"I just want to go to the beach," Justin said. His lips curved in a private smile, and Chris felt a wave of irritation so visceral he had to clench his fists in the blanket. "It's all set up. You know you'll wind up going anyway, so why not just say yes now and be happy?"
This whole thing, the whole idea of Justin's little romantic getaway, summed up everything that bothered Chris about Justin. Of course he assumed that Chris would want to go away with him, that Chris had nothing better to do. The kid already acted like he owned Chris. He had obviously decided that climbing in and out of Chris' bed meant he was free to climb in and out of Chris' personal space, in and out of Chris' life.
He was always brushing up against Chris, whispering to him at concerts, sitting close to him on the bus, behaving like Chris was his - well, like Chris was his. Chris couldn't play a video game or watch a movie without Justin snuggling up to him, slipping an arm around Chris' waist. And when Chris would shrug him off, pull away, Justin would just smile at him. Not the shiny professional beam he used in public, and not the wide grin that his family and friends could evoke. It was a sly, knowing, I've-got-a-secret smile that Justin had been sending Chris' way a lot lately.
Sometimes Chris thought the kid was more trouble than he was worth. But every night he had Justin's hot mouth on his, his hot body writhing beneath Chris', and that went a long way toward convincing Chris to stick around. Besides, he got a perverse thrill out of the sheer unlikeliness of the situation. Chris Kirkpatrick, world's oldest boyband member, getting it on with the country's wet dream. He loved to hear the teenies scream for Justin, loved to read the magazines rhapsodizing about the golden boy with his golden voice, and think about how that golden boy looked naked in his bed, how that golden voice sounded gasping Chris' name into his ear. That sharp twist Chris felt in his gut when he saw how the fans looked at Justin was triumph, Chris thought. And it was that feeling, that triumphant feeling, that made him fuck Justin frantically on the nights after concerts, after award shows and premieres, mumbling secret words into Justin's throat while Justin crooned soothingly to him, large hands gentle on Chris' back. And it was triumph Chris felt, he told himself, as he lay awake afterwards watching Justin smile in his sleep.
This trip was just one more of Justin's ridiculous romantic demands, one more chance for the kid to flex his muscles. They had one break, one four-day break after two months of touring, and the last thing Chris wanted was to do more traveling. He didn't want to go, had refused flat out. But Justin didn't argue with him, didn't even roll over in bed to face him. He just said, "You'll do it if you ever want to get in my pants again." Chris didn't need to look at Justin to know he was smiling. And Chris knew he would end up going.
Well, Justin could blackmail him into taking the trip, but he couldn't make him do it with a good grace. He complained about it to everyone he could find, until JC and Lance would simply get up and leave at the sight of him. Finally Joey told him to knock it off.
"It's easy for you to talk, Fatone. You don't have to fucking honeymoon with the Boy Wonder."
"Poor you, Kirkpatrick. Dragged off to a tropical paradise by your millionaire heartthrob boyfriend. Nations weep for you."
"He's not really my boyfriend." It sounded like a whine even to Chris' ears.
"You're fucked up, Kirkpatrick. I hope you know that."
"Whatever, Joey," Chris said. Joey looked at him like Chris was a particularly backward four-year-old. He must be pretty badly off if Joey Fatone looked at him like he was stupid, Chris thought. Joey was still watching him, so he said it out loud to piss him off. Joey just smiled, and something about it reminded Chris of Justin. Suddenly he was tired of people smiling at him like that.
"What's your fucking problem, Fatone? You're just like the kid, both of you smiling at me like you've got some kind of secret, and dumb old Chris Kirkpatrick is left out in the cold. I'm sick of the lot of you."
Joey took a step toward him, and Chris had a panicked moment of wondering how Joey's love for him would balance against his anger. Joey, easy-going, amiable Joey, had taken to studying Chris lately, especially when Justin was around. The scrutiny made Chris jittery, particularly since it seemed like Joey had grown more protective of Justin. Joey had shouted at Chris on the bus two days ago, looming over him and poking him hard in the shoulder.
It's not like Chris had really done anything awful, either. Justin had been hanging all over him again, sidling up next to him on the couch. "What're you doing?" he'd asked, and when Chris shrugged, Justin slid right into his lap, curling an arm around his neck. Joey had looked up from his card game with JC and grinned at them.
