good or bad is needed.
The good feed back, strokes our ego. The bad feed back, strokes
the delete key. <grin>
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Joey awoke with Matt snuggled in his arms. During the night, Joey had to answer the call of nature and when he returned Matt had moved into the middle of the bed. Slipping in behind Matt he spooned up to him. Matt immediately snuggled back into Joey. Matt was using Joey's right arm as a pillow and his left arm was wrapped around Matt's chest . Joey smiled at how right it felt to hold Matt and how good it felt when Matt was holding him. Leaning into Matt, Joey lightly kissed Matt's shoulder. Matt immediately sucked in a breath, "Mmm, I like that kind of wake up call," Matt purred.
Joey smiled then started to nibble Matt's ear.
Matt shivered all over from the attention. "Joe," Matt said as he moved his ear away from Joey's lips.
"Let's not start something that we may regret later."
"I was just nibbling on your ear."
"Ah, yeah I know. But my ears are very sensitive."
"How sensitive?" Joey asked.
Taking Joey's hand, Matt moved it to the front of his boxers.
Joey smiled when he felt Matt's erection. "Did I cause this?" Joey asked as he squeezed Matt's erection.
"Yeah, that's what happens when the right someone chews on my ears. But we agreed to take this slow remember?"
"Yeah, I remember," Joey said. "What are we going to do with this?"
"Probably a cold shower," Matt said as he got out of bed. As he went into the bathroom he stopped and asked, "You want to join me?"
Grinning, Joey eagerly said, "You bet," and he quickly followed Matt into the shower.
Matt was standing under the spray when Joey joined him.
Breakfast turned out to be a major production. Joey made the mistake of asking if he could help with anything.
"How good a cook are you?" Matt asked.
"Not too bad."
"What's your specialty? For breakfast I mean," Matt said as he looked at Joe.
"Pancakes," Joey answered. "Why?"
"Mix or scratch?"
"Both," Joe answered wondering where this was going.
"Ok, show me," Matt said indicating the stove.
Joey smiled at Matt, "All right. Do you have buttermilk?"
"No. Do you need it?" Matt asked.
"If I'm to do this from scratch I do,"
"Well it looks like you'll have to use a mix. It's in the upper cabinet next to the microwave," Matt laughed.
Looking in the indicated cabinet Joey found a box of buttermilk pancake mix. "Mixing bowl?" Joey asked.
"In the lower cabinet. You will also find the measuring cups there. Spoons, wire whisks and spatula are in the drawer. I'll set up the griddle," Matt said.
After eating their breakfast, Matt and Joey quickly did up the dishes. Joey washed and Matt dried and put everything away.
"What are we going to do today?" Joey asked.
"You up for a little trip?" Matt asked.
"Yeah, where we going?"
"Down state. There is a big flea market this weekend." Matt said.
"Sounds cool. Are you looking for anything special?"
"Joe, let me show you something," Matt replied as he led Joey out to the lobby.
"Morning, Mr. Morgan, Mr. Fatone," William Biggs said with a nod.
"Good morning, Mr. Biggs. Is there anyone staying in room 110?" Matt asked.
"No. It's free."
"I'd like to show the room, could I have the key please?" Matt asked.
"Sure," Will said as he handed the keycard to Matt.
As they walked down the hall Joey asked, "Matt, why are you and Mr. Biggs so formal with each other?"
Matt smiled, "It's a game we play. When we are in the public areas of the Inn, we address each other by Mr. Biggs and Mr. Morgan. The first one to slip has to buy dinner. In my apartment or outside the Inn we're Will and Matt."
"Have you ever slipped up?"
"Yeah, once. But Will has slipped four times. The winner gets to choose the restaurant," Matt said as they reached room 110.
Opening the door Matt reached in, turned on the lights and indicated for Joey to enter.
"Oh, wow!" Joey exclaimed as he looked around the room. The room was not decorated like any other hotel room. The room was filled with antiques. A large antique oak bed with matching dresser. Wingback chairs sat on either side of an oak table. An entertainment center was housed in an armoire. Looking in the bath Joey found twin pedestal sinks, each with its own oval mirror. A large shower-steam room and a Jacuzzi made for two.
"This room is fantastic," Joey said. "Who decorated it?"
"I did," Matt said, pleased with Joey's reaction.
