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Was It Worth It - 1. Chapter 1

"Zach, can you come into my office for a few minutes?" Zach looked up as his supervisor Barb called to him from her office door. Nodding his head affirmatively, Zach got up from his desk to follow Barb into her office.

Zach vaguely wondered what Barb wanted to talk to him about. He wasn’t particularly concerned though. Zach knew he did a good job and he also knew that Barb was genuinely pleased with his work. More over, he and Barb were pretty close and Zach didn’t see any of the signs that Barb was upset.

When Barb closed the door to her office, Zach began to wonder if he was wrong. Barb rarely closed the door to her office unless something serious was happening. Zach began to quickly review the last several days in his mind to see if he could remember something that would warrant Barb’s unusual behavior.


Barb took in the look of worry on Zach’s face and started to smile. "Relax Zach," Barb said laughing. "You’re not in trouble or anything. I just wanted to talk to you about your future with the Bank. What do you see yourself doing in the future?"

Zach couldn’t help sighing a little in relief. "You sure know how to worry a guy Barb," Zach said, making Barb smile even more. "And you sure ask a loaded question too," Zach continued. "I really don’t know if you want the truth. I like what I’m doing, and I love working for you. But I can’t really see myself staying in what’s basically an entry level data entry position for the next twenty years either." Zach smiled wistfully. "I really like most of my customers too, but the job is beginning to get a little boring. If it wasn’t for you teaching me some of your duties I probably would have gotten bored out of my mind a long time ago."

"Well, I was glad you were willing to learn my job so you could help me out," Barb replied seriously. "With only the four of us here in the department, I really needed someone to be able to fill in for me if I’m gone."

"I’m glad you were willing to teach me, but sometimes I feel like I’m stepping on the other guys toes," Zach answered frowning slightly. "I mean, I am the newest guy in the department. I sometimes think it might have been better if you had trained Chris or Ron instead of me. They have never said anything, but I sometimes wonder if they don’t resent my being the one who is your backup."

"I don’t think you have to worry about that Zach," Barb said in a slightly disgusted tone. "They were both here for over a year before you joined the department and they never once asked for additional training. They have never once showed any inclination to learn or do anything more than their current jobs. If they really wanted to learn how to do anything else, they have both had more than enough time to ask for the opportunity. And that’s why you are my backup even though you are the newest. You did ask. You showed initiative. And quite frankly, you’re quite a bit smarter than they are anyway. I probably shouldn’t say that, but I know you aren’t going to go and repeat it everywhere. I trust you Zach. I can’t say the same about them."

"Thanks Barb," Zach said gratefully. "That really means a lot to me you know."

"I know," Barb answered smiling. "But now for the tough question. Would you be interested in working in the loan administration department? Specifically the larger commercial loans."

Zach eyes widened slightly. "I, uh, well I really have never thought about it truthfully," he replied a little baffled. "Why do you ask? Is the Bank wanting to transfer me or something?"

Barb hesitated for several seconds, a concerned look on her face. "Not exactly," she finally answered. "This news is going to come out in a week or so anyway, but still keep this to yourself till you hear it officially. I’m getting transferred. The Senior Vice President, Todd, wants me to take over the Custodial area and fix the department before it totally blows up."

"Is this happy news?" Zach asked frowning slightly. "Do you want to take that job?"

Barb smiled at Zach. "I’m looking at it as a challenge really," she replied. "So yeah, it’s a good thing. I’m not saying I’m not going to go crazy, but I’m looking forward to it. I wasn’t supposed to have stayed in this department this long really. And I’m ready for a change."

"Well, congratulations then," Zach said smiling, his voice tinged with a little regret. "I’m going to miss you being my boss though. But what does this have to do with my working in loans?"

Barb laughed. "Right to the point! As always!" Barb said. Barb continued to smile, but her voice became serious as she explained. "I wish I could take you with me to the new department, but it’s already top heavy with employees. In my mind, since I can’t take you with me, I think you should become the supervisor of this department. And Todd almost agrees with me. You really are the most qualified for the job. But, and I reluctantly have to agree with Todd here, if you were promoted over Chris and Ron they would probably quit on you. And this account is too important to lose over something like that. So since I can’t take you with me, and I can’t make you the new supervisor here, I thought you might like to transfer to a different department. I think you would do really well there. And Gary, the supervisor, is a really great guy that you could learn a lot from. This would give you a chance to move up in the Bank too. Something that isn’t too likely in this department."

"Wow!" Zach said stunned. "I don’t know what to say. I certainly wasn’t expecting this."

"I know it’s sudden and unexpected, but is it something you think you would like?" Barb asked intently. "If it is, I can speak with Gary. I have already broached the subject with him, and he would like to bring you into his department too. But it’s really your choice Zach. And unfortunately, you have to decide pretty quickly too. Gary has to hire someone real soon, like as in two days ago!"

Zach stared at Barb for several seconds, his mind whirling. Finally, he smiled. "I don’t know why I’m even hesitating," Zach said. "Yes, I think I would like to take a chance and go into the loan department. If Gary is even half as good of a supervisor as you, then I would be pretty stupid to say no."

Barb smiled at Zach. "Good," Barb replied. "You interview with Gary at two. It’s a formality, Gary has already decided to hire you. But we all have to go through the motions here."

"At two?" Zach said shocked and spluttering. "How could I have an interview with him at two? You just now asked me."

"Because I already knew how you would answer," Barb said laughing. "Pull your tongue back in, stop frothing at the mouth, and close your jaws or you’re gonna look like an idiot!"

Zach stared at Barb for several seconds before he too started laughing. "You are really bad Barb!" Zach said grinning. "But thanks anyway!"

"You’re welcome!" Barb answered smiling. "We should go out and celebrate our mutual job changes this weekend. Are you free Saturday night? Do you have dinner plans yet?"

"I don’t think so," Zach answered trying to think if he and Alex had made any plans. "I’m pretty sure I’m free anyway."

"Good!" Barb said enthusiastically. "We can go out to eat, maybe grab a drink after. You and Alex can meet my new boyfriend Harry. We can make it a double date."

Zach looked up a little surprised at Barb’s words. He couldn’t help smiling as he saw Barb trying to figure out whether she had said too much. "I, uh, guess we can." Zach answered.

"I’m sorry Zach," Barb apologized. "I shouldn’t have said anything. But I’ve known for a while that you and Alex are a bit more than just roommates. But I still shouldn’t have said anything till you had told me yourself."

"Oh it’s ok Barb," Zach said smiling. "Alex and I don’t really try to hide that we’re gay. We don’t run around with ‘We are gay’ tattooed to our foreheads, but we don’t try to hide our relationship either. You just caught me a little off guard is all. I’m sure Alex would like to go out Saturday too. But are you sure your new boyfriend will be ok with it?"

Barb chuckled. "Harry?" Barb asked. "Yeah, he will be fine with it. I brought it up last night that I wanted to go out with you guys and asked if he would have a problem with it. He looked at me like I was crazy for even bringing it up. I think you guys are really going to like him. At least I hope so."

Zach smiled. "You really like him don’t you?" Zach asked.

"Yeah, I really do," Barb said grinning. "I know we just started seeing each other, but I really do like him. We have a lot of fun together."

"That’s good Barb," Zach said. "I’m really happy for you. I suppose I should get back to work though. I should probably try to keep doing a good job. At least until it’s official that I’m transferring anyway. Then I can go back to slacking off again!" Zach grinned mischievously at this last statement.

Barb grinned back at him. "You’re bad Zach! Now get back to work before I change my mind!"

"Yes Ma’am!" Zach answered grinning as he headed out of Barb’s office. "You’re such a slave driver!" Zach laughed as he walked out and saw Barb sticking her tongue out at him.

The rest of the day flew by for Zach, and as Barb had indicated, the interview with Gary had been a mere formality and was pretty casual. Zach found that he shared Barb’s opinion of Gary, that he was a great guy and someone he could definitely learn a lot from. Less than five minutes into the interview and Zach was already totally comfortable with Gary and couldn’t wait to start working for him. Zach couldn’t wait to get home and tell Alex his good news.

On the drive home Zach thought about how well his career was going now and it made him reflect on Alex’s career, or more properly lack of career. After graduating from college Alex had been full of hope and aspirations of entering the job market and really applying himself. Alex had decided to enter the social services area and had hoped to get a job as a social worker, possibly working as a victims advocate. It had been Alex’s hope that he could serve as an advocate for minors, especially younger children. And Alex would be ideally suited for the position. People just automatically liked him and within minutes of meeting him they just seemed to naturally open up to him. And children latched onto him even faster. Zach couldn’t help remembering the first time his nephew Scottie had met Alex. Within minutes Scottie had started calling him Uncle Alex as if Alex had always been a part of his life. Alex just had an air about him that drew people into him.

And then reality began to rear its ugly presence. Alex had gone on countless interviews with both State Agencies and private organizations but nothing ever seemed to pan out. It didn’t help matters that the State had severely cut funding to social services in the past few years, and naturally it was just as Alex graduated that the State announced a hiring freeze. Still Alex had remained optimistic and knocked on every door he could. Alex decided to take a job in a department store until he finally landed a job in his chosen vocation. And now it was seven years later and Alex was still at that same department store. He had moved up to the manager’s position of his department, but Alex hated the job and everyday Zach could see the frustration and disappointment growing in Alex. There were times when Alex couldn’t hide that defeated look in his eyes and it always tore at Zach’s heart every time he saw it.

Arriving home, Zach saw that Alex’s car was already in its usual parking place. Zach walked into the house they rented and saw Alex sitting on the couch, his eyes closed. Zach walked up behind Alex, and leaning over the back of the couch, kissed Alex lightly on the lips.

"Mmmmm," Alex sighed in appreciation without opening his eyes. "Now I remember why I keep you around," Alex teased smiling lightly.

"You keep me around cause you never learned how to cook," Zach teased back kissing Alex a second time. "Did you have a bad day? You look pretty tired."

"Well, it wasn’t one of my top five anyway," Alex replied grimacing. "I had to cover two other departments besides my own because people called in. And of course today was the day the semis made their deliveries. I’ve got aches in muscles I didn’t even know I had."

Zach started rubbing Alex’s shoulders and neck making Alex groan in appreciation. "That sucks Babe," Zach said sympathetically. "You sit back and relax now. I’ll make us something light for dinner and then if you want I’ll give you a back rub. Are you hungry for anything in particular?"

"Mmmm," Alex moaned again as Zach continued to work on his neck and shoulders. "You know me, I’ll eat anything Babe," Alex answered opening his eyes and smiling at Zach. "Just do something simple. Don’t go to any trouble."

"You’re worth the trouble," Zach replied smiling. "But how about hamburgers? They’re quick and easy. We can be eating in about half an hour."

Alex reached up and pulled Zach’s face down for another kiss. "That sounds great Zach," Alex replied. "Can I do anything to help?"

"No," Zach answered giving a final squeeze to Alex’s shoulders. "You just relax. Hamburgers are easy enough that I could make them in my sleep. You want me to bring you a drink?"

Alex grinned at Zach. "I could get use to all this pampering!" Alex said. "I’d love a beer, but I’ve been to lazy to get up and get it."

Zach grinned back at Alex. "One beer coming up sir!" Zach said in a fake servile tone. "Did you want a straw too so it’s easier to drink? Maybe I can get you one long enough so you don’t even have raise the bottle every time you want to take a drink."

Alex chuckled. "I figured you’d hold it for me and bring it up to my mouth whenever I wanted a drink," Alex teased back. "You know, like a good slave boy should!"

Zach lightly slapped the back of Alex’s head, grinning at him. "In your dreams bud! Next you’re gonna want me to hold your dick for you when you take a piss."

"You hold my dick all the time anyway, so I figured……" Alex answered grinning, trailing off as Zach lightly slapped the back of his head again. Zach went to the kitchen and returned with an opened bottle and handed it to Alex. As he passed the bottle into Alex’s hand, Zach leaned in and stole another kiss before returning to the kitchen to make dinner.

