Well here we are again at last!  I've been away for so long I've almost forgotten what I was writing about.  Nevertheless I'm back from my travels and putting my life back in order.  Thanks for being patient with me.  In case anybody cares, I had a great time in Australia.  It's a wonderful country, but I'm glad to be home.  Now let's see if I can remember what I was planning for this chapter.  I think it's gonna be a good one.

The usual song and dance.  This story is fictional and is not meant to imply anything about anyone.  If you shouldn't read this then don't.

A Model Romance- Part Eight

    The wind whistled through my hair and the mid-morning sun was warm upon my face as I rode through Manhattan in my BMW convertible.  Maybe it was a little too cold to have the top down, but the warmth coming from within me was enough to combat the chill in the air.  For the first time in my life I was head over heels in love.  Of course it was too good to be true, and certainly it was too soon for me to have any feelings of the kind, but that didn't make it any less true.  I was in love with Justin and that was that.  Not that I planned on telling him any time soon.  He'd probably think I was obsessive and get all freaked out.  But I could still show him I cared.
    And it was with that thought in mind that I was on my way to the best florist in the city.  For the moment though it was just nice to drive.  It was a beautiful day considering it was November and it wasn't often that I got to enjoy a little time on my own.
    As if on cue my cell phone rang.  It was David reminding me about going to dinner with him and some of his bigshot customers.  As soon as that call was finished the phone rang again.  It was my secretary calling to go over my schedule for Monday.  Then three reporters in a row.  How did they get this number?  By the time I finished talking to David's secretary who had called to tell me that David said I needed to stop by Armani and buy something I was no longer enjoying my drive.  When the phone rang again I debated about throwing it out the window, but the way my luck was going I'd probably hit someone.
    "What," I practically yelled into the speaker.
    "Um, hi, it's just me.  Did I catch you at a bad time."
    Of course it had to be Justin.
    "No, sorry.  It's just turning out to be a much more hectic day then I thought.  Too many phone calls."
    "Why don't you just turn the phone off."
    "Ha!  If I did that David would have the National Guard scouring the city for me in less than an hour."
    "Yeah I know that feeling.  Anyway I just called to say what's up."
    "Couldn't go without hearing my voice for a whole twenty minutes, huh?"
    "Sure Mr. Ego, that's it exactly."
    "Oh come on you like it when I'm cocky."
    "I'll try not to read too deeply into that."
    "Hey, you're the one that slept with me last night.  Oopps I gotta go.  I'll see you tonight."
    "Ok, later."
    After I finished at the florist I went to Armani per David's request.  The funny thing about being a famous model was that you didn't get to chose where you did your shopping.  I was basically "rented out" to certain stores on certain days.  And I got paid in clothes.  Apparently just having me in the story brought in enough business to make up for whatever I got.  Today I settled for a few shirts and a pair of shoes.  And of course I had to sign autographs for about fifteen people, including three of the store's employees.  What I really needed was to carry a briefcase full of autographed photos.
    When I finally made a discreet exit from the store it was nearly 2:00.  I debated breifly about getting Justin's something besides flowers but I couldn't think of anything that wouldn't seem obsessive, tacky, or just stupid.  After wandering around for half an hour I still couldn't come up with anything so I headed back to my appartment.  Hopefully I wouldn't be late.

    As it turned out I was running a little late, but that was perfect since David was late to pick me up.  He was always late.  Dinner was about what I expected.  A bunch of rich stiffs in suits who were just worried about where there money was going.  My only real job was supposed to be to convince them that I wasn't a stereotypical model with no brains.  When we got to the restaurant I discovered that one of the suits had brought his 17 year old daughter along.  That was way too convenient.  David played innocent but I could see through that.  Still it didn't change the fact that Angela had attached herself to my arm and proceeded to talk my ear off during dinner.  Apparently she was planning on becoming a super model herself.  And and actress.  And a singer.  It wouldn't have been that bad except that every sentence was punctuated with "Like, oh my god!"  I would have sworn under oath that time was standing still if I hadn't watched every second pass on my watch.
