Chapter 4: Here We Go Again

Alex's eyes snapped open. He looked over at the clock and saw that it was noon. Shit. He immediately threw the covers off and sat up. He instantly regretted moving that quickly as a wave of nausea and dizziness hit him, causing him to lie back down. "Holy shit," he said aloud. He groaned as he stretched his arms and legs out. Last night had taken a toll on him. Definitely too much to drink.

He sat up again, this time much slower, allowing his equilibrium to readjust. His head pounded. He reached out to the night stand and grabbed the glass of water that was there and took a few sips. Today is going to be rough.

After taking a few more minutes to allow his body to adjust, he got up and took a quick shower, putting on gym shorts and a t-shirt when he was finished. Not really ready to walk out of the room, he walked back over to the bed and sat back down, grabbing his phone. He went through his usual routine of looking at Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Nothing very interesting, just the usual boring crap. He switched over to his messages and saw he had two, one from Tara (of course she'd ask if he's alive) and one from Mark.

He replied to Tara first, saying that he was finally awake, and that she could come in. Before he could open Mark's text to read what it said, he heard Tara moving quickly in the room next door. A few seconds later she came bursting into the room and flung herself on the bed next to him, a huge grin on her face.

He looked at her and raised an eyebrow. "How are you this peppy right now? And why the heck are you smiling like that?"

She stopped grinning and sat up, crossing her legs and putting her hands in front of her. "I'm just happy that you had a good time last night." Alex winced a bit, as she was talking a little louder than she normally did. "Oh sorry," she said meekly. "I forgot you had about twice as much as I did to drink last night."

"Exactly," he stuck his tongue out at her.

"You remember everything though?" she asked, bouncing around, a grin forming on her face again.

Alex had to crack a smile too. "If you are referring to the hot make out session with that guy, then of course I remember. How in the world could I forget?" He fell back on to the bed and looked up at the ceiling, his head spinning slightly. "If only I could have got his name or number…or something!"

Tara giggled. "It was BEYOND hot Alex! Don't downplay it! No one I made out with last night even compared, guy or girl." She giggled again.

Alex rolled his eyes. "Of course you would." He looked over at her. "You slut."

She flung a hand out and punched Alex in the shoulder, although she grinned. "Guilty as charged." She held up her hands.

Alex's phone dinged. Tara reached out and grabbed it before Alex could even do anything. "Jeez Tara, calm down!"

"Nope!" She opened the text and read it quickly, her grin getting even wider and her eyes opening wide. She handed the phone back to Alex and said giddily, "It's from Mark."

Alex grabbed the phone back forcefully. "What in the world could he have said that would make you that happy?" He turned the phone so he could see it, holding it above his head. His heart skipped two beats when he saw the messages:

Hey. So Will is away for a week for a business trip, want to come over after class so we can continue working on our project? I came up with some good ideas last night.

Let me know so I can go pick up some food so we don't starve. See you in class. :)

Alex froze and his grip lessened on his phone; and since gravity is a ruthless, unforgiving bitch, his phone fell and smacked him in the face. Tara looked like she was going to explode, holding in her laughter. Alex looked at her. "Laugh and you die."

That was the breaking point for her. She rolled off the bed and onto the floor, laughing to the point where tears were streaming down her face. Alex sat back up, setting his phone next to him and grinned. "I hate you."

Tara eventually stopped laughing and sat back up on the bed. "So what are you going to do?" She nudged his shoulder.

"Will you quit nudging me whenever Mark is mentioned like you think we are going to hook up or something?!" He said. "He has a boyfriend. Fighting or not, I respect that and no matter how…good looking…he is, no matter how bad I would…" He trailed off and redirected his thoughts. "Anyway. We need to get to work on this project, so I'm definitely going to go. And you should take note and start working on this thing with your partner."

Tara rolled her eyes so greatly that they may have rolled away had she no head. "Really? You realize I'm paired with the idiot of the class right? You want me to work with someone who is convinced the Earth is only 2000 years old? Who thinks the dinosaurs and humans walked side by side? I have NO IDEA how I'm going to work with her." She stood up and stomped off towards the door.

