Everyone always called Chris fruitcake. He didn't mind, because he was really not the gayest one of their band; that'd be Jensen, and calling him fruitcake would always have been borderline discriminating, especially since Jen wasn't exactly stereotypical. What Chris kind of minded was that everyone called him that in jest and didn't believe him when he said that he actually was kind of gay—he was bi. But he had been in a relationship with a girl for two years and ever since they had broken up, there had never really been anyone else, neither male or female; Chris really wasn't someone for one-night-stands. And short of having sex with a guy in front of his band-colleagues there was no way to convince them of his bisexuality. It wasn't that much of a problem, Chris figured; there were at least some fans who believed he was gay, but they kind of tended to write what they called 'fanfiction' about him having sex with Jensen, and that… no. Jensen was pretty and a really awesome guy, but he had been in a relationship with his high school crush Jared since seven years, and apart from the fact that Jared was an awesome guy himself and Chris loved him almost like the brother he had never had, he was also pretty tall and strong and if nothing else, that would probably have stopped Chris from making any advances on Jen.
Anyway. They all had their nicknames that not only they, but their fans as well called them by, and Chris was fruitcake. Which he was okay with for about ten months of the year, and then came Christmas, and people for some reason thought it'd be an awesome and original idea to send him—wait for it—fruitcakes. Tons of them, literally. If he wanted to, he could have built a brick house with the amount of fruitcake he got each year again. And Chris hated them; they tasted awful and didn't even contain real fruit and were like stones in his belly, and all his band colleagues—who had nicer, less graphic nicknames such as 'geek boy' (Jensen) or 'kiwi' (Karl)—always had a good laugh at him about it.
The morning of December the eighteenth, Chris and his colleagues had an interview in their record label's headquarters; Chris kind of wasn't really looking forward to it solely because he knew the moment he got there, he'd get another bunch of fruitcakes a bunch of caring, incredibly original fans had lovingly bestowed upon him via mail. Not to get him wrong; he loved his and their fans. Only because of them were they able to earn their living by doing what they loved and nothing else; without them, they'd be nowhere. But sometimes he wished they wouldn't think it'd be an incredibly genius idea to send him fruitcake. Couldn't they imagine that they weren't the first ones who had thought of it?
And, of course, Chris had been right with his supposition and Olivia the receptionist dragged a whole bag full of fruitcake over to him the moment he entered the building. Jensen and Karl were leaning onto her reception counter and laughing openly; Chris was completely sure they had waited there for the sole reason of watching him receive his 'gifts'. "It's not my fault!", he protested in the face of Olivia's scowl, but she didn't reply, simply dropped the bag at his feet and whirled around to stalk back to her counter, leaving a cloud of perfume in her wake. She had been acting towards him like this for almost two months now; ever since Chris had turned her down (she was pretty and a nice, friendly girl, vaguely funny, but it just didn't feel… right). Chris grimaced, then sighed, resigned, and grabbed the bag. Karl and Jensen, still giggling, walked over to him and hugged him as a greeting, thankfully refraining from commenting any further.
"So, how did you spend the last couple of days?", Karl asked, one arm wrapped around his shoulder while Jensen carried Chris' bag like the sweet guy he was. A week ago, they had wrapped up all the recording work on their newest album; now all that was left was promotion, production and all that stuff. Until they had to seriously start the promotion work—appearances literally everywhere, as well as starting to work on the video for the first single from the album—they had some leeway, apart from a couple of pre-pre-release interviews, pretty much like this one. This one, though, was special because it wasn't the usual music or trend magazine; it was a poetry magazine. Their first, actually. Apparently the magazine and its readers were interested in their lyrics, which was actually terribly flattering. So flattering that Chris had had a tiny freak out when he had found out who they were going to be interviewed by, not only because he had a subscription to the magazine (okay, so he had a thing for poetry; no harm done), but also because their interviewer, Zachary Quinto, did not only own the magazine, he was also a regular contributor. He wrote short stories that weren't what one could call breathtaking, but got to Chris in some substantial, somehow more significant way; he couldn't even always tell why or how. And now Zachary Quinto was interested in what Chris (okay, and the others) wrote. If that wasn't enough to make a guy giddy, Chris didn't know.
