1440 Minutes -- 9

The road is slightly bumpy on the way out to the airport and while I'm riding along curled into Justin's chest I rest my free hand against his thigh.  I do it more to steady myself rather than molest him while we drive.  It's a comfortable position to be in, his arm around me and the heat of his body keeping me warm in the cooler temperature in the car.  The heater is on, but the heat of Justin's body warms me more than the air.

At first he sits there and lets me keep my hand on his thigh, but soon I can tell that he's a little uncomfortable with my hand being there.  He moves his hips in his seat, as if he doesn't want my hand there so I remove it.  A moment later I hear a chuckle come from him and his hand moves his coffee to the hand of the arm that's around me and he takes now free hand and removes his wallet from his back pocket.  He shoves it into the pocket of my sweatshirt then moves my hand back into place.

I look up and he smiles down at me.  "You doing ok?"

I nod and smile and curl even closer to him rubbing my hand against the fabric of his jeans.

Soon the car is reaching the tarmac where the plane is waiting and I can see Ronan outside smoking one last cigarette before we have to start our cross country flight.

"Ok kids," Tiny says as the car slows.  His voice startles me a little and I feel Justin hug me and kiss the top of my head to comfort me.

When the car is fully stopped Tiny gets out of the front seat and goes around to open the door for us while D gets out and opens up the back.

"Viv," Justin says.

"I'm awake," I say but find myself curling closer to him as the wind picks up and blows through the car.

"Cold?"

"Hmmm," I mumble.

He pulls me in for a quick hug then kisses my temple, "Let's get into the plane and we'll get a blanket and get to sleep."

"Ok."

We peel ourselves away from each other and when I turn to grab my bag out of the back I find that all the bags are gone and that Ronan and Tiny and D have been packing the plane up in the few minutes that we were sitting there.

"Hold my coffee for a second," he says when we're out of the car.  I take his coffee with a nod, but am instantly upset to have the freezing iced drink in my hand.

Justin turns and closes the car door then turns back to me and reaches to pull the hood of the sweatshirt up over my head.  When his thumbs touch my cheeks as he adjusts the hood I know that tonight in Los Angeles is going to be an interesting evening.  I'm not sure that we'll be having sex, it's a little too soon for that, but I know from the look in his eyes as he watches my face during the process of getting the hood up, that tonight definitely won't be spent sleeping side by side.  He carefully ties the ties in a bow.  He cups my cheeks then and leans towards me.

His lips are slow and careful as he draws my bottom lip in between his.  He pauses there, forhead leaned against mine then goes for another kiss, this time moving his head slightly to the side so that his mouth can more fully cover mine.  His hands stay on my cheeks and his feet stay planted so I step forward a little and slide my arms around him, still holding the coffee cups.  I can't feel the icy drink anymore, just his lips on mine and the way his fingers are now brushing over my cheeks.

He pulls away and my eyes open.  "Better?"

I nod and move away when I hear someone approaching behind us, scuffing their feet on the tarmac.

"Come on kids," Tiny says behind us, "We need to hit the road...er...the air."

"Got it," Justin says.  "Is my bag on there?"

Tiny nods with a smile, "Yep, so is Viv's."

"Well it was a pleasure as always D," Justin goes and hugs our driver.  "Thanks as always for the ride."

"No problem," D says, "Tell your momma and Paul I say hello and I'll try and be around the next time they come into the city."

Justin's face scrunches up, "They're coming to New York?"

"For their anniversary," D says, "I told them I'd drive them around that weekend cuz I know they don't like to hassle with cabs and hiring someone is expensive."

"Thanks man," Justin says, "In advance."

"You guys have a good flight," D says.

"Goodbye New York," I say with a laugh then shove Justin's drink back at him.  "Carry this.  It's freezing my fingers off."

Tiny laughs as I start to walk across the tarmac to the plane.  I soon feel an arm sneak around me and I find Justin pressed up against my back as we walk.  He's holding me with his freehand while he sips his drink from the cup in his other hand, acting as if him being pressed up against my back is nothing new and I should expect this kind of behavior out of him.

