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Josh stretched, scratching his chest, walking down the condo hallway, yawning as he went.
He looked around the living room, smiling at its spotless appearance.
He walked into the kitchen, two violet eyes meeting his.
"Morning, my Lucky. You're up early. I awoke to find myself alone and unloved." Josh smiled, Lucas smiling at him as his man walked up to him, Josh wrapping his arms around him.
"You'll never be unloved, my Joshua. My love is within you. And besides, you're an idol to millions."
Josh lightly chuckled, kissing Lucas' soft lips, the two feeling their joined love.
"That ship's long sailed, my love. I'm not Justin."
Lucas smiled, Josh smiling back.
"You're wrong, Josh. You have your own talent that many admire."
Josh smiled, his hands going to Lucas' firm backside.
"You loved my talent last night." he said, Lucas smiling widely.
"That talent won't make you a celebrity, my love."
"Well, I could always go into porn."
Lucas laughed, Josh joining him.
"There come the millions."
"Yeah, they'd come alright."
Both men laughed, Josh kissing Lucas' cheek, smiling at the stove and the counter.
"Someone's been up for a while. I see the living room's spotless as well."
"I hate disorder, babe. It has to be clean and ship-shape."
Josh smiled, knowing his man was meticulous in his organization skills and life.
"You should have waited, babe. I could have helped." Josh said, Lucas smiling at him, his eyes going back to the stove and the frying pans.
"You were out like a light, Beamy. The drinks and my libido sapped you."
Josh smiled, snuggling against his man.
"Got that right, babe. You were on fire and I was lost in your love."
Lucas smiled, kissing Josh's cheek.
"You weren't so bad yourself, idol."
Josh smiled, looking into Lucas' violet eyes.
"I love you, Luke."
Lucas smiled, looking into Josh's blue eyes.
"Will you marry me, beautiful?"
Josh smiled, Lucas having asked him that question every morning since their engagement, the words a ritual of love.
"Same answer as always, my sexy man. I guess I've decided to settle."
Lucas laughed, Josh smiling at him.
"So what time were you up, babe?"
Lucas' eyes moved back to the stove, Josh staring at him.
"Around five, Josh."
"What? Babe, you must be exhausted? It was after two when we fell asleep." Josh said, his eyes glancing at the kitchen clock, the hour reading eight fifteen.
"I just couldn't sleep. Your warmth against me woke me."
"What's wrong, Lucas?"
Lucas smiled at Josh, pulling off the fry pans, dumping their contents into a strainer, sausages and bacon drained of their excess fat.
"Nothing's wrong, per se, Josh." he said, moving the meat onto a platter, placing it in the warming oven.
"Something's bothering you, Lucas. I can sense it."
Lucas' violet eyes met Josh's blue, the young man sighing.
"Coffee's ready, Beamy. Make us two cups and we'll talk at the table. I'll finish off this."
Josh nodded, the man heading for the coffee pot, Lucas shutting off the stove and putting the pans in the sink.
Josh smiled at Lucas as he sat down, handing the young man a cup of coffee, laced with cream.
"You're welcome, my love. Just the way you like it."
"Touched by an angel, perfect." he said, Josh smiling, Lucas sipping the warm beverage.
Their eyes met again, Lucas sighing.
"Something's wrong, Josh."
"What is it, my love?" Josh said, quietly staring at Lucas, the man seeing a look of weighing concern now in Lucas' violet eyes.
"I don't trust Sheridan Whitecastle, Josh."
Josh looked surprised, Lucas staring at him.
"Why, babe? Have you sensed something wrong with him?"
"It's not just wrongness, Josh. It's something else." Lucas said, Josh's hand going in his.
"Tell me, babe."
"I felt a stab of destiny when I shook his hand last night, Josh. As if he represents a duality on my path. Do you understand?"
"No, babe. What do you mean?"
"I mean the man is the opposite of me, Josh. I felt it when I touched him."
"You mean he's evil?"
"I'm not certain of that, Josh. It's just I feel that he's here with a purpose."
"You mean other than dating Justin?"
Lucas nodded, Josh moving closer to him.
"Is the man dangerous, Lucky?"
"I don't know, Josh. I only know what I feel. And
for me it isn't good. The man's not showing his true self, of that I'm certain."
"We should talk to Justin, Luke."
Lucas sighed, Josh staring at him.
"I've sensed it's gone beyond that, Josh. I don't think Justin would listen. He's fallen in love with him. Last night cemented that in his heart."
Josh looked confused, Lucas sighing.
"I love everyone around us, Josh. And in that love I have a sixth sense of their feelings. I felt Justin's feelings this morning. I think perhaps that was what woke me up."
"What did you feel, Lucky?"
"They've made love, Josh. Last night. I felt Justin's soul filling with the man's love. Sheridan Whitecastle has claimed his heart."
