Whatever It Takes, Part 2

Pairing: Zach/Chris, Chris/OMC
Summary: From the based on this prompt on the Kink Meme: I hope someone finds this interesting enough to right [sic] it. So, I have read a couple of stories recently where Chris doesn’t realize that he loves Zach until it’s too late and Zach is with someone else. I want a story that is the reverse. Chris had for a while wanted Zach, but Zach was too oblivious, so Chris gave up and found another guy. so basically Zach has to work for it. Zach has to prove to Chris that he is the better guy. Jealous Zach is a fun read. and I like happy ending, but Zach has to work for it, and Chris just doesn’t leave the other guy just cause Zach says so. So lots and lots of drama. please please someone write it.
Rating: NC-17 (This part PG)
Wordcount: 1509
Disclaimer: Didn’t happen. No matter how much I wish it would.
Warnings: None
A/N: I have no clue how long this will be, but it feels like it’ll end up being epic. I’m keeping a perspective on it to keep it moving.

Party time.

Most everyone invited had arrived, with one notable exception: Chris. Zach’s body thrummed with nervous anticipation even as the thought of whether or not Chris would show seemed utterly impossible. Chris rarely missed a chance to hang out with Zach, and when he couldn’t make something bigger than just getting coffee or outdoing each other on the Wii, he called with regrets. No call, so far, and yet, still no Chris.

Zach, ever the consummate host, circled the room, made sure people were having a good time, had himself in fits of laughter during a raunchy conversation with Cho over who had to clean the private rooms in the back of strip clubs, but he was twitchy and no matter how much he drank, he couldn’t relax.

Until he looked up and saw Chris crossing from the front door to the kitchen, where Zach was just grabbing another case of beer to throw on ice in the cooler in the backyard.

Zach’s face lit up. “I was wondering where you were. Making an entrance?”

Chris grinned, and pulled his arm forward where it had been trailing behind him, his hand gripping the hand of his… friend. Zach refused to think of him as anything else, even as he noted their linked fingers, the dark hair above eyes that were warm and nervous. The stranger had somewhat thin lips, a chiseled face, tall and thin, and moved with calculated grace. His skin was almost porcelain, babyfaced, and somewhat pale in contrast to his mop of dark hair. He reminded Zach of the arty contingent of college-age kids in Silverlake, the type to stand around in front of a coffee shop playing hackeysack or comparing tattoos and commenting on classic literature in an attempt to sound existential and bored with life at the same time.

Zach disliked him immediately.

“Zach, this is Will. Will, Zach.” Chris’s eyes were crinkled at the corners with a smile, stepping back so that Will was front and center. Will stuck out a hand, his left one, since his right one was firmly planted in Chris’s palm.

Scratch that. Zach hated him.

He shook Will’s hand, giving an iron grip which was that much stronger since the shake was with his dominant hand, pouring his lips into the shape of a welcoming smile that he knew had a hint of predator versus prey in it. “Glad you could make it.” Zach’s eyes traveled over Chris as he offered them both drinks, noticing the likely reason Chris was late in the form of a missed button in the middle of his shirt.

Now, he loathed Will.

Consider the ante upped, he thought to himself, then wondered where that came from. He figured it out a second later when he sidled up to Chris’s other side, threw an arm around his shoulders, and yanked him toward the heftier portion of the crowd milling out in the backyard, lounging on lawn chairs. The contact sent shocks of electricity into his skin. He made sure to pull Chris into him hard enough to break Will’s hand hold on him, and as he led them through the door, his own hand ran down Chris’s back to rest above his waistband, guiding him through and to the yard, a very proprietary move. Zach chuckled when Chris bent over the cooler and drew out three beers, handing one to Zach first before turning back to Will.

Except that Chris’s hand immediately linked back into Will’s.

Zach spent the next several minutes acquainting himself with his adversary, uh… his best friend’s new fling, he corrected in his head. It wasn’t like he and Chris had done anything more than flirt, have conversations loaded with innuendo, and that one very drunken night that Zach’s memory gave him hazy pictures of Chris’s tongue in his mouth. He tried to convince himself not to be a dickhead and he thought he did pretty well, engaging Will in conversations about his taste in music and books, but Chris’s lips morphed from a smile to a straight line to a tight lipped grimace.

