Disclaimer:  Y'all know the drill.  If you're not 18 or if this shit offends you, you shouldn't be on this site.  Also, any mention of actual people (famous or otherwise) is for fictional use only and any implications made in this site shouldn't be taken as me making comment about their sexual orientation/preferences.

Again, I would invite you all to join my yahoo group.  The address is ca.groups.yahoo.com/group/futurecanadiansgroup.  Or...You can email me if you want thefuturecanadian@yahoo.ca.

Also, in this story, I've used some songs written/recorded/performed by other people and given my character credit for it.  In an effort not to usurp any rights from those people, I've decided to give citations to those people who did actually do the work to make the wonderful songs that I've chosen to give Ian.  Therefore, at the end of each chapter, there will be a citation for the songs that Ian performs.  I'll also include the artist who recorded the song, the CD, and the track number if applicable.  

Chapter 3
"Oye como va (Carlos Santana)/Mas que nada (Sergio Mendes)/In This Life (Delta Goodrem)"

The next few days seemed darker than that Friday had seemed, but they still weren't as bad as the two weeks before had been.  Ian moped around, but he did so away from the house.  On the Monday just after that weekend ended, he found himself alone at the Galleria, in Riverchase, for the first time in years.  He was able to walk into the music store without getting mobbed; he went into Abercrombie and Fitch without wondering if people were staring at him.  It seemed the misfortunes of other singers had taken center stage, and the problems faced by Ian during his recovery had been placed on the back burner to simmer for a little bit.  Of course, Ian didn't mind it at all.  After a few hours, he was walking out of the mall with a load of bags, most of them filled to the brim with things not only for him but also for his brothers.

The next day, Ian went back to the University to see Olga for a bit.  Over lunch, he got to hang out with Dr. Ruiz.  He began to see what it was about her that caused her to get along so well with his mother.  He still hadn't put two and two together about her being Jen's mother, and Joey being Jen's brother.

The rest of the week, Ian felt content to just lounge around the house, watching QVC and eating ice cream like it was going out of style.  That Friday, the only trip out of the house he made was to go to Dan's office to sign papers relating to the end of his contract with the label that signed him years before.  He held the check that they'd sent in his hands for a moment, pondering what it meant.  Did it symbolize the complete end of his career?  Did it mean that he'd been completely purged from the industry?  Or did this mean that he had a chance to start over, to seem completely green and innocent again, with regards to the industry?  Either way, he and Dan, along with Chuck, Dan's best friend and the whole family's accountant, worked out a way for Ian to invest the money and not have to worry about anything for a while.  They'd worked it so that Ian would be `comfortable.'  That afternoon was the first time that Ian discussed selling his house in Nashville.  It didn't look like he would need it in the future, and he could put the proceeds from its sale with the money that the label gave him to sever the contract.  Chuck said that he would contact a real estate agent and get some figures before Ian was to make any official decision.

That night, Ian decided that it was time to drive back to Nashville for the first time in months.  Danny commented that he and Jen were going out that night, so Ian suggested that, if Jen's parents weren't opposed to it, the two of them have their date in Nashville.  Then they could stay at Ian's house for the weekend.  Danny thought it was a good idea, especially after hearing in Ian's voice that he wasn't very excited about going up there alone.  Dr. Ruiz had no problem with the weekend getaway, as long as they were careful and Jen carried her cell phone with her at all times.

At around 5 that afternoon, everything was ready to go.  Since Danny's car was rather small, and since Jen's car wouldn't have made the trip to Nashville, the three of them piled into Ian's SUV.  It took the crew about two hours to drive into Nashville.  The way Ian drove, Jen thought, it was a wonder that they made it there in one piece.  When they pulled into his neighborhood, Jen marveled at the homes.  When Ian told her who all lived in the neighborhood, she was a bit awestruck.  She seemed more impressed, though, when Ian opened the gate to his own house.  She liked how the yard was separated from the street by the tall fence, and how the drive was separated from the yard by bushes that were perfectly groomed.  Rather than pulling around the large circular driveway, though, Ian pulled the SUV into the second of five doors on the large garage.

On Ian's left, there was a late model Audi that he kept for day to day driving around Nashville.  On his right, there was a car that Ian had restored at some point in the past.  Jen was impressed by both of them.  She liked the way the Audi looked, with its sleek curves and black exterior paint.  She made the remark that she would love to have a car that nice, so Ian, in a gesture that made Danny smile, offered to let her take the car and use it as much as she wanted, as long as she paid the insurance for it and kept up the maintenance.  At first, she declined.  Ian told her, though, that he didn't care if she used it, as it wasn't getting much use sitting in his garage in Nashville.  She asked him if the offer would still be good in the morning, to which Ian responded characteristically, "Of course."