"You're insane," I say, "You know that?"

"Nope," he says, "Enlighten me."

"Not that I'm complaining, but what flipped your switch?" I ask.

"Hmmm," he says, "Is this a trick question?"

"No," I say.

"I ummm--"  We get to the steps of the plane and Ronan is standing there.  "Hey Ronan.  How were my brother's this morning?"

Tiny passes us and goes into the plane.  I don't normally see him tired, but tonight he seems exhausted.  I know it's partly because our return to Los Angeles and all the family issues that are waiting there for him.

"Good," Ronan says with a smile, "They left you some pictures they drew."

"Really?" I say more excitedly than Justin, taking the distraction as a chance to get away from Justin for a moment.  I don't really want to be away from him, but standing there in front of Ronan while he was groping me really wasn't the most comfortable situation to be in.

When I get into the plane Tiny is sitting in one of the seats that faces forward on the right side of the plane looking at a piece of green construction paper.  "The boys are getting good at this," Tiny says and turns the picture around to show what looks like a brown marshmellow with arms and legs.  "Although from this angle it looks like I need to take off some pounds."

I smile at the picture and look across to the other seats on the left side of the plane.  My backpack is sitting by one chair and Justin's is sitting next to the other.  Two pictures are sitting on the seats.  "One for me?" I ask moving towards the free seat to pick up my picture.

"Yep," Tiny says, "And one for Justin too."

Justin comes into the plane and he slides by me, pressing his hips to my backside and winking at me when I turn to acknowledge what I just felt.  "Is it ok if I take the window seat for take off?" he asks.

"Sure," I say and watch him slide into the seat closest to the window.

"You guys better get buckled in," Ronan says as he starts to get the stairs folded up into the plane.

I take my seat and look at the picture that Jonathan and Steven left me.  "Pretty good stuff," I say admiring the picture.  It's me and flowers and my cell phone and Steven has written my name in the corner.

"Check mine out," Justin says leaning so our shoulders touch.  He trades my drink for the picture his brother has drawn and puts my cup in the cup holder next to where his cup is sitting, "I'm not sure what this is--"

"It's a basketball," I say glancing at the the picture.

"Oh," he says and smiles at me.  He leans towards me and I feel a flutter in my stomach before I lean and kiss him.  I'm still not completely comfortable kissing him this way, but when his lips touch mine I forget everything.

"Maybe after take off we'll curl up on the couch and take a nap."

"Nap?"

Justin turns and points over the back seat to the couch behind us.  "The couch in the back folds down into a bed and we can snuggle up and sleep."

"Ok," I shrug.

"You all ready?" Ronan leans back towards the cabin, "Willy's put in the flight plan and the schedule is fairly clear so we should be able to get up into the air pretty quickly.

"Yeah," Justin says and folds his picture in half and slips it into the storage pocket then takes mine and does the same, "We'll look at them later."

I nod and settle into my chair.

As we start to taxi down the runway I look over and find Tiny already with his eyes closed stretched out a little.  I know he won't be asleep for long.  It's his nature to close his eyes for take off.  I take a deep breath and join him, closing my eyes and leaning against Justin's shoulder.

"Don't fall asleep yet," Justin whispers.

"I won't," I say from behind closed eyes.

The fifteen minutes that it takes to reach our flight level goes by quickly.

"You can get out of your seats if you want," Willy, the co-pilot appears.  "We don't have a flight attendant tonight since you always seem to fall asleep on these flights, but you all know where everything is so serve yourself."

"Do you have any blankets?" Tiny asks.

"Yeah," Willy says and I hear him walk by me towards the back.  "I'll fold down the couch."

"Thanks," Justin says softly.

Soon I hear and feel Justin remove his seatbelt.  I open my eyes and find him moving away.  "I'm gonna use the restroom then we'll stretch out."

