Jimmy Needs Assistance
Disclaimer: This is a work (or attempt at least) of fiction. All names and characterizations here are of people both make believe, living, dead, or somewhere in between is just that - fiction. If they happen to have the same name, characteristics, or overall similarities like someone from a Boy Band or two, than it's completely coincidental with the people that I have within my twisted little head!
Please Note: You will not find any gratuitous, superficial, or hot monkey sex in this story. This is going to be a romance, not a beat off story so don't expect two characters to meet, say hi, and rip each other's clothes off and screw their little brains out. There will be sex, but I will infer it and leave most of it up to your dirty little minds.
Lastly, if it is illegal for you to read this here attempt at a story where you may live, move the hell out of where you live to a more tolerant part of the world. If you are too young to read this where you live, move or get a fake ID to prove your age. If neither of these are practical, get the old pervert down the street with all the porn on his computer to print it out for you and sneak it in your house. Just don't get me involved!
Legal Info: This story and all it's contents is copyright (c) 2001 Jojoe@nycap.rr.com. Rights are granted ONLY to the Nifty Archive Alliance (Nifty.org) for the sole purpose of posting to their archives for others to read. ANY unauthorized posting without the author's expressed WRITTEN consent will be dealt with legally. Another words, if you want to share the story ASK ME FIRST!
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Chapter 10 -- 'When the shit hits the fan'
Walking into the dining room I started singing 'Happy Birthday' while setting the cake down in front of James. The guys immediately joined in along with Meredith. While we were singing James looked at me with a smile from ear to ear and a couple of tears running down his face.
When we were done singing James looked at me and said, "This has to be one of the most memorable birthday parties I've had. Thank you Hun." He then leaned over and gave me a kiss, and not on the cheek either, but on the lips.
Immediately after we heard 3 intakes of breath. Chris, Justin and Josh all had their jaws practically hitting the table with shocked looks on their faces. Joey and Meredith were sitting there with silly smiles.
I just grabbed James' hand to give him moral support while he said, "um guys, I, no we, have something to tell you. I was going to tell you all a little later but I guess now would be a good time. Guys, Jojo and I are dating."
The amount of silence from Chris, Justin and Josh was almost deafening. It almost felt like time stood still. I noticed that James was squeezing my hand harder and harder as time went by. I could tell that the silence was concerning him.
Joey, sensing this decided to end it. "Well, I for one am glad that you two are seeing each other. Lance, you have been alone for far too long. From what I have seen you are perfect for each other. I also know that Jojo won't do anything to jeopardize the group because he knows I would kick his ass! I'm happy for you both."
I gave him a smile. "Thank you Joe, I really appreciate that. You know that I will do everything in my power to not come between you guys, you have my word on that."
Josh was the next one to speak up. "Wow, I almost don't know what to say. This is a bit of a surprise. I hope you two know what you are getting yourself into."
James was next to speak. I figured he should address this. "Yes Josh we do know what we're getting ourselves into. We've done a lot of talking and right now we are comfortable where we stand with each other both personally and professionally. We both know the road won't be easy, but we both felt we have and need to take the chance. There is just too much of a connection between us to ignore. It's too strong to fight."
Justin spoke up next asking, "what do you mean, a connection? I'm not sure I understand." I was starting to get more hopeful. At least they were talking and not yelling.
Sensing that James wasn't sure how to answer this, I decided to see if I could. By this time James was sitting in the chair with me standing next to it. Feeling the tension lesson somewhat from his grip, we dropped hands and I put my hand on his shoulder, not breaking the connection between us. This wasn't going to be a confrontation like I had feared, and was very grateful for that fact.
"Justin" I began, "I'm not sure if I can explain it with words, but I'll do the best I can. There just seems to be a connection between the both of us, which almost seems tangible at times. It's like I know what he's thinking and feeling at times, and him the same with me. It's almost like we're not complete unless we are together, similar to the connection I hear you and Josh share. We seem to be able to tell what each other's mood is by just a look most of the time or know almost instinctively what the other needs. I know we haven't known each other for very long, hell only weeks when you think about it, but it feels like we've known each other all our lives."
