Im surprised that Im updating so soon, but here I am with another installment of MSR. This part is called, Interlude--its not Chapter 56. Ive wanted to write this part for ages and I finally did. This chapter is basically revolves around Lance and Stephen talking about their romantic pasts--its not what happened between Chapters 55 and 56, but just a scene pulled out of their relationship.
Thanks to everyone who sent feedback on the last chapter of MSR. It really made me happy because I love it. Send me some at email@example.com cause I love the stuff :-)
I also have a website where I usually post chapters of MSR before theyre put on Nifty, as well as other pieces of slash: Sweetheart Stories. So go give it a visit when youre done reading!
As always, mucho thanks to Brian, Sarah, Steph, Tony (who writes the incredible The Maze of Moments) and Val for their support and friendship and love :-)
And thats it! Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Dont know Lance, wish I did. Dont know anyone in *NSYNC, wish I did. Be of age to read this and please dont mail me telling me that youre underage. It makes me feel evil. >;-D
My Surprise Romance
© 2002 Gabriella Morrison
There are times in life when saying nothing is better than talking.
And then there are some nights when you need to talk.
This was one of those nights.
The bedroom was silent as I lay in Lances arms and for some odd reason, I couldnt fall asleep. Despite the fact that Lance was holding me, I was freezing cold and shivering like crazy. My teeth were chattering slightly and my extremities--my fingers and toes-- were completely numb with cold.
At any second, I expected icicles to drip out of my nose. This was ridiculous.
I jumped a little. The sudden sound of his voice rattled me.
I felt Lances weight press into the bed as he shifted closer towards my body. The feel of his arms wrapped around my body still made me smile, although nothing--not even Lance--could take the chill off my body.
Are you cold? Lance asked softly, brushing his lips over my earlobe.
I smiled at the worried tone his voice had taken on. A little, I admitted as he tightened his arms around me. Why?
Cause I could feel you shivering. Sliding a hand around my waist, Lance pulled my body closer to his. I could feel his warm breaths sweeping over my face as he placed a kiss on my forehead, before moving down to my lips. Want me to warm you up? He asked between kisses.
I felt my face grow warm as I rolled onto my right side so that I could face Lance. I noticed the thin beams of moonlight that slipped between the slats of the blinds, slightly illuminating Lances face in the dark. His eyes, I noticed, were glowing with happiness.
Sure, I said as I met Lances gaze. Thats gotta be better than turning the furnace up higher, right?
Lance laughed huskily as he wrapped an arm around me again. Right, he agreed. And you know, its, uh...nicer. And with that, Lance ran a thumb across my cheek and pulled me towards him.
Better? he whispered softly, a hint of a smile appearing on his lips. The sound of his voice caused me to blush deeply.
Much, I answered, my voice equally soft, as I leaned towards Lance and rubbed the ice cold tip of my nose against his. Thanks.
He didnt answer me and instead, Lance reached up to run his hands through my hair, before pulling me into a kiss. For the next few seconds, my mind traveled to somewhere pleasant, refusing to come back to reality until we broke apart.
Mmmm, I sighed as Lance gently nuzzled at my jawline. That was nice.
Yeah. There was a serene look on his face. Youre such a good kisser, Stephen.
I laughed softly, leaning into Lances chest as he pulled me into an embrace. I bet you say that to all the-- I paused as I remembered how the old cliche went. --Id say girls, but uh... Lifting the comforter slightly, I looked downwards and peered into the darkness. Im not a girl.
Laughing together, I felt as Lance tipped his head towards me once more and then dropped a few more kisses along my forehead and in my hair, before trailing his lips down the slope of my nose and meeting my mouth again.
The thing I noticed about Lances kisses, were his lips; they were so soft and warm, I never wanted our kisses to end. I sighed into our kiss, running my hands over his shoulders, and smiled once we parted.
Yeah. Running a fingertip across Lances bare chest, I felt as he shuddered from my touch. I smiled, happy that I could get such a reaction out of him. Very happy. I like when were together.
The silence in the room grew for a few seconds, and Im not sure if it was because we didnt know what to say or because we just wanted to lay in each others arms and enjoy the moment. Whatever it was though, I certainly didnt mind.
