I was sleeping so well, so comfortable, Why is it that this is when you always need to pee. Huh I better get up and take care of this. Why is this pillow so lumpy something poking me in the ear. Wait this is not a pillow. I shot up quickly. Startling James and Kevin who just started to laugh at me. I was still kind of groggy trying to focus.
"Sweetie you hair is everywhere" James leaned forward and tried to pat my hair down . "Your drooling Baby" then reached to wipe my mouth when I smacked his hand away.
`Stop it , I only awake cause I needed to pee and that my Pillow seemed to be poking me in the head" Kevin snorted some soda he was drinking. James blushed.
"Its ok " I leaned forward and kissed his cheek and stood up, "ok suck it in guys I need to get through here."
Kevin just smacked my thigh " I am not fat"
I just grinned and made my way up to the bathroom. God these things are small. Like being in a casket can't move. The wonder why I don't like flying small bathrooms unnatural fact that a 2 ton piece of metal is in the sky. Just breathe still groggy from the meds wow , at least I'm not sick or dizzy ok better get back to Heckle and Jeckel see what they are doing now. They looked mighty suspicious when I woke up. I made my way back to the Isle. They were whispering and giggling. They stopped when James noticed me Heading their way. I just smiled and sat back by the window and enjoyed the view from the window. I could here them giggling. I just shook my head " what are you too idiots laughing at"
"Nothing" James and Kevin replied together and started laughing again.
"Fine don't tell me so when are we landing anyway"
"I think we should be there in about another 45 minutes to an hour"
"Oh ok, well I guess I won't sleep much huh"
"Probably not they are going to make you put your seatbelt on anyway" Kevin answered
"Hey who is going to pick us up at the airport"
"No one we are going to have to take a cab"
"Ughhh, Why do we have to take a cab. then we have to sit around and wait for our luggage. We will be swamped with fans" James whined
"What we are going to be swamped with fans, Why is Justin going to be with us" Both of them looked shocked and offended.
"Just joking wanted to keep those egos in check, don't worry about it you guys just walk through the airport and go to the luggage. Don't make eye contact and walk looking at the floor. if you don't act suspicious nobody will pay attention to you"
"Easy for you to say"
"Ok then don't try it and deal with the consequences" I replied
"I don't think so" Kevin then reached for the air phone in the seat in front of us. "Who are you calling there Kevin" James asked
"Calling my cousin. Brian lives close he should get here and pick us up"
"Yeah Cuz what's up"
"Well I will be staying with Caleb and Lance's can you Bring my bags there."
"You think you could pick us up at the airport, we are coming in on flight 9651."
"Oh god Kev the airport"
"Look send Leighanne in."
"Yeah ok Kevin but you owe me big"
I hour later "Over there Kevin" I pointed"Looks like your Cousin was too scared to come in." Kevin just smacked Caleb`s arm, and gave Leighanne a hug
"So where's my cousin?" Kevin asked
"Waiting in the car, thought he might be recognized."
"And what we wouldn't be, Jeese." James said
" Lets just grab our bags and go, I want to get home Sweetie." Caleb spoke softly to James
"Ok" he said taking my hand and walking away towards the baggage claim area.
"They look happy , everything ok Kevin?" Leighanne questioned.
"Oh everything is great with them you should ask Caleb how great things are." Kevin pointed to Caleb's right hand, Leighanne caught on .
"Caleb anything new, anything exciting? I'm glad your back, by the way."
"Oh everything is fine." Caleb gestured using his hands not so subtly
"My what's that Caleb, quite the ring, who gave it to you?" she asked coyly.
"Oh James did, when he asked me to marry him." With that said he had a huge grin on his face practically beaming.
"Congrats." she said as she hugged him before turning to Lance and giving him a huge hug.
" Thanks Leighanne I'm glad he is back in my life. These past two weeks were hell." Lance smiled
Caleb looked sheepishly at the ground. He was feeling horrible for what he put Lance through. Lance noticed this and grabbed him by the shoulders.
"Look at me Caleb " Caleb slowly opened his eyes and looked up
"That's better." he continued " It's not your fault we didn't know where you were." he lifted his fingers to Caleb's lips before he could respond " We will leave it at that and I will not say anything more."
"Caleb, Lance is right, just enjoy the outcome." Caleb looked at Kevin as he spoke. Knowing Kevin was not doing well with the situation. He didn't want to dwell on it for Kevin's sake
"When's your Mom arrive ?" Caleb asked changing the subject
"Well then I have a lot to do in 2 days, lets go."
"Well he is excited." Leighanne huffed
"Yah kind of a Christmas junkie." Lance replied as he walked ahead with Caleb. Leighanne stayed back so she could talk with Kevin. She promised Brian that she would see how he was holding up. She was unsure of how to broach the subject. `Oh well may as well be direct' she thought.
"Kevin how are you doing? You have been quite can I do anything?"
"Not ask me, it's tough but I don't want to talk right now. I really don't know how I feel."
"Understandable, Just know I'm your friend and I will be with you through it." she leaned up and kissed his cheek.
"Thank you" he mouthed tearing up a little. They continued towards where Lance and Caleb were gathering bags looking both a little miffed.
"What's up Heckle and Jeckel?" Kevin smiled. The couple shot him two very annoyed looks
"We are missing a bag !"
"It's not that bad, its probably here somewhere"
"Really? Well guess what its' yours that missing"
"What?! Well we got to find it ."
"Wow, why get miffed Its probably here somewhere."
Lance parroted back . Kevin just shot Lance a death stare . "Ummm someone is not friendly."
"Hey you too look there it is." Caleb reached forward and grabbed the bag. " Here Kevin lets take care of this and leave, people are starting to stare and its making me uncomfortable."
"Oh your not comfortable?" a voice from behind them said. They are turned to see Brian in sunglasses and a hat
"I thought you were going to wait in the car sweetie" Leighanne came over and gave him a kiss.
"I was but it is hot out there and you guys are taking to long."
"Sorry we had a baggage emergency." Leighanne replied.
"What? who lost their bag?" he asked
"Kev, but my lovely Fiance found it , My hero ." Lance gushed.
" Fiance !"