"Yes, exactly" James said. "I couldn't explain it better myself."
"When I had the face to face interview with him and Johnny, I had to fight just to stop from reaching out to him. I have never felt anything like that before with anyone and let me tell you that it was a little scary at first to be honest. I wasn't sure what it was or what it meant at first. As a matter of fact Johnny said he could almost see sparks flying between us during the interview when we talked about it later."
Chris decided to get into the conversation next. "So, this has been going on from the beginning, huh?" A little contempt seeped into his voice, like a protective brother might be like. "Using the job to get a little extra 'perk' there, huh Jojo?"
James decided to field this one before I had a chance to figure out how to answer that one as I didn't want to piss him off and I was reluctant to say the wrong thing. I guess he figured this would be brought up sometime tonight and was ready for it. "No Chris, you don't understand. Yes Jojo and I decided to date, but not until a couple days AFTER he was hired. He was, and still is, the best candidate for the job out of everyone that was considered or interviewed. He would have gotten the job regardless if I wanted to date him or not. Granted he hasn't worked in the music industry before, but the experience he has had, as well as the positive feedback from his past supervisors more than qualified him. Just so you know he was willing to quit the job before he officially started when we did decide to start dating. I wouldn't let him; I want him working with me as well as beside me. Were equals on many levels, and to be honest it's quite refreshing to find what we have in common."
This seemed to make a difference, as Chris seemed to relax a little. Thinking I should keep the momentum going, I decided to continue from this point seeing James paused to take a breath and collect his thoughts. I gave his shoulder a little squeeze to let him know that I was going to continue.
"Guys, I know this may have been a surprise, but I ask that you keep an open mind. I'm not in it for the fame, or the money or anything along those lines. I feel that I finally found my soul mate, and that's what I'm focusing on and I just can't give that up when I finally found it. It's like asking me to cut off my right arm. I also know that if Nsync was over tomorrow and James didn't have anything to fall back on, and was broke, I would gladly support him any way needed, financially or otherwise, without a second thought or expecting anything in return.All I want is what's best for him, and that includes his family and friends as well. I would never think about jeopardizing anything that would ruin that."
James just looked up at me with a smile on his face and said tenderly "thanks sweetie. I would gladly do that for you as well in a second, I feel the same way."
"Also for the record," I added, after giving James a smile back and a squeeze on the shoulder to reinforce the smile. "We didn't decide to start dating until the night of the birthday party for James at Justin's house, and it took a push from a friend for us to talk about our mutual feelings for each other." I gave Joey a wink to show I didn't forget that he got us talking that night. "It wasn't something we rushed into either. We did a lot of talking that night, and quite a bit more on the phone this last week while I was in New York packing, on this topic. We both agree that James being who he is and what he does for a living we have, and will, be discrete. We both know that it will be hard, and won't be easy, but then anything worthwhile takes work. And this is definitely worthwhile."
James piped up next with "thanks Hun, that reminds me. I want to make it clear that besides everyone in this room, the only other people that know we are dating are Johnny and Jojo's best friend Stephen. I'd also like to keep it on a need to know basis for now. I'll tell Sexual Chocolate (for those of you who don't know that is one of the nicknames for the Nsync bodyguards. Yeah you know who I mean, like Lonnie who almost made me pee my pants) tomorrow at the hotel in New Orleans. Wade will most likely have to know as well. I just hope that you will all (looking from Chris to Josh to Justin) be fine with this. This means a lot to us and we would like your support. It won't change anything if you don't support us, but it would mean a lot to both of us if you did."
I decided that I wanted to add something else seeing everything was being laid out on the table so to speak. "You're all probably wondering about who does and who doesn't know about me being gay, as well as what I tell people about the subject." James looked like he was going to stop me. "Don't worry James, I have nothing to hide. To be honest, not too many people know I'm gay. Most of my family and friends don't know. I know some of them strongly suspect, but that's all. The way I look at it, it's none of their business. That doesn't mean that I won't tell them, I just don't volunteer the information or bring it up in conversation. If I'm asked, I'll answer truthfully as I'm not ashamed of who I am. You also don't have to worry that I'll start marching in every gay cause or start shouting from the rooftops my views on everything. That's not the type of person I am nor do I think I will ever be. It's taken me a long time to get there, but I'm comfortable with whom I am and whom I choose to love. I didn't choose to be attracted to men, that's just the way I was born."
