Now That You're Here


Chapter 36


Brian couldn’t remember the last time he felt so relaxed. He was lying on the loveseat with his legs spread, Justin lying between them so they were back to chest. It always felt good to have Justin in his arms. He glanced over to the oversized chair and smiled. Zac was sitting in the chair leaning forward with his hands resting on Jason’s shoulders. Jason was sitting on the floor in front of the chair, his head resting on Zac’s leg. It was a somewhat intimate position for two people who kept insisting that they’re just friends. On the other side of the room, Zander and Chris were sharing the couch. They weren’t curled up together, but they were sitting close enough that they could easily touch each other and call it casual. It wasn’t the perfect situation, but it was a start.

They had already watched the Grinch and Frosty the Snowman and were just finishing up Rudolph. It wouldn’t be the holiday season without everyone’s favorite cartoons. Brian tightened his arms around Justin and brought his lips to the blond’s ear.

“Look how cute Zac and Jason are,” he said softly.

“I know,” Justin chuckled. “Good thing they’re only friends.”

“We can hear you, ya know,” Zac said before tilting Jason’s head back and giving him a quick kiss. “And it’s none of your business, you busybodies.”

“Hey, we are not busybodies,” Brian insisted with a grin. “We’re more like matchmakers, waiting for our present match to work out so that we can move on to our next subjects.”

“No pressure though,” Justin added with a chuckle.

“Well, I’m glad there’s no pressure,” Jason snorted. “Look, I know you guys are dying to know what’s going on, but truthfully…we’re just friends. It’s too hard to have anything more than that when we live so far away from each other.”

“But that’s not going to be an issue soon enough,” Justin said without thinking and then realized his mistake when he saw the confused look on Zac’s face. “Shit.”

“Thanks a lot, big mouth,” Jason said to Justin before turning his full attention to Zac. “I was going to talk to you about this during Christmas break.”

Zander was watching from the other side of the room and remembered Justin telling him that Jason hadn’t told Zac about being accepted to Arizona State yet. “Um, why don’t you guys go on up to Brian’s room and talk? Chris and I really need to talk to these two anyway.”

Zac still looked a little confused, but he took Jason’s hand and followed him up the stairs without saying a word. Zander waited until he heard the bedroom door close before turning to Justin. “You dumbass,” he laughed.

“I forgot,” Justin blushed crimson. “Besides, it’s stupid that he hasn’t told Zac yet. It’s not like he’s considering other options. He’s made his decision. Why not just tell him?”

“I don’t know, but I’m sure he has his reasons,” Zan said. “Why don’t we watch something else and give them a few minutes alone?”

“Sounds good to me. I don’t think I want to be around for that conversation. Zac’s probably not going to be happy that Jason’s been keeping something like that from him,” Brian sighed. “I think we have a copy of A Charlie Brown Christmas around here.”

They all agreed and then waited while Brian found the DVD and got it going. In moments, Zac and Jason were temporarily forgotten.



Jason waited until he closed Brian’s bedroom door before beginning. “Zac, I’m really sorry I didn’t tell you sooner. I’m not sure why I didn’t say anything…well, I think I thought that you’d take it the wrong way and I didn’t want that to happen. My decision to apply had nothing to do with you. It started over the summer before we even met.”

“Okay, slow down. You lost me. Justin said our living far away from each other wasn’t going to be a problem soon. Does that mean you’re planning on moving out here?” Zac asked in confusion. “Can you just start at the beginning?”

“Sorry,” Jason laughed. “Alright, so after visiting here this summer, I decided to check out Arizona State. I always planned on getting out of Pittsburgh and had been researching places like California and Texas. With Justin here in Arizona and settling in, I thought it would be cool if we could be closer to each other. It’s not like I’d already had a final destination in mind. As it turns out, Arizona State is an excellent school. Justin said that he and Brian were probably going to go there so I submitted my application early and got accepted. I was actually almost afraid to tell Justin because I didn’t want him thinking that I was trying to push my way into his new life. As it turns out, he wants me out here.”

“Of course he does. He loves you, stupid,” Zac teased. “But I’m a little confused. How did you think I was going to take it?”

