Like I had this friend who made me listen to The Band, and who I'e tricked into sort of liking popslash, and I wanted to write her a songfic and I got this far:
Justin picks up the phone in the middle of the night and by the time he gets it to his ear Chris is mid-sentence, talking fast and staccatto about some kid who got lost in the Everglades. It takes Justin almost a minute to realize Chris is relating a historical tale and not something that just happened. He lies down with the phone an inch from his ear on the pillow and falls back asleep as Chris explains accelerated decomposition.
He calls Chris the next morning and says, "Man, you can't do that."
"Did I give you nightmares?"
"Fucker, no you didn't." Chris's voice sounds stretched. Justin wonders for a moment whether he's maybe in Europe or Africa or somewhere else transatlantic. But he would have mentioned if he was taking a big trip like that, and it isn't Chris's style anyway, to travel alone. "You jsut can't call at like, four AM. Fucks with my sleep schedule. What are you doing up, anyway?"
"I lead an exciting life," Chris says. Nobody knows where Chris is, but Justin's pretty sure he's somewhere in Florida. "Up at all hours, entertaining strange women, sampling the delights of the flesh--"
"Oh, shut up, man, you were watching porn, weren't you?"
"Like I said," and Justin can hear the smirk over the phone, "the *delights* of the *flesh.*" Chris hisses the last word, drags it out into a vampiric growl: fleeesssssh.
"You should do that on halloween," he says. "To the trick-or-treaters. Freak 'em out."
"You sadistic little fuck," Chris says delightedly.
"'m not sadistic." He grins. "That's the best part of halloween, like those bowls that grab your hand when you try to get the candy. I love those."
"I'll get you one at the drugstore when they show up in the bargain bin." Chris buys strange bargain-bin gifts on random occasions. The last one he gave to Justin was a plastic carrying bag full of fluorescent mascara and a plastic cat-shaped keychain. "Two dollars," he'd announced when he dumped it in Justin's lap. "That is a *shitload* of mascara for two dollars."
"Don't buy me makeup," Justin says, even though Chris will buy what he wants to buy. What he thinks Justin needs. He does use the keychain, though. It's green and black and the cat's eyes are slitted almost shut.
"I don't know," Chris says, "I don't know, you got such a *purty* mouth," and then he laughs into the phone for two minutes straight.
Justin lets Chris play music for him, hours and hours of CDs and records and homemade cassettes. Justin doesn't even like a lot of it, but Chris always falls silent as soon as the music starts, and he talks after each song, explains what it means. Sometimes he writes the lyrics out. Justin lies on the couch and drinks slowly, so he can draw the buzz out all evening.
Tonight Chris is playing something good, though, and Justin wishes he were a little more awake. The notes keep jumping out of his hands like stubborn fish. "What is this?" he asks.
Chris says, "The band."
"The, what? I mean, who is it?"
"The band," Chris repeats, and laughs. "Capitalized. The Band. --fuck, tell me you know who Bob Dylan is, baby."
"Of course I do, what does that have anything to do with--"
"Love affair of the *ages!*" Chris crows, and stretches out in a line on the top of the couch, precariously perched. He reaches down to poke Justin's nose. "He had musicians. Duh. The Band, and they wrote the best songs of the twentieth century and they have this fucking *awesome* house. I gotta take you there. And yeah, the guitar on this song, he and Bob were all in love. In a sublimated homosexual way."
Justin bites at Chris's finger and gets a poke in the eye. He squawks and shoves Chris off the couch. Later, after Chris is asleep on the couch under the scratchy throw blanket, Justin looks up the lyrics he remembers and finds a webpage full of black and white pictures of men with bad hair and guitars. He recognizes Dylan but the others are strangers. The song is called 'King Harvest' and he saves the lyrics so he can read them again when he's sober, but by morning he's forgotten everything. He wakes up with a small yet persistent headache, and a pressing need for cereal.
He stumbles downstairs one morning, still half-asleep, and finds Chris burning eggs and dancing to 'Senorita.'
so I had this thing, for lambs who broke up early and stayed close through Justin's other relationships. Which led to this snippet--
Nobody else is going to remember it for him, he can tell that right away.
"Don't date in the group," Chris says, "I told you, baby, right at the beginning." He strokes Justin's back while he says it, and makes him drink tea instead of beer because it'll make his throat feel better. He wraps Justin up in a blanket on the couch and watches cartoons with him and lets Justin fall asleep on his lap. It's nice, and Justin wishes he hadn't had to get his heart broken to do it. The next morning he showers and eats cereal and Chris says, "Looking good, J," and ruffles his wet hair, and that's the end of it.
Later that day in the studio, both JC and Joey step him aside with gentle hands on his shoulder and ask, their eyes very serious, if he's okay.
"I'm fine," Justin says, both times, "I am, really. It was a good breakup."
"Oh, honey," JC says, and squeezes Justin's hand tight before letting it go.
"That's a really stupid phrase," Joey says. Justin laughs, startled.
"Yeah. Yeah, it is, but." He shrugs. "I'm okay." It occurs to him that he should ask if Lance is okay, because almost certainly Joey spent the night with him. He's not sure what the etiquette is for this situation. Before he can decide how to ask, Joey's slipped away, apparently satisfied that Justin is, indeed, okay.
Lance arrives a minute later, and Chris catches his arm and asks him something quietly. They'll never make it to Behind the Music at this rate, Justin thinks, and smiles to himself. He can't help surreptitiously eyeing Lance, though. Justin's eyes are stretched and sore-looking today--his voice is fine, thank goodness for Chris and his tea--but Lance looks exactly the same as ever. Maybe if he were closer up, there'd be a difference or a sign or something like that.
