good or bad is needed.
The good feed back, strokes our ego. The bad feed back, strokes
the delete key. <grin>
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Joe had slept soundly and only stirred when he caught a whiff of fresh brewed coffee. Slowly opening his eyes, he found that he was alone but he found a mug of hot coffee on the nightstand. Running water could be heard from the bathroom. Sitting up Joey took hold of the mug and brought it to his lips, inhaling the rich aroma of the dark liquid.
Matt was shaving when Joey came in sipping his coffee. "Morning, Joe," Matt said with a smile.
Coming up behind Matt, Joey leaned in and
gave Matt's shoulder a soft kiss.
"About a hour, how did you sleep?"
"I think I died."
"You were drained," Matt said with a smirk.
"Yeah, . . . . I guess I was," Joey said while thinking about last night.
Matt finished his shave as Joey grabbed a quick shower. Matt had a towel waiting for Joe when he had finished. "Thanks," Joe said. "Hey, this is warm."
"It should be I just took it out of the dryer."
"You did laundry already?"
"Just the towels. We seemed to have gone through a lot lately."
Joe smiled, "I did end up taking an extra shower last night."
Matt grinned at Joey as he finished drying off.
"Matt, what exactly did you do to me last night?"
"I believe you were there," Matt chuckled.
"I was there but I still don't know what happened."
"I just exercised the most erotic organ in the human body."
Matt could see Joe still didn't understand.
"The most erotic organ in the human body is your brain," Matt said as he tapped Joe's head. "I just gave it a few strokes."
"I liked the way you stroked it," Joey said with a big grin.
As they were talking Joe noticed Matt was packing his shaving kit. "Are you going in the road again?"
"Yep, I need to make the rounds and do surprise audits."
"Doesn't word get out about your visits and everyone knows you're coming?"
"Yeah, when I walk into the first casino the word goes out that I'm on the road. But they all should know I'm coming by now. I've had one of the secretaries in the auditor's office call all the casinos and leave messages for me to call the office."
"You are nasty," Joe said with a chuckle.
"I also like to just walk in and take a stroll through the casino and then leave. Or just stop by and have dinner in their restaurants. It really makes them jumpy."
"Will you go back later and do a audit?"
"Sometimes , but I try not to create a pattern. As long as my visits remain random I feel I get a honest accounting."
"You seem to really enjoy your job."
"Actually, Joe, I don't enjoy it at all. That's why I'm going to quit after the first of the year."
"Really? When did you decide this?"
"I started to think about it after I took on this new job. Then something in my life changed and I knew I needed to get out."
"Why you, love."
"Joe, I can't take the chance of any of the casinos finding out about us. They know I'm gay. And who ever I may be dating would not mean too much. But I'm dating Joey Fatone, of Nsync. And that could be used against me."
"To protect me, you would be forced to look the other way," Joe said understanding. "I hate to see this happen. What will you do?"
"Joe, if it wasn't for seeing you without any pants I'd swear you're blond. I am a CPA and I do own an Inn. I will be fine. Actually I'm probably better off than you."
"What do you mean by that?" Joey asked.
"Well, remember your assets are physical in nature. If your legs or voice gives out where will you be?"
Joe got a smirk on his face. "I know exactly where I'll be. I'll be taken care of by my CPA boyfriend."
The rest of the day was spent talking about the current tour and Joey found out Matt was going to take vacation time off the week Nsync played Milwaukee.
Matt had asked Will, the Inn's general manager, to join them for lunch. Matt filled Will in on his schedule for the next two weeks and they went over the construction details for the addition. With business out of the way, the conversation turned to Joey and Nsync. Time passed quickly and before they knew it, it was mid afternoon. Joey and Matt quickly cleaned up the lunch dishes. Joey helped Matt carry his bags to his car.
With everything stowed in the trunk, Matt turned his attention to Joe. "Have you got everything?"
"Yeah," Joey said holding up his small bag. "When you travel light, there is not much to pack."
"You have my voice mail and pager numbers. If you need to get a hold of me leave your number on voice mail and page me with *66," Matt said.
"I know. I leave my hotel number and password only, and you will call. If there is no voice message, you will call my cell. I'm still not sure why all this cloak and dagger stuff."
"Because if I'm in a casino it is not safe to use my cell. The conversation can be overheard. The security systems they have are so great they can monitor all radio transmissions within the casino including cell phones."
"Okay, do you think it will be safe to call you later tonight?" Joe asked.
"Sure, but it will be at least after six before I get into town," Matt said. "You'll be in Indy before I'm half way there."
"Yeah, I'll probably give management a heart attack. I'll be one of the first to arrive not my normal last to show.," Joe said with a grin. "Just be sure you drive safely."
