An hour before Caleb was due to pick Jamie up, Pippa dropped by with a handbag packed with hair supplies and cologne. She hadn't called beforehand, so when she knocked on the door, Jamie spazzed out thinking Caleb had come early. He had yanked the door open, an apology for being unprepared on his lips, when Pippa smiled angelically and held the bag out to him.
Now he was sitting on a folding chair in the bathroom while Pippa ironed his hair out. "You're going to be breath-taking," Pippa said, almost nicking Jamie's ear with the hot iron. Jamie's hair was already straight, but Pippa had argued that it would make it silky to the touch and less frizzy. Not that Jamie had bad hair, she had said.
"You should have put your shirt on first," Pippa said, putting the flattening iron down on the sink. She sprayed his hair with a sharp smelling hairspray. "You're going to ruin your hair when you put it on."
"I don't really care. I don't think Caleb cares either."
"He doesn't have hair."
"I mean, I don't think he'll care much about my hair." Jamie could taste some of the hairspray. It was foul and Jamie wanted to brush Pippa aside to spit in the sink. He was going to stand up, but Pippa pushed on his shoulders until his butt was seated. She started flattening a thin section of Jamie's hair, and Jamie knocked her hand away. "It's already straight. You're going to fry my hair."
"I have to run it through a few more times." Pippa tried to flatten another section.
"No more." Jamie batted her hand away and went to his room. "Why don't you do something helpful and teach me how to dance?"
"That's an opportunity to get to know Caleb better. The classic dance-teacher-move. He'll say, 'follow my steps' and you'll say 'okay!' and then you'll dance. It's a classic."
Jamie didn't think it'd happen, though he'd love for it. A guilty pool settled in his stomach. He had promised Jack not to let anything get out of hand. It wouldn't be romantic. It was just a fun time with Caleb, just a dance, a pseudo date, which would end with Jamie telling Caleb that he was involved with Jack. There. Simple. But Jamie's stomach was doing flips at the thought of Caleb's hands around his neck, his body pressed to his as they swayed to soft music…
"Nervous?" Pippa touched Jamie's arm, startling him out of his conflicting thoughts.
"Hah! What do you think?"
"I think he'll kiss you. After one of the dances, he'll French dip you and lay a good one on you."
Jamie 's smile was genuine, and then forced. He didn't know what to do with himself. Or with Caleb. Or Jack.
Someone knocked on the door.
"Oh my gosh!" Pippa shook Jamie by the shoulders. "He's here!"
"Okay, okay. Calm down," Jamie said, smoothing down his tux.
"Are you ready, lover boy?" Pippa double checked his shoelaces and straightened out his tux's lapels.
Pippa unlocked the front door, twisted the knob, winked at Jamie, and then opened the door. "Hi!" She chirped.
Caleb obviously was expecting to see Jamie first: he had a bouquet of roses held out. He jerked his hand back, eyebrows furrowed in an adorable way that rivaled Jack's.
"She's leaving too," Jamie said, pushing Pippa out of the way. He gave Caleb a quick once over, liking the contrast between the darkness of Caleb's skin and the white lapels of his tux. "Are those for me?"
"U-uh, yeah. Here." Caleb handed the bouquet over, their warm hands touching.
"I'll put those away, grab my things, and I'll get outta here! And you two can go on your date…" Pippa took the roses from Jamie and rushed down the hall.
Jamie looked at the hand that once held the bouquet. He squeezed his fingers into a fist. "Wow. I don't think I've ever seen her that animated before. She hates working out."
Caleb chuckled and leaned against the open doorway. He lost his balance, or miscalculated the angle he fell against it, and ended up stumbling to the side. Jamie quickly grabbed his wrist and tugged him upright.
"Awkward," Caleb mumbled and straightened his clothes. "I'm such a klutz."
They shared a moment, Jamie's hand starting to sweat on Caleb's wrist. He blushed and withdrew his hand to subtly wipe it on the back of his pants.
"Okay!" Pippa popped out from the hall where she had been hiding. She had been watching them, Jamie knew. "Let me know how it goes!"
Jamie and Caleb stepped aside to let her leave. Together they watched her walk down the sidewalk to her car. When she drove away she passed a shiny red sports car. Jamie didn't recognize it from any neighbors. "Is that your car?" Jamie asked. He didn't see anyone else in it.
"Yeah. My dad sold some stock and he got a big bonus at work so he bought me this. It's actually really old. It just looks new because of the wax and paint job." Caleb cleared his throat. "Um, so you want to ride?"
"How else are we supposed to get there?" Jamie grabbed his keys off the hallway table. "I'll lock up and we can hit it."
The drive wasn't as awkward as it could have been. There was a lot of potential for their first (and last) date to be uncomfortable, but Caleb certainly tried to keep the awkwardness to a minimum. He played a CD of burned songs, none of which were lovey-dovey ones. They all were alternative songs, the ones that Jamie grew into during his early years of middle school.
"Do you remember when this song first came out? They played it at a school dance and it was so freaky when the chaperones started singing," Caleb said.
