Anything But Ordinary  --  One


Waking up alone in bed in Los Angeles wasn't at all out of the ordinary.  Actually in the last few months, it had become routine.

At first it had been strange to be living with someone and not living with them at the same time--most music and entertainment industry relationships were that way.  In their case it seemed that sharing a house made everything more intense--instead of less intense.  They had moved in to the house together so that they would be able to see each other more often than they had been, but as things progressed they saw less and less of each other due to the pick up in both their careers.

After five months using the recording companies and practice studios in LA as her home offices, she wasn't shocked to being left there while JC was traveling around between the popular and not-so-popular studios up and down the east coast.  This last trip had been hard though, three and a half weeks making a trip across Europe to see all the fans that they had “neglected” over the last few years due to their commitments in the United States had been great for his career, but had left her wondering how things could proceed if he was gone this much.

Sadly, it couldn't be helped.  They both had commitments that they needed to follow through with.

That night, as her eyes searched across the span of the king sized bed, she started to worry.  She felt that the sheets were cool from him being gone.  For a moment she forgot that he'd even come home, that was until she heard someone on the stairs down on the lower floors. 

Normally when he slipped out of bed to catch a flight or go to a meeting, she'd wake up from the cooler temperature of the bed and say good-bye to him. He’d been home only sixteen hours now and after a month being away she was overly sensitive to the fact that he wasn’t in bed with her now.

He'd been known to get up in the middle of the night to get into the studio for a few hours when no one else was around, but she would have assumed that he’d sleep through the night considering that he had fallen asleep on the couch twice that afternoon before she'd finally convinced him to get into bed to sleep. She'd thought that he would have slept until morning, but it seemed as if he was up to his old tricks again despite clearly suffering from sleep deprivation.

Her eyes scanned the room as she sat up in bed, pulling the sheets up to her naked body. When she'd crawled into bed with him that night they hadn't really planned on making love, but once they were there together nature had taken it's course and they'd fallen asleep naked in each other's arms.

She pushed her long hair over her shoulder and first searched for her shirt and a rubber band to put her hair up. She saw that his phone was still plugged in next to hers on the dresser, it's little green light still blinking away to show that it was already fully charged. His wallet and keys were in a pile next to the phones so she knew he couldn't have gotten far.

Slipping from bed her first action was to pull on her pajama bottoms before she stopped at the security screens in the alcove in the upstairs hallway. Either he'd be in the kitchen getting something to eat or he'd be in the studio. Rarely she'd find him in front of the television or out on the porch smoking when he wasn't supposed to. He'd picked up the nasty habit from the guys that he hung out with in LA and while she couldn't make him stop it all together, she had gotten him to at least smoke outside instead of in the house.

Her second guess was right that night. In the tiny black and white screen on the left hand side she found him in the small video feed that showed the studio. From the look of it he needed a break from what he was doing. She could see his hand scribbling out things and at one point she saw the distinct movements of him swearing and saw in the screen the piece of paper he was working on being torn from the tablet in front of him, balled up and thrown across the room towards the trashcan that was off camera.

Leaving the screens she found her way to the stairway and carefully made her way down to the first floor. The main floor of the house was just as quiet and dark as the upstairs had been. Her eyes had adjusted to the darkness a little, but had been altered again when she'd stared at the security cameras. Her luck was with her though, she was helped by the fact that there was a light on in the other part of the house. As she passed into the living room she could see in the reflection in the front window that the light was coming from the stairwell that led to the studio. The twelve steps that led down to the bottom floor of the house were long ones. She'd taken them a million times before, but tonight she felt a little strange. When JC was in the studio it was his private time, the only time of the day when he didn't give autographs, didn't smile for pictures and surprisingly when the sound of the phone ringing didn't reach his ears.

Her feet hit the floor of the sound studio before she opened her mouth. She closed it when she saw his bare back facing her. She had expected him to be there, but she didn't expect that he would be naked, or half naked, as he seemed to be. The shirt he'd been wearing was now laying on the back of the chair and he'd turned on the air conditioning in the basement studio causing her to shiver as she saw the goose bumps on his neck and shoulders.

