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"ATOTR" Part 108

Fifth and last one for today, folks! I hope you've enjoyed the effort. And thank you kindly for reading. :)

By Micki Bailey

And then she looks me in the eye, says, “We’re gonna last forever”
And, man, you know I can’t begin to doubt it
No, because this feels so good and so free and so right
I know we ain’t never gonna change our minds about it

Hey, here comes my girl, here comes my girl
Yeah, she looks so right; she’s all I need tonight
— Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

“So where’s your old man, Cass?” JC hissed a few minutes later as they sipped on a couple of Tecates with little lime slices, still out on the large patio/deck overlooking layers and layers of expensive rooftops and landscaped terraces.

“He’s on his way here now. He called a few minutes ago. You know Justin…….easily distracted by shiny things.”

JC snickered. He was still standing near the railing, in an obviously energized, hyper mood. And, by anyone’s standards, it was a splendid look on him. “Well. It got him you, didn’t it? Getting his head turned by shiny things?”

“JC, will you stop being so odd and saying such cryptic things? Christ.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, Cassidy.”

“How unusual.”

He laughed again, a gentle, easy, rolling sound that carried down the hills below. “Break my balls all you want, girl. I know how you really feel.”

You know how I really feel?” She raised her eyebrows as she took a swallow of cold beer.

“Yep. How you really want me, Cass. Dude, I see you gawking at my ass and my package like you ache you want ‘em so bad.”

“Oh fucking brother. You’re a trash-talking crazy person, JC. Damn. You gross yourself out all the time, don’t you?” She rolled her eyes, feeling the heat of the alcohol glide down to her gut and spread over her cheeks. It was the alcohol, wasn’t it?

Sleekly, JC grinned and went on, undaunted. “Sure. And you know you’ve been getting your gawk on, sweet thang. I ain’t blind.”

“Just insane?”

He chuckled and winked, so full of and pleased with himself. “Eh, don’t worry about it, darlin’. The denial is to be expected. It’s only natural. Even the babe of the great Golden Boy Justin Timberlake can’t help herself from secretly lusting about getting up on yours truly here and wishing she could be smacking bellies with me. Right, Cass? Hmm?”

Cassidy shifted her legs and chugged more beer, hoping it would dilute this increasing uncomfortableness he was arousing in her. He could not know about the dream. And she had not been staring at him. Not at any part of him!

“You are audacious, untamed, perverse EVIL, JC. With an ungodly ego. So please. Do us both a huge-ass favor and stop projecting your self-infatuation onto me. You’re making me nauseous. I have NO secret desires for you. And ‘smacking bellies’? Um, could you be MORE disgusting? By the way, Beavis and Butt-head called from 1990. They want their dorky, crude, and ridiculous metaphor back, man.”

JC’s head fell backward, and he roared with laughter, shaking all over. “Ah, the girl protesteth too much! SO very guilty! But don’t sweat it, Cass. I won’t tell J. I promise. Your nasteeee fantasies are safe with me, chica.”

“Oh. Okay. And I won’t tell Lance either, asshole, that he’s making such a big mistake by getting himself into a civil union with the galaxy’s most DElusional and INsufferable dickhead whack job ever born,” she sneered back at him, carelessly tossing a few strands of hair over her shoulder.

“Tell Bassman what? Tell me what? What the crap is going down out here, dudes?”

There had only been a few silent moments, living on the afternoon wind and sunshine, between what she had said and what he had said. But in that short echo of time that may have sounded like a gentle heartbeat or two to trained ears, Cassidy had heard Justin approaching, even before the words fell from his mouth behind her. She had known he was around, had felt him somewhere near, like a cat owner can pick up on the softest, distinct thud of little paws jumping down and hitting the floor in another room when no one else has heard a thing.

When it came to him, she had that inner sensitivity gauge — that motion detector for the heart. Always.

“Hey, honey,” she thought she whispered when she turned to catch him slipping through the half-opened patio doors.

But maybe she hadn’t made a noise at all. Maybe the mere sight of him had breathed a hush over all of her. Wouldn’t have been the first time.

The soft-golden curls were gone again — had been since the tour had started — and the darker, near-bald buzz cut seemed to beg, as always, for her fingers to smooth over the beautiful shape of his head. His eyes glanced at JC for a tenth of a second, hardly even registering him, and then slammed into her own, shimmering with silvery-blue energy. His lips swelled into a smile, a little crooked on one side, slightly less than perfect, like a full harvest moon on the night before it’s actually filled out to its maximum exquisite round glow.