“I don’t know…I guess I was thinking that it seemed a little stalker-ish. You know, a few kisses and some late night phone conversations and suddenly I’m moving halfway across the country and showing up at your college.”

“Hey, those were some pretty intense conversations,” Zac laughed. “Jas, I’m a pretty smart guy. I would’ve figured out that you submitted your application long before we met. I also understand wanting to be closer to Justin. It’ll be easier moving so far away from home if you already have friends where you’re going. I have to say though; a part of me is hoping that you’re also excited at the thought of us living in the same zip code.”


“Well, at the risk of sounding a little stalker-ish myself, I might have done some research on east coast colleges in the last few weeks…just in case you weren’t planning on going away to school,” Zac admitted sheepishly.

“You did?”

“Yeah, I did. I’ve really enjoyed those late night conversations, and those few kisses are all I can think about.”

“Really?” Jason asked, his voice growing thick as desire started building within. “I think about those kisses, too…and being in the same zip code is an added bonus that I’ve kinda been looking forward to.”

“Come here, silly.” Zac pulled Jason close and took his mouth in a heated kiss. It had been weeks since they’d seen each other and Zac spent most of that time on the phone with Jason wishing that they didn’t have over 2000 miles between them. He couldn’t remember ever feeling for anyone what he was beginning to feel for Jason, male or female. He’d been trying to tell himself that it wasn’t real. That the feelings he was starting to have were just amplified because they were so far away from each other, but when he and Brian were at the airport and he saw Jason walking towards them, he felt desire shoot through him like he never felt before. Hearing that Jason was going to be living in Arizona in less than a year actually made his heart skip a beat. It was like a dream come true.

Jason kissed Zac back with everything he had, relishing in the warm feelings coursing through him. He’d been wondering if Zac’s feelings for him were growing as much as the feelings he had for Zac, but he wasn’t sure and didn’t know how to ask. Considering they weren’t even in the same time zone, pushing for anything resembling a relationship seemed foolish. He’d been hoping that he could talk to Zac during winter break and once he shared his news about college, he’d have a better idea of what was going on in Zac’s mind. Although, from the heat radiating between them now, he had a pretty good idea of exactly what Zac was feeling. He deepened the kiss briefly and then started pulling back. As much as he was enjoying what was happening between them, they really needed to talk.

“God, I’ve wanted to do that since I first spotted you in the airport,” Zac said breathlessly. “You taste as good as I remember.”

“You do, too,” Jason replied. “But we should probably talk, don’t you think?”

“Actually, I don’t. Look Jas, there’s no doubt that your moving here is going to change things between us a bit. How much, I’m not sure. I haven’t let it sink in yet. You’re only here for a few days. Why don’t we just enjoy them and hold off on talking until you come back in December? This is our first chance to spend any real time together. After a few days, you may just want to run as far away from me as you can,” Zac laughed.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right. We really should spend some time together. After all those phone calls, I forget that we don’t really know each other that well.”

“I wouldn’t say that. You probably know me better than anyone…other than maybe Brian. I’ve told you almost all of my secrets late at night when curled up with only the phone to keep me warm.”


“Hey, I have to keep a few things a mystery,” Zac smiled. “At least for now.”

“Well, if it makes you feel any better, from what I already know, I seriously doubt that I’d want to run as far away from you as I can get.”

“Good, because then I’d just have to run after you and I have no desire to know what an east coast winter is like,” Zac teased.

“Wimp,” Jason teased before taking Zac’s mouth again. All talk about the future temporarily forgotten.

Jason and Zac made it back downstairs by the time Charlie Brown was ending. For the next couple of hours, the six of them sat around talking about holidays past. Justin contributed to the conversation as much as he could with Jason jumping in and adding to the stories when he was able to. Brian kept a close watch on his blond, but other than a slight sadness that was understandable, Justin seemed to be handling the trip down memory lane quite well.

Zac left shortly around midnight, after kissing Jason breathless and promising to be back in the morning to help with the decorating, at Brian and Zander’s insistence. The rollaway bed had been set up in Brian’s room so that Zander could sleep in Justin’s room. Brian, Justin, and Jason headed upstairs shortly after Zac left, leaving Chris and Zander alone.

