Perez Hilton was dead. He had been shot between the eyes by a hired assassin. He had been slowly and carefully eviscerated like a laboratory rat. He had been sliced and diced in a meat factory, smashed by a thirty-ton truck, starved to death in a basement, drowned in a jacuzzi, and burned at the stake. He had been eaten by wolves. He was, one way or another, very, very dead.
Perez Hilton had, in fact, been killed in so many satisfactory ways that it was always disappointing, and just a bit confusing, to see him alive again, hovering ingratiatingly at the farthest edges of third-rate industry parties like a slug at a picnic.
Jesse scowled. He didn't know how to get in touch with an assassin. You couldn't just look them up in the phone book.
Lance would know how to get in touch with an assassin. Lance would know someone, who knew someone, who knew someone, who could arrange an oh so terrible accident in exchange for a reasonable fee. Although assassination was not really Lance's style. Lance would be more likely to put a person out of business. And yet, the Hilton creature was still enjoying a modest level of success, there in his gutter. Jesse couldn't understand that. Why had Lance not annihilated the little creep? He could do it, Jesse was sure. Lance had even, on documented occasions, been nice to Perez Hilton. Lance was obviously a forgiving type.
Jesse was not a forgiving type. All those sly little remarks way back at the beginning of the year, he remembered them all. The hints, and the nudges, and then the outright accusations, and the tone of them all, so malicious, so mean-spirited—like Perez fucking Hilton thought there was something dirty about being gay, fucking, fucking hypocrite. Jesse had been so angry, so very angry, and he'd justified it to himself at first with the thought that it was just wrong for that foul-mouthed little queen to be saying such things about anyone. But it had never been that. Jesse was mad because it was Lance. Lance, being hurt, being humiliated, being forced into a position he didn't want to be in.
Nobody had the right to do that. Nobody should do that to Lance. Not to Lance.
And now, it was more break-up rumors, and Jesse had to get his gossip second-hand from a friend, because he had sworn never to open a link to Perez Hilton's site again, but now that slimeball was posting rumors about Lance and his oh-so-wonderful boyfriend maybe breaking up, and Jesse couldn't help himself, he had to know...
The guys were pretty smashed now. That happened when you decided that the best way to watch Lovewrecked on TV was to invent a drinking game as you went along. In truth, it was a lot less painful watching it through a pleasant vodka haze... not that Lance thought it was a bad film, exactly, but he hadn't been shooting for anything beyond 'teen date flick', and nobody was going to remember this one next week. He hoped the viewing figures would work out.
It was nearly over. Just this one scene, and he'd go get more ice.
Yep. He got up and went into the kitchen, while his gaggle whooped derisively over the last few moments. Nobody seemed to have realized that that reporter was anything but just another bit player.
Lance knew, though.
Been a long time.
It was all down to that stupid television premiere last month. Jesse had been doing his best to stop thinking about Lance. It had been impossible not to think about Lance for most of last year, what with the rumors and then the People magazine and the perfectly judged publicity, and all those pictures of him with the fucking perfect boyfriend. Plus every snide queen who was a friend of a friend of someone who knew Jesse had asked him about Lance.
But he hadn't been thinking of Lance as, as available. Lance hadn't been available. Things had not changed. Except then they did, and Jesse had felt so sick, when he saw how brilliantly Lance managed to come out, and how well it was working out for him. And there was Reichen Lemkuhl right by his side, perfect boyfriend, doing everything so right that Jesse couldn't even hate him, not until later. Reichen, with his Air Force training and his pilot's license and his Amazing Race victory and his calendars, and... he was perfect in every way. The perfect boyfriend, who'd been there to support Lance's full-on emergence from the closet, who'd been there with Lance at a hundred photo ops, the ideal gay couple.
Except that Reichen was dead now, found drowned on a beach or asphyxiated by his own cologne or broken at the bottom of an elevator shaft. He'd certainly dropped out of the celebrity circuit. Serve him right. Stupid fucker had done the one thing Lance wouldn't forgive, and thrown everything away.
