Ok, here we go again.  Thanks for the e-mail everybody.  I'm back at school now and busy as hell.  I'll still keep updating my stories as often as possible though (it helps keep me sane).  E-mail is always very much appreciated.  Let me know what you think at zack02cool@hotmail.com.

    This is a fictional story which is not meant to imply anything about anyone.  If you shouldn't read this then don't.

Model Romance- Part Nine

    I followed Justin through the milling crowds across the dark club.  His height and blonde curly hair made it easy enough to keep him in sight, but the club was so packed with people I couldn't gain any ground on him.  He crossed through the bar area and skirted the dance floor heading in the direction of the entrance.  Or exit in this case.  I was waiting breathlessly for someone to recognize him, or me and start screaming.  If the crowds got hold of one of us I might never see him again.  At least not in one piece.  Finally he came to the door and stopped.  Hoping against hope I pushed people out of my way to catch him before he got out into the night.  He seemed to be hesitating over something.  At last he made up his mind and ducked out the door.  Ignoring the outraged protests of the people I was shoving out of my way, I followed.
    Time Square was still busy at 11:00 at night, but nothing like the confusion inside the club.  I spotted Justin walking quickly down the street, his head down to avoid recognition.  This close to MTV studios it was a safe bet someone would recognize him.  I sprinted after him closing the gap between us.  The sounds of the city covered my footfalls but even so it took time to get to him.  I still had to dodge scaffolding, people, and other obstacles that littered on of the busiest sections of one of the busiest cities in the world.  Finally I reached out and grabbed his arm.  With a start he spun around, eyes wide and body tense.  When he saw it was me he relaxed.  A little.
    "I don't want to talk to you."
    "Justin I'm sorry!  You really got the wrong idea."
    "Whatever.  I know what I saw.  Once I could forgive, but twice is too much.  If you want to be with Nick fine, but you can forget about us."
    "First of all, we weren't going out when Nick kissed me.  Second of all I was practically passed out and I wouldn't have done it if I'd known what I was doing.  Third nothing happened this time.  He was drunk and got a little enthusiastic when we were talking."
    "So you admit something happened."
    "No!  Nothing happened.  I bought him a drink to apologize for getting in a fight with him earlier.  He was just talking and he grabbed my hands."
    "What was he saying?"
    "Oh, well...that's not really important."
    "God you can't even think up a decent lie.  You are really pathetic."
    "Alright, if you really want to know he was trying to convince me to go out with him instead of you.  I told him no Justin!  I love you not him!  I swear it!"
    The expression on his face softened a little but he didn't say anything.  Then I realized what I had said.  I love you.
    "You...love me," he asked softly.
    No taking it back now.
    "Yes.  I'm sorry.  I wasn't going to tell you so soon..."
    "No, don't apologize.  I...love you too."
    "Oh.  Well, um, that's...good."
    "Yeah," he agreed slowly.
    "So...now what?  Do you at least believe me about Nick?"
    "Yeah, I think I have too.  Just don't let it happen again."
    "Nothing hap..." I began, then changed my mind.  "Ok, I wont.  Can we go back to the club now?"
    "I think I'm just gonna go back to the hotel.  I'm pretty tired.  You go though.  I imagine you want to do a little more drinking."
    "No not really.  I'll come back with you."
    "You don't have to do that.  Go have fun.  I was just being stupid and paranoid.  I shouldn't have made you leave."
    "Justin you didn't make me leave.  I followed you because I want to be with you.  I went to the club to be with you and I'll come to the hotel or go to Mexico if I have to.  I want to be with you."
    He smiled and nodded his head slowly.
    "Well let's get a cab then before someone recognizes us."
    We hailed a cab and were on our way back to the hotel.  Neither one of us said I word.  I was busy mulling over the implications of what had happened and from the distant look in Justin's eyes I was sure he was doing the same.  I was in love and had that love returned.  It was the most wonderful and at the same time most frightening thing I had ever faced.  The fact was I was sailing in uncharted waters and I had no idea whether to expect calm seas or a hurricane.
    The cab arrived at the hotel in short order and we rushed through the lobby and to the elevator.  The floor for the bands was silent.  Everyone was still out celebrating and the entire entourage of security guards and managers was ether with them or enjoying a night off.  Justin opened the door to his suite and I followed him in.  He didn't even bother to turn the lights on.  As soon as I shut the door he grabbed me by the waist and pulled me close to him.  His lips met mine and my mouth parted to allow his tongue caress to my tonsils.  I ran my hands across his back and through his hair.  What seemed like hours later he finally parted and he giggled.
    "I wanted to do that in Times Square, but I figured it was better to wait until no one would see us."
    "Yeah I guess so.  So what are we doing now?"
    "Room service.  And a movie."
    "Sounds good.  And what are we watching?"
    "I don't know.  Whatever is on.  I'm sure if it's boring we can find a way to occupy our time."
     For an answer I grinned and picked up the phone.
    "Hello, room service?  What kind of champagne to you have?  Good I'll take a bottle of that and..."