“So, the evening wasn’t too bad, huh?” Chris said once he heard Brian’s door shut.

“Too bad?”

“Well, I was afraid it was going to be awkward between us. I mean, it’s kind of weird that this is the first time we weren’t snuggled up together for a family night, but you didn’t totally hate it, did you?”

“Babe, of course I didn’t hate it. It was a little sad, the distance between us, but it also felt good being here with everyone. I told you before, I want to fix this. I just have to make sure that I can get past what happened and move on. I think tonight was a good sign for the future.” Zander leaned over and placed a soft kiss on Chris’s cheek. “Now I’m going to head up to bed. I have a lot to do tomorrow and I’ll need to be up in a few hours to do it all.” He got up and walked away without giving Chris any chance to stop him. It took everything in his power to go up to Justin’s room and not just fall back into his old routine and join Chris in their bed. He knew that if Chris pushed him for more, there’d be no way he could refuse, and he didn’t want that. He needed to follow his original instincts and take things slow.

As he got ready for bed, he thought about how he was going to handle the mess that he and Chris were currently in. Everyone seemed to think that he was being crazy staying away instead of sticking around and trying to work things out while living under the same roof. They didn’t seem to understand that he was handling it the best way he knew how. It wouldn’t do any of them any good if he were to move back home without being sure he was able to forgive Chris completely. Relationships don’t last if one of the participants holds anger and resentment towards the other. As much as he loved Chris, he knew that he wouldn’t be able to share a life with him if he didn’t feel like he could trust him, and that was the problem. Deep down inside, he had some strong doubts as far as whether Chris would do something like this again. Using the accident as an excuse for his infidelity wasn’t enough to forgive and forget. Life sucks sometimes and unpleasant things happen. If something were to happen to their family again, God forbid something as horrible as the accident, Zander couldn’t spend his time worrying about it sending Chris into someone else’s arms again. He couldn’t handle the lack of trust he had towards one of the only people in the world he ever really trusted. No, as much as he hated the distance between them, he knew he had no choice. Maybe one day they’d be together again under one roof, but he wasn’t planning on it happening anytime soon.

Despite having so many thoughts running through his head, Zander fell asleep almost immediately and slept soundly until the alarm went off at six, causing him to groan. He could’ve happily slept for another few hours. After putting on a t-shirt and flannel pants, Zander washed his face and brushed his teeth before heading downstairs. His only thought was how badly he needed a cup of coffee. He was startled when he walked into the living room and found Chris asleep on the couch. Justin had mentioned that the older man had a hard time sleeping in their bed after Zander first left, but he thought Chris had gotten over that. Zander walked over and squatted down, taking in Chris’s handsome features as he slept. He couldn’t help the wave of sadness that washed over him when he realized exactly how much he missed sharing a bed with the man he loved. There had been so many times in the past when Zander would wake before the alarm and take a few minutes to look at Chris, wondering how he had gotten so lucky to have someone so wonderful love him.

Without thinking, Zander reached out and brushed a few stray hairs off Chris’s forehead, causing the sleeping man to stir. Zander watched as Chris opened his eyes, a smile slowly appearing on his face.

“Morning,” Chris mumbled, his voice husky from sleep. “Do you need my help with something?”

Zander didn’t respond, instead he leaned forward and covered Chris’s mouth with his own, groaning immediately at the contact. There was a small part of his brain, the rational part that was screaming for him to pull away and get in the kitchen. Screaming that he needed to follow his instincts and not his libido, but that part was being overrun by the huge part that was relishing in the familiar. Craving the immediate heat that was coursing though his body at the sounds and scent of his partner. He decided to block out all parts and just do what felt natural, deepening the kiss.

