Here we are at part six.  I've really been looking forward to writing this, but I just haven't had enough time!  Thanks to everyone who e-mailed me as always.  Oh and by the way, I'm writing this on my new laptop!

    This story is not meant to imply anything about the sexuality of any of the celebrities who appear in it.  Of course we are all entitled to our own opinions...  This is a work of fiction and if you should not be reading this then don't.

A Model Romance- Part Six

    It had been a week and a half since I left Florida behind.  November was here with a vengence and winter wasn't far behind.  I buttoned my long gray overcoat against the wind's biting fingers and hurried to my apartment building.  It had been another rotten day at work.  My heart just wasn't in modeling at the moment.  The photographers were bitching at me, Cherise and David both wanted to know what was wrong, and I didn't have answers for anybody.  For the first time since coming to New York I was not happy.  There was just this overwhelming feeling that I was missing something.  And I was lonely.  I had plenty of people to talk to and hang out with, but I needed something more.  And I couldn't find it.  I went out on a few dates, other models, an actress, and a girl I met in a club, but it wasn't very fulfilling.
    I tossed my overcoat onto the couch as I walked into my apartment and flopped down in the overstuffed armchair next to it.  I flipped through the channels but I could find anything to watch.  'What was wrong with my life?  I had everything I wanted, didn't I?  I was rich and famous and idolized wasn't I?  If there was nothing missing than what the hell was wrong with me?'  That last thought made me think of a song.  Reluctantly I went to the stereo, selected a cd and put it in.  I didn't want to play track number seven, but it just seemed too fitting.  I wanted to curse Britney for singing the damn song, but I had to listen to it.  I turned to look out the window at the sunset and as another day died I felt the tears welling up in my eyes.  I whispered the chorus as Britney sang it.

If there's nothing
Missing in my life
Then why do these tears
Come at night?

From "Lucky" by Britney Spears

    There was something missing and I was going to find out what.  I finally gave in and let myself cry, something I almost never did.  I could count on one hand the number of times I'd cried in the last ten years.  As the silent tears rolled down my face the phone started ringing.