    Lance was getting bored.  He wasn't much for drinking or clubbing and he hadn't gotten much sleep last night.  Britney seemed to be enjoying JC's company if the way she was hanging on him was any indication.  Brian had gone down to see what the rest of the group was up to.  Zack and Justin were gone, no doubt making out in some dark corner.  Lance was not jealous exactly, actually he was very happy for them.  But he was envious.  If only he could be as lucky as they were and find someone special.  Maybe he would just go back to the hotel.  There was no point in staying here.
    "Hey guys I'm gonna go back to the hotel."
    "What?  Oh yeah sure Lance.  See ya.  So anyway there were these girls..."
    JC continued his story as Lance left the room.  He doubted that Britney had even noticed he was gone.  There must be something going on between those two.  He was heading for the stairs when he saw Nick sitting at the bar.  His shoulders were slumped and his was resting in his hands.  The drink in front of him was only half full but it looked like it had been sitting there for a while.
    "Nick?  You ok?"
    Nick was in bad shape.  His eyes were rimmed red either from way too much to drink or from crying.  Maybe both, judging by the tear stains on his cheeks and the smell of whiskey on his breath.
    "Lance?  I think I screwed up again," Nick slurred.
    With a sigh Lance settled Nick's considerable bill and helped him over to a couch in the corner.
    "Ok Nick.  Tell me what happened."

    Joey was extremely drunk and it showed.  He and taken it upon himself to round everyone up and heard them back to the hotel.  Unfortunately he could barely stand up, which left Chris and AJ supporting him up the stairs to their private room.  When the door opened they were all treated to the sight of Britney and JC making out.
    "Oh holy shit," Joey exclaimed.
    Britney blushed and suprisingly so did JC.  They both looked like they'd been caught outside in a tornado.  Their hair was in disarray and their clothes were rumpled.  Half the buttons on JC's shirt were undone.
    "Hey guys," JC said weakly.  "Didn't expect you back so soon."
    "Well were headed back to the hotel, why don't you two come with so you can GET A ROOM!"
    "Hey relax Joe," Chris said, putting a hand on his friend's shoulder.  "Are you ready to go?"
    "Yeah were ready," Britney mumbled.  Apparently she'd had quite a few drinks.
    "Ok, well the limo's waiting outside.  We think Zack and Justin already left, suprise suprise.  Have you seen Lance or Nick?"
    "Nick was at the bar, Lance said he was leaving.  Maybe he took Nick with him."
    "Well that's good enough for me," Joey grinned.  "Let's get the hell out of here!"
    The limo ride to the hotel was interesting.  Joey was singing off key, Britney and JC were having trouble keeping their hands to themselves which made Christina mad for some reason, and everyone else was either exhausted, drunk, or both.

