Er… yeah, um, there was this thing, by this author, about this challenge. I don't remember the details, because I'm that sad. Some sort of muffin challenge? Yeah, that's what spawned this. Though the contest may be long closed. Anyway, for those of you waiting for the next chapter of A,B,C & D, look for it by Tuesday. Enjoy!
Marin scowled as he scooped the discarded towels that decorated the bathroom floor into the laundry hamper. He hated that. Used towels on the floor, what seemed to be half a tube of toothpaste littering the sink, not to mention the hair that clogged the tub drain – he had to have the most inconsiderate flatmate ever.
And so began his Saturday morning. He'd slept a bit late for him, ten in the morning, but it was still a shock to have Perry and his perpetual houseguest up before him. Sighing, he wiped the toothpaste out of the sink, but left the hair where it was – he wouldn't touch that with three layers of rubber gloves on. Perry would take care of it when he realized the tub wasn't draining. Marin hoped.
Marin wrapped his own towel about his waist and slipped back to his room to get dressed. There was faint noise coming from the kitchen, meaning Perry and his boyfriend were there. Marin was all set to hibernate in his room for the rest of the day, writing that exhaustive paper for his sociology class, except for the fact that he'd skipped dinner (accidentally – that paper was actually really interesting once he got it started) was coming back to haunt him.
And so he dressed quickly, intending to grab something portable and take it back to his room to eat as he worked. The towel landed in the hamper he kept in his room – to keep his laundry separate from Perry's – and he dressed quickly in loose blue jeans and a random t-shirt.
Marin's mind was already straying back to his paper as he made his way through the small apartment to the kitchen, his mind not registering the odd sounds coming from the kitchen until he got an eyeful of Perry pushed against a countertop, his semi-permanent houseguest grinding towel clad hips into Perry's clothed ones.
Marin paled, then flushed, then scowled, each reaction flitting over his face in a matter of seconds. He briefly contemplated skipping breakfast as well, to just avoid the two, but his stomach felt like it was eating a hole in him, so that idea was out. He'd just have to sneak in there and grab something. He honestly didn't want to get either of their attention – Perry would be pissed he'd interrupted, and he really really didn't like Perry's boyfriend. Something about the man just rankled him.
He could go out and eat – but the paper was calling his name so strongly… Screw it – there was a basket of muffins on the counter right inside the doorway – he'd snag one and come back later for a bigger breakfast. After they'd cleared out.
The noises and movements at the edge of his vision were more than a little distracting, but he ignored it the best he could, snagging a large blueberry muffin before high-tailing it back to his room. Ten minutes later he was lost in his paper, detailing the researched effects of different governmental systems on societies.
The knock on his door didn't come until much later. It was nearing three in the afternoon, he realized as he sat up from where he was leaning over his desk. His back audibly popped, and he winced as muscles stretched after being strained over the desk for too long.
"Just a moment." He called, settling his papers into some semblance of order before placing the notebook on top, the mechanical pencil on top of that – he'd run out of lead in the damn thing twice already – six sticks of graphite, almost twenty-five written pages of notes – he was making good progress on this term paper of his. He'd be able to start writing the thing soon, instead of researching.
Smiling a bit wearily, he pushed the reading glasses he wore off his nose and into his hair as he stood and walked over to the door, stretching a bit more. Of course, his complacent mood was spoiled when he saw who was on the other side of the door.
Perry's boyfriend was a man by the name of Teigue – an irish name for an Irishman. Teigue had brown-red hair, piercing green eyes and a delicious irish accent. He was also an insufferable git of magnanimous proportions. Marin disliked the man with a fervor.
"Marin." Teigue greeted, a cheeky grin on his face.
"Teigue." Marin replied flatly, a scowl on his face. "What do you want?"
"Tsk, Marin, one would think you don't want to talk to me." Teigue pouted, a look he pulled off incredibly well.
"Shocking really. Get to the point, I've got a paper to write." Marin's scowl deepened.
"Alright then, since you are obviously so enthralled by my company. I'm missing a muffin…" Teigue paused, for dramatic flair. "A blueberry muffin."
Marin's eyes narrowed. "You're missing a muffin." He repeated flatly.
