Tests of Friendship, Chapter Five:



Well, this seems to be going quickly! Thanks for all your comments, good and bad, although as yet I’ve had no bad ones, only ones suggesting ways to make it better. I know there are a few mistakes here and there, but no one’s perfect. Always point out any mistakes to me though, I’ll correct them in future issue if relevant.

Usual legal stuff: don’t read if you are under 18 or it is illegal to do so in your country. This story doesn’t mean to imply anything about the sexuality of the Backstreet Boys or ‘ N Sync. Any similarities to real life are unintentional etc. etc. etc.  Read the other chapters for a full legal description.  This story is copyrighted to me, and any reproduction of the story is strictly prohibeted.  Nifty has exclusive publication rights as detailed under there terms and conditions.

Anyway, on with the story!

Chapter Five:

A small first class section was at the front, for about 20 odd people.  It seemed that we had this mainly to ourselves.  The rest of the plane hadn’t boarded yet, so it was hard to say whether we would be completely alone or not.  We took our seats, and waited as the other passengers got on.  I turned round as I heard someone enter the first class section, and was surprised to see who it was.

I leaned forwards to the row in front of me and tapped Brian on his shoulder.  He turned round and I pointed out the man standing there.  He almost jumped out of his seat, but remained calm. "I take it you’re glad to see him?" I asked Brian.

"I suppose that depends on what he has to say!" Brian said, before motioning the man over to sit next to him.  John saw him and sat down in the seat.  There were a few seconds of uncomfortable silence before they actually started speaking.

"Did you mean what you said at the concert?" John asked.

"Yes, I did." Brian replied.

"It was brave of you asking me like that.  I suppose you must have been scared shitless when I left quickly.  You probably thought I was going to go to the press or something like that?"

"I was.  What are you doing here?"

"Well, I hoped I might see you."

"Oh, well...you see me.  What did you want to see me for?" Brian asked, not displaying much emotion yet.

"I thought I would set your mind at rest, and tell you I like you too.  I don’t know whether I’m ready for a relationship or not though.  I would like to get to know you, you seem to be a nice, down to earth kinda guy."

"I would like that." Brian said, smiling.  John smiled back, and Brian held his hand, until letting go quickly.  He leaned over to John. "None of the other guys know I’m gay, except for Nick, Kevin and Simon.  I don’t want them to know yet though, I want to give it some time first."

"So, you don’t want any show of affection in front of them?"

"No, and I can’t really have you staying with us, can I?  I’ll have you booked into a hotel, and I can visit you.  They would be suspicious if I had you staying with us." Brian said, looking for John’s approval.

"Don’t worry Bri, can I call you that?, I understand.  What’s with this Simon guy, touring with you?" he asked curiously

"He works for our management, he evaluates our concerts for them. He watches every one, and tries to make the next one better by correcting mistakes."  Brian replied a little too quickly.  John just nodded, seemingly content with the reply.   Brian didn’t think he should tell John of Justin’s relationship with me, at least not yet.  He barely even knew the guy.  He couldn’t believe he actually said he was attracted to him.  He had never really been able to tell anyone else before.  It was only the pressure of the situation, and the uncertainty of what to do that he came to me on the plane from England.  I couldn’t clearly hear their conversation, but I did get the gist of it, and just smiled to myself.  Brian might actually cheer up slightly now.  The plane was approaching the runway now, and I could see Nick sitting by himself near the window.  I motioned for him to come sit in one of the three seats where Justin and myself were.  He quickly moved over, and sat opposite me.  He was gripping the arm rests as the plane accelerated.  He sighed a sigh of relief as the plane left the ground.  It was a relatively short flight, barely an hour in duration.  I looked over at Nick, who seemed relieved that we were in the air.

"You know flying is safer than driving?"

"When a car breaks down you don’t have a few thousand feet below you to fall down." Nick said seriously.

