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Justin smiled, feeling the warmth of Lucas' tight embrace, the young man holding him close.
The two parted, Lucas smiling at him.
"Congratulations, Jus. Two hearts are joined by love." he said, Justin smiling towards Lance, the man in Josh's arms.
"Thank you, Lucas. Why do I sense you had a large
hand in this?"
Lucas smiled, looking towards Lance.
"This was all his idea, Jus. I just helped him
Justin nodded, smiling with love at the young man.
Lucas nodded, the young man looking around at everyone, Justin and Lance pulled into other people's arms, Josh's going around his soulmate.
"They're beyond happy, Lucky." he said, Lucas smiling and kissing his lips.
"Know the feeling."
Josh smiled widely, the man's voice filling the joyous garden.
"Can I have everyone's attention, please?" he said, smiling at his friends Joey and Chris.
The two men walked over towards the fountain on the right side of the garden, Josh smiling at everyone.
"Congratulations to our friends. Today begins their
path of love and happiness. Two souls who mirrored their love and hope in each
other's thoughtful love. Lance beat Justin to the proposal, but his love was no
less determined. My two friends were destined to stand here in this moment of
Lance and Justin smiled, the two men together again, their arms entwined.
"Before the ball begins tonight, let's have a small celebration of their joining love. I'd like to propose the first toast." Josh said, Chris and Joey returning with trays filled with glasses of champagne, everyone smiling and taking a glass, Justin looking at Lance.
"I provided this surprise. You can't celebrate love without flowing liquid happiness and giving toasts." Lucas said smiling, Lance smiling at him.
"I'm sure there will be flowing wetness soon enough." Finn laughed, others laughing as well, Justin and Lance blushing, their eyes meeting.
"Proceed, my love." Lucas said, Josh smiling at him, Lance and Justin taking their glass of champagne.
"My two friends of giving love, of joining love. I've known you both for many years. I can honestly say that I was totally surprised by the joining of your love. And honestly, it shouldn't be that great a surprise. For your loving hearts and giving souls mirror each other's. The two of you are soulmates in the truest sense of the word. For you both mirror the beauty and giving love you show all of us. And no greater love do you now give than to each other. You go forward on the voyage of true life. A couple locked in love, faith, trust and life. I want to wish both of you the best voyage possible. So I'd like to propose a toast. To joining love, to joining souls. To Justin and Lance. Our friends of soulmates love!"
"To Justin and Lance! Cheers!" everyone said, Finn the loudest, Lucas laughing at him.
"Oh. . .oh. He's tasted the champagne. Prepare for a night of wildness, everyone!" Lucas said, everyone laughing, Finn smiling at his friend.
"I love love, Lukey. It brings out the happiness in me."
Lucas smiled, looking at Justin and Lance.
"May I say something?" he smiled, the two men nodding, everyone smiling at Lucas.
The young man handed his glass to his soulmate, Josh smiling at him and taking it, the young man walking up to his two friends.
They both smiled at him, knowing the young man wanted to say something profound.
"Thank you for the song, Lucas. Its words were so meaningful." Justin said, Lucas smiling at him.
"Music is my soul, as it is Finn's. We show our love in music. And Lance wanted a special song for you." he said, Finn smiling at his friend, his arms going around his Skyler.
Lucas looked between the two, smiling at Lance.
"I told Justin the truth earlier, Lance."
Lance looked confused, Lucas smiling at him.
"In preparing him for this moment I told him of your revelation to me. Of your having been in love with him for years. Of your soul longing for him forever."
Lance nodded, not mad that Lucas had divulged that secret, the result showing in Justin's blue eyes of love.
"I wanted to tell you, Justin. And I did today."
Justin smiled, his arm tightening around Lance.
"Fate walks its path, my friends. You're here united at the true moment you were supposed to be." Lucas said, his violet eyes meeting Justin's blue, then Lance's green.
"I also told Justin that the day I met him in England I'd had a vision. A vision of this path, of your joining love."
Josh and Lance both looked surprised, Finn, Skyler and Trish trading looks, Lucas smiling back at them.
"That first day when Justin stood on my doorstep it wasn't a trance of awed celebrity infatuation I was in, my friends. It was a magical stupor of envisioning destiny." he said, his eyes returning to his friends' staring pools.
"You. . .you saw us joining together in the future back then?" Lance said, Lucas smiling at him.
"I saw this moment, Lance. I saw everything I just witnessed. The two of you on your knees stating your love for each other."
Everyone looked surprised, Vivian looking at her adoptive son.
"You. . .you have the gift of clairvoyance, Lucas?" she said, Lucas smiling back at his mother.
"I'm beginning to believe that I have the one true gift, Mom. The gift of total magical awareness." he said, everyone staring at him with surprise.
"May faith help you with that charge, Lucas." Reverend Lewis said, Lucas smiling towards him.