"I will," Matt said as he stepped toward Joe. "We both need to get going, but I want something first."
"I know what you want," Joey said as he pulled Matt into a tight embrace.
Joey entered his room to find all his luggage waiting for him. Turning on the TV Joe flipped through the channels knowing it was too early to call Matt.
Joey had settled down to watching Judge Judy when he heard a knock at the door.
"Yes," Joe called through the door.
"Joey, it's me," Lance shouted back.
Getting up he opened the door. "What's up?" Joey greeted Lance.
"I had to see it for myself," Lance said as he entered Joe's room.
"Joey Fatone, early for something," Lance teased.
"Quiet! . . . . Don't say it too loud. It will ruin my rep," Joe said with a grin. "When did you get in?"
"I came with the tour. I had everything I needed with me to work on Free Lance. I just needed my cell and computer."
Shaking his head, "You need to get a life, man. All work and no play will make Lance a dull boy," Joey chuckled as they sat down on the couch.
"Not everyone can have the social life of Joey Fatone," Lance said. "Changing the subject, have you talked to Matt lately?"
"I was just wondering if he got tickets to Milwaukee or St. Louis?"
"Justin got him tickets to the Milwaukee show," Joey answered.
"Is Jess coming too?"
"Yeah, Matt said their were driving up after she gets out of school."
Lance got a flash of insight. "How did Jess act when she met you?"
"She was cool. She was a little disappointed you . . . weren't . . . . with . . .me," Joey stammered realizing he had just been busted.
Joey looked to Lance who was watching him intently.
"I. . .ah. . .I mean, , , ah, , ,"
"You what?" Lance asked enjoying Joe's uneasiness. "When you disappear on us you go to see Matt don't you?" Lance asked.
"Yeah," Joey answered softly.
"Why the big secret?"
"It's just I wasn't sure how you would all feel about me going to visit Matt."
"We have no problem with Matt. We all like him, he is a awesome writer.," Lance said.
"He's also a good friend," Joey said softly.
Lance sat there studying Joey. Remembering back over the last couple of months Lance realized the change in Joe's demeanor was due to an outside force.
"Joe," Lance said softly. "Is there something you want to tell me?"
Joe closed his eyes; he had been dreading this moment. Taking a deep breath to calm his nerves, Joe started out softly, "Matt has become more than a friend. I have been going to see him whenever I get some free time."
Lance did not say anything; he just gave all his attention to Joe.
"He has become a close friend," Joe added.
"Close?" Lance asked.
"Yeah, real close. . . . Lance, . . . . I'm in love with Matt," Joe said looking to Lance for some reaction.
"You are in love with Matt. . . . . Wow, . . . I didn't expect that.," Lance said a little stunned.
"Lance, . . . What are you thinking?"
"I had figured out that there has to be someone new in your life. You seemed to be so much happier every time you came back from your little trips. I just didn't expect that someone to be another guy," Lance said with a sigh.
"Do you think I'm a sicko?" Joe asked nervously.
"Why would I think that?" a surprised Lance asked.
"One of your best friends turns out to be a homo," Joe said as his eyes filled with tears.
"What!! Who turned out to be a homo?" Lance asked with concern.
"Me. . . . I turned out to be a homo," Joe said as the tears ran down his cheeks.
Placing his arm around Joeys shoulders Lance pulled him in tight. "Joe, you said that you are in love with Matt."
"I am." Joey said with a sniffle.
"Does Matt feel the same way about you?" Lance asked.
Joey nodded as he wiped the tears on the back of his sleeve.
"Do you have any doubts about his love for you?" Lance asked
"No. Not at all."
"Then what's the problem?" Lance asked.
"I'm just scared how everyone is going to feel when they find out about me and Matt. This could mean the end of Nsync if this gets out."
"Well personally, I'm happy you have found someone like Matt."
"He is a great guy," Joey said with a little smile.
"He must be, if you are in love with him. As far as the rest of the guys go, I don't think there will be too many problems. Joe, you are our best friend and we all love you. And if you want to make Matt part of your life he will be welcomed with open arms. But for right now you two realize you will have to keep this under wraps."
"We realize that."
"Joe, how many people know about you two?" Lance asked.
"You're the second person I've told," Joey said.
"Oh! Who else knows?"
"Justin. He kind of figured it out while talking to Matt the first time I went to visit."
"What about Matt's family?" Lance asked.
"They all know about us," Joe said with a smile.
"All? How many is all?"
"Matt's sister and her husband. Jess of course. And Matt's dad and step mother."
"How does Jess feel about you?" Lance asked.
With a big grin, Joe said, "Jess is super about it. She has turned out to be a great bonus. She loves her uncle and she is delighted that I'm in his life."
