"With A Little Help From My Friends"
Part 3: "Plan B" CONT.
By Cody

* ** * ** *

"It's been forty-five minutes. The pizza's free after half an hour, right?" Joey lay on his bed, his hands behind his head.

Lance, fresh out of the shower, shrugged, "I don't know. I don't think so." He went to his suitcase to get some clothes.

"Why are you so pale?" Joey asked, looking Lance over.

"Why are you so fat?" Lance countered.

"I'm not fat!"

"Well, I'm not pale." Lance pulled on boxers, let his towel fall from his waist, and put on pants. "Why are you watching me get dressed, anyway?"

"It's like a car wreck," Joey told him, "Gruesome, but you can't help but look."

"If I'm a car wreck, you're the Titanic." A pillow flew across the room and hit Lance's head. Lance picked up the pillow, sniffed it, made a face. "Whoo, doggie. Why does your pillow smell like puke?"

Joey laughed, "Must be the one Justin used last night."

Lance looked at Joey questioningly, "Last night?"

"Yhea, me and Justin went clubbing, and he got shit-faced and barfed all over my shoes." Joey frowned, "They were expensive ones, too."

"Where was JC?" Lance was confused.

"I don't know. Not with us. Anyway, I had to leave the club to put Justin to bed. He was seriously drunk. It was fucked up. He was all depressed about Britney or something."

"Britney?" Lance quirked an eyebrow.

"Yhea, cause he'd planned this whole dinner-thing, and then she dumped him. It didn't go to waste, at least. Me and Dana ate it." Joey licked his lips, remembering the meal.

"Wait." Now Lance was really confused. "What dinner-thing?"

"Justin had planned a surprise dinner for Britney. It was all set up in his room. He said since Britney dumped him, he didn't need it anymore, so he let me and Dana eat it. It was pretty good." He looked at his wristwatch, "Where's that fucking pizza?"

There was a silence. "Justin didn't set up that dinner."

Joey gave Lance a surprised look, "Yhea, he did."

"No, he didn't." Lance was speaking more to himself than to Joey, his brain working to make sense of the new information.

"Yhea, he did." Joey nodded his head in affirmation, "He told me so."

"So, you and Dana ate the dinner, and then the three of you went clubbing...and Justin got drunk and slept in here...and JC..." It was all coming together. The fight at the club over what JC and Lance were doing in Chris's room, the tension at breakfast, the forgiveness in Justin's smile at rehearsal, the hurt in his eyes. Justin thinks... Lance almost laughed out loud at his realization, He thinks me and JC...

A knock came at the door. "Pizza!" Joey cried triumphantly, jumping off the bed to answer the door. After paying for it, he started to settle back onto his bed, but Lance stopped him.

"Hey, Joe, would you mind taking that to Chris's room or something?" He had to get rid of Joey and call Britney. Now.

"Why?" Joey opened the pizza box, and Lance sensed Joey was going to give him a hard time.

"I want to masturbate." Lance said, knowing that would get rid of him.

Joey's eyes went wide. He sprung from the bed, balancing the pizza box on one arm as he reached for the doorknob. "See ya!" he called, slamming the door behind him.

Lance laughed, picked up his cell phone. Okay, Brit, he thought, dialing her number, We tried it your way. Now, we're gonna try it my way.

* ** * ** *

JC unlocked the door to the hotel room and let Justin go in first. "Thanks," Justin glanced at JC, who smiled in welcome. Justin, who always got first shower, started to undress. He pulled off his shirt, tossed it onto his bed, and was beginning to unbutton his pants when he caught sight of JC in the dresser mirror. JC was sitting on his bed, staring at Justin's back. It wasn't vacant or random, but a deliberate, engaged stare. JC was looking in the mirror now, studying Justin's torso. His gaze raised languidly, savoring every inch of Justin's body, until they were looking directly into the reflection of each other's eyes. Justin felt his mouth go dry. He licked his lips nervously. JC copied the action. Justin, his hands almost trembling with emotion, unbuttoned his pants. He reached for the zipper and slowly began to pull it down. JC licked his lips again, but this time when he ran his tongue along his full bottom lip, it wasn't in nervousness, but rather anticipation. Justin's hands gripped the waist of his pants, hesitated. He held his breath, felt light-headed. They stared into the reflection of each other's eyes, frozen in want.

