Author's Note: Here's a little treat for everyone who is reading 'The Black Book Index'...and to everyone who isn't reading it, go do so now! lol This is a companion story, from Marc's point of view. It will eventually run alongside 'The Black Book Index', but I think the first few chapters will give you a bit of back-story and the Marc/Ryan interaction you all wanted.

Chapter One

I look around, smiling happily at the mess that seems to have exploded in my living-room. Well, our living-room now, technically. There are piles of boxes, a few of which have been half unpacked by Ryan, torn bubble-wrap, and just general crap spewed all over the place. My once perfectly arranged living-room has been turned upside-down, and I can barely see the floor. However, this hardly fazes me at all, and I merrily stack a box clearly marked 'RYAN'S CLOTHES' on top of various others before unbuttoning my white linen shirt and wiping the sweat from my forehead. I've been running up and down, bringing boxes up into the flat whilst Ryan…actually, I'm not exactly sure where Ryan is right now. He dropped a batch of boxes over here and now, I'm not too sure where he's gone. I make my way downstairs, cursing the summer heat, to find Ryan leaning against the outside wall of the apartment building, a pile of boxes by his feet.

He looks up when he hears me approaching, giving me a small smile and letting his eyes roam over my exposed torso indiscreetly. I grin, leaning down to place a soft kiss on his lips, surprised when he pulls me back to him when I start to move away. Ryan isn't usually the demanding sort. In the past year that we've been together, I've discovered that he's almost completely the opposite of me. He's so content to relax and agree, and his self-confidence really isn't what he should be. In all honesty, he's completely gorgeous, especially in my eyes. I've always had a thing for eyes and smiles, and Ryan's eyes are the most unusually pale blue-grey, the kind that either send chills down your spine or make your heart skip a beat. Fortunately, they get the latter response from me. And when he does smile, it's usually a small, shy smile, restrained and tentative. But I've seen him smile- really smile- and it truly is a thing of beauty, worthy of being framed and hung on a gallery wall like the paintings he works with day in and day out.

So now that Ryan is pulling me back to him, demanding another kiss as we stand outside what had previously been my apartment- and is now his too- in the hot summer sun, to say that I'm surprised would be, well, an understatement in the biggest sense of the word. However, I can hardly object when Ryan's mouth covers mine, prying my lips open with his tongue and deepening the kiss. When we pull apart, Ryan's back to his usual self, flushing a little and giving me a quick, shy smile before picking up a box and waiting for me to follow suit. I do so and follow him into the building and into the lift.

"You look hot, by the way," Ryan comments, giving me a quick look-over once more.

"It's boiling today!" I sigh, hating the feeling of the linen of my shirt sticking to my back.

"It may be boiling today, but you're hot," Ryan grins.

"Oh, is that so? Well, may be we should unpack after we christen all the rooms in the flat, hmm?" I wink suggestively and Ryan giggles.

"I thought you only christen rooms when you move into a new place together?"

"Well, we can bend the rules a little. And give it another six months, or a year or so, and we'll see about properly christening somewhere new of our own, alright?"

Ryan blushes furiously at that, dropping his gaze to stare at the floor and his feet. He always does this, whenever I indicate that I'm in this for the long run. It's as though he doesn't believe me, doesn't believe that I really want to spend the rest of my life with him. I know it's just his lack of self-confidence that makes him this way- believing that he doesn't deserve me- and I intend on spending as long as it takes to make him realise that he does deserve to be in this relationship, that he does deserve to be happy. –And I do know that he's happy with me. I can tell. He smiles more than when we first met, and he laughs, but he still has this insecurity that bites at him, that he can't get rid of. And I will rid him of it, if it's the last thing I ever do.

Once we get inside the flat, Ryan can't help but grin at the mess. I'm a neat person, so the mess in the living-room is uncharacteristic of the usual state of the flat. I ignore it however, urging Ryan to place the box down in a space (if he can find one) and gently grip his elbow, steering him towards the bedroom. He pretends to protest, insisting that we have work to do, that the flat is a mess, but I know he wants this just as badly as I do.

"Marc… There are boxes everywhere. And we're both gross and sweaty- we must stink. Come on Marc… Marc!"

I chuckle against his warm skin as I place gentle nips against skin, moving my lips up his neck, across his chin, until I reach his lips and nibble on the bottom one lightly. He groans a little, trying to pull away from me at the same time, but I'm having none of it. I firmly wrap my arms around his waist, pulling his slightly smaller frame towards mine, and I have to laugh when Ryan finally decides that he isn't going to play games anymore, leaping up into my arms and wrapping his legs around my waist.

"Woah there, baby!" I laugh, grinning into his flushed face- though by now, I'm not sure if the colour on his cheeks is due to the summer heat, embarrassment or a consequence of our actions.

"Hey, that's not fair! You're not allowed to get things going and then ask me to slow down!" he protests, sticking out his bottom lip and pouting.

He's utterly adorable at this point, and I give his lithe figure a squeeze before moving us into the bedroom and collapsing onto the bed. Ryan's murmuring and writhing as I slowly undress him, moving us both into position and savouring the sight of his eyes fluttering closed as I sink into him for what is set to be the first of many times in this flat.

