(All under boy-bands)
Set You Free
Ten Guys, One Night
Well, the response has not been the best for this story...not too sure why...so if you're reading...please let me know!
Black & Blue...don't know what anyone else thinks, but I love it...so I'm happy...which means you get two chapters today! :-)
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!
Alex had always tried to keep his distance from male parental figures because of his own experiences with his father. But with Lou, and then again Denniz, he'd allowed himself to care. Brian winced as he remembered the hurt AJ felt when Lou betrayed them. Then when Denniz died, AJ tried to withdraw. The guys had worked hard to keep him together and it worked. It was during those trying times, including Brian's own heart surgery, that Brian realized how strong his feelings were for Alex and he'd admitted to himself that he liked men. Why couldn't he just admit his feelings to Alex?
(Meanwhile, in the shower)
AJ let his mind wander. He thought about Brian's piercing blue eyes and his angelic smile. When he directed that smile at AJ, AJ thought he would melt. He continued his thoughts, thinking about Brian's toned pecs and abdomen. Brian only did a little weight training to keep himself in shape and that was fine with AJ. He didn't want Brian to have huge bulging muscles. AJ closed his eyes and remembered the first time he realized he was in love with one of his best friends.
AJ had been struggling with his own sexual identity amid the European and Asian tour for their second CD before it was released in the U.S. as their first. He was about to turn eighteen and they were touring England. Brian and he had made plans to go exploring London. Nick was sick with the flu, Kevin was baby sitting him and Howie was with his girlfriend. AJ had been so excited about looking around the city; then Leighanne had shown up. Brian had invited her to go with them. AJ remembered his disappointment like it had just happened. He decided not to go with them and claimed he was feeling sick. He went back to his hotel suite and cried most of the day.
That was the day he realized he hadn't been excited about seeing the city; he'd been looking forward to spending the time alone with Brian. It had been four years and his feelings had never wavered. He knew he could never act on them, and he doubted whether he would ever tell Brian how he felt. It was almost a year after that, that AJ had been experimenting with one of the roadies, and Kevin found them; that's when he decided to tell the rest of the guys.
AJ shook himself out of his daydream and quickly finished his shower and threw some clothes on. He decided not to spend his usual half-hour plus, trimming his goatee and sideburns. He grabbed his trademark sunglasses and rejoined Brian.
They went back out to Brian's car and drove to the mall. AJ couldn't stop glancing at Brian. He watched his strong fingers grip the steering wheel. His eyes slowly slid up Brian's arms, taking in the soft, blond hairs covering his forearms. He glanced down to Brian's muscled legs, strong thighs covered by blue jeans. An image of the Rolling Stone magazine cover flashed through his mind and he inhaled sharply, feeling himself harden. He turned to look out the window.
Brian forced himself to focus on the road in front of him. Having AJ so close to him, the smell of AJ's cologne was driving him crazy. He heard AJ gasp slightly.
"You okay, AJ?" he asked, concerned.
AJ lied. "Yeah. I just remembered something I have to do for rehearsal tomorrow afternoon."
"Oh. You're not taking your birthday off?" Brian asked.
"Nah. Mom and I are going out for dinner tomorrow night to celebrate, but that's about it."
Brian pulled into the mall parking lot. It was Saturday and the lot was packed. Brian glanced over at AJ. "What were we thinking?" he said with a grin.
AJ shrugged. "Oh well, do we try to disguise, or are you up for some extra exercise today?"
Brian put his baseball hat on backwards but left his sunglasses off. "Good thing I wore my running shoes!" he said smiling at AJ. AJ was wearing his sunglasses, but that wouldn't help hide him.
Brian loved shopping with AJ. He never knew what AJ was going to look at, try on, or decide to buy. They wandered from store to store looking at everything. Brian found himself on more than one occasion staring at AJ with a happy, goofy grin on his face. They signed autographs when approached by a few fans. Only twice during the day did they decide to run when approached by a large number of hysterical fans.
Brian was so happy and feeling a little daring. "So, Bone, how would I look with an earring?" he asked AJ.
AJ stopped suddenly and turned to look at Brian in amazement. "You serious?" he asked and Brian nodded. "I thought you hated having your ears pierced."
Brian nodded again. "I did, when I was told I had to. But now it's my choice. So what do you think?" He really wanted AJ's opinion; it meant more to him than anyone else's did.
AJ pretended to study Brian, but he was wondering whether he should say what he was thinking. He decided to risk it. "I think it would look sexy on you," he said honestly, watching Brian's face closely. He was relieved when Brian's eyes lit up.
"Really?" Brian asked excitedly. "Then can you show me a good place to go?"
AJ nodded and they left the mall. AJ gave Brian directions to a small place that he used. He wondered if Brian would back out, but he didn't. Everyone knew AJ when they walked in and he told the guy what Brian wanted. Brian picked out a small sapphire stud and had the guy pierce one of his ears.
Brian just continued to grin. It had been a long time since he'd spent so much time alone with Alex and it reminded him why he'd fallen in love with him. At that moment, it didn't matter if his love was returned or not. When they were done, it was late afternoon.
"So why don't we go back to my place now. I'll get ready, then we can head back to your apartment so you can get ready?" AJ suggested. Brian agreed and drove back to AJ's.
Once again, Brian waited in the living room while AJ went upstairs to change. He began to argue with himself. 'Tell him Brian,' his heart kept saying. 'Don't Brian. Its better not knowing than facing rejection,' his brain argued. 'No it isn't. Not telling the truth is the easy way out. Brian, you've never taken the easy way before. You thrive on honesty Brian. It will slowly eat you up until you confess,' his heart countered.
