"Oh god what are we going to do Howie, I cannot be the sane one here and hold everyone else's hand. I feel so pulled in every direction, trying to be there for everyone all the time. When do I grieve and who is going to be there for me." Chris began to cry
"Chris I will be there for you and so will the others. Were there for each other man, yes the others are taking it bad and we have to support them but they will be there for us. Make a pact with me that we will be there for each other ok. I don't know how the others are doing it. And the worst is its not over yet. The funeral is in a couple of hours lets just try and be there for each other and everyone else. God I wish this day were over." Howie too started to cry "But I know that when its over it becomes final, you know what I mean"
"Yeah Howie I understand, we better start gathering the troops God I wish this day never came" Chris wiped his eyes and made his way back into the house followed closely by Howie.
"Joe where's everyone" Chris had hoped for a response but in his heart he knew better, it was scaring him, Joe just shut down ever since they had received the news went into this quiet state showing no emotion. Everyone was concerned. He would spend most of his days just sitting in a corner curled up with knees to his chest rocking back and forth not responding. He barely ate, even then you had to basically feed him and then he only ate a little bit.
"Chris has he said anything to you, I am more worried for him then anyone. He's holding it in and not grieving this is not good. When he does finally grieve it is not going to be good."
"Howie I know I am trying every therapist trick to get him to open up and its just not working, but I know that it will just take time. He will and maybe today when he's at the funeral things will finally break and he will grieve. I knew he loved him but never figured how much until this happened."
"I never realized how much he meant to me until he was gone as well. Poor Brian and Leighanne, I can't believe it"
"I know it's a sin to outlive your child, that's not the way it's supposed to be."
Just then Nick came down over the stairs dressed in a dark blue suit and made his way over to his to friends. The last few days had taken their toll on him his eyes had lost that shine and the bags under them were evident from lack of sleep. He looked aged well beyond his years.
"Hey guys" Nick approached them "Is Joey going to be ok."
"That's the million dolor question my friend" Chris responded while gazing at his friend.
"Nick where is everyone else we had better get going soon."
"Mel is up stairs she will be down in a minute, and Kev called they are on their way" I believe B and Leighanne are in the nursery in the guest house, and Justin and Josh are up stairs trying to get Lance ready. They had to medicate him again I don't know if it's a good idea to take him but he refuses to stay put."
"How is Melissa doing Nick"
"I am fine thank you. Well as fine as I can be considering that I am burying the man that for all intents and purposes was my father."
Nick moved over and quickly wrapped his arms around his fiancÚ waist and held her tight; she turned herself around to stare at her family. She watched them as they watched her waiting for her to break down. Well not here she wouldn't do it here. There was a time for later. And she had cried enough today I don't think she could cry anymore if she tried. Thank god for Nick she had him for support he was her rock, he had broken down only once over the past few days and she was there for him that's what family did they were there for each other and Nick was now her only family.
"Guys I really don't want to discuses this anymore there will be time to discuss this forever and its still won't change a things Caleb and Bastion are dead" she answered exasperated.
"NOOOOOOO HE'S NOT!" came a scream from the living room.
"He's not dead will you stop saying that. He is not dead I would feel it I tell you I would feel it. He's not dead, NOOO he's ...not... Dead. Noooo, ahhh he's dead Chris isn't he, he's deaddd"
Chris rushed forward to hold his friend as the sobs wracked his body. He just held him as the others looked only with fresh tears in their eyes not only for their lost friend but also for the friend before them that has come back to them. Chris realizes that this was the first step of a long struggle for Joey but with help and support from his friends he would get through it. Everyone here was relived but one thought remained what would happen to Lance how would he go on. Unlike Joey he has been visible shaking and grieving letting it go barely able to focus on anything. They had become concerned, he spent the last two days heavily medicated to keep him calm but that would work only so long.
