Time

by Miss Kitty E

"What time is it?"

"Don't think about the time it makes it worse."

This satisfies Justin for all of about twenty, anxious bounces of his leg, then he has to look up, "Really, Chris, what time is it?"

"That's not not thinking about the time, Justin." An affectionate hand comes down to scrub his hair. Justin curses and squeals, and tries to get away, but Chris was climbing onto the couch now, too. His fingers dug into Justin's sides, all along his belly until Justin started fighting back hard, needing to breathe. They look at each other then, Justin looking up at Chris on top of him, smiling, and Chris down at Justin beneath him, panting.

"What time is it?" Justin asks, to break the tension. "Come on, Chris, I gotta know. If it's later than I think, I'm gonna be really happy, but if it's earlier, I need to know now.

Chris sighs with theatrical frustration, but more importantly, he looks at his watch. "It's 11:27."

"Shit."

"I told you not to think about it, Justin." Chris shifts on the couch, poking Justin legs until they lift and let him wedge himself into the corner. Justin puts his feet on the armrest, and squirms while Chris runs his fingertips over the arches, just bordering on a ticklish touch.

"It's really not so bad," Justin insists, justifying it to himself. "Thirty-three minutes till midnight."

"Thirty-two," Chris corrects, "It just changed."

Justin smirks because it was obvious Chris isn't following his own advice, "T-minus thirty-two minutes before we can fuck and fuck and fuck and my mom can't do a thing about it."

"I don't know if a minor like you should be using words like that."

"Fuck you," Justin kind of pushes Chris' face away with his left foot.

"Oh yeah, sexy, Justin."

"Damn straight," he laughs, crossing his ankles and reaching back to find a pillow to slide under his head. "You must think everything I do is sexy if you're willing to wait a fucking year to do this."

Chris raises his eyebrows, "That's an interesting fallacy."

Justin's brow furrows in a bit of confusion, half of his mind on "the time, the time, what's the time, and why isn't it midnight?" and the half trying to remember if he'd ever heard the word "fallacy" before and in what context. He gives up. "What's a fallacy?" he asks, feeling stupid, Chris didn't often make him feel like this but when he did it put him out.

"Well, it's like, okay, if you think that I think everything you do is sexy because I've been waiting almost a year for tonight, then, like, conversely everything I do, is sexy to you. You've been waiting just as long as I have, Juju."

Justin doesn't contradict any of it except to say, "It's been more than a year, Chris. So much longer than that."

Chris looks at him, hesitating a little before threading his fingers through Justin's, "How long then?"

Justin smiles, eyes dropping down from Chris' face to their hands. He feels less absurd talking to their entwined fingers than to Chris often cynical face. "Mm, okay, back in Germany, the first time around, there was this one time Lou only got two rooms, and Lance and Joey were fucking bitches and snagged one of the rooms first. Then it was you, me, and JC in that one little room, and JC was being an even bigger bitch and got one of the beds to himself, you and me got the other. You didn't want to stay on your side, kept rolling over, and finally I just let you, and it was annoying, kept me up."

Chris nods and doesn't think he'll ever hear the end of this story. Justin continues, "You got all close, like you were moving towards warmth, and I was just starting to get taller than you so you could put your head on my shoulder and everything, you know, put your hand right across my chest. I liked it, it was like we were lovers. Like for real, in that moment, it was real to me, and it just made me feel good. After that, everything you did was, like, different cause you weren't just Chris anymore. I guess it really started, like a week after that, the bed thing, when I really realized it."

Chris is reverently quiet for a moment, impressed by Justin, wondering how long he'd been doing that, hiding big concepts behind little words and coy smiles. "How long ago was this?"

Justin shrugs, "Somewhere in the middle of fifteen." He looks up at Chris and to see his thick, little brows shoot up in surprise. "Yeah, two and a half years."

"Jesus, Justin," Chris murmurs. He thinks about it for a while, not long enough because when he looks at his watch it's only 11:33 but it kept him busy, wrapping his mind around that. Two and a half years, there had been months and months of budding, real feeling in Justin before his mother found his journal, filled will elementary style declarations of love and confronted Justin about it, eventually she asked Chris about it, too. Chris is still mad about that, that Justin's feelings had been laid down for the very first time by a shrill and angry woman who had wanted to blame him for her baby being gay.

