This is it, my friends. Part Six of my series. This marks the end of the road for now. By the time you read this, I'll have left to undergo my training somewhere in the hinterlands of Malaysia. It's funny, the instructors there don't seem to believe that future pilots need the internet to survive. So I'll be left without my daily fix of slash. And of course, without means to send off or even type my stories.
I'll find a way, don't worry. I won't stop writing that's for sure. And by hook or by crook, I'll finish this story off. I don't know how regular the updates will be, all I can hope for is that my readers will be patient and bear with me.
First thanks goes to my beloved friends, Patti and Peter, for putting up with me and my stories, for devoting their precious time to looking over what I've done and giving no-holds-barred comments. Then thanks to David the Archivist and Red (check out her site exclusively for JoshJustinLoving at www.slashygoodness.com ) you wonderful gal, for putting my stories up. And also the people I've come to call my great friends, Dara, Ebba, Justin (you owe me one rocking-of-my-world), Megsies (no more daily pictures, boohoo!), Dawn and Yee Hui. And I think my biggest fan and closest friend Kenny. He prints and binds my chapters into little booklets even though there's no sex in my stories. Talk about dedication. And my other friends who read these even though they hate boybands and have no clue who is whom, Lio, Colin, Sam, Benji...love you guys to bits.
I'll ALSO be missing the Grammy's and that sucks like you wouldn't believe. To 'N Sync: Rock the house, and win them awards! Show Eminem and the rest of them that love and pop makes the world go around, not hate and anger.
To all those who've written to me, I can't thank you enough. StclairLdy, Rick Chasez, Metra, JCL, Jon, Tomilee, Ray Flores, Holly, Wen, Sabastien, J, HesperBlaze, DigitalFreak,, LD Griffin, Aylex, Josh Beneze and Jade Ann and Wen. You've brightened my life like you wouldn't believe.
Disclaimer: The thank-you's have been so long something has got to give way. The guys of "N Sync are their own people and I do not claim any personal knowledge of them. The following is a complete work of fiction, and is unsuitable for those underage.
Just because I'm going away doesn't mean you guys don't have to write me, you know. In fact, I should get more feedback! It's at email@example.com Just take some time to say hi, or to get to know me, I'd greatly appreciate it!.
Without further ado--
CHASING CHASEZ, Part 6
by Will Ang
"That was too close," I said.
"And he just let us--"
"If he didn't have that niece--"
"And if you didn't keep that stack of mini-posters here..."
"God is good. God is great."
We watched in silence as the patrol car pulled away from us, a happy man with a whole stack of autographed posters inside it.
"Josh, you can speak normally now."
A pause. Then--"Yeah."
I whipped my head around to see him grinning at me. He gave that I-couldn't-resist shrug of his.
I shook my head and laughed too, feeling the tension drain away from my body. Fuck, we didn't need any of this shit.
"You still mad?" I heard him say.
I sighed, playing with my seat-belt. "I guess not." I looked back at him. "Are you?"
"No. Mind-numbing, pant-crapping fear tends to do that to you. Just imagine if word had gone out--"
I nodded, not wanting to think about it. We'd be questioned about it in every interview for the next year, rumours would start circulating about our erratic driving, speculating about either of us being under the influence...and I hadn't even mentioned anything about our publicists skinning us alive yet. Our lives were so public nowadays, and our fans and the paparazzi were so intent to hound us, we simply couldn't take any chances and get booked for speeding. And all because of what? I pissed him off when he was driving, and he'd floored the accelerator a bit more than he should have?
"I'm sorry, Josh," I said. I was so sorry I didn't even want to remember why I got mad with him in the first place.
"I'm sorry too, Jus," he said. And he sounded as if he really meant it, this time. "It was my fault, really, for not concentrating on the road--"
"Okay, so we've established that we're sorry for each other. Let's just go home, okay?" I sat lower and pulled my cap closer to my face. I just wanted to forget this roller-coaster ride of emotions I just went through. God, who would've thought a simple ride home with my best friend would be so draining.
Of course, with my luck, the night was far from being done with me.
My cell rang shrilly.
"Hi darling," I said, trying to inject some affection into that sentence.
"J?" Where are you?"
"In Josh's car. Heading home. His home," I added.
"Oh great! I'll see you there, okay? Later!"
"Wait, Britney, I--"
I sighed, closing my eyes and leaning back against the headrest.
"She's coming over," I informed Josh. He merely nodded, concentrating on the traffic.
He knows she now knows about him, and about Dylan as well. In fact, he was the one who told me to tell her. I wondered if he regretted it now, he never once asked about her reaction to the news. I guess he didn't care.
She took it as well as could be expected, I guess. She had known JC for just as long as I have, and she understood that a friend of his had passed away, and I had to accompany him back to Orlando. But I only told her the rest of it yesterday.
She'd gone silent after that, digesting the information.
"Gosh, I never noticed," she'd said. "And I thought my gaydar was pretty good."
