Standard Disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction and is not intended to imply anything about the true sexuality of the celebrities mentioned or with any personal knowledge about their private lives.
Author's Note: I want to apologize that this has taken as long as it has to publish this year. This year I have had many things going on, including taking care of my elderly parents, my job, horrible sleeping problems, and a severe case of writers block. I didn't really mean to leave it this long, but I am glad that I have chapters 6 - 8 ready for you. Merry Christmas to all my Readers!
Standard Note: As with the last several chapters, you may recognize some of this from the original version of the story.
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Josh and Aidan continued their date, where Josh learned more about Aidan. He was shocked to learn that Aidan had attended Julliard. Aidan finally told Josh that he was rich, which shouldn't have been much of a shock, considering the cars that Aidan drove, but it was.
Josh and Aidan went back to Josh's hotel room, and had a lovely evening. They took a bath together, toweled each other off, had a rousing bit of frotting, and cuddled for the night. Aidan told Josh that he could take as much time as he needed before they first had anal sex.
When Josh and Aidan discussed him coming on tour with him, Josh called to get Aidan a job on the tour so he wouldn't be bored and would have a reason to be there. He found out that Justin had already called and gotten Aidan a position with the tour. Being the smart man that Josh is, he quickly figured out Justin's motives and called him out on it. At the end of the chapter, Justin and Josh are not speaking.
Josh and Aidan talk every night, but miss each other quite a bit. It's still almost a month before Aidan finishes school and can be with Josh. Aidan's parents buy him a house for a graduation present in Orlando. Josh asks Aidan if he can move in with him as his roommate. A big step for their recently budding relationship, but it's one that Aidan makes with only some hesitation.
The New House
"I really hope the house isn't a complete disaster," Aidan commented to Josh as they drove out to the property from the airport. "I really want to move my stuff out of storage, but I want to make sure that the house is okay and what I expect before I sign the final paperwork."
"I agree, no need to make a bad investment either," Josh nodded, understanding how disconnected Aidan was feeling at the moment. "When you can get your stuff and move in properly, you'll feel more settled with your own things around you."
"Though, I have this really odd feeling that something is either wrong with the house, or the realtor has forgotten to tell me something. Does that sound crazy?" Aidan asked.
As Josh pulled up to the house at the address Aidan had given him, Josh said, "Well, normally, I'd have said ‘yes, it does,' but looking at that, no, definitely not: sounds more like you have good instincts." Josh and Aidan both sat dumbstruck in the car for a few minutes, not sure that they were at the correct address.
"Well, come on; let's go see what's going on." Josh urged Aidan to get out of the car and explore the property a little.
As they were walking up the main path towards the door, Aidan saw a completely different house than what he was expecting to see. Some of the features he recognized, but the majority of the house had been totally redesigned. The feature that Aidan liked best was a beautiful fountain in front of a large bay window that used to be the pool.
Aidan walked over to the left side of the house past the new fountain. As he looked through the bay window, he noticed that where the pool area was before, was now an expansive office. Frowning, he started to walk around to the side of the house to see if the house still had a pool, as he loved swimming. It kept him in shape, and helped him work out his frustrations when he was stressed out.
Just then, the realtor showed up, and he knew immediately why she hadn't told him about the changes. The hefty woman practically fell out of her car and stumbled toward them on unsteady legs, her mousy brown-blonde hair flopping around her forehead in an unkempt mess. Aidan wasn't sure if she was she drunk or wasn't good at walking in heels. Regardless of the reason, he walked over to meet her half way.
"You must be, Mr. Derikson! I'm Candace. I am so sorry about not calling you about the changes in the house, although I can assure you that the house looks one hundred percent better than it did before. When the previous owner relisted the house in such a short time, I just assumed that he hadn't done any remodeling. When I came earlier this week to air out the house, I noticed all the changes, and was shocked he didn't tell me about them. I mean he did increase the price some, but he didn't tell me why. I figured that the house was re-appraised for a new amount and that he was just reflecting that."
Aidan nodded as Candace spoke, not sure what to tell her. He did like the changes so far, and it did look like the house was larger than it was before. Aidan looked around and noticed several new bay windows, which gave the house the character it was lacking before the makeover. There was also now a fully equipped four car attached garage, which was a perfect addition considering the number of vehicles that would be parked at the house.
Candace nodded silently, aware of his disgruntled attitude, and quickly gave him the key. Letting himself in, Aidan was taken aback with wonder. The floor plan seemed to have totally changed, with the foyer opening up to large French doors that led into the back yard. Through the doors, he could see a large forty-four by sixty-foot swimming pool surrounded by a large concrete wall topped with the same kind of glass that used to be over the old pool, as far as he recalled from the initial specifications.
