feel the slight stickiness of Mark’s lip gloss on his thumb, so Jeno admits: “If Jaehyun hasn’t kissed you yet, he’s crazy.”

Something shifts. He swears it does. Perhaps it is the whole world, tilting off its axis, or perhaps it’s just Mark — has there ever been a difference, to be honest? Between him and the whole world, in Jeno's eyes? —, turning to face him on the couch, his cheek fitting Jeno’s hand perfectly as he leans into the touch. “You think so?” He asks. Jeno nods. “How crazy?”

“Very. Bordering on insane, I think.”

Mark lets out a soft chuckle, his shoulders slightly shaking in amusement. This time, when Jeno presses his thumb to the corner of his mouth, it's on purpose. It's with intention, and Mark knows it, and Mark reciprocates it. "And you're not, I suppose?" he asks. "Crazy, I mean."

He shakes his head negatively, not fully trusting himself to speak — what is this? Are they really doing this? Jeno's grip tightens around the cup for a moment, but sets it to the side once Mark leans in. It rolls off the couch and to the floor; there wasn't much left in the cup, but it still soaks Jeno's shoes once it falls; he doesn't really mind, because Mark's knee presses to his thigh, unsure for a moment, before Jeno slightly tugs on his shirt and he throws a leg over his lap, settling himself on his knees on top of him. He rests both hands on his shoulders, his thumbs rubbing Jeno's neck mindlessly.

They're not kissing, but they will be soon, every hair in Jeno's body stands up in anticipation. His touch over Mark's waist is featherlight until he realizes that this is Mark; his best friend, his soulmate even, the one who has stood up for him most of his life, and the one who wouldn't hesitate to punch him in the guts if he ever did something he didn't enjoy — Jeno lets his hands rest there comfortably, fingers almost touching where they wrap around his waist. He doesn't realize he's staring, transfixed, until Mark clicks his tongue, propelling him to look up.

"So," Mark whispers, leaning in. Their noses brush against one another. "Not crazy, huh?"

"Definitely not," he responds. Up this close, he has to close his eyes before he starts looking at Mark crosseyed, which would look a little stupid he thinks. When Mark kisses him, Jeno even lets out a sigh in relief.

It's slow, very differently from the first kiss they shared so many years before, and dirty enough that his toes curl inside his shoes — Mark still kisses with a lot of teeth, but now he knows how to use them, biting down on Jeno's bottom lip until it's sore. He settles down on his lap fully, and chuckles against his mouth when Jeno lets out a gasp, shoulders shaking with laughter.

He kisses like he laughs, anyway, with his whole body and with all he’s got — he presses himself to Jeno's chest, messes up his hair, rubs at his neck with his thumb. He can't stay still, but Jeno wants this moment to last for a long time; slowly, he slides his hands under Mark's mesh shirt, wrapping them around his small waist. His skin is soft and almost too hot, nothing he didn't know before, but it's different to touch someone with intention — and they both have many. But for now, Jeno just holds onto him like delicate china, like porcelain. It's probably too delicate to his liking, as Mark's fingers curl at the back of his hair, tilting his head to the side with a hand on his chin, holding him in place — Mark is delicate in all the right places and rough in whatever remains, and Jeno shivers as he angles his head just right, licking behind his teeth, causing a soft sigh to fall from Jeno's lips before swallowing it.

"Jen," Mark whispers to him, lips brushing his jaw. "Jeno, Jeno— where did this come from?"

He closes his eyes, leaning the side of his face against Mark's hair as the latter peppers kisses to his neck. Jeno feels stupid and giddy and hot, and can't help but pull him even closer, one hand resting on the small of Mark's back before dipping lower. "I don't know," he sighs. Has he always wanted to kiss his best friend? Nope. Does he think he's a fucking idiot for not trying it before? Absolutely. "Do you like it?"

Mark hums in agreement. It could be the lighting in the booth, but when he leans back, his cheeks are flushed and his lips shimmery — he's so gorgeous, it makes Jeno feel stupid for not realizing just how much before this. Before he can stop himself, he leans in to lick at the seam of Mark's bottom lip, just to get a taste of it, and lets out a sigh himself when Mark's tightens fingers on his hair, pulling at it slightly. Jeno lets out another content sound.

"What are you doing?" Mark asks, though he could be asking what they are doing. Jeno has no idea either, but when he tilts his chin up in an offer, Mark still kisses him, and kisses him, and kisses him until they're just breathing against each other's mouths.

He doesn't know how long they stay there, faces pressed together, his hands pulling Mark impossibly closer. The world could end and he wouldn't know, he'd only know the warmth of Mark's skin under his shirt and the familiar press of Mark's thumb against his throat, as if he's taking note of every hum and sigh and little noise that threatens to spill from Jeno's lips as they kiss. He dips his head forward, nosing at Mark's jaw lazily.

"Wanna make you feel good," Jeno admits. "So good, can I, Mark?"

Mark's breath hitches, his knees squeezing Jeno's hips out of reflex. "I can't believe you're asking," he whispers back. "Fuck, that's hot— I hate you. Are you serious?"

He pulls at Jeno's hair to get his point across, the latter muffles a whimper against the skin of his neck. "Of course I am," Jeno replies. He doesn't believe just how good Mark smells, or that he's spent twenty years without him on his lap — there are very few things Jeno wouldn't give him right here and right now, but he settles for pressing his lips to Mark's throat, feeling his Adam's apple bob up and down as he swallows. "Want it so bad, I mean it. All these guys— they're not good enough for you."

Mark lets out a laugh — or a sigh or a moan, could've been any of the three —, pinching the back of his neck. "And you are, I presume?"

Humming, Jeno bites down tentatively, dropping his hands down to Mark's thighs when he squirms in his lap. His skin is salty between Jeno's teeth. "I can be so good if you let me, I'll show you just how much," he presses his tongue to the bruise for a moment, as Mark lets out a shaky breath. "I'm so patient, I waited so, so long for you to come around—"

He expects Mark to react — to taunt him or kiss him senseless, but the latter grows stiff in his lap, straightening his back as he leans away from Jeno's touch.

"You... Waited?" he asks.

Jeno frowns. "Mark—"

"What," he adds. "Am I a fucking prize for you to win or something? Because you're so nice, because you're so different— you think you deserve a reward for it?"