"Okay baby, calm down," Karl's amused voice penetrated his thoughts, his hand rubbing his shoulder, and Chris had two thoughts at the same time; one, and people think I am the fruitcake? and two, damn, I zoned out. There was no way Karl wasn't going to get a clue now the moment Chris stumbled or fumbled in the presence of Zach Quinto, no way. "Well, I spent some nice quality time with my two beauties."
Chris smiled. He knew how much Karl loved his wife and daughter; they were completely precious and basically part of the family that their band was. Just like Jared was, and John's wife, and Anton's three sisters, and Rachel's ex-husband too, even though Eric was currently not on speaking terms with her. Or she with him, for that matter. It didn't automatically happen when one of them got a new partner—none of them had liked Audrina much, or approved of Olivia's fawning over him for that matter, or liked any of Zoe's hipster boyfriends—but it did, and Chris was thankful for it. The band was like his second family (his first, actually, if considering who he spent most of his time with) and he didn't like the thought that he'd have to keep them and his relationship separate, if he ever got into a serious one.
"And I-", Jensen started, and Karl and Chris finished together with him so they chorused "spent my time with Jared." Jensen tried to scowl at them, and Karl mockingly raised his eyebrow while Chris adopted an innocent expression, and Jensen was too happy about the time he had spent with his boyfriend to be able to maintain his frown for long.
"Come on now guys, hurry up!", someone called from ahead of them, and they all looked up to see Zoe standing in front of the interview room, arms crossed and frowning at them. They could all see through it though; she wasn't really angry. None of them were; how could they be after a couple of day's rest, of doing absolutely nothing?
"Hey sweetie!", Chris called and skipped ahead, ignoring Karl and Jensen's sniggering and whispered Fruitcake behind him as he hugged Zoe. She didn't have a nickname; she didn't like them and nobody dared give her one even though Jensen didn't like them either and he still had one. It was different with Zoe.
"Hey baby!", Zoe cooed back, and Chris tried not to roll his eyes because when they didn't call him Fruitcake, they called him baby. He wasn't even the youngest of them, that'd be Anton, and nobody called him that. Chris smiled at her nevertheless and then entered the room while she greeted Karl and Jensen. Immediately, he startled; instead of Anton or Rachel or John, as he had expected, there was a guy he didn't know sitting on the sofa leafing through what looked like a notebook, looking up when he entered the room. Their eyes locked, and as cliché as it sounded, Chris felt light-headed for a moment.
But who could blame him? The guy was gorgeous. Not exactly pretty in the common sense of the word—pretty like Chris and Jensen were, a kind of aesthetically pleasing that anybody could recognise—but actually better; smooth, intense, the personification of handsome, really. He wore a fife o'clock shadow even though it was morning, and his dark hair was gelled back, but not plastered to his head, strands of hair falling into his forehead and making Chris' fingers itch to brush them back. He was dark and fierce in a different way than Zoe, a quiet, intense pulse, subtle but still almost palpable at the same time. Chris twitched and realised with a start that he had taken two steps into the room without even noticing, and that he was a breath away from becoming painfully hard. And the guy was staring at him like he wanted him to be.
The spell was abruptly broken by Jensen stumbling into the room and brushing against Chris back, followed by Karl, Zoe, Anton, John and Rachel. Apparently the last three had arrived while Chris had been inside the room, staring at the guy who either was their interviewer or Zoe's new boyfriend—though the latter wasn't too likely, since she wouldn't bring anyone to an interview. Chris didn't want to admit how relieved he was about that until he realised that that meant the probability that this guy was Zachary Quinto was beyond high. He almost groaned; it was just like his luck that a guy he had found attractive already without even knowing him had to be just breathtaking. He was very thankful when John jumped his back to greet him and he could turn around and sweep both him and Anton into his arms, the beginnings of a smile at their antics on Quinto's face in his mind. He tried very hard not to turn around and see how the guy would look with a real smile on his face and mostly succeeded (apart form one or two sneaked glances while he let go of Anton and John to pull Rachel into a hug).
And of course he was right; the guy stood (and he was a tad bit taller than Chris, and possibly even more handsome and captivating while standing) and introduced himself, and after they all had introduced themselves as well, gotten comfortable on the sofas and acquired their cups of favoured beverage (tea, coffee, hot chocolate for Chris and Rachel) the interview began. Their band was special, Zach explained, because their lyrics weren't written by one or two of them like usual, but each of them contributed lyrics of their own. If one really paid attention to it, after a while they would be able to tell by whom which song had been written.
