My New Life
by James

Hi all,
Sorry this chapter has taken so long. The good news is the cast is off my arm and I am working at getting my flexibility back. With luck I hope to be back up to speed in another month. I hope you enjoy this chapter. I know it is a long one but it covers a lot of ground. And for those of you who haven't figured out who Angel is yet the biggest clue yet is given in this chapter. I hope everyone is having a good summer. Stay cool,

This story is the sole property of its author and may not be copied in whole or in part without the permission of the author. The posting of this story on any web site must be with the author's prior knowledge and permission.

This story deals with the fictional relationship between the members of the musical group *Nsync and a male fan. The sexual orientation of the members of *Nsync is not known by the author and what is depicted in the story came from the imagination of the author.

If you are not 18 years old or it is illegal in your area to view such material, please read something

Last time:

Chris and JC still stood in the living room staring at Marc's bedroom door. Finally, Chris broke the silence. "What just happened?"

"I think my roommate just kissed Lance and Marc goodnight," JC said.

"Yeah, I think I saw the same thing," Chris said. "And did I see Justin kiss Marc on the mouth?"

"Yeah," . . . . . "Weird!"

"Isn't Brit suppose to be joining the tour soon?" Chris asked.

"Yeah, she's joining us next week in Raleigh," JC said.

"Good. I think Justin needs to spend some time with her."

Chapter 23

Lance awoke and rolled over to find he was alone. Opening his eyes, he looked
around. "Marc," Lance called out.

"I'm here," Marc  answered from the desk.

"What time is it?" Lance inquired.


"Why are you up so early?" Lance asked.

"I had an idea for today," Marc said as he shut down his laptop.

"Are you done?"

"Yeah, all done."

"Well come back to bed. We don't have to be up for a couple hours," Lance said.

Marc climbed back into bed and Lance snuggled up to him. Nestling his head on Marc's shoulder Lance ran his fingers through Marc's chest hair. Lightly caressing his way lower Lance slipped his hand under the waistband of Marc's boxers.

"I thought you wanted to go back to sleep," Marc chuckled.

"I'm up now," Lance said as he cupped Marc's balls.

"I can tell you're up by that guy of yours poking me in the leg," Marc laughed.

"He wants attention," Lance said as he moved to the base of Marc's penis. "Ah ha, some one else is up."

Marc rolled over on top of Lance leaning in Marc softly started to kiss him. Lance returned the kiss and deepened it. Breaking the kiss Lance looked up into Marc's eyes and said, "I think our guys want to come out and play."

"Yeah, they do seem to want to play," Marc agreed.

"We have plenty of time," Lance said with a grin.

Laughing, Marc said, "This is going to be a long day."

It was midmorning when everyone started to stir. A brunch buffet was sent up to the suite.

"Is everyone up?" Pete asked as he entered the guy's suite.

"Yeah, I think everyone is up," said JC. "Lance and Marc haven't made an appearance yet but I heard their shower running."

"If they are showering together we may not see them all morning," Chris snickered.

"See who?" Justin asked as he came out of his room yawning.

"Lance and Marc. We can hear their shower running," Chris said.

Smiling, Justin said, "Cool! I hope they are enjoying themselves. They haven't been getting too much private time lately."

The door to Lance and Marc's room opened and Lance emerged. "Morning guys," Lance greeted them as he went to the buffet.

"Morning Lance, where is Marc?" JC asked.

"He'll be out in a sec. He was packing his backpack," Lance said as he sat down.

Marc emerged carrying his backpack dressed as a member of their band.

"Morning Marc," Justin said after swallowing his mouthful of cereal. "I see you are ready to go to work."

"Work is the main focus today," Marc said as he sat down next to Lance with his breakfast.

Pete cleared his throat. "Guys, we've heard from Leno's people this morning. It seems they got wind of what was going on with Letterman. They want equal time, so we've been offered a third segment."

"Can we pull it off?" Joey asked.

Pete looked to Marc for the answer.

"Their band is good but there is not enough time for them to learn a new number. We can do it only if we take everyone from Letterman," Marc said.

"Is there enough time?" Lance asked.

"It will be tight. You will need to have transport waiting for us. We can breakdown and be loaded in fifteen minutes," Marc said.

"Ok, I'll get with them and let them know what's coming down," Pete said.

As they were finishing breakfast, there was a knock at the door.

"I'll get it," Justin said getting up. At the door, a member of their security handed Justin  an envelope.

"Who was it?" Chris asked as Justin returned.

"A delivery for Marc," Justin said as he handed Marc the large envelope.

Marc opened the envelope and glanced in. Flipping through the pages inside Marc smiled, pleased at what he saw. Closing the envelope Marc handed it to Pete.

"What's this?" Pete asked.

"A little surprise for the producer, Gale. When you feel the time is right hand her that."

"What is it?" Lance asked.

Marc grinned at everyone at the table. "My résumé," Marc said. "I just wanted her to know who the kid is."

Everyone broke into big grins. "I like it," Pete said.

*Nsync's support staff arrived at the Ed Sullivan Theater just after noon. Marc led the group of musicians into the theater. Security stopped them and asked them for their ID. After several quick calls upstairs, they were allowed to continue.

The arrival time was planned to coincide with the lunch break of Letterman's staff. As they entered the theater, Marc raised the headset from around his neck and placed it on his head. Reaching behind his back, Marc activated the radio. " We're in and there is no one around.  Let's get moving."

Truck doors flew open on two moving vans and an army of workers started to unload equipment. Marc had figured they had maybe fifteen minutes before someone was called down to find out what was going on. Luckily chairs had been set up for *Nsync's band. A large cart loaded with the larger instruments was rolled onto stage. Marc grabbed his keyboards and started setting them up. At five minutes into the exercise Brian called out "Five minutes."

