First Anniversary

by Kenitra

Other Stories by Me!

(All under boy-bands)

Millennium Love

Fates Reason

Ice Storm

Set You Free

Ten Guys, One Night

Guess what? I'm back! Again! This story is a one time posting similar to my other stories Ice Storm and Ten Guys, One Night. As you read it, you will notice the two different colors and two fonts. The story alternates between the two main characters' perspectives, as well as the past and present.

So when you encounter dark red text the story is from Chris' perspective.
Dark blue text is Nick's perspective.
Times New Roman Font is used for the present in the story, while Arial Font is used for the past.

Make sense? Hope so. It should become clearer as you read the story.
And if you haven't figured it out, the story is about Nick Carter and Chris Kirkpatrick!

I must give a big Thank You to Chris and Neo, for your chats, suggestions and encouragement. You guys are great!

Disclaimer: *sigh* these are getting boring!
1. I have never met any member of any boyband...and probably never will, except in my own imagination!
2. If you shouldn't be know the rest!

If you have any comments about this story, please email me at I try to respond to every single email I get!

As always, thank you for reading!

First Anniversary

by Kenitra

(Present - Chris)

I snuggled back against my baby and he wrapped his arms tightly around my chest as we relaxed on the couch. "Happy anniversary sweetie," he whispered in my ear before kissing my cheek. "I love you Chris," he said softly.

I smiled as my fingers absently stroked the soft warm flesh on the arms around me. "I love you too, babe. Can you believe it's been an entire year, Nicky?" I asked softly.

"Who would have thought!" he murmured against my neck. He kissed me softly. "Now you have to go get ready, cause we have to leave soon."

I wiggled against his solid body. "And you're still not going to tell me where we're going?" I pleaded.

Nick laughed softly in my ear. "Nope! And don't try to blackmail me cause it won't work." He gave me a little shove and I was forced to stand up. I looked down at my beautiful man and couldn't help but smile as I remembered our meeting over a year ago.

(Flashback - Chris)

I reached out to grab the last copy of the magazine on the rack. Just as I touched the cover another hand reached past me, grabbing for the same magazine. "Hey!" I objected, grabbing for the magazine and spinning around to confront the would-be thief. I came face to face with a broad chest and had to look up at the man standing in front of me. The first thing I noticed was the baseball hat and sunglasses, probably because I was wearing something very similar. I took a closer look and noticed the straight blond hair peeking out from under the cap. What I could see of his face was gorgeous.

Both of us still had a hold of the magazine. The man looked down at our hands grasping it and let go. "Sorry, man. I didn't realize you were going to take that one. You go ahead," he said softly and turned away.

It took me a moment to place the voice, but when I finally did, I was stunned. I looked back up and saw him wandering around the store. Without even thinking about it, I followed him. We were in the back corner of the shop when he realized I was right behind him.

He glanced at me nervously and I grinned, knowing I had the advantage. I held out the magazine. "Here. You take it Nick," I said quietly. He stared at me with his mouth open and I couldn't help but laugh. "Close your mouth kiddo, it makes you look silly," I told him, enjoying his confusion. It was only when the shock, was replaced by panic and fear that I decided to stop teasing him. I stepped closer to him. "Nick, you don't have to worry about me telling anyone. I'm in the same position," I said quietly.

I knew he still didn't recognize me. I sighed. I knew the store had video cameras through out and I didn't want to risk being recognized. I pulled out my wallet and handed him my driver's license.

He glanced at the card I gave him, then back up at me, then back to the license. "Oh wow, man," he said quietly as he returned my license to me. "I didn't even remotely recognize you Chris." He laughed softly and I found myself shivering slightly at the beautiful sound of it. "Damn, you had me shitting there, thinking someone had recognized me in this place," he added, making a broad sweeping motion with his hand, indicating the gay erotica store we were both standing in. As he did so, I think it finally dawn on him exactly where we were.

He looked at me intently. "Oh fuck! You're…?" He left it blank but I knew what he was asking.

I smiled and nodded. I decided to take a chance. "Would you like to go grab a coffee or something with me? It would seem we have a lot more in common than we thought!" It was crazy and impulsive. I mean, he is the competition. But god was he cute!

(Flashback - Nick)

Even though I couldn't see his eyes, I knew that they were probably twinkling with laughter and mischief. That was just the impression I always got when I saw interviews or clips with the guys from *nsync. Chris was the one who was always smiling like he was hiding a big secret; I guess he was! I had been petrified when he called me by name, but relaxed when he told me who he was. I knew he was right; we did have a lot in common.

"Sounds good," I said quickly. I glanced around the store nervously. "Let's just get out of here!"

I handed him back the magazine and he grinned at me. I realized what a great smile he has. I followed him to the checkout at the front of the store. I stood off to the side while he paid for the magazine. Then he looked over at me and smiled again. I ignored the increase in my pulse, and smiled back. Chris grabbed the bag and walked towards the door. I followed quickly behind him.

"So did you drive here or what?" He turned and asked me.

I blinked as I realized I was staring at him and he'd caught me. I knew I was blushing and I looked at the ground. "Um, no," I stuttered. "I took the bus."

(Present - Chris)

"God, I can't believe how stupid I sounded," Nick said as he recalled that first meeting.

"I didn't think that babe. I thought it was cute that you were blushing," I told him softly as I leaned forward to gently kiss his chin. He giggled and I shivered at the sweet sound.

"You would! Now are you sure you have everything? We have to get to our reservation." Nick pulled me by the hand towards the door.

"Reservation?" I asked.

"Yeah, but that's all the information you're getting from me. Come on sweetie." We walked out the door to take the elevator downstairs to the waiting limo.

(Flashback - Chris)

"Come on then, we'll take my car," I said, trying not to smile at his obvious nervousness. He had such an air of innocence around him.

We walked down the street to where I'd parked. I used the remote to unlock the doors and walked around to the driver's side. Nick opened the passenger door, then stopped. I looked across the car at him. "What?" I asked.

I hoped he wasn't going to change his mind. He smiled slightly and shook his head. "Nothing." He climbed into the car where I joined him.

"So, any place in particular you wanna go?" I asked as I started the car and pulled out onto the street.

"Uh, no," Nick said softly. "Just somewhere out of this neighborhood."

I glanced at him as I heard the discomfort in his voice.

(Flashback - Nick)

It always made me paranoid when we were in the district. I was happy Chris had driven and was willing to go elsewhere. I guess I was still worried about getting caught. I didn't know how 'out' Chris was, but I knew only one person who positively knew about me.

Sitting back, I watched the buildings zip by. Neither of us spoke for a few minutes. Finally Chris turned into a parking lot and I looked up. I laughed aloud when I saw the golden arches and turned to Chris. "Oh, tell me you aren't a McD's addict too!" I said with a laugh.

Chris grinned and nodded. "Of course. There's nothing like it."

Chris pulled up to the drive-thru and gave our orders. He insisted on buying. Once we had the food, Chris drove to a nearby park. He got out of the car and I followed, unsure where he was going.

"Come on!" he said with an infectious grin. He walked along the path for a while before cutting through some bushes and off the trail. I quickly followed, curious about his destination. Once through, I found a small clearing on the side of a gentle slope overlooking a small creek. The other side of the creek was densely treed so no one could get through it and see us. It was very quiet and secluded.

Chris was already sitting in the long grass, opening up his bag of food. I sat down beside him. "How'd you find this place?" I asked him.

He pulled off his hat and lay down on his side, the food in front of him. "Actually, I was running from some fans last year," he replied with a laugh. God, he laughs a lot…I really like his laugh! "I was getting tired and broke off the path and found this spot. I like to come here to think sometimes. It's so peaceful." He began munching on his fries.

I lay down facing him and began to eat, resting my head on my fist. I glanced up and found him staring at me.

(Flashback - Chris)

Nick had taken his hat off too and I realized just how gorgeous he was. I mean, I'd seen pictures of him and knew he was cute, but we'd only met once in person and that had been a couple of years earlier. He was twenty now, over six feet, blond and built.

He caught me staring, but I wasn't embarrassed. "So, can I ask you something, Nick?" I said intently. He nodded and went back to eating. "When? And who knows?" I asked bluntly. Why drag it out?

Nick grinned at me. "Wow, you get right to the point, don't you?" He laughed softly and took a drink of his pop. He then began to play with a blade of grass. "I guess I knew for a while. But I didn't admit it to myself until I was sixteen. As for who knows," he paused, sighed and shrugged. "I honestly don't know Chris. I've only ever told one person," he said and looked over at me with a slight smile. "Kevin, if you must know," he said, answering my unasked question. He looked back to the grass. "But I have a feeling the others know. They've just never said anything to me and I haven't said anything to them."

I was surprised at his admission. "What about family, Nick?" I asked him.

He sighed softly. "Its pretty much the same. I haven't told any one," he paused and looked up at me. "Although I wouldn't be surprised if they know."

I sat up and looked at Nick intently. "What about relationships?"

Nick looked at me for a minute then back down at the grass. I could tell that the question made him very uncomfortable and almost regretted asking it. He finally answered. "That really hasn't been an issue," he said with a slight laugh. "I haven't had any."

(Flashback - Nick)

I hated admitting it, but it was the truth. There was an awkward silence, but I didn't know what else to say. Chris had asked the question, and what I'd said was self-explanatory. I looked back up at Chris. "What about you Chris?" I asked curiously. "Who knows about you? Family? Just the other guys?"

Chris took off his sunglasses and I could clearly see his incredible brown eyes. Wow! I knew I had never seen eyes like that before. They practically glowed with life.

He looked at me intently and I knew I could easily drown in his gaze. "I guess I've been pretty lucky Nick," he admitted. "The guys have known right from the start, and none had a problem with it. My family knows too. So, at least I haven't had to hide from the most important people in my life. It's a pain hiding from the fans though, isn't it?"

I was quiet for a moment before I answered him. "Yes, it is," I said softly. There was another silence. "So how did they react? I mean you guys are really tight. How did you tell them?"

Chris smiled slightly. "You have to remember Nick, it was easier for me. We didn't get together until 1995. I was already 22 going on 23. I'd already gone through the whole 'am I gay? I can't be gay! I am gay,' phase. So I told them right from the beginning. If they'd had a problem with it, there probably wouldn't have been an *nsync."

"I envy you Chris," I said honestly. "I had to deal with all my confusing emotions while away from home and having to perform in front of thousands of fans, under the constant scrutiny of cynical media. That's why I finally broke down and told Kevin when I was seventeen. I was fortunate though, Kevin accepted me and continued to be a strong role model for me. If he hadn't I probably would have quit the band."

Chris looked at me. "That must have been difficult for you," he said. His sincerity touched me.

We finished eating, but continued to sit and talk about everything; all our tour experiences, the places we'd been, and where the cute male fans were. Both of us laughed at that one! A while later, I noticed Chris glance at his watch. I looked at my own and was surprised to see that we'd been talking for over two hours. I didn't want to stop. It was so refreshing being able to talk openly about myself with someone who knew what I was going through.

"Damn, I didn't realize it was getting so late," he said with a sigh and stood up. He offered his hand to me and I accepted, allowing him to pull me up. I didn't immediately release his hand. It felt…different, yet very comfortable to have my hand encased in his. Our eyes met.

(Flashback - Chris)

I smiled up at Nick tenderly. "I'm sorry I have to go. I'd like to spend more time talking to you," I said quietly. Our hands were still clasped and I really didn't want to let him go. It was a surprising feeling; one I hadn't had in a long time. "Nick, would it be okay if I called you sometime? I've really enjoyed this afternoon," I said hopefully as I reached into my back pocket.

I was rewarded with a brilliant smile from Nick and felt a long forgotten surge in my heart rate. "I'd like that Chris," Nick said shyly. He reluctantly released my hand, leaving a sudden empty feeling. I pulled out a card with my company's name on it and my cell number and I handed it to him. I watched, as he pulled out his wallet to remove a small business card, which he handed to me. "Now you promise you won't lose this?" he said with a grin, withholding the card from my grasp. "Cause I don't wanna have to change all my numbers cause a fan found it."

I grabbed the card from his hand and ran from his attempt to grab me. I stood a few feet away from him, trying not to laugh. "Hmmm. I wonder how much I could make, selling this on Ebay," I wondered aloud.

Nick was quicker than I thought and when he suddenly lunged at me, I didn't have time to avoid him. I found myself lying on the grass, with this beautiful blond hunk straddling my waist. Both of us were laughing. Nick pinned my arms to the ground and looked down at me. Almost immediately, we both lost our smiles as we stared into each other's eyes. I don't know what possessed me but I impulsively leaned up and kissed Nick on the lips. He jerked back in surprise and stared at me.

(Flashback - Nick)

I was stunned when I felt Chris' lips on mine. I certainly hadn't expected it and pulled back quickly. I could see he was about to apologize, and I didn't want him to. I leaned forward and found his lips again. I kissed him with all the years of pent up passion and frustration I had endured. I pushed him deep into the grass as I lay down on top of him and kissed him frantically. Chris didn't object and returned my kisses.

