Disclaimer : This is a work of fiction and does not imply anything about anyone, real or imagined.

 

Chapter 5

Tristan sat drinking coffee on his sofa. It was dusk and he'd done nothing productive yet. The past week had flown by with agonizing slowness, and a mental haze that made the previous seven days hard to remember clearly. Ever since Zac had told him he didn't want to be friends with him, he found it difficult to do anything of use. Despite it being the single most distressing moment he could remember in a long time, he'd handled it pretty well, and he knew why: it didn't make any sense. No matter what shit Zac had thrown at him, and no matter how hard he'd tried, Tristan knew that Zac was not telling him the truth. His excuse had been ridiculous, and his face had been unable to convince him otherwise. There had been moments of doubt and despair that had broken through on Zac's face that hinted at what he was really feeling. Tristan hadn't gone into a depression, or cried, or been angry or hateful for this very reason. He knew in his heart that Zac was conveying a message that he didn't mean. He wanted help. The problem was that Tristan didn't know how to handle the situation. If he returned to the studio he'd likely end up in a fight with Zac, or just make things worse. He sighed for the millionth time.

As he flipped through the channels he suddenly caught sight of Zac on a cheap entertainment channel. On reflex he nearly turned the TV off, and felt almost as if Zac was looking back at him as if he'd heard his thoughts. His finger refused to obey and he watched the channel warily.

"Zac, what's with the new look? Is it for a movie?" the idiot reporter asked him as he rushed past.

Tristan noticed the studio in the background and realized that they must have infiltrated the area to film him. Anything with Zac on it was bound to be hot money. Tristan looked at Zac and was shocked at what he saw. His hair was unkempt and he had thick stubble over his whole face. Without replying Zac rushed past the camera and Tristan's breath caught with disbelief. The camera glimpsed through the side of his dark shades and a red-ringed eye could clearly be seen. If that wasn't a sign of weeping he didn't know what was.

"That's it," Tristan said angrily, and walked to his room with determination. Changing quickly, he put on a white shirt, jeans and some sandals and quickly fixed his hair and brushed his teeth.

He hadn't shaved today. "Screw it," he said, after looking at himself in the mirror. He didn't have time to get into a daily grooming routine.

He dug in his safe for a minor detail, and then walked out the front door and grabbed the keys that were sitting on the kitchen counter. Eventually he landed up in the basement and jumped on his motorcycle that he'd recently purchased. It was a monstrous, extremely expensive and impressive thing, but he resigned himself to a bit of comfort buying two days after Zac had told him to piss off. He'd always wanted a bike, but it seems like he needed a massive emotional overload to actually go and get one. It roared with approval as he started the ignition and he sped off as quickly as he could towards the studio. Within twenty minutes he'd arrived, surprised at how the bike had allowed him to weave through the traffic. As he reached the gate to the studio, Jake the security guard halted him and approached the bike.

 

"Can I help you, sir?" the guard said, obviously tired of the same repetitive line.

It was dark and Tristan took off his helmet. "Hey Jake."

"Oh hey, Tristan," Jake said with a smile, and then suddenly his smile slipped. "Listen, you're a nice guy but ever since you left last week mister Efron said we weren't to let you back in. Sorry man, but he's my boss. Even his manager told me not to let you in."

Jason. The traitor. It was understandable though Zac was his boss. Luckily Tristan had thought of this eventuality, and he reached into his pocket and pulled out a thick pack of cash that was neatly bound as if it had been delivered by a bank. He threw it to Jake whose eyes opened in astonishment, and then looked around to see if anyone was watching.

"I can't accept this bribe, Sir," he said formally, as if reviving years of security guard brainwashing. He didn't throw it back to Tristan.

Tristan smiled to himself. "Yes you can, Jake. Listen, it's not a bribe. If Zac gets angry with you for letting me in, you might get fired, and that will keep you and your wife healthy until you start working for me. I have tons of places to employ a good guy like you. Call it insurance."

