A Little Bit of Love

By John & Lurch

Authors Comments (John and Lurch):

First of all, well done Lurch for having a computer working sufficiently to do this in HTML! HTML is a godsend!! He likes to write in italics.

Writing this thing has exhausted me! Try being me - I'm the one chasing you up all the time; and all the writing I did for this episode was written in plenty of time to publish last Thursday (24th) - and i'm the one at work all day - 12-14 hours staring at a computer a day is not good for you.

And it's all his fault! I'm FAR too stressed to recommend any stories, as I just can't THINK at the moment! You never could :-P And I may be running out of exclamation marks! You! Never!

Congrats to Mike of Nick and Justin (a story I LOVE) for doing well at the awards, and commiserations to an absolute SWEETHEART who should have - I loves ya, wifey! Go read My surprise romance everyone! AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN!!! YOU WUZ ROBBED, baby!!!!!

Last episode we wished everyone well in their exams; congrats or commiserations to all those out there who've got their results in the last week. Seconded! Anyone going north of watford - around Durham to be exact? If you do - visit Barnard Castle near Hamsterly Forest the other side of Bishop Aukland from Durham - lovely place - nice place to take visiting parents - away from your friends!

People for me to say stuff to: what about me? <pouts> - I like to say things as well.
Casey - I need your help - I'm gonna send you something next week - NO comments please J.
Pranav - I loves ya boy! I'm so glad we met, as you're a great laugh! And for other reasons too... :-P
Gabby! - you're a sweetheart, honey, and I'm sorry that I've been almost ignoring you recently! L
Darren :-D - I think this pretty much covers it all: <snigger> J
Brent - sorry we haven't been able to chat recently, but we'll have to work with that!
David (at Nifty) - Thank you for ALL that you do for us author's and readers; your work on Nifty has caused me to meet some really special, great people - some of whom are named above
Oh well, I'd better, hadn't I? Lurchy-wurchy - thanks for helping me out with this little story and for being a friend.
I still want to visit the enemy camp at some point J - your uni - and you know why i say enemy camp don't you? Oh yes, and thanks for being a fellow Chemistry freak!! The latter I have to say is easy - with the exception of the calculus involved - I failed trigonometric calculus by the way. Thank you too J - without you I'd have no one to complain at - other than everyone else that is :-P. And finally thank you to all our readers, especially those who've taken the time to email us - THANK YOU ALL!!

My specifically directed thank yous are to Casey, Dara, Dreamer, Kathrine, and several others whose names don't come to hand right now - sorry I forgot you.

Disclaimer :

Do you want the long-winded version or the short one - well you have no choice - you can have the mid-range one and like it. Not that it matters as I don't know anyone who reads the disclaimer and so don't expect anyone to do so. :-).

1. If your underage in your country - then bye bye bye. Readers, can I just apologise on my co-author's behalf - I can't BELIEVE he wrote something that corny. Look who's talking - there's some really corny bits coming up by J. Postman!
2. If you are never going to be of age in your country due to the law - then my sincerest condolences.
3. If you don't like this type of thing - go away immediately - what are you doing here in the first place?
4. If you don't like the BSB and *NSYNC - go away I don't want you reading this. :-PMe neither!
5. If people are in the building (or equivalent) who do not know about this - be careful.
6. If due to moral, religious or other views held you dislike this stuff - see no 3.
7. We do NOT know anyone mentioned in this story personally, though we wish we did in some cases though. Nicky!!!!!!!!!!!!HOWIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And Lance! And Chris.
8. Any similarities in the characters to any person living or dead, or any events mentioned, are purely co-incidental.
9. That'll do - on with the story I hear you all ask - or more likely you skipped this - and hence are already reading the story. :-D - I would be.

Previously on ALBOL :

The B.S.B. and *NSYNC decide to do a joint tour;
The B.S.B. met Ross;
Nick and Justin came out and sorry had to remove this bit I was getting ahead of myself - luckily J pointed it out - or I'd have just ruined this chapter! <shrugs>
And they all left for Lunch - not necessarily happily;
Oh and Howie's not gettin' any; don't understand why myself - I mean who'd not sleep with him - drop dead gorgeous in my opinion.I wouldn't. Oh, what A liar i am! He's just not MY Nicky, that's the problem...Advice: If ever you are talking on IM to him - just mention his Nick and he'll go all to pieces on you - the only way to shut him up.

