A/N: So I wrote this thing. It's about Dane and Chance. From Power and Finesse, if any of you have been around that long. I was just recently out at sea, and this came to me. Pretty much out of the blue. I just have so many feels.
Chance hadn't seen Dane since the fiasco that had been Elijah's bachelor party last year. In fact, Chance hadn't seen anyone since then. They were all too busy nurturing their blossoming careers as fully functional members of adult society. No longer were the days of boozing until 3 a.m. on a Tuesday morning and then sleeping it off into the early hours of the afternoon. These days, he was lucky if he could stay up past 11 p.m. on a weeknight without falling asleep on the couch halfway through Sportscenter. Was it exhaustion or boredom that lulled Chance to sleep every night?
Last night, it had been Dane's trilling that has sung Chance to sleep. But their conversation hadn't begun as happily as it ended. When his phone rang at midnight, jerking him from his unfulfilling slumber, he hardly recognized the dreary voice that oozed heavily from the speaker.
"It's finally over," Dane lamented, "I could no longer support the dilapidated ruins that were once a tower of love, shining light for all the world to see."
"Are you all right, dude? Did you crash into it with your car?"
The drama left Dane's voice, carried away by the sigh of surrender that passed through his lips. "My relationship, darling. Not a real lighthouse."
"Oh. Well…still. Are you all right?"
"I'm fine. I will be fine. It's not the first time. And I'm sure it won't be the last."
It may not have been the first time, but it was rare for Dane to call Chance at midnight to brood over a break-up. Usually Dane's break-ups were a casual aside, a mention of an unfamiliar new boyfriend with little to no explanation as to what happened to the previous and how the current had been snagged.
"So what happened?" Chance asked.
"It doesn't matter, darling."
But it did matter. Dane wouldn't have called otherwise. "Then what does matter?"
"I'm alone at home on a Friday night. I've finished half a bottle of pink moscato already. Just tell me that you love me," Dane beseeched him.
Ah. Dane was drunk and rejected and in need of a little comfort. Chance smiled a bit to himself before obliging his friend. "I love you," he said.
"Well, it hardly counts now. I had to tell you to say it," Dane sighed.
"You know that I love you, man," Chance reminded him. "That's why you called me. You could've called like any other one of your gajillion friends, but you didn't. You called me because I'm the only person in the whole world of Dane who you trust to take care of you. I'm the only one who's ever driven your car, tucked you into bed, and fixed your poor little broken heart."
It had been a long time since Dane had been taken care of. Because Chance was the only one allowed to do that. Chance was the only one who made Dane miss being taken care of. "I suppose you're right," Dane conceded.
Despite admitting that he knew that Chance would always take care of him, Dane sounded a bit melancholy. Shouldn't that have cheered him up? If that wasn't enough…
"We need to hang out, man. You should catch a flight out here and stay at my place a few days."
"I can't, darling. Pre-season training starts in a week," Dane replied with a wistful sigh.
"Come tomorrow, then." Chance set his phone to speaker so that he could use it to look up flights from Chicago to San Diego.
"It is tomorrow here," Dane said dryly.
"Then you should probably crash so you can sleep off that pink muskrat," Chance responded. "Your flight leaves ten o'clock your time."
"My flight? Sweetheart, don't. I can't just fly to San Diego on a whim. My schedule simply doesn't allow for it."
"Your schedule just opened up for your bro in San Diego who just found out he only has a week to live. It's booked on Rowan's credit card. Too late to cancel it now, dude. I'll pick you up at eleven."
There was no time to argue; Dane only had six hours to pack. What was the weather like in San Diego at this time of year? What would they be doing while he was there? How long was he going to stay? Why on Earth would Chance do this to him? He knew how much of a control freak Dane was. But he also knew that Dane couldn't resist a chance to go to glamorous Southern California to enjoy some time with a sorely missed dear friend.
Chance was so confident that Dane would be at Lindbergh Field at eleven a.m. the next morning that he didn't even call or text to make sure. He just showed up at the airport and wandered around the baggage claim carousels until his cell phone started ringing in his pocket.
"I could use a big, strong man over here to help me with my luggage. Look to your left."
Chance looked to his left and sure enough, after a few seconds of searching the crowd, he caught sight of tall, lithe, elegant Dane waving like Miss America. He didn't smile like a beauty queen, though. Dane rarely smiled wide enough for his teeth to show. It was probably unrefined to do so, or something along those lines. Chance didn't really understand, he just made it his duty to crack Dane's perfectly polished exterior and get the guy to crack a toothy grin. He hung up his phone and jogged with outstretched arms to his friend, and when they were wrapped in a tight hug, Chance lifted Dane off his feet and spun him around in a few circles until he demanded to be put down.
"Dude, you shrunk," Chance said, reaching out to lift up Dane's arm by the wrist. "You look a green bean. No wonder you need me to get your bags."
"I believe the term you're searching for is string bean, my love," Dane replied with a delicate smirk. Just for that, he was making Chance take both of his suitcases. He headed for the doors, leaving his two designer suitcases behind.
