Jase looked nice that morning. He was wearing light beige jeans and a cream colored polo shirt. “Did you have a good time with Alec last night?” he asked.

Luis smiled. “I had a good time listening to you sing last night. You're very good.” After Jase sang the Madonna song, the audience cheered him into singing four more songs.

Jase shrugged and looked down at the grass. “I'm okay. But I'm not the best. And that's what I want in life. I want to be the best at what I do. I don't ever want to settle for second best. Singing is for fun. I can live without it.”

This sounded like the strong, passionate Jase Nicholas Luis knew and loved in the future. Though he'd been worried Jase wouldn't be able to handle everything that had happened between them, he knew now Jase was going to be okay ... at least for the time being. “I'm sure you will be the best at whatever you decide to do in life.”

Jase laughed. “I wish I had as much confidence in me as you do. I'm still not sure what I want to be the best at.”

Luis smiled. “You'll see. I know I'm right about you. Remember two things: Alaskan Spring Water and home cheese makers.”

“What does Alaskan spring water have to do with home cheese makers?”

Although Jase would one day build his billion dollar fortune on many things he'd developed and invented, he would start the empire with Alaskan spring water, and then a home cheese making invention that would make him wealthier and more famous than he ever dreamed he would be. “Promise me if things ever get tough and you start doubting yourself, you'll remember those two things.”

Jase tugged on Mollie's leash and said, “Okay. I promise.”

“And one more thing,” Luis said.


“Be easier on your father in the future,” Luis said. “He means well.” Luis knew about the friction that would occur between Jase and his father in the future. It would all start when Jase would refuse to take over the family business and concentrate on his own business affairs instead. Luis knew that Jase's father would die young. He also knew Jase would one day regret the years he'd spent arguing with his father.

On the way to school, there were no snide comments or innuendos about Luis going to the bar with Alec the night before. Jase sang along with the radio and drove as fast as usual. Betsy was waiting for Jase in the student parking lot. Before Luis got out of the car he smiled at Jase and said, “I'll see you here at five.” Then he walked to the outbuilding where they kept the landscaping equipment without looking back, listening to Betsy Melchiorri's piercing voice yammer on about nothing important, as she fawned and drooled all over Jase. Luis knew he couldn't interfere. But that didn't stop him from wishing ... dreaming ... he could hit the gutter bitch over the head with a two by four.

At lunchtime, Luis took a break and went for a walk to see if he could find Ashton. He wanted to find out if Ashton had come up with a way to help him return to the year 2011. Ashton was his only hope. When he found Ashton sitting alone at an empty table in the library, he sat down across from him and asked, “Have you figured anything out?”

“I'm having huge breakthroughs with the main component regarding the anatomic capacitor that fluctuates between diagnostic and hypothesis in medical equipment I'm hoping will change the world. And it's all thanks to some of the things you've told me.” There were books and notepads spread out across the table. Ashton was leaning forward on his elbows, smiling with the kind of exuberance no one ever saw Ashton display in public.

Luis reached for his hand. He squeezed it and said, “You're meant to invent all these things. It's your destiny. I've haven't told you anything you wouldn't have figured out on your own.”

Ashton reached for Luis's other hand. “You're the most amazing person I've ever met. I'm serious. You have the kind of intuitive personality that only comes along once in a while. And you have great feet, too.”

Luis sighed. He remembered Kyle had mentioned Ashton was into feet at the reunion. “Did you figure out anything to help me get back to my life in 2011?” It still made him cringe to speak aloud about this.

Ashton looked down at the table and frowned. “I've been very busy working on all this.” He gestured to his books and notes.

This is when Luis knew in his heart Ashton didn't believe him completely. Ashton had a scientific mind and he needed solid facts to back up any theory. There were no facts to back up time travel. So Luis slumped in his seat and said, “I should say good-bye then. I'll be leaving soon.” He saw no point in prolonging the inevitable.

Ashton stood up and hovered over him. He glanced down with a serious expression and said, “Where will you go?”

“I don't know,” Luis said. He felt a sting in his eye. Ashton was his last hope and he was on the verge of tears.

“You just got to Alaska,” Ashton said. “You can't keep floating around like a common drifter.”

“But I'm not a drifter,” Luis said. “I used to be, a long time ago. I wouldn't even give my dog a name because it was too permanent. But not anymore. I'm a stable, responsible person, with a family and a good job in the year 2011. I miss my life so much I can't stand it. For the first time, I'm starting to think I might be trapped here forever. And if that's the case, I can't stay in Alaska any longer.”

“You can't leave,” Ashton said. “Not after the way you've inspired me. There's so much more to talk about.”

“You'll be fine without me,” Luis said. “But I have to leave as soon as I can before anything else happens.” It terrified Luis to think he'd somehow change his future by remaining there. He leaned forward and said, “In the future, I meet Jase Nicholas in the next century. We meet by accident in New York when Jase is much older, we fall in love, and we get married. We find out Jase has a child and we build a wonderful family. Jase is one of those gay men who don't come out of the closet until they reach middle age.”

Ashton's eyes opened wider and he pressed his palm to his throat. “Jase Nicholas, the school jock, is gay?” Evidently Ashton hadn't been as observant as Alec. And this made sense to Luis. Very few in 1986 would ever have dreamed Jase Nicholas would one day be openly gay.

“You can't repeat this, Ashton. I shouldn't have even told you that much. I'm beside myself. I don't know where to turn.” Luis felt shaky, as if he were going to pass out. He clenched his fists and forced himself to be strong.

“Calm down,” Ashton said. “This is not something I would ever repeat. First, because you asked me not to repeat it. And second, because no one would ever believe me. Third, because I don't want Jase to beat the crap out of me.”

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