Part One: "Caterpillar"
"No, Justin." She said, pushing his hand away.
"Aw, come on," He coaxed, "You say you love me, right? Well, show me." He slid his hand up her thigh again.
"Justin, I said no." She pushed him away and sat up, "You know I want to wait until we're married."
"If we're getting married, what does it matter if we wait or not?" He pointed out.
"Since we're getting married, it shouldn't matter to you that I want to wait." Britney said, "We'll have our whole lives to do it."
"What if you die tomorrow?" Justin demanded, "What if the world ends? We'll die virgins. I don't want to go out like that, B."
Britney was quiet for a minute, "Justin, don't take this the wrong way, okay? The thing is, I hope one day we get married, I really, really do. I want to spend the rest of my life with you..."
"But?" Justin prompted.
"But, we're young, you know? I mean, we talk about marriage, but it's just that: talk." She lifted her right hand and pointed to her ring finger, "And until I have a ring on this finger, I'm not going to risk giving up such a big part of myself to anyone but my husband. Do you understand where I'm coming from?"
"Yhea, sure." Justin nodded, but really just wanted to tell her to get over herself. Life isn't a fucking fairy tale. Don't get all 'Princess Virgin' on me. You shake it like a slut for the whole goddamn world, but you won't even let your fucking boyfriend get to 3rd base? You're wearing a g-string in that picture of you in the dictionary next to "cocktease".
Justin couldn't help his mean thoughts. He was horny and pissed and a little drunk. He reached towards the bedside table for his beer, picked up the bottle only to find it empty. He sighed, then decided to make one last half-hearted attempt at getting laid, "If you trusted me, you'd do it."
"If you trusted me, you wouldn't ask me to. One day we'll be married and we'll do it non-stop. Okay?" Britney smiled at him, "Trust me."
Justin held back an exasperated groan as she started putting her shirt on. Just his luck, he'd found someone who'd put up with his schedule, who he'd known forever, and who really understood what he was going through, and she was a fucking prude.
The door opened suddenly, and Britney yelped and scrambled to finish buttoning her shirt. JC stood in the doorway, looking just as embarrassed as she did. "Oh, god, sorry. I didn't realize anyone was in here."
He started to close the door, but Justin stopped him, "Hey, wait."
JC opened the door hesitantly, "Yhea?"
"Can I have one?" Justin referred to the six-pack JC was holding. JC started to toss one to him, but Justin said, "Come have on with me. She was just leaving." Britney's head swiveled towards Justin in surprise. It was her habit to deny Justin and then make and excuse to leave, but she was surprised and offended that he'd volunteered her departure. He could tell she was upset. He didn't really care. "Well, you were, weren't you?" Real innocent, like he didn't realize she was pissed.
"I guess I was," Her voice was hard, "I mean, what do you need me for when you've got your beer and--" She stopped, but it didn't matter. Justin knew what she was about to say. Britney didn't care much for JC. There was no real reason she'd name for her feelings, she wouldn't even really admit she didn't like him, but Justin could tell. She'd get bitchy, well, bitchier, when JC was around. She'd make sarcastic comments under her breath that Justin sometimes caught. One particular comment she'd made had always stuck out. It'd happened almost two years ago, but the memory rang clear in Justin's mind. It was the fourth of July, they were having a barbeque at his mom's house, and everyone was just chilling in the backyard, talking and eating. JC had brought Justin a plate of food, and Britney had said, "He acts like he's your boyfriend." It was mumbled, not really meant for Justin's ears, but he'd caught it. He remembered that comment often, he wasn't really sure why.
Justin pulled himself out of his thoughts and smiled at Britney, a purposely fake smile, "Bye, then."
"Bye," JC offered her a beer, "One for the road?"
"No, thanks." Britney didn't even look at him, she was too busy glaring at Justin. She snatched her purse from the bed and stormed out, slamming the door shut as she left.
JC raised his eyebrows at Justin.
Justin shook his head, "Don't worry about it. She's in one of her moods." He held out his hand for a beer, "So, how's the party going?"
They were at one of Lance's many parties, or maybe the same party that had started when Lance moved in and had just never stopped. "It's wild down there. Joey's letting some guy take body shots off of him."
"Some guy?" Justin laughed, "How drunk is he?"
"Pretty damn drunk," JC grinned, twisting the cap off a beer before handing it to Justin.
He acts like he's your boyfriend.
"Thanks," Justin took a long drink, leaned back against the wall. "Sit," he patted the mattress. JC obediently took a seat next to Justin, copying his position, legs stretched out in front of him, back against the wall, "So, where's what's-her-face?"
JC shrugged, "Who cares?"
"Not you?" Justin remembered her name, he just didn't feel like saying it. He didn't like it. It was a stupid name.
"Not me." JC agreed, then grinned. Justin returned the grin. JC had no alcohol tolerance whatsoever. Scrawny bastard. Then again, Justin's own head was swimming from the beers he'd had. How many? He wasn't sure. Not all that many, he didn't think.
"So, why'd you come upstairs?" Justin asked, just to hear JC speak. He liked JC's voice.