"What the fuck, Justin," Chris had said, and shifted, trying to dislodge him.
"What?" And Justin had looked up at him from under his lashes.
"Get up," Chris had said sharply, drawing Joey's glance again. "Get off my lap. You're not my fucking girlfriend," and Justin had stared at him for a moment, eyes wide and hurt. Then Justin had smiled, and Chris felt that familiar prickle of pain in his chest. The ache had eased when Chris pushed himself up off the couch, spilling Justin sideways onto the floor.
"What's your problem, man?" Joey had said, standing up, grabbing Chris' arm. When Chris had tried to shake him off, Joey had yelled, "Get your fucking act together, Kirkpatrick!" Chris had just turned and walked out. Slouching against the wall in the darkened hallway, he'd heard JC saying Justin's name, and Justin's voice saying, "Forget it, C." He closed his eyes and waited.
He'd heard footsteps, then felt Justin's mouth on his. He had put his hands on Justin's shoulders and slammed him backward into the opposite wall. He'd kissed him hard, running one hand over Justin's scalp, the other sliding up beneath his shirt. When Justin moaned, Chris pulled away. There was just enough light for him to see the secretive smile on Justin's face.
Now Joey was grabbing his arm again, hard enough to bruise, and Chris wasn't thinking about Justin's smile, wasn't thinking about anything but how fucking big Joey could look when he wanted. Then Joey laughed right in his face.
"You know something, Kirkpatrick? You're right. There is a secret. I know it, Justin knows it. You know something else - everybody knows it, everybody except for you. You dumb shit."
"Whatever, Joey," Chris said again, and stormed out. But he didn't complain about the trip to anyone but Justin after that.
Justin, though, was fair game. He bitched at Justin while Justin packed his bag, and then insisted that Justin pack Chris'. He bitched at Justin on the drive to the airport and while they waited to board. When he reached his seat, he settled in for a few more hours of uninterrupted bitching. Justin, however, buckled his seat belt, put his head on Chris' shoulder, and promptly fell asleep. Chris swore and tried to shove Justin off him, but the kid could cling like a limpet when he wanted to. Chris didn't have much room to maneuver in his seat, and he could only manage to shift Justin so Justin's head was on his chest. His arm was pinned uncomfortably under Justin's body, and the kid was heavier than he looked, so he draped his arm around Justin's shoulder just to keep it from falling asleep. The flight attendant smiled at them when she passed, and Chris scowled. Why was everyone smiling at him like that? He refused to sign an autograph for her daughter when she came around a second time.
When they finally arrived, Chris was too tired to do more than fall into bed. The next morning, Chris was hot, he was still a little sleepy, and bitching just seemed like too much effort. Besides, Chris admitted to himself, the place was pretty nice. They had a little house to themselves, and a private beach. The ocean was more than just beautiful, it was the kind of natural wonder that made you feel a little drunk when you looked at it too long. Chris was under the influence of that ocean, he thought, when he let Justin drag him off to explore.
Justin laced his fingers through Chris' as they walked, and Chris raised an eyebrow, but let it pass. When they reached a public beach and Justin showed no signs of turning back, Chris pulled his hand away.
"Jup, aren't you afraid of getting recognized?" Chris wasn't afraid of getting spotted himself, not unless they stopped by a mall or a junior high school.
"Naw, won't happen here," Justin drawled, and walked on.
Justin was right. Either no one recognized him, or they were all too cool to say anything. But Justin drew a lot of stares from women, and as they walked on through what was obviously a different section of the beach, from men. Chris was beginning to feel like Cinderella's stepsister. When he said that, Justin laughed and said, "Jealous, old man?"
Just for that, Chris decided to ogle the next man he saw. A striking man approached them, wearing a brilliantly patterned sarong that showed off his darkly tanned torso. He smiled, probably at Justin, Chris thought sourly as he grinned back. Chris turned around blatantly to watch the man go by. Perhaps a little too blatantly, he realized as the man turned back and started to come toward them. Chris grabbed Justin and walked away quickly. The kid was laughing.