    Eventually we got out of the restaurant.  By that time I was getting nervous that I wouldn't get to see Justin before he went on stage.  At that point David made the casual suggestion that I should escort Angela for the evening and introduce her to everyone.  The look I shot at David should have dropped him dead right there, but he just shrugged and grinned ruefully.  Well he was going to hear about it on Monday!
    As the limo cruised towards Madison Square Garden I started working out escape plans for myself.  The best thing I could come up with was to pretend to be sick, but that wouldn't get me any closer to Justin.  So I resigned myself to "escorting" Angela and tried to strike up a conversation.  Maybe if I bored her enough she would go away.
    "So, um, tell me Angela, why do you want to be a model?"
    "Oh well like, I'm not sure if I want to or not.  I mean it would be totally cool, but I really, um, wanna sing to, and I think I want to act to.  Cause daddy says I can do whatever I want, but thinking about it too much gives me a headache."
    "Uh huh.  Well then I guess not thinking is probably the best choice."
    "What?  Oh yeah, that's, like exactly what I try to do."
    "Right.  Is there any, ah, questions or stuff you want to know about?"
    "Oh no not really.  I mean like I know all you really have to do is have you picture taken.  I mean that sounds pretty easy to me."
    "It's a lot harder than you think some times," I said trying not to clench my teeth.  "Oh look we're here."
    "Listen Angela, I have to run backstage real quick and, um well I just have to run an errand.  Why don't I meet you..."
    "Oh wow!  I'd love to go backstage.  Hey daddy!  Zack is taking me backstage!"
    And so it was that I found myself wandering backstage with a 17 year old wearing four inch heels whose hair color and tan came straight out of a bottle.  For that matter her nose looked too perfect to be real either.  Wondering how I was going to get rid of her, I knocked on the door of the dressing room labeled "NSYNC."

    Justin was pacing back and forth like a caged animal.  He couldn't figure out where Zack was.  Maybe he'd had trouble with security or something, but that wasn't likely.  JC and Joey were playing Nintendo and Chris was lying on the couch.  Lance was sitting in an airchair watching them.  Just then there was a knock on the door.
    "Come in," he practically shouted.  So maybe he was a little tense.  To his dismay it was a delivery man carrying a dozen roses in a vase.  He should know better then to bother them.  All their presents from fans were put in a different room.
    "I have a delivery for Mr. Timberlake?"
    "That's me, but those should have been left with the security guards at the door.  They'll take care of it."
    "No sir, I had explicit instructions to bring these right to you."
    "Really?  Ok fine just put them on the table."
    After he left Justin resumed his pacing.
    "What're those," Lance asked.
    "What do they look like Lance?  They're flowers."
    "Yeah but who sent them?"
    "Who knows."
    "Well maybe you should check the card."
    "Why it's probably just from some 14 year old girl who thought she could win my heart by sending me flowers."  He paused looking at the roses.  They were pretty and they did smell nice.  "Oh fine."
    Snatching the card he tore it open.  It read:

    People always tell me that you should take the time to stop and smell the roses on the road of life.  I find this is much easier if the roses are brought to you.  Justin, you are one rose that is definitely worth stopping for.  Hope you like the flowers, I apologize for the cheese factor, but hey, it's the thought that counts right?

Thinking of you,


    "So who are they from Justin?"
    "I bet I know," JC said with that mischievous grin that had become so common on his face.
    "Yes JC they are from my boyfriend if that's what you're getting at."
    "Awww.  That's too cute."
    "Knock it off Joey," Lance said.  "I think it's sweet."
    "Yeah it is.  You're just jealous Joey," Chris added.
    Justin tuned out the rest.  It was sweet of Zack to send him flowers.  Maybe it wasn't too soon for him to be in love.  He knew he was in love with Zack, so why couldn't the opposite be true?  No, he'd just have to wait.  It was too soon even if the boy was sending him roses.  Then again...
    His thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door.
    "Ah those must be the flowers from my boyfriend."
    "You're just too funny JC," Justin growled as he whipped open the door.