"Faith is a part of me, Reverend. But the greater part is my love." Lucas said, his eyes meeting Josh's, the man smiling at him alone.
Lucas' eyes returned to the newly engaged couple, the young man smiling at both.
"That. . .that's beyond remarkable, Lucas!" Lance said, Justin remembering that he had said almost the same words.
"Your love is remarkable, guys. And I had the
pleasure and joy of watching it grow. Of seeing its blossoming truth and forming
beauty. I took it upon myself to guide you to it in my own helpful way. I in no way created it, I only
watered it with the love you both needed to show and give each other. We all see that
today. We see the flower that's grown out of your hurt and sorrow. A flower of
unimaginable happiness and life. That flower will grow as your love grows on the
path. So I'd like to welcome you both to a world of engaged love. So raise your
glasses to joined love. To life's destinies. To the magic of love!"
"To love!" everyone said, toasting the two again, drinking from their glasses, Justin and Lance both tearfully staring at Lucas.
"No tears my friends. You are on the ever-moving path of matrimonial love. Finn's the only one so far who's gone to seed." Lucas said, Justin and Lance bursting into laughter, Finn blushing.
"Ha. . .ha, Lukey. Sky's love makes me blossom." he said, Skyler smiling, kissing his lips, his arms still around her.
"I think she should pull some weeds. I think she should start with your chest hair."
Everyone burst into laughter, Finn blushing more, Lucas smiling at him.
Lucas felt a hand go to his shoulder, the man turning and staring into Justin's blue eyes.
"Thank you, Lucas. For guiding both of us to our love." he said, Lance tearfully nodding his head beside Justin.
"You're welcome, my friends. It was an easy path to create."
Both men smiled, pulling the young man into an embrace of deep love.
Finn smiled, his blue eyes watching the three and Josh's smiling face.
Everyone laughed and talked to the newly engaged couple, Justin and Lance beaming at their showing love.
"What's next for you two? Family openness?" Henderson said, standing with the two, his arm around Vivian.
"Yes, that's definitely on our list. My Mom knows of our relationship. It wasn't a happy moment, but she's slowly coming around to it." Justin said, Lucas smiling at his friend, he and Josh standing beside them, Lance kissing Justin's cheek.
"She knows me, Jus. She saw easily my love for you. I know my parents adore you." he said, Justin smiling at him.
"It may surprise them, but I know they've always loved me." Justin said, Lance nodding with a smile.
Justin sighed, Lance's arm going around him.
"It's my father who may not be the happiest. This will blindside him."
Lance nodded, Justin looking at him.
"I love you, Lance. He needs to see that. I know he loves me and only wants my happiness. I'm now happy. You are my life. He'll see that." Justin said, Lance tearing up, their lips meeting in a soft kiss, everyone smiling at them.
"He will, Jus." Lucas said, smiling at his own parents, remembering their easy acceptance of Josh's love for him.
"Another vision, Luke?" Lance said, the young man staring at him.
"Family truth, Lance. A family's love doesn't change, no matter what happens to them."
Everyone smiled, Justin looking at Lucas.
"Was this moment the only part of the vision, Lucas?" Josh said, Lucas' eyes looking away from him, staring at Lance.
"There were a few other small details, but most of that's settled." he said, Josh quietly staring at him.
"You're amazing, Lucas!" Lewis said, the man walking up to his old friend, Vivian smiling at him.
"Wait till you taste my soufflé!" he said, everyone laughing.
"All kidding aside Lucas, you walk with God's love
and faith within your soul."
Lucas smiled at the clergyman, the man's blue eyes staring at him with quiet awe.
"I walk with much in my soul, Reverend. I am love and I am perhaps more." he said, everyone quietly staring at him.
The quietness was interrupted by Jefferson walking into the garden, the servant walking up to Emerson.
The two talked for a moment, the man leaving with a bow.
"Where has the time gone? Jefferson informs me that it is after seven. Our guests will be arriving shortly. I hate to break up this touching celebration, but there's a larger one awaiting us." the older man said, smiling at Lucas, his wife's arm going in his.
"Certainly, Grandfather. We'll walk into the ballroom in a short while. This is more important to myself at the moment. Love needs to shine before the seriousness of life, and the dancing truth of our independence."
Emerson stared at his grandson, softly nodding, everyone staring at the young man.
"We're making a grand entrance, Lucas?" Josh said, his lover smiling at him.
"You'll all walk into the ballroom as friends and guests of the Belmont soul. I'll just walk in later as what I need to be."
Finn stared at his friend, Lucas smiling around at everyone.
"Come, let's continue the celebration! Close the doors behind you, if you please, Grandfather. I'm sure my friends want to dance together in their new happiness."
Everyone heard the band beginning to play music in the ballroom, its melody wafting through the mansion.
"I guessed right. The music filters through this whole place. And I told you I'd work it out in regards to your dancing needs." Lucas said, looking at the couple, Justin and Lance smiled widely, Lucas winking at them.
