Like anyone who writes feed back,
good or bad is needed. 
The good feed back, strokes our ego.  The bad feed back, strokes 
the delete key.  <grin>

  My e-mail: 

 This story can also be found on my web site at:


Legal Disclaimer: 
This story is totally fictional and is not meant  to imply anything about the personalities or the sexual orientation of the groups *Nsync and  Backstreet Boys.  If you are under the age of 18, offended by male/male material, or it is illegal to view such materials in your area, you should be leaving now. 
My New Life
by James

Thoughts from James:

Well here it is 2001.  A new year to look forward to. 

Looking back over the last year I was amazed at what has happened.  I have been writing My New Life for little over a year now.  And what a year it has been. 

All of us have our reasons for writing these stories.  For me it was a way of working myself out of a depression.  It may have just been a midlife crisis, but I found myself wanting to cry at everything.  It scared the shit out of me.   About this time, I found the Nifty Story Archive on the net.  And it opened my eyes to what was out there.  A lot of the stories I found there could not keep my interest past the first chapter, it seemed to be stories about men having sex with one partner after another.  Very little plot other than how many times the guys could get off in the first chapter. 

Then I found "Gift of Love" by Billy Burrew.  This story was something unusual.  It had a plot and no one had sex.  Yes! I had found a real story.  Over several nights, I read the story and when I got to the last two chapters, I had to stop because I was crying so much.  Mustering all the strength I had, I sat down and read the last two chapters.  And I found it to be the most moving experience I ever had. 

Like most of you, I am a dreamer.  I would daydream, making up little stories about my favorite musical group.  I would think, what if.  What if this would happen and how would the people react.  It was in these daydreams the seeds of a story were planted. 

One night I sat down at my computer and started typing, putting these thoughts down.  And I was amazed at what came out.  What came out ended up as chapter 2 and 3 of My New Life.  When I came back to the story the next day I liked what I read and decided to see where the story was going to take me.  The first thing I did was write a new chapter 1.  I felt a background story was needed to explain who Marc was and why he was becoming so important in the lives of the guys of NSYNC.  Eight chapters later I had come to the conclusion that writing this story made me feel better and the feeling for the need to cry had almost gone away.  I also wanted to see what others thought of my story.  After several unsuccessful  tries (the Submission Guidelines for Nifty are hard to understand), I was able to get chapter 1 posted.  And the response from the readers was great.

Now here I am a year later and the feedback from you, the readers, is still fantastic.
One of the pluses of writing is getting to know some of the other authors.  I thank you for your encouragement and thoughts.  And the best part has been getting to know you.  The guys and gals who read and enjoy my story.  I have made many new friends because of this story.  I cherish your friendship. 

A special thanks has to go to David, my editor.  I don't think you realized what you were getting into when you offered to edit my story.  I know you were shocked by some of the stuff I sent you but your sense of humor has been a godsend and I have really enjoyed working with you. 

This last holiday season, has been a time of reflection.  I needed to step back and look at what I have done with the two stories I'm writing and decide where I want to go with them.  My New Life and Route 66 Rocks have been planned out to the end. I see now where we are headed and I hope all of you will enjoy the ride.  2001 is going to be a great year!

Chapter 27
Pressures of the Tour 

Marc left Lance to his test, going out to the living room he powered up his keyboard and plugged in the earphones.  Pulling out the scores to the marches he was to conduct in Boston, Marc started playing through the music, making mental notations.  Once he had entered the music into the memory of the keyboard, Marc hit the playback.  Adjusting the tempo to where he felt it should be Marc closed his eyes visualizing the score in his mind Marc started to conduct  his orchestra.

"What are we doing for lunch," Chris asked Justin as they met in the hall.

"Don't know.  But I'm getting hungry,"  Justin said as he rubbed his stomach.

JC's door opened, "Did someone say lunch?" JC asked.

The three friends laughed as they gathered in the hall. 

Looking at Joey's door Chris asked,  "I wonder if Joe's up?"

A thud came from the other side of Joey's door and then it flew open.  Joey hopped out into the hall while pulling on his last shoe. " Is it lunch time?"

Chris slid his keycard into the lock and hearing a click the group entered the suite. 

Marc was standing in front of the large window with his eyes closed, conducting his imaginary orchestra not knowing he was no longer alone.

The guys came up behind Marc and watched with big grins.  Even though they could not hear  what Marc was listening to they did hear Marc as he sang along to the Stars and Stripes Forever.  At the end, Marc lowered his arms and reached to turn his keyboard off when he was met with applause and whistles. 

Spinning around Marc was met with "Bravo, Maestro," from Josh.

Turning the deepest red possible for a human, Marc let the headphones drop out of his hand onto the floor and  pulled the window drape over himself to hide his embarrassment of being caught practicing his conducting.

The loud laughter brought Lance out of the bedroom.  "What's going on?"  he asked.

Chris, who was laughing hysterically, pointed to the drape and the lump behind it. 

"We caught Marc conducting his air orchestra,"  Joey said while still laughing.

Lance went to the drape and said,  "Marc."

"Yeah," Marc answered weakly.

"Will you come out?"


"I'm not going to talk to a drape.  Can I come in?"

"No," Marc said softly.


"You will laugh at me too."

"No I won't.  I promise."

"Oh, ok,"  Marc said as he lifted the edge of the drape so Lance could step behind.