    Zack was standing there with a wide-eyed girl hanging on his arm who couldn't be more than 16 or 17.  With those heels she was as tall as Zack and was wearing enough makeup for three people.  Justin felt a surge of jealousy before he could stop it.  This had to be some kind of joke.  Before he could open his mouth she started talking.
    "Oh my god!  You're Justin!  Oh my god!  Are they all in there?  This is so cool!"
    "Justin, guys, meet Angela.  She's um, well her dad is one of David's friends.  Angela..."
    Before Zack could say another word Angela was in the room squealing with delight at the sight of the four other guys sprawled out in the room.  Zack gave Justin helpless look.  What the hell was going on?  Zack wouldn't have the nerve to bring a date here, would he?  Unless he had just been toying with him all this time.  His feelings must have shown on his face because Zack started to look worried.
    "Um Angela, I need to talk to Just... to the guys for a minute.  Could you..."
    "Oh this is so cool.  I want all your autographs.  Can I watch the concert form back here?  Will you guys sing a song for me?  This is like..."
    "Lance," Zack shouted nearly hysterically.  "Angela was hoping for a tour backstage.  Maybe you could show her around for a few minutes while I, um discuss some very boring this with Justin...and the other guys."
    Lance's eyes widened until Justin was sure they were going to pop out of his head but he nodded and towed Angela out of the room, shutting the door behind him.  Zack looked very embarrassed.
    "Um, I'm really sorry about that one guys.  She was just kind of sprung on me at the last minute.  She's the daughter of one of David's biggest clients.  I tried to get rid of her but...oh please don't hate me."
    "The only one who might hate you is Lance," JC said with a chuckle.  "But he'll get over it."
    Justin let out the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding.  "For a minute I thought..."
    "Oh you can't be serious!  Aside from the fact that she's not my type..."
    "Not unless her skirt is hiding a lot more than we think," JC whispered to Joey loud enough for everyone to hear."
    "As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, you're the only date I want or need Mr. Timberlake."
    Justin smiled.  He really did love the boy.  Instead of saying so though he wrapped his arms around him and kissed him thoroughly, ignoring the gagging noises coming from the direction of Joey and JC.  Then the door burst open.
    "Oh my god!  What are you doing!"
    Justin and Zack both jumped as if they'd been bitten.  Somehow Justin had gotten his legs entwined with Zack's and when he tried to pull away they both fell on the floor with a loud thud.  Justin looked up to see Angela's big eyes staring down at him, her mouth hanging open.  Behind her Lance was standing in the doorway, his face more red than should have been humanly possible.  Zack shifted and Justin realized he was still sitting on his boyfriend.
    "Um Angela," he began, raking a hand through his spiky blonde hair, "there is a perfectly good explanation for this."
    Justin was afraid that was all Zack was going to say.  Angela seemed to have been shocked into silence thankfully.  That silence seemed to have engulfed the entire room.  Zack opened and closed his mouth twice but no sound came out.  Finally he started talking again.
    "See it's like this...Justin was just telling a joke, about this bride who...got married.  Well, I mean of course she got married, cause she was a bride.  But anyway, um, he got to the part about kissing, and I just thought it would be funny...if I kissed him.  And then you walked in, and I know how it looked, but really it was just a joke."
    He finished with a weak laugh and picked himself up off the floor.  Angela's eyes followed him as he walked over to the couch and sat down heavily.  The startled expression on her face gradually changed to anger.  Justin felt like his stomach was going to empty itself.  He'd seen that look on girls' faces before.  It always meant trouble.
    "Do you think I'm stupid?"
    "No, not at all, I just..."
    "You think you're so smart sneaking around like this and getting rid of me.  I've seen this before," she said disgustedly.  "How could you treat her like this?  How could you!"
    Confused was not a sufficient adjective to describe the look on Zack's face.
    "Oh don't play dumb, you know, like, exactly what I'm talking about.  How could you go cheating on Britney like this?  Like right behind her back too!"
    If it had been a cartoon the sound of every man's jaw hitting the floor would have echoed in the silence.  After a moment Zack collected himself.
