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Everyone rose from the table, the eight men and one woman staring at Emerson and the young man standing at his side.
"Hello, everyone. I'd like all of you to meet my grandson Lucas. He is the son of my son Tristan. You all remember him and his past adventures with the board." Emerson said, all eyes staring at the young man.
"You look like your father, Mr. Carver. But do you have his executive ways?" Alistair MacDonald, the governor of the United Kingdom branch of Belmont Industries, said staring at the young man as Lucas extended his hand, shaking the older man's strong hand, everyone staring at him as well.
"I am not a corporate genius, Mr. MacDonald." Lucas said, the Scotsman staring at him, his blue eyes meeting Emerson's staring green, the man staring at his grandson.
"Your grandson seems well versed in our identities, Emerson. I see you've coached him for our introduction." James Palmerson said, those around him nodding.
"My grandfather told me nothing of any of you, Mr. Palmerson." Lucas said, the young man extending his hand to him as well, James slowly taking it, his eyes on Emerson.
"Then it had to have been Grayson." Richard Cranston, the governor of the African branch said, standing at James' side.
"No, Mr. Cranston. I only know you all from your needs. For they echo in my soul, and throughout this room." Lucas said, the nine people looking at him in confusion.
Emerson's eyes went around the nine, the man sighing, a soft smile crossing his face.
"My grandson surprises even me, my old friends." Emerson said, the young man smiling at his grandfather, his violet eyes moving around the nine, all taking in his striking good looks and mesmerizing stare.
"Belmont Industries is at a crossroads, bastions of power and commerce. The path rights itself as it must. Regardless as to how some of you perceive the future of it. Or of myself. My great-grandfather's moratorium is the calmness that hides the coming truth." Lucas said, everyone staring at him with surprise.
"You. . .you know what's going on here?" Julian Hardgrave said, the Australian governor showing surprise on his face.
"No, Mr. Hardgrave. I know nothing of the corporate soul of my family's wealth. I only sense its center. I am not--nor shall I ever be--inclined to know or want to know any of that greed and power. I am not what my Uncle Haven has stated I am. I am not here to take on the mantle of the monster that feeds on power and wealth. The true leader of all of you will voice his own destiny soon enough."
"I already have."
All eyes turned, two brown pools glaring at Lucas.
"I was wondering when you would return after your denied rebuke, Uncle." Lucas said, the young man staring at his grandfather's ward.
Emerson took in the man's dishevelled looks, his face showing a soft puffiness, a soft bruise showing across his nose.
"Are you alright, Haven?" Helga Gerhardt said, staring at the man's face.
"Yes, I'm fine. I ran into a pillar in the washroom." he said, Lucas' eyes scanning towards the tables holding his friends and family.
His violet eyes returned to his uncle's glaring brown.
"The pillars of my community hold a greater strength than you ever imagined." Lucas said, Emerson looking between his grandson and his adoptive ward with confusion.
"What are you talking of, Lucas?" Emerson said, Lucas smiling at him.
"Life and love, Grandfather." Lucas said, his violet eyes on Haven again, the man looking around at his surrounding acquaintances.
"Believe nothing this young upstart says, my friends. I feel Emerson's conniving ways behind him. And I sense Grayson's taught familiarity." Haven said, Lucas quietly staring at him.
"He. . .he seems to know all of us, Haven. He seems deeply knowledgeable in regards to our corporation." Mario Fernandez said, the South American governor staring at Lucas.
"He knows what Emerson and that old fox Grayson schooled him in. He is no more an executive than his father is alive." Haven said, Lucas staring at him, his grandfather's green eyes narrowing with protective love.
"Calmness, Grandfather." Lucas said to him, his grandfather's eyes softening.
"My uncle is correct on one assumption, everyone. I am not an executive nor wish to be one. As for the other, my father's love gains ground in my heart. That to me means he's not totally lost." Lucas said, Emerson's eyes looking at his grandson.
"Tristan Belmont is dead, Lucas. No shining knight shall come riding into the sunshine of your life to save this company from imagined danger. This company is on its correct course. And it needs my strength and power." Haven said, the governors staring at Haven, some of their eyes showing devotion to the man's greed.
"There is a lot hidden in the sunshine of our lives, Uncle. You just need to know when to put on the sunglasses so you can see it." Lucas said, everyone staring at him again.
The young man sighed, his arm going in his grandfather's again.
"Time will sort out the future of all of us, Uncle. Until then I shall be at my grandfather's side in all his hopes and truths." Lucas said, Emerson smiling at him.
Lucas' violet eyes met Haven's again, the man staring at him with gathering anger.
"I am not your uncle, upstart. I am my own man, better than any Belmont."
Emerson's eyes darkened again, Lucas feeling his protective love.
"I wish to talk with you in the Receiving Room after this evening's fireworks and its ending, Uncle. You and I need to voice some truths to my grandfather." Lucas said, Haven staring at the two men, his brown eyes going between Lucas and Emerson.
His brown eyes showed steeled courage, Lucas' violet eyes calmly meeting his again.
"Very well, Lucas. I have some of my own truths to share. I shall meet you there at the end of all this. On my way out of this decaying hole."
Lucas stared at him, feeling his grandfather's simmering anger beside him.