Chris wasn’t sure if he was dreaming again or if Zan was actually there in front of him, but either way, he wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to touch him again just in case. As soon as Zan deepened their kiss, Chris moved to sit up, pulling Zan in closer to him. Within seconds, Chris was sitting up on the couch with Zander straddling his lap, their erections bumping against each other’s almost painfully. He wanted to say something. He wanted to ask Zan what was going on in his head, but he was afraid to. He was too scared of giving Zander a moment to think about what was happening for fear that Zan would put a stop to what they were doing. Instead, Chris reached his hand down the back of Zan’s pants and began to massage his ass while grinding their cocks together. Their sounds were mingling and probably traveling through the house, but Chris couldn’t seem to care. Nothing mattered at that moment except having Zan in his arms.

Zander felt Chris grabbing at his ass and moaned at the contact. He needed this, needed to feel alive again after spending the last month feeling so alone. He eventually pulled back, gasping for air and struggling to speak. “God, Chris, I need you.”

“You can have me,” Chris groaned in response. His throbbing cock became impossibly harder at Zan’s raw need. “Anything you want.” Chris carefully helped Zan to his feet and pulled at his pants and shirt, quickly ridding the younger man of his clothes. It only took seconds to strip off his own boxer briefs and then he had Zan back on his lap. He grabbed their cocks, wrapping his large hand around them both and began jerking them together as a rush of desire threatened to strangle him.

Every doubt that started creeping into Zan’s brain while they were disrobing disappeared the instant that Chris’s hand landed on his cock. At that moment, he didn’t care about the past, the future, or about the fact that they were on the couch in the living room with three teenagers right upstairs. All that mattered was Chris and getting closer to him. He needed this man like he never needed anyone before, and felt like he’d go crazy if he didn’t have him. “Fuck me, Chris. I need to feel you buried deep inside me,” Zander moaned as he bucked his hips.

“Babe, we should go to the bedroom. I need lube,” Chris pointed out as he continued stroking them closer to climax.

“No, I don’t care. I need you right here and right now,” Zan insisted.

Chris wanted to object, but he was afraid to say too much for fear Zander would come to his senses and push him away again. He took a deep breath and tried to calm himself down a bit. He needed to be extra gentle so that he didn’t cause Zan any undue discomfort, which was going to be hard considering how desperately he wanted to sink inside Zan and never leave. He brought his fingers to his mouth and wet them as much as possible before reaching behind and breeching Zan’s hole. The strangled gasp from his partner startled him and caused him to pause, but Zan began moving his hips, signaling his readiness to continue. A little more stretching and a lot more saliva and Zan was ready as he was going to be. “Now babe, do it now.”

Chris lifted Zan slightly and positioned his cock at the waiting entrance, allowing Zan to take control. He groaned in pleasure and Zander slowly sank down on him, enveloping his cock in tight heat.

Zander gasped at the pain of having Chris enter him without lube, but he didn’t stop as he sank down until Chris was buried deep inside. He needed this, needed this contact more than he needed his next breath. As soon as he was fully seated on Chris’s lap, he stopped moving and took a deep breath, trying to ride out the pain. “Give me a minute,” he whispered.

“Take all the time you need. I could stay like this forever,” Chris replied breathlessly.

The sound of desire in Chris’s voice seemed to fuel the fire burning inside Zander and he opened his eyes, looking directly into the hazel ones in front of him. “Make love to me. Make me forget everything and everyone but you and me. Remind me how wonderful it was to be yours.”

“God, I love you,” Chris sighed as he began moving slowing inside Zander. “You are mine. You and only you, regardless of what happens next. We were made for each other. You’re my other half and I can’t be complete without you.”

Zander was suddenly overcome with such emotion that he needed to break the spell that Chris was putting him under. He closed his eyes and threw his head back, as the pain and discomfort of being taken almost dry began changing into pleasure. His cock, which had softened considerably during penetration began swelling once again as Chris rocked his hips and started bring them both towards orgasm. It wasn’t long before Zan felt his orgasm barreling through him and erupting all over Chris’s stomach and chest, his body tightening around Chris and pulling him over the edge as well.