 "Ten minutes," call found empty instrument cases being loaded onto the cart and the musicians taken their places. *Nsync's sound engineers moved in, placing their microphones in the right place, and running feed lines to their mixing boards.

"Fifteen minutes," call found the band ready to go. Marc was receiving reports from *Nsync's staff posted through out the building. "We have movement," came a report. "Any idea who?" Marc asked.

"Looks like the production staff. Oh, Marc. Your favorite producer is among them."

"Thanks," Marc said. Switching to a second channel Marc added, "Control, we have producers on the move.  Cue Pete and the guys."

"Roger that. They are on the move," control reported.

Marc played a C, on his keyboard indicating it was time to tune their instruments. Marc picked up his trumpet and joined the others tuning his instrument. As the production staff entered the theater, Marc stepped before the band and started to direct the band through their warm-ups.

"What's happening?" JC asked Pete.

"They are into their warm-ups," Pete reported. "The production staff has arrived and is trying to get Marc's attention."

"What's Marc doing?" Justin asked.

"Marc is ignoring them," Pete said after getting a report over his cell. Looking out the window of the limo, he said, "We're here."

Security moved in, clearing a path through the crowd of fans. Pete and the guys made a dash for the stage door.

Marc had everyone hold the last note for what seemed like forever. As the note ended, an irritating noise could be heard behind him.

"What the hell do you all think you are doing here," Gale shouted.

Marc slowly turned and looked at the production staff. Calmly, Marc answered,

"Preparing for today's show."

"Why are you here so early?"

"We never got to discuss out technical requirements at our last meeting," Marc pointed out. "It's going to take some extra time for your people to get set." Marc put a hand to his ear as he listened to his headset. Turning to the band, Marc announced, "*Nsync has arrived. We'll start with Tearin' up my Heart when they are ready."

Turning his attention back to Gale, Marc asked, "Our people are ready. Are yours?"

Gale was livid and was about to go off when she saw *Nsync walk in with David Letterman. "Lunch is over. Get everyone back here. We have a show to do," Gale barked.

Marc looked off stage and saw all his friends grinning at him. Marc gave them a wink then turned back to the band.

The guys quickly got their equipment on then went out for sound check. At that point, Brian took over as the band leader. Marc stepped back and joined the band taking up position in the brass section. Brian first let the guys hear the new sound with the expanded band, going through all three songs and giving Letterman's people time to get ready. With the second run through, the band was joined by *Nsync. They ran through each song, the guys doing their choreography giving the director a chance to block his shots. One more run through was needed to check everything before the show. Paul Shaffer and his band came in and took a seat with the production staff watching the final run through. At the end of the sound check the guys got applause from everyone in the theater.

Justin was acting rather hyper at the end. He was bouncing around the stage wanting to do more. None of the other guys knew Justin had been recruited to get stage two of the plan in motion.

"Justin, what's with you?" JC finally asked.

"I want to do more. Marc, how about some of the stuff you guys did last night."

"Which one?" Marc asked as he came center stage with the guys. Lance had a puzzled look on his face. Marc smiled and gave him a wink.

"Night Shade was awesome," Justin said with enthusiasm.

"Good choice," Marc said. Raising his trumpet to his mouth, Marc started with a trumpet solo.

Pete had taken a seat behind Gale and Paul Shaffer. As the band joined Marc, the sound caught everyone's attention. The band had achieved their goal as they blew the roof off the theater. And the effect of Marc's last note, bent so high all the dogs in New York could hear it, brought everybody to their feet.

Even Gale was on her feet applauding. "Who is that guy?" she said to no one in particular.

Knowing that was his cue, Pete handed Gale Marc's résumé.

"What's this?" Gale asked.

"The answer to your question," Pete said with a smile.

For their next number, Marc moved to his keyboards. Justin picked up a hand mic and joined Marc at the keyboards. Marc started playing a soft jazz piece and Justin joined in, scatting counterpoint to Marc's keyboard. As they dueled back and forth, more of the band joined in.

Chris leaned into JC and whispered, "When did Curly learn to do that?"

Shaking his head, JC said, "I didn't have any idea he could do that." "Damn, those two are good."

"Shit!" Gale said as she finished reading the résumé. "Is this for real?"

"Every word," Pete said.

Paul, who had been reading over Gale's shoulder, started to chuckle. "The big question, Gale, is why haven't you booked him on the show? You're slipping girl. I saw his PBS special, and I don't think any of that information is in any way exaggerated."

Finishing up the fourth song, the director broke in over the loudspeaker,  "Half hour to show. We need *Nsync into makeup. Paul, we need a sound check as quickly as you can get ready."

"We'll be ready in five," Paul shouted. As his musicians got ready, Paul walked over to the *Nsync band. Offering his hand, Paul said, "Marc, welcome to Late Night. My name is Paul, eating crow, Shaffer."

Shaking Paul's offered hand, Marc grinned. "Funny you don't look Native American," Marc laughed.

"I'm not. Just Canadian," Paul said with a hearty laugh. "Were those numbers yours?"

"Yes, they are."

"Impressive. Not only are you a remarkable classical composer but your talent also covers rock and jazz. With that kind of talent you should go far in this business."

The band was watching the opening monologue from the green room. Marc looked up as the guys came in fresh from makeup and wardrobe. Going over to Marc, they each gave him a high five and a hug, congratulating him on his flawless payback.

JC turned to the band and loudly said, "You guys were fantastic. We congratulate you all on a job well done."

Marc spoke up, "I just got a note from Paul Shaffer and signed by the producer asking us to play during one of the  commercial breaks."

"Do you know what break," Joey asked.

"Yeah, between your third and fourth segment."

"What are you going to play?" Lance asked.

Before Marc could answer, Justin jumped in, "You have to do Night Shade. That is so hot."

