Thanks once again for all the e-mails. I really meant to have this chapter out sooner, but things have been really nuts lately. At least it's done. So without further ado...
This story is not meant to imply anything about the sexuality of anyone in it (myself included). I have no knowledge of the private lives of the members of NSYNC or any other celebrities that show up in this story. After all it is just a story, and is a work of fiction. If you shouldn't read this then don't.
* * * * *
A Model Romance- Chapter Two
Sunday morning was appropriately dreary. The low gray ceiling of clouds stretched unbroken as far as I could see. I suppose it was lucky the sun wasn't very bright since I had a killer headache from the wine. Spending the night on the couch hadn't done my back any favors either. By the time I remembered Britney Spears was passed out in my bed my mood was down right rotten. I assumed that being a famous celebrity, Britney was probably supposed to be somewhere. I stumbled back to my bedroom only to find she wasn't there. Just then the bathroom door opened and there was Britney Spears standing in front of me wearing nothing but a towel.
"Oh, God I'm sorry! I thought you'd still be asleep."
"Yeah, I woke up a little while ago and I decided to take a shower. I hope you don't mind."
"Not at all. Um, how are you feeling," I said trying not to stare.
"Like shit. But I had a great time last night. I'm just sorry I made an ass out of myself. It doesn't take much to get me drunk."
"Well when it comes to wine a high tolerance doesn't really help. My head hurts so much I can't see straight. Listen, I'm gonna make some breakfast. You want anything?"
"Don't go to any trouble for me. I'll eat whatever."
"Ok, how does pancakes sound?"
"I love pancakes! When you said breakfast I thought you meant cereal. I didn't know models could actually cook."
"Actually I'm the only one. Well, I better go get started. You probably want to get dressed and stuff. I mean not that I mind, that is, ah...yeah. I'm gonna stop talking now, but help yourself to any clothes or anything."
Having thoroughly embarrassed myself, I headed to the kitchen to make some pancakes. I've always been a good cook and pancakes are pretty easy to make. By the time Britney came out wearing my sweats and a tee shirt I had the table set and breakfast ready. Just then the phone rang. Of course it was my mother.
"Hi mom. Yeah I'm good. How are you? Uh huh. Fine. Last night? Went out to dinner. A girl. No. Yes. Britney. Huh? Britney Spears. Yes. That's right. Yes mother. No I did not. What? Well yes she did, but...no. Oh please, I know that."
I hadn't really noticed that Britney was listening to my conversation until she grabbed the phone from me.
"Hi Mrs. Peterman, this is Britney. I just wanted to tell you how wonderful your son is. I had a little too much to drink last night and he took care of me. He was a complete gentleman and now he's made me breakfast. You did a wonderful job raising him. Yup. Oh I know. You think so? Well thank you."
Britney talked to my mother for another five minutes. By the time they were finished it sounded like she was part of the family. I finally managed to break it up after my mom promised to send Britney some of my baby pictures. And I knew the ones she meant. For some reason all mothers feel the need to have at least one picture of their baby's naked butt.
"I want you to know that I had all those pictures burned years ago. You'll never get your hands on them."
"Don't worry," Britney said with a smirk, "you mom saved the negatives. I like her, she's very nice."
"Well she certainly seemed to like you. I thought she was gonna invite you to Thanksgiving dinner."
We ate breakfast while we were talking. After breakfast Britney called her manager and arranged to have her limo pick her up from my place. He was nice enough to not ask any questions, but I had the uncomfortable feeling that people were going to get the wrong idea about Britney and me. I said goodbye and told her she could keep the clothes. She promised to mail them back to me.
That night in Orlando
"Britney, why didn't you tell me you were going to be gone for so long! Do you have any idea what I've been going through?" Justin was nearly hysterical.
"I'm sorry Justin. You could have called my cell phone you know."
`Bullshit. I tried to call your cell phone last night and you didn't pick up.
"Last night? Oh, well, I was sort of passed out. Sorry Jus. Have things really been that bad?"
"God Britney you have no idea. I got in a fight with JC because I wouldn't tell him what's wrong. I haven't talked to him since then. He's staying with Lance. I don't know what to do. I can't concentrate, I can't think and everybody keeps getting on my case about what the hell is wrong with me."
"You know, you could just..."
`No, I can't tell them! They would never accept me.
"How do you know that? I didn't flip out when you told me you were gay!"
"Yeah, well you're different. You're...I don't know..."
"A girl? I'm a girl so I won't care? Justin sometimes I think you really are a blonde."
He almost smiled at that. Britney could always get him to smile, and he loved her for it.
"Maybe you're right. But I don't really want to talk about it anymore. So you got drunk on Friday night huh? With who? Anyone I know?"
"Um, no, nobody you know. His name is Zack, and he took me out to dinner, and I just had a little too much wine. So he took me back to his place and..."
