“How’s my sweetheart this morning?”
Jackson smiles, and snuggles closer to the warm body next to him. Scratchy and deep from sleep, Mark’s voice rumbles delightfully along Jackson’s arm where he’s got it splayed over Mark’s skinny chest.
It’s a lovely Sunday morning full of warmth and not-too-bright sunshine. He doesn’t have work, Mark doesn’t have work, there’s orange juice in the fridge and leftover pizza in the microwave; it’s heaven. Mark laughs at something, a high-pitched sound that can only be categorised as a giggle and described as cute. Ew.
He’s about to doze off when something paws at his arm. In response, Jackson frowns and hugs Mark closer. This time, the devilish something really goes for it, complete with a loud whine that wrenches Jackson away from his fuzzy dream. Jackson jerks up to a crouching position with a hiss, watching three angry red lines appear on his arm.
“Mine,” he growls, tightening his grip around Mark, who just fucking giggles cutely again, the traitor. “Get your own Mark.”
The golden retriever puppy cocks his head like an evil mastermind planning something diabolical, and then starts climbing over Jackson’s head.
“Murgh,” Jackson says, as his face is smashed into Mark’s ribs. Eight-month-old golden retriever puppies aren’t supposed to weigh this much, right? It feels like a sack of rice is stomping all over him with fluffy, clawed feet. “We need to put him on a diet,” he wheezes, when Mark finally lifts the spawn of Satan off of him. “And trim his nails.”
“What a clever baby,” his traitor boyfriend coos at the puppy, while cruelly shoving Jackson aside. “The big bad Wang called you fat, huh?”
The puppy sits, triumphant, on Mark’s chest and even turns to deign Jackson with a haughty smile.
You little shit, Jackson thinks but doesn’t say, because the last time he called the puppy names he was forced to sleep on the couch for three consecutive nights while the evil thing got to curl up next to Mark. On Jackson’s side of the bed.
He does, however, feel that he should point out the scratches, which really hurt. “Look at what your ‘baby’ did!” He thrusts his injured arm close to Mark’s face and adopts his puppy-dog look, complete with big eyes and quivering pout.
Mark’s eyes soften, and he runs gentle cool fingers over the three stripes. “We should take care of that.”
Jackson shoots the puppy a triumphant grin. The puppy sniffs at his own bloody handiwork and licks delicately as if to soothe the wounds, earning the little shit another wave of affection and stupid pet names from Jackson’s stupid boyfriend.
At least he has pizza and orange juice, Jackson reasons, trying not to feel like a total loser, and slinks out of the bedroom.
Jackson had been dating Mark for three years and a bit. Being a wonderful boyfriend, he decided to adopt a tiny golden retriever puppy from the shelter and give it to Mark for his twenty-fifth birthday. They named the tiny puppy Mandu, Jackson received a huge kiss and a fantastic blowjob from Mark even though it was Mark’s birthday, and everyone on Facebook said that Jackson was a great boyfriend.
At first, Jackson and the puppy were great pals. The puppy was all kinds of adorable with giant paws and twinkling eyes and floppy ears, and he kept falling asleep everywhere. Jackson would come home after work to see Mark curled up on the sofa with Mandu on his lap, and he would always get this burning feeling in his chest that made him grin despite the exhaustion in his bones. Mandu would sometimes yip at the sight of Jackson in the door and try to wriggle his way out of Mark’s arms to get to Jackson.
Then the lightning storm happened, and the devil was born.
Jackson had stayed late at his fencing studio to catch up on paperwork. Mark had been alone with a terrified Mandu, who wouldn’t go to sleep and kept yelping at every flash of lightning and every boom of thunder. After that night, the puppy had nightmares and clung to Mark, whose fussing spilled over to the daytime. Then the pet names started. Baby. Sweetheart. Darling. Honey.
The beginning of the end was when Mark changed his profile picture on Facebook from him and Jackson to one of him and Mandu.
“Yes, my love?”
Mark stares at him for a moment, and then shakes his head in amusement. “You remember that we’re going to the dog park this afternoon, right?”