Then it hit me that this was the first man I'd ever kissed. I'm not sure why, but that thought terrified me. I jumped up off Chris and stared down at him, panting heavily. My emotions were in a complete state of chaos, I was afraid, and I panicked.

I darted out of the clearing, ignoring Chris' calls for me to wait. I had to get away so I could think straight. I'm not sure how long I ran along the trail, but eventually I came to the other side of the large park. I sat down on a bench and tried to regain my breath. I realized I'd left my hat and sunglasses where Chris was, and was now easily recognizable. I glanced around and found a phone booth. I thought about calling a cab, but realized I needed to talk to someone. Instinctively I called Kevin.

(Flashback - Chris)

While I was surprised at my own impulsiveness when I kissed Nick, I was shocked when he returned the kiss with such passion. How could I not respond? Then he pulled back and I could read a myriad of emotions cross his face - lust, confusion, fear. Nick jumped up and ran. I scrambled to my feet and called after him but he didn't stop. I thought about chasing him but decided against it. I really didn't want to upset him further.

"Damn, Chris, what the hell were you thinking?" I said aloud as I slumped back down into the grass. After the great conversation we'd had, and the ease we'd found talking to each other, I had to ruin it.

I glanced around and noticed Nick's hat and sunglasses. I hoped he wasn't mobbed. Sighing, I gathered up our stuff and the garbage from our meal and made my way back to the main path. Tossing the garbage, I slowly walked back to my car. I knew I had to get to a meeting with the guys, but I certainly was no longer in the mood for it.

I drove to Lance's apartment building and buzzed the apartment.

(Flashback - Nick)

I waited silently on the park bench for Kevin to arrive. I hadn't told him about anything that had happened. Only where I was and that I needed a ride. He said he'd be there in twenty minutes. I ran through my mind what had happened with Chris. If I closed my eyes, I could almost feel his lips on mine again. It made me shiver. I'd only really known the man for a few hours. Sure, I knew who he was, just as he knew who I was. But we'd never spent time together before. And now, every time I blink, I see his sparkling eyes and warm smile.

"Nick?" A voice said from behind me, making me jump off the bench. I turned quickly and found Kevin standing there, staring at me.

"Hey Kev," I said sheepishly.

Kevin cocked his head. "Come on," he said quietly and began walking towards his parked car. I followed quickly behind him. We both got in and Kevin began to drive. I sat silently and stared out the window, waiting for the questions to start. I knew I could count on Kevin. "So what happened Nick?" he asked. I was taken back by the gentleness in his tone. I glanced at him.

I sighed and leaned back against the headrest. "I'm not exactly sure Kevin," I told him truthfully. He waited. "I met this guy," I said and Kevin glanced at me quickly. I noticed and laughed softly. "Don't worry, he's in the same position as me, Kev. He has a career to protect too."

Kevin nodded. "Who is he?" he asked.

I was silent for a moment. I knew I could trust Kevin. I had trusted him with my life when I told him I was gay three years earlier. But, I suddenly realized I wasn't prepared to share everything. I still wasn't sure exactly what had happened between Chris and I. Maybe, it was something, but it may be nothing.

"Um, I'd rather not say Kev. Not yet anyway. I'm just not sure where things stand." I hoped he would accept that.

Finally, he sighed. "Okay. Tell me what happened."

I recounted the meeting in the store, the decision to have lunch and talking in the park. "We exchanged numbers and were goofing around. I tackled him and ended up straddling him. Then he kissed me."

We pulled into the parking lot for my apartment. Kevin parked the car and looked at me. "And was that a bad thing?" he asked.

I sighed again and ran my fingers through my hair. "At first I pulled back. Then I kissed him…passionately. It was...amazing," I said, for lack of a better word.

"But?" Kevin asked.

I looked at him. He knew me so well. "I panicked. You know I've never kissed a guy before Kev. This overwhelmed me. It was my first kiss and it felt like it was consuming me. I didn't know how to deal with it…so I ran away."

"Nick," Kevin said softly and I looked at him. "I know this is hard for you. I mean its bad enough for the rest of us trying to date women. I can't imagine how you must feel, having to hide your feelings and desires all the time. From what you said, it sounds like this guy has probably experienced some of the same problems as you. The question is, do you want to see him again? Or at least get to know him better. If you do, then you have to call him Nick." Kevin smiled as he thought of something. "You know how they say its easier with someone in the business. Especially in your case, that is probably true. He may have as much to lose as you if the relationship ever got out, so he can understand your hesitation and uncertainty."

I listened to what Kevin was saying. It made sense. I knew Chris had just as much to lose. Maybe if we talked again, I could get him to understand why I ran. That's if he even wanted to see me again. That thought erased the smile that had reached my face.

Kevin immediately noticed. "What?"

I blinked back a sudden wave of tears. "What if he doesn't want to see me again? I don't even know if he was interested, or if it was just an impulse or a joke," I said softly, feeling very depressed.

"You won't know unless you call him, Nick. Don't write him off until you know, okay?"

I nodded. I had to believe that Chris at least wanted to be friends. He just wasn't the type to play games with people's emotions. At least I hoped he wasn't. I surprised both Kevin and myself when I leaned over and pulled Kevin into a hug. "Thanks, Kevin. I don't know what I'd do without you," I said lightly, but with a serious undertone.

Kevin grinned and messed up my hair. "Well, you don't have to worry about that," he said.

I returned the smile and climbed out of his car. Kevin leaned over towards me. "Don't forget we have a meeting tomorrow at 1:00," he reminded me.

I nodded and turned towards the apartment building. Kevin drove away.

(Flashback - Chris)

I walked into the always-neat apartment and found the other four guys already there. They were strewn all over the furniture munching on pizza and potato chips.

"Hey Chris!" they all greeted me. I forced a smile and grabbed a coke before finding a place to sit.

"Aren't you eating?" Justin asked as he nabbed another slice of pizza.

"Nope. I forgot we would be eating so I had something earlier," I explained. I looked over at Lance wondering how close we were to getting the meeting started. He was just sorting through some papers.

The meeting finally started and I forced myself to pay attention. It was difficult because my thoughts kept returning to Nick. I could still feel the soft, pliable touch of his lips on mine. And the passion! When he had started kissing me with such intensity, it was incredible. I just wanted to rip his clothes off and worship his amazing body.


I jerked my head up when I heard my name. The guys were all staring at me, and I realized that JC had been talking to me. "Um, sorry. What were you saying?" I asked.

JC leaned forward in his chair. "You okay Chris? You've been really quiet and out of it today. Its just not like you," he commented. He was right, but I didn't want to tell the guys the whole story.

I smiled at each of them. "I'm fine, guys. Just a little distracted. So what were you saying?"

I got the meeting back on track and we finished up a little while later. Joey and Justin were going home to change before heading out to a club, Lance had a date and JC was just going home. I walked out of the building with JC.

"Hey Chris, can I buy you a coffee?" JC asked before I began walking to my car. I turned and looked at him before laughing.

"Ya know, that's what got me in trouble in the first place," I said. JC shook his head in confusion. "Okay, lets get a coffee and I'll tell you some of what happened today." We got into JC's car and drove a couple of blocks to a corner donut shop.

Once we had a coffee each, we found some seats and sat down. I stared out the window for a minute. "So, what's his name Chris?" JC asked me suddenly, drawing my attention to him.

I grinned. "Smartass," I commented and he laughed. "His name is Nick. I met him in a gay erotica shop and I suggested we get a coffee or something," I explained.

"Does he know who you are?" JC asked thoughtfully.

"Yeah. But he's safe because he has a career in the public eye as well that he has to protect." I'm not sure why I didn't tell JC who Nick was, but I didn't. "Anyway, we went to the park and talked for a while. I realized I had to meet you guys so we exchanged numbers. We started goofing off and one thing led to another. I kissed him." JC listened to me intently. He never made judgements about incidents or people without the entire story and I valued that in his friendship.


"And, he pulled away at first then he kissed me, intensely. I just wanted to stay there and spend the rest of the day holding him and kissing him. But he panicked," I said quietly, remembering the look of fear that had crossed Nick's face before he ran.

"Why?" JC asked.

I thought for a moment. "In our conversations, he said he had never had a relationship before. It was too difficult with his job. Maybe I scared him. I moved too fast. I mean we only met this afternoon. I don't know," I said with a sigh. "I really liked talking to him today and would like to know him better. But I come with so much baggage. There's the group and having to keep my lifestyle a secret. And he has his own baggage. Maybe it would just be too complicated." I downed my coffee in one big gulp.

JC reached across the table and touched my arm. "Did you tell him about Steven?" JC asked and I caught my breath. I had not mentioned my previous lover to Nick. It was still too painful to talk about Steven. He had died almost two years earlier, but his memory still lingered. I knew I had to move on with my life.

"Chris?" JC spoke again and pulled me out of the dark memories. "I'm sorry. But maybe if you told this Nick about Steven he would understand where you are coming from. You obviously like the man, so don't give up without trying. Sure it may be complicated, but no one said it would be easy." JC paused. "You do deserve to be happy Chris," he said softly.

I smiled weakly at him. "I know," I murmured.

"Call him Chris!"

I nodded. "I will Josh, I promise," I said. As soon as I worked up the courage, I would call Nick.

JC and I left and he dropped me back at my car. I got in and headed home, thinking about Nick as I drove.

(Flashback - Nick)

I walked into my apartment and was overwhelmed by the silence. I immediately walked over to the entertainment center and started the CD player. The music couldn't prevent me from thinking about Chris. I was angry with myself for acting like such a child. The intensity of the kiss had surprised me, but there was no reason to run away. I could only imagine what Chris thought of me. I wandered into the kitchen and grabbed a drink before returning to the couch. I wondered if Chris would tell the rest of his group about me. He knew that Kevin was the only one who knew about me, so I didn't think he would tell anyone. I hoped. I pulled out his business card and stared at it. I debated whether I should call him or not. Before I could decide, the phone rang, making me jump. I reached over to the table and picked it up.


"Nicky! It's me Aaron!" my younger brother shouted. I laughed and settled down to talk to him.

Over two hours later we finally said goodbye and hung up the phone. I glanced at my watch, trying to convince myself it was too late to call Chris. But my body had other ideas and I found myself holding the phone as my fingers punched in Chris' phone number.

(Flashback - Chris)

I had only been in my apartment for a couple minutes when the phone rang. I figured it was probably JC calling to check on me. "Don't you ever give up?" I said as I answered the phone. There was silence on the other end.

"Chris?" a voice hesitantly said. A voice that made my heart rate increase.

"Nick?" I asked in surprise. I couldn't believe that he had called. "I am so happy you called Nick. I was worried about you when you took off this afternoon. And I wanted to apologize…."

"Chris! No! You don't have to apologize for anything," Nick said, interrupting my ramblings. "I'm sorry I ran off. It's just…everything was…."

"Moving too fast?" I suggested.

"Yeah, I guess you could say that," Nick admitted. "I mean, we really just met today, yet I feel so comfortable with you...its hard to explain," Nick said with a sigh.

I smiled to myself. I knew what he meant. "I know Nick. When we kissed today.... I felt…let's just say it's been a long time since I felt that way. It felt so right," I added in a whisper, but Nick heard me.

"It did didn't it," he said softly.

(Flashback - Nick)

I made an impulsive move. "Chris, could you come over? Now?" I asked quickly, not wanting to change my mind. "Or I could go there."

"Give me your address, Nicky," Chris said softly. Usually I hate being called Nicky, but when Chris said it, it only made my pulse race. I told him my address. "I'll be there in twenty minutes," he said before hanging up.

I remained sitting on the couch, with the phone in my hand wondering what I'd just done. I could feel a nervousness begin to well up in my stomach. What would Chris think my invitation meant? Would he expect more from me than I was willing to give?

I absently began wandering around the apartment, trying to clean it up a little. Now that he was coming over I looked around with a more critical eye and realized how messy my place was. I gathered up dirty dishes and took them to the kitchen. I collected all the clothes, clean and dirty, lying around and carried them to my bedroom. I threw them in the closet and closed the door. I heard the door buzzer go off and ran to answer it.

"Hello?" I answered.

"It's me," Chris' distinct voice replied. I pushed the button to open the door. I quickly looked in the hall mirror to see what I looked like. I was a mess! My fingers ran anxiously through my hair, trying to straighten it and flatten it. I could feel the butterflies in my belly doing somersaults.

(Flashback - Chris)

I walked into the building and to the elevator. I could feel the nervousness in my gut increasing. I'm not sure why I was so nervous. I mean, I barely knew Nick, yet for some reason it was really important that he like me. I was so relieved when he called. At least I knew he wasn't angry about what had happened at the park.

