Brandis Redemption - 3

Written by Jonny Mac
With a major assist from the most excellent Luckylou

Warning: This is a fictional story, describing erotic relations between consenting adult men. If this makes you uncomfortable, or if it is illegal for you to read something like this, then go find something else to do.

The following story is entirely a work of fiction, and is not intended to imply anything about any real people. All of the characters in the story are fictional, and must not be confused with any real people. The characters in this story may have the same names as some real people, but the characters are in no way supposed to actually represent any real people.

A word from the Mac: Well here is chapter 3. I would like to thank those who have e-mailed me their comments.

To my great friend Mano... the net has lost one of its greatest with your disappearance.

To my boyfriend, I love you.

Now, on to the story.

- Jonny Mac
ICQ: 27497085
AIM: Intelevore

Jared stepped out of the cab. He walked through the gentle rain to the front door of his apartment building. He stopped at the door to the lobby. Inside was a 'cute' couple holding hands, waiting for the elevator. They were standing very close together, looking almost as if they were joined somehow. The slender, blond-haired girl would look up at her bleach-blond, well toned, very sexy (get a grip Jared!) boyfriend and when their eyes met she would shyly look away and smile.

Jared watched them. How sweet. I think I'll wait for the next elevator. I don't exactly want a toothache right now.

Jared stood outside, and waited until the young couple stepped into the elevator before he entered the lobby. They never offered to hold the elevator for him. Hell, they never even noticed him. They were too wrapped up in each other.

Oh, to be a teenager who thinks he's in love. Ha! I give it two months.

In all honesty, Jared really didn't want to see the two of them together right now. He had just fucked up yet another good thing. He was trying not to think about it too much. When he stepped inside the elevator, he focused on the music. It sucked. He had a cheap apartment in a cheap apartment building--he was surprised that the elevator speaker was actually working. But, listening to the music was all he could do to try and keep his mind off the previous three hours.

He counted the doors as he walked down the hall. This was a short-lived task. He lived in the last apartment on this floor. There were only four of them, all on the same side of the building.

Jared entered the apartment, dropped his coat on the floor and went directly to his stereo. He turned on the power, selected the CD function and pressed play on disk 4. A few seconds later "Tearin' Up My Heart" started playing through the speakers.

"Damn it!" Jared jabbed at the power switch and the entire unit went back to sleep. Which is exactly what Jared did. He went into his bedroom dressed down into his CK boxers and went to bed.

Surprisingly, sleep came within minutes. Unfortunately, so did vivid images and scenes from the night's activities.

Jon got out of the cab in front of his house and walked up to his front door. The stagger that was usually included in this walk was not present tonight. His drinking had been rudely cut off. Or at least he thought so.

That was pretty much all he thought though. Although he was not drunk, he still had a good buzz, and a mind fog had settled upon him.

Jon unlocked the door, tossed his keys and coat onto the baby blue living room sofa. He went straight to bed. The alcohol in his system helped put him to sleep almost instantly, as alcohol always does.

Jared rolled over yet again. He was completely entangled in his sheets. He was having a very restless sleep. The entire night's events kept parading through his mind in living color. His mistake was coming back to haunt him.

Everything started as he and Jon were walking to their table (You knew it would!) by the dance floor. They sat directly across from each other at a table with room for six.

Both took a long, slow drink of their beer. Both were waiting for the other to start the conversation. Neither wanted to.

After a long, awkward silence, Jon finally spoke up. "So Jared, what do you do for a living?"

It was the one question that Jared did not want to answer. He never lied about what he did. He just wasn't overly happy talking about it.

"Well," he began, "I, uh, I'm a delivery driver for a large department store in Beverly Hills."

"Oh cool, so I guess you have had a chance to meet a few of the big celebrities."

Jared was surprised that Jon was so accepting of his job. Most of the rich people he had been in contact with (meaning those that he delivered for) treated him as lower class, keeping contact to a minimal. He was half expecting Jon to do the same. The realization that Jon really didn't mind what he did for a living made him more comfortable.

"I've met a few," was his nonchalant reply.

"Well who? Come on man, gimmie names," said Jon with a laugh.

"Well, there was Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Kurt and Goldie, Tommy Lee Jones. A few others, but they're my favorite. They're really nice people."

"That is so cool!"

"You think so?" Jared said.

"Hell yeah." Jon said. "Why wouldn't I?"

"I just figured that since you are... I mean, you've done some big movies and..."

"And you figured that since I am an actor, I don't get star struck."

"Uh, yeah."