Emerson smiled at his grandson, his eyes meeting Grayson's and Horace's.
"We'll see you all later then." he smiled, the man and his wife walking out of the garden; Grayson, Horace and Mavis following their old friends.
Grayson smiled, closing the garden doors behind them.
The doors were covered in paper as well, the garden lost to inviting eyes from the corridor.
Lucas smiled, taking his Josh's hand in his.
"If Lance and Justin will start, I want to dance in the love." he smiled, Justin beaming widely, taking his man in his arms, Lance smiling as he began to dance in his man's happiness.
Lucas smiled, Josh taking him in his arms.
Other couples joined them, the garden housing their open love.
Justin's blue eyes stared at Lance, the man standing at the next table, talking to Joey and Kelly.
He felt a hand go to his shoulder, Piney sitting down beside him.
"First day of joined love and he's left you, Jus?" Chris Pine said smiling, Justin smiling at him.
"He's not far from my eyes, Piney. I feel his love as well."
The handsome actor smiled at his old friend, looking towards his own soulmate seated beside Joey and Kelly, Briahna in Chris Kirkpatrick's lap.
The group was now in the grand ballroom, seated together at tables on the left side, Emerson's family and friends joined together.
They'd danced and celebrated for over an hour and a half in the garden, then they had walked down through the cavadeum into the opening ballroom.
Its two massive oak doors were opened wide, the group taking in the enormity of the room's largeness.
To everyone it had appeared to be as long and wide as a football field.
Immense crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, their sparkling lights casting radiating light on the lavishness of the decor and opulent grandeur of the stately ballroom.
At the far end of it a large stage was assembled, a large orchestra seated on it, playing music that resonated off the walls.
"It's beyond beautiful. Like Cinderella's ballroom!" Trish had said, Andrew kissing her cheek.
"I know now how the Prince felt. I shall walk in the belle of the ball."
Everyone smiled, Finn gagging as the two kissed tenderly, Skyler rolling her eyes, slapping him lightly on the head.
"Way to ruin a beautiful moment, Romeo." she said, Finn blushing.
"Sorry, dear." he said, Skyler smiling at him, her love for him unchanging.
They'd all walked into the large room, a waiter greeting them, guiding them to their reserved seating, the group seeing that many people were already at tables and milling about, the room full of talk and open happiness.
Emerson greeted them all as he moved from another table, smiling at all of them.
"Welcome to the Grand Ballroom. It has been too long since it shone this beautiful. Nothing but the best for my grandson." he smiled, kissing Vivian's cheek.
"It is as I once remembered, Father. Its beauty shines anew." she said, Francesca smiling at her, her arm around her husband.
"A long time in coming, Vivian. I long to dance in the openness of its beauty again." Francesca said, Emerson kissing her cheek.
The man had spent the last hour welcoming his guests, all of them showing surprise at the woman hanging on his arm, her beauty known and forgotten by many.
Francesca had smiled, greeting old friends, their looks of wonderment and confusion gently ignored by her.
They'd both quietly listened and heard the whispering talk throughout the ballroom as they walked around seeing to their guests' happiness.
A large buffet was being set up on the west end of the room, glass windows opened behind it, a soft breeze blowing into the large room, the evening's cooling life cooling the room.
Here now Justin sat at his table, looking into Chris' blue eyes.
"I wanted to congratulate you again, Justin. Lance's love I see in your eyes. I'm beyond happy for you, my old friend."
Justin and Chris Pine were old friends, Chris Kirkpatrick's love for the younger man entrenching his acceptance in all his former bandmates' lives.
"Thank you, Piney. His love fills my soul."
The man smiled Justin leaning forward and hugging his friend, the openness too open for a kiss.
Chris smiled, patting his back.
"That's all we ever wanted for you, Justin. Lance will be beyond happy. I see now your heart is his."
Justin smiled, looking at Lance, who now was talking to Chris at the other table.
"And I've always seen that yours belongs to our
Piney smiled, looking at his lover.
"He completes me, Jus. It's as simple as that." he said, Justin smiling at him.
"Same here, Piney."
The man smiled, the two seeing Josh walking into the ballroom through the open doors, the man heading towards them.
Eyes from many tables followed the man, his celebrity status--as well as his renowned friends--hadn't been lost on anyone.
The group had all felt the watching eyes of people following them, all politely ignoring it.
Several people had walked up to Justin and Lance, the two smiling and shaking their hands, informing them that they were there as friends of Emerson's grandson.
Everyone had smiled or nodded, the group given a secluded privacy, albeit a watchful one.
Decorum was in full view, couples denied their openness.
Chris smiled at Justin, his friend smiling back.
"Thanks for being here, Piney. I'm glad you were both here for this moment of our happiness."
