Like anyone who writes feed back,
good or bad is needed. 
The good feed back, strokes our ego.  The bad feed back, strokes 
the delete key.  <grin>

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Legal Disclaimer: 
This story is totally fictional and is not meant  to imply anything about the personalities or the sexual orientation of the groups *Nsync and  Backstreet Boys.  If you are under the age of 18, offended by male/male material, or it is illegal to view such materials in your area, you should be leaving now. 

My New Life
by James

Last Time

Entering his suite Marc dialed the Diane's number.

"Hi, it's Marc.  Yeah he's here.  Diane, I'm going to try something that may make it easier on Lance.  Just listen."

Marc walked into the bedroom to find Lance sorting out his cloths.  Placing the phone on the night stand Marc sat on the bed with his back up against the headboard.

Looking over at Marc, Lance asked, "Where have you been?"

"Taking care of a few favors," Marc said.  "James, can I ask you something?"

"Sure, what?" Lance asked as he joined Marc on the bed.

"Have you told your folks about me?"

"Yeah, I called and talked to my mom the week we were on vacation. I told her about how we met you and what we did that week.  And I wrote her last week filling her in on what we were doing."

Taking Lance's hand Marc asked, "What have you told her about us?"

"Well, I, I," Lance stammered.

"You haven't told them about us have you?"

"I, I tried.  When I wrote  last week.  I just couldn't figure out how to tell them," Lance said sheepishly.

"Do I embarrass you?"

"Oh, god no!  It's just I've never done this before, I don't know where to start."

"Would it help if you practiced what you want to say first?"  Marc asked.

"Yeah, I think that would help." 

"Ok, I'll be your mom.   Ring, ring, ring.  Hello!"  Marc said holding a imaginary phone to his ear.

Smiling at Marc, Lance played along.  "Hi, mom, it's me."

"Who's me?"

"It's me, Lance, your son."

"Oh, Lance.  I didn't recognize your voice it's been sooo long," Marc said with a smile.

Rolling his eyes Lance said, "It's not been that long."

"It's been almost a month.  But I understand.  You're too busy to call home, all that traveling, interviews, concerts, and screaming fans.  I'm so glad you could find a little time to call your mother and let her know you are still alive!" 

"Mom, I'm sorry for not calling.  Mom, I need to talk to you about something."

"Lance, you know you can talk to me about anything, what's on your mind?"

"Mom, I've met someone."

"Oh, Lance, I'm so glad.  What's her name?"

"Mom, it's not a girl."


Looking into Marc's eyes Lance continued. "Mom, his name is Marc Newman."

"The boy you wrote about?"

"Yes.  I'm in love with Marc.  He's my boyfriend."

"Lance are you sure about this?"

"Yes mom I'm sure.  I love Marc with every fiber of my being.  Marc completes me," Lance said with conviction.

Smiling at Lance, Marc leaned in and softly kissed Lance.  "Now that wasn't so hard was it?"  Marc asked.

"No, it wasn't," Lance said with a sigh.  "I think I'm ready for the real thing."

Picking up the phone Marc handed it to Lance.  "James, you just told your mom.  Just say hi,"  Marc said.

With big eyes Lance looked at the phone seeing that it was on.  Slowly putting it to his ear Lance said, "Mama?"

Chapter 26
Of Dreams and Fears

Lance listened to the soft sobs on the other end of the phone.

"Mama, don't cry,"  Lance said softly.  "I'm sorry, mama. I didn't mean to make you sad."

"Oh, Lance, I'm not sad.  I'm so happy you have found such a wonderful person."

"You are?"

"Yes dear.  That's all a mother could ever want for her son is to find someone that makes him happy."

Smiling, Lance said,  "Mama, Marc does make me happy.  I love him so much."  .

Marc watched Lance's face as he talked to his mom.  He was glad to see the look of concern change to smiles of joy.  Marc got up, leaned in, gave Lance a kiss on the cheek, and went into the living room, giving Lance some privacy with his family.

Marc had turned on the TV and was watching the news when there was a knock on the door.  Answering the door Marc found Lynn and Pete.  "Hi, come on in," Marc said as he stepped  aside to let them in.

