Everything in this story is purely FICTIONAL. Or in simpler terms, it's not true!!! Even if this story involves NSYNC, a real and successful American singing group, and a fictitious character, all that happens in here is fictional... again, it's not true. If there are events similar to what happened in the real world, it doesn't mean that it's really true. I don't know anything about their sexuality, as far as the I and the world know, they're all straight so I dunno if they're gay (but I do have my speculations) or not but I wrote this out of freedom of speech and my love for these guys and slash fiction. I don't own or know NSYNC personally. AGAIN, it's NOT TRUE!!! But don't we all hope that it's true... hehehehe...
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Here's the next installment. I guess I found the time to actually write this chapter. This is much better than the one I sent out before since this works in a different time in their lives. I hope you enjoy this part of the lives of Josh and Kyle. I'll try to update more or not give a major cliffhanger if I know that I cannot update the story. Okay, here it is! What I See Chapter 38. -- ryan
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What I See
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The NSYNC days seemed to be over after their last tour. The guys aren’t the articles in newsprints. It’s like they’re forgotten by the world except by a few of their avid fans. Even the guys seemed to have forgotten this phase in their lives. The occasional meet up of the five guys appeared to be mechanic, and the brotherhood formed by years of touring together seemed to have vanished magically. I really didn’t know why but my only hunch was that they outgrew that part of their lives.
Days, and months have passed after the last tour. So many things have happened in their different individual lives. The connections that bound them together was no more. They were living separate lives.
Chris was busy salvaging his clothing line. After a close review, he noticed that he was not profiting. He knew that there was something wrong. He has neglected it and he was doubling his efforts to raise it back and rectify things.
Joey and Lance were busy doing small side projects that involved acting but their last stint together in the movie On the Line was the last time the two were seen together performing in the wide screen. They were full fledge actors but they really didn’t work together. But, I knew that they were having a blast. I got to see Joey perform in Rent! He was really amazing.
Justin released his solo album and with the hype that came with it, it was inevitable that it was very successful. It was a new Justin that I didn’t recognize. The boyish looks and wholesome image were gone. They were replaced by a rougher and raunchier image that made him look a bit dangerous, but damn sexy and appealing. Of course, I kept that comment to myself to avoid any drama.
And for Josh, he also released a solo album but it didn’t really go well and I knew that he was really affected by that fact. He thought that he gracefully faced the world but I knew how hurt he was. He felt like he was the laughing stock of the world knowing that almost everyone from NSYNC had a success story except him. He was having this self pity funk that totally drove me crazy and it put a wedge in our relationship. He was continually moping around like he lost someone. To put salt in the injury, he felt alone. The guys didn’t even say hi to him or ask how he was. He knew from that moment, NSYNC was long gone. It cannot be resuscitated back to life. But, it also hurt me because even if he was alone, he was not. I was there with him all the way and I felt that he didn’t appreciate that. He didn’t appreciate me.
Even I knew that the guys have been distant with each other. Too distant for my own liking. It seemed that NSYNC was just part of the past and it has no place in their future plans. Even Josh felt iffy with the group after everything. It was so awkward during their annual CFTC charity where they were forced to be present. To the outside world, they were the best of friends, but everything was pure publicity. I could sense the tension. It felt like they were among strangers.
So, what did Josh do? He just lived in with me. Yeah, after the tour, I went back home and worked in the office. It was great going back to a place that I can call home because when you’re on tour, I can’t consider a moving bus or a hotel room as home. There’s no sense of ownership and security.
Nothing really changed when I got back so adjusting to my old way of life was pretty easy. Josh, on the other hand, had a hard time at first but after a few weeks, he was familiar with everything and he integrated successfully with my home. Until now, everything remained calm and peaceful in the outside but there were inner conflicts brewing not only with Josh’s insecurity but also with my issues with him. We never talked about them maybe because we were in a sort of a denial or we were too afraid to let the worms out of its can that would spell drama.
There are still times, of course, that Josh would have to fly out to different places because of his commitments. He’s still a star out there and as much as he wanted to stay out of the public’s eye, he was always seen or called to do his job. The most trying period was the times when he would do his promo and tour for his solo album because I didn’t join him that time. I thought it was the end of our relationship, but we survived eventually.
