Saturday Night Love
Initial Edit: 28 October 2000
Final Revision: 21 November 2000 ('Black And Blue' day)
All the usual disclaimers apply: please stop reading if you are underage or homophobic. Please note that this is a work of fiction - nothing is being implied about the sexuality of any of the people portrayed below.
Hey everyone. :)
A new story, and (thankfully) a single-parter to boot! <grin>
This story was conceived after I watched my first ever 'Saturday Night Live' about a month ago - which, as fate would have it, was hosted by Joshua Jackson (Pacey from 'Dawson's Creek') with *NSync as the musical guests. I was channel surfing at the time, and happened to switch over (fate was looking out for me that day) just as Joshua came out to present his monologue. Now, I've liked Joshua for a while, but I was just stunned as I saw him on the screen. Thankfully, having caught my attention long enough, I heard him say that *NSync were the musical guests, and I knew I couldn't (wouldn't!) miss the show. :)
From that sprang the idea for the following story. I hope you enjoy it. :)
Thanks to mh for another wonderful job of editing. And thanks also to nick (mega-nick from the #boybands chatroom) for his valuable insights into the television industry. Unfortunately, nick, I couldn't take on all your suggestions (they would have messed up the storyline in certain parts), but for those that I am using, thank you! :)
Which brings me to my last point: this is a work of fiction, guys! :) Those of you, who, like nick, have worked in the television industry (or know some of the behind-the-scenes workings), please be aware that this is not supposed to reflect real life. :)
Saturday Night Love
Joshua Jackson sighed and smiled contentedly as he hung up his cell phone.
His agent had just called and asked him if he wanted to appear on an episode of 'Saturday Night Live'. Joshua hadn't been interested at first, despite the irksome cajoling from his agent, until he'd casually asked whom else would be on. When his agent had replied with those magical words, "*NSync will be the musical guests", his mind did an immediate back flip, and he promptly agreed, leaving his agent to sort out all the necessary paperwork.
He felt a tug on his sleeve and turned to see Katie Holmes smiling quizzically up at him. "Coming? We're about to shoot the final scene."
"Sure. I'll be there in a second, Katie."
She frowned slightly at his odd tone, then turned and left, leaving him alone with his thoughts. '*NSync, huh?' He couldn't wait to see them in person...
...especially the man who had haunted his dreams for so long: one Joshua Chasez.
"Okay people, thanks for coming," the director called out, speaking to the assembled mass of faces in front of him - some which he knew quite well, others which he would be getting to know better over the next four days. "You've all had a chance to study the scripts we've sent you, and over the next few days we'll be rehearsing them. As always, on Friday we'll be doing a complete dress rehearsal from start to finish."
He paused, to let that information settle into the minds of the newcomers. "And if you'd like to change anything in the script, or make suggestions for new sketches, now is the time to do it. We've got the most leeway now for the writers to make the modifications and approve any changes; it won't do any good to ask for changes the day before filming, okay?"
The SNL regulars just nodded absently, having suffered through the director's spiel many times before. Joshua, who was sitting at one end of the assembled group, and *NSync, who were seated at the other end, looked surprised at his words. Surely he couldn't mean that they could make suggestions about new sketches, or re-working of the existing ones? Joshua, in particular, found it hard to believe: he actually worked in television, and hadn't come across anything like this in all his years in the industry.
He looked over and saw that the *NSync guys were discussing the director's offer in hushed, albeit excited, voices. Oh well, if they were going to take the director up on his offer, so was he. Besides, he had an idea for the '7° Celsius' sketch that he thought would be hilarious - it had popped into his mind only minutes after he'd read the sketch almost two weeks earlier, and had bugged him on and off ever since.
The director continued to rattle off his spiel, ignoring - or, most probably, ignorant of - *NSync's hushed conversation. Joshua concentrated on the director's words, wanting to make sure he understood everything clearly; his role as the show's host was a bit more involved and complex than *NSync's would be.
After a few minutes, the director had expended his tiresome litany and departed, leaving the regular cast and their guests to their own devices. Some of the regulars came up and spoke with Joshua, welcoming him to the SNL family and chatting amicably with him - mostly about the business they were in. He laughed and joked with them while keeping a subtle lookout on the boyband at the other end of the room, in case he had a chance to introduce himself to them. The band had come in a bit late, and had missed being formally introduced to everyone else. This seemed to be against their favour, as he noticed that none of the regular cast made an effort to engage the singers in conversation. In fact, there was a noticeable gap between the quintet and the rest of the people in the room, even though not everyone was huddled around Joshua's chair...
Finally the cast disappeared in ones and twos back to their respective dressing rooms, eventually leaving Joshua alone with the musical group. Chris Kattan had been the last to leave, and he reminded Joshua about the rehearsal later that afternoon before disappearing as well - not bothering to spare his musical guests a glance.
Joshua, knowing that the guys wouldn't make the first move after the reception they'd received, got up and approached them. "Hi, guys. Nice to meet you, finally," he said neutrally, giving them a non-committal shortish wave and a brief honest grin.
"Hey, Josh," Chris replied lazily.
"Hi, Josh," Joey said, smiling up at him.
"Hi." Lance's greeting was slightly shy, but welcoming all the same.
"Hey there," Justin enthused, fidgeting on his seat.
If anything, JC's greeting was even shyer than Lance's. However, his dazzling smile seemed more genuine than his bandmates' efforts at the same. Joshua smiled broadly back at them, his own smile developing as a result of seeing JC's radiant one, and pulled up a chair. "What do you guys think of the script?"
"It's okay," Justin replied, smiling back at him more genuinely. "But some of these sketches are a bit lame. I think JC's gonna have to work some of his magic."
"Huh?" Joshua asked, not understanding Justin's comment.
"Joshua is a budding writer," Chris explained, turning to smile briefly at his colleague before turning to face the actor again. "He enjoys writing - just about anything, it seems - though he doesn't do it professionally. We were just trying to convince him to rewrite some of the poorer sketches, but he's not convinced."
Joshua felt confused for a moment, before he recalled that JC's first name was 'Joshua' as well. He smiled at that realisation, and turned to look at JC. "I think you should go for it, dude. I was thinking of suggesting a change to 'the d' myself."
"The d?" JC asked, confused.
"Sorry, 'Director'. I forgot that you guys aren't in the TV industry."
"Oh, that's okay," JC replied, smiling in turn. "What were you gonna suggest?"
"I have this idea," Joshua replied, getting really comfortable in his chair and looking directly at JC, "for the '7° Celsius' sketch. I want to play the part of the group's fan club president, who's in the audience, but I want to make him appear totally obsessed with the group and Wade in particular. I think, provided we can get the SNL guys to react appropriately to this obsessed character, that it will make a really funny sketch."
