"I didn't think you were gonna come," Mark said after swallowing a mouthful of his delicous homemade pasta.
"I had to, though. I'm going crazy in Cape Town."
"Steph says you're tripping all the time, and she doesn't wanna see you again. Said something about you beating the crap outa Wingnut."
"She's lying about Wingnut. I never beat him up. We shared a reefer and some beers, and he got a major dose of the greenies. He was as sick as a dog."
Mark cocked an eyebrow and sighed. "Yep. Cody tried to help him, but the grommet wouldn't listen. You giving him grass doesn't help, though. Does it? But then you've always only ever thought about yourself."
"It wasn't Wingnut's fault. But, yeah, I am tripping a lot. Since Code's death, I've been high."
"Think that's gonna bring him back or something? You need to grow up, Steve. You used to piss Code off so badly with your fucking habit."
"Can we stop about my habit already? You used to as well."
"I wasn't a fucking acid or coke head. But, yeah, I still smoke."
The situation was getting pretty aggro, so I needed to settle things down a bit. Fast. "I didn't come all the way here to fight with you, Mark."
Mark dug his fork into the pasta and studied it. "Since you phoned me, I've been thinking about why you wanted to come here. I can't figure it."
Now wasn't a good time to explain things. While Mark and I were talking, another guy came into the house, then walked into Mark's suite. The dude looked about 40-ish, but was in good shape. Mark intro'd me to him, and we shook hands. It was Mark's boss; the guy who was building the yacht. He was also the owner of the house. After going to the stove, and checking the pasta, the guy asked if he could have some. Cody had often mentioned Mark's pasta, and how fucking good it was. But I also had a sneaking suspicion that Mark's boss was curious about me. Maybe even more than curious.
"Sure. Help yourself."
The guy invited himself to our table, and joined us. He seemed cool enough. Smiling and friendly. Gave me the third degree about my background and whatever, and asked how long I was planning to stay in Johannesburg. Even offered to show me around town.
When Mark explained that I'd be sleeping on the couch, the guy told me that there were plenty of spare rooms in the house that I could sleep in. But Mark said no, which I thought was pretty cool. I needed to be close to Mark. I needed a friend.
After we'd eaten, and the guy had disappeared to another part of the house, I helped Mark do the dishes in his small kitchenette. Then I took a shower while Mark set up the sleeper couch with sheets, a duvet and a pillow for me. Pretty amazing for a guy who'd greeted me at the door with a flathander, then accused me of being an asshole over dinner. If he couldn't figure why I'd made the trip to Joburg, how was I supposed to figure the way he was acting? It didn't make sense.
Once I'd showered, I returned to the room to see Mark dressed only in his boxers. I was also dressed in mine. I wasn't quite sure how he would have handled my sleeping naked. The situation was already pretty edgy, so there was no way I was gonna be pushing the limits any further.
"I need to get some sleep, Steve. I'm buggered. You wanna get up early? Or meet up with me later?"
"If it's OK with you, wake me up early."
I couldn't sleep right away. My mind was racing with all kinds of thoughts. So I watched Mark as he read a book. Talk about a complex guy! He cooked like a chef, worked like a Trojan, had an incredibly defined bod, was awesomely handsome, and loved to read. He had also been Code's lover. Eventually, though, I did doze off. When I woke, the first rays of blinding daylight were already streaming through the window, and filling the room. I'd flown here? I was in Mark's room? Yeah. It was real alright. But surreal at the same time.
Mark wasn't around, so I went looking for him. His suite had its own back door, so I went out into the yard and saw him swimming laps in the pool. Pool? It was a fucking mini ocean! And Mark wasn't just swimming laps, he was sprinting. It was no surprise to me that he was one of the school swim team's top swimmers. Powerful shoulders, strong arms, and a smooth even kick that drove him through the water like a human torpedo.
