by Stephanie Silver



Chapter 10 - Elyk

The band wasn't half bad. Which means they were only one step better than half-good. Which means they were only about one audition away from an embarrassing rejection. Or worse, losing their job as the studio's in-residence band, available to musicians who needed assistance with their recordings.

They decided to call the band Elyk. It was a tribute to Kelly and Katon's brother, Kyle, spelled backward. Lucas and Jenna had no objections, having been friends with Kyle in high school, as well as with Kelly and Katon. Whatever Christina might have thought about the name, she was outvoted anyway, so it didn't matter.

As default bandleader, Katon couldn't quite put his finger on the problem, but he had it narrowed down to four things. Five, he supposed, if he wanted to be truly honest. Each of the four things were people: Kelly, Lucas, Jenna and Christine. If he counted himself, too, that made five.

It was a simple matter of chemistry, really. Elyk didn't have it. And unfortunately, chemistry wasn't one of the classes Katon had felt motivated to succeed in.

Problem number one, Kelly, was moody and brooding. He played the bass guitar pretty well - as well as Kyle ever had. But he never seemed to be quite in sync with what the rest of the band was doing. It was almost as if he was over there, always in the corner, playing something similar, but not quite what they wanted. If Katon was careful, he could catch him eyeing either of the two girls, Christina and Jenna. Probably mentally undressing them in his mind. For that matter, knowing Kelly's past, he was probably doing the same thing with him and Lucas. And always trying not to get caught doing it.

Then there were Lucas and Jenna. Only a few feet apart on stage, it was like they did everything they could to avoid each other. They seldom addressed each other directly, and if either of them had a comment meant for the other, Lucas would most likely deliver it to Katon as a general comment intended for the drums, while Jenna would direct hers as a general comment for strings. Drums would be Jenna; strings, that would be Lucas. Any questions?

Individually, Lucas had just lost his job as a computer programmer when his company decided they needed to downsize. That gave him more time for his part-time job working at the studio, but it also meant he was a little moody and distracted at times. Or busy trying to find a "real job".

Jenna, on the other hand, was a tgirl, with all the issues that implies. Katon didn't even want to try untangling that knot. He got enough of it just living with her.

Christina seemed okay, but she always dressed so provocatively, and seemed more interested in furthering her own career as a singer and being the band's focal point than in helping anyone else.

And if he was being completely honest, he would add himself to the mixture based on his relationship with Christina. He wasn't sure, but there was a fairly good chance he was head over heels in love with her. Or is that heels over head? The sex was fantastic. And frequent. He knew the other band members found it annoying, but no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn't seem to keep his hands off of her. Even when they were performing in public, he wanted to touch her.

Christina, of course, enjoyed all the attention. Openly from Katon, not so openly from Kelly. With perhaps a little jealousy coming from Jenna. Lucas might have been the only one who wasn't having a hard time dealing with her good looks.

"Jenna, you're a little bit off on the rhythm. You're dragging everyone else down. Kelly, you've got to fill in that gap on the chorus. We're counting on you. Lucas, great work, but you keep missing your cues. Christina..."

He could never criticize Christina. Whenever he tried, his voice would usually trail off and he'd end up giving her a longing touch, aiming for her sexy ass or her luscious breasts if he thought he could get away with it. And if he totally lost his train of thought as he looked at her, there was a good chance he'd end up kissing her instead.

"God, get a room, you two," complained Jenna one day from her seat behind the drums. The words were meant for Katon and Christina, but the sidelong look she shot at Lucas said she might have been thinking something else. Yes, Elyk definitely had more sexual tension than the average band had to deal with.

Looking around at the group, Katon realized it was his job as the band's organizer to come up with a solution for this lack of chemistry. Kind of like supervising a landscaping crew and keeping them working. If it kept up much longer his dad and Mr. Curtis might decide they'd been too generous offering them the job. "Let's take a break, guys. Christina, hold that thought, okay?"

He pretended not to notice the three pairs of eyes rolled because of his last comment, along with at least one muttered, "Sheesh." He glanced at his watch. It was late, just after eight o'clock, but there was a good chance Mr. Curtis was still around. He often liked listening in on band rehearsals. Maybe he'd have some ideas.

After searching the entire building, he finally found him in the vending machine area, munching on a candy bar. But Lucas was already there talking to him. Maybe another time.