Lance suppressed a smile as he gazed upon Marc's still red face.  "What's wrong?"  Lance asked.

"They caught me practicing for Boston.  I was conducting the orchestra in my mind when they came up behind me."

"You didn't know they were  there?"  Lance asked.

"Not until they started to applaud."

"What's the problem?" Lance asked.

"I don't know.  I just felt so stupid being caught waving my arms like an idiot."

"Marc, come on man.  We didn't mean to embarrass  you,"  JC said.

"Yeah, we're hungry and just stopped by to see what we're doing for lunch.  We didn't know you were rehearsing with the Boston Symphony in here,"  Chris said with a slight chuckle.

"It is lunch time," Lance pointed out.  "Aren't you getting hungry?"

"Oh, ok," Marc said with a sigh.  "If they promise not to ever say anything about what they saw."

"We promise," everyone said.

Slowly pulling the drape aside Marc and Lance stepped out.  Marc's face still had the glow of a blush.  Justin pulled Marc into an embrace,  "Sorry, bro.  We didn't mean to make you feel weird."

"It's ok.  I just didn't expect anyone to be watching,"  Marc said a little more at ease. 

"What is the plan for lunch?" Joey asked.

"We're eating in the restaurant.  They have a private dinning room set aside for us.  I just have to call security to let them know we are on the way,"  Marc said as he picked up the phone to call security.

Hanging up the phone, Marc said,  " They're ready for us."

" Are Pete and my mom going to join us?"  Justin asked.

"No, they went ahead to the arena,"  Marc said.

"Marc, when is she leaving?"  Justin asked.

"Haven't you talked to her?"

"Yeah, some," Justin meekly said.

"Her flight leaves at three-twenty.  Justin, do I need to set up something?" 

"No.  No need,"  Justin said a little embarrassed.

After a relaxing lunch, security had a van waiting to take them to the arena.

The  darkened windows of the van hid its occupants as it pulled from behind the hotel.  Very few waiting fans noticed the van leave because a large limo pulling up to the front entrance drew their attention.

The van pulled into the secure loading dock area.  As everyone was getting out, the driver turned to Marc,  "Marc, Bill wants to see you as soon as possible."

"Ok, I'll look him up right away,"  Marc answered.

Entering the arena the guys, headed for their dressing room and Marc went in search of the head of security.

Following the signs to the temporary management offices Marc found Bill, Pete, and Brian.  "Bill, did you need to see me?"  Marc asked.

"Hi Marc,  come on in and have a seat,"  Bill said.

Taking a seat Marc nervously asked,  "What's up, guys.  Did I break another security rule?"

Chuckling, Pete said, "No, Marc, we just needed to talk to you about Boston and New York."

"Oh, ok," Marc said with relief.

"What have you got planned for the  fourth?"  Bill asked.

"It's a free day.  I have a late morning rehearsal with the Pops,"  Marc said.

"Will any of the guys be going with you?"  Bill asked.

"I don't know.  Possibly.  Lance, maybe Justin.  We haven't talked about it."

"Where is the rehearsal?"  Bill asked.

"At the band shell,"  Marc said concerned about the questions.

"I will assign a security detail for the rehearsal," Bill said.

"What about plans for the rest of the day?"  Pete asked.

"I haven't planned much other than going to the park for the concert and fireworks."

"We have been thinking about that,"  Brian said.  "Pete was able to arrange with the hotel to let us have the top floor of the parking deck for our use." 

"I've arranged for a cook out for the staff.  They are going to set up some tents for us," Pete said.  "The parking deck overlooks the park with a clear view of the band shell."

"So we can all watch the fireworks from the deck.  That should work," Marc said.

"And it will be easier protecting the six of you than having everyone wandering around a crowd,"  Bill said.

"I don't know if the guys will go for that.  I know Lance will want to be in the audience for my numbers,"  Marc pointed out.

"Is there a possibility that they could watch from the wings?"  Bill asked.

"Sure.  I'll arrange it," Marc said.

"We should be able to get the six of you to and from the band shell using the service roads.  We'll have everyone back in time for the fireworks,"  Bill said.

"Ok, that takes care of the fourth," Pete said.  "Matt, on the fifth you will be leaving with the advance security team for New York."

"I won't be there for the concert?"  Marc asked.

"No.  I've scheduled meetings with the producers and musical directors for the talk shows we will be performing on,"  Pete said as he passed Marc some schedules.

"You will meet with the staff of Rosie in the morning,  then Letterman that afternoon,  you won't be able to meet with Leno's people until after  Leno, tape's that day's show.  I've already sent the music ahead to them,"  Brian said. 

"Will I have time to rehearse with them?"  Marc asked.

"Yes, they have set aside rehearsal time,"  Pete said.

"Matt, it will be your call.  If you feel they can't do the job you have the option to call in our own people.  We want the guys to be presented in the best light.  I trust in your judgment,"  Brian said.

To: Not an Angel
From: Phoenix Rising

Hi girl,

We just got back to the hotel after a kick ass performance.  Everyone was up for it tonight.

Lynn and I got to talk over your proposal and I think we can work it out.  I didn't expect the job to be musical director, I just thought I would be one of the musicians.  Thanks for having the confidence in me.   If everything works out, I should have all the music recorded before you arrive. 