Lance's parents had not arrived and sent half-hearted condolences to Brian and Leighanne but none to Lance. They were not concerned about Lance's loss. They never accepted Lance and thus never accepted Caleb. His death meant nothing to the people who refused to admit he existed. No-one knew if it bothered Lance he barely spoke of them. He left them and chose Caleb years ago. I doubt he even noticed the slight that was given to him and his fiancÚ.
"Here Lance give me your arms, Josh help me with this jacket."
Justin and Josh had spent the better part of the morning getting Lance ready. They had to medicate him again to calm him down. He was so drugged it was unnatural his eyes were hazy from a combination of drugs and tears it was a site to break your heart. He had given up on life, and the guys were scared.
"There Justin were done, Lance here put your shoes on we have to get ready." Lance moved slowly and robotically putting his shoes on then he sat up on the bed waiting, staring forward.
"I miss him guys, my heart feels like it was ripped in two, there's a void in my chest. It feels so weird, so cold. What am I going to do without him. " Lance's voice sounded so small. Justin and Josh sighed not knowing what to say or how they could even begin to take away there friend's pain.
"I know Lance, I don't know what to tell you, just that we have to take it one day at a time. We will be here for you dude and so will Melissa she is going to need you," Josh answers
"I don't want to be there for her or anyone I just want to die, just let me die please," Lance begged
"Stop that talk now Lance. Get on with your life, would Caleb let you get away with this, would Caleb put up with this! No he wouldn't, he wouldn't want you to give up or he wouldn't give up. If you respected his memory you would live by the way he lived ..."
"Jus calm down ok."
"No Josh he needs this to be said I will not stand back and watch another friend slip away."
"You are right Justin I'm sorry Caleb deserved better, it's just so hard to want to go on." Lance let a few remaining tears escape.
A few days earlier
"Caleb no you can't do this, I wont let you"
"You won't let me James" Caleb smirked
" No I won't, its too dangerous, let someone else do it, I have a bad feeling about this."
"Is that what you truly want, would you be able to live with yourself if something happened to Sebastian, He is a small child a baby, could you look yourself in the mirror if that happened."
"No ... I guess not"
"Then let me go nothing is going to happen"
"Famous last words Caleb after everything that happened we are finally back together and I am afraid its no going to last"
"What you have no faith in us! in me!"
"No Caleb it's not that."
"Then listen to me when I say this I promise you I will be back no matter what. I will be back. Nothing will stop me from coming back"
Lance looked at his feet letting a few tears drop "I'm just scared about this for you and for Bastion. I don't want to lose you"
"I know you are and so am I but I made a promise to you now and I don't go back on my word" Caleb lifted Lance's chin up to look into his eyes " do I?
"No you don't, go C just get back to me I wanna marry you."
Caleb leaned in and gave him a kiss on the lips; they held each other for a few minutes before Caleb turned to leave. I will be back James, I promise nothings going to keep me away."
"Lance we need to go come on."
They left and walked down stairs together to met with their friends. AJ and Kevin had arrived, AJ was here with Kevin's mom, Anne. She had taken it hard when Kevin called her about the news and had flown in to be by her son's side. She immediately moved towards Lance when she had noticed him. Anne considered Caleb on of her own boys and as much as Lance's parent denied their existence Anne had welcomed him into her family.
"Lance sweetie" she embraced him to her body, Lance didn't respond but fell into the embrace and accepted her condolences
"Where's Kevin at AJ"
"He went out to the in the guest house to check on Brian and the family with Howie"
"Of course" Justin pulled AJ away from the group to talk to him "AJ how has Kevin held up through this. I know it may be a stupid question but he is always so together for us. I am worried"
"Its ok Justin we are doing ok. I am there for him and he is there for me. Kevin is not the paragon of strength when we are not alone he is grieving for both of them I appreciate the concern and so does Kevin but you focus on Lance for us ok"
"Oh I will you didn't even need to ask, Brit and I are going to move in here for a while to help"
"I just can't wait for this day to be over" AJ spoke as he looked out the window towards the guesthouse where even more sadness had enveloped the tiny structure.
