Love Thru Chat
By Billy Burrew
Disclaimer: This is a work of erotic fiction. It does not reflect on the sexual orientations or proclivities of the band members of NSYNC. If it is illegal to view erotic fan fiction in your area or you are under aged or whatever the reason may be, please move on, otherwise....Please read it and enjoy!
I wanted to stick in a quick note here and throw in some words of praise for some fellow authors. Recently, I had the chance to read not one, but three great NSYNC stories with Joey as the lead character. The Best Man, My Superman, and Superman Can't Fly. These stories are really well written and I totally had a blast reading about a character that (I admit) I don't really spend a lot of time on in my own stories. Also...Open Arms has popped out as one of the stories that I really enjoy reading and continually wait to see updated. A short story called "revelations" was a really good short NSYNC fic. Mirrors, which just recently ended, was awesome, and I must say that I totally enjoyed reading that whole serial from start to finish. Morning Mood brought out a favorite theme of mine, that of boyband bondage, and I really enjoyed reading it. And I also really enjoyed reading that last chapter of Because I Love You. Well...enough for now....I better let you get on with the show! -Billy B
Previously on Love Thru Chat
Lance sat down beside Bill and began to think of a way to console his friend, settling for a awkward hug. Lance threw his arms around Bill's neck and pulled him into a comforting embrace just a second before Bill began to cry in earnest.
A moment later, Bill stiffened in Lance's arms and he stood up and wiped his face off and sniffled a little in a weak attempt to clear his nose. "Well...I am definitely not gonna get a job or an apartment looking like this. I look like the inside of a cat's ass here. I am gonna go wash my face."
Lance watched Bill walk out of the kitchen and then up the stairs to the bathroom by the master bedroom to wash up with some cold water, hoping to pull a little of the puffiness that his quick spat of crying had caused.
Chapter 18: Something New
Joey and Chris looked at each other sadly as Lance walked out of the kitchen and sat down on the loveseat As much as Lance liked Bill and wanted to pursue him, he was unsure of what to do or how to do it. Lance sighed and decided to see what happened to JC and Justin, so he quietly got up and walked up to Justin's bedroom to see what had come of them. Lance realized the door was locked and detoured through the bathroom as JC had done. Lance stood in the doorway and sighed as he saw the two boys quietly resting in each others arms. Lance coughed and Josh's eyes popped open.
"Scoop?", Josh said, "Whassup?"
"I am gonna take Bill out house-hunting...I think he needs some time alone...as you two do."
Josh nodded and pulled away from Justin, who had fallen into a deeper sleep than Justin had. "I need to talk to him really quick...I..have to."
Lance nodded and the two walked out of the bedroom.
Lance motioned JC towards the bathroom where Bill had gone into freshen up and JC knocked softly and entered.
Bill looked up from where he sat on the side of the bathtub. Josh walked over to him and sat down beside him.
"Bill", Josh began quietly, "I don't know what to say...I wanna say I'm sorry...I wanna say thank you...I just don't know what to say about us.."
Bill smiled and took Josh's hand and squeezed it, "I kinda had a suspicion that Justin had feelings for you...and you for him, and the way you and he acted the last two days kinda really convinced me that you two needed to address those feelings. I am glad that you two are together. I am glad that I was able to think what was in the best interests of everyone instead of just what was in my own."
Josh nodded and squeezed back, his eyes filling with tears, "You will always be special to me. You gave me the courage to come out. You showed me that it was OK to be gay and that it didn't change who I was, it was just another aspect of who I am. You helped me through what I thought was gonna be the worst time of my life. I can't ever repay you."
Bill shook his head, "There's nothing to re-pay. I was glad to help you...and that the helping was a mutual thing." Bill smiled and continued, "You showed me that I can still make friends, that it was wrong for me to close myself up after my friend died, and that the dreams I had when i was a kid aren't lost, they just get changed as you get older, and that as long as I am happy doing what I am doing, then I am pursuing my dream."
Josh and Bill looked up as Justin's head peeked around the doorway.
"Can I come in?"
Bill and Josh nodded and Justin came in and closed the door, then walked over to Bill and pulled him up into a strong hug.
"I know you haven't known me as long as you've known Josh, but I know that you gave up the relationship you had started with him so that he and I could be together, and that must have been really hard for you...but you did it without thinking twice. Thank you so much."
Bill swallowed loudly and pulled back from Justin.
"You two...you are fated to be together now...anyone, even a blind person could see that. You have been together since you were kids and that bond keeps growing and deepening every day. I know that when trivial stuff like the fame and the pressures that go along with your career has long since faded away, the bond you two have for each other will always be there and only be getting stronger."