"The owners let you decorate it?" Joey asked.
Smiling, Matt said, "Joe. I am the owner."
"I thought your godparents owned the Inn."
"When they retired they offered to sell me the Inn. They knew how much I loved the place and that I would take good care of it. We worked out a deal that would let me acquire the Inn for a small down payment and I would use the profits to pay off the balance."
"I take it you paid it off?"
"Yeah, two months ago. This place makes a good profit."
"And this," Joey said indicating the room.
"The first step in a dream of mine. When I travel, I like to stay away from the big hotels and motels, so I stay it a lot of Bed and Breakfasts. I want to bring the feeling of a B & B to the Lincoln Inn. No two rooms will be alike. Each will have its own theme. Some will be like this one kind of Victorian. Others will be more modern, there is a room with a southwestern feel and one with a nautical motif."
"How many have you done so far?"
"Twelve so far. And they have been popular."
"How many do you have left to decorate?"
"Twenty more. I am leaving a dozen rooms as is. They will be our low-end rooms. And in two weeks we break ground for an addition to the Inn."
"Some. But mainly it will house a new lobby and our restaurant and banquet rooms. The upper floors will be security suites."
"Security suites?" Joey asked.
"The upper floors will have limited access. You guys gave me the idea when you rented the whole place just so you could have a safe place to stay. Well that is what I will be offering. The new wing will have its own private entrance. Actually a garage large enough to handle two of your tour buses. There will be two suites on the second floor with a gym and pool. And two more on the third floor with a large rehearsal hall. The remainder of each floor will have twelve single rooms but they will not have access to the security area."
"Do you think it will pay?"
"Yeah, there are more concerts planned for the raceway next year. The World Theater is just a half hour away. The Loop is a little over an hour away. With what we will be offering I don't think we will have any problems filling the rooms," Matt said.
"Will there be enough security rooms if this catches on?" Joe asked.
"I've planned for that possibility. When the architect drew up the plans, it was with the understanding that an additional three floors could be added at a later date. Everything is geared toward expansion," Matt explained.
"Well let's hit the road. We have some shopping to do," Joey said with a grin.
The day was sunny and clear. The trip south took just over an hour and as they pulled into the fairgrounds Joey was amazed at the number of booths that were set up.
"Awesome," Joey said as looked at all the activity going on around him.
Matt parked their U-Haul truck as close as possible to the flea market entrance. Joey put on his sunglasses and put on a ball cap pulling it down over his eyes.
Matt sat watching, amused at Joe's attempt at a disguise. "What the hell are you doing?" Matt asked.
"Putting on my disguise, so I won't be recognized," Joe said.
Shaking his head, Matt said, "It's not going to work."
"The way you look is going to draw attention. Do all of your t-shirts have the Superman logo on them?"
"Your fans know that fact. If they were not sure if it was really you, the t-shirt would give you a way. Let's trade shirts," Matt said as he pulled his shirt off to give to Joey.
As they were both putting their exchanged shirts on they both stopped to smell the shirt as it went over their heads. Seeing what they both just did, they broke up laughing.
"Something tells me I'm not going to get my shirt back," Joey said still giggling.
"As hot as it is today, you'll get it back. But don't be surprised if one of your other shirts turn up missing."
Joey sat grinning at Matt.
"You will be going away and I don't know when I will get to see you again. I like the way you smell, and one of your shirts will remind me of your scent."
"You know we are too much alike. I've already snuck your shirt from yesterday into my bag. I wanted to have a little bit of you to take with me when I leave," Joey said as the blush rose in his face.
Matt reached up, took Joey's hat off his head and turned it around. "That's better, you look more like a farmer now."
During the hours that followed, they found two complete bedroom sets, eight chairs , and two desks. Each item had to be carried back to the truck and loaded.
After the last trip Matt and Joey headed back into the flea market this time looking for concession stands to fill their rumbling bellies. After buying corn dogs and drinks, they were wandering through one end of the market they had not yet visited.
Taking a sip of his drink, Matt looked up and froze. "Oh, shit!" Matt said as he watched an older man with his very young companion approach.
Joey looked at Matt, and then followed his gaze to the couple approaching. The man seemed familiar and it took a moment to realize that he was an older version of Matt.
The couple stopped in front of Matt. "Hello, Mathew," the older man said.
"Dad, Shelly," Matt said with a nod to each.
