The flight to New York in reality wasn't that long of a flight, but knowing what was to happen when they got into JFK stayed on his mind the entire flight. JC had started out reading a book, but had to admit that most of the flight he'd kept his eye on Farzana who was sitting next to him with a magazine in her lap and her head on his shoulder.
"Babe?" he finally said after a minute.
"Hmm?" she asked.
"Are you going straight back to work or are you gonna have today off?" He turned the page and pretended to be reading.
"I don't know yet. I'm going to get briefed on the way from New York to Toronto," she said folding up her magazine, "Why?"
"You look tired and I know that I have the luxury of sleeping tonight until tomorrow noon-time, but I don't want you wearing yourself out. You aren't used to the travel thing--"
She turned and kissed his cheek. "I'll be fine. I'm staying in the same hotel and Rodney is going to keep an eye on me."
"If I hear--"
"I'll be fine," she said, "I'm coming back on Friday around lunchtime so I should be fine."
"Just keep an eye on yourself," he said, "I don't want my little--" He lowered his voice. "--wife--" He spoke normally again, "--to get too tired. I plan to make love to you all next weekend when I get home."
"Hmm," she said, "Really?"
"Yeah," he said with a smile.
"Read your book baby," she said tapping the page of the book in front of him.
Silence filled the space between them for only a moment. He shut his book. "I don't want you to go to Toronto," he said.
"I should go up there though," she said, "You should have seen the way they remembered me up there. I know you were there for a short time, but really it's amazing."
She started to get teary eyed. "Zana," he said, "Shit. I didn't mean to make you cry."
"No," she said, "I'm just happy that people remember me. You kept telling me that they would, but I never expected this amount of attention."
JC held onto the microphone with his hand that didn't bear his wedding ring and shoved the one that did into his pocket. While Carson was talking with the PA about the next shot he moved the brim of his hat down over his eyes more. He didn't know how he'd gotten talked into wearing the Pony brand hat since that was so a Justin logo right now. His mind hadn't been into the prep session. He'd been thinking about Farzana up in Toronto.
"You ok man?"
"Yeah," JC said turning his attention back to Carson. "I've been traveling too much lately and my brain is fried."
Carson nodded, "I know the feeling."
The crowd started to scream again loudly and JC waved to a few people with his ring hand before he shoved it back into his pocket. He could see a few girl's eyes staring at his pocket and he swore at himself for doing what he'd just done.
Carson did a quick intro back into the show then turned to him. "So JC, you're a hard working man these days, even though NSYNC is technically on a little bit of a hiatus."
"Yes," he said, "I had planned to be in LA for a few weeks without doing anything, but some projects have fallen into my lap. Brian's song was great man."
"For everyone who hasn't been on the internet in the last five minutes--"
"You've been in the studio with Brian McKnight working on a song called Yours."
He nodded. "Brian McKnight is a total inspiration to me," he said, "He dropped a chance to collaborate with him into my lap and let me go with it--He and I have been in the studio last week and this week recording and producing it."
"I don't know about anyone else, but I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for this song to get out on the air," Carson said.
"Hey it's not even done yet," JC said taking his hand out of his pocket to shove him. "Don't jinx it man."
"It could never be jinxed. You and him are like bread and butter. Nothing can tarnish a classic like that."
JC smiled at the camera for a moment. "Bread and butter?" He laughed. "Which am I?"
"BUTTER!" Everyone yelled.
"Hey man we have a surprise for you.... your girl is on the phone she wanted to say hi."
JC took a deep breath and knew what was coming. It would be just like Carson to know about their wedding already and want to get the exclusive on the air about their relationship. "Zana?"
"Hi JC.” He could tell from just those words that she was just as nervous as he was about all of this. “I like your shirt honey.”
JC looked down at himself. “Thanks.”
“Is it new?” she asks.
JC laughed a little when Carson started to get an annoyed look on his face.
“Yeah,” he said quickly.
"So guys what else is new with the two of you other than the shirt? You seem to be keeping pretty busy huh? Do you EVER get to spend time together? I mean you have a new shirt and your woman doesn’t even know about it."