Justin and Josh looked at each other and smiled then looked over at Bill as he studied the two of them. Josh grabbed Justin's and Bill's hands and used them to help get up from the side of the tub.
"Let's go looking for a place for you to live and tomorrow we'll go into Jive and let you knock their socks off!", Josh said with a smile as the three men shared one more hug.
Lance looked up as the three smiling young men walked down the stairs and inside he felt a great sense of relief. Joey and Chris looked up at the three decending figures and then to Lance and also realized that the tension and sadness that had been there had given way and been replaced with a great feeling of camaraderie and love.
"Chris....Joey", Josh announced, "I guess its time to tell you all what's been going on." The four men sat down in the living room and spent the next twenty minutes discussing the events of the last few days with Joey and Chris, making sure that the two were up to date with what had happened.
"So..", Joey began, "Justin and Josh...you two are together?"
Josh and Justin nodded and smiled, "We are officially a couple, I guess you could say."
"What about Bill?", Chris asked Josh.
"Bill is my friend...he is a very special friend, too. He and I have talked and he knows that I regard him highly for the way he helped me come out to everyone and for everything else he has done."
Justin spoke up and everyone turned to look at him, "I also feel that Bill is a pretty special friend too. I turned to talk to him about my feelings for Josh and he helped steer the two of us together."
Joey shrugged his shoulders and smiled as he looked at Bill and Lance as they sat together on the loveseat, "Well...Lance is still gay and single, so you still have a shot with him if you were really bent on dating someone in the group."
JC, Lance, Chris, and Justin's eyes widened as they heard Joey's callous sounding comment, and they rocked back on their heels in shock.
Bill chuckled and put his arm around Lance's shoulders, pulling him close, "In as much as you make dating someone as amazing as Lance sound like some runner's up concilation prize, I only wish that I could be so lucky to win a prize like that and that he would even consider ever wanting to fall for someone like me."
Joey's eyes narrowed as he realized the horrible gaff that he had made in his lame attempt at humor. "Shit! I am so sorry guys...that was really freakin' rude! Chris...you're supposed to slap me when I start talking with my brain turned off like that!"
Chris shook his head and rolled his eyes, "I used to do that, remember? But your mama made me stop when she realized that I was bascally beating the hell out of you 24/7/365."
The guys laughed at Chris and Joey and immediately the tension in the room abated.
Lance turned to Bill and smiled, "Hey...were you really asleep last night at the hotel before I left?"
The sides of Bill's face twitched slightly, then curved upwards in a slight smile, "I faded in and out here and there...drifted off here and there...you know..."
"Well...in your semi-conscious state, what exactly did you hear?", Lance asked nervously.
"Well...snippets...here and there...basically...just about every single syllable you uttered.", Bill said with an evil grin.
Lance winced and blushed a deep red until Bill leaned forward and gave him a peck on the lips.
Lance's eyes widened and he smiled from ear to ear then explained what was he had said the previous night in Bill's hotel room. Lance blushed as he retold the story while the rest of the guys looked on and laughed.
Lance, JC, Justin, and Bill piled into Lance's Durango and spent the next six hours looking through local apartments and small houses, narrowing down the choices that Justin had marked and finally settling on two places. The one was a small house for rent, with 2 bedrooms and 2 baths, the other was a 3 bedroom, 2 bath warehouse style apartment. Both were affordable and would make handsome living quarters.
The guys watched as Bill chatted with the owners, giving them his information and telling them he would have a definite answer for them by weeks' end. After bidding the last landlord farewell, they all piled into the car and made their way to meet up with Chris and Joey and have some dinner. Lance relinquished driving control over to Justin as he slid into the backseat beside Bill.
"So...which one do you like?", Lance smiled as he grabbed Bill's hand and squeezed it affectionately.
"I'm kinda torn...I like them both. I guess the deciding factor will be where I get a job at and which one is closer to work and close to shopping and all the important stuff."
Lance grinned, "Justin picked some great places, cause the two you decided on are both only like maybe 10 minutes from his house and all of us."
"Like I said...close to all the important stuff.", Bill said with a smile as he squeezed Lance's hand back.
JC groaned, "OK....no more talk like that until after we have dinner...that was so sweet it was totally nauseating."
Justin chimed in his agreement as both Lance and Bill blushed, then the four of them began to laugh as they headed over to the restaurant.
The guys met up and decided to have dinner at The Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando. Bill smiled as he sat down beside Lance, with Joey and Chris on one side and Justin and JC on the other. The manager had given them a secluded table and their food came out quickly and the waiter was very friendly and jovial. Lance watched as Bill's smile fell away as a lone figure approached the table.
