Alistair woke up grumpy. He'd been in a bad mood for--he checked his watch--fifty-two hours straight. It all started when his conference had been canceled due to a strike at the hotel. He'd been looking forward to presenting his paper and getting some honest feedback from his peers. He'd traveled all the way from Dallas to Chicago before he found out. Then he had to make his way home. The airline hadn't gone out of its way to help with the change of flights. He'd just wanted to get home, crawl into bed, wrap himself around Mark's familiar, comforting warmth, and forget all the aggravation. Having to witness Mark entwined with some pretty-boy whore, in Alistair's bedroom--it had not helped. At all.
He swung his legs over the side of the bed, fumbling for his glasses on the bedside table. Mark was still sleeping, or maybe faking it, to avoid a rehash of the night before. Alistair didn't feel inspired to start up again either. What was there to say? What new insight had either of them gained overnight? Neither would stop being a top, neither would magically be comfortable bottoming, and they were both still going to want to have penetrative sex with somebody, at least on occasion. Mark had been sloppy maybe, but if Alistair was honest, it was nothing he hadn't done before.
Alistair remembered back when they'd first met. Mark had still been married and pretty determined to fight the attraction they were both feeling. Alistair hadn't pushed; it wasn't his place. But the night Mark had finally turned up at the condo, physically shaking from frustration and need, Alistair hadn't turned him away. Hadn't considered it. Mark wasn't perfect, and he wasn't easy--but he was worth it. He and Alistair just seemed to see everything the same way. The same things were beautiful, and the same things were funny, and the same things were sad. Hell, even the same things were hot in bed, and that's why they were in this situation.
Alistair was the one who hadn't bothered to call ahead; he'd been too tired and frustrated, and that was his own problem. His own stupidity. He shouldn't blame Mark for something he had done so many times himself. He pressed a gentle kiss to Mark's bare shoulder.
"You going to work?" Mark's voice sounded genuinely groggy--apparently he hadn't been faking sleep.
"I might as well. Tariq's covering for me on the cases, but it'll be a good chance to get caught up on paperwork."
"You work too hard." It was nothing new. Mark didn't sound critical, or even concerned; he was just stating a fact.
"I enjoy it, most of the time." It was Alistair's standard response. He wondered how many of their conversations were recycled like this. They had been friends before they became lovers. One of the things that had drawn them together was their ability to talk freely and honestly. It didn't feel as if that ability had changed, exactly--but maybe they'd just run out of things to talk about. Or maybe they'd just gotten past the stage where they had to have deep, thoughtful conversations about every little thing. They knew each other well enough to use their own shorthand and save their energy for the bigger issues.
"Don't stay too late." Mark rolled over, his beautiful blue eyes squinting in the morning light. "You want to go out for dinner? I'll pay."
"Yeah, all right." Alistair felt the familiar clench in his stomach. Mark would want to go somewhere so outrageously gay that there was no chance of anyone from his former, straight life seeing them. They'd eaten in a gay strip club on more than one occasion, to the dismay of Alistair's digestive system and his self-respect. Or if Alistair insisted they go somewhere more mainstream, Mark would withdraw completely, offering no physical contact and barely any conversation. Alistair would rather stay in, but that seemed like admitting defeat. Mark had given up a lot, lost a lot to be in this relationship; the least Alistair could do was to give the guy a little time to adjust to his new life. "You're a big spender."
"That's right." Mark pulled himself upright and found a spot on Alistair's shoulder to give him a reciprocal kiss. Then he rested his forehead there. "I'm sorry about last night."
"Yeah. Me too. I overreacted."
Mark just shrugged, then shifted a little, working his mouth down over Alistair's bare arm. "It's nothing either one of us wants to see." He kissed across to Alistair's torso, slow and sweet. It was clear where he was heading. Alistair certainly had no objection, sliding around to make the path to his swelling cock easier. Mark might be new to the gay life, but he was a fast learner; his blowjobs were something to encourage and enjoy.
Alistair's abs tightened as Mark kissed across them and pushed the elastic of his pajama bottoms down out of the way. Alistair lifted his hips enough to facilitate the shedding of clothing, but his mind was elsewhere. As Mark closed his lips and worked his tongue, Alistair was thinking about the night before, the surprised, fuck-dazed look on the face of the beautiful stranger, then later, the way the man's muscles shifted as the arrogant bastard bent to pick up his clothes, the faint gleam of lube on his ass when he'd stretched for his shoes. Alistair groaned as Mark's lips tightened. His hips jerked forward, then again. His cock hitting the back of Mark's throat was the perfect complement to his imaginings. He thought about the stranger braced up against the wall, his fingers clawing for a grip as Mark drove into him, the man's tanned, muscular back arching and trembling. Jesus, maybe he'd made a noise, maybe his breath had caught with every thrust, and now it wasn't Mark's hips pistoning in the fantasy, now it was Alistair's--his cock sinking deeper and deeper into the hot, slippery flesh, his hands pulling the stranger back, trying to hold him steady. He could picture--could almost feel--the desperate writhing, the way the man would have used his strength not to challenge his partner but to encourage him. When Alistair came, he wasn't sure whether it was Mark's mouth or the stranger's ass that milked him dry.
He pulled Mark's head up, their kiss sloppy and relaxed, an ending, not a beginning. Mark's grin pulled their lips apart. "Damn, that didn't take long."
Probably best not to explain why. "You want a turn?"
Mark's smile was hot enough to pull Alistair out of his mind and back into his bedroom. "I wouldn't say no."
"I don't think you ever have." Alistair shifted himself around to find a better position.