How can life be so complex

When all I wanna do is watch you undress?

(PJ Harvey)


JC likes to sleep in on Saturdays if he possibly can, which isn’t often. If he can, he’ll wake only for a second to look at the clock, smile sleepily at Chris, eyes crinkling into tiny, joyful slits, and cuddle into the mattress and the blankets and the pillows and Chris. Especially into Chris. He’ll wrap himself in warmth and softness and pull the covers over his head so its dark, dark and warm, and he’ll go back to sleep feeling safe, breathing in Chris’ familiar scent: soap and sex-sweat and love.


If he can’t, he won’t even allow himself the luxury of touching Chris, because it’s too comfortable. Too tempting, to just enfold himself in Chris’ arms and go back to sleep until everything is calmer. But it’s never calmer, so instead he just puts his head on Joey’s shoulder and looks at Chris from across the limo or van or plane or, god forbid, studio.


Chris’ eyes are as soft and tempting as his body is.


* * *


Maybe it’s strange, but Chris doesn’t like to shower with other people. He’s heard a thousand times how intimate and sexy its supposed to be, but to him its just too crowded and someone always ends up with their ass pressed against the cold tile and half their body freezing from being suddenly out of the path of warm water. With JC, it’s almost always him, dammit. Besides, bathing isn’t a sexy thing. When Chris scrubs the sweat from his body after a show, the last thing he wants is to have someone slip up behind him and kiss his gross armpit just before he’s about to clean it.


But that’s what JC does every night, and Chris can’t quite bring himself to discourage him from it. For one thing, JC really seems to like doing bathroom things with him. He likes them to shave together, and brush their teeth together, although he draws the line at actually going to the bathroom, thank god. 


For another thing, JC really seems to have developed a taste for Chris’ sweat, and it almost always ends in a tongue bath. JC likes to give head with water running over the back of his neck, tracing a path to his ass that Chris can follow with his fingers.


Besides, Chris is really starting to like washing JC’s hair, now that it’s long. When he dries it, it curls around his fingers in little ringlets, and every single time, JC grins and blushes when Chris kisses him on the nose, then tilts his head back to wash out the conditioner.


Maybe he doesn’t mind it so much.


* * *


JC sleeps naked, but he dresses in a hurry, even when they have nowhere they need to go. He loves to be naked, he says, but not when they’re working, not when he has to not think about sex all day so he doesn’t get an erection in front of thousands of teenage girls.


It’s kind of too late for that anyway, Chris observes wryly, and it’s not like it doesn’t happen anyway. But still, as soon as they’re awake and showered, his clothes go on, on piece at a time, as quickly as possible.


At first Chris thought that it was because JC didn’t like his body, because JC had always been a little bit self-conscious about his own skinny frame. But no, he’s certainly naked around Chris enough, and besides, JC has gained a certain awareness of his own beauty in the last year or so, either through his own lengthy self-discovery or by being suddenly able to see himself through Chris’ eyes.


Finally Chris figured it out, and it was the simplest, most obvious answer of all: JC just liked clothing. And not the look of them—that was really more Chris’s department and besides, a lot of JC’s clothes are cute in that ugly way that only Chris can appreciate, and only because he thinks JC is beautiful in anything. No, JC just likes the feel of them, the reality of them. He likes the feel of silk brushing against his nipples and the smell of leather, the brush of feathers against his cheek and the feel of denim on his thighs.


Chris always thought JC was an oral person, for more than the obvious reasons, but he seems to be just a sensory person.


Chris prefers the feel of JC’s skin.


* * *


Most people think Chris never shuts up, and they’re mostly right. Even when he eats, he’s usually talking, talking, talking; chattering about the coming day’s plans or last night’s events. He’s not rude about it, and he’ll shut up if someone asks him to, which someone usually does eventually, but by this time JC’s used to it, and he likes it a lot. Chris likes toast with jelly, and he usually ends up getting it all over his lips. JC likes to lick it off for him.


Chris also likes his coffee black, and so strong that it makes JC’s breath smell coffee-flavored for hours afterwards, even though he never drinks it. (JC has some abstract thought that super hot liquids are bad for his vocal cords, so he usually sticks to juice or milk. He knows it’s probably not true, but its something his mom told him when he was younger, and it stuck.)


Still, though, he likes the smell of it, and the bitter taste that lingers on Chris’s tongue when he licks the inside of Chris’ mouth.


And even then, Chris never shuts up.


* * *


They usually have to work. Even if it’s a day off for them, or they’re taking a break, JC is writing or producing something, or Chris has a FuMan Skeeto crisis, or there’s some publicity or contract thing for *NSYNC to take care of.


They like those days better, because at least they can touch; Chris typing fiercely on his laptop perched on the coffee table while JC stretches his long, thing body across the couch, his feet in Chris’ lap, with a battered spiral notebook in his hands. They can take phone calls while still in bed, naked and covered in sweat, wrapped in each other, and still sound perfectly business-like.


During normal days, when they’re putting the tour together or doing promotions, JC won’t touch him at all. Chris was a little hurt and a lot pissed off at first, because what the fuck. The guys knew about them, Johnny knew about them—hell, most of their crew knew about them by that time. One day he just wouldn’t stop touching JC, normal little touches on his elbow or his back, and by the end of the day JC was taut and his breath was coming fast every time Chris approached, and finally he’d pulled Chris into a broom closet for a quick kiss and an accompanying hand job.


It was pretty nice to know that JC couldn’t even touch him without getting excited, so Chris didn’t take advantage of it very often. Besides, JC got excited just being around him, just performing with him, and it was embarrassing enough for him to have to go onstage with a hard-on, he’d blushingly explained.


It would have been mean to take advantage of that fact, so Chris didn’t. Very often.


* * *


When they tour, they have room service and catered meals, but when they’re home, they both try to cook. However, JC is horrible at it, and Chris is only a little better, so they usually end up ordering from someplace.


Chris likes pizza, and will order it every night, if given the chance. But JC likes sushi and Thai food, and mochi balls for dessert, so they’ll usually order separate meals for both of them. Sometimes the deliverymen will show up at the same time and look confused, but they’re used to weird orders from celebrities, so they usually just knock on the door and deliver the food.


Chris, for all his open-mindedness and diversity, hates JC’s weird affection for food that’s either too bland or too spicy or just too frickin’ weird. He insists on peeling the skin off the mochi, even though JC exasperatedly tells him that its just ice cream without the skin, moron.


Chris doesn’t care. He’s an old-fashioned kind of boy, and he likes good old American food.


When JC tells him seriously that pizza is Italian, he bursts out laughing and crawls on top of JC’s sprawled body, and on those nights his lips always taste like a combination of garlic and strawberry ice cream.


* * *


Something nobody else knows about JC is that he wears flavored lip-gloss; the kind little girls buy at Vons for $3.99. He prefers raspberry, but he’ll settle for strawberry if they’re in a small town and the selection is limited, and he particularly likes the kind with glitter in it, so his lips sparkle as well as shine.


Chris didn’t find out until they second time they kissed. The first time JC’s lips were chapped, dry from where he’d been licking them nervously, waiting for Chris to approach him and finally kiss him, kiss him, dammit. JC was an old-fashioned boy, and generally shy anyway, so he didn’t like to make the first move.


Even so, the second time they kissed, it was JC who was doing the kissing. His lips were cool and slippery as they pressed softly against Chris’ own, and they tasted like synthetic cherries when he touched his tongue to them lightly.


The inside of JC’s mouth tasted even better.


* * *


They make love with the lights on. Always.