When they had retreated to what Chris felt was a safe distance, he dropped Justin's hand. "You liked him, huh?" Justin asked. "He looked good. I think he liked you too."
"Shut up," Chris said. "I want to go back now. I'm getting tired."
"You go ahead. There's a little town up there. I've got something I need to pick up."
"You want me to come?" Chris asked.
"No, you go on back. It'll be quicker if I'm alone."
And Justin left him on the beach.
Now Chris was back in their little cottage, where he never wanted to be, alone, bored and angry. He heard the door open and shut, and the sound of Justin walking through the house. Justin didn't greet him, so Chris didn't call to him either. He just slouched against the railing of the porch, thinking of nasty things to say when Justin finally joined him.
Chris gaped when Justin appeared in the doorway. He was wearing nothing but a dark blue sarong, obviously purchased that afternoon. It was draped low and tied off at his hip, sweeping just below the hard ridges of his abdomen. Justin had lowered his head a little and was watching Chris through his eyelashes. "You like?"
You look ridiculous, Chris was about to say, when Justin turned and Chris realized he'd have to get his tongue back in his mouth to actually speak. Justin's back was long, long, impossibly long, a golden column that ran straight and smooth down to the crisp curve of the sarong. The cloth clung over his ass and fell below his knees, a tantalizing glimpse of thigh just visible through the slit at the side. He was more than beautiful, Chris thought, he was like the ocean behind them, so breathtaking Chris felt giddy just looking at him.
"Who're you supposed to be?" Chris cursed himself when he heard how hoarse his voice sounded.
"Justin Timberlake. Remember me? We're in a little band together?" Justin took a few steps toward Chris and that coy smile curved his lips. "So, do you like it?"
"Give me a minute. I need to get a better look." Justin stood still as a statue while Chris walked slowly around him. Chris stopped behind Justin, his hands on Justin's hips. Chris felt Justin take a shuddering breath when Chris pressed up against him. "Eh, it's all right," Chris whispered against Justin's neck.
"Bastard," Justin said.
Chris bit down gently on Justin's shoulder. Justin tasted like salt and cocoa butter and Chris thought he might spend the rest of his life just like this, Justin's skin hot under Chris' mouth, under Chris' hands. Justin turned his head, licked Chris' lips and ground back into him. "That'll work too," Chris said aloud and Justin laughed.
"Freak," he said.
"I'm not the one in a dress," Chris said, running his hand over Justin's stomach.
Justin just laughed again and nipped at Chris' jaw. "It's a sarong," he said and took a step away. "If you don't like it," he said, taking another step, and Chris was tempted to once, just once, let him walk away. Then Justin looked back at him. Chris watched Justin's shoulder dip, the muscles stretching in Justin's neck and his long, long back, and suddenly he was tempted to do quite a lot of things. He hooked his fingers in the back of the sarong and pulled, walking them both backward till his knees hit a chair. He yanked Justin into his lap. Justin wriggled until Chris hissed and put his hands on Justin's hips, holding him still. It was the warm crush of Justin's body, Chris thought, that made his chest tighten and his breath catch. "Thought you didn't want me to sit in your lap," Justin said. "Like your girlfriend."
There was something smug in Justin's voice that made Chris want to smack him. It made him hard, too. "God, you talk so fucking much," he said. He licked the base of Justin's neck. Justin shivered, so he did it again.
"Shut me up, then," Justin said.
Chris clapped his hand over Justin's mouth and Justin bit down, hard.
"Motherfucker!" Chris shook his hand out. "That hurt."
"It was supposed to."
"And it's gross, too, man. Who knows where your mouth's been?"
"You do," Justin breathed. He put a big hand in the middle of Chris' chest and pushed hard, swinging his legs to the side. He squirmed until he was sitting sideways in Chris' lap.
