One Dark Night
Standard Disclaimer: This story is a complete work of
fiction. The author does not know the members of *Nsync or any other celebrities
who may just happen to appear in the following fictitious account, and certainly
does not have the slightest clue as to their sexual orientation. Quite frankly,
the author does not care, although one does always love to speculate! Again, the
scenes that follow are taken solely from the author's overactive imagination,
are most definitely not true, and do not make any implications about the
sexuality of the persons named. On another note, if reading such stories that
depict relationships between men is illegal in your area, you are under the age
of 18, or viewing such stories is against any beliefs you may have, stop reading
and go do something else. Last, but certainly not least, if you are looking for
a story with tons of steamy sex scenes, stop reading. You won't find a lot of
that here either. Now with that said, enjoy the show!!
The two fell into an
awkward silence before Chris spoke up again. "You know, you didn't answer my
"Which question was that?" Jerrica asked in a poor attempt to
"Will you go out with me? No. Strike that. Even better. Will
you be my girlfriend?"
Jerrica's mouth dropped. She'd heard him the first
time, and she was fairly confident in the answer she was going to give. When
Chris changed the question, the answer was no longer quite so easy. "I...I don't
know what to say."
"I'm hoping for a yes."
Jerrica stared at
Chris, trying to gauge if any of this were possibly a joke. "Are you
"As serious as I have probably ever been in a long
Jerrica folded her arms across her chest. If he really wanted an
answer, then she was about to give him one.
Chapter Thirteen: Hitching a Ride
Jerrica opened her mouth to
say something, and then she reached up and smacked Chris across the face before
stalking out of the room. Chris stood frozen to his spot, completely in shock.
That was not the reaction he had anticipated. He watched Jerrica leave as she
headed up the stairs out of sight. Sighing heavily, he grabbed a stool and
plopped down on it. I don't understand, he thought to himself. I
thought she liked me. I thought that's what she wanted. He laid his head
down in his arms on the counter and began to cry quietly.
From around the
corner, I watched the events unfold. Jerrica had stormed past me without even
looking in my direction, and my heart went out to Chris. I crept toward him as
he slowly began to melt down. As I neared him, I was surprised when I heard him
mumble, "Hi Will."
"Uh, how did you know it was me?"
shrugged, still not looking up. "Don't know. I could just tell. I can always
tell when you're nearby."
"Oh. Well, anyway," I continued, suddenly
feeling a little uncomfortable, "I'd ask you how you were, but I already know
the answer. Will you be all right?"
"I don't get it!" Chris exclaimed,
lifting his head to look at me. "I thought she really liked me. I just don't get
"Chris," I said softly, pulling up a stool and sitting next to him,
"she's only been out of a relationship for a week now, and she was with Alex for
a long time. I think it's just a little too fast for her. Give her some time.
She'll come around sooner than you realize."
"You always know what to say
to make someone feel better. How do you do that?"
"Practice?" I said with
"But how do you know she'll change her mind? She seemed pretty
certain in her decision when she slapped me."
"That's her way," I
replied. "When she gets pressured, she lashes out. Usually it's me she takes it
out on, though."
Chris laughed. "I bet." With a heavy sigh, he said, "I
feel like such a fool. I'm so embarrassed."
"Don't be. There is nothing
foolish about love. That doesn't mean it's any less painful when it doesn't go
the way you want, of course."
"Of course," Chris said with a slight
chuckle. "Only problem with me is that it never goes the way I want. I'm doomed
to be alone forever."
"Now don't you start that," I said as I started to
rub my hand over his back. "You are a fantastic person, and just because
Jerrica's not ready right this second doesn't mean she won't be. I've seen the
way she looks at you. She's just as crazy about you as you are about her." I
bent over to give him a hug, and as I did, a strange feeling came over me. I
couldn't place my finger on what it was exactly, but it felt like all the
happiness had drained out of me.
I blinked a few times, trying to clear
my head, and discovered Chris staring at me. "You all right?" he
"Uh, yeah. Yeah. Fine. Now," I said, changing the subject, "what
do you say we get out of this place and go find something to do?"
shot me a surprised look. "Actually, we all were just talking about that a
couple of minutes ago."
"Then it sounds like a plan. Did you come up with
"They want to go play basketball. Joey said you two went to
some park and that there might be a court there."
"Yeah, there is. I'm
not a big basketball person, so I have no idea how good it is. As a matter of
fact, if you guys want to play, we're going to have to stop off at a store
somewhere and buy one, since I don't have one."
"That's not a problem,"
Chris said with a smile. "Justin always keeps one handy."
I smiled back,
but then it faded as I asked, "Are you going to be all right being around
Chris slumped down on his stool. "I'll manage."
wasn't what I asked."
"That's the best answer I can give."
guess it will have to do for now." I patted his shoulder and wandered into the
living room where the rest of the guys were. I couldn't help but grin as I
thought about the prospect of Chris and Jerrica getting together. Honestly, I
could think of nothing that would be better for those two than each other. My
grin widened even further as I realized that for the first time in days, someone
was having a crisis and it wasn't me.
We left the house just after noon. At my suggestion, Chris rode with Joey
and I while the rest rode in the van. It took much convincing, but Josh was
finally persuaded to ride with Jerrica after all. "If I die, just remember it's
on your head," he said as he climbed into the van. I just laughed as I watched
him take his seat, but it gave me a great idea for a birthday present for
It was my goal that day to keep Jerrica and
Chris as far away from each other as possible--if not for their own sanities,
then it was definitely for mine. Furthermore, I figured that if Chris decided he
felt the need to open up, he could do so and have it reach Joey's and my ears
only. As far as I knew, the only people who knew about the incident were, of
course, Chris and Jerrica along with myself. I hadn't even told Joey; it wasn't
because I didn't want to, but because I didn't feel it was my place. The entire
trip to the park was ridden in silence. I glanced occasionally in the rearview
mirror to check on Chris, but every time his eye caught mine he would hastily
look away. After the fourth time, I gave up. It wasn't going to
We arrived at the park after what felt like eternity. I hadn't
experienced such a strained silence since, well, a couple days ago, but at least
then it was different. I was involved in that one. I had some sort of control
over that one. Whoa. Who knew I was such a control freak? Anyway, we climbed out
of the car and walked over to where, surprisingly, I watched Justin exiting the
driver's side of the van. Catching my quizzical eye, he said, "Josh refused to
get in unless I drove. Something about wanting to live to see tomorrow?" He
began to grin, and I did the same. It was nice to know the tension between
Justin and I was evaporating quickly. I had enough drama in my life without
adding Justin to the mix.
After staking out a basketball court and
setting up a lounge chair for Josh, we sat down and had a picnic lunch. It was
very much like the picnic Joey and I had only a few days before, but this time
we weren't alone. It was quite all right; we'd get some alone time later on, or
at least I hoped. We sat around, laughing and letting our food digest, when
Justin jumped up and said, "And now, it's time to play!"
I glanced over
at Joey and shook my head. I absolutely stunk at basketball, and wasn't about to
embarrass myself here. "Why don't you guys play. I'll just sit over here with
Josh and play cheerleader."
"Oh, come on Will! Play with us!" Lance
"Yeah, Will! Be a sport!" Chris chimed in.
you don't play, the teams will be uneven," Justin added.
