Best of Friends?
Disclaimer: This story is in no way based on factual events and is merely fictional entirely (to the best of my knowledge). In no way do I claim to know the actual sexual orientation of any persons mentioned herein. If you are offended by male/male relationships then either leave and be happy or read and be disgusted (it's your call).
I'm trying to get these next 2 chapters rattled out but with work and ncollege I have no life at all. Stay tuned and I'll do my best
"Man this place pisses over your last apartment" JC observed as they dropped his bags in Steve's new apartment
"Thanks. I think?"
"Oh come on, your last place was such a hole."
"Maybe so, but that's all I could afford at the time. Don't start again."
"Sorry, I don't know I'm doing it sometimes."
"You are right there, I just don't like being reminded of it all the time. But it's always been like that hasn't it Josh?"
"You and me. You've always had it better than me, even as kids."
"Whilst I cant disagree, I don't want to start another argument"
"Me either, come on let's go. By the way is a sofa bed ok for you? I've got a spare room but it's full of crap. I keep meaning to sort it all out but you know how it is."
"The sofa'll do fine."
They spent the day wondering around town, doing everything and nothing, mostly shopping with the odd diversion.
"Oh man, I am SO tired" JC announced, throwing himself back on the sofa
"Are we doing something tonight?"
" If you want, I'm easy either way."
"So I heard."
"Are you constantly gonna make innuendoes all the time?"
"As many as possible. How about we go out at 7? That's 2 hours"
"Where are we going?"
"Well since I know that you're now one of us, I thought I'd treat you to a taste of New York's seedy underbelly, sweetheart"
"What do I wear?"
"Anything you want. Nobody should care"
"Who's Adam?" JC asked, noticing the name and number scribbled on a piece of paper next to the phone on the table next to the arm of the sofa
"Adam is my sweet darling of a boyfriend. He's in Canada though; his mom's just had ANOTHER kid, despite pushing the menopause. She's after all that extra welfare; at least that's my take on the situation. Why else would you have 5 kids? How's your lot doing?"
"Who? Heather and Tyler? They're good"
"I'm taking the first shower, OK? I'll be back in a while"
JC couldn't help but laugh at how camp Steve had suddenly become. The way he minced around the apartment amusing JC no end. When Steve was finished in the shower, JC followed.
"Steve have you got an iron?"
"What are you trying to say?"
"Nothing except that can I borrow your iron if you've got one"
"Doesn't matter, you couldn't wear a green shirt with those pants. Yuck! I'll sort you out one day"
"If you weren't so damn skinny it'd be a lot easier. At least you could wear something tight and make it look good." Steve sliced JC, simultaneously eyeing up the contents of his wardrobe and JC at the same time
"Do you ever stop bitching about me?"
"You should hear what I say behind your back"
"I don' think I want to"
"Oh to hell with it, just choose what you want, I can't decide"
JC returned with a pale blue shirt and white khakis, Steve looking him up and down several times before condoning the choice
"Look Steve, no offence, but you are going to have to tone it down a bit"
"Tone what down?"
"Campness? Oh, I forget myself sometimes. Don't worry, I'll be all manly and butch from now on" Steve laughed in a mockingly-low voice
Steve led JC around some of the gay bars before they moved on to a club. It was everything JC had expected, muscle men in tight white shirts and hotpants, pretty-boys with their styled hair and pouts, extravegant queens in 10" stilettos and bruisers with their manly stares. The music was a stereotypical mix of cheesy pop, disco, and Techno.
"So how are we working this tonight?" Steve asked as they got a drink at the bar
"Are we acting like a couple or are you on the market?"
"Is it that important?"
"Josh these guys can smell fresh meat, they can tell when someone's looking for it"
"What do you suggest?"
"Are you looking for a dancing partner or a sleeping partner?"
"I don't want my ass breaking open if that's what you mean?"
"Then we should stick together, they'll eat you alive"
"It's all new to me. Can I even look at people?"
