by N. Kaouthia
illustrated by fightfair
If Lucille hadn’t asked him, Luther Salvador would not be at this fucking stupid kissing booth.
He’d been assigned the dumb booth for the whole day, just to raise money for the orphans. Who the hell cared about the poor homeless kids? So they didn’t have food. It wasn’t any of his business. Luther had his whole life ahead of him: he didn’t need to be worried about any orphans.
Except it was three in the morning and Luther had been watching Spiderman 2, and there was nothing like being interrupted during a great superhero movie. Especially Spiderman 2.
“No,” Luther said. “You can’t boss me around. I’m–”
“You’re younger than me, dickwad,” Lucille said, and Luther wanted to punch her in the face. Just because she was a girl didn’t mean anything at all. (But honestly? Lucille could probably kick his ass five times over.) “I need you at the carnival next week.”
“Well, what the hell am I doing, first of all?”
But then she slammed the door and Luther wondered how he’d gotten snubbed at his own house.
So there he was now, at the fucking kissing booth because she decided to tell him what he was doing that morning. It looked like a fucking lemonade stand. What was he? “Luther Salvador, the King of Lemonade-Stand-Kissing-Booths”?
Well. Whatever. At least he’d come prepared. He’d brought a timer so that after twenty seconds, those girls would be out of there. He really did not want to have any more excess make-up from their faces than necessary, which is also why he’d bought mouthwash for every thirtieth girl and two boxes of Wet Naps.
Unfortunately, one of the girls he kissed had this huge pimple on the side of her lip and Luther ended up using three Wet Naps to clean his face until he felt like his face no longer had pimple germs on it.
Lucille came up to check up on him only once so far, which was completely unfair. She should be offering him food and shit because he was doing her a fucking favor, kissing all these poor, whorish babes. ‘It’s to save the kids!’ they wailed. Bullshit.
They just wanted a piece of Luther Salvador.
Which was fine. At least he hadn’t run into any of the guys on the cross country or sports team or whatever, but then again what kind of jocks (well, ex-jocks now since they graduated six months ago) went to a charity? Yeah, no one.
Unless you were Luther Salvador, apparently. Because Luther Salvador made out with girls all the time.
“I need a water break,” Luther told his sixtieth girl, five seconds into their hot, heavy kiss, which was actually just her slobbering all over Luther. “Now shoo. Vanish. Go.”
“What a dick,” she mumbled, as she got up from the chair and walked away.
“You wish your boyfriend had a– . . . never mind . . .” Luther took a Wet Nap and carefully wiped his face. “Hey, hey,” he said, to the next girl in line, who was already trying to sit down. “Not yet. I’m taking a water break, okay?”
Luther sighed and hopped over the wire, making a beeline for the water stand, where Lucille was ‘working.’ Sure. More like hanging out.
“Hey, Luther,” Lucille said, and smiled, like she just hadn’t introduced Luther to Germville. “How’s the kissing going?”
“I’m never kissing a girl again after this,” Luther promised. “Unless they’re hot and happen to model for Playboy. Double D’s, maybe.”
Lucille smacked him in the stomach with a cold water bottle. “Here’s your water,” she said. “Look, I’ll make it up to you.”
Luther grinned. “Oh, really?”
“You’re a fuckface, you know that?”
“I’m sure you’d never understand how fun it is to fuck faces,” Luther said, and raised his eyebrows at her. “Unless you’re some sort of lesbian, which isn’t too far of a stretch.”
“Go back to the booth.”
“‘Go back to the booth,'” Luther mimicked, swaggering back toward his kiosk, where the girls (or more specifically, germs) were waiting for him.
Until he saw it. It was standing in the line. It was taller than the other things in the line. It almost gave him a heart attack.
Luther rushed back over to Lucille. “Ohmygod there’s a guy in the line.”
Lucille looked unsympathetic. “That’s not my problem. Does he have a ticket?”
Luther managed to peek at the line. “Yes,” he said meekly. “He has a ticket.”
“Sorry.” Lucille smiled gaily. “You’ll just have to make out with him. Hey, look, Luther, it’s for charity.”
“What charity? The ‘Let’s-Give-Luther-AIDS‘ charity!?”
Lucille stopped smiling. “Look, Luther, you’re not having anal sex with the guy. It’s just a kiss. Try to expand your horizons.”
“Expand my horizons? Are you insane?! I’m not gay!” Okay, maybe Luther was, just a little. There was that guy Travis on the cross country/track team who was hot and had sex with Luther on the locker room floor, but the point was, Luther was not gay. Just because there was one guy didn’t mean he was suddenly gay.
(So they had had sex more than once. But then Travis had broken his leg and Luther was not interested anymore.)
“Okay, I’ll give you a choice,” Lucille said. This couldn’t be good. “Either you get back there and do your job, or I’ll rip your balls out.”
“Uh,” Luther said. “I’m going now.” He sprinted his way back and picked up his timer. “Okay, uh, next?”
Luther gave these girls an extra ten seconds. So he couldn’t completely avoid his doom, but he could put it off, right?
Unfortunately, all those seconds slipped through Luther’s fingers like sand. It was waiting just a couple of feet away, and it didn’t even look like he was about to make out with a guy. A really hot guy, but a guy nonetheless.
“Uh,” Luther said, wiping his mouth with another Wet Nap. He looked down to the ground next to his chair, and, to his distress, he’d found that he no longer had Wet Naps. How was he supposed to cleanse himself of germs now? “Next,” he said quietly.
It–the guy–came up and smirked at Luther. Smirked. “Hey,” he said. “I have three tickets. Can I exchange them all for one kiss?”