I was on my way home from work. I was extremely busy these days because of an influx of projects. With the publicity that we received with our big projects with Jive, it was inevitable. However, most of the job fell on my lap because a few of my co-workers left including Will. Our staff didn’t grow after their departure so their abandoned projects were absorbed by the remaining web developers including me.
Josh was away recording for his sophomore album. I hope that this would be more successful compared to his last album because a lot of convincing took place so that he would record again. I actually love his first album and I’ve heard that critics loved it as well. However, critical acclaim is not enough because the album might be really good but no one hears it, it’s still a flop. He has so much talent but only a few hears his music.
When I reached my house, the lights were open and that was strange since I always make sure that all lights are closed when I leave the house. Did I forget anything? I asked myself knowing that the likelihood of that happening is nil.
I parked my car and went inside the house still baffled. My unexpected visitor was actually Paul, my younger brother. “Paul? What are you doing here?” I asked. My siblings haven’t bothered me for ages so it was really quite a surprise. He was sprawled in my couch watching the television.
“I got bored at home.” He answered not averting his gaze from the TV. I knew that something was wrong.
“No party or date? That’s strange.” I asked.
“Nope. I’m not in the mood.” He replied sullenly. I didn’t pry anymore and left it at that. Knowing Paul, he would eventually spill once he’s ready.
Pookie emerged from the kitchen and circled me wagging his tail. I picked her up and let her lick my face. After a few minutes of playing with her, I placed her down and she ran off to the kitchen once again.
I walked to the answering machine to review the messages I received for the day. There was none, which was usual.
I sat beside Paul and placed his legs on my lap as I tried to comprehend what he was watching. I think it was CSI.
“I’m lonely.” Paul said out of nowhere.
“I feel so alone. I want someone again.”
“Why don’t you go out so that you’ll meet other people then?” I asked him.
“I’m tired of going out and putting my hopes up. I don’t know what to do, Ky.”
“Well, if you just stay at home, nothing will happen. Risking is one of the facts of life. You can’t get the things you want if you just remain in your comfort zone. You really have to bring yourself out there.” I noticed a tear fall down from Paul’s eyes. “Getting hurt is part of it. It’s painful but it’s what makes you stronger. You learn from them. It makes you resilient. It makes you better. And, you’re still young. You have loads of things coming your way.”
“Why can’t it be simple? Why won’t he just knock on that door?” Paul exclaimed. At the same time, there was a knock on the door.
“Maybe your prayers have been answered.” I told him as I stood up to see who arrived because I wasn’t really expecting anyone to visit. Josh was to arrive two weeks from now so it was impossible to be him.
I peered in the peephole and recognized the person standing by the door. “Lance?” I asked surprised when I opened the door.
“Hey!” Lance smiled meekly. He looked like he was lost.
“What are you doing here?” I asked him while giving him a hug. It has been a few months since I last saw him.
“I was in the area so I decided to visit.” He replied. I knew that there was more to that but I bit my tongue not saying anything. If he’s ready, he’ll tell me.
“How rude of me. Come inside.” I told him. “Wow! You look different. You look bigger and more tan and something’s…” I trailed off.
“The bigger part is because of the astronaut training I got. I’m maintaining the work out program I learned and I think it’s doing wonders for me. The tanned part is from Beverly Hills. It’s artificial. It will wear off in a few days. And the something is this.” He then pointed to his nose. “I needed a nose job because of an accident. Didn’t you read about that?” He asked as we walked to the den.
“For real? I didn’t. I have no time to read the news these days. My hands have been tied with work for weeks.” I told him. “Oh yeah, I think you’ve met my brother Paul before.” I really can’t remember if they’ve seen each other.
“Yeah, we’ve met.” They answered in unison. “Anyway, I’ll go up first to my room to give you some privacy.” Paul excused himself turning the television off.
“When did you have a room in my house?” I asked as he was walking away. He just laughed. I rolled my eyes and let Lance sit on the couch. “So what’s been going on in your life?”
“Nothing much. There’s really nothing to do these days.”
“Well, NSYNC took most of your time before. And it is indefinitely on leave. But even after the tour, you’ve been a social butterfly. Well, you haven’t been very visible these days or I’m just so out of it.”
