Dance With Me:
A Love Thru Chat Short Story

By Billy Burrew

JC keyed open the lock on the door and smiled, yelling out, "Honey, I'm home!", as he dropped his suitcase just inside the door. Lance followed behind JC, also dropping his own suitcase beside JC's. Both boys were happy to be back in Orlando and both looked forward to the next few months of recording for their new album. Lance smiled as he saw Bill, his sorta-ex and now good friend, walk out of the kitchen, smiling and wiping his hands on a towel. Lance watched as JC walked over to Bill and wrapped himself around him, kissing him lovingly.

"Hey Josh...Lance..." Bill smiled, "You're both back early! I was gonna go pick you up at the airport after I finished cooking."

Lance grinned. "Our flight got bumped up...someone here was anxious to get back home and see you."

Bill smiled and pecked JC again on the lips, then walked over and hugged Lance.

"Well...mixed blessing then. The dinner I was preparing for us is not quite ready. I'll be done with it by the time you two catch a shower and get on some fresh clothes. You both smell like the inside of an airplane." Bill laughed, wrinkling his nose and winking as he headed back into the kitchen.

Josh and Lance laughed and headed back to the two bathrooms of Bill's apartment, shedding their clothes and taking long, hot showers.

Bill set the dining table and brought everything out to the table for dinner, then sat down and waited for Josh and Lance to finish getting cleaned up.

Lance finished up first and padded out to the living room, plopping down beside Bill on the sofa and smiling.

"Hey there. Whassup? The guys are all going out dancing tonight, kind of a celebration of us all getting a few days off before we go back into the recording studio. You gonna come?"

Bill shook his head. "Naah. I don't feel much like going out dancing..."

Lance crooked his eyebrow and frowned. "Why is it that every time we go out, you stay home? C''ll be fun."

Bill shook his head and got up and headed towards the kitchen as the door to the master bedroom opened and JC sauntered out smiling.

"I just don't like to go dancing, OK?"

JC walked over to Bill and frowned.

"You're not coming with us tonight? I really wanted you to come out and hang with us."

Bill sighed, "Look...I...I just don't like danceclubs. I just don't like dancing anymore."

Bill shook his head and walked over to the table and sat down, taking the plates and serving up hearty portions of the meal onto each one.

Lance looked and JC who shook his head and sighed, putting his hand up in a 'I'll tell you later' motion. The two boys then walked over to the table and sat down and proceeded to eat in silence.

After the meal, Bill got up and took his plate into the kitchen and washed it, then walked out past Lance and JC and smiled weakly.

"Hey guys. I am gonna go take some tylenol and lay down for a nap. My head kinda hurts."

Lance and JC watched Bill walk back into the bedroom and close the door.

Lance looked at JC expectantly, letting him finish chewing before asking him pointedly.

"'re his boyfriend...what was all that about?"

JC sighed. "You know about his friend Rick, right?"

Lance nodded. "Rick died of AIDS. He was Bill's best friend."

JC nodded. "He and Bill used to always go out dancing together. He died 2 years ago this month. Ever since Rick died, Bill hasn't stepped foot onto a dance floor. He just doesn't enjoy it anymore. Going out to a dance club reminds him of Rick."

Lance sighed. "Oh. Ummm...."

JC nodded. "I don't know what to do. I love him. I'll stick by him...but I think he needs to talk this out with someone who can help him. He shouldn't let his friend's death effect him like this."

Lance shook his head. "Let me talk to him. He and I talked about Rick when we were sorta together. Maybe I can help."

JC looked at Lance and smirked suspiciously. "Good luck. You know how stubborn he is."

Bill stood at the door of his bedroom, his head hung sadly as he easily overheard his friends' discussion in the next room. Tears burned at the corners of his eyes as he walked over to the bed and layed down.

Lance washed off his plate and sighed, then walked over to his carry-on bag and grabbed a CD out of it and headed back to Bill's bedroom. Lance opened the door and smiled as he saw Bill laying on the king size bed, curled up into a ball, soft music playing softly from the boom box on the other side of the room. Lance walked over to the boombox and placed the CD in the disc changer and keyed up the song, pausing it at the start, and then walking over and laying down beside his friend.

"JC told me why you didn't want to come out with us."

Bill nodded. "I kinda heard. Sound really travels in this apartment."

Lance winced at the harsh sound of Bill's voice, but resolved to continue, to try and help his friend.

"Do you think that Rick would have wanted you to stop going out and having stop dancing like you did when he was alive?"

Bill looked up at Lance and exhaled through his nose, anger and pain clearly showing through his eyes.

"Get out!"

Lance shook his head. "No. You need to talk about this, I want to help you."

"Fuck off. If I needed help, I'd have asked."

Lance laughed bitterly. "No you wouldn't pompous, arrogant jerk. You know, you're the most wonderful, helpful person I know, but you would never ask for any help. I've NEVER seen you EVER ask for help. It gets volunteered because you attract people and they see you need it and they give it."

"Pompous and arrogant." Bill smiled cold, humorless and mean. "I didn't realize you thought so highly of me, Poofu. Was this before or after we broke up?"

Lance's smile slipped for a minute and then he smiled again. "Nice try. Very nice. You think if you get me mad enough I'll just leave.'re wrong. So...just stop trying."

Bill frowned. "Lance...please....don't"

Lance shook his head. "Is this what Rick would have wanted? You to be like this? I am your friend. If I died, I wouldn't want you to keep my memory like this. To be saddened so much that you no longer went out and had fun doing things just because we did them when I was alive."