Marc looked at the band and saw nodding heads agreeing with Justin. "Well, Night Shade it will be," Marc agreed.

The segment after Dave's monologue was devoted to comedy bits with Paul and, of course, the top ten list. Because the audience was ninety-five percent female and under twenty-five, David didn't try to bring out a boring guest. Instead he made the wise decision to give the remainder of the show over to *Nsync.

At the last minute, the guys decided to reverse the order of the songs starting out with God Must Have Made. They chatted with Dave for the remainder of that segment and again threw through the whole next segment. The third segment featured the guys doing, Girl That Has Everything. The *Nsync band played them into commercial. Coming out, the audience was so excited. Marc now understood about the play list change at the last minute. The guys ended the show with Tearin' up
my Heart.

As the closing credits were rolling, the band was quietly packing up. As soon as word came from the control booth that they were clear an army of workers moved in, packing everything.

Marc placed his backpack over his shoulder as he took one last look at his friends still talking with fans as he headed out.

Signing his last autograph, Lance turned to say something to Marc but he found the band had already left.

The band had setup and gone through its first sound check. Brian, Marc and Kevin Eubanks were chatting when word of *Nsync's arrival came over his headset.

"*Nsync has arrived," Marc announced.

"This is going to be close," Brian said as he looked at his watch.

"Sound. We need them on stage five minutes ago," Marc said into his headset.

As the guys came trotting on stage, Marc stepped in front of the band. "Ok, people. We are short on time. We will start with the first half of Tearin'. Then we will only have time for part of God  Must Have. Control, you ready?"

"Let's do it," came a voice from control.

"Thanks," boomed the voice from the control booth." We will be sitting the audience as soon as we can clear the stage."

Everybody made their way backstage, the band going to the green room and *Nsync went to their dressing room. As Lance passed the green room, he looked in and saw Marc in a heated discussion with Brian and one of the producers.  Stepping in, Lance went over to find out what was going on.

"Marc, be reasonable. We did it on Letterman," Brian pleaded.

"Brian, you know why we did it. We did it to get back at that bitch of a producer," Marc almost shouted. "And now we are here to promote *Nsync, not me."

Marc looked past Brian and spotted Lance standing there with concern written over his face. Taking a cleansing breath, Marc calmly said, "I'm flattered for the offer. But I'm here to back up *Nsync. If sometime down the line you want me appear as a guest I will consider it."

"We still would like to hear for ourselves what you did at Letterman's," the producer said. "Maybe after the show?"

Marc sighed, "I will think about it."

"Please do. We really want to hear your work," the producer said as he turned to leave.

"Marc, you should do it," Brian said. "It can't hurt your career."

Marc sighed and went to get a bottle of water.

Lance followed Marc. "You all right?" Lance asked softly.

"You shouldn't be here," Marc whispered. Then he turned and walked out of the room. Lance stood there stunned. Marc had never acted that way before.

Returning to the dressing room Lance sat down still trying to figure out what just happened.

There was a knock at the door and Marc walked into *Nsync's dressing room. Going over to Lance, he reached down and took Lance's hand pulling him to his feet he headed into the bathroom with Lance in tow. As Marc passed Joey, he handed him his headset and radio.

"Hi, Marc," Joey managed to get out before the door slammed shut.

Shutting the door Marc turned to Lance but before he could say anything Lance pulled away. "What the hell was that all about," Lance demanded.

"I need to explain something," Marc said.

"You damn well better explain. Why did you say I shouldn't be there?" Lance demanded.

"James, your coming into the room was drawing attention to our relationship," Marc said.

"What? How could just coming into a room draw attention?"

"You came in to find out what was happening with me. The group didn't come in, . . just you."


"You were showing concern for me in public," Marc pointed out.

"I was? I thought I was just finding out what the heated discussion you were having was about."

"But when the discussion was ended you followed me."

"I wanted to know you were all right," Lance said.

"Lance, I am only a member of your band. What difference would it make to you if I was all right."

"Because I love you," Lance snapped.

Marc looked at Lance for a long moment. "And where were we?"

"In the green room."

"In the NBC studio," Marc pointed out. "Where there are people you're company does not control."

"Oh," Lance said finally seeing the point. "There were other people there, weren't there?"

"Yes, besides your own band, there were the imports and some of Leno's staff."

"And I tried to have a private conversation with you in front of everyone," Lance said softly.

"James, we have been lucky as far as being relaxed with each other when we are working. Our staff know about us. The touching and the private exchanges between us is not a big deal. But outside that bubble we have to be doubly cautious. We have not been as cautious as we should have been."

"Has someone said something about us?" Lance asked.

Marc nodded. "The other night at the club. Lesley asked if I was gay and if you were my boyfriend."

"Shit! What did you tell her?"

"Nothing. I just kept changing the subject," Marc said

"Did she give up?"

"No, by not answering her questions I'm afraid I answered her questions."

"What was her reaction?"

"She was cool with it," Marc said.

"Does anyone know what's going on?" JC asked.

"Not a clue," Joey said.

"Are they fighting?" Chris asked.

"I hope not," Justin said. "Life on tour would be unbearable if they are."

The door opened and Lance and Marc came out.

"Is there a problem?" JC asked.

Lance looked at Marc before answering, "Yeah, it seems my feelings toward Marc have not been too well hidden. He pointed out a couple things that happened today that could raise questions."

"Is it something we should worry about?" Joey asked as he handed Marc his headset and radio.

"I don't think so," Marc said as he went to the door. Placing his hand against the door, he leaned into Lance. "Have a good show," then Marc kissed Lance.

"K, will I see you after the show?" Lance asked.

Marc thought for a second. "Back at the hotel. OK?"

Lance nodded. "What about playing after the show?"

Marc smiled, "I'm still thinking about it."

