Pay It Forward · Quotes · Writing

Extract: Depth Over Distance

TTTT 1 - Depth Over Distance

~

Zack rummaged through the books in his backpack and tried not to think about how rotten the day had been.

He had a massive crush on Devon, so when he’d said the things he had, in his first class after lunch, he couldn’t help but go looking for Benji, so he could make him feel better. There was no-one who took care of him the way his big brother did, but that was half the problem. He really, desperately, wanted someone to call his own.

Whenever Benji went to the hottest gay club in town, The Underground, he always came away happy. He had a lot of sex, even he would admit that, but it was always confined to the private VIP room at the back of the club; he never took anyone home or went home with them.

Zack had asked him why, multiple times, but he always said that he didn’t want to leave him alone or vulnerable. He still didn’t quite understand how leaving him alone, for one night, in his own home, or bringing someone home with him would leave him vulnerable, but he trusted him. He knew that no-one would ever love him the way Benji did and he would never begrudge that.

“Hey,”

Zack turned to find Devon staring at him with a nervous smile. He couldn’t quite believe he was there, never mind that he was smiling.

It had been enjoyable spending a whole class sitting next to him, but then his friends had started teasing him about answering a question about the book they were reading. He’d talked about how the two characters were in love, but that they believed that having a physical relationship could harm that love. Apparently what he’d said was hilarious because everyone started laughing at his interpretation, even though the teacher nodded and told him he was right.

For some reason Devon’s friends had gone on about how he was looking for the same; some girl to be there and swoon over him, but without ever wanting a physical relationship. He wasn’t sure why it was any of their business what he wanted or with who, so he did what Benji always told him to do, and he ignored them. But then Devon, with his beautiful blue eyes and that charming smile, had asked him if he was still a virgin. He practically demanded it and he’d felt his face flush in response.

From that moment on all his friends did was tease him about how he was still a virgin at nearly eighteen and how it was simply because no-one wanted him.

Devon hadn’t taken part in the teasing, but it was his fault they started it and he’d ran. He’d asked to be excused from class and run off to find Benji, who kissed it better and held him tight. Something he often wished Devon would do.

“Zack, I’m really, really sorry for what I said. I should never have said it. I wasn’t thinking.” Devon apologised, as he snapped himself out of the daze he’d slipped into. “Can you forgive me? I would never, ever want to hurt you.” He promised, cupping his cheek in his hand, that was so warm and soft.

Zack leaned into the touch, trying to bask in it for as long as it was on offer.

Devon smiled faintly and caressed his cheekbone. “Please? I’ll do anything to make this right.” He begged, as if he had been the most horrible person in the world. Since it wasn’t all that bad, he stepped in and wrapped Devon in his arms, too speechless around him to forgive him with words. He was held back in a tight embrace that he closed his eyes to.

“I forgive you.” He said, finally getting the words out.

Devon sighed in relief, right by his ear and squeezed him tighter. When he pulled back, he was smiling and cupped his face in both hands. He left a light kiss on his forehead and one on the tip of his nose, before meeting his gaze. “I really am sorry.” He reiterated.

“I know.” Zack promised that he wasn’t going to stay angry at him. Then, with a curious thought, he decided to take a risk. “Benji’s taking me out tonight, to a club. Would you like to come with us?” He wondered, hoping he would say yes.

Devon smiled again and nodded. “I’d love to. Will I get the details off Benji or do you want to text them to me?” He asked, since they had each other’s mobile numbers already.

With him being such good friends with Benji, the constant temptation of having his private mobile number on his phone was one that Zack had to face daily. He often wanted to call him or send him a text to let him know how deeply he cared for him, but he didn’t dare.

“I don’t know anything yet. Benji will tell you.” He decided, since it was true. He didn’t know what the plans were.

For a moment Devon looked disappointed, but then he shook it off and smiled. “Great. I’ll see you tonight, then.” He said, backing away.

Zack nodded and watched him leave, heading back to his locker, where Benji was waiting for him. He got a wink from his brother and smiled, unable to stop himself from wondering if he was hoping to let Devon be the one to ‘pop his cherry’, as he liked to call it. He certainly hoped so.

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