It was under a pile of week-old newspapers on a corner table. The address label had been torn from the cover and someone had used the overly thin model's face as a coaster, but he was early and bored. He thumbed through it and found a sheer lilac shirt with a feathered collar that he thought might look good on JC, but $489.99 was a bit too much to pay to look at JC's nipples. Another ad caught his eye, this one for watchbands. $599 for actual leopard skin to go with the highlighted spikes of Joey's hair didn't seem too expensive. The spring make-up tips were too pale for his skin tone but Lance discovered from the quiz on page 88 that he suffered from acute PMS and should seek medical help immediately, not to mention that he'd never even had one breast exam.
Chuckling, he turned the page and blinked at the bold, blood red script: 'Want the man of your dreams to give you the time of day, night AND the morning after? Follow these 5 sexy tips to make him fall in love with you' but the door opened before he could read any further. He slid the magazine back under the papers and met Chris and the others at the door with a high-five and a round of backslapping. It wasn't until later as they were leaving, when Justin slid a hot, sweaty palm down his neck, that he thought about the article. He mumbled some excuse and ran back the conference room and tore the page out. It felt heavy in his pocket and he was sure everyone could hear it crinkling on the way to the hotel.
At a casual restaurant, lose the fork in favor of your fingers – he'll want to make a feast of you.
“Whoops,” he said, as surprised as he could, when his fork slipped from his fingers. There was a brief moment of 'oh fuck' when it landed in his lap and didn't fall, so he kinda bounced his leg until it slid down. When he looked back up, Justin had started talking to JC; their faces so close that Lance thought Justin might ask JC if he could chew his food for him.
“Wanna use mine?” Joey asked from his side. He was waving his fork back and forth like a fan, smiling rather slyly. Like he knew exactly what Lance had done.
“Uh, no thanks,” and he could feel the heat start to climb his cheeks, “I'll just…” he gestured with his hand, “you know.”
Joey just smiled, “sure,” and went back to his food.
So, Lance turned back to his own plate, looked at the fish, which didn't seem quite as finger-foodish as it had a moment ago when he still had his fork, and sighed. He wanted to call the waitress back and ask for another fork, his mother's voice ringing in his ears about table manners and polite young men, but then he looked at Justin again. Head thrown back, laughing at something Chris whispered, beautiful white teeth and long throat. Taking a fortifying breath, he scooped up a few moist flakes and popped them into his mouth; the world didn't stop and nobody stood and shouted 'heathen', so he did it again. This time he sucked a finger in his mouth for good measure, running his tongue over the butter-slick tip, looking at Justin from under his lashes.
Justin was watching him. Blue eyes locked on his mouth, pretty bow lips open in a silent question. Lance smiled to himself and slid another finger into his mouth, sucking till his cheeks hollowed. Slowly, he thought, do it sensuously, and he plucked a stem of asparagus up and licked a bit of sauce off the feathered tip with his tongue before pushing the first inch into his mouth.
“Dude,” Justin's eyes were huge, “that is like--“
“Yes?” Lance purred.
“--so totally gross! Let me get the waitress or something, man.”
He choked and managed to get out a strangled “what?” around the asparagus tip lodged in his throat. Joey started pounding on his back enthusiastically until Lance glared at him with watery eyes.
“Your chin's all greasy and just… Lance, man, you can't be doing shit like that in public,” he hissed. “People'll see.” Justin's eyes were darting around worriedly, like some photographer might jump out from behind a plant at any moment. Lance's face flamed.
Then Joey said “whoops,” and deliberately dropped his fork with an over the top “what will I do now?” and he slapped his hands to his cheeks. He was looking straight at Justin.
Justin glanced at Joey's rare steak and gave a hushed “you wouldn't,” but apparently Joey would and did. Accompanied by Chris' shrieks of glee and JC's horrified laughter, Joey grabbed his steak and ripped a huge chuck out with a low growl, dropped the bone, and shook his head back and forth, the meat jutting obscenely. Snarling, Chris snapped unsuccessfully at it with his own teeth; Joey was too quick and evaded with a feint to the left, then pressed himself against Lance's shoulder, where he growled again.
Justin looked a little green.
“Let me show you how it's done,” JC said. He whimpered, pushed the dishes away to lean across the table and rolled his head to the side. Joey let him take a small bite.