Did I tell you I get to work with the Boston Pops?  I get to be guest conductor for the July 4th. celebration. And we locked down two concerts with the New York Symphony in September.  August and September are turning out to be busy.

Well thanks again for having confidence in me, I won't let you down.



Marc read the e-mail one last time and clicked the send button.

"Marc, where are you?"  Joey shouted.

"I'll be right out,"  Marc shouted back as he closed down his laptop.

Going out to the living room he found everyone gathered around the table with two open pizza  boxes.

"Better grab a slice before it's all gone," Justin warned as he bit into a slice.

"No thanks, guys, I'd like to be able to get some sleep tonight."

"What time do we need to be on the road?"  JC asked.

"Wake up call is eight, breakfast at nine, and we have to be on the road by eleven so everyone should pack before you go to bed,"  Marc suggested.

"It's going to be a short night," Chris said with a sigh.

"At least we can sleep the next night when we get into the hotel," Joey said.

Shaking his head, Marc broke the bad news. "Sorry guys, you won't see a bed until Boston.  We will be busing it in Hartford.  Then we leave for Boston right after."

"Damn, more bus time," JC said.

"Sorry guys, but it's after one and I'm beat.  I'm going to head to bed,"  Marc said trying to hold back a yawn.  Getting up he headed for the bedroom.

"I'll be there in a while," Lance said as he watched Marc go into the bedroom.

"What's with Marc tonight?"  Chris asked.

"I don't know,"  Lance said.

"They had him in meetings all afternoon,"  JC pointed out.

"Brian had him hopping all night.  If it wasn't for Lance grabbing him to get something to eat I think he would have worked straight through,"  Joey said.

"This sure wasn't what we planned when we asked him to come on tour with us,"  Chris said while shaking his head.

"But we didn't know about his plans for this summer.  Not only has he taken on the job of our web master, but he is also a member of our band, and Pete's assistant.  He is also working on his own musical career between everything else,"  Lance pointed out.

"And we laughed at him today and embarrassed him when he was preparing for his gig in Boston,"  Justin sadly said.

With a slight smile, remembering the conversation behind the drape, Lance explained,  "I think Marc was a little disappointed that no one brought up his conducting  today.  We figured Chris or Justin would find some way to tease him about it."

"We didn't see him most of the day.  And when we did he was working,"  Chris said.  "But I think I can correct that oversight.  It just will be delayed."

"Well I'm heading for bed,"  Lance said.  "Before he falls asleep."

"Why?  Afraid you wont get any nookie tonight?" Chris asked with a cheesy grin.

"No!"  Lance said as the blush rose.  "If he falls asleep in the middle of the bed it is impossible to move him." 

Marc was standing under the shower letting the hot water wash over him.  Clearing his mind of the hectic day's activities he let the water do it job washing away the tension.  Marc was not sure how long he had been standing under the spray when he felt hands grab his shoulders and begin to massage the muscles.    As the talented fingers worked their magic,  Marc let out a purr,  "OOOh, yeess.  Justin, that feels so good."

"Justin!!"  Lance shouted as he gave Marc's right butt cheek a slap.

Marc jumped at the unexpected response, turned and gathered Lance into an embrace while laughing.

"Ass,"  Lance said.

"Yes.  And right now it stings," Marc chuckled.

"Well you deserved it,"  Lance said trying to act mad.

"I was just having a little fun.  I knew right away who's hands they were,"  Marc said as he leaned in to kiss Lance.

Lance pull back avoiding Marc's lips.  "I don't know if you deserve a kiss for that."

Sticking his lower lip out in a pout Marc said,  "I'm sorry, James."

"Shit, don't give me that look,"  Lance said as he gave in and met Marc's lips.  Feeling Marc start to smile as they kissed, Lance grabbed hold of Mark's lower lip with his teeth and held on, pulling Marc's lower lip out.

"Aw, aw, aw,"  Marc said.

Releasing Marc's lip Lance smiled, "Don't pull that fake pouting routine with me.  I won't put up with it."   Wrapping his arms around Marc's neck, Lance pulled Marc in for a hot kiss.

Breaking the kiss, Marc asked,  "Am I forgiven?"

"Um, maybe."

Pulling  Lance in tight, Marc picked him up and turned him into the shower spray soaking Lance from head to toe.

As Marc reached for something, Lance moaned, "Not a cold shower."

Turning the shower off, "No.  No cold shower." 

Holding up the bottle of shower  gel Marc squeezed a big glob between their chests.  Loosening his hold on Lance a little Marc reached in and started to smear the  gel all over Lance's chest and stomach. 

Not sure what Marc had in mind, Lance took some of the gel and started rubbing it over Marc's chest and stomach.

Satisfied that they were both well covered with gel, Marc pulled Lance into a deep kiss.  As they kissed, Marc started to move his body against Lance's.  Between the kiss and the sensation of their bodies sliding over each other, it took only seconds for their cocks to react.  Pulling apart slightly their erections slapped against their stomachs. 

Pulling Lance tight against him, Marc started doing a slow dance.  Moving his hips slowly in an ever-changing motion Marc used his body to stimulate Lance's throbbing cock. 

"Oh, God,"  Lance moaned as he threw his head back.

Taking hold of Lance's hard ass, Marc pulled him closer grinding their pelvises together.  Leaning in, Marc attacked Lance's throat licking and nibbling his Adam's apple, working his way around to the side of his neck and up to Lance's ear.  Taking the whole ear into his mouth Marc swabbed it with his tongue, and softly moaning in it. 