Josh nodded, staring at Lucas.
"And did you feel Sheridan at all?"
"No, Josh. That man's feelings I haven't felt yet. But I'm going to try."
Josh's eyes clouded with concern, Lucas patting his hand entwined with his.
"I'm sorry, Josh. I didn't want to worry you. It's just I know and feel in my heart that Sheridan isn't the man for Justin. I truly believe he's just using Justin."
"For his fame and notoriety? The guy doesn't seem to me to be a idol groupie."
"It's not that, Josh. I think the man's with Justin for only one purpose. And I have to find out if I'm correct."
"What purpose, Luke? Is Justin in danger?"
"I don't think so, Josh. All I know is what I sense. And for me it's not good."
"Well then we should talk to Sheridan. Make him show his true self."
"We shall, Josh. But not now. I need to talk to
someone else. And then I need to find out the truth."
"Who do you need to talk to? Justin?"
"No, Josh." Lucas said, the young man sighing.
"I said I sensed a stab of destiny. I think Sheridan
Whitecastle in some way may be a part of my family's past."
Josh looked surprised.
"How is that possible, Luke?"
"I don't know, Josh."
Josh stared at Lucas, the man realizing something.
"This was what was bothering you last night on the balcony, wasn't it? Not the introduction to fame."
Lucas nodded, Josh staring at him.
"Why didn't you tell me? Don't you trust me, Luke?"
Luke's eyes met Josh's.
"With my life and love, Joshua. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to not tell you. I just needed to think on it some more, and then to talk to the man myself. He wasn't very revealing in any of his conversations last night. The man's nothing if not careful. I wanted you to know this morning, I can't keep anything from you."
Josh nodded, seeing the love and total openness in Lucas' violet eyes.
He knew his love would never purposely hide anything from him.
"I'm worried, Luke. Justin's falling hard for this guy. If he's not above board, or deceiving him, Justin needs to know. I won't let the man hurt our Justin."
"Yes, Josh. He does need to know. And I'll make sure he knows the truth. I only hope our friendship won't be hurt by my being truthful."
"Justin loves you, Luke. He'll see your being protective of him."
Lucas nodded, looking into his lover's blue eyes.
"I need to find out the truth first, Josh. And Grayson Wainwright may have answers."
Josh looked surprised.
"You think Grayson knows him? He's that close to your unknown family?"
"I don't know, Josh. But I'm going to find out."
Josh nodded, Lucas smiling at him, leaning forward and kissing his lips.
"I love you, Josh. And I love Justin. I will always try to keep him safe. Right now he doesn't need to know our concerns. But I'm going to make certain I find out what's going on. Whoever that man is, I want him to be truthful to Justin and that he deserves our friend's giving love."
Josh nodded, Lucas smiling at him.
The two men heard voices in the living room, Lucas looking at Josh.
"Let's keep this to ourselves, Josh. Until I've
talked to Grayson and done my own search."
Josh nodded, looking into Lucas' violet eyes.
"Justin means the world to me, Luke. If you're right
this will hurt him greatly."
"I know, Josh. But destiny will play its hand, and life walks its path."
Josh stared at Lucas, the kitchen door opening, Lucas smiling at Trish, his sister smiling back at him.
"Morning, guys." she said, Andrew's arms around her waist, the man greeting Josh and Lucas as well.
"Your aromas drew us out of our warm bed, Lukey!" Drew said as he and his fiancée walked across the room, Trish hugging Josh as he got up from the table, Trish then leaning down and kissing Lucas' upturned cheek.
"I've ensnared the first two into my culinary trap. What of the other twosome of love?" Lucas smiled, Drew laughing.
"We knocked on their door. Finn looked like hell warmed over. And Skyler isn't far off." he grinned, Lucas smiling.
"They were both living the high life last night. The morning after always comes. I guess I'll make them some Advil Smoothies."
Josh laughed, walking back from the counter carrying the coffee carafe, offering Trish and Drew cups of coffee, the two smiling and sitting down at the table, Josh pouring each of them a cup, placing the carafe on the table.
Lucas smiled, rising from his seat, walking back to the counter.
The kitchen door opened, Finn and Skyler walking into the room, Finn wearing only pyjama bottoms, his hairy muscular chest on full display.
His arm was wrapped around Skyler's waist, the woman's head against his furry chest, her eyes closed.
"Good morning, Munchkins! We're somewhere over the rainbow!" Lucas grinned, Finn staring at him, Lucas seeing his bloodshot eyes.
"Tone down the euphoria, Lukey. My head's busting!" he said, his voice low and gruffly.
Lucas smiled, walking up to his two friends, kissing both on the cheek, Skyler's eyes slowly opening.
