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Josh smiled, the man removing his tie, stretching his arms above his head, feeling the tiredness in his muscled back.
He closed his eyes, his body relaxing.
He felt two arms wrap around him, a set of lips kissing his neck.
He felt two other hands on his chest, his blue eyes opening, meeting two green pools of love.
"Well, the menservants have arrived, where is the master?" he smiled, Justin's hand lightly slapping Josh's pant-covered butt.
"We ain't your bitches, Joshy. We're your loves." he smiled, Josh smiling as Justin kissed his neck again.
Lance smiled at his friend, the man rubbing Josh's toned chest, his attire showing off his muscled form.
The three were in the garden off the cavadeum, the party having ended, the three returning here at Lucas' request.
"Where is our Lucky, Lance?" Josh sighed, Lance rubbing his chest, Justin's fingers rubbing his shoulders.
Lance had just walked into the garden, finding Josh and Justin waiting for him and Lucas.
"Lucas was still at the front entrance with his grandparents, Josh. He was at his grandfather's side saying goodnight to his guests. The boy's like a second shadow to him. You see his love for him easily. And Emerson's beyond happy. The ball was a success." Lance said, Justin sitting down on a bench, smiling at his friends, Lance's arms going around Josh.
"Our Lucky's been showing his love all night. In the sky and in this house." Lance said, Josh smiling at him.
Their eyes met, Lance seeing a soft look in his friend's blue pools.
"Everything okay, Josh?" he said, Josh sighing, Lance releasing his hold on him as the man moved, sitting down beside Justin, his friend's arm going around his shoulder.
Lance moved, sitting down beside his friend, Josh in the middle of their love.
"I feel a sudden change in Lucas, guys. It happened
right after those magical fireworks. Something's changed."
"What's changed, Josh? He seems his same old self. His smile's been so giving and loving after that. He danced and laughed until the ball's end. He's probably still laughing at the front door with his grandparents." Justin said, Josh nodding.
"I'm sure he is, Jus. And that's what's bothering me. It's as if Lucas is wearing a mask. I see soft truth hidden behind it. I think he's putting on a ruse."
His two friends traded looks, Lance's hand going to his friend's shoulder.
"You think he's hiding something?"
Josh nodded, looking around the garden.
"He told me earlier that he found you two in the garden here. What happened here?" he said, looking between Justin and Lance.
Lance smiled at Justin, his lover looking at Josh.
The man quietly told Josh what had happened with him in regards to Haven, and his and Lance's love centering after that in this garden.
"I'm so sorry, Jus. You didn't deserve that kind of treatment from that cad. And I'll voice that as Lance did when I see him." Josh said, Justin seeing the protective love shining in his friend's moist eyes.
"Violence isn't the answer, Joshy. Your love is
enough for me. And Lance showed me the truth in regards to my own self. I can
defend myself against cads like him. I have both of your love and Lucas' in my
Josh smiled, nodding at his friend, his blue eyes meeting Lance's green now.
"I'm even more sorry for the past you endured, Lancy. We all would have protected you against Lou's callousness if we'd known, my friend. Our love was always there." Josh said, more soft tears showing in his blue eyes, emotion showing on his face.
"I know, Joshy. But the past is over. It's the future that I look forward to. The future of all your love." Lance said, Josh pulling his friend against him, Justin smiling as the two kissed.
The two parted, Josh then kissing Justin on the lips, the two feeling their love.
Josh smiled as he parted, looking at both.
"I see your new joined soul now as well. Our Lucas has given all of us our total happiness now."
The three smiled, Justin looking around the quiet garden.
Lance saw his thoughtful gaze, their eyes meeting.
"When Lucas was here before, he said some confusing things, Josh. It was as if he was searching this garden for someone. We saw no one, but he seemed deep in thought." Lance said, Josh staring at him.
"What did he say?" he said, Justin's hand going to Josh's shoulder again.
"He said that 'he was coming'. And that 'he didn't know if he could face him'." Justin said, Josh looking at him.
"He's coming? Who was he talking of?" Josh said, Justin looking at his friend, Lance's hand kneading his shoulder.
"We're not sure, Josh. He could have meant Haven. Emerson told me that Lucas asked that man to meet him in the Receiving Room tonight after the ball's end. Haven's agreed to it." Lance said, Josh's eyes darkening.
"We're going to be there, guys! My Lucky's not facing that prick alone!" Josh said, both men staring at the protective love shown on his face.
"I would never face any evil alone."
All three turned, Lucas standing in the garden's doorway again, the door closed behind him.
Josh rose to his feet as Lucas walked down the stone path, their friends rising as well.
The young man smiled at all three, Josh's arms going around him when he joined them.
"Hello, my love." he said, kissing Josh on the lips, Justin and Lance smiling at them.
"Are you alright, Lucas?" Josh said when their kiss broke.
Lucas smiled, his finger going to his lover's cheek.
"I'm fine, Beamy. I'm surrounded by all your love."
Josh's blue eyes were staring into his violet pools, Josh seeing the depth of love shining there.
"I'm okay, my love. And the path focuses." he said, his violet eyes glancing at his two friends, then his violet centers scanned the garden again.