And now the continuation ...

Chapter V : Speakers, Steak and Suitcases

Nick quickly checked his bags to ensure that there were no corners protruding from the boot of the car. Satisfied they were O.K., he slammed the door shut. He looked up into the two most beautiful blue eyes he had ever seen.

"Everything alright, Nicky-poo?" the other blonde asked him.

Nick grinned at the little pet name. "You got it, Justy-wusty." Sorry. J insisted.

A commanding yet whiny voice drifted over to them from the other side of the driveway: "Will you two PLEASE stop that? I hope to be able to keep down what I'm going to be eating."

"Keeping things down has NEVER been your problem, Joe." Justin shot back.

"You wanna come over here and say that, Curly?" He let out a quick "ouch!" as Chris kicked his ankle.

However, the boy with the blonde Afro didn't deign to answer.

"Err, Justin..." came a particularly wheedling voice.

Two pairs of blue eyes rolled in their sockets. "Yes, Chris?" Nick replied.

"I wasn't talkin' to you, Nick..."

"True, but you want some of my baby's time, and that gives me power of attorney. I'll act in his best interests." With Justin's back to Chris, he didn't see his youngest band-mate's grin. "You're gonna have to negotiate with me."

The oldest member of *NSYNC gave an exasperated little sigh. "Well, I, that is to say we, were wondering if... well, would Justin be willing to pick us up to go to the restaurant after you've dropped your stuff off at his place?"

"Hmmm. I assume that this is so that you and Joey can have something to drink, correct?" Nick queried in a formal manner. Justin had to bite his bottom lip to keep from laughter. "And secondly, that you would thus need a second lift so that you can return home, hmmm?"

"Err... Yes?" Chris replied, slightly puzzled at Nick's quizzing.

"Very well. I will take your proposition to my client, but I feel obliged to tell you that your bargaining position isn't very good. What remuneration would you be willing to offer for these services?"

Justin couldn't hold it in any longer. He burst out laughing, Nick quickly joining him. Chris glared at the pair; and in a disbelieving proclamation said, "You two are really perfect for each other, you know that?"

"Thank you, we know," they answered in unison.

"You're both assholes!"

As if of one mind, they pursed their lips and raised their left eyebrows suggestively.

"Urrghhh, don't be disgusting!"

"Us?" they said.




"-say?" they asked alternately.

"Hey, stop that! That's creepy." The needy expression returned to his face. "But please, guys..."

"Don't worry about it Chris; it's not a problem, really."

"Thanks, Curly."

"Now, do you mind? I want to get this cutie to myself."

"Alright, alright, keep your pants on. Literally!" Chris grinned impudently. "Just one last thing."


"Keep your eyes on the road, O.K.?" Suddenly, there was a serious note to his voice.

"I will. We'll be back here soon to pick you up."

"Thanks." Chris and Joey wandered back into the house. As they disappeared from sight, the blondes heard another comment coming their way. "And keep your hands on the steering wheel too...

The two boys got in the car, Nick shouting out "I call shotgun!"

"Well, if you insist..."

Nick blushed. After all, who else was there?

He looked to his right to the driver's seat, as Justin turned left. Their eyes met. Together again, they thought on unison. They smiled at each other. Time seemed to stretch out.

Justin blinked repeatedly. How long had they been just staring at each other? Nick appeared to be undergoing a similar awakening.

"Better get going, huh?"

Nick nodded. "Um, will your mother be at your house?" he asked as the car pulled out.

"Oh, yeah..." Justin thought for a moment. "Do... do you want to tell her?"

"Do you?"

"Um, I'd rather not - just yet," he added hurriedly. "I don't think my nerves can take that again today!"

Nick looked relieved. "Me too! I mean I want us to be able to tell our parents, but I'm still in a bit of a daze."

"Yeah! I can't believe they all took it so well!" Justin was practically giggling. Then he seemed to calm down a little bit, saying softly, "I can't believe I have you."

