Lance and Amy arrived just before Joey as Jessica busied herself with organizing their wardrobes in the garage. They were too big and bulky to try to roll in through the house so she opened them there while JC and Joey pushed the couches in the living room to the side to give her a work area.

"Jussin!" Kyle shrieked as the front door opened. Jessica listened to the commotion in the hallway and smiled, it was going to be so much fun watching Kyle interact with his grown up buddies again.

"Kyle!" Justin shouted with just as much enthusiasm. "What's up big guy?"

"Hi we have Mimi and Laaance and Joey."

"They're here already huh?" Justin picked Kyle up and tossed him in the air, "Well at least I beat Chris."

"Yeah." Kyle laughed hysterically as Justin caught him and tickled his sides. "You see?"

"Heck yeah, let’s go see." Justin smiled as they walked through the house, "Where is everyone? I don't think anyone else is here buddy. I think it's just you and me."

"No!" Kyle laughed and wiggled to be set down. He ran to the living room to make sure the others were there, then ran back to Justin in the entryway. "Jussin see here." He grabbed Justin's hand and pulled him to the back of the house.

"Oh here they are!" Justin laughed as he nodded 'hello' to the others in the living room.

"Yeah, and daddy and Jessi." Kyle nodded and climbed onto the couch beside Joey.

"And me." Joey looked down at Kyle as the toddler made himself comfortable.

"I say."

"What?"

"I say and you."

"You've lost me." Joey shook his head.

"He already said you." Justin explained.

"Ahh, okay." Joey nodded. "So where's Chris?" He asked Kyle.

"Dunno. He seepin?" Kyle gave Joey a confused look and sighed.

"Yeah, he's probably sleeping." Joey laughed.

"He seep ina car?" Kyle laughed and kicked his feet. "Shhh, he seepin." Kyle whispered and held his finger to his lips.

"I don't think he's - " Joey started.

"No, shhh!" Kyle frowned at Joey. "Chris seepin, shhh."

"He's not sleeping he's just late."

"He seepin." Kyle whispered and put his hands over Joey's mouth. Joey mumbled against Kyle's hand and smiled, "Joey no. Shhh." Kyle put both hands over Joey's mouth to keep him quiet.

"Chris is always late." Lance kicked his feet up on the coffee table.

"Shhh!" Kyle giggled as Joey pretended to struggle under Kyle's hands. "Chris seepin."

"Who's sleeping? I'm not sleeping." Chris said as he rushed into the room with his shoes untied. "Hey Kyle, what's up?" He nodded at the little boy and checked his watch. "Damn, it stopped. It's not my fault I'm late my watch died."

"Chris! You wake!" Kyle launched himself off of Joey's lap using his thighs as a launching pad.

"Ow! Yo, watch it kid." Joey's hands protectively went to his crotch. "Careful."

"Heck yeah I'm awake, I didn't oversleep my watch just died." Chris reiterated his lame excuse to Kyle. "What's up buddy?" He lifted Kyle up and messed his hair.

"We have clo." Kyle smiled.

"Yeah I know. Are you going to try on my clothes so I don't have to?"

"No." Kyle laughed and tried to roll his eyes. "Is too big."

"You think they'd be too big for you?"

"Yeah I small." Kyle looked down at his tiny frame, "I small and you big."

"Oh man." Chris pretended to pout, "Oh well, I guess I'll have to do it." He smiled up at the others in the room and smiled, "Hey." He nodded as a greeting.

"You're only twenty minutes late. That's almost early by your standards." JC laughed as he stood up and opened the refrigerator.

"Yeah yeah yeah, my watch died." Chris shook his head and dropped himself on the couch beside Joey with Kyle on his lap. "So what's the plan, Stan?"

"San?" Kyle climbed off Chris' lap and looked up at him. "Kyle."

"I know you're Kyle, it's just a saying. Nevermind." Chris shook his head and yawned. "Hi Amy, how's it going?" He asked as he noticed her sitting on the floor beside the chair Lance was sitting in.

"Good, you?"

"Fabulous." He nodded. "So is that the rock? Are you gonna pass it around so we can all see it or something?"

"Rock?" Justin asked, looking to the others for an explanation.

"On her hand?" Chris kicked at Justin's leg. "He proposed this weekend, where have you been?"

"Oh yeah!" Justin jumped up and went over to where Lance and Amy were sitting. "Let's see it. What kind of ring did he pick out?"

Amy held her hand up for Justin to see and soon Joey and Chris were gathered around as well. "Hot damn, how many albums do we have to sell to pay that off?" Joey asked Lance.

"Shut up." He blushed and shook his head, "It's not that big."

"It's the perfect size." Amy smiled broadly.

"Man, so it's official now huh?" Justin patted Lance on the back. "Who knew you'd be the first to settle down?"

"I did." Joey, Chris and JC answered in unison.

"Mr. Responsible over there." Chris rolled his eyes and laughed, "Congratulations guys."

"Thank you." Amy blushed quickly and dropped her hand back in her lap.

