Part 2-Written by Brynn Stein
Part 3-Written by Grace Duncan
Part 4-Written by Suki Fleet
Part 5-Written by Elizabeth Noble
Part 6-Written by Kim Fielding
Part 7-Written by Sophie Bonaste
Part 8-Written by Charlie Cochet
Peter had been dreading Saturday all week. He refused to just not show up at Habitat for Humanity. He’d been volunteering forever. And he knew Xander would have to show up or be in violation of a court order, so they’d definitely meet up.
He’d been discussing the whole situation with Jo throughout the week – okay, bitching about it. But he was entitled. He was screwed and he knew it. He didn’t want a big scene, but he really didn’t know how he was going to handle seeing Xander again.
It wasn’t like he thought sleeping with the man once was any kind of commitment on Xander’s part. In fact, Peter had been pretty sure when he had come on to Xander in his car last week that Xander wasn’t the kind to stick around.
But damn, he was so hot, Peter thought, I just couldn’t help myself.
“See, this is why I don’t do one night stands.” He had complained to Jo many times.
She just shook her head. “Not everyone wants committed relationships all the time Pete. Sometimes they just want fun.”
“I know.” He really did know. They’d had this discussion often enough over the years. “But that’s just not me.”
“So why did you take him back to your house in the first place?” Jo was usually very patient with Peter, but he had gotten the feeling this week that she was reaching her limit. Of course, he had been going over and over the same ground, so she’d have to be a saint not to get a little exasperated.
“Because he’s damned hot!”
Jo laughed. “See, you didn’t want a relationship. You just wanted sex.” Peter didn’t know how to answer that so Jo went on. “That’s what you got. Mind-blowing sex, from what you’ve said. What’s wrong with that?”
“He left!” Peter was indignant. “He didn’t even say goodbye or anything. He just left!”
Jo shook her head. “Did you ask him to stay?”
“Well,” Peter had to think, “I think I pretty much just passed out after …well…you know. We didn’t really get around to whether or not he was going to stay.”
“So, maybe he didn’t know if he was welcomed to stay or not.”
That caused Peter to pause. “I hadn’t thought of that.”
Jo continued. “Of course, I have no way of knowing what was going through his head. My point is, neither do you. You’re jumping to the conclusion that everything is going to be awkward. Maybe it won’t.”
“But it probably will.” Peter was adamant.
“Okay, it probably will,” Jo finally conceded the point. “But you know what? You’re a grown man. So I’ll bring you a supersized straw with breakfast and you can suck it up like a big boy.”
Peter chuckled. “You’re no help at all.”
“Ah, I’m plenty of help.” Jo contradicted. “And you love me.”
Peter had to agree. “You’re right. I do.”
“Now, if you were just straight!” They both dissolved in laughter.
So, Jo had gotten him through the week, but now, here he was on the construction site, looking for Xander and waiting for things to be awkward. But Xander wasn’t there.
“What if he doesn’t show?” Peter asked Jo when he brought her a stack of lumber to saw.
“Then it won’t be awkward,” she said matter-of-factly as she picked up a two-by-four.
“But he’ll get in trouble if he doesn’t show!” Peter didn’t know why, but he was concerned. Sure, he didn’t want to face Xander, but he didn’t want him to stay away and get in trouble with the court.
“Would you just chill,” Jo threw the finished board on the stack. “He’ll be here.”
“He’ll be here.”
Similar conversations took place a couple more times before Xander’s Honda Civic pulled up in the parking lot.
“Would you breathe now?” Jo asked Peter as she passed him.
He had thought all morning about what he would say to Xander when he got there, had rehearsed it in his head, in fact. Now that he was there, Peter decided he was really needed on the other side of the construction site. He didn’t think Xander had seen him yet, so he just slipped away.
When did I get to be such a coward?
He saw Xander around the site off and on all morning. He even about half convinced himself to go talk to him a couple times, but Xander was avoiding him. Xander even ducked behind a stack of wood once. It was getting close to lunch time and Peter was no closer to resolving this situation between him and Xander.
Apparently, he wasn’t the only one bothered by that fact.
“You’re going to go talk to him, right now.” Jo cornered Peter when he brought some more wood to the sawing area.
“I’ve tried. He’s avoiding me.”
“You haven’t tried hard enough,” she scolded, “and who ducked out when he saw Xander’s car pull in this morning. He’s not the only one avoiding.”
“Yeah, but – “
“But nothing.” Jo interrupted. “Go. Right now. There he is. He’s not looking this way. He won’t even see you coming.”
“I don’t –“
Jo just pointed with one arm extended and the other hand on her hip. She was tapping her foot and she had that expression on her face that Peter had learned not to mess with. At this point, he was a little more afraid of Jo than of Xander.
Resigned, he started toward Xander, quiet enough that maybe Xander wouldn’t hear him coming and run away again. He couldn’t believe that he actually managed to sneak up on him.
Xander turned around with an expression that could only be called a ‘deer in the headlights’ look. He clearly hadn’t heard Peter approach.
“Hey Peter,” Xander was trying to trying to sound cool, but Peter could tell he wasn’t looking forward to this interaction any more than Peter himself was.
“I was wondering if you had a moment to talk.”
“Um…” Xander stuttered and looked around.
Trying to see if he can come up with a reason to be busy, Peter thought.
“Um…” Xander repeated, “Uh…yeah, I guess so.”
“How about we take an early lunch?” Peter had no idea why he suggested that. They did need to talk, but geez, did he really want to trap them for the whole time they were eating lunch?
“Uh…lunch?” Xander seemed even more uncomfortable with the idea than Peter was. Peter wouldn’t have thought that was possible.
“Yeah, you know that thing where people get food in the middle of the day, and sometimes talk between bites?” Peter tried to make a joke but had a feeling it fell flat.
“Look, Xander. It’s just lunch. It’s after 11:30 and I’m hungry. And we need to talk. If you don’t want to talk the whole time, that’s cool. We’ll just eat.”
After what seemed like forever, Xander finally said, “Sure, lunch sounds fine. Let me go get it from my car.”
As Xander walked away, Peter thought he heard him mutter under his breath, “and if I have any luck at all I’ll get hit by a truck on the way, or choke on my sandwich and die.”