the Whole No. 8: Other People's Eyes
Other People's Eyes
"You never know just how you look
If JC didn't already love Chris, Lance would have had to do it because Chris, out of all of them, was the one who thought he needed love the least, but actually needed it the most. Lance had seen that right away, the very first day he'd met Chris and Chris had given him head noogies and pretended to like him. Lance knew that Chris hadn't really liked him until Germany.
Chris knew that Lance knew.
Lance glanced up from his USA Today. Chris was riding around on his scooter, goofing off with Justin, just like they did in every venue. They couldn't sit still for a second. Sometimes, Lance thought that was why Chris and Justin were such good friends, because Chris craved attention and hanging around with Justin was the surest way to get it. Lance didn't like thinking that -- it seemed mean -- but he'd been brought up to tell the truth about people and that was part of the truth that was Chris.
Joey walked up to them, Chris and Justin, and all play came to an end. Justin wanted Joey back. Lance set his paper on the table and took a careful drink out of his water bottle. Joey did not want Justin back, he'd said so last night on the bus, keeping his eyes on the television and his voice casual. Lance wanted to believe him. He wanted to believe him so badly that it made his stomach hurt, because Joey thought he was telling the truth, but Justin was tall and beautiful and funny and Justin, and he could pretty much get anything he wanted if he tried hard enough. That was part of the truth that was Justin, and there wasn't any escaping that.
Chris zoomed up to him on the scooter. "Hey, gorgeous," he said. Lance rolled his eyes. This was something new, something that had started since Chris and JC had hooked up. Suddenly, Chris was hitting on him all the time. Lance thought it might be because suddenly Chris realized he had love to spare.
"Please," Lance said. He thought about going back to his paper, but there wasn't any point while Chris was standing there thinking about saying something.
"So when are you gonna dump that loser and make sweet love to me?" Chris asked, leaning up against Lance's back. He was hot and damp from riding his scooter around in the sun. Lance leaned back.
"Face it," he told him. "I'm way out of your league."
Chris drew his fingers through Lance's hair. "Bastard," he said, happily. Lance could have been wrong, but he thought that Chris loved him more the snottier he got. He liked having someone he could get bitchy with who wouldn't take it personally, like JC. JC was smart, but he was always the last person to get a joke, even a knock knock joke, and sometimes he took teasing personally.
Chris kept talking, knocking his knees against Lance's back, then climbing onto the bench beside him and reading over his shoulder. At first, Lance had wanted to kill Chris, slowly and with banter, but eventually he'd gotten used to the nonstop noise and could tune most of it out, answering only the things Chris needed answered so that he could go on with his monologue.
Lance pretended to read. He heard Justin's braying laughter, and saw movement out of the corner of his eye. He didn't look that way. "I don't know why we haven't replaced you with a girl," he told Chris.
"Because a girl wouldn't make you feel the way I do," Chris said. "Gimme a kiss."
Lance sighed. This was new since JC, too, the kissing all the time. He didn't ask Joey to kiss him, or Justin (which was good, Lance thought, because Justin would have probably been eternally warped by it), just him. "Kiss, kiss, kiss," Chris said, so Lance leaned over his paper and pecked him on the lips. It was a good thing JC wasn't a jealous guy, Lance thought, because he was getting more action from Chris than he had from anyone else in the last three months.
"Now leave me alone," he told Chris.
"You so don't love me," Chris said. He pouted. It was not attractive.
"I just kissed you on the mouth," Lance said.
Chris rolled his eyes. "If there ain't no tongue, the kiss ain't done," he said, picking up his scooter. "That's what I'm sayin'."
"I'm saying get your Irish ass out of here before I kick it."
Chris set his foot on the scooter, one hand on Lance's shoulder. He squeezed, gently, before he was off, shouting something at the top of his lungs. Lance went back to his paper, so grateful for JC he could hardly breathe.