Jeno's mouth feels dry, as if he had swallowed a bunch of sand — what is he talking about? Mark's hands curl into fists over his shoulders before he uses them as leverage to— to get off from Jeno's lap.

"I didn't say that," Jeno tells him, although he doesn't try to reach out. "I didn't mean that."

Mark crosses his arms tightly over his chest as he steps away from the couch. "'Cause you're the last person I thought would be like this,'' he continues. "I'm so— is that what you really think of me?"

"What?" Jeno asks in shock. "I'm not— I don't understand. You don't understand, so if you just wait so I can—"

Shaking his head, Mark uncrosses his arms for a moment only to reach out for the jacket that he had left on the couch.

"It's fine, I should've expected this," he snorts. "I'm so stupid, I don't know why I thought I could trust you with this."

He doesn't have words for it — he can't bring himself to move. Jeno is fully aware that if he doesn't get up right now, if he lets Mark walk past those curtains, it's over for them tonight. It might as well be over for good.

But Mark's words echo in his mind, as if somebody has replaced the music with that awful conversation just to taunt him. You think you deserve a reward? Is that what you think of me? I don't know why I thought I could—

"Mark," he calls, tongue heavy with guilt. "I didn't mean that when I said—"

"I know what you said!'' he exclaims. "I heard everything you said, and I was enjoying it, but I'm not anymore. Okay? Not anymore."

He nods, lips shut. Mark pinches the bridge of his nose, his eyes pressed closed. After the longest minutes of Jeno's life, he finally opens them, looking down at him.

"I'm leaving now," Mark tells him. "Go home, Jeno. Or stay, whatever, just don't follow me."

"Wait, can we talk?" he asks instead.

Mark shakes his head, turning around. "Not today."

He disappears through the curtains. It takes a few seconds for Jeno to follow, but by the time he stumbles out of the booth and gets to the staircase, Mark is already making his way through the dancefloor — with Jaehyun in tow.

Sighing, Jeno picks up his phone.

 

"Jaemin? Hi, it's Heejin. Are you busy?" she lets out a long hum. "It's Jeno, he's here. I just wanted to let you know that he's with me. No, it's fine, I can drive him home in the morning. We’re about to go to sleep anyway."

Jeno blinks drowsily from where he's sitting cross-legged on her bed, a towel on his shoulders and his hair dripping onto it. Between the two of them, he knows that Heejin is the one who can hold him up in the shower — he and Jaemin had gone through too many accidents over the years to trust each other while drunk. He hears Jaemin's voice through the phone, reminding him he has to drink lots of water, and Heejin cocks an eyebrow at him and points to the water bottle by the nightstand. He nods before reaching out for it.

He didn't want to be a nuisance. If he could go home on his own, he would — it's not that he's pissed off drunk. Jeno doesn't drink like that. But something in his stomach has turned upside town and his lungs feel small, so small it's difficult to breathe. Heejin crosses the room to brush her thumb under his eye as she bids Jaemin goodbye. She says:

"Have you ever noticed—"

"Matching eye mole," he adds. "I know. Love that for us."

She lets out a chuckle, patting at his cheek. "Do you want to eat something?"

He shrugs.

“Do you want to sleep?”

He shrugs again.

"Do you want to talk?"

He nods. Heejin sits down by his side, squeezing at his shoulder. "I just—" Jeno breathes out. “I didn’t think that he’d be so upset. I was— I don’t know, I was trying to make him feel comfortable, make him feel hot, I thought it was gonna work, but it didn’t. I feel weird.”

Heejin nods. “Just because something works for you, it doesn’t mean it works for everyone else. You can’t control what the other person is going to think or feel, and how they’re going to react to it, so give him time to understand that, too.”

Sighing, Jeno grabs the towel and starts drying his hair. The moment of silence lasts for about thirty seconds before Heejin nudges him on the ribs. “I have to add, though, that—”

“Yes, you were right, I got the hots for him, I was jealous as shit, and now I’m fucking miserable because he’s upset and he’s with Jaehyun right now,” Jeno deadpans. “Are you satisfied? Did I forget something?”

She presses her lips into a fine line before saying; “I was just going to point out that I’m proud of you for calling me instead of going home to sulk on your own and therefore worrying the shit out of everybody else, but whatever makes you feel better, dude. Let it out, Jeno, let it all out.”

Jeno closes his eyes with force. “God. I need to learn how to shut up.”

“But, now that you admitted that out loud, wanna talk about it?”

He throws himself back to the mattress, the heels of his palms pressing to his eyes. “You don’t understand. Seriously, you don’t. I— I touched his mouth, and I just—” he gestures vaguely. Heejin lets out a snort. “Heejin, I’d do anything for him. He’s got me fucked up and I...” Jeno sits up, so fast it gives him whiplash, and reaches out to wrap his hand around Heejin’s wrist. “I can’t our friendship fuck up, I have to fix this, I have to talk to him.”

“Tomorrow,” Heejin adds. “Or the day after that, or next week, or whatever. You look like shit and you need to sleep. Also, he’s probably…”

Her voice dies out. Jeno presses his free hand to his face, groaning. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to say that,” Heejin whispers, rubbing a thumb over his knuckles. “Hey, it’s Mark. He’s never gone a day without talking to you, it’s not like he’s going to disappear. Just give him time and use that time for yourself, too.”

He nods, averting his gaze. The clock on Heejin’s nightstand tells him that it’s far too late to do anything, even if he had the energy too, so he just lets her tuck him into bed and they stay there, lying down side by side until the sound of Heejin’s breaths lull him to sleep.

In the morning, Jeno steals one of Heejin’s oversized shirts and sweatpants and shoves his clothes inside a plastic bag — he’s well aware that he looks ridiculous, and Heejin’s roommate kindly muffles a laugh in her first when he walks into the kitchen to prove it. “Good morning, Hyejoo,” he mutters, and she gives him a sympathetic smile, which is more than she’s ever done with him the entire time they’ve known each other.

“There’s eggs in the fridge, help yourself,” she replies instead, but Jeno shakes his head as he fills a glass with water. “What, you’re not gonna eat? She’s going to be really mad when she hears about this.”

“Which is why you won’t tell.”

“I won’t?” she hums. “Who knows.”

“Please, I have work to do,” Jeno sighs before taking a sip. It’s not a lie — he has a Zoom meeting with Renjun in two hours, which means he has to prepare himself now, and then a dozen projects to look over, and then a billion emails from Doyoung to reply. “I’ll be off your hair in two minutes.”

