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

* ** * ** *

Everything about this was new.

The way Justin's mind was working, reeling and lucid and in fuzzy slow-motion all at once. He scrambled to make some semblance of sense, raw electricity in his brain desperately writhing to shape itself into coherent thoughts.

How Had This Happened? First they were laughing, then they were talking, then they were touching, then they were kissing. Or had the touching come before the talking? It seemed like there had never been a time when they hadn't been touching. Maybe they'd been born touching. Doesn't make sense. Not making sense. Justin half-realized, but the thought slipped away as quickly as it came.

Kissing JC was all he Knew.

Kissing JC was like kissing a million people at once.

Kissing JC was five senses bleeding into one mass of Sensation. Justin tasted JC, but the taste was also JC's scent, and the feel of JC's hot, firm flesh, and the liquid sounds their lips made, and the memories that came so fast Justin could barely register them.

Kissing JC was a drug that killed and cured and was instantly addictive.

Kissing JC was like kissing himself. It was like masturbating. There was the comfort of home, of trust and safety, an extreme, sensuous familiarity. There was the thrill of a touch that knew exactly how to make it burn.

JC, who was lying on his side with one hand kneading Justin's waist and one entwined in Justin's hair, had no leverage. He slipped down the mattress a little, his lips falling away from Justin's, and Justin instinctually pulled him into a tight, secure embrace. Justin's tongue came out to shyly lick JC's upper lip, and was immediately invited into his mouth. Their tongues were hot and slippery, velvet tops and slick undersides gliding together. JC's hand clenched Justin's curls, and it seemed to be the only thing anchoring him to this world. Justin was teetering on the edge of nameless things, grasping to recall reality, and all that kept him from losing himself was that hand tugging gently on his hair.

He was submerged in the experience of JC, drowning eagerly in the knowledge of what it was to be wanted and savored by him. Justin's hands were under JC's shirt, pushing it up, hurrying to learn every inch of the smooth, muscular back.

JC's hand stopping massaging Justin's waist just long enough to pull up Justin's t-shirt, and then grasped his waist once more, pulled him closer until their exposed stomachs touched. The ridges of their abdomens met, and JC wrapped one of his legs over both of Justin's, shifted so that he was laying half on top of him, and pressed his erection against Justin's.

Justin extracted his tongue from JC's mouth so they could breathe, but they didnít stop kissing. Their mouths were open, they panted into each other, their lips still touching. Always touching.

Justin turned his head away slightly, and JC quickly moved to catch it, luring it back with swollen lips. The moist bait was eagerly accepted, and the force of their kisses surged with renewed urgency.

Time Stopped and Nothing Existed.

All they could think of was how they couldn't think. All they could feel was that they felt too much. Their mouths and bodies melted into each other, they moved in lush patterns, exploring and tasting, until neither could remember what it was like to do anything but kiss and kiss and kiss and kiss.

* ** * ** *

Oh, God, this is everything. JC thought, but it wasn't enough. His hands glided over tan torso before coming to rest on narrow hips, and he eased himself down, trailing a wet mouth over hot, bare skin. JC lowered himself until the hands that had been on his back were now on his shoulders, his neck, urging him to return to kiss panting lips. JC ignored the silent request and brought his own hands to the fastening of Justin's jeans. He ran his tongue under the waist of the pants. The hands on his shoulders froze. JC was too entranced by the smell, the heat and taste of Justin to notice. He unbuttoned and unzipped the pants in one quick motion, pulling the fly wide so he could see Justin's cock straining against the material of his boxer-briefs. JC closed his eyes and opened his mouth, wanting to run his tongue along the clothed erection. A whimper of objection and surprise escaped him as he felt the hands on his shoulders pushing him away from the heat of Justin's crotch. He looked up at Justin to protest, but the pain and fear in Justin's eyes stopped him. JC rolled off of Justin, sat on the bed and caught his breath, his own erection aching for release. He watched as Justin sat up and fastened his jeans with trembling fingers, then laid back down and curled up on his side, facing away from JC. Justin's shirt had fallen mostly into place, but a stretch of his back was still showing. JC reached out to touch the exposed skin, but then thought better of it and merely pulled the shirt down. Justin inhaled shakily at the movement of his clothing.

