(All under boy-bands)
Set You Free
Ten Guys, One Night
Thank you so much to everyone who has sent good wishes and cards to me after my accident. It really means alot! I hope to be back on the computer and writing by the end of the month, so please be patient. I will try to keep posting Blissful Tears regularly, but sometimes it hurts too much to even sit in front of the computer!
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!
"Yuck!" he said with a giggle as he wiped the saliva from his ear. "What was that for?" he asked as he sat up.
AJ raised his arm and tried to shake away the numbness. He climbed around Brian to the floor and walked over to the front door. "Someone is buzzing," he explained.
Brian looked at his watch. "Oh, shit, Alex, it's almost six!" he exclaimed in surprise.
AJ answered the buzzing. "Hello?"
"Hey, AJ, it's us," Kevin's voice crackled through the speaker.
AJ pressed the button to unlock the door. "Come on up guys," he said.
Brian had walked over to the door, so when AJ turned, Brian wrapped his arms around him. They leaned against the door, hugging. Brian rested his head on AJ's shoulder.
"So I guess this is it," he said jokingly. Then he moved back and looked at AJ seriously. "I do love you, ya know that, right?"
AJ smiled and nodded. "Yeah. And I love you too," he replied and gently kissed Brian. He sighed as the buzzer rang again. He reached over and pushed the button. "Hello?"
"Alex, it's your Mom," Denise's voice came through the speaker.
"Okay, Mom," AJ said and buzzed her in.
Before they could say anything else, there was a knock at the door. AJ moved to open it, but Brian grabbed his hand. He leaned forward to AJ's ear. "Let's wait till your Mom gets up before saying anything, okay?"
AJ nodded, and Brian walked back to the living room, while AJ opened the door.
"Happy Birthday, AJ!" the three singers said in unison as Nick handed him a bunch of helium filled balloons. They all laughed.
"Thanks guys. Mom's right behind you with the food so come on in," AJ said, allowing his three friends into the apartment.
They walked in and spotted Brian sitting on the couch, flipping through a magazine. "Hey, B, any lasting effects from last night?" Nick immediately asked with a broad grin. He walked over and handed Brian the keys to his car.
Brian looked up at Nick and smiled. "Not really. Thanks." He shrugged. "Had a bit of a headache earlier, but its gone now." The guys all found a place to sit. "What'd y'all do today?" he asked casually.
"Not too much. Hung out for a while this morning, then went to the gym this afternoon," Kevin answered. Brian nodded then stood up.
"Well, Denise is on her way up so I'm going to get some plates and stuff out for us. You guys want anything to drink?"
Brian walked into the kitchen and found AJ already starting to get plates and cutlery out. He grabbed some glasses and filled the requests, then poured a coke for himself and a large glass of milk for AJ. He kept glancing over at AJ, wanting to touch him. He resisted, knowing he could wait a little while longer.
Denise knocked. "Want me to get that?" Brian asked, as AJ was still setting out dishes. He grinned and nodded.
Brian opened the door. "Hi Denise." She was carrying a couple of large paper bags full of Chinese food. "Geez, let me get those for you," Brian said, and grabbed the bags from her. "You should have got us to come down and help," Brian said as he carried the food into the kitchen.
"Thanks, Brian. Always the gentleman," she said with a smile as she followed Brian into the apartment. She waved at the other guys sitting in the living room. "Hi boys!"
"Hi Denise!" came the group response.
Not seeing her son sitting down she turned to walk into the kitchen. "Hey kid-o, Happy Birthday!" she said and gave AJ a hug.
He hugged her back. "Hi Mom."
"Can I get you something to drink, Denise?" Brian asked.
"No thanks, Brian," she said and turned back to AJ. "So?"
AJ grinned. "Okay, go sit down with the guys and I'll be right there and tell you what's going on."
Denise nodded and began to walk out, then turned back. "You coming Brian?" she asked.
Brian nodded. "Be right there Denise," he said.
Once she was gone, AJ walked up to Brian. "You ready babe?" he asked intently, looking into Brian's clear blue eyes.
Brian took a deep breath, then smiled as he held out his hand. "Yeah."
AJ took the offered hand and they walked out into the living room. Howie noticed them first and nudged Nick in the side. Nick grinned wildly and raised his hands in victory. "Yes!" he shouted.
Kevin and Denise, who had their backs to the kitchen, looked up in surprise and turned to see what Nick and Howie were looking at.
Kevin looked at his cousin and saw that the sadness was gone; he was truly happy. Their eyes met and Kevin smiled, nodding his head slightly. Brian caught the meaning.
