(All under boy-bands)
Set You Free
Ten Guys, One Night
So, I'm back again with another story. This one has been completely written already, so there won't be any delays in posting the chapters.
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!
Well, I'd hope by now everyone knows it, but just in case:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org I try to respond to every single email I get!
As always, thank you for reading!
Howie and Nick both blushed deeply. "Hey! Get your mind out of the gutter," Howie protested, lightly punching Brian's shoulder. Nick and Howie both sat.
There was another moment of silence before Kevin spoke. "I guess...I'd just like to know why you didn't tell us," Kevin said quietly with a note of sadness.
Howie and Nick looked at each other, then glanced at Brian who was staring into his coffee. "We were worried about how Brian would react," Howie admitted.
Nick spoke to Brian. "We didn't expect you to take it so well, B," Nick said. Brian never looked up. "Brian?" Nick reached over and touched Brian's arm, causing him to jump slightly.
"Huh?" Brian said, looking at the other three guys.
"What were you thinking about Bri?" Kevin asked curiously.
"Um...I think we should get Al...*cough*...AJ over here," he replied. "If we're going to talk about this, all of us should be here. Don't you think?"
They all agreed.
"Okay. Why don't a couple of us go shower and the others start breakfast. Brian, you call AJ and get him over here ASAP. Then all five of us can talk," Kevin suggested.
Everyone agreed. Howie said he would start the food, while Nick and Kevin went to shower. Brian walked out to the living room to call AJ.
"Hello?" a groggy voice answered the phone.
"Hey AJ," Brian said softly, his heart fluttering upon hearing AJ's voice.
AJ sat up in bed when he heard that angelic voice. "Brian?" Why was Brian calling him? Not that he cared if it meant just talking to him.
"Yeah. Kev and I came back last night. Um..." Brian paused as he decided how to phrase things. "Could you get over here quick? We're going to have a group meeting, and everyone else is already here."
AJ was confused. "Um, sure B. I'll just throw some clothes on and be there in fifteen. What's going on?" AJ hoped that it didn't have anything to do with him. Had he done something?
Brian could hear the anxiety in AJ's voice and it hurt. "It's okay, Bone. It's nothing bad, really, its just something has come up that we all need to discuss."
AJ calmed down at the soothing tone of Brian's voice. Brian wouldn't lie to him. "Okay, see ya soon." AJ called a cab, then jumped out of bed and rushed to dress, running out of the house five minutes later. It was during the short trip over to the apartment building that he registered what Brian had said. 'Everyone else is already here.' AJ began to grin. Kevin and Brian were supposed to be in Kentucky for the next couple of weeks, so Howie and Nick had probably spent the night at the apartment. Well, at least it's out now. The cab pulled up in front. AJ paid and climbed out, heading for the doors. He buzzed the apartment and was allowed through. While he was on the elevator, another thought came to him. Why were Brian and Kevin back?
When Brian got off the phone with AJ, Kevin was just coming back after a very quick shower. Brian decided to take his shower and get dressed before AJ arrived. His heart was pounding in excitement at seeing Alex again. It had only been two weeks, but every day he didn't see him felt like a thousand years. He showered quick and pulled on some jeans and a midnight blue shirt. He walked barefoot down the hall.
Nick was setting the table while Howie and Kevin fixed breakfast. Brian answered the buzzer and waited for AJ to arrive.
Brian opened the door before AJ could knock. He couldn't help but smile brightly at the gorgeous man before him. He didn't even notice AJ's disheveled appearance. AJ smiled in response, wanting to kiss those smiling lips just once.
"Morning AJ," Brian said quietly, allowing AJ to walk past him.
"Morning B." AJ walked into the apartment and greeted everyone. "Hey guys." He stopped to look at the three men sitting at the table. Brian found a seat and AJ took the last empty one beside him. AJ couldn't contain himself and broke into a goofy grin. "So you guys got caught, huh?"
Everyone stared at him in shock. Nick almost choked on the mouthful of juice he'd just taken. "You knew?" Howie finally asked in disbelief.
AJ began eating. "Hello? I'm the one who admitted being gay, remember? It took me a couple of weeks, but I put it together."
"Why didn't you say anything?" Nick asked curiously.
AJ stopped eating and looked seriously at Nick and Howie. "What was I going to say? We've been friends for a very long time, guys. I hoped you would trust and love us enough to tell us." AJ shrugged. "I didn't tell Kevin because he has enough to think about."
