Lame Party
by Cody

"So, I was thinking I'd go about ten," JC said it casually, hoping his mom would just mumble an "uh-huh" he could hold her to later.

"Go where?" Damn it.

"Go…out. Meet the guys at South Beach." JC really didn't want to be stuck at his parents' dinner party all night. It was such a pain in the ass to have to get all dressed up and smile big for their friends, have a drink or two and eat dinner, the whole time feeling like his shoes were too tight. He was already planning his means of escape.

"South Beach?" his mom's eyebrows raised. "You're going to drive?"

"It's a club, Ma." JC rolled his eyes, because god, parents are so clueless.

"Well, forget it," his dad, Roy, jumped in. JC had thought, hoped, his dad was too busy setting up bottles on the counter of the bar to pay attention to the conversation. "You have to stick around here tonight, son. These people haven't seen you since you left for college. Besides, a night at home will do you some good. Every time you come home to visit I barely see you in the house. This isn't--"

"A hotel. I know." JC's eyes were gonna roll right out of his head. "Fine, whatever," he sighed, resigning himself to a night of Death by Boredom. "Need any help, Ma?"

"Sure." Karen smiled at him, and he couldn't quite bring himself to be angry with her. "Can you set the hors d'oeuvres out on the buffet?"

"Yhea, sure." He went into the kitchen and grabbed two trays of food, went to set them on the buffet and noticed a gift bag sitting on it. "Hey, who's this for?"

His dad glanced over. "Harliss boy. We were in London in May and missed his graduation. Sent him a check, but you know your mother…she's convinced it's a mortal sin not to deliver a gift to him personally."

"The Harlisses gave our son such a lovely gift. Don't you remember that handmade quilt?" she defended. "Now, I don't have the time or the inclination to sew a quilt, but--"

"Okay, okay." JC stopped her before she could get started. "Justin already graduated? Damn, he's just a kid." The last time JC had seen the Harliss boy, whose last name was actually Timberlake, Harliss being his mother's name from her second marriage, had been at his own graduation party almost five years ago. Justin had been a scrawny middle school kid with pimples and feet eight times too big for his body.

"Hardly a kid anymore." Karen shook her head fondly. "Little Justin's all grown up now. Oh, I remember changing his diapers." She gave a small sigh. "You won't recognize him, really. He's so tall and handsome."

JC didn't think much of that. His mother always thought her friends' kids were good-looking, when most of them were far from it. He wouldn't be surprised if Justin was decent, though. He'd always been a cute kid. He finished putting the food out and went upstairs to change. The guests would start arriving in twenty minutes and he was still wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt. "It wouldn't kill you to dress up a little," his mother called after him.

He grumbled to himself as he dressed. Why did his siblings have to be away at camp? Why couldn't they be here to endure this torture with him? It wasn't fair. If they were here, his parents probably wouldn't insist he stay home and entertain the stupid Harliss-Timberlake boy. JC was just finishing his hair when the doorbell rang.

The guests arrived in spurts between seven and seven-thirty. All of them came with big smiles and high-pitched exclamations of, "Oh, JC! How are you? Look how grown up you are! Oh my god!" He grinned and took it with grains of salt, having known most of these people since he was a baby. He asked questions about their kids and was actually interested in how a few of them were doing. The Harlisses were in the fifth and final group of guests at the door.

"JC!" Lynn Harliss cried when she saw him, her hands grabbing the sides of his face like he was a five year-old. "Wow, you're looking great! Look how handsome he is, Paul!"

Paul, her husband, nodded, giving JC a conspiratorial wink. "Very handsome."

"Thanks, Ms. Lynn." JC gently extracted his cheeks from her grasp. "You're looking pretty great yourself."

"Oh go on." Lynn slapped his arm.

"She means it," Paul said. "Go on."

"Paul!" Lynn slapped his arm, too, before turning back to JC. "Where's Justin? He was so excited to see you and now he's missing. Justin!"

"I'm here, Mom." Justin Timberlake came through the front door, smiled brightly at JC. "Hey, man. Long time, no see."

JC stared. Wow. This was Little Justin Timberlake?! What happened to the gangly thirteen year-old and where the hell had this hot slice of man-yummy come from?! JC almost swallowed his tongue, taking in the sight of Justin Timberlake: All Grown Up. He was over six feet easily, well-toned muscles everywhere, a nice tan, honey curls and perfect teeth, blue eyes made of evening sky and pink lips like flower petals. JC realized his mouth was hanging open and closed it. He tried to think. Must talk. "Uh."

"You look good, JC." Justin's smile was just. Yes. "You look really good. Even better than I remember."

JC's eyes darted around. He realized the parents had wandered into the livingroom with the rest of the adults and left them alone. "Uh, yhea. You look…different."

Justin laughed at that. "God, I hope so. Last time you saw me, I was just a kid."

