Fine, here we go :) The sequel to my last Casey&Zeke story 'Breakup'. I just couldn't leave them behind in this mess and just move on to other stories ;)
Title: Home again
Fandom: The Faculty
Characters: Casey, Zeke
Word Count: 1161 words
Disclaimer: not mine, of course
Casey was singing along with the song on the radio while looking for a parking space. He was in high spirits though nothing seemed to have changed during the last year he had spent in London. The Mall from Herrington still was a madhouse on a Saturday morning, but his mom insisted that it was the best time for the weekly grocery shopping.
With a short wink into the direction of his father Casey had offered to take up the job this week. To be honest, he had missed it, to dive into the crowd, to have a nice chat with Mr. Collins from the Photoshop or treat himself with a chocolate shake at Annie's Milkbar. On a Saturday it had always been safe to go to the Mall; the jocks from school had better to do than to hang around there during a weekend.
Lost in thoughts he finally managed it to find a parking space, of course almost at the end of the big parking lot, but this couldn't spoil his mood. It felt so good to be home again. Oh, the year in London had been a great one; nice people, interesting courses at College, and he had volunteered at the BBC Wildlife magazine. The whole works from the beginning, not much free time, but that was exactly what he had been looking for. He didn't feel homesick and, even more important, he finally wanted to stop thinking about Zeke and his confusing last phone call. It was over. He had wiped the slate clean und this had been a good decision.
Three hours later he was on his way back to the Audi, a loaded shopping cart in front of him. The list, his Mom had given him, had been long, mostly all his favorite food, Cheerios and waffles for breakfast, blueberries and cream for dessert, mangos, tuna salad and even cherry cola. Casey chuckled slightly, obviously, his Mom had decided to spoil him that much that he would never leave Herrington again.
He had almost reached the end of the parking lot when he suddenly stopped dead. A GTO, black with red stripes, a 1970 Pontiac GTO. And a guy, partly hidden behind the open trunk lid. Momentarily his heart beat quicker, he felt the familiar, slight buzzing in his gut. Zeke! The last he had expected to meet here. Zeke hated the Mall, and he had avoided coming here whenever it was possible. Usually, he ordered everything he needed online or had it delivered.
For a moment he felt the urge to run; he hadn't thought about him for quite a while now but suddenly he wasn't sure about his own feelings anymore. He was not ready for that; maybe he would never be ready for it.
It was as if Zeke seemed to sense Casey's eyes resting on him; he had always had good instincts. He looked up and … Casey noticed him stiffening for a split of a second, then a smile sneaked on his lips. The trunk closed with a clicking noise, and Zeke stepped around the GTO. He hadn't changed much: denim, a long sleeved shirt, the hair cut a bit shorter. The same hazelnut brown eyes … though something was different, Casey just couldn't put the finger on it.
„Hey,“ Zeke said.
„You are back.“
„Since a week, yes.“
„You're looking good.“
Feeling uncomfortable Casey shrugged slightly. Compliments by Zeke, that was new.
„I guess, London was a good decision,“ he murmured.
„A lot of new experiences.“
Zeke nodded slowly.
„Get it. So you will go back soon?“
Surprised Casey shook his head.
„No. Next month I will go back to college in Akron. I was thinking about it to move there, but it's complicated. My mom is not willing to let me go so soon again. I'm afraid she's a mother hen through and through.“
The wide smile on Zeke's face was breathtaking; had he ever smiled that open and unstressed before? Casey dared to relax a bit. Whatever had happened to Zeke, it was a good movement.
„That's cool,“ Zeke said.
„Maybe we can meet up one evening, hang around a bit.“
Suspiciousness was growing again. Hanging around? Zeke had never wanted to hang around with him. Whenever they had met, secretly at a motel outside the town, it had been just about … fucking. And as much as Casey had enjoyed this at first, at the end it had only been grievously and painful. He had needed months to get over it and for sure he wouldn't go back there again.
Zeke noticed his reluctance and shook his head.
„No, I don't want to go back there either,“ he reassured him.
As if he could read his mind.
„There is a small bar in Columbus, nice people, at the weekends they often have life-music. Unknown bands, pop-rock, Irish based pop. I guess you would like it.“
Casey blinked wild, still not sure what to think about this new Zeke. Where was the wild rebel who gave nothing about other people's feelings, always tough, always unapproachable? He had given up hope that Zeke would ever be willing to change his selfish behavior. Despite that, it had taken all his power to convince himself that there would never be a future for them. And now?
„Columbus,“ he finally repeated.
„I did move there about two months ago. Just came back here to arrange some last matters.“
„I'm going to Columbus State since six months, hope to get a technical degree within two years. Wasn't easy to get accepted but finally, I convinced them with my brilliant mind.“
All Casey could do was to stare at him agape. This was a dream, wasn't it? One of the stupid dreams he had had for a much too long time. Great. He was back to Herrington only for a week and everything started anew. What the hell was wrong with him?
„A lot of things have changed, Casey.“
Zeke's voice tore him out of his thoughts.
„You, leaving me, finally was like a wake-up call. I know, I do ask for a lot, but do think you can give me a second chance?“
Casey felt dizzy, his thoughts were racing.
„Well,“ he finally said.
„At least you are sober today.“
„Yeah, I guess I deserve that. I was pretty much an ass back then. Understandable, that you can't trust me anymore.“
There it was again, the wish to pull him into his arms, to hold him, to kiss all his sorrow away. But Casey knew better this time; he wouldn't make the same mistakes again.
„We shouldn't rush things, Zeke,“ he said.
„ But I guess, an evening in the bar is okay.“
The wide smile was back.
„That's all I'm asking for.“