Jake eyed the money curiously, and then smiled impishly. "If you put it that way I guess I could accept insurance. Besides, that Efron kid is a mess. He won't let anyone near him and he spends all his time in his trailer. It's nasty. I think he's on drugs."

"Maybe," Tristan said diplomatically. "Can I go in and try and help?"

There was a moment's defiance on Jake's face, but his features softened and he lifted the boom. Tristan gave him a small salute and he rode on in. Jake looked around nervously and lowered the boom and then stuffed the money into his pocket subtly. Tristan drove his motorbike on the gravel until he was a stone's throw away from Zac's trailer, which was dimly lit. Turning off his bike, he let it stand silently. He looked at Zac's trailer for a moment with a frown on his face, and then walked towards it with purpose. As he got near to the door he thought he might hear music or television, but the sound was one of ominous silence. Tristan looked around. The nearest trailer was very far away. If Zac screamed his lungs out no one would hear. With a determined growl Tristan walked up to the door and ripped it open. He heard a clumsy lock fail at his strength but he didn't care. He stepped in and slammed the door closed. This was not the time for diplomacy.

"So this is what your trailer looks like," Tristan said sarcastically, as if he'd never been into it. The trailer was in disarray with bottles of alcohol and used fast food containers laying everywhere. "Decor's changed though," he added dryly.

"Tristan!" he heard with a rough scrape of outrage to his right. Turning, he saw Zac sit up from a couch he'd been lying on. His eyes were furious, but also exhausted and bloodshot. His whole face was twisted with fury.

"Zac!" Tristan said with a smile, taking Zac's outrage as a form of greeting.

"I fucking told you to leave me alone! Are you deaf or retarded?" Zac walked towards him angrily. His clothes were dishevelled as if he'd worn them for days.

"Neither Zac, as you well know," Tristan said simply. "I just decided to ignore your request."

"Get out before I fucking kick you out," Zac said nastily as he continued to step up to Tristan.

"Well then we're going to have a problem, my friend, because I'm going nowhere."

Zac's eyes caught fire. "That's where you're wrong, asshole. You're about to leave head first."

Tristan shook his head slightly, sad to see the agony that was ravishing such a decent guy. Zac mistook it for pity and raised his fist. Tristan flinched as he expected to receive a nasty blue eye, but after it didn't arrive he cautiously opened one eye to see that Zac was standing in the same position, his breathing heavy, his face so incensed he thought that he was about to roar with anger.

"Get out Tristan. Please just fuck off." One of Zac's characteristic struggles blazed across his face with supersonic speed before disappearing.

Tristan sighed then stared at the ground. "I told you my friend, I'm not going to do that. It doesn't help to repeat it again and again. My answer is no."

Zac breathed in deeply, clearly trying to keep it together, and then he lowered his fist.

"I don't want to talk you."

"You will talk to me, Zac."

"You may think you're a big shot owner who can command people..."

"Cut the shit, Zac. You're acting like a fucking asshole and you don't want to say why."

"I told you why. It's because you're a fag and I want straight friends."

"Fuck you, you lying sack of shit. You're fucking full of bullshit."

"Why, just because the truth hurts so much that you need to bash down my door and beg for another reason? Go fuck yourself and mellow in the truth at home."

They both looked at one another angrily. Zac was breathing heavily, and his eyes were enraged. Finally he broke the silence.

"Get out, Tristan!" he said with a monumental shout.

"No!" Tristan shouted back.

Suddenly his vision went dark and he found himself lying on his side struggling to breathe. His vision started to clear but dark motes still drifted around, trying to flee to the outside of his vision. He realized then that Zac had punched him in the stomach, and he slowly rolled over and onto his hands and knees determined to get up. He could see Zac's feet to his right, and he knew that he was standing there watching. Even in his agonized state, Tristan could hear Zac's heavy breathing. Slowly he stood up, and flinched as the memory of the fist in his gut rang home. He looked into Zac's eyes impassively and saw a strained, frustrated man on the verge of breaking point.