How long after that before Chris realized he liked knowing Justin felt that way, even after that minor trauma? How long before he went to Justin to talk about it? Too long, and yet no where near long enough because by the time they had their plans laid out there had been almost nine months to suffer through to get to this day. No more legal qualms, no more hawkeyed mother to avoid, just the right to do whatever they fucking pleased. Chris revels in that thought a while, not long enough for a minute to tick by, but close.

"Come here." Justin pulls his legs up and plants his feet on the floor. He makes a home in Chris' open arms, and they sit close like that for a long time. Or so it seems, three minutes seem like fucking forever right now. It's 11:37, there's only a little more than twenty minutes to go.

"Are you scared at all?" Justin asks. "I mean, not of how it'll be like, but of what will happen? We gotta tell the guys, and my family, and all this time it's been a secret, you and me."

Chris nods, he put his hand on Justin's forehead, holding him still as he bends to kiss his cheek. Justin had a penchant for turning his head, just fast enough to turn it into something that if it wasn't illegal, should be. "It'll be fine. We've already passed the test, baby."

Justin smiles, nothing big and flashy, just a little, intimate curve of his lips. "I'm thinking I should keep Britney around. It's good publicity," Justin says finally. "Makes mom happy, too. She keeps thinking one day I'll get an eyeful and find my inner straight boy."

Chris shrugs, "You'll have to tell her, too, then."

"Mm," Justin says noncommittally. He scoots down a little, to rest the back of his head completely on Chris' shoulder. "You think she'll hate me?"

"Britney?"

"No. I already know she won't, she's too... we've known each other for too long, I think she knows. I mean my mom, for this, for being with you?"

Chris worries his fingers into his hair, scratching an itch under the braids. "She's lived with it for a while now. She doesn't like it, but I think if she was going to kick you out it would have been a while before this. She loves you, she just can't figure out why you're not as perfect as you're supposed to be."

"This feels perfect."

"I know," Chris looks down at his watch. It's 11:40 exactly, his stomach flutters, and he shows his wrist to Justin who smiles sleepily.

Bored now, despite all the impatience thrumming through him, Justin prompts, "Tell me what you're gonna to do, Chris. Gotta visualize the prize, you know."

"Nuh-uh, JuJu, we're keeping it clean until midnight."

"Tell me why we're doing this then. Waiting." He steps up his persuasion by moving to straddle Chris' lap and look him straight in the eye.

"Because it's you," Chris says. "That's the only real reason, because it's you." He chews the inside of his cheek while Justin looks at him expectantly, "Now you wondering, 'what does that mean to him,' huh? Well, you're beautiful, so fucking beautiful, but you want me... I mean, me, Justin, it blows my mind. And you're funny, sometimes even when you mean to be. You put up with me, you wait for me, you treat me better than, like, anybody I've ever been with. You're pretty, and talented, and sweet, and real, and I love you. Why wouldn't I wait?"

Justin smiles, from the heady rush after all those compliments, yes, but also because Chris said it, said 'I love you,' words Chris doesn't ever say very much because he's afraid of them. Justin knows how it feels though, because Chris has always been good to him, too. He knows now that Chris had always been watching out for him. He takes two fingers and presses them to his lips, and puts those fingers to Chris mouth, tracing it.

"You gonna let me kiss you for real soon?" he asks, because Chris has put a stop light on all that until midnight, because he wants to do it right. It makes Justin feel hot as fuck, to know Chris doesn't trust himself to keep control even with a little kiss.

"Midnight," Chris promises, biting the pads of Justin's fingers cause they refuse to move.

"Why?" Justin whines.

"It's about principle," Chris says vaguely.

"Principle?" Justin asks uninterested.

"Yeah, principle. Patience is a virtue, anticipation is half the fun, all that. Makes the victory sweeter, baby, if we haven't done anything that bitch can disapprove of. Legally anyway. We've waited so long, twenty minutes won't make a difference in the end."

"Seventeen," Justin corrects, sullen. He sits up and looks at Chris; Chris knows what he's about to hear and regrets. "Please don't say shit like that, too. About her. She's not a bad woman."

The palm on Justin's cheek is innocent, comforting, but when it slides down to rub Justin's neck, the touch has changed. He pulls back, guilty. "I'm sorry," a double-edged apology. He sighs, "I just... it's hard to love someone who hates you so much."