The show went off with out a hitch. The guys seemed more relaxed as they talked with Jay. Even the question of their love lives was handled with good humor. The focus turned to Justin and his friendship with  Britney Spears. He handled himself well, acknowledging their friendship but not offering anything else. After performing their last number, Jay joined them on stage congratulating them on a great performance. As the closing credits were rolling the guys moved into the audience to meet and talk with their fans.

Kevin Eubanks and the Tonight Show Orchestra was playing the closing theme song. Marc stood at his keyboard deep in thought. Glancing up he noticed all the *Nsync band looking at him, waiting for his decision.

Marc sighed. Picking up his trumpet Marc took up position in front of the band.  Looking up at the control booth, Marc nodded.

Ed Hall received instructions over his headset. "Jay, we had a technical problem," Ed announced.

"What kind of problem?" Jay asked.

"Jay, we need to redo the last segment," the voice came from the control booth.

*Nsync went back to their spots on stage ready to perform their last number again.

"We need *Nsync to return to their seats with Jay," the director ordered.

The guys looked at each other a little confused. Justin looked at Marc, saw what he had in his hands, and grinned. Justin glanced at his microphone and then back to Marc with a questioning look. Marc smiled and gave a slight nod. As the guys went back to their seats, Justin slipped his microphone off the stand and took it with him.

A note was slipped to Jay telling him what was going on. Smiling Jay said, "It seems the technical problem is centered with your band."

"We need a sound check on *Nsync's band," the voice of the director said. "Can you play us something so we can reset our equipment?"

All eyes turned to the band as Marc gave a nod. Turning to the band, checking to see if everyone was ready, Marc brought his trumpet to his lips and started his solo. Twelve bars into the number the band joined in and Marc glanced over at the guys to find his five friends grinning.

A boisterous group exited the elevator. "How long before Marc gets back?" Chris asked.

"He's already here," the security guard informed them.

Entering their suite there was no sign of Marc. "Where is he?" Chris asked.

"Must be in the shower," Lance said. "I can hear the water running."

"I can use one of those," Joey said.

"Let's get cleaned up," JC offered. "And then we can go get something to eat before we hit a club."

"Can we find one that will let me in?" Justin asked.

"I think Marc has that taken care of," Joey said as he read the list of clubs Marc had prepared. "Here is a list of three underage clubs. One is marked with a note, `Management is expecting us."

"Sounds like a plan," JC said. "How about we meet back here in say, an hour?"

Marc had slipped into a clean pair of boxers and was sitting on the bed drying his hair when Lance came in.

Smiling, Lance asked, "Is it safe to approach you now?"

Marc laughed, "Yes."

"Good," Lance said as he leapt at Marc. Knocking Marc back on the bed Lance straddled him. "You know how proud I was of you tonight?"

"You were? I didn't do anything special."

"Whenever I get to hear you play something you wrote, that's special,"  Lance said as he leaned in for a kiss.

Marc started to deepen the kiss. Lance pulled away. "We can't start that now. I need to get cleaned up so we can go out."

As Lance got off him, Marc turned around on the bed and laid down on his side watching Lance get undressed. When Lance was down to his boxers Marc asked, "How much time do we have before we leave?"

"An hour," Lance said as he crawled up next to Marc.

"So we don't have to rush," Marc said as Lance snuggled next to him.

"Everyone ready?" Chris asked as he and Joey came out of their room.

"We're only waiting on Lance and Marc," JC said.

Joey went to their bedroom door and lightly knocked. Not getting an answer Joey tried the knob and found the door unlocked. Slowly opening the door Joey looked inside then softly closed the door. Turning away from the door, Joey just smiled.

"What are they doing?" Justin asked.

"They're sleeping," Joey said.

"Do we wake them?" JC asked.

"No. . . . Let them be," Justin said. "Let's go. I'm hungry."

Lance stirred from his slumber, stretching he looked at his watch. "Shit!  Marc, wake up!"

"What? What's wrong?" Marc asked still not fully awake.

"We fell asleep. It's been over an hour. They are going to kill us," Lance said as he leapt from the bed.

"Go take your shower," Marc said as he stepped into his pants. "I'll see how mad they are."

Lance was in the shower rinsing off when he heard the door open and close. "How much trouble are we in?" Lance asked as he turned off the water.

"Well. . . . I'm not sure," Marc said. "There's no one out there."


"They left without us. I found a note from Joey."

"What did it say?" Lance asked.

"We didn't have the heart to wake you two. We are going to get something to eat then see if Curly can get us all into a club. We promise to behave. See you both later. Joey"

Wrapping a towel around his waist Lance asked, "What are we going to do tonight?"

"I thought we would stay in." Marc said. "I've order supper. It should be up in thirty minutes."

"You said we would go dancing tonight," Lance reminded him.

Marc grinned, "I haven't forgotten."

"Since we are staying in. . . . . I thought. . . . maybe. ."

Marc laughed, "We stay au naturel?"

Lance blushed and smiled shyly, "Yeah."

"I really don't want to freak out room service," Marc said. "But I have a compromise."


Marc got a bag out from under his suitcase and handed Lance a pair of white lounge pants and a matching shirt.

"These are so soft," Lance said while feeling the fabric.

"It will feel better when you put them on," Marc said as he undressed.  Lance reached for a pair of boxers. Marc said, "No. Only what I gave you."

Smiling, Lance saw Marc step into identical lounge pants. "This is so soft,"  Lance said as he pulled up the paints.

"I thought you would like them," Marc said. "When I found them I knew we both needed them."

Slipping on their matching shirts they smiled at each other enjoying the feel of the soft fabric against their skin. The shirts were oversized, long sleeved and just draped itself over their bodies.

"Looking good, James," Marc said admiringly. There was a knock at the door. "That must be the food."

"This place is rad," JC shouted to Joey.

"Yeah, why haven't we ever found this place before?" Joey asked.