"Oh yeah check out the ring . I finally decided to make him my bitch" Lance replied pulling Caleb's' hand out for Brain to inspect. Only to receive a slap from said bitch
"That is for the comment. I am going to see to it that you stop hanging with Justin and picking up his white boy Ebonics. I have a news flash Albino boy, you ain't black." The rest of the guys grabbed the bags as they were laughing at the `marital display' of their two friends.
"To answer your question Yes I am going to marry this goofball even though he's a goofball. He is still dam cute and an animal in bed!"
"To much information." Brian laughed " but I'm happy for ya buddy he picked Caleb up in a big bear hug"
"Ok lets get this show on the road and get my man home." Lance replied as he threw his arms around Caleb and lead him out.
"What was he thinking with that hair, " Brian whispered to Kevin and Leighanne
"Oh I don't know. he looks kind of cute, sexy even"
"Leighanne , should I be concerned?"
" Hmmm, not really, or maybe you should be?" she winked at Kevin and ran up to Lance and Caleb grabbing Caleb's arm
Kevin just laughed " I hope you know what your getting into their Cuz?"
"Yeah I do." Brain smiled this goofy loop sided grin.
The warm morning light was penetrating the darkened room. Lance rolled over to find an empty bed . He groaned not the way he wanted to wake up not after spending the first night back home. It felt so perfect sleeping in his own bed at home with Caleb after so many months. He also felt different knowing that he wasn't just sharing his bed with Caleb but with his fiance, that changed everything. He felt complete now. It was no longer just his house but a home he shared with the man he loved. It would have been better if he could have woken up with Caleb oh well there will be plenty of days for that .
He stretched lazily in bed then slowly got up noticing that the clock read nine am still too early to be up he thought. He rose from the bed and grabbed a t-shirt from the dresser and made his way to the bathroom before heading out to find Caleb.
He thought about taking a shower but he wanted to take one with Caleb so he might as well wait until he found him, Hopefully Caleb hadn't showered yet. As he made his way downstairs he could smell something wonderful cooking well many smells actually not just one. `So that's what he's been up to?' he thought. Making his way to the kitchen he stopped in the door way and leaned against the door jam and watched with delight at the site before him. There were multiple pots bubbling away, both ovens were on baking what ever. A turkey defrosting in one of the sinks multiple dished everywhere. The kitchen was cluttered but clean. Caleb always cleaned as he went . The kitchen was never out of order , whether he was cooking for himself and Lance or from a huge party the kitchen always remained immaculate.
The same could not be said for Caleb. He was covered in flour and various other food stuffs. Just then Caleb turned and saw Lance standing there . Lance just laughed Caleb reminded him of that rice krispies treats commercial where the mother put flour and water in here face to make it look harder then it was to make those treats.
"What is so funny sweetie?"
"You I just thought how much you looked like that commercial." Caleb just grinned knowing what Lance was referring to
"I missed you." Lance pouted.
"Well I'm right here now , no need to miss me anymore."
"You know you look dam sexy all domestic, good enough to eat!"
With that said Lance pulled Him into a Firm embrace and crushed his lips to Caleb's tasting all the sweetness of everything that as there, Slowly he slipped his tongue in. Caleb gave no resistance melting into Lances touch that was one of the things Lance enjoyed most. How Caleb would relax and give into him so freely. It was quite a turn on which only intensified the kiss. He pulled Caleb tighter and began messaging his back. Someone clearing there throat made them break apart. Good thing cause any more and they probably would have passed out from lack of oxygen.
"It would have to be you" Caleb responded.
"Just ignore me like I wasn't even in the room."
"Oh I try but its difficult where is Melissa, why are you up so early, its not Saturday so there are no morning cartoons.."
"Couldn't sleep , besides I smelled food."
"Your stomach honestly you are bad as Joey" Lance added
"Sorry Growing Boy and all that "
"Yes growing wide" Lance gestured with his arms that nick was getting fatter and trying to do an Eric cart man impersonation. He only received a punch from Caleb
"Oh sorry just being playful " Caleb responded . Nick had turned around at this time with Nick distracted Lance received the dirtiest iciest stares from Caleb with the words "I'll talk to you later" being mouthed
"So Nicky what do you want, was going to start on some breakfast."
"Oh no don't bother I'll just have some yogurt."
"Listen Nick sit down and you are going to have a proper breakfast. I'm going to make an omelet , besides Justin's on his way over."
"I doubt it this early." Lance replied.
"Oh yeah I called earlier and Lynn woke him up and sent him over I could hear him grumbling in the background."
"Why?" Was all Lance asked.
"Cause I am going shopping and he promised to come with me."
"I could go shopping with you."
"No you can't." came a quick reply.
"Oh so your shopping for me."
"Yes, plus some odds and ends I need to pick up."
"What time were you up this morning?" Nick asked.
"Did you sleep?"
"yeah like a baby"
"How much food did you cook?" just then the ovens went off and a timer on the stove.
"One sec." As Caleb ran to pull stuff out of the oven and pulled the pot off the stove pouring something into some pie shells.
"There done for now. Time for Breakfast."
"What did you make?" Lance asked incuriously as he watched all the food being placed on different racks to make room.
"Ummm lets see 4 apple pies 1 mincemeat, two lemon pies. Queen's lunch , spaghetti, cabbage rolls, Ribs Chicken wings Musaka and peanut butter cups, that's all for know."
"For now" both Nick and Lance said. " yes well we have a lot of people coming over for the holiday I have to be ready . Caleb continued to cook breakfast while he talked. " James make some coffee please sweetie. Nick get out some dishes then wake Kevin and Mel up". Caleb noted that no-one was really moving they were just standing there watching him.
"Come on hop to it ."
"Yes Massa". James responded
Caleb was ready to respond to that remark when he was interrupted. "You better have cereal for me after waking me up at this hour, I'm on vacation you know."
"Yes I know Justin just sit, there are apple jacks on the table."
Justin grumbled as he poured his cereal and ate . Lance and Nickstayed clear knowing what he was like in the morning pre-cereal.
"The omelet is in the oven, when you finish make some toast and someone take the omelet out of the oven when the bell goes off, I'm going to catch a shower."
