Always One More 12

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He'd made up his mind about what to do about the whole Dani situation as Justin sat next to him on the couch eating pizza.  He was going to leave.  It was that simple.  He didn't want to run away from the situation, but he knew that Dani had to leave the house.  He would have moved himself out, but the house was in his name and it was too much trouble to try to sell it to her.

"What's up?" Justin asked looking at him.  They'd both been staring at the television, not speaking to each other, but now Justin seemed bothered by the silence.  He was in the middle of chewing a piece of pizza but kept his eyes on him as he chewed.

Chris took a breath and looked over.  The pizza smelled good, but Chris knew if he did try to eat any of it that he'd probably just throw it up.  "What?"

"You're sitting over there mumbling to yourself," Justin said wiping his mouth with the napkin that was sitting on his leg.  He took a drink then set the pizza down on the plate on the coffee table.  "What's on your mind?"

"I'm going to go to Pittsburgh," he said letting his instincts take over.  "Mom and Taylor are in New York, but I think I'm gonna go spend some time with them when they get home."

Justin sat back.  He took a few deep breaths.  "You sure?  I mean are you really sure?  Because if you leave here and have Dani stay here this is probably at the point where you guys won't be together again."

Chris nodded.  He didn't know how to explain it, but it was definitely the end.  "Just because I love her and she loves me doesn't mean that we have to be together.  Your little wife told me that."

"She's a smart one," Justin said then sighed, "Speaking of her.  I should get back to her.  She's over there by herself and while I'm sure she's fine, I think she's probably ready for a break."

"Yeah," Chris said, "Plus I'm sure Tegan has done a million and one cute things that you've missed out on."

"Don't say that," Justin said, "It's bad enough that I feel guilty about leaving Mere for a few hours, but I keep forgetting about all the things that Tegan is doing while I'm gone."

"You won't miss too much," Chris said.

"Hey Chris?" Justin said.


"I'm thinking of doing more solo stuff," Justin said.


"Yeah," he said, "I know that we were taking a break and everything, but that we were going to get back together and do more NSYNC stuff--"

"Do what you have to do," Chris said with a sigh.  "I wouldn't be the one to tell everyone that the band might not be together anymore--I understand though that the solo thing has been working well for you and now that you have Mere and Tegan you need to think more about them than what's going on with the rest of us and if we're holding you back, then you need to go out and do it yourself."


"If that's what you need," Chris said, "And if you're asking for my blessing--The answer is Yes.  Go and do it."

"What are you gonna do in the next few months?"

"Well I'm going to move out of the house for a while then I'll have to figure out what to do with the company--"

"Shit," Justin said, "I can't imagine having to deal with that."

"Yeah," Chris said, "Truthfully I think I might sell it.  I haven't done too much with it over the last few months and it really isn't my priority."

"Well what is your priority?" Justin asked.

Chris sighed.  He didn't have a clue.  Outside of his illness, Dani and the company, there wasn't much going on in his life.  He figured if he went back to Pittsburgh and reminded himself of what he had gotten away from that he might have a better idea of what to do now.  "I don't know.  I've got some charity things coming up.  I may try to get more involved in that.  I feel like I'm running around in circles and I'm--"

"Lost?" Justin supplied for him.

For a moment Chris was shocked.  Justin always seemed to have his stuff together.  Chris never really had been jealous of anyone.  There were times when it got hard to look at other people being so happy and content with their lives, but Jusitn had never been on that list of people.  It was shocking to find that Justin seemed to understand him that way.  "A bit," he said.

"I felt the same way for a long time," Justin said, "When I stay away from Mere too long I get that way again."

"Oh god," Chris said, "I'm not in the mood to hear that."  He got up and picked up Justin's plate and brought it back into the kitchen.

"Sorry guy," Justin said.

Pity.  It wasn't something he wanted from other people.  He'd gotten it from so many people in his life that he was getting tired of that reaction from people.  He wanted to get his stuff together and much as he thought that he'd done that where Dani was concerned, he didn't have enough of his stuff together or things wouldn't be falling apart now.

"It's ok," Chris said.

Justin gathered his things and brought them into the kitchen, throwing away the paper towel and the beer can he'd been drinking from earlier.  "You want me to stick around?"