* * * * *

Band practice a few days later was cancelled when a leak in the new sprinkler system drenched the sound stage and most of the electronics. Water and electric amplifiers don't mix. They'd get it cleaned up and fixed, but for now, it looked like a good time to work on that chemistry problem. "Meet at my place at the usual time," he told everyone.

Kelly was already waiting at the door when he got there. He probably hadn't gone home after getting off work. "How ya doing, Kelly?" he asked, unlocking the door.

"I've been better," Kelly said with a snarl. Katon wondered how much Kelly had had to drink already. Hopefully not too much. Kelly was moody and brooding when he was sober. He wasn't nearly so pleasant when he was drunk.

Lucas arrived second, while Katon was in the bathroom cleaning up from work. He was followed by Christina a few minutes later. Jenna, who had the shortest distance to go and was the only one, other than Katon, who actually lived there, was still absent when Kelly noted, "Typical. Guys get here first and end up waiting for the women." He took a swallow from one of the beers Lucas had brought along for sharing before adding, "If you count Jed as a woman."

When she did arrive nearly twenty minutes late, Jenna was extremely apologetic, saying, "There were a couple things I had to take care of at Burke's before I could leave."

"Yeah? What kind of things?" asked Kelly, smirking as if he already knew the answer.

Katon wasn't a landscaping foreman for nothing. He knew the secret to taking control of a meeting quickly and forcefully, before anyone else could think of acting on their own. Ignoring Kelly's question, and not waiting for any kind of response from Jenna, indignant or otherwise, he directed everyone to their seats and called for their attention. "The subject of tonight's meeting is band chemistry," he started. "Elyk doesn't have any. We're good, but we're out of sync and dealing with too many distractions. My dad and Mr. Curtis are going to fire all of us if we don't figure it out quick. We've got all this talent at every position, but we still sound terrible. We're worse than some high school bands I've heard. Since the studio's shut down for a few days, this is a chance for us to fix whatever problems we're having. Let's get them out in the open."

He paused. Everyone was silent, their attention focused on him. This was a side of him they weren't used to seeing. He continued, "I'm going to open it up right now to suggestions, or ideas what the problem might be. Or complaints, if you just want to gripe about something."

In the back of his mind, Katon imagined - hoped - that this meeting would somehow turn into an orgy. If too much sexual tension was the band's problem, then a little group sex seemed like the ideal remedy. He didn't want to suggest it right away, and was waiting for the right moment to bring it up, but if no one else had a better idea, that's where he planned on taking the meeting. He had even gone so far as to make sure there was a deck of playing cards handy, just in case a game of strip poker presented itself as a good way to loosen people up. Maybe someone else would notice them and suggest it themselves.

But so far it wasn't working. It was just like rehearsal, only without the music and instruments. Kelly was brooding and secretly leering; Jenna and Lucas were sitting right next to each other but acting like they were a mile apart and Christina was looking gorgeous and sexy without saying anything helpful. For a while a few tentative suggestions were offered, and a couple of minor complaints were voiced. But Katon knew they were a long way from getting to the real problem. Maybe it was time to try a little sex therapy.

He was just reaching for the cards when Kelly clumsily spilled his beer on his lap. "Oh shit!" he said. He spilled some more while he was trying to get up, and then stumbled his way to the bathroom.

Christina wiped the spilled beer from her high-heels and muttered something about too much to drink. When Kelly returned, he was chuckling. "I guess those are Jed's panties hanging on the shower. Or are they yours, Katon?"

"Oh, I meant to tell you about those, Jenna," said Katon. "Can you do something about them?"

As Jenna was getting up to move her underthings back to her room, Kelly said, "Lucas, remember that time back in high school when we played strip poker, and Jed was wearing panties?"

Lucas nodded. "Yeah, I remember," he said quietly.

As Kelly continued to chuckle, an uneasy silence fell over the rest of the room.

"Sorry about that," said Jenna when she returned. She glared at Kelly.

"Luke and I was just talking about that time you played strip poker back in high school with us" said Kelly, looking at Jenna. "Was that the first time you ever dressed like a girl?"

Jenna's face was red. Katon couldn't tell if it was embarrassment or anger. "Kelly, just shut up about it, okay?" said Lucas.