    JC stood in the doorway of his friend's bedroom.  Justin was sprawled out on his bed, moping as usual.
    "Justin what's wrong with you?  You never used to be like this."  Still nothing.  JC came into the room and sat down next to his friend.  Justin rolled away from him, hiding his face in the pillows.  JC pulled him back.  He could see Justin had been crying.  Again.  "Justin this isn't healthy.  All you do is mope.  Look we're leaving tomorrow to go on tour, I need to know you're gonna be ok."
    "I'll be fine.  I am fine.  I've just been working some things out."
    "Bullshit.  You haven't worked anything out.  But I promise you one thing.  You are gonna get this straightened out.  Have you even talked to Zack?"
    "No.  He doesn't want to talk to me."
    "And how do you know that?"
    "Because he hasn't called me."
    "Did you tell him to call you?"
    "Does he have your number?"
    "Well he could get it."
    "Uh huh.  Why don't you call him?"
    "Because I don't feel like it ok.  Look I said everything is fine.  Why don't you go finish packing?"
    "Ok fine."
    JC left with a sigh.  Justin could try to pretend like he didn't care, but JC new him too well.  Whatever this thing was with Zack, it was tearing Justin apart.  He didn't know what had happened but it was obvious they had some issues to work out.  He went into his room and dialed Britney's number.
    "Brit?  It's JC."
    "Oh hey, what's up.  Ready for our big tour?"
    "Yeah I think so.  Listen I called cause I need a favor."
    "Uh oh."
    "No it's nothing big.  I just need Zack's phone number.:
    "You mean like super model Zack who all the tabloids think I'm in love with?  What makes you think I have his number?"
    "Ha ha.  Seriously can you give it to me."
    "Yeah, but why do you want it?  I thought Justin was the one who was in love."
    "He is but he's trying to pretend like he's not.  You know how Justin can be.  He doesn't want anybody to see him hurting."
    "Yeah I know."
    JC got Zack's number and made a few plans with Britney.  They were all going to New York to kick off the tour tomorrow.  NSYNC had a TRL appearance with Britney on Thursday.  The Backstreet boys were in California and wouldn't be there in time.  Neither would Christina, she was somewhere in the Caribbean.  But they were all going to meet Friday morning for breakfast to work out the final details before the tour kicked off Friday night at Madison Square Garden.  It was going to be interesting to see how well everybody got along.  He personally thought that this was great publicity but Nick still wasn't speaking to Justin and everybody knew Britney and Christina had their problems.  He got off the phone with Britney and immediately dialed Zack's number.  After a few rings a shaky voice answered.
    "Zack?  Hey it's JC.  Form NSYNC."
    "Oh hey JC.  What's up with you?"
    "Not much.  Hey are you ok man?  You sound like something's bothering you."
    "'s nothing.  I'm fine.  How have you been?"
    "Pretty good."
    "So I here you guys are coming to New York tomorrow to kick off the big tour."
    "Yeah, are you coming to the Garden tomorrow night?"
    "I wouldn't miss it.  I'm not sure exactly what David has planned, but I think I'm going with him."
    "That's cool.  Listen the reason I called...It's about Justin."
    The change in Zack's voice was immediate.  "Why?  Is he ok?  Nothing's happened to him?" Zack sounded genuinely worried.
    "No...nothing like that.  It's, well he's been really depressed lately, and I'm not really sure why, think it would be good if you talked to him."
    "Me?  I hardly know him."
    "Yeah I know, but you two seemed to hit it off pretty well, and he wont talk to anyone else."
    "Well ok, what did you have in mind?"
    "Ok, that's the tricky part.  Justin can be really shy sometimes, and I mean it's not that he wouldn't come, but I think...if we catch him off guard he might loosen up more."
    "So I was thinking that I'd tell him to meet me for an early dinner tomorrow night.  Say at like six.  I'll tell him that I have some errand to run after we do TRL but I want to have dinner with him.  And then when he shows'll be there instead of me."
    "Sounds great.  I love suprising people.  Where do you want me to be?"
    "Well I'm sure you know New York restaurants better than me, do you have any ideas?  I think something quiet and roma...uh just someplace nice and quiet would be best."
    "Um, ok I think I know a good place.  Tell him to be at Tavern on the Green at six.  I'll take care of the rest."
    "Great Zack.  Thanks a lot."
    "It's my pleasure.  Have a safe trip.  I'll see you Friday."
    "Ok, bye."
    JC hung up the phone with a smile.  Something told him he was doing the right thing.  Justin would kill him for it, but it still felt right.  Now if he could just figure out how to keep Britney and Christina from getting into a cat fight during the concert.

    After I got off the phone with JC I called Perry and made reservations at the Tavern for six o'clock.  It seemed a little weird, but at the same time I was excited.  I found that I was really looking forward to seeing Justin again and spending some time with him.  Just the two of us.  I checked my calendar and saw that I had a photo shoot at nine the next morning, which meant that I had to be in the studio by eight, but I saw on Friday that I had nothing scheduled, which was unusual.  On impulse I decided to take Friday off, and I made a note to tell David in the morning.  As it was though I was going to have to get up early to I went to bed right then.
    Even though I was exhausted from a long day of work, sleep did not come easily.  I hadn't really been sleeping very well lately, but tonight I was more restless than usual.  I kept running that line from the Britney Spears song through my head.  "If there's nothing missing in my life, then why do these tears come at night?"  In the dark the loneliness seemed to take on physical presence.  It was almost mocking me, taunting me.  Finally sleep took me and I drifted off into unpleasant dreams.

    It wasn't bad enough that he'd had to get up at six.  No, of course the plane ride had to have been bumpy too.  Justin sat in the limo with the other members of NSYNC en route to the hotel.
    "So," Chris said a little too cheerfully, "everybody get enough sleep last night?"
    "Shut up Chris," a half asleep Joey mumbled.
    "Oh come on, aren't you looking forward to all those screaming TRhell fans?"
    "Yeah about as much as I'm looking forward to my next root canal."
    "Well I don't know what your problem is.  I mean take Curly here, he sure is looking chipper this morning."
    Justin ignored him,  He didn't really feel like talking to anyone at the moment, but Chris was relentless.
    "Come on Justin, what's buggin ya?"
    "Oh I don't know, I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I got no sleep last night.  Then of course it could be that we have to have lunch with a bunch of stuffy business types.  And you know how much I'm looking forward to seeing Carson Daily again."
    "Yeah, well I can't blame you there."
    'Of course not,' Justin thought bitterly.  Carson could barely hide his contempt for NSYNC and Justin in particular when the camera was rolling.  Backstage he made no such effort.  He let out a loud sigh.  It was going to be a long day.