Before I could
say anything, Jerrica jumped in. "You guys obviously have never seen him attempt
to play. It's hilarious! If my mom hadn't accidentally taped over it with a
rerun of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, I'd have sent the tape I had of him
playing into America's Funniest Home Videos."
said, sticking my tongue out at her. "I admit I'm not the best, but I'm not
that bad. However, she's right. Whatever team I played on would be
at a rather large disadvantage."
Before anyone else could argue, Joey
said, "I'm not really up to playing at the moment. Why don't the four of you
"Whatever," Justin said. "Let's go. How about me and
Lance against Chris and Jerrica?"
"NO!" Chris and Jerrica exclaimed in
"Uh, you and Lance played together last time. Besides, if Jerrica
beats you, you'll sulk about being beaten by a girl for a week and you know it,"
Chris said quickly.
"Fine! Okay! Can we just play already?" Justin
shouted in frustration. "Come on Jerrica. You cover Lance while I cover Chris."
The four wandered out on to the court, and I finally let out the breath
I had been holding in. Joey watched me with some slight amusement. "What? Were
you afraid they were going to start fighting or something?"
exactly," I replied. I was trying hard not to tell Joey what was going on
between Jerrica and Chris, but it was becoming increasingly difficult. I didn't
like keeping secrets from Joey, and I really didn't want to start now. Hopefully
the two of them would sort themselves out quickly. Changing the subject, I said,
"How about we take a walk?"
Joey's eyes lit up. "Yeah!" he exclaimed.
"Can we go back down by the river?"
I shrugged my shoulders. "Why not?"
Looking over at the guys, I said, "Let me just tell Josh where we've gone, and
then we'll head out."
"Sounds good. I'll meet you over there by the start
of the trail."
I waved at him as he walked away. I watched him walk,
taking in the sight of his backside as he went. I definitely got the cute
one, I thought to myself smugly. Turning around, I went to let Josh know
where Joey and I were going and then ran after Joey. Jogging up to him, I noted
he seemed to be staring off into space. "Hey? What are you thinking
Joey jumped and whirled around. "Oh. Uh, nothing really. Just
kind of taking in the scenery." When he watched me raise my eyebrow, he further
admitted, "I was thinking about us."
We began to walk down the trail
toward the little brook we had gone to before. "Us? Anything in
Joey grinned. "Yeah, about how great it's going to be with
you coming with us for the rest of the tour." He turned to me and flashed his
pearly whites, but the smile immediately left his face when he didn't get the
expected expression on my face in return. "Is something wrong, Will?"
wanted to lie. I wanted to shake my head and say no, but I couldn't bring myself
to do it. Besides, Joey had quickly figured me out days ago and would know I was
holding back. "Yeah. I know this seems like a dream come true, and believe me
when I say in many ways it is, but I can't help but worry that this is just one
big disaster in the making."
Joey stopped so suddenly it took me a moment
to realize he was no longer walking next to me. I turned around to see a very
upset Joey staring at me. "How can you say such a thing?" he spat. "How can you
call this 'a disaster in the making?' I thought you loved me?"
I was so
floored by what he said that it took me some time to formulate a response.
"Huh?" I finally uttered. Eloquent, isn't it?
"I just don't get you
sometimes, Will. One moment, you are the most romantic, sensitive, caring person
in the world, and the next moment you say something so incredibly
"Joe, I think you misunderstood me..."
there's a lot I don't understand!"
I smacked my hand to my forehead and
muttered an expletive in French. "Joe, I wasn't talking about us,
I was talking about the tour. Oy vey."
"THE TOUR, Joe. THE TOUR!"
A look of puzzlement crossed
Joey's face. "Okay, you've lost me."
"Joey, first and foremost, I do love
you, and the fact that you would even question that scares the hell out of me.
What I'm worried about is the tour, Joe. I've never really performed before,
especially not in front of thousands of people. The last time I did any sort of
public performance, I choked! If it happens again, it'll be embarrassment times
I sighed and turned away from Joey. I could feel tears begin
to brim in my eyes and I was determined to not let him see me cry. "Will?" I
heard him say from behind me as I felt his arm wrap around my shoulder. "Don't.
Please. I know everything will be fine."
I sniffled a little and looked
back at him. He seemed so strong at the moment, and I felt incredibly weak.
"That's not the only thing that scares me."
"I didn't think so," Joey
admitted. "What else is going on in that head of yours?"
I was about to
answer him when something occurred to me. I began to giggle, which soon turned
into outright laughter. Joey was looking at me as if I had completely lost my
marbles. "I don't know how or why you put up with me," I remarked as I continued
to laugh. "Yesterday I was panicked over what was going to happen when you left;
today I'm panicked over what is going to happen with me on tour with you. I
swear a day can't go by without me being in a tizzy over something!" Glancing
over at Joey, I said hastily, "I promise I'm not usually this much of a
wreck--just on days that end in 'y.'"
Joey laughed. "Isn't that all of
"Pretty much, yes."
"Okay then. So...what was the other
thing that scared you?"
Glancing up ahead, I spied the trail that led to
our picnic spot from the time before. "Hold that thought for one moment. Why
don't we go sit down by the brook first? Come on!" I grabbed his hand and
dragged him behind me at a fast clip.
"Will! Will! Slow down!" Joey
yelled between giggles. "All right! I give up. I'll come willingly!"
let go of his hand and let him chase me down to the brook. When I reached the
clearing, I spun around like Julie Andrews in the opening of The Sound of
Music and belted at the top of my lungs, "The hills are alive, with the
sound of music..." I collapsed onto the grass in a fit of laughter, and was
swept up into Joey's arms a minute later.
"You are too much, sometimes,
you know?" Joey said with a chuckle.
"I know. It's just one of the many
things that makes me interesting." Then, in a calmer voice, I said, "Now on to
the more important things." Joey just raised an eyebrow at me, but he didn't say
anything in response. "Joe, I love you dearly, and quite frankly, I could see
myself spending the rest of my life with you, especially if that's what you
want. I...I also know that right now your career is incredibly important to you,
and it is my goal to find some sort of fair balance between our relationship and
your career. The biggest problem, of course, is the fact that because of your
demographic base, you being gay is more likely to hurt than anything else. I'm
just afraid that the more time we spend around each other in public means there
are that many more chances we'll slip up somewhere. I don't want you guys
getting hurt." As I finished, I waited for Joey to say something, but he
remained silent. "I keep trying to tell myself I'm just being too paranoid,
"Shhhh," Joey said, putting a finger to my lips. He moved his
finger out of the way and put his lips on mine. "You said you love me, right?
Don't say anything--just nod if you agree." I nodded, and he continued. "And you
know I love you, right?" I nodded again. "We will work through this. When you
told us that you were coming on tour, did anyone mention our relationship as
being an issue?" I nodded again. "When?"
"That's the whole reason I'm
coming in the first place, remember?"
"Let me clarify that. Did any of
the guys mention our relationship as being a problem?"
"Will, stop it. I know you make a sport out of worrying, but in
this case, don't. If we have to cross that bridge at some point down the line,
we'll do it together. All of us."