Matt's father looked Joey up and down then returned his gaze to his son.
Realizing introductions were in order, Matt started. "Joey, I'd like you to meet my father, Tom Morgan and his wife Shelly. Dad, Shelly, this is my friend Joey Fatone."
A round of handshakes were exchanged and Joey turned on the charm. Shelly seemed quite pleased with Joey, taking his arm they talked as they walked. Matt and his dad followed behind as they strolled down a row of booths.
Matt's father kept eyeing Joey as they walked, finally turning to Matt he asked, "Mathew, have I met your friend before?"
"No, Dad ," Matt said.
"He looks very familiar. I just can't place the face."
"Try the posters on Jessica's bedroom wall. Joe is a member of the musical group Nsync."
"You mean that boy group you took Jessica to see?"
"Yes, Dad ."
"How did you two meet?"
"They rented the Inn. I met them all after the concert."
After a few minutes of walking in silence Matt's father asked, "Are the others in the group visiting also?"
"No. Only Joey came to visit."
Looking at his son Matt's father asked, "Is he more that a friend?"
"I hope so, Dad . We're just getting to know each other."
"Mathew, be careful. I know you and I know how easy it is for you to be hurt. I don't want to see that happen again, son."
"Dad, we are just real good friends now. With the schedule Joey has, we realize a deeper relationship would be hard for both of us. We are taking it slow and we will see what develops."
"I hope you're taking precautions. You know what kind of life style rock stars live. I don't want to see you end up. . . ." Tom said not able to finish the terrible thought.
Matt stopped and placing a hand on his father's arm. Seeing concern in his eyes, "Dad. I know how much you worry about me. And I promise, if we ever get to that point, I will be sure both of us are protected," Matt said softly.
Giving his son a weak smile of understanding, they resumed their stroll, catching up with the others at a booth offering carnival glass.
As Joey and Matt climbed into the truck to begin their trip back to Joliet, Joey asked.
"Matt, what's wrong? You haven't said anything since we left your folks."
"I didn't expect to see my dad and Shelly today. . . . Joe, I'm sorry to have to put you through meeting my family so soon."
"It was no big deal. Shelly was fun to talk to. I'm not too sure about your dad though. He kept calling me Joseph, I don't think he likes me."
"Joe, if my dad didn't like you he would not have spoken to you. He has accepted you as my close friend. And I'm afraid you will have to get use to answering to Joseph around my dad. I have been Mathew to him all my life. He has this thing about using nicknames."
"But you introduced him as Tom."
"I do that on purpose, I like to piss him off," Matt said with a chuckle.
They rode in silence for a while. Matt looked over at Joey noticing him thinking about something.
"Go ahead and ask."
"About Shelly?" Joe said with a smile.
"Since she doesn't look much older than your sister, I take it she is your step mother."
"Shelly is my dad's wife. He married her two years ago. I was not very pleased with the situation, but she makes Dad happy so I've accepted her as his wife."
"But not as a stepmother?"
"Shit, no way will she ever be my stepmother."
"Can I ask about your real mother?"
"My mom died when I was six. She was killed in a head on car accident. Becky was fourteen at the time and she kind of took over raising me. Dad's job took him out of town a lot, so the only parent I spent much time with was Becky. When Becky and Tim got married I lived with them while I was going to school."
"And you spent your summers at the Inn. Right?"
"Right. . . When Dad was not on the road, I would spend the weekends with him."
"That's a lot of jumping around. It had to be hard on you."
"Not really. At the time Becky, Tim, and my dad lived in Springfield. I went to the same school no matter where I was staying. Besides I became an uncle when I was eleven, Jess and I kind of grew up together. The year I graduated high school Tim got a new job and they moved up here. I enrolled at the University of Illinois at Chicago and went off on my own."
"Isn't that nearby?" Joey asked.
"Yeah, it's about an hour away. I was far enough to feel I was on my own but close enough to come visit."
"How did Jess take you moving away?"
"She was mad at me for two weeks. Becky and Jess came to visit me at school one weekend. I showed them where I lived and we walked around the campus and I showed them where I was studying accounting."
"Did the visit help?"
"Not until we went to the Lincoln Park Zoo. Jess thought it was neat that I lived so close to the zoo."
"Now I see the bond you have with Jess. You may be her uncle, but you are also her big brother."