Nick was quiet for a few moments. "I had a dream, months ago. I dreamt that, one day, I'd have some one who loves me. For me. Someone to always be there, who would care about me the same way I care about them. A soul mate. But until we met, I never let myself hope it could be you."

"I'm glad... I'm glad Chris told me to keep my eyes on the road." Justin replied with a catch in his voice. Nick smiled, though he felt himself getting tearful.

They were silent for the rest of the journey. No words needed to be spoken.

"The tour should be interesting; we've never visited some of the places, and certainly never stayed in the areas long enough to have a good look around. I'm definitely going to have to visit some of the museums whilst we're there." J.C. stated as they drove seemingly forever down Orlando's streets heading for Brian and Kevin's place.

"Uh-huh; but don't you always find you make plans to do such things and then the tour schedule changes or they get us extra appearances on our 'supposedly-off-days'; not to mention certain younger members always need babysitting." Kevin moaned.

"True! At least this year the 'younger members' will have each other to keep themselves entertained," J.C. chuckled.

"What do you think about that, Joshua. Um, can I call you Joshua?"

At this J.C. cringed but answered politely, "You can," but added as an after-thought "But I'd prefer J.C. or Josh." He followed this with a bit of a pause and then continued "Well as much as I'm happy for Justin; I don't think I could cope with them doing things in front of us all the time. It's not something that I'm ... well that I'm completely happy about." As he spoke, he felt his heart twisting inside him.

"Well Josh" replied Kevin - emphasising his name, "I know what you mean. I know I'm supposed to be against it an' all that, but I can't be. They are so cute together aren't they?" Kevin smiled.

"Yeah! But we're gonna have to watch them; I mean they were holding hands in front of a total - well to Nick - total stranger without realising it. We have got watch them in public." Stated J.C. matter-of-factly.

"Bri, what do you think?" Asked Kevin from the front of the car.

When no response was gained Kevin turned around to ask his cousin if he was O.K., only to find a completely blank face staring aimlessly out of the window at the passing ether.

Again he called out "Bri! You O.K.?" and after several attempts gave up that method and instead leaned back over the seat and pulled on Brian's shirt. Eventually this roused the nearly catatonic Brian, and as he was aroused, he jumped and turned around with his fists raised, in a completely dazed state.

"What you laughing about?" asked A.J. as he popped up next to the open drivers window of the Lamborghini.

"Aahh!" Ross began to scream before realising that it was A.J.; and instead of finishing his scream started sgouting at him. "That's not funny; you could have given me a heart attack!" he screamed as he gasped for air - his pulse racing as A.J. rolled on the ground in hysterics.

"It .. was .. just .....well ..you seemed .. so far away ...". After catching his breath he continued, "it was too difficult to resist."

"Well it wasn't funny." Ross asserted, then turned away and began to turn on the radio; whilst acerbically saying, "If ya wanna a lift get in will you! I'm goin' with or without ya." And promptly turned the radio up loud. At least I wont have to put up with his incessant chattering this way.

What's the matter with him - any one 'd think he can't take a joke, A.J. thought to himself. In fact he couldn't have been any further from the truth.

Almost before A.J. sat down Ross raced out onto the open road; with the radio blaring and the windows down. He happily realised that he rarely noticed A.J. was even in the car.

Until 'BANG!' The speakers blew out; causing Ross to brake into an emergency stop and A.J. to be catapulted into a heap at the front of the car - this time it was Ross' turn to laugh, and laugh he certainly did.

A.J. pouted, and whined out in a manner particularly reminiscent of a certain curly blonde. "Hey, you could've killed me!"

At this Ross doubled up and laughed all the more.

"You trying for Justin's job?"

"What?" answered A.J. bemused.

"With that pout it wouldn't be a surprise if you were trying to steal Nick from Justin" Ross said hastily and pointlessly as A.J. ignored him, becoming much quieter.

"Seriously A.J. - are you O.K.?"

"Yes - what was that?"

"An emergency stop - but being a permanent pedestrian or passenger you probably haven't come across one before" joked Ross.

