May 23, 2000


     Hi!  A big thank you to all the people who emailed me encouragement during the past week.  It was very gratifying to receive all those emails just for the first chapter.
     Now I'm gonna try to get these out as fast as I can, but (jeez!!) this writing thing is hard!
     I also wish to exercise an authors godly power and recommend these stories:
          Forever by (now, I'm not a BSB fan [hate those guys]) but this story is good.  Very good.  I'm real jealous.
          Intimate Stranger by Diana Martin (I love it!)
          *NSYNC Saga by (fantasy at its finest)
          Model Romance by
          *NSYNC: Lance and JC by Kevin  (he also has a website about Lance and JC. It's real cool!)
          Fate Stepped In by (with 98 degrees)
          This I Promise You by (very romantic)

**Disclaimer: The author does not claim any special knowledge as to the sexual identities of any member of *NSYNC (though he still thinks JC's gay [have you seen the bowling pix in EWonline?!]).  If gay literature offends you or is illegal at your present location (well for Gods sakes get outta there!) or you are a minor, please do not continue reading. (although if you ARE a minor, who'll know?)

Story notes:  I have decided to exercise another godly power granted to authors and rewrite history.  Please note that Justin T.  has lived in Florida since early childhood, his parents broke up when he was four.  Furthermore JC still lives with Lynn and Justin while Chris lives with Joey.  Lance lives with his mom and dad in Florida also.  Mr. Harless and various siblings will remain personae in absentia until specifically summoned to literary life.  The dates may also become a little confused but hopefully you'll still get the story.  (I'm just not good with numbers, dammit! *lol*)

Chapter 2

     Friend.  The word brought forth strange echoes in Justin's head.

     Justin still could not quite classify what Tristan meant to him.  They had seen each other again tonight after eight years of ... what?  Separation?  They had been best friends since Justin and his mom moved to Orlando all those years ago.  And then, when the MMC thing came, they just... drifted apart. His mom and Tristan's mom were still friends but somehow the two of them never crossed paths in eight years.

     He really wasn't sure now what caused them to stop being friends.  It seemed that one day they just decided to stop speaking to each other.  Yet...

     Tonight.  It was so easy, so comfortable to be with Tristan.  The old rapport, the connection between them, that instant understanding didn't seem to have faded with the passage of time.  Old friend.

     He was torn out of his musings by JC's fingers snapping in his face.  He realized JC had been trying to get his attention for quite some time.

     "Hello?" snap-snap  "Earth to Justin." snap-snap "You there man?" snap-snap-snap

     "I was jus' thinkin'."  He replied defensively, guilty because he'd been ignoring JC.

     "You were jus' sleepin's what you mean."  JC said with a grin.

     "Well?  Whaddya want?"  He replied testily.

     "Big duh!  We're here."  JC grinned again, then asked curiously, "Who was that guy you were with a while back?"

     "I told you.  He's an old friend."  Justin replied while looking around the parking lot, wondering where exactly here was.

     "So why have I never seen him before?"  JC persisted.

     "But you have," Justin replied, "though you prob'bly wouldn't remember it.  I think it was the congratulations-you-made it to-the-MMC party that my mom threw for me."

     "Just, that was years ago.  Of course I wouldn't remember."

     "Well he was there."  Justin made a move to leave the Jeep but JC restrained him with a hand to the shoulder.

     "Yeah?"  He asked.

     "I just wanted to ask you... what's with the hair?"  JC's sly tone was lost on Justin.

     "Huh?"  Justin replied intelligently  and then he glanced at himself in the rearview mirror.  "Aww shit!" He exclaimed, ignoring JC's frown at the swear word.  `Aunt Mags' he thought to himself, `you are gonna pay!'  Another thought occurred to him. 'And you too Tristan.'

     "Well," he snapped to JC, "don't just sit there grinnin' like a fool!"  He held out his hand.  "Gimme the emergency supplies."  He demanded.

     JC, teeth still bared like a maniac, reached into a pocket of his cargoes and handed Justin an item.

     "This is IT?"  Justin's voice rose alarmingly.  JC just shrugged.  "But it's ORANGE!"  Justin exclaimed.

     "Best I could do Just."  He was actually trembling from trying to hold in his laughter.  "Just put it on.  It's either that or the hair."

     Justin complied but muttered under his breath all the way into the club.  He was still muttering when they approached the table that held the rest of *NSYNC.

     Joey, Chris and Lance looked up as they neared and called out greetings that were lost in the crowd.  JC waved back in response but Justin just scowled more.