On the way back to the Inn, Matt called ahead and ordered a pizza for them to pick up.
Pulling behind the Inn Matt parked the truck. "Do we unload the truck now?" Joe asked.
"No. I have a guy that will take all that stuff and repair and clean it all up first," Matt said as they entered Matt's apartment through the garage.
Since both of them were ravenous, the pizza was the first priority. With all the lifting and carrying they did that day a hot shower was called for.
"I'll clean up this mess," Matt said. "Why don't you grab a quick shower."
"Don't you want to wash my back?" Joey asked with a sly grin.
Chuckling Matt said, "Later. I'll give you a back rub after we get out of the hot tub."
"Ok. I'll look forward to it."
Pulling on a pair of shorts after his shower, Matt was drying his hair when the phone rang. "Joe, can you get that?"
Joey looked at the caller ID and recognized the number. "Matt, I can't answer it."
"Why?" Matt asked as he came out of the bedroom still drying his hair.
"It's Justin calling."
"Oh. . . . And you're not here. Right?"
Picking up the phone Marc said, "Hello."
"Hey, Matt. This is Justin."
"Hi, Justin, what's up?"
"Ah, nothing really. I just wondered if you wanted to talk?"
"Sure, we can talk. Can I put you on hold for a minute. I just got out of the shower. Let me get something on."
"Sure go ahead."
"Ok, be right back," Matt said as he pushed the hold button.
"Why is he calling you?" Joey asked.
"He said he wanted to talk."
"Have you two talked before?"
`What's this? A hint of jealousy?' Matt thought. "Yes we've talked before. Until now it has only been over the net. And before you ask. I have talked to all you guys."
"Yeah. And until just now, you were the only one that has call me," Matt said as he leaned in and gave Joe a kiss on the end of his nose. Going to his computer, Matt picked up the handset to his cordless and plugged in a headset. Sitting down at one end of the couch, Matt turned the phone back on. "Hey kid, I'm back. What's up?"
"Oh, nothing really," Justin said softly.
"Justin, it's Saturday night. You're in New York, I thought you'd be out clubbing."
"How did you know I was in New York?"
"Joey told me you all would be staying until after Sunday's award show."
"Have you talked to Joey?" Justin asked.
"Yeah, sure. He called Wednesday night after the awards show. He wanted to make sure I had gotten home alright and if I had watched the show," Matt said as Joey sat down near him.
"Oh, have you talked to him since?"
"No, Justin, he hasn't called or e-mailed me since Wednesday night." Matt said while giving Joe a smile.
Joey got a knowing smirk on his face as he listened to Matt's end of the conversation. Joey turned and lay down with his head on Matt's lap so he was looking up at Matt.
"What's wrong? You feeling ok?"
"I feel fine."
"Then why aren't you out on the town?"
"I just didn't feel like going out tonight," Justin weakly said.
There was silence for a long time.
"Matt. How do you know if someone is right for you?"
"Justin is that someone by any chance Brittany?" Matt asked. Justin didn't answer. "I take it then you are questioning your feelings for her."
"You've known each other for a long time."
"Since the Mickey Mouse Club."
"Are you drawn to her physically?" Matt probed.
"You bet. She's hot."
"When she walks into the room, how do you feel?"
"At first, I couldn't take my eyes off her. But lately all I want to do is hide."
"Lately she has become so clingy. Like I'm expected to be with her whenever we go out in public. I feel like an accessory. I complete her look for the media."
As Matt talked with Justin, he would look down at Joe and smile. With the phone headset, Matt's hands were free to give Joe a little attention. Matt ran his fingers through Joe's still damp hair and noticed Joe's hair had grown out since they first met and now only the tips of his hair was a bright red. Matt used his right hand to play with Joe's soft chest hair.
Joe was listening intently at Matt's end of the conversation and was enjoying the caresses. `I could get use to this,' Joey thought. `I love the way he touches me. It makes me feel warm all over.' Taking Matt's hand Joe brought it up to his mouth and gently kissed the open palm then looked up at Matt's reaction. Matt's eyes sparkled as he looked down at the slyly grinning Joe.
"Justin, you are too young to be thinking along those lines. Right now, it sounds like you are letting your dick control your feelings for her. Your heart is shouting at you but your dick won't let you hear it."
"I get so confused at times. With the pressure from the media, and our management."
