Summary: Interoffice dating is never ideal. Usually it's avoided at all costs. Tristan isn't going to let that stop him. When he sees Cameron it's love at first sight. He's gorgeous, intelligent, perfect and... oblivious. That's okay. Tristan just has to clue him in to how epic they can be. He's seen too many romantic comedies to fail at this.
Nothing More Awesome Than This
[ part iii ]
Tristan spent most of Saturday afternoon getting into contact with his gay friends that lived around the area. He was certain all he needed was some advice from the gays. They were like the CIA. They always got their man. And this thing with Cameron was too important for him to screw up.
Unfortunately it was not looking so good. Most of his friends had moved after college to take job offers in different cities and the ones that still lived around the metroplex were either too busy, ("This weeks not too good, man. I've got a huge project at work." "It's cool. We'll have to hang out soon then." "Sure, Tristan, that sounds awesome! I'll text you some time in a few weeks.") or settled down and into couple-y things, ("Me and James would love to do something! There's a cooking class at the city college we've been dying to check out. James has a friend who is perfect for you! It'll be a like a fun double date."). Tristan rolled his eyes as he hung up the phone on Max. He remembered why they stopped hanging out. There was nothing more insufferable than a couple that only hung out with other couples. Their combined smugness made him sigh a lot, which led to him being so thirsty he down his drinks throughout dinner like that drunk uncle everyone frowned at during family reunions. Sloppy, exhausted, and wasted on red wine was how he usually parted from their delightful company.
Tristan didn't want to have to do this, but desperate times and all that. Feeling lower than low he called his cousin, Thomas, better known as Perfect Tommy because of his impeccable wardrobe. He was twenty one, in his last year at Tisch and home for vacation from New York. He loved his cousin but the boy was work. He was studying performing arts and it was his dream to make it to Broadway. Now, Tristan loved drama. It was like Gatorade for gay men. It replenishes their electrolytes. But Tommy breathed it.
Tristan remembered being eighteen and being forced to sit through Tommy's one-man show after Christmas dinner with the whole family. It was a salute to Broadway with a showcase of different plays and musicals. By the end of him belting out And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going from Dreamgirls, Tommy, with mascara running down his cheeks, tearfully came out to the entire family. No one was surprised, ("How did you know?" Tommy gasped, clutching his pearls. Their grandma snorted. "We've known since you were four. All you wanted for your birthday was a vintage brooch."). That was when Tommy was thirteen. And he's been topping that moment ever since.
So it was with a forced smile when Tristan opened his apartment door to see his cousin. Tommy was wearing a pair of white skinny jeans and a sea-foam green silk shirt. He took after their Italian grandma with his ash blond hair and green eyes and too pretty features, and his stocky build was from his father. He breezed right past Tristan and through the doorway.
"Do you want to cry on my bosom?" Tommy asked immediately, dropping his messenger bag on the couch and holding his arms out. It was a move you made when you wanted a toddler to walk into your arms.
Tristan frowned. "What? No."
"Good," replied Tommy, dropping his arms. "This shirt is Francisco VanBenthum."
"You're a real saint," said Tristan, rolling his eyes.
Tommy preened under the comment, sarcastic or not. "That's nice of you to say. I did come as soon as you called."
"That was almost three hours ago!"
"I was preparing my audition song for the winter play. I heard we might do Evita! Can you imagine?"
immediately felt bad. "I'm sorry, man. When do you audition
Tristan gave him a dry look. "It's October."
"Please, I've been working on this since I was five," Tommy said, smile turning sharp. It was scary. "This part is mine."
The sudden clap of thunder blasting through the room made Tristan squeal like a bitch. He darted to the window and scanned the sky for signs of dark clouds, finding none whatsoever. What in the hell—He turned back to Tommy to see his cousin staring at him with twinkling eyes. From his pocket Tommy pulled out his phone and pressed a finger to an app running on the screen. The living room was filled once more with the roar of thunder.
"Really?" said Tristan, sighing. Because he was work.
Tommy grinned, expression immensely satisfied. "Every time I do that it feels like the universe is giving me a little nod. Like its saying, yeah so you're awesome and fabulous. Your taste in clothes is a gift of the gods and your skin is as flawless as—"
"Alright, alright," Tristan cut off his epic ramble. "I get it. You're a treasure of our people. I thought you wanted to help me."
Strong fingers wrapped around his wrist and pulled him down on the couch so they were sitting shoulder to shoulder. Tommy petted his hair and cooed at him. "Now give me the deets. Tell me all about this crush. You were crying pretty badly on the phone."
What. "No, I wasn't."
Tommy made one of those isn't he just so precious expressions. "It was a cry for help, then."
"I wasn't crying! There were no tears," he argued.
