I turned the corner towards JC's hotel room and saw Lance slipping out the door, closing it quietly behind him. He put his finger to his lips and walked towards me quickly. "Lisa called," he said in explanation. "He seemed into the conversation, so I snuck out."
"What were they talking about?" I asked idly as Lance began steering me back in the other direction.
"I didn't ask," he said, opening the door to his own hotel room. "Sounding like he was giving her advice on her love life. Personal stuff. I didn't feel right, listening in." He held the door open and waited for me to come inside.
"Is Justin still in there?" I asked as I closed the door behind me and looked around. Lance was neater than me and Chris, but sloppier than JC, so there was stuff all over the room, but in the general area that it was supposed to be.
"Justin had a 'guest' arrive," he replied, and from his emphasis on the word I know precisely what kind of guest Justin had. Hell, it was the middle of the day, where had he managed to pick someone up?
"Ah," I said, sitting down in a chair by Lance's dresser. Sitting here with Lance was as good a place as any to kill some time, and considering he'd led me in here, I didn't feel like I was imposing. Not that I was particularly worried about that in the first place. We all burst in on each other all the time; it was no big thing, mostly.
"Do you have a minute?" he asked, and for the first time I realized he wasn't entirely at ease with me there. God, I hoped it was nothing big, hoped he hadn't suddenly decided to have a problem with me. Over anything, not just the whole Chris thing.
"I have more than a minute," I told him, trying to keep the concern out of my voice, trying to keep this light. "What's on your mind?"
"How's Chris?" he asked suddenly, and it didn't seem so much that he was avoiding the subject that he really wanted to hit on, but that he was sidestepping it. Skirting the edges of it.
"Chris is having a little time to himself," I said. I might have said more--this was Lance after all--but I didn't know what else I could say. I didn't know the whats and the whys of it yet, myself.
"You guys are okay, though, right?" he said, sitting down on the edge of the bed and staring at me with unexpected intensity. "I mean, things are still good?"
"What?" I said, needing to shake off that gaze before I could even answer. "Yeah, sure, we're good. Nobody can spend ALL their time together, Lance."
He looked away quickly and nodded. "I know, I know," he said. "I guess I'm kinda glad you're here alone..." he began awkwardly. "I wanted to ask you some things, and it's easier with just one of you than with both."
This felt very strange. I didn't know what Lance was going for, and only knew that it had something to do with the relationship between Chris and me...which was pretty broad territory. But it was Lance, so I was going to try and answer at the very least, no matter what he asked. "Okay, shoot," I said, my fingers playing nervously with the arm of the chair.
"Well...I'm totally getting used to the idea of you and Chris being together. I mean...you guys are great..."
"But...?" I prompted him when his voice trailed off.
"When did you fall for Chris?" he asked, tilting his head curiously. "I mean, obviously I know when you first spent the night together, but..."
I shrugged. Even I didn't know the answer to that one. I wasn't even sure I understood the question. "I love all you guys," I said, finally. "When Chris suggested that we get together...it was pretty easy to say yes."
"So if it had been one of the rest of us...it would have been the same?"
I had to think about that one, but slowly shook my head. "No, I don't think so," I said finally. "It was Chris." I looked away for a moment and tried to figure out how I knew that, figure out when it had started, if it hadn't been that night. "It had been for a while, I guess. I just wasn't thinking about it. Certainly wasn't talking about it."
"So when did you know you were into guys, then? I mean, it was before Chris, right?"
I smiled, feeling self-conscious being faced with these questions so blatantly. "I was under the impression that you've all known I was bisexual for years, you just never thought to tell me you knew."
He had the grace to blush. "It didn't seem right to bring it up if you didn't. And then you started dating all girls, and--"
"No, I just stopped being obvious about the guys," I admitted to him. "I did know what it would cost us to be found out, even then."
"And then Chris."
"Yeah," I said, grinning at him happily when I thought about Chris. "And then Chris, and there was that resolution blown out of the water. Now we're both out to you guys. I guess it's probably about time, anyway. I mean, we've both known forever, and deep down I knew it wasn't going to be a big deal...but it felt like it anyway."
"It wasn't a big deal," agreed Lance. "At least, the whole being gay part isn't--"
"I'm bisexual," I interrupted him.
Lance just looked at me with genuine curiosity. "Is there that much of a difference, really?"
"Well yeah, there is," I insisted. "Look, if I'm not going to lie about being straight, I'm not going to lie about being gay either. I'm neither--I like girls and I like guys, too. Well...these days mostly I just like Chris. But that doesn't change the fact that I find both attractive." I stopped and took a deep breath and realized that I was ranting. I didn't mean to rant at Lance, and he hardly deserved it because he was the first person to at least be asking me these things instead of assuming, but suddenly that whole deal just wanted to be let out. "People always seem to think you have to choose," I added finally. "Gay or straight. Well, you don't. You're attracted to whoever you're attracted to and that's that. No labels necessary."
"Thanks," he said quietly.
"For actually answering and not laughing the question off," he said, looking up at me with a shy smile. "Do you mind me asking this stuff? Honestly?"