"Hey, sounds neat," JC agreed, looking back at Joshua with an intense gaze. Neither of them noticed the others giving them speculative looks.
"It'll need a bit of work, and I'm not sure if I have the time to really plan it through, what with rehearsals and all. But I guess I can suggest the idea to the writers and they can take it from there."
"Nah, don't do that," JC replied, quickly. "No offence to the writers, but I think you'd do a better job of it than they would - after all it's your idea, and you know what you want the character to say, right? And if you wanted the other perspective - you know, the band's reaction to an obsessed fan - then we can help you with that. Right, guys?"
JC and Joshua looked around at the others, and saw a mad scramble by the guys to get their expressions under control. Joshua didn't know what to make of it, but JC easily guessed what they'd been thinking. He started to fume at their presumptions, itching to tell them off in no uncertain terms, but was prevented from doing so by Joshua's presence.
The guys agreed - to varying degrees - with JC's appraisal of the writers' abilities. Joey went so far as to say, "Yeah, JC is right. Rewrite the sketch yourself and if you need our help, I'm sure JC will be more than happy to lend a hand." He turned to wink at his bandmate, the smile on his face full of mischief and mirth.
Joshua couldn't see what was so funny about Joey's comment, as the other guys choked and valiantly tried to contain their sudden spurts of laughter. Only JC remained somewhat unaffected, but even he was reacting oddly - he had a scowl on his face and was looking at Joey with daggers coming out of his eyes.
"C'mon, Joshua. Let's leave these clowns here and go somewhere to discuss your sketch," JC suggested, standing up and waiting for Joshua to do the same.
"Sure, JC," Joshua replied, standing up as well. He looked down at the still smiling and grinning faces of the others, and said, "See y'all later."
A chorus of "Byes" followed him as he set off after JC.
"What was that all about JC?" he asked tentatively, as he sat down next to the singer on the long threadbare couch in the green room.
"Nothing, Joshua. Forget it, please?"
"Sure, okay," Joshua replied, still confused.
"Sorry, man," JC said, looking embarrassed all of a sudden. "The guys are just dicks sometimes. They're just teasing me about something, and you kinda got caught in the middle of it all."
"Oh, okay," Joshua replied. He decided that it wasn't worth the effort to continue this line of conversation. It looked like JC didn't want to explain anything, at least in clear understandable terms, and he was too pressed for time to continue a cryptic conversation with the singer. "Anyway, about this idea of mine for the sketch..."
JC tuned him out for a second, just taking in the handsome face before him. He couldn't deny the feelings he had for Joshua. Ever since he'd flicked through the channels in his hotel room several years earlier, and had stumbled upon 'Dawson's Creek' for the first time, he had felt drawn to Joshua like no one else before.
And here he was, talking to Joshua, sitting across from him, face-to-face, and he couldn't deny that his whole body was tingling with excitement. It was as if fate had drawn them together. When they'd signed on to do SNL, they hadn't known who the host would be. But here he was; the one and only person that JC would have picked to host the show - had he'd been given the option - and no one could tell him that it wasn't kismet.
He snapped back to reality a moment later when Joshua took a small breather, and concentrated - boy, did he have to concentrate - on what Joshua was saying.
Joshua's idea was actually a pretty good one. He could easily imagine how funny it would play out on camera. He waited for Joshua to finish outlining the idea, then jumped in wholeheartedly and made several suggestions of his own.
Joshua seemed to like them, and the two of them played off each other's suggestions until they'd worked out a rough and ready dialogue in their heads for the new character. Joshua was ready to get up and search for a piece of paper and pen to start writing it all down, when one of the cast found them and reminded them that the rehearsal was about to start.
Joshua didn't think a great deal about the sketch they were in the middle of rehearsing. It wasn't exactly side-splitting humour, but he didn't have a lot to do in it, so it didn't bother him much.
He watched as the actress playing his 'Aunt Collette', Cheri Oteri, ran through her dialogue flawlessly, with appropriate facial expressions for her character's oddities, and spotted an opening for a new joke. He raised his hand and the director stopped the rehearsal to ask him what he wanted. He tentatively asked if the director was genuine about them contributing to the material, and after receiving an affirmative nod, suggested that he had a modification he'd like to try.
"Certainly, Mr. Jackson. Please go ahead."
Joshua smiled and said, "Just after Cheri asks the class who they listen to, music-wise that is, instead of her continuing her dialogue immediately after the question, maybe we can have one of the *NSync guys say, 'We're into the Backstreet Boys'."
Predictably, the *NSync guys gave him raised-eyebrow looks, and one or two of the regulars laughed outright. Joshua continued without waiting for the director's reaction, wanting to build his case. "And then Cheri says something like, 'Oh, Backstreet. Haven't heard any of his music.'."
This time, even the *NSync guys found it hard to keep their composures, especially with most of the regular cast laughing loudly around them. Joey finally cracked up, and said, "Let's do it. I wanna be the one who says the line, too. And if no one minds, I'm gonna play the character slightly gay."
The director wasn't sure about the suggestion, but after discussing it with the handful of writers in attendance, he decided to run through the new routine a couple of times, tightening the delivery of the lines, until both he and the writers were happy with the addition. He made a note of it in his copy of the script, aware that the writers were doing the same.
They finished that particular sketch shortly after, and the director gave the cast and crew a short break.
Joey was in Joshua's face almost immediately, thanking him for the suggestion. He loved it! And it meant he had a line to say in the sketch as well. He hadn't been too pleased that Chris had been chosen over the rest of them to play a speaking part in the first half of the sketch. Especially with a classic line like: "Don't touch me, you... you poodle man!" What he would have given to be the one delivering that line!
Meanwhile, behind them, Justin and Lance dragged a reluctant JC away from the cast and crew and drilled him about his feelings for Joshua.
"You're not still infatuated with him, are you?" Justin asked, a tad exasperated.
"No!" JC denied hotly. Lance's doubting expression forced him to unwillingly qualify, "Well, maybe a tiny bit." Justin joined in with an equally doubtful look, and he came clean. "Okay, so I'm still infatuated with the guy, happy now?"
Irritatingly, both his companions smiled broadly.
"What?" he asked, confused, and slightly angry.
"Just be careful, Joshy," Justin replied, squeezing his arm. "You don't know if he's gay, or even if he likes you. Don't get hurt, okay?"
Lance gave his companion an irritated frown, before turning to Josh. "What I think Curly means is: be careful. The last thing you want is to have your heart broken. And seeing how you two seem to be getting along together, if you spend any time with him it's gonna be hard to keep yourself from falling for him and possibly getting hurt."
