This is yet another story about those hunky boys of the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync written by a straight woman. Therefore, please excuse my writings if they appear to be a bit screwed due to my lack of knowledge. This story is a work of FICTION (note the term FICTION- I can't stress this enough) and is purely written for the sole purpose of entertainment and enjoyment. Yes! Entertainment. That's all... think of it like a movie. You watch for entertainment and you read for entertainment. These events did not happen to the best of my knowledge and therefore actions taken in this story do not reflect the true nature of the characters involved. This story does not imply anything about the sexuality of the person(s) involved. And if you're an underage teenie or do not wish to read about male/male sexual relationships, this is now the time to shut your lap-top as there will be sexual explicit scenes throughout. Proceed with your own risk. Enough with the warnings, now on with the story.
A TALE OF TWO BOYBANDS
**this chapter is dedicated to all my JC fans**
It had been several days since that fateful night. Justin still remained hermit in his room. JC, on the other hand, was keeping himself occupied with all that was `N Sync and music. However, Chris knew better. Soon, all the energy JC had expended during those days disintegrated, leaving behind a shell of a human being as if life had been drained out of his body. Like Justin, JC found comfort in his room, locking himself in his room for hours at a time. Since JC had faltered in his leadership position, Chris had to step into the role as well as being a peacemaker. If he wanted their band to last, he was going to have to start acting his age. Sure, he still threw in witty sarcastic remarks here and there, but Chris no doubt seemed to have aged twenty years during their turmoil. He had to keep an eye on everyone, especially JC and Lance. They were constantly at each other's throats. It appeared that every time JC stepped out of his room, he was stepping on Lance's toes. He had to remind them every time they engaged in an argument that they were constantly being watched. People were waiting for the day that 'N Sync would be "Out of Sync" and when that day arrived, the people laughing would be none other than the Backstreet Boys. Although, Lance still bore hatred for JC, the arguments and fights were occurring less frequent. By the end of a week, JC and Lance decided mutually to work on mending their friendship. Chris smiled as JC and Lance shook hands, promising each other that neither one would attack the other while they were sleeping. Chris left JC and Lance and walked past Justin's room. The room had remained closed for days now. Lonnie stood at its entrance, guarding the room as if his life depended on it. For the next several days and nights, Justin barricaded himself behind the clad-door, never once coming out for anything, not even for his cereal. Lance would visit the room everyday until one day Chris requested him to stop.
As Chris bluntly stated, "Stop it! You're making us look bad. We all care and love Justin, too, but we're not about to waste energy and time talking to a vegetable." Lance frowned at Chris's comment, sending Chris through a guilt trip. "I love him, too, but right now, he needs time for himself. Justin's a strong kid, he'll pull through on his own."
Lance looked one more time at the door and reluctantly agreed to Chris's request.
After several days of barricading himself behind the Lonnie guarded doors, Justin stepped out of his room for the first time. He wore the classic denim jeans he stole from JC's closet and a plain muscle t-shirt accenting his well-toned upperbody. He made bold, yet, graceful steps across the hallway. One knock on JC's door and he entered. JC sprung up from the bed, landing a few inches in front of Justin, still afraid to touch him.
"We need to talk." Justin told JC and then walked away with Lonnie at his trail.
JC pulled on a hooded sweatshirt and marched down the hall. There was no time for a shower. It was still dark, perhaps 5:00 in the morning. For Justin and only Justin, JC would wake up at the crack of dawn, sacrificing precious sleep hours. JC jogged toward the elevator and entered just in time before the doors closed on him. Justin was on his way to pressing the button that would take them to the ground floor when JC insisted on doing the same. As he raised his hand to press the button, JC accidentally brushed against Justin's crotch. Damn it, JC! You and your stupid long arms. JC cursed to himself, silently. He turned around to find Lonnie standing in front of him. Sure, Lonnie was hired to protect all of 'N Sync, but Justin was his baby. No one and no one touched him. The elevator ride soon ended with the door opening to the lobby.
