Scenes from a Relationship:
the way it is

"So what are these rules," asked Dirk, massaging Joey's shoulders firmly. Joey winced and shifted a little, stretching his sore muscles. "And who, exactly, is going to make me follow them?"

"Oh, right there!" said Joey as Dirk hit a particularly sore spot. "God, I'm not used to that much dancing." He paused a moment before answering Dirk's question. "I one's gonna make you," he admitted. "But...if I'm going to be in the group, then I can't be seen in public with you anymore. Not like we have been. And that sucks and I hate it, but...I want this really bad, D. Don't make me choose between my dream career and you. I don't know how I can do it."

Dirk leaned down and bit his earlobe lightly. "I love you, Joe," he said, so close to Joey's ear that his voice thundered and echoed. "So tell me what the rest of these damn rules are, then." His hands slowly moved down Joey's back, working the knots out of his tight muscles.

"That's the biggest one, I guess. The one that affects you, anyway," said Joey. "Oh God that hurts!" He tilted his head forwards and tried not to cry out as Dirk found a particularly sore spot. "For me, there's a ton of image how I look and how I act in public, and..." Joey sighed. "This better be worth it., I know it will be."

"This is what you guys have been working for," said Dirk, managing to sound both proud and unhappy at the same time. "This is for all those late nights practicing, all that recording, all your plans. This is your payoff, Joe."

"So you're okay with it?" asked Joey hopefully.

"No, I'm not okay with it," said Dirk, his hands pausing for a moment, "but I'll do it." He leaned forward to suck on Joey's neck for a moment as he resumed his massage. "And if you think there's anyone else in the whole fucking world I'd be willing to go back in the closet for, you're nuts. You owe me big, Fatone. Big."

"I know I do," said Joey, letting out another quiet drunk. "And I'm not sure it's a good thing or a bad thing that we're just getting started."

"Fuck that shit," said Dirk. "Just fuck that crazy shit, Joey. You remember what I said about passions? You've got to follow your dreams or you've got nothing. You'll end up a soulless wretch how never learned shit about life and love and what makes the whole damn thing worthwhile. Just stop and think about what the hell I'd be right now, if I hadn't followed that advice."

"A lawyer," whispered Joey, chuckling a little as he thought about the career path that Dirk had been set on before he'd left it all behind, less than a month after starting college. It had been impulsive, yeah, but it had been so damn right for him, just like doing this, just like joining this group, felt so right for Joey.

"A fucking lawyer in a fucking three piece suit, and wondering every day of my life what the hell went wrong," agreed Dirk, lifting his hands off Joey's back to gesture along with his words. "So if this is what you want, then you have to give it a shot, Joe, and fuck everyone else. If you don't, you'll never know, and you might end up a math teacher in Butt-Fuck, Nowhere wondering 'what if'."

"I hate math," said Joey, but he understood. He 'got it' on that gut level that Dirk's advice always hit him at. "I don't want to hide you," he added. "I don't want to deny you."

"You know what, Joe?" said Dirk, resuming his massage again at Joey's whimper and pleading look, moving down to his lover's thighs. "I'm all for honesty, but I could give a rat's ass what you have to tell strangers. As long as you come home to me and we're as fucking truthful as we can be to ourselves and our friends, then that'll be enough."

"It'll have to be," said Joey. "This isn't going to be easy. If--when--we get signed...we're supposed to be going overseas, Dirk. That's the plan. It's...far away from you. From my family. From everyone."

"Yeah, and who's to stop me from coming to see you, huh? Who's going to stop me from hopping on a plane and taking off for Luxemburg or Austria or wherever the hell you are and holing up with you in your hotel room for a while?" He slapped Joey's ass teasingly and moved back up to his lower back. "If you have to, you have to, and we'll find a way around it. Okay?"

Joey twisted his body to look at him. "Seriously?"

"What, you think I'd joke about shit like that? I hate flying. But I'd do it. Close up shop and take off for a while to be with you. Besides, you'll be bringing in the big bucks soon enough and I'll be your housebitch, right?"

"Riiiight," said Joey. "I'm gonna get you one of those french maid's uniforms, too. I always thought those were hot." Dirk smacked his boxer-covered ass again and he laughed. "No?" he said. "Ah well. I like you better in leather anyway."

"Ditto," said Dirk. "So we're done with the pity-us shit now? Whatever's gonna happen is gonna happen and we'll deal with it when it does, okay? 'Til then let's just try and make sure that between work and practice you don't fucking kill yourself."

"Why would I want to do that when I have such a hot guy to come home to?" asked Joey innocently, planting his face back into the pillow.

"I ask myself that every day when you come staggering in that door just begging me for a massage," snorted Dirk, running his hands over Joey's back one last time before stretching out on the bed next to him. "Feeling better?"

"God yes," said Joey, his voice muffled. "I owe you so much it's not even funny." He reached out his hand blindly and twined his fingers with Dirk's. "Do you mind if we don't fuck tonight? I'm useless, here."

"What, you mean I did all that for nothing?" growled Dirk.

Joey turned his head again and raised an eyebrow. "You're kidding, right?"

Dirk grinned at him and kissed his forehead. "Of course I'm fucking kidding," he said. "If I want to screw something as inanimate as you are right now, I have a blow-up doll in the back of the closet that hasn't seen any action in a while."

Joey laughed, his whole body shaking. Dirk rolled him over onto his back and kissed his mouth fiercely for a moment, curling his arm around Joey's waist and pressing his palm against the small of his back. Then he let him go, grinned again, and got up off the bed. "Where are you going?" asked Joey, a lazy smile spreading across his face.

"I'm going to watch some TV," he said. "Go to sleep, Joey, and maybe we'll both get some in the morning, huh?" He leaned over and gave him one last kiss, then winked at him and left the bedroom. Joey slipped under the covers and closed his eyes and almost instantly, he was asleep.