They laughed about the memories the songs stirred, and save for one song that was about sex and drugs, Jamie loved them all.
Jamie asked if Caleb was a big a fan of alt as Jamie was. The answer was positive, but Caleb said he particularly burned the CD for the ride to the dance. That was when the awkwardness surfaced and they spent a minute fidgeting. Caleb drummed his fingers to the beat of the current song and Jamie watched the lights streak by through the windows.
Then Caleb said, "I just want this night to be perfect," and Jamie gushed, "You're doing a great job!"
And they pulled up to the parking lot.
Jamie opened his door, but Caleb reached over the divider and grabbed his arm. "Wait, Jamie, I'm sorry. Can we start this night over?"
Jamie smiled at him. "You're sorry for what?"
The dance floor was large but crowded. A small band of classical musicians played while couples danced at the center of the floor. Surrounding the center in an oval were dining tables cloaked in white sheets. There were very little children, a few teenagers, many adults, and several elders.
Caleb took Jamie's hand and led him to his family's table. It was one of the long, oval tables. His parents were seated at one end, Claude next to them. Two men who looked like his uncles and three women who looked like aunts were also seated at the table. There were two empty seats next to Claude.
"Hey!" Caleb's mom greeted, standing up from her seat. She wore an elegant midnight blue dress with frosty designs at the hem. Of course there would be reminders of Jack tonight. "You must be Jamie. Caleb's told us all about you."
"Oh. Really?" Jamie smirked.
"Mom!" Claude nudged her thigh. "Be cool. It's not every day Caleb asks someone out. This is a milestone! We should pop some champagne!"
"In your dreams," his dad laughed.
Caleb pulled back Jamie's chair, face burning when his family exchanged smirks with each other. Jamie sat down, heart gone pounding away at miles a minute.
"Aw! How gentlemanly! He's blushing too! Jeez! Man up!"
"A man can blush," one of their aunts said.
"Actually, do you want to dance?" Caleb asked. "My family's kind of awkward…"
"Come on, Caleb. Loosen your collar. We're just joking. Like Claude said, it's not every day you ask someone out." Their mom sat down, smiling. She raised a half-full wineglass. "To Caleb and his date."
The adults copied, Claude splashing water into his wine glass and raising it high. Several other tables looked over. "To his future boyfriend!" Claude cheered.
Caleb wordlessly pulled Jamie out of his chair. "I'm so sorry." He led Jamie deep into the dance floor so people on the outside couldn't see them through the many pairs of dancers. He looped an arm around Jamie's back and took his hand in another. "They're like Claude. I'm the odd one out of them all."
"It's okay. Don't stress about it. I think your family's really cool actually."
They started moving to the song, Jamie stepping on Caleb's feet.
"I don't actually know how to dance," Jamie said, stomach taking a quick dip when Caleb grinned. "Can you show me?"
"I'll drive. You follow."
Jamie did his best to follow Caleb's feet. After a few stumbles and missteps, Jamie picked up the pattern and the flow from one step to another.
The windows were frosting over as Jack watched the dance. He hung from the roof with the perfect angle to see over the heads of the other dancers. He followed Jamie and Caleb in their dance pattern, grinding his teeth and wishing for permission to blow the windows open and shove his staff down Caleb's throat. Frosting the floor would've been good as well. Then Jamie or Caleb – either would be great – would slip and fall on his ass. Painfully.
Jamie had said he wouldn't get involved with Caleb in a romantic sense. He said that he would tell Caleb he was with Jack. Taken. Unavailable. Untouchable. Guardian property. Whatever. It didn't look like he had told Caleb that at all. They were dancing like shy teenagers who had crushes on each other, which was true, but Jamie had Jack. He didn't need to pine after other guys.
Watching them dance sent jealousy and anger spiraling down his spine and to his fingers where they clenched against his staff. He touched the window, sending a burst of frost over the surface. Jamie didn't notice; he was too lost in Caleb's eyes. They were staring at each other like they had found the missing puzzle pieces to their souls, like they complete each other, loved each other, like Cupid had shot them with arrows.
"Fuck off." Jack ground out. Caleb said something and Jamie giggled. Giggled because he did that chin tuck Jack was familiar with. The song changed and the dancers switched positions to the slow dancing type. The type that involved pressing bodies against each other. The type that didn't belong in parties like this. Then Jack saw Claude shaking the hand of one of the violinists. "Not helping!" Jack bashed his fist against the window. "Claude, you douche bag!"
Jamie's head was pressed against Claude's shoulder, eyes half-lidded but bright. Just like when he had touched Jack the other night, nipping his nose and his collar bone and then kissing his fingers and teasing, lots of teasing. And Jack losing his thoughts and his mind and everything he thought he had in control.
"Getting off on that? Huh? Fucking loser." Jack had given a part of himself to Jamie last night. Hadn't that meant anything to Jamie? If it did, he wouldn't be looking all doped out on Caleb. He wouldn't be pressing their bodies closer and he wouldn't be allowing Caleb to slide his hands lower and lower-
Jack dropped from the roof, kicking off the window for a speed boost. "Manny's right. I should just leave," he thought.