They were in silence. The movie had ended without them noticing, and now the tv screen was a silent, bright-black rectangle. JC didn't know what to say; what he could possibly do. I've definitely scared the hell out of him. JC watched and listened as Justin's breathing evened, wanting to comfort him but not knowing how. He wanted it...It seemed like he wanted it...I just took it too far. He wasn't ready for it. There were a million things JC wanted to say, questions he just couldn't bring himself to ask for fear of the answers he might receive, So, now what? Is he mad at me? What would he do if I kissed him again? Has he ever thought about kissing a man before? Has he ever thought about kissing me? Does he want to do it again? Is he completely freaked out? Should I leave? Should I say something? Is he waiting for me to say something? Why did he push me away? Is it because he got scared? Or doesn't want to take it that far? Or just because Joey's in the room? If Joey wasn't here, would he have pushed me away? How far would be have taken it? He seemed to like it, he got hard...does that mean he's bi-? Or just curious? God, he looks so tense...I wish I could see his face. I wish I knew what to say to make things better.

Unable to find words to ease Justin's mind, but desperate to comfort him, JC laid down beside him, so that their bodies were close but not touching. JC shifted until his forehead pressed against the back of Justin's neck, his breath warm on Justin's back through the material of his shirt. JC felt Justin go rigid at the initial contact, but then relax. JC closed his eyes, inhaling Justin's nearness, trying to silently reassure him that everything would be all right.

* ** * ** *

JC's forehead on the back of Justin's neck and breath on his back was hot, but the rest of the world was cold. The air in the room seemed too cool on Justin's flushed skin, and he pulled the sleeves of his shirt over his hands and pressed his legs together. Temptation rode him in the guise of a gentle touch. He wanted. He wanted so badly he burnt. He wanted to turn towards JC and take him, have him, own him, steal him. Steal Him. JC was forbidden fruit, and it was Lance's garden.

Justin wasn't sure how to label the state-of-mind he was in. It was a murky hybrid of anxiety, pain, shame, lust, love and anger. He wanted. He wanted to tell JC how much he felt, how much he wanted to feel. He wanted to take off all the layers of secrecy and clothing and get close, so close, as close as two can be, and then become one. He wanted emotional and physical completion. He wouldn't settle for just sex.

He was angry that sex would be enough to satisfy JC. He was angry that Lance had the only thing that he wanted more than JC's body: JC's love. He was angry with himself for loving, wanting, needing JC, who was taken. Angry with himself for kissing JC, who was taken. Angry with himself for wishing and coveting and betraying. Angry; and the anger made him clench his teeth and fists.

He was in pain, real, throbbing pain. The kind of pain that starts in the pit of your stomach and rolls out to every corner of consciousness. He felt his throat and chest tighten, so taut that he couldnít even cry, and the back of his eyes stung.

The idea that to JC, Justin was just a face and a body, a source of pleasure, to be used and discarded, hurt like hell. It hurt because Justin was used to it. Men and women who wanted him because he was famous, attractive, rich, talented. Whatever their reasons, it was always the same Reason. They wanted him for what they could take from him, but they didnít really want to give him anything in return. They wanted to make money off of him, be with him to impress people, have his approval to help their self-esteem, fuck him because they thought he was beautiful. It had been that way for so long, Justin couldnít remember what life was like before he was a possession.

Throughout everything, Justin had always had four constants who didn't have a Reason. Now the most important of those four was in his bed, and in a way Justin just wanted to give in. But, that would mean betraying Lance, and himself, and, really, JC, too. When a friend's losing his way, you don't help him wander, you guide him back to the path. JC was letting his libido override his morals, JC loved Lance, and Justin was going to do whatever he could to make sure JC didn't screw things up, because, despite everything, Justin loved Lance as a friend, and loved JC as he loved himself. Things had gotten out of control, but Justin had been able to stop it before it went too far. This time. But, what if Joey hadn't been in the room? What if JC hadn't stopped kissing Justin long enough for him to remember reality? Justin wasn't sure he'd be able to stop next time. There couldn't be a next time.