"Everything is alright, Joshua. And I see you are in the center of our friends' love." he smiled, Justin and Lance smiling at him.
"We love both of you, Lucas. We stand fast in our joined love." Lance said, Lucas smiling at him.
"Lucky us." he said, the man sighing.
"What's going on, Lucas? You're being very mysterious tonight, my love." Josh said, Lucas smiling at him.
"Just being myself, Joshua. The me that you love."
"I do love you, Lucas." Josh said, Lucas smiling at him.
"We love you as well, Lucky." Justin said, Lucas smiling into Justin's blue eyes, then Lance's green.
"How did I ever win so much love?" he smiled, Lance kissing his cheek.
"By being you, Lucas. The one we all love."
"Thank you, Lance. I am so lucky. I am your Lucky. All three of you."
All three smiled, Lucas sighing softly.
"The path is at a crossroads, everyone. I've started the final path. Reluctantly--but undeniably--it was my choice."
All three shared glances, Josh's arms pulling Lucas against him.
"What. . .what have you done, Lucky? It was those fireworks, wasn't it?" he said, Lucas sighing, the young man moving, walking over to the fountain on his left, staring down at the filled basin of dark water.
"Those weren't fireworks, Joshua. They were a magical doorway."
Everyone traded looks of surprise, Josh walking up to his fiancÚ.
He turned the young man into his arms, their eyes meeting, Josh seeing a soft glistening in those violet pools.
"A doorway to what, Lucas?"
Lucas moved, his body going against Josh's strong chest, his head laying against it.
"A doorway to my soul, Joshua. I've. . .I've opened the door to all of them."
Josh's arms wrapped around his soulmate, Justin and Lance walking up to the two men, Josh's blue pools meeting Justin's and Lance's concerned eyes.
"Who. . .who have you released, Lucas?" Lance said, two violet pools staring into his green.
"Shades, Lance. The Shades are here."
Haven Marlowe walked down the corridor between the cavadeum and the front foyer, the man's brown eyes deep in thought.
What's that little snipe up to?
Why does he seem so centered?
What was all that magic in the sky?
Is he more than he seems?
The man's eyes took in the paper-covered windows on his left side, ignoring the gleaming gold crests displayed over their whiteness.
You're delving into more than you think, upstart.
And I've about had it.
I think you need to see the real magic that's in this place.
His face showed a soft smile, his mind focusing on his surroundings.
The man's eyes scanned ahead, seeing the end of the corridor and the doorway to the Receiving Room.
His eyes darkened, seeing a man standing in front of it.
The man walked down the corridor, stopping a few feet in front of Grayson Wainwright who stood at the room's closed door.
"I assumed this meeting was ours alone, old Grayballs." Haven smiled, the lawyer looking at him.
"Arrogant until the end, Haven."
The man's eyes darkened.
"I am myself, Grayson. And that young man needs to
understand that. No showing fireworks will stay me on my course. I have full
backing of all the governors for what I want to achieve, and you know that."
Grayson stared at the younger man, their eyes locked on each other, both men showing deep resolve.
"Where is Sherman, Haven? I know he's one of yours now."
The man smiled, staring at the older man.
"Your nephew's one of my dearest confidants, Grayson. I've well seasoned him in many aspects of life. As Timberlake found out." the man smiled, Grayson's eyes darkening.
"You made that young man into a monster, Haven."
The man smiled, staring at Sheridan's uncle.
"He was born a monster, Grayson. I just had to show him his true colors. The greatness and arrogance doesn't fall far from the tree."
The lawyer stared at the man, seeing the familiar smugness on his younger face.
"I don't like this meeting, Haven. Lucas has no real sense of what you're capable of. But Emerson does. I'll stand by both of them throughout it. I won't let you hurt either of them." Grayson said, his protective love showing in both blue eyes.
"Tsk, tsk, old boy. Don't get all steamed. I'm going into this with an open mind. I'll only voice my own truths. Your new young friend will see exactly what I mean to do. As will Father."
"Don't call him that, Haven. You have never earned the right to that name of endearment."
Haven smiled, looking at the man.
"You once held a great endearment to me, Grayson. Or have you forgotten my talents?"
The lawyer's eyes darkened, the two glaring at each other.
"I haven't forgotten anything about you, Haven. And that's why I'll be at their sides."
The man smiled, their glaring eyes locked on each other.
Their silence was interrupted by a new voice.
"And I shall warrant that showing love."
Both men turned, Emerson and Francesca both standing in the central foyer, having walked down the main staircase.
"A dark hour to be finalizing our truths, Father." Haven said, Emerson and Francesca walking up to the two men, Grayson's eyes on the two, Emerson's green meeting his blue.
"I did not arrange this meeting, Haven. This is at my grandson's request." Emerson said, the other man showing a soft surprise on his face.
"The new intruder of this old archaic place seems to be taking command of all situations. Back there in the ballroom, then out in the darkened night. And now here. That young man seems very mysterious and challenging. I do love a good mystery." the man said, smiling at his adoptive father.
"Grayson and I share the same feelings for this meeting, Haven. For myself you have already walked the final path. There isn't anything left for us to discuss." Emerson said, the two staring at each other.
"Only the end of your hold on Belmont Industries, Father. It is time you saw the writing on the wall. I am the future of all of it. The past is over." Haven said, Emerson staring at the younger man.
