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14 December 2013 @ 09:12 pm
What You Deserve  
Title: What You Deserve
Word Count: 1,067
Summary: Alone on Christmas Zach calls Jeremy.
Warnings: Depression.

Zach stares down at the screen of his phone. He’s unlocked it, scrolling down through his contacts before anxiety claims him and he turns it off again seven times so far. This will be the eighth time unless he gathers up what little courage he has and goes through with it. His thumb hovers over the little phone icon and with a shaky exhalation he calls Jeremy.

The artificial ringing fills his ears as he waits and he looks out the huge floor-to-ceiling window of George’s apartment to the lights of downtown London that spread out before him like a contained nebula of shifting colours. It’s taking Jeremy too long to pick up but that has become common place over the past few months. Sometimes Jeremy doesn’t pick up at all. Zach’s about to give up—he’s regretting the call anyways—when a slightly flustered voice fills his ear.

“Hey Zach! Sorry about that,” Jeremy says, his breath a little heavy. There’s muffled voices in the background.


“Merry Christmas!” Jeremy cheers through the receiver.

“Merry Christmas to you too,” Zach replies though his tone much more sombre than his boyfriend’s. “At a party?”

“Sort of,” Jeremy laughs. “Half the family is here getting everything ready for Christmas Eve dinner. It’s like a redneck zoo.”

“I should have known. Your accent is getting a little thicker.”

“Not much I can do about that,” Jeremy said and his grin is evident in his voice. “What’re you up to?”

“I’m at my godfather’s, it’s pretty quiet here,” Zach understated, fussing with the blanket he was wrapped up in and reaching for his cup of tea which has gone disappointingly lukewarm at this point. He sips it regardless and makes a face.

“That’s good. I’m glad you’re not on your own for the holidays,” Jeremy says with genuine relief in his voice. Zach pressed his lips together firmly. George probably wouldn’t be back until ten. Most of his clients were not the type to get into a Christian holiday, even if it was heavily commercialized at this point, and thus had no qualms requesting to conduct business on this particular evening. But Jeremy didn’t need to know that. “How are you holding up?”

“Better than the last few years,” Zach replies, closing his eyes. The multi-coloured lights from the little decorated fir tree in the corner glow against his eyelids. ‘Better’ is a relative term.

“I’m glad to hear that.”

“So… what’s for dinner chez les Sabourin’s?”

“Well you always have to have fish for Christmas Eve dinner so Mémère is making seafood gumbo as the soup course and uncle brought up some crayfish…”

Zach lets Jeremy’s voice was over him as he leans back against the cushions. For the most part he really isn’t listening but it’s easy to fool Jeremy into thinking he is. He allows his mind to drift on nothing for a while, not thinking about anything in particular but is careful to keep part half his consciousness on Jeremy, who laments his family’s reluctance to try any of his new recipes he learned over the fall semester in Paris.

“… and you’d think they’d be a little more open into trying something with a little more class. Good food is good food.”


“What did you do for dinner?”

Zach blinks lazily. “Chinese food.”

“What are you, Jewish?” Jeremy snickers.

“Agnostic but I’m checking out a brochure for Atheism,” Zach mumbles. His mother’s murder had killed what little faith was left in him.

Jeremy sighs but his voice was teasing. “Oh Sweetheart, what am I going to do with you?”

Zach shrugs but realizes Jeremy can’t see him doing it. “I don’t know.”

“You… you’re sure you’re OK?” Jeremy asks carefully.

‘No, no I’m not you fucking idiot. It’s my third Christmas without my mother, I’m on my own, I’m depressed and you’ve been cheating on me for at least three months now, maybe more, but talking to me as though you’ve got me completely fooled. Like you actually give a shit,’ Zach thinks nastily and it makes his chest hurt a little.

“I will be,” he says instead. One day, maybe, perhaps when he’s dead.

Jeremy is quiet for a moment. “It’ll get better Zach.”

‘Easy for you to say, it’s not your life!’

“I know,” Zach whispers.

“I wish I was there with you, to keep you company.”

‘Do you think I’m stupid? You’ve been avoiding my calls and the only reason you picked up now is because you feel guilty.’

“That’s sweet Jer, but you’re where you need to be right now,” Zach says. “I wouldn’t take you away from your family.”

‘But if you were here we could wear stupid Christmas jumpers, light a fire in the fireplace, burn our relationship to the ground while roasting marshmallows over it and then fuck each other on the ashes. Perfect.’

“It just seems unfair.”

‘Life’s unfair bitch. I’ve gotten used to it.’

“Jer,” Zach sighs. “Stop worrying about me and go have a great Christmas with your family. I’ll see you in January when you get back to France.”

“Alright,” Jeremy says with hesitation, almost as though he doesn’t want to hang up. Zach doesn’t understand this man at all sometimes. “Just… remember that I love you, alright?”

Zach grips the phone tightly, his lips curling downwards.

“Do you?” Zach asks, and though he tries to hide it there is hostility in his voice.

“Yes,” Jeremy replies with utter sincerity. Zach feels confusion and anger roiling inside him then. The tight sensation in his chest wants to implode in on itself and drag him with it.

‘Accuse him. Do it now. Do it. Do it. Make him eat his fucking words!’

“I… me too,” Zach whispers shamefully instead. He squeezes his eyes shut. “I have to go, Merry Christmas.”

He hangs up before Jeremy can say anything else.

Zach sits there and stares at the blank screen of his phone. The man staring back in the surface looks like a wreck. He hates that face. Zach hates the man looking back at him, this weak, pathetic, coward of a man who loves someone who brings him nothing but pain anymore.

‘Fucking useless. Can’t even save yourself.’

Tears burn his eyes but don’t fall. The truth is a bitter pill to swallow.

‘And that’s why you deserve this.’
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