The Green Room
by Chris J

"Someone wanna pass me a soda?" called JC from the other side of the table, tipping back in his chair and trying to peer out the window through a slit in the curtains.

"Get it yourself," said Justin, kicking back on the sofa and propping his booted feet up on the coffee table. "Lazy bum."

"I can't reach," he complained, leaning forward and letting his chair slam to the floor again abruptly. "They're all over on Joey's side."

"Fine," I said, pulling a Coke out of the bucket and sliding it down the table towards him, shaking the excess water off my hand and onto the carpet. "Like you couldn't get up. Justin's right, you are a lazy ass." I grinned as he feigned shock at my accusation.

"Justin said nothing about my ass," he protested, opening the Coke and draining half of it in one gulp. "Now you on the other hand..."

Man, I shoulda seen that one coming. "Don't flatter yourself," I snorted, deciding to grab a drink of my own. I usually didn't, knowing that by the time the liquid went through my system I would be on camera and unable to take off for a piss, but dammit, it was dry in here and I was thirsty. "There's only one ass I lie awake and think about."

I glanced over at Chris, who had wandered over into the far corner of the room and was facing away from us. He was talking to Danielle again; she'd called him every day for the three days since she'd seen us. I think it was mostly business stuff, but every time he got off the phone he had this happy look on his face and he'd come up and hold me for a bit. So I didn't mind her calls at all.

"Too much information!" said Justin with a satisfied smirk on his face.

Lance looked at him, then at me, then grinned wickedly. "Too much information?" he repeated, looking back at Justin. "Like you know nothing about it, Mr. 'Oh-baby-finger-me-harder'."

Justin suddenly blushed a deep crimson and I looked at Lance incredulously.

"And dammit," Lance went on. "Why is it that I always end up in the room next to his? For a guy who's never had it, I know way more about sex than I ought to."

"Hey," said Justin, clearing his throat awkwardly, finally finding his voice again. "You do whatever feels good, right?"

"Works for me," I said, grinning a little, unready to let Justin off the hook just yet. "Of course, I didn't think what works for me would work for you, too, Just..."

I've honestly never seen the boy blush quite that much, and I knew him *before* he became the Sex God of the Western World. "Jeez, guys...I mean she was going down on me and all, and I wasn't really paying attention to...oh fuck it." He pulled his hat down over his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest, ignoring us.

I can't say I was entirely comfortable talking about my sex life--not like I had been when we'd been sitting around like this and I was still talking about the latest woman I'd been with--but the other guys seemed to be taking it pretty much in stride. I mean, I still saw the curious looks they slid towards me and Chris from time to time, and sometimes they broke off in the middle of what they were saying as though remembering that we might find it offensive, but it was all so innocent.

"Okay," I heard Chris say as he turned around and started walking back towards us. "Okay, hon, that sounds good. I'll talk to you soon. Bye." He still called her hon, but I think I was okay with that. I sounded natural to me, and easier to take when it wasn't combined with 'I love you' as it had been before.

He came up to me and ran a hand through my hair, then kissed me soundly. "Dani says hi," he said simply, smiling and caressing my neck, then sitting down on the opposite end of the couch from Justin.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Lance watching us silently, as he often did. He had that smile on his face, the one I have yet to decipher. It wasn't troubling or anything, just kinda happy and...I didn't know. I was going to have to ask Chris about it--he was better at reading people then I was.

"Chris, can I borrow your phone for a second," said JC suddenly, jumping out of his chair and going over to the couch with his hand out expectantly. "I left mine in the hotel."

"Who you calling?"

"Doesn't matter. I'll make it quick."

Chris held up the phone just out of JC's reach. "Tell me who," he pushed, grinning like a madman. "It is my phone after all."

"Chris!" He leaned over and practically fell into Chris' lap, trying to reach the phone. "We have to go on in, like, fifteen minutes. We don't have time for this."

"You're right, we don't," he said mischievously. "And if you tell me who you're calling you'll get the phone that much faster."

"Hmm, I wonder who it could be," said Lance, looking right at me. "Couldn't be his family," he mused. "He'd tell us about that."

"Couldn't be business," I said, playing along. "He'd definitely have no problem telling us that."

"Maybe he wants to order up a pizza for later," offered Lance. "You think?"

"Or Chinese," I said.

"Hey, if we're taking a vote, I say Chinese," said Chris, trying to look serious as JC loomed over him.

"For fuck's sake," he said, pushing himself back to his feet again and pulling a piece of paper out of his back pocket. "I'm not calling for food." He glanced at the paper. "Her name's Lisa. Now if you don't mind--" He reached out quickly and grabbed the phone from an unprepared Chris. "--I'd like a little privacy."

Shaking his head at us, he stalked over to the corner that Chris had previously been occupying and dialed the number on the piece of paper. I looked over at Chris and raised my eyebrow; he just shrugged and grinned.