"You look really great." It just slipped out, honest. "I mean, you're so…tall."

Justin stepped up close, got on his tiptoes to emphasize the height difference. Just a few inches, but yhea, Justin was taller now. "And you're so…short," his eyes glinted mischievously. "The tables have turned."

"What, now you're gonna bully me?" JC joked. "I'm gonna finally get what's coming to me?"

Justin's face turned serious so suddenly it startled JC. "You never bullied me, Jace. You were always really, really cool."

JC felt himself blush a little, and he noticed Justin had yet to move away, staying right up in his personal space. "Uh, yhea. I was just…I was just kidding."

"But, um…" Justin's voice was lower, softer, and JC looked up and met his eyes. "Maybe you will finally get what's coming to you."

JC's eyes went wide at that. Little Justin Timberlake couldn't be hitting on him. Could he?

"Boys," Karen's voice broke in, and Justin stepped away from him as she approached. "Come get some food; dinner's served." Justin smiled and thanked her as he went to the diningroom. Karen grabbed JC's arm before he could follow. "I'm glad to see you're getting along."

"Uh, yhea." JC willed himself to not seem flustered. "He's really...nice."

"Good, good." She looked extremely pleased with herself. "Now, we're going to give Justin his gift after dinner, and then I want you to take him upstairs and show him a good time, all right? Watch a movie or play some of Tyler's video games." She hurried on as if she expected him to protest, "You can take some drinks up there, okay? There's Budweiser in the fridge." A bribe.

"Mom, he's not old enough to drink!" Which sounded prude even to his ears.

"Oh, JC. Don't be so uptight," she laughed at him. "He's eighteen. We let you drink when you were eighteen. It's not like he's going to be driving later. Come on, be a sport. Just take him up there and keep him occupied for a couple hours. I'll owe you one."

This had to be the most ironic situation ever. His mom was begging him to lock himself in his room alone with free beer and a hot guy. JC sighed miserably. "Fine, I guess."

"There's my good boy." She kissed his cheek and took his arm, leading him into the diningroom. "I made that squash dish you like, just for you."


Dinner would have been boring, but JC found plenty to keep him interested sitting right across the table. Justin's eyelashes, for instance, could be studied for a full twenty minutes and remain fascinating. Every separate curl of Justin's hair, his long, strong hands, his small, lush mouth. JC tried to keep an ear open for questions, responding quickly so he could get back to studying Justin. Justin, for his part, kept his eyes mainly on his plate, seeming to enjoy looking up from time to time and catching JC watching him. Through dessert, though, Justin kept his eyes locked on JC's, and JC had never thought watching someone eat strawberry shortcake could be so arousing. If he licks whipped cream off his lips one more time…JC would sit there and take it. Of course. What was he gonna do, leap over the table and jump Justin in front of his parents and all their friends? That was, unfortunately, not an option.

Finally,finally! dinner finished and the crowd migrated into the livingroom to open Justin's gift. Roy lifted his brandy glass in the air. "In belated honor of Justin's graduation, we'd like to raise a toast." Everyone lifted their drinks high. "To Justin, we're all proud of you, boy. You've become a fine young man. May you have the best of luck and success in college and in life."

"To Justin!" came the universal chorus, and Justin smiled at them all. Karen came forward with the gift bag and gave it to him. "Here's a little something for you."

"Thanks, Ms. Karen." Justin kissed her cheek, tugged at the bows and reached into the bag to pull out a Fossil watch. Everyone oohed appreciatively. "Wow, thanks." He looked at Roy. "Thanks. I love it."

Roy nodded, pointed at his wife. "Thank her. She picked it out."

Karen hugged Justin, patting his back three quick times. "So grown up, I can't believe it." She turned toward her guests. "We should let the boys run upstairs now. I'm sure they're sick of us old folks."

"No, we're not," Justin shook his head, but was already walking toward JC. He stopped at his side and gave him a small smile.

JC smiled back weakly, feeling a little unstrung. "Want something to drink?"

"Sure." Justin trailed him into the kitchen and waited while JC pulled a case of beer out of the fridge. "Are we…" He looked down at the counter top, bit his lip.

"What?" JC was surprised at Justin's shyness.

Justin traced a pattern on the counter with his finger, still not looking up. "Are we going to your room now?"

JC thought it was maybe a little warm in the house as he made his way toward the stair. "If you want. Or we could hang out in the den."

"We can go to your room," Justin said quickly, and JC glanced back at him before nodding. "You know, it's funny. I haven't seen your room in like five years."

JC wondered why that was funny and said, "Yhea."

"I wonder if it looks the same?" Justin's voice had a lilt to it that JC couldn't quite place.

"You're about to find out." He opened the door to his room and flipped on the lights. He couldn't really remember how much his room had changed over the past few years. He'd changed stuff, sure, but it was hard to remember exactly what. "I think it's pretty much the same."

