This story is the sole property of its author and may not be copied in whole or in part without the permission of the author. The posting of this story on any web site must be with the author's prior knowledge and permission.
This story is based loosely on events in the lives of the members of the group *Nsync. What is depicted in the story came from the imagination of the author. The author has never met any of the members of *Nsync or to his knowledge have not met any angels or had any personal dealings with God.
This story is offered for your enjoyment this holiday season. With the chaos of today's world I'm offering this little story as a beacon of hope. May this holiday season be a happy one and the coming new year a safe one.
Over the Hump
Diane heard the front door slam close. "I'm home," Lance shouted. "Where is everyone?"
"In the kitchen, honey," Diane called out.
Lance bound into the kitchen with a big grin on his face. "What's for supper? I'm starved."
"Meatloaf," Diane said as she slapped her son's hand lifting up the lid of a pan. Diane studied the person standing before her. "Who are you? And what have you done with my son?"
Lance laughed, "It's still me. Mama, I'm sorry I've been such a pain in the ass since I got back."
"What happen today that brought about this change?"
Lance sat down at the counter as his mom continued to prepare supper. "Part of it is do to your call to Pastor Ted. If he hadn't made me go with him today I wouldn't have met Mikey."
"Who is Mikey?"
"He's a boy with an angel named Ethan."
Diane arched an eyebrow.
"Mama, today I met someone who problems makes my problems look so insignificant."
"What kind of problems?"
Lance's expression turned serious. "Mikey is an eight year old boy who lost his mother when he was four. His father is an alcoholic and started to beat on him not long after his wife died. He beat his own son so bad that when the police arrived everyone thought he was dead."
"My Lord! How is the boy now?"
"He's doing better. He still has a problem trusting adults."
"Then I take it somehow you have gained his trust."
"Are you going to continue working with the boy?" Diane asked.
"I'd like to."
"Just be careful, baby. That boy is starting to trust you. Don't do anything that can ruin that trust."
"I know, mama."
"When are you going to see the boy again?" Diane asked.
"Tomorrow afternoon after Sunday dinner," Lance replied.
"Jamie, is there any chance you could bring Mikey to dinner? I'd like to meet the boy."
"I'll ask the home supervisor tomorrow. I think he would like to get away from that place for a while." . . . "Is there anything I can do?"
"Why don't you set the table," Diane suggested.
Diane was sorting through the mail when she heard a car drive up. Looking out she smiled at the young man behind the wheel. The driver got out and as he approached, Diane held out her arms. "Joshua, honey, I didn't expect to see you."
"Diane, it's good to see you," Josh said as they hugged. "I came to see Lance. I figured he'd have to talk to me if I was here."
"Come on in," Diane said as they entered the front door. "He went up to change. He should be down soon."
As Diane closed the front door heavy footsteps could be heard bounding down the stairs. "Mama, have you seen my keys?"
Searching his pockets Lance didn't see Josh standing at the bottom of the stairs. Hoping to get Lance's attention Josh said, "Hey, Scoop."
Lance looked up shocked at first to see Josh. A smile quickly spread across his face as he leaped for Josh. "Josh! Oh man it's so good to see you." Pulling his friend into a hug.
This was not what Josh had expected. Hugging Lance back he noticed Diane's amused expression.
"Hey, man, how long can you stay?" Lance asked with excitement.
"I just drove up for the day," Josh said.
"Oh, man!" Lance stomped his foot. "Can't you stay longer?"
"Sure, I don't have anything planed till Friday."
"Great!" "Mama, I still need my keys. Have you seen them?"
"I think you left them on the kitchen counter," Diane said while shaking her head.
"Thanks," Lance said as he dashed of to retrieve his keys.
"What happened?" Josh asked still in shock at his friend's high-spirited mood.
Diane laughed, "You didn't expect that kind of change, did you?"
"The last two week when we called he wouldn't talk to any of us because he was depressed. . . What has changed?"
Lance returned before Diane could answer. "I found them." Lance held up his keys.