Hyejoo hums, unfazed, and resumes typing on her computer. She’s a sweetheart, anyway, even though she kicks Jeno’s ass too frequently on Mario Kart for it to be considered a healthy one-sided rivalry. It’s fine. Heejin’s friends’ distrust of him go way back to the very, very brief time they dated, and he doesn’t mind. He washes his glass and squeezes Hyejoo’s shoulder on his way out.

The ride home is humiliating. Well, not really, but Jeno keeps his eyes closed in the Uber and only opens them once he’s a few blocks away from his apartment, ending the ride to buy some painkillers at a drugstore. He considers hair bleach but tells himself that it’s always a stupid idea to do it while upset, so he walks home in too familiar steps, scrolling down through his email inbox to see if he’s missed anything important while he was busy with his tongue down Mark’s throat last night.

He’s in the middle of typing out a rushed answer to one of his coworker’s emails when, stumbling out of the elevator, Jeno’s gaze falls upon a figure sitting on the floor next to his door.

“The floor’s dirty,” he says, in classic Jeno fashion.

“And your pants are too short for your long ass legs,” Mark responds, in classic Mark fashion.

Jeno looks down — indeed, Heejin’s pants don’t even reach his ankles —, and then up at him. Mark scratches at his cheek thoughtfully, and they stare at each other for some time before asking, at the same time: “Can we talk?”

He nods. Mark gets up from the floor — he’s wearing his usual attire, skinny jeans and a hoodie, barefaced and damp hair, with just the tiniest bit of makeup left forgotten on the corners of his eyes. When Jeno walks up to the door to put in the code, he steps away to give him space.

“Do you want, I don’t know, something to drink? Water? Juice?” Jeno asks awkwardly once they step inside, kicking their shoes off at the entrance. He’s grown so used to Mark bolting into his home unannounced — back when he still lived in a dorm room, he’d do it too, Jeno would leave class to find him profoundly asleep in that goddamn cheap bed. You don’t even have a key, he’d say. Bold of you to assume I’ve never learned how to pick a lock, Mark would reply. Now, it’s different, it’s so different, and the corners of Mark’s lips curl up just slightly, it’s awkward for him too.

“It’s fine,” he mutters, heading to the couch. “I know you only got that beer I don’t like and energy drinks, anyway. I drank the last Mountain Dew the last time I was here.”

“Well, there’s always tap water.”

Mark gives him a look, and it’s almost like it was before. Jeno sits down on the other end of the couch, pulling his feet up the cushions and turning to him.

“First of all,” he says, just as Mark begins saying: “I came here because—”

They both laugh awkwardly. Mark presses a hand against his cheek, his big eyes staring at Jeno, and the latter gestures to him. “Go on.”

“Okay,” he takes a deep breath. “I don’t like leaving shit unresolved with you. We’ve never been like this.”

Jeno nods. “I don’t like it, either.”

“So…”

He stays silent for a long while. Mark, who never knows how to shut up, stays silent for a long while. Jeno asks: “Can I go?”

“Please,” Mark whispers.

Alright. He’s doing this. Jeno takes a deep breath. “I didn’t… Okay,” Jeno breathes out. "I didn't want to have sex with you because you were a virgin, and I didn't want you to have sex with me because I thought I deserved it. I wanted to do it because I wanted you, regardless of anything and everything else. That’s it.”

A beat of silence. Mark's mouth opens and closes a couple of times before he replies: “Well, that was a very blunt way to put it.”

Jeno nods, a bit embarrassed. Mark does too. "Okay, so,” he clears his throat. “It was difficult for me to understand the difference between you wanting me for me and you wanting me because I never had anyone else. It’s just something that was in the back of my head the entire time and then I kind of— it went off, I don’t know. I didn’t know how to react, and blew things out of proportion.”

"Thank you for telling me that," Jeno says. "I'm sorry that I didn't make myself clear enough, that I made you feel like you were— like you were a thing to be won or something. I was saying things because I— because I thought they would, you know," he gestures vaguely, his cheeks growing hot with awkwardness. "Make you feel something, but I didn't think it would make you feel uncomfortable, and I'm sorry that I ended up doing just that."

Mark nods. He shifts in his spot, his fists curled up over his lap before he relaxes his hands, his gaze somewhere between them on the couch. "I liked it," he mutters. "I was enjoying it, but then I thought you were implying something that made me feel, like, really bad and awkward and out of place suddenly, and I—" he pinches the bridge of his nose, inhaling a long breath. "I didn't think that I could feel that way, especially with you, and the fact that I was— I was on top of you, dude," Mark muffles a laugh against his hand. Jeno presses his own lips together in order not to laugh, but he's always though it's so hard not to accompany Mark in it. "I don't know. It was too much at that moment. I feel better now, but I’m sorry for freaking out on you."

"What? Don't be!" He responds immediately. "No, hey, don't say that. We're talking. This—" Jeno motions between the two of them "Is what we should've done from the start. I'm sorry for thinking with my dick."

This time, Mark lets out a full laugh, hitting his shoulder with a fist familiarly. "I think we were all thinking with our dicks, Jeno," he adds. "It's okay. Now that we’re talking, it’s okay. More brain functionality and less dick activity between us in the future."

They both stay silent for a moment, and Mark presses his lips into a fine line. "I mean, I'm not saying that I'm opposed to other sorts of dick activity—"

"Oh, my God," Jeno brings both hands to his face. "Shut up. Just shut up, please, now is not the moment."

"I didn't say anything too critical!" Mark yells, pushing at his shoulder with a hand continuously. "You’re such a two-faced little shit. What was that, by the way? What was that thing you said? I can be so good for you, I'll show you how much. Lee Jeno! You've never even held my hand before saying all that!"

Jeno's face is scalding hot in his hands, his back's muscles pulled taught like a bowstring, and Mark is laughing. This is the worst day of his life. Years from now, this is going to be one of those moments you remember and your face immediately scrunches up in embarrassment, no matter how long it has been. He takes a deep breath.

"You liked it," Jeno responds, in an attempt to fight for his honor. He drops his hands to his lap only to find out that Mark's cheeks are just as red, so it’s not as mortifying as it could be. "You wanted to hear that. You don't fool me, you're a whole Leo."

