the Whole No. 18: Some Distraction
"I need some distraction,
He and Justin always hung out together right before the show, right before the prayer and the hugging. They would sit next to one another on the couch, barely touching, maybe holding hands, maybe bumping their knees, maybe not touching at all, just sitting close. They'd always done this, since the first audition Chris could remember seeing Justin at, a spot on a sitcom where Chris was up for the Wise-Cracking Teen with an Alcohol Problem and Justin was up for Cute Next Door Neighbor. Neither of them had gotten the parts.
The only time they hadn't was when Joey had been more important than anyone to Justin. It was only for a short time.
The others were there, JC on the floor on his back doing visualization like the New Age freak that he was. Lance was rubbing his fingers together, slowly. Joey murmured soothingly into his cell phone to Brianna, his voice cooing.
Justin sat next to him on the couch in his wardrobe, hands on the cushions, his fingers folded over Chris', tangled lightly. His breath came and went in steady measured puffs. Chris felt like bouncing off the walls, striking his head against concrete, screaming at the top of his lungs. He settled for jiggling his leg a little. He liked sitting by Justin right before the show because Justin kept him calm. Calmer. As calm as possible, anyway.
Justin's profile was still and familiar.
"Hey," Chris murmured, using more his fingers than his voice. Justin turned his head.
"You." Chris nodded over at Joey.
Justin followed his gaze and blinked, then looked back at Chris.
"Shut up," he whispered.
"Hey," Chris said. He slid his hand out from under Justin's and put it on top, curling his fingers around Justin's long narrow ones. "Hey."
"No. No," Justin said. He pressed his eyes closed. They were barely sparkling beneath his lashes. Justin was tough. Really tough. Chris squeezed. Justin squeezed back.