"I know, Lansten. I'll keep your advice firmly in mind," JC sighed, gripping Lance's shoulder tightly in thanks and understanding. "I like the guy, and I can see myself falling for him, provided he's gay. I just hope that if he is, that he likes me."
Justin smiled and rubbed JC's arm. "I'm sure he will. You're such a lovable person!"
JC laughed, half-heartedly, along with Lance and Justin, before turning his gaze back to the milling crowd. Unerringly, his eyes locked onto Joshua's figure, and he sighed wistfully. Lance and Justin noticed this, as good friends generally do, and smiled sadly at each other. It looked like their warning was a bit too late - JC was already head over heels in love with Joshua.
After several more hours of rehearsing, the director dismissed them for the day, and reminded them that they should be back at the studio early the next morning to continue rehearsing. He also reminded them, before disappearing back to his office, that any modifications, new sketches, suggestions and/or jokes should be finalised that night at the latest, and handed in first thing in the morning for inclusion into the script before filming took place.
Joshua, whose stomach was tied up in knots as he contemplated how to go about asking JC for his assistance, almost jumped out of his skin as he felt a warm hand touch his arm. He turned around, startled, and looked straight into the warmest eyes he'd ever seen. He swallowed as he tried to get his suddenly churning thoughts and emotions under control. "H-hey," he stuttered, feeling his face turn red in embarrassment.
"Hi," JC responded, also feeling inordinately shy at that moment. "I was wondering if you wanted any help with that sketch of yours? Or maybe your monologue, if you're still working on it?" JC silently prayed for an affirmative answer.
"Yeah, that'd be great," Joshua replied, feeling his heart starting to beat faster in excitement. "The monologue is done, I just need to flesh out the '7° Celsius' sketch a bit more. How do you wanna do this?" He almost groaned aloud as his mind registered the unintentional double entendre, and wished he could take the words back.
"Umm, how about we meet either at your hotel room, or mine, and we'll work on the sketch there? We can order in some room service, or maybe go out to a café, for dinner if you'd like?" 'My God, I'm babbling like an idiot. I hope he doesn't think I'm normally this scatterbrained!'
"Uh, sure. Sounds great."
JC smiled and prompted Joshua, "So where do you want to meet?"
"How about my hotel room?"
"Sure, sounds good," JC replied. He asked for the pertinent info, and arranged to meet Joshua at five that afternoon.
As Joshua watched him leave, he couldn't help but notice that JC's bandmates were still teasing him about whatever they'd been teasing him about earlier in the day. He grinned at the embarrassed expression on JC's face, and shook his head in envy at the easy camaraderie the group had.
JC surprised him that afternoon by turning up and informing him they had reservations at the Hard Rock Café. Joshua let himself be bullied into a change of clothes - he'd put on his sweats when he got back to his hotel room from the studio - and bullied out of the hotel into a waiting cab. He smiled, despite himself, as JC took charge. He liked the singer's cajoling voice, and felt comfortable in his presence.
JC wasn't a slouch in the entertaining department either. He joked with his namesake, keeping the conversation flowing and lively, making Joshua feel even more at ease. Joshua, himself, found it incredibly easy to talk to the tall, ruggedly handsome man who'd captured his thoughts earlier that year when he'd first heard and seen the group perform on television. Gone were the nerves of earlier that day, as he realised that regardless of what might, or might not, happen with JC, he had found a person he could love and trust as a true friend.
Dinner, though the usual Hard Rock fare, somehow seemed to taste better that night for both of them. They spent the hour and a half while at the restaurant, eating, talking, and getting to know each other better. It was the perfect start to building the foundation of their friendship.
The night wore steadily on...
It was getting close to 11, and they'd just about finished scripting the new character. It had taken longer than expected, as they'd continually stopped to talk about other things, including their workmates and friends. Each had funny stories to tell the other about their colleagues; so much so, that they generally fell about with tears in their eyes as they laughed themselves silly. At one point, Joshua suggested that the bedroom would be a better place to work, as they would be more comfortable on the king sized bed, and they wouldn't have far to fall if they rolled around in a fit of laughter.
So there they were, lying next to each other, on their stomachs with their upper bodies supported by their elbows and their arms only millimetres apart, when the conversation took a very strange turn.
"You know, I just thought of the perfect ending for this sketch," Joshua said.
"What's that?" JC asked, looking up into his friend's eyes for the millionth time that night, and not finding it any easier to control the rush that welled up inside him.
"After the fan club president asks the questions, he should finish by making a remark about seeing Wade the next day at his birthday party or something."
"And, of course, Wade says something like, 'I'm not gonna be there. I don't know you, man. We've never met before, etcetera.'"
"Yeah, and... ?" JC repeated, with more urgency and a huge Cheshire Cat grin.
"And we'll have the fan club president say something like, 'Oh, haven't you seen the website I created for you guys, and the story I wrote about you?' It'll be hilarious."
A moment later, Joshua realised that he was the only one smiling and laughing about it. He looked up into JC's oddly fearful expression, and asked him softly, "What's wrong, JC?"
"Uh, Joshua, where... why did you come up with that?" There was a tiny tremor of fear in his voice.
"With the whole website and story idea."
"No reason, really. I just know that there's tons of websites and stories about boybands..." Joshua trailed off, suddenly very scared. He'd just admitted to JC that he visited websites and read stories about boybands, or at the very least, he'd come across these concepts before. Something a straight guy wouldn't admit to doing...
Suddenly, very aware that he needed to salvage himself in JC's eyes, he urgently continued, "I... I know about these things because there are tons of them dedicated to 'Dawson's Creek', and some even just about me. I... I... One day I came across something similar, and that's how I found out that there are some dedicated to... to... you guys, and... uh, and... other boybands."
He closed his eyes as he resigned himself to being found out. What was wrong with him? Why did he have to go and say something like that - something that would hurt JC and their growing friendship?
Almost a lifetime of waiting passed before he cautiously opened his eyes to look fearfully at JC - who'd said nothing at all in the interim. He saw that JC's eyes were glazed over, as if he was thinking hard about something, then they re-focused and settled on him.
"Oh," JC finally said, taking Joshua's sudden embarrassment into consideration and coming to a conclusion. "I... I guess you've come across some of the... the..." he swallowed hard, before forcing the word out, "gay stories about us, huh?"
"Yeah," Joshua admitted after a lengthy pause; keeping to himself how much he loved to read such stories in private. "I've come across, umm, some sites with gay stories. But, JC, man, those same sites also have stories about... about my character, Pacey, and even some about... me." Joshua became flushed again, and hoped that JC wouldn't think to ask the obvious...
"You? There are gay stories about you, too?"
"Yeah," Joshua answered softly, almost resignedly. "They mainly have 'me' in sexual situations with James. You know, James Van Der Beek, the guy who plays Dawson?"