"Do you have plans?" Josh asked.
"Yeah, I just need to pick up a friend," Lance said. "Come on, I'd like you to meet him."
Josh rode with Lance to pick up his friend. Lance wouldn't tell him where they were going or who they were going to meet. When Josh brought up the subject of the space flight he was surprised that Lance talked to him about it and his feelings of not being able to go into space.
As Lance pulled into a large drive Josh noticed a large sigh, `County Home.' Getting out of the car Josh asked, "You meeting your friend here?"
Lance smiled, "He lives here."
A blond headed boy came running up to Lance and jump into his arms. Lance gave the boy a hug before putting him down. "I was waiting for you," Mikey said.
"I noticed," Lance chuckled.
Mikey noticed the man standing near them and he hid behind Lance. Peaking around Lance Mikey tugged on Lance's sleeve. As Lance bent down Mikey whispered, "Who's that?"
"He's a friend of mine," Lance whispered back. "You should already know who he is."
"He looks a little like JC."
"He does? . . . . Maybe that's because he is JC." Lance pulled Mikey from behind him and started to make introductions. "Mikey, I'd like you to meet a close friend of mine, Josh."
Mikey turned and looked up at Lance with a puzzled look. "JC is his stage name, his first name is Joshua, Josh for short." Mikey nodded that he understood.
"Josh, this is my friend Mikey."
As Josh steeped closer he noticed the kid tense up. Dropping down on one knee, putting them at the same height. "Hey, Mikey, glad to meet ya."
Mikey nervously held out his hand to Josh, "It, it's nice to meet you, sir."
Lance had his hands on the boy's shoulders and could feel the tension in his muscles. As Mikey reached out to shake Josh's hand he could feel the boy trembling. Lance gave Mikey's shoulders a soft squeeze, letting Mikey know he was safe.
"What's with this sir stuff? Just call me Josh."
Patting Mikey's shoulder Lance said, "Come on. Let's go sign you out."
After signing Mikey out the three of them climbed into Lance's car. Mikey buckled himself into the back seat.
"What are we going to do?" Josh asked.
"We're going to the mall," Lance said as they pulled onto the street. "We'll do a little shopping, have lunch, and take in a movie."
As they were riding Lance and Josh heard whispering coming from the back seat. Looking in his rearview mirror Lance could see Mikey whispering to the empty seat next to him. Josh gave Lance a questioning look as he glanced back at the whispering boy.
"Okay, Mikey," Lance chuckled. "What's Ethan's verdict?"
Mikey giggled, "He said Josh is a good person and that I can trust him."
"That's good," Lance said with a big grin.
"Who's Ethan?" Josh asked.
"Mikey's guardian angel," Lance laughed. "You my friend just got the seal of approval from one of god's own."
Josh turned around and looked at Mikey then the space next to him. Josh was about to say something when he noticed the seat move slightly. "Your angel is sitting next to you?"
"Mikey looked at the seat next to him then shook his head. "Not any more. Ethan just left."
The rest of the morning the three of them walked the mall, going into shops browsing and talking. Josh bought himself a couple outfits along with some basic stuff, underwear and the like. He hadn't planned on staying over and need a change of clothes. Lance also found a couple shirts he liked and after trying them on bought them. Mikey stayed quiet through most of the shopping holding Lance's hand most of the time. When Lance went into the dressing room to try on the shirts he moved close to Josh. Looking down at the boy Josh tried to reassure the boy, "He won't be long." Mikey looked up with a weary smile. Josh held out his hand and Mikey latched on to it.
When Lance came out of the dressing room he saw Josh and Mikey waiting for him a smile spread across his face when he saw Mikey holding Josh's hand. Something caught Lance's eye across the aisle. He was looking through the rack of boy's shirts when he pulled out three he thought would look good on Mikey. Holding a red shirt up to Mikey Lance and Josh pondered the look.
"I'm not sure," Josh said. "Try it on and see."
