Zach silently sits at the table and ponders. Pen and paper in front of him. He scans his and Shaun's condo and he smiles. As he picks up the pen and begins to write, Shaun stands in the doorway and stares at Zach. He is deep in thought. A collection of words come to Shaun's mind to describe Zach; attractive, beautiful, charming, compassionate, intelligent, responsible, decent, honorable, and sexy. He smiles and goes back in the other room so he doesn't distract him. Zach unaware of Shaun's presence continues his writing…
We never went more than a week without seeing each other and it's been 6 months now since I left. So I'm going old school and writing you a letter. I hope you are doin well Monkey. You know that I want the best for you. I only have a few minutes before I need to leave for school. I just want to let you know that I am doing really well. Amazing in fact. I didn't know life could be this great. Cal Arts is pretty fucking great, Tori. Only 5 months into the school year, and I already lined up a summer internship working for a film studio doing designs for movie sets they are shooting around LA. I didn't even need Shaun's help with that, they liked me. They actually liked me and my art. Can you fucking believe it? Shaun's been busy, he's pitching his book to a bunch of execs. Things are going pretty great with him, ya know relationship wise. – Zach stops for a moment and thinks 'Fuck I sound so gay' But he continues to write – It's different. I mean God, Tori it's different. If you asked me a year ago where I would be and told me I'd have all this I would have thought you were fuckin drunk and spouting shit but it's great. Me, Shaun, and Cody are family. The family I always wanted but never dreamed of having.
The little man started kindergarten. He asks about you. I really don't think Jeannie is coming back. Truth is, she hasn't contacted me once. Not even to check in on her own son. I love her, but how can you be a mother and just leave your kid, move a thousand miles away and not even check in? Shaun is trying to talk me into sending her papers to sign away her rights. I don't know if I can do that though. To my sister? Cody asks about her less and less as time goes by. First it was "Will Mom know where to find us since we moved?", "When is she coming back?", "Why hasn't she called?", and the questions became less and less. I think he realizes it too. But honestly without me, Cody would be fuckin lost with Jeannie so I don't know what to do? Ok Tori, I gotta go. Miss ya. I hope you come down and see the place. You know you're always welcome down here monkey (I promise I won't try to fuck you).
Zach just kept looking at the letter. Analyzing every word. Should I say this? Should I not have said that? Is it weird to talk about this with my ex? He thinks but eventually he decided that was good enough. "Well that was a trip" Zach said out loud as he sealed the letter and left it on the counter of his and Shaun's condo in LA. Zach had been thinking of San Pedro a lot over the last few weeks, and of course Tori was a big part of his life then. Zach hurried to the living room to grab his backpack. He had spent more time on the letter, and reminiscing then he had the time for. He looked down at his watch "Shit." he said loudly. "I am fucking late. Ugh damnit."
Cody came walking in. "Those are bad words. Don't say them."
Zach turned around unaware that Cody had been there. "I'm sorry codes. I know those are bad words and you shouldn't say them." Zach smiled walking over to pick Cody up. "Shaun's gonna take you to school today. I gotta get to school too buddy."
"I love school Daddy!" Cody says smiling. Zach still can't get over the fact that Cody calls him Daddy but it does make him happy. I am a Dad now, he thinks.
"Ankle biter. You ready?" Shaun asks coming down the stairs in a suit.
Cody smiles. "Yeah. I was telling Daddy how much I love school." Shaun loves that Cody calls Zach, Daddy. It takes his breath away watching Zach be happy. He quickly snaps out of adoring him to answer Zach's questions.
"Someone's dressed up!" Zach says as he walked over to kiss him on the cheek.
Shaun just stares at Zach. It hasn't been but 10 minutes since Shaun was watching Zach as he was writing. He looked so serious, so contemplative, and so sexy. "Yup. I got meetings today pitching the book. Gotta be dressed to kill babe."
"Dressed to kill?" Cody asked with a puzzled look on his face.
Zach and Shaun laugh. "It's just a saying buddy." Shaun says.
"I am late. I gotta jet" Zach declares hurrying out of the room. "I'll see you tonight. Good luck my boys." He says as he heads out the door.