But Kelly wasn't ready to shut up. Knowingly or unwittingly, the effect of too many beers on his tongue, loosening it, had him ready to tackle the band's chemistry problem head on. "I'm not going to shut up about it," he told Lucas angrily. "Who the fuck do you think you are?" He turned to Christina. "Did you know Jed here has sucked the dick of every guy in this room? He was probably late for the meeting because he was sucking his boss's dick, too. Isn't that right, Jed?"

"Shut up, Kelly!" demanded Lucas. "And quit calling her Jed. It's Jenna."

"You're just sticking up for him 'cause you're the only one of us he ever wanted to fuck. How many guys you think he's been doing it with since you, Luke? Huh Jed-da? Does your boss pay you to let him fuck you, too?"

"Kelly, that's enough," said Katon. He noticed that Lucas's face was turning red too, and he was pretty sure it wasn't from being embarrassed."

For a short time, nobody moved. Kelly stopped talking, and Katon thought desperately on how to regain control of the meeting.

The peace, if you could call it that, was short-lived. Kelly's alcohol-lubricated tongue couldn't stay still. "What about you, Katon? How much are you getting now that Jed's your live-in girlfriend?"

"Shut up, Kelly," warned Katon and Lucas in unison.

"I'm just saying that..." The words were barely out of his mouth when Lucas flew across the room, grabbed Kelly by the shirt collar and dragged him to his feet. Christina and Jenna quickly moved out of the way as he punched Kelly in the gut, doubling him over with an "Oof" sound - just like the sound you'd see the bad guy make in a Batman comic strip when they finally start throwing punches.

Lucas threw Kelly onto the couch, in the space just recently vacated by the two women, when Katon stepped in to grab his arm, holding it back. But with Kelly already unable or unwilling to fight back, the fight was already ending. With his left hand still free, Lucas delivered one less-than-full-strength punch to Kelly's jaw, more as a warning of what could have happened than with the intent of causing damage, and the fight was over.

If you want to call it a fight.

* * * * *

"Lucas, help me take Kelly out to my car, would you?" said Katon. "I'm going to drive him home. Christina, would you follow us? I'm going to drive his car and will need a ride back."

Jenna watched from the top of the stairs as Katon led Kelly to his car. Lucas was there, but his help wasn't actually needed since Kelly was walking on his own. She wondered if the two of them might start fighting again. Maybe Kelly would take a swing at Lucas. But all she heard was talking - too far to make out what they were saying - and then laughter. Before getting into his car, on the passenger side, Kelly extended his hand to Lucas. Even more surprising, Lucas refused it, moving in for a brotherly hug instead.

"Men!" she muttered to no one in particular.

"What's that?" asked Christina, who had suddenly appeared beside her with her purse and car keys.

"I was just saying I don't understand men," she said. "Look at them. Already friends again. As if they'd never been fighting."

"Yeah, I don't understand them either," agreed Christina. "Sorry about what Kelly was saying. For what it's worth, Katon already told me about how you used to be a guy."

"Thanks. I guess it's not a big secret."

Christina was silent for a moment, then asked, "Don't take this the wrong way, but the way guys are - treating women like they're second-class citizens - I'm puzzled why anyone would want to switch. I guess you have your reasons."

"Yeah, I've thought about that," said Jenna. "For some reason it doesn't seem to make a difference. I know I give up some things, but it feels like what I get back more than makes up for it."

Christina smiled. "I hope so. Well, I better go. Again, sorry for the crappy evening. Hope it gets better now. And..." she paused.


"Welcome to our side."

Jenna was still smiling from Christina's welcome when Lucas came back. "What are you grinning at?" he asked.

The fact that he was actually speaking to her directly was something new and worth noting. "Oh, nothing," she replied. "I was just talking to Christina. Thanks for sticking up for me."

"Yeah, he deserved it. He'll be fine. I apologized for hitting him, and he apologized for being a jerk. Everyone's cool about it now."

Jenna couldn't help staring at Lucas. Cute, sexy, muscular, in need of a shave. What was it about a three-day beard on a guy that looked so sexy? And those eyes. Why wouldn't he talk to her the way he used to, back when they were in high school. Did turning into a girl really change all that? "Sorry," she said at length.

"For what?"

She waited a moment, afraid her voice might crack when she spoke. "For not telling you, I guess."

"Yeah, that," was all he said.

"I guess until that day at Jo & Lou's, I wasn't sure I was really doing it. If that makes any sense."