“Yo, baby,” the uncommonly pretty, softly affectionate expression whispered across the deck between them. “Missed you.”

Look at us. We’re shacked up together in one house in Florida already, me and this gorgeous guy…….and in the process of putting out for another one here in California…….We love each other with a love like no other, a love that won’t quit, a love that’ll hold up under everything life slings at us, a love that just keeps getting stronger and better and more centered deep inside us and between us with the passing time…….I’ll never find a somebody like him again…….There will never be another man my soul longs for and clings to and feels this oneness with like it does with him…….So if he’s going to start with the “getting hitched” talk…….that’s the next logical ticket window to step up to with him, isn’t it?

“Man, I am so glad you rolled up just now, J,” JC laughed and waved his friend over, recklessly slouching with one elbow and one hip on the deck wall. “We were talking manicures and bikini waxes, me and Cass, see.”

“Um, no, we weren’t,” Cassidy tried to interject.

But JC’s wildly dancing eyes and hyperactive body language fended her off. “Yeah, she says I should go in for one of those Brazilian jobs or whatever…….that it hurts like fuck at first, but the payoff is awesome…….makes your goods look so much bigger,” he chuckled and winked at Justin.

She wrinkled up her face, still holding Justin’s puzzled eyes, and grimaced. “Please! I said no such shit! You’re wrong, JC! And you’re going to hell for that!” With much dramatic flair, she shuddered and groaned.

JC rolled his eyes and snorted. “So anyway. Your girl here was just about to fill me in on whether she’s a true blonde or not,” he finished and cackled wildly.

Like a tweaked-out, crazy demon, Cassidy thought. Why’d her retarded subconscious make her have that stupid dream anyway? She glared at him and shook her head, helplessly.

A small warm front clashed with a small cold front on the blue horizons of Justin’s eyes, and Cassidy knew he would have drop-kicked almost anyone else in a quick heartbeat right over that deck wall and down that canyon for saying something like that to him about her. Like lightning, he shot a disbelieving glare back at JC.

“The hell you say?”

“Honey, he’s acting a fool. Don’t listen to a word he says. He’s high. Like on himself. The only damn place I ever said anything like that would be in his upside-down little Chasez Make-Believe World From Hell — where he’s as sane and awesome as he fucking thinks he is,” Cassidy huffed, clearly frustrated, and worrying more about ruffling Justin’s feathers than about being ruffled herself.

“Whatever, Cass, babe,” JC said smugly and twitched his nose.

But Justin wasn’t ruffled. His current mood far exceeded the prone-to-ruffling levels. He’d seen his girl and his best friend go at each other like this millions of times in the past — firing off the needle-sharp, torturous words back and forth at each other like blunt, physical blows. Crazy, cat-fighting kids. This was how they showed their deep, tough love for each other. No use bothering with letting it ruffle him. They’d just be at it again tomorrow. And the next day too.

“So you two dorkasses started drinking without me?” He broke into a snicker and bent down to paint a kiss on Cassidy’s temple. “Not fair, fuckers. Yo. Where’s mine? Huh?”

“Yo,” JC grinned, affectionately imitating his buddy. “Time for a refill for me anyway, man. I’ll fetch you one, J. Deal?”

“Awesome. Thanks, man.”

“Cass? Ready for numero dos?”

She cut a sharp, squinted glower at him. But not as sharp and squinted as it might have been if Justin’s presence hadn’t already started to cool her off and balance her out again.

“Sure, Jace. That would be lovely. Thanks. You’re such a gracious host…….And while you’re inside, you might think about popping another double dose of that Thorazine too, hmm? I’m guessing it’s about time.”

“Yeah, Spazz. You heard the miz-rez,” Justin laughed, reaching over to lift the fine layer of hair off the back of Cassidy’s neck and stroke the warm skin there with his fingertips. And then with his lips.

“You are so pussy-whipped, Timberlake,” JC hissed, still snickering and sauntering toward the patio’s sliding doors.

“Yeah. So what?” Justin murmured, squatting to his knees and moving closer to Cassidy’s chair, pressing his mouth to a faint vein that pulsed down the length of her throat. “You jealous, man?”