That was one of the features that Aidan had liked the most about the old house - that the pool was covered, so if it started to rain while they were having a party, it wouldn't ruin their fun. He was extremely glad that this feature had stayed, albeit in a slightly different way.
Aidan and Josh walked through the French doors, leaving the realtor in the foyer, to the back yard and looked around, spotting a high quality built-in brick grill on the right, and a very large Jacuzzi tub on the bottom left close to the house. It could easily fit five or so people in it at one time, which would be great for relaxing with friends. The neat feature was that the water ran off into the pool creating a lower ended waterfall.
Behind the pool, most of the back wall was taken up by a beautiful waterfall surrounded by plants and flowers. Whoever redesigned the house definitely had an eye for detail. It was obviously done by a landscaping company that worked with pools, as he knew no one that could have done this kind of quality work in the short amount of time that Candace had said it was listed on the market.
There was also a spacious little bungalow, again with French doors, that led to a moderate sized living room down a short walkway behind the pool. A large bedroom and an accompanying bath took up the majority of the bungalow. It also had a small kitchen with a built in wet bar that would be great for pool parties. The whole back yard appeared to be new construction, but there was a consistent theme between the house and the back yard.
"It is nice that the theme of the main house is continued out here, isn't it? It gives off a feeling that it belongs to the home instead of being just an extra part that was added on later," commented Aidan.
"Yeah, the French doors are rather nice. It will let in a bunch of natural light in the rooms. I think that this would be a perfect place for me to move into. I may have to store a bit of my stuff in the house, but I think most of my main stuff could fit in here no problem."
"If that's what you want? I think we can work around that," Aidan said as he smiled at Josh." Let's check out the rest of the house. I know it has three bedrooms; maybe we can use one as a storage room until we can figure out a location for a small shed."
Josh nodded as Aidan turned and went back into the house, looking into the office area, which had replaced the original pool area. Aidan silently wondered just how much money it might have cost to fill in a pool, but since he wasn't paying for that, he didn't really mind that he had gotten a much bigger pool in the bargain.
They walked around the corner to the new, larger kitchen. The dining room had also been expanded and now looked like it would hold the number of guests that he would have running around the house for holiday events once it was finished, which was a good thing. The previous floor plan showed a tiny dining room that jutted off from the side of the kitchen by the garage, but gave no real flow to the kitchen area. Now the whole floor plan was open, accessible, and very user friendly.
When they were finished with the main floor, they walked toward the stairs. Looking toward the foyer, Aidan noticed the realtor stood quietly in the main hallway, looking down at the floor. Aidan guessed she knew she had messed up, and was trying to stay out of the way by not showing them around the property. Josh and Aidan wandered through the house on their own, slowly moving from room to room.
"You know, Josh, I think I love this new design. I would need to change the color of the walls, though," Aidan mused.
They walked upstairs to the master bedroom, and Aidan stood in the doorway in complete shock. "Wow, look at this bedroom, Anidawehi. It's perfect!" Aidan exclaimed as he accidentally slipped into his mother's native tongue of Cherokee.
The room was large, and had a bank of beautiful windows and a matching set of French doors along the far wall that led to a beautiful glassed-in balcony overlooking the back yard and pool. Luckily, with the addition of glass instead of the original screen, Josh and Aidan could sit on the balcony and stay cool due to several fans mounted to the ceiling. The whole area seemed like a restful retreat fit for a king. Aidan loved everything about it.
"What do you think, Josh?" he asked, hoping that Josh would like the house, too. Even though they were at the beginning of their relationship, Josh was going to be moving into the house as his roommate. It would help that as their relationship matured, that he liked the master suite as well.
"Well, as far as the room goes, I love it. It looks so much better than the floor plan you sent me. It's going to be much easier to get it the way you want it than the original layout. Which saves you both time and hassle; that has to be a good thing. I wonder why the owners sold the place at such a small profit. Filling in the pool alone must have taken a lot of money," Josh mused aloud. "Though, what was it that you just said before? Anidawehi?
Aidan smiled, and a slight blush crossed his features. "Um, it means ‘my angel', in Cherokee. It kind of slipped out; I hope you don't mind." Aidan said quickly before completely changing the subject. "Anyway, let's go ask her. Um... Candace, I mean. I know Dad already paid the money, and the paperwork is just a formality, but we could back out and demand the money back because she didn't inform us of the changes. I also might want to call my Dad and see if he knew anything about all of this at all. I don't want to cancel the deal. I love that it has more space now, and that office was fantastic. I can't believe they put a bathroom in there."
After Aidan mentioned that he had called Josh his angel, Josh got a somewhat silly, goofy look on his face and started blushing. "Your angel, huh? I think I like the sound of that."