Luther willed his heart to explode from a heart attack. Maybe he could faint. No, then the–the it–might think that he was swooning in love or something, which he wasn’t. Even if the guy was kinda-sorta hot. Curly black hair and golden skin, really green eyes, like–sort of olive-green and he had these great legs like a runner.
Luther took a deep breath. “Uh, are you doing this for a dare? Or somethin’?” he asked. “I mean, you know I’m a guy, right? I mean, I look like a guy. I’m not some dyke chick with a really flat chest and, uh, I mean–I’m a guy. And you’re a guy. And–”
“Yeah, I know,” the guy said. “I’m not doing it for a dare.”
Luther resisted the urge to yell out FAGGOT like he might have done if he was in high school. “Oh,” he said. “Uh, yeah, I guess you can exchange your tickets all at one time.” Luther didn’t want to send him to the back of the line and have to kiss him another two times.
“Cool,” the guy said. “So what’s your name?”
“Uh, I’m Luther. And, uh, you?”
Luther blinked. It seemed stupid now, but he’d been expecting a name like Gaylord. Or Gay. Or Gaily. But not Clark. That was just so–not gay. “Clark,” Luther said dumbly.
Clark rolled his eyes. “What were you expecting?” He handed Luther his tickets, and Luther deposited them nervously into the ticket box. “All right, do I just sit here?” He nudged the stool with his toe.
“Uh, yeah,” Luther said. “Just sit down.” Clark smiled and sat down and oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, he was really going to be kissing some guy named Clark who was gay.
“Charming,” Clark said. “I can see why there’s a huge line for girls to come and kiss you.”
Luther felt a vein pulse in his forehead. What, was the guy saying that the Luther Salvador Man Charm was not working? That fucker. Of course he was hot! He was Luther Salvador! “You don’t think I’m hot?”
Clark chuckled. “Yeah, you’re plenty hot, Luther.”
Luther’s face twisted into an expression of horror. Oh shit. He was hot to a gay guy? Was there some way to fix that? Maybe he should ask Lucille. Or chop off his hair–maybe that would get guys to leave him alone, yeah. Not that guys hit on Luther frequently. Only creepy guys like Clark who came onto him at kissing booths.
Not that Clark was coming onto him. “Okay,” Luther said. “Let’s just–uh, get this over with.” He glanced around quickly and took a deep breath. There was only Lucille. And all those girls. Hopefully they didn’t have cameras.
“Hey,” Clark said, and Luther frowned slightly at his sympathetic tone. “Don’t worry about it. Just think of me as a girl.”
Luther opened his mouth to reply, but Clark immediately swooped down on him, crushing their mouths together.
Luther felt the eyes of the whole fucking carnival turn to him. It was like everyone had become Superman: they all had X-ray vision, and all eyes were on Luther Salvador, making out with some guy named Clark.
Luther wanted to push Clark away immediately, since the kiss was fucking over, but then Clark wrapped his arms around Luther and pulled him close like a magnet. He brushed a hand through Luther’s hair and used his lips to pry Luther’s lips apart.
Luther had never felt so violated in his entire life. But Clark was like a superhuman freak, because as much as he was struggling, Clark clutched him with a death grip.
When Clark started to tongue his mouth, Luther decided that he was not going to lose this game of tonsil hockey even if it was with a guy. Because he was Luther Salvador, and Luther Salvador did not let a guy take advantage of him like he was some sort of helpless girl. Even if it was for a “good cause.”
Unfortunately, Clark pulled away before Luther could react. Luther gaped at him.
“You can’t kiss for shit,” Clark laughed.
Luther wanted to punch Clark. Unfortunately, Luther didn’t have that much brainpower.
Instead, he grabbed Clark and pulled him in for another kiss. This time, he was fucking determined to give Clark the best straight-guy kiss ever.
And then Lucille threw a water bottle at his head.
He knew it was Lucille because a) Lucille was probably the only girl Luther knew who had an arm that good, b) Lucille was the only one bitchy enough to throw a water bottle at him, and c) she yelled out, “Luther, you fag, you’re holding up the line!”
Clark burst out laughing into their kiss and Luther almost fell over, his head hurt so much. “Take it easy,” Clark said, patting Luther on the back as he got up and started to walk away. “Don’t hurt yourself anymore than you need to.”
When Luther managed to regain his composure, Luther fumed. “Fuck you,” he said to Clark, who smiled at him like a badass who knew he was badass, and then Luther threw the water bottle back at Lucille.
Life was so unfair.
After Clark left, the girls seemed to get slimier and slimier by the kiss. Luther didn’t know what it was: their make-up or their enthusiasm or what, but they were all over him when they kissed him. It was disgusting. Sex had always been sloppy, sure, but not like this.
“Okay,” Luther said, when this girl got lipstick all over his face. “Get away from me.”
“What?” the girl asked.
“What were you thinking when you put on those pants in the morning?”
The girl stared. Luther wasn’t sure if she was going to cry or slap him, but he sure as hell wasn’t going to wait to find out. He hopped over the ledge of the stand and sprinted away, sighing in relief when the damn kissing booth was finally out of eyesight.
“Shit,” Luther sighed. “I thought I was going to–” He stopped.
Holy fucking shit, Luther thought, eyes wide. The hottest girl in the world just walked by. She wore a skirt–not a whore-skirt, but one that dropped down past her knees, like a little curtain or something–and her shirt was pretty damn tight. Now that, Luther thought, that was a body to die for.
He took a deep breath. He was pretty sure he could pull off the Luther Salvador Man Charm, walk up to her, win her over for a date or two, a night in the sack–
–and then Clark walked up behind her and put his arm around her.
What. The. Fuck.
How did Clark-the-Gay get such a hot girl on his arm, while Luther had nobody? This just wasn’t fair! Clark was GAY! Luther was single! He should be the one with the girl, not Clark-the-Gay!