A phone rang, and they both jumped. Justin breathed again, his heart pounding wildly. He realized the phone ringing was his cell. It was in the pocket of his jacket. JC tossed him the jacket, and Justin pulled out the cell, taking a calming breath before answering it, "Hello?"

"Hey, J!" It was Britney, sounding hyper-perky.

"Hey," Justin glanced at JC, who was looking at him expectantly. "Go ahead and take first shower." JC nodded, went into the bathroom. Justin watched the door close behind him, then sat down on his bed heavily.

"Ooh, who are you talking to?" Britney crooned, "JC? Can I talk to him?"

"Uh..." Justin buttoned his pants, zipped them up. "He's about to get in the shower."

"Oh, really?" A suggestive giggle, "Why don't you join him?"

"What?" Justin couldn't believe Britney would say something like that, so insensitive, making fun of his feelings.

"Sorry, J, am I embarrassing you?" She laughed. Justin didn't reply. "Oh, J, don't be mad. I just wanted to know if you had a good time last night."

Justin grimaced, remembering how drunk he'd gotten, "Well, I don't really remember much. It's all a blur. I just know I passed out, and when I woke up this morning I felt all dizzy and shit."

"Holy Fuck!" Britney exclaimed, deeply impressed, "You *passed out*?"

"Hell, yhea, I did. I was seriously fucked last night...and when I say fucked, I mean fucked. I couldn't even walk; it was crazy. As soon as my head hit the pillow, I just blacked out." Justin didn't really get why Britney was freaking out. She acts like she's never gotten wasted before. Yhea, right!

"Fuck, J! That's fucked up!" Britney cried in disbelief.

"Oh, come off it, Brit. Don't pretend you've never done it before. You're not fooling anyone but yourself!" Justin distinctly remembered a party in L.A. where Britney had gotten so drunk she'd passed out in a puddle of her own vomit in the back of a limo. No one had found her for a full hour.

"Justin Randall Timberlake!" Britney screeched, "How *dare* you talk to me like that?!" She hung up on him.

He thought about calling her back, but decided it would be better to let her cool off first. "What's her problem?" he muttered, "Must be that time of the month."

He kicked off his socks and shoes, falling back on the bed as he waited for his turn to shower. His breath quickened as he thought of the way JC had been staring at him. What the hell was that about? Justin brought his hands to his curls, tugged them thoughtfully, I know I didn't imagine it, he was looking at me like...like he wanted me. Justin mulled over that thought, relishing it. But he doesn't want me, he's in love with Lance...Maybe he just wants to have sex with me. A shiver passed through his body, Maybe he wants to have sex with me. Justin's hand came down to rub over his chest, God, but that wouldn't be enough...I want him, I want him so fucking bad it hurts, but that wouldn't be enough. I don't just want to fuck him, I want to own him. He sighed, then frowned, What did he think he was doing, anyway? He's with Lance. He's in love with Lance. Why the hell was he looking at me? Justin got up and looked at himself in the mirror appraisingly, Well, I guess I can't blame him for that... He turned to the side, admiring himself, And it's not like he really did anything. He was just looking...no harm in that...I'm just making a big deal out of...out of nothing. It was nothing. Justin heard the shower stop and lingered outside of the bathroom door impatiently.

A minute later, it swung open, and JC appeared, a towel swathed around his hips. "So, who was that on the phone?" He asked, casually leaning his back against the doorframe.

Justin gulped, tried to think. "Uh..." God, that girl, what was her name? The one with the fake-- "Britney."

"Oh, yhea?" JC's right hand came up, trailed slowly across his abs, "What'd she want?" His hand came to rest on the towel, his thumb dipping under the material, his fingers seeming to point to his crotch.

Justin ripped his eyes away from JC's body, looked up at his face. JC was smiling, just barely. The corners of his lips were turned delicately upwards. Justin's feet moved of their own accord, bringing him closer to JC. He stopped, not a foot away, licked his lips.

JC tilted his head back, rested it against the doorframe. His voice came like velvet, "Was she looking for Lance?"

Lance. The name hit Justin right between the eyes. Lance. Justin shook his head, not just to disagree with JC's words, but to clear his thoughts. He took a step back. "Uh, no. No, she just wanted to talk."