    Justin emptied the last of the champagne into his glass and shoved the bottle back into the bucket.  He snuggled back up against his boyfriend and turned back to the movie.  Taking a more careful look at Zack he noticed he was asleep.  With a sigh he stripped him down to his boxers and tucked him into the bed.  Zack stirred and smiled in his sleep.  After a minute Justin decided to get ready for bed too.  He brushed his teeth, washed up and undressed.  When he got back Zack was snuggled soundly into the middle of the bed, and half-turned so that he was taking up almost the entire king-size bed.  Justin gently pushed his legs aside and climbed under the covers.  He sipped his champagne and started watching the last of The Green Mile.
    He was in tears by the time the movie was over.  Sniffling quietly, he started to slip out of bed in search of a tissue when he felt a pair of arms tighten around his middle.  He looked over his shoulder and saw Zack smiling back at him.  With one arm he drew Justin back into the bed and with the other he wiped his tears away.  Justin wrapped his own arms around Zack, completing the embrace, and sank back into the bed.  For a moment he just enjoyed the feeling of being comforted in the arms of the guy he loved.  And then all hell broke lose.

    Joey was pretty toasted when he got back to his suite.  For some reason his key wasn't working in the door.  Then he realized the door was unlocked.  At last he made it inside and fumbled the light switch on.  He stumbled into the darkened bedroom and flopped down on the bed.  Or at least that was what he intended to do.  Instead of landing on the bed he hit a warm body which started screaming.  That woke up the other body in the bed and it started yelling and screaming too.  Joey, who was confused as hell, tried to extricate himself from the bed and the screaming bodies.  But they were both thrashing around trying to get him out or get out or who knew what.  The commotion finally ended when JC flipped on the light.  Joey found himself starring at Nick and Lance, both naked as the day they were born.
    "What the hell are you doing in my room Lance?"
    "Joey this isn't your room.  Your room is next door," Lance said quietly.
    "Well what the hell are you doing in your room then?  I thought Justin was the fag in the group!"
    "Hey," Nick shouted.  "Don't talk to him like that."
    "Boys," JC interrupted.  "I think it's pretty obvious what's going on.  And Nick, we don't need you getting in another fight tonight so chill out."
    "What's going on in here," Brian asked as he came in.  "I heard yelling and I thought..."  His eyes ran over Lance and Nick.  "Oh."
    "Is everything ok in here?"  Chris was in the doorway, he too caught sight of the naked guys in the bed and stopped short.  AJ and Kevin came in behind him and stopped just as abruptly.  So of course when Christina got there she couldn't see into the room, being that the guys were taller than her.
    "Let me through!  What's going on?  What happened to Lance?  I heard people yelling and..."  She finally got into the room and saw what happened.
    So that was how Lance and Nick found themselves naked and trying to hide under the sheets of Lance's bed with most of their tourmates as an audience.
    "Well," JC said after a while.  "I'm very...um...happy for both of you and good luck in wherever you decide to take things from here guys.  Now it's pretty late and I think we all need to get to bed.  I'm sure if anybody has questions they can wait till morning."
    Lance shot JC a grateful look as everyone started leaving.  Everyone except Joey.
    "Yeah, but..."
    "Come on Joe," Chris said wearily.  "I'll help you find your room."
      After they left Lance got out of bed and started hunting for some clothes to put on.
    "You're not leaving are you?"  Nick's voice was that of a child asking if he was going to be left alone in the dark with the monsters.
    "I'll be back soon," Lance replied.  "I just need to do something real quick."
    "Lance...I...I'm sorry if you regret what happened.  I didn't mean to make you do anything you didn't want to."
    "Woah!  Where did you get an idea like that?  Nick,  I don't regret what happened.  But I was just shoved out of the closet in front of most of my closet friends.  I need to think about this for a minute.  And I need to talk to somebody."
    "Don't worry about it.  Just something I need to do before I can go to sleep."
    "It can't wait untill morning?'
    "No.  It'll just take a minute."
    "Oh.  Yeah, ok.  Well don't be gone too long."
    "I wont."

