All That Mattered

by Tiff

It didn't seem to matter that he had a girlfriend. Not just any girlfriend, but one that half the country lusted after. A girlfriend who could and would shake her shit, more naked than dressed, in front of millions of people and be proud and unapologetic about it. A girlfriend who would pounce on him after a performance uncaring that he was sweaty and tired because she wanted him and all of his post-show adrenaline. It didn't matter that she was beautiful and sweet or that he loved her, though more like a sister than a lover.

It didn't matter that he didn't consider himself "gay", that he'd never before been consciously attracted to another man. It didn't matter that Joey was one of his best friends, and that they'd known each other for more than five years.

It was Joey that he wanted, Joey whose touch he could feel hours after it casually brushed against him. It was Joey whom he thought of as he beat off in the shower or as he pounded into Britney's body. It was Joey he imagined beneath, above and inside him. It was Joey's looks and Joey's touches he feigned indifference to.

It was Joey who could pin him with a gaze and turn his knees to jelly.

It didn't matter that Joey was soon to be a father, and was supposed to be mature and settled and done with spur of the moment decisions and gut reactions. Or that he was almost/practically engaged and that Justin was lacking all of the things Joey was attracted to, specifically long hair and big boobs.

It didn't matter that there was no discussion and that things just sort of happened. That one minute Joey was rambling on about layettes and diaper services and the next Justin had him pinned to the couch; his mouth nibbling at Joey's parted lips. It didn't matter that when Justin trailed his open mouth down Joey's neck and traced a delicious pattern on his collarbone with the tip of his tongue Joey didn't stop to think. He arched against Justin and tangled his fingers in his hair.

It didn't seem to matter that at first the sex wasn't that great, that neither of them lasted very long, or that they both fell asleep immediately afterwards.

The hurt look on Britney's face and the resulting pained, pinched cast of her features just didn't matter. Nor did Kelly's sigh of resolution, as if she'd expected this and yet hoped against it.

It didn't matter that a stunned and awkward silence filled the room when they told Johnny and the rest of the group.

The cover-ups and half-truths to the fans, the blind items and tabloid speculation that followed a night on the town, all didn't matter.

It didn't matter that Joey's feet always smelled like corn chips. Or that Justin insisted on a brand-new toothbrush each day, and that he used half a bottle of conditioner on his curls each time he showered.

It didn't matter that Joey loved Howard Stern and that Justin thought he was a big-nosed, busybody jerk. Or that Justin woke up at the butt-crack of dawn to run and Joey wanted to snuggle.

It didn't matter that Joey would finish a story only to realize that Justin had stopped paying attention to his words and was staring at him with THAT look.

It didn't matter that Justin loved to watch Ferris Bullers Day Off on Saturday mornings, when they weren't touring. But Joey hated the movie because he said Ferris was a big dork, and Cameron was a sissy wuss.

It didn't matter that Justin stopped remembering which T-shirts were his and which were Joey's.

It didn't matter that Joey always spoke his mind and that sometimes Justin was embarrassed by his brashness.

It didn't matter that Justin's friendship with Chris, Joey's bond with Lance, and both of their dependency on JC's advice diminished because the two of them spent so much time together.

It didn't matter that Justin could be prudish. That he hated it when Joey talked about fucking him, yet that's exactly what he'd beg Joey to do to him as he reached his release.

It didn't matter that Joey squealed like a girl, and Justin laughed as he slid inside Joey for the first time.

It didn't matter that Justin insisted he'd said those three little words first, even thought Joey knew that they'd slipped from his lips, more than once, during the heat of passion. Way before Justin ever cuddled into his lap, run his finger gently down Joey's jaw and whispered "I love you" into his ear.

All that mattered was the way Joey looked at him, and how his smile warmed his heart and how he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was right and good and meant to be.

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