the Whole No. 17: Where I Go and Why
Where I Go and Why
Lance was Joey's best friend for years before Joey realized he was hot. They became best friends in Germany, where they shared rooms all the time because Lance was the one who complained the least about Joey's mess. Joey thought now that was probably because Lance had been too freaked out and homesick to say much of anything about anything, but he had appreciated it then, and it made him like Lance more after Lance had actually opened his mouth and started saying shit that made sense.
He became hot right before Joey fell in love with Justin, after his hair stopped being platinum blond and he filled out a little and Joey realized that Lance had perfect skin, perfect creamy skin, even better than Justin's. But Lance was his best friend, and Justin was bright and funny and pressed his body up against Joey's shamelessly, and Joey was never about resisting anything, and before he knew it he was in love with Justin, and Lance was still his best friend.
Lance was still his best friend, but now he was something else.
They had kissed under the bleachers. Lance had been talking about Brianna, about how she would be fine in school, and he'd stepped into a patch of sun and Joey couldn't help it. Lance had been surprised, Joey knew by the sudden tensing in his body, but he opened his mouth when Joey did, and his hand closed around Joey's wrist. If Justin hadn't interrupted them, Joey thought there might have been tongue.
"You okay?" he asked Lance, when they came out from under the bleachers. Lance was a little flushed, with embarrassment or pleasure, Joey couldn't tell. He wanted to take Lance's hand and pull him close and kiss him again. He didn't.
"Yeah," Lance said. "Yeah, I'm okay."
"That's good," Joey said. He felt like an idiot, making small talk when he should be telling Lance that he loved him that he had loved him for a long time and wanted to love him for forever, but he couldn't. He couldn't just blurt stuff like that out, not anymore. "I want you to, um. Be fine."
Lance smiled at his feet. "I'm fine," he said. "So you'll ask Kelly? About Montessori?"
Joey smiled. "Yeah," he said.
He saw Justin at the catering table later, picking at the fruit salad. Justin looked like hell. He'd started shaving his head in an attempt to be more mature, but it only made him look naked, Joey thought. Hard. His skin was blotchy, too, and his eyes were red like he'd had an allergy attack or had been --
Joey sighed. "Hey," he said. Justin glanced up guiltily, smiling, and Joey knew Justin had been waiting for him to come by. Joey loved the catering table.
"Hey," Justin said. "Hungry?"
"You know me," Joey said.
"Um, yeah." Justin plucked a grape off a bunch and chewed it thoughtfully. "So," he said. "You and Lance."
Joey looked at him for a long moment. Justin had the prettiest blue eyes, not like JC's which changed with the shirt he wore, green or blue or grey, but just perfect clear blue. Joey remembered staring into them, lost, while they had sex, Justin's mouth panting against his.
"Me and Lance," he said. "Yeah."
"Oh," Justin said. "Well, um. Good for you. Good."
"Jup," Joey said, but when Justin looked at him, Joey had nothing else to say. Yes, him and Lance. Yes, Lance. He didn't know where it would go. He didn't know if Lance loved him back, or if Lance ever would love him back. He didn't know if it would last a week or a month or until the band broke up or the rest of his life, but he couldn't tell Justin any of that. It wasn't his business. Not anymore.
"You're still my friend, Joey," Justin said softly. He picked up an apple, tossed it from one hand to another.
"Jup, yeah," Joey said. He wanted to touch Justin, to hug him, to stroke his arm. He didn't move. "Yeah," he said again.
"Alright, well, rehearsal. You know." Justin smiled at him again, the thinnest weakest smile he'd ever given. He walked away. He looked smaller than Joey remembered him. Joey sighed.
He waited until they were almost done with the set up before he asked, leaning over into Lance's space and breathing in his normal everyday smell. "Did you drive?" he asked.
"Uh huh," Lance said. He was looking at Joey's mouth, Joey noticed, looking and smiling a little himself. "You need a ride?"
"Yeah," Joey said. "I do."