JC immediately regretted mentioning Lance when he saw how the name effected Justin. Good job, jack ass. JC scolded himself, Way to bring up a touchy subject. Justin and Lance seemed to be getting along at rehearsal. I didn't think he was still that upset about the whole Lance-and-Britney thing. Apparently, I was wrong. JC put his hand on Justin's shoulder, "Justin, are you okay?"

Justin couldn't meet JC's eyes. JC's hand on his skin was almost too much for him. He stared at JC's chest, trying to calm his breathing and his thoughts. Finding out JC was gay had broken something inside of Justin, some form of self-control. It had crumbled the invisible barrier that had kept Justin at bay over the years. Emotions, urges, were coming stronger than ever before, crashing over Justin like a tidal wave. But now there was a new barrier, Lance. JC's love for Lance. Justin's friendship with Lance. Justin was struggling to keep that in his mind, when all he really wanted was to forget everything but his desire.

JC's hand traveled up from Justin's shoulder to his neck, his fingers tracing little circles. "Justin?" JC's voice was quiet, smooth, coaxing. Justin closed his eyes. JC brought his other hand to Justin's neck, gently guiding him forward. Justin obligingly stepped nearer, until he was so close to JC that the body heat from their bare torsos blended, enveloping them in an aura of warmth.

JC, still leaning back against the doorframe, closed his eyes as he pulled Justin in until their noses brushed each other's cheeks. Their breath came like fire against their skin. Slowly, JC began to turn his lips towards Justin's and heard him gasp as JC's erection pressed against his thigh.

Justin stumbled back, his eyes flying open. JC's hands fell away from Justin's neck. They both looked at each other in shock. "Justin..." JC was ashamed. Ashamed that he'd become aroused while he was supposed to be comforting Justin, ashamed that all day he'd been thinking about seducing Justin when he should've been concerned with Justin's pain, and ashamed that, at a time like this, he couldn't stop staring at Justin's lips. He looked into Justin's eyes, saw the hurt, the bewilderment. JC tried to pull Justin into a hug, but Justin moved further away. "Justin, I'm sorry."

Justin just shook his head, unable to speak. JC came closer, tried again to hug him, and once again Justin stepped back. JC stopped, let his arms fall to his sides in defeat. They stared at each other. JC's eyes were full of regret and apology. Justin's were full of confusion, pain, and almost resentment.

A knock came at the door. They both looked towards the door, then back at each other. Another knock. JC went to answer it. A short teenaged boy in a red uniform thrust a pizza box at him, "You order a pizza?"

"No, that's one door down." JC pointed. He flinched a little as he heard the bathroom door slam closed.

"Oh, okay. Sorry 'bout that." The boy called as he walked away.

"No problem." JC mumbled, closing the door and leaning against it. He looked at the bathroom door, debating whether or not to knock on it. He heard the shower start and sighed, going to the dresser to get some clothes. Shit. he thought, pulling on boxers, I've really fucked up this time.

* ** * ** *

Britney didn't pick up her phone, so Lance left a voice message, "Hey, Brit. This is me, Lance. I need to talk to you...it's pretty important. I mean, it's not life or death, but...well, it's kind of life, I guess, not really death, though." Having the distinct feeling he was either rambling, or about to start, Lance hurried to wrap it up, "Anyway, just gimme a call whenever you get a chance. Bye."

A minute later, the phone rang. "Hello?"

"Hey, I didn't pick up cause I thought you were Justin." It was Britney.

Lance found himself smiling at the sound of her voice. "Why would Justin be calling from my cell?"

"Cause I'm mad at him, and if he called me from his cell I'd see the number and not pick up. So, I thought maybe he was calling from your cell to try and trick me, or something." Britney explained, like it was obvious.

"Oh." Lance paused, "Well, no. I haven't seen Justin since we got back from rehearsal."

"So, what'd you need to talk to me about?"

"Why are you mad at Justin?" Lance was curious.

"You first, you said it was important." She reminded him.

"Oh, yhea," Lance tried to think of a nice way to say 'You're plan sucked'. "Well, things didn't go exactly as well as they could have last night."

"What do you mean? I talked to Justin. Sounds like things went pretty well to me." She laughed a little.

"Well, they never actually ate the dinner." Lance said.

"They just skipped to the good part?" He could tell Britney was smiling, "Good for them."