"Yeah but just don't lick your lips at the same time"
They spent the night and early morning in the club, Steve having to pretend to mark his territory several times to ward off the circling vultures.
"Hi McVitty, you old tart. Any requests? And who's that fine young specimen you're accompanying tonight?!" the DJ asked as they met on the stairs to the toilets
"Hey Crimson, how's it hanging?"
"It's now anymore, I'm post-op now sweetcake"
"Should I congratulate you or not? You probably won't miss it anyway, I heard you weren't exactly the largest knob on the door"
"Any requests?" she(he?) asked again with bitterness at Steve's comment
"Yeah play me something NSYNC"
"Not your usual thing is it? You on the turn or something?"
"Just play it for me. I have ulterior motives" Steve left her to make his way to the toilet, hearing Tearin Up My Heart whilst in there
When he returned, JC was in the corner sucking someone's face off. Steve admired his outwardness but secretly wanted to be the other guy. The last few months, he had become drawn to JC despite all the preoccupations with Adam.
"May I have the last dance please, Josh?" Steve asked courteously
"Fuck off, cant you see he's with me?" the other man objected
"Your call Josh"
"Sorry dude but your breath stinks and your tongue's like carpet"
They returned to the dancefloor for the last song before heading back to Steve's apartment
The next morning, JC was up bright and early despite them only getting home at 4am. JC stood in the kitchen, waiting for the kettle to boil. Looking through some of the cupboards he knocked a bowl onto the floor, creating a seemingly earth-shatteringly-loud BASH!
"If that was something expensive you just broke, you've got 2 minutes to get out of here fore I get up!" Steve barked from his room.
JC stood there in bewilderment
"It's OK I was joking" Steve could see the concerned look in JCs eyes, "Aren't you the slightest bit tired?"
"I guess I'm still rushing from last night"
"You have fun?"
"Yeah it was a laugh"
"You enjoyed yourself with that guy in the corner" Steve smiled, sensing JC's embarrassment at his exploits
"You left me so I had a look around. He came on to me"
"Told you so, it's predatory not casual. You telling the other 4 about your wild exploits?"
"Hell no, Lance'll have me chained to a cross and start throwing Holy water at me"
"Whatever lights his candle I guess"
"You've still got it in for Lance?"
"Yep, homophobic bastard"
"He's OK with it really, he takes off some times"
"Sorry but you don't say words like that and not mean them"
For the next couple of days they hung out around town and the apartment, JC flying back for the tour on the Thursday. For some reason, they never spoke for another 6 months, both content in their own lives.
"Hi Josh, long time no see. I saw you guys on TV and thought I'd give you a ring."
"I was about to ring you, actually. How are you doing? Still seeing Adam?"
"Nah, he went back to Canada. mother's orders or something"
"You OK about that?"
"I don't cry myself to sleep let's say. How's your love life, or more importantly your sex life, doing?"
"For your information, both are static and have been since New York"
"Really?! My word you are so frigid"
"Not frigid, just cautious. I can't afford to be humping anything and everything"
"Point taken. By the way I saw your video over the holidays, don't remember what it was called , something holidays, and what were you doing with Lance in that video?"
"You're one of the conspiracy theorists too then? That 1-second clip is on every 'Lance&JC' website. We danced. Briefly. For the record, I am not screwing Lance!"
"Aw shame, you make such a lovely couple!"
"I don't Lance would make me a good wife. But I'm secretly doing Chris, but don't tell anyone"
"Argh! You fucker, don't touch him! Hess my conversion job!" Steve shrieked
"Woah only joking"
"Good cuz I may have had to do something terrible"
"What like? Bleach my hair? Do my nails?"
"You call that bitching? Come on Josh, you're letting the side down"
"Excuse me but I am still pretty much in the closet?"
"Maybe I should give you Crimson's number, she'll teach you how to bitch"
"The DJ from that club? The one that wanted your ass so bad she forget what a CD was?"
"Ugh, that ting? She must be 40 if she's a day"
"So she's rough around the edges, but she's a laugh. And that tongue of hers! Have you got Lance's number?"
