It was official, Taylor decided. The world was conspiring against him. Despite all the work he put into helping his brothers coordinate Fools Banquet, it was usually fun and relaxing for him. Something seemed very off this year, however. He couldn't quite put his finger on what the problem was at first, but that nervous twinge at the base of his spine just wouldn't go away.
When they drew names for the second round of songwriting, he knew the problem exactly. Isaac held out a hat containing a slip of paper with each fool's name, and he called out their names in groups of two and three. The third group to be called was a trio-–Zac, Carrick and Har Mar. Taylor's stomach lurched and he felt blood rush to his face. He hardly noticed as his own name was called off.
"Tay? Tay, did you hear me? You're with Al," Ike said, waving his hand in front of Taylor's face.
"Huh? Oh, okay," Taylor replied, his attention still elsewhere. Zac had slithered his way to Carrick's side and stood on his tiptoes, whispering something in the other boy's ear. Whatever it was made Carrick's eyes light up and Taylor's stomach turn.
Next year, Taylor planned to get violently ill before Fool's Banquet and just skip the whole stupid thing.
Carrick lead the way to the kitchen, the only room that hadn't been claimed yet, picking one of Zac's guitars up off the couch along the way. It was funny. Usually Zac didn't like to let anyone touch his guitars, or any of his instruments, really--just his brothers, and even then it made him nervous. But he didn't give a second thought to it when Carrick slung his favorite guitar over his shoulder. He watched as Carrick plopped down in a chair, looking very much like he owned the place. It still felt odd for Carrick to be here, in his brother's house. But Zac wouldn't complain, as long as he got to see his best friend.
"Zac? You there, buddy?" Carrick's voice called out.
"Yeah, yeah... sorry," Zac replied, fumbling around on the counter top, looking for his notebook. Finding it, he took a seat in the floor. "Sorry, go on."
"Looks like somebody's been..." Sean trailed off, pressing his thumb and index finger together and holding them to his lips.
Carrick laughed and looked back at Zac. "You know I'll have to kill you if you're getting stoned and not inviting me, right?"
"Yeah, yeah. I was just thinking, okay?"
Carrick raised an eyebrow at him, and it made Zac tense a little. He ought to know he couldn't keep anything hidden from that boy. He knew Zac almost as well as Taylor. And Taylor...
Zac tried to put those thoughts out of his mind and focused on transcribing the melody Carrick had begun to play. Sean quickly joined in, humming along and throwing out a few possible lyrics. Zac offered a few suggestions of his own, and the whole thing seemed to flow quite naturally.
As Zac became more and more excited about the their song, he found himself unable to sit still. It always happened that way when he got really involved in the process. He stood and began to pace a little, tapping out the beat on his legs, as Carrick played through the chorus once again.
"Actually, what if we try this?" Zac asked, rushing to his best friend's side as inspiration struck. He scribbled quickly in his notebook, scratching out the existing lyrics and then leaned over Carrick's chair, holding the notebook in front of his face. They were close enough for Zac to smell him-–vanilla.
"That's great, that's what we'll do," Carrick replied, turning his head to give Zac a big, toothy grin. His eyes twinkled and Zac thought there was some other thought lurking behind them, something other than the song.
"Ahem," Taylor gave a very loud, fake cough to announce his presence in the doorway. "How's the... songwriting going?"
Zac instantly stood up straight and jumped back from Carrick's chair. He felt like he had just been caught with his hand in the cookie jar – though he'd done nothing wrong, had he?
"We're doing really good," Carrick replied. "Think we'll be able to use the studio soon?"
"Sure. Just clean up when you're done," Taylor said with a sneer.
That'll make this day easier, he thought.
He was quite certain that by the time he returned, Al would have the song written anyway. His mind had been too preoccupied with thoughts of Zac to contribute much to the songwriting process and he was pretty sure Al had noticed, but luckily hadn't said anything.
Sure enough, when he entered the studio, Al was sitting at the console listening to the playback of the song. He had roped several other fools into recording bits and pieces of the music and all that was missing was Taylor's vocals.
"You ready to go?" Al asked, twirling his chair around to face Taylor.
"Yup. Let's get this thing done," Taylor replied, tilting his head back to suck down the rest of his drink.
When he was in the recording booth, Taylor could put it out of his mind. He could forget about his wife and their newborn son. He could forget about how they hadn't shared a bed for months. He could even forget about the things he was certain Zac and Carrick had done, were doing, would surely do somewhere in this house whenever his back was turned. Singing put all those problems out of his mind, for at least five minutes.
After several takes, they declared the song finished and Taylor let out a sigh. Back to reality. He tossed his headphones down and walked out of the booth, ready to return to the kitchen for another drink. He picked up the empty glass and offered Al a smile and nod before turning toward the door.
Before he could reach the door, Zac and Carrick burst through it. Taylor couldn't help but notice the casual way Carrick's hand rest casually on Zac's back. That was not the way you touched your best friend. Not at all.
Zac pulled away from Carrick's grasp and walked over to Taylor, standing dangerously close to him. Taylor wanted to back away, but it would look too obvious. The tension in the room was already palpable enough for everyone to notice.
