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"ATOTR" Part 105

Yes, there is more.....




By Micki Bailey

Love, let me breathe
Breathe you in
Melt the confusion
Until there is
There is your -- union
—Tori Amos


“Josh. Hey. Listen, okay? I’m sorry. I didn’t want to start a fight or make you mad or anything.”

Lance says quietly, stepping into the suite’s bedroom gingerly, steadying the tremors in his voice. He’s given JC time to cool off, to be alone, to brood — although he’s well aware that the cooling off process for JC is the same as the slowing down one…….JC simply takes his foot off the gas pedal, because, see, for him,
*there is no brake*.

He’s lying on the wide bed, the bed they’ve been sharing, stretched out on his back with his legs crossed at his ankles, pretending to be complacently watching TV. When he hears Lance enter, he turns his head on the pillow it’s propped on and blinks with slow, exquisite coolness.

“How about you just waltz on back out of here the same way you waltzed in? Hmm?” his eyes seem to say. But his lips don’t, and so Lance stands there next to the bed, breathing in the fresh, clean scent of him, noticing how his dark hair’s still damp from his shower and spread messily on the stark white pillow.

“Am I getting through, Josh? I don’t wanna do this today, okay? I’m really sorry I broke our perfect Sunday afternoon with that stupid e-mail. I didn’t realize you actually wanted to go on this thing with me so bad.”

“So it’s back to being ‘Josh’ again then, is it?”

Lance frowns, skimming backward hurriedly through their disjointed “conversation” from an hour ago. “What?”

JC’s nose twitches. “Never mind.”

Then the backpedaling in Lance’s mind grinds to a severe halt. It hits him suddenly. Something he hadn’t realized he’d said. Something some other part of him must have said. Maybe like JC hadn’t realized he’d said: “We’re fuck buddies too.”

“I guess my psyche resorts to calling you ‘JC’ when things are, like, icky between us…….Almost as if it doesn’t want to be on the outs with ‘Josh,’ the name I love more…….and love calling you more. Did that make
*any* sense?”

JC sort of smirks, sort of swallows it back. As if he’s decided he’s done with smirking for the day. His eyes are crystal-like and alive, active, darting and racing, probably like his thoughts. He’s looking at Lance like he does often — with that strangely melodic mix of cherubic curiosity and deep-seeded desire. A look Lance would lovingly describe as “so very Josh.”

“Well. Tell your psyche things don’t have to be, like, icky between us.”

“They don’t?” Lance murmurs, hesitant, hopeful.

JC shrugs and laces his fingers together over his flat stomach. He’s much calmer now, Lance can see. No, feel.

“Nah. It’s all cool. And I promise not to lay a hand on you or anything shitty like that either. Just so you know. And don’t, like, worry.”

Stung, Lance swallows reflexively. He knows he shouldn’t be surprised at all, though. He had come in here to apologize for
*that*, for being such an ass to say something like what he’d said, as much as he’d come in here to apologize for the reason they’d argued. But he’d wanted to be closer to JC than this when he got to that part — so that JC would feel he wasn’t afraid of him. God, this was messed up.

“I wish like hell I hadn’t said that, Josh. Swear to God. Me and my big fat horse’s ass of a big mouth. I shouldn’t have said it. I’m such a bitch.”

“No, you’re not. I deserved it anyway. Considering my, um, sordid past with violence and abuse and all.”

“You didn’t, Josh. Shut up. Just don’t. Okay? I hate myself already for dredging up the crappy history of us.” Lance moves closer. He’s at the bed now, so near his knees brush against the soft sheets. He can smell sweet cocoa butter and faint tangerine. JC’s favorite body moisturizer. “Nobody deserves that. It was cruel. And I’m sorry. That kind of crap should never have come out of my mouth.”

“No big. Forget it.”

“Have
*you*? Forgotten it?”

“Sure. Told you. No big.”

Lance hears the gentle cadence of the words more so than the words themselves, and it’s close to soft music. He turns slightly and sits down on the bed, pushing his hip into JC’s lean thigh.

“I’m sorry.”

“Okay.”

“Not just about being a heartless bastard, but also about not being able to take you with me next weekend.”

“Okay. I said it’s all cool beans now. Didn’t I say that?”

“You’re not pissed?”