My eyebrows raised a few inches towards heaven when Lance said my name. He didnt sound like he had a few minutes ago. If anything, he sounded nervous and uncertain and almost immediately, worry spiraled inside my stomach.
Yeah? Absentmindedly, I began to massage his calf with the sole of my foot. I had no idea why I did this, but I had this feeling that something...something was about to happen between us. I had no idea if it was good or bad though and that only made me more nervous.
I heard a small sigh escape his throat. I was just wondering...
Yeah. Wondering. Like...I dont know. He cleared his throat cautiously. This sounds silly, but I was thinking today...I mean...you never told me about your past.
I stared at him blankly for a few seconds. Thanks to the tatters of moonlight, I could see the serious, almost uncomfortable expression on his face.
My past? I asked uncertainly as I ran a hand through my hair, causing my fingers to tangle in a matted section. Like...sexually?
I could practically feel Lance blushing as he responded to my question. Y-yeah, he stammered. I was just wondering. I mean, I know youve told me that you were, uh...a virgin. He coughed out of sheer discomfort and then laughed self deprecatingly. Even my mom knows that.
Yeah, I said somewhat bitterly. Good thing, huh?
Ignoring my sarcasm, Lance continued on. I guess I was just nosy. You know, if you...ever kissed a girl or anything.
By this time, I had shaken Lances arms off my body and was sitting upright in bed. I pulled my knees to my chest and clasped my arms around them. I guess I could have turned on the light, but I didnt want to. Right then, the dark was my friend.
I was a little confused by Lances sudden questioning of my past, but I had nothing to hide. The timing was just...odd. One second we were kissing and snuggling with each other and the next, Lance wanted a rundown of my past experiences.
Well, I began slowly, pulling the comforter over my legs, trying to keep myself warm. I...Ive been with a few girls, Lance. Not like, sleeping with them, but, you know, Ive kissed girls before.
Yeah. Um...let me think... I scratched my head, searching my memory banks for names of girls that I had long forgotten and that alone surprised me. A normal person would remember the name of the first person they kissed. But not me--the first girl I had kissed was nothing more than a past memory, stored and filed away under the not-so-important section of my life.
Okay, Lance answered, his voice barely audible.
I began my trip down memory lane slowly, tracing small patterns over my kneecaps. Well...I was fourteen when I had my first kiss. I was... I paused, trying to remember what had happened to me so many years ago. I was at this party that Cynthia dragged me to. She came back home for a visit and she had remained friends with all the people in the neighborhood. So, when she came back, all these people threw a party for her. I rolled my eyes. And of course, I went. I grinned at Lance. I was being the good cousin, you know.
He returned my smile. Of course, Saint Stephen. Go on.
I coughed. And you know, for some odd reason, someone shouted that they wanted play, Seven Minutes in Heaven--you know, that game where you go into the closet for seven minutes and--
Lance waved me on impatiently. I know, I know. I could hear the amusement in his voice. Go on.
Someone is eager, I said dryly as I leaned over and gently tapped Lance on the top of his head. Anyway, I remember not wanting to play that stupid game, because I was just NOT interested in girls. I never really thought about it, because it didnt bother me. But since I was there, my name went into a hat and all the girls drew names.
Interesting, Lance commented, rolling towards me so that he was resting his head against my hip. So you first kiss was kinda by default, huh?
If you want to put it that way, I laughed, gently running my fingers through his hair until they rested at the nape of his neck. But you know, I got partnered up with this girl that I kinda knew from my Earth Science class--her name was Sheila. She was nice. And you know, when it came to our turn, everyone started to hoot and stuff and we went into the closet and...
My voice trailed off as I thought about what happened. I had been extremely nervous and not because I was about to kiss a girl for the first time. It was more out of the fact that I didnt want to kiss Sheila. I had nothing against her--I just didnt want her. When I closed my eyes, the scene came right back to life before my eyes: the darkness of the closet, save for the swinging light bulb over our heads; the bright blue of her eyes as she stared at me, eyes half closed and mascared lashes casting odd shadows over her cheeks, waiting...
So did you kiss her? Lances asked curiously, his voice breaking into my thoughts. I shook my head slightly, as though I had been in a daze.
Of course I did. And from the second my lips touched hers, I....uh... I felt my face grow warm again. I had always been a world class blusher and this time proved no exception.
