A Long Eight Months

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Gay and Lesbian  |  House: Booksie Classic
The break up between Derek and Zaire had been mutual...but when they get back together, they realize it's for the exact reason that they left.

Submitted: July 16, 2012

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Submitted: July 16, 2012

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You wake up slowly that morning.

You become aware of everything one by one, single details after the next. The soft pillow beneath your head, the warm sheets you find yourself loosely entangled in. You open your eyes to find a pleasant late morning sun peeking through the closed curtains, lighting the small room. It's a peaceful quiet, and you haven't woken up feeling this relaxed in months.

His breathing is soft and his mouth is open just slightly. You look over at him, asleep on the pillow beside yours. His dark hair hangs over his eyes slightly; he's let it grow out a bit longer than he used to. You let your eyes roam slowly, all the way down to the sheet that rests just over his pale hips. Your own bare chest leans against him, and his side is pressed lightly against the wall. The bed wasn't made for two.

Your eyes come to rest on his face again. He's always looked so peaceful in sleep, and God, you never could forget how beautiful he was. Since the day you first met him...so suave, so confident, so completely sure that he was these things it was adorable. And then he got that silly busboy job at the restaurant, all so he would have an excuse to talk to you. "I was going to seduce you," he'd told you once over a random dinner ages ago. "But you so rudely beat me to it." You smile slightly at the memory as you watch his sleeping face. "That would have taken weeks," you'd told him with a playful smirk. "I couldn't wait that long." He'd blushed, and you'd made sure to give him lots of well-deserved kisses later.

You're tempted to do that now- lean across the small distance that separates your faces and bring him slowly back to consciousness with your lips. He always used to like that, and you doubt it's changed.

It's funny how little, yet how much, has changed since that last time you were together. And not just 'together because we ran into each other in a coffee shop' but together because we kissed and were in love. Because you were in love, and it's precisely why you both ran away from each other.

His hand rests lightly on your waist, draped over the curve of your side. You know now that no man, with any other touch, any other gesture, could make you feel like he does. And you could never love another man like you love him.

You'd felt free, briefly, and he did too, after the break up. It was why you'd both ended it. But you don't think you could really call it free. More like seeing a rope that was no longer attached to anything, and every time you made to grab it your fingers slipped through nothing but air. You got used to it after a while, went on with life, with work, with friends. You weren't hopeless or depressed. You laughed, smiled, got on with things. You were fine.

And that was it.

You dated a few times during those months, but you found it had lost its thrill. There was nothing very special about a man you hardly knew trying to get into your bed, and who wouldn't care whether you were there or not beside him in the morning. At first you thought you'd lost your touch, been out of the game so long you'd forgotten how to play. It took some halfhearted dates and forced kissing to make you realize you simply didn't want to play anymore.

You glance at the clock. It's just pass noon, but it really doesn't matter. You've got nothing else to do. You don't mind the thought of lying in bed like this for the rest of the day, falling asleep and doing it all over again tomorrow. You lift a hand to lightly trace your finger down his arm. Your skin is dark, especially against his. He'd always told you how beautiful he thought it was. He said it again, for the first time in so many months, last night.

You saw him a handful of times in the months you were apart. Not a lot, but enough. It was quite obvious that just being friends would never work out. Conversation was polite and awkward during those rare times you got past small talk. And you really did truly, stupidly, believe it would get easier. But every time you saw him the fire in the pit of your stomach only burned brighter, and you were always single, and he was always single, and there was nothing you could do because the break up was mutual and maybe casual dating would get fun again.

He stirs slightly as your finger skims his chest. His skin was always warmer than you'd think to expect. Your lips curve upward and you rest your chin on the top of his bare shoulder. You glance up at his face, waiting for his eyes to open yet knowing it'll take a bit more time. He was never as light a sleeper as he proclaimed to be.

It was exactly how you didn't know this about other men that finally killed the dating. There was no thrill in in the discovery anymore.You'd done it all already with him, and no one else could ever be quite as exciting. And though you weren't able to keep a friendship with him, you did, however, remain in loose correspondence with Ace and Kristen. Ace never talked about his brother much, but Kristen would bring him up occasionally, not too much, but enough to get a good idea of what he was up to. It was in one of these conversations, during a lunch date she suspiciously scheduled, that she lightly mentioned that it was obvious that he missed you.

Just like she'd intended, her words stuck in your mind. You chased your thoughts in circles, reminding you that the entire reason you broke up was because you didn't want to miss the chance of getting to be with others. There were so many fish in the sea and you only lived once, he'd so eloquently put it. You'd dated through till the end of school, for over two whole years, far longer than any other relationship either of you had been in before. It was obvious that you had to decide where to go next, now that you were out in the real world and just starting your lives.