Luther made a frustrated sound. Whatever, he thought. That girl could have Clark. Clark was probably a horrible boyfriend. He probably thought about other guys all the time and then they could both check out guys together and they probably thought it was “fun.” And they probably laughed a lot and Clark probably didn’t give her that stupid “haha, you’re in denial about your gay, aren’t you” smile and–
Luther balled his hands into fists. What made that girl so much better than him? He was Luther Salvador!
Luther stalked after them, keeping a safe distance away. They were walking pretty close, and they laughed a lot. Luther felt his head start to hurt. Stupid Clark, he thought. Stupid girl who was going out with Clark.
“Don’t look now,” Luther heard the girl say, “but I think he’s following us.”
Luther froze. He pretended to be looking at some random shop. His back felt very tense, and he jumped a bit when Clark laughed.
“I’ll catch up with you later,” Clark said to the girl, and then Luther shrugged away Clark’s hand when it came down to his shoulder. “Hey, Luther. What’s up?”
“I wasn’t following you,” Luther said. He glanced at Clark, who smiled.
“I know,” Clark said.
“So who’s that girl you’re hanging out with?”
Clark’s smile widened. “What,” he said, slowly, “are you jealous?”
Luther gaped at him. “Jealous?”
Clark laughed. “Yeah,” he said. “Were you jealous?”
“Why would I be jealous of you?” Luther squawked. “That girl was fuckin’ ugly!”
“You don’t mean that,” Clark said knowingly. “But I wasn’t talking about her.”
Luther furrowed his eyebrows. If he wasn’t talking about the girl, then–“Oh, hell no,” Luther said, putting his hands up in defense. “Hell. No. I was not jealous of her.”
“Okay,” Clark said, but his smile said that he didn’t agree. “So what happened to being at the kissing booth? Did you ditch?” When Luther shrugged, Clark grinned. “Lucille’s going to kill you. Why don’t I walk you back to the booth?”
“What about your girlfriend?” Luther asked, rolling his eyes. He didn’t need an escort.
“She’s not my girlfriend,” Clark said. “If that makes you feel better.” He held out his arm, but Luther just pushed him away and started walking back to the booth. “Come on, be a sport about it.”
“I meant it,” Luther said. “I think she’s hideous.”
“Sure,” Clark laughed. “I’ll see you later, Luther. Don’t worry, I’m single.”
Luther resisted the urge to yell ‘fuck you.’
Luther wanted to quit the job. But he really didn’t want to face Lucille’s wrath, which was really scary in general, even when she was calm. Luther suspected that it was only because Lucille had a thing against him. He didn’t know what . . . . Maybe it was because he made fun of how slow she ran? . . . Nah.
Luckily, just because he couldn’t leave didn’t mean he had to keep working. Instead of ditching the fair, Luther decided to make all the girls ditch his booth. He pretended to be sick: he sneezed, he coughed, he wiped his nose on his shirt sleeve. He even picked his nose a couple of times, just to make sure.
The line diminished. Girls went elsewhere to spend their tickets.
Luther let out a sigh of relief when the line went to zero. Finally. He didn’t have to do this stupid kissing thing anymore.
Luther froze. Oh god. He could recognize that voice anywhere now. “Uh, hey,” he mumbled.
“Looks like you drove away all your little fans,” Clark said, sipping the slushy he’d brought up with him. “I bet that didn’t take much of an effort, did it? What’d you do?”
“Uh,” Luther said. “I picked my nose? . . . Are you here to kiss me again?”
Clark snickered. He put his slushy on the counter and sidled around the stand. “What, you want me to?”
Luther almost had a heart attack. “No!” He waved his arms in the air emphatically, to prove his point. “I absolutely refuse to kiss you again! No! Absolutely not!” He stepped back when Clark moved forward. When Clark continued to move, Luther backed up–
–right into the fucking wall.
Clark pressed his body against Luther’s. “You really don’t want a kiss from me?” He stroked Luther’s cheek with one hand.
“No,” Luther said, but his voice was weak and his knees shook. “Get the fuck away from me.”
Clark pressed a kiss to the side of Luther’s face. “How did Lucille convince you to do this, anyway? You don’t seem like a very nice guy.” He licked up to Luther’s ear, and Luther clenched his hands into fists as he heard Clark’s breathing.
“You sound like a wild buffalo,” Luther mumbled.
There was a long silence. Luther sighed in relief when Clark started to pull away–
–and then Clark punched him in the face.
Clark either didn’t fight much or he hadn’t been aiming to hurt, but that didn’t mean Luther wasn’t pissed. When Luther took a step forward, hands clenched tightly into fists, Clark took a step back. “Look,” Clark said, half-apologetic, half-angry. “I don’t want to fight you.”
“Too bad,” Luther said, and he threw a fist at Clark’s face.
Clark caught it, but when Luther hooked one of his legs around Clark’s ankle, Clark lost his balance and toppled over onto his back. “I’m going to punch your pretty face in,” Luther said, pressing his weight against Clark’s body, and Clark raised his arms in defense.
“Come on,” Clark said. “Let’s be reasonable–“
“I am being reasonable!” Luther shouted. His arm was halfway toward Clark’s face when Clark rolled over, his legs pinning Luther down against the floor.
“Look, I acted irrationally and–”
Luther wasn’t listening. He grabbed the stool next to them so he could try and wedge it between himself and Clark, so that this guy wouldn’t be touching him anymore–
–and the slushy spilled right onto Clark’s face and back.
Luther’s hand dropped the stool. Clark sat on top of him, his face contorted in shock and confusion. He reached a single hand up and touched his neck, bringing it forward to look at it. “Oh god,” Clark said. “I smell like cherry slush now.”
