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Weekend Project 2
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Weekend Project 2/3

Xander/William

PG-13
The boys get started on their project.

William was up far earlier than he needed to be, pacing the rooms of his home and cursing himself for every kind of fool. He had been imagining things, he must have. There was no way that this man, Xander, was gay, and even if he were, someone like him would certainly not be interested in someone like William.

 

William paced through the living room, avoiding the piled boxes of books awaiting their new shelves, barely glanced at the library, empty except for the stacked wood and nails, and headed into the kitchen. He checked to make sure he still had everything needed to make coffee, then double checked that the plate of pastries he’d picked up at the bakery on the corner was still in the refrigerator. Satisfied that he could offer the carpenter breakfast when he arrived, William resumed his pacing of the house.

 

The knock, when it came, was almost anticlimactic. Xander was right on time, exactly 9am. William paused and took a few deep breaths before opening the door slowly. Wouldn’t do to seem too eager.

“Good morning, Xander. Please, come in.”

 

~!~

 

Xander smiled as William opened the door. The man’s honey blonde hair was again pulled into a tail at the nape of his neck and Xander wondered briefly what it would look like loose and what it would feel like to run his fingers through it.  William was dressed down today in blue jeans, though neatly pressed blue jeans, and a plain gray tee shirt. He was actually quite well muscled, to Xander’s surprise, and the brunette quickly wrenched his eyes up to William’s face before he began to contemplate the possibility of glancing William’s nipples through the worn cotton. William was motioning him inside and he entered, turning his wandering eyes to the house instead. William lived in one of the older, Victorian style houses near UC Sunnydale, it was a nice place, but the previous owners had obviously allowed it to fall into a state of disrepair.

 

William preceded Xander into the living room, watching as the brunette took in the house. “Nice place.”

 

Xander’s smile was the same warm and friendly one he remembered from the day before, and William found himself relaxing, his fidgeting hands calming slightly.

 

Xander took in the piles of boxes, clearly marked ‘books’ and some furniture in the corner that still had padding wrapped around it. The paint on the walls was still bright and crisp, obviously recently done. “How long have you lived here?”

 

William glanced at the boxes sheepishly, “Nearly a month. I’m afraid the house needs several repairs done and I’m rather slow with them.”

 

William led the way into the library, watching as Xander took in the space and then feeling his eyes widening as Xander bent over to set his toolbox down. “I like the colors you chose.”

 

William wrenched his eyes away from Xander’s ass.  “Oh, ah, thank you.”

 

Xander took in the room: it was small, maybe 10 feet by 10 feet, with a wood floor, chair rail, crown molding and a small stone fireplace. William had painted the walls a deep forest green and it set off the dark cherry of the wood nicely.  Xander paced the space, mentally planning where the shelves would go, how tall they would be, and immediately planned to stop back at the store and pick up some crown molding to match what was already in the room, making the shelves look more built-in.

 

William’s hesitant voice broke through his thoughts. “Can I offer you some coffee, something to eat perhaps?”

 

Xander smiled. “That would be great, thanks.”  Then followed William into the kitchen.

 

~!~

 

They sat around a small kitchen table, enjoying the early morning sunlight and sipping coffee. Xander happily bit into a pastry and eyed William. “So, where did you move here from?”

 

“Isn’t it painfully obvious?” William’s soft smile took any sting out of his words. “England, London actually.”

 

“Do you mind me asking why Sunnydale?”

 

“Not at all. I accepted a teaching position at the university in town.”

 

“Wow, what do you teach?”

 

William flushed slightly, “Poetry. My class this semester will be on Modern English Poetry.”

 

“Again I say ‘Wow’.”

 

“I’m sure that must be terribly boring to you.”

 

“No! Not at all. I’m just impressed. I barely got out of high school alive, so anyone who not only went to college but also is smart enough to teach there impresses the hell out of me. “

 

“You seem like a very intelligent man Xander, I’m sure you have many hidden talents.”  Almost of their own accord, William’s eyes drifted down to Xander’s large, work roughened hands as they cradled the coffee mug. Blushing slightly he forced them back up to Xander’s face.

 

Xander noticed where William’s eyes had wandered to and tried to hide his grin. “Well, I am very good with wood.” He lost the battle with his grin and hid it in his coffee cup instead. 

 

William drew in a sharp breath and started to choke on his coffee. Xander took pity on the obviously shy Brit. “I’m trying to get my own carpentry business off the ground. So, you know, if the shelves turn out okay, tell your friends.”

 

“O…oh, of course.”

 

They finished their coffee and headed back into the library.

 

“So, where do you think you want the shelves?”

“Um, I was thinking that they would look best flanking the fireplace.”

 

Xander eyed the wall and nodded, “That’s my opinion too.”  He turned to look at William. “Well, I guess I’d better get to work.”

 

“Oh, of course. Do you need anything?”

Xander let his eyes sweep William’s lean body. “If I do I’ll let you know.”


~!~

 

William busied himself around the house with little chores while Xander worked. He repeated tried and failed to not think about the tall, muscular brunette that was working just rooms away. He was sure that Xander had been teasing him, flirting with him, so now William had to decide if he wanted to flirt back. He really didn’t know much about Xander, other than he worked in a hardware store, could build bookshelves from scratch, and was very kind, kind enough to help a complete stranger on his days off.  Don’t forget the breathtakingly handsome part. And he was, very handsome, and so different from Wesley.  Dear sweet Wesley. William had trusted Wesley, and had paid for that trust with a broken heart. So I guess I need to decide if I’m ready to trust someone again. Xander seems so kind, his smile is so open, it would be easy to trust him.  William sighed, threw down the dishtowel and put away the plate he had been methodically drying for the last ten minutes. I guess I’ll just have to see how things go this weekend. Maybe, if I’m still feeling this attraction by the end of this project, I’ll ask him out for drinks.

