Matt called Zac 'Sinatra' once and the name stuck, just between the two of them.
They were on the Chuck set, and Zac had just been entertaining the cast crew between takes - as he is wont to do - dancing around and provoking people to join him in song.
"Ol' Blue Eyes?" Zac said, grinning. "I'm flattered. Don't know that I could pull off the '40s sex symbol' thing, though."
"I'm sure you could," Matt said without thinking. "If you can pull off the 'sexy spy thing' wearing a pocket protector, you can do anything." Zac's face went blank for a moment and Matt began to worry. He's very private about his personal relationships, but Zac isn't. Zac is definitely straight.
Matt is definitely not.
And it's definitely not a good idea for the gay guest star to inadvertently catch himself flirting with the straight lead, but then Zac blushed and said, like he'd just assumed that Matt was playing with him and he'd decided to play along, "Oh, so Bryce thinks Chuck is sexy, does he? Wonder if they know that in the writer's room?"
"Of course they do," Matt told him, sotto voce like it was supposed to be a secret. "'You're the only person I could trust'? Bryce so has a crush on Chuck. He's written that way."
Zac laughed. And maybe if that'd been the end of it - maybe if Josh had happened across them a second sooner, or if Matt had gotten the bright idea of high-tailing it out of there, he could have written down that encounter as a disaster averted and forgotten about it.
But before Josh came along and diverted Zac's attention... Before Matt could use that excuse to slip off to make-up and change out of his Bryce Larkin garb while his mind reeled, Zac said, "Lucky Chuck." He was smiling a great, big Bartowski smile and so Matt has to live the rest of his life knowing that one Joshua Gomez is all that saved him from saying something even more certain to make a fool of him in the next seven seconds.
Matt even tried to thank Josh for it, the night everybody got stupid drunk after filming the season two finale (Bryce Larkin - and possibly the show - were, as far as they could tell, dead.)
"Don't know what you're thanking me for, dude, but you're much obliged," Josh told him. Zac was laughing loudly about something with Adam and Vik across the table.
They did some karaoke that night, too, and Matt's sure that nobody knew what Zac was talking about when he took the stage and requested High Hopes. But as Zac said, "This is for my number one fan... Number one because I've only got the one fan. You know who you are, with the true blue eyes," Matt felt like every head in the place had turned to him.
He really wished that didn't turn him on.
But it did.
Zac's taken to garbling out a few lines of Moon River or I'll Be Seeing You whenever he and Matt run into one another at conventions or awards shows.
Possibly, if he knew what Matt still sometimes fantasizes about doing while Zac sings softly in his ear, he wouldn't add fuel to the fire. But that doesn't stop Matt from fantasizing. Zac has pounds and inches on Matt, and Matt imagines Zac using every one of them to take Matt hard and rough up against a dressing room table, while Zac's smooth, easy voice breathes music against Matt's naked skin.
Matt imagines Zac crooning words like "Someday my happy arms will hold you..." just before swallowing down Matt's weeping dick. Or "It must have been that something that lovers call fate - Kept me saying, 'I have to wait'..." while Matt writhes beneath Zac and begs to come.
"Sinatra," Matt greets Zac, their now old in-joke, at the People's Choice Awards, behind Stage 3.
"I oughtta be the one calling you that, I hear," Zac says, bumping Matt's shoulder. "See? I told you that you and I could make some beautiful music together!"
Matt's sang with Zac several times in his daydreams, but he hadn't been comfortable enough while they were (sorta, briefly) on a show together to try it for real. And the Kennedy Center thing wasn't a performance at the Oscar's, or a collaboration that's actually made it onto the radio, but he's more confidant now since he did it, so Matt says, "Maybe we should."
Zac's face lights up.
This is one of the things that Matt finds really hot about Zac. A lot of people in this business say things like "We need to hang out again sometime, man" or "We ought to get in on this together", and it's all just a way to make small talk, a bunch of platitudes.
But not Zac. Zac is dead serious, every time. And he expects everybody else to be.
"Dude. We most certainly should! What are you doing after this?" Zac asks, like they're going to run off and record a single together this evening.
Matt laughs to hide his nerves. He's caught himself thinking, 'If we recorded the kind of music I want us to make together, it'd be the end of both our careers for anybody to see it.' "Nothing. Just heading back to the hotel."
"You're not hitting any of the after parties?"
"Not really my thing."
Zac looks truly bummed about that, which does nothing to help Matt's blood pressure. (Bryce Larkin was not the one with the crush back in Matt's "spy" days.)
And that's probably why Matt does the extremely unwise thing of saying, "But I could get out. You wanna go somewhere and catch up?"
'What the fuck are you doing?' Matt's inner voice asks him, uncharacteristically vulgar.
He's the lead in a show now, but it's still a bad idea to flirt with straight men.
"Yeah! Absolutely!" Zac says, sounding as excited as he looks. "I know just the place..."
Simon usually doesn't go to events like the PCAs with Matt; they avoid scrutiny that way, and it's easier if one of them stays at home with the kids while the other is out of town for business. Therefore Matt doesn't have anyone to call to discuss his change of plans with after he changes them for Zac, but he almost wants to call home anyway.
