Spirit of Steel 4


Justin hadn’t watched movies with a girl without the guise of it being make-out time since before he’d turned fifteen and now there he was twenty-two and horny, sitting with his next door neighbor hoping she didn’t realize that the biggest reason he’d invited her over was because he thought that he’d get to snuggle with her while they watched movies.

He sighed.

“What’s wrong?” she asked reaching over to pat his arm as she looked at him.

“Nothing,” he moved his arm away from hers and tried not to look too nervous about what was going on between them.  On her end of it, there probably wasn't much going on, but on his end he was feeling like he wanted to see her again and again, “Nothing at all.”

Her head cocked sideways and she looked to be feeling suddenly uncomfortable.  “You sure?”

“Yeah,” he said with a sigh and changed his expression, “I’m just fine.”

"No," she said and moved so that she could look at him more squarely.  If he hadn't known her as his next door neighbor he would have thought that she was a reporter of some sort, getting suddenly professional about her approach with him, "Tell me."

"There's nothing to tell," he said and put his hands up in surrender.  "I swear."

"I don't believe you," she said.

"What is this?" he asked, "Why are you interrogating me?"

Her shoulders slumped for only a moment before she straightened her back and moved her hair from her shoulders.  "I'm just asking," she said, "I didn't think you'd be this quiet so I thought I'd be nice and ask what was wrong.  Excuse me for giving a flying fuck about it."

"What's wrong?" he asked, "Hmmm...truthfully?"

"Yeah," she said, "No reason to--"

He growled under his breath, "Truthfully I've never had a woman be so rude to me and me take it.  Usually if girls don't fall at my feet I don't give them the time of day."

Her eyes closed and she took a deep breath before a cocky smile formed on her mouth.  She opened her eyes and he liked the sparkle that he saw there.  He wasn't sure what she was going to say, but it would come out with a lot of personality.  "I can't believe you just said that."

He pushed himself up a little and stretched his arms.  "I'm sorry," he sighed, "But it's true."

"No," she said and shook her head a little, "I know it's true, but I never would have thought I'd actually hear you say it out loud.  I didn't think you had the balls to be that blunt about things."

Silence hung between them.  "I just thought that--I don't know--I'm tired of the BS crap that goes along with relationships."

She sat back a little and curled her good leg under her a little.  "That's another thing I'd never thought you'd say."

"I just want to hang with you while I'm home.  I have to admit that I probably won't call you after I'm gone from Tennessee, but I figure if we're both stuck here and have bum legs we might as well have fun with each other.  If that means a relationship then so be it, but if it doesn't I think you'd be cool to hang out with."

She took a deep breath.  "You've met me once and you--"

"Twice," he said.

"Ok, twice and you want to talk about relationships?" she asked rolling her eyes.

"I'm just saying that if we're here and we're by ourselves--which clearly we are--we might as well be alone together."  He shrugged.  "It could be fun."

"So you're flat out telling me that you want to have a no-strings attached relationship with me and if it would lead to meaningless sex then that's ok with you?"

He hesitated for only a moment, "Yeah--I guess."

"You guess?"  She rolled her eyes again and sighed, "Or that's what's going on."

His voice stayed even.  He hadn't really meant to start this conversation, but now that the subject was out on the table he couldn't really go back on starting it all.  "That's what's going on."

She paused for only a moment until she returned his proposal.  "Ok."

"Ok?" he asked.  His throat seized up and he felt for a moment that he couldn't take a breath.  When he finally spoke again his voice sounded strange, "Ok?"

"Yeah," she said, "I mean it's a fling.  We're adults.  It might be fun."

His eyes blinked.  "Are you for real?"

"Yeah," she said and moved a little towards him.

He backed away not sure of what she was doing, but when her lips met his he let her kiss him, but stayed perfectly still.

"Justin," she said, "If you and I are going to have a fling then you're gonna need to have some fun with this."

He had never met a woman like this.  He wasn't sure how he should act. "You're totally serious?"

The look in her eyes made him nervous.  He knew that she hadn’t been drinking anything more probably than soda that day, but the look in her eyes were drunk with something.

“You seriously are going to agree to this?”

Her head had turned back to the television as he’d hit play, but whipped back around to look at him.  “Are you kidding me?” she broke into laughter.  “Oh Justin—“  She covered her mouth trying to hold back her laughter that had quickly turned her face pink.  “The look on your face is priceless.  You seriously thought I was some hooker about to have an affair with you?”

He just stared at her not knowing what to say.  He wasn’t at all secure with the idea that she’d have an affair with him and then hearing her go back on it confused him even more.  He wasn’t into playing these back and forth games.

“I should be completely offended that you’d think I was that big of an idiot,” she said, “But because—“  She patted his chest playfully with her hand then paused there for a moment and gave his skin a little squeeze before looking back up at him.  “But because I know that you’re used to that kind of reaction from women I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt this time.”  Her hand moved away from his chest.  “THIS TIME—“  She repeated it as if she wanted to convince herself more than him about her opinion.

His eyes closed for a moment and he shivered when her hand was removed from his chest.  He sat there for a moment with his eyes closed swearing at himself for having even the slightest reaction to her touch.  Yeah, of course he was a horny jerk, but he wasn’t about to completely make a fool out of himself in front of her.  She seemed to be doing a good enough job of that on her own.