"Mmhmm. It was the last one, you see. And I positively adore blueberry muffins. I was so looking forward to eating this one too." Teigue leered at Marin. "You wouldn't happen to know what happened to it, would you?"
Marin paused, then stated in the same flat tone. "I ate it." Teigue looked a bit taken aback at his easy admission, so he smirked a bit. "It was good." Teigue blinked at him in surprise. Marin rolled his eyes and attempted to shut the door, assuming the conversation was over, but Teigue stuck his foot in the door.
"Wait just a minute – you ate my muffin?" Teigue asked, indignation clear in his voice.
"Yes." Marin drew out the one syllable.
"Why?" Teigue's eyes narrowed, in contrast to his perplexed tone.
Marin took a moment to take in the idiocy of having such a conversation about a muffin before answering. "Because, as a human being, I need food to sustain my body on occasion. And since I didn't really care to interrupt whatever the hell you and Perry were doing on the kitchen counter – you better have cleaned that by the way – I just snagged a muffin and left." Marin explained, his tone that of one talking to a small child.
Teigue had the good grace to look a bit abashed, but seemed rather undaunted, not removing his foot from Marin's door. "You owe me a muffin." Teigue asserted, his lips twisting up in a smirk that made Marin fear for his virtue.
"I think, that considering the circumstances, my mental duress more than makes up for the muffin." Marin replied dryly, trying to keep his temper reigned in. "Now can you please stop darkening my doorway? I have work to do."
Teigue's eyes narrowed playfully – dangerously. "But it was the last blueberry. And blueberry is my favorite. That muffin meant quite a bit to me."
"Oh my – for the love of god, get out of my sight." Marin snapped. "It's just a fucking muffin!"
Teigue looked rather taken aback at his outburst, as he was himself, but he didn't let it show. The Irishman backed up just the bit Marin needed to shut the door, and he didn't hesitate to do so, sliding the deadbolt – yes, deadbolt – home as soon as the doorknob clicked.
It had been quiet for the past few hours now, though Marin really shouldn't have noticed. He should've been absorbed in his paper, ignoring the outside world once more, but no, he had to be focusing instead on that idiotic, infuriating, hopelessly irritating and totally endearing Irishman who he'd snapped at earlier.
Scowling at the three pages he'd managed since then, Marin agitatedly tossed the notebook down on the desk, ruffling a few of the loose papers. Standing angrily, he shoved his chair back and stalked to the door. Might as well take a break since he couldn't get any work done. He really should get something to eat too – he never had gone back to get something more than the muffin earlier, and his stomach was complaining again.
The apartment was quiet, which he hoped meant that Perry and Teigue had gone out again. Though they hadn't been doing that as often lately. Shrugging it off, he meandered into the kitchen, only to find Perry sitting there staring at the ceiling quietly, with no trace of his perpetual shadow in sight.
Marin hesitated, but entered the kitchen anyway, hesitant about disturbing Perry. Yes, Perry was a very inconsiderate flatmate, but Marin didn't believe deliberately antagonizing the man was a good idea – he had to live with the man after all. He wouldn't be living with Perry if it hadn't been for Perry's sister Annette.
Annette had lived in the flat before either Marin or Perry. Marin had seen her ad for a flatmate, and after a short interview, moved in. But last year, Annette had moved her brother in with her, as Perry's apartment building had burned down in a freak arson incident. Marin couldn't say no to Annette, and assumed that Perry would be like her – studious, quiet and considerate.
Perry hadn't really been, but Annette had cleaned up after him a bit more than Marin had realized, prompting him to not put up any argument when Annette moved away, leaving Perry in her place. It was a month and a half later that Marin had first met Teigue.
Perry brought home a variety of one-night stands, and Marin had had the unfortunate experience of running into them quite often sneaking out in the mornings. He'd had ample opportunity to bless the very thick and very soundproof walls over the last year or so he and Perry had lived alone. Teigue was the first one-nighter he'd seen more than once.
It had been distinctly odd to find the man sitting at his table, drinking coffee, with Perry nowhere in sight. Of course, Teigue had used his coffee mug – the one his younger sister had given to him three months before she'd passed away. It had all gone downhill from there.