"Oh wait I'm coming with." Lance dashed out. "What am I going to do without you?"
"Well you have to do some decorating, and you can get the guys to help."
"Where are you going honey anyhow."
"What do you mean I'm getting a shower with you."
"Oh no, no time for nookie now" Lance just grinned and reached out the stroke Caleb's neck, but Caleb's was one step ahead. " Oh no you don't. won't work this time, do that and no shower, but if you promise to be good, I'll let you shower with me."
Lance pouted "Ok but you owe me."
The shower was uneventful, well mostly they were only a little late for breakfast making there way down to the kitchen Lance stopped Caleb he was concerned about earlier with Nick.
"C wait, I want to ask about what happened earlier with Nick. I was only Teasing Nick , I tease Joey the same way all the time."
"Well teasing or not and I know you don't know buck nick is sensitive about his weight, he took a lot of grief for a while because he was being teased he was getting `soft'. and that really messed with his head. Its aid people only think that women have eating disorders. That untrue, Nick even stopped eating for a while. Sorry about it earlier just reaction, I don't want Nick to stop eating again."
"Yeah understand, and I am sorry, should I apologize to Nick."
"No, cause he would be upset that you know. Just treat him the way you have but stay away from that topic ok."
"Ok I will , sorry if I cause a problem."
"Never, and you are the sweetest thing to worry , just relax no harm no foul. I should apologize for jumping so fast sorry."
"Then maybe you should Kiss it and make it better." Lance pointed to his arm and pouted with his lip.
Caleb jumped forward and kissed Lance on the lips tugging a little on Lances bottom lip. Lance began to whimper a little at Caleb's touch. When Caleb pulled away. Lance looked a little dazed.
"I think you hit my arm not my lips" he smiled.
"What you complaining" Caleb cocked his eyebrows.
"No not at all just joking" Lance laughed.
Lance quickly pecked Caleb's cheek and pulled him into the kitchen.
"About time" Justin jumped up and grabbed Caleb " Let's go"
"But I haven't had breakfast yet!"
"Say goodbye and we will get something at the mall." Justin was pulling Caleb out, the guys were just laughing.
"Byte sweetie" he shouted to Lance as he was pulled out of the room.
"Justin you could have waited.."
"Oh no, not if you can't wait for me to wake up normally, then you need to come now. Besides I wanted to see that ring in the sunlight." Justin took Caleb's hand and whistled
"Boy scoop has good taste, this what I think it is." He was grinning now. Caleb was trying not to smile.
"Great !" Justin picked him up and gave him a bear hug. " Its about time." let's go buy your man his Christmas gift.
Inside the house.
"So what's on the agenda Lance?" Kevin inquired
"Well Caleb said to recruit you guys to decorate."
"Nicky stop that" Mel chastised him.
"What?... Ok as long as I don't have to move anymore dam furniture."
"Don't worry Nick we won't need to move stuff, plus I think Joey and Chris are coming Over this afternoon."
"What about Howie and Josh?" Kevin asked
"Well Howie and Josh are home with their families right."
"I' don't think Howie is" Nick supplied.
"Oh where is he staying?" Kevin asked
"Elsewhere." was all that Mel supplied getting up to get some coffee. Kevin looked a little confused at first then it dawned on him. "Oh" was all he said Lance just continued " Is Brian coming over?"
"Yes he is coming over with Leighanne since Mom is going to be here it will be like Family time for him."
"Ok well we better start . Where did you two put the decorations" Lance asked Nick and Mel.
"Oh there downstairs by the utility room." Mel added
"Ok lets get started I want to have everything done before Caleb gets home."
"Ok then we better start" Kevin stood up and made his way Downstairs.
At the mall
"So C what are you Getting Lance?"
"Not sure , what are you getting Britney."
"Oh not that jewelry , I bought her a set , you know necklace and earrings."
"Hope she like it."
"I'm sure she will, since she knows they are from you."
"Well better figure out what your getting Scoop. Anyone else you need to buy for?"
"Nope just my Sexy man, he has everything, not sure what else to give him. I was hoping you could give me some ideas I am drawing a blank."
"Well all he ever wanted is you and he finally got that; besides anything that you give him he's going to like."
"I just need to Kevin his gift, come to think about it." Caleb said absentmindedly, while they had stopped outside a music store and Caleb was staring at a BSB poster. Justin noticed and remembering his and Nick's conversation he started to get annoyed.
"I hope you are not still pinning over him after what he pulled. I thought you agreed to marry Lance."
"Huh" Caleb looked perplexed for a moment until he noticed that Justin was pointing at AJ`s picture. " I did but I am not going to cast away my past." Caleb was raising his voice people were beginning to stare.
"You know Justin" Caleb started quietly while walking away. " I would appreciate you keeping those thoughts to yourself. I don't believe AJ did anything. He was setup and I will Prove it."
"Your are delusional. You are still in love with him and can't see what he really is!"
"You don't really know him so you can't judge him."
"Still Defending him, but I don't see you denying what I asked you."
"And what was that ?"
"That you still love him."
"God Justin I am marrying your friend."
"That doesn't mean you don't love AJ. I won't let you hurt Scoop."
"You won't let me huh."
"Well then you do what you must, but mark my words in the end the only one you will hurt is James. James already know how I feel about my past and AJ. Even though he is past I can't just cast him out of my life."
"If Kevin believes he it. How can you doubt him?"
"Kevin doesn't believe , he is just hurting and not sure what to do. I know you not happy Justin but I think we need to stop having this discussion before we say anything that we might regret. We just got our friendship back on track lets not fuck it up again."
"I think I know what I want to get James for Christmas.'
" What's in Best Buy?"
"Yeah Come on"
Meanwhile back at the ranch.
"You better speed it up Nick, your slowing down!"
"Why don't you help me , instead of doing commentary Mel!"
Nick had found himself behind the dining room table with Lance on the other side holding Mistletoe.
"Come on Nicky, be festive."
"Will you stop it Lance, what would Caleb say?"
"Probably he wished he thought of it." Kevin laughed. He and Mel were hanging decorations throughout the house. Nick and Lance had finished doing all the windows when Lance had Found the Mistletoe and started chasing Nick.
"You are no Help Kevin."