I just sat there shaking my head. "Like
I said before--why you put with me, I will never know. I'm such a yenta
"Never mind," I said with a grin. Trying to
change the subject, I said, "Isn't it gorgeous out here?"
"Nice try Will.
Just try to remember that you're not perfect, and that none of us expect you to
be. I like you just the way you are"
"I know that, but I'll try to keep
that in mind more often." Looking around, just to make certain there was no one
nearby, I gave him a big kiss. "What would I ever do without you?"
would hate to find out," he replied with a grin. He leaned over to kiss me again
when his cell phone began to chirp. "Damn! I thought I turned this thing on
"No biggie," I said soothingly. "Who is it?"
at the Caller ID. "It's from Johnny, but it's a page, not a call." He scratched
his head for a moment, and then said, "I can't make heads or tails out of this,
though. It's like it's written in some sort of code."
"Do you mind if I
take a look. Maybe I can figure it out."
"Sure. Suit yourself." He handed
the phone over to me and I quickly glanced it over. My eyes widened when I read
what Johnny had sent.
It looked like their down time was being cut short.
One of the moments I had been dreading was finally here.
"Any idea what this means, Josh?" Chris asked, showing him his cell phone.
The other guys were just as puzzled as Joey was by the cryptic message from
"I haven't the slightest clue. Lance?"
"I'm not sure, but
unless I miss my guess, eight-one-five-p probably means eight-fifteen tonight.
The only thing that puzzles me is that the message is exactly the same except
this part at the bottom," Lance said. "Mine says 4E, Josh's says 2E, Chris' says
2F, and Justin's says 4F."
"4F?" Jerrica said loudly. "See. I always knew
Justin was a reject."
"Girl, what in the hell are you talking about?"
"Don't tell me you don't know what 4F means? Haven't you
ever watched an old Bugs Bunny cartoon?" Jerrica inquired, staring at Justin in
surprise. "It's an old military classification meaning 'unfit for service' or,
in your case, REJECT!"
"Cute. Very cute," Justin grumbled while the
"I don't know Justin," Chris said. "I think it fits you
"I am not a reject!" Justin yelled, starting to get upset.
He didn't know why this bothered him all of a sudden. Being the youngest, he was
used to being teased and usually took it fairly well, but for some reason this
irritated him to no end and he was not in the mood for it.
"Come off it
Justin," Lance said. "You know we're just teasing, right?"
"I know, but I'm just getting tired of it. You try being the butt of jokes for
years on end and see how you feel."
"Hey!" Josh exclaimed. "You tease us
all the time, and you expect to not get it in return?"
mean, I don't... Oh, forget it! Just forget it!" Justin screeched as he stormed
"Justin! I..." Josh started, but Lance cut him off.
him go Josh," Lance said. "He just needs some time to cool down a
"I don't know Lance. You know how Justin gets when he's
"He'll be fine. Just let him go."
Josh slumped in his
chair as he watched his best friend walk away alone. He felt a twinge of guilt
as he stared at the sky, hoping for some sort of divine inspiration to this
Justin walked along a path, kicking a pebble with his foot. "They just don't
get it," he grumbled out loud. "They don't understand, and they never will." He
sighed heavily as he continued to meander down one set of trails. As he rounded
a bend, he heard faint voices off to his right. Curiosity getting the better of
him, he crept quietly down the path until he could hear the voices more
"Are you sure?" said the first voice.
"Positive. It looks
like this party is over," said the second voice.
"I was afraid of that,"
came the first voice again. "Do you think the others got the same
"I presume so. Man, with all that stuff we have back at the
house, it's going to be a heap of fun to transport."
intrigued. He had no idea what the two people were talking about, but it
definitely sounded interesting. He crept a little closer, trying to hear the
voices more clearly.
"Tell me about it. It's going to take forever to get
all of those guys organized," said the first voice. "With our
luck, even if we left now, we probably wouldn't be ready in time. They don't
move very quickly."
"Don't I know," said the second voice which, to
Justin, sounded vaguely familiar. Had it not been a bit muffled by the distance
and the trees between them, he would have recognized it much sooner. Justin
moved a little closer still, trying to hear better, when he stepped on a dry
branch, causing it to snap loudly.
"What was that?" cried the first
"I don't know. It sounded like it came from the
Justin froze in his spot, not knowing whether he should flee or
face the owners of the two voices. He finally decided to hightail it out of
there, but he had barely gone ten yards when he heard someone call, "Justin?
What are you doing?" Justin screeched to a halt and turned around to find Joey
and me standing there--me with my hands on my hips and Joey nearly doubled over
in laughter from the expression on Justin's face. I had to admit the scene was
quite comical, but I was more interested in why Justin was there and what he was
up to than anything else.
"Uh, nothing," Justin stammered, looking down
at his shoes.
"Nothing, huh?" I replied with a smirk. "Doesn't look much
like nothing. Looks like you were spying on us."
For the second time in
the span of ten minutes, Justin couldn't seem to formulate a response. "I, uh, I
I walked over to him and put my hand on his shoulder.
The second my hand made contact with his body I tensed up. Frowning, I said,
"Justin, what's up? Don't worry. We're not mad at you."
about it. It's nothing."
I shot a concerned look over to Joey, whose
expression was beginning to match mine. "Justin, you know that we can't help if
you don't talk to us," he said.
"I don't feel like getting into it right
now. Maybe later."
I wanted to keep questioning him until he relented,
but I felt Joey's hand on my shoulder. Taking that as my cue to let it pass, I
did--begrudgingly. "Oh, okay Justin. If you say so," I said in a careful tone. I
hoped the unspoken part of my comment--This discussion isn't over yet--was
understood. "So, what's our next course of action?"
"I guess we need to
head back to the house and get ready," Joey said dejectedly.
what?" Justin asked.
"To go back to Orlando," I said with a sigh. "Didn't
you guys get a page too?"
Justin's eyes lit up. "Oh! Is
that what that was all about?"
I nodded. "Yeah. When I saw
it, I suspected that was what it meant, but Joey called Johnny to confirm it.
You guys are booked on a plane tonight back to Orlando."
drooped. "But I thought we were going to stay here for the whole two
Joey and I glanced at each other, trying not to meet the other's
eyes. "Yeah. We kind of thought the same thing," Joey mumbled.
We had made our way back to the basketball court, and our news was not
well-received. "What the hell is he smoking?" Chris asked loudly.
my head. "I don't know, and while I hate to be suspicious..."
eyebrows shot up. "Ha! You're suspicious of everyone and worry about
"That is not true!" I yelled.
"Is so!" she shot
"WHOA!" Joey yelled, jumping between the two of us. "As much fun as
it is watching you two go for the jugular, right now is not exactly the best
time, if you catch my drift."
"Sorry, Joey," we said in
"Well, I guess if we have to go, we have to go. Did Johnny say
why?" Lance asked.
Joey shook his head. "No. Just said it was urgent and
that we had to come back today."
"I wonder what he's up to?" Josh asked
"No idea, but I get this feeling he's up to no good," Chris said
The remaining part of the day progressed quickly. Before I knew it, the time
had come to leave for the airport. Jerrica drove the guys in the van while Joey
and I rode together in silence. He held my hand the entire time; at some points
he squeezed so tightly it hurt. At last we arrived at Washington National
Airport in Northern Virginia. There were still two hours before departure time,
so we let the guys out so they could check in while Jerrica and I returned the
rental car. I had to quietly promise Joey four times that I was coming back
before he would let me leave.