"Umm, yeah, I know who James is," JC replied, just as softly. Then feeling greatly daring, he asked, "Have any of the stories been... good?"
"Which ones?" Joshua asked neutrally. "The James and me ones, the Pacey and Dawson ones, or the... the boyband ones?"
"Any," JC replied, almost whispering.
"I've read some good stories about all those combinations," Joshua admitted. "In fact," he continued, ducking his head to stare at the suddenly fascinating quilt they were lying on, "some of the gay stories are better than any straight story I've read. Especially in the case of boybands..."
JC remained quiet as he contemplated everything he'd found out. It looked to him like Joshua might be gay, or bi at the very least, and he didn't know what he felt about this realisation. It was exciting, in a way, but it was also scary as all hell. If Joshua really were bi or gay, then a door that JC had thought locked shut to him, would end up being unlocked after all. And he would have to decide whether or not to open it...
He pushed that thought aside, not yet ready to deal with it. Making his mind up to be at least as honest as Joshua had been, he decided to come clean himself. "Yeah, I think you're right. Some of the gay stories about us are better than anything I've read in a straight story. And I've read some good gay stories about other people and other groups, but nothing about you or Pacey."
Joshua had turned to look at JC in surprise as he confessed, and couldn't believe what he'd heard. JC was admitting to him that he also read gay erotica. Could it mean that he was gay as well? The possibility freaked him out completely, while at the same time causing him to get an achingly hard erection. He was thankful that he'd changed to go out to dinner, otherwise there wouldn't have been any way to hide his predicament from JC while wearing his sweat pants.
"Josh? Joshua, are you okay?" JC asked in concern.
"Yeah, JC. I'm fine. I'm just a bit surprised, that's all." He willed his erection to go away, and felt it beginning to deflate. "I didn't know how you'd take my revelation about me reading gay erotica. I'm kind of surprised that not only aren't you freaking out about this, but you also read it too."
JC smiled, relieved to see the equilibrium of their friendship righting itself. "Me too, Joshua."
They both chuckled, and gently play-wrestled with each other for a few minutes, before Joshua brought their attention back to the sketch they'd spent the evening working on. "JC, I'll understand if you don't want to include that part in the sketch. It's not really critical anyway, so we can just drop it."
"Nah, don't be silly, man. It really is important to the sketch. After all, real life fan club presidents out there are probably exactly like that. Their websites would have tons of pictures and stories about us - umm, I mean '7° Celsius'. So, even if it's a guy who's president, he's bound to have the same sort of stuff on his website."
"Yeah, I guess so," Joshua agreed reservedly, "But, having a guy president would kind of imply that the stories on his site would be... you know, gay."
"Maybe," JC answered, looking thoughtful for a moment. "I don't think it really matters, Joshua. Most people won't catch the connection between the 'story' comment he makes, and gay erotica. And those that do will probably be gay, and they'll be happy that we played a part in a sketch about it. And think," he continued, "having Joey acting gay in the other sketch will be an added bonus for them."
Joshua raised his left eyebrow as he looked over at JC. "Dude, that is so wrong!" He chuckled softly, as he stared into JC's eyes, seeing the warmth showing in them again.
JC stared back into Joshua's eyes and had to silently remonstrate himself for letting his feelings show so clearly. He gulped nervously as he saw Joshua's eyes briefly glance down to look at his lips, and lost himself in doing the same.
"Geez, look at the time," Joshua suddenly said, having glanced at his watch. "Sorry JC, we're gonna have to hurry and finish this sketch soon, or it's gonna be midnight before too long."
JC reluctantly agreed, and they settled back to discussing the sketch and finalising all the details. The one thing that they both strongly agreed upon was to keep the 'website' and 'story' references in - against any protestations that the studio might have...
The second day of rehearsals went a lot smoother than the first.
Joshua had dropped off the re-worked sketch to the director as soon as he'd arrived in the morning. The director took it without a word, and assured him that it would be looked at by some of the show's writers to ensure it was okay to broadcast; the major concern being that they didn't want to include any defamatory material in the show.
Joshua and JC stayed close to each other that day, often sharing jokes and indulging in endless conversation between sketches. This didn't escape the notice of JC's bandmates. They all hoped that it would turn out okay, but were ready to comfort JC in case he got hurt.
The second day also saw a lessening of the gulf between the SNL regulars and their musical guests. The guys were finally made welcome, and included in some of the behind-the-scenes shenanigans the regulars typically got up to.
All in all, it was a good day, even with rehearsals getting in the way of their fun...
Towards the end of their scheduled studio stay, the director re-appeared with the modified sketch and asked both Joshuas if he could see them in private. They followed him to an empty corridor, where he judged they were private enough.
"Hey," they both chorused non-committally.
"The writers liked the inclusion of your 'fan club president' character, but there's something they weren't so sure about. They wanted me to run you through the 'problem'," he made air-quotes as he spoke the word, "and see if we can work out an alternative."
The two Joshuas looked at one another and silently re-enforced their determination to keep the 'website and story' line in, if that turned out to be the so-called problem. "What's the 'problem'?" Joshua asked, foregoing repeating the air-quotes gesture.
"This part here," the director replied, showing them the line in the script. Sure enough, it was the one they thought it would be.
"Nope, sorry, that stays," Joshua said determinedly. "It serves an important purpose, and the character is incomplete if he doesn't say it."
"But-" the director started to say, before being interrupted.
"It stays," JC said, with steely resolve, backing up his friend.
"Yeah, or else I won't do the sketch at all," Joshua added, indicating his determination to blackmail the studio in order to keep the line in. He knew it wouldn't come to that, though. Either the studio would acquiesce, or the original sketch would be filmed...
"Or us," JC added, hinting that he and his bandmates wouldn't play the roles of 'No Refund' if they tried to rework their modified script.
"Okay, okay. You win," the director said, snorting his resignation with a lopsided smile. "We'll go with the changes you've indicated. I'll get copies made and pass them out to everyone. Oh, one last thing, though this won't affect either of you directly; with the inclusion of the new character, we won't have time for the additional audience characters that were originally scripted in. Don't worry about it though, the writers didn't seem to be too concerned about losing those lines. They can re-use them in the next '7° Celsius' sketch anyway." He smiled at them briefly, before continuing, "Anyway, gotta run and get copies organised. Thanks again for contributing to the show."
Joshua and JC smiled their appreciation at the director, then hi-fived each other as he walked away to get the necessary copies made.
"Yes!" Joshua said, hugging his friend in excitement at their victory, lifting the taller man bodily off the ground before letting him down.
Both boys stopped dead still, suddenly aware of their closeness. They quickly parted, both too embarrassed to look into the other's face.
"Uh, I guess I'd better be going now," Joshua said softly. "See you later, JC."