At the way Tommy's eyes glazed over Tristan just sighed and went with it because there was no use in arguing. He was probably doing that thing where he's fantasizing about winning a Tony Award for best lead in a musical. It wouldn't be the first time. Last Thanksgiving he suddenly jumped up from the table to start congratulating all his fans, stopping abruptly when he was met by empty silence and blank stares. Tristan snapped his fingers to get Tommy's attention, otherwise this could go on for an uncomfortable amount of time. Then he dived right into the entire situation; starting with meeting Cameron (their awesome connection), everything he learned from Alexis' CSI skills, their following meetings (even throwing in Rebecca's cockblocking), finally ending on the awful dating advice from his friends.
"Girl," said Tommy, sipping at his glass of wine. Where did that even come from?
Tristan snorted. "Don't call me girl. You sound like you just stepped out of the Bravo channel."
"It's an expression," Tommy replied, snorting into his drink. "But this is the cutest thing ever. I've never seen you so gone over a guy. Not with any of your exes did you have those heart-eyes."
He bit his lip and ducked his head. "Those guys were like temporary, I don't know. I knew they weren't going anywhere. But. I think—he is it."
When Tristan looked up to gauge Tommy's reaction, his cousin was clutching the throw pillow to his chest and staring at him with big, watery eyes. The utter ridiculousness of this entire moment made him freeze. He looked like a cartoon woodland creature.
"That's so romantic," Tommy murmured, sniffling.
Tristan looked at him for a long moment. "You're really in touch with your feelings, huh?"
Tommy tossed the pillow to the floor. "I am an actor."
The way he stated it, over-enunciating every syllable, was like it explained everything. It didn't. He needed a drink for this conversation. That wine was a good idea. Tristan went to fetch a glass and used the interlude to get his thoughts together. His heart fluttered weirdly at just the thought of Cameron. It was a different feeling. A good different, though.
grabbed a wine glass and he still wasn't sure where Tommy had gotten his from.
He hadn't even seen him move. There was still some white wine in the fridge
from a few days ago. He topped himself off and crossed the open space back to
"What's going on?" he asked, sipping at his glass watching Tommy bent over and tapping away on a MacBook Air like he was trying to hack the Pentagon.
Tommy didn't look up from the screen. "Your little boyfriend's Facebook is set to private so I had to send him a friend request. The pictures are where the dirt is. Everyone knows that."
Looking back on it Tristan didn't even remember moving. The next thing he knew he had Tommy's laptop in his hands and was holding it in the air above his head, like it was an active grenade.
"What are you doing!" Tommy shouted, jumping to his feet.
Tristan held the laptop just out of his grabby hands. "Are you crazy! When he sees your friend request Cameron's going to know we're cousins. Then he's going to know I'm, like, stalking him by proxy." His words came out frantic, too fast. He narrowed his eyes, thoughtfully. "We've got to cover our tracks. I'm throwing this thing out the window."
Tommy moved like a ninja. He snatched the computer back. "You are insane," said Tommy, pointing his finger accusingly at him with his freehand while cradling the laptop to his chest with the other.
Tristan lifted his chin defiantly. "Don't ruin this for me."
"What does that even mean?" said Tommy, frowning. He petted his MacBook like a dog and whispered to it under his breath like he was reassuring it. "I was trying to help you out. Look, all I have to do is cancel the pending friend request. Like this." He clicked a couple of keys and then looked up, glaring.
"Oh," said Tristan. He grinned brightly. "All well that ends well, then."
His cousin shook his head. "And I'm the dramatic one. Right."
"Yes, let's bring this back to me. Focus here," said Tristan, taking a seat back on the couch. "I need advice. How do I get Cameron?"
Tommy touched his fingers to his lips, thoughtfully. "Are you sure he's gay. Were there any pictures of girls in his office? How about a pinup calendar?" He shuddered. "Or a wedding ring?"
"No, no, and no," Tristan answered. He leaned forward to stare into Tommy's eyes. "His shoes were Vivienne Westwood."
"The Oxford shoes with the star punching from this year's collection."
Tommy raised his eyebrows. "Definitely gay. No straight man has that kind of fabulous taste in footwear."
"Right," said Tristan, jumping in his seat a little, finally feeling vindicated.
"So what's your flirting game like?"
He frowned. "Flirting game?"
Tommy nodded. "You know, how do you show him you're interested?"
"I've been my usual charming self, I'll have you know," said Tristan. Tommy made a face and Tristan averted his gaze because, yeah, he didn't believe himself either.
"It's all about the baby steps," said Tommy. He sat down his wine glass next to his laptop on the coffee table and then leaned back on the couch. "You don't want to mess this all up, since you actually like this guy, and plus you two work together. Interoffice dating is tricky. I assume there are a lot of rules in place."
Rules that were made to be broken. Nothing said they couldn't actively date coworkers. It was just usually frowned upon since the gossip mill took it and ran wild with information like that. Then there was the chain of command and the potential complaints of sexual harassment. Mark knew all about that. That wasn't what he was worried about. Cameron and Tristan were destined and all he had to do was get Cameron to realize it too. His baby was kind of oblivious, but that's okay. Tristan was in it to win it. It was a tall order but a boy's got to have a goal.
