NOTES AND DISCLAIMERS: All made up, for entertainment only. No knowledge, no profits, no reality. Thanks to Jeff Tweedy, really, and Younger, Kel and Katie for helpful, helpful betas.
A FOOL IN SO MANY WAYS
"Fred Durst, man, that was like being stalked," Brit says to Lance. They talk on the phone all the time, still, and it makes her happy. Britney doesn't want to give up talking to Lance for anything. No one asks because no one knows and they never meet in person.
"Well, come on. He's got two kids. Wes Borland was sooooo the talent in that band." Lance laughs.
Brit says he's a good producer, she thinks he is, and then they talk about every single article in US magazine. Lance loves US and Britney loves US and it's one of her favorite parts of the week. Lance refuses to subscribe because he doesn't want Bonnie Fuller to know any of his addresses, so he got Stacey a gift subscription that comes to him. Britney buys it on the newsstand.
Their favorite part is the body language analysis. Britney's read enough, she's convinced she could be an expert. "My next job, man! Honestly!"
"You don't need a next job, hon."
"I might." She doesn't quite laugh.
"You won't." He's fast and confident when he says it.
"If I did, I could do it. Body-language analysis." She manages a laugh. She's okay with her future, whatever it is. She is.
"Nope." Lance isn't laughing.
She says, "Would you -- honestly, would you dump your girl for me? Your guy? Take care of me in a pretty little room in one of your houses?"
"She's a girl, and I would dump Janet Jackson for you --" Lance pauses, like he thinks that might have been mis-step and then says quickly, "I would dump anyone for you, but, there will be no need, sweetheart."
She can laugh because it is funny. She does and then she says, "I may hold you to that, mister."
They kissed twice back when Britney's life was super awesome. Two kisses right in succession, Lance's hand on her breast. She thinks he's only about sixty percent gay, judging by the ratio of his one-night stands and relationships as reported by Justin, by what Lance tells her, too. He really did want her, she thinks. Or he was drunk, which is definitely true. Justin had passed out in the back of the bus and Lance and Britney were whispering in the front. Then he leaned in and she kissed him back.
They stopped, they didn't do it again. Brit said, "Justin," and Lance nodded. There wasn't anything to talk about after that.
She calls Lance when she gets the new US. "Okay, what do you think about Nelly and Eve?"
"They're adorable. Eve's adorable. Justin just wishes he'd set 'em up."
"Dude, fixing up Trace and Tara shouldn't count! Honestly, those two? It's, like, radar. They would have found each other in the dark. My god, I wish I'd thought of it. They're so fucking perfect for each other." Britney lights a cigarette and leans against the wall outside the studio. This part outside, she can't be seen. There aren't many places like that.
"They were made to be together. Wanna hear something gross?"
"Of course, god, tell me now." She takes a long drag.
"Me and Carrah walked in on them fucking in a closet during Grammy week rehearsals. Seriously."
"Oh, god." Britney shudders. "Wow. That's just frightening."
"I was scarred. I might have to go back to guys for, like, a year to wash my eyes clean. Except every man I look at, I see Trace naked. Especially Trace."
"Oh, god, honey, there's no cure for that." Britney takes another drag.
"Are you speaking from experience?"
Britney stubs out her cigarette against the wall. "Yes. Dude, I dated his best friend for four years, you don't think there were horrific accidents?"
"More than once?" Lance sounds terrified.
"Twice. Really. Trace is not an attractive man when he's naked."
Lance agrees and then Brit has to get back to work.
After nine months, she's done in the studio. Done enough. She's been linked to seven men. She actually only met four, and only slept with two. The one she liked best, the one she maybe even had a chance with only made one mention in US, which may have been what she liked best about him. He was an engineer on the album, but the album's done now.
She has to go to a movie premiere, her publicist says get out there, be seen. She's been seen a lot lately, Brit doesn't quite understand how this premiere is so fucking important. She gives in. She generally does.
"Lance, you could come with me."
"Honey," his voice trails off. She wonders where he is. "Honey, I don't know if that's a good idea."
Lance must be in the studio, not actually inside, but that's where he is, working. Brit knows that for sure. She says, "Me and Justin broke up more than a year ago, almost two years. God, I just need someone to go with. You're not seeing anyone."