Cody looks up at Shaun and asks. "Papa Shaun." And the questions just started pouring out. "Some kids in my class were saying that I come from a sick family? Do you and Daddy need help? What does that mean? I don't think you have a cold? I didn't get invited to Billy's birthday party because he said his parent's didn't want me there. Do they not like me? You? Daddy?" So innocent, and unaware of this reality.
Shaun just looked at him. He knew these questions were going to come eventually, but he was praying it would be much later though. "Well Cody, me and your Daddy are great. Not the least bit sick. Not even a sniffle." He paused, thinking of what to say next but Cody continued.
Cody looked up and said. "Okay can I have pancakes for dinner?"
"You know it ankle biter!" Shaun said as he and Cody walked out of the house. That went better than expected he thought. Fucking assholes teaching their kids that shit. This is just the start of it too, Shaun thought.
-At Cal Arts
Zach hurried to his Art History class, he was already about ten minutes late and this instructor had it out for him for some reason that even Zach himself was unaware of. He opens the door to his class. "Well well well Zach. Nice of you to join. I see my time means little to you." Professor Stevens says. "Travis would have been here on time."
Zach wonders who Travis is but says nothing as he takes his seat and pulls out his book, he whispers to the girl sitting next to him. "Did I miss anything?"
Suzy looked at him and smiled "Not a thing. The dumbass just likes the sound of his own voice." she said with a laugh. Zach nodded.
-At Cody's School
"See you tonight Cody!" Shaun says as Cody leaves for his classroom.
"K papa Shaun." Cody says running to the door. He's just loves learning.
Shaun realizes his cell is vibrating in his pocket as he gets back in his car. Gabe's name flashes on the caller ID.
"Hey little brother." he says as he answers.
"What's crackalackin you old cougar you?" Gabe says with a laugh.
"Nice talking to you too. What do you want Gabe?" he asks sarcastically.
"Well well well old man. Someone's cranky. Remember my best friend will be the one picking what home to put you in." Gabe says with a brief pause "I just wanted to let you know Mom called. Her and Daddy hit a bit of a rough patch. Her fucking words not mine."
"Oh?" Shaun says "What did Larry do this time?" he was quick to ask.
Gabe laughs. "Larry fucked Zach."
"Gabe." Shaun said with a roll of his eyes. "What do you want? Larry and Mom fight all the time now."
"Well big bro, she's moving into your little summer love nest." Gabe said.
"That's fucking ridiculous. What is Mom going to do in that town? She's going to get over it and go back with Larry in Laguna Beach. You know it and I know it." Shaun says.
Gabe was silent for a minute.
"Gabe, you there? Gabe? Gabe?" Shaun yelled into the phone.
"Oh sorry Bro. This fucking hot chick just walked by, and her ass. hmm. Her ass was something else. You know how it is. Oh ha maybe not."
"Little brother. I have important things to do today. Like fucking your best friend later tonight. And making pancakes. So if you want me to talk about that for the next hour, I suggest you say bye."
Gabe gets a smirk on his face. "Well…" He says with a long pause. "How is the sex? Scale of 1 to 10. And pankcakes? What the fuck is that doing in the same sentence? Did you name it pancakes or something? HA."
"An 11 and bye bye Gabe. Have fun dealing with the Mama drama. Thank God she hardly calls me. Being gay finally pays off." Shaun says as he hangs up.
"Wait bro, there's more..." Gabe says before realizing Shaun already hung up. "That fag hung up on me. First he fucks my best friend, then he hangs up on me. He's getting shit for Christmas this year. Guess I can tell him the rest tonight when I show up for a loan. That fucking book of his better sell fast." he thinks to himself out loud.
-Shaun and Zach's Condo
Later that night. Shaun, Cody, and Zach are eating dinner at the table. Cody has pancakes, his favorite. The doorbell rings.
"Whose here, whose here, whose here?" Cody says excitedly.
"I dunno buddy. Let's find out." Zach says as he gets up to get the door.
Zach opens the door to find Gabe "Oh good. You got clothes on. For some reason I just think you two fuck all day." Gabe says.
"Shut up bro. What you doin here?" Zach asks as he gives a quick hug to Gabe.
"Shaun." Zach yells. "Gabe's here." Zach steps aside to let Gabe in the door "You want a beer?" Zach asks, but Gabe shakes his head no.
