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"Rubber ducky, You're the one- You make bath time lots of fun! Rubber
Ducky I'm awfully fond of you-" Chris mock-soft shoed across the rehearsal
area floor, pointing his imaginary cane at Lance. "Take it Lance."
Lance just laughed and shook his head forcefully, unwilling to let Chris draw him into his hyper song & dance routine.
Chris shrugged and went on singing. "Rubber ducky, joy of joys, when I squeeze you, You make noise, Rubber ducky you're my very best friend it's true... Take it Lance!"
Lance rolled his eyes and Chris shrugged again. He danced over to Joey and pulled him up off of the floor as he continued. "Every day when I, make my way to the tubby... I find a, little fella, who's cute and yella and Chubby- Take it Lance!" he shouted, then his face shot up in surprise as Lance took the end of the bridge.
"A rub-a-dub-dubby," Lance's deep bass rang out clearly, thought it was muffled some by the blond man's own laughter.
Chris froze, his mouth wide open.
"Well???" Lance asked after a few seconds, raising an eyebrow. "Are you going to finish the song?"
Chris blinked. Then he blinked again. Then, "I- uh- you- What?" Chris's shock lasted a few stutters more before he picked up where he had left off, pretending that nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
Justin leaned back against the rehearsal mirror from where he sat, cross-legged, on the floor. He couldn't help but smile fondly at the older man so easily making of himself as he danced around and sang kiddie tune. Not that there was anything *wrong* with Sesame Street. There had been plenty of days off when, for lack of anything interesting to do, the five men had flipped through PBS stations in search of some entertainment.
Chris was definitely the most into it however. It had been his idea to film the "Believe in Yourself" song, and he had even kept in touch with a few of the muppeteers. Actually- for a while he kept insisting on using one in a video, but that idea had been vetoed. As J.C. had pointed out, they had enough people not taking them seriously. Justin sort of agreed with J.C., but he still could remember the pitiful look on Chris's face.
That look was easy to erase though, watching the dark haired man prance around. Justin's wistful smile grew wider as he watched. It had been too long since he'd seen Chris act with this much reckless abandon. It had to have been at least a month since Chris had just cut loose like this, as if he hadn't a care in the world. Lately, Justin had noticed the elder man was more quiet and withdrawn, and he'd actually started to scowl, a facial expression completely unnatural to the fun-loving Chris Justin had grown to love.
Yes, love. Justin hadn't quite noticed when the admiration and respect he'd had for Chris evolved into something more. It had moved so easily from Brotherly love to- to this- that Justin didn't even have time to worry about it. He just loved Chris, and he accepted that.
Still, there was a difference between accepting something and acting on it. A large difference actually. But Justin was resigned to his fate, and he figured if he just left things alone he'd eventually find some one a little less- well, straight.
`Besides,' Justin reasoned, `Chris hasn't even had a date since he broke up with Dani, and that was almost a year ago. Sometimes I think he still loves her, they're so close still. I never really thought that was possible, I thought that when two people broke up there was always a little bit of resentment. But that didn't seem to be true with them. Me and Brit neither.'
`Fuck.' Justin sighed inwardly, feeling a twinge of guilt. `I wish I could love her back. I really do. But I couldn't lie, couldn't lead her on. She'll find someone, I know it.'
And now, Justin noted, looking back up at the hyper Chris who had now *somehow* managed to form Lance and Joey into a conga line, something seemed to have just snapped back in place, and Chris was back to normal. It'd had been almost three weeks since Chris turned 30, and he was acting six again, rather than the 96 of the previous month.
What ever it had been that was bothering Chris seemed to have cleared itself up, thankfully. Justin hadn't been sure how much more of the brooding and angry Chris he'd have been able to deal with. Normally he'd have just tickled the older man until Chris told him what was wrong, but something about the funk Chris had been in screamed `Hands off! Don't ask.'
So now, Justin was free to forget about what might or might not have been bothering Chris and get back to a much more entertaining pastime- fantasizing about the older man.
Justin wasn't sure what kept him from coming out to the other guy, he was sure they wouldn't have a problem with it.
Pretty sure, anyway.
He thought he was pretty sure.
`Fuck it,' Justin sighed. `I'm just chicken shit and we all know it. Well, I know it, and that's enough to keep me lying.
Okay, so it wasn't a completely bad idea to keep his sexuality hidden, Justin reasoned. First, the more people who knew about it, the easier it would be to slip up and out him publicly. And neither Justin, nor Nsync's fans, were mature enough yet to handle that.
Second, it reasoned that although the guys probably would be cool about it, one could never tell. After all, Lance had been raised in the South, in `Mizzippi,' as they all teased. Not exactly a haven for the gay community. And J.C. was a Mennonite, although Justin admitted he really had no fucking clue what a Mennonite was or what the religion stood for.
He'd asked Joey once and the older man had told him being a Mennonite was sort of like being Amish. Then again, what the hell did Joey know? Joey thought if a plane crashed on the border of the U.S. and Canada you should bury the survivors in the water. Joey also said there was a religion that was based entirely on the principle of not having sex.
`How the hell would they keep that going anyway?' Justin wondered inanely. `I mean, they'd die out!' He'd asked Joey what he'd have done in that religion and the man had replied that he'd have been kicked out within ten seconds. Justin had responded that maybe if Joey built up a little stamina then maybe he could convert the others. The whole thing had turned ugly about there, deteriorating into a wrestling match.
Justin was positive Chris and Joey would be okay with his secret, but Joey was a blabbermouth, and Justin just couldn't tell Chris. If he did, and the older man was disgusted Justin would be crushed, and if the older man was fine with it Justin would only build up false hope. It was a no-win situation.
And so he was content to stay silent and pal around with Chris as he always had, refusing to admit to any guilty pleasure he might receive.
"Boo!" Someone shouted in Justin's ear. The blonde man yelped and jumped to his feet, stumbling backwards into the mirror.
Chris doubled over with laughter. "Oh my god," he panted between breaths, "You should have seen yourself!"
Justin scowled good-naturedly. "Old man, I am going to beat your ass!"
"Later," Chris said absently as he straightened up. "Not now, I was coming to tell you-"
"Lunch was catered... and they have OREOs!!! Kick ass!" Chris grabbed Justin by the arms and began to tug him out of the room, chanting. "C- is for cookie, which is good enough for me, C-is for cookie, which is good enough for me, C- is for cookie which is good enough for me- TAKE it Justin!"
Justin grinned. "Oh Cookie, cookie, cookie starts with C!" he sang,
beaming. His Chris was back.
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