Josh strained to listen to their conversation, not that he had to. He remembered word for word. It was burned into his memory as the last things Justin ever said to him.
“I saw you baby. I just wouldn’t admit that you were what I wanted all along. I was straight, I wanted to be straight. I was so stupid.” JC was whispering.
“Not stupid sugar just blinkered. But I opened your eyes.”
JC chuckled. “You certainly did that. If I remember rightly it wasn’t just my eyes you opened.”
Justin slapped his ass. “Get back in the house and get yourself all beautified the caterers will be here soon.”
“Well I want to help. This is my party too remember.”
Justin squeezed his lover tightly and kissed his cheek. “I know you do baby but I want to do this for you so be good and stay out of here till tonight.”
. “You’re up to something.”
Justin looked hurt. “All I’m trying to do is make things nice for you sugar. Go take a swim then relax.” The two men kissed lovingly the younger tenderly caressing the back of the older mans neck and Josh was almost overcome with jealousy.
“I’ll be by the pool then,” JC whispered.
“Wear shorts sugar.”
Younger JC rolled his eyes. “Like you had to tell me! No one gets to see this booty but you babe.”
Justin pinched his lover’s ass. “Just checking babe.”
Josh closed his eyes and focused on Justin's voice. He could almost imagine Justin's hands touching him again …almost.
“Are you ok?”
Josh’s eyes snapped open to see Justin standing just in front of him looking concerned. “I’m fine, just a head ache.”
Josh groaned as Justin moved behind him and started kneading the muscles in the back of his neck. “My partner loves it when I do this; he says that it makes his headaches go right away.”
“I know,” Josh sighed.
“What?” Justin asked his hands pulled suddenly away.
“I erm ... I mean I know what he means,” Josh stuttered. My lover used to give me neck and back rubs all the time. He had magic hands.”
“He died, a long time ago,” Josh’s jaw twitched as he spoke.
Justin couldn’t miss the immense sadness in the older man’s eyes. “I’m sorry. Was it cancer, aids?”
“My lover was murdered on what was to be my wedding day. I’ve never got over it.”
Justin took a sharp intake of breath. “That’s …..”
“Tragic, I know. I loved him so much. I still do.” Josh’s eyes glinted with tears as he met Justin's gaze and he turned away.
Justin looked at his watch and swore softly. “You’ll have to excuse me I have some errands to run.”
“Not on your own!” Josh snapped.
Justin scowled at him. “Why are you so worried about me? You haven’t once asked about JC and where he is or what he is doing.”
“Joey's watching JC. I trust him with my life.” Josh said turning back to face his young lover.
Justin took a step towards JC and looked him in the eye. “But it isn’t your life.”
Josh bit his lip hard breaking the skin. A drop of blood coloured his pale lips. “Just don’t go out alone please.”
“Ok I promise I won’t go out alone. Now I really must go, JC is waiting for me.”
The younger man looked over to meet Josh’s gaze. “Pink is really JC’s colour.”
Justin frowned not understanding. He left the mysterious man in the marques staring at the wedding cake and went into the house. He tiptoed upstairs and into the bedroom, stopping at the bathroom door and smiling as he heard JC singing happily to himself as he relaxed under the water. He went into the bedroom and pulled out the suit he had hidden in the back of his closet. On the spur of the moment he opened his own suit up and took out the pink bow tie and cummerbund and replaced it with the pale blue that he had chosen for JC, surprised that he hadn’t thought of it himself. Officer Jones was right pink was JC’s colour not his. He opened a drawer next to the bed and took out JC’s letter pad. Quickly he wrote a note and pinned it to JC’s suit before rushing off to meet his 4pm appointment.
Josh was sat watching the tables being set in the marques, lost in his own world when Joey came looking for him.
“Josh where’s Justin?” Joey asked his voice urgent and worried.
“He’s spending some time with my younger self.”
“No he’s not. JC is in the shower. I just checked on him,”
Josh leaped out of the chair he was sitting in. “Oh fuck. It was when I was in the shower ….. We got to find him ….now.”
