"You're playing truth or dare?" Chris asked as he
walked up to the group of four just inside the door.
"Yeah." Justin said without looking up. "It's my turn."
"Can I play?"
"We've already started." Lance said with a stern look and a set jaw.
Chris ignored him and kept his eyes on Justin. "Clockwise?" He waited until Justin nodded before sitting to his left, making himself next in line.
"We've already started." Lance said again.
"The more the merrier." JC smiled.
"This doesn't feel too merry." Justin mumbled under his breath.
"Just go." Joey sighed.
"Okay uh… okay Chris. The new guy. Truth or dare?" Justin asked as he craned his neck to the side to look at Chris.
"Fuck this." Lance pushed himself off the floor and brushed the dust from the back of his pants.
"Oh come on." Joey reached for his hand to pull him back down.
"No. I'm not playing if no ones going to play by the rules." Lance shook Joey's hand off his wrist. "We've already started."
"Truth." Chris said as he looked right at Justin.
Justin wasn't prepared for truth, no one ever chose truth. "Um… okay… is it true that you had your first guy kiss with someone sitting here?"
"Yes." Chris said quickly. "Lance. Truth or dare?"
Lance stared Chris down for a minute, knowing what Chris was trying to do but not sure which to pick to make it harder on the older man. "Dare." He finally said, though he didn't sit down.
"Fine. I dare you to pick truth." Chris said as he stood to face Lance eye to eye. Or as close to eye to eye as they could get with their height difference.
"That's not fair." JC complained. "That's not how we play."
"I dare you." Chris repeated. Lance stared at Chris with a muscle twitching in his jaw. He blinked his eyes twice and sighed deeply. "Truth Lance. Did it mean anything?"
The silence that fell over the group was solid. No one said a word and no one looked at Lance, other than Chris… who was still waiting for an answer a full minute later.
"It..." Lance licked his lips as he averted his eyes.
"The truth Lance."
"Guys... listen - " JC started.
"Not now Jace." Chris said; leaving his eyes locked on Lance. He saw JC and Joey shift in their seats as Justin scooted back closer to the door looking like he was going to make a run for it.
"You don't have to answer him." Justin said softly, and Chris knew why he was moving away from the group.
"Yes he does. That's the rule. Truth or dare. Truth Lance... truth." Chris narrowed his eyes at Lance.
"Chris." Joey reached up from the floor to grab Chris' hand. "Come on."
"I swear to God Joe. If you touch me, I'll kick your ass." His tone showed that he wasn't kidding and with his foot so close to the target, Joey wasn't going to take the chance. "If you just answer me it can be your turn." Chris' left eye twitched signaling the others that not only was he serious, but he was nervous as all hell.
Lance licked his dry lips then ran his teeth over his lower lip to tug at the flaking skin. "It's... it's not that easy."
"It is that easy." Chris said. "It either meant something or it didn't. But I'm not going to pussyfoot around here anymore. I want to know one way or the other."
"What difference does it make?" Justin raised his voice with his back pressed against the door.
"Shut it." Joey frowned at Justin and willed the younger man to be silent.
"What difference does it make?! The guy I've been fucking for eight months tells me he spent the night with someone else then walks away. I want to know what the fuck that meant. If it meant nothing, then that's one thing. If it meant more than nothing, then that's a whole other thing." Chris explained as his breaths quickened. "In twenty seconds I'm walking out that door Lance. I'll walk out and never speak to you again. So tell me right now, did it mean anything?" If they didn't know him so well they might have missed the sudden dampening of his eyes and his rapid blinking. Chris waited then said, "Ten."
"It meant everything." Lance said softly. He looked up and met Chris' eyes. "It meant everything Chris. It meant hurting you. It meant disappointing myself. It meant hurting me. It meant potentially losing everything I love. It meant letting you down. It meant coming to you to tell you. It meant being honest about something like that for the first time in my life. It meant taking the chance of losing you for that honesty. It meant realizing that I'm just as fucked up as you've always said I was. It meant that I was so scared of what was happening between us that I freaked. It meant that I was in love with you and can't handle that so I went to screw it up. It meant… it meant everything Chris. Everything."
"He...?" Joey looked from Lance to Chris. "He loves you?"
"You...?" Chris blinked several more times and held his breath.
"Yes. Of course I do. Jesus, what do you think all of this has been about?" Lance threw his hands up in the air. "I love you and that freaked me out so I did the only thing I could think of to make that freaked out feeling go away. I tried to ruin it."
"Ruin me." Chris lowered his eyes as his stomach sank.
"Ruin us." Lance corrected him. "Things aren't supposed to work out with me. You're supposed to show me the ropes and then break my heart and move on to the next innocent little blonde kid." Without meaning to his eyes flitted to Justin.
"Hey whoa. No." Justin held up his hands and shook his head.
"I'm not supposed to make things work with you?" Chris shook his head in disbelief.
"No. Of course not."
"Fuck you Lance." Chris narrowed his eyes, but held his ground.
"You weren't supposed to - "
"Stop telling me what I was and wasn't supposed to do. I'm a grown man Lance. And so are you. We can make up our own minds. I made up my mind eight months ago to be with you. Only you. You made the decision eight days ago to be with someone else."
"I'm sorry." Lance whispered.
"Yeah. Well I'm sorry too." Chris bit his lower lip and took a deep breath.
"No wait. Guys..." Joey stood up and put a hand on each of their shoulders. "Listen to yourselves. You're standing here telling each other you love each other. Now stop talking and kiss and make up."
"Joey." Lance and Chris started at the same time. They stopped, and nodded for the other to go.
"Yeah. See?" Joey smiled and pushed the two men a step closer to each other. "You're both sorry, you're both in love. Do it."
"Can you guys leave us alone for a minute?" Lance asked softly.
"Lance, I - " Chris started but Lance shook his head and looked up at him again.
"Please?" Lance asked.
Joey released his grip on their shoulders and corralled the other three out of the room, then shut the door tightly behind them. "I love you Chris." Lance let a little smile escape. "I thought that this would destroy all the feelings I had, but it didn't. I'm sorry."
"Who was it?" Chris asked in a voice just above a whisper.
"Who was it?"
"You don't..." Lance inhaled sharply. "It's no one you know. It's no one... it's no one I know."
"His name was Seth."
"I hate him."
"I know." Lance nodded slowly and furrowed his brow. "I do too."
"I love you." Chris whispered as he looked up at Lance.
"I love you too." Lance smiled as Chris took a step closer and pulled him into the embrace he'd been missing for a week. "I love you too..."
Copyright © 2003, Amy Lynn