    "Let me make sure I understand this.  You don't care if I'm gay, but you're angry because you think I'm cheating on Britney?"
    "Well duh.  But you're not gay.  I mean of course you're bi, but that's not really like the same thing.  But like I kinda figured all of you were bi anyway.  Y'know I have a friend who's bi, but I think he's really  just gay and doesn't want to tell me.  Then I do know this guy who is gay and he's really cool.  Wait?  You're gay?  What about Britney?"
    "Um, Angela, I think you're a little confused."
    For fifteen minutes six guys tried to explain what was going on without success.  The Britney came in.  Five minutes later Angela was on her way to meet her father, perfectly satisfied and having promised not to tell anyone about Zack and Justin.  Not that she understood why she couldn't tell anyone.

    "How do you do it Brit?"
    "JC you are a typical male.  All you needed to do was explain the situation to the girl.  There was no trick to it."
    "But we did explain!  Three times..."
    "JC," I interrupted, "you wont win this one.  Trust me."
    JC bowed.  "I defer to the gay guy, who no doubt has infinitely more experience than me in matters of women."
    "JC there are 10 year olds who have more experience with women than you."
    "Don't make me kick your ass Curly."
    "Hey no roughing up my man JC.  Only I'm allowed to do that."
    "Alright boys," Britney was saying when the door flew open again.
    "Does anybody knock anymore," Chris exclaimed.
    Christina Agulera stood in the doorway looking as flustered as I'd every seen her.  Her piercing blue eyes swept over the entire room and while they might have narrowed when she saw Britney they brightened again when she looked at JC.
    "Guys we have a real problem.  Nick is missing."
    "Oh shit," Justin mumbled.
    "Security is going nuts trying to find him.  Brian said he was in their dressing room and then just left without saying a word.  When he wasn't back in five minutes Brian and AJ went to find him.  That was almost an hour ago."
    "Well I guess we'll help look for him," JC sighed.  "He has to be backstage somewhere.  We would have heard the shockwave of teenage girls screaming if he'd gone out into the arena."
    Justin was still mumbling.  "This is just like him.  Always waiting till the last minute to be in a mood..."
    His voice trailed off as he stomped down the corridor.  I wanted to go after him but I thought I knew where Nick might be.  By the time I decided to go my own way looking for Nick everyone else was gone.  Having been to the Garden for a couple of shows I knew of a few good hiding places.
    I found him in the old broom closet where I had once spent an hour hiding from a couple of overzealous reporters after a fashion show.  He was sitting on an old beat up stool, elbows on his knees and resting his head in his hands.  The single lightbulb overhead cast strange shadows on his usually gorgeous face, giving him a fatigued, hunted look.  He glanced up as I opened the door, his eyebrows climbing in suprise and then falling quickly in irritation, then he buried his face back in his hands and sighed.
    "Of all the people that had to find me."
    "Oh grow up Nick," I said irritably.  "Do you have any idea how much trouble your causing?"
    "Screw you Zack.  You've got a lot of balls coming here with your High and Mighty attitude like you're so perfect!  Well shit maybe you are perfect!  You seem to have everything exactly the way you want it.  You have no idea what I'm going through so why don't you just get lost and go enjoy your life."
    "You know you're wrong, I do know what you're going through.  I've been there.  Look I'm sorry things didn't work out between you and Justin..."
    "Do me a favor and save your pity for someone who gives a shit."
    "Alright fine, if that's the way you want it.  But in less than an hour you have a show to put on.  You have an obligation to you bandmates and to your fans to go out there and perform."
    "Don't talk to me about obligations you..."
    "Shutup Nick.  For all I care when the concert is over you can come back here and sit in this dingy little closet till you rot but you will get your sorry ass out on that stage if I have to hit you over the head and drag you out!"
    "I'd like to see you try!  I'm sure you think you're so great because yesterday you were nobody and now you've got your face on a couple of magazines.  Well I got news for ya, it wont last.  Because you are still just a sell out with no talent who is living off his looks.
    "You're on to talk about selling out Mr..."