"Yes and no you are not having it. He's not crying to me when she, or you, have reduced him to tears"
"Party pooper, so what are you up to?"
"We're currently plying Asia with our sweet harmonies"
"Oooh Asia, lots of perty lady-boys for nice young JC?"
"No! We're trying to get Joey hooked up with one though, we just won't tell him what it is"
"Josh I gotta go, someone just shit on the floor"
"I'm at work, remember? The nursing home?"
"Oh yeah so that was a good bye?"
"'Fraid so, talk later"
Steve put down the phone and reached for the mop and bucket. 'Am I doomed to spend my life up to my ears in shit?'
"What mom? It's six am and I've just finished a night shift"
"Steven have you forgotten about your sister's birthday?"
"Shit, completely. I've been so wrapped up in everything lately-"
"You've been so wrapped up with Josh you mean. Are you sure there aren't ulterior motives?"
"I don't know what you mean mom" Steve protested nervously
"Well are you just hanging out with him because he's famous now"
"No, of course not! Mom I'll sort something out for Steph by the end of the week, I promise. Can I go back to bed now?"
"I suppose but you'd better have a good excuse when she rings you this afternoon"
'Shit, how could I forget about Steph like that? Maybe I do spend too much time with Josh. And what were all those nerves for when she asked about ulterior motives? Are there? Maybe I am falling for him. Ugh! No! he's so damn skinny and arrogant...but those eyes,' Steve quickly shook all of the thoughts out of his head, already confused enough with his love life.
"Steve what's up with you? I've left about two dozen messages for the last month and you've not replied to any of them. What's going on? I got good news, we're heading to DC soon so I decided to take time out and see how much things have changed. Anyways if you were there you'd have picked up by now. Later"
Steve listened to the answerphone message, it finally dawning on him how shittily he'd treated JC over the last few weeks. Then a little light-bulb came on in his head,
"Come on Josh, pick up, please" Steve muttered impatiently into the phone as it rang on the other end
"Hello? this better be important"
"Oh you are still alive then."
"I've been avoiding you, its now important. I need to know when you are in DC"
"Slow down Steve. Avoiding me?" JC sounded hurt
"Mom said something that made think twice about our friendship. When are you in DC?"
"Can you put in an appearance as a late birthday present?"
"Steph's. I know it'll be three days late but it'll mean the world to her"
"Why should I?"
"Josh this isn't like you, either give me a yes or no. I'm begging you, as a friend"
"Friend? You've been avoiding me, you call that friends?"
"For reasons that go way over your head. Is it a yes or no?"
"OK but one condition."
"You tell me why you avoided me"
"Deal. You show up and Ill spill the beans"
"Deal. Ill call when we're in town"
It was 4 o'clock when Steve got a call from Steph.
"Steph please let me say sorry"
"You forgot didn't you?"
"I didn't forget, but with everything that's gone on for me lately it slipped my mind."
"Ok so I forgot"
"You didn't even get me a card"
"I know and I am so sorry believe me. But I've got you a real special present to make up"
"Really?" she asked, cheering up
"When do I get it?"
"But I can't wait that long"
"Sorry darling but that's the earliest I can get back"
"I guess I can wait that long"
"You know you can"
Bye Steve Allison's here"
"Bye" Steve said stunned, into the dialling tone
Friday came and Steve flew out to DC, staying round town until JC had rung so they could meet up
"We're at the hotel, you wanna come here first?"
"Sure if you tell me which one, stupid"
"Oh yeah hang on, hey guys what's this place called....no the hotel dickhead....we're at the Pavilion Steve"
Steve walked into the hotel room, not looking at anyone inparticular
"Is it something I said?" he asked, suddenly realising the questionable glares and stares
"Guys its cool, I've told you before. Its not his fault I'm gay, I was like this before we met up after all those years"
"Is that what you think? That I built a little closet for him?"
