A wee small token for E.

by Lesa Soja

"Everyone's been calling me," his mom said. "Joe and Phyllis, Diane and Jim, Karen and Roy..."

"Oh yeah?" Chris said. "What did they want?"

"Well, they're all asking, you know, about the contracts. If we're gonna sign."

"What did you say?"

"I said my son's an adult, he'll make up his own mind." The two of them laughed together. "But seriously, Chris - you think this is the right thing for you? All of you? You think you should take it?"

"Yeah," he said. "Yeah, Mom, I think we should."

"Okay," she said. "I'll tell them that, then."

"Okay," he said.

Lance and Joey were off dancing, and Justin was sitting at another table with Britney. Chris stole some of JC's fries and didn't even get a blink.

"At the rate they're going, they might as well just admit it," JC said.

Chris glanced over at Justin brushing Britney's cheek with his fingers, then back at the smooth, taut line of JC's jaw. "I'm sure they will," he said.

JC's pink lips pinched together.

Justin came back to their table after Britney left. "Wanna hit the floor?"

"Sure," JC said, and followed Justin away.

Chris ate the rest of JC's fries.

It wasn't all that late when Chris got back, but the hallways on their floor were hushed and empty. Everyone already sleeping, or maybe still out. He went into his room and JC was sitting on the bed.

"JC?" he said.


Chris went closer. JC put one hand on Chris's wrist and the other on his hip.

"You might as well admit it," JC said, low.

Chris stood silent while JC started kneading, stroking, rubbing, leaning forward to press his face against Chris's stomach.

"Fuck," Chris hissed finally, JC's tongue damp through his T-shirt. "Yeah. Yeah, C. Do it."

"Zany," JC said.

"Crazy," Joey said.

"Psycho," Lance said. Chris laughed out loud, his knee jogging.

"Lucky," Justin said; loyal Justin. The interviewer leaned forward.

"Lucky," she repeated, "how's that?"

Justin flashed his broad grin. "Chris, yo, he's like a charm. He gets everything he goes after."

"That doesn't sound like luck to me," she said. "It sounds like determination."

"Stubbornness," Lance agreed.

"Hey, you already had your turn!" Chris protested.

"All right, all right. Now tell me about JC," the girl said.

"Talented," Justin said.

"Mr. Casual," Joey said.

"Absent-minded," Chris said. JC glanced over at Chris, eyes narrowing.

"Are you mad?" Justin said, hands pressed together.

"No," Chris said, and he shook his head a little, looking at Justin's downcast eyes. "I'm not mad at you, J."

"I just. I'm gonna talk to all the guys - I mean, I was gonna, as long as you said - but I wanted to talk to you first."

Chris stretched his arm out, and Justin slouched down readily to lean his head on Chris's shoulder. "You really want this, huh?"

"Since I was little," Justin said.

"Then you've gotta take this chance."

"You really think so?"

"Yeah, J," Chris said. "Do it."

"Bass, you little fucker," Joey said. "Soyuz? Seriously?"

"First I have to go through the training," Lance said, but his face was glowing. "And I figured, with that, and then - so I'd be back right about when Justin's done."

Justin grinned. "What about you, Joey?"

"Well, I, actually - " It was Joey's turn to flush. "I got a part. In RENT."


"No, Mark."

"Oh, rock, Joey!" Justin said, slapping him a crisp high five.

"And C?" Lance asked.

JC smiled, his eyes folding up into dark lines. "I'm gonna take some time off," he said.

"Me too," Chris said quickly.

Every time JC drove in, he let out a soft grunt. Chris thought about JC's smooth throat and squeezed his hand tighter on his own cock.

JC hit him perfectly, four, five times, and Chris tensed, aching, and came. JC put a hand on his shoulder and held him down a few strokes longer.

"So, next week?" Chris said, while JC was getting the sheet off the floor.

"Can't. I'm going down to Alex and Brad's."

"To hang?"

"To start recording, man! You know Adam called me - Jive finally said okay."

"Oh," Chris said. "That's. great, C."

JC smiled distantly.

The deposition took all afternoon. When Chris finally got out, the only person in the outer office was Lance's mom. "Hey, Diane," he said.

"Hello, Chris."

"Lance still in there?"

She nodded curtly.

"Hey," he said. "What's your beef with me?"

"Nothing," she said. "No one blames you, Chris."

He paused. "Diane - listen. You really think, if we'd said, 'Wait, this contract sucks,' Lou would've said, 'Sorry, let's fix that'? That he wouldn't have just found someone else? You think we could've gotten a better deal by saying no?"

She glared at him, then looked away.

"Okay, then," Chris said.

"Heads up!" Rahim said, and Chris reached up to catch the can hurtling his way. "My ears are still ringing, man. I never heard screaming like that."

"I have," Chris said.

Rahim looked at him with widened eyes. "That is so amazing."

Chris sat down and opened his beer at arm's length. "It's pretty neat, yeah." He drank, and laid his free hand over Rahim's wrist, thumb rubbing gently.

"Chris, um. I don't -"


"Aren't you with - someone?"

"No," Chris said, " - no."

He leaned closer and licked a line up Rahim's neck. "Fuck," Rahim breathed. "Shit - yeah. Shit. Okay. Yeah."