The three of them grabbed their bags from the back of the SUV and walked toward the house.  At the end of the garage, the three of them walked along a short, covered sidewalk into the kitchen of the house.  It was an ornate room, as far as kitchens go, with hardwood flooring and granite countertops.  The cabinets matched perfectly with the small table that sat at one end, in a small bay window.

After that room, though, Danny and Jen left Ian to his own devices.  "I'll show you my room," Danny said proudly.

"K..." Jen responded, almost with a wicked tone in her voice.  Ian stayed there for a second, looking through the cabinets to see if there were anything left in them.  He found some tea bags and worked with an electric kettle to fix himself a cup.  

With the tea in hand a few minutes later, Ian walked from the kitchen into the dining room.  The house had been installed with motion sensors that turned on the lights whenever anyone entered the room.  There was a switch that would bypass the motion controls, but Ian wasn't interested, in that moment, with using them.

The dining room was a large, formal room with a table large enough to seat their whole family and a few more.  At one end, there was a china cabinet with a set of porcelain plates that his grandmother had given him when he bought the place several years before.  He continued walking through that room, grabbing the small box of mail that his housekeeper had set there to keep it from getting lost.  He entered the foyer, with its vaulted ceilings and large chandelier.  He glanced up at the massive staircase that seemed to remind him of something he'd see in a movie that took place around the time of the Civil War.

He walked from there, directly into the living room.  The light once again came on as he entered.  There were three large, soft couches on either side of coffee table.  At the opposite end of the room, there was a large unit with all kinds of electronic devices, but no TV.  He didn't need one since he had a projector installed in the ceiling to broadcast onto the blank wall.

He went into his office/studio next and set the mail down on the table.  He powered up his computer and sat there for a second, waiting on it to boot completely.  He sat down at the desk, just in front of a small booth where he'd worked on three of his albums almost exclusively.  When the computer was ready, Ian opened a program that controlled all the phones in the place.  He clicked on a tab that allowed him to access his voice mail.  Being that he hadn't been there in months, his voicemail was full of all sorts of calls.  He went through some, deleting the messages upon recognizing the numbers.  There was one number there that he just couldn't bring himself to delete, but he couldn't, for the life of him, figure out why.

He stood from the desk when he was finished, though, leaving his mail in the box on the desk.  He walked out of the office and back into the living room, with the lights flashing on while he was in there.  Ian could hear Jen and Danny laughing from Danny's room as he walked up the grand staircase toward the third floor, where his bedroom was located.  He opened the door and walked in, still carrying his tea.  The lights in this room were set with a dimmer, so Ian manually turned on the lights to reveal the grandeur of the room.  It occupied half of the third floor.  The first thing that everyone seemed to notice, though, was that Ian's bed was the largest thing in the room.  It wasn't a standard size, though.  The bed had been custom built for Ian because he wanted it round, to sit in the middle of the room.  It was flanked by tables that were designed specifically to sit next to the bed.

Ian set the cup of tea onto one of the two tables and plopped down on his bed.  It was still as comfortable as he remembered, it was just that it seemed large and lonely.  He closed his eyes with his arms spread out wide and his legs dangling off the side.

"EEN!" Danny said as he came into the room.

"Yessss?" Ian asked as he stayed in the same position.  "Can I look through your closet and find a shirt to wear.  I forgot the one that I was going to bring."

"If you can find one that you can wear," Ian responded, unsure if his clothes would even fit him anymore.  He listened as Danny opened the closet and walked in.

"Shit!  I'd forgotten how big your closet was," Danny said.  Ian made a sound but didn't really do anything to move.

"You got to get dressed, too," Danny said as he came out with one of Ian's polo shirts.

"Why?" Ian asked.

"We're taking you out to dinner, for letting us come up here with you and not have to worry about curfews," Danny said.  "So come on.  Get ready!" Danny instructed.

"OK," Ian said, climbing off the bed, taking a sip of his tea in the process.  "So where are y'all taking me?"

"I'm not sure.  We don't know anything up here.  Any suggestions?" Danny said.

"Catfish and Grits!" Ian said with a smile.

"Cool!" Danny said as he pulled the polo of his very muscular, athletic body.  "By the way, Jen just talked to her brother.  He's up here for something with school, and he's gonna meet us there."

"Okie dokie," Ian said.  "He hot?"

"Very.  You'll like him a lot, prolly," Danny commented, with a wink, as he walked out of the room.  Ian giggled and shook his head as he walked into his closet to see if any of the clothes in there would still fit what he called his `fat ass.'  To his delight, he found that he hadn't gained as much weight as he thought.  Most of his clothes still fit without any problem; the ones that didn't were from his drug period, though, so he didn't really care.  With those clothes in hand, he walked into the bathroom.  It seemed almost palatial compared to the one at his parents' house that he shared with both of his brothers.  He set them down on a table in the `dressing area' of the room and then walked into the main part.  He'd forgotten just how large it was as he looked at the toilet, the bidet, the spa tub and the shower that seemed so far apart from one another.  He took off the clothes that he was wearing and walked, with a towel that he picked up on his way in, to the shower.  He turned on the water and the three jets above his head spread the warm stream over his perpetually tanned body.  He lathered up his body quickly, rinsing the soap off just as fast.  He washed out his black hair almost as fast, stepping out of the shower thinking he had enough time to do something with his hair before they left for the restaurant.  He dried himself off as he walked back toward the `dressing area', leaving the towel on the tile floor as he walked into that part of the room.

