Warning: This is a fictional story, describing erotic relations
between consenting adult men. If this makes you uncomfortable, or if it is
illegal for you to read something like this, then go find something else to do.
The following story is entirely a work of fiction, and is not intended to imply anything about any real people. All of the characters in the story are fictional, and must not be confused with any real people. The characters in this story may have the same names as some real people, but the characters are in no way supposed to actually represent any real people.
Permission is hereby granted for this story to be distributed solely by the Nifty Archive: http://www.nifty.org/. You may of course keep a copy for your own use, but you may not redistribute it.
Before this chapter starts, I'd like to take a moment to thank those of you who have taken the time to express their appreciation of the story to me. Your comments have been kind, and have made writing this much easier. I'd also like to thank an ever-expanding circle of special friends for their help and encouragement. Please feel free to send me any comments you may have.
Joey sighed. This wasn't getting him anywhere. No matter how much he worried about it, there just wasn't any solution.
He turned and looked at the clock. It was just after 4am. Matt would be getting up soon he knew. He had said they had an early day on the show. After all, they had only had the one day of rehearsal. They'd probably have to rehearse each scene before they taped it.
Matt would be away all day. There was no way he could talk to him before then. Matt was already short on sleep, and he'd have a hard enough day at the studio. Now, the best thing he could do for Matt would be to just let him go to the studio, and talk to him when he came back.
And hope that it wasn't so late that Matt wouldn't want to talk. Again.
Could he stand to wait for all that time? What choice did he have?
Okay, time to think about something else. Maybe then he'd be able to get some sleep. Did Matt have everything he needed in the morning?
Somehow, he knew that he couldn't face Matt in the morning. He'd be so tempted to say something. Even small talk would be forced. No, he'd just hide in here, and Matt would think he was still asleep.
Sleep. Would he ever get any sleep tonight? Lord, he was tired.
Oh. Matt would need the keys to the truck, so he could drive himself to the studio. Joey slowly got out of bed. Where had he put his keys? They must be around here somewhere. He turned on the light, and stood blinking in the sudden light. When his eyes adjusted, he saw the keys on his dresser. He picked them up, and then quietly opened the bedroom door.
He left the door to his bedroom open, and by the light coming out, he checked to make sure Matt's door was closed. Reassured that the light wouldn't wake Matt up, he turned on the light in the kitchen. He found a pad a paper, and wrote Matt a little note.
He read what he'd written, and tore it up. Damn it. He'd kept this a secret for all these years, and now he was an absolute mess. He couldn't do a simple thing like write a note without making it sound like he was desperate.
Try again. Stick to the facts.
Joey thought about that. Was the part about needing to talk too much? Matt knew they needed to do that. Wouldn't he hurry back tomorrow anyway?
Joey sighed. He just didn't know. At one point, he thought he'd known. Now, well...he really had no idea.
Okay, stop brooding. He stood up and put the keys on top of the note. They were in plain sight. Matt would surely see them when he came in here. Matt always headed for coffee before he went out. Joey remembered that from when he was still living at home.
Shit. That was before. Back when he was still denying it. When he was hiding.
No, don't let that start again. He'd moved out for a good reason. He'd needed the distance.
Coffee. Matt would want coffee in the morning. Well, he could do that. He went over to the coffee machine, and set it all up so that it would brew coffee for Matt in the morning. He'd like that.
That done, Joey went and found a clean towel. He placed it beside the sink in the bathroom, so that Matt would be able to find it. He checked to make sure there was soap and shampoo.
Okay, that was done. Was there anything else that Matt would need?
No, that was probably everything.
Joey went around, and turned off all of the lights again. Then he returned to
his bedroom and quietly closed the door. Well, what was he going to do now? How
would he pass the time until Matt got back from the studio?
The jarring noise woke Matt. He reached over and turned the alarm clock off. Where was he? This looked like...oh. That's right. He was at Joey's.
The bed felt cold without Nick's warmth beside him. It felt strange to sleep alone again. He'd been alone for all those years, and hadn't known what he'd been missing. Now, he was back in his old life again.
Almost like it had never happened.
But, it had happened. He'd had only a few short days with Nick, but those were the most important days of his life. The rest was unimportant. Only Nick was important now. Nothing else mattered.
But, Maitland yesterday had been really nice.
Nick had given him so much. Until Nick had come along, it was like his life was a dream, vague and unreal. He'd done what was expected of him, but he'd really lived inside himself. Now, he had friends and a reason to go on.