    "Zack, babe, you're not being very cooperative this morning."
    "Sorry, I just didn't get much sleep last night."
    "Alright that's ok.  Why don't you try giving me sleepy then?"
    I almost laughed.  I had no idea how photographers managed to be so perky all the time.  I decided they must drink lot's of coffee and do lots of drugs.  After another fifteen minutes of trying to do "sleepy" they finally let me go.  I normally enjoyed photo shoots but today I was too distracted.  I kept looking at the clock and waiting for it to be time to go.  After I finished I went up to see David.
    "So how's my little gold mine today?"
    "Just peachy David.  Listen is there anything else really important that needs doing today?  Or tomorrow for that matter?"
    "No, looks like life has cut you a small break.  Monday morning though you have a meeting with some Jive Records execs."
    "Oh what's that all about?"
    "You find out," David said with a mischievous grin.  "So anyway, why don't you take the rest of the week off.  You've been overworking yourself lately.  I think you need a little break."
    "You read my mind.  Thanks David."
    "No problem.  Look I wont pry anymore, but whatever is wrong please try to fix it.  And let me know if you need anything."
    "Thanks David.  And I will."
    "Don't forget the concert tomorrow night.  The limo we'll be there to get you around seven.  And remember that it's gonna be a media circus so look good."
    "I always look good," I said with an almost straight face.
    "Of course you do.  Enjoy your little mini vacation."
    As I walked out of David's office I felt a lot better.  I was really lucky to have such a great boss.  I grabbed my coat and bolted out into the cold before anybody else could bug me.  It was just after three and I figured I had time for a little nap before I had to get ready for dinner.  When I got home I flopped down on my bed and turned on the TV.  TRL was just starting.  It was almost funny to me to watch it.  Carson Daily so obviously hated his job, and none of the fans seemed to notice.  Or maybe they just didn't care.  Speaking of fans the crowd in time square was unbelievable.  Between the Britney fans and the NSYNC fans traffic was at a standstill.  It was weird to think that what I was watching was taking place just a quick subway ride away.
    Apparently having so many major stars on one show was a good enough excuse to call of the countdown for one day.  Instead they had half and hour of Carson interviewing the bands.  Britney was being her usual perky self and Chris was answering most of the questions for the guys.  Justin didn't say a word throughout the whole thing.  I thought about what JC had said.  Dinner was going to be interesting.  After the interview Britney and the guys got up to perform "Crazy" together, followed immediately by "It's Gonna Be Me."  It went over really well.
    By the time the show was over most of the screaming had died down.  Apparently teenage girls' voices don't last forever. Britney seemed to work really well with NSYNC.   I really couldn't wait to see the concert.  I glanced at the clock, it was four thirty.  'So much for a nap,' I thought sourly.  I hopped up and went to go take a shower.  I didn't really need one, but I wanted to look good tonight.  I told myself it had nothing to do with Justin.

    As the steaming water ran down his smooth chest, Justin let all the tension out of his body.  TRhell hadn't been as bad as he'd feared.  Carson had been obnoxious, but no more than usual.  And the fans really seemed to like the idea of the joint performance.  They'd been taking a lot of crap from the critics over this tour, but then again the critics had never really given any pop stars a good review.
    He shut off the water and toweled himself off.  Checking the clock he saw he was going to have to hurry to be at Tavern on the Green by six.  He didn't know why JC had insisted on meeting him there.  None of the other guys seemed to know what was going on either.  There wasn't much he could do though, JC had been pretty insistent.  He put on a light blue shirt and a black suit.  JC had told him to dress nicely.  He grabbed his heavy coat and headed for the door of his suite.  Now came the tricky part.
    He slowly opened the door and peeked out.  The security guards were no where in sight.  That was lucky.  Every time he snuck out without them, they started watching him more closely.  He tiptoed down the hall and bypassed the elevator.  The stairs were probably a safer bet.  At last he was outside.  He hailed a cab and headed to the restaurant.