“Yeah. Being in the public is getting old for me.” Lance stated.
“Lance, are you thinking of settling down?” I asked.
“Nah! I’m too young for that.” He said chuckling. “I just don’t want the publicity. I wanna go out without media hounding my every move.”
“Well, that’s a tough one especially that you’re part of one of the biggest groups in the world. I guess it’s part of the job.”
“Tell me about it.” He said sadly. And, my heart went out for him because Josh felt the exact thing. Maybe that’s why he decided to move in with me and be domestic even if he didn’t know stuff in housekeeping. I knew that he enjoyed living here a bit. After a few weeks of people fawning over his stardom, most treat him as a regular guy but of course, they still didn’t know that we are in a relationship. Even I didn’t want to risk his career even if it was dormant.
“So, tell me why you are actually here and don’t give me this shit of you passing by here. You do know that you’re not in a major city so why on earth will you just pass by here.” I said with a laugh.
“You caught me there.” He smiled shyly. “I was thinking of bumming here for awhile to recharge my batteries and be anonymous. No one will think that I’m here. No one even knows that Jayce has been living here for months.”
“Of course you can stay here. You know that my home is always open to you guys.” I said putting my hand over his and giving it a squeeze. “So, I assume you have your luggage with you?”
“Yeah, it’s in my rental parked outside.”
“I hope you didn’t bring your entire wardrobe from the tour.” I joked as I stood up. He followed suit.
“Don’t worry. I just brought a duffel bag. I told you that I wanna go incognito for awhile. So, simple clothes for me.”
“I never thought that’s possible.” I laughed. He smacked me on the shoulder for that feigning anger.
“Desperate times need desperate measures.” He remarked and chuckled.
True to what he said, Lance only brought a medium-sized duffel bag, which he carried even when I protested. It just fell on deaf ears.
I gave him a brief tour of the house and led him to my other guest room. Good thing I have two guest rooms in the house since Paul hijacked the usual room that I give to my visitors. At least, the room was still clean. I helped Lance to get settled and the next thing I knew, it was around 10:00 pm. I was feeling sleepy already and Lance noticed that as well.
“I think we should call it a night.” Lance stated.
“I think we should too.” I said trying to stifle a yawn. “If you need anything, you know my room and if you’re hungry or something, the kitchen is downstairs. Just ignore my dog, she doesn’t bite.”
“I’ll keep that in mind but you know that I won’t risk it.” Lance said with a chuckle. We said our good nights and I left for my room to finally get some much needed rest.
Contrary to what I planned to do, which was to sleep once I finished my nightly routine, I was awake thinking. Maybe it was the thought that Lance suddenly dropped by. I knew that there was something more with what he confided in me. If it was a matter of anonymity, he could have flown away to some obscure country and enjoyed a quiet time there. But, why here?
I just found it weird that after a few months of absolutely no communication, he just appeared in my doorstep. I couldn’t find an exact answer even if I tried to drew up different scenarios in my head. The answer was with Lance only.
I turned the television on hoping that it could be my lullaby for the night. For me, it was perfect. The light emanating from the television was good in inducing sleep. The phone rang interrupting the peace in the room.
I looked at the clock and it was 11:20 pm already. “Hello.” I answered tentatively not really sure why someone would call at this time.
“Hey, babe.” Josh said. “Were you sleeping already?”
“Nope. I was trying to sleep but I just can’t sleep tonight.”
“Aaaaw! Do you miss me already?” He cooed.
“As if!” I laughed remembering the movie Clueless. “I just got an unexpected guest here.”
“Really? Do I know this unexpected guest?” JC said mysteriously. I was just waiting for the thunder to clap.
“Yeah. It’s Lance.”
“Lance? That’s a surprise.”
“I know. Your bandmates are the last ones I would expect to drop by here especially that you’re not even here.” I told him. Even if I established a friendship with the guys, I knew that I will always be an outsider. I can’t crack their forged brotherhood. It was solely theirs to own and keep.
“Did he tell you why he’s there?”
“He said that he wanted to be out of the limelight for a while.”
“But why there? I mean, he can go to some place outside of the States like Asia or something and no one will recognize him there.” Josh asked like he was making everything make sense in his head.
“Exactly. That’s what I was trying to figure out.”
