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Pacing the Pews

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“Please answer, please answer, please answer…” Zach spun in his office chair, tilted back so that he was staring at the ceiling. “C’mon Moore, just pick up the goddamn phone already…” He stopped spinning, dizzy, and leaned back further.

“Hello?”

“Fucking finally. Took you forever to answer.”

“I was working on something, jeez cut me some slack.” Justin sounded more amused than pissed however. “What’s got you all fired up?”

“I need a favor,” Zach admitted reluctantly. “Kind of a weird one.”

“Aren’t all of your favors weird though? At least, the ones you ask of me are…”

“Shut up. Listen, my cousin’s getting married and I said that I was bringing someone. So now everyone thinks I’m dating someone.”

“Okaaaaay...so what’s the favor?” Justin asked suspiciously. “Sounds like there’s a catch coming here.”

“Well, I kind of meant that I was bringing a friend, but now my entire family is all stoked that I’m finally not single. Who am I to disappoint them?”

“Just explain it to them?”

“Would you want to explain that to my mom?”

“True…” Justin admitted. “Ask Bethany to go with you.”

“I did,” Zach said morosely. “She’s busy.”

“When is the wedding?” Justin asked with a long-suffering sigh.

“You’ll go?”

“Maybe. When is it?”

“Next week Wednesday. So you’ll come?”

“Yes, yes I’ll come with you to save your sorry ass.”

“I owe you dude.”

“You sure do.”

~~~

“Well, you clean up nice.” Zach was standing at Justin’s door, looking mildly stunned at his friend’s level of dressed up-ness.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Justin demanded. “Do I not look nice the rest of the time?”

“Uh well...you do but...not that I notice !” The blond waved his hands, feeling oddly flustered, both by Justin’s attire and by the curly haired man’s teasing words and the smirk that accompanied them. He knew Justin was just kidding, but Zach did think he looked nice most of the time, and he most certainly did notice how nice Justin looked.

Yeah, he had a huge crush on Justin Moore and he was completely and utterly aware of that fact.

But it wasn’t like he was ever gonna tell Justin how he felt.

So he was pretty much doomed to suffer being eternally flustered around his friend.

“Are you ready to go then?” Justin asked, trying to adjust his tie and failing miserably.

“I am, but it doesn’t look like you are,” Zach said, trying to tease Justin back a little bit, to cover up how awkward he felt. “Do you even know how to tie a tie?”

“Uhhh...sort of?” Justin said with a sheepish little smile and shrug.

Damn it, why did he have to be so cute?

“Here, let me…” Justin had gotten the majority of his tie on right, so Zach just had to adjust it a bit, but that involved being really close to the dark haired man with his hands all up in Justin’s personal space. “Sorry, gotta be awkward for a second here.”

“You do what you need to. I’m aware that I suck at performing basic adult actions such as tying a tie.”

“I assure you, you’re not the only one,” Zach said gently, adjusting Justin’s tie so that it laid straight. The dark haired man smelled really good, Zach had noticed that before, and now that he was this close, it was even more apparent.

The blond wasn’t sure how he was gonna make it through the night without doing something stupid.

“There, all fixed.” He stepped back away quickly, despite wanting to linger. Justin leaned over and gave him a quick little kiss on the cheek.

“Thanks hon .” He said it teasingly, because technically, they were supposed to be fake dating for the wedding, but it still made Zach’s heart jump pathetically.

But two could play at that game, right?

“You’re welcome babe,” he said casually, feeling inexplicably triumphant when Justin threw his head back and laughed. “Let’s get going before we’re late.”

“No greater sin than to be late for a wedding,” Justin said, still grinning. “At least in your mom’s eyes.”

“You know it.” Zach blinked when Justin opened the driver’s side door for him. “Wait, aren’t I supposed to hold the door for you?”

“Yeah but you look more like a girl.” Zach glowered, hand going to his long ponytail.

“Shut the fuck up Moore.”

“Not my fault you want to look like a grungy rockstar,” Justin said with a casual shrug. “Also, rude to swear at your boyfriend.”

Zach hid his sudden blush by getting in the car.

He wasn’t going to last the night, was he?

~~~

“Are all weddings this long?” Zach complained as they drove to the reception. “I’m never getting married.” He was mostly just grumpy that all his family had been cooing over “how cute he and his boyfriend were”.