Feigning offense, Mark rests his hands on his hips, cocking an eyebrow at him."And?"

"And I know you," he laughs. "You can’t shame me for anything. Bet you'd cream your pants if I said that again."

Mark scoffs, although he looks away. "Your hubris will be your downfall, did you know that?"

“Well, joke’s on you, I have no idea what hubris means."

With a roll of his eyes, Mark gets up. Jeno's heart sinks.

"Wait, are you leaving? I was just kidding."

"I'm—" Mark shrugs, scratching at his arm the way he does when he's feeling unsure. "I didn't really expect us to have a heart to heart when I decided to come. Like, obviously, I knew something would come out of it, but…" he shrugs again. "I thought it'd be bad. I thought that, when I left after, there wouldn't be a reason to come back."

Jeno picks up his heart from the floor and puts it back on its place. He says: "I'm assuming there's a reason now, then."

"Yeah," Mark replies softly. "Why wouldn't there be one, you silly thing?"

He can't help it — Jeno smiles. Mark points at his TV: "I mean, that's a whole 55 inches, man. I can't give it up this easily."

"Leave," Jeno tells him, closing his eyes as he lets himself fall back to the couch. "I hate you, don't talk to me again, just go."

Giggling, Mark picks up his bag from the floor, and Jeno cracks an eye open in time to see him sliding into his shoes, and closes them again.

A minute passes, and then two. Then, then— very much in the same way he did at the club, Jeno gets up, stumbling with whiplash as he bolts to the door, and by the time he opens it, Mark is already halfway into the elevator. He holds onto the doorstep, keeping himself from falling, and asks: "Will you call?"

Mark holds the doors open with his shoulder, half of his face visible. Jeno would spend the rest of his days kissing his rosy cheeks, his freckled nose and stupidly soft mouth, but he'll stay here for now.

"What kind of question is that?" Mark laughs. "Of course I will."

 

Simply put, Mark never lies, so Jeno knows he'll call.

He pretends he's not anxiously waiting for it by keeping himself busy with work, to the point Renjun has to actually drag him out of Doyoung's office, his small hand curled on the back of Jeno's neck like he's a kitten — and Renjun is very strong. Jeno will never give him shit anymore. Aside from that, he bothers Jaemin. You know I love you, but I’m going through finals, dear, he says. You're lovely, you’re not the answer to my exams. Jeno had offered to help him study, but fears that Jaemin has already blocked him as an extreme measure.

The catch is, if Jeno doesn't find a way to keep his mind busy, he'll be thinking about it. He'll be thinking about seeing him again.

So. Yeah. Jeno sighs to himself as he begins another set of sit ups, keeping an eye out on his phone on the coffee table. If Mark knew just how much he wanted him to call, he'd do it out of pity. No, that's actually very sad — Jeno just wishes he knew how much.

Around the third set of sit ups, his phone lights up. Jeno drops it on the floor twice as he tries to swipe at the call quickly, and then pressed the device between his ear and shoulder. "Hi?" he says, trying to catch his breath, and clears his throat. "Um, hey. It's Jeno."

"Oh, really? My bad, I was trying to reach Jaemin."

He snorts. "Who is this, anyway? Donghyuck?"

"Fuck you, Jeno," Mark laughs. "How's it going?"

Jeno reaches for a towel and dabs it against his forehead, shrugging even though Mark can't see. He's not about to let him know that he'd been waiting for this call more than anything. "I'm good, thanks. Any exciting news from Markland?"

"Got through my finals," Mark replies with a dreamy sigh. "Took the very last exam on this delightful Friday evening, can you believe that?"

"Well, that's awesome for you. Should we celebrate?"

"Mmhm..."

"Is that a yes or a no?"

"Celebrate with you?" Mark asks. "I don't know… I think it's a solid maybe for me— fine, that's mean, I'd love to. Fried chicken and Netflix?"

Jeno rolls his eyes, resting his chin on a hand. "You're finally graduating, don't you want to do something fun? We do that all the time."

"No, I want your 4K TV."

"We could, like, go to a pub. Drink and dance. Have fun."

"Or order takeout, buy some wine and have fun at home."

"But Donghyuck's band is going to play at that pub where Bomin works tonight! They're actually pretty good — he might even dedicate a song to you if he’s in a good mood. Are you going to miss that?"

"Jeno," Mark says, very slowly. "I want you to invite me to your place so we can be, like, alone. As in, you and I, and nobody else."

"Oh."

"Take your time, though, I'm very patient. I can be here all day."

"Come over, then." he promptly says.

"Hm, Should I, though?"

"C’mon, Mark."

The latter hangs up. Jeno stares at his phone, shocked, until a notification lights up the screen — swiping at it, he's met with a picture of Mark, winking at the screen with a bottle of wine in his hand. He's at the convenience store nearest to the campus, the one whose bathroom Jeno has puked far too many times while Mark patted his back — you know what they say about the kind of drink they give out at campus parties, Jen. Don't you fucking trust them. Jeno calls him again.

"I believe that’s a poor choice of wine."

"It's what fits my budget and it's not up to discussion because we have drank worse things before," Mark says. "I'll be there at eight. Don't be late, or I’ll be very upset."

"I live here. It’s not like I could be anywhere else."

"Don't be late!"

"Mark, I live—"

He hangs up once more. Jeno sets the phone on the floor, lies down on his back, takes a deep breath. The clock on the wall tells him he's got two hours and twenty seven minutes until Mark comes around. Plenty of time for him to take a shower, tidy up the place, and then spend the remaining time overthinking this. A true classic! He presses the heels of his palms to his eyes for a moment, trying to calm his heartbeat, and then gets up.

 

Once he has showered and all dishes have been washed and put away, as well as all lost socks in the couch been retrieved and there are no more clothes thrown around his room, Jeno takes out his nicest glasses of wine and polishes them just for the sake of it and, well, because he has nothing else to do — it feels funny, odd even, to clean up because Mark is coming. When has he ever? Why did he do this? He might as well just be going insane.

i don't think you are going insane, Jaemin tells him through text, as Jeno curls up on his couch. He's most probably on a Pomodoro break. i think you are just nervous bc you realized the ginormous crush you've had on him ever since he got rid of the braces :D a win for markno nation ig heejin owes me like $50

Gasping, he responds: YOU WERE BETTING ON ME????????, and then adds: The braces weren't that bad, we all had them. Leave him alone >:(

see?, Jaemin writes. you just proved my point. chill out and have fun and brush your teeth before u kiss him bye luv

Jeno throws his phone to the side with a sigh. He hasn't really thought about it — well, he has, but it's mostly fruitless daydreams. Does he want to kiss Mark again? Yes, terribly. Does he have a solid plan on how not to ruin their friendship after their very awkward moment? No, sadly. Is he far more worried about what he has to do in order to see Mark's cheeks blushing that exact tone of pink again? Most definitely. Then again, Jeno has never claimed to be a fully functional pansexual man, and as Mark would say, fuck you for expecting anything else.