"That's okay, Zac," Tristan said. "We can play this game all day. I'm not leaving. I'm here to help you."

"Tristan, please... leave!" Zac said with staggered breaths, as if he'd run a mile.

Tristan stepped forward suddenly, and Zac put up his fists as if preparing to fend off a retaliatory attack. Instead, Tristan hugged him tightly, so tightly he thought he was going to hurt him. Zac breathed heavily into his chest and started to hit him. They were soft ineffectual punches that he barely noticed, and they were slowly losing even the limited amount of power they had. Eventually Zac's punches stopped and he gripped Tristan's shirt tightly. Tristan heard a whimper, and in moments Zac was crying into his chest, his sobs muffled by his shirt. Tristan realized that he was now holding Zac up. He seemed so weak... so utterly defeated.

"Tristan, help me," he cried into Tristan's shirt.

Tristan flinched, finally feeling the pain that was afflicting Zac. He held him up in a supportive embrace and rubbed the back of Zac's head.

"I'm here for you Zac. I'm not leaving you ever," he whispered. He didn't know if Zac laughed or cried, but some strange sound escaped his mouth.

They stood there for a few minutes until Zac had recovered. Zac felt so warm in his embrace. Under any other circumstances he would have wanted to stand there forever. After a few minutes Zac pulled his head back and looked into Tristan's eyes. His eyes were so penetrating, and yet bloodshot and exhausted. Tristan's heart heaved at the mixture of attraction and sympathy he was feeling for Zac.

"Tristan, I need to tell you something," Zac said with cracked voice.

"Okay," Tristan said warily. Suddenly he felt unprepared for whatever he thought was going to come out of Zac's mouth.

"I'm not straight. I like... guys," he said. His eyes filled with tears as if he couldn't bare even the slightest negative reaction.

"I thought you might be," Tristan said simply, but with reassurance and warmth in his voice.

Suddenly Zac leaned forward clearly trying to kiss him on the mouth. Tristan was shocked, and at the last moment turned his head to the side causing Zac to kiss him on the cheek.

"Don't you like me?" Zac said. Tristan could feel the tension in his body, as if he was preparing himself for despair.

He hugged Zac tightly, and felt him nuzzle his face into the nape of Tristan's neck. His breath was so warm it was almost overwhelming. He was so close to realizing his ultimate fantasy, but at the same time he felt as if something wasn't right, as if he'd chosen a twisted scenario to make a dream come true. His instincts usually served him well, and in this case he knew he'd regret getting into something with Zac in this trailer.

"Zac," he almost sighed into his ear. "You're not thinking straight tonight. I'll explain to you later how I feel when we're both calmer."

Zac sighed and seemed to mould into his embrace. He visibly relaxed. "I understand. It's so good to finally be close to you. I've wanted this since the day I met you."

Tristan sighed in response. Jen had been right as usual, he'd just refused to see it.

"Me too," Tristan said. "You're such a great guy."

"I am so sorry for hitting you, Tristan... I know I can never ask you..."

Zac started to rant about his behaviour, something that Tristan had expected would happen if they'd resolved things. He pulled Zac out of his embrace and looked at him in the eyes seriously.

"Zac, listen to me. I'm only going to say this once, and I promise you if you don't respect it, I'm not going to be able to stay with you." His voice was stern, but he knew that he was being serious. He couldn't manage a man who was overwhelmed with grief. Zac looked at him warily.

"You haven't been acting right for a few days because of something that happened to you and you can tell me what it is, if and when you choose to do so. But you're going to forget all the shit that happened this week so that we can start fresh. I know I can't order you to do things, but if you love me as a friend, or more, I'm asking you to respect my wish."

Zac nodded simply, and then nodded a few times accentuating his position. "Sure Tristan. I really did pick the perfect guy," he said with a smile that broke through his sadness.

