* ** * ** *
The welcome of a new day was sunlight turned shadow by thick curtains, birds chirping emphatically somewhere outside nearby. And Justin waking up to a still-sleeping JC and nudging his face against JC's cheek, neck, shoulder until JC arched back twang-tight, fists pushing through the air as he threw back his head and yawwwned.
They lay fronts facing, JC plopping a hand on Justin's shoulder and Justin one on JC's thigh, rubbing. Eyes closed, breathing pattern mingling, but aware to be aware of each other.
"If we hadn't done this," Justin wondered, referring to their hiatus, a two-birds-one-stone marketing move to launch his solo career and create a mini-crisis to make their audience desperate for another album, "how well do you think the follow-up to Celebrity woulda sold?"
"Well, we'll never know now, will we?" JC smirked savagely, eyes flashing ice before turning soft, and his smirk faded humorous. "Maybe we woulda flopped."
"Why risk it?" Justin intoned softly, words he'd heard until he'd voiced.
JC was quiet, then rolled onto Justin, and put his hands on his wrists, pinning them to the mattress. "You look so pretty in the morning."
"I'm sorry it's been so long since you last said that; my schedule's been crazy." Justin's hand cupped JC's ass, so warm.
"You have a lot to do." JC said, releasing one wrist to bring a hand to Justin's infant curls and twist his fingers into them hard. "Being a superstar ain't easy."
Justin hissed, cringing away. JC's leaned in and kissed his ear, whispered in it, lips sharing humid intimacy with flushed shell. "You look so pretty like this." His grasp eased suddenly. He petted Justin. "I love going to sleep with you and waking up to you." He'd taken it for granted for so long before they grew older and had separate lives. Now memories of doing both consecutively were something JC appreciated. Most recent meetings ended with a late night drop-off at the airport or a quick morning kiss while Lonnie honked.
"I miss you all the time." Justin said, "So I tell them 'cram everything in, keep me too busy to think'. I just exhaust myself so I can fall asleep without you. I've got some pills that knock me out good, but I only use them when I really need to."
"I close my eyes for two seconds and I'm out." JC said. "If I turn off the phones, I can sleep for days, until someone comes knocking at the door."
"We were worried about you," Justin said, "No one had been in touch with you, they didn't even know if you were still in town. I asked him to do it."
"I didn't mind." JC said, "Just that he came pounding on the door like a maniac screaming my name and scared the shit out of me. My first thought was, 'Something's happened to Justin and they sent Joey to get me'."
"You would have been mad if it was someone you didn't love." Justin looked down, batted his eyelashes twice, conscious to how that flashed shadows on his cheeks. "You love Joey."
"I'll always love Joey." JC agreed, "I loved Joey first." He kissed beneath Justin's eye. "I love Justin."
Justin's gaze lifted and locked JC's. "Me only."
JC hooked his leg over Justin's, "You best." and pulled himself closer until their bellies bumped. He kissed Justin again, and after so many years morning breath didn't matter, because they were so used to every taste of each other.
"Everything about me is because of you." JC said, "I could kill you and I wouldn't exist anymore."
They kissed for years until Justin pulled away.
"It's getting late, huh?" He said, "I should put my clothes on. You have to take me to the airport."
"No, shh, it's morning." JC insisted, reminding him. "It's early in the morning, just us. Nothing to do for a long time."
"JC, it's getting late." Justin said, "Are you okay to drive?"
JC waved a vague hand, "Who's on the road this time of night? Or we could call Lonnie, he wouldn't mind as long as y'all don't miss the flight. Damn us for saying you'd meet him up there." Justin was sitting up now and didn't appear to be listening and JC snapped irritably, "Justin?"
"I don't feel right." Justin put his hand to his nose, and then there was blood dripping from his palm. He fell back on the bed, blood running over his face, "JC, I don't feel right."
"Oh shit, Justin." JC sat up, his head swimming and got scared when he realized he didn't know how much they'd had, couldn't remember how much, how much, howmuch. And blood was everywhere, staining the sheets. "Oh shit, Justin, stop bleeding."
"I can't." Justin gasped, his skin ivory beneath blood and sweat. "JC, help me."
JC grabbed the top sheet, wiped him off desperately. "We should call Lonnie." Tears stung JC's eyes, fell like fat raindrops onto Justin's cheeks, then rolled down his face and into his mouth, gaped open.
Justin writhed off the bed, gulping erratic breaths as his eyes bulged and his fists and toes curled tight and then splayed as he convulsed, coughing blood; his face like he was being shocked empty.
JC smothered Justin's limbs with his own, trying to hold him down, calm him down. "We should call Lonnie." He said, watching horrified as Justin turned blue. "Let's call Lonnie."
It felt like something had been drawn from Justin's body, and left it uninhabited.
JC kissed him frantically, reached between Justin's thighs. "Come on, Justin. Come on." He squeezed, stroked with both hands, mouth salty and red. "Come on, come on, come on." He slid down Justin's body, held him and licked the head. "Wake up, Justin."
JC let go of him, slid up again to look into his face, his hands rising to rest on Justin's chest. "You look so pretty in the morning." JC dug his nails into Justin's skin. "You need to wake up."
He looked at the flesh beneath his fingers and realized what he had to do. "I'll stop if you wake up." JC promised, bringing both hands around Justin's left nipple and digging in, pushing with his nails through meat and bone until he'd exposed it. And he reached in, and it filled his entire hand when he pulled out Justin's heart. It felt like Damp and Raw, and JC sunk his teeth in carefully. It burst, and was hard to bite through and difficult to chew, but he managed. He ate the whole thing, dipping his hand over and again into Justin's chest for chunks that fell, to scoop the blood.
When he was done, he pieced Justin back together, pulling the skin taut until it touched and melded shut. He studied Justin's pec, found it so beautiful he had to suck on it, all over it and left patches of bruised skin.
The phone rang and it was Lonnie. JC said, "You'd better come over. Justin won't wake up."
Lonnie arrived soon after, and when JC answered the door he tensed immediately; alarmed. "Where's Justin?"
"In the bedroom." JC said, "He won't wake up."
Lonnie ran to the bedroom and JC followed at a more leisurely pace, stopping to lean against the doorframe, naked and bloody, and tilt his head as he watched Lonnie take Justin's pulse. "Don't bother with that." JC told him, "I ate his heart."
"What did you do to him?" Lonnie's hand hovered over the left side of Justin's torso. "He's all scratched up."
"Don't you get it?" JC came over, stood at the foot of the bed, at Justin's feet. "I would've died."
"What are you on?" Lonnie put his big, thick hands on each side of JC's head, checked his pupils. "We need an ambulance."
Lonnie let go of JC and pulled his cell out of his pocket, flipping it open and dialing. JC laid down on the bed, curled up beside Justin. He reached out to pet the newly grown curls and said, "So beautiful in the morning."