His phone lights up with a notification and Jeno picks it up in hopes to see Jaemin again, but a bye luv is a bye luv and he's probably busy studying. It's just some stupid Instagram notification about a contact joining the app. He sets the phone on the coffee table and lies down sideways on the couch, sighing. He truly does feel like a dumb teenager.

Finally, finally — the front door opens. Jeno sits up so quickly he gets whiplash, and Mark is laughing as he pinches the bridge of his nose. "Chill out, it's just me!" he says, kicks off his shoes at the entrance.

Yes, it's just you, Jeno wants to respond, but words fail him. He brushes it off. "Hi," he says, finally. "How are you?"

"Not at all different than how I was two hours ago," Mark replies with a grin. Jeno rolls his eyes. "I'm a bit hungry, though. Got anything interesting here?"

"I thought we were going to order food?"

"But I'm hungry for snacks," Mark pouts, rubbing at his stomach as he heads to the kitchen.

Jeno's heart is pounding inside his chest, so much it hurts — by the time Mark comes back with a bag of chips in hands and throws himself on the couch by his side, he hasn't moved an inch. Mark raises eyebrows at him as he pulls the bag open.

"Cat got your tongue, Lee?" he teases.

He's wearing a hoodie that's too big for him, probably Johnny's, and the collar and hood seem sprinkled with water. "Were you caught up in the rain?" he asks instead.

Mark shakes his head negatively, shoving a bunch of chips inside his mouth. "Just a bit as I got out of the subway on the way here. Forgot my umbrella at Mina's, like, a month ago and never got it back."

"I'll lend you something dry to wear," Jeno reaches out with a hand to touch his shoulder, the fabric slightly damp under his fingers. "You're going to catch a cold like this."

Humming, Mark sets the bag down. "I'm fine, though, but okay," he mutters, and raises both of his arms.

"Seriously?" Jeno asks. He nods. "You're so lazy."

Mark pouts. "My fingers are dirty because of the Doritos. C'mon, be a dear and help me out."

He stays still as Jeno pulls the hoodie over his head, but as he folds it neatly, Mark scoots closer, licking his fingers as his elbow digs to Jeno's side. "Thanks," he smiles. "I don't need another hoodie, though."

"You don't?"

"Nah, you're warm enough."

Snorting, Jeno elbows him on the side to gather the remote and a blanket, given that Mark is far too comfortable curled up on the couch like that. He then makes a quick detour to the kitchen to grab the glasses, but he and Mark end up sharing the bottle like they used to do when they were younger — the wine is bad, that much is given, and it's soon enough left forgotten on the coffee table, Jeno licking the bitter taste from behind his teeth with little interest in the movie Mark had put on.

The situation altogether is very similar to what has brought them here, except that, this time, Jeno is far too aware of the way Mark's arm presses to his own to be able to focus on anything else. His phone is lost somewhere between the cushions, he's ahead of work for the time in months so Renjun or any other coworker can't bother him, and Jeno faces a small yet revolutionary newfound truth about himself: he wants Mark to turn around and lick the taste of that cheap wine from his lips until it's gone, to cradle Jeno's face gently in his hands, to reclaim the space in his arms that's always been his. He wants it so much it makes him feel dizzy, the side of his face pressed to Mark's hair and his eyes closed in hopes that he'll soon be able to think straight again.

"Don't sleep on me," Mark whispers. One of his hands finds Jeno's arm and squeezes it. "I prohibit you from doing that. We’re not even an hour into the movie."

"I'm not sleeping," he responds. Mark gives his arm one more squeeze before shifting in his place, bringing a hand to touch his jaw, and Jeno can’t stop himself before leaning into the touch, and widens eyes at himself — Mark’s face flushes pink under the glow coming from the TV screen as a smile slowly creeps across his lips. Jeno stutters: “What are you looking at?”

“What are you looking at?” Mark retorts. "The TV is right there."

"I'm not interested in the movie."

"You're not?"

Jeno shakes his head negatively, and Mark closes his eyes for a second, taken aback. He curls his fingers on the front of Jeno's shirt. "Let me tell you something," he whispers, and Jeno hums to let him know he's listening. "When I kissed you first, I didn't do it right."

"It felt pretty right to me, though?".

"Shut up," Mark opens his eyes. "Just let me do it again. Let me kiss you, Jeno."

Jeno thinks he might have breathed out an embarrassing please, but loses track of his actions the second that Mark kisses him. His heart beats so loudly inside his chest that there's no way Mark can't hear it, but anyway, would it be a shame, at the end of the day? Jeno wants him to know how much he wants this. He moves closer, one hand on the back of the couch for leverage and the other curled on the back of Mark's neck, and lets out a long sigh when Mark's tongue presses to his bottom lip, his mouth hanging open instantly.

Where did this come from? When has Jeno started to want this so much? It feels both terrifying and exhilarating to be held like this, to be pulled closer and to be kissed like this. Jeno wants him, and Mark knows it now, otherwise he wouldn't let him get this close — it doesn't matter where or when or why it started, to be quite honest. Now that Jeno is here, he can't imagine himself anywhere else.

"Jeno," Mark whispers, both hands cupping his face. He's still so close that their lips brush. "Jen— fuck. I didn't do it."

"What are you talking about?" Jeno breathes out. He presses a hand against Mark's chest, pushing him down on the cushions, and unceremoniously climbs on his lap. Mark lets out a nervous giggle, his face flushed, a hand curling on the front of his shirt to pull him closer.

"That night after the club," he responds, once Jeno's lips are pressed to his jaw. "Jaehyun and I, we didn't."

He leans back, just a little. "Oh. I thought you—"

"I know."