"Ok."

He moves to stand up and I open my eyes a little.  He kicks out of his shoes before he leans and kisses my forehead.

He moves to the back of the plane and I hear the door close.  I look over at Tiny and he smiles at me.  "I'm gonna listen to my music and read my book so you guys can get some sleep."

"You ok?" I ask.

"Yeah," he says, "I need to call Beverly while we're out there, but other than that I'm fine."

"I hope that goes ok," I say knowing the stresses that come with his ex-wife.

"It's fine," he says, "Don't think about it--hang out with Justin and be happy."

I know that Tiny sees more than he lets on, but having him notice that I'm not blissfully happy probably startles me the most.  "You sound like I'm never happy."

"You are," he says, "With Justin and I'm glad that you are."

Willy walks back by towards the front of the cabin with a smile on his face.

I pull the sweatshirt hood down and sigh, "Tiny, really?"

"Yeah," Tiny says, "What's good for the both of you just makes my job easier--with the both of you on an even keel I don't have to worry about either of you getting into trouble."

"We aren't really that much trouble are we?"

"Not at all," Tiny says, "Don't worry about it.  Just go get some sleep.  We're gonna have a long day tomorrow I'm sure."

"We'll have the afternoon off," I say, "Maybe you can invite Jayden over for lunch or something."

"Sounds like a plan," Tiny says.

"Hey Viv?"  I turn and find Justin in the isle next to where Willy has pulled down the couch.  There are two blankets spread over the leather couch now along with two pillows.  "You coming back here?"

"Yeah," I say and unbuckle myself and move around to the back of the plane.

Justin slips onto the couch after removing his belt and I wait for him to get settled.

"Come on," he says.

I move to get into bed with him, stopping only a moment to get my shoes off before I stretch out next to him.  He immediately pulls me against him, curling his arms around me.  "I've been waiting for this all day."

"We took a nap after lunch though," I say.

"Yeah," he says, "But now we have six whole hours to be together instead of just an hour."

"Oh," I say.

I can feel his whole body against mine and even though I know Tiny won't pay attention to us and WIlly and Ronan could care less I find myself uncomfortable lying there with him.

"What's wrong?" he asks in a whispered tone, as whispered as one might sound over the noise of the engines of the plane.

"Nothing," I say, "I'm just not used to this."

"This?" he asks.

"On a normal flight we'd be sitting up and reading or something and now we're--"

"I'm not crushing you or anything am I?" he asks.

"No," I say and pull him tighter against me.  "Not at all.  This is nice like this--"

Justin moved a little, slipping onto his back and pulling me against his chest.  His hand moved and curled my leg over his then his arms pulled me close, one at the the small of my back and the other holding onto my arm.  "Do you want to go to sleep or are you gonna stay up for a while?"

"What's on your mind Justin?" I ask in plain English.

"I know I'll be an ass for saying this," he says, "But I don't want to go to sleep."

"Something troubling you?" I ask already knowing what's on his mind.  His body's reaction to mine is clearly present.  I can tell that he's aroused, not only from his clearly present erection that is pressed against the leg that is curled over his, but also because his skin is heated and his breathing is shallow.

His hands move along my arms and he shifts his hips a little.  "I want you," he says in a whisper then turns and looks up at the ceiling, "And it's not just because I haven't had any all summer.  I've spent most of today trying to keep you out of my mind and it's not working and I'm a pig for wanting to be with you--make love to you on this stupid pull out couch, but I can't stop thinking about it."

"Patience Justin," I say and leaned up and kiss his neck.

"I should go and get back in my seat," he says and starts to sit up.

"No," I say and push his shoulder back down onto the bed.  "I don't think we should go as far as I think you have in mind, but I'm not opposed to a little kissing here and there."

"I'm such an ass," he said looking at her with this desparate look on his face.  "I don't want to fuck this up and I know I almost did earlier."

"Not at all," I say and move so that I'm propped up on an elbow to look at him, "I was proud of you earlier."