“I’m not pissed, Lance. I’m over it. You’re right. It wouldn’t make jack shit sense for me to go. This is
*your* thing, not a mini-vacation to Russia for the two of us. You don’t need to be worrying 24-7 about how it’s looking to everyone else that I’m around, always babying you, in your damn way and stuff.”

“You so wouldn’t be in my way,” Lance whispers, reaching up to skim his fingertips across JC’s bare collarbone, over toward his throat.

“Hmm. But all those hundreds of other morons who’ll be flocking the fuck around you aren’t used to me and all my weird bumbling and fumbling around like you are. They’ll want to put me in a cage right off the bat, out of their damn way.”

Lance snickers, because he can now, caressing the warm flesh of JC’s chest, out of habit. “Hundreds of other morons. Right, Josh. You’re so funny. More like four or five, from what I’ve been told to expect. That’s all. And you were only looking out for me and my best interests. Like you always do. It wasn’t like you were trying to jack up some major frequent flyer miles or something by jetting over to Moscow with me.”

JC unlaces his fingers and moves his left hand to Lance’s thigh, rubbing slowly. “Still. Doesn’t make it right I should tag along.”

“Still. I wish like hell you could.”

“Me too. Baby.”

Lance glances upward to meet JC’s soft blue eyes, letting the echo of that cherished word for him silk its way around his heart. “Forgive me?”

“Don’t even ask,” JC hums, squeezing Lance’s leg, sliding his fingertips upward, crotch-bound. “There’s zilch to forgive. ‘Kay?”

Lance feels the heat from JC’s hand spread through him, firing his pulse, swelling his blood vessels. His own fingers have swerved their way down JC’s ribcage and abdomen, brushing through the fine hairs at the edge of his jeans’ brass snap, tingling with more warmth coming from down inside the waistband.

“You’re a strangely special dude, Josh. Know that?”

“No. Wrong. Exactly the opposite. I’m strangely selfish. A very bad dude. But sometimes I recover in time to come across as sort of okay. And I’m good with that if you are.”

Lance smiles. JC’s fingertips have reached his upper, inner thigh, massaging so close to that sweet burn filling out his groin. He leans in, almost inhaling JC’s humid, brisk breath, almost tasting JC’s wet, red lips.

“I love you.”

“Come…….over here…….down here…….whatever…….just come…….with me.”

They make love with a fierce passion, as if it’s been weeks rather than hours since they’ve been naked and pressing hot against each other. Lance groaning in low, immersed whispers with the full, warm length of JC’s cock moving inside him, stretching and swelling his walls of muscle, sliding back and forth, pushing and pulling tendrils of dancing fire in there, touching all of him, hot within there, reaching his soul, giving him everything he’s trying to give back in return, giving him peace, giving him love, middle-of-the-ocean-deep love.

JC sweating and sighing with the sensation of Lance beneath him, all around him, writhing upward against him, with him, making those low-growling noises Lance only makes when he’s lost in this, what they’re doing, this downreaching act of live heat and thrumming connection, joining not just their bodies but their entire beings, together, with each other, removed and above the rest of the world, bonded so intimately, so ultimately, and so unshakably, like he knows in his heart he’ll never feel connected to another living person besides Lance.

There are times when he wants nothing more than to relish the sensation of that gorgeous mouth of Lance’s wrapped around his cock, silky wet lips gliding up and down on it, taking the length of it in until the fat head hits the back of his throat, sucking tight and hot, slithering that long rough tongue around it, caressing it with fire, juicy slurping noises filling up his head, making his dick throb and ache, while those pretty hands of Lance’s squeeze and rub his balls, forcing more precum out the swollen red tip inside that sucking steamy mouth.

“Fuck,” he groans now. Just thinking about it causes him to thrust harder into the snugness of Lance that he’s buried in, anticipation spasming up from his sac and down his erection.

Breathing heavily, he glances down at Lance’s own cock, so thick and full that it’s leaking there on his quivering abdomen. And as he watches and pushes forward into that tight heat again, Lance grabs the length and strokes it slowly, meeting JC’s beautiful hooded eyes and his forceful loving thrusts.

“Damn, Josh,” he winces, whimpers. “Love the way you feel…….the way this feels.”