"He's just so shy and I don't want to make him nervous or scare him or just be too much," Tristan reasoned. He already failed at that last act. He knew that but he couldn't help himself when he was around Cameron. He was everything.
Tommy stood up and started pacing in front of the couch. "Well, how about this. You don't know if he likes you... yet. So make a point in saying hi to him around the office, maybe stop by for some chatting during your breaks. Don't ask him out on a date right away, lower his guard first, invite him out for drinks with your friends—ya'll still go to that bar and get sloshed like undergrads, right?"
Tristan picked imaginary lint from the sleeve of his polo. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"I'll take that as a yes," said Tommy with a nod. "Now you'll have to build up from there. Slowly but surely woo him like a goddamn 80's movie. If there's one thing Tom Hanks and Hugh Grant has taught me and that chivalry isn't dead, and tricking someone into dating you always works."
Tristan pounded a fist into his open palm. "You're brilliant! All I have to do is become his friend, romance him like the prince that he is and then lay it all out on the line, and boom, we'll live happily ever after." He hummed under his breath happily. "I wonder if he'll want us to honeymoon in Italy. Going to Hawaii is so last decade."
He wandered over to the shelf near his television. His mind was already setting plans in motion for capturing Cameron's heart. Tristan started pulling down all the romantic comedy DVD's he owned. Goodness, how many Jennifer Aniston films did he have? That was something to worry about later. He picked up the stack and grabbed his notebook from the end table. He had work to do.
"For the wedding cake I want red velvet," Tommy demanded. "And you're welcome, in advance."
He nodded, not even paying attention. "Yeah, yeah. Good work. This is why you're my favorite cousin."
"I'm everyone's favorite."
And that statement was followed up by a loud thunderclap.
Tristan watches the Notebook for the first time with Tommy and by the end they're both a blubbering wreck of emotion.
Monday afternoon Tristan wouldn't say he staked out Cameron's office waiting for the perfect opportunity to have some one-on-one time, that would be crazy, but he did know when his man was free. Which was hardly ever. Cameron was always working. He barely ever left the little room and it looked like he worked straight through lunch. They would have a talk about proper nutrition and the importance of not skipping meals later.
It wasn't like Tristan spent an inappropriate time lingering outside Cameron's office. He had a job to do, after all. But when he had a break, or needed to run errands or check on other departments, rest assured he would prioritize that time to check in on Cameron. Damn, he really needed to start phrasing that better in his head. He wasn't a stalker, okay? He just liked to build to this shit. He was an active watcher.
"Oh, hey," said Tristan, feigning surprise to see Cameron, even though he followed the man into the Copy room. "You have some stuff to copy, too? That's crazy. We're both here making copies. Small world."
Cameron blinked at him and then looked around at the machines in the room. "Yeah," he said, slowly. "Um, do we have more than one Copy room or something?"
"I like your suit," said Tristan, eyeing the fine-line pinstripes against the dark fabric. "Marc Jacobs?"
It was a small twitch of his mouth but it was there, like Cameron was trying to fight a grin. Tristan was kind of mesmerized by it. Cameron nodded instead of answering and busied himself with starting the copy machine and preparing his papers. Tristan was dangerously close to pouting. He sucked at this. Why did Cameron have to be so hot. It wasn't fair.
"How about them Cowboys?" Tristan asked out of the blue. That was something guys said around the office a lot.
Cameron raised his eyebrows. "Man did you catch that game Sunday? They needed that win. That play in the fourth quarter was something, right?"
Except Tristan hadn't actually seen the game Sunday or even paid attention to a single football game since college. He nodded enthusiastically but Tristan was almost certain that his too big smile looked as forced as it felt.
Cameron must have seen through it because his expression turned bemused. He rattled off a few more comments about the game and Tristan answered with vague answers and enthusiastic nods or half-hearted shrugs. Cameron kept on, mouth still twitching.
Tristan narrowed his eyes at the grin Cameron failed to throttle. "You know I didn't see the game. You're messing with me aren't you?"
The little smile that took over Cameron's face was positively adorable. "Yeah, sorry. You were pretty obvious. You're not a very good liar, man."
Tristan almost swooned like a schoolgirl. The sight of Cameron looking glowy and bashful made his heart trip and stutter and stop. It was enough to tongue-tie him and Tristan couldn't even reply. Instead he stared at Cameron, as his brain rebooted, and the man stared back and something past between them. It was fucking intense and made his skin warm and his stomach tie up into knots.
It was Cameron that looked away first pressing at the buttons on the machine and loading more paper under the scanner. Tristan cleared his throat feeling his heart slowing to a normal pace. Then he realized that he was just standing there in the middle of the Copy room looking like a freaking idiot. He quickly started the machine nearest him and leaned against it as it loudly began working.
"So," said Tristan, searching for something to say to get Cameron to look at him again. "What are your plans for tonight?"