What? Lances voice was light and teasing, as though he knew something odd had happened. What happened, Stephen? Reaching up, he gently poked me in the side. Come on...you cant just stop a story like that.
Sitting up, Lance began bouncing on the bed. Tell me the rest of the story! he giggled, taking my hands into his as he bounced, causing the mattress springs to squeak loudly. Come on!
I rolled my eyes. Okay, okay! I shouted, placing a hand over my boyfriends mouth. When I kissed Sheila, I...uh... My voice lowered to an embarrassed whisper. Thought of her brother.
Lance stopped bouncing around on the bed and let out a peal of laughter. Youre kidding me!
I shrugged my shoulders. Nope. I thought of her brother and uh...you know I get when you kiss me?
Resting on his folded knees and sitting on his feet, Lance smiled. The moonlight played off his delicate features as he leaned towards me until our faces were only a few inches apart. You mean like this? Lance asked coyly, as he placed a chaste, yet scorching kiss on my lips.
My throat went dry when he pulled away, staring at me with lust filled eyes and a knowing smile on his lips. Yeah, something like that, I managed to squeak out, grabbing blindly for a pillow to cover up my lap. Anyway...uh...Sheila started feeling me up in the closet while we were kissing and uh...she thought I had gotten that way because of her.
Lance stared into my eyes for all of two seconds before cracking up into hysterical laughter. Oh Stephen, youre kidding me? He fell backwards onto the bed in a fit of giggles, landing on the mattress with a loud thump.
I took that as an opportunity to pin him down on the bed, and threw myself on top of him. Nope. Not kidding, I whispered as I pinned his hands down over his head and began placing small kisses along his jawline. Needless to say (kiss) it was (kiss) uncomfortable (kiss) when we got out (kiss) of that closet (kiss).
Ill bet, Lance chuckled as I dragged my tongue along his Adams apple, before moving back up to kiss his lips. Mmmmmm. Nice, he sighed as we separated. So. His green eyes twinkled. This Sheilas brother--how hot was he? Was he any competition?
It was my turn to laugh as I rolled off Lance and landed next to his side. Of course not, dork. He was just...you know, hot. And it might sound silly, but when I realized I was getting turned on because of Sheilas brother? I almost ran out right out of that closet and back home.
Lance propped his head on his elbow, a inquisitive look in his shadowed eyes. How come?
I smiled thinly, thinking of how terrified I had been that night. Because...I realized that I was gay. And I was fourteen. I closed my eyes and folded my hands over my stomach. I mean, that had to be the worst period of my life. I was a good five inches above everyone in my class and my voice kept cracking and then I realized I like guys.
Oh. I heard Lance sigh once or twice. So, um, what did you do? he asked, reaching out to gently run his fingers along my bare chest, stopping to run a fingertip up and down the center of my stomach a few times.
I laughed bitterly. What could I do? I wasnt about to come out and tell everyone in my high school that I liked guys. I might as well have signed my own death certificate. I looked up at Lance. I mean, I wasnt that popular to begin with. I couldnt play sports and Im not all that smart--all I was interested in was art. And you know, people called me fag just for that. I swallowed. I remember the first time someone called me that--I thought they knew. I thought they knew just by looking at me.
Next to me, Lance grew silent before leaning over and resting his head on top of my heart. He sighed once or twice and then placed his chin on top of my chest.
Im sorry, he said softly as though a million thoughts were going through his mind. He blinked slowly, almost mesmerizing me in the process. I know what Im about to say will sound corny, but...I would have liked you in high school, Stephen.
I remained quiet for a few seconds, not sure how to react to what Lance had just said. Sure, it sounded a little corny, but not that much. There was a part of me that wanted and needed to hear it, if only to make me feel a little more desirable. Thinking about my first kiss had brought back all sorts of odd memories of my past and not all of them were pleasant.
Finally, I looked down into Lances eyes and smiled, wrapping my arms around his bare skin. Yeah? I asked.
He nodded. Yeah. I know I would have.
I wanted to say something--something cute or flirty--but I couldnt. Like so many times when Lance and I were alone, I was speechless because everything that I wanted to say, sounded so inconsequential.
As though he were reading my mind, Lance moved his body slightly upwards and kissed me. My eyes closed as soon as our lips touched and I reveled in the way his mouth felt against mine.