"I suppose.  The only thing is that airplanes are far more reliable.  I’ve flown more than most, and I’ve never had a problem yet.  I don’t want to tempt fate though!" I said as I relaxed in the chair.  I switched on the tele in the back of the seat and flicked through the broadcast stations, stopping on MTV: Deutschland.  After about 10 minutes of watching, it came on about the European tour, and the concert tomorrow.  They played a couple of videos, before the European Top 20 came on.  I turned off the LCD TV and waited for the stewardess to offer us some drinks.  She finally came round about 20 minutes into the flight.  I had a ginger ale, while Nick and Justin both had cokes.  The flight went fine, except for a slightly bumpy landing due to some ground wind, which really made Nick nervous.  We taxied to the terminal building and again found two limos waiting for us at the bottom of the ladder.  Brian let John come down with them but told him he couldn’t really stay with them, since he didn’t want to arouse any suspicions.  Brian had booked him a hotel room during the flight nearby to his own hotel.  We split into our respective limos, as I stayed with Justin.  John went into the BSB limo with Brian, receiving a few questioning looks from the other guys.  Brian just explained that his hotel wasn’t too far from where they were staying, and so he was giving him a lift.   Both limos arrived at the Frankfurt Hotel, and John made his way to the nearby hotel where he was staying.  We all went into the lobby and collected the key cards, unhindered by fans.  A leakage of false information on where we were staying had helped to get rid of most of them.  We went up to our reserved floor on the top.   The large penthouse floor had 8 penthouse apartments, each with three bedrooms.   We split into our respective rooms, unloading the luggage before meeting back in the lobby.  Management had made my tagging along official, by basically giving me the job that Brian had described.  It would make it far easier to explain my presence if an official job was thought of.  I didn’t have to actually do anything, just appear more than a person who tagged along doing nothing!

The first interview was for a live radio broadcast, including callers' questions.   All of the guys entered the broadcast room while I took a seat in the listening booth.  I put a pair of head phones on and listened to the interview, as well as looking at the queue screen, on which stated who was calling.  All callers called in and stated there question, before being put into the queue.  There was always a risk someone would start off, but they would be dropped instantly.  As soon as the song finished the broadcaster, a man in his late 20s, introduced the Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync.  The interview was being done in English, and later rebroadcast with the questions and answers translated into German.  Already the board was jammed with incoming calls as the two operators tried to put all the caller information on the screen.   Eventually all 20 lines were full, about 40 of the callers had to be turned away, because someone else had already asked their question, or it was being covered by the interviewer.  It was a pretty standard interview, similar to the previous one in Munich.  Finally, after a series of boring questions they went to the phones.   Everything was going fine until they went to the third caller, who said on calling that he was intending to ask about how the guys were enjoying touring Europe.   Instead, it was something very unexpected.

"I thought I would set your mind at rest, and tell you I like you too.  I don’t know whether I’m ready for a relationship or not though.  I would like to get to know you, you seem a nice, down to earth kinda guy." The voice of what appeared to be a recording came over the headphones.

"I would like that. None of the other guys know I’m gay, except for Nick, Kevin and Simon. I don’t want them to know yet though, I want to give it some time first." That voice was definitely Brian’s however, despite slightly degraded quality due to the recording.

"So you don’t want any show of affection in front of them?" The first voice came back on.  By now I already knew who it was, and so did Brian.  The presenter hadn’t cut off the call in time, and the damage had already been done.   Brian was keeping his composure extremely well.

"Who is this?" Brian said into his microphone.  He was clearly shocked by the recording.  All he heard was the long tone indicating the other person had hung up.  The presenter was a bit confused, and was uncertain exactly how to respond to the recording.

"Er... Brian, would you care to say anything about that?"

"Yes, I don’t know what the hell it was.  All I can say it was a fake.   I’m definitely not gay, and I never said what you just heard on the call."

"But it did seem to be in your voice none the less."

"People can imitate people, obvious the caller was trying to put me in a very difficult position, which he seems to have succeeded in doing." Brian responded, his voice extremely stressed.

"Anyway, I think we have established that this call was a fake, and whoever the caller was, I hope he regrets his actions." Kevin spoke up for Brian. "Shall we move on to the next caller?" The rest of the calls went fine, they answered another 5 questions or so before going off air.

"Brian, I am extremely sorry about that, I should have stopped the call as soon as it started." The presenter apologised.

"Don’t worry about it, it doesn’t matter.  It was just someone’s bad idea of a joke." Brian said, laughing the incident off.  The only thing on his mind was how much he just wanted to kill John right now.  He had trusted him, only to be betrayed.  Hopefully the call would come to nothing, the PR people would set to work on it.  The guys left and got in the limo.

"What was that about Brian?" AJ was the first to ask as they drove off.