Her laughter died off when he was silent.  “Truthfully I do have a little bit of an attraction to you and I’d like to hang out with you, but I do know that having a relationship with you is probably out of the question—so for practicality sake, I’d like you to know that I understand if we do turn into something, it’s only going to last as long as you’re in town.”

His eyes flew open.  “I’m not sure what to believe at the moment.  I never meant for it to sound like I thought you were a whore like that.  I just know that there are a few women out there that would jump at any chance to be with me—that’s not an ego thing either—I was actually shocked to hear you say that you were attracted to me so quickly after we’d met.”

She shrugged and forced a smile onto her face.  “It’s really not that big of a deal to me.  I’m normally very level headed when it comes to my relationships.  I think you’re a great guy and fun to hang out with and if I had to be gimped up with someone for the next month, the only person I’d want to be gimped up with would be you.  So if that means that I want to spend time with you and you want to spend time with me so be it, but if not I’ve got a million and one things I could be doing at home right now.”

“Thanks,” he said, “I think.”

She watched him for a moment.  “So can we watch the movie now?”

“Sure,” he said with a sigh still feeling conflicted over what just had gone on between them.  She’d actually had the guts to stand up to him.  She actually told him that he was being a horny jerk—basically.  That had never happened to him and even though he knew he should have been offended by her playing into his little game, truthfully it only endeared her to him to have her stand up to him like that.

*****

It was only a half hour later when she started to stir next to him and seemed to be uncomfortable.  Justin moved a little over to the far side of the couch to give her more room, but she snuggled closer.

"You want to stretch out and put your foot up?" he asked.

Her eyes were tired when she turned and looked at him.  "I don't want to hog the couch--"

"You're half asleep already," he said.  "Stretch out and  close your eyes for a little bit.  I won't tell anyone."

"You sure?" she asked.

"Yeah," he said and leaned to grab another pillow.  "Really.  I won't be too offended that I bored you to sleep."

She started to talk, but got caught in a yawn.  "That's not what happened."

"I know," he sighed, "Just lay out and take a little bit of a rest."

She moved a little so that she was lying on her side and put her head on the pillow that had been sitting between them.  He folded his arms across his chest and took a deep breath, but before he knew it she was pulling his arm down so that he could run his hand through her hair while she watched.

"Better?" he asked.

"Hmm," she said.

"You don't snore do you?" he asked with a laugh.

"Not that I know of."

He watched her side for a while as she lay and stared at the television and slept, then finally turned off the movie when he thought that she was fully asleep and lay his head back and went to sleep.

*****

When his eyes opened it was dark and she was gone.  He could hear voices down on the first floor so he got up, grabbed up his crutches and went towards the balcony.

"C!" he said when he saw JC sitting with a coke in his hand talking to his mother.

"Hey man.  I thought you could use a little company out here in the sticks," JC said.

His mother's hand came out and playfully slapped at JC's shoulder.  "There you are honey," she said looking up.  "I was gonna wake you up for dinner in a minute if you didn't get up."

"Where'd Carolina go?" Justin asked as he made his way down the steps.

"Carolina?" JC asked with over exaggeration in his voice.

"The neighbor," Justin said the same time his mother did.

"She went home a while ago."  His mother stared at him for a moment and he knew the look in her eye.  She had probably seen them sleeping on the couch and had assumed that they were doing something more than just hanging out.  "She needed to get home for dinner.  She said she'd see you tomorrow after her rehab."

"You're dating a girl in rehab?" JC asked.

"She busted her ankle like I did--" Justin rolled his eyes as he got into the living room and found a seat, "--and is do physical therapy."

"OH," JC said.

"Come on man," Justin said, "I get busted up and can't defend myself and you're harping on me about the girl next door."

"JUSTIN," his mother said.

"What?" Justin said, "She and I are hanging out.  It's not like we're going to be running off to Vegas or something."

"How's your ankle honey?" she asked coming over to half hug him where he sat.

"Good," he said, "Not bad really."

"Good," His mother said, "I'll let you and Josh talk while I go get dinner together."

As she disappeared Justin sat back in his chair a little.

JC sat forward in his and stared Justin down.  "So who's the girl next door?"

"I don't know," Justin said with a shrug, "Just someone my age around here to hang out with that has nothing to do with NSYNC."

JC ran his hands through his hair and watched him closely, "Do you want me to leave?"

"Hell no," he said, "What are you doing here anyway?"

"I was in the neighborhood," JC said.

"Sure, sure," Justin sighed.

JC shrugged, "I came down to see if you wanted to record a little in Memphis since you're around and can't do anything."

Justin's eyes lit up and he finally remembered that he hadn't sung anything since he'd gotten home.  He normally would walk around the house and sing stupid songs to his mom and dad, but this time home he hadn't done that.  "You've got something new brewing?"

"Yeah," JC said, "I brought the sheet music and the tracks on CD and I've got time booked in town if you want to come out there with me."

"What kind of a vibe is it?"

"It could go either way.  I'm gonna record an acoustic version and a processed version and present both of them."  He started at Justin for a moment.  "You gonna be up to getting out of the house and singing in the studio for a few hours?"

"Hell yeah," Justin said.

"Dinner time boys!"


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