Zach started the hamburgers cooking as well as some French fries since he knew Alex considered it a sin to eat burgers without fries. Zach threw together a lettuce salad to round out the meal and prepared some sliced tomatoes and onions to serve as condiments. Zach then whipped up the Italian salad dressing that Alex loved so much, smiling as he remembered the first time he had made the dressing for Alex. Zach set the table and placed another bottle of beer in front of Alex’s plate and a glass of tea in front of his. Zach checked the burgers and fries, saw that they were nearly done, and decided that he and Alex could start on their salads while the rest of the meal finished and called Alex to come eat.

Alex walked into the kitchen and crinkled his nose at the sight of the salad. "I know we said light, but I assumed we would have fries with our burgers," Alex complained in a little boy’s voice. Alex sat down at the table and looked up at Zach reproachfully. "We don’t have to eat healthy all the time do we?"

Zach started laughing as he leaned over to kiss Alex lightly on the forehead. "You are such a baby!" Zach teased. "I’m trying to keep you healthy! But don’t worry, the fries will be done by the time the hamburgers finish cooking. I know you have to have your French fries!"

Alex grinned sheepishly as he took a bite of his salad. "It’s tradition, that’s all," Alex mumbled with his mouth full. Alex started to blush slightly as Zach continued to grin at him "Stop it! So I’m a big spoiled baby! You love me anyway don’t you?"

Zach started laughing as he took a bite of his own salad. "Yes, as a matter of fact I do," Zach answered grinning at Alex again. "In spite of you being a spoiled baby, I still love you."

Alex laughed along with Zach and they continued to eat their salads. "So we know my day sucked big blue donkey dicks, but how was yours?" Alex inquired around another bite of food.

Zach looked up and hesitated briefly before answering. He knew Alex would be pleased and proud of him, but Zach couldn’t help feeling a little guilty that he had good news when Alex’s day had gone so bad. "Well, Barb called me into her office today," Zach started. "It seems like she is being transferred to another department and she wanted to talk to me about it."

"Oh, I’m sorry Zach," Alex answered sincerely. "I know how much you like Barb and how you enjoy working for her. What does this mean for you? Do you know who your new supervisor is going to be?"

"Well, that’s kinda what Barb wanted to talk to me about," Zach answered. "She said she wished she could take me with her, but she couldn’t. So then she asked if I would like to work in the loan department. Barb said it would be a good move for me and that I could really learn a lot from the head of that department. And she said that I would have a lot better opportunity for advancement too. She said she could get me transferred if I wanted it."

"That’s great Zach!" Alex said smiling hugely. "You’re gonna take it aren’t you?"

"I talked with Gary, the head of the department today," Zach said smiling. "I’ve already accepted. It’s entry level, basically a lateral move from where I am now, maybe a slight bump up, but not much. But Gary is great and really cool. Barb has nothing but good things to say about him and I’ve always trusted Barb’s judgement. Gary said I would get a token raise for taking the job, but nothing I’d really notice. But it is a chance to learn something new and it is a chance to grow and move up."

"I am so proud of you Zach" Alex said, his eyes sparkling with pleasure. "I know you’ll miss working with Barb, but this sounds like it’s a great opportunity for you. It’s just great!"

Zach smiled. "Well, I can still keep in touch with Barb," Zach replied. "She is still gonna be at the Bank after all. She did want to know if we wanted to go out Saturday to celebrate our transfers. And she wants us to meet her new boyfriend. She was really excited about possibly going out on a double date with us."

Alex raised his eyebrows questioningly. "So you have told Barb that we are a couple and not just roommates?" Alex asked.

"No, she pretty much figured it out by herself," Zach answered. "That doesn’t bother you does it?"

"No, it’s cool," Alex replied smiling. "I don’t care if our friends know. It’s not like we are in the closet or anything. Truthfully I don’t care if everybody knows, I just don’t think it’s necessary to shout we are a couple from the rooftop either."

Zach chuckled. "Damn! Guess I better cancel the town crier then," Zach teased making Alex smile. "But seriously, I agree with you. I don’t particularly care what strangers do in their private lives so why in the hell should they care about what we do in ours? Barb kinda surprised me when she just came right out and made the double date comment though. It was pretty funny when she thought she had said too much."

Alex laughed. "And I’m sure you made her squirm too, didn’t you?" Alex teased.

"No," Zach protested laughing. "I was good! I let her off the hook real easy. I told her that we could go out on Saturday, but I can cancel if you have other plans. If I remembered correctly, you are off that evening."

"Yeah, I’m off and I think it might be fun," Alex answered. "Barb has always seemed really nice the few times I've talked with her so it should be fun to get together with her outside of the work environment."

"Good!" Zach said enthusiastically. "I think you will really like Barb. Ready for your burger yet? And before you get your panties in a knot, your French fries too?" Zach grinned as he got up to get the rest of their meal.

"You know, I’ve noticed something about you Zach," Alex said grinning. "You always seem to want to turn every conversation to a discussion of my underwear. Why is that?"

Zach nearly doubled over in laughter. "Cause after eight years, I’m still trying to figure out how you stuff that thing between your legs in your briefs," Zach answered still chuckling. "Especially since it always seems to be sticking straight up!"

"When I’m around you it is anyway," Alex agreed laughing as he fixed his hamburger. "But you’re a fine one to talk. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you soft!" Zach snorted with laughter and the two of them finished eating their dinner.

After finishing eating, Alex got up to help clean off the table and winced slightly as he moved wrong. "Still stiff and sore?" Zach asked taking the plate from his hand. Alex nodded his head and started to rub absently at the back of his neck. "Go lay face down on our bed," Zach ordered. "I’ll be there in just a second to give you a good back rub."

"You don’t have to do that," Alex protested still rubbing at his neck. "I’ll be ok."

Zach absently piled the dishes in the sink and turned back towards Alex. "Would you shut up and do as your told," Zach said smiling lightly at Alex. "Let me pamper you a bit. Just enjoy it. Now go lay down and take your shirt off too so I can give you a good back rub."

Alex smiled and quirked his left eyebrow up suggestively. "Anything else you want me to take off?" Alex asked grinning.

"Take off anything you want!" Zach laughed pushing Alex towards the bedroom. "Now get in there before I decide to spank you instead."

"Hmm," Alex said laughing as he headed towards the bedroom, starting to unbutton his shirt. "That might be fun too!" Zach swatted him lightly on the butt and Alex yelped in surprise. "You big bully!" Alex complained still grinning.

Upon entering their bedroom, Alex finished unbuttoning his shirt, pulled it off and tossed it towards the laundry basket sitting in the closet. Alex lay face down on the bed and Zach climbed on top, straddling and sitting on Alex’s butt. Zach began a slow, deep massage of Alex’s shoulders, neck and back making Alex groan in pleasure and relief. After several minutes of being massaged Alex was nearly purring in pleasure. "You should do this for a living," Alex muttered. "To hell with the Bank!"

Zach chuckled in amusement. "So you want me to give up my job and take up rubbing hunky guys for a living?" Zach asked laughing. "Is that what you are saying?"

"Hmm," Alex replied also laughing. "Well, maybe that’s not such a good idea after all. We’ll compromise. You keep your job and just concentrate on rubbing me. How’s that sound?"

"Sounds good to me Stud," Zach agreed smiling. "As long as I get to rub more than just your back that is." Alex laughed his agreement and Zach went back to massaging Alex’s tired muscles.

Zach continued to massage Alex for another half-hour or so and Alex loved every minute of it. But eventually he decided he had about milked all the pampering he should out of Zach and rolled over to face him. Zach ran his hands up and down Alex’s chest for a few seconds smiling at him. "Feel better?" Zach asked.

"Oh God yes!" Alex agreed fervently. "Granted I feel like a limp noodle now, but I think you got all the kinks out. Have I told you lately that I love you?"

Zach smiled and leaned down and kissed Alex lightly on the lips. "Yes, but you can say it again," Zach replied. "I can never hear you love me too much." Zach rubbed Alex’s chest for a few more seconds. "You know, you should probably take a hot bath to really help relax those muscles."

"Yeah, you’re probably right," Alex agreed. "A good hot shower would probably feel really good."

"No, a hot sudsy bath would be better," Zach disagreed. "So you can just soak for a while and let the hot water really work on your muscles."

Alex crinkled his nose in distaste. "But I don’t really like baths," Alex complained. "You know that."

Zach smiled as he continued to rub Alex’s chest. "Too bad," Zach said smiling mischievously. "I was gonna join you, but since you don’t like baths…." Zach trailed off.

Alex quirked his eyebrow up, smiling from ear to ear. "You know," Alex said, his eyes twinkling. "Now that you mention it, I think a bath sounds like a real good idea after all."

Zach started laughing. "I thought you might change your mind!" Zach said standing up and helping Alex stand. Alex started to unbutton his pants and Zach grabbed his hands, stopping him. "Uh uh," Zach said, grinning as he kissed Alex again. "That’s my job!"

Alex started laughing, but he held his hands up off his pants. Zach continued to kiss Alex and nibble along his jaw and neck as he slowly unbuttoned and unzipped Alex’s pants. Zach slowly pushed Alex’s pants down until gravity took over. Alex was moaning softly as Zach started rubbing up and down the front of Alex’s briefs. Zach slowly started kissing and nibbling down Alex’s neck and chest, lingering along Alex’s collarbones since he knew just how sensitive Alex was in that spot. Slowly Zach worked his way down the rest of Alex’s torso, stopping to swirl his tongue in Alex’s belly button eliciting a shudder from Alex.

When Zach reached the waistband of Alex’s briefs, he started to slowly nibble along Alex’s growing length. Alex was nearly dancing on his toes as Zach thoroughly worked over Alex’s throbbing shaft completely soaking the front of Alex’s briefs. Finally, when Alex was nearly ready to explode Zach quickly pulled his underwear down and Alex stepped out of him. Zach paused for a few seconds, licking along Alex’s dick a few times before standing and leading Alex by the hand into the bathroom.

Zach started the bath water running and added some bubble bath just for fun. He then turned back to Alex and started to kiss him again, exploring every inch of Alex’s mouth with his tongue. Zach broke the kiss briefly as he pulled his shirt over his head without bothering to unbutton it, but immediately went back to kissing Alex deeply. Alex had started to work on the button and zipper of Zach’s pants and soon he was pushing them down to fall on the floor. Zach and Alex’s kisses became even more passionate as they continued to run their hands over each other’s bodies.

After a several more minutes had passed, Zach reluctantly broke off the kissing and turned to shut off the water. Zach then quickly pulled off his boxers and gingerly stepped into the hot, sudsy water. Zach slowly sat down and then motioned for Alex to sit down in front of him. Alex looked at Zach questioningly for a second, but he obeyed they unspoken command and got into the tub and sat in front of Zach. As soon as Alex was in the water Zach pulled Alex back to lean against his chest. Alex smiled and sighed in contentment as Zach slowly began to run a soapy wash cloth over his chest and stomach. Zach’s slow washing was very sensuous and extremely erotic and Alex couldn’t help emitting a low, animal moan in pleasure.

Zach continued to rub the wash cloth lightly over every inch of Alex’s body, lingering with feather like touches over every sensitive spot. Eventually Zach moved his left hand down to Alex’s groin concentrating the efforts of that hand on Alex dick and balls while his right hand continued to explore Alex’s chest and stomach. Zach ran just the fingers of his left hand over Alex’s throbbing dick with a touch as light as a snowflake. Zach continued running his fingertips from the tip to the base with a touch that made Alex’s entire body shudder with pleasure. All the while Zach continued to nibble and kiss along the chords in Alex’s neck driving Alex nearly crazy.

After several more minutes Zach slowly ran his right hand down to briefly join his left hand in the teasing stroking of Alex’s dick and balls. After a few seconds Zach continued to run the fingers of his right hand down to the area just under Alex’s balls and slowly started to rub in small circles causing Alex to gasp. After a few more minutes Zach continued his exploratory groping and started to slowly circle his fingers around Alex’s pucker. Alex drew in a sharp breath and his body shuddered once again as Zach slowly began to work his index finger barely in and out of Alex’s tight hole.

Suddenly Alex grabbed both of Zach’s hands pulling them away from his body. "I want you to make love to me Zach," Alex growled. "I want you inside of me now! Please!" Alex was nearly whimpering by the time he finished speaking.