Admittedly, Jesse was okay with that. With Lance being single again. Single, and having the time of his life, apparently, except that Jesse knew how very well Lance could hide stuff. Lance could wear the biggest smile over a broken heart and nobody would guess there was anything wrong, but Jesse knew better. Lance and Reichen had been together for months, a year, maybe, if the grapevine had it right. There was no way Lance had been able to shrug it all off.
Which was why Jesse was dreaming a thousand bloody revenge fantasies. But he wasn't hiding from the truth. Truth was, he'd done it too, the unforgivable thing. He'd hurt Lance.
Only maybe, maybe, not irrevocably. Maybe he could get another chance. If Lance could—apparently—forgive fucking Mario Lavandeira (Perez Hilton to his enemies, he sure as hell didn't have any friends) for his malicious gossip, maybe there was a second chance in store for Jesse, too.
He just had to figure out how to grab it.
Wendy was half-way through her email and almost ready for the second cup of coffee by the time Lance walked into the office.
"Morning, babe," he said, his voice huskier than usual, and draped himself bonelessly in the doorway.
She repressed a smirk. It was so very obvious when Lance had gotten laid, but it wouldn't be polite to tell him so. Wendy believed in being polite. "Hi, honey, how are you today?" she said brightly.
"Oh, I'm good. I am fine. I am so very fine. Um. Yeah. Coffee." He made for the machine. "Anything new this morning?"
"There's a proposal from Caiman's just came up, I think we'll want to go with it. Anyway, you should take a look. And there were a couple of calls earlier you should probably return."
Lance grunted. "Anyone interesting?"
"Joey called about the dancing thing," Wendy told him. She adored Joey. He always flirted with her. "And David Geffen wants to schedule lunch."
He froze. "Who? What? Seriously?"
"Number's on your desk," she told him, grinning, and he shot out of her office. He'd forgotten his coffee. Apparently the biggest gay movie mogul in Hollywood had a higher wake-up quotient than Blue Mountain. Wendy got up, refilled her own mug, and took Lance's up to his office, where he was already on the phone. His eyes were perceptibly brighter than they'd been when he'd walked in not five minutes earlier. She headed back to her own desk.
It was good to see Lance bright-eyed. He was usually pretty happy these days... only, it was either work-happy or just-got-laid happy. Not that there was anything wrong with that, of course. Wendy loved this job as much as he did. And she was very glad that she didn't broadcast post-coital vibes the way Lance did, or he'd be teasing her all the time.
But Lance's new-found promiscuity was starting to worry her. Never, since she'd known him, had Lance been casual about sex, not really. He'd been too well brought up—not that she wanted to give his parents credit for anything, even if she had liked them once, but it couldn't be denied, they had managed to raise him wholesome. And sure, yes, he had every right to play the field, and she couldn't blame him for taking what was so very freely offered... she was just beginning to be a little uneasy.
Lance she decided, must find a boyfriend. And soon. So who would be his type, and not a sleazeball?
The phone rang.
Lance turned before the voice had completely registered, and found himself gazing into eyes he hadn't seen for a long time, a really long time.
"Hi. I just, um, wanted to say, congratulations," said Jesse Tannenbaum, with an uncertain smile. "You did a great job, presenting, and uh, congratulations on being asked, too."
"Thanks," Lance managed. He had enough practice at accepting compliments to be able to flash a smile. "I'm honored to have been invited." He'd been pretty damn nervous about making the presentation, he'd spent hours practicing Martina's name.
"Well. I just wanted to say. You did great."
Then there was someone else at his elbow, and more congratulations being offered, anyone would think he'd been the one getting the award instead of presenting it, and when he looked again he couldn't see Jesse at all.
He stared at the phone, then looked at Wendy. "Did I—was that really—?"
"I wrote the number down," she said, and tore off the top sheet of her notebook. Lance took the paper, still bewildered.
