The more he stayed pressed against the door and the more he let that content feeling sink in, the more his thoughts started to wander. And when his thoughts wandered, they turned on him like rapid wolves. Changing into nasty notions.
He wasn't deserving of someone like Zachary. Someone who was so carrying and considerate.
Callan bit his lip and tried, for once, to think that maybe he wasn't such a worthless piece of shit. That maybe it was alright for him to be dating someone nice. Someone who was way out of his league because maybe, just maybe, Zachary didn't care about that and genuinely liked him enough to date him. Date or whatever he was doing with Zachary. It probably didn't even matter—
Callan felt his phone buzz against his leg. He slipped is hand into his pocket, pulling it out and unlocking it. Tears clung to his lashes as he read the name that popped up across the screen.
Daddy: Had fun tonight. Thanks again for eating with me and putting up with my shit. Get to bed. It's passed your bedtime, darling.
Callan tried to fight back a smile as his fingers flew across the screen to type out a response.
Whatever. Stop texting n drive safe let me kno when you make it to bingo night old man
He lost that battle and gave in to his smiling. Callan genuinely smiled and he was genuinely happy all because—
He looked up at the soft voice and saw Angela and Melvin. He hugged his phone to his chest and swallowed hard, waving to them as his goofy grin faded.
"Oh hey," he said. "Heh, we all got back at the same time."
He turned away, opening the door to the apartment while the girls said their goodbyes. He walked in and turned on the light, kicking off his shoes. He put his tiramisu in the refrigerator and turned as Angela entered the apartment. She closed the door and set down her purse, folding her arms defensively across her chest.
"Who were you with?"
Callan shrugged, leaned against the refrigerator. "Luca. We went to get dinner."
"Since when did Luca start driving a Porsche?"
Why did he even say Luca?
Callan choked back a hard "it's none of your business" because he knew, very well, that it would only lead to more unwanted arguing. He chewed on his lip, knowing that he had been caught.
"Just…I was with a friend, Angela. That's all."
"Callan, why can't you tell me who you were with?" Angela pushed.
"I was with a friend, alright. We met at the art shop, started hanging out and just went to get dinner or something, whatever," Callan snapped. He raised his arms and stormed to the sofa, growling in frustration as he sat down. "Anything else? Need to know what I ate? How much I spent? What color underwear I'm wearing?"
"Stop being so defensive," Angela groaned. "You're getting upset because I asked you who you were with. I've never known you to have friends who drive such expensive cars. Can you blame me?"
"I don't pry into your personal life with Maya. So why are you prying into my personal life?"
"Because you make stupid decisions, Cal," Mikasa said. She cleared her throat, her words coming out harder than she had anticipated. She looked away, tugging at her scarf; the same scarf Callan had given her forever ago. "I…I'm sorry…"
"I don't want you to get hurt again."
Those words were soft, barely above a whisper and filled with a heaviness that tugged at Callan's heart. Angela wasn't stupid. She could see how awful it was for Callan, to live day-after-day in close proximity to the man who unintentionally hurt him; the man who broke his heart.
She crossed the room and wrapped her arms around Callan's head. Callan didn't resist; he leaned against her stomach and let her stroke his hair with a gentle hand.
"Don't apologize," Angela sighed. "I'm just worried about you. I always worry about you."
Callan grumbled into her stomach as she spoke. Angela kept petting his head with a soothing hand.
"I never want to see you hurt like that again…"
"I'll be fine," Callan mumbled. "I was last time and I'm fine now. And I'll be fine in any future relationship."
He swallowed down his nervousness, hoping he sounded convincing. He didn't even believe his own words and he knew very well that Angela wouldn't either.
"If you say so."
She knew. She knew Callan was lying. And Callan was fully aware of it. They had known each other too long not to notice those subtle, silent hints. His ears were bright, cherry red. But more than that, it was the way his voice quivered. How he mumbled when he was truly unsure. Angela was aware of all these little things and she always knew when he lied.
But she said yes to preserve his sanity. To let his mind rest. To prevent him from getting upset. To show that she could trust him to make his own decisions, even when they both knew they would be stupid choices.
It was too late and they were both too tired to argue. Melvin would be home soon, too, and they definitely didn't want him to walk in on an argument.
Angela let him go and picked up her purse. "I'm going to go shower."
Callan nodded and watched her walk away into her room. He slumped against the sofa and could only wait for the feeling of dread to fade. He knew Angela's intentions were nothing but good.