"The Advil Smoothies need not be prepared. This might help more." Lucas said, his fingers going around the stone around his neck, everyone seeing it softly glow for a moment.
Lucas smiled, raising his hands, placing his fingers on Finn's cheek, and on Skyler's.
Both trembled for a moment, Skyler's eyes popping open.
"Wow! I suddenly feel refreshed!" she said, raising her head, Finn's now clear blue eyes meeting Lucas'.
"Me too! Wow, I feel wide awake!" He said, Lucas smiling at him, everyone at the table staring at the young man, Lucas lowering his eyes, meeting Josh's blue quickly.
"My love moves on its own." he softly said, returning to the stove, opening the oven.
Everyone's eyes met Finn's and Skyler's, seeing their refreshed state, the two staring at Lucas.
"Luke. . .I felt. . ." Skyler said, Finn staring at his friend.
"You felt life's hand, my friends." Lucas said, smiling towards Josh.
"Can you give me a hand, babe? Our parents will be here shortly. Roy said he was heading here this morning for heaven's buffet. 'Screw the hotel breakfast fare, I need real food!' I think were his exact words."
Josh laughed, the others smiling at their young friend.
Finn and Josh exchanged looks, Josh rising from his seat.
"Coffee's ready and on the table, guys." he said, walking up to his lover, Lucas handing him a pair of oven mitts.
The condo's buzzer went off, Lucas wiping his hands and heading out of the kitchen.
"What's going on, Josh? Lucas just healed our hangovers!" Finn said, Josh staring at the man.
"I don't know, Finn. I felt almost the same thing last night when we climbed into bed. His touch made me feel so refreshed and energetic. The tiredness left me. We made love with passion." he said, looking towards the kitchen door.
"Your man may be gaining more magic. That stone's at its center I believe." Drew said, Trish smiling at him.
"Then you're going to be one lucky guy, my new
brother." Trish said, smiling at Josh.
Josh beamed, smiling widely at his future sister-in-law.
"I already know that, Sis."
Everyone smiled, the kitchen door opening, everyone's parents walking into the kitchen with Lucas, everyone rising from the table in greetings.
"That--my son--was heaven on a plate!" Henderson said, Roy seconding his words with enthusiasm.
"I have the Dads' seal of approval!" Lucas smiled, the man at the kitchen counter, his arms up to the elbows in soapy water.
"We should do the dishes, Lucas. You've done so much for us." Skyler's mother, Lorraine, smiled, others agreeing.
"Nonsense, everyone. I'm almost finished, except for the plates and cups." he smiled, Josh standing beside him, drying stuff.
"You're tired, babe. You didn't sleep much last night."
"I slept in your arms, babe. An hour there is like a century of revitalization, your love timeless."
Josh beamed, Finn gagged.
"Don't mind the audience, babe. Sky's used to the minute man."
Everyone laughed, Finn blushing towards his girlfriend.
"I'll take any minute in my teddy bear's arms." Skyler said, Finn smiling and kissing her cheek, the man now in a t-shirt, his hairy chest covered.
"I thought you'd be a walking zombie this morning, son? You hit the draft pretty heartily last night." Sean said, sipping at his coffee.
"I was, Dad. But my friend's love righted my path this morning." Finn said, Lucas's eyes glancing at him, the young man focusing on the sink.
"Oh, how so?" Henderson said, Vivian looking towards her son.
"We're not quite sure, sir." Finn said, looking at Lucas.
"Lucas healed us of our heavy hangovers this morning, Henderson." Skyler said, everyone's eyes going to the young man, Josh looking at his lover.
"Healed you?" Vivian said, staring at Lucas, the young man's eyes meeting hers.
"The magic of the stone cleansed their weary souls and bodies, Mom. It was mingled with my own love."
Vivian stood up, walking up to her son, her hand going to his shoulder.
"Your mother had the touch of healing, Lucas. She could make the tiredness leave any heart." she said, Lucas smiling at her.
"Really, Mom? She had magic?"
Vivian's eyes stared at her son, the woman looking at Josh as well.
"Your unknown family isn't the only one blessed with the goodness of life's magic, Lucas."
Lucas stared at his mother, then smiled.
"You haven't talked much of her, Mom. What was my real mother like?"
Vivian smiled, looking towards the table.
"Sunshine in human form, Lucas. Savannah could warm any heart. You are a lot like your mother."
Lucas smiled, wiping his hands on a dishcloth Josh handed him, the two trading smiles.
"Tell me about her, Mom." Lucas said, his arm going around her, guiding her back to the table, the two sitting down again, everyone smiling at them, Josh leaning against the counter, staring at his fiancé.
"Savannah was three years older than myself, Lucas.
But her love transcended ages. She always treated me as her equal, her best friend, her
confidante and her sister."