Zach was just about to ask when the last time Will read a book that wasn’t on the New York Times Bestseller List when he heard Zoe call his name. He excused himself to help her figure out how to work the margarita maker. Tutorial given, he turned around to return to his conversation when Chris strode through the back door and over to him.

“Hey, want a marga-“ Zach started to ask before Chris grabbed his elbow and shoved him down the hall to Zach’s yoga room, shutting the door before hissing at him.

“What the fuck, Zach?”

“I take it something’s upset you, Chris,” Zach intoned, showing no surprise, which just angered Chris further.

Chris pointed in the direction of the backyard. “Could you be a bigger douche canoe to Will? I honestly don’t think you could, and frankly, I’m surprised and horrified. He’s the kind of person you normally rave about finding interesting. So you want to tell me why you’re giving him the Spanish Inquisition?”

Zach just crossed his arms over his chest, his voice and expression inscrutable. “Chris, you’re my best friend. I just want to make sure the guy’s alright.”

“With the tone you’re giving him? Sounds to me like you’re doing your best not to sneer at him and throw him out.” Chris’s heaved a breath, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Zach, please. Just try. I don’t know what has gotten into you, but whatever it is, let it go. Have a good time, and just try to make a good impression on him. I really want him to like you.”

Zach’s shoulders stiffened. He really wants WILL to like ME? As if Will’s opinion trumped his own, after years of friendship, of being just shy of something more. Chris discounted Zach’s opinion in favor of Will’s? Jesus. Get a grip. Of course he’s not discounting my opinion. Totally. With effort, Zach relaxed, sighed heavily, and succeeded in looking contrite.

He stepped forward, his hands finding the front of Chris’s shirt, slipping the errant button home as he looked into Chris’s eyes, which looked back at him, still irritated but softening, and curious. “I’m sorry. I’ve been drinking, and I want to make sure he’s not Jack the Ripper. Which is stupid of me, but you’ve never brought someone you were dating around before. I’m not all that sure what my role is supposed to be here. New territory for us. For our friendship,” he corrected quickly. “I’ll be nice to him. For you.”

Chris, his gaze narrowed, was silent. The moment drew out, and Zach found himself wanting to close the distance and kiss Chris’s plush lips, especially with the slight pout they wore. It was then that Zach admitted in his head just what it was he was doing. He’d always assumed Chris would be around for him to take or leave whenever he wanted. They’d blurred the line of friendship with enough double entendres that Zach thought Chris was interested and simply waiting for Zach to make the first move, which Zach hadn’t been sure he wanted to do. At first it was because of their status as coworkers. Then he hesitated because they had this amazing chemistry and he didn’t want to risk losing that. Then he’d met someone and had been caught up in his own fling for several months. Lather, rinse, repeat, and suddenly years had gone by with Zach single sometimes when Chris wasn’t and vice versa. It just never went there.

Something was different about this one, though. Zach could feel it in the way Chris had introduced him, but if Zach was honest with himself, he’d noticed a distinct lack of hang out time with Chris in the last several months, their impromptu plans going from nearly every day to weekly and longer. He suspected Chris was interested in someone, but figured it was like in the past. Chris would be around only a little for a few weeks, then slowly start hanging out again with greater frequency, until a few more weeks went by and he’d admit to breaking up with someone and be back to flirting with Zach again. This time, he’d brought his new hookup into Zach’s world, had collided the two when they’d been distinctly separate in the past. Zach realized it wouldn’t bug him except that he suddenly felt like he was the one that Chris could take or leave. It felt like shit, and so he vowed to keep his place in Chris’s life, and to be a better friend at the same time, not taking Chris’s presence for granted.

Starting with sucking up to Chris’s new boyfriend. The word was a sneer in his head, but he kept it from his face.

“I’m serious, Chris. I’m sorry.”

Chris just nodded and walked from the room and back to his boyfriend. Zach watched him leave, resigned to giving Will a chance.

Part 3

~ by A on April 11, 2011.

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