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A brunch spread, overlaid with cover of Andre, by Jayce Ellis. Caption: Sunday Brunch Bites

Get to know: Marcus.

When we last left Marcus, he’d just graduated and was busy taking family photos and planning his next steps (if you’ve read Courtney, part of the Big City High Rise anthology, you saw him a few months later as well. If you haven’t, it’s available as part of an anthology here, and will be re-released on its own in May!). Now that he’s settled a bit into his new path in life, how’s he doing? He and André are working through the Best Self Icebreaker cards (Deeper Talk), and André wants to know where his man is at. 

André: Okay, so I pulled some cards. You ready to do this?

Marcus: *rolls shoulders* Ready as I’ll ever be. 

André: Bet. First question. What was the last big thing you lied about?

Marcus: *snorts* Wanting to work.

André: In retrospect, that was maybe an obvious one. Would you do it again, though?

Marcus: Hell yeah. I wasn’t ready to admit that to myself, let alone anyone else. That’s huge, to say as a grown-ass man I want to stay home. I might still be lying if I hadn’t met you. I might not even be able to admit it if I hadn’t met you. *Leans forward and smacks a kiss on André’s cheek* Next question.

André: When do you feel most alive?

Marcus: When I make something in the kitchen and folks moan like it’s the most delicious thing ever. There’s nothing better than that feeling, like you’ve taken care of everyone around you.

André: You are so damn soft. You know that? Just a big old teddy bear.

Marcus: Who will pound you through the floor if you don’t hush and ask the next question.

André: *looks Marcus up and down and waggles brow* Gonna hold you to it. What would you like to re-experience because you did not appreciate it fully the first time?

Marcus: The first time I topped you, no doubt.

André: *sputters* Why’s that?

Marcus: Don’t think I don’t see how that made you hard. But anyway, that night was all over the place, you know? We hadn’t seen each other, and I was trying to convince that lady to seat us together. It was Harold’s anniversary and everything. Then on top of all that, you tell me you’re ready. I think I was just on overwhelm to have you back, and as special as I knew it was, I’d love to go back and do it again. To really catalogue every sound you make, the way your eyes widen for the first time, the way—

André: Stop!! Stop talking, right now. Jesus Christ.

Marcus: *winks*

André: You are absolutely incorrigible. Next question, sir. What piece of advice would you give your younger self if you could?

Marcus: To trust yourself. I knew what I wanted and spent so much time trying to make everyone but me happy. I don’t think I would’ve proclaimed for all the world that I wanted to stay home, but I would’ve gone into a field I genuinely enjoyed, not just one I thought I could make money in.

André: What would that have been?

Marcus: Honestly, I don’t even know. I’ve never really thought about it, even though I knew finance wasn’t it.

André: Fair enough, but you know I’m circling back to that.

Marcus: As long as it’s in bed.

André: Incorrigible, like I said. What do you want to know about someone that you’ve been scared to ask?

Marcus: How you really feel about me not working.

André: *blinks owlishly* Me?

Marcus: You’re the only one else here, last I checked. How do you feel about it, Dre?

André: *clears throat. Twice* You know I was apprehensive at first. Not because I didn’t want you to, but I’d just gotten Pennington, and I didn’t know how long it would take to bear fruit. I didn’t know if I could take care of us the way you deserved. That was my biggest concern.

Marcus: And now?

André: Now Mrs. Pennington is like the fairy godmother of business, so we’re doing better than okay. And I’m glad I took the chance, cuz now we both get to live our dreams.

Marcus: And you say I’m the soft one.

André: You are. Let me get this one last question out. What have you done in the last six months that you’re most proud of?

Marcus: You. Every day and every night.

André: It’s the last question! Be serious.

Marcus: Fine. Honestly, I think I’m most proud that I made things right with Jake. Things were still tense with him even after the graduation, so I’m glad we’re back to good, and that I can talk to him without worrying about him keeping it to himself.

André: I’m glad for that, too. I know that wore on you.

Marcus: *nods* It did. But also, I was serious.

André: *frowning* What do you mean?

Marcus: About being proud of you. Not just the sex, but that I didn’t let that initial hurt keep me from you. That was a solid ass decision on my part.

André: *puts cards down and stands* But you are proud of doing me, too, right?

Marcus: Yeah…

André: Prove it.

And on that note, I’m out. See you guys next week!

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