    "And by the way you really aren't nearly as hot as you seem to think you are.  I don't know how..."
    "You're just jealous because Justin wants me and not you!"
    Something inside Nick must have snapped.  He launched himself off the stool and crashed into me sending both of us flying into the wall.  The impact knocked the wind out of me, but I was so mad I hardly noticed.  I felt the satisfying smack of my right fist colliding with Nick's jaw while at the same time his knee landed solidly into my ribs.  For another minute or so we brawled across the dusty floor before our fight was brought to an abrupt halt when two sets of hands grabbed each of us and dragged us to our feet..
    "What the hell is going on here," Justin yelled.
    He was standing in the doorway with Britney, Christina, AJ and Chris right behind him.  Nick was being restrained by Lance and Brian while JC and Joey were holding me.  It would have made quite a photo for the tabloids.  Luckily there were no reporters around.
    "I'll ask again," Justin went on in a more calm voice, "what is going on here?"
    "It's my fault," Nick blurted out.  "I got pissed off and jumped on him."
    "No, that's not really true," I jumped in.  "It's my fault cause I pissed him off."
    "I don't really care who started it," JC snapped.  "Nick you need to get yourself cleaned up and ready to go on stage.  Zack, you probably should go up to your box before David sends Angela back her to find you.
    "Nick...listen I'm sorry."  Extending my hand I added "No hard feelings.  Maybe I can buy you a drink after the concert?"
    He studied me for a moment before excepting my hand and saying "Sure."
    "That was nice of you."
    I turned to see Justin smiling at me in a weird way.  He seemed amused, but also a little...jealous is the word I thought of but that was ridiculous.
    "It was the least I could do after I gave him a fat lip before he has to go on stage."
    "You don't look so good yourself."
    He walked closer and put his arms around me, holding me tightly.  A little too tightly.  Nick's knee had hit me pretty hard.
    "Come on cutie, I'll clean you up."
    "Don't be silly I'm fine."
    "Maybe you should look in a mirror before you decide that."
    With a sigh I allowed myself to be lead back to the NSYNC dressing room.  Christina smirked at me as I passed her, Britney simply shook her head.  As Justin predicted, the mirror did change my opinion of my condition.  Aside from the bruise over my ribs I also had a cut on my lip.  Of course that paled in comparison to the lovely patch of black that was forming around my left eye.  I could feel it swelling already.  Justin leant me a pair of sunglasses of cover the damage.
    "Thanks for the flowers by the way.  That was really sweet."
    "Oh I'm glad you liked them.  I was afraid you'd think it was stupid."
    "No of course not.  I'll like anything you give me because it's from you."
    "Yuck," I whined.  "I think I'm gonna puke."
    "Shutup dickhead."
    "Make me."
    "OK fine."
    He bent closer to me and pressed his lips firmly to fine.  In moment s his tongue was exploring my mouth as I ran my hands under his shirt and across his back.  Sometime later I came up for air.
    "Aren't you going to be late?"
    "Actually yes," he said calmly.
    "Then maybe you should get going?"
    "I guess so."
    "What, you trying to get rid of me?"
    "No I'd love it if you could stay here with me, but there's fifty thousand people out there who are gonna be pissed if you don't move your ass."
    "Yeah, I'm going.  No big deal Britney's on first anyway."
    "Come on Justin, don't pull a Nick."
    "Hey watch it bud.  And that reminds me I hope you know I'm mad at you as much as Nick for acting like a little kid and I expect to hear the whole story later."
    "Yes mommy."
    "And if I don't like what you tell me you're gonna get spanked."
    "Is that a promise?"
    "Boy you better believe it is!"
    With a quick smile flashing his white teeth he was gone and I sank gratefully back onto the couch.  Pretending like I wasn't in pain was getting pretty tough.  Nick packed a mean punch.

    The concert went better than anyone had hoped.  Nobody made any serious mistakes, all the cues were timed right, even the pyrotechnics worked the way they were supposed to.  The audience went wild throughout the whole show, but for the finale when all the acts were on-stage together they reached a level of excitement Justin had never seen before.  The standing ovation went on for a good ten minutes.  It was incredible.  And he was glad it was over.
