Need To Be Next To You --  Chapter 3

After giving JC and Lance the address to Grace’s apartment, they all left the bar, the girls climbed into a cab, the guys piled into their limo, attempting to draw the least amount of attention possible.

The three women stood in front of Grace’s building as JC and Lance helped Justin, Chris and Joey out of their car. Georgia threw her arm around Justin’s shoulders, roughed a hand over his short curls and laughed, “You gonna make it Curly Man?”

Justin laughed, “I’m FIIIINE!” Then he tripped up the steps as the doorman held the door open, nodding to Grace.

The elevator operator smiled warmly, “Good evening Miss Westmoreland.”

“Hello Frank.”

Brighid bumped Frank with her elbow, “How are the kids?”

“They are wonderful, Miss Brighid. Thank you so much for asking.”

As the elevator doors rolled open the group stood in a small hallway with only three doors off of it. Grace unlocked her door and tossed her keys on the table next to the door. Joey whistled and shook his head, “Nice digs girl!”

“Thanks! I like it here.” Grace began turning on lights, “Please make yourselves at home.”

Justin and Joey made a beeline for the kitchen. Chris wandered toward the shelves lining the wall to their right. Grace, her fingers lightly intertwined with Lance’s led him through the rest of the apartment, giving him the grand tour.

Walking toward the huge windows lining the far wall, JC looked out at the Chicago skyline and smiled, “This view is amazing.”

Brighid walked up beside him and nodded, “As soon as she saw this, she had to have the place. Gracie wasn’t about to take no for an answer when she found out there was an opening in the building.”

JC smirked, “What is it Grace does again?”

Brighid laughed and made a sweeping gesture with her arms, “Can’t you tell by looking at this place? She’s an interior designer.”

Scanning the huge loft like space, JC could tell that Grace had great taste. Justin and Joey were already digging through the refrigerator and Chris was sitting on the floor flipping through Grace’s record collection. Looking up with wide eyes he beamed at JC, “She has vinyl! I love this girl. He crawled toward Grace, “I love you. This is amazing.”

Grace turned from her conversation with Lance and smiled down at Chris, “I like the sound of vinyl. I have CDs too…but there is just something sexy about an old LP.”

Chris hugged her legs, “Can I stay here forever?”

“As long as you pay half the rent.” Grace winked at him.

Justin walked into the room and slammed a bottle of tequila on the table. Joey was balancing a cutting board, a basket of lemons, a saltshaker and a tower of shot glasses. Lance lunged forward to relieve Joey of some of the burden. Justin grinned and pointed at the bottle, “Who’s up for a few shots?”

Georgia threw her head back and laughed, “I think I’ve created a monster!”

JC shook his head and placed his hand on the small of Brighid’s back as they made their way to their friends, “J, I’m not so sure that shots are a great idea. You’re pretty gone already.”

Justin waved him off, “I’m FIIIIINE! Right George?”

She laughed again, “You’re standing…so that’s something.”

Joey grinned evilly at JC whose hand was still resting on Brig’s back, and then Justin, “I have an even BETTER idea.”

Lance raised his eyebrow, “And what is that?”

“Body shots.”

“OH GOD” JC groaned. “Joey you WOULD be the one to come up with that idea wouldn’t you. DAMN you need to learn to control your hormones”

“Last time I checked my hormones were fine, have you checked yours buddy? Joey’s eyes lowered to JC’s hand that was moving dangerously close to Brighid’s butt.

JC’s eyes followed his and he quickly moved his hand up to rest on Brighid’s back as he glared at Joey.

“Easy boys!” Georgia announced. “I happen to like Joey’s idea... I am going to lick me some boy-banders! WHOOOOOO. The curly one is first. DAYUM!”

“Oh no see what you have done now? Now Georgia is horny you boys better watch out! The last time this happened Georgia wound up in a room with 5 guys doing a strip tease for her.” Gracie muttered while moving closer to Lance.

“Hey Georgia? I’m to sexy for my shirt to sexy for my shirt so sexy it hurts” Chris started to sing.

Justin and Joey chimed in, “I’m a model you know what I mean and I do my little thing on the catwalk on the catwalk yeah I shake my little tush on the catwalk.” The three boys continued to shake their ‘tushes’ in Georgia’s face until Justin turned around and smiled evilly.

“Oh Georgia dear... you think you can handle it? Do you think that you can handle patented and VERY talented Timberlake tongue?”

“Baby I can handle it. I just don’t know if you can handle any more alcohol. Dude. Eat something before we start this game. I don’t want you puking on me” Georgia retorted.

Her eyes shifted to the rest of the group, “So the rest of you in? Or is just going to be me and the curly drunkard getting freaky?”