Jon chuckled and took a gulp of his beer. "Look, I'm just a regular guy. I get excited when I meet a big actor or singer. My line of work doesn't make me any less susceptible to that than someone who..."

"Delivers furniture" finished Jared. Great, just great! So he does see me as lower class! I thought he was one of the decent ones, but he is just another rich fucking asshole who thinks himself better than most people. I should just get up and get the fuck out of here.

Jared bolted upright in bed. "What was that?" He saw a flash of lightening. Apparently the gentle rain that was falling when he got home had turned into a thunderstorm. A clap of thunder must have wakened him.

Guess the weatherman was right this time. He lay back down and remembered what he had just been dreaming. Thank God I never acted on that impulse to leave. Jared let the nights earlier events flood his mind freely now, realizing that they were going to come anyway.

He remembered looking over at Jon just before he was going to get up and seeing the look on his face. Jared recognized the look as one of embarrassment and shame.

Oh Damn, he didn't mean anything by it at all. He was just stating an example. I don't even know if he was going to say a delivery person or not. I can't believe I was just going to leave like that. I'd better say something before he tries to leave.

"Jon, it's ok."

"Really? 'Cause I didn't mean anything by it. I was just trying to..."

"Honestly, it's ok. You were only trying to make a point that you aren't outside society." Jared laughed. "Point taken."

"Thanks." Jon looked so relieved. "I take it delivering wasn't your first choice?"

"Not hardly. I had two big goals. I would have taken either of them."

"What were they, if you don't mind me asking." Jon took a drink from his beer.

"Well, I really wanted to..."

"Hold that thought," interjected Jon. He shook his bottle, indicating that it was empty. "I'm going for another. You want me to pick you up one?"

"No, that's ok. I'm good."

"Ok, cool. Be right back." Jon got up and walked off towards the bar.

Jared looked at his watch. We've been here about fifteen minutes and he's finished his beer already. At this rate he'll be drunk in no time. I hope he isn't drinking that much, I don't want to have to see him drunk again tonight. I think I might have to cut him off if he has too many. I just hope he'll understand.

Of course he will, what am I thinking? Jon's a pretty easy going guy. He won't get mad.

Jon slid back into his seat. He had two beers with him.


"Yeah," replied Jon, "saves me a trip."


"So, you were saying before I left?"

"I was?" Jared said. "Oh That. Well I was saying that what I really wanted was to be a computer programmer. I went to university, got my degree and went straight to the mainland looking for a job."

"The mainland?" Jon asked.

"Yeah. I'm from Newfoundland."

"Cool! Never been there before, is it nice?"

"Oh yeah. Newfoundland is beautiful. Wide array of scenery and wildlife, great people, and nice tennis courts. Nowhere near as warm as California, but I love it."

"I'd like to go there someday." Jon said.

"Hey, if you do let me know. I could always use a trip home."

Jared laughed as he remembered saying this. Well one good thing about what I did tonight. I won't have to worry about him taking me up on that offer. I don't think I could take being home for very long. All those nosy people wanting to know how I am doing and how many girls I've dated. And my parents! All, they'll talk about is me working for a department store and not owning my own business. And of course mom will ask why she doesn't have any grandkids on the way.

Jared sighed and looked at the alarm clock. It was almost three in the morning. He straightened out his blankets the best he could and tried to get back to sleep. After about ten minutes, he drifted off.

"I take it there were no jobs on the mainland." Jon said.

"Just the opposite actually. The market was huge. Problem was they all wanted someone with experience. I didn't have any."

"That really sucks. Then you came down here?"

"No. I stayed in Ontario with my friend Melanie and her husband and kids. I managed to get a job at a small company as a secretary. I wasn't making enough money to support myself and pay off my student loans, so I was staying with Melanie the entire time. Her and I are really, really close, but I just didn't feel right living off her like that. I paid my share and all, but it just didn't feel fair to me. I don't know if you can understand what I mean or not."

There was a short pause.

"Yeah, I think I know what you mean."

"Anyway, after a year with Melanie, I decided to give up on the computer thing and go for a career with my second love. I had been out of the biz for a year. Things were moving so fast with computers, I figured I'd never catch up anyway. I came down here, took a job as a deliveryman to pay the bills. I've been doing that for the last year."

Jared took another sip of his beer. It was getting warm. Just talking about his failure made him upset.

"I worked my ass off in school, put myself farther in debt than anyone should ever have to go, moved away from all my family and friends... and all I have to show for it is a fucking dead-end job that just barely lets me make ends meet. It really makes me fucking wonder why I even try. Nothing I ever do works out for me. I'm fated to be a lonely failure for the rest of my life." Jared downed the remaining half a bottle of warm beer.

