Featuring Pinto

Chris stepped outside as Zach held the door open of the Starbucks they had just had coffee at just moments earlier.

“Dinner next?” Chris wondered, because truth be told, he was hungry. The espresso he’d just downed hadn’t really done much to get rid of that.

He’d been vaguely surprised to even hear from Zach as he knew his friend had a pretty busy filming schedule right now. Still, Chris wouldn’t complain about any chance to spend time with Zach.

“Eventually, sure,” was Zach’s reply. “But it being October and just a couple of weeks until Halloween, I thought we’d do something else first.”

Chris eyed him. “Something else? Halloween? Oh, God. Please tell me you aren’t having us go to an Escape Room. I’m claustrophobic.”

Zach rolled his eyes. “I know that, Christopher. Not an Escape Room. A haunted house.”

“A haunted…damn it, Zach. Most of those are so lame. I haven’t gone to one of those since I was a teenager.”

“A very long time ago,” Zach cracked.

“Says the guy who is older than me. Okay, fine. We’ll go. But you are so buying dinner.”

Zach smiled amicably. “Sure, sure.” He clicked open the locks of the rental car. “Get in, my boy.”

Chris snorted, but got in. Zach remained mostly silent on the way to the haunted house. Beating a rhythm on the dashboard to Monster Mash playing on the radio.

He pulled into a parking lot that proclaimed it was for the Haunted House. To Chris it looked like one of those prop houses on the movie lots, but he shook his head, grinned good-naturedly, and got out to follow Zach up to the door where his friend forked over two five dollar bills as entrance fees.

A woman stood in the front entry way of the house, dressed in an outfit reminiscent of a Disneyland costume from the Haunted Mansion.

“Welcome, Victims,” she declared in a falsely eerie voice. She pointed to an elevator. “This way.”

Chris withheld his eye role and followed Zach and a few others into the elevator, which predictably dropped several flows below. There was a scream and the elevator went dark.

“Disney should sue,” Chris muttered. He put his hand on Zach’s arm.

The elevator stopped and the lights flashed on.

He turned to Zach to say something about the lameness when he saw his hand was on some other guy’s arm. He stared at Chris.

“Do you mind, dude?” the guy said, moving away.

“Zach? Where the hell did you go, man?” He glanced around but didn’t see his friend. Everyone was moving on to the next part, so Chris followed, all the while looking for Zach, figuring his impatient friend had gone on without him.

At the next part, Chris jumped a little when costumed performers jumped out unexpectedly. And okay, maybe the first time his scream was a little high-pitched.

“Zach? Dude, where’d you go?”

He moved on to another part with a room full of twisted mirrors, but still didn’t find Zach. He was starting to get pissed. He hadn’t expected Zach to ditch him.

At the end, the last room had a mad scientist, and he was working on a mannequin in a chair. He pulled out a drill and aimed it for the dummy’s mouth.

And then the dummy screamed.

“Chris! Chris! Help! Help!”

****

“Hey, come on, Chris. It was a joke, okay?”

“Not funny.” Chris walked ahead back to the car.

“It was a little. You should have seen your face.” Zach stopped to double over laughing.

“Fuck you, Quinto.”

Zach straightened and scrambled after him. “Sorry. Come on. Sorry. Okay.”

Chris looked away, and wiped his eyes.

“Wait. Jeez. You…you aren’t crying, are you?”

“No.”

“Shit. Yeah, you are. Chris, man, no. I didn’t mean anything. It was just a stupid…” Zach grabbed Chris’ arms and turned him. “I would never…”

Chris laughed and smacked him in the face. “Crying. Get real.”

“You asshole!” Zach touched his face where Chris hit him. But he was laughing too. “You had me going.”

Chris smirked. “Yeah? That was lame, Quinto.”

Zach nodded. “Yeah, a little.” He searched Chris’ eyes. “So, we’re good?”

“Yeah.” He moved in close, putting his hand over Zach’s that still touched his face where Chris had hit. “Did I hurt you?”

“Stung a bit.”

“Yeah?”

“Want to kiss and make it better?”

Their hands lowered from Zach’s face and Chris smiled, leaning in, kissing his stubbly jaw.

“Did that make it better?”

“Hmm. Not sure. You’d better do it again.”

Chris chuckled, but he did, and just as his lips touched Zach’s jaw, he turned his face, so that Chris was kissing his mouth instead. Chris’ tongue teased the corner of Zach’s mouth.

“Better?” Chris murmured and kissed him again, this time longer.

“Way better. Dinner? How about we order a pizza and eat it at your place?”

“Best idea you’ve had since you called me, Quinto.” He kissed Zach long and slow, lingering over the stubble of his jaw as he pulled back. “Maybe you can try escaping from my room.”

Zach shook his head. “I’ll fail. Because I’m not leaving until morning.”

Chris laughed. “I thought surely that should be my line. You’ll never get away.” His laughter was sinister.

Zach opened the rental car. “Just get in, Pine.”

“Home, James.”

“Zach. Remember? Zach.”

Chris reached for his hand and threaded their fingers together. “Yeah. Yeah. I know.”