"Could it be because we always have our own agenda when it comes to going out?" JC asked.

Joey thought JC's statement over for a moment. "Yeah, you're right. When it comes to picking out where to go, Curly's vote doesn't seem to count much."

"I'm starting to feel bad about all the times Justin couldn't get into the clubs and we let him go back to the hotel by himself," JC said sadly.

"How's it going" Chris inquired as he took a drink of iced tea.

"Chris, what do you think of this place?" Joey asked.

"For an under age club it's fantastic. We should check out more of these clubs."

Looking out over the dance floor, JC saw Justin dancing with the biggest grin on his face. JC lets out a big sigh, "We have been together so long we tend to forget or ignore Justin's needs."

"And it took Marc no time to see what he needed," Chris pointed out.

The song ended and the DJ announcing, "Ok, boys and girls you know what time it's getting to be. For those of you who have curfew it's time to get moving. And for the lucky few we still have another hour of dancing."

Their meal over, Marc dimmed the lights put on soft music. Holding out his hand Marc asked, "Can I have this dance?"

Lance rose and let Marc led him into the middle of the room. Reaching up Marc slowly unbuttoned Lance's shirt. As Marc slowly ran his hand down Lance's bare chest, Lance shuttered at the touch.   Reaching up, Lance unbuttoned Marc's shirt while gazing into his eyes. Stepping in, their bodies met. Wrapping their arms around each other, they started to move with the music. No words were needed as they melted into one being, moving as one to the music.

The guys quieted down as they got to their suite, not wanting to wake anyone.  They were met with the sounds of soft music. In the dim light, they could see a table set for two and the remnants of a meal. Off to one side in the dim light Lance and Marc could be seen dancing in each other's arms with their heads resting on each other's shoulders.

Joey smiled at the sight of his friends. Looking down at the table Joey softly chuckled as he picked up the empty bottle of wine and showed it to the others. Everyone smiled while shaking their heads. Quietly the group headed to their rooms.

"Night, guys," Marc said before they reached their rooms.

"Night," the guys chuckled.

Justin awoke to pounding on the door. "What!" he shouted.

"Time to get up," Lance shouted back.

Rolling over, Justin looked at the clock. "Damn! Eight o'clock already.  Josh!" Justin called out. The only response was the body in the other bed rolling over and pulling the covers over his head. "Josh, man, time to get up,"

"Let me sleep," JC said from beneath his covers.

Grabbing clean underwear from his suitcase, Justin headed for his shower.  As he passed JC's bed he grabbed the covers and pulled them completely off. "Come on, man . Lance and Marc are already up. And I remember a big ice bucket out there last night."

Rolling over on his side, JC sighed. "Do you think Marc would really do that?"

Justin smiled, "Do you want to take the chance and find out? Just remember you are not sleeping in my bed because yours is all wet."

Marc and Lance were reading the morning paper as everyone came out for breakfast. Looking up they both smiled before greeting their friends. "Morning."

Joey yawned as he scratched his head. "You two are really chipper this morning."

"Why wouldn't we be?" Lance asked.

"The fact that you two finished off a whole bottle of wine last night and it doesn't seem to be affecting you," Joey pointed out.

"We didn't drink on an empty stomach. And it took several hours to finish off the bottle," Marc said.

"So you two enjoyed yourselves last night?" Justin asked with a sly grin.

Lance and Marc looked at each other and smiled but did not answer.

Breakfast was completed when Chris asked, "What all do we have on tap for today?"

"Well, you guys have a pretty full day," Marc said. "You have a radio interview at eleven. Then Joel wants your bodies for a rehearsal right after lunch.  Sound check at four with meet and greet at six. Then you guys get to go play at eight,"  Marc said with a grin.

"Why does it sound like you have another day planned?" Chris asked as there was a knock at the door.

"I'll get it," Justin said jumping up from his seat.

"Because I'm not planning on going with you all today," Marc said.

"Why?" Joey asked.

Marc sighed, "I'm spending too much time with you all. Sooner or later someone is going to start asking questions about me always hanging around you guys."

"Mom!" Justin exclaimed upon opening the door.

"Hi, honey," Lynn said as she walked in.

All heads turned to see Lynn come through the door. Everyone jumped up to greet Lynn with hugs and kisses.

"Why are you here?" Marc asked.

"I'm here because for some reason Marc and Lance had their cells turned off last night and they weren't answering the phone in their room."

"Sorry," Marc said as embarrassment set in. "We wanted to have a quiet night."

"Well I hope you two enjoyed yourselves," Lynn said with a sly smile. "Because, Marc, your ass is mine the rest of the day."

"What?" Marc asked in surprise.

"The symphony has set up a photo shoot for this morning and you are being interviewed by the local press this afternoon."

"When did this happen?"

"Yesterday," Lynn said as she poured herself a cup of coffee. "If you would have checked your e-mail yesterday you would have known about it."

"Sorry. Yesterday was kind of busy," Marc said.

"It looks like you are going to have another one," Chris laughed.

Marc shot Chris a dirty look.

"Mom, when do you need to head home?" Justin asked.

"Tomorrow afternoon." Lynn answered with a smile.

Lynn and Marc arrived at the Lincoln Center Promotion Office at their scheduled time. Marc was immediately ushered off for a wardrobe fitting, then to makeup. Marc arrived for the first part of the photo shoot in white tie and tails. Spotting Lynn across the room Marc made a beeline to her.

"This is so bogus," Marc said. "This is not me."

Lynn laughed, "Go with it honey, they know what they are doing."

"But I look like a damn penguin," Marc protested.

"Can't anyone come up with an original question?" Joey complained as the door to their limo closed.

"We get the same questions every time. I don't know what you are complaining about," Chris said.

"I'm just tired of hearing the same thing. Who influenced you the most? How is your love life? Do you have a girlfriend?" Joey said mocking the interviewer.

