Hey guys, I bet you thought I'd disappeared. Well, I didn't...I'm still here. Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you when you think everything's OK (can anyone name that song?). Depression sucks and makes dealing with life even harder. So I decided to turn my efforts to my story and I am extremely pleased with the outcome. I hope you like it, too.
I want to say a huge thank you to Dreamy, Andrew, Tom & Josh. You are the most amazing people and wonderful friends. You make me smile when times are low and I cherish the fact that I met and know such wonderful people.
Liz, you are an angel and I don't know where I would be without you. Thanks for being my editor and believing in me. Luv Ya!
My biggest fear with being away for so long is that the readers have disappeared. If you're still out there and still reading, let me know.
I always welcome your comments and words of wisdom. Hearing from you makes my day and brings a smile to my face. Feel free to write me at Shywriterboy29@hotmail.com
I don't have the slightest clue as to the sexual orientation of the characters in this story. It is entirely a figment of my imagination
(but I can dream!), and is not intended to reflect on any celebrities used in this story. For those of you that are NOT of legal age,
go do something else. If you do read this, then don't get caught. If you are offended by male/male material, or it is illegal to view
such materials in your area, you should be typing in a new URL at this time. (Why are you even at this website?) If you are looking
for a story with lots of sex, boy, are you in the wrong place! This is a story of love and friendship. Sure there will be sex, but it
will not be a free-for-all every story.
|EARLIER THAT DAY|
"Don't get me wrong, Josh, I'm sorry this happened to Brayden, but why all of a sudden is his welfare so important to you?"
I just stood there, staring at the ground, not saying anything. How can I tell my best friend that I'm gay? That I am so in love with Brayden that it hurts. How can I break that to Justin?
The next thing I know, Justin is in front of me, his hands are on my shoulders and he's nearly shaking me.
"What is it, Josh? Damnit, talk to me, don't clam up now. I need to know," Justin pleaded.
"BECAUSE I LOVE HIM, JUSTIN!" I spat out. "I'm gay, Justin, and Brayden is my boyfriend."
Justin just stood there in shock. His eyes were wide, he wasn't breathing, just staring at me.
"Say something, Justin, please," I pleaded with him.
Cameron walked over to Justin and spun him around to face him. "Justin, Josh needs you now. If you still love him, tell him, if you need time to think about this, then let him know that, too. Either way you have to say something."
Justin nodded at Cameron and turned back to face me. Justin looked at me for a few seconds and came over and wrapped his arms around me. I burst into tears and just cried into his shoulder.
"It doesn't matter who or what you are, Josh, I will always love you," Justin said, stroking my hair. "I will always be your best friend and will never turn my back on you, no matter what. Besides, us gay boys have to stick together you know."
I immediately broke my embrace with Justin, nearly choked on a sob, and looked at him. "Did I just hear you right, Justin? `Us' gay boys?" I asked.
"You know, Josh, there has been something I have been meaning to tell you," Justin said very seriously, causing all three of us to burst out laughing.
"Don't worry, Justin, I still love you," I said, grabbing him into the biggest hug I could muster.
I looked over at Cameron and saw him wipe a tear out of the corner of his eye. He noticed me watching him and quickly looked away.
"Josh, what are you going to do about Brayden?" Justin asked, as he tried to compose himself.
"Well," I replied. "Lonnie is on his way over to the hotel as we speak to get him and bring him here. I don't want him there alone. I don't know what condition he's in and I'm afraid to see. I don't know what I would do, Justin, if he is seriously hurt."
"Everything will be OK, Josh," Justin soothed.
"If you like," Cameron spoke up "I can ask Cody to come look at him when he gets here. He may only work as a phlebotomist, but I do know that he's a certified EMT."
"Do you think he would mind?" I asked.
"I don't think he would mind at all," Cameron replied. "But he would want to know the whole story as to why it happened. Are you going to be OK sharing that with him?"
"I will be, as long as you two are there with me for support."
"I wouldn't be anywhere else," Justin said, smiling.
"Ditto!" Cameron added.
