Whatever some people thought or said, Zack could tell when someone was not available to him.

Oh, he liked to keep his eyes open. And if he didn’t know, he was always willing to ask. Sometimes he got turned down, and that was all right; sometimes the turning-down was downright aggressive, and while he thought those people needed to not take it quite so seriously, he had no problem leaving them alone once he knew they were off-limits.

Sometimes, of course, he didn’t need to ask. Like that caracal, the one that had come in with Toni’s stripey roommate. Charlie. Zack had overheard him at the bar, turning down another guy with an easygoing “Thanks, but I’m straight.” Zack wasn’t stupid; he didn’t need to pester the guy himself just to get that confirmed firsthand.

But that didn’t mean he couldn’t dream a little.