“Bitch,” Chris said. JC just smiled and Chris made another grab for Joey.
By the time the hostess finally worked up the nerve to ask them to leave, Justin had long since fled to the bus and Lonnie was politely passing out shiny new bills in exchange for film. They left and Lance trailed behind the others, watching JC jump on Chris' back to howl mournfully at the moon. Joey slowed for a moment and slung an arm over Lance's shoulders. “You're such a troublemaker, Bass, ” he grinned, then yipped playfully and nipped him on the nose before running off to howl with JC.
Take up the same hobbies as your man so you can share more of the day.
“How'd it go?”
Lance rolled over. He felt old and tired and abused. Muscles aching in ways he wasn't even aware they could, he couldn't summon more than a grunt. He tried again. “Gaaph.”
“That good, huh?” Joey sat on the bed next to him and it hurt when the mattress dipped.
“Sure,” and Joey got up again and ran a glass of water from the bathroom. He pulled a straw from the basket on the mini bar on the way back. “Here you go,” and held it steady.
The straw was bendy and Lance managed to suck the glass dry without having to lift his head. “More,” he rasped out. “Then kill me.”
Joey laughed, but got him another glass. “What'd you play? Horse?”
“No.” Lance found the strength to pull himself up. “That apparently wasn't humiliating enough for Justin.”
Joey refilled his glass again without waiting for him to ask. “Tell me you didn't play Hippony with him.”
He didn't say anything. He didn't have to. Hippony was a game Justin had made up years ago, when they were both sixteen; growing tangles of coltish limbs, but where Justin was a thoroughbred, Lance was nothing more than knobby arms and legs that never seemed to work the way he wanted them to. Even back then he couldn't play basketball, couldn't win a game of one-on-one or Horse to save his life. It was Mrs. Timberlake who suggested that they spell different words. Justin had picked 'pony' for Lance and 'hippopotamus' for himself. Lance had still never won a game.
Joey shook his head. “You're a fool, Lance.
“Yeah, well, it just so happens that I won today.”
Lance sighed and pulled a pillow to his chest. “No. But I made it to 'N' twice.” He tried to ignore the snickering. “Why can't he do something less active?”
“You suck at 'Tomb Raider' too.”
The pillow hit Joey in the head.
It was quiet for long minutes, Lance slumping down to doze half-heartedly with Joey stretching out next to him, staring at the ceiling.
“Wanna go horseback riding tomorrow?” Joey asked.
Lance didn't even bother to open his eyes. “No.” He could feel Joey roll towards him, knew he was watching him. “You don't like to ride. It hurts your ass.”
“I'll bring a doughnut. Come on,” he wheedled, “you know you want to.”
“But you don't,” Lance replied and lay himself out next to his best friend, looked through sleepy eyes, “and I won't have fun if I know you aren't.”
Joey traced a random pattern on the bedspread. “That doesn't seem to bother Justin, does it?”
Go Commando in Low-Slung Pants – You'll feel sexy and he'll feel like an animal.
Lance leaned against the bar, trying hard not to squirm. The leather pants clung sticky damp to his thighs and dick, and his ass was still stinging from the sharp slap that Justin gave him as he danced by.
At least he had gotten noticed. Although he really wished he'd worn something else. Every stranger he passed took the deep vee at the back as an open invitation to fondle him. He thought he'd snap if one more person touched him there, the skin feeling tender and used. It wasn't sexy anymore, just violating in a sluttish cheap way.
There was a long press of heat against his hip and he tensed but it was just Joey. “Hey,” as he brushed his fingertips against the edge of Lance's pants so lightly Lance might have imagined it, “you look good tonight. Hot,” warm breath against his ear, wet heat at his temple and Joey was gone. Lance knew he hadn't imagined his parting touch that dipped below the waist of his pants into the small of his back, a finger just barely touching the cleft, soothing the raw feeling there. His nipples rucked under the silk shirt, and he wished Justin would touch him that way.
Turn your casual touches into a smoldering fire that'll burn you into his heart.
“Jesus Christ, Lance, I swear to God that you're giving me a fucking rash. Will you please just stop?” Justin batted his hands away and stalked off to his bunk, nearly knocking Joey over as they passed in the doorway.
