He didn't want to look but he couldn't stop himself.  There was something eye-catching… entrancing even… about the way JC stretched before a show.  Joey couldn't take his eyes off of him.  And it was obvious.

            "Take a picture.  It'll last longer."  Justin said softly with a maniacal laugh. 

            "Huh?"  Joey's eyes snapped to Justin's.  "What?"

            "You're staring at him like he's got three tits or something."

            "What?"

            Justin put his fingers under Joey's chin and turned him toward JC.  "You.  Are.  Staring.  At.  Him.  Like.  He.  Has.  Three.  Tits."  Justin spoke slowly then laughed again.

            "I am not."  Joey jerked his chin out of Justin's hold and scowled.  "He just… I was thinking."

            "Well you're gonna wanna pull that train on over and get off.  Because the last thing you need to be thinking about is that."

            "I was thinking about Brooke."

            "You were not."

            "Everyone thinks I should date her."  Joey sighed and refused to acknowledge Justin's jab.

            "Yeah.  Well that's only because she's perfect."

            "Yeah."  Joey agreed softly.  "Perfect."

            "Flawless."

            "Uh huh."

            "Gorgeous."

            "I know." He couldn't deny that.  She was centerfold material for sure.  And in another month or two she would probably get that honor.

            "So?"  Justin sighed and draped his arm over Joey's shoulder.  "What are you doing making googly eyes after our boy JC?"

            "I'm not."  Joey ducked out from under Justin's arm and left the room as JC bent at the waist to stretch his hamstrings.

 

            When the show was over Joey crawled onto the bus he shared with Lance and his brother, who at the moment was at home dealing with the marital bliss he'd neglected for far too long.  "Dude Joey.  I like your brother and all, but it's so cool to have the bus to ourselves."  Lance yawned as he made a second attempt to crawl into his bunk.  He had the hardest time getting into the top, but he'd insisted on having it anyway.  Joey nonchalantly stepped behind him and laced his fingers together at Lance's knee level.  "Thanks."  Lance placed his foot in Joey's hands and let the bigger man boost him into his bunk.

            "Me too."  Joey nodded as he stopped and wiped his hands on the front of his jeans.  "I like having the bus all to ourselves too."

            "Especially when I'm asleep."  Lance yawned loudly and pulled the drape closed.

            "Exactly."  Joey smiled and peeled his shirt over his head.  It was clean ten minutes ago when he pulled it on backstage but until he got a hot shower, nothing felt clean enough.  He took another random t-shirt from the pile in the small closet.

            The bus door opened quickly then slammed shut, but no one shouted a greeting.  "Hello?"  Joey asked with a frown as he tugged the shirt into place.

            "Hey."  JC's voice was soft and muffled as Joey heard the flimsy couch sink under his added weight.

            "Hey."  Joey tried to keep the surprise out of his voice as he stepped out of the sleeping area.  "What are – "  The bus lurched forward and he had to grab the kitchen counter for support.  "What are you doing here?"

            "Chris and Justin are nuts."  JC yawned and tucked a stuffed dolphin under his cheek.  "I'm gonna crash here."

            "You're gonna… Jace."  Joey sighed and blinked to clear his head of the image of JC laying face down on the couch wearing nothing but gray sweats and flip flops.  Or, well, one flip flop.  The other had fallen off and was upside down on the orange carpet.

            "Yeah?"

            "You can't sleep here."

            "Why not?"

            "Because."  Joey offered a feeble excuse, but it was all he had.  "Because." He said again softly.

            JC turned his head to face Joey but kept his eyes closed.  "Because why?"

            "Just because."

            "Are you gonna sleep?"

            "Yeah, but I don't see – "

            "Lance is already asleep?"

            "Yes, but – "

            "Chris and Justin will be awake for another three hours."  JC rolled back over and yawned into the stuffed animal.  "Okay then."

            "But Jace."

            "Go'way Joey."

            Joey let the argument die on his lips as he turned and went back to the bunks.  He climbed into his lower bunk across from Lance's and frowned intensely at the ceiling.  An unclaimed hate for Brooke forced it's way into Joey's mind and without warning he struck out and punched the top of his bunk.  "Dammit."  He grumbled as he held his hand to his stomach.  "Fuck."

            "What are you doing?"  Joey heard Lance roll over and pull his curtain aside.

            "Nothing."

            "Did you hit your head."  Lance whispered, unaware that there was a half naked man on their couch.

            "My hand."

            "You okay?"

            "I'm fine."

            "Kay."  He yawned and was asleep again almost immediately.

            "I'm confused as all hell, but I'm fine."  Joey mused silently to himself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2003, Amy Lynn