"I can't wait to meet her," Lance said
"She'll be in Milwaukee with Matt. I think you will like her a lot."
"What are you going to tell your family?" Lance asked.
With a deep sigh Joey answered, "I don't know how I'm going to tell them that there son is gay."
"It is going to be hard. . . . Why don't you start with Steve?" Lance suggested.
"Shit! I don't know."
"He's your brother. And he is close by," Lance pointed out.
"I love having him on tour with us. But we really don't get to spend that much time together. He has his life and I have mine."
"And a larger part of your life now involves Matt," Lance pointed out.
"I don't know. How do I tell my kid brother that I have a boyfriend."
"Well maybe if you introduced Steve to Matt first it would be easier to bring up the subject," Lance pointed out.
"It's going to be hard to introduce Matt to Steve at Milwaukee. He's going to be working most of the time," Joe said.
There was a rap on the door. Lance got up to answer the door as the phone began to ring.
Joey picked up the receiver, "Hello."
Lance opened the door and found Justin leaning against the door jam. "Hey Lance," Justin said.
"Hi Justin, come on in," Lance said as he stepped aside.
"Hi, sexy," Matt said.
"Hi, how was your trip?" Joey asked.
"Joe, what's wrong?"
"I can hear it in your voice, what happened?"
Looking up at Lance, Joe sighed, "I had a talk with Lance."
"What's going on?" Justin asked Lance.
"I think Joe's talking to Matt," Lance said softly.
"Oh, Matt called Joey?" Justin asked.
"Of course," Lance said with a half smile. "You know I think the two of them have been talking a lot."
"What do you mean?" Justin asked a little surprised at Lance's statement.
"Isn't that what boyfriends do when they can't be together?" Lance said with a straight face.
"What?. . . How long have you known?"
Chuckling, Lance put his arm around Justin's shoulder. "Joe told me tonight."
"And how do you feel about it?" Justin asked.
Lance looked at Joey and smiled. "I'm happy for the two of them. The last couple of weeks, Joey has been in such a great mood. And I think we have Matt to thank for it."
"Well how did it go?" Matt asked.
"Better than I ever expected."
"Joe, . . . This was just another small step. I know this was hard on you. I can hear it in your voice. But remember they are your friends and they love you."
"I know. And they have both been great about this."
"And they are both there now aren't they?" Matt asked.
"Yeah, they're here," Joey said with a smile.
"Why don't you give me a call later after they leave. Call my cell it will be safe," Matt said.
"Okay, I will."
"I love you, Joe. I'll be waiting for your call," Matt said softly.
"I. . ah. . me too," Joey stammered.
"Me too, what?" Matt teased Joe.
"Ah, you know."
"No I don't. What is it you know?"
Taking a deep breath Joey said, "I love you too, Matt. I'll talk to you later."
Grinning, Matt said, "That's better. Bye love."
Joey hung up the phone and looked at his two grinning friends.
"What?" Joey snapped.
"Wasn't that sweet. Joey told his boyfriend he loved him," Justin teased.
"Yeah, he must be in love," Lance said with a grin.
Joey just rolled his eyes and shook his head.
After leaving Joey for the night, Justin and Lance had their own meeting.
"What did you want to talk about?" Lance quizzed Justin.
"I wanted to talk about Joey and Matt.," Justin answered. "What do you think about this deal?"
With a heavy sigh Lance thought a moment before answering. "This is something I didn't expect. But I've also seen the change in Joey. He seems so happy lately, and now we know why. Joey is one of my best friends and no matter what, that will never change. If he feels he needs Matt in his life, he has my support."
"I feel the same way," Justin said. "But I wish he would tell Chris and JC about this."
"He's not ready for that yet," Lance said.
"I just wish there is some way to help Joey with Matt."
"I think there is a way to help," Lance said while deep in thought.
"We know that Matt and Jess are planning to attend the Milwaukee show," Lance said.
"Yeah, I got them front row tickets," Justin added.
"And I know Matt is planning to stay at the same hotel as us. He pumped me for that information about the same time he was hitting you up for tickets."
Grinning broadly, "It sounds like we've been pulled into this without our knowledge. Matt has been working us," Justin chuckled.
"Yeah, he has. But I think it was to protect Joe," Lance pointed out.
"Okay, what's your plan?" Justin asked.
"Well, tonight I found out that Matt will be on vacation the week of the Milwaukee concert."
"What if we take Matt on tour with us the rest of the week. That way Chris and JC can get to know him better. And it will also give Joey a chance to introduce Matt to Steve."
"He hasn't told his family about this, has he?" Justin asked.
"No. And I think the idea scares the shit out of him. Maybe if Steve gets to know Matt first it will make it easier on Joey to tell his brother," Lance suggested.