When he saw me, he exited the pool, with water cascading off his twelve-outa-ten tanned bod, and grabbed a towel. He was wearing black Speedos, which shone with the wetness, and clung to his more than ample package and muscular buns. That dude was a fucking god. Woohoo! No two ways about that!
"Don't you think you should catch a piss before you come outside in the morning?" he asked.
"I was going to, but I wanted to find you first. Do you swim every morning?"
"Some mornings... if I feel like it. You can too if you want. I've got a pair of shorts you can use."
Then we heard the bossman calling before he walked outside. Mark told me to get my ass moving into the house, then he wrapped the towel around his waist before he approached his boss. Mark had a very masculine walk. Nothing wussy about that dude.
I went inside, then showered. And for the first time in a long time I felt pretty damn good. Mark entered the room while I was dressing.
"Don't bother with anything except your jocks," he ordered. Then he took a blue working overall from his closet, and threw it at me. "It's fucking hot in that barn [where we're building the yacht]."
I pulled the overall over my boxers, then followed Mark around to the front of the house. There was an old VW Beetle parked there. Mark explained that he'd bought it from some friend of his boss. It was in pretty good nick. Quite impressive.
We Beetled down one of the farm roads, and arrived at the barn. There were three black guys hanging around outside, presumably waiting for us. As it turned out, they were totally cool, and obviously loved Mark to bits. They greeted him with big toothy grins. He spoke to them in Tswana. But I didn't find that out 'til afterwards. At first I thought I was Zulu or something.
"Where did you pick up the lingo?" I asked as he unlocked the door of the barn
"[Understanding the lingo] helps to get things done around here."
Whoa! The yacht was more like a fucking ship! Huge! It took almost all of the space inside the barn. Barn? Try massive warehouse, with scaffolding all over the place. The yacht, although yet unfinished, was beautiful. Sleek. A magnificent work of hydrodynamic nautical art, with an enormous keel.
I followed Mark to a particular section of steps, which led to a landing, then onto the yacht's deck, and down to the rear section of the boat.
"Right," he said looking at me. "The bow is the sharp end, and the stern is the blunt end. Remember that."
"I only look thick."
"No you don't," he said without smiling; and without the slightest hint that he might have been joking.
Were all those blonde jokes true? I was not only blonde, but my golden locks were long and straight, hanging down to my shoulders. Oh, well...
Mark took me on a tour of the blunt end, which was almost wholly consumed by a massive cabin. Some of the interior cupboards were partially completed, while others were still being worked on. "This is the stateroom."
The heat and humidity inside the barn was already getting to me, and it was still only early morning. Mark threw a wooden block and some sandpaper at me. "Your job is to fine sand the cupboards." He showed me exactly what he wanted done, and how I should do it. "Don't round off the edges. They should be nice and smooth, like this." Yeah, right. The sandpaper wouldn't have smoothed off anything 'cause it was just soooo damn fine! Then he gave me a paper surgical mask, and told me to wear it all the time.
"Mark?" I called as he was about to leave me to my unpaid task.
"Are you pissed at me 'cause I wanted to come up here?"
"'Cause it's like you're treating me like a piece of shit, and I'm not welcome."
The dark-haired god stared me straight in the eye. "I'll tell you what I really think. I think you've been sent here [by your drug boss] to score, and you needed a place to stay. If you make any contacts while you're staying here, I will put you in fucking hospital. I don't care much for the fucking way you do things, Steve, and the only reason you're here is 'cause Cody was your friend. But if I find out that you're here for anything else, I'll make you sorry you ever came."
He walked away before I had a chance to say anything in my defence. My first thought was to regret coming to Joburg. Fucking hell! What was the point? Mark didn't trust my motives. I needed a friend, but all I was getting was a guy who hated me; who figured I was there to score for my boss. MY EX FUCKING BOSS! But, hey, what fucking choice did I have? All I could do was stay for the duration, and follow Mark's fucking orders. I knew that heavy shit would be waiting for me when I returned to Cape Town anyway.