Joey, still sleeping peacefully on JC's bed, rolled over and began snoring. Justin found the sound oddly soothing, his muscles loosened, and he smiled a little. Joey's mouth was open. Loud, violent snores ripped though the silence of the room. Justin laughed softly, and JC joined in, relief of the broken tension making the situation funnier than it was. Another loud snore, a series of snorts, another snore. Their tittering grew to real laughter now, waking Joey up. He looked at them in sleepy confusion. "Huh?" he asked, then farted. That set them off. Justin rolled onto his back, partially squishing JC, and they shook with laughter, "Shut up." Joey blinked a few times, farted again. "Like you guys never fart." His actions just made them laugh harder. Justin was clapping his hands and JC was clutching at his stomach, both were turning red.

A knock came at the door. Joey got up to answer it. It was Lance. He pushed past Joey and grinned at the sight of Justin and JC cracking up, "Hey, whatís so funny?"

Justin abruptly stopped laughing, sat up and away from JC, looking guilty and nervous, "Uh, Joey farted."

Lance noticed Justin's sudden change of mood and thanked God that Britney would be clearing things up soon. I hate to see Justin so upset, thinking that JC and I are together. He looks so guilty for wanting JC, he's a wreck. Once Britney tells Justin that she and I are a couple, things will go back to normal. Well, as normal as they could possibly be right now. Then, once we get back to Orlando, I'll execute my brilliant plan and it'll be happily ever after for those two. Maybe for me and Britney, too. While we're pretending we're a couple, who knows what'll happen? Maybe she'll realize what she's missing. Lance grinned at his thoughts, then realized everyone was looking at him expectantly. "What?"

"Well, did you want something?" Joey asked.

"Oh, yhea," Lance remembered, "Dinner. Britney wants us all to go to her room for dinner."

"I can't." Justin glanced at the clock on the nightstand, "I gotta go."

"What?" Lance's eyebrows raised, "Where?"

"Airport. Mom's flying in tonight. I was thinking I'd go meet her." Justin said, picking up his jacket.

"Well, she's coming up with Bobbee and everyone, right?" Lance stepped in front of Justin as he headed for the door. All of their dates to the VMA's were flying in from Orlando. Justin was taking his mother, Joey was bringing his Orlando-girlfriend, Daisy, JC was bringing Bobbee, an ex-girlfriend he'd remained friends with, and Lance was bringing Randle, a good friend of his. "Your mom'll come to the hotel with the rest of the girls, she doesn't need you to go pick her up."

"I know," Justin shrugged, "but she'd probably like it if I did."

Justin started to step around Lance, and Lance grabbed his arm to stop him. Justin looked at Lance, surprised. "But..." Lance dropped Justin's arm. "Uh, Britney said she wanted to talk to you about something."

"Why didn't she just call me?" Justin asked.

"I don't know, ask her." Lance suggested, taking hold of Justin's arm again and pulling him out the door.

Joey looked at JC, then followed Lance and Justin towards the elevators. JC sighed, got up from the bed, picked up his keycard and cell phone, and joined them, closing the door on his way out.

* ** * ** *

"You gonna eat that?" Joey reached for JC's plate.

JC shook his head and let Joey take his pizza. He wasn't hungry. Putting food in his mouth after tasting Justin seemed ridiculous. Sacrilegious. He stared at Justin, who was sitting in the armchair next to Joey's side of the couch, tearing a slice of pepperoni into little pieces. Britney and Lance were sharing the loveseat, which JC thought was pretty insensitive. Even if Justin doesn't care if they're a couple, they don't have to shove it in his face.

JC fidgeted, anxious for dinner to end.They had been there for maybe two hours at most, but it seemed like two days. He wanted to talk to Justin, to apologize for scaring him off. He was mentally preparing what he would say, I'll start with: "Justin, I'm sorry things got out of hand...I hope I didn't freak you out too badly, because kissing you is something I've wanted to do for a long time." That sounds good. I'll wait for his reaction to that before I declare my undying love or anything. If he's not too completely freaked out, I'll consider telling him everything.

"Hey, let's get drunk." Joey suggested.

"Joey, we have a long-ass day tomorrow." Lance reminded him.

"Yhea, I know," Joey shrugged, "But I'm nervous. So are Justin and JC, look at 'em. We need something to help us relax."