"He wants us to have lunch?"
"Sounded like it to me," she said cheerfully. "You going to?"
"I, I don't know." Have lunch with Jesse? Was that really a good idea? That was over, long over. Not painful any more. "I mean, why would he—?"
"You heard what he said," Wendy pointed out. "He wants to be friends. You always did say you hoped you'd be friends when you stopped being boyfriends."
Yes, Lance thought, but that was when he hadn't really believed that they would stop being boyfriends. It had been a lot harder than that, in practice. "You know what? We should both go," he said.
Wendy blinked at him, but the idea seemed to appeal to her, for she beamed and said she thought that would be fun. "We had some good times, didn't we? Remember the kilts?"
Oh boy, did he remember the kilts! Jess so full of mischief, instructing Lance in how to walk the catwalk, swishing deliberately, looking so fucking delicious like that, and it was so hot under the lights, and when they got out of the spotlight and backstage it had been so easy to slide a hand up underneath and torment his boy... "You didn't get the whole picture," he said, grinning at Wendy.
"I think I figured it out," she said, dryly, and Lance blushed. "So, you going to call him and fix a date?"
So he called back, and there was a stilted conversation, and comparing of appointments, and so many dates that wouldn't work that in the end Lance had said that he'd had a cancellation for that very day and they'd agreed to meet in the tapas bar just down the street.
So there they were, the three of them, and yes, it was awkward, but Wendy chattered on happily about projects and the latest in Hollywood rumor until Jesse started to relax back into his chair and Lance began to breathe more easily.
In the silence that fell after Wendy had explained about Lance having lunch with David Geffen, and Jesse had been suitably impressed, Lance sat forward. "So, have you murdered anyone interesting lately?"
Jesse stifled a grin and looked at the ceiling. "Um. Hmm. Couple of people. Oh, hey—do you know how to contact a hired assassin?"
"No," Lance said, thoughtfully, "but I bet I could find out. At least one of the big studios has to have somebody on retainer."
"So who's on the hit list?" Wendy asked, and suggested a couple of deserving cases.
It was almost great to be here like this, the three of them, reminiscing and falling back into that old playful groove. Jesse was being totally charming, and just a little bit shy, the way he looked down at his plate whenever their eyes met, or else made an effort not to look away, and smiled.
God, he looked good.
But. Lance couldn't quite enjoy it, not completely. He was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting to find out why Jesse had invited them—him—to lunch, what it was that Jesse wanted.
Time for coffee. This was it, and Jesse was talking about his new business now, an agency he'd started up with a couple of friends from the modeling circuit. Lance started checking through contacts in his mind, who'd be useful, who he would put Jess in touch with, what he could offer, once Jesse made his pitch.
"So... I gotta run. Guys, it's been great seeing you, both of you." Jesse waved the waiter over for his credit card. "We should, um, we should do this again sometime." A quick signature and a handful of bills for the tip. "So, I'll... see you." He bent to kiss Wendy and give her a swift hug, then turned to Lance, who was too confused to do anything but acquiesce to the offered handshake.
Jesse was gone.
"We should get back to work," Wendy said briskly, and picked up her purse. "You okay, babe?"
"Yeah," Lance answered. "I just, I mean, I thought—I assumed he'd, you know. Need a favor."
Wendy looked at him in surprise. "Why would you think that? He said he just wanted to be friends."
"Yes. But..." Apparently so. Lance wasn't sure why it felt so odd. Wrong.
"You should have more faith, babe. Not everyone's out to use you," Wendy said as they exited. She twined an arm through his, and, linked, they walked back to the office in the California sunshine.
On May fourth, there was a small package wrapped in drunken-frog birthday wrapping paper on Lance's desk when he arrived at work. Wendy knew this, because Jesse had given her the package on May third. She was scheduled to be out at meetings that morning, but sneaked just after six, before her gym session and long before anyone else got in, to put the package in Lance's office. She wouldn't be back at her own desk until mid-afternoon.
