Never Too Far Away
Time Stood Still

Disclaimer: This story involves love, relationship, and "adult" subject matter between teenage boys... so I guess that means your not supposed to read this if your under 18, but really if you are younger than that, I can't stop you. Just Don't Get Caught :)  If homosexuality offends you, then leave, or join the 21st century, and open up to it.

This Is FICTION... any character resembling a real life person is by coincidence, and in the rare event a character is based on someone in real life their name has been changed due to legal and personal protection.  You never know who's lurking around reading this. So now the little spiel is over so hopefully you'll enjoy this.  Do Not Reproduce this story, and if you would like to have it on your web site, email me & get my permission. Thanks. Copyright © Jaden & Jaded Edge Productions

The only song used in this chapter that you can download is Jessica Simpson - When You Told Me You Loved Me.  The other song is an original, written by myself.

Chapter 4


"Dad..."  The look of disdain on Kai's face said it all.  A red flush spread over his body as the anger built up inside of him.  He stood at the altar, in the final stage of what was meant to be the happiest day of his life, but instead it was being interrupted not only by the father that left him long ago, but another man he had grown to despise as well.

Kai's father walked up the aisle with Colin at his side, despite the protest from family members and friends alike.  "I'm canceling this wedding.  No son of mine is going to marry another man."  Jordan looked at Kai, then back at Kai's father, holding back the nerves that were causing his stomach to turn.

"I don't recall sending you an invitation or asking for your opinion, Dad."  Kai's voice accented the word 'Dad" with a touch of venom.

"Who do you think you are, talking to me like that, you little faggot?!?"  Kai's father took a step forward trying to intimidate Kai, but he didn't flinch.  Instead Kai stepped up to meet his father face to face.

"I'm not 13, you don't scare me anymore.  Now why don't you and 'big brother' get the hell off my beach."  Blade looked at Colin, surprised by Kai's revelation.  Kai never mentioned an older brother to anyone.

"Aww, good to see you remember me bro," Colin teased with a smirk on his face.  Kai made a move towards Colin, but Blade stepped in and intercepted him before the two could get at each other.  Blade leaned over and softly spoke to Kai.

"Dude, calm down."  Kai seemed to be looking right through Blade, shooting daggers at Colin, so Blade put his hands on Kai's face and made him look into his eyes, "Look at me and listen.  This is your day.  Do not let these two ruin the happiest day of your life.  Go back up to the altar, take Jordan in your arms and show him how much you love him."  Kai's eyes seemed to soften with Blade's words.  He wrapped his arms around Blade, giving him a thank you hug, then turned and started back to the altar where Jordan awaited patiently.

"Wasn't that cute?  I should've known you were friends with my brother.  Couple of disgusting queers.  No wonder you're in the music business, it'll give you a whole new set of diseases you and your ass ramming friends can collect,"  Colin spit out his words like fire at Blade.  Blade turned around with a smirk on his face, "What are you smiling at bitch?"

Blade walked up to Colin and grabbed him by his shirt collar.  He put his head close to Colin's ear and whispered, "You're fired... bitch."  With that Blade walked casually back up to his spot behind Kai, "Continue, Reverend."

"Ahem, yes.  Now, by the power vested in me, I now pronounce you marri.."

"Are you people that blind?!?  Can't you see how wrong this is?!?"  Kai's father once again interrupted the ceremony.  Kai's family members just looked away, embarrassed at the man's outbursts.  "You're all going to hell.  And you.."  He turned to Jordan, "You are responsible for this aren't you?  You're putting these sick thoughts in his head.. that it's okay for a man to lie with another man.  I'll show you.."

"Dude, why don't you take your bible and thump it somewhere else?"  Mr. Kimbal snapped his head to the side of Jordan where Eric stood.  "This is the 21st century, get with the program.  He's your son, and he's in love with Jordan, another guy.  Why is that so bad?  Isn't it your job as a parent to want what's best for your kid?  Don't you want to see him happy?"

"Let me guess, you're another one.  What is this the rainbow brigade?  Shut your mouth and mind your own business before I come over there and mess up your other limbs," Mr. Kimbal spat out his words with fury, nodding at Eric's injured arm.  Mr. Kimbal walked towards Jordan with one thing on his mind.. pain.  Kai stepped in front of him, but was caught off guard by Colin running up from the side and tackling him to the ground.  The patrons at the wedding immediately rose to their feet, scrambling to gain control of the situation.

Mr. Kimbal made it to Jordan and reeled his fist back preparing to deliver a shot to Jordan's face.  Jordan was caught off guard and shut his eyes trying to brace for the impact, but it never came.  He opened his eyes slowly to see Mr. Kimbal's arm being held back, interlocked with one of the last people's arms he ever expected. Mr. Kimbal ripped his arm away and spun around furious.  "YOU!  It was you who did this!!  I knew from the day I met you, Tyler Pierce, that you were a no good fag after my boy's cock.  It's too bad your father didn't finish the job when he had the chance."

Blade looked at Tyler and watched the pain flash over his face, knowing all about what Tyler's father had done to him.  The pain quickly turned into seething anger.  Tyler lunged at Mr. Kimbal catching him with a few shots to the body and one to the chin.  Tyler's small frame didn't allow for a whole lot of impact, so Mr. Kimbal came back at him quick and hard.  He threw a punch, which Tyler blocked, but then he grabbed Tyler's hair and ripped him down to the ground.  Tyler rolled over trying to gain his footing on the hot sand, but Mr. Kimbal was like an animal stalking his prey. The people at the wedding were all running around, groups of them forming walls trying to get wherever they were trying to go.  Blade watched as Mr. Kimbal moved in on Tyler, but couldn't get through the crowds of people to help him.  Mr. Kimbal brought his fist back and firmly drove it down across Tyler's jaw, sending the boy down in a heap.

"Get the fuck out of my way!"  Blade yelled as he tried valiantly to get through the crowd before it was too late.

"What's the matter boy?  Can't hang with a real man?"  Mr. Kimbal taunted Tyler as he swatted wildly from his knees.  "You're used to that position aren't you?"  Mr. Kimbal laid on the verbal abuse, then kicked sand into Tyler's eyes.  Tyler cried out in pain.

"FUCK!  If I'm so weak.. why do you have to blind me to fight me..."

"You question my manhood?  You're dead."  Mr. Kimbal picked up one of the wooden chairs and swung it at his target.  Tyler had no chance to move as the wood smacked the top of his head.  "Come on, get up."  Blade finally made it through the crowd, but was then blind sided by someone, making them both tumble to the sand.  Blade threw the person off of him and kipped up to his feet.  He looked down to see Riley slowly rising to his feet.

"You have no idea what you just did," Blade's threat pierced into Riley, "I'll be back for you."  Blade turned, only to see Mr. Kimbal preparing to smash the chair over the barely conscious Tyler once again, "Tyler move!"

The chair swung down quickly, but was stopped in mid air by a hand, then the chair was jammed backwards into the stomach of Mr. Kimbal.  A look of relief came over Blade's face as he saw Chance stop the beating on Tyler.  Mr. Kimbal shook off the blow, then came towards Chance, who got into a fighting stance.  Blade came up behind Mr. Kimbal and grabbed his arms restraining him from behind.  "That's it.  It's over, so you can either calm down and leave on your own free will, or I'm going to knock you out and watch you ride away in a police car."

"You? Knock me out? Hahahahaha."  Mr. Kimbal struggled, but Blade had a firm grip on him.

"If he doesn't then I will," Mr. Kimbal spun out of Blade's grip only to be met with a punch square in the nose sending him down on his ass.  Blade looked on, stunned as he watched Mrs. Kimbal shake her fist from the impact.  "Now get out of here.  You are not Kai's father.  You left that right behind a long time ago.  That is MY son.  So take YOUR son and go back to the rock you crawled out from under."  Mr. Kimbal's eyes flared as he held his nose, blood seeping over his hand.

"The cops are on their way," Jordan said as he walked up beside Mrs. Kimbal.

"Fine.  Have your faggot for a son you stupid bitch.  This isn't over."  Mr. Kimbal stalked off, cursing as he disappeared from the beach.  Mrs. Kimbal turned to Jordan and gave him a long hug.

"Now you and my son go finish what you started."  Jordan smiled at her, scanning the crowd for Kai.

Chance brushed the sand from his clothing when a hand grabbed his shoulder, spinning him around.  Chance swung around with his fist and a loud smack could be heard through the air as his fist connected with someone's face.  Tyler dropped to the ground with a thud, clenching his face.  "Chance!"  Blade yelled as he saw what happened.  Mrs. Kimbal immediately ran over to Tyler to help him.  "What the hell did you do that for?"

"It was an accident," Chance's voice came out in monotone as he looked down at Tyler's fallen form.

"Well what the fuck dude, pay attention to what you're doing," Blade's anger was more out of concern for Tyler's condition than anything else.

"Maybe he should stop being a scandalous bitch, trying to steal my boyfriend.  How thick do you think those hotel room walls are, Blade?  Do you think I'm stupid, that I didn't hear what he said to you when we got here?  Fuck that.  I'm not going to sit around and watch him move in on the guy I'm in love with and not do anything about it.  So you can be pissed at me, but the only reason I stopped him from taking more of a beating was for you... because I know how much you care about him.  So that was for you.  And that punch right there, that was for me."  Chance stormed off angrily, not even letting Blade respond.  Blade just sighed, running his hand through his hair in semi shock from Chance's outburst.