"Un-necessary" A.J. retorted in a deliberately calm and in a head-held-up-high posture.

"I think my speakers blew out actually if you really couldn't guess."

"Why?" asked A.J. rather child-like.

"How should I know - uncle Fester would, but I'm not him am I?"

"Do you have to keep mentioning people we don't know? It's quite an annoying habit."

"Well sor-ry. Any way shall we get going; we'll be late if we stay here talking all day."

As the car leapt back into motion A.J. mentioned "You never did say what you were laughing at back at my house."

Ross' face became very evasive and annoyed; it was thinking about such things that allowed his defences down enough to be scared by A.J. creeping up on him. Normally I'd have felt you coming a mile off, dear boy.Again it's a jism.

"Nothing" he replied trying to repel A.J.'s invasiveness but to no avail.

"Who is sh-he?" asked A.J. trying to carefully mask what he was really contemplating asking.

"What makes you think it's a she?"

"Oh a HE then" A.J. said before thinking.

"Maybe - but what I meant was - why does it have to be a someone - can't I just be pre-occupied with work? Which is if I may remind you - is your work as well."

A.J. was very determined. "So who is he", and added as an after-thought "or she?"

"No-one you know." If only you knew.

Don't lie - you don't do it very well, A.J. thought, but let it drop. He felt he'd probed enough for one journey, and they were nearly at the restaurant anyway. It would be best for him to finish now to let them both regain their composure. He was still a little shaken after the incident with the radio - it seemed too conveniently timed for it to be an accident. I was just about to turn it off and try another conversation too. Spooky.

The two friends watched the blonde couple pull into the street and race away. "Well, I dunno about you Joe, but I think I'm in shock."

"Tell me about it! I'm not THAT surprised about Nicky-boy, I suppose, but Curly?"

"Well, I suppose we should at least congratulate Nick - he's got good taste in men I guess."

"Ya think, Chris? Somethin' ya wanna tell me?"

"Give over, Joe. I just mean, well, Curly's had LOADS of girlfriends and stuff..."

"I know, Chris, just pullin' your leg."


They wandered into the kitchen I search of something to do. Joey, being Joey, headed to the fridge.

"Joe! We're goin' out for lunch! Control yerself!"

Joey shut the fridge door guiltily. They remained quiet for a few minutes, unable to think of what to do. They looked out of the window. They nosed around in the cupboards. They searched in the drawers. They even managed to tidy up a bit.

"I'm bored!" Chris announced. "Anything on the T.V.?"

Even as he said it, his eyes darted to his watch, Joey's doing the same. "THE MATCH!!" they screamed in unison. They nearly yanked the door off its hinges in their hurry to get to the box. Joey flicked it on.

"Oh no!"

"Look, it's practically finished," Joey wailed, "it's only ten minutes to half time!"

The car pulled to a stop outside the house and Justin turned off the ignition. They sat still for a moment, staring out of the windscreen to the closed door of the garage. "Well, we'd better get going, huh?" Justin said, his voice containing a slight tremor.

"Yeah." Nick didn't trust his voice enough to form a full sentence. Ross had claimed to be good, but would Lynn prove to be? Would they be obvious to her too? He reached for the door handle and was about to pull when he heard Justin's voice.

"I love you, Nicky."

He let out a breath that he didn't know he'd been holding in. "I love you too, Just. Always." He shook himself. What am I doing? he thought, I'm not the one who is having to face his own mother! "Whatever happens - I love you."

"Thanks, Nicky."

They got out of the car and opened the boot, distributing the load between them, and walked (with a little staggering) to the front door. Ringing the bell resulted in the prompt production of a mother.

"Hi Mom!"

"Hiya, sweetie," the woman replied. "And this is of course the talented Nick Carter."

Nick flushed. Justin grinned, used to his mother's sense of humour. "Good afternoon, Mrs. Harliss."

Lynn smiled at his embarrassment, and stuck out her hand before realising that in Nick's current burdened state it really wasn't a good idea. She quickly retracted it, settling on saying "Pleased to meet you Nick - and call me Lynn." and ushered them inside.

"I hope you don't mind that Nick'll have to share your room, Justin."