The response surprised Zach since Alex normally was not on the receiving end when they made love. In all the years they had been together, Alex had only rarely played the bottom role. Which was fine as far as Zach was concerned. Zach truly preferred being the bottom anyway, but every once in a while it was nice to have a change. But still, the response coming out of the blue like that surprised Zach, and turned him on more than just a little.

Zach kissed his agreement and readiness to comply with Alex’s request and helped Alex lift himself up. Alex lined up Zach’s dick and then slowly allowed himself to slide down the length of Zach’s shaft. The warm water and Zach’s exploratory fingers had helped to loosen Alex somewhat, but he still took it very slow since he was not use to being entered. Finally, after what seemed to be an agonizing eternity to Zach, Alex had worked Zach’s dick completely in and he settled back, leaning against Zach’s chest.

"Give me a couple seconds, ok?" Alex asked in a breathless voice as he became adjusted to the intrusion. After a few more moments of remaining completely still, Alex let out a deep breath. "Oh God! I’m not gonna last too long Zach. Go slow."

It was awkward, but Zach settled into a slow gentle pace of slight thrusts into Alex. Zach reached around with his hands and started to slowly stroke Alex’s body with both of his hands, only occasionally touching Alex’s throbbing member with the lightest of touches. Alex’s breathing was becoming more and more labored and he involuntarily reached to begin to stroke his own dick. Smiling mischievously, Zach brushed Alex’s hands away. "Uh uh," Zach whispered in Alex’s ear. "Your body belongs to me right now. I’ll decide when and what gets played with. Just put your hands up behind your head now. So I’ll know you’ll be good."

"Oh God!" Alex moaned. "You’re killing me here Zach!" Alex groaned, but he obediently raised his arms up over his head and clasped his fingers tightly together behind his head. Alex clenched his eyes together tightly, fighting to last just a little bit longer and his moaning was almost continual now. Alex’s entire body shuddered as Zach ran his fingers over his ribs and up over his underarms, tickling him slightly.

"Zach! Stop!" Alex pleaded suddenly. "Don’t move! Give me a couple of seconds or I’m gonna lose it."

Zach stopped thrusting and kept his hand still on Alex’s body, letting Alex calm down slightly. Alex’s body was still trembling as he continued to struggle to regain control and his breathing was ragged. After a few more minutes, Alex opened his eyes and turned his head slightly to smile sheepishly at Zach. "That was close," Alex admitted. "Too close! And I want this to last."

Zach just smiled his answer as he slowly started to run his hands over Alex’s body once again. Alex groaned again, closing his eyes as the waves of pleasure washed over his body. Zach started slowly thrusting his groin once again into Alex and Alex shuddered again. Zach began to increase his pace and dropped his left hand down to wrap around Alex’s dick. Zach began to match his stokes on Alex’s dick with the ever increasing pace of the thrusting of his hips. Alex began to tremble again and his breathing became harsh.

"Zach!" Alex pleaded again. "Slow down or I’m gonna shoot!"

"Go for it Babe," Zach whispered in Alex’s ears, nibbling slightly at the lobes as he continued to thrust and stroke in an ever increasing pace. After just a few more seconds, Alex groaned loudly and his entire body tensed up before he started shuddering again. With an animal growl, Alex shot several long streaks that landed across his chest and stomach. Alex rolled his head quickly from side to side as the waves of pleasure washed over him.

Zach slowed the pace of both his lovemaking and his stroking of Alex’s dick, but he didn’t stop completely. Zach continued the dual assault on Alex’s body, sending almost painful waves of pleasure through Alex. Alex weakly started to paw at Zach’s hands that were stroking his dick with such sweet torture. "Zach, oh Jesus!" Alex whimpered. "You gotta stop! That’s too intense!"

Zach again increased the pace of his thrusts of his hips as well as the strokes of his hand and Alex began moaning and whimpering once again. Zach started nibbling along the chords of Alex’s neck even as his thrusts became nearly frenzied. After several more minutes, Alex cried out as he started to shoot once again, albeit much less forcefully this time. The shuddering of Alex’s body finally drove Zach over the edge of climax and he pulled Alex into him tightly as he shot his warm fluid deep inside Alex.

The two of them lay back in the bathtub, just relaxing for several long minutes, basking in the afterglow of their shared passion. Zach continued to lightly kiss along Alex’s neck and occasionally nibbled at his ear as he slowly rubbed at Alex’s chest and stomach. Alex had his eyes closed, and a contented smile played across his face as Zach nuzzled softly at his jaw.

"Ohhh," Alex moaned softly. "That was good. I thought I was gonna pass out when you kept going after the first time I came though. You’ve never done that to me before." Alex half opened his eyes and smiled at Zach. "I didn’t even know I COULD do that!" Alex laughingly admitted.

Zach chuckled along with Alex for a few seconds. "You inspired me!" Zach whispered softly into Alex’s ear as he nuzzled him again. "I wanted to make you feel as good as you always make me feel."

"I’d say you accomplished that and then some," Alex smiled. "God! I feel like a very limp noodle now."

"Yeah," Zach agreed. "But I guess we better get out of here before we become water logged and shrivel all up. Besides, the water is starting to cool down now. Lets rinse all the bubbles off with the shower though and then go cuddle on the couch for a while."

"Ummm," Alex agreed as they stood up and turned on the shower for a few seconds. "I could cuddle with you all night long. Make that all life long. I love holding you in my arms as we watch TV."

Zach smiled as they stepped out of the shower. "It’s one of my favorite past times too!" Zach agreed. The two of them started to dry off as the headed towards their bedroom to grab some clothes. Zach pulled on a pair of boxers that had Scooby Doo on the front. Seeing Zach in those boxers always made Alex smile in amusement since he knew just how much Zach still loved that cartoon. Alex pulled on a pair of flannel boxers that Zach loved and then he was reaching for a T-shirt when Zach grabbed his hands stopping him.

"Will you do me a favor?" Zach asked looking in Alex’s eyes. "Will you leave your shirt off tonight."

Alex quirked his eyebrows up questioningly at Zach as he smiled in amusement at Zach. Zach blushed slightly but grinned as he continued to explain. "I want to feel your skin next to mine as we lay together. And besides, I love the way you smell right after you have taken a bath. You skin smells so clean and fresh and I love it." Zach’s blush deepened slightly. "And you smell especially sexy right now since we just made love."

Alex grinned at Zach and threw his shirt back into the drawer. "I think I can do that favor for you," Alex teased as they walked out to the living room and the waiting couch. Alex lay down on the couch in a half reclining position leaning against the armrest at one end. "But you need to do me a favor in return."

Zach grinned at Alex wondering what was going through Alex’s mind. "And what exactly is this favor you want?" Zach asked in a bantering tone.

"I want you to take off your boxers before you lay down and cuddle with me," Alex answered, his eyes twinkling.

Zach’s eyes widened in surprise as he looked back at Alex. "You want to go again?" Zach asked incredulously. "Already?"

Alex started laughing. "No, not yet," Alex answered. "I won’t be ready for at least another five minutes or so." Zach rolled his eyes at that comment but he continued to smile. "But I always end up with my hands in your crotch anyway when we cuddle, and if you take off your boxers now, I won’t have to fight with them later."

Zach shook his head at Alex, laughing along with him. "You’re bad!" Zach said grinning as he pulled off his boxers. "And lazy too!" Zach added as he crawled onto the couch to lay against Alex’s chest. Alex immediately wrapped his arms around Zach as well as folding his legs over the stretched out length of Zach’s legs. "I just hope we don’t have any company stop by tonight or peek in the window," Zach said as Alex started to absently run his hands in lazy circles over his chest and stomach.

"You worry too much," Alex murmured into Zach’s ear absently. Already Alex’s left hand had begun to inch towards Zach’s groin, playing with the curly hair growing there. "And if someone is perverted enough to go around peeking in windows, then they can’t complain about what they might see." Alex nuzzled his nose softly into Zach’s cheek. "Besides, we could just charge them for the show if they linger," Alex finished chuckling softly. Zach laughed softly in agreement as he snuggled into Alex’s embrace. Zach smiled contentedly as the warmth of the moment washed over him and he allowed himself to relax completely in Alex’s arms.

"I love you," Zach said softly. "You know that don’t you?"

"Yes I do," Alex breathed back into Zach’s ear. "And I love you too." Zach sighed and closed his eyes, secure in the embrace of the man he loved so dearly.


The next day at the Bank it was announced that Zach would be transferring to his new department starting the very next day. The sudden move startled Zach but Barb explained that Gary really needed him to start as soon as possible. Barb also told Zach privately that she wanted to make sure that Zach’s transfer went through and was settled before she went to her own new department. Zach was both excited and nervous at the same time and he hoped that he could live up to everyone’s expectations.

Barb and Zach went to lunch together, ostensibly to celebrate Zach’s move, but more just because they enjoyed each other’s company. As soon as they were away from the department, Barb lost no time in turning the conversation to their upcoming double date. "So are you and Alex going to be able to make it Saturday?" Barb asked. "Harry is probably even more excited than I am about going out."

Zach smiled. "Yeah," Zach answered. "I asked Alex last night if he was free and off work and he is. Alex is pretty excited about going out too. We don’t get a chance to go out and socialize all that often. Especially since Alex refuses to go out with any of the people he works with. He always says he spends enough time with them, by the end of the day he just wants to get away from them before he kills them."

Barb chuckled at Zach’s comment. "So Alex doesn’t really like the people he works with?"

"Oh, overall I think he thinks they’re ok," Zach replied. "But he is kind of tired of his job. And more than a little frustrated. Alex would really like to get a job in his field, he just can’t seem to get in the door. I think it bothers him sometimes. I sometimes think Alex feels like he wasted his time at college."

"That’s too bad," Barb replied sympathetically. "I’m really sorry that he is having such a hard time starting his career." Barb was quiet for a few moments. "So, am I being too nosey if I ask what job he wants to do?"

Zach grinned at Barb. "Since when are you concerned about being nosey?" Zach teased prompting Barb to stick her tongue out at him. "Alex would really like to work as some kind of social worker. I think his dream job would be if he could somehow work with troubled or neglected kids. Maybe as some kind of advocate or something."

"Wow!" Barb said impressed. "I don’t know if I could do that myself. I think I would have a hard time dealing with those kinds of issues on a daily basis. But I really admire the people that go into that line of work."

"Yeah," Zach agreed. "I don’t think I could do it either. I think I’d get too worked up with each case. And the first time I encountered an abused child I’d probably lose it. But Alex really wants to work with people, to help them with their problems. He wants to make a difference in people’s lives. I just wish he could get his chance."

Barb smiled understandingly. She could tell that Zach was bothered by his inability to help Alex. Smiling, Barb tactfully changed the subject to small, unimportant matters around the Bank and the two of them finished their lunch.

The next couple of days were a blur for Zach. There was so much to learn in his new job, but Gary was a patient and very skilled teacher. And Gary often expressed how pleased he was with the progress Zach was making in picking up his new duties. And the chance to learn something new excited Zach immensely. He often found himself trying to explain what he had learned to Alex and then he would catch the amused expression on Alex’s face as Alex listened intently. Zach knew that Alex didn’t really understand what he was explaining to him. But Alex always listened intently, smiling at Zach’s little boy enthusiasm.

Saturday finally rolled around as well as the double date with Brenda and Harry. Zach was busy primping in the bathroom after finishing his shower and Alex was finishing up dressing in their bedroom. "So where are we going to eat anyway?" Alex yelled out to Zach.

"To Yuppie Heaven!" Zach called out teasing. "The Olive Garden."

"What’s wrong with The Olive Garden?" Alex asked as he started to fiddle with the stereo. "I like their food. Especially since they will keep bringing me breadsticks." Alex was shuffling through their collection of CD’s and finally settled on one and put it into the player.

Zach came walking out of the bathroom smiling. "Yeah, and the whole staff sighs with relief when you finally finish eating those breadsticks too!" Zach teased. Zach paused on the way to the closet to kiss Alex’s pouting lips. "And nothing’s wrong with The Olive Garden. I like their food too, but it is kind of cliché don’t you think?"