JC licks his lips, ghost-tasting the salty beads of perspiration shimmering on the skin just below Lance’s nose and the tangy drops of semen oozing from the head of his dick. Yep, if we’re being totally honest here, that’s something else he sometimes craves front and center in his mind, craves more than anything — the feel of Lance’s cock swelling and jerking feverishly against his tongue, hard and solid and vibrating with a furious pulse, alive and throbbing as his mouth slides wet suction back and forth over it, scraping a vein or two on the sensitive underside with his front teeth, dipping his head down just right to brush Lance’s tight balls with his bristly chin whiskers, making Lance moan with dizziness, with the ache of wanting to come and come hard.

JC does like those things. He won’t deny it. He likes them a lot. But right now he wants to be exactly where he is, doing with Lance exactly what they’re doing, and completely nothing else. Right here, between Lance’s legs which are raised enough to circle his hips as he moves those hips back and forth, clenching his ass cheeks every time he sinks himself, his cock, into a part of Lance’s body that is damnmotherfuckingawesome hotter and tighter and steamier than even that gorgeous mouth.

Their connection and their rhythm are synchronized and harmonized, perfectly, as is the racing of their hearts. Lance’s bare skin sliding against JC’s own, both slick with sweat, both warm and humming, the touch of Lance intense and raw beneath JC’s groping fingertips, almost surreal, even though he’s fondled and caressed this body a million times before. He feels the building surge in Lance’s pulse. It’s the same as the building surge in his own.

Lance’s deep-green eyes pull him in, beg for him to be closer. And he leans forward, laying across Lance, hips rocking on hips, chest rubbing against chest, never breaking stride, never breaking that penetrating visual contact. He slips his hands down under Lance’s arms, sliding them around to hook onto his shoulders, grasping and panting, holding on, holding them tightly together, feeling the thump of Lance’s accelerated heartbeat next to his own.

Throwing his arms around JC’s neck and lifting his legs a little higher up over JC’s ass, Lance holds on too, shuddering against JC, groaning and desperate, his cock aching for release as it’s rubbed off between their hot, sweaty abdomens pressing and sliding against each other. He clamps down on JC’s hard length moving inside him, ramming his ass with enough energetic intensity and spot-on accuracy to make everything in him come unhinged and explode as he squeezes JC’s neck with his biceps and gasps out a spiraling moan, unaware of anything but his own vicious orgasm and the tingly shaking it leaves all over him.

“Motherfucking…….whoa…….damn,” JC growls as he comes, clutching Lance hard against him, feeling Lance’s hot bottom tremble as he’s coming too, riding the wave after wave of detonating sensations whole his cock fires its load deep into those snug, squeezing muscles.

“Love you, Lance…….Did I say that already, baby?” he whispers, murmurs, chokes, muffles into Lance’s slick collarbone as they lay in a tangled-limb mass on the bed afterward.

“I think…….you did…….damn…….just with the awesome movement of your body alone, Josh…….That was ungodly fantastic. I’m…….numb now. So numb.”

“Yeah. Nobody does it better than we do. Fuck…….I can’t move this majorly old bod at all now either.”

Lance pulls him closer with the one arm he still has wrapped around his shoulder. “Good. I don’t want you going anywhere.”

JC nuzzles against Lance’s side and sighs. Tiredly. But more sadly. “I could say the same back atcha, gorgeous. But…….yeah, I know…….Wouldn’t do any damn good anyways.”

Lance presses his lips to JC’s damp, rumpled curls, and kisses. Loves. “You don’t havta say it, Josh. I already know…….and I’m sorry. Really.”

“Stop with the sorry stuff. You don’t havta be. This trip is something that has to be done.”

“But I don’t want it to make us argue all the time.”

“It won’t.” JC curves himself inward, into Lance’s flesh. “Promise. We’ll survive it, baby. We’ve got a pretty decent track record, don’t we, surviving shit?”

“Are you going back to Chicago with your mom and dad? Visit with them while we’re off?”

“Maybe. For a day or two anyway.”

“Might take your mind off…….this…….for a while.”

“Off
*you*? No fucking way.”

“Off where I’ll be, Josh. You know what I mean.”

“Like I said, no fucking way. I’ll need a lobotomy to accomplish that.”

Lance smiles. Tiredly. But more sadly. “I’ll be okay. I wish you wouldn’t worry so much.”

JC ignores the promise, the plea, just like Lance had known he would. Because, yeah, no fucking way. He snickers, warm breath tickling across Lance’s ribcage.

“Hmm. You’ll be the cutest little lab rat those Ruskies have ever laid eyes on, you know.”

“Stop it, Josh.”

