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Landry’s text read:  Celena’s coming for the weekend. Arriving Friday.  *panic*

Jeremy smiled.  He adores Landry’s little sister.  It’s been a while since he saw her.  Celena is in Landry’s words, the family’s baby, which is ironic considering that at age 17 she is as tall as Jeremy.  But she is the apple of Landry’s eyes.  So it probably means that Landry will be in a frenzy – cleaning  and organizing.

Jeremy was on his way to Landry’s apartment after a meeting with his agent.  Sponsorship deals and such were on the table and he couldn’t wait to tell Landry of the latest offers.  With all the stuff happening around Jeremy since the onset of Linsanity, Landry was his rock – the constant in his life here in New York City.

He rang the bell at Landry’s apartment – no one opened the door.  Well that can’t be right.  He should be home now, Jeremy thought.  He tried to see if the door would open – maybe Landry couldn’t hear the bell.  It wasn’t locked, so he went in.

“Hello,” Jeremy called out.  “Landry?”

Jeremy stood still.  Landry was hurrying, picking things up – he was a blur of activity.  Yup, definitely in a frenzy, Jeremy thought. It looked like Landry did not notice him come in.   When he did finally notice, he stopped, turned and locked gazes with Jeremy.  The brightest of smiles broke on his face – at least that’s how Jeremy would describe it.

They sauntered towards each other, smiling.

“Hi,” Jeremy said softly, leaning in for a kiss.

“Hey,” Landry answered, meeting him halfway.

Every kiss feels like the first time, Jeremy mused, as he locked lips with Landry.

“I missed you,” murmured Landry against Jeremy’s lips.

When they drew their lips apart, they kept each other in the embrace.  Jeremy didn’t really want to let go, because it was obvious that Landry was tense.  To relax Landry, Jeremy gave him a hug – immediately feeling Landry breathe out, tuck his head on his shoulders and mold himself against Jeremy.

“You okay?”  Jeremy whispered, releasing Landry.

“No.” grunted Landry.   “Celena is coming for a visit and my apartment looks like a frat pad.”

Jeremy laughed, “Aren’t you the drama queen today:”

Landry glared at him for a split-second and then grinned.  “Yeah, I am overreacting,” he admitted.  “Well, it’s not every day she comes for a visit.”  Landry started stacking magazines while talking.  Jeremy moved, picked up throw pillows, and smiled at the memory of strawberries and champagne.

When he turned to place an armful of pillows on the couch, Landry was standing still, looking at Jeremy with a sly smile on his face.  When he took the pillows from Jeremy’s arms to throw them on the floor, Jeremy’s heart skipped a beat.  Oh, boy… he thought when Landry tugged at his shirt to give him a hot kiss.

Not that tense anymore…

***

Celena was her usual sparkly self, talkative – and totally into Jeremy, Landry observed.

She and Jeremy were talking about him missing In-N-Out Burger.  If you want to charm Jeremy, you talk about food, he laughed to himself.

They ended a whirlwind Saturday with dinner at Clyde’s.  Celena had gotten a kick out of meeting Shump and JR there – they, too, were at the restaurant.  She took a lot of pictures and tweeted a lot.  Landry had wondered why she kept taking pictures with Jeremy – now he knew.

His little sister had a crush.  And judging by the way Jeremy was towards her, it seems he was totally oblivious.  Landry sighed.  Two of his most favorite people in the world were with him right now.  It warmed his heart to see them enjoy each other’s company.

I wonder how she’d react if she found out that Jeremy and I were together, Landry speculated.  Landry tried to brush the worry away.

“So you’re staying tonight, right?” Celena was asking Jeremy.  Jeremy hesitated, glancing at Landry.  “Come on,” she persisted.  “We can do karaoke battles.”

“Who says I have karaoke?” laughed Landry.

“Of course you do,” his sister argued. “You can’t live without it.  Well?” She asked Jeremy.

“I guess I can,” he smiled.

“That’s settled then.  Jeremy and I can sleep in the living room – you take the bed, chump,” Landry decided – that way, Jeremy and he can still be together even if they didn’t share a bed tonight.

***

What a day it has been, Celena thought, while brushing her teeth.  She was having the best time with Landry – and Jeremy, she added with a thrill.  Her phone had been buzzing all day; her friends pestering her about him.  Celena had tweeted photos and updates to keep them satisfied – and at the same time envious.  Not everyone comes close to Jeremy – she is lucky that he and Landry are best buddies.