"The heart of life shall never decay when it's filled with love." Lucas said, Emerson's green pools meeting his grandson's violet pools of showing love.
"Come, Grandfather. We both long to dance within my grandmother's love." he said, Emerson's face showing a smiling happiness now.
The two men walked away from the table of governors, Haven's brown eyes following them.
"He's more than you said, Haven. That man's unbelievable!" James said, Haven still staring at the young man walking towards his friends.
"He's still a wolf, everyone. And I aim to skin him alive." Haven said, his brown eyes darkening.
The man sat down at his table again, the others trading looks, quietly joining him.
Justin looked into Lance's green eyes, the man taking his lover's hands in his.
Justin's eyes moved downward, the man pulling out the handkerchief from his breast pocket, applying it to Lance's left hand, seeing the blood on the man's knuckles.
"You've hurt yourself, my love." Justin said, Lance softly smiling at him.
"It's just a scratch, Jus. Haven's face was rock hard." Lance said, Justin's blue eyes meeting his green again.
"My knight of protective beauty." he softly said, Lance's fingers of his unhurt hand going to Justin's tearful cheek.
"I will always protect those I love. I'll never allow anyone to hurt you again, Jus." he said, Justin staring into his soulful emerald eyes.
Justin trembled, Lance's arms going around him, the man sinking into his chest, Lance's embrace of protective love surrounding him.
The two sat on a bench in the garden, the two alone in their remembered thoughts of their joining love in this flowery place hours earlier.
The only light showing in the garden was the moonlight beams streaking through the foliage.
They were alone in their love, in the center of its beauty, the doors shut against their privacy.
Soft music echoed from the ballroom, Lance having shut the doors behind them, the two private and close.
Justin trembled against his soulmate's chest, Lance hand stroking his back, calming his love.
"He. . .he wanted to. . .just like. . ."
"He never would have done that. I would never have allowed it. And neither would you have, Justin." Lance said, Justin beginning to cry against him, Lance holding him close.
"Why. . .why do I. . .?"
Lance broke their embrace, his fingers going to Justin's face, brushing away his tears, their eyes locked on each other's staring gaze.
"It wasn't you, Justin! It never was you! You are not--nor ever will be--the cause of that. All you are is a loving soul, a beautiful loving soul."
Justin stared at Lance, the man's face showing so much love for him.
"Why. . .why does. . .why does everyone want to use me? Am I. . .can I only. . .?"
Lance stared at Justin, Justin seeing a protective love shining in his green eyes.
"Listen to me, Justin. You are only yourself. The man that I love. I think it's time you see that. You need to see what I see."
"What. . .what do you see, Lance?" Justin said, Lance smiling at him.
"I see a courageous man, Justin. A see a loving,
caring, giving man. A man who's worked hard to raise himself to the pinnacle of
stardom, and who's matured himself into a strong, giving, loving man. The man
I've fallen in love with."
Justin softly smiled, Lance leaning forward and kissing his lips softly.
They broke the kiss, Lance's green eyes staring at Justin.
"Nothing that happened to you was your fault, Justin. Adam and his cohorts used you only because you were denied your ability to stop them. You trusted Adam and he denied you his trust. You were looking for companionship, not degradation. The same thing was happening with Sheridan. He manipulated you, Jus. You in no way were at fault for that. You trusted him as well, and you were nothing but open and giving with your love. He wasn't trustworthy and neither was Adam. And that man back there wasn't anything but a cowardly bastard. He tried to use manipulation the same way. And you fought against it. I know in my heart you would have fought anything he tried to do to you. Because you saw him for what he was. You weren't able to see the others behind their deceptions. So don't think on the past or on the doubts of what you've done. You didn't do anything wrong, Justin. You were then and still are only a man of giving love. I've felt that love the most."
Justin teared up, listening to all of Lance's words, the truth of what he was saying filtering into Justin's mind.
"Why couldn't I see behind their ruses, Lance? Why do I feel like I can't see the truth in people's souls?" Justin said, Lance staring at him.
"Because your trust comes from the soul, Jus. And you take a person on their trust. I'm just sorry that they manipulated you, Jus. I hate them all for that." Lance said, his own eyes showing soft wetness.
The two stared at each other, Justin trembling again.
"Thank you for saying that, Lance. I love you." he said, Lance staring at him.
"I love you, Justin. And I want you to trust me as the only person who's ever been truthfully honest with you." Lance said, a tear showing on his cheek.
"I. . .I trust you, Lance. I've never met anyone who's been so open, so unbelievably giving of their soul. I believe there isn't anything within you that I don't feel I know." Justin said, Lance lowering his eyes at Justin's words.
Justin stared at him, Lance's hands moving out of Justin's, the man standing up and moving away from Justin, Justin's blue eyes following him as Lance walked up to one of the fountains, staring into the cascading water falling into the bottom basin.
"I. . .I have a truth within me that needs to be said, Justin. If I have any hope of ever having all of your love you need to know it."
Justin stood up, walking up to Lance, the man pulling his fiancé into his arms, Lance's green eyes meeting his.
"I love you, Lance. You can trust me to love all of you. I love you enough to want to spend the rest of my life loving you." Justin said, Lance tearfully staring at him.
The man sat down on the marble edge of the fountain, his back to it, Justin sitting down beside him, the man taking his hand in his again.