Jamie stepped out of Caleb's arms. "Caleb, I don't think we should be – I… There's something I have to tell you. I'm… I'm sorry. I should've told you sooner. I'm... with Jack."
"Jack? Jack Frost?" Caleb stepped back, hurt shining through the brown of his eyes.
Jamie hated to pull the plug on Caleb, but it had to happen eventually, and Jamie was drawing it out too far. "I'm sorry! I really like you, but Jack and I… I've always liked him and last night we decided to be together and I promised to tell you that we were together but I didn't know how and I'm so, so sorry."
"It was always Jack, wasn't it? At my cousin's party… I thought he looked jealous. I didn't think that it was because he liked you but…now I get it."
"I'm sorry, Caleb. I really am."
"I'm sorry too. For going too far." Caleb's smile was so forced, it hurt Jamie to watch his friend hold it while he talked. "And I'm sorry for you. Jack's immortal. You're not. It's going to be hard to work it out."
"We're going to make it work." Jamie stepped forward to avoid getting in the way of a dancing pair. The music had switched to ballroom songs. "And I want to be friends with you. But if you're mad and don't want to, I understand."
"I'm not mad. I'm hurt, but I get it. I'll always be here. If it doesn't work."
"Thanks." Jamie hugged Caleb. "Thank you so much."
The drive to Jamie's home was quiet. Caleb played the radio instead of the CD. When they got there, Jamie leaned over the divider and pecked Caleb's cheek. He thanked him for the night, and five minutes later he was standing in the kitchen, eyes burning and throat swelling so much that he couldn't breathe without hiccupping.
He dressed down into sweats and curled on his bed, hugging a pillow tightly. It would get better when Jack came. He'd make everything okay and Jamie could enjoy his winter break again.
When Jamie woke the next morning and Jack still hadn't come, he started to panic. He waited the rest of the day, chatting with Monty over the phone about upcoming movies, walking around the neighborhood, filling in details of the dance for Pippa.
Night came. Jack didn't.
The third day Jack didn't come, Jamie's mom came home. Jamie distracted himself with happy thoughts of the large profit that came from her art exhibit.
The fourth day Jack didn't come, Jamie called Caleb in tears.
The fifth day Jack didn't come, Jamie's mom told him to never give up. She didn't know about Jack, but her words struck Jamie's heart. He would never give up, but Jack would.
School started and Jamie busied himself with homework, studying as often as he could so he could forget Jack sooner. His grades improved, but he didn't forget Jack completely.
He knew it was impossible to utterly forget Jack, but there was room for memories to put between the present and Jack.
Jamie eventually invited Caleb over. They spent a few days chilling as friends, studying, playing video games, watching TV – and then came the night Jamie kissed Caleb. His mom was on a date with another single artist – one who was very successful. Jamie hoped she could remarry so their family would be whole again. (Plus extra cash in the family bank account would be a bonus, especially seeing as college was nearing.)
The two entered a relationship, and when word spread around campus, Jamie was the new popular kid. He didn't abandon Monty and Pippa; he made sure to spend more time with them than his new friends. He treaded carefully around his new friends, positive that they'd turn on him the instant they disagreed on something.
Life got better.
Jamie learned to put Jack aside, and with time, he had everything he wanted.
Jamie didn't know that Jack actually had visited him. The winter spirit had tried to get into his room on the third day after the party, the day Jamie's mom returned from her art exhibit. She had gone through Jamie's room, making his bed and tidying his closet. She had locked his window, assuming that Jamie had forgotten to do so.
Jamie didn't know she locked it.
Jack didn't know she locked it.
So when Jack couldn't get the window open and realized it was locked, he assumed Jamie had kicked him out of his life for good.
Jack looked up at the sky. He couldn't see Manny through the clouds, but he knew the general area. Years of looking at the moon had given him the gift of tracking its movements in the sky.
He stared at it, waiting for a connection. A connection of minds or feelings or understanding – or anything. He wanted something to confirm that this was how it was supposed to go. He wanted a sign.
"I hope you're right," he said, finally using the miniscule amount of faith he had left.
Seemingly a whole world away, Jamie looked up at the sky. He stared at the moon. The moon stared back.
Jamie shook his head.
TO BE CONTINUED...
A/N: This is the last chapter for this story.
I lied about another chapter. I just couldn't get this into two chapters so I put it into one. It's not that long…
I'm supposed to be studying right now, but eh. I'd rather write.
SEQUEL COMING UP! It will work as a stand alone, and it may be confusing since it takes a large jump from the end of this story. There will be references to this story so you can all feel good about sticking through this fic. Some of you will understand what happened, and you'll be pissed at me.
The meaning behind "Forgotten Future" is that Jack has forgotten about the potential for his future. He was stuck in the past - in a way, and didn't know that it was possible to move forward... I hope that makes sense. :)
Keep an eye on my profile. The first chapter should come out next weekend or later. I have freaking finals to get updated on.
AND THANKS TO SHATTERED EQUILIBRIUM for beta'ing!