A/N: Hey guys. I only recently realized that I haven't revealed to you guys how Zander and Tristan came to be-or at least how they first met. So, this two-shot(I guess) documents their first date. I hope you guys enjoy this as much as I do.

...

First Dates Are for Falling Hard

"That's a really stupid suggestion."

"It's not. It'd be good for you."

"Why would I want to go to the station's Fourth of July barbeque?" Zander folded his arms across his chest and glared at his father. His side swept dark bangs hid his right eye from his father and limited his vision somewhat, but Zander didn't care. The sleeves of his gray button down were rolled up to his elbows, and the shirt was buttoned all the way to the top. The blinds on his windows were open and allowed light to stream into the room, a warm glow lighting up his back and casting a shadow in front of him. The elongated shadow of himself stopped at his father's feet, seemingly begging for Zander not to have to go to the social outing.

"Because I said you're going. Is that enough of a reason for you?" Zander's father was an officer at the Rockwater Police Station, and every Fourth of July, the station had a barbeque. Not including his small group of friends, Zander didn't socialize much, so this was the perfect moment for him to do something stupid and awkward to embarrass himself.

"Come on dad. You know how those kinds of things are for me." His dad nodded as Zander swept his hair out of his eyes. It nearly immediately fell back into its original position, making him scowl.

"I know. And that's exactly why I want you to go. Zan, you're going to college soon. You have to be able to interact with people you don't know."

"So you want me to talk to strangers? Didn't you and mom teach me not to do that when I was a kid?" His father gave him a look and Zander threw his hands up in exasperation. "Fine, fine. I'll go. I'm not making any promises about socializing though."

"No need to. You can sit there like a lump on a log if you want. But your mother and I are going, and I want you to be there too." Zander nodded and waved his father out of the room.

"Stupid family outings," he muttered, turning back to his computer desk where his summer assignment of Shakespeare's Macbeth sat. He stared at it for a moment, his blue eyes unblinking, and then closed the book.

There was nearly a month and a half of summer left—he'd read it later.

...

Zander pulled the navy blue v-neck over his head, grumbling under his breath as he smoothed the wrinkles out of it. He really didn't want to go to this barbeque, but it's not like he had a choice. Carelessly, he pulled a short-sleeved black button down off of a hanger in his closer and shrugged that on. He combed his hair through with his fingers and his feet carried him over to his computer desk where his dragon necklace was sitting. His fingers closed around the object and he picked it up, fastening it around his neck.

"Zan, are you ready yet?" His father's voice drifted up the stairs and into his room, ringing through his ears.

"Not yet!" Zander called back as he pushed his feet into his navy blue Converse and started to lace them up.

"You're not going to prom! Hurry it up!" Zander let out an annoyed growl and laced his shoes. Once finished, he stood and snatched his Droid off of his computer desk as he left his room, slipping it into his pocket.

He jogged down the stairs and nearly ran into his mom, who was exiting the living room. She smiled and pushed his hair out of his eyes, making Zander shrink back. She laughed a little.

"Oh, I forgot. You're too old for that." She brushed the back of her hand across his cheek, her eyes shining. "You're so handsome."

"Mom, calm down." He took a small step back and looked curiously into her eyes. "You're acting like I'm leaving you to go somewhere half way across the world. We're all going to the same place. What are you getting all emotional for?" She wiped her eye and shrugged.

"You're my son," was all the explanation she gave. Zander cocked his head slightly and was about to ask another question when his dad emerged from the study, glancing between the two.

"Finally, you're ready," he said to Zander, ruffling his hair as he passed by. Zander scowled and combed his fingers back through his hair, trying to fix it. "You didn't even want to go, so why are you all dressed up?" His parents glanced at Zander's attire, making his cheeks flush.

"I'm not dressed up," he insisted, jamming his hands into the pockets of his jeans. He glared at his mother and father, his eyebrows pinned together.

"Sure you are," his father replied, gesturing at his clothing.

"I'm not. I just like wearing button-downs. And that, all of a sudden, is dressing up?" His father nodded and Zander rolled his eyes. "Okay, whatever."

"So if you're sure you're done dressing up for whomever you're dressing up for, can we get in the car and get a move on?" Zander glared at his dad and huffed, pushing past him and storming out the front door.

"Teenagers," his dad muttered and he followed his son out the door.

...

Zander grabbed a bag of Lays potato chips and sat them on his flimsy Styrofoam plate next to his hamburger. He thanked Officer Stalone, who was working the grill, and turned towards the lawn full of picnic tables in front of him.

He frowned as he searched for a place to sit. He didn't want to sit with somebody and be forced to socialize so he was about to take a seat at the empty picnic table a few feet ahead of him, but he stopped short when someone caught his eye.

A few tables away, a boy was sitting by himself. From what Zander could see, he looked about his age—eighteen or nineteen. He had jet black hair that fell over his left eye. He stared off absentmindedly as he munched on a potato chip, the Livestrongs around his wrists sliding further up his forearms. Zander squinted a little and he could just barely make out the boy's lip ring reflecting in the sunlight.

