"What did you say to him?" asked JC, catching my arm before I opened the door to my hotel room. He gestured towards Justin, who was storming up the hallway and swiping his door card angrily. I looked at Chris, who was right behind me, and then at JC.
"A bunch of things that needed to be said and maybe a few that I shouldn't've," I admitted, handing the card to Chris so he could open the door. "Especially in public." I shook my head. "If he goes to management about it, I'm gonna be the one gets the shit."
"He won't," says JC, shaking his head. "Justin doesn't cry to mommy. You wanna talk about it?"
My gaze went from Chris to JC again. "Yeah, I think I do," I said, turning to give Chris a quick, discreet kiss. "I'll be back in a bit," I told him, smiling fondly.
He nodded. "I have more FuMan stuff to do anyway," he said. "You'd be bored. I know you would." He ruffled my hair, somewhat unsuccessfully. "Go. Chill out. I'll be here when you come back."
I kissed him again, even knowing that JC would be frowning behind us and hoping we weren't being picked up on any video cameras, and pushed the door open for him. "Have fun crunching numbers," I told him with a grin. "We'll have some fun later."
"Counting on it," he said, winking and closing the door behind him.
I turned back to JC; he did, in fact, have a frown on his face. "Don't say it," I said quietly, hoping he wouldn't.
"You guys have to be careful," he said, turning towards his own door to open it.
"I get tired of being careful," I muttered. He'd said exactly what I didn't want to hear, what I didn't need to hear. I knew that, knew that we needed to remain a secret. I didn't need to hear people repeating it to me every day.
"We all get tired of being careful," he said, the door swinging open. He stepped inside and gestured at me to do the same. "But we do it anyway. You know better."
"I know," I said, closing the door and flopping down into a nearby chair. "I just...want to be able to kiss him. It's not fair."
He looked at me strangely, and I wondered what I'd said. He lay down across the bed, propping himself up on his elbow to continue looking at me. "I expect to hear that from Justin, or maybe Lance...not you, Joey. You and I both know that life isn't fair; usually it just rolls off you. What's up?"
I sighed, then smiled again. "Chris is up," I said. "It's a whole new world, you know?"
"I'm sorry Chris isn't a girl," he said. I honestly couldn't tell if he was being sincere or not.
"I'm not," I told him. "I don't care about the difficulties and the prejudice and the stereotypes...I want him just the way he is. Yeah, sure, if he was a girl we'd have a lot more freedom...but given the choice I know what I'd choose."
"Then just be careful," he repeated. "I'll help you guys out all I can, but I can't do everything."
"Don't want you to,' I said, even though I wished he--someone--could. I decided it would be best, though, to drop the subject right there. All it was going to do was make me either sad or angry, and I didn't want to be either. "Justin's pretty pissed, huh," I said instead.
"Justin's often pissed," he said, grinning knowingly at me. "I'll blow over. If you gave him as good a talking to as you implied, there's no way he's gonna go to anyone about it, by the way. Would make him look bad. Weak. And he can't have that, right?"
I grinned back. "You have a point. Can I ask you a question?"
"When *can't* you ask me a question?"
"What do you think of my relationship with Chris? I mean, really?" I tried not to look nervous as I waited for his answer. Even knowing that I had nothing to be nervous about didn't help any; it was an automatic reaction when asking someone for an honest answer.
"You've asked me this before," he commented mildly.
He smiled. "I'm glad you're both at least calling it a relationship now," he admits. "Figuring out what the rest of us knew since day one. Come here, I want to play with your hair."
"You want to what?" I repeated.
"Play with your hair," he repeated. "Or something. Whatever. You said nothing was supposed to change with the whole affection thing, but it has, and not because of me, either. You spend all your time touching Chris now, and nothing for the rest of us. So I'm gonna take mine while I've got you alone. Now c'mere."
I grinned again and went to sit next to the bed so JC could reach down and toy with my hair, or touch my shoulder, or whatever would make him feel right. "He distracts me," I told him sheepishly. "Sorry about that."
"It's cute," he admitted. "I just miss this a bit. A 'don't know what you've got 'til it's gone' kind of thing, I guess." He poked at the spikes on top of my head, then started pulling the strands of hair apart. "Don't tell anyone, okay?"
"Who'm I gonna tell?" I asked him, shrugging a bit. "So is that all you think?"
"Of what?" he murmured.
"Me and Chris."
"Oh...I don't know, what am I supposed to think?" he said. "Are you trying to get at something here, Joey? Just be straight up with me."
"Not really," I answered honestly. "I've just kinda had this talk with both Lance and Justin now, so it's your turn. Thankfully, this is turning out to be the easiest." I tilted my head back, leaning it against the edge of the bed.
"I'm both last and easy?" he joked. "I'm not sure how to take that, Joe."
"Justin was just being his asinine self and Lance was a little more curious than I was expecting," I told him as he continued to make a mess of my hair. "They both kinda hit on the topic of who did who and what we did in bed. You...just focused on the relationship. Okay, so that's not necessarily easier, but thanks anyway."
"I'm not sure I want to know what you guys do in bed," he laughs. "I mean, I know all about the sorts of things that are the same as what I do, but as soon as someone's dick goes in someone else's ass, you lose me. No offense or anything."
"None taken," I said, smiling. "We can't all be enlightened, after all."
"Enlightened?" he scoffed. "Spare me. Some of us are merely, boringly straight. So that's what you and Justin were fighting about?"
"We weren't fighting," I said, my smile fading. "He made a few assumptions that I didn't like, and I tried to correct him. But you know how he is."