Blade walked over to Tyler who was being cared for by Mrs. Kimbal.  She doused his eyes with eye drops, trying to remove the sand from them.  Tyler's eyes opened, all red and bloodshot, the tears leaking out from the pain.  "Blade, do me a favor and keep him propped up while I run and get a first aid kit."  Blade just nodded and leaned down in the sand, propping Tyler against his arm.

"Hey Ty.. are you okay?"  Blade asked softly.  He was trying to keep his emotions in check.  Seeing Tyler so banged up brought his mind back to the car accident.  He hated seeing Tyler hurt in anyway.. it was one of the few things that actually scared him.  Another part of him was hurting, feeling the effects of his first real fight with Chance.  He shook off the thoughts swarming around in his head as Tyler spoke.

"Oh.. yeah.. I'm great.."  Tyler tried to smile, but his face cringed from the bruises and welts.  "Hey.. don't worry.."  Tyler reached his hand over and grasped Blade's.

"How do you know I'm worried?"

"Heh.. Blade.. we've been through everything together.  I know you.."  Tyler paused for a moment then continued, "Don't be mad at him for what he did.  He loves you.. and he's right.. I need to respect your relationship.  I deserved that punch.  I am in love with you.. I don't know if I'll ever be able to get over you, and I'll always hope for us.  But right now, Chance is yours, and you're his.  And I want nothing more than to be your friend, if you'll let me."  A tear drop slid from Blade's eye, which Tyler gently wiped away with his hand.

"Yeah.. I'd really like it if we could get our friendship back."  Both boys smiled at each other, the rare love between the two of them was living on in both their hearts, but neither of them was willing to sacrifice their friendship for anything.

"BLADE!!"  Matt's voice came echoing from about 20 yards away.  Blade looked over at him, "YOU HAVE TO COME WITH ME!! HURRY, THERE'S A BRAWL GOING ON  BY THE COVE!!!"  Luckily, Mrs. Kimbal was jogging back over to Tyler.  She propped Tyler up with some blankets and started to clean up his face.

"I have to go, Tyler.  I'll check on you later okay?

"Yeah.  Hey.. be careful."  Blade gave Tyler a little smile then sprinted towards Matt.

"What's going on?"  Blade asked as he ran side by side with his brother's beau.

"It's Kai and Colin.  They're ripping into each other.  Jordan was trying to break them apart, but Riley came up and jumped on him.  I left Eric and Jake back there trying to break it up, but they just ended up arguing."

"Why can't we ever have a peaceful event?"  Matt just shook his head, wondering the same thing as they arrived at the cove.  When they rounded the corner it looked like a battle zone.  Jordan and Riley were wrestling on the ground, while Kai and Colin were literally tearing each other apart.  Kai's tux was in pieces, only tatters of it were hanging off his tan skin that seemed to have little lacerations here and there, while Colin was completely bare chested and bleeding from his lip.  Eric and Jake were off in a corner yelling at each other.

"You go separate Eric and Jake, I'll see if I can stop Kai and Colin,"  Blade glanced over at Jordan who elbowed Riley in the stomach, "I'll let Jordan have his way with Riley for a couple more minutes."  Matt just laughed as he went over to his boyfriend and close friend.

"Come on, hit me Jake.  Show me how much of a man you are."

"I'd kill you in a fight Eric, so why don't you stop tempting me."

"What's the matter?  Are you scurred?  Afraid that a gay guy might get the best of the big ol'e straight jock?"  Jake pushed Eric against the stone wall, "Oh yeah, you like it rough don't you?"

"That's enough guys.  You two are supposed to be best friends and you're fighting. Over what? Eric, if Jake's not comfortable with his sexuality then let him deal with it."

"I'm fine with my.."

"Jake, look at this,"  Matt pulled a picture out of his pocket and handed it to Jake.  Jake's eyes widened and a blush formed over his cheeks.  Matt took the picture back, "You were saying?"  Matt motioned with his eyes towards the tent starting to form in Jake's pants.

"What is that picture of?"  Eric reached for the picture, but Matt held it out of reach.

"Nothing you need to be looking at."

"MATTTTT!!!"  Eric whined.

"Is everything okay guys?"  A voice came from behind Eric and Matt.  Ben approached, decked out in his tux, looking sexy as ever.  Jake blushed furiously then looked down at the ground.

"Oh my god!  That's a picture of Ben naked isn't it?!?  Let me see!"  Eric screeched while trying to wrestle the picture from Matt.

"Say what?  A picture of me naked?"  Ben asked confused.

"Eric!  Stop, it's not a picture of Ben naked.  Where would I get that?  It's a picture of me and you having sex, geez."  Eric's face flushed a little bit.

"Baby.. those are for private viewing.."  Eric whispered.  Matt and Ben burst out laughing, but Jake just kept his head down.

"The reverend says we have to get back to the ceremony, he has another appointment to get to," Said Ben.

"Well let's gather these guys and get going," Matt said as they approached Jordan who had Riley in a headlock.

Meanwhile, Kai and Colin tousled in the sand, both boys landing punches to each other's bodies.  Blade tried reasoning with them, but it was no use.  Colin kneed Kai in the balls and stood to his feet.  Blade ran over and speared him to the ground, the impact knocking the wind out of Colin.  Ben pried Jordan off of Riley and started dragging him back towards the wedding grounds.  Riley stood to his feet then looked at Kai who was pulling himself up off of the sand. Their eyes met and Kai knew what was going to happen.

"Hey Jordan, tell me something.  What would you say if you found out that Kai did somethin..."

"Shut up, Riley," Blade warned.

"Fuck you, Blade.  This is my show now."  Blade rolled his eyes and helped Kai up.  He waved to Eric to get Jordan out of there before Riley could run his mouth.

"The birth mark on Kai's inner thigh is cute isn't it, Jordan?"  Jordan's head whipped in Riley's direction.

"What did you say?"  Blade took his coat off and threw it over Riley's face as he walked by.  Riley ripped it off his head furiously, only to be met with a sharp shot to the jaw, sending him spinning to the ground.  Blade picked up his coat and shook the sand off of it.

"Okay, any other questions or comments?"  Blade asked sharply glaring at Riley who was holding his jaw.  "Good.  The wedding party is needed back at the altar. Let's do it right this time."  The group of boys walked together back up the beach, leaving Colin and Riley recovering from their injuries.

Everyone was ushered back into their seats as a very disheveled Kai stood next to Jordan in front of the minister.  Both boys apologized for the events that took place then waited for the rest of the wedding party to take their place.  The minister began to speak once again, "As you can see, life isn't perfect.  This joyous occasion was marred by homophobia, personal vendettas and unforeseen events.  But through it all, the love of these two young men has not been tainted.  They share a common bond that can only be formed from unconditional love.  So it is my pleasure to now pronounce you, Kai Kimbal and you, Jordan Chambers, officially married.  You may now kiss."

Kai stepped up and wrapped his arms around his husband, "We did it baby.  We're married."  Jordan smiled widely and leaned into his boyfriend, their lips melting into each other, becoming one in heart and soul.  The crowd cheered wildly as the boys broke the kiss, and the wedding march started back up.  Kai took Jordan's hand in his own and they both walked back down the aisle together.  Married at last.

An hour later....

Inside the darkly tinted confines of a stretch limo sat the two newly weds.  A man joined together with another man.  A thought unthinkable to many, a sign that ignorance still reigns even in this day and age.  Yet, all one of those ignorant people would have to do is take one look at Kai Kimbal and his husband, the newly Jordan Kimbal.  Their love is so pure and untainted that even the blindest of people could see there is nothing wrong with who they are.

Their bodies meshed into one another as they enjoyed the comfort of each other's presence, even in complete silence.  Kai brought his face over to Jordan's cheek and nuzzled his nose against the soft flesh tenderly and playfully.  A small smile crept upon Jordan's pink lips as Kai let his tongue slither out of his mouth and quickly lick down from Jordan's cheek to his neck.  Jordan turned his head and softly spoke as the limo halted in front of their hotel.  "Well husband of mine, it's time to go to our rooms and get ready so we can head back to the beach and entertain our friends and family once again."

Kai whimpered and gave Jordan a pleading look, "Do we have to?"  Jordan nodded with a smile.  "But i just want to skip the reception part and get to the honeymoon part."  Kai wiggled his eyebrows and growled suggestively.  Jordan giggled and playfully punched Kai in the shoulder.  "Ooo.. You like it rough now eh?"  Kai grinned and pounced on Jordan.  Their lips met and wrestled with each other hungrily.  Kai's hips started to gyrate firmly against Jordan, rubbing their groins together.  Kai being the aggressor started to unbutton Jordan's vest and shirt while he sucked on the smooth skin of Jordan's neck.  They were startled out of their sexual frenzy by the sound of the intercom.

"We have arrived at your destination.  So that means stop trying to eat Jordan, there'll be food at the reception."  The unmistakable sound of Eric's raspy teenage voice came ringing through the limo.  Kai grumbled and reluctantly detached himself from Jordan.  The door opened and Eric popped his head inside.  "Come on!  People are waiting you know."  Kai gave Eric the finger then started to go back to work on Jordan's neck.  "Promises, promises, Surfy.  Well, I asked nicely, now you're gonna regret not listening to me."  Eric disappeared from the doorway momentarily, then yelled from outside the limo, "Cameron, sick'em boy!"

