© 2005-2010 Julien Gregg
All Rights Reserved

Chapter 47

"Welcome to Philadelphia, Mr. Thomas," said an older woman with curly dark hair and a lot of make-up as Skyler and his gang arrived at The Ritz-Carlton. They'd just spent a strange night on the buses. The trek from Foxboro, Massachusetts had been strangely eventful. Fans seemed to show up every time the buses were refueled or they stopped for any reason. They'd been delayed several times and finally ended up in Philadelphia just before noon instead of the desired time.

"Thank you," he replied, pasting on his patent smile for her. She launched into a promotional speech about the hotel's amenities, but Skyler politely declined the speech and asked that they not be disturbed for at least three hours. Skyler and a few of the dancers were going to be attending the "Long Dark Night" concert that night, and Skyler planned to have a night with his lover after the show. JC and the rest of Nsync along with the Backstreet Boys and Carlos Marquez were performing, and Skyler and his family had front row seats. A few of the dancers had purchased tickets as well.

Once inside his suite, Skyler showered and crawled into bed for his two hour nap. This tour had, so far, been a lot more grueling than the last. Shows were longer, the traveling seemed to be more taxing and there were so many more people connected to the show. All of that was exhausting, but he loved it. His last thought before falling asleep was that he should have signed up to perform at tonight's charity event.

Two hours later, he was awakened by a knock on his door. He'd hung the "do not disturb" sign before getting into the shower, so he knew that whoever was at the door had reason to be there. Groaning, he got out of bed and put on his robe. With a stretch and a yawn, he left the bedroom and headed to the door. When he opened the door, his heart was instantly beating faster. JC launched himself at Skyler.

They had the presence of mind to close the door just before Skyler pushed JC against it and pulled him in for a kiss that started out soft and became deeper with the passing seconds. JC had his hands inside Skyler's robe, and he was squeezing him tight. Skyler sunk his hands into the waistband of JC's pants and cupped his ass in his hands. He was so happy to see him.

"God I missed you!" sighed JC when the kiss ended. "I've been driving the gang crazy for two weeks."

"I missed you, too," replied Skyler before kissing him again. "When did you get here?"

"We've been here for," he said, looking at his wrist and pretending to see a watch, "maybe twenty-five minutes."

"And you beat your ass up here?" chuckled Skyler, kissing him again.

"I love you, Sky," said JC.

"I love you, too, Sexy," replied Skyler, kissing him again.

"Hungry?" JC asked with a smirk when he heard Skyler's stomach growl.

"A bit," laughed Skyler. "They're supposed to be setting up the banquet room for a meal for us. Your gang is invited as well."

"Our gang has a new member for the time being," said JC with a chuckle as he cocked his head to the left.

"Oh?" Skyler asked, wondering which of the siblings one of the boys had brought along.

"Britney's with us for this little shindig," explained JC. "She and Justin are turning into quite an item."

"That's great," enthused Skyler. "He's been mooning over Britney for a long time."

"Well, little did we know she was mooning over him, too," replied JC.

"So they're together now?"

"They're just as sickening as us," said JC before kissing Skyler again.

"Stop," gasped Skyler, breaking the kiss and pushing JC back. "We have to go to the banquet room. I have to shower first."

"Mmm, a shower," moaned JC, kissing Skyler's neck.

"Joshua!" gasped Skyler, pushing him back again. "Stop."

"All right, but I'm going to be on stage tonight with this," he said, grabbing his crotch and giving Skyler a sad look.

"Oh, stop that," laughed Skyler. "This will make up for those telephone conversations that always have me like that before a show. Now I'm going to shower and get dressed. You go tell the gang that they're invited to supper."

"Yes, Sir," JC said with a mock salute and a goofy grin. Skyler just shook his head and went into the bathroom.

He thought about the night they'd have together as he dressed after his shower. He was happy that they could spend some time together even if it was only one night. Touring was hard when it came to being away from those that you loved. Skyler had brought his family along on the tour, but JC had his own career to keep up with.

Everyone connected to Skyler's tour was in the banquet room when he got there. Nsync and Britney had joined the family table, and Skyler smiled when he saw Justin's arm around Britney. JC was sitting in the chair next to the one saved for Skyler, and he was happy for that. He felt a momentary pang of jealousy at the sight of Britney and Justin openly displaying their affection they way that Skyler and JC couldn't, but he decided not to think about that and took his seat.

Instead of brooding about the ways of the world, he had a great time with his family and friends. The food was good, and they laughed together. They talked about the differences between their tours and the problems they all shared in common. Skyler laughed hard over Joey and Chris's practical jokes on the Nsync tour, and the pair laughed heartily over the hi-jinks of the dancers on Skyler's tour.

After the meal, Nsync excused themselves to get ready for the show, so Skyler, Jason and Chad went back upstairs to hang out in front of Chad's video games. They laughed and played until Tabitha knocked on the door to tell them it was time to start getting ready for the concert. They each showered in their own rooms and then came back together to dress. They had matching tuxedos, and Tabitha made them pose for a series of pictures before the gang headed over to the convention center.

Skyler and Chad gave small interviews outside of the convention center, voicing their support for the charity before following everyone inside and finding their tables. Drinks were ordered and everyone was served just before the first speaker took the stage to talk about the growing numbers of homeless children in America. Skyler listened closely to what the man had to say. He decided before the man was done to donate money to the charity, but he still wanted to know more.