"No, it's not." Justin looked around carefully, like he was taking notes. "That bookcase used to be over there." He pointed as he spoke. "And your bed was against the window with a black bedspread. And that lamp is new, right? And the DVD player and CD shelf and…" Justin cut off when he saw JC's stunned expression. He looked down at his feet, blushing.

"Wow, you have a really good memory." JC sat down on his bed, a little freaked out.

"Thanks." Justin still stood in the doorway examining his shoes.

"You can come sit down if you want," JC scooted over on the bed and stretched out, "and hand me a beer if you don't mind."

"Sure." Justin got a beer out of the case JC had set on the floor by the bed and perched on the edge of the mattress like it might break. "Here."

JC took the beer, opened it. "You can help yourself, you know." Justin nodded, picked up another beer. He remained sitting stiffly, holding the can in both hands. "Are you all right?"

"Huh? Yhea, sure." Justin looked over at him, seemed to loosen up a little. "Sorry. I'm just. It's just. I haven't seen your room in like five years."

You said that already, JC thought, but said, "Look, relax. You want to watch a movie or something?"

"Sure," Justin said, took a long drink of beer. "I don't know why I'm so nervous."

JC got up to find a movie. "I don't know why, either. I mean, god, I'm not that hot." And, really, he was joking. Just trying to make Justin laugh.

He didn't expect Justin to blush again, to look down at his beer and whisper, "Yes, you are."

"What?" he asked without thinking.

Justin looked him straight in the eye, and where was the shy boy of ten seconds ago? "I said yes, you are."

JC swallowed. Hard. "Oh…"

Justin was off the bed now, coming toward him. "JC, you know what my number in basketball was?"

JC blinked at the abrupt subject change. "No."

"22." Justin was standing way too close now. JC could smell him. He smelled good.

"That's…" JC's mind stumbled upon the realization. "That was my number."

Justin nodded slowly. "I know."

And that was strange. "Justin…"

"Do you know where I'm going to college?" Justin's tone had turned insistent.

JC was almost scared of the answer. "No…"

"Notre Dame." Justin's eyes were so vehement, like he wanted to make sure his point got across.

"That's…" JC stepped back now, bumped against the TV. "That's my…"

"That's your school." Justin closed the distance between them. "I know."

JC's heart was going a mile a minute. So, Little Justin Timberlake was a psycho. Good to know. "Justin…why?"

"Because," Justin looked almost hurt at the question. "I want to... I want your things to…be my things."

"But…why?" He hardly knew this kid, for crying out loud. It didn't make any sense.

"JC, do you remember that fourth of July you came to a barbecue at my house?" JC didn't remember, but he nodded anyway. "You and the older boys were setting off Black Cats behind the garage, but you wouldn't let me or your brother throw any because we were too young. But I wanted to. I wanted to so bad." Justin looked off, caught up in his own memory. "And you said, you said when I was older, then I could do it. Do you remember that?" JC nodded again, but this time he didn't know if he was agreeing with Justin or with the proximity of Justin's mouth to his own. "I'm older now, JC. And I want to do it."

"Firecrackers?" JC mumbled, confused, but the word was swallowed by a frantic kiss that tossed all thoughts JC might've had out the window. All he knew now was that Little Justin Timberlake had him pressed up against the TV and his tongue was doing something in his mouth that made JC's stomach clench. Their hips ground together and, yhea, maybe he wasn't so little anymore.

JC's hands scrambled to grasp at Justin's shoulders, keep himself on his feet as his knees buckled. Justin's hands were in ten places at once, on his ass and under his shirt and stroking the back of his neck. JC's leg came up of its own volition, wrapped around Justin's leg and pulled him closer. He moaned when Justin took him by the waist and he suddenly found himself on the bed. He thought, god, this kid is smooth, and then he didn't think much else. Hard to think when it felt like his tongue was getting sucked out of his head. Hard to think when his shirt was being yanked up under his arms and his nipples were tweaked until his back felt like it might break from bowing into the sensation. And then without warning it all stopped, and his brain needed a minute to catch up before it could process the change.

Justin's head was against JC's chest now, his arms tucked under JC and pressed against his back, holding him tight. "God, I want this," Justin was saying softly, his breath ghosting across JC's skin, making him shiver. "I want you."

"Justin…" JC felt Justin shift, slide up so their eyes were level.

"I'm older now." It was so earnest, it struck a chord somewhere inside JC, made something inside him echo inaudibly. "JC, I want you."

JC felt like saying, I don't even know you, but Justin was so beautiful, so tempting, so much of everything JC had been looking for all his life. He couldn't help but think that he could always get to know Justin, and what better way than sliding his hands into Justin's curls and bringing him in for another kiss? This one softer, sweeter. Justin smiled at him when it ended. "I've waited a long, long time for this."

JC smiled back, and it wasn't a lie at all when he said, "Me, too."


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