    "I don't understand it," Chris moaned from the couch, "I was on stage less than I would be for a normal show, but I'm like twice as tired."
    "It's cause you didn't get any sleep last night dummy."
    "Well Joe it was hard to sleep with you and your friend having so much fun in the next room."
    "Oh...whoops.  Didn't realize Rachel and I were being so loud."
    "Rachel huh?  At least you remember her name."
    "Hey I resent that implication.  I didn't have anything...well, at most...three or...maybe four drinks last night."
    "Wow you are a model of self-restraint."
    "Come on kids, don't fight."
    "Kids?  Curly last time I checked I had about a decade on you."
    "Hey old man...whoops I mean Chris that's your problem not mine."
    "That's Mr. Kirkpatrick to you boy."
    "So do you think you'll be allowed to keep you job after you turn thirty?"
    "I'm young at heart dickwad."
    "Exactly, you're a kid."
    "You sonofa...when did you get so damn smart Timberlake?"
    "Must have been from watching you, bro."
    "Flattery will get you no where, it's too late.  You'll have to get someone else to buy your drinks tonight."
    "Yeah I'm sure that'll be a big problem.  Where are we going anyway?"
    "I don't know let's ask our resident expert.  Joe, where we going?"
    "Oh I don't know.  A bar."
    "Big help.  Yo JC, where are we going tonight?"
    "AJ said we've got a private room at some ritzy club up by Times Square.
    "Bitchin, when are we leaving?"
    "Soon as everyone's ready."
    "Aren't there always?"
    "Hey I don't know I thought maybe we'd roll up in the tour bus.  Maybe they'd let me drive."
    "Sure thing Chris."
    "OK, well if we're almost ready I'm gonna go look for Zack."
    "What, you just gonna walk out into the Garden and start wandering around?  I'm sure no one will recognize you."
    "Yes JC that's exactly what I'm gonna do.  I'll just wait for him...out in the hall."
    "God you are really obsessed aren't you?"
    "I am not!  I just don't feel like sitting here and waiting."
    "Waiting for what," Zack asked closing the door behind him.
    "For Chris to admit he's old."
    That earned a snort from Chris.
    "So Zack where's the little bundle of joy you so kindly dropped on us earlier."
    "I told Angela I had an early meeting tomorrow and that I needed to get a good night's sleep."
    "You know," Joey said as he checked himself out in the mirror, "I seem to remember seeing you in some interview preaching about how you hated lying and didn't like people who lie."
    "Oh I don't like liars.  I didn't lie.  I do need a good night's sleep.  Not that I'm gonna get it, but I do."
    "Yeah I doubt you'll get much sleep tonight," JC said perfectly seriously.  "No sexual implication intended of course."
    "Of course not," Zack said just as seriously.  "And I might have actually believed you except for the big stupid grin on your face."
    "What about your early meeting," Lance asked.
    "Hey Lance, welcome to the party," Joey laughed.  "Thought you were asleep.  But yeah, what about that early meeting hot stuff?"
    "Absolutely true.  I have a massage scheduled for 10.  I think I might have to push it back to 1:00 though.  But it's all true.  See Joe it's all about what people think they here.  I really do hate to lie, but I can bend the truth when I need to."
    "That's a comforting thought.  So you'll never lie to me, just mislead me."
    "I would never lie to you Justin.  I'll always..."
    "Wait," Chris yelled.  He plugged his ears with his fingers.  "OK go ahead and say whatever nauseating crap you want."
    With a glance to make sure Chris was watching, Zack grabbed Justin and started making out with him."
    "Ugghhh.  Are you trying to make us all puke before we get drunk?"
    "Chris you know this turns you on.  Why fight it?"
    "I think you've got me confused with Lanstein over there."
    "Huh!  What, no I don't...shutup Chris."
    "You ok Lance?  You seem a little flustered all of a sudden."
    "I'm fine.  I was just...thinking that's all."
    "Thinking about what Lance?  As if we didn't know."
    Lance blushed and opened his mouth but Chris spoke first.