"The past never ends, Uncle."
Haven's brown eyes went to the corridor leading to the cavadeum, Lucas standing in front of it; Josh, Justin and Lance behind the young man.
"The past is the past, Lucas." Haven said, his brown eyes meeting Justin's staring blue, Lucas walking forward.
His three soulmates followed him at a soft distance, their eyes on Haven's staring smile.
"The hour indeed grows late, Uncle. Let's end this quickly." Lucas said, the young man looking at his grandfather; Emerson's green eyes staring at him, his wife's arm going in his.
"This could wait till tomorrow, Lucas." she said, Lucas smiling at her.
"I haven't much time, Grandmother. It has to be tonight. For all of us." he said, the young man going up to the Receiving Room's door, opening it, standing at its open door.
"Please come in everyone. The path needs walking." he said, Haven staring at the young man, Emerson and Francesca looking at each other.
Emerson sighed, the man walking with his wife into the room, Grayson following them, his blue eyes meeting Lucas' violet pools
Josh, Justin and Lance all followed the lawyer, their eyes meeting Lucas' as well.
A soft smile of love and courage showed on his face, Josh's blue eyes taking in his calm face.
Lucas hadn't elaborated on his revelation in the garden to the three, the young man only stating that it was time to go.
The three had followed him down the corridor to this moment.
Lucas stood at the door, staring at Haven in the foyer, the man staring into the young man's violet eyes.
"The nut doesn't fall far from the tree, Carver. You have your mother's mystique and your father's arrogance." the man said, Lucas staring at him.
"I have all of their traits, Uncle. For I am a Carlisle-Belmont." Lucas said, the man staring at him.
"Two sides of a useless coin, fool." Haven said, Lucas staring at him with calmness.
"Please enter, Uncle. Let's level the field." Lucas said, Haven staring at him, a soft smile crossing his face.
"Alright, Lucas. Let's show where our hearts are." Haven said, the man smiling, walking past Lucas standing in the open doorway, the man walking into the Receiving Room.
Lucas quietly looked around the empty foyer, the young man sighing, closing the door behind him.
Haven stopped a few feet inside the Receiving Room, the man's brown eyes scanning all the faces staring at him.
The man's physique went erect, his eyes scanning everywhere.
"What's the meaning of this? I was expecting only you and your grandfather, upstart!" Haven said, his head moving back around behind him, staring into Lucas' violet pools.
"I stand as I am, Uncle. I am loved." Lucas said, his violet eyes moving around the room.
All that mattered in his life were present in the room, as were their loves and friends.
Lucas' parents and grandparents stood in front of the fireplace below the portrait of his father.
Grayson stood on Emerson's left, Horace and his wife behind him, all their eyes on Haven.
On the left side of the room stood Josh, Justin and Lance, Lucas' bandmates on their left side, Joey and the two Chrises on their right, Joey's wife beside him.
Finn's parents were behind Finn and Trish, Andrew standing right behind Trish.
To the left of Grayson and Horace stood Harry and Alain, Alain's arm around Harry.
Standing beside Vivian and Henderson was Reverend Lewis Saunders.
"I didn't volunteer to walk into your family's gazing eyes, Carver. I came here to discuss your grandfather's rescinding his hold on Belmont Industries in private. I'm leaving!" Haven said, turning around and walking towards Lucas and the room's exit.
"You came here at my request, Uncle. And that request wasn't about your greed for power. It was about something more." Lucas said, the young man standing in front of the closed door, Haven's exit blocked.
The man's brown eyes darkened, their dark centers scanning the room again, his anger-filled eyes staring at Emerson, then Grayson, then Lewis.
"I walk into the center of fools! We have nothing to discuss except my future, and your grandfather's retirement, upstart!" Haven said, his eyes on Lucas's staring violet pools again.
He saw a centered calmness there, and a judging courage.
"We have the truth to discuss, Uncle."
Haven's eyes darkened, staring at the younger man.
"I give you a last warning, Carver. I am not your uncle."
"Lucas is correct, Haven. Emerson adopted you, made you his son's brother. Lucas, in essence and law, is your nephew." Grayson said, Haven's brown eyes staring towards him, seeing the lawyer's gleaming amusement on his face.
"Do not speak to me of nephews, old Grayballs. Yours is delicious and more of a man than you ever were." Haven said, Grayson's eyes darkening.
"Calmness, my old friend." Emerson said, Grayson's blue eyes meeting his, his green eyes focusing on Haven's staring brown.
Lucas stared at the older man, his violet eyes focusing
"You were my father's adopted brother. My grandfather took you into his home, giving you love and a life. To my lost father you were a brother. That, in its essence, makes you my uncle. And it is a sorrowful title you never deserved." Lucas said, Haven glaring at him.
"Lucas is indeed correct, Haven. I gave you a chance of being one with my family. Of walking with our love in your heart. Tristan treated you as a brother, as a comrade and dearest friend. We all treated you with love and kindness." Emerson said, Francesca's hand going to his shoulder.
"Yes, you did, Father. You all welcomed me into this house with opened arms. The arms of showing fools." Haven said, smugness felt in his words.
