Hey guys, who's Lesa's favorite?
"Hey Sexay," Chris calls as JC saunters onto the bus. He's wearing a snug cotton t-shirt in plain white and old jeans and his sunglasses are holding his hair back. He looks like every art student Chris ever wanted to fuck back in college, except cuter because JC grins and ducks his head whenever Chris catcalls him, even after five years of it.
"C'mere and gimme some sugar," Chris demands. JC sits on the edge of the couch, swaying slightly as the bus starts rolling. He braces himself with one hand and leans down and kisses Chris on the cheek. "Other side." Chris turns his head. JC kisses him there, too. He smells like orange peels and toothpaste, the tangy scent of JC fresh out of the shower. "In the middle," Chris says, and puckers. JC kisses his mouth, quick and light, and stands up.
"I'm gonna go write something," he says. "Later."
"mmm," Chris answers.
Thirty: 12. have
JC's in a t-shirt that's two sizes too small, and he looks good. There's not much to do in hotels late at night but visit the weight room, and you and JC go work out most nights, but where you seem to have stayed much the same, you and your round little muscles, JC's been bulking up. You like the way he looks. You glance down at your own chest, at the turtleneck your mother bought you. It's a bright chartreuse, and you thought that was cool at the time, but now it just seems loud and garish.
JC's wearing a white tee and baggy black jeans. JC looks hot.
"You look hot," you say, and JC stops fussing with his hair long enough to smile at you in the mirror. It suddenly occurs to you that maybe that wasn't the thing to say; that telling JC he looks hot before he goes clubbing is different from telling him he looks hot before a show, somehow.
"I want to look hot, too," you say, quickly. "Can I borrow one of your shirts?"
Four a.m. and JC didn't look like he'd been sleeping. "I was just thinking about you," JC said easily, and Chris ran his hands through his hair and hated JC's couch and the way the counters in his kitchen gleamed and his paisley fucking wallpaper because those things were close to JC but not of him. Chris wasn't twenty-five anymore and he'd maybe learned to pick around the scab.
"I never asked." Chris tugged at a diagonal zipper on his leather jacket and looked up to see the corner of a grin on JC's face. A slow bruise of a smile grew on his own face and he breathed out the rest, fast, before he hated all of it too much. "I thought you might --" He waved at the bike, kicked the molding at the base of the door. "You want?"
JC took off his Hello Kitty pajama pants and pulled on jeans while Chris stood in the bedroom doorway. Chris handed him a t-shirt off a chair and JC sat in front of the closet to put sneakers on bare feet. He looked like any other boy except not in the slightest and Chris had loved all of them at some point but never like that.
by Tiffany Rawlins
After subjecting Lance to the confusing, yet undeniably pleasant torture of his silent presence for nearly half an hour, JC had still not said much of anything, beyond "Did you ever wonder why they call the bathroom a 'head' on a boat?" and "I'm sorry, Lance," several times. He said "Lance" in such a way, though, that Lance didn't get tired of hearing that he was sorry at all.
Lance kind of had thought that JC would use all that thinking to decide what he would say, and when he was done he would tell Lance what it was, and so he didn't really do anything--lost to his laptop at Solitaire six times in a row, opened and closed the newspaper, opened and closed his datebook without looking at the date--except wait for JC to be ready to talk. Except that when JC stopped, and looked up suddenly, and stood with a languid arching feline stretch and his eyes momentarily closed, making Lance forget, for an instant, to breathe, he only said, "Thanks man." With one of those enigmatic little half-smiles that, yes, Lance could see were rather infuriating, except that he didn't mind seeing them, because. Well. They looked good.
"It's very queer," you say, desperate.
"What is, Jayce?"
"This love," you whisper and drop to the floor, laughing. "This love is very queer. It makes me laugh!" You shriek, burying your face in the heels of your hands, your fingers curved upwards, reaching for heaven. "And Joey has shoelaces in his mouth."
"Does he?" Justin asks, and you nod, matter-of-fact. Justin kneels down and tries to heave you to your feet, but you feel like a tile, a pretty ceramic one in the shade of morning azure number oh-nine-three, and wish to stay on the floor.
All Fine Now
One of JC’s favorite songs was the pinball song on Sesame Street and Justin knew this caused JC a great deal of embarrassment. At odd times, when Justin was hanging out with him, he’d hear JC hum or sing it softly.
“One two three four five, six seven eight nine ten, eleven tweee-ee-eelve!”
Justin would give him a look, which JC often returned with pink cheeks and indirect eye contact, but he would continue singing it, making nonsensical phrases and noises while occasionally singing the number of the day.
“Twelve! Dut doo doo do roo do doot! Twelve!”
JC always likes to read the rest of the magazine, studying the Back to School fashion advice, carefully smelling perfume samples. Lance is dreading the day JC will make him participate in an ‘Are You and Your Boyfriend Compatible?' quiz. "It's interesting," is JC's only explanation, and there isn't much point trying to figure that out logically. JC also thinks that math textbooks are interesting, although he never likes actually doing math. Back when Lance and Justin were still in bus school, he used to borrow ‘Introduction to Trigonometry' and read the story problems as if they were actual stories.
