the Whole No. 11: I Wanna Be the Light
I Wanna Be the Light
"I wanna be the light
JC took Justin out to the second stage as soon as Anthony said he could, climbing the stairs up and into the sunshine. The rows and rows of seats formed patterns in front of them, lines and triangles and designs, and JC smiled at the shapes. They seemed like they were smiling back at him. He loved Florida. He loved being home. Justin did too; he just needed to be reminded of that. "It's nice here," he said.
Justin looked around. "Yeah," he said. He wasn't looking. He was afraid to look around now, because of Joey. Justin was afraid of what he might see. JC guessed he got that, but it seemed silly to him to be afraid of things that you knew were going to hurt anyway. Sometimes Justin was such a baby.
"It's going to be awesome," he said, nudging Justin's shoulder with his own.
Justin shrugged. "Sure," he said.
"Hey, you remember that time when we were singing at the Piggly Wiggly opening and that manager guy was all, like, 'I'll be your coach!' and just wouldn't leave us alone?" JC had loved that guy, a fat older guy with, like, meat juice on his shirt or Kool Aid or something. He'd been kind of sweaty, too, and had a really bad combover, even worse than Lou's, but he'd been really enthusiastic, and was the first person that ever told them that they were going to be famous. His name had been Ricky. JC sometimes stopped and said hi to him when he was in the neighborhood.
Justin shoved his hands in his pockets. "Uh huh."
JC grinned at him. "And remember the first time we played here on the beach, when we opened for, like, um." JC waved his hands. "That rap group, the kids with the backwards pants ..."
"Kris Kross," Justin said.
JC clapped his hands. "Right, yes, those kids, and like, the girls just started screaming when we came out? They were totally in love with you, man." They were. The girls always loved Justin. Everyone did. Him, Chris, even Lance. Joey had, once, before Justin had started thinking he was too good for love and acted like a jerk.
Justin sighed. "Yeah, JC. That happens, like, every night."
"Uh huh. No, but. Well, yeah. I mean, sure, Justin, yeah, but you remember that?"
"Yes, JC." Justin rolled his eyes.
"That was the first time."
Justin looked at him. "Dude, what are you talking about? Girls screamed for us the entire time in Germany."
JC shook his head "No," he said. "It was the first time here. At home."
He saw Justin pause, his head coming up. It was like he was realizing that the sun was shining for the first time. "Really?" he said.
JC nodded. He was lying; he didn't know. There was no way to know. There had been so many girls, so many crowds. But that didn't matter, because it had felt like the first time to JC, and now it would for Justin, too, and that would make him feel like he knew something new about himself. Something certain.
He remembered how Justin was on MMC, always working, always trying to be the best, to know the lines and the lyrics and the dance steps the best, convinced that hard work would make things happen. JC wished that he was right. He was afraid Justin was about to learn that hard work didn't you get you everything. JC was afraid that finding that out would break Justin in some unfixable way.
"That's cool," Justin said. He smiled, first at JC and then at the empty stadium.
JC grinned at him. "Uh huh," he said. He stood close to Justin and took his hand, in between their bodies where no one could see them. Justin let him.