"I suppose I might as well tell you guys now.  That was a conversation I had on the plane with John."

"You mean you’re gay?" AJ responded.  Brian just nodded, keeping his head cast down.

"Nick and Kevin knew.  I told Nick yesterday, but Kevin’s known for ages." Brian said, bracing himself for there reactions.

"Ok, no problem.  Don’t worry Bri, you know it won’t make any difference." AJ said, lifting Brian’s head up, smiling.  Brian was relieved AJ took it well, but Howie on the other hand was silent.  Brian looked over at him.

"Don’t worry Bri, it doesn’t bother me.  I’m just surprised, that’s all, so many people coming out over the past few days.  Give me a while to adjust.   You’re still the same person, the same old Brian.  Everyone seems to be saying that lately.  I won’t act like Chris though, I’ll just accept it." Howie said, putting on a weak smile. Brian nodded and sank back in the chair.

"Why did you keep it a secret from us two, and not those two?" AJ said, pointing to Kevin and Nick.

"Kevin found out, I told Nick when he ran out the other day.  I was trying to make him feel better, if he was gay.  I didn’t have any idea." Brian said calmly.  AJ just nodded.

"So it’s not that you didn’t trust me then?" AJ said jokingly.

"I wouldn’t have let any of you find out if it could have been helped.  I didn’t know how any of you would react.  The response from Chris when Justin came out made matters even worse."

"What are we going to do about this John person.  He might get himself believed.   You should have been more careful, you should have never have told him you were gay until you got to know him a lot better." Kevin said seriously.

"Don’t lecture me, Kev.  I don’t want a lecture, I want to fix this mess." Brian said, almost angry.  Kevin backed down a little.

"Well, we can’t really go and talk to him, can we?"

The ‘N Sync limo:

The guys got into the limo, waiting till it pulled off. "How may more people are going to come out.  Am I going to be the only straight one left?" Chris said, but with not so much anger in his voice, but rather irritation.  "I’m sorry Justin for acting like I did when you came out.  It was uncalled for."

"Don’t worry Chris.  I realise it must have been weird for you, but you did overreact a little!" Justin replied.

"What is this thing with Brian then?  Where did that call come from?" Lance asked.  I kept quiet, not wanting to say anything, but rather let Brian explain the situation.  "What do you know?" Lance directed at me, seeing my reaction, putting my hand down, touching my face.

"Nothing, just ask Brian." I replied, trying to put as much force behind the statement as possible.  Lance just nodded and backed down.  The rest of the journey was in silence until we reached the hotel.

"What are we going to do to that John person then?  I presume that’s who made the call?" JC spoke up

"I presume so." I replied.

"Why would someone do that?  Obviously he set out with that in mind."

"He seemed a nice enough guy when I talked to him at the concert, we were sitting next to each other.  Shit!  He must know I'm gay, and will probably have figured out I’m going out with one of you." I said, thinking out loud.

"Don’t worry, no one will believe him.  We’ll have him completely discredited." Lance said.

"You would never do anything like that to me," Justin said, waiting a few seconds before saying, "would you?"  As soon as he said that I was really hurt, and it showed.  I pulled away from Justin slightly, and moved his hand off mine.  Justin looked sad in his eyes. "I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that."

"You meant it like you don’t trust me, thinking that I might actually be doing this all just to go to the press and out you.  I’m hurt that you would think that.  I thought we had moved beyond that Justin."  I said harshly.   "Now, you might not have thought about the full implications of what you were saying, but you said it." I looked directly at Justin, tears almost forming in his eyes.  I pulled him into a hug, thinking I had punished him enough.  "But fortunately, I am a forgiving person.  Just don’t question my sincerity in this relationship again, or you might really hurt me.  I care for you Justin, don’t doubt that.  Hopefully you feel the same for me." I said, softening my voice down as I spoke.  I wiped Justin’s eyes, to remove the slight tears that had started to form.  I pushed the sides of his lips up into a smile, making him laugh.   I edged back towards him slightly and the rest of the journey went in silence.   Both of the limos were going to the studio for the rescheduled magazine interview.   We pulled into the car park and were met by security who then guided us through to the studio.  I was stopped and told to stay outside.  I explained my official position and was allowed in.  I sat out the way, in the back of the room.  The interview was standard, except for the added question of the phone call.  Brian gave the same explanation as he did earlier, and seemed to get away with it.  The interview took not much over half an hour, and we headed off to get some food afterwards.   We drove around until we found a nice looking multi-cultural restaurant.  We were given a secluded table, and handed our menus.  Just about every imaginable cuisine from around the world was available, from burgers and tandooris to German meat selections.  We spent a good few minutes going over the menu until we were ready to order.  I had a portion of teriyaki chicken with stir-fried vegetables.  Nick, yet again, stuck to a burger.