"Okay, what's your plan? Remember we will have Jess to think about while in Milwaukee."
"Well, first of all I think we should go and pick up Matt and Jess. Drive them to the concert and we can drop Jess off at her house on our way to St Louis."
"You mean letting her ride our tour bus. She's going to love that," Justin said. "But I think it should be you and Joey that need to go pick them up." "
"For one thing, we need Joey's help to get Matt to the concert without him driving. And second, Jess has a major crush on you. That will give you the whole drive up with her to get her squealing out of her system."
"Joe, come on man. If we don't get moving we will miss our flight," Lance called into the dressing room.
"I don't believe I'm hearing this," Chris laughed. "Lance in a rush to catch a plane."
"Well, Chris, I'd be happy to stay here and you can go and pick up Matt and Jess," Lance said a little irritated.
"No, no way," Chris said waving his hands. "Jess has a crush on you, not me. You need to go so she will calm down before the rest of us meet her."
Joey came up behind Lance as Lance shouted, "Joey!"
"I'm ready," Joey said with a grin as Lance jumped.
"Come on or we will miss our flight," Lance said as he made his way to the door.
The flight to Chicago had only a few passengers and Joey had a rental car waiting.
Joey drove up to the Lincoln Inn.
"What's going on?" Lance asked eyeing the new construction.
"Matt's expanding the Inn. The new wing will house a restaurant and banquet rooms. And there will be security suites in the upper floors," Joe said as he drove around to the back of the Inn.
Stopping in front of the garage door Joey reached into his pocket bringing out his garage door remote. Pointing at the door Joey pushed the button to open the door.
Matt was awakened by the sound of the garage door. Sitting up Matt looked at the clock and saw that it was only five am. A smile broke out on Matt's face as he heard the door closing. But the sound of two car doors slamming brought Matt out of bed.
Matt turned on the kitchen light as Joey and Lance walked in.
"Surprise," Joey said as he saw Matt's confused expression.
"We're your escort to the concert," Joey said as he pulled Matt into a hug.
"Both of you?" Matt asked eyeing Lance.
Laughing softly Lance said, "I've been sent to help Jess get over meeting me."
"The guys thought if Jess had some time with Lance before you got to Milwaukee they might have a chance to actually getting to know her," Joe explained.
"That sounds logical," Matt had to agree. "But how are we to get home if you take us to Milwaukee?"
"We'll just drop you guys off on our way to St. Louis. That way you both get to ride our tour bus," Joey said.
Breaking into a big grin Matt said, "She is going to freak at riding in your tour bus."
"Good plan?" Joey asked.
"Good plan," Matt agreed.
Lance tried to sniffle a yawn. "Matt, can I crash on your couch?"
"No. But you are welcome to use my guest room. The bed is a lot more comfortable than the couch," Matt said as he showed Lance the guest bedroom. "There are clean towels in the bath if you want to take a shower."
"Was that a hint that I need to take a shower?" Lance asked with a laugh.
Sniffing the air Matt said, "No. Not at all. I just thought a hot shower would help relax you."
"Sounds like a good idea," Lance laughed. "Thanks for the use of the room. See you both in the morning."
"Night, Lance," Joey said as Lance was closing the door.
Matt closed the bedroom door then turned to Joey, "Did I remember to say hi?"
Thinking about the question Joey answered, "Come to think of it, you didn't."
Walking up to Joe, Matt placed his arms around Joe's neck and pulled him into a deep kiss. Breaking the kiss Matt looked into Joey's eyes and said, "Hi."
"Hi," Joey softly said. Pulling Matt into a tight embrace, "God I've missed you."
Matt smiled, "You look beat. Why don't you grab a quick shower and come to bed."
"Is that a hint?"
"I won't be as subtle as I was with Lance. Dear, you stink. You must have left right after your show."
"We did," Joey admitted.
"Well hurry up and take a shower. I'll keep a spot warm for you."
Matt was working at his computer when Lance came out wearing only his boxers. Matt looked up and smiled, "Morning, Lance."
"Morning. Ah, Matt, I know I was tired when I got here, but I seemed to have misplaced my clothes."
Chucking Matt said, "You didn't misplace them. I took them."
"You did. Why?" Lance asked.
"Because he is a pervert. And he wanted to see you without your clothes," Joey said as he walked out of the bedroom in his underwear.
"That and I also washed them. You will find them on the counter," Matt said as he pointed to the two stacks of clothing on the counter.
"Joe, I'm glad to see you found someone that's a neat freak," Lance said.
"That he is. He always has a load of clothes in the washer," Joe said with a smile.
"Not everyone gets to live the life of a rock star, having someone around to take care of your laundry. I hate to see what your place looks like when you're not on tour," Matt said.