Looking around the room Pete asked, "Where is everyone?" Pete asked.

"They're all on the phone,"  Marc said as they went to the living room to sit down.

"You got them all?"  Lynn asked.

"Yep, Chris, JC, and Joey fell for it with no problem.  They're all talking to their moms," said Marc with a smile.

"And?"  Lynn prompted.

"Justin and Jonathon are talking," Marc said with a smile.

"You are good.  Thank you, Marc"  Lynn said.  "And how about Lance?"

"He's talking to his folks.  I kind a tricked him into telling his mom about me."

"Oh! How ?"  Lynn asked.

"I had Diane on the phone when I talked to Lance.  He said he didn't know how to tell his mom about me.  So I offered to practice with him, how to tell his mom about me."

"I take it, it worked?"  Lynn asked.

"Yeah, Lance said he thought he could do it now and I handed him the phone and told him he just did,"  Marc said with a smile.

The door to the bedroom opened and Lance came out.   Walking up behind Marc he bent down, wrapped his arms around Marc's neck, and gave him a kiss on the cheek.  "Thank you," Lance said softly.

"I take it went well?  Marc asked as Lance climbed over the back of the couch and sat down next to him.

"Yeah, better than I could ever imagine,  my parents can't wait to meet you,"  Lance said giving Marc's hand a squeeze.

Voices could be heard in the hall, the lock buzzed and in walked the other four.  Spotting Marc  sitting next to Lance all four stopped and glared at Marc.

"OH oh," Marc said softly.

Pointing a  finger at Marc, Chris said,  "Newman! That was a down right dirty trick."

"I know," Marc said with a smirk.  "But it did make your moms happy.  Didn't it?"

They all laughed and had to agree as they took seats.

Josh turned to Justin, "Just, who did Marc set you up with?  Since your mom is here."

With a sly smile, Justin said, "I got to talk to Jonathon,  he's home sick with the chicken pox."    Turning to Marc, "Thanks man, I didn't realize how much I missed the munchkin."  Justin said softly.

"Ok, fess up, how did you get hooked up with our moms?"  Joey asked.

"Well it started with Lance's mom calling me wanting to know what was going on with him.    Then Lynn told me about Jonathon and I got on-line with him and told him I would get Justin to call.  And before I  knew it, Joey's mom called wanting a favor , then Chris's mom and Josh's mom, all wanting a little favor." 

Laughing, Joey said, "You got ambushed by the Mom's Club."

"I know,  but it was interesting getting to talk to your moms.  Besides I got myself invited to dinner at your homes," Marc said with a smirk.

Chris started to giggle, "My mom invited you to dinner?"

"Yeah, what's so funny?"  Marc asked.

"I hope your insurance is paid up,"  Chris laughed.  "My mom is the world's worst cook."

"Christopher!"  Lynn admonished.

"Yeah, it would be wise to have Chris take you all out to dinner," said Josh.

"At least you would survive the meal,"  Joey added.

"It can't be that bad,"  Marc said.

With a sigh Lynn said,  "I'm afraid it is."

Marc looked over at Lance, "What about your mom, is she a good cook?"

Laughing, "Yeah, she is a great cook.  Why?"  Lance asked.

"I got invited to Thanksgiving Dinner," Marc said with a grin.  "Hope you're not working." 

"I think I'm off,"  Lance said. 

"Good,"  Marc said as he noticed JC looking at something in the corner.

"Ah, Marc.  What's under the sheet?"  Josh asked indicating the object in the corner of the room.

Smiling, Marc said, "My new toy,"  as he got up to show Josh. 

Marc uncovered his new Yamaha keyboard.

"Oh wow!  I've always wanted to have one of these,"  Josh said in awe.  "Can I?"

"Sure, go ahead." Marc said.

Josh sat at the keyboard and started playing several songs, changing the setting each time.  "This is awesome, what are you working on?" 

"I was working on a few of my jazz numbers.  I've taken four songs with similar themes and arrange them for full orchestra." 

"How did it turn out?"  Joey asked.

