Title: Being Apart (Beware! RPS!) Part 2 of "The Summer of '03"
Author: Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
Feedback to: jfc@freeshell.org
Archive: Mailing list archives only--others please ask permission!
Category: Romance, angst
Timeframe: Summer 2003 - same universe as before
Rating: R for language/adult content
Pairing: Michael/Tom
Summary: A phone call

DISCLAIMER: This story is just for the entertainment of my online friends and myself, not for any profit. It is pure fantasy and does not intend to reflect on the actual behavior or personalities of the people named herein. Please do not sue me for my little bit of fun!

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Sequel to "Going Away", which can be found elsewhere on this archive - Enjoy!

DEDICATION: For Tiff, anyway

COPYRIGHT: (C) Janet F. Caires-Lesgold, October 21, 2003, jfc@freeshell.org

Please don't redistribute or alter this story in any way without the express permission of the author. Thank you very much.


The clock face reads 11:28 in bright red numbers in the darkened room. You look around to see what woke you up, and try to determine what that time really means. A small electronic chirp sounds from the nightstand--not the standard issue hotel phone, but your cell.

Your left hand grabs for the tiny device, and misses. Pins and needles shoot up the entire length of your arm, and you realize that you'd fallen asleep with it tucked under you just wrong. Fumbling with your right hand, you seize the phone and flip it open in the midst of its next ring.

At last, you hold the earpiece in the right position to hear the voice on the other end singsong, "Wake up, sleepyhead!"

"Tom?" you ask the cheerful voice on the other end. "What the fuck time is it?"

"Eight-thirty. So I did wake you? I knew it!"

You shake your hand and slowly restore circulation to your fingers. "Eight-thirty *what*, asshole? I think it's the middle of the night here..."

"Eight-thirty-one, Ay Em, Pacific Daylight Time, butthead. Where the hell are you?"

"Orlando, I think," you answer, not quite falling out of bed and stumbling to the window, yanking open the blackout shades. "*JEEE*-sus Christ!" you screech, covering your eyes immediately in the blinding sunshine.

"Good morning," says Tom, too impossibly happy for this early in the day.

"Welcome to Sunny Florida," you parrot into the phone, overlapping the curtains again and falling gracelessly into a nearby armchair, before you flick the switch of the lamp beside it to its lowest level and blink your eyes back into focus.

"You okay?" he asks, genuinely worried.

"A little hung over. I'll be fine."

"I thought the sure cure for a hangover was drinking lots of water and sleeping till noon..."

You look at the clock again. "Shit. You're a half-hour early."

His chuckle conveys concern and love along with the humor. "Sorry. I saw the pictures of you and those girls online. You look like you're having the time of your life!"

Being on the company dime makes you brave enough to open the door on the minibar in the room and pull out a four-dollar bottle of designer water. "It's okay. You sound awfully chipper. How are you doing? Are you getting enough sleep?"

"More than usual, which certainly helps."

"You having fun?" you ask, between gulps of perfectly ordinary water in a fancy-labeled bottle.

"Yeah. Steve is great..."

"Isn't he?" you interrupt, with a warm grin. "He's the sneaky kind of smart, which I just love..."

"He's no dummy, I'll give you that..."

Flopping back in your armchair, you ask, "Speaking of which, how's Ashton?"

"Michael," he drawls out like a warning.

"Oh, that's right. You're friends."

"Have been for a while, brainiac."

You wipe your mouth with the back of your hand. "Tell me, Tom. Have you and he ever...?"

"Ever what?" he answers back quickly, the potentially angry flare of his eyes practically audible over the phone.

"Okay, man. I won't ask," you concede.


"How's Jamie?"

He exhales and most of the tension in his voice dissipates. "Good, fine. She's going nuts running around to horse stuff."

"I'm glad she's got something to keep her busy."

"Me, too. She kinda freaks me out when she shows up on set..."

Holding your tongue from expressing the same sentiment, you tweak the conversation to what you hope is a more acceptable tangent. "More than in Vancouver?"

"Actually, yeah," he replies, obviously hesitating. "There aren't little kids all over the set in Vancouver."

"She doesn't like little kids?"

A sigh precedes his next words. "No, no--she loves them."

"So what's the problem?"

"I think she wants one."

With a flick of your wrist, you send the empty plastic bottle sailing into the wastebasket. "Lemme guess: You're not talking kidnapping here."

"No." After a pause, he asks, "How would you feel if I got her pregnant?"

The very idea floors you, but you can't show him that. "I'd be happy for you, if that's what you wanted. Is it?"

"I don't know," he answers. "Would you be jealous?"

Sidestepping his point, you joke, "Jealous of being pregnant? Not on your life!"

"That's not what I meant!" he argues, his voice suddenly soft and passionate.

Before he can explain himself any further, you rush to reassure him. "Look, Tom... You and your wife have parts of your life that don't involve me. I love you, but I understand that she came along before I did. You do whatever you have to do to be happy. It's not about me."

He is very quiet for a moment, then insists, "But you'd be jealous..."

You close your eyes, picturing his earnest face on the other end of the connection. Finally, you whisper, almost soundlessly, "Yeah..."

"Thought so," he murmurs back. "It's not gonna happen anytime soon, of course. We've got a lot to do in the next year."

"You'd make a great dad," you hurry to add, trying to make things better.

"Thanks, baby. So will you."

"'Will', huh? You sound awfully confident about that..."

"I have faith in you."

"Thank you, beautiful." Finally feeling a little more sure of yourself as well, you backtrack. "Of course, I'm always a little envious of Jamie."

"Oh, yeah?" You think you can hear the twinkle in his eye.

"She gets that amazing cock all to herself out there..."

"Shut up!" he scolds, laughing again.

"That sucker is *huge*, you know!"

"It is not!"

"I've noticed that you almost never wear underwear, at least since we started doing this..."

Even if he's blushing, he has no trouble finding words. "You mean I don't wear underwear since we started sleeping together? I'll have you know that--"

"No, babe," you correct him. "I mean that's when I started noticing whether you were or not!"

"Oh," he replies, though your laughter and his nearly drown it out. The shared goofiness makes the miles between you almost disappear. Winding down, he clears his throat, then lets his voice get low again. "I miss you, Michael."

"I miss you, too, Tom. Wish we were together and could make love..."

"Yeah," he breathes into the phone. "It won't be that long now..."

"You can't fool me," you tease him ruefully. "You're always pretty long. Want to tell me what you're going to do to me when we're back in the same time zone?"

"Want to," he groans. "Can't. The car will be here any minute. You gonna go jerk off and think about me anyway?" he adds, the grin obviously back.

"I always do after I get off the phone with you. I love you, you bozo."

"I love you, too. Have a good time."

"You, too. See you soon."

"Not soon enough. Oops. There's the buzzer. Gotta go. Call me?"

"Promise." With that, the line clicks off. You stare at the phone in your hand until the lure of the shower and your own grip fueled by the pictures in your head become too strong to resist.


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