"Brian Kev is here" Leighanne spoke through the closed door she didn't get a response, nor did she expect, she slowly opened the door and let Kev in the room.
"Here Kev he's been here a while I am going back with Harold and Jackie, I can't go in there its just to hard"
"Its ok Leighanne I'll talk to him and will meet you up at the house."
"Leighanne leaned up and gave him a kiss on the cheek her eyes rich with fresh tears. Kev walked into the room. Brian was standing over the crib staring forward out of the window clutching a tiny brown bear towards his chest.
"Brian I came to get you we are going up to the house we will be leaving soon."
"He was such a handsome baby boy, wasn't he Kev?"
"Yeah Bri he was gorgeous he took after me"
Brian cracked a smile, however Kevin couldn't see it from where he was standing behind Brian. Kevin reached out and placed his hand on Brian's shoulder to let him no that he was there for support. Brian stood there for a while allowing the occasional tear flow down his cheek. He was determined to be in control and to be strong for Leighanne today. However he was losing this particular battle.
"Do you think they're in heaven Kevin, do you think God is really there. How could he take a child it's a sin to outlive your child." Brian's question startled Kevin. Brian had never questioned his faith before and this was a major turning point in his life Kevin wasn't sure how to respond.
"Bri of course there is a God, we don't understand why things happen but they have to be a plan, I believe that otherwise life would seem so cruel and I don't think I would get through this."
"I really don't know anymore I was sure but after this no, I can't believe in a God that would take my son from me whatever his reasons are. I lost my faith in Caleb that same day."
"How can you say that? Caleb died for your son!"
`That just it Kevin he promised me. The last thing Caleb said to me was that he would protect my son and bring him back to me. HE DIDN'T KEVIN. HE DIED AND SO DID MY SON!" Brian spun around to look into Kevin eyes. What he saw was rage as Kevin slapped him in the face.
" DO NOT! Ever let me hear you say that no matter how you feel. I can't understand you. He didn't do it on purpose just to spite and hurt you. He loved that baby like it was his own he was so proud when you asked him to be godfather. He walked around here like the cock of the walk sticking his chest out showing everyone pictures of his godson."
"I am sorry Kev but I can't help how I feel or the guilt I feel for feeling this way"
"I am sorry too, for slapping you, but if this is how you feel you can't change that. I ask that you keep it to yourself however."
"Brian darling we are leaving now"
"Ok mom we will be there"
"Come on Kev I want to get this day over with and put it behind me."
"That may not be possible Bri but lets go."
The church was standing room only family and friends gathered in mourning to pay their last respects to the dead and the ones they left behind. Outside was a mad house thousands of mourners were lined up outside the church held a bay by fencing and police. The church itself was small, filled with hundreds of flowers. Some thought that closure would never be gained in that Caleb and Bastion's bodies were washed away so there were no caskets before them today only a portrait of Caleb and Bastion taken at Bastion's christening. It was a beautiful picture and fitting. The reverend finished the opening prayer and asked for the Eulogy to be given, Caleb wanted quick and simple, a prayer and eulogy and a song that simple. Chris was asked to give the eulogy it was what Caleb wanted he left his funeral plans with Lance a long time ago. Chris was scared he had never been serious he wanted to do this right he couldn't understand why Caleb wanted it and why Lance insisted. All Lance said was that's what he wanted and that Chris would great. Chris steadily made his way to the alter his hands were sweating and he had butterflies in his stomach, he was never nervous performing but he wanted this to be perfect and he was determined to be restful to Caleb's memory no jokes. It took him two whole days to prepare this refusing help from anyone.