Their eyes met again, Lance sighing and staring into two staring blue pools of deep love.
"I've never been strong like you, Jus. I've. . .I've never had the courage you have." Lance said, Justin smiling at him.
"You just showed me your courage in that bathroom, my Lance. You showed the protective courage of your love."
Lance smiled a soft smile, a soft tremble going through him, Justin's arm going around him.
"What's wrong, my love?"
"I have a deeper past than the one you know of, Jus. Adam and his band of cohorts weren't the only ones I. . .I let possess me."
Justin stared at Lance, seeing the emotion in his green eyes.
"Alright, Lance. Tell me all of it. I love you and I want to know all of your past." he said, Lance staring into his unchanged blue loving eyes.
Lance lowered his head, Justin staring at him quietly, letting Lance go at his own pace.
"It. . .it started with Lou, Jus."
Justin stared at Lance with surprise, his head raising again.
"He. . .he was the first to use me." Lance softly said, Justin's eyes filling with tears, remembering their old manager Lou Pearlman, a man of devious manipulation and greedy callousness.
"Oh, Lance! Why. . .why didn't you tell us? We all would have stood by you. We would have protected you. " Justin said, his eyes showing tears again.
"Because. . .because. . .because he was focusing on you, Jus. Because he was having ideas about you and Josh! I couldn't let him focus on you two! I. . .I couldn't let him do to my friends what he was. . .what he was doing to me!" Lance sobbed, Justin pulling him into his arms, the man sobbing against his chest.
"Oh, Lance! I could have fought him for you!" Justin said, he crying for his lover now.
Lance backed up, wiping his face.
"He. . .he made me take care of his clients, Jus. I was. . .I was sent to their hotel rooms. I. . .I made them all happy." Lance said, his green eyes meeting Justin's blue.
Justin was staring at Lance with surprise, the man's eyes filled with tears.
"That's where I first met Nick, I was the BSB's on-call bitch. And there were others." Lance said, lowering his head again, Justin's hand going to his shoulder.
"I'm. . .I'm sorry, Lance! You should have told us!"
Lance raised his head, Justin rubbing his shoulder.
"What could I tell you, Jus? That I liked it? That I liked being used?!" Lance said, Justin staring at him.
"No, Lance. I can't believe you liked that!" Justin said, Lance staring at him.
"At the start I did, Jus. I liked the fact that I was pleasing someone. That I was making someone happy. And I liked the closeness, even the brutality of it. That someone possessed me. I. . .I couldn't have. . .I couldn't have you. . .but I could have someone!"
Justin was in tears, knowing now that Lance had indeed loved him for all their friendship.
"A man isn't possessed, Lance. A man needs to be loved, and held. Not possessed and used!"
Lance wiped his eyes, smiling at Justin softly.
"I know that, Jus. For I've been by your side all our lives. I've seen what real love is. I've seen the real love you've shown everyone that you loved. And I envied them so much. They had your love, your total love."
Justin's hand went to Lance's chin, their eyes locked on each other.
"You have my total love now, Lance. No one's had the
depth of my love as I now give you."
Lance teared up, Justin leaning forward and softly kissing his lips, Lance feeling his love.
The two parted, Justin wrapping his arms around Lance again, the man's head laying against his chest.
"I. . .I had to tell you, Jus. I couldn't keep my past from you. I had to make you see that I'm not the totally together man you think I am. I've been lost all my life, Jus." Lance said, lowering his eyes again, Justin's fingers going to his chin again, lifting his eyes to his.
"You aren't lost now, Lance. You've found my love. I am all that you need." Justin said, Lance's green eyes filled with tears.
Lance moved against Justin, the man holding him close, a soft smile crossing his handsome face.
"Oh God, Jus. I love you so much! Thank you for not. . .for not backing away from my past, from my less-than-glowing self." he said, Justin kissing his forehead, the man's head against his chest again.
"I love you, Lance. The past is just that. The past. We both had a past of uncertainty and of denied love. We have so much more now. I need to thank you for loving me, Lance. And I want to love you forever."
Lance raised his head, their lips meeting, both feeling a deep love flowing through them, their love somehow feeling more emotional now.
They broke the kiss, staring into each other's eyes.
"Wow, Lance! That felt so different. So beautifully different." Justin said, Lance's lips softly kissing his lips lightly.
"I felt it too, Jus. It felt life-changing." Lance said, Justin smiling at him.
"True love can be life-changing."
The two men turned, staring into two violet eyes, Lucas standing in the garden's doorway.
The young man had walked into the garden under total quietness, neither man having heard him enter or close the door behind him.
"How. . .how long have you been there, Lucky?" Justin said, the young man smiling at both men.
"Here in this garden, mere moments. I walked in at the beginning of the beauty that is now your new soul." Lucas said, Justin beginning to rise from his seat, Lucas' hands motioning for him to remain seated, the young man walking down the stone path to the two men.
Both men stared at him, Lucas smiling.
"It's. . .it's been an emotional evening for both of us, Luke." Lance said, Lucas nodding at his friend.
"Yes, I know, my friends. You disappeared from the ballroom, but you were always in my soul." the young man said, the two looking at each other.
"I didn't mean to intrude. I was summoned by the love."
"Summoned by the love, Luke?" Justin said, the young man smiling, sitting down beside his two friends on the large fountain's edge.