Volume and Void - #2
"You could. Start kissing me again. If. Um. You wanted." Lance's voice was blurry and JC could barely make out the words through the alcohol and his own sleepy haze. Lance turned and smacked his head against the doorframe, wincing. JC brought his hand up to his own forehead in sympathy.
"Also," Lance continued, "Also. You owe me $500. For my shoes."
JC looked down at the suede boots, saw the dark splotches across the fabric, and wondered if this would all play out differently if he were actually awake.
"I'll think about it," he heard himself say, because $500 was a lot of money for a pair of shoes.
"Okay, who do you like to watch *best*. If we weren't stuck in here together, who would you wanna watch."
"Okay." JC sighed, stared at the ceiling. "You and Lance."
"Whoa," Joey sat up. "You like watching *me*?"
"No, I mean. With Lance. You're really, I don't know. Sweet together, or something."
It was on the tip of Joey's tongue to say it, to tell JC about it and ask him what to do, but he'd already knew what the deal was, and JC would say the right thing and make it feel not so bad, but he was a dreamer, too. JC would give him the romantic answer, not the right one. Joey flopped back against the pillows.
JC's hobbies were solitary ones. He talked about hunting until someone pointed out that there was nothing to hunt. Then he found the dirt bike and tinkered with it for days. They didn't see him a lot, just heard him singing out in the back yard, singing songs that he made up himself, because none of them, not even JC, remembered any real ones. JC's songs were about whatever he was thinking about at the time, Joey noticed. "a monkey wrench is good to have, good to have, it'd be the fucking bomb to have," he sang, or maybe, "when I can ride my bike in the desert, I'll be happy as a happy happy cat." He had a nice voice.
Justin sometimes went out to talk to him, and sang along with different words.
Desert: Way Station
by Wax Jism
JC was so intense. He had to be perfect; every note, every step, every thrust that he made. After the fourth time they had sex, which was hot but seemed an awful lot like the first three, Justin accused him of choreographing their fucks. Not even bothering to deny it, JC just told him to pick a song. Pissed, he said 'Bye, Bye, Bye' but JC ignored the tone and the not-quite subtle message; when the music started, he just slid right into the groove and fuck if Justin didn't recognize the dance routine in the jerk and sway of JC's hips even before the bastard started to sing. Justin barely managed not to shout JC's name when the last round of 'Byes' corresponded with the final pulsing from his dick. "How's that for fucking choreography, Timberlake?" He refused to answer, but JC knew anyway and told him to pick another tune. He screamed at the end of 'In A Godda Da Vida'.
The Good Life
JC borrows your clothes, your jeans, your shirts, and he looks good in them, slim, and shiny, but he always stretches them out. You tell him that when he wants to borrow your new t-shirt, and he says he won't, and he just wants to borrow it for one night, and you try to tell him that it's not a voluntary thing, and that his shoulders are just bigger than yours, but then give up, and let him take it. He looks better than you do in it anyway.
He can hem pants, and he knows the words to every song ever, and he does your taxes in two hours, without a calculator; but the time you get a flat on the turnpike he's no help at all, and can't get the jack in the right place, and you have to do it yourself so he doesn't bend the axle. You destroy the spike heels you're wearing in the process. JC buys you a new pair, nicer than you would have bought yourself, and when you say you don't have anything that goes with them, says
"What about that green dress you have? With the belt." You haven't worn the dress in six months, but when you pull it out of the back of the closet, it matches the nubby alligator skin of the shoes perfectly.
He didn't really look like any girl you'd seen; no type, or style fit him completely. The dress belonged on a breezy day in South Hampton, but the hair was funky and hip, and the make-up was soft and subtle. Yet JC brought it all together into a spun-glass beauty, fragile and intricate. So much of it was the fact that you could pick out the parts of JC that were male, like his nose, and his brow, and the width of his shoulders, and what was feminine, like his wrists and the shape of his eyes, and soft wave to his hair.
JC twirled under your scrutiny with practiced grace, spinning the hem out and up, offering a tantalizing flash of pale thighs. "Where are we going?"
by Miss Kitty E.
When Lance came into his room, Josie was sitting on his sofa, still in her dress and scarf, one elbow propped on the arm of the couch. Lance thought she ought to be holding a cigarette. She sat like that often. He could read what she'd done on her face and just smirked and shook his head as his eyes went back to the mail in his hands. "What?" she said, looking sort of sweetly, naively confused.
Lance was gay, profoundly, resolutely gay. So Josie didn't hold the same magic for him that she did for the others, the magic JC had held. "Honey, I'm your best friend and I love you. But you're a slut."
"Am not!" She was pouting, crossing her arms. That sort of thing worked on Joey and Justin.