"No, I mean, they never even saw each other last night. Justin went out clubbing with Joey, got drunk and passed out. He thought the dinner was for me and JC, so he let Joey and that reporter eat it. Then he went out and got smashed and threw up all over the place. Joey brought him back to our room and he passed out." Lance could hear Britney breathing, he waited patiently while she absorbed all he'd said. Suddenly, she started cracking up. That was hardly the response Lance had expected. "I'm not kidding." He assured her.

"I know!" She laughed, "That's not why I'm laughing. It's just..." She laughed harder, "Oh, God!" she gasped, trying to catch her breath, "Oh, God...it's just, I was talking to Justin earlier, and..." her laughter was subsiding now, "Anyway, when he told me he'd passed out last night, I thought..." she giggled, trailed off. "So, Justin thinks you and JC are together?"

"Yhea," Lance smiled a little, "Ain't that some shit? But he's not holding it against me, which is pretty cool of him."

"What about JC?"

Lance considered, "I don't know. He's acting kind of weird, I guess, but I don't think he thinks me and Justin are together."

"How do you know?"

"Well, for one thing, he hasn't tried to kill me...and he left me alone with Justin at rehearsal. If JC thought I wanted Justin, he would either kill me or not let me within fifty feet of him. Or both."

Britney thought back to a few occasions during the MMC days when some of the older boys had tried to tease Justin. Those were the only times she'd ever really seen JC mad. "Yhea, he does get kind of weird when it comes to Justin." She agreed. "So, I guess my little dinner wasn't such a great idea after all, huh? Things are even more screwed up now than they were to begin with."

"You had good intentions," Lance consoled, "It's not your fault."

"Yhea, I guess." But Lance could tell she was disappointed that her plan hadn't worked. "So, what now? We've got to do something, make things right. I'm sure you think we should just butt out, but--"

"No, not at all," Lance interrupted her, "I think we definitely have to help them get together. In fact, I've already come up with a fool-proof plan."

"Oh, yhea?" Britney sounded vaguely impressed, "What is it?"

"Beer." Lance said simply.

"Beer." Britney repeated. "That's your plan? Beer? That's not a plan, that's a beverage."

"Well, your plan was roses, mine's beer. I'll tell you what, I know what I'd rather get a dozen of on Valentine's Day." Lance defended Beer, which had always been there for him in times of need.

"Okay, so what? We get 'em drunk? That's your whole plan?" Britney didn't sound even vaguely impressed anymore.

"No, that's not my whole plan. There's a lot more to it than that!" He paused, "Well, okay, not a lot more, but there's more."

"Like what?" Britney demanded.

"Uh..." Okay, so maybe that was the whole plan. Lance thought quickly, " Like...like bud. We'll provide some stinky green, loosen 'em up a little, then just, you know...let the good times roll."

Britney laughed shortly, "That's your plan: Beer and Bud? You're just gonna get them wasted and hope they stumble into bed together?"

"Well, let's don't knock it till we try it," Lance said, a little defensively, "I let you try your plan, now it's my turn."

"Fine," Britney sighed, "I guess it's worth a shot. So, when are we gonna execute this brilliant plan?"

"Well, we can't really do anything until after the VMA's, but as soon as we get back to Orlando, the H is O."

"The H is O?" Britney questioned.

"The Heat is On. It's from this old SNL skit. It was--"

"Yhea, okay, I'm sure it was funny as hell." Britney interrupted him, "You can tell me all about it sometime, but right now let's concentrate on the matter at hand. What do we do until we get back to Orlando?"

"Just play it cool, I guess." Lance hadn't really thought about that. "Stay on their good sides, cause they gotta be wanting to hang out with us when we get back to Florida in order for the plan to work."

"Well, what about Justin thinking you're with JC?" Britney asked, "You have to tell him that's not true."

"What do you want me to do, go up to him and say, 'Hey, by the way, me and JC aren't fucking?'" Lance made a face, there was no way he was going to have that conversation with Justin.

"Well, not in those words..."

"Forget it." Lance's tone left no room for persuasion. "No way."

"Lance!" Britney cried, "He needs to know that you and JC aren't together!"

"You're right, he does." Lance agreed, "You tell him."

"Fine." Britney bit the word, "What am I supposed to say?"

"I don't know." Lance shrugged, even though she couldn't see him, "All I know is, I'm not telling him."

"Well, I guess I could just..." Britney deliberated, "I could tell him that me and you had dinner together last night, and let him figure the rest out himself."