"Oh that's great! I'm gonna kill him! Britney why didn't you tell me right away that somebody took advantage of you!"
At that Britney started laughing. He was so sweet, but he had no clue.
"Justin you are wonderful. It's really too bad you're gay. It was nothing like that. Zack took really good care of me. He put me to bed and then made me breakfast the next morning. He's a really great guy Justin. He's a model. Actually he's the model that I did the photo shoot with."
"Oh. Sorry. So you didn't..."
"No. Of course not. You know I'm not like that. Well, not really. Hey, I have some of the pictures from the shoot. You wanna see?"
"Yeah, let's see this Mr. nice guy."
Britney dug through her bag to find the pictures. She hadn't even had a chance to unpack before Justin had shown up at her door. She handed them to Justin and he just stared for a minute.
"Wow. He doesn't really look like a model. I mean, he's gorgeous, but not in a model way."
"Well, he's really different. He's not all stuck up or anything. He's just really a great guy."
"I'm sure. Listen Britney, I've got to go. I have to be at the studio early tomorrow. I'll see you later."
"Ok, Justin. You're gonna be alright aren't you?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. I can handle it. Bye."
Justin practically ran out to his car and drove back to his house. The whole way he could not get the image of Zack's face out of his head. There was something about him. He just seemed so right. But what was he thinking? He'd never met the guy, and he wasn't even gay. I mean he went out on a date with Britney. Justin let out a loud sigh. Life sucked. When he got home, he saw that JC's car was back. "Oh great," he thought. He really didn't need to deal with that right now. Maybe everyone would be asleep. It was pretty late.
JC was waiting for Justin when he came in the door.
"Justin, I'm sorry for leaving."
"JC, it's fine really. I just want to go to bed."
"No, please Justin. I need to talk to you. Look, I don't know what is wrong with you, but I want to help. We've been friends for a long time and I've never seen you like this. You're just not yourself anymore. We all know that something's wrong for you, and we all want to help. Whatever it is you know that we're here for you."
"JC, I...I can't. I just, I mean you wouldn't..."
At that point he broke down crying. It was just too much. He couldn't hide it from his best friend anymore. JC immediately ran over and put his arms around his friend.
"Let it out Justin. I'm here for you. No matter what."
"JC, I...I think I'm gay," Justin said between sobs.
For a minute JC said nothing. Justin knew he had lost his best friend and he tried to pull away and run, but JC held him tight.
"Justin, I said I'd be always be there for you and I meant it. Did you really think that I'd walk out on you? You're my best friend, and nothing will ever change that."
"Oh god, JC. You don't know how good it feels to hear that. I've just been afraid that you guys would hate me."
"Come on Curly. You should know us better than that. You're like my little brother. I can't believe you thought I'd reject you. But hey, we'd better get to bed. Tomorrow's going to be a long day."
"You won't tell anybody about this will you?"
"No, not if you don't want me to. No one else has to know until you're ready to tell them. But I think you should tell the guys. I'm not the only one who's been worried about you."
"Yeah. Well I'll have to think about it. You really think they'll be cool with it."
"I know they will Curly. Come on; let's get to bed. I don't get enough sleep as it is. You can do whatever you want tomorrow. Whatever you decide, I'll be behind you. Goodnight."
For the first time in a long time Justin fell asleep right away. * * * * * The following morning in New York
I was right about people getting the wrong idea. Cherise had called me after Britney left and I told her the whole story. She didn't believe me. By the time I got to work Monday morning everyone had heard about how I was sleeping with Britney Spears. Even David was harassing me about it. Eventually I managed to convince everyone that we were "just friends" as the old cliché goes. The week went by quickly. On Friday I got the best news I'd had since I got my job. I had done a photo shoot for GQ a few weeks ago for an article on winter fashions. Now I found out I was going to be on the cover. The magazine would be out on Tuesday, but I got a couple of copies early. I spent my Friday night sending copies to my family and friends. Monday morning I had three requests for photo shoots and Seventeen and People wanted to interview me. Apparently someone decided that I was going to be the next teen idol. Later that day I got a call from another big magazine. They wanted to do a story on "the new face of fashion." That night David invited me over to his house to celebrate. When I got there I found out that he had invited half the company. We popped open the champagne and celebrated. I was officially famous. * * * * * Orlando
Justin didn't like working in the studio. It was too repetitive and boring. But today was worse than usual. He couldn't concentrate all day. JC was always around trying to be "supportive," which just made the other guys suspicious. By the end of the day he was a nervous wreck. He had made up his mind that morning to tell the remainder of NSYNC that he was gay, but he didn't know how to do it. Finally the day was over and Justin could go home. `Maybe I'll tell them tomorrow,' he thought. He had made it out the door and was almost to his car when he heard someone calling him.
