“No. No, no, no.” Lance picked up his plate and Chris’ and carried them into Justin’s kitchen.
“Aw, come on, Lance, please?” Justin begged, grabbing his own dishes and following Lance. “Three weeks! What’s three weeks?”
“With you and your pet Backstreet Boy? Three weeks of hell,” Lance told him. Justin pouted and leaned against the counter.
“I never say anything about you and Chris being all lovey-dovey and sickening,” Justin pointed out.
“We don’t get lovey-dovey and sickening,” Lance replied. Chris cleared his throat and raised his eyebrows. “We don’t!”
“Chris, I love you so much…what would I do without you?” Justin cooed, fluttering his eyelashes. Chris hid a laugh in a cough.
“Well, if you wouldn’t be listening through closed doors,” Lance said angrily.
“Um, babe? That was this morning out on Justin’s deck,” Chris said softly. Lance blushed. “I’d like to go on a vacation with you, Lance.”
“But this wouldn’t just BE us. It would be us, and Nick and Justin, and probably Joey and JC, and whichever of those guys that Nick would drag along,” Lance replied. “It wouldn’t be at all romantic.”
“Yes, it would,” Justin insisted. “It’ll be fun, Lance, and it will just look better if you guys came along.”
“You did make Justin run away,” Chris pointed out. Lance’s eyes narrowed.
“Cold, Kirkpatrick. Very cold.” Lance smiled. “But if I hadn’t pushed him away, then he never would have hooked up with Nick.”
“Dammit,” Chris muttered, cursing Lance’s quick logic.
“Who cares why, it just happened, okay?” Justin said in exasperation. “Lance, I’d love for you and Chris to come along. I want you guys to get to know Nick better. And I know for a fact that Joey will be hanging with Kelly and Brianna. Jayce will probably have something better to do…so it won’t be this big fiasco. Please?” Justin begged.
“Fine,” Lance sighed. Justin whooped and went over to hug Lance. “You owe me big time, Timberlake,” Lance said. Justin just nodded and squeezed tighter.
“So, I was, uh, wondering if you guys wanted to come. We’re gonna get a house by the water, a bigass house, or maybe two, if everyone comes,” Nick said, biting his bottom lip. He watched the faces of his bandmates.
“Count me in,” AJ said finally. “I have no life.” Nick smiled gratefully.
“I could stop by for a few days,” Howie said. “I can’t be away from the club very long.” Nick rolled his eyes but said nothing. He looked at Brian and Kevin.
“Kris and I are going back to Kentucky for a month,” Kevin said apologetically. Nick didn’t buy it. Kevin still did not approve of Nick’s relationship with Justin, though they had been going strong for almost six months.
“Frick?” Nick asked.
“I could stop by for a little bit, but Leigh really wanted to go to Europe for a few weeks,” Brian said. Nick found this a bit more believable.
“Well, any time you could spend with us would be cool,” Nick told him. “I really want you guys to hang with Justin a bit more…get to know him.”
“If you love him so much, Junior, then he’s gotta be cool,” AJ said, and Nick wanted to kiss him. AJ had been supportive from Day One, and it was something Nick would never forget.
“Okay, so I’ll let him know,” Nick said. “Me and Aje definitely, Howie kinda, and Brian maybe.” Nick gave Kevin an evil look and went to call Justin.
“Okay…yeah…just one house, you’re thinking?” Justin made some notes on a pad by Lance’s phone. “Got it. Yeah…I’m looking forward to it, too. Love you. Bye.” Justin hung up and looked at Chris. “Nick and AJ will be there the entire time. Howie will stop by. Brian will stop by. Kevin’s being a dickhead.”
“Somehow that doesn’t surprise me,” Chris commented, bouncing a tennis ball off the ceiling as he lay on Lance’s sofa.
“Christopher Alan Kirkpatrick, do I hear a ball bouncing in my house?” Lance yelled down the steps.
“NO!” Chris yelled back, catching the ball and blushing.
“You are so whipped,” Justin said, grinning.
“Like you don’t follow Carter around like a cute little puppy,” Chris said, and Justin threw his pencil at him.
“All I know is that this vacation is something we really need,” Justin said, sighing. “I miss spending time with him. And you’ll love the guys in town. They’re great. We can all play ball every morning. Lance can sleep in. You’ll love it.”
“Love what?” JC asked, walking into the room. He had been talking upstairs with Lance.
“Texas,” Justin answered.
“Oh. Um, you guys are going to Texas?” JC asked. Chris and Justin looked at each other.
“Yeah. Me and Lance are gonna go take care of the baby,” Chris told him. “What are you doing on vacation?”
“Nothing,” JC said, sitting on the sofa next to Chris. “Just painting, I guess, maybe writing.”
“I thought you were going away,” Justin said in surprise.
“No…that kinda fell through,” JC said sadly, and didn’t elaborate.
“Well, for God’s sake, JC, come to Texas with us!” Chris said immediately.
“No…I’ll be a fifth wheel,” JC said, though it was obvious that he felt left out.
“No, you’ll be a sixth wheel,” Chris said. “McLean is coming too, with Brian and Howie bouncing in and out. Come on, Jayce.”
“You’re sure it’s okay?” JC asked Justin. Justin nodded.
“Duh, JC, of course.”
“Okay, I’ll come along, then,” JC said, smiling.
“Sweet. This is gonna be great!” Justin said, beaming.