With one last look around the messy hotel room, he reached forward and closed the suitcase with a definitive snap. Then he sighed. He had given him plenty of time to show up, to tell him that everything was just a lie. But he hadn't shown up. He hadn't even come to say goodbye.
A single tear strayed down his cheek, and impatiently he wiped it away. Then he picked up the suitcase and walked towards the door, never looking back. That was the first thing he had learned... never look back.
~~~~~~~He had the door open, and was just about to step through it, when an arm reached out and touched him on the shoulder. It clasped his shoulder, and strangely enough, he left it there. It felt comforting, to say the least.
I wanna know
Whoever told you I was letting go
Of the only joy that I have ever known
Well boy their lying
"Took you long enough." A voice said, jerking him out of the daze he had been in.
"I was waiting for you." Was his only replied. Then he jerked his shoulder out from underneath the other mans hand and continued out the door. He had given him plenty of time. Now the time was up and he needed to leave.
"I was waiting right here."
Those words stopped him. Had he really been outside the door the entire time, waiting for him? He didn't want to know.
"Justin didn't know what he was saying." the young man continued.
He continued to walk towards the end of the hall. He had given him MORE THEN enough time to come inside, to talk to him there. Was it his fault that the other man hadn't done that?
"Justin didn't know the truth. But you do." the young man stated. "You know that I love you more then life itself, and I would give up EVERYTHING for you. EVERYTHING." He stressed. Then he sighed.
Just look around
All of the people that we used to know
Just giving up
They wanna let it go
But we're still trying
The two men stood there, in the hall, unaware of everything that surrounded them. They were in their own word, their own reality.
"So now what do we do?" The young man asked.
"I don't know, I really don't know."
"I don't want to give you up, Ben. I don't want to give you up." The young man quietly stated.
"I don't want to give you up either." Ben replied. "But why... why did Justin do that?"
"I don't know." The young man said, frowning a little. "I think, maybe, he was jealous."
"Jealous of what? The fact that you have to lie to people everyday, that I have to lie to people everyday? Jealous of the fact that we have to hide behind eachother so no one suspect's the truth? So that no one thinks one of the members of N Sync is gay? Or is he jealous of the fact that whenever we go out in public we have to pretend to be friends. Only friends," Ben spat out. The young man sighed.
"He's jealous of the fact that at night, when he's all alone, I have this amazing, caring, wonderful person to turn to. To love. He's jealous of the fact that whenever I get lonely, all I have to do is go to my room and you'll be there, willing to help me feel better. He's jealous of the fact that you come first, before the band, before him." The young man replied.
I'm never gonna say goodbye
Cause I never wanna see you cry
I swore to you my love will remain
And I swear it all over again
"Yeah." the young man said.
"Now what?" Ben asked. He had long since set the suitcase down, and was just standing there, with a grim expression on his face. "I can't take much more of this, of the lies, the secrets."
"Neither can I." The young man replied. Then he settled down, sititng crosslegged. "So what do we do?"
"I have no idea. All I know for sure is that I don't want to give you up, that I CAN'T give you up. Your to much a part of me, of my heart." Ben exclaimed.
"Your in my heart to Ben. Never doubt that. Your a part of me."
"I never did doubt it."
"But I do doubt our future together. Every day I doubt it. It's too hard. The secrets, the lies, the pretending." Ben quietly said. The young man couldn't believe his ears.
"Don't say that Ben. You make it sound like your giving up on me. On us." The young man cried out, hurt.
"No baby, I love you. More then you'll ever know. I couldn't give you up, even if I wanted to. But maybe..."
"Maybe what?" The young man cried out, still shocked that Ben had been thinking about this. About them... breaking up.
"Maybe we should take a break from eachother. Maybe I should go home for a couple of weeks, get myelf together. And you should work on getting close to Justin again. To the group again."
"Screw them Ben. You come first. How many times have I told you that?" The young man shouted. Ben grimaced.
"You've known them longer. They've been your friends longer. Don't discount them." Ben struggled to put a smile on his face, but failed.
"I'm not discounting them. They'll ALWAYS be my friends, but right now, you come first. Your my BOYFRIEND, the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. I couldn't give you up." The young man shouted. He didn't notice a door opening a little ways down the hall.
"I love you Joey. Never doubt that. And I want to spend the rest of my life with you too. But you have friends, friends that need you to be there for them. Right now Justin needs you. And you need Justin. Don't turn away from your friends." Ben managed to whisper. Then he stood and walked a little ways down the hall, towards the elevator.
