Thank you, God, Lance thought as he sprawled on his ass on the hard floor, one hand skittering through cigarette butts to land in a puddle of spilled alcohol. Thanks, but I would have gotten something a little subtler, you know? There was a hushed silence in the bar, a silence Lance recognized very well, although he hadn't heard it for years. It was the silence that came right before -- ah, and there it was, bang on cue -- right before the sound of dozens of people laughing themselves sick at him. Thanks, God!
It figured. It just figured. For some people, God was a stern thunderbolt-tossing kind of guy, and for some people he was a weaver of poetically just fates, but when it came to Lance Bass, God acted like one of the Three Stooges. Of course, a rational part of Lance's mind whispered, you weren't trying to drive the sun across the sky or marry your mother, you were trying to dance on top of a bar in the middle of --
"Shut up," Lance snapped.
"I didn't say anything," Justin said. He knelt beside Lance, his eyes wide with confusion and concern.
"Watch the glass, Justin," Lonnie said.
"Yes, watch the glass, Justin," Lance said. "Wouldn't want you to prick your little finger. Although apparently it's just fine for me to be lying on my ass in a big ol' pile of it. But you be careful, Justin."
"Well, I figured it was too late for you," Lonnie said mildly.
"Why don't you go do something useful, like yell at the owners for having all this glass sitting around in a dangerous way? In a negligent way -- say negligent. It's a legal term with very specific --"
"It's a bar, Lance," Lonnie said. "They're allowed to have glasses sitting around on a bar."
"You're fired," Lance said. Lonnie rolled his eyes. Lance looked away in time to see Justin shoot an apologetic glance back at the bodyguard.
"Fine," Lance said. "Just leave me here in my big pile of glass. I hope I bleed to death."
"Don't say that," Justin said.
"I mean it."
"Are you -- did you hurt yourself?"
"No, Justin. I fell from a height of four feet directly onto my ass in a pile of glass, and it feels great. I'm thinking of doing it again as soon as I get up."
"What were you doing up there, anyway?"
Lance sighed. Ordinarily, in a situation like this, he'd lie. But he knew Lonnie had seen him and probably heard everything that he had said as well. "I was dancing. Or," he said before Lonnie could open his mouth, "or trying to dance."
"On the bar?" Justin said. "Like at that place where all the girls do it -- the one -- what's it called? And they throw their bras --"
"No," Lance said, loudly enough to make Justin flinch. Lance sighed again and lowered his voice. None of this was Justin's fault. Technically. "There were girls. They had a hot friend. They recognized me. There was dancing. I was looking good, I was feeling good, they were appreciative. I just thought I'd, you know, put on a show."
"Oh," Justin said after a pause. There wasn't a hint of laughter in his voice. Lance wasn't sure whether to chalk that up to Justin's unbearably sweet nature or his healthy fear of what Lance might do if Justin so much as chuckled.
Unfortunately, Lonnie had neither a sweet nature nor a healthy fear of Lance. "Well, you know what they say, Lance," he said between guffaws. "Pride goes before --"
"Fired!" Lance said. "Fired, fired, fired."
"Easy," Justin said. He put a hand on Lance's leg. "So you're okay? Not hurt or anything?"
"I'm fine. Let's just get out of here." Lance was starting to feel a little bad at the worry in Justin's voice. Even after all this time, Justin still freaked out a bit when Lance got sick or hurt. He put a hand on Justin's shoulder to haul himself to his feet. He was about halfway there when Justin grabbed his arm and slammed him back to the floor.
"What the fuck, Justin?"
"Here." Justin shrugged out of his button-down and handed it to Lance. "Tie this around your waist."
Justin looked down. "Um, your pants. They kind of. Um. Split," he said in a small voice. Not small enough, though, because Lonnie started laughing again.
Thank you, God, Lance thought as he stumbled toward the door, Justin's shirt wrapped around his ass. Thank you so much for this little life lesson. I really appreciate it.
Lance tripped on the curb and only Justin's arm around his waist kept him from pitching face first into the street. Apparently God recognized sarcasm when he heard it.
Lance exiled Lonnie to the front seat of the limo, where he hoped the driver hated bathing and loved talking about Jesus. He looked out the window at the neon sign of the bar as it blinked tauntingly at him. He made a mental note to buy the place when he got a minute and fire everybody who worked there. He toyed with the idea of burning it down and sowing the ground with salt, but he was pretty sure that was just his temper talking.