Chris pulled Zander to him and buried his head in the younger man’s neck, struggling to get his breathing back under control. His thoughts were a completely different matter. He had no idea what was going on in Zan’s head, and he had a feeling he didn’t want to know. He knew there was no way Zan had a complete change of heart overnight. What just happened between them was just a spontaneous reaction, probably brought on by the familiarity of being back in the house with the family. Yet knowing that didn’t make the thought of hearing Zan say the words any easier, especially since Chris’s dick was still inside him. “Please don’t say this was a mistake. In fact, how about if we don’t talk about it at all? You can go take a shower and then I’ll meet you in the kitchen and help you get everything ready, okay?”


“Please Zan,” Chris pleaded as he pulled back and looked into Zan’s eyes. “I just can’t hear you tell me how wrong this was right now. I just can’t.”

Zander leaned in and kissed Chris softly. “Look, I’m not going to say that this was the smartest thing we’ve done, but I’m not going to say it was a mistake. I needed to feel close to you again, and I’m pretty sure you needed it, too. Whatever this was…it wasn’t wrong.”

Chris sighed in relief as he kissed Zan one more time. “Thank you.”

“Thank you, too,” Zan laughed. Unfortunately his laugh turned into a moan as he pushed up and felt Chris’s softening dick slide from his body. “Oh God, that hurt.”

“Babe, are you alright?” Chris asked as he helped Zan stand up. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t want…”

“Relax, I’m okay,” Zan replied as he used Chris’s shoulders to find his balance. “Just very, very sore. And don’t you dare apologize. It wasn’t your fault. I asked for it, remember?”

“Oh trust me; I’m not likely to forget a moment of what just happened anytime soon, but I should’ve insisted that we get the lube.”

“If we had stopped to go down to the bedroom, I would’ve started thinking too much and this wouldn’t have happened. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine,” Zan said.

“Well, at least let me go fill the Jacuzzi for you. Maybe a nice soak will help. I’ll even wash your back for you if you want me to,” Chris offered with a smirk.

“How sweet,” Zan laughed. “But I will take you up on the soak.”

“Okay, are you steady now or do you need help getting to the bedroom?”

“I’m sore, not crippled. I think I can manage to make it down the hallway on my own,” Zan teased.

Chris hesitated before leaving Zander to go fill the tub. He was mentally kicking himself for not insisting they use lube. Even if Zan had changed his mind, his well being should’ve been more important than getting their needs met. By the time Zan walked into the bathroom, Chris had the tub filling and a clean towel on the towel rack next to the tub. He winced when he saw how slow Zan was moving. “That’s it, lean over the counter and let me see.”

“Chris, I’m…”

“Fine, yeah I know. Humor me, alright? I just want to make sure you didn’t tear or anything.”

Zan sighed, but did as Chris asked, his face turning pink at the somewhat embarrassing pose. He jumped when he felt Chris’s fingers moving over his irritated skin. “Ahhhh.”

“No tears that I can see, but you’re really raw,” Chris told him. “I’m really sorry. Is there anything we have here that I can put on it?”

“I don’t think so, but don’t worry about it. I’ll be fine,” Zan insisted again. “And I told you to stop apologizing. It’s absolutely not your fault.” He hated seeing the guilt on Chris’s face. Back when they first started dating, there were a few nights here and there when sex got a little rough between them; consensually, of course. Chris always felt guilty afterwards if Zander had any marks or had any lingering pain, despite Zander’s insistence that it was exactly what he wanted. “Just help me get in the tub. I’m sure the soak will help.”

Once Zan was in the tub, Chris went to the kitchen and started the coffeemaker. While he waited, he sat down at the table and let his mind flash back to what happened between him and Zan on the couch. He really did feel bad that Zander was going to be sore all day because of what happened, but he didn’t regret it at all. Their passionate coming together just reiterated what he knew all along; they belonged together. He just hoped that Zander felt the same way. When the coffee was done, he fixed two mugs and then went back to Zan. He stopped in the bathroom doorway at the sight before him. Zander was lying back in the tub with his eyes closed and a slight smile on his lips. Chris was overcome by the love he had for the blond.

“Okay, stop staring at me,” Zan chuckled without ever opening his eyes.

“How did you know I was looking at you?” Chris asked, slightly embarrassed by being caught.

“It’s a secret,” Zan teased. He lifted his head and opened his eyes. “Are you going to give me my coffee or am I going to have to hurt you?”