This got a round of head nods and general acceptance. I got the distinct impression that if they didn't agree with what I said, they at least respected my thoughts and opinions. That meant a lot just then. One less burden to bare, one less thing to be worried about with them.
James spoke up next. "Just so you're not surprised tomorrow when we get to the hotel, I asked Johnny to make a couple of changes to our standard room arrangements." Oops, it looked like the natives might get a little restless at this announcement. "Before any of you object or jump to conclusions, please hear me out. I asked that in hotels where there are five suites reserved, that Jojo get the free one. The hotels that don't have the suites I asked that he get either a connecting room to mine, or if that isn't available, a room on either side of mine."
I noticed that James got a few surprised looks at that announcement. I have a sneaking suspicion that at least one of them expected us to request staying in the same room.
After letting this sink in, but before anyone asked any questions he continued. "I see you didn't expect that, did you?" he asked with a lopsided grin. "I am going to need Jojo near for business purposes. We're going to be spending a lot of time going over what he needs to learn. I'm also not going to lie to you and tell you that we're not going to be sleeping in each other's rooms, because there is a possibility of that."
Chris, being the smartass he is chimed in with "well that's an image I didn't want to see. I could have really done without the image that just flashed in my mind of your albino ass going at it." Yep, leave it to Chris to break up a serious discussion.
We just sat there a second in shock before we started chuckling. What a dork I thought.
"Jeesh Chris, what a dork, but that does bring up a topic that's related." Damn, it looks like we're starting to thing the same way now as James just called him a dork as I thought the same thing. "Before you start cracking the jokes about the bed creaking, moaning and groaning, and other such stuff, we've both decided to take our relationship slow. We're both old fashioned in the sense that we both agreed that we wouldn't have sex until we make a lifetime commitment to each other. We both view sex as the ultimate expression of love and as such biggest gift we can give each other. If we happen to spend a night or two in the same room together, it's because we don't want to be apart and want to hold each other. Nothing more will be going on, well maybe kissing, but you get the point." That got a couple snickers.
Justin was the first one to speak up after my love got finished talking. With a grin on his face he said, "congratulations guys. Lance, I think you finally found 'Mr. Right' after all. You finally found someone with the same values as yourself. I was beginning to think it might not happen, but am happy for both of you that it did."
This started a round of chattering about what everyone was looking for in a partner, and seeing everyone relaxing I decided that this was the time to cut the cake and pass the pieces around. I decided to excuse myself to go get the coffee I set to brew earlier when I went to get the cake. "If you'll excuse me a minute BooBoo, I'm going to go get the coffee so that we can have the cake with coffee while we finish talking." I was also thinking that he might want a minute or two alone with everyone without me there so they can talk freely without worrying about me being there.
"Thanks, that's a great idea" he added with a smile.
"Anyone need anything while I'm in the kitchen?" Taking a quick look around the table I was met with a chorus of nopes, I'm fine, and no thank you's all around so I left for the kitchen.
Getting into the kitchen I sat down on the closest chair I could find and let myself deflate. I didn't realize how stressful this would be. At least it wasn't anywhere near how bad it could have been. I just sat there for about a minute or so with my head in my hands collecting myself when I heard the kitchen door open. Knowing it wasn't James by instinct I looked up to see Chris standing there looking like he wanted to say something.
He took the chair beside me, "Jojo, are you ok?"
I just gave him a smile and a nod. "Yeah Chris, I'm fine. Just needed a minute to collect myself. I needed to regroup and get my equilibrium back again."
"Well" he began, "I wanted to talk to you for a minute.” Noticing the look that crossed my face for a second or so he just grinned. "No, don't worry. I just wanted to apologize for the comment I made earlier. It didn't come out at all the way I wanted it to. I will admit that I thought there was something going on between you two, but I didn't think it was as serious as you dating. I was just concerned that there might have been ulterior motives at first. I don't want to see Lance get hurt, he's like a little brother to me."