" Ummm I have spent the last two days alone trying to compose the proper tribute to a man that has meant so much to all of us gathered here today. Caleb was a great many things to a great many of the people here. He was father, son, husband, brother, lover and Finally what he was to me, my best friend. He enjoyed life, which was not always easy, but he took it in stride and with a smile on his face often hiding the hurt he was truly feeling. He was a person who valued trust and honesty among all things. I feel honored that in times of need he knew he could come to me. His was a friendship that meant so much to me, as I am sure others out their have there own particular story of how Caleb touched their lives. I must admit when I was asked by Lance to do this I was not sure I was the one to do the job. I have the reputation of being crazy and childish at times. I believe that I would do Caleb's memory harm by speaking. I know now that is not the case, Caleb knew that somehow and now I do. Caleb's greatest gift that he leaves to us is his humor he knew how to laugh even through the most difficult of times. He made us see the funny things in life not only see them but take notice. I do not know anyone that could be in his presence for any period of time without having a smile come to your face and laughter come into your heart.
Caleb I believe thought he life was not used to it's potential he feared he would not leave this earth better then he found it. I remember having this discussion with him at one of the low points in his life. He honestly could not see the lives he had touched and the things he did. He never saw them as anything special. He feared he would not be worthy of heaven. That in its self was not so strange when you consider how the world responds to gay lifestyle. But Caleb being gay was a tiny aspect of himself. I told him this and I stood him before a mirror and as he watched his reflection I showed him just how much he had done on this world in the short time he had been here that he had touched so many lives so dramatically that he had altered the very lives of those around him. I was privileged to be there to see this revelation dawn upon him as he finally realized for himself the good things he had done. I am honored to have known this man and to have called him friend and brother. He has enriched my life in ways that he will never be able to know. That is the one regret that I carry with me today. I regret he could not be here today so that I may be given the opportunity to show him how he has touched my life. I will not dwell on these regrets I will take a notes from Caleb and how he lived his life, in the form of his favorite poem, by William Ernst Henley
Out of the darkness that covers me Black as the pit from pole to pole I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul
In the fell clutch of circumstance I have no winced Nor cried aloud Under the bludgeoning of chance my head Is bloody but unbowed
It matter not how straight the gate How charged with punishment the scroll I am the master of my fate I am the captain of my soul.
Chris left the alter and headed back to his seat next to Joey. When Chris sat down the tears were evident in his eyes and he let them fall freely. Joey reached over and took Chris's hand and held it. He gave Chris a small smile and turned his attention back to the minister who was again leading the congregation in another reading from the bible. The minister then asked for Brian to come forward. Brain came forward and sat down on the alter taking the acoustic guitar that had been placed there earlier. He then began to play tears in heaven by Eric Clapton. Brian eyes were dry; he got up and walked back to his seat as he stopped at the portrait of his son. He kissed his fingers and then laid them against his son's forehead then continued back to the pew. The service was almost over there was only one thing left. Kevin got up and walked to the church organ and began to play Angel by Sarah McLaughlin in Caleb's honor.
Angel (Sarah McLaughlin)
Spend all your time waiting for that second chance For a break that would make it okay There's always one reason to feel not good enough and it's hard at the end of the day I need some distraction, oh beautiful release, memory seeps from my veins Let me be empty and weightless and maybe I'll find some peace tonight. In the arms of an angel Fly away from here From this dark cold hotel room and the endlessness that you fear You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie You're in the arms of an angel May you find some comfort here? So tired of the straight line and everywhere you turn There are vultures and thieves at your back and the storm keeps on twisting You keep on building the lie That you make up of all that you lack It don't make no difference Escaping one last time It's easier to believe in this sweet madness oh This glorious sadness that brings me to my knees You're in the arms of and angel May you find some comfort here?
When he was finished the service was over and the procession of mourners began. Family and friends were meeting afterwards at Caleb and Lance's like they had the pervious days. Being of Irish heritage Caleb had always loved the idea of an Irish wake and celebrating the life of the person rather then mourn. Today would be a little different however, Caleb's lawyer would be there and he would be reading his will.
"Here Lance have something to drink " Melissa sat down next to him on the couch and handed him the glass.
"The lawyer is here he asking us to meet him in the den for the will reading."