Aidan grinned, and then reached over and hugged Josh gently, nuzzling against his neck, whispering in his ear. "I am glad you like it. I know it's probably way too soon for pet names, but it just feels right. Anyhow, what do you think of the house?"
"I like the name, though I can't remember the last time someone called me that," Josh said with a chuckle as he cuddled into Aidan's embrace. "It is a rather nice house, now. That custom desk in the window area is just great," said Josh. "I do agree that calling your Dad would be an excellent idea before we sign the final paperwork."
Aidan lifted his hand to caress Josh's face and leaned in, kissing him softly. "I have wanted to do that for weeks."
Josh nodded. "Me too, Waya."
Walking downstairs, they found Candace sitting on the front steps waiting for them. When she heard the door open, she quickly stood up. "Did you like the house? I know there were many changes, but you really got a steal since the owner didn't ask for much more money, considering all the changes he made."
"Why exactly did he sell the house? To do all that work, and suddenly get rid of it?" asked Aidan.
"Well, from what he finally told me when I called, he does this all the time. He sometimes buys slightly older homes that no one seems to want, fixes them up, and resells them. Of course, he didn't tell me he did that to this one until late last Friday." She paused slightly to catch her breath and continued. "He led me to believe that he was going to be living in this house, and then he sent me a message about three months ago to re list it. It sat on the market because I was using the older picture of it, and then I got a call from your father saying you wanted it. So, I quickly took his offer and called the owner to let him know that it was sold."
She laughed softly. "When I came over here last Friday to air out the house for your arrival, I thought I was at the wrong address and called the owner. He said he made some minor changes, but he didn't mention the massive changes that were done to the home. He did apologize for not telling me that he had fixed up the house some, and said to let him know when the sale was final and hung up. I haven't talked to him since then."
"It was almost as if he was annoyed that it had taken me this long to check on the house! However, when he called I had so many houses to sell that I guess one had to suffer, though if he had told me that the house had been changed it wouldn't have taken so long to sell. I guess it's lucky for you that my assistant was new and didn't know the house had changed, so I guess that worked to your advantage in the long run, right?" she said.
Aidan nodded. "True, but he also could have dropped you for not checking the house out to see if there were any changes, and re-listed it for much more money. You are actually very lucky that you are getting a sale at all. I need to call my father before I sign the final paperwork. If he only did minor changes to the home, then someone had to do all of this work."
Candace smiled for a moment, and then frowned as she was reminded of her incompetence. After a moment of recovery, she remembered that she was a professional, and tried to act the part as she handed Aidan her cell phone to call his father.
Aidan and Josh walked across the lawn toward the garage to get away from the realtor while Aidan waited to get in touch with his father. Once Aidan was patched through to his father, he understood why the changes were so dramatic. When Aidan sent his father the ideas he had for improving the house, apparently, his father had contacted the owner and asked if he could go ahead and make the changes for his son as a surprise. After thanking his father, he hung up the phone with a bright smile on his face. Deciding that the realtor deserved some sort of continued reminder of her incompetence, Aidan walked back over toward her, pretending to be still confused.
"Well, my father says that I should go ahead and sign and we will figure it out later. So where should we do that?"
Candace steered them over to her car to use the hood as a table while Aidan signed the final paperwork. After he signed the last page, she smiled and took the pen. "Thank you very much, Mr. Derikson. Please let me know if you need anything further. Here are the keys to the house and the bill of sale. I will go down to the courthouse first thing in the morning and change the title for you. Your father paid for that, as well. Have a nice day, you two." Candace got back in her car and drove off, leaving them alone.
Aidan grinned. "Well, let's see... It's only eleven. I bet we could go downtown to get the power and water turned on by tomorrow or so. I guess it's good that I came down here on a Monday, huh?"
Josh nodded and smiled, "Yeah, guess it is. Tomorrow we can call the cable company for the internet and TV so they're ready to go when we have our stuff delivered. I think the main thing we should do after putting in the water and power requests, is to get a moving truck to move your stuff over here and get your vehicles."
Aidan nodded. "Luckily, I didn't need to set up a new bank account. So at least that's one thing that I won't have to take care of."
Josh nodded. "True. Changing banks is such a pain. You are lucky that you have a good international bank."
Fortunately, for Aidan and Josh, it didn't take very long to get most of their possessions moved to the new house. However, until they managed to finish painting, most of their furniture had been stored in the garage or in rooms that didn't need painting.
"Josh, do you think the guys were serious about helping us paint?" Aidan asked that evening, as he and Josh ate take out Chinese and drank a coke each, glad to be out of the hot sun for a while.
"Kevin was. Why? Having second thoughts about it?" Josh replied.
"No, no... I just didn't want to presume, you know?"