And all at once everything was too serious. You had a real career to start and a real life to build. It was no more fun and games in lecture halls and staying over each other's dorm rooms. The two of you had skirted around the subjects of your 'real lives,' yet somehow mentions of finding a place and moving in together started to crop up.

You push a bit of hair out of his sleeping eyes. The thought of living together didn't scare you quite so much now, of course. But the two of you will cross that bridge later, when you come to it. Last night was only your first night back together in eight months, after all.

You had been the one to make the call. You had no doubt, if what Kristen said was true, that he had it in his head to eventually call you, but like last time, you knew that if you didn't act first you'd be in for a long wait.

Your heart beat nervously in your chest as you listened to the rings. Just when you thought it he wasn't going to pick up and it was going to go to voicemail, you heard a click on the other end.

"Hello?" his familiar voice came.

"Hi, Derek," you said.

"Zaire?" he said. Obviously the caller ID showed up on his phone and he was fully aware it was you, but you smiled slightly, nonetheless.

"Yes, it's Zaire," you said.

"Hi," he said.

"Hi," you said again. A moment of silence. You never liked beating around the bush.

"Listen," you said, readjusting your phone in your hand. "Could we talk?"

"Yeah," he said, a bit carefully. "I'd like that."

The conversation ended with him agreeing to come over to your flat, because it was obvious you couldn't end it by phone.

He'd walked through your door with his hands in his pockets, cool as a cucumber, same as the day you'd met him. He glanced around your small living room. "This is a nice place you've got."

You shrugged. "The best I can do, but I like it."

He looked at you, his brown eyes slightly hidden by his mop of hair. It was funny, because he never used to let it grow out that long when you knew him before. In a strange way, it made you only want him back more.

"Would you like anything to drink?" you asked him. "Tea or coffee?"

Tea or coffee. He would have laughed at you for offering him that before. "You mean vodka or whisky?" You could hear the old him saying.

Instead he merely shook his head. "No thanks, I'm fine."

A silence fell over you, and just as you were about to suggest sitting down he spoke again.

"Zaire, on the phone," he said. He took his hands out of his pockets, then slid them back in. "You said…you said we should fix our break."

You nodded.

"Do you think…" He met your eyes. "Do you think it was a mistake?"

You looked at him and thought of your answer carefully. His expression was as passive and cool as ever, but you could see a subtle difference in his brown eyes. There was something in them you'd never seen before, partly obscured by his new longer hair. As you took this in, it suddenly occurred to you that this break up had been much harder on him.

"No," you said slowly. "It helped me realize a lot of things."

"Yeah?" he said, his voice mildly interested. "Like what?"

"Like that I was still a kid eight months ago," you said, watching him, "who didn't know what he wanted. I thought I wanted freedom, to live life as a bachelor for a little bit, to date new people, and I tried it." He didn't move an inch, didn't bat an eyelash. You took a step toward him. "But it only made me realize how badly I still want you."

He just stared back at you. When he continued not to say anything, you suddenly wondered if you'd made a huge mistake.

"It did?" he finally said. It came out softer, quieter than the voice he'd been using before. You nodded.

"I really missed you, Derek," you told him.

He nodded, looking away from you. "Okay," he said.

Somehow, that wasn't the answer you'd been expecting from him. You stared back at him. "What about you?" you asked. "What do you think?"

He looked up at you, his face passive again. "Me?" he said. "I…I think a lot of things."

You took another step toward him so that you were face to face. You'd almost forgotten how tall he was, but not quite. There was something…odd about the way he was acting. "Things like what?" you asked quietly.

"Like…" he started, and his expression flickered. "I tried dating, too. And there were a lot of guys I wanted."

You blinked, but didn't show anything. "Yeah?"

"Yeah," he said. He lifted a hand and ran it through his hair. Perhaps it looked smooth and suave when he did that before, but with the longer hair you think it makes him look more like an insecure boy. He looked back at you. "I wanted you too, Zaire. And I missed you…like crazy." He sighed. "But…just wanting you would have been enough for me to get over you." He looked into your eyes again, and this time you saw it. The hurt.

The look in your own eyes must have scared him, because he turned away, shaking his head. "You know what, this is stupid. I'm stupid. I shouldn't have come here-"

He started toward your door, but you reached out and grabbed his arm. He turned and looked at you again, wide-eyed. Your heart was pounding. There was no way you were letting him go.

"You're not stupid," you told him. "Nothing you say to me could be stupid."

