I know, not everyone has read the last chapter - well, it's not the end of the world, but maybe you can understand this chapter a bit better when you read it first!
Title: Wild & Untamed (32?)
Fandom: Casey / Zeke
Disclaimer: of course, not mine
Previous parts: one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight / nine / ten / eleven / twelve / thirteen / fourteen / fifteen / sixteen / seventeen / eighteen / nineteen / twenty / twenty-one / twenty-two / twenty-three / twenty-four / twenty-five / twenty-six / twenty-seven / twenty-eight / twenty-nine / thirty / thirty-one /
This story is written for romeny
"That's my baby blue. I'm proud of you," Zeke murmured and wanted to pull him into his arms.
Zeke hesitated. Something was wrong! He could hear it. He could feel it. He pushed Casey away gently, holding him at arm's length and eyed him thoughtfully.
"What's wrong? Are you scared that it might be the wrong decision?"
"No! No, this is okay!"
"It's just ... My Mom... she wants you to come over for dinner!"
Oh shit! Zeke kept quiet a moment.
"Just forget it, Case! You know, I'm not gonna do this! No way!"
Casey narrowed his eyes.
"Yeah, sure! I haven't expected anything else!"
Zeke swallowed. He had always suspected that it was not easy for Casey. Though he never complained. He had always accepted that Zeke wanted to keep their friendship secret. He had never demanded anything.
"Hey. I'm sorry, okay!"
He didn't know what to say otherwise. Nothing would make it better.
Casey looked up and stared at him.
"Yeah, I know! But I don't have to like it, right?
My 'rents love me, Zeke! They care about me! But nevertheless they try to accept my decisions, even if they are not happy about it. They will always back me up ... and I ... I lie to them ... over and over again ... sometimes I feel like a piece of shit!
Will it always be like this, Zeke? Will I always have to lie? Will I never be able to show my feelings for y... someone?"
Zeke pulled him into his arms. It hurt to see him like this. It hurt to know that it was partially his fault. He should have let him go before it meant more between them. But he had been as egoistic as ever. He had wanted him. He still wanted him. It felt so good to hold him tight, to feel his warmth, to hear him breathing. To know that he was not alone ...
"No, it will change. Soon! After graduation you will be free ... and you can leave Ohio behind you. I guess, I could visit you now and again. Then we can do whatever you want. Watching movies. Clubbing. I bet, you are a good dancer. You will turn everyone's head, girls and guys."
To his relief Casey chuckled briefly.
"Sounds good. But I will stay in Ohio after graduation. Though I think about moving to Columbus!"
Zeke stiffened and for a moment he didn't know what to think. Since they had started to meet regularly, since he had to admit, at least to himself, how much Casey meant for him, he had never allowed himself to think about tomorrow. Because there couldn't be a future for them. After graduation Casey would leave Herrington and start a new life with college, new friends. And sooner or later he would find someone else. Someone who was ready to stand openly by his side. Someone who would go and meet his parents. It hurt to think like this, but Casey deserved it to be free and happy.
What he just had told him didn't fit into this picture. If he would stay around ...
"What?" Casey tried to joke, though he felt a bit unsure about this reaction.
"You don't want me to stay around?"
"What's about Frisco? New York? The big galleries. Museums. Exhibitions. Is it not that what you always wanted?
Don't stay because of me! I don't want you to give up your dreams, okay? One day you would blame me for this and ..."
Casey smiled reassuring.
"Don't worry, Zeke. This has nothing to do with you!"
Well, this was not a lie, wasn't it? Zeke was not the reason for his decision, though he had made it easier. It was right, since years he had dreamed about leaving Herrington, about Colleges, far away from Ohio, California College of the Arts, The school of Visual Arts in New York, The art institute of Boston. But Mr. Brown had warned him not to expect too much from a well-known name.
"They can teach you the basics, Casey, but it depends on you to make the most out of it. It's easy to lose the sight of your aims out there. It's an illusory world, you will have to be careful that you don't waste your talent with meaningless stuff. You're good, Casey, but you are an artisan, not an egocentric artist!"