     Lance shot a glance at JC and raised an eyebrow.  JC looked over to make sure that Justin couldn't see and then made the gesture that ever since they started meant "Justin Has Bad Hair".  Lance and Chris caught the gesture and began chuckling quietly.  Joey just smiled beatifically.  This was gonna be fun.

     Joey said, "Hey Just, what's with the bucket cap?  Isn't it a little too bright?"  He went on, blithely ignoring the dangerous glint in Justin's eye.  And then he reached out and whipped the cap off.

     JC, Chris and Lance immediately broke into howls of laughter at the sight.  Margaret Lim had somehow managed to disarrange every carefully arranged strand of Justin's hair.  The hat hadn't helped any either.

    Joey just sat there blinking his eyes in amazement.  Then he quietly handed Justin back his cap and said with quiet dignity, "Excuse me.  I have to go to the bathroom."  He made it halfway there before he began to giggle and then howl with laughter.  Justin buried his head in his arms.

    After that, at least in Justin's opinion, the evening just got worse.

     The next day dawned bright and clear, not that Justin noticed.  He awoke at ten, a good night's sleep thankfully having erased any residual bad feeling left over from the night before.  He had left early, driving JC's Jeep back, telling JC he could crash with Joey and Chris.  JC just grinned and gave him the keys.

     He just lay in bed, enjoying the peace of a late morning Thursday.  No screaming kids, no parents rushing off to work, no cars howling past his window, just blessed quiet.

     A quiet that was shattered when he glanced at the clock.  "OH SHIT!"

     He practically jumped out of bed and rummaged through his dresser, putting on a T-shirt, some cargoes and a pair of Nikes before running to the bathroom.  He had totally forgotten that he and the guys had made plans to meet and hang out at the mall at 10:30.  It was already 10:15.

     He sped through the house, grabbing the keys on the kitchen counter on his way out.  He quickly gave the Benzinator the requisite two pats on its cherry red hood for luck and got in.  He popped he key in the ignition and roared out of the garage backwards.

     He almost hit the wide-eyed figure about to cross their driveway but luckily slammed on the brakes in time.  He jumped out of the car, fear hammering in his breast.

     Tristan was staring at the back of the Benzinator, clutching his chest and breathing hard.

     Justin quickly ran to him and cried, "Tristan!  Are you all right?"

     "Yeah."  Tristan grinned weakly, "We have got to stop meeting like this."  He ran a shaky hand across his chest.

     Justin managed a weak smile back. "Are you sure you're all right?"  He put his hand on Tristan's shoulder and added concernedly, "You don't look so good."

     "Well you wouldn't look good either after staring death in the face!"  Tristan snapped, heavy sarcasm shading his voice.

     Justin raised an eyebrow and said with real humor coloring his tone, "Yup.  You're fine, all right."

     Tristan glanced at him and smiled in apology, "Sorry.  I'm okay now.  Just had to catch my breath."

     Justin just smiled and took a good look at his friend.  He had to admit, it was quite change from last night.  Tristan had his black hair styled to within an inch of its life.  A long sleeved shirt hugged his torso in all the right places, banishing the image of the skinny boy Justin knew from years before.  A pair of baggy cargoes and sandals completed the outfit.

     Coffee eyes caught Justin looking at him. Tristan laughingly said, "If you're done checkin' me out I really gotta go."

     Justin rolled his eyes and laughed.  After recovering somewhat he said, "I was jus' thinkin' you dressed to kill, man!  What happened to the glasses?"  He asked, bringing to Tristan's mind his costume from last night.

     Tristan grinned and replied, "Contacts."  Then he joked, "So... you like what you see?"

     "I gotta say,"  Justin replied mockingly, "last night's Tristan had more character.  That was a fashion statement!"

     "Oh you would just love that, wouldn't you?  Me go to the mall lookin' like that.  You'd bust a gut laughing."  Tristan shook his head at the image that evoked.

     Justin walked over to his car and got in.  He waved over to the passenger side door and said, "Get in."

     "Huh?" Was all Tristan could say.

     "You said you were goin' to the mall, right?"  He continued without waiting for Tristan's answer, "I'm headin' there too."

     Tristan raised an eyebrow at Justin's bossiness but complied.  As he was closing the door he commented, "Nice car."

    Justin grinned at him then said, "Buckle up, and hold on.  I'm late."

    Tristan noted the glint in his eye and complied hastily. He knew that look.