“You’ll be so fucking cute they’ll want to keep you. Like for a pet or something. And that’s when I’ll have to step in and go medieval on their Red asses.”

Lance snickers. “Will you shut up? Jesus. You’re crazy. They’re so not keeping me, for, like, a pet or something.”

“You’ve got that right. Dudes
*know* they don’t wanna piece of *me*,” JC giggles again, slipping a protective arm around Lance’s waist.

“You possessive ass,” Lance hisses smoothly, snuggling into the warmth slithering around him.

“And that’s a bad thing how?”

“Still want to go out tonight? Our final night in Vegas.”

In response, JC hugs him, kisses a couple of his ribs, tickling him again. “I’d rather stay in, I think. Order up some Vietnamese chow. Lay around and be lazy with you…….savor this while we still can.”

Lance swallows down a hot thick mass those last few words swell up in his throat. “Guess what. I was hoping you’d decide on that, to stay in. I was wanting to do that too. With you.”

“Whoa. Wait. The resident party-hardy wild child chooses to hang out at home and chill? What the hell? Signal the end of the world!”

“Cut it out, Josh.” Lance laughs with JC, rubbing the back of his neck just below the waves of copper-infused dark hair. “You’re not even as funny as you think you are.”

“Hey, um,” JC whispers now, tracing a pattern seen only in his own head on the warm skin of Lance’s abdomen. “I wanted you to know…….I’m the one who’s sorry. Okay?”

“For what?” Lance’s thoughts zigzag, reel, wondering.

“For that dumb-as-fuck thing I said before.”

“What dumb-as-fuck thing you said before?”

JC sighs, and Lance knows he really is sorry. “That you and me are…….fuck buddies.”

There’s another hot lump lodged in Lance’s throat now. A bigger one this time, one that seems to vibrate on its own. “Oh,” is all he can choke out.

“I didn’t mean it to sound so…….insensitive…….and just downright bastardly, Lance. I could see in your eyes, as soon as I fucking uttered it, that it was, that it came out that way. That it hurt you. And that was wrong. Dumb-as-fuck and wrong.”

“It’s okay,” Lance mutters, barely breathing.

“‘Cause we’re not, you know…….We’re not just fuck buddies.”

“Yeah. I know.”

“We’re…….soul mates…….Right?”

Lance feels JC’s colorful eyes steeled solidly on him, touching him gently, waiting for his answer. “Right. Of course.”

“And I was the horse’s ass for saying such a cold-blooded thing. I’m sorry, baby.”

“I would’ve let it go, Josh. I knew you didn’t mean it.”

JC hugs him a little closer, breathes a searing layer out over his naked chest, nestles a little tighter into him. “You’ve let too much of my shit go, Lance. I don’t wanna hurt you anymore. Not by any crazy crap I do, or any crazy crap I say. I just want us to be
*us*. The perfect best. You know? Like you said once before? Remember?”

“I remember, Trezz. You and me. The perfect best. The only way things should ever be. So let’s just…….move on.”

“Forgive me?”

“Don’t even ask,” he repeats JC’s words from earlier, hissing them softly across JC’s temple. “It’s over. I don’t wanna talk about any of it anymore. Let’s just get busy getting our relax-and-chill on. You down with that?”

“In spades, baby,” JC murmurs, twisting himself upward to Lance’s head, pressing the tip of his tongue to the steady-pulsing spot of flesh behind Lance’s ear. “Always. As long as you’re around.”


* * * * * * * * * *

“Is that what you’ve got your mind on now, son?”

“Um, sorry. Sir?” Lance stirred and stuttered, turning from the jet’s small window again and clearing his throat. He’d been so far down inside the vaults of his memory that this re-emergence back into reality felt a lot like being slowly dragged by consciousness out of a sweetly realistic dream.

“You just seemed a bit quiet and preoccupied,” his father went on in the seat next to him. “I figured you were thinking about JC.”

“Yes, sir. I was,” he whispered, confessed.

Yes. He was. He couldn’t seem to turn off the vivid recollection of the last time he’d seen, felt, been one with his boyfriend. He looked down at his watch. Seven hours ago now. Seven forevers.

They had been at the airport in Dallas. Just before Lance and Jim had boarded this very plane.