He had refused to listen, he needed his dreams. They were his lifeline ... until Zeke made his appearance in his life. He gave him a good reason to stay.
"I will go to New York and San Fran. For vacation. Maybe even as a guest student for a few weeks. But mostly it will be Ohio States. The department of art there is really good. With a lot of options!"
A lot of options. Zeke's mind started racing. A lot of options for their future. Together. Maybe. Stay realistic! Don't dream! But ... Casey and him ... together in Columbus ...
"You know, I will go to Columbus too after graduation!"
Casey stared at him with eyes as big as saucers.
"You're going to College? Ohio States?"
"Nope! Columbus, Case, not College. This is not my thing. Two years ago I didn't even care about graduation. I was thinking about getting into the GTO and just blowing this town. Well, things changed!"
"Like what? What do you wanna do in Columbus?"
"I've a friend - Eric. I've got to know him two years ago and..."
"You know quite a lot of people in Columbus, huh," Casey interrupted him.
"Yeah, you can say so! I was a wild boy back then. With clubbing nearly every weekend. But only a few people meant something to me. Debbee ... and Eric."
Zeke chuckled slightly. It was all to easy to read in Casey's face.
"Don't worry, I don't like older guys, not like this. Eric is about 20 years older than me. And he is totally besotted with cars. I mean, I love them too and I'm sure that I know a lot about them. But Eric ... he's a fucking genius.
He has a little garage near Columbus. But his passion are oldtimer. He buys them as a heap of scrap and he restores them. Sometimes I help him out. Over the weekend and during vacation. It's great to work with him. No College can teach you what he knows about cars.
He is such a geek. He always wants it perfect. For an original spare he would drive through the whole continent. Sometimes he drives you crazy. But in the end - when you get into the car and turn the key - you know it was worth it!"
Casey smiled. He could understand Zeke's enthusiasm. Though he was not interested in cars - but he knew how it felt to start a new photo project. First it was just a vague idea but he could make it come alive. He saw it growing and changing. He went through ups and downs. Sometimes he was lost and it didn't work out right, no matter how hard he tried. But if he ended a project and he knew it was good, it was an indescribable great feeling.
"And you will work for him constantly after graduation? Sounds like a good plan!"
"Not just working! Remember what I've told you about my grandma? About the fund she put up for me? When I become 21 I will get the rest of it.
I will invest it into Eric's garage. It's enough to make it big. Tyler & Nolan - Oldtimer Care Center. Sounds good, huh?"
"Yeah, great! I hope, Eric will love it too. It's his garage, Zeke!"
"So what! Nolan & Tyler, who cares? It will be fucking great!"
And suddenly an idea came into his mind.
"Hey. You think, your 'rents would let you go to Columbus next weekend?
Casey looked up surprised. Weekend?
"Next Saturday I'm gonna go to Columbus again. Eric and me, we've worked on this car for over four months now. Saturday it's time for a last road test. Wanna come with me?"
Casey gasped for air. Zeke laughed.
"Hey, don't miss this change. It's a Buick Riviera, a '64 model. Black paint, with flames in pearl effect on its sides. Black, soft leather seats. And the engine, 300 HP. I bet it would turn on even you!
And afterward, I guess we could have a bit more fun. Like going to a theater. So, what do you think?"
Casey giggled nervously. This was so unexpected ... and it gave their relationship a totally new meaning. No hiding - at least for one day. Going to a theater, together with Zeke. Almost like ...
"This ...almost sounds ... like a date," he blurted out.
"I've never had a date before!"
Zeke kept quiet for a moment and Casey bit his lower lip. Oh shit! What had he done? Friends, Casey, just friends. This was all what Zeke had offered. It was a lot. It was a great step for him. And he had fucked it up.
"Would you like to have one?"
Wait! What? Casey puffed briefly and nodded. This was all he could do. Zeke bent forward to kiss his nose, his cheek, finally his earlobe.
"Okay," he whispered.
"You have your first date, baby blue!"
Casey put his arms around his neck and pulled him down into a long kiss. What a day ...
go to part 33
The Buick Riviera