He shrugged, remaining aloof. "No problem," he said, echoing the same words George the bartender had repeated that day four months earlier at Jo & Lou's Truckstop Diner.

Not knowing what else to say on the subject, she decided to try a different topic. "I've never seen Kelly act like that before. He's usually so quiet and peaceful. What got into him?"

Lucas shrugged. "Alcohol. He must have been drinking before he got here. The beers he had here just finished the job."

Jenna thought for a moment, shaking her head. "I've never known anyone who got drunk before. In Utah, you know, that just doesn't happen. Nobody drinks there."

Lucas gazed at her for a long time with an expression Jenna could only describe as longing. Was he about to kiss her? Or at least ask her out? It was still early. She waited, hoping. Finally he answered. "Yeah, some people get drunk and turn pleasant. Others get drunk and turn mean. I guess Kelly's one of the mean ones."

"Mean people suck," whispered Jenna, not really directing her comment to Lucas. It was the first half of a phrase she liked that was only relevant to the present conversation as long as you left off the second half.

"Nice people swallow," offered Lucas, providing the second half.

She looked at him with a grin.

"Yeah, I better go," he said far too quickly, as if he'd accidentally let himself get caught being friendly with a sworn enemy. "Think you'll be okay here alone? Katon and Christina shouldn't be that long."

So that's how he wanted to keep things then - cool and distant. Men! Maybe she really didn't understand them. "Yeah, I'll be fine," she said, purposely letting her face go into a pout. "Even if he doesn't come back at all, it won't be the first time I've spent the night here alone." She purposely over-emphasized the word alone.

Lucas nodded. "Yeah, I guess Christina's really getting to him."

She watched from the railing until he got in his car and drove out of the parking lot. "Shoot!" is all she said before turning to go back inside.

* * * * *

At the next rehearsal a half-week later, the band sounded halfway decent. Of course, the sound stage still had some water damage from the sprinkler leak, and the only ones there were Katon, Christina and Jenna. Lucas was at a job interview in Knoxville; Kelly was working out some personal problems at home. So halfway-decent was actually pretty good under the circumstances.

The real test was one week later, when all the repairs had been completed, and everyone was there, including Kelly and Lucas. Katon was nervous as the band began their first set, but quickly relaxed as the elusive chemistry that had been missing suddenly seemed to be there. No wonder he'd never liked chemistry. It was too unpredictable.

Kelly wasn't brooding, and seemed to be staying focused on his playing rather than on Christina's butt or Jenna's tits. Christina was working hard at giving everyone else a chance to show off their talents. And Lucas and Jenna were actually talking to one another, even if they still seemed a little stiff doing it. It was good to have everyone on the same page for a change. For his part, Katon was determined not to show any favoritism to Christina and to keep his hands off her sexy body for at least the time that they were on stage.

And it seemed to be working. Katon still felt that a sex orgy would have solved the problem just as well as a fight had, but he wasn't going to argue with results.

Unfortunately, just as everything started working the way they wanted, it was time for a change. Kelly wanted to resign. With fifteen minutes to go before they were going to call it a day, he asked Katon if he could say a few words. He ASKED Katon. Think about that. Katon, his little brother. That's how well things were working. He even said please.

Kelly started off with an apology for his role in the previous week's altercation. He admitted he had been a jerk - yes, that's the word he used - and then apologized directly to Jenna for his comments, admitting they had been inappropriate and mean-spirited. He even called her Jenna this time. "Blaming it on being drunk at the time would be the easy thing to do," he said. "That had a lot to do with it, but I'm still the one responsible."

I mean, it was a great apology. It was... chemistry. The band was going to be great! I mean really great! With an exclamation point great!

But all good things gotta come to an end and it's the same with Elyk the band.

"I'm resigning as bass guitarist," announced Kelly. "Effective immediately. Working with you guys again - and you for the first time, Christina - has been nothing but great. You changed my life. I mean that. I'd like it if you guys could do me one favor, though. There's a song, by Kiss, I think you all know it - Beth. It has special meaning to me, especially now. I know we haven't been rehearsing it, but I was wondering if you guys might try to play it one time for me before I go."

I'm here to tell you, there wasn't a dry eye to be seen. Provided you only watched the drummer and the lead singer, that is. Lucas and Katon didn't seem to be quite as affected emotionally as the two girls. Men!

