Kevin & Justin
Peter Kamphuis (firstname.lastname@example.org)
All the usual disclaimers apply: please stop reading if you are underage or homophobic. Please note that this is a work of fiction - nothing is being implied about the sexuality of any of the people portrayed below.
This chapter may be shorter than previous ones, but I really struggled with it... I've Q.A'd (quality assured) it to within an inch of it's life, and I've re-written complete scenes. I know I've said it before, but I really hate editing my own work! :) I just hope it was all worth it.
I also don't think I'll be able to continue at this pace... the first seven or so chapters had been pretty much written before I submitted chapter 1 to the archive. I was less stringent in my editing efforts back then, so they were often submitted within a week of each other. That's just not going to be possible for the rest of the story. I just can't promise that I'll be able to submit a chapter per week any more. Sorry. I hope you can forgive me?
I'd welcome any feedback on the new formatting style... it's heavily based on the style that Chuck Moors (author of 'Kevin and Jordan') used in his story. Hi Chuck! Can't wait to read the next chapter of your story! :)
One last thing... I've finished writing another story - not boyband related, though - and was wondering if anyone felt like reading it? It's about Tom Paris and Commander Chakotay from Star Trek: Voyager. If there's enough interest, I'll post it to the Archives. It's only two chapters long, but don't hold that against me! :)
BSB and 'N Sync go their separate ways. Justin and Kevin have a teary farewell hug before they part. As soon as BSB leave the lounge, Justin breaks down and the guys finally admit to knowing that he's gay and in love with Kev. They support him through his grief before they have to leave for their own flight. Lance decides to steer Justin towards revealing his sexuality to his parents, but Curly is not so sure. Having planted the seed, they cannot do anything else except support him in his decision - whatever it may be.
Meanwhile, as BSB are winging their way to Europe, Kevin is finding it difficult to cope with his loss. Brian stays with him and comforts him during the flight. Nick, who's sitting behind the two of them, gets upset and angry at the anguished crying coming from Kevin and decides to find out what (or who) is causing him this pain and then eradicate it.
Back in Orlando the 'N Sync guys are met by Justin's mother. Justin sees her and breaks down, then finally faints from exhaustion. Lyn is determined to find out what's wrong, but the guys won't tell her. They help get Justin into a waiting limo, along with his mother, then head back to get their luggage. They will follow on in Lyn's car.
In the limo Justin finally revives and tries to keep his secret hidden from his mother, who is also hurting at not being told what's wrong with him. He finally admits to her that he's in love, carefully not mentioning that it's with another man, and is surprised to find out that his mother already knows that he is gay. They discuss a few things, including the fact that Justin's 'lover' is not one of the 'N Sync guys, slowly coming to terms with each other's knowledge. They are both unaware of their surroundings when the limo driver opens the door after arriving at their house. Seeing that neither of them are aware of his presence, the limo driver carefully closes the door and decides to leave them alone...
Kevin & Justin - Chapter 13
"You know, I just don't understand Kevin," Chris said with a sigh, as they pulled out of the airport carpark in Lyn's car.
"What don't you understand?" Joey asked absently, manoeuvring the car onto the highway.
"Well, according to A.J., Kevin knew about Justin being gay almost from the start. So why didn't he say anything to Justin about it? Everything I learned about him seems to indicate that he should have tried talking to Justin -- after all, they were best friends. But he didn't say a word! Not even when Justin was hurting so much!"
"I don't think that Kevin knew," answered JC softly into the silence. "Justin kept his hurt hidden away from him."
"What?" asked Chris in surprise.
"Justin and I talked a lot about this," JC explained, noticing Joey's absent nodding from the corner of his eye. "The last thing he wanted to do was to hurt 'his Boo'. So he made sure he stayed away from Kevin whenever possible - even though he would have spent every waking moment with Kev if he could have. And when he couldn't stay away from Kev, he'd put on his most cheerful expression to hide the hurt. That way, Kevin wouldn't be able tell how much Justin loved him, or how upset Justin felt that Kevin couldn't return his feelings.
"But, it didn't get any better. In fact, the longer we toured together, the more involved he became with Kevin. At first, unintentionally. But later on, he went out of his way to be in Kevin's company." He could see the wave of nodding spread around him - they had all noticed Justin's change of attitude. "And all the while he did everything he could to hide his true feelings and his pain from Kevin. That's why he's a total mess right now."