"Just certain people" Justin hinted
"Lance that reminds me, I am eternally sorry for what I did to you on the phone. I admit that it was childish and wrong of me"
"I mean it Lance, it was all lies, 'cept for the gay icon bit, but the other stuff was just teasing, I don't fancy you really"
"So are we at least on speaking terms?"
"If you want"
"You wanna make some kind of effort here?"
"OK! We're on speaking terms but that's about it"
"That was hard work" Steve muttered to himself, "So when can you do this?"
"Whenever, as long as we're back here for 6"
"You wanna go now?"
"Sure thing" JC said as they all stood up"
"Oh are you all coming?"
"Is that a problem?" Justin asked
"No but I thought with them looks before you were all gonna jump me or something"
"As if. You confuse us sometimes though, specially when you're on the phone to JC. Going off some of his answers you guys must have pretty weird conversations."
"You'd be surprised how normal they start, as long as I ask the questions. It's when this one gets going that things get messy"
"I heard that" JC shouted from in front
"Serves you right, it's nice to see you found a use for them oversized wing-nuts you call ears" JC didn't reply but Steve could see him checking them in a wall mirror and he was sure he heard him ask Joey 'They aren't that big are they?'
"Mom! Steve's here!" Steph shouted as she looked out of the window.
"can you let him in dear, I'm busy for 2 minutes"
Steph opened the door to a rendition of Happy Birthday to You courtesy of the guys. She stood there dumbstruck throughout. As they finished, her lip started to tremble then she bolted, screaming and crying hysterically
"I didn't think we were that bad" Chris said, getting up off of his knees
"What have you done now Steven?!" his mom demanded as she walked in, "Christ in heaven! What are they doing here?"
"They were the birthday present"
"Well it's no wonder you got her so hysterical is it? Go and check she's alright"
"It's OK Steve, I'll go" Justin offered, heading the same way as Steph had fled
They walked into the living room, Steve's arm almost coming out of its socket as JC pulled him back
"Spill" JC demanded
"Fine" Steve sighed, closing the living room door so they couldn't be overheard
"Why have you been avoiding me?"
"Right here's the deal. Mom phoned the other morning when I forgot bout Stephs birthday. She basically said that it's cuz I spend too much time with you. Then she asked if there were ulterior motives.."
"No I said we were friends but because we are, not because you're famous"
"Steve I haven't know you all these years without being able to tell when you're bullshitting me. What's the real reason?"
Steve sighed again and looked at the floor, trying to pick the right words
"Steve come on"
"Ok here goes, these last few months there's been some crazy shit flying round my head"
"You're gonna make me do this aren't you?"
"Come on" JC was impatient now
"Right" Steve prepared, "Lately I have...become...drawn to you"
"Drawn to me? what as in-"
"not sexually or anything just the companionship bit. Like you said when you came out to me? remember?"
"That's not the same. But I still don't get it, if you fancied me then wouldn't you want to spend more time with me instead of less"
"If I wanted to think of you like that, but I don't. If I kept seeing you then the feelings'd get stronger so I went for total abstinence instead
"I'm ok with it, it's just a crush. I had a slight crush on you at first but that was just admiration. I got over it"
"No Josh, this is not a crush" Steve corrected him, a mini-silence falling
"Are you saying it's more or less?"
"More - but not love. At least I don't think so, it's somewhere in the middle. I'm being that I want you but I'm telling myself otherwise"
"Man you're pretty fucked up Steve" JC summarised
"Forget about all this, friends?" Steve asked extending his hand
"Friends" JC smiled, pulling him into a bearhug
"How about a hug for a special little girl?" Justin asked, leading Steph back down the stairs
"You OK now Steph" Steve asked, hugging the 13y/o wreck, "You like the present?"
"Thanks Steve, I love you" She whispered in his ear
Steve put his arm around her as he lead her into the sitting room where the others were,
"was it something we said?" Joey asked as she sat down next to him on the sofa
"Something we did?"
"Well what? You CAN say more than one word, right?"
"It's just that I love you guys SO MUCH" she started to blubber again, throwing herself at Joey as she broke down
"Where's JC and Justin?" Chris asked, noticing the missing duo
"Justin what makes you Dr Ruth all of a sudden?"