Justin wasn’t helping the fact by simply looking so cute.

“So when your mom asks when we’re getting married?”

“No.”

“What if I want to get married? What about my feelings?”

“We’d be the worst married couple, what are you talking about?”

“Who knows…”

Why did Justin sound so thoughtful?

Zach really needed to get drunk…

~~~

Justin’s accent was more pronounced when he was tipsy.

Zach just kept learning new things about his friend, things that only intensified his crush on the curly haired man.

The fact that his accent got somehow even more pronounced, slowed down to a molasses-like drawl.

He was more flirty when he was tipsy too, which wasn’t helped at all by the fact that he was hitting on some of Zach’s cousin’s wife’s relations, who were from places other than the south.

Which meant that they all found Justin’s accent “so cute and charming”, which made Zach want to hurl. He’d heard them drunkenly giggling and had immediately had to leave the area.

Something about them calling his friend “hot”, and talking about how they were going to try to get Justin to leave with them made Zach inexplicably angry.

Maybe that was his big old crush talking though…

“Those girls were talking about trying to get you to leave with them, just so you know,” Zach said, sidling up next to Justin.

“Which?”

Zach tilted his chin at the group of giggling harpies, who clustered tighter together and waved when they noticed Justin looking at them.

“Ugh…” Zach muttered.

“Did they not hear that we’re dating?”

“I dunno, must have been the way you were flirting with them,” Zach said with a little more venom than he’d intended. Justin looked at him, head tilted to one side.

“I wasn’t flirting with them. I was just asking them about your cousin’s wife. I’m fully committed to our little ruse Zach.”

“Yeah...our ruse…” Zach grumbled ruefully. He might have been just a little bitter that it was just a ruse instead of reality.

“Hey…” Justin slipped an arm around Zach’s waist, pulling him closer. “None of that now. Get drunk and dance with me, show those girls I’m not interested.”

But Zach merely pulled away, shaking his head.

“Zach?”

“I can’t...This was a stupid idea, I’m sorry for dragging you here.”

“Zach…”

But before Justin could get anything else out, Zach vanished into the crowd, heading outside to get away from the noise and Justin’s inquisitive, confused look.

Why had he thought this would be a good idea?

Why had he thought that he could just ignore his crush on Justin while also pretending that the curly haired man was his boyfriend?

What had made him think that would be smart?

Zach sighed and leaned against the wall, running a hand through his hair, only to be stopped by his ponytail. He snorted and pulled the hair band out, ruffling a hand through his hair once it was free.

“I’m so dumb…”

“Why?”

Zach startled at Justin’s voice, opening his eyes and startling again when he saw how close the curly haired man was to him.

“Justi-”

“You’re not dumb,” Justin murmured. “Why was this a stupid idea?”

“It just was. I should have just told my mom we were just friends. Or better yet, just come alone. I should have known…”

“Should have known what?”

“I have a huge, stupid crush on you okay?” Zach blurted out finally, feeling strangely satisfied with the shocked look on Justin’s face. “And I should have known that pretending to be dating would be a horrible idea. I thought I could just ignore my feelings long enough to make myself look good...and I couldn’t ignore them. I’m sorry I dragged you here and then dumped all this on you. It’s not fair to you.”

Justin had stayed silent throughout Zach’s little rant, and now looked thoughtful.

“And I probably just ruined our friendship by telling you this. I definitely ruined our night, I’m so sor-”

“You didn’t ruin a damn thing.” Zach stopped mid sentence, mouth hanging open in what was probably a really attractive look.

“What?”

“You didn’t ruin anything,” Justin said, softer this time, and leaned forward to kiss Zach, just a quick, gentle little kiss on his mouth.

“No.” Zach pulled away. “No, no, no that’s not fair, don’t you do this to me. I’m not acting anymore Justin.”

“Who said I was?” Justin took advantage of Zach’s surprise to lean forward and kiss him again. It took one more kiss for Zach to respond, hands coming up to settle hesitantly on Justin’s hips, leaning into the taller man.

When they pulled apart, Zach frowned.

“What? Was that bad?” Justin asked. “I mean, I know I’m a little drunk...”

“No it was fine, but…”

“But what?”

“Why’d you kiss me?”

Justin further confused Zach by laughing in that cute way he did, head thrown back, startling Zach into smiling.

“I kissed you because I like you too, you idiot.”