Matt suddenly realized that he'd been daydreaming for too long. He'd be late if he didn't get a move on. He got out of bed, and turned the light on. It was still early enough that the sun wasn't up. He found his bag, and placed it on the bed. He opened it up, and got his shaving kit out.
He opened the bedroom door, and went into the bathroom. He closed the door, and turned the light on. Joey was at it again. There was a clean towel for him. He smiled, thinking about Joey. He was always doing thoughtful things like this.
Matt shaved quickly, and then had a quick shower. The shower felt good, washing all the dirt and grime of yesterday away. That stupid stunt at the airport was really annoying. Well, Ross would put a stop to that.
When Matt left the bathroom, he noticed the wonderful smell of coffee. Ah, Joey. His thoughtfulness just went on and on. Matt took a quick detour into the kitchen, and poured himself a cup of coffee. As he turned to go back to get dressed, he saw the note and keys. He read the note and took the keys. Good. He'd call Joey a bit later in the day and let him know how things were going. Maybe they would have time to talk tonight.
He thought for a moment. Nick was right. He just couldn't imagine Joey not being able to accept him and Nick. Joey was always supportive. He was always thinking of things like making coffee, clean towels and lending him the truck. Joey wouldn't care if Matt were gay. He'd do whatever he could to help Matt.
Why had he ever thought otherwise? It must be just nerves. He'd make an effort to be back as soon as he could, so he could tell Joey. It's too bad he wasn't up now--he didn't care if he was late for the show. If Joey were up, he'd tell him right now.
Matt went back into the bedroom, and started searching for some clean clothes to wear. That was when he found the two CDs that Kevin had given him. Now, that was something to listen to on the way to the studio. And one CD he'd put out for Joey. He knew that Joey would want to listen to it as soon as he could.
Matt briefly considered opening the package that Brian had given him in the limo. But, he was running late. He'd do it later. Maybe tonight.
Matt gathered his stuff all up. He didn't want to leave a mess in the bedroom
for Joey. He put the CD on the kitchen table. He wrote a quick
"Thanks" on the bottom of the note, and left it with the CD. Then he
was out and on his way to the studio.
Kevin reached over and took another sandwich. If he wasn't fast, Nick would eat them all. It was hard to remember a time when he'd eaten like Nick and Matt. He wasn't sure he'd ever eaten quite that much.
He looked at Nick. Matt had sure been good for him. The change was apparent for anyone to see. Nick had a confidence now that he'd been missing before. His ideas had always been good, but Matt had been able to give Nick the confidence to make his ideas count. It was really nice to see.
Kevin smiled, thinking of Matt's excitement when he showed off the watch yesterday at breakfast. He was really happy with that watch. Kevin had been surprised when Brian had given Matt a present. It was too bad he hadn't thought about doing that.
"Hey Brian," Kevin said. "What was that present you gave to Matt yesterday?"
Kevin's voice broke the silence in the room. The four of them were having a quick lunch in a small meeting room at the studio. Howie had gone back to the hospital again today.
"Oh, nothing much." Brian said. He started to feel his face grow hot.
"Nothing much?" AJ said with a laugh. "After all we went through to get that book for Matt, you think it's nothing much?"
"What book?" Nick asked.
AJ looked at Nick. "Oh, you'll love this Nick."
"AJ, no...." Brian said.
AJ looked at him, then turned back to Nick with a big smile. "Brian and I went to a gay bookstore yesterday...."
"You went into a porn shop?" Kevin interrupted.
"No, we went into a gay bookstore." AJ said. "Not a porn shop. We went there and bought Matt a sex manual." AJ said.
Brian was bright red. Kevin was shocked. Nick had a big smile on his face.
AJ laughed. "It was all Brian's idea."
"It was not!" Brian said. "It was your idea. You were the one that thought Matt needed some help. You were just too chicken to go in."
AJ nodded. "You're right. We did walk by the entrance a few times."
"Why didn't you just keep going?" Kevin said. "Why would you do something dumb like that? If anyone recognized you...."
"Oh, they know who we are Kevin," AJ said. "Brian found a whole shelf full of books about us."
"Don't forget the poster," Brian said.
"Oh yeah. There was also a poster from that photo shoot we did for XY magazine. It was on the wall. You should have seen Brian run when he saw that."
Kevin shook his head. "I don't think I want to know."