"I'm not done yet, but what I have sounds pretty good," 

"Can we hear what you have?"  Justin asked.

"Sure," Marc said as he booted his laptop.  Bringing up the music on the screen, Marc started to play and the computer filled in the other parts.

Listening to the music Josh leaned into Lance and whispered, "Lance, I've looked at that keyboard myself,  but I never could bring myself to spend the money for it."

"Why, is it expensive?"  Lance asked.

"I'd say it's expensive.  It's the top of the line.  It's over eight grand." 

"It is?"  Lance said, surprised at the cost.

"I have noticed Marc seems to be pretty free with his money.  But being a student, and all I can't see how he can afford the new toy of his.  I'm worried that he may be spending money he doesn't have,"  Josh said with concern.

"I'll have a talk with him.  I don't want to see him get in over his head,"  Lance said.

Because of the fan problem, it was decided that it would not be wise to go out for supper.  Room service was the safest choice.  After supper, everyone just  wandered back to their own rooms.  It has been a long day and quiet time seemed appealing.

Marc was on his computer working when Lance came out of the bathroom. 


"Yeah," Marc answered turning his attention to Lance.

Sitting on the end of their bed Lance thought hard, "Your new keyboard is awesome."

Smiling, "I knew I had to have it as soon as I started to play it,"  Marc said.

"It's the best they make.  Isn't it?"

"Yes, I think so."

"It's expensive, isn't it?"  Lance asked.

"Yes it is,"  Marc said with a deep sigh.

"I know we have never talked about money.  And I don't know what you're being paid for working with us.  It's just I'm concerned that you may be over extending yourself," Lance said.

Suppressing a smile, Marc answered.  "The money I'm making working for your tour is not too bad.  But I can see what you mean.  I did kind a go overboard this week.  When Howie and I went shopping this week I did blow a wad."

"How much?"

"Oh, let's see.  Eighty-four hundred on the keyboard, I got most of my Christmas shopping and some birthday presents, that was another eight hundred.  And my trip to Canada, let's see.  Plane fare, car and driver, that was another six hundred," Marc said.

"Damn, that almost ten grand," an astonished Lance said.

Frowning, Marc said,  "Your right.  I didn't realize until now.  I hope I haven't maxed out my card."

"Marc, I think we need to take a look at what you are spending and try to get it under control.  And if need be, I can help you out."  Lance said.

Smiling at Lance, Marc said.  "James, pull a chair over here and let me show you something."

Lance brought a chair over and sat down next to Marc.

Marc brought up his financial program on his computer.  "James, I have kept track of what I've spent since we came on tour."   Opening a file marked Tour Expenses.  "This is what I have spent so far on tour."

Lance sat there stunned at the figure.

"Now if I figure in what I have been paid so far,"  Marc said as he adjusted the figures.

"Marc, you are getting so far in debt.  Even if you stop spending now your pay is not going to cover half of what you've spent."

"Yeah, you're right,"  Marc said softly.

"I can help you out.  But we need to get you on a budget,"  Lance said firmly. 

"Thanks for the offer, James.  But I can take care of my own debt."

"Marc, I don't want to argue over this.  I can afford it.  Let me help you out."

"James, if I do, then what Pete accused me of, would be true.  I am not going to take your money,"  Marc firmly said.

"Please, Marc, let me help you."

"James, I don't need your money."

"What, is your dad going to pick up the tab for this summer?"  an irritated Lance said.

"James, I do have other sources of income,"  Marc softly said.  "All those bills have been paid."   Clicking open a new file.  "James, this is my checking account balance."

Lance looked at the figure at the bottom of the check ledger.  "Marc, I don't understand.  You have almost forty grand in your account." 

"When we started this tour I had my banker set up two accounts for me.  One  account I had Sara's name put on.  She is taking care of my bills that come in at home.  She's taking care of the electric, gas, telephone, and insurance bills as they come in.  The other account is for my use.  I've started out with fifty thousand and my pay checks get deposited directly to it.  I have a debit card that I use for my expenses."

"Okay, but where does your money come from?"

