12: degenerate, strawberry, dishwasher, paperweight

by Chris J

Justin's eyes widened as he felt Joey's lips touch his--suddenly and without warning or explanation. One moment he'd been loading the dishwasher, the next he'd stood up and turned and he was being kissed. With tongue, no less.

He watched as Joey pulled slowly away, then opened his eyes and gasped. "Shit!" he said. "I thought you were Lance!" Then he gasped again, groaning and covering his face with one hand as he realized confessing that hadn't helped the situation any.

"Lance?" whispered Justin, lifting his fingers to his lips. "Kiss...Joey...what...?"

Joey sighed. "Sit down," he said, pulling out a kitchen chair for Justin and pushing aside the contracts Lance had been in here reviewing earlier, using a stack of coasters as a paperweight to keep them from scattering. "I think I have some 'splanin to do."

Justin nodded as he sat, trying to wrap his mind around what was going on. "Is...is this what I think...?" he asked slowly, having rejected all the other explanations he'd come up with as being even more implausable that the obvious one.

Joey grabbed an orange out of the fruit basket in the middle of the table and began rolling it between his hands on the table as he tried to figure out what to say, how to explain this. "Yeah, it is," he said finally. "If what you're thinking is that me and Lance are, uh, together."

"You're gay?" asked Justin, the questions coming more easily now that the initial confession was out.

Joey nodded. "Yeah, I am," he said, looking down at the orange and squeezing it lightly. After a moment he braved a glance at Justin. "Are you okay with that?"

Justin shrugged. "Yeah, sure," he said. "As long as we can avoid that whole kissing thing in the future." He offered Joey a grin which was quickly returned, along with a definite look of relief. "I guess that means Lance is gay too?"

Joey paused. "I could answer that," he said, "but I won't. Ask him, okay?" After saying that, he groaned a little. "He's so gonna kill me for this. We hadn't planned on telling anyone yet..."

"How long's this been going on, Joey?" asked Justin. "How long have you guys been together without us knowing about it?"

"It's new, Justin," he said quickly. "It's really new. Like...two weeks maybe." He couldn't help smiling, thinking about his relationship with Lance. "We're still sorta in the figuring things out stage right now. We were gonna say, honest! Just not yet..."

"So you guys are like, having sex?" said Justin, making a scrunchy, curious face.

Joey blushed a little, something Justin couldn't remember having seen for a long while. "Not yet," he confessed. "But we've been doing, um, other stuff."

Justin grinned, for once seeing Joey be the one embarassed about sex. He grabbed a fat strawberry out of the bowl and brought it to his lips, sucking on it suggestively and waggling his eyebrows. Joey laughed and hid his face for a moment.

"I can see this conversation is going to degenerate quickly," he said, shaking his head.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," said Justin, biting into the strawberry and wiping up the juice that dribbled down his chin with the back of his hand. "I'm just...trying to get used to the idea. It's cute, actually."

"It's cute?" repeated Joey. "Are you serious?"

"Yeah," said Justin, shrugging. "I remember when I was first falling in love with Brit. You used to say we were cute, too. So...I guess the tables are turned now, huh?"

"I never said anything about love..." said Joey warily. "I just said we were--"

"No, I guess you didn't," interrupted Justin, with a cocky, knowing grin. "So what happened, anyway? How did you guys get together?"

Joey paused again. "I think that might be another conversation Lance should be in on," he said finally. "Not that I don't want to tell you! But he should know, first."

Justin nodded. "Okay," he said, standing up. "He went upstairs to sort laundry about twenty minutes ago."

"He did?" said Joey. "Oh, okay...well, I guess we should go upstairs then." He braved another hesitant smile as he stood up. "He's really gonna kill me for this..."

"It's okay," said Justin, giving him a brotherly pat on the back. "I'll protect you from big, bad Lance. And Joey?"


"I'm happy for you guys. Honest."

"Thanks," said Joey, and they headed up the stairs.

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