"Wouldn't have missed it, Jus. Lucas insisted we be here. That man's amazing. I wonder why he's not with Josh?" he said, Justin nodding his head, looking towards his approaching friend.
Josh and Lucas had stayed behind in the garden, everyone moving to the ballroom.
Grayson had returned just before they'd moved to the ballroom, talking to Lucas quietly, the young man then stating that he and Josh would walk in shortly.
They'd left them there alone in the garden.
Here now Josh reached their table, everyone smiling at him, Josh smiling and sitting down in the offered seat that Chris had just been sitting in.
"Sit here, Joshy. I'm going to rejoin my Chris." he said, Josh smiling and hugging him.
The man smiled at both men and everyone sitting at the table, returning to his own.
"He's still beautiful, Joshy. I see why you loved him." Justin said, Josh smiling, looking at his former lover joining Chris at the next table.
"His beauty went into his soul too, Jus. But he wasn't the true man I needed. But he's a great friend."
Justin smiled, meeting his blue eyes.
"Thank you for being here today, Josh. For showing your love for both of us."
Josh smiled, leaning over and hugging his old friend, the open friendship alone showing to the public masses.
They broke their embrace, Justin smiling at him.
"And you're beyond sneaky. You knew Lance was going to pop the question and you let me think I was going to do it."
Josh smiled, seeing no concern in Justin's loving blue eyes.
"Part of the ruse, Jus. We wanted you totally clueless to the upcoming moment. You showed that on your face when you walked into the garden."
Justin smiled, Josh rubbing his shoulder.
"To be honest I was pretty clueless as well. Until this morning. Lucas told me after breakfast. All that beauty and contrived romance was all Lance's doing, with some help from Lucky." Josh smiled, Justin look towards his fiancé.
"It was so beautiful, Josh. So unexpected but so beautiful." he said, Josh smiling at his friend again.
"We both have had our moments of surprising love. I think our men are going to surprise us all our lives."
Justin laughed, Josh joining him.
"And where is the love of your life?" Justin said,
Josh's face softening.
Justin saw a soft look of concern and worry on his handsome face.
"Grayson informed him that Emerson wants to introduce him to everyone. Lucas is getting the grand entrance he wasn't wanting, unfortunately. He'll be drawn into the center of everyone's gaze."
Justin's eyes went towards the ballroom's entrance, his eyes meeting the two brown pools of Haven Marlowe, the man walking into the ballroom.
Several people walked up to the man, Justin remembering that Emerson had pointed them out as the Governors of the board of Belmont Industries.
"Lucas can handle anyone's judging gaze, Josh. The only man he has to worry about just walked in." Justin said, Josh's eyes following Justin's gaze, Haven Marlowe's brown eyes meeting his, the man surrounded by others.
Justin saw Josh's face take on a determined look, his hand going to his friend's shoulder.
"Calmness, Josh. I have full faith in Lucas handling him as well." Justin said, Josh's eyes meeting his.
"I as well, Jus. But I don't like what the man represents. I love Lucas and I'll protect him."
Justin smiled at his friend, the two now seeing Emerson cross the ballroom's floor, heading towards the new visitor.
Haven's brown eyes scanned the room upon his entrance, his steely eyes drawn to the table of handsome singers on the left side of the ballroom.
His eyes had immediately zoned in on Justin Timberlake's handsome face, another handsome face seated beside him belonging to Joshua Chasez.
He also picked out Lance Bass standing at the next table.
So the beauties are present.
Eye candy for the soul.
I wonder if I can entice that beauty?
I remember Sherman's reports on Timberlake's needful, submissive side.
As well as Bass' even more submissive self.
Yes, I may enjoy this greatly.
The man smiled towards the two seated men, ignoring the people talking to him.
His eyes caught Emerson's serious face as the man walked towards him.
Don't worry, old man.
I haven't forgotten you either.
I'll make all of them see your scheming plans, and I'll rip your grandson a new one.
Emerson stopped in front of the executives surrounding Haven, the man's green eyes locked with Haven's brown.
"I had hoped you would have reconsidered and stayed away this evening, Haven." Emerson said, the man smiling at him.
"Helga is a wonderful dancer, Emerson. How could I refuse her and her beguiling ways?" Haven said, the man smiling at the governor of Belmont's European holdings.
Helga Gerhardt smiled, Haven's own beguiling way bringing a soft redness to her cheeks.
James Palmerson, the American governor, looked towards Emerson.
"Haven is the Chairman of the Board, Emerson. He has every right to be here to celebrate the year's achievements. You always stated that this was a celebration of the Belmont's achievements and a thank you for another year of prosperity." he said, Emerson nodding at his old friend.
"Yes, James. This is indeed that. It is also an event of thankful gratitude to all my employees. And tonight it is a greater event." the man said, his executives staring at him.
"Yes, Haven's informed us of your intentions." George Swanson, governor of the Canadian branch said.
