"Everyone said you were nothing but trouble and-"
Luke's voice carried out through the dark night. The fire lit up his face, casting strange shadows across his cheekbones and nose. They had found an acoustic guitar in the basement. It was slightly out of tune, and covered with a thin layer of dust. Nick sat across from Luke, basking in the heat of the fire and Luke's voice. He knew Luke could play guitar well—hell, he often used to strum away at that old guitar of his non-stop. What Nick was not aware of was Luke's exceptional voice. Luke looked up from his guitar and met Nick's gaze. He smiled shyly, and continued to sing, staring directly into Nick's eyes.
"All that I know is that I've never been here before."
Nick felt his neck and the top of his ears heat up and redden. A warm, fluttery feeling stirred in his stomach—like nervous butterflies but more pleasant and welcome. Luke flushed slightly too, the small shy smile that was there before returning to his lips. Nick took a moment to look at him more closely. In the evening light, it was harder to make out many details. Like a minimalistic drawing, you could only see the outline of Luke's features. Nick, who sat quite close to the fire, looked young and innocent, a smirk playing on his thin lips. His hat had long ago been taken off and set down in the dirt, and his dark hair was crazy and unruly around his face. Despite their messy appearances and fear, both of the young men thought that the either could not have been more perfect. Here, in the peace and safety of the bonfire, neither denied that the love and adoration they felt went farther than friendship.
"And no, I'll never leave, if it's alright with you."
Nick stood up, his rough hands shaking softly. Luke stuttered, his voice wavering for a moment. A flustered expression crossed his handsome features, his eyes widening in surprise. Nick sat down on the rotting log, Luke was perched on. Only a few inches were between their shoulders. Both turned their eyes to the ground, glancing at each other when they thought the other was not looking. It was so strange, Nick thought, that never before he had noticed the way Luke's shoulders hunched forward slightly or the intent way he looked at Nick. Luke had never made it obvious that he returned Nick's feelings, in fact, he often seemed to squash any advances Nick had ever tried to make. Now, Luke leaned slightly towards Nick; he had finally admitted defeat. When he first felt himself begin to fall for Nick, Luke had tried endlessly to catch himself, grab onto something before falling in head-first. He saw know that although Nick was not who Luke had pictured as The One, he had no choice in the matter. It felt inevitable that the two of them would end up together. The timing was not perfect—zombie apocalypses aren't the best setting for romance—and the group would most likely disapprove. This time though, Luke would not turn away from Nick. He couldn't.
"Dreaming of oceans while jumping in puddles and-"
Nick's hand slowly crept towards Luke's side. His fingers softly curled around Luke's knee. He felt him stiffen but then relax to his touch. The fire was dying down, but neither took much notice to the fact. The night air was cool and crisp, nipping at Nick's nose. The smell of rain hung in the air, and it saddened Nick to think that they would have to go inside soon. It occurred to him that things would be different around the group; everything would be the same as it was before. Luke would most likely push Nick away like he so often did.
"All of my life I pretended you were there by the door."
It had never occurred to Nick that maybe the reason Luke had always pushed him away because he was scared. Nick knew about fear. He also knew that being fearless was something no one could do, no matter how hard they tried. One could only be fearless in moments of time, in fragments. At that second, Nick was fearless, for what did he have to be scared of. He leaned forward, pressing his lips to Luke's cheek once. Twice. A third time. Luke stopped his strumming and singing. Nick rose from where he sat, Luke's eyes following him. Nick smiled widely at Luke before turning to head back home. He'd been fearless. He only hoped that Luke could be too; that they could be fearless together. No footsteps echoed behind him, no voice called his name. It was then that Nick heard that same, slightly off tune guitar that he was listening to just moments ago, start back up. It sounded sadder now that it was farther away. It was loud, and Nick was sure it was attracting many walkers. Luke's voice suddenly joined the guitar and echoed off the looming trees around him. He sang a single line that told Nick everything he needed to know.
I don't need to pretend anymore.