The elevator quickly carried me to the fifteenth floor and I stepped off. I walked over to his apartment and took a deep breath before knocking. A few seconds later the door opened and there was Nick. His hair was a little messed up but to me it made him look even sexier. I had to gulp in air and swallow before I could speak.

"Hi!" I said weakly, but he smiled and stood back allowing me entry.

"I'm happy you could come Chris. We need to talk," he said seriously. I walked into the apartment and directly into the living room. Nick followed close behind me. "Please, sit down," he said, and I did. I looked up at him and I realized that he was nervous too. "Can I get you a drink or something?" he asked.

I smiled and shook my head. "No thanks, Nick. Please sit and talk to me?" I implored.

Nick sighed and sat down on the chair opposite the couch I had sat on. We simply sat and stared at each other for a few minutes. Nick broke eye contact and looked down at his hands. "Chris, you make me feel things I never thought I would," Nick said softly. "Its exciting, but also frightening," he whispered.

"Nick," I said gently. I waited until he looked over at me. "Its frightening for me too," I said with a rueful smile. I sat back on the couch. "I think I should tell you about Steven." I was surprised at my own words, but realized it was the right thing to do.

Nick looked at me sharply. "Steven?" he asked curiously.

I nodded. "My lover." I realized instantly that I'd spoken as though he were still alive and I could see the shock and hurt envelope Nick's beautiful features. A single tear trickled down Nick's cheek. I quickly stepped over to him and squatted down in front. Gently I wiped the tear away with my fingers. "He died almost two years ago," I said quietly. I waited for the comprehension to appear and Nick peered at me intently.

(Flashback - Nick)

Once the shock had passed and I realized what Chris had said, I looked into his bottomless brown eyes. I could see the hidden pain and grief that existed. I felt so selfish that I'd only thought about my feelings with no concern for what Chris had suffered.

(Present - Chris)

"You didn't know babe," I said quietly as we sat in the back of the limo. Our shoulders were touching and we were holding hands.

"I know. But I always hate to see you in pain. I only ever want to see you smile," Nick whispered and kissed my cheek.

"You are so sweet! You know just being with you makes me smile," I replied, bringing his hand up to kiss the back of it. I gently suckled it until Nick moaned with pleasure. "So where are we going?" I asked innocently.

Nick giggled and pulled our clasped hands away from my mouth. "Un-uh, that's not going to work this time. Besides, Kevin was actually making all the arrangements. I only know where we're supposed to be," he admitted.

I sat back and smiled to myself. I'd worked another little piece of information out of him. Eventually I would find out.

(Flashback - Nick)

"I'm so sorry, Chris. I didn't know," I said quietly, feeling like a jerk.

He smiled tenderly and stroked my cheek. "I know. But I want to tell you about him, if you want to know."

I nodded. I stood up and pulled Chris to his feet. We both walked back to the couch and sat down facing each other. I still had his hand in mine, but I didn't want to let go. Chris didn't appear to mind so I continued holding his hand. "Tell me," I said.

Chris closed his eyes for a moment and took a deep breath. "Not long after the group got together a friend had a party and introduced me to another friend, Steven Wilson. The feeling was almost instantaneous." Chris looked up at me. "Sort of like what I felt today when we met," he admitted. I was shocked at his admission, but remained quiet. "He was a paramedic with the fire department here in Orlando. A month after we met, he moved into the same apartment building as me. He kept the apartment, but basically lived with me." Chris closed his eyes tightly for a minute. I didn't know what to do so I just squeezed his hand in comfort. He squeezed back and continued. "I loved everything about him. His wavy, brown hair, piercing green eyes, his smile. It was hard. The group was just getting started and we were on the road so much, over in Europe and Asia. But every moment I could I spent with him. We were happy." Chris looked at me and our eyes locked. "We were happy together for three years."

I could feel his pain begin to grow, as I knew the bad part was coming. "Chris, you don't have to do this," I whispered.

He blinked and tears began to run down his face. "Yes I do." Another deep breath. "We were in Germany, and the phone rang. There had been a warehouse fire with a number of people trapped. The paramedics went into one section that was supposed to be safe. It wasn't. The building collapsed, killing two paramedics and two workers." He began to gulp for air and I held tightly to his hand.

As he spoke, I began to recall hearing about the fire and the deaths. There was an inquest to determine why the rescue workers had been allowed into the unstable structure.

Tears were streaming freely down his face and I couldn't stand seeing him in such pain. I pulled him to me and hugged him tightly. "I'm so sorry sweetie. Shhh." I gently rubbed his back as he sobbed against my shoulder.

"I…I couldn't be here…here for the funeral," Chris gasped out. "Lou…damn him to hell…he...he wouldn't let me come back."

There was no love loss between me and the other Backstreet members and Lou, and hearing Chris' pain, I felt more rage against the man than I thought possible. I knew Lou was rotten, but I had no idea he was such a heartless monster.

(Flashback - Chris)

The feeling of Nick's arms around me comforted me more than I thought possible. I leaned against him and allowed myself to grieve again. Slowly my tears subsided and I felt completely exhausted. I was a little embarrassed that I'd fallen apart so completely. I wouldn't have been surprised if Nick turned and ran as far away from me as possible. But he didn't. He simply held me and rubbed my back.

(Present - Chris)

"Now that I think about it, babe, that was when I realized I loved you. Sounds crazy doesn't it?" I said quietly. Nick wrapped his arm around my shoulder and pulled me tightly to his side.

"That doesn't sound crazy. It was later that same night that I realized I loved you too," he whispered.

(Flashback - Chris)

A few minutes later I slowly pulled back from Nick's strong grasp. I found his brilliant blue eyes and wanted to lose myself in them. "I'm sorry, Nick," I apologized but he shook his head. His hands came up to either side of my face and he gently ran his thumbs under my eyes, wiping away the moisture.

"You have nothing to apologize for Chris. I'm sorry you had to go through that. I'm glad both groups have gotten away from that monster," Nick said vehemently. I nodded in agreement.

I sat back, but grasped Nick's hands in my own. "I wanted to tell you about Steven, because…because I wanted you to know that I don't usually let people in. I was talking to Josh earlier and he said I should tell you. Steven was a huge part of my life, but he is gone. He will always have a place in my heart, but," I wavered. "But, I want and need to let someone new into my life. It scared me today Nick, the feelings I was having. You are the first person I've talked candidly with and wanted to know better, since he died." I broke eye contact. "I'm sorry if I'm scaring you away by being too intense too soon. I…."

Nick raised his hand and covered my lips with his fingers. "Chris, I was scared today. I know what you mean about the feelings. I was overwhelmed by the emotions you were creating in me today and I ran. I'm sorry that hurt you. I…I've never had a relationship before," Nick said softly. "But I know now, that's because I hadn't met you yet," he said sincerely.

(Present - Chris)

"Now, that was corny," Nick commented. I pulled away from him and turned to meet his gaze. I pulled him towards me and kissed his lips, hard and passionately. A minute later, I pulled back and saw the dazed look on his face.

I grinned. "That was NOT corny. It was the most beautiful thing I'd ever heard!" I told him forcefully.

Nick smiled mischievously. "I don't know sweetie. I think you need to convince me of that." My smile widened as I leaned forward for another kiss, this one soft and tender.

(Flashback - Nick)

I felt myself blush at that comment, but Chris just smiled tenderly. His hand gently stroked my cheek and he leaned forward. I moved closer to meet him and our lips met. Now, I don't know about fireworks or electrical shocks passing between people. But I found Chris' lips were a perfect match for my lips. I could feel all of his emotions through his lips, the slight fear and hesitation, the hope, the restrained passion and the love. The love radiated from Chris, through his lips and permeated my entire body.

I instinctively wrapped my arms around him and pulled him closer. The kiss deepened and I found my mouth opening and soon felt a warm probe that tentatively delved inside to investigate. I couldn't withhold a passion filled moan from escaping me. My entire body was on fire and I could feel the blood rushing to my lower body. I pulled back and stared at Chris. I was panting for breath and I knew my body was flushed with sexual arousal.

Chris smiled sweetly. "Sorry, babe, I'm moving too fast again. It's just hard when I'm so close to you. You are so damn sexy," he said with a grin. I felt my face turn a deeper shade of red.

"I'm sorry I'm frustrating you Chris. I'm not trying to tease you," I said softly.

Chris leaned in and kissed my forehead. "I know baby. This is all new to you and I'm pretty rusty at it myself so we'll just take it easy. You just keep doing what you're doing. If I'm going too fast, tell me. Okay?"

I nodded and leaned forward to gently kiss his soft lips again.

Chris finally broke the contact as he leaned back and yawned. "I guess I should go Nicky. It's late and I'm feeling really drained right now."

It suddenly hit me that I didn't want him to leave. I held on to his hand and met his gaze. "Stay."

(Flashback - Chris)

That single word set my heart on fire. I looked into Nick's clear blue eyes, searching for any sign of regret or doubt.

"I…I'm not ready to…" Nick struggled to find the right words but I knew what he was trying to say.

I shook my head. "No babe, not tonight," I looked up with a grin. "I have a headache."

Nick laughed aloud and the tension of the moment was broken. He stood up and pulled me to my feet. Leading me by the hand, we walked down the short hallway to his bedroom. I realized exactly how tired I was when I saw the large, comfortable looking king-size bed. I just wanted to fall over onto it and go to sleep.

Nick stopped me part way across the room. Without a word, he pulled my shirt up and I raised my arms, allowing it to slip over my head. Moving to my jeans, he unbuttoned and unzipped them. I kicked off my shoes and the jeans slid to the floor, leaving me in my boxers and socks. Nick stepped back and in a few quick movements had his clothes off too.

He led me to the bed and pulled back the covers before gently pushing me down. He ran around to the other side and crawled in beside me. I rolled onto my side and Nick spooned up behind me. His body fit mine perfectly.

(Flashback - Nick)

I wrapped my body around Chris from behind. He felt so good in my arms. I lifted my head slightly so I was next to his ear. I was surprised at the words that came out. "Do you think your headache will be gone tomorrow?" I asked softly.

Chris laughed quietly and wiggled his body back against me. "You never know, babe. You never know!"

I kissed his ear and relaxed, listening to the sound of him breathing. I could tell when his breath became steady and slow and I knew he was asleep. I thought my mind would be racing and keep me awake, but everything felt…right, and my mind and body drifted to sleep.

As I began to wake up the next morning, I felt a weight across my chest. After blinking a few times, I looked down at the dark head resting on my chest with an arm thrown across me. The sight of Chris sleeping so contently made me smile to myself. My arms instinctively wrapped around his body and I held him gently to me. He stirred but didn't wake. I glanced at my clock to see that it was almost ten.

My body finally began to tell me I had to get up so I reluctantly wiggled out from beneath Chris to visit the bathroom. When I returned, I stopped and looked at Chris on the bed. He was lying on his stomach and the covers were bunched down at his feet. I couldn't help but stare at his smooth flesh. His rounded ass was slightly visible through the white boxers he was wearing.

He was definitely fit, but not overly muscled. I didn't want someone who spent all his free time in a gym, or who wouldn't binge on pizza because of the fat. What I wanted…what I wanted was sleeping on the bed in front of me. I realized that suddenly, but with more certainty than I've ever had before.

I walked over to the bed and sat down beside Chris' hip. Reaching out, I ran my index finger softly down his spine. His skin twitched and he moaned slightly.

"You know, I've heard that that's one way to get rid of headaches," Chris murmured. I grinned, then gently slapped his ass, making him jump slightly. "Hey! What was that for?" he protested as he rolled over onto his back.

"I thought you were still sleeping," I said, leaning down to kiss him.

Chris returned the kiss before responding. "How's a guy supposed to sleep when an earthquake shakes and rattles the bed?" he asked innocently.

"An earthquake?" I said indignantly. "I'll show you an earthquake!"

I stood up and jumped on the bed, bouncing up and down causing Chris to shake and bounce too. He lay back and laughed wildly at my antics. Finally, I flopped down on the bed beside him, panting for breath.

He rolled over on top of me. "You're crazy baby!" he said with a smile.

I grinned. "You better believe it!"

(Flashback - Chris)

Nature was calling, so I reluctantly rolled off my very solid, but comfy pillow. "So, do you just let people sleep here or do you feed them too?" I asked over my shoulder as I walked towards the door. Suddenly a pillow banged me in the back of the head. I turned to find Nick lying quietly pretending to be asleep "You do know that you'll pay for that Carter!" I said in my most menacing voice, which failed miserably because I couldn't contain my laughter.

"What'd I do?" he asked innocently.

I ignored him and continued on to the bathroom. After taking care of business, I stopped to wash my hands, then used some of Nick's mouthwash to freshen my breath. I stared into the mirror at my reflection. I had some serious stubble growing, which was normal for me, but I'd recently shaved off the rest of my facial hair and I was still getting used to it. It did make me look younger though. Not that I was old, but I would be 28 and Nick had just turned 20.