“We’re in!” Gracie said pulling Lance along.

“We are?” Lance questioned.

“Sure why not? Aren’t I likable?”

Lance coughed nervously, “You my dear are very likable, I just wasn’t sure you’d be up for this.”

Joey busted out laughing, “good way of putting it lance, but are you sure that you are up for it?”

JC threw a pillow at Joey, “God you are so crude. There are ladies around. Can’t you act like a gentleman for once? I swear you think we were in a men’s locker room.”

“Hmmm I wish we were. Jocks in towels RAWR BABY”

Brighid leaned into JC, “You were worried about Joey? Don’t you see we have our very own bag full of hormones to deal with? I am sure that Georgia can be cruder then the 5 of you put together.”


Brighid turned her head sharply at Georgia’s comment, “GEORGIA SHUT UP! AND YOU KNOW WHAT? I WILL PLAY!”

“You will?” JC’s eyes danced playfully.

“Down boy! Yeah I’ll play. Think you can handle it?”

“Oh I can handle it. Question is can you?” JC leaned in and nipped at her neck.

Joey cocked his head, “We have a problem.”

JC rolled his eyes, “WHAT?”

“We out number them.”

They all looked around and Georgia beamed, “Well, Gracie here is a one on one type of girl…never could break her of that habit. And Lance here looks a little…frightened…so they make a match. And Brig would like to pretend to be a wild child, but sadly, she is also a one on one type of girl, so I’m pairing her up with JC.”

Joey huffed, “That still leave three of us and one of you, and I can tell you right now, I’m NOT licking Chris or Justin.”

Georgia sat down on the long upholstered and winked at Joey, “Trust me, I’ve got you three covered.”

Chris fell to his knees in front of her and whimpered, “I love you. Can I keep you?”

“Only for the night.” She teased. “So who’s gonna start it up?”

Justin was already lining up shots, “It’s all about me baby!”

Joey started to cut the lemons and Grace took the knife from his hand, “How about you let me do that killer.”

Joey shrugged and handed her the knife. She quickly had all of the lemons cut into wedges and lined up with the shots Justin had poured. Holding a shot and a lemon out to Justin she winked at him, “I believe you requested the honor of going first.”

Justin took the supplies from her and knelt next to Georgia, “You ready?”

“And waiting.” She grinned, and then looked at the group staring at them, “You all can go ahead…this doesn’t need to be one at a time.”

JC glanced at Brighid who flashed a purely evil grin at him, “You ready to rock and roll pop star?”

JC shook his head, “You’re going to have to pay for that.”

“Bring it on.”

Lance bent over and picked up a saltshaker, smiling cautiously at Grace he said, “Where would you like me to put the salt?”

“Where ever you damn well please.” Grace took a step closer to him and gently placed her hands on his forearms.

Brighid looked down at the bench and laughed. Georgia was now laying on her back with Chris licking her stomach, Joey licking her left shoulder and Justin licking her right. The three of them threw back their shots in unison and one at a time, slowly took a lemon from between her lips.

Lance lightly licked Grace’s collarbone, causing her eyes to slam shut. After gently shaking salt onto the moist skin, his tongue returned to the same place, with slightly more pressure. Grace inhaled sharply and slowly opened her eyes as he threw back the shot and then slipped his hand behind her head as he leaned in to take the lemon form her mouth. His lips connected with hers and both of their mouths were flooded with tart lemon juice. Pulling back to take the fruit from her mouth with his teeth, he let the lemon fall into his hand, and then leaned in and kissed the tip of her nose.

Brighid slowly took JC’s hand in her own, pulling his arm up. She pushed his sleeve back, above his elbow and he was slightly upset to think that his arm was her spot of choice. But when her tongue fluttered out of her mouth over the sensitive skin in the bend of his elbow, chills ran up and down his spine. Quickly covering the area with salt and holding the lemon for him to grasp in his teeth, he watched her lick her lips, before slowly bending to lick his elbow again, never breaking eye contact. She didn’t just lick in one fast motion, her tongue danced over his skin, setting his entire body on fire.

She straightened, and tossed the shot down her throat, wincing slightly, she leaned in toward his mouth. She grasped the lemon between her teeth, sucked, and then removed it from her mouth. JC was completely stunned when she leaned in and ran her tongue along his lower lip and then whispered, “Wouldn’t want to waste any.”

JC had to fight hard to keep his breathing normal. He bit down on his lower lip and then shook his head. "I guess it’s my turn now.”

Brighid was staring at his lips as he spoke and simply nodded.