He was too weak from his sudden adrenaline rush to even attempt to go to his room. He got comfortable on the sofa and turned on the television, watching Spongebob until the door opened and Melvin appeared. He listened to Mel vent about the hospital, about the students he interned with and their lack of competence. But when Melvin started to talk about the children he was around, his voice suddenly lightened and his eyes widened; he was all Disney smiles.
Angela joined them, once she was out of the shower, and her nerves seemed to have settled quite a bit. The three of them chatted mindlessly about their evenings, laughing casually. Callan felt his phone vibrate and judging by the twitch at the corner of Angela's mouth, she heard it as well. She turned to Melvin, as if to give Cal some privacy, and he glanced down at the screen.
Daddy: Home, baby. Rest that pretty head of yours.
Callan smiled at the snarky text, feeling more butterflies in his stomach than he ever thought he could.
Cal knocked on the door to Zachary's house and waited patiently for him to answer. It was midweek, on what would have been a long workday. Normally. However, Zachary insisted Callan take off for the day and agreed to pay him whatever difference in his paycheck. Maya didn't mind, since Callan had taken up her shifts multiple times before.
And due to the current questioning looks he was receiving from everyone he knew, Callan insisted on driving to Zachary's house. Zachary, in turn, insisted he give Callan gas money and as much as Callan wanted to turn it down, a full tank of gas was always a little irresistible.
The door opened and Zachary stood there, a cross between exhaustion and excitement on his face. He reached out and pulled Callan to him, hugging him tight.
"How are you so strong when you're this old?" Callan hummed, wrapping his arms around Zachary's neck.
"The same fucking reason why you're an insufferable little shit," Zachary replied, pushing the door closed with his foot. "I just am."
"Oh come on!"
Zachary stopped walking, standing by the living room sofa.
"I work out. Frequently. Plus I'm not that old so stop or I will drop you on your fucking ass."
Callan laughed and clung to Zachary as he sat down on the sofa. It was nice, to be greeted with open arms and swept off his feet. Literally swept off his feet; not in the metaphorical, fairytale sense because Callan knew very well that was a stupid, unrealistic thought. Even if it was a nice thought.
"So what was so important that I had to take off from work and get my ass over here?" Callan said, his voice slightly husky with a surge of lust. He sat up straight and threw a leg over Zachary's waist, a grin playing on his lips. He straddled the older man painfully slow, just to lean in close and drape his arms over Zachary's shoulders again.
He lowered his hips against Zachary, rolling them in a teasingly slow twist to further taunt the older man. A pleased little moan of approval came from Zachary's throat and Callan bit his lower lip.
Zachary smirked and rested his hands on Callan's hips as the brunet arched his back. "I wanted some company while I worked."
"Just some company?" Callan mockingly repeated. He tilted his head to the side, running a hand through Zachary's hair.
"A little." Zachary breathed the words on Callan's exposed collarbones. His breath felt hot against Callan's skin, the words practically burning as they sank in. A moan escaped Callan's lips as Zachary nibbled at his throat. A hand left Callan's waist to tangle itself in his hair, holding him in place while Zachary suckled his Adam's apple.
Callan let out another moan his eyes fluttering closed. Zachary was taking his time, leaving Callan's neck wet and red, not enough to make marks that would last the entire week however. At least not yet.
Green eyes shot open as Zachary flicked his tongue against Callan's ear lobe. He shuddered in Zachary's firm grip and pressed forward, his cheeks flushed with color.
"Ahh Zachary…," Callan groaned. Zachary sucked and caught Callan's ear between his teeth. Callan dug his nails into Zachary's shoulders, pressing his hips against Zachary's groin, seeking out some friction.
Callan heard a chuckle and he smiled. Zachary may be sexy as fuck but hearing that smooth voice hitch in laughter was always a little blessing. It reminded Callan that Zachary was human, not some untouchable, stone god. He was a hot-blooded man with a pierced dick Callan was eager to release.
But then he saw it.
Callan recognized just the corner of it from where he sat. It was a vague blur, in his lust-ridden gaze, but the more he stared, the clearer it became; the oranges and the light rays and the tops of trees.
"Wait," Callan snapped. He slapped his hands against Zachary's shoulders to catch his attention. "Stop, wait! Wait dammit!"
Zachary pulled back, his eyes narrowed, fear and frustration clear across his face. "What the fuck?"
