Wow part seven.  Several people have e-mailed me wanting to know if I'll be continuing this story.  My response to them and anyone else who has been wondering is: the story has just begun.  In truth, I'll keep writing this as long as I feel the need to write it and as long as people continue to express interest.  So here it is: Part Seven.

    This story is not meant to imply anything about the sexuality of any of the characters portrayed within it.  It is a work of fiction.  If you shouldn't read this (although there's really nothing naughty in it at this point) then don't.

A Model Romance- Part Seven

    Justin woke slowly, drifting in and out of consciousness for several minutes.  The blinds covering the windows only let in a little bit of light, but it was enough to wake him.  He became aware of the arms encircling his chest and the warm body pressing up against him.  It felt so good to have Zack there, he never wanted it to end.  He gently rolled over, being careful not to disturb his sleeping beauty.  Something crossed Zack's peaceful face and his arms tightened around Justin.  Justin put his own arms around Zack and pulled him close, resting his chin in Zack's tousled hair.  He lay there listening to the sounds of his boyfriend breathing and feeling the rhythmic rise and fall of his chest with every breath.  His boyfriend.  The idea was so new it still seemed weird, but there was something so very right about it.  Beneath him Zack stirred.  He was finally waking up.
    "Good morning sleepyhead."
    Zack lifted his head up and gazed fondly at Justin.  His blue-green eyes were still blurry with sleep but a relieved expression came over his face.
    "Hey, I'm so glad you're here."
    "Where else would I be?"
    "I don't know, I was just afraid I had dreamed the whole thing again and that when I woke up you'd be gone."
    "What d' ya mean again?"
    "Oh...nothing, I'll tell you later.  So, do we have to get up, or can I keep you all day?"
    "Um, I think I know what my choice would be but I have a concert tonight and if I'm not back at the hotel by ten they'll call out the National Guard looking for me."
    Zack rolled over and looked at the clock.  He stared at it for a minute and then his eyes widened.
    "Justin do you know what time it is?"
    "No, it feels like about eight, but..."
    "It's 9:30."
    "OH SHIT!  Come on we've gotta get up!  Call a cab, c'mon let's go!"
    "Wait a sec, what's all this we stuff?  I'm not the one who has to get out of bed.  I have the day off."
    Justin stuck his lip out and gave Zack what his mom called the "sad-puppy look."
    "No, I don't wanna get out of bed.  Stop looking at me like that," Zack whined.
    "Please.  I want you with me.  Besides," Justin said with his sexiest smile, "I'll make it worth your while."
    "Oh baby, maybe I just wont let you out of bed!"  Zack grabbed Justin around the waste as he tried to get out of bed and pulled him back down.  Justin squirmed, trying to get away, but Zack pinned him down.  Soon the bed was a complete mess and they were tangled hopelessly in the covers.  As they wrestled they rolled of the bed and on to the floor.  Zack wound up on top of Justin and planted a kiss on his lips.  Justin returned the kiss and they sank down into the blankets exploring each other's mouths.  After a few minutes Justin broke the kiss.
    "I really wish I could do that all day, but if I don't leave now I'm gonna be late."
    "I know, I supose since you got me out of bed I'll come with."
    "Good.  Will you call a cab while I get dressed?"
    "Forget a cab, I'll drive you, it'll be much faster."
    They both quickly grabbed their clothes and ran out the door and down to the parking garage.  The tires of Zack's BMW convertible screeched in protest as he sped out onto the street.  In almost no time at all they were at the Plaza hotel.  It was 9:55 when the walked into the lobby.  Suddenly Zack seemed nervous.
    "Um, Justin, how are you planning on explaining this to everybody."
    "What's there to explain?  We went out last night, I stayed at your place and we overslept.  Seems pretty simple to me."
    "Yeah, but how is this going to look?  I mean I don't know if anybody knows about you, but I've never told anyone that I...well that I'm...y'know..."