"OH, GOD, MARC," Lance cried out. "Yes. . . .  Yes. . . . .  eat that ear."

Marc took the ear lob and started to chew on it, making Lance squeal with delight.  Seconds later Lance's body tensed and his back arched.  "OH, GOD, . . . .  I'M COMING!" Lance shouted.

Marc's throbbing cock lay pinned next to Lance's, sliding against each other as they ground their hips together.  Marc felt the heat from Lance, and then he felt the fiery eruption of Lance and milliseconds later Marc also erupted, mixing their seed between their slithering bodies.  As their climax slowly subsided, their tight embrace relaxed as their arms gently held each other while their breathing returned to normal.  Looking into each other's eyes nothing needed to be said.  The love they had for each other shown in their gaze.  Leaning in, Lance softly kissed Marc.  Lightly brushing their lips together at first then lingering slightly as Marc softly probed Lance's full lips with his tongue.  Lance's lips parted letting Marc enter. 

The others had stayed to watch the end of the movie, spreading out on the couch, chairs, and floor.  Everyone was engrossed in the movie when they heard Lance call out "Oh, God!"

Looking at each other, they all had a look of confusion on their faces, and then grins of realization spread across their faces.

"OH, GOD, MARC!"  brought giggles. "Yes, . . . Yes,. . .  eat that ear" turned the giggles into laughter.

"I don't think we should be here," Josh said while laughing.

"OH, GOD, . . . . .I'M COMING!"  took everyone over the edge as they made a mad scramble for the door.  Collapsing in a heap outside the suite door everyone roared with laughter.

Several minutes passed before anyone could speak.

"Shit!"  Chris said.  "How are we going to be able to look at them in the morning and keep a straight face."

"I'm not entirely sure what was going on in there," JC said with a chuckle.

"It sounded like Lance had found religion.  He kept praising God.  Over and over,"  Justin laughed.

"Yep, defiantly Lance had found his way.  Didn't you hear him say "OH, GOD, . . . . I'M COMING"  He has found the light!   Brother Lance has found his way!"  Joey said in his best preacher imitation.

"Yes!"  Justin replied.  "Praise the Lord!" 

"Brother Lance has seen the light!. . . . "

Squeaky clean and dry Marc lay on the bed on his back with Lance snuggled next to him resting his head on Marc's shoulder gazing at Marc's face. 



"Is there something wrong?" Lance asked.

"No.  Why?"

"You seemed to have been hit from all directions today.  It seemed like everyone wanted a part of you.  They had you in meeting most of the afternoon.  And Brian took most all your time the rest of the night.  Is this getting to be too much?"

"No.  It was just a hectic day.  But there are some things we do need to talk about."

"Like what?"

"The plans for the fourth, for one."

"Oh, . . . What do you have planned?"

"I don't have anything planned.  Pete has arranged to have the top floor of the hotel's parking deck set up for our use.  It overlooks the park and band shell so we can watch the fireworks from the parking deck."

"Won't we be allowed to see your numbers?"  Lance asked.

"Bill was concerned with security.  He didn't want the six of us wandering around the crowd."

"So we have to watch from across the street.  That sucks!"

Laughing at Lance, "You all will be there.  I'm allowed to have my entourage with me.  And they will be allowed to watch from off stage."

Laughing, Lance said,  "We have never been any one's entourage."

"As long as Joey isn't my hair dresser it should work,"  Marc chuckled.

"Yeah," Lance agreed.

There was a long silence. 

"Marc, what is it?"

"Ah, . . .  I won't be staying with you all in Boston."


Sighing, Marc explained, "I will be going on ahead with the advance security team.  I have meetings and rehearsals for the four shows you will be appearing on." 


"Yeah, they added a fourth appearance.  Some show called TRL?"

"TRL!  Cool!" Lance said with a smile as he looked at Marc's confused expression.

"You haven't heard of TRL, have you?"


"TRL, Total Request Live, it a show on M-TV.  The studio is awesome.  It overlooks Time Square and the fans out side can see into the studio.  I take it you have never watched it?"

"I haven't seen much M-TV.  It's not one of the local channels I get at the cabin."

"Not even when you are at school?"

Shaking his head, Marc said, "No time with classes." 

"You need to talk to Justin, he is our resident expert on the show."

"Ok, I'll do that,"  Marc said softly.

"What else?"  Lance asked.

"We have firmed up some concert dates.  Two concerts with the New York Symphony in September and a series of concerts with the Tokyo Symphony in January." 

"How long will you be gone?"

"New York looks like I will be going the last week of August for three weeks and I leave for Tokyo right after Thanksgiving."

"You're not going to be here for Christmas?" Lance asked a little upset.

"I'm going early so I can be with you for the holidays.  I want to get the hard work done early, come home and return after the first of the year." Marc said as he stroked Lance's cheek.

"Anything else?"  Lance asked.

"Yeah, while I'm in New York I've been asked to be musical director for a new album."


"I'm not sure.  It's  a compilation album of Broadway Musicals.  I imagine they will use several singers."

"Why are you doing it in New York?"

"That's where the musicians are.   They want to use as many of the actual theater orchestra musicians as possible."

"So you will be working on both projects at once?"  Lance asked.