"Thank you, guys, for everything. You are truly wonderful friends," I said as I walked over to the two of them and gave them both a huge hug.
"So," Lance said as we walked out of the Green Room, "What would you like to do now?"
"How about a tour of the venue and backstage area?" I asked.
"I would gladly be your tour guide," Lance said in his best tour guide voice. "We'll start in this direction."
I just rolled my eyes and followed him.
"Over this direction we have the Press Room," Lance gestured with his left hand. "And over here we have the stacks and stacks of cases for the staging and musical equipment," he said gesturing with his right hand.
I smiled as I watched him go. It was like he was possessed by Miss Julie from the Love Boat or something. It was the cutest thing that I had seen in a long time.
"And over here," he continued as we approached 5 large trunks, "Is our traveling costume shop. As you can see there is a truck for each member of the group. There is Justin's, J.C.'s, Joey's, the ever sexy Lance's, and lastly one for the ever so charming Chris."
When he mentioned Chris, my mind drifted back to the scene we just witnessed in the green room. The more I thought about it, the more infuriated I became with the way Chris had been. How on earth could someone have the nerve to be like that, to treat people so cruelly?
Lance noticed how upset I was and casually asked, "Cody, are you ok?"
"Yeah, I'm fine, Lance," I replied not looking back at him.
Lance put his hand under my chin and gently raised my face so that I was looking at him.
"Come on now, do you really think I'm going to let you off that easy?" he said with a smile. "Talk to me, let me help."
"I just don't get it," I spoke solemnly.
"Get what?" Lance replied.
"How could someone be so cruel and hateful towards people?" I asked. "What would possess someone to hate another person so much? I guess it was just the way I was raised, but hate just breeds more hate and nothing gets solved. You have to work at it and communicate in order to fix what is wrong."
"You were raised right," Lance replied. "There are so many different people in this world who react and deal with things differently. One thing I have learned as I travel the world is you just have to let them do their thing unless it directly affects you and then you step in, which is the point that we are reaching with Chris."
"I just don't like it, Lance. I wish there was something I could do."
"I know," Lance replied. "But there is nothing we can do until he wants to change and make things right."
"I know you're right," I said sighing heavily. "And I know there's a reason why he is like this. I just wish I knew..."
I was interrupted mid-thought by Lance's ringing cell phone. He took it out of his pocket and flipped it open to answer it.
"Hello?" Lance answered. "Oh, hey, Cameron, what's up?"
Cameron? I thought. Why would he be calling Lance? I watched as Lance's face and mood changed and became much more somber. I wondered what was going on.
Lance flipped the phone closed and looked at me. "Well, you know that reason about Chris you were wondering about?"
"Yeah. What about it?" I replied quizzically.
"I think we're about to find out what it is. Follow me," Lance said as we headed towards the dressing rooms.
As Cameron, Justin, and I waited in the dressing room for some word from Lonnie or Brayden, I could not just sit still, so I began pacing the room. Cameron had just gotten off the phone with Lance, and I don't know what it was, but the more I walked and the more time that went by made me insane with worry.
"Josh, everything will be OK," Justin assured. "Now, please sit down before you drive me insane with your pacing."
"I can't, Justin. I'm so worried about him," I replied, nearly breaking down again. "What if he's seriously hurt? What if there's something major wrong with him? I don't know what I'd do if anything happened to him."
"Josh, would you calm down, please? You're going to get hysterical again," Cameron said sternly. "Now please do as Justin asked and sit down before I put you on the couch myself and sit on you to keep you there."
"Alright fine," I replied, chuckling at Cameron.
Another couple minutes passed, and it seemed like an eternity. Then out of the blue there was a knock on the door. I shot up and went racing to the door. I paused briefly before opening the door to gather my strength to handle whatever I was about to see. I opened the door and met the faces of a very puzzled Lance and Cody.
"Oh, my God, it's just you two," I said with a sigh of relief.
"Just us two?" Lance asked. "What's going on here? Why do the three of you look like someone just died?"
"Come in guys and have a seat," Cameron said as he ushered us into the room.