Marin had taken an instant dislike to the man's self-confidence and the way the man seemed to flirt with him – even though he was officially (Marin assumed, he wasn't really on the in with Perry's relationships) Perry's boyfriend. So he generally avoided Teigue. And when he couldn't avoid him, they inevitably ended up snapping off sharp comments to each other until Marin stormed off in a huff, irritated beyond all belief.
It didn't help that Marin had had a small (very small) crush on Teigue since the first time he'd laid eyes on the grinning fool. Something that had been easily pushed aside whenever he'd had the misfortune to run into Teigue. The man's personality very much overshadowed any lingering attraction he had for him. Except he generally spent his free time thinking about Teigue, he realized as he pulled out a package of insta-noodles. Usually it was only to rant about the man's utterly infuriating behavior, but still.
Breaking out of his thoughts, he glanced once more at Perry, who was still leaning back in his chair, staring at the white-washed ceiling.
"Perry?" Marin ventured. Perry's head whipped over to fix his gaze on Marin, who stood hesitantly by the range. "You alright?"
Perry's hazel eyes filled with tears and Marin started – he'd never seen Perry cry.
"What's wrong?" Marin asked, setting down the package of noodles to sit next to Perry.
"He left." Perry murmured, a sad look on his face. "We both agreed not to get attached, and I didn't mean to…"
"Teigue left you? But you were so…" Marin searched for a word. "… ardent."
Perry snorted in what could've been amusement. "You only saw the sex." Perry stated matter-of-factly, causing Marin to blush a bit. "No, that's all it was. It wasn't even really good sex." Perry quirked a corner of his mouth up in a half smile. "I'll get over it I suppose. I just really liked him."
"Liked?" Marin asked, then wanted to smack himself. How insensitive.
"Yeah, I think I'm getting over it." Perry smiled a bit more, the tears gone as fast as they'd come. Then he grinned widely and snorted in amusement. "He's such an idiot."
Marin stared at Perry, more than a little concerned at his flatmate's odd behavior.
"I'm not insane,
stop looking at me like that." Perry frowned. "But really, he's
going to kill me for telling you this."
"Telling me what?" Marin asked when Perry paused.
"Ah, Teigue – the sex was mediocre, and he wasn't really all that into me either. Why do you think he kept coming back?" Perry asked, staring at Marin with a hooded expression on his face. Marin stared back with a blank look. He had absolutely no clue what Perry was talking about.
"It wasn't the décor." Perry prompted, the beginnings of a grin turning his lips. "Come on Marin, I know you aren't that dense, Mr. I'm-getting-my-MA-in-sociology-at-age-20."
"I-" Marin started, but stopped, narrowing his eyes. "You-"
"Full sentences, there Marin." Perry encouraged, his grin widening.
"You can't be saying what I think you're saying." Marin finally managed after a bit of choking.
"Well… if what you think I'm saying involves Teigue, you, and a bottle of –" Perry was cut off by Marin's fingers over his mouth. Marin sat there for a moment, taking it in, his fingers still covering Perry's mouth.
"Ek!" Marin choked out as Perry licked him. Perry laughed at the odd noise.
"Have you got it now?" Perry asked, taking a napkin and rubbing his tongue off with it.
"Um… yes?" Marin said. "Oh, there goes my appetite." Perry laughed at him again, shiny white teeth showing.
"Oh, it's not that bad. Teigue is really quite the catch, he's quite handsome, has that charming accent and is hung like a –"
"Perry!" Marin blushed even darker than he had earlier. He may not have been an innocent, but that didn't mean he couldn't blush at Perry's… phrasing.
"It's true. I think you should go for it." Perry encouraged. "What can it hurt?"
"What can it hurt?" Marin murmured as he stood in front of a polished wooden door. "What can it hurt, indeed. What in the world am I thinking?"
Before he could change his mind, he knocked firmly, fidgeting nervously with the small basket he held in his hands. There was no answer for a moment, and he was about to give up and walk away – mingled relief and disappointment rushing through him – when the door opened to reveal a shirtless, sweaty and disheveled Teigue, who looked entirely shocked to see him.