    "So who are you meeting this time?"
    "No one Perry, just a friend."
    "Uh huh, and who might she be?"
    "It's not a she, it's a he.  And don't look at me like that.  I'm just doing someone a favor."
    "Ok, so who are you meeting.  The last time you were here for dinner you brought Britney Spears."
    "Well it's not Britney this time.  Don't you have other tables to wait on?"
    "God, you're really driving me nuts!  Just tell me who it is."
    "Justin Timberlake."
    "From NSYNC?  How'd you get tangled up with him?  Through Britney?"
    "Yeah something like that.  So now that you know why don't you quit bugging me.  Some of your other guests are starting to look impatient."
    "Fine, I can see when I'm not wanted," Perry said, pretending to be offended.  "Can I get you anything to drink, sir?"
    "No just water."
    "I'm sorry I must not have heard correctly.  Did I just here Zack Peterman order water?"
    "Yeah, well let's just say I had a messing drinking experience last time I was around Justin."
    "Ok, I wont ask.  Enjoy your water."
    He walked away with a snort and I settled back into my chair.  I really wanted this to go well.  I hoped Justin wouldn't be upset that JC and I had tricked him.  I looked up and saw him coming across the room.  It seemed that I was about to find out.

    Justin got out of the cab and walked into Tavern on the Green.  He'd never been there before, but he'd heard of the place.  It seemed a little too stuck-up and classy for his tastes though.  He was suprised that JC wanted to eat here.  He walked up to the hostess and put on his very best fake smile.
    "Hi, I'm supposed to meet somebody here."
    "Of course.  You must be Mr. Timberlake.  Right this way."
    Justin was mildly suprised that she didn't recognize him.  It was a nice change though.  Sometimes it was good to just blend in.  He followed the hostess to a dim table at the far end of the dinning room, but the person sitting there was not JC.  He was wearing a gray three-piece suit and a black shirt.  His hair was bleached blonde and spiky.  His green blue eyes lifted up as Justin approached the table and his face lit up with a smile.
    Justin must have looked almost as shocked as he felt because the smile quickly faded from Zack's face.
    "Ouch Justin, don't look so happy to see me."
    "Oh sorry.  You're just...not who I was expecting."
    "Yeah, well this was JC's idea.  He said you needed someone to talk to."
    In spite of himself Justin grinned.  "That's JC.  Always putting his nose in other people's business.  Well...I am glad to see you.  And...uh...I guess thanks for doing this."
    "Well I'm here for you.  Look, don't feel like you've got to open up to me.  I know we hardly know each other, and to be honest I've been kinda moody myself lately.  I know how annoying it can be to have everybody asking you what's wrong all the time.  So how about if we just eat, and if you feel like talking, then I'll be glad to listen.  But no pressure."
    Justin felt the last of the tension melt away.  It was so nice to be here with him.  He was going to have to kill JC for what he was trying to do, but still, it was great to see Zack.  "Thanks for being here Zack.  It really means a lot."
    They talked through dinner, which was delicious of course.  Justin couldn't imagine anything not being good at a place that was as expensive as Tavern.  Justin couldn't remember the last time he felt so good.  It was as if when he was with Zack he didn't feel so alone in the world.  Zack introduced him to their waiter, who's name was Perry.  He seemed nice and he kept coming over and telling jokes while they ate.  If anyone had recognized the two stars eating in the corner they gave no indication.  Justin mentioned the fact to Zack while they were waiting for dessert.
    "It's nice to finally go someplace where you don't have everybody staring at you.  Even the hostess didn't recognize me."
    "Oh April knew who you were, I told her you were coming.  Actually a lot of the people here probably recognize you, but they wont act like morons.  That's why I like coming here.  It's like if you've got enough good taste to come here to eat then that's all that matters.  We're all the same in here."
    "That's an interesting way of looking at it.  I think they're all just a bunch of snobs."
    Zack shrugged.  "Even snobs have to eat."
    After dessert and coffee Justin excused himself to go to the bathroom.  He really didn't want dinner to be over.  He started thinking of how he could keep Zack around a little longer.  He checked his watch.  It was only eight o'clock.  He didn't have to be ready to go until ten tomorrow, so he could stay out for a while.  When he got back to the table Zack had already paid the bill and was talking to Perry.  Justin insisted on paying for his half but Zack just laughed.
    "Hey, you snooze you lose.  Shouldn't have gone to pee until after the check was paid."
    "But that's not fair!  You have to let me pay you back."
    "Sorry Justin, you'll just have to owe me one."
    They stepped out into the cool night air still laughing and joking.  Justin's mind was furiously trying to come up with an excuse to stay with Zack a little longer.
    "Hey Justin, I was thinking.  Why don't you come hang out at my place for a while.  I'll drop you off at the hotel later."
    "I'd love to.  That sounds great."