They gave her a personal tour of MSG, took her souvenir shopping (for Knicks gear, of course), and they walked through Central Park while eating hotdogs.    The best part had been Jeremy showing her his new apartment.

When they walked to Times Square this afternoon Celena realized how popular Landry and Jeremy were.  They couldn’t walk a block without somebody saying hi, taking pictures of or with Landry and Jeremy, and even asking for autographs.  She thought the attention was too much.  How can Landry and Jeremy stand it – always having their faces recognized?  Yet they smiled and were very patient and courteous.

Their karaoke battle tonight was so much fun – the best way to end an awesome day.  They had to stop, though – Landry was afraid the neighbors would complain.  It was late anyway and Celena was tired.  As she went out the bathroom door, she looked towards the living room.  The boys had their backs to her – Landry and Jeremy were sitting on the couch.  Jeremy played with a video game, while Landry sat, his arms extended and resting on the couch’s back.  Then Landry moved his right hand to touch Jeremy – there where Jeremy’s hair and nape meet.

Celena stopped short in her tracks.

What was THAT?  Did Landry just caress Jeremy?

Then the moment was gone.  They sat joking now.  Jeremy got shot in the game and Landry was teasing him about it.  Celena did not know what to think.  Surprise is an understatement. She knew they were close – Jeremy and Landry have always been close, so close people are calling it a bromance.

But what if they were more than friends?

There had been more than the usual closeness between them today.  Celena hardly noticed it, but there had been small signs.  They stood and walked close to each other.  They exchanged certain looks – quick ones, she barely caught – that were filled with something.  Landry was surprisingly comfortable in Jeremy’s apartment and tonight when they were finding snacks for their karaoke battle, Jeremy and Landry moved around the kitchen in rhythm.  Jeremy definitely knew where stuff was in Landry’s apartment

Celena shook her head. You are making a mountain out of a molehill, girl, she told herself.

She made a shuffling sound with her slippers, so they’d know she was approaching.

“Well, good night, guys.  Thanks for a great day,” she said, giving her brother a kiss on the cheek and Jeremy the same.

“Sweet dreams, sis,” said Landry.

“Night,” ended Jeremy.

Celena went to bed thinking of Jeremy.  He is so cute, she thought, gliding into sleep.  If he was gay, she’d rather have him in a relationship with Landry than any girl in the world.

Early the next morning, Celena woke up.  The apartment was silent.  She tiptoed, afraid to wake up Landry or Jeremy, on her way to the bathroom.  As she silently crept by their sleeping forms on the living room floor, she saw something that made her heart jump.

Landry and Jeremy were fast asleep, alright – but they were holding hands!

Oh, my, that is so precious, Celena thought, totally melting at the sight of her brother sleeping peacefully, his hands braided with Jeremy’s.

Oh, wow…

Celena digested her feelings about Jeremy and Landry while she waited for them to wake up.

She used the rest of the day observing.

Landry was so relaxed – happy. There was a twinkle in his eyes, his laughter quick and light.  And Jeremy – what can you say about him?  Jeremy is near perfect in her eyes.  He obviously cared about Landry, their chemistry on the court was phenomenal (surprise, surprise) and they had so much in common.

Looking at the two of them, Celena could not help but think how good they looked together.

How can she be worried about that?

***

When it was time to leave, Celena stood alone in the living room with Jeremy.  Landry had gone down with most of her stuff.

“Have a safe trip home, Cee,” Jeremy said, enveloping her in a hug.  Celena gave him a tight squeeze, whispering, “Thank you for making him happy.”  Jeremy became still for a minute.

When he pulled back, he nodded, smiled and gave her a kiss on the cheek.

Landry was waiting for them downstairs.

When he gave Celena a bear hug, she clung to him tightly for a few minutes.

“What?” Landry asked when Celena kept on staring at him.  She took his face in her hands and said “You look happy – I love it.  Just remember as long as you are happy, things aren’t up to others to judge.”

“Oh, have fun in Miami with Jeremy,” she added, while entering the cab –  a twinkle in her eyes.

“Did she just…” Landry started to ask.

“Yes.  Your sister did not miss a beat,” answered Jeremy, grinning.

“Okay,” ended Landry with a shake of his head, still looking at the disappearing yellow cab.

 

Jump to Chapter 9: All Star