Cassidy said nothing, relaxing in her comfortable seat, closing her eyes behind the Liz Claiborne sunshades she wore, and bathing in the warmth of the late afternoon sunshine as well as the intense heat from Justin’s body so near. Inhaling without any movement at all, she breathed in his scent, loving him, loving the simplicity of just being close to him.

JC had stopped for a second on his trek toward the house’s interior, silently watching the lovers in their shared quiet reconnecting moment together. Seeing his own lover more than the two in front of him, choking down the chill of the longing that wouldn’t go away no matter how much better and cheerier he felt today, he smiled, so bittersweetly, and whispered.

“Yes. Damnit. I sure as hell am.”

* * * * * * * * * *

“He seems better now. Ya think?”

“If by ‘better’ you mean totally off-the-charts manic, then yeah. Much better now. Like he actually resembles the lunatic living again.”

Justin giggled and craftily eased the cool bottle of Tecate from her slender fingers, pushing the wedge of lime further down inside. He had sat down next to her and crossed his legs, his denimed ass against the planks of the deck, after JC had disappeared inside the house.

“Hmm. Joe must have that magic, raising-the-dead touch. Getting him out of the house like that. Did Jace say what they did all damn afternoon?”

Cassidy shook her head slowly, and some of her soft hair grazed across Justin’s cheek. “No. Not a whole lot. Just that they drove around in Joey’s rented Hummer and talked. Probably smoked a joint or two. I’m sure I smelled it on him. Yeah.” She paused and sighed, looking out over the nice view. “You know what? It’s like Joey waited for the totally perfect time to do this, to come over and try to make amends, end the feud. It was just what JC needed right now to lift his spirits and get his mind off things.”

“So maybe he’s dropped the resent or whatever he was holding for Joe giving Bass a killer blowjob.”

She turned and slapped Justin’s lean-muscle thigh. “Joe didn’t give Lance a blowjob. Will you shut up?”

“But he was responsible for Bass getting one, right? He supplied the dude with the killer-blowjob-giving mouth, didn’t he?” Justin leaned over, got up in her face, and grinned innocently.

Cassidy sighed. “Hush, Justin. You’re not even supposed to know about that anyway. Lance told me that in confidence. Asshole.”

Justin flash-rolled his eyes and turned up the beer, letting the chilly liquid slide down his throat, effectively finishing it off. “Please. Bass oughta know that if he spills his guts to you, Cass, especially juicy, cheating sex stories like getting some free head on the side from a stranger, you’re gonna spill it to me too. Gimme a break.”

“Whatever you say, Justin,” she monotoned, sounding bored. “And he wasn’t cheating. He and Jace were broken up.”

“Whatever back atcha, babe. It was still a juicy sex story all the same. With somebody the dude hardly even knew too! And don’t lie and say you didn’t tell Bass about tying me to the bed with all those fucking scarves, girl. ‘Cause the little Tinkerbell bastard was teasing me backstage one night just last week about that shit!”

Softly, she giggled, remembering that evening at the Orlando house just days before she and Justin had officially moved in…….straddling Justin’s hips and crotch as he lay bound as her unwilling but gorgeous sex slave to the new wrought-iron bed’s posts by colorful silk restraints that he’d purchased himself for her…….feeling him tremble and writhe beneath her, growing harder and harder against the insides of her bare thighs and the wet heat soaking her panties…….watching him shudder and struggle under her light weight and make the knots she’d tied tighter…….seeing in his intense glimmering eyes that he was wanting her, hurting for her, loving her little “captive”-ating surprise as much as he was hating it.

“Honey, really. I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Sure, Cass. Whatever you say, dahling. Liar.”

She squirmed in her reclined deck chair, turning toward him and resting her hands on the arm of it. Then she leaned over to kiss his nose. “Asshole.”

“You said that. For what?” Justin tried to look shocked, offended.

“For what? For thieving my damn beer and sucking it dry. Duh.”

“You weren’t drinking it. It was getting warm.”

“I was drinking it! Until you stole it! Asshole!”

“Sorry. You can thief some of mine. If Jace ever brings his revived-zombie ass back out here with the fuckers.” Justin glanced up toward the door. “Wouldn’t doubt he got lost in there.”

Cassidy bumped his shoulder with her own and snickered. “Justin, quit. He’s been under a lot of stress lately. And, honestly, I think he’s handling it all pretty damn good.”