I returned to the bedroom looking for Nick but he wasn't there. I grabbed my jeans from the floor and pulled them on before looking around for my shirt. Once I realized it was no where to be found, I walked out to the hall and to the kitchen where I could hear dishes clinking.

I paused in the doorway as I watched Nick pull out bowls and a box of cereal from a cupboard. I quickly discovered where my missing FuManSkeeto shirt was…it was on Nick. Hell, it looked better on him than me anyway! But I did owe him!

He noticed me standing there and looked up at me sheepishly. "I hope cereal is okay? I'm not much of a cook," he said as he grabbed the milk from the fridge.

I walked over and grabbed him from behind, wrapping my arms around him and resting my chin on his shoulder. I hugged him tightly and began to run my hands over his chest. Nick sighed deeply and leaned back against me. My hands crept under the shirt and rubbed his abs as they worked upwards. My hands found their targets and suddenly tweaked Nick's nipples before withdrawing. "Nice shirt, baby," I said, quickly kissing his cheek then patting his ass before moving to sit at the table.

Nick remained standing where he was for a minute. Finally, he turned around to look at me and I could see the bulge in his boxers. "Bastard," he said softly but with a grin.

(Flashback - Nick)

I forced myself to calm down. Gradually my erection subsided and I walked over to sit at the table across from Chris. He was smiling innocently at me. I couldn't help but smile. "Guess I deserved that," I admitted. But that didn't mean he was going to get his shirt back.

We sat quietly for a few minutes eating our cereal. I wished that I actually could cook so I could cook Chris a really nice breakfast in bed. I vowed at that time I would learn.

"So what are you doing today?" Chris asked as he took a drink of juice.

I sighed. "We have a meeting at one. I think I'm supposed to go to the studio after that." Another thought occurred to me. "Chris…did you tell the others about me?" I asked softly. I wasn't sure I wanted to know the answer.

Chris stared at me for a moment, then shook his head. "No, I didn't. I told Josh your first name, but that's all. Why?" he asked curiously.

"I didn't tell Kev about you either," I said quietly. "I'm not sure why. I…I guess, its all so new, you know? I want to get to know you, Chris Kirkpatrick. Its not that I don't like the other guys, but…" I trailed off, not really sure how to put my feelings into words.

Chris smiled gently. "But its hard to develop a relationship when ten people are involved instead of just two?" he suggested.

I smiled and nodded. He knew exactly what I was trying to say.

(Flashback - Chris)

"Nick, it doesn't matter to me if the other guys know, from either group," I said seriously. "I just want to spend time with you." Nick smiled that sweet smile of his. God, he is so gorgeous.

Nick stood up and took the empty bowls to the sink. He walked back to where I was sitting and stood looking down at me. "So how is your headache?" he asked quietly, with a shy smile on his lips. I stood up and looked into his beautiful blue eyes.

I reached up and softly stroked the smooth skin on his cheek. Even though he was twenty, he still didn't have to shave every day, having a very light beard growth. I watched as he closed his eyes with pleasure. I pulled his face to mine. "I would say it's definitely gone," I whispered, before our lips met.

I was worried how both of us would react in the light of a new day. But I quickly realized that nothing had changed. No, that wasn't true. We were both more sure of what we wanted and felt for each other. We stood in the kitchen kissing for a few minutes until Nick pulled back a little. "Can we move this someplace more comfortable?" he asked staring into my eyes.

I smiled and turned, pulling him by the hand. I walked back down the hall to the bedroom we had spent the night in. As soon as we walked through the doorway, Nick surprised the hell out of me by reaching down and picking me up. I gasped and he giggled as he carried me to the bed and tossed me onto the soft mattress. Less than a second later, he was stretched out on top of me.

He rested on his elbows, either side of my body so his full weight wasn't directly on me. He gazed down at me and I felt myself drowning in his crystal blue eyes. Nick leaned down and kissed me. Very quickly the kiss deepened and it reminded me of the kiss from the day before. Nick was forceful and passionate and I met his demanding mouth with demands of my own.

I wanted to feel more of him and with some effort, I managed to roll us over so I was on top.

(Flashback - Nick)

I felt like a dying man in the desert who had finally found water. It had been forever since I'd felt close; I mean intimately close with someone. I loved how it felt; I loved how Chris felt and just wanted to devour him. I didn't care who was on top, I just wanted to keep feeling his body and tasting his sweet mouth.

Chris must have sensed my desperation but he didn't try to stop me. He met my passion with his own and we lost all sense of time and reality. The only thing that mattered was us.

At least, that was all that mattered until someone cleared their throat while standing in the doorway of my bedroom!

(Present - Chris)

"I thought I was going to have a heart attack," Nick said with a giggle.

I turned my head to look at him. "You? I thought maybe it was your father or something and I was going to die," I told him truthfully, remembering my very real fear that day.

Nick kissed my nose. "Well, not quite my Father, but close enough!"

(Flashback - Chris)

The sound made me freeze. I don't think Nick heard it at first, but when the noise was repeated he immediately stopped kissing me. Pulling me close to him, he gazed over my shoulder at the unwelcome guest.

"How about I wait for you in the living room Nick?" the unmistakable voice of Kevin Richardson said.

Nick just nodded and we heard the door click as it closed. I rolled myself off Nick and lay on my back staring at the ceiling. "I'm sorry Chris," Nick whispered.

I turned my head to look at him and saw that he was fighting back tears. I rolled onto my side and gently turned his face to me. I leaned forward and softly kissed his ravaged lips. "You have nothing to be sorry for, baby," I said quietly. I gave him a gentle push in the other direction. "Now go talk to Kevin," I instructed him.

Nick nodded and stood up, walking over to the door. He turned to look at me. "Will you wait right there for me?" he asked shyly.

I grinned and nodded. "Promise."

He closed the door behind him and I lay back on the bed wondering what would happen now that people knew.

(Flashback - Nick)

My heart was aching as I thought that Chris might not want to get involved if the others knew. I slowly walked down the hall to the living room. Kevin was standing by the windows with his back to me.

I flopped down on the couch and waited for Kevin to say something. Its not that the two groups were enemies, but we still rarely moved in the same social circles, not counting award shows. But still I was afraid it would become an issue of 'hanging with the enemy'.

Kevin turned to look at me and walked over to sit down. "I actually only came here to remind you of the meeting at one," Kevin said quietly, watching my reaction. "I'm sorry I interrupted you," he apologized.

I smiled weakly. "Its okay Kev," I said dismissively.

"So is that the guy from yesterday?" he asked hesitantly.

I looked at him. I didn't see any recognition in his face. "You didn't recognize him?" I asked curiously. Maybe things weren't completely wrecked.

Kevin shook his head. "No. I didn't see his face. Do I know him?" Kevin looked more closely at me. I watched as his gaze moved down my body. Shit! The t-shirt. His eyes flickered back up to mine. He raised his eyebrows. "Since when do you wear FuManSkeeto?" he asked. It was only then that the light went on. His eyes flickered down the hallway then back to me. He began to smile, then laughed aloud. "Oh Nicky, you don't do things the easy way, do you?" he asked with a shake of his head.

Well, he was taking it better than I thought he would. "Um, Kev? Are you okay with this?" I asked quietly.

Kevin lost his grin and looked at me intently. "Nick, it's not up to me. If Chris makes you happy, then I'm happy for you." He stood up and walked over to me. He pulled me to my feet. "You know, that all I want is for you to be happy Nick," he said seriously.

I smiled. "I know Kevin, and it means a lot to me. Would you mind if I go get Chris?" I asked him. I wanted us to sit down and talk for a little while. Kevin glanced at his watch and I looked at the clock on the wall. It was almost noon.

"Sure Nick," Kevin said and sat back down while I went back to the bedroom.

(Flashback - Chris)

I was almost falling asleep while I waited for Nick. I hoped Kevin wouldn't be too harsh with him. Despite his outward confidence, I knew Nick was still a little uncertain about being gay. I finally heard the door open and raised my head to look at Nick. He was standing uncertainly by the door.

"Hey," I said softly, sitting up on the bed.

"Hey," he said back, not moving from the doorway. "Um…I think I blew it Chris," he murmured.

I felt my chest tighten. "What do you mean?" I asked carefully. I stood up and walked towards him. He looked anywhere but at me.

"I…um…Kevin didn't see your face. He didn't know who you were," Nick replied. I was confused. "But then he saw the shirt and put it together," Nick added. Oh yes, my Fuman shirt that Nick had stolen earlier.

I stopped in front of him. "Nick?" He didn't look at me. "Nick!" I said again and used my fingers to raise his face. "I hope we're not going to stop doing what we're doing just because someone has found out," I said. I waited for his response.

Nick's eyes widened. "You still want to try this?" he asked hopefully.

I smiled. "Of course!"

Nick's arms flung around me, pulling me tightly to his chest. I wrapped my own arms around his waist and hugged him tightly. "I was afraid…" Nick started to whisper.

I pulled back so I could silence him with my fingers. "I know baby. Don't even think about it. Is Kevin still here?" I asked, trying to change the conversation. Nick nodded. I moved past Nick and grabbed his hand, pulling him with me as I walked into the hall. Hand in hand, we walked to the living room.

(Present - Chris)

I kissed Nick back, then noticed the limo had finally stopped. I looked outside excitedly but could only see the base of what looks like a hotel. I turned back to Nick.

"Where are we?" I asked.

Nick grinned. "You'll see. You have to wear this!" he added with a flourish as he pulled out a blindfold. I stared at him, wondering if he was serious. Nick moved closer to me. "Please sweetie? For me?" he pleaded knowing I could not refuse him.

"Baby?" I said as I stood outside the limo, my sight covered by the blindfold. Nick was immediately at my side. I felt his hand take mine and hold it tightly. "I love you," I whispered.

I felt him lean closer to me. His soft lips brushed my ear. "I love you too sweetie. For always. Lets go," he murmured, as he began to walk, leading me into the building.

(Flashback - Nick)

I held tightly to Chris' hand as we walked into the living room. Kevin stood up and smiled at us.

"Hey Chris. Nice to see you again," he said, holding out his hand. Chris acknowledged the gesture, then moved to sit on the couch. I sat down next to him, as closely as I could.

"It's good to see you too Kevin, even under the strange circumstances," Chris said. "I feel like I'm meeting my prom date's Father for the first time!" he added.

Kevin and Chris laughed. I managed to smile. I was still very nervous about what was going to happen. Kevin noticed and so did Chris. Kevin shook his head. "Nick relax!" he said firmly.

Chris glanced at me and leaned over to kiss my cheek. "I promise I won't hurt him," he murmured.

I had to react to that one, and I did. I laughed aloud and felt some of my tension leave.

"So I take it not too many people know you are gay Chris," Kevin commented.

Chris smiled. "That was the idea, wasn't it?" he asked with a smirk. Kevin nodded in agreement.

I felt like they were playing a cat and mouse game. I knew they were both older than me but I was still part of the issue. I decided to make my presence known.

"Kevin?" I said, drawing his attention to me. "Will you promise me…promise us, something?" I asked seriously. Both men looked at me. I continued. "Chris and I want to see where this is going. I think it's the real thing. At least I hope it is," I added, a little hesitation creeping into my voice. I felt Chris' hand squeeze mine. He leaned closer to my ear.

"It is," he whispered so softly that I barely heard him so I know Kevin didn't. Those two words almost distracted me completely. I felt my heart race and my passion flare. I forced my attention back to Kevin.

"We want to do this as Nick and Chris. Not as Nick, Brian, Howie, AJ and Kevin, and Chris, JC, Justin, Joey and Lance. At some point, we will tell the others. But for now, we just want it to be about us," I said earnestly.

Kevin watched me closely. He watched the silent interaction between Chris and I. Finally he nodded his head. "Okay. How about a compromise? It's about Nick and Chris, with their friend Kevin helping out some times," he suggested.

I smiled. That was Kevin, my friend and big brother. He'd always been there for me and I knew he always would be. "Thanks bro," I said softly.

He looked at Chris. "You do realize what a special one you're getting, don't you?" he said, only half in jest.

Chris looked at me and I almost melted. I knew he cared, but it was at that moment that I read the love in his eyes. "I only hope I'm worthy," he said softly in response to Kevin's question but never taking his gaze from me.

(Flashback - Chris)

"I think you are," Nick whispered to me.

I realized at that moment I truly could give myself to the man beside me and I knew that I would love him completely. Both of us momentarily forgot that Kevin was in the room. I never thought love would come around twice in a lifetime. I'm glad I was wrong.

Kevin cleared his throat again and Nick and I snapped out of own little world. We looked at Kevin. "Sorry," he smiled ruefully. "But Nick, we do have to go," he said.

Nick sighed. I kissed his cheek. "Go take a quick shower and get dressed. I'll still be here," I told him softly. He nodded and walked to the bedroom.

