Ring
by Lesa Soja
 

Justin stared at the computer for a long time with his hand on the track ball and his face screwed into a frown. Finally he sighed and hit Print. Just then Lance, of all people, came into the room. Justin reached to close the window, but Lance had already seen the screen and was grinning at him. "More ice for the collection, Justin?"

"It's not for me," Justin said.

Lance raised his eyebrows.

"I'm. Um." Justin stopped and looked down at the pages emerging from the printer.

"You're…"

"I've been thinking about asking Britney to marry me," Justin said. He glanced up then, but Lance was smiling easily.

"Wow," Lance said. He stepped closer to look at the pictures.

"Yeah." Justin bit his lip. "Bet you never thought you'd hear me say that."

"Nothing you say can surprise me anymore, Timberlake," Lance said in his calm voice.

Justin laughed a little nervously. "Yeah. I don't know, though."

"Why?" Lance asked. He handed the printouts to Justin and leaned back against the side of the desk. "Are you afraid she'll say no?"

"No, she - " He shouldn't have to hear this, Justin thought, but Lance was listening quietly, and he couldn't deny himself the relief of talking about it. "I think she's kinda expecting it, you know? Like, she's wondering what's taking me so long."

"What is it, then?"

"It's just. Well, I keep thinking about it, and I'm afraid she's gonna ask for a pre-nup."

Lance pursed his lips. "She might," he agreed. "So what?"

"I don't wanna be planning the end of us. I don't wanna be thinking like that."

"Her lawyers think like that, J. Yours do, too. It's just a formality. You know that."

"Yeah, but - I - " Justin looked away. "I keep thinking about it."

Lance reached over and squeezed his shoulder. "It won't mean anything. Y'all'll find it at the bottom of a box on your golden anniversary and laugh your asses off."

Justin managed a smile.

"It'll be fine," Lance promised. His face had gone serious, and his hand was still resting on Justin's shoulder. Justin stared up at him.

"You're gonna be good together," Lance said, low and steady, and Justin nodded silently, his mouth twisting downward. His eyes were fixed almost hopelessly on Lance's.

Lance leaned towards him. Justin didn't breathe. Lance kissed his forehead.

Justin felt sixteen again. Lance was standing over him, and Lance's lips were as deft as he remembered. He was hot and safer than he'd been in years and Lance's voice said gonna be good together. His ears were ringing.

Justin kept his eyes closed when Lance stepped back. After a moment Lance's hand touched his arm again. Then Justin heard Lance walk away and leave the room. He sat still.

At last he opened his eyes. His hands were curled into fists in his lap. He relaxed them and glanced down at the crumpled printouts on the floor. Then he lifted his head and looked at the door Lance had left ajar.
 

[smile]