    "Shhh.  Not so loud," Zack whispered fiercely.  He looked around as they got into the elevator.  For the short time that Justin had know Zack he'd always been calm, poised and totally in control, but now he was a nervous wreck.  As the doors shut, Justin leaned over to kiss him but Zack jerked away.  Justin was hurt by that, but he could immediately see the regret on Zack's face.
    "I'm sorry Justin.  I'm...just still getting used to this thing.  I guess I'm a little paranoid.  I'm not sure how people are going to act when the find out."
    "It's ok," Justin said.  He squeezed Zack's hand in his own.  "I know how hard it was for me to come out the the guys and they're still the only ones that know."
    "You mean they know about you?  Then they're gonna think...I mean they're gonna know about us!"
    "You really expect me to keep it from them?"
    "No, but I...I...I don't know."
    "Zack you can't keep hiding who you are from everyone.  I know we have to keep this out of the tabloids, but you can't hide from your friends.  Listen, if you don't want me to tell the guys anything then I wont, but I promise they'll be fine with it.  In fact I know they'll be happy."
    "How do you know?"
    "Well they really like you, and...they sort of, um, well I kinda had a crush on you and they all knew about it so..."
    "You had a crush on me?  I hadn't noticed."
    Justin wanted to kiss him, but the doors opened and he was afraid of being rejected again.  Instead he gripped Zack's hand firmly and lead him to his suite.  He was just unlocking the door when JC's head popped out from across the hall.
    "Oh so you're finally back."  He looked at Zack with a smirk on his face.  "I assume you two had fun last night."
    Zack's face turned bright red which only encouraged JC.
    "Uh oh!  Somebody's got a guilty conscience."
    "Shut up JC," Justin said calmly.  "Get back in your room.  Where is everybody?"
    "They're all down in the conference room Justin.  We've been waiting for you.  You've almost missed breakfast.  I just came back up to pick up some papers and see if you were back.  Better hurry up and get downstairs if you want anything to eat."
    "I'm not hungry, but I guess we'd better get downstairs.  I just want to change clothes real quickly."
    "Forgot to pack a change of clothes for your little sleep over huh?"
    "JC you are so rude sometimes.  Now go downstairs.  We'll be down soon."
    "Ok, but don't take too long.  You wouldn't want anybody to get the wrong idea."
    Justin went to smack him, but he darted away down the hall.  Zack was still the color of a well-cooked lobster.
    "I'm sorry babe, he's just messing around."
    "Yeah, I know.  This is just gonna take a little getting used to."
    "Uh huh.  For me too.  Come on inside while I change.  I didn't have the luxury of clean clothes to put on this morning."
    "I did offer to let you borrow something."
    "Yeah, but all your stuff is that model crap.  You don't have anything comfortable," Justin laughed as he pulled off his shirt.  He changed into a pair of well-worn jeans and a sweatshirt.  After glancing at his hair in the mirror, he pulled out a bandana and put it on."
    Zack eyed him appraisingly.  "If I were you I wouldn't complain about my "model crap."
    Justin shrugged.  "It's comfortable."
    "I can be just comfortable in a pair of khakis and a nice shirt."
    "Sure, but you don't look as comfy as me."
    Zack rolled his eyes and Justin giggled.  He gave his new boyfriend a big hug and kissed him quickly.
    "What's that for?"
    "Just for being you."
    "Gee that's sweet.  You must want something."
    "I do.  I want you to come downstairs with me and not let anyone bother you."
    "Yeah.  I guess I can do that," Zack said reluctantly.
    "Would you rather stay here?  If you want to it's fine."
    "No...I'll come with you.  Gotta get it over with sometime."
    Justin smiled and kissed Zack again.  "Let's go."

    I followed Justin downstairs.  My heart was pounding in my chest and I was breaking out in a sweat.  I was headed for a room full of famous pop stars and at least half of them were going to know about me and Justin.  I wasn't sure how to deal with it.  I had been raised to believe that being gay was wrong.  I couldn't fight my feelings for Justin, I knew I wanted to be with him, but at the same time it was scaring me.  There was no way to pretend I was anything but who I was anymore.  It was as if all the blinds had been torn away, all the masks pulled off.  I glanced over at Justin and he flashed me another reassuring smile.  He looked a little nervous too though.  And then we were walking into a conference room with a couple of tables and a buffet set up at one end.  I took one look inside and forgot about my problems.