All of a sudden the little form of Cameron's body came lunging through the open door of the limo, a cute growl emitting from his mouth.  He did his best to intimidate the older boys, then went to 'Plan B' when that didn't work, attaching himself to Kai's leg and tugging as hard as he could.  "Come on, Uncle Kai!  My daddy said if you don't wisten to me I can bite you really hard!"  Kai and Jordan snickered at the little boy's enthusiasm and innocence.

"We wouldn't want that little dude, those teeth look pretty sharp."  Kai mused, as Cameron showed off his pearly whites giving his 'uncles' his fiercest look.  "Just like his dad isn't he, J?"

"Yeah he is.  I swear if two guys could make a kid, Cameron would be the perfect example of how it would turn out.  He looks so much like Joey, but has so much of Blade's personality.  Are you sure one of them didn't knock up the other one when they were younger?"  Jordan joked.

"What's knock up?"  Cameron piped in.

"Uhhh.. say, why don't we go inside now, Cam.."  Kai did his best to deter the boy's question.

"Okee, will you carry me?"

Kai smiled, "Sure little dude."  All the boys stepped out of the car into the cool air of the night sky.  Cameron held out his arms and Kai scooped him up.  Jordan watched his husband with their nephew and smiled.  Kai interlocked his free arm with Jordan's and they walked into their hotel.

The lobby was pretty empty with only a few people checking in at the front desk.  The patrons of the wedding had a couple hours inbetween the wedding and reception to head back to their respective hotels to change into something a little more comfortable for the beach setting.  Kai led Jordan and Cameron toward the elevators.  An elevator door opened as they approached and Tyler stepped out.  His face was all bruised and sported a couple of butterflies to hold the cuts above his right eye shut.  Cameron spotted Tyler and immediately wriggled free of Kai's grasp.  He sprinted over to Tyler who smiled brightly at the eager little boy.  Tyler knelt down so he could greet Cameron.  Cameron looked at Tyler's face and his eyes started to tear up, "Are you okee, Tywer?"

"Yeah, I'm okay, Cam.  Just a little sore."

"But why would someone hurt you, Tywer?"  Cameron's voice trembled as he spoke, the whole thought of someone hurting the boy in front of him made him extremely upset.

"Well, sometimes I do stupid things, bud.  Don't worry your adorable little head about me.  I'm fine, I promise."

"I'll kick the mean people that hurt you."  Tyler laughed at the boy's feistiness.  "Will you hold my hand?"

"Sure.  Let's go get you something from the gift shop."  Cameron's face lit up like a Christmas tree.  "Then I'll call your daddy and see if it's okay for you to ride with me to the reception, maybe you can show me how good you dance."  Cameron wrinkled up his face.  "Okay, maybe not."  Tyler laughed, and nodded at Jordan and Kai before heading off down the corridor towards the gift shop.

"Tyler's matured a lot," Said Jordan.

"Yeah, he has.  It's too bad that it took so many things and so much time for him to get to this point.  I think it's too little, too late for him and Blade."

"Yeah, I really like Chance and I think he's great for Blade.  Blade seems to be genuinely in love for the first time since Tyler and Joey.  I hope things work out for them."

"Me too.  That boy deserves a break for once. He's been through so much.  The only thing about Blade is he puts up a good front.  I hope he's positive about Chance, because if he's not we're going to have some broken hearts when we get back to Cali."

"Well, let's not think about that, let's focus on right now."  Jordan leaned in and kissed Kai sweetly, then led him on to the elevator.  Their happiness couldn't be shaken by anything on their joyous occasion.  Through all the trials and tribulations, only one thing rang true in their eyes.  Love finally triumphed over pain.


Later on at the beach...

Music filled the breezy air coming off the rough ocean waves.  Patrons of the wedding scattered along the stretch of beach that had been roped off, dancing, playing games and socializing.  Smiles were abound despite the attempts by certain peoples' ignorance to mar the events that occurred earlier in the day.

Tables were set up to accommodate the guests comfort needs, while a large buffet spread sat off to the side and was updated often to keep up with their appetites.  The wedding party sat at one large table, following the traditional setup.  Kai and Jordan sat at the middle, with their best men at their sides, followed by the ushers respectively.  The sound of a spoon clanging against the crystal of a champagne glass rang throughout the air, as I stood from my seat, grabbing everyone's attention.

"I just need everyone's attention for a minute here.  I want to propose a toast to the newlyweds." I turned to Kai and Jordan, shooting a small smile their way.  "When I met Kai my first reaction was damn.. he fine."  Laughter spread through out the patrons and a smirk formed on Kai's face, "Then he spoke, and I figured out why he had to live off his looks."  The laughter got louder and Kai shot me a death glare, but his eyes showed a smile underneath, "But in all seriousness, I came to realize on the very first day that we met how great of a person he was and how much he had to offer to the world.  Kai, we've had our ups and downs, but through it all you've always been my best friend, even when I was a complete ass, and we all know that happens often."

"I'll drink to that!"  Eric yelled out.

I smiled and paused for a moment, then turned my attention to Jordan, "I met Jordan a month or so after I met Kai.  We didn't exactly get off on the right foot, because I had this wild idea in my mind that he was out to get Kai.  Looks like I had that part right, just not in the right sense.  J, you've always been a bright spot in my life, whether it be our 'first date', or being there when I needed you, you've never let me down.  I'm glad you found the happiness you so rightfully deserve."  Jordan's eyes flickered with emotion, the smile on his face showed me that he appreciated my words, "In closing, before I turn this speech into a book, I wish you two all the luck in the world, congratulations and I love you both very much."  I raised my champagne glass in the air and everyone else followed, "To Kai and Jordan Kimbal."  A loud round of 'here heres' sounded from the surrounding people as everyone toasted to Jordan and Kai.

I set my champagne glass down on the table, and almost spit out the champagne with disgust.  Kai looked at me and snickered, "What's the matter, Blade, can't hold your liquor?"

"If it didn't taste like piss I wouldn't have that problem."  I made a sour face causing Kai to burst out laughing.

I took a minute to glance over at a table off to the side of the wedding party's table.  Cameron sat patiently next to Erik, who was trying to keep the little boy entertained.  I could tell Cam was getting antsy by the way he kept shifting in his seat.  The seat next to him was glaringly empty, causing me to scan the crowd for any sign of Chance.  Our fight over Tyler never got resolved because Chance refused to talk about it when we went back to the hotel.  I stood up again from my seat and excused myself from the table.  "Everything okay, Blade?"  Eric asked with concern, from his seat beside Jordan.

"Yeah, I'm just gonna check on Cam and Erik; see if they know where Chance is."

"I saw him a little while ago.  Want me to go look for him?"

"Could you?"  Eric nodded with a smile and went off on his way.  I made my way over toward Cameron, and he immediately perked up at the sight of me.  He turned his body around in the chair and propped his head up on the back of it, his little mouth trying to hold back a smile.

I smiled back at him as I arrived at the table, "What are you smiling at mister?"  Cameron played coy and shrugged his shoulders.  "Cat got your tongue?"  He shook his head, still holding back his smile.

"He hasn't spoken since Chance left.  He's being a brat,"  Said Erik, an unhappy tone in his voice.  I picked up Cameron and sat in his chair, sitting him down on my lap.

"Where'd he go?"  I asked.

"He said he was going for a walk on the beach."

"Hmm, well I'll see what's up with him.."

"He's letting off steam because he's pissed at you," Erik snapped.

"What's with the attitude, Erik?"  I snapped back at him.

"This sucks, and I don't want to sit here and babysit Cameron.  I just want to go back to the hotel and watch tv or something.  He's not listening to me anyway, so can I go?"

"No.  You're not walking back by yourself and what's so bad about being here?  Everyone else seems to be enjoying themselves.  Get out on the dance floor and dance.  Talk to some people, I mean, you're going to be seeing a lot of these people when we get to California, you might as well get to know them."

"I don't want to.  I'm glad I got to come with you, but I don't want to sit here and watch all these people and their families laughing and being all fucking.."  I cut him off with a glare, not wanting Cameron to hear that kind of language.  I calmed myself, and lowered my tone so he knew that I understood where he was coming from.

"Look, I know this is hard for you.  It's never easy having your life change in such a big way, but this is a change for all of us.  I'm sorry if seeing those people makes you feel bad, but you do have a family.  We might not be the traditional Brady Bunch type deal, but we're still a family none the less."

"Are we?  I'm just the tag along, Blade.  You felt sorry for me so you brought me with you.  I'll never really belong here.  You have this whole life with these people already.  They all love Cameron because he's a little kid and your son.  None of them have even spoken to me because I'm just some teenager that no one wanted.  I'm not your kid.. I'm nothing to anyone.  Even Cam is pushing me away."  I watched Erik as tears threatened to overflow his eyes and his voice broke between his words.  "Is it too much to ask for someone to love me for who I am and not look at me like I'm leftover garbage?  Is it wrong that I want to be part of a family and not feel like an outsider?"