His violet eyes scanned the garden, the two watching him taking in its shadowy moonlit quietness.
"It called me forth through the emotions, my friends. I'm sorry that you were his target, Jus. But I knew Lance's love would protect you." he said, the two showing soft surprise on their faces.
"You know what happened?" Lance said, Lucas staring at him.
"I sense all that surrounds me tonight, Lance. My magic and my soul are heightened. The magic is simmering in preparation for the truth." Lucas said, Justin staring at his friend, Lucas' arm going around him.
"Lance was right, Jus. You would have stood up against his advances regardless of Lance's protective rescue. You are your own man. And Lance has cleansed his soul to you, as you have to him. True love begins with total honesty, and total devotion. I see that devotion in both of you. I can now truly congratulate you both on your newly joined soul."
Both men teared up, Lance staring at Lucas.
"How. . .how long have you known that I was holding more of my past against my soul?"
Lucas smiled, leaning across Justin's body, kissing Lance on his lips, Justin smiling at both of them.
"I felt your soul and your friendship from that first night you and I met, Lance. When you stood out on the balcony at Justin's condo at that party with Adam Levine I felt your lost soul. And I saw its beaming ray of hope reaching out for Justin. Your love shines out of you as a shimmering green ray, Lance. I at first thought it was envy, but now I see its true symbolism. It's the greenness of those emerald pools. Your soul lays in your eyes. And their emerald centers brighten most when you're in your Justin's arms."
Lance smiled, looking into Justin's blue eyes.
Justin smiled back, Lucas' violet pools meeting his blue.
"And what of my own beacon, Lucas?" he said, Lucas smiling at him.
"Yours is a blue ray, Justin. Its symbolic blueness
matching your eyes."
"And where have you seen it reaching out to?"
Lucas smiled, remembering the day after his release from the hospital at Finn's parents' home in the backyard.
"At first your blue beacon had been all over me and Josh."
Justin blushed, looking at Lance, his fiancé smiling at him with unchanged love.
"I'm sorry, Lucas. It was searching I guess for a greater hope." he said, Lance smiling more at him.
"Yes, I guess it was. And you in a way got your desires, Jus." Lucas said, Justin's blue eyes meeting his violet, the young man smiling at him.
"Your blue ray went right inside me. You were an animal!"
Justin blushed, Lucas lightly laughing, Lance joining him.
The three smiled at each other, Lucas smiling at his two friends and soulmates.
"But that ray now shines for only one the most. It radiates when joined with an emerald green ray of love."
Both men smiled at each other, Lucas smiling more.
"Thanks, Lucas. For putting our love in a symbolic frame." Lance said, Lucas staring at him.
"It's not symbolic, Lance. I do see your love as
Both men showed surprise, Lucas smiling again.
"I love being wrapped in a rainbow. Two blue rays and a green. With a little violet love mixing. We four are a rainbow of desire."
Justin smiled widely, Lucas winking at Lance.
"He's got that look, Lancy."
"Yeah, Lucky. I think his gears are permanently stuck in neutral. In one desirous position."
Justin grinned, kissing Lance's cheek, then Lucas'.
"Nah, you boys wouldn't like me like that. You are both going to enjoy me at full throttle."
Lucas laughed, Lance joining him again, Justin grinning widely, then laughing as well.
"I can't wait to grab onto that gearshift!" Lucas said, Lance bursting into laughter again, Justin blowing a kiss at Lucas, all three laughing together.
"Thanks, guys. I needed that." Lucas said, the three smiling at each other, Lucas' violet eyes looking around the garden again, the other two men seeing a pensive look cross his face.
"Is something wrong, Lucky?" Justin said, Lance feeling the same feeling of thoughtfulness coming from Lucas.
The young man sighed, looking at both of them.
"He's coming, Justin. And I don't know if I can truly face him." the young man said, Lucas slowly rising from his seat, staring around the garden again.
"Who's coming?" Lance said, he and Justin both rising as well, Lucas staring at both, a soft smile meeting their concerned faces.
"I'm sorry, my friends. No need to worry. Life and paths go on. I'm glad I walked into this moment. Your love glows brighter. Not even Haven's underhandedness can destroy that. Your love for each other is indestructible."
The two smiled, their hands joining again.
"Don't worry about Haven's advances, or his lies, Jus." Lucas said, Justin staring at him.
"He. . .he said he had seen a. . .a video." Justin softly said, Lance's arm going around him.
"No he hasn't, Jus. If you search your memories, you and Sheridan never had sex at his place, only your own apartment. The man never taped you in the throes of passion. Haven was just baiting you with threatening exposure. His plans didn't work. I want both of you to concentrate on each other's love, that's what matters. Let me deal with Haven and his truths." Lucas said, both seeing the protective love in his violet eyes, the man smiling again.
"A few moments of love you both need, my friends. But our Josh was searching for you. My Josh and the others miss your love. But you both need it most alone right now."
The two smiled, Lucas walking back towards the door, his violet eyes scanning the garden again, then meeting his two soulmates.
"Love you both. Love follows." he said, smiling and quietly walking out of the garden, closing the door behind him.
The two men met each other's eyes again, Justin pulling Lance close to him.
