NEW! (under College section)
(All under boy-bands)
(Posted Oct 31/00)
(Updated Dec 5/00)
(Ended Feb 6/00)
(Posted May 8/00)
Set You Free
(Ended Apr 11/00)
Ten Guys, One Night
(Posted Apr 7/00)
Well, only three more chapters to go after this one! Hope everyone is still enjoying the story.
I must give a big Thank You to Justin for giving me the title Blissful Tears and for creating the wonderful image for this story in the Boy Band Screensaver. Thanks must also be given to Chris and Neo, for your chats and suggestions. You guys are all great!
1. If you shouldn't be here, don't tell me and don't get caught!
2. I don't know any of the people mentioned in the story...it's fiction folks!
If you have any comments about this story, please email me at email@example.com
As always, thank you for reading!
He was going to get married. AJ had said yes. A smile spread across his face as he thought about AJ.
"What are you smiling about?" AJ said from the doorway, startling Brian.
Brian looked up and found his love in the doorway, holding a tray of food. AJ walked across the floor and set the tray over Brian's lap. Then he ran around to the other side and crawled on the bed beside Brian.
"I was thinking about you," Brian said, leaning in for a kiss. "That always makes me smile."
AJ grinned. He reached for a cup of coffee on the tray and took a drink. "I hope you like what I cooked," he said.
Brian looked at the food. There were pancakes and scrambled eggs, bacon and toast. He grinned. "Looks good to me, love. You trying to make me fat?" he joked.
AJ frowned. "No, just trying to put a little weight on you. You're too thin," he said quietly. He felt guilty knowing he was partly to blame.
Brian reached up and grasped AJ's chin, turning his face. "Alex, it is not your fault," Brian said intently. "My mother started the whole thing. And ya know, I'm tired of laying blame. It's over. I just want to move forward, with you," he said, staring into AJ's eyes. "Lets leave the past, in the past, and focus on our future, okay?"
AJ smiled. "Deal. Now are you going to eat that food, or let it go cold?"
Brian laughed and began to eat. AJ helped, stealing pieces of bacon and bites of pancakes. After breakfast, Brian took a shower and dressed, while AJ did the dishes. They met up in the livingroom and after grabbing drinks, went to sit on the balcony.
"Do you have any ideas for the wedding Alex? You realize we only have ten weeks to plan everything," Brian said. They sat side by side, holding hands, looking out over the city.
"I know. Monday we need to talk to management too. I have a suggestion though," he said and turned to look at Brian. "Why don't you go ahead and plan whatever you want for the ceremony, as far as location, time, minister or whoever to conduct the ceremony. And I'll plan the honeymoon," he suggested.
"Are you sure?" Brian asked. "What about the reception?"
"I'm sure. You know I'm not that good with details. I have some ideas for a honeymoon though!" he added with a grin. "As for the reception, why don't we let the Moms do it? You know my Mom wants to be involved. And I know Ann, Jane and Paula would love to help. We can give them some colors to work with, and let them go crazy. All that matters to me is that we're together. Of course, if you want my opinion on anything, just ask."
Brian thought about it for a minute. "Okay. We'll put your Mom in charge of the reception, and the other ladies can help," he said. AJ knew what he was doing. He was making sure his own Mom didn't take control.
AJ leaned over for a kiss. "I'll call her later and let her know."
Brian picked up their entwined hands and kissed AJ's fingers. "There is something else I'd like to talk to you about," he said quietly.
AJ returned the kiss. "What?"
Brian sighed. "I…um…I don't want to disappoint you, or frustrate you," he began. AJ turned to look more closely at Brian, wondering what was wrong. "If you don't want to, just tell me."
"What is it baby?" AJ asked gently.
"I was thinking, would you be terribly upset if we waited…we waited to completely consummate our love, until our wedding night? I know its silly. That's something virgin girls think about not twenty-five year old men. I guess I'm being…" AJ moved to cover Brian's lips with his own, silencing Brian's rambling.