"Thanks." Lance nodded and ran his hand though his hair. The idea of getting married was still new to him and he wasn't used to people's reactions yet.

"Okay, who's first?" Jessica put her hands on her hips and looked around at the guys in the living room. No one said a word so she sighed and pointed at Chris, "Okay you. You got here last, you get to go first. Come help me bring your clothes into the guestroom down here."

"How come I have to go first? This isn't fair; I don't want to go first." He whined, but followed her down the hall anyway.

"It's better to go first, my hands are less tired."

"So?"

"Less chance of slipping." She winked as she opened his roll around and reached for his garment bags.

"Right on, then count me in." Chris grabbed a few more of the bags then carried them into the guestroom. He looked around as he put the garment bags on the bed, "So where are you staying while you're in town? You know the Courtyard Marriott thing downtown has this awesome whirlpool thing."

"No I uh, I'm staying here." Jessica unzipped the bag in front of her and pulled the first suit out. She hung it over the back of the bathroom door and smoothed it with her hands, "It's just easier for me to be right here instead of across town." She licked her lips, "With Lori coming to visit and everything." She knew that Lance and Amy knew about her and JC, but she wasn't sure what the others knew, or if they were supposed to.

"Yeah, I guess so." Chris nodded and looked over his shoulder at the made bed that was now covered with his garment bags. "How'd that go?"

"Lori?" Jessica asked as she reached for another bag.

"Yeah."

"It went alright. She came out to visit twice and she called a couple times. She uh, her and JC got to talk I guess and worked things out."

"How'd Kyle take it?"

Jessica shrugged; she didn't feel comfortable talking about this to Chris when she still didn't consider it her business. "He did okay. At first he was kind of leery of her, but then again he hasn't seen her in a while so… you can't really blame him. But then he warmed up."

"Did he talk about her at all? To you or JC I mean."

"Not to me, not really." Jessica shook her head. "She just left this morning and he hasn't said anything yet. Usually when he leaves someone, or if they leave, he talks about them for a while. Like we went to Lance and Amy's this week and he talked about seeing them and the dogs for the rest of the day." She shrugged again and hung the second suit off of the closet door. "But who knows? He may have just been excited that you guys were coming over today and kind of forgot about his mom leaving."

"Yeah." Chris smiled. "Does he call her 'mom'?"

"He calls her mommy, yeah."

"Hmm."

"Well she's his mom, what did you expect him to call her?" Jessica laughed lightly and put her hands on her hips as she looked down at the other bags on the bed.

"Well I don't know. It's just… well she hasn't been around as much."

Jessica shrugged and sighed, "Oh well. He's happy and doing great, that's all that matters." She nodded toward the suit hanging off of the bathroom door. "Go ahead and change into that and come out so I can do the markings and everything."

"I have to go out there?"

"Yeah."

"You can't do it in here?"

"There's more light and more room out there." Jessica pointed out. "And this way you can change in here so you don't have to get naked in front of me."

"Like you haven't seen it." He rolled his eyes.

Jessica blushed, "Not always by choice."

"Not always? You mean there were times you chose to see us mostly naked?" He laughed and nudged her arm.

"No. I didn't mean it that way." She blushed even deeper as she opened the door, "I just meant that you guys would change in front of me sometimes and - " She stepped out into the hall as he laughed in the room behind her. "Nevermind, just change and come on out so we can get this started."

Chris emerged a short while later in an almost perfectly fitted navy blue and black suit. Catcalls and whistles followed him as he stood on the step in the center of the room and let Jessica do the pinning on his cuffs. "Hey Jess you know what?" He asked as he looked down at her.

"Hmm?" She pulled a pin from between her lips and slid it into the thin fabric.

"I'm too sexy for these pants."

"You think so?" She laughed quickly and removed the pins from her mouth to pin around the edges.

"Yeah."

"I think you're too sexy for that shirt." Joey added from the couch.

"Without a doubt." JC nodded with a playful chuckle.

"I'm too sexy for this crowd. Do we really have to do this with an audience?" Chris asked as he shifted his weight from one foot to the other.

"Stop moving."

"Sorry." He mumbled. "Anyway, can't you send them outside?"

"They don't listen to me." Jessica shook her head.

"Sure they will."

"Hey guys, go outside." She said without looking up from his cuffs. No one moved an inch as she laughed softly, "See? They don't listen."

"Just wait, they'll be up here soon." Chris said softly. Jessica nodded in response and finished up her pinning.

"Beautiful. The jacket is as close to perfect as I can get it. I'll have to remember that when I go to get you more." She reached up and patted is shoulder, "Okay Chris, go change into one of the other ones and leave these pants folded on the dresser."

"Okay." Chris scurried back down the hall.

"Put on the black one next." She called after him. He nodded as he ducked into the guestroom and shut the door.

Jessica took the rest of the hour and worked on Chris' clothes as the others soon lost interest and headed for the backyard. Amy pulled the recliner chair closer to the middle of the floor and kept Jessica company while she worked. When she had finished the last of Chris’ outfits, she summoned Justin and got his clothes set up in the guestroom. "Okay kid, put these on and come on out." She checked her watch; Chris had taken just over an hour. If she kept up that pace she’d be there all day. "Hurry." She added as she stepped out into the hall.