We hurried as quickly as we could, but it
felt like eternity. As we were returning the car, I suddenly got an idea.
"Jerrica, you know how to get home from here, right?"
Jerrica looked at
me oddly. "Sort of. I think so. I just have to go back out to the Parkway and
take that to the Beltway, right? I can get back from there."
"Good. Here's my spare set of keys so you can take the car home."
What about you? How are you getting home then?"
"I'm not," I said slyly.
"I've suddenly had a change in plans."
"I don't want to go!" Joey exclaimed.
"I know you don't," I said
quietly, "and keep it down. You don't want to attract attention."
don't care!" Joey said with a pout. "I don't want to go. I don't want to leave
you!" Then in a softer voice, he continued, "And I can't even kiss you
"No worries, Joe," I said with a smile. "We'll see each other
sooner than you think."
"Even one day feels like forever."
you do have it bad, don't you?" Lance said, overhearing snippets of our
Joey and I blushed. "I guess so," Joey said. Turning to me,
he said, "I'm going to try and fly back up on Monday, provided whatever it is
that Johnny wants doesn't keep us down there too long."
I shot him a
half-smile. "Now Joey, I don't want you going to great expense just for me.
We'll see each other very, very soon. I promise." Joey started to protest, but I
cut him off. "Hey guys? It's seven-thirty. You still need to clear security and
go to your gate. They'll be boarding in fifteen minutes."
with us, right?" Justin asked.
I shook my head. "Can't. Only ticketed
passengers through security," I said, pointing to the sign that essentially said
the same thing.
"Oh. Right," Justin said with a dashed look on his face.
Then, as an afterthought, he said, "You have all of our cell phone numbers,
I held up my own phone and smiled. "Yes. Someone,"
I said, looking directly at Joey, "took the liberty of programming them into my
phone for me."
Joey blushed again. "Just making sure," he
I chuckled. "I know. Now scoot!" I started to push them toward
the security checkpoint, and they eventually made their way on their own. Once
they had cleared through and waved to me one last time, I turned to Jerrica and
said, "That's my cue. I'll call you later." I gave her a hug and watched her
walk out of the terminal.
Joey sat down in his seat and stared at the window. He was trying very hard
to maintain his composure, but it was not working well. He was surprised how
strong his feelings for me were, and why this first separation was hitting him
so hard. He presumed it was because he had gotten used to me being there every
day. He had trouble realizing that he had only met me a week before; it felt
like we had been together for years. Joey was grateful that no one was assigned
to the seat next to him. Lance and Justin were seated behind him, while Josh and
Chris sat ahead of him in the bulkhead. There were only three other people in
the first class cabin--an older couple with, presumably, their grandson who was
approximately seven years old. They were ignoring the *Nsync guys thankfully,
because none of them were in much of a mood to talk to anyone.
stared at the ramp workers wandering around the tarmac getting the flight ready
for departure. In the background, he heard the purser say, "Good evening ladies
and gentlemen, and welcome to Northern Skies Flight 739 with non-stop service to
Orlando, Florida. The captain has informed me our flight time will be one hour
and fifty-nine minutes at an altitude of thirty-five thousand feet. Orlando
weather conditions are partly cloudy with a temperature of eighty-two degrees
Fahrenheit--twenty-eight degrees Celsius. Now sit back, relax, and enjoy the
flight to Orlando."
"Hmph!" Joey snorted. "No chance of
Leaning forward, Lance whispered, "Come on
Joey. It's not that bad. Besides, you can call him when we get on the
Joey's face lit up. "Hey! I can still call him right now!" He
whipped out his cell phone and dialed my number. Soon, his face fell as he
angrily hung up the phone.
"Something wrong?" Lance asked.
sighed. "Voice mail. I don't understand why his phone is shut off. He never
turns it off."
"Maybe he's in a bad spot and can't get a signal?" Justin
interjected. "I'm sure when we get back home he'll be sitting by the phone
staring at it waiting for you to call."
Joey didn't respond; he just
nodded his head wearily and laid it against the window. He was so intent on not
looking at or talking to anyone that he failed to see me walk onto the plane. I
had called in to work earlier and had a friend of mine list me on the flight and
check the flight load. She told me that first class was only half-full and that
I was the only one on standby, which meant there was very little reason why I
would not be able to get on. After the guys had walked through the security
checkpoint I turned and made a dash for the ticket counter so I could check-in.
I crossed my fingers and prayed that not only would the guys board as early as
possible, but that the gate agent wouldn't call out my name in the terminal and
spoil my surprise.
Fortunately for me, luck had been on my side that day,
as no one knew that I was going with them. The gate agent had not called my name
until ten minutes prior to departure which irked me a little, since I knew there
were plenty of seats available. Nonetheless, I happily accepted my boarding pass
and ran down the jetbridge. I glanced at my boarding pass and saw that I was
assigned the aisle across from Lance. Well, that was not going to
do. I knew I was the last one on, so if the seat next to Joey was still empty,
then I was definitely sitting there.
I had to stifle a grin as I observed
the guys in their new habitat. Josh was already half asleep as was Chris.
Justin's head was bent down--what he was doing I have no idea--and Lance was
staring straight ahead. The second I turned the corner his eyes locked onto mine
and his jaw dropped. I quickly brought my index finger to my lips, and Lance
just grinned. He poked Justin in his side, which caused him to jump. Justin
lifted his eyes and caught mine, and his mouth broke into a huge smile. I gave
them both a wink as I sauntered down the aisle, stopping at Joey's row. Clearing
my throat, I said in a lilting British accent, "Excuse me, but do you mind if I
Joey never looked up. "Sure. Whatever."
I gave Justin
and Lance an odd look. I had a feeling he might be slightly depressed, but this
surprised even me. "Much obliged," I said as I sat down. I fastened my seatbelt
and listened for the door to close. Moments later, I heard the slam of the
aircraft door--a sound that all airline employees love to hear. It means that no
one is going to take us back off! I heard the sound of the pushback tractor rev
up as the aircraft began to move backward onto the taxiway. I looked forward and
saw a pair of eyes staring at me. Chris was just too much. I pointed at Joey and
gave Chris a wink. He winked back and turned around. Turning to Joey, I said,
"You all right?"
"Mm-hmm," Joey replied, still not looking at
"Okay, drastic times call for drastic measures," I muttered under my
breath. I scanned quickly around me. The flight attendants were doing their
safety demonstration, so whatever I was going to do would probably have to wait.
Eventually, they finished and made one last pass through the aisle, making sure
everyone was buckled in.
"Flight attendants, please prepare for
departure," said the captain over the loudspeaker.
I smiled. That meant I
had approximately two minutes before the plane took off. I looked around me one
more time to make sure no one was watching, and then I leaned over and quickly
gave Joey a kiss on the cheek.
"What the hell do you think--" Joey started
to say as he turned around, but he stopped short when he saw my grinning face
staring back at him. "Will?" he said in disbelief. "What are you doing here? Oh
my God! I can't believe it!"