After we all finished eating, the waiter brought round the desert and wine menus again.   I ordered a bottle of the ’53 Chardonnay on the menu, which was poured round the table.  I had a large piece of chocolate gateaux, along with Justin, Lance, AJ, Nick and Brian.  The others didn’t bother with a dessert.  I quickly finished it, before tasting, and savouring the excellent wine.  I drank it slowly, since it cost almost 250DM.  It was a very rare vintage to find, and extremely full bodied.

"Zahlen bitte."  I called out when we finished, and the waiter brought over the bill.  I handed over my credit card before anyone had a chance to object.   The waiter brought it back a few minutes later, along with the protests from the others about me paying.  I allowed the others to leave the tip, of 50DM, 5 each.   We left the restaurant and got back into the limo.  We returned to the hotel, as it was approaching 6pm.  Kevin directed us all to his room to discuss the problem of the phone call.  We all entered and sat around the room.

"Well, first of all I might as well tell you all.  I’m gay and that conversation was real.  I talked to John on the plane.  I had already told him I was gay when I met him at the concert."  Brian said quickly, hoping for a generally good reaction.  He waited a few seconds before continuing. "Obviously he must have had this planned, and recorded the conversation, hoping to get through on the phone in and play it back."

"You should have been more careful, but let’s not worry about that.   Management is already trying to discredit him.  We got his name from the concert in England.  I think we should go and see him really though, but that might arouse suspicions." Kevin said.

"I’ll go and see him.  Not too many people know me." I offered.   The guys glanced around a bit before Kevin made an answer.

"Ok, you go and see him, but don’t do anything stupid.  We’ve got to sort this mess out diplomatically.  The only thing is, I doubt he’s still staying at the hotel Brian booked for him.  You probably won’t find him."

"I’ll find him.  He can’t have gone too far, I doubt he will have left yet.  He’ll probably follow you guys around and try and accumulate more evidence." I responded.  Brian told me the hotel he checked him into and I left to see if I could find him.  I walked the half a kilometer to the hotel and entered the lobby.  I went straight to the elevator and headed for the 3rd floor.  I followed the sign for the room number and stood outside the door.  I raised my hand and knocked loudly.  There was nothing for about 10 seconds until I heard footsteps on the other side.

John pulled the door open crying.  I barged in and slammed the door shut.   "What the hell do you think you’re doing?!  You obvious set out to do this, otherwise you wouldn’t have had the recorder.  I don’t know what you’re crying about, worried you might not have succeeded in your task?" I shouted at him, angrily.  He dried his eyes of slightly before sitting down.

"I didn’t do anything!  I never recorded anything.  It wasn’t me. Yes, it was our conversation, but I didn’t phone in, I didn’t record it!" he replied, his tears running slightly. "As soon as I heard it on the radio I didn’t know what to do.  I knew everyone would think it would be me, who else would have done it?  I’m really sorry about what happened, I couldn’t believe what I heard on the radio."

"What do you want, money?  I’ll write you a check out now if you’ll shut up." I said calmly.

"It wasn’t me, I didn’t do it.  I know it must be hard for you to believe me, but it’s the God’s for honest truth!" He shouted back at me.   I was actually beginning to believe him, but I wanted to persue it further.

"What, half a million?  A million?  That’s what’s on the table."

"I didn’t fuckin’ well do it!" he shouted at me, before letting a few tears slip down his face.

"Ok, just stop crying.  If you didn’t do it, who did?  Did someone know you two were going to discuss your undying love for each other?"

"I don’t know, it must have been on the plane, or one of the stewardesses.   I don’t know!"

