Zander left Port Charles. Jason didn't know where he went. He made it a point not to know. In fact, Jason left town himself. He packed a small bag and got on his motorcycle and took off. No particular destination in mind, he just needed to be out of Port Charles. Jason wasn't a fool. He knew he couldn't escape the memory of Zander. Still, he wasn't quite sure if he was trying to run from what he felt or if he were trying to find something, or someone, to help him keep the feelings alive. In the end he knew no one could do that for him. No one but Zander.
After six months, Jason returned to Port Charles. He even did a few jobs for Sonny. But they never really reconnected again. When Jason had made his choice between Sonny and Jason, it had been a permanent change. Zander wasn't in his life, but Jason had still walked away from Sonny.
Sometimes Jason felt as if he were going insane. He had no purpose in life. Zander had stripped everything away from Jason when he left. Jason felt as if he were dying inside. Everything that had come alive because of Zander, was now fading away, and Jason found himself lashing out, almost mirroring the type of behavior he had once condemned Zander for. Jason would go to the roughest bars just to start a fight, and most of the time he would end up in the drunk tank. Drinking was another habit Jason had become fond of.
Tonight hadn't been one of his better nights. It was the anniversary of the last time he had seen Zander. Jason had almost, single-handedly, wrecked a nearby Biker Bar. He had tossed a wad of cash on the bar top, which had appeased the owner somewhat, but the cops were still waiting for him when he lurched outside. So now he was locked up again. To Jason's surprise a guard showed up to say he had a visitor. "Who?" Jason asked.
Jason was surprised. Enough so to go with the guard. He entered the visiting room and found Carly sitting at the table. "What are you doing here?" Jason asked, as he sat down.
Carly made a face at him. "Hello to you too."
"What are you doing here, Carly?" Jason repeated. He had made it a point to avoid her for the past year. The couple of times she had forced a confrontation, she had wanted to talk about Zander. Jason had blown her off. But Carly was nothing, if not persistent.
"I came to give you something," Carly replied. She held out a piece of paper.
Jason took it and read an address in Hawaii. "What is this?"
Carly smiled. "That's where Zander lives."
"What?" Jason was stunned. He stared at the paper again then tore it into little pieces. Not that it mattered. The address was already burned into his memory. "What are you doing, Carly?"
"Giving you a push in the right direction," she replied. "Go to him, Jason. You need him."
Jason rubbed a hand over his face. He felt about a thousand years old. "Maybe I do," he allowed. "But Zander doesn't need me."
Carly shook her head. "You couldn't be more wrong. I visit him about once a month. Didja know he's in college? For journalism. He's good at it too. He already writes a weekly column for one of the newspapers. And he's working on a novel. I dared him to write it."
"That's great." Jason meant it. "Zander is a smart kid. Sounds like he's making a new life for himself." Jason was glad. Zander deserved it.
"He's trying to make a new life for himself," Carly allowed. "Problem is, Zander is just going through the motions. He's miserable, Jason. He can't get over you any more than you can get over him."
Jason stood up and began to pace. "What Zander can't get over is the fact that I raped him!" he spat.
Carly shushed him. "Geez...say it a little louder, will ya? I don't think DA Baldwin heard you!"
"Who cares?" Jason slumped back down into his chair. "I did what I did and I can't change it. I can't fix it...or Zander."
"You can try," Carly shot back. "Zander breaks my heart every time I see him. He just radiates pain, Jason. Like you do. The almost funny thing is...he's no longer lashing out because of it. He just...absorbs it into himself. You're the one who's self destructing now, Jason. It's like a role reversal between the two of you. But the bottom line is...you're both dying inside. So if you really do love Zander...and I know you do...go to him."
Jason sighed. "Even if I wanted to...I'm kind of stuck here. In case you haven’t noticed."
Carly smiled. "I took care of that. You're free to go. In fact, I took care of everything. I packed a bag for you and there is a driver outside, waiting to take you to the airport. Your ticket will be waiting for you at the counter. And I arranged for a car when you get there. The info is in your bag. Along with some cash."
"It's a bad idea, Carly."