"No.  Most of the recording will get done the first week.  The vocals will be recorded after my part is done.  Rehearsals with the symphony will start the second week and go up to the concerts."

"Will you be able to come home on weekends?" Lance asked.

"I don't know.  We'll just have to play it by ear,"  Marc said.

"And after the concerts?"

"I'm yours until after Thanksgiving," Marc said with a smile.

"Great.  Some uninterrupted time for ourselves,"  Lance said.

"Ha ha, Yeah sure.  Like we will have all this time to lay around and make out all day."

Smiling, "Yeah, sounds like fun."  Lance said with a wicked grin.

Marc cleared his throat, "James, do I need to remind you that you all will be in the studio recording your next album?"

"Oh. . . . That's right,"  Lance said thinking. "Are you going to work with us on it?"

Shaking his head Marc said, "No I can't.  This new album needs to be totally yours.  You need to  use your own people on it.  The same people that will be touring with you."

"You're not coming on tour with us?"  Lance asked with concern.

"I don't know what this next year is going to bring.  I'm also going to be recording a album.  And I'm sure there will be some kind of tour,"  Marc pointed out.

The look of disappointment shown on Lance's face.

Turning Lance on his back so that Marc was looking down into his eyes.  "James, when ever I'm not working, I will be with you.  At home or on tour, I will be by your side.  But . . . . There will be times when we have to be apart, and that is the reality of our relationship."

Lance thought over what Marc had just said, then a smile returned to his face.  "And another reality is I can come on tour with you when I'm not working."

"Yeah, you're right.  I hadn't thought of that," Marc chuckled. 

The phone rang way too early the next morning.  "Hello,"  Marc softly said.  "Thank you."

Hanging up the phone, Marc looked down at Lance snuggled in his left arm.   "James, time to get up."

"Nooo,  I don't want to go to school,"  Lance said in his sleep.

Chuckling, Marc leaned in to wake his sleeping prince with a kiss.

Lance woke to the gentle attention he was getting.  Slowly opening his eyes, he wrapped his arms around Marc's neck pulling him in tighter and deepening the kiss.

Breaking the kiss, Lance smiled up at Marc, "Good morning."

"Morning, James.  Time to get moving.  Why don't you hit the shower while I order breakfast,"  Marc said as he got out of bed.

"Aren't you going to join me?"  Lance asked.

"If I do, we will miss the bus.  It was almost four when we finally got to sleep,"  Marc pointed out.

Lance and Marc were reading the morning paper while waiting for the others to arrive.  A noise at the door brought their attention to the door as their friends joined them for breakfast.  "Morning, guys,"  Lance and Marc said in unison.

The four friends looked at each other suppressing their smiles.  Avoiding eye contact, they went to the food cart only giving a cursory, "Morning."

Lance gave Marc a `what's going on?' look.  Marc just shook his head having no idea.

As the others came to the table with their plates Lance and Marc went to fix their plates.  Looks were exchanged between the four as each one tried in vain to suppress grins.  When Justin started to giggle, he got a kick in the shins from JC along with a stern look.

Lance and Marc joined the group and everyone dug into their breakfast.  The only eye contact made was between Marc and Lance. 

Leaning back in his chair Marc surveyed the group around the table.  He knew something was up but he had no idea what.  Marc noticed Justin sneak a peek at him and knew who was going to tell him what was going on.


"Ah, yes, Marc," Justin said not making eye contact.

"What's going on?"

Glancing up at JC, "Nothing, Marc," Justin said.

"Ok, I know you guys are up to something.  God only knows what,"  Marc said while glancing to heaven.

When Marc said God, everyone lost it.  Giggles came from around the table and Marc noticed Joey's face had turned red as he held in his laughter.

"Joe, what's going on?"  Marc asked.

Shaking his head Joey said,  "I'm sorry, I have to go."

"Joseph Fatone,  don't you dare get up from that chair."  Marc said sternly.  "Now I want to know what is going on."

Looking up at Marc,  "Ah. . . We. . . We kind of stayed last night to finish watching the movie.  We kind of heard you guys last night."

Justin started to snicker. 

"Justin, what did you hear?"  Lance asked.

"Ah. . . Only . . . You getting religion."

Neither Lance nor Marc understood.

"Oh, God, Marc,"  Chris said softly.   "Oh, God. . . . I'm coming."

Everyone roared with laughter as Marc and Lance looked at each other turning red with embarrassment, realizing they had been busted.  All they could do is join in with the laughter.

"Marc, what were you doing when Lance was having his religious experience?"  Chris asked.

Marc looked to Lance.  "He was dancing for me,"  Lance answered with a sly smile.

"Dancing?"  JC asked.

"Yeah, a very close dance," Lance said with an evil grin.

The bus trip to Hartford, Connecticut was a long one.  Stopping only for fuel and lunch the caravan pulled into the arena after six.  As everyone got off the bus, they all stretched trying to get the blood flowing back into their arms and legs.

"Hey, Pete,  what are we doing for supper?"  Chris asked.

"Give me a few minutes,  they are suppose to have Mexican set up for us,"  Pete said as he keyed his radio.

Walking over to the guys, "Food will be ready in about ten minutes.  We've had a local Mexican restaurant come in and set up a buffet,"  Pete said as he led them all up the steps to the loading dock and into the arena.

"Man this shit is good," Joey said as he dug into his third burrito. 