"Yeah I guess," Alex said absently as he skipped a couple of tracks on the CD. Finally, Alex found the song he wanted. Alex turned around to face Zach as the music began to play. ‘I Remember You’ by Skid Row started to play over the speakers. Alex walked over to Zach, singing the words of the song to Zach, his eyes shining. Zach closed his eyes as Alex reached Zach’s favorite part of the song.

We spend the summer with the top rolled down
Wished ever after would be like this
You said I love you babe, without a sound
I said I’d give my life for just one kiss
I'd live for your smile and die for your kiss

Alex pulled Zach into a tight embrace as he broke off singing. "You know I feel that way about you don’t you?" Alex whispered into Zach’s ear. "I love you more everyday." Zach just nodded his head, too choked up to speak. Alex tightened his embrace and then continued to sing to him. Zach rested his head against Alex’s shoulder, a smile on his face. Finally the song ended and Alex lifted Zach’s face and kissed him.

"You are really bad Alex," Zach said smiling at him. "You know that song always chokes me up. Especially when you sing it to me."

"I know," Alex replied softly. "But I wanted to remind you just how much I love you and how very proud I am of you. I forget to tell you that sometimes, and I wanted you to know." Alex tightened his embrace for a few seconds before breaking away. "Now you better hurry up and finish getting ready before we’re late. You are always dawdling!" Alex teased, grinning from ear to ear at Zach.

Zach started laughing as he turned back to the closet. "I hate you, you know that don’t you?" Zach asked in a bantering tone.

"Yep!" Alex answered promptly grinning at Zach.

Zach finished getting ready and then they took the short trip to meet Barb and Harry at the restaurant. Arriving, they found Barb and Harry had already made it to the restaurant and put their names on the waiting list which was surprisingly short for a Saturday evening. Introductions were made round and soon the four of them were chatting like they had all known each other for years. A very short time later a waitress showed them to their table and took their orders for drinks.

"I hope The Olive Garden is ok with you two," Barb said as she looked at the menu. "You both like Italian food don’t you? I know Harry loves it." Harry grinned as Barb finished.

"Yeah, it’s fine, even if Zach does call it Yuppie Heaven," Alex said grinning at Zach. "We both love their food, although I think Zach’s cooking is better. He doesn’t let me eat as much when he cooks though. That’s why I like eating here."

"You like any food that is set in front of you," Zach said rolling his eyes. "And as long as someone keeps bringing you food, you’re happy and it’s your favorite place!" Zach looked at Barb and Harry. "I strongly suggest you both guard your food well. Otherwise Alex will try and steal it from you. And if you value your fingers, don’t offer him a bite of anything."

"Hey!" Alex protested as Barb and Harry laughed. Alex grinned at the teasing. "I haven’t bitten anyone in at least a month. And you aren’t suppose to tell my secrets!"

They all shared a laugh and went back to chatting. When the waitress brought out their salad and breadsticks Zach was amused to see that Alex was trying to moderate himself. Even so, Alex was the first to finish and sat watching the others eat, a slightly wistful expression on his face. Zach grinned at him and then filled his plate with salad again making Harry and Barb both laugh. Alex blushed but he did pick up his fork and begin to eat once again.

Zach found himself chatting with Barb quite a bit about the Bank and the various events and people there, and he noticed that Harry and Alex both smiled at them and then start their own conversation. Zach found he genuinely liked Harry and he seemed to be a good match for Barb. Zach was also happy to see that Alex and Harry seemed to be hitting it off as well. If things continued to go so well maybe they could go out more often. Zach had to admit it was good to see Alex enjoying himself in a social setting again. Since graduating college it had seemed the opportunities to socialize with friends had gotten rarer with each passing day.

Their entrees arrived and Zach was once again amused to see Alex deliberately pacing himself, slowing down the usual gulping of his meal with which he usually ate. Zach noted that Alex was trying to make a good impression and was on his best behavior. It was obvious to Zach that Alex wanted to include Barb and Harry in their circle of friends as much as he did.

After finishing their meals, Harry suggested they go to one of the nearby bars to finish the evening. When they arrived they found the bar only moderately busy and easily found a table. Barb excused herself to go freshen up and Zach offered to go up to the bar and get everyone’s drinks. After several minutes, Zach place the order with the lone bartender who apologized for the lengthy delay and started to make the drinks. Alex and Harry had just wanted a beer so those were relatively easy, and Zach was just having a rum and coke, but Barb had wanted a strawberry daiquiri and that was taking a little bit of time to make. Barb had finished in the ladies room and walked up to the bar noticing that Zach was still waiting on the drinks.

"So what do you think?" Barb asked as she walked up next to Zach.

"About Harry?" Zach asked. "He seems really nice Barb. And he and Alex seem to be hitting it off too. I think you might have found a keeper here."

Barb smiled at Zach. "Good!" Barb said. "I’m glad the two of you like him. He really seems to like both of you too." The bartender placed the finished daiquiri in front of Barb and she and Zach picked up the drinks to carry them back to their table.

When Zach walked up to the table he noticed that Alex wasn’t smiling anymore and seemed a little sad and upset. Zach glanced at Harry and noticed the slightly baffled look on his face. Zach frowned wondering what had happened in the short time he had been away. Barb also noticed the change in the atmosphere and glanced questioningly at Zach.

Barb and Zach took their seats and attempted to start the conversation back up. Harry seemed ready to participate and tried on various occasions to include Alex, even going as far as to ask direct questions of him. Alex however refused to be drawn out. He was still as polite as ever and he answered when spoken to directly, but his answers were invariably short and to the point.

After a time Barb and Harry got up to get another drink. Harry asked both Alex and Zach if they were ready for another drink, but both declined. As soon as they were away from the table Zach turned to Alex. "What’s wrong?" Zach asked concerned. "What happened while we were gone?"

Alex only glanced at Zach before returning his eyes to the table. "Nothing’s wrong," Alex replied unconvincingly. "I think I’m just a little tired. Would you mind much if I went ahead and went home?"

"We can leave as soon as they get back," Zach answered.

"No, you don’t have to leave if you’re not ready," Alex said smiling slightly at Zach. "I’m sure Barb and Harry will give you a ride home when you guys finish. There’s no need for you to cut your night short just because I’m tired."

Zach stared at Alex for a few seconds wondering what thoughts were running through his head. "No, it’s ok," Zach answered. "I don’t mind leaving now. I’d rather be with you." Alex looked up briefly, a wistful half smile on his lips. Zach knew something was bothering Alex, now he just had to get it out of him. And it appeared that Alex had decided to be stubborn about it.

After a few more moments Barb and Harry returned to the table and Zach told them that they were going to call it an early night since they were both tired. Barb imperceptibly looked at Zach, catching his eye and nodding just enough to be seen and to communicate her concern. Alex roused himself enough to extend his farewells too and even shook Harry’s hand warmly, which baffled everyone at the table. Clearly something was upsetting Alex and Zach was starting to get very concerned about what it was.

They drove home in near silence, the radio the only sound in the vehicle. Zach kept looking over at Alex as he drove them back to their home, trying to figure out a way to get Alex to talk. Alex had closed his eyes almost as soon as they got into the car, but Zach could tell he wasn’t sleeping. The feigned tiredness didn’t fool Zach for even a second.

When they got back to the house, Alex wandered around the living room listlessly for a few moments and then announced that he was going to go ahead and go to bed. Zach stared after him for a few seconds and then followed him into their bedroom. Alex had already pulled the covers back on the bed and was starting to undress when Zach entered the room. Alex looked inquiringly at Zach as he continued to pull off his clothes.

"I think I’ll go to bed too," Zach answered the unvoiced question. Alex merely nodded as he pulled off his pants and slipped into bed. Zach quickly stripped and crawled into bed next to Alex. Zach leaned over and kissed Alex tenderly and Alex smiled briefly at Zach before closing his eyes. Zach settled next to Alex and quietly watched him for a few moments.

"Alex," Zach finally said softly and Alex opened his eyes and looked at him. "What’s wrong? Something’s bothering you. You became awfully quiet tonight. Did Harry say something to you or something?"

Alex shook his head slightly. "No, not like you are thinking anyway," Alex answered quietly. Alex was silent for several moments. "It’s not his fault. Harry’s a nice guy."

"But he did say something to upset you didn’t he?" Zach probed intently. "Otherwise you wouldn’t have said it’s not his fault. What was it?"

Alex was silent for several seconds and Zach began to wonder if he was going to answer at all. "Harry just asked me what my degree was in," Alex answered finally, his voice sad. "And when I told him psychology he then asked where I worked. He was just making small talk. But when I told him that I was a department manager at a department store he looked a little surprised. I could tell he was wondering how I ended up with that job after getting my degree in psychology. And I wonder that myself sometimes Zach. I feel like I just wasted my time getting my degree." Alex paused for several seconds and averted his eyes from Zach’s. "Sometimes I feel like such a failure. And worse, I feel like I’ve let you down. That I’ve failed you too."

"Why would you feel that way?" Zach asked incredulous. "You have never failed me Alex. Never!"

"Yes I have Zach," Alex replied still not looking into Zach’s eyes. "I’ve let you down. I’m the one who finished college and I can’t even get a good job. Let’s face it Zach, you’re the breadwinner in this family. I may not be very good at math, but even I can figure out the difference between our pay and who brings the money into this house. I couldn’t even make it on what I earn Zach."

"I don’t care about that!" Zach protested. "It doesn’t matter to me how much you make. How could you think you’ve let me down just because I earn more than you do? Money just doesn’t matter to me."

Alex finally looked into Zach’s eyes, his expression sad. "But it does matter to me Zach," Alex answered. "Don’t you understand? It was always my plan to get a good job so you could quit and go back and finish your degree. It’s not fair that you didn’t get a chance to. And I’ve let you down."

Zach took a deep breath. "Alex, listen to me," Zach said. "You did NOT let me down. You have NOT failed me. A degree is meaningless to me. It’s not important to me. I can always go back and finish, but it’s not important right now. At this point getting my degree would only be to complete a personal goal. It wouldn’t serve any other purpose. I do intend to get it someday, but it doesn’t matter to me when."

"We’ve been playing that ‘someday’ game for seven years Zach," Alex replied. "When does your someday get here? How long are you suppose to wait? How can you think I haven’t failed? It’s been seven years Zach. I’ve been chasing my career for seven years now. And I’m no closer now than I was the day I graduated."

Zach pulled Alex into a tight embrace. "Do you want to try something else then?" Zach asked after several minutes. "I don’t want to make you feel worse, but do you want to go back and study something else? You can. I’ll stand behind you in anything you want to do Alex. It will be a little bit tight, but you can go back to school if you want. I just want you to be happy."

Zach could feel the warm splash of Alex’s tears hitting his chest. "No I don’t want to go back," Alex answered. "I wouldn’t even know what to go back for now. What to study. I just don’t want to feel like a failure anymore."

Zach had to fight to push back his own tears at the anguish in Alex’s voice. "You’re not a failure Alex," Zach said intently. "It’s important to me that you not think that. It’s important that you know that I have never thought you failed. You have never let me down Babe. You aren’t capable of it." Zach squeezed Alex even tighter. "You know that I love you, right? You know that everything I said is the truth don’t you?"

Alex didn’t answer for several minutes. And when he did, he didn’t speak, he just nodded his head. But Zach could feel more tears hitting his chest and he knew that Alex still didn’t accept the truth of his words. Zach knew that Alex still thought he had failed and that nearly tore his heart in two. Zach held Alex tightly long into the night, long after Alex had finally managed to enter a fitful sleep. Zach’s own heart was too heavy to even think about sleeping for many hours afterwards.


The next morning Zach woke to find Alex leaning over him pulling away from a gentle kiss. Zach smiled at Alex who smiled back at him. "Good morning sleepy head," Alex said softly to Zach. "I’m sorry to wake you, but I wanted to tell you I’m gonna go for a jog. I’ll be back in a bit."

"It’s ok," Zach answered smiling. "You can wake me with a kiss anytime. You’re up kind of early though aren’t you?"

"Not really," Alex replied as he brushed the hair out of Zach’s eyes. "It’s actually kind of late. I let you sleep in."

Zach glanced at the alarm clock and saw that it was already half past nine. Zach’s eyes widened as he realized how late he had slept. "Man!" Zach exclaimed. "It is late! I need to get my lazy ass going."

