Scrutiny: 7

by Miss Kitty E

"Joe," I breathe, "What are you doing?"

I don't know why I'm asking, I can see- feel, really -what he's doing. He's got me cornered in Chris' house, but it feels like we're miles away from anything, not in the upstairs hall. His hand is placed softly on my face, but he's not saying anything, just trailing two fingers down my cheek, thumb scraping over the five-o-clock shadow absently. What bothers me is the expression on his face, nothing as intense as desire or pain, just fascination with the sights, sounds, and textures of, well, me.

He starts to lean forward, and my stomach drops, "Joe!" The word conveys a lot more desperation now, but still he moves, lips brushing over my forehead, eyelashes. He's moving for my mouth now, and my knees are about to give out.

"Joe, please, stop it!" I lift my hands finally, thumping them hard against his chest.

"Please just let me," he whispers, putting a hand on my shoulder to keep me still. "Please, I've spent four years trying to get close to you."

Try as I might, I can't say no, just stand there limply and wait. He doesn't waste much time, pressing his lips to mine quickly as if the courage might leave him if he hesitated. It isn't the best kiss I've ever received, but to be honest I'm not helping him much, I'm too caught up in backtracking. Okay, Chris was having a party, a wrap party for the album we just cut, for the five of us and whoever else we wanted to bring along. Joey came, but I couldn't look him in the eye, haven't even tried since that day on the floor of the studio. Apprehension, waiting, I knew it was coming, and then there it was. He told he wanted to talk, so I followed him up the stairs, no need to be discreet, everyone knows something is going down. Got to the end of the hall, as far away as we can get from the other guys, and he doesn't say a word. No, he presses me into the corner and starts touching me, I start freaking. And now- and now we're kissing. Shit, I still don't know what the fucks going on, but it feels good. Wrong but good.

If it feels good to be close to him, it must feel better to be closer to him. One hand stays fisted in his t-shirt while the other slips around him, tucking his shoulder into the crook of my elbow, just pressing him closer. Our mouths have been open and meshed tightly for a while now, and he tastes the same as he did the first and second time, only now the alcohol is fresher. He breaks the kiss softly, pulling away slowly. I can't look at him right away, so I just stare into his shoulder as he presses his nose into my hair.


"Mm?" The hand that was on my shoulder has moved to the small of my back. We're swaying slightly, and I rest more and more of my weight against him involuntarily.

"I told you I didn't want to be your experiment." I'm not angry, I'm in heaven, I can't help it if the view is so clear that I can see I'm about fall. "Find another fag, Joey. There are thousands of them that would show you everything you might want to know."

"You're not an experiment," he tells me. He tries to push me back far enough to look me in the eye but I won't budge, still hiding in his chest.

"Really?" I ask him, surprised I could even sound so cynical. "You fucking swear if it was-" I pick a random name "-Justin here, rubbing up against you, talking about how hot you make him, you wouldn't try anything?"

Joey seems bothered by my question, but he shakes his head just the same. "He's a kid."

"Chris then! Dammit, Joey," I step away from him now, pinching the bridge of my nose. "Tell me what this is about."

"I don't know," he sighs. "I don't know. Don't walk away."

I turn quickly back to him, "I'm not. I just, Joey, I swear to God I won't be able to handle it if you just want to fuck around."

"I really just want..." he shrugs, eyes falling to floor. "I don't know, I want to be with you."

Mother of God. "Damn, Joey." I slip my arms around his waist and pull him close, I never could say no to him. "Damn." We're kissing again, who started that? I don't know, who fucking cares? He's less sedate now, running scared, but running to me, hands sliding where they please, mouth moving over my face, across my jaw, down my neck. I've shut down, I should be thinking, of what to say, what to do, but I can't even remember my name. Well, yes I can, it's Lance. Just don't ask me to spell that. Slowly, it stops, passion winding down to leave us clinging to each other, scared and breathless.

"This is such a bad idea," I whisper, cheek to his shoulder, eyes closed.

"I know, I know." He laughs, squeezing my middle softly. "You're not letting go."

"I don't ever intend to," I murmur. I'm not sure he heard me, or that I wanted him to. I just know he can never leave now, if he's lied to me, even if he doesn't realize it now, nothing in the world will heal that rift.