"Hey, babe, happy birthday!" she announced as she got back. Lance looked up and grinned blithely at her. He had a mechanical frog on his desk, hideously green, skittering across the papers and emitting hoarse croaks.
He sprang up to give her a hug. "How'd it go?"
"Not bad," she told him, "although that Swinton guy is a total asshole, incredibly negative. He has to be good with figures, he definitely didn't get the job on account of his charm. You all set for tonight?" Pink Vodka were throwing Lance a birthday party, a very smart move.
"Looking forward to it!" He hesitated. "Do you think, uh, I was wondering if I should, do you think I should invite Jesse? I was thinking, he could probably make some useful contacts, there'll be a lot of people there who can help him, you know, his agency, what do you think?"
"Sure," she said casually. "That'd be nice. Do you have his number? I think I maybe have it someplace..."
"No, it's okay, I got it when he called. I'd better call Shirleen, too, have him put on the list."
"Okay, babe. I'd better get this morning written up before the party, don't want our plans to vanish in tomorrow's hangover." She made for the door.
"Hangover?" Lance was righteously indignant. "No, no, not from nice pure clean vodka, babe. Just don't let them put any nasty stuff in the cocktails!"
Jesse did not show up at the party. He'd called Wendy with the news that he'd had a voicemail from Lance inviting him along, but he was in Arizona on a shoot. He'd sounded so forlorn, she'd had to work hard to reassure him that it was probably for the best. Better for Lance to want Jesse and not get him yet, she thought.
It was still a great party.
Hi Wendy. I was just calling to see if you're still okay for dinner tonight.
"Hey, Jesse. Yes, I'm looking forward to it. We need to make plans."
Yeah, um. I'm actually, Lance asked me, we're getting together for a drink this evening.
"Wow!" Wendy was surprised to hear it. Pleased, of course, but why hadn't Lance mentioned this? "He called to ask you out?"
No, I saw him on the news at the filling station, so I called him to, um. Mock.
"Oh, yes, that bet! Lance Bass pumps your gas." Wendy giggled. Trust Lance to get himself into that one! "So did you suggest you should meet up?"
No, that was his idea. There was a pause. You don't wanna know how nervous I am about this.
"Then it's good that you have a dinner reservation for after. Don't tell him it's me you're meeting, okay?" she said, firmly.
You don't think I should ask him to join us? I mean, it was nice, last time.
Jesse sounded wistful. This was going well, Wendy thought happily. The two of them were so sweet together, but it needed to happen slowly, gradually. Rushing things would be too much of a risk. "No. Definitely not. We should discuss strategy, and we can't do that if Lance is right there, can we?"
I'm just—I don't want to be, like, manipulative about this, I don't want to be playing around trying to make him jealous. Anyway, I wouldn't want him to think I'd be seeing him one minute and someone else right after.
No, indeed. Not the way to appeal to Lance Bass. "So tell him it's a business meeting."
I guess I could do that.
"He's got an appearance this evening anyway." It wasn't as though having dinner with her would actually prevent Jesse from spending the time with Lance, since Lance wouldn't dream of skipping out on an event he'd agreed to attend. "So I'll see you at eight-thirty."
Thanks, Wendy. You're a star.
As she thought about it later, Wendy felt confident they'd be able to junk the strategy pretty soon. Jesse had kept smiling in an abstracted way all through their meal, tiny happy smiles, totally cute. The meet-up with Lance had obviously gone very well.
Jesse was dazzled, just dazzled. The photographs were fucking amazing. Lance had been hot and sexy and beautiful before, but now that he was unashamedly out of the closet, he could wear that, and strut along a catwalk looking like the gayest and most gorgeous thing in the world, and be perfectly at ease.