"Clueless arms of giving love and misguided intent. They walked a path they were unknowingly guided onto to. As was Grayson." Lucas said, Haven turning again and facing the young man.
Emerson and Grayson traded looks, the two focusing on Emerson's grandson's calm face.
"I don't know what you are talking of. But I realized early that I was more than they deserved." Haven said, Lucas staring at him.
"They never deserved the path you walked, Haven. No more than the path my father walked. One of rising evil and one of protective truth."
Haven's eyes darkened, the young man moving forward, Lucas stopping a few feet in front of his uncle.
"You are your father's son, Lucas. You talk with words of riddled rubbish as he once did. He schooled too much and should have focused on the real power within this family. He could have taken his family to new heights of wealth and power. That job now becomes mine. But I do it for only myself. Belmont Industries will only bear their name, not their idiocy."
"I will not stand here and let you insult my son or my family!" Emerson said, his green eyes widening with anger and courage, Grayson and Francesca's hands going to his arms, holding him back.
Haven smiled, staring at his adoptive father.
"The old tiger still has courage. And your son died a fool, Father." Haven said, smiling, his eyes moving back to his nephew, the older man's eyes widening as two hands clasped onto his jacket, the young man having moved forward with surprising speed.
Lucas' hands grasped onto his uncle's forearms, the young man raising him off his feet with a sudden burst of strength.
Haven's eyes widened as he felt himself becoming airborne, the man flying across the room, his body thrown with great force, its tall stature thrown into a large leather wing chair that stood in the corner of the room to the left of the fireplace, the man hitting it in its center, the chair moving back but not upending.
"Sit there and be silent, Uncle!" Lucas said, everyone in the room widening their eyes in stunned shock.
Josh's eyes widened in surprise, seeing the look of courageous determination on his man's face.
Lucas' eyes scanned around at everyone, everyone seeing the serious determination flooding his handsome face, his violet eyes focusing again on Haven's brown wide eyes.
"How dare you! You had no right to. . .!" he began to stutter, Lucas walking into the center of the room, staring at him.
"I had every right, Uncle. For I have the courage to deal with your deceit. And I will bring forth that truth. Are you man enough to stand in judgment?" the young man said, staring at the man seated across from him.
Haven's eyes darkened with anger, but everyone saw a confusion in those brown eyes, the man's orbs glancing around the room, focusing again on Lucas' staring violet centers.
"You don't know who you're dealing with, upstart!"
"I know what I'm dealing with, sir. And I will see that shown." the young man said, Haven staring at him.
Emerson moved from the fireplace, walking up to his grandson, their eyes meeting.
"What. . .what are you talking of, Lucas? Why. . .why are you showing protective courage in your dealings with him and within your own eyes?" Emerson said, two violet pools meeting his grandfather's green.
"I am walking in truth, Grandfather. A truth you reluctantly must be shown. And then my father's heart may heal." Lucas said, Emerson's eyes widening in confusion.
"Sit down, Grandfather." Lucas said, his eyes meeting Haven's again.
"Remain silent, Uncle. And let me voice what I deem necessary."
Haven's eyes darkened again, the man's brown pools meeting Emerson's confused eyes.
"What have you done, Haven?" the older man said, Haven staring at Lucas, then at Emerson.
A soft look of smugness gained his face again, the man forming a soft smile again.
"It seems dear Lucas knows more than he belies. I shall listen, upstart." he said, his eyes meeting Lucas' again.
"And then I'll do what I must do." he finished, Lucas staring at him.
"As will I, Uncle."
Everyone stared at the two men, seeing a confrontation before them.
Lucas' violet pools moved around the room again, his face softening, a soft smile returning to its handsome center.
"Please sit down, everyone. It's time my family's past became truth. And paths need to center." he said, everyone looking among themselves, going to chairs and couches, the room quieting down again, Lucas standing in the center of them all.
The last to sit down was Reverend Saunders, Lewis' blue pools staring at Lucas.
"Sit down, good Reverend. Watch truth and love unfold." Lucas said, the minister nodding, staring at the younger man.
"Walk with God in your soul, Lucas. I feel the evil upon the path."
Lucas nodded, the minister sitting down beside Vivian.
Lucas looked around at everyone, his eyes focusing on Haven's brown staring eyes.
"To walk my family's past I must walk yours, Uncle. For you showed your colours early, as did Sheridan Whitecastle. Evil has selected its minions from just such souls of anger and hurt, and greed and longing." Lucas said, Haven smiling at him.
Grayson's blue eyes stared at his employer's grandson, wondering why Lucas had mentioned Sheridan.
Lucas sighed, his violet pools glancing up at his father's portrait above the fireplace.
"I walk with more in my soul, Father. I walk with truth." u\he said, his eyes focusing again on Haven.
"I know the truth of your soul, Uncle. And I know what you did and why you did it. But it didn't work." Lucas said, Haven staring at him with surprise.
Lucas stared at him, his next words filling the room with hidden truth.
"My father hasn't died as you planned, Uncle."
Everyone stared at Lucas in surprise, Emerson's green eyes going to his adoptive son's brown staring eyes, eyes which now showed a wariness in their centers, and soft surprise.
