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seiferzell

of Weeds and Seeds, Chapter Four

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Sep. 3rd, 2015 | 11:17 am
posted by: skittles4zell in seiferzell

Title: Of Weeds and Seeds
Rating: PG-13 until further notice
Characters: Seifer/Squall, Seifer/Zell, Irvine/Selphie, Rinoa, miscellaneous characters
Word Count: 2,547 / 8,927 (chapter/total)
Tags: AU, cheesiness, drama, fluff, language, professional relationship to romantic relationship
Summary: Nothing wrong with a little friendly bonding with your customer, right?
Notes: Sorry for the delay! I was hoping I could be more consistent with updates for this, but this chapter kicked my ass, and I got caught up with working on other stories. So, um, quick poll: How distracting would it be for me to post chapters to another piece? Or should I wait to finish this one?
Previous chapters: one, two, three



Seifer refused to let paranoia ruin his mood; the fact that Squall bailed on him had already done that for him. On the bright side, however, Zell’s friendly gesture of inviting him for dinner helped Seifer to feel better.

Once they entered Zell’s home, Seifer was surprised to see the house in a much better state than he remembered it during their first meeting. He hadn’t expected Zell to be a neat freak, but the house was immaculate. The other man looked to be fully moved in, as there were no more cardboard boxes cluttering the floor. His drapes complimented his sofa which matched the carpet perfectly. Seifer recognized the mahogany dining room table and rather liked the decorative centerpiece now occupying it. The only visible mess was in the foyer. There was a colorful line of sneakers spread beneath the accent table, pressed against the wall and cluttered with mail.

“Hey, man, is it cool if I grab a shower real quick? I feel gross.” Zell examined stray flecks of white paint on his skin before sniffing his underarm and making a face. “Yeah, gross. Aaaand I might need to go grocery shopping, so maybe a pizza instead?” His face was apologetic enough that Seifer couldn’t be bothered that Zell had gone back on his word about a home cooked meal.

Besides, a home cooked meal was a just a tad on the intimate side, wasn’t it?

“Sure thing. You’re the host.”

Zell grinned. “That I am.” He filtered through the mess of papers on the foyer’s table and gave a triumphant “Aha!” when he found coupons. He gestured for Seifer to go into the living room while he wandered into the kitchen.

Seifer could hear him speaking amicably to the pizza place as he stood awkwardly and looked around, taking in his surroundings. It was a decent distraction, getting glimpses into Zell’s life via the pictures and trophies on the mantelpiece. The conversation with Squall was drifting father into the recesses of Seifer’s mind. He had gotten fairly good at tucking his emotions away in the past few weeks.

Zell returned with a beer and handed it to Seifer. “Here. Pizza will be here in fifteen minutes.”

“Not the standard thirty to forty-five?”

“Nah, I know ‘em pretty well.” Zell’s blue eyes twinkled with pride. “Make yourself at home.” He trotted upstairs and a few minutes later, Seifer heard the water of Zell’s shower.

While he waited, Seifer made himself comfortable on the sofa and drank his beer.

Zell returned eventually in a faded Florida State University t-shirt and a clean pair of his now trademark basketball shorts. Seifer was beginning to ponder on how many pairs he owned and in how many different colors. “You look like a sports guy,” Zell commented and turned the television on to ESPN.

Seifer chuckled as Zell fell onto the other end of the sofa. “No, not really.”

“Damn. I’m usually pretty good at reading people.” He frowned, shrugging. “Oh, you want another beer?” Zell jumped up in a flash of excited energy and made for the kitchen. He returned with the case of beer, napkins, and plates, but the doorbell rang before he could sit back down.

Seifer listened as Zell and the delivery guy chatted for a bit before Zell closed the door and came back with the pizza. “They have the code to get past your gate?”

“I told you I was cool with ‘em,” he said with a grin as he dug into one of the pizza boxes. “So if you’re not a sports guy, what’s your thing, other than lawn service?”

“My thing?”

“Yeah. Everyone has a thing.” Zell chewed thoughtfully on a bite of cheese pizza. “There’s this martial arts gym downtown. I co-own it with my friend Tifa. We do classes, maybe about fifteen to twenty people at a time and the occasional individual lesson. That’s why I was off today, guy couldn’t make it to his session. Anyway, I say all that ‘cause martial arts is my job, and I love it, but cooking is my thing.”

“The pizza delivery guy begs to differ,” Seifer responded and took a sip from his second beer. The alcohol was helping to melt away any apprehension he felt about crossing that invisible line from strictly professional relationship to friendly acquaintanceship. Seifer had been silently marveling at Zell’s voracious appetite, for he was on his third slice of pizza now, having quickly eaten the previous two. But now that he’d heard what Zell did for a living, Zell’s well-kept figure made sense. Sure, Seifer did a good deal of manual labor – he didn’t leave all the hard work for his team – and an occasional cardio session on a treadmill, but Zell obviously took care of himself and put effort into his physique.

Zell tilted his head back and laughed. “Smartass. I’ll cook for you and your girlfriend one day, just to prove my point.”