    "Look!  He's blushing I was right."
    "He was probably thinking about your mom Chris," JC said.
    "So can we go already," Justin jumped in, quickly changing the subject.  He needed to talk to Lance later.
    At that point Brian stuck his head in the door.
    "You guys ready to go."
    "No we're actually gonna sit here with our thumbs in our asses all night," Joey said jovially.  "Of course we're ready.  Let's get the hell out of here!"

    When a black stretch limo pulls up to a club in Times Square it usually attracts a little bit of attention.  When it is accompanied by a black Lincoln Navigator full of security guards it usually attracts a little more interest.  When thirteen famous teen idols get out of the limo things start to get nuts.  Suddenly the crowds milling through the area descended upon us like a swarm of locusts.  We were ushered or perhaps herded into the club.  The private room that had been reserved for us was on the second floor overlooking the main dance floor.  There was "VIP" lounge with an extremely well-stocked bar right outside the room.  The "VIP's" pretended not to stare as our group went by but I had a feeling there would be more than one autograph request for whoever went to the bar.
    The room itself was round, with leather couches all around the outside.  The rest of the room was scattered with cushions, beanbag chairs and coffee tables.  There was a glass door opening out onto the balcony over the dance floor.  Sounds of dance music drifted up through the ceiling.  I was still looking over the room when Chris darted past me shouting gleefully.
    "Beanbag chairs!  I love beanbag chairs!"
    "Well he'll be entertained for a few hours at least," Brian chuckled.
    "No doubt.  But personally I'd like to be entertained by a vodka martini."  There was an audible pause before Joey added "Shaken not stirred," in a reasonable impression of Sean Conery.
    "That sounds like the first good idea you've had in months Joe."
    "Ha ha JC.  I was gonna buy the first round for everyone, but I think you can get your own."
    "No please, I'm sorry!  I beg forgiveness."
    "Yeah yeah, c'mon let's go.  You can help carry.  Hey prettyboy, you can help too let's go."
    "Well you must be talking to the best looking guy in the room so..."
    "No Zack I was talking to you actually.  If I wanted to talk to myself I'd go buy a mirror."
    "Oh you're both full of it," Britney said.  "Now go get some drinks before we all die of thirst."
    "Yes ma'am.  And what would Madame like to drink this evening?"
    "A margarita on the rocks with no salt please."
    "An excellent choice.  Hey Nick, find out what AJ wants when he gets out of the bathroom and then come out to the bar and help us carry stuff."
    Joey, JC, and I took everyone else's orders and headed out to the bar.
    "Gentlemen, something occurred to me," I said as we approached the bartender.
    "And what might that be prettyboy?"
    "That you are a dick Joe.  No seriously.  I was thinking that it's going to take the bartender a while to make thirteen drinks and that we might need to pre-order a little something to tide us over."
    "I like the way you think prettyboy," Joey said, slapping me on the back.  "Barkeep!  Four shots of your finest whiskey please.  And then we have a whole bunch of other stuff we need."
    "AJ wants a beer," Nick said as he joined us at the bar.  "What's this?"
    "This my friend is a shot of whiskey.  And it is for you."
    "Ah no thanks Joey, I'm not big on shots.  Especially of whiskey."
    "Come on you wuss.  Everybody else has one.  If prettyboy can do it than you should be able to."
    "Be a man Nick," JC added.
    "Yeah fine.  Peer pressure and all that."
    "Alright then men.  On the count of three!  One...two...three."
    It might have been the bar's finest whiskey but it still burned on the way down.  I immediately reached for the chaser that wasn't there.  JC coughed once, Joey took his like a pro.  Nick gagged and coughed until I thought he must be choking and slapped him on the back.
    "I'm fine," he croaked.  "Joey that tasted like paint thinner."
    "Ah you just don't appreciate fine liquor."
    Finally we gathered all the drinks and went back into the room.  As I predicted no fewer than three people had asked for our autographs.  I was pretty sure two of them didn't really know who we were except that we must be famous because of all the security guards and the private room.  Handing Britney her margarita, I settled down next to Justin on one of the couches.