Normally she'd find him recording something, but tonight it was quiet there except for the sound of him now typing something into the computer in front of him. The tablet of paper was under one elbow and his head dipped slightly as he copied the words from the paper to the computer.

"Josh?"

He turned his head a little to the side, showing the hours of beard growth and the start of what she knew would become dark circles under his eyes. He kept his eyes on the computer screen. "Hmm?"

She noticed him in the pair of boxers he'd had on earlier that night and wondered what could have been so important that he wouldn't put on something other than that before he came downstairs. Lately he'd been wearing nylon wind pants a lot. His half of the closet was filled with them now in every color of the rainbow, and she'd slowly replaced the older ones with newer ones as they got worn out. Her next project was to do the same thing with his older pairs of jeans that she knew he wouldn't be wearing since he hadn't worn the same pair more than twice since they'd met.

"What are you doing?"

"Writing," he said lazily reaching for her hand behind him.

When their fingers met he pulled her towards him and around to sit in his lap. His eyes never moved from the screen in front of him until she placed a quick kiss to his temple. A smile formed on his face and he turned to kiss her, then let his arms tighten around her for a moment before he finally made eye contact with her. "What's up?"

Her nose picked up the scent of his soap and shampoo. “Did you take a shower?”

“Yeah,” he said, “I thought it’d put me back to sleep.” He paused a moment and ran a hand through his hair and shook his head a little. “Like the afro?”

She nodded, “You need a haircut.”

“I know.” He looked around the room for a moment, probably looking for the clock on the wall or on his computer, then looked back at her. “What time is it? What are you doing up?”

"Nothing," she said softly moving her eyes to the screen he was working on before moving them back to his face. "I woke up and you weren't in bed so I thought I'd see if you were ok." Secretly she knew that he'd been having nightmares every so often. He never spoke of them with her, but he would mumble in his sleep sometimes and she know that the reaction wasn't coming from a pleasant thought.

"I'm fine." He sighed. "It's this song that's giving me--I think I'm gonna get an ulcer before this one gets done."

She moved in his lap and fully faced the screen and reread the lines that he'd started.

Every night I go to sleep
I wantcha layin' next to me-truthfully
I need ya by my side
To take care of me, I'm on my hands and knees girl
Come on
And show me the way to your heart
Don't make me wait forever
Now that you know I wanna

She smiled at the lyrics and knowing his taste, could already hear what kind of a tone the song was going to have. "Josh, it looks great to me--" She wiggled her eyebrows. "I hope you're writing this about me."

He pulled her close and laughed. "Of course."

"So...What's wrong with it?"

"Nothing," he said again sighing as if this was all a great strain on him. "If it were for me."

She leaned back against him and felt his arm move around her a little more, leaving his hand to rest on the thigh of her pajama bottoms. She was comforted by this gesture. It wasn't as if she was keeping track, but after a week away from him, the attention was nice to get. When he'd gotten home from the airport there had been the normal hugs and kisses of a man returning home, but the idea of having sex that night was basically out of the question seeing that he'd been up since early that morning and probably hadn't slept well the entire week he'd been gone.

"For you?"

"It's not though." His free hand reached around and he pressed a button on the computer, bringing up an email in front of him. "Brian asked me to pull something together for him."

Her eyes scanned a very vague explanation on the email he'd brought onto the screen. It said something about a soundtrack being worked on and maybe something for his new album, but she didn't recognize the email address as being one of the regular ones that JC got messages from. "Brian who?"

He reached and rubbed his eyes tiredly and moved a little in his seat as if to find a better position to have his back in. "McKnight."

Her eyes went wide with excitement but at the same time sadness washed over her. Something like this was big news, an event to celebrate, and it seemed as if he'd forgotten to share the good news with her. "You're writing a song for Brian McKnight?"

His chest moved slowly in and out as he breathed for a moment before answering. "Trying anyway."

She began to worry about him. If he was working on a deadline he might get stressed out like this, but she hadn't heard about this before so it made her wonder what else she'd been missing out on lately. “When did that come about?”