As I was about to respond someone cleared their throat beside me, "Umm, I can see you guys are busy, I was just wondering if I could take Cameron off your hands for a little bit?"  Tyler looked at Erik sympathetically and I knew he had come over to take Cameron so I could have some time to talk to Erik alone.

"Do you want to go with Tyler for a little while, Cam?"  His eyes lit up and he eagerly broke free of my grasp, jumping down into the sand.  He reached his hand out and Tyler grasped it with his own.  I silently thanked Tyler to which he just nodded and led Cameron toward the dance floor.  I moved my chair closer to Erik, who had his head down staring at the table cloth.  I put an arm around him and he immediately leaned into me and just cried as hard as he could.  His body heaved with his sobs, trying to let out the pain he kept inside.  I didn't say anything because talking wasn't what he needed.  He just needed to have someone there for him while he dealt with his pain.  I grabbed a napkin off the table and handed it to him as he sniffled. "I wish I could take away your pain, Erik, but I can't.  All I can do is promise I'll do the best I can to give you that family you're looking for.  I love you kid; so do Cameron and Chance.  That will never change."  He pulled away from me and looked at my face with his cried out eyes.

"W-what about the others?"

"Give them a chance before writing them off.  They're great guys.  Trust me okay?  Once this party is over things will settle down and you'll be able to really get to know them.  Go up and talk to some of them.  They won't bite, well not unless it's during certain activities.."  Erik smirked a little at the innuendo, "That's what I want to see. A smile. You're at a party, have fun!"  I poked him in the side playfully.  His smirk slowly turned into a real smile as he leaned over quickly and hugged me tight.

"Thanks.. for being here for me."

"I'll always be here for you.  Don't forget that."  I looked over to the dance floor where Tyler was dancing like a pro in front of a hysterically giggling Cameron.  "Say Erik, do you wanna dance?"

"Uh.. with you?"  He asked with a priceless look on his face.

"Are you implying I'm not good enough to dance with?"  He could tell I was teasing by the smirk on my face, "No, not with me.  With Kai's younger sister, Arianna."  I nodded in the direction of where she sat next to Mrs. Kimbal and extended family.

"She looks kind of young.."

"Haha, dude, I'm not telling you to propose to her, just ask her to dance. I'm sure she's a bit bored herself.  And she's not THAT young, she's 13.  Two years younger than you."

"I guess.."  I pulled him by his shirt toward Mrs. Kimbal's table.  He mock fought me off, but eventually walked willingly beside me.  Mrs. Kimbal looked up and greeted me as I arrived at the table.

"Hello, Blade.  How's everything going?"

"Surprisingly good.  With the way drama seems to follow me, it's almost weird being at a party without anything bad happening."

"Trouble does seem to follow you doesn't it?"  Mrs. Kimbal smiled playfully,  "Who's this young man?"

"This is Erik.  He's family."  I winked at Erik who smiled widely.  "I think he wanted to ask Arianna something."  Erik's smile was quickly replaced by a scowl as a faint blush spread over his cheeks.  Arianna looked at him shyly, and I could tell immediately she had eyes for him.

"I umm.. well you see.. errr.. "  I nudged him in the side, "I was kind of wondering if maybe you'd umm.. like to dance?"  Mrs. Kimbal had one of those looks on her face that just said 'awww', and I'm sure the one on mine matched it.

"Okay..."  Arianna let out in a whispered tone.  Erik ever the gentleman extended his hand and led Arianna out to the dance floor.

"He's going to be a heartbreaker back home."  Mrs. Kimbal stated matter of factly.

"Don't worry, I'll keep him on a leash," I joked.  Mrs. Kimbal laughed while watching Arianna slow dance with Erik.

"So how are the ribs, Blade?  You saw a physician regularly in New York to make sure they healed correctly right?"

"Yeah.  I'm all healed up thankfully.  Luckily I had a pretty good doctor back here to make sure I didn't die from internal bleeding."  I tried to make light of the situation, but it's hard to do so with something like that.  My injuries were pretty serious after the alley encounter.  There was internal bleeding from a hemorrhage that resulted from the kicks I took to the midsection.  Thankfully Mrs. Kimbal was one of the top surgeons in the country and refused to not fix me up when others said it may have been too late to stop it.  It was one of the few things that I hid from everyone, even Chance.  The doctor/patient confidentiality assured me that no one would know how close I really came to joining Joey up in the cemetery.

"We were lucky, and I have no doubt that it was your will to fight the injuries that got you through it.  Most other patients wouldn't have made it through, but you.. you're a fighter.  There was no way I was going to let you slip through like Joe..."  She cut herself off as I visibly winced.  "I'm sorry.."

"It's okay.  I can't expect people to still walk on eggshells around me when it comes to him.  It's been 7 months, I need to get over it."

"Blade, to get over something like that.. you have to allow yourself to grieve.  You did the Blade thing when he died.  Everytime I've seen you you've been the strong one, the one that's there for everyone.  Sometimes you have to let the part inside of you that's weak come out.  You lost someone that can never be replaced in your heart and you have to let go of the pain for the true memory of him to live on in your heart.  I know it's not my place, but..."

"Maybe we shouldn't talk about this right now.  It's not really the right place.  I appreciate your advice though."

"You're right, this isn't the time or place, but if you need to talk to someone, my door is always open.  Kai's friends are always welcome.  If I may make one more suggestion, then I suggest you talk to someone that has dealt with loss like this before.  I know about your father, but there was a different bond between you and Joey.  If I had to suggest someone off the top of my head, I'd have to say.. "


"Yes... his sister Emily.. "

"I don't know if I'm ready to open up to him like that yet."

"That's understandable, just think about it okay?  Now you go enjoy the evening.  No sense in sitting here talking to an old woman like me."  Mrs. Kimbal smiled that patented smile that she had passed on to Kai.

"You're quite the babe for an 'old woman' as you say, Mrs. Kimbal.  I hear there's quite a few bachelors here..."

"AHEM.. I believe you were running along," She said with an amused look on her face.  I backed away slowly snickering.

"Hey you can't blame me for trying to get you back into the game."  She shook her head laughing and returned to her conversation with the rest of the people at the table.

I watched Erik and Arianna dance to a fast paced song, laughing and having a good time.  It was a rarity to see a smile on his face.  A few feet away from them, Eric's friend Jake was dancing with a girl he had introduced as Heather.  They seemed happy and content, though Jake seemed to be throwing odd glances over his shoulder every now and then back at the wedding party's table.  Tyler somehow had managed to get Cameron to dance, and he did his best to mimic Tyler's movements.  I laughed as Cameron swayed his little body to the music.  Soon the fast music turned into another slow dance, and Cameron stopped in his tracks.  I walked over to where he and Tyler were having an apparent standoff.

"Come on, Cam.  It'll be fun."

"Nuh uh!  You're too big for me to reach."

"I can hold you and we'll dance like that."

"I wanna play in the sand." Tyler smiled at Cameron as I looked on.

"Okay, just remember, I missed out on one of my favorite songs to play in the sand with you," Tyler teased.  I made my presence known, and Cameron came running as usual.  I ruffled his hair and he growled at me.

"I see someone remembered how to talk."  Cameron shyly smiled.

"I'm gonna play in the sand, daddy.  Tywer said I could.  And he said he's gonna miss one of his favowite songs to come play with me!"  I looked at Tyler who shrugged.

"Why don't you go right over to that big table and tell Uncle Matt you want him to play with you."

"But what about Tywer?"

"Well, Tyler's not very good at making sand castles.  Matt knows how to make huge ones with towers and everything."  Cameron's eyes lit up like a Christmas tree at the thought.  He turned to Tyler and tugged on his shorts.

"Sorry, Tywer, but Matt's gonna build me a big castle so you can not miss your song okee?"  Cameron didn't even wait for a reply, just briskly ran over to the table and started dragging Matt out of his seat, much to Matt's bewilderment.

"He's so adorable," Tyler said while watching Cameron yap away with Matt.

"Yeah, he's a good kid.  Just a little ball of energy sometimes.  The dancing should start to effect him in a little while."  I paused and there was an awkward silence for a moment, "So, um, you still missed the song."

"Yeah, but it's no big deal.  I was just kidding with him."  Tyler fidgeted nervously, tugging at his shirt and averting his eyes to anywhere but me.  Another song cued up and more people joined the dance floor.  Kai and Jordan took center stage as they walked to the middle of the dance floor, wrapping their arms around one another swaying to the slow string intro.  I turned back to Tyler and could tell he recognized the song.

"Tyler, do you want to dance?"  His eyes finally met mine, and I could see my reflection in the glassy look they presented.  He nodded and took my hand.  I put my arms around his waist while he in turn put his arms on my shoulders and we lost ourselves in the music.

Doesn't mean anything to me
Show me the meaning of complete
Did our love go wrong
Once we were so strong
How can I go on?

When you told me you loved me
Did you know it would take me the rest of my life
To get over the feeling of knowing
A dream didn't turn out right
When you let me believe that you weren't complete
Without me by your side
How could I know
That you would go
That you would run
Baby, I thought you were the one

The sadness of the song hit both of us.  I could feel him start to breathe heavy as he moved in and laid his head on my shoulder.