"Stop worrying so much. You know they wanted to help. I suggest we let them. They'll be happy, we'll have the painting done: win-win all ‘round," Josh explained with a grin. "Besides, it's a great excuse for a house warming party before Christmas."
Not responding to the comment, Aidan grinned and spoke. "Come on, you: bed! It's been a long day of moving stuff." Josh stood pulled Aidan up from the chair they had both been lounging in, pushing him towards the stairs, while he walked outside the back door to his own modest home.
The New House Party - Dec 15, 1999
While Josh called the bands to arrange for them to come over and help paint the house, Aidan went shopping for paint for the walls, other painting accessories, and food for the barbeque later on. Aidan was excited to be able to break in the great barbeque in the back yard. Aidan was glad that his father had added it, though he hadn't thought to add it to his own renovation plans before.
Luckily, the painting wouldn't take as long as it would if the whole house needed to be painted. Aidan and Josh had gotten together and realized that there were only a couple of rooms that actually needed to be repainted. This meant that the house was painted in no time, and the group actually had quite a bit of fun.
While they were painting and later during dinner, they all took the time to get to know each other better. This finally encouraged both bands to foster friendships that were not encouraged in the past to blossom. So far Aidan had only really gotten to know *NSync, now he was getting to know both of them.
Several days later, when the paint was dry and the bigger pieces of furniture had been moved in, the house looked more like a home. The office was just pure pleasure for Aidan with its custom-made bay window desk, which was turning out to be a quite nice addition. The side of the desk wrapped around to the door to give more than one surface for a computer, so that Josh's laptop could also be in the office and they would have plenty of workspace for both of them to use.
Overall, Aidan couldn't be happier. He had a home of his own, a boyfriend, and many great new friends. The groups had decided that since everyone had to stay in Orlando for the lawsuit, they would all come to Aidan's house for Christmas. Aidan was a bit worried at first, considering that was a lot of people in the house at one time, but all the guys told him not to worry about it. Aidan decided that he should be more worried about meeting Josh's parents than how many guests were coming for Christmas. Would they like him? Would Josh stop seeing him if they didn't like him?
Aidan finally concluded that his Angel really cared about him, and he wasn't going to stand by and let them take him away. He would just have to show them that he was the best choice for Josh, and that he would do anything in his power to make him happy. That would have to be enough for them.
Planning and Bedroom Fun
Aidan was going nuts by the twentieth with worry about the party. He had wanted to hire a caterer to make a great first impression on Josh's parents, but the mothers of both bands just wouldn't have it. They barged in quite early that morning, bringing with them tons of pots, pans, and extra decorations. Aidan and Josh had put up a Christmas tree the night before, starting their first Christmas tradition. The mom's decorated the rest of the house, and they informed Aidan that they would be over early on the twenty-fourth to start cooking up a storm.
Aidan had always wanted a gourmet kitchen, so he was very happy to see that his father had included one in the renovations that he'd made. The kitchen had two large double ovens, and two six-burner stoves, which would easily accommodate the main group of women cooking. The unexpected bonus was that the second of the six burner stoves was in the center island, which gave the women the ability to cook from both sides of the stove and had another built in oven as well on the opposite side of the counter.
Though the kitchen would still be absolute chaos with so many chefs, the majority of the meal would be made with a minimum of fuss as long as the women could get along. Aidan had to admit that by the time they were done, the house felt warm, cozy, and welcoming.
That night before bed, Aidan and Josh were sitting downstairs on the couch, cuddled up watching a movie. Aidan nuzzled Josh's neck and whispered in his ear, "Do you think your parents will like me?"
Josh smiled. "Of course they will. My parents are cool with me being gay. They have known about it for quite some time, so it wouldn't be a shock to them that I finally got a boyfriend."
Aidan nodded. "I have never met anyone's parents before. I am just nervous."
Josh purred softly. "Well, my parents, luckily, aren't coming down until Christmas Eve, and I have planned an intimate little dinner party for just the four of us. That way you can get to know them without having everyone else around." Josh nuzzled in closer to Aidan and smiled. "Anyway, I know they will love you, Waya. I want to be with you, and that is all that matters to them."
Aidan smiled; that was just what he needed to hear. He leaned back against the couch and pulled Josh close for a kiss. He was surprised when Josh began to hungrily kiss him back. Aidan groaned, his tongue mingling with Josh's in an intimate dance as old as time.
Aidan's hand slipped down Josh's chest, caressing him all the way down his hard taut abs, his hand slipping down Josh's body to caress Josh's hardening cock. Josh moaned softly, trembling slightly as Aidan worked his magic on him. Aidan had been so understanding about Josh's wish to not have anal sex yet, though it didn't stop Aidan from showing Josh just how much he cared about him.