"Letting them figure things out for themselves hasn't gotten us very far." Lance pointed out, "Maybe you should try a more direct approach."

"True..." Britney admitted, "Okay, I'll just...I'll just say...What do I say? He'll get pissed if he knows I told you about him, unless I tell him we read JC's diary--"

"But then JC will get pissed if he knows about that." Lance cut in.

"So, how can I let Justin know that you and JC aren't together without letting him know that I told you about him *or* that we read JC's diary?"

"You could--" Lance started to blurt out the first idea that popped into his head, but stopped himself.

"I could what?"

"Nothing. Never mind." Lance said quickly.

"No, what is it? I could what?"

"Nothing. It's stupid." Lance wanted her to let it go, wanted her to make him say it.

"What is it?"

"You won't want to do it." Lance warned.

"Just tell me." She persisted.

"Fine." He said, like she was twisting his arm, "You could tell him that me and you are together. I mean, we could pretend we're together."

"Me and you?" Britney laughed a little, Lance died a little.

"Yhea, well, I told you it was stupid." He mumbled.

"No, it's not stupid. That's actually a really good idea." Lance could hear water running in the background, "Hey, I'm about to take a bath, but how about we all have dinner together tonight? We'll order in and just hang out, and then when everyone's leaving, I'll ask Justin to stay and tell him then."

"Uh, okay." Lance tried not to think about Britney in the bathtub. "I'll, uh, okay. I'll tell everyone."

"All right. I'll give you a call when I'm dressed." He could hear some splashing, like she was swirling the water with her arm.

"Okay," Lance wondered if she used bubble bath. Probably. She probably used all that good-smelling girly bath stuff and scented candles and shit. "Later."

"Later." She agreed, and hung up.

Lance laid back on his bed, looked around the empty room. Now that he was off the phone, he let his mind wander freely. He thought about what he'd said to get rid of Joey. He thought about Britney in the tub. He thought it would be a shame to waste an empty hotel room.

* ** * ** *

Justin sat in the bathtub, his back against the wall, his legs crossed Indian-style, the spray of the shower hitting his skin like warm rain. He closed his eyes, let the heat of the water soothe him. He was confused, aroused, angry. Scared, Hurt, Pissed Off and Turned On. One hand went up to his curls, tugged; the other went between his thighs, stroked. JC's erection...JC's cock hard and pressing against him...JC was hard for *me*. Justin bit his lip, remembering JC's scent, JC's hot breath, JC's smooth skin, JC's luscious voice. Justin tightened his grip on his cock, gave it a few hard strokes, stopped to rub his thumb over the head. He brought his thumb to his mouth, sucked off the pre-cum and imagined it was JC's. He let out a sigh that was more like a silent moan than a breath. JC was so close, almost naked, wearing just that towel-- I could've pulled it off easily-- hard for me. Wanting me. Wanting to fuck me.

He frowned as a thought occurred to him, But he's with Lance. He wanted to fuck me, but he's in love with Lance. Fucking Asshole. Playing with my emotions. Trying to cheat on Lance with me. Trying to get me to betray Lance, one of my best friends, just so he can get some ass. The more Justin thought about it, the angrier he got, Fucking Asshole. What kind of a person is he? I would've never expected that of him. How can he say he loves Lance, and then come on to me?

Justin's legs were starting to cramp, and his erection had wilted, so he stood up and reached for the shampoo. It felt odd, putting blame on JC. That JC could be in the wrong was a completely foreign concept to Justin, and he habitually began defending JC. So, he got hard. So what? You can't always control that. I mean, he was nearly naked, and I wasn't wearing a shirt, and we were touching...the way he was watching me undress earlier, he's obviously attracted to me...it was just a physical reaction. He couldn't help it. He didn't actually try anything, and he looked guilty as hell for having a hard-on. It was just a meaningless physical reaction that he wasn't going to act on. He's too loyal for that, too good. He would never cheat on someone he loved.

Justin was feeling better now. His resentment towards JC was fading fast, swirling down the drain with the shampoo he was rinsing from his hair. The pain of knowing he'd never have JC remained, but Justin was used to that. As long as JC stayed on his pedestal, Justin could handle the pain, almost welcomed it. Love and Longing had become so blurred over the years that Justin almost thought of them as one in the same when it came to JC. The fact that Justin considered JC perfect made not having him hurt so much more, but Justin would have it no other way. JC knew no evil, had no flaws.