"Well, now that you've made me feel so special." Lance sighs. He broke up with the girlfriend and got dumped by some guy he was seeing after only three weeks. "You don't wanna go stag?"
"I want, see, if I go with you, it's special and fun. I have my pal, my buddy, my handsome male friend with me. If I go stag, it's never stag. It's Fe and Big Rob and fourteen photographers, and my publicist spends the whole evening following me into bathrooms and making sure I'm not making out with some random guy which, hello! I don't do. So you should come with me because you're you and you would have fun. But you can't flirt with anyone else because it would make me feel bad."
"Well, if you put it that way." Lance pauses. "Gimme a minute." Brit wiggles her toes and looks at her nail polish. She keeps breaking one of her nails and it's just lame, she has to get a manicure every other day. She's had to go so many times lately she could even get sick of having manicures and that's just wrong. After more than a minute, more like three minutes, Lance comes back on the phone. "Okay, I'll go. New York, right?"
"Yes! That's so awesome. Seriously, you're my fucking favorite person in the world."
Lance comes to her hotel room early and he's wearing a snazzy suit and no tie. Black always looks good on Lance. She grins and says, "Baby, you're early. I need about fifteen more minutes to get perfect." She waves to Fe to get her dress and put it in the bathroom.
"Let me in anyway." He smiles and holds out his hand. He has a blue box. Fe says hi and goes into the bedroom part of the suite.
"You got me a present?" She squeals and steps back from the door. She's just in her panties and a robe, but she doesn't care. She tugs her robe tighter and grabs the box. "Why'd you get me a present?"
Lance moves closer and nudges her shoulder. "When was the last time we actually saw each other in person?"
"I think, the VMAs, silly." She sits down and pulls him down next to her.
"But, I mean, for real? It's been ages." Lance pats her knee and she starts opening the box.
It's the prettiest earrings, pearls. Brit squeals again and hugs him. "Thank you, you didn't have to at all. I'll wear them tonight." She gets up and curtseys. "Thank you, thank you. I will now get dressed. You just wait and entertain Fe." Lance nods.
She pulls on the dress and zips herself up, turns twice to check how the skirt falls and then leans over to make sure she won't fall out when she gets out of the limo. She's good to go.
Fe and today's PR minder sit across from them in the limo. Lance looks at her and then leans over and whispers in her ear. It's nothing; it's just something about US and the latest body language analysis of Jen and Ben, but Brit giggles and leans closer. They whisper the whole time while the PR minder looks out the window of the limo and tries not to listen. Brit smirks.
They hold hands on the red carpet and Brit smiles at fifteen different cameras. People yell things and she just waves and pulls Lance inside. Lance isn't phased at all because, of course, he's not. She wonders why she was even nervous about it. He holds her hand while they walk to their seats, too. She swings their hands and he winks at her.
The movie sucks. It's dumb and the plot is contrived and she's pretty sure it's insulting to women. She makes a thumbs down gesture to Lance and he nods vigorously. For all of that, the bad movie and the stupid people, it's the most fun Brit's had at one of these things in ages.
The after-party rocks. Lance starts to drift away and Brit grabs his hand, digs her nails in. "Don't you flirt or fuck anyone but me."
He raises an eyebrow. "Baby, you're the hottest thing here." He untangles their fingers and winks at her again.
She laughs at four stupid jokes, has two sips of her drink, and nods enthusiastically at two movies producers who drone on and on but her PR minder told her it needed to be done. In the middle of everything, she misses Justin. Like a cramp in her stomach, it hits her. She never went to too many of these with him, but he made them better. He made faces at things he thought were stupid that she thought she had to do; he kissed her in the limo and re-applied her lipstick after. She sees a photographer and schools her face to a smile.
She walks to the bathroom and turns and sees Lance walking to her. He pulls her close and says, "How's it going?"
She puts her hand on his chest. "You, you are being a bad date. Stop shmoozing and make this tolerable for me." She smiles or something like it so it doesn't sound so whiny.
Lance presses his lips together and then nods. "Deal." He stays by her side for the rest of the night and even shoos away the PR minder after an hour. It's pretty heavenly.
Brit even gets to finish her drink. She didn't have time for more than a salad for dinner, so by the time they get back to the limo she's almost drunk. Almost. Lance puts his arm around her and she snuggles close. "Nice dress," he says.
"Thank you. You were supposed to say that a few hours ago."
