JuC Day means new JuC fic!
Actually, this is new only in the sense that no one has ever read it. I wrote this ages and ages ago. Like most of my unfinished fic, it was meant to be longer, but it can stand on its own. I'm pleased to offer it as it is since I know the story I'd intended will never be finished. :-) Cleaned up a bit, but unbeta'd. This is the actual working title it's had since I transferred it to my writing journal; after a bit of thought I decided it would stand. :-)
The One with Gorgeous Ed
They're all a little in love with him.
He's always been beautiful, but he seems to have blossomed in the last year. His hair is longer, wilder, more colorful than in the past. He seems more comfortable in his skin. Now that they're the biggest thing in music and all their hard work is finally paying off; they can relax a little. They still work hard, no doubt about it, so if JC wants to wear pink shirts, sparkles and capri pants, who can tell him otherwise?
She's still around. She's beginning to find her own place in the world now, though, leaving him to live his life until yet another award night, when they float down yet another red carpet, hand in hand. They smile but don't, really; he'll only go so far with her, and they've just about reached that limit. She's been there for him over the years, when he's needed her, but he's about to set her free. She doesn't need him now - she'll have a TV show and she'll have her own fame. She'll be in her own world, one that doesn't include him, and he's counting down the days.
* * * * * *
He'd always planned to date, after, and he made sure they all knew. He first brought it up during a production meeting for the tour, after New Year's and before Joey and Justin's official birthday party, when Johnny started talking about personal dos and don'ts while they're on the road. They'd heard it all before; he tells them at least monthly. This time, though, JC cleared his throat and looked down at his fingers while he twirled a pencil.
"We're calling it quits after the tour, Bobbie and me," he said softly, watching the pencil spin round and round. "I want to date, really date who I want, if you know what I mean." They'd all known about him for years, so they knew what he meant. He looked up and around the table.
Lance raised eyebrow. "Just be cool about it," he drawled.
Joey and Chris hadn't said much, not that Justin figured they would. Chris had done and seen a lot in his time on the planet, and Joey was a big hunk of love who just wanted his friend to be happy. "Play safe," Joey had said, before giving JC's neck a gentle squeeze.
"Yeah, and if the fuckers don't treat you right, I'll be kickin' some ass," Chris added.
* * * * * *
Justin arrived early for the first run-through for the new choreography. He liked learning new moves, and usually tried to catch glimpses of Wade doing a final run-through before they arrived. This morning, though, he heard laughter coming through the open door of the office attached to the big practice room. He dumped his bag on the floor, and shouted, "Hey, Wade, we dancin', or what?" He stripped his sweatshirt off and started to warm up. He looked up when Wade stepped out of his office and into the dance room. "Hey," Justin said in greeting, again, then stood when someone followed Wade out of the office.
"Hey J. This is Ed, a friend of mine." Ed was tall, mocha-colored, and breathtakingly gorgeous. Justin gave him one of his famous lopsided smiles, showing lots of teeth.
"Hi Ed, nice to meet you."
Ed's smile was blinding.
"Hey, man. Nice to meet you; I like your stuff, you guys are cool." Ed's handshake was firm. He was wearing a white wifebeater and snug, but not tight, jeans that molded to his long thighs. Ed had an incredible body.
"He's visiting for a few days," Wade said, and grinned at Ed. "Johnny said it was cool to bring him in today, but he won't be around for rehearsal - not that he couldn't take the workout."
Justin raised an eyebrow, wondering what the story was with this guy.
"I took one of Wade's dance workshops last year," Ed said, laughing. "My agent said it would help my movement, help my body awareness."
"You're an actor?" Justin said, and went back to his stretches. If Ed was in the business, he'd know that Justin wasn't being rude.
"I'm a model," Ed replied, and Justin fought hard not to roll his eyes. "I was working on a degree in computational mathematics, but some guy spotted me on the beach one day, and here I am. I still take classes, though; I'd never planned to make this my life."