Denise stood up and walked over to them, noting the clasped hands and smiling faces. She looked intently at her son and saw the love in his eyes. She looked over at Brian, who looked up to meet her gaze. His eyes never wavered and she could see the joy and happiness in his face too. She shook her head in bewilderment. "I don't know how this happened, but I can certainly see that it makes you both happy." She reached out and hugged them both. "So I'm happy for you both," she said as she kissed AJ's cheek and then Brian's cheek.
Despite a promise to himself not to cry, Brian felt the tears suddenly well up at the warm welcome Denise had given him, knowing he would never get the same from his own family. He pulled his hand from AJ's as a quiet sob escaped him and he ran down the short hall to the bedroom.
Everyone looked at AJ in surprise. "What did I do?" Denise asked in concern.
AJ smiled sadly at everyone. "Nothing Mom. Why don't you all start to eat? Brian and I will be out in a few minutes," he said as he walked down the hall and into the bedroom.
Kevin walked over to the confused Denise. "It's not your fault Denise. You welcomed him without question and he knows it won't be that easy with his own family." Denise nodded in comprehension. "Oh, by the way, in case you didn't notice, those two are together too," Kevin added as he pointed to the couch where Nick had pulled Howie on to his lap.
Denise laughed. "I can see that. So I guess that means you're the only one left that we have to set up with someone?"
Kevin grinned. "Guess so." He followed her to the kitchen where they unpacked the boxes of food. As he expected, a few seconds later Nick and Howie wandered in and grabbed plates to fill.
(In the bedroom)
The sobs subsided. "I'm sorry Alex," he apologized. "I thought I was ready, but it just hit me how much I wish my family could be as accepting as your Mom. She didn't even hesitate to welcome me."
AJ grinned. "Yeah, well, that's my Mom." He then turned serious. "Bri, we have to give your family the benefit of the doubt. We can't judge them before we know how they will react; that's what we did to you yesterday, remember?"
Brian moved to wipe his tears, but AJ brushed his hands aside and wiped the dampness himself. Brian smiled weakly. "You're right love." He pulled AJ into a tight hug. "We should get back out there too, before Nick eats everything," he whispered.
AJ laughed and rolled off the bed. Brian followed him and reached out to take his hand as they walked down the hall to the kitchen. They walked into the kitchen where the others were filling their plates.
"So, did you leave us anything or what?" Brian asked with a smile.
Nick laughed. "Oh, I left you a few crumbs, Shorty."
Brian reached over and lightly smacked Nick in the back of the head. He accepted the plate Denise handed him, looking up to meet her gaze. She smiled understandingly and he smiled back.
Once everyone had their food, they moved back out to the living room to eat. Kevin, Howie and Nick sat on the couch, while Denise sat in one of the chairs. Brian took the other chair and AJ sat on the wide chair arm.
Everyone began to eat; no one wanted to be the first to speak. AJ broke the silence. "I just want to know where I was when Blondie over there," he nodded towards Nick, "got so smart?"
His comment broke the slight tension and everyone laughed. "Seriously, though Nick, you set us up last night didn't you?"
Nick stopped stuffing his face and grinned. "Yeah, sort of. I wasn't expecting you both to drink so much, but since the opportunity presented itself...I had to take it."
"So all this happened last night?" Denise asked.
Brian shook his head. "Sort of, but not exactly. I've been in love with Alex for about two years, and from what he's said, it's been a little longer for him. But I kept denying it." He looked at Denise. "You know my family Denise." She nodded and Brian continued. "But lately its been harder to deny how I feel. I decided to come back for Alex's birthday. Then yesterday we spent the day together shopping and hanging out. I realized that I couldn't go back on tour without telling him and the others how I felt. I had planned to talk to Nick today, but decided to drown my problems last night. I guess that's when Mr. Matchmaker over there took control." As he talked, Brian had moved his hand to AJ's back and was absently running his fingers up and down.
Nick decided to explain his part. "Well Denise, Howie and I started seeing each other six months ago. Maybe it was because we were in love, I don't know, but both of us soon noticed the way AJ looked at Brian when he thought no one was watching. We started to watch Brian and noticed the same thing. We knew about AJ of course, but Brian had never indicated to any of us that he might be gay or even bi. After Brian announced his engagement, we noticed that both of them were sad most of the time. They tried to hide it, but we could see through it. Howie and I wanted to help, but no one knew about us until yesterday, so it was hard. Last night when we went out, Brian drank too much. When Kev, D and I decided to leave, B and AJ didn't want to go." Nick shrugged. "So I pointed out to AJ that something could happen to Brian because he was so out of it. I knew that if AJ felt the way I thought he did, he wouldn't let anything happen to Brian."
It was AJ's turn. "So I called us a cab. I was going to take Brian home but he didn't want to, so we came back here. Everything...just kinda came out." He didn't want to share all the details; it was between Brian and he. "We've spent most of today just talking and getting to know each other on a different level," he paused as he realized how that sounded. Everyone looked surprised and Brian was blushing. "Get out of the gutter people! I didn't mean that. God, we haven't even been a couple for twenty-four hours yet!"