"Huh, after you taste the food I make you may rethink that opinion," he said wryly. Zac laughed and leaned against his chest with his forehead. Tristan shook his head with amusement. The guy really enjoyed doing that.

"Sorry," Zac said, as if reading his mind. "I just like being near to you. You're so warm and it's pretty much the only time I feel safe."

"Take your time," Tristan murmured. "I'd stand here forever if I could."

They stood there for a while, and Tristan forgot about time. It was one of the happiest moments of his life, and all it took was a punch in the gut to get it. He looked down slightly and saw Zac's head. His let his hands glide through Zac's dark, thick strands. Tristan started to become acutely aware of how much he was holding back, and decided to reinforce his walls. Truth be told, he wanted to make love to Zac for days without stopping, but he also knew that patience would yield a better result. He was so in love with Zac he felt like vomiting, and that made him smile... which was weird, but wasn't love always so?

"Do you want to come stay by my place? I don't want to leave you alone," Tristan whispered into Zac's ear.

"I thought you'd never ask," Zac said with a mock punch to Tristan's shoulder. It was surprisingly painful, though any contact with Zac was good contact.

"Do you have any idea how bad you smell?" Tristan said.

Zac laughed. "Sorry. You can shower me when we get to your place."

"What am I going to do with you?" he said with a chuckle. Zac was already crossing every boundary and it was making him nervous. It was exciting, but daunting, and Tristan felt an ominous sense of foreboding if he allowed things to rush too quickly. He tried to gradually make towards the door but Zac clung to him tightly.

"Zac.." he said.

"I like you so much," Zac said with a sudden increase in the strength of his hug. He smiled and stroked Zac's hair.

After managing to pry Zac's arms off him, they closed up his makeshift trailer home and sped away on his motorbike. He only had one helmet because he'd obviously not expected things to go so well. Considering Zac was the single most good-looking man he'd ever seen, he donated the helmet to him because the thought of that face being messed up in any way was totally unacceptable. Naturally Zac tried to refuse until Tristan literally dive bombed it onto his head despite his muffled curses. As they rode out of the movie compound, he waved to Jake who nodded with a knowing smile, but wisely decided not to intervene. The journey back to his house was one of the best motorbike rides he'd ever had. It was dark except for the urban lights and the lights of oncoming traffic. Rather than creating an artificial atmosphere, he thought it was rather surreal and fantastic. The air was cool but not cold at all, and he breathed it in deeply and appreciated how it caressed his face and swept through his hair. Most of all he was acutely and constantly aware of Zac sitting behind him, his arms around his waist. His grip was stronger than it needed to be, and he was sure that it was more of an embrace than an attempt to gain stability on the bike. They eventually got back to the basement parking of his apartment. Zac took off the helmet as he dismounted and threw the helmet to Tristan, who caught it with a smile and hung it over the back of the bike. Zac's hair was a wild mess, and Tristan loved it. They took the elevator up to his penthouse, and they both breathed a sigh of relief as they entered the penthouse and closed the door. After a brief but potent embrace, Tristan looked at Zac.

"You going to shower?" he asked.

"Wow, I really must smell bad," Zac said with a chuckle.

"You really do," Tristan said warmly. It was the truth. Zac smelled like a guy who'd just been to the gym. It would be better after he took a shower, but Tristan was tempted to throw Zac down and lick the dirt off him. The guy made him so horny he thought he would go crazy.

"Want to join me?" Zac said with a hopeful but surprisingly bashful smile.

"Yes," Tristan said. "But I'm not going to." Zac frowned.

"We're going to take this slow so that it matters. And don't start with the `you don't like me' shit. If you knew how much I liked you, you'd probably run away."

Zac took the small rejection well, and nodded simply before walking towards his room, already having taken off his shirt. Tristan followed all the while trying to keep his concentration on the task at hand.

"Choose some clothes again when you're finished. And throw those old things away..."

"Sure," Zac said with a smile, and he started to pull his pants down.

"Zac!" Tristan interjected irritably. Zac stopped instantly and blushed.