"Tay, can we use the studio now? You guys are done, right?"
"Yeah, it's all yours. Knock yourself out," Taylor replied, pushing by Zac and heading once again toward the door.
Zac grabbed Taylor's arm and pulled him back, his grip firm.
Taylor raised an eyebrow. "Can I have my arm back, please?"
Zac ignored him, tightening his grip to pull Taylor's body close, close enough to whisper in his ear.
"You need to get over this jealousy. People are starting to notice."
Still, the way Carrick looked at him...
After the trio finished recording their song and handed the studio over to another group, Carrick had taken Zac by the hand and drug him up the stairs, to the makeshift secondary studio. Zac followed behind him, trying not to think too much about the way Carrick's hand felt in his and how odd it was to hold another man's hand anyway.
"Nice, we're all alone up here," Carrick said with a smile, standing at the top of the stairs and surveying the room.
Zac tried not to read too much into those words, but it was more than he could manage. He couldn't help the butterflies in his stomach when Carrick bounded over to the twin bed in the corner and curled up on it.
"Well? Are you going to join me?"
Yes, there was definitely something more going on in Carrick's mind that Zac had originally thought. With some hesitation, he made his way to the bed and sat as far from Carrick as the small mattress would allow.
"So, I've got these lyrics, right?" Carrick said, then began to sing, softly.
His voice always gave Zac the shivers, even more so now, with no accompaniment. Zac had to get away. Had to do something. He leapt up from the bed and ran to the keyboard, where he began plucking out a melody he hoped would match the lyrics. Carrick seemed not to notice Zac's discomfort.
In just a matter of minutes, they had nailed down the music. Zac stood from the keyboard and sat back down on the bed, only slightly closer to Carrick than before. He grabbed the notebook from him and began singing while Carrick played the melody on his guitar. Carrick joined him on the chorus and it made Zac smile. He liked the way their voices mixed together, liked the way Carrick looked holding his guitar...
Before he even realized that he was going to do it, Zac leaned forward and pressed his lips to Carrick's. He could sense Carrick's hesitance at first, but soon the other boy relaxed, his lips softening against Zac's.
The kiss was forceful, but quick. Zac pulled back and stared at Carrick for a moment, figuring his expression likely mirrored the surprise on his friend's. Without taking his eyes off Zac, Carrick placed his guitar in the floor and scooted closer to him.
"Carrick, I-–I'm not sure we should..." Zac stuttered out, his mind flashing through all the reasons why this was a bad idea.
"Please. There are better things you can do with your mouth right now besides talking."
Carrick smirked and nearly pounced into Zac's lap, covering Zac's mouth with his lips before he had a chance to reply. Zac couldn't argue with the way that felt. He tangled one hand in Carrick's hair, the other running up the thinner boy's back. Carrick ran his tongue across Zac's bottom lip and he could not help but moan as he opened his mouth to let Carrick in.
When Carrick abandoned Zac's mouth to run his lips across his neck, Zac knew there was no turning back. He wanted this. All of it. Grasping at Carrick's shirt, he laid back on the bed, pulling the boy on top of him. Carrick wiggled against Zac and he could not stop the groan that escaped his mouth. The feeling of Carrick's hardness straining against his pants made Zac's own cock twitch-–and he was certain Carrick could feel that, too.
With one hand grasping at Carrick's hips, Zac rolled his own upward. Carrick met Zac's thrusts with his own, pressing his head against Zac's shoulder and moaning. Zac's fingernails dug into Carrick's skin, urging him closer. The friction was driving Zac insane and he knew this would not last long. Part of him wanted to draw it out and savor every second, but he knew how much they were risking.
Still thrusting against Zac at a feverish pace, Carrick grasped Zac's face in his hands and kissed him hard. Zac moaned against Carrick's mouth, feeling himself drawing nearer and nearer to the edge.
"Carrick, we need to stop--" Zac managed to whisper, pulling away from his grasp.
The way Carrick pouted made Zac doubt his resolve, but he knew how close he was. This just couldn't happen. Still, the feeling of Carrick's body pressed against his, their cocks both straining against their jeans –
He had not even heard the footsteps on the stairs. But the small squeak that escaped Taylor's mouth sounded as loud as a scream. Zac turned his head just in time to see his brother galloping back down the stairs.
He could hear Zac's footsteps behind him, calling his name. But he would not reply. Finally Zac's voice faded away and he thought his brother had given up. He ran through his bedroom, straight to the bathroom. He braced himself against the sink and waited for the nauseous feeling to pass. When he was certain that he was not actually going to vomit, he splashed a little water on his face and turned to leave the room. He pushed the half-closed door open and jumped in surprise when it hit something.
"Fuck, Taylor!" Zac yelled, backing away from the door.
Taylor cautiously stepped out of the door to see his brother leaning against the wall, rubbing his nose. For a second, he wanted to be sympathetic. But the feeling passed.
"I think you're confusing me with someone else. Like, oh I don't know... Carrick?"
"Oh, get over it, Tay," Zac replied. "We're not having this fight right now. Not with all these people in the house."