    I breathed a sigh of relief when he said yes.  I was afraid he'd think it was weird if I invited him to come over, but I just didn't want the night to end yet.  Talking to Justin was just so easy.  It seemed like we always had something to say to each other.  And even when we weren't talking the silence was never uncomfortable.  There was something else too.  I didn't feel so alone when he was around.  I pulled my car into the  parking garage and we hurried up to my apartment.  The night was not getting any warmer.  Justin requested the grand tour on the way in, so I gave it to him.
    "This is a great place, Zack.  You've got an awesome view."
    "Well I was lucky to get this place.  I guess sometimes I forget how lucky I am."
    "You, you are pretty lucky.  You've really got everything you could want."
    'Lucky am I?'  'Lucky?'  "If there's nothing missing in my life..."  I broke that chain of thought and turned my attention back to Justin.  I wasn't really sure what JC was so worried about.  Justin seemed fine to me.  At least on the surface.  There was something underneath it though.  I looked at him.  He was staring out the window.  He looked so sad all of a sudden.  As if he wanted something he could never have.
    "Justin, what's wrong?  I know I said I wouldn't ask, but..."  I didn't know how to finish that sentence.  Instead I moved closer to him and put my hand on his shoulder.  He jumped but didn't turn around.

    Justin cursed himself for jumping at Zack's touch.  Right there he decided that tonight he was going to confess how he felt.  This was too important to ignore. He knew that if he turned around he'd never get the words out so he continued staring out the window.
    "Zack, I don't know how to explain what I'm feeling.  It's just...well it's like there's something missing from my life."
    "That's weird.  I think I know exactly how you feel.  I've been feeling the same thing.  Like I should be happy, but I'm not."
    Justin felt a surge of excitement.  Was it possible that Zack felt something for him?  Maybe he wasn't crazy and this would work out.  He summoned up his courage and went on.
    "Well it took me a while, but I think I know what's wrong with me.  I...I'm..."
    "Justin, whatever it is you can tell me.  I'm here for you."
    Justin took a deep breath and turned around.  He looked deep into Zack's eyes searching for the longing that he felt.  There had to be something there.
    "Zack, you don't know how much I want to believe that."
    "What do you mean?  I'm serious Justin.  If you need a friend I'm here."
    Justin's eyes burned with anger and tears.  "Damn it Zack I don't need a friend.  I need, oh hell..."  He started crying.  "I need a lover," he whispered.  It was now or never.  He was going to settle this.  Justin took a breath and kissed Zack.

      Justin kissed me.  It caught me so off guard that I jerked back in suprise.  As soon as I did I felt guilty.  He looked crushed.  It was as if his heart  had just shattered.
    "I...I'm sorry Zack.  I didn't mean to offend you."
    Justin was backing away form me towards the door.  I was still in shock, fighting for the words I needed.
    "I'll just go.  I'm really sorry."
    Justin was crying heavily and still backing away from me when he tripped over the couch and fell on the floor.  He just sat there, crying. I could see that he was in so much pain, not from the fall, but from something deeper.  And at that moment, when he was sitting there so helpless and vulnerable I felt something.  It started deep inside me, and I knew I'd felt it before, but I had ignored it for so long and kept it locked inside.  But now I couldn't run anymore.  I walked over and knelt beside him.  He looked up at me with tears streaming down his face.  I knew that I needed him.  I wouldn't deny it anymore.  I couldn't deny it any more.  I took his face in my hands.  All the longings I had denied, all the pain, all the fear, it was all there.  Everything that had been torturing my soul was released.  And as I bent down and pressed my lips to his I knew that I had found what I was missing.
    At first he didn't return the kiss and I was afraid I'd made a mistake.  I started to pull away, but then he wrapped his arms around me and held me tightly.  I felt his lips part and our tongues intertwined.  We stayed there holding each other and kissing for what seemed liked forever.  If it had been forever I couldn't have been happier.  It was so soft, so sweet, and so pure.  We both just needed each other so badly, and we wanted nothing more than to be together.  As I held him there I was sure I could here music.  Maybe it was in my head, but then again maybe not.  There was something magical about that night that I could never explain.  A thousand words, even a million would never be able to do it justice.