Lance and Cody came in and sat next to Justin on the couch. They looked back and forth between Cameron, Justin and myself trying to get some sort of information.
"Ok, would someone start talking please?" Cody asked. "What's going on here?"
"And what has this got to do with Chris?" Lance added.
I walked over and grabbed a chair from the table and placed it in front of the couch where Lance, Justin and Cody were sitting. Cameron joined them and sat on the arm of the couch next to Cody.
I took a deep breath and began. "Ok, what I'm about to tell you is something that I've been keeping secret from the group `cause there is already enough drama and I didn't want to add to it. However, something has happened that I need your help with."
I looked at Lance and Cody and knew that I had their attention so I continued. "Lance, do you remember Chris's cousin Brayden?" I asked.
"Yeah, the one that he used to not-stop talk about. Haven't heard much about him lately, but I know who you're talking about," Lance answered.
"Well, Brayden is what's caused Chris to flip out," I said almost losing it again.
"OK, I'm confused, please explain," Lance said, looking at Cody, who nodded in agreement.
I then told them the story about Brayden and how he came out to Chris and how Chris flipped out. I also told them how Brayden had come to Dallas to try and talk to Chris and how Chris beat the shit out of him.
When I had finished with my story I glanced at Cody, who had the most horrified look on his face. He was just staring off into space as if he had seen a ghost or something
"Are you OK, Cody?" I asked trying to get his attention. Nothing happened. "Earth to Cody," I continued.
"Hey, Cody," Lance said, shaking Cody's leg, "Come back to us."
Cody blinked his eyes, shook his head slowly and then looked towards Lance, and then back at me, and finally over to Cameron. When his eyes met Cameron's, Cody burst into tears. Cameron reached down and enveloped Cody into a hug and began to comfort him.
"Shhhh, it's ok. Let it out," Cameron soothed. "It's over buddy, you're safe. No one is ever going to do that to you again. I will see to that."
Cameron continued to comfort Cody as he cried. A minute or two later, Cody began to regain his composure. He sat up and began wiping the tears from his eyes. He noticed me, Justin and Lance watching he and Cameron with shocked looks on our faces.
"I'm so sorry you guys. Please forgive me," Cody asked, looking down.
"Hey, don't worry about it," Lance replied. "Are you OK?"
"Yeah, I am. Thanks," Cody said, smiling at Lance.
"If you don't mind my asking," Justin piped in. "What was that all about?"
Cody looked to Cameron and took a deep breath.
"Do you want me to answer that?" Cameron asked Cody.
"No, I need to do this one myself," Cody replied, turning to face the three of us. "That story is almost identical to what happened to me when I was growing up. The only difference is, Brayden told his cousin and paid for it, the people around me assumed and acted on it. Hearing Josh tell that story brought back a lot of memories that I thought I had put behind me. I'm very sorry for the outburst. It all just seemed so real again and it scared me."
"There is no need to apologize, we understand completely," Justin said.
"Always remember something," Lance said, looking Cody directly in the eye, "You have new friends now that will do everything in their power to keep you safe."
Justin and I smiled and nodded proudly in agreement.
"And you already know that you're stuck with me come hell or high water," Cameron said with a grin. "But seriously. You are my best friend in the whole world and I don't know what I would do if something happened to you. I swear on my life that I will always be there for you."
"Thanks, ass-face, I love you, too," Cody said giggling.
The four of them laughed and joked about Cody's comment but I couldn't join them. Brayden still wasn't here and my stomach was still in knots. I echoed Cameron's sentiment and didn't know what I'd do if Brayden was seriously hurt. I was very worried and I guess it showed on my face because Lance picked up on my somberness.
"Hey, Josh, you OK?" Lance asked.
"I know how he feels," I replied, barely loud enough for them to hear.
"What was that?" Lance said. "Come again?"
Louder this time I repeated. "I know how he feels."
Lance and Cody gave me puzzled looks.
"You know how who feels, Josh?" Cody asked.
