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Josh stood up beside Lucas, the young man's eyes still focused on Sheridan, everyone around the table staring at the man with surprise.
Lucas' ultimatum had surprised all of them, none more than Justin.
The man stood up, staring at Lucas.
"What do you mean, Luke? Sheridan's my friend. He has every right to be here with me. That's a rather harsh ultimatum. If he goes, I go." Justin said, Josh seeing a soft anger showing in his friend's eyes.
Lucas' eyes moved, their violet hue staring at Justin, the man seeing caring and compassion in those loving pools.
Justin sensed it was all directed at him.
Sheridan stood up, his arm going around Justin.
"I can stand up for myself, Justin. I think your friend's disillusioned. Some fantasy he's dreamed himself into is making him crazy. He's stringing us all along with his fantasies, as this tale of fantasy is beginning to show." Sheridan said, his blue eyes glaring at Lucas.
Josh glared at the young man, Lucas feeling his lover's tenseness.
Lucas' eyes met Sheridan's again, the young man staring at him, everyone surrounding them silent and confused.
"Life isn't a fantasy, Sheridan. If that's your real
The other young man stared at Lucas, a soft smile crossing his face.
"Very disillusioned. He's now making up sinister plots surrounding him. I'm only myself, Luke." the young man said, his blue eyes going around to everyone's staring face.
"You are yourself, Sher. The man I love." Justin said, his eyes going around to everyone as well, everyone hearing Justin's openness, the man standing up for his lover.
Joey's eyes widened, Lance's staring at Justin.
Sheridan smiled at Lucas, the man kissing Justin's cheek.
"A noble declaration, my Justin." the man said, Justin smiling at him.
"You do love him, Justin. I can easily see that." Lucas said, Justin's blue pools meeting his violet.
"Then why are you trying to hurt my friend? And me?" Justin said, the anger now easily showing in his eyes.
Lucas sighed, his violet eyes lowering for a moment, Josh beside him sensing his man was trying to focus himself.
Josh's blue eyes went to Justin's blue.
"We don't trust him, Jus." Josh said, Justin's eyes meeting his.
"You too, Joshy? You're against our love?" Justin said, everyone hearing hurt in Justin's words.
"I'm not against you, Jus. I love you as my brother." Josh said, Sheridan smiling at him.
"Some brother. One might call you Judas."
Josh's eyes darkened, Lucas' hand going in his, Josh's anger calming.
Lucas' head raised, his violet pools filled with determination.
"And I call you Deceiver. For your love is as phony as your past."
Sheridan's blue eyes stared at Lucas, everyone staring between the two glaring at each other.
Lucas' eyes were filled with determination and focused calmness, the other young man's eyes showing soft intrigue, their blue centers glancing around the table.
"Harsh words, Justin's supposed friend. Who needs enemies when one's friends are just as backstabbing?" he smiled, his blue pools meeting Justin's.
"Your friend's words are meant to hurt me, my Jus. I can take that. But I believe we should leave before he hurts you."
"I would never hurt, Justin. I love him." Lucas said, Justin's eyes meeting his.
"What are you doing, Luke?" he said, Lucas' eyes meeting his angry ones again.
"I love you, Justin. We all do. And I won't stand by and let you be hurt."
Justin stared at him, his blue eyes narrowing.
"I love Sheridan, Lucas. I can make my own decisions in that regard. Let's leave, Sher. Before I regret saying something." Justin said, the man moving, Sheridan smiling and following him, their hands linked together.
Lucas' eyes remained focused ahead, the two men walking past Lucas, heading for the kitchen doorway.
"The only regret you'll have is the pain you'll suffer at his hands, Justin." Lucas said, the man stopping, turning and looking back at Lucas.
"Sheridan loves me, Lucas. Loves me like Josh loves you." Justin said, Lucas sighing, staring into his blue eyes.
"No he doesn't, Justin."
"See here, Carver! Don't meddle in our love. Focus on your own disillusioned life, freak! Or do you have the hots for Justin? Is that it, Carver? Are you jealous?" Sheridan said, the young man showing bravado, Lucas turning and facing him, staring into the man's blue eyes, seeing the smugness there.
Lucas' eyes then focused on Justin's blue pools, seeing the anger again.
"Why don't you ask Carl his opinions of Sheridan, Justin? The two are very close. And you were going to be even closer for both of them. And for Haven Marlowe."
Justin's face showed surprise, and total confusion.
"What. . .what are you talking about?" Justin softly said, Sheridan's eyes narrowing.
Grayson stood up at the table, looking at his friend beside him, his brown eyes then going to Sheridan's face, the young man's face showing no emotion.
"You know Carl?" Grayson said, looking at the young man beside him, the man's face covered in shocked surprise.