"He's a man of giving mystery, our giving Lucky is. What do you think he was talking of?" Lance said, Justin's eyes going around the garden, seeing only quiet moonlit darkness and shadows.
"Our Lucky's love and soul hold a greater surprise,
my Lancy. We'll just have to watch his love unfold."
Lance smiled, his fingers going to Justin's cheek, the man smiling at him.
"We should take advantage of our dear love's offered solitude." he said, Justin smiling back at him.
Lance's hands went to Justin's ass, pulling him closer to him, Justin softly moaning, Lance's lips kissing his cheek.
"I love you, my fiancé of new love." he said, Justin smiling widely.
"I love you more, my future husband of new beauty." Justin said, their lips meeting, their arms joining them close.
Neither saw a shimmering image disappear behind the fountain, its dark-formed shadow evaporating in the moonlight.
Josh smiled, the man walking off the dance floor, his arm around Trish's waist.
"You are an amazing dancer, Joshy." she said, Josh smiling as he guided her back to his table, Andrew smiling up at both of them.
"Thanks for the reprieve, Josh! My babe's damn near worn out my feet." Andrew said, Trish smiling and sitting down in his lap.
"I thought I was your princess, my prince?" she said, kissing his lips, Josh smiling at both of them.
"Yes, but did you have to wear the glass slippers?" Andrew said, Finn and Skyler laughing, the two seated beside Andrew.
Trish rolled her eyes, Skyler winking at her.
"Our princes have gone to seed. Finn's just as deflated." Skyler said, Josh smiling at the Welshman.
"Now where's the fun in that?" he laughed, Finn blushing at him.
"I'm not that deflated. I was just catching my breath. And where's your man, Joshy? He gets off easy tonight as he's been off the dance floor mostly. Plus he doesn't have your paws all over him." Finn grinned, Josh blushing, looking around the ballroom.
"I don't see him. And Justin and Lance have disappeared as well." Trish said, Andrew kissing her neck.
"Justin and Lance are probably off groping in some dark corner. Ah, engaged love!" Andrew said, smiling at his fiancée, Finn chuckling.
"And Lukey's probably watching. The pervert!" he laughed, everyone smiling at Josh.
"I'd only watch you in the washroom, Finny." a voice behind Finn said, a hand going to the Welshman's shoulder, Finn jumping with surprise.
Finn reeled around, Lucas standing right behind him, the young man having appeared out of nowhere.
"Where. . .where did you come from?" Finn said, his voice filled with surprise.
"From my mother's and father's love, Finny." Lucas said, smiling at everyone.
Josh smiled at his lover, Lucas' violet eyes on him.
"You've been given a reprieve from Emerson's prideful worship?" Trish said, Lucas smiling at his sister.
"Yes, Sis. I believe I've met everyone. And grandfather's in his own spot of happiness. As all of you young beauties should be." Lucas smiled, everyone looking towards the dance floor, Emerson and Francesca seen in its center, the two dancing with showing happiness.
"I'd get moving if I were you, Finny and Drew. Your women are in a dancing mood. Their beauty needs to shine on the dance floor. You can't let the senior love outshine you." Lucas said with a smile, the two women smiling at him as they stood up, then at their soulmates.
"We're definitely going to have sore feet in the morning, Drew." Finn laughed, rising from the table, extending his hand to his fiancée, Drew smiling as well, standing as well.
"Sore feet, but contented love-filled souls." Lucas smiled, the young man sitting down beside Josh, the other four smiling at both of them, heading towards the dance floor again.
Josh smiled at Lucas, the young man seated beside him, his warmth close.
"I so want to kiss you, my love." Josh whispered, looking around.
"Me too, my Beamy. We could slip off somewhere. But the garden's out. It's momentarily in use. I saw a great love shining there." Lucas smiled, Josh's blue eyes meeting his.
"I wondered where the two of them had gotten off to." Josh smiled, Lucas smiling at him.
"Oh they're getting off, alright." Lucas said, Josh laughing, Lucas smiling widely.
"Lucky them." Josh said, Lucas feeling the love in his deep voice.
"I'm the lucky one. You're so close yet so far. You're going to have one extremely horny young man tonight when this is all over."
Josh smiled, staring into Lucas' violet pools, his voice sounding enticing and seductive.
"And you're going to have one old rutting buck."
Lucas laughed, Josh joining him.
The two laughed and smiled at each other, a shadow blocking out the chandelier's light in front of them.
Lucas smiled, looking up into a set of green and a set of violet eyes.
"There you are again, Lucas! We'd wondered where you'd disappeared to." Emerson smiled, the young man smiling at his grandfather.
"Just popped out for a breath of air, Grandfather. Watching the path unfold." he smiled, Josh staring at him.
"Understood, Lucas. It is getting warm in here. But shortly the night's breeze will cool all of us." Francesca said, Emerson smiling at his wife, his arm going around her.
"Our love and our dance has got us both warmed, my love." Emerson said, Francesca smiling, kissing his cheek, the two men smiling up at them.
Emerson's green pools met Lucas' again.
"It is almost time for the fireworks, Lucas. The groundskeeper informed me everything is tested and at the ready." Emerson said, Lucas nodding.
"Yes, the fireworks of Kurucu's Haven. This year it may be the best yet, Grandfather." Lucas smiled, Emerson smiling at him.