 

Finally noticing that the buzz of the saw that had been a constant for the last hour had stopped, William wandered back into the library.  He was stopped short, breathless by the sight of Xander, who had stripped off his work shirt and wore only a skintight wife beater, standing sweaty and flushed in the center of the room.  “Oh, um, h…how is the project going?”

 

Xander turned to him and grinned. “It’s going pretty good. I’ve got everything measured and cut, I just need to sand it all, then slap it together.”

 

William looked at the jumble of wood stacked all over the room. “If you say so, it looks much more complicated to me. Um, I was going to run out and pick up something for lunch, do you mind terribly?”

 

“No, not at all, if you don’t mind leaving me alone in your house?”

 

William met Xander’s open, friendly smile and returned it. “I believe I can trust you on your own for a while. Besides, I know where you work, I can find you again.”

 

William left, taking the unexpectedly warming sound of Xander’s laugh with him.

 

William returned an hour later with lunch, to find one shelf looking put together and another almost there. “Well, this is coming along nicely.”

 

Xander looked up with a smile. “Yeah. I’ll get them put together before I leave today. Tomorrow I’ll stain them and install them.”

 

William felt a small thrill at the conformation of at least one more day in Xander’s presence. “Stain them?”

 

“Yeah, I’ll pick up a stain on my way here tomorrow. It’s to make the wood of the shelves match the wood in the rest of the room.”

 

“Oh, of course, how silly of me. I never even thought of that.”

 

“Well, it’s lucky I’m here then.  You can help with the staining part. It’s a lot like painting, and by the looks of these walls, you’re a pro at that.”

 

William blushed. “Thank you. I am rather proud of the results.” He suddenly remembered the bags in his hands. “I brought lunch. Are you ready to take a break?”

 

“Gladly, I’m starving.”

 

They headed back into the kitchen and William set out the containers of cold salads and fixings for sandwiches.  Xander filled his plate and gratefully accepted the tall glass of iced tea William handed him.

 

“This is a very American lunch, especially this.” Xander gestured to his iced tea.  “I thought everyone from the British Isles considered this sacrilege.”

 

William laughed. “Many do, but I’ve found that the summer months in California make it difficult to want hot beverages. How did you know that? Have you traveled much abroad?”

 

Xander looked embarrassed. “No, I’ve, uh, never been further than L.A. before. Actually, my last boyfriend was Irish. He refused to drink iced tea, even at the height of summer. Anytime I had it he’d go on at length about what an abomination it was.”

 

William hardly heard the end of Xander’s statement, his brain had stopped at the words, ‘my last boyfriend.’  “I…I’m sorry, I thought you said…um…”

 

“Boyfriend? Yeah I did. Is that a problem?”

 

“What? No! No, not at all…I….I mean I’m….”  William shook himself out of his shock and noticed that Xander was silently laughing at him. He smiled ruefully. “I’m afraid I must beg your forgiveness. I made a very silly assumption based on no more than your profession.”

 

Xander reached over and squeezed William’s hand briefly. “It’s okay Will. I’m actually not out at work, so it’s good that while we were there you assumed I was straight. But I figured all the flirting since I got here would have given it away.”

 

William blushed, something he found to his frustration that he was doing quite often in front of this man.  “Yes, well, I’m afraid I’m rather slow to pick up on these things. I wasn’t quite sure.”  William took a drink of tea to calm himself. “So, you were telling me about your boyfriend. What else did he teach you about the culture of the old country?”

 

Xander grinned. “Ex-boyfriend, and not much. His parents immigrated when he was two. He has the accent, but not much more idea of the culture than any other American. He just liked to play up the image of the poor Irish artist.”

 

“He was an artist?”

 

“Yeah, a painter.”

 

“May I ask what ended the relationship?”

 

“Sure. We were together for about two years.  Our big problem was that we were both very…dominant personalities. We fought a lot. We unfortunately also drank a lot. During one fight, after we’d been drinking too much, I suddenly realized I was so mad I wanted to hit him. Not just slap him, but really hurt him. That shocked me sober, it was too close to turning into my father: drunk all the time and beating on the people I loved. So I broke it off. He moved to L.A. not too long afterwards to be with some lawyer it turns out he had been seeing behind my back.”

 

William knew his mouth was open in shock, but at the moment he didn’t care. What Xander had revealed to him was very personal, and he suddenly realized that now the brunette was taking his silence badly, looking down at his plate with a sad look on his face.

 

“Wesley and I were together for five years.”  William blurted out before he could lose his nerve. Xander looked up with surprise in his warm brown eyes. “We met our last year at college. We fell in love immediately and jumped into a relationship. He supported me in my writing when my father told me I could never make a living off of being a poet, and I supported him in his literary studies when his father insisted that he follow in the family footsteps and study medicine. As we grew up, we unfortunately grew apart, and in the end he left me for one of his Professors. They had been seeing each other for almost a year before Wes finally broke it off with me.”

 

Xander smiled understandingly. “Guess we’ve both had it rough, huh?”

 

William looked Xander in the eye. “I find the heartbreak easier to bare the more time passes, and the more people I meet.”

 

Xander grinned.

 

~!~

 

Later that evening, after Xander had gone home for the day, William stood in the shower and remembered warm, laughing brown eyes, the sound of a soft, teasing voice, and the feel of a warm work roughened hand on his as he stroked himself to completion. Afterward, pleasantly limp, he fell into bed counting the minutes until his carpenter returned.

~~~ 

Part 3

Part 1

 

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