"Ha! What love life," Chris said. "The only ones getting any are Lance and JC."

"How do you figure I'm getting anything?" JC quizzed.

"You spend so much time on the phone with Sara. You're not going to tell me you two are talking about your day," Chris said.

"We do talk about our day. And get your mind out of the gutter," JC said. "We don't have phone sex. Besides, my roommate has that area covered."

Eyebrows went up as all heads turned to Justin.

"So you and Brit are getting it on over the phone?" Joey teased.

"We are not!" a red faced Justin shot back.

"How come when I came into our room the other night you made a beeline for the bathroom?" JC chuckled.

"I needed to go," Justin replied.

"With your cell? And I swear your shorts were kind of tented out."

"Josh, I am going to get even for this," Justin threatened.

"Any time cotton top. Any time," JC laughed.

Arriving at the arena, Lynn and Marc went to the temporary management office. As they walked down the hall, they could hear music coming from the rehearsal hall.

"Do you want to stop in and say hello?" Lynn asked.

"No. I'll see them at sound check," Marc said.

Finding the office empty, they made themselves at home.

"Is there something wrong, Marc? You're usually not this quiet."

"No, I'm just thinking about the interview," Marc said.

"You did yourself proud," Lynn said. "Get a few more interviews under your belt and you won't even need me around."

"I'll never get use to talking about myself."

"You will get use to it. And if you are going to do Rosie's show you are going to have to talk about yourself."

"Were we able to work out something with Angel's people?" Marc asked.


Marc smiled, "I haven't told how we met, have I?"

"No," Lynn said clearly interested.

Marc remembered back, "I spent a lot of time in the hospital after my accident. Once I got my wheels the nurses gave up trying to keep me in my room. One night I was really bored and I went to my dad's office looking for him. He wasn't there but his computer was. After playing around for about a hour I found myself on the Internet. I started looking at chat rooms. One I found was a bunch of kids talking about their problems with their parents."

"Didn't you feel funny talking with kids?" Lynn asked.

"No. At first, I didn't chat. I would log on and just see what the others had to say. About the fourth night, Angel asked me how old I was. When I answered, I didn't know that got her interest. She asked me for my e-mail. I told her I didn't have one that I was using someone else's computer. She told me about Yahoo and how to get an e-mail account and a messenger account."

"Did she tell you who she was?" Lynn asked.

"No. It took me a few months to figure it out. I understand now why she was so cautious about her identity."

"And knowing who she really is you still call her Angel?"

"Yeah, e-mails are never that secure. And with Lance around I have to be doubly careful."

"Why?" Lynn asked.

"Angel and Lance are chatting. After the Madison concert Lance was in the room when she wanted to chat."

"Does she know about you and Lance?"

Smiling Marc said, "She knows all about me. And I told her about traveling with a rock band this summer. She was able to put two and two together and figured out it was *Nsync I was with."

"And Lance?"

"She knew who my favorite guy was."

"And does Lance know who Angel is?" Lynn asked.

"No. Not yet. I thought he would have figured it out by now," Marc chuckled.

"You do know they have met. Don't you?"

"Yeah, I know," Marc said with a sly smile.

Marc finally met up with the guys at sound check. Marc sat in on the drums. Marc also noticed their rehearsal had taken some of the zip out of their dancing. Just before the last number, Marc caught the attention of Brian, giving him the signal to speed up.

Brian shook his head no.

Marc nodded yes. Then mouthed `follow my lead.'

Brian grinned and mouthed `they are going to kill you.'

Marc grinned and bobbed his eyebrows.

Marc gave the regular down beat and started the last number. As the guys sang and danced Marc slowly increased the tempo. Half way through the song, the guys stopped and turned to the band. Marc grinned at them as he took the tempo up another notch.

Slowly the guys made their way back to the band spreading out so there was no way for Marc to escape. Knowing he would be trapped, Marc took a few steps back from his drums and reached into his pocket. Smiling he waved bye and dropped out of sight. Rushing in the guys found a open trap door with a pile of padding under it.  And Marc was nowhere to be seen.

Making their way back to their dressing room, the guys chatted about Marc's stunt and how well they had been had. Before they could reach their dressing room Lance was stopped by a stagehand. "Lance, you're needed at first aid."

"Why?" Lance asked.

"They have Marc there. He got hurt dropping through the trap door."

Lance took off on a run followed by the rest of the guys. Bursting into the first aid room Lance stopped short at the sight of the back of Marc's bloody shirt.

Turning at the sound of the door opening Marc saw Lance and muttered, "Shit!"

"Marc, what happened?" Lance blurted out.

Marc sighed, "I wasn't centered when I dropped."

"How bad is it?" Justin asked.

"It looks worst than it really is," the med tech said. "It won't even need stitches."

Marc winced as the wound was cleaned and bandaged. "Now take it easy for the rest of the day. And stay away from trap doors," the tech said.

"Thanks," Marc said as he got off the table with his bloody shirt in hand.

Seeing that Marc was all right Lance left  without saying another word.

Looking at the others Marc sighed. "I'm in big trouble."

Marc searched the arena trying to find Lance. On a hunch, Marc went out to the bus. The door to the bus was still partially open. Making his way back to the lounge area Marc found the door closed. Lance looked up as Marc came in and sat down beside him.

Marc reached out and took hold of Lance's trembling hand. "James. It was a stupid stunt. I'm sorry for upsetting you."

"You could have been hurt bad," Lance said. "But that never occurred to you, did it?"

"No. I should have practiced the drop first. I just had an idea that I knew would work. I just didn't imagine anything could go wrong."

Lance smiled slightly, "It was a slick trick."

"Yeah, and dumb one," Marc softly said. "James, can you forgive me?"

"I can't stay mad at you," Lance said. "I'll forgive you this time."

