On the Bus 10
by Synchronik

We have the same problems everyone else does. I mean, yeah, sure, it's easy to forget that, when there's like, six billion people screaming your name, but really it all comes down to who you love and who loves you back, and it doesn't matter how much money you have or how many people scream your name. There was a movie about that with Lawrence Olivier or Orson Welles or somebody, and in it, the guy ended up miserable and the only thing he loved was a sled. How pathetic is that? A sled.

But so, we have the same problems. Who loves you? Who do you love?

Not in the crazy LOVE way, like the fans love us, although that is certainly awesome. Way more than awesome, really, and it's still hard to believe, everyday, that it happened to me. But it's no substitute, not for the important questions.

Who do you love?

Who loves you?

The answer to one of those questions is lying in his bunk right now with his headphones on, humming under his breath, tapping his fingers on his thigh. He's looking comfortable and happy, and fairly awake, which is a little shocking, since JC sleeps all the fucking time when we're on the bus. It's something about the motion, or the hum of the wheels or something, but it puts him right out. Not like that takes a lot. Maybe it's because he's writing music right now: that always keeps him up. More than once I've heard him through the thin hotel walls, playing things out on his keyboard until 2 or 3 in the morning, humming to himself. So far, the results have been okay. I think it's just a matter of time until JC figures out exactly what it is he wants to say, and gets it on to paper right. We've had a bunch of hit songs, but I can't wait until he has a hit song of his own. I can't wait to see his face then.

The answer to the other question is lying next to me on the couch. He has his head in my lap, and is watching Justin and Lance make sandwiches. They're doing the "bus dance" moving around each other in a kind of unscripted clumsy ballet, reaching and ducking and leaning against each other in time to the wheels. It was during one of those dances that I realized this, that Joey wasn't just dancing, but *dancing*. Like, in flirting. Like he's doing now.

He tips his head back and smiles up at me. "You want me to get up?" he asks.

That there's the million dollar question. Because I don't want him to get up, I don't want him to take himself away, I don't want him to go away, but I don't want him to come any closer either. Joey's too much, too good, too sweet, and if he gets much closer, I'll have to tell him and then he'll move, and I'll miss him so much my heart will break, even if he's only three feet away.

I can live with unrequited. It's rejection that's a bitch.

"Nah, you're cool," I say.

He smiles again. I pat his shoulder. He's so much, big happy Joey. He's just as full of joy and awe about our success as I am, and that makes us alike. He knows that this is luck, him sitting on this bus on this wave of fame, just like I know it, and that makes us friends. He knows that I brighten his day, and make him smile, and cause him to think things he shouldn't think, and that makes me miserable.

There's only two questions that matter, really. And it's my bad luck that Joey is my answer to only one of them.

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