"Yeah! That's fine," Justin replied, having to quickly control himself.

Lynn either didn't notice, or didn't understand the significance of his exuberance.An optimist might even say she did both, but didn't mind.

"We've got to just dump the stuff and run, if that's OK - we said that we'd pick up Joey and Chris before we went on to the restaurant."

"Alright dear, I understand. I'll leave you two to deal with all this - goodness what a lot of luggage."

The two young men manoeuvred the suitcases, bags, bundles and assorted odds and ends into the room, and simply stared at each other, breathing hard. Then Justin smiled, as Nick murmured "So far, so good."

"Come on, Blondie," Justin instructed, "lets go pick up the other's."

"Blondie? I'll get you for that, Curly..."

"You O.K. Brian?" J.C. asked with concern for his newly reacquainted old friend.

Brian gradually began to settle realising where and who he was again. Eventually he stuttered out the reply "Ye .. yep .. I'll be fine ... just out it for moment."

"You sure you're O.K.?" asked Kevin again. This isn't gonna wait much longer I've got to talk to him about Ross. Let him know I'll support him, if he is gay. <Sigh> It's a big IF though. What if I'm wrong? He'll hate me for suggesting such a thing.

"Something the matter with you Kev? asked J.C. upon hearing his meaningful exhalation.

"No nothing, just thinking, that's all."

"Well you shouldn't - we're not back at work 'til tomorrow, so relax, Brian reminded him, "Fatima would agree with me on this, don't make me have to tell her; she'll only punish you for it."

"I've yet to meet this Fatima person - what's she really like?"

"Everything you've heard times ten," said Brian seriously.

"Don't believe you, she can't be nearly that bad."

Kevin and Brian chuckled. They ain't gonna like her at first, they thought simultaneously.

"Well you can judge for yourselves tomorrow when you meet her." Kevin said.

"And it'll be a meeting you'll never forget!" mentioned Brian jumping on the back of Kevin's reply.

"You know Joey, you really should have had a salad."

Joey finished chewing before replying. "Not you as well Ross! What's wrong with having a steak?"

"Nothing. It's just that Fatima will be joining us tomorrow and she may have a few things to say about your eating habits." Ross noted, expecting a little trouble over this. He had met Fatima a little while ago, and his first impressions were rarely wrong.

"Bring her on." Joey replied cockily.

Ross smiled at his plate, an activity that the B.S.B. also appeared to be unanimously engrossed in.

"You know, this could be very interesting," Nick informed Justin.

"You have no idea. He's very sensitive about people trying to regulate his eating habits."

"And Fatima is very sensitive about people who don't!" Nick replied. His serious face was marred only by the faint curve of his lips.

The pair tittered, attracting the attention of the rest of the table.

"You two are like a pair of schoolgirls, have you heard yourselves?" A.J. observed from beside Nick. His voice lowered. "Out of interest, are we placing bets? If we are, then my money's on Fatima any day."

"I'm with him. $10 on Fatima."

"Sorry, hon., but I've gotta support my band-mate. $10 on Joey's nose." Justin replied. Nick mouthed 'you've lost!'

The details of the bet were whispered around the table with Joey none the wiser. The results were habitually inevitable; the B.S.B.'s all went for Fatima, and the other four members of *NSYNC supported Joey. After a brief discussion, Ross was included. He smiled when he was asked his opinion, and considered for a few moments.

"My money says that they eventually agree to disagree: stalemate."

"Hey, what you guys talking about?" Joey asked, who, having finally finished his steak, had begun to realise that something was going on.

"It's nothing, Joe," Chris assured him.

His eyes narrowed, but he let it drop; feeling that there had been enough drama for one day.

"So, Ross, anything you can tell us about the tour?" asked Kevin, business-like as ever.

"Nothing much more than you already know. There have been a few slight changes to the tour schedule, but nothing major. Basically, it's all pretty much finalised now. As you know, we are starting in Orlando and we'll also be finishing here also. As we progress around it's likely that we will have a number of special guests, but I really can't tell you any more than that for now."

"Enough business," A.J. asserted, "tell us about yourself."