"Justin, I know it is confusing at times. The media and your management should have nothing to say in this matter. It's what's in your heart that matters."
"But how do I know if she is the one?" Justin asked.
"You already know the answer to that question. Listen to your heart. . . . . . When that right someone comes into your life, you will know. The voice in your heart will shout it out. This is the one," Matt softly said as he gazed into Joe's eyes.
"Thanks, Matt. I see what you are saying."
"Any time, Justin. I told you I'm a good listener and I'm glad I could help. Are there any other problems I can help you with?"
"Well , yeah. . . . It's Joey. I'm worried about him," Justin hesitantly said.
"Why?" Matt asked.
"He hasn't been himself lately. Since the end of the summer tour he has been distant."
"In what way?" Matt asked.
"I don't know. He seems to be thinking about something a lot. And when I ask him if everything's ok, he just says he is a little tired."
"With the schedule you guys have been keeping this year I'm not surprised Joey would be tired. How is he doing this weekend?"
"That's just it. He isn't here. He said he needed to get away for a few days and recharge his batteries."
"That sounds reasonable."
"Yeah. But he wouldn't tell anyone where he was going."
"Isn't the idea of getting away from you all is to be alone. It sounds like he just needs some quiet time. Not having to think about the group, just to get away, if just for a few days," Matt pointed out.
"Yeah, that's what Joey said before he left. . . . . Matt, can I ask you something?"
"Are you alone tonight?" Justin asked after getting a flash of insight.
Matt didn't answer.
"Since you're not answering, I take it you have company."
Matt still did not answer.
"Is Joey with you?"
Silence from Matt's end.
"You still there?"
"Yes," Matt finally said.
"I take it you promised Joey you wouldn't let anyone know he is there?"
"I think you are starting to understand."
"Is he ok?" Justin asked with concern.
"Yes," Marc said with a chuckle.
"Matt, I'm glad he is with you. I know you two have become close."
"How?" Matt quizzed.
"He talks about you all the time. And I know he has been online with you a lot. Every once and a while he will let something slip about one of your stories days before you post it."
"How do you feel about that?"
"That you are friends? Great. We don't make too many new friends on tour. And I'm glad Joey has found someone he can trust out side of the group. Actually, I think he has become one of your biggest fans. You should see how his face lights up when we start talking about you or one of your stories. I'd swear he was in love. . . . . with. . . . . you. . . . . . Oh, shit."
Matt waited for the next question.
"Did, did I just stumble onto Joey's problem?"
"Is it a problem?"
"That Joey is in love with you?"
"No. I'm just a little surprised that's all. He is kind of my big brother, and I love him. This won't change a thing. . . . . . Matt. You do love him?"
"Yes," Matt said with a chuckle.
"Good. Just promise me what ever happens you won't hurt him."
"That one's easy. You got it," Matt said.
"I know I'm not suppose to know about this. I won't tell anyone," Justin said. "When Joey is ready to talk about this, I hope he will come to me."
"Justin you are a good friend. And when Joey is ready to tell you what's bothering him I'm sure he will talk to you. Just give him the space he needs."
"I will, Matt. And thanks for being a good friend and listening to my problems. And thanks for being there for Joey."
"It's no problem, Justin. Give me a call whenever you need to talk. Email me when you want to talk and I will let you know how to get a hold of me if I'm on the road."
"Or I could just ask Joey how to get a hold of you," Justin said with a snicker.
Laughing softly, "That would also work," Matt said.
"Good bye, Matt."
Matt turned off the phone and looked down at Joey. Leaning down Matt found Joey's lips and they softly kissed.
Smiling up at Matt, Joey asked, "Did you get Justin all straightened out about Brittany?"
"I really don't think there was much to straighten out. He was already questioning his feelings for her. And he knew the answer. He just needed to move the shit that was hiding the answer, out of the way," Matt said.
After a few moments of silence Joey asked, "Justin knows about us, doesn't he?"
"Yes. . . . Are you mad at me?" Matt asked with concern.
"No, Matt. You kept your promise to me. I also understand that you don't like to lie. Knowing Justin, I figured he was asking a lot of questions. From the long silence on your end, I figured he had asked the right question and by not answering you confirmed the question. Right?"
"He knows that I'm here."
"And. . . About us?"
"Yes he knows."