Lucas smiled, kissing his mother's cheek, Henderson smiling at his son's caring love.
"And you have mirrored her own heart, Mom."
Vivian smiled, kissing her son back.
"I am who I am because of her love, Lucas. And our giving mother's love."
"What was that side of my heritage like, Mom? My grandmother and her family."
Vivian's eyes softened, Lucas staring at her, seeing a look of remembered life on her face.
"We were of strong blood, Lucas. The ancestry of our
heritage burned into our souls. My mother taught my sister and myself our
heritage. The Carisles were a strong, determined family. I--and you and
Trish--come from strong stock."
Lucas and Trish smiled nodding, Vivian smiling at her child and her sister's child.
"My mother always said that Savannah was a very gifted child. More so than myself, but no less loving. She was so giving in that love. You carry the same trait in your heart."
"And my father? He fell under her spell as well?"
Vivian smiled, staring into Lucas' violet eyes.
"The same as Joshua has fallen under yours, Lucas."
"The man must have been beyond happy." Josh said, Lucas' loving violet eyes going to him, his smile for only him.
"He was, Josh. We all saw their joined love. It was as spectacular as yours."
Josh and Lucas both smiled at Vivian, her son's violet eyes staring at her.
"What was my father like?"
Vivian stared at Lucas, the young man smiling at her with love.
"You are a mirror image of your father. Your beauty transcends his. And your heart is as giving as his. In fact your heart is doubly giving, their joined love within you. You have grown into a living vision of their joined love."
Lucas smiled, everyone smiling at him, Vivian's words having a deep affect on the young man's face.
"I am the living vision of their joined love. I like that, Mom." Lucas said, Vivian's hand going to his smooth handsome cheek.
"I see their love and beauty in your handsome face, Lucas. But I also see your own self. You are a mirror of their love and your own. I think yours is even more spectacular."
Lucas smiled, the young man standing up again.
"As spectacular as my love is, it won't stop the hurriedness of the day. We have rehearsals again today at eleven, guys. Then the second sold-out show tonight. Then it's off to Philadelphia tomorrow. The road trip starts." Lucas said, the three singers smiling at him.
"Not quite right, Lukey. Justin canned the rehearsal for today. He said last night that we didn't need any more rehearsing. Last night's show we can easily duplicate tonight." Finn said, smiling at his friend.
"No duplications, Finny. I want every show to shine
on its own. We have to keep it fresh."
Finn nodded, smiling and standing up as well, his arm going around Lucas.
"Indeed, my friend. Tonight let's give them a peep show!"
Lucas laughed, others laughing as well.
"I'm all for riding a horse on stage."
Drew burst into laughter, Josh laughing and walking up to a now blushing Finn.
"You'll never live that neighing down, my friend." he said patting Finn's back, Josh's arm then going around his man.
"Looks like we have most of the day for ourselves, Beamy." Lucas said, Josh beaming.
"Great! How about a nice jog around the park?"
"Sweet! I'll try not to run you down again. I'll go slow, my old timer!"
Josh laughed, slapping Lucas's butt.
The young man smiled, kissing Josh's cheek.
"First we have to see the parents off, then we can run, babe."
Josh nodded with a smile, everyone rising from their seats, Vivian's blue eyes staring quietly at her sister's son.
She sighed to herself, her mind filled with the past.
Three hours later Lucas' violet pools met his Joshua's, the older man removing his sweat-stained athletic top, Lucas smiling and taking in his man's sweat-covered smooth torso, Lucas winking at him.
The young man stood in the living room, the phone to his ear, his own body clad in sweaty running attire, his bronzed skin glistening with sweat.
The two men had said goodbye to their parents, and the band's parents as well, Finn and Sky along with Trish and Drew driving them all to the airport for their returning flight to Wales.
Josh and Lucas had changed, a flirtatious task unto itself, the two men then jogging around the neighbourhood and through the park where Lucas now regularly jogged.
Lucas had smiled and admired his Josh's courage and resolve, the older man keeping up with him throughout the run, the older man breathing heavier though, Lucas softening his regiment, giving into the love he felt for this remarkable man.
Here now they'd returned to the condo, the phone ringing as they'd entered the room, Lucas answering it as his man removed his shirt.
"Hello. Lucas." Grayson Wainwright said on the other end of the line, Lucas smiling.
"Hello, Grayson. Thank you for returning my call." Lucas said, Josh's eyes going to his lover.
"It's nice to hear from you again, Lucas. How are you? Your telephone message seemed urgent?" the lawyer said, sitting in the study of Emerson's home.
"I'm well, thank you. I'm sorry if I alarmed you this morning, Grayson. I just wanted to talk with you about something." Lucas said, sitting down on a leather couch, Josh sitting down across from him, his naked torso in Lucas' eyesight.
