Nothing to Forgive by Lee Brazil

Un-fucking believable. Marc's gall made my stomach churn. If either of us should experience nausea…after what he did, that freaking asshole, it should be him.
Nothing to Forgive
Nothing to Forgive by Lee Brazil
Of course, if life really were fair, I'd be standing at the apartment complex pool with a hot young thing by my side and Marc would be dripping wet with water from a half hour swim trying to work his frustrations out. But no, because life isn't fair. Marcus Berdahl has way too much luck, good looks, and fuck, too much everything. That left me to work out my excess anger, energy, and plain God damned sexual need, while he basked in the late evening sunshine and accepted some fruity pink drink from the too-young, too-blond boy toy he'd picked up while I traveled to Houston on business last month. Honestly? It wasn't even the fucking boy that bothered me so much. It was the damned echo of Marc's voice in my head from the argument we'd had before I left for Houston. The lease on his apartment was up. He had to re-sign and bitched about the hike in rent. I told him to give up the lease and move in with me. I was only half joking, but his answer destroyed any humor I felt. I'd woken up to those words. Typed them in reports. Doodled them on my napkins at lunch. They haunted me. But the golden boy toy made a mockery of them. Scratch that. He made them into flaming double-edged swords. Because really, if I was too young at just turned thirty to consider settling down with a forty-nine year old man for a life partner, then what was with golden boy moving into Marc's place while I was gone? Huh? My replacement was barely twenty, if that, judging from appearances. I shouldn't even have glanced in their direction, but my gaze was drawn to Marc just as it always had been. I moved into this complex over a year ago and my first glimpse of Marc in his Speedo, stretched out across one of the generic white plastic loungers, had swamped my senses then just as it did now. I didn't expect him to shove his sunglasses up into the blond waves of his hair and call me over. Completely ignoring the fact that he had apparently noticed me staring at him, I shook the water from my hair and grabbed my towel from the chair nearby. I started to wrap the blue terry cloth around my waist for the trek back to my apartment, but decided to hell with that. I had nothing to be ashamed of. I might not be twenty-one, but I'm in great shape. Passing Marc and his toy on my way out the door shouldn't require that I cover anything. I stalked over to the gate near them. Marc reached out and caught my hand as I passed. When his voice tried to hammer its way through the blood rushing in my ears, I shook him off with a glare and kept my head high as I cast what I hoped was a scathing glance from Marc to the toy and back again. Voices murmured in the background as I marched off to my apartment in a seething rage. I'd thought Marc and I had something special. I hadn't even regarded his refusal to move in with me as a real obstacle in our path. I thought that sooner or later I'd coax him into accepting the idea that he was my one and only. Who the hell cared about age? Inside my apartment, the flashing lights on the answering machine drew my gaze again. I had three messages. Those same three messages had blinked tauntingly at me for the last week. I didn't want to listen to them. Only a few people even had my landline number. I clung to the unnecessary convention of a home phone out of some nostalgic respect for the party line I grew up with, maybe. Everyone except my mom, my grandmother, and Marc used my cell phone or email to get in touch with me. The odds were that at least one of those messages was from Marc. I didn't want to hear his stupid explanations or excuses or brush-off speech or whatever had compelled him to call me. On the other hand, if there were something wrong with either my mom or my grandmother, I'd never forgive myself for not returning the call. I was tempted to just give them each a call anyway, and pretend that the machine was malfunctioning and I never got their messages, but… But I was pissed and I pressed the button. Marc might have said something that would fuel my anger, make me forget the sensation of his hand on my arm at the pool. I needed that, because every time I walked into my apartment, the memories overwhelmed me. Here was where I cooked for Marc on our first date, where we kissed for the first time—hell, for the last time, though I didn't realize it then. Here was where we'd made love, laughed, teased through football games and golf tournaments, scoffed at news reports, and slept through movies. I had three more months on my lease, and no intention of renewing it. I'd loved living here before, but now it was hell. The first message was my mom asking about whether I'd visited her sister on my trip to Houston. The second was a generic message from the cable company about a planned service outage. The third froze me in place. As expected, Marc's voice filled my living room. The husky laughing purr was so full of sex, so reminiscent of making love with Marc, that sharp pain ripped through me. I had to play the message again to decipher any words. When I understood what he said, my fists clenched automatically. I had wanted to shore up my anger. That message did the job. What the hell was he thinking, inviting me over to meet the new someone special in his life on my first night back in town after Houston? Did he really think so little of me? The thoughts chased their way around in my head as I showered, came back again as I dressed, and I finally decided enough was enough. I shoved my feet into my favorite old pair of Vans, shoes Marc had always laughed at. He said they were fit for nothing but the trash. I swore if he touched them he'd die. These shoes, grungy with age and faded from their original brilliant red, had seen me through many years of classes, days at the beach and aimless roaming. Yeah, today