ONE OF THE BOYS
Lara quickly fell into her new busy life, filling it with unpacking and work. Her new job was a difficult adjustment, as was the entire concept of living on the West Coast. It was a completely new world, and it was not easy to find her place in it. She couldn’t help but gawk every time she saw a famous person on the street, but she hoped that would soon fade. The people at her new office were nice, though she was treated like an outsider for the first few weeks. Only after she had proven herself by her talent did they slowly start to let her in.
Lara talked to Chris at least every other day, and JC once a week. Even Lance called her a few times to check up on her. Lara didn’t know what she would have done without Chris. He sent her silly gifts to make her laugh, came over to watch movies with her, and generally acted like the guy she had always known. She wondered, though, if his brown eyes had always sparkled like that, if his hair was as soft as it looked, and if his new, slowly thinning body would feel good pressed against her. That thought had made her stop short in the middle of doing laundry, and she had almost stuck her head in the machine and set it on spin. That wasn’t how she saw Chris…was it?
“Please?” Chris whined. “I’ll be your best friend.”
“You ARE my best friend, Chris,” Lara sighed, slapping his hand away from her fries. “I’m not telling you.” She shoved the plate over to him. “Actually, eat these. I shouldn’t, not if I wanna fit in the damn thing.”
“You know you want to tell me,” Chris cajoled. They were in their favorite diner, eating burgers and fries before going to a movie. It was three days before Lance’s huge Halloween bash, and Chris was trying to get Lara to let him know what her costume was. “You love me.”
“Of course I do,” Lara said patiently. “Why do you need to know?”
“Because,” Chris sulked. “You know mine.”
“So?” Lara laughed. “Though I didn’t realize Jedis were so short.”
“Luke Skywalker was short,” Chris pointed out. Lara laughed.
“Hey, you guys,” JC said in surprise, wandering over.
“Who let you in?” Chris muttered. He was feeling a lot more comfortable about the relationship between JC and Lara, though he still thought JC was after her for only one thing. She didn’t seem to be giving it to him, though.
“Hey!” Lara jumped up and hugged him. “What are you doing here?”
“Just found this place,” JC said, shrugging and sitting down next to Lara uninvited. Chris scowled. “It’s pretty cool.”
“We love it. It’s like our place,” Lara said, smiling at Chris.
“I promise not to intrude too often,” JC said, giving Chris a look. Chris glared some more.
“So…we were just talking about Halloween costumes,” Lara said, sticking her tongue out at JC. “Chris is mad because I won’t tell him mine.”
“You’re gonna look gorgeous,” JC said, taking some of Lara’s fries. She pushed the plate at him.
“Eat. You need to. You’re too skinny.”
“Wait. HE knows?” Chris whined. “What?”
“He helped me get it,” Lara said, sighing happily. “It’s my dream costume.”
Chris looked at JC. “What? I know some people, pulled some strings.”
“I owe you big time,” Lara said, bouncing a bit in her seat.
“I can’t wait to collect,” JC said, squeezing her leg under the table. Lara rolled her eyes and elbowed him in the side.
“What’s YOUR costume?” Chris said to JC, ready to choke him for flirting so blatantly.
“I’m an animal,” JC said. “That’s all I’ll say.”
“Duh, you’re a cat,” Lara said, and JC frowned. “Ha, I so knew it. JC, seriously. You’re a freaking cat. You move like a cat, groom yourself like a cat…”
“Prowl like a cat,” Chris muttered, and Lara laughed out loud.
“Well, it’s gonna look good,” JC insisted. “One of my friends is gonna do makeup and everything.”
“I’m sure Lance’s friends will LOVE seeing you as a sex kitten, Jayce,” Chris said, and Lara laughed again.
“Fuck you, Chris,” JC muttered.
“And now we’re gonna have a catfight,” Lara said, rolling her eyes. “Boys, behave. “ She checked her watch. “We need to get going, Chris, if we’re gonna get good seats.” She looked at JC. “We’re going to a movie, wanna come?”
JC looked at Chris, who was murdering him with his eyes. “Uh, no, thanks. I have some things to do. You kids have fun.” He kissed Lara’s cheek. “See you at Lance’s.”
“Hey, Chris.” Lance shook Chris’ hand and pulled him in for a half-hug. “Is that your Light Saber, or are you just happy to see me?”
