Disclaimer: Still fiction.
"Well that was one of the best days ever," JC commented, yawning. He slung an arm around Lance's shoulders and Lance smiled up at him as they all walked down to their rooms. "Did you have fun?"
Lance nodded happily. "Did you?"
JC grinned at him. "I was with you all day. Of course I did."
Lance blushed and dropped his eyes in delighted embarassment. Trust JC to know exactly what to say. After the photoshoot, JC and Lance had separated from the group and gone shopping, to the movies, out to a nice dinner that JC paid for, and then back to the hotel. It was now almost midnight, and Lance wasn't even slightly tired. JC had spent all night flirting with him, and all Lance wanted from JC was a good night kiss. Then he could sleep easy for the rest of his life.
JC walked Lance to his door, and Lance slid in the keycard, pushing the door open a few inches before looking shyly up at JC. "I had a good time, Jace. We need to do this again."
"Just the two of us," JC agreed, and to Lance's surprise JC's fingers trailed along his cheek. Lance's breath caught in his throat, and with wide eyes he watched as JC slowly leaned down.
JC's lips brushed Lance's cheek. "Sweet dreams," JC whispered softly in Lance's ear, and Lance felt tingles run down his spine.
"You too," Lance returned, his voice sounding hoarse even to himself. "Night, Jace."
JC pulled back and smiled at him. "Night, Lance."
Lance stared at him for a split second longer before smiling slightly and going into his room, shutting the door behind him and staring at JC until he couldn't any longer. He listened to JC's footsteps as JC went into his own room, and then Lance ran to his room and threw himself onto the bed, repressing the excited exclaimation that was threatening to slip past his lips.
Shivers went down Lance's spine and his knees went weak as he thought about JC's lips against his cheek. Lance's fingers flew upwards, touching the same spot that JC had kissed, letting out a soft moan, and then and excited gasp. JC had kissed him! JC had kissed him!
Lance knew his dreams were going to be good that night.
Lance was positively glowing all morning. He knew he was acting completely stupid, but JC seemed highly amused, and he kept touching Lance, so Lance figured it couldn't be all bad to be as excited as he was. It didn't help that as soon as he woke up the phone rang and it was JC, just calling to say good morning if he was awake, and if not, waking him up with a good morning. And then when he'd gotten to Chris' room, JC had been there already and held out his arms for Lance to enter. What was Lance supposed to do besides go sit with him? And when JC had started running his fingers over Lance's arm, there was nothing that Lance could do except accept the display of affection.
"After the concert tonight, want to get something to eat?" JC asked softly in Lance's ear as they all trooped out of Chris' room. "Coffee, ice cream, pie, I don't care."
Lance smiled happily. "Sounds good," he agreed.
"Yes, it does," JC agreed softly, and Lance nearly gasped out loud when he felt JC's lips against his temple, but before Lance could say anything, JC was leading him out to the others.
Justin had been a pain all morning, and as good of a mood as Lance was in, part of it was dampened when Justin was sullen and cranky. He had tried desperately to make Justin laugh or even smile, but Justin simply scowled at him and sat with his arms crossed over his chest on the opposite side of the limo as he glared out the window the whole ride over to the arena.
"4 days til we get to go home," Chris reminded them all joyfully. "And three for Justin."
Justin's attention was diverted from the window. "No, four for me too," he corrected. "I called Johnny this morning and told him that I didn't care if they wanted mystery to my not being at the parade or that I 'got a day off'. You guys are my family and I'm spending Christmas with you."
Lance couldn't help but feel touched. "We love you too, Justin," Lance assured him fondly.
Justin's sharp blue eyes came up and met Lance's, and Lance paused, caught off guard. Justin shrugged. "It's true," Justin continued. "Merely stating facts."
Still, Lance couldn't help but study Justin's sullen features, wondering what was bothering the curly headed boy.
The concert went fine, as usual. There were naturally the usual mistakes; someone's voice cracked, someone skipped or missed a move, nothing major. Lance could hardly stop staring at JC, but he managed to be good and keep his hands to himself.
After the concert, JC was back at Lance's side again, and Lance smiled up shyly at him as JC led him out to the limo. The other three were tagging behind them, and for some reason, Lance could feel Justin's eyes on his back, and casually glanced over his shoulder to look at the youngest member of Nsync.
Justin's face was cold; shut off. His blue eyes were dark and fastened on Lance's back, but he wasn't glaring, he was just looking. Lance frowned slightly, then offered a smile to Justin, but Justin didn't want it, because he averted his eyes. Lance's frown deepened.
"There's a little diner about twenty minutes away from here," JC whispered in Lance's ear, drawing Lance's attention back to the man with an arm around Lance's waist. "I was talking to some of the other people around here and they told me about it. How's that sound?"
Lance couldn't help but smile. "Good."
JC grinned. "Good." They stopped at the limo and threw their bags in, but they didn't follow. "We're going to go get some coffee," JC told them, his arm hooked firmly around Lance's waist. Lance watched as the surprise registered over Chris and Joey's face, and Lance frowned when he saw Joey glance at Justin, then at Lance, and when their eyes met, Joey frowned at him.
"We'll see you back at the hotel, then," Chris stated, forcing a smile. Lance looked at him, and then at Justin, who was staring at the seat across from him with his arms crossed over his chest.
"Yup. Night guys." JC waved a hand and then led Lance away while Lance considered calling out to Justin. On the other hand, Lance had no idea what he would say if he did, so it was a pointless endeavor, and he collappsed into JC, allowing JC to be his strength as he was led into a taxi that JC had waiting.
JC moved his arm around Lance's shoulders as they drove to the resturaunt. They were given only one body guard--Ramond--and he was sitting in the front with the taxi driver, giving the two in back a small amount of privacy.
"You were great out there," JC whispered softly in Lance's ear. Lance was so close to JC that he was practically sitting in his lap, and yet all he wanted to do was get closer.
"Thanks," Lance whispered back shyly. "You were even better, though. As usual."
JC laughed slightly. "You flatter me."
"You deserve it."
JC grinned and leaned his forehead against Lance's temple, placing his mouth right next to Lance's ear. He didn't speak, but Lance could hear him breathing; could feel his hot, dry breath on his ear, and it send constant shivers down his spine as he kept his hand on JC's leg. And then, slowly, after he felt JC's lips touch his cheek and then resume where he'd been, he reached out and interlaced his fingers with JC's.
The taxi pulled up to the resturaunt way too soon, and they had to break apart. JC still had an arm around Lance's shoulders affectionately, and after paying for it despite Lance's loud protests, JC led him into the resturaunt.