"Who the fuck's Lisa?" Justin asked us all, peering out from the shadow of his hat. We all just kinda shrugged, stealing glances as JC who was now engaged in a hushed conversation. "An' why haven't we heard about her before?"

"If he had to pull her name outta his pocket," said Lance. "I'm guessing they don't know each other all too well." He shrugged. "JC's gonna hook up tonight while we're in town. Seems pretty clear to me."

"So basically no matter where you sleep tonight you can't win," I said, laughing a little. Poor guy. I really do respect his decision not to sleep with anyone until he's in love, but damn, that's gotta be tough for him. Especially living with the four of us, none of whom have ever had serious moral issues with getting laid on the road.

He grunted a bit and rolled his eyes. "I'm checking into the Holiday Inn," he threatened. "I'll meet you guys for breakfast tomorrow." "Speaking of breakfast..." said Justin, leaning forward and grabbing a muffin of the tray on the coffee table. "I shoulda had something before we left the hotel. How long 'til we go on?"

Lance looked at his watch, an expression of relief at the change of topic clear on his face. "About 10 minutes," he said. "More than enough time for you to eat, Just." Justin already had half the muffin in his mouth anyway, not having waited for the response. Even if we'd been going on in 30 seconds, he probably would have been done in time.

"Lance," I asked, watching Justin eat with respectful awe. "Where do we head after this again?"

He sighed loudly. "Joey, you have a mind like a sieve." He pulled out his Palm Pilot and checked over the schedule he always kept for himself. "You and Chris and I are going to do an interview for Spitfire Magazine and JC and Just are gonna take the QX104 Radio interview."

I nodded my head. "My favorite color is red, my favorite food is Italian, and I love Superman," I recited. "Okay, I think I'm ready for that one. Anything else on the agenda for today?"

"Hey, I've heard of Spitfire," piped up Chris. "Weren't they handing out free copies at our last show?"

Lance nodded. "Yeah, it's that new teen girls' one. They're trying to be a bit more cutting edge than the competition, so those answers might not cut it today, Joey."

I rolled my eyes. "I'll believe that when I see it," I said, thinking back on the hundreds of interviews for teen magazines that we've done over the years. The questions never really changed, they just got asked again and again in different ways.

"I need a drink now," said Justin, wiping the crumbs from the corner of his mouth with a napkin, careful not to get anything on his outfit. He got up from the couch and came over to the table, rummaging around for something to wash down the muffin with. Probably juice. I slid out of my own chair and took over the seat he'd vacated.

Chris grinned at me and swung his legs up, planting them on my lap. I looked at the dust trails his boots had left on my jeans and then shrugged helplessly. I couldn't really keep from smiling as I put a hand on his ankle and caressed it a little with my thumb.

I could definitely get used to these little touches that we were allowing ourselves now, just that one step over the friends line that changed everything. I felt a little self-conscious, knowing they were all watching, but I think this was what we all wanted. To have it out in the open.

"All right," said JC, coming back with the phone and tossing it to Chris. "You guys are going to have to go out without me tonight. I have plans."

"With Lisa," added Justin, draining the bottle of orange juice.

"Yes, with Lisa," he said, rolling his eyes. "We're having dinner."

Dinner? I wondered if that was a new euphemism he'd come up with. JC is a really nice guy, but when calling up girls who've slipped him their number, he usually doesn't bother with the whole dinner thing. I mean, who does? That's not exactly why they give you their number in the first place. I just hoped she wasn't underage this time--Justin's young enough himself to get away with that, but JC isn't anymore.

"She a fan?" asked Lance, trying to sound blasť about it. He was looking down at his hands and not at JC at all.

He shrugged. "I don't know. Wish I did--that might make it easier." He sat back down in the chair he'd been occupying and started tipping it back again.

"What do you--" began Justin, but was interrupted by a knock at the door. It opened a crack and a head peeked around the corner, headset scraping slightly against the metal doorframe.

"We're about ready for you, guys," she said. Seeing us begin to stand, she opened the door further to let us out. Lance went out first, giving her a polite smile as he passed. She was pretty and young, probably on an internship from a local college. Justin was a bit more blatant with his attentions, pausing at the door to give her a once-over and smirking slightly, catching her eye. She blushed and followed him out, leaving the rest of us to follow them to the set.

Chris caught my arm before I stepped outside the green room and I stopped momentarily. "Break a leg," he murmured in my ear, then kissed my lips softly. I smiled foolishly. We used to say that to each other when we first started out as a group, but we'd stopped bothering a long time ago.

"You too," I said, cupping his cheek in my hand, then letting my arm drop as I composed myself again.

"Enough, guys," said JC, putting one hand on each of our shoulders and stepping between us. "We have a show to do." He opened the door and went out into the corridor, looking both ways to see which direction everyone had gone in.

Chris stuck his tongue out at JC's back and I laughed as we followed him out.

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