"But then it would have been expected." Lance pats Brit's knee. His hand is warm.
So they end up making out two minutes after they get back to her room. She thinks, as she sinks onto her bed while Lance slips his hand under the strap of her dress, she thinks she has an apartment in New York, she doesn't remember why she's staying in a hotel. Lance licks her neck and cups her breast and she decides to save it for the morning.
Lance is heavy on top of her but she likes it. She wraps her legs around his waist and pushes against him. He says, "Uh, um. We need, you know."
Brit shakes her head. "I'm on the pill."
"Yeah, let's anyway. Um, you know, never be too safe, okay?" Brit nods and wiggles out from under him and stretches to reach her purse. Lance says, "You have in your purse?"
"Stupid PR bitch fucking gave me three condoms when I got to the party. Do you believe that?" Brit pulls one out and hands it to Lance. He kisses her and grasps her hand.
The sex is better than she expected. It's really good. She cuddles next to him and says, "You staying?"
His eyes are half-closed and he mumbles. She says, "Was that a yes?"
He blinks. "Make sure the door's locked, though, you know? I mean, yes, I wanna stay but I'd rather not have Fe wake us up or something, okay?"
Brit gets out of bed and locks the door. When she pulls the covers back over her, when she's back in the bed, Lance rolls over and tugs her closer. He murmurs something against her neck and Brit doesn't try to hear. She folds her hands over his and closes her eyes. He's so warm; it's so easy to sleep.
They go out once a week for seven weeks and sleep together each time. They're almost dating, Brit thinks. Except not. She goes out with other guys; her PR people really don't want her linked to Lance. They tell her it's too 2002, like Justin only not as famous. She doesn't sleep with the other guys.
The eighth week they end up at some opening of some dumbass hotel. Brit doesn't think she'd ever stay there, but it's a party, she just premiered her first video from the album and she has eight hundred interviews tomorrow, so she goes. Plus, she'll get to see Lance. He's wearing a velvet suit and she stops herself from smiling too much. She does run her hand down his chest because it's so soft.
He holds her around the waist, one arm, friendly. Brit's publicists keep saying, "Just friends, they're good friends, they always have been." She looks up at him, he's not tall like Justin, but he's taller than her, and she says, "What do you think our body language says now?"
He looks down at her, almost laughing. "Well, you're looking up at me, and you keep touching the suit, so I bet something sexual."
"You're no good at this. Look where you hand is, that's not possessive but affectionate."
"Not possessive?" He just raises an eyebrow.
"Possessive is lower. Like butt level. I think. Honestly, honey, I just read US." Then they're both laughing and they go inside. An hour later, Lance has drifted away from her and Brit watches him flirt with this watch designer. The guy's cute, Brit knows that. She thinks she should make a joke later. Later. Something about cute boys, watches and she can't think of anything funny. She didn't use to have to think of jokes about Lance and his boys. And she knows, she's pretty sure, she's not supposed to care that Lance is doing this right in front of her.
She walks over and snuggles up to Lance anyway. She'll get talked to, being too friendly with someone she is not dating and will not be dating, but fuck it, fuck it, she thinks. Fuck it. Lance doesn't look upset, he just grins at her and holds her hand behind her back.
She's not stupid. She's really not. She gets this. And on the list of dumb things she won't do falling for another sometimes gay boy is number one. And Lance isn't even deeply repressed like Justin.
She goes back with him to his hotel room anyway. "Mine's not okay?" She plays with her wrap in the car, stupid shawl, stupid fringe that keeps shedding.
"I'm tired of yours. Don't you have an apartment in New York?"
"I do. But my brother and his boyfriend are staying there and they're remodeling half of it. Hotel is easier."
Lance looks out the window. His hand is on her knee, warm, and he's tapping a beat over and over, softly, on the inside of her thigh. "I thought Brian broke up with that guy."
"He did. New guy this time. But he's nice. He's, uh, a PA? I don't know, he's nice."
Lance just nods. He moves his hand higher on leg. Same beat.
Brit bites her lip and then gets out her compact. No lipstick on her teeth. She says, "Don't you want a boyfriend?"
Lance looks at her, expression surprised. "I guess. I dunno. I want to have somebody, but you know, this past year or so hasn't been the greatest for me, relationship-wise."
"Somebody? You mean a guy, right? I mean, that's what you figure."
