Hey kids, here’s Part 3. Sorry that it took so long, the next will be quicker. Thanks to everyone at Nifty Boybands Chat for all their support and ‘specially to Dru for being my sounding board. This time, I’m gonna suggest Devotion. Something a little different.

Disclaimer: Do I have to? I don’t know ‘NSync or anyone else in this story. Let them be gay if they want to, it’s no skin off my nose. And if you’re under 18, don’t turn me in.

Retreat 3
by Schuyler

Joey felt guilty. Here he was, trying to be with JC during one of the most important moments in his life, and all Joey wanted to do was run back to Kevin’s and slip into his lover’s warm bed. JC looked pale. In the week since he’d come out to the guys, they’d been a fountain of love and support. Even Chris had taken to hugging him in front of everyone else. JC thought a lot about what Corbett had said and hoped that Chris’ time would come soon.
Johnny came into the room trailed by his new assistant, a small, thin girl. “So, guys, what’s up?” Johnny stuck his hands in the pockets of his slacks and stood at the head of the table.
JC’s friends tried to give supportive little looks. “Johnny, I know that this could be bad for the group, but you need to know that I’m gay.” JC had prepared for the worst. He wasn’t prepared for this.
Johnny’s eyes lit up like Christmas candles. “That’s fantastic!” The guys were surprised, to say the least. “We’ve been looking for someone to appeal to the gay fans and this is just the thing.”
“So you’re going to tell the world?” Lance asked, losing his ability to breathe. JC’s family knew already, but there were other things to consider.
“No, no, no, but we can hint at it. Dress a little more interestingly, show up at the gay clubs.” JC smiled a little. He had Johnny’s permission to be gay and the assurance that it would help the band.

Joey sat quietly on the couch wrapped in Kevin’s arms. He pressed his cheek to Kevin’s only to find it streaked with tears. He turned to face Kevin and began to frantically wipe them off. “Kevin, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” Kevin sniffled, “it’s just that you have to go again tomorrow.”
“But, baby, we always knew that. Soon you’ll be touring too. It’s just he way things are right now.”
“I know that you have to go, but I feel guilty.” Joey was silent a moment while Kevin took a breath. “Guilty for wanting someone to hold me every night.”
Joey recoiled. “Kevin, are you breaking up with me?”
Kevin hesitated a moment too long. “No.”
Joey stood, the anger clear in his eyes. “If you want someone that you can have every night, why don’t you try one of the cute little boys in his band. That Nick doesn’t seem quite right.” He wanted so badly to look strong, like he didn’t care, but tears streamed uncontrolled down his face.
Kevin leaned towards him, reaching out. “Come back, baby, you know I didn’t mean it like that. I love you.”
Joey smacked Kevin’s hand away, his voice a low growl. “Don’t touch me.” Joey turned and left.

The next night, in New York City, Chris walked into his hotel room to find JC buttoning a blue silk shirt over a pair of black leather pants. “What’s going on?”
“Johnny called. He’s found a mostly gay club and he wants me to go tonight.”
“Great.” Chris smiled, “I’ll change.”
“No,” JC turned to him, his eyes begging Chris not to be upset. “Johnny wants me to go alone. He doesn’t want all of us to be pegged as gay. Just me.” Chris nodded and tried to look cheerful. “I’ll be back later, okay?” JC kissed Chris’ cheek and headed out the door.

“How badly did I fuck up?” Kevin asked Jerry over the phone.
“You fucked up pretty bad.” He heard Kevin sigh. “But at least you can fix this.”
“You think so?”
“Joey was angry, you were angry. So what? Couples fight. Erin and I fight all the time about this exact thing. But you’re not angry now, and what’s left is love. Do you love him Kevin?” Kevin choked back a sob, and nodded. Jerry heard the sob, and knew. “Then you gotta tell him.” Jerry wished he could fix this. He’d talked to Lance and he knew that Joey was a wreck. They had to fix this. They were in love.
Kevin sighed again. “But it doesn’t sound right over the phone.”

Chris half woke when JC slid into bed beside him. JC’s skin smelled of CK One. JC only wore Tommy.

“Corby, Corby, Corby, Corby,” Justin chanted, jumping up and down.
On the other end of the phone, Corbett laughed. “Less caffeine, Just.”
He collapsed into a chair by the window of their New York suite. “I’m just so glad to talk to you. Things are going strange out here. JC’s real happy, cause he gets to be gay or whatever, but Chris is mopey, Joey’s a wreck and he’s been talking to Lance a bunch so Lance is getting down too.” Justin sounded genuinely worried about his friends.
Corbett sighed quietly and closed her textbook. “But how are you, Justin?”
“I’m okay. Tired of making appearances. And a little lonely I guess. Everyone else is dealing with so much.” Corbett heard the unspoken words: They’re too busy for me. “When are you done with school, Corby?”
“Two weeks.”
“Will you come and visit me?” he asked hopefully.
“Sure, Just, I promise.”
“Okay, Corbett. This is fun and all, but I’m sweaty and gross and I need a shower.”
Corbett laughed. “Hey, is Joe around?”
“Yeah.” He got up and headed for Joey’s room. “Hold on a second.” He knocked on Joey’s door. “Joey?” Justin tried to sound comforting and understanding. He heard a grunt inside. “Joe, Corbett’s on the phone and she wants to talk to you.” There was no sound. “I’m going to leave the phone by the door and you know Corbett, Joe, she’ll never hang up.” Justin said goodbye to Corbett, then laid the phone next to Joey’s door and went to his room.
Joey slowly opened the door. He checked to make sure no one was around, then picked up the phone and walked to the couch. “Hello?” he asked, his voice shaky.
“Tell me what happened.” Corbett’s voice was sympathetic, but firm.
Joey fell onto the teal sofa sideways and lifted his legs over the armrest. “He told me that he wants someone who’ll be with him all the time. I suggested Nick Carter and left.”
“Do you still love him?” Her voice was even and measured.
Joey sniffled. “Yes.” And with that admission, the tears cascaded down his cheeks.
“Joey? Joey listen to me. Hold on a couple of days, you both need to cool off a little, then call him. And be prepared to meet him halfway.”
“I just want him back, Corbett.” He collapsed into sobs.
“I know, honey. And I know that he wants you too.” He took a deep breath and sat up straight. “You gonna be okay tonight?”
He tried to sound strong, to unburden Corbett. “Yeah. Thanks, Corbett.”
“Just go on to bed. Not too much longer.”
“Goodnight, doll.” He slowly hung up the phone. Joey cried only a moment before Lance’s door opened and his friend came out to hold him close.