"Shhhh," I said quickly. "Keep it
Joey leaned over and gave me a huge hug. "How did you do
"Do what?" I asked, looking confused.
"This," he said,
gesturing at me. "You--here. I...I'm just surprised. Will, I'm not knocking that
fact that you have done something so incredibly sweet, but you really shouldn't
have spent so much money on a plane ticket. I know I was a bit depressed, but I
would have been all right."
I couldn't help laughing. I tried hard, but
it didn't work. "What are you talking about Joe? I didn't buy a plane
Joey was stunned. "Then, how did you get on the plane?"
frowned a little. "Same way I always do. I called, put myself on the standby
list, and since there was an open seat, I got on."
"Just like that?"
Lance asked from behind us.
"Yeah. That's kind of how it works," I
replied. "That's the joy of flying non-revenue. Sometimes you get on, sometimes
you don't. To be honest, though, I have a fairly remarkable success
"Non-revenue?" Joey said slowly.
Now I was really confused.
"Yeah. You know, employee travel? I assumed you knew that was one of the
benefits of working for the airline."
Joey cocked his head to one side as
a light bulb went off in his head. "Oh. So that's what you
I began to laugh. I pulled on my badge, which was attached to a
retractable string, and showed him the goofy picture on my employee
identification. "Yep. Afraid so. I work in reservations. That's where I've been
running off to every night. Why are you all so surprised? I thought I told you
"No," Lance said. "I think you tried to once or twice, but
you always got cut off by something."
"Well, now you know," I said. I
would have said more, but I felt the plane start to move swiftly down the
runway, so I sat back and waited for the plane to lift off. Joey had taken my
hand in his, and as the plane started to leave the ground, I felt his grip
tighten. "You okay, Joe?"
Joey nodded. "Yeah. I'm just not wild about
I gave him a small smile. "I understand. You do get used to it
after a while. Half the time, I fall asleep before takeoff and don't even
realize anything has happened until we're halfway there." Joey laughed, and we
fell silent until the plane leveled off and the captain turned off the 'Fasten
Seatbelt' sign. "So, do you like this surprise?"
exclaimed. "Although I am curious about one thing." I raised my eyebrow and
waited. "Okay, so you didn't buy a ticket. Exactly how much did this trip cost
you?" I smirked as I leaned over and whispered in his ear. Joey's eyes widened
as he sat back and looked at me. "Are you serious?" he asked.
"Yep. It comes out of my paycheck. That way I never have to worry about having
cash on hand for a ticket."
"You mean to tell me that they only charge
you thirty dollars for this seat while they charge me eight
"Hey! There are hardly any benefits for working for an airline.
Don't knock the good one! Besides, you have two major benefits for that extra
seven hundred and seventy dollars."
"Oh, this I have got to
"First, you know you are getting on the plane. Second, the gate
agents don't look at you like you are a worthless piece of trash." I stopped for
a second, thought about that, and then said, "Well, you've got the first one
"So you mean you can get on any plane, any time you want, for
"Yeah, on almost any airline too, as long as there
is a seat available. Like I said, I have a great success rate, but I have been
stuck in Los Angeles and Miami overnight a couple of times."
"That is so
cool! Well, except for the getting stuck part."
"Well, it does come in
handy sometimes," I said with a grin, "like now. I admit that if I didn't have
the ability to do this, I still would have tried to find a way to get
"You're too much," Joey said with a laugh. "So, have you ever been
to Orlando before?"
I shook my head. "No. To be honest, I've never had
much desire to go to Florida."
"What?" exclaimed Joey, Lance, and
"You mean you've never been to Disney World?" Justin
"Nope. That's what Disneyland is for. Nothing beats the original
'Happiest Place on Earth.'"
"It's not the same!" Justin said with
I just shrugged. "Guess I'll never know. Florida has never had
much appeal to me. Everyone else wants to go there, which I suppose is one of
the reasons I don't. Call me a non-conformist." Justin stuck his tongue out at
me and didn't say anything further. I looked over at Joey, who was falling
asleep. I stood up and grabbed a blanket out of the overhead compartment. I
unfolded it and draped it across Joey, who just mumbled and turned over. I sat
down, smiled, and closed my eyes. I slowly drifted off to sleep with visions of
sugarplums dancing in my head. Okay, so that's not true. I'm sure you can guess
what I was dreaming of, or should I say whom?
A moment of turbulence shook me awake. Joey and the guys were still out
cold, and I could hardly blame them. It was almost ten o'clock, which meant it
was nearly time to land. As if reading my thoughts, the captain came over the
loudspeaker and said, "Flight attendants, please prepare for landing." I debated
about whether I should wake him up or not, but then I decided I would let him
sleep. He looked so peaceful that I really didn't have the heart to disturb
The plane descended and had a soft landing. We started pulling into
the gate and I nudged Joey until he awoke. "Are we there yet?" Joey
"Yeah, we're here. Sleep well?"
"I slept, sort of. I have
a major crick in my neck though. It would be nice if someone could, uh, massage
it out for me."
"Was that a hint?" I asked slyly.
Joey nodded. "A
"Well, we'll see about that later. Right now, how about we get
off the plane, get our luggage, and get out here?" I said.
"I agree. What
are you going to do for clothes Will? You didn't bring any bags," Joey
"Yes I did. You guys have so many bags, I didn't figure you'd
notice an extra one thrown in there."
"Good point. I guess we need to get
Justin to start packing lighter."
"I heard that!" came Justin's voice
from behind us.
"Good," I remarked. "All that loud music hasn't damaged
your hearing yet."
"Whatever," Justin mumbled.
The plane came to a
stop and the 'Fasten Seatbelt' sign was turned off. We all stood up and
collected our things. I grabbed Josh's carry-on bags so he could focus on
maneuvering with his crutches. We exited the plane into the nearly empty
terminal and proceeded downstairs to the baggage claim area.
"So how long
are you staying with us, Will?" Josh asked as we stepped onto the
"I have to be back to work on Tuesday evening, so I'll
probably head back up either Monday night or Tuesday morning, depending on how
the flight loads look," I said. As we entered the baggage claim area, I caught
sight of a hotel advertisement and said, "Oh, that reminds me. I need to get a
hotel room while I'm here."
All five guys stopped and turned to look at
me. "What?" they exclaimed in unison.
"Absolutely not," Chris said
"Don't even think about it," Justin said.
allow it," Lance said.
"I don't want to be in the way," I said
"Did you worry about us being in the way when you took us into
your house?" Joey asked.
"Uh, no, but..."
"So why would you worry
about it in reverse? Besides, you took in the five of us and
Jerrica. There's only one of you. I think we can manage," Joey said decisively.
Then, lowering his voice, he whispered in my ear, "Plus, I thought you'd want to
spend time with me and see my house."
"Of course, Joe, but aren't you
worried about what might be said if I'm seen going in and out of your
"Will, they'd be more likely to talk if you were female. Being a
guy, anyone will just assume that you are a friend of mine. No one has to know
any more than that unless we decide to tell them."
I couldn't really
argue that, and I was already starting to get tired, so I decided to give in.
"All right. You win."