"Haven doesn't know any of my intentions, my friends. My business is mine." Emerson said, Haven staring at him, the governors glancing between the two.
"Oh come, Emerson. We all know why that upstart's here." Haven said, Emerson staring at him.
"I think it's time you all took your seats. Refreshments and good food are at the ready. And I, too, look forward to dancing with you, Helga." Emerson said, the woman nodding her head at Emerson.
"You look greatly improved of health, Emerson. I hope dancing won't tax you?" she said, Emerson smiling at her.
"My wife's returned love has healed my soul, dear lady. I tonight will dance like a teenager." he smiled, his eyes meeting Haven's again.
"But first I have an announcement to make." he said, the man turning and walking back across the ballroom, heading towards the stage.
Everyone stared after him, Haven's eyes scanning the room for Lucas.
What are you up to, old man?
And where's that delicious grandson of yours?
His boy toys are all here.
Where's old Grayballs as well?
Being the grandson's bitch as well, Grayson?
The man smiled at the governors, Helga smiling back at him.
"Let's take our seats everyone. Let's see what the old bastion's got planned for us." he smiled, the man walking towards the right side of the ballroom, the governors following him.
Emerson met his wife near Justin and Josh's table, the woman smiling at him.
"It's time, my love. Our love needs to shine. And so does his." he said, Francesca smiling at him.
Emerson smiled at everyone, Vivian's eyes meeting his.
"Is everything okay, Father?" she said, Emerson smiling at her, kissing her cheek.
"Everything's fine, Vivian. Please sit down everyone. I have an announcement to make." he said, Josh and Justin staring at him, Lance sitting down beside Justin, their eyes meeting now.
The older man took his wife's arm, the two walking towards the orchestra's stage.
"What's going on, Josh?" Finn said, he and Skyler seated at their table, Trish and Andrew sitting down with her parents at Emerson's table across from them at the front of the ballroom.
"I think it's Lucas' introduction to the masses." Justin said, Josh's eyes glancing towards the open doors of the ballroom's entrance.
Grayson walked through the doors, the man standing beside one door.
His blue eyes met Emerson's green, the man now standing on the stage, Francesca standing beside him.
Grayson nodded towards Emerson, the man taking the wireless microphone the bandleader handed him.
"Could I have everyone's attention, please?" Emerson said into the microphone, his voice resonating across the large room.
Josh and Justin looked around, the acoustics of the room amazing.
Everyone looked towards the stage, people returning to their seats, the tables filling, Emerson awaiting the quieting room.
He smiled out at everyone, Francesca smiling beside him.
"Welcome to Kurucu's Haven again, everyone. And welcome as well new guests and honoured friends. Welcome to our annual celebration of life's continuing happiness." he said, clapping beginning at the tables, the man bowing at their showing kindness.
The applause gradually lessened, Emerson smiling out at everyone.
"Our annual evening of happiness is upon us, dear friends and faithful associates. I'm not sure how many of you have ever seen this room, the past many years of celebrations being held in the east hall. It has long been since this room has been used for this grand affair. For over the last twenty or so years it has been sealed off as a symbol of the loneliness of my soul. I couldn't dance here again without the love lost from my heart. I lost my son and I lost my wife so long ago. The happiness of my life was gone." he said, the room silent, everyone staring at the man and the woman standing at his side.
"This year has been a prosperous one for all of us. The company enlarges, and the community thrives." he said, heartfelt applause echoing again through the room, Haven's brown eyes staring at Emerson.
The governors were all smiling, their applause resonating alongside everyone else.
"And this year--for my own soul--is a year of healing love. For I have been blessed to find new love and lost love." he said, his hand joining with Francesca's, the woman smiling at him with love.
"For twenty years I lost the love of my life, Here
today before all of you she now has returned. Lost in time and lost in love. My
soul is healed. I can live again with her love in my heart. Welcome home,
Francesca of my soul."
Everyone stood, the room filling with applause as Emerson pulled her into his arms kissing her, Haven's brown eyes scanning the room.
They broke their kiss, Emerson smiling at her.
"Speak words of returning love, my love." he said, Francesca smiling out at everyone.
"I was lost, my friends. Lost in life and lost in love. But I have returned. A greater love has returned me to all of you. It is good to be home again." she said, Emerson's eyes meeting hers, the man's green pools filled with love.
Applause filled the room again, the woman stepping back, Emerson's hand still in hers.
"Yes, a greater love. A love of unknown reality. A love of unforeseen warmth and opening happiness." he said, everyone quiet again, staring at him.
"I have lived a life of determined truth. A life of focused reality. My wife was lost to me, my son taken as well. The last twenty years were of prosperity for all of you, but for myself they were years of doubt, pain and sorrow. Today, half that sorrow is gone, but the other half still remains unfulfilled. My son still remains hidden from all of us, and lost from his father's love. But as with life, it sometimes gives us wonderful surprises." Emerson continued, Haven's eyes glaring at him, his brown irises darkening.
