When Lance first wakes up, he’s scared, because he feels trapped. Wrapped in strong, solid arms, warm breath on his neck, curled in a fetal position with someone’s leg thrown over his own. Someone’s cock, hard against the small of his back. All of it so very familiar.
For a moment he thinks that he’s back with his ex-boyfriend, Mark, in his house in Mississippi, and he can look forward to a day of hissed arguments and tears, grudgingly shed in the kitchen because Mark never went in there. But then he hears a murmur from the body behind him and on top of him, and he registers that sound as familiar, and so is the smell, cologne and something spicy, like apples; and the heat, god, the cozy warmness of the blankets and the body. Joey, wrapped around and around him.
When he realizes what the situation really is, he’s almost more scared than he was before, a deeper kind of fear. Because he could always walk out on Mark, at any time, as Lance remembers cruelly reminding him, but he can’t walk out on Joey; and even if he could, he doesn’t want to. In fact, he wants to stay here forever, in this warm perfect cocoon of Joey. Wants to stay, and realizes that maybe, maybe he can.
Which, frankly, is scarier than anything else.
But before he can freak himself out so much that he bolts, which he might have done, Joey wakes up. Lance can feel the change in the air, in Joey’s body; can feel Joey’s embrace go from incidental, sleepfilled, to deliberate. Joey kisses the side of his neck and Lance finds himself immediately, inexplicably hard. Fuck. "Good morning." Murmured into his ear with a soft brush of lips, a harsher scratch of beard.
Lance doesn’t know whether to turn into Joey’s embrace and kiss him full on the lips or just plain run away, so instead he just buries his face in the pillow, smelling Joey. Mumbles "Good morning," hearing the low drawl of his own voice. Feeling mildly ashamed of it, because it’s a sex voice, and this is not a sex situation.
Except that Joey shivers a little, his skin rubbing silkily along Lance’s back, and he buries his face in Lance’s throat and groans into his skin, "God. I’ve forgotten how good your morning voice is." Apparently Joey feels more comfortable with this situation than Lance does, because he doesn’t sound freaked out at all, and his dick is certainly getting comfortable with Lance, nestled into the curve of his ass from Joey’s squirming.
Lance doesn’t know what to say, so he just sort of mumbles. "Uh. Yeah," and breaks away from Joey, sitting up. Because if he stays there any longer he’s going to want to stay there all day, and they have to shoot, and besides, he was just supposed to be comforting Joey, not wanting to marry him.
Joey sits up, too and he just looks so sleepy and happy and Joey that Lance has to smile at him. Joey smiles too; reaches out for him, tries to pull him back into bed. "Come on. We can sleep a little longer."
It’s tempting. It’s actually too tempting, which is why he won’t take Joey up on it. Because once he starts touching Joey again, he might not stop, and he’s always prided himself on having no addictions, no vices. He won’t give into this one—won’t let himself get addicted to the heavy weight of Joey’s body, the heat of his skin, when he knows that he won’t be able to keep him. "No. I should—," he makes himself stop. Makes himself say, "We should—get breakfast. Get dressed, get to the set early."
"Always the professional," Joey says, nicely enough, but he sounds kind of bothered, and Lance blushes, feeling uncomfortable. "Just a sec. I’ll order room service, just lemme get dressed first." And Lance wants to stare has to look away, because apparently Joey didn’t just take off his shirt last night.
His body is muscular, brown, beautiful. He has a slight belly, but it just makes Lance remember all the times he’s laid on top of Joey, slept with his head on Joey’s lap, tickled the line of flesh between his shirt and his pants. Lance forces himself to look at the sheets, messed up like the sheets of lovers, and he kind of wants to cry.
"What do you want?"
You, Lance wants to say, but he thinks that’s not the right answer, so he just says, "What?"
Joey looks at him for just a second too long, eyes narrowed. He’s not angry, just observing, because as dumb as people seem to think Joey is, for some reason that Lance just can’t fathom, he is possibly the most attuned to people out of all of them. But then he shrugs and picks up the phone on the night table. "What do you want for breakfast?"
Joey nods and dials, and Lance leans back against the headboard, staring at Joey. Hair mussed, face stubbly, body covered in a long t-shirt and boxers. He almost wants to leave, but he doesn’t want to make it weird—weirder than it is, anyway. They’ve all shared beds and bunks and couches together for years, and this isn’t any different from any of those times.
Except for the kisses, and the way that he looked at you, and the hard-on pressed into your back—
Lance cuts that thought off before he can let it hold too much sway over him, because really, its just like any other day. Even when Joey feeds him his pancakes, one bite at a time, and licks the syrup off his fingers with a wicked grin, it has to be just like any other day.
* * *
Joey kisses him in the elevator.
Just on the side of the mouth, but still definitely a kiss. When Lance turns to look at him, Joey just turns his eyes skyward, innocently looking at the mirrored ceiling of the elevator.
It still doesn’t mean anything, but it makes Lance feel a little better, and a little bit worse.
* * *
They have scenes together all day, which means that they don’t talk much. Lance is too busy conversing with the director and the scriptwriter, who evidently had gone to the school of cheesy cinema dialogue, and besides, Joey is that weird kind of actor—Method, Lance guesses—where he just sits around before scenes looking thoughtful and pondering what he is the next scene, a tree or a blizzard or a panther.
Lance remembers a story he heard, about the directions Marilyn Monroe’s acting coach had given her before her scenes with Laurence Olivier in The Prince and the Showgirl. "Be a ripe banana, lying in a bowl, waiting for someone to take a bite out of you." That’s how Lance had felt this morning, lying in Joey’s arms, waiting to be tasted.