Justin walked out with Lonnie following close behind. Immediately as he walked outside, flashes started from all directions. He managed to get into the limo and so did Lonnie and JC. The limo ride soon ended in front of the plaza. Justin found a bench and sat down, waiting for JC to join him. JC soon did, sitting at the far opposite end of the bench. He wasn't prepared for what would happen next. A mother pushed her crying infant in a stroller. An elderly couple jogged by them. A few cars sped past them. Justin waited until they were surrounded by silence before uttering a single word.
"JC, do you remember what you told me a few years ago?" Justin asked him.
JC shook his head. He told Justin many things. Everything Justin had learned in life, he learned from JC or his mother. He could be talking about anything.
"No." JC answered as if shaking his head wasn't enough.
"You said that a friend does not touch you in a certain way." Justin turned to look at JC. His eyes welled up with tears. "JC, you hurt me. It doesn't matter. I was hurt whether it was by some man who claimed to treat us like his sons and help us succeed in the business, or by my best friend. JC, you promised me. Never in a million years would I ever think you can hurt me so bad." Justin was now in tears as memories of being sexually assaulted by the man who helped groom them as an international singing act when he was just 14. JC wanted nothing more than to hold him in his arms and assured him that everything was okay, but everything was not okay. Things would never be the way they were during the good old days on the Mickey Mouse Club. Justin retrieved a manila envelope from inside his jacket and handed it to JC.
"A restraining order?" JC was shocked that Justin would have to file one against him.
"Yes." Justin said.
Justin got up to join Lonnie several yards away, leaving JC in a state of utter disbelief. He ran his fingers over the court document over and over until it was finally etched in his mind. Justin, his best friend for seven years, had filed a restraining order against him. Was it that necessary? He looked up and was met by another limo. At least, he still thinks about my safety, JC thought to himself. He walked toward the limo, discarding the manila envelope on his way toward the limo.
JC returned to the hotel room at the nick of time as the rest of 'N Sync were gathered in Chris's room to discuss the upcoming tour. Several minutes earlier, Justin made his grand appearance, taking his usual seat between Chris and an empty seat, presumably JC's seat- both Lance and Joey sat at the far end. He sat down with his bowl of cereal in hand and began chowing down as if he hadn't eaten for days, which was a fact. As JC entered the room, Joey ushered him to sit down next to him in the empty seat next to Justin. Justin never looked up from his cereal bowl as JC walked past Joey to sit on the floor by him.
Everyone was surprised to see how far they had drifted, yet they all understood Justin's point of view. Rape was rape- it didn't matter who the perpetrator was to the victim. It was still a crime...and this was Justin's only way to punish his best friend without tearing his group apart.
The meeting wrapped up fairly early therefore excusing Justin to his room for the remaining of the day. The guys stayed behind for another hour discussing about their strategies against the Backstreet Boys. No. They had no plans of taking revenge on them. Sure, Justin was victimized by their ruthless acts, but they were grateful that they hadn't kidnapped him and sent him in the path of raging tiger. If only they knew. If they struck back, this rivalry would never end. At some point, someone must put an end to it. They just wanted to make sure they were more careful in the future.
"What happened earlier today?" Joey asked JC at the end of their meeting.
"What?" JC was not even paying attention all morning long.
"What happened today between you and Justin?" Joey clarified.
"Oh, nothing." JC said. "He just slapped me with a restraining order."
"A restraining order!" Chris was on the floor laughing hysterically. Somehow, he found that to be amusing. "He got that idea on his own? I guess our boy, Justin, is a man now."
"Shut up!" Lance and JC hollered simultaneously.
Despite being slapped with a restraining order against him, JC spent the next several days every hour or so, trying to talk to Justin. He could only make it a few feet away from the door before Justin could sense his presence and start to holler obscenities at him. They were that close that they could sense the other's presence a mile away. Hearing Justin's painstaking cries at night only pained him further to the point that JC was no longer eating, or sleeping. He even stopped writing and producing music. Music was his life and when that fire vanquished, everyone knew JC was reaching rock bottom fast and he wasn't slowing down either.