    Britney was standing at one end of the room giving Christina a stare that would freeze a bed of hot coals.  Christina was pretending she didn't notice as she flirted with AJ.  JC and Brian were yelling at Nick, who was shaking his head stubbornly.  Howie, Chris and Joey were arguing with one of their managers.  Even as I watched the man shook his head and walked past us out of the room.  Lance was sitting in the middle looking around helplessly.  My mouth dropped open and I stopped dead.  I had never imagined such a scene of utter chaos coming from a bunch of people who had to perform together in a few hours.  I'd heard the rumors about how they all hated each other, but from what I'd seen at Justin's party that wasn't true.  And yet Britney and Christina looked ready to kill each other.  Nick saw Justin and his face got even darker, and Lance had buried his head in his hands.  Next to me Justin let out a loud sigh.
    "I guess I should have warned you that we've been having some minor problems."
    "You call this minor?"
    "Well most of it is no big deal.  Christina and Britney have never gotten along too well, and management is trying to jerk us around."
    "And what about Nick?"
    "Oh...don't worry about that.  I'll tell you later."
    I was sure he mumbled something under his breath about much later or never, but I didn't get the chance to ask.  As people noticed us the conversations stopped.  They all turned to stare at us.  I could feel my face getting red again.  'Oh my god they all know,' I thought.  Some of them certainly did.  All the guys from NSYNC wore little smirks on their face like the one JC had had on earlier.  Except for Lance, who seemed to be genuinely smiling.  There was no mistaking the satisfied smile on Britney's face.  Brian also smiled and then glanced worriedly at Nick.  Nick shot me an icy glare and then stormed out of the room.  Christina whispered something to AJ, who nodded, and then eyed me thoughtfully.
    "They all know," I whispered fiercely to Justin through clenched teeth.
    "I don't know how unless..."
    "Well I think Nick knew about my feelings for you and JC has a big mouth sometimes, but I didn't think..."  He let out another sigh.
    "So Curly," Chris said, "you almost gave management a collective heart attack last night."
    "Yeah...well I didn't feel like having security tag along last night.  You all remember Zack I think?"
    There was a chorus of greetings and somebody, I thought Brian, made a comment about my sobriety.  That got a laugh and I felt some of the tension melting away.
    "We were starting to wonder if you were coming back Justin."  From the look on Joey's face I knew what was coming next.  I felt my stomach getting queasy.  "Why don't you tell us all about where you went and what you did."  He eyes flashed mischievously.  "I want to hear all the details."
    Now it was Justin's turn to blush.  "Joey I think you and everyone else here already knows damn well what I did last night.  And as far as...details, well there are none so piss off."
    "Ok fine."  He turned to me and smiled a little too nicely.  "Anything you'd like to add Zack?  We're all listening."
    "You're not going to make this easy are you?"
    "Consider it payback for getting me so drunk."
    I was trying to find the words to say, but my mouth wouldn't open.  I looked to Justin for support, but he was just waiting expectantly.  I knew I needed t say something, to tell them about me and Justin.  I owed him that much.  This might be all the recognition I could ever give our relationship.  This made it official and we both knew it.  But still the words wouldn't come.  As usual Britney stepped in to bail me out.
    "Joey stop being such a pain.  It's good to see you again Zack."  She came over and gave me a big hug.  "Come have some breakfast with us and then you can help us iron out the details of the concert."
    "No," I managed at last.  The words came finally, if a little haltingly.  It was strange because I always spoke so smoothly, and I was always composed.  Now I could hear the nervousness in my voice, but I went on.  "I have something I think you all need to hear.  Well, maybe it's something you already know, but I need to say it anyway.  I, um, well I'm gay and as of last night Justin and I are going out.  There, that's done.  Now I hope you all don't hate me."
    "Of course not man," Joey laughed.  "I'm sorry if I made you sweat.  I was just messin with ya."
