Laughter echoed across the parking lot of the apartment complex, even though Bryce had not even lit up yet. He and Lark leaned against the second-floor porch railing. Their attempts to stifle their laughter only summoned more.
“I can’t believe you said that!” Bryce muttered again. His lighter sparked several times, but would not catch. “And you played it off like you were so cool.”
“That’s because I am so cool,” Lark snorted with mock-hubris. He glanced at the cherub-faced young man with a smug smirk, and lost his composure. “No, that was so fucking embarrassing,” he chuckled, running a hand over his face. “Exactly how long has it been?”
“You tell me,” Bryce said. Pulling the joint from between his lips, he gave up on the lighter for a moment. “How long has it been for you?”
Lark snorted again, looking out over the dimly-lit complex. He shook his head nostalgically. “Too long,” he said, then burst into laughter again. When he managed to get himself back under control, he turned to Bryce. “Tell me.”
“It’s been…” Bryce thought for a moment, shaking his head. “Fuck, man… The last time you could play an Illusionist was ‘88, I think.”
“’88!” Lark repeated. Torn between humiliation and hysterical laughter, he leaned down to hide his face in his arms. “I’m not that old, I swear!” he called from his hiding place.
Chuckling, Bryce waved dismissively. “Ah… I don’t care about that.” He resumed attempting to light the joint.
Taking a deep breath, Lark leaned back up. His laughter was gone, but he still wore a strange smirk. “Here, give me that,” he said. He took both of Bryce’s hands in his as he confiscated the lighter, but didn’t release one of them. He held his wrist loosely, while, with his free hand, he swirled the contents of the lighter, then held it up-side down. “If this doesn’t work, there’s a gas station across the street.”
He finally released the boy’s wrist to pull the joint from between his lips. Pursing it between his own, he righted the lighter, and sparked a low flame. Bryce grinned as the man lit the joint, but as soon as Lark took a drag, he began to cough.
“This is skunked,” he said, handing it back. Leaning over the railing, he spit.
“Sorry,” Bryce said. He raised it to his lips, but Lark confiscated it.
“Look, let’s…” he crushed the joint out and tossed it into a bush below them, “Let’s pretend that didn’t happen, and go back to my place.”
“Your place?” Bryce asked hesitantly.
“Yes,” Lark replied, turning to face him. “I have good stuff there, and we could do… other things.”
“Other things? Like what?”
Smirking, Lark reached up to brush the boy’s hair away from his eyes. “Whatever we can think of,” he told him.