Justin put a hand on his thigh.
"What?" Lance growled. He was in no mood for anything right now.
Justin slid to his knees. Well, maybe Lance was in the mood for one thing.
By the time they reached the hotel, Justin was sitting next to him with his head on Lance's shoulder and Lance's mood was vastly improved. He thought he might not even fire everybody when he bought the bar. Maybe he'd just make them all wear humiliating uniforms.
Lance's goodwill was tempered a few minutes later by the elevator ride with Lonnie. Watching a three-hundred-pound man giggle was not as amusing as it sounded. His disposition soured further when Justin mumbled something and disappeared down the hallway. Lance went into his room to nurse his bruised pride and his bruised ass. Alone.
He was lying in bed when he heard the door open and Justin said, "I've got a surprise for you." Lance sat up happily. The surprise in the limo had been quite nice.
Then he heard the music.
Justin didn't know, Lance told himself. He hadn't heard, he wasn't paying attention. But he knew that wasn't true. Justin always paid attention to music, had stopped during particularly crucial (to Lance, at least) moments while having sex to hear a song that was playing on the radio of a car passing by. There was no way Justin didn't know what was playing in the bar when Lance had his incident. The only conclusion Lance could draw as the bass line to What It Feels Like for a Girl began is that Justin wanted Lance to remember what was playing when he fell off the bar. Lance was trying to digest that when Justin leapt up to stand on the foot of the bed.
"I'm gonna dance for you," Justin said, sounding inordinately pleased with himself. Lance's mouth fell open. Thank you, God. It's not enough that I fall on my ass in front of a crowd, now you've sent the most inconsiderate boyfriend in the world to show me exactly what I did wrong. Why not bring the other guys in to watch? Lance heard a creak and thought hurriedly, Just kidding, God! But it was only Justin, shifting his weight as he looked down at Lance expectantly. He seemed to think Lance should say something.
"Fabulous," Lance said finally, as nastily as he could, and then Justin took off his shirt and his hips started to move and Lance thought, fabulous, in an entirely different tone.
Justin kept dancing and removing clothes, and Lance still thought this was one of the more thoughtless things Justin had ever done, but at least there was nudity and he was relatively certain there would be fucking as well. He was starting to relax and enjoy it when Justin --
Lance couldn't say it. His brain refused to think it, just would not process it, but he saw it, it happened and he had to think it.
Justin propelled himself backwards off the bed and hit the floor with a thump.
Lance could not kill him. That was what he clung to in the blood-red haze of fury and shock and bitterness that clouded his mind. He couldn't remember exactly why he could not kill Justin, but he knew there was a reason. Some reason, something practical, a contract maybe. Probably one of the band's contracts included a hefty financial penalty for killing Justin. Also there might be a law.
Lance counted backward from ten to try to control himself. He was at negative twenty-eight when there was a bang on the door.
"Lance, did you fall down again?" Lonnie shouted, and really, really, that was the last straw.
"It wasn't me," Lance snarled as loudly as he could. He heard Lonnie swear through the door. He crawled down the bed and hung over the edge so he was looming over Justin. Justin knelt up and rubbed his ass. "Ow," he said. Lance glared at him.
"Do you think that was funny?" Lance said. He was going for I-wasted-my-time-on-you ice with a hint of outraged dignity, but what came out sounded a lot more like simple hurt.
"No!" Justin said, looking stricken. "No, I just -- I thought that it would make you feel better, because you, you know. Had that accident. And I thought you would feel better if I fell down too. Because of how, you know, it could happen to anyone?"
Justin's voice was hopeful and pleading, and he meant it, Lance could tell, he truly meant it. Faced with that, there was only one thing Lance could do and he did it.
He laughed until he was shaking, perched on his hands and knees on the edge of the bed. He laughed until Justin started to smile, then stopped and said seriously, "I wasn't making fun. I wouldn't." Justin was scowling with his effort to resist Lance's laughter, and his eyes were grave and sincere. Lance stopped laughing.
He leaned forward and kissed Justin and Justin kissed him back, eagerly, gladly, until there was only one thing Lance could think and he thought it.
Thank you, God. Thank you.
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