Whether it had been intentional or not, Seifer was amused at how smoothly Zell was able to segue to that topic. “I’d have to get a girlfriend first, and I don’t see that happening. Ever.” The confused look Zell gave him in return was priceless. Seifer waited to see if Zell was bold enough to press further.

“Wait, but wasn’t that your girlfriend who called earlier? The one who bailed on you?”

Seifer shook his head. “No.” He chewed slowly on his own pizza, half-listening to the sports news playing quietly in the background as he watched Zell struggle to put two and two together.

“Your mom bailed on you?” he asked finally, completely and utterly appalled.

He laughed so hard he had to put his pizza down and take another drink. “My boyfriend. He has some school function tonight.”

“Ohhhh.” Zell was nodding his head agreeably. “Well, I’ll cook for you and your boyfriend one day,” he replied around his chewing.

Seifer respected the acceptance and kindness in Zell’s reply, but it was an awkward concept for Seifer to accept himself. Just upon seeing Zell today, he’d been faced with an attraction that bordered lust. Zell was gorgeous, and Seifer couldn’t deny it, regardless of his relationship status. He was curious about Zell’s tattoos, about his work, about his life. He wanted to tease him and get reactions out of him. There was a potential crush brewing beneath the surface, and he wasn’t sure that any interaction between Zell and Squall could be anything less than uncomfortable. “He has a busy schedule,” Seifer said at last.

“Yeah, kinda sucks. Bailing on you and all.”

He thought to defend Squall; Seifer had been the one to forget his boyfriend had other plans, hadn’t he? Something about the situation didn’t sound right, however, and Seifer decided against explaining the conversation further. Instead, he resolved to simply enjoy the pizza, beer, and Zell’s company.

“I bet you’re into something boring,” Zell spoke up after a few moments of comfortable silence as they ate. “Like collecting stamps.”

“I’m sorry?” Seifer said, caught off guard and only slightly amused.

“Your thing, remember? You’re into something dumb, I just know it. That’s why you haven’t said anything.”

“First of all, the conversation went in a different direction. Second of all, it’s nothing boring.”

“So what is it?”

Seifer hesitated a moment, unsure of his willingness to open the door and let Zell into his life, just this little bit. Hell, he’d already told him about his relationship status. They were having pizza and beer in Zell’s home. Telling him a hobby wouldn’t be that far off from the comfortability they’d already established. “Photography,” Seifer replied after a moment.

Zell’s face brightened with eager curiosity. “Oh! That’s actually kinda neat. Like, you take pictures of your boyfriend?”

He shook his head a little too quickly. “Not at all. Landscapes and scenery mostly.”

Zell chewed thoughtfully on what was left of his pizza crust. “I don’t know if that counts, considering you deal with landscapes and scenery ‘cause of your job.”

“Good thing you aren’t the Hobby Police then, huh?” Seifer retorted.

Zell didn’t look affected by Seifer’s jab. “So how long have you been together, you and your boyfriend?”

Caught off guard yet again by Zell’s change of subject, Seifer faltered as he tried to remember. “Uh, two years, maybe?”

Zell looked doubtful. “You don’t sound so sure.”

Seifer’s eyes narrowed. “Excuse me for thinking this was going to be a friendly dinner and not an interrogation.”

His face fell in response to Seifer’s annoyance. “You’re right, man. Sorry.” He leaned back into the sofa, shoulders slumped.

“Sorry,” Seifer said uneasily. “I’m not used to this ‘twenty questions’ thing.” It was true; everyone in his life already knew everything they needed to know. He made just enough conversation with Squall to ensure their time spent together wasn’t awkwardly silent, and he worked with his best friend, Raijin, so they talked mostly about their clients.

Zell laughed easily. “No big deal. Just trying to be friendly.” He grinned and pulled himself forward, seemingly carefree yet again.

He nodded and finished off his third beer, cutting himself off from further drinks. “So… Your house is nice. Kinda big for just you, though.”

Seifer didn’t miss the brief darkening of Zell’s face as his emotions seemed to change again, but Zell was smiling before Seifer could make mention of it. “Yeah! It was my grandpa’s. He died recently and left it to me.” He rubbed his knees and looked around, as if he was taking in the living quarters for the first time. “I like the space, though. Better than my shoddy apartment before.”

“Oh, sorry to hear about your grandfather.” Seifer winced. He hadn’t known his attempt at conversation would lead to something painful for Zell. Maybe they weren’t cut out for this friendliness thing after all.

“It happens, right?” Zell shrugged. “That’s actually why I was kinda attached to the dandelions. We used to, like, bond over them.”

Seifer pondered over this information for a minute. “Well, what about forsythia?” The idea came to him suddenly, and he was glad for the chance to help keep the memory of Zell’s grandfather alive. “It’s bright yellow, like the dandelions. But it grows more as a shrub so it’s much more contained.”

Zell was grinning broadly all over again, and Seifer could tell he was excited at the prospect. “That sounds awesome!”