"So…"

"Don't let this get to your head," Mark warns him. He cups Jeno's face, a thumb brushing the space under his swollen bottom lip mindlessly. "But nothing happened between us."

Jeno frowns. "Why?"

At that, a laugh erupts from Mark's lips. "Isn't it obvious?" he asks. Jeno doesn't reply. "God, you're stupider than you look."

"You like stupid, though," he argues, and Mark rolls his eyes as his thumb brushes Jeno's lip. His tongue timidly presses against it, and he holds back a smile at the loud, sharp breath Mark inhales. "Why? Say it."

"'Cause it wasn't you," Mark responds, barely a whisper. "'Cause every time I closed my eyes, you were there. Every time that he—" he lets out a sigh, Jeno's lips around his finger. "—every time he touched me, I kept thinking of how you did it— fuck. You got to my head. I was so mad at you."

Humming, Jeno releases the digit, lowering himself until their breaths mingle. "How mad?"

“Absolutely furious.”

He grins. He doesn't only feel good, he feels great — he feels fucking powerful. It's like nothing else but this makes sense anymore; the fact that Mark thought of him, and the fact that Mark wanted him, and the fact that he hasn't been the only one thinking about the shape of a mouth, the imprints of a hand on warm skin. It shouldn't come as a surprise. They've always been so similar; isn’t that what everyone says about them?

Jeno is still smiling when Mark kisses him again, his fingers curled on the back of Jeno's hair almost painfully. Their teeth clash together in an awkward manner, Mark trying to hold him in place with his hands, whispering things that he doesn’t understand, or perhaps they weren’t meant to make sense in the first place.

“Can we—” Mark sighs, brushing the hair off Jeno’s face just as the latter’s hands had started venturing under his t-shirt. “ Just—, um, like, bed?”

He stops. “Are you sure?”

“Yeah? I mean…” Mark squirms under him. “We barely fit in here, I don't want you to fall off. And, um—" he pinches Jeno's shoulder, which makes him yelp. "Stop looking at me like that."

Jeno laughs: "I'm not doing anything!"

Rolling his eyes, Mark bats his hands away from him. "C'mon, off to bed we go. What do you have a king size for, anyway?"

He pushes himself off the couch, extending a hand to Mark to pull him to his feet. “For you to hog all my blankets and kick me out of the bed, naturally,” Jeno replies. Mark pinches his waist as he gets up, and bolts towards the corridor leading to Jeno’s room when the latter tries to retaliate.

He's not in the dim lit room when Jeno arrives despite him seeing Mark walk in there, which renders him confused for a moment until a pair of arms wrap around his torso, Mark's mouth pressed to the back of his neck. He's braver when the lights are off, hands sliding down Jeno's torso, dipping just below the waistband of his underwear, and his stomach does a somersault as Mark peppers kisses on his nape.

"Are you drunk?" he asks in a whisper when Jeno turns around in his hold.

"No," he replies. "Are you?"

Mark shakes his head negatively. His eyes are two pools of pitch black that Jeno so desperately wants to drown into — he's taken aback by the feeling for a moment, staring at him in silence, and Mark presses both hands to his face to peck him on the mouth before leaning back.

"Take off my shir," he says.

"Huh?" Jeno tilts his head to the side. "You like bossing me around or something?"

"I think I do, yeah," Mark replies, sounding surprised at himself. His eyes double in size. "Do you like it?"

He hums in agreement, taking a step towards him, and despite all his smooth talking, Mark closes his eyes as soon as Jeno's fingers graze the hem of his shirt. He raises his arms above his head and soon enough the shirt is discarded to the floor, Jeno's hands resting on his back and him leaning in to brush his lips against the spot where Mark's shoulder meets his neck, revelling in the way he lets out a shaky breath.

"Don't be shy," Jeno tells him. "There's no need."

"I'm not," Mark responds. He pinches his neck and presses a hand to Jeno's chest, pushing until the back of his knees hit the edge of the bed. He falls on his back, rather uncomfortably, and Mark muffles a laugh against his fist. "Fuck, I didn't mean to do that."

"Sure you didn't, Mark," Jeno mutters, feigning annoyance. Mark mocks him under his breath as he scoots closer to the center of the bed, and the mattress dips when Mark presses a knee to it, unsure of what to do. Jeno motions for him to come closer. "Come here "

He crawls up to him and Jeno kisses him until he relaxes, skin warm under his touch, trying to memorize every bump of Mark's spine at that very moment. Sighing against his mouth, Mark's hands curl around the fabric of his shirt, tugging at it insistently.

Jeno leans back to shrug it off, and lets out a yelp when Mark pushes him down onto the mattress, hands on both sides of his head and knees around his waist. "Hey, you," Jeno mutters, resting hands over his ribs.

"Hey, yourself," Mark responds with a grin.

They kiss for a little longer, with Jeno's fingers mapping out the extent of his back and lower, Mark sighing against his mouth as their hips press together. Then, Jeno succeeds in rolling them over. Mark's back hits the mattress softly and his lips fall open, surprised as Jeno raises himself above him, but doesn't say anything — keeps looking up as Jeno brushes his thumb over a mole on his cheek, only closes his eyes when he leans in to press his lips to the one right above his eyelid.

His fingers try to find something to hold, to no avail, naturally, nails scratching at Jeno's back, and he muffles a moan against the crook of Mark's neck, something hot and familiar pooling at the pit of his stomach. "Sorry," Mark whispers, unaware of it.

"It's fine, I like it," Jeno admits.

Mark lets out a soft "Oh," and rubs one of his hands up and down his back before sliding it to Jeno's hair once the latter presses an open mouthed kiss to his neck. "I'll remember that."

God, Jeno hopes that he does. There is so much about him for Mark to learn — that it makes Jeno shiver when he pulls at his hair or scratches his back, that his chest is sensitive, that there's a spot right under his jaw that can get him all hot and bothered, and it's fun. It's fun to feel Mark's wandering hands on him, fingers pressing tentatively, lips brushing Jeno's timidly as he seeks his mouth for another kiss, as if he can't get enough. It's the beauty of getting to know someone like this, anyway; Jeno is buzzing under his skin, eager to know the little secrets of Mark's body, what makes him squirm, what makes him speechless, what will make him think of him when he's alone late at night. He wants it so much that he feels on fire from that feeling alone, so much that he doesn't know what to do with himself except push himself to please.