Gorgeous and smart. Jesus. "So, you survived one of Wade's classes, hunh?" Justin said, still stretching.
"Just barely," Ed smiled.
"It's not that bad," Wade said. They looked around when Joey walked in, followed by Lance and Chris.
Justin began to seriously stretch now that he didn't have to worry about being polite, only half listening to Ed talking to the other guys.
Lance dropped down onto the couch and began to root through his bag. When Justin glanced at him to say hello, he saw that Lance's head was down and he was looking at Ed appreciatively through his lashes. Justin touched his forehead to his knees.
"He's smart too, if you're interested," Justin said under his breath, as Wade, Joey and Ed burst into laughter from some story Joey was telling. "Some math thing. Computational mathematics, I think."
Lance's eyebrows rose a notch and his eyes seemed to burn. "Yeah? I like smart boys," Lance purred. Justin knew that Lance was already thinking of his approach.
"You're a smart boy," Justin snorted, "so I can't say I'm surprised." He nudged Lance's foot. "Go on, talk to him. You'd have cute little cafe au lait babies. And you'd better invite me to the wedding." He let a little cackle escape. Wade, Joey and Ed glanced over at them when Justin laughed, and Lance took the opportunity to make his move. He straightened up and gave Ed one of his dazzling green-eyed glances and a little smile. Wade and Joey exchanged a look.
When Ed looked shyly flattered and gave Lance a slow, slightly surprised smile in return, Justin knew a hookup was in the works. "Work it, girl," Justin whispered.
"Sorry, sorry." JC rushed breathlessly into the room. "Sorry I'm late." He stopped just inside the door. "Oh! We haven't started--" He trailed off. JC was looking at Ed, and Ed was looking at JC. Then JC smiled, and offered his hand. "Hi, I'm JC," he said, and out of the corner of his eye, Justin saw Lance flinch. JC had used one of his most subtle and effective weapons.
"Damn," Lance whispered. "Damn Chasez, anyway and his fucking sweetie voice."
"Lance, you're beautiful, but JC is perfect." Justin grinned and patted Lance's knee. "When are you going to realize that?"
"Damn," Lance swore a final time, and reluctantly turned away to begin his warm-up. "Fucking sweetie voice," he grunted, doubled in half, hands hooked around his toes.
Joey drifted over, and dropped down to join Justin and Lance on the floor. "Man, JC is on."
Justin glanced over. Wade was in a corner now, looking through the CDs stacked by the studio sound system. Chris was bouncing behind him, generally being a nuisance. Ed and JC stood where they'd been originally, talking, gesturing, and smiling nonstop. Justin wondered why Wade hadn't clapped his hands to end the flirting and start practice.
After Wade inserted the chosen CD and pressed 'play' and growled, "Dammit, Kirkpatrick," Chris finally wandered over. He had a pleased look on his face when he dropped to the floor beside Justin, Joey and Lance.
"Looks like Jace found someone as perfect as he is," Chris said. "They look good together...aesthetically, I mean," he said, adding the last as though in apology. He glanced at Justin when he said it.
"What?" Justin asked, testing the knot in his shoelaces. "Why'd you look at me?"
"You're protective, is all," Lance said smoothly. He gave JC and Ed another envious glance. "Man, I'd pay to watch that," he murmured.
"Time to move on, Bass, the better man won this time," Joey laughed.
"I hate JC," Lance sighed wistfully. "Gorgeous fucker." They looked up when Wade joined their circle.
"Hey," Joey greeted him softly. He jerked his head in JC and Ed's direction. "You guys dating?"
Wade's lip curled a bit. "Well, if we were, I'd be worried right about now."
"We should start practice," Justin said suddenly. He stood, ignoring the others. "Jace!" he called. "C'mon, dude."
JC looked a little guilty, and blushed prettily. "Sorry guys," he said. He turned to Ed and leaned a little closer, though Justin would have sworn that was impossible, and scribbled something on a piece of paper Ed produced from his wallet. When JC looked back up at Ed, shy, happy and excited, Justin felt it.