"We’ll get to the bottom of this, and if we do find it was you, you will really regret lying to me." I said coldly, staring directly into his eyes.  He looked away slightly. "Come back to the hotel with me, and explain yourself to the guys.   All I can think of, if it wasn’t you, is that it must have been one of the cabin crew, or another passenger, but no one came into the first class section other than you, unless they hid a recorder on the last flight, then picked it up on the next, hoping to catch something interesting."  He stood up and followed me downstairs.   To avoid anyone getting ideas, I told him to follow me in a couple of minutes later.  I entered the hotel, and gave instructions to the security people at the lobby to let John through, as if he were a guest at the hotel.  I waited in the elevator until he walked in.  We headed upto the guys floor and I lead John into Kevin’s room, where the rest of the guys were still waiting.  Brian had his hands round John’s throat before I could even say something.

"What the hell did you do this to me for?!  I liked you, and you betrayed me!" Brian screamed while throttling the kid.  I forced Brian off him and attempted to keep him away from John.

"Brian, I don’t think he did it.  Someone else recorded your conversation I think.  He turned down one million pounds (1.6 million dollars approx.), so I think he must be sincere."

"You offered him money to keep him quiet?"

"I would have cancelled the check if he accepted it, but I would have brought him back to you first, and let you kill him, he would have deserved it.  I don’t think he did it though, it was just a set up.  Someone recorded you two talking, and then phoned into the radio station.  It could have been another passenger who left a cassette recorder hidden earlier, or one of the cabin crew."

Brian looked at John, who just nodded, tears in his eyes. "I didn’t know what to do when I heard it on the radio.  I knew you would think it was me.  I just cried, knowing that anything we might have had together was over.  I didn’t stop crying until Simon came and knocked on my door." John said, again a few tears forming in his eyes.  Brian pulled him into a hug.

"I’m sorry, it just seemed like it must have been you.  I didn’t think it could have been anyone else." Brian said, holding John in his arms.  "If it was you though..." he said, not finishing his sentence.  John just smiled at Brian.

"You mean, we might still be able to make a go at this?" John said, a bit too overeagerly.

"We’ll have to be very low profile with it, the media will be on the lookout for any signs that I’m gay after that.  I can’t have you travelling with us like Simon now, it’s too much of a risk.  I can’t afford any more rumors.   You’ll just have to follow us, and stay near us."

"That’s ok, I can do that." John replied, smiling eagerly.  The only question now was, if John didn’t record the conversation, who did?

"Well guys, do you all want to go clubbing or something for a while?" Howie asked.  Everyone just nodded and we went to leave.  We exited the hotel, via the back and searched around for a nightclub.  Eventually we came across one and entered.   We stayed for about four or five hours until we headed back to the hotel.  No one ended up drunk, and we got back to the hotel in peace.  John headed back to his hotel for the night.

I entered my room, or should I say our room, and looked around for Justin.  He was sitting in the corner, his head cast down.  I walked over and sat next to him pulling him into a hug. "Justin, I’m sorry I’ve not spent much time with you today, but you’ve been busy, and then there was this matter of the radio phone call, and we can’t really do anything at a nightclub incase anyone sees us.  I’ll make it up to you, I promise." I said, giving him a kiss on his nose.  He smiled slightly and we just sat there, holding each other for what seemed like an eternity.   I finally broke away to go get ready for bed. I got changed into some pjs and collapsed on the bed.  Justin followed suit.  We both held onto each other as we feel to sleep.  I remember thinking how lucky I was.

I woke up the following morning at about 7am.  I looked over and saw Justin lying at my side, on top of the sheets.  It was 8am in the morning when I walked over to use the bathroom.  I just got into the shower and lost track of time.  The next thing I knew, Justin was standing in front of me, shaking me, shouting my name.

"What’s wrong, what’s the matter?" I said quickly.

"You’ve been in the shower for almost an hour.  I’ve been shaking you for the past ten minutes.  What happened?"

"I don’t know, I must have phased out or something.  Sorry." I said, stepping out of the shower.  I put a towel round my waste and thought about what Justin said.  I could only remember stepping into the shower, what seemed like a few minutes ago. ‘Weird’ I said to myself, before finishing getting ready. "Justin, when can I get this hair cut you promised, it needs something doing to it." I called to him, as he was finishing in the shower.
"You can come down to the arena with us today, and I’ll get one of our make up people for you.  She’ll make you look as good as new!" Justin said smiling. "What happened earlier when you were in the shower?  You seemed way out of it?"