"Oh be a sport just give him a kiss." Mel said.
"Yeah but he expects tongue." Nick cried.
Lance just stuck his tongue out and began flicking it about.
"Oh Gross Lance" Mel said
"I have to admit not very attractive there Lance." Kevin smiled
"I'll get it" Nick ran for the door with Lance right behind him. He quickly opened the door and dashed between Joey and Chris.
"What the?" Joey asked
Joey turned away from Chris and Nick to see Lance holding the Mistletoe over his head. Laying down the packages he was carrying He grabbed Lance and Kissed him hard . Lance's eyes popped out at this because Joey even went as far as coping a feel.
"You know the Holiday season and all." Joey said as he pulled away, Lance was still in shock. Nick who was behind Joey piped up " Not so much fun huh?" he should have kept his mouth shut. Joey moved out of the way and Chris pushed Nick forward so he could get in the house. This was all the opportunity Lance needed and he quickly lip locked with Nick who stood completely still and rigid with this shocked expression on his face. The same one worn by Lance not only a few minutes ago. After everyone had their laugh, Mel pulled Lance away.
"Now Now you have your own man leave mine alone."
"Ok OK" Lance laughed Before looking down at the luggage Joey had. When he realized what he was looking at was looking back at him. With big black eyes.
"Joey your not supposed to bring him here Caleb will see him!"
"Well Lance I couldn't leave him alone at the house You will just have to give him early."
"But is was supposed to be a surprise for tomorrow."
"look Lance we only need to hide him for overnight, its shouldn't be that hard." Kevin said, while staring at the little puppy.
"Plus all his stuff is still out in the car. We can leave it there. How hard can it be to hide the little fellow?"
"Why did you decide to get Caleb a Dog, especially a Newf they are huge, But he is going to love him." Mel spoke as she got down and opened the dog carrier. The pup just stared out at all these strange people staring at him, they watched as he carefully put one paw outside the kennel and then carefully pull it back in like he wasn't sure. Lance kneeled down and stuck his hands out as if wanting a small child to walk to him.
"Come here buddy"
The little pup began to shake only because his tail was moving so mast it was shaking his entire body. He made a small wine and then made his way out sliding a little on the tile . Once out of the carrier everyone could get a look, he was a cute pup. A little black ball of fur , looked like a bear. He made he way unsteadily with his big clunky paws and tried to get up in Lance's lap and started licking his face.
"Oh Lance he is adorable, Caleb will love him." Mel squealed
"Lance!" Chris tried to warm him but was too late.
"What? OHHH, UGGHH"
"Sorry man think you got the little fellow excited. At least it was on the tile"
"Yeah I guess but now I need to change"
"Here let me see him" Nick said as taking the pup " Mel and I will take him out to the pool house and make a place for him for tonight, until tomorrow."
"Well if you are going to put him out there someone should be out there to keep him company"
"God Lance just give him to Caleb tonight"
"No I want to do it Tomorrow Chris."
"Ok Fine well help keep him company so he won't be lonely, but I won't sleep out there." Chris huffed
They were busy talking and never heard Caleb and Justin return. Nick was on his way back with the pup when the door opened. Kevin jumped pushing Nick down the hall. Mel caught the dog carrier that Joey threw and ran outside to the back yard with Chris following with some of the dog supplies. When Caleb opened the door he met some resistance as they were pushing open the door. Lance was pushing the door closed while everyone was moving around. But he lost to Justin and Caleb. " What's Going on guys ?" Caleb asked exasperated.
"Sorry Caleb we just got here , some of our stuff is in the way." Joey responded.
"Arf"" Kevin cleared his throat and coughed to cover up the small bark. Only to hear a small growl.
"Dam Joey you didn't eat" Lance explained
"What is going on with you all. You look like the cat that swallowed the canary.. You" pointing to Lance " are up to something"
"You are so suspicious" Lance laughed.
"Caleb is right you guys are stranger then normal."
"Come here I missed you" Lance turned Caleb around and began kissing him. Just then Justin noticed Nick running with what looked like a black fur ball. He caught both Joey and Kevin's gazes and kept his mouth shut. Caleb pushed Lance away .
"Now I know that there is something up."
"Nothing is up." Kevin answered
"Well then let me in my house. Just then Nick, Mel and Chris popped out of the kitchen.
"Hey C." Nick and Chris said.
"Don't hey me , something is up with the kitchen. If you guys ate everything I cooked I'm going to Kill you" Caleb finally got passed Lance and made his way to the kitchen. After a careful examination everything seemed the same but he was sure something was up. Then he saw the rest of the house, most of the decoration were up and it looked great
"Wow! The house looks great sweetie."
"Hey we helped." Kevin smacked Lance. Caleb smiled it was so nice to see him smiling
"Oh hey sweetie this came for you ."
"Thanks" Caleb took the Package from Lance and examined the contents and smiled ` I knew it' he thought grabbing his cell phone " Hey James I have to make a phone call, I will be right back"
"Oh everything is great" Kissing James on the cheeks . "I'll be back to help. Justin take those to my room please" indicating the parcels.
" Sure hey Joe give me a hand."
Caleb walked to his room, it wasn't a bedroom but his own room for thinking James had his office and that was his private space. He insisted Caleb had his own. So Caleb took over one of the small spare bedrooms and removed the closet making a large open room. It was quite unique all the wall were white and no windows. The ceiling was black with glow in the dark stars , save the large centered sky light. The floor was wood painted to look like sand. Both he and Lance walked around the room with paint on their feet to make it look like footprints in the sand. The corners had four rock and bonzi gardens. The room was very minimal as far as furniture. One large mat on the floor toward one of the walls for yoga. A small stereo and a table covered with various religious artifacts from many different religions all along one wall.. The walls aside from being stark white were covered in prose and quotes. James thought he was nuts at first but it all came together. Caleb entered and sat into the custom made arm chair that was built into the closet space.
"Hello can I have the telephone for the World Weekly Headquarters in LA please."
"Yes may I have Charles McDervins Office please"
"One moment sir"
" Mr. McDervins office."
"Yes may I speak to Charles McDervins"
"He's in a meeting, may I take a message."