I smiled to myself and sat back on the couch.

"I knew," Kevin said quietly. My eyes flickered to him. "I knew you were gay, but I didn't know it was you Nick was talking about until I saw the t-shirt he was wearing. Then I put it together."

That comment stunned me. I sat up. "How?" I asked curiously.

Kevin was silent for a minute. "It was a couple of years ago. I was talking to JC on the phone about a charity project. You guys were overseas. The call was interrupted when Joey ran into the room shouting that JC had to get to your room, because you just heard that Steven had died. I guess JC was in shock because he said 'I have to go, Chris' boyfriend has died.' I don't think he ever realized what he said."

Listening to Kevin talk about that time, threatened to bring back some horrible memories. But as the images came, they weren't nearly as painful. I realized that because of Nick, I had finally accepted the past. I knew I would never forget Steven, but Nick was now the owner of my heart.

(Present - Chris)

I heard Nick gasp in shock and we stopped walking. "I didn't know about that part, Chris. I'm sorry I wasn't there," he murmured.

I smiled and reached out for him, still in the dark from the blindfold. "But you were, baby, because you were already in my heart." I could almost hear him smile. "Are we almost there?" I asked softly.

"Yes," he whispered. We resumed walking through what I thought was the lobby of the building.

(Flashback - Nick)

I quickly showered and threw on some clothes. I wanted to spend every free moment I could with Chris. I towel-dried my hair and ran the brush through it before walking quickly back to the living room. I found Kevin and Chris talking about the things each group was doing. We were just putting the finishing touches on our latest CD. I knew *nsync was on a break from their nearly year long tour.

Chris saw me walk in and smiled at me. I couldn't help but smile back as my heart swelled with happiness. I couldn't believe that I had found someone so remarkable. He was so sweet and funny, and very cute. I sat down on the couch beside him.

"I'm ready," I announced.

Kevin stood up. "Okay. We really need to go, or we'll be late," he said as he began to walk towards the door.

I sighed and started to stand up. Chris grabbed me and I turned towards him. "You're not quite ready," he said softly. I raised my eyebrows. Chris leaned forward and kissed me gently. "I love you Nick," he whispered.

I grinned wildly and hugged him tightly. "I love you too, Chris," I replied.

He kissed me softly again. "Okay. Now you're ready," he said and released me.

I stood up and pulled him up with me. "I shouldn't be too long. Will you stay here?" I pleaded.

(Flashback - Chris)

I nodded. There wasn't anywhere else I wanted to be.

Kevin grabbed Nick and gently pulled him to the door. "I'll have him back as soon as possible," Kevin said.

I grinned. "Okay." I looked directly at Nick. "Love you," I mouthed.

"Me too," he mouthed back and then he was gone.

I wandered around the apartment, smiling at all the little things that made me think of Nick. I walked back to the bedroom and found my Fuman shirt lying on the bed. I pulled it on and pulled it to my face. It smelled like Nick.

Smiling to myself, I grabbed the spare key from the hook by the door and took the elevator downstairs to find the superintendent. I talked to the super and found out that there was a two-bedroom apartment for rent in the building. I almost shouted aloud when he told me it was on the same floor as Nick's.

The fact that I'd really known Nick for only two days didn't phase me. I knew we'd have to talk about my moving into the same building, but I was sure he felt the same as I did. It was like we were kindred spirits.

My lease on my current place was coming up in a couple of months so I decided I would just forfeit the rent and move as soon as possible. I returned to Nick's apartment and after wasting some time trying to find something to watch on TV, I decided to call JC. We didn't really talk about a lot of things. I told him I was still sorting out things and left it at that. After we talked for half an hour we hung up and I decided to go lay down and try to get some extra sleep.

(Flashback - Nick)

I went with Kevin reluctantly. What I really wanted to do was spend the entire day with Chris, discovering everything I could about him. We got in the car and Kevin began to drive. I sat back and sighed, staring out the window.

"You really like him, don't you?" Kevin commented.

I turned my head to look at him. "I love him Kevin," I said truthfully. "I know its crazy," I continued so Kevin couldn't speak. "But its true. That's one reason I don't want anyone else knowing right now. I don't want to listen to people say I'm crazy, or he's too old, or I'm too young to know. I just want to be with him, to learn about him, and hold him." I tried to explain to Kevin my thoughts because he, above anyone, deserved to know the truth.

Kevin was quiet for a few minutes. "Nick, I'll do whatever I can to help you both, I promise."

I smiled. "Thanks Kev." We fell silent again and soon arrived at the meeting.

Nearly two hours later I was ready to go. The meeting had finally ended and I'd cancelled my recording time, claiming I had a slightly sore throat. I just wanted to get home and I hoped Chris was still there. We talked to Brian, Howie and AJ for a few minutes but Kev could see my anxiety.

"Well, I guess we better go. I have an appointment later and I still have to take Nick home," Kevin announced.

We said our goodbyes and left.

"Thanks Kevin," I said as we began the drive back to my place.

Kevin smiled. "No problem. I know what it's like to be in love."

Kevin dropped me off in front of the building and I waited impatiently for the elevator to take me upstairs. I unlocked the door and walked in. A quick look around showed that Chris wasn't in the kitchen or living room. I felt my disappointment well up. Maybe it was too much to ask for him to wait. I tossed my keys on the table and slowly walked down the hall to my bedroom. I pushed open the door and immediately saw the body stretched out on my bed. He had stayed!

(Flashback - Chris)

I wasn't quite asleep and felt the bed move. Opening my eyes, I found a pair of bright blue eyes smiling at me.

"Hi baby," I whispered as a smile spread across my face. It suddenly hit me just how beautiful he was, and he wanted to be with me. I pulled him down on top of me as I rolled onto my back. Nick leaned forward to kiss me.

"Miss me?" he asked softly as he started to nibble my chin.

I laughed softly. "Yes! I have a surprise for you," I said. Nick's eyes lit up. I gently rolled him off me and sat up so we could talk. I wanted him to know I was serious. I grasped his hands and looked into his eyes. "Nick, I've known you little more than twenty-four hours. But I know how I feel and I think you feel the same." He smiled and nodded his agreement. "If I'm moving too fast, tell me. But I was talking to the super, and found out that the apartment across the hall is available for rent."

I watched Nick process what I was saying and his eyes lit up.

(Present - Chris)

We stopped walking.

"I knew you loved me, but when you told me you were willing to move into the same apartment building, I realized just how much," Nick commented.

I smiled. "Even though we hadn't known each other very long, I would have done almost anything to be with you." I paused. "And I still feel that way," I said softly.

I knew Nick was smiling. "You ready?" He asked quietly. He moved behind me and put his arms around my shoulders. Slowly he directed me forward. I felt his hands at my head and the blindfold was removed. We were standing in the doorway of a black room.

Suddenly the lights came on, at the same moment a chorus of "Surprise!" was heard.

I jumped and I could feel Nick jump too. We stared into the room. All of our friends and families were standing in the decorated conference room grinning at us. I could see a sign over one table "Happy 1st Anniversary!" I felt tears start to creep up as I turned to look at Nick.

I was surprised to see the same shocked expression on his face.

"Did you plan all this baby?" I asked.

Nick looked down at me and shook his head. "No, sweetie. I thought it was just going to be you and I and a quiet, romantic dinner," Nick admitted.

"We planned it," A voice said from behind us.

Nick and I both turned to see Kevin and Josh standing there, grinning at us.

My eyes met Josh's. "We decided a year was long enough for you two to have to yourselves. Now its time to share with the other people who love you," he said.

I felt Nick's arm around my shoulders and relaxed against him. We both looked at Kevin.

"Hey, don't blame me! They all knew already. We decided it was time for you two to stop hiding," he said with a smile.

I knew he was telling the truth. Kevin had kept our secret for so long, I knew he wouldn't have told anyone.

I glanced at my baby. "I guess we weren't as careful as we thought, huh?" I commented wryly.

He shrugged. "Guess not." He turned me to face him and the world faded for both of us. "You okay with this?" he asked quietly.

I thought for a moment. "Yeah. Are you?" Nick nodded. "Good. I love you Nick and maybe we can't show the whole world our love, but I'm proud to show the people closest to us," I said softly.

He smiled and tenderly kissed my nose. "I love you, Chris. Lets go talk to our family." He took my hand firmly in his and we turned to walk into the brightly-lit room.

Everyone smiled at us as we walked in. I couldn't help but be amazed that all these people were here for Nick and I. It's not that we thought they wouldn't accept us, but we hadn't told them. Nick saw his Mom, brother and one of his sisters and we began to walk towards them. I started to feel nervous at the prospect of meeting Nick's Mom. I was grateful that his Dad was out of the country on business.

Nick glanced at me and squeezed my hand. "Don't worry sweetie, how could they not love you as much as I do?" he said, making me smile.

I smiled and nodded at a couple of people as we walked over to the Carter family. Nick released my hand to give his Mom a hug. "Hi Mom," he said and blushed slightly. God he's so sweet when he blushes. Nick looked at his siblings and grinned at them. "Hi Aaron, BJ!" he said. He quickly returned to my side for which I was grateful. I looked up and met Jane Carter's gaze.

"So this is the one, Nick?" Jane said, never taking her eyes from me.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Nick nod. "He's the one Mom," Nick said proudly and held my hand tighter. "Mom, this is Chris Kirkpatrick, the love of my life. Chris, my Mom, Jane Carter," Nick introduced us.

It felt strange finally meeting his Mom after a year of being together. I held out my hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you Mrs. Carter," I said sincerely. I met her gaze directly so she could see my intense love for her son.

She delayed for a moment, but finally grasped my hand in hers. "Chris, I am very happy to finally meet you," she replied. "And my name is Jane," she added. I smiled.

(Present - Nick)

We spoke with my Mom for a while then began to mingle. I refused to release Chris' hand so I went wherever he did and he did the same for me. It was so much fun talking openly with family and friends and not having to hide our feelings.

I knew afterwards that we would probably regret the loss of privacy, even if we hadn't been a secret for a very long time. Everyone had maintained the masquerade and left us alone. Now, I knew they wouldn't be so considerate.

As the night wore on, people gradually left until it was only the guys from both bands and my family. Chris came up with a great idea. Everyone gathered around a few tables and Chris asked each person to tell us how they discovered our not so hidden secret. Kevin started.

(Present - Chris)

"Well, everyone knows when I found out. I was honored that Nick and Chris trusted me with their secret and I hope I haven't let them down," Kevin added looking at Nick and I.

Nick grinned and shook his head. "You could never do that bro," he said softly.

"Anyway, a couple of months ago, I asked Nick what he considered to be their anniversary date. They 'met' in July but I wasn't sure which date was the most significant." He turned to Nick again. "Do you mind if I tell this?" Kevin asked Nick.

Nick blushed a little and looked at me. We stared into each other's eyes and silently communicated. We didn't say a word and a moment later Nick turned back to Kevin. "No, go ahead Kev," he said.

Kevin nodded. "So, the date Nick said he and Chris were marking for their one year together was the date they first made love." There was a round of 'aws' and 'isn't that sweet'. Both Nick and I blushed. Nick tucked his head into my shoulder, slightly embarrassed.

(Flashback - Nick)

My feet twitched nervously as I waited for the radio show to end. We were doing an interview on the Saturday morning of the Labor Day weekend. The interview wasn't that bad, but I had very special plans for the evening.

Chris and I had been together for over a month. He had moved into the apartment across the hall, the week after we met. After that first morning together when Kevin interrupted us, we had taken things slowly. I knew he was more experienced than I was, but he never pressured me. Both of us had been satisfied with kissing and holding each other. I had been nervous about advancing our relationship, but after a four day trip to New York, I realized I wanted to spend my life with him. Those four days had been the worst in my life. I was missing Chris, his smile, his scent, even his twisted sense of humor. I decided that when I returned, I would move us to the next level. I'd invited Chris over for dinner and I wanted to get home and prepare my apartment for everything.

Finally, the DJ stopped talking and let us go. I practically ran out of the building and to my car. Brian tried to invite me to play a game of basketball with him, but I didn't even respond to his question.

I raced home and began to fix the apartment. I had purchased candles and Kevin had bought some champagne for me. Chris was scheduled to come over at six when he got back from the studio. When I was satisfied with the living room and bedroom, I took a quick shower and dressed. I'd ordered food from a local restaurant because I didn't want to poison Chris with my attempts to cook. I still wanted to learn, but hadn't had the chance. The food was warming in the oven and I was ready. The candles were lit and the champagne on ice. All I had to do was wait.

(Flashback - Chris)

Nick had invited me to his apartment for dinner. I was looking forward to it because we'd only seen each other briefly since his return from New York two days earlier. I was waiting impatiently in the studio while the producers tinkered with some part of the song. They wanted to get it completely done before we left for the day.

Another glance at my watched showed that it was getting close to when I was to be at Nick's. Josh noticed my impatience and walked over to me.