"Thank you Chris, and apology accepted. I also want you to know that I meant every word I said in there. I will never intentionally hurt James, or for that matter, any of you guys. You are all family, and I would never think about coming between that. From what I've seen I really don't think I could come between that."
"That's nice to hear, and I believe you. Lance is also a very good judge of character. For him to connect to you, to trust and let you into his heart and life so soon and so completely means a great deal about you and your character, and that's good enough for me right now. You don't need it, but you have my blessing. Just keep in mind that if you hurt him, I'm going to have to kill you."
Laughing, and boy did it feel good; it's just what I needed at the moment! "Thanks Chris. I wouldn't expect anything less from you. I also have a feeling I'm going to get the same speech from the rest of the guys sooner or later."
"Yeah," he added laughing as well, "and probably from Josh next. We don't call him Big Daddy for nothing!"
"Yeah, I heard that was one of his nicknames. Hey if you don't mind, could you give me a hand and carry out the coffeepot while I get the cups and the rest of the stuff for desert?"
"Yeah Jojo, no problem"
"Thanks Chris, let's get in there and see if everyone's playing nice."
Chris grabbed the coffeepot as I grabbed the tray of cups and related supplies and we both headed into the dining room.
James gave me a smile as I walked in. "I see Chris left you in one piece, and I didn't hear anything break while you were in the kitchen, so I assume everything went alright?"
Oh, the wise ass in me reared its ugly head, and before I could stop it I blurted out "Yeah, I'm fine, Chris just wanted a quickie. Boy that boy can wear you out!" I even impressed myself, as I said that with a perfectly straight face (oops, pardon the pun!)
I couldn't have planned it better. Chris was utterly speechless and turning about a hundred shades of red trying to say something, with nothing coming out of his mouth. I'd say he was doing a perfect fish out of water impression. Both Joey and my love were laughing their head off at both Chris' reaction, as well as the shocked and puzzled expressions on both Josh and Justin's faces. Finally I couldn't hold it in any longer and I broke down laughing. Twiddly Dee and Twiddly Dumb (Josh and Justin if you're a little slow catching on) finally got the joke and started laughing their asses off as well.
Chris just sat there with his arms crossed and a pout on his face like a little kid waiting for us to get control of ourselves. Finally when we got some control, however slight it was, Chris blurted out, and I swear he sounded like a whiney 5 year old, "You know Jojo, you really suck!" and stuck out his bottom lip.
Well, it seems my mouth wasn't done and I spit out before I even realized it was me, said, "Yeah Chris I know, just ask James!"
Well that did it; any control any of us had was completely and utterly gone. All of us, including Chris this time, were laughing uncontrollably. It must have been the tension from earlier working it's way out. It was also exactly what we needed and we all let it embrace us and let the laughter wash it all away.
I'm not sure how much later, but it was long enough to make my side hurt from all the laughing, and we finally stopped. Finally catching my breath I managed to start taking again. "Chris, I'm sorry, but that just slipped out. I don't know what came over me, but my mouth was running before my brain could stop it."
"Don't worry about it Jojo" Chris said with a grin, "believe me if the roles were reversed, I probably would have said something similar. I have to admit you really got me good there as I didn't see that one coming until it was too late. I think I finally met my match."
I finally got the cake cut and passed out, as well as the coffee, and sat back down at the table. As we were eating the conversation picked up again.
Chris was the first one to start with, "I told this to Jojo in the kitchen (he got a couple of snickers at the mention of kitchen - must have been a Bevis and Butthead moment or something) but I would like to say it here in front of everyone as well. I'm sorry for jumping to conclusions like I did and even though you don't need it, I give you my blessing."
Before James or I could say anything Justin spoke up next. "I can't speak for Josh, but it's ok with me. Looking at you two today, and the way you supported each other a little while ago obviously shows that you love each other. I have no problem with it. Welcome to the family Jojo."
Josh jumped in with "yes you can speak for me baby, I feel the same way. Congratulations guys."
I just sat there smiling as they just proved that they were true friends. James was sitting there literally beaming he was so happy. "Thank you guys" he finally said, with tears of happiness threatening to let loose, "that means a lot to not only me, but to the both of us."