"We would never have found the sex manual if that clerk hadn't helped us out," Brian said.
AJ flushed, remembering the clerk's comments.
"What?" Brian said. "Did he say something to you?"
AJ looked embarrassed. This was the first time Nick had ever seen AJ blush.
"What did the clerk say?" Nick asked.
AJ looked quickly at Nick. "Well, he told me that I was lucky, because Brian was so cute."
Nick laughed. Brian started to turn red again.
AJ glanced at Brian and said, "He actually said he had a cute ass."
Nick's laughter was out of control now. He wanted so badly to say something, but he knew he'd just get into trouble if he did. Brian's ass was cute. He knew that. Not like Matt's of course, but still better than most.
The other three giggled for a moment, then they watched Nick. Nick stopped laughing when he realized he was the only one still laughing.
"Private joke?" Brian said.
Nick smiled. "You don't want to know."
"Whatever made you guys do this? Why risk everything and..." Kevin said.
AJ looked serious. "Well, when I talked to Matt at the club that night, he told me that he didn't have much experience. And I didn't think Nick had either. And after I was so crummy to Matt and Nick when they told us, I really wanted to do something for them."
"When AJ talked to me about it, it seemed like a good idea." Brian said. "Nick had told me that Matt was having some problems too, and Matt is the sort of guy who wants to read up on things. I thought it would be easy to do."
"So, where's the store?" Nick asked.
"Oh, it's on..." Brian said.
"Hang on," Kevin interrupted. "Why do you want to know Nick?"
"Oh, I thought I'd go and get a copy of the book for myself."
"No!" Kevin said.
"But, if they can go..."
"No Nick. They took a big risk in going. If you appeared, someone would almost certainly recognize you."
Brian shook his head. "Kevin is right. We shouldn't have gone."
"Yeah man" AJ said. "If I'd have known they had our picture on the wall, or all those books about us, I'd have never suggested it in the first place."
Nick looked at them. They were clearly all against this. He sighed.
"Well, I guess I'll just have to talk to Matt then."
Matt opened the door to the trailer, and looked inside. Good, it was empty. He needed some privacy. He went into the trailer, and put his phone and coffee down. Then he went back and locked the door. He didn't want anyone to bug him while he was talking to Nick.
He sat in the chair, and took a sip of coffee. He really hadn't gotten enough sleep recently. He'd only got a few hours last night, maybe an hour on the plane, and of course, none the night before. He smiled. That night had been worth losing sleep over.
He picked up the phone and dialed Nick's number. He waited while it rang a few times.
"Matt?" Nick said.
"Hi sexy" Matt said.
Nick giggled. "Hang on a minute, while I find a quiet room."
Nick turned to the rest of the guys, and Kevin just smiled. "Go on Nick. It's time we took a break anyway."
"Thanks Kevin" Nick said. He left the studio, and started down the hall, searching for an empty room. He ducked into the meeting room they'd used for lunch, and closed the door. He sat down, and put the phone back to his ear. "Hi sexy. What are you doing?"
Matt giggled. "Well, they're shooting a scene without me at the moment, so I decided it was time to call."
"How's the show going?"
"Not too bad, all things considered. I think they'll have to do more editing than usual, but we don't have the studio audience today, so that makes it a bit easier."
"That's good. It better be a good episode after they pulled you back."
"Yeah. So, what are you doing?"
"Oh, we're working on the changes to the song. I don't know if I like them."
"I'm sure you'll make the right changes Nick."
"I hope so. So, did you have a good trip? How was the plane?"
"Well, the flight was good. Except for the fan that sat next to me. She didn't stop talking the whole flight. Even when I tried to get some sleep, she just kept talking."
Nick giggled. "She was probably just nervous, talking to such a cute guy."
"Yeah, right." Matt laughed. "I must have finally fallen asleep though, because the steward had to wake me after we'd landed."
"I can't imagine sleeping like that."
"Well, you did sort of tire me out you know."
"I did? As I remember, I wasn't the one who kept on going."
"Let's just say you're good inspiration." Matt laughed.
Nick giggled. "Yesterday, you said you were ambushed at the airport. What happened?"
"Oh. Well, they arranged a damn press conference. There was a swarm of reporters waiting for me when I stepped off the plane."
"Yeah. It was obvious that the producer's office set it all up. They were all asking about whether you guys were going to do another show, and that sort of stuff. But then the questions got ugly."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, they asked whether you were on drugs. And someone knows that AJ and Howie were drinking."