"Tell him Caleb Sark is on the phone"
"One minute sir"
Out in the living room
"Jesus that was close"
"Do you think he saw anything " Nick asked
"I don't think so" Kevin replied
"Nope" Justin said "So what was that all about"
"Take Justin outside Nick"
"Yeah no problem come one I'll show you."
"What was in the envelope Lance"
"Not Sure Mel but it was good news I think."
"Come on honey please smile, try and get into the spirit" AJ's mother was trying to comfort him.
"Yeah AJ come one help me with this tree all things will work out."
"I don't want to celebrate"
"You have too . They will come to their sense's besides we will have our own happy Christmas"
"Ok Mom" AJ agreed but his reply sounded dejected
" Hey J put some of these on the tree." Howie replied AJ walked over and absently lifted up the ornament in his hands and started at it. He began to cry as he remembered
"Hey AJ I got you something"
"Kevin its not Christmas, can't you wait."
"Nope besides this is not a x-mas gift is for Christmas."
"Just open it"
AJ opened the small package, this was the first Christmas he and Kevin spent together and his first gift. He opened it, it was a small crystal tree ornament a heart that read our first Christmas.
"Kevin gave this to me. I can't do it Howie, I can't it hurts" AJ left the room Howie and AJ's mother were confused as to what they could do for him. Hoping that some miracle would happen and everyone would come to there senses.
`Sweetie where my suit"
"I have it here, I had it pressed for you"
"James you are so thoughtful. Thanks, you sure you don't want to come to church"
"No I know that's your time, besides your going to mass that's strange. Too much pomp and circumstance, prefer my church, no offence."
"None taken. Want to help me get dressed." Caleb wagged his eyebrows.
"Why Sir ! Why would I want you dressed"
"Not now sexy boy, but later that is another story"
"Here help me out" Caleb said handing Lance his tie
"What's taking so long?, they' re probably having sex now aren't they" Chris said
"Sorry Mrs. Richardson"
Kevin just smiled , his mother had a affect on the boys just good to know it worked on N'Sync as well. They were all waiting for Lance so they could head out to church.
Lance and Caleb finally appeared looking quite well put together. Both were wearing matching suits and they were holding hands as they came down stairs. They just made it to the bottom of the stairs when they were accosted my Mrs. Richardson.
"Oh my babies, don't you look handsome." Anne had a few stray tears in her eyes as she spoke.
"Mom" Kevin said.
"What , leave your mother alone I'm just so glad to see them and they look so handsome don't they."
"Yes Mrs. Richardson they both look very attractive" Mel added giving both Caleb and Lance a Peck on the cheek.
`See she understands" Anne had stroked Melissa face and smiled., Obviously It take a women's sensibilities to understand that" With being said both Nick and Kevin rolled there eyes at one an other, thinking they were safe being that they were behind both women's back.
"Do not roll your eyes at me son, You are still not to old to take over my knee." Nick started to smile and point.
"That Goes for you Nicholas as well" Mel said Kevin just smirked at him and the guys were trying not to laugh. Caleb had brought his hand up to face faking a cough to cover his smile. When he did Anne noticed the ring shining. This is really the first time she had gotten to see it today.
"What is this?" she said taking Caleb's hand "Oh that ." Caleb blushed , Lance just smiled and held Caleb's hand a little firmer.
"Yes. It looks like its might be an engagement ring?" she questioned her eyes were twinkling as she spoke.
"Yes it is Anne, I asked Caleb to marry me." Lance supplied.
"Oh that's just so wonderful." She hugged them again crying more. "What did your parents say Lance?" she asked as she hugged him. She could feel him tense up so could Caleb.
"What's wrong sweetie?"
"Nothing, It's just they were happy at first , but then I told them it was Caleb they were not impressed. They had hoped I had turned straight ." Lance made air quotes as he spoke
"They knew you were gay" Anne questioned. It was at this point that Caleb went into the kitchen. He was really hurt over the way Lance's parents treated Lance and He knew it was all because of him. He knew it bothered Lance even if he did try to hide it. Lance just watched him walk away he knew Caleb just needed to be alone for a second. He understood everything. He knew how hard Caleb took his parents reaction.
"Yes Anne they know they just don't want a gay son. They had hope. Now they didn't anymore seeing as I was going to marry Caleb, whom they believe turned me gay, They refer to him as the demon bastard." This last part he said very soft and low not wanting the chance of Caleb hearing it.
"Oh my god that's terrible, how could any parent turn their back on their own child. But don't you worry To me I have four sons, Kevin, Tim Gerald and Caleb, Now it just mean I get another new son in law that I can spoil."
"Thank you Anne"
"What's this Anne bit call me mom"
The rest of the guys had tried to not ease drop on the conversation. But it was hard. They all felt bad for Lance and how his parents treated him. Just as lance finished speaking Caleb rejoined the group. Drinking a glass of water.
"Well it would appear that you are know part of the Family" Caleb smiled and walked over to Anne giving her a big bear hug.
"Well as much I want to continue partying I have to run Don't want to be late for mass. Bye sweetie" Caleb gave Lance a Kiss on the Cheek and left.
" OK Guys are you ready to go." Lance asked
"Should we wait a minute so he doesn't realize were following him" Mel asked
"Ok that will work, I hope he like the surprise."
"Oh I think he will, It will mean a lot to him to see all you guys at church " Mel said
"Ok then lets get ready and go" Lance replied eagerly
"Lets sit here over on the side away from the choir."
"Why don't want anyone seeing you? no autographs" Howie smirked. AJ just smiled and laughed. Howie thought `its about time we get a smile, their may be hope for you yet'
"No its just I don't want Caleb to see me"
"What Caleb's here? Where?"
"Not yet he will be just wait"
"You seem to know a lot about this, never saw you as the religious type , didn't realize you were catholic"
"Well I only came because of Caleb"
"Wow even made you come to church"
"Yeah but there was another reason, and you will see what I mean. Just enjoy the service, its quite nice"
At the back of the church
"Wow this place is packed I don't think we will be bale to all sit together" Mel said
"I hope so It looks like all the seats are taken towards the back, just the front ones left" Chris was disappointed he wanted to be down the back not up and out in front.
"Can I help you, How many" Just then the man realized. " Well wow!"