Mikey was given the shirts to try on but he hesitated about going into the dressing room. "You going to need help?" Lance asked.
Even though he was a little embarrassed Mikey nodded.
Mikey turned his back to Lance as he removed his shirt. Lance stifled a gasp as he saw the scars across Mikey's back. Lance sat on the bench as his legs gave out on him. Mikey turned to take one of the shirts from Lance when he saw Lance's expression and a tear slide down his cheek.
"What's wrong?" Mikey asked as he wiped away the tear.
"I'm, I'm sorry," Lance stammered. "I never thought. . . ."
Mikey through his arms around Lance's neck and gave him a big hug. "It's all right. They don't hurt any more."
"How could a father ever do something like that to his own son," Lance said as he hugged Mikey to him.
"Ethan said the marks are my badge of courage. And in time they will go away."
Letting Mickey go Lance looked at the boy. "You are the bravest person I know. And you should be proud of your badge."
Lance ended up buying Mikey three shirts and a couple pair of jeans. At first Mikey started to protest when he realized all that Lance was going to buy him. He feared they would be taken from him at the home. Understanding the problem Lance suggested that Mikey could leave the clothes at Lance's home and he would have them when he came to visit.
After dropping their packages off at the car they made their way to the food court for lunch. Mickey was told he could order anything he wanted. He spent ten minutes looking what each of the kiosk had to offer.
"Do you know what you want?" Lance asked Mikey.
Lance handed Mikey a ten-dollar bill. "You can go buy what you want. But remember we are going to a movie after we eat, so save room for popcorn and candy."
Mikey ran over to the Pizza Station and ordered a slice of pizza and a drink. Balancing his food on a tray he made his way back to the table. Mikey held out his hand with the change to Lance. "Here is your change."
"Just put it into your pocket," Lance said as Josh arrived with their food.
After lunch they walked around the mall for another hour before heading to the cineplex. "What are we going to see?" Josh asked.
Lance looked over the listings. "There's Santa Clause 2, Sweet Home Alabama, The Tuxedo, The Banger Sisters, Ghost Ship, 8 Mile, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding." Lance paused for a second trying to figure something out. "Didn't Joey's movie come out last spring?"
"Yeah in April in New York and L.A. It was a slow starter until it hit the mainstream theaters this summer," Josh related. "It is still going strong and it looks like it may be the biggest comedy/drama money grosser for 2002."
"I've got to see it," Lance said excitedly.
Josh silently indicated toward Mikey.
Lance sighed, "But I guess Santa Clause 2 would be a better choice."
Mikey looked at the sign above the ticket booth. "Jamie, what time do we have to be at your house for supper?"
Lance thought, "My dad has a late meeting today so supper will be around six."
"If you really want to see Santa Clause 2 we could see it after My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Santa Clause gets out at five fifteen. Won't that give us time to get to your house?" Mikey asked.
Lance looked at Mikey then Josh as a big grin spread across his face.
As Lance pulled into the driveway he noticed his dad's car in the driveway. Glancing at the clock he knew they were not late. Grabbing the bags from the trunk the three of them made their way into the house. "Are we late?" Lance called out.
"No, you have plenty of time," Diane Bass said as she and Jim came to meet the boys.
"Josh, it's good to see you again," Jim said as he greeted Josh.
Shaking Jim's hand Josh said, "It's good to see you too."
Lance stood behind Mikey with his hands on the boy's shoulders. "Mom, Dad, this is Mikey."
Diane smiled down at the boy. "We're glad you could come to our home. I hope you boys are hungry?"
"Mikey, welcome to our home," Jim said. "Jamie has been talking about you for the last week, I'm glad to finally meet you."
"Thank you, sir and ma'am. It sure smells good."
"You boys go wash up," Diane directed. "Supper will be ready soon."
"Okay Mom. This way Mikey," Lance said.
"Jamie, can I talk to you please," Diane asked.
Lance looked from Mikey to Josh. "Come on Mikey, I'll show you the way," Josh said.