Alex grinned. "Sorry I get the hunk and you get the idiot! You'll figure it out! You always do."

She turned back to look at him when she reached the door. "I know; and I'll probably have to end up doing the entire thing myself. Like always."

She walked out of the room, leaving Alex alone with his thoughts of being in close proximity to Mark for an extended period of time again. He grinned again, and sent a response back to Mark saying he was looking forward to it and that he will see him in class.

Three hours later, Alex and Tara sat in class together, laptops open. The room was filled with the sound of laptop keys clicking and Mr. Paulson lecturing away. Mark was a few rows down from the two of them, and in Alex's line of site. He kept getting distracted, glancing down at him and staring in awe of how perfect he was. Damn you Will. You are so lucky. He snapped out of it just in time to get the last bit of notes down before Mr. Paulson switched slides.

"Alright class," he said, looking up at all of them. "We are going to have a quiz next Tuesday, so don't forget to study. And I hope all of you are starting to get some ideas for your group project; remember, it's going to be a huge chunk of your grade for the semester, so don't fall behind or your grade will suffer."

Alex wasn't worried. He knew that between Mark and himself, they were going to knock this thing out of the park, so he was a little taken aback when Mr. Paulson's eyes stopped on him when he mentioned the grades.

"I'm going to let you guys out early today," he said, to immediate cheers of excitement. "I hope you guys will use this time to get with your partner and start some work. Of course, I know it's finally warm out, so you all will probably just go outside and forget about it. Just remember what I said about your grade."

He turned off the PowerPoint and everyone started packing up their things. Alex crammed his laptop into his bag, along with the notebook and pencil that he had out, just in case his laptop died. He said a quick goodbye to Tara and let her know that he'd see her later since she had to work.

"You are going to have to tell me all about it, you know that right?" She said, grinning as usual, as she put her own laptop and things away. "You can't go to sleep until I find out EVERYTHING." She put so much emphasis on that last word that Alex had to smirk and shake his head.

"Of course I will Tara."

He sidestepped his way down the row of seats and down the stairs towards the door where Mark was waiting. As usual, he looked perfect even though his hair was rather messy, and he had a slightly tired look to his face. "Hey," he said, smiling at Alex.

"Hey," Alex managed to respond when he regained his composure. "I'm going to head back home and shower and change and grab some things we might need."

Mark sidestepped to let a few people out of the room, including Tara, who winked at the two of them. "What's up with her? She grins so much whenever you two are together."

Alex brought his palm up to his forehead. "I was hoping you wouldn't notice that. She has this grand notion that you and I are going to end up ripping each other's clothes off as soon as I walk through the door." In the back of Alex's mind, that scenario started to play out. STOP IT.

Mark laughed. There were no words Alex could think of that described how perfect his laugh sounded. "She does realize I have a boyfriend right?"

They started to walk out of the room and towards the building's doors. "Of course, I remind her of that every time. And besides, we've known each other what? Three, four days?"

Mark smiled. "Glad you feel that way. The last person I had to work with on something this big wouldn't stop hitting on me. It made it very awkward."

Together they walked out of the building and into the sunshine. Immediately the temperature rose and their hoodies and long sleeve shirts just were too much. Alex took off his blue hoodie and swung it over his shoulder. Mark just pushed up the sleeves of his shirt. When he pushed up the left sleeve, Alex noticed a mark or tattoo. Looks like an arrow or something. He brushed the thought away and started walking towards the parking lot, Mark next to him.

"So what time should I expect you?" Mark asked when they reached his car first.

Alex shrugged. "Gimme two hours?"

Mark opened the car door. "Sounds like a plan; I'll text you my address."

Alex waved as Mark got in and started his car. He made his way over to his own car and as he got in, he felt his phone vibrate. He pulled it out and saw that Mark had indeed sent his address. Alex took a deep breath, realizing that in two hours he was going to be alone with Mark. To work on your project, nothing else!

As soon as Alex got back to Tara's, he headed straight for his room and tossed his bag and hoodie on the bed. He sat down and took a few deep breaths. It was happening again. Just like it did with Chase. He was falling for Mark way too fast. At least with Chase he didn't have a boyfriend. He shouldn't be getting this excited to be around him. "What the hell is wrong with you Alex?" he said quietly to no one in particular.