"I know how Cameron feels when he said that he wouldn't know what to do if anything happened to you. I feel the same way about Brayden," I replied not looking at them.
"That is one thing that I have always admired about you, Josh," Lance said. "You are such a caring friend to those that you meet."
"Brayden is my friend, Lance," I replied, looking at Lance. "But there is more to it than that."
"Oh?...OH!!!" Lance replied as it all sunk in.
"Are you trying to tell us something, Josh?" Cody asked, glancing over at Lance with a smile.
"Brayden is my boyfriend," I replied looking at the two of them. "I love him more than anything and I would die if something is seriously wrong with him."
"Well...Um...A," Lance tried to speak but it wasn't working.
Cody watched Lance as he fumbled and just shook his head. He leaned forward and grabbed both my hands in his and looked me in the eye. "Josh, I want you to know that you have my full support. I know how scary it can be coming out and being who you are, but please remember that I'm here for you. If there is anything that I can do to help you or the situation, just let me know."
"Thank you, Cody," I replied, squeezing his hands. "That means a lot."
I sat there in disbelief. What the hell did I just hear him say? Did he just say that he was gay? That he was in love with Brayden? What the hell am I going to do about this?
All at once, just as fast as my mind was freaking out, reality hit me. WAKE UP IDIOT!! You're not going to do anything about this. This is the open door that you need to let your best friends know about you and Cody. This doesn't change a thing. If anything, this is going to make things better and stronger between the three of you.
It was about this time that I heard Josh say something to me. The first time he said it I couldn't quite make out what he was saying. I looked up from the spot on the floor that I was staring at and finally heard what he was trying to tell me.
"Lance, please say something," Josh said, pleading with his eyes. "You're scaring me."
I cleared my throat and began to speak. "Josh, I don't care what the hell you tell me, I will love you no matter what. You're one of my best friends and I could never think anything differently of you. I love you, man."
I got up and embraced Josh in a hug and I heard him say "Thank you, Lance."
We embraced for a minute longer and then I sat back down next to Cody and Josh sat back down in his chair.
All at once Josh started to giggle.
"What is so funny, Josh?" Justin asked.
"I was just thinking," Josh said, mid-giggle. "How big of a hay-day the press would have if they found out that a member of N'Sync is gay?"
"I don't even want to think about that," Justin said, giving Josh a panicked look. Josh looked back at Justin with his own "Don't Panic" look and then looked back in our direction.
As Josh looked at me, I thought to myself Now is as good a time as any. Just do it, you'll be fine. I took a deep breath and began to speak.
"Don't think that you'll be the only one getting all that glory," I said rather hesitantly.
"What are you talking about?" Josh replied looking confused.
I immediately began to panic myself, and I looked over at Cody. True to his beautiful character he was smiling warmly and just grabbed my hand and said, "You can do this. I'm right here." I could have kissed him right there.
I looked to Justin and then back over to Josh and began to speak. "Let me put it this way, the press would have to make that report for not just one member of this band, but two."
"Lance, are you coming out of the closet to us?" Justin asked, looking rather shocked.
"Yeah, I guess I am," I said very unsurely. "I have been fighting with telling you guys for awhile now, and I just figured that since Josh had courage enough, I could too. I hope you guys don't hate ME for surprising you."
"Hold up right there," Josh said nearly bolting out of the chair he was sitting in. "If you're not turning your back on me, then I'm not gonna do that to you, either. You mean a lot to me and I will never stop loving you."
"You have no idea how much better that makes me feel," I replied smiling. I looked over and noticed that Cody was still holding my hand. He had been holding onto me throughout that whole thing and it made my heart melt. It was then that I got an idea.
I looked at Cody and ask him, "Can I tell them?"
Cody hesitated for a minute and then smiled his killer grin and said, "Please do."
"Umm, guys," I began again. "There is something else that I think you all should know. Now nothing is official yet, but Cody and I are dating and very much into each other. We hope to one day make it more permanent, but I think you all should know that I think he is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me and I hope he feels the same way."
I looked over to Cody and he was nearly in tears. He squeezed my hand, smiled and said, "Yes, Lance, I do feel the same."