Well, he has to start somewhere, right? Jeno lowers himself, trailing kisses from Mark's jaw to the column of his neck, where he nibbles for quite some time — has he spent his entire life without doing this, really? —, and then to his chest. At that first slide of his tongue, Mark lets out a nervous laugh, the sound echoing in the room and a hand flying to press to his mouth. "Fuck, I'm sorry," he whispers. "I'm not laughing at you, I swear, I'm— I'm nervous. You make me nervous."

"Why?" Jeno asks. He drums his fingers on Mark's ribs, watching and feeling as his chest rises and falls, flushed pink adorably. "It's just me."

Mark closes his eyes with force. "Exactly," he responds, and guides Jeno's hands to the waistband of his jeans.

In hindsight, perhaps Jeno should've put more effort into preparing himself mentally for this. Once Mark lays there, in his underwear, one arm thrown over his eyes, and his bare thighs hot under Jeno's touch, it's like his brain is shutting down.

Mark being a furnace isn't news to him, but Jeno's never had him like this — skin burning where he touches him, firm flesh under the pads of his fingers. It's maddening, really, all that heat. He can feel his own body warming up, beads of sweat down his back, but doesn't have the courage to get up and open the windows. Every second away from Mark sounds like the worst sacrilege, and although not considering himself religious, he doesn't want to try his luck. Jeno gives the side of Mark's thigh a reassuring squeeze and leans in, dropping a kiss on his lower stomach.

He hasn't forgotten how it felt to put his hands around Mark's waist that night back at the club — in all the years they've known each other, he wouldn't exactly call Mark small, in fact, they're pretty similar in comparison, but Jeno could easily lose his mind in his narrow waist. "You're gorgeous," Jeno tells him, kissing the space under his navel. "Did you know that?"

"I've been—" Mark's stomach tightens up for a second before he breathes out loudly, and Jeno hides a smile on his hip bone as Mark's hand comes to rest on his hair, tugging at the strands lightly. "I've been told that, yeah. Got any news for me, cutie?"

Nodding, Jeno presses small kisses to his hip. "You're gorgeous," he repeats. "And I'm gonna rock your world."

Mark lets out half a chuckle, half a moan. Jeno is going to make him feel so good — he's going to make him feel fucking stellar, so that later on, when Mark is alone, he's going to look at the bruises on his inner thighs and think of him, and how he made him feel. He's honestly never felt more motivated, pulling the fabric down. There's nothing he could think about other than the way Mark tastes, the jut of his hip bones when Jeno holds him down, the sounds he makes with Jeno's mouth on him.

"Holy shit, you—" Mark hisses. His back arches beautifully, fingers tightening around the strands of Jeno's hair. "You— Jeno. Fuck."

"Hm?" he pulls away for a moment, voice hoarse. "What? Cat got your tongue?"

Mark doesn't reply. He's got a hand pressed to his face and a red flush spread out on his chest, rising and falling with labored breaths. Jeno can't know for sure to which extent Mark's inexperience goes, but if no one had gone down on him before— well, that's a shame, Jeno could be here all day.

"Don't say that," Mark says in a whisper. "Please. I can't when you say those things, you have no idea what it does to me."

Well, he hadn't realized that came off his lips, but in a sense, Jeno is glad that it did. "Just remember I mean every word," he responds before taking him in again.

Everything else in the world at that moment is plain white noise. Jeno would love to enjoy it further, but can't help but let out a whimper himself when Mark tugs at his hair a tad too harshly, pulling him off. "If you don't stop—" he says in a high pitch tone, then clears his throat. "Like, I'm seriously not gonna last."

"But I was having so much fun," Jeno complains, resting the side of his cheek on Mark's thigh. The latter pulls at his hair again.

"Jeno," he breathes out. "Fuck. Just come here already, damn it."

Dutifully, he does so, but not before taking the time to bite down on his thigh, which earns him both a moan and a light slap to the side of his head. "You're awful," Mark mutters as he crawls up to him.

"Am I really?"

"No," he sighs, cupping his face with a hand and pulling him into a kiss, but pushes him away just as quickly. "Two words: ew, dude."

Jeno laughs. "For your interest, that's you."

"Stop talking, oh my God," Mark sighs. He pats Jeno's cheek. "Get naked, we're doing this."

"So romantic," he snorts, despite pushing himself off the bed anyway. Mark mimics his words under his breath as he scoots up the mattress and throws the blanket over his lap. Jeno raises an eyebrow as he kicks off his sweatpants. "I've already seen and put all that in my mouth, there's no no need to be shy."

"Be quiet or I'll literally devour you, Jeno."

Jeno cocks his head to the side, hands on his hips. "And if I said I'm looking forward to that?"

Mark rolls his eyes, drops his gaze on him, looks away, does a double take, and then silently does the cross over his chest. "Thank you, dear God, for every day I walk this earth as a gay individual. I shall not disappoint. Amen."

Well, that's him. Jeno wouldn't expect Mark to say anything different at the sight of him naked. He climbs up the bed to give him another kiss before reaching out to the drawer on his bedside table, gasping once he feels Mark's mouth pressing to his shoulder.

"Don't act so surprised every time I touch you," he whispers against Jeno's skin. One of his hands timidly snake around him, resting over his chest. "Wanna make you feel good, too. Learn what you like."

"You feeling good makes me feel good," Jeno tells him, turning around. "Just lie back and relax, ok?"

Mark pouts. "But—"

"We've got plenty of time for everything else," he continues. "But, today, I'm all about you. Please let me."

Finally nodding, Mark lies down, looking up at him with eyes this big, and Jeno flashes him a smile, reaching out with a hand to gently tap his chin. "You're saying cute things because it's going to hurt as fuck," Mark accuses.

Jeno leans in to nose at his cheek lovingly, lips brushing the warm skin there. It's almost like he can taste the pink of his blush. "I'm not going to lie to you," he says, and Mark lets out an exasperated sigh. "But we don't have to go all the way today."

"I want to, though."

"You sure?"

"Are you gonna make me spell it out?" he asks, and Jeno laughs against the crook of his neck as Mark pulls him closer with insistent hands. "Lee Jeno, I am 100% sure that I want your dick in my virgin ass. Is that clear enough for you?"

"Crystalline," Jeno murmurs, a little embarrassed, and bites back a sigh as Mark wraps a leg around his hip. In a spur of courage, he says: "I got you, baby."