The man smiled at him, Lucas winking again.
"I wasn't alarmed, Lucas. I'd say more intrigued
than alarmed. You were wanting some information?"
"Yes, sir. As the family lawyer I assume you are well acquainted with everyone from my father's and grandfather's past?"
"Yes, Lucas. I know all of their friends, associates
and contemporaries. It is a part of my job, young man."
Lucas nodded, smiling at Josh.
"I was wondering if you knew a man named Sheridan Whitecastle?"
The lawyer sat at the ornate desk in the study, leaning back in his chair.
"I'm sorry, that name doesn't refresh my memories. Who is he, Lucas?"
"He's a young man who's suddenly appeared out of
nowhere. I have a feeling or sense of destiny about him. As if he's somehow
related to me, or part of my family's shaded past."
"Interesting. Please describe him to me, if you don't mind?"
Lucas began a quick description of Sheridan, Josh quietly listening, Lucas' description spot on.
"He sounds interesting, and young. I don't know offhand of anyone meeting that description. Do you have a photograph you could send me? I have a large network of agencies I could trace him through."
"I assumed you would, sir. I'll see if I can obtain one. Until then could you look into the matter for me?"
"With pleasure, Lucas. You've intrigued me as well.
If you seem to sense something then I'm sure there is something there."
Lucas smiled, hearing the lawyer's trust in Lucas' feelings.
"You seem to take my word for gospel, Grayson."
The lawyer smiled, two piercing green eyes staring across the desk from him.
"You are a Belmont, Lucas. Their word is gospel."
Lucas smiled, Josh smiling at him.
"I'm not a prophet, Grayson. I'm only myself."
The lawyer smiled, his old friend staring at him from across the desk.
"I'm at your grandfather's estate, Lucas. Would you like to talk to him?"
"Alright, Grayson. Yes, I'd like to speak to him."
Grayson smiled, his eyes meeting Emerson's across the desk, the older man shaking his head no, raising his hand.
Grayson put his hand over the mouthpiece, looking at his friend.
"Talk to him, Em. You will feel his love across the distance." Grayson said, handing his friend the phone.
Back at the condo Lucas stared at Josh, his lover seeing a soft look of nervousness cross his face, Josh moving and sitting down beside Lucas, his arm going around him.
Emerson stared at his old friend, Grayson smiling at him.
The older man slowly took the phone from Grayson, the man taking a deep breath and raising the receiver to his ear.
"Hello, Lucas." he softly said, his voice edged with quiet emotion.
Josh stared at Lucas, seeing a soft look of calmness cross his face.
"Hello, Grandfather." he softly said, Josh realizing who Lucas was talking to.
"I. . .I am so glad to hear your voice, my. . .my lost grandson." Emerson said, Grayson staring at his old friend.
Grayson saw a single tear falling down the man's cheek, his eyes moist.
"It is with happiness that I hear yours as well, Grandfather. Until a short time ago I knew not of your existence." Lucas said, Josh's arm tightening around his lover, Lucas feeling his surrounding love.
"Yes. . .yes, Lucas. I knew not of your existence either. It is as if a new leaf has blossomed on the tree of my family's heart." the man said, Grayson smiling at him.
"A heart can blossom with newness and life, Grandfather. Seeds grown where they should, and perhaps where they haven't grown before."
The old man smiled, hearing the softness and calmness of the younger voice on the line.
"You have your father's way with words, Lucas. I hear his voice within yours."
"You hear his love also, Grandfather."
The older man teared up more, Grayson standing and walking around the desk, his hand going to the older man's shoulder, rubbing it.
"I. . .I don't know if I am worthy of that love, Lucas. It has been too long since I have seen him. And I have never been blessed with your own presence."
"Soon, Grandfather. I shall return to my family's life soon. The tree of our lives grows its own branches, Grandfather. I am the strength that will carry all the leaves."
"Lucas. . .I. . .I wish. . ."
"Wishes come true when held against a hope that was always there. We shall all bask under the shade of the tree of truth, Grandfather. I. . .I have to go. Please take care of yourself, and I'll see you soon." Lucas softly said, the young man hearing a final emotion in the older man's voice.
"It will be the dawning of a new life, Lucas. Your
coming will open all the gates of truth."
"I know, Grandfather. Bathe in the waterfall, it will soothe you greatly. Good day, sir."
"Good day, Lucas. Keep your own heart safe."
"I shall, Grandfather. Talk to you in person soon." Lucas said, the young man quietly ending the call.
Josh stared at Lucas, the young man raising his head, his violet eyes meeting Josh's.
"I felt his love, Joshua. I. . .I have a grandfather who loves me. I. . .I felt his love."
Josh smiled, Lucas sinking into Josh's arms, the young man pulled against his lover's sweat-soaked chest.