"What do you want to know?"

"Well, Chris told me on the phone and then today I experienced your really nice Lamborghini. How do you afford that on your salary?"

"A.J.! Don't be rude." Kevin chided.

Realising what he had said, A.J. flushed. "Sorry, man, I didn't-"

"Don't worry about it. As you say, my salary is hardly luxurious. I can afford the car because of 'family money'."

"Do you have much family?"

"Nothing really close, but lots of extended family. That can come in useful occasionally, but I don't get on with very many of them."

"Oh. I'm sorry," Brian said. He had been rather quiet so far. There was something about Ross, which made him excited and nervous - like a child awaiting their birthday or Christmas. Would Saint Nicholas bring the right present?

"Don't be."

"So, did you go to college or something?"

"Oh yes. I spent some time at Harvard, Yale, a few years overseas. Just enough to get a bit educated." He didn't offer any details and the others didn't feel that they should press for any.

There was quiet for a few moments, the sounds of the restaurant taking over the table. Then A.J. decided that it was time to rock the boat a little bit. The subject of Brian had not yet joined the table.

"So tell me Ross, who was it that said you had such an accurate gaydar?"


"Come on Kevin, it's a fair enough question." A.J. pleaded.

Ross simply stared at A.J. with a knowing smile gracing his lips. A.J. got the feeling that he would have to get up VERY early to pull a fast one on this blonde. "If you must know, it was an ex-boyfriend."

"You're gay?" J.C. exclaimed in surprise

Hardly surprising that he has the reputation for being the sleepy one of the group, is it? A.J. thought.

"I dislike labels, especially when they are applied to me by other people; but I suppose you could say that I'm bi, actually - is that a problem?"

"Of course not!"

"I didn't think so."


Rats! Let's try again...

"So, are the juvenile blondes over there the only blips on your scanner?"



"Sorry Nick, I know it's a difficult word, but I didn't mean it in the sense that you act immaturely. It was meant more in the prepubescent sen-Ow!"

Justin whispered in Nick's ear, and he nodded.


Ross observed the bickering and physical violence with a raised eyebrow. "Maybe. Maybe not"


"I'm not telling you anything, so forget about it."

"What, afraid you'll be wrong?"

"Grow up A.J. It is not my place to say, O.K.?"


"Give it a rest A.J., alright?"

Oh goody. Got a reaction out of Brian. He slid his gaze to Chris. If there was anyone who was going to help him out, he felt it would be him. In reply, Chris grinned.

"Now I don't want to sound like A.J. or something-"


"-but, come on Rossy. Give us a clue. How many? No names. You're not telling tales, you're just ... preparing the rest of us for what will - or should I say who - will eventually come out. Go on. Pleeeaase?"

"Rossy?" Came the slightly injured reply. He looked at the ceiling for a few moments, then at the expectant faces around the table. Inwardly he smiled at the ever-so-faintly sick expressions on the faces of both Lance and J.C.. Truly, people are so obvious sometimes - and they don't even know it!

"I get the feeling that there is going to be no peace until I tell you at least something. That I am certain of ... there being three more of you with an ... alternative sexuality. There may be more, but only three that I can be certain of at the moment."

"Three?" came the call from various sides. While there were very few who believed that the answer was going to be none, three was a bit more than expected.

"Exactly what do you mean by 'alternative sexuality'?"

"You're like a dog with a postman's pants, aren't you? I mean gay and bi, two gay and one bi, alright? Though of course, there may be more. Nobody's perfect."

"Fine." A.J. grinned impudently.

Ross thought for a moment and then his face adopted an angelically innocent expression, smiling faintly. "A.J., remember one thing, O.K.?"

"What?" he asked suspiciously.

"People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."

A.J.'s jaw dropped and his eyes bulged. "You... you...wha...what are you saying?!"

"Did I say anything?"

"Look pal, you have SO got me wrong."

"I beg your pardon? What have I said?"

"You just said that-"

"No I didn't. I just offered you a bit of friendly advice. If you translated that into me saying something about your sexual leanings, then..." he shrugged. "Have you got something you'd like to tell us, A.J.?" There was something strangely hypnotic about that gaze - A.J. was the only one at the table who was NOT glad that it wasn't directed at them.