"You've been here before?" Mikey asked as they climbed the stairs.
"Sure, lots of times," Josh explained. "While on tour if we played near by we would stop by for a home cooked meal."
"Son, Pastor Ted, wants you to call him right away," Diane said.
"Okay, do you have the number?"
"It's on the pad by the phone," Diane said as she returned to the kitchen.
As everyone gathered at the kitchen table Lance joined them.
"Is everything all right?" Diane asked her son.
"No," Lance looked from Mikey to his parents. "There was a fire at the county home this afternoon."
"Oh, my! Was anyone hurt?" Diane asked.
"No. Everyone got out okay. There was an electrical fire in the kitchen. They were able to get it under control quickly but there was a lot of damage. There is no power in the building and the kitchen is a total loss."
"Thank god everyone is safe," Jim said.
"Pastor Ted is helping the home find places for the residents. Since Mikey was already signed out to me he wanted to know if I'd want to look after Mikey for a while."
Lance gave a queried look to his parents.
"I think you already know our answer," Diane said.
Lance smiled, "I was about to volunteer before he asked the question." Looking to Mikey Lance asked, "It's up to you. Would you like to live here for a while?"
"How long will I be staying?" Mikey asked.
"Until they can get the home repaired. It will be until after the first of the year."
"And I will be staying with you?" Mikey asked Lance.
"Of course with me," Lance said.
Mikey looked between Lance and his parents. "I'll try not to be any trouble. I'd like to stay."
"Then it's decided," Jim said. "Mikey is joining the family."
Lance cringed at his dad's statement. "Dad it's not going to be that easy. Because of the fire Mikey will be allowed to stay for a while. Tomorrow I'll be meeting with Ted so I could start filling out the paperwork."
"What kind of paperwork?" Diane asked.
"To become a foster home. They are not just going to give Mickey to me with out some kind of background check and a visit to a judge."
Mikey was quiet during supper, he finished everything on his plate and helped clear the table. He wanted to help Diane but she shooed him out of the kitchen. Mickey found the others sitting in the living room, while Lance surfed through the programs on TV.
"Jamie, please pick something," Jim begged.
Josh was looking over the TV Guide when he suggested, "Try Showtime, Mikey might find the movie interesting."
Lance turned to Showtime then let out a groan. On the TV a red paper airplane was soaring through the air, it was the opening for, On the Line. Josh was laughing at Lance's distress.
Mikey didn't understand why Lance was acting the way he was. Mikey's eyes got big as he saw who was on the TV screen. "Th, th, that's you," Mikey said pointing at the TV. Looking at Lance he said, "You're a movie star, too? Cool!"
Mikey seemed to enjoy the movie. He got excited when he recognized Joey from the movie they had seen that afternoon.
Midway through the movie Diane joined everyone. Instead of watching the movie she enjoyed watching Mickey's animated reactions to the movie. He laughed through most of it and near the end when Kevin found his girl, Mikey buried his face in Lance's arm when the two kissed for the first time. "Oh, icky! Girl coodies."
"I'll give you coodies," Lance said as he tickled Mickey.
Lance got a "behave yourself" look from his mom so he quickly settled down. At the end of the movie there was the behind the scenes thing with Lance and Joey and two strange makeup guys. Mikey found the ending really funny but it took him a minute to figure out who the two guys were. Looking from Josh to Lance Mikey asked, "Are they really like that?"
They both broke up laughing. "Yeah, sometimes," Josh howled.
"Joshua!" Diane scolded.
"No Mikey, they both can be crazy at times, but they are not like that," Lance explained. "They came to the set one day and wanted to get into the movie. There were no parts for them so they came up with the idea. An hour later we shot their idea and it was very funny so we put it at the end of the movie."
"Cool!" Mikey said as he stifled a yawn.
"Looks like someone is getting tired," Diane observed.
"Come on sport, let's get you ready for bed," Lance said.
Mikey nodded as he got up.
"Josh is in the guest room," Diane said. "Why don't you set Mikey up in Stacy's old room."