"That we are real good friends."
"And he knows something that I haven't even told you," Matt said a little nervous.
Frowning, Joey asked, "And what would that be?"
"That I love you," Matt said softly.
Reaching up placing his hand behind Matt's head Joey gently pulled Matt down and kissed him deeply. Breaking the kiss Joey looked into Matt's eyes and said, "I love you, Matt."
Joey awoke before Matt. Matt lay wrapped in his arms. Joey's left hand lay lightly on Matt's taut stomach. His fingers brushed the top of Matt's boxers as he rubbed the soft hair on Matt's abs and chest. Brushing across Matt's right nipple, he felt it harden and he heard Matt's breathing change. Leaning down he softly kissed Matt's shoulder.
Matt purred at the attention he was getting as he woke. Turning over so he was facing Joey, he smiled as he said, "Good morning."
"Morning, Matt," Joey said as he leaned in for a kiss. Pulling back quickly, Joey turned his head away.
Chuckling, Matt asked, "What's wrong? Do I have morning breath?"
"No. I thought I heard something."
The bedroom door flew open with Jess standing there grinning. "Are you two ever going to get up?"
Matt looked up and was only able to get "Jess" out before she pounced on him.
Giggling Jess started to tickle her uncle through the blankets. Matt squirmed at his niece's attack. "Jess, Jess, I'm awake!" Matt laughed.
Stopping her attack, Jess remained on top of Matt. "Morning, Uncle Matt," she said as she gave Matt a kiss on the cheek. Turning her attention to Joey she grinned, "Good morning, Joey."
"Ah, ah, good morning, Jess," Joey said as the glow of embarrassment rose in his cheeks.
Matt started to laugh at Joe's embarrassment of being caught in bed. "Jess, did we have plans for today?"
"Then why are you here? Other than to break a rib when you jumped on me."
"Do you think I was going to let you keep Joey to yourself all weekend? I was good and let you have him all day yesterday. Now you have to share."
"I do?" Matt quizzed.
"Yep. Just remember I know where grandpa keeps your baby pictures."
"That sounds like blackmail," Matt said.
"You're right," Jess said with a smirk. Turning her head to Joey, "There is this one picture with Uncle Matt with no clothes on making like a water fountain. It is so cute, his little thingy shooting this geyser straight up into the air. And he has this cute smile on his face as he was doing it."
Joey started to laugh at Matt's reaction to Jess's story. Matt tried to pull the covers over his head to hide his embarrassment but Jess was on top of them and they wouldn't move.
"I was six months old when that picture was taken," Matt said in his defense. "And just you remember young lady I have pictures of you."
"I sure do. Remember I took care of you when you were a baby. I gave you as many baths as your mom did. I have a ton of photos of you in the tub, and running around with out your dipper. I have a video of your kindergarten Thanksgiving Pageant. She was a pumpkin. She was so cute," Matt teased.
Jess sighed, "I guess blackmail won't get me any were."
"You're right," Matt said. "But if you fix breakfast for us, we might be able to come up with something we can do together."
"Really?" Jess asked with a wide grin.
"Yeah, really," Joey said.
"Cool," Jess said as she got up off of Matt. " Are omelets ok?"
"That will be fine. Now go get things started while we get a shower and dressed."
"Ok, Uncle Matt. Just don't take all day getting dressed," Jess said as she headed for the kitchen.
"And shut the bedroom door on your way out," said Matt shouted.
"I don't know why, like there is something I haven't seen before," Jess muttered as she closed the door.
Matt got into the shower as Joey made a pit stop to pee.
Joining Matt in the shower Joe asked, "How is your little thingy doing?"
"My thingy is not so little any more," Matt said as he turned to face Joe. "I thought you noticed last night. You didn't seem to have too much trouble finding it."
"No, I found it quite easily," Joey said with a sly smile.
"But I do think you need to have your eyes checked."
"Why?" Joe asked a little confused.
"You spent so much time looking at it close up," Matt chuckled.
"Actually I found your thingy quite interesting. It could do so many tricks."
"I haven't shown you the first trick it learned ," Marc said with a mischievous grin.
"And what trick is that?" Joey asked. . . . . Then he knew what trick Matt was referring to as he felt the hot liquid running down his leg. "I don't believe you just did that."
"I can still do a geyser," Matt chuckled.
