Hey, kids. The next three chapters are going to be focused and short. I’m warning you now. Thanks a million to Dru (my editorial committee), Kathrine, Mike, Nick, Kyle, Karen, Casey, everyone in chat, and everyone who reads this. Do you like it? Do you hate it? Have I been unclear and you have a question? My door’s always open. Email me at Schuydncer@aol.com

Disclaimer: ‘NSync doesn’t bother you about your personal life, don’t bug them about theirs. If they’re gay, whatever.

Retreat 9 - Boston
by Schuyler

Corbett set down her phone and went to her window, throwing open the curtains. Boston gleamed, sunshiny and bright below her. Justin bounded through the door that separated their rooms. “Let’s go!”
She laughed. “Where are we heading?”
“I want to see the harbor and go to the Commons. And maybe some shopping.”

Come Monday afternoon, Justin was still shopping. Corbett let him run ahead to look in windows. She adjusted the bags on her arms and dialed her cell phone. Thomas answered on the third ring. “Hello?”
“Hey, Thomas, it’s Corbett. Just wanted to see how you were and how things are going in Philadelphia.”
“Everything’s just fine. We’re all trying to get some rest. And don’t you worry about the equipment. IT’s all locked down.” Thomas, still dripping from his shower, sat in the chair beside the desk.
“Okay. On Saturday, I have separate limos picking the six of us up. Me and Justin, then JC and Chris, then Lance and Joe.” She crossed a street. “If we’re not all in the hotel by nine, you can worry.”
He chuckled. “Okay, Corbett. You get back to your vacation.”
“See you Saturday.” She was only off the phone a moment before it rang again. “Hello?”
“Corbett? It’s Lance.”
He was trying to sound carefree and cheerful. Corbett could hear right through him, but she played along. “Hey, Lance. What’s going on?”
“Not a whole lot. Just trying to rest.” He instantly sounded better. She could picture him sitting by a window looking out at California. “How are things with Justin?”
“Fine, we’re having a good time. He loves Boston and he’s so excited about Wednesday night’s concert. I’m just trying to keep him reined in.”
Lance laughed. “Sounds like our Justin.”
“Speaking of which, I have to find him. Can I call you back?”
“Of course. Have a wonderful time.” Corbett shut off her phone and ducked into a department store to find Justin and his MasterCard.

Corbett in her black boots and cardigan let Justin drag her into the stadium. She pulled her purse up onto her shoulder and yanked him towards the VIP box. “No, Corby. I want to sit in the front row.”
She whispered close to his ear. “Justin, if you are spotted, you will cause a riot. The concert will be just as good from up there.” Justin slumped a little and trudged up to the box. When Britney took the stage in her white tube top and hipsters, Justin had to remind himself to breathe. An angel in sparkles. Justin sighed.

He pushed his way down the hall and through the fan club members waiting to meet Britney. He was stopped by a large security guard. “I’m so sorry. Miss Spears isn’t seeing anyone yet.” Justin tore off his hat and looked up at the man, impatient and getting angry. “Oh, I’m sorry Mr. Timberlake.” The whispers started among the fans. “Right this way.” There was a sudden shriek and crush of fans as they realized just who Justin was. Justin took tight hold of Corbett’s elbow and hauled her through the open door.
The room was cluttered with brown-nosers and well-wishers. Britney sat in front of her mirror, taking off her makeup. “Hi, Brit.” Justin heard his voice falter.
Britney turned. “Justin!” She smiled that million watt smile and opened her arms to him. He went to hug her. Britney kissed his forehead. “How are you?”
“I’m okay. You were incredible.” He was gushing like a nervous schoolboy.
“Well, thank you, sweetie.” Her assistant laid the tour attendance totals in front of her.
“So, I haven’t seen you in forever and I was wondering if you wanted to go out to a movie, maybe grab a pizza?” He looked so innocently hopeful.
“I would love to, but my manager and I are going to discuss these figures over sushi.” His face fell. Britney was looking into her mirror. “But I do have an extra ticket to see this new avant-garde play tomorrow. It’s supposed to be incredible.”
Corbett could hear his heart breaking. And hers broke too. “No,” he said, his voice tiny, defeated. “We’re going back to Philadelphia.”
And Justin meant it. Thirty minutes later he was in his room, furiously throwing his clothes into his suitcase. Corbett, almost scared, sat in bed with the phone in her lap, talking to Lance. “Britney’s...um...”
“Mature?” he cut in. “Yeah, I know.”
“I’m worried, Lance. I’m not sure what to do.”
“Calm down, Corbett. I know you and you can handle this.” She cringed as Justin’s suitcase was hurled off the bed and hit the ground hard. “He’s upset. He’s angry. Just let him simmer down.” He needed to take her mind off it. “Can we talk about something else? I’m in Reno.”
“Really? Do you like it?” Corbett laid down and pulled the blankets up over her.

Corbett hadn’t had the lights off for more than a few minutes. She and Lance had talked for hours. She heard a squeak, then saw a shaft of pale light. “Corbett?” came the whisper, “are you wake?”
“Yeah, babe. Come here.” Corbett patted the bed in front of where she lay on her side.
He sat down quietly, his back to her. “It just hurts. A lot. I’ve wanted to be with her forever. Was I stringing myself along? Was she doing it? How could I not see it was so wrong? How could I be so stupid?” A tear rolled down his cheek. Corbett laid her hand on his spine and they sat in silence for a few minutes.
“Do you want to stay here tonight?”
“I don’t want to be alone.” Corbett scooted across the bed so Justin could get under the covers. She hugged him once before letting him roll onto his stomach. With Corbett’s hand on his back, Justin finally fell asleep.
The next morning they touched down in Philadelphia, determined never to return to Boston.