“Oh well, at least you have company there while I’m still away. Did he say how long he’ll stay there?”
“Not really, but it’s okay. So, when will you be back.” I asked him.
“Give me a few more days. We’re already polishing a few tracks that we recorded.”
“Cool! So, do I get to hear them?”
“Of course!” He chuckled.
“I miss you.” I stated.
“I miss you too. I can’t wait to go home.”
“Let’s not get too mushy or else I’ll be bawling my eyes here. I’ll see you in a few days, okay?”
“Okay. I’ll keep the bed warm for you.”
“Perfect. I’ll go out for awhile and let the press catch me. Talk to you soon. I love you.”
“I love you too.” I said and we both hanged up. It totally completed my day. Even if I was stressed like crazy with work and with Lance suddenly dropping by, everything was okay. There was a smile plastered on my face when sleep finally caught me.
The next day, I woke up a bit later than my usual time so I was a bit hurried and disoriented. I really hate it when I am late because I feel that it’s so unprofessional.
It only dawned to me that I have a visitor when I saw the rental car parked outside. I totally forgot about Lance. I rushed inside and left a note for Lance so that he wouldn’t panic. If he gave me an earlier warning, I could have told Matt that I would be working at home or something to keep him company for a while. But, Paul was here so I wasn’t really anxious.
I drove to the office and I didn’t come late. I still had 10 minutes to spare. Most of my workmates were already doing their work when I arrived. Even if almost all of them were present, the place still looked barren. After most of the people resigned, Matt didn’t bother replacing them or changing anything. The desks were still unoccupied and the workplace looked bigger and more overwhelming than ever.
I settled at my desk and looked around if everything was in place. Yeah, I am a bit picky with my things especially when they suddenly disappear or change position. I still had a ton of work to do and honestly, it wasn’t funny. It was too much even for me.
I already talked to Matt about the amount of work but it seemed that it fell into deaf ears. I sighed looking at the untouched job orders that was needed to be accomplished. I wasn’t doing anything yet and my head was already aching just looking at all the work.
I grabbed the phone and called my best friend. “Hello?” Ken answered sleepily after a few rings.
“Oh shit! I am so sorry. I forgot about the time!” I exclaimed. I didn’t remember about the time difference that we had. It was still early for Ken.
“I’m used to it.” Ken sighed. “Since I’m awake now, what’s up?”
“Nothing. I just needed some diversion for awhile. I have so much work these days.”
“Matt still not hiring new people?”
“No! And, I’m getting pissed off already. I’ve been shitting bricks already with the amount of work that I do. I mean I’m still human.”
“Dude, I feel for you. So, what’s in your mind?”
“I really don’t know. This job sucks.” I said sadly.
“Why don’t you just quit?” Ken asked.
“I still need a job to survive.”
“You know that you don’t.” He pointed out.
“Fine, but you know that I can’t survive doing nothing.”
“True, true. Well, if I’m in your position, I already left ages ago. I’m too young to be burdened with too much work. For sure, Matt is profiting a lot with the continuous flow of projects. ”
“I don’t know yet. All I know is that I’m sick and tired at this moment.”
“Kylie, I’ll be sick and tired too. I mean, any person will be!”
“Did you ask Josh about this?”
“Yeah, I talked to him about work a few days ago. He actually told me to quit as well.” I replied.
“Well, it is the best thing to do.”
“A part of me really wants to quit but another part of me doesn’t because I already fell in love with the place and everything.”
“Change is part of life. It’s like a relationship, if it’s not working already, you break it off so that you won’t end up hating each other, which is far worse.”
“Yeah, you’re the expert in relationships.” I ribbed.
Ken just laughed. “Kyle, I think you know what you’re gonna do. Remember, you’re the voice of reason between the two of us. Let me catch a few more minutes of sleep.”
“Fine! Thanks for the time, Kenny.” I said and we hung up. Was it really time to move on? The analogy that Ken used was fitting since it wasn’t really working out.
If ever I would quit, at least Lance was at home and I wouldn’t be bored to death. I touched the first folder on top of the pile and reviewed it. I was still officially an employee.
... to be continued.
Thanks to all those who emailed me. As usual, comments and suggestions are welcome. Just email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.