Chris noticed how JC and Justin's relationship was tearing the group apart. Lance never failed to give JC a hard time about everything, while Joey had sided with his best friend of over 10 years. Often times, everyone spent their days in their respective rooms to avoid any unwanted confrontation. They were no longer 'n sync with one another. Chris had to do something. And why not deal with the problems at the root. Justin.
Chris knocked on Justin's door three times. There was no response. Since the door was unlocked, Chris invited himself in. There was no signs of Justin the room. That's odd, Chris thought to himself. He couldn't find Lonnie either. Chris noticed the disarray of clothing all over the floor. His senses told him that there was something wrong with the picture. He heard some faint noises from inside the bathroom. He walked to the bathroom and found a huge dresser placed against the door to prevent the prisoner inside from escaping. Chris stood a few inches before the dresser, studying the piece of oak furniture. He was calculating the minimum amount of force he needed to move the furniture away from the door without the expenditure of unnecessary force.
"Chris, is that you?!"
Upon hearing Lonnie's enraged voice, Chris quickly summoned all his powers. He crouched down by the dresser and pushed the dresser slowly with all his might. As soon as the dresser was pushed far enough, Lonnie rammed his shoulder into the door, thus popping open the door. Chris fell to the ground, nearly crushed by Lonnie's force.
"Where's Justin?" Lonnie asked Chris. "He was here a minute ago until he fuckin'tricked me into going into the bathroom to check kill some stupid spider that was crawling all over the floor." Lonnie was slapping himself in the face a few times. Anxiety had overtaken his 300 lb of muscle bound body. Chris tried to console him by ushering him to the bed.
"Lonnie, you're starting to sound like JC now. We don't want that, do we?" Chris asked upon which Lonnie responded with a head shook. "You stay put here and I'll go find Justin. You can't get very far without being attacked by a bunch of teenyboppers."
Chris said and then left the room. He ran past Joey, not paying attention to what Joey had to say to him. As far as Chris was concerned, he had to find Justin quick. There was little that boy would do to get attention. Chris scrutinized the vicinity around him. There stood on the edge of the large pool was Justin. His head hung low. There wasn't a care in his eyes as he stood on the edge of the pool ready to take the plunge. He was at peace. This was exactly what Chris had feared the most. Most suicidal victims would often experience periods of despair and utter hopelessness and then suddenly they would surprise their loved ones with brief moments of bliss after which they would often take their life.
With not a single second to waste, Chris leaped forward to save Justin who was at the brink of committing suicide. Chris threw his arms forward to grab onto Justin. Instead, he pushed Justin into the 5'deep pool while he struggled to get on his feet, again.
"What the fuck?!" Justin hollered as he submerged from the drowning water.
"I was trying to save you." Chris answered, getting up on his feet to meet Justin's glare.
"From killing yourself, of course."
"By jumping into a 5' deep pool." Justin was a little furious although he knew very well that Chris was just being overly protective of him. "Now that you mentioned it, that wouldn't be a bad idea to just kill myself since my life sucks so much at the moment."
Chris threw his hands up in defeat as he followed Justin back into the hotel. Justin quickly entered his room, slamming it shut behind him as to prevent Chris from entering. However, Chris was persistent. He knocked a few times on the door and placed his ear on the door. He could hear noises in the background. From the noises, Chris was able to decipher that Justin was changing his clothes, yet, again.
"C'mon in." Justin hollered from inside.
Chris turned the knob and entered Justin's room as he pulled on his jeans. He hadn't gotten to his shirt yet. He was still in just a wifebeater. Chris couldn't help but notice how much Justin had grown. Justin was no longer a boy. Chris quickly shook away any impending impure thoughts.
"Oh. I'm sorry, Justin. I'll come back later." Chris said, rushing for the door when Justin stopped him.
"That's okay. You can stay." Justin said. "I'm just going to put on a shirt." And that he did.
"Why did you let me in the first place?" Chris asked.