“Two days ago. He was in Hawaii on vacation when we rolled through town and said--”

Her eyes widened at his second surprise of the night. “You stayed over in Hawaii?”

“Yeah--No,” he said, “It was basically a fly-by. I was only there for about four hours and he was flying up to San Francisco for this jazz festival thing--”

"You didn't sleep well this week," she said turning back to face him.

"Hmm. You know how it goes.” He yawned. “I was on planes for the last two days and touring in Japan is hectic. They jam the schedule like there’s no tomorrow.” He closed his eyes for a moment and leaned back in the chair.

She ran her fingers across his forehead and put her fingers through his hair. Knowing that his mind was still on his work she moved back to the subject at hand. If she tried to fight this and change the subject he'd only go back to the song he was working on so she knew to join the fight and see if she could help him get through what seemed to be a bit of writer's block. "When’s this song due?”

He shrugged his shoulders and opened his eyes. “Two weeks.”

Two weeks was nothing. He needed sleep so that he could think. Logically he knew this too, but his obsessive compulsive side was taking over at the moment to try to get the song done way before the deadline so that he could revise it a million times. “Then come back to bed,” she said leaning to kiss him. “You’re gonna sit here and brood over these lyrics if you don’t.”

“I don’t brood.”

“Yes you do,” she said.

“I do not.”

“You’re doing it right now.”


"NO," he said then softened his voice as he realized that he sounded angry with her. He needed to watch that. After a week like he'd had with the traveling and meetings and seeing Justin doing so well in the studio working on his solo stuff, he was fighting a lot of information that was coming down on him. It was the first time in the last few weeks that he was realizing that all their lives were changing and that his group might no longer be a group anymore. "I'm not."

“You are-“ She made a pouting face and hit at his shoulder. “You know you are-you just don’t want to admit it.”

“I am not.” This time it wasn’t a lie. All he could think now was the feeling of her moving around to sit the other way on his lap so she was facing him. His mind switched from completely focusing on the song he was working on to thinking about the way her body was rubbing against his. He should have been a man about things and ignored the sudden sexual urges that consumed him, but after a week without her, he couldn’t be held responsible for the way his body reacted to hers. They might have made love to each other a few hours before, but their attraction was so strong that they were almost consumed by it.

In one motion he stopped himself from thinking about her sitting on his lap, or at least he changed the focus from having her hips pressing against his to something else. He snaked his hands under her bottom and stood up in one motion pulling her so that she was giving him a koala hug from the front.

Her voice was almost a squeak when she spoke. “Josh. Be careful.” Her legs curled around him. “You’re gonna kill us both this way.”

“What a way to die-“ He leaned and kissed her.

“Josh-“

“I’m not going to drop you,” he said and leaned to kiss her again, this time parting her lips for a longer kiss. As his tongue massaged hers, his hand gripped at her, not only to make sure that she didn’t fall, but the way she was kissing him back made his hands want to hold her even tighter against him. His hips had their own reaction pressing into her to show her how much he wanted her.

Breaking the kiss, his eyes quickly scanned the room to find a perfect landing spot. As much as he wanted to be romantic and adventurous, he knew this wasn’t good for his knees or his back and if he didn’t put her down, they’d both be going towards the floor soon.

“Where are you taking me?” she asked with a laugh trying to twist around to see where he was walking.

“Couch.” He nodded with his head then smiled a wicked smile at her.

As soon as he set her back down onto the couch she threw some of the pillows onto the floor and moved so that he could lie between her legs. He found himself biting down on his lip as he eased over her, moving a hand between them to make sure that he could get a comfortable position to lie in.

Her arms went around him as he lowered his full weight onto her body. “Josh?”

“What?” he said breathlessly feeling already that he might get too into this too quickly.

“I missed you,” she sighed.

“I missed you too-“ His hips rocked against her pajama bottoms and his mouth found hers.

“Jace?”

“What?” he asked now starting to get frustrated with the fact that she kept interrupting him.

“I’m hot,” she said, “Move and let me take off this shirt.”

“Hmm,” he moved away from her and began to tug on her pajama bottoms as she removed the shirt leaving her only in the tiny scrap of blue underwear.