"Part of it comes from my publishing company, which is doing real well since my concert.  And the rest comes from a trust." 

"A trust?" Lance asked not understanding.

Marc's normally cheerful demeanor faded.  "You know about some of my first year at the university.  You've already meet Andy. . . . .  Without his help and friendship I would have never made it through that first year."

"Marc, . . . . what happened?"  Lance asked with concern.

"That first semester,  I was like a kid in a toy store.  I wanted to experience as much as I could.  I had earned credits on all the required basic collage courses.  So I was able to take quite a few elective courses.  One of the courses I took was Introduction to Musical Theater,"  Marc said as he lost himself in Lance's gaze.

"The instructor was Marcus  Long,"  Marc said with a slight smile.  "He was the only person that I can honestly say was totally crazy.  I don't know how to describe him. . . . He was a cross between an ageing hippy and a drag queen," Marc said.

"Take the flamboyance of Bette Midler, remove the boobs and add a goatee, and you have Marcus. . . . .He saw in me something that I had yet to discover.  He was the first person I ever sang and threw up for,"  Marc said with a chuckle.

"You didn't know about your problem until then?" Lance asked.

"No.  It was the first time I actually had to sing for someone.  Of course my audition was just after I had lunch.  And Marcus was accompanying me at the piano when two lines into the song I hurled all over him and the piano."

"Oh no!" Lance said with a disgusted expression.

"Needless to say I made a lasting first impression."

"Marc, you keep talking about Marcus in the past tense.  Did something happen to him?" Lance asked.

Marc was blinking back tears as he softly said,  "He died of  AIDS about six months after we met. "

"I'm sorry.  How close were you?"  Lance softly asked.

Marc couldn't answer as the tears flowed freely. 

Lance put his arms around Marc drawing Marc to him.  "Marc, if this hurts too much we don't have to go into this."

"Thank you, James.  But this is something you should know about,"  Marc said softly as he cried onto Lance's shoulder.  Sniffing, then chuckling Marc said,  "I've already messed up your shirt, I might as well finish this."

Marc continued as Lance held him.  "Marcus was my first crush.  And I fell for him bad. . . .  He saw what was happening and tried to discourage my feelings. . .  Then one day he asked me over to his place for dinner.   I was so happy to be invited.  But when I got there I realized there was to be no dinner."

"Did he lure you to his place for sex?"  Lance asked.

"No, he just wanted to talk to me.  It was  then he told me he was dying of AIDS.  He didn't want me to get too attached to him,"  Marc sobbed.

"It was too late, wasn't it?"

"Yeah, I had already fallen for him, and I told him how I felt,"  Marc whispered.

"What happened?"

"We worked out a compromise.  I moved in with him, into the guest room.  I agree to a limit on physical contact.  Hugging was allowed, but no kissing or sexual contact was allowed.  He didn't want to take any chances with my health."

"That must have been hard on you."

"It was at first.  But I got sneaky, and would sneak in a kiss on the cheek when we hugged.  At first he acted like he was mad, but his protest got weaker over time," 

"Then one night I fucked up and kissed him on the mouth.  He went ballistic, he hit me across the face then told me to get out,"  Marc sobbed.

"He was trying to protect you."

"I know that now.  But at the time I couldn't understand it.  I packed my things and moved back into the dorm.   A week later Marcus was dead."

" AIDS?"  Lance inquired.

"He caught meningitis, his immune system was too weak to handle the assault on his body,"  Marc said.  "Andy found me in class, and broke the news to me.  I don't know what I would have done if Andy hadn't been there for me."

Pulling back from their embrace Marc looked into Lance's face and saw tears.  Wiping  them off his cheeks Marc leaned in and softly kissed Lance.

"Marcus had left specific instructions about his funeral.  The theater where we had our concerts, that's were it was held.  And the mourners  were to come in costume.  A character in your favorite musical."

"That must have been something to see," Lance said with a chuckle.

"It was.  And instead of a regular eulogy he asked that songs , poems , and scenes from our favorite shows instead.  It was more of a variety show than a funeral. . . . I asked to be last."

"What did you do?"