"Yes, thank you guys" I added as heartfelt as possible.
"Hey what are you thanking us for?" Josh asked. "We're family. We were a little surprised, but all we want is for you to be happy. You are obviously happy together and that's all that matters. I do have one thing to tell you Jojo, if you hurt my little brother, I'm going to hunt you down and kill you."
At that Chris started laughing. "See Jojo, I told you!"
“Yeah Chris you did. Don't worry Josh, Chris and Joey already gave me the 'If you hurt Lance I'll kill you' speech. Like I said before, I would never intentionally hurt James. He means too much to me."
"Good, I just wanted to be sure it was clear."
"Jeesh Big Daddy, chill! Lance is a big boy now. He can take care of himself." This of course was from Joey.
We all really mellowed down after that point and sat chatting as we finished the cake and coffee. When we were all done I got up to start cleaning up the dishes. What surprised me more was that everyone got up as well and starting pitching in. I started to argue, but they wouldn't hear of it. It was mentioned that I slaved over the stove all day and it was the least they could do. I knew the odds were against me at this point so I gave in and we all started the cleanup.
It was at this point that it finally registered that Meredith was no longer here. I pulled James aside. "Hon, where's Meredith? It just dawned on me that she left sometime when we were talking."
"Don't worry. After the shit hit the fan so to speak, she caught my eye and motioned that she was going. If I know her, she felt that it was something we needed to discuss amongst ourselves and went home. She gave me a sign to call her later to let her know how things went."
"Oh god" I said, "I feel really bad now. I must have made a really bad impression with her. That's just what I need. There goes my professional image. I'm sorry Hun, I didn't mean for that to happen." I was starting to get concerned. I haven't even officially started yet and I blew it already.
"Oh baby!" James then gave me a hug, then while holding me gave me a kiss on the forehead for comfort, still keeping me in the embrace. "You did no such thing. Trust me on this; I've known Mer forever. She will not think that I'm sure, so don't give it a second thought. Lets get finished cleaning up and we can snuggle for a little bit before you head to Joey's house to get packed."
Cleanup took surprisingly little time with six sets of hands. I wrapped up the leftovers and put some in the freezer for James, as well as some to send home with Justin, Josh, and Joey. Chris declined for some reason. I made a ton of food for this reason, it's the Italian in me, I guess. It must be genetic that we have to make at least twice what we think everyone else will eat.
We retired to the living room, James and I taking a recliner, him sitting in my lap and snuggled up against my chest, with the rest of the guys scattered about the room. I noticed that Josh and Justin were getting nice and comfortable cuddling on the loveseat. They are so cute together.
This was the highlight of my life so far. I've never felt so relaxed in my life as I do right now, especially seeing how tense it was earlier. I just made a dinner to die for (if I do say so myself!) sitting wrapped around my gorgeous boyfriend, in a room full of friends not caring that we're a couple, and chatting about what the future holds. I finally feel at home.
We finally broke up about 10:30 that night. I had to completely pack for the upcoming couple of weeks, and most of the other guys had to finish. Slowly one by one they all said their good-bye's and left James and I alone.
James was the first one to break the silence. "Hun, I really want to thank you for today. Dinner was incredible, so much more than I expected, and the cake was a complete surprise. I can't believe you went through all that trouble for us. I've never had someone take so much effort for me, or my friends before, or at least doing it without expecting anything in return. Every time I turn around you are doing something for someone."
"Trust me James, it was nothing. Even though cooking today was a lot of work, it was also a lot of fun and relaxing. I love to cook. It keeps my hands busy and lets my mind run free. I sometimes do my best thinking while I'm cooking. It's also a great way to get together and be informal with everyone. Look how everyone converged in the kitchen earlier while I was cooking, and how everyone was relaxed and having fun without even thinking about it. Some of my fondest memories growing up were in the kitchen with my mom or grandmother cooking or baking. Most holidays seemed to be centered around the kitchen."
"Hey, you're right! I never thought of that," he answered.