Lance took Mikey upstairs to get him ready for bed. As Mikey took a quick shower Lance went to find him something to wear to bed. Of all the clothes they bought today no one thought of buying any underwear. Mikey came out of the bathroom wrapped in a big towel. Standing in front of Lance, Lance helped Mikey to finish drying off. "We need to do some more shopping tomorrow," Lance said as he finished drying Mikey's hair. "Do you sleep in pajamas?"
"No. Just my underwear."
"Well we will need to pick you up some tomorrow. For now you can put your underpants back on and you can wear on of my undershirts to sleep in."
Mikey put on the shirt and got the giggles. The shirt was way too big for him and it came down to his knees. "It will do for tonight," Lance said as he pulled back the covers so Mikey could climb in. Tucking the boy in Lance sat on the bed smiling down at the yawning boy. "Do you want me to leave the door open?"
"Now if you need anything my room is next door and Josh is right across the hall."
"Okey," Mikey yawned again. Holding out his arms, indicating he wanted a hug. Lance leaned close and gave the boy a hug.
"Thank you for wanting me," Mikey softly said.
Lance gave the boy a kiss on the ear and tucked him back into bed. Turning off the bedside light Lance sat there watching Mikey drift off to sleep. With a sigh he got off the bed and quietly made his way to the door. Pulling the door close only part way he turned to find his mother watching him.
"He's got you hooked doesn't he?" Diane asked her son.
"What do you mean?"
"Jamie, you need to seriously think about this. This boy is not a puppy you've brought home."
"Just take this slow. And remember your father and I will stand behind you in whatever decision you make."
"Thanks, mom," Lance gave her a kiss goodnight before going to his own room.
Mikey woke up in a strange bed and in a strange room. He was not fully awake and he started to panic. There was a flash of lightening and a loud rumble followed. Mikey shot out of bed and ran into the hall. He was frightened as he looked up and down the hall. Spotting an open door he looked in and saw Lance sleeping in the bed. Mikey was standing next to Lance's bed when the next flash of lightening came, he jumped and let out a yelp.
Lance was awakened by a noise. Opening his eyes he saw the boy. "Mikey, what's wrong?"
"I, I woke up," the boy said nervously.
Lifting up the covers Lance said, "Come on, climb in."
Mikey jumped into the bed and Lance's waiting arms. Pulling the boy close Lance asked, "This better?" Mikey nodded as he snuggled into Lance's chest. "Can you tell me what happened?"
"I woke up and couldn't remember where I was. The bed was different and the room smelled different."
"What do you mean smelled different?"
"It smelled like a girl."
Lance laughed, "I think we can do something about that." Pulling the boy closer he added, "Let's try to get some sleep."
Tilting his head up Mikey said, "Goodnight, Jamie, I love you."
Giving Mikey a kiss on the top of his head Lance said, "Goodnight, Mikey." `I love you too,' Lance thought.
Diane was up as usual before anybody else was even stirring. As she passed the open door she looked in on Mikey. Pushing the door open further she found the bed empty. With growing concern she checked the other open door. With a growing smile and a sigh she gazed into Lance's bedroom and the two sleeping young men. Mikey was sleeping in her son's arms laying half on top of Lance.
The smell of breakfast woke Lance from his slumber. The tingle in his left arm reminded him someone was still sleeping with him. Glancing down he smiled the sleeping angel in his arms. With his free hand Lance reached over and brushed the boys hair out of his eyes.
Lance's touch brought Mikey awake. Mikey stretched and yawned as he became fully awake.
"Good morning," Lance said.
"Morning, do we have to get up?" Mikey asked with a dopy smile.
"If we want breakfast we need to get going," Lance pointed out.
Mikey sniffed the air, "I smell bacon."
The rest of the day was filled with activity. Lance asked his mom about possibly removing the girly things from Mikey's room. Diane agreed as long as Mikey and Lance boxed everything up and took it to the attic.