“Here.” Seifer found the portfolio he’d brought in with him, thumbing through the photos before he found the picture he wanted. “See? If we plant one near the porch, it would require some regular maintenance, but I think it’d look great.”

Zell leaned in closer and marveled over the picture Seifer showed him. “Yeah! Let’s do that.”

Seifer made a note of their tentative plans for the forsythia, grateful that they had accomplished at least a minimum amount of actual business today; their appointment hadn’t been a total waste.

From there, their evening continued pleasantly enough. Zell didn’t seem too bothered by Seifer bringing up an obviously unpleasant subject, as his attention became more focused on their plans for his yard. Seifer was beginning to like that about Zell, that he could be honest with his emotions but not get too caught up in his own feelings.

When it was time to leave, the shadows from the day had given way to the darkness of night. Seifer hadn’t realized how late it had gotten, not that he minded. He hadn’t heard from Squall since he’d called earlier, so his boyfriend must not have been bothered by his absence.

“Y’know you can call me any time, right?” Zell told Seifer as he walked him out to the driveway. “Like, if you need a friend or whatever. There’s more to life than working all the time, and you shouldn’t forget that.”

Seifer cocked his head and smiled, amused at Zell’s philosophical side. “Same goes to you. Here.” He paused and scribbled his personal number on a crumpled napkin from his truck. “Don’t abuse it, Princess.”

Zell laughed and rolled his eyes. “I thought we were past that!”

“Not quite.” Seifer hoisted himself into his vehicle and gave Zell a wave. “I need to finalize these plans. We’ll be in touch. Thanks for the pizza.”

He returned the wave and grinned. “Anytime.”

Seifer reversed and let his truck roll from Zell’s driveway out into the cul-de-sac. Once he made it home and crawled into bed beside a sleeping Squall, he reflected on his evening. There was something refreshingly easy and relaxed about Zell’s personality. His sense of humor consisted of cheesy jokes (“What do you call a fake noodle? An impasta!”) that Seifer would have found annoying if Zell’s laughter wasn’t so contagious. He was open and willing to show emotions, a bright spark in his eye and a wide grin. He was nothing like the sleeping man next to him, and whereas Seifer thought he should feel bad for thinking so, he didn’t feel guilty in the least.

*

Zell climbed tiredly out of bed the next morning. He was headachy from the alcohol the night before, even if he hadn’t gotten drunk. Just another reminder he was getting older. He soldiered through his morning routine: five mile run at the park, thirty minutes with his punching bag, shower, and quick errands before ending up at his gym.

His phone dinged before he left his car to go inside.

A text from Selphie: Saw a Hyperion truck at your house last night. I’m thinking you have details to spill now. ;]

Zell rolled his eyes and deftly typed out a response: Stop stalking me. None of your business.

She didn’t reply, and for that, Zell was grateful. He knew what Selphie wanted to hear. He hadn’t forgotten their conversation from before, when she was harassing him to sleep with Seifer. He needed to tell her the guy was definitely in a relationship and very much off limits. He’d have to leave out the part about him being in a gay relationship, though. Selphie would continue pressing it if she knew Seifer were gay, no matter what his relationship status was.

He leaned his head against the seat’s headrest, caught up in his own thoughts. Seifer intrigued him. He was so invested in his work and wanted nothing less than the best for his clients. Zell could respect that. Part of him was the same way, but Zell knew Seifer was beyond dedicated to the results he put forth. All things considered, that was a good quality to have; the world needed more people like Seifer. Dedicated, hard-working, and attractive with a take-charge attitude.
Zell blinked at his own thoughts. Seifer was in no position for Zell to start crushing on him. “Ugh!” He shook his head to himself and grabbed his gym bag and left his car, ready to start the day. He needed to busy himself and get Seifer out of his thoughts. Right as he was poised to unlock the door of his gym and head inside, his phone dinged again. He grimaced; he had hoped he’d avoided Selphie until later.

His heart skipped a beat when he saw the name.

Seifer.

Have a good day, Princess.

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Comments {3}

heavenscloud666

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from: heavenscloud666
date: Sep. 4th, 2015 03:11 am (UTC)
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OMG!! SOOOO GOOD!!

i need more!! lol!!

the boys are getting to know each other. i m so excited!! loved the way you ended it. i cant wait till the next chapter.

:)

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sac de cigarettes

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from: sani
date: Sep. 4th, 2015 03:57 am (UTC)
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heehee! they're so cute! :D and yeah I can't see Squall letting Seifer take pictures of him, heh.

as for posting chapters of another story, yes, please do! we'd love to read anything you've got cooking at the moment I'm sure ;D

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Oberin Hilexander

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from: gargoule
date: Sep. 6th, 2015 09:19 pm (UTC)
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Okay, Zell's joke - I totally laughed. I love cheesy jokes. And puns.

You're doing a really great job of pushing my Seifer/Zell pairing back up above Seifer/Squall.

This is super cute, like totally super cute.

never mind the twitter comment. apparently i can't read.

Edited at 2015-09-06 09:20 pm (UTC)

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