Deception & Perfection

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A/N: I said I'd get a cake when I hit 10k on this fic and I meant it

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A/N: I said I'd get a cake when I hit 10k on this fic and I meant it. The only problem is my roommate couldn't find cake at the store so they got this instead. Whatever. Enjoy my bad icing abilities (it's chocolate!) and the latest update for GOC. Who knows, maybe I'll get a real cake next time.

"So when did you start liking Travis?" The question came off Geoff's tongue before he could stop himself. It came out playfully, almost as if it was supposed to be some sort of joke or something. Zakk was smirking down at the display case in front of him. Geoff had opted to come to a smoke shop with Zakk in hopes to give Awsten and Travis some desperately needed privacy. He just hadn't realized Zakk's true potential until he had allowed the inquiry to fall past his lips.

"Somewhere before Awsten liking him but after you liking Awsten." Zakk delivered the unexpected blow with ease. It was a move he had calculated since the group of four had split off into two pairs. Geoff coming with him to the shop was a blessing dressed in the form of a boy with a pierced nose. Awsten could be trusted alone with his person of interest because if there was one thing Zakk knew after all these years, it was that Awsten was more of a coward than he let on. He wouldn't have the nerve to make a move on Travis, not yet anyway.

"What? I..." Geoff's mind wandered to the smile he was given as the pair parted ways. A sound only he could hear rang in his ears but unlike the one that had played after they had first met Chloe, this one was nice. It was happier almost. Geoff thought that it might belong in a video game after a battle had been won. He wanted to feel happy at the sound because after all, Awsten succeeding was Geoff getting a step closer to being alive again. His heart hadn't gotten the memo. Instead, his chest hurt and there was a lump in his throat that no amount of swallowing would remove. "I don't like Awsten."

"I'm a dumbass but I'm not that dumb." Zakk still wasn't looking at him but instead had wandered off not too far away. He was glancing at very tiny glass bottles. Geoff wasn't entirely sure what they were for but they had different flavours on them varying from strawberry shortcake to mint chocolate chip. He supposed that they were something used for vaping or juuling. It hadn't been as popular as it was not when Geoff was originally alive. It felt like absolutely everyone who came into the coffee shop had a vape or a juul on them.

"Never said you were." Geoff's arms were folding across his chest in a slightly pathetic and totally obvious attempt to deflect Zakk's charming demeanor. Zakk was what people often referred to as charismatic, being able to charm anyone and everyone. Less than an hour ago during lunch, he had somehow charmed their middle-aged waitress into giving them her employee discount. All it took was a couple of compliments and a smile that could've lit up the night sky. It wasn't fair in the slightest. Geoff wanted to be able to be like that with ease instead of an armful of drinks.

"Never said he didn't like Travis." Zakk pointed out, this time looking at Geoff. The dark haired boy was flashing him a smile Geoff could only describe as award winning. Seriously, this guy was kind of a jerk but he was absolutely breathtaking. If the circumstances were different and if he wasn't as annoying as Awsten on a bad day, maybe Geoff would've had a crush on him or something. Given the fact that he appeared to be one of Awsten's best friends turned romantic rival, that seemed to be thrown out of the equation. Geoff had his priorities after all.

"You tricked me!" Geoff stated exasperatedly, practically throwing his arms to his sides. He wondered briefly if all of Awsten's rivals were going to be this annoying. He figured that most of them would at least get in the way like Zakk was. The thought made him want to stay in bed for the rest of the year instead of even bother to help Awsten sift through the potential partners. He let out a sigh, not even wanting to think about what Awsten was going to say when he found out that Zakk had even the slightest clue about what was going on.

"I did nothing of the sort." A smirk played across Zakk's lips. Geoff had fallen directly into his plan and for that, he was grateful. He hadn't originally thought that something that simple would work on the other boy. Perhaps, he had given Geoff the benefit of the doubt. He appeared to look like a smart enough guy but even the smartest of people could be fooled. "It's not my fault that you're angry at yourself." There was an ounce of truth the what Zakk was saying, even if Geoff refused to take notice of it.

"You diverted my attention to get what you wanted." Geoff was in a place somewhere between frustration and disappointment, more with himself than with Zakk. He didn't understand how the other boy did it and with such confidence that Geoff didn't even know that it was happening. It was like a super power belonging to the other boy and although it was interesting, it was currently being used for all the wrong reasons. "That's like, manipulation or something."

"Manipulation makes it sound ugly. It's more like refocusing your attention." Zakk hadn't even thought of himself as a manipulative person, although it was a word people tended to throw around him when they were upset. It wasn't his fault that he was good at reading situations and playing to people's emotions. I'm Zakk's mind, everyone played the game of life for themselves and had to act accordingly. There were plenty of games where you could care about your opponents all you wanted but life was one of those things where there were winners and losers. Zakk wanted to be a winner. "Think of it like magic instead. I brought your attention to one aspect to do something with another."

"I don't like you anymore." Geoff spat viciously at the other boy, taking little notice of the twinkle in the other boy's eyes at the phrase. He was positive that all of these flavors Zakk had more than likely already tried so he wasn't exactly sure why it was taking them forever. He turned his attention to the series of items in the other boy's hand; two tiny glass bottles and four small squares. Both bottles although clear appeared to be holding something yellow while the small squares were all different colors.

"You liked me?" Zakk had a shit-eating grin on his face as if Geoff had just given him gold. What could he say? Zakk liked being liked. If he had the option to bathe in the attention he received, he would. He swore that the adoration he received was a part of the reason he still looked like an eighteen year old. Awsten had always joked it was because he dined on the blood of newborn babies. Whatever worked. "Flattered but not surprised. I'm a charmer. It's what I do. I'm a people person, really." Zakk Autrey was a lot of things and a people person wasn't one of them. A people pleaser would've been a better description.

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