"Oh no. I guess I should tell Kevin."
"Yeah, that's a good idea. We don't want any rumors to start. When things got ugly, I ended it. I think I really pissed off Trish, but that's just tough. I was so angry at them for springing the press on me like that."
"That was pretty nasty all right."
Matt chuckled. "I wouldn't let her ride in the limo with me. I guess that wasn't very nice, but I was so angry. I called Ross, to get some changes made to my contract."
"Oh, he's my agent. He had the new contract for next season waiting for me to sign, but I sent him back to get some changes made. It's time I took control of my life."
"Aren't you taping the last show of the season next week?"
"Yeah" Matt said. "They won't have much time to negotiate."
Nick giggled. "Good."
"Actually, you're the biggest reason I want to make some changes. We need to figure out how to make time so we can be together more often."
Nick sighed. "You're right. It's going to be really hard though. We've got a bit left to finish on the CD, then the release of Millennium. Then we're going into rehearsals for the world tour. And once the tour starts..."
"We'll be lucky if we can find time to talk on the phone. I've still got finals, then there are those movies I've already signed up for this summer. Then it's back to the show."
"Well, I've been thinking. I think maybe if I start helping Kevin out, at least I'll know the schedule."
"That would help. I was going to suggest to you that Kevin could use some help. I'm going to get Ross to give me all of my commitments, and I'm not going to allow anyone to schedule anything more until we can set aside some time. I hope we can find a few days sometime soon."
"I hope so. It's only been one day, but I miss you so much."
"I miss you too Nick. I didn't sleep well at all last night." There was a knock at the trailer door. "I've got to go Nick. It sounds like they're looking for me. I'll call you again tonight. I love you Nick."
"I love you too." Nick sighed. "Bye." Nick hung up the
phone and sat back. He sat for a moment, before getting up and heading back
towards the studio.
Kevin smiled as he watched Nick hurry out of the studio. He was just so eager to go off and talk to Matt.
Actually, that was a good idea. He had some time now, and he hadn't talked to Joey in a while. Matt had probably told Joey all about his trip now, so they'd finally be able to talk freely.
Kevin picked up his phone, and started out of the studio. There had to be some empty offices around here somewhere. Nick had gone that way, so he headed in the other direction. It didn't take long for him to find a quiet office.
The sudden sound of the phone ringing startled Joey. Was that Matt? No, it was still too early for Matt to be on the way home. He still had time. He stopped the CD, and then slowly reached over and picked up the phone. He managed to say "Hello" when he got the phone to his mouth.
"Joey?" Kevin said. "Is that you?"
"Yeah. Hi Kevin"
"Man, you sound awful. Are you okay?"
Joey sighed. "Yeah, I'm okay. Just tired I guess."
"Oh. Well, I just thought I'd call. We didn't get much time to talk last time."
"Did Matt talk to you when he got home? Did he tell you what happened while he was here?"
"No. He just arrived with his new girlfriend, then went to bed. He didn't say anything."
"New girlfriend?" Kevin said.
"Yeah. You know Maitland from the show? They're going out."
Kevin didn't know what to say. This was certainly news to him. Matt dating Maitland? What would Nick think? This could be terrible. Nick would be devastated. Maybe that's what Matt had called about. Matt must telling Nick now. Shit. Nick would need someone now. He'd be crushed.
"Listen Joey, I've got to go." Kevin said.
Joey sighed. "Okay, bye."
"Are you sure you're okay? You really don't sound very good."
"I'm just tired."
"Get some sleep then. I'll call you later."
"Bye" Joey said. He hung up the phone.
Why was it so hard? Why did he have to be this way? Why couldn't he just be normal like the rest of the world?
Why couldn't he just lie down and never wake up? Why?
He started the CD playing again. This song was just too much. He listened as the song started and they sang those opening words 'Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely'.
He'd been looking forward to having Matt come home all week. At last he'd be able to share his secret with someone. If Matt had been gay like he'd thought, then Matt wouldn't care when he told him that he was gay too. But, Matt wasn't gay. He'd brought Maitland home to prove that.
Now what was he going to do? He'd kept this secret for all these years, but he just couldn't stand it anymore. He had to tell someone. Matt was the closest friend he had. If anyone would understand, it would be Matt.
But, Matt was also his brother. That complicated it. If Matt didn't accept him, he'd be stuck. Cut off from family, without any close friends.