"Who couldn't love you, Lucas? Your soft words of opening friendship and love would sink into any unknown heart."
Lucas smiled, the young man wiping his eyes.
He lay against Josh's sweaty chest, the young man taking in the aroma of his man's exertion.
"You smell divine, Joshua." he said, raising his head, Josh smiling at him.
"I'm sweaty and stinky, Lucky. How can that be divine?"
Lucas smiled, his fingers going to Josh's sweaty chest, the man rubbing one of his nipples, raising his finger to his lips, tasting Josh's sweat.
"Divine indeed. I want to lick every drop of that
sweat off you."
Josh beamed, and softly blushed.
"You, on the other hand, reek, my love. Pee yew !"
Lucas laughed, slapping Josh's sweaty chest.
Josh smiled, his eyes taking in Lucas' sweat-covered torso, the man's t-shirt clinging to his body.
"You need a shower, my pungent beauty."
"Yeah, and I need to see all of that sweaty body." Lucas said, smiling widely. "To the bedroom, my sweaty stallion!"
Josh smiled, both standing up, Josh's hand going to Lucas' shoulder as the man began to walk towards the hallway, Lucas stopping and staring at Josh.
"Are you okay, my love? You just talked to your lost grandfather." he said, Lucas smiling at his man.
"Yes, Josh. I'm fine. I just felt a breath of life
flow into me. I felt the man's goodness, and his resolve. It's almost as strong
at my own."
Josh nodded, Lucas smiling at him, the young man's hand going to Josh's smooth chest.
"I have new family, Josh. And most of all I have you. And right now you're what I need."
Josh smiled, Lucas taking the man's hand in his.
"Screw the shower, Beamy. I'm going to taste all of you first."
Josh smiled, the young man pulling him towards their bedroom.
Emerson handed the phone to his friend, Grayson returning it to its base, the lawyer's eyes not moving from his friend's.
Emerson pulled out a handkerchief from his pocket, the man wiping his tear-stained face.
"The love. . .the love, Grayson. The love I felt in his soul." the man softly said, Grayson smiling at him, the lawyer sitting on the desk's edge beside his friend, his hand again going to his shoulder.
"I know, Emerson. I felt it as well that first day I met him in the airport. The smothering edge of his total being. It. . .it is overwhelming. I think he's who you imagine him to be, and perhaps even more."
The older man nodded, his eyes going to the portrait of his wife hanging over the study's fireplace.
"She knew, Grayson. All those years ago she knew the
truth in the foreshadowing of her own words."
The lawyer nodded, Emerson staring at the picture.
"'Into the den the cub shall walk, and the lion will growl its ownership. But a pride can live in the deeds of the younger cubs. And the old lion will perish in its own self-denial. A star will beckon its ending, and the newness of the world will show itself in its brilliance.'"
The older man stood up, walking around his desk, walking up to the portrait.
"The cub comes, Francesca. And Orion's star follows him. The young cubs will draw out the old lion. And perhaps my life can have some meaning." the old man said, Grayson walking to his side, his arm going around him.
"Your life always had meaning, Emerson. Francesca showed you that long ago. And your own heart showed you that. Your ancestors and your children's children will know of your sacrifice."
The old man nodded, staring at his wife's portrait.
"She saved me from myself, Grayson. And I, in turn, saved you. I only wish I could have saved Haven."
The lawyer nodded, his lips going to the man's cheek.
"Life is about choices, my old friend. We all made
ours, he made his. And I know that Lucas will make his."
"But his is a choice of necessity, Grayson. A choice that should never have come into being."
"Destiny is just that, my old friend. It is a path of life's choosing, and fate's intervention. That is the boy in a nutshell."
The old man smiled, nodding.
"I want you near him, Grayson. This man he spoke of
worries me. I think the old lion is beginning to awaken. And his spawns are showing their claws."
The lawyer nodded, releasing his friend.
"I'll leave for New York this afternoon."
"Take Carl with you. I want him close to you as
The lawyer nodded, Emerson's eyes meeting his.
"You'll lose his rejuvenation, my old friend."
The old man smiled, moving forward with a burst of speed, his lips meeting Grayson's, the lawyer lost in the energy he felt coming from the older man.
Their kiss broke, the older man smiling, Grayson seeing a sparkle in the old man's eyes.
"I don't need his essence of youth again, Grayson.
He's yours to do as you see fit."
"What. . .what's gotten into you, Em?"
The old man smiled, clapping his hands together.
"My grandson's love, Gray. I feel his energy across the universe!"
Grayson looked surprised, his old friend smiling, walking briskly out of the room.
Josh smiled, laying on the bed in their bedroom, his blue eyes following his lover's movements.
Lucas smiled towards him, the man standing in their walk-in closet, his naked body on full display.