Justin came out a few minutes later walking the catwalk model walk and goofing around with poses. "Dude, you should quit the band and be an underwear model." Lance said as he passed Justin in the hall on the way to the bathroom.

"You think so?" Justin struck a body builder pose in his suit.

"I think so." Lance rolled his eyes and shut the door behind him.

"Come on Fabio, up on the step, let’s go." Jessica tapped her foot and nodded toward the center of the room.

"Okay fine. Gee, you’re no fun anymore Jessica."

"I was never fun before." She mumbled with a small smile. Justin made a sound that could have started out as an agreement but ended up sounding more like a grunt. Jessica chose to ignore it for the moment, "So what do you think of this one?"

"It’s silver." He crinkled his nose.

"It’s lead."

"It’s silver."

"It’s the color of lead Justin."

"It’s shiny." He continued to complain.

Jessica sighed, "Amy, help me out here."

"It’s gray hun." Amy shook her head.

"You mean to tell me this isn’t shiny?"

"I’m not saying it’s not shiny I’m saying it’s not silver. It’s shiny, but it’s not like, glitter." Amy shrugged. "I think it looks nice."

"It could be worse J." Chris raised his eyebrow. "It could be shiny and blue."

"I’ll take blue." Justin perked up.

"You have gray." Jessica grabbed his knees and looked up at him, "Hold still, and let me do this. You only have to wear this once, so suck it up."

"Fine." Justin sighed then laughed as his feet moved with a life of their own.

Jessica reached for her pins and marker and sat on the floor. Ready to change the subject, she turned to Amy and asked, "So have you started planning anything yet?"

"Not really." Amy shook her head. "My cousin wants to go dress shopping when she comes down to visit. She just got married a couple months ago, so I think she's still in the wedding groove you know?"

"There's a wedding groove?" Justin asked as he tried to remain still.

"Of course." Amy and Jessica said at the same time.

"You get into the flow of buying everything white and satin. From panty hose to bustiers to garters and all that."

"Ugh, you guys are way too high maintenance. Wouldn't it just be easier to go in and say 'I wanna rent this dress and these things for the tenth'?"

Jessica stood up straight and tilted her chin up to meet Justin's eye as he stood on the box in front of her. "You'd better change your tune before you get engaged. Renting a dress? That’s such a man thing to say." She clicked her tongue at him and shook her head as she turned to Amy; "Lance isn't like this, is he?"

"No." She laughed.

"Yeah well… no comment." Justin rolled his eyes and sighed.

"Hey Jessica." JC raised his voice from across the room.

"Hmm?" Jessica kept her eyes on Justin's cuffs as she pinned.

"Did you tell Justin about your friend?" JC smirked and leaned against the counter.

Jessica laughed and glanced up at Justin, then over at JC, "No… not yet."

"Ask her about Katie." JC smiled at Justin ten turned and went out into the backyard. "Katie?" Justin asked with a newfound interest. "Enlighten me."

Jessica laughed and shook her head, then cringed as she began to tell him the story of how she came to find out Katie was a fan. She also delivered some 'important' messages from her, causing them all to giggle and blush. She knew that Katie would be mortified if she ever found out that Jessica had told Justin.

JC laughed and leaned against the doorframe to watch as Jessica blushed and Amy and Justin laughed. "So?" Chris crossed his arms over his chest as he leaned against the wall inside the house.

"So what?" JC asked as he kept his eye on Jessica marking Justin's pants to hem as she talked with her hands, a dangerous situation considering the pins she had in her fingers.

"So what's going on here?"

"Hmm? We're trying on tour clothes." JC gave Chris a look then reached for Kyle's hand as the little boy ran into the house and headed for where Justin was standing on his step. "Stick around buddy; we need to let Jessica work."

"I see Mimi?" Kyle grabbed at straws to be able to go bother Jessica.

"Nope, stay here."

"I help."

"They don't need any help right now. Where's Joey?"

"Dunno." Kyle shrugged.

"Where's Lance?"

"Laaaance ina potty."

"Well stay here and wait for Lance then take him upstairs to show him your new dump truck."

Kyle sighed and put his hands on his hips, "I help Jessi."

"Kyle…" JC picked him up on placed him on his hip, "Jessica has to work right now, remember how we talked about that? She doesn't need any help right now."

"Kay." Kyle frowned and wiggled down, then sat on the box that his booster seat came in.

JC shrugged and turned back to Chris, "What were you saying?"

"You and Jessica."

"Yeah?"

"There's something going on there isn't there?" Chris smirked.

JC smiled back and shrugged one shoulder, "Yeah kind of. I guess."

"Kind of? You guess? Please." Chris laughed and rolled his eyes. "Don’t give me that."

"I don't know, I mean yeah there's something there." JC shrugged and lowered his voice.

"She's living with you, hello?"