Why had he allowed Matt to draw him back into the family? He'd tried to distance himself from them, hoping he'd be able to build a life for himself. So he could stand alone, and not be destroyed if they rejected him. It had worked, until Matt.
When he'd realized how much Matt really wanted his friendship, he just couldn't help himself. He'd thought he'd be able to keep his secret, and be friends with Matt. And Andy.
Joey smiled, thinking of Andy. They had so much fun together. Whatever happened, he was glad he'd spent the time with Andy. And Matt. Even if they rejected him, at least he'd had this time.
He really didn't know what to do. His secret was just killing him. It would
be so much better if he could just tell Matt. But, would Matt understand? Would
Kevin hung up the phone, and quickly left the room. He walked down the hall looking into each room to see if he could find Nick. He had to be somewhere along here.
He found Nick in a small meeting room, almost at the end of the hall. Kevin looked into room through a small window in the door. Was Nick okay? He was still talking on the phone, which was a good sign. He seemed to be happy. Matt must not have told him yet.
Kevin debated going into the room, but he decided that he'd let Matt tell Nick first. If he saw Nick getting upset, he'd go in. But, until that happened, he'd just stay here.
He felt guilty watching Nick like this. He really didn't want to spy on Nick, but when Matt told him, he'd be totally crushed.
Oh, had it happened? Nick looked sad all of a sudden. Then he hung up the phone. Kevin quickly moved out of the view of the window, so Nick wouldn't see that he'd been watching him. He waited for a moment, debating whether to knock on the door or not. Just then, Nick opened the door.
"Oh, hi Nick." Kevin said. "I was just looking for you."
"Hi Kevin. What's up?"
"Oh, I was just talking with Joey. Is everything okay?"
"Sure. Why wouldn't it be? Matt just had to get back to the show. Actually he wanted me to tell you about the press conference he had. It seems some reporters were asking questions about me using drugs, and someone getting drunk."
"Well, I'm sure Matt handled those questions properly. I'll check to see what rumors are flying around though."
"Good. And can you find out whether the producer's office set the reporters up? Matt thinks they were the ones that started it all."
"Sure." Kevin waited for a moment, then said, "Matt didn't say anything else?"
Nick smiled. "Of course he did. He said he missed me, and that he loved me. Is that what you wanted to know?"
Kevin sighed. "Sorry Nick. I don't mean to pry. It's just..."
Kevin considered for a moment. How could he say this? "Did Matt tell you about Maitland?"
"What about Maitland?"
"Did he mention her?"
"No. Why would he?"
Kevin sighed. Now what? Should he tell Nick? It would hurt him, but it was probably for the best. The sooner he knew, the better.
"Joey told me that Matt and Maitland are going out."
"What? That's absurd. Matt wouldn't do that. Exactly what did Joey say?"
"Joey said that Matt came home with his girlfriend last night, and went to bed. It sounded like he went to bed with Maitland."
Nick remembered what Matt had said when they talked about their history with girls. He remembered how Matt had reacted when he'd told him that he could see other guys. There was no way Matt would be sleeping with Maitland. No way. It wasn't possible. He knew Matt, and he trusted him.
Nick looked at Kevin. He was obviously concerned. He really believed what Joey had said.
Nick smiled. "It's not possible Kevin. I know Matt. He'd never do that. There's got to be a logical explanation for this."
"But, Joey said..."
"Kevin, it's okay. I know Matt. I trust Matt. Joey is wrong, or there's something else going on."
Kevin looked very uncertain.
"Come on Kevin. We've got work to do. We need to figure out these changes to the song, then you've got to start teaching me all the other stuff you do for us."
"Matt and I have decided that you're overworked. So, you've got a new helper. Me. Come on, let's get going!"
Kevin just shook his head as he followed Nick back down the corridor to the
studio. This was just too weird.
Joey sighed. He checked the clock, again. Of course, it was only a couple of minutes since he'd last checked it. It was still early actually, barely past six o'clock. It would probably be at least a couple more hours before Matt would be finished. It could easily be after midnight.
He suddenly got up out of the chair, and started pacing. Why was this so hard? He'd made his decision hours ago. He had to tell someone. He just had to. He couldn't stand being alone anymore. He wanted someone to know who he really was. Maybe just have someone like the real Joey, not that fake Joey that he showed to the world.
Would Matt accept him? Or, would he turn away in disgust.