Shaking heads and frowns greeted his words. The guys could appreciate how much energy Justin must have expended in keeping up the charade, in the face of his huge loss.
"I still wonder why Kevin didn't say anything?" Chris persisted, with a hint of anger in his voice. "After all, if he didn't know that Justin loved him, why would he shy away from telling Curly that he knew about it, and that it didn't bother him? A.J. told me that Kev didn't have any problems with Justin being gay. It just doesn't make any sense!"
The others considered this, but couldn't come up with an answer for Chris. The rest of the trip passed in silence, as each thought about Justin and the immense loss he had suffered.
As Lyn's car pulled up into the driveway of her house, the boys were surprised to see that the limousine was still there.
Joey suddenly found himself having to turn sharply to avoid rear-ending the limo, and breathed a sigh of relief at his close call, as the car slowed. He parked it next to the limo, and slightly behind, then turned off the engine. The others politely ignored his white-knuckled trembling hands, even as they felt their own heart rates start to drop to normal levels...
Lance, ignoring the near-miss with a nonchalance that the others envied, hopped out of the car the instant it came to a halt and quickly approached the flustered limo driver. He couldn't help but feel a sense of foreboding settle into his bones.
"Is there a problem?"
"No, Sir. It's just that I didn't want to disturb them..." The driver flushed in embarrassment, much to Lance's surprise. "They didn't pay any attention to me when I opened the door, so I decided to leave them alone until they were ready to leave."
Lance digested this bit of unsettling news and began to worry even more. What could have happened? Turning back to the driver, he said, "I see. Thank you." He exchanged a courteous nod with the driver and returned to his waiting bandmates, not bothering to hide his worry.
"They're still in the limo. The driver doesn't know why they won't come out."
"Oh. That doesn't sound good," JC said worriedly. The surprise on his face was echoed on Chris's and Joey's.
"No, Josh, it doesn't," agreed Lance, looking up into the worried eyes of his bandmate. "Anyway, we can't hang around here all day. Let's get the luggage into the house and we'll worry about Lyn and Justin later."
Joey took that as his cue to jump into action, and ran to the front door and opened it with Lyn's keys. He then rushed back, still abounding with nervous energy, and started helping his friends carry the luggage into the house.
The limo driver quickly strolled across and assisted them, feeling guilty at forgetting about their luggage, even though the young blonde man - Lance - had practically forced him to leave the airport as soon as the woman and her son had entered the limo.
They finally managed to get everything inside and settled down onto the couch in the living room, thanking the limo driver for his help. After a brief moment's rest, and a chance to catch their breaths, Chris and JC got back up and started picking out their luggage from the haphazard pile on the landing. They struggled briefly to get their luggage upstairs, but soon reached their rooms, where they started unpacking their belongings.
Joey was left sitting alone on the couch, twitching nervously, and looking agitatedly around the living room. The near-miss was bad enough, but now he was also worried about what was happening with Lyn and Justin. His nerves were just about frayed.
Lance, in the meantime, had collected a chair from the kitchen. He placed it near the window and sat down, starting a silent vigil for any movement from the limo. Just like on every other stressful occasion, his face settled into a scowl - though it wasn't directed at anyone or anything in particular - and he started biting his fingernails absently. This time, however, a new variable was thrown into the equation of his tell-tale signs of stress: his expression was overlaid with worry.
"Sweetheart?" Lyn said into the silence. "I know how much this is hurting you, but can you at least tell me who you're in love with? Please, Justin?"
Justin sighed, finally giving in to her plea. He didn't want to hurt her unnecessarily, and he was doing just that by not telling her Kevin's name. It wasn't important, in any case. Her knowing Kevin's name wasn't going to change anything, or make any difference. "You don't know him, Mom. His name is Kevin."
"Kevin?" she said in surprise, her voice suddenly sounding overly loud in the cabin. "You mean Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys?"
"What?" he asked in astonishment, feeling a pit opening in his stomach. "You know him?"
"No, sweetie, I don't know him. We haven't met, but I do know who he is. Did you think I wouldn't try to find out everything I could about the group you were touring with?"
Justin shook his head in confusion, and felt a slight sense of trepidation. She was right: he should have known that she'd find out about the other band touring with them. She may not have been his manager, but she still looked out for him, and did everything she could to help him further his career. "Maybe I shouldn't have told you..." he said, feeling slightly nauseous at the thought of his mother knowing about Kevin. She didn't wield as much influence in the industry as the big recording companies, but she wasn't a 'lightweight' either...