JC answered the question, "Yeah we work it out somehow. We don't get to spend as much time as we would like together. If it was up to me Zana and I would be together every day."
"JC's right.” Farzana’s voice cracked a little. “We work it out. We are both very dedicated to our careers so somehow we make it work. I think we just really understand each other."
"Yeah I think the most important thing in a relationship is to even though you have a busy career to make time for each other.”
“So when was the last time you saw her?” Carson asks.
“Zana and I were just in the Keys over the weekend."
"So speaking of the weekend. Rumor has it you two had a lot to celebrate."
"Awe Man," JC backed up a few steps and looked around. He hated when people did this to him. Dropping a bomb like that really was rude. "Why do you always have to just dump stuff like that on me?"
"Because," Carson said, "It's my job."
"I just have one thing to say," JC said with a laugh.
"Ok," Carson said. He turned and tried to quiet the screaming fans for a moment. "Let the man speak."
More screaming came out and JC moved the microphone into the hand that held his ring. "Ok." He tipped his head and looked into the camera that had been moved closer to them. "Here it is," he said, "Germs are air born." He switched the microphone into his other hand.
"Germs are air born?"
"Yep," JC said with a smiled and tucked his hand back into his pocket. "It answers all the questions that have been asked."
"Are you sure?"
[Later that week...]
Pushing open the bedroom door he stared at the bed for only a moment. He didn't have a clue what time it was, but as long as there was the soft rise and fall of the sheets, showing the soft curves of her body under the comforter, he knew he was just in time for what he needed.
Letting his arms go slack, he dropped his bag in the doorway then shook his shoulders enough to let his windbreaker jacket slide from his arms before he kicked off his shoes, suddenly realizing why he liked wearing them with no laces. His hands reached behind him to grab for his shirt and he pulled it over his head from his back before he approached the huge mattress.
The sound of his movement must have woken her. "Josh?"
His name was mumbled into the room and he let a smile curl onto his lips as he dropped his t-shirt onto the floor so that he could peel away his windbreaker pants to climb into bed with her. He should have taken a shower to wash away the six hours of airplane air and the smoke that came along with catching a ride from Alex in the middle of the night. He should have shaved away the two days of beard growth, but at the moment all he was thinking about was being in bed with her again. It had been a long week of working and he needed her, needed to be home.
Her voice sounded worried now due to the fact that he wasn't answering her back. "Josh?"
"Zana," he sighed as he slid a hand under the comforter to pull it back so he could get into bed with her. His fingertips caught a little of her soft tank-shirt in the midst of the cooler sheets. He curled them away into a fist, not sure that if he caught a touch of her now that he'd be able to even crawl into bed with her without making a fool of himself. Just the thought of being there with her had made him react and actually feeling her body next to his was going to be sweet torture.
"What are you doing home?" she asked.
"Caught an earlier flight," he mumbled as he lay on his side, pulling her body towards his. "I was gonna come home tomorrow, but--" He moved her so she was rolled onto her side facing him. It was dark in the room, but there was enough light to see her by. "I missed you my little wife."
"I missed you too," she said softly, "My little husband."
"How was the rest of Toronto?" he asked. His voice rumbled in his chest and he knew that he was starting to get a cold. As much as he didn't want to pass that onto her, he knew that if he didn't fall asleep with her in his arms he was bound to have nightmares.
"I'll tell you about it tomorrow," she said. She scooted towards him to kiss him. "Go to sleep honey."
"I wanna stay up." He could tell that he sounded groggy. He wondered if it would insult her if he fell asleep on her. If they were in the middle of a conversation and he started to snore he wasn't sure that she would understand the situation or if she'd tuck him in and kiss him goodnight. He closed his eyes, licked his lips then opened his eyes again and smiled, "I missed you."
"I know. I missed you too, but Josh you're half asleep right now."
"No I'm not."