"What about me?" Brian suddenly asked quietly from beside AJ. "Why didn't you come talk to me about it?"
AJ thought he heard a note of sadness, even pain, in Brian's question and felt badly. He looked at his blond angel. "I'm sorry B. I know you were okay with me coming out, but I guess I was afraid to push our luck. I wasn't sure how you'd react to knowing there were two more gay members of the group."
Brian had to blink back the tears. He pushed himself away from the table. "Why does everyone think I'm going to act like a monster? I am not my parents, or my church. I think things through and make decisions for myself. Yes I have strong beliefs, but I also disagree with things in the church. That's what being human is about, having free will to make your own choices and decisions. You guys are my brothers. You're my family. No matter what you tell me, I'd never turn my back on any of you." Brian allowed the tears to fall freely now. "I'm sorry you guys have so little faith in me," he said softly and walked down the hall, closing his bedroom door quietly.
He flopped down on his bed and allowed the tears to keep falling. What had he ever done or said to make them think he was so close minded? He'd never said anything negative about homosexuals. He knew his parents had strongly disapproved of AJ when they found out that he was gay. But Brian made sure they never said anything to, or in front of, AJ that would hurt him. That was what hurt him the most; that Alex thought so little of him.
The four other guys sat stunned through Brian's speech. When he left no one said anything immediately.
"He's right you know. He is religious but he's never said or done anything that I know of that would make me think so little of him." AJ sighed. "Maybe we're all starting to believe our own press?" The others nodded in agreement.
"You're right AJ. I'll go talk to him," Kevin said, standing up. Nick looked quickly at Howie, then stood up too.
"Kev, do you mind if I talk to him?" Nick asked pleadingly.
Kevin nodded and sat down. Nick walked down to Brian's bedroom and knocked softly.
Brian heard the soft knock and sat up, wiping the tears from his face. "Come in," he said quietly. He looked up and was a little surprised to see it was Nick. "Hey Nicky."
Nick smiled. "That was quite the speech you gave B," he said as he walked into the room. "And we deserved it. As AJ said, maybe we've started to believe what's written about us." Brian looked up at the mention of AJ. Nick was watching his friend closely and saw him perk up at the mention of AJ. Nick sat down beside Brian on the bed. "You were right. We were judging you based on your beliefs and not your actions, and we're all sorry. I'm sorry." Nick put his hand on Brian's shoulder. "Am I forgiven?"
Brian glanced at his friend, then grinned at the sad, pouting face Nick was making. "Okay, fine, I forgive you. Just stop making that face," Brian said with a laugh and hugged Nick.
Nick hugged him tightly. "You know, if there's anything else bothering you Bri, you can tell me," Nick whispered to Brian.
Brian froze. He pulled back to look closely at Nick. 'Does Nick know?' Brian wondered. He wanted to tell Nick the truth, but he wasn't ready. Brian looked down at his knees. "When I'm ready Nick, I'll tell you, promise."
Nick nodded his head. At least Brian didn't try to deny there was something wrong. "Okay. Now should we get back to the others?" he asked as he stood, pulling Brian up with him.
Brian looked up at Nick and smiled gratefully. "Thanks Nick, for everything."
Nick just smiled and they walked back to the dining room.
(While Nick was talking to Brian)
Howie immediately shook his head, but AJ looked up sharply at Kevin. "What do you mean?" He wondered if something was wrong with Brian.
Kevin didn't notice the unusual interest AJ had shown. "I don't know. He's been quieter than normal. Since the engagement ..." Kevin shrugged. "He says it's just a lot of stuff on his mind."
AJ didn't know what to say. He had noticed the change in Brian but didn't think he should ask. He decided to ask another question that had been on his mind. "Why did you guys come back Kevin?"
Kevin looked up, dragged out of his thoughts about Brian. "Oh, Brian wanted to come back and help you celebrate your birthday," he replied before beginning to clear off the table. He never saw the goofy grin that crossed AJ's face.
Howie, however, did, but didn't say anything. They both looked up as they heard Nick and Brian walking back.
AJ stood up immediately and walked over to Brian. "I'm sorry Bri," he said quietly, looking intently into Brian's eyes, looking for something. For a split second, he thought he saw something, but then it disappeared.