"I've been so hungry for Mexican,"  Chris said as he shoveled another fork full of refried beans into his mouth.

Marc and Lance had finished their large platter of chicken fajitas they shared and sat watching the others devour even more food.  Leaning into Marc's ear Lance whispered, "I wish we weren't on the bus tonight.  With what there are eating, they are going to stink up the place."

Leaning into to Lance, Marc replied, "I was just thinking the same thing."

"What are we going to do tonight?"  Chris asked.

"We passed a basketball hoop on our way in here,"  Marc offered.

"Yeah!"  Justin said with a big grin.  "We can play three on three."

"How about two on two?" Marc offered.  "We can have a tournament."

Justin ran off to get his ball.  As the others went to the hoop, Lance leaned in to Marc, "I'm not so good at this."

"Neither am I.  But with all they ate tonight we may have half a chance,"  Marc said with a grin.

The ball games went well, each team winning as many games as losing.  After over an hour of play Marc seemed to have lost his game as each of the other teams trounced them. 

"Hey, where you two going?"  JC asked.

"To find a shower then to bed.  You guys whipped our ass,"  Marc said over his shoulder.

"Oh, ok." Chris said.

"Our bags were taken to the dressing room.  It would be a good idea you all hit the showers before coming back to the bus,"  Marc said.

Grabbing clean clothes out of their bags they went into the shower room.   Locking the door behind him Marc turned to find Lance grinning as he reached for Marc's shirt pulling it over his head.  "Now for a shower," Lance said with  an evil grin.

"James, control yourself,"  Marc laughed.  "We need to make this quick.  We need to get back on the bus as soon as possible."


"I want to claim the lounge for us.  With what they had to eat, the air on the bus is going to get rank tonight,"  Marc pointed out.

"Ok, let's make it quick.  I don't want to be around when they get here,"  Lance said with a smile.

Climbing on to the bus, they made their way to the bunk area.  "Grab the pillows and blankets from yours and my bunk," Marc said as he went back to the table and wrote a note.

Coming into the lounge, Marc closed and locked the door.  "I hope you took care of business in the dressing room.  Because there is no way we are leaving here until morning," Marc said.

"Where did you get the key?"  Lance asked.

"I know where George keeps his spare set,"  Marc said as he took a roll of duck tape and started to seal the edge of the door.  Reaching up Marc turned off the air vents.

"It's going to get warm in here with out those."

Pulling the drapes shut, Marc cracked open two windows for fresh air.  "When they start farting in there I want them to keep it all to themselves." 

Marc and Lance had settled down on their nest of seat cushions when they heard the others come aboard the bus.  They could hear some grumbling going on in the front of the bus then loud footsteps followed with a loud bang on the door.  "You two keep it down in there.  We don't want to hear a repeat of last night."

Lance and Marc were giggling.  "We'll keep it down.  Have a good night, Joey,"  Marc shouted back.

They lay together for a long time.  Not saying anything, just enjoying the closeness.  As Lance's breathing slowed, Marc leaned in and softly kissed his full lips.  "Good night, James."

"Good night, love," Lance sleepily said.

Several hours later Marc and Lance awoke to commotion coming from the bunk area.

"Shit, man!"  Chris shouted.

"Fatone, I'm going to kill you,"  JC  shouted.

"It wasn't all mine,"  Joey said in his defense.

There was this big loud fart and Justin could be heard giggling.

"Justin!!"  JC shouted.

"See it wasn't only me,"  Joey said.

"Will someone open a window,"  JC shouted.

"And no one light a match,"  Justin laughed.

Lance and Marc looked at each and smiled.

Shaking his head Marc said,  "It is so gratifying to know my little brother is out there acting so mature."

"You're the one who claims him as a relative.  He's only my best friend," Lance chuckled.

Marc awoke to the noise of the crews unloading the semis as the arena was transformed for the night's concert. 

Lance stirred slowly, opening his eyes to find Marc smiling at him.  Stretching and yawning, Lance asked, "What ever happened to waking to the sound of birds singing?" 

"It has been replaced with the sounds of forklifts and power tools,"  Marc said as he looked at his watch.  "Let's get moving and put this place back together."

After completing breakfast, Pete joined the guys at their table.

"What's up, Pete,"  Justin asked.

"You guys have a busy day ahead of you."

"What's on the agenda?"  JC asked.

"We leave in an hour for a interview, local radio station.  Then you have an appearance at the local children's hospital.  You will be having lunch with a bunch of them.  Followed by a meet and greet at the mall.  Sound check around three, and concert at eight."

"Ow!" Chris said.

"You guys are going to have a long day,"  Marc said.

"I take it you are not coming along?" Justin asked.

Shaking his head, "I can't," Marc said.  "I'm behind on the web site.  I need to spend some serious time today trying to get it back on schedule." 

"Oh, but you are going to miss a great lunch,"  Chris said sarcastically.

"I had to eat hospital food for three months after I woke up, so I know what I'll be missing,"  Marc chuckled..

"Come on, guys, let's get ready," Pete said getting everyone into motion.

Marc worked uninterrupted the whole morning and was able to upload the new, updated web site to the home office mainframe.  Checking to make sure all links worked Marc e-mailed Johnny Wright that it was up for his review.  Satisfied with his morning's production Marc raided the refrigerator grabbing a veggie tray and a hand full of cheese sticks for a quick lunch.