A few moments later, Chance appeared at his side, towing both rolling suitcases. "So I see you decided to move in," he joked.
"Well darling, without a trip itinerary, I didn't know what to pack. I didn't want to be caught unprepared," Dane explained.
That was unfortunate. Because Chance loved to catch Dane unprepared.
"How many new friends did you make on the flight?" Chance asked as they began the journey to the cell phone lot where he'd parked. It would take a few minutes to walk there.
Dane warbled the entire trek about the most darling little ballet dancer he'd had the pleasure of sitting next to. She was on her way home after a month of training in Chicago for a role in an upcoming production of The Temple Dancer. Chance lost interest in the girl's life story about two minutes in, and Dane knew it, and Chance knew that Dane knew it, but neither of them mentioned it. Dane had long since learned that Chance could only listen for so long. It was the fact that he tried that counted.
"I was talking to your mother last week," Dane started once his suitcases had been stowed in the back of Chance's Jeep and they were ready for take-off. "And she told me that Rowan is running about Marseilles, no doubt causing trouble where ever he goes. Does that mean it will just be you and I for the week?"
"You talked to my mom?" Chance asked.
"I talk to your mother at least once a month, dear. It's the only way I can keep tabs on everyone. Rowan only answers my calls if the mood strikes him, and we both know how often that is," Dane explained. He took a moment to digress and comment on the state of the grains of sand embedded in the floor mat beneath his feet. "I'll make sure not to tell her that you don't even take the time to shake out your floor mats when you'll be driving guests around."
"You call my mom to talk about Rowan?" That seemed like a waste of time.
"Don't be silly. We talk about other things too. She and the doctor are remodeling. Oh, and you'll be happy to know that Trish is keeping up with her Botox injections and looking even younger than she did when we were in college. At this rate, she'll look twenty-five in no time."
Chance frowned slightly. "But I liked her as a cougar. I don't wanna sleep with her if she looks like she's our age."
A nostalgic giggle passed through Dane's lips at the memories of their university years. "I don't think you'll have to worry about her ever wanting to sleep with you, Doll. Now, you didn't answer my question. Will Rowan be making an appearance at any point during my stay?"
"I dunno, dude. Probably not. But maybe. He randomly shows up at like midnight on a fucking Tuesday, passes out on the couch, sleeps a whole day, and then disappears for another two weeks."
"What kind of brother are you? Really, darling. You need to keep an eye on him."
"Babysitting him isn't my job," Chance shrugged.
They spent the rest of the forty-five minute drive back to Chance's apartment talking about Rowan and his tumultuous on-again-off-again relationship with Avalon, which Dane knew far more about than Chance did, despite the fact that Rowan was supposedly his roommate. When they made it to the flat, it came as no surprise to see that the elusive Rowan was not there. The only thing waiting for Dane was a train wreck. Dirty dishes filled the sink and spilled out onto the counter, mail cluttered the kitchen island, and the surface of the coffee table was almost visible underneath magazines, video games, and DVDs. He stepped forward into the abode, only to feel the sand stuck to the bottom of his shoes scraping into the wood floor. That couldn't be good for the finish. So Dane left his stark white Ralph Lauren slip-ons by the door before giving himself a quick tour of the two-bedroom flat. Dare he even push open the sealed door that hid Rowan's room from view?
"Darling, you so desperately need someone here to take care of you." Dane shook his head as he decided against peeking into Rowan's room, instead checking out the laundry room only to find a mountain of unwashed clothes covering the floor.
A hand reached around Dane to slam the laundry door closed in his face. "Don't even think about it, man. This is your vacation, remember?"
Dane turned and found himself face-to-face with his only slightly taller host. He hadn't really taken the time to thank Chance for this, had he? His hand found its way to Chance's chest to smooth out a nonexistent wrinkle in his t-shirt, his eyes dropping to admire the way the white fabric nicely contrasted the sun-kissed bronze of Chance's neck.
Moments like this between the two of them had a tendency to be dangerous. They were perched on the only safe spot on a precariously balanced seesaw, and one movement the wrong way from either of them would destabilize their entire friendship. Their last meeting had ended disastrously following a close encounter that had begun in a manner not so different than the current state. Chance grinning at Dane in that genuine manner of his, so trusting of Dane to keep himself in check, even though he didn't really deserve that trust.
Dane wasn't going to do it this time, as much as he wanted to. Even though the gratification would be instant, it would also be very fleeting. He leaned forward and pressed his lips to Chance's cheek, only lingering for a moment before pulling back. "I'm glad to be here with you. Thank you for doing this, Chance. I needed it."
Chance smiled and shrugged. "No problem, dude. I think I needed it too."
"And do you know what else we both need?" Dane asked, clapping his hands together as he turned away from temptation. Without waiting for Chance to take a guess, he answered his own question. "A visit to your gym. I simply must see this place. While we're there, we can get a workout, and then later on before you take me somewhere for dinner and drinks, I can give you a nice little rubdown. How does that sound, dear?"