Lance frowns. "I dunno. I don't have a plan or something. I'm sorry, I don't have someone picked out. And, uh. Yeah. Why are we talking about this?"
"I was just thinking." She turns her head and looks out her window. It's harder to look nonchalant because her window is a foot and a half away and she doesn't move away from Lance.
"Okay." Lance sighs. "Look, I'm not, you know, I'm not gonna have this conversation eight hundred times with the guys and then with you, I'm just. I'm not pinning myself down. I'm attracted to people and yes, that tends to be more guys than girls, but yes. So put that in whatever box you need."
"Why are you pissed at me? I was just asking." She scoots down to be closer to the window. She feels cold.
Lance is quiet for a few moments. Then he says, "Maybe you shouldn't come back."
"Maybe not. I don't quite understand what just happened here, but I'm sorry a simple question has pissed you off."
"Well, it wasn't a simple question, was it, Britney?"
She looks out the window at the city, dark and bright. She leans forward and says into the speaker for the driver, "I want to go back to my hotel, okay?"
Lance doesn't say anything when they get to Brit's hotel, but he takes her hand and kisses her on the cheek as she gets out.
Fe says, "So no more sleeping with people from NSYNC, okay? Maybe Chris, he has his head on right."
Brit falls back on her bed and rubs her temples. It's been three days since she last saw Lance, he hasn't called once, and this twenty minutes before lunch is the first time she's talked to Fe about anything other than interviews, interviews, and maybe a few more interviews. They talked about clothes and food once, she thinks. She doesn't remember. Brit sighs. She says, "They're all so fucking gay. You know? Not in a bad way, but, like Brian gay. Gay. And only Lance and JC'll actually do anything about it. Silly repressed boys." She tries a smile but then when she looks up, Fe isn't even looking.
"Well, Justin, sure. But, honey, come on." Which doesn't make any sense and Brit doesn't want to push and find out what she's supposed to do now and she just rolls over and goes to sleep.
They let her go shopping with Fe for two hours. She's being trailed by ten photographers and the PR person they call about that says, "Ten? Shit. That's great. It was only four last week."
Brit ignores them, she just does. She's wandering around the leather jackets and she sees Justin. They haven't talked in two weeks. And it was the same stilted conversation they've been having for the last year and a half, asking after moms and brothers and sisters. She bets Justin's happy that she and Lance broke up. Sort of. Justin's definitely happy. She marches over and smiles brightly at him. "How are you, dipshit?"
Justin grins, fake. His eyes glance left at the photographers outside. He says, "Why are you mad at me?"
"Because you're happy Lance dumped me." She flashes a really bright smile and grabs the leather jacket Justin is holding. It's too big for him.
"Okay, no. I'm not. I was all, go for it, man. I mean, not going out with you, per se, though I guess, well, you already know he's a little gay so it's not like you're going to sleep with his best friend to prove he is --" Justin takes a deep breath.
"Oh, god, Justin, get over it. It was a year ago. More. I thought you'd slept with Wade, I was wrong, I slept with Wade, that was wrong, point taken, fucking A, it's done." She sighs. She remembers pictures, pictures and holds up the leather jacket in front of her face.
Justin is quiet for a moment and then he takes the jacket back from her. He folds it carefully over his arm. "Okay, you know what? I never did sleep with Wade. Ever. And I wasn't actually attracted to him --"
"God, Justin, you so were. I wasn't the only one who thought you were screwing him. Okay? Honestly, I love you, you're very gay and you should wake up and realize that. Except maybe not, because, you know, if you did, you'd see that Joey and Chris would be way more in love with JC than in love with you if either of them would ever wake up, too." She takes a deep breath. Her teeth hurt from smiling and bitching at the same time.
Justin blinks. He pats the jacket and says, "Actually, Joey loves me more than JC. If you care."
Brit licks her lips and actually smiles. "Justin Randall Timberlake. You actually had sex with a man. With a real man."
"Joey counts as a real man, right?" Justin winks. "Yes, yes, I did. And I'll have you know, Joey was my first. Is my first." Justin smiles again, a little smile, but the most real one she's seen so far.
"Are you two dating?"
"Yes." Justin smiles again. "Unlike me and Wade, by the way."
Britney sighs. "Okay, okay. I apologize for being a jerk. I'm just, you know, upset."