Aidan and Josh had decided on neutral territory for intimate explorations. Right off the living room was a second master bedroom that they had installed a bed into. Some nights they would lie there and Aidan would whisper Cherokee in his ears, as he would slowly caress his body. Sometimes he would just slowly stroke Josh's cock until he came, others he would lick his way up and down Josh's body and suck his cock until he exploded in Aidan's talented mouth.
Josh had never had such an attentive lover, and at first, Aidan wouldn't even let Josh repay the favor not wanting to pressure Josh until he was ready. However, Josh soon wore Aidan's resolve down, and the mutual stroking and sucking became a very exciting sixty-nine between the two of them.
Though Josh was still nervous, he knew that Aidan would never hurt him. He had decided that he would give himself to Aidan as a very special Christmas present. It would be really romantic, and would make everything between them just perfect for the New Year.
Aidan goes Christmas Shopping
It was the 21st of December and Aidan had only just begun the rest of his Christmas shopping. He had gotten presents for his parents, brother, Kent, Dom, and Drew, but nothing yet for his new friends in both bands, or for his new boyfriend.
Knowing he needed to take care of this as soon as he possibly could, he told Josh he was going out for a bit and took off in his Camero to the mall. After searching around for hours, Aidan couldn't figure out what in the world to buy for Josh that would be special enough.
As he was passing by the jewelry store, Aidan got an idea and went inside, looking for something extraordinary. He settled on a silver bracelet, which had a pair of small opal and peridot stones on each end, which was both of their birth stones, and asked to have it engraved.
"A very fine choice, sir. That will be the base price plus the engraving, so the total is eighteen hundred dollars," said the sales clerk.
Aidan nodded, pulled out his credit card, and placed it on the counter as he spoke. "All right. I want the front to say Auatseli Anidawehi, and then I want the reverse to say, From Waya. I will spell that out for you so it won't be spelled wrong."
"Very good, sir. It sounds like it will be very personal. I am sure he will like it," he replied, smiling at Aidan.
Aidan laughed softly and smiled. "I am surprised that you didn't say ‘she', though I guess the bracelet is a bit manly for a girl. I do hope he likes it. I have been shopping for hours and haven't been able to find something for him. It's hard buying for someone that can buy anything."
The salesperson nodded. "Can I ask if this is a relative or a boyfriend?"
Aidan looked at the man oddly, but shrugged. "My boyfriend, actually. I already bought my brother something."
The man nodded. "By the way, the name's Dan. Sorry if I am being nosy or anything, but my gaydar went off, and I had to know if it was right."
Aidan laughed. "Yeah, looks like its working fine."
Dan grinned. "Cool. Well, anyway, I can have this ready by tomorrow, or later on today if you need it rushed. I do all the engraving myself."
Aidan smiled. "Tomorrow sounds fine, what time?"
Dan looked at the clipboard with a number of orders he still had to complete for customers that day, quickly assessing how long it would take to do them. "I would say any time after two o'clock tomorrow."
"That sounds fine. I will see you then. It was nice meeting you. I still have nine other presents to find. It's so hard, finding gifts."
Dan ‘hmm'ed and nodded. "Have a nice day, Sir. See you tomorrow afternoon. I will call if I get it ready before two, just in case."
Aidan nodded again, "Thanks, I appreciate that."
Josh's Christmas Present
Meanwhile, Josh was also having the same hard time deciding what to get Aidan for Christmas. He had bought him a beautiful silver wolf head necklace and an arrowhead necklace charm to change out occasionally, but he just felt that wasn't enough. He called Lance, since he still wasn't talking to Justin, and Lance came up with a very neat idea. He suggested that Josh make a special CD for Aidan of himself singing some of Aidan's favorite songs. Josh thought it was an excellent idea, and sat down with a piece of paper to decide which songs to include.
After an hour or so of deciding, Josh decided to include several songs by Heart, including ‘Will You Be There in the Morning', which Aidan had sung while they were at the hotel. Josh had surfed through Aidan's CD collection and found out that Heart was one of Aidan's favorite groups, which he thought was an interesting choice. He also included, ‘Seasons Change' by Exposé, "Circle in the Sand", and "I Get Weak" by Belinda Carlisle. He had also added, "Wind Beneath my Wings" by Bette Midler as well, as Josh had always loved the song. Overall, Josh felt it was the perfect present, and he hoped Aidan would love it.
The Dinner Party - Meeting the Parents
Josh's parents were arriving at the airport early Christmas Eve, and he left the house about thirty minutes before their arrival time to go pick them up. To say Aidan was nervous would be the understatement of the century. Luckily, he had arranged for a catered dinner from a place that Nick had recommended. They were very professional, and were in and out with a minimum of fuss.