"I don’t know.  I was just thinking, and I must have lost track of time.   I go into my own little world sometimes.  I had this really weird dream last night, and I suppose I was trying to figure it out." I forced a smile as I spoke, but it actually bothered me.  It had happened before, last year.  I just completely phased out watching TV.  I remembered watching the start of the program, and the next thing I know, it’s the end.   The car ride too, back in England when I nearly crashed.  I never usually lose concentration like that.  "Anyway, let’s go and get some breakfast." I said as I finished getting dressed. I headed towards the breakfast room, and found nearly everyone but Nick and JC already there.   Justin walked in a few seconds after me.  I poured a bowl of cereal and reached for a paper.  The headline was about the Kosovo crisis.  I quickly read the article, flicking through the pages, stopping at anything interesting.  There was a small piece about the concert towards the back, and a fan letter sent into the paper, which they printed.

"Here, read this." I said, motioning towards the letter.

"What’s it say?" AJ asked, after staring at the German text for a second.

"Er.. She expresses her undying love for all of you, goes on to how great you are, but is telling the paper how tickets for the show sold out within a few minutes of coming on sale."

"And?" AJ asked inquisitively.

"Quiet down dear boy." I said, motioning my hand towards him. "She goes on to say that her friends have been to an ‘N Sync concert before, and really enjoyed it, and how disappointed she is that she can’t go.  She hopes that you guys will read this, feel sympathy and send her some tickets!" I said smiling slightly, "The editor wishes her good luck.  They’ll print anything in Germany."

"What’s the paper’s number?" Kevin asked, taking a sip of his orange juice.  I flicked through and found it at the front.  He picked up the phone and called the paper.  After a few minutes of talking he scribbled down yet another phone number.  He dialed that into the phone.  He suddenly realised he didn’t speak a word of German when she answered. He quickly passed the phone to me.  An older lady answered the phone.  I asked for, presumably, her daughter.

"Oh hallo, sprechen Sie Englisch?"

"Yes, a little. Can I help you."

"No, but I think I can help you.  I have someone here who would like to talk to you, in regards to the letter you wrote into the newspaper." I replied in German, before handing the phone to Kevin [I’ve no intention of translating that!]

"Hello, this is Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys.  I just read you’re letter in the paper, and I wanted to offer you tickets to tonight’s concert." I could hear screaming from the other side of the phone, as Kevin told her to calm down.   He spoke for a few more minutes, before hanging up.

"Why’d you do that?"

"Because she wrote to the newspaper and asked.  It’ll be good publicity."

"Fair enough.  How are you getting the tickets to her?" AJ asked.

"Weren’t you listening?  I’m going round to her house to deliver them personally." Kevin said smiling. "She wants Nick to come too.  Speaking of Nick, one of us better go and get him up." I stood up, since I was the only one who had finished my light breakfast.

"I’ll go." I said, walking out the room.  I walked down to Nick’s room and knocked on the door.  There was no answer at first, so I knocked again, a bit harder.  Nick opened the door, yawning, still wearing his boxers.  He just pushed his head through the crack in the door, not letting me in. "Wake up time Nick.   Any reason I can’t come in?"

"Yep, there is.  Thanks for getting me up.  I’ll come down in a minute." He said.  I shrugged and walked to JC’s room.  There was no answer, and the door was unlocked, so I quickly looked inside, to find the room deserted.   I closed the door and walked back into the breakfast room.

"I’ve got ‘em up." I said as I sat back down next to Justin. "What have you guys got lined up?"

"We’ve got to get to the arena by 2, lunch break at 5, concert starts at 7.   Until then, we’ve got the day to ourselves." Lance responded.  We turned round to see Nick enter the room, still looking sleepy.  A few seconds later JC walked in and sat at the breakfast table.  I looked at them questioningly, but received no answer from either of them, so let it drop, at least for the time being.   When we finished breakfast, Kevin told the other two on how they were going round to this girls house to give her the tickets.  Everyone ended up going, since they had nothing better to do.  Kevin called to have the two limos prepared, and we walked to the service elevator.  We headed down to the kitchen and walked out towards the back car park.  We jumped in the limos in no particular order and drove off.  Kevin gave the driver the address, before they drove off.  It didn’t take long to arrive, and they all jumped out the limo.  I stayed put while they said their hellos.   I could see from the limo that she almost fainted when she opened the door to be confronted by the ten BSB and ‘N Sync guys.  After a couple of minutes they got back in the limo and we drove off.  The limos pulled up outside a large shopping center and we all jumped out the limos.  I looked around the large shopping area in front and walked towards the main entrance.  We split into a few groups to try and make us less obvious, while the guys pulled on some disguises, consisting of the highly original baseball cap and glasses.  Nick went shopping for sneakers (or trainers as they’re called in England), while Justin, AJ and myself headed for Ka De We (a big superstore in Germany).  I lost track of the others, but I wasn’t really bothered.

