Sometimes there's a shift.
Sometimes everything's normal, things are going along like they always do, and then there's a shift, and nothing looks the same to me.
I look up from my computer, and suddenly I see Justin the same way the girls see him - as an untouchable, but irresistible, sex god. And I know that's stupid, because I've seen him fart and puke and snort milk out his nose. But during a shift, he is almost painfully alluring.
During a shift, Joey is recognizable only as the sleek predator he becomes when he's on the hunt. His affable, laughing features are transformed into planes of seduction, a frame for his dark, devouring eyes. This face is what a girl sees on the dance floor when he's pressed up tight against her, when his fingers twirl into her hair. This isn't Superman. Superman could never be present in this deep hunger.
JC changes the most during a shift. The nervous, high-strung perfectionist I know fades behind a mask of charisma. He never quite manages to lose the spastic quality that limns every word and action; but during a shift, it somehow becomes charming, endearing. And JC has a dark undercurrent like Joey, but during a shift his violent fantasies are subsumed beneath a layer of Aw-shucks boy-next-door goofiness.
Justin and Joey stand taller during a shift; they make the most of themselves. Only JC shrinks, attempting to diminish his presence, to look non-threatening.
Chris hardly changes at all. He's maybe a little funnier, a little more off-the-wall. Out of all of us, he's the only one who stays essentially the same.
Because even I change during a shift. I change into a smooth, seductive Southern gentleman - nothing like the awkward, stubborn man who usually lives inside this skin.
The shift is from inside to outside.
The shift is from feeling like one of us to feeling like one of them: the fans, the girls, the women. They see us from the outside, and they see the public image of us. They imagine what it would be like to be with us, to talk to us. They live with the fantasy versions of us in their heads.
And I know the truth, I know what it's really like to spend 24 hours a day with us. But even so, sometimes my view shifts, and I see us the way they see us. And, just like they would, I feel pretty lucky to get to be here. During a shift, I feel like God himself has reached down and blessed me with the opportunity to get to know these guys and to share their hectic lives.
But during the other times, the normal times, I feel even luckier. That's when Joey is my best friend, not a dangerous predator. That's when Chris is less manic, and a little more open about the hole in his heart Dani left. That's when Justin is a boy trying to figure out how to be a man.
And during the normal times, the non-shifted times, JC loves me. He needs me to help fit together his random pieces. And he does things to my body that bring me to the edge of insanity, but he always lets me do the same, and more, to him. So, yeah, I am lucky. I'm luckier than anyone on the outside will ever know.
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