"Brian, baby I think that is incredibly romantic," AJ said softly against Brian's cheek. "I don't think its silly, and you could never disappoint me. If you want to wait, we wait. Of course, it's going to frustrate me. But it also gives me something to look forward to, and to plan for. I promise you the most romantic, incredible wedding night you can imagine," he vowed.
Brian's lips found AJ's again. "Thank you Alex."
The rest of the weekend they spent quietly at home. Occasionally they went to separate rooms to use the computer and surf the Internet. Brian found out about local religions that sanctioned gay marriages, while AJ planned out their honeymoon. The rest of the time they spent cuddling on the couch or the balcony or in bed.
Brian didn't want to go back to work Monday morning. He knew they had to meet with the producers, and finish recording some of the songs. He and AJ also wanted to meet with management.
After much sweet-talking, Brian was ready and the two arrived at the studio just before nine. Once in the building Brian started to feel better. He was happy and it felt good to express that happiness in the music. He arranged to re-record some of his parts for other songs, knowing he hadn't been able to give it his best the first time.
Kevin had arranged a lunchtime meeting with their management team and the recording label. At eleven thirty the guys met in the boardroom to discuss things, before management and the label reps arrived.
They decided they would all be honest. No one had any intention of coming out publicly, but if the people closest to them knew, they could help keep things quiet. There was no question that if it became public, that one of them was gay, the others would stand behind that person. If the scrutiny became too much, they would all come out. They refused to let one be crucified.
While they waited, Brian pulled out the list the doctor had given him and made an appointment for the next morning with a psychologist.
Finally, the door opened. Mike and Jeff from The Firm, and Ron, a Jive rep walked in and sat down.
"Well guys, its good to see all of you," Mike began. "Brian, its very good to see you're doing so well."
Kevin, the automatic group spokesman, stood up. "I guess you're wondering why we called this meeting." The three men nodded. "There are a number of really important things that we need to talk about. I guess beginning with Brian's OD. But the rest is related to that. Basically, Brian was depressed because his parents threatened to out AJ to the public, if he didn't marry Leighanne, although he is in love with someone else."
"I think we could survive AJ being outed," Ron said. "It might even be good publicity," he commented.
Kevin glared at the man. "The problem is, that if AJ was outed, all of us would be outed," he said bluntly. The three men stared at Kevin in shock. "We thought that you guys needed to know to help protect the group. But things don't end there. Nick and Howie are in a relationship, Chris and I are in a relationship, and the big one, Brian and AJ are getting married on Labor Day weekend."
Kevin sat down and let the three men digest everything he'd just said.
"I don't think marriage is such a good idea," Ron commented.
Brian flinched and AJ glared at Ron. "What Kevin said is the way it is. None of it is open for debate. We thought that all of you deserved to know, so that you can help us protect all of our assets. But, you should know, we will not tolerate anyone judging us or trying to control us." He reached over and picked up Brian's hand, holding it tightly as both hands rested on the table.
Ron sighed. "Will any of this interfere with the release of the new CD?" he asked.
"No," Chris spoke up. "The date set is November 21. Brian and AJ will be back from their honeymoon. Brian is going to re-record some of his parts that were done over the past few months. Photo shoots and promos are scheduled for October and November. Everything is on schedule."
Ron nodded. "Fine." He closed his briefcase and left.
Kevin looked at Mike and Jeff. "Should we be worried about that?" he asked.
Mike shook his head. "No. Let's face it, you guys are a cash cow for Jive. As long as you keep selling, they will keep you around. They'll do what they can to cover your backs."
Jeff looked over at AJ and Brian. "So, are we getting an invite to the wedding?" he asked with a grin.
Everyone laughed and relaxed. They finished up at the studio late in the afternoon. The six men went out for dinner together before going to separate apartments. This time, Brian and AJ went to AJ's place.