Logging back on to the net Marc checked his mail.  `Oh, great!' Marc said to himself.

From: Sara_10
To: Phoenix Rising 

Hey little brother,

I don't know where you will be or who will be around when you get this.  Answer to your main question is YES it has been arranged.  I will be awaiting further instructions. 

And did you really mean the P.S. part?  I didn't believe that came from you.  What a shock.  And I hope you can arrange it.

Love you,

Walking into the arena Marc found the stage setup had been completed and a crew was working on setting up folding chairs on the main floor.  Looking around the arena Marc spotted what he was looking for.  The area between the upper and lower bowl seating was a wide aisle about eight feet wide running clear around the arena.  Now knowing how he was going to kill the next two hours before sound check Marc headed to the dressing room in search of his bags.  Digging into one bag, he found his running shoes and in the side pocket of the other his running shorts.  Quickly changing Marc left the dressing room wearing only his shoes, shorts, and Nsync security badge hung by a chain around his neck.  Climbing the stairs to his new running track Marc stopped and stretched his legs.  Looking up into the upper bowl Marc started his workout with wind sprints, making several trips to the top of the arena.  With his heart rate now up, Marc started running laps around the arena.

The guys, having returned from their meet and greet, walked out on stage, checking to see if everything was ready.  Ed and Beth were standing at the edge of the stage looking at something up in the arena seating. The guys went over to see what was so interesting.  Lance stopped next to Beth and followed her gaze, spotting Marc running. 

Feeling someone step next to her, Beth glanced at Lance.  Sighing, "Damn, that is one beautiful hunk of man," Beth said while sneaking a sideward glance at Lance.

Lance smiled slightly as he watched his man run with the graceful stride of an antelope.  His arms and legs moved in perfect unison.  Every muscle seemed to flow under what appeared to be Marc's translucent skin, which glowed with the sheen of perspiration. 

"How long has he been running?" JC asked.

"The setup crew said he started running  a little after one," Ed said, while watching Marc.

"We've been here half an hour and he has kept up that same pace.  Shit, that man loves to run,"  Beth said to Lance.  "And, hun, if for any reason you two ever break up I know there are at least a dozen women and men here in this arena that would love to take him off your hands."

Lance just grinned at the statement.

Beth grabbed Ed's arm pulling him back stage. 

"Damn, Beth.  What's the big rush?"

"Hun, we need to find a quiet spot,"

"Why?"  Ed asked.

"I'm so damn hot .  If I don't get some right now, I'm going to scream."

Lance continued to watch Marc run.  Pete came up to him. "If we are ever going to get this sound check done we need to get Marc down here on the stage.  Lance, can you get his attention and get him down here?" Pete asked.

"Sure,"  Lance said as he went to center stage and picked up a microphone.  Waving at the sound engineer, who nodded his understanding and turned the mic on.  "Marc. . . .Hey, Marc. . . . Marc it's time to stop running,"  Lance said into the mic getting no response.  "Marc Newman!  Get your ass down on this stage!" Lance finally shouted. 

Marc's concentration was broken by Lance's shout.  Looking down onto the stage Marc recognized the guys and smiled and ran full force into a pillar.

"Oh, my God!" Lance shouted as he watched Marc hit the pillar and go down.  Running off stage Lance headed to where Marc had gown down, followed close behind by Pete and the guys.

Pete had his radio to his mouth shouting, "We need the Med Tech to the upper bowl stat.  We have a man down."

Lance was the first to reach Marc.  Marc lay motionless on the ground with blood running from his nose and mouth.  "Oh, God NO!" Lance cried as he dropped to his knees beside Marc's head.  Reaching with shaking hands, Lance checked for a pulse on Marc's neck. 

The others arrived seconds later.

"Oh, shit," Chris said.

"Is he. . . " Justin choked.

"There's a pulse,"  Lance said with relief.

"He doesn't seem to be breathing," JC pointed out.

Joey stared in horror at Marc's body, not able to take his eyes off Marc's bloody face.  Finally, his horror turned to anger.  "Where is that fucking Med Tech?" he shouted.

"I'm right here!  Everyone move back,"  Steve, the Med Tech shouted.  Dropping to his knees Steve opened his supply case and put on a pair of rubber gloves.  "What happened?"

"Marc was running and ran into the pillar,"  Pete said.

"Has he been out the whole time?"  Steve asked.

"Yes,"  Lance said in distress.  "Please help him, I don't think he is breathing."

Putting his stethoscope to his ears, Steve checked Marc's breathing and heart sounds.

"Shouldn't you be doing CPR?" Joey asked.

Shaking his head Steve said, "No, that won't help any."

"Oh no. . . ." Lance wailed.

Placing a hand on Lance's arm, Steve looked into Lance's eyes and said, "He is breathing on his own.  Though it is very shallow, he is breathing on his own. "

Just at that moment, Marc took a deep breath and moaned with pain. 

"Marc," Lance cried out.

Marc's eyes slowly opened, then a sharp pain hit Marc and he cried out, "Damn that hurts!"

"Try to lay still," Steve said.

Marc's eyes finally were able to focus on Lance's tear streaked face.  "What's wrong?" Marc asked then winced in pain.

"Marc, do you remember what happened?" Steve asked.

Looking to Steve, "I think I hit something," Marc answered.