"I have no problem. I know how to do laundry, not like someone I know," Lance said with a smirk.
"I know how to do laundry," Joe protested.
"Yeah, you know how to drop it off at your mom's," Lance quipped.
Laughing, Matt said, "Go get dressed both of you, then we can go get something for lunch.'"
"Lunch?" Joe asked.
"Yeah, sleepy heads, it's almost one in the afternoon," Matt said. "Joe, Lance could use some clean underwear. I think you have some new boxers in your bottom drawer."
"Right. I'll get you a pair," Joey said as he grabbed his clothes and went into the bedroom.
Matt got up and went over to Lance. "Lance."
"I wanted to thank you for giving Joe and me your support," Matt said sincerely.
"I've seen the change in Joey. You seem to make him very happy. But I want to warn you. Don't ever hurt him. If you do I will track you down and beat the shit out of you."
"Lance, I love Joe with all my heart. I will never do anything to hurt him. And if I'm ever stupid enough to hurt him I expect you to show up with a baseball bat."
"That sounds like a plan," Lance said with a grin as he pulled Matt into a hug.
Joey came out of the bedroom with the clean underwear to find Lance and Matt hugging. Clearing his throat Joey said, "I can't leave you two alone for one minute and I find Lance putting the moves on my boyfriend."
Pulling quickly back, Lance stammered, "Ah, . . Joe it's not what you think. It was just an innocent hug. Really!" .
Laughing heartily Joey said, " Lance, relax man. I knew what you were doing. One thing I know about Matt is he is huggable." Going over to Matt, Joe pulled him into a tight embrace. "And I know if Matt was really interested in you he would have copped a feel," Joe said to Lance as he looked behind himself indicating Matt's hands on his ass.
"You're right, I do cop a feel when ever I can. But Lance was safe. There is only one person that I'm interested in that way and that is you," Matt said as he gave Joey's ass a squeeze and then a slap. "Both of you go and get dressed. As much as I'm enjoying having two nearly naked men to look at, my stomach is telling me it's past lunch time and it wants to be fed."
Jess was due home from school at three thirty. Joey was walking out of the kitchen when Jess came bounding in the front door.
"Joey!" Jess shouted as she flew into his arms. "What are you doing here?"
Joe gave Jess a bear hug before answering, "I came to escort the two of you to Milwaukee."
"Cool, where is Uncle Matt?" Jess asked.
"In the living room."
Sticking her head around the corner Jess said, "Hi, Uncle Matt. I just have to change then I will be ready to go." Turning she headed down the hall to her bedroom.
"Take your time. We're in no hurry," Matt said while sitting next to Lance. Holding up his right hand Matt slowly started a count down. Five, four, three, two, one.
"No way!" Jess shrieked coming to a dead stop about ten steps down the hall. Turning back, she found Joey grinning at her.
"Ah, Jess. Did I mention that Lance came with me?" Joey asked.
Slowly walking back up the hall. "No, you didn't," Jess said as she got a horrified look on her face. "Joe, I'm sorry. If I would have known someone else was here I wouldn't have hugged you the way I did."
"Jess, it's all right. Lance knows about me and Matt."
"Yeah, really," Joey said reassuringly.
"Then I'm mad at you for not warning me you were coming with Lance," Jess said to Joey while poking him in the stomach with her finger.
"How long are you going to stay mad at me?" Joey asked.
"Oh. . . . About this long," Jess said as she reached up, standing on her tiptoes and gave Joe a kiss on the cheek.
Taking Jess' hand Joey took her into the living room to meet Lance.
"Lance," Joey started out. "This is Jessica Phelps. Jess, this is my best friend, Lance Bass."
"Hi, Lance," Jess said shyly.
"Hi, Jess. I'm glad to finally get to meet you in person," Lance said with a big smile.
Jess played the shy fan for about half an hour. Then she started to relax and open up to Lance. Matt finally had to pry Jess away from Lance in order to get her packed and on the road. Joey drove with Matt navigating. Lance and Jessica sat together in the back seat talking softly between themselves the whole trip.
Matt and Joey said very little, rode most of the way holding hands. Once they left the expressway, Matt directed Joe to their hotel. Pulling into the parking deck Matt directed Joe to the side entrance where they were met by hotel staff. Their bags were quickly unloaded and the car turned over the hotel staff.
Approaching the registration desk Matt was greeted warmly, "Mr. Morgan, it is so good to see you again,"
"Thank you, Lisa, do you have a room for me?"
"Of course. We have your favorite room waiting for you. Mr. Stevens set aside your room the minute we got the reservations for your favorite group. Mr. Stevens knew you and Miss Jessica would be attending the concert.