"What do you. . .?" Emerson began to say, Lucas' violet pools meeting his, Emerson's words silencing, seeing the resolve and determination in those violet pools of love.
Everyone remained silent, taking in Lucas' words, Josh staring at his lover.
"I don't have any idea of what you speak of, upstart. I never cared about your father or his foolishness." Haven said, Lucas staring at him.
"Oh, you cared, Haven. You cared deeply. For your heart burned with jealousy and with anger for all the years you loved him."
Haven's eyes darkened, Emerson staring at his son.
"I. . .I never loved him, fool! Your father was just as much a fool!" Haven said, Lucas staring at him with calmness.
"Even the most evil-filled--or evil-consumed--soul feels love at one time, Haven. Your soul was as any other."
Haven's eyes darkened with seething anger, Lucas staring at him.
"My father was more than a brother to you, Uncle. He was your life, your idol and your greatest need."
Everyone looked surprised, staring at the seated man, Haven's eyes darkening, but confusion showing nonetheless in his brown eyes.
"You lie, Lucas. Your father was only my adoptive brother. I was only a playmate bought by your grandfather to please his first wife and his spoiled brat of a son." Haven said, his eyes lowering for once.
Lucas stared at him, Emerson staring at him as well.
"I didn't buy you, Haven. I took you in as a son." Emerson said, Lucas looking at his grandfather.
"You gave love and a protective life to him, Grandfather. He never saw past his own needs. For his whole life before your finding him was of want and need. He couldn't get that from his parents, so he went on to the next path." Lucas said, Grayson staring at the young man, then at Haven.
"Haven's parents died in a fire when he was seven, Lucas. A tragic house fire." Grayson said, Emerson nodding as well, his eyes on Haven.
"Yes, that's true, Grayson. Only I truly believe they outlived their usefulness. They--I believe--died at their own son's hands."
Everyone looked shocked, Haven's brown eyes staring into two violet pools of determined truth.
"Am I correct, Uncle?" Lucas said, Haven's eyes darkening.
"You have no proof of that, Lucas." he said, his eyes staring at Lucas, Lucas seeing their centers of unsure surprise.
"No, I do not, Uncle. No physical proof, anyway."
Grayson stared at Lucas, the lawyer voicing everyone's confusion.
"But he was only a child of six, Lucas. He wouldn't have done that!" the man said, Lucas' violet pools meeting Grayson's blue.
"Evil knows no age, Grayson. For this man was always a child lost to evil." Lucas said, his eyes meeting Haven's brown, anger-filled eyes again.
"I do not have to sit here and listen to fabricated fantasies from a disillusioned upstart!" the man said, beginning to rise from the chair again, Lucas' violet eyes meeting his.
Haven saw a deep strength in those staring pools, and a now softly glowing violet hue.
"They are not fabrications, Uncle. Would you like that to be shown?" Lucas said, the man glaring at him.
"There is no possible way you can, Carver!" Haven said, the man now standing in front of the chair.
"I never said I could, Uncle." Lucas said, the man staring at him with confusion.
"Sit down, Uncle. I'm not finished. You are not leaving until I speak of my father's truth."
Haven glared at the younger man, Lucas' face void of emotion.
The older man's eyes met Emerson's, his adoptive father's face showing confusion as well.
Haven looked at Lucas, the young man not moving.
The man sat down again in the wing chair, his eyes glaring at the younger man.
"Your father is dead, Lucas. You can't change the past. Tristan's bones are most likely dust by now." Haven said, Josh's blue eyes on his lover, knowing Haven was taunting him with hurtful words.
Lucas' violet eyes stared at his uncle for a moment, the young man moving, walking up to the fireplace, his eyes going upwards, staring at his father's portrait.
"You seem very set in that declaration, Uncle. Since I first met you, you have voiced that declaration." Lucas said, his eyes going to his uncle's brown pools.
"I have my own investigators, Lucas. I have been shown proof of his death." Haven said, Lucas staring at him.
"Yes, I'm sure you do, Uncle. And others of showing truth." Lucas said, the young man looking up at his father's portrait again.
"My father was a vision of masculine beauty, Uncle. And from my adoptive mother's words--and my grandparents'--I believe his love was even more beautiful. And still is." Lucas said, his eyes moving, meeting his grandparents' staring eyes.
"Do you remember that night so long ago, Grandmother? That night you all assembled here after another ball?"
Francesca looked at the young man, nodding her head.
"Yes, Lucas. For it was my last night in this room." She said, Lucas nodding.
"Yes, Grandmother. The night of your disappearance. And the night of the attempt on my father's life." Lucas said, Emerson's arm going around his wife, she feeling his love.
His green eyes met Lucas' violet pools, the older man staring at him with remembered love.
"Yes, Lucas. The night the monster disguised as myself showed itself, and then tried to kill your father. My Francesca's love--and the stone's magic--stopping it." he said, his eyes meeting her blue pools of love.
Lucas' hand went to the stone hanging around his neck, Haven's eyes drawn to it.
Two violet pools met his gaze as he went to the handsome face above the stone, Haven seeing a deep glow there.
Lucas' eyes turned, staring at his grandparents, everyone seeing a glowing look of love in the young man's eyes.
"No, Grandfather. That wasn't the only monster in this room that night."