"What the fuck is your problem?" Chris grumbled, ducking to avoid getting an elbow in his eye. Justin bent his head and kissed him, hard. His tongue was wet and insistent. Chris wrapped an arm around Justin's waist, to keep Justin from falling, he thought, and held on for dear life. Justin still had a hand wedged between them and he started to move it. Justin's fingers rubbed across Chris' nipple and he gasped. The fingers pinched, and he groaned into Justin's mouth. Justin's hips were rolling, and Chris longed for the bed in the next room. He wondered if he dared try to stand up with his arms full of golden writhing pop star. Then Justin put one hand on each side of Chris' head and devoted his full attention to kissing him, and Chris knew he wasn't going anywhere until the little bitch came up for air. It wasn't fair, wasn't fair at all, that the kid should be so good at this, good at everything he did, and then Chris was floating, light-headed, and he didn't care about fairness, about anything at all, as long as Justin kept kissing him.
Justin stopped. Chris was panting, and hoping he didn't look quite as dazed as he felt. Justin wiped a knuckle lightly across Chris' lower lip. "Guess you're not so worried about where my mouth's been now," he said, and his lips curved in that damned knowing smile.
Chris shoved, and flinched a little as Justin hit the wood floor hard, harder than Chris had intended. Justin's eyes narrowed, and he seemed on the verge of getting angry, when suddenly Chris was spread out on top of him, breathing hard in his ear. Chris had one knee on either side of Justin's hips, and he pushed up on his hands, looking down at him. "Turn over," he growled.
"Why should I?" Justin said, but he was panting now, and he didn't look quite as cocky as he had a minute ago.
"Because if you do, I'll rip that sarong off you with my teeth and fuck you till you scream."
Justin flipped over so fast he almost knocked Chris over.
Chris rolled off to the side and sat back on his heels, looking down at what was laid out before him. Justin was lying with one cheek pressed to the hard floor, his eyes closed, his arms crooked and stretched out above his head. His back was heaving, shining with sweat. The sarong was knotted low over Justin's left hip, the dark blue cotton pulled tight over his ass. Their wrestling had rucked the fabric up above his knees. Chris chuckled when he noticed that Justin had spread his legs.
The sound made Justin open his eyes. "What's the holdup?"
"Just planning my angle of attack."
"I thought you said something about ripping this thing off with your teeth." Justin rocked his hips.
"Indeed I did," Chris said, but he didn't move. Justin rolled on his side a little, propping himself up on his arm. "Down," Chris said, and put a hand between Justin's shoulder blades, pushing. He trailed his tongue along the smooth strip of skin above the upper border of the sarong, his hand still on Justin's back, feeling the muscles ripple. He leaned across Justin, free hand cupping Justin's ass, his mouth over the sarong's knot. He studied it appraisingly.
"Come on," Justin moaned, doing a full-body shimmy, raising his hips so high Chris had to jerk his head back.
"I said stay down," Chris said, and squeezed Justin's ass. Justin moaned again but lay still. Chris put his mouth to the knot, pulling one end with his teeth. That seemed to tighten it. He traced it with his lips, trying to figure out how to loosen it. It was tied really tightly. The cotton was dry, and, well, cottony in his mouth. This was a little more complicated than he had originally thought. He sat back as far as he could without removing his hands from Justin's body, and squinted at the knot. He wished he'd been a Boy Scout.
Justin looked back over his shoulder, grinning. "Yo, do you need a hand back there?"
Chris slapped his ass sharply. "Don't," Justin said, dropping his head, but he shuddered and pushed back against Chris' hand. His hips twisted a little. Well, well, Chris thought, and then looked at the damned knot again. Think about that later. Back to the matter at hand. He bent down again, worrying the cloth with his teeth.
He was beginning to make a little progress when Justin whined, "Chrissss," dragging his name out in a way he knew Chris hated.
"Bitch and moan, bitch and moan," Chris mumbled without lifting his head.
"Seriously, man, we've only got three more days here. I'd kind of like to get fucked at least once."
"This is not as easy as it looks," Chris said.
"That's the problem?" Justin said. Chris didn't like his tone of voice. "You can't get it untied? What the hell's wrong with you?"
"Look, all I'm asking you to do is lie there and shut up."
"You're such a romantic."
"If you can't manage that, we can stop right now."
"Fine," Justin laughed. He bent one arm, cushioning his head. "I'll just lie here and you wake me up when you need me." He closed his eyes, smiling.
Chris had had enough. He sat back on his heels, digging in his pockets. "What now?" Justin said, opening one eye.