They were seated at a small booth in the back, almost hidden from everyone else, and Ramond plopped himself down at a table a few yards away. JC sat across from Lance in the round bench seat as they were given their menu's, but as soon as the woman was gone, he was beside Lance and Lance was shivering uncontrolably in delight as JC wrapped an arm around Lance's shoulders.
"Know what you want?" JC asked softly, looking at the menu that Lance was holding open.
"Something light," Lance managed to say, loving the way that JC felt against him. "Ice cream, maybe. Nothing heavy."
JC laughed. "How about that?" he asked, pointing to a vanilla milkshake, which everyone knew was Lance's favorite drink. To Lance's astonishment, JC's fingers trailed across the menu to where Lance's hand was, and Lance, utterly fascinated, watched as JC's hand closed over Lance's and slowly trailed up his arm.
"I think that's good," Lance managed to say, hardly able to breathe. When JC was going to stop tormenting him, he wasn't sure, but he wasn't sure he wanted JC to stop. It was such cruel torture, but it was so wonderful and exciting that Lance's heart never left his throat.
JC smiled in amusement, as though knowing the affect he was having on Lance, and slowly leaned his head on Lance's shoulder, his hand having trailed its way along Lance's arm, down his side, and across Lance's stomach to rest on his waist, farthest away from JC. "So do I," JC breathed softly, and Lance nearly moaned. He closed his eyes and leaned against JC as well, using all of his self control not to kiss his best friend.
JC suddenly sat up and Lance tried not to pout, especially when he pulled away completely. And then, a second later, the waitress was there, and Lance shot JC an impressed look. How he had known that the woman was coming, Lance had no idea, but it was probably best that he had.
JC shot a sly wink at Lance, ordered for both of them, and then as soon as she was gone resumed his previous position. "You smell good," JC sighed happily, inhaling deeply against Lance's neck, which sent shivers down Lance's spine.
Lance laughed softly. "Thanks."
"...could smell you for hours," JC mumbled, curling up into Lance. Lance closed his eyes and covered JC's hand with his own, their fingers interlacing on their own. He had never felt more content in his entire life.
As exhausted as Lance was, he remained wide awake, despite the fact that he was comfortable, and warm, and content. Something struck him as odd about that as well, but he couldn't place what it was.
The waitress came over a few minutes later with Lance's milk shake, and Lance slid away from JC before she appeared. JC was practically asleep, and she eyed the two of them for a minute before leaving. Lance kept his distance, and when a few more minutes later she came back with JC's order of seasoned fries, Lance finally joined JC's side once more and shook him awake.
"Hey, Jace," Lance whispered in JC's ear. "Get up. Your food's here."
JC mumbled something incoherent, and Lance smiled slightly.
"Jace..." Lance whispered. "Come on, Jace. You know you want to eat."
"...tired," JC muttered. "G'way."
Lance laughed out loud, and that got JC's eyes open. He blinked a few times, then tiredly sat up, studying Lance.
"Why're you laughing?" JC asked, yawning and reaching for a fry, which he tossed into his mouth.
Lance shook his head. "No reason, JC. You're just mumbling and it's cute."
JC paused mid chew, then slowly swallowed, his eyes trained on Lance. "You think I'm cute?" he teased, seeming pleased with the idea.
"I think you're very cute," Lance teased, blushing slightly. He reached for his milkshake and took a sip before setting it down, carefully avoiding JC's eyes.
And then, somehow, JC was there, his mouth only inches from Lance's. "I think you're very cute, too," JC whispered, and their eyes met. Lance froze, and JC slowly lowered his mouth to Lance's.
Someone cleared their throat loudly and they sprang apart to look up in horrified gasps at Ramond, who was at the head of their table, frowning disapprovingly. "Some things are best left in private," Ramond reminded quietly, his look warning. "Now if you would like to go back to the hotel--"
"We're fine," Lance interrupted, clearing his throat. "Right, JC?" He couldn't even bring himself to look at his bandmate, utterly embarassed.
"Well one of us is," JC drawled, and Lance looked over at him to see JC giving Lance an appreciative look before glaring up at Ramond. "We'll be good. Now scram."
Ramond sighed. "This is my life," he muttered, shaking his head and going back to his table. JC laughed after him while Lance sat there, his heart still pounding.
"What a mood interrupter," JC sighed drearily. "Jerk."
Lance laughed weakly. "Probably best, though," he objected. "Can you imagine if someone saw us?"
JC shrugged. "I get seen kissing one of the hottest guys in the world? Sounds good to me."
Lance blushed and dropped his eyes. "Thanks."
JC laughed out loud at Lance, and then reached out for his coffee cup, taking a long drink. Lance played with his milkshake nervously, wondering what was going to happen later and dreading it at the same time.
JC left with a simple kiss on Lance's cheek, though Lance had a feeling that if he had turned just slightly, JC would have placed that kiss on Lance's mouth. Lance, on the other hand, wasn't quite ready yet. As much as he cared about JC, they needed to be slow and careful. Their friendship and lives hung in the balance.
Lance changed into his bed clothes quickly: a thin pair of sweats and a tee shirt, and then laid in bed for a half an hour before deciding that there was no way he was going to get to sleep with as wide awake as he was. It was only 1:30, but it was late considering that he had to be up at 8 the next morning. Still, he stood up and went out onto his balcony, shivering immediately at the cool air that brushed over his body.
He was there.
Lance turned automatically to his right side, staring at Justin who was sitting on Joey's balcony against the wall, curled up into a little ball.
"Justin?" Lance asked softly, worriedly. Justin looked up at him with dark blue eyes, but he made no other move to get up. "Justin, what's wrong?" There were a good three feet between his balcony and Joey's, but Lance would do anything to get to Justin.
"How was your date?" Justin asked instead.
Lance's eyes widened in surprise and he frowned. "It wasn't a date. What's wrong with you?"
Justin rolled his eyes. "Please, Lance, I think I know what a date is. I've been on a lot of them."
Lance scowled. "And I haven't, right?"
Justin paused, and slowly he got to his feet and leaned against the side of the railing that was closest to Lance. "I didn't say that. There was nothing offensive in that statement."
Lance nearly sneered at him. Right. Like that hadn't been a personal slam at Lance being a total loser. Still, Justin looked as though he hadn't meant it to be offensive, and Lance could never stay mad at him.
"It wasn't a date," Lance said again, then eyed him. "How come you're in Joey's room?"
Justin shrugged slightly. "I crashed here."
Lance felt himself growing slightly angry. "You couldn't walk ten feet to your own room?"
Justin hiked up an eyebrow. "What's it to you?"
"Nothing," Lance muttered, embarassed at himself and still angry at Justin. "You sleep wherever you want."
"That's right," Justin agreed darkly. "I do."