Shaun and Cody both come walking towards the door.
"Code man, you been keepin it real playboy?" Gabe asks as he leans over to give Cody a high-five.
"Cody. Give us a minute. Go and finish your dinner, k?" Shaun says to Cody.
Cody looks at the grownups and says "Ok." but he'd rather be in the living room.
"What the fuck man? Why didn't you say you were coming on the phone earlier?" Shaun asks as Gabe walks in. Shaun briefly hugs Gabe but seems a bit distracted.
Gabe rolls his eyes "You hung up on me earlier dick - and I should be the one pissed. You've lived here 5 months, and I've yet to receive an invite to Casa De Gay!" Shaun is irritated. He's happy to see his brother, but he wanted a nice quiet evening at home with Zach.
Zach quickly interrupts "I am going to go check on Cody." he says as he leaves the room. It's still a little awkward with Gabe. Zach knows it shouldn't be, but they hardly see each other anymore and it's just a new dynamic. Shaun is his life, and it's been harder to incorporate his old life with his new life.
"So princess big brother, I need to finish our little convo from earlier..." Gabe paused and looked serious, which made Shaun feel very unsettled.
Not wanting this conversation to last any longer, Shaun blurts out "Spit it out Gabe. What's wrong?"
Gabe gulped. "Dad, lost a lot of money on an investment he made, and umm well he's pretty much broke."
"What?" Shaun asked in shock.
"Get a hearing aid you old fuck. Your - Daddy's - broke!" Gabe slowly shouted.
It annoyed Shaun deeply every time someone referred to Larry, as being his Dad. "Step Dad. Wow. Mom and Larry are broke. Holy shit." he says as Zach reenters the room.
Gabe is pacing in the living room about to speak and stops and looks at Zach "Hey bud are those our old walkie talkies?" he moves his eyes to the walkie talkies on the mantel both separated by a photo of Zach, Cody and Shaun. Man that's gay. Gabe thinks to himself.
Zach and Shaun look at the walkie talkies that are proudly on display "Um yeah man they are." Zach says with a slight grin. This snaps Shaun out of the mood he's been in and he cracks a smile as well.
Gabe understanding they mean something to his brother and Zach gets a look of disgust on his face "Ugh what the hell man? Did you guys use them for some fucking walkie talkie phone sex?"
"Do you really wanna know little brother?" Shaun teases him in fun.
"There are images in my head I won't be able to get out!" Gabe says half-jokingly. "Since you destroyed a favorite childhood memory, I feel it's okay to ask for money now."
"Ask for money?" Zach questions.
Gabe looked annoyed "Mom and Dad are divorcing. Dad lost all his money. Family is broke. Now you're up to speed. SOOOO" Gabe says as he turns back to Shaun "I need some cashola, big bro."
"Well I better work on my book then. Money's already tight." Shaun says without looking at Zach.
"I just need a grand or two." Gabe says.
Zack smiles at first but is sarcastic in response "Ohhh just a grand or two? Gabe that's a lot of fucking money."
Shaun walks over to Gabe "I'll write you a check. You have got to be responsible with it though - no spending it on your bar tabs! I am not a bank like your Daddy." Shaun says with a fatherly tone.
"Thanks bro and that wouldn't even cover the booze at some of my more infamous parties." Gabe says with a laugh.
Gabe quickly hugs Zach and Shaun, before taking the check. "Thanks bro, err bros. Zach don't be a stranger man. We need a surf ses pronto, bro. Later Codeman." He yells as he's heading out the door. But Cody didn't hear him.
Zach reaches for Shaun's hand. "We can't afford to be helping Gabe, can we with your parents and all…?"
Shaun tenses up. "Of course I can afford to help out my brother."
Rather Shaun's emphasis on 'I' was intentional or not, Zach steps back and drops Shaun's hand and suddenly realizes it's all Shaun's money. He isn't providing for him and Cody like he should and is leaving it all up to Shaun. "Alright. It's just with me in school, and you having to take care of us, I just know it's got to fucking hard on you" Zach's voice was trembling slightly. He bit his lower lip.
Shaun nods and simply says. "I love you. I will always put you and Cody first."
Zach grins. "I know, and I love you too. So much."
Cody enters the room. "Where's Uncle Gabe?" He asks.