And I will take you in my arms,
And hold you right where you belong,
Till the day my life is through,
This I promise you.

From "This I Promise You" by NSYNC
    We were finally interrupted by Justin's cell phone ringing.  He reluctantly let me go to answer it.
    "Hello?  Oh hey JC.  Yeah, I figured.  Well actually I think I owe you big time.  Yeah.  Oh I'll tell you eventually.  I'm at Zack's.  Not sure.  Maybe.  Ok.  Bye."  He hung up the phone and made a point of turning it off.  "That was JC, he wanted to know if I was having a good time."
    "Are you?"
    "Hmmm...yeah I guess."  He grinned at me and I smiled back.
    I saw Justin in a totally different light now.  I'd never looked at a man like this before.  Suddenly I started to worry about what everybody would think.  How was I going to explain this to my friends?  To my parents.  I could just see the disappointment on my mother's face when she found out I wouldn't be giving her any grandchildren.  I started crying, for the second time in two days.  And I never cried!  Justin came over to be and hugged me tightly.
    "What's wrong?  You're not upset with me are you?"
    I could hear the worry in his voice and the fear that I was going to say this whole thing had been a mistake.  Then I looked up at him.  I looked into his eyes and what I saw there made me realize that it didn't matter what anybody else said.  They would understand because this was how it was supposed to be.  I stopped crying and kissed Justin again.
    "Nothing's wrong.  I think things are finally right."
    "I know what you mean.  So can I ask you something?"
    "Can we get off the floor?  My butt hurts."
    We both laughed at that and got up.  I sat down on the couch and Justin plopped down right next to me.  He was smiling so hard it must have hurt his face, but I could tell it was a real smile, not the fake one he used in front of the cameras.
    "So," I said casually "what now?"
    "What do you mean?"
    "I guess I'm trying to say where do we go from here?"
    "The bedroom," he asked with a mischievous grin.
    "You know that's not what I'm talking about you perv."
    He looked at me seriously.  I knew he was just as nervous about this as I was.
    "Well, I think I know what I want.  I...hope it's what we both want."
    I ran my hand through his curly hair and smiled.
    "I think it is."
    "So I guess we're going out then?"
    "Yeah, looks that way."
    It was a silly conversation to have, but I just wanted everything to be official.  I stretched out on the couch and pulled Justin on top of me.  I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him.  I could feel him pressing into me and it turned me on, but I tried to ignore it.  I knew I wasn't ready for that yet.  We kissed and just held each other for a long time before he finally spoke.  When he did his voice was barely more than a whisper.  It was cute that he was still so shy.
    "Can I stay with you tonight?"
    "I wouldn't have it any other way."  I checked the clock, it was almost midnight.  "Let's go to bed.  Unless you've got better things to do."
    "Nope.  I'm all yours."
    I loaned Justin an old tee shirt to wear.  While he was in the bathroom brushing his teeth and changing, I stripped down to my boxers, pulled on another tee shirt and climbed into my bed.  Justin came out of the bathroom wearing nothing but boxers and my shirt.  He smiled shyly and got into the bed with me.  I'd never felt this way about anyone before.  I was just looking forward to being with him all night.  Nothing sexual even crossed my mind.  He snuggled up next to me and put his arms around me.  Lying in his arms I felt so safe and so at peace.  All the problems in my life stayed out of that bed.  They might be there waiting for me tomorrow, but right now everything was perfect.  I fell asleep in minutes and I slept better than I had in months.

    Writing this chapter really made me smile.  I hope it gives you a little joy too.  E-mail me as always at