Can't I just leave it all behind
Felt passion so bright that I was blind
Something made me weak
Talking in my sleep
Baby, I'm in so deep and you know I believed

When you told me you loved me
Did you know it would take me the rest of my life
To get over the feeling of knowing
A dream didn't turn out right
When you let me believe that you weren't complete
Without me by your side
How could I know
That you would go
That you would run
Baby, I thought you were the one

Tyler lifted his head off my shoulder and brought his face even with mine.  His eyes gazed into mine, as we asked each other the same questions that the song asked only without words.

Your lips
Your face
Something that time just can't erase
My heart
Could break
All over again

When you told me you loved me
Did you know it would take me the rest of my life
To get over the feeling of knowing
A dream didn't turn out right
When you let me believe that you weren't complete
Without me by your side
How could I know
That you would go
That you would run
Baby, I thought you were the one

The song ended, but Tyler and I held our gaze, our eyes showing the emotion our hearts wanted to hide.  Tyler started to speak when we were broken out of our reverie, "Psst... the music is fast now guys."  I glanced over at Kai who forced a smile, but the look of understanding on his face told me he knew why we weren't moving.

"Heh.. we must look pretty stupid standing here," Tyler whispered.

"Yeah.  Picked a heck of a song to dance to huh?"  We tried to make light of the situation, but the damage had been done.

"Uh, what are you doing?"  Eric's voice cut through the air harshly.  I turned my head to see him with a very angry look on his face as he watched Tyler and I standing there with our arms wrapped around each other.

"Eric, we were just dancing."

"Well, I don't hear any slow music do you?  Yet you're still standing there holding on to him."  Eric's resentment for Tyler ran deep, despite the fact that I came back.  In Eric's mind just about all of the events that had occurred would have been averted if Tyler had just done what he had to do to keep me in Anaheim.

"Eric, look I'm sorry that you hate me, but we were just dancing and got caught up in the moment,"  Tyler spoke softly.

"Did I ask you?  No I didn't, I asked Blade," Eric snapped back.

"You're causing a scene."  I stated the obvious as many wedding patrons had turned their attention to our little argument.

"I don't give a shit.  He's nothing, but trouble.  I would think you would have learned that by now, but apparently I'm wrong."

"Eric, I don't know what you want me to say.."  Tyler tried to speak, but Eric was having none of it.

"I don't want you to say anything!  I thought we cleared that up already.  I mean, are you really that slow, Tyler?  If that's true I find it hard to believe that somehow out of 100,000 sperm you were the fastest."

"That's enough, Eric."  My tone came out harshly and he knew I meant business.

"Fine.  I'll shut my mouth and hold in what everyone else around here is afraid to say to him.  He ruined everything, Blade.  Now you're letting him do it again.  Your BOYFRIEND is down by the shore, but you already seem to be letting Tyler worm his way back into your pants, so how Chance feels probably doesn't matter."

"You know Eric, for someone who made out with another guy in front of their boyfriend and didn't even try to apologize for it, you sure like to try and point out other people's relationship problems.  Take a look in the mirror someday."  Jake's words came out of left field and caught Eric off guard.  Eric's mouth moved, but it took a moment for him to regain his composure.

"You would know about relationship problems now wouldn't you, Jake?  I mean this whole charade you're putting on here with that girl.  Does she know you're a fag?"  Jake's eyes flared with anger and I could tell he was ready to pounce on Eric.  I ran over and grabbed Eric by the collar of his shirt, dragging him away from the dance floor.  "Let me go!"  Eric kicked and cursed like a little kid, so I tossed him in the sand when we got away from the party area.  He sat up fuming.  "What the fuck was that for?"  He tried to get up, but I pushed him back over.

"That was for you acting like you're 4 years old.  No, I take that back, maybe a 3 year old, because Cameron acts way more mature than you are acting right now."


"Nice comeback, you used to be so much more clever."  Eric glared at me from his prone position in the sand and I returned the glare ten fold.  His eyes eventually shot downward, as he cursed under his breath.  "Am I going to have to sit here and watch you all night, or are you going to act mature and go apologize to Jake and Tyler?"

"There's no way in hell I'm apologizing."

"Then I guess we'll sit here until the party ends while you adjust your shitty attitude."

"I'm not you son, Blade.  Don't go and try to play daddy with me."

"If I was your father your ass wouldn't see the outside world for a month after this stunt.  I've grown up, Eric.  I have a lot of responsibility, and what happens with my love life is between me and the person I'm with.  I danced with Tyler.  BIG DEAL.  I asked him."

"Yeah.  Tyler's always Mr. Innocent.  Why don't you open your eyes someday and see he's only out for himself."

"How is he out for himself?  Do you know what he told me earlier today?"  Eric gave me an annoyed, who cares look before I continued, "He told me that he deserved that punch from Chance.  That he wants nothing more than to be my friend, because he respects what Chance and I have.  Doesn't sound like the selfish ass you make him out to be now does it?"

"Blade, you're blind to everything he does. The whole fucking problem is you are STILL in love with him.  I don't care what you say, because I can see it.  Every time you're near him you turn into a puddle."

"That's ridiculous, I love Chance.."

"Yeah, and where is Chance right now, Blade?"  The little bastard knew I didn't know, and I set myself up for it.  I shrugged my shoulders, "Exactly.  You don't know where he is, because you were too busy getting emotional with Tyler."  I sat down on the sand next to him, and cocked my head to the side.  My eyes met his and I grinned.

"You know, I really hate you sometimes."  Eric's boyish, yet cocky grin came through, as he knew he had just scored a point against me.

"No you don't.  You lurrrrrrvvve me."

"You're an ass."

"You've been checking out my ass again?"  Eric's cheeky grin was contagious.  We had a weird relationship.  We seemed to fight like dogs one moment, then end up laughing with each other the next.

"You wish."  A silence set between us.  Not an awkward one, but not a peaceful one.  Just one of those moments that's just there.  "Eric, just do me a favor and try to understand that what happened was not Tyler's fault.  Yeah, he could've prevented me from leaving, but that doesn't mean the same events wouldn't have happened."

"But you would've been here to protect me..."

"Maybe.. but who's to say I would've been at the boardwalk that night?  Who's to say that Scott wouldn't have killed you outright because he didn't need the collateral to get to me?  There's a lot of what ifs, but all I know for sure, is that the only reason you were put through what you went through is because Scott, Marcus, Trevor and Gary are crazy and they did everything in their power to get to me.  So if you want to blame anyone besides them, then blame me."  Eric sat there with a look of thought on his face.

"I don't know.  I'll try to be civil around him, but don't expect me to be all buddy buddy with him."

"That's all I ask.  Oh, and fix things with Jake. That was pretty harsh back there."

"Well it's true."

"It may be, but you can't force him to be okay with his sexuality.  Look how long it took me.  How many girls did I date before we came here?"

Eric laughed, "About a thousand."  He paused, "It's just that I feel like Jake's ashamed of me and Matt because we're gay and we don't really hide it.  We don't exactly advertise it, but if someone came up and asked us we wouldn't lie."

"Or you could be jumping to conclusions.  If Jake really is just discovering he's attracted to guys, then he needs his friends to be there for him, not to verbally attack him."

"You know, you really have matured.  You're like.. what now?   45?"  I smacked him upside the head as he snickered.

"It's hard to act 18 right now.  Heh.. I figured I'd be off at some college right now playing hockey... not raising a son, juggling a singing career and being in a serious relationship."  I frowned a little bit as the realization hit me and Eric must've picked up on it.  "Anyway, things don't always turn out the way you plan."

"Yeah, I know.  Am I free from being your prisoner now, or do you plan on throwing me down in the sand a few more times?"  Eric smirked.  We both stood up and brushed the sand off of our clothes.

"I think you're free to go.  Just remember, I'm still your big brother and I'll knock that chip off your shoulder when needed."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. You're just a bully."  He stuck his tongue out at me as he turned to walk back to the party.  He stopped about midway and turned back to me, "Chance is sitting by the shore about 50 yards down that way."

"Thanks, oh and keep an eye on Cameron and Erik for me?"  Eric nodded, then we went our separate ways.

My mind was a jumble of a million different thoughts, and the party wasn't making it any better.  In the course of a couple of hours, just about everything plaguing me has come up in one way or another.  It's been like stepping back into a world I used to live in, but everything's different.  People change, and so have I.  If it wasn't for Eric, I don't know if I would be back right now.  I don't even know if I WANT to be here.  Too many memories, so much drama.  In New York it was just.. peaceful.  I was content with what I had.

I snapped myself out of the thoughts plaguing my mind when I spotted Chance just up ahead.  He sat with his knees pulled up to his chest, his chocolate colored hair shimmering with the wind of the night.  I approached slowly, then took a seat next to him.  His body language didn't change a bit, and he made no move to acknowledge my presence. "Chance.."  He didn't respond, just stared straight ahead at the waves crashing against the shore.  I moved closer to him and put my arm around his waist.  At first he tensed up, but soon after his body seemed to relax against me.

"I've never seen the ocean like this.  It's so calming.. so peaceful."

"Chance, look, I'm really sorry about.."  He cut me off, as if I hadn't even spoke.

"Jamie always promised that we'd live on the beach someday.  It was something we had always dreamed of doing.  Now, I've finally seen it.  I may not live here, but I made it here to our dream and.. and he didn't."  A single tear shone in the moonlight as it slid down his cheek, "Sometimes... sometimes I wish that I was on that snowmobile with him.  That I died with him.. because I knew he loved me more than life and he knew I loved him just the same."