"Nothing but even I know what's going on in that head of yours. it's obvious there's something wrong with you and Steve"
"How would you know?"
"The fact that you used to ring him all the time and now you never speak to each other?"
"You wouldn't understand"
"I'm thinking along the lines of 'absence makes the heart grow fonder'?"
"What are you saying? that I want Steve?"
"You said yourself that you had a crush on him"
"A crush - and I got over it. I don't look at him the same way like that any more"
"Fine so maybe there still is a bit of a crush lying around but I can't tell him. I just told him I was over it and he's just said he fancies me"
"This is a golden opportunity. Go and spill your guts 'fore we have to leave"
"What are you my Fairy Godmother all of a sudden?"
"Not sure about the fairy bit, that's your department but go and get this sorted out for once and all"
"You 2 want to come wish a final happy birthday fore we leave?" Chris interrupted
Justin and JC returned to the living room to say bye to Steph. Steve led them to the door, thanking each individually as they left one-by-one.
"Coincidence that you're the last one out?"
"Sort of, we have to talk some more but not now"
"I'll ring you through the week if it's important"
"I was thinking tonight or tomorrow"
"Just ring me"
"OK I'll try. And thanks a million for today, you made her day, even if you did reduce her to tears on more than one occasion"
"That's pretty tame to what we sometimes get at concerts. Your welcome for today, anything for a friend"
JC got in the car and they drove off, Justin bobbing his head to JC as if to ask whether he had in fact "spilled his guts". When JC finally got the message and shook his head no, Justin threw his arms up in the air in usual dramatic style.
Steve managed to contain his imagination from going from one extreme to another until the next day when JC rung.
"hey Steve, can you speak?" JC whispered
"I'm hiding from the guys for a while"
"That's why your whispering?"
"Sort of, but what's the point?" JC relented, returning to a normal level
"You said we needed to talk"
"About you saying you have a crush on me-"
"Had. Had a crush on you, Josh"
"Well when I said that I was over you, I kinda lied"
"What do you mean? Never had or still do?"
"Steve? You there?"
"You're gonna have to cut to the chase here, what exactly are you saying?"
"That I'm attracted to you. And if you're the same with me then-"
"Woah, don't even think about going there Josh....." Steve said before a long pause
"Steve talk to me!" JC pleaded down the phone before another pause and a click, the dialling tone replacing Steve
'Where the fuck did all that come from?' Steve thought, 'What was all that he was about to say? we could be an item? shit, you should have let him finish!"
It was the next day before Steve plucked up the courage to speak to him again.
"This is JC's phone but this is Justin speaking so be careful what you say"
"Can I speak to Josh please?"
"He's in the shower. This is Steve right?"
"Yeah it's Steve tell him I'll call back later"
"Is everything alright with you two?"
"What makes you ask that Justin?"
"I don't wanna say too much in case it's not all true. But tell me, did he tell you?"
"Tell me what?"
"To hell with it, did he tell you that he's still in love with you?"
"Love!? And how the hell do you know?!"
"It was kinda me that put him up to it"
"So this is your doing?"
"Whatever you said must have hurt him, we've had the whole range off him in the last 24 hours -depression, anger, pity, the list goes on and I'm pretty sure I heard him crying last night too"
"It was probably the fact that I didn't say anything as opposed to what I did say, I sorta hung up on him"
"Listen Justin, do me a favour. Tell I'm sorry for yesterday, I thought about what he said and that I'm willing to negotiate and DON'T mention our little talk either"
"So you do love him!"
"He was right about you playing matchmaker"
"Well when he's miserable he brings us all down with him so it's easier to get him laid or something - shit wrong choice of words, forget I ever said that, but you get the idea right?"
"Not really. tell him al that for me. bye Justin"
The initial relief of unberding all that was quickly replaced by dread of JC's reaction. Would he jump at the chance or would he give him the cold shoulder?