"What's up?" he asked as he plopped down in the chair beside me.

I smiled at him weakly. "Have somewhere I'd much rather be," I explained.

He raised his eyebrows. "Hot date?" he asked with a smirk.

I grinned. "Something like that," I replied. We fell silent again as we waited for the producer.

They finally herded us back into the sound booth and we started to sing again. By the time they were satisfied and let us leave, I was late. Very late. I ran to my car and began to drive home. I pulled out my cell phone to call Nick, but it was Murphy's Law, my phone was dead.

I drove across the city as quickly as possible. When I finally pulled into the parking lot it was just on eight pm. I knew I looked like shit, I'd just worn some old clothes to the studio, but I didn't want to take time to change.

I paced in the elevator while it slowly rose to my floor; my floor and Nick's floor. I knew he was going to be upset with me. Finally the elevator door opened and I ran down the hall. I stopped in front of Nick's door and caught my breath for a second before knocking.

(Flashback - Nick)

I waited. Six thirty came and went. Still no Chris. I figured that he'd been held up at the studio, and was confident that he would arrive soon. When it was past seven, I got up and walked around the apartment, blowing out the candles. I didn't want them to burn out or catch anything on fire. I'd had such high hopes for the evening and was very disappointed. Chris had never stood me up before. I started to get angry that he hadn't even called. Then my thoughts turned to worry. What if he'd been in a car accident? He wouldn't be able to call me.

I flopped down on my couch at seven thirty and started to drift to sleep.

An irritating banging woke me up. I groggily sat up and looked around in confus

ion. I remembered that Chris was supposed to have come for dinner and hadn't. I realized that the banging was someone knocking on the door.

I dashed to the door, and flung it open. There was Chris, standing with his mouth open. Before he could say anything I flung my arms around his neck and kissed him passionately. Of all the emotions I'd felt, concern was the greatest and now that I knew he was okay, I just wanted to feel him in my arms.

Chris walked forward, moving us both back into my apartment. He kicked the door shut with his foot and pulled me tightly to him. A few minutes later we both pulled back slightly, but remained in our embrace.

"I am so sorry babe," Chris apologized as we walked into the living room. He froze when he saw the decorated table and the champagne. "Oh god, Nicky!" He turned to look at me, tears trickled down his face. "Please baby, forgive me? They would let us out of the studio till the song was done. I tried to call, but my phone was dead. I didn't mean to ruin your evening," he said softly.

I reached out and gently stroked his cheek. I bent down and softly kissed him. "Chris, all that matters is that you are okay," I said quietly. "Yeah, I was pissed at first when you didn't show up," I admitted and Chris smiled at that. "But then I began to think that maybe something had happened to you. Maybe you were in an accident or something. That scared me."

Chris reached up and put his fingers over my mouth to silence me.

(Flashback - Chris)

I was so relieved that he wasn't angry with me, but I felt bad anyway. "I promise Nicky, that from now on, if we have plans and I can't make it, I will do everything in my power to let you know. I'm sorry I made you worry," I murmured. I reached up and pulled his head back down to me. I wanted and needed to taste his lips. He didn't object.

We slowly made our way to the couch. Nick sat down and pulled me onto his lap. I loved that position and wrapped my arms around his neck. Minutes later our lips parted and I gazed into Nick's incredible blue eyes.

"So what was the occasion?" I asked quietly as I gently nibbled Nick's chin.

Nick was quiet for a moment and l looked at him closely. I could see his creamy skin turning red. "I…I uh…I thought…I thought maybe we could…" Nick stuttered, turning a deeper shade of red. I suddenly realized what he was trying to say. God, of all the nights I had to stay late at the studio. I smiled tenderly at my beautiful Nick. I knew this was a big decision on his part. I wanted to make his first time so special.

I met his gaze directly. "Are you sure?" I asked softly.

Nick smiled slightly. "Never more sure of anything," he whispered.

I slid off his lap and slowly walked over to the table. The champagne was still chilled so I grabbed the bottle and popped the cork. I poured two glasses of the sparkling liquid and turned to look at Nick. He was still sitting on the couch watching me. I held the glass out for him and he smiled before walking over to me. We sipped the champagne and allowed our hands to roam over each other. Every touch arousing us a little bit more.

(Flashback - Nick)

I stared at Chris as we drank the champagne and felt myself harden. I wanted him so badly. I knew what we were going to do, but I was still nervous, not quite sure what to expect. But I did know that Chris would make it incredible for me, and he would never hurt me. Chris took my half-consumed glass of champagne and set it on the table beside his own.

He grasped my hand in his and began to walk down the hall. "Come have a shower with me, baby," he murmured as he pulled me into the bathroom instead on going directly to the bedroom. He turned to face me and began to unbutton my shirt. All I could do was gaze down at him and shiver in anticipation.

Chris pushed my shirt from my shoulders and it fell to the bathroom floor. I smiled as I saw him lick his lips before he bent his head and began to suck one of my nipples. "Oh god Chris!" I gasped at the jolt of pleasure that coursed through me. My knees felt weak. Chris pulled back and smiled up at me. He yanked his t-shirt up over his head exposing his chest too. We had seen each other in nothing but boxers many times before, but this was different. We weren't going to stop at boxers.

My hands instinctively reached out and stroked his smooth flesh, running down his chest to the top of his pants and back up again. Chris smiled slyly. "Want to help me out?" he asked softly. Without a second thought I unbuttoned his pants and pulled the zipper down. The baggy jeans dropped to the floor and Chris stepped out of them. He'd taken his sandals off at the front door so he only had his boxers left.

Then it was my turn. Chris reached forward and undid my pants, pushing them to the floor. I kicked them away and stood before my lover in my boxer-briefs. I knew my own manhood was creating quite a tent on the fabric and I could see Chris had the same problem.

(Flashback - Chris)

I wanted to keep things slow, so I turned from Nick and started the water of the shower. "Will you get some towels out baby?" I asked softly. I could hear Nick moving behind me.

Once the water was the perfect temperature I turned back to Nick. This was the turning point and I could see the slight nervousness. I locked my eyes with Nick's and pushed my boxers off my hips letting them fall to the floor. My erection sprang free and bobbed in the air. I watched Nick's gaze lower and take in my member. His eyes widened slightly and I knew it wasn't that I was too small! I decided to give him a moment of privacy and turned to step into the shower.

The warm water cascaded over me. A few seconds later I sensed movement behind me and the shower door was pulled closed. I turned and gazed at my beautiful baby. My eyes moved to his face where a look of hesitation battled with anticipation. Slowly my eyes roamed lower, soaking in his smooth, firm chest. He didn't have a six pack, but he certainly wasn't soft or fat. He was perfect. Moving lower, my gaze encountered the first strands of curly, blond hair. Almost immediately, I found the head of his manhood.

This time it was my eyes that widened slightly. I knew he was a big boy, but I wasn't quite expecting so much. But it was perfect, just like the rest of him. Quickly my eyes returned to his face and I stepped forward. My hands moved up to his face and pulled his head down. "God you are so beautiful baby," I whispered before kissing him hard. Nick's arms wrapped around my back and we simply stood there in the falling water holding each other.

Nick broke the embrace first and reached past me to grab the soap and sponge. Starting at my neck and shoulders, Nick slowly lathered up my body, washing my front, completely down to my toes but avoiding my groin. He gently turned me around and washed my back in the same way. His fingers softly brushed down between my butt cheeks making me gasp in pleasure. He repeated the motion a couple of times before continuing on. My manhood was standing out in front of me, throbbing with the sensations Nick was giving me. Precum mixed with the falling water to drip down to the shower floor.

Once Nick was satisfied with his task, he turned me around but remained on his knees. This brought my erection level to his face. He gazed lovingly up at me before leaning forward and engulfing me in his hot mouth. For someone who had never given head, he was a natural. In only a matter of minutes I warned him off my impending explosion. Nick ignored me and continued to pleasure me, swallowing everything I offered.

I collapsed against the shower wall, trying to regain my breath. I couldn't remember oral pleasure every being that good before. Nick stood up and watched my reaction, smiling slightly. I pulled him against me.

"That was so incredible baby," I whispered. "Thank you! I love you."

Nick held me as I continued to come back from my orgasmic high. "Love you too, Chris," he murmured.

Once I regained my breath, it was my turn to pleasure Nick.

(Flashback - Nick)

Chris stood up straight and smiled at me. He gently pushed me against the side of the shower and began to kiss his way down my body. He grabbed the soap and lathered up his hands. Starting with my feet, he slowly worked his way back up my body. Every touch set my skin on fire until I was twisting and shuddering beneath his hands. He washed my entire body then gently pushed me under the spray of water to rinse the soap off.

I let him manipulate my body, as he moved me back against the shower wall. This time he turned my chest to the wall, so my butt was facing him. I shivered as I felt his strong fingers slowly start to massage my butt cheeks. His hands moved up and down, slowly working closer to the center. Subconsciously my body gently began to thrust back, trying to get Chris to move his attention elsewhere. My actions were rewarded when I felt his hand slip between my cheeks and softly brush over my opening. My entire body twitched at the sensation.

Then I felt his hands spread my cheeks. Suddenly a warm, moist probe brushed over my hole and I realized it was Chris' tongue. I thought I was going to explode right then. Chris used his tongue ceaselessly, gradually causing my channel to open. Just when I thought I couldn't stand any more, Chris grasped my hips and spun me around. His hot mouth enveloped my member, while one of his fingers slid easily into my behind. That was all it took and I erupted.

When my body stopped shuddering, Chris stood up and shut the water off. He held me gently in his arms until my body relaxed. We both stepped out of the shower and proceeded to dry each other with the towels. Neither of us bothered with our clothes as we walked hand in hand across the hall to my bedroom.

The shower and orgasm had helped me relax. I stretched out on my back on the bed and Chris lay down beside me. His hand gently ran over my body, never staying in one place. Every inch of my skin was hypersensitive to his touch.

More than ever I knew what I wanted. "Please Chris," I said quietly turning my head to meet his eyes. "I want you to make love to me. I want to feel you in me," I whispered.

Chris smiled sweetly. "Whatever you want baby," he murmured, leaning over to kiss me. I blindly reached over to the bedside table beside me and grabbed the lube I had bought. I shoved it into Chris' hand as he continued to kiss me. He pulled back and looked at his hand. "A little anxious baby?" he teased gently.

I blushed. "I want you so much Chris," I said intently.

Chris sat back on his heels. "Roll over Nicky," he instructed me and I quickly obeyed, rolling onto my stomach.

(Flashback - Chris)

I wanted to give him so much pleasure. I moved around him until I was between his spread legs. His beautiful butt stared at me. His legs were spread and I could just see a hint of the puckered flesh between the two firm mounds. I bent down and ran my tongue all the way down the crevice eliciting a soft moan from Nick.

Gently spreading the flesh with my hands, I resumed my tongue action from the shower. I probed with my tongue and inhaled his wonderful, clean, manly scent. As I felt the muscle ring relax slightly, I moved back. The lube was beside me and I opened the bottle. I drizzled some of the slick liquid down his crack then some more over my fingers. I ran my fingers down the tight space gently spreading the lube around the opening. Nick soon began to thrust back against my hand. I knew he was ready for more. I moved my index finger to his opening and pressed it against the puckered flesh. Nick's own movements pushed back against my finger and it slid easily inside. Nick gasped.

"You okay baby?" I asked immediately. I wanted to do my best to ensure that he felt no pain, only absolute pleasure.

"Oh, god, Chris that feels good," he murmured and I grinned.

My finger slid in further, spreading the lube and exploring the channel. After another few minutes, I pulled my finger back and moved my ring finger along side. The two fingers slid back into him with little resistance. Nick noticed the difference and let out another soft moan. I moved the fingers in deep, then back to the ring of muscle. Slowly I spread the fingers, carefully stretching the ring. I watched Nick's back for any signs of tensing up. He never did. His body was completely relaxed.

I continued my slow progress and eventually added a third finger. Nick began to increase his thrusts back against my hand and his moans came more regularly. I knew he was ready. I used my other hand to spread lube generously over my erect manhood. We were both ready.

I pulled my fingers out of him. "Turn over baby," I said softly.

"What? Why? Whats wrong?" he asked anxiously, turning to look at me.

I smiled and shook my head. He settled on his back and I moved over him to kiss his lips. "Nothing is wrong baby. I just want to see your face as we make love," I assured him and he relaxed again. I sat back and raised his legs. I reached down and grasped his erection in my hands, pulling it gently. Returning my gaze to his face, I could see the pleasure there. "You ready?" I asked softly.

"Yes," he sighed, smiling down at me. "Please, Chris."

I moved forward and placed my slicked manhood against his stretched opening. Moving my hips slowly, I slid the head into Nick. He gasped at the new sensation, but I watched his face for any sign of pain and didn't see any.