"I played the organ.  I poured out my grief in the music,"  Marc said softly.

"Now I know what Father Andrew meant about seeing you play before.  He was at the service." 

"Yeah, he was there. . . . .  The day after the funeral I was asked to meet with a lawyer  about Marcus's estate.  It turned out Marcus had left everything to me, in a trust."

"What kind of trust?"

"I am given 80 grand a year for my personal use.  My schooling is paid for in full, any expenses involved in my music  are covered.  Most everything this summer is covered."

"So I take it the new keyboard is covered?"  Lance asked.

"Yeah, it's covered. About the only thing that would not be covered is if I buy a car or house.  My trustee is very lenient,"  Marc said with a smile.

"Marc, can I ask how much you got?"

"Twenty-two million," Marc said.

"Shit! And I was offering you a loan,"  an astonished Lance said.

Chuckling, Marc added, "Lance, I don't have access to all that.  I only will get my allowance each year.  It picks up all my expenses to do with my music.  And when I'm twenty-five I will have access to anything over the twenty-two million.  The way my trustee is investing the money I should see around eight million."

"Will you ever get the full amount?" Lance asked.

"I won't.  It was stipulated that I must use the money to help someone get started in their musical careers.  And they in turn must help someone,"  Marc said.

"Wow, that is heavy,"  Lance murmured.

"Yeah, it is a big responsibility," Marc softly said.   "I don't know about you but I'm bushed.  How about we take a shower and head for bed?"

"Do I get to washed your back?"  Lance asked.

"I was counting on you to wash my back and more,"  Marc said with a grin.

"I think I'm up to it,"  Lance cheerfully said.

Looking down to Lance's crotch, Marc smiled.  "I see you are up for it,"  as Marc rubbed the bulge in Lance's paints.

Marc awoke to find himself alone in bed.  Rolling over he looked toward the bathroom Marc could see a light under the door.  Getting up Marc went to the door and was about to knock when the door opened and they both jumped back startled.

"Damn, Marc, I didn't expect to find you standing on the other side of the door,"  Lance said a little shaken.

"I was about to knock when you opened the door.  I missed you not being in bed,"  Marc said as he pulled Lance into a hug.  "Now that we are both wide awake, want to go running?"

"Really.  Do you think it's safe?"  Lance asked with a twinkle in his eyes.

"Yeah, it's too early for the fans to be out.  Besides, we have the morning and early afternoon free.  You  don't have anything scheduled until sound check,"  Marc pointed out.

"Cool!  I'll get dressed,"  Lance said then thought of something.  "Marc."


"Would it be okay if we invited Joey along?"  Lance asked.

"Sure.  Any particular reason?"  Marc asked.

Thinking for a moment, Lance explained, "I think I know what Joe's problem is."

"What do you think it is?"  Marc asked, having his own idea about Joey.

"It has to do with the amount of time we spend together.  Before we got together, you spent a lot of time with everybody.  We kind of excluded everyone from what we do.  Except for Justin, we have not done too much with the others,"  Lance pointed out. 

"You're right.  We have been kind of hiding out when we get any free time,"  Marc sighed.  "I'll go get Joey up," Marc said as he picked up the master key off the dresser.

"Marc!"  Lance shouted.


"I find your current  state of dress quite appealing.  But I don't think Joey will find it too amusing you going into his room naked."

"Oops.   You're right.  It would have totally freaked him out if I did,"  an embarrassed Marc said as he put on his pants.

Lance just grinned and shook his head.

Marc knocked lightly on the door to Joey's room.  Getting no response, he knocked again a little harder.  >From inside the room Marc could hear Joe mumble, "Go away."

Using his key, Marc let himself into the room.  Joey must have been having a rough night, his bed was a mess, covers on the floor, and Joe was curled up in the middle of the bed hugging a pillow.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, Marc smiled down at his friend.  It was obvious Joey was dreaming.  He had a smile on his face as he hugged the pillow.  Then Joey softly said, "I love you, Marc.  Why can't you love me?"

Marc sat there stunned not sure what to do.  Looking at his sleeping friend Marc now understood what was bothering Joey.