"Come out of the closet, my love. You'll find clothes and your beauty will vanish."
Lucas smiled, looking back at his lover, Josh laying in the bed, a single sheet covering his naked center, his smooth chest on full display, the man propped up against the pillows.
"Closets usually contain clothes, my Joshua. That's what I'm searching for. We can't lie in bed all day. I have to feed my man."
Josh smiled, staring at Lucas' smooth muscled form.
"Feed my heart, my stomach can wait." he said, Lucas smiling at him.
The young man stepped out of the closet, the man pulling a pair of briefs over his revealed center, Josh pouting.
Lucas smiled at him, Josh lost in the beauty of the man's handsome face.
"I started the passion and it's moved on into your soul. Don't you ever get enough?"
Josh smiled as Lucas walked over to the bed, a pair of cargo shorts in one hand, a polo shirt in the other.
"Your talented tongue licked every inch of my sweaty skin, babe. You started the motor running."
Lucas smiled, climbing into the bed, leaving the shorts and polo shirt at the end of the bed, Josh wrapping his arms around his man, Lucas kissing his lips.
"And your shower attack was even more igniting,
Horndog. I feel so filled with your love. It's still warm inside me."
Josh smiled, snuggling against his man, Lucas feeling the clean freshness of Josh's skin, Lucas having washed every inch of his man, his own body feeling his lover's skilled touch as well.
"I don't think I'll ever tire of your love, babe. Or your fine ass. You send me to that place always."
"And you know of my love for falling water. Your making love to me under the cascading water always moves me."
Josh smiled kissing his man's shoulder blade.
"I love you, Lucas. And I love making you happy, wet or not."
Lucas smiled, Josh staring into his violet pools, seeing the happiness showing there.
"You're really happy, Luke. I see it plainly in your eyes."
Lucas nodded, snuggling more into his man.
"I have family, Josh. I have another family out there. And I feel their welcoming love."
"You don't feel the danger as much now?"
"No, I sense it still there. But I feel more now. My grandfather's voice felt so lost, so in need of me."
"Need of you, Lucky?"
"Yes, Josh. I think he needs my love more than I need his. And I sense I really want his. I'm actually now looking forward to going to Kurucu's Haven."
"If you sense that great a love in him then I'll welcome him as family as well, Luke. Your family is my family."
Lucas smiled, looking into Josh's blue pools.
"I love your loving them. The same goes for me and your family. I sense the love around me has doubled."
Josh smiled, hearing the tone in Lucas' voice, the young man loving Josh's family.
"They're smitten with you as well, Luke. Dad loves
your cooking and you, too."
"Well what's not to love?" Lucas said, smiling widely, Josh's eyes going over his man's near-naked body.
"Damn near nothing." Josh said, his hand going across Lucas' chest.
"Damn near nothing? You mean there's something?"
Josh laughed, Lucas batting his eyelashes at him.
"Well, your ass stinks at times."
Lucas stared at Josh with surprise, the man laughing more.
"Oh yeah? And you just said it was fine. Okay, buddy! I'll remember that then next time you want to play with it. It's probably your own breath you smell on it."
Josh laughed, Lucas smiling at him.
"Just kidding, my love. The hills of heaven are very aromatic, the scent filling my soul."
Josh smiled, batting his eyelashes, Lucas laughing.
"Playtime is over, my beauty. I heard Finny out in
the living room earlier. Justin should be here in a couple of hours. Then it's
time for me to trip the lights fantastic again."
Josh smiled, his fingers going to Lucas' cheek, the man lightly kissing Lucas' nose.
"My babe's a singing angel."
Lucas smiled, sitting up in bed, staring at his man.
"And you're even more of an angel of melody."
Josh smiled, seeing a new look in Lucas' eyes.
"I've been thinking, babe."
Josh smiled, staring quietly at Lucas.
"And what's my angel been thinking about?"
Lucas stared at Josh for a moment, then the young man climbed out of his man's arms, Josh watching him cross the room and go into the closet again.
A few moments later Lucas came back out of the walk-in closet, Josh seeing the leather satchel in Lucas' hand.
His man smiled at him, sitting down on the bed's edge beside Josh, Josh sitting up in bed, Lucas looking at him for a moment, the young man taking a deep breath, handing the satchel to Josh.
Josh looked confused, staring at Lucas as the man handed him the satchel.
"What's this, Luke? Your music?"
"No, Josh. My music's been played and recorded. The originals Andrew has patented and logged. They're in a safe deposit box."
Josh nodded, staring at the satchel in his hand.
"Then what's this?"
Lucas sighed, looking into Josh's blue eyes.
"I love you, Josh. This is the foundation of your future. The future I always believed you should have."
Josh looked confused, meeting Lucas' violet eyes.