Cameron looked at him again and then sort of gaped, his eyebrows shooting up in a move that was the epitome of surprise. He pointed at his own mouth.
"Dude you've sort of got..."
Tristan realized that somewhere along the way he had gone from staring to all out leering. At Cameron's prompting, Tristan touched fingers to his wet chin and then realized the pen he'd been unconsciously fondling with his mouth had busted. Ink was smeared all over his lower face. This was the actual worst.
His face felt so hot that it was a miracle the ink wasn't just vaporized right off. Tristan wondered if they could see him blushing on the security cameras. He pointed to a random direction.
"I'm just going to... go," said Tristan, trailing off.
Cameron just nodded, still kind of looking like he couldn't believe what his eyes were telling him. Tristan fled from the room, humiliated. Hello rock bottom.
Tuesday, Tristan stopped at Starbucks on the way to work. He usually got his boss a grande non-fat mocha and a Dutch wafer cookie for himself. They seriously put crack in those things. Nothing should taste that friggin good. This time he also grabbed a drink for Cameron, too. It was October and they were rolling out the holiday flavored drinks. He spent a horrible amount of time trying to pick a drink for Cameron before deciding on a pumpkin spice soy latte—everyone loved those, right?
Twenty minutes later, Tristan was knocking on Cameron's office door with a hesitant smile. Cameron looked up and he was doing that mouth twitch thing again, like he was trying not to grin.
"I see you got the ink off," said Cameron, finally breaking into a smile so wide that his eyes crinkle at the corners.
It pulled a smile from Tristan, except his was small and embarrassed. He was never going to live that down. He cleared his throat.
"Uh, yeah," Tristan replied, rubbing the back of his neck and looking down. "I looked like a whore clown."
Cameron rubbed his lips, hiding his too wide smile. "At least it wasn't a permanent marker."
"Thanks for telling me," said Tristan. "Mark in IT totally would've let me walk around with ink on my face. That's how he gets his jollies."
He shook his head, laughing a little. "That's messed up." Then he cocked his head. "Hey isn't Mark that guy who smokes in the parking garage and tries to wash windows for spare change. Are you guys' friends?"
Fuck his life. Tristan shook his head so fast it was a miracle he didn't snap it. "No, nope. I've never even seen him before."
Cameron looked confused. "But you just said—"
"I got you a coffee," said Tristan with a huge, strained smile, holding the drink out. "It's a pumpkin spice soy latte. It's a thank you for yesterday, for the heads up on the ink explosion."
His eyes went kind of round, cheeks quickly turning pink and it was the most endearing thing Tristan had ever seen. He held the drink out so the scribbles under Cameron's name were clearly visible for the seated man. Because they weren't random scribbles. Words were crossed out so the hot beverage warning was about Cameron instead.
"You didn't have to," said Cameron, his voice softened by surprise.
Tristan shrugged and stepped to the front of Cameron's desk to hand the drink over. He meant to just sit it down but Cameron reached for it at the same time. In mid-motion their fingers touched and Tristan felt his chest go tight and his fucking knees buckled. The drink slipped between their hands and hit the desk, splashing everywhere in a pumpkin scented spray of brown coffee.
"Oh, shit!" Tristan swore as his heart sunk down a black well. He was the biggest idiot ever.
Cameron cursed as he jumped up so the liquid wouldn't spill over the desk's edge and into his lap. Tristan helped him clear away his keyboard and mouse and other desktop assortments that was threatened by the rapidly expanding spill.
"It's cool," said Cameron, reaching for his drawer. He pulled out a roll of paper towels and quickly started wiping up the mess. "No big deal."
do you keep paper towels in your desk?"
"Uh, no," said Cameron quickly, misreading something on Tristan's face. Cameron's expression was kind of scandalized. "It's not because of that."
It was one of those moments where your mouth worked faster than your brain and once you understood the other person was looking at you strangely, maybe you two aren't talking about the same thing. It was a beat before they both realized.
Tristan's mouth fell open and his voice came out too high, too fast with embarrassment. "I wasn't hinting that you masturbate in here."
"Oh, yeah, right. Okay." Cameron stared at him, blushing furiously.
Tristan scooped up the sad remains of the coffee cup. He was going throw it in the trash bin beside his desk and burn it. Tristan didn't even look back before he was fleeing the scene. Once again.
It was three and half hours later when Mark found Tristan in the men's restroom eating in the last stall during his lunch break. The door creaked open and the IT representative gave Tristan a pitying look, a cigarette hanging from his lip.
"You can't smoke in here," Tristan scolded, half-heartedly, picking at the ends of his tuna sandwich.
Mark squinted at him. "Are you crying?"
Tristan's eyes were maybe a little red but he wasn't crying. He hadn't cried in hours, thank you very much. "No, it's just allergies."
"Right," Mark muttered under his breath. He sighed to himself then. "Look, this is an intervention. I heard about the coffee-gate."
"How?" asked Tristan. He vowed to take that nightmare to the grave.
