City Falcon Release Day – Excerpt #2

August 26, 2011

Back turned to Mark, Hunter asked, “Why are you here, Mark? Want to join me for the patrol?” Despite his casual tone of voice, the set of his shoulders radiated tension.

Mark rubbed his hand over the knotted muscle in his own neck with a wince. “I don’t think so, no.”

Hunter’s hands tightened on the window frame. Otherwise, he didn’t respond, waiting.

Mark took a deep breath. “Actually, I came to tell you… Hunter, I think it was all a big mistake. You, Greg, the falcons…. I won’t come back.”

“So why did you ask for it in the first place?” Hunter turned to Mark, face unreadable. “Why are you telling me that, anyway? It’s Greg you should be talking to.”

“I will,” Mark replied sharply. He clenched his fists in an attempt to control the angered embarrassment rising inside him. “I wanted to talk to you first because… because I think it concerns you most. I should never have gone after the falconry thing, knowing you were here.”

Hunter pushed himself off the car and straightened, crossing his arms. “What has me being here got to do with anything?” he asked, his voice even. Annoyingly so. Mark dug his nails into his palms.

“Don’t you tell me you don’t know that,” he said, struggling to keep his wavering control. “It was all about you, from the moment you first looked at me, with your fucking innuendos and your fucking attitude and your fucking eyes!” He heard his voice get louder but felt unable to stop it. Didn’t want to, either. “I knew from the start you were pure poison, and now I’m a mess, and it’s all… your… fucking… fault!” Mark’s fists pounded the accents to his last words on the car roof.

“Stop that,” Hunter snapped. “You’re scaring the falcons.”

“Don’t give a shit,” Mark growled, but he still took a step aside.

Hunter held onto his own biceps in a white-knuckled grip, but his face remained blank. His voice cut like cold steel. “You’re a grown man, Mark. No one could have made you do anything. You took my invitation all of your own free will. I didn’t have to twist your arm, as far as I recall.”

“You—” Mark started, but Hunter chopped him off.

“And don’t you dare blame me for the sex. That takes two, as well you know.”

“You started it,” Mark yelled. Hunter’s lips curled into a sneer.

“Ah, now, Mark, that’s pathetic. You didn’t strike me as a blushing virgin at all,” he said. “However, I get it. You don’t want to see me again. Fine. I’ll get over it.” Turning away, he made to round the car. “Get lost, then, and let me do my work.”

Mark’s vision blurred red at the edges. “You self-righteous, cocky, arrogant asshole,” he snarled, grabbed a handful of braid and yanked hard.

Hunter whirled around and lashed out, hitting Mark’s jaw hard enough to make him stumble backward. Roaring, Mark caught himself and launched into a tackle which ended with Hunter up against the car, wrists pinned in Mark’s iron grip, both men glaring at each other,  breathing hard. Hunter struggled, but his lean body was no match for Mark’s broader shoulders and taller frame. Eventually he stilled, eyes shooting daggers at Mark.

“What is it you want from me?” he hissed.

The words cut through Mark’s red-hot fury and brought him back to his senses with a jolt. Shoulders slumping, he stepped back and turned, all his anger draining away like water from a sieve, leaving him hollow and exhausted. He closed his eyes and shook his head, struggling to get his leaden feet to move, to carry him away.

A touch on his arm stopped him.

Mark stood, unable to turn, unable to move on.

“Mark,” Hunter said, the unexpected kindness in his voice helping Mark to find his tongue.

“Let me go, Hunter,” he croaked, horrified at how miserable he sounded. Hunter’s hand on his arm tightened instead, tugging gently.

Mark didn’t know how, but suddenly Hunter’s arms enfolded him, held him tight, and he just crumpled, knees going weak, hands fisting in the fabric of Hunter’s jacket.

The familiar soft humming vibrated beneath Mark’s ear. Hunter’s hands stroked Mark’s back, his hair. A part of Mark was appalled at the display of weakness he provided, but the rest of him didn’t care, leaning closer still into the warmth of Hunter’s embrace, unthinking, just giving in to the feeling of being held. Hunter’s lips touched Mark’s cheek, his soft beard brushed Mark’s skin. Words mixed into the low humming, no louder than the sound, soft words in a language Mark couldn’t understand but felt soothed by nevertheless.

They stood like that for a second or an hour, Mark couldn’t have told. Eventually he pulled back with a sigh, hanging his head. Hunter’s hands slid easily from his shoulders, coming to rest on his forearms. Mark turned his palms up, unable to stand the closeness any longer, but unwilling to give up physical contact completely.

“I’m so tired, Hunter,” Mark said. “I’m tired of fighting every day. I don’t want to fight anymore.”

“Then don’t,” Hunter said. “You needn’t fight everything.”

2 Responses to “City Falcon Release Day – Excerpt #2”

  1. Beatrice says:

    Excuse me while I cough out the lump that formed in my throat… Are you sure this isn’t a tearjerker? (Or maybe I’m just too emotional.) That was a powerful excerpt, Feliz.

  2. Feliz Faber says:

    Thanks, beatrice. I assure you, it’s not a tear jerker-at least it’s not supposed to be one. This is one critical moment between them, though.

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