He led her deeper into the fairgrounds, unaware of her discomfort at his hand on hers. When they finally made it to the stand of the ring toss (which was one of many through the grounds), he heard her call his name, the hesitance concerning him. He looked back at her, confusion in his eyes until her eyes drifted to his hand, and he followed her gaze. He saw their entwined hands and he felt his face flush pink. It wasn't strange for Zeke to touch others. While he may have been socially awkward or even clueless, he wasn't opposed to touching. He'd experienced so many different cultures, and many of them involved intimacy with those among the community. Hand holding, to Zeke, was so rudimentary, but it hadn't occurred to him that holding Phoena's hand would make her uncomfortable.
The realization startled him, and he let go of her hand immediately. "I'm... I'm sorry, Phoena," he apologized softly. He could excuse himself and say that it didn't mean anything, but he also wasn't a liar. It did mean something to him. Perhaps it didn't mean the strictly romantic scripture that came with hand-holding, but it represented his comfort level with her. He did want to be more intimate with Phoena. He didn't feel closer to anyone else.
He slipped his hands into his pockets, as if the gesture would reassure his friend that he wouldn't reach for her. The last thing he wanted was to make her more uncomfortable. He knew she wasn't a fan of crowds. Putting her at ease was at the forefront of his mind in that instant. "This is the ring toss!" he said, hoping to divert her attention. He turned a bit toward the stand. "You get a bucket of those plastic rings and you toss them to try and get them onto the necks of the bottles." There were a few people already there trying to succeed at the rigged game. "Wanna give it a whirl?"