It's my fault. Justin eagerly accepted the notion, anything to absolve JC in his heart and mind. He rubbed soap over his skin, the lather covering him like blame. I shouldn't have been undressing in front of him...at least, not after I realized he was watching me. I shouldn't have been walking around shirtless after I realized he was attracted to me. I was tempting him. It was me who was trying to get him to betray Lance, even if it was subconscious on my part. Now JC's feeling ashamed of himself, and it's all my fault.

Justin, fully lathered, stepped directly under the showerhead, closing his eyes and turning his face upwards. I have to help JC. I have to be a good friend to him. Good friends don't tempt others. Good friends don't make others feel ashamed. I have to be more careful. Justin washed the last of the soap from his body and turned the water off. He felt better now, as though the act of cleaning his body has also cleansed his mind. He felt good about himself, about his role as the Good Friend. He was accepting JC and Lance's relationship, he was resolving to help JC avoid temptation, he was sacrificing his own happiness for the sake of his friends'. He was being a Good Friend, a Good Person.

He reached for one of the terry-cloth hotel robes that hung in the bathroom. Usually, he would've just gone into the bedroom wearing a towel, but now things were different. He was going to be careful from now on not to tempt JC in any way. He would be more modest, more discreet. He'd dress in the bathroom and wear more than just boxers to bed. He would even go so far as to refrain from thinking dirty thoughts around JC. Thinking dirty thoughts *about* JC, well, that was different. After all, Justin reasoned, I'm only human.

He wiped the foggy bathroom mirror with his hand, smiled softly at his reflection. He liked the idea of all the self-denial that lay ahead. Each act of repression would be a feat of love, where before it was merely a triumph of cowardice. Now, every time he didn't tell JC about his true feelings, he wouldn't have to admit that he was too scared to, he could instead tell himself that his silence was a tribute to his restraint. Justin reached for the doorknob, eager to begin the new game.

* ** * ** *

JC had just finished dressing when another knock came at the door. This time it was Joey, eating a slice of pizza while balancing the box between his hip and arm. "What's up?" JC asked, hoping Joey wouldn't stay.

"What's on tv?" Joey pushed passed JC and flopped down on JC's bed, setting the pizza box beside him.

JC sighed, closing the door. "I don't know. The remote's right there." He pointed to the controller, which was on the floor by his bed.

Joey extended his arm, but didn't move his body. He wiggled his fingers towards the remote, "Can't...Reach..."

"Then move your fat ass." JC told him, propping one of the pillows on Justin's bed behind his back so he could sit against the headboard.

Joey shifted his body a fraction of an inch. "Too...far..."

JC raised an eyebrow at Joey, who looked at him pleadingly, still wiggling his fingers towards the remote. After a minute, JC gave in. "God, I hate you." JC leaned down and got the remote, then threw it at Joey.

It hit Joey in the head before falling to the bed, but Joey didn't mind. He picked up the clicker and smiled at JC, "Thanks."

"Whatever." JC muttered, wishing Joey would leave. Well, actually, JC thought, glancing towards the bathroom as he heard the shower stop, Maybe it's better that he's here. I don't know if Justin's pissed at me, but I know he won't say anything about it in front of Joey. That was one thing about Justin, he could keep a secret, and he would never deliberately embarrass JC. I really hope I didn't completely fuck things up between Justin and me. I don't want him to get all freaked out. I'm such a fucking idiot! He was so cool about me being gay, he didn't even mind that I'm in love with him, all he asked was for some time to get used to it, and what do I do? The minute we're alone together, I'm all over him like skank on a ho. He's probably afraid to come out of the bathroom, thinking I'm gonna try to fucking jump him if I see him in a towel. JC hated himself for getting turned on by the thought of Justin in a towel. He loved post-shower Justin, all moist and fresh, wearing nothing but a little rectangle of fabric. He reached for the pillow that lay beside him and nonchalantly placed it over his lap, darting a glance at Joey. Joey was completely oblivious, flipping through channels and dribbling pizza sauce on his shirt.

The bathroom door opened, and JC's gaze swung towards it automatically. He quickly looked away, forced himself to stare at the television. Justin emerged from the bathroom, wearing a long, thick robe, the belt tied tight, and smiled, "Hey, Joe."