"She's not living with me." JC shook his head quickly and looked over to where Jessica was laughing with Amy as Justin shook his head. "She's staying here while she's in town."

"And how long has she been here?"

"Like, a couple days."

"Like, a week." Chris laughed.

"She got here Sunday to help with the Lori and Kyle situation, then she had to do some work with our clothes and stuff so she's just staying here so she doesn't have to get a hotel."

"Uh huh."

"You have a different theory?" JC raised his eyebrow in question at Chris.

"Yeah, I don't think she's staying in the guestroom." Chris snickered under his breath. "Dude, this is a cool thing. Jessica rocks, we've known that for a while now." JC gave a short laugh and looked down at his shoes. "Plus she digs Kyle, so that's a bonus."

"Uh huh."

"So come on… am I gonna have to slap you around to get some gossip?" Chris playfully swatted at JC's head.

"I don't kiss and tell."

"Ah ha, so there's been some kissing?"

"Chris… come on." JC sighed with a smile.

"Just answer one question then I'll leave you alone."

"What?" JC rolled his eyes but he was secretly glad to have Chris' approval.

"Is she staying here until we leave for Europe?"

"No." He shook his head as he looked over at Jessica. She glanced up with a row of pins in her mouth and smiled as she put a dashed mark around the cuff of Justin's pants while he moved his feet slightly.

"Your cuffs are going to be uneven if you don't stop moving Justin." Jessica said as she turned her head to look at Justin.

"I've just gotta dance when I've got these pants on." He gave her his million-dollar smile and tried to be smooth about it.

"These aren't dancing pants, these are press pants." Jessica laughed and pinned the cuff. "Okay Justin, go ahead and take these pants off. We need to do the performance pants now, so you can just put your t-shirt back on."

"How many girls on the planet would love to tell you to take your pants off?" JC laughed at Justin.

"And actually have you do it." Chris joined in.

"Yeah, ha ha." Justin stepped off the box and gave Chris and JC the finger, "You're just jealous because she wants to see me without my pants and not you."

JC cleared his throat as Chris tried not to laugh, "You're right, Justin. You're the stud puppy." Chris nodded.

Jessica's cheeks flushed deep pink as she licked her lips, "I've seen you all without your pants. I can't choose favorites."

"Awww come on Jess, you know you love my legs." Justin dropped his pants around his ankles and modeled his bare legs for her.

"Damn boy, put your clothes on." Lance cringed as he walked into the living room. "Chicken legs."

"Laaaance go see a tuck?" Kyle ran over to Lance and tugged at his hand.

"Go see what?" Lance looked down at Kyle as the little boy hung off his pants. "Come here." He scooped Kyle up and tossed him in the air. "You have something you want to show me?"

"A tuck." Kyle giggled from high in the air.

"Right on." Lance dropped him to his hip and they headed down the hall.

"Don't go far Lance, you're next." Jessica smoothed out Justin's pants and folded them in half.

"I'm just going upstairs for a minute." Lance laughed and ran up the stairs, bouncing Kyle the whole way up.

Justin came back out of the guestroom in a pair of performance pants and a dress shirt, then hopped back up on the step in front of Jessica. She wasn't expecting them to need any alterations for fit, but she knew she would have to do some minor repairs along the way. After finishing up his seven pairs of performance pants, she patted him on his butt and said, "You're perfect."

"I know." Justin smirked and tossed his head back as he let out a loud goofy laugh, that sadly was his own. "Can I be done now? I'm starving."

"Yeah, you're done. But don't pig out on pizza, you've still gotta fit into these outfits when we get to Europe."

"I promise they'll fit perfect when we get there." Justin smiled flirtatiously as he hopped off the step and went back to the guestroom to change into the faded t-shirt he'd worn over.

Joey and Lance took their turns next while JC ordered pizza and Amy ran to the store to grab sodas and some ice cream. It was almost four by the time they were done with the fittings and the late lunch. "Ugh, I can't believe we're leaving in three weeks. Where'd our vacation go?" Justin leaned back in his chair and patted his full belly.

"Tell me about it. We need another month off." Joey smiled.

"We have one more week then we're back at the compound." Lance pointed out.

"Whyyyyy?" JC whined as he dropped his hand over his eyes.

"Because that's been the plan all along." Lance laughed. "We've had two months to rest our lazy asses and we need to get back in the show mode before we go."

"So?" JC frowned then immediately smiled as he realized how much he was sounding like Kyle. "I don’t wanna go."

"Then call Johnny and tell him you quit." Chris laughed.

"He'd shit a brick."

"He wouldn't believe me." JC laughed.

"Yeah he would, which is why he'd shit a brick." Joey smiled and stood up. "So we're just running through the show, right? Nothing new?"

"No, there's nothing new. We don’t even know what the stage is going to be like until we get there, so basically we're just running the choreography." Lance nodded.

"Like we'd forget, it's been pounded into our heads for a year." Justin sighed.

"So what am I supposed to do with the little dude when we're practicing?" JC asked as he stopped whining.