    Justin and Zack listened, their eyes growing wider as the yelling grew louder.  It was coming from next door.  Lance's room, Justin thought.  Finally it stopped.
    "Think we should go over and see what's wrong," Zack asked.
    "Nah, everybody else'll go.  No sense getting out of a nice warm bed when there's nothing we can do."
    "But what if it's something serious?"
    "With Lance?  I doubt it.  He probably saw a mouse or something."
    "I think I'll go check.  You never know..."
    "Oh no you wont.  You'll stay right here and let somebody else worry about Lance.  If something was wrong they'd come wake us up."
    "Well I don't think I can just go back to sleep yet.  That scarred the shit out of me."
    "Who said we were gonna be sleeping," Justin asked with a mischievous grin.
    For  a response Zack kissed him.  The kiss was slow and deeply passionate.  Then it got quicker and hotter.  Zack's tongue explored Justin's mouth as his hands ran across his back.  The two lovers groped each other all over.  Justin ground himself against Zack's hard body.  He could feel Zack's hard cock pressing against him.  He rolled over on top of Zack and straddled him.  Then he began kissing his neck, moving slowly down across his chest and chiseled abs.  He could feel the warmth radiating from Zack's crotch.  He heart beat faster in his chest.  Gently he gripped Zack in one hand and parted his lips.  And then there was a knock at the door.
    "Maybe they'll go away," Justin groaned.
    "Not likely."
    There was another knock at the door, this time louder and more forceful.  Somebody was pounding on the door.
    "Damn it all," Justin mumbled.  "Stay here I'll find out who it is and send them away."
    Justin shivered as he left the warmth of the bed and wrapped a robe around his naked body.  He crossed the suite quickly as the pounding on the door resumed.  He wrenched the door open and to his suprise it was not JC, or Britney, or even Joey's drunk ass.  Lance was standing there his fist raised and frozen in the middle of banging on the door that was no longer there.
    "Lance!  What the hell are you doing?  Do you know what time it is?"
    "Shut up Justin.  We need to talk,"  Lance snapped.
    That really threw him off.  Lance was almost never angry and even when he was he wasn't rude about it.
    "Lance, what is..."
    "Just shut up and listen to me," Lance growled as he brushed past Justin and into the suite.  Justin closed the door and followed him in, taking a seat on the couch.  Lance did not sit.
    "I really can't believe you Justin.  I always knew you were a selfish prick, but I didn't know you were such an asshole on top of it."
    "Lance what are you talking about?  Whatever I did to you..."
    "To me?  Oh you didn't do anything to me."
    "Then what the hell are you talking about?"
    "I know why Nick is mad at you."
    "What?  You've got to be kidding!  Nick told you why he's pouting like a little kid over something that happened two years ago, and now you're gonna get on my case about it too?  That's just great Lance.  Thanks a lot."
    "It's not about what happened two years ago you insensitive shit, it's about what you're doing now!"
    "What are you talking about.  I haven't..."
    "Don't play dumb with me!  You know exactly what I'm talking about.  Nick got over what you did to him two years ago, but now you're doing it again!"
    "Lance are you on crack?  I..."
    "Come on Justin, you know he wanted Zack.  So what did you do?  You got him first.  And let Nick get his heart broken all over again!"
    "Oh god.  Lance, you've got it wrong.  That's not what happened."
    "I don't want to hear your excuses.  I just came to tell you that you can stop playing your little mind games now.  Nick has me and he doesn't need you or your little boytoy model.  So you can cut the crap and drop him the way you do with everyone else who you're finished using."
    "Lance, just let me explain."  He was on the verge of tears now.  He had liked Zack before Nick had but Lance didn't know that.  Come to think of it neither did Zack.  As if summoned by that thought Zack was there.
    "Well, " he said quietly.  "That exaplains why you made me chase you out of the club at least.  I guess I'll be on my way if you're done using me Justin."
    He was fully dressed, which meant that he had probably heard the entire conversation.  Justin's throat closed up.  He tried to choke out something.  Even one word that would stop his boyfriend from walking out the door, but all that came out was a strangled cry.  The door shut quietly behind Zack.  Justin's breath was coming raggedly, his heart was pounding, and anguished sobs came from his mouth.  Tears rained down on his cheeks.  In the blink of an eye he had lost one of his best friends and the only person he had ever really loved.  His heart cried out for him to do something, anything, but his mind and body were paralyzed with grief, and the nagging guilt that on some level what Lance said was true.  He didn't even notice when Lance left a short time later.