"She doesn't hate you," Justin says, an old assertion. He settles back beside Chris, "She hates that you're not a girl, and that she doesn't have any control over you. That's why she threatens you with the statutory rape thing, to control you."

Chris frowns, but bites his tongue. Sixteen minutes and statutory rape is meaningless, it's quite a marvel. Chris wonders what the difference is, because Justin hasn't even changed that much since they started this. No more than any of them under the lights, he's gotten taller, stronger, less playful shy, and more sexy arrogant. He was still sweet though, the same sweet kid who believed in true love, but wouldn't admit to it, and would love his mother no matter what she did, and was trying to set up a charity for "music or something," because he was worried about becoming a jerk in the end. He needs Chris but had so much without him. Fifteen minutes now. Fifteen.

He thinks about scrapping the whole principle thing, but he bit down hard on that. Mostly because of pride, he wished he hadn't made such a big deal about it, because if he did anything now Justin would be insufferably smug. He diverts, "You know it's still gonna be illegal. Sodomy still a crime in Florida.{1}"

Justin smiles, "We can change it up, yo, you can be the innocent one for once."

Chris laughs, nervously because it's getting down to the wire, and he realizes it's not going to be perfect when it happens. The change from the thirtieth to the thirty-first, from seventeen to eighteen, isn't going to be big enough. He'll still be old, and Justin will still be young, and they'll both be in a group they don't want to fuck up, not now, not now when they're really hitting it big. It strikes him then, how safe their previous arrangement was, they've been allowed to romp around in an open pasture and fall in love without any of the complications- or perks, mind you ľof sex. He wonders if that's how it should be done, and if suddenly throwing another factor will harm them at all.

Justin murmurs something about twelve minutes, and at last Chris sees how tense he is, thinking the same thoughts maybe. He puts his hands on Justin's shoulders, and starts working his thumbs over tight bundles of muscles. "Stop worrying," he chides.

Chris has always had a little thing for perfect numbers, if he can't get out of bed at exactly 6:30, he won't get out of bed until exactly 6:35. It only applies when he's aware of the time, which isn't often, but he's never been so aware of it before. He massages Justin's shoulders for another minute, works his way down to the lower back in the next until it's exactly 11:50 before standing up and taking both of Justin's hands. He walks backwards into his bedroom, smiling just a little because his nerves are starting to calm, it's Justin, after all. There's no doubt at all that Justin will understand if something doesn't go exactly right.

Justin sits on the bed while Chris shaves, no need to explain why, the make up crew has complained enough, quietly bless them, about the little red, neon signs spread out in a halo around Justin's mouth and neck. Frantic make-out sessions aside though, this is still the farthest they've ever gone. He ties up his braids, complaining, "They get in the way," when Justin makes a little indignant noise. He rinses out his mouth with nothing but water and hopes it's enough, then takes Justin's place on the bed while Justin readies, too.

Justin shirks his jewelry first, heavy necklace, rings, all that placed on the nightstand before he disappears in the bathroom, hiding behind a closed door for a minute, minute and a half. When he comes out he kicks off his shoes, Chris' stomach dips and he looks at his watch, yeah, it's really that close. 11:57. Justin pulls off his shirt, leaves it on the floor as he finally crosses over to the bed.

"Chris, come on," Justin pleads quietly when Chris holds him firm around the waist, keeping him still.

"Two minutes, baby," he wonders if he broke his own rule, saying it against Justin's stomach, lips brushing over the skin. "Say it now," he knows Justin's been biting his tongue all night.

Justin inhales deeply, and Chris turns his cheek, before the rule really is broken, "I don't know. I love you, but it's something more. I can't really say it yet, I just... you're the closest I ever get to it."

"To what?" Chris asks, because he feels it's important to know before they go through with this.

Justin looks down at him, his eyes have been closed all this time. "Being with you, it's the closest I ever get to being what I want to be."

"I know, baby, I know exactly what you mean." He smiles, feeling more sure about this than he ever did, even eight months ago, when it was so far off it wasn't real.

"Chris, the time," he whispers.

He looked at his watch before undoing the clasp, "Time, baby, it's time. Happy Eighteenth, Justin."

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{1} I'm not sure that the legal age of consent in Florida is actually 18, nor that there are still sodomy laws on the books. But I'm lazy, and didn't want to look it up so as long as we're pretending their both gay and madly in love, and Dani doesn't exist, let's pretend the laws suit this story.

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