"Steve? You there? Why the hell have you got your phone off when you know how important this call is!? Justin gave me your message, I got the impression more was said than he was gonna tell me. So do you want to get together? You have to call me today. Bye" Steve listened to the message over and over again for a good half-hour, analysing every word and tone JC used. Finally managing the courage, he picked up the phone,
"Hey Josh. Funny I get your voicemail after your little rant about having my phone turned off. By the way, Justin and me did have a little talk and I'm glad he wouldn't tell you everything, we still need secrets even if we are together - fuck, so much for pussyfooting around that. Well I guess you know my answer by now, that's if you're still interested that is, later."
Steve sat back, he'd finally managed to do what he wanted to do for the last year and professed his lov for JC. The anxiety and nerves got the better of him and he reached for the 20 pack of cigarettes in the back of his desk drawer (Steve was now manager of the care home, kicking asses instead of wiping them).
Ten minutes later the phone rang, snapping Steve out of his chain-smoking trance
"Hey" JC said cautiously"
"Hey" Steve replied similarly
"I erm got your message. You wanna clarify?"
"My answers yes Josh, we could give it a go. Only on one condition, if it doesn't work out and we have a big argument the promise we'll still be friends"
"Of course we will, always have been, always will be"
"No seriously, think about it properly. Could we still be friends like we are now if this doesn't work out?"
"I'd like to think so. I think our friendship's stronger than that"
"In the meantime think about it before things get too serious"
"We've got to get together to talk all this through. I'll find out when we're round your area and we can meet up. It's gonna be at least a couple of weeks though. Can you wait that long?"
"I think I can manage"
"You know that this is what it's gonna be like?"
"What only seeing each other a couple of times a year? Those times'll make up for the time we're apart"
"Damn, the other guys are here. I don't wanna let them hear this just yet so I'd better- Justin shut up for one minute!"
"You want me to call you later on?"
"Definate-Justin what I did I just say?! Piss off!....I don't care!"
"Justin if you interrupt me in the middle of a call again I swear to god that you will get such a hiding that your mom won't recognise you in the morgue!"
"Jeez what rubbed you up the wrong way this morning?"
"You, moron. Don't you understand some calls are important?"
"Ah so you two finally hooked up then?"
"Why are you so interested in my love life? Need I say the magic word?"
"Oh here we go. I am not going out with her and don't you think I would have told you guys if I was!?"
"Hey Chris, guess what Justin just told me about what him and Britney did on the mouse club" JC instigated, knowing that it would be at least a half hour before Chris gave up
"You happy now?" Justin said angrily once Chris had finished
"Pretty much" JC said with a smile, knowing that he'd only used it as an excuse to get Justin off his back
That night, Steve rang,
"I hope you're aware of the sacrifices I'm already making"
"Please tell me its lance, you've sacrificed. Please!"
"No but I'm stood out here on a hotel balcony at 1am in the freezing cold shivering my ass off and it's all for you"
"I guess I should be grateful or something? Why are you out there anyway? Don't they have radiators up there or something?"
"It's the only place I can get privacy any more, especially from Justin"
"Well why don't you put a coat or something on?"
"Steve I have got 2 sweaters, gloves AND a jacket on. Its still February remember"
"Don't moan to me when your balls drop off"
"I won't but it wont be much of a relationship without them"
"So you're decided?"
"I should be, I spent all day finding reasons why not to and the only one I came up with was petty"
"Your smoking, but I don't really care about that so I'm 100% for it, you?"
"Defiantly but only as long as it doesn't interfere with our friendship, once that gets compromised I'm calling it off"
"Can I ask a real awkward question?"
"Do you...love me?"
"Awkward would be an understatement. erm...yes I do love you Josh. I always have, I just lied when I said it was a crush"
"I hate to cut this short but it's colder out here than I thought"
"Bye, love you"
"I know. Bye"
Steve rolled over in his bed as he replaced the phone. he was all giddy inside at the reality of being in love once more. "Fuck" Steve said to himself seeing the bedside clock flashing 02:00AM, remembering that he was in work in 7 hours....