Lance got a call from Pastor Ted and went to meet with him and the director of the home. Mikey, Diane and Josh went shopping. When asked about what clothes he had at the home Diane decided what was needed and went on a shopping spree. Several hours later they returned home loaded with bags. Josh help Mikey put his new things away and together they stripped the bedding off the bed and put on the new ones Josh had bought him. Gone were the frilly girly bedspread and curtains and replaced with more masculine colors.
Lance returned later that afternoon bone weary but happy. Tons of paperwork was all filled out and Lance was given temporary custody of Mikey.
Josh returned to Orlando after a four-day visit. It didn't take long for Mikey to fit into the Bass household. Mikey's tutor continued to work with him and he continued to see Dr. Billings, the child psychiatrist. Mikey's trust in adults grew quickly. He helped Diane with chores around the house and became Jim's shadow when he came home from work. Their love for Mikey grew daily. And as Mikey's trust grew with Diane and Jim his dependents on Lance diminished.
As Mikey's healing continued so did Lance's. He got his hands back into FreeLance and spent hours on the phone talking with Chris, Joey and Justin. Lance was looking forward to the coming holidays and he wanted to make Mikey's Christmas special.
Everything was going smoothly until Thanksgiving day. . . .
The family had gathered at the Bass home for Thanksgiving dinner. The men were in the living room gathered around the TV watching the pre-game show while Diane and Stacy were putting the finishing touches on the Thanksgiving meal.
Mikey wondered into the kitchen and climbed up onto a stool and sighed.
Diane smiled, "What's wrong baby?"
"Nothing," Mikey said as he rested his chin on the counter. "I'm just bored."
Stacy chuckled, "Don't you like football?"
"I like football. But the pre-game shows are really boring. All they do is talk and talk."
"I know what you mean. I have never understood what my husband, brother our father see in a pre-game show."
"Is there anything I can help with?" Mikey asked.
Diane looked around the kitchen before spotting the tray. "You could finish setting the dining room table." Indicating the tray of glasses and silverware.
"Okey," Mikey said as he jumped down picking up the tray.
"You going to need any help?" Stacy asked.
"Nope, I can do this."
In the living room the pre-game show had just went into commercial when they heard Diane shout, "Mikey, watch out!" Then came the sound of breaking glass.
Lance jumped and ran into the kitchen. His mother had just taken a tray from Mikey's hands. "What happened?" Lance asked.
Mikey stood saying, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to. . I'm sorry," as he backed into the corner. Tears started to flow when he saw all the adults looking at him. "Please, don't punish me. I didn't mean to. I'm sorry."
Lance knew how Mikey had been punished by his father. Lance knelt in front of Mikey and softly said, "It's all right buddy. No one is going to punish you." Lance reached out for the boy and noticed him flinch at his touch. "Mikey, look at me please." Mikey slowly looked at Lance. "It was an accident. You are not going to be punished for an accident."
With tears still flowing Mikey said. "I'm sorry."
Pulling the boy to him Lance said, "I know you are, son. No one is going to hurt you again. We have more glasses so one more broken glass won't matter."
Mikey started to calm down in Lance's embrace. Tilting his head so he could see Lance's face Mikey asked, "One more glass?"
Lance stifled a laugh, "Yes, one more glass. Mikey, everyone here as broken a glass at one time or another. My dad and Ford hold the record for breaking glasses. I'm amazed Stacy even married him, he's such a klutz."
"Thanks a lot," Ford shot back. Stacy gave her husband an elbow in the side.
"When I'm bad I get punished."
Lance sighed, "First you were not bad. You had an accident, that's all. You will never be punished for an accident. Second, in this house no one will ever hit you. And thirdly, if you are bad you will be sent to your room. After everyone has calmed down then we will discuss what your punishment will be. Do you understand?"
Mikey nodded as he buried his face in Lance's shoulder.
"Giving Mikey a pat on the back Lance said, "Come on, buddy, let's finish setting the table so we can have Thanksgiving dinner."
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