"Would you do the honours, Lucas?" Emerson said, Lucas smiling at him.
"No, Grandfather. They are your friends and associates. And this is your night and your home. The lights of the night shall come from your heart and happiness."
Emerson nodded, Francesca smiling at her grandson.
"You have your father's way with creating beauty from a single sentence, Lucas."
Lucas smiled, looking at his grandmother.
"I am my father's son, Grandmother."
She smiled, as did Emerson.
Alain and Harry walked up to the table, Lucas smiling at both.
"How found the night's coolness, Har? Were the outdoor gardens secluded enough?" Lucas said, the two smiling at him, Harry showing a soft blush on his face.
"The coolness was driven off by my love's warmth." he said, Lucas smiling and standing up.
"Well let's get you all hot and bothered again. I haven't danced with you yet!" Lucas said, Josh looking up at him with surprise.
"Lucas, is that wise?" Emerson said, Lucas smiling at his grandfather.
"Grandfather, they've both danced tonight together on the dance floor. Everyone has seen their love shining. I take it as a great honour to hold my cousin in my arms of love and friendship." Lucas said, Harry beaming at him, Alain smiling at Lucas, Josh standing up at the table.
"And I'd love a dance, Alain." Josh said, Lucas smiling at him.
The young black man smiled, he and Josh heading towards the dance floor.
Lucas and Harry followed them, the four joining the couples dancing.
Many eyes glanced their way, the four smiling as they joined as couples, the music carrying them forward.
Their friends watched them, their faces showing soft smiles.
The night continued, the dancing festive, energetic and happy.
Lucas and Josh danced with all their friends, the two constantly smiling at each other in other's arms.
Justin and Lance had returned, the two drawn to the floor by friends and guests.
Everyone enjoyed themselves immensely.
At just after eleven Lucas walked onto the stage, his grandfather having asked him to announce the fireworks.
"Could I have everyone's attention, please?" Lucas said into the microphone when the band stopped after the end of the song they were playing.
The crowd looked towards the stage, a young handsome man standing alone before the band.
"It has been a wonderful evening of good food, grand music, and dancing happiness. I think we should applaud our hosts for their gracious hospitality and generous giving hearts." he said, the room filling with applause, Emerson and Francesca smiling, bowing to everyone, the two smiling towards their grandson.
"We have all tonight seen their happiness and returned love, their central vision of dancing love adding to our own showing love. Kurucu's Haven has its heart back again. And love shines around us." Lucas said, smiling at his grandparents, applause filling the room again.
Lucas smiled, looking out at everyone.
"It is after eleven and the lights of my grandfather's happiness are about to shine. Let us all walk out through the opening doors onto the terrace and south gardens. My grandfather's love will light up the night. After the fireworks--of which I hope to add to--the dancing will continue, here and out there." Lucas said, his grandparents having moved, smiling at him from the opened glass doors that ran the south side of the ballroom, where the buffet tables had earlier been.
Everyone smiled and clapped, Emerson and Francesca leading the way through the terrace doors, everyone moving from the ballroom out into the dark July night.
Lucas walked off the stage, his family and friends joining him, following everyone out of the ballroom.
Finn leaned over to Justin, whispering in his ear.
"That he hopes to add to?" he said, Justin nodding, looking towards Lucas, the young man walking with Josh ahead of them.
"That's what he said, Finny." Lance said, the man having heard Finn's words.
The Welshman nodded, looking towards his friend.
"Hold onto your shorts, everyone. I think Lukey's magic may shine tonight." he said, everyone nodding, their eyes drawn to the young man walking ahead of them.
"His magic shines in his love, Finny." Lance said, the man's eyes scanning the ballroom.
Everyone smiled, agreeing completely with Lance's words, his green eyes looking elsewhere.
They met two staring brown eyes, Haven Marlowe walking out through one of the terrace doors, disappearing into the darkness.
Lance sighed, his heart and his love steadfast.
His green pools met two blue pools, his love anchored and total.
Emerson smiled, standing on the southern terrace, surrounded by his family and other friends.
The gardens before them were filled with people, everyone spreading out onto the large lawn in the garden's center, awaiting the coming celebration.
At his left stood his wife, at his right his grandson.
Lucas smiled at his grandfather, a small stand erected in front of them.
A few switches were visible, the center core of the fireworks at his grandfather's touch.
Their eyes met, Lucas smiling at his grandfather.
"Let the night fill with this nation's celebratory lights, Grandfather."
The older man smiled, looking out at everyone looking back towards them.
Lucas' friends and family stood or sat behind them, everyone relaxing on the terrace, ready for the show.
Emerson smiled, looking at his guests before him and around him.
"We celebrate tonight our nation's independence. We celebrate our own independence. For we are free, we are loved and we are happy. Happy Independence Day everyone! God bless this nation and our freedoms!"
Everyone applauded and screamed words of returned celebration, Emerson hitting the switches before him.
The night's sky erupted with lights, cascading and exploding stars filling the night's sky.
The colors were vibrant, bright and beautiful.
Couples joined in embraces of happiness, all eyes on the sky above them.
Lucas smiled, looking up at the lights, his man moving beside him.
"It's beautiful, Lucas. And loud!" Josh said, covering his ears, everyone nodding, taking in the night's brightness and noise.
