That night, I was waiting. It had happened at around midnight the past two nights, and although I started off pretending not to care, as the time crept around to that point, I felt myself tense up. I went into the bedroom and changed carefully into … well, what kind of lingerie does a tall, wiry young man wear when he’s waiting for his dream lover? I tried the leopard-print thong that Colin got me for a laugh last Christmas, but I couldn’t seem to walk properly with it on. I decided on the usual boxers, but while I was looking through the rest of my clean, but meagre choices, I found another pair like the ones I’d worn when “Marcus” first came to call. I couldn’t remember what’d possessed me to buy them, apart from the fact they were loose and warm at night in bed. I pulled them on and climbed into bed. Glancing down, I wondered how the hell I’d expected to attract any potential lovers with my arse covered in rainbow stripes?
I started to laugh. And just as suddenly as before, there he was.
I carefully shifted over to my side of the mattress. He stood beside the bed — on his side, as I’d started to think of it — and looked over at me. He was wearing a suit as usual, without a tie. I realised I’d never seen Marcus Armstrong outside of work, so I had no idea what he’d wear, or how he’d look. But I was sure it’d be just as fabulous.
“Hi there, gorgeous,” he said, smiling.
“Hi yourself,” I replied.
“You sound happy.”
I smiled even more widely. “You’re here.”
He flushed, but he looked pleased.
“Come on over,” I said, patting the mattress beside me. Bloody hell, could I be more cheesy?
But tonight, he was the hesitant one. “Kevin, something’s wrong.”
“No, it isn’t.” Apart from my heart beating so hard it was crowding my throat, that is. “I’m good.”
He smiled, rather sadly. “Yes, you definitely are. But I don’t mean you. I mean me.” He gave himself a small shake, like a dog trying to clear water droplets from its coat. “It doesn’t feel right anymore.”
Shit. Misery clutched me, bone deep. “That’s my fault, Marcus. I told you this was wrong. Told you it wasn’t real.” Maybe I expected him to vanish with the words, my pathetic illusion finally snatched away from me. But he remained there, gazing at me. Then he climbed onto the bed, reached over, and kissed me. Very firmly. Very deliciously. Took us a minute or two before we even came up for air.
“It certainly feels real,” he said.
I laughed, a short, shocking sound. “Works for me.” I could still feel the scratch of bristles from his chin against my jaw.
“I want you.” He ran his hand down my chest, his fingernail flicking over my nipple. “Do you believe that’s real?”
I looked into his dark, swimming eyes and felt myself drawn in so deep I thought I’d have to call for a lifeguard. His hands were steady on me, his expression yearning. I might not have known much about the real Marcus Armstrong, but no one had ever accused him of being a liar.
“Yes,” I whispered. “And you know what?”
He smirked. Honest to God, the inscrutable, intractable Marcus Armstrong smirked at me. “You feel the same?”
Told you he was bright. I rolled my eyes, but my smile told my story. Well, that and the big tent in my boxers. He pushed me firmly on to my back, and we resumed the kissing with new enthusiasm.