"Oh, sweetie, don't worry about it. I'm not very happy that he's caused you this much pain, but I'm not angry enough to want to hurt him for it either."
Justin's eyes closed in relief. "Thanks, Mom. I don't want you to hate him because he can't return my feelings... It's not his fault." His voice then dropped, as he added brokenly, "I love him so much!"
"Oh, honey," she said, collecting her sobbing son into her arms and gently rocking him back and forth as she had done countless times before. She hated to see him so upset. It just wasn't fair that he should suffer like this!
She continued to gently rock him, kissing the top of his head of curls, and crying at the anguish and heartache she could feel him suffering through.
"They're coming out," Lance warned the others, not knowing how prophetic his words were in Justin's case.
The others - Chris and JC had returned from unpacking their stuff several minutes earlier - became instantly alert as they waited for Lyn and Justin to make an appearance. They'd soon find out what had happened in the limo. They all prayed that it wasn't bad news, but somehow they were expecting - and were prepared for - the worst.
The front door opened and mother and son walked into the living room. The guys silently observed that they had been crying, but didn't know what for, or what it signified. It didn't look like it was good news, though. They collectively held their breaths, waiting for either Justin or Lyn to break the silence.
Justin looked at the concerned faces of his friends and smiled. No one in the room failed to notice that the sparkle was still missing from his eyes. They all knew it would take a long time before his smiles were also reflected in his eyes.
"My mom knows everything," he said, carefully. "She already knew that I was gay, and now she knows about Kevin too."
Surprise and relief showed on the faces of his friends as they expelled their pent-up breaths. With Lyn there to support him, and with no secrets to hinder them, Curly would be able to recover from his loss...
The Backstreet Boys were asleep in their chairs: one of the luxuries of being a first class passenger.
The chairs turned out to be quite comfortable as 'beds', as much as chairs can be, and they had all dropped off to sleep. Even Nick, who was certain that he wouldn't be able to get comfortable enough to sleep, had finally drifted off.
Several hours later, the cabin was blanketed in silence as the passengers slept soundly...
...with one exception.
One of the stewardesses, who was standing the 'night watch', noticed a movement coming from one of the passengers and turned her attention to him. Even in the darkened cabin, she could see that it was the tall, dark-haired man who had boarded at the same time as the other four young gentlemen. She didn't know who they were, but she guessed that they were a 'team' or a 'group' of some sort. Had she been younger, no doubt she would have known exactly who they were.
The only thing she knew for certain, was that she was surprised to see that he was restless. After all the tears he had shed earlier that day (she couldn't help but notice it, as had all the other flight attendants in first class), he should have been too exhausted to do anything but sleep 'like the dead'.
Her attention was brought back to him as his movements suddenly became more pronounced and he started murmuring in his sleep. He wasn't just restless - it had to be something else; something more. She was pretty certain that he was having some sort of bad dream... Or more likely a nightmare, if the thrashing about and intensifying murmurs were any indication.
She had started walking towards him, unsure of whether to wake him or not, when he suddenly bolted upright and cried out in a strangled voice: "No!"
He had woken up.
His companion had also woken up at the cry, and quickly turned around to face him, worry and... hurt?... showing in his expression. The blonde-haired man seemed to finally realise that she was standing over them and asked her to get them some water. It was a strange request, but she had fulfilled it several times before during the flight. She hurried off, privately thankful that she was able to escape, however briefly, from the agonised expression and tear-filled eyes of the dark-haired man.
Brian watched her disappear on his frivolous request, and once she was out of earshot, turned to face Kevin. Kevin was still sweating profusely, his eyes were shedding tears like there was no tomorrow, and his breathing was so ragged it was frightening.
He quickly looked over at the other 'beds' and noticed that no one else seemed to have been disturbed by Kevin's outcry. Not the other guys, thankfully, nor the less than a handful of strangers who were also travelling first class with them. Thank the Lord for small mercies! he thought.
"Kevin, what happened? Did you have a nightmare?" He reached over and placed his hand on Kevin shoulder, immediately feeling the sensation of wet, clammy sweat on his fingers, even through the fabric of Kevin's shirt.