I wake up a few hours later, my white shirt sticking uncomfortably to my body. I kick off the sheets- I have no idea why we bothered covering ourselves; it is way too hot in here- and fish my discarded boxers off the floor. After tugging them up over my hips, I wander out into the living-room and start on the boxes again. I figured I'd leave Ryan to handle his clothes and more personal items, and open up a box marked 'Supplies'. Peering inside, I see an assortment of Ryan's oils, pastels and charcoal. Again, probably better to let him deal with that… Instead, I lift up the box and carry it into the spare bedroom, which we'll be using as his studio. Ryan works in a gallery, though he paints on the side too. The gallery he works at is interested in some of his work and they've given him a few months off to work on some paintings. I've seen his stuff before- and it's great- but Ryan was so reluctant about taking a chance and actually concentrating on painting. –It's that confidence aspect creeping in again, really… I'm looking forward to these next few months though, as at least it'll mean that we're going to have a lot of time together. I'm working on a novel and will be working from home most of the time, when I'm not running between my publisher and editor, or working on the writer's magazine column I sometimes write. With Ryan concentrating on his painting, he too will be working at home, and I can think of nothing better than having this time with him.

When I turn around, Ryan is hovering in the doorway, dressed in his boxer-briefs and with a crumpled t-shirt pulled on, holding one of his half-finished canvases.

"Hey- why didn't you wake me?" he yawns, lovingly propping the canvas against the wall before disappearing out of the room again.

He reappears a second later with the easel, setting it up and placing the canvas on it before turning to look at me again.

"Sorry hon- thought you'd want the rest."

Ryan shrugs, wrapping his arms around my waist and placing a kiss on my chest. Wordlessly he takes my hand and tugs me back into the living-room, where we both continue moving and unpacking boxes until, three and a half hours later, the flat is back to its old state.

"Done!" I exclaim happily, falling back onto the couch with an over-dramatic sigh.

Ryan gracefully places himself next to me, leaning over to peck a quick kiss on my cheek.

"Thanks for letting me move in with you," he says quietly.

"Letting you? Sweetheart, I asked you to. I would never have asked if I didn't really, really want you here with me. And trust me, I'm looking forward to this, especially if we're both going to be working from home. It sounds perfect, don't you think? I can wake up, make love to you, have breakfast, shower with you, write for a few hours, have lunch, write more, make love to you again, write, have dinner-"

Ryan cuts me off, laughing, "Oh really? And how many times a day are you going to try and seduce me? You've got to think about my poor little butt!

I burst out laughing at that- Ryan isn't one to make lewd jokes, and whilst that was tame by normal standards, for Ryan…well.

"Trust me hon, I'm always thinking about your butt!"

Ryan pinches my arm, still grinning, before he settles against me comfortably. We sit there in silence for a few moments as I idly play with Ryan's dirty blond hair. The strands are silky between my fingers, and his hair smells deliciously fruity- it's the shampoo he uses- though there's the distinct scent of our love-making there too.

"Hey- wanna grab a shower and go out for dinner?" I ask quiet

"We could cook something," he suggests, turning to peer up into my face.

"Can you really be fucked? I know I can't…" I trail off, giving Ryan a pleading look that I know he can't resist.

"Lazy shit," he grins, nuzzling at my cheek briefly before sighing, "Okay then- let's go out."

With a triumphant grin I leap to my feet, pulling Ryan up off the couch and into the bedroom again. I lead him into our en-suite and give him a coy smile as I begin stripping off. Ryan rolls his eyes as he lifts his arms and pulls off his t-shirt.

"I though we were having a shower to get us clean and fresh again, not to get all dirty again…"

"But don't you think the latter idea is so much more appealing?" I grin wickedly, pushing the boxers off Ryan's slim hips and licking my lips audaciously at the sight of Ryan naked before me.

"Perv," he chuckles, sliding past me and stepping under the shower, turning the water on to warm, "You're making me feel like a piece of meat."

I climb in behind him, wrapping my arms around his wet form and press my body against him. He can't help but let out a soft purr when he feels my erection pressing into his back, and I have to grin at how easily we arouse each other. Sliding a hand down his front, I grip him gently as I lean into his ear.

"Well, I do so love your meat…" I whisper.

-Ryan bursts out laughing, his body shaking against mine as he turns around to face me.

"Oh my god, that was terrible! Dammit Marc, you're a writer! You're not meant to come out with lines as bad as that!" he laughs heartily.

I pout, pretending to be offended until Ryan relents and pulls me to him again, gently kissing my cheek.

"Okay, okay… Just don't ever use it in one of your books. –It'll be a sure flop," he grins.

Shaking my head a little, I wrap my arms around him and hug him tightly. He squirms a little uncomfortably, as in the state we're in, I admit it's a little awkward but I need to hold him, to thank him for being here with me. Moving my lips to his ear, I kiss it gently.

"I love you, Ryan," I murmur, closing my eyes and nuzzling at his neck.

"Mmm. I- you too, Marc. Love you," Ryan manages to whisper, though his voice is sounds uncomfortable and a little shy.

I know that his difficulty in expressing how he feels doesn't mean that he doesn't love me. I'm confident that he does, but it's still difficult for him to say it. He still won't say it first, though- it's always in response to my declaration, as though he's worried that if he says it first, I won't respond in the affirmative. He's getting better at it though and is slowly being able to say the words that make me shiver with delight.

We eventually get washed, after a lot of kissing and touching- due mostly to me, and I take Ryan to a little Thai restaurant that he loves. As we sit there in the romantically lit restaurant, I let my eyes roam over the sight of Ryan's delicate face, the soft light of the candle casting a golden glow over his features. He catches me gazing at him and tries not to look embarrassed, instead giving me a small smile that lights up his eyes. And I know that I've never been happier than I am when I'm with him. I just need to make him understand that.