"Don't say that, baby.."

"I haven't been happy in a long time.  Not until you came into my life.  I saw you walk into the cafe that day and I felt something.  Then you turned out to be the guy you are, and it opened my heart back up."  He paused and turned his head to face me for the first time since I had arrived, "I'm in love with you, Blade.  I'd give my heart, my soul, and my life to make you happy."

"I'd do the same for you.."

"I don't doubt that you would.  But that's your role.  That's who you are here.  You're the protector.. the leader.  You'd give your life for anyone of these people in a heartbeat."

"Chance, what are you getting at?"  His eyes shimmered with sadness.  I put my forehead against his and stared into his eyes.

"I don't want to be the only one in this relationship."

"You're not.  I love you, Chance, I don't know why you're doubting that now."

"Because of him.  Because of the way you look at him, the effect he has on you.  You try so hard to act like he doesn't matter to you as more than a friend anymore, but he does.  I can see it in your eyes."

I sighed, "Even if I do have feelings for him, that doesn't mean I don't love you.  Tyler is my past, and you are my present.  There's always going to be something underlying there.. but he and I talked about it and he's going to respect our relationship."

"Promise me that you'd tell me if you were falling in love with him again."

"I promise."  Chanced leaned forward and kissed me gently on the lips, then just leaned into me, laying his head against my chest.

"Will you sit here with me?"

"Forever."  His frown finally turned upward into a smile.  The moon reflected off the waves as the stars shined in the sky, with nothing but the comfort of each other's presence putting us back into that serene peace that we were seeking.  The night was ours and in the morning we would be on our way to start a new life once again.


The next evening back in California...

Jake grunted in frustration as he hauled more bags than someone would need for a month long vacation, into the oversized victorian house in front of him.  Even his taught frame was having trouble balancing with the weight of the luggage.  When he invited Heather to be his date in Hawaii, he had no idea that she would end up bringing half of the state back to California with her.

"Come on, Jake, my parents are waiting."

"Well maybe I could get a little help here?"  Jake questioned in an annoyed tone.

"Don't be silly, you can handle it.  I just did my nails before we got here, you wouldn't want me to ruin them now would you?"  Jake sighed, and heaved the heavy bags into the doorway with a thud.  His muscles strained under his form fitting black and white Abercrombie shirt, so he sat down on the steps leading to the second floor of the house.  "Come on, get up."

"Heather will you be joining us some time today?"  Heather's father's voice came echoing throughout the home in an irritated tone.

"Coming, Daddy!"  Heather pulled Jake by the collar, giving him no choice but to stand up and follow.  They entered a large room that had been setup like a study, but because of the size of it, it looked like a library.  Heather ran up and kissed her father on the cheek enthusiastically.

"Jake."  Heather's father nodded at Jake in acknowledgment.

"Good afternoon, Mr. Rancher."

"I trust you took care of my daughter while you were in Hawaii?"

"Yes, sir."

"Good.  Will you be joining us for dinner this evening?"

"I really should be getting home.."

"Nonsense, Jakey!  You just have to stay and eat with us."  Heather squealed.  Jake looked back at the front door and pictured himself making a run for it.  He smiled to himself at the thought.  "What's so funny?"  Heather's piercing voice snapped him out of the unlikely scenario and he shrugged promptly.  As Jake was about to give in, the doorbell rang.  Heather briskly power walked to the front door and opened it up, "Can I help you?"

"Yeah.. um, I saw Jake's car outside and I was wondering if I could talk to him?"  Jake recognized the voice and saw his opening to get out of there.

"Well, I don't know, we were just about to sit down and.."  Jake snuck past Heather and out the door.

"Ben, Ben.. how's it going bro?"  Jake gave a pleading look and mouthed the words, 'get me out of here'.  Ben smirked and played along.

"It's going good.  I've been looking for you, Matt's car broke down and he needs someone to help him get it started back up again.  Since you're good with cars I figured you could help, but if you're busy here.."  Ben's grin grew as he saw Jake's eyes grow wider and glare at him.

"Can't you get someone else?"  Heather whined.  Jake turned to her and pecked her quickly on the lips.

"Sorry, Heather, but Matt needs me.  Apologize to your parents for me and I'll call you later.. or something."  Jake grabbed Ben by the arm and quickly dragged his snickering friend toward the car.  "You ass!"

"What, this old thing?"  Ben turned around and stuck his ass out.  "You only wish you could have one this nice."

Jake shook his head smiling, "You're just as bad as Eric."

"No one is as bad as Eric.  Speaking of him, what's with you two lately?  Everytime you've come within 10 feet of each other we have to call in the national guard to separate you."  Jake sighed and ran a hand through his mess of spiky hair.

"It's complicated."

"I've got time to listen."  Ben put a hand on Jake's shoulder to show that he was there for him.  Jake tensed up, so Ben removed his hand.

"Maybe some other time."  There was an awkward silence before Jake spoke again, "Do you want to go hangout somewhere?"

"I should head home.."  Ben's mood dropped considerably, the inner turmoil he had been facing since the little stairs encounter with Jake was rumbling his emotions once again.

"Come on.  Let's go get a shake."  Ben hesitated not knowing what do do, "Please?"  Jake didn't know why he was insisting, all he knew is that he felt bad and just wanted to be around Ben.

"Okay.  Since you're twisting my arm and all," Ben joked, breaking the tension.

The two boys hopped into Jake's car and headed off to a local shopping plaza.  The ride was taken in silence, neither boy really knowing what to say.  The only sounds in the car were that of the radio and nature outside.  Luckily the plaza wasn't too far away and soon enough they had arrived at their destination.  They exited the car, then walked into the Dairy queen and took a seat.  The place was pretty dead, with just one couple sitting at the front of the restaurant.  Jake and Ben sat across from each other in a booth near the back.

"Dairy queen?  Doesn't that just make you think of a cow in drag?"  Jake looked at Ben as if he had grown a second head.

"Uh.. no.  Haha, you are a very strange guy, Benjamin."  Jake teased.

"Hey now!  Niet on the Benjamin.  I'm not a bunny."

"Too bad for your sex life."

"Touché."  A young waitress walked up to the table and her eyes widened as she took in the sight of the two jocks in front of her.  She quickly regained her composure and went about her normal routine.

"Hi, I'll be your server, my name is Mandy.  What can I get you guys?"

"I'll take a chocolate shake."  Jake smiled politely at the girl, causing a red blush to appear on her cheeks.

"Can I get a vanilla and if it's not a problem, some of those sundae cherries?"

"Sure, no problem.  I'll be right back with your order."

"What's with the cherries?"

"I don't know.  I always get them when I go to an ice cream place.  I've done that since I was a little kid."  Ben's eyes sparkled with the light, like he was still a child.

"Haha, you mean all this time I thought you were just an overgrown kid, but you really are a teenager?"

"Har har har."  Ben's lips formed the cutest little smile even though he tried his best to not let it show.  Mandy brought out their shakes and a little bowl of cherries for Ben promptly.  "Thanks."  Ben winked at the girl and she started to hyperventilate.  Jake broke out laughing at the scene.

"Okay stud, try not to kill our server with your charm," Said Jake as he sipped on his milkshake.

"Jealous?"  Jake coughed and almost choked on his shake.


Ben gave him a strange look, "You.  You're jealous of my charm and wish you could have half the skills that I do."  Jake sighed in relief, realizing that Ben wasn't implying that he was jealous of Ben's flirtation with the waitress.

"Yeah... sure."  Ben watched Jake intently while they sat there and drank their milkshakes.  His demeanor turned from the Jake he knew to the nervous and jittery person in front of him.  Jake's eyes would shoot up now and then stealing glances at Ben.  Ben quietly ate his cherries, wondering what he did wrong.  The annoying slurping sound came from Jake's straw as he got near the bottom of his shake.  "How are the cherries?"

Ben jumped, not expecting a conversation to start back up, "They're good."  Ben bit his lower lip, and looked at the last cherry in the dish, "Do you want the last one?"

"Are you sure you don't want it?"

"Yeah.  Here,"  Ben picked up the cherry, and for some reason unbeknownst to him, he brought the cherry up to Jake's mouth.  Jake didn't even think about it, and almost on reflex opened his mouth and let Ben put the cherry in up to the stem.  Jake bit the cherry off, his lips just grazing the tip of Ben's fingers.  Ben pulled his hand back, a goofy smile adorning his flawless face.  He sat back and downed the rest of his shake as Jake sat there still trying to let his brain process what just happened.  Jake finished off his shake as well, and laughed as he looked over at Ben who was sporting a vanilla mustache.

"What are you laughing at?"

"I just took your cherry haha,"  Jake laughed watching Ben blush at his lewd comment, "And when did you decide to grow a mustache?  I think you're a little young to be having those white hairs in it."