"Ah… is this a bad time?" Marin asked hesitantly, half expecting some random guy to appear in the doorway behind Teigue.
"Um… no." Teigue replied, seemingly shocked speechless. "Uh… come in." Teigue stepped aside, allowing Marin into the large, cozy apartment. "I was just having a bit of a workout." Teigue explained. "Just give me a second to find a shirt."
Marin bit his tongue, squashing the stray thought that he wouldn't mind at all if Teigue wanted to stay shirtless. He shifted a bit nervously – what in the world was he doing here anyway? Teigue reappeared after a moment, wearing a collared t-shirt that clashed slightly with his sweatpants.
"I suppose Perry told you about our breakup." Teigue stated without prelude. "Tea?"
"No thanks. Um… yeah, he did." Marin replied, his hands tightening on the small basket.
Teigue stopped all pretense of playing with the teapot. "Marin. Why are you here?"
Marin flushed a bit, refusing to meet Teigue's gaze. "I… um… owed you a muffin." Marin held out the small basket, with four large blueberry muffins settled neatly at the bottom of the basket. "I wanted to apologize for snapping at you earlier, there was no reason for it."
Teigue stared at him with something akin to shock on his face. Marin didn't blame him, this was the first time either of them had apologized for an argument or sharp comment.
"But… yeah, I've got to be going. I have to finish the first draft for my term paper for tomorrow." Marin murmured, suppressing the urge to bite his lip nervously. He was absolutely no good at anything social, really. "I guess… I'll see you around?"
Teigue's eyes narrowed and Marin decided that yes this had been a horrible idea. Damn Perry anyway.
"Marin." Teigue stood and walked around the kitchen island. "Why are you really here? And why the hell are you acting so nice?"
Marin blinked up at Teigue – when had the other man gotten so tall? – nervously. Oh, so nervously. This was officially now a Bad Idea. "I…"
Sharp green eyes seemed to hold him in place with the power of their stare alone. Marin shifted a bit on his feet, before deciding that a strategic retreat was definitely called for.
"I'vegottago." Marin rushed out, before turning and practically running from the apartment, trying not to think of what a great big fool he'd just made of himself. Teigue didn't seem to follow him, but he may've lost the man by taking the stairwell that led out back and then losing himself in the alleyways – completely on purpose of course.
The blank word processor stared balefully at Marin as he sat in front of his computer, neatly organized notes stationed strategically around him. He'd been sitting there for half an hour already, but he couldn't get his thoughts away from Teigue and onto his paper, much to his irritation. At least he still had the rest of the day to write out the paper.
His Sunday morning had gone quite well, for the most part. Quite well indeed, if you ignored the fact that Perry had already found a new fling, who was giving him what sounded to be some very non-mediocre sex. In the shower. Which, apparently, wasn't soundproof like the bedrooms were. And of course, Marin had had to leave his room at precisely the wrong time to find this out.
Then there were the muffins on the counter. The basket from yesterday, really. No blueberry, but there was a nice cinnamon raisin one. That had sent his mind on the one track path to Teigue-centered thoughts, which he could not, for the life of him, steer away from no matter how hard he tried.
Frustrated, he let his head fall with an almost loud thud against the wood of the desk. Sounded a lot like a knock on his door, really. Except it was a knock on his door, because it hadn't stopped after the one thud.
Groaning softly at the dull twinge of pain centered in his forehead, Marin stood, feeling supremely cranky. The knocking hadn't stopped, and he snapped, "I'm coming, hold on."
Marin slid the deadbolt back and unlocked the doorknob, opening the door with a scowl, ready to tell Perry off for interrupting his work on the term paper, only to stumble over his words when he came face to face with Teigue. So he, instead of managing anything remotely comprehensible, squeaked, paling a bit.
"Good morning to you too, Marin." Teigue grinned, stepping forward. Marin automatically took a step back, and then Teigue was in his room – his sanctuary. People weren't allowed in here. Perry had only been in here once, and Annette had been perhaps three times. And now Teigue was in here. Bad.
Suppressing the frission of black fear that snaked into his mind, Marin scowled at the almost-redhead. "What do you want?" Uncharitable, yes, but Teigue was the one in the wrong here.