Jesse was not quite so enthusiastic about the shots of Lance with Alan Cumming. Alan might be suffering a few cases of premature death in the very near future, even if Jesse had had a sneaky secret crush on him a while back. Alan looked pretty hot himself, with his sequinned eye makeup and his 'I got treasure, go me' face, but it was the possessive hand on Lance's bare and altogether touchable chest that took the picture into the blind-rage-inducing category. Fuck it! Nobody else was supposed to have his hands on Lance. Also, nobody else was supposed to wear a kilt around Lance. Jesse knew exactly what could happen.
The emerging stories about the wild partying that had surrounded the event were not exactly reassuring. The agency had had a couple of models in the show, he might be able to get some details out of them, but Jesse wasn't sure this would make him feel any better. Lance's expression in that photo was entirely too smug for Jesse's liking.
It was time to move things along.
He called Wendy for details of Lance's itinerary for the week, and made plans.
He spotted Wendy first, when he fought his way out of the crowd at the bar and looked around the club. She waved him up, and they staged a greeting of delighted surprise, and Jesse turned to find Lance behind him, genuinely surprised, and gratifyingly pleased. Spurred on by the memory of those photographs, Jesse ventured a quick hug of greeting, then shook hands with two pretty but sulky-faced boys whose names he didn't catch.
Jesse slid into the seat next to Wendy, which meant he had a reasonable chance of being able to lip-read Lance's occasional shouted remarks. The steady thump and wail of the music made actual conversation impossible, but he was hoping that wouldn't matter.
Three drinks later, Lance and the sulky boys were on the dance floor below, and Wendy was looking at Jesse as though he must have lost his mind. She made 'Get down there! Now!' gestures, and he grinned briefly at her before standing up and making his way down the stairs.
Dancing opposite Lance was a tall, hunky guy in a blue T-shirt who probably had thirty pounds on Jesse. Jesse slithered through the crowd until he was behind Lance, and sent his patented death glare over Lance's shoulder at the hunk, who was visibly intimidated into a startled, apologetic look.
Lance glanced over his shoulder, saw Jesse there, and beamed. Jesse's hands found their way onto Lance's hips, fingers lodged in belt loops, and they kept dancing.
The hunky guy went off to the bar. Jesse's thumbs slid upwards, underneath Lance's shirt to his sleek, warm waist. Lance shifted backwards, spooned a little closer. They kept dancing.
A parade of lithe young things showed themselves off in front of Lance. Ah, the penalties of being out and hot, Jesse thought appreciatively. "You get that all the time?" he murmured into Lance's left ear, as a skinny, pale boy with perfect cheekbones and vacant eyes gave up the attempt. He felt Lance's answering grin against his cheek, and Lance's butt deliberately pushed against his hips. Jesse's fingers unwound from Lance's belt loops and slid themselves under his shirt. They kept dancing.
Dancing, or teasing in time to music. After a while, Jesse stopped noticing anyone else in the club. The heat of Lance's firm, toned abdomen under his palms, Lance's strong shoulders against his chest, and Lance's ass, pressed to his groin and gyrating in slow, careful circles. No room for anything else in his head, because his body was so very, very aware. Just heat, and noise, and Lance.
Lance turned around. "Drink?" he mouthed. Jesse nodded and followed, but Lance veered sideways around the bar and headed through a doorway instead. The short corridor was gloomy and deserted—for now—but the music was muffled enough for the words "Come here" to be audible, and Jesse went, into the eager fold of Lance's arms, and pressed his mouth to Lance's lips. Oh, God it was like coming home. Warm and sweet and tasting a little bit of watermelon juice, opening up to him, tongues slithering together, licking, tasting, Lance's teeth gentle against Jesse's lower lip, prickling, soothing, demanding more. Noses knocking, stubble spikes against his jaw. They flattened themselves together, arms locked tight, bodies, thighs, cocks, fought to get closer still.
With Lance's back to the wall, Jesse's hands freed themselves and moved upwards. Lance's neck, offered to him. He loved to be kissed there, along the line where the tendon stood proud, and Jesse obliged, nibbling a wet trail down and up and feeling the reward in his groin, where Lance writhed against him. And he made such noises, deep and velvet, Jesse could get off on those sounds alone.