"Gaydar. Gay radar. Once of my choreographers taught me the term," she said somewhat proudly.
"Oh-kay," I rolled my eyes. If there was one thing she wasn't lacking of in her life, it was gay friends. She was absolutely swarmed by men who swung the other way, and who were campier than Liberace. If it wasn't her choreographers it was her make-up crew, or the photo guys. Even one bodyguard! Strangely, that fact always made me feel somewhat secure, if not exactly comfortable. At least they wouldn't be hitting on my girl.
"Three years, he'd kept it from you?" she asked.
"He said so, I don't know, I don't know anything! He just won't tell me," I ranted. She let me continue in that vein for a while until I finally ran out of steam.
"Poor baby. Well, I'll be in Orlando by tomorrow, and then we can talk a bit more, okay? Or at least, you can yell and I'll listen."
I felt like shit then. I apologised profusely, but she'd laughed it off. "Call me when you get here, okay?" I asked in my best syrupy voice.
And now she was here and she was on her way to JC's place, sounding as chipper as if performing at one of her shows. I wasn't up to entertaining her, and certainly not up to talking more about JC.
But at least it'd be good to see her again. I missed her, I told myself. I missed her very much when she was away because she was my girlfriend. And that's what good boyfriends do when their girlfriends are away. Miss them.
Somehow there was something not quite right with that last line of thought, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.
And then JC had pulled into his driveway, so I sat up and looked around. No sign of her yet, so we just went inside. I had just walked into the living room when pointed to the armchair.
"Sit," he commanded. I sat obediently. Okay, looks like JC was determined to be monosyllabic all night through. He took a seat directly in front of me, and pointed to himself. "Ask."
I shot an eyebrow up, knowing exactly what he meant.
"Look. All this tiptoeing around each other, having little fights, making up, then fighting all over again can't be healthy." He took a deep breath. "And I know it all boils down to what I did. Or rather, what I didn't do. So I'm asking you to give me a chance to earn back your trust in me. Go ahead. Ask me anything you want."
He sat there with a slightly apprehensive look about his face as if fearing what I'd have to ask, yet radiating earnestness.
"And we have to do this now?" I said.
He nodded, closing his eyes. "Now. Ask."
It was so ridiculous I nearly wanted to laugh. So I did the next best thing. "Don't you worry, Joshy-poo," I pouted at him mockingly. "I swear I'll be gentle with you."
His eyes flew open. "If you're not gonna be serious about this--"
"No, no, I am serious. But you make it sound as if I'll be giving you an injection or something. With a really long, really sharp needle."
He shuddered visibly as I invoked his greatest phobia, but he agreed to loosen up a little. It's weird, the way you hope for something so much that when it's finally handed to you, you have absolutely no idea what to do with it.
He still had that expectant air about him, though. "Well?"
"I'm thinking, " I said shortly.
He rolled his eyes. "Yeah I know, you're always thinking."
"What was it like, Josh?" I asked softly.
"Me and Dylan? Or what? You've got to be more specific, Jus--"
"What was it like to keep the most important thing that's ever happened to you from your friends and from your family?"
His face stilled. He raised his guilt-laden eyes, understanding how much that one question meant to me.
"My family knows," he whispered.
I fell back into the armchair as if I'd received a physical blow. No fucking wonder the prick had asked me to sit down first.
"Not everyone," he added quickly. "Just my mom. And Tyler. And they don't know everything either."
Somehow that wasn't assuring at all, and I told him so. With a lot of choice expletives. He went redder, and I paused to gather my composure.
"Well," I said. "So Karen and Tyler know. What you've told them, I have no clue, but not everything, you said. You're getting very good at all these smoke and mirrors stuff, Josh. Hello? Do I even know Josh Chasez anymore?"
I could tell that pissed him off. "I just didn't tell them about Dylan, okay? Well--I sort of did, but--oh God, this isn't going anywhere as well I thought it would," he ran his hands through his hair--nervous JC habit #5.
I bit my lip, feeling bad that I'd snapped at him. I mean, if he didn't say anything to me at all, he can't have told much to his family.
"So...okay, how did they take it? Knowing that you were gay anyway. I hope you told them that at least," I couldn't help giving him a parting shot.
The memory, incredibly, brought a smile to his face. "Kind of anti-climactic, actually. You know that Ty's a pretty open-minded guy," I nodded. "He's got loads of gay friends at school. So I, um, felt him out a little before coming clean with him. He's the one who convinced me to tell Mom, at least. We knew Dad wouldn't be as accepting."
"And how did she take it?"
"She said she'd sort of been expecting it anyway! Then she asked me when I'd be bringing home a nice guy for her to look over," he smiled.
"And did you?" I asked quietly.
"His smile faded. Mom doesn't know about Dylan. Tyler knew I was in a relationship, but that was all."
"Just how long ago was this? And don't even think of lying..."