Kevin flinched at the touch, causing Brian to hastily remove his hand. "Yes, the same one as always," he replied absently. He was still overwhelmed by the effects of the nightmare, otherwise he would have realised that he had just supplied Brian with more ammunition.
"What do you mean 'the same one as always'? How many times have you had this nightmare?" Brian asked in mounting concern.
Kevin winced at his stupidity. How could he have left himself so open? Now Brian would try to get to the bottom of this as well! Stupid! Stupid!
"Kevin, tell me! And don't lie to me. I want to know the truth!"
Kevin's anger flared hotly. "You wanna know the truth, do you? Well, the truth is that I've had this nightmare almost every night since I found out about Justin and JC! Are you happy now? Satisfied?" He turned around and flung himself face first into his pillow, not caring about what Brian would think. Not caring about anything...
Brian stared blankly at his cousin's trembling body and felt like such an idiot. He had wanted to help Kevin, but all he had managed to do was to hurt him even more.
"Kevin, I'm so sorry. Please forgive me?" His voice had never before sounded more serious, more caring or more sincere. He reached out and rubbed Kevin's back gently, ignoring the wetness from the sweat, and trying to soothe his cousin's anguish. He hated to hear his cousin crying so piteously.
Kevin just lay there sobbing, totally lost in his misery, not seeing, feeling or hearing anything. The only thing he could see - in the back of his mind - was an image of his blonde-haired angel in the arms of another man. God, it hurt so much!
The stewardess came back at that point and wasn't surprised to see that the dark-haired man was still crying. She glanced across to the blonde-haired man in concern as she handed the glasses of water to him.
"He's recently lost someone very special to him. He's still in mourning," Brian replied, answering her unspoken question. Though he had said it as a way to cover up Kevin's anguished crying, he nevertheless knew that it was also true. Kevin was really grieving. The last time he had seen Kevin this upset was during the funeral of his Uncle Jerald: Kevin's father.
"Oh," replied the stewardess, hesitantly. "I'm so sorry."
"That's okay. Thank you," Brian said, smiling his fake smile at her.
She hastily left them, unsure of what else she could do, and Brian felt relieved to see her go. He turned his attention back to his grieving cousin.
"Kevin? Boo? Are you going to be okay?" Brian carefully placed the water-filled glasses on the floor next to his seat before he turned around and gently squeezed Kevin's shoulder again. He continued to rub Kevin's shoulder until he felt Kevin starting to compose himself.
Kevin finally nodded, raising his head from the pillow and turning around to lie on his back, wiping the tears from his eyes as he did so.
"I don't mean to pry, Kevin, but I'm really worried about you. I hope you realise that I love you dearly, and I hate it when you're in so much pain but won't let me help you."
Kevin closed his eyes. He could understand what Brian was telling him, and he even appreciated the love and sincerity behind the words, but it still didn't make him feel any better. And Brian was right: he was prying.
"Cuz? Please talk to me."
"What do you want to know?" Kevin finally whispered, his body too depleted of strength to find the energy to fight with Brian anymore.
"Please tell me about your nightmare. And why it started happening right after you found out about JC and Justin."
"Brian, I don't think I can..."
"Cuz, please try. You know what they say about nightmares: talking about them to someone else often makes them go away. Well, hopefully the same will happen for you once you've told me yours."
Kevin resigned himself to telling him, no matter how much he wished he didn't have to. Otherwise, knowing his cousin like he did, he'd never hear the end of it...
"It's the same, night after night," he began, his voice barely above a whisper, causing Brian to lean in close to hear his words. "Justin and I are walking along a deserted beach somewhere - I don't know where it is; I don't recognise it - and we're holding hands and brushing up against each other every so often." Kevin paused, wondering if Brian would say anything about what he'd revealed so far. He was almost expecting it -- after all, it sounded like a pretty common scenario, as far as dreams went.
But Brian remained silent, so he continued speaking, concentrating his gaze on the cabin's ceiling. "We're also laughing at each other's jokes, and smiling at each other, and once in a while we even kiss: passionately." A small smile played on his lips as he remembered those portions of the dream. "It's the best feeling in the world. I just can't describe it, Bri! I'd give anything to be able to make it come true! I can't believe how happy and how alive I feel as we're walking along that beach. We're both free to show our love for one another to the world without worrying about the consequences. It's so exhilarating! So wonderful! So... freeing!