"Jessica will be here." Justin nodded over to where she was sitting.

"I'm leaving on Sunday." She shook her head and glanced over at JC.

"Then you can bring him."

"Doesn’t he go to daycare?"

"Only two days a week, and that's only half days." JC looked over to where Kyle was playing Legos with Amy. "I guess he can just come with me, there's plenty for him to do at the compound. It'll only be for what, two weeks?"

"I'll bring Jackson and Lexi." Lance offered. "They'll amuse him for hours."

"Well wait, is it every day?" JC asked. They all looked at him like he was nuts, JC was usually on top of these things.

"It's whenever we need it." Lance cleared his throat. "Probably four hours a day, minimum."

"Fun." Joey rolled his eyes and headed down the hall to the bathroom.

"Okay, okay, enough shop talk. I've gotta get out of here." Justin stood up and stretched his arms over his head. "See you later Kyle." Kyle waved quickly, then went back to his Legos.

"Hey buddy, say goodbye to Justin, he's leaving."

"Bye Jussin." Kyle said without looking up.

"Gotta love those Legos." Justin laughed and grabbed his coat. "I'll see you guys later." He waved to everyone else then headed for the door.

"I should get going too." Chris used the back of his chair for balance as he stood up. "Colleen is flying in tomorrow so I've gotta clean." He rolled his eyes. "I swear I don't know how we can be together man. She's a neat freak and I'm me."

"Have you turned slob?" Amy asked as she pressed a blue Lego into place.

"No, I'm not a slob… I'm just not a neat freak. I don't get bent if the towels don't match or if there's a cup in the sink or whatever."

"She's like that?"

"No, but she has the potential. She's like right on that edge. This month it's a dirty look when I leave my shoes on the floor, next month she'll lose her mind." Chris laughed and shook his head. "Anyway, I've gotta at least pick up tonight or it won't be pretty tomorrow."

"Have fun." Jessica smiled and walked into the kitchen to put her dishes in the sink beside everyone else’s.

"Tons." He smiled, then winked at JC. "I see you're not a neat freak."

"Not even a little." Jessica shook her head. "You and I would get along fine."

"Yeah?" Chris smiled, then looked over at JC, "Wanna trade?" He asked softly.

JC nearly choked on his water and shook his head as he covered his mouth, "Funny." JC smiled and gave Chris a look while he wiped his mouth off.

"What?" Jessica asked.

"Nothing."

"Nevermind." Chris shook his head. "I'll see you in a couple weeks, have a safe trip home." He pulled Jessica in for a quick hug and gave JC a thumbs up behind her back.

"Thanks." She said into his shoulder. "I'll see you later."

"Where's everyone going?" Joey asked as he walked into the room wiping his hands on his pants. The front door shut behind Chris as Joey asked, "And how come you don't have any towels in the bathroom?"

"Kyle likes to play with them." JC shrugged.

"Everyone is going home, the party's over." Jessica smiled.

"Ahh, right on." Joey nodded. "Do you need a ride back to the hotel?"

"No, I uh…" Jessica looked over at JC for a hint as to how she was supposed to answer that. "That's okay; I've got it worked out."

"Okay." Joey shrugged then looked from Jessica to JC, then back again. "Wait a minute." He smiled and put his hands on his hips, "Hang on just a second here. You're… she's staying here?" He asked JC.

"You knew she was coming."

"Yeah but…" He waved his arm around, "She's staying here?"

"Joey…" JC sighed as Joey laughed and bounced up and down in the tiny kitchen.

"Kick ass." Joey laughed and bumped shoulders with Jessica, "Sweet."

"Joey no." Kyle frowned and shook his finger at Joey from across the room.

"No what?" Joey turned to look as Kyle jumped up and put his Legos down on the floor.

"No say."

"Don't say A-S-S, it's a bad word." JC smiled as Joey blushed. "We've had the 'bad word' talk already… he's picked up some colorful ones."

"Hrm." Joey frowned quickly and tried to look innocent.

"I can't figure out where he's picked them up though…" JC said thoughtfully.

Joey looked around the room to see who wasn't there to defend themselves, "Justin. He's got a mouth on him you know." Joey nodded then cleared his throat. "Anyway, that's cool you're staying here." He gave Jessica a sly little smile that made her laugh. "I'll catch you guys later."

"Bye Joey." JC rolled his eyes with a smile.

"Later Kyle!" Joey shouted to Kyle who had already turned his attention back to his Legos.

"Lato Joey." Kyle mumbled as he pressed the little Lego person into the tower he'd made. "Mimi say?" He looked up at Amy who was busy taking Legos apart on her side of the little table.

"Hmm? Oh no sweetie, I can't stay. Lance and I have to go home to feed the doggies and then we're going to go have dinner with some friends." She explained.

"I go?"

"Nope, I think you have to stay here."

"Feed Jaxo?"

"Maybe next time you come over you can help me feed Jackson, would that be okay?"

"I feed day?"

"No, we can't do it today. You need to stay here with your daddy and Jessica." Amy smiled as she stood up.