"Four years ago. Right after we got the BMG deal," he said in a small voice.
I drew a deep breath. "But I thought you said you were involved with Dylan for--"
"Three years, yes. Dylan didn't make me gay, Jus. I was attracted to men long before I started going out with him. Although he--" he cut himself off.
"Although? Although he what, Josh?" I pressed, leaning forward in anticipation.
He expelled a breath he was holding, and his eyes focused on a spot above my head.
"He was my first. Ever. The first person I did anything sexual with."
Oh, no he couldn't be, I thought indignantly. I was there when he told me he'd lost his virginity to this old girlfriend of his from way back, just after we formed the group. He couldn't have been lying to me, unless...
A horrible suspicion began to dawn upon me.
"Nashville. 1995," he volunteered.
I swear I'd have fallen out of the chair if I could. As it were, I managed a slow, open-mouthed toppling against the side of it.
"You--you--but I..." I started weakly. He was still staring at something fascinating above my head.
"We were both young, okay? Curious as hell and just as horny. I...I was his first guy too."
"No--no! Three years! You--three years!" I cried, incapable of coherent speech, but he caught my drift.
"We didn't...hook up immediately or anything after that, Jus. It was only that one night. In fact, um...we kind of had a huge fight after that. You remember? It's the night you called me...to join a little vocal group you and Chris were trying to form."
I nodded dubiously, struggling to make sense out of what he was saying. I'd have loved to say I remembered every detail of the fateful night, but all I could recall was ringing him up and telling him some stuff, and him agreeing to come to Orlando. That was it. Nothing particularly earth-shaking. I certainly couldn't have told that he'd just lost his virginity. To a guy, no less. To Dylan.
I mean, I guess Dylan was kind of cute. He had brown hair and blue eyes, same as JC. He always had a clear complexion, a fact I hated and envied for months. And he was always well-built, you'd never guess someone with fingers like his could play piano so delicately and with so much feeling.
"How was the sex?" I asked abruptly. Then I kicked myself for asking that.
He brought his gaze down to me, and realised I was serious. I was about to ask him to forget about it, when he answered.
"It was...wonderful," his eyes took on a soft, dreamy look. "I don't quite know how to explain. Different from a girl, of course, but in a good way. Everything was harder, and more confident. You couldn't imagine that someone like that could be so skilful with his hands...and his tongue. And what he'd tell me during and after..." He looked at me again, and I was shocked to that his eyes were bright with tears. "I guess now's a good time as any to cry over him."
I stared mutely as he sniffled and reached for his handkerchief, all residual anger draining out of me. I had to remind myself that this man, my best friend, had just lost a part of his soul. And above all else, above all the secrets and lies, Josh was still a man in grief.
"How does it fucking look like, huh Jus?" he said bitterly. "Me finally crying over him--at the memory of sex of all things. Why couldn't I have cried over something nobler...like the way he cooked his eggs or something."
"Aww Josh, don't say that. Didn't sex with him mean something to you too? Wasn't it important?"
"Yeah. Yeah, it was. There were times when I'd feel so sick of my life on the road, so sick of being away from him and my family. There were times when I felt that he didn't appreciate me anymore, or he was taking me for granted. And then he'd start to touch me, and feel me up, and...ohhh..."
I watched, utterly fascinated as JC did the most amazing full-body shudder. Was it really as good as he made it out to be? I mean, it was with a guy after all. And he'd said he'd had feelings for guys even before--
I suddenly wondered if JC had ever looked at us in that way.
"So...the sex was that good?"
"Oh yeah. Definitely."
"Was it because of him, or because...it was sex with a guy?"
He frowned. "Isn't it the same? I had sex with him because he was my boyfriend, and he happens to be a guy."
"So...not just any guy would do?"
He looked at me appraisingly. "I know where you're going with this line of reasoning, Jus. It's about you guys isn't it? You want to know if I'd secretly harboured any dirty thoughts for any of you."
It was useless to hide the fact, so I nodded slowly.
"You...really want to know?" he looked at me intently.
I nodded, wondering why my mouth was suddenly going dry. I didn't care, I told myself. It shouldn't affect anything. Not at all. Nope.
But why were my palms starting to sweat?
He looked down at his hands, shifting uncomfortably in his seat.
"Actually, Jus..." he began. A pink tongue darted out of his mouth to lick his lips nervously. "I--"
The doorbell went off. "Justin! You in there? Joshua?"
He looked towards the door. I groaned inwardly, and for the first time ever, I wished that she was far, far away. So that I could hear that JC had the hots for--
Me? Oh, shit...
Okay, that's it. You guys and gals won't be getting any for...god knows how long lol. But I promise you I'll try my best and I'll definitely keep writing. I just hope people still remember the story when I come back to it! It won't be anything so drastic as half a year or more...at the most maybe a two month hiatus.
If you want to rush me...you know what to do! It's, as always, Will at firstname.lastname@example.org