Mark leaned against the stall door. "Your boy got coffee all in his keyboard. So he was issued a new one a little while ago. I told him to be thorough on his request form. He was trying to keep your name out of it, but I went in on him like a Law and Order cop." He looked positively smug.
Tristan groaned. "SVU or Criminal Intent?"
"I went SVU all over his pretty boy ass." He paused, thought about it and then nodded. "Okay, even I realize that was really gay."
"And I didn't even have to mention it. You're learning."
Mark rolled his eyes. "Whatever. Never mind me. Take a look at yourself, you dumb slut. You look pathetic. It was one little accident. You're acting like life pissed all in your Cheerios."
Tristan narrowed his eyes. "Alexis sent you in here didn't she?"
"You know it," he replied, flicking the cigarette into the sink behind him. "Doesn't change the fact that you look like a baby walrus. A very sad baby walrus. The coffee thing was a write off, so take a day and come back with something awesome. This was round one but it's not a knock out. Now get your act together."
That pulled a laugh from Tristan. "Look at you with the sound advice. All the awards for you."
Mark fist pumped. "That's right. King of advice right here. I'm going to the restroom. I'll catch you later."
Tristan sent him a flat stare. "The women's restroom, Mark. You do know you're not allowed in there?"
"But they have a year's supply of Glamour magazine. It's practically a how-to guide for picking up chicks, plus they have a couch and it smells like lavender and shit in there. Way better than this hellhole."
"Well thanks for, you know, the talk and everything," said Tristan. "I actually do feel better."
Mark (literally) patted himself on the back and then wandered out of the restroom.
Wednesday, Tristan focused on being the best damn personal assistant he could be. He threw himself into the assignments for the day and went above and beyond on quite a few projects. He was kind of a train wreck yesterday and he so wasn't that guy.
Mr. Carter knocked him on his desk, a little hey there gesture, when Tristan was drafting a memo. He looked up at his boss with a questioning expression.
"I just wanted to say you're knocking it out of the park today," said Mr. Carter, sounding really enthused. "You're always doing exceptional work. I don't know what I would do without you. Be on the look out for a raise, Tristan."
That made him burst into a surprised but ecstatic smile. A bright, hot feeling bloomed in his chest. "Oh. Thank you, sir. I really appreciate it."
No matter how hard he tried he couldn't quite tamp down the happy grin from erupting free every once and awhile through the duration of the day. This week was officially making a come back. Maybe he wasn't a failure at life.
Tristan thought it over for a few days and Thursday was a great day for him to put himself back out there. He was going to take all the great mojo and karma he built up yesterday to make Thursday awesome.
So it was on his way out to lunch that he swung by Cameron's office. Once again, Cameron was behind his desk and working through his break. Tristan knocked and stood in the doorway meeting Cameron's wary expression with a hesitant grin.
"Hey, um, I. I wanted to say I was sorry." Tristan opened up with, shoving his hands into his dark slacks. "About the coffee, I mean. I'm kind of a klutz."
Cameron was stunned into a moment of silence and then he shrugged, an awkward smile tugging at his lips. "S'okay. It was my fault too. You moved and I reached and it was all a mess from there."
Tristan let out breath because Cameron sounded sincere and he really was just amazing. He gestured to the pile of papers organized on the desk. "Are you working through lunch?"
Cameron managed a lopsided smile. "Unfortunately. Only way I can get this done."
"We should go out," Tristan said in a rush, mentally screaming at himself OH MY GOD REEL IT IN YOU PSYCHO. "With everyone... I mean, you should come out with us. A bunch of people from the office are going out for drinks later at Lotus. Thirsty Thursday, one dollar you-call-it."
It was with visible effort that Tristan stopped himself from rambling on like some crazy person. He couldn't help it if he went a little nuts under the power of those clear blue eyes. The situation was out of his hands. How could one person be so good looking? It was against the laws of nature. Their kids were going to be gorgeous.
He may or may not have fidgeted a little as Cameron stared at him, studying Tristan like he was trying to understand something. Tristan was ready for Cameron to laugh in his face and then flash a picture of his supermodel girlfriend and launch into a tale about wasting his time, maybe she was three months pregnant—
"Okay," Cameron agreed, practically sending Tristan into an open casket, because, what.
Tristan stared. "Okay?"
Cameron shrugged. "Sounds good to me."
"Good," repeated Tristan dumbly, feeling kind of blown away. "See you at five."
A smile took over his face then. He wasn't even worried that it would give him away, like the lights in the room would suddenly brighten under its intensity. His heart was pounding so loudly and joy was this building thing that was desperately trying to erupt from his throat in a loud whopping cheer.
"See you later," Cameron said with that big blinding smile of his that was so rare.
Tristan nodded, willing himself not to reply with It's a date! and he did a dorky wave before making a smooth exit. At least he hoped it was. He was sure the dopey grin on his face was a little too giddy to make anything he did look smooth.
