Dinner that evening had been an almost-awkward affair, with Will choking on his peas every time Tyzonn spoke to Mack (the only notable example of which was Tyzonn asking how the salt grinder worked; instead of taking it from Ty, Mack placed his hands atop Tyzonn’s and demonstrated. Will coughed and attempted to distract himself with the cherry tomatoes in his salad.). Ronny had been more normal, though she had hastily excused herself when Spencer had enquired about the video game (Tyzonn had innocently supplied that Ronny had explained certain differences between Earth and Mercurian culture).
The next morning had left Mack and Tyzonn at home, the other Rangers out to follow a slim lead on a ruby that could be another Corona Aurora jewel.
Tyzonn was a little more confused than he had been previous to his chats with Ronny and Will the previous day. Despite the amount of respect he had for Will, Tyzonn had to conclude that Will had been next to no help. Ronny had been a lot more concise, and less confused about the situation than Will had been…at least visibly.
The Earth culture was still extremely strange to him, but he thought he was starting to get the hang of it.
The Mercurian way – asking friends of Mack’s for instruction – had worked as far as it was going to. Dax…well, Dax was Dax. And knowing Rose as well as he did, he had a feeling he’d get a lecture on the history of Earth homosexuality. And neither Will nor Ronny had been especially negative on his feelings for Mack, which would have been enough for him to dismiss his attraction. And while neither had given him the usual interrogation or encouragement typical of any Mercurian, it seemed to just underline the fact that it should be Mack he was talking to.
Mack was in his hammock. Tyzonn couldn’t tell if he was actually reading his adventure book or not. He’d been watching Mack for the last three minutes and he hadn’t turned a page once.
“I know you’re there, Ty,” Mack said without turning his head.
Tyzonn sheepishly moved his chair from just out of Mack’s view to next to him. “Hi.”
“Hi.” Mack dropped the book to his chest cover-up before lacing his fingers behind his head. “What’s happening?”
Tyzonn smiled. “Not very much.”
“I’m enjoying the day off.”
“It is nice to spend a day on leisure activities and not traipsing around your planet. Though that isn’t especially un-pleasant. What would be the best approach to take if someone wanted to date you?” Tyzonn asked.
His tone had stayed even the entire way through, so Mack took a moment to react to his question.
“If someone wanted to…”
“Date you. Is that the right phrase to say?”
“I don’t know, is it?”
“I think so.”
Mack blinked. “If someone wanted to date me…?”
“Yes. How should they go about it?”
“Um…I’m not sure.”
Tyzonn blinked. “Will and Ronny had the same response. Is this a problem on your planet where you don’t know your own dating customs?”
“You asked Will and Ronny about me?” Mack asked, attempting to sit up. Unfortunately he forgot both that there was a book on his chest, and that he was in a hammock – neither of which necessarily assisted in rising from a lying position.
Tyzonn watched as Mack valiantly struggled to keep his balance. The book lost its position and fell to the grass, where it lay forlornly until Tyzonn picked it up.
“Yes, I did.” Tyzonn waited until Mack had managed to sit up before he continued. “I am sorry if that was not proper. I’m…still not sure of what I should do in this situation. So I decided to ask you.”
Mack shook his head. “Uh huh.” Bringing a hand up to massage his temples, Mack questioned, “So is this for someone else…like Rose? Or…”
“No. This is for me.”
Mack nodded weakly. “Oh. I thought it might.”
Tyzonn pressed on; while not accustomed to Earth gestures and speech patterns yet, he knew enough to realize that Mack was not exactly ecstatic about this new development in their friendship.
“I feel very strongly towards you, Mack, unlike what I feel towards Rose or Will or any of the other Rangers. Will has told me that this isn’t what is common on Earth, so I don’t expect anything from you besides your friendship.” Tyzonn couldn’t read Mack’s expression – it wasn’t anything he’d seen on Mack before.
“I just wanted to tell you that.” Another pause didn’t seem to bring Mack any closer to speaking. Tyzonn let a few more heartbeats pass before deciding on his next move.
“So. I…ah. I’m going to go back to the mansion and my room now.” He stood and picked up his chair. Placing it back under the table, Tyzonn started the walk back to the mansion.
A few footsteps came up from behind him, and a hand on his shoulder brought him around. Tyzonn opened his mouth to question.
Mack kissed him.
For about three seconds Mack’s lips were against his with one of his hands still on Tyzonn’s shoulder and the other clenched too tightly in his hair and standing on the toes of Tyzonn’s right shoe. Three glorious seconds.
Then Mack stumbled back with a strange smile on his face. Tyzonn…was surprised, to say the least.
Mack laughed sheepishly, and scratched his cheek with a fingertip. “I…ah. I’m going to go back to the mansion and my room now.”
Tyzonn watched as Mack continued past him, more than slightly in shock.