It felt really more like a discussion than a real interview, though of course they were being recorded and would be quoted later, which meant they naturally censored themselves. Usually, interviewers focused on one or two members of their band, usually on the singer (Chris) and the lead guitar (Rachel). This time it was different, because they all wrote lyrics and so they all could distribute to the discussion, which made the interview a lot more lively and a lot more fun. Even when Karl asked with a grin and a not-so-secret glance at Chris whose lyrics Zach liked best, it didn't turn embarrassing or awkward, because Zach smoothly explained that he liked them all for different reasons, and what they thought the most potent differences between their individual lyrics were.
Chris thought he was being pretty stealthy in his adoration of Zach (god, the guy was eloquent), but it seemed he was a lot less subtle than he had thought, because by the end of the interview, the hole band had pretty much caught on. So basically, the whole interview was part-elating (Zach was pretty breathtaking in basically all areas, as far as he could tell) and part-torture for Chris. It was terribly embarrassing; he could practically see realisation make its way through his colleagues and friends. Not only that he kind of maybe had a thing for Zach, but that he actually hadn't been kidding all this time when claiming he was really actually bisexual. He would have been glad they wouldn't say anything to him about it in front of Zach, if it weren't for their subtle or not-so-subtle glances and grins. He was kind of scared of the end of this interview because he just knew his friends would start interrogating him the moment Zach left the room.
He was partially wrong, though. When after an hour of, while on-topic, still mostly chatter, gently directed and encouraged by Zach, their manager JJ knocked on the door and poked his head in, calling an end to the interview and asking for their time for some discussing of details and other organisational stuff. Suddenly, everybody had something urgent to do—rest room using, toilets, important phone calls—and before Chris could even blink, the door slammed closed behind Zoe and he was alone with Zach, who had been gathering his notes and was now staring at the door in bemusement.
"Uhm," Chris made and blinked. Zach turned his head to look at him, smirked and put his notes down again. Keeping his eyes fixed on Chris', he pointedly reached for his voice recorder and switched it off.
"So," he said. "You interested in going out for a coffee or something? I promise there'll be no fruitcake present."
Chris licked his lips (not on purpose, it was a nervous habit), and Zach's eyes immediately zoned on his lips. It made his breath stutter, and all he could do was nod hastily. Zach looked up at him and smiled quickly before looking away again; suddenly he seemed nervous, not so self-assured, and ironically, that gave Chris his confidence back. He licked his lips again, deliberately this time, and said, trying not to sound neither too silky nor too eager nor too nervous, "Or something?"
Zach grinned, and before he could change his mind, Chris quickly leant over and scribbled his mobile number on an empty spot of Zach's note. Then he kissed him awkwardly on the cheek and fled the room before Zach had the chance to react.
He found his bandmates and JJ down the hall in front of the vending machine, Rachel apparently having bought JJ a diet coke if her indulgent expression and JJ's happily sipping it were anything to go by. JJ saw him first and grinned, waving him and the others down the other corridor into his office. Chris ignored the others' giggling and nudging him, but as soon as the door fell closed behind him, they rounded on him and started to needle him for 'details' while JJ looked totally befuddled. Chris raised his hands placatingly and backed into the wall and said "Wait, why don't you tell me why you think anything happened?"
Zoe snorted in contempt and said "Oh please, don't pretend you didn't notice how he was checking you out practically the whole time."
Chris' mouth fell open. "He what?"
Karl and John broke out into giggles while Anton (Anton!) shook his head indulgently, and Jensen rolled his eyes and said "Hell, Fruitcake, even I noticed." Karl and John only laughed harder while Chris scowled and, unable to help himself, asked "So he really checked me out?"
At that point the whole conversation deteriorated into general amusement on his expense, and Chris pouted as his friends, studiously ignoring JJ who was all but jumping around them, wanting to know what was going on. Thankfully later, because they were too excited relaying 'the story' of 'Chris and the interviewer Zach' to JJ, nobody heard his cell phone vibrate, and nobody saw his wide smile at the text he had received from an as of yet unknown number, suggesting a place and a time and 'no fruitcake, promise'.