There was a chorus of "Sorry."
AJ leaned back so he could put his arm around Brian's shoulders, leaning against him for support. "I mean, we already know so much about each other, but it's still only at a friendship level." He could see Nick and Howie nodding in understanding. They must have gone through the same thing at the beginning of their relationship.
The discussion finally moved to other topics such as the continuation of the Millennium tour at the end of the month, and AJ's Johnny NoName concert.
Kevin smiled to himself at one point. It amazed him that despite all the crap the five had been through over the years, and the amount of time they all spent together, they were genuinely the best of friends and still enjoyed each others company even when not touring. His smile faded slightly as he looked at Howie and Nick then Brian and AJ. 'Why can't I find that?' he asked himself. He shook his head slightly. 'Maybe when we're over,' he thought.
"So, Kev, how many resumes have you got for that assistant's position?" Howie asked, interrupting Kevin's thoughts. The five had discussed hiring an assistant to act as a liaison between the group and particularly Kevin, and everyone else. The person would be responsible for ensuring limo and hotel arrangements, wake-up calls, and anything else that had to be done. They were hoping to ease the responsibility Kevin had so he could focus more on the music and dancing side. Too often he had to miss rehearsals or was late because of business meetings. He would still deal with it, but the assistant would do more of the legwork.
Kevin looked at Howie. "So far we've had about fifty come in, but only about twenty of those are worth a second look," he said.
"Any one figure out its us, yet?" Brian asked. They were advertising the job, anonymously through an agency, wanting qualified people to apply not just fans.
Kevin shook his head. "Not that I've noticed. I thought we'd go through all the resumes after AJ's concert. We can arrange to interview those we like and hopefully get them hired for the last two months of the tour. That will give everyone a chance to get to know each other and see how they work. We can work out a more detailed job description while we're off recording so that when we go back on tour, everything goes smoothly."
"Sounds good, Kev," AJ said. He was happy that they were getting someone to help Kevin, so that he could enjoy things a little more, and hopefully find someone for himself.
Everyone voiced their agreement, and talk continued until close to midnight. Denise was the first to leave. AJ and Brian walked with her to the door as the others said goodbye.
Denise turned to look at the two young men. She pulled Brian into a hug. "Thank you for being you, and loving my son, Brian. You've made him happier than I've ever seen him," she said softly in his ear.
Brian hugged her back. ""Thank you Denise for accepting me as part of Alex's and your life."
They stepped back and Denise looked at her son. "I'll walk you down to the front Mom," AJ said as he slid some shoes on. He turned to Brian. "Be right back, babe," he said, kissing Brian quickly.
Brian walked back to the living room and was pounced on by Nick. He grabbed Brian into a bear hug. "I'm so happy for ya, man," Nick said.
Brian squeezed his friend back. "Thanks Frack. And you know I'm happy for you and D, right?"
Nick pulled back and met Brian's eyes. "Yeah. But don't forget, there's still Frick and Frack."
Brian grinned, "Always, man."
"So, Brian, are you still going back to Lex with me on Tuesday?" Kevin asked. Brian patted Nick's shoulder and sat back down in the chair. Nick rejoined Howie.
"I guess so Kev," Brian said hesitantly. "No point in putting things off." He glanced at Howie and Nick, who were whispering to each other.
"I'm gonna tell Leighanne, then tell my folks," he said quietly. Nick and Howie turned to look at him in surprise.
"You're telling your parents, B?" Nick asked in shock. They all knew what his parents were like.
Brian nodded and blinked back fresh tears as he thought about what was going to happen.
"Well, just like you offered us yesterday B, remember you have one family who supports you," Howie said intently. He looked at Nick, "I think its time we went home, dear." Nick nodded in agreement.
"Thanks for everything guys," Brian said as he walked to the door with them. "It means a lot to me and Alex." Nick grinned. "What?" Brian asked, smiling at Nick's infectious smile.
"Its cute how you call him Alex," Nick said.
Brian rolled his eyes. "Get outta here," he said as he held the door. AJ was just walking back.
"Oh, you guys leaving?" he asked. Nick and Howie nodded. "Okay, give me a call in a couple of days, alright?" AJ walked back into the apartment.
Kevin had walked to the front door as well. "I think I'll go home too, guys. I'll call you on Tuesday Brian about the flight home, okay?"
Brian grabbed his cousin into a tight hug. "Thanks for everything cus. I love ya," Brian said, still fighting back the tears.
Kevin hugged back. "Love you too, Bri." He pulled back. "You two have fun tomorrow and I'll talk to ya Tuesday." Brian nodded and stepped back.
"Thanks Kevin," AJ said solemnly.
Kevin smiled. "No problem."