The slamming of Zach's bedroom door causes Chris to wince. Everyone sits in awkward silence for a moment, the Merkin interview still playing in the background.
Chris fiddles with his empty shot glass in a bid to avoid everyone's gaze. He can feel Zoe's glare on the top of his head, and he flushes because he knows he was an ass, damnit, but he didn't mean it the way it sounded. It's not like he minds that Zach stares at him all the damn time, even though he knows it doesn't mean what he wishes it meant, except that it cuts into the time that he can stare at Zach.
Finally he lifts his head, just in time to see Anton exchange a helpless look with Karl and John to hold up his hands in the classic "oh hell no, not me" gesture. Chris glares at all of them, but there's no heat to his gaze.
Simon snorts, breaking the silence that's enveloped them all. All eyes swing to him as he pours himself another shot and throws it back. He looks back at all of them.
"What? Like you didn't realize this was going to end badly."
Chris starts in surprise before, burying his face in his hands at his friends' guilty looks because of course they had set them up, and Chris can't believe he hadn't realized it before. His head buzzes with alcohol and annoyance. "You fuckers. Why would you do this?"
Everyone laughs and Chris scowls, wondering what in the hell is so funny about his friends conspiring to get him and Zach drunk and set them up, when there's nothing to set up.
Karl claps him on the shoulder. "Look," he begins, and then hesitates. He shakes his head and starts again. "For Christ's sake Chris, go after him, will you? We can all tell you guys fucking love each other, we never would have gone along with Anton's plan if we couldn't, so just... go apologize for being an ass and fix this, OK?"
Anton yelps in surprise and defense, glaring at Karl, but Chris ignores him. He looks at all his friends in surprise but they're all nodding, even Zoe and Chris suddenly feels his world tilt and rearrange as he realizes he's missed something big.
"But you, I mean, I thought..." he stammers to Zoe and she wrinkles her brow in confusion.
Chris shakes his head instead of continuing, unable to vocalize his confusion and surprise as he realizes that his assumptions about Zoe and Zach are completely and utterly wrong.
He rubs his hands over his face, trying to rub away the slight numb feeling that comes after doing shot after shot and climbs to his feet. "OK." He looks around at everyone and nods again as he lets out his breath in a whoosh. "OK." He can go after his best friend, the one he's had a crush on for literally years and been in love with for at least one of those, and apparently, according to his friends, loves him back. Of course he can. He closes his eyes, trying to ignore the nervous feeling in his stomach.
John scrambles to his feet, kicking Anton lightly. Anton stares back at him blankly and John rolls his eyes, kicking Anton again and making a not-subtle at all gesture with his head towards the door. Chris watches in amusement as Anton's eyes widen in acknowledgment and he climbs to his feet, tripping over Karl in his haste.
"We should probably... yeah. We should go."
Karl nods in agreement and he and Zoe climb to their feet, gathering the alcohol and chips as they go. Simon remains seated, feet up on the table, munching on chips and looking quite comfortable. Zoe rolls her eyes, grabbing Simon by the ear and yanking him up.
"OW OW!" Simon twists away with a glare, rubbing his ear. "Shit, OK, fine, let's go. All this planning and we can't even stay to see the aftermath," he grumbles, grabbing the half-empty vodka and heading to the door.
Karl gives him another supporting pat on the shoulder and follows Simon out, dragging Anton and John with him. Zoe presses a quick peck to his cheek, smiling encouragingly and giving a wink.
"Go get him," she laughs, before following the others out and Chris rubs his cheek and grins because he's never been so happy to be wrong about something in his life