"I...I told you, you got me wrong! I gotta have a piss!" With that he got up and nearly ran to the toilet.

Ross managed to maintain his saintly expression until he was out of sight before he began sniggering. "He really deserved that!"

"Uh, Ross what exactly were you saying about A.J.? Is he really gay?" Nick asked.

He scratched the back of his head. "To be honest, I don't know. I think he might be bi, but... lets just say that he's not one of the ones I'm certain of."

"Then why...?"

"Because he was acting far too smug for my liking and I felt like bringing him down a few pegs. And besides, I hate an unsatisfied curiosity. By suggesting to him that he may be gay or bi, he's actually having to think about whether he really is; it isn't enough for him to simply be aware of the fact that not everybody's straight; he has to actually apply that knowledge to himself and ask 'is that me?'."

"But he said that he wasn't - doesn't that lay your curiosity to rest?" Kevin asked, protective of one of his brothers. He disliked seeing them used as if they were laboratory animals, being dispassionately analysed by this man.

"No it doesn't at all. It is surprising what the human mind can believe about itself if it really wants to. He needs to really and truly consider whether or not he is as straight as he believes. Because if he is bi and he doesn't, if he just ignores it and leaves it alone then it will come back to haunt him. Things which are left to their own devices tend to fester." He stopped to look at the faces around the table. "It is often said that seeing is believing, but of course that implies that the reverse is true, that believing is seeing. It isn't only parents who can be in denial, you know. If he is bi but refuses to see himself as so then he will be lying to himself. And Shakespeare had it right when he said 'to thine own self be true'."

The table was silent.

Unbeknownst to the others, Brian began to sweat.

"Hey B-ROK, wait up will ya?"

"Hey slow down, what's yer rush?"

A.J. had emerged from the toilet after an unusually long time for such a straightforward activity, and seen Brian get up from the table. He'd seemed a bit out of it. A.J. had followed him, but it had been hard to keep up; the further away from the table he'd got, the faster he'd walked. By the time that they'd both left the restaurant, he'd been at a dead run to keep up. It's unfair that that little dwarf's got so much energy. Correction, it's a pain in the ass that he's got so much energy, he thought to himself as he sprinted after his friend. Thankfully he stopped when he arrived at his car.

"Mind if -wheeze- I join -wheeze- you? You're -wheeze- meant to be -wheeze- my lift home. Remember?" gasped A.J. as he sat himself down into the car.

Without as much as a grunt of acknowledgement Brian started the car and pulled out of the car park heading in the general direction of home.

After for what for A.J. seemed an eternity of silence, in reality little more than a few minutes, he asked Brian "Do you think I'm gay, Bri?"

"How would I know?! I'm no fuckin' fag with a gaydar!" Brian snarled in reply.

"Woah there, matey," A.J. yelped back in shock, raising his hands placatingly.

That's not like Brian, A.J. thought to himself, whilst staring, unknowingly, at Brian.

Eventually at a set of traffic lights he plucked up enough courage to say something hoping that Brian wouldn't blow up in his face again this time. Tentatively he almost whispered "Bri, what's up? Are you O.K.?"

"Yeah I'm fine A.J., just tired I guess, it's been a stressful day, an all."

"With more than a few surprises."

"You can say that again! Sorry for snapping at you; I didn't mean it, it's just I think that I ... well I'm not feeling too good."

"I'm cool, everyone blows their top once in a while - it's just that you've never done so before - so I wasn't expectin' it."

Again the car returned to a tense silent atmosphere.

"You never said though Bri - do you think I'm gay?"

"I think that only you can answer that one A.J."

"And if I was would you think of me as a fu-"

"Don't say that A.J. - I don't think that at all - it's just that when I think that I-"

"You mean when you think of what they... when you think of the 'act', you imagine yourself doing it and get all freaked out." A.J. looked up at the roof of the car and sighed heavily. There was a somewhat self-pitying expression on his face. "It's understandable - it's obviously not for everyone." Especially not me! He tried to force the words out, but they simply wouldn't come.