Opening my eyes, I found that Lance was staring at me, an almost mischievous looking smile on his face.
So, he began slowly, as though he had some kind of joke on his mind. How many girls did you kiss, Mr.-Stud-with-the-ladies.
Bursting out with laughter, I gently pushed Lances head away and rolled my eyes. Yeah, right. Stud with the ladies. Silly. I looked at him. You really want to know?
Lance nodded eagerly. Yeah. Of course I do. Im just as curious as the next guy, you know.
Well... I pretended to be deep in thought, even though I could have told you the number right off the top of my head. Lets see...three.
Three? Lances eyes widened in shock. Thats all?
I nodded. Yup, I said with a slight laugh. Three. Not a big number at all, I know. I mean, I did try to date girls in high school--I thought that maybe if I found the right one, Id be able to settle down and stop looking at guys out of the corner of my eyes. I paused and replayed the words in my mind. Heh, I rhymed.
Laughing, Lance shook his head before placing a kiss on the center of my chest. Yup--youre a poet and you didnt even know it.
Very funny, I said ruffling a hand through his hair. And what about you, Mr. Superstar Bass. How many girls have you been with? Mockingly, I covered my eyes with a hand. Do I even want to know?
I was joking around with him, but much to my surprise, Lance grew very quiet. Much quieter than I would have liked him to have been.
Lance? I said a little nervously. Um...you okay?
He sucked in a deep breath. Yeah, Im okay. Just a little thrown off by your question there. He coughed once. I didnt think wed be talking about my past love life.
I tried to crack a smile, but failed. Trepidation filled my stomach once more. Well, uh...I didnt think this was gonna be a one sided conversation about my past. And besides...dont be worried or anything, Lance. I mean, I assume youve been with a few girls. I laughed weakly. Look at how good you are in bed. You had to learn that somewhere, right?
I was rewarded with a blank look. Right. Lance nervously ran a hand through his hair. Uh...Stephen? You wont be mad, will you?
I felt queasy. This didnt sound good at all. I resisted the urge to close my eyes as I imagined the number of women that Lance had slept with being somewhere in the high hundreds.
Nope, I answered, trying to sound honest. I mean, its not like I could have controlled it, right? We didnt even know each other then.
He smiled weakly, his skintone paling to a ghostly white color. Uh...okay. Well. He closed his eyes and spoke the number so quickly, I was lucky to even hear it: Five.
I stared at Lance. Five? I repeated. Thats it?
He nodded slowly and licked at his dry lips, averting my gaze as though he was afraid to look at me. Yeah--five. Two when I was in high school and three when I was on the road. You know...I was just experimenting. I thought that if I slept with some girls, Id get to enjoy having sex with them, but I didnt. I just--I just didnt like it, Lance added as though he were trying to apologize for something unjustable. I really didnt. It was more like... He blushed furiously. I just realized that I really didnt like, um-- Lance looked from side to side as though he were being taped and whispered the next word, --vaginas.
I closed my eyes and wrinkled my nose. Oh ewww, Lance. Did you have to say that word?
Sorry, he apologized, before placing another kiss on my neck. But if you dont even like saying it, how do you think I felt? Having to think of one thing while doing another?
You poor thing, I cooed jokingly, stroking the back of his neck. But look at it this way--youre very talented. You should really tell the reporter that in your next interview.
He batted at my nose. Shut up. You think that was bad? Try, um, loving yourself and having JC walk in on you, right when youre about to-- Lance blushed a deep shade of red and buried his face into my chest at the memory.
I snorted and slapped a hand over my mouth. Oh, youre kidding me?
He shook his head, face still pressed into my skin. Nope, he mumbled, the vibrations of his words sending shivers down my spine. And JC screamed and everyone on the bus came running to see what was wrong. They found me with my pants around my ankles. God.
With a forlorn sigh, Lances eyes suddenly lit up. Or how about this--have you ever tried sleeping in a hotel room thats next to Justins? I never knew he liked guys until he told us--and Id hear him-- He arched a perfect eyebrow at me. How can I say this? In the throes of passion, his headboard banging against my wall and all this screaming--I always thought he was with some girl he met that night. Lance made a sour face, as though he had just drank spoiled milk.
Let me guess, I said dryly. It was him and Harris?