"Come on! Breakfast is ready," Jess shouted.
"Good, I'm hungry," Joey said as he and Matt entered the kitchen.
Jess was watching them as they took a seat. "Darn! No one is walking funny," Jess mumbled to herself.
"What was that?" Matt asked.
"Oh. . . Nothing."
"Jess. . . .what about walking funny?" Matt asked as he gave Joe a wink.
As the blush rose Jess answered, "That no one was walking funny."
"Why would we be walking funny?" Joe asked.
"I. . . Was hoping . . . the two of you would have gotten together last night."
"And what would walking funny have to do with us getting together?" Matt asked.
"Well. . . If you two got together and a. . . You know. . . . Did it. You might be kind of sore back there," Jess said softly.
Matt looked at Joe and sighed. Joe gave Matt a nod.
"Jess come here."
Jess went and stood in front of her uncle, eyes to the ground. Placing a finger under her chin Matt brought her head up till they were looking eye to eye.
"Jess, I know what you were thinking. But walking funny is not a good gauge to determine if Joey and I have gotten together. It would be easier if you just ask," Matt said with a slight smile.
It took a moment for it to sink in before she asked, "Are you two together?"
Matt looked to Joey. "Yes Jess we are together," Joey said with a big smile.
"Great!" Jess said as she hugged first Matt and then Joey adding a kiss to the cheek.
"Jess, you are a very good cook, breakfast was delicious," Joey complemented her.
"Thank you. What are we going to do today?"
"I don't know, what would you like to do Jess?" Matt asked.
"We could go to the mall. Stacy and Nancy will just die when they see Joey."
"A hum," Matt cleared his throat, as he shook his head.
"It's too dangerous for Joey. We need to keep Joey's visits a secret for awhile," Matt pointed out.
"Joey will have to wear a disguise when he goes out to the mall. There will be too many people in a confined space for him to be safe and relax,"
"Well, where can we go?"
"I have an idea. . . . . How about the zoo?" Joey suggested.
"Brookfield?" Jess asked Matt.
"Brookfield," Matt said with a nod.
Brookfield Zoo was the perfect choice. Everyone was in hats and sunglasses so they blended in easily. There were no crowds to contend with so they were able to freely walk around with only one added security measure. Joey took on a new name of Eddie. Jess thought the idea was wild and chose the name Natalie and gave Matt the name Jeff.
After a couple hours of wondering around the zoo, it was decided a break was in order.
Finding a table under a shady tree Joe and Jess lay claim to it as Matt went for cold drinks and snacks.
Sitting opposite Joey, Jess asked, "So. . . . You like Matt?"
Smiling, Joe answered, "A little more than like."
"A lot more," Joe chuckled.
"And I take it Uncle Matt feels the same?"
After a few moments of silence, Joe asked, "Jess, how do you feel about Matt and me getting together?"
"At first I thought it was great that you and Uncle Matt were friends. It was exciting to know he had made friends with one of the guys of NSYNC. He loves your music so much and he is one of your biggest fans."
"Oh," Joey said.
"But when you came to supper the other night I could see that Uncle Matt was not interested in you as a fan. He was interested in you as a friend. I think if you had worked at McDonalds as a cashier, and Matt met you, he would have been attracted to you right off."
"It's good to know I have other career opportunities if my current job doesn't pan out." Joey chuckled.
"Joey, are any of the other guys . . . Well you know?"
"Not that I know about. But there is that thing with Lance," Joey said softly.
The shock on Jessica's face told Matt something was going on. And picking up on the words `thing with Lance', Matt put down the tray of snacks. "What about Lance?"
"Jess just wondered if any of the others were," Joe said in a low voice, as he looked around. "You know ."
"Oh, that. Is Lance still seeing AJ?" Matt asked giving Joe a wink.
"No. No way," Jess said while shaking her head.
Joey and Matt bust out laughing at Jess's reaction.
"Just kidding," Joe laughed.
As Matt pulled into the driveway of Jess's house, Jess said, "Thanks for putting up with me today."
"We didn't have much choice," Matt chuckled.
Joe gave Matt a behave yourself look. "Jess, I had a great time today. Whenever I get in town for more then a few hours, I'd like to get together again."
"Well come back soon. And thanks again for today," Jess said as she leaned over the front seat to give Matt and Joey a kiss.