The song sounded a little rough, to be honest. After all, they'd never rehearsed it, so they were guessing on some of the chords and things. Plus Christina insisted that Kelly sing lead while she went over and joined Katon on backups. That was the new Christina, you know, the one who was determined to make everyone else a star.

Kelly's wife, by the way, isn't named Beth. Her name is Emily. Em for short. In a voice filed with emotion, and taking some liberty with the lyrics, he sang, "Em, I hear you calling, but I can't come home right now. Me and the boys are playing and we just can't find the sound. Just a few more hours and I'll be right home to you. I think I hear them calling. Oh Em, what can I do? Em, what can I do?"

In the second verse he sang, "You say you feel so empty; that our house just ain't a home if I'm always somewhere else, and you're always there alone." It was eerie how relevant the lyrics were to Kelly's own life.

They repeated the chorus once, and then did their best with an interlude that was mostly an instrumental version of either of the first two verses. And then he concluded with the last verse, "Em, I know you're lonely, and I hope you'll be alright, 'cause me and the boys will be playing all night."

And then Elyk was short a bass guitar player.

* * * * *

Brother and Sister King, Jedidiah's parents, started out this story in Mongolia. Mongolia!? I don't even know what language that is. Mongolian, I guess? I've had Mongolian barbecue though. Is that close enough? It was a long time ago, but pretty good as I recall. Meat on a stick, as I recall. Or was it meat in a bowl? I don't remember.

Anyway. Their mission to the Mongolian people ended in the fall of 2008, and so they went home - back to Provo, Utah. Back to selling cars for Brother King. Back to scrapbooking and volunteer work for Sister King.

Of course, no sooner were they back home than the bishop wanted them to speak in church, reporting on their mission. But before that, there was one important item of business they needed to take care of 1900 miles away. In Mayville, Tennessee there was a confused young woman they needed to see. Car dealerships and scrapbooks could wait.

For at least two weeks prior to their arrival and certainly for the entire time they were there. Jenna was an emotional wreck. How could she face her parents? And yet she had to. They knew, of course. That was a secret she no longer had to keep hidden. But at least Aunt Nan was there for support.

Good old Aunt Nan. It's not that Jenna didn't like her mom. She did. She was just... stricter. Stricter than her father. Stricter than Uncle J. And certainly stricter than Aunt Nan, who had turned into something of a substitute mother for Jenna since her arrival in Mayville.

Two days before their arrival, Jenna showed Katon a pair of outfits on hangers. "Which one do you think works better for meeting my parents?" she asked.

Katon grimaced. Jenna was like all the annoying things that come with having a girlfriend - the underwear in the bathroom, the fashion questions about clothes, and all that other stuff guys hate - with none of the benefits. At least she didn't make him go shopping with her. And at least she didn't have tampons hidden under his sink. Who knew tranny-girls didn't have periods like regular girls? Not Katon. Although he did now. In fact he found himself learning more about the subject of tranny girls than he really cared to know. "Why don't you just wear jeans and a t-shirt?" he asked. "It's just your parents."

Jenna either didn't notice his pained expression or tactfully ignored it. "Katon," she reminded, "I haven't seen my parents in over two years. And last time I did, they thought I was still a boy. This is a pretty big event for me."

Katon shook his head. The same attitude that had convinced him to offer his apartment as a cheap place for her to live for a few months was the same attitude that made him so easy to like in the first place. He cared. More than cared, he listened.

"I want to wear something ultra-feminine," Jenna was saying. "I'm not sure they're completely convinced that what I'm doing is a permanent thing. I have this fear that they're going to want to try and talk me into going back to being a boy. And I don't want to do that. I like being a girl."

"Is that even possible, now?" asked Katon. "I mean, with the boobs and everything?"

Jenna studied him thoughtfully before answering. "It could be, if I really wanted to. But that's the thing. I don't want them to try talking me out of it. I need something that lets them know I'm not a boy anymore. So for sure I have to wear a skirt." She held up the neon-pink blouse and black leather vest and skirt outfit as if what she had just said made it the winner.

Katon hesitated. He hated getting into a discussion on clothes. But... "Go with the other one," he said, pointing to the black two-layer skirt on her right. It consisted of a knee-length black satiny layer underneath a black sheer layer with embroidered flowers. A simple white blouse completed the outfit. "That bright pink is too much in-your-face for them. It makes it look like you're trying to convince them of something that, honest, doesn't need convincing."