"Yes, please keep it quite we only want to come to see the mass" Joey added
"Of course its an honor to have you all at our church, I really shouldn't be surprised Caleb being here and all. Do you want me to tell him you are here."
"Oh no we are hear to surprise him."
"Ok well I can sit you all I think up front towards the left side of the church behind the choir section you should see everything from there."
"Oh thank you so much." Lance replied
The man made he way leading the guys down to the front.
"This guy knows Caleb?" Nick asked
"I guess yeah" Kevin answered
"Caleb doesn't talk about church that much, doesn't go that much either " Kevin continued
"Yeah said he only need to go once a year to absolve all his sins, no need to overdue it as he said" Lance said
"Be quite you guys" Anne scolded them
"Sorry" Lance replied
"What did he mean we would get good seat we can't see very well up to the front of the church"
"Alter" Joey answered
"Yeah whatever all I can see is the piano and a fancy doll house" Justin complained
" That's the Tabernacle, Moron" Chris answered
"Shhhhh" Joey replied
"Jeese Joey take it easy" Justin pouted
Joey just shot them a dirty look. The guys shut up and sat waiting for the service to begin and watching what everyone else was doing. Watching the kneeling and praying . Finally the mass began some hymns were song as the Priest made his way unto the alter to begin mass. Things were preceding quite normally. The guys enjoyed the small Nativity play preformed by some to the parish children. Finally they were coming close to the end. Members of the church began collecting money as they were doing this one the choir started to rise to sing. One of the members took up position near the piano. Justin had a clear view of this and almost chocked when he realized who is was looking at.
"Justin, watch you mouth were in church" Kevin scolded
"Sorry, look" he pointed Kevin turned and gasped and elbowed Chris next to him, who elbowed Lance and so forth until everyone was staring at the piano.
On the other side of the church
"There Howie look at the piano"
"What's he doing?"
"Going to sing is what he is going to do"
"You know about this?"
"Yeah he sings every year , he has a beautiful deep voice"
"What is he going to sing?"
"Probably O Holy Night"
Just then the organ began playing and Caleb came forward a little. He instinctively looked towards the far right part of the church, scanning the crowd. `Yes' he thought to himself a small smile forming on his face.
"What is he staring at, why that smile?" Chris inquired
"Maybe he saw us" Lance said
"No, he was looking the other way" Mel said trying to see what was over the other side of the room. Unable to see anything because of the crowd of people. Just then a song began and everyone paused . They had never heard Caleb sing before. He had a beautiful deep rich voice. They all turned and watched.
O Holy Night The stars are brightly shining It is the night of the dear saviors birth Long lay the world in sin and error pinning Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth The thrill of hope the weary world rejoices. For Yonder breaks a new and glorious Morn
Fall on your Knees O hear the angel voices (choir) O Night Divine (choir) O Night when Christ was Born O Night Divine (choir) O Night (choir) O Night Divine
Led by the light the face serenely beaming
"Oh My god AJ he is amazing"
"I know Howie, but he will only sing here and only that song, never wants anyone else to hear him"
With glowing hearts by his cradle we stand
"But he is so good."
So led by the stars light so sweetly beaming
Caleb was staring over at AJ smiling he knew he would come he needed to talk to him. The choir was close to ending he need to get ready
Came the wise man from a far distant land
The king of kings is born the world rejoices In all our trials born to be our friend Fall on your Knees
Oh hear the angel voices (choir) Oh night Divine (choir) Oh night when Christ was Born Oh Night Divine (choir) Oh Night (choir) Oh Night Divine
Caleb turned to walk back to his seat, when he did he had to do a double take, then he felt his face turn deep red as he blushed . He had been caught his family were all there watching him smiling Lance had his mouth hanging open he watched as Kevin reached over and slowly closed it.
Caleb mouthed " I love you" before he sat down.
"Wow' Chris said, "That was simply amazing. I never realized he could sing,. Why didn't you tell us Lance?"
"I didn't know, Wow"
"I think we said that already" Joey laughed
"You know I love that guy"
"Yeah we kind of figured, after all you proposed" Justin laughed
The others side of the room
"AJ I think we should leave"
"Well we have company on the other side"
"Huh" AJ quickly got up and looked over by the piano, there were lost of people. "Oh My god, Lets go Howie"
"Ok we will" with that AJ and Howie made there way out of the church as quickly and discreetly as possible
Back at the house
"So where did he go?, I thought he was coming back" Joey asked
"Oh he is he said he had to pick up a Christmas gift and he would be right over" Lance said
"Oh wonder what it was" Chris inquired
"I don't know wouldn't say, I think its Kevin's though." Lance spoke
"Justin told me he had everything bought except Kevin's, so just assuming but I could be wrong" Lance added
"well I hope it's a God present" Kevin smiled and clapped his hands together
"Not too greedy are we" Nick said
"What? look who's talking" Kevin chastised Nick
" Hey someone just drove up"
"Oh never mind its just Brian and Leighanne"
"Hey guys" Brain spoke all smiles pulling Leighanne in with him
"What is up with you ?"
"Oh nothing just enjoying my Christmas gift"
"This one, he held up Leigh Anne's hand"
"Oh My God" Mel Screamed
"Congrats Cousin" Kevin pulled brain in a huge hug
A door bell rings at a small suburban home. " I'll get it"
"Merry Christ..." AJ stopped mid sentence and just stared. He began to tightly hold the door knob twisting it uncomfortable. He felt his stomach tighten up it was terrible. He really didn't expect this.
"Merry Christmas AJ, can I come in, these are a little heavy" Caleb spoke. He was holding a couple of gifts in his arms.
"Umm sure, come on in"
"Hey AJ who's at the door"
"Just me Howie"
Howie came running around the corner into the foyer with a look of shock on his face. "Caleb?"
"Yeah Howie Its me, Merry Christmas. I wanted to stop by with some Christmas gifts for Zander and his Mom, By the way is she here?"
"Um Yes she is in the kitchen, Cool I haven't seen here in a long time. I have your Christmas gift as well Howie. So are you guys going to come over for a visit your more then welcome, actually I would really like you to come."