Stars exploded, people awed, clapping ensued and the celebration continued.
"I'll be right back, Grandfather." Lucas said, the young man moving, walking back into the ballroom, Josh watching him disappear into the building.
"Where's he off to?" Finn said, Sky wrapped in his arms, a red star exploding above them, their faces taking on a reddish glow.
"Not sure, Finn." Emerson said, the man continuing to hit a few more switches and buttons, his wife smiling at him, watching their friends lost in the celebration.
Lucas returned a few minutes later, smiling at everyone as he returned to his grandfather's side, the man looking at him.
"Everything alright, Lucas?" he said, Lucas staring up at the sky.
"Everything's fine, Grandfather. Let's watch the lights of celebration end." he said, Josh staring at him.
For the next half hour the night's sky was filled with spectacular fireworks, the terrace and lawn filling with continued applause at every new outburst of flashing lights.
The fireworks began to lessen, everyone sensing the show was coming to an end.
Three final bursts of light flew up into the sky,
the three lights exploding into cascading stars, one blue, one red and one
Applause filled the outdoors, Emerson smiling at all their happiness.
Everyone stood up again, turning towards their host, Emerson smiling at their thankful adulation.
The man shut down the display he'd been running, its lights going off.
"Thank you, everyone. A night of lights and happiness. A fitting end to our celebration." he said, smiling as he put his arm around his wife, she kissing his cheek, the crowd before them and the people surrounding them clapping their thankful applause.
Lucas smiled, looking around at everything.
"The show in not entirely over, Grandfather." Lucas said, Emerson staring at him with smiling love.
"That's it for the celebratory fireworks, my grandson." he said, Lucas nodding his head.
"Yes, Grandfather. Our nation's heritage is honoured and celebrated." he said, his voice carrying over the lawn, everyone staring at him and his smiling handsome face.
Soft music suddenly began to play from the ballroom behind them, Emerson's eyes meeting his grandson's.
The outdoors filled with the softly rising music, the song known by many.
The Blue Danube began to filter across the lawn, couples joining together again, Lucas smiling at his grandfather and grandmother.
"The night is cool, the celebration grand, and the music intoxicating. I believe you two should lead us in your love." Lucas smiled, Francesca smiling at him.
"Lucas is right, my love. Let us dance under the stars." she said, Emerson smiling at her.
"As you wish, my love." he said, the man taking her hand, pulling her against him.
People applauded, other couples beginning to dance on the lawn and on the terrace.
Finn smiled, liking Lucas' idea, the man guiding his Sky into his arms.
"Let's dance in the darkness of life, and the light of love." he said, Sky smiling, the two joined by their friends.
Lucas smiled, looking towards Justin, Lance and Josh, knowing they couldn't truly show their love out here in the open.
"Another night lays ahead for us, my friends. But let's watch love show itself."
Lucas smiled, turning back to the lawn, the young man watching the couples dance, and the other lone people watching them.
The young man closed his eyes, the night's sky suddenly erupting into more fireworks.
These lights were silent, the only sound the music filtering around the terrace and lawn.
Everyone looked upwards, still dancing, staring at the beautiful bursting stars and symbols of love igniting in the dark sky.
Stars, hearts and other symbols showed in vibrant colors, everyone taking in their surprising beauty.
A violet heart suddenly appeared in the night's sky, its beauty breathtaking.
Josh, Justin and Lance stared at each other, Justin and Lance rising from their seats, walking up to Josh, the three staring at Lucas.
The young man still remained silent, his eyes still closed.
"What. . .what's doing that, Josh? Where are those lights and images coming from?" Justin said, his blue eyes on his soulmate, Lance's green eyes on Lucas.
"I. . .I think it's Lucas' magic." Lance softly said, Josh's blue eyes looking at his motionless lover.
The music continued, its tempo increasing, the fireworks and lights increasing in their brightness and showing imagery.
The violet heart suddenly moved across the night's sky, everyone taking in its flying beauty.
It suddenly separated into two smaller hearts, both
hitting the mansion's stone wall above the terrace, disappearing into the
The sky suddenly exploded with many lights and images, the music suddenly stopping, all couples looking upwards at the light show going on in silence above them.
"It's. . .it's beyond beautiful." Francesca said, she and Emerson having stopped their dance, staring upwards with everyone else.
"It is love, as it shines within my soul."
Josh's blue eyes went to his man, Lucas having spoken.
The young man's eyes opened, their violet pools meeting his blue.
Josh saw a shining brightness in their violet centers, he alone seeing it.
Lucas smiled, everyone seeing only his violet pools of love as he scanned around himself.
"The lights of love shone for all of us. Let us continue to dance and to live life with it in our souls, here and indoors." he said, people staring at him, sensing it was this young man who'd provided the second light show, but how they knew not.
Their eyes went to Emerson's face, the older man staring at his grandson with just as much wonder as they.
Lucas turned, smiling at him and his grandmother as they walked up to him, his friends and family surrounding him.
"Lucas. . .what was. . .what was that?" Emerson said, the young man smiling, music beginning to fill the terrace again.
"That was my love, Grandfather. My gift to end your night of giving love. A more showing light show. And I may have sealed myself to my destiny." Lucas said, the young man showing soft glistening tears in his violet eyes
"What. . .what do you mean, Lucas?" Josh said, standing at his side.