"Okay. Bye, Joshua," JC replied mechanically. By the time he looked up, Joshua had already disappeared down the hallway in his haste.
JC was absently looking out of the limo's tinted windows.
Lance, sitting directly opposite him, looked on in concern at his bandmate's sombre expression. "What's wrong, JC?"
JC slowly turned around to face him, though he remained silent - he was caught unprepared by Lance's question.
The other three turned to look at JC as well, immediately noticing what Lance had noticed. JC was quiet, sombre and looked almost heartbroken.
"Nothing, Scoop," JC replied finally, his voice sounding lifeless.
"Don't look like nothing to me," Chris said softly to himself, from his seat next to JC. "Does it have something to do with Joshua?"
JC's face paled as Chris's probe hit home, but he turned around to look outside again, suddenly not wanting to be in the same physical space as his bandmates.
"It is, isn't it?" Justin said, reaching across to turn his friend's face around to face his own.
"Yeah," JC admitted, staring into his best friend's eyes with barely-disguised hurt and longing. "I don't know what I did, Curly. One minute everything was fine and the next we couldn't even look at each other."
"What happened, exactly?" Joey asked.
JC slowly outlined everything that had happened, going as far back as the night before, and not paying any attention to his bandmates' surprised looks when he mentioned the gay erotica sites, before falling silent again in misery.
"Josh," Joey said into the uncomfortable silence, "you're reading too much into this. And I think Joshua is too. It was just a hug; there wasn't any sexual connotations to it. Was there?"
"No, I don't think so, Joe," JC replied, trying to recall if there had been anything sexual about the hug. "Nah, nothing..."
"Then it looks to me like you're both worrying about something you shouldn't be. I don't know what Joshua feels for you, but it looks like it might be something like what you feel for him. Don't sweat about it until you're sure about each other's feelings, okay?"
"Okay," JC agreed, feeling a whole lot better at Joey's suggestion. "But what happens now? How can I fix what happened?"
"Easy," Chris replied, smiling broadly. "You take him out to dinner, Slim!"
The others smiled or guffawed at Chris's enthusiastic reply, and JC felt his mind starting to relax again, as the negativity left him.
"Okay, quiet you lot. I've got to ask a friend out to dinner."
The others quietened down as JC pulled out his cell phone and dialled Information for the number to the hotel Joshua was staying at. He thanked his lucky stars that Joshua's hotel was so close to the studio; Joshua should already be there, barring any accidents.
Once he was patched through to the hotel's reception desk, he asked to be connected to Joshua's room number, and took a deep breath to calm his suddenly excited nerves.
"Hi, Joshua. It's JC here. Can we talk a minute?"
Dinner that night was sublime.
He'd arranged to take them to a fancier restaurant, and they both enjoyed the semi-formality of the date. The food was better tasting too, and their palates were satisfied, along with their hearts.
JC was keen to speak with Joshua about what Joey had told him in the limousine, but knew that 'now' was not the best time. If they were going to discuss their feelings for each other, if any, it was better to do so in private - the restaurant they were in was just a little too public.
He had also been worried that Joshua would still be embarrassed or upset about the events at the studio, but Joshua had seemingly put that all behind him after their phone conversation. From the moment he had seen Joshua, when the latter had opened the door to his hotel suite, right through to the present moment, his friend had been the picture of a perfectly happy companion.
Though their conversation sometimes skirted the incident at the studio, both felt comfortable talking to each other again and rambled on about everything and anything that came to mind. It was eminently satisfying for both, re-enforcing their feelings of friendship and respect for each other.
"Dinner was wonderful, Josh. Thank you for inviting me," Joshua said, standing just inside his hotel room, and holding the door ajar, while looking at his companion standing in the hallway.
"You're welcome, Joshua," JC replied in turn, starting to fidget in nervousness at the completion of their 'date'. He glanced down at his suddenly exciting footwear - blushing furiously the entire time - before glancing back up again. "I'm glad that you agreed to come out with me tonight."
"It was my pleasure, Josh."
Both boys blushed at Joshua's words, but otherwise remained silent. The silence stretched out, with both staring at each other intently. Then, breaking the silence, Joshua said, "Well, good night, Josh. Thanks again for dinner. I'll see you tomorrow at the studio." He cursed himself silently for not having the courage to invite JC inside.
"Good night, Joshua," JC replied softly, feeling his heart thumping incredibly fast, while he nervously fidgeted with his trousers. Then, without conscious thought, he stepped forward and planted a quick kiss on Joshua's left cheek, before turning and hurrying away; his heart thumping so wildly he almost expected it to leap out of his body. He idly wondered, in the jumble of his suddenly chaotic thoughts, if this was what it felt like for Bruce Banner just before his transformations?
Meanwhile, Joshua remained rooted to the spot, staring blankly ahead as his mind and heart raced with an emotional overload he could barely contain or understand. After several minutes, he swallowed, shallowly, and closed the door hesitantly. He stared at the closed door for several more seconds before he started to come round.
His hand lifted to touch the spot on his cheek where JC had kissed him, and suddenly he felt his knees weaken. Groggily, he walked to the nearest chair and slumped into it, all the while touching his cheek as if it was the most precious thing in the world.
Closing his eyes finally, he softly sighed and said, "Oh, Josh..."
"So how did it go?" Chris asked, as he walked into JC's hotel suite.
JC closed the door and followed him in, wondering how Chris had known he'd arrived back at the hotel. He settled himself down in the chair opposite his friend, before speaking.
"Dinner was really nice. I think we had a great time. I know I did."
Chris smiled at the happiness showing on his friend's face, but it quickly disappeared as JC's lips started to tremble, and his face started to fall.
"What's wrong, JC?"
"I... I think I did something really stupid, Chris."
"What? Why?" Chris asked gently, getting up to kneel next to JC's chair, his hand automatically reaching out to caress JC's back in support.
"I... I kissed him," JC replied, almost whispering.
"You kissed him?" Chris repeated, trying to comprehend the statement. "Oh! You kissed him!"
"Yeah," JC replied, miserably.
"Wow, you kissed him," Chris reiterated, as if speaking to himself. Then noticing JC's miserable expression, he asked, "Why are you so upset, Joshy?"
"I... I don't know," JC wailed. "I kissed him, but I left before he could say anything. I don't even know if he's really gay or not, and I kissed him! What if he isn't? What have I done to our friendship then? Oh God, why did I have to do something so stupid?"
"Whoa, Josh, steady there buddy," Chris said forcefully, trying to cut into JC's self-recriminatory attack. "You don't know what happened after you left, so don't go borrowing trouble until you find out. For all you know, he might have enjoyed the kiss. Did he kiss you back? Did he open his lips? Did he look like he enjoyed it?"
