Lance held the phone to his ear and tried to hear through the crackle of JC's cell phone.  "Where are you?"  He raised his voice with the hope that that might help.

            "What?"  JC's voice was clear for the first time.

            "Where are you?"  Lance repeated.

            "Ho -"

            "Are you at home?"

            "I - Ah - Ouse -"  JC's voice cut out with every word.

            "I'm going to call you at home.  If you can hear me Jace, I'm going to call you at home."  Lance practically shouted before he hung up and rested his head in his hands.  The hotel room was dark, but then everything around him lately seemed to be dark.  The sky was forever a steel grey; threatening snow and sleet and only just now starting to produce both which kept him locked inside.  He carefully picked up the Florida snow globe JC had sent him in a "warm up" care package more than a month ago.  The palm trees were an annoyingly bright neon green and the multi colored sea shells floated around like a snowstorm.  Seashells were, of course, the Floridian's version of snow.

            He gave it a tiny shake to set the shells in motion again, then picked up the hotel phone and began the process of dialing internationally on his calling card.  Three minutes later he heard the distant and tiny sound of the phone ringing six thousand miles away.

            "Is that you?"  JC answered the phone with a laugh.

            "It's me."  Lance smiled back.

            "My cell phone sucks."

            "Especially from half a world away."  Lance set the snow globe down and watched the seashells fall.

            "Yeah, no kidding.  You sound like you're talking into a tin can."

            "I know."

            "Oh well, at least I can hear you now."  JC ran his hand through his hair and leaned forward on the little tile island in his huge kitchen.  "So anyway."

            "Anyway."

            "What are you up to?"

            "Not much actually.  I… the training has been suspended for the time being and it's snowing like crazy outside."

            "So you're stuck in your hotel?"

            "Well yes and no.  I'm allowed to go out or whatever, I just…"

            "You don't want to."  JC finished his sentence for him.

            "It's snowing."  Lance said again.  "Like crazy."

            "And you don't do snow."

            "I didn't think this through very well."  Lance shook his head and pulled the curtains over his window so he wouldn't have to watch his dreams falling away.

            "Sure you did."

            "Jace…"  Lance sighed and collapsed into the huge leather chair in the corner under the standing lamp.  "Part of me just wants to come home."  Lance said softly after a moment's pause.  He'd been thinking that for a while but had never said the words out loud until just then.  When JC didn't respond, Lance thought for a second that they'd been disconnected; which was fine with Lance.  The next words would be easier to say if he thought no one was there.  "This whole thing is harder than I thought.  And a bigger hassle with the money.  They actually gave me a ticket to go home.  It's for tomorrow, but…"

            "Don't use it." JC said quickly, surprising Lance though he didn't really believe they'd been disconnected.

            "I'm not."  Lance covered his eyes with his hands.  "But part of me wants to."

            "If you get all the way back here you'll never go back."

            "So?"

            "I'm not even going to dignify that with a response."

            "I've gotta get out of here Jace.  Just until things settle down and they let me back into the program."

            "Then go somewhere else.  Meet up with J in England or whatever."

            "He's not in England anymore, he's been stateside for two weeks now."

            "Really?" JC asked, genuinely surprised.

            "Yep.  He called from his mom's house a few nights ago."

            "Hmm."

            "Hmm."  Lance mimicked JC and secretly wished he could say the rest of what was on his mind.

            "Well I…" JC started, then stopped and breathed softly into the phone.  "I don't uh… I'm not really working on anything right now.  Maybe I could… I mean, if you want, I could come out."

            "To Russia?  Yeah right."

            "I mean, if you've got things - "

            "JC you don't want to come to Russia."  Lance said softly.

            JC licked his lips and tried to force, "Yeah I do" from his lips, but the truth was, he didn't.  He liked warm weather and beaches.  Snow and ice were not his thing, he and Lance were alike in many ways.  "Okay but maybe we could meet in London or something."

            "London?"

            "That's about halfway between us, right?"

            "I… I guess so."

            "Or Spain."

            "Spain?"

            "We've never been to Spain."

            "Yeah we have."  Lance smiled.  "Years ago."

            "Well I don't remember so it doesn't count."  JC laughed lightly.  "Let's meet up in Spain.  It'll be fun.  We could both use a break."

            "You need a break from doing nothing?"

            "I need a break period."  JC nodded.  "So will you do that?  Instead of coming home will you just take a little break and meet me in Spain?"

            "I… I don’t know Jace."

            "I can be there this weekend."

            "I don't know if - "

            "Yeah you do.  You don't have training and you can hop a flight or a train and get there by this weekend."

            "Yeah but hotels and - "

            "I'll do that." JC actually sounded excited.  "I'll take care of all that."

            "You'll call Natalie and have her do it."

            "Same thing."  JC shook his head.  "I'll do that tonight and call you tomorrow.  Start packing."

            "Seriously.  You don't have to go to Spain.  I really think… I'll be home soon anyway."

            "Yeah well… when you're done with training you can come home.  But that may be a while, so in the meantime I'll see you this weekend."

            "Are you gonna see if the other guys want to come?"

            "Joey's doing Rent still."

            "Justin and Chris?"

            JC paused and thought for a second.  "Nope.  This is just for you and me.  I think… I think that'll be good.  We need it."  His voice dipped lower at the end and Lance's heart skipped a beat.  "It's been a uh, a while since we got to take a vacation together."

            "The Cayman's last year."

            "Yeah."  JC smiled and closed his eyes, feeling the cool ocean breeze against his skin at the memory.  "So yeah.  Get packed.  I'll call with the details."

            "Thanks Jace.  Really.  I mean, thanks for everything."

            "Any time man, you know that."

            "I know."

            "Okay then."

            "I'll see you this weekend."  Lance nodded, not quite believing that in four days he'd actually get to see JC.

            "Yep.  Love ya."

            "I uhh…"  Lance paused as he heard JC inhale sharply.  "L-love ya too."

            "Bye."  JC said quickly as he hung up the phone leaving Lance staring at the phone in his hand, wondering what exactly had just happened.

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2003, Amy Lynn