Everyone looked confused, Lucas' violet eyes looking towards Haven.
"There was an even more evil monster here. And that monster tried to kill my father."
Emerson stood up, staring at his young grandson.
"What do you mean, Lucas?"
Lucas' eyes turned, staring at Haven.
"Your son's love tore at your adoptive son's soul,
Grandfather. What he couldn't have he chose to destroy."
Haven stood up, glaring at Lucas.
"I'm leaving, upstart. You've gone crazy!" the man said, glaring at him.
"You cannot hide from the truth, Uncle. No more than you can hide from the shades of it."
Everyone looked confused, Lucas sighing.
"I know what you did, Uncle. I know what you devised and implemented that night long ago. But so did someone else. And that person's love for my father staved the death you meticulously created for him."
Haven looked confused, his eyes going around the room, meeting Vivian's, Lewis', Grayson's and Lucas' grandparents' staring eyes of confusion.
"Yes, Uncle. I learned the truth from someone of giving love." Lucas said, the young man's violet eyes going to the room's closed door.
"Come forward, friend of my parents' love."
Everyone's eyes moved to the door, the large door opening.
Into the room walked a man, Vivian standing up, the woman staggering, Henderson on his feet, his arms going around her.
Lewis stood up, staring in shock at the apparition before them.
"It. . .it cannot be!" Vivian said, staring with just as great a shock at the man standing in the doorway.
"Hello, everyone." the man said, Vivian beginning to cry, Henderson staring at his wife with concern.
Lewis Saunders walked forward, stopping in front of the man, staring at him.
"You. . .you're dead!" he stuttered, his face white with shock, his eyes beginning to tear, the man's eyes looking towards Lucas.
"I came, Lucas. For his love I offer all." the man said, Lucas nodding at him.
The man's brown eyes turned, staring at Haven Marlowe, the man staring back at him with shock as well.
"Your assassin bore no claim to my life, Haven. He murdered another man."
Lewis moved, the man pulling the other man into his arms, the man's arms going around his old friend.
"You're alive! It cannot be! Heaven preserve us for this gift of life!" the reverend said, the man's brown eyes meeting Lucas' violet.
"Welcome back to truth, Frenchie." Lucas said, Jacques Gambon smiling at him.
Everyone in the room was staring at the man in shock, Josh walking up beside Lucas.
"It. . .it can't be, Lucas! He was murdered in Istanbul. Grayson verified that." he said, Lucas' violet eyes going to the Frenchman who was releasing the reverend from his embrace.
Grayson was staring at the man with silent wonder as well, his blue eyes meeting Lucas' violet.
Vivian was staring at the man, Jacques silently walking up to her, the woman staring into his handsome mature face.
"It. . .it really is you, Jacques!"
"Yes, Vivacious, it is indeed your Frenchie. It's been a long time." he said, Vivian sobbing, her arms going around the man, Jacques hugging her close, Henderson smiling at him.
"I thought. . .you were. . .you were gone." she said, her voice filled with emotion, the man rubbing her back.
"No, Vivacious. You've always known me to be shrewd and artistic. I drew a greater canvas than ever. This one was covered in deception." the man said, releasing his hold on her, she looking into his brown eyes.
The man smiled at her, turning his body and staring at Lucas and Grayson.
"You are a man of many talents, Mr. Gambon, or should I say Mr. Chambron." Grayson said, the man nodding at him.
"Your visit in Istanbul heightened my senses, Monsieur Wainwright. I know I played it wary that day we met, treating you as a stranger, you sensing me for who I really was, then making me draw out that lost man. I knew that if you had found me then the other side of the intrigue would find me as well, if they already hadn't. I took it upon myself to play a fast ruse. Unfortunately my neighbour who lived across the hall from me paid for his curiosity with his life. And the assassin on my trail chose the wrong room on the floor to walk into. I slipped out of danger as he walked into the wrong room. It was my neighbour who died at his hands." Jacques said, the man turning and staring at Haven.
"Your colleague was a moron, Monsieur. I could have easily shaken his intrigue. As I shook yours so long ago." the man said, Haven glaring at him.
"I don't know of what you speak. I have no associates in Istanbul or any connections with such fools." Haven said, the man still seated in his chair, his eyes glancing around the room.
"You monsieur, are a liar." Jacques said, Haven's brown eyes matching his with glaring intensity.
"And you are a French criminal no doubt." he said, Jacques eyes narrowing, the man feeling a hand go to his shoulder.
His eyes met two violet pools, the man staring at Lucas who had walked up to him, Josh at his side.
"Hello, Lucas. It is nice to finally meet the face behind the voice." Jacques said, Lucas smiling at him.
"Hello, Mr. Gambon."
"None of that, Lucas. My name is Jacques. You are your father's son. In your looks and your marvellous candour and intellect." the man said, Lucas smiling at him.
Josh's eyes went to Lucas, the young man looking at him.
"Behind the voice?" Josh said, Jacques smiling at Josh.
"I'd introduce you to everyone, Jacques, but we have unfinished business." Lucas said, the Frenchman nodding his head, his eyes focusing on Haven's staring brown pools.
"Yes, Lucas. Unfinished business. The path comes to its end and we reach the finale." he said, Lucas's eyes meeting his grandfather's.