The young man's violet eyes went around the terrace and lawn, seeing people dancing again, others heading into the ballroom as well to dance.
His violet eyes met two brown pools, Haven Marlowe staring at him with awed-like wonder and confusion, the man lowering his eyes and quickly walking back into the ballroom.
Lucas' violet pools moved again, looking upwards from the terrace at the stone wall where the violet hearts had disappeared.
"That violet heart was so beautiful, Lucas." Vivian said, Lucas' eyes meeting his mother's.
"The symbol of your eyes and love, my grandson." Emerson said, Lucas smiling at him.
"Of all our love, Grandfather." he said, Josh's hand going to his shoulder, Lucas' violet pools meeting his.
"What did you mean about your being sealed in destiny, Lucas?" he said, everyone surrounding him staring at him.
Lucas' eyes went to his mother, then his grandmother, and then finally to Harry, the young man staring at him, his body wrapped in Alain's strong arms.
"Destiny isn't forgiving, Josh. It comes with perhaps a price. I think I've just been given the bill." Lucas said, the young man sighing, everyone staring at him with concern.
"You're not making sense, Lucas." Trish said, the young man staring at his sister.
"Does life make sense, Trishy?" he said, his violet eyes moving, scanning across the lawn, its edges showing dark shadows, his keen eyesight meeting a moving shadow.
The shadow stopped, hidden in the shrouded darkness.
Two small eyes met his, the young man staring at a hidden unmoving shadow.
"There was no darkness at the pool. One couldn't hide in one's love." he said, everyone exchanging glances, Lucas turning and meeting his grandfather's concerned gaze.
"I. . .I am alright, everyone. I just wanted to end the night with a show of my love. I hope it met your approval?" he said, his smile again returned to his handsome face.
"It went beyond that, Lukey! It was amazing!" Finn said, Lucas smiling at his young friend.
"The Delaney stamp of approval. I'm pleased." he said, everyone quietly staring at him.
Lucas smiled, looking at his grandfather.
"Come, everyone. The dancing and party continue. The evening ends as it should be. I want to dance for the next few hours. In the merriment of life the shadows hold no truths." Lucas said, his arm going in his mother's, Vivian staring at him with soft wonder and confusion.
"You're first on my card, Mom. And then Grandmother. The Carlisle love will entrance me." he smiled, the young man moving towards the door, Vivian walking with him, everyone staring after the young man.
"What. . .what was all that?" Finn said, Josh meeting his gaze.
"Something's wrong, Finny. I felt Lucas' soul when he opened his eyes. And I saw the glow of fear hidden in them." the man said, Josh feeling Justin and Lance's arms going around him.
"You mean he's scared about something?" Emerson said, the man's green eyes looking around everywhere.
"I don't know, Emerson. I only feel that he's hiding something. From who or what it is, I don't know. But I also sense we're being watched."
Everyone's eyes moved around, seeing no one watching them.
"I feel it also, Joshua. Like a hidden shadow." Francesca said, her husband's arm going around her.
"Let's head inside. I think my grandson needs all of our protective love." the older man said, his eyes meeting Grayson's blue, his old friend nodding, his watchful eyes scanning everywhere.
Everyone nodded, moving towards the ballroom doors.
Two small eyes stared at their retreating forms, a soft giggle filling the darkened shadows.
Those eyes looked at everyone still remaining on the lawn, couples still dancing to the music, others locked in kisses and touching scenes of quiet coupled love.
His love echoes through time and life.
He is so strong.
Those two small eyes moved, sensing a presence beside them.
"He feels you, you know that? You shouldn't have walked into the house." her soft voice said, a strong hand going to her small shoulder.
"I was drawn in by the love in the garden." the voice said, the small child before it smiling upwards into his hidden eyes.
"Love is immense in this place. He is its center." she said, the shadow behind her showing a soft smile to her keen eyes.
"Yes, but you sense the underlying hidden truth. The evil deeply hidden. We must go before the beast senses us."
The small child nodded, Rosa Sharon's blue pools looking again towards the lit ballroom windows.
"Two hearts breathe anew. Oh to be in that room tonight!" she softly said, a soft giggle coming from her heart, the little child suddenly disappearing.
The remaining shadow stared towards the house, its deeply gazing eyes keenly seeing a dancing shape in the lit windows
Dance in life and truth, Lucas.
The price indeed may be due.
For what you just did, and for what I must do.
Forgive all who do as they must.
I am sorry.
The shadow disappeared, the lawn continuing to show its dancing love.
End of Chapter 76
Hidden shadows do indeed watch our Lucas.
Little Rosa Sharon continues to follow Lucas.
Who stays close to her?
Why are they watching?
Why was the darker shadow watching Justin and Lance in the garden alone?
It seems Lucas sensed it.
Why did Lucas give the lightshow of his love?
It was spectacular, but seeming more.
What was the symbol of the violet heart dividing in two supposed to mean?
And why does Lucas now talk of bills being due?
It seems Haven wanders around and watches as well.
And he seemed awed by Lucas' showing magic.
Up next, the ball ends, and Haven and Lucas meet to discuss truths and perhaps more.
Trust in me to throw in a few surprises.
Onward we dance, onward we light up the sky of life.