Marc smiled and leaned in to kiss Lance.

Putting a hand up stopping Marc, Lance said, "Not so fast there, hot lips. I may have forgiven you but I still am a little mad at you. For that stunt I think a little punishment is called for."

"What punishment?"

"No kisses until after the show," Lance said.


"You were bad. And that deserves a punishment."

"But, James!"

"Don't 'James' me. No kisses until we get back to the hotel," Lance said firmly.

"Damn! That's worse than Pete's punishment," Marc said.

"What punishment?"

"I have to sit out the next two concerts."

Lance smiled at Marc not saying anything.

"Stop gloating," Marc said. "Let's go get something to eat before your meet and greet."

During the meet and greet Marc hung out at the back of the room still amazed at how easily they handled their fans. A member of security came up to Marc and whispered, "Marc, you have visitors."

"Thanks, Jim. Where are they?"

"Management office," Jim answered.

"Rosie, John, good to see you," Marc greeted them. Noticing a little boy hiding behind Rosie, Marc smiled. "And who would this young man be?"

"This is my son, Parker. Parker, this is Mr. Newman, " Rosie said. "He is shy around new people."

Crouching down so he was at Parker's level Marc smiled at the boy. "Glad to meet you, Parker. My name is Marc. You excited about seeing *Nsync?"

"Yes. This is my first concert. Have you seen their concert?"

Marc nodded. "Tonight will be my twelfth concert."

"Wow! You must really like *Nsync." Parker said in awe.

Marc laughed, "I really do like their music. But the main reason for seeing so many of their concerts is I also work for them."

"You do! Wow! . . . . Mommy said I would get to meet them. Do you know where they are now?"

"Yep, they are in a meet and greet right now." Marc said.

Parker's face fell. "I missed it."

"Yes you did. But you know what? I know where they hang out. And I can get you in to see them," Marc said.

Parker's face lit up with a big smile. Looking up at Rosie he said, "Did you hear that, momma? Marc knows *Nsync." Turning back to Marc, Parker went to him and gave him a big hug. "Thank you, Marc."

"You're welcome, Parker," Marc said as he picked the boy up in his arms.

"Marc, I think you made a friend," Rosie said.

"I can never have enough friends," Marc said. "And you know what Parker. In about two months I'm coming back to New York and work on your mommy's TV show for a while."

"You are? What will you be doing?"

"Parker, John will be going away to work on something special," Rosie said. "And Marc will be filling in for John while he is away."

"You are? Good! Than I will get to see you again. I get to go to work with mommy and I will see you."

"Hey, kido, how about we go see if *Nsync is done with their meet and greet," Marc said as he put the boy down.

The fan meet and greet had ended and the guys made their way to their dressing room. Security blocked the entrance to their dressing room. "What's up?" Joey asked.

"Marc wanted me to warn you that you have a very young guest waiting for you all," the guard said. "And you are to be on your best behavior."

The guys looked at each other and shrugged. "Ok," JC said.

The guys found Rosie, Lynn and John sitting on the couch talking while Marc was on the other side of the room with a little boy on his shoulders.

"Hi, guys," Rosie said as the guys entered.

The guys all greeted Rosie and John but their attention quickly shifted to Marc.

`Hey, Marc, who's your friend?" Justin asked.

The boy on Marc's shoulders leaned down and whispered something in Marc's ear. "Ok, Parker, I won't tell them who you are," Marc said with a goofy grin. "What did you say, Justin?"

Justin laughed, "I asked who is your friend."

Marc glanced up. "Oh! Him? My new buddy."

"Does he have a name?" Chris asked.

"Yep. But I can't tell you. It's a secret."

Marc showed Rosie, John, and Parker to their seats.

"Marc, will I be able to see you play from here?" Parker asked.

"Sorry, kido. I'm not playing tonight," Marc said.


"I had an accident this afternoon so I'm not playing," Marc said.

"What did you do?" Rosie asked.

"I was pulling a joke on the guys at sound check. They thought they had me cornered. I was standing on a trap door and was hurt when I dropped through it," Marc explained.

"Were you hurt badly?" Rosie inquired.

`No. I just scraped up my shoulder on the way down. Because I got hurt I also got into trouble."

"Did your mommy give you a time out?" Parker asked.

"Yeah in a way. My boss said I have to sit out the next two concerts," Marc said with a laugh.

"Then you don't have to leave. You can sit with us and watch *Nsync," an excited Parker said.

The guys were backstage waiting to go on. "Has anyone seen Marc?" Lance asked.

Looking out into the audience Chris spotted Marc. "I hate to break the bad news, Lance, but it looks like he has a new boyfriend."

"What?" Lance said as he looked for himself. Marc was sitting with Rosie and John and had Parker on his lap.

"Take your places, guys," Pete said. "Have a good show."

Marc walked into the dressing room. "Great show, guys."

"Did your new buddy enjoy himself?" Lance asked.

Marc smiled, "He sure did."

"Where are they?" Chris asked. "I thought they may come back after the concert."

"Rosie took Parker home. He made it through to the end of the concert but within five minutes he was sound asleep," Marc said.

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

"I'm hungry," Joey said. "Let's find some place to eat first."

"Sounds good, then what can we do?" JC asked.

"John told me about a jazz club," Marc offered. "He said a lot of musicians hang out there and they jam."

"Ah, now I see what's behind this," Lance said. "You want to go and play."

"Yeah, kind of," Marc admitted.

"Sounds good," JC said. "Let's get cleaned up."

"How early did you say we have to get up?" a sleepy-eyed Justin asked as they returned to their suite.

"You all can sleep until ten," Marc told them.

"Damn, why did you have to drag us to that club," Justin mumbled.

"Ah, excuse me! Who did we have to drag off the stage tonight?" Marc asked.