"I hope I'm not stepping out of bounds, but I've felt the hidden want within your soul, Josh. This could be the answer to that need. Go ahead, open it."
Josh stared at Lucas, then opened the satchel, his hand reaching inside, pulling out a bunch of loose leaf pages.
He stared at them, his eyes meeting Lucas'.
"I love you, Josh. You are my second half. And I'll always want you to live life to its fullest. And as such, I have felt the need within your soul. You are--and have always been--a singer and songwriter, my Beamy."
Josh's eyes lowered, Lucas' hand going to his naked shoulder.
"Music is--and will always be--the heart of you. You mirror my own true love for music. Perhaps that's why I felt your needs so much. I want you to start singing again, Josh. Your voice should never have silenced."
Josh teared up, Lucas smiling at him.
"Lucas, I'm. . .I'm not. . .?"
Lucas moved forward, kissing Josh's lips, Josh calmed by the love he felt from his man.
"I won't allow you to say that, Josh. You are you. You're not me, or anyone else. You are yourself. I want to tell you something."
Josh remained silent, staring at Lucas.
"I always loved your voice, Josh. It was your voice that drew
me to N*Sync's music, not Justin's. In my heart and soul your voice is more
powerful and beautiful. Justin is a great singer, but your voice, for me, has more
soul, more resonating richness."
Josh smiled, staring at his lover, seeing no lie on Lucas' face.
"Yes, really. I have total faith in your voice, Joshua. And in you as an artist. It's time you have faith in yourself. It's time you returned to music, Josh."
Josh lowered his head, Lucas staring at him.
"I. . .I've missed it, Lucas."
"I know, Josh. I've seen you in the recording studio and at rehearsals and last night at the concert. I see the love in your eyes, and the longing to plunge yourself into that again."
Lucas patted the papers in Josh's hands, the two meeting their eyes.
"It's time to take the plunge, babe."
Josh nodded, his eyes lowering to the music he held in his hands.
His eyes scanned the first page, the man lost in the melody and lyrics flowing through his mind.
His eyes raised, Lucas seeing the awed wonder in Josh's eyes.
"It's a duet, Josh. Imagine two voices singing those words."
Josh stared at Lucas.
"You and me, Lucas?"
Lucas smiled, a soft blush coming to his face.
"No, Josh. As beautiful as singing with you would be, I'm not the second voice for this song."
Josh's eyes returned to the sheets, his mind filling with the dual voice layover.
His blue eyes raising, staring into Lucas' violet pools.
"His voice would be perfect. I've felt his longing as well."
"Justin. You mean. . .he and I. . .we could sing together again?"
"Yes, Josh. His needs almost match yours."
Josh smiled, seeing the love shining in Lucas' eyes.
"There are over fifteen songs there that I've written over
the years. To be honest, I always believed that one day I'd give them to you.
For it was your voice I always heard singing them."
"Lucas. . .there's so much. . .so much beauty and talent written here. Are you. . .are you sure. . .?"
"Yes, Josh. I'm sure. Let's just call in destiny. I wrote
them for you, and you alone. My own music makes me happy. This music sung by you
will make me happy as well. I love you, Josh. For you and you alone I do this."
Josh teared up, Lucas smiling at him, his fingers wiping the tears on Josh's cheeks.
"Chin up, my angel. I'll let you have some time alone. Then I want to hear you on the piano with one of them." Lucas smiled, the young man standing up, picking up his shorts and polo shirt.
Josh stared at him as the young man quietly dressed, Lucas smiling down at him.
"I love you, Lucas."
"Sing that love to me, Joshua."
Josh smiled, the young man leaning down and kissing his lips.
"I'll go see the troops. They'd love to hear my angel as well."
Josh smiled, Lucas walking quietly out of the room.
Josh stared at the door, his eyes lowering to the music he held in his hands.
He stared at it, seeing the love and beauty of the lyrics and melodies.
Oh God, Lucas.
What. . .what you've given me.
I feel my life's complete.
These words. . .your love. . .oh God, I. . .I love you so much.
I feel so alive.
Josh teared up, the smile on his face widening.
I love you, Lucas.
And I'm going to shine in your music's love.
The man smiled, climbing naked out of his bed, walking towards the closet.
End of Chapter 42
And so Lucas has guided Josh onto a new path, or perhaps a return to an old path.
He wants his Josh to sing again.
And Josh deeply wants that as well.
What will Justin think of that, or of Lucas' song for him and Josh together?
What will Justin think of Lucas' dislike for Sheridan?
Will Lucas tell him and face Justin's anger?
The path continues, Orion's tour in full swing.
And then Lucas' feet shall carry him to his grandfather's door.
What awaits there?
And what is the mystery behind it all?
Clean up the lair, one feisty cub is on his way.