After saying goodbye to all the guys and everyone else who’d gathered at the hotel, Lance had hopped into one of the long, black Suburbans with his parents, Stacy and Ford, and JC. It hadn’t even been a question whether JC would come along to the terminal gate with them. It was assumed, of course, that he was part of the immediate family, and the rest of them had stood back and waited for him to climb into the shadowy interior of the SUV right after Lance did and take the only seat beside him.

The drive to the airport — with Eric at the wheel and Lonnie riding shotgun — had been a somber one, although Jim had tried to make small talk and crack jokes to lift the foreboding atmosphere. Lance had noticed (and loved) how JC made sure that some part of his body was touching some part of Lance’s at all time. Unashamedly so. He hadn’t cared who was watching. And that — silent warmth crashing against silent warmth — was far better than any spoken words could have been to both of them

With the fueled and waiting jet in sight in a splashed puddle of sunshine outside the huge windows, Stacy had bravely held her tears back when she’d hugged her brother tightly in the private lounge reserved for them at one end of the west terminal. Diane, however, hadn’t even attempted to restrain her overflowing emotions, and, as she’d approached her son with the droplets shimmering like wet diamonds in her eyes and a bittersweet smile lacing her lips, Lance had been struck once again with just how beautiful his mother was. And with how enormously she loved him.

“You’d better take good real care of yourself, James Lance Bass,” she had squeaked into his ear when she’d wrapped herself around him and squeezed with all her small-body strength. “And take good care of your father too. You know how absent-minded he can be. Gets worse as he gets older too. Watch out for him, hear, hon?”

“I will, Mom,” Lance had chuckled, soaking in all of her warmth that he could. “It’s only for four days, remember. Between the two of us, we’ll be okay. Have no fear.”

“I feel like my little ol’ heart might just burst wide open I’m so proud of you, Lance. And I’m so happy for you, that you’re getting to fulfill this dream you’ve had for so long. Have I said that already?”

“Once or twice,” he’d grinned.

“Well, be careful, son. I’m sure I’ve said that once or twice too. And call as soon as y’all get over there.”

“We will, Mom. Don’t worry too much ‘bout us. ‘Kay?” He’d asked in a low whisper, but he’d known she would anyway.

As soon as Lance’s gaze had wandered around and found JC again, he’d realized instantly that he too was forcefully fighting back an onslaught of hotly emotional tears. He could see non-subtle hints of them, there, peeking glossy at the corners of JC’s brilliant-blue eyes, reflecting the room’s soft lights. And he could also see that his partner was making a gallant effort to be strong and supportive. Still. Right down to the heavy-hearted end. For him.

For a couple of aching moments, Lance had wanted badly to rewind Time, to plead for just one big do-over, to re-record events differently, to forget all about this damn going to space dream shit. He’d wanted to erase forever that haunted look in JC’s gorgeous eyes.

“Well, damn. Looks like you’re on your way now, baby,” JC had murmured tenderly, holding onto Lance so fiercely neither of them could breathe. And neither of them had been thinking about breathing, only about vibrating heat off each other. “This is it. The beginning of it all. The opening act of The Big Show.”

Arms desperately snug around JC’s thin, wiry body, hugging hard like he never wanted to let go, pressing against him, melting into him, Lance had shivered and strangled out a quiet sob, feeling his throat constrict like all the other muscles in his chest, hardly aware that the rest of his family members had silently wandered away, leaving them alone.

“You know you’re going with me in my heart, don’t you, Josh?”

“Sure, I do. Nothing, not even those four days and katrillion miles, can ever really separate us. So let ‘em fucking try. Right, baby?”

“In spades, Trezz.”

“Yeah. Just what I needed to hear,” JC had tried to chuckle, tried to exude confidence, shaking against Lance. But the sound had come out more like something uncontrolled, undefined.

“Josh…….Let’s…….pretend we’re going to see each other tomorrow. Okay? Like that kid said near the end of the ‘I-see-dead-folks’ movie we watched last Sunday. Remember?…….We can pretend, can’t we?”

“Absolutely, Rocket Man. We can do that. We can do anything we want…….‘cause we’re always going to see each other tomorrow,” JC had whispered back, and Lance had wondered if he’d even spoken out loud at all or if their souls were instant-messaging wordlessly now.

They had held each other like that for several way-to-short moments, pulses pounding in their ears, hearts throbbing in their chests. Then JC had sighed, sensing the unwelcome passage of precious time.

“Be safe and all that. Don’t let ‘em poke and prod you too hard…….And, Lance………come back to me soon.”