Josh had thought about waiting for his parents in the VIP waiting room, but he decided that chancing a mobbing at the airport was not a smart idea, so he was idling in the main parking lot. He was wearing a hat pulled down over his eyes, hiding himself pretty well.
After about ten minutes of waiting around, he received a call from his parents, telling him that they were in the baggage claim area. Fifteen minutes later, his parents came through the main doors. Josh got out of the car and stood waiting for his parents with a smile.
"Hey, Mom: did you have a good flight?" he whispered.
"Yes, we did. Let's talk in the car, dear - prying ears, and all…," his mother replied.
Josh nodded. "Good idea, Mom." Josh looked around for his father, who had just picked up their bags. Josh opened the trunk, putting the bags in back. He opened the door for his mother, and his father slid in the back seat. Josh walked around to the driver's side, got in the car, and started the engine.
"So are you staying with us, or are you staying at a hotel?"
Karen looked at her son and smiled. "I think we will just stay at a hotel and give you boys some time alone. I doubt you will get much of it tomorrow."
Josh was just about to insist that they stay with them, when he decided not to. He knew that Aidan was nervous enough already without adding to it by forcing his parents to stay with them. Josh actually was a bit surprised; usually Aidan was so strong and easygoing, but he was quite nervous about meeting Josh's parents.
Aidan did tell him that he had never met a boyfriend's parents before and was nervous that they wouldn't like him. Josh had to smile at that. If anything, his parents probably would love him at first sight and tell Josh that if he ever dumped him that they would give him an old-fashioned spanking.
Josh chuckled softly to himself. Aidan had nothing to worry about, though Josh felt he did. Aidan's parents were very rich with old money, from what he could surmise, and even though they had won their lawsuit today, which was a good thing, he certainly didn't have the money that Aidan's family did.
"Oh! Mom, Dad, we won our lawsuit today!" Josh exclaimed. "I haven't been able to tell Aidan, yet, but I am sure he will be very happy for me."
"That's wonderful, dear. I was just about to ask you for an update on it," she replied.
Josh nodded. "Yeah, the guys are all pretty relieved. Since Jive is being bought out, it's a good thing. We should be going through contract renegotiations soon."
Karen hm'ed to herself. "Well, that sounds promising. Didn't you mention that you had already met the new management?"
"Yeah. Well, one-half of it. He came to the concert with my boyfriend. He's his cousin," he replied.
Karen smiled at her son. "That is an interesting bit of information; Aidan's cousin is the owner of your new record company?"
Josh nodded as he pulled his car up to the hotel. Roy got out of the car, telling his wife and son to stay in the car so that he could check them into the hotel. After getting his room key, he asked the bellhop to take their bags up to their room, so he could go ahead and leave. Roy gave him a decent tip, hurried back outside, and got back into the car.
Josh started the motor, and before anyone knew it, they were pulling up to the house. Josh opened the garage and pulled the car in. "All right, before we go in... Aidan is pretty nervous about meeting you, so please try to get along with him."
Roy laughed. "Son, we aren't going to bite his head off."
Josh nodded. "I know, Dad. I just want to make sure that you know that he might act differently than he normally does out of nervousness, so don't get offended if…"
Roy looked at his son seriously. "Son, calm down. It's obvious that you care about him, so just give us a chance to get to know him. I am sure everything will be fine. Now, let's get in the house, because I'm starving! You know I can't stand airplane food."
The three of them got out of the car and walked through the door from the garage. Their senses were immediately flooded with all sorts of delicious smells coming from the kitchen. Opening the door, Josh stepped through and was about to call out that he was home when he saw Aidan leaning over a bowl, stirring something inside.
Deciding to keep things in English around his parents, he walked over to Aidan and wrapped his arms around his waist, hugging him from behind. "Hello, dear. Whatcha doing?"
Aidan smiled and let out a small, contented sigh. "Making some salad dressing. I didn't like the one that they were going to serve. I also told the catering company that I would make my own desert, so I already made that. I hope chocolate mousse is okay?"
Josh grinned and kissed Aidan's neck. "Chocolate mousse is great. Is everything almost ready? Oh, and Mom and Dad are staying at a hotel, and it's going to be a long day tomorrow, so I am sure we all could use our rest."
At that comment, Aidan stiffened and turned slightly to see Roy and Karen looking around the kitchen and dining room. He put a smile on his face and asked, "Are you sure that you won't stay with us? We have plenty of room for guests."
"We already left our bags at the hotel, perhaps next time, if the offer still stands." Karen smiled reassuringly, and began looking around the house again. "If the rest of the house is this nice, Aidan, you have a very lovely home," replied Karen. "Oh, by the way, I'm Karen; it's nice to meet you."