Chuckling, Steve said, "You sure did.  You ran into the building.  And the building won."

Lance sniffled and Marc looked at him.  Lance brought his sleeve up to wipe his nose.  "James, you're bleeding."  Marc said with concern seeing the blood on Lance's hand.

"It's not mine," Lance said as he looked at his hand, becoming transfixed on the blood.

Seeing the color drain from Lance's face Marc reached over, took his hand in his, and squeezed it tight.

"Does anything hurt?"  Steve asked.

"Just my face."

"Do you think you can sit up?"

"Yeah, sure," Marc said as he used his grip on Lance's hand as leverage.

"Just sit there for a minute," Steve said.  "Do you feel dizzy?"

"No.  I'm alright."

"Let's get you down to first aid and get you cleaned up,"  Steve said as he closed his supply box.

With Steve on one side and Lance on the other, they walked him down the steps and back stage to the first aid station.

Helping Marc up onto the examination table Steve turned to the group that had followed them.  "Please wait outside,"  Steve asked them.

Marc saw the concern and fear on the faces of his friends.  "Steve, let them stay, please?" Marc softly asked.

Looking at the guys,  "Your four can stay, everyone else out!"  Steve ordered.  Turning his attention back to Marc, "Lay back and let me take a look at your nose and mouth."

After a few minutes of poking, prodding, looking up Marc's nose and in his mouth Steve finally said, "Ok."

"Well?"  Lance asked.

"He's fine.  His nose isn't broken and the cut in his mouth won't need stitches,"  Steve said.  Taking a box of antiseptic wipes he handed it to Lance.  "Here, make yourself useful and clean him up."

Lance took a wipe and started to gently clean the dried on blood from Marc's cheek and chin.   Looking up at Lance, Marc softly said,  "James, I'm not going to break.  You can rub harder."  Lance smiled weakly and put more pressure behind his strokes.

Steve returned with a swab.  "Open your mouth," he asked Marc.

Marc opened his mouth and Steve swabbed the cut on the inside cheek.

"There," Steve said.

Smacking his lips Marc smiled and said, "Banana."

"Yeah, the same stuff dentist use to numb your gums before he gives you the Novocain.  It will take the pain away and help control any bleeding."

"Do you have any for my nose?"  Marc asked.

Chuckling Steve said, "No.  You will just have to take some aspirin."

"Anything else?"  Marc asked as he sat up.

"Yeah, go take a shower and put some clothes on.  You're turning too many heads running around like that.  And I don't need any more people walking into posts,"  Steve said as he gave Marc a good look over. "And take it easy the rest of today."

"Can't I play in the band?"  Marc asked.

Steve thought for a moment, "You can play the concert, but I want you to sit out the sound check."

When they got back to the dressing room Marc grabbed an outfit out of his suitcase and headed for the shower.  Lance followed him into the shower room and leaned against the wall while Marc cleaned up.  As Marc dried his hair, Lance took another towel and dried his back.  Turning around, Marc allowed Lance to dry his front also.  Marc could see Lance was still upset and on the verge of tears.  Tilting Lance's chin up until they made eye contact, Lance broke down.  "I'm so sorry," Lance sobbed.

"Why?  Because I'm a klutz?" Marc asked.

"If I hadn't yelled at you, you wouldn't have been hurt,"

Pulling Lance into an embrace Marc held Lance tight.  "James, it's not your fault.  If it is anyone's fault, it is the architect's fault.  After all, he put that damn pillar where someone could walk into it."

Lance smiled and chuckled into Marc's shoulder and sniffled.

Pulling back, Marc said, "Let me get dressed.  And you blow your nose.  Some how I don't find your runny nose too sexy."

Marc sat with Pete out in the audience as the guys went through sound check.

Shaking his head, Pete said, "I hope tonight's concert goes better than sound check.  Your little accident has really thrown their timing off."

"They will be just fine tonight.  Just give them a little time to get their heads straightened out.  I'm sure they are just upset with today's  incident."

Marc and the guys returned to the dressing room after supper and chilled out until it was time to get ready.  Pete stuck his head into the room,  "Justin, Lance and Chris you're needed in makeup." 

"Thanks, Pete," Chris said.

"You going to be here when we get back?" Lance asked.

Shaking his head, "No. I need to get ready too.  I'll see you all on stage"

"Ok, see you then,"  Lance said with a smile and leaned in and gave Marc a quick kiss. 

As everyone was leaving, Marc caught Joey by the arm.  "Got a moment?"

"Sure," Joey said as the others left the room.  "Are you all right?  Do you need something." 

"I'm fine.  But I do need something,"  Marc said a little hesitantly.

"What?" Joey asked.

"I. . . Ah. . . Need a hug."  Marc said.

Joey smiled and pulled Marc into a gentle hug.  Marc wrapped his arms around Joey and pulled him in tight.  "Joe, I won't break."

"I don't want to hurt you,"  Joey said softly.

"Hugs never hurt," Marc said.

Joey pulled Marc in tighter. "You really alright?"

"Yeah, other than my nose feeling as big as yours, I'm great."

Laughing, Joey said, "I think I've just been insulted."

Breaking the hug Marc had a mischievous grin on his face.

"Don't you need to get ready too," Joey laughed.

"Yeah,  see you on stage,"  Marc said as he quickly leaned in and gave Joey a quick kiss on the lips, then dashed out.