When Tristan made it across the street to the café where Mark and Alexis were waiting, he slammed his hand on the table as soon as he sat down. Mark groaned and Alexis side eyed him.
"Cameron agreed to going out for drinks with everyone from the office later."
"Good job. He never comes out with us," said Alexis beaming, patting his arm. She then shared a glance with Mark. "I didn't know people were going out though."
Tristan smiled victoriously. "I lied. All's fair in love and war."
Alexis shook her head and pulled out her phone. "I'll start texting people about it."
Mark stopped the waitress when she passed by and ordered a table keg. It was one of those huge, upright tube-like canisters filled with beer. It was for when people went out to sports bars to watch a game or something, not for almost one o'clock in the afternoon in the middle of a work day.
Mark glared at the incredulous looks his tablemates were sending him. "Are we not pregaming?"
Tristan pointed at him. "For the love of all things holy do not embarrass me tonight."
least give him a realistic goal," Alexis muttered.
Mark shrugged. "I make no promises."
Tristan spent over ten minutes in his car nervously fiddling with a sharpie and debating if giving Cameron the cup was a good idea.
Of course Mark was at the bar by the time that Tristan showed up. Alexis made a disgusted sound from beside him.
"Five bucks says he's been here for hours already."
Tristan laughed. "Suckers bet. I'm not taking that."
Mark greeted them with a wide smile when they crossed the room to the table he was occupying. "It's about time you two joined the party."
Alexis looked at him in disbelief. "We left work at five like everyone else."
Mark made a hand gesture of "And what's your point" and downed the shot that was lined up on the table. They stared at him. The girls from Customer Service walked in with Jacob from Quality Control and Sam from Purchasing and Alexis immediately made a bee-line to where they were crowding around the bar.
"I'm so nervous," Tristan muttered, accepting the bottle of Coors that Mark slid across the table.
"Want to get wasted before your boy gets here?" Mark asked like that was a perfectly reasonable idea. Tristan slowly shook his head. "Oh well. It usually works for me. They don't call it liquid courage for nothing."
"They also call it alcohol poisoning," Tristan pointed out.
Mark snorted. "Urban legend."
"It's really not," he clarified at Mark's scoffing. "But I'll save that for your intervention. Here's how it's going down tonight."
Mark took a long drink from his beer bottle. "You have a game plan?"
"I sure do. I've watched a bunch of rom-coms for, like, research," said Tristan, a little proud of himself. There had been a lot of Jennifer Aniston movies that went into his research, but he'd die first before he admitted that. "Every time there's a bar scene it goes either: white knight route, where the love interest rescues the girl from some jerk..."
"Are you the girl in this scenario?" asked Mark cocking his head curiously.
Damn it. Tristan didn't have a good reply to that since he totally just dug his own grave. He sighed. "That's not the point. There's also the jealousy factor. Seeing someone make the moves on me should get his blood boiling. It's always effective."
"In movies," Mark added, staring seductively across the bar at Tiffany from the Help Desk, who was returning his look with a dead eyed stare.
Tristan rapped at the table with his knuckles. "Put it back in your pants. I'm going to need your help. You'll have to watch Cameron for reactions."
Completely disinterested, Mark looked up at him. "And if all this doesn't work and he gives zero fucks?"
Tristan gasped loudly. "Why would you say that? Don't jinx me." He punched Mark in the arm and then smiled suddenly. "That's why I have a little something up my sleeve. If all else fails I'm going to accidentally spill a drink on me. He'll be all like, `oh my god I hope that doesn't stain'. Then I'll take off my wet shirt, bite my lip, and toss my hair and say, `We both know you don't care about the shirt'. Then we'll go back to his place and consummate our relationship."
"What?" asked Mark, incredulously.
Tristan held up a hand. "Don't look at me like that. It's the 21st century. We can still wear white to our wedding. Hmmm, maybe an off white. That would look great against Cameron's skin tone."
Mark gave him a humorless look. "You're killing my buzz. I'll do anything. Just please... let me enjoy my beer," he begged, sounding completely put-upon.
When the upbeat sounds of Maroon 5 came blaring from the speakers the whole bar started singing along. Somewhere over the noise Jacob declared the first round of shots were on him. Mark dragged him to the bar and Tristan didn't resist. Because let's be honest. A little liquid courage was really needed about now.
By the time Cameron walked in Tristan had already downed two shots and was on his second bottle of beer. His mouth went dry as he took in the sight of Cameron dressed in some chic trousers. He substituted his button up shirt from earlier for a wide colored shirt with navy and white stripes. Tristan's heart nearly burst.
"Fuck me, he brought Justin," he heard Alexis tell Tiffany somewhere over his shoulder. Low and behold, Tristan finally noticed the Security guard walking in, side-by-side with Cameron.
Tristan narrowed his eyes. "He looks like a real life Ken doll."
"Yeah," Alexis and Tiffany sighed together dreamily.