    "Yeah dude," Chris added.  "We're all cool with it."
    "I know I couldn't be happier," JC said.  "Now Curly can stop being so freakin moody."
    That got another laugh and I felt relief wash over me.  That much was over at least.  Justin squeezed my hand and I held onto it.  He looked at me, his blue eyes sparkling with delight, and smiled.
    "OK, well this is all really great," Howie said, "but we've got to get down to business.  I just finished talking to Gary and he told me management still isn't happy with everybody's performance.  They want us to head over to the Garden and rehearse some more."
    "What!  That's crazy!"  JC was on the verge of yelling.  "Any idiot knows you don't rehearse the day of a performance!"
    "I know that, and they don't want us to do anything hard, just run over the order of things, and who sings what parts.  Just some fine tuning.  No real singing or dancing."
    "That should be perfect for some of us," Christina mumbled.  It was perfectly obvious she meant it for Britney.
    "I'd like to see you do half the dance steps that I do you little..."
    "Hey!  Time out girls."  Justin stepped in between the two pop queens.  "We all know that nobody could do the stuff Britney does and still be expected to sing."
    "I'm sure you could do it Justin," Christina said sweetly.  "You have real talent.  That's rare in this business."
    "Why you little..."
    I put a restraining hand on Britney's shoulder.  Justin went on, ignoring Christina.
    "Since we're all doing the same choreography this time Britney will be able to sing.  That'll prove to everyone that she can.  Personally I never had any doubts."
    Christina mumbled something about Mili Vanili and went off the the buffet.  I felt Britney tensing up but I squeezed her shoulder to let her know it was ok.  She turned and whispered to me.
    "I can sing live, I've done it before and she knows it."  In spite of her words she looked a little nervous.
    "Hey Brit don't worry.  Even before I met you I never blamed you for not singing at those concerts.  Justin's right.  Nobody could dance like that and still be expected to sing very well."
    "I'm just sick of everybody thinking I'm some bimbo with no talent."
    "For what it's worth I know you're not."
    She smiled up at me and gave me a hug.  "Thanks Zack, you're the best.  I know you'll make Justin happy."
    "I hope so."
    Just then my stomach growled.  Britney and I both started laughing.
    "Guess that means it's time to eat.  Help yourself to the food."
    "Thanks I intend to."
    As if my stomach had reminded everyone of their hunger they all fell in line behind me at the buffet.  I loaded my plate up with scrambled eggs, pancakes, bacon and fresh fruit.  I sat down at one of the tables and started smearing butter on my pancakes.
    "I thought models weren't supposed to eat," JC said as he sat down across from me.  I noticed his own plate was nearly twice as full as mine.
    "Oh we can eat as long as we go puke it back up when we're done."
    "You had better not," Justin exclaimed as he took a seat next to me.  "I don't like my men too skinny."
    "And just exactly how many men do you have," I said pretending to be suspicious.
    "You're the only one I need."
    "Oh man I think I'm gonna be the one puking."
    "JC your just jealous," Britney said as she sat next to him.  "I can't say I blame you though."
    "You damn well should be jealous woman.  Not many people are as good-lookin as me."
    "Keep dreaming Justin.  I meant jealous of you.  Your boyfriend's a hottie."
    "Well just remember he's my boyfriend."  Justin reached over and took a strawberry from my plate.
    "Hey! I don't really mind being talked about like a piece of luggage, but I draw the line at people stealing my food!"
    Justin shrugged.  "Just because I don't want you too skinny doesn't mean you can get fat."
    "Oh so you only want me for my looks"  I sniffed and pretended to be hurt.  "I'm just a toy for your amusement.  Is that it?"
    Justin smiled and popped another strawberry into his mouth.  "Yup, pretty much."
    I gave him and evil look and slapped his hand away as he reached for the last one.  "I don't mind being a boytoy, but nobody eats all my strawberries.
    Justin gave me a pouty look.  "Not even me?"
    "Nope," I said, putting the last strawberry in my mouth.  "Strawberries are my favorite food," I added with my mouth full.