Jacques' eyes met his as well, the older man staring at him.
"You are a remarkable man, Mr. Gambon. I believe I underestimated your friendship with my son. Something tells me you were more attune to your surroundings that we thought." Emerson said, the man giving him a short bow.
"I've always been a man of singular purpose and resolve, Monsieur Belmont. I've always watched my surroundings. And I've seen some amazing things. And some magical." he said, his eyes meeting Lucas' again.
"It is alright, Jacques. That which simmers here isn't around." the young man said, Haven's brown eyes moving to his violet as the young man turned and stared at his uncle.
"Yes, Uncle. You heard me right. That which you know lays within this house, that shows itself as it wishes, isn't here at the moment. The magic has sent it to the void."
Haven rose from his chair staring at Lucas with surprise.
"What do you mean?" he said, Lucas staring at him.
"I mean that the evilness of this house has been withdrawn to another place. For the magic of life and love did battle with it, just as my giving grandmother did that night long ago." Lucas said, his violet eyes meeting his grandmother's violet.
"You mean. . .you mean the evilness is not here? Is that. . .is that why I've now returned here?" she said, Emerson's arm going around her.
"You are here because of myself, Grandmother. I felt your love in the darkness and pulled you free of that darkness. Love is drawn to me, as are other things." Lucas said, his eyes meeting Jacques' brown pools.
"You are greater of love and magic than even dear Savannah, Lucas." he said, Lucas staring at him.
"I am of the magic of all life, Jacques. And I perhaps am more." Lucas said, Josh staring at him, Justin and Lance staring as well.
Lucas' eyes focused on his grandparents, and then on Haven.
"It is time for the past to show itself, and it's time I released that which I've imprisoned." Lucas said, Emerson staring at the young man.
"I love you, Grandfather. And I know my father loved you as well. His love was a love given freely and freely returned from you. And your adopted son hated both of you for that love. And in walking this home, these hallowed halls of ancestry and history, he stumbled upon a greater force than even his own evil soul." Lucas said, his eyes meeting Haven's brown staring pools.
"There is no greater force than my own intellect, upstart." Haven said, Lucas staring at him.
"You don't even realize the truth, Uncle. The truth of what you've become and what grows within you."
"Power and greatness grows within me, Carver. A greatness that dwarfs your own stupidity." Haven said, Lucas staring at him.
"What you think you possess can't help you, Uncle. For the veil of love hides it. You're on your own." the young man said, his violet eyes staring at Jacques.
"You have the floor, Jacques. It's time you told my grandfather the truth. The truth of what you saw and did." Lucas said, the Frenchman nodding his head, looking towards Emerson.
"Monsieur Belmont, your grandson is correct. I saw much as I've always seen, and I did what had to be done. For his friendship and love I could not stand by and let that monster rob you of your life and his own." the man said, Emerson staring at him with confusion.
"What do you mean, sir?" Emerson said, Jacques' brown eyes going to Haven.
"On the day before the ball here that night long ago I saw Haven's rejection. And then I saw him formulate his plan. I am one for blending into the shadows. I stood in darkness and saw everything. And then I took it upon myself to stop his devious evil."
Haven stared at him, the man staring back.
"Your brother's rebuke came as a shock to you,
didn't it Haven? You saw his deep love for Savannah, and you felt the sting of
his hand against your face when you made advances to his self. I saw you attack
him. I saw his stopping your assault in this room, hours before the ball's
commencement. And then I saw your revenge unfold."
Haven backed up, his eyes glancing around the room.
"I. . .I don't know what you're talking about." Haven said, Jacques staring at him, his eyes then moving to Emerson's green pools.
Lucas moved back beside the fireplace, Josh staring towards him, his man leaning against the fireplace, his eyes on Haven Marlowe.
"Monsieur Belmont. On the day of the ball I saw your son Haven attack your son Tristan, here in this same room. He made advances of disgusting nature towards him, almost pushing him to the floor. I almost stepped out of the shadows to aid him, but Tristan's resolve was sound. He stopped the man with some well-placed fists." Jacques said, Emerson's eyes widening in stunned shock, everyone staring towards Haven.
"You're lying. I was never in this room with Tristan on that day. I came here after the ball began." Haven said, his eyes still moving around the room.
"No, Haven. I saw you here that afternoon. You forget our brief encounter in the upstairs library." Vivian said, Haven glaring at her, his cheeks showing soft red.
"Your words are rancid as well, Vivian. As were your opening legs." Haven said, Henderson's eyes darkening, Vivian's arm going around him.
"The poison wasn't rancid, Haven." Jacques said, Haven's eyes widening in surprise, the Frenchman walking right up to him, staring at him.
"Poison. . .I. . .I don't know what you mean." Haven said, Jacques' eyes going to Francesca and then Vivian.
"I followed you into the library that afternoon, Haven. I saw you add the elixir to the Napoleon Brandy. I knew it was poison, for I found the bottle later. I took it upon myself to return to the library later and change the bottle, pouring the toxic fluid into the garden. The flowers died instantly." Jacques said, Haven backing up from in front of him, his face showing shocked surprise.