Joey smirked. "Did you honestly think I would let
you stay at a hotel instead of with me?" I shook my head slowly. I admit, I had
instigated this conversation deliberately. I guess it was just one more way of
feeling out how Joey felt about me and my place in his life.
"No, I guess
you're right. I shouldn't have... Oh, no!" I moaned, spotting someone I didn't
want to see heading in our direction.
"There you guys are!" Johnny
called, making his way toward us. "I was starting to wonder what was taking so
long, but then I remembered JC's leg, and..." He fell silent when his eyes came
to rest on me. "Will? How did you get here?"
Rolling my eyes, I said
sarcastically, "I rode in the cargo hold with all the other poor animals. The
ramp agents were kind enough to let me come up the stairs into the terminal
instead of throwing me on the bag belt." The guys all tried hard to stifle their
laughter, but the goofy grins were easily evident.
"Such an interesting
sense of humor you have," Johnny said. "So, will you be staying in Orlando
"No, just a couple of days. Figured I'd visit with some friends of
mine on my days off," I replied, trying to remain polite. "Oh, I think our
luggage is coming out over there. It's been nice talking with you
"The pleasure was all mine. Is someone picking you up here, or
would you like us to drop you somewhere? We have to take all of these guys home,
and I'm sure they wouldn't mind a little delay," Johnny said,
giving the others a 'Don't-you-dare-let-him-come' look.
not Johnny," said Josh with a huge grin. "We're in no hurry. We'd be happy to
take Will anywhere he wants to go."
"Are you sure? I know you guys must
be tired," Johnny said through gritted teeth.
"Absolutely," Lance chimed
in. "We don't mind."
"All right then," Johnny said resignedly. "Where are
we taking you?"
"How about back to Baltimore?" I asked with a sly
"Works for me," Chris said quickly.
"Ditto," said Justin and
Josh in unison.
Johnny looked at all of them as if they had just
completely lost their minds. "I'm sorry, but I think that is a little too far
out of our way."
"Will showed me the address," Josh jumped in, "and it's
on the way to my house." Josh knew that, from the airport, Joey's house was on
the way to his. Faking a large yawn for effect, he continued. "I'm starting to
get tired. Can we go now?"
"Oh. Yeah. Will, why don't you help their
bodyguards grab the bags and bring them out to the car. Thanks for the help.
Let's go, you five." He then started to corral the five toward the door with
little protest. He directed them to the car and stopped to give a couple of
instructions to the bodyguards who had accompanied him. Once they all were in
the SUV, though, four of them exploded at once.
"Johnny, that was rude!"
"I can't believe you did that," Josh said
Justin and Chris were vociferous in agreement with the others.
The four slowly turned to look at Joey, who had said naught the entire time.
Joey's eyes had narrowed so much one could barely see his pupils.
let's go," Johnny said as he climbed into the driver's seat.
about our bags--and Will?" Justin asked.
"Oh, the guys will bring them
later, and as for Will, they'll make sure he's taken care of," Johnny replied.
He inserted the key into the ignition and turned on the vehicle. Before he could
shift into gear, Joey threw open the door, hopped out, and slammed the door
behind him. Rolling down the window, Johnny called out to him, "Joey? Where are
you going? Come back here!"
Joey stopped, slowly turned around, and
walked back up to the car. Staring Johnny in the eye, he said, "You know, you
have done a lot of things over the years that I disagreed with, but I played it
cool and let it pass. However, this time you have gone too far! How dare you
treat Will like that?! I don't give a damn what you think of our relationship,
but you will NEVER disrespect him like that again.
Johnny sat in complete shock. None of the guys had ever
talked back to him like that before. "Joey, I..."
"I said, 'DO YOU
UNDERSTAND?' What part of that are you having trouble with?" Before
Johnny could respond, Joey said, "You know what? Forget it. You don't have the
brains to comprehend anything." Turning around, he stalked back into the
Looking back at the four remaining passengers, Johnny said
slowly, "Well, that went well."
"Maybe I should go talk to him," Justin
"I think he needs some time alone," Josh said. With a
heavy sigh, he said, "Let's go Johnny."
As they pulled away from the curb
and headed for the highway, the four young men sat in stony silence, watching
the world pass by. They felt like their lives were on a long roller coaster
drop. Things just kept going downhill and were getting worse by the
"The nerve of him," Joey grumbled as he walked back into the terminal. "And
he wants Will to sign with him? I don't care what Johnny says. There has got to
be a way to get Will out of this." Heading for the baggage claim, his temper
flared even higher when he saw me loaded down with bags while their bodyguards
lolled lazily near a luggage cart.
"Come on, man," one said to me. "We
don't have all night."
"Yeah, hurry it up. We can't go home until we
deliver all of these bags," said the other.
I had just stacked the last
of the bags onto the cart when what they said hit me a like a ton of bricks.
"What do you mean, deliver? Aren't they waiting for us outside?"
looked at each other and laughed. "Heck no. Johnny took them home already," the
first guy said. "We're going to deliver these bags, and then we're going
A confused look crossed my face. "Oh. Well, I guess they had some
important things that they needed to discuss in private," I said, shrugging my
shoulders. "It's no big thing. Well, let's get these bags out to your car and
load them up so we can go."
"Sounds good. Thanks for the help. You know,
you've been so nice in helping us, I wish we could do something for you, like
give you a ride."
I had started to pull the cart behind me, and I stopped
so suddenly the cart ran into me. "What? Johnny said you were giving me a
The two began to look uneasy. "No, he told us that we weren't
allowed to. I don't know why. He just said you can't be in the
I rolled my eyes and sighed deeply. I should have known that
Johnny would never be that nice to me. "Don't worry about it. I'll call a taxi."
I grabbed my bag off the cart and said, "Don't worry guys. I know it's not your
fault. You both have a good night."
I started to walk away when I heard
one say, "What? He's not going to help us load the bags in the car?"
laughed to myself quietly as I continued to exit the terminal. I was just about
to walk out when someone grabbed my arm and spun me around. "Hey! What are you
doing?" I exclaimed. My expression changed when I saw it was Joey. "Oh. Hi Joe.
What are you still doing here? I thought you all left?" I looked into Joey's
eyes and saw the fury brimming behind them. "I would ask if there was something
wrong, but I know better. What's up?"
"Let's go. We'll talk about it
later," Joey said through clenched
"Okay," I said dejectedly. We went
outside and caught a taxi. We rode the entire way in silence. I avoided looking
at Joey, lest I try and say something that would upset him further. It seemed
like eternity, but eventually we arrived at a rather large two-story house in a
gated community. I could tell from the outside that it was much bigger than my
house back in Maryland, but since I couldn't see how far back the house went, it
was difficult for me to determine exactly how large it was.
We got out of
the car and I paid the taxi driver. Joey shot me a funny look, but then he
shrugged it off and let it go. I think he had finally come to terms with the
fact that I was far too independent to allow him to pay for a lot of things even
though he made considerably more money than I did. Joey had grabbed my
rollaboard suitcase out of the taxi's trunk and watched me with slight amusement
as I stared at his house. Sidling up to me, he said, "It's even nicer on the
"Are you going to show me, or do I only get to use my
"Come on in," he said. "Now I admit it doesn't have quite
the homey, lived-in feel that yours does, but I hope you like it."