"Looks like I need another," he said, shaking the bottle as Jon had earlier.

For the last part of Jared's rant, Jon had just sat there looking at him. "Uh, yeah, ok."

Jared got up and walked over to the bar. Why did I tell him that? Why did I tell him any of that? I've never told anyone about that stuff before... what is it with him?

Jared sat at the bar. As he touched down on the stool, he felt a slight head rush. He had never been able to handle his alcohol, and being in a bad mood only made it hit him faster. The fact that the beer was warm didn't help either.

The bartender moved to stand in front of Jared. "What'll it be?"

"Molson Canadian... no. Pepsi."


"Yeah Pepsi." What is so bad about Pepsi?


The bartender turned around and picked up a glass. He added some ice and turned back towards the bar. He reached under the bar top and pulled out a nozzle and filled the glass with Pepsi.

Jared paid for the Pepsi. It cost more than a beer! Then he walked back to the table. Ok, keep the conversation going. You probably scared the shit out of him with that last bit. Don't fuck up anymore than you already have. He sat back down in his seat and placed the drink on the table. He looked over at Jon and noticed that he was drinking a different brand of beer.

Christ, he finished another one. What is this, number five now? He is most definitely drinking too much. I should wait though, he might stop.

"So" Jared said. "You know my story, what about you? Have you always wanted to be an actor? I know that you've been at it for a long time, but is it what you've always wanted to do?"

"Yeah I guess it is."

They started talking about Jon's career in acting. His favorite roles, his least favorite, the people he most liked working with, and so on. Jared took in every word. He was fascinated by the acting world. And of course he loved listening to Jon speak. He had a wonderful voice, so full of strength, yet so soft. The look in his beautiful blue eyes as he talked about his life. The gorgeous smile that would stretch those luscious red lips, making them look so inviting, so kissable.

There is no doubt about it, thought Jared. He is definitely the hottest looking guy on the planet.

"Well I'll give you a bit of time to absorb all that. I need more beer." Jon got up and went, back to the bar.

Jared followed him with his eyes and noticed a small stagger in his walk. I guess he doesn't know when to stop. Should I say something or not? I don't want to be here with him drunk, but I don't want to leave either. What the hell do I do?

Jared never had time to finish that thought. The DJ's voice came over the speakers and interrupted his train of thought.

"... And now we have an excellent song from that top of the charts band 'N Sync."

'Tearin' Up My Heart' started playing over the sound system just as Jon returned with two more beer.

"Cool" said Jon. "I love this song."

"Me too." Jared said. "I hear they're doing a concert here in two weeks."

"Really? I think I'll have to get tickets to that.

"Me too, if I can manage to save the money." Jared grew slightly uncomfortable talking about money around Jon.

"I really like their music."

"Oh yeah, so do I. And Justin is really cute too!" Jared's preoccupation with his monetary woes caused that last bit to slip out before he had a chance to stop himself.

Fuck! Now I've done it. He knows now that I'm gay. Great Jared, you've fucked this one up. You always do this, every God damned time. Everything always fucks up in your life. Well, don't just sit here, get up, and leave before he has a chance to say...

"Most definitely. He's very sexy."

That was not what Jared was expecting to hear. He couldn't believe it--Jon is gay too? "So, you're..."

"Yeah, I'm gay too. Surprised?" Jon was smiling.

This is way better than Jared could have hoped for! "Well... uh, yeah. I mean, I thought that you and Tatyana..."

"Tatyana and I were just a cover." Jon said. "We were friends and she agreed to help me, to take away any media pressure."

"Good idea. Makes perfect sense." Jared was at a total loss for words.

A silence came between them. 'N Sync was still playing. Jared was in complete shock. The one actor that he'd ever fantasized about... is gay. And he is sitting here across from him. What could he say? What could he do? Jesus Jared, think! Get it together.

"So do you want to go with me?"

Jon's question brought Jared back to reality. "Go with you... uh, where are we, you, uh... what?"

Jon laughed. "Calm down Jared. I'm still just who I was ten minutes ago. Now you know a little bit more about me. I was wondering if you wanted to go to that 'N Sync concert with me."

Jared's heart rate quickened. "You mean, like, a date?"

"Whoa, slow down. I never said that. Before we consider that, let's get to know each other a little better."

Jared you idiot. Don't push him. "Yeah, of course. You're right of course."

Another silence followed.

"Well, do you want to go?"

"Huh, oh yeah. Yeah of course, I'd love to go."

Jon's smile seemed ever present. "Cool. I know a few people in the biz, maybe I can score us some backstage passes."