"Huh... oh, no, you don't understand," JC replied, still upset, though slightly calmer now, "I didn't kiss him on the mouth; I kissed his cheek." His eyes implored Chris to understand.
Chris blinked a couple of times before catching his incipient laugh and passing it off as a cough. "You kissed his cheek?" he repeated, trying hard to not smile while his friend felt so overwrought. "That's not something to be worried about, Josh," he said softly, moving his hand to rub his friend's shoulder comfortingly. "I don't think he'll make a mountain out of it. Stop worrying, J. Everything's gonna be fine."
"You don't understand, Chris," JC replied, speaking loudly and full of hurt. "Even something like a kiss on the cheek is important! Can you imagine what he'd be feeling right now if he isn't gay? Can you imagine what he'd be feeling if he's straight and I've come on to him? How would that make you feel, if it happened to you? How would you feel if one of your friends started coming on to you?"
Chris gaped at his friend, suddenly seeing everything in a completely different light. He wasn't sure what his reaction would be if a gay guy, let alone a close friend, came on to him, but he could easily guess at some possible reactions and could now see why JC was so worried. "J, dude, I don't know what to say. All I can say is that what's done is done. If he's straight, I think he'll somehow understand what happened, and won't hold it against you. And if he's gay, then there's no harm done, right?"
JC suddenly felt too tired to argue with Chris anymore, even though he didn't agree with Chris. Nodding his head, he tried to hide the visible signs of hurt from his face. He even managed a small smile for his bandmate's benefit, in hopes of reassuring him. "You're right, Chris. Thanks. Uh, I think I'm gonna turn in, now. I'm kinda tired."
Chris took the unsubtle hint to leave and quickly complied, leaving his bandmate alone in his suite. Briefly leaning against the wall next to JC's closed door, he knew that JC hadn't been convinced, and wondered why JC had lied to him that he was? Sighing at the complexities of gay love, Chris returned to his own suite, silently hoping that JC would find a way to be happy.
The next morning, JC put up an almighty struggle with his bandmates. He came up with just about every excuse in the book, and then some, to avoid going into rehearsals that day. But egged on by Chris, the others refused to let him stay behind. Besides, today was the final day of rehearsals, and it was going to be a full run through of the script, complete with costumes. He would be needed there so that wardrobe could find appropriately sized clothes for the scenes he and the others were in.
Getting into the limo a good 45 minutes later than they'd intended, none of them were overly happy that morning.
Their first hurdle, in the guise of a very sour director, was jumped with almost relative ease. The thing that saved them was their excuse that they'd slept in. Unbelievably, the director seemed to buy it, and didn't say anything more; after all, the problem wouldn't be repeated tomorrow, as the filming took place in the afternoon. And the director was satisfied that they'd be there on time. They had to be - the show was filmed live, after all.
The second hurdle was wardrobe. The sketch about the father/son college presentations (where Cheri played the part of Joshua's aunt 'Collette Reardon'), entailed the use of school uniforms for them all. The wardrobe people had several to choose from, but not enough of a range to cover their diverse sizes and heights. The guys spent quite some time getting measured up - at least, Chris, Joey and JC did - and having their costumes altered to fit. There wasn't anything else they could do during that time, as the rehearsal required them to be wearing their costumes and acting their scenes out on the appropriate studio sets.
The only one who seemed to enjoy his time in wardrobe was Joey, who was given several extra props: a wig - to cover his brightly coloured hair - and a pair of steel-rimmed glasses. He had a lot of fun playing with the props, getting them to look just right, finally satisfied he had the look he was after to play the character the way he wanted to: subtly gay, and very preppy.
JC fretted the entire time they were in wardrobe, getting more and more anxious as the morning wore on. The others could see him getting worked up, but none of their attempts to calm him down seemed to have any effect.
The second change of wardrobe, for their first scene as the group 'No Refund', involved a plaid shirt and cream coloured slacks, with an accompanying 'fast food'-style hat for each. Justin, not wanting to have to worry about his hair, asked for a hairnet instead, and was relieved when one was found for him. Overall, it was less strenuous than the first change, as they weren't required to be measured again, but alterations were still required to be made to JC's and Joey's costumes. The alterations, thankfully, went a lot quicker the second time through.
When the wardrobe people started discussing clothing for their musical numbers, in case they didn't have anything appropriate to wear from their own wardrobes, JC had finally had enough. He turned to his bandmates and enquired if any of them didn't have appropriate clothing for the following night's singing. When no one spoke up, he excused them from wardrobe, and the guys followed him out dressed in their 'No Refund' costumes.
Joshua was getting extremely worried. He hadn't seen or heard from JC since their goodnight kiss the night before. And the *NSync guys still hadn't appeared, even though it was now almost a couple of hours past the scheduled start of the rehearsal.
The director had started the rehearsals on time anyway, and the SNL regulars, along with Joshua, had performed their sketches up to the point where *NSync had to perform 'SuperSizeIt' as the group 'No Refund'. Now, they were just waiting for the group to show up so rehearsals could continue. Some, including the cameramen who were filming the rehearsal as per studio policy, seemed almost unconcerned about the wait. While others - the director and Joshua being amongst them - were steadily becoming agitated by the wait.
Joshua shifted uncomfortably in his 'I Love Wade' t-shirt - he marvelled at how fast the studio had produced it - and silently sighed as his mind went uselessly around and around in circles, sinking deeper into worry.
"About time!" the director called out, bringing everyone's attention to the entrance of the *NSync guys onto the set. "Okay, we don't have much time, so we're gonna get right down to it. Places, everyone! Cameras rolling!"
Joshua, who'd barely had a chance to glance in JC's direction, could do nothing but step off the set as the band launched into 'SuperSizeIt'. He kept his gaze fixed on JC, but JC was glancing everywhere but at him. His heart fell, and he wondered what he'd done to cause this reaction in the singer?
In the hours that followed, Joshua's professional attitude as an actor was the only thing that kept him from going insane, or doing something stupid. JC refused to meet his eyes, and didn't want to be anywhere near him, if he could avoid it.
'What did I do?' Joshua wondered to himself, brokenly. 'Was it because I didn't respond? Because I didn't kiss him back? Why?'
It was Chris who would provide him with the answer.
"Dude, got a second?" Chris asked Joshua during a break between sketches.
"Sure, Chris. What can I do for you?"
"Walk with me, Josh," Chris suggested, leading Joshua away from the others.
"What's wrong, Chris?"
Chris lowered his head to stare down at the ground as a frown settled over his features. While his head was still bowed, he raised his eyes to face Joshua. Joshua could immediately tell from the intense gaze that it was something important, and suddenly felt wary. "It's about last night," Chris finally replied softly, pausing briefly before adding, "And what JC did..."