Joey's dream must have changed because he was thrashing about in bed saying, "No.  I'm not that way.  No, not me.  I'm not that way."

Marc reached over and shook Joey awake.  "Joe, wake up.  Joe, you're having a bad dream."

Joe's eyes snapped wide open.  Seeing Marc sitting beside him on the bed.

"Joe, are you all right?"  Marc asked with concern.

Taking a deep breath Joey sat up and said,  "Yeah, I was just having a bad dream."
Running his hand through his hair Joey looked at Marc and asked,  "What are you doing here this early?"

"Lance and I are going out for a run.  And we wanted to know if you wanted to come along?" 

"Marc, you don't need me tagging along." 

Placing a hand on Joe's shoulder Marc said,  "Joe, I hope you know me well enough to understand that I've missed the time we've spent together.  You are one of my best friends and I'm asking you to come run with us this morning." 

Joey's face lit up,  "Really?"

"Yeah, really.  Come on and get dressed.  I'll have coffee ready when you come over,"  Marc said with a smile.

Marc had a pot of fresh brewed coffee waiting when Joey came over.  Joey was in matching shorts and t-shirt, even his hat matched. 

Smiling, Marc asked,  "I see you've been shopping since we ran last."

"I've had this outfit for a while."

"You can't go out in it,"  Marc said.  "You look too good and will draw attention."

"Who looks good?"  Lance asked as he came out of the bedroom.

Marc smiled at Lance who was dressed in a total mismatched outfit.  Pointing at Joey, Marc said, "Look."

Lance grinned, "Your right, he does look too good, what can we do about it?"

"Joe let's switch,"  Marc said as he pulled his t-shirt over his head. 

Joey exchanged shirts with Marc then looking at Lance and Marc he asked,  "Is this better?"

"Almost,"  Lance said as he took off his ball cap and handed it to Joe.

As hats were being exchanged, Marc called security to let them know  they were going running.  As Marc hung up Joe was finishing up his coffee.  "Are they going to run with us?"  Joe asked.

"Are you kidding?  They're going to follow in a van,"  Marc said as he jotted a note to Justin. 

"Let's go." Joey said.

Justin came into the suite still half asleep, to find Chris and JC  sitting at the table drinking coffee.  Frowning, Justin asks,  "Where is everyone?"

"It seems Marc, Lance and Joey went running,"  Chris said looking at a note on the table.  Picking up another note, Chris handed it to Justin.  "This has your name on it."

Justin opened the note and smiled.  "All right!"  Justin exclaimed as he went to the refrigerator.  Turning back, he held a half gallon of milk and a box of Captain  Crunch.  "Awesome,"  Justin said with a grin.

"What about our breakfast?"  Chris asked.

"Oh yeah,  Marc said to go ahead and call down for breakfast.  It has been ordered already.  And that they should be back in," looking at his watch, "about twenty minutes."

The three runners arrived as the breakfast cart was being wheeled into the suite.  As the three runners entered Chris said,  "Talk about perfect timing."

The three grinned as they went to the cart for food.  Marc sat next to Justin who was hovering over his bowl of cereal.  Looking inside the cereal box Marc saw it was half empty.  Justin grinned at him with a mouth full of cereal.  Marc rumpled Justin's hair in  response.

Pete showed up a few minutes later, "Morning guys."

"Morning," everyone said.

"Where's Lynn," Marc asked.

"She was on the phone when I left," Pete said as he sat down.

"What's on tap for today,"  Chris asked.

"You  guys are free until sound check,"  Pete said.

"Good.  I can get a nap in,"  Joey said.  "Someone got me up at five thirty to go running."

"You didn't complain earlier,"  Lance said.

Joey just grinned at Lance and Marc.

The door flew open and Lynn strolled in.  Spotting Marc she walked up behind him and hugged him and gave him a kiss on the cheek as she placed a piece of paper down in front of him.

Everyone gave Marc a questioning look.

Laughing nervously,  "What did I do to deserve that?"  Marc asked as he looked at the paper.  "No way!"

Grinning down at Marc, Lynn just nodded.