"Now that would be cool. Then we could get a close up look of just how cute Justin really is." The guys shared a laugh at that.

"So how long have you known?" Jon said. His tone was serious.

"What that I'm gay?"


Jared took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly. This was another thing he'd never discussed before. For some reason though, he didn't mind telling Jon.

"Well, it's not really a question of how long I've known. The question is how long have I accepted it, I've known since I was about thirteen."

"Okay, how long have you accepted it than?"

"I think it was about grade eleven that I finally said to myself 'You know you're gay, so accept it.'"

"Was being gay a hard thing for you to accept?" Jon was so sincere he actually seemed concerned.

"No actually not at all." Jared said. "The problem was I had to be really careful not to let anyone find out. The town where I grew up, was not exactly a good place for me to be 'out' in. I had to do the straight thing all the time. It was really hard. The first person I ever told was my friend Melanie. I waited until my second year of university before I told her. It was a real weight off my shoulders."

"Do your parents know?"

Jared took a sip of his Pepsi to try and bring some moisture back to his mouth. He simply replied "No" and looked at the table.

There was another short silence before Jon spoke again.

"It wasn't all that different for me actually. I knew when I was thirteen, like you. I think I accepted it when I was fifteen."

"Pretty early."

"Yeah I guess." Jon sighed. "But growing up around here, you are exposed to more lifestyles, more different ways of expressing yourself and so on. It was easier for me to recognize what it was I was feeling."

After a slight pause, Jon continued. "The first person I told was my mother. We are really close. We have no secrets from each other. I still couldn't tell that many people though. I was afraid of what it would do to my career. I was supposed to be doing this whole 'teen heartthrob' thing with the magazines and everything. I didn't want to take a chance on losing any of that. I wasn't vain or full of myself or anything like that, but it was keeping me in work, so I couldn't lose it."

"Why didn't you ever come out? Why did you go through the whole hiding thing with Tatyana?"

"I don't know really. Once I got old enough, the magazine thing slowly slacked off. I realized that being gay and having it known wouldn't really hurt me but... I guess I had formed paranoia over the years. A sort of fear, that if I was found it... it would be all over."

Jared nodded. He could relate to what Jon was saying. It was a lot like why he couldn't come out back in his hometown. He was afraid his life would be over.

"I assume you haven't gotten over that fear?"

Jon looked startled. "Um, I don't know. I just don't see any reason to come out. It's no one's business really. If it ever becomes an issue in the media or something like that, well, then I'll deal with it."

"Sounds like you've thought this out."

"Oh yeah. I've thought about it a lot." Jon put his beer bottle to the side of the table. "Looks like I need some more."

Before Jared had a chance to consider Jon's last statement, Jon had stood up and started off to the bar again. He had only gotten two steps when his legs gave out in under him and he started to fall. Jared's quick reflexes enabled him to catch Jon before he fell completely to the floor.

"Are you ok?" Jared said.

"Yeah sure." Jon smiled. "I've been sitting too long. My legs have gone a bit rubbery. Thanks."

"No problem." Jared helped Jon to his feet.

"Whoa, head rush." Jon staggered backwards a few steps, then giggled a little as he regained his balance. "Hehehe, be right back."

That's it. He has had enough. The next time he tries to go the bar, I'm going to have to suggest otherwise. Jon returned with two more beer. This time he had a Bud and a Canadian.

"Here, have another one," he said as he placed the beer in front of Jared.

Jared really didn't want a beer, but Jon had bought it for him, so he didn't want to turn it down either. Besides, if he drank the beer, Jon wouldn't be able to. "Thanks Jonathan."

"Hey my pleasure. And call me Jon, only my mom calls me Jonathan.

"Okay, Jon." Jared looked at Jon and saw him watching him. Jared smiled. Jon started to blush and smiled back.

The next half an hour went pretty quickly, although in his dream, Jared re-lived every second, almost as if he was afraid to skip ahead to the final event of the evening.

About fifteen minutes into their last conversation, which was about tennis, the bartender came over to their table and gave them a free beer each for 'not causing any trouble.' Jared didn't say anything this time.

Fuck, I can't say anything to him now. These were free. But that is the last beer, no question this time.

The conversation was slowly going downhill, as Jon was getting drunk. He was slurring his speech and he kept losing focus on the conversation.

"Damn it, my beer is gone again. Ne-ed more, be right back. You want anything. I'm going for more beer."

"No, I'm good." Here goes nothing. Hope this works. "And I think maybe you've had enough too."

Jon sat back down, nearly missing the chair. "What? Whaddya mean?"

