A winter holiday theme, A “bad boy” character, and A gift of some kind (author’s choice).
This is how Mark and Dylan came to be. I hope you will like them just as much as I did, and you can be expect to see them again in the future.
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Rocking around the Christmas Tree made place to the romantic notes of The Carpenters’ Merry Christmas, Darling. I picked up a small ceramic snowman and my eyes widened at the price. I placed it back with its friends, and I rubbed my glitter-tainted finger on my jean.
A middle aged lady with a nervous glare asked if I needed her assistance, but before I could answer her, my friend Mark came from behind me and slid his arm under mine. For show, he even gave a quick kiss on my jaw before looking from above my shoulder.
“Found anything, babe?”
Suddenly, her stiffness and reserve became animated gestures and friendly smiles. I didn’t think Mark noticed, why would he? People didn’t look at him the way they looked at me. Mark had his upbringing’s rich boy look, while I was give off a scruffy no-good bum vibe.
If only they knew.
“You think your mother would like this?”
Mark’s laugher resonated in my eyes, and I couldn’t help the shiver that came through my body. The embrace felt good and was distracting me from my purpose.
Keep to the plan.
“You worry too much. She’ll love the necklace you bought her.”
Another kiss on the jaw, and Mark moved away from me, his hand never leaving mine.
His fingers were cold, but they brought an unexpected warm all over me. My heart beat so fast and loud in my mind that I didn’t hear the lady’s response. Mark thanked her, and I counted the step to the exit.
Ten. Eleven. Twelve.
We were almost out when the security guard called upon us.
Mark squeezed my hand and pulled me with him. I let the adrenaline overwhelm me, and ran as fast as I could.
We dodged the guard, and I realized at that moment just how screw I was. For three years, I’ve done everything to convince the world I wasn’t the bad boy they saw in me, but one look at sweet-talking Mark, and I was running from the law.
“Oh, shit.” Mark said between two breathe. “That was a close call.”
Mark threw his arm around my neck, and if having his lips so close to mine would usually have me think about kisses and other naughtiness, I couldn’t shake the image of the last time I saw my brother.
I was going to get thrown into juvi like he had. The one fate I’ve done everything to avoid.
“I can’t believe we could have been arrested.” Mark laughed.
And I couldn’t believe I let him convinced me it was a good idea.
“No. I would—”
My words were muffled when I suddenly had Mark’s lips against mine. I froze, and before I could react, Mark backed away from me.
“Shit, I’m sorry.” He stepped to me again, and his hands cup my face. “So, sorry.”
He tried to wipe my lips with his fingers, and I was still in shock, my heart beating in my chest.
My eyes went to his lips. It could be my only chance.
I pushed him into the red brick wall and kissed him with all my soul. Every time one of us would come up for air, the other would dive for another kiss.
Eventually, I dug my face in his neck, and we held each other for a moment. I took everything in; if it was to be the last of us I wanted to remember it all.
“I wouldn’t have let you take the fall, you know.”
I believed him, but didn’t think it would have matter in the end.
But instead of expressing my feelings, I kissed him again. He passed his hand through my hair, and a cold drift brushed where my tuque was. Mark put our forehead together and he forced eye contact. Light snow fell around us.
“I’m sorry I brought you into this.”
“I should have told you your plan sucked.”
Mark raised a corner of his mouth. “Why didn’t you?”
“You sounded experienced.” And I didn’t want you to think I was a coward.
Mark shook his head. “Just wanted to impress you.”
I brought our lips closer. “Had me decide to cut you loose.”
“We can’t have that.”
He kissed me again, and when we separated, he whispered. “I couldn’t have hope for a better ending.”
“What do you reckon we do with—” I dug into my pocket to grab the necklace, but my finger closed on something too large to be Mark’s mom gift.
I took the watch out of my pocket. The price was still attached to the large silver band, and the inside of the watch was dark blue with fine diamonds-like sparkles that made it look like stars on a night sky.
“Mom likes to buy her own gifts,” Mark took the watch from my hands, and slid it around my wrist. “It fits you.”
“I can’t be holding on to stolen goods.”
He sighed. “I know, but I just wanted you to have something to remember me by.”
I hugged him and brushed my jaw along his. “I couldn’t forget you even if I wanted too.”
Mark smiled at me, and I felt the butterfly in my stomach.
“I love you.” He froze. “I mean…”
I didn’t let him ruin the moment, and kissed him.
Later, Mark convinced the store not to press charges and I didn’t go to juvenile detention. We had to apologize and give back the watch, and we couldn’t come back ever again, but in the end, I had Mark, and that was worth a million watches.