"Wow, this man's unbelievable, Jus! Talk about fantasies!" Sheridan said, his face showing calmness again, the man staring at Lucas.
Lucas ignored him, his violet eyes focused only on Justin's confused face.
"I know what you and Sheridan talked about this
morning, Jus. After you made love to him."
Justin stared at Lucas in surprise, his mind going over the morning's intimacy.
"We. . .we talked of love. . .of my love for him. And his love for me." Justin softly said, Lucas walking over to him.
"No, Jus. You talked of your love, he talked of false love. Of guiding you onto the next part of his plan. Of you sharing your love. Didn't he?" Lucas said, his violet eyes now locked on Sheridan's surprised blue, Justin also showing surprise.
"I love you, Justin. His soul I feel always, Whitecastle. And I feel when it's being manipulated."
Justin stared at Lucas, then at Sheridan.
"What. . .what do you mean, Lucas?" Justin said, staring at his friend, his anger rising.
Lucas focused on Justin again, the young man sighing again, Justin seeing reluctance in his violet pools.
"Sheridan is using you, Justin. He used you to get
to me. And he holds no love within his soul for you. He's going to lead you down
the same path Adam did."
Justin's eyes widened in shock, then anger suddenly filled them.
"I don't believe you, Luke! You're lying to me!" Justin said, Sheridan moving the man out of the kitchen, Lucas staring at him.
"I've never lied to you, Justin. I love you, as much as Josh does. As we all do."
Justin stared at Lucas, seeing the love shining there.
"I. . .I love him, Luke! Please don't make me hurt you."
Lucas teared up, staring at his friend.
"He's cheating on you, Justin. And he's going to hurt you."
"That's a lie! He loves me! You're. . .you're lying!" Justin said, the anger in him suddenly cresting.
Justin's fist flew, hitting Lucas in the face, the young man falling to his knees, stumbling.
Josh moved from the table, the others standing up in shock.
"Take that back, Lucas! Sheridan loves me!"
Lucas' hand went out, stopping Josh from moving forward to him, Lucas regaining his feet, Sheridan staring at him.
"Well-deserved, Carver. Let's go, Justin. You need to get away from this man's lies." Sheridan said, Justin's eyes now showing tears.
Lucas stared at Sheridan, then his eyes moved to Justin again, Justin staring at his rapidly bruising eye.
"Last night before he came to you, Sheridan went to Haven Marlowe's condo, Justin. And there he and Carl had sex with that man as they've both done separately for years."
Everyone looked shocked, Carl and Sheridan showing total shock.
Justin's blue eyes were wide, their blueness staring at Sheridan.
"What. . .that's not true, Luke?! It can't be true! Sheridan?!" Justin stuttered, staring at Sheridan, the man's face staring at Lucas.
"No. . .of course it's not true, Justin. Who are you going to believe? This freak or the one who loves you?" Sheridan said, Lucas staring at Sheridan.
Lucas lowered his eyes again, his head moving, staring at Grayson.
"Tell Justin the truth, Grayson. I know you know that the eyes are the gateway to the soul." Lucas said, the lawyer looking at Lucas with surprise.
"I see a truer soul within your eyes, my grandfather's friend. Tell Justin what you see in other eyes." Lucas said, looking at the lawyer.
Grayson nodded, the lawyer walking around the table, standing at Lucas' side, the man seeing the bruising forming around Lucas' left eye.
His brown eyes focused on the young man standing beside Justin.
"I know Lucas is correct in part of this, Justin. Which means to me that he is correct in all of it." the lawyer said, staring at the young man glaring back at him.
"This man who utters his love for you has lied--and is now lying--to you, Justin. His name is not Sheridan Whitecastle. As Lucas stated, the eyes are the gateway to a man's soul. And this young man has very treacherous eyes. Familiar treacherous eyes to myself. Eyes I remember from long ago." the lawyer said, Sheridan still glaring at him.
"It has been almost ten years, young demon." Grayson said, everyone staring at the young man standing beside Justin.
"I. . .I don't know what you're talking about, old man." Sheridan said, Grayson staring at him.
"I'm talking about a young man I knew up until
ten years ago, Sherman. A young monster whom Haven Marlowe took under his wing. I knew what was going on between the two of you.
That's why Emerson threw you out of his offered home."
Grayson's eyes met Lucas', the young man nodding.
"Lucas is correct, Justin. This man standing beside you is a liar. And even worse, he's one of Haven Marlowe's confidants. As is Carl Wilson. Both are embedded spies. This young man has been using you to get close to Lucas. To gain access to Lucas' inner circle. As Carl has used me. Am I correct, both of you?" Grayson said, his eyes meeting Carl's surprised blue eyes, then Sheridan's glaring blue .
"No. . .no Grayson!" Carl said, the lawyer staring at him.