    "You rum and coke sir."
    "Thanks."  He took a sip and coughed.  "It's a little strong."
    "Yeah I told the bartender to use the 151 proof stuff."
    "You're trying to get me drunk aren't you?"
    "Of course not."
    "Hey have you ever been drunk and tried to kiss someone who's sober?"
    "No, but I've been the sober one trying not to be kissed by the drunk."
    "Exactly, it's not much fun unless you're both drunk."
    "Well maybe I just wont kiss you then."
    "Fine then maybe I'll go try to get Britney drunk and prove all the tabloids right."
    "Then maybe I'll cut your nuts off and feed them to some dogs."  He smiled much too sweetly and took another sip of his drink.
    "Maybe I'll just stay right here and not drink anymore after this one."
    "No you can have as much as you want, just don't go puking on me."
    "And what about you?"
    He simply shrugged and took another sip of his drink.  Actually it was more of a gulp and a big one at that.
    Not wanting to be outdone by an NSYNCer, Brian bought everyone a second round of drinks.  A little later AJ, Joey, Chris, Howie, Kevin, and Christina went to go check out the club.  Lance and Britney were talking in the corner and JC had Justin and Brian laughing at some joke.  Nick was out on the balcony looking down at the dance floor.
    "So how bout I buy you that drink now," I yelled over the music as I shut the door behind me.
    "Oh, yeah sure."
    He followed me back through the room and out to the bar.  Suprisingly we were the only ones there.  Sitting down on a stool I waved the bartender over.
    "I'll have a Jack and coke, and make it a double please.  And my friend would like..."
    I raised an eyebrow at Nick.
    "The same."
    "I thought you didn't like whiskey."
    "I just don't like it in shot form."
    There was a pause while we watched the bartender mix the drinks.  He handed them to us and I paid him.  Taking a sip I tried to think of what I wanted to say to Nick, but he got there first.
    "I'm really sorry about hitting you earlier.  That was really dumb of me."
    "Oh it's no problem.  I was being an asshole."
    "No you were just trying to get me to do what I should have been doing anyway.  You were totally right.  Listen, I'm sorry about...what happened at Justin's party too."
    "Nick that was just a misunderstanding.  I don't hold that against you at all."
    "God I've only known you a few weeks and I've already forced myself on you and assaulted you.  You must hate me."
    "Of course I don't hate you Nick.  It's just been extreme circumstances.  Actually I really like you and I think you're a good guy."
    "That makes me feel a lot better.  I really like you too."
    There was something about the way he said that that worried me.
    "Please Zack just listen," he said urgently.  Taking my hands in his he stared into my eyes.  He voice was pleading, almost desperate.
    "Zack, you are a really amazing person.  I am really attracted to you and not just physically.  I know you feel something for me too."
    "Nick...Justin and I..."
    "You've only been with Justin for a day!  How can you be so sure you should be with him and not me.  All I'm asking is for a chance.  Please!"
    Suddenly I realized that he had been pulling me closer.  His lips were only inches from mine and his big blue eyes filled my vision.  He was very attractive.  A choked sob from behind me ended the moment.  I jerked away to find Justin standing there starring at us.
    "Justin, it's not what it looks like."
    As soon as those words were out of my mouth I wanted to take them back.  If ever there was a cliché cheating boyfriend line that was it.
    "Save it," he managed in an angry and slightly slurred voice.
    He turned and half ran half stumbled down the stairs where he was immediately swallowed by the crowd.  I bolted after him leaving Nick alone at the bar.
    "Not again," he sobbed, burying his face in his hands.

Ok that's Part 8.  I know it's been a long time, even longer than I expected, but it took me a while to get back into the swing of things.  I made this chapter longer to make up for lost time.  The next one will be out ASAP.  Please e-mail me and let me know what you think of this chapter and where the story is going.  As always I would appreciate any comments, questions or suggestions that anybody has.  Also I'm thinking about making this story entirely third person instead of switching back and forth so let me know about that too.  The address is zack02cool@hotmail.com.  Until next time.