"I sink I go now and feed." Kyle stood up and set his Legos on the table.

"Hey buddy, you need to stay here with me." JC hopped up on the counter and raked his fingers through his hair. "We're gonna go swimming."

"Ina pool?"

"Yep, in the pool." JC nodded.

"Have the lights on?"

"Yep, we'll turn the underwater lights on and maybe we can even have popsicles again." JC nodded and looked at Jessica for her 'okay'.

She nodded with a smile and looked down at Kyle, "I think we may have those chocolate popsicles too, that sounds good doesn't it?"

"Yeah." Kyle giggled and ran over to hug Jessica's legs, "We have now?" He whispered up to her.

"We can't have them till everyone leaves." She whispered back.

"Mimi and Laaaance have?" He kept his voice low so others couldn't hear.

"They have to go home and feed their dogs and get ready to go out." Jessica shook her head. "When they leave we can go get our swim suits on and have a popsicle."

"Kay." Kyle nodded and walked over to Lance. "Bye bye bye Laaaance."

"Bye Kyle." He laughed and picked Kyle up for a quick hug. "I'll see you later, okay?"

"Kay." Kyle giggled and looked at Amy, "Bye bye bye Mimi."

"Bye bye Kyle."

"Say bye bye and sing." He covered his mouth and laughed again.

"I'm not singing the song." Amy shook her head and grabbed her purse off the counter. "Have your daddy sing it, he knows all the words."

Kyle sighed and shook his head, "Daddy no sing anysing."

"He doesn't sing you anything?" Amy laughed.

"No." Kyle looked up at her with a sad expression and sighed.

"Oh you big liar." JC laughed and picked Kyle up to throw him in the air. "I sing to you all the time you goof."

"No you no sing." Kyle laughed hysterically as he flew through the air and landed back in JC's hands.

"I do to! I sing to you every time you ask me."

"Sing bye bye song now." Kyle continued to laugh as everyone looked on.

"Yeah, sing it for us Jace." Lance put his hands on his hips.

"Don't wanna be a fool for you, just another player in your game for two - "

"No daddy, sing bye bye." Kyle placed his hands on the side of JC's face and shook his head.

"That is 'Bye bye bye'." JC argued.

"No." Kyle sighed, "Is not my sing."

"Yes it is you goof. I'll put it on when we go outside and you'll see." JC blushed and bounced Kyle on his hip.

"Well thank you for the show Jace, we'll see you later." Lance waved as he and Amy laughed down the hall.

"Bye guys." Jessica smiled and waved, "I'll see you in a couple weeks."

"Okay!"

"Amy, are you going to the airport?"

"When? When they leave for Europe?" She asked.

"Yeah."

"I think so." She looked at Lance, "Am I?"

"If you want." He shrugged.

"Yeah, I'll be there."

"Okay, I'll see you then." Jessica waved again as Lance, Amy and Joey ducked out the front door. When they were alone again Jessica started in on the dishes in the kitchen, "Man… I don't know how you can be around them so much. They're absolutely draining."

"You get used to it." He laughed and set Kyle on the floor. "Hey buddy, you wanna go get your suit on and go in the pool?"

"And have possick?"

"I'll get the popsicles ready." Jessica volunteered as JC and Kyle headed up the stairs.

"And you sim." Kyle giggled.

"I will." She smiled and rinsed the dishes before setting them in the dishwasher. She started the dishwasher then went to the guestroom to change into her bathing suit. When the boys came downstairs a few minutes later she was standing at the freezer getting the fudgesicles out of the freezer. "Ready?"

"Yeah." Kyle clapped and took one of the popsicles from her.

They went out to the backyard where JC flipped the pool lights on as the sun set over the house. It was still warm outside and they were comfortable in their swimsuits as they nibbled on the popsicles over the grass. When they were done with their snacks they got in the pool and played around as it got darker and darker in the back yard.

When they finally got out of the pool, JC took Kyle upstairs to give him a bath and clean himself up while Jessica took a shower in the downstairs bathroom. When she had cleaned the chlorine off, she dressed in her shorts and tank top that qualified as her pajamas then went upstairs. She heard JC's voice coming from Kyle's room as she walked by on the way to JC's room, so she stopped and pushed the door open gently. JC was sitting on the edge of the bed with one foot on the floor, reading Kyle a book as the little boy struggled to keep his eyes open.

"Kanga and Roo joined Owl at the stream with a picnic basket in tow." He read softly before he turned the page. Kyle yawned quietly then wiggled further under the covers beside JC as his eyes drifted shut again. JC looked down with a smile, then continued to read, "They had a birthday feast and sang songs until the sun went down over the hundred acre wood." He closed the book and gently laid it on the floor as he shimmied sideways to get off the bed without waking Kyle up.

"He's out."

"Yeah." JC smiled.

"You're lucky, he sleeps like a log."

"I know, I guess that's a good thing huh? He can sleep through all the noise on the bus and everything." JC nodded and turned the light off as he joined Jessica in the hall.

"Yeah, you'd be miserable if every move you made woke him up."