Luther burst out laughing.
Clark rolled his eyes. “This isn’t funny! This stuff doesn’t wash out!” He got up off Luther and started pulling off his shirt.
“Hey, hey,” Luther said, sitting up. “Keep that on! Can’t you change somewhere else?”
“It’s going to get sticky enough as it is,” Clark said. He pulled it off all the way and wrung it out on the ground. Luther locked his eyes to Clark’s face and was determined not to look at Clark’s chest, no matter how finely toned it might be. “Ugh.” He put it back on, most of it wrinkled, and held out his hand to Luther. “Sorry about punching you in the face.”
“Whatever,” Luther said. “It was worth it to see your shirt ruined.” He grinned, but when he got up, he didn’t take Clark’s hand.
“What’s going on here?”
Luther turned to Lucille, who stood below the booth, her fists on her hips. “Uh,” Luther said. “Nothing.”
“The slushy dropped on me,” Clark said. He scratched the back of his neck. “I’m probably going to have to walk to my place and get a replacement shirt, since I don’t really want to walk around all day like this.”
Lucille frowned. “Did Luther drop the slushy on you?”
“No,” Clark said, and Luther glanced at him. Any other guy would have taken the advantage to pin it all on Luther, but Clark . . . was taking all the blame? What was up with that? “It was my fault–I went to tie my shoe, and–well, I knocked the stool over. My bad.”
Lucille rolled her eyes. “Whatever. I’ll be right back.”
The moment she was gone, Luther turned to Clark. “Hey,” he said, and he almost couldn’t believe he was saying it: “It was my fault.”
“Nah,” Clark said. “Anyway, she would have killed you.”
“And . . . that’s a bad thing for you?”
“Lucille’s wrath is one no man should have to face,” Clark said, and Luther had to laugh at that. “She’s nice to me.”
Luther shrugged. “Lucille’s back,” he said. Lucille walked up the steps, a slushy in her hand, and Luther wondered why exactly did she have a slushy when she didn’t exactly drink unhealthy stuff like–
“Oh god,” Luther said. “No. No, you are not dumping that shit on me.” He started backing away from her, but she only smiled at him. “Oh god, this is my best shirt–”
Lucille raised the cup and threw the cherry slushy at his face.
Luther stood there for a moment, breathing deeply as the slush slid down his face. “You bitch,” he said, and he used his hands to wipe away most of the slush that was on his face. “I hate cherry slush!”
“I love you too,” Lucille said. “I hope it smells good.”
Luther turned to glare at Clark, who shrugged. “I didn’t do it,” Clark said.
“You owe me a shirt, you jackass.” He took the bottom of his shirt and used it to clean his face off. “My best shirt!”
“That’s not saying much,” Lucille mumbled. Luther shot her a death glare, but her back was turned as she walked down the steps of the kissing booth. “I’m going to tend to the cotton candy. Why don’t you two go change together?”
Clark sighed. “I don’t know what’s wrong with her,” he said.
“She’s fucking insane, that’s what,” Luther said. “And don’t think you don’t owe me a new shirt!”
“Okay, okay,” Clark said. He smiled. “Come on, don’t you think this is even a little funny?”
“No!” Luther said, waving his arms in the air. Clark raised his eyebrows. “FINE,” Luther said. “Maybe a little.”
“That’s the spirit,” Clark laughed. “Come on, my apartment is about a block away.” He took Luther’s arm and started tugging him out of the festival.
Luther wasn’t sure what had happened between their first meeting and their second meeting, but Clark’s arm felt natural on his arm, like they were good friends–had always been good friends.
Maybe–but he hoped not–he was going gay.
Then again, a little voice in the back of his head said, if it was Clark, it wouldn’t be so bad.
But only if it was Clark.
“Holy fuck,” Luther said. “Your apartment is huge.” It was a two-room apartment with a full living room, a balcony, an actual kitchen, and a bathroom with a Jacuzzi and a shower in it. The first thing Luther did, though, was walk over to the bookshelf on the far wall of his living room, reading the titles. “Whoa, Calculus?”
“Yeah,” Clark said, and his voice sounded funny. When Luther turned back around, Clark was scratching the back of his neck, and there was a pink flush rising up his neck.
Luther grinned. “Are you blushing?”
“No,” Clark said. He rubbed his face. “I am not blushing.”
“What’s so embarrassing about Calculus? It’s a pretty cool subject.” At least, Luther had enjoyed it when he had been in high school. “It’s pretty easy too.”
Clark shrugged. “I’m majoring in Computer Science right now, so–I dunno. I want to be a math major, but it’s my old man’s deal . . .”
Luther went back to perusing Clark’s books, and then he moved on to another shelf of video games. “Who pays for this stuff?”
“My parents do,” Clark said. He sounded embarrassed. “I go to the college down the road, so . . . Anyway, come on, you need a shirt and a shower.”
Clark’s hand wrapped around his, and Luther sighed as Clark dragged him away. This guy was unbelievable. What, did he just happen to have a flashing neon sign over his head that read, “CLARK-THE-GAY, TOUCH ME. TOUCH ME, PLEASE”? Was that it? Because Luther was sure that he hadn’t said anything like that to Clark yet.
. . . yet? Luther frowned. He would not be saying that to Clark, ever.
“Here’s a shirt,” Clark said, and Luther looked up just as Clark tossed a shirt at his face.
“Thanks,” Luther said, breathing in the shirt. He winced a bit. “Your shirt smells fruity.”
Clark chuckled. “Thank you. The bathroom’s to your right.”