"Oh, yeah. But you should not have let us stay so long," Justin said with a sly smile.

"Again, who spent the last two hours with a microphone stuffed in his face?" Marc asked as he moved up to Justin.

"There's no way I'm going to win this, is there?" Justin asked.

"No, you're not," Marc said as he pulled Justin into a headlock. "Now stop being a pain-in-the-ass and go to bed before I have to kick your ass. It's almost four, get some rest."

"You would never kick my ass because you love me too much," Justin declared.

"Don't push your luck, kid," Marc laughed. "Josh, put him to bed."

JC placed his hands on Justin's shoulders and guided him toward their room, "Come on, Justin, beddy-bye time."

The alarm went off at nine forty-five. Marc rolled over and hit the off button. "James, rise and shine."

"Time to get up all ready?"

"Yeah, and remember we have to pack, too." Marc reminded him.

Lance sighed, "Back on the bus again."

"Just for one night," Marc said.

"Where are we headed?" Lance asked.

"Allentown, Pennsylvania. Tomorrow is a free day with a concert on Monday."

"Are you going to tell us what you have planned for Sunday?" Lance asked.

"Ah, everyone has the day free. You guys can do whatever you want. I don't have anything planned until the evening."

"What are we going to do that evening?"

"Attend a local event. I think you will all enjoy yourselves."

"You're not going to tell me what you have planned are you?" Lance asked.

"You will find out tomorrow," Marc said. "Go take your shower while I get everyone up."

Bags were dragged out and loaded onto the baggage carts. Brunch was served with Lynn and Pete joining them. A leisurely meal was had by all but time was running out and Lynn had to catch her flight home. Everyone said good-bye to Lynn before she got into her cab. The tour bus took everyone else to the arena.

At the arena, the guys switched to a limo as they headed off to their interview. Marc stayed with the bus deciding to put some time in on the web site.

It was mid afternoon when Marc closed down his computer. Stretching, Marc looked out the window and saw the limo parked nearby. Picking up his radio, Marc keyed the radio. "Control, this is Marc. What are the guys doing now?"

"They just started sound check."

"K, they have their meet and greet right after," Marc said. "If anyone asks I'm on the bus."

Marc went back to his bunk and lay down.

Lance pulled back the curtain to his bunk to find Marc sleeping. Reaching over, Lance brushed the hair from Marc's face. At Lance's touch, Marc stirred. Opening his eyes, Marc smiled at Lance. "How was your day?" Marc asked.

"Same old stuff," Lance said. " I missed you not being around."

Marc sighed, "You do understand why I'm doing this, don't you?"

"Yeah, I understand why you feel you need keep your distance. But I don't have to like it."

"You ready to get something to eat?" Marc asked.

Marc watched the concert from the control tower sitting with the sound engineers. Marc was intrigued with the mixing board and asked many questions. Buy the end of the show Marc was working the board like an old hand.

Marc stayed up on the tower as the arena was emptied, talking with the crew. As the crew started to pack up the equipment Marc headed out to the bus to wait for the guys. Pete climbed on the bus to find Marc sitting at the table with his laptop open. "Hi, Marc. What are you doing?" Pete asked.

"Just going over some charts," Marc answered.

Looking over Marc's shoulder Pete glanced at the monitor. "Shit! That looks complicated."

Marc smiled, "It would to someone not into this kind of music. But the end result is something spectacular."

"Do the guys know what you have planned for tomorrow?" Pete asked.

"No, I haven't said to much about tomorrow. They just know they are free to do what they want during the day but they are mine tomorrow night."

Pete laughed, "How long do you think you can keep this a secret?"

Looking up at the driver Marc shouted, "George, how long will we be able to keep this a secret?"

"I'd say until we pull into the school around 8 a.m." George chuckled. "Heads up, Marc. Here come the guys."

Marc closed shut down his laptop as the guys climbed aboard.

"We have arrived," Justin announced with a flourish.

Joey gave Justin a shove. "How about letting the rest of us arrive."

Everyone took a seat as the bus pulled out. Making the slow trek out of New York, Marc sat quietly watching the passing city.

"Marc, what's going on?" JC asked.

"Nothing," Marc answered.

"Something has changed. You seem to be avoiding us. Did we do something wrong?" Joey asked.

"No. It's not anything you guys did. . . . Something happened yesterday that got me thinking."

"What happened?" Justin asked.

"After the photo shoot I was interviewed by the local press."

"Oh! You had to face the dreaded press," Chris joked.

"Yeah, I did," Marc said softly.

"How did it go?" JC asked.

"Not to bad. A lot of basic background stuff. And some questions about how I ended up touring with *Nsync."

"That's pretty normal," Justin said.

"Yeah, I kind of expected those questions. But the questions turned to a more personal nature. Am I married? Do I have any one special someone in my life? That kind of thing."

"What did you say?" Lance asked.

"I told them I didn't have anyone special in my life."

Lance could see the pain in Marc's eyes. Reaching across the table, he took his hand and gave it a squeeze. "That was hard to say wasn't it?" Lance asked.

Marc just nodded. Taking a deep breath Marc said, "Guys, this interview made me realize that as my career starts to move forward more and more reporters will be asking questions about me and my life."

"So what?" Chris said.

"Guys, sooner or later a reporter will want to know more about me then I'm willing to tell. And they will start checking out my background and I'm afraid start talking to people back home."

"What are they going to find out?" Chris asked.

"That I'm gay. It was not a big secret at home or school. I'm sure most of my friends won't say anything. But sooner or later someone will spill the beans."

"Is that why you've been acting so strange today?" JC inquired.

Marc nodded. "Sooner or later it is bound to come out. I'm sorry for dragging you into this."

"What are you planning to do?" Joey asked with fear in his voice.

"Maybe it would be best if I went home." Marc said softly as a tear rolled down his cheek.


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