"Yes. You just got off a plane and you're eyes are drooping and your arms are like jell-o," she reached to push him so he was lying on his back then curled up against him. "I'll tell you about my week tomorrow and you can tell me yours, but for now you need sleep."
"Are you going to be mad at me?" he asked. His brain wasn't functioning well at the moment, but he knew her well enough to know that she wouldn't be happy if he woke her up then ended up falling asleep on her.
"No," she said, "You need sleep. We can talk in the morning."
"Sure?" he asked.
He could see her nod her head. "Yes."
"I love you Mrs. Chasez."
He could hear her pause. "I love you too Mr. Chasez." Her voice was strained and without looking he could tell that she'd started to cry.
"Please don't be mad and cry at me," he said, "I didn't want to be out in New York for longer. I had to work. It wasn't my choice--"
"No honey," she said, "I know you had to work. I had to work too."
"Don't cry," he said tiredly, "I don't want you to cry cause of me."
"That's--" She moved her face away from him to rub her eyes then turned back to him. "That's not why I'm crying."
"Why?" he asked moving so that she was lying on her back and he was looking down at her, "Why are you crying?"
"That's the first time anyone besides the minister has called me Mrs. Chasez."
He put his head back onto the pillow and curled his arms around her, trapping her hand with her wedding band against his chest. He could feel the cool metal against his chest and he let out a sigh knowing that it was there.
The sound of people in his kitchen woke him up the next morning. He found himself lying on his stomach sick as a dog. His head pounded, his throat was dry and it seemed as if his tonsils had swollen up overnight. Pushing himself up he moved his legs off the bed and sucked in a deep breath of air, only causing himself to cough. He stumbled towards the bathroom and grabbed up the cup on the counter to get a drink.
When he tried to swallow his throat and neck burned. He spit the water out, coughed again then stumbled back into the bedroom. He pulled on his sweats after hearing voices down below him then ran his hands through his hair as he made his way down the steps making his heels heavier than normal on the stairs so that they would know he was coming.
As he walked around the corner into the kitchen he found a woman and a younger boy sitting at the breakfast bar while Farzana cooked at the stove.
Farzana immediately saw him and turned towards him. "Josh, you're up."
Without a word to her he moved to the cupboard and found the aspirin and throat spray. He slammed down two pills then turned away from them for a moment to spray the green liquid into his throat before he turned back. He pointed to his throat when Farzana looked at him.
"Cold?" she asked.
He nodded. At this point it was hard to swallow even the spit in his mouth and he totally spit into the sink then ran water for a moment before standing upright.
"That bad?" she asked with a concerned look on her face. "Do you want some salt water?"
He nodded still holding the spray in his hands.
She moved around the kitchen as if the other two people weren't even there. "I'm making you some tea too baby."
Her mother opened her mouth. "Farzana, are you going to--"
"Josh, this is my mom and my brother BJ." She waved a quick hand at them then pushed him over into a chair to sit down. "You want some ice?"
He nodded again and croaked out. "Cup."
"Farzana do you need some help?" her mother asked.
"No mom," she said, "This happened once before. If Josh gets a cold it attacks his throat and no doubt that sitting on a plane last night didn't help a cold he was probably already getting. We were out in the rain last weekend and I'm sure New York is getting colder."
"Cup," he croaked out watching her again.
"I'm coming," she said turning to him for only a glance. She set a cup of ice in front of him and set down an empty cup. "Don't leave your spit cup around ok?"
JC turned away from them and spit into the cup then popped an ice cube in his mouth with his free hand while the cup was quickly held under the table so that no one would see his spit.
"My mother and BJ are in town for a while," Farzana explained as she started water for tea.
"BJ maybe you and I should watch television," her mother said. She guided her son from the room. "We'll let you talk sweetie."
JC looked over at her and noticed now that her ring was off. She hadn't told her mother. They'd never really discussed telling their parents or anything, but he knew that she'd been wearing the ring around as if it was like any other ring, so taking it off now only made it seem like she wanted to keep it a secret. She probably hadn't even been wearing the ring around at all while he wasn't there.