Later that night Joey and Matt watched
the award show from the comfort of the couch.
"Matt, what's wrong?" Joe asked with concern.
"Nothing," Matt softly said.
"Come on get up," Joe said as he gave Matt a little shove.
"Why? What did I do?" Matt asked as he stood up.
Reaching for the remote Joey turned off the TV, got up, and stood in front of Matt.
"You just lied to me," Joey said. "There is something wrong."
Taking Matt's hand Joey lead him into the bedroom. "Come on, get in bed," Joe ordered.
Matt and Joey climbed onto the bed and lay down facing each other. "Now tell me what's wrong?" Joe asked again.
"I'm scared," Matt softly said. "That this weekend will be all we will have."
Understanding Matt's fears, Joey pulled Matt closer to him. "Matt, I don't know what to say that will make you feel better. I can say that this weekend I found something special here; for the first time in my life, being here with you, felt so right. Matt, I love you, and for the first time in my life I can say that and know that it is not just a line."
"I know you love me and I love you just as much. It's just I don't know when we will see each other again."
"That is going to be the hardest part for both of us. I will try to get back as often as I can," Joe tried to reassure Matt.
"Have the fall tour dates been set yet?" Matt asked.
"Yeah, we start out in mid October and go to the first of December," Joey said.
"Do you know what cities?"
"No, not yet. We have a meeting later in the week and I should know something then. If it's close by do you want me to get you tickets?"
"No, . . . . I think I will hit up Justin for tickets," Matt said.
Frowning, "Why? I can get you tickets."
"Joe, Justin knows about us. And since you don't want the others to know about us just yet."
"I see. Spread out your contacts among us. Not make it obvious that we are together."
"Joe, I think you can trust Justin. He was so concerned about you and his reaction last night seemed positive."
"It will be nice to be able to talk to someone close, when I start missing you too much," Joey said with a sigh.
"After the tour what have you guys got planned?" Matt asked.
"Just a couple appearances in December and a awards show in January. We are going to be able to have a real Christmas with family for the first time in years. Then we go into the studio to work on our next album."
"Well I've got three weeks vacation coming," Matt said while thinking. "I hear Florida is nice and warm in January."
"You mean you would spend your vacation time in Orlando?" Joey asked with a smile.
"I'm thinking along that line," Matt said.
"That would be great if you could come down."
"Joe, tonight will you just hold me until I go to sleep?"
"No. I will hold you all night," Joe said as he tenderly kiss Matt.
"Joe, are you about ready?" Matt shouted.
"Yes, yes, I'm all set," Joey said as he came out of the bedroom with his bag.
"Did you get everything?"
"Actually I'm only taking my shave kit and your shirt. I'm leaving the rest of my stuff here. Is that ok?"
"Hmmm, just what I always wanted, Joey Fatone's dirty laundry," Matt laughed. "I wonder how much I could get for it on E Bay?"
"Don't you dare. When I come back I'd like to have a change of clothes," Joey said as thay went out to the garage.
Tossing his bag in the front seat, Joey turned to Matt, "Are you sure you don't want to come see me off at the airport?"
"Joe, it would be too hard to see you get on a plane and fly off. This way I'm just seeing my boyfriend off as he goes to work," Matt said as he pulled Joey into a deep kiss.
"Wow!! With a kiss like that I really don't want to go,"
"Just remember were that kiss comes from and remember you can have more anytime you want all you need to do is come visit," Matt said with a smirk.
Getting one last hug from Matt, Joey was surprised when Matt put something in his hand. "What's this?"
"Your own remote to the garage door and the key to my apartment," Matt said. "I would love to come home some day and find you naked in bed."
Smiling, Joey said, "That sounds like a plan. . . . . I need to get going."
Leaning in for one last kiss, "Matt, I love you."
"I love you too, Joe. Give me a call tonight. Ok?"
"You got it. Bye, Matt."
"Bye, Joe." Matt said as he closed the car door.
Matt watched Joe pull away. Giving a final wave, Matt knew his life would not be the same from this day on.
Taking one last glance in the rearview mirror Joey smiled, knowing he had found what he was looking for in Matt and his life now had a new meaning to it.
I'm happy to present this the first posting of the new year. I hope everyone enjoys this chapter. My New Life will return in February, with the next chapter of 66 mid February, so keep an eye out for them.