Whatever It Takes, Part 8

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-13)
Wordcount: 1465
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.

The words hadn’t exactly fallen out of Zach’s mouth the way he wanted them to, but his awkwardness may have served his purposes more so than a suave voice. Chris, I’m making a huge Italian feast and need someone to help me eat it. Dinner tonight?

Chris hadn’t seen the question for what it was: Zach asking him out. If he had seen it, he wouldn’t have agreed to it. Because of Will. Because even though he’d had a nasty fight with Will, Chris still wasn’t that guy, the one running into someone else’s arms at the first hint of trouble. He’d lamented to Zach that he couldn’t tell if Will’s protests over his shortsightedness in informing Chris of his history with Sam before that stupid poetry reading were a simple explanation of his own innocence or if he was really just covering his own ass. That Chris couldn’t tell sincerely bothered him, and he was giving himself a few days to think it over. But thinking and brooding weren’t the same thing, and Chris was honest to God moping.

The timing worked well for Zach. The next step of his plan had been derailed when Chris ended up camping out on his couch for days in a puddle of self-recrimination over the argument, throwing his own pity-party, only going home to sleep and then return the next morning to deepen his ass dent on Zach’s couch. He’d glared at Zach when he’d gently reminded Chris that he and Will hadn’t been together long enough for him to be this upset.

“What does that matter if the feelings are there anyway?” Chris had asked, wounded. Zach had just covered his hand with his own, biting back the words he’d wanted to say.

So when Zach had been struck with inspiration about changing the date he was planning for Chris from going out to staying in, Zach knew Chris was thinking it was another apology, and an offer of a distraction just like their Wii tennis marathon the previous afternoon had been.

Zach buzzed around the house, airing it out through open windows to let the warm breeze waft through, cleaning furiously and putting things in place. It wasn’t ideal doing it with Chris there, but thankfully, he hadn’t asked Zach what the big deal was. Chris’s eyebrows did nearly migrate off his forehead when he saw the sheer amount of groceries Zach had come home with.

“Jesus, Zach. Between the stock options in the Chinese place and the mortgage of the grocery store owner for all these ingredients, I’d think you were trying to get in my pants by way of my stomach if I didn’t know better.”

Zach had nearly dropped the organic heavy cream in his hand before recovering enough to quip, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, Chris. The way into his pants is through egregious amounts of liquor.” At which point, he’d proceeded to pull four different bottles of wine from his bags. And I’m trying to do both, Chris.

Chris had just laughed, checking the labels, his eyes widening at the expense of one of the bottles. “Jesus, Zach. You’re saving this one for something big, right? When you win an Oscar or are legally allowed to get married?” Zach gave him a ghost of a smile and said nothing, just letting Chris assume what he wanted.

“Why don’t you go shower? You’ll feel better for one, and you won’t compete with the food for the aroma in the house.”

Chris leaned his nose to his shoulder. “What’s wrong with how I smell? I showered this morning before I came back over.”

“Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to put on fresh clothes after a shower rather than grab whatever’s closest on the floor.”

“I didn’t bring anything to wear and I don’t feel like going home just to shower.” Chris looked mildly irritated. “But if you don’t want me here, I can go.” His voice trailed off.

“That’s not what I said, Chris. If I didn’t want you here, I wouldn’t have asked you to stay for dinner or offered you the use of my shower. Just go clean up. I’ll lay something out for you to change into.”

Chris mumbled something about there being no way he could fit into Zach’s skinny jeans, but he did go, leaving Zach a small opportunity to set up. He didn’t go so far as to put out candles on the table, but he did light some in the living room for the aroma as well as starting soft music. He stepped into his bedroom briefly to pull out a pair of khakis and a button down shirt for Chris, surprised and pleased that Chris had chosen the master bathroom to shower in instead of the one in the hallway. Felt more intimate, though he guessed it was because Chris needed to use his shampoo and soap. A thrill trickled through him at the thought of Chris, naked and wet, covered in suds behind a flimsy two inches of wood door and an insignificant shower curtain. He lingered a moment to listen before returning to the kitchen to sink his hands into his grandmother’s favorite recipes. He’d cheated a little, buying prepared cheese-stuffed tortellini and lasagna noodles instead of making them from scratch, but that was a process he didn’t have the time or the kitchen space to handle. However, the rest of the lasagna as well as the carbonara sauce for the tortellini would be all from scratch. No one had found a way to bottle his grandmother’s food. And he didn’t share it with just anybody.

Chris emerged from the shower and reentered the kitchen, leaning against the edge of the counter, out of Zach’s way. “Need any help?”

“Crack open a bottle of red to let it breathe, if you don’t mind.” Zach was busy crushing tomatoes, his hands dripping with juice. He did notice Chris picked the bottle of wine that didn’t cost the average person’s weekly pay. Zach quickly moved on to chopping onions, laughing when Chris was the one who threw his arm over his eyes at the sting that filled the room. Zach let the tears flow, chuckling at Chris for fighting them. “Good food is worth crying over sometimes, Pine.”

They fell into an easy rhythm of conversation, and Chris seemed happy, as if he’d forgotten the woe of the last few days. It convinced Zach that even with being somewhat underhanded in his methods, he was doing the right thing, despite his slow and indirect approach. He wanted Chris to know that he was more to Zach than a quick and dirty fuck on the living room floor, though those thoughts had their merits, too.

“What’s the smirk on your face mean?” Chris asked, popping a black olive in his mouth. Zach just shook his head, pouring Chris a glass of wine before turning back to the food, pulling the lasagna from the oven and setting out plates and utensils.

“Just go sit down. Food’s almost ready.”

They ate in companionable silence, but for the small exclamations Chris made when he first sampled the food, his eyes rolling in pleasure that was obscene in its openness. “Zach, you are a god among men.”

“You should see what I can do in bed,” Zach deadpanned, watching the flush creep up Chris’s neck. They weren’t strangers to flirting, had been doing it for years, and while Zach knew the extra element of danger in it given Chris’s relationship with Will heightened things for Chris, it was different for him, too. It meant something more than just trying to one-up each other in the bravado department. At least, he wanted it to mean more.

A storm of daring swept through Zach and he remembered Zoe comparing him to a tornado. He slid his foot across the floor to rest against Chris’s. They were seated beside each other, Zach at the head of the table and Chris to his right, and neither of them were wearing shoes so there was no mistaking the contact. Chris’s head whipped up to stare at Zach, his eys, deep pools of their own kind of storm, wide and questioning.

“Zach,” he whispered, voice both admonishing and tender.

All in, Zach let his hand rest on Chris’s knee under the table and leaned forward to kiss the soft and slightly parted lips on his friend’s face, the lips he’d dreamt about, fantasized about, and yearned to feel against his own. Chris momentarily kissed him back before Zach felt him stiffen and pull away, a sharp gasp echoing between them like a guttering candle. But it was Chris’s words that wafted the flame out, bitter and incredulous.

“You asshole.”

Part 9

~ by A on April 17, 2011.

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