Lance stared at Justin for several seconds, then shook his head. "I'm going to bed. I'll see you in a few hours."
"I look forward to it," Justin drawled even as Lance turned his back to him to go back inside. Lance paused and turned back, staring at him, hurt by his cold comment. Justin wasn't looking at him anymore, but instead out at the city. When Lance didn't shut the door, Justin turned back to look at him, and their eyes met.
"Maybe that was a little uncalled for," Justin amended slowly, his way of an apology. "Sorry about that."
"It's okay." Lance studied him for a few more seconds. "What's bugging you, Justin?" he asked softly. "What's wrong?"
Panic flitted over Justin's face for an instant, and then it completely vanished when he shrugged. "Nothing. I'm fine."
Lance sighed sadly. "Alright. If you're okay, I'm going to bed. Night."
Lance paused, loving the way that his name sounded coming past Justin's mouth. He was tempted to ask Justin to say it again, just to hear it once more and put it to memory forever, but he couldn't. He turned to the door and started to go inside. He hesitated with one foot in and one foot out before slowly looking over at Justin. Justin was back to looking out over the city, but his eyes were closed.
"Why are you at Joey's?" Lance asked softly.
Justin's eyes didn't open. "I needed to talk to him about something. I had a bad dream and got up to get some air."
Lance felt relief wash over him like the tide on the beach. "Goodnight, Justin." He turned and went inside.
"I hate New York," Lance muttered.
Justin looked over at him in surprise. Lance was curled up under JC's arm, as usual, as they drove in the limo to the airport. They were up early that morning packing their bags to fly to New York, but something was bothering Lance, because he kept fidgeting and spewing out dark, pessimistic thoughts. They were so unlike Lance that everyone was being very careful around him, including Justin himself. Justin couldn't help but be jealous every time that he saw Lance and JC together because he missed Britney, but it put him in a bad mood from the moment he saw them all over each other. Despite that fact, when he saw Lance's scowl that morning, he pushed his own bad mood aside and tried to make Lance feel better so that he could do his own scowling.
"Can't this car go any faster?" Lance demanded, turning to look over his shoulder at the divider between them and the limo driver. "Hurry up!" he yelled at the driver, who couldn't hear him anyway. He grumpily turned back to face the other guys, his arms crossed over his chest. "I hate New York," he muttered again. "It's freezing, and I've only got four sweaters."
"So we'll buy you more," JC soothed. "No big deal."
"I hate sweaters," Lance snapped unhappily. "All scratchy and annoying."
"We'll get you the soft kind," JC amended.
Lance looked up at him darkly, and Justin's eyes widened further in surprise. "I don't like sweaters," he stated firmly. "No kind of sweater."
"We'll get you sweatshirts," JC suggested, and Justin could see how exasperated he was becoming.
"I hate sweatshirts," Lance challenged. "They're worse than sweaters!"
"Jesus, Lance!" JC exclaimed, dropping his arm from around Lance and burying his face in his hands. "Well what do you want?"
"I want to go to Florida," Lance exclaimed. "Someplace warm!"
JC sighed. "We're only going to be in New York for a couple of days."
"I don't want to go to New York!"
"Well you're going!" JC burst out. "Whether you want to or not!"
Lance pouted and crossed his arms over his chest, turning to look sullenly out the window. Justin had to admit, he was impressed. Lance sure knew how to pout. Better than Justin himself! Who knew?
JC sighed and leaned over to whisper something in Lance's ear. Lance's scowl softened slightly, but he didn't turn away from the window. When JC saw that his tactic hadn't worked, he gave an exasperated sigh and turned to look at the others. Justin frowned slightly. If that was Justin in JC's spot, Justin wouldn't have given up so easily. He'd have put his arm around Lance and cooed to him in the sweetest voice he could manage until Lance had to smile. And Lance would turn those bright green eyes on him, and he would smile back with all the love and adoration he held for Lance written all over his face, and Lance's eyes would light up, because Lance would have been dreaming of Justin looking at him that way, and Lance would get that boyish, shy look on his face, and Justin would feel the love he felt for Lance build up and suffocate him until he could stand it no longer, and he would lean down and touch Lance's mouth with his lips, and they would kiss until Justin couldn't breathe anymore.
If he was JC, that is.
Justin glanced over at Joey and Chris to see them quietly whispering to each other. Justin smiled at them, thinking about how utterly cute they were together. They were perfect for each other; everyone knew that. If only Joey and Chris would stop flirting and get on with the relationship. It was like watching a soap opera with those two. Like right now, while Chris was pretending not to notice that Joey had his arm around Chris' shoulders and was running his fingers through the back of Chris' hair. They were so perfect in the way that they fit together, like two pieces of a puzzle, and yet they were being so slow. For five years Justin had watched those two try and come to terms with each other and the overwhelming feelings they had for one another, and if they would just get together already, Justin was sure that the world would be a better place.
But no, those two were stubborn, and they enjoyed foreplay.
Years and years and years of foreplay.
Justin stretched out his legs, which bumped into Lance's and alternated their legs together. Justin opened his mouth to apologize and move when he saw Lance's face and froze. Lance's eyes were on Justin's legs, and he was staring at the way their legs were hooked together as if he'd never seen them before. Slowly, so slowly it seemed to take an eternity, Lance's eyes trailed up Justin's body, causing Justin to flush with embarassment. He'd been scrutinized and studied before, but never like that, and certainly not by Lance. This look was one that Justin wasn't even sure how to describe, almost as if Lance wanted to memorize every centimeter on Justin's body. Finally, Lance's eyes came up and landed on Justin's eyes, and they stared at each other for so long that Justin started to blush again. Justin bumped his knee against Lance's a little, to let him know that everything was okay, and to his surprise--and delight--a small smile graced Lance's perfect lips.
Then JC sighed softly and wrapped an arm around Lance's shoulders, leaning down to whisper in Lance's ear. Lance's eyes averted from Justin's and Justin considered kicking JC really hard in the shin before deciding against it and instead sitting up. That caught Lance's attention, and Lance's eyes landed on Justin again, keeping Justin paralized.
The limo pulled to a stop outside of their private jet, and they all climbed out and went up the stairs to the inside of the jet as the limo driver and crew people moved their luggage to the plane.
Justin opted for his favorite chair next to the window and watched the other guys choose their seats. Lance sat down on the couch near Justin, which automatically meant that JC was there, too. Joey and Chris chose the love seat, with Chris' legs in Joey's lap. Joey turned on the tv and they all settled back to watch, though Justin snuck a look at Lance, who was gazing out the window. Without warning, Lance's green eyes came over and met Justin's, and Justin blushed, embarassed at being caught. Lance smiled slightly at him and then looked back out the window.
Justin decided that Lance liked to be confusing.