"That's for sure." He laughed softly then hopped down the stairs in front of Jessica. "I'm sorry we haven't been able to really go out this week."

Jessica frowned and shook her head, "No, don't be. This is fine, I didn't come down here for you to entertain me."

"No, I mean…" JC tugged on his lip as he fell back on the couch in the living room. He pulled his feet up on the cushion beside him and looked over at Jessica as she did the same on the other side. "I mean for us."

"Oh." She looked surprised for a moment. "Oh, no that's okay." She insisted. "I'm low maintenance, pizza and a video at home is perfect."

"I just don't really have reliable babysitters except for the guys and well… well they're the guys so…" He shrugged. "Maybe tomorrow Lance and Amy can watch him."

"You don't have to do that."

"I know, but it'd be nice to have a night away from it all, you know?" He smiled. "I'll call them in the morning."

"You really don't have to, we can just stay in."

"Don't be a party pooper." JC smirked as he turned the TV on. He hit 'play' on the VCR and the movie they had started to watch the night before picked up where they left off. "Eventually we'll finish this movie." JC laughed and slid down so that his head was resting on the arm of the couch.

"Eventually." She nodded and made herself comfortable in the thick cushions of the couch. "The Patriot" played for the next two and a half hours until it ended and the tape began to rewind itself. Jessica stood up and yawned, she knew it couldn't be that late but her whole body was tired and her shoulders ached from hunching over the boy's clothes all day.

JC pulled himself off the couch to put the movie away as Jessica went to the bathroom and brushed her teeth. When she stepped into the hallway a few minutes later, JC was leaning against the wall with a tired smile on his face. Jessica carefully pulled her hair back in a ponytail then secured it with a stretchy scrunchie. "Hey… can you hear that?" She looked toward the ceiling with a smile.

"What?" JC asked as he reached the width of the hall and pulled her to him.

"Shh, listen."

They stood in complete silence for a minute until JC's face broke out in a smile and he laughed softly, "He must get that from his mom or something, because I don't snore that loud."

Jessica laughed and shook her head as JC wrapped his arms around her middle, "Of course not."

"Are you saying I snore?"

"A little."

"I snore a little?"

"Yeah."

"Not like that though." JC looked toward the ceiling again.

"Of course not." Jessica smiled again as she turned around in JC's arms to face him. "How did it get so late? It's already eleven." She yawned.

"Time flies when you're having fun." JC kissed her and brought his hand up to her hair.

"Maybe we should stop having fun so the time would last longer?" She smiled against his lips as he pulled her closer.

"I can't not have fun with you." JC laughed lightly and kissed her again.

"I can think of a few times when we didn't have fun."

"I'd rather you didn't." He smiled and left his arms around her waist. "Live in the now. Accept the present."

"Are you that positive talker guy on TV now?" She laughed.

"Tony Robbins? Not a chance."

"Good."

"But I like to think positive."

"That's fine."

"Like, I'm positive you'll be coming upstairs with me tonight."

"Oh you are?" Jessica laughed and pinched his side playfully. "That's not positive thinking, that's wishful thinking."

"Oh!" JC leaned his head back with a pained expression. "Shot down in my own house."

"That's what you get for being cocky."

JC raised his eyebrow and decided to leave his juvenile comment unsaid. "Wishful thinking huh?" He closed his eyes and furrowed his brow in concentration, "I wish, wish, wish with all my heart that Jessica might find it in her heart to help a poor lonely guy out tonight."

"You're crazy." She laughed as she bounced up on her toes and kissed him while he kept his eyes shut. "But you weren't specific about which poor lonely guy. I understand that Joey went home alone tonight…"

"I wish that the poor and lonely guy might be me tonight." He wished again. "I mean, that I'm the poor and lonely guy that Jessica might help tonight."

Jessica laughed again and shook her head, "Who could turn down a proposition like that?"

"So you will?"

"Sure."

"Yay!" He did a little happy dance in the hall, "It's gonna be me." He sang softly as he reached for her hand.

"Honestly JC, you've gone completely nuts."

"It's your fault, I was normal until you got here."

"Scary thought." She followed close behind him as they went up the stairs and stopped at Kyle's room to hear the snoring up close. JC opened the door about halfway and took a second for his eyes adjust to the darkness.

"It sounded louder down stairs." He whispered as he peeked in the room.

"It was echoing in the hall." Jessica smiled. "You've got great acoustics."

"Thanks." He rolled his eyes and gently shut Kyle's door.

Jessica walked down to JC's room then went to the bathroom to get a kleenex, leaving the room empty for JC to turn down the bed and shed his clothes before she came back. When she walked into the room a minute later JC was laying on his side under the covers with the little clock radio on his nightstand playing softly. She pulled the covers back and slid in beside him, being sure to pull the blankets back over her legs, "You've got the most comfortable bed in the world." She said as the mattress molded to the shape of her shoulder.

"Worth every penny."

"And then some." She closed her eyes in ecstasy as the stress from the day left her body. "If I were you, I would never leave this bed."