I could afford better. I have a closet full of better shoes, including a pair of Ferragamos I'm terrified to wear that Marc loves. But these shoes, I bought with my first paycheck from my first real job right after I graduated from high school. I waited tables to pay my way through college in these shoes. I went on dates in these shoes. I swear to God, I maybe even lost my virginity in these shoes, but… I'm not really sure of that one. So I put on these power shoes with my favorite Levis, faded and a bit tattered, and a T-shirt I pulled from the drawer at random that I realized too late was one that Marc had left behind. Once it was on, I decided it served him right to be confronted with his shirt when he opened the door of his apartment and I ripped him a new one for his arrogant lack of concern for my feelings. I stalked out my door, letting it shut with a resounding thud behind me, not caring what the neighbors thought of the noise. Three more months and Mrs. Ergoni's cooking smells wouldn't waft through my open windows, and Mr. Sterne's weird music wouldn't shake the walls on Saturday nights. Of course, that meant I wouldn't come home to find any more delicious casseroles outside my front door, or spend any more Sunday mornings listening to Mr. S talk about his days in a New Age band, either. Which would be a shame, because I liked both of my elderly neighbors. Quirky, kind and accepting, they were good neighbors. I'd have to apologize to them in the morning. Maybe I could buy donuts and coffee and we could talk. Marc's apartment lay directly across the complex from mine. His has two bedrooms, mine has one, and his balcony is twice the size of mine. It's more than a few steps across the courtyard. But that practically-too-young-to-shave face and Marc's "You're too young to settle down with an old guy like me," kept me going, kept me furious. My knock may have been a bit more exuberant than necessary. Hell, I know it was too loud and aggressive. The guy who lived next to Marc, the one who always hugged the walls when he saw me approaching—like he thought gay was contagious—came and slammed his door shut when I scowled at him. "Fuck you, too." I snarled after him, raising my hand to pound again. Marc's door swung open and I turned to confront my ex, only to find myself gazing into pale blue eyes in a very young face, familiar blue eyes at that. "Really?" He laughed. "You're Vic. Come in." My mind processed input in rapid-fire succession, sorting images, drawing conclusions. For the first Goddamn time in over a week I thought instead of reacted, and thinking wasn't leaving me feeling very positive about myself. "Vicente Delacruz, yes. And you are?" Struggling to switch from fury to polite, to change gears, to frame an apology to the love of my life, left me nearly breathless. "I'm Gabe." Simple. As though I should know who Gabe was. I didn't. I did, however, know with one hundred percent certainty who Gabe wasn't. He wasn't Marc's new boy toy. "Is Marc in?" "He's in the shower. But you have to come in and wait. He'll be right out. He'd kill me if I didn't keep you here." The noise of a shower in the background confirmed that. Gabe grabbed my arm and tugged me over the threshold. I don't know what, other than my own stupidity, held me back. The sliding glass balcony door stood open and I wandered over to it, staring blindly out at the lush greenery Marc grew there. A sharp knock on the bathroom door, and Gabe's voice behind me confirmed my growing suspicions. "Hey, Dad, Vic is here." A renewal of anger surged through me. Dad. How the hell long do you have to fuck a guy before he tells you about his kids? No wonder he wasn't interested in moving in with me. He'd obviously already done the happy family thing. I pushed the anger aside. I'm quick tempered, and can hold a mean grudge, but I'd already fucked up jumping to conclusions and letting my emotions sway me. Anger over the lack of shared information withered in the face of what I had to apologize for. I eyed the young blond. "You have friends around here?" He turned surprised eyes on me. "Yeah. I come here every summer. I know quite a few people in the area. Why?" I drew in a deep breath. The water in the shower cut off. It was now or never. "I have some important things to talk over with your dad. Any chance twenty bucks will get you and a date out of the apartment for an hour?" Gabe's youthful laugh rippled around me. "I'll gladly do it for free. He's been a bear the whole month I've been here, missing you and waiting for you to get back from your trip." I swallowed to get the bitter taste of crow out of my mouth. Marc may not have told me about his son, but he'd clearly told his son about me, which was even more important. Wasn't it? I pulled a crinkled twenty from the pocket of my jeans. "No, here. Treat's on me. Consider it a welcome to town gift." Gabe nodded and accepted the bill, darting for the door and snagging a set of keys from the foyer table as he went. At the doorway he called out over his shoulder, "I'm going out for a bit, Dad. Nice to meet you, Vic," he added in a lower voice. The slam of the front door must have disguised the click of the bathroom door opening and closing, because the first I knew of Marc's presence was his soft, full laugh breaking the silence, a richer version of Gabe's youthful chuckle. "Hi, Vic. Glad you came by." "I..." Don't know what to say, where to start. Marc crossed the room in long strides to my side. He captured my lips in a kiss, taking my options away before I decided whether to apologize first or explain first. His lips on mine were warm and firm. The tongue that slipped into my mouth melted away what little urge to protest I had. This was Marc, kissing me as I loved to be kissed. My arms wrapped around him and pulled him closer as he murmured against my lips. "Come on into my room. He'll be gone for hours." Without the drugging kisses, I could function enough to form a coherent thought. "I need to talk to you." "We