“Are we?” Jackson is sure that they have absolutely nothing planned. Nothing. They are meant to be lazing the whole weekend away in the apartment, having sex when they can get away from the furry devil, and sustaining on takeaway. Jackson hasn’t had a whole weekend off in months. He voices all of this out to Mark, substituting the sex part with subtle looks to his own crotch.
“Oh, you can stay home and rest if you want. We’ll be fine, won’t we, darling?” Mark scratches behind Mandu’s ears, and the puppy literally preens under the attention.
Jackson’s about to agree, envisioning an afternoon alone with the TV and Masterchef, but then he realises that Mark and Mandu are going out. Without him. On a date. “No,” he blurts out, spraying crumbs all over the table. Mark tsks and throws the tissue box at him. “I’ll go. It’s the shelter fundraiser thing, right? We should all go. It’ll be like a date.”
Mark laughs. “Yeah, but with Mandu. You sure you don’t want to stay at home?”
Mandu lifts his blond head in challenge. “Yes,” Jackson says firmly. “I’m coming with you.”
“Awesome. We’ll leave after lunch, okay?”
Jackson nods, smiling, and fixes his eyes on Mark’s ass in the baggy pyjama pants as his boyfriend bends down to let Mandu go. I’m watching you, Jackson mouths at Mandu, and wrinkles his nose when the puppy starts licking his balls.
Mark says goodnight to Mandu, and closes the bedroom door. Just when Jackson slips a hand into Mark’s pants, Mandu scratches at the door and cries. Mark lets him in. Jackson’s erection wilts and he has to sleep with Mandu in between him and his boyfriend.
Jackson says that Mandu needs to learn how to sleep on his own. Because Jackson has Mark’s cock in his mouth, Mark agrees, and Jackson continues, satisfied. Then Mandu lets out his best loud whine, and Mark shoves Jackson aside, tucks himself back into his pants, and goes to comfort the crybaby.
Jackson called Mandu a crybaby, was kicked out of their bedroom, and had to sleep on the sofa for three days straight.
When he reaches them, Mandu is sniffing at Jinyoung’s snooty Dachshund, and Mark has already donated ten bucks for a cherry ice pop. Jackson slows his pace just to spend some extra seconds ogling the way Mark’s lips are stained wet and red by the dessert.
“Jackson!” Bambam calls, drawing his attention to another booth. He shares a smile with Mark, and turns to greet his friend.
Bambam was the guy who rescued Mandu from an illegal breeder. Jackson met him at the shelter through the adoption process. He’s much younger than Jackson and Mark, but has had tons of experience volunteering and then working with the shelter to rehome animals. The most striking thing about Bambam is his fringe, which changes colour every time Jackson sees him. Right now, it’s an eye-catching purple, which matches the collars on his trio of dogs.
Jackson spends some time chatting with Bambam about the fundraiser, and donates some money to the cause, picking up some dog treats for Mandu. He doesn’t hate Mandu, not really, it’s only that Mark spends too much of his love and affection on the spawn of Satan for their own good when he should be sharing it with Jackson. Bambam listens, and offers some advice. Jaebum, who’s running the stall for cats, agrees that Jackson should probably chill and try nudging Mark and Mandu to grow out of the overprotective phase. Or to get a cat. Jackson likes Nora all right, but he has shit luck with cats, who all seem to see him as their personal scratching post, so he’ll just—relax.
“—you think is more handsome, Mandu or Jackson?”
Jackson swivels around so quickly that he drops a packet of biscuits. Yugyeom, who’s about Bambam’s age but more of a gigantic troll, is talking to Mark with a smirk on his face. He has a DSLR camera hanging from a strap around his neck, as well as a pen hovering over a notepad.
Oh, for fuck’s sake, Jackson grouses. Does Mark really need to think before he answers? Jackson fences for a living, has amazing hair, and mad sex skills. He’s way more handsome than a dog. Wild and sexy even.
“I, uh—both of them are really—look, can’t you just take our picture?” Mark chuckles nervously, running his free hand through his reddish-brown hair. The simple silver rings that he likes to wear sparkle in the sun. He cuts a stunning figure, as evident by the murmurs rippling around the crowd close to them. Jackson rolls his eyes so hard that it hurts. “It’s for a calendar, right?”