Gotta get his present, gotta get his present, gotta get his present! Lance thought frantically as he raced through the mall with Ramond at his heels. He breezed by all the women's stores and glanced at his watch. It was already 4 o'clock, and he still didn't have his present for Justin! JC had been easier than Lance thought... He simply bought him that karoke machine that he wanted. But Justin... Justin was impossible to shop for, so Lance had had someone make something for him, only he was running out of time before he had to get back to the guys! He was expected back at their freezing cold hotel in an hour for dinner.
Lance raced around the corner of the mall, fighting through the people around him and tugging his hat further onto his head to avoid being recognized. Everyone else was dashing around madly as well, and Lance was fighting to get into stores. He wanted something to go along with Justin's special-made gift.
"Why he is so difficult?" Lance hissed angrily at Ramond.
"Who?" Ramond asked, but there was something about his tone that made Lance pause and look back at him. Ramond looked as though he knew exactly who Lance was talking about, and there was something about that knowing smile...
"Justin," Lance muttered, then resumed his fast walk. "Why is he...?" he trailed off as he felt something strange, almost like a tingle, run through his body, and he looked up at the escalators automatically.
Justin was coming down them, with Danny, carrying a package and laughing with his body guard.
Lance's jaw fell. "Shit!" he hissed at Ramond. "Now what?"
Ramond followed Lance's gaze to the elevators. "Run?" he suggested.
As Lance gazed at Justin, Justin's smile died away and he turned from looking up at his body guard--almost as though he'd been shouted at from someplace below--directly to Lance. Justin froze, and they stared at each other.
"Too late," Lance muttered, then slowly made his way to the escalator to meet Justin and Danny. Justin looked almost nervous, but he offered Lance a smile as he and his body guard joined them.
"What're you doing here?" Justin asked, gesturing to the mad house they called a mall. "I thought you got all of your Christmas shopping done."
"Almost," Lance offered weakly. "How about you? What're you doing here?"
Justin stuck a bag behind his back. "Shopping. I needed some last minute stuff."
"Did you find what you were looking for?"
Lance watched as a small smile played across Justin's lips. "Yes," he assured Lance. "Exactly what I was looking for."
"Lucky," Lance mumbled, then sighed and looked up at Justin. "I gotta go. I gotta go find another gift."
"Want some company?" Justin offered. "I'm great at gift advice."
Lance hesitated. How could he shop for Justin if Justin was right there? Then again, maybe Justin would let something slip. "Sounds good," Lance agreed, the nodded at the escalator. "I haven't been upstairs. Anything good?" Justin's present was upstairs...
Justin smiled slightly. "Well I thought so."
"Great. Let's hit it." Lance headed straight for the escalators, hoping that Justin would mention something that he saw that he liked.
Justin chatted easily the whole time, while Lance practically shook. He had been so grumpy all day because there were only two days left before Christmas and he had yet to get Justin and earlier JC a gift, and he needed to get to a mall, not ride around on a plane. But Justin was being very sweet and not mentioning Lance's earlier bad behavior at all. In fact, Justin seemed quite enthused about something, and his good mood was wearing off on Lance, despite his dire circumstances.
"Let's go in there," Lance suggested, nodding at a store called, 'The Silver Image'. That was where Justin's present was waiting to be picked up, he just had to go get it and he had to do it soon!
Justin paused. "Why don't we go someplace else?" he suggested, pointing at another store randomly. "How about there?"
Lance followed his finger and arched an eyebrow. "Victoria's Secret?" he asked. "Somethin' you not tellin' me?"
Justin looked at where his finger was pointing and back down to Lance before laughing and shaking his head. "How about there?" he asked, pointing at a Radio Shack. "Who doesn't love electronics?"
Lance thought about it. Justin didn't. The only thing Justin did was carry around a cell phone. He didn't even own a laptop. He used Chris' all the time. "There," Lance declared, grabbing Justin by the sweatered arm and dragging him into the silver store. It was slightly crowded, but Lance managed to wiggle his way past some people to a counter and stared at a beautiful silver cross. "Look," Lance breathed, pointing at the cross. "How beautiful is that?"
Justin fidgeted nervously. "It's okay," he said, shrugging. "How about that?" he pointed at a large silver ring that would have looked awful on Justin's finger.
Lance made a face and looked up at Justin. "Are you okay?" he asked, studying his friends' nervous behavior worriedly. "Do you want to go? Are you feeling sick?"
Justin paused mid eye-dart and looked down at Lance, a small smile of amusement crossing his lips. "I'm fine. Thanks."
Lance hesitated, then looked down at the case again, his eyes still on the cross. "Think it would look good on me?" he asked, studying it critically. "I know I'm supposed to be shopping for others, but I love me, too."
Justin laughed out loud. "I think it would look great on you," he told Lance softly, and Lance looked up at him, his heart skipping a beat. "But why don't you wait? Find whatever else it is that you're looking for."
Lance smiled weakly and nodded. "Good plan." He moved along the counters, pouring over countless silver designs and finding nothing. Until...
"Oh my god!" Lance exclaimed, grabbing Justin's arm. There it was. The perfect pair of earrings to go with Justin's special gift! Justin would love them. He knew it!
"They're nice," Justin agreed. "Whoever you give them to is lucky."
Lance smiled inwardly. "You think so?"
Justin smiled slightly. "I think anyone is lucky to be getting a gift from you. But yeah, those are great earrings."
Lance nodded. "Chris is gonna love it." He looked up slyly to see Justin's smile fall slightly.
"Yes," Justin agreed. "He will." He turned to the counter and called for an attendant. "Excuse me!"
A woman came rushing over. "Yes sir?" she asked, sounding out of breath.
"My friend would like those," Justin stabbed at the earrings in the glass case.
"Yes sir," she agreed, pulling it out. "That'll be--"
"Doesn't matter," Lance interrupted quickly. He handed over his credit card. "Can I get it gift wrapped, too?" He leaned forward. "I also have something that was specially made. Could you get it for me?"
"Of course, sir," she assured him, taking the card and his driver's license for his name. When she saw it her eyes widened and she looked up at the two of them, but she cleared her throat and went back to work without a word. Lance was impressed, and from the look on Justin's face, so was Justin.
Lance reached for a picture in his wallet, which he and the other guys all kept just in case. He scrawled out his name and slid it to Justin, who did the same. When she returned with his packages and reciept, Lance handed her the signed picture.
"Thank you," Lance said softly, and she smiled back and nodded.
"Thank you," she whispered. "My daughter will love you forever."
Lance smiled at her and took the bag before turning and walking out with Justin, followed closely by Ramond and Danny. He had never been more relieved in his entire life. He finally had a gift for Justin, and just in time, because they had to get back to the hotel.