"Has this been verified?" 

"It sure has.  I just got off the phone with them," Lynn said.

"What's going on?"  Chris asked.

"Marc's concert CD has just  gone triple gold in less than two weeks of sales.  He has set a new record for a symphonic CD,"  Lynn proudly said.

"I didn't know it was out yet," Joey said.

"Darn! I forgot," Marc said as he got up and rushed to his room.

Joey looked at Lance and whispered, "What's going on?"

Lance shrugged, "I haven't any idea."

Marc rushed back carrying a Sam Goodie bag.  "I forgot about these,"  Marc said as he reached into the bag.  "The other day when Howie and I went shopping we found these,"  Marc said as he held up a hand full of his CD's.

Passing one out to everyone Marc took his seat as they all looked over the CD.

Congrats Marc, this looks great,"  Chris said.  "The picture of you is great.  When was it taken?"

"At the end of Jubilation I think.  They must have lifted it from the video footage,  I didn't pose for it,"  Marc said with a smile.

Tearing the wrapper off his CD, Justin grabbed a pen and held them out to Marc, "Can I be the first to ask you to autograph this?"

Blushing a little Marc asked,  "Would you mind being my fifth autograph?"

"Who got the other four?"  Justin asked.

"The first two went for a charity auction at the mall,"  Marc said.

"I got the third one,"  Lance said looking up from the inscription on the CD Marc had given him.

"And who got the fourth?"  Chris asked.

"Ah, I kind of traded autographs with Howie,"  Marc said a little hesitant.

"Traded?" asked an amused Joey.

"Yeah, I autographed the copy of my CD he bought and he autographed my copy of his Millennium album,"  Marc said with a cringe, waiting for the roof to fall in.

"My god!   You're out of our sight for less  than two days and you turn  traitor on us and start listening to that  Backstreet crap," Chris almost shouted.

"Damn it, Chris.  If you think the only music I listen to is NSYNC, then you are a fool.  Just because you found my NSYNC collection at home doesn't mean that's all I listen to.  I listen and enjoy all kinds of music, including  Backstreet,"  Marc shot back.

"Uh, I didn't mean it the way it sounded.  I know you listen to other music.  Shit, you're into shit that's way above my head,"  Chris said apologetically.  "Can I be your sixth autograph?" sheepishly offering his CD.

"I know you didn't mean it Chris.  Sure you can be sixth,"  Marc said with a grin. 

"What else did you buy?"  Joey asked looking at the bag.

Reaching into the bag, Marc pulled out the videos.  "They also had a display of these."

"Neat!"  Joey said as he took one of the videos and started reading the backside. 

"Marc, we need to seriously consider going into the studio and doing a proper CD," Lynn said.

"I know.  I'm just not sure how to do it.  Use studio musicians  or go with a symphony orchestra,"  Marc said.

"Would there be any advantage  to one over the other?"  Chris asked.

"Yes, a symphony would give better name recognition.  But I would also have to share the billing and profits,"  Marc pointed out.

"The money end is important,"  Lynn agreed.

"A studio orchestra could also work.  And the idea of touring with my own orchestra has its good points,"

"How?"  Justin asked with interest.

"I'm looking at a minimum of two weeks rehearsals for each orchestra I appear with.  That's hundreds of hours of work for one or two performances, then turn around and do it again for the next concert."

"But with your own orchestra, your concerts can be scheduled closer together since your orchestra knows the program,"  Lynn said deep in thought.  "Marc, how many musicians would you need?"

Marc leaned back in his chair and stretched with a sigh,  "I don't know.  Maybe forty, depends on a lot of things."

"That's just the orchestra right?  What about the chorus for Jubilation?"  Lance asked.

"They would be local,"  Marc said.

"How would that effect scheduling?"  Lance asked, now into his business mind frame.

"We would only need one day to rehearse.  The chorus would be given a recording of Jubilation to practice with in advance."

"By performing with name symphonies you can do what, two a month?"  Lance asked.

"Yeah, I can't see how to increase it any more than that.  Three at the most," Marc said.

"And with your own orchestra you can do three a week."