"Justin! Hey Justin wait up!"
Justin realized that he wasn't going to be able to run from this anymore. There was Lance with Joey, Chris and JC right behind him.
"Hey Lance. I was just um, getting something from my car."
"Oh, cool. Well I think we're all leaving anyway. What are you doing tonight? Want to go to a club?"
"Not really. I think I'm just going to have a quiet night."
"Are you ok Curly? You've been acting kinda weird lately."
By that time the other guys had caught up to them. JC gave Justin a significant look at Lance's last remark.
"Well, I don't know." He turned to face the rest of them. There they were, his friends, his family. He had to do this, but not in the parking lot outside of the studio. "Listen guys, I have something really important to tell you, but I don't want to do it here. Why don't you all come over to my place after you get changed or whatever."
"Why don't you just tell us now," Joey asked innocently.
"I just...I don't want to talk about it here," Justin said quickly. He started walking again. "I've gotta go, I'll see you guys in a little while, ok?" With that he was in his car and gone.
"So I guess we're finally gonna find out what's been eating him," Chris said.
"Looks like it. It's about damn time. He's been in a mood for weeks and I'm getting kind of tired of it," Joey added.
JC glared at Joey. "Just take it easy on him ok Joey? He's been having a rough time."
"Sounds like you already know what's wrong with him. Why the hell haven't you told us?"
"Back off Lance. It's not my place to tell you. Justin can tell whomever he wants when he wants. Until then mind your own damn business," JC bit back. He was starting to get pissed. Chris decided to jump in before things got worse.
"Whoa guys. Time out here. Apparently Justin's going to tell us all tonight. So let's just chill out until then ok?"
"Yeah. Fine." Something suddenly dawned on Lance. "Hey JC, how are you planning to get back to Justin'' house anyway. Didn't your ride just leave?"
"Crap. I forgot. I guess I'll call a cab."
"Bullshit. Come on, you've still got some clothes at my place. You can ride with me."
"Thanks Lance. I'm sorry for acting like a dick."
"Hey don't sweat it. I know how close you and Justin are. No harm done."
"Ok girls, let's get a move on. They'll be plenty of time for you two to suck each other's dicks later," Joey said jokingly.
Chris and Lance laughed at that, JC just smiled nervously. * * * * *
Justin was halfway home, driving at close to double the speed limit when his cell phone rang.
"Hey it's JC. I just wanted to let you know that I was getting a ride home from Lance. We'll see you in a little while."
"Oh shit JC. I totally forgot about you. Do you want me to come back and get you? I am so sorry. I just have so much on my mind, and you know..."
"Yeah, it's fine Curly. I understand. We'll see you in an hour or so, ok?"
"Ok. Sorry. Bye."
`I'm a complete mess,' Justin thought as he parked his car and walked into his empty house. His mother Lynn and his little brother Jonathan were visiting his grandparents. Justin had wanted to go with them, but he couldn't take the time off. He walked upstairs, stripped of his clothes and jumped in the shower. AS the hot water cascaded down over his body he tried to find the courage to tell his friends the truth.
After his shower, Justin put on a pair of sweats and an old beat up tee shirt. If he was going to be miserable he might as well be comfortable. He sat down on the couch and turned on the TV. The Backstreet Boy's video "Everybody" was on MTV. That's odd Justin thought. That video hadn't been on in forever. As he watched it occurred to him that he hadn't talked to Nick for a long time. Nick had always been a good friend. As the "baby" of NSYNC's biggest rival, Nick and Justin understood each other pretty well. Though their careers often put them in direct competition, they always remained friends. `Maybe I'll call Nick and see if we can get together,' Justin thought. The video finished and Justin flipped the channel. Entertainment Tonight was on.
"Now here's somebody to watch out for," the annoying blonde was saying. "Overnight Boss Modeling sensation Zack Peterman. He's taken the fashion world by storm and now it looks like the music industry may be next. Rumors are flying around that he's working with Britney Spears on her new album. Some sources say that they're relationship is more than just professional, and these pictures seem to support that. These were taken last weekend. You can see Zack and Britney talking outside her Manhattan hotel and again going into the world famous restaurant Tavern on the Green. While neither Zack or Britney was available for comment Jive Records did confirm that Zack is will be working with Britney. Look for that album to be out in a few months. You can also catch Zack on the cover of this month's GQ and again in next months People Magazine. In other news..."
Justin shut off the TV. There he was again. He couldn't get that face out of his head. He knew that he felt a connection to Zack. He couldn't explain it, but he knew. He was going to have to meet Zack Peterman and find out if he felt it too.
"But is he going out with Britney," Justin asked the empty house. There was no answer other than a knock at the door followed by JC's voice.
"Hey Curly we're hear. I hope you're decent." Justin tried to put on a smile as he went to meet his friends. "Why Joshua, you should know that I'm always decent, even when I'm scrubbed out. Hey Lance. Where are Chris and Joey?"