Luther took the shirt off his face and pushed open the door. He’d make the shower quick, he told himself, as he stripped. Usually he took long showers and maybe a bubble bath thrown in for a good soak, but it wasn’t his house, and Clark might walk in. It was bad enough that Luther was borrowing a shirt, but to be seen naked by Clark?
That was a little much.
When Luther was done with his shower, he took one of Clark’s towels and dried himself off. Clark’s shirt was way too long on him–it went past his waistline and down to his mid-thigh like a dress, but for now it had to do. He pulled the bottom of the shirt up to smell it again and sighed. Sure, it smelled fruity. But it smelled damn nice.
Luther slipped out of the bathroom, almost running into Clark when he tried to get back to the living room. “Hey, I’m done,” he said. “I left the shirt in . . . the . . . why is your shirt off?”
“. . . because the other shirt was sticky and I didn’t want to get another shirt sticky?” Clark smirked. “And it is my house.”
“You walk around half-naked in your house?”
“Sometimes,” Clark said. He winked. “Just think about it while I shower. It’ll keep you occupied.” Luther almost hit him, but Clark stepped into the bathroom and closed the door behind him.
Stupid Clark, Luther thought, crashing down on Clark’s couch. Stupid, stupid Clark. And his stupid gayness. Why did he keep hitting on him? Hadn’t Luther already established the fact that, while he was single, he was NOT interested in Clark?
Maybe not. Maybe he should tell Clark that he was straight. And then Clark would stop making all those dumb, inappropriate comments.
“Yeah,” Luther mumbled. “Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.” He got up again and walked back over to the bathroom door, knocking on it with his knuckle. “Hey. Clark. Clark?”
“What?” Clark said. “What’s up?”
“Hey, you know . . .” Luther leaned against the door. “Uh . . . so . . . what’s the deal with you and Lucille?”
“We were on the track team together,” Clark said. “Why? Are you interested in Lucille?”
“No,” Luther said. “It’s Lucille. She’d rip my balls out before even thinking about going out with me. I guess she’s pretty hot though.”
“She thinks you’re gay.”
Luther rolled his eyes. Yeah, Lucille thought every guy was gay. Just because they weren’t as strong and “fierce” or whatever as she was, they were all automatically gay? “Whatever,” he said. “I think she’s a lesbian.”
Clark chuckled. “Sorry,” Clark said. “I’m not laughing at you. It’s just–well, I told her that once.”
“Yeah? What’d she say?”
“She tried to stab me with a spoon.”
“That sounds just like her,” Luther said, snickering. He started playing with the doorknob. “What happened then?”
“I broke up with her.”
“WHAT!?” Luther’s hand jerked on the doorknob, and before he knew it, he was falling face-first toward the ground. He managed to roll onto his side before he smashed his nose, but the damage was done: Luther got an upside-down view of a very naked Clark.
“Holyshitsorry,” Luther said, scrambling to get up, and he slammed the door shut. “Man. Sorry.”
“It’s–uh, it’s okay,” Clark said.
“So, uh,” Luther said, trying to think about. Stuff. Like very naked ugly people. “Um. You. Uh. Lucille?”
There was a short silence, and then Clark started speaking, as if Luther hadn’t just fallen into the bathroom and seen him naked. “Only for a week or two, but then she kept trying to take over my life. And she thought I wasn’t paying enough attention to her. We were better off friends, so that’s where we are now. No hard feelings.”
“Oh,” Luther said.
“Man, uh, I’m going to take a shower now.” The water blasted on.
“Good idea,” Luther squeaked. He took a deep breath and tried to expel the idea of naked Clark taking a shower out of his head. “I’ll eat something,” Luther mumbled, walking to the kitchen and opening Clark’s fridge.
Unfortunately, there was nothing there. Except water. Didn’t Clark know how to cook or anything? Luther opened his freezer. Frozen foods? Didn’t this guy know that this kind of stuff was unhealthy for him?
“That’s it,” Luther said, rolling his eyes. “I’m going to start cooking for this guy . . . did I just say that?” Luther almost smashed his head against the fridge. Fuck. He was not going to give this guy favors. He might get the wrong idea or something, and then–then–
Luther put his hands to his eyes. He couldn’t believe that his mind was even thinking about what “wrong ideas” could lead to, and he couldn’t believe various parts of his body were enjoying these situations. They were–were wrong! He was not interested in Clark! It was–it was sacrilegious to the Luther Salvador Man Charm!
Luther breathed in for five counts and exhaled for three. He did it again. And again. And again. Until–
“Hey, what’s wrong?”
Luther looked up to see Clark, clean and dressed in a tight, black shirt and faded blue jeans. “Uh,” Luther said. “Nothin’.” When Clark started to apologize, Luther held up his hands. “H-hey, nothing happened. Let’s just–let’s just go back, okay?”
“Sure,” Clark said, taking out his keys so he could lock the door. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m good,” Luther said.
“Was I that ugly?” Clark asked, and when he smiled Luther almost said, No, no way, you were fuckin’ sexy, I would do you in a hot second.
Instead, Luther said, “You make my grandmother look sexy.”
“That’s disgusting,” Clark said, and Luther just laughed, hoping that Clark wouldn’t notice what big fat liar he was.
The sun was setting when they returned to the festival, the sky a canvas of dark blue and thread-thin clouds stringing through the sky. Distant stars, few as they were, twinkled in the dimming light.
A soft wind brushed Luther’s hair into his face, and he had to push it back every now and then. “So what now?” Luther asked, turning his head to watch Clark, whose eyes were focused elsewhere.
“I guess we just look around,” Clark said. “I don’t think Lucille’s going to have anything for us to do.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “We could support the charity by buying some food and playing some of the games.”
“Those games are rigged!” Luther said. “I can never win the prizes I want! Last time I wanted one of those really cool dog things, and I couldn’t do it! I know they were cheating–!”