Grace had moved Lance to the couch where he was laying on his back, with his hand rested on her hips as she perched next to him on the edge of the couch. Licking his throat as her fingers dove into his hair, she removed every grain of salt before drinking her shot and then slowly bending to hover just above his mouth, she grasped the lemon, immediately dropped it into a napkin and closed her eyes, “You are dangerous.” She whispered.

JC walked around behind Brighid, and licked the back of her neck causing her to shudder slightly. His hand slid around to her flat stomach to hold her against his chest. As he drank his shot he sucked in sharply and the twisted around to take the lemon from her mouth before dropping the wedge into his glass, setting the glass down and returning his lips to her neck and shoulders, “Do I need to keep doing the shots or can I just do this?” His breath was warm against her skin and her knees suddenly felt weak.

“I... oh god.... keep doing whatever you damn well please,” Brighid mumbled as her hand went back to tangle in JC’s hair.

JC laughed lightly into Brighid’s neck and she shuddered. “Do you wanna go somewhere to talk?”

His words washed over her and Brighid turned sharply to look at him, “I am not going to just jump into bed with you.”

“Whoa whoa, I didn’t think you were. I was thinking that we could just go somewhere to talk and get away from the Princess and her three VERY drunk musketeers” JC motioned to the couch where Georgia was still holding court with very three very attentive males at her feet.

“Umm. Sorry it’s just well you know what you said and well I figured...”

JC cut off Brighid’s rambling, putting his finger on her lips. “I know what you thought, come on let’s go sit in the other room. I want to talk to you.” JC pulled Brighid’s hand and led her into the next room.

JC sat down on the large oversized chair and pulled Brighid onto his lap.

Brighid tried to kind of perch over his legs but JC just pulled her back against his chest. He turned her sideways in the chair so that her bottom was in his lap and her legs were hung over one side of the chair and her back was against the other so that she could face him sideways. “Brighid I just wanted to tell you that I have had a really great time tonight.”

Her brain didn’t want the situation to be too complicated. She tried not to seem nervous, but her voice squeaked a little when she answered him. “Thanks JC I have too.”

“I’d like to keep seeing you.”

“Don’t close your eyes then,” she joked.

“Come on Brighid,” he said smiling at her, “I’m serious. I want to see you again.”

“Huh?” Her eyes moved to stare at his lips as he licked them. “I mean yeah sure of course we can all hang out again.”

“Brig, I didn’t mean the whole entire group, although I wouldn’t mind doing that again too... I want to take you out.” His hand curled a stray bit of her hair around his index finger. “Just you and me.”

Considering that she’d just met him she wondered what was running through his head. It was insane to think that this man, someone that half the world probably wanted to be with, was looking at her that way, proposing that she go out with him; date him, as if it was the most natural thing in the world. “Why?”

“What do you mean why?” He moved a little as he rolled his eyes at her comment. “Because I like you and want to get to know you better.”

“I’m sorry JC.” She closed her eyes and went silent for a long stretch of time, “I am just not used to this.” She tried to push herself away. “I don’t ‘date’ people.”

“Hey now,” he said, “Wait up. What do you mean you don’t date people?”

“I don’t have time for it. I don’t MAKE time for it.” Her eyes avoided him. “I pride myself on not being caught up in all of that. I’m not one to be involved in soap opera relationships. I leave that to Georgia and Gracie.”

“So you’ve never dated?”

“No,” she said, “I just don’t-I just don’t focus on it. I don’t plan it or think about it or do it.” She looked up at the ceiling and took a huge breath. “When I was still in school I was always focused on making the grade, getting the best internships, getting the best job, being the most successful. I didn’t want anything to get in the way of that.”

“And now?” JC questioned.

“Now things aren’t that different. I am not going to play with you JC.” She folded her hands in her lap. “My career and proving for myself mean everything to me.”

“Listen Brig, I like you.” He took a deep breath. “When we bumped into each other this morning I knew there was something in you that I liked. I am not going to push you into some involved relationship.” His hand covered hers in her lap. “I just want to get to know you better.”

She stared at him for a long time, looking like a deer caught in headlights. For a moment both of them were caught in this stalemate. She was shocked that he would pressure her about seeing him and he seemed to be shocked that he had to ask her twice to go out with him.

She licked her lips, moved her hands to push her hair out of her face then sighed. “Okay.”

“Okay? Okay what?” He cocked his head to the side and smiled at her, trying to hold it so that it wasn’t too huge. “Does that mean you will go out with me?”

She couldn’t believe that he’d caused her to turn into a blushing high school girl again, but she could feel herself start to giggle as she answered his question. “Yes.”

“Good cause now I can do this,” JC leaned in.

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