“Oh. Hmm. You were staring bloody daggers at him and biting off his head with those harsh words just two minutes ago, babe. And you’re back on his side again now?” He chuckled and shook his head.

She squirmed again and smiled. “I’m just glad to see he’s coming out of his shell and being all happy and lively again today. Even if he just kills me with that pervy, I-can’t-believe-he-said-that-shit crap he comes out with sometimes. Aren’t you?”

Justin squinted into the afternoon sky and reached for his sunglasses where he’d laid them on the small table. “I guess so. He’s, like, closer to being back to his old self than he has been since, well…….”

“Since Lance took off.”

“Yep. There ya go.”

“So!” And her eyes fell into a brighter, halo-like glow. “Let’s throw him a little impromptu party here tonight! Like a little island luau theme or something! Okay? To, like, say thanks a million for him being such a generous host and letting us stay here this weekend. Okay? We can get some little cheapy tiki torches and set up around the deck here, and find some cool tropical looking glasses for mai-tais with those tiny umbrellas in them and big ol’ plastic coconut ice buckets for the table! And we can get some tacky leis and bad flowerdy shirts to wear and order up some food from that Jamaican place you were talking about!”

Gently, Justin raised his hand to stop her. “No, Cass.”

“Why not?”

“Because C made me promise when we came here to hang out. No parties. He was dead serious, babe. It was a miracle we got ‘im to agree to join us for dinner tonight, I’m saying.”

She frowned, disheartened but not quite deflated. “But it doesn’t have to be a ‘party’ then. Just a few little kitschy decorations thrown around and the three of us drinking rum cocktails in goofy cups and dumbass-looking geeky shirts! He won’t even know the difference between that and a normal day! He’ll feel right at home!”

Justin laughed so hard he almost fell over, but he stood firm. “No, sweets. I made me promise. He said the absolutely last thing on his mind during this four-day time off would be celebrating anything. Period. And he hasn’t been in much of a partying mood, has he?”

“Well, until today. I just wanted to let him know we appreciate the house stay and to show him that his friends love him…….to give him something to make him feel good again. You know?” she whispered, not so much pouting as being genuinely caring and concerned.

“Baby, I know,” Justin breathed out and caressed the back of her hand. One of his dark, dense eyebrows lifted for tender emphasis. “And you’re an angel for wanting to do that for him. But the only thing anybody can give Jace right now to make him feel really good again is the sight of Lancers walking toward him in the flesh. And smiling at him. Get my drift?”

The crisp and yet dove-like sound of Justin’s voice, combined with the warmth of knowing that he truly understood the deep meaning of what he was saying, gave Cassidy’s heart a beautiful, thick shudder that rocked love for him through the very core of her. And all that weighing of pros and cons she did constantly inside her head? The overanalyzing and picking apart every little detail and consequence of every situation ever that she can never seem to stop herself from getting lost in? This guy understood those little intricacies of her too. She never had to explain it. He got it all.

And then he still looked at her like this. Oh.

She smiled at him as two hot tears welled into her eyes and took up residence. “You’re right, sweetheart. That’s really all he wants, isn’t it? For Lance to come back…….And I’m so damn glad you’re here and that we’re us. I’d ache for you as hard as he aches for Lance if you were far away from me like that.”

“I hear ya. It hurts a little to watch him and try and imagine what this is like for both of them. Being so far apart from each other. I think I’d go crazy as hell for a while, just like Jace.”

Her heart, it seemed at that moment, melted into his, sitting right there beside her. And she whispered softly to him. “You know I love you, don’t you?”

“Yes, baby. Same as I love you.”

“Did you really buy another Harley motorcycle?”

“Two. Really.”

She smiled and delicately licked a sheen of moisture out over her lower lip, imagining, wanting, the taste of his own lips. “And do we still have enough dough left to buy that great big house up the road?”

His eyes and his grin filled out like the early-rising sun over the ocean. “Uh, are you saying…….?”

“Yes. Let’s do it. If you still want to. If you don’t think it’s, well, too much.”

The empty beer bottle fell and rolled off the table beside them as he leapt toward her and swallowed her up in his arms, pulling her against him and holding her fiercely. “Girl, as long as I’ve got you along for the ride, nothing’s gonna ever be too much. Not for you. You can bank your soul on that one, baby.”

* * * * * * * * * *




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