Another continuation (and there might be one or two more in the coming months)

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“Go fish.”

Chris stared at Zach like he’d never seen him before. Zach sighed and put down the cards.

“You asked if I had any sevens, I don’t, I said pound pavement, that’s the way the game works, Pine.”

Chris yawned then, so big and loud that his eyes watered and his jaw popped. “Sorry. I, uh, I lost track of the game.”

“Because it’s time for little boys to go to bed.”

“But—”

“Chris.”

Chris averted his gaze and Zach wondered what that was about. But he didn’t say anything, so Zach stood, grabbed Chris’ arm and hauled him to his feet.

“Come on. Off to bed with you.”

Zach knew where Chris’ room was, so he pulled the younger man through the house and to the bedroom. There were items there that belonged to her, but Zach decided not to focus on that.

They were always at cross purposes, weren’t they? Jonathan, Olivia, Iris, Miles, and now…yeah, her. The one he’d seemed to be with the longest. Though still not as long as Miles, if it came to that.

A fool for love was still a fool.

He gently pushed Chris down onto the mattress.

“I’ll bet you can manage to get yourself undressed.”

“Yeah,” Chris agreed. Out came that tongue to trace over his lips and Zach fisted his hands. “Only…”

“Only what, Pine?”

“Can you stay here with me tonight?”

Zach laughed. “What? Why would I?”

“Uh.” Chris was blushing now.

“You’re not still thinking of that spider, yeah? Come on. It’s not going to come in here and eat you.”

“It might have had babies.”

“Maybe.” Zach smirked.

“And, uh, the slashers.”

“What about them?”

“We watched a lot of slasher films, Zach. I’m kinda freaked out.”

He sighed again. Ran his fingers through his hair. It felt greasy and he should have a shower, but he felt far too lazy and apatetic to bother.

“You’re a grown man, Chris.”

“I know, but—”

“This isn’t a good idea,” he said in a low voice. But those blue eyes rose to his and they almost looked watery like Chris would cry if he refused. And he just wasn’t. Even if it was the mother of all bad ideas.

“Zach.”

“Okay,” he replied. “Fine. Let me go get my stuff and we’ll go to bed together. To sleep, Christopher. Nothing else.”

“All right.”

Zach left the room and went to get his small bag. He took maybe extra long and it paid off because when he returned, Chris had taken off his clothes and put on low slung pajama pants and a thread-barren T-shirt.

He didn’t say anything when Zach returned, just stood there looking at the empty bed, so Zach went into the bathroom, got into his shorts and tank, and brushed his teeth.

“Do you have to go?”

Zach was surprised by the question when he came out of the bathroom.

“Go?”

“You know, back to New York.”

“Yeah, I do. It’s home.”

“LA’s home too, isn’t it?”

“Sometimes yeah and sometimes no. Right now, home is more New York for me. California’s…complicated.” Zach shrugged. “Anyway, you’re living the good life here. What are you worried about?”

Chris shook his head. “I’m not worried. I just miss you. A lot.”

Zach decided not to address that. “Get in bed, Christopher.”

And he did, too. Zach turned off the overheard light and then walked over to the side of the bed he supposed she normally occupied. For some perverse reason he wanted to smear his scent and greasyish hair all over her pillow.

Zach was here, Bitch

She wasn’t really one, except because of the obvious reasons.

He got in bed and turned off the lamp next to the bed.

“Next time your friends suggest slasher movies, maybe say no?”

A few heartbeats of silence.

“Yeah.”

Zach said nothing for a while and then he heard heavier breathing and knew Chris had fallen asleep. He was glad. Because they couldn’t go there. Not again. Not now as it was between them if they were to remain friends. And that was what Zach wanted. Not to lose Chris. Even if all it ever was, was this.

He almost got back out of the bed and went to the guest room, but no. He said he’d stay and he was a man of his word.

Took him a long time to fall asleep though. But there were no spiders or slashers. He’d slayed them.