"We need to talk, of course." Teigue stated as though it were the most obvious thing in the world.
"No, no we don't. Get out." Marin snapped, watching Teigue to make sure he didn't venture any further into the room.
"Oh, no, not until I get some answers." Teigue smirked, sidestepping Marin before flopping on the well-made bed. Marin stiffened, trying to calm the shivers of anxiety that were shooting through him.
"Like what was yesterday all about?" Teigue asked, propping his shoes up on Marin's blanket and resting his head on pillowed arms. Marin ignored the question, irritation sweeping in to replace the anxiety.
"Get your shoes off the bed." Marin snapped, but stayed where he was, across the room by the door. Teigue wordlessly toed off his shoes, letting them hit the floor with two dull thuds.
A short silence fell between them, Marin waiting for Teigue to make a move and Teigue waiting for Marin to answer his question.
"Marin." Teigue finally broke. "Marin, Marin, Marin. What am I going to do with you?" Marin narrowed his eyes at Teigue, frowning as the other man sat up. "Come here."
Marin crossed his arms stubbornly. "No. Leave."
"No." Teigue replied, standing up, to Marin's consternation. "I told you, we have to talk."
"So talk. From there." Marin rejoined, leveling his most vicious glower at Teigue, trying hard to shake his nervousness.
Teigue only smirked, stepping closer. "And if I prefer to talk from here?" Teigue stopped, what seemed like barely three inches between them.
Marin struggled to hold tight to his composure, but he knew he was fighting a losing battle. His only hope was to get Teigue out before the strain got to be too much.
"Get on with it." Marin managed, gritting his teeth as his voice came out slightly strained.
"Did Perry happen to tell you why I broke it off with him?" Teigue practically breathed at Marin. Marin froze, battling the urge to step back. "Marin?" Teigue asked, one eyebrow raised sardonically.
Marin didn't – couldn't – reply, fighting the urge to bolt, to hit Teigue, to kiss Teigue, to pass out, to do something dramatic.
"Marin?" Teigue sounded a bit more concerned, and backed off a bit. Marin breathed a bit easier, but still refused to back up to reclaim the space between them.
"What?" Marin snapped, but it didn't come out half as irritated as he'd tried to make it.
"Are you –"
"Finish that and I'll kick you in the balls." Marin scowled. He hated that – people asking if he was alright – more than he hated used towels on the floor, or shoes on the bed. Teigue looked suitably chastened, before breaking into another smirk.
"So, did he?" Teigue asked. Marin stared at him blankly for a moment.
"Did Perry tell you why?" Teigue prompted, not missing a cheerful beat.
"I.." Marin started, then to his horror, blushed.
"That's a yes then." Teigue grinned at him as his blush strengthened.
Marin glowered, but knew it wasn't half as effective as before.
"Well then." Teigue smirked. "Shall we get to it then?" The man started to close the space between them.
"Get to what?" Marin narrowed his eyes in confusion at Teigue. The question was obviously enough to throw the man off a bit, for he stopped.
"Ah…" Teigue chuckled a bit nervously.
Marin took a moment, then scowled. "Get the hell out of my sight." He snapped, anger rushing in once more. The nerve of the man.
"Marin!" Teigue protested, walking towards him once more.
"Oh, no – get out. Now." Marin sidestepped the man neatly, slipping the door open. "I have a paper to write, you are being idiotic and you're very, very lucky I haven't decided to kick you where the sun doesn't shine."
Teigue pouted at him, but Marin stood, unswayed, by the doorway. "Out." Heaving a dramatic sigh, Teigue did as he was told, heading for the doorway.
"I'll call you tomorrow then." Teigue stated with a smile – not a smirk, but a genuine smile.
"After three." Marin instructed.
"After three." Teigue repeated before smirking again and stealing a quick kiss.
Marin's outraged yells followed him from the apartment.
Eh-heh… I was going to write more, but I liked ending it on this note. Perhaps I'll do a follow-up chapter or something. Meh. Reviews are nice please.
notes: Marin's slightly Obsessive-compulsive. And has a bad history -
deadbolt, skittish, etc. This is something i may elaborate on later.