Caleb had his back to AJ so he wasn't looking directly at him Howie was however. He could see the shock on AJ's face and the tears in his eyes. Caleb wouldn't have been none the wiser if AJ had not begun to sob. Caleb turned around and stared at AJ quietly for a moment taking it all in. before gently laying the parcels down and grabbing AJ in a hug. AJ was rigid at first not sure what to do. Caleb just hugged him and rubbed his back.
"Bud, what's wrong, you should be happy, not crying come on enough of this crying you need to be happy it Christmas." Caleb moved back and moved his arms up to AJ's face and brushed away his tears. He just smiled at him and winked.
"You... You... you don't hate me?" AJ stuttered out between sobs
"Hate you, never"
"But everyone else..."
"Well everyone else is wrong and I can prove it so I want you to stop crying open your gifts and come spend Christmas with me"
"Sweetie I brought you some..." AJ's mother stood motionless and speech less well only momentarily she quickly crossed the room putting herself between AJ and Caleb. "If you think I'm going to let you hurt my son, you will be in for a world of hurt How you could believe that my son.."
"Mom stop he doesn't" AJ spoke softly"
"He doesn't believe it he has proof and wants us to spend Christmas with him"
"Is this true?" Caleb just nodded and smiled and reached down to pick up the gift he bought. Handing them out.
"You guys can open them later if you want but will you please come back with me"
"I don't know"
"Please AJ no-one will say a word and I promise to clear everything up"
AJ had hoped for a miracle this Christmas and it looks like he was going to get it. He so wanted this to be fixed he took a leap of faith " Ok"
"Yes" Howie excited replied running around gathering up gifts. With AJ's mom helping him
"Can I open mine now"
"Sure AJ you can"
AJ opened his gift slowly, Caleb always wrapped thing so perfectly he never wanted to rip the paper. He heard Caleb Laugh. " You never change here tear it." with that Caleb took AJ's hands and made him rip the paper. AJ smiled. Caleb did that every year. He pulled open the box and found a small square leather messenger bag.
"Oh cool I need a new one"
"Yeah well look inside"
AJ had a twinkle in his eye and opened the bag and pulled out a large thick leather bound book when he open it he found it was full of blank pages, good quality paper as well.
"Wow a journal" he then felt something slide out of the bag onto his lap a small box, he opened it and found two very nice quality pens.
"Well you can't right without them and know you have a place to keep everything"
"Oh Thank you Caleb, not for the gift but being my friend"
"Always and forever AJ"
"I was glad you came to church"
AJ just smiled. "Ok were ready " Howie said passing AJ a coat "lets go!"
"Are you sure?" AJ asked
AJ was getting nervous he wanted to be with Kevin this Christmas and he couldn't wait , but he was scared as well of something bad happening. He just had to have little faith in Caleb.
Lance and Caleb's House
"Where could he be?.. You don't think that something could have happened"
"Relax Lance you get paranoid too fast." Brain spoke
"Yeah listen there is a car pulling in as we speak." Nick said as he got up and went to the window and looked out into the cool December night. " Yeah its his truck" Nick supplied the room. Lance went to the door to open it so he could meet him. He knew it might have made him look like a nervous hen who hasn't seen his man in weeks but he couldn't help how he felt. Ever since Caleb had run off to Haiti, he has been nervous whenever Caleb was gone. He knew it was illogical that Caleb wouldn't run again but nevertheless he couldn't help it.
"God Lance hold on and let him get in the door" Chris called from the doorway of the kitchen. The door opened and Caleb walked in, Immediately James had him in a hug squeezing the life out of him. "Thank god I missed you"
"I can see that , James, please your crushing me"
"Oh Sorry" Lance blushed sheepishly he tried to push the door closed when he noticed someone was there. It took him only a second to figure out who it was and for his whole manner to change.
"AJ!" he spat. AJ Backed up till he was back outside. By this time everyone had heard Lance and made there way to the Foyer and stood there as AJ tried to hide behind his mother and Howie. Lance was staring Daggers at him. Kevin looked more hurt and distraught at seeing him standing there. He loved AJ so much but at the same time he felt betrayed and hurt at what he believed AJ had done. The situation was getting tense.
"AJ, Howie, Ms MacLean come in" Lance looked at Caleb like he was nuts and was about to say something when Caleb gave him the look. That one look that spoke volumes. That one look that could freeze you cold, the one that shot daggers. He was daring Lance to speak. Fortunately Lance understood and didn't open his mouth. That was one road he was not going down. Caleb reached back and pulled AJ into the room and took him to the love seat next to the tree.
"Sit AJ can I get you a drink?"
"Umm, maybe I should go, this wasn't a good idea." he whispered
"Nonsense" Caleb spoke loudly. he then turned around " Why is everyone still in the Foyer Come on I want to open presents it's Christmas eve. He sat done next to AJ . Everyone made there way in the room. They were all walking like there were land mines everywhere. Everyone mostly stood, probably wanting to be able to make a quick exit or be in position to pull Lance off AJ if the need should arise. Leighanne Brain and Anne took up seat on the couch however . Caleb motioned for Lance
"Here babe come sit over by me." however Lance didn't move he was red in the face and turned away mentally counting to ten . Caleb had enough.
"Ok everyone SIT DOWN!, Nick grab me that envelope from under the tree please"
"Umm ok, this one"
"Yeah that's it" Nick passed him the envelope and sat in one of the arm chairs with Mel. Caleb could tell that Mel was furious she was grinding her teeth. She had that's same streak he did.
"Here Kevin this is part of your Christmas gift holding it out for Kevin to take"
"Thanks he said taking the envelope but not really taking his eyes off AJ. AJ however could feel everyone staring and was finding the pattern of the carpet very interesting. Kevin began to open the package and pulled out a series of papers. He stared at them unsure at first what he was supposed to see. Realizing what they were. He just looked up shocked"
"Caleb you thought these were a good x-mas gift! The telegram confirmation, that is pretty twisted! I though we were friends why hurt me like this and then parade AJ in here as well knowing how I and everyone else feels."
AJ cringed and started to stand up., but Caleb held him down and said "No" softly to AJ
He then looked at the crowd and Kevin. "I know exactly how you feel that why he is here and that's why the gift."