Alex grinned at him and then kissed him on the forehead. "I don’t think sleeping in once qualifies you as a lazy ass," Alex said. "And even if it does, sometimes it’s ok to be lazy. I’ll be back in an hour or so."

"Have a good run Babe," Zach said as he sat up and stretched. "I might even be up and going by the time you get back." Alex grinned at him as he left.

Zach stretched again working the kinks out and slowly climbed out of bed. Zach pulled on a pair of his Scooby Doo boxers and headed out towards the kitchen. Eight years of being around Alex had made Zach a little less self conscious, but he still usually wore at least a pair of boxers when walking around the house even when alone.

Zach grabbed a chocolate Pop Tart, still his favorite breakfast, and started to munch happily on the pastry as he tried to kick-start his brain for the day. Zach poured himself a glass of milk and sat at the kitchen table to finish his breakfast. Zach mulled the events of the previous evening over in his mind as he continued to munch on his breakfast.

Zach had finished his pastry and was lingering over his milk when the phone rang. Getting up and grabbing the cordless handset he answered the phone as he walked into the living room. "Hello," Zach answered the phone, vaguely curious about who was calling.

"Hi Zach," Barb’s voice greeted him from the other end. "I didn’t call too early did I?"

"No," Zach answered. "Although I did just wake up a few minutes ago. I usually get up earlier, but Alex decided to let me sleep in. He must have turned off the alarm clock before it went off."

"How is he?" Barb asked, her voice concerned. "Even I could tell something was bothering him last night. He started out so animated at first, but when we got to the bar he seemed to get really upset."

Zach hesitated for a couple of seconds before replying. "Yeah," Zach answered. "Something Harry said bothered Alex…."

"What did Harry say?" Barb broke in, her voice starting to get heated. "If he said something inappropriate I’ll kill him!"

"No, it wasn’t anything like that Barb," Zach said quickly. "Harry couldn’t have realized what he was saying was going to affect Alex so much. He was just making small talk, trying to get to know Alex. He asked about Alex’s education and then about his job. It was just piss ass poor timing is all. Alex is just having a really hard time right now. Any other time it probably wouldn’t have even phased him."

"Hmmm," Barb said. "Well I’m glad it wasn’t something Harry said intentionally. I’ve got to admit that Harry was just as baffled as I was as to what happened. He really wants to be friends with the two of you. And I think he and Alex have a lot in common too."

"Yeah," Zach replied. "I could tell that Alex really liked Harry too and was enjoying himself at first. It’s too bad Alex reacted the way he did. He’s really starting to worry me. Alex is just so frustrated right now. He told me last night, after I finally got him to talk, that he feels like a failure. It’s really tearing me up and I don’t know what to do to help him."

"Oh Zach," Barb said even more concerned. "I’m so sorry! Alex is too special of a guy to have feelings like that." Barb hesitated for a few seconds. "Do you think he would get more upset if I tried to help him get a job? Or should I keep my big nose out of it?"

"What do you mean Barb," Zach asked. "How can you help him get a job?"

"I know several of the higher ups at the State," Barb answered. "I can talk to them, recommend Alex for a job. Can you get me a copy of his resume? I can give it to a few of my friends over there. And Harry knows a couple of the department heads too. I’m sure he would be willing to talk to them too. He really does like Alex."

"I can get you his resume," Zach replied. "But how is that going to help? The state has been on a hiring freeze for several years now."

Barb chuckled. "Zach, you really are naïve aren’t you?" Barb said. "Just because they say they are on a hiring freeze doesn’t mean that people aren’t getting hired. It just makes it a little harder is all. It’s all in who you know with the State. I’m not saying I’ll be able to get him hired, but I will give it my best shot. Now the question is, will Alex be more upset if I help him or not?"

"If you can help him even get an interview I think it will help his ego enormously," Zach answered. "It will be the boost to his confidence that he really needs right now. I’ll get you his resume on Monday and I’ll talk to him about it. I’ll make him accept your help."

"Alright Zach," Barb said. "I’ll give my friends a call then and tell them I’m recommending Alex to them. We can at least get your boy an interview."

"Barb you’re a life saver!" Zach answered excitedly. "Thank you so much. You don’t know how much I appreciate this."

"I’m just glad I can help Zach," Barb answered warmly. "I’ll let you go now. I mainly just wanted to check to see if everything was all right anyway, and I’ve got that answer. I’ll see you on Monday. And don’t forget to bring me Alex’s resume."

"Bye Barb," Zach said. "I’ll remember. And thanks again!"

Zach hung up the phone and walked over to their computer. Turning it on, Zach started searching for the resume that he had created and saved for Alex. Bringing up the file, Zach took a few minutes to update some information and printed out a copy. He was busy proofing it a final time when Alex came home.

"Hey Babe," Alex greeted Zach, wiping the sweat from his forehead. "It’s going to be hot out there today. I’m glad I got my jog in when I did. What are you doing? I see you haven’t taken the time to get dressed yet. So much for you being up and ready by the time I got back." Alex was grinning at Zach as he teased him.

"I’m printing your resume," Zach answered smiling at Alex. "I got a call from Barb while you were gone. She thinks she and Harry can get you an interview with the State. They both know some of the department heads over there."

Alex frowned slightly as he looked at Zach. "But the State isn’t hiring anyone right now," Alex protested. "I appreciate their trying, but I don’t think it will really do too much."

"You never know till you try Babe," Zach answered. "I said the same thing to Barb when she mentioned it to me. She said that just because they are on a hiring freeze doesn’t mean people aren’t getting jobs. She’s not promising that she can get you hired. But she was positive she could get you an interview. Is it ok that I told her I’d bring her your resume? Will you go if she can get you an interview?"

Alex continued to frown for a few more seconds and then shrugged his shoulders. "It’s ok," Alex said as he kissed Zach’s forehead. "And I’ll go. It can’t hurt anything to go interview. I don’t really think anything will come of it, but I’ll go."

Zach smiled in support of Alex as he stood up and kissed him again. Breaking away, Zach smiled at Alex. "You reek by the way," Zach teased getting a smile from Alex. "Do you want some company in the shower?" Alex’s smile positively glowed as he started to pull Zach towards the bathroom.


Monday rolled around and Zach got a copy of Alex’s resume into Barb’s hand first thing. Before he had even walked out of her office Barb had already picked up the phone to start making phone calls. It was only an hour or so later that Barb called Zach to let him know that she had arranged for her friend at the State to give Alex a call to set up an interview. Zach was overjoyed with the speed with which Barb had managed to get results.

It was only a few minutes later and Zach got a call from Alex. "Zach!" Alex voice was nearly shouting with happiness. "I got an interview! Already! I’m supposed to go in and see them tomorrow. How did Barb do it so fast? You have to thank her for me. I’m gonna call her right after I get off the phone with you, but you make sure to thank her too!"

"Alex, that’s great Babe!" Zach said happily. "I promise I’ll thank Barb for you. You didn’t shout this loud on the phone with the State did you?" Zach teased.

"Almost!" Alex laughed back. "Zach, I’m so excited I can’t even sit still. It’s been so long since anyone would even look at my resume. I’m gonna be bouncing off the walls by this time tomorrow."

Zach laughed. "We’ll have to have a special supper tonight," Zach promised. "I’ll make you Fettuccini Alfredo with chicken. I know how much you love that. And I’ll make you that apple pie thing you like so much."

"You don’t have to do that," Alex protested. "It’s just an interview after all. I’m just excited about it is all."

"I want to," Zach answered. "I’ve got to get back to work though. I’ll see you tonight. And Alex, I’m so very happy for you. I love you!"

"I love you too," Alex answered, his voice filled with emotion. "You are the best!"

Zach’s day flew by as he anticipated getting home to see Alex. It was so good to hear the little boy excitement back in Alex’s voice again. Zach prayed that the interview would go well and Alex would be hired, but he felt that Alex’s hope had at least been rekindled again. That was something pretty special all by itself.

True to his word, Alex was bouncing off the walls when Zach got home. Zach couldn’t help laughing at Alex’s antics even though he kept getting in the way trying to help make their supper. Finally, laughing, Zach banished Alex from the kitchen and made him go watch TV. Zach shook his head as he listened to Alex quickly scan through the channels multiple times. Idly Zach began to wonder if their remote would survive the night.

After they had eaten, with Alex attacking the food with his usual gusto, they retired to the living room to cuddle on the couch and watch some TV. Alex quickly pulled Zach down to lay against his chest in their favorite position, and within minutes had already worked Zach’s shirt off and had one of his hands down the front of Zach’s pants. Zach turned his head to smile amusedly at Alex and Alex grinned sheepishly back at him. He didn’t remove his hand from Zach’s groin though, not that Zach really minded.

Finally the news came on and Alex turned his full attention to Zach’s body trying to distract him from watching the late news. Alex was nibbling intently on Zach’s ears, jaw line and neck and Zach could have sworn that Alex had somehow acquired a few more hands since it felt like Alex was touching him everywhere all at once. Finally, after the tenting and the huge wet spot grew more than a little noticeable on the front of Zach’s pants, Zach gave up. Standing up and smiling at Alex, Zach pulled him up and led the grinning Alex towards their waiting bed. Neither of them got very much sleep that night.

The next morning Zach helped Alex get ready, making sure his suit looked impeccable and that he was groomed to perfection. Alex could barely sit still he was so excited and Zach had to frequently remind him to take deep breaths to calm back down. Zach kissed Alex good luck as they parted ways and made him promise to call just as soon as the interview was over.

At work, Zach tried to concentrate on his job, but was much to preoccupied with thinking about Alex to really accomplish too much. After an hour of basically shuffling papers, Barb stopped by his desk. "You look like your earning your pay today," Barb teased as she sat on the corner of his desk.

"I can’t concentrate," Zach answered grinning sheepishly at her. "I’m gonna be a wreck by the time he finally calls me. I hope to God this goes well for him. I can’t bear to see Alex so unhappy."

"It might take a few times Zach," Barb cautioned. "Even if he doesn’t get a job right off the bat, it’s important for you both to keep a positive attitude. We’ll keep trying as long as it takes."

"I know," Zach replied smiling at Barb. "And thanks. Now would you mind stopping by here about every ten minutes or so and repeating that? Cause I’m probably gonna need to hear that pretty often or I’ll work myself all up into a tight knot."

Barb chuckled in amusement at Zach. "It might be easier if I make a sign and just tape it to your computer," Barb laughed. "And just think of the gossip we could start if I stopped by that often!"

"Hmmm," Zach laughed back at her. "That all by itself would be worth it! We haven’t had any good gossip running around the office for a while now."

"You’re a very Bad Boy Zach," Barb laughed as she stood up to go. "Let me know what you hear when Alex calls. And remember, breathe!"

Zach grinned as he went back to shuffling papers on his desk. By the time a few more hours had rolled by Zach was about ready to scream. Finally his phone rang with an outside call and Zach nearly tore the phone out of the wall he grabbed it so fast. "Hello," Zach said forgetting to give the company greeting.

"Hi Babe," Alex answered. "You sound a little tense."

"I’m going nuts here Alex!" Zach protested. "How did it go?"

"Pretty good I think," Alex replied. "They had me take a couple of tests while I was there which I have never done before. I hope I did ok on them. At least there wasn’t any math on them."

"I’m sure you did fine," Zach answered. "So you think it went good then? Did they say anything about talking to you again?"

"Yeah, I think it went well," Alex answered his voice sounding pretty positive. "We can’t get our hopes up over just one interview, but I think overall it went well. They said they would be back in contact with me in a few days."

"That’s great Alex!" Zach said happily. "I know Barb is going to be pleased too. She stopped by a little earlier."

"She is really a great friend," Alex replied. "Make sure you thank her for me again when you guys go to lunch."

"We haven’t even talked about lunch," Zach protested.

Alex laughed. "You know you are gonna go to lunch with her Zach!" Alex said. "You’re gonna want to thank her and she is gonna want to get the details out of you!"

Zach laughed. "Yeah, probably," Zach agreed. "She’s probably going nuts herself wondering how it went. I’ll see you tonight Babe. Love you."

"Bye Zach," Alex replied. "Don’t forget I close tonight so I’ll be late. And I love you too!"