Without thinking, he remembered where all the necessary appliances were kept.  He found the hairdryer quickly, as well as the straightening iron that he used when he was hair was long enough.  He quickly dried his hair and then put on the polo-style shirt he was planning to wear for the evening.  It was green, with a yellow moose on the front, left-hand side.  He worked with his hair a little more before deciding that it was perfect.  With that, he turned out, pulled on his boxers and jeans before walking back into his closet to get a pair of shoes that would look right for the plans of the evening.

"Damn it takes you a long time to get ready," Danny said as he walked into the closet.

"It's not taking me that long!" Ian shot back.

"Uh...one hour, fifteen minutes," Danny said.

"Shit!  I didn't realize I was in the shower that long.  I'm sorry, Danny."

"It's OK, Jen's brother is gonna meet us here, if that's cool."

"Yeah.  It's fine," Ian said as he sat on a small bench and pulled on some socks.  "So what's this guy's name?"

"Joey," Danny said.

"Wow.  So this is the second Joey I've met in a week!" Ian responded as he started to pull on his shoes.

"Really??? Who was the other one?"

"Dr. Ruiz's son," Ian answered.  Danny giggled.  "What?"

"Hate to burst your bubble, Een, but you've only met one Joey in the last week, just on two occasions."

"Wait.  Jen is Dr. Ruiz's kid?"

"Yeah.  You didn't know that?  They look almost exactly alike," Danny said.

"That's who she reminds me of!" Ian said, stopping what he was doing.  "Shit.  I feel stupid now!"

"Why?" Danny asked.

"I should have figured that one out.  I just never knew what Jen's last name was, so that's what confused me, I think."

"No worries.  I won't say anything."

"So Joey's gay?"

"Yeah.  According to Jen, he came out at a family gathering last year, after his uncle started complaining about the gay people in Jersey might get to get married."

"Wow," Ian stated.  "Wow."

"He's very proud of who he is, which is what I think you might like about him.  He seems very confident and sure of himself."

"Not to mention those muscles," Ian said as he thought about the man he'd met the week before.

"Exactly!" Danny said.  "Ya know...everybody likes a nice set of muscular arms on a guy," he added as he flexed his arms in Ian's shirt.

"Yeah.  I'm not gonna be able to wear that shirt again after tonight, am I?"

"Maybe...who knows?" Danny said with a smile.  "If I stretch it out, though, I'll get you another one."

Ian smiled.  "It's not necessary.  I'm not gonna have enough room for all these clothes soon enough, anyway."


"I'm selling this house, and buying a house in Montevallo."

"SWEET!" Danny said.  "It'll be good to have you down there."

Ian finished putting on his shoes and the two of them walked out of the room, travelling down the staircase to the first floor to await Joey's arrival.  "Sorry I took so long, Jen," Ian said as they went into the living room, where Jen was watching TV broadcast via the projector.
"It's cool.  I've been playing with the TV system.  This rocks compared to the 13 inch one that I have in my bedroom!" she commented.

"I like it myself," Ian said as he joined her on the couch.

"Dude, your box is buzzing," Danny said as he stood behind the couch, leaning into his girlfriend.  Ian quickly got up to let Joey into the driveway.  As he was doing so, Danny took a moment to kiss his girlfriend's neck.

"That tickles," she said quietly.

"I just wanted to get that in before your brother got here," Danny said.

"He's not REALLY gonna kick your ass, Danny," Jen said.

"I know, but I don't want to tempt fate or anything!" Danny said as he kissed her again.

Ian turned to see the moment being shared between them and decided that it would be best to give them a second more before Joey's arrival.  To that end, he walked out the large front door of the house and waited on Joey to pull up.  After a second, he saw the red car with the cool plate pulling around the circle in front of the house.  In a second, Joey stepped out of the car and looked up at the house.

"You like?" Ian asked as he walked down to greet Joey.  "The owner is selling it, for a modest price."

"I can imagine that his modest price is more money than I will ever see in my lifetime!" Joey commented to Ian's joke.

"So did you find the place OK?"

"Sure did.  I had to stop and ask directions from Faith Hill, though," he said, followed by a laugh as he looked around to figure out what he could see in the darkness of the evening.

After a second, they walked into the house.  Danny and Jen were still hugging on each other in the same position as the moment before.

"Can I be honest with you about something?" Joey whispered to Ian as they walked in and saw the pair.

"Sure," Ian answered.