“Are you just going to sit there?” she asked seeming suddenly nervous.

He loved that about her. They had been sleeping together almost six months now and it seemed as if it was still their first time. Most people would have gotten annoyed by the fact that she still was nervous with a man that she’d been with for that long, but for him it only reminded him that all of this was important and that his partner needed a little more time and consideration, unlike some of his past lovers.

This time when he lay down with her he couldn’t help but moving against her. His hips rocked against her and he could feel her hands pulling him closer and that slight hesitation in her breathing as if she was trying to savor every moment. They were both half naked and the clothes that they did have on only seemed to increase the frustration after just a short time.

“Zana?” he said in between kisses.

“Wha?” It was her turn to be breathless.

His left hand pushed himself up off her a bit and his right moved in between them, to the apex of her legs. When his palm paused for a moment on her stomach he could hear the intake of her breath.

Swiftly his fingers found their way to touch her. Heat consumed his body as his fingers explored her. He could feel a blush wash over him from head to foot, making it nearly impossible to think of anything other than the way she was moaning as he moved against her.

When her hand came to rest on his shoulder and her fingernails started to dig into his skin a little, JC slowed his exploration of her body and took a deep breath. Her eyes had fallen shut earlier, but now she looked up at him with a soft smile playing on her lips. "I'm never letting you go on another business trip again."

"Why's that?" he asked.

Her voice came out with a shallow breathy sound. "Cuz I miss this every day."

"Then maybe I should travel every other day," he said, "Then we could do THIS--" He increased the pressure of his hand on her. "--everyday."

She grabbed his other shoulder and put pressure on his skin there as well as the first side she'd grabbed a hold of. "Josh--" Her voice came out in a pleading tone.

"What Zana?"

She whimpered a little under his touch and began "Don't tease."

"I'm not," he said.

"Yes you are."

"Am. Not." He smiled thinking of their earlier "are-too-are-not" discussion.

Her hands moved from his shoulders and she reached down in between them, moving his boxers down over his hips to rest on his thighs. "Two can play at this game." Her hands engulfed him and he paused for a long moment, sighing out a groan of frustration.

"That's it," he finally pulled together his thoughts and actions knowing full well that this arrangement wasn’t going to be lasting much longer if they kept this up. He moved her panties out of the way and reached to pull his boxers off before he settled back in the same position with her, hovering over her for a long moment before he had enough courage to enter her.

His movements were slow and deliberate as he moved above her. His whole body was aching at this point to drive into her hard to match the level of his need, but he knew from experience that it wasn’t the right approach with her. Their love-making wasn’t normally extremely rough. When things did get a little out of hand it was usually due to them having alcohol in their systems and their clumsiness was usually the culprit of their behavior.

“Josh,” she breathed out. “I love you.”

His eyes widened for a moment and he smiled down at her. “I love you too Zana.”

“Please,” she pleaded and pulled at his shoulders them moved her hands to his waist then curled them around to pull his body against her.

He stayed there for a moment savoring the feeling of her. It was completely cliché to say that he finally felt like he was home when he was inside her, but nothing else seemed to describe the way he felt when he was there with her. It wasn’t just the sex either, it was the idea that she would hug him or kiss him no matter what happened in his day and he hoped that she’d feel the same way back to her.

Finally when she started to pull at him a little more, he began to move. His mind wandered only a moment wondering how people who weren’t in shape did this sort of thing. He figured himself to be a fairly coordinated guy and was probably in the best shape he’d been in his life, but the moving and rhythm and the not smothering the other person took a little bit of work to coordinate and with her moving underneath him in reaction to his advances on her it was really a marvel that either of them were having fun sometimes considering how much physical work it took to make this happen.

Every nerve ending in his body tensed as he reached his climax. Her body had begun to close in around him and at one point it almost hurt the way she was holding onto him. Her arms and legs had him in a death grip as she neared her orgasm and he could see by the way that she started to hold her breath that she was going to reach her climax if he just kept moving a little longer.

He’d been watching her for most of this, but as he peaked he closed his eyes and let his body take over. His legs and back began to shake and spasm and just when he thought he was going to get a Charlie horse from where his leg was pushing against the cushions of the couch, he felt her reach orgasm and slowly began to relax as her body clenched against his.

