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Title: "Falling" 1/?
'I didn't realize right away that I was falling. It was one of those crazy things that make no sense,' Nick Carter wrote.
Nick began to chew on the end of his pen--then stopped abruptly. It was a habit he hated in others--and he wasn't about to start doing it himself. He did want to ponder what to write next--but chewing his pen wasn't going to help his thoughts. He needed to get up and stretch his legs.
Nick rose from his cramped position behind the table--which was firmly bolted the floor of the tour bus--and tried to stretch. He was too big--too tall and too wide--to be comfortable during these long drives from venue to venue. They were on a bad stretch of road and Nick had to grab for a handhold as a jolt nearly sent him flying.
"Careful!" Kevin Richardson snapped. "Why don't you just sit back down 'til the ride calms a bit?" It was a question, sure--but really more of an order. That was Kevin.
"Gotta piss," he answered and headed toward the bathroom. It was a lie, but he couldn't stand the thought of struggling back behind that table with Kevin watching him.
Nick nearly collided with Howie Dorough as he turned toward the back of the bus.
"Sorry," he muttered. Nick was used to saying 'sorry' to the other guys. He'd grown so fast that he'd felt strange in his own skin the past year or so. It didn't seem to bother him for the most part when performing--but daily life was another story. He just seemed to constantly be tripping or bumping into someone or some thing.
Howie's hand lit gently on Nick's shoulder for a moment. "It's okay. Are you feeling okay?"
Nick grinned at Howie. The man was always kind--always thoughtful. It was gratifying not to be treated as if he fucked up with his clumsiness on purpose...
"Yeah. I'm fine. I think my foot kind of went to sleep while I was sitting there. Just tingly and not normal--ya know?"
Howie nodded, his brown eyes wells of sympathy. "Okay. Just thought you might be getting Brian's cold or something."
Nick shook his head and shot a glance at his best friend. Brian Littrell was slouched against his cousin and looked half-asleep. Winter tours were like this--such a bitch. One of them was always sick and passing something around to the other guys and the members of the crew. It would be cold outside--then there was the sweating on stage--and it was often either too warm or too cold at 'meet and greets' or on the bus. Illness was inevitable.
Nick was sorry it was Brian with the cold, though. Usually he could count on Frick to give him a handjob before bed if the other man was feeling up to snuff...
Nick glanced back and realized Howie was staring at him. For some reason it made him blush. Nick wasn't much the blushing type--so this reaction surprised him.
Howie's face was an open book--in it Nick could see the reflection of his embarrassment and Howie's desire to spare him. Sweet Howie D. always tried to spare them all--Nick knew that.
Nick ducked his head then glanced back into Howie's expressive face. "Do you ever feel... lonely?" Nick asked his friend, feeling slightly stupid.
Howie nodded and smiled. Nick decided Howie had one of the warmest smiles he'd ever seen.
"It's hard traveling like this. Not really normal, I guess."
"I don't know--it's pretty normal for us." Nick said, grinning. "I guess I've just grown up always doing this. Maybe I don't know what normal is."
"Yeah. I guess that's true. But I wish..." Howie trailed off and glanced away. Nick stared at him and wondered *what* it was he wished.
"I guess I'm not the only one who has wishes for stuff I can't have," Nick offered, wondering if the statement might prompt Howie to confide in him.
Howie gave a small laugh. "Well, I guess everyone wants stuff that they can't have, Nick. But as long as we know it's unrealistic then it doesn't matter. Does it?"
What the hell was Howie talking about? "Huh? I'm not following you."
"Yeah--I get lonely, too. I wish I could have a relationship, Nick. Be close to someone. Share all the good times we're having--and the bad times, too."
Howie had turned back and was staring at Nick with an uncommon intensity. Generally speaking, Howie was pretty relaxed and easy-going. He rarely got angry--and when he did he usually seemed angry with himself. Nick felt a bit mystified by this new 'intense' Howie.
Nick cleared his throat, feeling slightly awkward. For a change, he thought with a wry smile--yeah, well, whatever.
"Um. I guess we all wanna be with someone." The answer was pretty lame, but Nick couldn't think of a better reply--and Howie seemed to be waiting for him to say something.
"Yeah. But Kevin has Kristin. Brian has Leighanne. A.J. always has some woman now that he and Amanda split. And you're not exactly lacking for company, Nick. I guess maybe I'll always be alone."
Nick could see how this pained his friend--could see Howie's eyes filling. Howie was tenderhearted--they all knew that. But it *still* made Nick uncomfortable to see Howie near to tears. Crying was okay--but it wasn't easy to be a witness to it.