can talk later, baby. I've missed you, I need you now." Who could refuse that kind of talk? Besides, I had missed Marc as well. We were accustomed to sleeping together, to being well loved. Now, it had been over a month—for both of us it seemed—and that left me ready and willing to be seduced from my apology. And that's what it had to be. No explanation would be adequate, though I'd try my best to give one. Later, I would apologize. In Marc's bedroom, with the door securely shut, I watched him strip off the shorts and T-shirt he'd pulled on after his shower. For someone who claimed to be forty-nine, Marc wore his age well. His body was lean and firmly muscled, dotted with gloriously enticing flecks of golden hair, streaked in places on his head and chest with strands of silver. He was fit and tan, and all mine. I watched him lean back on the bed, golden skin gleaming, thick cock straining. He wrapped his hand around it and I licked my lips. "Mine. Don't touch it." I whispered, shocked at the hoarseness of my own voice, at the possessive tone. "Then you'd better get undressed and get over here," His low voice was a husky caress that went directly to my groin. I pulled off Marc's T-shirt and kicked my Vans aside. When I noticed him licking his lips and stroking his cock, eyeing me intently, I slowed down. No rush. We had time. The urgency faded, though it would probably reappear at Marc's first touch. Right now, I had all his attention, and it felt damned good to be the object of that hot gaze. I ran my hands through my hair, stretched my arms up over my head. Realizing a strip tease with one garment wouldn't last long, I cast about for something that would extend my tease. My eye caught the CD player—I've tried forever to explain the concept of an I-Pod to Marc—and I sauntered over to choose some music. "Vicente," Marc's warning growl came from the bed. "What?" I tried to sound innocent as I sorted through plastic CD cases. Marc had strange taste in music. I resolved to introduce him to Mr. Sterne. "I'm waiting. I need you." Oh, that was nice. Marc's nearly plaintive whine put an end to my game before it even started. I shoved a disc into the machine and turned it on, then made my way back to the bed with more haste. I stood between Marc's legs, ran my hand across the fly of my jeans. "You need this?" Marc scowled at me. "Don't be an ass. I need you." What the fuck? His hand pushed mine out of the way, deftly opened the buttons of my fly and pushed my jeans off my hips while I tried to decide what was going on. "Marc?" His hand closed around my cock and gave it a sharp tug. I groaned. His hands on me felt so good. Marc scooted backwards on the bed, pulling me down to lie on top of him. "You think I just want you for this?" He stroked my cock, thumb smearing drops of precum along its length. "Um." Think? He wanted me to think? "I want you. I love you. I need you. Not just for this." His hand left my cock, curled about my neck and drew my mouth to his. "But for this." His lips on mine were sweet and tender, slow and soft, and everything I would have sworn this wouldn't be. We'd been apart for a month, and sure, some of that time had been my fault, but—I expected abstinence to result in urgent, hot fucking. It should have been about relieving the need and the tension of the separation. Instead, it was about…promises. I think. It felt like a promise when Marc's lips slid softly along mine, when he refused to allow me to deepen the kiss. When he licked and nibbled and drove me absolutely insane, it felt like a promise. When he pulled my hips tighter into his and began slowly rubbing our cocks together, it felt like a promise. And when his back arched and we came together, it felt like a promise. I don't know if the promise was in the kiss, or in his eyes that refused to let mine go, but I swear I could hear it in the beat of his heart under my ear, in the thrum of the blood in my veins. "I'm sorry." I said. From the shock on his face it wasn't what he was expecting to hear. "What?" He was pushing at me, trying to get me to let him up. I didn't want to do that. I raised myself on my elbows, held his head between my hands, and kissed him. This was my kiss, my promise. "I'm sorry. I should have called you when I got home. I was mad." He sighed, chest rising and falling beneath me. "I'm sorry too. What I said was out of line." "I'm also sorry for something else." Something it just now occurred to me he probably didn't even know about. I rolled to the side and stared up at the ceiling. I didn't even have to say it. I could just pretend it had never happened. Or not. His rich laughter slid around me as his hand closed on mine. "You mean about thinking Gabe was my lover?" The heat of the blush stained my cheeks. "Yeah. That. Forgive me?" "Nothing to forgive. It was a natural enough conclusion." That was Marc. Blessed with everything. Patience, endurance, physical good looks and a forgiving nature. I sighed contentedly, curling onto my side to rest my head on his furred chest. "I love you too. I missed you while I was gone, but I missed you even more when I got back." "I didn't want to miss you, you know that?" His voice was soft, his touch as he stroked my hair gentle. "Huh." I'll bet he didn't want to miss me. "Does this mean you'll reconsider moving in with me?" He stilled, and his hand left my hair. His voice was careful and stilted. "I can't. For one thing, I already signed my lease. For another…" My heart stopped beating. For Marc to pause in his speech was unusual. Me? I stop and start and talk in circles. Marc always seems to have everything planned out and his words are smooth and sensible, all the time. "Yes?" I encouraged him to go on, before my wild imagination took over. "I'm going to be a grandfather. Gabe and his girlfriend are having a baby. Gabe's moving in here permanently." Grandfather. I said the first words that came to my mind. "We'll make awesome grandparents."

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