Clark smiled. “I bet I could win one of those,” he said. “There’s one now.” He took Luther’s hand and started to drag him to the booth. “I just have to knock over the cans.”
“It’s rigged,” Luther muttered, watching as Clark threw away his money by giving the attendant three dollars for two shots. “You’re not going to make it.”
“Watch me,” Clark said, smiling, and he picked up one of the playing balls and pitched the balls at the cans–
–and they all fell.
Luther felt like bludgeoning Clark with a hard, metal object. “What the fuck!? How did you–!? Let me try!” Maybe this game wasn’t rigged? He took Clark’s remaining ball and tossed it at the center of the cans.
None of them went down.
Luther growled. “You cheated!” he said to Clark.
Clark winked at him. “I’ve got magic fingers.”
“Cheater,” Luther repeated, punching him in the shoulder. “You cheated. Somehow. With your gay power, probably.”
“My ‘gay’ power?” Clark raised his eyebrows. The edge of his lips quirked up. “If I have a power, then you have a power.”
“I’m not gay,” Luther said. This time, instead of punching him, Luther kicked his ankle, but not very hard. “You probably used some gay voodoo and made all the cans fall down or something.”
“Gay voodoo?” Clark looked like he was trying not to laugh. When Luther glared at him, Clark took a deep breath. “Okay, okay. I’ll make it up to you. What do you want?”
Luther had to think about this. He wanted a lot of things. He wanted a steady girlfriend who would put out. He wanted to be sure that he wasn’t gay. Also, he wanted the funny feeling every time Clark smiled to go away. Also, he wanted every other guy to be gay so Luther would have a wider selection of girls.
They all seemed sort of impossible. At least, impossible for Clark to do.
“I want . . .” Luther stroked his chin. “I want . . .” He glanced around, and then his eyes landed on the best idea ever. “I want a fish.”
“You want a fish?” Clark asked, and sighed. “What are you going to do with a fish?”
“I’m going to keep it and name it Clark, and then I’m going to drown it.”
Clark stared, and then Luther said, “What?” When Clark continued to stare, Luther punched him in the shoulder. “Stop that! It made perfect sense in my head!”
Clark rolled his eyes, but he laughed. “Oh, fine,” he said. He spotted one of the booths Luther had been eyeing and walked over to it. “There’s one of those games where I can net you a fish. How about that?”
“Fine,” Luther said, rubbing his hands together in mock-malice. “I hope you fail.”
“I won’t fail,” Clark said, rolling his eyes. “How hard can netting a fish be?”
Luther leaned over to watch the fish in the plastic box. Most of them were small goldfish, barely bigger than his thumb, and most of them were–well, gold. “Oh!” Luther said. “There’s a white one! Catch it!”
“Only one white fish?”
“Yeah,” Luther said, with glee. “Let’s see how long it’s going to take you.”
After paying, Clark took the net and glanced around for the white fish. “Can you turn up a light?” he asked the attendant, who rolled his eyes and flipped a switch on, illuminating the area around them. “That fish is tiny, Luther.”
“It’s just like another part of you,” Luther said, and then when he realized what he’d said, he flushed darkly.
Clark chuckled, leaning over to kiss Luther’s ear. “You know that’s a lie. I know you looked.”
“Just catch the fish,” Luther mumbled. He chanced a glance at Clark, who was observing the fish in the tub. He slid the net on the surface of the water gently, creating a ripple, and then he plunged the net underneath.
“Fail!” Luther said gleefully.
Clark glared. “Yeah, maybe the first time.”
“You’ll fail the next time, too.” Luther grinned at him.
Clark rolled his eyes. He handed the net to Luther while he dug out another two dollars to pay. “This is so humiliating,” Clark mumbled. “I can’t believe I’ve reduced myself to fish-catching.”
“What,” Luther said. “You don’t think this is fun?” He laughed when Clark kicked him lightly.
“That’s right, I don’t think this is fun.” Clark tried to net Clark-the-Fish again, but he came up with a gold fish. “Can’t we just take this one and go?”
“No,” Luther said. He took Clark’s hand and put the goldfish back into the tub.
“Well, can’t you think up a more original name?” Clark asked.
Luther hoped Clark’s wallet was suffering a blow from trying to net Clark-the-Fish, but he also wanted Clark-the-Fish so he could drown him when he got the chance. “I like the name Clark-the-Fish, okay?”
Clark sighed. He dipped the net under the water and came up empty-handed. When Luther doubled over in laughter, Clark made a noise of discontent and kicked his leg. “Fuck you,” Clark said. “You try.”
“Ow,” Luther whined. “I need that to run!” He rubbed his leg and took the net, pouting at Clark. Luther peered into the tub and tilted his head to one side. He slowly lowered the net into the water, waiting for Clark-the-Fish to pass by, and then he jerked the net to one side and raised it up out of the water.
“I can’t believe you caught him,” Clark said. Luther grinned. Clark was sulking. Luther couldn’t believe he’d made Clark sulk. “You only had to try once!”
“It’s because I’m Luther Salvador, and you’re Clark.”
Clark raised his eyebrows. “And catching fish is your gay power?”
Luther’s smile immediately turned into a scowl. “It’s not a gay power. It’s a Luther Salvador power.”
Clark smiled. “All right, Super-Salvador. Let’s take the fish and go.”
The attendant put Clark-the-Fish into a bag full of water, and Luther carried the bag with reverence, watching the white sliver of a fish dart back and forth in the confines of the small bag. “Hello,” he said to the little white fish. “You’re going to be Clark-the-Fish. Prepare to be drowned.”