"Jesus," Chris breathed. "I think I just came."
Lance popped him on the head.
* * * * * *
JC was quiet at lunch; he poked at his sandwich, nibbling slowly and thoughtfully instead of bolting it whole as was his usual custom. He tilted a bottle of water to his lips and paused, and smiled before drinking.
"Go ahead," Justin sighed.
JC's eyes were wide and guileless. "What?"
"Talk about him, I can tell that you're dying to."
JC glanced around the table, then down at his sandwich. "I didn't want to freak anyone out," he said softly.
"Jesus, Jace, like we never heard Lance go on about guys." Chris looked pained. "You think we're suddenly homophobic or something?"
"I mean, I've just never before, you know. Talked about anyone." JC's face was pink. "That's all."
Though he really didn't want to hear about Ed the Fabulous, JC's happiness was more important than Justin's own personal misery. He glared at Chris. "Come on," he said to JC, gathering his lunch. "Tell me about this guy so I'll know whether I have to kick his ass." Justin thanked God that JC didn't argue, he just gathered his food and followed Justin.
"Don't get mayonnaise on my floor!" Wade yelled at Justin when they passed his office, on their way to one of the small practice rooms.
"Miracle Whip, thank you very much," Justin yelled back. "Bitch," he muttered under his breath. JC laughed at that, so Justin figured his misery was worth that smile.
Gesturing animatedly while he talked about Ed, JC wolfed down his own lunch and half of Justin's, so Justin knew he'd done the right thing. JC's eyes were bright, and already looked half-gone for the guy. Justin desperately hoped that Ed was on the up and up and wouldn't break JC's heart. And if he broke JC's heart...
"You think this guy is cool?" Justin asked.
"Very." JC licked guacamole from his fingers.
"If he hurts you I'm going to hurt him," Justin said. JC smiled and nodded, but looked up when Justin's fingers closed gently over his wrist. "I will seriously hurt the fucker if he plays with you," Justin said. "Just so you know. If he does anything, you tell me."
JC laughed, but he nodded. "You make me feel like Scarlett O'Hara," he said, and looked embarrassed. "Am I that bad?"
"You're a badass when someone else is in trouble, but when it comes to yourself," Justin nodded to emphasize his point, "yeah, you can be."
* * * * * *
At the end of practice, Justin followed Wade into his office and shut the door. "Is Ed cool? Can he be trusted?"
Wade gave Justin a weary look. "Yes, Justin, he can be trusted. Don't worry."
"I don't want JC to get hurt."
"Justin, JC is a grown man, he'll be okay. This isn't Ed's first high-profile relationship. He's not some 16-year-old virgin looking for a story to impress his friends."
"Dude, not to sound conceited, but you know how far the media is up our asses," Justin said. "Dating a fashion designer or another model or a dancer - who most people assume are gay, anyway - doesn't quite compare, does it?"
Wade looked down at his desk and Justin could see the muscles in his jaw working as he clenched his teeth. "I know what you meant, so I'll overlook how that sounded," Wade said, looking up again.
"I'm seriously not trying to piss you off," Justin said. "I'm just looking for info."
"Ed's not a risk. He's cool. No worries," Wade said, sounding tired of the topic. He opened a folder on his desk, apparently signalling that the discussion was over. "Practice tomorrow at 8:30 sharp," he said, not looking at Justin.
"I've got plans for breakfast," Justin lied. "We'll be here at 9:00." When Wade looked up, Justin dared him to say something. He was itching for a fight, and wasn't sure why. Wade was the first to look away.
"9:00," Wade agreed.
* * * * * *
Still friends, and still obviously crazy about each other, they decided to break it off after a month or so. Ed's agent had booked him to work with an Italian designer, and he'd be overseas for six months. And even though the guys had all liked him, and Ed had treated JC right, Justin was still irrationally pleased to see him go. He wouldn't let himself wonder why.