"Jess, Jess. Fuck..." Lance's hand twined through Jesse's hair, tugged his head gently back. Their eyes met, Lance's great pools of black rimmed with pale green. "Come home with me?"
Too fast, too fast, Jesse's head was telling him, but his cock was telling him yesyesfuckyes, and his heart was saying, Mine! Mine! He groaned. "I can't, babe, I can't. Hell. I have—I have to be at the airport, in, um," quick glance at watch, "three hours. New York, for ten days. Want you so much." He kissed Lance again, the corner of his sweet mouth, along his jaw, up to his lowered eyelashes.
"Okay. Okay," Lance muttered. "Ten days. Shit. I can do that." They kissed again. Again. Footsteps passed—someone on the way to the men's room—and a low laugh registered vaguely but didn't matter. Lance, so hot, wanting him.
At last, Lance pushed. Jesse stepped back unwillingly. "You have to get to the airport," Lance reminded him.
"Yeah." Jesse swept a hand back through his hair. "I wish..."
"When you get back, you're mine." The quiet words sent a quake right through Jesse's body. "Go. I bet you didn't even pack yet."
Jesse grinned ruefully. It was true.
"I'll tell Wendy you had to leave," Lance promised. "Go. If you don't, I'll have to fuck you right here against the wall where anyone could walk past and see us." He grinned wickedly, probably at the glazed and helpless lust on Jesse's face. "I'll see you when you get back." And he turned, and went back through the door into the club.
How could he even *walk*, Jesse wondered with some resentment. He stumbled into the men's room and found a cubicle. Fuck you here against the wall, Jesus!
The world was being set right, it seemed. Lou Pearlman was going down, down, down in ignominy, and Perez Hilton was in trouble for copyright violation.
Imagine that, thought Lance, and smiled to himself. He wound up his mechanical frog, and watched it patter across the desk. Three more days till Jess was back. Three more days.
He still hadn't found out how Jesse got the package into his office. Wendy, the obvious suspect, had been out on the morning of his birthday, and—more important, since she could have come in early and left it there—had never shown the slightest curiosity about what it had contained. In fact, he didn't think she even knew there had been a package at all. There was nobody else with the company who'd been around when Jesse was there, but he thought maybe Jess had managed to charm Annabeth into making the delivery. She had commented on his frog a couple times, so he was pretty confident of his deduction.
Such a stupid present, and it made him smile so much. And the gift tag, still in the top drawer of his desk, just 'Happy Birthday' and a tiny scribbled pine tree with baubles. It took him right back to that Christmas, sitting by the artificial fire singing, and Jess muttering about how much he hated that stupid Christmas Tree song, he was a good Jewish boy, Christmas trees were nothing to do with him, and Lance (who had been subject to the demonic influence of Chris Kirkpatrick when he was too young to know better) instantly crooning it into his ear—the German version, of course, which he'd learned in Europe, O Tannenbaum!—until Jess had giggled and they'd wrestled and tickled and pulled one another's clothes off, hands and kisses everywhere, and it had been so hot, so perfect. He'd loved him so much.
Things were different now. It could be different, now. Jesse wouldn't have to hide, wouldn't have to worry about plausible deniability all the time, no more sneaking out of bedrooms in the middle of the night, no more pretty female camouflage for every occasion. Lance didn't blame him for leaving, never had, really. Who'd want to live like that? Now, from the perspective of freedom, he couldn't believe he'd been such a jackass as to demand it.
At the time, though... Well. Things were different now. And maybe it was for the best. Being famously out and single was a hell of a lot of fun, so much better than trying to hide, and who knows, he might have felt cheated, if he hadn't had the opportunity to take advantage.
Still. Jesse. Would be back in three days.
The mechanical frog stopped moving and stared up at him from bulbous green glass eyes.
Please God, let this be real.