Brian smiled at AJ, happy that he wasn't angry. "It's okay Bone," Brian replied and met AJ's gaze. He was afraid he would lose himself in those beautiful brown eyes and glanced away.
Brian looked around at his four friends as Kevin returned. "Guys, we have to make a promise to ourselves not to stop talking to each other. This past year, we've grown...too complacent about our friendships. If we want to keep going, and I haven't heard anyone say that they don't, then we have to keep working on our friendships and other relationships within the group."
Everyone nodded in agreement. Brian grinned. "Good. Now how about a group hug?" He almost regretted saying it as the four other guys stampeded towards him. They all hugged, with Brian stuck in the middle. He started laughing. "Okay, Okay. You don't need to suffocate me," he gasped. They backed off but everyone was smiling.
They all went and sat down in the living room. Howie and Nick took the couch, while Kevin took the large chair. Brian and AJ shared the loveseat.
"So what's the plan for today?" Nick asked everyone.
"No plans, except maybe to go buy some food, since you two have obviously eaten everything," Kevin said, looking at Nick and Howie with a grin.
"Well, Nick, D and I made plans to go to some clubs tonight, so you two have to come along," AJ said. "I'm going to go home, shower and change before going..."
"Shopping?" Brian interjected before AJ could finish. AJ grinned and blushed. He nodded. "I feel like doing some shopping too, mind if I tag along?" Brian asked.
AJ's pulse quickened. Like he was going to refuse spending time with his angel? "No problem B. If you wanna drive back to my place while I change, then we can go from there?"
Brian nodded. Then they looked at Nick and Howie, waiting to hear their plans. They were whispering to each other, oblivious of the others. "Um, guys?" Brian said, but no response. AJ grabbed the cushion beside him and tossed it at the two lovers. They looked up in surprise.
"Wanna share?" AJ asked sarcastically.
"Sorry, Bone, not into swapping or three way stuff," Howie said with a grin. AJ threw another cushion at them.
"That's not what I'm talking about! What are you two doing today?" he asked in exasperation. Everyone laughed.
"I think we're just gonna hang out at my place," Nick said, looking at Howie for confirmation. Howie nodded and Nick continued. "We haven't really had too much 'us' time," he explained.
Kevin decided to ask the question. "Guys, do your families know?" The question was addressed to Nick and Howie. AJ had told him mom, Denise, years ago. Nick and Howie glanced at each other.
"My family knows I'm bisexual, but don't know about us," Howie replied. He reached over and took Nick's hand in his.
Nick looked at his friends. "My family don't know about any of it," he admitted quietly. The others saw Howie kiss the back of Nick's hand to comfort him.
"Well, if either of you decide to tell your families, remember you already have one family standing behind you in support," Brian said firmly.
Nick looked up and smiled weakly. "Thanks guys."
"Since we're the closest to downtown, why don't we meet back here at seven and go for dinner before going out?" Kevin suggested.
Everyone thought it was a good idea, and headed out. Kevin went to his room to get his wallet and jacket before going to the grocery store. Howie and Nick walked back to Howie's room to collect their belongings before going to Nick's apartment. Brian and AJ went down to Brian's car.
"So how are things back in Kentucky?" AJ asked casually as they began the short drive to his apartment. His pulse was racing at the nearness of Brian. He just wanted to hear Brian talk; he loved the soft lilt in his voice.
"Oh, things are okay," Brian replied. He really didn't want to talk about home, because it made him think about Leighanne and the engagement and everything that was wrong in his life. He tried to change the subject. "What about you? How's this 'Johnny NoName' thing going? You ready for the concert?"
AJ glanced at Brian, and was delighted to find him genuinely interested. "We still have a lot of rehearsing to do in the next week, but its going good. It's a lot of fun to be able to sing stuff with a little harder edge sometimes, ya know? And to be able to sing the entire song yourself," he added, then realized how bad that sounded. He glanced again at Brian.
"I know what you're saying Alex, sometimes you just want to be able to do your own thing up there without worrying about what anyone else is doing," Brian said as he continued to look directly out the front window.
AJ gripped the door's armrest tightly. Had Brian just called him Alex? He decided not to comment on it.
Brian stared out the window, holding his breath, hoping AJ hadn't noticed his slip. He decided to change the subject. "So what are you shopping for today AJ?"
AJ grinned at Brian. "When do I ever have a planned shopping list?"
Brian laughed and relaxed. He was just going to enjoy the day in Alex's company.