"Yes, Carl. I've known since the day I met you. Seduction doesn't hide deceit. It's time you realize that. I know you've been informing Haven of all our doings. Half of which we let you divulge."
The young man stared in shock, his eyes going to Sheridan.
"I. . .I. . .?" he said, his eyes looking at Sheridan.
"He won't save you, Carl." Lucas said, Carl's eyes going to Lucas', then to Grayson's.
The man's head lowered, then raised, staring into Grayson's brown eyes.
"Alright, Grayson. So you're wise to what I've done. I'll. . .I'll leave." he said, lowering his eyes again, Grayson staring at him.
"I'm sorry, Carl. I did like you. And you are a fool for seeking ambition from Haven Marlowe." Grayson said, the young man's eyes meeting his again, the young man's face hardening.
"It was just a job, Grayson. I'm just as much a user as Sherman is." Carl said, the young man glaring at him, Grayson lowering his brown eyes.
"Shut up, Wilson!" Sheridan barked at the young man, Justin's blue eyes meeting Sheridan's blue eyes of anger.
"It's. . .it's true?" Justin said, Sheridan glaring at him.
His eyes went to Lucas', the young man seeing the man's violet pools filled with knowledge and determination.
Sheridan sighed, his eyes returning to Justin's clouded, confused blue.
"You're a fine piece of ass, Timberlake. A fringe benefit I rather enjoyed. I guess the ruse is up?" he said, smiling at Justin, then staring at Lucas again.
Justin lowered his eyes, Lucas seeing the total hurt shining there.
Lucas moved forward, his hands going to Sheridan's shirt, pushing the young man up against the kitchen counter by the doorway, Sheridan caught by surprise.
"Leave now and never come back! Your time hurting Justin is over! If I ever see you near Justin or any of us, I'll make you rue the day you came here."
The man glared, then smiled, staring into Lucas' focused violet eyes.
"Tsk, Tsk, Carver. Threats? I'd advise you to get your hands off me. You don't realize how powerful Haven Marlowe is. And what I mean to him."
Lucas backed up, releasing the young man, Lucas' violet eyes staring at him, Josh and Grayson now at Lucas' sides.
"You mean nothing, Sheridan. He'll destroy you."
The man laughed, looking at Carl.
"Our time of fun is at an end, for now Carl. But who knows what the future will bring?" he said, his eyes going to Justin's lowered head.
"Another time perhaps, Justin? When you feel like you need me again?" he said, Lucas staring at Justin, the man silent and looking lost.
"Leave, Sherman. And take Carl with you. Neither of you are welcomed here again." Grayson said, the young man in front of him smiling.
"So you do indeed remember me, Grayson? It's been a long time. I thought you'd have died by now. Carl's not the only one who's pulled the wool over your eyes. Haven's coming, Wainwright. You can't stop his plans. And neither can old Emerson."
"Go back to Haven and tell him this from me. Emerson's aware of everything he's done. And everything he wants to do. Why do you think he's imposed the moratorium? Emerson is going to see that his life's work--and his family's--means something." Grayson said, Sheridan smiling at him.
"Haven's going to have it all, old man. And this young upstart here isn't going to stop that." Sheridan said, his blue eyes going to Lucas.
"Emerson's time is over. I'll be so glad the day he falls. I promise you I'll be there at Haven's side." the young man said, his blue icy eyes going to Justin again.
"Cheer up, Timberlake. It was fun, and you know you enjoyed it. Just as I know you would have enjoyed my plans for you. Too bad. You're so easily led. Once a slut, always a slut."
Justin raised his head, his eyes filled with tears.
Sheridan smiled, turning his head back towards Lucas, a fist meeting his face, the young man knocked back on his ass through the kitchen doorway.
Lance stood beside Lucas, his fists still closed, his green eyes glaring at Sheridan.
"Get your sorry ass out of here, Whitecastle! Or I'll hit you again!" Lance said, Grayson walking up beside him.
"It's Hayworth, Lance. Sherman Hayworth." the lawyer said, staring at the young man struggling to his feet, holding his nose, Carl helping him to his feet.
Joey was at their side now, the man glaring at both of them.
"Get out of here, or I'll add to Lance's pain." he said, Sheridan looking at the blood in his hand.
"This isn't over, for any of you!" Sheridan said, Carl staring at Joey, Joey moving forward.
Carl turned, pulling Sheridan with him, the two walking through the living room, Joey following both of them to the front door.
Lucas looked at Josh, the man walking towards Justin, whose head was again lowered.
Lucas' eyes met Lance's, the man's green pools looking at him.
"Stop, Josh." Lance said, Josh stopping in his tracks, looking back at his friend.
Lance moved forward, walking past Josh, walking up to Justin.