"Hi guys. I am the merchandise manager here and wanted to get all your sizes so that I could get you all some complimentary merchandise.", the blond haired woman said with a smile.
"Hi Stephani", Bill said quietly as the woman's eyes fell on him and her eyes widened and her mouth hung agape.
"Oh my God, Bill.", Stephani said once she re-gained her composure. "I can't believe its you...and wow...this is a nice circle of friends you have."
Bill smiled, "Thanks! I thought you left Hard Rock back in '93."
Stephani grinned, "I took my maternity leave...but when I got back, I got a promotion and now I am the head merchandise manager here in Orlando."
Bill smiled, "Congratulations!"
Lance cleared his throat and Bill blushed, realizing how awkward everyone at the table must have felt not knowing the history between the two of them.
"Guys", Bill smiled, "This is Stephani. We worked together when I worked at the Hard Rock Cafe in Washington, DC. She used to be my manager."
The guys all smiled and shook Stephani's hand in greeting.
"So...how is everyone up there....how is JuliAnne and Dennis and Mike and Ricky."
Lance watched Bill stiffen as she spoke the last name, then he quietly felt Bill take his hand under the table and hold onto it tightly.
"JuliAnne got married and moved to Germany, and Dennis works at the FBI building, last time I heard from Mike he worked at the Miami Hard Rock and Rick...Rick...Rick died last January....unexpectedly...of complications associated with AIDS.", Bill said quietly, his voice cracking towards the end.
"Rick is dead? Oh God....I am so sorry...I know he and you were like brothers...you were best friends.", Stephani said, her voice shaking as her own tears began to fall. "Um....I have to go now...I'll go get you all some polo shirts and stuff."
Lance watched as Stephani hurried away and then looked over and saw Bill's eyes filled and ready to spill over with tears. Immediately, Lance got up and excused the both of them to the restroom.
Lance closed the door to the restroom and turned to Bill who was wiping his face with a tissue. "Ummm...I'm sorry we ate here...I wouldn't have let the guys pick this place if I had known...."
Bill shook his head, "It's OK. I like eating here. It's a little harder than I thought it would be to tell someone who used to know him too that he died."
Lance nodded, "I hope we can be as good a friend to you as he was...I hope we care for each other as much as I see that you cared for him."
Bill put his arms around Lance's waist and pulled him in close, mashing his face into Lance's neck as the tears he held back poured forth in abundance.
The door opened and Lance looked up into the mirror as Justin and JC entered, quickly closing the door behind them.
"Bill?", JC asked quietly, "you ok?"
Bill pulled back from Lance and wiped Lance's shoulder off with his tissues, then wiped his own face off before shaking his head and responding.
"Yeah. I'm good. Just needed to get my shit together there. I didn't expect to see anyone I knew down here."
JC walked over and frowned, "I know you wrote that one story about Patrick after Rick died...and that you kinda based that character on him. I can't imagine losing a friend that close to me. I'm so sorry Bill."
JC grabbed Bill into a warm hug and Bill nodded his head and smiled.
"I'm OK now. It happened in the past...I grieved for Ricky...and after many months...I came to grips with his death and I moved on...tho sometimes the memories and the loss are still kinda overwhelming."
JC, Justin, and Lance nodded sadly and watched as Bill took another towel and wet it then wiped away the last traces of his tears from his face. Then Bill smiled at Lance and ushered everyone back to rejoin the rest of the guys back at the table.
"You OK Bill?", Chris asked as the four guys approached the table. "Stephani dropped off this merchandise and told us to tell you that she apologizes for upsetting you before she left."
"I'm fine. Let's get some dessert and then head outta here.", Bill said with a nod and a faint smile.
After dessert, the guys drove back to Bill's hotel and upon Justin's insistence, Bill checked out of his room, to stay with the guys at Justin's place.
Bill and Lance, carrying the two pieces of luggage, followed Justin and JC into his house and then walked up the stairs to the second floor landing.
Bill stopped and put his suitcase down momentarily, "Oh....with Josh and Justin together now..where should I sleep?"
Lance smiled and took the other piece of luggage into the room where he and Josh had spent the last few nights.
"Just sleep in there. I think Josh and Justin are gonna be in his room from now on."
Bill nodded, "That sounds like a plan...but...what about you? Weren't you sleeping in Justin's room too?"
"Looks like we're roomies. Don't worry....I don't drool like Josh does." Lance grinned as he ducked into Justin's room and returned with a change of clothes and his toothbrush.