"Well BooBoo, I did. I thought that it might help, and it seems it did. I thought it would be a good way for the guys to get to know me better before we told them about us. There is some truth to the saying 'A way to a man's heart is through his stomach,' and the smell of food cooking is very soothing."
"It is, and it won't be the last dinner here either. There was something that felt different about the house today, and I just figured out what it is. It felt like home. Before it just felt like a house, someplace to go stay while not on the road. My parent's house always felt like 'home' until today. Thinking about it now, I think the guys felt it as well. The guy's have been over before, but tonight while we were relaxing after desert, it felt more relaxed, similar to what it's like at the Harless' when we get together there."
"Well Hun, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I had fun too. We can do this as much as you like whenever we're not on the road." I really meant those words. I've been cooking Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for the last three or four years for the family, and always enjoyed them.
"You know BooBoo, now that you mention it, cooking today felt different for me as well. I've been cooking holiday dinners for a few years now, but tonight felt better, somehow. It felt like I was home, that this is where I belong, and where I'll be for the rest of my life. I also have a feeling that the guys are going to be spending a lot more time over here in the future."
"I know what you mean. Josh and Just haven't looked so content for quite a long time. Everyone seemed more relaxed after dessert. I'd like to do this again soon."
"That's fine with me. We'll plan something for the next time were all here. Maybe invite the families as well. We could invite the Fatones, Harless', and the rest, and have a big cookout or something. Maybe even your parents, as well as your sister and brother-in-law could make it as well?"
"That would be nice. We'll see what happens." A cloud of disappointment came over his face. "Do you really have to go to Joey's house tonight? I'd really love for you to stay the night again."
"Yes babe, I do. I have nothing packed, and I'm bushed. I would love nothing more than to sleep next to you tonight, but if I stay here, I'll get nothing done. There are still a few things I need to prepare for tomorrow. Remember it is my first day on the job, and I don't want to start off with a bad impression with my new boss. I hear he can be such a slave driver!" I gave him a wink when I mentioned boss. "I'll make you a deal, while we're in New Orleans, I'll spend every night with you. How does that sound?"
His face lit up like a kid at Christmas time getting every possible toy that he ever wanted at once. "You Promise?!?!"
"Yes love," I chuckled, "I promise."
"Good! I can't wait!" I swear he was ready to burst. I loved seeing this side of him, and don't think I would ever tire of seeing it.
"Well Hun, I hate to put a damper on your mood, but I really need to get going. The next month or so is going to be hell, and I need to make sure I have all I need. I'll see you in the morning, as you're going to be my first stop on the plane roundup."
We took the next ten minutes or so saying our good-byes and goodnights. On the drive to Joey's, it dawned on me that today was a closing of a chapter in my book of life, with tomorrow opening up a new one. Only God knows where it's headed, with a whole world of possibilities about to open up before me.
To be continued.....
Just a few notes. First off I still can't believe the utter destruction and loss of life that happened on September 11th. There are no words to describe the emotions that I felt as I saw the tragedy unfold that day, as well as the days after. I happened to be home from work sick that day, and I can't remember feeling so helpless. What compounded the feeling is that I'm only 3 hours north of NYC and the first jet literally flew over my head on it's way to it's deadly mission. That was quite scary and humbling. My sympathies go out to all the friends, family, and acquaintances of the unfortunate people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Again thanks for the edit job from DJ. Without him you would be finding many more stupid (and sometimes embarrassing) errors throughout these chapters.
I just wanted to let you all know that I am going to be taking some time off from the story. As you probably read in the update I sent, that I am suffering from a severe case of writers block. I know where I want the story to go, but I literally can't get the words written out in an understandable way. I apologize in advance, but will promise that I will continue the story.
As you noticed that website hasn't received an update lately. The reason has been simple; I don't have any new content YET. I am talking and/or will be with a couple of authors to host their series. Can't promise when it will be all worked out, but take a look now and then for something new.
Finally, my heartfelt thanks and admiration for David specifically, and everyone else as well, at the Nifty Archive. I have been an avid visitor to the archive for quite a few years, and the depth of the dedication at Nifty is immeasurable. The shear enjoyment for myself and others that visit the archive daily can't be measured. Please support this worthwhile service any way you can. It's worth it.