Will here. Thanks, big big BIG thanks to everyone who bothered to write: David, Michael, Drea, Scott...I would love to say more, but there just isn't. So write to me! Even if only to get your name posted! And tell your friends!
Here's part 3, part 4 will be up tomorrow as usual.
Disclaimer: Don't know 'N Sync. Don't mean to cast doubts on their sexuality no matter how gay Lance looks in some poses. Don't read if you're under 18. Hear that, Mandy Moore?!
IN SYNCHRONICITY, Part 3
"Ya know, it's just so cute the way you're still so modest even after everything we just did," Justin drawled lazily as he lay on the living room rug, propping himself up with his elbow, watching as Joel wrapped his gym towel around himself to hide his nudity. 'Everything we just did', of course, referred to the hot sex they had shared just a few moments ago.
Joel blushed at that, glancing at Justin who lay before him in all his glory, wearing only his trademark smirk.
"Well, blame it on my upbringing," he retorted, sliding back towards Justin until his head rested on Justin's smoothly muscled chest. "So, are you gonna tell me how you got in?"
"I've got your key, remember? You gave it to me a while back. When you didn't answer your phone, I let myself in. I'd just taken a look around the place when you came along, and I decided to surprise you," he ruffled Joel's hair.
"I must say it was a pleasant surprise," Joel mused. He was grinning uncontrollably. He hadn't felt this happy nor satisfied in months. In fact, since before Justin left for his 'No Strings Attached' American tour. "Hey you said you'd come straight from the airport? What about your family? The rest of the gang?"
"Well, I'm supposed to catch a later flight, with the rest of the guys. But there was a space for the ten o'clock flight for one person, so I took it--to meet you first," he explained. "I know I've been a real bastard these past months, totally ignoring you, almost. I've missed your 'Oh gosh-s'," he said with a twinkle in his eyes.
All of Joel's hang-ups, all the anxious hours hoping for an email or a call, vanished instantly at Justin's words. "Oh, no problem," he said lightly. "It's not that big a deal, really."
Justin's grin grew bigger. "I knew I can always count on you to understand. So anyway, I'll meet up with the guys when their flight reaches here at four, get my luggage, then head back home. But until then, I'm yours to do as you will," he spread his arms extravagantly.
Joel was over the moon. He kissed Justin on the lips.
"After all, I have been celibate this past months--couldn't wait to get some action--and you were the only one who came to mind," Justin laughed. Joel's idyll was quickly shattered as he recalled Kate's words from the morning. He lifted his head off Justin's body and made to stand.
"Yeah well. That's what I'm here for isn't it. A convenient outlet for a superstar's sexual frustrations," Joel's answering smile was brittle. Justin caught his hurt undertone, however, and pulled him close once more.
"Hey. I didn't mean it in that way, Jojo," he said quietly, using his pet nickname, knowing that Joel's heart always melted whenever he used it. "You know you'll always be special to me. Closer to me and more understanding than anyone else I've known," Joel gave him a small smile.
"Tell me--there isn't anyone 'special' out there for you is there?" Justin continued, changing the topic.
"You know very well there isn't," Joel said hastily. "Otherwise...we wouldn't have--I wouldn't have let you...oh, you know!" he blushed.
"You've got a point. And here I was hoping that I could entice you to cheat on your boyfriend by my seductive skills alone!" teased Justin, wincing when Joel poked him in the ribs.
"How about you then. Met anyone...interesting on the tour?" asked Joel casually. But inside, he was terrified of the answer he might get.
"No, no one at all," said the young musician sadly. "You know me well enough, I can't let anyone get any closer to me than friendship 'coz of who I am and what I do."
Somehow, those words stung deeper into Joel's heart than his previous words, or Kate's outburst. No one at all? he thought numbly. Not even me?
"I--I gotta go shower," he said, starting to rise.
"Yeah I could use one too," agreed Justin. He cocked an eyebrow at Joel and smiled. "Together?" he asked with a glint in his eye.
Joel made an effort to file away his present disturbed thoughts and smiled back. "Oh, if you must," he said with a mock-sigh, and rose to go.
"Oh, yes I have missed Mr. Drama Queen too," answered Justin with a roll of his eyes. "Or is that Miss."