    Looking around the room I could see everybody sitting down to eat at other tables.  The earlier tension seemed to have returned.  I decided to get some answers.
    "I have a question."
    "Sure thing scooter.  Ask away."
    "Ok first I'll ask you to never call me scooter again."  JC grinned and I went on in a quitter voice.  "What is the deal with you all?  Last time I saw you guys you were all getting along really well and now...well it looks like things aren't so hot."
    I glanced around at the other tables.  Joey, Chris, and Lance were eating at one table.  Four out of five Backstreet Boys were at another, with Nick missing in action.  Christina was sitting by herself and trying to pretend like it was because she wanted to.
    "If this is none of my business just tell me."
    "No you've got a right to ask.  Especially if..."  JC stopped and changed what he was going to say  "Well you've got a right to know.  I'll leave it at that.  Officially things have always been a little tense between us.  Just normal competition for fans, fighting for studio time, appearances, stuff like that.  It comes with the business.  But what people don't realize is that that competition is between our managers.  On the unofficial, behind the scenes level we all normally get along pretty well.  We respect each other as artists and we have a lot in common.  Well," he amended, glancing at Britney and then Christina, "most of us respect each other."
    "Well that makes sense, but it doesn't explain what I'm seeing."
    "Right, I know.  I wasn't finished."
    "No problem.  So anyway if we seem to stay in our own little groups that's just because it's what we're used too.  We all know the people in our own bands a lot better and we tend to hang out when we're on tour.  But now things have changed a little.  With this tour a lot of our songs have been mixed up and we're all working very closely together.  As you probably know anytime you throw a bunch of people together who aren't used to working together there's a little bit of friction.  Nothing more than that, and I'm sure it'll be worked out by tonight."
    "OK, but that still doesn't explain Nick."
    JC winced and Justin tensed beside me.  JC opened his mouth, but Justin spoke first.
    "I think I'd better take this one JC."  Justin took a deep breath and looked like he was trying to work out what to say.  Finally he went on.  "Nick and I kind of had an argument the night of my party two weeks ago.  He hasn't spoken to me since."
    I had a sinking feeling in my stomach.  Suddenly I wasn't hungry anymore.  "This...this is all my fault then, isn't it?  Because of what happened between me and Nick."
    "No!  It's not your fault at all!  Zack, please I don't want you thinking you're to blame!  This has been coming for a while, and in a way it's my fault."  JC started to protest but Justin cut him off.  "No JC it is my fault.  But I don't want to get into it right now."
    "Justin if this is because of something I did,"
    "Stop!"  I jumped at the ferocity in Justin's voice.  He took me by the shoulders and stared into my eyes.  "Please don't think that this is your fault at all.  I don't want you to feel guilty for something I did.  Or something Nick did.  I know that what happened that night was not your fault and I wont have you trying to blame yourself."
    I couldn't help smiling.  He was so sweet and sincere.  It had been a long time since I'd known anyone like that.  But I could tell he'd never lie to me, never try to trick me, and never hurt me.  It wasn't in his nature.  We finished breakfast over more mundane topics.  Soon everyone was heading back to their rooms to get ready to go to the Garden.  As soon as Justin and I were alone in his room I grabbed him and kissed him thoroughly.
    "What was that for," he asked breathlessly when I let him go.
    "Just for being you," I said imitating his earlier words.
    "I hope you're not mocking me."
    "If I was you'd know."
    He raised an eyebrow, giving me a suspicious look and then smiled.  It was a seductive smile, the kind I often used in photo shoots.  The kind that taunted the observer, as if daring him or her to do something.  The photographers called it the "you know you want me" look.
    "You just better be careful what you say little boy, or I'll have to wash your mouth out."
    "With what," I asked imitating his face.
    Instead of responding he turned and walked into his bedroom.  I followed him.  Justin was quicker than he looked.  As soon as he had gotten out of my sight he must have darted behind the door because that's where he was when I came in.  He grabbed me from behind and I had to fight the urge not to yell.