Nature took over and he found himself soon completely drained, lying on top of her listening to the sound of her breath in her chest. She’d moved away from him a little so that he could lay his head on her chest and as her fingers began to run through his hair his whole body turned to jell-o and he started to drift off to sleep.

“Josh?”

“Hmm?”

 “They asked me to record something in a few weeks.”

“Wha?” His mind was clouded with thoughts of sleep and he couldn’t connect what she was talking about to anything important.

“They asked me to come to Toronto and record something.”

“Record?” He lifted his head and looked at her. “With the group?”

“No. My contract with The Next Ones is only for songwriting.” She sighed. “This is for the new Ben Affleck movie that comes out next winter.”

“Toronto.” He put his head down again and her hands went back to running through his hair. “Are you going to go?”

She shrugged. “I guess so.”

“You don’t sound too sure about it,” he said.

“I want to go, but it seems like we don’t see a lot of each other and if I end up out in Toronto--.” Her hand lazily traced her initials on his skin. “—You just got back from being gone for a month in Europe. I don’t want to be out of LA when you’re here. It’s such a pain.”

“It’ll only be for a few days. You know that.”

He turned to look at her just as her mouth formed into a pout. “I wish you could come with me.”

He leaned and pressed a kiss to her stomach. “How long are you supposed to be gone?”

“About four days. I also have some meetings in New York with my lawyer about some royalties that are going to go through because of TNO performing,” she said tiredly.

"That's not that long.” He would have promised right then and there to be with her every moment of the trip, but he knew he didn't have the strength to be gone from home for another week. It wasn't a record label thing or even a relationship thing, the fact was that for the first time in about seven years he had an entire six months with nothing scheduled and had planned to not leave the city limits if he didn’t have to. There of course would be trips home to see his parents and his sister and brother, but for the most part he was going to spend at least the next three weeks in running pants lying on the couch.

Her hands started to push him up and away. "I'm gonna go up to bed," she said.

JC sat up and watched her get back into the shirt she'd been wearing. She pulled on her pajama bottoms with no underwear then the tank top went back on before she collected her underwear and started towards the stairs. "Are you coming up?"

"In a minute," he said.

She frowned.

"I'm just gonna turn off the computer and be right behind you," he said, "I just want to save what I've got so far."

"Ok." She shuffled towards him and leaned to kiss him as he was pulling on his boxers. "I love you."

"I love you too," he said.

She exited the bottom floor of the house and he took a deep breath. He went back to where he'd been sitting and turned off the computer and then turned off the lights in the room and made his way back up the stairs. He didn't like to think about wanting her to be asleep when he got to bed, but as he passed the kitchen he went to grab a drink of water, stalling a little longer before he went back up to bed. The feeling of separating himself from everyone came normally that first night home. He wanted peace and quiet for at least a day so he could collect himself and get himself back into Josh mode instead of being JC.

"I'm a mess," he whispered to himself as he poured himself a glass of water. He moved across to the cabinet next to the refrigerator and pulled open the top cabinet. Taking a moment to look over the small medicine bottles there, he found some aspirin and took two before replacing the bottle and closing the cabinet.

"Josh?"

He looked up to find her standing at the corner of the kitchen closest to the stairs that led up to the second floor. "What's up?"

"Are you--" She paused for a moment. "Are you ok?"

"Yeah," he said, "Traveling has really just messed up my sleep pattern and I'm back to thinking that I need to pack a bag in the morning and catch a flight. I never sleep well when I have that on my brain.”

"But--" She walked towards him and hugged him. "You're home."

His breath caught in his throat. Answering her back needed to be done carefully or it could do extensive damage. "I know." He hugged her and kept to himself the rest of what he wanted to say to her. He kissed the top of her head. "Let's go to bed."

“Yeah,” she said, “Joey and Kelly are gonna be here around ten to hang out."

He put his glass away then kept an arm around her as they headed for the stairs.


The song JC is working on for Brian McKnight is really called "Yours" and has already been recorded by Brian McKnight.


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