He opened his mouth, then closed it. He looked at you. His mask was gone. His eyes were wide and glassy, and he was pale, and his hair hung limply over his eyes. Never, in all your years of knowing him, had you ever seen him like that. You loosened your grip on his arm, but didn't let go.

"I didn't-" he started. He swallowed and looked away. "There were times when I wanted other guys. And I always wanted you." He looked back at you. "But I don't…just want you, Zaire. I tried, but I-I couldn't, because then I'd run into you, or Kristen would mention you, or I'd find some random gift you gave me once-" He licked his lips and blinked. "And I'd just want to talk to you, or laugh over our stupid old jokes, or- or just hold your hand-" His breath came quicker, and he looked away from you again. "And I knew- I knew how much I-" He looked back at you, eyes red. He blinked. "How much I love you."

And there it was. The three words that had torn you apart in the first place. They'd never been said, exactly, but they lay beneath every decision, every consideration you'd made. And they scared you, both of you, because neither of you had ever felt that way before. It was too big, too serious, and the only thing you could think to do was run.

But you weren't running last night. You stared back at him. The words, full of so much weight before, suddenly made you feel light, as if these months apart didn't exist, as if the only thing that did exist was him, and you, and the fact that you could never leave each other again. And the thought didn't scare you.

You didn't realize you'd been holding your breath. "Derek," you said, exhaling. He stared at you, his eyes wide, not hiding anything. You moved closer to him and slide your hand down his arm to his fingers. "I love you too."

He didn't even blink. "You do?"

You nodded. He stared at you still, wide-eyed and shocked, but there was relief in his eyes. Relief, and something you'd only caught glimpses of before. Something that was always in both your eyes, but you'd been too afraid to show. You weren't afraid now. Instead you wanted to look at him forever, wanted him to see all of your love, and soak in all of his.

His fingers tightened slightly around yours, and you're not quite sure who leaned in first, but suddenly your lips were captured very slowly, very delicately, by his. Something inside of you lurched, something completely new and elating yet comforting and sweet and familiar. Something you never experienced with anyone else you'd ever been with, and something you know you'd never be able to find again. It was almost scary, how good it felt, and you leaned into him, bringing your free hand up to cheek and kissing him deeper. He wrapped an arm around your waist. The cool touch, the embrace, the feeling in your stomach, in your heart, your eyes…you'd never let him go again.

When you finally broke apart you were both breathing deeply, and he leaned his forehead against yours. The only sounds were the sounds of your breath and your heart pounding in your ears. After a moment you slid your hand up his cheek, your thumb grazing the wet skin beneath his eye. He closed them and let out a long breath.

"Don't leave tonight," you whispered.

"I don't want to," he whispered back.

So you ended up in your bedroom, on your bed, where you kissed some more, slowly and gently removed each other's clothes, then fell asleep in each other's arms, doing nothing more. The warmth, the closeness of falling asleep with Derek beside you relaxed you, made you feel whole in a way you hadn't felt in ages. You fell into a deep sleep, and then woke up to where you are now.

You're not sure how long you lay there, waiting for him to finally wake up. You listen to his soft breathing and take in his face, so close after so many months apart. Nothing, nothing will ever separate the two of you like that again.

When he finally stirs and his eyes blink open, you smile. He looks at you, almost confused for a moment, but then his own lips curve into a sleepy grin. You reach up and run a hand through his hair.

"Good morning," you say softly.

"Hi," he says, his voice slightly groggy.

"Sleep well?" you ask him.

He nods. "You?"

"Mmhmm," you say. He smiles at you again, and you lean forward and finally do what you've been aching to do all morning; kiss him on those beautiful pink lips.

He kisses you back gently, savoring it. Your hand still rests on the side of his head, lost in his dark hair, after you pull away. He looks back at you, brown eyes clear and soft, still slightly sleepy.

You lay there in silence for a few minutes, then he shifts and wraps an arm around your waist.

"I'm glad you called me last night," he says quietly.

You smirk slightly. "You almost didn't answer."

He smiles back sheepishly. "But I did."

"Yes," you say. You rub the side of his cheekbone with your thumb. "You did."

He closes the space between you and kisses you again, deeper this time. You return it, pushing your hand further into his hair. You finally break apart, but just so.

"I love you," you whisper against his lips, feeling out the words again.

He light presses his lips against yours again, barely a kiss. "I love you too," he whispers back.

You pull him closer, skin warm against his. He tucks his head beside yours on the pillow, and your hand comes to rest on his chest. It feels right, and perfect, you know you could do this every morning for the rest of your life.

You lay like that for several hours.


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