Joshua went deathly pale as comprehension hit. Chris was talking about JC's kiss from last night! He knew what happened. Had JC discussed it with him? Could JC have told Chris what he - Joshua - had done wrong last night? And what he'd done to hurt him? He let out a ragged breath, then spoke, "What did JC say, Chris? Please, it's important; I have to know! I want to know what I did wrong. And why JC isn't speaking to me today?"
Chris was taken aback. He'd expected a totally different reaction from Joshua. Either one of anger or hurt, but certainly not one of concern and deep worry. "Uh..." he responded, trying to organise his thoughts in light of this new information, "JC came back really upset last night. He told me everything that happened, including the kiss on the cheek he gave you." He noticed Joshua nodding urgently, wanting to understand what was wrong. "Joshua, there's something you don't know about JC's actions last night..."
"What, Chris? Please tell me. I can't stand not knowing what I've done wrong. Or why and how I've hurt him."
"Joshua, you didn't do anything, buddy. The problem is all on JC's end. You see, he doesn't know what your feelings for him are, and he's not sure of your... sexuality." Chris had to pause there for a second, seeing if he'd offended Joshua and giving him the chance to deny being gay, if he so chose. Joshua remained silent, not contradicting Chris's assumptions, and Chris sighed in relief. "And he was really worried that he'd made the biggest mistake of his life by kissing you last night. He's worried that he's offended you, or angered you, by doing that. He won't listen to reason, or at least, he won't believe me when I tell him that you wouldn't react that way, even if you were straight..."
Chris was getting tongue-tied and muddled, and knew it. He also knew that he'd gotten enough of his message across to Joshua, that he could afford to stop speaking and reorganise his thoughts.
"So, he's avoiding me because he thinks I'm angry with him?" Joshua asked Chris disbelievingly.
"That's about the size of it, buddy. You should've seen him last night. He was a total wreck. He was calling himself stupid, and worrying so much about hurting you, and everything. The poor guy is so terrified that you're either angry with him, or hurt by his actions, that he's not seeing straight. You gotta do something, dude. You've got to talk to him. You're the only one who can make him see sense now."
Joshua looked into Chris's concerned eyes for a long moment, before simply nodding and turning away.
"I hope you can help him, Joshua," Chris whispered under his breath. "But please, whatever you do, don't hurt him."
The sound of a clearing throat brought JC's attention to the man standing behind him. His eyes widened in fear as he looked upon Joshua's very concerned face. Behind him, Joey, Justin and Lance looked on silently.
"Josh, can I talk to you?" Joshua asked softly.
"Uh, I think we're gonna start rehearsing again in a second," JC said, dredging up any excuse he could think of.
Lance clapped a hand over Justin's mouth, knowing that the youth had been ready to encourage JC to talk to Joshua. He silently brushed off the angry look from his bandmate, as Justin peeled his hand off his mouth. Beside them, Joey grinned as he looked from one couple to the other.
"It'll only take a second," Joshua pleaded.
"We've got to change for the next sketch and everything..."
Lance turned to look at Justin and gave him a no nonsense look, effectively silencing his eager-to-speak partner. Joey almost guffawed as he saw the cowled look settling over Justin's face. All three of them returned their attention back to the two Joshuas, as Joshua spoke once more.
"Josh, please? Just a second, that's all I'm asking for."
JC ransacked his brain for a reason to refuse the request, but nothing stood up to the pleading look on Joshua's face. He couldn't refuse Joshua anything when he looked at him like that. He nervously nodded in assent, and then felt his heart leap into his throat at the sudden brightening of Joshua's countenance.
Joshua walked a short distance away, and waited for JC to join him. When JC was standing in front of him, he looked deeply into his eyes and smiled tentatively. "Josh, I have to apologise for last night."
This was the last thing that JC had expected to hear. "What?" The croaky voice was barely recognisable as his own.
"I... I shouldn't have let you go last night. Especially after you kissed me," Joshua replied softly, fighting hard to keep his arms at his side - they wanted to reach out and caress the stunning man standing in front of him. "I froze, and I think you mistook that as a bad sign. But, truthfully, it was just the shock of you actually doing what I'd wanted to do all night which made me react that way. I was desperately trying to think of a reason to kiss you, and you beat me to it. You took me by surprise, and I didn't expect it. I'm sorry, Josh. Please forgive me for hurting you like that."
Josh stood rooted to the spot, not daring to believe what he'd just heard. He played Joshua's words over and over in his mind, trying to understand them, and realising that even though he knew the meaning of each and every word, their meaning as a whole still escaped him.
"Josh, please say something," Joshua quietly pleaded, holding back his fright at JC's continued silence.
"You... You... wanted to kiss me?" JC asked, seizing on the only thing that made sense to him at that moment.
Joshua grinned, and finally let a hand reach up to touch JC's chest, stepping forward a fraction in the process. "I wanted it so badly it hurt, Josh," he whispered, letting his voice convey the truthfulness of the statement. He slowly ran the back of his hand up and down JC's chest, barely touching the fabric of his shirt.
"Okay people, time to start the next sketch!" the director hollered at that moment. "Anyone not in costume yet, hop to it now!"
Joshua grimaced at the interruption, but quietly continued, "Josh, we still need to talk about this. Do you want to come over to my suite for dinner tonight? Please say yes."
JC smiled tentatively, reaching down to grip Joshua's hand where it rested on his chest, and felt an electric touch. "I'll be there. Is seven o'clock okay?"
"Perfect," Joshua said, smiling at his namesake blindingly.
Chris grinned as they rode back to the hotel. He loved the sight of a person in love, and JC looked exactly like that.
"What's going on?" Joey asked him sotto voice, his lips almost pressed up against Chris's ear.
Chris turned to face him, and in turn whispered everything he knew into Joey's ear. Joey listened carefully, concentrating on the softly spoken words. Like the others, he had wondered about what had happened after JC and Joshua's dinner, but hadn't had the time to quiz JC. Chris's recounting of the events helped him understand why JC had acted so strangely that morning.
Joey, in turn, then whispered to Chris what Lance, Justin and he had witnessed earlier that afternoon, and the two friends couldn't help but smile at their friend, so obviously in love. JC, however, was oblivious to everything else around him.
"What's up?" Lance asked, his curious expression slightly amused.
Justin curiously looked across at Lance, before turning to look at Joey and Chris. Chris and Joey also looked at Lance, then quickly checked up on JC - good, no change there... he mustn't have heard Lance's question - before leaning forward and beckoning Justin and Lance to do the same.
Joey kept a watchful eye on JC while Chris quickly explained about everything that had happened the night before. JC didn't even so much as twitch, too lost in his own world to pay attention to the strange happenings around him.