Matt quickly signed the registration card and as he was handing it back he heard someone call out his name.
"Matt Morgan, it's about time you showed up," Ray Stevens the hotel general manager said in greeting.
Shaking Ray's outstretched hand, Matt smiled and replied, "Ray, it's so nice to see you again."
"And Miss Jessica, it's been a while since we've had the pleasure of your company," Ray said with a big smile. "Matt, your niece is turning into a beautiful young lady."
Throughout this whole exchange, Lance and Joey stood back a little stunned at the royal treatment Matt and Jess was getting from the staff while they were totally ignored.
Matt glanced over to Joey, seeing the expression on his face Matt interrupted, "Ray, have you met my friends?" Matt said indicating the two young gentlemen.
"No I haven't," Ray said turning. "Oh, my!"
Chuckling, Matt said, "May I present Joey Fatone and Lance Bass. I believe their party is also staying at your hotel."
"Oh, my yes. Gentlemen, welcome to the Pfister The rest of your party arrived a short while ago. Shelly, can we please have Mr. Fatone's and Mr. Bass' room keys."
Joe and Lance received their room keys in quick order and the bellhops helped the group to their rooms.
The elevator stopped on the sixteenth floor and their security was there to stop unwanted visitors. "I guess this is our floor," Joey said. "Where are your rooms?"
"On the top floor. Penthouse one," Matt said. "Why don't you guys come up in a bit. Just give us a little time to get settled in." Handing Joe a key card, Matt explained, "Here you will need this to get onto the floor. Just put it into this slot and this elevator will take you up."
Forty minutes later, the phone rang and Matt answered. Hanging up, Matt said to Jess, "They are on their way up. Now remember Lance and Justin know about Joey and me but Chris and JC have no idea what's going on. You need to be careful what you say around them."
"I know Uncle Matt, I'll be careful."
There was a knock at the door and Matt went to answer it. "Hi guys, come on in," Matt said. Lance and Joey entered followed by Justin, Chris, and then JC. As Justin entered, he pulled Matt into a hug, "Glad to see you again, Matt." Chris and JC also hugged Matt as they greeted him.
Not waiting for an introduction Justin went over to Jess, "Finally a pretty face to go with the phone voice. Hi, I'm Justin."
Not to be outdone, each of the other guys moved in, oozing charm trying to capture Jess' attention. Joey looked at Matt as he was shaking his head and rolling his eyes at the situation.
"Matt, how in the hell did you rate a penthouse suite?" Chris asked.
"It helps to know some people," Matt said.
"It also helps to be part owner of the hotel too," Jess giggled.
"That too," Matt agreed.
"We were wondering if you and Jess wanted to join us for dinner and then we could figure out something to do tonight?" JC asked.
"Uncle Matt, can we go to the Patio after we eat? Clara is there tonight," Jess asked eagerly
"Are you sure she is there tonight?" Matt asked.
"Yes. I called down to make sure," Jess said.
"What is the Patio?" Justin asked.
"It's the hotel's jazz club. Clara is the singer with a local jazz band, and she has a fantastic voice."
"It sounds like a plan," Chris said.
Matt had suggested that they eat at the hotel's grill. The food was unbelievable, and the grill had a private dining room. Afterward the group went up to the patio to listen to music for a couple hours. Because of Jess and Justin's ages, the table had to remain a no alcohol area for the night. During dinner, Jess was able to sit between Lance and Justin, but at the Patio she sat between Chris and JC. Being the gracious young lady she was, she talked with both boys. Several times when Matt would look toward Jess he would see her looking at Lance. Lance would also steal glances at Jess and when they would make eye contact, they would smile at each other. After the third exchange that Matt caught, he looked at Joey and saw he had also seen the little exchange. Joey nodded slightly at Matt indicating the two. Matt just rolled his eyes.
After leaving the Patio, Matt invited everyone up to the penthouse for coffee and desert. It was fun being able to talk to everyone in person. Conversation over the Internet just loses something. As they were talking, Matt noticed Joey dozing off. Fifteen minutes later, it was obvious that Joey had fallen asleep.
Everyone's attention turned to Joey as he began to snore. "Isn't that cute," Jess said.
"It's getting late. We should be going," JC said. "We should get sleeping beauty down to his room."
"Just let him sleep there," Matt suggested. "He's had a long hard day."
"Yeah, you aren't saying anything new to me. It's been a long day," Lance said with a yawn. "Matt, when he wakes up send him down to his room. But be sure to tell him to be quiet when he comes in. I don't want to be woken up."
"I doubt he will wake before morning. What time do I need to push him out the door?"
"Wake up call is at seven. We have a meet and greet breakfast scheduled for eight here at the hotel. We'll have our security send up passes to the meet and greet," Chris said.