Jenna flashed him a flattered smile. "It's getting cooler now," she said, "So I could add some stockings and heels. And maybe underneath everything..." She paused.


Jenna blushed. "I was just thinking, maybe underneath I'll wear something really, really sexy. Not that they'll ever see it, but I'll know I'm wearing it, and that will help me feel more confident."

"Sounds like a great idea," said Katon, glad the matter seemed to be resolved, letting him get back to the game he was watching.

There's really not much to say about their visit, other than it happened. There was crying, of course, and hugging, of course. And I-love-yous being thrown around as if it was Valentines Day at the Waltons. Nobody talked about forgiving anyone for anything. They didn't need to. It was only about where to go from here. Jenna really did have a great family, she decided. A pretty awesome one, even.

Before I go on, I need to repeat something. Just because Jenna's parents spent most of this story somewhere else, that doesn't make them bad parents. It just means everyone decided that Jed/Jenna, was doing the best he/she could under the circumstances, and the best thing they could do was let him/her handle it. Uncle J was there for psychological help, if he needed it. I mean she. And Aunt Nan was there for the hugging and the heart-to-heart talks over chicken pot pie.

At the airport, Brother King said it felt "like the most natural thing" a man could do when he hugged Jenna for the first time. For the first time as a woman, that is. And I'm not going to take any cheap shots here and suggest he wouldn't have been able to say that if it had been Christina he had hugged instead. Brother King wasn't the type of man who thought about things like that. Much.

Jenna knew she had gained her mom's acceptance when, midway through the restaurant dinner at The Corner Cottage, she asked Jenna to go with her for a bathroom break. "We need to go powder our noses," she told Brother King as they collected their purses before departing. Sister King didn't even hesitate about which restroom was the right one. She simply pointed to the one on the left and said, "Us women are this way."

(That should be, "We women are this way," in case anyone else feels this overpowering urge to correct her grammar.)

And that's pretty much all Jenna needed from her mom at the moment. Her parents' approval would have been nice, but she knew it would be a long time before she got that. But their acceptance, that was priceless.

And then with some more hugs and kisses and I-love-yous and even a few tears, they headed back to Provo and left their former son, now daughter, in Mayville. Uncle J and Aunt Nan promised to take good care of her.

And they did.

Let me back up a little bit, and talk about their arrival at the airport. Uncle J and Aunt Nan were the official welcoming committee, since it was their house where Brother and Sister King planned to stay, and because they had the biggest car. Jenna followed along behind in her Mustang. No, she didn't complain that they drove too slowly.

Meeting parents at the airport, I suppose, is officially the job of a boyfriend. Or is that unofficially? Either way, Jenna didn't have a boyfriend. She would have liked for Lucas to take the job, of course, but he wasn't exactly making himself available for that. So instead, she asked Katon to stand in.

The cliché would be that Lucas was miles away at the time, but coincidentally, the airport-bound caravan came within about sixty feet of him at one point, just as it was passing Jo & Lou's Truckstop Diner. If Jenna or Katon had been paying close enough attention, they would have noticed his Indian motorcycle parked out front. But they didn't, and so it was Katon who Sister King fixed her eyes on after greeting her new daughter.

"So, is this your boyfriend?" she whispered as the two of them followed several steps behind the men on the way to the airport's parking garage.

Jenna blushed. She guessed her past history - ending up in Mayville because of her involvement in sex play with Joey Mullins as a teenager - precluded any assumptions that she might be attracted to women. "No," she said quietly, thinking about Lucas. "He's just a friend."

"Too bad," she said with a hug. "He's cute."

Lucas had gone to Jo & Lou's with the intention of getting totally plastered. Drunk, I mean, as opposed to ending up covered in wall paste. He let George know his intentions, asking him to look after his bike and to call him a cab once he was ready to leave. He ordered a triple-shot of Tennessee's finest bourbon and a beer chaser to start with, and planned to repeat that combination as often as needed.

Jo & Lou's isn't exactly a sports bar, but they do have a TV set, and on Sunday afternoons during football season it's tuned to the Tennessee Titans game. Lucas's eyes were fixed on the game as George delivered the drinks. This time Lucas left a generous tip, since he knew he'd most likely forget to do that later.