In theory, Jesse thought, when a person gets off a plane after flying from one side of the country to the other, a person should be exhausted and ready for nothing but sleep. Even if he had managed to doze for quite a lot of the flight.
In practice, he was not at all ready to sleep. Bed, yes, but sleep? Hah.
He called Lance.
"Uh, yeah. Plane was delayed, they kept us prisoner in that thing for ninety minutes before we could take off."
So where are you now? At the airport?
"I'm in a cab. I thought I'd, um, see if you wanted to, uh. If you were busy." Jesus, it was like being sixteen years old, he was so fucking nervous.
Lance laughed. I'm at Parc. You wanna come here? Or are you heading home to bed?
"Bed sounds good," said Jesse, suddenly bold. "Doesn't have to be my own."
There was a low chuckle on the line. Come here, then. The line went dead.
Jesse leaned forward to speak to the driver. His apartment was practically on the way, no sense lugging suitcases into a nightclub. He had the cab wait while he washed up fast and changed his clothes. Didn't want to stink of airplane staleness.
The club was bright and thumping, full of the sights and scents of pretty people, alcohol and whatever. Clutching his carryon, Jesse stared around. Where would Lance be? Center of attention on the dance floor, or holding court in VIP? Try upstairs first, he thought. If Lance wasn't there, at least he'd have a better view.
He hadn't gone more than a dozen steps towards the stairs when a hand fastened around his right wrist.
"Looking for someone?" Lance enquired, and inclined his head towards the side exit. Jesse followed, towed by the clasping hand, and with not a thought of resisting.
"There should be a car," Lance said as they reached the discreet exit. "Take a look." Of course. He wouldn't want the paparazzi's attention, Jesse thought dazedly, and peered out into the darkness. Just a car, black as the night, engine running. Lance towed him through the door and into the back seat, and pulled him into a rough, possessive embrace. He tasted of Coke and whisky, sweet, sharp and strong. Jesse kissed back wholeheartedly, but they had to break apart when the driver reminded them to buckle up for the drive.
Lance kept a firm hold on Jesse's wrist until they reached his house. Jesse, with his entire awareness focused on that grasp, that link, scarcely noticed the necessary courtesies to the driver, the front door opening, the alarm disarmed. Lance, Lance, beating in his veins.
And finally, Lance had him against the wall, both hands up as he was kissed fiercely, oh, fuck, Lance in full-on alpha, Jesse's bones turned to water, he was helpless with lust and ready to start begging the instant Lance's mouth allowed it. His jacket and T-shirt were soon disposed of, and Lance knelt to remove shoes and pants, and growled approvingly as he palmed Jesse's erection through black silk boxers. Jesse scrabbled feebly at Lance's clothes. Skin, skin, wanted it.
"Bed," said Lance.
Jesse sprawled on the soft cover, watching as Lance calmly undressed, fuck, he was so beautiful. Lance, naked Lance, straddled him, and ran his hands over everywhere, and then his mouth. Lance leaned down to kiss him, and blanketed him, warm slick skin, and their cocks separated by the layer of silk, and Jesse writhed and thrust up and pleaded with his hips and moaned into Lance's mouth.
Then Lance drew back, and began to ease Jesse's boxers down over his erection, over his thighs, down past his knees and Jesse kicked free and spread his legs wide, and there was lube on Lance's fingers now, teasing him until he raised his knee and pleaded for more, and then slowly, inside him, Lance's fingers inside him.
"Please, oh, fuck, babe, please, please," he couldn't even find words to beg for what he wanted, but Lance knew. Lance pulled him up and turned him around to kneel on the bed.
"Hands against the wall," he whispered into Jesse's ear, and his hands urged Jesse's knees wide apart as Jesse stretched forward, and there, ohgodyes, at last, Lance's beautiful cock, and Jesse pushed back to take him in. So good, so fucking good, filled like that, long, slow thrusts, so deep, so good, and Lance's murmurs of praise like a caress against his ears.