Is this your way of telling me that my house is too small?" I asked with a
"No, no! I like your house. Actually, I think yours is more
comfortable than mine. To be honest, I haven't spent a whole lot of time here.
I've spent maybe five months here in the past year and a half."
though it's home, it's not, right?"
"Yeah, kind of," Joey admitted as he
inserted the key into the lock. He swung the door open, gave me a mischievous
look, and said, "Welcome to my humble abode."
"Yeah. Humble," I said
playfully as I entered the house. As I took in my surroundings, I felt like I
had seen a house very similar to his before. It had a very open layout and had a
tasteful, classic design to it. While it was quite large, it wasn't overbearing
by any means, and it certainly didn't scream wealth and luxury. To be honest, if
I had Joey's income, I probably would have wanted a house much like
We made our way from the entrance foyer down the hall to the living
room. It was quite large and there was no real wall between it and the dining
room. The only way to tell where one started and one stopped was by the required
step down into the living room. "So what do you think?" Joey asked as I
continued to take in my surroundings.
I smiled briefly. "It's wonderful.
I like it a lot."
Joey beamed proudly until he noted that I was no longer
smiling but staring pointedly at him. "What?" he asked.
"Come here and
sit down," I said, taking a seat on the couch.
"Okay," Joey said slowly
as he approached. Sitting down, he looked me in the eye and said, "Let me guess.
It's 'later,' right?" I nodded, and I was quite pleased at how well we were
communicating without having to actually speak. I've found over time that is one
of the qualities I would always look for in someone I would consider dating.
Maybe I'm just weird that way, but I like not having to routinely spell things
out for people. "Look, Will," Joey started, "I know that things over this past
week have been, well, weird, and I know that Johnny is taking advantage of you
because of me. Believe me when I tell you that if I had a way to get you out of
this, I'd do it, no matter what it takes." I tried to interrupt him, but he
wouldn't let me. "However, under no circumstances does he EVER
have the right to treat you like he did tonight, and I told him so. You are my
boyfriend, I love you, and he is not going to disrespect you that way!
Furthermore, from a business standpoint, it's completely unprofessional! I just
can't understand why he would brush you off like that, then make you move all
those bags by yourself, and then, after all that, take back his 'kind offer' to
give you a ride. The nerve of him!"
I waited until Joey had calmed down a
little before I put my two cents in to the matter. "Joe, as far as Johnny is
concerned, I don't care if he tells me to my face that he thinks I am the devil
incarnate. I was surprised that he made his 'kind offer,' but I see now that it
was a way to save face in front of the five of you. Had you all not been there,
he probably would have ignored me. After all, I'm still a nobody as far as he's
concerned. The only thing that upsets me is how upset he made you."
smiled and leaned his head onto my shoulder. "You never cease to amaze me, you
know?" he said as he gave me a small kiss.
Grinning back, I said, "I
know. I think you've told me that before. Now," I continued, patting his hand,
"don't worry about Johnny. He may be slime, but we'll deal with him and his
antics as they come along. In the meantime, forget about him and just relax.
Everything will be okay."
"All right Will. I'll behave, I
"Good." I started to cuddle up to him when the doorbell rang.
"Now who could that be?" I wondered out loud. Then, smacking my forehead, I
said, "Duh! It must be the luggage. Do you want me to get it?"
his head. "No, that's all right. It's my stuff, and you've lugged enough bags
for this evening, wouldn't you say?"
"True enough," I said. "Why don't
you get the bags while I use the little boy's room, which
"Down the hall, to the right," Joey said as he headed for
the front door.
I stood up and headed for the bathroom. After finishing
my business, I was in the middle of washing my hands when I heard voices coming
from the living room.
"Are you crazy?" shouted a voice.
know he was coming Johnny," Joey said, "but I'm glad he did. What business is it
of yours, anyway?"
"Anything that involves you is my
business," replied Johnny, "especially when it involves you having a relationship
with a guy!"
Joey was starting to become angry again. "You're wrong
Johnny. My personal life is none of your business, and I would ask you to keep
your nose out of it."
"What do you know about him, anyway?" Johnny asked.
"You've only known him for a week, and you suddenly believe you are in love with
"I am in love with him!" Joey shouted. "I know a lot
about him. He's been nothing but honest with me ever since the
I felt a slight pit in my stomach. He was essentially
correct, although there were some secrets that had come out over time, including
me. Okay, bad pun, I thought.
"He's nothing but trouble," Johnny
said emphatically. "All he can do is ruin the reputation you and the others have
built for yourselves. How do you know he's not just after you for
"Wait, wait, wait," Joey said. "Are we not talking about the same
guy that you fawned all over when you heard him sing? Are we not talking about
the same guy that you basically blackmailed into performing? Why the sudden
change of heart?"
"Look, I'm sure that you think you have feelings for
him, but you couldn't possibly develop the feelings you say you have in such a
short period of time. Furthermore, while I don't trust him, he has the makings
of a great performer, and that means money. If he goes over as well as I think
he will, news will spread fast and your concerts will be filled to the rafters!
Since I will be managing him, that means I stand to make a lot," Johnny said
with a smirk. "Now, even though he will be on tour with us, I want the two of
you to stay away from each other. I know! Why don't you go meet a nice girl and
bring her along?"
I was still eavesdropping in the bathroom and I was
really starting to get ticked off. If this idiot thinks he is going to be my
manager, he's got another thing coming, I thought. I'd take anyone
over him! I eased the door open and crept down the hall. I approached the
end of the hallway and peered around the corner. Johnny had his back to me, and
judging on what I had already heard, he didn't know I was there. Joey quickly
spotted me out of the corner of his eye, and I motioned to him to pretend I
wasn't there. I wanted to hear what other nice things Johnny had to say about
"A nice girl? So is that what this is all about?" Joey exclaimed.
"You're just petrified about what would happen if the world found out I'm gay,
"Well, yes, to some degree. Your fan base is teenage girls,
for crying out loud. I always wondered what would happen should this type of
event occur, and what your fans would say. I'm sure that some would have issues,
and you might pick up fans that you wouldn't have had before. However, if you're
going to date a guy, couldn't you have at least picked a really attractive guy
instead? Good Lord, I don't know how much more of this I can
Joey's eye caught mine, and I had heard enough. I walked out from
my hiding spot in the hallway and said in a loud, clear voice, "So is that what
you really think?"
Johnny whirled around and his eyes grew big in
surprise. "What are you doing here?" Johnny asked. "I thought you were visiting
"And Joe is what? Chopped liver?" I retorted. As I walked down
to the living room, I said, "Johnny, I know this is a lot for your poor little
brain to take, so why don't I just fix this whole situation and make things much
easier for you?"
"Well, I guess you're more intelligent than I gave you
credit for," Johnny said with a smile. "I'm glad to see that someone is taking
responsibility for this mess."
"Absolutely," I said, flashing him a
smile. I walked right up to him and stared right into his eyes. He was a couple
inches taller than me, so I had to look up to do so. Then, in a gruff voice, I
said, "Get out."
Johnny took a step back and cocked his head to one side.
With a cheesy grin plastered on my face, I said, "You said
you didn't know how much more you could take and wanted a solution. Now I'm
giving you one. Get out."