"They were following us, but they got stuck at a light. They should be here any minute."
"Come on Lance," JC said mock-seriously. "You know damn well that they couldn't keep up with your reckless driving."
"Well, I guess some people just don't have the skills for handling a fine piece of machinery the way I do." Just then Chris and Joey pulled up and hopped out of the car. Chris smacked Lance playfully on the back of the head as he came in.
"Damn Scoop, didn't know you had a death wish. Were you trying to kill everyone on the road back there, or just yourself?"
"Funny Chris. I just didn't feel like waiting for you. I can't help it if you drive like my grandma."
They continued the good-natured banter as they followed Justin in the living room. Chris and Joey sat on the couch, Lance plopped down in an armchair and JC leaned up against the wall. Justin stood there looking at them. They were all watching him with concern now. All the jokes were gone. They new Justin had something important to say and they were ready to listen. At last the words came slowly from Justin.
"Guys...I need to tell you something. I'm not really sure how to do this. It's, well, it's not really something good...and if you hate me or want me to leave the band..." at the thought of this Justin started to get choked up but he continued, speaking softly, his voice quivering with fear and pain, but also with hope. "Anyway if you want me to go,"
"Oh come on Justin, you know nothing you could ever say would make us like you any less," Chris said. "What did you kill somebody? Or just main them."
"Thanks Chris. That's funny." Justin tried to smile, but he couldn't quite pull it off. "Well, what I'm trying to say is, I mean, I'm not totally sure, but I think you guys should know that...that..."
He couldn't finish. His voice had gotten weaker with each passing word and now he was on the verge of breaking down completely. Tears rolled down his face. JC came over and gave him a hug. After a minute the others came over to. Lance wiped the tears from Justin's face and smiled.
"It's ok Justin. You can tell us. Come on. We're here for you."
"I..." Justin began. "I...think I'm gay."
They didn't get up and run or look away in disgust. They didn't start yelling nor do any of the other terrible things that Justin had imagined. They all just sat there. The silence lasted for nearly five minutes and then Chris started laughing.
"I'm sorry Curly. It's just, I was afraid you really had killed somebody or something big like that." After continuing to laugh for a minute he regained his composure. "Justin I'm gonna do something out of character here and be totally serious for a minute. It's really ok. You are like a little brother to all of us. We love you whether your gay, straight, bi, a necrophiliac, whatever."
Chris almost kept a straight face after the necrophiliac joke, but he could quite manage it. Joey caught it next and soon everybody was laughing. It was as if all then tension was leaving the room through their laughter. Even Justin chuckled a little bit. Chris could always make him laugh.
"I'm just glad you guys are ok with this. I don't know what I'd do without all of you."
"So Curly, you gonna stop being so depressed now?"
"I'll try Lance."
"I just want to know one thing Justin," Joey said slyly. "Who's the lucky guy?" Justin smiled. "There is no guy. I said I think I'm gay, remember."
"Well if you haven't met miss, uh, Mr. Right, how do you know you're...oh never mind." Thoughts of Zack's face flashed through Justin's head. I quickly pushed them away.
"Well, I guess we'll just have to wait and see. So, I guess you guys want to get to that club right? I don't want to keep you anymore. Bye."
"Hey hold on a second!" JC grabbed Justin's arm as he tried to escape. "We're not going anywhere without you. You are coming out to dinner with us so go get dressed."
"But, I don't really..."
"But nothing. Go get dressed or I'll do it for you."
"Careful JC he might enjoy that a little to much."
"Screw you Joey," Justin said indignantly. "You know I'm much to good for the likes of any of you."
With that he ran up the stairs to change his clothes. Once in the privacy of his own room he allowed the fake smile on his face to disappear. `You can't keep being depressed,' he told himself. `You told them and they accepted you. You should be happy.' But he wasn't. He was still alone. He couldn't get Zack off his mind. Maybe he was going crazy.
When Justin had changed his clothes and come back downstairs he was smiling again. The guys had been totally supportive and accepting. The least he could do was to pretend to be happy. They went out to dinner and then to a club. On the way home Justin told the guys he had to stop at the store to pick up some stuff. He came back out carrying a bag. Nobody bothered to ask what was in it, which was good, because he wouldn't have told them anyway. It was the latest issue of GQ. * * * * *
Well let me apologize again for taking so long with this part. I will really try to get the next one out as quickly as possible. To everyone who has e-mailed me: thank you and I'm sorry if it takes me a long time to get back to you. Like I said, my life is just insane right now, and I don't have much time to spend writing and responding to my e-mail. Don't worry, part three shouldn't take nearly as long! BTW I'm still messing around with the format. If anybody finds this hard to read please let me know. I'll do what I can to fix it.