"Well, Lance liked you. Likes you. I dunno, man. He gets weird around girls. Also, you know, Chris and JC are always trying to pin him down in weird sociological studies shit or scales or something? It's like, he doesn't want to be one thing or another and he hates labels, and so when he likes girls, he gets weird. But you're weird, too, so."
"It's a weird explosion." Brit laughs. Justin laughs back and that's the happiest thing of all, it's been so long since they both laughed at the same thing, in a nice way. She kisses him on the cheek and says, "Jacket's for Joey, huh?"
Justin nods. Britney steps back and says, "It'll look good on him. You go, boy." She signals to Fe and they leave the store.
Tara grabs her arm as soon as she walks into the party, or the VIP part of it, really. "Baby!" Tara hugs Brit tight. Brit pats her back and smells Tara's perfume too strongly. Something very floral. Tara's perfume changes every six months like clockwork and it's always a little too strong. Tara hasn't changed in the last few years Brit has known her, it's almost comforting.
Brit says, "Hey, how are you?"
"God, I'm so fabulous." Tara pulls Brit into a corner. "Me and Trace are getting married!"
Brit hugs her again and then she says, "That's so great, honey, congratulations!" She takes a step back. "Have you set a date?"
Tara blushes. She says, "Oh, about eight weeks from now."
"You're pregnant?" Brit bites her lip. "Sorry, I didn't mean that the way it came out, I'm sorry."
"No, no, actually I am." Tara smiles again. "But it's cool! It so is. The only sucky part is that I can't drink at my own wedding. But it's totally cool."
Brit nods and nods and listens more to Tara talking on. She spots Lance over in the corner, drinking an amber drink and looking really hot. She isn't paying attention and when she looks back she realizes she just agreed to be one of the bridesmaids. Brit gives Tara another hug and slips away.
She slides in next to Lance at the bar. "Hey." She looks at him and then back at the crowd.
Lance starts and then says, "Oh, hey."
"Did you hear about Tara and Trace?" She smiles and turns around, faces the bartender. She holds her breath until Lance turns around, too, and leans in towards her.
"God, yes. The blessed event? The wedding to be? Justin wants them to name the baby after him. Also, the wedding plans are already frightening me." Lance grins.
"Honestly, honey, I just agreed to be a bridesmaid. You don't think I'm afraid of that dress?" Brit giggles and thinks she sounds stupid. "What have you heard about?"
Lance leans in closer. "Well, there's the reception. Justin talked Trace out of inviting five hundred people, but I think they compromised on two hundred. There's going to be a band, but Trace wants to deejay. Oh, and the really fun stuff -- Trace has almost convinced Tara to let him design the wedding dress and the bridesmaids' dresses." Lance smirks.
"Oh, gawd." Brit takes her drink and gulps it down. "Oh, god."
Lance pats her hand. "Yeah, I know." Lance moves away quickly and turns back to face the crowd.
Brit sighs. "Do you hate me?"
Brit crosses her arms. "I talked to Justin and stuff."
"He told me."
She looks over at him. He's staring at the crowd, looking at no one in particular. She takes a deep breath and says, "Okay. Honestly, here's the deal. I like you. Like, a lot. And that sounds so stupid, but it's really true. And I don't care who you slept with before me and stuff, I just, I want you. I like you. Like you like you. And if you like me, well, say so and stuff."
Lance turns to her and looks down, blushing. "Like you? I do like you."
"Good." She takes his hand. "Right?"
"Right." He squeezes her hand. "Baby, I'm such a bad choice for you. Your PR people hate me."
"My PR people suck. I hate them. I like you. You treat me good, you make me happy, what's so bad about that? I make you happy, right?"
Lance kisses her cheek. "You make me happy."
Brit snuggles up next to him. "So we're all good?"
"Well, sure." He kisses her.
Brit's PR people predictably explode. She gets three lectures. One between tour rehearsals, one after an MTV interview where she giggles a lot and doesn't admit anything about Lance or Heath Ledger or Gregory Smith. The third is when she's trapped in a limo on the way to dinner at P. Diddy's new restaurant. She listens and nods and then, right before she gets out of the limo, she says, "Fuck off. At least he's not a girl. I have Pink's phone number right here, bitch, and I can call those chicks from Tatu whenever I want."
Her PR person trails behind her and says, "But lesbianism is hot, God, I'd rather you were dating Pink. At least she's not, you know, gay!"