"You can't kick me out of Joey's house," Johnny
shot back, "you disrespectful little snot."
"This is as much his house as
it is mine," Joey said evenly. "Now I suggest you heed his advice and leave
before I throw you out."
"Fine. Be that way. This discussion is not over.
Far from it. I want to see the two of you in my office tomorrow. While I can't
force you to come, Will, I would highly advise it if you want what's best for
your..." Johnny paused, looking over at Joey in disdain. "...boyfriend," he
spat. Wordlessly, I walked down the hall to the front door, opened it, and
waited. Moments later, Johnny appeared. He marched up to me and said, "And don't
forget. Those contracts are to be on my desk on Tuesday or else!" He then
stormed out the door, which I slammed behind him.
I slumped down on the
floor in front of the door and buried my head into my knees. I hadn't been in
Florida more than an hour or so and I was already in the middle of a mess. I
could feel the weight of Joey's body as he sat down next to me and the feel of
his arm as it wrapped around my shoulder. "I'm sorry," Joey said
I lifted my head and looked at him with a pained expression on
my face. "For what? You have nothing to be sorry for."
"I let him in,
"He's your manager, Joe. Even if he is an arrogant creep, you
can't shut him out of your life. Besides, how could you have possibly known he
was going to act like that?"
"I didn't," Joey admitted, "but I still feel
like I should have known better. Will, are you going to be all
"Yeah," I said resolutely. "It's not the way I would have liked
the night to end, but I guess it will have to do." Stifling a yawn, I slowly
stood up and said, "I'm exhausted. Which way is the bedroom?"
"There is a
guest room upstairs and down the hall at the end, across from my bedroom. If
you'd prefer, you can stay in there. Or," he said shyly with some embarrassment,
"you could always sleep with me." The words had no sooner left his mouth when he
realized the double entendre of what he'd said. Blushing profusely, he said, "I
mean, in the same room with me, not...well...you know. Unless, ah...oh
I couldn't help but smile as I watched Joey trip over his tongue.
It was quite cute. With a smirk, I said, "Point the way, my good sir." I went to
pick up my bag, but Joey beat me to it. I followed him upstairs and down the
hall to his bedroom. He opened the door and allowed me to pass by him into the
room. While it was definitely larger than my own bedroom back home, it had a
familiarity to it nonetheless. It took me a moment, but I soon realized that
while the furniture was different, it was arranged much in the same way as my
"So what do you think?" Joey asked timidly.
kind of familiar, don't you think?" I asked nonchalantly.
"So I'm not the
only one who noticed. Kind of spooky, isn't it?"
"Nah. I think it's
perfect, just like you," I said coyly.
"Why Will, you certainly do know
how to be charming--and aggressive. That's a side of you I've never seen before.
Do you realize you've done something tonight that all of us have wanted to do
"What? Act like a raving lunatic and throw that bastard out
of the house? "
"The last part yes; the first part no. Stop being so hard
on yourself. You and I both know what kind of person you are, and 'raving
lunatic' is not on the list."
"I appreciate the compliment, especially
considering you've seen Jerrica and me go at it with full steam," I said with a
laugh. After mentioning Jerrica's name, something clicked in my head. "Oh, that
reminds me. I need to call her and make sure she got back to the house
I dragged out my cell phone and quickly dialed my house number.
After about six rings, the line was answered with, "Will's Den of Debauchery,
Mistress Jerrica speaking. How would you like to be punished?"
my eyes and burst out laughing. "You just love Caller ID, don't
Jerrica ignored my comment and said, "What's up? Make it quick. I
have a call on the other line."
"Oh? Anyone I know?" I asked
suspiciously. "Maybe a boyband singer, perhaps?"
"Hey! Don't get jealous
of me. You already have one. You can't have mine too!"
"Well, this is an
interesting turn of events, considering what happened this morning."
weren't supposed to see or hear that, you know," Jerrica said accusingly, "but I
guess it was for the best. Thanks for talking to him for me. You and I are even
"Who do you think pushed Joey to come find you
earlier this week?" she said with a laugh. "You can thank me later. Now, if
there isn't anything else important, I'm going to go."
"Fine, fine. I
just wanted to make sure my car got home in one piece," I said with a smirk.
"Now you two play nice. I don't want any panicked phone calls later tonight
because you lost your temper."
"I never lose my temper, you brat!"
Jerrica yelled into the phone, and then I heard a click in my ear. "Never loses
her temper my foot," I muttered as I put my cell phone away.
"So what was
that all about," Joey asked from behind me.
"Well, let's just say that
you are no longer the only member of *Nsync who is unavailable," I said with a
"Chris and Jerrica?" Joey asked knowingly.
I awoke with a start late the next morning. I glanced at the clock and
realized it was already half past nine. I roused myself out of bed and went into
the bathroom to make myself as presentable as possible. Joey was still asleep
when I came back into the room, so I decided to go downstairs and make the two
of us breakfast. I had just finished cooking when he joined me in a half-awake
"What time is it?" he asked between large yawns.
ten o'clock," I replied as I scooped some eggs onto a plate for him. Handing him
a cup of coffee, I took my glass of water and sat down at the counter with him.
"Eat up, and then go get ready. We have a date with His Majesty
"His Majesty?" Joey wondered out loud. "Oh, you mean
"Yeah, him," I said through gritted teeth. "He may think he's a
little princess, but he should know that rule number one is to never mess with
the queen." I took a large bite of my toast and looked up to see Joey nearly
choking on his food from laughter. Realizing what I had just said, I mumbled, "I
don't think that came out right." Joey was still laughing, so in my best
impression of the Queen of England, I said haughtily, "We are not
"Stop it!" Joey exclaimed. "If you don't, I'll pee my pants, I
"You were supposed to go before coming downstairs," I said, "and
if you don't behave, then we're turning right around and going back to
"Promise?" Joey asked with a playful glint in his eye.
Now eat up. You may need all your strength later, in case I need you to restrain
me from drop-kicking Johnny out a window."
Joey glanced at me with a
curious look on his face. The way things had gone the day before, he wasn't sure
whether or not he should take me seriously. Shrugging it off, he finished eating
and ran off to get showered and changed. I knew it was going to be a long day,
but how long remained to be seen.
So what did you think? It's been a long time coming, but Chris and
Jerrica are finally getting together. I decided I couldn't put it off any
longer. Also, did anyone notice the running joke about Will not being able to
tell the guys where he worked? The reason was it set up the airplane scene in
this chapter. If they knew, it kind of takes the wind out of the surprise, you
So what is in store for our hapless hero? Johnny has become a major
thorn in Will's side--much more than he ever expected. He's given at least one
reason for this change in attitude, but is there another reason why he suddenly
believes Will to be a problem? What will happen at Will and Joey's meeting with
him? What is really going on with Justin? He's become incredibly moody, and one
has to wonder if it is just a bad case of puppy love, or something else? The
chapters are going to start moving a lot faster from here, so tune in next time
to find out what happens, and while you're waiting, drop me a line and let me know your
Thanks to everyone who has written to me!! A special thanks
goes out to my editors, Mandy and Dreamy, who keep me in line. A very belated
thank you has to go out to a very good friend, Brogan, whose e-mails and advice
have been truly helpful. Thanks a bunch.
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