"Are you okay, Jus?" Lance said with calm love, his hand going to Justin's shoulder.
Justin raised his head again, Lance staring into his blue hurting eyes.
"I did it again, Lancy. I. . .I let myself be used. He's right, he's so right! I'm a. . .I'm just a. . ."
Lance moved, pulling his friend into his arms, Justin sobbing against his chest.
Everyone in the room showed soft tears, hearing the hurt in Justin's staggered voice.
"No, Jus. Don't ever say those words. You're yourself. The you we all love." Lance said, holding his friend.
Justin was crying against Lance's chest, Josh's eyes filled with tears, Lucas walking past him and up to the two men.
Lance's green eyes met Lucas' violet pools.
The young man smiled at him.
"Take him down to my bedroom, Lance. He needs to rest."
Justin's eyes raised, Lucas staring into his blue pools.
"Lucas. . .I. . ."
Justin stared into Lucas' bruised face, both men lowering their heads.
Lucas glanced at Lance, the man looking at Justin.
"Come on, Jus. I'll stay with you. You're going to be okay." Lance said, gently guiding Justin out of the kitchen, Lucas' eyes meeting Josh's.
"Oh, Lucas! He's. . ."
Lucas' arm wrapped around him, everyone staring at Lucas.
"He's free of the deceit, Josh. That's all that matters." he said, Joey returning to the kitchen, walking up to Lucas and Josh.
"How. . .how did you know, Luke? That Sheridan wasn't who he said he was?"
Lucas' eyes met Grayson's, the lawyer staring quietly at him.
"My gifts, Joey. I sense evil and I sense deceit.
I'll show its truth to protect any of you."
Everyone nodded, their love showing for Lucas.
"Are you okay, babe? Justin really clocked you." Josh said, staring at Lucas' now blackening eye.
"I'm fine, Josh. A pain I'd always take. Perhaps well-deserved."
Josh's arm went around him, Josh kissing his cheek.
"You never deserved that, Lucas. It was just Justin's untrue emotions unleashed. He'd never hurt you intentionally."
Lucas lowered his eyes, Joey staring at Josh.
"So, who exactly is that guy?" Joey said, his eyes meeting Grayson's.
"His name--as I said--was Sherman Hayworth. Once long ago, he was an orphaned ward of Emerson's. Emerson took him in as a favour to myself."
"As a favour to you, Grayson?" Vivian said,
Grayson's eyes meeting hers.
"Yes, dear lady. Sherman was once my nephew. His mother was my only sister."
Everyone looked surprised, Lucas' eyes meeting his.
"Your nephew, Grayson?" Finn said, his protective arms around Skyler.
Grayson lowered his eyes, the older man sighing.
"Yes, Finn. My sister and her husband were killed in a tragic accident. I wasn't myself at that time. Sherman was only a boy himself. Emerson took charge of both of us. He gave the young man a home and a stable environment. But alas a greater tragedy ensued. The boy became enamoured of Haven Marlowe, Emerson's other ward. And that man made him into a monster. Emerson found out about the boy's rather dangerous personality and threw him out of the manor."
Lucas stared at Grayson, his hand going to the man's shoulder, his brown eyes staring into Lucas' violet.
"I'm sorry, Gray. To lose a relation to evil trembles the greatest heart."
Grayson nodded, looking at Lucas.
"The boy chose his fate, Lucas. He chose his side in
Lucas nodded, staring at the man.
"I haven't seen him in over ten years. I assumed
Haven had tired of him and threw him out. I see now he keeps all of his
"That he does, Grayson. Evil has a tendency to hold onto all its minions."
Grayson nodded, looking into Lucas' violet pools.
"His looks have changed, maturity disguising his remembered features. But as you stated, the eyes never change. I still saw the hunger and longing for power glowing there. The young man's a dangerous demon."
Lucas nodded, looking around the room.
"I felt his soul, Grayson. I felt the evil. I had to call him out to free Justin from his clutches."
Joey walked up to Lucas, his hand going to his shoulder.
"A truer friend Justin will never have." he said, Lucas lowering his eyes.
"Joey's right, my love." Josh said, Lucas moving from his arms, the two men staring at him.
"Friends don't hurt other friends, Joshua. I've hurt him to his soul. Excuse me, everyone."
Lucas walked out of the room, everyone's eyes going to Josh.
"Is he okay, Josh? That's so untrue. Lucas didn't hurt him, he saved him from more pain." Joey said, Josh staring at his old friend.
"I know that, as we all do, Joe. But Lucas' heart is so giving. He feels that he didn't act soon enough, before Justin fell for the man. I feel that in his soul."
"He saved him, Josh. Lucas has to see that." Finn said, Josh nodding.
"He does, Finny. My Lucky's love feels all, gives all. That's why he did it." Josh said, everyone nodding at him.