Brit rolls her eyes. "She is too gay. She hit on me!"
"But so is Lance. He slept with my ex-boyfriend." The PR person crosses her arms.
"Well, he slept with me, too, and he's going to again and again. So, you know, shut up and deal with it." Britney fluffs her hair and walks into the restaurant.
Brit tells Tara over lunch, after a bridesmaid dress fitting. Tara talked Trace out of designing the dresses, but they're still fuchsia. So she says, "Me and Lance are together, you know?"
"Oh, honey!" Tara leans across the table and hugs her. "When are you two going out, like, for real in public and stuff?"
Brit shrugs. "We go out all the time. But, I dunno. Maybe your wedding?"
"Britney! No! Don't you dare. You premiere yourselves at least two weeks before. I'm gonna be on the cover of US, not you and Lance." Tara breathes quickly and then pats her chest. "Okay, that came out wrong. But honey, seriously. It's my special day."
Brit clasps her hands together. "Okay, honey, don't you worry."
She tells Lance that night over dinner in her hotel room. Room service, so they both get burgers. "Honestly, we need to do something. I think I've convinced the PR people. And my management. And there's all these rumors."
"And heaven forbid we ruin Trace and Tara's sacred day." Lance rolls his eyes. He rubs mayo off his chin with the napkin.
"Well, I see her point. And you know, just get things all settled and then people can write about all our exciting fights and whether or not we're fucking or something."
Lance puts his hand over hers. He leans in and kisses her, tastes like ketchup and mayo. It's yummy. He says, "We're so fucking."
"We so are." Brit claps and laughs. They talk for three hours about how their day was and they lie in bed reading US together and then they do fuck. It's a great night.
They go to some movie premiere together, holding hands and kiss on the red carpet. Her PR people say nice things, and Brit doesn't anything at all.
Not only is the bridesmaid's dress fuchsia, but it's backless with a huge flared skirt. Brit pictures herself sitting down and the skirt flaring up like some old movie. At least she got to get her own stylist to do her hair. She leans against a table and watches Trace talk to the crew from Access Hollywood. Two tables over from Trace, Justin and Joey are talking and laughing and very carefully not touching. At all. They're fucking adorable. She says, "So cute."
Lance comes up behind her and holds her waist. "Joey and Justin? Isn't it sickening?"
"What's your analysis of their body language?" She looks over her shoulder and grins at him.
"Well, they make a lot of eye contact."
"And they both blush and smile like loons when they do." Brit leans against Lance and his arms tighten around her. "Note how their hips are angled towards each other."
"Note how Justin has his hand on Joey's thigh under the table." Lance's voice is like a rumble against her back. It's wonderful.
"God, someone should tell him not to do that."
"Maybe later." Lance kisses her neck. "Okay, so, I think they're in love or something."
"Thank god, Joey is so much better than Wade." Brit shudders.
"Especially in bed." Lance kisses her ear.
"Well, I've never with Joey, but I'll take your word for it. Wade isn't anything to write home about, I tell you what."
"You don't have to tell me." Lance laughs in her ear. "You're okay with that, right?"
"You planning on calling him tonight?"
Lance laughs again. "God, no. Never again." Lance sways a little with the music. Justin gets up and takes Trace's mother's hand and leads her to the dance floor.
"I'm okay with it, then." Brit closes her eyes. "Okay, who do we do now?"
"Us. Do us."
Britney says, "But we were just in US, they said we seemed very physical and flirty, or something." They read the article in bed and Brit put her hand over the analysis to see if they could guess what the analyst said.
"But do us right now."
"Well, you've got your arms around me. Possessive-like. And you just kissed me."
Lance holds her even tighter. It's still not bad, the stupid bra she has to wear with this dress is still tighter. She misses oxygen. He says, "And you've got your eyes closed, I think that's a sign of trust."
"I think I would say, there's a strong case of like here."
"Hmmmm, you're wrong. Good thing you have another job." Lance sways a little more, hums against her neck.
"Yup. Strong case of love, I think."
Britney smiles. She opens her eyes and turns around. She nudges her dyed to match fuchsia high heel against Lance's ankle. "Love?" Her voice sounds like a squeak.
"On this side." He looks down and glances up at her.
"Oh, this side, too." She stands on her tiptoes and kisses his cheek. "Definitely on this side, too."
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