I decided to be daring and leaned in and gave him a kiss. He kissed me back with full force. We broke the kiss and I just looked into his eyes. I had just died and gone to heaven. It felt like I was lost in a romantic trance.
Josh and Justin cooing "OOOOHHHHHH" in harmony broke the trance
I just sat there turning beet red.
I was in heaven. Not only had Lance been strong enough to tell the people he loved who he was, but also told them about us. I nearly cried at the things he said about me, and that Kiss...can we just say Insta-Woody!?!
I just sat there reveling in his beauty when all of a sudden I feel a sharp pain hit the back of my head.
"OUCH," I yelped loudly, looking back at Cameron. "What the hell was that for?"
"You've been dating this Yah-Hoo for how long and I'm just NOW finding out about it?" Cameron replied sharply.
"Hey! Who are you calling a Yah-Hoo?" Lance scoffed back.
"Oh, just can it, Blondie, I'll deal with you in a minute," Cameron said to Lance, and then started back on me. "What happened to the best friend privilege? I'm supposed to find out this shit first. It's been awhile since you have been pinned down and tickled. Don't make me get dirty, dumb-ass."
"All right, look, ass-face," I said nearly laughing. "I don't love you any less, but Lance and I just decided to keep it on the down low until he was ready to come out, or we became official. So stop pouting, it's so not becoming of a lady."
"OK, I guess that's understandable," Cameron replied. "I am happy for you, Cody, despite the fact that I didn't know first."
"Thank you, my friend," I said with a smile.
"As for you," Cameron continued, looking at Lance. "I'm going to give you the standard speech that I give every man involved with my best friend. If you hurt him, break his heart or not treat him with all the love he deserves, I WILL have your testicles for Christmas ornaments. Is that clear?"
Lance swallowed hard and replied, "Yes, Sir."
"But don't stress too much," Cameron continued. "I like you and think that you're perfect for Cody. I'm happy for both of you."
"Thanks!" Lance and I said in unison.
Lance and I looked at each other, surprised at what we just said, and started giggling. It quickly became infections and soon the whole room was laughing. After a few minutes, things started to calm down.
"You know," Lance said, breaking the silence. "I don't know if the world is ready for two gay boy band members."
We all heard someone say something but it was so quiet that it was almost inaudible. It seemed to come out of nowhere.
"What did you say, Josh?" Lance asked.
"Wasn't me," Josh replied with no expression.
"Cameron?" I said, looking to my right.
"Nope," Cameron said, shaking his head nonchalantly.
All at once, all eyes were on Justin.
"OK, Curley, you're the only one left in this room. Care to repeat what you just said?" Lance asked.
"I said three," Justin said, not making eye contact with any of us.
"What do you mean by that, Justin?" I asked, even more confused.
"I mean that there aren't just two of you attracted to the fair male species. I, too, would fall under that category," Justin said rather timidly, like he was bracing himself for the worst.
"WHAT!!" Lance almost shouted getting up off the couch.
I looked over at Justin and saw his timid face turn to sheer panic as he saw what Lance did.
I immediately grabbed Lance by the hand and motioned toward where Justin was sitting. Lance, noticing Justin's change, immediately went to him.
"I'm so sorry, Justin. I did not mean it to come out like that," Lance said, kneeling in front of Justin, taking his hands. "I love you regardless if your gay or straight. I was just overwhelmed to hear that there are three of us that are gay."
Justin seemed to ease a little when Lance said that.
"I mean, think about it," Lance went on. "We have been together and have been friends for how many years now? I don't know whether to be hurt or happy that it's taken this long for us to tell each other."
"It was just never the right time," Justin said
"For me, it wasn't until I met Brayden that I finally knew that I was OK with being gay," Josh said with a smile. "He brings out the best in me and I would like to think that I do the same for him."
"I can say the same about the cute blonde sitting on the couch over there," Lance added, looking over at Cameron and I.
"Why, Lance, I didn't know you felt that way. I'm flattered," Cameron replied, batting his eyelashes.