"Look who's talking chocolate boy."  Jake looked down the best he could and could see the faint trail of chocolate shake leaving a mess under his bottom lip.  "At least I went for the stache' and not the goatee."  Jake smiled and tried to wipe the mess from his face.  "You missed."  As valiantly at Jake tried, he just kept missing more and more.  "Here let me get it.."  Once again Ben bravely brought his hand toward Jake's face, but this time he ended up leaning over the table tentatively.  He moved his face closer in one quick motion and placed his soft lips over Jake's.  Ben sucked on Jake's lower lip, using his tongue to remove any of the left over shake.  Jake's mind went into overdrive and he returned the kiss, cleaning up Ben's lips mixing the flavors of their sweet lips and shakes.  Their lips seemed to freeze in place,  holding the moment for what seemed like forever.  Ben pulled away with a huge smile on his face, licking his lips.  "Mmm, I knew I should've gotten twist."

Jake sat back trying to catch his breathe.  He had just kissed a guy, one that he knew he had feelings for deep down no less. Ben looked on, his smile turning into a concerned look.  His mind raced, wondering if he just made a huge mistake.  Jake had a dumbfounded look on his defined face.  Ben was about to speak when out of nowhere Jake stood up, "Uh, I have to go.."

"Jake, wait.. I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to upset you."

"I-I can't do this. I can't be gay.."  Jake's voice trembled, letting the panic inside start to come out.  He didn't give Ben a chance to respond before he ran out the door.  Ben watched out the window as Jake hurriedly jumped into his car and took off peeling out of the parking lot.  He slumped against the booth, putting his head down.  He whispered to himself, fighting back tears.

"I don't want to be gay either... but you make it so damn hard..."  With that, Ben left money on the table and left the ice cream parlor.  He walked down the street solemnly, feeling cold, sad and most of all.... alone.

Later on the same night..

Riley held the phone to his ear, pacing as he waited for the incessant dial tone to end.  He cursed up a storm when no one answered.  He slammed the phone down then picked it up again not a minute later redialing the number.





Again, the voice mail picked up, "Hey dudes, you've reached Kai.  I can't answer the phone right now, so I'm probably out on the waves or with my baby, but leave me a message and I'll try to get back to you when I get the chance."

Riley's anger and frustration sent him to the verge of tears.  He had been trying his best to get ahold of Kai since the wedding, but it was to no avail.  His hope of stealing Kai from Jordan had been destroyed.  The guy he loved was now married and there's nothing he could do to change it... or is there?  He quickly dialed another number and let it ring until a voice picked up at the other end of the line.

"Kimbal Management, Colin speaking.."

"Colin, this is Riley.  I've got a proposition for you.  You do what I ask and I'll return the favor."

"And what exactly does this proposition entail?"

"I want you to knock Blade off his almighty pedestal for interfering in my business and in return I'll make sure Kai is as miserable as possible until we decide otherwise."

Riley could almost here the smirk in Colin's voice, "I'm listening."

The next day in downtown LA, at the recording studio..

The studio was relatively quiet, not something you would expect with artists expressing themselves through music.  A bunch of JE Records staff were scattered in the studio, working quietly as instructed allowing the two boys off in the corner to keep their concentration.

Tyler sat at a table, making minor adjustments to the chords and keys of a song, the same song that Blade sat next to him brushing up the lyrics that he had written.  "How does this sound?"  Asked Blade as he pushed the lyric sheet over to Tyler.  Tyler read it over, humming the music he had written to go along with it.

"I like it, let's just change this word,"  He erased what he didn't like and replaced it with another word, "And hmm.. Actually let's leave the rest.  I think the lyrics are set.  I just hope I can handle my parts.."  Tyler frowned slightly, reading over the song in it's entirety.

"The more it means, the better it will convey to everyone.  I know it's a touchy subject with us, but this is how I feel."  Tyler just shrugged and went back to touching up his music sheet.  Blade watched him focus all his energy into his writing.  Tyler was a different person when it came to music.  He was all business and that wasn't exactly a bad thing especially considering the nature of the song they had written.  The duet that Blade wanted nothing to do with was now a done deal.  He and Tyler had written most of it the previous day and recorded a rough demo.  They had been brought back in to make little changes and perform the song in front of some of the company execs to see where they stood on releasing it as a single.

Blade's cell phone rang and he took it outside the studio so not to disturb the ongoings inside, "Hello?"

"Blade, it's Tommy.  How are you doing on the single?"

"It's pretty much in the bag.  We just have to perform it for the head honchos and get their approval.  So you won't be coming out here to be my agent?"

"No, the transfer request was denied.  The label wants me to handle the east coast chapter, but your new agent will be at the performance, or that's what I was told."

"Okay.  Well, thanks for all your help, I couldn't have gotten this far without you."  Tyler stuck his head out the door and I covered the phone with my hand.

"They're waiting for us down by the stage.  Chance is down there with Cameron too."  I nodded to let him know I would be right with him.

"That's my cue, time to strut our stuff."

"Good luck, Blade.  I'll be seeing you when you start touring.  I know you'll be hitting it big soon enough, you've got the talent kid.  Take care.  Buhbye."

"Goodbye, Tommy."  I hung up the phone, and opened the door to the studio to let Tyler know I was ready.  We both did a once over of the music and a quick acapella rundown before we went on our way to the elevator.  We stepped in, and waited in silence as it slowly descended.

Tyler glanced over at me, "Nervous?"

"A little.  This is a pretty big deal."

"Yeah it is.  This is going to get you signed to a real contract like the one they signed me too.  Ya know, name in lights, screaming fans and all that good stuff."  I forced a smile at his enthusiasm, but I obviously wasn't on my acting game.  "Something wrong?"

"Tyler, I love singing.. I really do.  It's just.."  The elevator made the 'ding' sound and the doors opened.  Before I could finish what I was saying, Cameron came running at me as we stepped out.

"DADDY!"  I scooped him up in my arms as he giggled away.

"Hey, Cam.  How's my boy doin'?"

"Goooood.  I came to see you sing.  Look what Chance got me!"  Cameron waved a toy microphone in my face, "Ima sing just like you, daddy."

"Oh yeah?  You'll probably sing better than me."  He smiled shyly and glanced over at Tyler.

"TYWER!"  He yelled out.

"Cam, shhhh.. let's not yell okay?"  He nodded and started to whisper.

"Hi Tywer!"

"Hi Cam."  Tyler smiled widely at him.

"Are you gonna sing wid my daddy?"

"Yeah, your daddy and I are going to sing together."

"Coo!"  While Cameron was gabbing away with Tyler my eyes met Chance's, who was standing nearby keeping an eye on Cameron.  I smiled warmly at him and he smiled back.  I carried Cameron toward Chance with Tyler right behind me.  The doors to the auditorium area were just beyond where Chance was standing.

"Hey baby,"  I leaned in and kissed Chance on the lips sweetly.  His eyes lit up, and his smile grew.

"Ewwww."  Cameron piped in.  "Daddy, don't do that.  You'll get cooties."  I busted out laughing.

"Who told you about cooties?"

"My brother!  He says that I'll get cooties when I'm older from kissing.  And do you know what cooties do?"  He didn't even take a breathe before continuing, "They make you all itchy and icky, and they live on arms and legs and.."

"Cameron, Erik was just joking with you.  Haha."  He looked at Chance suspiciously like he didn't believe what he said.  Tyler nodded at Chance as he passed by and opened the door to the auditorium.  "Tyler."

"Chance."  The tension was still thick between them, but they were doing their best to be civil to each other.  "We better get in there, Blade."  I agreed with him and we all went through the doorway.

Three women in business attire and four men sat in the front row of seats.  There was about 15 rows of seating, so obviously they used this auditorium for more than just demo testing.  A band had been set up for us to perform with, so when we went into the final stretch we could let them pick up the instrumental so we could focus on singing.  "Daddy who are those peoples?"

"They're daddy's bosses, Cam.  Sit here with Chance while I go sing okay?"  He nodded and sat down next to Chance like a little trooper.  Tyler and I walked up and shook hands with each of the record execs and then made our way to the stage.  Tyler filled them in on the minor adjustments, and thankfully they took it in stride.

"Anytime you're ready guys."  John Jamesan, the VP of JE Records let us know it was now our show.  Tyler sat behind the piano, and started gliding his fingers over the keys with ease.  A mic was set up at mouth level for him to sing.  I sat on a stool in front of a microphone at center stage, and started strumming my guitar, soon after joined by the rest of the band.  I lowered the microphone and hummed into it before starting into the song.

It took so long for us to find out
But now there's no doubt
Where we went wrong
I hurt you, and you hurt me
So at this time, we're just not..
Meant to be

I know that your love
Is as strong as mine
You'll cherish and save it
For during those hard and tried times

A tear falls from my eye
Like a rain drop from the sky
But this time
I see the reason why
It's time
To let you go as a lover
And for you to accept me as a friend
Even though it doesn't seem fair
If you ever need someone like me
I'll always be there
Now till the end

I finished up my solo half of the song, pouring all I had into it.  My voice echoed throughout the auditorium, as the band backed us with a strong showing.  Tyler started in on his half of the song, his skills on the piano being showcased.

I didn't see at first what I had with you
I was experiencing something, I never knew
Now it's too late
And I've realized, none of that mattered
Cuz I was with you

I know that your love
Is as strong as mine
You'll cherish and save it
For during those hard and tried times

A tear falls from my eye
Like a rain drop from the sky
But this time
I see the reason why
It's time
To let you go as a lover
And for you to accept me as a friend
Even though it doesn't seem fair
If you ever need someone like me
I'll always be there
Now till the end

Tyler's voice was so pure it was literally like listening to an angel sing.  His vocals moved smoothly and seamlessly over the music like he was born to sing them.  We both stood from our seated positions, as the band played out a purely instrumental part of the song.  We took our mics and met at the center of the stage, then started our trade off in the bridge.  Tyler took the first, third and fifth line, while I took the second and fourth, meeting up to harmonize on the last line going into the final chorus.