"Naw," Chris said, "Go ahead and go on home and spend time with Mere and the baby.  I'm going to see about getting a flight out tomorrow morning if I can.  I'll come by and say goodnight before I leave town."

"Ok," Justin said.  He moved over and hugged Chris.  "Take care of yourself."

"I will," he said.

Justin left a few minutes later and Chris moved up to the second floor, grabbing his cell phone along the way so that he could call for a flight.

The drive was slow going home.  She didn't mean to drive under the speed limit on purpose, but she found herself in the slow lane being honked at a few times as she made her way home.  She half dreaded going home.  She didn't want to go back and see Chris.  She knew that she wasn't that great of a liar and if Chris asked about her night she wasn't sure what she would say to him.  She couldn't really tell him that it was the best night she'd had out on the town in weeks and that Liam was a perfect gentleman and that he kissed like a professional.

Walking into the house she found it dark and quiet except for faint noises coming from the second floor.  The only  light in the house was coming from where their bedroom door was above her.  Taking a deep breath she wiped her hand across her mouth one last time before she walked up the stairs.  She wasn't sure what she expected to find, but a suitcase open on the bed and Chris walking back and forth packing.

"What's going on?" she asked.

Busta and Korea got up from their beds and growled a bit then saw that it was her and turned around and went back to sleeping in their beds when they saw it was her.

"I'm flying to Pittsburgh," he said coldly pushing more things into the suitcase.  He dropped half the pile straight into the suitcase then took the other half and dumped them on the bed, picking up some of the shirts to fold them.  He kept his eyes on the clothes and then on the suitcase as his hands pressed the outfits into the case.  He didn't look up before turning again towards the closet.  "Did you have a good time at the game?"

"Yeah," she said reluctantly with a sigh then looked at her watch nervously.  "You are?" she asked and leaned up against the side of the bed.  Going to Pittsburgh unannounced usually meant that something was completely wrong with his family.  The last time it had been Taylor getting sick and going home to Pennsylvania meant that it was one of his grandparents that were sick.  "Did something happen to your family?"

"No," he said.

She took a seat next to the suitcase.  She wanted to pull everything out and throw it on the floor to stop him from packing.  She couldn't though.  It would just cause too much trouble.  "Then why are you going to Pittsburgh?"

He shrugged as he carried more clothes over to the bed, acting as if there was nothing to be alarmed about.  "Just needed to get away."

The look on his face told her that he knew exactly why he was leaving and just wasn't wanting to tell him the reason.

She thought for a moment.  She knew that he probably hadn't been excited about her leaving to go to the game, but she didn't think that it would cause him to leave town.  "You didn't fight with Justin or something did you?"

He shook his head and kept himself busy with packing.  "No."

She looked at the suitcase and what he was packing.  This wasn't going to be an overnight trip from the amount of shirts and pants he was packing in there.  "How long are you going for?"

He looked at her for a long time then turned and went back into the closet and came out with two pairs of running shoes.  "I don't know."

When she saw him put the shoes in the bag she finally knew that she needed to get a little more harsh about her questioning or they'd be there for the rest of the night.  "What is going on Chris?"

He noticed her tone and turned to face her.  He crossed his hands across his chest and sighed.  He'd had enough with her.  There was no expression on his face.  His face went slack and his voice was cold.  "I got a one way ticket to Pittsburgh to visit family for a while."

This was all sounding too crazy, but if she told him that he would just get upset with her and start and even bigger argument.  At least for the moment they were able to sit there and talk about things without getting overly emotional, but she figured that if he did leave that night she wouldn't be able to recover from it.  "You don't know when you're coming back?"

He shrugged.  "I don't know.  Whenever I want to I guess.  I can run everything for FuMan from my laptop and calling into Dave and everyone so it doesn't really matter if I'm here or if I'm in LA or if I'm in Pittsburgh."

She stared at him.  "Why are you going?"

He looked away from her and went over to the dresser and began to pull out underwear and socks.  His shoulders tensed and then relaxed then tensed again before he turned back around to face her.  "Because I want to disappear long enough for you to move out of the house."

"Move out?"  That was something that she hadn't expected.  Out of everything in the world that he could have said to her, moving out definitely wasn't something that she expected him to say.  "What?"

He took a deep breath.  "I want you to move out of the house."

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Last updated: 07/10/04.