The second speaker talked about shelters and the need for more of them in key cities around the country. She was a tall woman with blond hair that was pulled severely back from her face. She spoke with a passion that Skyler believed could move even the stoniest of hearts to take her cause. If the first speaker had not moved Skyler to at least donate money, this one pushed him over the edge.

Finally it was time for the music. Backstreet took the stage and performed three of their slowest songs. Skyler watched Brian Littrell as he worked the audience with his voice. He still had to admit that Brian had a powerful voice. Listening to him sing, Skyler found himself thinking about the long conversations the two had had on the telephone before everything had gone wrong. He missed that part of their relationship and wondered if it would be possible to get that back.

Just after Backstreet left the stage, Carlos came out and sang his three of his newer songs. Skyler had not heard those songs yet, but then he wasn't as involved in his company as he had hoped he could be. Carlos was well into the recording of his second album, and he was about to leave on tour for his first.

When Nsync took the stage to sing their own four songs for the event, Skyler kept his eyes glued on JC. He loved to listen to him sing. JC seemed to enter a completely different world when he was on stage. His eyes became just a bit more focused, and his voice was a little more powerful than it was on recordings. Skyler wondered how he did that.

After the show, Skyler and his gang went backstage to congratulate everyone. He started with Kevin Richardson, who wrapped him in a sweaty hug.

"It's great to see you, Skyler," said Kevin, stepping back. "I've tried to call a few times."

"New cell numbers," Skyler replied with a smile. "Call Clay, and he'll give you a list of numbers."

"I'll do that," replied Kevin with a real smile.

"Hello, Sky," said Brian's voice from behind Skyler.

"Hi, Brian," he replied, turning to face him. "You sounded great out there."

"Thanks," said Brian with a blush. "We'll be here tomorrow night to see your show, too."

"That's great," he said, turning back to Kevin. "You know what? When you call Clay, tell him I said to make sure you guys can get back stage."

"I'll do that," said Kevin, smiling.

"Well if it isn't Skyler Thomas," said the voice of Carlos Marquez as he came over to them. "I was wondering if I would get to see you soon."

"Carlos, you just have to call me," laughed Skyler, hugging his friend. "You have all of my numbers. Use them."

"Plan to," chuckled Carlos as they broke the hug. He tilted his head toward Nsync. "You'd better get over there, you know?"

"On my way," said Skyler turning back to Brian and Kevin. "Guys, call me."

"We will," said Brian with a smile as Skyler walked away.

He got to the Nsync group just before JC wrapped him in a tight hug. He returned the embrace, thinking that this was all they could do to display their affection in front of everyone. JC was so excited about the show. He loved performing for charities, and he gushed to Skyler about the homeless children while Justin came over to hug him as well.

After congratulating the entire group, Skyler and his gang left them to change. They went back to the hotel, making their way through the throng of press in front of the convention center. Skyler wanted to be back in his room and ready for JC when he arrived. Interviews were out of the question. He was back in his room and changed into a sweat suit when JC came into the suite. JC launched himself at Skyler again, and the two backed into the bedroom kissing.

"I've wanted to be in this bed since I got to Philly," sighed JC once they were lying on the bed.

"I wanted to climb up on the stage and have my way with you in the convention center," admitted Skyler. "You really turn me on when you perform."

"Well here I am," chuckled JC.

"And you're over dressed," said Skyler, pulling on JC's t-shirt and kissing his stomach as he lifted it.

* * *

The next morning, JC and Skyler said their long goodbyes before leaving the suite to join the others. Nsync was leaving in just a few short minutes, and Skyler had to say goodbye to the others. Justin nearly squeezed the life out of him when he hugged him, but Skyler was happy to see him. He was sorry that the two hadn't spent much of any time together, but he supposed there was always next time.

Britney hugged him and kissed him. She apologized for not being able to stay for his show, but Skyler told her that her place was beside Justin. He let her know that he understood and was happy for them. They talked for a few minutes before Nsync was called to their bus, and Skyler was left standing in the lobby.

He had plenty to do, though. He raced back upstairs to shower and get ready for his sound check. There was a meet and greet, another banquet dinner and then he would be taking the stage at Veteran's Stadium. Ticket sales weren't what he was used to, but he thought that with the charity concert people were probably flat broke by then.

He sailed through the sound check with no problems, making him sigh with relief. The meet and greet had been loud, but he'd enjoyed himself. After a call to Lissa Mealiff, he was back in his room for yet another shower to get ready to leave for the stadium. He checked that the dancers were all ready for the show, and then he sat with his brothers and sister while he waited for them to tell him the bus was ready.

The show hadn't been a sell out, but he gave them his all. He had them screaming by the time he sang Get Up. After the show was over, he hung out with Brian and Kevin and marveled at how easy he and Brian found their niche. It was almost like nothing had happened between them. They still had a gulf between them, but Skyler believed that if they could ever sit down and talk about it, they could resolve all of that. He was more worried about the looks they were getting from Chad and their father.

When they boarded the bus, no one said anything about his talking to Brian. He was thankful for that. He was tired, and all he wanted was to find his bunk and get some sleep. The next show was in New York, and if they pushed it, they could be in their apartment soon. Relaxation wasn't in his near future, though. When he got to New York and into his apartment, the phone was going crazy. Clay was on the phone talking about damage control and confusing him as Laura came into the apartment with a magazine in her hand. Skyler took one look at the cover and his heart nearly stopped. There was a picture of him and JC in each other's arms on the cover. The picture was from the night before, and it was completely innocent. Yet the caption read: "Pop stars a little too friendly?"

The next chapter will be posted soon.