The next few days seemed to fly by and drag at the same time. Alex’s outlook had improved considerably and Zach could see the spark had been recaptured by Alex. At the same time, it seemed the wait to hear from the State dragged by taking centuries. Surprisingly, it was Alex who had the most patience with waiting, and Alex often had to remind Zach that it might be quite some time before they heard anything.

On Friday afternoon Zach received a call at his desk. Answering the phone he heard Alex on the other end. "I just got the call we’ve been waiting on Zach," Alex said his voice subdued.

Zach braced himself, expecting the worst from the tone of Alex’s voice. "It didn’t go well?" Zach asked quietly.

"Well, it’s all relative," Alex replied. "They offered me a job…"

"Alex that’s great!" Zach nearly shouted, cutting in."

"Hold on Zach," Alex replied his voice still quiet. "They offered me a job, but it’s in a city a couple hundred miles away. They said I could think about it over the weekend but I think I’m going to turn it down."

"What?" Zach said, his voice getting louder. "Are you crazy? Alex, you’ve waited too long for a job offer to turn it down."

"Zach, it means I’d have to move," Alex replied sadly. "Part of the terms of the job is I have to be located within a certain distance of the job."

"So we’ll move," Zach answered. "We’re just renting that house anyway. We’ll get a new place."

"Zach, that would be too far for you to drive back and forth to work everyday," Alex explained patiently. "You’d be on the road a couple hours each way every single day. It’s too much. I’m just going to turn them down."

"No you’re not!" Zach answered forcefully. "They gave you the weekend to give them an answer. That gives us some time to talk about it and work it out. Promise me that you won’t call them till we have had a chance to talk it over."

Alex was quiet for a couple of seconds. "All right Zach," Alex finally answered. "I’ll wait to tell them I’m not able to take this job."

"Alex!" Zach said irritated. "We’ll talk about it tonight. We’ll figure something out."

"Ok," Alex said sadly, his voice unconvinced. "I’ll see you tonight Babe. Love you."

"I love you too," Zach replied. "We’ll figure it out tonight."

Zach hung up the phone wondering why Alex was so dead set against this job. It was what he had been waiting for all these years. So why didn’t he want to take it? There wasn’t anything that special about their home that they couldn’t leave it. And they would still be relatively close to all their family and friends. It wasn’t that far away that they had to move.

Zach stopped by Barb’s office to fill her in on the news and Barb was equally baffled by Alex’s reaction. They went to lunch and discussed it further. Barb weighed in with several options and opinions, but in the end they both agreed that Zach was going to have to talk with Alex and get him to admit why he didn’t want this job.

On the drive home Zach mulled over everything in his mind. Why was Alex being so stubborn? This was his chance so why was he throwing it away? Zach wondered if Alex was scared, but that didn’t really make sense either. Alex didn’t run away from these types of things. And although he might get nervous about something new, Alex always took it as a challenge and a chance to grow. So what was the problem this time?

Zach walked into the house to find Alex sitting on the couch drinking a beer. Alex looked up as Zach walked in, his eyes sad. The hang dog look on Alex’s face tore at Zach’s heart and he knew it had to be something more than simple fear that was keeping Alex from accepting the job offer.

Zach leaned over to kiss Alex and then took a seat next to him. "Talk to me Alex," Zach began. "This isn’t like you. Why won’t you take this job?"

Alex hung his head for a few seconds before replying. "It just isn’t right for me Zach," Alex said sadly. There’s too many drawbacks to this job offer for me to accept it."

"Like what?" Zach asked intently. "What are the drawbacks?"

"It’s so far away," Alex began lamely. "All our friends are here. And so is your family. And your job is here too. It’s just an entry-level job anyway. I’m not really passing up much."

"If you’re not passing up much then why are you so upset," Zach asked looking intently at Alex. "Turning this job down is upsetting you. I can tell. I know you too well."

"I’m just disappointed is all," Alex tried. "I was hoping when I got the call that it would be a good offer. But it’s ok. Maybe the next one will be better. I can keep working at the store till then. I’ll call them on Monday and tell them I have decided not to take this one."

"Alex, I can tell this job offer means more to you than what you are saying," Zach said heating up a little. "You need to take this job!"

"No I don’t," Alex denied. "This one just isn’t for me…."

"Damn it Alex!" Zach nearly shouted. "Shut up and listen to me!" Zach took a deep breath and then continued in a quieter, calmer voice. "I love you Alex. But these last few years, watching you work at a job you hate, it really tears me up inside. Everyday I see you get a little more discouraged and frustrated. I see how miserable you are. Everyday it’s like another little part of you dies. I don’t want to watch that anymore. You have to take this job Alex. You have to! You might not ever get another chance and I love you too much to watch you pass up your dreams. I don’t want you regretting what might have been. I don’t want to wake up someday to find you resenting me. I couldn’t take that!"

Alex looked down at the ground for a few seconds shaking his head. "Why do you have to be so smart?" Alex whispered, the fight draining out of him. "Don’t you understand Zach?" Alex asked looking up with a pleading look in his eyes. "If I take this job we’re gonna split up."

"What are you talking about?" Zach asked confused.

"If I take the job it means we’re gonna split up," Alex said again trying to answer. "You’ll be here and I’ll be a couple hundred miles away. A long distance relationship just wouldn’t work for us Babe. You know that."

Zach’s eyes widened. "We won’t have to split up," Zach said, his voice frightened. "I’ll come with you. I’ll quit my job and get a new job up there."

Alex smiled sadly at Zach. "You know I’d never let you do that Zach," Alex said quietly. "I know how much your new job means to you. I know how much you like it. I see it everyday when you come home excited about something new you’ve learned." Alex smiled warmly. "And I see it when you try to explain what you learned to me even though you know I don’t understand. You’re like a little boy again Zach. I could never let you leave your job. Not when it’s that important to you."

"It’s just a job!" Zach said, his voice rising again. "I can get a new job. There’s banks everywhere!" Zach’s voice was starting to get a little frantic.

"Zach," Alex said patiently, his voice still sad. "How long did it take you to get this job? How long did you have to work at crap jobs you hated? How long will it take you to work yourself back up the chain at a new job? The same argument you are using with me to take this job offer, well, it applies to you too. I don’t want you to end up resenting me either."

Zach stared at Alex for a few seconds, his expression incredulous. "You had already thought of all this didn’t you?" Zach asked, his voice barely a whisper. "That’s why you wouldn’t talk about it isn’t it? That’s why you didn’t even want to discuss it."

Alex stared back into Zach’s eyes, his expression tormented. Slowly he nodded his head yes. Zach stared back at him, his eyes tearing up.

"Damn it! That’s not fair!" Zach exploded. "It’s not fair!" Zach repeated more quietly.

Alex smiled sadly at Zach for a few seconds. "No one ever said life was gonna be fair Babe," Alex finally answered quietly. "You should know that better than anyone."

Zach’s shoulders slumped in defeat as he continued to stare at Alex. Tears started rolling down Zach’s cheeks as the full situation finally dawned on him. Alex quickly pulled Zach into a fierce embrace and Zach buried his face into Alex’s chest as he started to sob.

After several moments, Zach pulled his face away from Alex’s chest. He was still crying, but his expression became determined. "You still have to take the job Alex," Zach said quietly. "You can’t let this chance go. I love you too much to let you pass up your chance. You have to do this. You know that don’t you?"

Alex continued to silently hold Zach tightly for several long moments. Alex stared into Zach’s face, his eyes tortured. Finally, Alex nodded his head yes as he started to sob along with Zach. The two of them simply stood holding each other as their shared grief washed over them.


The following Monday Alex called and accepted the job offer. The days began to race by after that and Zach desperately wished he could somehow stop time. There was so much to do now. Zach and Alex looked for a new apartment for Alex and finally settled on a smaller, two-bedroom apartment for Alex to start with. The apartment was nothing special, but it was reasonably priced, clean, and in a quiet neighborhood. Best of all, it had a short term lease option so Alex was free to find something better without being stuck in his current location.

Then they had to find furnishings for Alex’s new home. Zach had argued with Alex about dividing up their current belongings, but Alex refused to take anything with him when he left. Finally Zach gave up but informed Alex that he was buying new furniture for his new place. Alex tried to argue, but Zach stood his ground and finally through sheer determination, Zach won that argument.

The frenzied pace of activities helped to keep Alex and Zach occupied instead of dwelling on their impending separation. Time seemed to flow faster and faster. Like a thief, the passing time seemed to steal away their happiness. And every day that passed brought the dreaded final day that much closer.

Zach desperately tried to keep from crying in front of Alex though his heart was breaking. He knew Alex was having his own difficulties with their upcoming separation and Zach was determined not to add his grief to Alex’s own. Zach had to frequently excuse himself so he could go collect himself in private, but he didn’t want to make it any harder for Alex then it already was. So instead, Zach excused himself and cried in private, alone.

And then, in spite of all of Zach’s wishes and prayers to the contrary, and before he was ready, the final night they would be together arrived. So much still needed to be said, so much still needed to be shared. And now there was no more time at all. Time had slipped away.

Alex and Zach had decided to keep the night private and simple. Their plan was for a simple meal together and a quiet evening in front of the television spent in each other’s arms. Zach had originally planned on cooking a special meal just for Alex, but Alex declined since he wanted to spend every possible moment together. So instead they settled on delivered pizza. Zach privately admitted to himself it was just as well. As distracted as he was he would have probably burnt their meal anyway. Not that either one really tasted anything they ate anyway. They were both too emotional to even say for sure if they had eaten at all.

All through the meal Zach found himself staring at Alex. His eyes wandered over Alex’s well known features once again. Zach tried to burn those features into his brain, trying to store a lifetime of memories in a single night.

They finished eating and for once Alex had left food on his plate. Zach smiled at Alex even though his eyes were full of tears. Zach couldn’t help thinking that an entire lifetime wouldn’t have been long enough to spend with Alex. How could life be so unfair as to take him away after only eight short years?

The two of them stared into each other’s eyes for several minutes before getting up to move into the living room. Alex half sat down, half lay on the couch and held out his arms to Zach, inviting him to take their favorite positions to relax in. Zach sat down in front of Alex and leaned back into Alex’s chest. Alex immediately wrapped his arms around Zach and rested his chin on Zach’s shoulder.

"Damn it," Zach whispered after a few moments as the tears started to roll down his cheeks. "I promised myself that I wasn’t going to cry."

"It’s ok Zach," Alex whispered in his ear, his own voice beginning to choke up. "I feel exactly the same." Zach could feel Alex’s body tremble as Alex started to cry too. Alex slowly tightened his embrace around Zach and the two of them lay in each other’s embrace for the rest of the night, sharing their grief.


The morning light slowly started to filter into the bedroom washing over Alex and Zach’s bodies. Both of them were awake, neither having gone to sleep that night, and they lay staring into each other’s eyes. No words were exchanged, none were necessary. They both knew what this was costing the other. They both knew the other’s pain. No words could ever take that away. Words did not exist that could convey what they were feeling.

Finally Alex sighed and started to break away from the embrace. It took everything in Zach’s power to keep from asking him to not go, not yet. Just a few more minutes. Just a little longer. But Zach knew that it wouldn’t change anything. And in the end it would just make it that much harder. And so, though it felt like a knife twisting in his heart, Zach released his embrace and watched as Alex stumbled towards the waiting shower.

As soon as Alex was out of sight Zach buried his face in his hands and took several deep breaths trying to find the strength to face the rest of the day. After a few seconds Zach took one last deep breath, pulled his hands away from his face and got up. Zach pulled on a pair of sweats and made his way into the kitchen, pausing briefly to stare out the front door window. The summer sun was shinning brightly, but Zach could only feel a deep, abiding cold.

Zach looked around the kitchen for a few moments before deciding to make French toast for breakfast. Zach smiled slightly to himself as he remembered all the times he had made this same breakfast before for Alex. It was one of Alex’s favorites and Alex usually ate it faster than Zach could make it. Zach sighed, remembering. He was going to miss the gusto with which Alex attacked life.

A few minutes later, and after Zach had mostly finished cooking, Alex came walking into the kitchen pulling on a shirt. Alex smiled sadly at Zach as he saw the breakfast Zach had made him. "You shouldn’t have gone to all this trouble Zach," Alex said softly.