"Why? Things can't get any worse, Jason," she pointed out.
He couldn't argue with that logic. Jason realized that, at this point, he had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Rising from the table, Jason moved around it, pulled Carly from her chair and hugged her. "Thank you."
She kissed his cheek. "You're welcome. Now go. You don't want to miss your flight."
Jason nodded and headed for the door.
* * * * *
The year away from Zander had aged Jason, and he knew it. But as he watched Zander strolling through the shallow water on the private beach, Jason realized that in the past year, Zander had gotten more beautiful. He seemed at home in the sun and near the water, and Jason remembered Carly having told him that they were both from Florida and that Zander had mentioned once about loving the water. So Jason realized that this had to be a bit like coming home for Zander.
He was wearing white shorts that were in stark contrast to his bronzed skin. He was a bit leaner, but every muscle was sculptured and Zander reminded Jason of a work of art. His hair was longer, hanging in his eyes again, and Jason could still remember the way it would feel against his skin. Like silk. As he continued watching, from his hidden vantage point and through his telescopic lens, Jason stiffened as Zander suddenly shucked his shorts, tossing them higher up onto the sand before making a running dive into the surf. He swam like a fish.
After a while Zander emerged from the water, combing his hair from his face with his fingers. A beautiful, naked, Adonis. And that was when Jason saw her. A beautiful, Hawaiian woman, wearing a colorful sarong. She greeted Zander with a kiss and Jason felt his insides twist. Zander had definitively moved on. Jason watched as the woman led Zander to a nearby blanket. She grabbed a towel and dried him off. They were both comfortable with his nudity, so Jason knew they were lovers. And they proved it when Zander undressed her and they made love. Jason couldn't look away. It made him hard to watch Zander moving over the woman, lithe body flexing as he thrust inside of her. It reminded Jason of the way Zander would move when they had been together. All fluid grace and strength. He finally closed his eyes as the memories washed over him. The way Zander's skin had felt under his hands. Smooth and soft, like satin over the steel muscles. And Jason had loved Zander's freckles, and he wondered if they were still visible through his tan. He shuddered as his body responded to the memory, then he opened his eyes.
Zander and the woman were getting dressed. They picked up the towel and shook sand off the blanket, then they strolled up to the house. Zander's house. Jason left his hiding spot to move closer. It was a familiar routine. He had been watching Zander for the past three days. Watching and waiting for the right moment to approach. A moment that never seemed to arrive.
Jason watched Zander and the woman on the Veranda. They kissed, hugged, and then she left. Zander entered the house and after a moment, Jason followed him inside. He slowly climbed the stairs and when he reached the landing he moved, unerringly, down the hallway. He had been in the house before. He knew which room Zander slept in. Once he reached it, Jason could hear the shower running in the connecting bathroom. Suddenly it stopped and Jason headed for the closet, slipping inside. He could see through the slatted doors and a moment later, Zander entered the bedroom. A very damp, very naked, Zander who was toweling his hair dry. Jason felt his cock twitch in response. He couldn't look away as Zander went to the dresser and pulled out a pair of cut offs, stepping into them, sans underwear. By then Jason was fully erect and aching. He was relieved when Zander left the room. He waited a moment then stepped out of the closet and shimmied down the trellis next to the balcony. He barely made it down to the ground and was able to slip off into the bushes, before Zander appeared on the veranda with a glass of what looked like Lemonade in one hand.
Having found a hiding spot that gave him a perfect view of Zander, Jason watched his ex-lover put the glass down on a low table, then sprawl out in a lounge chair. He watched Zander pick up a laptop and open it, then begin typing. Must be the novel Carly told him Zander was working on. Or maybe the column Zander wrote for the newspaper.
Zander typed for a while before setting the laptop aside and letting his eyes close. Jason waited a bit and when it looked as if Zander had drifted off to sleep, Jason could not resist going to him. So he slipped out of his hiding place and moved to Zander's side. Carefully he reached out and touched the, still damp, dark hair. Then he couldn't help himself. He had to lean down and kiss the soft lips that beckoned him. But he pulled back when Zander's eyes flew open.