"Sorry," he said with a weak smile and started to pull his pants up, but not before Tristan noticed a hint of thick dark pubic hair sticking above the belt of the pants. Zac pulled his pants up and Tristan sighed with relief. A moment more and he would have unloaded in his pants.

"It's okay," Tristan said with a cough. He exited the room rapidly and closed the door behind him, before leaning back on it and breathing heavily.

"You moron," he said to himself, as his shallow brain started to lash his conscience for passing up the opportunity to get naked with the perfect guy. He smiled to himself and then frowned. He listened. Zac was singing in the shower. He put his hand over his mouth to stop himself from laughing. He couldn't believe it. Sure, the guy had a great voice even without backup, but his complete lack of inhibitions was almost daunting. Tristan felt his heart rise happily. Damn it was so good to have Zac here.

Tristan went to lie down on the couch and he closed his eyes while listening to Zac sing. His mind relaxed and he must have dozed off, because suddenly he felt someone warming up to him. He opened his eyes and saw Zac lying next to him on the couch, his arms wrapped around his chest. His hair was wet but had obviously been towelled off, and his shirtless body was hot from the water in the shower and glistened slightly as it dried. He'd shaved, and his face was smooth but still hinted at dark stubble.

"Zac, get a damn shirt," he said with fake anger, but he had to say it.

"Actually you're lucky I'm wearing pants, Tristan," Zac said factually, and Tristan felt his breath catch. "You can't have your way the whole time."

"Okay," Tristan said simply, and his hand started to trace up and down Zac's spine, his thumb running over all the bony prominences caught in the groove between his well developed back muscles.

"I want to know how you feel about me, Tristan," Zac said. He'd raised his head and his eyes were piercing him, almost looking into his soul.

"Wha..."

"You seem to be holding back, or you don't like me in the way I like you. You need to be honest with me. If we're going to stop or start anything, you need to make decisions."

Tristan was taken aback by the situation and was suddenly scared that Zac was interpreting his actions as arrogance or lack of interest, both of which were not true. He raised his body and rested on his elbows.

"Zac, I like you so much. I don't want to rush things because I'm scared that lust will turn it into a brief romance with nothing left afterwards. I want you to be around forever. I know I'm taking a big risk by saying this to you, but I'm pretty sure it won't take long before I... love you. If you don't mind me saying that."

Zac looked at him in shock for a moment and then swallowed. A smile started to spread over his face slowly, but eventually it grew into his full smile, an expression that was so devastatingly handsome it dazed him.

"I've wanted to hear something like that since I first realized I liked you. I just didn't think it could or would happen. I can't believe it."

"It's true," Tristan said shyly. "It's kind of funny to hear you say you doubt my feelings, but the truth is that you make my body catch on fire when you're around. I love every moment with you."

Zac smiled and stroked Tristan's cheek.

"Sorry if I've seemed slutty to you," Zac said. "It's just that you drive me crazy. I just want to get close to you."

Tristan hugged Zac's head tightly and kissed it. He whispered into his ear. "It's taking all my will power not to hold you down and have sex with you all night. When we start doing that I promise you won't forget it. It's going to go on for hours and hours. We'll do it until you're dry, until you can't do it anymore even if your life depends on it."

Zac groaned into Tristan's chest, and Tristan could clearly feel how hard he was through the pants he'd decided to wear. He couldn't wait to have sex with Zac, but he would stop himself until they'd developed a proper relationship. Good things came to those who waited.

"Let's get up and eat something, and then you can tell me what's been torturing you these past few days."

Zac sighed and then nodded in agreement. They sat up. "I'll never hold anything back from you again," he said truthfully. "But I just have one small request."

"Name it. It's yours," Tristan said with a smile.

"Kiss me," Zac said, and Tristan smiled.

**********************************************************************************

Thanks for reading again, guys. Your support has been awesome and most people are happy with the way the story has progressed. Let me know if you're still happy. rahvin747@yahoo.com.