"Your ass is much nicer than your brother's," he said, still not firmly aware that Ian was gay.

Ian blushed.  "If you ever see me naked and still say I have a nice ass, I'll believe you!"  Joey winked and smiled at him.

"So where is this place we're eating tonight?" Joey asked so that the two could hear them.

"It's called `Catfish and Grits'.  It's got some really good Southern food," Ian said.

"Nice," Joey said.

"So how are we getting there?" Danny asked as he and Jen joined them in the foyer of the house.

"I was thinking we could take my truck.  That way, we could all fit in it."

"But what if Jen and I want to go someplace else...or you and Joey want to hang out after dinner?"

"Y'all could take Jen's car," Ian said as if it were nothing.

"Jen's car?" Joey asked.  "Your car made it all the way up here?"

"NO!" Jen said.  "Ian said that I could drive one of his if I wanted to.  All I would have to do is take care of maintenance and pay the insurance."

"That's very nice of him!  What kind of car is it?" Joey asked.

"An Audi A4," Ian answered.

"Shit!  Got one I can drive?" Joey joked.  Ian laughed, realizing that he was just playing.  Danny and Jen smiled as well.

"Here's another idea," Ian said.  "We can all take one car, and Joey and I could get shitface plastered.  Then y'all could drive us home."

"That sounds good!" Joey said, looking at Danny and Jen.

"Where's the fun in that for us!?" Danny joked.

"Well.  If Ian and I were to get tanked, and y'all drove us home, I wouldn't kill you for sleeping in the same bed as my sister.  And don't try to deny it, I know that's what y'all are up to!" Joey said, giving them a look.

Danny looked at Jen and tried to stifle an evil grin.  He looked back at Joey and responded.  "Sounds good to us!"  Ian and Joey both tried to subdue their laughter at these two teenagers before them.

"Let's go, before they decide they're gonna stay here," Ian commented to Joey.

"Agreed," Joey commented as Ian led the three of them to the kitchen after locking the massive front door.  They walked out the kitchen and into the garage.  Joey was as amazed by Ian's cars as Jen had been.  The four of them, though, climbed into the Audi that Ian had offered to Jen, with her in the driver's seat.  Danny sat beside her as Joey and Ian climbed into the back seat.

"No there better be no shenanigans back there," Danny jokingly said.

"Damn, Joey," Ian said.  "That cuts out the surprise `road head' I was going to give you when we left the restaurant."  Joey busted out laughing as Danny shook his head and Jen laughed out loud.

They arrived downtown a bit later, with Jen pulling into a parking deck close to the restaurant.  Within just a couple of minutes, they were walking into the restaurant where Ian had spent several months working while he was trying to get a recording contract.  Donna, the owner, gasped when she saw him walk into the place.

"IAN!" she said so loud that everyone in the restaurant knew they had just come in.

"DONNA!" Ian said as he walked toward her and hugged her as if she were a long, lost relative or something.  "How are you?"

"Fine as frog's hair!" she answered.  "How are you?  You look so much better than the last time I saw you."

"Well," Ian said, "I kicked my habits."

"GOOD!" she said.  "I'm very, very glad to hear that.  So you got four people?"

"Yes ma'am," Ian answered as Donna pulled four menus out of the host's booth and escorted them to a large booth.  "So Donna, this is my brother Danny," Ian began introducing.  "This is his girlfriend, Jen.  And this is her brother, Joey."

"It's nice to meet you all," she said as she shook everyone's hand.  "So we're running a little short on servers, so I'm gonna take care of y'all tonight.  What can I get y'all to drink?"

"Is Jen working tonight?" Ian asked.

"Yes sir," she answered.

"Then I'll have a Lazy Brazilian Faggot," Ian said.

"Sounds like you," Danny said just before Ian grinned.

"And for you, ma'am?" Donna asked.

"Unsweet tea, please," Jen asked nicely.

"And for you, sir?" she asked Joey.

"What's in Ian's drink?" he asked.

"Oh!  It's rum, pineapple juice, and some green, apple liquor," Ian interjected.

"That sounds good.  I'll have a Lazy Brazilian Faggot, too, then," Joey answered.  Danny tried to keep from laughing.  One look at him and they could tell that there was something he wanted to scream out.  "Go ahead, Danny," Joey said.

"I bet he'd put out for you, too," Danny said, to laughter from the entire table and from Donna, who was trying very hard to keep a straight face.

"And for you, sir?" she asked Danny.

"Could I have a water, please?" Danny asked.

"Sure.  I'll have those right out," Donna said as she walked off smiling.

They waited for a couple of minutes on their drinks.  When they came, it wasn't Donna who was carrying them, but rather it was the bartender, Jennifer, a long-time friend of Ian.  "You know how I knew this was you?" she asked as she walked up to the table.

"How?" Ian asked.

"Because no one else ever orders this drink!" she said as she set the drinks down for everyone.  She and Ian talked for a second before she announced that she had to get back to the bar.
"How does she do this?" Joey asked as he inspected the glass.