He catches it out of the corner of his eye when Wade has settled a hand lightly on his waist, lingering just a couple seconds too long because JC has moved into his touch. JC has curved his waist ever so slightly, flicking his hip in the smooth promising way that has to make Wade forget about the coffee he spilled on Justin that morning, and the four outdated jokes he told last week. And it's working, because JC's body is screaming look, look, i'm so pretty. you can fuck me, i promise. it'll be good. i'll make it be however you want.
JC is hit with the glance, and all of a sudden he knows something else. He knows that he doesn't have to be one of those men. He can be one of Joey's girls - well not really, but close enough. And he doesn't remember much, but now he's sure of it. Certainty smacks into him as one bright flash - just like the movies - and he's positive that he did something like this for Joey that day. Somehow he'd stumbled, and wires were crossed, and he'd flashed a smile that Joey only got from blond nineteen year olds in sparkles and halter-tops.
And then he's thinking, what pride? fuck pride, that he wants to do it again.
by Silvia Kundera
There's a tug on his hair, and he freezes. Back off? I don't want t--oh, fuck, okay already. He opens his eyes again, and blinks a couple more times. They still sting.
A moment later, he closes his eyes again, feeling a familiar sense of faint disappointment; that's how much he managed to take into his mouth? Not enough, man. Still some work to do before it's possible to make him shriek from this position--
--and it's not like Justin's ever gonna let him get that good. Sometimes, JC suspects that Justin likes making him struggle to accommodate more than actual competence.
"Open your eyes," Justin says, shifting back and rearranging until he's kneeling between JC's thighs, reaching with both hands for JC's wrists, and JC's head bounces slightly against the mattress. He's no idea where his pillow's got to. "That's pretty good."
Am I hired? JC thinks mirthlessly, staring at the ceiling, thinking that only he'd be sick enough to put up with Justin's fucking job. "Thanks."
When he has choreography and lyrics to guide him, there's no temptation to draw pictures with his hands or try to express exactly what he's thinking. There has to be something that can guide him like that through the rest of his life, and JC thinks that maybe Lance will know exactly what will help.
Lance grabs him after the concert, hugs him and peers determinedly into his face.
"Yeah." And JC pauses, cocks his head to the side. One hand rises, almost of its own volition. "What do you think of yoga?" There's a connection there, JC's got it in his head, but he can see Lance start to smile and realizes too late that it's another non sequitur.
Another fake smile. "Sorry man. Just thinking about exercise." Then he trips on Chris's scooter, abandoned and almost shoved out of the way. Lance's face softens and he grabs JC's arm.
"C'mon. We've got new DVD's, and Joey's making drinks tonight."
JC drinks a lot that night, enough that he can laugh when they call him Spazz, enough that it's funny even and the nickname seems sweet, the way it is when they call Lance Scoop.
The other thing was that JC was sort of schizophrenic these days, Lance thought, and the older he'd gotten the more he curled into himself, curved his narrow shoulders around and slumped in photographs until he seemed shorter than Lance, in every picture he looked like he was asking himself why he was there, and when he spoke they had to finish his sentences for him.
Get him dancing, though.
Get him into a studio, and it was like he used to be all the time, when they were children in that hellish warehouse in the worst part of Orlando, Lynn and Diane frowning and Chris promising that it was all right, that he had friends who would make sure nothing happened, and no air-conditioning in August, and JC had stood perfectly straight and given orders without thinking, expecting them to be obeyed just because he was right, and he knew it and so did everyone else, and he moved, he moved, he glided on the floor and it had been like the dirt couldn't touch his shoes. He had been like that all the time, once.
It always took them a few days to let down their guards with each other after a long break. It was exhausting to raise and lower their defenses, and they each had to work their way into existing as one of five instead of just one. They had learned to let each other ease back into their common life as if into a hot bath. But JC walked into the compound with the private smile he reserved for his inner circle already on his lips. His hair floated around his head like dandelion fluff. Lance reached out to touch it, then pulled his hand back. It always took a day or two for their boundaries to meld again.
JC caught his hand and smiled at him. "You can touch it," he said.
Lance touched it tentatively, and JC tilted his head toward Lance's hand. His hair was soft, and curlier than Lance had ever seen it, shot through with blond highlights. "You like it?" JC said.
"Yeah. Yeah, I do."
Chris's head jerked sharply when he saw JC's new look. When Lance and JC turned to face him, he did an exaggerated double take. "What happened, C? Did you lose a bet?"
"I didn't like how it was before," JC said.
Lance watched him go. Kelly and Joey were still talking and now they were holding hands.
"He always goes back to her. No matter what. He always has, and I think he always will."
Lance turned. JC was standing behind him, slinging his duffel bag over his shoulder.
"Oh," he said.
And then he realized what JC had said.
"Oh," he said again.
"Yeah," JC said, and walked towards him. He'd put a hat on, and Lance couldn't see his eyes, but JC was smiling his wide, guileless, friendly smile, the one he smiled all the time. His teeth looked sharp and white.
The Learning Curve
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