"No.  Two is more like it.  Midweek concerts would have lower attendance.  Weekend would be much stronger, "  Marc pointed out.

"Two concerts a week?" Justin asked.

"No, five.  Matinee and evening concert mid week and on the weekends a Friday evening concert and a matinee and evening concert on Saturday."

"Why the matinees?" Josh asked.

"Matinees would be for the kids and retirees.  School groups and senior groups would take advantage of the matinees,"  Marc said.

Lance looked admiringly at Marc,  "You have given this some thought."

"Just a little," Marc softly said.

"Well I know what I'm going to be doing the rest of this week,"  Lynn said.  "I'll get to work crunching the numbers and get back to you next week."

Lance and Marc had taken the opportunity of a free morning to get in some quiet time before today's sound check and concert.  Marc was checking his e-mail when Lance came out of the bathroom.

Walking over to the bed Lance picked up a book.  "What's this?"  Lance asked.

Looking up from the computer.  "It's a book,"  Marc said.

"I know it's a book.  Where did it come from?" 

"I had Sara send it.  It's one of my text books from last semester.  I thought you might find it interesting,"  Marc said.

"Oh, ok,"  Lance said as he sat on the bed and started to look through the book.

Smiling at Lance as he started to read,  Marc turned his attention back to the computer and started a e-mail.

From: Phoenix Rising
To: Sara_10

     I know you have vacation time coming.  Can you get August 7th thru 14th off?  The reason is August 8th is Josh's birthday.  And I was wondering if you would like to come for a visit?  The 8th is a free day for us and we are going to have a big party for Josh.  It's the last week of the tour.  We will be in San Antonio for his birthday, than we go to New Orleans and Memphis to end the tour.  I'm sure Josh would love to have you with us that week.  I will pick up the expenses. 
    If the idea of living with the six of us for a week is not too repulsive I know you would have a great time.  We, (you, Lance and I,) would fly home on the 14th. 
     If you think it can be arranged let me know. 
     Oh, don't say anything to Josh about this.  I want it to be a surprise.

Love you and miss you,

PS I can arrange adjoining rooms if you want?  I don't believe I just typed that. ; )

Looking over the letter one last time, Marc hit the send button.

Marc was working on the upcoming schedule when Lance interrupted his work.  "Marc."

"Yes, James."

"I'm to the place where there is suppose to be a test.  You took this course didn't you?"

"Yeah, why?"

Getting up off the bed Lance sat in the chair next to Marc.  "Do you remember the questions on the test.  I think I'd like to see if I could pass the test."

Smiling, Marc asked, "Where is your laptop?"

"By my bag.  Why?"

"Set it up and I will show you."

Marc closed down his computer and handed Lance the phone line to connect to his computer. 

"Here, enter this address,"  Marc said as he handed Lance a note.

Lance typed in the address and was surprised to see the home page for the University of Wisconsin Madison.

Pointing to the student log in area on the screen.  "You need to log in."

"How?  I'm not a student,"  Lance said confused.

Meekly smiling, Marc replied, "You kind of, are a student.  You're registered as a correspondent student."

Tilting his head Lance smiled and asked,  "You enrolled me in school?"

"James, with your interest in managing other singers I thought picking up a few courses in business management wouldn't hurt.  A lot of them can be taken as  correspondence courses,"   Marc said.  "I hope you are not mad at me for doing this?"  just  now realizing Lance may not be interested.

Leaning in, Lance kissed Marc softly.  "Thank you.  I'm defiantly interested in doing this.  Do I get a credit if I can pass this?"

"You sure do." Marc said. 

"Ok, how do I log on?" 

"Your name, James L. Bass is your ID."

"And my  password?"

"Colonel."  Marc smiled.


Well I am well into the holiday season.  With the increased load at work and the upcoming holidays I am cutting back on my postings.  My New Life will be back to twice a month posting starting in February  2001.  I know it's a long time between chapters.  But to help pass the time a new chapter for Route 66 Rocks will be posted in January. 

I want to wish all of you a Joyous Holiday Season and I'm looking forward to what the coming year has to bring.


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