Kevin was lost and couldn't understand
"Ok Kevin did you read them and pay particular attention to the signature."
"Fine" Kevin looked and spoke " Yeah they are signed by AJ"
"Look again" Kevin was perplexed then it dawned on him " They are signed AJ MacLean"
"And?" Kevin looked again at all the confirmations they were all signed Identical, all signed AJ MacLean.
"This isn't even AJ handwriting."
"Exactly" everyone in the room was suddenly enraptured with what was taking place Caleb looked at everyone
"Ok for those of you just joining us, these were not signed by AJ he never accepted the telegrams someone forged his signature. AJ never signs anything AJ MacLean only A. MacLean and that is definitely not AJ's hen catch its way too neat. Now its impossible for someone to forge his own signature in hopes of throwing off the trail. It would take too much time. There would have been a slip up, after all it is instinct the way we sign our names we barely think when we do it from repetition. Imagine how hard it would be to stop concentrate and try to alter your signature, not once but several time and different days and times. I also spoke with Mr. Mc Dervin yesterday and he never really spoke to AJ just received the info in a package stating the package was sent by AJ.
Everyone was dumfounded AJ was still looking at the floor, Kevin was standing there with tears in his eyes watching AJ, regretting everything done and thought over the last week. He approached AJ and lifted his face up and pulled him to his feet grabbing him in a hug and sobbing " I'm so sorry AJ Please Forgive me" it was like a mantra he repeated.
Caleb got up and patted Kevin's back before making his way to Lance who was looking ashamed now for everything he had said and felt. Caleb looked around the room and suspected a lot of that going on. He slowly approached Lance . Whom had continued with eyes downcast. Caleb was going to lift his chin but thought a different approach might be better he made his way behind Lance. Lance interrupted this that Caleb was mad and not going to ever forgive him. He felt hot tears trailing down his cheeks. Then it felt it he was surprised and jumped a little he heard Caleb chuckle softly. Caleb had come behind him and wrapped his arms around Lance's wait pulling him tight and resting his chin on Lances shoulder so his mouth was close to Lances ear.
"I love you so much" he whispered
Lance looked up and tried to turn his head. With a confused look. "what?"
"What you sound surprised?"
"Well no , well I guess Oh I don't know. How can you say that after the way everyone, after the way I treated AJ" Lance stuttered tears still slowly
"Simply enough you only did what anyone would have one under the circumstances. After all look around everyone is feeling the same way." he turned Lance's face around the room to show him the scene that lay before him. He saw a lot of guilty faces.
"But you didn't believe you stood behind your friend, even when we were not. I want to a good man for you butt I couldn't forgive him and trust him and here you are after showing us the truth and forgiving me. I don't feel good enough?"
Caleb turned Lance around " James look at me I love you , I love you for everything that you are. You only did what you believe was right. You protected your boyfriend and stood up for me when I couldn't and you were willing to give up friendships. That speaks volumes for the amount of love you have for me."
Lance sniffled "You really love me" wiping his eyes with his shirt.
"If the sky were made of parchment and the sea of ink, I could not begin to write my love for you"
Lance slapped his shoulder and tried to hide a smile "You would have to ruin a good moment with a cheesy quote from a cartoon"
"Hey Garfield's Christmas is a classic"
"Umm yeah whatever." rolling his eyes
"Tell you what you lay a cheesy quote on me."
Lance thought for a minute and then smiled " You make me want to be a better man"
Caleb laughed out loud, "leave it to you to quote Jack Nicholson."
"Hey I could have quoted something from the shining"
"Ughhh I shuttered" looking at Lance I noticed he eyes wander behind me. I turned around to see Kevin and AJ there. We just stood there for a moment. I noticed AJ and Kevin tightly holding hands. I felt happy for them I also think I felt a little pang of jealousy. Jealous of something lost that was never really going to be. I took James hand in mine and held it.
"So." I said "What's up"
"What's up" Kevin grinned and pulled me into hug I could see out of the corner of my eye that AJ and James were talking.
"Thank you Caleb this is great thank you so much"
"Its ok Kev just something I needed to do"
"No buts Kevin its over and we go from there. You only need to apologize once to make it ok." he pulled back looked at me and nodded. Everyone was caught somewhere between quite and remorseful. Well everyone but Anne she was crying happy tears as she would call them. This is getting far to somber.
"Ok I think its time we opened presents . So where re mine?"
They all laughed
"Well I do have one of yours here but you have to close you eyes and sit down"
"Oh a surprise! Ok" I sat down in one of the chairs very quickly and closed me eyes I reached out my hands into the air "Gimme"
"Oh that's in the Christmas spirit" AJ spoke
"Hush you I'm getting gift"
"Here I am."
I could hear him coming back into the room, so my gift wasn't under the tree oh it wasn't one of the ones I saw cool. I kept my hand out but nothing came to me I was getting a little impatient. "Where is my gift ?"
"Open your eyes and look" James spoke I opened my eyes and didn't see anything. What is this I thought. I just was about to look up when something on the floor caught me I I jumped a little startled then looked again.
"Oh wow, James he's adorable and you got me a Newfoundland dog My favorite, but why a dog?"
"Well I thought you could use the company when I am gone and I know you always wanted a dog,, it took some dealing to get one of these dogs.."
"Thanks you James I love it" I always wanted a dog my whole life. I loved these dogs they were big and friendly . I picked up the little pup and held him in my arms he started to wiggle and licked at my face all over . I was laughing at him then pulled him down further in my arms and petted him getting up to give James a big kiss
"I love it and I love you"
"So what do you say we open some more gifts"
The whole house was quiet, everyone had been asleep for about two hours now. Caleb however was awake listening to the gentle snoring coming form both sides Lance was spooning him snoring softly while the pup lay curled into Caleb's belly snoring as well. Caleb was gently running his fingers along the outside of one of Lance's hands and the other hand he was gently petting the puppy. He thought about everything that had happed and how everything had changed for the better. He wondered what the future was going to hold for them all. Lance moved and tightened his grip on Caleb. Caleb just sighed and moved more into the embrace. This is not the time to think about the future, I should just enjoy the present. Caleb relaxed and drifted off to sleep.