"Jason?" Zander was stunned.
"Yeah...it's me," Jason replied.
Zander got up from the lounge chair and he was visibly shaking. "What are you doing here? How did you find me?" The questions almost toppled over one another.
Jason locked eyes with Zander and explained how Carly had given him the address and how she had told him to come here. "I've been here for three days, Zander. Watching you. Wanting you. But if you want me to leave...I will."
"I don't know what I want, Jason," Zander replied. He ran a hand over his face and sighed. "I...I wasn't expecting to see you again. But..."
"But what?" Jason prompted.
Zander shrugged. "I can't stop thinking about you, Jason. But it's fucked up…you know? I'm fucked up."
Jason nodded. That was something he could relate to. "So am I. You changed who I am, Zander. What I feel. You changed what I need and what I want."
"What do you want?" Zander asked.
"I want you…I need you...back in my life," Jason replied. He could do nothing less than be completely honest with Zander, and himself, at this point.
Zander walked away from Jason. "Don't say that," he whispered. "You don't need anyone, Jason. And last time...you didn't want me...you used me."
Jason couldn't deny the truth. "I know you can't forgive me for what I did to you, Zander. I don't blame you. In fact…I understand."
"You don't understand anything!" Zander snarled, whirling around to face Jason. "You can't understand because I don't fucking understand. I'm trying so damn hard to move on with my life. But I can't get past you."
"What about the woman I saw you with on the beach?"
Zander frowned. "Leilani? What about her?"
Jason shrugged. "I saw you making love together."
"You watched us?" Zander was stunned.
"I couldn't...not...watch you," Jason confessed.
Zander laughed, but it held a bit of hysteria. "Leilani is a friend. Just a friend."
Jason didn't buy that. "You don't make love to friends, Zander."
"We had sex, Jason," Zander replied. "That's what Leilani and I do. We talk, we go to the movies, we have sex." Zander ran a hand through his hair then shook his head. "I can't do this with you right now. I can't deal with it." He turned on his heel and ran off down to the beach.
"Fuck," Jason muttered, as he watched Zander go. He contemplated leaving. Not just Zander's house, but leaving Hawaii, when he sensed a presence. Jason turned around to find Leilani smiling at him.
She took a step forward. "So...you're Jason."
Jason was surprised. "Zander told you about me?"
"Not exactly." Leilani moved to sit on the lounge chair Zander had vacated. "He has nightmares sometimes and he says your name. And sometimes he acts out, begging you to stop hurting him." Leilani locked eyes with Jason. "You hurt him badly."
"Yes I did." Strangely enough, it felt good to make that confession to her.
Leilani nodded. "Then don't you think it's about time you healed him?" She stood up and smiled. "Do me a favor. Tell Zander I had to go out of town for a few days and that I'll call him."
Jason frowned. "Do you really have to go out of town?" He got the sense that what she was doing was walking away from Zander so that she would no longer be an issue.
"I go out of town all the time on business," Leilani replied, not really answering Jason's question. "Take care of Zander."
"I will...if he'll let me."
Leilani laughed. "It's not about whether or not he lets you, Jason. It's about whether or not you love him enough to do what needs to be done. For both of you." With that she stepped off the veranda and walked away.
Jason watched her go.
* * * * *
Six hours later, Zander came back. Jason was still on the Veranda. He was sitting on the low wall off to one side. He stood up as Zander approached. It was dark now but the night air was balmy and Jason was acutely aware of the fact that Zander was naked, except for the cutoffs. Which covered very little of him. "Do you want me to leave?" Jason asked, as Zander reached him.
"No." Zander moved past Jason and into the house.
Jason followed him. "Then what do you want?"
Zander kept walking until he reached the mini bar in the corner of the living room. He grabbed two beers and set one down on the bar top. He opened the other one and took a swig. "I want to talk," he finally replied.
"Okay. We can do that," Jason stated. He ignored the beer. He wanted a clear head for what was to come. "What do we start with?"
"Why did you...hurt me?" Zander choked on the question.