Emerson's gaze was not on him but on the doorway of the ballroom's entrance.
"A young man has walked into our lives. A man of singular giving love. He is the personification of my lost son's love, and his masculine beauty. But he is something more. Tonight is his unveiling to the world of my surrounding prosperity. To all that know me and judge me. He has his own path in life, but he has a greater destiny. I hope that his and my own plans shall bear a joined truth. I leave it up to him to decide on the fate of all of us." Emerson said, his green eyes moving around the room, everyone staring at him.
"Life is a path of truth, hope, love and courage, my friends. All reside within him. It is time for him to walk into your lives. Ladies and gentlemen, tonight I show you the new happiness of an old man's soul. A beacon of love and life that fills my soul with life. Walk into our hearts, my new grandson. Please welcome into the ballroom my son's son. Lucas Tristan Belmont Carver!"
All eyes turned to where Emerson was looking, their eyes zoning in on a young man standing in the doorway of the room's entrance.
The crowd rose to their feet, all eyes on his handsome face.
Applause began, the young man walking slowly across the ballroom floor, all eyes drawn to his masculine beauty.
His black suit seemed to show every inch of his muscled physique, a man of sculpted vision before them.
Haven's brown eyes showed no emotion, the man following Lucas' path to his grandfather.
"And so the wolf enters the henhouse." he said, the governors around him hearing his words.
Lucas' violet eyes moved to both sides of the ballroom, the man nodding and smiling at catching glances.
People smiled back at him, although some showed confusion and concern.
Josh's eyes were on his man, seeing Lucas' calm reassuring love showing.
Emerson walked off the stage, his wife walking with him.
They stood in front of it as Lucas reached them, his grandfather smiling at him with showing pride and love.
"Welcome to our night of happiness, my grandson Lucas. Welcome to the joining masses of the Belmont holdings. You have become known to me these last few months. And my heart beams with pride at your giving strength and love. Introduce yourself to all so that they may know of your warmth and smile." Emerson said, Lucas smiling at him as his grandfather handed him the microphone he still held in his hand.
Lucas turned around, standing in front of his grandparents, both moving to his sides, the young man smiling out at everyone, all eyes on him.
"Good evening, members of the Belmont prosperity and gathered friends of community and friendship. I am the son of my grandfather's lost son Tristan. For those who knew him you may see his likeness in my looks. And you all will have had a better knowledge of him than I myself. My father remains lost to myself as well. I was raised apart from his love as well as my mother's. I know neither of them." he said, turning and looking at his grandfather.
People murmured throughout the crowd, Lucas calmly staring at Emerson.
"But I know my grandfather's giving soul. He has welcomed myself into my father's home and his own heart. I feel the greatness of the Belmont soul. I am honoured to be introduced here today to all of you. I never envisioned how large my family's prosperity and community service and acceptance was. I am honoured to be here in Ridgehaven, my family's home. But I am myself. And as myself I welcome your opening friendship and welcoming smiles. Thank you for the opportunity to know all of you." he said, everyone smiling and standing again, applause filling the ballroom.
Emerson smiled at his grandson, Lucas leaning over and kissing his cheek, the applause increasing, the young man kissing his grandmother's next.
"Thank you for welcoming my grandson into our friendship and our love. The evening begins, everyone. Great food and refreshments await you. The night is for dancing and life. And the fireworks of our celebration will shine tonight! Enjoy everyone!" Emerson said, the applause now loud.
Lucas smiled, walking towards his family's tables, his grandparents at his side.
The buffet tables were opened to all the guests, waiters filling glasses and placing baskets of rolls on all the tables, people beginning to gravitate towards the buffet tables.
Haven watched Emerson and Lucas, the man looking at everyone around him staring at him.
"A wolf in opening smugness is still a wolf. The old man's cunning, I'll give you that. But that young man won't ever lead us. For he's nothing if not a complete fool." he said, the governors looking towards the young man now walking up to the table filled with celebrities.
"He has no corporate abilities?" Helga said, looking towards Haven.
"None, dear lady. He's a musician." Haven said, downing his glass of bourbon, James Palmerson staring at him.
"A musician? Is Emerson as great a fool? A man of his youth and unfamiliarity can't lead this company forward." he said, others around him agreeing.
"How easily you forget, James. Haven was only twenty-two when he took the helm." a voice said, all the governors moving their heads, meeting Grayson's watchful gaze, the man standing beside their table.
Haven's brown eyes were locked on Grayson's blue, the man smiling around at everyone.
"That young man is a surprising young man. He is capable of more than what you see or have been told." the lawyer said, Haven laughing.
"You've cowered to Emerson's delusions far too long, Grayson. The man is losing touch of life's advantages. He needs to rescind the iron grip he has on a dying ideal. The moratorium can't stand forever." Haven said, Grayson staring at him.