After about 2 hours of shopping we all met back up at the limo, with about 20 odd bags between us.  We unloaded our luggage into the boots (trunks) of the two cars and drove off towards the arena.  The drivers took the bags back to the hotel while the guys got prepared.  I was introduced to Justin’s makeup lady/hairdresser and had my hair ‘adjusted’ to hide the scar, and not leave a much shorter part on the back of my head.  I was relatively pleased with the results.  My hair ended up quite short, slightly longer than Justin’s, and not quite as curly.  I thanked the lady before returning to see the guys practising some of their dance moves, for it was a smaller performance area than previously, and some adjusting was needed.   At about 3pm, John turned up at the front of the arena.  I walked over to the guards to wave him in and lead him to the seating area.  He watched Brian perform for a few minutes before making his presence known by going backstage.  They had a brief exchange, and they both seemed happy.  John returned and sat with me in the audience.

"So, what’s it like travelling with the guys all the time?"

"Not that bad, you get nice hotel rooms, sometimes decent company, getting beaten in pillow fights, half drowned in pools, the regular sort of stuff." I said smiling.

"What do you do then, publicity sort of stuff?"

"Not exactly, I evaluate their performances from an audience perspective, whether that is an interview or a concert or a TV appearance." I replied, occasionally looking at the stage from John.  Let me try and describe him a bit, he looked about 18ish, but Brian told me he was 22, which surprised me. He had boyish, very cute, looks, 5’11 tall, blue eyes and blond hair.

"I see.  Are there any problems with you being gay?"

"No, not really.  One or two of them took a bit of adjustment of having a gay guy touring with them, but no major problems other than that." I said, not wanting to inform John of my relationship with Justin.  I showed no signs of deceit, something you pick up as a car dealer!  We watched the guys finish one of more things before they waved us backstage.  We walked into their shared dressing room.

"Do you guys want to come and get something to eat with us?" Kevin asked, as he finished changing back into his street clothes.  We both nodded, before following the guys out.  We asked some of the German staff where a good place to eat was, and an Italian restaurant was recommended, which was only round the corner.  We walked over to the restaurant, miraculously escaping the surrounding fans.  We were shown a secluded table and handed a set of menus by the Italian manager, who was at the door.

After a few minutes a waiter came along, who was clearly American.

"Hi, my name’s Jed, and I’ll be your waiter for this afternoon.  Can I take any drink orders?" He went round the table taking orders, we basically had the same as the previous night, John having a lemonade, while I had a glass of the house red.   He returned with the drinks a few minutes later, distributing them around. "Are you ready to order yet?" He asked politely, pulling the notepad and pen from his belt.  We had all decided on what we were going to order.

"I’ll have the tagliatelli carbonara with a helping of garlic bread." I responded.

"The same please." John spoke up.

"And me!" Justin said.

"The pepperoni pizza for us three" AJ said, pointing towards Lance and Chris

"Me too." Nick jumped in.

"I’ll just have the prawn salad." Joey said, closing his menu.

"I’ll have the crab salad." JC said.

"Us three will all have the macaroni and cheese." Brian said, motioning towards Kevin and Howie.  The waiter nodded, collected the menus and headed off towards the kitchen menu.  I picked up my wine and took a few sips before putting the glass down.   I called for the waiter and he quickly came over.

"I would like another glass please, from a fresh bottle. This wine is corked and warm, it’s a disgrace to serve it like this." I said calmly as the waiter, Jed, took a sip of the wine, agreeing with me and returning with a fresh bottle.  He poured a taster this time, which I approved, before pouring the whole glass.

"How can you tell there’s something wrong with it?" Justin asked, not detecting anything wrong with the wine himself when he took a sip.