"Oh, Chris! That's so good. More!" Nick gasped.

I smiled and continued my slow progress, moving forward into his tight canal. My member was wrapped tightly in his hot channel. His internal muscles fluttered, squeezing me and creating incredible sensations. Minutes later my hips rested against his butt.

Nick was writhing on the bed, moving his hips trying to get me to move. I leaned down over him and kissed him passionately. Nick's arms wrapped around me as he bucked against me.

"Okay baby?" I asked softly.

"Mmm-hmm. God Chris, I always want you like this," he murmured.

Satisfied that he was okay, I moved my hips back, pulling my member almost out before carefully thrusting completely back into Nick. Nick cried out in pleasure as I stroked his prostate.

We quickly developed a rhythm. I tried to maintain a steady pace, moving in long slow strokes for as long as possible. Eventually though my own desire and need forced me to move faster. I had to find my own release. But at the same time, I knew Nick was approaching a shattering orgasm of his own. His member was rubbed between our stomachs as I moved in and out of him. His body twisted and thrashed on the bed as he was consumed by new feelings.

My arms reached under his shoulders as I pulled him closer to me. "Oh baby. I'm going to cum Nicky," I gasped. My body went stiff. "Oh, I love you, I love you!" I panted as I suddenly began to erupt deep inside Nick's channel.

(Flashback - Nick)

Chris went rigid, and then I could feel a completely new sensation inside of me. I realized I could feel his cum coating my canal. The feeling was so erotic, my body responded on its own and my own manhood began to fire. My cum shot between our heaving chests and coated us as Chris clung to me, riding out his orgasm. I held on just as tight as my own explosion wracked me.

Chris raised his face and covered mine with quick, soft kisses. We held on until both of our bodies began to relax. Then I fell back on the bed. I could still feel Chris inside of me. Gently he pulled his softening organ from me. It didn't hurt, but I moaned at the very empty feeling I had. Chris moved up the bed and wrapped his arms around me.

"I love you so much, Nick. Was that good for you? I didn't hurt you did I?"

I could hear the love and concern in his voice. I held tightly to him. "I love you too Chris. You didn't hurt me. You could never hurt me. I've never felt anything so incredible in my life. That was the best," I said sincerely.

Chris pulled back slightly to meet my eyes. He smiled slyly. "Well if you enjoyed that, wait till you're on top," he said with a grin.

(Present - Chris)

After Nick and I both privately remembered our first time together, it was JC's turn to explain how he found out about us.

"I honestly knew about a week after Kevin," JC said and a number of people gasped, including Nick and I. JC just grinned at us. He went on to explain. "Chris, you told me that first day, that the guy you had met was named Nick. Then you called me the next day and said you were moving. I thought it was a big coincidence that you happened to move in across from Nick Carter. But something had bugged me about that first call you had made. I could hear a difference in your voice. But what threw me was the caller ID. I didn't know the number, but it seemed familiar. I was going through some stuff a few days later and found a list of phone numbers, including Nick's. I realized then that he was your Nick."

"Why didn't you say anything?" I asked curiously.

He shrugged. "At first, I wanted to give you time. I knew you had questions about your relationship so I thought I'd leave the two of you alone to work it out. About a month later, I was talking to Kevin." JC looked at Kevin. "I can't remember what we were talking about but it came up that Kevin knew Chris was gay. No one had told me you two were a secret so I asked Kevin if he had noticed anything about the two of you. He didn't tell me, I guessed. After a lot of pushing from me, he finally confirmed what I thought. He made me promise not to tell anyone or confront you about it." JC sat back down as Nick and I smiled at him.

"Thanks for respecting our privacy," Nick said sincerely, and JC just smiled.

After JC's story, we moved on to Joey and as it turned out, Lance as well.

"Lance and I found out because we snooped," Joey admitted with a slight blush. I raised my eyes brows at that. "It was a couple of weeks before your birthday and Lance and I were talking. We both commented on your mood. You were so quiet and almost depressed," Joey said. I could feel Nick look at me. I had never told him just how sad and lonely I was without him. "We weren't used to that so we were worried. Then a couple of days before your birthday you got a phone call, remember?" I nodded and squeezed Nick's hand. "When you came back into the room, you were ecstatic, back to your old self." Lance decided to save Joey and took over.

"Chris, we were just worried about you, and the sudden mood swings. So when we got to New York, and you took off for the day, we followed you," Lance said softly. He looked at me hesitantly. "I'm sorry Chris. I know we didn't have any right to follow you, but your sudden change of attitude scared us," He said in apology. I glanced at Nick and completely ignored everyone watching us silently communicate. It was incredible. I understood Nick was telling me to forgive. I looked back at Lance and smiled.

"It's okay Lance. I forgive you and Joey. I know you were just trying to look out for me." I smiled and Lance knew all was forgiven.

Lance continued. "Anyway, we followed you to a small hotel and watched as you knocked on a door. When we saw Nick, we both almost passed out in shock. Then we saw the love pass between you as Nick wrapped his arms around you and kissed you. It was beautiful." I smiled at the memory.

(Flashback - Chris)

God, I thought this day would never arrive. We had arrived in New York the day of my birthday. We didn't have a concert until two days later. As soon as we checked into the hotel, I grabbed a few things and took off for the day. I had told Lance I would be gone. I know they wanted to do something for my birthday, but I convinced them to do it the next day. I had important plans.

The tour had taken me away from Nick just as we were really getting comfortable with our relationship. I hadn't seen him for nearly three weeks. Two days earlier when he called (we talked every night), he told me he was coming for my birthday. My entire mood changed. He gave me the address and room number of the hotel he was going to stay in.

The last two days had dragged. All I wanted was to see my baby again, and finally the day arrived. I grabbed a cab outside our hotel and gave the directions. Finally, the cab stopped in front of a small motel. I quickly paid the driver and got out. I walked through the door and up the stairs to the second floor. Finding the room number Nick had given me, I knocked. Then my baby was standing in front of me.

(Flashback - Nick)

It had been too long since I'd seen Chris. Phone calls helped, but weren't nearly enough. I opened the door and saw him standing there, and tears welled up in my eyes. I could see the tears streaking his cheeks too. I stepped out into the hall and wrapped my arms around him, pulling him close for a kiss. Chris' body shuddered against mine and I knew exactly what he was feeling.

I pulled back and cupped his incredible face in my hands. "God I missed you so much sweetie! I love you," I said intently.

Chris stood on his toes to kiss me again. "I missed you too. I thought I was going to die if I didn't see you soon," he murmured against my lips.

I pulled him towards the room. "I have a birthday surprise for you sweetie," I said softly. Chris followed me into the room and closed the door behind him. I released his hand and stood in front of him.

In one quick movement, I pulled off my shirt. Then another quick motion and my tear-away pants were gone.

(Flashback - Chris)

There was my baby standing before me wearing only a red ribbon tied around his erect manhood. All I could do was stare at his beauty. God, I'd missed his perfect body almost as much as the rest of him.

"Happy Birthday Sweetie," he said as he stood waiting.

It only took a moment for me to react. I stepped forward and lightly stroked the hot flesh bound by the ribbon. "Mmmm, I always loved hot dogs for my birthday," I murmured as I knelt down in front of my young godling.

(Present - Chris)

Lance continued to explain. "Joe and I talked about it and decided it wasn't our business. Yeah we were a little pissed that you hadn't told us, but we got over it. It was a few weeks later that we found out JC knew. He told us what Kevin had said, about you two wanting to be together as just two people instead of ten. I could really understand that. So the three of us kept quiet," Lance finished and sat down. I was amazed that all these people knew our secret but never said a word. I looked around at the group of people and saw Howie wanted to speak next.

"Well, for AJ and I, it was at Thanksgiving that we found out. All of us thought it was strange that you had decided to stay in Orlando for the holiday instead of going to New York with your family," Howie said, looking at Nick.

"We were both staying in the city and decided that you shouldn't be alone for the holiday. We went over to your apartment to invite you for dinner. I knocked but you didn't answer, so I just turned the door knob. We were surprised when the door opened. At that point we were a little concerned so we walked in. After a quick look around, AJ walked down to the bedroom."

(Flashback - Nick)

"So when are you coming over?" I asked Chris. We were on the phone as I worked around in the kitchen. No, I hadn't cooked! I'd ordered a thanksgiving dinner and all I had to do was keep things warm and set them on the table. I was just waiting for Chris.

"I'll be right there baby. I had to talk to the family, and now I'm just finishing getting dressed," Chris explained.

"I miss you," I pouted.

"Well, if you turn around, we can solve that," a voice echoed over the phone and from behind me.

I spun around to find Chris standing there. He looked incredible wearing black pants and a white shirt. I grinned when I noticed his tie, bugs bunny. I set the phone down and walked over to him.

"Mmmm, you look good enough to eat," I said as I played with his tie.

He swatted my hand away. "Hey! I thought this was a turkey dinner not a rabbit roast!" he protested. God, I love his warped sense of humor.

He pulled me close for a kiss and I was suddenly more than willing to forget all about dinner. But Chris wouldn't let me.

(Flashback - Chris)

I gently pushed him back. "Something smells good," I complimented. I knew he had spent a lot of time worrying about the dinner and I wanted him to know I appreciated it.

Nick blushed sweetly. "Well, you know I didn't cook it, but hopefully it will be good." Nick walked back to the stove to check something. He looked delicious wearing gray pants and a blue button down shirt that matched his eyes perfectly.

"Anything I can do to help?" I asked as I watched him stir something.

He turned and smiled at me, my heart catching in my throat. "You could pour us some wine. There's a bottle on the table."

I walked to the dining table and did as he'd asked. Before I could return to the kitchen, he walked out carrying a couple of dishes. Two trips later and everything was on the table.

We sat down and Nick reached across the table to grasp my hands. He stared into my eyes and began to say grace. "Thank you Lord for the food we are about to receive. And thank you for the love we have, the love of our friends and our families and especially with each other. We are forever grateful. Amen."

I echoed his 'amen' and smiled at him across the table. "That was sweet baby," I told him. He grinned.

We gorged ourselves on the food. While not quite homemade the food was quite good. Once we were satiated, we picked up our wine glasses and walked into the living room. We settled onto the couch and relaxed for a little while, allowing the meal to digest.

"You know there is still desert?" Nick commented.

I grinned lecherously. "Oh?" I said as I licked his cheek.

He giggled. "That's gross! I meant that there was an apple pie to warm in the oven," Nick said as he wiped his cheek.

I thought for a moment. "Well, I don't think I have room right now." I leaned closer to him. "Unless you can think of something we can do to work off some of the food we ate?" I asked softly against his ear.

(Flashback - Nick)

I blushed at the implication. Despite being together for almost five months, and lovers for the last three, he could still make me blush. I reached into Chris' lap and allowed my fingers to lightly stroke the growing bulge in his pants.

"I'm sure we can think of something," I said softly as I turned to find his lips. He sighed against me. I pushed my self to my feet and pulled Chris up with me. Hand in hand, we walked down the hall to the bedroom.

(Present - Chris)

"I peeked in the door of your bedroom and saw you and Chris sleeping peacefully wrapped in each others arms. You looked so sweet Nick," AJ added with a grin. Nick stuck his tongue out at him. "I got Howie to take a look. We debated whether to wake you up or not, but decided to leave you two alone. We locked the door behind us and left. I accidentally let it slip when I was talking to Kevin. So he filled us in and we promised to leave you alone. Until now," AJ added with a smirk. I knew it was true. We'd have to fight for our privacy now that everyone knew, but I was up to the challenge to be with my baby.

Looking around at the faces, my eyes rested on Nick's Mom. I knew she wanted to tell her story.

I watched Jane look at us, take in Nick's position, cuddled in my arms. She smiled. "I started to figure things out at Christmas. Remember when we went shopping together and you bought those earrings?" She asked Nick. He smiled and nodded. "I asked who they were for and you said for a friend named Chris. I never even thought to ask if Chris was male or female. But then there were phone calls over the holidays. One time I answered and it was a man's voice asking for you. Later, I overhead you say 'I love you sweetie.' When I asked you later who you were talking to, you said it was Chris. I started to look for signs. You were always so happy after talking to Chris. I finally decided to talk to Kevin. I laid it out for him, everything I thought and suspected and he let me draw my own conclusions. All that mattered was your happiness Nick. Kevin did explain why you never told me. It hurt at first, but every time I saw you, you were so happy, I couldn't bring myself to confront you." She stopped talking and walked over to Nick and I.

"I hope now that everything is in the open, that both of you will visit more often," She said. She bent down to kiss Nick's cheek, then surprised me by kissing my cheek as well.

"We will Jane," I promised. She smiled and returned to her seat.

Looking around I realized that only Brian and Justin were left. They looked at each other and Justin nodded to Brian, letting him go first.

Brian smiled at Nick and I. "Well, where to start? Even though Nick never told anyone he was gay, I guess most of us figured it out."