"No it can't, Haven. Emerson has seen to that eventuality." the man said, Haven standing up, staring at him.
"I or these good people will not sit by and let someone else destroy what we've created." Haven said, Grayson smiling at him.
"What you've created is an illusion, Haven. An illusion of greed, corruption and nefarious dealings. Emerson means to do as he intends."
Haven glared at the lawyer.
"And we all may have to do what we must, Grayson." he said, the lawyer staring at him, his eyes then moving around the table.
"Enjoy the evening's offerings, my friends. Some of you may not see another evening here again."
The lawyer bowed, walking across the ballroom towards Emerson's tables.
"What. . .what did he mean by that?" George Swanson said, Haven looking around at everyone.
"He's trying to elicit uncertainty from all of us. We must remain focused and strong. We shall gain what we must to forge ahead." Haven said, the man returning to his seat, everyone around him talking to each other, the man ignoring all of them.
So he walks into the center of your dying world, Emerson.
So be it.
If it's a fight you want, you shall have it.
But be cautious, old man.
I will do to him as I did to his father.
This time he won't escape so easily.
Haven smiled, summoning a waiter for another drink.
Josh smiled towards Lucas, the young man standing in the middle of a surrounding crowd.
The young man was in the center of a group of local merchants and business associates of Emerson's, the man standing beside his grandson, the two talking amiably with the town's people.
Josh had seen Lucas drawn away from him after the meal, his grandfather guiding him around the room and introducing him to everyone.
The young man seemed not fazed or bored by the attention, his calm smile greeting everyone.
Josh thought he actually seemed to be relishing the attention, but not in a prima donna way.
He just seemed to be genuinely interested in his grandfather's acquaintances.
Josh had sat back, talking to his friends and everyone at the tables surrounding them, the group originally staying together in their own inner circle.
Brief moments of welcoming openness had begun to open their close-knit group.
Justin, Lance and Josh had all been asked to dance, the dinner changing into a dance party when the band began to play after dinner.
The three as well as their friends had all accepted invitations to dance from several local and business people.
They actually felt their gradual inclusion into the large celebration.
A lot of younger girls had smiled widely when the three singers had accepted their invitations, the three bringing joy to all their smiling faces.
Emerson had smiled, seeing the group gradually joining with the community.
Emerson separated his grandson from the local merchants, he and Lucas walking up to the bar, Lucas ordering a drink for each of them.
The bartender behind the bar smiled at him, taking his order.
Lucas smiled at his grandfather, his green eyes scanning the ballroom.
"The people of this community are loyal, open and hospitable, Grandfather. I see why you love this area."
Emerson smiled at Lucas, the young man's violet eyes meeting his green.
"It is home, Lucas. Love echoes through this whole valley."
Lucas nodded, looking around the hall.
"When shall I leap into the fire, Grandfather?"
Emerson's green eyes met his violet, the young man smiling at him.
"I should meet them, Grandfather. Even though I hold no interest in the corporate dynamo that is your life's work, I take pride in your accomplishments."
Emerson smiled, looking toward the table where the Governors were gathered, their eyes looking towards him.
"I fear for your innocent soul, Lucas. The power they strive for resonates at times in their words. I am sure Haven has fed them all manner of derogatory remarks against you. They haven't even met you yet."
Lucas' eyes went to the table again, the young man seeing Haven rise, the man walking across the room and out through the open doors of the entrance.
"No time like the present, Grandfather. The wolf has left the flock unattended." Lucas said, Emerson having seen his adoptive son's departure as well.
"You have courage, my grandson."
Lucas smiled, his arm going in his grandfather's.
"I am a Belmont, Grandfather." he said, his grandfather softly smiling at him.
"I am proud to hear you say that, Lucas."
Lucas smiled, guiding his grandfather towards the Governors' table.
Justin stood at the urinal, finishing his relieving task, the man listening to the music echoing through the large spacious bathroom.
He smiled, zipping up his suit pants, walking over to the large row of sinks, washing his hands.
He shut off the tap, reaching for a linen towel from the stack that was stacked on the marble sink's surface.
"Hello, Justin." a voice said behind him, the man turning around, staring into two brown pools.
Justin stepped back in soft surprise, Haven Marlowe smiling at him.
The man had a towel in his hand, offering it slowly to Justin.
The singer took the towel, lowering his eyes.
"Thank you." he softly said, the man quickly drying his hands.
"How find you the estate, Justin?" the man said, leaning against the tiled wall beside the sink, staring at the singer.
"It's a beautiful place. Lucas' grandfather's home is large and spacious. And the family's open and warm." he said, his blue eyes meeting the man's brown, Justin seeing the man's eyes scan over his body.
Justin felt uncomfortable suddenly, tossing the towel into the basket beside the sink.
"I should return to my friends." he said, Haven smiling at him.