Josh's eyes met Grayson's, the man looking at him.
"I'm sorry about Carl, Grayson. Lucas told me that your heart had deep feelings for him, even though you knew the truth of his deception."
"Yes, Josh. I had sincere feelings for the boy. Perhaps I held onto a hope that he would come over to the side of truth. Today he showed his true deception." the man said, Vivian walking up to him, her arm going around him.
"You gave him a chance, Grayson. Your heart showed its truth."
The man nodded, looking into her familiar blue eyes of love.
"I'll make you some tea, Grayson." she said, softly smiling at him.
"I'd like that, Vivacious. Thank you." he said, Vivian guiding him back to the table.
Everyone looked at Josh, the man sighing.
"I'm going to talk to Lucas. Excuse me everyone."
Finn walked up to him, smiling.
"Tell him thanks, Josh. Thanks for watching over all
Josh smiled, quietly walking out of the kitchen.
Josh opened the door, walking out onto the outdoor terrace adjacent to the living room.
He was met by two violet pools, Lucas sitting on a lounge chair, his legs folded before him.
"There's a nice breeze out here." Josh said, walking over to his chair, Lucas moving his legs, allowing Josh to sit down at his hip.
"Yes, it's turned into a beautiful day." Lucas said, his violet pools meeting Josh's blue irises.
Josh stared at him, the young man's head lowering.
"I'm sorry, Josh. I feel your disappointment at my not telling you everything that I was doing."
Josh's hand went out, taking Lucas' in his, the young man's eyes raising again.
"I wasn't disappointed, Lucas. I was just surprised that it happened so fast. I didn't realize how deeply Justin had fallen for the man. And you didn't tell me what you were going to do."
"It just all came together this morning, Josh. I felt the man's deceit, and I felt Justin's feelings. I had to end it, Josh. Regardless of Justin's hurt or Grayson's. That's why I feel I deserved Justin's wrath."
Josh stared at Lucas, the man moving forward, softly kissing Lucas' lips, the two parting, Josh seeing the soft tears in Lucas' bruised eyes.
"How. . .how can I face him, Josh? How can I ask his forgiveness for hurting him?"
Josh pulled Lucas against him, the man holding onto him tightly.
"Oh, my Lucky. You need not ask for forgiveness! You saved him from so much hurt. Yes he's hurting now, but he sees the love behind what you did. He knows you love him."
Lucas raised his head, staring into Josh's blue eyes.
"I do love him, Josh. He's my friend. I'd do anything to see him happy. That's why I did it. I don't need thanks from him, I only hope he can forgive me for showing him the truth. And now maybe he can have that happiness." Lucas said, his eyes scanning out into the sun-filled morning.
"He's hurting, Lucky. It will be a while before he can find that happiness. But we'll be here for him. Both of us. He loves both of us."
Lucas' eyes returned to Josh's handsome face, Josh seeing the love shining in those softly glowing eyes.
"He'll have something more, Josh. Something he should have always had."
Josh looked at Lucas, his lover leaning forward and kissing his lips.
Josh stared into his handsome face, seeing the blackness surrounding his swollen left eye.
"Come with me, Josh." Lucas said, the young man standing up, Josh rising as well.
The two men went back into the condo, Josh walking with Lucas down the hallway to their bedroom.
Lucas softly opened their bedroom door, Josh quietly walking into the room with him.
Josh's eyes went to their bed, a sight of quiet love showing there.
Justin was laying in the bed's center, Lance laying beside him.
His head was against Lance's chest, Lance's arms wrapped around the man's back.
Both men were sound asleep, Josh's blue eyes taking in their quiet closeness.
Lucas' violet eyes met his blue, Lucas kissing his cheek.
"The path has solidified, Josh. For both of them." Lucas said, Josh's eyes widening, taking in their sleeping faces again.
Lance wore a soft smile, his head leaning down against Justin's head.
"You mean. . .?" He softly said, Lucas gently guiding him back out of the room, closing the door silently.
Their eyes met again in the hallway, Lucas' arms wrapping around his lover.
"I felt their love for each other a long time ago, Joshua. They both were destined to find in each other what they've always searched for."
"Oh, Lucas. Really?" Josh said, tears forming in his blue eyes.
"Yes, my Joshua. Lance and Justin love each other on so many levels. Let's allow them to find that truth in their own eyes."
Josh nodded, his arms wrapping around his Lucas.
"I. . .I love you, Lucas."
Lucas smiled, nodding his head.
"I know, Josh. I love you, Joshua."
Josh smiled, Lucas smiling back at him.
"Let me put some ice on that eye, my love."
Lucas nodded, glancing back at the closed bedroom door.
The two quietly walked down the hallway, heading for their friends.