"Okay, you guys have a good night," Matt said as he walked the others to the elevator.
Returning to the suite Matt found Jess crouched down in front of Joey. "You know Uncle Matt, he is so cute when he sleeps," Jess whispered.
"Go get ready for bed," Matt said smiling at the sight.
Matt went to Joey, took off his shoes, and lifted his legs up onto the couch.
Matt went to Jess' bedroom and knocked lightly.
"Come in," Jess said.
Jess was climbing into bed when Matt entered. "Having fun?" Matt asked as he tucked Jess in.
"This has been a fantastic day," Jess said. "I loved meeting all the other guys."
"Did any of them surprise you?"
"Yeah, two of them are different than I thought."
"Chris turned out to be really funny. Just being around him makes me laugh."
"Yeah, I agree. Chris is a cutup."
"And Justin was the biggest surprise."
"Justin, how?" Matt asked.
"I always thought Justin was a snob. His ego seemed so large he came across kind of stuck up," Jess said. "But tonight I think I saw the real Justin. He's just a kid like me with the same hang ups and everything."
"Being a celebrity does not make being a teenager any easer. He is going through the same things every teenager around the world goes through. But it is harder with Justin. He has grown up in the spotlight of the media. He has very few close friends. His world has been his music and touring. And their management keeps them so isolated that it is almost impossible for him to make new friends."
"Tonight he made a new friend. I like the Justin I met today."
"That's great, Jess, Justin could always use a new friend. Now why don't you try to get some sleep," Matt said as he leaned down and gave her a kiss. "Night, Jess."
"Night, Uncle Matt. Tell Joey I think he is so cute when he fakes sleeping."
Matt smiled, "Night, Jess."
Going out to the living room, Matt turned off the lights then went to were Joey was sleeping. Crouching down next to Joey, Matt said, "Jess is right. You are cute when you fake being asleep."
Joe's eyes popped open. "I hope everyone didn't pick up I was faking," Joe said with a grin.
"Come on. Let's go take a shower and get to bed. I want to take advantage of the opportunity to have you next to me."
Joey awoke and found Matt lying next to him watching him. "What are you doing?" Joe asked.
"Just watching you sleep," Matt said lovingly.
"How long have you been awake?"
"About half an hour," Matt said with a sigh. "I wish we could do something together."
"It's early, what would you like to do?"
"We can't. Not with Jess in the next room."
Thinking for a moment Joey said, "I know what we can do."
"I can hold you close. And we can enjoy what time we have in each other's arms."
Matt snuggled close to Joey. Laying his head on Joe's shoulder, Joe hugged Matt tight. Nothing was said by either of them the whole forty minutes before the alarm went off.
Quickly dressing, Joey headed back to his room. Coming out of the bedroom, Joey found Jess curled up on the couch watching TV. "Morning, Joey," Jess said. "See you found someplace else to sleep."
Joey blushed slightly. Leaning over the back of the couch Joey said, "You know, no one likes a smart alack."
"But you will put up with me. Won't you?" Jess said with a grin.
"Yeah, I will," Joey said with a smirk. Leaning in he kissed Jess on the cheek. "I have to run. See you at breakfast."
Matt and Jess were met in the lobby by a member of NSYNC security who gave them their passes and escorted them to their table. Jess was a little disappointed that she didn't get to sit at the table with the guys. Girls from the audience were chosen at random to sit with the guys. Jess started to pout when Matt leaned in and said, "Jess, you had your chance last night. You got to sit and talk to all of them last night. These girls will never have the same chance to get to know the guys as well as you will."
"Sorry, Uncle Matt. You're right."
After breakfast was completed, the guys started the meet and greet. Each one talked for about five minutes each then they opened up the floor to questions. After thirty minutes of questions, the girls were allowed to come up to their table for autographed pictures of the guys.
Being in the front row Jess was in the first group to get autographs. Each boy would ask the girls name then sign their picture. Jess followed the routine as the other girls until she got to Justin who was the last one in line to sign. "Hi, Jess, how was your breakfast?" Justin asked.
"It was great, Justin."
"Good. I wanted to thank you for last night. We all had a great time," Justin said just loud enough for most everyone to hear.
"It was fun for me also. Next time you guys are in town give me a call and maybe we can do something."
"We will," Justin said.
Joey looked over to Matt who had a big grin on his face. Matt knew exactly what Justin was doing. As Jess made her way back to the table all the girls stopped her . All asking questions about how she knew the guys and what they did last night. Matt had to abandon his table, to get away from girls stopping by and talking to Jess.