Lance nodded and shuddered with disgust. Bingo. Hearing those two go at is--thats just wrong, Stephen. Its like hearing your brother have sex.
Ill bet, I said, shaking my head, trying to get rid of the image of Justin and Harris having kinky sex. I looked at Lance, whose eyes still held that worried look in them. So...five girls, huh?
He nodded. Yeah. Five girls, Stephen. Thats all--and you know, Ive been tested and stuff. They make you do that for insurance forms and all that. So Im good. He ran a finger underneath my chin. You mad at me?
I remained silent for a few seconds, pretending that I was deep in thought, when in reality, I wasnt. To be honest, I was relieved that Lance had only been with five girls, when I thought the number was going to be much, much higher. And while Ill admit that it hurt just a little to know that my boyfriend had been with other people, the realistic side of me knew it would be impossible for Lance to be perfect.
Of course not, I whispered, running a hand through his hair to comfort him. Lance...I met you only a few months ago. Ive known you for such a short period of time--I couldnt be mad at you for what youve done a before Ive even met you. That just wouldnt be insane--it would be unfair.
Smiling happily, Lance rested his head on my shoulder. Thanks, he said in a voice that was barely above a whisper. I didnt think youd understand. Ive always wanted to tell you that. Always. But I never knew when to bring it up.
Gently, I stroked his back, moving my fingertips over his warm skin in small circles. Lance...give me a little more credit than that, okay? I sighed. After all, people have the right to live a little. Even me.
Looking up at me very suddenly, Lance bumped the top of his head into my chin and looked at me with wide, curious eyes. Um...Stephen? What was that supposed to mean?
I flushed a little. With all the thoughts circulating around in my mind, I knew that I had just said a little too much.
Um, uh... I stammered a little and stared at Lances bare shoulder instead of into his eyes. I dont know if youd call this...living, exactly, but...I dont think Ive ever told you this.
What? Lance asked suspiciously, lifting himself slightly off my body and meeting me at face level, forcing me to look at him. Whats wrong, Stephen?
For the hundredth time that night, I felt my face turn uncomfortably hot. Well, you really want to know?
I sighed. Okay. I stopped for a second, trying to gather my thoughts and when I was ready to go on, I looked into Lances eyes and sighed again. When I was in senior year of high school, I had my first kiss with another guy.
My admission, to my own ears, sounded a little guilty--almost as though I had just admitted to robbing banks and stealing diamonds out of jewelry stores. I dont know why I felt so horribly guilty about keeping this from Lance, but I did. Now I felt a little bit more at ease; like I had just gotten a monkey off my back.
I looked into Lance eyes, waiting from him to blow up--and to my surprise--he laughed. Right in my face.
My eyes widened in shock. Youre laughing at me?
Giggling under his breath, Lance could only nod as he was unable to speak at the moment. Yup. Just--you looked so serious, I thought you were about to tell me you were a rent boy or something equally bad in college. Not that you kissed another guy--you said almost said it like it was the end of the world.
Letting out a sigh of relief, I realized how Lance must have felt when he told me he had been with five girls. My nerves felt like they were on fire and I thought I was about to throw up at any second.
So, Lance said after his laughter died down. How did it happen?
I smiled. Nosy.
You know it.
Biting my bottom lip, I thought back to that day and blushed a little. Well...I had been working after school on this mural for a final project. And I had been working with this guy--he was into art like me, but we werent really friends. He was kind of stuck up and preppie and weird and I was... I chuckled. Not so normal, but we were just different, you know?
Lance nodded attentively and slipped his hand into my own. Yup. I know what you mean.
And for some odd reason, we were taking stuff out of the ceramics kiln. You know, that thing you put unbaked ceramics pieces in for firing? And when I leaned down into the kiln, Patrick--that was his name--
I mockingly scowled at Lance, trying not to smile. I felt him squeeze my hand gently. Do you want to hear the story or not, Mr. Bass.
He bit his lip and drew an imaginary halo over his head with his free hand. Sorry. Ill be good.
Thats better, I said slyly, giving him a quick kiss for being so good. Anyway, Patrick--the name of the other guy with me--suddenly leaned over and kissed me. Just like that. I was in shock.
It wasnt on the cheek? Lance asked curiously as he ran a hand over my chest, pausing only to trace around one of my nipples. Or the forehead?
