|With You, Not at You
Author: Guede Mazaka
It’s bad, Thierry knows, but he’s just so relieved that the match ended in a win and anyway, he still doesn’t know what exactly to think or how to react, so yes, he’s laughing.
“Okay, okay,” Bobby mutters, shoving at Thierry’s shoulder. He had played nice for the reporters, but now he’s slouching and stiff beside Thierry. And breaking into English. “I get it.”
Thierry swings back, but can’t catch himself in time and ends up falling forward onto Robert’s shoulder. The other man has shifted slightly so after the bony point catches Thierry in the side of the chest, Thierry continues sliding down so the rest of his laugh is muffled against Bobby’s belly. “I’m so sorry. It was a bad idea.”
After a moment, Bobby whiffs a sigh. The muscles pillowing Thierry’s head flex as the other man shrugs. He goes back to French, which makes Thierry feel a little better, but Bobby still sounds grumpy. His joke, if it is a joke, comes out bitter. “Making my leg go numb?”
“Mmmm…” It’s not a proper answer, but Thierry really shouldn’t laugh right now so he’s got to keep his lips pressed together. Instead he nods, feeling Robert’s stomach give way as the back of his skull pushes against it. His mouth is quivering and he rubs his knuckles hard against it, trying to get it out without, well, embarrassing Bobby anymore. He’s sorry, he really is, but Bobby wasn’t the only one with nerve problems and Thierry didn’t get to have his issue come out on the pitch.
The other man’s knees move around in small circles. His feet shuffle against the floor, the sound rising over the low drone of the TV. He doesn’t push Thierry off his lap. “I didn’t like it when you told me about it.”
“I know, I know, bad idea. My fault,” Thierry manages to say. He swallows the tremor in his throat and flops around to look up at Robert. The other man meets his eyes for a moment before looking away at the TV, his mouth slack except for the tension drawing up the corners. “I know, I should’ve listened to you. I’ll do that next time.”
Robert’s arms are thrown over the top of the couch now. He makes a little je-ne-sais-quoi flick with his hands. The grooves above his drawn brows aren’t quite as deep now.
“But…but if you disagree so much, could you tell me before we try it?” Thierry gets almost all of it out before a chuckle tries to sneak up his throat. He coughs it down, but it only gets as far as his Adam’s apple where it sticks and tickles. He coughs again, this time raising his shoulders, and ends up choking a little as some spit works its way into it.
Sighing, Robert slides one hand beneath Thierry’s back and gives it a thump. The hand slides up out of the way when Thierry lies back down, but only as far as Thierry’s head, its fingers molding to the curve. Bobby’s palm is warm, slightly rough, itching a little where it rubs against the stubble beginning to come through.
“I am sorry,” Thierry tells him again.
Robert snorts and finally looks down at him. “But you still want to laugh, don’t you?”
“Well…yes.” Thierry can only shrug.
Before he’s finished doing that, Robert’s twisted himself around, legs coming up on the sofa to shove Thierry’s knees into the back. He works himself down as Thierry pulls himself up by the elbows, and kisses Thierry. Their legs get tangled—Thierry loses his shoes while untangling them, and then they straighten each other out. Bobby pushes his hands up Thierry’s shirt, warming the exposed skin before the cool air of the room hits it. Thierry digs his nails into Bobby’s right shoulderblade and snakes his other hand into the other man’s trousers so Bobby starts to arch—
Thierry frowns, staring up at the other man who’s suddenly frozen on top of him. After a moment, Bobby leans down and whispers into Thierry’s ear. “Titi…we can’t. It just went—”
He doesn’t even finish before Thierry’s practically crying, he’s laughing so hard. His throat hurts and he’s wheezing as he clutches at Bobby, who’s snickering more quietly into his neck. Robert trails smiling kisses up his throat and across his jaw while Thierry calms down in jerky, giggly spurts.
“I hope you’re vaccinated against that too now,” Thierry snorts, finally able to speak again.
“Sorry.” Bobby presses the flat of his tongue to the spot behind Thierry’s ear. “Laugh some more. I like looking at you when you’re doing that.”
Thierry grabs hold of his face and pulls him back. He smiles at Bobby, then tugs him down for another kiss. “I’ll laugh if you laugh.”
And they do.