“Cute, Bass,” Chris said, stepping back. “Okay, really?”
“It’s my party, I can wear what I want,” Lance said defensively. He was dressed like Tom Cruise from “Risky Business,” in a white dress shirt, white underwear, socks and sunglasses.
“You must be looking to get laid tonight,” Chris said, shaking his head.
“No comment.” Lance looked behind Chris. “Where’s Lara?”
“Oh, she’s coming on her own. Something about her costume, hours of preparation, and no room in the car,” Chris said, rolling his eyes. “One of her friends from work is helping her get ready. And why did you just assume we’d come here together?”
Lance sighed patiently, used to dealing with Chris. “Chris, it is absolutely no secret that you’re into her. When are you going to tell her?”
“Oh, I was thinking about never,” Chris said, not even trying to deny it.
“Idiot,” Lance growled. Then he smiled. “C’mon. You GOTTA see JC’s costume. I think every one of my gay friends will try to hit on him at least once.”
Chris chuckled. “Great.” He followed Lance to the kitchen.
JC was leaning against a counter, bottle of beer in hand. A few of Lance’s friends were trying desperately to flirt with him, and JC looked panicked. “Hey, guys,” he said, relieved. “How are you, Chris?”
“Oh, my GOD, JC,” Chris said, bursting into laughter. “Lara was right!”
JC wore skintight leather pants, black boots, a tight black long sleeved shirt, and black ears in his fluffy hair. He had a long tail attached to the pants, and someone had carefully made up his face to look like a cat. “Don’t make me claw you,” JC growled.
“Meow,” Lance said, waving his hand and hissing.
“You two need to fuck off,” JC snapped, and Lance and Chris held each other up as they laughed. “I didn’t think…”
“Definitely not,” Lance said, composing himself. “I’ll make sure no one molests you, JC.”
“Yeah, cuz beastiality is just sick,” Chris said, and Lance was laughing again.
“Fuck you BOTH. BOTH. I hope your dicks shrivel up and fall OFF,” JC said, shoving past them and leaving the room.
“Aw, JC, c’mon,” Chris called weakly.
“We need to go apologize or he’ll mope all night, freaking drama queen,” Lance said, sighing. He grabbed a beer for Chris and one for himself and led the way out of the kitchen.
JC was standing in the hallway near the foyer. “JC, we’re…” Chris said, watching JC stare at the door.
“Huh?” JC asked.
“We’re sorry, and…” Chris followed JC’s gaze. “Wow,” he said.
Lara was walking in the door, her eyes wandering over the growing crowd, looking for someone she knew. She was dressed as someone from the Civil War period, her skirts full and wide. The fabric was white with blue flowers, and her shoes were hidden under the voluminous skirts. Her waist was cinched down to nothing, and her breasts were lifted by the undergarments she wore, with just a slight bit of cleavage showing. Her shoulders were bared by the dress, and she wore gloves and carried a fan. Her face lit up as she saw them. “Chris! JC! Lance!” She carefully pressed herself through the crowd by the door. “JC, you look delicious in those pants,” she said, pinching his butt playfully. “And Lance, I’m completely ignoring the fact that you’re in your underwear, just so you know.” She pressed down at the sides of the skirt. “This dress will probably be the death of me by the end of the night,” she giggled.
“That dress might be the end of ME,” Chris muttered. She looked so slender and pretty. Her hair was curled, eyes big and blue, cheeks pink. “THIS is what you were so secretive about?”
Lara pouted a bit. “Well…it…I thought you’d think it was dumb. You know how I love this book, and…”
“You…look…amazing.” JC picked up her hand and kissed it, and she blushed. “Even better than I expected.”
“So, um, what are you, exactly?” Chris said, just to be saying something and get her attention off JC. He knew full well who she was.
“Scarlett O’Hara, dumbass.” Lance shoved him. “You look incredible.”
“JC did it,” Lara said loyally. “He knew someone who worked in costuming at one of the studios, and she got me everything. Lisa from the office came over and helped me into all this.” Lara held onto JC’s arm as she attempted a deep breath. “It’s completely authentic, which means I completely will not be breathing OR eating tonight.”
“Well, let’s at least get out of this crowd, and get you something to drink,” JC said, taking her hand. She withdrew it.
“No, thanks. I’m capable of doing that myself. Plus there’s not room for you AND this dress walking down the hall,” she said, laughing. “Maybe I’ll find someone else to help me.” She tapped JC on the cheek with her fan and sashayed down the hall.