I started this for the divacat's birthday, and it's pretty much dead now, so feel free to grab, because SOMEBODY should.
Justin turned into a cat and Chris took him home. He woke up a cat one night when Chris was staying at Justin's house after they stayed up playing vintage board games. Chris had won three rounds of Candyland when Justin started falling asleep on the game pieces. He had faint gingerbread-man imprints in his left cheek when Chris finally tucked him in, which he did because Justin when he was sleepy had amazing powers of cling. Then he went downstairs to put away the game and clean up the kitchen before getting the extra blankets from the bathroom closet and falling asleep on the couch.
When he woke up the next morning, Justin wasn't downstairs, which was the first suspicious thing. Justin was always downstairs at some ridiculous hour like eight or nine, and usually making omelets. Chris couldn't remember the last time he'd had breakfast at Justin's house and not eaten an omelet. Once or twice when Justin was going through his gourmet-cooking phase, Chris had bit into an omelet and found carrot shreds in it, and he hadn't finished it, but it'd been there.
So this was very weird.
He went up to Justin's bedroom, planning to shake him awake, or maybe hold a wet sponge over his head till he started to sputter. The door was cracked open, which was the second suspicious thing, because Justin always slept with his door closed and locked, and on the rare occasion he'd been stuck in a room that he couldn't lock, he never got to sleep. Chris frowned and pushed the door open.
The bed was empty.
That was what he saw first: the covers tugged up loosely around the pillows, but no long stretch of limbs underneath. So Justin was awake, then, and Chris figured he must be in the bathroom or something and turned to go back downstairs, and it was just as he reached the doorway that he realized what he'd seen.
When he folded back the blanket, he found a sleek, middling-sized ginger cat, sleeping with its nose tucked under its paws.
'fucking up the east coast' sounds a lot sexier than it actually turned out. Here you can see signs of my growing obsession with amiable-exes JC and Lance.
Lance goes to Justin after the show and they fuck in the dressing room, Justin's face still soaked with sweat. Afterwards, Justin leans against the mirror and closes his eyes. Lance fastens his belt and says, "You looked good."
Justin doesn't open his eyes; opens and closes his hand like it's talking--yeah, yeah. He keeps his nails short-cut and neat. They're glossed and shiny.
"Yeah, well." He tosses Justin's pants into his lap. "It was good. Don't argue with me."
Justin shrugs. "Whatever. Glad you liked it." He looks up at Lance, who is dressed and has no other business here that he can think of. "See you next time."
Lance leaves without saying yes or no. The door closes behind him, he walks fast down the hallway, seeing Justin lean and naked, spilling out over the counter like honey from a jar. He drives back to the hotel and makes plans to go to Boston. Then he calls JC.
"How was the show?"
"What do you think?" Lance flips the channel from muted music videos to muted news. "It was great. He was great. Same as always."
"You coming back tomorrow?" JC asks. Lance can hear somebody in the background now. There's a muffled rasp when JC covers the phone and even so, Lance can hear him telling Chris to hang on. He changes to a muted weather report. The blue-green map sprawls across the screen as symbols flicker over its surface.
"Not yet," he says, and listens to JC sigh. It's a true sound, not manipulative, and it makes him want to go home. He closes his eyes.
"Baby--" JC pauses. He's looking for what to say, and Lance doesn't mind waiting, knows he won't find anything. The last time Lance saw JC face to face was five hours after Lance and Justin broke up, almost twenty four hours before Lance caught a flight to Atlanta. "This, it's not good for you," JC says. "It isn't. It isn't healthy."
"Don't worry," Lance says, though he knows that's completely impossible and he doesn't want it at all. JC is supposed to worry about him, that's why he keeps calling and not telling him anything. "Don't worry about me, okay?"
"How much longer are you following him?"
"I don't know." He started in Atlanta, and he thinks he'll be done before Toronto. He's got his passport with him, though. Just in case. "As long as it takes."
This is the fifth time Lance has called, and JC stopped trying to talk him down after the third. "Take care of yourself," he says, "I love you."
"You too," Lance says. He flips the phone shut and watches the weather until he gets sleepy. He makes it through the local, the national, and something about a flood up north, and falls asleep while the rainjacketed reporter mouths into a microphone, water up to his hips.
"You know," Justin says, kicking the door shut with his foot, "some people would consider this creepy."
"Yeah." Lance shrugs. "But you don't."
"Ten cities, that's nothing, man." Justin's grin is sharp-toothed and strained but it makes Lance want to smile back. "If you're still hanging around when I get to New York, maybe then we got a problem."
Lance says, "Maybe," and Justin settles on top of him, one knee on either side of his lap digging into the couch.
"You're fucking crazy," Justin says, "I don't know what you think you're doing," he licks at Lance's mouth until it opens up, "like did you read this somewhere or what?"
Lance waits for Justin to stop and breathe before saying, "One of your books?" and Justin actually smiles, Lance feels it against his cheek.
"I don't read books with shit like that," Justin says. "It's not realistic."
Justin leaves first. He walks out fast, almost in a run, Lance can't imagine where he thinks he's headed in his roughed up shirt--one button short--and slacks, with his white socks poking out the bottom. He took his shoes off. They're sitting in a pair on the floor under the counter, looking uncomfortable. Lance thinks about staying and waiting, being here calm and offering when Justin inevitably slinks back--it won't even take very long, because Justin won't want to put the driver out, fuck with everybody's schedule.
He walks down the hall with his hands clasped together behind him, and nobody looks him in the face, not once.
I think perhaps I should stop now.
Wow, that felt good. *laughs*