Justin chatted easily with Lance the whole ride over, but Lance got the strangest sense that something was bothering Justin. When Lance inquired about it, Justin waved him away and continued talking. They went up to JC's room, where they were all meeting, after dropping off their packages.
"Hey!" JC greeted, and Lance smiled at him before dropping into JC's arms. "Did you get what you were looking for?"
Lance smiled brightly. "Oh yes," he assured JC. "The perfect gift." Lance watched Justin as Justin went and sank down on the couch beside Joey, who had an arm around Chris. The three started chatting while Lance and JC sat on the bed together.
"Did you and Justin meet in the hallway?" JC asked, leaning his head on Lance's shoulders.
Lance shook his head slightly to avoid jarring JC. "No, we met at the mall."
JC froze, to Lance's surprise, and then Lance was looking into JC's blue eyes as JC turned him. "You did?" JC asked, looking surprised and unhappy with the notion. "How long were you two together?"
Lance pulled back a few inches to reguard JC evenly. JC wasn't jealous, was he? Of Justin?! "Not long. Just about an hour or so."
JC frowned slightly but he pulled Lance back into his arms. Lance settled against him and again found his eyes on Justin, who was laughing with Joey and Chris as they all did some strange hand movements in unison. JC's behavior was completely uncalled for and it surprised Lance to no end.
"We goin' out to dinner?" Chris asked, rubbing his stomach. "I'm starved."
"Famished," Joey echoed. "I'm going to eat Chris, soon."
Chris looked up at Joey and made a face at him. "Haha. Funny."
Joey returned his words with a devilish grin, and Lance nearly laughed out loud. If it was possible for them to get any cuter, they would have to be shot. As it was, Lance was considering just yelling at them to get together already. Foreplay was great, but it only went so far. So many years of it was enough to drive them all mad, but Joey and Chris seemed to love it.
"Want to go out or order in?" JC asked them, his voice sounding unusually loud in Lance's ear. Lance frowned slightly, but ignored it.
"Let's go out," Joey suggested. "I'm in the mood for something nice, and besides that, we're probably going to be eating hotel room service tomorrow anyway."
"Way to be enthused, Joe," Justin drolled dryly. "At least we'll be together for Christmas."
Joey paused and studied Justin. "I still can't believe you opted to spend Christmas with us instead of with your family."
Justin frowned slightly. "You guys are my family."
"But you just gave it up, just like that."
Lance interrupted. "Joey, stop it. Justin's going to think you didn't want him to stay." All the eyes in the room were on him, and Lance flushed but continued, looking straight at Justin. "I'm glad that you're staying," he told Justin firmly. Justin slowly smiled.
"Thanks. Me too." Justin shot Joey a look and stuck out his tongue at him.
Joey held up his arms in defense, his other hand still around Chris. "Hey, I wasn't saying anything bad." He glanced back at Lance, to Lance's surprise. "We're all glad that you're staying, Curly. The five of us are definitely family."
"Definitely family," JC agreed firmly. "It wouldn't have been the same without you, Justin."
"Aw, you're making me blush," Justin teased, but if Lance wasn't mistaken, he looked a little relieved. Lance smiled warmly at Justin, who smiled back.
"So we're out, then?" Chris asked, standing and pulling Joey up to his feet. Chris proceeded to pull Justin up, and Lance climbed out of JC's arms, only to be back in them again a second later when JC was on his feet.
"Yup," JC agreed. "Where to?"
"We saw a nice resturaunt," Lance offered, looking at Justin for confirmation. "But it's a suit and tie kinda place." Justin nodded, and the other guys all exchanged looks, debating whether they wanted to get dressed up or not.
"What the hell," Joey sighed, the one who hated suits the most. "Let's go."
The guys all scattered to their own rooms, Lance grinning to himself. Justin always looked great in suits, and so did JC. Lance loved it when they got dressed up.
Lance threw on a dark green suit that he and JC had bought together a few months back and quickly redid his hair before walking out of his hotel room. Justin's door swung open at the same time, and Lance paused to study him, smiling at how handsome Justin was.
"You pull off suits well," Lance complimented, looking up at Justin, pleased. "You look nice."
"Thanks," Justin said, smiling. He crossed the hallway to Lance's door and reached out for Lance's neck. Lance froze as Justin began working Lance's tie. "Did your mom forget to teach you how to tie these?" Justin teased, undoing the knot completely.
"Hey!" Lance protested weakly. Justin's fingers worked deftly as they lifted his collar and then wrapped the tie around his neck again. Justin was so close that Lance could feel his breath and body heat, and so Lance simply stood there, trying not to lose control and do something they would both regret later.
Justin tightened it perfectly; not choking, not too lose, it was perfect. Justin smiled at his own handiwork, and then his blue eyes met Lance's. "All better," he assured Lance, grinning.
"Gee, thanks," Lance drolled, grinning back.
"Hey, I couldn't be seen with you looking like that," Justin teased, wrapping an affectionate arm around Lance's shoulders. Lance smiled into Justin's embrace as Justin led them to JC's room; next to Lance's. Lance nearly hooked his fingers in Justin's belt loop on the other side of Justin's waist, then decided that that probably wouldn't be a good idea, so he simply closed his eyes and wished that Justin would never let him go.
Unfortunately, Lance had to open his eyes and stop pretending that Justin was really holding him instead of just playing, because he heard JC's door handle turning. JC flashed them wide grins, wearing a suit himself and looking incredibly handsome.
"Hey!" JC greeted happily. "You guys look great."
"Thanks," Lance said shyly as he and Justin entered the room. "You do too."
JC grinned at Lance, but the smile died away as Justin didn't release Lance's shoulders. Lance could understand JC's confusion; it was always JC's arm around Lance's shoulders, not Justin's. But Justin seemed perfectly content to hold onto Lance, and Lance was almost dreading Justin letting him go.
There was a knock on the door, and JC went to go grab it, shooting Justin one last unreadable look before opening the door.
Justin dragged Lance over to the bed and sat down, and Lance couldn't help but snuggle against Justin happily. Justin was warm and comforting, and while JC was standing right there and JC was probably going to get mad jealous, Lance couldn't help but lean into him the man wearing the dark blue suit.
"Cold?" Justin asked Lance softly, his voice gentle and soothing as it caressed over Lance's ears and he leaned against Justin.
"No," Lance answered contentedly, his eyes starting to close on their own. He wasn't sure what it was about Justin's embrace that made him sleepy, but it almost never failed. Justin's embrace was safe, Lance supposed, and being protected made him feel secure, which enabled him to drop his guard.