I shook my head, realizing that I didn't. Realizing that I was almost enjoying this. "I've never really talked about it before," I told him. "Not with someone I wasn't sleeping with, and even then....well, let's just say most of them weren't in it for the talking. So no, I don't mind at all. Ask away."
He nodded an looked down, and I could almost see him composing the questions in his head. "How did you know that you were into guys? When did you know? Was it really hard?"
I really should have seen that one coming, with the pattern of question so far, but I hadn't so I had to struggle silently for an answer for a long while before speaking. So long that Lance had started to looked vaguely guilty for asking in the first place.
"I don't know how I knew," I said finally. "Other than the fact that I did. It's pretty much the same feeling no matter who it is." I leaned back in my chair and closed my eyes. "My first crush on a guy--that I admitted to myself, anyway--was in high school. He was in my math class and he had the most beautiful blonde hair. I spent all class staring at him and wishing I could run my hands through it." I opened one eye and saw Lance smirking at me. "Okay, it was sappy, I was young and it was a crush, what were you expecting? Declarations of lust?"
"From you?" said Lance. "Maybe. Yeah. No offence, Joey, but you're not exactly known for your sensitive or romantic side."
"I'm working on it," I said defensively. "I'm a nice guy!"
"I know you are," said Lance. "Um...who did you tell? First, I mean. Hell, does anyone know besides us?"
"My family," I told him quickly. "They've known since the beginning. That was kind of an accident...well, that's a story for another time. They all know, anyway."
I grinned a little, remembering how invaluable Steve had been at times. He can be a doofus of a brother, but he's useful and he's loyal. "Even Steve," I confirmed. "He's a little awkward about it--I mean, we all know he's along for the ride for the girls, you know?--but he's a good guy. He's my brother."
Lance nodded. "That's good. I guess they're cool with it?"
"They are now," was all I told him about that. The whole deal was a long story, and one I wanted to be telling to Chris before I shared it with anyone else. Most things were like that, these days.
"So, um..." His embarrassment seemed to deepen, so I knew there was something new coming at me. "What do you guys do anyway?"
"What, in bed?" I asked incredulously. He nodded, but didn't speak. "Oh Lance, I am so not telling you that. Besides...between being next door and walking in on us, don't you already have a pretty good idea?"
"I'm just trying to understand," he mumbled.
"Understand what?" I clarified. "Gay sex?"
"Understand you and Chris. Understand what goes on between you. Joey...I didn't know any gay--or bisexual--people growing up. Nobody, and I mean nobody, talked about that stuff back home. And honestly...I haven't really gotten to know anyone since we've been on tour. I'm asking because I want to know, instead of buying into all the stereotypes I've been fed. I mean...already you don't fit them, neither of you. Isn't it better that I'm asking?"
I nodded and decided that he deserved an answer of some kind. "It's easier to joke about it than to talk about it," I admitted to him. "I guess we do pretty much everything. With and to each other." Now why couldn't I just say the words? Sucking. Rimming. Kissing. Fucking. Handjob. Blowjob. Sex.
"Don't get mad?"
"At what?" I asked, confused. At what he'd already said, or what he was going to?
"I guess it's not true that one guy becomes the girl?" he said.
I laughed. "Not even remotely," I assured him. I wasn't offended; I wouldn't let myself be, not when he was asking and not assuming. "We both do everything. Who did you think would be the girl, anyway?"
He shrugged. "At first I thought Chris," he admitted. "Even though that seemed strange. And then I saw..." He paused and blushed some more. Damn, that guy blushes a lot. Must be the complexion. "Well, I saw what I saw, which was confusing. So then I thought about it a little...and then I asked."
There was something nagging me in the back of my mind now, something that was starting to come together, but I pushed it aside for the duration of my conversation with Lance. Whatever it was could be dealt with later when I wasn't having quite such an intimate talk.
"Thank you for asking," I told him honestly. "I don't know if Chris and I are typical or not, but we both like it both ways." I shrugged and again forced myself not to be embarrassed. "Assuming you're talking about sex."
"About...yeah," he said. For a moment I thought he was going to say more about it, but he cut himself off. "I think that's about as much as either of us can take today without getting too embarrassed to speak. But...can we do this again some time?"
I looked him over as he asked that. So sincere. So curious. So wanting to know everything he could so he could relate better to his friends. I don't think I'd ever respected him more. "You can ask me anything,' I told him. "I might not answer, but I won't get mad for you asking, ok?"
"Thanks," he said.
I got up out of the chair and figured maybe I could go back and see Chris now, maybe just hang out in the room now while he worked. I hoped that had been enough time to himself. If it wasn't, I guessed I could just go somewhere else, down to the gym or something, and kill a little more time.
"I'll see you later, ok?" I told him. "Let me know what the plans are for tonight."
"I will," he promised, seeing me to the door and closing it quietly behind me.
Out of the corner of my eye I caught movement, and turned to see a tiny, blonde woman sneaking out of Justin's room, wearing a black minidress with a sweater slung over her arm. She didn't seem to notice me, heading in the opposite directions to the elevators. Another notch in Justin's belt, I assumed. The boy had a libido to end all libidos.
I started back to my own room, smirking and thinking 'oh, to be young again'.