That sounded a lot like Dane was hijacking this vacation and taking control. But Chance would let it slide; it was only day one. He took Dane to the fitness club where he worked as a manager and personal trainer, showed him around, introduced him to every single person because he insisted upon it, and then the two busted out a quick, but still intense workout. A few hours later, Chance found himself in a familiar position: on his bed underneath Dane. The optimum setup for one of Dane's famous massages. He had been in this position too many times to fret over it.
"That was the first time I've been able to find the time for a workout in three months," Dane said, kneading the shirtless muscles of Chance's upper back with the heel of his hand from his place straddling the other man. "Of course, now that I'm single, I should have plenty of time for the gym once I get back home."
"Dude, we both know you won't be single for more than like three days once you're home," Chance pointed out. Dane was too social to stay in for long, and when he went out, he met people, and when he met people, he hooked up with people.
"Three days?" Dane feigned offense. "That is an insult, dear. Why, if I don't have a date my first night back, I will be absolutely shocked."
Chance chuckled. Wasn't that the truth? "If you want, we could go to one of the gay bars downtown and you could get yourself a little rebound action tonight. How do you feel about long distance relationships?"
"You know I'm far too hands-on for something like that, dear. But while I'm here, shall I give you a lesson in flirting so that you might finally be able to land yourself a girlfriend?"
"You've been promising to teach me to pick up chicks for like five years now, and you still haven't been able to," Chance teased Dane with a smirk. "But I don't think I really even want a girlfriend right now anyway, dude."
This was a new development. Chance had spent practically all of his college years begging Dane to help him get a girlfriend. "Why the change of heart, dear?"
"I dunno. I guess…I'm only twenty-five. I have a lotta years ahead of me, right? I wanna use this part of my life to do what I want without having to worry about matching that up with what someone else wants, y'know?"
"And just what is it that you want to do?"
"Well I didn't really have anything specific in mind. But like…what if I wanna spend a week out at sea on my boat? I like being able to just go out and do that without having to worry about if I'm being selfish or something," Chance explained.
"That would be horribly selfish. I would worry myself sick about you," Dane replied.
"Remember when you called me the weekend after Eli's bachelor party, and I didn't call you back for like three days after?"
How could Dane possibly have forgotten that? Those were three of the most agonizing days of his life. For those three days, he had been sure that his little slip-up at the bachelor party had cost him his dearest friend.
"Vaguely," he lied, leaning forward so that he could use his body weight help dig his thumbs deep into the muscle tissue underneath Chance's shoulder blades.
"Damn dude." Chance's groan interrupted whatever direction he had been going in with his mention of the weekend after Eli's bachelor party. "You're killing me!" He didn't remember Dane's massages being this painful.
"I'm sorry, dear, but you're just so tense. After I've worked it all out, I'll finish you off with some soothing lavender oil."
"Are we still talking about my back here?" Chance had to ask.
Unless Chance wanted Dane to be talking about something else.
Dane let out a gracious little chuckle. "Darling, please. Don't suffocate me. I've only just ended my last relationship."
How was Chance not supposed to be suspicious of Dane's motives after the way things had turned out last time they saw each other? After the bachelor party, Chance had thought for sure that it was the final straw, that he just had to give up on trying to be friends with Dane. It was the third time. Of course, as soon as they were separated by a thousand miles, it was easy for Chance to forgive and forget. But still. He would like it if they didn't have to go through the agony this time. He would like it if they could finally just get it right for once. Dane's joke seemed to indicate that he was feeling the same way, though.
Chance relaxed and played along with Dane's joke. "Got it. You need a little time to heal before I swoop in."
Dane reached down to pet Chance's loose curls affectionately. The sun had bleached out some of the naturally golden brown strands, evidence of many hours spent out in the heat, humidity, and saltwater. "You're so considerate. Now, what were you saying? About those three days you waited before returning my call a year ago?"
"Oh yeah!" Chance took a moment to remember the point he had been making. "It took me three days to call you back because I was on my boat. I campout at sea all the time. There's nothing to worry about."
"Now that I know that, I'll be calling the Coast Guard every time you don't answer my calls or immediately respond to my text messages."
"I wanna take you out on it before you leave," Chance said.
"I suppose if there's time." Dane didn't have any intention of allowing time to go on a little cruise. The ocean was perfectly gorgeous. To look at and photograph. It was fun to dip his toes in the water, and romantic to kiss passionately on the shore with waves rushing over. But fishing, surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, even setting foot on a commercial cruise liner, venturing more than thirty feet from shore in any way, all absolutely out of the question.
Chance nodded. He would make sure that there was time for it.
There wouldn't be time for it tonight, because Dane was eager to get out and see this wondrous place where Chance lived. It felt to him like something straight out of a vintage surf movie. If there was ever a place that Chance was meant to be, this was it. As they strolled down the boardwalk while the setting sun lit the ocean ablaze like orange lava after dinner and drinks at a beautiful restaurant on the pier, Dane felt his skin tightening to form goosebumps on his arms. It wasn't because of the cold.
A/N: Let me know what you think! You know I love hearing from you guys more than anything! I love you and thanks for visiting!