"I mean I think you've had enough to drink tonight."

"No I haven't. Why do you think that?" Jon was starting to get aggravated. "I want more beer. Why would you think that?"

Jared, being Jared, also started to get upset. "Well just look at yourself. You almost missed the chair and landed on the floor. The last time you went to the bar, I had to keep you from falling on your ass. Your speech is slurred and your mind is wandering all over. Face it Jon, you're drunk. I think you should call it a night, beer wise."

"I am not drunk! I might have a small buzz on, but thasit. I'm having a good time. Now, I'm gonna get another beer."

Jon started to get up again, but Jared placed a hand on his shoulder and easily pushed him back onto his seat. One of the benefits of moving furniture five days a week is that it helps build great muscles. "You've had enough to drink. Why don't you please just sit down and let the beer wear off for a bit."

"Why don't you please get your fucking hand off me and let me get another God damned beer!"

"Because you don't need anymore, alright!"

"You know you were right before. I am going to call it a night. I'm going home. Now let me go."

Jared removed his hand from Jon's shoulder. Jon picked up his coat and started to put it on.

"Good idea. I'll help you get a cab." Finally he is listening to me. It's about time, I'm starting to get a bit of a buzz myself.

"No. You've done enough tonight, don't ya think?"


"You heard me. You've already stopped my fun, I think I can handle the rest of the night myself."

He is such a fucking asshole when he is drunk. "Fine, have it your way, I'm outta here. Good night." Jared grabbed his coat and walked out of the bar.


BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! Jared's alarm clock sounded, starting a new day and bringing the previous night to a close. Jared turned off the alarm, wiped the sweat from his forehead, and went to take a shower.

Jon woke up early, again. He had a hangover, again. He used to sleep in when he had a hangover, but lately he always seemed to be wide-awake by eight. Of course, before he always had Joey to snuggle into, so he had a good reason to stay in bed. There were those mornings that Joey had to be at a photo shoot early in the morning, but those were few and far between. Joey was a very popular model and he usually got to pick his own schedule for the day. So long as he actually got the work done.

Jon got up and went to the bathroom attached to the master bedroom of his two-bedroom home. After walking several feet, he came to the sudden realization that his hangover wasn't very strong this morning. This immediately brought back memories of last night and the reason why his hangover wasn't all that bad.

Well Jared, looks like something half-decent came from your actions last night. Jon adjusted himself inside his boxers, flushed the toilet, and went to his closet to get a towel for a nice morning shower, all the while trying not to think of the previous night.

He placed the towel on the bar next to the shower stall and turned on the water. When he had the temperature set to his liking, he slid his boxers down, stepped out of them and into the shower. Jon let the warm water cascade down over his firm, tanned body. He slowly lathered up his shoulders with the soap. He made his way down his left arm, then his right.

Jon lathered up his chest and kept going down over his flat tight abs. He stopped. He moved the soap back up to just in under his sternum and went down over his abs again.

"When did I get a gut?"

Indeed, he was showing a little tummy where once there were only the flat abs that he loved to display. Jon placed the soap back onto its holder on the wall and ran both hands over his new protruding mid-section. He slid his hands to his sides and found yet another unwanted surprise.

"I've got love handles too!"

He quickly finished his shower and stepped out of the stall. Reaching under the sink, he pulled out his bathroom scales and stepped on.

He stepped off again. When did I put on that much weight? I eat healthy, I exercise... why am I getting fat?

Jared unlocked the van and pushed up the rear door. It was not a good morning. All he'd been able to think of since he woke up was what had happened last night. Actually all he had been able to think of since last night was last night. He had been so preoccupied by his actions from his outing that he almost got hit by two cars while walking from the bus stop to work.

Why did I have to stick my nose where it didn't belong? If I had shut my mouth and let him drink we would still have a date for 'N Sync in two weeks. But no, I had to fuck it up.

Jared sighed. "I have to get over this and move on. I'm not going to see him again and that's that."

"Okay, two questions." Rob appeared from around the corner of the warehouse. It was attached to the rear of the department store, and nicely hid from the public.

Jared jumped. He hadn't noticed Rob walking up to him. "Jesus Rob! Don't fucking do that to me!"

Rob started to laugh hysterically. "I'm sorry, ha ha ha hah ah ahah... I couldn't resist. Hahahahah."

"Yeah well... don't do it again, okay?" Jared was trying to keep himself from laughing, but he wasn't succeeding.

"Okay, okay, I won't do it again."

Rob and Jared looked at each other and started laughing again. After about a minute Rob regained the gift of speech.