"But it doesn't last, of course," he continued, his voice turning from wonderous to pained so suddenly that Brian sucked in his breath in surprise. "I know it sounds like a cliché, but everything changes in a split-second. Suddenly it's dark, as a storm comes up from out of nowhere. Justin and I are now holding each other very tightly, as the storm rages around us and frightens us with its intensity. There's no shelter around us, that either of us can see or take refuge in. Then - and this is the weird part of the dream - before I can do anything, before I can reassure Justin that everything's going to be alright, my mom appears from out of nowhere and starts pulling me away from him... from his frightened embrace.
"Justin is crying out that he doesn't want me to leave, but I can't seem to escape from my mom. She just has more strength than I do, and I can't struggle free from her, no matter how hard I try. I'm screaming out his name, pleading with my mom to let me go, to let me help Justin, but she doesn't hear a word I'm saying. She keeps dragging me further and further away from him.
"Then, from the other side of the beach, JC appears and walks up to Justin, grabbing him before he can start following us. Justin turns around to see who's holding him and sees JC. Before he can say anything, JC kisses him - forcefully. He keeps kissing him until Justin starts kissing him back, and then JC says, 'I'll protect you, Justin. Forget about him.'"
Kevin's eyes closed in rembered pain, but had no effect on the torrent of tears seeping past his eyelids. Brian couldn't bear to see the pain etched so plainly into his cousin's face, and re-focused his attention on Kevin's tightly clenched fists.
"What happens then?" he asked Kevin gently, his voice almost breaking.
Kevin gulped before he started speaking again with a slight tremor in his voice. "Then Justin looks up at JC and says, 'I've always loved you, Josh. I've never loved anyone else. Certainly not him. Let's go home. Let me show you how much I love you.'"
A pitiful sob escaped from Kevin's throat, and Brian felt his heart clench in pain.
"I'm left watching them walk away, hand in hand and kissing each other. The storm has disappeared from everywhere else, except around me, and my mom's hands are still holding me tight, even though I'm no longer struggling. I no longer have the energy or the heart to struggle anymore. I'm just crying uncontrollably, pleading with JC to not take him away from me, pleading with my mom to help me get him back, and pleading with Justin to come back to me. But he doesn't hear me. He doesn't even look back at me.
"That's the worst part of the dream, Brian -- he doesn't even look back at me, even when I start screaming out his name and begging for him to come back to me!" Kevin stopped speaking, gulping in air as if he was drowning, his face awash in tears.
"No, that's not true," he said in sudden realisation, stopping mid-gulp, and speaking in a broken voice that rocked Brian to his soul. "The worst part is the look in Justin's eyes as he looks up at JC." His voice started shaking in anguished terror. "It's a look I've never seen him give me, even at the beginning of the dream, when I thought he loved me..."
Brian found himself holding his breath even though his body was fighting for oxygen to fuel his overloaded emotions.
"...He's looking at JC with pure love in his eyes!"
Kevin started sobbing uncontrollably as he dissolved into a fountain of tears. He turned onto his side and curled himself into a foetal position, clenching his knees tightly in a painful hug and rocking himself back and forth. Even in that position, he somehow managed to bury his head into his pillow, allowing it to bear the brunt of his sobbing and tears. He spent the rest of the night with his head buried in the depths of his pillow, crying himself into oblivion.
Brian could only stare at him mutely through his tears, feeling the pain and heartache crash over him like a tsunami, and knowing he was helpless to comfort or ease his cousin's pain. He had been rendered senseless at the agony his cousin was suffering. He knew that, just like Kevin, he would be crying himself to sleep and hoping that oblivion would take away the pain from his heart.
He didn't know how Kevin coped with all the pain - it was so overwhelming! - but he knew that he, himself, was unable to cope with it, even when he felt it second-hand.
His tears wouldn't stop flowing as he stared at his cousin's shuddering and trembling back.
Neither would Kevin's tears...
He pulled the blanket over Kevin's trembling torso and then settled back down into his own 'bed', exhausted and drained. He reached across to lovingly caress his cousin's shoulder, not knowing if Kevin was able to feel it or not, but knowing it was the only thing he could do to comfort him at that moment.
It took them both an eternity to stop weeping, even though Brian instinctively knew that Kevin never would; even when his cousin's tears finally stopped flowing.
It took them even longer to drop off into the comforting oblivion of sleep...
End - Chapter 13
Another short chapter, but this is the end of this part of the story. The next part begins some months further down the track (closer to our present).