"Oh.  She's got this really cool gel that will stay on the glass for a while.  She does that with a few drinks," Ian explained as he looked at how she'd written `ordem e progresso' on the inside of the glass.

"That really is cool," Joey commented as he continued to marvel at the artistry behind the drink.  He took a sip of it in a second, taking a moment to marvel at the taste.

"Can I try?" Danny asked.

"In a couple of years," Ian and Joey answered as they toasted each other.

After a few minutes, Donna brought out four plates with a sampling of the specialties of the house.  Another chef followed her with a small tray with four small bowl on it.  She carefully set the plates onto the large table.  She then served each of them a bowl of grits, made with her grandmother's special recipe.

"So.  I don't know if Ian has told y'all about this, but it's kind of like eating Moroccan food."

"How do you eat Moroccan food?" Danny asked.

"With your fingers," Joey said as he grabbed a piece of catfish and dripped it into the grits.  It was almost as if he were excited by the prospects.

"Cool," Danny said as he looked at Jen and winked.

"Can we have another drink?" Ian asked Donna.

"Of course," she said.  "Same thing?"

"Yes ma'am," Ian answered.

"Alright.  Be right back," she said as she whisked off to fill the order.  It was just a moment before she was bringing back the second drink.  Ian and Joey toasted one another as they continued to get drunk.  Danny and Jen were laughing at them as they talked.

"You really are loud," Joey said at one point.

"Imagine what I sound like when I'm having an orgasm!" Ian said, looking seriously at Joey, who was trying not to laugh too loudly.  Jen and Danny were sitting back enjoying the show before them.

"This is better than anything we could have paid for," Jen said to Danny at one point.

"Right," Danny said as they held hands beneath the table.

Three drinks later, Ian and Joey were laughing at one another's inebriation.  It was a good time for both of them, as well as their younger siblings.  At around 10:30, they asked for the check, but Donna explained that family never paid at their restaurant, and Ian, for them, was family.  As they left, Ian hugged Donna and Jen both.  He promised to keep in better touch.  He even joked about how he might have to come back to work there if his still quite uncertain future didn't work out for him.  She said that she hoped it didn't come to that, but that he was always welcome in her establishment.

As they walked out the door, there was a slight chill in the air.  Well, it was a chill that Danny and Jen felt, but Joey and Ian seemed immune to it.

"So I know this great little bar down the street we could go to, Joey, if you wanted?"

"What about our siblings?" Joey asked.

"They can come in; they just can't drink," Ian said.

"OK," Joey said.

"What do y'all say?" Ian asked.  "Or are y'all ready to get rid of us yet?"

"This is free entertainment," Danny said to Ian.

"OK.  Then y'all come on," Ian said, taking Joey's arm in his and walking down a small hill toward the bar where Ian's professional career took off, Roosters.  They walked down two blocks before the thumping of the walls started.  Ian turned and walked toward the sound of loud music coming from inside the building that had been converted from a fast food restaurant into the bar itself.

"HOLY SHIT!" a lady standing outside said as she realized who was walking toward them.  "It's Ian...fucking...da Silva!" she said as Ian got closer.  She walked from the door, where she was standing outside smoking, talking to a couple of people, toward him.

"MELISSA!" he said to the lady when they got close enough to hug.

"You already drunk?"

"Yeah.  You know how I like to pre-drink before I get here!" Ian said.

"How have you been?"

"Wonderful!" Ian said.  "Let me introduce you," Ian said as he turned back to the others in his group.  "This is my brother, Danny.  This is his girlfriend, Jen.  And this is my date, Joey!" he said, just before almost falling onto the concrete parking lot in which they were all standing.

"Your date, huh!  It's about time you fucking came out!" Melissa joked with him.


"You're hot, though, Joey!" she said, turning to him.

"Thank you," Joey said, a little embarrassed.

"And Jen.  You are beautiful."

"What about me?" Danny asked.

"You're just like your brother!" she responded.

"Thanks!" Danny said.

"Are y'all gonna do some more drinking?  Or did y'all just come by to say hi."

"Shit!  I'm getting plastered," Ian said.

"Me too!" Joey said, almost imitating a school child.

"What about y'all?"

"We can't," Jen answered.

"We're too young," Danny said.

"OH!  Well.  I'm so sorry," Melissa said.  "Cause I've got to take these two fine men and get them hammered!"

"It's OK," Danny added.  "We're just enjoying watching them be loud and drunk."

"Awesome!" Melissa added.  "OK.  Let's go inside."

"K..." Ian said as he took one of her arms and Joey took the other.