Lance stirred, feeling a weight against his chest, the man's green eyes slowly opening.
He saw a blond head in front of him, someone laying against his chest.
His mind focused, remembering the morning's drama.
His fingers moved, brushing the blond hair off Justin's forehead, the man stirring against Lance, his arms pulling him closer.
Lance smiled, feeling the warmth of the man laying against him.
Oh God, Jus.
I feel your pain.
The hurt you feel for what he's done to you.
I hate him so much!
Thank God Lucas saw through him.
I won't ever let anyone do that to you again.
You have my word and my love on that.
Lance stared down at the man against him, those last words sinking into his soul
I. . .I love you, Justin.
I've. . .I've always loved you.
Lance teared up, leaning forward and softly kissing Justin's forehead.
The man moved, his head moving into the crook of Lance's neck.
Justin's blue eyes slowly opened, staring into Lance's green orbs.
"Lance? Where. . .where am I?" Justin softly said, the man moving, his head looking around the room they were in, a soft, deep darkness casting shadows around the room.
The curtains were drawn, a soft light gleaming through their slight openings.
"We're in Lucas' bedroom at the condo, Jus." Lance softly said, his eyes going to the clock laying on the nightstand behind Justin.
"We've slept for a couple of hours. It's after two." Lance said, Justin nodding, his head and shoulders raising up, Justin moving back from Lance.
Their eyes met, Justin's head lowering.
"I've. . .I've been such a fool, Lance. How could I have. . .? I can't believe. . .?" He stuttered, Lance sitting up, staring down at Justin.
"You aren't a fool, Justin. You're a giving, caring, loving man who gave your heart to someone who couldn't see the love you have. That man is the fool, Jus. And there never was any love in him. Not when he couldn't see the real you. Not when all he did was hurt you."
Justin teared up, lowering his head.
"He. . .he was right, Lance. He easily deceived me
because I'm easily deceived. I'm a fool. And I'm just. . .I'm just so easy."
Lance's eyes focused, the man moving forward, pulling Justin up into a sitting position, the man staring at him with soft surprise and fear.
"Lose that look, Justin. There is nothing you have to fear from me. And you couldn't be more wrong in regards to yourself. Look at me, Justin."
Justin's eyes raised, staring into Lance's green pools.
He saw the familiar love and giving heart in Lance's green pools of friendship.
And he thought he saw something different.
"How long have we known each other, Justin?"
Justin stared at Lance, seeing his calmness.
"For almost fifteen years, Lancy."
"And in all that time have you ever known me to show anything but respect for you? I've always considered you an equal."
Justin stared into Lance's green eyes, the familiar love shining back.
"You always treated me as myself, Lancy. You never bought into the image."
Lance smiled, leaning forward and kissing Justin's cheek.
"That's because the real you is genuine and loving,
Jus. I thought I knew all of you, but I've seen so much newness in you."
"Newness, Lance? You mean. . .you mean you've seen my gullibility. I'm not the shining star you think I am. I'm just a submissive target."
Lance sighed, their eyes meeting again.
"You're not a slut, Justin. You never were. I was a slut, I was a submissive target. All you were was someone who was led into situations not of your making. Adam played you, and so did Sheridan. Adam's was for lust, Sheridan's was for his own gain. Lucas was always his target, you were just a means to get to him. I hate him for using you like that. You never deserved to be a pawn in his twisted game."
"I am a pawn, Lance. I can be easily manoeuvred."
"No you're not, Justin. You're something better."
Justin stared at Lance, the man smiling at him.
"You're real, Justin. My eyes are finally seeing the real you. I love you, Justin."
Justin nodded his head, looking into Lance's green eyes.
"I love your friendship too, Lance. Thank you for not judging me."
Lance lowered his eyes, Justin staring at him.
"That's not what I'm saying, Jus. But that's true. I would never judge you."
"What are you saying, Lance?" Justin said, their eyes meeting again.
"Why do you think I hit him, Justin?"
Justin sighed, looking at Lance.
"Because you were stronger than I was. You saw him for what he was and I didn't."
"No, Jus. I was as blind as you were. Lucas saw him for what he was. As I believe Lucas saw me for who I am."
Justin stared at his friend, Lance taking his hands in his.
"I hit him because he hurt you, Justin. I saw the pain and hurt in your blue eyes. I hit him because he. . .he hurt the man I love."
Justin stared at Lance with shock, the man's eyes lowering.
"I've loved you for a long time, Justin. I hid it behind my own feelings, behind my own doubts. I've walked my life with your friendship surrounding me. I just never realized that perhaps there was more there than friendship. Over the last few months I've seen your true soul, Justin. It mirrored my own on so many levels."
Justin stared at Lance, their eyes meeting again, Justin seeing so much love in Lance's green pools.