“What the hell's up with him?” Joey asked as he gave Lance's shoulders a quick squeeze before resting his chin on one.
“Lance was groping him,” JC answered. He was sitting at the end of the couch, flipping through his notebook; Chris sprawled loose-limbed next to him, watching television. “Again.”
Joey grunted and slipped his arms around Lance's waist. “You making untoward advances towards his highness again?”
Chris laughed. “Untoward? You been reading again, Joey?”
Lance acted like Chris hadn't spoken. “No,” as he rubbed Joey's arms absently and thought about getting some lotion -- Joey's elbows needed moisturizing again. “It's not a big deal, I was just touching him, like we all touch. Nothing gropey or,” he looked at Joey out of corner of his eye, “untoward about it. It was just a normal, everyday touch.” He knew he was pouting; Joey was pushing his lip out comically and making little mewling noises in his ear. Lance refused to giggle.
Chris tilted his head back to look up at JC. “Anybody ever touch you a normal, everyday way, C?” He raised his hand and placed it on JC's knee, where it was promptly pinched and pushed off.
“None of you freaks,” he said, without looking up. “You?”
Chris stretched and pooched out his belly to give it a scratch. “Nah. It'll happen soon though, I'm ripe for it.”
JC finally looked up. “Guess that solves it, Lance, you seem to be the only one getting normal, every-“ he broke off to stare at Chris picking lint out of his own belly button and sniffing it. “What the--? There is something seriously wrong with you, isn't there?” JC slapped his book shut. “All of you.”
“What, what did I do?” Chris whined plaintively when JC stalked out of the room. Chris cursed and ran after him.
Joey gave Lance a quick squeeze and pushed him to the couch. “Look, we're all alone,” he raised his eyebrows suggestively. “Give me your normal, everyday touches.” They laughed easily, someone started tickling, and later, Lance curled up on one end with Joey's head in his lap, stroking the silky hair away from his forehead. He wondered what Justin's hair felt like.
Slip him some major make-out tongue – show him exactly how he makes you feel.
Lance re-read the last tip on the ragged page and rubbed his eyes tiredly. He couldn't do this. Justin barely let him come anywhere near him anymore, let alone--
“What's this?” Joey plucked the paper right out of his hand.
“Don't…” He pushed Joey, who didn't even move but just pushed back, driving Lance to the bed. “Please.”
“Why?” he laughed, holding it just above Lance's head. “Is it a love letter?”
“Joey,” and there was nothing else to say. He felt broken.
“Hey, I'm just kidding.” Joey sat on the edge of the bed. He held the paper out to Lance, who just covered his eyes with his arm and shook his head.
“Just read it.”
There was a rustling of paper and a quiet moment, “Is that why you've--? Oh, Lance.” The paper rustled again, and Lance knew Joey well enough that he could almost see him folding the page just so, then smoothing it out and folding it again. “So,” Joey finally said, after the fourth round of folding, “how are you going to kiss him?”
“What?” Lance felt light-headed, and looked at his best friend from underneath his arm.
"How are you going to kiss him?" Joey was still sitting there, staring at the paper with a slight frown, forehead creased.
“Well, you have to have some idea of how he makes you feel, don't you?”
Lance shook his head, but it was a lie. He did know how Justin made him feel: fat and weird and pathetic and not sexy at all.
Joey still wasn't looking at him, just staring again at the fine print on the page. “Then how do you want him to make you feel?”
"I want him to make me feel how…” he trailed off, because it finally occurred to Lance that Joey was even bigger and weirder than he was and Lance never thought Joey was pathetic but found that he was amazingly sexy and funny and perfect in his own way.
Joey looked up from the magazine page expectantly.
“…how you make me feel.” Lance finished. "Sometimes I'm not very bright, am I?" he asked.
Joey shook his head, and laughed. "No," he said, and crawled up the bed until he was hovering over Lance, “but I love you anyway.” Lance was breathing each warm puff of air that Joey let out and staring into his eyes. Joey's eyes were beautiful, even prettier than Justin's, and Lance realized that he'd known that forever. Just like, deep down, he'd always known exactly how he felt about Joey.
"How did you know?" Lance asked, suddenly shy and breathless.
Joey curled his hand under Lance's neck. “I read about it a magazine,” and leaned in.
Beta thanks to r and j and k. I'm surprised they're still talking to me.