"Anyway, like I was saying, I have two questions." Rob said. "One, who's the 'he' that you aren't going to see anymore and two, why are you talking to yourself?"

Jared looked at Rob and rolled his eyes. "Two, because I am more interesting to talk to than you are..."


"And one... none of your business."

"Jared... I'm hurt. I tell you about all the girls that I date."

"Yeah and I never ask about them either. I don't want to know about your 'conquests.'"

"So you saying that you had a conquest?" Rob was really digging.

And Jared was starting to get pissed. "No, I didn't have a conquest. Just shut up and drop it. Get the damned manifest so we can load the damned van."

"Not until you tell me who he was and what happened. Just don't get too detailed, I'm not that opened minded."

Jared glared at him.

"You can give me that look all you want, it isn't going to work this time. Either you tell me now, or I will be on you all day."

"Fine, I'll tell you this much: I met a guy at a club last night for a..."


"Not a date. It was just the two of us meeting for a few drinks to talk. Problem was, I thought he was drinking too much and when I told him about it he got upset. When he got upset, I got upset and I left. He's not going to want to see me again and that, as they say, is that."

"Man, that is way harsh," said Rob shaking his head.

"Yeah. Well now you know, so can we just get the van loaded and go to work. I don't want to fall behind schedule."

Well he's going to be great company today thought Rob. "Yeah fine, let's do it to it."

Jon sat on his sofa drinking a glass of low fat milk. He wanted to have an all out breakfast with bacon and eggs, and coffee, but after his weight-scale adventure he'd decided against it.

It's strange. I can't remember the last time I actually wanted to eat breakfast, but this morning I actually wanted one.

He looked down at the glass he held in his hands. It reminded him of a beer bottle, which reminded him of the night before. Thoughts of the night before... brought back thoughts of Jared.

The first thing he thought of was Jared holding him back from getting another beer. Even though his memories were somewhat fuzzy, he could still remember what he was feeling at the time.

I was so angry with him when he did that. But he deserved it, he had no right to keep me from enjoying myself. On the other hand he was only trying to do what I guess he thought was right. I did get home before the thunderstorm, and I actually wanted breakfast this morning, even if I didn't eat any. I don't know, maybe I shouldn't have gotten angry at him, but he shouldn't have butted in on my business.

Jon shook his head. Enough on that topic. I'm not going to see him again so it doesn't matter if I forgive him or not. What I need now is some relaxing, un-educational TV.

He picked up his remote and started flicking through the channels.

Rob and Jared were back at the warehouse reloading the van again. Their first load had taken them to four different places. They'd been running around all over the hills.

"Look at this. We have a van full for just one place... haven't had one of those in a while," said Rob looking at the delivery list in his right hand.

"I know. Why is it that we always get stuck with a van full of one-piece deliveries that send us all over town?"

"Maybe 'cause we don't kiss the boss's ass enough to get the hassle-free jobs." Rob laughed and was soon joined by Jared.

"Ok," said Jared, "help me get this dishwasher loaded onto the van and we are out of here."

"Crap. Crap. Crap. More crap." Jon was flicking through the channels, searching for something worth watching. He had watched an episode of Knight Rider and an episode of the old Transformers cartoon. For the last five minutes though, he was just going from channel to channel, to channel.

This sucks he thought. Two hundred and twelve channels and nothing on.

Finally he found something he decided that he wanted to watch. "Ah... MTV."

Jon put the remote on the coffee table and then rested his feet there as well. He sat back and watched Madonna's 'Beautiful Stranger' video and the video for the Backstreet Boys' new single. He was getting thirsty, the previous night's drinking having dehydrated him a bit, so he went to the kitchen for another glass of low fat milk.

He returned just as some commercials were ending and a new video was starting.

"'N Sync. That's just want I want to see right now." He thought back to last night again. He remembered inviting Jared to see 'N Sync in concert with him. He chuckled as he remembered the expression on Jared's face as he asked if it was a date.

He seemed so excited and scared at the same time. Obviously I wasn't going to go on a date with him that quick, we only just came out to each other. Although, it would be nice to go on an actual date again. It's been so long since I've had one. Joey and I haven't been on a date in...

Well, Jared ruined that.

Hmmm, maybe I should give him a second chance. It would be nice to have some company for the concert. I really don't want to go alone. But I don't know where he works, and I have no idea where he lives. Oh well, unless I meet him at the bar between now and then, I guess I'll be going alone.

"And here's the new one by ATB called '9 PM - Till I Come.'" The VJ's voice brought Jon out of his train of thought. He stretched out on the sofa using his left arm as a makeshift pillow.