Almost as soon as they walked in, Joey saw the shrine of success.  On it, there were two gold records, with pictures of Ian and the owners, Melissa and Scott.  They walked through the mass of people and made their way to the bar.  Melissa ordered a round of drinks for herself, Ian and Joey and then toasted them.  Danny and Jen, after being stamped for being underage, met them at the bar.  Ian stood with his back toward the door that led to the smokers' patio, and as it swung open, an old friend came into the bar.  He motioned for the rest of the group Ian was with not to say anything, and he walked up behind Ian, putting his hands over Ian's eyes.

"Guess who?" the guy said.

"Oh!  This is easy.  You're Eduardo!" Ian said.

The guy let his hands slide free of Ian's face, allowing the captive to turn around and wrap the tall brown man in an embrace.  "How are you?" he asked Ian.

"I'm great!" Ian said just before the two let go of one another.

"So are you gonna perform with me tonight, or what?" Eduard asked.

"YES!" Danny answered, being the only one of the group that had ever seen him perform live.

"This is your kid brother, right?" Eduardo asked.

"Yes.  That would be Danny," Ian answered, introducing Joey and Jen in the process.

"So really.  You have to perform, since you're here."

"Eduardo.  You know what's been going on, right?"

"Yes.  And I know that you're still the only pianist that I've ever played with.  Now come on.  I need to do some old shit before next week," Eduardo commented.

"What's next week?" Ian asked.  Eduardo began to beam from ear to ear.

"I finally got a record deal!!!" he exclaimed.

"CONGRATULATIONS!!!" Ian said to his old friend.  "I'm so proud for you, man!  I don't have a keyboard, though," he continued.  With the last statement, he thought he was getting out of having to perform.

"We have one in the back," Melissa interjected.

"Y'all are gonna be amazed by this," Danny explained to Jen and Joey, who were sitting back watching what was going on.

"And!" Melissa added, "the liquor you and Joey consume will be FREE!"

"OK.  I'm on board with this," Joey said, lifting his glass with Ian.

Ian looked at Jen, who was standing firmly with Joey and Danny.  "OK, Eduardo.  But I'm not playing all night!  I have to get my beauty sleep."

"Why?  You're still gonna be ugly as sin in the morning!" Eduardo joked.  Ian shook a stern finger at him before busting out with laughter.

"Bitch!" Ian said as he chugged the rum drink.

"Fucker!" Eduardo shot back.

In just a second, the band that was playing finished to a grand cheer from the crowd.  Melissa sent someone back into the storage area to get the keyboard and set it up while Eduardo and his drummer, Scotty, set their things up on stage.  Ian looked at Danny, who gave him an encouraging smile as he sipped his water.

Eduardo and Scotty played through a couple of original songs before Ed stopped for just a second to introduce a special guest.  He turned the crowd's attention to the two gold records hanging from the wall.  "Now.  A very good friend of mine hung those there, and after next week, I hope to have a couple up there, too.  He's been a great inspiration to me as a musician, and so I'd like to ask y'all to help me welcome Ian da Silva to the stage."

There were a few people in the crowd that had been regulars since Ian's time at the bar.  Their ears perked up as Ian walked away from the comfort of his brother's presence and onto the stage at the front of the establishment.  Those `old-timers,' as they were called, cheered wildly for Ian.  The rest of the group, when they realized who was joining Eduardo on the stage, joined the others in cheering for Ian's presence.

"Give it up for the Brownkid," Ian said into the microphone as he sat on the small bench.  The crowd obliged by cheering just as wildly for Eduardo as they had for him.  "So this fucker got a record deal, in case y'all don't know," Ian said.  In fact, Eduardo hadn't told everyone there yet, so it was still a surprise.

"We're even," Eduardo said, referring to something from their past.

"No we're not.  I'm Brazilian; I got a good ten inches on ya," Ian said as he stood for a second and grabbed his crotch.  The seven gay people in the bar, along with Joey, and a few of the girls cheered at that one as Eduardo laughed.

"So what are we gonna play first?"

"Let's get the Spanish song over with, so that I can do something in Portuguese," Ian answered with a smile.

"The usual?" Eduardo asked.

"Let me see if I remember how to play it," Ian said, knowing full well that he could never forget his part in "Oye como va," the Carlos Santana version.  Ian played a couple of notes on the keyboard, proving to Eduardo that he remembered well how to play it.  Eduardo and Scotty joined Ian after a second.  Eduardo had, in the time since the two had played together, perfected the guitar parts of the song.  It almost sounded as though Carlos Santana were playing on stage with them.  When it came to parts of the song where singing was involved, Ian and Eduardo both sang.  The Spanish words were given a Portuguese pronunciation by the former, who only understood Spanish when he was beyond plastered.

Ian started playing the next song immediately, playing the first chords of "Mas que nada" by Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66.  It was Eduardo's turn to butcher the other's language, as Ian and Eduardo both sang the chorus of the song, with Ian singing the bulk of the song in his first language, Portuguese, as he continued to play the song.