"I mean it, Justin," Chris said as menacingly as he could. He wanted to think that was what made Justin close his eyes again, but he knew Justin had caught sight of the tube of lube. One hand back between Justin's shoulder blades, the other snaked up Justin's calf, under the sarong. Justin made a noise that sounded suspiciously like a whimper. Chris grinned, added another finger. Yep, that was a whimper all right.
"Who's laughing now, pretty boy?"
"Hate you," Justin gasped, but it was hard for Chris to be offended when Justin was making such pretty soft sounds. He twisted his fingers, and Justin cried out. Chris' cock twitched, and he wanted that fucking sarong off right now. He put his mouth back to the knot.
The problem was, the angle was even more difficult now. The floor was hard beneath Chris' knees, and his back ached, and he felt like he was playing some obscene game of Twister. The cloth was kind of gross, too, slick with Chris' saliva, and it kept slipping out of Chris' mouth because Justin's hips were undulating pretty much continuously now.
"Chris, Chris please …" and that was more than Chris could take. He gripped the cloth right next to the knot between his teeth and jerked his head back as hard as he could. Pain flared through his mouth, Justin groaned loudly as Chris' fingers slipped out, and the fabric tore. Chris sat back for a minute, the cloth hanging down from his gritted teeth, grinning victoriously. Then he unwrapped Justin like a Christmas present.
Justin rolled over, his movement dragging the cloth from Chris' mouth. He spread his legs wide, pulled his knees up till his feet were flat on the floor. He was flushed, chest heaving, his eyes closed. Chris thought he had never seen anything so decadent. Then Justin opened his eyes and looked at Chris, and a shock of something that was not lust, but sharper and wilder, ran through Chris' body.
"Who told you to turn over?" Chris said, but his voice shook. Justin started to roll back over obediently, but Chris put one hand on his knee. "You're good as you are," he said, and Justin smiled widely, sweetly at him. Chris kissed him with his mouth closed, ran his hand down Justin's thigh to his cock and squeezed gently. Justin closed his eyes.
Chris moved between Justin's legs, opening his pants. He grabbed Justin's ankle and pulled up, put his hands on the floor on either side of Justin, and just hovered there. His mouth was so close to Justin's that he could almost taste him. Justin opened his eyes and reached up, turning Chris' face until his ear was over Justin's mouth. "If you don't get in me right now," he breathed, "I'm going to rip your cock off."
"Sweet-talker," Chris said, and pushed inside. He fucked him hard and fast, one hand on Justin's cock, the other holding himself up. Justin had one leg over Chris' shoulder, the other wrapped tightly around his waist. His eyes were closed again, his head rocking from side to side, his hands scrabbling for purchase on the hard floor. Justin banged a hand against the floor once, twice. Chris put his mouth against Justin's neck and mumbled something soft and reckless into his skin as Justin came.
Chris lifted his head. He saw that smug little smile on Justin's face again and slammed into him hard. He mouthed the same reckless words and came.
Justin slid out from underneath Chris. Chris rolled onto his back and lay panting, sweating, eyes closed. He thought about getting rid of his clothes and climbing beneath the cool white sheets of the bed inside, then decided it was too much trouble. Justin curled up next to him and licked his ear. "Chris," he said softly. Chris grunted.
"I'm going to get a beer," Justin said. Chris nodded, and told himself that that sinking feeling just above his ribcage was not disappointment. He knew Justin had gotten up from the empty feeling of the air beside him.
"Me too," Justin said, and Chris opened his eyes. Justin was standing in the doorway, back to Chris. The late afternoon sunlight caught the fuzz on his scalp, the gold of his tan. A soft glow glittered around his body, and Chris thought he looked like he didn't belong on this earth.
"What?" Chris said.
"I heard what you said." Justin looked back over his shoulder, and that secretive smile was on his face. "When we were, just now … you know."
Chris looked at him. For a moment he couldn't breathe. "You heard."
"I heard," Justin said. "I always hear. And, me too." His smile grew wider and he looked at Chris steadily.
For the first time, that smile didn't bother Chris. He smiled back at Justin, a hollow place inside his chest suddenly filled. He knew Justin's secret.