Aidan smiled, wiped his hands on a towel, and reached out to shake hands with Josh's parents. "It's a… great house; even better than I could have hoped for in the beginning. It's nice to meet you both, as well." Turning back to Josh, he smiled. "Um, why don't you take them on a tour while I finish this up?"
Josh smiled and nodded. "All right, let us know when dinner is ready, and if you need any help."
Aidan nodded. "Okay. It should be done in a few minutes, so don't take too long."
Josh and his parents left, following their son from room to room. The house was beautiful, and both of his parents told him so. They could see some of their son's influence as well, which really meant that he was a part of Aidan's life. They were surprised that they had moved in together so fast, but Josh explained that they were technically sleeping in separate houses; however, they had known each other for a year already, so it wasn't as if they just met, even though they had just met in person.
After the grand tour of the main house, Josh slipped his parents out to his little cottage behind the pool. The area was clearly Josh's influence, with deep blues and creams as the color palate. It was a nice little house, and it made both Roy and Karen happy that though they were together that they were proceeding with this new relationship like responsible adults. The living and bedrooms looked well lived in, not a showpiece that some people might have put up for appearance's sake.
Leaving the cottage, they made their way back to the kitchen to find Aidan lighting some candles on the dining room table. "Just in time, Josh. You want to help me bring in the food?"
Josh nodded and spoke to his parents. "Go ahead and sit down. We will be right back."
Josh followed Aidan into the kitchen and pulled him close. He lifted his hand to caress Aidan's cheek, giving him a kiss on the lips. "They love the house, and I just know they will love you, too. Just be yourself, and everything will be all right."
Aidan nodded, giving him another quick kiss. "Come on. Let's get this over with, Auatseli Anidawehi."
Dinner passed along quite smoothly, and they sat around talking for a couple of hours before Roy and Karen insisted that they needed to get to the hotel to rest up. The four of them piled into the car and took off for the hotel. As they got out, Karen pulled Aidan into a hug and whispered in his ear.
"You're a nice young man, Aidan. I haven't seen my son so happy in a long time. You take good care of him," she said as she smiled.
Aidan blushed. "Yes, Ma'am. I intend to."
Karen laughed. "None of that, now. Just call me Karen."
Aidan nodded. "All right, Karen. You two sleep well. We will send someone to get you tomorrow morning for the gift opening, and for lunch."
Roy moved over to Aidan and shook his hand. "Good night, Aidan. You two drive safely, and we will see you tomorrow."
Aidan and Josh got back in the car and made their way home. They both had a feeling tomorrow was going to be a very long day.
When all of Aidan's gifts were passed out, Kent pulled out several gifts for Lance, which made Lance look at him questioningly.
"What's all this?" Lance inquired.
"Just open it, okay? I... I hope you like them. I couldn't decide between two of them, but open the big one last."
Lance opened the first box and pulled out a graceful Italian Treble Clef Charm necklace, which caused Lance to smile. It was pretty, but still very manly. He opened the second box and pulled out a beautiful Italian two-toned gold cross. The cross was wrapped in a silverish gold; the center wrapped in a rope. It was the most beautiful cross Lance had ever seen.
He looked up at Lance and smiled again before picking up the final, large package. It wasn't very thick, but it was rather wide. Lance tilted his head and gave Kent a questioning look again, which just caused Kent to blush. Lance blinked. Kent is blushing? Whatever was in the package must be something special to actually make Kent look embarrassed.
He turned it over and carefully grabbed the edges, easing the paper away from it, revealing what appeared to be the back of a canvas in a frame. Pulling the rest of the paper off, he turned it over and gasped softly.
On the large canvas was a picture of a beautiful mountain scene, the sun shining on them, causing a glow about them. There was a little country house and a pasture with a pair of horses peeking over the fence. On the porch were a couple in an embrace, standing one in front of the other, and the one behind's arms were wrapped around the guy in the foreground. Lance pulled the painting closer to his eyes, noticing his own eyes staring back at him. Looking up slightly higher, he saw Kent's deep, fawn-colored eyes.
Lance looked up into Kent's eyes, captured by the look on his face. Lance glanced down in the right hand corner and saw 'Kent Stone' scrawled on the dark green grass. Lance blinked again. Kent had been worried that Lance wouldn't like his own painting? Lance was stunned. Obviously, no one had ever seen one of Kent's paintings before, because even his friends crept around to look at it, with several gasps filling the room. "It's... it's... beautiful..." Lance whispered.
Kent sat back on his heels, looking around worriedly. Not hearing Lance's whisper over the gasps of the others, that he thought Lance hated it. In fact, after everyone started crowding around it, gasping and staring at it, he couldn't stand it anymore. "If you don't like it, I'll... I'll take it back... You won't have to see it again..."