"I would not let you poison him, Monster! I knew foulness was afoot, so I did what I had to do. I never imagined the greater evil that walked into that room later that night, but I recognized the bottle it held in its hand. I knew then that that wasn't the real Emerson. And Tristan knew as well."
"Tristan. . .he knew?" Haven said, Jacques staring at him.
"Yes, Haven. For I told him myself. To guard him against your revenge." Jacques said, Haven's eyes widened in surprise, Emerson's eyes meeting his brown pools.
"You. . .you meant to murder my son? You. . .you attacked him then tried to murder him? You and that monster?!" Emerson said, the man's face showing rising anger.
"This man's a liar, sir. A disillusioned fool." Haven said, his eyes meeting Emerson's green.
"He has no reason to lie, Haven."
Haven's eyes went to the fireplace, staring into two violet pools of staring judgment.
"You're all fools, misguided hallucinogenic fools. Your minds are filled with fantasies." he said, his eyes glancing around again.
"You seem at ill ease, Uncle. As if you're searching for something. The beast is not at hand. Only truth is."
Everyone looked at Lucas, the young man turning around facing the fireplace again, looking up at the portrait of his father.
"I cannot fathom what I have done. I can only accept it. As you must accept your path, Uncle. And your past." Lucas said, the young man's head lowering.
A sudden sound began to fill the room, everyone's eyes going towards the closed doors of the room, the sound of heavy footsteps heard behind it.
A sudden rapping came upon the door, Lucas' head raising again, his eyes turning towards his uncle.
"It's for you, Uncle." he said, Haven staring at him with confusion.
The door suddenly opened, its wooden self banging against the wall.
Two people stood in the doorway, their eyes staring towards Haven Marlowe.
"Havy? Where are you hiding?" one said, her voice laced with quiet love.
The other was a man of rugged beauty, his features similar to Haven's.
The man stood by his chair staring at the two, his eyes wide with shock and sudden fear.
"It. . .it can't be! You're. . .you're. . .!" he gasped, Lucas staring at him.
"They're dead, Haven?" he said, the man's eyes still staring at the two.
"What. . .what are you doing?! This is. . .this is magic!" he screamed, the two walking towards him, everyone staring at their faces and attire.
The two were youngish looking, mid-thirties perhaps, attired in simple clothes of a different era.
"Havy, where are you? Come out here right now! " the man said with authority.
The woman's arm went around the man, both looking around.
"Do you smell something, Arthur? She said, her eyes showing soft fear, his arm going around her.
"Stop playing games, Haven! Come out now. There's a fire, I smell it!" the man said, his brown eyes looking around.
"He's not here, Arthur! Where is he?" the woman said, her fear showing greatly.
The two moved, the door behind them suddenly closing with a bang.
"Haven! Open this door!" the man said, he and the woman rushing to the closed room's door, the man pulling against it.
The two banged on it, their eyes moving behind them.
The woman suddenly screamed, her scream cut off by a sudden engulfing flame.
Everyone rose from their seats, staring at the disappearing image before them, the couple consumed in a bright light of orange glow.
The light disappeared instantly, the doorway empty of anyone.
Everyone's eyes went to Lucas, the young man staring at his uncle.
"Paths walked in shades of truth. They showed your their love and you ended their lives." he said, Haven's eyes staring at the young man standing at the fireplace.
Haven's face showed fear, the man backing up, hitting the edge of the chair behind him, falling back into the chair, his brown eyes filled with shocked wonder and fear.
"That's. . .that's impossible! They're dead! They've been dead for years! What magic was that?! What are you?!!" he screamed at Lucas, the young man staring at him.
"I am life and I am love. And I am magic. You just faced your past and were shown your parents' dying moments." Lucas said, Josh walking up to him, their eyes meeting.
Josh saw tears in Lucas' violet pools, and he also saw confusion.
"What's wrong, my love?" he said, Lucas staring at him.
"I cannot do it, Josh. I can't look any further into the truth." he said, Josh pulling him into his arms.
Lucas' head went against his chest, everyone staring at the young man, Haven's eyes staring at him in fear and confusion.
"I feel their hearts, Josh. They're here." he said, trembling against him.
The room suddenly shook, everyone going to their feet, looking around.
Lucas' eyes looked up into Josh' blue pools.
"Hearts separated always join." he said, the door of the Receiving Room opening.
Francesca screamed, Emerson's eyes widening in shock, Vivian beginning to sob.
Reverend Lewis Saunders fell to his knees, Jacques Gambon's hand going to his own heart.
Haven Marlowe's brown eyes widened in total disbelief.
Standing in the doorway stood Tristan Belmont and his wife Savannah.
End of Chapter 77
And so magic shows itself.
And two missing actors walk center stage.
Cue drama and magic!
Lucas' parents have returned!
And Haven's past has been shown, well some of it anyway.
The shades of his past acted out their final moments, Haven's evil perhaps sealing their fate with fire.
Perhaps there was another monster in that room that night so long ago.
Tristan's friend Jacques saved his life that day, against the evil of his brother's revenge.
What will happen now between the two brothers, now that Tristan appears to have reappeared?
Is he real or are he and his wife perhaps shades as well?
Only the author knows, and he's being an ass.
Guess we'll all have to just keep awaiting the answers.
The path crowds and continues.