Chris smiled as he walked over and handed Zan his mug. “Is the water helping?”

“Yeah, it is,” Zan said before taking a sip of his coffee. “Oh, that tastes so good. You know, before I came downstairs all I could think about was getting a cup of coffee. I don’t know how I got so off course.”

“I don’t know either, but I’m definitely not going to complain,” Chris assured him with a smile. “So, I was thinking before I fell asleep last night.”


“I’m going to get Megan’s number from Brian and make an appointment with one of her colleagues. I think it’s probably time to deal with the shit going on in my head,” Chris said.

Zander smiled at Chris. “I think that’s a good idea.”

“Do you think that you might…I don’t know…want to go with me sometimes?” Chris asked hesitantly.

“I think that might be a good idea, too. Just tell me when and I’ll be there.”


“Alright, I’d better get out of here and get in the kitchen. The turkey isn’t going to cook itself.”

The rest of the day went by in a rush of activity. Chris and Zander worked together to get the turkey stuffed and in the oven on time. Zac showed up just as Brian, Justin, and Jason were sitting down to breakfast. Once everyone was fed, they all got to work decorating the house for Christmas. Justin would occasionally get lost in thought, but otherwise he seemed to have a good day. Zac left in the early afternoon so that he could have dinner with his family, but promised to return once again later that night.

Dinner was delicious as always. Everyone walked away from the table completely stuffed and thanking Zander for all the work he had done. Chris and Brian did most of the cleaning, allowing Justin and Jason to go upstairs and call Jason’s parents to wish them a happy Thanksgiving. Justin also made a quick call to the Johnsons. He wasn’t with them long, but they were good to him while he was there and he made sure to call them occasionally to see how they were doing.

Zander happily left the kitchen and went into the living room, gently sitting down on the couch. He was still very sore from his and Chris’s early morning activity. It hadn’t been easy getting through the day without anyone noticing that he was moving slower than usual, but he pulled it off by claiming that his back hurt from slaving in the kitchen. Only Chris knew the real reason for his discomfort and took pleasure in sending him knowing glances throughout the day. Each glance caused Zander to blush slightly, making him want to throw something at the older man to wipe the smug look off his face. Chris just laughed at Zan each time and then went back to whatever he was doing.

Zac was back by eight, followed by Steve, Matt, Trent, and even Dane. Everyone always gathered at the Kinney-Morgan house on Thanksgiving night. It was a tradition that started during Brian’s first year and would continue on as long as everyone was still in the area. They were all sitting around talking when Zander glanced at the clock and saw how late it was. He had to be at the store extra early for Black Friday and knew he needed to head home. It was a bit awkward having to leave with everyone still there, but it had been a long couple of days and he needed to crawl into bed and get some sleep. He stood up and announced that he was leaving, calling out his goodbyes as he made his way towards the door with Chris close on his heels. Once they were outside, Chris spoke up.

“Are you sure you don’t want to just stay here again? Justin will never complain about being forced to sleep in Brian’s bed.”

“I know, but I think it’s best if I go,” Zan replied, hating the sadness that washed over Chris’s face. It was the first time he’d seen it there all day. “Hey, none of that. We’ve had a really good couple of days, haven’t we? Something more to be thankful for?”

“I know,” Chris sighed. “I just don’t want you to go. It’s felt so right having you here again.”

“It’s felt right being here,” Zan admitted. “Come on, babe, you know why I have to do this. Please don’t make it any harder than it already is. I’ll see you on Saturday when you come for dinner, right?”


“Okay, I’ll call you Saturday morning.” Zander leaned in and kissed Chris tenderly. “Sleep well.”

“You too,” Chris replied softly as he watched Zander walk away. He stood there until long after Zander was gone, when Brian came outside looking for him.

“Hey, are you okay?”

“I’m not sure,” Chris said honestly. “Things are definitely better between us now, but that makes it even harder to watch him walk away.”

“Just be patient. After seeing the two of you together the last two days, I have no doubt that you guys will work things out.”

“I hope you’re right, Brian. I really hope you’re right.”

End of part 36

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