As that song played, Danny began to feel his Brazilian blood flowing throughout his body.  Stealthily, he placed his left hand in Jen's back, left pocket.  In a second, he zipped her around and began to show her how Brazilian men did it, when they danced, that is.  Seeing Danny and Jen dance as they were, the rest of the crowd got more and more into the song.  Seeing everyone happy began to make Ian reconsider retiring and living `comfortably' on the money he'd gotten from his record label.  He looked at Joey, who was smiling as he and Melissa enjoyed the song being performed.  As it ended, the crowd cheered for them.

"Can I have a drink?" Ian said into the microphone.  "If I'm gonna do any more of this tonight, I need to be tanked."  The crowd laughed as the bartender fixed him a rum drink and Ed and Scotty two shots of tequila.

"You should really start doing tequila?" Eduardo said.

"Why?  When you can make all these fruity drinks so much better with rum!" Ian fired back.

"True.  And you do like your fruity drinks!" Eduardo joked as Ian shot him a bird.  "So you up for one more song?"

"Why the hell not?" Ian said as he finished off the drink.

"What about that song we wrote in Lima when I opened the show for you there?" Eduard suggested.

"Sure.  We have to tell the story behind it, though," Ian said.

"OK," Eduardo responded.  "So this all started one night when we were high," he started.  "Just kidding."

"This was written on a night when I was actually sober!" Ian said, as if it were something that, in those times, didn't happen often.

"And so Ian got this idea to write a sweet, love song."

"Awww..." Scotty chimed in.  Ian laughed, but he still shot Scotty a bird.

"So we wrote it," Ian said as he turned his attention back to the keyboard.  He played the first few notes, remembering the song without a problem.  He never seemed to be able to forget a song that he'd written once he'd actually set it to music.  It was as if hearing the notes from the piano (or keyboard, in this case) jogged his memory or something.  "It's called `In this life'," Ian said as Scotty and Eduardo joined him in playing the song.  "I was nurtured; I was sheltered; I was curious and young; I was searching...for that something...tried to find it on the run.  Oh and just when I stopped looking, I saw just how far I'd come...In this life...In this life.  You give me love.  You give me light.  Show me everything's been happening; you've opened up my eyes.  I'm following.  Three steps, fight and honest fight.  Two heard that can start a fire.  One love is all I need in this life..." Ian started, following the first part of the song with another sweet verse and a powerful version of the chorus.  It wasn't something that anyone could dance to, necessarily, but it was an amazing song for all those who, in that evening, had the fortune of hearing it.  By the time it ended, the crowd at Roosters was entranced again by the sound that came from Ian's pressing of the ivory and ebony keys.  Ian stepped off the stage to loud, roaring applause.  For his ego, at least, it was good to hear that the people were enjoying his talent for music.

When he stepped back to Melissa, a very drunk Joey wrapped his arms around Ian's neck, as if to say that he were proud of this person that he barely knew.  It was a hug that was not only welcomed by Ian himself, but appreciated.  On a completely different level, Ian (who was definitely attracted to this man) felt comfortable and safe in his arms.

At around one that next morning, as Eduardo was finishing up his last performance before hitting the big time, Danny and Jen walked the four blocks back to the parking deck to get the car.  Forty-five minutes later, after they'd made out in the car for a little bit, they drove out of the deck and back to the bar, where Ian and Joey were outside with Melissa, Eduardo, and Eduardo's girlfriend, Lauren, chatting, talking about how good it had been to see them again or meet them for the first time.  When the two finally got back to the bar, they joked with Jen about her shirt being open in the middle.  Danny looked mortified while Jen checked her blouse only to find that they'd all been joking with the two of them.  After one final round of hugs on Ian's part, they all climbed back into the Audi, with Danny giving Jen directions on how to get back to Ian's house.

When they arrived, Jen parked the car in front of the house, behind Joey's.  Danny helped Joey and Ian out of the car and up the stairs, while Jen stood behind them to try to make sure that neither of the drunk guys fell.  Ian fished in his pocket for the keys, but couldn't figure out which one unlocked the door.  He finally gave up and handed the keys to Danny, who found the right one on the first try.

"Danny?" Ian asked.

"Yes, Een?" Danny responded while trying not to laugh at his brother.

"Will you fix me and Joey some coffee?"

"Sure.  Do you have any?"

"I think there's some single packets in the cabinet next to the fridge," Ian answered as Danny walked them into the living room.  Jen turned on the TV for them and went into the kitchen to help Danny.

"Our siblings look cute together," she said as she wrapped her arms around Danny's waist from behind.  She loosened her grip so that Danny could turn around and look at her.

"Yes.  They are, but no matter how cute they seem together, you will always be, at least, 10 times cuter than both of them combined," he countered, in typical Danny fashion.

"And that's part of what makes me like you so much," she said to him as he bent down and gave her a gentle peck on the lips.  "So let's make this coffee for our drunk gay brothers and get upstairs for some serious cuddle time!"