A slight shift behind him, and Lance's hands slid up to Jesse's wrists again, and drew him backward, trapped his arms between them, and Lance's right hand roamed across his chest, tweaking at tender nipples, sliding down over his taut belly, and all the time Lance's cock thrusting slowly into him. "Move for me," Lance insisted, his lips hot against Jesse's ear, "work it for me, c'mon, fuck, that's so hot, Jess, so fucking good."
Almost sobbing with pleasure, Jesse did his best, raising his hips and working himself down again onto Lance's cock, meeting every deliberate thrust and shuddering helplessly under Lance's caressing hand. Both hands, now, one steadying his hip, the other wrapped around his cock, moving in time with the cock inside him, moving faster and harder, and he was all sensation, tighter and tighter, up, up, until he shattered into a thousand pieces and orgasmed with a scream, fountaining over headboard and bedspread, and quivering with aftershocks as he felt Lance follow him over the edge.
They stayed there for a long moment, kneeling and joined, with Jesse's hands curled up now over Lance's encircling arms. Then a sigh, and a shift, and Lance slid backwards, and peeled the sticky bedcover down before pressing Jesse against the pillow.
Jesse lay, boneless and sated, while Lance staggered into the bathroom and returned a few minutes later with a towel to wipe away the pale streaks from the headboard.
"Don't get cold," he said, passing over a damp washcloth, and sliding into the bed.
Jesse rolled onto his back and swabbed vaguely with the washcloth. After a moment, he decided his legs would probably carry him as far as the bathroom, and this proved to be the case. Portrait of a well-fucked man, he thought, catching sight of himself in the large mirror.
But... now? What now? Because this was when he'd always had to get out of bed and go home, and he didn't want to, he really didn't want to. Only, what did Lance want? That don't get cold hadn't been very explicit. Had he meant, get under the covers, or, get your clothes on?
He went back into the bedroom. The bedside lamp was switched on, the one farthest from Lance, and the main light off. Trust Lance to have a whole console of controls available from the bed—he could probably open the blinds and start the coffee machine from there.
"So... I guess, I should be leaving?" he offered nervously.
There was silence. Had Lance fallen asleep already? Then, "Do what you want." The long lump that was Lance shrugged the bedclothes higher. All Jesse could see were little spikes of hair, all awry.
He hesitated. Clothes on, and a cab home?
Fuck it. No. He wanted to stay here. If Lance wanted him to leave, he'd have to say so. He climbed into the bed, and beat the pillow into submission, then fumbled for the light switch.
In the darkness, he could hear Lance's slow, careful breathing. He reached out cautiously, and settled a hand on Lance's hip.
After two long, silent minutes, Lance rolled over and wiggled into the middle of the bed. An arm slid across Jesse's stomach, and he felt the imprint of lips on his shoulder.
"You okay?" Lance didn't sound at all sure of himself, now.
Jesse kissed the available forehead. "I am not okay. I am fantastic. I am out way beyond fantastic."
"Oh God," Lance muttered in a voice thick with sleepiness. "You're not going to talk, are you?"
Jesse laughed. "No, babe. Go to sleep."
Wendy was delighted with the flowers, though they weren't strictly necessary. Lance's face, these days, was thanks enough.
The Muppet Christmas Carol—because Lance was a complete and total sap, whatever he might say—had just finished. Lance had tried to sing that stupid Tannenbaum song over the credits, and been tickled into spluttering incoherence instead. They had hot chocolate laced with rum, and there was nobody around who currently deserved a protracted and painful death. Life was good. Life was, in fact, pretty nearly perfect.
Jesse snuggled up, and poked Lance in the belly. "When are you going to say it?"
"Say it. You know you do."
Lance snorted. "Don't wanna."
Jesse just looked at him. "Yeah, you do."
Lance sighed, put down his drink, and put both hands to Jesse's face. "I love you, Jesse Christmas Tree."
Jesse winked. "I love you too, Lance Bass."