"Because I know that you weren't JC." Answered Justin.
"Speaking of the devil, I've been meaning to talk to you about that night. About you and JC." Chris said. Justin put on his fisherman's hat and headed straight for the door, but was stopped. It was Chris's time to stop him.
"Sit down." Chris said. Justin didn't budge. His hand still wrapped around the doorknob. "Don't make me bring out the whip, Curly." Chris said, sarcastically.
It worked. Chris's sarcastic remark sent Justin back to his bed. Chris began mumbling a prayer to himself as he walked to the bed. He was going to need a miracle. He was now wishing he hadn't skipped out on Sunday school so often as a boy. He took his covenant position at the foot of the bed.
"What's up, Chris?" Justin was the first to break the silence.
"Don't what's up me." Chris was getting agitated by their awkward situation. "I want to talk to you about that night."
"Chris, there's nothing to talk about." Justin said, tears already flooded his rosy cheeks.
"I'm sorry." Chris reached out to comfort Justin, but Justin only pushed him away, nearly knocking him off the bed. "Justin, please. You can't hide behind those guarded doors and cry yourself to sleep every night. How am I supposed to get some rest with you wailing into the night? I'm not like you. I don't have natural beauty. You spend most of the night awake crying and all you get are bags under your eyes. I miss just two hours of sleep and I look like I'm a freak from hell. C'mon, I need my beauty rest."
"As if they can help." Justin said, laughing a little bit to himself.
"Is that a smile I see?" Chris said, moving in closer. "Is that the million-dollar smile TeenBeat and Popstar have been raving about?" Chris was delighted that his bad sense of humor was able to bring out a little life in Justin as his smile graced the atmosphere surrounding them. "I'm sorry, Justin. I'm sorry that you had to endure so much pain. But you do understand that by ignoring him and avoiding him, 'N Sync will end up tearin' up each other's hearts and not the teenyboppers' hearts or wallet for that matter?"
"Chris." Justin paused until he got Chris's undivided attention. "Have you ever been raped?"
Chris pondered over Justin's question for a moment, partly because Chris had to buy himself some time to come up with another brilliant witty remark. Besides, he had to carefully think about the definition of rape. Sure there were times when he and Joey were drunk and got a little kinky in the bed, in the shower, in the closet. But were those instances rape?
"No." Chris finally uttered. "Never."
"Then, you don't understand." Justin started fidgeting with his fingers. "Chris, I've been there before. And I don't like it."
"I know. I know. Don't think that because I'm crazy all the time that I don't think." Chris said. "But-"
"Are you saying that I should just forgive him? That I should just live in oblivion as if that night never happened?" The tears returned with increasing speed.
"Justin, that's not what I'm saying. But this is JC we're talking about." Chris repeated. "If it was anyone else, I'd track that bastard down and bring you back his head. I'd chop off his dick and make stew out of it for you to eat. I'd cut his hands and use-"
"Okay, enough with the visual." Justin interrupted Chris, which was a good idea since Chris was running out of ways to torture a hypothetical rapist.
"All I'm saying is this. This is JC we're talking about." It appeared Chris could never get pass that statement as he heard his name being called. Chris yelled back, "Shut up!" and proceeded with, "But this is JC we're talking about. He loves and cares for you like his whole world revolves around you. Hell, if we were on a plane and the plane suddenly crashed down on some snow capped mountain, he'll kill Joey and use him as meat for you to eat."
"Hey!" Joey slipped into the conversation only to be silenced by Chris.
"And if Joey wasn't enough to fill you up, he'd chop off his own arm so you wouldn't have to starve. He would die for you, Justin." Chris explained.
"Shut up!" Chris snapped again. "The bond you two share is out of this world. You make the whole world jealous."
"Shut up! I'm talking here." Chris turned to look into Justin's deep blues. "JC is a good man. Hey, if I was gay, I'd jump JC any day."
"What is it!" Chris snapped one last time. "Can't you see I'm trying to have an engaging intellectual conversation here."