“Holy hell,” Chris whispered. “She looks sixteen again in that dress.”
“She looked that good at sixteen and you never did anything about it?” JC asked, and Chris punched him in the arm.
“Shut up, JC,” Chris muttered, wishing he had stayed home.
That feeling only intensified by the end of the night. The spirit of Scarlett O’Hara had taken Lara over somehow, and she had almost every single straight guy at the party at her beck and call. Chris didn’t understand it, the dress wasn’t even that revealing. But she laughed at everything they said, tilted her head and opened her eyes wide as they described things, and generally acted like a flirt. It was completely lame, and Chris would have been laughing at it if it wouldn’t have actually been WORKING.
“Excuse me,” Lara said, pulling herself away from her admirers. “I need to go do something.” She was grateful for the hand that helped her up, since the weight of the skirt made it difficult. She looked up at Chris. “Hi there.”
“Dance with me?” Chris asked, and she nodded.
He led her to the room where the DJ was, and put his arms around her. “Thanks for helping me up,” Lara said, laughing. “I love this dress, but I’m never doing THIS again.”
“You look beautiful. I’m glad JC could do this for you,” Chris said honestly.
“Yes, it was nice of him. Being the center of attention is all well and good, but I’m worn out,” Lara said. Chris smiled.
“How’d you get here?”
“Cab,” Lara said. “I’m not planning on drinking or anything, but I couldn’t drive in this.”
“Whenever you’re ready to go, I’ll take you home,” Chris said. “I wasn’t planning on staying late, anyway.”
“Really?” Lara stopped dancing. “I could SO get out of this dress. If you were ready…”
“Born ready,” Chris said, his hand easily taking hers as he led her off the dance floor and went to find Lance. He grinned as he saw where Lance was, in a corner, making out with a tall brunette. “Um, why don’t you go say goodbye?”
“Okay,” Lara said, starting in the direction Chris had pointed. “Fuck ME,” she whispered, stopping and staring. “He is so fucking hot,” she sighed. “THAT is so hot.”
“You’re such a dork,” Chris said, laughing. He walked over with Lara on his heels. “Lance. LANCE. Come up for air before Lara has a heart attack or an orgasm.”
“CHRIS!” Lara punched him.
“Not ladylike at all,” Chris pointed out.
“I’m no lady,” Lara said.
“Uh, hi, yeah, okay, sorry,” Lance said, wiping at his mouth. The brunette had the grace to blush. “You’re leaving?”
“Yes. I need to peel myself out of all this crap,” Lara said, and Chris tried to keep his mind rated G. “Thanks for the party. It was definitely interesting.”
“Anytime. I’ll call you soon, we can grab a bite or something,” Lance replied, his eyes including them both.
“Well, get back to what you were doing,” Chris said with a sly grin. Lara smacked him again.
“I’m gonna need your help,” Lara said as he pulled into the parking area for her apartment. “I can’t get out of all this by myself.”
“Uh, really? Okay,” Chris said. “Always willing to serve.”
“As it SHOULD be,” Lara said loftily, then giggled. He helped her out of the car and she led the way into her apartment. She carefully slipped off the shoes and wiggled her toes. “Wonderful.” She went into the bedroom and Chris followed. “Okay…there’s these kinda…hooks…I think…” Lara struggled to reach behind her back, but everything was too tightly bound to give her freedom of movement.
“I see them,” Chris said. He reached up and tried to keep his hands from shaking as he undid the small hooks.
“Okay,” Lara said, carefully slipping out of the dress. Chris was relieved to see she wore very authentic items under the dress, so she was still completely covered. She turned around again. “Untie all that, please?”
Chris reached for the intricate strings and started to pull and loosen. “This is like a suit of armor.”
“No lie,” Lara said, groaning with relief as her lungs were able to finally fill completely. “Never AGAIN.” She pulled it off and tossed it onto the bed. “Thanks.”
“No problem,” Chris said, looking her over. Lara looked up into his brown eyes and shivered.
“I should…get dressed…”
“It’s late. I should go home.” He rubbed at her arms a bit. “I’ll call you.”
“Okay,” Lara said, biting her bottom lip, her eyes never leaving his. “Chris…what…”
“Good night.” Chris kissed her forehead and left before he could ruin anything.