"That painting," Callan continued, jerking himself from Zachary's hands. He stumbled to his feet as he got off the sofa, pointing an accusatory finger at the covered painting sitting against the wall. "That fucking painting. Is that mine?"
"What the fuck are you talking about?" Zachary shouted back, doing nothing to hide his clear annoyance. It was obvious his mind was still between his legs.
Callan shook his head and stormed across the room. He snatched the cover from the painting and threw it as hard as he could. Zachary looked over the sofa at it and threw up his hands.
"What the fuck about it?"
"This is my fucking painting!" Callan yelled. "The one I sold at the art show!"
"Do you want a reward for your fucking deductive reasoning skills?" Zachary groaned, rubbing the bridge of his nose.
"I want to know why you fucking have it!"
"I don't know, Callan, maybe because I fucking bought it?"
Callan's heart sank. He suddenly felt sick. He grabbed his stomach, shaking his head as tears started to flow. He couldn't keep them in, he couldn't stop them or pretend like he was fine. Zachary raised his eyebrows in shock, his face softening.
"Baby, what the hell is wrong?"
"I thought…I thought I had sold it because it was good," Callan said, his voice breaking. "But…I didn't…you just bought it because you felt bad…"
Zachary was taken aback. He shot to his feet and quickly made his way to Callan, his arms out. But Callan shook his head and backed away, holding out his hands defensively.
"Baby, come here, I—"
"NO! No Zachary, fuck you!" Callan shouted. "Fuck you and your goddamn charity! I don't fucking need that!"
Zachary looked as though he had been slapped across the face. Callan's lips thinned and he shook his head again, even as tears rolled down his cheeks. Zachary inhaled and reached out, barely brushing his fingers against Callan's shaking arm.
And barely a second later, Callan had jerked away entirely, a string of shouting curses falling from his mouth, a mixture of pure fury and sorrow. He backed into a table, rocking it just enough to knock off a glass vase filled with deep blue marbles.
The shatter made Callan stop completely. Stop moving, stop yelling and for a moment, stop crying. He gasped and stared at it as Zachary closed his eyes in annoyance.
"Fuck…Fuck! Dammit…I'm so stupid…," Callan said. But his words weren't for Zachary.
It was a mantra he had repeated to himself, time after time. A silent apology he had told himself after every gross argument he had at home as a way to excuse his own behavior. Spilling cereal, letting the dog out, throwing the ball in the house, becoming an art major.
And now Zachary was hearing the apology he had only whispered to himself.
Callan instantly fell to his knees, to try and pick up the mess of glass and marbles. But before he could touch anything, Zachary was on his knees next to him, grabbing his hands.
"What the fuck are you doing, Callan?" Zachary snapped.
"You're not making a fucking bloody mess on my fucking floor. Come here." Zachary was back on his feet as Callan still searched for his words, pulling Cal along with him.
Callan was limp in his hand, following Zachary without question. Tears clung to his lashes, making it that much harder to see as he stumbled after the dark haired man. Their silence was interrupted when Callan hiccupped.
Zachary turned on him, eyes dark and set on Callan. He raised his hands and the only thing Callan could do was flinch away.
But the moment he did, Callan realized Zachary was keeping his hands to himself. His hands were raised to ask "what the fuck?" not slap him senseless. And when it dawned on Zachary just what Callan was doing, he dropped his hands, letting them flop against his legs.
"Callan…Cal, just what the fuck? What the actual fuck is going on?" He didn't yell, which through Callan off more. Zachary's voice was the same, tinged with a sharp edge, but at the same volume that he always used, if not a little lower. Soothing, calming.
Callan inhaled, trying to calm himself down.
"Zachary…I don't care how you give me money. I don't care what I have to do for it. But please don't…don't p-pity me. Especially not when it c-comes to my art." His confession came out between shocked sobs. Callan could barely focus. His mind was racing. He felt nothing but pain. His hands shook as he tried to keep them up as a wall between him and Zachary. Everything was just wrong.
"Baby, listen," Zachary said, as gently as his hard voice would let him. He reached out, pressing his fingers to Callan's raised ones, sliding them against each other so that their fingers were slowly intertwined. "I had no idea that was your painting when I bought it."
Zachary was going directly to the problem.
Callan shook his head, unable to believe the man's words.
"Listen. Callan—Darling. Stop it and look at me."
They were the words of a commander. Not a request but a command. Callan had no choice suddenly. He looked up at him, emerald orbs glassed over and his cheeks wet.