Maybe he would sit over there instead.

Zander made his way over to the picnic table and slid into the seat across from the boy. He blinked a few times and looked up at Zander with jade green eyes, smiling a little. Zander's heartbeat picked up a bit—the guy had a really nice smile.

"Hi there," he said to Zander, flipping his hair out of his eyes.

"Um…hi." Zander smiled shyly back at him, mentally scolding himself for being so awkward. The boy tilted his head slightly, his hair falling back in his eyes, and smiled a bit wider as he munched on another potato chip. Zander tried to bring himself to speak, but no words would leave his mouth—he hadn't been this shy and nervous around a guy in…well, in a long time.

"So…" The boy started, looking Zander in the eyes. "What made you want to sit with the bisexual emo kid?"

Zander's mouth dropped. He was bisexual?

The boy's smile soon fell. "What?" He asked. "Do you have a problem with bisexuals?" His eyes were accusatory and the corner of his lips twitched.

"No!" Zander blurted out, perhaps too quickly. "Just a little surprised."

"Surprised about what?" The boy shook his head and looked down at his plate. "You know what, never mind. Maybe I got the wrong vibe from you." Zander frowned a bit, brushing his hair out of his eyes before looking back at the boy.

"And what vibe was that?"

"I said never mind. Don't even worry about it." The boy popped another chip into his mouth and chewed it as his eyes wandered elsewhere. Zander sighed and tugged on his snakebites, a nervous habit of his.

"Look, I didn't mean to offend you or anything. It's just that I don't know many bisexual or gay people and—"

"I didn't mention anything about gay people."

"I know."

"Then why'd you bring it up?"

"Because I'm gay." Zander strung the words together so quickly out of nervousness that he wasn't sure if the boy had even understood what he had said. The chip that was on its way to the boy's mouth stopped abruptly.

"Is that so?" He inquired, a dark eyebrow arched. A smile slowly snuck its way back onto his face, and he set the chip back down, leaning forward a bit. "Tell me your name stranger."

"Z-Zander," he stuttered, trying to fight the blush rising to his cheeks as he met the boy's intense stare.

"Cute name. And an even cuter blush." Zander's cheeks were on fire as the boy extended his hand. "I'm Tristan." Zander slowly put his hand forward and shook Tristan's.

"I was kind of dreading this barbeque," Zander said softly, daring to look into Tristan's jade green eyes. Tristan looked calmly back at him, an amused expression upon his face. "I'm not really the socializing type."

"I was feeling the same way." Tristan smiled and gave Zander a little wink that he wouldn't have noticed if he hadn't been paying close attention. "But I'm getting the feeling that it won't be so bad after all."

...

Zander flopped onto his bed and sighed, resting his Droid on his stomach. Despite the fact that they hadn't talked once since the barbeque, Zander couldn't get Tristan out of his mind.

His hair that would probably feel like heaven if Zander had the chance to run his fingers through it, those jade green eyes that sparkled as if he was up to something, that grin that made Zander's breath catch in his throat, and fuck, that lip ring…

Sitting at that picnic table with Tristan had reduced him to an awkward and stuttering mess—which hadn't happened since his sort-of-boyfriend-at-the-time Alan. His relationship with Alan was great in the beginning, but Zander later found out that Alan was cheating on him, with a girl no less. After that, Zander had a date here and there, but nothing major.

This…Tristan…was something major. He could feel it.

But dammit. How was anything supposed to happen between them if they didn't even talk? They had exchanged a few texts in the days following the barbeque, but then Tristan dropped off the radar and Zander couldn't do anything about it since all he knew about him was his name.

Zander groaned and pushed his head back into his pillows. If they weren't going to talk, Zander had to forget about him. But it's been a little over a month and not a day has passed where Zander didn't think about Tristan—naughty or not.

He was startled when the thin piece of technology resting on his clothed abs vibrated. His ocean blue eyes shot open and he picked up the phone, glancing at the screen, a smile slowly spreading across his face.

Well speak of the devil.

Been thinking about you. Want to hang out? :)

Hell to the yes.

But of course he wasn't going to say that. He had to think of a witty yet tasteful response. Under normal circumstances, Zander would just shoot back a text without paying much attention to what he had said.

These weren't normal circumstances.

And if I say no? Tristan texted back nearly immediately.

Then I'll be sad. So please don't make me sad. Zander smiled, the slightest of blushes washing across his pale cheeks.

Okay. I won't. :)

Great. :) How about Saturday, we go…to the zoo? Does that sound alright?

That sounds perfect.

Awesome. I'll pick you up at say…9:45. Hey…I can't wait to see you. :)

Me either. :)

Zander couldn't contain his grin any longer. He set his phone aside and brushed his dark hair out of his eyes.

He was falling. And he was falling hard.

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