    Justin flashed him another grin and roared the rest of the way out of his driveway and sped down the street.

    Tristan gritted his teeth and grimly held on.

    A few minutes later, Justin happened to glance in his direction and noted his whitened knuckles.  With a laugh in his voice he commented, "Too fast for yah?"

    Tristan glanced upwards and prayed out loud, "Just let me live.  Please.  I've been good.  Please?"

    Justin took one hand off the wheel and smacked Tristan on the chest and said, "Idiot."

    "Where'd you learn to drive, New York?"

    "You wan' me to hit you again, shorty?"

    "Oh.  Low blow, Peroxide."  The tonalities Tristan  inserted into the last word were indescribable.

    "Oh you're gonna pay for that!"  Justin floored the gas.

    "Alright,  alright!  I give up!"  Tristan cried in defeat.

    Justin grinned in triumph and slowed down.  A few seconds later he swerved and began hunting for a parking space.  They found one easily because it was early and a weekday.

    Tristan sighed audibly in relief as Justin pocketed the keys.  Justin heard the sigh and grinned at Tristan.  They both got out and began walking to the entrance.

    Justin turned to Tristan and asked, "Meeting anyone?"

    Tristan answered, "Yeah.  A friend.  You?"

    Justin shrugged, "The guys."  Then his eyes narrowed slyly, "Date?"

    Tristan laughed and shook his head, "Shopping!"

    They reached the entrance and stopped.  Justin turned to Tristan and said, "I'm meetin' the guys at the food court.  You?"

    "Second floor.  I guess I'll see ya' then, huh?"  Tristan began smiling.

    "Yeah.  Bye."  Justin turned to go but caught the smile hovering around Tristan's mouth.  It was almost... anticipatory.

    "Justin..."  Tristan's voice caused him to turn around.  He raised an eyebrow questioningly.

    Tristan hesitated and shook his head.  "Nothing."  But the weird smile reappeared on his face.  Then he walked away.

    Justin paused for a moment and went the opposite direction.  He then glanced at his watch and began hurrying.  He spotted JC and the rest of the guys talking in one corner of the food court, trying to remain inconspicuous behind some planters.  When they saw him they stopped their conversation and stared at him.  He waved to them and after a few seconds Lance waved back.

    As he got within earshot Chris commented, "You're late Curly."

    "Yeah," he answered.  He would have gone on but Joey smiled sympathetically and said, "Woke up late huh?"

    Justin nodded.  He was getting a weird vibe from the guys.  Chris was wearing his deadpan face, the corners of Lance's mouth kept twitching up and Joey looked like a stoner who just got high.  He glanced at JC but noticed he was avoiding making eye contact.  He frowned in puzzlement.

    It was Lance who broke first.  He let out a snort of laughter and hurriedly covered his mouth in alarm but the damage had been done.  Chris threw his head back and let out a huge guffaw while Joey put his head in his arms on the table and began shaking.  JC tried in vain not to laugh but he caught Justin's bewildered expression and just could not contain himself.

    Justin crossed his arms and just stood there, a stormy expression on his face as he stared at the four.  Finally Joey managed to calm himself enough to look up but a single glance at Justin set him off again.  Justin spoke, "I hope I'm gonna get an explanation for this.  Like, soon."

    JC tried to speak but could not get the words past his laughter.  Finally Lance jumped up and dragged Justin over to a clothing store and pushed him in front of a mirror.

    Justin gaped in disbelief.  He had been in so much of a hurry this morning that he'd totally forgotten to fix his hair.  His shirt was inside out.  The shoe on his left foot did not match the right and he had a bit of dried toothpaste on his right cheek.  As he gazed at himself in horror he flashed back to the peculiar smile Tristan sported just before they parted.  His eyes widened in realization and then narrowed in outrage.  He thought, 'Payback is definitely gonna be a bitch, Tristan.'  He glanced at himself again in the mirror and at the still giggling Lance.  Finally he couldn't help himself.  He began giggling along with Lance.


    Whew.  Finally finished.  I know some people are gonna be disappointed coz the story doesn't seem to have progressed at all but I wanted to establish personalities and a little background first.  Also, I never knew it was this hard to write.  The whole story is in my head but it's almost impossible to set it down on paper (or disk, as the case may be.)  Like trying to go to the bathroom through a sewn-up bum.*lol*
    PS:  Does anybody out there read Katherine Kurtz?  I would love to read a story where one, some, or all of our fave five are Deryni.  I was even gonna write about that myself but I couldn't think of a believable plot or conflict.