“Maybe we should return him if you’re just going to kill him,” Clark said, frowning. “I mean, the poor guy needs a better death than being drowned. Not that fish can drown . . .”
“I’ll find a way to drown Clark-the-Fish.” Luther stuck his tongue out at Clark. “So there!”
“We need a tank,” Clark said, half-ignoring him. “And a filter. Some food. Probably some sand, too . . . Some plants . . . are we taking him to your place or mine?”
“Why should I bring him to your place, huh?”
“Because,” Clark said, “I’m paying for him. Anyway, I think I should keep him. His name is Clark-the-Fish.”
Luther grumbled. Clark was right. He was paying for him. Besides, Luther highly doubted he had the attention span to take care of a fish. “Okay, whatever,” Luther said. “I don’t think I’ll be able to keep him. So your place. Temporarily. As long as you remember to feed him.”
“Well, of course.” Clark rolled his eyes. “Like I would forget to feed a fish. How hard can it be?” He turned to the attendant and began pointing out all the items he’d like for Luther’s–well, their–new pet. “We should probably go back to my place so he doesn’t die while we’re at the carnival.”
“You’re very pretty, Clark,” Luther said. When Clark snapped his head over to stare, Luther coughed. “I was talking to the fish.”
“Oh . . .” Clark paid for all the items, and Luther resumed talking to Clark-the-Fish.
Clark started pushing Luther back to the apartment, which Luther didn’t mind so much now that he had Clark-the-Fish in his hands. “If I knew you’d be so happy with a fish, we should have caught you one sooner.” He leaned slightly against Luther as they walked back to the complex. “You stopped calling me a fag.”
“Oh, you’re still a fag,” Luther said dismissively. “I just don’t feel like calling you it right now. Fag.”
Clark feinted a punch toward his face, which Luther smartly dodged anyway, just in case Clark changed his mind at the last minute. “What made you stop, huh?”
“I have Clark-the-Fish to drown.”
“Good luck drowning him,” Clark said, and Luther started kicking at Clark’s ankles until Clark threatened to throw Clark-the-Fish into the gutter.
After Clark had set up the tank in his bedroom, Luther sat down in a chair next to it, staring into the water and watching Clark-the-Fish swim in his new little home. “Should we feed him now?” Luther asked.
“We need to let him acclimate to his new surroundings,” Clark said. “You have to be patient.”
“I’m Luther Salvador,” Luther said. “I don’t wait for anybody!” He heard Clark do something behind him, shifting his papers or folding his clothes or something, but he didn’t acknowledge Clark. “Hello, Clark-the-Fish,” Luther said, in the most sinister voice he could manage. “I’m going to drown you.”
“How many times do I have to tell you–”
“Sshh! Can’t you see I’m having a very important conversation with Clark-the-Fish? I think we need some privacy.”
Clark groaned behind him.
“Hello, Clark-the-Fish,” Luther cooed. “Don’t worry, you’ll meet your end very soon now.”
“Is a fish really more interesting than I am?”
“Don’t be jealous I’m talking to Clark-the-Fish more than I’m talking to you,” Luther said. “I’ll make it up to you later.”
Silence. And then, slowly, quietly, “Oh, really?”
“Yeah,” Luther said, distracted. “Hey! You can’t hide in your castle! Clark, why did you buy Clark-the-Fish a castle!? Now he can hide from me whenever he wants!”
When Clark didn’t answer, Luther turned around. “Hey, I’m–” He squeaked when his nose bumped into Clark’s. “H-hey,” Luther said. “Why are you so close?”
“Hey, Luther,” Clark said.
Luther stared into Clark’s eyes, and he tried not to concentrate on how dark they’d gotten, glazed by a hunger Luther wasn’t sure he’d ever seen before. “Y-you’re in my bubble of personal space.”
“Is a fish really more interesting than I am?” Clark repeated.
Luther’s mouth felt very dry. Was Clark-the-Fish more interesting than Clark-the-Person? Luther wasn’t sure he wanted to know the answer. “I–I don’t know,” he said.
One of Clark’s hands came up to touch Luther’s face. “I can leave you alone if that’s the case.”
Luther wanted to say yes. He wanted to shout it from the tops of the hills until Clark disappeared and left him alone, but the thought made his chest hurt. Luther closed his eyes. “No,” he mumbled. “You’re more interesting.”
“I think you need to make it up to me now,” Clark murmured. “So kiss me.”
Luther swallowed. He managed to make his voice work. “K-kiss you?”
“Mm,” Clark said, and he put a hand on the back of Luther’s neck to pull him in. “Kiss me.” He smirked a bit. “Or do I have to it myself?”
Luther frowned. “C-clark, I–”
Clark didn’t wait for Luther to finish. He leaned in to kiss him, fusing their mouths together, and when Luther gasped in surprise (surprised, he thought, why am I surprised), Clark dipped his tongue into Luther’s mouth.
Luther half-heartedly pushed his hands against Clark’s chest, but when Clark pulled him closer with his other hand, he resigned himself to his fate and tentatively started to probe back at Clark’s tongue.
“Bed,” Clark gasped, and he pulled Luther up to his feet. They were still kissing as Clark pushed Luther back onto the bed until they both landed with a thump, one of Clark’s legs between Luther’s.
“Clark,” Luther said. “Clark, wait–”
“Luther Salvador doesn’t wait for anybody,” Clark said mockingly, right against Luther’s neck, and Luther shuddered beneath him. “Why should I wait for Luther Salvador?”
Luther flushed as Clark’s hands slid underneath his shirt and bunched it up around his shoulders. “I–I–”
“What, you want to be on top?” Clark asked, smirking, and Luther bit back a moan when Clark began to suck on Luther’s collarbone. “I’d like to make you feel good.”