"Just wanted to get away from all those crazy cats downstairs," JC made a face, "Plus, they had Creed on. 'With Arms Wide Open'. I fucking hate that song." Leave it to JC to use a phrase like "crazy cats." He said it like he knew it was outdated, like, "Hey, I just said 'cats'." And it was so dorky. And it made Justin smile. Leave it to JC to hate a song Justin couldn't stand. It seemed like the whole fucking world was kissing Creed's crappy ass, including Britney. She was always humming that damn song. He hated it.
"...and also, I was looking for you." Justin looked up sharply, into JC's eyes. He thought he heard something, saw something, but maybe he was just imagining it.
He acts like he's your boyfriend.
JC laughed and looked away, "Didn't realize you were busy. Sorry about that, by the way. Didn't mean to interrupt or anything."
Justin sipped his beer, raised an eyebrow, "Well, honestly, there was nothing to interrupt. As usual."
JC laughed again, looked at Justin like he wanted to ask a question, but didn't.
They sat in silence for a while, drank. Out of nowhere, Justin said, "Hey, you know what'd be cool?"
"What's that?" JC looked at him askance.
Justin took a sip, let it sit in his mouth for a minute before swallowing. "It would be cool if butterflies--"
"Could swim?" JC guessed.
"No." Justin paused, "Well, yhea, but no." He laughed a little, "I was thinking, it'd be cool if butterflies were born butterflies, instead of as caterpillars. Then there would be little baby butterflies, you know? Really small ones."
JC thought about it. Justin liked that, how JC thought about everything, took things seriously, but not too seriously. Justin could say anything to JC and not worry about getting the wrong reaction. JC's reactions were always just right. Joey would've laughed at Justin for saying that. Chris would've made fun of him. Lance would've just looked at him weird. JC thought about it, then said, "Yhea, that would be cool."
"It'd be cool if they could swim, too," Justin flicked JC's shoe with his toes absently, "On the surface of the water, real fast. That'd be sweet as hell."
JC nodded, running his thumb over the lip of his beer bottle.
Justin raised his voice a little, like people do when they've just thought of something, "You know what's kind of sad?"
"What's that?" JC drained the last of his beer and put the empty bottle back into the six-pack box. Justin handed JC his beer, not wanting it anymore.
Justin shifted so that he was laying on his side, looking up at JC, "Caterpillars never have sex."
JC choked a little on Justin's beer, "What?" JC smiled at Justin, the I-can't-believe-you-just-said-that-you're-so-fucking-cute smile that JC used to give him all the time when they were younger. Justin usually hated those kinds of smiles, but on JC he liked them. He smiled, too.
"Caterpillars never have sex. They go into cocoons, come out butterflies, and then they have sex. That's kind of sad, don't you think?" Justin watched JC sip his beer one last time before putting it away.
"I never thought about it before," JC set the six-pack on the floor, "but, yhea, I guess that is kind of sad." He turned on his side and copied Justin's position, head propped on one bent arm, so they were facing each other, "What made you think of that?"
"I don't know," Justin shrugged, "Just thinking about sex, I guess. Thinking about how I'm kind of like a caterpillar. Never gonna get any."
JC laughed, "You could have anybody."
Justin shook his head, "Not anybody."
"Not Britney," JC put his hand on Justin's head, his palm against Justin's ear and his fingers lightly buried in curls.
"Not anybody." Justin didn't know why he felt like he wouldn't have said that if he hadn't been drinking. JC's eyes were so intent; had that look again, like he wanted to say something, but didn't. Justin closed his eyes and rolled onto his back. He wanted to reach down to the foot of the bed and pull up the quilt folded across it, but felt too beer-fuzzy-warm to move. JC started to get up from the bed, and Justin stopped him with, "You're leaving?"
A pause. "Do you want me to stay?"
Justin didn't answer. Why would he want JC to stay? He was going to sleep, anyway. There was no reason for JC to stay. No reason at all. Finally, Justin shrugged, turned his head away. JC picked up the quilt, flapped it out and let it fall over Justin, tucking it around him. Justin kept his eyes closed, but he could feel JC studying him. JC sighed, smoothed Justin's curls and said softly, "You could have anyone." Then there was the sound of footsteps, and the light switch being flipped, and the door opening and closing.
He acts like he's your boyfriend.
Justin opened his eyes to the safety of the dark, opened his mouth and let all the things he might've said come out in a sigh. Why did he feel so concealed, like he was suffocating himself? He knew why, but he wouldn't know. He was scared to know. So, he let himself pretend he was just tired and horny and drunk. And he was all those things, but there was more. Things he didn't want to think about. Things that were too frightening and exhausting, when everything in his life was already frightening and exhausting. The fame. The fans screaming and the constant travelling and worrying about it all ending and wanting it to all end and knowing that the whole world was watching with expectant eyes. There was no time to be imperfect, or scared, or human. No time to think.
Justin closed his eyes and refused to admit the bed was lonely, refused to think about who could make it seem less lonely. He pulled the quilt tighter around him, pulled it over his head so the only thing exposed was his nose. He took a deep breath, and the air he breathed in seemed to come from a different world than the one that existed inside the quilt. He was sweating, but he couldn't bring himself to move. He didn't really feel safe or comfortable, just covered.