"Okay, number fifteen, this is it." Jared parked the van against the curb. Rob got out and walked up to the front door to check if they had the right house. After pulling up to a house several times and immediately starting to unload the van only to discover that someone at the store had transcribed the wrong address, they made a habit of always checking with the homeowner first. That had saved them effort and embarrassment a few times now.

Rob walked up to the door and seeing that there was no knocker rang the bell.

Ding ding ding dong!

Jon jumped. "Who could be at my door before noon? Oh shit, I forgot. I'm having furniture delivered today."

Jon got up from the sofa using his left arm to push himself up. As soon as he started to get up he fell back down, hitting his head on the arm of the sofa. His arm was numb--it had fallen asleep.

"Shit! Why does this have to happen now?"

He managed to get up without touching his arm against anything. The feeling was slowly returning to his arm and he was getting the sensation of 'pins and needles.'

Ding ding ding dong!

"I'm coming!" Jon ran to the door and pulled it open. "Yes?"

"Excuse me sir, are you expecting a furniture delivery?"

"Yes, yes I am."

"Excellent. We'll bring in your stuff right aw... hey! You're Jonathan Brandis!" Rob's eyes opened wide and his jaw dropped.

Jon smiled widely. "Yeah that's me. And you are..."

"Rob Cole. It's a pleasure to meet you." Rob extended his hand for Jon to shake. Jon shook Rob's hand. Luckily it was his right hand; his left was still tingling.

"Oh yeah." Rob suddenly remembered. "Here's your delivery slip." He took a piece of paper out of his jacket pocket with his left hand. Jon extended his left hand palm up to take the slip. Rob slapped the paper into his hand as if giving him 'five.'

Jon flinched and gritted his teeth, but maintained his smile.

Rob released his right hand. "Ok, we'll be right in with your furniture Mr. Brandis."

"Thanks" replied Jon. He shook his arm a bit, trying to get rid of the last of the tingling.

Rob walked around to the driver's side of the van, and looked at Jared. "Okay, we have the right spot. Back it up."

"Okay, will do." Jared started the van up.

"Oh and you're never gonna guess who's house this is," yelled Rob excitedly. He always got excited at meeting celebrities.

Jared backed the van halfway up the driveway. He set the brake, turned off the motor, and stepped out. He walked back to unlock the rear door.

"Let's get that dishwasher in first" Jared said.

"Sounds good to me" Rob said.

They gently eased the heavy machine from the van onto the paved driveway.

"Ok, on three. Ready?"

Rob nodded his response.

"One... two... three."

The two deliverymen lifted the dishwasher slowly, so they didn't injure themselves. With even, measured steps they walked towards the door of Jon's house. Jared was in front, and carefully maneuvered the dishwasher so it didn't damage the doorframe.

When Rob had cleared the door, Jared looked around in search of the homeowner. "So where would you like..." His voice stopped as he spotted Jon. He was standing ten feet in front of him. Jared stopped dead in his tracks. His grip on the appliance loosened, forcing Rob to compensate.

It's him! What are the chances of running into him like this? Shit, I've gotta say something, I've gotta do something. But what? He hates me now. This is way too awkward. Jared sighed. His hands were shaking, causing the heavy appliance to continue slipping from his grip. Rob was struggling to hold it up. Ok, just deliver and get out, that's it. Don't make eye contact and speak only if spoken...

"Jared what are you doing?" Rob was frantically trying to prevent the dishwasher from crashing to the floor.

Rob's call snapped Jared back to reality. He could feel the dishwasher slip from his left hand. He quickly tried to recover. Tightening the grip of his right hand, he hurriedly tried to get his left hand into position again. His fingers managed to find the edge and hang on. Only by shear determination did he get his entire hand on the machine. Well that, and Rob straining to hold up the bulk of the weight.

"Sorry Rob" Jared said.

While Jared was lost in thought, Jon was also engaged in his own internal discussion. He's in my house. That sonofabitch is in my house! No wait I said I would give him another chance if I got the opportunity. Guess this is that opportunity. Should I or shouldn't I? I'll see how this goes. If he apologizes, I'll give him another chance.

"Jared what are you doing?"

Rob's yell brought Jon back to the real world as it had Jared. He held his breath as he watched Jared struggle to maintain control at his end of the appliance. He resumed his breathing when Jared regained his grip and his composure.

"Sorry Rob." Jared said.

"You should pay more attention to what you are doing... Jared." Jon said.

Well he spoke to me... I guess that's a good sign. I hope it is anyway. I think I should keep it professional for now though. "Don't worry, Mr. Brandis, I will. Where can we put this?"