"He doesn't like admitting he's wrong," said JC, his hand falling to my shoulder and squeezing it. "He's a smart guy. He likes to think he can figure things out before other people. He hates it when he figures them wrong."
"Well, I guess you know him better than any of us," I acknowledged. "I remember when you started hanging with him. He was such a pipsqueak."
"Used to know him," corrected JC. "I'm not sure I do anymore. I'm not sure he does anymore, either, but he's got too damn much pride to talk to anyone when he could use some help. So we all get to ride it out his dramas with him. What was he assuming this time?"
"Just stuff about me and Chris, and what we do together." JC was great, he really was, but I wasn't sure how far I wanted to take this with him. Still, if I could talk about it with Justin and even with Lance, this should be a piece of cake. It was getting more comfortable for me, too, to think about how we were together. To not feel strange when people tried to define us as something different.
"Does he ever think about anything other than sex?" asked JC, exasperated. If I'd been looking at him, I bet he would have been rolling his eyes right about then. "Never mind. Don't answer that."
I laughed. Just that comment made me feel better about the whole thing. "It's just been an issue for a little while," I said. "About who takes what role and stuff. I don't like being told what I'm supposed to be doing. I just want to do."
"Ah," said JC thoughtfully. "Will you be upset if I tell you I've thought about that a bit?"
"Yeah," he admitted. "I have. I think mostly because I can't imagine wanting to have something inside me. I makes me feel all...scared and vulnerable. Weak. So...it was hard for me to think about either of you guys being willing to give yourselves up like that--you're both so damn strong-willed. Um...that's about where my thinking about it stopped."
"It does make you feel vulnerable," I told him quietly, pulling my knees up and scratching at the fabric of my pants. "It's not easy to give yourself up to someone like that, sometimes. I wonder if that's how girls feel sometimes, letting us go inside them. But I wouldn't make the mistake of calling any girls weak, just because of that."
"I didn't mean to imply... I mean, I was just talking about how I would feel."
"I know," I assured him. "And I'm just talking about how I feel. Hell, I can't even tell you how Chris feels about it, let alone any other guy. But he does it and he likes it, that much I can tell you. It's not really scary, once you've done it. And it feels just amazing."
"You'll forgive me if I just take your word for it?"
"If I could compare it to anything for you--something you'd know about--then I would, but there's nothing," I told him. I closed my eyes and let remembered sensations wash over me. "If you want, we can talk about blowjobs instead," I added finally. "Those I know you know all about."
It was his turn to laugh aloud. "A blowjob is a blowjob is a blowjob, I'm sure," he said. "No matter who you're getting it from. Blowjobs are better than sex."
"Blowjobs are sex."
"You know what I mean." He smacked my shoulder lightly. "Not that I don't like sex or anything. Well, I don't like it the way Justin likes it, but I like it well enough."
"I know what you mean," I said, grinning. "They're also way more convenient most of the time. And less mess. Unless they don't swallow." I paused as JC fell silent. "Are you okay talking about this? I can stop anytime."
"What? Oh, I was just thinking," he said. "One of these days I'm going to work up the nerve to ask you what it's like to give someone a blowjob. So next time a girl goes down on me, I'll know what it's like for her."
I chuckled. "Why not now?"
"Because I'm still embarrassed over the anal sex conversation," he admitted with a short laugh. "And I'm not sure I can take it right now. Another time, though. Be ready for it."
"Any time," I said. Sucking dick is something that I was usually ready to talk about. Or do. "Seriously. Well, when we're alone maybe, though. I think Lance would be mortified if we started talking about it in public. Chris, too, probably. Justin would either listen or just walk away."
"Um, definitely something I'll be asking when we're alone," he assured me. "I don't need Lonnie and the guys any better informed about my sex life than they already are."
I nodded, grinning, JC's hand still on my shoulder. "Can I ask you something else?"
"Answer's still 'duh'," he said. "Is it about sex?"
"Kinda," I admitted. "I was just wondering--and you don't have to answer this--but has Lance ever asked you about sex?"
"Oh," he said. "Um, yeah, he has. I'm not sure I should get into it, though..."
"No, no, not asking you to," I said quickly. "I was just wondering. He, uh, asked me too," I admitted. "I just wanted to make sure he'd also asked someone who wasn't currently in any kind of gay relationship. Just for balance and all."
"Yeah, that would be me," he said. "Don't worry...Lance's informational needs are well in hand."
"Good to know," I said, closing my eyes as he began running his hands through my hair again. It was nice and soothing--a big change from the rest of my day so far. I was enjoying myself, so it just figured that the phone would ring right then; JC had to let me go and sit up to answer it.
"'Lo?" He suddenly grinned at me. "Hey, Chris!" I reached lazily for the phone, but he kept it away from me teasingly. "Oh, really?" He stuck his tongue out at me and leaned back against the headboard. "I think I might be able to do that."
"Hang on, Chris, I'm being harassed." He held the phone to his chest for a moment and flicked me on the forehead. "Wait your turn."
"Ow," I said, rubbing my head as he went back to the phone call.
"Okay," he said, grinning at me wickedly. "Okay, I'll tell him. See ya later!" He hung up the phone before I could grab it.
"Bastard," I said, hitting his knee. "What did Chris want?"
"Maybe I don't want to tell..." he said, his eyes glinting.
He smiled at me, then. "He's lonely," he said. "Go home, Joey. And treat him good; you're both good people."
I grinned at him, suddenly not minding so much that he hadn't let me talk to Chris. Again. "I'll catch you later," I said, giving him a quick wave which he returned right before I left the room.