After the semi-erotic shower, they resumed being just friends, with Joel ending up cooking lunch for Justin, a skill which he'd also picked up only recently. Justin was more than impressed--"This makes all those Chinese takeaways Josh likes so much taste like cardboard," he raved. Which, in turn made Joel burst with pride
All too soon, though, Justin had to leave to rejoin the gang at the airport. Joel gave him a ride, although he felt increasingly nervous at the prospect of meeting the rest of 'N Sync.
They had personally never said or done anything outwardly to make Joel have any reason to feel uncomfortable--they knew all about Justin long ago. He still couldn't shake off a nagging doubt that they were a bit more distant with him than they should, to someone who was supposedly one of Justin's closest friends outside the group. They never really made an effort to get to know him better even after Justin disclosed the nature of their relationship--as well as its physical side--to them.
Of course, he didn't mention this to Justin at all--even in his own mind it sounded petty. He ignored it and tried to concentrate on the precious few moments in had left with Justin in private.
"So, how long is your down-time?" he asked.
"Two weeks, just about. But I'll be doing other stuff too--promos, my Foundation, and some other business proposals I've got to look into," answered Justin. Joel nodded. As usual, Justin's free time was always interwoven with his career.
"So when can we meet up next?" he asked, trying to keep the raw anticipation from his voice.
"I'm not sure of my schedule yet. I'll try to make it as often as possible though. Do you have classes this week?"
"Unfortunately yes," Joel made a face. It's almost my final semester for this year and I'm drowning with assignments...but of course superstar Justin T gets priority from me!" he flashed Justin a quick smile.
"Hey--don't let me get in the way of your studies, man. I know how important they are to you," he said seriously.
He's so sweet! Joel thought happily. Justin knew that completing his engineering degree was of paramount importance to him--because that was his parents' final wish. They'd died in a car accident in Singapore, orphaning sixteen-year old Joel with a single stroke. Alone in the world and with hardly any relatives to speak of, Joel was shunted from one family friend to another until he came to his inheritance when he was eighteen. Luckily his parents were quite wealthy and had left him with a substantial insurance pay-off as well as a trust fund. He severed ties with Singapore and had come to the U.S. to strike out on his own. He'd long ago come to terms with his lot in life, and having found Justin had made it so much easier to cope.
They arrived just in time to greet the rest and gather Justin's luggage. Joel was still a tad uncomfortable--a feeling that was only exacerbated when the guys gave him knowing smiles and even a saucy wink (from Chris) when they saw him together with Justin who went about checking his luggage, blissfully unaware of Joel's discomfiture.
"So hey, Josh, Chris, you'll be staying at my Mom's tonight right?" Justin asked a sleepy-looking J.C. Joel glanced sideways at the 'Big Daddy' of the group. He'd always had a little thing for Joshua Chasez. The latter was more of his type than Justin, but as the world knows, one rarely ends up with one's acclaimed 'type' of person. Not that he was going anywhere with Justin anyway, he sighed inwardly.
Chris just nodded, picking up his bags.
"Mmm-hmm," grunted J.C. "Should be nice meeting your family."
"Are you okay, Josh?" asked Joel concernedly.
"Yeah of course, thanks for asking," Josh smiled at Joel, perking up. "Didn't sleep well on the flight."
"More like, couldn't wake up when we landed!" yelled Joey, grinning at Joel. J.C. gave his band mate a dirty look, which he ignored blithely.
"J? Wanna come hang out at my place and have dinner?" Justin asked.
"Of course!" he squeaked promptly, excited at the idea. "I mean, sure, why not," he added a trifle lamely. Smart move, idiot! Two assignments due this week and an exam to prepare for, but you jump at any chance to spend time with him.
That being settled, they said goodbye to Joey and Lance as well as their bodyguards and the rest of their entourage, and piled into Joel's second-hand Lexus.
Lynn Harless, Justin's mom, greeted them at the door with hugs and kisses for all of them.
"Mom? You remember Joel right--" Justin started to say.
"Of course dear. He drops by every now and then with such wonderful curries. In fact, he spent Thanksgiving with us. Which is more than I can say about a certain son of mine!" Lynn smiled as Justin grinned apologetically.
"Where are the little terrors?" Josh asked, referring to Justin's half-siblings.
"At their aunt's. Which reminds me, we have to go pick them up now."
"I'll drive!" offered Justin eagerly, itching to handle his Mercedes M-Class. Before Joel could say anything, Lynn turned to him.
"Joel, could you be a dear and do me a favour? Could you please watch the chicken I'm roasting?"