"I wanted to make you something you really liked," Zach answered, kissing Alex as he put a plate of food in front of him. "It wasn’t really that hard anyway. But even if it was, you’re worth the effort."

Alex smiled and then slowly began to eat. Zach sat down across from him and slowly began to eat his own breakfast. Zach could barely taste what he was eating and he noticed that Alex barely paid attention to his own food. Instead the two would frequently pause and gaze into the other’s eyes.

They had finished eating and were simply sitting staring at each other when there was a quiet knock at the front door. Alex briefly closed his eyes and sighed. "That will be Mark and Jason," Alex said needlessly. Alex opened his eyes and looked sadly at Zach. "I guess I better go let them in. So they can help finish moving me out."

Zach didn’t trust himself to answer. Instead he simply nodded and watched as Alex got up and walked towards the front door. Zach closed his eyes, breathing deeply again. He could hear the quiet greetings of the usually boisterous brothers in the living room. After several seconds Zach squeezed his eyes even tighter closed and buried his face once again in his hands as he fought against the urge to sob again.

How long he sat in that position, Zach couldn’t really say. It must have been quite some time though when Jason quietly walked into the kitchen and stopped behind his chair. Jason squeezed Zach’s shoulders in quiet support and then knelt down behind Zach and wrapped his arms around him in one of his huge bear hugs. Jason had been holding Zach for several long minutes when Mark and Alex came walking into the kitchen.

"We got all my stuff out to the cars," Alex quietly announced, his voice nearly breaking. "I guess it’s time for Mark and I to go. Jason’s gonna stay here tonight."

Zach looked up, his eyes showing his confusion as he looked into Alex’s eyes. "What?" was all he managed to get out.

"Mark and I decided that yesterday," Jason started to explain. "We didn’t think either of you should be left alone, at least not on your fist night apart. So Mark is gonna go with Alex and I’m gonna stay here."

"We’re not gonna let our little brothers be alone tonight," Mark added smiling at Zach. "You’re still our little brother Zach. Now and forever." Jason simply nodded his agreement.

Zach closed his eyes trying once again to keep from crying. "Thank you," Zach finally whispered, his voice cracking with emotion.

Mark smiled at Zach and squeezed his shoulder in support. "Come help me out on the porch Jason," Mark said trying to give Zach and Alex a final few moments together in privacy. Jason briefly tightened his hug before letting Zach go and following Mark out onto the porch.

Zach stood up and turned to face Alex, his eyes haunted. "I love you," Zach whispered. "That is never going to change. I will always love you Alex. Don’t ever forget that."

Alex pulled Zach into a tight embrace. "I love you too Zach," Alex whispered into Zach’s ear. Alex was quiet for several moments, just holding onto Zach. "It’s not too late," Alex said, almost desperately. "I could still call and say I have changed my mind about taking the job."

"Don’t," Zach whispered sadly but firmly. "Don’t go there. I won’t let you stay. And you won’t let me follow. Who knew that love could be so terrible? That it could be so unfair?" Zach pulled away slightly and kissed Alex tenderly. "Now go," Zach commanded gently but firmly. "Before I start crying again. And before I lose my strength to let you go."

Alex reached up and tenderly wiped away the tear that was coursing down Zach’s cheek. Alex briefly kissed Zach’s forehead and then turned to walk out on the porch and to the waiting car. Zach followed Alex onto the porch and stared as Alex slowly climbed into the car. Mark briefly hugged Zach in parting, but all Zach could see was Alex sitting in the car, getting ready to leave. As Mark got into the car, Zach could see Alex’s body begin to shake as he broke down and started to sob. It took everything that Zach had not to run to the car and grab Alex, to hold him tight, and to comfort him.

Zach stood and watched as Mark and Alex slowly drove down the street and out of sight. Zach stood staring at the empty road for several long moments. Finally, Zach sighed as his shoulders slumped and he turned to enter the house. Jason smiled understandingly at him and draped his arm over Zach’s shoulder as they walked through the door.

"It’s so empty now," Zach muttered as he looked around the living room. Jason squeezed his shoulder briefly and Zach turned slightly and looked at him. "I know, nothing is really gone, but it’s empty all the same." Zach was quiet for several moments, just staring at the room without really seeing it. "How am I suppose to go on without him?" Zach asked quietly, not really expecting an answer.

"Alex asked me to give you this Zach," Jason said as he fished a folded up piece of paper out of his pocket. "He asked me to wait till he was gone before giving it to you." Jason squeezed Zach’s shoulder again trying to lend a little comfort.

Zach stared at the paper a few moments. "Do I want to read this?" Zach asked, looking up at Jason. "What does it say?"

"I don’t know Zach," Jason answered. "He just made me promise to give it to you."

Zach slowly walked over to the couch and sat down, still staring at the note. Taking a deep breath, Zach opened the letter and began to read.


I love you. I always have. I always will.

You are probably asking yourself how do you go on now. God knows I’m asking myself that same question. I’ll give you the same answer Dad gave me when I asked him the same question. Day by day, one day at a time. You’ll put your life back together Zach. You are stronger than you think Babe. You are probably the strongest person I know.

I know you Zach, so it’s not so hard to figure out what you are thinking. Right now, you are probably wondering if the pain you are feeling will ever go away. You’re wondering if opening your heart was worth it. I’ve got to believe it was Babe. It was worth it.

You relate to music. You always dig meaning out of the songs you listen to. So I’ll give you a song to listen to. It’s by the Pet Shop Boys and it’s ‘Was It Worth It?’ The song answers the question for me Zach. It was worth it. If I could go back and change my life and the time I spent with you, I wouldn’t change a thing. Even knowing how I feel right now, I wouldn’t change a thing. I can only hope you feel the same about me.

Don’t ever forget, I love you Zach. You may have said it first all those years ago, but I love you with all my heart. Nothing can ever change that.

I love you,


Zach stared at the letter in his hand, his eyes welling up, his hands beginning to tremble. Jason walked over to the couch and sat down next to him. Jason slowly reached out and pulled Zach into a tight embrace. At first, Zach tried to resist, but suddenly he started to sob and buried his face in Jason’s chest. Zach’s entire body was shaking with the pent up grief and loss he was feeling and his body was wracked with sobbing. Jason simply held Zach tightly, offering what comfort he could but knowing nothing could really help Zach’s grief.

Quite some time later, Zach finally began to quiet and his body slowly stopped trembling. Zach slowly pulled away from Jason and sat back into the couch. "I’m sorry," Zach muttered not looking at Jason.

"Hey, it’s ok Zach," Jason said smiling at him. Jason started to pretend to wring out his shirt. "My shirts only a little soggy now. No big deal! I hear salt water can be good for your clothing every once in a while."

In spite of how he was feeling Zach couldn’t help laughing at Jason. Jason joined in Zach’s laughter and put his arm around Zach’s shoulder. Smiling impishly at him, Jason then tousled Zach’s hair for a few seconds before letting his arm come to rest around Zach’s shoulders.

Zach sighed again leaning his head against Jason’s shoulder. "I really don’t know how I’m gonna go on Jason," Zach admitted quietly. "Alex has been my whole world for so long. How do I just pick up the pieces and keep going?"

Tears started running down Zach’s cheeks again and Zach closed his eyes trying to shut the world away. Jason tightened his embrace, letting Zach express his grief.

After a time, Jason gently lifted Zach’s face to look into his eyes. "Why don’t we try and get some sleep Zach?" Jason asked softly. "You might feel a little better in the morning."

Zach simply nodded his head yes. Jason stood up and slowly pulled Zach up. Jason then guided Zach back to his bedroom. Zach stood staring at the empty bed for several moments and then squeezed his eyes closed as he started to sob once again.

Jason gently pulled Zach’s shirt and pants off and then got him to lie down on the bed. The entire time Zach kept his eyes closed as the tears continued to roll down his face. After a few moments Zach felt Jason slide into bed next to him and wrap his arms around him, holding him tightly. Zach started sobbing even harder and burrowed into Jason’s chest as he slowly cried himself to a fitful sleep. The entire time he felt Jason holding him, rubbing his back in as a comforting way as possible. Zach could feel his heart breaking. He felt like his life was ending. He didn’t know how he would go on.

But he had to agree with Alex. It had been worth it.

And he wasn’t alone. He still had his brother with him.

And he still had his memories…..

font size="2">This story is dedicated to the Real "Alex." I still love you. And even after all this time, I still miss you.
Copyright © 2011 Greg_A; All Rights Reserved.
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you meanie! :,(

i cried when i read it first! i cried again! now i sound like i have a cold... again! :P


and i sooo believe it was worth it! any slice of life... with real love in it, is always worth it, methinks! :)

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On 10/23/2011 01:53 PM, Frostina said:
you meanie! :,(

i cried when i read it first! i cried again! now i sound like i have a cold... again! :P


and i sooo believe it was worth it! any slice of life... with real love in it, is always worth it, methinks! :)

Thanks Frosty! I love ya Baby Girl! And yes, I agree, it was worth it - and always will be!
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This was incredibly sad, especially since it's based on a true story. sceptic.gif It reminded me of Tennyson's poem..."tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Tennyson was speaking of a dear friend who had passed away, but the sentiment still holds true here.


Very well written, Greg! Thanks. thumbsupsmileyanim.gifworshippy.gif

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On 10/25/2011 07:11 AM, Conner said:
This was incredibly sad, especially since it's based on a true story. sceptic.gif It reminded me of Tennyson's poem..."tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Tennyson was speaking of a dear friend who had passed away, but the sentiment still holds true here.


Very well written, Greg! Thanks. thumbsupsmileyanim.gifworshippy.gif

Thanks Conner - I appreciate it. I always try to keep the sentiment of that poem firmly in front of me whenever I reflect on the events in this story. Granted, at the time it wasn't really what I was thinking, but looking back now it certainly helps.
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Omg Greg, I am so sorry. But I just don't understand. What, did they just totally break up just b/c Alex got a job a few hours away? Are they never going to see each other again? I don't understand, no phone calls, no emails, no texts???? No holidays together? I don't understand.


There are a million banks on every corner practically! Are you telling me Barb or w/e Zach's new boss's name is, couldn't ask around and try to get him a transfer? Or even a job in a different bank, doing something else? Just b/c Zach couldn't find his ideal job for a long time, doesn't mean in someplace different it would be the same. He might have been able to find a great job in a different bank. Omg, why the hell wouldn't he go up there w/Alex and look around? He didn't even go up there to see his apartment? Omg, I am so upset. I can't believe they (you) just left it like that.


There is nothing better than love and if you find the love of your life, so to speak, nothing should get in the way of that. Not family, not friend and certainly not jobs. This would never be my solution. I would have went up there with Alex and tried my damnest to find something.


Idk, I'm sorry this happened to you Greg. My heart is breaking for the two of you. But was this the only solution? Do you every hear from "Alex"?

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On 10/26/2011 08:17 AM, Lisa said:
Omg Greg, I am so sorry. But I just don't understand. What, did they just totally break up just b/c Alex got a job a few hours away? Are they never going to see each other again? I don't understand, no phone calls, no emails, no texts???? No holidays together? I don't understand.


There are a million banks on every corner practically! Are you telling me Barb or w/e Zach's new boss's name is, couldn't ask around and try to get him a transfer? Or even a job in a different bank, doing something else? Just b/c Zach couldn't find his ideal job for a long time, doesn't mean in someplace different it would be the same. He might have been able to find a great job in a different bank. Omg, why the hell wouldn't he go up there w/Alex and look around? He didn't even go up there to see his apartment? Omg, I am so upset. I can't believe they (you) just left it like that.


There is nothing better than love and if you find the love of your life, so to speak, nothing should get in the way of that. Not family, not friend and certainly not jobs. This would never be my solution. I would have went up there with Alex and tried my damnest to find something.


Idk, I'm sorry this happened to you Greg. My heart is breaking for the two of you. But was this the only solution? Do you every hear from "Alex"?

Well, I did try and warn everyone that this wasn't a feel good story....