"I bought that picture because I fell in love with it," Zachary said with a steady voice. "I never knew it was your painting until that day you showed me a snapshot of it on your phone. And believe me, you little shit, I was going to tell you but we were interrupted and you were so fucking…stressed that night as it was I didn't want you to have any more on your plate."
"The swords on the painting were the same as your tattoo…"
"Similar. Not identical," Zachary said. "That's not what initially caught my eye. I saw a beautiful painting and then noticed the swords. I thought that maybe—just maybe—it could be your painting while I stared at it. But before that thought crossed my mind, I had already decided I would buy that painting, regardless of its price."
The words slowly sank in. Callan wanted to tell Zachary he was a liar. That he didn't believe a single word. That Zachary was giving him charity money.
But every word Zachary said felt genuine. The stern look in his grey eyes was genuine. The way he held Callan's hand…
"I'm not a dumbass. I know how important your art is to you. So for me to buy your paintings, because I felt sorry for you, would only belittle you. And I'd be a shitty person for it. I don't want to do that. I don't want you to question your talents. You truly are a fantastic painter, Callan. I don't buy shit art so I mean it."
Callan listened. He had no choice. He closed his eyes and tried to calm himself down as Zachary spoke. Soft, deliberate circles were rubbed into his hands and he slowly stopped shaking. He had to accept Zachary's words, because the more he listened the more he realized Zachary was telling the fucking truth, and sank to the floor, his hands still interlocked with Zachary's.
"Sorry…," Callan muttered through trembling lips, his head dropped. "I'm so sorry…"
"Don't be sorry," Zachary sighed. He let go of Callan hands to cup the boy's cheeks. He brushed tears away with his thumbs. "Stop fucking apologizing, alright? I should have told you."
"I'm sorry though. I'm sorry I yelled. I'm sorry I panicked." His words came out strained and through hoarse hiccups. "I'm sorry I broke your vase. I'm such a piece of shit, Zachary, I'm so sorry."
Why did he always yell? Zachary didn't deserve that. That patient man needed someone appreciative and soft spoken. Someone who wouldn't yell and shout and blame. Someone who wouldn't break things and who could control their temper. That was why Jean left him. He hated the yelling as much as Callan did. And like Jean, Callan knew Zachary would leave him too. For someone who wouldn't lose their shit every time something went wrong. For someone like Kevin—
Callan gasped and his eyes filled with tears again. The thought cut him wide open like a blade. Everything hurt and he wanted to scream and disappear. But Zachary held his face in his gentle hands, brushing away more tears as they fell.
"I said stop apologizing," Zachary repeated, his voice still soft. He ran a tender hand through Callan's hair and brought it back to cup his face. "I don't want to hear another fucking "I'm sorry" come out of your mouth. You had every right to be upset."
"But I yelled—"
"People yell when they're upset. It's not a fucking sin. Just take deep breaths."
Callan nodded, trying his best to obey. He was still shaking but he tried to breathe. Zachary waited, patiently rubbing circles onto Callan's cheeks with his thumbs. Breathing with him. Reassuring him it would be alright. That it was alright.
A faint smile spread over Callan's lips and he finally leaned his head against Zachary's hand.
"Thank you." Callan's voice was hoarse and he knew he'd cry again later, but in that moment he was happy.
Zachary pushed his hair from his face and leaned down. He lightly pressed his lips to Callan's forehead as Callan closed his eyes.
"I know you don't like kisses, but you needed more than a face rub," Zachary sighed. "Go sit on the sofa now. I'll make you some tea."
Callan nodded, as it was all he could manage, and shuffled to the sofa, still feeling Zachary's lips on his skin.
"Don't worry about that," Zachary pushed. Callan lowered himself behind the sofa's cushion, looking at Zachary over the top of them. "I'll clean it up. Besides, that was the ex's vase. I always sort of hated it."
Callan wasn't sure at what point he fell asleep, but his head was comfortably on Zachary's lap and his tea had gone mostly untouched on the table. So when Callan's eyes fluttered open, he sighed contently at the feeling of Zachary's hand in his hair.
Above him, Zachary lowered the papers he was reading. The rustling made Callan look up curiously and smile.
"Feel better, baby?"
Callan nodded. "Mhm."