Josh ran outside and looked around himself wildly. “Phone him.”
Joey frowned, shaking his head. “I can’t phone him. Anyway I don’t have his number.”
Josh chewed on his nails. “I can’t remember. Why can’t I remember? JC …. JC will know it.” Josh began running towards the house Joey close on his heels. He burst into the bedroom startling a very naked and much younger version of himself.
“What the fuck! Joey who the hell is that? And that’s my phone!” younger JC tried to wrap a towel around his waist and grab his cell at the same time. The older man shrugged him off.
“Shit, shit, shit, shit! He’s on answer phone already.”
Joey raked his fingers through his hair. “What do we do now?” he demanded the urgency showing in his tone.
“Will someone tell me what the fuck is going on?” young JC demanded.
“Its Justin,” Joey breathed in a choked whisper. “He’s missing.”
The younger version of JC huffed. “He’s not missing; he just had some errands to do. He said he’ll be back before the party starts.”
“That’s what he told me too. Only he never came back,”
JC shook his head warily and backed away. “Joe who the hell is this and what’s he talking about?”
“JC I think you should sit down.” Joey tried to steer his best friend into a nearby chair only to be slapped hard across the arm.
“I’ll fucking decide if I need to sit!” JC got up into Josh’s face. “Who are you?” he snarled.
Josh staggered back and landed on the bed, rumpling the pristine suit that had been laid out. “I’m you,” he breathed in a hushed choked whisper.
JC laughed contemptibly. “You should really have your friend take more water with it or stop popping what ever pills he’s popping because he’s crazy.”
“He’s not lying JC.” Joey said his face serious. “He is you.”
JC began to laugh but his jaws snapped closed over Josh’s next words. “When you were six you wet the bed. Your momma’s boyfriend was baby sitting you. He was so mad that he made you rub your nose in the soaked sheets. Then he forced you to keep your face pressed into them while he used his belt on your bare ass. Then he made you get back into the wet bed and stay there for the rest of the night. You never told your mom because he said if you did she would be really mad with you and send you to an orphanage where all disgusting, naughty little boys go.”
Young JC gasped. “How did you know that? I never told anyone that not even Justin.”
Josh stood up and lifted JC’s face so that he was looking in his eyes. “I know because it happened to me, because it was me.”
JC gave a half laugh shaking his head in denial.
“Whether you believe me or not, believe this. Justin is missing. He will still be missing this time tomorrow and in four days they will find his tortured dead body in his own car parked in the car park at Wal-mart.”
“Jesus Josh! Do you have to be so blunt?” Joey dropped his arm around JC’s shoulder and tried to hug him.
“Yes god damn you I do!” Josh shoved Joey away and grabbed JC by his arms, shaking him like he was a rag doll. “I’ve lived thirty years without Justin. Look at me.”
When JC didn’t look up Josh shook him again. “I said look at me JC. Do you want to end up like this? Do you? A bitter, lonely old man that spends his life sitting in a marques dreaming of the wedding he never had and the love that was ripped from him.”
Young JC started to weep. “We can find him JC. He hasn’t been gone long. We can find him and save him.”
JC scrubbed at his eyes using the heels of his hands and then grabbed a pair of jeans from the floor, shoving his long legs into them before snatching up a tee shirt and pulling it over his head.
“Do you have your car with you Joe?” he asked in a low voice. The big man nodded in acknowledgement.
“You cruise down town and I’ll take Josh and cruise around here. If you spot him or his car ring me.”
Joey nodded again and left the two JC’s alone together. Younger JC stared at his older self. “If you are who you say you are you know what he did to me?”
Josh nodded sadly. “I kept it inside me all these years. I never told anyone. I should have told Justin but I thought he’d hate me. Tell him JC. When we find him tell him.”
JC nodded. “I hope I have the chance to,” he said bitterly. “Please tell me that this is all a big joke and that Justin is just trying to punk me.”
Josh shook his head empathically.” I can’t,” he said. “Because it is true and I can’t bear to lose him again so lets move. We have 8 more hours. If we haven’t found him by then, then welcome to my life … your future.”