"Mom! He's not a maid--"
"It's okay, Just. No problem Aunt Lynn. I'll keep an eye on dinner."
"I thought I told you never to call me that! I'm not that old..." Lynn admonished, to Joel's answering grin.
"I'm going up to take a nap," Josh announced, already moving towards the stairs.
"You do that dear, you look a bit under the weather."
"I'm going to unpack, then maybe do the nap thingy too," said Chris.
So Joel waved them off, and went to the living room of his friend's large house. There wasn't really anything much that screamed 'Superstar Justin stays HERE', merely some baby photos alongside those of his siblings, and some talent show awards with accompanying pictures. He smiled at the largest frame: the Mickey Mouse Club, a group photo. Joel leaned closer to look at the pre-pubescent Justin as well as the now-famous others--Britney, Christina, Keri, Ryan--but where was Josh?
"Upper right, back row--you can only see his hair and some of his eyes," Chris' voice came from behind him. Joel squinted. Ah yes. There was that familiar mop-like hair.
Turning back, he grinned at Chris. "Has anyone ever told him how much better he looks nowadays?"
"Everyone does, but we keep on telling him; once a dork, always a dork," Chris said with a straight face.
Joel burst into laughter. "So what happened to the nap?"
"Shower woke me up. And Josh's snoring of course." He went into the kitchen, rooted around the mammoth fridge, and produced a large bar of chocolate.
"Sit. Help me eat this," he commanded, and Joel was only too glad to comply. As they munched, Chris related some hilarious as well as harrowing experiences on their tour--including one which saw their clothes literally ripped off their backs. "Justin was the worst hit," he laughed. "He lost his t-shirt, the cross he keeps on a chain, and his back was covered in scratches."
"That's terrible...poor Justin!" Joel was fascinated at the extent some fans would go.
"Don't waste your pity on him! He loves the attention," retorted Chris, chuckling. As the laughter subsided, the eldest member of the band regarded Joel contemplatively.
"Just out of curiosity, J...just how close are you to Justin?" he asked quietly. Joel shifted uncomfortably. Hadn't Justin explained that from the very beginning? But he owed it to Chris for an answer...Chris was the closest to Justin in the band.
"Well, he's a great friend to me, and I try my best to be the same to him...why?"
"No...I just think it's good for him to have such great...gay friends like you around. I worry about him sometimes and the way he sleeps around--has one night stands," he bit into a chunk of chocolate, not seeing Joel's stunned reaction.
Joel felt like a sledgehammer had slammed into his guts. He blinked at Chris. "Is that so?" he said numbly.
Chris looked up and saw his expression. Hastily, he added, "Of course, this was way before he met you...I don't think he does such stuff anymore. I thought that maybe, you and he were going steady..."
"No, no we're not together or anything like that. Just friends."
"Okay, that's all I wanted to know," Chris shrugged. "Still, it's wonderful that you're such a good influence for him. Keeps his feet on the ground. Joel smiled and nodded, but inwardly he was in turmoil. He knew it was none of his business...he knew he wasn't Justin's first by a long shot, but one night stands? It wasn't something Joel could comprehend. Why would anyone want to do it if it's so meaningless--not to mention dangerous? A shallow-minded view, but then Joel was brought up very conservatively.
They talked a bit more until Justin finally returned, with his family in tow. By that time, Joel had decided not to pursue the fact anymore and put it out of his mind. That was one lesson he'd learnt, and he'd learnt it only too well--putting disturbing things out of his mind, delaying the issue. Adopting the if-I-don't-think-about-it-maybe-it'll-go-away attitude. By the end of dinner, he was back to his usual self around Justin--deliriously and mindlessly ecstatic.
The next couple of days passed like a dream for Joel. He did make up with Kate (with a dozen roses) and they spoke no more about the matter; and Justin, beautiful Justin, continued to spend time with him, as promised, whenever his busy schedule allowed. Not just in bed, more importantly as friends. They went to the gym, the movies, bowling...Joel finally felt like one-half of a happy couple.
But as they say, it's always calm before the storm....
But 'they' also say it's always darkest before dawn...hmmm...not very agreeable, are 'they'?
Anyway, hope you enjoyed this chapter...it was slow moving, I admit but 'they' also say good things come to those who wait...
Okay, ending the corniness, please please please tell me what you think. The story builds up much more in the next chapter, expect it tomorrow as usual.
Don't forget, it's Will, at email@example.com