Chase and Alex had known each other technically about a week before they started dating. Everything happened so quickly. And Alex felt like the same thing was happening again. He worked so hard to hide this feeling during the day, and suppress it, but the dam had cracked and he just needed a few to calm down. "Mark has a boyfriend. Nothing is going to or can happen." He looked at his phone and saw the time. He still needed to take a shower and print out some information for their project. Not to mention figure out how long it was going to take to get to Mark's.

He took a deep breath and made himself get up and get into the shower. Once he was dry he put on a pair of khaki shorts and a blue v-neck shirt. He reached into his bag and grabbed his laptop and sat down on the bed. After a few minutes of bringing up all of the bookmarks he made a week ago he found a few that would work for their project. Alex connected his laptop to the printer in Frannie's office and sent the documents there.

He could hear Shiloh barking at the printer as the pages came out. Alex laughed as he made his way into the office. "Oh Shiloh, it's just a printer." He made sure to scratch him behind the ears as he waited for everything to print. Once everything had printed, (a bit more than he originally thought) he put it all in a folder and walked back to his room, Shiloh following. I'll have to pick up more ink and paper for Frannie. As soon as he got in Shiloh jumped on the bed, making a huffing noise as he lay down.

"You silly dog," Alex said. "Come on, off the bed. Frannie would kill me if she knew you were up here." He pushed at Shiloh and eventually he got the message and got off the bed, choosing instead to sit and watch Alex at the doorway, tail wagging like crazy. Alex put the folder into his bag and grabbed his wallet and keys and headed out. He grabbed a treat for Shiloh and made sure to lock everything up before getting into his car and pulling up Mark's address on his phone.

He quickly typed in into his GPS and saw that it wasn't too far. He sent a quick text to Mark letting him know he would be there in about 15 minutes. Before Alex was out of the driveway, Mark had responded: Sounds good, see you then!

Fifteen minutes later, Alex pulled into the parking lot of a condo complex. The sun had just set, making the sky a deep purple, not yet black. He made his way around to number 9B and parked next to Mark's car. He grabbed his bag from the passenger seat and made his way up the walkway to the door. He knocked three times and waited his heart pounding.

Alex. Calm down. You need to stop this nonsense. Just take a deep breath and concentrate on working on the project and eating pizza or whatever food Mark bought for us.

It was only a few minutes before he heard footsteps and could see Mark's shadow against the four frosted windows in the door. The door opened and Alex was bathed in light from the lamp in the hall. Mark moved to let Alex in, but Alex couldn't move. He was frozen in place, his eyes locked on Mark.

He couldn't believe what he was seeing. Mark had on a white and blue striped tank top, which showed off his arms and chest, and loose khaki shorts. His hair was just as messy as it was earlier. But it was none of these things that rooted Alex in place.

On Mark's left arm was a tattoo. Earlier Alex had mistaken the bottom part on his forearm as an arrow. It was definitely not an arrow. It was a tail. A tail that snaked its way up Mark's arm to a dragon, ending in the dragon's mouth at the base of his neck. Alex immediately flashed back to the night before, to the guy in the corner of the club.

The guy that called him over. The one who had pushed him against the wall and kissed him like he'd never been kissed before.

Mark stood in the doorway and looked at Alex confused. "You alright?"

It was no longer "the guy" Alex made out with.

The guy from the club.

It was Mark.

A/N: So I pumped this chapter out rather quickly, but I really wanted to get to the end where it's revealed that it was Mark in the club. The ramifications of that will definitely play out in the next couple of chapters. Also, it might be rather sudden, throwing in the panic attack Alex has when he gets back, but I really wanted to throw that in there. He has a past of rushing into relationships and falling for guys way too quickly. It's overwhelming and I wanted to show that. It'll show up again of course since things are going to move pretty quickly here.

As always though, I hope you enjoyed reading! If you have any concerns or critiques please drop a review and let me know, I love hearing from my readers, even if it's just a "loved the chapter" type thing. :D