"Like alcohol poisoning?" Lance shook his head, "No drinking. We've got too much to do tomorrow, we can't risk being hung-over."

Joey rolled his eyes. "Well, I'm not talking about getting shit-faced. I'm just saying we take a couple shots, have some beers or something." Joey pushed himself off the couch, "Who's with me?"

JC looked at Justin, he was wherever Justin was. Justin didn't react to Joey's words, he seemed to be caught up in his own thoughts.

"Anyone?" Joey looked at everyone individually. No one said anything, so he shrugged and left, "Whatever. See you later, Brit."

"Night, Joe." Britney called as the door closed behind him.

And then there were four.

"So..." Lance said, in an attempt to break the silence and tension, but it only mounted.

"So," JC clapped his hands on his knees and pushed himself to his feet, "Big day tomorrow. We should probably get some rest." In other words: I'm blowing this pop stand, and I'm taking the cute one with me.

"Yhea," Britney agreed, standing up, "Big day. I'm kind of nervous myself. I nearly went with Joey. I was tempted."

"Why?" Lance stacked the empty pizza boxes, "You're going to be great. You have nothing to worry about."

"Well, this performance is going to be a lot different than anything I've ever done before...I don't know how people are gonna react." Britney tugged at a lock of hair apprehensively.

JC turned away so they wouldn't see him roll his eyes. He couldn't give less of a fuck if Britney was nervous, all he cared about was talking to Justin. Hurry the fuck up, Lance. Let's get out of here. JC tuned out their conversation, concentrated on Justin, who was still ripping pepperoni slices into tiny bits. He walked slowly to the armchair, "Justin?"

Justin jumped at the sound of his name, lifted his chin a little to show he was listening.

"You ready to go?" JC wanted to put his hand on Justin's shoulder, and hated that he couldn't. This was why he was so afraid of telling Justin about his feelings; this goddamned awkwardness.

Justin nodded, put his plate on the coffee table, stood up and followed JC to the door. "Wait!" Britney's voice stopped them. They both turned and looked at her. "Justin, I need to talk to you about something."

Lance and Britney came forward, and Britney opened the door to let them out. Lance gave a little wave as he left, "Goodnight."

"Night, Lance." Britney smiled.

JC was looking at Justin, who glanced at him, but quickly turned away when their eyes met. JC forced a smile for Britney as he stepped into the hall, "See you tomorrow, then."

"Okay," Britney agreed. She touched his arm, and he looked back at her expectantly. "It'll just take a minute." She told him softly. He stared at her, then he stared at the door when it shut in his face. Does she know? He was shocked, How could she know? He tried to tell himself that there was no way she even suspected, but her tone was a little too convincing. She had said it like she knew he'd be waiting and wanting.

"Hey, Jace," Lance's voice came from down the hall, "I'm holding the elevator here."

JC's palms were sweating. Britney knew. Did Lance tell her? JC glared suspiciously at Lance as they rode the elevator.

"What did I do now?" Lance didn't look guilty. Okay, so he didn't tell. How the hell does she know? JC went to his room and out onto the balcony, needing some fresh air. Britney knew. Britney knew, and she was alone with Justin right now, and she'd said she had to talk to him "about something." What was that something?

Would she? JC wondered, chewing his thumb nail, She wouldn't...Would she?

* ** * ** *

Britney's forehead furrowed as she tried to think of a way to start the conversation. "Justin," she said, then stopped. Okay, try that again. "Justin, about...Lance and JC..."

"You know about that?" He was shocked.

"Yhea," Britney nodded shortly, "The thing is--"

"How'd you find out?" Since when was Britney in the loop? She wasn't supposed to know stuff about the guys unless he told her. They were his friends.

"That's not important." She sounded annoyed.

Justin's eyebrows raised at her tone. Well, fuck you, too. he thought, watching her study her nails as she planned what she was going to say.

After a minute or so, she looked up at him, "Okay, Justin. Lance and JC--"

"JC kissed me." Justin blurted, "I mean, I kissed him, too. We kissed each other."

"You what?" Britney's eyes went Disney-cartoon-heroine wide.