"Chris," Lance lowered his tone of his voice, "JC's missing and he left this note behind. It's for you, Justin."
Lance quickly handed Justin the note. Justin glanced at Chris and Chris nodded back.
Justin opened the envelope and began reading the letter addressed to him.
What I did to you is unforgivable. I cannot go on another day without your beautiful smile, your infectious laugh, and most importantly your affectionate warmth. I love you, always and forever. Please, forgive me.
As soon as the letter fell onto the bed, so did the tears on Justin's face. The tears began flowing freely down his face as Chris picked up the letter to read.
"Why didn't you tell me earlier, Lance?" Chris asked.
"I did but you told me to shut up!" Lance barked.
"Enough!" Joey stepped in between the two. "Right now, we have to find JC before it gets too late."
"Should we notify management?" asked Lance.
"If we want their help." Chris answered as they walked out of Justin's room together.
They dashed for the opening doors of the elevator on the floor. Joey slipped in and used his body to keep the elevators from closing. Lance and Chris immediately stepped inside. Justin hesitated at first, but he stepped in nonetheless. After all his bandmates got into the elevator, Joey allowed his body to fall into the elevator.
Chris pressed the button to the ground floor. He continued pressing the button as if he didn't the elevator would forget their destination. Joey whistled to himself to relax his already uneasy self. Lance paced back and forth within the confinements of the elevator. And in the corner of all this, Justin stood quietly to himself. The flow of tears had significantly decreased, but they were still there.
The doors swung open and they were greeted by their management team. They agreed that the guys would gather into one vehicle, while the remaining of the team, including the bodyguards split into two teams. They would communicate via cellular phones. As soon as one team knew anything, however irrelevant it may be, that team had to notify the other two.
They rushed inside the waiting limo- Justin being the last one to get in, again.
"Don't worry, Curly, we'll find him." Chris assured Justin as he got in.
The ride in the limo was very much like that in the elevator. Everyone was tensed and nervous, while Justin was lost in his own thoughts. He spent the whole ride staring outside, nothing in particular, just outside. His thoughts entwined deep in his mind. He was overwhelmed with a malestorm of emotions. He was experiencing a mixture of countering thoughts from sadness to anger to guilt. If something were to happen to JC, he would never be able to forgive himself. That he knew for sure.
"It's JC!" Lance shrieked as their limo drove by a skyraper surrounded by a gregarious group of hungry reporters in the heart of Los Angeles.
The limo driver heard Lance and quickly halted, bringing forth a commotion of sort in the congested intersection. He made a U-turn and returned to the front of the hotel, parking just feet away from an already infested media frenzy. The door opened and hoards of reporters rushed to the limo. Joey was the first to get out of the limo, followed closely by Chris and Lance. They looked over their shoulders and saw Justin still inside. Justin scanned his surroundings. He couldn't see anything, being blinded by flashes in every direction. He pulled himself together and stepped one foot after another out of the limo. The wind was blowing his coat along with it as he was ushered in by the help of the bodyguards.
"Thank god, we got in alive." Chris remarked waiting for the elevator door to open.
The guys waited patiently for the elevator to arrive at their floor. There were a total of 23 floors. They had waited for more than five minutes and elevator had only passed the 20th floor. Justin looked up at the lights going on and off as the elevator increased speed to their floor. As quickly as the lights went on and off, it was not fast enough for Justin. He turned around and started running. He could hear the guys calling out for him, but never once did he stop. He ran for the stairs and climbed the 23 flight of stairs. Midway through the 15th set, he tripped and fell backwards to the leveled floor. Justin lay there for a moment- his face on the cold cement. The only warmth was from his tears that were falling continuously.
"Get up, Justin." He told himself.
With the palms of his two hands, he pushed himself up and started again for the roof. Half an hour later, he found himself in front of a door. He opened it and rushed outside. Above him were flying helicopters, with increasing velocity as the wind blew wildly around him. With the helicopters came, flashes from the air. They weren't there to save JC. They could care less about him. They were there along with the hundreds below them to record footage of JC's demise.