"Ben..." Joey whimpered, still sitting on the floor, crying.
"I'll be back Joey. I'll be back. But right now you need to get close to your friends again."
~~~~~~~"He's leaving me." Joey whispered to himself, over and over again.
I -- never gonna treat you bad
cause i never wanna see you sad
I swore to share you joy and your pain
and I swear it all over again
all over again
A little ways down the hall, Jc watched this scene from out the partially opened door. He saw Joey lying on the floor, crying as though his heart was perminately broken. He saw the look of regret in Ben's eyes as he walked towards the elevator, as he boarded the elevator. But he also saw knowledge that Ben's eyes held.
Ben was doing the right thing, as hard as it was to do it.
Jc walked out the door and down the hall, towards Joey. He reached him seconds later, and placed a comforting hand on Joeys shoulder. A gesture that only made Joey cry harder.
"He... He..." Joey sobbed. Nothing else was heard. Just the single word said by a voice that knew nothing but pain.
Jc struggled to keep his tears in check. The site of one of his best friends, lying on the floor, crying his eyes out. That hurt.
"He... He...He's...g.g.g.one." Joey managed to get out, and Jc nodded. Ben was gone, but Jc also knew that he would be back. And he would be back with a vengance. He loved Joey to much to just leave him here, alone. He loved Joey so much, in fact, that he was willing to risk Joeys eternal hatred... just so the guys could get their friend back.
Jc pulled Joey to his feet and walked him down the hall towards his bedroom. Joey couldn't be left alone like this, tonight of all nights. He needed Jc, he needed the guys. And with a sinking feeling, Jc knew the truth. Ben had left Joey because of the guys, because of Jc.
>From his vantage point down the hall, Jc had heard Joey saying that Ben came first, that he would give up everything, including the group, for him. No wonder Ben had left Joey. The group was Joey's life, the members his closest friends. And Ben couldn't deal with the fact that Joey was willing to give up everything that Joey held dear in his heart for him.
Ben couldn't deal with the fact that Joey was willing to let go of everything that made Joey the person he was, the person that Ben loved. So he tried to explain it. And he hadn't been able to. It would be better if Joey began to trust is friends again, if he got close to his friend's again. That way he could explain it next time, if there was a next time.
Jc frowned. How could he explain all that to Joey?
He didn't think he could.
Some people say
That everything has got it's place in time
Even the day must give way to the night
But I'm not buyin
Jc layed Joey down on his bed, and went about calling all the other guys. Within minutes they were gathered in Jc's room, looking down upon the still crying Joey.
"What happened?" Lance finally asked.
Jc slowly turned to face him, and frowned. "It's complicated." Jc stated. No one turned away, and with a sigh, Jc began to explain what happened. From the bed, Joey heard every word.
"Joe told Ben that he was willing to give up everything for him. EVERYTHING." Jc stressed, and the three guys just looked at him, shocked. "And Ben knew that he meant it. So he did the only thing that made sense, he left Joey instead. He couldn't sit around and watch Joey slowly kill himself by getting rid of everything that made him who he is."
Joey heard all this, and understood. Ben loved him so much, he was willing to give him up. He was willing to suffer and feel a pain like nothing he had ever experienced, just so Joey could be Joey.
He slowly frowned. There was something wrong with that statement. With that attitude. They were supposed to be together forever. Ben had sworn that to him. And Joey believed him. Which meant that they were still together.
Suddenly it all clicked.
Cause in your eyes
I see you lover that burns eternally
and if you see how beautiful you are to me
well it's no wonder
Ben had left him here, with his friends, to a life that he could be happy with. That he would be happy with. He had given up Joey because he loved him so much. He couldn't, wouldn't, watch Joey kill himself by giving up everything that made him who he was.
And Joey smiled.
Ben had said he would be back, and Joey believed him
After all, Ben had made a promise.
sure they'll be times we wanna say goodbye
but even if we try
there are something in this life
won't be denied
won't be denied
* select lyrics from the song Swear it Again by Westlife
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org
What you just read was the first in a series of short stories, called Swear it Again. The rest will be posted under THIS title, although, they will have different names.
If you would like to contact the author, email her at email@example.com
If you have any songs that you think would INSPIRE good short stories, she is taking song suggestions for a little while only. Contact her at above address.