Casper cursed under his breath. How could he have been this stupid? Why had he allowed his vanity to spoil what might well have been a perfect evening. He put his hand on the shoe resting on his knee and stroked the leather with his fingers.
When saw the pair of shoes in his favourite secondhand store this morning he’d had no doubts. For once he’d look like everybody else. For the first time since he’d met Zach he wouldn’t feel like a charity case. Not that Zach made him feel like that – far from it. Zach had told him time and again that he’d fallen for Casper not because of or despite the clothes he wore or the money he didn’t have but because he was Casper. Of course, Casper knew better. Once the novelty of having a dirt-poor boyfriend had worn off, Zach would see him for the worthless piece of shit he was and that would be the end of it.
Zach had asked Casper to come to this wedding as his date six weeks ago. It had taken him a month to find the trousers and shirt in secondhand shops. He’d resigned himself to having to wear them with his old and falling apart sneakers,when he’d spotted the posh shoes. When they turned out to be his size he’d been sure fate was on his side for once.
He’d been wrong. The shoes were his size alright, and since they were second hand, they should have been worn in, but clearly this pair hadn’t been made for him. His feet felt as if they were on fire and he could feel blisters erupting where the edges of the shoes cut into his flesh.
“I didn’t know it was possible, but you’re even more standoffish tonight than you normally are. Are you just going to sit here and mope?” Zach tried to sound upbeat but Casper heard the pain beneath his words.
A barrage of clever as well as nasty remarks flashed through Casper’s head but he bit them back. Zach had never asked him to change who he was or the clothes he wore. As much as he wanted to blame someone else for the pain in his feet, Casper knew he couldn’t.
“I’m sorry. It’s my feet – they’re killing me.”
“That’s all?” Relief flashed across Zach’s face as he knelt on the floor in front of Casper. Zach removed first one and then the other shoe from Casper’s feet. “Better?”
Zach got up with the shoes in his hand and walked across the hall before dumping the sadistic footwear in a bin and returning.
“One of these days you’re going to believe me when I tell you I don’t care what you look like.” Zach stroked the tattoo on Casper’s arm.
For the first time since he’d met Zach, Casper believed that day might indeed come.
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