Lance yawned kittenishly, away from Justin as much as he could without actually turning away from Justin, and then slowly opening his eyes to see everyone staring at them. "I guess I'm more tired than I thought," he admitted sheepishly, reluctantly pulling away from Justin and standing. "Ready?" He went straight for JC's side, and JC wrapped a possessive arm around Lance as he led him to the door. Lance glanced over his shoulder at Justin and offered a weak, half smile, before following JC. He didn't want Justin to think he'd been dumped, but JC was the one that Lance was sort of starting something with, and he held an obligation to JC. Well, sort of one, anyway.
Lance glanced over his shoulder yet again at Justin, wanting to catch one last look of his curly headed friend. Justin's blue eyes were downcast, studying the ground as they walked to the elevators, and Lance wanted to do nothing more than throw himself into Justin's arms and hug him until Justin smiled, but he couldn't do that. Suddenly, Justin's eyes raised, and they met Lance's. Justin smiled weakly at him, and Lance returned it before facing forward again and wondering how long this night was going to be.
Lance woke up with a smile the next morning. It was Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve! He was practically bouncing as he jumped up from the bed and dashed into the bathroom to take his shower. He dressed for the occassion: khaki's and a long sleeved silver shirt under a green sweater, so that the barest hint of silver could be seen through the knit. Chris and Lance had found it the other day while shopping, and Chris had ordered Lance to buy it. Now, Lance was glad that he had.
"Chestnuts roasting on an open fire," Lance sang merrily to himself as he did his hair. He stopped short when he heard familiar laughter, and looked over to the bathroom door, where Justin suddenly appeared.
"Jack Frost nipping at your nose," Justin continued, grinning as he swung on the doorframe, entering the bathroom doorway. He was adorable, in a red sweater matching Lance's green one and khaki pants. He hopped up onto the counter in front of Lance, forcing Lance in between his legs. "Good morning!" he carolled happily.
Lance grinned up at him. "Good morning."
"You're in a good mood."
"So are you," Lance pointed out, still smiling. He loved it when Justin was like this. "What's got you so excited?"
"I don't have to go home," Justin told him gravely, his eyes lit up to a cerulean color. "I get to spend Christmas with the people I love more than life itself. How could it get much better than that?"
Lance grinned at Justin. "We love you, too," he assured him. "And as glad as I am to see you, I have to ask what it is that made you decide to grace me with your larger than life presense this morning."
Justin grinned. "'Larger than life', huh? I like that." He threw his arms out in a wide circle. "Justin Timberlake, 'larger than life' boy extrodinaire!"
Lance laughed out loud. "You are in a mood today, aren't you?" he laughed, placing his arms on Justin's knees and being careful not to touch Justin with his gelled hands. "That's good." Then, after contemplating his thoughts for a moment, he decided to admit the truth. "You've got a great smile. We don't see it enough."
If Lance wasn't mistaken, that was a blush forming on Justin Timberlake's cheeks! "Thanks," he thanked shyly, his eyes dropping slightly to Lance's chest. He paused, studying it, and Lance looked down as well to see if he'd gotten something on his new sweater already. "It's silver," Justin commented, sounding surprised. Lance looked up and grinned, which changed to shock when Justin's hands lifted his sweater to look underneath. "You're wearing a silver shirt under that."
Lance laughed again. "Yeah. You like?"
Justin lifted his eyes to meet Lance's. "I like," he confirmed, his knees bumping Lance's sides. "You doing your hair?" He released Lance's sweater and then resettled it, which gave Lance goosebumps as Justin's hands and fingers brushed along his waist.
"Trying," Lance admitted, making a face at his reflection over Justin's shoulder. He looked up into Justin's beautiful blue eyes. "How did you get ready so quickly?"
"Haven't shaved yet," Justin answered, reaching up and rubbing his hand along his cheek. "Bad news."
"Oh, really? I thought you just got that five o'clock shadow five minutes after you shaved every day," Lance teased.
The back of Justin's fingers brushed along Lance's cheek, and the smile on Lance's face froze as he practically melted under Justin's touch and stood there, completely paralized. "Not like you, right?" Justin asked softly, smiling slightly. "You've got the whole baby face thing goin' on."
Lance rolled his eyes in what he hoped was a convincing scoff. He could barely function with Justin stroking his cheek so gently like that. "Right. Baby face. You say it like it's a good thing."
Justin paused and smiled sweetly at Lance. "I think it is," he objected gently. "I think it suits you perfectly."
That was the last time Lance would ever hate being called a 'baby face'. "Thanks," he thanked weakly, dropping his eyes shyly. He paused and looked at Justin's chest, which was adored with the same sweater Lance was wearing, only in red, and slowly raised his eyes to meet Justin's curious ones. "Silver!" he accused. "You've got on the same silver shirt that I do!"
Justin started to laugh. "You wondered why I was so surprise about yours!" he laughed. "I've got the same one on!"
"Aw, honey, we match," Lance teased, and as soon as the words were out of his mouth he paused and met Justin's eyes. The words had felt so right directed at Justin. But that wasn't good, was it? No, of course not. That was bad.
Justin was smiling slightly, though, and so Lance decided it couldn't be all bad. Especially with that tender look in Justin's eyes. "Speaking of 'honey'," Justin hedged slowly, and Lance felt his heart skip into his throat. "I need your help."
Lance's jaw fell unhinged. Justin couldn't be serious, could he? Justin had someone! Lance was not going to help him get someone else! That was just cruel! Not just to Britney, but to Lance. Imagine, trying to help the guy he liked find someone else!
Wait, did he just admit to liking Justin?
He thought about it and realized that he had. It was just a small crush, though, because his feelings were all for JC.
Justin laughed at Lance's face. "Don't look at me like that," he admonished. "Come on, Lance, cut it out. I hate it when you give me that disapproving, 'I can't believe you just said that' look. It's not what you're thinking. I'm not looking for someone."
Lance slowly closed his mouth. "Then who is?" he asked warily, still eyeing Justin.
Justin grinned. "Joey and Chris, natch."
Lance paused, and then his face broke out into a large grin as Justin's idea settled into his mind. Of course. Justin wanted to play matchmaker. "And what's your plan?" Lance asked, looking up at Justin.
"Well, first of all, you give me your hands."
Lance's heart jumped into his throat and he felt weak. "Like, as in marriage?" Lance asked, utterly confused.
Justin burst out laughing. "No, as in right now give me your hands. They're covered in gel and you're going to get it all over my new pants." To demonstrate his point, Justin took Lance's hands and scraped the gel from them into his own hands, going to work on Lance's hair and spiking it as he spoke. Lance could barely focus on Justin's words as Justin worked, and it took everything he had not to close his eyes. "Alright, here's the plan. Everyone knows that Joey and Chris are like, totally in love, right? And Joey just broke up with his latest girl the other day. Right?"