No matter how hard he tried, he just couldn't stop thinking about it. He just had to tell Matt. There was no one else. He couldn't tell anyone else. He couldn't stand it anymore. So, he had to tell Matt.
And hope he understood.
The electronic sound of the phone ringing cut through his awareness. Lord was he ever tired. Pacing, no sleep and now he was hearing things. That had sounded like...it was. That was the phone.
Joey hurried over to the phone and picked it up. "Hello?"
"Hi Joey. I'm just finishing up now. I'll be there in a few minutes."
Matt laughed. "Well, who else? I'll see you in a few minutes." Matt hung up the phone, and started the truck.
All in all, it had been a good day. He's spent most of the time with Maitland, giggling as they watched Will. She was fun to be around. It was so comfortable, because she knew his secret. And he knew hers. It really was fun.
Will had been very careful all day long. He was obviously dying to quiz Matt about Maitland, but he'd never gotten the chance. Matt almost felt bad about not telling Will the truth, but he really couldn't do that. Not that he was worried what Will would think, but, well, he just didn't need to know.
Now, he'd finally be able to sit down and talk to Joey. It would be so good to be able to share his secret with him. He was still surprised he'd ever worried about telling Joey. Joey had always been there whenever he'd needed him. Joey had even understood that he really needed him after Brian's phone call. Joey had been very clear then that Matt could always go to him.
It would be so nice to be able to tell Joey. It would be another weight off his shoulders. To be able to tell him all about Nick. It was so hard not to tell everyone he knew about Nick. It would be great to be able to tell at least Joey.
Matt turned the truck into the apartment complex, and carefully parked it in Joey's spot. He remembered to grab the CD from the radio, and he made his way upstairs to the apartment. Since he had Joey's keys, he could just go straight up to the apartment. He unlocked the door, and stepped inside. He was about to call Joey, to tell him he was here, when he saw Joey slumped on the couch.
"Joey? Are you okay?" Matt came into the room, and went over to where Joey was on the couch.
Joey looked up briefly, and gave Matt a small smile. "I'm just tired." He quickly went back to staring at his feet.
"It's more than that." Matt sat down on the couch beside him. "What's wrong?"
Joey didn't say anything. He just stared at his feet.
"Oh Joey, don't do this to me. I need you. I can't handle not having you and Nick. That would just..."
"Nick?" Joey said.
"Yeah, Nick. I love him so much, and it's hard enough being away from him. I need your support too."
"You love him? What about..."
"I thought you knew. I'm gay Joey. So is Nick..."
Joey suddenly grabbed Matt in a hug, and buried his head in Matt's chest. Matt was surprised, but he returned the hug. He held Joey for a few minutes, until Joey released him. Joey sat back a bit and looked Matt in the eyes.
"I'm gay too Matt." Joey said.
"What?" It was Matt's turn to be confused. "Why didn't you tell me before?"
"I wanted to. You know how hard it is. I had no idea you were gay too, so when you told me what Nick had said on the phone, I didn't know what to do. That's why I tried to help you out, and make sure you knew that I'd understand."
Matt nodded. "I really wasn't in very good shape that night. I'm not sure what I'd have done if you'd told me then."
"I didn't want to add to your confusion. I know how hard it must have been for you. You looked so much better the next morning on the way to the airport, but I thought you should concentrate on Nick."
"You were right." Matt thought for a minute. "So, you've been waiting all week to tell me?"
"Yeah. I hoped we could have talked on the phone."
"I thought it would be better if we talked in person. I didn't know..."
"Then you came home with Maitland. I didn't know what to think."
"Oh. I'm sorry Joey. I didn't think. Maitland is a lesbian. She told me yesterday. We've got this arrangement..."
Joey smiled. "So, that's what happened."
"Yeah. It was so cool. She's great. We have fun together. It's wonderful, because I don't have to pretend with her."
"That would be nice" Joey said.
"Or you. I don't have to pretend with you either. This is so great!"
Joey smiled. "Yeah, it is. I was so afraid that you wouldn't understand."
Matt hugged him again. "I'm always here for you. Whatever you need."
When they sat back, Matt was surprised to see what looked like tears in Joey's eyes. He was surprised, not because Joey felt that way, but because Joey hadn't been crying before. He knew he'd have been crying in Joey's place. Joey had always been stronger than him.
"I want to tell you all about Nick. He's so great."
Joey smiled again. Then a look of panic came over his face. "Oh no!"