"We kissed." Justin expected her disapproval. Britney knows about JC and Lance, she's gonna give me a lecture about what a jackass I am for kissing him. So he hurried to add, "Look, I know. Now, I just...need you to do something for me. Can you be my girlfriend again? I mean, you know what I mean, my fake-girlfriend?"

"Why?" Britney asked, "What for?"

"I think it would help everyone..." He didn't want to say 'keep their dicks in their pants'. "involved, to stay involved, with who they're involved with." Right. Hmm. "Okay, sorry. That didn't make any sense."

"No, no, I get what you're saying.' Britney smiled at him, "No problem. Anything I can do to help, I'm in."

"Really?" Justin sighed in relief, "Great. God, thanks, Brit. Really. You're the best. "

"Tell me about it," Britney joked, punching him lightly on his arm, "Now, get out of here."

"Huh?" Justin let her push him towards the door.

"I think there's someone waiting for you upstairs." She winked, opening the door and pushing him into the hallway.

"Oh, yhea," He remembered, Mom's here. "Well, I'll see you tomorrow. Goodnight."

"I'm sure it will be." She wiggled her eyebrows at him, then closed the door.

Well, that went a hell of a lot better than I thought it would. Justin walked towards the elevators, I thought she wouldn't like the idea of posing as my girlfriend to keep JC from wanting me, but she doesn't seem to mind at all. I guess she wants him and Lance to work out. The elevator arrived and a thought came to Justin as he rode up one floor, I bet Lance was the one who told her about them! Earlier, Lance said Britney had to talk to me, so they were obviously talking to each other. Maybe Lance knows that JC is attracted to me, and he wanted Britney to tell me to stay away. The elevator doors opened and Justin made his way down the hall towards his room, What a pussy, he doesn't even have the balls to confront me himself! I know if JC were mine, I'd sure as hell tell Lance to stay the fuck away.

Justin opened the door to his hotel room and grinned at what he saw: his mother and JC sitting on the couch together. "Mom!" He came towards her with open arms.

"Justin!" Lynn jumped to her feet and rushed to pull him into a tight hug. She kissed both his cheeks, then pulled away to inspect him, "You've gained some weight, thank God." She ruffled his hair, "And you finally cut that old rat's nest."

"Mom!" Justin made a mock-offended face, "It's my hair!"

"I know, I know." Lynn looked at JC appealingly, "I carried him for nine months, I used to change his little poopie diapers, and what thanks do I get? I'm not even allowed to have an opinion on his hair."

Justin rolled his eyes, but he was smiling. "So, how was your flight?"

Lynn shrugged, "It was fine. You know I don't care much for flying. My ears never pop." "How's everyone back home?" He received photos and updates frequently via e-mail, and talked to his family on the phone often, but having his mom there in the flesh was always so great. He loved watching her gestures and expressions, loved it when he recognized parts of himself in her behavior. He messed with her hair as she spoke, curly like his, but longer and blonder.

"Well, we can finish catching up tomorrow, honey." She said at length, "Cause you, sir, need to get to bed."

"It's not that late." He argued, but knew she was right.

"Goodnight, sweetheart." She kissed his cheek, then turned to JC, "Goodnight."

"Night, Lynn." JC smiled, lifting his hand and giving a small wave.

"You boys go to bed, now." Lynn ordered, "Don't stay up chit-chatting or watching tv. You've got a busy day tomorrow."

"We know, mom." Justin pretended to be annoyed, "Goodnight." He closed the door behind her and stood for a moment with his back to JC.

"Justin," JC broke the silence, "We need to talk."

Justin nodded, then turned to face JC, "You're right, we do."

JC took a deep breath, "Okay, well...I'm sorry things got out of hand--"

"So am I." Justin interrupted, "I think we should just...pretend it never happened."

JC flinched, he hadn't been expecting those words at all. He didn't know what to say, so he just stared at Justin blankly. Then he heard himself ask, "What did Britney need to talk to you about?"

Justin turned away from JC, went to his suitcase and started sifting through his clothes. He pulled out a pair of pajama pants and headed for the bathroom. "Me and Britney are back together." He said, then shut the bathroom door.

* ** * ** *

The End is Near!

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