"Follow me." Jon motioned at the kitchen before turning and walking towards it.

Rob and Jared followed with their cargo. The entire time they were walking, Jared couldn't help staring at Jon's butt covered by a pair of gray Nike shorts.

"Set it down over there," said Jon indicating the location. "I'll hook up the water later."

They set the appliance down, happy to rid themselves of the weight they were carrying. "Actually Mr. Brandis, hook-up is free," Rob informed him.

"Oh. Cool." Jon said.

"Okay Rob, you can hook up the dishwasher. I'll bring in the rest of the furniture." That way I don't have to stay in here with Jon. There's just too much tension.

Jon looked down. So he doesn't want to be in here with me. Guess that rules out a second chance.

"Uh... Okay. Sure thing." Rob said. This is weird. What is going on between those two? The tension is so thick I could cut it with a chainsaw.

Jared turned around and left. Rob began unpacking and connecting the dishwasher.

The entire delivery process took about twenty minutes. While Rob and Jared went back and forth between the van and the house, Jon stood out of the way in the living room watching. Seeing Jared delivering his furniture, Jon kept hearing one line repeat in his mind.

'My line of work doesn't make me any less susceptible to that then someone who...' delivers furniture. I can't believe I was gong to say that. I felt so ashamed. I thought I was better than that. To make such a sweeping, classist remark was... idiotic! I was so stupid. At least Jared forgave me, maybe I should take a lesson from him. But I don't want to speak first. He made the big mistake. He should take the first step.

By this time, the van was empty and the house was re-stocked. There was nothing left to do but leave. Rob and Jared finished picking up the cardboard boxes and plastic packaging and headed towards the door.

"There ya go Mr. Brandis, that's everything," said Rob.

"Thank you gentlemen. Have a good day."

"You too." Rob walked out the door.

Jared, stopped in the doorway. I can't leave, not with things like they are. I feel terrible. I have to say something.

"I'll be right there Rob." He turned around and walked back into the living room where Jon was still standing in the same position he had been in for the last fifteen minutes. Jon looked up to see Jared coming towards him. Jared stopped.

I guess it isn't over. Come on Jared take that first step.

Jared took a deep breath. Alright, it's now or never. "Look Mr. Brandis... Jon, I... about last night. I just want to say... I'm sorry. I had no right to tell you what you should or shouldn't do. I was way out of line and... I'm sorry. There's not much else I can say except... I'm sorry. Will you forgive me?"

Jon looked directly into Jared's eyes. He's being honest. He's being completely honest with me.

"Apology... accepted." Jon smiled.

Jared let out a deep breath he hadn't realized he was holding. "Thank you."

There was an awkward silence in the room. Something that seemed to happen too often between these two.

"I guess I'd better be going... got a lot of work to do. I'll see ya around." Jared turned and stared to walk away. Just before he got to the door, Jon cleared his throat.

"Jared do you have thirty dollars?"

Jared stopped and turned around. "What?"

"Do you have thirty dollars? You know, for the 'N Sync tickets."

Jared was shocked. "You still want to go with me?"

"Well, yeah. I figured I'd pick up the tickets today. If you have the money on you that is."

"Of course... here." Jared took out his wallet and handed Jon the money.

"Cool. There's just one more thing I need."

"Um... what?"

Jon laughed at how paranoid Jared had gotten all of a sudden. "How about your phone number? How else am I going to get in contact with you when I want to?"

When he wants to? Yes! "Oh yeah, how stupid of me. Got paper and a pen?"

Jon walked around to the end table. He took a sheet from the notepad that was there and the pen beside it. He walked back to Jared and handed him the stationery. Jared wrote down his phone number and his address-- you know, just in case.

Beep! Beep! Beep!

Jared chuckled. "Looks like Rob's getting impatient. I should go."

"Yeah I guess so."

"Talk to you soon?"

Jon smiled. "Sure thing."

Jared returned the smile and headed out the door. When the door closed, Jon walked back to his sofa and sat down. This, he thought, could be very cool.

Jared boarded the van and took his keys from his pocket. He put them in the ignition and put on his seatbelt.

"Well?" Rob sounded exasperated.

"Well what?"

"Well what took you so long? Why'd you go back? You know that autographs are against company policy."

Jared looked at Rob. He could tell that not knowing was driving him crazy. "That information is on a need to know basis." He started the van and put it in gear. "And you... don't need to know." Jared laughed. He drove off, heading back to the warehouse for another load to deliver. He was in a better mood than he had been in... in a long time.

To be continued....