After the breakfast, Matt and Jess joined the guys in their limo for the ride to West Side Mall where they were to make an appearance and sign autographs. When they pulled up to the Mall entrance security asked Matt and Jess to remain in the limo. After the guys were escorted into the Mall the limo pulled around to another entrance and let Matt and Jess out. "Why can't we get out with the guys," Jess asked.
Bill, the security man assigned to them, answered, "It was for your own safety. If the fans were to have seen you with them you would have been hounded the whole time you are in the mall."
"Where are they?" Jess asked. Just then, the sound of hundreds of screaming girls could be heard.
"Sounds like they are in the center court," Matt said. "Do you want to go watch or do you want to shop?"
"It will be a lot like breakfast, won't it?"
"Yeah, pretty much like breakfast."
"Lets do some shopping," Jess said. "How much time do we have?"
Matt turned to Bill with a questioning look. "You have a hour and a half to shop. But don't worry I'll let you know when we have to go," Bill said.
The next hour was spent with Jess dragging Matt from store to store. After trying on a dozen outfits, Jess found the perfect one. Coming out of the changing room, "This is the perfect outfit," Jess bubbled.
Matt took the outfit and looked at the price tags. "Do you have enough money to pay for this," Matt asked.
"Almost, I'm just a little short."
"How much short?" Matt asked.
Looking at the tags Jess scrunched up her face, "Ah. . . All of it."
"You are short aren't you?" Matt chuckled.
"Uncle Matt, can I have it? Please, pretty please," Jess whined.
Shaking his head, "I don't believe I'm going to do this. Okay, but I'm not buying new shoes to go with the outfit."
Matt and Jess were picked up at the back entrance of the Mall and rode around to the front entrance to pick up the guys.
The next stop was the arena for sound check. Matt and Jess sat out in the empty arena and watched the sound check. After the sound check, everyone headed back to the hotel to change and dinner. All luggage was collected and loaded on their tour bus. They took the bus back to the arena.
Matt and Jess got to spend some time before the concert with the guys after they had changed into their costumes. Just before the opening act went on, they were escorted to their seats. Their seats were in the first row, Matt and Jess had the best time at the concert.
As they were shown backstage after the concert, Jess asked, "Was this concert better?"
"Yes a hundred percent better. I got to see the concert this time," Matt said with a big grin.
Instead of being taken to the dressing room, they were shown to the tour bus. "They are getting cleaned up," Bill said. "They said they would be out soon."
Matt and Jess took the time to explore the bus, finally making their way back to the lounge. Spotting the Play Station 2, Jess immediately checked out the stack of games. Popping in a racing game, Jess handed Matt a controller and the race was on.
"Hey! Where is everyone?" Chris shouted.
"Back here!" Jess answered.
"Oh no! They've found the Play Station," JC said with a grin.
Everyone gathered in the lounge watching Jess and Matt race. But it was not too long before Matt crashed into a wall ending the game. Matt gave up his controller to Justin who took Matt's seat on the floor. Sitting with JC and Chris Matt looked out the window as the bus slowly made it's way through the crowded streets of Milwaukee as it headed for the express way. Matt noticed a bunch of cars following as they drove down the road. "How long will they follow?" Matt asked indicating the cars behind them.
Looking out the back window Chris said, "Not much longer. We will lose them after we get out of town."
Ten minutes later Chris said, "Matt watch out the back window."
Matt watched as the bus passed three white vans. As the vans were passed, each pulled behind the bus into a different lane until all three lanes of traffic were blocked. Then the vans began to slow down, and the bus sped up leaving the vans and fans behind.
Matt laughed at what he saw, "I take it that is your security in the vans?"
"Yeah. They will keep everyone backed up for at least ten minutes then they will speed up to the posted speed limit but keep the lanes blocked," Chris explained.
A little over an hour later Matt looked out the window. "Jess, we are coming into Joliet."
Matt had given the driver detailed instructions on how to get to Jess' house and then the Inn. As the bus pulled up in front of Jess' house the guys all got up and said good bye. Lance picked up her bag and walked her to her front door. Matt watched with interest as Jess and Lance hugged their good bye. And at the last minute Lance leaned in and gave Jess a kiss on the cheek.
As the bus headed for the Inn the guys seemed to have a million questions for Matt. What did he think of the concert this time? Did he notice any changes from the last concert. And on and on the questions came. Matt was enjoying the conversation until he glanced out the window and saw they were passing the oil refineries. Matt went silent.
Seeing the puzzled look on Matt's face Justin asked, "Matt, is there something wrong?"
"Yeah. . . . Your driver forgot something."
"What did he forget?" Chris asked with an amused smile.
"I think he forgot to drop me off."
"He didn't forget. You're being kidnapped," JC said grinning broadly.
"We're kidnapping you," Lance said.
"You are on vacation this week," Joey said. "So we are taking you on tour with us."
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