“Oh,” Luther whined, as Clark brushed his fingers against Luther’s waist.
Luther felt his pants go tight, his thighs tense up as Clark’s hand trailed down to unzip his jeans and pull them down. His whole body felt warm and hot, and the skin Clark touched burned like a flame. But Clark, Luther thought, Clark was calm, collected, and Luther couldn’t even hear him breathing against his skin. The only thing Luther could hear was the sound of the bed creaking beneath Clark’s weight.
Luther couldn’t believe he was there. With Clark. Clark, who he’d called a fag at least twice out loud and a lot more in his head. Clark, who was touching his cock and Luther whined and bucked up into his hand. Clark, he thought, Clark, who he thought he hated.
“Open your eyes,” Clark mumbled in Luther’s ear, and Luther slowly opened them to meet Clark’s. “Don’t close them.”
Luther had to close his eyes. Clark said, again, “Open your eyes.”
“I can’t,” Luther said.
Clark was silent, and Luther could feel his hand withdraw. Instead it was replaced by a wet heat that made Luther mewl against the sheets. Normally he would have sat up and watched, but this time he could only thread his hands through his hair, brushing it and the sweat back as he tried not to moan or whine or make any of the embarrassing, humiliating noises that Clark would make fun of later.
But he couldn’t help himself. When Clark swirled his tongue around the head of his cock, Luther felt his lips part and his body tremble underneath Clark’s touch. Obviously Clark had done this before and Luther tried not to think of the other people who had come before him, who had lay in this bed and kissed his Clark too.
“C-clark,” Luther said. “C-can’t I–you–”
Clark withdrew, and Luther sucked in a breath as Clark exhaled warm air against him. “It’s okay,” he said. “It should feel good for you first.”
Luther closed his eyes and bit back a moan as Clark began kissing up his thighs. “But–”
“But what?” Clark shifted up the bed, and Luther opened his eyes again. His throat went dry: Clark’s mouth was a dark red, face flushed. Luther wasn’t sure how just seeing Clark like this could make him even harder.
Clark sat down and tugged Luther up, pushing him into his lap. Clark was hard beneath Luther, his arousal pressing through his jeans and against Luther. “Ever ridden someone?” Clark asked, and smiled. “No?” He reached down, wrapping his hand around Luther, and Luther had to support himself against Clark’s body as Clark began a slow rhythm.
Luther reached his hands down to try and unzip Clark’s pants, but Clark used his free hand to stop him. “W-what–”
“I like this,” Clark murmured against Luther’s temple. “It gives me something to look forward to.” He circled his thumb around Luther’s cock, and Luther groaned, grinded down on Clark’s thighs, and finally, finally, Luther got his reward: Clark moaned gently against Luther’s cheek, his hand stilling as he shifted underneath Luther’s weight.
“H-hey. S-stop that,” Clark said, so Luther pressed forward and down against Clark. “Oh, fuck.” He leaned down and nudged Luther’s head up, crushing their lips together, his free hand now wrapping itself around Luther’s waist to bring him closer. His other hand was still wrapped around Luther’s cock, and he stroked him to the rhythm of Luther’s body against his as he kissed him.
When they broke away, Clark gazed searchingly into Luther’s eyes. “You’re so quiet,” he said, and when Luther growled at him, Clark’s eyes slipped shut, and his lips parted slightly. “Do it again.”
Luther pulled Clark close to him and kissed him again, and when Clark made a low, gentle noise into Luther’s mouth, Luther gyrated down into Clark’s hips and came.
Luther slumped against Clark’s body, eyes closed. “You’re still hard,” Luther mumbled.
“Touch me,” Clark said, carefully sliding Luther onto his back on the bed. Luther heard Clark unzip his jeans. “Fuck.” Clark sighed in relief, and Luther opened his eyes in time to catch the relief on Clark’s face as he removed his jeans.
Luther reached over and brushed his hands against Clark’s inner thighs, his hands barely brushing Clark’s cock as he touched Clark’s skin. Clark tried to keep his eyes open, but when Luther took one of his hands and stroked Clark’s balls, Clark gasped and closed his eyes.
“Can I . . .” Luther hesitated, and then he shifted over to sit next to Clark. He removed his hands. “You know.” He averted his eyes.
“What?” Clark asked, dazed. “Don’t stop.”
Luther took that as an affirmative and bent himself at the waist. He licked a stripe up Clark’s cock, and Clark’s hips snapped up sharply. “H-hey,” Luther said, pulling back. “Take it easy.”
“I didn’t know you . . . fuck.”
Luther kissed the base of Clark’s cock and slowly made his way up, until he started going down on him slowly, Clark’s hands buried in his hair. Luther wasn’t sure what he was doing, but Clark seemed to like it: He hissed ‘yes’ and ‘Luther’ and Luther tried not to get hard again when Clark murmured, ‘ohgodLutherplease.’
“Luther,” Clark mumbled, voice small, and Luther wondered if he should pull away now or stay and swallow or–
When Clark came, Luther swallowed what he could. He sat up and coughed a bit and before he could wipe away the drop of come from his chin, Clark leaned over and kissed him. “Thanks,” Clark said sleepily, and Luther closed his eyes as Clark kissed him like they had all the time in the world.
“I think you should date me,” Clark said, pulling Luther down to the bed.
Luther punched him in the chest, but Clark just sighed. “No.”
“Clark-the-Fish is mine,” Clark mumbled. “No visitation rights. And maybe a restraining order on you.”
“Can I exchange tickets for you?” Clark asked. “I have five left.”
Luther scowled. “Only five?”
“I like you,” Clark tried.
“Okay, whatever,” Luther said, and then, only loud enough for Clark to hear: “I like you, too.”