Sorry, kind of tongue in cheek response there. But to comment on a few of the points you listed:


You need to remember the events in this story happened quite a few years ago. Cell phones, texting, IM, etc - all those instant means of communication weren't all that available then. I also changed Alex's job in the story in a misguided attempt to "protect" his identity (which he laughs at me for now). His real job had him working nights and weekends. As a Banker (boo hiss) I worked days and thru the week. Our time off never meshed. So trying to do a long distance relationship when we would never see each other just wouldn't work for us. You might have noticed reading the story I'm a little high maintenance.... lol


Also, I was willing to give up my job and follow him to his new city. Alex couldn't accept that though. At that point in time he couldn't shake the feeling that he had failed me somehow. And so even though I was willing to start over career wise, Alex couldn't deal with the guilt (misplaced in my mind) and I couldn't convince him otherwise.


And finally, Alex and his partner are still very much a part of my life.


Thanks for reading and commenting Lisa! Feel free to ask other questions if you want - PM me or post in the thread in the GA Stories Discussion. I don't promise to answer anything thrown my way, but I'm pretty good about answering most. I doubt anyone here will come up with something that wasn't asked in my Group! lol

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Well, I went there, and as you said, very heartwrenching and ya'll giving up each other out of love and beings completely honest in this situation did not help the horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. I know this is a little personal. but you said Alex and his partner are very much a part of you life. Dare I hope that you found someone also? Beautiful, sad , story. Looking forward to more of your work

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On 03/08/2012 02:53 AM, joann414 said:
Well, I went there, and as you said, very heartwrenching and ya'll giving up each other out of love and beings completely honest in this situation did not help the horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. I know this is a little personal. but you said Alex and his partner are very much a part of you life. Dare I hope that you found someone also? Beautiful, sad , story. Looking forward to more of your work
Thanks Joann. It means a lot to me that you took the time to read my story and leave a review. More than I can really say.


As far as the personal question, well, that's ok. There were a couple of other guys in my life over the years after the real Alex. Neither was really meant to be though. Maybe some day I'll find someone else. Till then I'll just pester the real Alex and drive him crazy! Crazier? Eh - whatever! LOL


Thanks again!

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"Barb you’re a life saver!" Zach answered excitedly. "Thank you so much. You don’t know how much I appreciate this." I was shouting at my computer reading this.. Noooo Zach - don't do it !!! But you didn't listen ;) !! Not that I listened to you either :lol: I waited 2 days before I read this story. I needed to know "was it worth it".. Yes I think so, imagine how empty Zachs life would've been without Alex.. Alex was there for Zach when he needed him when his awful (sorry) family turned their backs to him.. A very sad story.. I have known for 2 days that they would break up so I knew that before reading this story and that was good, thanks for the warning.... I loved the part when Alex's brother said We’re not gonna let our little brothers be alone tonight," Mark added smiling at Zach. "You’re still our little brother Zach. Now and forever that brought tears to my eyes..

Very wellwritten Greg, it must have been vary hard to write something so personal and sad :hug: Was it worth it ?, well only one person can answer that question :):hug: :hug:

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Wow! So heart wrenching! I just found your stories today when I was reading the updated prompts. So sad I missed you until now, but I have devoured all of your stories now and I love your writing talent! So sorry that 'Zach' is auto biographical. No one deserves that kind of pain. Loving 'blind date' and will continue to follow you. I wish you the kind of excitement you write about in this latest offering. :o). Pat

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On 04/17/2013 03:38 AM, Slytherin said:
"Barb you’re a life saver!" Zach answered excitedly. "Thank you so much. You don’t know how much I appreciate this." I was shouting at my computer reading this.. Noooo Zach - don't do it !!! But you didn't listen ;) !! Not that I listened to you either :lol: I waited 2 days before I read this story. I needed to know "was it worth it".. Yes I think so, imagine how empty Zachs life would've been without Alex.. Alex was there for Zach when he needed him when his awful (sorry) family turned their backs to him.. A very sad story.. I have known for 2 days that they would break up so I knew that before reading this story and that was good, thanks for the warning.... I loved the part when Alex's brother said We’re not gonna let our little brothers be alone tonight," Mark added smiling at Zach. "You’re still our little brother Zach. Now and forever that brought tears to my eyes..

Very wellwritten Greg, it must have been vary hard to write something so personal and sad :hug: Was it worth it ?, well only one person can answer that question :):hug: :hug:

Thanks for the compliments Little Blue Bear! I do appreciate them all!


Alex's family has never let me go - thank god! And they still treat me like one of their own - noogies and all! lol They have seen me thru all of life's scrapes and I owe them big time. Love them all!


And to answer the question, yes, no doubt about it, it was worth it!


Thanks for reading Little Blue One and all of your sweet comments!

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On 04/17/2013 03:43 AM, secretsides said:
Wow! So heart wrenching! I just found your stories today when I was reading the updated prompts. So sad I missed you until now, but I have devoured all of your stories now and I love your writing talent! So sorry that 'Zach' is auto biographical. No one deserves that kind of pain. Loving 'blind date' and will continue to follow you. I wish you the kind of excitement you write about in this latest offering. :o). Pat
Thanks for the kind words!


There was pain, yes, but it made me who I am today. And along the way I got to experience some pretty wonderful things too. Alex's love, being included in his family and still being par of it today, I wouldn't trade those for the world!


And for the record, A&Z and WIWI are autobiographical but the events of Blind Date are all from the imagination!


Thanks for reading and commenting. I do really appreciate it!

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I loved the first story and even though this ending isn't one I'd wish on anyone that much in love I also love this continuation.. this end. It was heartbreaking and so very touching. It's sad that this happens, too often in life that those that love each other have to let the other go so that they can be the person they were meant to be. In a perfect world this would never happen, in another perfect world they'd be a part for a while but then something in fate would allow for them to be together again.. but neither of those perfect worlds exist.

You've done a wonderful and awful (maybe wonderfully awful?) thing here by showing how unfair life can really be. So many love stories have only the happy endings, but not all love stories end in happiness. It really is better to have loved than to have never loved at all. It IS worth it. No matter how much you feel like it's tearing you apart.

Now to go find something else to read that will stop these tears! Ugh! I really should look into buying stock in Kleenex. Between you and one other author I've gone through an entire box in two days!

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On 01/29/2015 08:37 AM, TheDomSong said:
I loved the first story and even though this ending isn't one I'd wish on anyone that much in love I also love this continuation.. this end. It was heartbreaking and so very touching. It's sad that this happens, too often in life that those that love each other have to let the other go so that they can be the person they were meant to be. In a perfect world this would never happen, in another perfect world they'd be a part for a while but then something in fate would allow for them to be together again.. but neither of those perfect worlds exist.

You've done a wonderful and awful (maybe wonderfully awful?) thing here by showing how unfair life can really be. So many love stories have only the happy endings, but not all love stories end in happiness. It really is better to have loved than to have never loved at all. It IS worth it. No matter how much you feel like it's tearing you apart.

Now to go find something else to read that will stop these tears! Ugh! I really should look into buying stock in Kleenex. Between you and one other author I've gone through an entire box in two days!

Hey - thanks so much for reading and commenting! I'm glad you enjoyed even if I did make you go thru a box of Kleenex. (And yes, I do own stock..... LOL)


Thanks again - I really do appreciate it!

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I loved this story, but I just can't believe the result??
You both loved each other so much! You could've made it if you both tried.... long distance relationships do work if both parties will work on it. Sounds like you both just gave up on each other after the decision was made

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On 01/06/2017 01:15 PM, mutch71 said:

I loved this story, but I just can't believe the result??

You both loved each other so much! You could've made it if you both tried.... long distance relationships do work if both parties will work on it. Sounds like you both just gave up on each other after the decision was made

This is rather hard to reply to - which is why the delay. But I figured it was time for me to at least attempt a reply. Man up and all that crazy jazz....


Yours is a common response I hear - Why oh why did we both just give up? Why didn't we try? Why....


Blame the author for not being a very good story teller I guess. But we didn't just give up on each other. Nor did we not fight with each other over it. I couldn't bring myself to write a few thousand pages rehashing all of our arguments. Truthfully it tore me up just writing the story in the first place. I couldn't even bring myself to even edit the story - what's posted is the first and only draft. The only reason I wrote it at all is because I have a few persistent friends who pestered me, uh, I mean asked politely for me to finish the story. (LOL)


It's also a mistake to just think it was just a job that tore us apart. It was a symptom, not the cause. Again, blame the author for not making that clearer. I really should have.


But I do want to thank you for reading my story. And for commenting - even if it was hard to reply to! But that's ok. It means my story touched you and your question touched me. What more could a teller of tales ask for?


Thanks again!

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Okay, should I start crying or throw my tablet at the wall. I need a minute to decide what to do.


I never got around to review on Alex and Zach. Sorry about that. I loved that story and never expected an end like this.


Besides I really wanted to say that I understand what it must have been like. Sometimes it doesn't work no matter how much you try and it's just the way of things I suppose. Yet it keeps hurting no matter what. The pain never really goes away. If you haven'the been through it you will never understand the agony. I hope you are over the heart break and happy now.


Well, the story is wonderful if I didn't already say that. Please keep writing more, even though it's not about Alex and Zach.
Thasks for the wonerful read.

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Greg, I loved Alex and Zach, and I knew this wasn't going to be a good ending...and I was crying for some time before the end.  I read all your replies, and the comments which prompted them...I understand fully, but I'm not happy about it.  It was more than jobs and locations, and maybe it was better to hold Tennyson's view...but I'm not happy about it.


I am/was a hopeless romantic, who found that love only once in the most unlikely of sources, and it lasted for more than ten years--but I lost him even so...and it was in such a way that there could never be any reunion.  He was a cousin of a good friend, and I was warned not to say much when he went out with our group of friends (mostly straight) as K just got out of the Army and was homophobic...so I barely talked to him.  It was a complete and utter shock to hear from K six months later asking to meet up...and fairly soon, we became lovers.  He was actually bi, and had trouble dealing with that sometimes...but after a few days or a week, he'd come back to me, reading his poetry to me, singing and doing some awfully romantic and sappy things when it was just us.  I taught him to get comfortable with kissing, and he encouraged me to be a bit more aggressive in bed until we both became versatile.  For more than ten years, we were together, but in the background were his troubles with his family (religious nuts who insisted he do what they wished in exactly the way they wished, or he was not to show his face).  This was all without them suspecting he was bi--that would have been a nuclear bomb going off, even though he wasn't living with them at age 40. 


I say we ended in such a way that we would never be together again--he was better at concealing his mental turmoil than I suspected, and in the end he couldn't take his family's pressures anymore.  He stopped by my house on a Friday, we hung out for some time, then he left early the next morning.  That Sunday, he went over to his parents' house while they were out, got one of his dad's guns and killed himself in their back yard.  The memorial service showed just how little they knew of him, and most of the attendees were his parents' cronies from their church.  They had to put a good face on it for them...pretending to be loving concerned parents, which they weren't.  Some of his friends and cousins who knew the story refused to go, as they'd blow up at his parents, but I had to...I needed some sort of closure.


I think this is why I can't accept the outcome graciously with Tennyson's words--there is no circumstance save death which can prevent a resolution to any problem.  So, in 2007 I lost my love finally and forever...and I feel his loss to this day and can find tears in a second when I think of him.  I've never looked for another, as I'm over-the-hill so far as the gay community is concerned.  :)   So, while I can logically appreciate all your words and the story's ending...I can't do it emotionally.  It was a severely heart-wrenching tale, and I thank you for sharing it.


I'll have to check out the rest of your work--good job on pulling such emotion from your readers.

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As this was written years ago about something that happened decades ago I debated even commenting. @Greg_A, my heart aches for you. I can logically say that there must have been more to the choice to break up than just distance but my heart still hurts for “Alex & Zach”. I think it is easy to forget that gay relationships were not seen the same way as they are today back then (I mean, a spouse would move with their husband/wife generally). Also, it is very hard to truly judge the state of someone’s relationship when just seeing a snipit oftheir life. The fact that you are able to pull your readers so solidly into your story that they are heart broken for you characters is proof that you are an excellent story teller (though, this was truly a gut wrenching experience to begin with). No matter what I hope you have been able to find the love you truly deserve and am happy you still have ‘Alex’s’ family to call your own.

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