I'll be your friend
If you'll be mine
Just know that no matter what
I'll be your prince,
And I your angel,
Till the end of time from this very day

A tear falls from my eye
Like a rain drop from the sky
But this time
I see the reason why
It's time
To let you go as a lover
And for you to accept me as a friend
Even though it doesn't seem fair
If you ever need someone like me
I'll always be there
Now till the end

Tear streamed down Tyler's cheeks, as he looked into my eyes.  We got closer and sang the closing verses just inches apart, conveying the emotion into the song.

If that day comes, when we can be again,  just know for now..

No matter what..

I'll be there till the end..

The execs gave us a standing ovation, as the final note ended.  Each of them came up and congratulated us on such an emotional performance and gave us the thumbs up for the single.  I hopped off stage and walked over to Chance, who smiled at me.  I could see a hint of uneasiness in his eyes, and it was understandable.  Cameron sat patiently in his chair, kicking his legs out like he was swinging. He smiled up at me as I patted his head.

"You were great."  Chance stood up and hugged me.

"Sorry to interrupt, Blade, but I just wanted to inform you that we have decided to draw up a new contract for you.  Terms and so forth will be discussed after it's all drawn up and both the label's and your attorney check it over.  Welcome to the team, son," Mr. Jamesan extended his hand and I shook it firmly.

"Thank you, Mr. Jamesan."  He smiled and excused himself as he left the room.  Tyler stayed up on-stage, helping the band move the equipment. He swatted at his eyes a few times, apparently a few stray tears were still rolling down his cheeks.  "I'm done here for the day.  We should go grab something to eat then head home. I'm beat."

"Okay, we'll just hit a drive thru somewhere.  You'll have to drive though, I have no clue where to go around here yet."

"Well, we'll just go to my mom's place, no sense in going to the apartment with nothing unpacked."  I turned to Tyler who was just finishing up on-stage, "Do you need a ride, Ty?"

"Um, I think I should be set.  If not I can just get one of the limos to take me."

"All right, give me a call when you get home, so I know you made it there.  Oh, and nice job."

"Hey, you did most of the work, so congratulate yourself.  I'll talk to you later, bye Cameron, bye Chance."

"Bye, Tywer!"  Cameron waved frantically in Chance's arms.  Chance said goodbye politely, and we walked out the door together.  Not out of the room for a minute, the secretary at the desk came walking up to us.

"Mr. Stevens, your new agent is in conference room one off to your left and would like to speak to you before you leave."  I sighed to myself and muttered a thank you.  I walked to the conference room with Chance and Cameron in tow.  I knocked on the door and was told to come in.  Chance looked at me questioningly as if he was asking if he and Cameron should wait outside or not.  I just motioned for them to come with me.

I froze in place as the door closed behind us.  There was a large rectangular table set up taking up much of the room but that wasn't what made me freeze.  It was the three old men sitting at the table that caused my eyes to flare with anger and fear.  "What the hell is going on here?"  Before any of them could answer, a door on the opposite side of the room opened and in walked Colin.

"Blade, nice to see you again."

"What do you want?"

"I'm your agent."

"No, I fired you, remember?"  My tone was harsh and final.

"Unfortunately Blade, you don't have a say in the matter.  I'm the new west coast representative, and you are my newest client."

"This is is a joke right?"

"Afraid not, sunshine."

"You know what, forget this.  I don't need your garbage right now.  We've met, I'm leaving. Bye."

"Not so fast, Mr. Stevens."  My blood ran cold, but I knew sooner or later one of them would let their intentions be known. The three men that had tried so hard to keep me from getting Cameron from the NY Adoptions Agency finally decided to speak.  Namely the one that tried to belittle me the last time we met, "We have some business to attend to."

"I have nothing to say to any of you.  I haven't broken your stipulations about Cameron, so you can just go fu.."

"I see the temper is still intact."

"Yeah, it is.  I've had a long day at work, and now I find out that I have that jackass for my agent,"  I motioned to Colin, "And you three are here at my place of work, to harass me about Cameron once again.  So if you don't mind Mr..."

"Salvo.  You are right that we have come to your place of work, but the last part you have wrong."  I looked at him confused.  "We are here about one Chance Sterling."  I looked back at Chance, who looked at me just as confused.

"What do you want with me?"

"We have a court order here to remove you from California and bring you back to New York within the next 24 hours starting about 12 hours ago."

"Excuse me?"

"You heard correctly, Mr. Stevens.  As much as we'd like to turn yet another life over to your responsibility, it's just not going to happen."

"Do you want to get to the point sometime soon?"  I snapped, not appreciating his snide remarks.

"Chance's parents, Karen and Michael Sterling have gone to court to obtain this court order, that states their 17 year old, underage son be brought back immediately, or legal action will ensue against one, Blade Stevens under the charges of kidnapping, intent to engage in sexual acts with a minor, and/or statutory rape."

To say I was floored would be an understatement.  I leaned against the wall breathing hard.  I looked at Chance who's eyes dripped with tears.  He tried his best to hold them back for mine and Cameron's sake, but he couldn't.  Cameron took one look at Chance and started crying himself, not understanding what was going on.

"I'm calling my lawyer.."  I took out my phone and started dialing up my attorney.

"That won't be of any use.  This order will be carried out, or you will go to jail.  >From there there will be a hearing on a date to be set, and matters will be taken from there."

"Then we'll go back to NY until the hearing is finished.."

"That's not going to happen, Mr. Stevens.  Your contract clearly states Cameron is not to be moved out of California for the time period of one year.  He is to be provided with a stable home, which would include his father.. you.  Therefore, Chance shall be making the trip alone."

"This can't be happening.."  I ran a hand through my hair, not knowing where to turn to.  I turned to Chance who clung to Cameron tightly, "Don't go.  I'll face the charges, we haven't had sex, and you can testify that you willingly left with me.."

"Once again, that won't work, Mr. Stevens.  The kidnapping charge will not be thrown out because he IS a minor.  Even pleading guilty will most likely lead you to jail time."

"You know, you're really starting to piss me off.."

"I'll go," Chance's voice rang throughout the room like someone had just screamed.

"What?  No.."

"Blade.. I-I don't have a choice.  I won't let them put you in jail because of me."

"Chance.. no.."  The dam broke and I lost my composure completely.  My lips quivered as Chance stepped up to me and wrapped his arm around my waist.  Cameron cried loudly between us, our three bodies entangled in a big hug.  My pleas turned to whispers, "Please don't go.."

"Baby, I can't stay.."

"What am I going to do without you.. how am I going to explain this to Cameron..?"

"We have a flight to catch shortly.  Mr. Sterling, if you would come with us at this time.  A moving company will get your things at a later date."  I grabbed Chance's hand and squeezed it hard.  Mr. Salvo came up behind Chance with his two partners and started tugging him away from me.  I pulled him back my way, but I could feel Chance giving in.  It was a losing battle.  Chance leaned over and kissed me hard on the lips, sobbing against my mouth.  Our hands slipped apart, and he hugged Cameron tightly, kissing him on the forehead before handing him over to me.  The men practically were taking him by force.

"Chance.. Chance.. "  I called out at a loss for words.  He mouthed the words I love you to me, "I love you too.."

Cameron looked up at me, "Daddy where are they taking Chance?"

"C-Chance is going away for awhile Cameron."

"But I don't want him to go away.. CHANCCCEE!  DON'T WEAVE!!"  Cameron screamed through his tears.  Cameron wiggled free from my grasp, and ran over to Chance.  He grabbed Chance's leg and attached himself to it.  I went over and did my best to pry Cameron off of him, but he fought with all he had.

"Cam, please don't make this harder," Chance spoke solemnly, his heart literally breaking.

"Leave him awone!!" Cameron screamed even louder, his arms still wrapped around Chance's leg, while I tugged on Cameron's waist to detach him.  "That's my other daddy!  Why are you taking my daddy!?!?"  Cameron whailed, crying his eyes out until he finally gave into his own heartbreaking tears and lost his grip on Chance.

"I love you, Cam.  Take care of your daddy for me."  Chance's last words crushed the last ounce of composure I had left in my heart.  I held Cameron tightly as I watched the social workers disappear along with my boyfriend out the door.. and out of my life.  I slumped to the ground, holding Cameron in my arms, both of us crying together.  My heart tightened with every breathe I took.  On each exhale every vessel, every artery, would contract and send a shudder through my body as I went into shock.  My skin turned cold to the touch, with nothing but a tingling sensation rippling through every part of my limp body.

A shadow on the floor enveloped the light as it grew closer and closer until it stopped.  I looked up through my tear strained eyes to see Colin's face.. with a satisfied smirk on it.

"Have a nice day."

What an ass eh?  FINALLY.  Chapter 4 is done and over.  I apologize profusely for the wait everyone.  A severe case of writer's block and a lot of life changing events prevented me from getting this done in a decent time period.  Hopefully this chapter will get you back into the swing of things, and the updates will be more frequent from now on.

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