"I'm on it, babe," Danny answered as she released him and finished making the coffee.  With the two mugs in hand, he and Jen walked back into the living room, where Ian and Joey had started giggling about something.  Danny shook his head as he walked in front of the two of them and placed the cups in their hands.

"Thank you, Danny," Ian commented as he blew it off a bit.

"Yeah.  Thank you," Joey said, with a cheesy grin as he sat next to Ian.

"So we're gonna go to bed.  We'll see y'all in the morning."

"I'm gonna go back to my hotel in a little bit," Joey commented.

"NO!" Danny said, pointing an authoritative finger at him.

"OK," Joey relented.  "Where can I sleep then?"

"I have enough bedrooms to sleep about 20 people comfortably," Ian commented.  "You can even have my bed if you want.  It's the most comfortable one in the house."

"The only way I'm sleeping in your bed is if you're gonna cuddle with me," Joey said as he looked at Ian.

"And on that note," Danny started.  "Night, guys."

"Night!" Ian and Joey said almost simultaneously.

"So what have you got going on tomorrow?" Ian asked as the two of them heard Danny and Jen climbing up the stairs.

"Not much.  I presented at the conference this afternoon, so I'm free the rest of the weekend," Joey said with a smile.  "The sucky part about this weekend, or at least I thought, was that I was going to be in Nashville alone."

"Well.  Why don't you check out of your hotel in the morning and spend the rest of the weekend here, with us?" Ian asked in a moment of surprising clarity.

"That would be cool.  You sure you have enough room, for me?"

"Yes.  I am sure," Ian answered confidently.

"Well.  Will you let me take you out to lunch tomorrow for being so nice?" Joey asked.

Ian smiled.  "Yeah.  That would be cool."

"Awesome," Joey said as Ian patted his leg.

"So..." Ian started.  "Want me to show you the comfortable room in the place?"

"Sure," Joey said as Ian winked at him.  He smiled, knowing that he probably wouldn't be sleeping in one of the guest rooms.

With his free hand, Ian took Joey's while both of them still carried their coffee.  Quietly, Ian led Joey to the staircase, slowly climbing each of the stairs to the third floor of the house.  They entered Ian's room, and for a moment, Ian took his hand away from Joey's and dimly turned on the lights.

"A round bed?" Joey asked.

"Yeah," Ian said.

"OK.  Just wanted to make sure the drunken haze wasn't kicking in," Joey commented.

"Would you like some shorts to wear or something?" Ian asked as he set the coffee cup down next to the cup from which he'd been drinking tea earlier in the day.

"Yeah.  That would be cool," Joey answered.

"Alright.  Follow me!" Ian said as Joey set his cup down next to Ian's.  They walked into the closet, with the light turning on as they entered.  Ian pulled a pair of gym shorts out for himself and Joey.  Quickly, they both pulled off their pants and let them rest gently on the floor.

"Nice boxers," Joey commented.

"Thank you," Ian said.

"They accent your ass perfectly," Joey added.

Ian giggled.  "My fat ass!"

"Your ass is not fat," Joey countered almost as soon as Ian made the comment.

"You want me to pull down my boxers and prove to you that I'm right?" Ian joked as he put his hands below the elastic waist band.  He turned to look at Joey, who seemed to be lost in his imagination for a second.  "You OK?" Ian asked.

"Yeah.  I was just imagining you without your boxers on," he answered as he readjusted himself within his own pants.  Ian shook his head and muttered something in Portuguese, all while smiling.  He couldn't help but smile as Ian walked out of the closet and back into the bedroom.  By the time that he made it out there, Ian was already turning down the circular shaped bed for them to climb in.  The blue comforter that topped it was thrown onto the floor and Ian was pulling drawers at the bottom of the bed out to get pillows, which weren't kept on the top of the bed.  Ian pulled back the sheets and arranged the pillows, all as Joey watched.

When everything was ready, Ian looked at Joey and winked.  He pulled back the blanket and sheet and climbed beneath them, arranging himself with two of the four pillows he'd lain out for them.  He turned on his side, away from Joey as Joey climbed in.

"What about the lights?" Joey asked as he climbed in, close to Ian.

"They're on a timer," Ian said, just as they turned themselves off.  With everything off completely, Joey moved closer into Ian, wrapping his arms around Ian's body as in a protective cocoon.  The two men fell asleep quickly, as the buzz was already wearing off and they were relaxing.

"Oye Como Va"
Performed by Santana
Written/Composed by Tito Puente
Can be found on CD: Abraxas
Track: Track 3
Release Date: 1970

"Mais Que Nada"
Performed by Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66
Written/Composed by Jorge Ben
Can be found on CD: Herb Albert Presents Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66
Track: 1
Release Date: 1966

"In This Life"
Performed by Delta Goodrem
Written/Composed by Goodrem, Crichton, James, McFadden
Can be found on CD: Delta
Track: 3
Australian Version released in 2007
US version to be released on 24 June 2008