Jackson trudges over with the stupid dog treats and glares down at Mandu for a brief moment before schooling his expression. “What’s going on?”
“We want to get Mark and Mandu’s picture for the calendar,” Yugyeom answers, grinning. “And maybe a quote for the next magazine issue?”
“How about you take a picture of the three of us, and of course I’m more handsome than Mandu,” Jackson says.
“Well, Mark and Mandu really sounds better than Mark, Jackson, and Mandu,” Yugyeom says. “But we could do it, yup,” he adds quickly, when Jackson channels all the frustration he’s felt since Mandu stepped on his head that morning into a grade-A pissed-off glare.
They sit on the grass together, Mandu gambolling towards them and falling headfirst into Jackson’s shoe. Jackson scoops him up and settles him on the thigh pressed close to Mark’s own. He frowns down at the disoriented puppy, still a little miffed, but then Mark gives his arm a gentle squeeze and presses his lips briefly to Jackson’s cheek. Jackson relaxes, content, and the flash goes off.
Mandu is actually quiet and manages to sleep through the night without crying or scratching at the door. Jackson actually manages to get laid. Mark actually manages to go to sleep without being tempted to check on Mandu and inadvertently bring him into the room—although part of the reason why are the ties holding him to the headboard.
Jackson goes to get ready for work at 6, and comes out from the bathroom to kiss Mark goodbye, only to have Mandu staring at him uncannily and growling when he approaches.
Jackson got growled at, and decided to whisper, “You little shit,” to Mandu. Mark heard him and withheld sex for four weeks.
He thinks on the advice he’s been given by Bambam and Jaebum. Yeah, Jackson reflects, he could stand to not think of Mandu as some evil overlord trying to take over Mark’s heart one pitiful whine at a time. There’s enough space in Mark’s heart for them both, right?
“Yes, of course,” Mark says earnestly over his rice, when Jackson finally confesses his annoyance and insecurity later that evening. “And I know I’m a bit overprotective. And he is spoiled, isn’t he?”
Jackson nods fervently, and breathes when it doesn’t result in Mark declaring another ceasefire of sexual activity.
Mark blushes, which is, again, cute. (Ew.) “Actually, at times I was just messing with you.” He ducks his head down. “I just wanted you to admit that you were jealous of Mandu.”
Jackson is busy choking on his noodles. “You mean,” he coughs, “you threw me out—“
“Once or twice.”
“—and gave me blue balls—“
“Once or twice.”
“—for four weeks!”
Mandu yips happily from under the table.
Jackson stares at his boyfriend. Mark’s head is thrown back and his teeth gleam white, his cheeks are flushed, and he looks absolutely adorable despite the unholy high-pitched guffaw that he’s emitting.
Standing up and coming around the table, Mark kneels down. “I do love you, you know,” he says, the corners of his plush mouth twitching. “And I’m sorry for messing with you.”
“Four weeks of blue balls are no joke,” Jackson says.
Mark nods gravely. “Yes, they aren’t.”
“I’m more handsome than Mandu, right?”
“Yes, you are.” Mark kisses Jackson’s knee, and looks up at him. “You know, Markson and Mandu sound good. We should text Yugyeom to print that.”
“Uh huh,” Jackson says. A rushing sound in Jackson’s ears had drowned out everything Mark said post-kiss. Jackson lets his thighs fall further open. He can’t not do it, when Mark’s looking at him like that in that position.
“Oh?” Mark says wryly. He plants another kiss just above Jackson’s knee, and Jackson can’t help but shiver and push his plate of noodles away.
Mandu barks, confused and forgotten.
“Hold on a quick moment,” Mark murmurs, and ushers Mandu into their bedroom with a few of the dog treats from the fundraiser. Jackson leans back in the dining chair, ridiculously aroused, until Mark returns. “Now,” his boyfriend purrs, kneeling back down in between Jackson’s legs. He runs long fingers up and down Jackson’s thighs, almost brushing the straining fly of his jeans. “Where were we?”