But his thoughts were elsewhere. He couldn't help thinking about Jenna. She'd looked cute the day before at rehearsal. It was just a simple brown mini-skirt, stretched tightly across her ass, and an orange t-shirt that stretched across her small, perky breasts. It wasn't an unusual outfit for her, and no more provocative than what she normally wore. And it was a lot less provocative than some of the outfits Christina liked wearing. But for some reason he couldn't get her out of his mind.

He picked up the glass of bourbon and studied it, admiring its deep, rich color as he turned it slowly from side to side allowing the light to shine through it. His mind went back to high school and Jedidiah King. Jed had been cute, too, in that same androgynous manner that aroused Lucas in ways he couldn't fully explain. In fact, other than the breasts and having longer hair now, Jed and Jenna looked pretty much the same.

Lucas had always enjoyed looking at Jed's butt, clothed or not. He'd enjoyed even more having his cock buried in that butt. He remembered how it had felt to have Jed's lips wrapped around his cock, or to have his own lips wrapped around Jed's cock. He guessed there wasn't much chance of that ever happening again. Not now. Not since Jenna had taken Jed's place.

Not that he wasn't attracted to her. He was. And that's why he hoped getting drunk would help him get her out of his system. It was a matter of... What? Pride? Self-defense? If he took her back... He'd already done that. Not with her, but with his best friend, Steve, long, long before Jedidiah. And then with Jed in high school. And that wasn't counting all the others who had come into his life, promising to be someone special for him, but who ended up being just another waste of his time. They all left eventually. Every one of them. None of them ever stuck around. Time and again, Lucas had ended up disappointed as potential lovers decided - without once asking him how he felt about it - that their paths lay in some other direction.

Lucas held up the glass of bourbon again, planning to drink it down in one gulp. But just then a Titans player intercepted a pass, returning it for a big play that promised to change the course of the game, and as an excited cheer went up from those seated around him, his thoughts were momentarily distracted.

George watched his blond-haired customer with interest. He had given him the keys to his motorcycle and twenty dollars to cover a cab fare home, announcing his intentions of getting drunk. And yet so far, he hadn't touched a drop. George didn't mind. The drinks were paid for whether he drank them or not, and a customer who drank too little was preferable to one who drank too much. Still, he wondered what was going on inside Lucas's head.

With Jed that decision to go different directions had happened right after high school, when Jed's parents had come to pick him up and take him back to Utah. Of course, Lucas had always known that day was coming, but he had always held out hope that something would come along to keep it from happening. He'd even tried praying a few times. The way Jed suggested when you felt like you needed God's help. Apparently God was busy that day, because the answer never came, and Jed left.

Without even a look back. That's what really hurt. Jed's letters, although interesting, had always carried with them the faint feel of a knife being plunged into his chest and twisted to remind him what he'd lost.

Okay, not literally, but you get the idea.

And that time when he'd met Jed on his mission. Oops! Elder King. Like by calling himself that it somehow made him a different person, wiping out everything that had happened in high school, making it like it had never happened.

And now, here he was again, calling himself Jenna Kaye, and looking as cute and sexy as Jed ever had, in that androgynous way that made him too confused to think, giving him those inviting looks, as if... As if the last twelve years had never happened, and it was high school again, only somehow Jed had become Jenna, and they were both twelve years older. Did she really think he could just take her back like that? With no questions asked? Did she really think he could act like Jed had never left him, and that the last twelve years had meant nothing?

He picked up his glass again, determined this time to drink it. "Damn it!" he mumbled, just as his eyes spied a bottle of mineral water in front of another customer. It was the same brand Jenna liked to drink when she was on drums. All he could hear, suddenly, was her voice ordering a bottle of mineral water, since she didn't drink alcohol.

He stared at the glass of bourbon. His hand trembled slightly. It was what he needed. Not always, but right now. Who was she to tell him what was good and bad to drink? Wasn't she the Mormon? Well, technically, not any more, now that she'd been excommunicated. But Jed had been. Only Jed had never once told him what not to drink. He'd never said anything at all, beyond being an example. Even when Lucas had been using drugs, Jed hadn't said anything to make him feel he thought any less of him. And so he'd quit. The drugs, that is. Quit and never looked back.

He set the glass back down on the bar, still full. Hating himself, he pushed it toward the guy seated to his left. "Here. I haven't touched it," he said.

George met him at the door with his keys and the unused cab fare. "No problem," he said after Lucas thanked him.