Bill shook his head and pulled out his outfit for the next day and hung it up to take out any wrinkles that it might have gotten, then changed into his t-shirt and shorts to lounge around and sleep in.
Lance walked out of the bathroom and plopped down on the bed and looked up at Bill.
"I know this sounds weird, but can you tell me more about your friend Rick? I'd like to know what he was like, cause he must have been an amazing person and friend and all."
Bill turned off the room light and left the door to the bathroom ajar so that a narrow shaft of light dimly lit the room. After grabbing an extra pillow, Bill sat down beside Lance on the bed and took a deep breath and sighed.
"Well. I guess I should start at the beginning." Bill said, scratching his head lightly. "After my freshman year in college, I decided that I needed to stay in Washington, DC for the summer. I didn't wanna go back home and live with my parents and end up working all summer at the polyeurethane plant with my mom again. So, I saw an advertisement in the newspaper for a host position at the Hard Rock Cafe. So I went down and applied and about a week later, I got an interview with a guy named Dennis and a guy named Tim and then right before I had to leave, I found out that I had gotten the job. So I got an apartment right near the metro station in Virginia and started working. I met Rick, who also worked as a host and a cashier at that time and we really started getting along. He and I became friends at work and later that year, he took me out to my first nightclub. I remember it really well. It was our manager's birthday. Dennis, my manager, was turning 21 for the 7th time or something and he and Rick wanted to celebrate out at Tracks, which was this huge gay club in DC. So they told me to come too and that I'd get in and all that. So that saturday, I went and got in and amazingly enough, the bouncers didn't card me, so I could order drinks. Well...as I sipped my beer and stook around with Dennis and Rick, this go go dancer got up on this platform and started to dance. So we watched him and a few minutes into his dance, Rick leaned over and told me to give him a dollar. I shake my head, but Rick persisted and the guy came over and I kinda held out the dollar. The dancer grabbed the dollar and then grabbed the back of my head and pulled me into this amazing kiss...my first kiss..."
"Wait a minute...really? You'd not kissed anyone before that?" Lance asked with a shocked look on his face.
"Nope. Up to that point, I'd never had been with anyone intimately...or even casually for that matter." Bill shrugged then continued, "So...he kissed me and I was totally blown away...and Rick and I spent the rest of that night dancing cuz I was jazzed up by that kiss. That was my first night out in a gay bar and it was a blast."
"So, needless to say, aside from sophmore year and dealing with a homophobic roommate from hell, coming out was all downhill for me. Rick and I went out to all the gay clubs and hangouts in DC and got to experience a bunch of more 'firsts'...and Rick and I just became closer and closer over the next 2 years...we were kinda like brothers. We would have all these private jokes and gags and stuff. We could finish each others sentence and most of the time we were kinda creepy to hang out with because we almost knew what the other was thinking."
"So...you and he never hooked up?" Lance asked.
"Nope. We were totally platonic best friends. But everyone thought we were a couple. It was hysterical....we had guys come and ask us if we wanted to do a threesome or foursome. Well about a year or so later, Rick and another manager of mine decided to be responsible and go get tested for HIV at the Whitman-Walker Clinic. I had already been tested so they went off together and got the tests taken and then got their anonymous number to come back a week later to see the results. Well..the night before they were to get their tests back, Rick and I went out and partied, and joked together about him staying celibate just in case he came back positive."
"Oh god..." Lance said as the color began to drain from his face.
Bill nodded his head sadly. "The next day, I had just started my evening shift at work as a cashier when my manager came up and keyed my register closed. She said that Rick and my other manager had just gotten back from getting their results, and that Rick came back positive and was on the floor of the breakroom crying hysterically. She told me not to worry about finishing my shift."
Tears began to form in Bill's eyes as he related the next part of the story.
"I ran over to the breakroom and grabbed Rick up and hugged him and he and I sat and cried for a while. He kept saying, 'I'm gonna die...I'm just gonna die.' I picked him up and we got out of the restaurant and took a cab back to the place I was renting over the summer and we sat down on the bed and just spent the next few hours crying. I called my sister, who's a registered nurse and told her what had happened and asked her how accurate was the testing at Whitman Walker. She told me that it was pretty accurate, but to have it done again, just in case. I told Rick that we were gonna get him re-tested and then we got a call from work and made plans for all Rick's friends at work to go out that night with us to talk and get wasted and try to let him know we were there for him."
Lance stared down at the bedspread as the tears rolled off his face.