    Lance closed the door to his room quietly, not wanting to wake Nick.  He shouldn't have worried, he was already awake.
    "Is everything ok Lance?"
    "Yeah.  Everything's fine."
    "Were you in Justin's room?  I heard yelling and I thought...that...well, I don't know what I thought."
    "Yeah, I just needed to clear up a few things with him."
    "About me?"
    Lance hesitated.  This might be a good time to lie, but lying didn't come easily for him.  So he told the truth.
    "Because I was pissed at him for the way he treated you."
    "Oh.  Well thanks, but I think you shouldn't have done that."
    "Yeah.  I'm starting to think so too."
    There was nothing else to say after that.  Lance took off his clothes and climbed into bed with Nick.  They fell asleep in each other's arms some time later.  The silence echoed with their unspoken doubts and fears.

    The silence was audible in the hotel lobby too.  Britney sat starring at the gilded ceilings and crystal chandeliers of the Plaza hotel.  In her younger days she had never dreamed of staying in a place like this.  It still amazed her in many ways.  At 3:30 in the morning life seemed a lot simpler to her.  All the hustle and bustle of the day was still hours in the future.  With the sun would come bellhops and maids and hundreds of guests and other staff members all going about their busy lives.  Few of them would stop to admire the beauty of their surroundings.
    A shadow passed over the contentment she had been feeling a moment ago.  A vague sense of unease that her mother said was caused by somebody walking over your grave.  Upstairs everybody should be sleeping peacefully.  She should be upstairs too, but for some reason her room seemed too confining.  She thought of going to see JC but she did want to wake him up.  And of course she wasn't sure she could trust herself is he was awake.  Her feelings for him were deep.  Her bond with him was less tangible than the one she shared with Justin, but since the days of the Mickey Mouse Club it had been there.  She supposed it could be called love, but only time would tell if she was right.
    Her thoughts were interrupted by the elevator door opening.  Of all the people who shouldn't have a reason to be down here at this time of night, Zack's was probably the strongest.  What he shared with Justin was truly special.  Britney doubted that even he or Justin saw it, but she did.  Nevertheless he was storming across the lobby towards the doors.
    She called to him but he didn't even flinch.  His pace didn't slow one bit.  She called again, louder this time, but he still gave no sign of hearing her.  She got up and ran after him as he left the building.  When she got outside he was getting into a cab.  She ran to stop him, calling to him, but he just got in the car.  The driver gave her a strange look but he didn't ask questions.  Britney reached the window and through the glass Zack's eyes met hers.  And then the cab pulled away and he was gone into the night.  There had been something about his eyes.  One thing she had noticed from the first time she met the boy was his eyes.  Anyone who looked at him was naturally drawn to those eyes.  They sparkled even in the dark and radiated happiness and confidence.  It was the feature that defined him.  But not this time.  Zack's eyes had been dull, listless, almost dead.  It was like somebody had pulled the light and life right out of him and all that was left was a shadowy figure who had once known what it was to be happy.
    Slowly Britney tuned back to the hotel.  The night was cold and unfriendly and she wanted to be out of it.  Whatever had happened upstairs must have been serious, but there was nothing to do but wait until morning.  In the morning she was going to have to find out what happened and try to fix it.  If Zack was any indication, Justin was probably a mess.  As she crossed the lobby the elevator opened again and another figure appeared.  He was wearing a pair of baggy sweats and a hotel robe and nothing else.  His feet were bare and he shivered in the cold.  When she got closer she could see his eyes were bloodshot rimmed in red.  Tears ran slowly down his face.
    "He's gone," Justin asked in a voice no louder than a whisper.
    Justin nodded and stood looking at the door.  His jaw quivered and Britney saw he was fighting to keep his self-control.  She led him to the elevator and pushed the button for their floor.  As the doors closed Justin lost it.  He fell to his knees and cried as hard as Britney had ever seen anyone cry.  He was practically shreaking with pain.  She did the only thing she could do and sat down beside him and held him tightly.

    Don't you just hate me for doing this again?  I know it took me way too long to get this part out, and I make no promises that the next one will come any sooner.  I'll try not to take quite so long though.  I might be more motivated if you e-mail me...  Until next time, Peace and Love to all of you.