The next morning Brian had his first meeting with the Psychologist, Jay Shirley. After only a few minutes, Brian felt comfortable enough to open up and express his feelings. The session went well, and they scheduled twice weekly meetings, up until the wedding. They would re-evaluate Brian's emotional state then and decide whether more sessions were needed.
Brian dove into making arrangements for the wedding. He rented a church, found a Reverend and set the time. AJ's mother was given the task of arranging the reception, everything from food and decorations to location.
Brian looked at the calendar. There was only six more weeks until the wedding. His psychologist had suggested he take a trip home before the wedding, to settle some lingering feelings. He looked at his planner. Almost everything had been taken care of. Everything was set for the wedding. Denise had helped with the invitations and they'd been mailed the day before. The only thing left to do was clothes, rings and vows. He and AJ had decided to pick out their own clothes. AJ had hinted at something bizarre, but Brian didn't care. As long as AJ was there the day of the wedding, he could wear jeans and it wouldn't bother Brian. Rings, as well, they were going to pick out separately. Not only to avoid rumors, but also because they wanted to surprise each other. Both wanted to write their own vows too.
Aside from those three things, everything else was taken care of. Brian sighed. He could keep putting it off, but how would that help. He decided to make plans to go back to Lexington for a couple of days.
He picked up the phone and called his aunt. He would go back, but there was no way he would stay at his family home. That would be too painful. Ann was more than happy to have Brian stay with her.
AJ wasn't happy when Brian told him about his plans.
"Baby, I'm afraid," AJ admitted later that night as they lay in bed.
"So am I Alex. But things are different this time," Brian said softly. "I'm much stronger thanks to you and the other guys. There is nothing she can threaten me with. I'm only going for a couple of days. I'll fly out early Tuesday and be back late Wednesday. If I'm not, I expect you to come and kidnap me," he whispered, trying to lighten the mood.
AJ smiled slightly. "I'll remember you said that baby," AJ said as he hugged Brian to him.
Two days later Brian stepped off the plane in Lexington. It felt strange to be back in his hometown after all the pain he'd endured. He looked around and quickly spotted his aunt waiting for him.
"Brian!" she called out quietly.
Brian walked over and gave her a hug. "Ann, how are you?" he asked.
They walked towards the exit. "I think I should be asking you that," she said.
Brian shrugged. "Its weird being back. I just want to get this over with and get back to Alex," he admitted.
Ann smiled and unlocked the car.
Once Brian was settled into the guestroom, he called his parents, and arranged to visit them for dinner. He decided to walk around town instead of sitting in the house. He wandered downtown, remembering some of the good times he had as a child with his parents and Harold.
He stopped and watched some children play in a playground that he had visited many times when he was younger.
"Brian?" a woman's voice said from behind him.
Brian turned to find Leighanne standing there.
He smiled weakly. "Hi Leigh. I was actually going to call you," he said quietly. They walked over to an empty bench under a tree.
"What are you doing back here?" she asked curiously.
Brian sighed and looked around, before looking back at her. "Putting old ghosts to bed?" he said. "My psychologist said I needed to come home to deal with some of my feelings."
They were quiet for a minute.
"I'm sorry Brian. I never meant to be the cause of so much pain for you," she apologized sincerely.
Brian shook his head. "It wasn't all your fault, Leigh. And I'm sorry I caused you pain too," he said.
"How are things with AJ?" she asked.
Brian grinned at the mention of his fiance, and Leighanne laughed. "I guess that answers my question. I'm happy for you."
"Thanks, Leigh. I'm ecstatic. We're getting married in a few weeks," he added softly.
Leighanne looked at Brian intently. "Congratulations Brian. I really mean it. You deserve to be happy."
They chatted for a few more minutes before saying goodbye and going their separate ways. Brian walked back to the Richardson home. He called AJ and talked to him for a few minutes, telling him about his meeting with Leighanne. After they said goodbye, he showered and changed before borrowing Ann's car to visit his parents.