"For what?" he asked.

"You handled tonight well.  That whole thing about beating up my friend could have been avoided, but when you realized that it would be better to finish your business before your personal matters I really had to stop myself from going over there and molesting you in the middle of the dance floor."

"What?" he said and gave me a confused look.

"You've finally come to realize that work is important."  My hand caressed his chest through his t-shirt.  "I'm gonna be by your side through it all Justin.  You don't have to worry about that.  You pay attention to the career stuff and then worry about weather or not I'm around."

"I worried about everything this summer," he said, "I knew when I met up with you again that it was going to be an issue with us.  I shouldn't have ignored you as much as I did this summer."

"You needed your time and your space," I say, "I understand you well enough to know that you needed it and that you'd come back to me when you were better."

"I'm not better," he said and tears flowed to his eyes.  "I'm only half here--you're the only reason that I'm still standing."

"No," I say and move to wipe a tear from the side of his eye.  "You're here because you're strong Justin.  That's what made me fall in love with you."

"Wait.  What?"

"I've been in love with you Justin for a long time and even though you've had your mind and heart in other places I knew that you and I would always have a special connection."

"I don't want you to get hurt.  I've hurt you so much in the past."

"You haven't," I say, "You were doing only what you thought you needed to do--"

"I need you Vivian," he says.

"I need you too," I say softly and lean to kiss his chest, "We're gonna be fine the two of us."

"Are you sure?"

"Nothing is ever certain," I say, "But I think together we can make it work out."

"Please, please, if I fuck up just tell me."

"You know I will."

"I need someone to tell me that I've fucked up every once in a while."

I lean back from him a little, "Like I haven't done that in the past."

"Well keep doing it," he says, "Just don't let our relationship get in the way of that."

My head is swimming now.  I thought Justin had pulled himself together a little better than I thought that he had since the breakup and everything, but now he's lying there and looking half scared as if I'm going to up and leave him at any moment.  I knew that there were a lot of issues that had come up with the break up, but I really know now the fully extent of what it's done to him.  He's not as confident as he used to be and it actually makes me love him even more.  A little vulnerability is just what he needs to round off some of his rough edges.  "I won't."

"Good," he says with a nod and moves to kiss me.

When his head rests back on the pillow he yawns.

"You're tired," I say.

He closes his eyes and nods that he isn't.

"You are," I say, "You're tired."  I move a hand up and smooth it over his forehead and eyes and his eyes drift shut a little.

"I'm fine," he says keeping his eyes closed, "I just want to lay with you and kiss you."

"Why don't we wait for all that until later.  I think you need some sleep now."

He nodded and opened his eyes, "Later then?"

"We've got time Justin," I say and snuggle up to his chest again as his eyes close.  He finds my hand and holds it to his chest as he starts to take deeper breath.  When I finally feel his arms and legs relax I take a breath then sigh and close my eyes, "We've got plenty of time."

*****

I can hear myself breathing, that steady in and out heavy type of breath that isn't quite a snore, but it's normal breathing.  As my eyes open I realize that it's not me snoring, but the soft sound of someone else's breath in my ear that woke me up. My shoulders pull away from the warmth on my back and I try to turn over to see who I'm with because basically I know there have been nights in the past that I've woken up and not known where I am. It's a horrible thing to explain to someone, especially when I see his or her reaction. It's not what anyone thinks. I've been working with NSYNC for years now and it's not all that uncommon to have basically a pile up. If we're on our way to a city and are waiting for a flight people just basically cuddle up to whoever is near them and sleep until the plane comes.

I smile at him and let my body soak in the fact that I'm cradled in his arms with his hands on parts of me that he's never touched before. His one hand has made its way a little inside my sweatshirt and I swear if we'd been alone he'd probably have curled it all the way up into my shirt.  I'm about to think about the rest of what might have happened if we'd fallen asleep alone the night before when I remember that we weren't alone.

 


[ THE END ]

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