Then Alexis grabbed Tristan's forearm. "I want to wash my face on his abs. I bet he has, like, a twelve pack."
"Please don't embarrass me," Tristan pleaded under his breath as Cameron and Justin walked up to the bar. He swiveled around in his stool so his back was to the bar top.
"Hey there," Cameron said with a smile. "You know Justin right?"
"Right, yeah," replied Tristan, carefully not looking at the man in question.
Alexis and Tiffany butted in and he was thankful for their obvious flirting as they threw themselves at Justin. They distracted both guys by ordering the first round which gave Tristan ample time to escape.
He found Mark still at the table from earlier. "I wasn't counting on him bringing Captain America, but we're totally doing this."
"We?" Mark demanded.
Tristan rolled his eyes. "Just watch Cameron for me."
He didn't bother waiting for Mark's reply. He strode across the bar to where Lucas from Quality Control was hanging out near the foosball table.
Tristan held his hand up for a high five. "Hey, Lucas! Bring it up top!"
Lucas eyed his too wide smile and intense stare with something like confusion and growing unease, tentatively giving him a five. "Hey, uh, Tristan. What's up?"
"I want you to push me," Tristan demanded.
"What?" replied Lucas, looking the tiniest bit fearful.
Tristan's smile dropped, expression turning anxious. "How about a punch? How good are you at a right hook?"
Lucas blinked. "Are you drunk? Should I get someone?"
As subtle as can be, Tristan peeked over to where Cameron was standing with Justin. That Captain America looking motherfucker leaned forward and laid his gigantic, perfect hand on Cameron's shoulder to lean in and whisper into his ear. Tristan's eyes were narrowed into a dark glare. He made a mental note to Google `how to cast curses' later.
"Kidney punch me," said Tristan hurriedly, watching the scene at the bar out of the corner of his eye. "Do it from this angle so he can see. If he decks you when he comes to my defense, I'm sorry. I'll buy you a drink later."
"Who?" Lucas asked in disbelief. "I can't hit you. I'm a pacifist. I don't believe in violence."
Tristan's jaw dropped. "But you're built like a heavyweight boxer." He ran a hand through his hair. "This isn't going to work. My plan is foiled."
Lucas' eyes widened. "What isn't going to work?" he asked, cautiously.
"It's nothing illegal or dirty," Tristan explained like it all made sense. "Well, dirty for me later if you get my drift."
Tristan jabbed Lucas in the ribs with an elbow and a wink. Lucas looked partly terrified. He grabbed his Corona from the foosball table.
"I'm not sure what happened, just. Uh. I'm going to blame it on the alcohol and forget it like a drunken blackout."
Tristan hadn't ever seen anyone scamper off in real life before. He walked back over to Mark with his shoulders slumped.
"That sucked," he opened with.
Mark winced. "Definitely. I had front row tickets."
"You were supposed to be watching Cameron."
"He wasn't paying attention. I think all he saw was Lucas run away like a frightened rabbit, which totally sucked. So maybe this isn't the best idea."
Tristan scratched his head. "I just have to try again. I'm going to go and make him jealous."
"Once again I'm vetoing this plan, dude," said Mark, sighing.
This was one was doable and involved no violence. Let's see, Jacob wasn't bad looking and he had dimples. Tristan always thought they were kind of cute. So Jacob it was then. It was probably one of his better ideas. It was a shame he hadn't led with this. Tristan ignored Mark's attempts of trying to change his mind. He made his way over to the dartboards where Jacob was playing with some girl.
"Hey," said Tristan in a husky voice. He leaned a little on the railing next to him in what he hoped was a seductive pose.
Jacob blinked. "Hey, Tristan."
"Do you mind if I play, stud?" asked Tristan, taking the darts lodged in the board.
"Did you just call me... stud?" Jacob asked slowly.
Tristan rubbed the tip of a dirt in an inappropriate manner. "Does your friend here want to play, too?"
Jacob stared at him like he was undecided if this all was one big dream. "You mean my wife?" he deadpanned.
Seriously? Tristan's shoulders straightened and he dropped the darts on the table beside him. "Since when are you married?"
"Did my wedding ring not give it away?"
Tristan threw up his hands. "I suck at this."
He turned around and walked back over to Mark feeling down in the dumps. Mark at least had the decency to offer him a pat on the shoulder in a kind gesture of "well you tried, tiger".
"Any chance Cameron didn't see any of that?"
Mark shrugged. "Only when you were fondling that dart and then Jacob's horrified face."
Tristan thumped his forehead against the table and then wrapped his arms around his head, the picture of misery. He kind of wanted to just go home and put on his sweats and watch Lifetime. Hopefully there would be an America's Next Top Model marathon on. Season four if he was lucky. Season eighteen if he wasn't. He hated those bitches.
"My life is an epic failure."
"Don't worry. It gets better."
Tristan lifted his head. "Did you just use a gay PSA on me?"
