Zac. Even his name made the hairs on the back of Shay’s neck stand on end. “Oh, my God,” he groaned as he watched him tackle a member of the other team to the ground and score his second goal. He knew he’d been right to encourage (some might call it coercion) him to rethink his decision to join the football team, “he’s so damned gorgeous...”
Guy, who was stood just to the side of him and heard him, chuckled, “That he is.” He agreed, “He’s adorable – for chrissakes, just ask him on a flaming date and get it over with.”
Shay pulled a face; having fancied him from the first moment he laid eyes on him, he’d gotten himself firmly in the friend zone whilst unexpectedly falling in love with him and now he was in that awkward position of deciding if he should bite the bullet and ask him to be more than friends – and risk rejection and their friendship souring – or to forever hold his peace and never know if it could have been the best thing ever… “I can’t.” he said, losing his nerve, “He’s a lone wolf.”
Guy about lost his mouthful of energy drink all over his friend, “Lone wolf?” he spluttered, staring at him as if he was crazy, his eyes watering slightly from his drink coming back out of his nose, “What the hell have you been reading? What a load of crap – he just hasn’t got the confidence you’ve got – give him a break!”
Shay bit his lip, “I can’t spoil things between us…”
Guy frowned, “And what if it doesn’t? Spoil things, I mean – what if he’s the one?”
Shay snorted, “You know I don’t believe in all that ‘the one’ crap.”
Guy shook his head, “Well, I do.” He said firmly, “Laney is definitely the one for me.”
Shay sighed. The truth was that he didn’t really know if he believed in ‘the one’ or not. He’d never met anyone before that he wanted to spend all of his time with but whenever he was around Zac he didn’t want their time together to be cut short – or to end at all. He loved going down to the park with him and watching him on his skateboard – the guy was truly gifted. He felt proud and honoured that Zac had let him into his world – even if it was for quite short periods of time – time he never wanted to end…
The thing was, he’d never cared before if someone he was mates with and subsequently hooked up with turned sour – but he was terrified of that happening with Zac. He just couldn’t shake the thought that it might ruin things between them if he told him how he felt about him – never mind getting as far as hooking up – and he didn’t want to make that mistake since they got on so well. The truth was, even though he found it hard to accept it, he was in love with his best mate and he had no idea how to tell him…
He smiled as he remembered the first time they’d met. He’d looked so damned lost and Shay had just had the most overwhelming desire to save him.
Since then he’d proudly watched him blossom and become one of the gang. It wasn’t just Zac’s wicked sense of humour that he found totally compelling either – it was pretty much everything about him that he adored and he could see that all of their group loved him too – particularly Guy, who spent a huge amount of time with them both. Guy was totally solid and totally straight, so he had no worries about the two of them hooking up. He and Laney had been a couple since year nine and Shay wouldn’t have been surprised to see them still together when they were pensioners. Their relationship was really something he aspired to. He wanted to aspire to it with Zac, but his crippling fear of ruining everything between them was in the way.
Guy didn’t share his fear and seemed to think that it would be perfectly fine to show his hand and to ask him out on a date but Shay couldn’t get away from the fact that Zac had never shown any sign whatsoever of feeling the same way about him and he didn’t want to make things awkward. “Come on, Shay – I hadn’t got you pegged for a coward.” Guy punched his shoulder playfully.
Shay shrugged, “Coward?” he asked feigning hurt, “Maybe I am. Maybe it’ll never happen…”