"Yeah, you got me," Mark repeats in a whisper, to no one in particular, dropping his head to the pillow.

 

"Mark," Jeno calls. "Are you awake?"

"Yup," Mark replies quietly after a few seconds. Neither of them move, Jeno's cheek pressed to his bare stomach and one of Mark's resting on his hair — every now and then, he scrapes at Jeno's scalp, the pads of his fingers searching for that old scar unconsciously, but he hasn't done that in quite a while, so Jeno figured he had fallen asleep. "What's up, cutie?"

He smiles, turning his face to press it against Mark's skin. It's still warm and flushed, but mostly because of the bath Jeno had ran for him. "What now," Mark whispers. He brushes the hair off Jeno's face. "Just say it."

With a sigh, Jeno kisses his stomach. Mark lets out a small giggle, and so he asks: "Mark, are we in love?"

A long pause. "Like, have we been in love the entire time?"

"I don't know," Mark replies, sounding puzzled. He lets go of Jeno's hair to raise himself on his elbows, looking down at him. "We're doing everything backwards. What the fuck am I supposed to look forward to if we already had sex?"

Jeno hums, tracing a finger down the side of Mark's waist and giggling when the latter tries to squirm under him. "Marriage?"

"You wanna—" Mark lets out a snort, patting Jeno's head with hand. "Fucked me once and you wanna marry me? Damn. What are you going to do when I top you?"

He's laughing at his own joke, but Jeno raises himself on arms and crawls up to him, lips pressed into a fine line, his eyebrows raised. Mark looks up at him.

"What, now?" he gasps. "Jen, I don't have your stamina. And you told me I was ridiculous that one time I said you hit the gym to take dick—"

Jeno rolls off him, landing on the mattress on his back, and Mark immediately rolls after him, throwing an arm around his waist so he doesn't get up the bed. "I'm just kidding," Mark mumbles, pressing kisses to his shoulder and pulling him closer. "I'm seriously just kidding, just give me a few minutes. And maybe you can introduce me to your protein shakes later, no?"

"You are ridiculous, though," Jeno tells him, though halfheartedly. "You're the most ridiculous person I've ever met."

"And you love me," he replies rather smugly, throwing a leg over Jeno's own and pressing his face to his collarbones. "And you want me, and you called me "baby", and you said you wanted to marry me."

Jeno feels his cheeks getting hotter by the second: "How embarrassing," he mutters. "Guess you know me better than myself."

Humming in agreement, Mark rubs a hand over his chest lazily, and Jeno tries his best not to react, since they're just talking, for God's sake. Maybe he should try to learn how to stop thinking with his dick.

"I do, yeah. Don't worry about being embarrassing, though, I'll still wife you up."

"Hey, hotshot, how about you take me on a date first?"

"Mmhm, I'll think about it. Should I bring flowers?"

"But, Mark, what about my allergies?"

"Oh, that's right," Mark replies, and when Jeno turns around in his hold, he pouts. "Well, so much for trying to be romantic. I promise I'll think of something else."

"Don't be silly," Jeno closes his eyes, whispering: "There is only so much you could do that I wouldn't like. I'll love anything you do, as long as it doesn't threaten my well being and overall life condition."

Mark snorts. "Loser. Where's the fun in engaging in anything non life threatening? It's like you don't know me."

Jeno opens his eyes only to wink at him. "Can't kiss you if I'm dead, can I?"

Groaning, Mark brings a hand to his hair, tugging at the strands teasingly. "Stop stealing my pick up lines, God. Had I known you can be such a tease…"

Jeno hums, quite pleased with the reaction. He lets himself be petted and smothered for a while, Mark kissing him open mouthed and lazily. The curve of his waist has been proved to be the best place for Jeno to rest his hands on as Mark climbs up him, the blankets sliding off his broad shoulders completely, and though Jeno has seen plenty of him already, he can't help but enjoy the view a little bit more. His hair sticking up in weird places, his skin still flushed pink and gorgeous, the plane of his chest and the faint marks that Jeno has left behind. He's gorgeous, and Jeno wouldn't be able to say anything to his face if he wasn't sure he's incapable of letting a day go by without speaking to him. He trails a hand up Mark's side, watching as he squirms on his lap and sends him a glare, and lets out a laugh, his palm pressed to Mark's bare stomach for a moment. Jeno has decided he really likes it here.

"A penny for your thoughts?" he prompts.

"You know I'll share them with you for free," Mark replies. He inhales deeply when Jeno's thumb brushes the space under his navel, and then reaches out to grab a hold of his hand, keeping it tightly locked between his fingers. "I don't know. Thanks, I guess."

Jeno bites back a smile. "How eloquent you are at times, hm?"

"Don't tease me right now," Mark warns him, squeezing his hand. "I'm serious. I've had enough."

"Or else?"

"I'll eat you up," he threatens.

"I told you, I'd like that."

Rolling his eyes, Mark shrugs. "I don't know what to say."

"You don't have to say anything right now. Save it for our date."

Squinting, Mark lets go of him and leans in, his hands on both sides of Jeno's head. Just for the sake of it, Jeno turns his face to the left and presses his lips to the side of Mark's wrist. Before he can look up and say something witty or stupid that would probably earn him one pinch on the nipple or other type of classic Mark attack, the one in question lands a loud kiss on his cheek.

"Thanks for being my first," he whispers, mouth pressed to Jeno's ear. The latter smiles happily, throwing his arms around Mark's torso to pull him closer, and that's when he adds: "If it had been anyone else, I'd find a way to virginize myself again just for you, Lee Jeno."

Jeno breathes in. Breathes out. Mark is giggling against his ear as if he knows. "You just ruined a perfectly good and tender moment." Jeno mutters. "Seriously, what the hell."

"Are you surprised?"

"Honestly?" Mark nods. "Not at all," Jeno responds, turning his head to the side to give him a kiss that's more teeth than anything, Mark smiling happily against his mouth. As familiar as it can get.

 

cherry popping operation

 

mark | 10:41

jaem u were so right

 

jaemin | 10:42

trust me, i know!

...

about what, may i ask?

 

jeno | 10:45

;)

 

[ missed video call from jaemin ]

[ missed video call from jaemin ]

[ missed video call from jaemin ]

[ missed video call from jaemin ]