Nick interrupted him. "Except Kevin," he said. "He's the only person I told, until I met Chris."

Brian nodded. "Right, Kevin knew, but never let on to the rest of us. But you must remember, that you and I roomed together all the time Nick. I figured it out pretty early on, but it never bothered me. You were, you are, my Frack," he said simply.

I knew those words meant a lot to Nick and I hugged him a little tighter.

Brian continued. "So I had my suspicions that you were involved with someone, but I didn't know who. It was your twenty-first birthday and I remember the day before you received a small package in the mail. It was a gold bracelet."

(Flashback - Nick)

I was already sick of the tour. We'd only been on it for a few weeks, but I wanted to be back home with Chris. My birthday was the next day and our stupid schedules completely prevented us from being together. I knew there was nothing we could do to change things, short of revealing our involvement to both groups. Neither of us was willing to do that. We prized our privacy too much. So instead, I had to celebrate my birthday without him. I knew the guys would do something fun, but it wouldn't be quite the same without Chris.

I sighed and flopped down on my bed. Brian was taking a shower before we all went out to dinner. A knock at the door roused me and I walked over to open it.

"Mr. Carter?" It was one of the hotel's staff.

"Yes," I said, wondering what the man wanted.

"Sorry to disturb you Sir. We had a package delivered for you. Normally we give everything to your assistants, but this package also has your code name on it, so I thought I'd check with you first."

I was surprised. Only a very few people knew that I used the names of different comic strip creators when I registered in hotels.

"Really? Okay, I'll take it," I said and held my hand out for the small wrapped parcel. "Thank you for bringing it to me."

"Not a problem Sir," he said and left.

I closed the door and walked back to the bed. I sat on the end and looked at the package. The writing was clear, addressed to N. Carter or Chuck Schultz. I looked more closely. In the corner of the label were a couple of tiny words. Squinting without my glasses, I finally read the words and a grin crossed my lips. The words said, 'from Taz'. Even if anyone had read them, they wouldn't know what they meant.

I had taken to calling Chris the Tazmanian Devil, because of his unbelievable hyperness. I was always considered the hyper one in my group, but Chris had me completely beat. I tore the wrapping from the box.

I popped open the lid and stared at what I saw inside. It was a beautiful gold ID bracelet. My name was inscribed in simple bold letters. I turned it over, but was a little disappointed to find that there was nothing engraved on the other side. I noticed a piece of paper in the box and pulled it out. I immediately recognized Chris' handwriting.

Nicky, When the time is right, we'll inscribe the back. Love you. Taz.

I grinned to myself.

"That's beautiful." I jumped off the bed and looked up to find Brian standing there watching me. I'd forgotten he was in the bathroom.


He smiled. "I said, the bracelet is beautiful." I folded the small note away, hoping he hadn't noticed it.

"It is isn't it?" I agreed. "Will you fasten it for me?" I asked him. I wanted to wear it, it made me feel closer to Chris.

Brian nodded and closed the clasp around my wrist. It fit perfectly. I ran my fingers over it lovingly, but at the same time, wishing the person who'd given it to me was with me instead.

"Who's it from?" Brian asked, bringing my attention back to reality.

"Just a friend," I said. "Are you ready? We should get down to Kevin's room," I added trying to change the subject.

Brian sighed. "Okay. Lets go."

(Flashback - Chris)

My feet were tapping the floor impatiently. I know, I know, that sounds normal for me, but this time I was more impatient than ever. We were in Toronto waiting to do a TV interview on Much Music but I really wanted to call Nick to see if he got my gift. I knew he would like the bracelet, but I was afraid he'd be disappointed I hadn't put anything on the back. I was so tempted to, but if any of his bandmates happened to find the bracelet sometime, there could be many questions.

Finally the studio was ready and we walked down the stairs to a row of stools in among a throng of about one hundred fans. Even though it was bitterly cold outside, there were nearly a thousand more fans outside the building.

The VJ Rick greeted us and we joked around. We'd met him a number of times before and he was a fun guy.

We talked for a while about our upcoming plans. The 'No Strings' tour was over, and we were going back into the studio soon to start our third CD. Rick started moving through the fans and letting them ask questions.

He stopped at one girl. She was excited, but thankfully not hysterical.

"Hi guys," she said. "I was just wondering when was the last time you were shopping, and what did you buy?"

Strange question, but at least it wasn't the old boxers or briefs! I had to think about it for a minute. When was the last time I'd gone shopping?

By the time Rick got to me, I remembered.

"The last time I was shopping was about a week ago. We were in New York," I said into the microphone. "I bought a gold ID bracelet for someone special." Just how special they would never know.

"So you going to tell us who it was for?" Rick asked.

I grinned. "Nope. I had it delivered to them today. It's just between us. Sorry!"

The questions continued, while I waited for my chance to phone Nick.

(Present - Chris)

Brian continued to talk. "After we got to Kevin's room, I realized I forgot my wallet." Nick nodded as he remembered that. "Back in the room, the TV was still on and it happened to be showing an *nsync interview. I was curious and turned up the volume. I heard Chris say he'd bought a gold ID bracelet for someone special and had it delivered to them."

I shook my head slightly at the odds of Brian hearing that.

"It was just too much of a coincidence," Brian added. "Combined with the fact he had moved into the apartment across from you, and how happy you'd been for the past few months," he shrugged. "It all just fit. I talked to Kevin about my suspicions. I was planning on confronting you about it Nick, but Kevin talked me out of it."

Both Nick and I looked at Kevin gratefully. He really had helped us out more than either Nick or I had realized.

So, we had just about heard from everyone. All that was left was Justin.

Justin was pouting a little as I looked to him. "I feel so left out now," he said with a smile. "I only figured it out at that charity concert we did in July. And I didn't know everyone else knew until a couple of days ago," he explained.

"What did we do at the charity concert that let you figure it out?" Nick asked curiously. I wondered that too. I thought we had been extra careful, because we knew all our friends were around.

Justin shrugged. "It was just a bunch of little things. I knew you were seeing someone Chris. You were just too damned happy all the time. More so than normal," he added. Everyone laughed and I kissed Nick's cheek. It wasn't my fault Nick made me smile.

(Flashback - Chris)

I jumped out of the limo and quickly began walking towards the stadium.

"Hey Chris, you got a hot date or something?" Joey called from behind me. I slowed and turned to look at the others.

"What? I'm just excited about doing this concert," I said. Joey just smirked and I decided to ignore him.

We walked into the large building and out onto the field. It was going to be an incredible concert. Fifty thousand fans, the hottest acts in pop music, and my baby. Finally we reached the stage and I looked around, looking for that familiar tall blond. I spotted him standing on the far side of the giant stage talking to Kevin.

I didn't want to be too obvious and walk directly over there, but I was dying to see Nick's brilliant smile in person. It had been nearly three weeks since we'd been together. Kevin looked up and noticed me. He started waving me over.

"Hey, there's Kevin, waving us over guys. Lets go," JC said before I could do anything. I sighed as I followed my bandmates. So much for having a moment alone with Nick.

"Hi guys," Kevin greeted us. He shook hands with the others, before he got to me. He winked as we shook hands. The guys said hi to Nick too.

"So what do you think of this?" Kevin asked, waving his hand around indicating the stage.

As the others started to talk, I slipped over so I was standing beside my baby.

"Hey Nicky, good to see you again," I said, restraining myself from taking him in my arms and kissing him passionately.

"You too Chris," he said softly. The one good thing about moving into the apartment across from him, aside from being able to see him, was that it didn't seem strange to anyone when we talked.

Before I moved, the two groups never hung out in the same social circles, barely encountering each other except at things like awards shows. Since the move, no one really questioned it if one of us visited the other.

(Flashback - Nick)

It was driving me nuts to be so close to Chris after three weeks and not being able to touch him. It reached the point where I had to leave. I decided to go find the bathrooms.

"I'm going to go find the bathrooms in this place," I said, beginning to turn away.

"Wait up Nicky, I'll come with you," Chris suddenly said.

I wasn't sure if that was a good idea, but no one said anything so we slipped off the stage and walked down one of the exits under the stands.

There were too many people around for us to do anything. Watching the signs hanging from the ceiling, we walked along the hallway until we reached the men's washroom.

Chris walked in ahead of me and immediately began pushing the doors of the stalls, checking to see if anyone was inside. I remained standing by the entrance. After the last stall Chris turned to me and slowly walked over, leering at me.

"Now, were you trying to sneak away from me?" he asked softly as he stopped in front of me. "Were you running off to have a clandestine encounter with your boyfriend?" He raised his hand and very lightly ran his fingers down my cheek and across my lips. I closed my eyes and moaned quietly at the touch.

Chris leaned against me, pushing me against the closed door. He kissed the exposed skin at my throat. "Cause you know, the only secret encounters you better be having are with me," he whispered.

I couldn't take it any more. My arms whipped around him and pulled him tightly to me. "Shut up," I rasped as my lips found his. I ravaged his mouth as the three weeks of pent up loneliness and passion erupted from me.

I could feel Chris' own desperation. His hands snaked up under my shirt and rubbed my chest, his fingers tweaked my erect nipples. More than anything I just wanted to shove him to the floor and make love with him until we were both delirious.

Reluctantly I released Chris and he pulled back from me. "God I love you so much baby," he murmured. He fished around in his pocket, and pulled out a key. "Here, baby. After the concert tonight, make an excuse to leave the party early." I looked at the key. It was for a room in the same hotel we were staying in, but five floors down. Chris leaned up and kissed me again. "Now, you better get back out there, before people get suspicious."

I sighed, I knew he was right. "I love you sweetie. All I'm going to be able to think about is tonight," I said softly. Before I did anything to get us into trouble, I turned and pulled open the door. "See you later Chris sweetie," I whispered before I walked out into the hall. I slowly made my way back to the entrance to the field. I knew Chris would be along soon. It was better for us to return separately; people were less likely to notice if we were flushed or aroused.

As I was about to go back out on the field, I saw Justin approaching. "Hey Nicky, where's Chris?" he asked me.

"I think he's back down the hall Justin," I said. "By the way, don't call me Nicky okay? Only my family gets away with that," I said.

Justin looked at me for a minute then nodded. "Okay. Sorry Nick. Talk to you later," he said and walked off in search of Chris.

(Present - Chris)

Justin was grinning at us. "It was the Nick/Nicky thing that really made it clear. I heard Chris call you Nicky all the time and never once did you correct him. I started watching you both a little closer and pretty soon picked up on the sly glances and private smiles." Justin shrugged again. "I didn't mention it to anyone else because no one seemed to notice and it was nobody else's business. But obviously no one else noticed because they all already knew about the two of you!"

"So how did you find out everyone else knew?" Nick asked.

"A few days ago, Josh came to me and started asking if I'd noticed anything different about Chris. Did I think he had a new boyfriend, or did I know who it was? I finally told him what I thought, even though I expected him to laugh at me. That was when he let me in on this little surprise," Justin said.

I looked around at all of our friends and family.

"I don't know what to say to all of you. I'm amazed and impressed that each of you has managed to keep quiet about Nick and I. We both really appreciate it. I do want to say, that although I'm not sorry Nick and I have had this year to just be Nick and Chris, I am sorry that all of you had to find out on your own. We really wanted to tell everyone, but there just didn't seem to be an opportunity that was right." I looked at Nicky and he smiled, supporting what I had said.

"When Kevin said he wanted to plan an anniversary dinner for Chris and I, I never expected this. But I'm glad it's happened. Now when Chris or I are a little sad, or tired from a late night phone call, you guys will know why and hopefully give us a break!" Everyone laughed. "Seriously, though, we won't have to worry about running back to our own apartment when one of you buzzes from downstairs. And it will be nice to be able to cuddle, like we are now, when one of you visits. I know that I never told you guys, except Kevin, I was gay," Nick said looking at his own bandmates. "Thank you for accepting me, as me." He looked at me and softly kissed my lips.

"Well, I hope no one minds if Nick and I head home now," I said as I stood and pulled Nick to his feet. "We do have a little celebrating to do." The rest stood and smiled at my comment. Nick put his arm around my shoulder and I leaned against his taller frame.

"Hey Chris? Are you going to engrave Nick's bracelet now?" Brian asked me.

I looked up at Nick and nodded before looking over to Brian. "Yeah. I'm going to have them inscribe, 'Remember our Firsts.' Not only our first kiss and our first time making love, but tonight, our first anniversary. How can it get better than this, celebrating our love for each other, with the people who love and accept us?" Everyone was moved by my words. We kissed and hugged our family and friends before walking hand in hand back to the limousine.

We settled into the seat, with Nick's arms firmly around my shoulders. I sighed and relaxed against him. "I love you Nicky, happy First Anniversary," I whispered as I raised our clasped hands to my lips.

"I love you Chris," Nick said softly, copying my gesture. "And I will never forget any of our firsts."

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