"Mmm hmm," Lance mumbled, fighting to keep his eyes open. Damn it, Justin always had that affect on him! He wasn't bored by Justin, so why did he always want to sleep when they were together?!
"Okay. Well, I figure that if you and I make one of them think that the other has someone else, then they'll get their asses in gear and hook it up, right?"
"Possibly. Or they might get upset and never talk to the other again."
Justin paused with his hands in Lance's hair, and Lance's eyes met his blue ones. "Pessimism, Lance. It's unbecoming of you." He went back to work. "Anyway," he continued briskly. "I'm guessing it should be Joey to think that Chris has someone else, because with as crazy as Chris is, if he thought that Joey had someone else, he'd step out of the picture completely and avoid Joey like the plague. Joey, on the other hand, fights for what he wants when he thinks it's threatened. So we make Joey think that Chris has someone else, and on New Years Eve, when the clock strikes midnight, I guarantee you that Joey and Chris' lips will touch."
There was something poetic about the way that Justin said that, and Lance paused to appreciate his words. "Sounds like a good plan," Lance admitted slowly. "But how do you expect Joey to think that Chris has someone else?"
Justin laughed. "That's where you and I come in."
Lance eyed Justin warily. "I'm listening."
Justin laughed again. "You sound like you don't trust me, Lansten."
Lance sighed. "I trust you just fine. It's your ideas I worry about."
"Your wit astounds me. Now shut up." Justin flashed a grin and went on. "We start out slow. Chris starts to spend more and more time with me. Joey starts to spend more and more time with you. You casually let it drop that Chris mentioned maybe liking someone in the group. Joey starts to panic when he thinks it's not him anymore. Joey tries to kill me. Chris tries to kill Joey. Joey blurts out the truth. Chris starts to cry. Joey and Chris kiss. You and I take our bows and step off the stage."
Lance sighed. "The stage, yes, Justin, because that's an idea that would only work in the movies." He paused curiously. "Besides, how come you're the one that's throwing yourself at Chris?"
Justin stopped short and slowly lowered his eyes to meet Lance's. "Don't tell me that you're interested in Chris."
Lance arched an eyebrow. "Okay. I'm not interested in Chris."
Justin frowned. "Are you?"
Justin laughed out loud. "Hardly. I happen to be girl-oriented. I'm not battin' for the same team that you four are."
Lance froze and pulled away from Justin, looking up into Justin's stricken face. Justin knew, then? Well of course Justin knew, look at how Lance and JC acted together. But to say it so... rudely... For some reason, Lance felt like his heart was being crushed.
"Lance, don't look at me like that. Please? I'm sorry, that came out all wrong. I just, I mean, I've known for a long time that you and JC... Lance, please don't look at me like that. I'm sorry." Justin reached for Lance, but Lance stepped back. "Lance, please. I'm sorry."
Lance frowned at him as he mulled over Justin's words. He knew Justin was sorry... He wasn't that upset at Justin. But for some reason, god, for some reason his heart was aching.
"Lance, please," Justin begged desperately, and Lance gave a start as he felt Justin's arms wrapping around him. "I'm sorry. I mean, I'm cool with you guys being gay and stuff. It's not a big deal. Don't be mad at me."
"I'm not," Lance said off handedly. "I'm just surprised, I guess. I don't know why. I knew you guys knew." For some reason, Justin's embrace didn't hold the same comforting feeling as it had before, and Lance stared at bathroom doorway blankly.
"Lance," Justin whispered in Lance's ear, and Lance felt his knees go weak. Justin held him tightly from behind, resting their heads side by side. "I'm sorry."
For what? For not being gay like Lance wanted him to be? Lance felt himself shrug, feeling like he was on autopilot. "It's no big deal, Justin."
"It is," Justin insisted. "Lance, I..." He cleared his throat, and Lance paused, waiting for Justin to go on. "I mean, I'm..." He let out a soft sight and shook his head. "I'll always be your friend," he finished, and Lance knew for a fact that that wasn't what Justin had been about to say.
"I know. Me too, Justin. We'll be friends for life." Lance stood there imobile, staring at the doorway. He knew Justin could feel his stiffness, and Justin sighed sadly.
"I'm sorry," Justin whispered again, and then released Lance. "I'll see you at JC's."
Lance watched him disappear out of the bathroom, and then stared at his reflection in the mirror for a second before running after Justin.
Who caught him around the waist.
"Hold up," Justin breathed in Lance's ear even as he swung him to release the force behind Lance's dash. Lance closed his arms around Justin's over his waist for a moment and closed his eyes, feeling the warmth behind Justin's embrace. Okay. It was still there. That burning desire to sleep and never wake up. Still there. Everything was alright.
"You're really okay with it?" Lance asked softly.
Justin laughed slightly. "Lance, you have no idea how okay with it I am."
Lance paused and looked up at him, but Justin was too busy hugging him tightly. Lance let it go and lost himself in Justin's warm body, trying desperately to push all thoughts out of his mind.
Lance wasn't sure when his good mood came back, but he was pretty sure it was between the time that Justin let him go and Justin left his bedroom to go shave.
Okay, that was a lie.
He was in a rather serious mood from the time that Justin let him go--quite a while later--and the time Justin came back, wrapped his arms around Lance's waist, and gave him a large, long kiss on his cheek, grinning broadly when it was over. It had been playful, but there was something about that kiss that caught Lance completely off guard and shook him, and yet brightened his day to the point where he was happier than he'd been when he woke up. Especially when Justin lifted his lips from Lance's cheek and rested his head on Lance's shoulder, smiling at his friend in the mirror as Lance's arms closed around his.
"Better?" Justin purred, resting his cheek against Lance's and rubbing slowly to allow Lance to feel his freshly shaved skin.
"No. Ow, burn!" Lance yelped, just to see Justin's reaction.
Justin jumped and pulled away to rub his hand across his cheek, frowning. "But I was really careful to..." Lance couldn't help but grin, which Justin caught. Justin narrowed his eyes at Lance. "You think that's funny?"
Lance shrugged innocently, his every sense invaded by Justin. Justin's cologne was overwhelming but so heavenly that Lance nearly swooned. And his hands were all over Lance again, in a touch so sweet it ached. "I thought it was pretty funny," Lance agreed, looking up over his shoulder at Justin as Justin rewrapped Lance in his arms. Lance was a little confused by Justin's display of affection, but he chalked it up to Justin feeling guilty about his earlier comment, which meant that he was trying to show Lance that he didn't take anything Lance did as more than a friendly gesture. The thought almost made Lance sigh outloud. He would never have Justin.
Not that he wanted Justin anyway, his mind amended quickly. He wanted JC.