It's not the way that he and Simon do things. They have an agreement, and if anything ends up happening between him and Zac, then calling Simon beforehand would break it, but just the fact that Matt is anticipating something happening tells him that he's standing on thin ice.
Zac is just a friend. A straight friend, Matt finds it important to remind himself repeatedly. It's not Zac's fault that he's also somehow the subject of some of Matt's favorite fantasies. Matt's always been a sucker for a sweet voice. And the fact that Zac is tall, dark and handsome helps nothing.
So Matt imagines what his husband would tell him if he did call and ask for advice, while he waits to meet up with Zac after the Awards show ends.
His imagination takes him from a sensible conversation about the importance of discretion, to a playful 'tip list' of all the things that Simon would say drive him crazy when Matt does them to him, to plans for an enthusiastic threesome as Matt's anticipation builds.
In other words, by the time that Zac shows up in Matt's hotel lobby, dressed in a suit every bit as trim and sexy as the one he was wearing earlier, Matt is screwed so far as his chances of being discreet are concerned.
Hopefully, his chances of being screwed are much greater than he thinks.
Matt calms down as the night progresses. Like always, after he's around Zac long enough for the both of them to cut loose a little and be themselves, Matt remembers how much he enjoys Zac's company, the aesthetic qualities of Zac's face, and body, and the way that he moves his hips while he dances, aside.
He's having such a good time, that when it comes time for him and Zac to part ways, Matt experiences another out-of-body-like disconnect between himself and his mouth. "You can come up if you want," he says in the cab outside his hotel, casual, like Zac wouldn't know exactly what that means if he'd been given the offer by a girl.
Zac looks at Matt like he knows what it means regardless. But he smiles and nods at the cabbie, and he slides out of the cab after Matt while Matt's pulse catches up with his tongue and he wonders if this is really happening.
In Matt's room, though, things don't get immediately awkward or porn-worthy. They raid Matt's mini-bar, and then Zac does something with his iPod and the room's flatscreen that Matt isn't entirely sure is legal, so they have music.
They're sitting on the couch, emptying a lot of those little liquor bottles that cost more than necessary (but speak less obviously of trying to get your former cast member drunk so you can have your wicked way with him) and Matt is pushing himself to just do it already. 'Kiss him, goddamn it,' his inner-voice chides, embracing its newfound potty mouth.
When I've Got a Crush On You by the Frank himself starts to play. Matt isn't sure what Zac sees in his face as Matt hears it, but Zac throws back his head and laughs.
"Oh god... I forgot I had that on there!"
"I told you," Matt has to laugh, even though he isn't sure what's causing that self-conscious humor he sees shining in Zac's eyes. "You're the Chairman of the Board. You even have his music on your iPod!"
"Well I do now." Matt gets the feeling that Zac is trying to tell him something, by the way that Zac is still looking at him, the new shape of Zac's smile. And then Zac begins to sing.
"It's not just that you're attractive... But, oh, my heart grew active when you came into view...
I've got a crush on you, sweetie pie. All the day and night-time give me sigh..."
Matt doesn't resist. When the urge to answer back strikes him, he sings back, "I never had the least notion that you felt such emotion... Could you coo, could you care? The world will pardon my mush, 'cause I have got a crush on you..."
Zac kisses him.
Everything is a blur of touch and taste that Matt will have to sort out later. He's enjoying himself too much in the moment to wrap himself up in any one sensation, instead struggling to absorb them all. The way Zac just lays a hand on the strip of skin that is revealed when Matt's shirt rides up out of his pants, for long moments, like he's waiting to be sure that Matt won't push him away before searching for more of Matt's skin. The tickle of Zac's light beard against his jaw as Zac plants kisses up and down his neck; the feel of Zac's teeth when they nibble at Matt's lips; the little moan Zac makes when he opens up his lips and Matt pushes his tongue between them. The taste of cigarettes and liquor and Zac and the weight of Zac's body as it presses more and more eagerly against his.
Matt rises, the pupils of Zac's dark eyes wide and the look on his face delicious as Matt holds out a hand to him, the unspoken understanding between them that Matt would like to move this somewhere else.
"Look, Matty, I'm- I don't-"
Words tumble out of Zac's mouth, and Matt swears that his blood freezes for a minute. It's incredibly late in the game for Zac to be saying that he isn't gay - he's been palming Matt's dick through the fabric of Matt's pants for the last ten minutes; Matt could feel Zac's own erection hot against Matt's thigh.
But Zac continues, "Aren't you... with someone?"
"I am. But we have an understanding. This is okay."
Zac doesn't look convinced by that. But he doesn't look as ready to bolt as he had a second earlier either, so Matt grabs his hand and pulls him to his feet. He thinks he might lean up and kiss him again, but he gets distracted when they're standing together and he's reminded of how much taller Zac is than him, so instead Matt presses his lips to the hollow beneath Zac's adam's apple; he traces the convex with his tongue.
He hears a shaky breath shudder out of Zac, and Zac's hands lift to settle on his hips.
"So... that bed looks comfy," Zac says, sounding nervous, in the way of an, 'Alright, let's do this.'
Matt does kiss him then, determined to get his nerves jumping in an entirely different way. 'This' will be better than 'alright.' In fact, Matt has a feeling that the reality of it is going to put his old fantasies to shame.