I started to sand and sand and sand and sand 'til my arms were almost falling off. The heat of the barn was fucking stifling. I took the top of the overall and tied it around my waist so that my upper body could breathe. The sweat was running off me like I'd just stepped out from a shower. But I kept sanding and sanding and sanding and sanding.
I could hear the sound of an electric sander just outside the door of the stateroom, and I could see thin clouds of dust floating around in the warehouse.
After a couple of hours, one of the black guys called me to take a break. I followed him outside, where Mark was with the other two black guys, drinking cold drinks, and eating sandwiches. The bossman was there as well, and began to stare at me. Then Mark noticed me with my overall top down. "Put it back on while you're working. There's fucking fibreglass all over the shed. You're gonna shit yourself if you don't cover up."
But outside the barn, everyone had their overall tops down just to cool off a bit. I could now understand why Mark's bod was even more defined than it was in Cape Town. With all the sweating and manual labor, he couldn't help but look so damn cut, and so damn awesome. A real head turner. A living god.
The bossman started to talk to me. At least that was a change from Mark ignoring me, while he was chatting to the black guys. The bossman asked me questions about what I did at school, then the convo eventually got around to surfing. He seemed like a really nice dude. Then the bossman told Mark that the guy who designed the yacht, and whose instructions Mark followed to the letter, would be around later to check on how work was progressing.
After our half-hour break, we all went back inside the barn to continue working. I couldn't handle the heat, so I pulled the top of the overall down again. Mark was busy at the blunt end, sanding the hull. He looked like a pro painter, working carefully as he went. Mr Perfectionist. I could appreciate now why the job was taking so damn long. Mark had been involved in the project from the ground up, and was obviously proud of it.
In the afternoon, another guy turned up. He was in his early 30s, and he was chatting to Mark about the onboard showers and toilets... where all the plumbing would be going, etc. I had no fucking idea what they were on about. All nautical gobbledegook to me.
We stopped for another short break about mid afternoon, then carried on working 'til about 8 at night. And in all that time, slaving my guts out, Mark never once bothered to come into the stateroom to see what kinda job I was doing. What an asshole! There was only one conclusion I could reach: he didn't want me there.
When we got back home, and I'd started peeling off the overall, Mark noticed my upper bod, and told me that I was gonna have shit 'cause my back was full of fibreglass and dust. "You can go shower first."
I was tired, but I felt good. Good 'cause I knew that I'd worked my ass off the whole damn day. But I was also pissed big time that Mark hadn't bothered to see what I'd done or was doing in the stateroom.
After towelling myself, I could see that my chest, stomach and back were as red as all hell, not to mention ITCHY! I didn't tell Mark about it 'cause I was sure he'd give me a huge load of uphill, like "I told you so" bullshit. And I figured he would've taken so much pleasure from giving me a hard time. Gloat, gloat, gloat.
I wrapped a towel around my waist, and walked into the room. Mark was on the phone. Said he was talking to Candy... his normal evening phone call to catch up on the day's events.
Once he'd hung up, he wrapped a towel around his narrow waist - with its awesome folds of muscle over his hips that descended into twin obliques that pointed to his crotch - then removed his boxers. Like he didn't want me to see his dick? *Shrug* After that, he took a shower.
I didn't know what the scene was. It was all too much of a fucking mystery for me to figure, so I got into my boxers and planted my butt on the couch. When Mark returned to the room after about 10 minutes, he told me to dress 'cause we were going to have dinner with Fingers. Fingers? I'd read about Code calling the bossman Fingers in the Mark stories, but I didn't know Mark also used that name to refer to his boss. Mark was unaware of his story being told on the MrB site, and had no idea that Cody had told Gary just about every detail of their relationship, so I figured I'd play dumb. Hey, I was blonde, right?
"Why do you call him Fingers?"
"Because he likes to touch guys. Just be fucking cool about it, but don't let him get too fucking touchy."
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