Lance had felt the blistering teardrops roll down his cheeks then, searing over his flesh until they reached the spot where their faces were smashed against each other. Over the echoing thud of his heartbeat, he’d winced a sigh.

“As soon as I can, babe. I love you.”

“Love you too, gorgeous. Always. Like the perfect best. Don’t forget.”

“I’ll never forget, Josh.”

Now, here on the chartered jet Destiny Productions had provided for him to make this trip, Lance sniffled and wiped at the corner of his eye with his bulky jacket sleeve. He knew his dad understood his half-hearted conversation responses, his withdrawn mood. He knew he didn’t need to explain. He’d kick this melancholy state as soon as he got to Moscow and had lots to distract himself with. Of course he would.

He had long since stopped hyper-analyzing and mentally paddling back and forth over whether all this intense separation-from-JC anxiety came from a well of feminine or a well of masculine character inside him. He wasn’t concerned anymore about the psychological dangers of being chronically attached of terminally co-dependent on this person. Fuck all of that, he’d decided. It didn’t need any brainwave hashing out or picking apart. He was who he was. JC was who he was. He’d be strong. JC would be strong. And when he got through this and returned home, they would be stronger together.

Absently slipping his right hand into the jacket’s pocket, his fingers brushed against something odd he hadn’t been expecting to feel inside there. Something flimsy and papery. Folded into a neat square. Taped to the lining of the pocket.

Folded. Taped.

Planted.

That sneaky bastard.

As those small sparkler fireworks thingies lit themselves and flamed off in his gut, he unattached the taped square — gently, so as not to rip it — and pulled it out in the open, cupping it in his hand. Right away, he could tell it had been clipped from a newspaper — most likely from the comics section, from what he could see in the folds.

Then Lance smiled, feeling the tingles of heat from those sparklers sweep through his abdomen like a sudden updraft from the atmosphere outside hitting the plane, as he recognized exactly where the piece of paper had come from now. A Family Circus cartoon JC had found in the complimentary Las Vegas Sun that Sunday afternoon last weekend after he and Lance had opted to “stay in and chill” alone together in their suite.

In it, the little boy was standing in front of the living room window and pointing to a dark, very starry night outside. He had that same classic expression of childlike curiosity on his face, and the caption was his words of wonder:

“I’d like to wish on a star, but I don’t know how to get there!”

“Hahahahaha! Lance, dude! Check this out! It’s karma, man! A cartoon special-made just for you!” JC had bellowed and laughed and shifted his long body on the bed so that he could flop down on his stomach on the mattress beside where Lance had been sitting with his open laptop.

“Look, baby! How do you think this cartoonist dude knew the world’s youngest space traveler to date would be hanging out in this city reading this funny papers today? Hmm? A designer comic strip! All for you!” he’d grinned, lazily shaking the folded paper toward Lance. “Is that fucking fate or what?”

“It’s fucking fate all right, Josh.”

“Isn’t it? So tell the little cartoon kid here, man, how to get his ass hooked up with some damn stars so he can get his wishing on!”

Lance had paused his typing, glanced over at his lover. “You are so bizarre.”

“Can’t help that, now can I? So go on. What kind of advice have you got for Family Circus Junior, babe? Look at ‘im. He’s so needing the 4-1-1!”

Lance had looked at the newspaper, pursed his lips, thinking, and then started to smile a little. That feeling, that driving urge, to make love again with this man who was his was starting to heat up in his groin again.

“Well, when I get the lowdown, I’ll be sure to fill him in, Josh,” he’d mumbled absently. “I’ve got a long-ass way to go before I get to be the expert on the subject, ya know.”

He’d been glad, he had to admit, that JC had been in much better, more relaxed spirits than when they’d talked about the space thing and his upcoming trip earlier. Maybe this little cartoon had been sent by a lucky twist of fate.

“Did JC sneak that into your pocket to surprise you?” his father asked, glancing over his shoulder at the unfolded comic. “That look on your face…….”

Lance was still smiling, still remembering, still relishing that tickly fire infusing his gut. “Yes. He did. He’s full of shockers like that. He’s crazy. And I like that about him. A lot.”

“Miss him already, don’t you?”

“Yes,” Lance whispered, caressing the small square of paper as if it were JC’s cheek. “Maybe a little less now. A little.”

* * * * * * * * * *

TO BE CONTINUED

Part 106


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