JC looked down below him. The crowd appeared to have doubled since he first arrived at the roof of the building. He looked up and was immediately greeted with flashes of light. The lights bombarded him, blinding him in the process. He turned around and found himself inches away from the ledge. Suddenly, memories flashed forward before his eyes. He remembered the first day he arrived in Orlando for the Mickey Mouse Club. His first friends, Dale and Tony, were still his best friends today. He remembered one day in late '92 when a scrawny blonde kid ran into him. He picked him up from the ground and with one look into his deep blues, JC knew his niche in life was to protect this child. "Hi, I'm Justin." The boy introduced himself to JC. Justin soon became JC's shadow following him everywhere even into his bed one night. The other kids would taunt young Justin, saying that he was a spoiled brat, which he was. There was no denying that fact. However, JC didn't see him to be any different from the other kids even though everyone lived in the apartment complex provided by the Disney Studios while Justin's overbearing mother, who suffered from separation anxiety disorder, left her husband, Paul, in Memphis and bought a house in Orlando just to be close to her son. He remembered how depressed he was when the Mickey Mouse Club finally got cancelled. He traveled with Tony out West only to return to the East for college. Somehow fate intervened and he took a detour straight into the heart of Memphis and right into the Harliss household where he remained with Justin for the next few months working on separate demos. He remembered how ecstatic he was upon hearing Justin's enthusiastic voice on the phone begging him to join his friend in a band. JC hopped the next plane out to Tennessee, move that would eventually bring him to the world he knew now. JC stood on the ledge for a moment longer. Due to the lights, he lost his balance as he was preparing himself for the ultimate end when suddenly he was brought back on the roof. He looked up and to his surprise, it was Justin standing before him. His smiled faded as soon as it came. He turned around and faced the edge of the roof.
"I'm sorry, Justin." JC repeated. "I'm sorry I hurt you."
"What are you doing, JC?" Justin asked him. "Come back to me. We can work it out. I promise."
"No, we can't." JC responded. "What I did to you is unforgivable. I cannot live with myself another day knowing that I hurt the one person I love most. Hell, you don't even call me Josh anymore."
"Josh, please, I'm begging you."
Justin dropped to his knees. He crawled his way toward JC and tugged onto JC's pants like a son would do to his father to get his attention. He brought JC's hand to his face. JC let out a heavy sigh. He could not go on with his plan of self-destruction. He'd miss the touch of Justin's baby soft skin too much.
"Josh, I don't have anything." Justin continued, "You're all I have. I don't own anything. I don't own my image, my name, my body. People write all kinds of shit about me. Just look at the tabloids and those fanfictions on the net. Hell, I don't even own my own trash. I can't even leave behind a fucking half-eaten french toast without some stupid DJ auctioning it off. And now you have the one thing I owned for myself."
"Shut up, Justin!" JC wailed. "Please, just shut up!"
Justin continued, "Forever I owned it, but now you've taken that away from me as well. Please, Josh, the least you can do is give us a chance. I don't have anything worth living for, but you. You have always been my strength and hope. If you go, then take me with you because I'll soon falter without you holding me up."
"Justin, I don't think I can-"
"Josh, please stop. I don't want anything from you. I just want you to give me a chance like you gave Kevin a chance." Justin paused to catch JC looking down at him. "If you don't agree to come with me, then take me with you. Otherwise, Chris will whip me so hard that it'll hurt even more than when-"
"When I raped you." JC said. His hand gripped around Justin's wrist and pulled him off the cold ground. Justin was not to be in such a subordinate position, kneeling down on the cold cement floor. He took Justin in his arms and held him close to his heart. "I'm sorry, J. I'm so sorry."
"I know." Justin said, rubbing JC's back. "I know."
***See. See. There's hope after all. So, what did you think of this chapter? Have I surprised you yet, again? I challenge you to make predictions and read to see if your predictions were right or how close you were to being right. As always, discussions are welcomed via email otherwise tune in to another installment of "A Tale of Two Boybands" in the next few days. ThanksJ