"They'll be looking for us soon," he says, standing taller.

"Let them find us," I say, this time intending to be heard.

He pulls away from me completely now, "I don't think I could handle that right now."

That's disappointing, but not surprising. I shrug, "It's more important that we talk."

He can't argue with this, having been the one to drop the fucking bombshell on me. He follows me into Chris' guestroom, but hesitates when I close the door. I sit on the bed, there's no other place to rest, but tuck one leg under me so that he doesn't feel obligated to get too close. He sits beside me, staring at his hands again, sighing. I tug one away from where it rests on his thigh, but now he just focuses on my fingers, tracing the tendons, following the lines on my palm.

"When you said we had to talk, I figured you had something to say," he says with a nervous half smile.

"I just-" I'm distracted by the way he follows the taper of my ring finger. I curl my hand around his, keeping him still, grounding him to the most important matter before us. "I just want to know that you're doing this for the right reasons."

He sighs, rubbing his free hand through his hair, "What are the right reasons?"

I shake my head, "You tell me." I try to stop myself but my hand is already smoothing over the mussed spikes.

"Jesus, Lance." He goes quiet, shrugging every time he tries to speak. Finally,"I don't know what to say."

"Don't say what you think I want to hear," I tell him. I lean forward, "Please, Joe, I just need you to tell me what you're thinking."

He rolls his eyes, and it's clear he doesn't think much of this talk. "I'm thinking that I wish we weren't talking, but I'm scared to start making out again because it's... you... and me."

My mind is fuzzy, and it's too hard to translate that. He could mean anything and even though I know he won't like it, I have to ask him, "Why does that scare you?"

"Because I've never done anything like this, man. But..." he pauses, looking at me, again, into me, really. "No matter what I tell myself, I want this."

"Want what Joe? To fuck me, go out with me?" I'm starting to feel sick from the convenience store beer and anxiety. I don't want to play around, I just want to know if I can trust him.

He hides from my eyes now, turning his head away, but not completely. "Fuck, I don't know. Both, I guess." He's gone limp again, lost again, asking me to find him and make it better somehow again. "Why are you being like this?"

I unfold my legs and move closer to him, putting one arm around his waist, the other taking his hand again. "I'm not mad, I'm just a little freaked out, too, Joe. I need to know why you want this. When you think of you and me together do you see it as us or just you and another man? Is this about us, or is it about being gay?"

"How the fuck should I know, I-" Joey shifts uncomfortably, realizing he's going to have to answer the question at some point. "When I think about it, it's just you. I don't know what more I can say other than I want to try this. Us." He smiles, suddenly, bumping me with his shoulder, "What about you, huh? You never said. You wanna fuck me or date me?"

I smile and answer a second too late to show I'm not worried, "I'm willing to give both a try."

He laughs, silently, but eventually it sounds more like he's trying to calm himself with deep breathing. He puts his arms around me now, whispering, "This is good. Good. God, Lance, I don't know why I-" It seemed better to kiss him again than to let him continue. He's still, if anything, enthusiastic. I break away with a sigh, half content, half morose, and lean against the headboard. He relaxes against my shoulder, pulling both legs onto the bed so we're side by side, slumped against each other. He's too languid to move his left leg off of mine, and I still have one arm around him, the other fiddling with the buttons on my jean jacket, occupying me in the silence. Through it all I've been aware that too much time is passing, and that the guys really will come looking for us in a minute, but I don't care. Well, that's a lie, I do care, for his sake. "Joe, we gotta go back really soon."

He sighs, a tiny childish huff, "It just feels so goddamned good to-"

"I know but-"

"Just another minute," he pleads. "I need to get my bearings straight. Just another minute."

I don't say anything, just relax under him again. You're right, Joey, let's take a second look at the world. My name is Lance (that's L-A-N-C-E) I'm twenty-one, bisexual, and in a fucking all guy pop group. This guy beside me, in my arms, is Joey (J-O-E-Y), for nearly five years he was honest to God only a friend, but now, now we're together and flying blind, not even knowing what we're looking for. Makes perfect sense.

Part Eight - Fic Index - Main