As he pulled up in front of the house he could feel himself start to tremble. He knew it was going to be difficult walking back in that house. He wished Alex were with him. Taking a deep breath, he walked up to the front door, and knocked.
Jackie opened the door and smiled broadly. "Brian, dear, it is so good to see you," she said excitedly. She stepped towards Brian as though to hug him and he instantly stepped back. Jackie froze. "I…I'm sorry Brian. I got a little excited," she said quietly. She stood back to allow Brian to walk in.
The moment he walked into the house, the horrible memories came flooding back. He forgot all about his resolve and tears began to stream down his face. He was oblivious to his parents as he slowly walked into the living room, remembering every vicious, cruel and hurtful word that had been said to him.
He had idolized his Mom. That's why he'd written The Perfect Fan. Then in one afternoon, that had been ripped away from him. All the love and joy he had felt, disappeared.
Brian slumped down to the floor as he sobbed. Jackie and Harold stood frozen for a minute watching their youngest son weeping, knowing they had caused that anguish. Finally Jackie moved. She knelt down on the floor and pulled her son into her arms. Harold quickly followed, wrapping his arms around his wife and son.
Brian struggled for a moment, then went limp when he realized he couldn't escape the embrace.
"I'm sorry. So very sorry Brian," Jackie whispered over and over again. The three of them remained on the floor until Brian started to calm down and his tears subsided.
"Brian," Jackie said softly, gently moving Brian back so she could see his face. "I know we can't go back to what we had. But you know that for you to be completely happy, you need to forgive us, forgive me. Please Brian," she pleaded softly.
Brian stared at his Mom. He pulled away and stood up. "I can't," he whispered. "Not yet." He glanced around the room again. "Can we go to the kitchen?" he asked and began to walk. His parents quickly followed.
He sat down at the kitchen table and rested his head on his hands. Jackie and Harold sat quietly and waited. Finally, Brian sighed and raised his head. "I know I need to forgive you. And in time I will. But I can't yet, everything is still to raw and painful. I needed to come back here to see if I could do it. I don't know when or if I'll ever come back." He looked around the kitchen. "This place used to hold such wonderful memories for me, but now…they're all gone."
He paused. "As you know, Alex and I are getting married, at least as married as the state of Florida will let us. I do want you to be there. Your invitations should be in the mail in a day or so. But right now, that's the only role I want you to have, simply as guests. I'm going to ask Aunt Ann to help Denise with last minute details and making sure we reach the alter on time. Harold will be doing a reading, and of course, Nick and Kevin will be my best men. I'm sorry if that hurts or bothers you, but that's the best I can do." Brian finished his speech and walked over to the fridge to get a drink. He waited for a reaction from his parents.
"Brian," his Dad spoke. "You are our son and we love you. We want to be a part of hopefully the happiest day of your life. Whatever you feel comfortable with is fine with us. We will be proud to be guests at your wedding."
Brian looked at his parents intently for a moment, then finally nodded. "Okay. Um…I hope you don't mind, but I think I'm going to pass on dinner tonight. Its still too hard to be here," he said quietly. "Maybe after the honeymoon, before we release the next CD, Alex and I will come for a couple of days," he suggested.
Jackie smiled. "That would be nice Brian. I'd like to get to know AJ better, and get to know the two of you as a couple."
Brian smiled slightly. "Okay Mom. I'll talk to Alex about it and we'll call you." He set his empty glass on the counter. "I'm going to go back to Aunt Ann's right now and try to catch an earlier flight in the morning back home. But I'll see you both at the wedding if not before. I know you're helping Denise with the reception and I appreciate it," he added.
"You're very welcome Brian," Jackie said.
The three of them walked towards the front door. Brian paused and took another look around the house before looking at his parents.
"Brian?" Jackie asked softly. "May I hug you goodbye?" she asked tentatively.
Brian stepped forward and put his arms around his mother briefly, then stepped back. He did the same with his Dad. "I'll see you both soon," he said and left.