His little groan was received with an approving pat on the head. He rolled over and pushed his face into the man's stomach. Zachary had showered; Callan could smell the lingering scent of soap through his shirt and he could feel the few damp places where Zachary hadn't dried off completely.
The room was warm, without being stuffy, and the lights were turned down low. The lamp on the side table was on, so Zachary could read whatever he was reading, but the papers he held cast a little shadow over Callan's face to block out the light.
A smile tugged on Callan's lips. Even after his own childish breakdown, Zachary was still taking care of him. Pampering him. It was more than a feeling of contentment; Callan felt a sense of security. Emotional security he never felt with Jean or anyone else.
When he yelled, people yelled back, save for his mother. When Zachary heard him raise his voice, there was only a sense of calm Callan could pick up on. No yelling back. No throwing things. Just Zachary, being Zachary.
"How long was I asleep for?"
"Mmm…almost two hours," Zachary said.
"And you've been working the entire time?"
Zachary sighed, setting his papers down on the table. He pressed one hand to his face, rubbing his temples, and the other he kept on Callan's head. "I showered and then started working. But work is hell."
"You should take a break."
"Is that your bratty way of saying you want attention?"
"I was going to suggest I give you head."
Zachary raised his eyebrows at Callan's smug face. He slouched on the sofa, pressing his groin against Callan's cheek.
"So you are capable of good ideas. Put that snarky little mouth of yours to use then."
He removed his hand from Callan's hair to give the brunet a light slap to his ass. Callan laughed, sliding from the sofa to reposition himself between Zachary's legs.
Callan palmed Zachary's dick through his pajama pants, feeling it harden the more he touched. He pushed up Zachary's shirt and tugged at the waistband of his pants, bearing those beautiful sculpted hipbones. Callan nipped at them, hearing Zachary gasp and feeling him push his hips up to gain more friction.
After leaving a satisfying mark on Zachary's hip, Callan tugged down his pants and underwear, revealing his prize of a cock. He opened his mouth, licking a full-tongued stripe from the base of Zachary's cock to the tip, from piercing to piercing, before taking it into his mouth. He gave a long, hard suck, humming in delight, and shoved Zachary's cock deep into his mouth, hitting the back of his throat.
Callan didn't want to tease. He didn't want Zachary to beg.
He raked his teeth lightly along Zachary's cock, eliciting a long moan from the man, and sharply deep throated him. He slacked his jaw, letting his saliva pool over his lips and onto Zachary's leg. Hands found their way into his hair and Callan moaned at the sudden control Zachary took from him.
Callan steadied his neck as Zachary started thrust his hips up, slowly fucking Callan's throat. It was an obscene bliss to feel the hard piercings sliding down his hot throat, to have Zachary's fingers tangled in his hair, for tears to be pooling in his eyes, and for the only sounds in the room to be the squelching of spit and Zachary's harsh breathing.
"Ahh…fuck, baby…fuck your mouth…"
At the sound of Zachary's wrecked voice, Callan grabbed the man's thighs, enthralled that he could make Zachary moan in such a way.
Zachary's grip suddenly tightened and he threw his head back, his lip caught between his teeth. Callan pulled away, gripping Zachary's cock to milk out every ounce of cum as he reached his orgasm. The sticky mess hit Callan's lips, tongue and cheek, and he stared up at Zachary's flushed face.
With a pleased smile, Zachary stroked Callan's clean cheek.
"Better?" Callan purred, nuzzling Zachary's cock. He enjoyed the way Zachary twitched when pressed his lips to the sensitive length in a little kiss.
"No shit, you cute fuck. Go clean up," Zachary commanded.
"Should I leave…?"
"No, I said go clean up. Shower and get in bed. I'll be in there in thirty minutes," Zachary said, picking up his papers. "You're staying over because I'm not through with you just yet."
"I have class tomorrow."
Zachary scrunched up his nose. "What time?"
"Then I'll only fuck you half as hard so you can get some rest and still walk to class."
"Oh, yes sir," Callan excitedly teased. He rose and sauntered away as Zachary returned to finish his work, a rosy shade still on his cheeks. He quickly glanced around and caught Zachary watching him. Callan teasingly bit his lip. "Don't wait too long, old man, your Viagra will wear off."
"It's almost your bedtime, you cheeky brat, like hell I'm waiting long."
Callan laughed and hurried to the bedroom, to clean up and get settled. Zachary would never cease to amaze Callan with his patience and stamina. Maybe Zachary was more of a god than Callan gave him credit for after all.