"Rick and I stayed very close over the next few years. He moved to Miami for a year and I visited him there, and then he moved back to DC and we would go out three times a week and go clubbing. Then I moved to North Carolina and I went up a few times and visited and we talked on the phone alot. In January of 1998, Rick and I went on vacation together, we spent a great week in South Beach, the week of his birthday which was also Art Deco Week in Miami, and we partied and had a blast. I visited Rick a few times that year and we planned to go back to Miami over his birthday last January. In December, I got totally slammed with some bills and ended up blowing all my savings paying them off, so I called him to tell him that we might have to postpone or cancel the trip. He and I talked for a long time, I remember, it was December 29 and we were talking about the new year and he said he couldn't wait to go out and party when we got to South Beach."
Bill's lower lip began to tremble and his eyes filled up with tears as he sat up to continue telling Lance about Rick.
"I started saving money in January in hopes that we could go in late February, and so, I decided to call him on his birthday and tell him that I'd go and make the reservations at our usual place, the Clay Hotel and Hostel in South Beach. I remember this next part way too well. I was at work and it was almost the end of the day. I called the Hard Rock to tell him 'Happy Birthday'. I asked for him and the guy on the phone told me that he didn't work there anymore. I asked why that was, and if he had gotten a job full-time at the GAP, where he'd been working part-time. The guy said no, then asked my name. When I told him, he asked me to hold on. A minute later, the manager of the restaurant, a lady that Rick and I had worked with when she was just a bartender, picked up and told me that Rick was dead. He had died about a week and a half earlier. He had come down with viral meningitis at the beginning of January and within a few days it had totally wiped out his immune system. She gave her condolences and apologized that no-one had called to tell me, as no one had my North Carolina telephone number. I just kinda stuttered there for a bit and told her that I had to go, then I hung up. A coworker of mine was walking past me and saw that I was crying, asked what was wrong and I told her that I just found out that my best friend was dead. She freaked out and called our manager down and he took me for a walk and he tried to console me. He sent me home and told me to take the next day off, so I spent the next day just crying...I couldn't believe he was gone...and I didn't even get to say goodbye to him or go to his funeral...hell...I didn't even know he was sick. What the hell kind of friend was I?"
Lance leaned over to Bill and threw his arms around Bill's chest, hugging him tightly. "I am so sorry, Bill....that's just awful. It's not your fault...maybe he didn't think he was as sick as he was or maybe he was too sick to call...or maybe he wanted you to remember him healthy and vibrant and full of life."
Bill squeezed Lance tightly against him, as he noticed that both of them were sobbing.
"I spent the next few months either going to work or staying at home. I tried to go out to clubs, but it totally depressed me and I ended up drinking myself blind drunk and passing out in my car. At least I wasn't stupid enough to drive in that condition, tho for a while I kinda wished I was dead."
"So...that's why I wrote that story about Patrick and you guys, because it helped me deal with what I was feeling thru the loss of my own friend. That year, when your "God Must Have Spent" song came out, I went out and bought your album and from then on, you guys were the thing that cheered me up when I got blue. I even went to see y'all in concert in Raleigh."
Lance wiped the tears off his face with the back of his hand and then looked up and placed a single soft kiss on Bill's lips.
"That song is true you know, I think he did spend a little more time on you. I think you are the most amazing person I know, the way you helped Josh and Justin and me come out to ourselves and each other, the way you've just helped those two see what was between them and kickstart their relationship, and the way you opened your heart up, letting me in, so that I could see and fall in love with you the way I have."
Bill smiled and kissed Lance on the lips again.
"I got back as much as I gave with you guys. You guys taught me that I shouldn't live my life alone, so that no one can die on me again. You and the guys taught me how good it is to help out others and use my life experiences to guide people that can benefit from what I have to say. And you showed me that I am capable of letting others into my heart, and capable of loving someone too. I guess I'm trying to say that I love you too, Lance."
Lance's hug tightened and he placed a deep kiss on Bill's lips. As the kiss was broken, Lance smiled as he noticed Bill's eyes droop half-shut.
"Hey. Let's go to sleep. You have an interview to ace tomorrow, and it doesn't take a genius to see that this has taken a lot out of you."
Bill nodded and curled up behind Lance, smiling lightly as Lance snuggled closer, letting Bill spoon him and place an arm aross his chest. Both boys were asleep before the covers had even fully warmed them up.
There you go. Stay tuned to see what will happen in the interview tomorrow.
On a side note, this chapter was a very difficult, very personal one to write as the events included about my friend Rick were completely true and unembellished. I can honestly say that not a day goes by where I don't miss Rick as well as all the other friends that I have lost to AIDS. Right now that number is up to five, and I hope and pray every day that someone somewhere finds a cure so that I don't lose any more friends to this plague.
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