"Hey kiddo. Uncle Gabe had to leave. He wanted me to tell you bye though." Zach says.
Cody shook his head "Oh. Okay" and ran back in the other room.
Shaun smiles "Man I love that kid."
"So... I am thinking about skipping my Art History class tomorrow morning, so I can take Cody to school. I'll leave school early to pick him up. Professor Stevens is a fucking asshole anyways so missing class is no problem." Zach says.
Shaun looked confused. "Why?"
"Why is he an asshole? I don't know." Zach replied.
Shaun shook his head. "No not about him, but about school."
"I just want you to be able to focus on your book. I know you have got that meeting with your publicist coming up and Cody is my responsibility..." Zach says but gets cut off by Shaun.
"No Zach. I don't want you to do that. School is just as important as my book! And as for Cody, you know I love that kid. I would do anything for him – anything for you."
Zach shakes his head. "HA! It's not paying the bills. I need to find a job at a restaurant or something at nights to help out. Cody's growing he's gonna need new clothes soon and it's not fair to you. I just need to be able to provide for him by myself. Fuckin Jeannie hasn't called or sent money or anything to help take care of her own son. She doesn't want us to be together, but has no problem letting you pay for everything." Zach says growing angry.
Shaun was growing impatient with the conversation, but he decided to ease up on Zach. He realizes it's hard for him. He put his hands on Zach's shoulders and looked him straight in the eyes. "Listen. I've got this all figured out babe. We are doing okay. I haven't depended on money from my parents in years. Their fucking up doesn't impact us at all." He nibbles on Zack's right ear. Then kisses his neck. Then his cheek, his forehead, and then lands on his lips. Slowly, but passionately kissing him. He can feel both him and Zach relax in posture almost immediately. Zach puts his hands on Shaun's face, and practically doesn't move his mouth off his lips. Shaun loves when he does that. He pulls their lips apart and just gazes into his eyes. Zach is smiling. He could stare at that damn smile of his all day, every day. Shaun starts talking again "At all. And I told you, I think we should send her papers for her to sign away her rights. She's no mother."
Zach sighs. "Ok. I think I am going to send the papers. I need to add him to my health insurance through school but I can only do that if he's my legal dependent."
Shaun walks away and into his study "That sounds great Zach. I've got the papers in my office to send. I'm gonna do some proof reading, and get my chapters in order to show Leslie at her office for our meeting on Friday." Shaun wants him and Zach to be the legal guardians and not just for the medical insurance. He knows Jeanne won't stand for that, so it's not a battle he's willing to get in right now with Zach. Down the road he thinks to himself.
Zach leaps to grab his arm "Hey. Hey, when are you going to let me read your book? I've been waiting. You won't even tell me what it's about. There's something so sensual for both of them in watching the other work on their respective art."
Shaun pulls away. "I told you. Not yet, soon though." Shaun gets in his office and closes the door and sighs. "I've got to tell him sooner or later" he says out loud while turning his laptop on "But how do I tell my boyfriend that I have been spending the last 6 months writing a book about my ex and our relationship?" He shakes his head uncertain on how he will take it. He wants Zach to be proud. Zach is the reason he started writing this book in the first place and he thinks back to that beautiful June day on the beach...
You read it?
Who knew there would be so much drama inside the gates of Pacific Bluffs? I never knew.
You never really know what's happening inside.
Yeah, that's what I liked about it.
I did embellish a little bit. It is fiction.
Changed a couple of names?
When did you read it?
When it came out.
Huh. Funny, Gabe never mentioned anything.
I never told him. Why would he tell you?
I just never knew that you knew about me. You really
What's the new one about?
Uhh, still trying to figure that one out. Don't really have a subject yet. But, I'll get it back.
I hope so. You're good.
You really liked it?
Yeah. You hungry?
Yeah, you wanna go to the Shack or something?
That was a big moment for Shaun. He doubts that Zach even realizes what that conversation means to him. It brought him to life. He decided to write what he knew, and the words just came. The book isn't completely about Travis. He thinks, trying to make it sound better. "So there's ya know 4, 5, maybe 7 chapters that reference him." He mumbles out loud. Maybe I should go all Nicholas Sparks and kill him off in the end? He thinks to himself. "Fuck."