"HEY! Watch it, Ass-Face," I exclaimed nearly pushing him off the couch.
"Oh, calm down, Dumb-Ass, I was only kidding," Cameron said smiling.
"What about you, Justin?" I asked. "Got anyone special in your life?"
Justin smiled bashfully "Nothing solid, but I did meet someone the other day that I really like. So hopefully something may happen in the future."
"Well, good for you," I said getting up, walking to Justin and giving him a hug.
"OK, guys, I hate to bring the mood down, but has anyone thought about how were gonna break this news to Joey and Chris?" Lance said seriously.
"Oh, Shit," Justin said, rubbing his forehead. "I forgot all about them."
"I did, too," Josh replied back. "And if you want my opinion, I think that we should keep this under raps for a while longer. There is enough drama going on with Chris and WE don't need to add to it."
"I completely agree with that," Lance said, looking over to Justin. "What about you, Curly?"
"That's fine with me. I'm not worried about Joey knowing, but I couldn't care less about that fucking asshole, Chris. They will find out all in good time," Justin replied.
"Well, I'm glad that that you guys have got that all out in the open, but let's not forget about the problem at hand," Cameron said with all seriousness. "Josh, isn't there something you wanted to ask Cody?"
"Holy Shit, yes," Josh replied, walking over to where Justin and I stood. "As I was telling you earlier, Brayden didn't sound like he was in very good shape when I talked to him. I'm worried sick that he's seriously hurt. Cameron mentioned that you were a licensed EMT and I was wondering if, when Brayden gets here, you could look at him and make sure nothing is seriously wrong."
"It's been awhile since I have had to use my training, but I would be happy to," I replied.
"Thank you so much!" Josh replied, giving me a huge hug. "I swear if anything seriously bad has happened to him Chris will..." the ringing of his cell phone interrupted him mid-sentence.
He looked down at the phones display, and panic immediately set in. "It's Lonnie. I bet he's here with Brayden."
"Take a deep breath and answer it," Cameron said, coming over to where we were standing. "Everything is going to be OK."
Josh nodded and flipped open the phone. "Hello?" He answered hesitantly. "Hey, Lonnie. You're almost here? Five minutes away? Lonnie, tell me honestly, how does he look? Oh, my God!!" Josh gasped. "Can he walk? OK good. Just bring him to my dressing room when you get here. We are all in here waiting. Oh, it's everyone but Joey and Chris. Cody is an EMT and he'll look Brayden over when he gets here. Cool, we'll see you then. Hey, Lonnie? Thanks again, I owe you one."
Josh hung up the phone and immediately sat down. "I think I'm gonna be sick."
"What did he say Josh?" Justin asked. "How does Brayden look?"
"Lonnie said that it's not pretty. He has a black eye, is walking with a limp and is holding his arm to his chest," Josh said, nearly in tears.
"Don't worry, Josh," Lance said, wrapping his arm around is friend. "We're all here for you and we'll get through this together."
"Thanks, you guys," Josh replied with tears in his eyes. "I don't know what I'd do without you."
The next few minutes passed as if they lasted an eternity. No one said anything; we all just waited nervously for Lonnie and Brayden to arrive. Each one of us dreading what we were about to see.
After about 5 minutes, there was a knock at the door. Everyone stood, frozen in their places. Josh would not take his eyes off the door for anything.
Cameron and I went to the door and opened it. I was utterly shocked at what I saw come in the room. There was Lonnie carrying this broken shell of a man with one arm. Brayden was obviously in a lot of pain, and didn't quite seem to know where he was. We all could tell that the poor man had been through hell.
Josh couldn't move, he just stood where he was and cried.
Lonnie stopped about a foot into the room and let Brayden try to stand on his own. Brayden found his balance and looked around the room quite dazed. I could tell that he was looking for Josh.
It did not take long before Brayden found what he was looking for. His eyes immediately welled up with tears as he tried to make his way to the man he loved.
"Help me, Josh..." was all we heard before he lost his balance, and fainted.
|**To Be Continued**|