"Yeah, I'm really laughing hard," Justin drawled, rolling his eyes and grinning slightly. "You ready for some breakfast?"
Lance shrugged. "Whatever. I'm done in here." He made a face at his reflection and then stepped to the door, outside of Justin's embrace. Justin followed him to JC's room, which Lance knocked on.
The door opened a minute later to reveal JC standing there in a dark green and gold sweater, khaki's, and his dark brown hair done perfectly. Lance couldn't help but smile at the sight of him, and he was already grinning back.
"Morning!" JC chirped easily, pushing back the door for Lance and Justin to enter. "How're you two?"
"Fine, fine," Justin answered, going past JC and flopping down on the bed. "I hope you ordered food already. I'm starved."
"I was hanging up when you guys knocked. That's why it took so long," JC explained, and Lance smiled up at him, still in the doorway. JC met his eyes. "Aren't you going to come in?"
Lance shrugged. "You gonna invite me?" he teased.
"Such formalities, James!" JC admonished, his blue eyes dancing. He bowed deeply at the waist, his head down. "Would you like to come in, sir?"
Lance grinned and trailed his hand across JC's back as he walked past him. "Thank you, Josh." He looked over his shoulder as he slowly went by JC, whose head came up as Lance moved, until Lance's hand was off his back and JC's head was up all the way, his blue eyes lit. His free hand caught Lance's as Lance's hand started to fall back to his side as he walked towards the couch. JC wrapped an arm around Lance's waist as they dropped down onto it together.
"So hungry," Justin whined from the bed. To Lance's surprise, Justin hadn't noticed a thing. He had his arm thrown over his eyes. "I think I'm going to die of starvation."
Lance arched an eyebrow at his figure while JC rolled his eyes. "We could only hope," he drawled teasingly.
Justin froze and slowly moved his arm away from his eyes, peeking over at JC and Lance. "You just want me to be out of the picture so you don't have any competition for Lance."
Lance's heart stopped beating.
"But your plan's flawed," Justin continued, throwing his arm back over his eyes. "Number one, Lance is interested in only you. Number two, if I die, Nsync's over. You guys would just be 'Sync', and how stupid would that be? So you gotta keep me around."
Lance wasn't even listening to Justin anymore. He was tuned into JC's every movement, and JC seemed frozen to the spot. Lance cringed inwardly, fully prepared to kick Justin's ass later, when JC suddenly smiled and relaxed completely, hugging both arms around Lance. "Good," he whispered softly in Lance's ear, drawing him closer. Lance felt a flush form on his cheeks but he snuggled deeper into JC's arms. Maybe Justin had been trying to help all along?
There was another knock on JC's door, and Justin rolled off of the bed. "I'll get it," he offered, going to the doorway.
JC's lips were pressing against Lance's forehead, and Lance was completely distracted from anything that Justin said. JC's lips were smooth and soft and cool, and his touch was gentle and sweet. Lance smiled despite it all, and he felt JC laugh slightly and draw him even closer. Lance was going to end up on JC's lap, soon.
"Merry Christmas Eve!" Chris carolled, coming into the room and throwing himself onto the bed. Joey was right behind him, and Joey rested his head on Chris back as he sprawled out. Justin was behind them, and he resumed his position on the bed, even putting his arm back over his eyes.
"Morning," Lance greeted cheerfully. He was convinced that this was going to be one of the best days ever.
"I want a present," Joey stated. He rolled his head up to look at Chris. "Can I have a present?"
Chris turned over so that he was resting his head on Justin's legs, and Joey's head rested on his stomach. "Tomorrow."
"But I want one now," Joey moaned, looking over at JC. "Will you give me a present?"
JC shook his head. "No," he answered simply, grinning. His voice sounded loud and muffled from where Lance rested his head on his chest, but that was okay, because he liked to be close to JC. So what if his voice always sounded so loud?
"Someone give me a present!" Joey yelped.
"Go buy yourself a present," Justin suggested, removing his arm from his eyes. "You're rich and famous. Better yet, go downstairs to where all the screaming girls are holding out packages and take one of them."
Joey paused to consider Justin's idea, then shook his head. "Nothing personal, but I want the presents to be from someone who matters." His eyes trailed to Chris, who had his eyes closed. Lance's jaw fell unhinged at Joey's blatant hint, but Chris' eyes were closed. His eyes were closed! How dense could Chris get?!
Lance looked over at Justin, who was smiling down knowingly at Chris and Joey, and then slowly his blue eyes came over and met Lance's. Justin's grin deepened, and he looked to Chris and Joey. Lance nodded slightly and grinned back.
JC turned on the tv and they all settled in to watch the morning news until their food arrived an hour later. By that time, Justin was laying in Joey's lap, and Joey was laying in Chris' arms as they rested propped up against the head board together. Lance and JC were the only ones that hadn't moved.
After a warm, hearty breakfast--JC had ordered an abundance of food to celebrate the day--they hung out for another hour or so, and then scattered, Joey and Chris to go shopping, Justin to his room to call his family and Britney, and Lance started to leave to go call his own family, when JC grabbed him and stopped him.
"I was thinking," JC began slowly, his eyes lit with an idea. "We don't have a Christmas tree."
Lance paused and studied his best friend warily. "That's because we can't get a tree through the hotel, up the elevator, and to our rooms without half the tree's pine needle's everywhere," Lance explained patiently.
JC made a face at him. "Optomistic, Lance. Optomistic."
"Okay... We can't get it to our room with more than half of the needles still on the tree."
JC paused to consider what Lance had just said, and when he did, he grinned slowly. "Creative," he agreed. Lance laughed with him, pleased. "But since you're going to be such a smart aleck, I'll just tell you."
"You do that," Lance suggested, eyeing JC affectionately.
"I was out looking around yesterday, and I found this little place on the corner selling those small, fake Christmas trees. I know that Joey thinks that they're practically sacreligious, but I thought that since we don't have a lot of choice in the matter, it would have to do." JC held his hand up to his chest, as if gesturing a height. "It's about this big," he made a circle with his arms, holding them wide. "about this wide, and it comes in this nice little box." He held his hands together in a distance about the width of his shoulders. He looked up at Lance. "So what do you say? You, me, that Christmas tree, some ornament shopping...?"
Lance? Turn down an opportunity to spend all day with JC? Ha! That was a good one. "Sure, I'm in," Lance agreed, hoping he didn't sound too eager.
JC grinned. "Good. It wouldn't be Christmas without a tree."
"I agree," Lance assured him. He felt for his wallet and key and looked up at JC. "If you're ready, I am."
JC laughed. "I'm definitely ready."
Lance had a feeling that they weren't talking about the same thing.
Christmas Necklaces Index