"Why the hurry? I'd like to talk to you. We have a mutual friend." Haven said, smiling at Justin again.
"I. . .I don't think I know anyone you know." Justin said, beginning to walk past the man, the man's hand going to Justin's shoulder, Justin's eyes meeting his.
"Sheridan was quite taken with you. He said you were well-seasoned." Haven said, Justin's eyes widening a bit in surprise.
"I. . .I don't know what you mean? I. . .I need to leave." Justin said, Haven's hand moving from Justin's shoulder, attaching to his arm, holding him in place.
"Can the bullshit, Timberlake. I know you're happiest with a cock down your throat. I've never had a celebrity faggot."
Justin's blue eyes lowered, the man pulling away from Haven, the man's hand tightly clasped on Justin's bicep.
"Sheridan said you loved it, Timberlake. That the pain fed your needs." the man said, smiling lustily at him.
Justin could smell the bourbon on the man's breath.
"Please let me go." Justin said, beginning to tremble.
"A slut like you trembling? I thought you'd be best controlled. I saw the film."
Justin's eyes widened in confusion.
"Film. . .what film?" Justin softly said, the man pushing Justin up against the bathroom wall.
"The video Sheridan took of you under his control. You were tame and very into it. But I sense you needed more. I'm the man who can give you what you want." Haven said, his other hand running across Justin's chest, the other one still clasped on his arm.
"I. . .I. . .I don't want anything from you. Or Sheridan!" Justin said, physically trembling now.
Haven smiled, his hand going to Justin's throat, caressing his chin.
"Get into that stall and I'll show you what you need." Haven said, his hand now going to his other arm, Justin pinned against the wall.
"Please. . .stop it!" Justin said, starting to struggle.
"I'm just starting, slut." Haven said, his head moving forward, Justin closing his eyes, bracing for the man's unwanted intrusion.
All Justin heard was a loud thud, and the two hands holding him suddenly letting go of him.
He suddenly felt two slimmer hands going to his waist, a familiar scent filling his nostrils.
Justin opened his blue eyes, staring into two green pools.
"Are you alright, Jus?" Lance said, Justin's eyes moving behind Lance, Justin seeing Haven splayed out on the bathroom floor, the man holding his face, Justin eyes meeting Lance's green again as the man's arm went around him.
"You hit me, Bass! You're more of a prick than I've heard!" Haven said, the man struggling to rise up, Lance glaring down at him.
"Stay away from both of us, Marlowe." Lance said, his eyes focusing on Justin again.
"Are you sure you're okay, Jus? If he's hurt you, I'll. . ."
Justin softly smiled at Lance, Lance staring at him.
"I'm. . .I'm okay, Lance. Let's just get out of here."
Lance nodded, the man guiding Justin away from the man now climbing to his knees.
"Sheridan said you were a bastard, Bass. But all bastards have their weaknesses. I heard it was your submissive ass!"
Lance glared at Haven, the man glaring back.
"I'll only say it once more. Stay away from both of us, and especially Lucas. We're all bastards in our regards to our protective love for each other. Stay away from all of us."
The two stared at each other, Justin feeling Lance's arm tighten around him.
Lance moved, guiding Justin out of the bathroom.
Haven stared after the two, the man rising to his feet.
Justin's eyes met the man's glaring brown pools, Justin's head lowering, his blue pools glancing at Lance.
I'm sorry, Lance.
How can you love or want to marry someone who's so easily led?
He. . .he was possessing me, I felt it.
Am I that easily manipulated?
Am I. . .am I only a slut?
Justin's blue eyes teared, Lance's green pools looking at his fiancé.
Lance felt Justin's tremble against him.
He sensed his man was hurt more than he showed.
I love you, Justin.
I feel your feelings, and what that man just did to your soul.
I think we need to focus on the truth in ourselves.
And I may have to tell you my shame.
I hope that will not destroy our building love.
Lance sighed, leading the man he loved away from the grand ballroom.
The two men walked in silence, Lance guiding his Justin towards the gardens.
The gardens of their uniting love.
A love perhaps on the threshold of truth.
End of Chapter 75
And so the ball has begun.
Lucas is in the center of his grandfather's world of commerce, about to meet the kings of the corporate world.
Will he surprise them, or shall they show his innocence?
Haven's showing his blossoming colors.
Greed, want and need.
He focuses on our Justin.
Will Lance put up with that?
Will Lucas or Josh?
It seems Lance is sensing his new fiancé's inner feelings.
What is Lance hiding himself?
And will that cause friction for our second duo of love?
Questions upon questions.
Read on and take in my answers.
A diamond anniversary, so to speak.
Seventy-five chapters of building truth and blossoming romance.
How long shall it last?
I'm the writer and it still continues to surprise even me.
My editor is the mortar that builds the bricks for this story.
I'd like to thank him for putting up with my wanton disregard for the English language.
A story's only good when it's written correctly.
More to come.