"When Kevin called today, I told him about Maitland. I bet he's told Nick. But, Nick will be okay, right? You've already told him about Maitland."
"No, actually, I haven't. There just wasn't any time. I guess I should call him."
"I'm sorry Matt. I hope Nick is okay."
Matt smiled. "Nick knows how much he means to me. I'm sure he'll understand." Matt stood up. "Have you had dinner yet?"
"No actually. I haven't eaten since yesterday."
"Why don't you order us a pizza or something? I'll talk to Nick, and then we'll spend the evening talking. There's so much I want to tell you."
"That would be nice." Joey stood up. "I'll order a pizza, and have a shower. I'll let you know when it's here."
"Great" Matt said. He gathered up his stuff, and went into the bedroom. He put everything down on the bed, kicked off his shoes, and lay down on the bed. He dialed Nick's number, and waited.
"Matt?" Nick said.
"Hi sexy" Matt said.
Nick giggled. "It's early. Are you still working?"
"Actually, I just got back to Joey's. You wouldn't believe what happened when I talked to him."
"Really? How's Joey? Kevin said he sounded upset today."
"He's fine now. But before I get into that, I need to tell you something. Did Kevin tell you about Maitland?"
"I'm sorry Nick. I hope you didn't think..."
"No, I know you. I trust you. I know she doesn't have what it takes to keep you happy."
Matt laughed. "You're right about that. Seriously though, I need to explain that whole thing."
"Yesterday, when I had to kiss Maitland in a scene, she dragged me off into a trailer. Then she started quizzing me about you. She figured out that I was gay a long time ago, when she first met me. She knew I'd finally accepted it, so she was full of questions."
"What did you do?"
"Nothing for a while. I really didn't know what to say or do. Then she told me that she's a lesbian, and she understood. I sort of lost it then."
Nick chuckled. "I'll bet. So, she knows all about us?"
"Yeah. I hope you don't mind, it's just..."
"I don't mind. You can tell anyone you trust. You know that."
"Thanks" Matt said. "Anyway, Will caught Maitland and I, when I was showing her the watch. He thought we were making out or something."
"So, you decided to pretend to be going out? That's brilliant!"
"It gets even better. Maitland has a partner. So, the next time you're in town, you've got a date."
"That's perfect. So, we can all go out together."
"Yeah. Maybe we can arrange to have you two meet, and plant rumors that you're going out. That'll give us a cover story whenever you're here."
"Oh, Kevin will love this." Nick laughed. "He was so worried when he talked to Joey. I'll have to go and tell him what's really going on."
"Yeah. I'm sure he'll keep Maitland's secret safe. Speaking of secrets, I know why Joey was so upset today."
"Well, Joey is gay too."
"Yeah. He's been waiting to tell me all week. Then when I came home last night with Maitland, he thought..."
"Oh. That's terrible. He must have been in really bad shape."
"Yeah. It's okay now though. We're going to spend the night talking."
"That's great." Nick said. He thought for a moment, then said "Should I tell the guys that Joey is gay?"
"I don't know" Matt said. "Maybe you better not. Joey is such good friends with Kevin, I think he'd like to tell him himself."
"Yeah, that's probably best. Kevin won't care, but there's no reason I should tell him."
"Well, the pizza should be here in a minute. Can I call you later?"
"Sure." Nick said.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to worry you."
Nick giggled. "You didn't. I knew there had to be another explanation."
"Good. I want to tell you everything else that's happened to me."
"Me too. We're leaving tonight on the bus again, but I'll stay in the back so we can talk."
"Say hi to everyone for me. And tell Kevin that Joey is okay now."
"I will. I'm going to go and talk to Kevin and Brian now. They're both worried about us. I love you Matt."
"I love you too Nick. I'll call you later."
"Okay." Nick hung up the phone. He had known there was another explanation. There had to be. He thought for moment--he knew there was just no way that Matt and Maitland could get together. Now he knew what to tell Kevin and Brian.
He got up out of the chair, and gathered up his bags. Well, he was all packed now. This was the last time he'd see this room that he'd shared with Matt. It had been so perfect. They would have other rooms, other places.
He looked at the rose that Matt had given him. It was fully in bloom now. It was perfect. He carefully picked it up and gathered up his bags. He took one last look at the room, before he turned out the lights and closed the door. He felt sort of silly taking the rose along, but it was a gift from Matt. There was no way he was going to leave it behind.
To be continued....