Jason knew he had to make them both face the reality of what happened. "You mean...why did I rape you? Because that's what I did, Zander. I raped you. And I did it to punish you."
Zander glared at Jason. "Why? What did I do that was so wrong, Jason? Besides let you use me?"
"Maybe that's why?" Jason countered. "Because you let me use you. Because you made me feel. Because I needed you and I hated feeling that way, yet I craved feeling anything at all. You made me feel, Zander. Only you could do that."
"That doesn't make sense," Zander whispered. "Nothing makes sense anymore."
Jason went to him, taking note of how Zander moved out of reach. He was skittish around him. Jason couldn't blame him for that. "You've always felt too much, Zander," he stated. "So you wouldn't understand what it's like to not feel anything at all. To remember what it was like in some ways, to feel the loss of it at times. And when I was with you...I could feel something again. I needed that. I needed you. I still do."
Zander blinked back tears. "What do you need me for, Jason? A fuck buddy? Because that is all I ever was to you."
"You were always more than that," Jason replied. He moved to Zander, blocking him when he tried to step around. "I hurt you and for that I will be eternally sorry, Zander. I would do anything to take back what happened. Anything."
"I know that. I believe that," Zander allowed. "But we're still stuck in the same place right now, Jason. What do you want from me?"
Jason held Zander's gaze, seeing the pain and sadness that glittered in the beautiful eyes. "I want your forgiveness, Zander," he whispered. "But I understand if you can't give it. Just know this. I love you." It was easier to say than Jason would have imagined. And it felt right.
Zander reacted as if he had been slapped. He turned away from Jason and made as if to leave. He had even reached the door when he froze. Slowly he turned back around. "Do you mean that?"
"With all my heart," Jason replied, without hesitation.
"This is so fucked up," Zander whispered.
Jason went to him again. "I know."
Zander shook his head. "No…you don't know. I love you too."
"What?" Jason was stunned, but he looked in Zander's eyes and saw the truth. A tear slid down Zander's cheek and Jason brushed it away with the pad of his thumb. He felt Zander stiffen, but he didn't pull away, so Jason let his palm cup his face. "Can I kiss you?" he asked.
"Yes," Zander replied, but it was he who made the first move, leaning in to claim Jason's mouth.
Jason let Zander have this moment, he knew that it would define things between them. Jason would always have the need of control between them, and he knew that Zander would allow that. But he also knew that if Zander ever wanted things to be different, Jason would find a way to accept it, because he could never risk losing Zander again. If he did, he would be lost. Jason finally broke the kiss to whisper," I want to make love to you."
Zander hesitated a moment, then he took Jason by the hand and led him to his bedroom. Again he made the first move by undressing Jason and caressing him. Kissing his body.
"I need to see you...to touch you," Jason gritted out, even as Zander fell to his knees to take Jason's cock into his mouth. Jason fisted his hands in Zander's hair. He was too close. "Please...Zander," He begged. "I need to be inside you."
"I need that too," Zander replied, rising to his feet.
Jason didn't hesitate. He removed the cut off's Zander was wearing, taking his time to let his fingertips glide over the bronzed skin. He was pleased to note that he could still find the freckles that dotted Zander's shoulders, and Jason took a moment to kiss them. Then he moved Zander onto the bed, crawling over him as he took his time in worshipping the beautiful body beneath him. Not missing an inch, and savoring every curve of muscle, and the softness of the smooth skin. He relished every moan and whimper that escaped Zander, and then he took Zander's cock into his mouth and teased and tantalized and tortured them both, until Zander was begging for Jason to give him what he needed. What they both needed.
It was Zander who got the lubricant and slicked Jason's cock. It was Zander who pushed Jason down onto his back and moved over him. It was Zander who gripped Jason's cock, holding it so that he could press down upon it. And it was Zander who brought Jason to his explosive, and all consuming release. And it was Zander who held Jason in his arms as Jason wept. Zander who kissed away Jason's tears.
But it was Jason who later curved against Zander's back as he pressed himself inside his lover. It was Jason who stroked Zander to his release even as he found his own. It was Jason who promised to love Zander forever.
In the end they held each other...and slept.