Lance and Justin gaped at everything they were told; it all made so much sense now. As they pulled out of their huddle, all four bandmates shared a happy grin, and looked fondly at their lovesick bandmate.
JC didn't even know they were alive.
Waiting for seven o'clock to arrive seemed to drag on and on at a snail's pace. And yet, JC almost didn't make it to Joshua's hotel room on time.
He ran his hand through his slightly damp hair, then down the body-hugging light green knit shirt he wore, before rubbing his trouser-covered thighs nervously. Feeling the panic starting to creep over him, he knocked hurriedly on the door, knowing he would chicken out otherwise.
Inside the suite, equally as nervous, Joshua almost jumped out of his skin at the sound of the knock. He looked around one last time, praying that nothing was out of place, and then walked over to the door. With a hand perched on the doorknob, he made a 'calm down' motion with his other hand, as he whispered, "Get a hold of yourself, Jackson."
Then, without anything else to hinder him, he opened the door and looked out at the most marvellous sight he could ever hope to see. JC looked absolutely gorgeous! And the sickly smile on his face was all the more endearing for belonging to him.
"Wow," Joshua said breathlessly, shaking his head in wonder as he took in JC's presence. "You look great." JC shyly grinned at the compliment, but waited outside to be formally invited in. Joshua finally realised he was keeping his guest waiting, and hurriedly said, "Sorry, Josh. Please come in. Please come in."
JC carefully ventured inside, hoping to hide his own reaction at seeing Joshua - his knees were practically shaking him to bits. As he gazed at his friend, he couldn't help thinking that Joshua looked absolutely stunning in his blood-red long sleeved shirt, and midnight-black slacks. His dimpled, smiling face, the best feature as far as JC was concerned, looked positively radiant as he smiled back at JC. His eyes were twinkling mischievously, as if he knew JC was checking out every curve of his face. JC was totally mesmerised - this man could render him mute and immobile.
Joshua reached across and gently took JC's left hand in his right. As soon as their fingers touched, each felt the electrical caress of the other, making them both tingle uncontrollably. Joshua raised JC's hand to his lips and kissed it, losing himself in the texture and scent of it; not realising that JC was still tingling all over at the touch, with his eyes closed and his lips slightly parted.
Recovering himself with great difficulty, Joshua lifted his lips from the sacred flesh of JC's hand and composed himself. He saw that JC had a hard time composing himself as well, and smiled encouragingly at his dear friend.
"I think we'd better have dinner before it gets cold," Joshua suggested softly, leading JC to the dining table.
All through dinner their eyes never left the other's for more than a few seconds. It was incredibly hard to maintain the eye contact - during the switch between the entree and the main meal, and then dessert after that - but Joshua managed it somehow.
Their conversation, though present, was inconsequential. They wanted to enjoy each other's company more than they wanted to discuss matters that would draw their minds away from drinking in the sight of the other.
Finally, and with great relief to both, they finished dinner. Joshua reached over and took JC's hand back in his own, rising and helping JC to rise as well. A moment later, they walked side by side, holding hands as if they were childhood sweethearts, to the lounge area. Joshua indicated for JC to sit, and then sat down next to him on the plush velvet couch, never letting go of his hand. He looked up into the face of the man he'd loved for so long, and saw the love returned in JC's eyes.
He ached to kiss JC - he'd never wanted anything as badly as he wanted to kiss JC right at that moment! But before he could let go like that, they needed to clear the air. If he lost the chance to speak right now, he would never get the chance again.
JC could see the thoughts racing through his beloved's mind, and for the first time in his life felt content to wait, wanting to see what Joshua had to say, regardless of how much he wanted to kiss him again.
"Josh?" Joshua whispered, reaching out with his free hand to cover their intertwined fingers. "I don't think I'm about to tell you anything that will surprise you." He smiled as he let his eyes drift down to JC's sensuous lips, then back up to his love-filled eyes. "I'm gay, as you've already guessed. And I know you think this is sudden, but I've been in love with you ever since I first saw you. It's sad, I know, that I could fall in love with someone just from seeing them on TV, but it's never happened to me before. There was, and still is, something about you, something so rare and beautiful, that I fell in love with you at first sight.
"When I got the call from my agent about this 'Saturday Night Live' appearance, I didn't want to take it at first. But as soon as he mentioned you guys were going to be performing as well, I somehow knew it was fate telling me that my time had come. I agreed to appear, all the while worrying about what I would say to you," Joshua's expression and nod indicated that he meant JC personally, "when I finally saw you, and whether I'd be able to work with you. I was terrified that I'd mess everything up, and my biggest worry was that you might be straight."
Joshua looked down at their joined hands, gulping nervously, and absently caressing their intertwined fingers with his free hand. He looked back up into JC's love-filled and encouraging expression, and found his breath catching in his throat. "I still can't believe this is all real," he said, shaking his head as if in disbelief, "and that you're sitting here with me, hopefully because you love me too..."
JC continued to gaze into his love's eyes, not believing it himself. "I do, Josh. I love you more than I can ever hope to explain." His voice was almost inaudible, as his emotions broke out of him in waves. "I've loved you since the moment I first saw you on 'Dawson's Creek'. I guess I'm just as sad as you are in that respect, but, like you, there was something about you that I couldn't define, something which captivated me from the start. Every time I've seen you since, the feeling has just grown. It got to the stage where even the guys were able to tell that I was infatuated with you. But I didn't realise that it was love until I saw you two days ago at that first meeting in the studio.
"I almost had a nervous breakdown when you came over to talk to us. I couldn't believe you were really there, within touching distance of me, and you were interested in my writing and everything. It was the happiest moment of my life, and also the hardest. I didn't know if you were gay, and I was so scared of hurting you, of ruining our new friendship on something which I was positive only I felt."
JC choked on his words, and lowered his face to hide his burgeoning tears. Joshua reached over with his free hand and gently wiped them away, lovingly caressing JC's face at the same time. JC reached up with his own free hand, and gently placed it over Joshua's, bringing Joshua's hand to his lips for the softest and most tender kiss he'd ever given. Joshua shivered at the sensation, and felt his heart melting with the love that coursed through it.
"I love you so dearly, Joshua," JC whispered, looking back up into his love's adoring expression.
"And I love you too, my dear sweet Josh. With all my heart," Joshua whispered, bringing both intertwined hands up to his chest, then his lips, where he kissed each of JC's hands, then finally resting them over JC's heart.
Leaning over slowly, Joshua brought his face close to JC's, happy to see JC doing the same. With one last, almost hesitant, movement, their lips touched, consummating their declarations of love in a kiss that neither of them would ever forget as long as they both lived.
Call it kismet...
Call it destiny...
Call it fate...
But whatever the name, it was just meant to be.