"Isn't that what you people say to cheer each other up?" asked Mark, placing his empty bottle in the neat little row of six he had lined up. "I Google'd `sad gay' the other day and that's what came up."
He felt oddly touched by this. That Mark actually cared enough to seek ways of cheering him up. "Thank you."
"You're welcome. I just hate when you cry. You're an ugly crier."
Tristan dropped his head back on the table. Alexis noticed him after a few minutes and she and a few of the girls came over to try and get him to dance. He made a weird growling noise and moaned "Nooooooo" and they kind of just gave up, allowing Mark to swoop in and take his place. They whisked him off to the dance floor and Tristan was left alone to wallow in his misery.
A finger poked him in the shoulder. Tristan lifted his head to see Cameron settled in Mark's vacated chair. The alcohol made him look looser than Tristan was used to seeing him at the office. He looked at ease in the chair with his flushed cheeks and easy grin.
"You're going to camp out here all night?" asked Cameron, eyes so blue and just bright that it made Tristan stupidly thrilled that Cameron was here and looking at him with something that he didn't have a name for.
"Not all night," Tristan answered, grinning a little goofily. "I'm glad you came."
"Thanks for inviting me," said Cameron, ducking his head. He rubbed at his lips but Tristan could see the shy grin he was trying to tamp down.
Tristan gestured with his beer toward Cameron's outfit. "I like your shirt. Is that Alexander McQueen?"
Startled, Cameron stared for a second before chuckling and nodding. "Yeah, it is. My best friend is a buyer for Barney's and she insist on dressing me, since my wardrobe kind of made her cry as a fashion merchandising major when we were in college."
Tristan gaped. He grabbed Cameron's forearm. "She is not! That's fantastic! I'll have to send her a muffin basket because she did an incredible job. You look great."
That right there was meant as an off-hand compliment, but Tristan couldn't help the heartfelt sentiment behind it. Tristan felt something heavy settle in his chest when their eyes met. In that moment nothing was between them and they were floating alone on a star in space.
"Thank you," Cameron said quietly.
"Uh, well," Tristan let out his breath, which was starting to stutter in his chest. "You're welcome."
Cameron pointed to the dance floor where their coworkers were trying to do some coordinated dance to a Queen song. It was almost nine. The drunken sing-along was going to go down any minute now.
"Why aren't you out there shaking it?" asked Cameron, making a silly face.
Tristan laughed. "I'll need more to drink to get myself on the dance floor."
"I love to dance," Cameron admitted. He bit his lower lip looking away like he was embarrassed to tell Tristan this.
The admission made something warm spread through Tristan's entire body. "Really? I never would've guessed. You don't seem the type."
"What type am I?" Cameron raised an eyebrow, but he's grinning.
"I mean, not that you're uncoordinated or dorky or anything," Tristan fumbled with strangled breath. "Shit. This isn't coming out right. I meant you seem too good for that."
Cameron put his chin on his hand, just staring across the table at him. "Please go on. I'm riveted."
Tristan swiped a hand down his face. When did it get so hot in here? "I didn't mean you were arrogant or stuck up. It just doesn't seem like your thing. And I'm shutting up now because I'm an idiot."
At that Cameron giggled and it sounded like he-he-he and was the cutest noise Tristan had ever heard. He looked at Tristan and his eyes were shining with laughter, making his cheeks flush darker so his freckles were even more prominent. Tristan wanted to take his hand and drop down to one knee, then and there.
"You're just an all around suave fella aren't you?" said Cameron teasingly.
Tristan lifted his chin. "This was an off week, swear. I am awesome at suave. I give great suave."
Cameron's eyes widened at that and Tristan winced. "Keep telling yourself that, man," he said before erupting into full blown laughter. Damn it if it didn't make Tristan laugh too. "Whatever helps you sleep at night."
"You'll see," replied Tristan. "I'll show you."
They stared at each other again and Cameron's eyes darkened. Tristan moved his hand to spill beer down his shirt when a presence made itself known next to Cameron by dropping a onto his shoulder. They both looked up into Justin's smiling supermodel face. Tristan never wanted to punch somebody so badly in his life.
"You ready to go, Cameron?" asked Justin. He looked at Tristan and nodded over to the dance floor. "You might want to go check on Mark. Alexis already took off and he looks like he's pretty wasted. I think he threw up by the jukebox. I'm not sure."
Cameron smirked. "Friend of yours after all?"
Tristan would've laughed in his face if he didn't look so damn sexy with that smirk. "Don't judge me."
The smile Cameron answered back with was small, happier, and more genuine. "Too late."
Tristan watched Justin and Cameron walk across the bar and push through the doors to leave. He didn't take his eyes off Cameron until the doors shut firmly behind them. It was then that he made his way over to the jukebox where Mark was trying to remain upright against the side.
Thanks for reading! I hope to have the next part out soon. I plan on completing this story in probably 6 parts. If you want to email me do it here at Batmanhater@aol.com
If you'd like to check out my other stories then you can do so here.