A deeper love shown there in their emerald brightness, a love Justin never saw before.
"I think we've both walked the same path, Justin. A path of hurt, lost need and hopeful dreams. The reality of our lives has led us to this moment."
"Lance, I. . .I. . ."
Lance stared into Justin's blue eyes, seeing the love he'd always seen, no more.
"I know, Justin. You don't feel the same way that I feel. It took me a while to see that glimmer of hope focus for me. I think Lucas has seen more."
"Meaning what, Lance?"
"Meaning that Lucas believes that I am the one who can truly love you, Justin."
"Lance, I. . .I'm not the man for you. I'm. . .I'm. . ."
"You're too much like myself?"
Justin's eyes met Lance's green pools.
"No, Lance. You're beyond loving, beyond beautiful."
Lance teared up, Justin staring at him.
"You're the same in my eyes, Justin."
Justin's eyes teared up, his head lowering.
"Oh, Lance. I. . .I would only. . ."
"You would only love me, Justin. As I would love you." Lance said, his hand going to Justin's shoulder, their eyes meeting again.
They both stared into each other's soul, Justin beginning to tremble.
"Oh, Lance! I. . .I see so much love in your eyes. How could I. . .how could you. . .?"
"I could love you for yourself, Justin. That man I could love forever."
Justin moved forward, Lance wrapping his arms around him, the man crying against his chest.
"Oh, Lance! Please don't hurt me. . .please don't let me hurt you!"
"Never, Justin. Our love would never let us hurt each other."
The two held each other, Lance's eyes filled with tears.
Justin raised his head, their eyes meeting, Lance wiping tears from Justin's cheek, the man softly smiling at him.
"I'm a mess." he said, Lance smiling at him.
"You're beautiful, Justy."
Justin smiled, taking Lance's hands in his.
"It's been an emotional day, Lance. What we've just said. . .it's. . ."
"It's new, Justin. My love and friendship hasn't changed for you. Let's go forward and build on that. You see easily my love for you. I'd like to work at gaining your love in return. Let's think of this as a new day. The first day of our new lives."
"You sound a lot like Lucas, Lance. But there's a greater love within you. A love I now sense I've never seen before."
Lance softly smiled, Justin smiling back at him.
"I'd like that, Lance. I'd like to work at it as well. Just please give me the freedom to take it slow."
Lance smiled, nodding at Justin.
Justin smiled, their eyes meeting again.
Justin moved forward, his lips meeting with Lance's, the two suddenly awash with a soft feeling of joining hope.
The two parted, Lance staring into Justin's blue eyes.
"I. . .I thought you wanted to take it slow. That. . .that was unbelievable."
Justin smiled, his teeth showing.
"You made it easy, Lancy. Your love draws me in."
Lance smiled, Justin moving against him, Lance's arms going around him.
"I. . .I hit Lucas, Lance. I hit my friend." he softly said, Lance kissing his forehead.
"Yes, Justin. But the anger of your soul at the moment couldn't grasp the truth of what lay before you. We all lash out when we're afraid. Lucas would never hold that against you."
"I wouldn't hold anything against you. Not when you're held in love."
Both men turned, their eyes staring into two violet pools, Josh's blue staring at them as well, a soft smile on Josh's face.
Justin's blue eyes stared at Lucas, his bruised eyes staring back.
"Lance, could you give Justin and me a moment alone, please." Lucas said, Lance nodding, looking at Josh, his friend nodding back.
"Sure, Luke. I'll be in the living room, Justin. Unless you don't want to leave here?" Lance said, Justin smiling at him.
"I'll meet you there, Lance. I have to go on living."
Lance nodded, smiling at him.
The man climbed off Josh and Lucas' bed, walking up to Josh, smiling at Lucas.
The young man smiled back, the two men quietly walking out of the room, Josh closing the door behind them.
Lucas' eyes went back to the bed, Justin now sitting up, his knees pulled to his chest, his blue pools staring at Lucas.
"Hell of a day, Justin."
"Yes, Luke. One hell of a day."
The two stared at each other, Lucas sighing.
"I'm sorry, Justin. I. . .I didn't want you to get hurt. I'm sorry that you're hurting now. I. . .I deserved your anger." Lucas said, Justin moving, the man walking up to the young man, Lucas' emotions on full display.
"Oh, Lucas! I'm sorry I hit you. You didn't deserve that. I know it was your love showing. I know you did that because you love me." Justin said, his arms going around the younger man, Lucas' head burying into his chest.
"I do love you, Jus! I couldn't let him hurt you anymore! You deserve so much more!" Lucas cried, Justin holding him close.
"Your heart is so giving, Lucas. You pulled me out
of his conniving clutches. I see that now. You were only looking out for me. And
I now see what else you're doing."