Brian stopped his pacing and looked into the mirror in front of him. He knew he wouldn't reach a decision soon. Maybe he should take Nick up on his offer? Nick would listen and be able to give him some advice without judging him. He sighed. He knew that once he told Nick it would become real. Not that it wasn't all real now, his love for Alex, but once he told someone, his entire life would change.
Brian glanced around AJ's apartment and smiled to himself. "I love everything about you," he whispered aloud.
"Did you say something B?" AJ asked, walking into the living room as he finished buttoning his shirt. He'd heard Brian's voice but didn't make out what he'd said.
Brian looked up in complete shock. "What?" he gasped, momentarily afraid AJ had heard him.
AJ stared at him, wondering what was wrong. "You okay B? I just wondered what you were saying. I heard your voice, but not the words." AJ looked closely at Brian. Kevin was right, Brian had been acting strange for the past few weeks.
Brian heard what AJ said and sighed audibly. "Oh, I was just going over some lyrics in my mind. I must have been saying them aloud," he lied.
Somehow, AJ knew Brian was lying, but not why. It hurt that Brian felt he had to lie to him, but AJ didn't know what to do. He shrugged. "Okay." He turned, then turned back to look at Brian again. "Brian," he said seriously, "I hope you know that if there's anything bothering you, or anything you want to talk about, I'm always willing to listen. I know you have Kevin to talk to, but...I don't know...sometimes people need to talk to someone outside their family. Know what I mean?" AJ wasn't sure what he was trying to say to Brian, except that he would always be there for him, no matter what the problem.
Brian listened to AJ and more than anything he just wanted to blurt out 'I love you Alex.' He felt tears welling up at AJ's offer and blinked them back. "Thanks, AJ. It means a lot to me. I'm just working through some stuff, but I'll be okay."
AJ continued to watch Brian until Brian looked away. He just nodded and followed Brian out to the car. They drove in silence. It wasn't an angry silence or tense silence. Both men were just lost in their thoughts; neither realizing each was thinking about the other.
Back at the apartment, Brian went to his bedroom while AJ joined Kevin in the living room. Nick and Howie weren't there yet.
Brian sat down on his bed and let the tears he'd been holding back run freely. Those last moments in AJ's apartment proved to Brian that he had to tell the truth. There was no way he'd be able to go back on tour, live in such close quarters with AJ and still hide his feelings. Even if AJ wasn't interested, at least he would understand why Brian kept his distance or avoided him for a while.
Brian resolved to talk to Nick the next day. He wiped his face and went to the bathroom to wash away any traces of his tears. He proceeded to get ready.
(in the living room)
Kevin looked at AJ in concern. "Did something happen?" he asked.
AJ shook his head. "Not exactly one thing. I can't really explain it. There was just ...something... not quite right with him today. We had fun today, but..." AJ's voice trailed off. He wasn't sure how to explain things.
Kevin nodded. "I know. I've tried talking to him, but he's not ready. When he is, hopefully he'll talk to one of us." AJ nodded his agreement. He hated to see his angel in any type of distress and somehow he knew that whatever was bothering Brian was big.
They both heard the door open and looked up to see Nick and Howie walk in.
"Hey guys!" Nick said as he flopped down on the couch, pulling Howie onto his lap. Howie tried to pull away, but quickly gave up and rested his head in the curve of Nick's neck.
"Babe, I have to go get ready," Howie pleaded softly. He raised his head and stared into Nick's bright blue eyes. Nick leaned forward and tenderly kissed Howie's lips.
"Okay, but don't be gone long, cause I miss ya," Nick said quietly as he let go of his lover. Howie jumped up and ran down the hall to his room. Kevin and AJ grinned.
"Oh, to be young and in love," Kevin sighed. AJ lost his smile and Kevin noticed. "Bone?" he asked quietly.
AJ stood up and walked out onto the balcony, angry with himself for letting his mask slip. He quickly blinked back his tears as he heard someone follow him out.
"You know, Brian isn't the only one who's been acting a little strange lately," Kevin said quietly as he came to stand beside AJ and look out over the city.
AJ didn't say anything immediately. He took a few deep breaths before turning to look at Kevin and smiling ruefully. "Yeah, and he's not the only one not ready to talk about it."
Kevin hesitated a moment then realized he couldn't push. He nodded. "Okay. You know where I am." He turned to walk back inside.
AJ reached out and touched his arm. "Thanks, Kev," he said intently. "I don't know if I've ever told you, but you have been one of the most stabilizing forces in my life, and it means a lot."
Kevin smiled. "Thanks AJ, it's nice to hear that sometimes." They looked at each other for a minute, then hugged briefly before going back inside.
Brian was just walking into the living room and Howie returned a couple of minutes later.
Nick looked up and immediately noticed Brian's new accessory. "Hey, nice jewelry B!" he exclaimed. The others all looked at the new earring.
They briefly discussed how they were going to travel, preferring not to use the limousine if possible. It was decided that they'd take two cars in case some wanted to leave before others. Brian and Howie offered to drive. Nick and Howie went in one car, while Brian, AJ and Kevin went in the other.
Kevin had made reservations at a favorite restaurant, which always provided good food and privacy. The five friends enjoyed their meal without interruptions. As they ate, they debated about which club to go to that night. AJ finally won, since it was his birthday the next day.
Brian decided to throw his usual caution away and ordered a drink with dinner. He continued to feel reckless.
Kevin watched Brian as the evening wore on. Brian almost never drank, yet he'd had two drinks with dinner and it didn't look like he was going to slow down. 'What the hell is going?' Kevin wondered to himself. He glanced at AJ, who was also drinking, although that wasn't as uncommon. Kevin moved his gaze to Nick and found Nick staring at AJ and Brian. It was night outside, but to Kevin it was like someone had turned the sun on. "Oh shit," he muttered. Nick was sitting beside him and turned to look at him.