"Yeah. Yeah that's it, that's gotta be it A.J.," Brian said glad that A.J. had headed him off at the pass, so to speak, before he had ruined everything forever. But it ain't the 'act' that's the problem.

"It's not just about sex though Brian - it's about love as well you know - just look at Nick and Justin together."

Brian went bright red at the actual mention of sex, but nodded back never the less.

A.J. looked up at Brian, having heard no response. He saw his complexion and began chuckling to himself - having forgotten about Brian's naivety and the high regard in which he held sex. Unlike himself, Brian was still a virgin - saving himself for the right girl. Or should that be boy? he asked himself, as he had now begun to wonder.

Why did Ross have to come into my life and throw everything into turmoil - how can it be right for me to be with a man. It can't be. It's just not-

Brian's thoughts were interrupted by A.J. screaming his name.

T.B.C. ...

You could tell we were English by the inclusion of Shakespeare, right? Well come on, it's one of the most famous quotes from Hamlet aside from "to be or".... I'm just digging myself a deeper hole hear, aren' I?Yep! - Ignore him he just did an english A-level - things he knoes everything - he hasn't even read Henry IV parts I and II and Henry V!!!

What'll happen next?

Again don't forget our poll - who out of the two groups has the cutest rear end? (we understand the difficulty of this choice). Answers to (and I don't care about responses to the story as much as this (though some about the story would be nice) so just e-mail us with the name if necessary - don't be shy; we don't bite - well I don't - can't be to sure about John the Nicky fan) : Best Butt Vote <Who-has-a@nicebutt.co.uk>.

Now I want to know what everyone - and after last time I mean everyone - thinks is going to happen or even would like to see happen in future instalments. And that goes for me too! Please, please, pretty please write to: We-wish-they-were-our@bitofrough.co.uk for general stuff, I-really-do@ilovenick.co.uk to talk to me, and if you want to talk to the ugly one (trust me, I put up with a lot more than names from him. He gets sarcastic), then email howie-is-lurchs@bitofrough.co.uk.

E-mail Lurch at : <howie-is-lurchs@bitofrough.co.uk>
E-mail John at <i-really-do@ilovenick.co.uk>
E-mail us in general at : <we-wish-they-were-our@bitofrough.co.uk>
E-mail Best Butt Vote at : <Who-has-a@nicebutt.co.uk>

Again sorry for the delay - but it's that useless, good-for-nothing friend of mine - J - :-) hello J :-) - located somewhere south of Watford - I'm north of there - just, thankfully!!! Although it has to be said much of his problems are to do with him screwing up the computer.

See? Look at what I have to put up with! Can I just say in my defence that: a) the computer is screwing itself up; b) I'm doing my best; and c) working with him ain't no picnic either. To all budding authors out there - having a co-author is a painful business. It's a bit like pregnancy I suppose.And what would you know about that? A little while feeling radiant, a longer time of feeling out-of-shape, a period of screaming agony and then the real hell starts. Sleepless nights and everything. And it'll take YEARS to find out if it was all worth it. ;-P Call me a cynic, you know you wanna!

Part 6 is already underway; and from what I remember - I last looked at it two weeks ago - it's moving quite fast - and has some interesting twists in it. Any one worked out the story's premise yet - BIG CLUE - THERE IS ONE!


But you knew it was gonna be interesting already, didn't you? :-) I think I've exhausted even MY verbosity now IMPOSSIBLE! (yeah, I know, SHOCK! HORROR!!) so I'll say bye-bye-bye <smug-face> - I'm the one sending it in! In fact already sent by time J's reading my final edit - to late J :-P. now. Signing off,

J - don't worry - we'll take part 6 leisurely - two weeks minimum - three weeks max. - we have got allot on our plates - well I, the working one - have. And don't say a word about the -'s either J.

Readers - I'll see if it can it done quicker - most of the bits i'm writingare already outlined and some written up first drafts are done already - J probably hasn't started - I'm nothing if not efficient - try and guess what Howie and Kevin get up to in the next part - although that might yet be the next part after that - you know how much J likes to ramble - well it fills the approximate 30K I aim for very, very, very quickly.