Nope, I said quietly. It was on the lips. Very quick and very fast. I closed my eyes. And then, we kinda kissed again and I felt the tip of his tongue touch my lips, but my teeth were clamped together so tight, Im surprised my jaw didnt permanently lock into place.
Lance nodded understandingly and ran a hand over my shoulder. So...what happened after that?
Nothing, I said, my voice diminishing in sound. He just pulled away and started babbling like mad. He begged me not to tell anyone and that he was sorry for what he had done.
Oh. Lance rested a hand on my bicep. So did you?
Did I what?
I shook my head. Heck no, I said. There was no way I was going to say anything to anyone. I wouldnt have done that to him--I mean... I trailed off. I...I liked it. But I was so freaked out at what Patrick had done, I couldnt respond. I mean... I cleared my throat. I kinda liked him myself, but I kept telling myself that there was no way he was...well, you know. Gay.
But he was, Lance said, sounding almost wise as he stared at me.
Yup. And I guess I could have responded but I didnt. I sighed again and looked at my hands. I was scared. There was no way I could handle a relationship with another guy at that time in my life. I still hadnt come out to my mom and the only person who even thought I liked guys was Cynthia. But I hadnt even told her yet. I looked at Lance, whos eyes were filled with understanding. What was I going to do? Start a relationship and sneak around?
Lance gave a nod of his head and then rested his head against my arm. The tips of his hair scratched against my chin and just as I was about to scratch it, Lance looked up at me.
Stephen? Can I ask you something?
He bit his lip. How did it feel when he kissed you?
I swallowed. Absolutely incredible. I watched as a slightly goofy grin appeared on Lances face.
Yeah, I answered. I mean, it wasnt what I was expecting by any means, but something inside of me--just knew that it was right. It felt right.
Lance nodded again and leaned towards me, his mouth inches away from mine. I know, he whispered, moving closer so that our lips brushed against each other. I know what youre talking about.
Yeah? I asked as Lance briefly pressed his forehead against mine. How?
Because, Lance whispered. I watched as the corners of his mouth began to curve into a happy smile. I felt exactly the same way when I first kissed you. And with that, he leaned towards me and pressed his lips against mine.
I closed my eyes as we kissed and for the millionth time since I started dating Lance, I wondered how I had gotten so lucky. The question didnt last that long as Lance deepened the kiss, sliding his hands up and cupping my face in his hands. A sigh left my mouth as Lance moved upwards, kissing my eyelids and the tip of my nose, before meeting my lips once more.
Breaking apart and opening my eyes, I was treated to the sight of Lances grinning face, his hands still cradling my face.
Youre not mad are you? I asked a bit breathlessly. About the kiss?
Lance shook his head no, before sliding to the side so that his front was pressed against my back. Uh-uh...actually, its kinda romantic, he whispered into my ear. You know, in a weird way. Gently, he nipped at my earlobe with his teeth. Wanna hear about my first kiss with another guy, Stephen?
My eyebrows dipped into a slight frown that Lance couldnt see. Your first kiss? I asked with a bit of confusion. Um...sure.
Well, Lance whispered, wrapping his arms around my waist and nuzzling at my neck with his lips. It was in this park...with this guy named Stephen and it was the most perfect kiss Ive ever had. And...you know-- I craned my neck a little so that I could look at Lance as he spoke, smiling as our eyes met. --I love him.
We kissed again, slowly and passionately and just as I was about to pull away, Lance placed the soles of his ice cold feet against my calves.
Hey! I yelped, jerking away from him slightly. That was cold, Mr. Frosty! I was all warmed up and now I'm gonna freeze all over again!
With a husky laugh, Lance placed a hand on my hip and rolled me onto my back. Well, we dont need that--how about if I warm you up again?
I rolled my eyes jokingly at his cheesy come on, but when he leaned over and kissed me, every worry and thought disappeared from my mind.
Warmer? Lance whispered as he pulled away, his chartreuse eyes now dark and filled with lust.
Try again, I said softly, before wrapping my hand around the back of his neck and pulling him into another kiss. And this time, it melted into something much more magical and passionate that lasted all through the night.
Thanks for reading! If youre inclined to do so, feedback and let me know what you thought of this chapter! And until Chapter 56, thanks again!