"Lets not." JC pulled her to him and kissed her from her shoulder to her neck.

Jessica unintentionally giggled like a schoolgirl as JC trailed his fingers from her hip up to shoulder and moved his body against hers. Never in a million years did she think she would ever be quite this smitten with someone when three months ago she could have killed him. Hooking up with someone she worked with was never an option, and a world famous pop star was even more out of the question. But somehow there she was in his bed feeling more at home than anywhere else she'd laid her head.

She hungrily initiated the next kiss and he took it from there. He muffled any sound she might have made with his mouth and kept his movements slow and deliberate. She would have worried about Kyle being so nearby if she wasn't so preoccupied with his father and where his hands were. To be honest, Kyle was the last thing on her mind…

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Jessica was startled awake a short time later by the piercing screams of a child. She flinched visibly and immediately reached to throw the covers back, ready to run down the hall. Just as her hand reached the side of the blanket, she saw JC fling open the door and run down the moonlit hall to Kyle's room.

"Hey, hey Kyle, it's okay." JC murmured as he crossed the room in two broad steps, "What happened?" JC's eyes darted over the room looking for anything out of place.

"Daddy!" Kyle cried as he sat up in his bed and held his arms out as JC sat by his feet.

JC pulled Kyle onto his lap and cradled his head against his shoulder, "Shhhh, its okay Kyle, its okay. I've got you." JC instinctively began to rock back and forth as Kyle continued to cry. "What happened buddy? Did you get scared?"

"A mosser ina ouside." Kyle sniffled as he pressed his tear-streaked face into JC's shoulder. "Make go."

"There's a monster outside?" JC looked up at the window quickly.

"Yeah." Kyle choked softly as he held tight to JC's shirt.

"Is everything okay?" Jessica asked softly as she pushed the door open.

"Yeah, he just got scared." He slowly ran his hand over Kyle's hair and continued to rock him back and forth. "He thought he saw a monster outside."

"Do you want me to go check?" She caught JC's eye; if there were someone outside he'd want to know.

"No!" Kyle shrieked. "No!! Isa mosser!"

"It's okay, she won't go outside."

"It bite ina arm." Kyle clawed at his arm to demonstrate as a fresh round of tears started.

"It's okay, the monster is gone." JC kissed the top of Kyle's head. "Do you want me to call the monster cops anyway? We can have them come and take a look around the house…?"

"Mosser cops?" Kyle tilted his head up.

"Yeah, we can call them right now." JC looked at Jessica, "Can you get the cordless from my room?"

"Yeah." Jessica turned and quickly ran to the room at the end of the hall. She grabbed the phone off of the nightstand and returned to Kyle's room. "Here you go." She handed him the phone then retreated to the doorway to watch how JC was going to handle this.

With Kyle still clinging to his shirt JC turned the phone on and dialed a number quickly. He held it to his ear and let it ring for a couple seconds, "Hi, is this the monster cops? Good, yeah we think we might have a monster out here at our house. Kyle thinks he saw one outside his window; can you come by and check it out? Okay, yeah. I think so." He moved the phone from his mouth, "How many monsters were there?" He asked Kyle.

"One big." Kyle held up his finger.

"Nope, there's only one. Okay, thanks. Yeah you can just go around the house. Okay bye." JC clicked the phone off and looked at Kyle, "The monster cops are going to come and see if they can find the monster, okay?"

"He go bye?"

"Yep, they'll take him away so he can't scare kids any more." JC waved Jessica over and had her lean close, "Can you run downstairs in a few minutes and knock on the door?"

"Yeah." She nodded and tried not to smile; he was amazing. Jessica watched for another couple minutes as Kyle began to calm down in JC's arms, then she excused herself and crept down the stairs.

Jessica walked to the front door and knocked loudly on it, "I'll bet that's the monster cops right now." JC said to Kyle, "Jessica? Can you answer that? I think it's the monster cops."

"Sure." Jessica said loudly from the entryway. She opened the door and said, "Hi monster cops, did you guys find anything?"

""What'd they find?" JC asked from upstairs.

"They found one big monster in the side yard, he was hiding in the bushes." Jessica said.

"Are they taking him away?"

"Oh yeah, they're taking him back to the monster jail." Jessica thanked the invisible monster cops then ran back upstairs. "He's all locked up."

"Ya hear that buddy? The monster cops came and got him."

"He go bye?"

"Yep, he's outta here." JC yawned and moved to lay Kyle back on the bed.

"No daddy, say." Kyle refused to let go.

"Okay, I'll stay here until you go back to sleep." JC wrapped his arms around his son and rested his chin on Kyle's head. "Give me a few minutes."

"Sure." Jessica smiled and turned the hall light off then walked down to JC's room where she left the door wide open to hear if JC called her. She climbed into the bed and pulled the soft comforter up to her shoulder, then lay on her side facing the door. Her eyes began to drift closed as soon as her head hit the pillow, and before she knew it she was sound asleep.

 

Next...

 

Copyright � 2002, Amy Lynn