"Ok Melissa, I am ready as ever going to be"
"Then come on." she reached out and took his hands and led him to the den. Everyone else was already present. Lee, Brian, Nick, Chris, Howie, Kevin, AJ, Anne and Joey. Lance and Mel took a seat on the lather couch next to Nick. The lawyer stood up and made his introductions
"I understand the difficulty of what we are doing now and appreciate your cooperation in expediting this matter. "Mr. Sark updated his will approximately 11 months ago, he was planning on updating this Will he had called me to draw up the new paperwork unfortunately he had not gotten to it before his death. I am telling you this because you may be surprised by the Wills contents. I want to point out however that the will is still ever bit legal."
"First and foremost Caleb has placed Christopher Kirkpatrick and Howard Dourough as the executor of his estate. I will now read you the contents of his Will. I Caleb Sark being of sound mind an body do herby bequeath the following To Ann Richardson I leave the sum of 1 million dollars. There is also a codicil attached to this part stating that all medical expenses are to be covered by Mr. Sarks estate. To Bastion Littrell I leave the sum total of 3 million dollars to be kept in trust by Leighanne and Brian Littrell until Sebastian reached the age of 21. The lawyer looked up. Under the recent circumstances being Sebastian parents and legal heirs the money reverts to both of you."
Leighanne and Brian had been sobbing the moment they heard their sons name AJ and Ann had went over to console them while the lawyer continued.
"To Alexander MacLean I leave my stock in jive records and my controlling interest in trans con." To Nicholas Gene Carter I bequeath my art collection. To Kevin Richardson my friend and my brother I bequeath but one thing my medallion I return it to you so that they may be complete again." Kevin began to tear up all attention was on him. "I understand Mr. Richardson, that with the circumstances I am unable to give you this article." "Um Kevin I can help. I was going to give it to you later but it seems fitting now." Lance reached into his pocket and pulled out Caleb's medallion. The police found it and gave it to me." Lance handed the small medallion to Kevin he fumbled with the chain because of the tears in his eyes. Lance took his hands and held them open the clasp and put it around his neck. Kevin smiled weakly and began to rub the two medallions he wore around his neck. "Continue Mr. Jacobs" Lance replied. To Joseph Fatone I leave this house and all properties acquired while we were together." To Melissa Townsend I leave the remaining bulk of my estate to the sum of 135 million dollars."
There was a collective intake air from the people gathered everyone knew Caleb was wealthy but never truly new how wealthy a man he was. The lawyer looked up to see them then cleared his throat," If I may continue. Last but not least to Lance Bass I leave you my stock in freelance enterprises, with this I completely divest myself of any connection to you. This is all you get and all you deserve. I hope it keeps you warm at nights Lance."
Lance sat there in shock, it was like being slapped across the face. One last Fuck you from the beyond. And there was nothing he could do." Lance sweetie this was before you got back together, before you mended each other. You know that's not how he felt about you."
"Yeah that's right Lance the lawyer said he had made an appointment to update his will." Joey added
" I am going upstairs to pack guys I will be out of the house Joey before the end of the day."
" Lance, No stay this is your home you can have the house I don't want it its not what Caleb wanted."
"NO, he made is point clear there were too many problems between us, and I realize this now, I can't live here with the memories. I still have my house I can move there" with that Lance got up and left the room the rest sat in silence.
"This is not right Lance can have the house he can stay here, I know this is not how Caleb felt can't we do something Lance should not be alone" Joey pleaded.
"I am sorry everyone as I said this is Mr. Sarks last will there are no other copies unless you can prove he wasn't sound mind when he did this then it will revert to the previous will. I admit it will be long and trying to do so and be very public."
"This is terrible I am going to go find him Nicholas" Melissa stated
"If you could hold on a second Ms. Townsend, I need all of you to sign documents here so we may begin the transfer it will take only a few minutes"
"Go first Melissa and then find Lance." Kev replied