Suddenly Nick realized he wished he knew what he could say or do to make Howie feel better. He really didn't want to see Howie hurting like this.
At that moment Nick felt like he'd do anything to make Howie happy.
It was impulsive. Nick grabbed one of Howie's wrists and pulled him into the bathroom, awkwardly shutting the door. Nick could see Howie was surprised--but his friend chose to simply go with the flow. Well, that was just Howie.
Once the door was closed, Nick swooped down and pressed his mouth to Howie's. It started out as a firm press of closed lips to closed lips. But soon Nick began to test the waters.
He pushed his tongue against Howie's soft full lips and felt them open to him. He penetrated Howie quickly and began tongue-fucking him. Nick felt his usual satisfaction at this possession of another person's mouth. His erection jumped and pressed toward the warmth of Howie's body.
Howie moaned softly into Nick's mouth. Nick's arms reached around and pulled Howie close against him--his tongue lapping against the inside of Howie's mouth.
Howie pulled back, panting. "Someone. Someone will hear us." His voice was nervous--but clearly excited.
Nick shrugged. "So? What if they do? Who do you think would care?"
"Kevin would care. We have to stop."
Nick stared at Howie, wanting to pull him up against his body again. Wanting to feel Howie's heart beating frantically as their chests pressed to each other.
"Why?" he asked Howie--reaching again for his friend's wrist and tugging at it. "Why would Kevin care?"
Howie blushed. "We... used to do things."
Nick dropped Howie's hand abruptly and took a large step backward bumping his head hard against the wall.
"Shit!" he exclaimed.
Nick felt as if Howie had just slapped him--his ears were ringing. He rubbed the back of his head wondering if he'd end up with a bump there. And for what? Just to have Howie tell him that Kevin was his lover?
"I thought you said-"
Howie broke in quickly, holding a finger over Nick's lips. "I said 'used' to, Nick. We don't now that he's married."
Nick saw his own reflection in the mirror--was surprised by how angry his expression looked. By how pale he was.
"Then so what?" he spat out, watching Howie's face.
Howie shrugged. "I don't think he'd like me messing with another guy."
Nick sucked his bottom lip into his mouth, considering. "I don't think he has any right to be pissed off, Howie. Kev's married. You're alone. I'm here."
It made perfect sense to Nick. But Howie looked uncertain.
"This wasn't supposed to happen. Kevin told us all years ago to 'leave you be.' He didn't want us to end up corrupting you."
Nick grinned inwardly. Well. That logic had been thwarted by Kevin's cousin from practically the first day. Quite interesting.
"What a crock." Nick's voice was soft--a near whisper. He gave Howie a small but potent smile.
Howie took a deep breath. "I wish he hadn't made us promise, Nick. I just think it would be so nice--to be close to you like that, I mean." Howie face was slightly red. He was clearly embarrassed by his own words.
There was a sudden banging on the door. "Hurry up, Nick. I need to get in there," Kevin's voice was saying from way too close to them.
"I'll be right out." How in hell would they explain both being inside the room together to Kev?
"Kevin. I'm not feeling all that well," Howie called through the door. "Nick's taking care of me. We'll be out soon."
Geez--what quick thinking. Nick shot Howie an admiring glance. The guy sure was fast on his feet--though Nick could see it distressed him to lie to their friend.
"Well, we'd better play this scenario out, then," he whispered to Howie. "But we're gonna talk about this later. That's a promise."
"Later. Much later," Howie said softly. "This is *so* not going to happen, Nick."
Nick gave Howie a wolfish grin. "We'll see about that."
He put his hands under the tap and ran water into his palms. Then he dampened Howie's mouth and chin. "That should work. You *do* look pretty sick," he added, watching Howie's face pale.
So Nick pecked Howie's cheek and moved to open the door. He slipped quickly out past Kevin, smacking his elbow against the doorjamb. Then he headed back to where his notebook and pen where waiting, his hand absently rubbing his sore arm.
Nick moved clumsily back into place at the table and read over his previous line of writing.
'I didn't realize right away that I was falling. It was one of those crazy things that make no sense.'
He squeezed his pen tightly between his fingers as he continued. Earlier he'd been reflecting on a dream he'd had where he'd felt his body suddenly falling downward. But now things were different.
He wrote, 'I guess I could have been falling into lust. But maybe I was actually falling in love. And falling can hurt.' He paused and considered--the pen poised near his teeth.
'I hope this doesn't.' He dropped the unchewed pen to the table top.
Nick pushed his legs straight under the table and leaned back, thinking about Howie's face--Howie's body. And then he smiled. Sweet D. didn't have a chance. He was practically Nick's right now...
-end part one--back to top of page-