Then he sees Joey flirting with the wardrobe girl during a break, and he starts wondering what had made him feel that way, when Joey was so obviously not interested in him, and how he could possibly misinterpret the actions of a friend so much.
Joey is straight. Joey is his best friend. Lance has been the one picking up the wrong signals. Lance is the big fucking jackass.
So he agrees to meet Emmanuelle for lunch and doesn’t tell Joey, vowing to think of other things for the rest of the day. But as he eats his French fries he thinks of Joey, feeding him bits of pancake with his fork, and then with his fingers.
* * *
When he gets back to the hotel, it’s already dark. He and Emmanuelle went to dinner, too, and they ended up talking about the movie and the business and their respective ex-boyfriends. He can’t remember the least time he laughed that much, and that makes his stomach hurt, because he’s a goddam popstar, he’s supposed to be happy.
The corridor is long and dark, and when his security guy nods at him, he doesn’t nod back. All he wants right now is to lay in his huge soft hotel bed and sleep forever.
He can’t, though, because his bed is already occupied. Joey is lying on it, but when Lance opens the door, he sits up, looking as dark-eyed and bothered as he did last night.
Lance is surprised, but he tries not to let it show as he closes and locks the door behind him. They have adjoining suites, so Joey will be able to leave through the other door, when and if he leaves. And judging from the way he looks right now, that’s a ‘when’.
"Hi," Joey says, kind of quietly, and Lance just nods at him. His brain isn’t exactly reacting well to the sight of Joey on his bed, shirtless and rumpled and sleepy-eyed, so he decides not to speak for awhile.
Joe doesn’t seem to mind not being replied to; at least, he seems preoccupied with other matters. "So, where were you?" he says kind of quietly, but Lance can suddenly tell that, even though he’s hiding it pretty well, Joey is pissed, and maybe even kind of hurt. Probably because Lance and the pretty starlet went off without him.
Probably because Joey wanted the pretty starlet all to himself, and some fag was walking off with her.
Well, fuck that. Lance tries to dwell up some sort of righteous anger, but all he really manages to do is shrug. He’s too tired for this. "Went to dinner with Emmanuelle."
Joey stands up, and seems to consider leaving to be a pretty good option, but then the anger seems to leave him. He walks over and enfolds Lance in big strong arms, breathing into Lance’s shirt, and its suddenly all too familiar and all too nice. Its something that Lance could get used to, but he can’t get used to it, because he’s not allowed to.
Instead he breaks away, pretends that he has to look for something in his suitcase. When he looks up again, Chriton novel in hand, Joey looks pissed again, arms folded, legs braced apart like he’s ready for a fight. "What the fuck is your problem, Lance?"
"What do you mean?" Lance hears his voice, steady and low, and is relieved to hear that it’s not nearly as shaky as it is in his head.
"I mean, you’re acting like nothing happened. Are you trying to jerk my fucking chain, or—"
Lance rolls his eyes. "And what happened, Joey? We cuddled? We had a fuzzy bonding moment? You woke up with a hard-on and thought that maybe that meant something?" He’s still listening to his own voice, but none of these words sound familiar. He couldn’t even be sure that he’d actually spoke them, except that Joey looks shocked.
His eyes are wide and brown and honest, and Lance cringes a little at the sight of them. "You know what happened, Lance. You know what’s been happening." He doesn’t look pissed anymore, just sad, and as he takes a step towards Lance, Lance takes a step backwards, like he’s afraid of what will happen if Joey touches his. He is afraid of what will happen if Joey touches him, but he won’t admit that to Joey. No way in fucking hell.
They continue that way for awhile, Joey stepping towards Lance, Lance stepping backwards, til the backs of Lance’s knees hit the bed and he falls into a sitting position on it. Immediately, Joey is on top of him, pressing him into the mattress, body heavy on top of him.
Lance tries to find his voice, and succeeds, but it comes out shaky. "You’re not gay."
Joey’s voice is harsh. "And?" His face softens, and he drops an arm to stroke Lance’s cheek. "Lance, it doesn’t matter."
"You have a baby."
Joey’s eyes darken, and he drops to one side, off of Lance. "That matters," he sighs, and leans his forehead into his hand, closing his eyes as if in pain. When he looks back up at Lance, his eyes look slightly wet in the dim light. "Look, its—" He shakes his head and tries again. "That’s separate. Family, NSYNC, you."
Lance rolls on his side so that he can look into Joey’s eyes. He’s not pissed anymore; he’s not even really sad. He mostly just feels tired. "But they overlap. And if I—if we—" He sighs. "It would overlap even more."
"Then maybe I want you to be my family," Joey says, and it’s a low voice, almost like Lance’s own, so quiet that it’s hard to hear.
Lance doesn’t say anything to that. Doesn’t quite know what to say. Instead he gets up, staring down at Joey until he gets off the bed, too. His voice is almost desperate. "Lance—"
Lance doesn’t say anything, just pushes down the covers and strips off his shirt. Gets into bed, holding the blankets back for Joey to slip in.
Joey does so gratefully, slips into the cradle of Lance’s arms gratefully, and as he switches the light off, Lance brings his lips down very carefully to brush against Joey’s neck.
Joey stirs against him, and there’s a smile in his voice. "Tomorrow," he says.
"Tonight," Lance says back, and tilts Joey’s head back until their lips fit together, sparking more heat than Joey could ever produce alone.