Lance looked up into Kent's eyes. "Not like it? Kent, it's beautiful! I would be really hurt if you took it away!"
Kent blushed. "I... I... really?"
Lance couldn't believe that this was the same confident, strong person that he'd been falling for. Kent was blushing, stuttering, and Lance liked it! Lance felt that he had finally gotten inside Kent's bubble, his personal space, and it was wonderful. Lance put the painting down to the side and opened his arms. Kent quickly moved forward and hugged Lance close. Lance whispered in Kent's ear, "It's beautiful, just like you. Later we must have a talk about this wonderful talent of yours."
Lance released Kent and handed him his gift. "It's not much, but I hope you like it."
Kent opened the box, which looked almost like the ones he had given Lance, and pulled out a very nice rope chain with an eagle clutching a peridot stone in its claws. Kent smiled. Lance had actually remembered that his birthday was in August.
Lance sat back and couldn't help but feel that his gift wasn't anywhere near as special as the ones he had received from Kent. Perhaps he should look for something else that would make up for the special painting.
Justin was hiding out on the back porch with tears trickling down his cheeks. Aidan had actually gotten him a present. Sure, he had gotten one for everyone else, but the point was that he didn't deserve one. He had hurt his best friend, almost hurt Howie, and Josh was still mad at him.
Justin couldn't remember the last time he had really spoken to Josh, other than brief conversations of a professional nature. He had tried to several times, but each time he received this look from Josh that told him that Justin was still not sorry enough. He had heard Josh telling Aidan not to follow him. It seemed that everyone but Aidan knew what he had done by now. The only ones who talked to him at all were Chris, and sometimes Joey. They both made it clear, though, that they were disappointed in his behavior.
Justin looked down at the Air Jordans: the brand new Air Jordans that included an autographed picture. How in the world did Aidan get them? The shoes were the ones that he had meant to buy for himself when they came out on the market. However, their release date was in late January. He felt really embarrassed now. He couldn't accept them. They had cost a small fortune, and Aidan didn't even seem to know that he had tried to break up their relationship. It just wouldn't be right to take such an expensive gift from the person he had tried to steal away from his best friend out of jealousy.
Justin picked up the box and slowly walked to the door. As he looked around, he noticed that everyone was either milling around in the living room or in the kitchen. Justin reached up, brushing back a few tears, and walked into the house. He found Josh and Aidan curled up on the couch snuggling, and walked over to them. "Josh? Aidan? Can I talk to you privately, please?" he asked.
Josh looked up at Justin with a slight frown. "I don't really think this is the time or place, Justin."
Justin looked down at Josh with pleading eyes, and then turned to Aidan, finding a confused look on his face. He lifted the box, looked at it longingly, and then handed it to Aidan. "I'm sorry; I can't accept this. I will explain later. Thanks for the thought, though." Justin sighed, turned away, and walked into the kitchen, looking for his mom. At least now, no one could say that Justin took the gift he didn't deserve.
Aidan looked at the gift he gave to Justin and then turned, giving Josh a confused look. "I thought he loved Jordan stuff. Why would he give it back?"
Josh pulled Aidan close and hugged him."It's not you, dear; it's Justin. I don't think that we should ruin Christmas with this small problem. Save the shoes, and in a day or so I will have him come over and we can discuss why everyone is mad at him, okay?"
Aidan nodded. "All right, but this isn't over. I want to know what's wrong as soon as possible. I don't want to cause a scene, but I don't like having secrets kept from me."
Josh nodded understanding completely. "I promise you will find out very soon."
The rest of the day went rather smoothly, though Justin seemed very quiet during the whole thing. Aidan glanced over at him several times, trying to figure out what was up, but Justin didn't even look up from his feet. Shrugging, Aidan decided not to worry about it. He had tucked the shoes safely away in his office to deal with later. It was Christmas, and it was a time to be happy.
Josh watched Justin quietly, and figured that Justin had finally learned his lesson. He knew once Justin saw those shoes that he would want them pretty badly. He couldn't believe that Aidan was able to get them; his father must have a lot of connections, considering they weren't even on the market yet.
After several hours, most of the others went home, including Justin, who seemed to be acting like a lost child instead of the normal, confident young man that Josh knew him to be. Josh sighed. He would forgive him after he told Aidan what happened. Luckily, Justin hadn't succeeded with his plan, so hopefully Aidan wouldn't be too upset with him. Finally, everyone went home and Josh and Aidan were alone. Aidan went upstairs, collapsing into bed and falling into a very tired sleep, while Josh slipped into his own little home, and joining him in slumber.
Frequently used Cherokee Words:
ah jay lee
ah knee dah way he