For once in his life JC didn't have to worry about the numbers, and he told himself he wasn't even going to look at them. He knew he was lying even as he thought it, though. He saw the numbers almost as soon as they came out, and as soon as he saw them he called Justin.
"Hey, you," he said, "congratulations! Number two, baby, that's fantastic."
"Thanks," Justin said, and there was something in his voice, something tight and breathless at the same time, that let JC know he'd been right to call. "It's really great, I know, more than I had any right to expect, I guess, and I'm just really glad that people wi-"
"J," JC said, and Justin stopped right in the middle of a word. "It really is good, number two."
"I know it is," Justin said stubbornly.
"But it's not what you wanted."
"It is," Justin said, "it's exactly what I wanted, I really wanted a chance to just explore all these sounds I've loved my whole life, and I got that chance and hardly anybody ever does, and then for all these people to buy it, it's just -"
"Justin, I'm not writing this up for the papers," JC said.
"Look," Justin said, the words tumbling after each other fast and desperate, "I'm just really grateful and happy and proud, you know, and number two is great, all those people wanting it, I'm just really humble and happy and excited and -"
"And you wanted number one." Justin didn't say anything for a minute. "I know you did."
"Look," Justin said again, "I know, all right, I know I'm lucky, I know it did good, but I just - I am all those things, grateful and happy and humble and all, every time someone else is in the room I am all those things, and tomorrow I'll be all those things even when I'm alone, for real I'll be all those things, and I know, I know you think I'm selfish and spoiled but I just -"
"I understand, though," JC said.
"It was my first, JC, and I just wanted," Justin's voice trailed off and he took a deep breath. "But I will be, I know I'm being stupid and I won't be, tomorrow morning, I'll be all those things -"
"You are all those things," JC said, "even now, you are, I know, but I just thought maybe for a few minutes you might want to be selfish and spoiled, just for a few minutes before you let yourself be happy and lucky and all of that." Justin didn't say anything. "Just for a few minutes, it's all right, J. Just for a few minutes with me."
"C," Justin said, and JC closed his eyes. "I just really, really wanted it to be number one."
"I know," JC said.