"When one associates with English higher society, which seems necessary to build up a clientele, you end up drinking a lot of wine.  You pick up a good taste eventually.   The English are the most class-divided country in existence.  The highest class is not the richest, the highest are the Lords and Ladies with inherited fortunes, not always in the big country houses.  The car, the dress, the voice, and drink and the golf seem to be the most important things, along with going to house meetings.   You pick up a lot of clients associating." I replied.

"So in other words you spend half your spare time associating with upper class snobs."

"Yep.  They would turn their noses up at people like you."

"Why?" Justin enquired.

"Because you’re young, and in their opinion, you’ve not done anything to earn your money.  I remember talking to a Lord someone or other, who actually called the lower classes scum who didn’t work, and thought the lottery brought scum into the upper class society without them earning their position.  He believed you should only get money and a big house if you inherited it.  I don’t think he even liked people who rose from the lower classes by earning their money."

"A generally nice guy then?" he said, laughing slightly.

"One of my best clients, he buys a brand new Rolls Royce every year.  Can’t stand the man though, you can’t help but wonder how he can exist in a modern world like this." I said, as our food arrived.  We all are quickly before paying the bill, which was rather substantial.  We left a generous tip before heading back to the arena.  This time we weren’t so lucky with fans, getting mobbed as we walked back towards the arena.

The security people were quick to assist, and helped us through (again, German efficiency for you).  It was now 6:30, and the concert was due to start in only half an hour, so the guys quickly ran off and got ready, while John and myself took up seats in the front row.

"You still don’t trust me do you?" John asked, the arena very crowded by now.

"Everything pointed to you, but you seemed genuinely hurt by the incident, and very upset.  I don’t think it was you, but I don’t think it would be wise if I completely let my guard down." I replied.  We stopped talking for a while, and it wasn’t long until the concert started.  We sat through the performance until Justin came on stage by himself, taking a stand in the center.

"Hey, whassup y’all?" Justin shouted out into the crowd, receiving a field of screams, a few signs, such as ‘Justin, will you marry me’, and ‘I love you’ being waved about. "I’m sorry for missing the last concert if any of you were there, but I’m feeling back up to full health now..." Justin said, continuing.

"What happened at the previous concert?" John asked me quietly, not receiving any reply, so he spoke up slightly.  Still no reply, he shook me slightly, but I remained unresponsive.  He looked slightly concerned, and shouted in my ear, trying to overpower the noise of the crowd, and Justin’s voice over the loud speaker system, but to little avail.  Justin noticed how John was shaking me, and trying to get me to respond, a look of concern flashing across his face.  As John shook me, I fell out the chair onto the floor, making no effort to stop the fall.  John looked up at Justin, who was now very concerned. Not certain what to do, he ran over to the edge of the stage, and looked down towards where I was lying, apparently unconscious on the floor.

"Is there a doctor here?" Justin asked in the crowd, one hand going up towards the back, as an older man, in his late forties ran over to the front.  He knelt besides me, checking my pulse and breathing, before helping me sit upright. With little or no equipment, there was little he could do to analyse my condition. "It looks like he is in some kind of seizure, he should recover in a minute or so." The doctor said.   Justin seemed worried at how he said it was a seizure, but realised he couldn’t say much on the stage, with fear of giving our relationship away. "He should go down to a hospital as soon as possible though." The doctor said.

"I’ll take him down when he wakes up." John said.  Justin just nodded and went back to the stage.  He wanted to go with me, but couldn’t really afford to.

"Sorry about the interruption, we had a slight medical crisis on the front row.   It’ll be sorted out in a few minutes though, no need to worry." Justin said into his mike. "Well, let’s get on with the show." Justin said, walking off the stage.

Suddenly I regained consciousness, lying down on the floor. John helped me up and explained what happened.  I was almost on the verge of crying, since I had managed to dismiss all the previous seizures, this one was different however, since others witnessed it.  I walked out with John to his car, which was parked, and we drove off to the hospital.

Well, that’s the end of chapter five. Keep your comments coming, there’s not been as many of late.  What’s wrong with Simon, wait until the next issue and find out. I’m doing a lot of research here, to try and make it seem as realistic as possible. Anyway, email me at trekster2@hotmail.com . I always like to hear people’s opinions and make new friends. Thanks again to Sean, and my other little helper, who got a guest role in this chapter as a thank you also proof reading, and making suggestions. Hopefully by this issue, I should have worked out the ‘bugs’ in terms of language problems!