"Hey, Curly." Joey folded a slice of pizza in half and took a large bite.

Justin went to his suitcase and got a change of clothes, then made his way back to the bathroom to dress. JC's heart sank. So, he does feel weird now. He's afraid to dress in front of me, even with Joey here. JC brushed the pillow off his lap and sighed. A few minutes later, Justin came out of the bathroom, wearing a long-sleeved t-shirt and baggy jeans. Trying to cover up? JC asked him silently, Too bad you're sexy as shit no matter what you wear!

Justin looked at JC's bed, saw that there was no room with Joey sprawled on it, and then over at his own bed, where there was plenty of room. JC scooted over a little, just to emphasize how much room there was. See? Plenty of room, nice and comfy. Come on over, I promise I won't try anything. JC thought, giving Justin his most innocent smile. Justin looked from his bed to JC, over to Joey, back to his bed, back to JC. "Come sit down." JC blurted. Oh, fuck. he cursed himself, Good fucking job, Josh. You're gonna completely scare him off.

Justin hesitated for a moment, glanced at Joey, and then went to the bed and sat on the far edge. He was as far from JC as possible, and had to crane his neck to see the tv screen. "Can you even see from over there?" The words just slipped out of JC's mouth. Justin stared at JC for a full minute before shaking his head negatively. "Well, come here." JC patted the spot beside him on the mattress. By now JC was convinced aliens were controlling his body, or that he'd been possessed by Satan, or something. He had no fucking idea where his words or actions were coming from. Justin eased closer, and JC wrapped his arm around the blonde, pulling him across the bed until their hips bumped. "I'm not gonna do anything." JC whispered, his arm still wrapped around Justin's waist.

Justin had tensed when JC touched him, but relaxed at JC's words. He slipped his arm around the older man's waist. I'm not tempting him just by sitting by him, Justin told himself, and to prove it, he didn't lay his head on JC's shoulder like he wanted to. They sat, arms around each other's waists, legs stretched out in front of them, and forced themselves to watch the movie Joey had chosen, Baseketball. It was funny as hell, one of their all-time favorites, and soon they forgot to be uncomfortable and started laughing.

There were a few scenes they'd forgotten about; otherwise they would've told Joey to change the channel. Like the part where the Beers play the San Francisco Ferries. The male cheerleaders danced around in white boxer-briefs, rubbing their bare chests sensually. Without meaning to, JC slid his hand up Justin's t-shirt, tickled his side a little. They laughed, but it was mildly uneasy. Then, there was the locker room scene, where it showed back-shots of Matt Stone and Trey Parker naked. Justin and JC didn't know whether to look away, so they wouldn't seem interested in watching naked men, or if looking away would only prove their extreme interest in naked men. Joey, by this time, had fallen asleep, and was going through cycles of deep breathing and snoring.

"God, that's annoying." Justin said, as Joey stopped snoring and started merely breathing loudly. "How does Lance stand that?"

"I don't know." JC rested his head on Justin's shoulder, the hand he had under Justin's shirt rubbed slowly up and down the blonde's waist.

"Do I snore?" Justin asked, trying not to get excited by JC's touch. We're just friends, this isn't wrong...I'm not touching him back...and, anyway, Joey's in the room. That makes it okay. He glanced over at Joey and was reassured by the presence of a third person in the room.

"No," JC turned his body towards Justin, lying on his side, "You don't snore at all. You're like an angel when you sleep."

Justin looked down at JC, touched by the sincerity in his tone. Neither man meant to move, but somehow their faces were suddenly very close. Their gaze was intense, and Justin's eyes fluttered closed. Unable to resist, JC closed the distance between them, finally capturing Justin's tender, pink lips with his own. The hand beneath Justin's shirt massaged his waist, while JC's free hand buried into Justin's curls, pulling him deeper into the kiss. JC pushed Justin's lips apart with his tongue, moaning softly as he slipped into the wet warmth of Justin's mouth.

An odd thought ran through JC's head, he found himself recalling the story of Judas, the man who betrayed Jesus with a kiss. It suddenly seemed to make so much sense, that the son of God had been captured and killed as a result, because, at that moment, JC could think of nothing in the universe more powerful than a Kiss.

* ** * ** *

Go towards the light...

Back to Fiction Index