Tears fell from Bill's face as Lance spoke, as Lance's words struck home, and laid bare the pain of his friend's death.

"I want you to listen to this. You know, I didn't get to meet Rick, but I think, from what you have said of him, I think he'd much rather you remember him like this."

Lance walked over to the boombox and pushed play and turned up the volume, then he walked out of the room.

Bill sat up in bed and listened to the song that his friend had played for him.

I Hope You Dance
By Lee Anne Womack

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat
But always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

I hope you still feel small, when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give fate the fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

I hope you dance ....
I hope you dance ....

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin' might mean takin' chances, but they're worth takin'
Lovin' might be a mistake, but it's worth makin'

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Don't let some hell bent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out, reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

I hope you dance
(Time is a wheel in constant motion)
I hope you dance
(Always rolling us along)
I hope you dance
(Tell me who)
I hope you dance
(Wants to look back on their years and wonder)
I hope you dance
(Where those years have gone)

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

I hope you still feel small, when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Dance ....
I hope you dance
I hope you dance
(Time is a wheel in constant motion)
I hope you dance
(Always rolling us along)
I hope you dance
(Tell me who)
I hope you dance
(Wants to look back on their years and wonder)
I hope you dance
(Where those years have gone)
(Tell me who)
(Wants to look back on their years and wonder)
(Where those years have gone)

Somewhere around the second verse Bill fell back onto the pillows and began to weep, overcome by the grief that seemed to pour out of the place in his heart where the song had touched him.

JC opened the door after the song had finished and crept over to the bed and layed down beside his lover.

"Bill? You OK?"

Bill's eyes opened and he sniffed and shook his head.

"Dance with me, Josh, please."

JC's eyes blurred with his own tears as he walked over to the boombox and hit replay, starting the song again. Bill got up off the bed and stepped up to JC, wrapping his arms around him as the two began to slow dance.

JC looked up at Bill's face in the middle of the song and his eyes widened at the mask of grief mixed with release and joy that affixed Bill's visage. As the song progressed, the grief began to wane, and slowly become something else....a sort of healing.

Bill leaned down and kissed JC passionately on the lips, letting his tongue slide into the other man's mouth.

"Thank you Josh. You and Lance made me realize that what I was doing was wrong. Rick wouldn't have wanted me to stop having fun...Rick made dancing fun for me....and he wouldn't have liked me to be sad and not dancing anymore because he was gone."

Josh sighed and silently thanked Lance.

Bill looked up and smiled. "Is Lance still here?"

JC shook his head. "He didn't think you'd want to see him after he played that song, so he headed back to his place to get dressed and ready to go out. He was kinda upset."

Bill nodded sadly . "I said a few things to him that were said in anger. I was trying to bait him and I just ended up hurting him."

"Go get dressed and let me get ready and we can surprise him tonight and I can apologize to him."

JC's eyes widened and he smiled. "You're gonna go?"

Bill nodded and smiled. "Yeah. I kinda feel like dancing."

Lance, Justin and Chris sat at the large, secluded table of the nightclub in Orlando, watching the people dancing below them as they sipped their drinks. Joey was downstairs at the bar, getting a fresh round of drinks for everyone when he heard a familiar voice.

"Hey Superstud!"

Joey's jaw hit the bar as he turned and saw JC standing there beside Bill, both dressed to dance, in leather pants and tight shirts.

"Bill?!" Joey smiled as he looked at his friend. "What are you doing out here. I thought you hated clubs?"

Bill smiled and shook his head. "No...I just had to have a friend show me how much I really missed going out and having fun with friends."

Joey raised his eyebrows at the cryptic response. "OK..."

Bill grinned. "Where's Lance. I owe him a dance."

Joey snickered. "He's upstairs with the fellas. Good luck getting him on the dancefloor, he doesn't like to dance much either, he thinks he sucks."

Bill rolled his eyes. "Joey....go take your drinks up and you and Josh bring him down here...I'll take him from there."

Bill waited behind the stairs as the guys walked up and grabbed Lance and walked him down to the dance floor.

Lance looked around and shrugged at JC, who stood smiling at him as he watched Bill approach Lance from behind and place his arms around him in a backwards hug.

Lance jumped as he felt the arms encircle his waist and a hoarse voice whisper into his ear.

"Hey baby...wanna dance?"

Lance turned and smiled as he recognized the person holding him.

"Hey....I didn't think you'd wanna talk to me for a while."

Bill shook his head. "I owe you an apology...and a big thanks. I didn't mean what I said tonight, about you, about the time we were together. I was only being defensive....well...I was being a jerk."

Lance smiled and nodded.

"Don't be so ready to agree there Lance." Bill joked. "But really....I'm sorry. You showed me that I was wrong to stop having fun because Rick died. I have to let him go now and let my new friends in, let them make me as happy having fun now as I was when I was having fun with Rick. Thank you for that. Thanks for helping me."

Lance shrugged and smiled. "It's what any best friend would have done."

Bill nodded. "Dance with me?"

Lance shook his head. "I kinda suck..."

Bill put his finger over Lance's mouth. "I've not danced at all in the last 2 years. I think since you kinda sing and dance for a living, you have a chance to look REALLY good here...dancing with me."

Lance smiled and rolled his eyes as Bill grabbed his hand and pulled him onto the dance floor for the first of many dances that they would dance together as friends.


The End