Lucas raised his head, looking into Justin's tearing blue eyes.
"I only want you to be happy, Jus. I've felt your
Justin smiled softly, staring into Lucas' violet eyes.
"As you've felt Lance's?"
Lucas lowered his eyes, Justin kissing the young man's forehead.
"He. . .he said he's in love with me, Lucas. Is that true?"
Lucas raised his head again, Justin staring into his face, seeing the bruising around his left eye.
"His heart was lost to you a long time ago, Justin. It just took him a while to focus on his own soul."
Justin smiled, looking towards the door.
"And what of my soul?"
Lucas leaned forward, kissing Justin's cheek, the man staring at him again.
"Your soul at the moment is hurting. But under the hurt lays
a soft hope. A hope for a better tomorrow. Open up that hope to him, Justin."
"Have you. . .have you seen the future for me, Lucas?"
The young man smiled, staring into Justin's blue eyes.
"I've seen the future for many, Justin. Myself included."
"And what lays ahead for all of us?"
Lucas smiled, staring into the handsome man's blue eyes.
"Life, Justin. The past will never hold a candle to the life I see ahead."
Justin smiled, Lucas softly blushing.
"Nice thought. And nice skirting around the subject." Justin smiled, Lucas smiling back.
"Sorry, Jus. You'll have to let life mete itself out. All I'll say is that this may be the last of the pain for you."
Justin smiled, leaning forward, kissing Lucas' lips.
"Thank you, Lucas. And I'm sorry I hit you. You love never deserved that. Can you forgive me?" Justin said, Lucas smiling at his handsome face.
"Yes, Justin. Perhaps I deserved that."
"No you didn't, Lucas. I was just so caught up in the emotions. Please forgive me."
Lucas smiled, nodding his head.
"Only if you'll forgive me."
"Water under the bridge, Lucas. I'm still your friend. Thank you for being mine."
"How are you really, Jus?"
Justin sighed, Lucas staring at him.
"I'm feeling better, Lucas. The hurt's still there, but I feel like something is indeed waiting for me ahead."
Lucas nodded, Justin staring at him.
"But you already know that, don't you?'
Lucas blushed again, Justin smiling.
"Is Lance the one, Lucas? Is he. . .will he. . .?"
Lucas' hand went to Justin's shoulder.
"He loves you, Justin. His love would never hurt you. But you need to discover that yourself."
Justin nodded, looking towards the closet.
"Can I steal some clothes, Luke? I'd like to shower and freshen up."
"Sure thing, Jus. We're the same size. Josh is shorter."
Justin laughed a soft laugh, Lucas smiling at his friend's returned happiness, although he still sensed Justin was hurting.
"Take whatever you need. But bring it back."
Justin laughed, nodding his head, the man pulling off his sweater, his smooth chest coming into view.
Lucas smiled, walking towards the door.
"I'll leave you to it. We'll all be waiting out in the living room."
"Is everyone still here?"
"Yes, Jus. They were all concerned for you. We're all your friends."
Justin nodded, smiling.
Lucas smiled, closing the door.
Justin smiled, walking towards the closet, his mind on someone.
Can you love me, Lance?
I'm. . .I'm so not worthy of what I saw in your emerald pools.
It felt so intense.
Like nothing I've ever felt.
Justin smiled to himself, pulling a shirt off a hanger, grabbing a pair of matching jeans.
He smiled, walking towards the bathroom, the smile on his face widening.
Could it be true love?
Maybe that's why it feels so different.
His mind thought to the man who'd left him that morning.
I thought that was what you were, Sheridan.
I should have sensed your lies.
Maybe that's what worries me the most.
I can't see the lies.
Are there any lies in Lance's soul?
Justin's mind went to those green pools of love he'd stared into.
You really love me, Lance.
I see it in your eyes.
Could it be true?
Could love be that familiar, that close?
Justin's smile widened.
Let's go forward towards each other.
I think I really need your love.
I just need to be loved.
Please don't hurt me, Lance.
Please don't hurt me.
Justin wiped his eyes, the man walking into the bathroom, closing the door behind him.
End of Chapter 49
And so Sheridan's plans have been upended.
Justin has seen the truth behind the man's devious plans.
Lucas bore the hurt Justin showed.
Their friendship has weathered the drama of Lucas' path.
And Lucas has guided him to perhaps a better life.
Can Lance give Justin the love he so desperately needs?
Is Justin all that Lance needs?
I had always originally intended for Lance and Justin to join.
I am a huge Justin fan, but I wanted our hero Lucas to have a
Justin plays a big part in his life, as Josh plays in Justin's.
The path moves forward.
The Haven of the Belmonts awaits Lucas.
Soon he will walk into his past and perhaps he'll never be the same.
Or perhaps we all shall.
Read on, and follow the love.