"All I'm saying is don't rub it in my face when you decide to fuck someone else, okay?" Taylor huffed.
"Fine. I won't," Zac replied, deciding that his nose might not actually be broken. "But honestly, it's not like I'm your girlfriend or something. We're both married, and you're gonna get upset because you can't have me all to yourself?"
"I never said--" Taylor began, taking a step closer to his brother. "I never said you couldn't fuck whoever you wanted. I just don't want to watch."
"Oh, for fuck's sake," Zac replied, rolling his eyes. He grabbed Taylor's shirt and pulled his body close, crushing their lips together. He pushed past Taylor's initial resistance and slipped his tongue into Taylor's mouth.
Taylor broke off the kiss and shoved Zac away. "You think you can just kiss me and everything's okay?"
"Actually, I do," Zac replied with a smirk, taking a big step forward and pressing his lips back against Taylor before his brother could protest again.
Against his better judgment, Taylor relaxed into his brother's grasp. Feeling his brother's reserve melting away, Zac walked him toward the wall, never letting their lips part.
"No, Zac, we are not--"
Zac frowned. "Don't you want me?"
"I didn't say that, did I? You're such a little kid. It's not that simple, Zac," Taylor replied, backing away from Zac and finding himself pinned against the wall.
"I've hardly seen you for weeks, Tay," Zac said, placing tiny kisses along Taylor's jawline. "I miss you, us, this. I needed something."
Taylor sighed, closing his eyes. "I've missed you, too."
That statement, and the soft moan that followed, were enough for Zac to feel vindicated. He slid his hands down Taylor's chest and fiddled with the button on his jeans. Taylor wiggled his hips a bit to help the process and Zac smiled to see his lack of underwear.
Taylor shuddered as the cold air hit his exposed skin. He couldn't resist running his hands down Zac's back to cup his ass, needing him closer. It seemed like no matter what, he could never get quite enough. He yanked on the zipper of Zac's pants, then rubbed his hand against Zac's underwear, his arousal obvious even through the material.
Zac smiled with relief, glad to see Taylor's interest. Still trailing kisses down Taylor's neck, he he mirrored his brother's movements, sliding his hands down his back to cup his ass. His couldn't resist digging his fingertips into his brother's skin, eliciting a sharp intake of breath from Taylor. With a wide grin, he spun Taylor around to face the wall.
"You know," Zac whispered in Taylor's ear, inching a finger into Taylor's ass, "You're the one I want to do this with. You're the only one, Tay."
"Oh, fuck. I know," Taylor replied, the words fading out into a moan.
Ever so slowly, Zac pulled his finger out, then slid it back in, enjoying the way it made Taylor writhe. When he sensed Taylor relaxing into his motions, he pulled back and added a second finger.
"If I'm the one you want, Zac, just fuck me already," Taylor gasped out.
"Never say I don't give you want you want."
With that, Zac removed his two fingers and pulled his cock out of his underwear. He grasped the base of it and guided himself, slowly, into Taylor. When Taylor didn't protest, he pulled out almost entirely, then thrust harder.
"Fuck," Taylor groaned.
Zac could feel Taylor's body shaking beneath him. He put one hand on his hip to steady him, and placed his other hand over Taylor's on the wall. Positioned this way, Zac began a steady rhythm. As soon as he sensed Taylor was relaxing, he began to build up speed. The thought that anyone could walk through the hallway and see them only made Zac harder.
Taylor couldn't take it anymore. He needed more. He always needed more. He grasped at Zac's hand, the one digging into his hip, and wrapped it firmly around his dick. Zac took the hint and squeezed it tightly, jerking Taylor with the same rhythm he was fucking him.
Within minutes, he felt Taylor begin to twitch, his breath growing even more ragged. Zac knew he was close. He continued to pump Taylor's dick for all it had, then placed his hands again on his brother's hips, pulling their bodies even closer together.
"Ugh, god Tay," Zac groaned, continuing to pump Taylor's ass.
Zac gave one more long, deliberate thrust, feeling his knees weaken as his orgasm overtook him. After a few shaky breaths, he withdrew from Taylor and spun his brother around, dropping to his knees in front of him.
Zac bobbed up and down quickly, then pulled back to suck on the head, his hand covering the rest of Taylor's length. The way Taylor rolled his hips, forcing more and more of his length into Zac's mouth let him knew that this would not take long. Zac was prepared for it, and when his brother's moans increased, he swallowed every bit of the load that followed.
With shaky legs, Zac stood and looked Taylor in the eyes. He placed a kiss against his brother's cheek. "You know I'm sorry, right?"
Taylor nodded, but did not reply.
Zac leaned against the wall, feeling almost too tired to redress himself. He looked over at Taylor, who leaned against the wall in much the same way, his pants still pushed halfway down his legs.
"But I really do feel bad about tonight, you know," Zac said, fumbling to zip his jeans.
"I know, Zac. I know. The sooner you shut up about it, the sooner I'll get over it," Taylor replied.
"Well, I was just gonna say... if it'll make you feel better, I'm sure Carrick wouldn't mind if you joined in," Zac replied, scurrying down the hallway before Taylor could chase after him.