    "Oh you're gonna pay for that one buster."
    "And exactly what are you gonna do?"
    He had a good point.  He was holding me from behind, his arms wrapped around my chest and pinning my arms to my sides.  I leaned forward until his feet were off the ground and lumbered over to the bed, staggering under the extra weight.  I rolled over onto the bed with Justin underneath me.  He let out a grunt as I landed on top of him, but he didn't loosen his grip.
    "Give up," I asked hopefully.
    "Not a chance."
    It took another five minutes for us to extricate ourselves from each other and the bed.  We were both breathing hard.  My breath wasn't the only thing that was hard.
    "Ready to give up now?"
    "Boy, you're just lucky I have to take a shower and get ready to go."
    "Well I'll be happy to postpone kicking your ass until after your concert."
    "Consider it a date."
    "If you say so, but don't expect any flowers or chocolates."  Looking at the clock I added "I guess I should get going.  I need to take a shower and run a few errands before tonight."
    "You don't want to stay?"
    "I do, but there's not really time for us to both take showers before you leave.  And if I wait I'll never get my shopping done before I have to meet David."
    "Well there's always the obvious."
    "And what makes you think I want to share a shower with you," I asked sarcastically.
    "Aside from the bulge in your pants you mean?"
    "Oh kiss my ass.  Not like you're any better."
    "I can't help it if I'm easily excited.  So what's the matter, afraid you wont...measure up to my expectations?"
    "You have a dirty little mind.  I promise I will surpass any expectation you might have.  I'm just not sure if your worthy of me."
    "God you are full of yourself aren't you?"
    "No more than you."  We laughed for a minute and then I turned serious.  "So do you really want to do this."
    He hesitated before responding.  "Do you?"
    "I don't know."
    "Well neither do I."
    "But you brought it up."
    "Yeah well I was kidding."
    "Me too, at first."
    "Well I do want to..."
    "But you're not ready?"
    "No...I mean..."
    "It's ok, I don't think I'm ready for that yet either."
    "Can I ask you somethin?"
    "Why do I feel like I'm twelve again?"
    We both giggled and I added "Who knows, but I do too."
    "Ok, so I guess that's settled."
    "Yeah, see you later?"
    "Definitely.  Can you meet me before the concert?"
    "I think so.  Where?"
    "Come to my dressing room.  I'll tell security to let you in."
    "Ok.  I'll see you in a couple of hours then.  Good luck with rehearsal."
    I kissed him quickly and left.  I earned a few suspicious looks from the security guards in the hall, but none of them said anything.  Maybe someone had already told them about me and Justin, or maybe the didn't care about people coming out of his room, only people going in.  Whatever the case I could tell he wouldn't be sneaking out again anytime soon.  There were no fewer than eight guards on the floor that had been reserved for the pop stars and two of them were stationed outside of Justin's door.  Thankfully I had parked my car in the garage so I could avoid all the media and screaming fans outside the lobby.  If anyone saw me coming out they would probably assume I'd been visiting Britney, but I didn't feel like answering any questions.  I checked my watch.  I had only a few hours to get what I needed before David's limo came to pick me up.  I had no idea where we were going for dinner, but knowing David we'd be on a tight schedule and I didn't want to be running late.  Giving myself a glance in the vanity mirror in my car I decided to bypass my apartment and save the shower for later.  I didn't look as bad as I'd thought.  Smoothing my hair and slipping on my sunglasses, I pushed the button to lower the convertible's top, turned on the heat and rolled out into the brisk fall weather.

    Ok that's part seven.  I know there's not a whole lot going on right now but let me tell you why.  First of all this is sort of a transition between the first part of the story where Justin and Zack are searching for each other and the next part which will be about their relationship.  The second thing is that I'm leaving for Australia soon and I'll be gone for three weeks!  I hope to squeeze one more chapter out before I leave but in case I don't I didn't want to leave anybody hanging.  I want to get out another chapter for my other story, The Darker Path before I leave so that's gonna be the first thing I work on.  Whatever the case I will be continuing both stories when I get back.  E-mail me as always at