Another night, another kiss on the cheek, and JC was at another club. Chris took thirty minutes to wallow in his own self-pity, then went out into the living room of their grand suite. Joey sat alone on the floor near the minibar, lining up its contents between his legs. “Hey Joe.” Chris sat in front of him, closing the liquor between them. “What’s going on?”
Joey kept his eyes on his task, precisely lining each bottle and glass. “The guys went out.”
“Just us,” Chris asked, glad to be alone in his pain with his best friend.” Joey nodded. Chris plucked a highball glass from the immaculate row and set it closer to Joey. “Then pour me a drink.” Joey looked up.

JC was in a club somewhere in the Village surrounded by scores of male bodies, all pressing and dancing and vying for his attention, attention that he was finally free to give. He’d never felt this good anywhere. Well, one place. JC and his bodyguard got into his hired car and headed back to the hotel.
Nearly tripping over the empty bottles and glasses strewn about the room, JC made his way to his door and eased it open. Chris lay peacefully asleep. JC sighed and smiled. He was tired and he knew he’d come home. JC stripped off his clothes and slipped into bed. All of those men had aroused him and he could have had any of them, but he wanted Chris, and he wanted Chris now. He laid one arm across Chris’ waist and leaned forward to kiss his lover. The smell of alcohol was overwhelming. Chris wasn’t just asleep, he was passed out. JC laid his head near Chris’ chest and drifted off to sleep.

“Wait, explain this to me again.”
JC was gushing at Corbett over the phone about his new lifestyle. “I get to go out to the gayer clubs and dance all night with hot guys.”
“Oh, JC, promise me you’re being good.”
“Of course, Corbett, I love him to death. I want to take him with me, but it’s his own choice.”
Corbett hated the sound of arrogance in his voice. “JC Chasez, you know that Johnny would never let two of you do this.”
JC’s head turned to the bathroom door. He could hear Chris singing in the shower. “Well...” He was only waiting for Chris to get out so he could say goodbye. Tonight, it was an all-ages club in Midtown. Three nights straight. They’d spent the day at a charity basketball game. He hoped Chris would be too tired to be annoyed. The water shut off. “Corbett, I gotta go. Love you.”
“Love you too, J. And tell Lance to give me a call.”
JC hung up and slipped into the bathroom. Chris didn’t hear the door over his own singing, but he felt JC’s arms wrap around his wet body. Chris smiled and leaned back, closing his eyes. JC just held him tight. “Hey, lover,” JC whispered.
“Hi,” Chris replied, breathy and soft. His hands slipped backwards to touch JC. His hands met leather. Chris jumped away from JC and turned to look at him, dark blue skin tight t-shirt, black leather pants. He was going out again. Chris didn’t like the thought of JC being hit on by every man in New York, and he didn’t like that they didn’t get to spend the nights together anymore, to fall asleep together. Chris turned to the sink and began to comb his hair, closing JC out.
JC turned to go.

Corbett was sitting in her dorm room trying desperately to care about the settlement of Canada. Amelia was gone to some party, so Corbett had some time alone. her phone rang, saving her from her work. “Hello?”
“Hey Corbett, it’s Lance.” He was desperately trying to sound cheery.
Corbett heard only weariness. “Hey, I just wanted to see how you’re doing. I know things have been crazy out there and these things usually fall on you.”
Lance had never been so happy, so relieved. Finally, someone he didn’t have to console or play father to, someone who wanted to help him. “It’s nothing big, Corbett. Joey and Kevin are having their first fight and they’re both overreacting. And this new ‘JC’s allowed to be gay’ thing is weird for all of us, but Chris is taking it all especially hard.”
“Lance, you need some rest. Go to bed. If the boys need anything, tell them to call me.” Lance smiled. For some reason, he believed her; he knew that Corbett, three thousand miles away, would handle things for the night.

Joey choked, having run out of tears days ago. He stumbled up to Lance’s door to find a note tacked there. “I’m asleep. If you need anything, call Corbett. -L” Joey was stopped for a moment in confusion, then picked up the phone and dialed San Francisco. Corbett picked up on the first ring. “Hi Joey. Feeling bad?”
“Yeah, a little, but I don’t really want to talk about it. I just want to be distracted for a little while.”
“Why don’t you go spend some time with Chris? He’s your best friend and you both need each other right now.”
“Okay. Thanks.” He hung up and headed to Chris’ door. He knocked once, then walked in. “Chris, can I come in?”
Chris, sitting on his bed, looked just as depressed as Joey felt. “Sure. Come on in.”

Room service had brought the hotel’s finest selection of liquors up to Chris’ room. Chris was mixing the first of many Long Island Iced Teas when someone knocked on the door of the suite. Joey went out to answer it, opening the door quickly and smoothly. His breath caught in his throat. Kevin Richardson.