Shaun looks good, a sight for sore eyes. Zach snickers at the cliché, since it’s not only his eyes that feel sore but everything in his life feels like it doesn’t fit properly. There are lines of experience on Shaun’s face, but they make him more attractive.
He remembers how he looked up to Shaun, idolized the older boy. His naiveté is gone and with it part of his hero-worship, but when he sees Shaun now, he envisions something he wishes he could be. Shaun’s life looks good to him.
Part of him hopes that Shaun likes what he sees.
The Frisbee thwacks solidly into his hand, jolting his arm. Shaun has a good aim, deadly accurate. It’s a joy to play with him, to be alive, with a friend while the sun lights a golden path to them from the west. Zach imagines that the Frisbee is still warm from Shaun’s hand.
By the fire, Shaun picks the label off his beer bottle, strong nimble fingers caressing the bottle. Zach pretends that the beer isn’t a phallic symbol and he isn’t imagining Shaun’s fingers anyplace else. A shiver runs up his back, and Tori leans closer, offering her warmth.
The night tastes of beer and smoke, and salt lingering in the air after the breakers tumble. Zach licks his lips, catching a stray drop of beer. He’s glad of the darkness hiding his blush when he sees Shaun’s eyes follow the motion. Tori’s mouth is berry sweet, brushing against his, the lingering hint of wine coolers on her lips.
Shaun turns away and Zach wants to tell him it didn’t mean anything but he’s too afraid. He contents himself with his beer, yeast and hops, the flavor of the earth. Shaun’s taste will have to stay in his imagination.
Sometimes when he’s been away from the water for a few days, he can still hear the boom of the surf roaring in his ears long after he comes back to land. Like the ocean wants to claim him, remind him where he belongs.
The fire has a duller roar, interspersed with crackling. It combines with the breakers, creating an endless pouring sound. He’s never understood why anyone thought being on a beach was peaceful.
Shaun’s voice has a stillness to it, and Zach tunes out the other noises, letting that voice draw him like a needle to a magnet.
Zach’s clothes reek of smoke, an unavoidable result of sitting beside a bonfire. Some of Tori’s perfume has transferred to his sleeve, another unavoidable consequence of not telling her the truth. Zach puts his hoodie to his face, trying to smell Shaun. He still feels the place where Shaun smacked his arm. A brotherly, manly ‘so long.’ Nothing to be dreaming about.
Later, when he’s stroking himself, his thoughts immediately jump to Shaun in his wetsuit, more alluring than if he was naked. Zach grunts, coming suddenly. He raises his hand, scenting his release, wondering what Shaun’s come smells like.