Brian left the after party early. He wasn’t in the mood to be around a lot of people. The concert had gone well, but he wished Lily would have been there. That was something he wouldn’t admit to anyone else. He felt really bad about the way he was treating her, but he couldn’t be around her until he sorted out his feelings for her.
He changed into a pair of sweatpants and a tank top then decided to go get Caitlin from Lily. As he prepared to knock on the door, he heard laughter coming from inside the room. Wondering who was with Lily, he knocked on the door.
Lily opened the door and smiled at him. “Hey, Bri. C’mon in.”
Brian entered the room and saw a guy sitting of Lily’s bed. He seemed to be about their age. He had thick, slightly wavy dark brown hair that was styled in a sort of bowl cut. He had blue eyes and chiseled facial features.
“Brian, this is my old friend JC Chasez. He’s staying here, too…JC, this is Brian Littrell. Caitlin is his daughter.”
The guys shook hands. “Nice to meet you, JC.”
“You, too. You have a beautiful daughter,” JC said, glancing at the sleeping baby in the playpen.
“Thank you,” Brian said, smiling.
“Hey…aren’t you in that group Backstreet Boys?”
“I think we have the same management. I’m in the group ‘N Sync.”
“Oh, yeah, yeah…I’ve heard about you guys. I’ll be looking forward to seeing y’all perform.”
“I’ve seen you guys perform. You’re good.”
“Thank you…So, how do you two know each other?” Brian asked.
“We used to live next door to each other when we were little. We kinda lost touch after JC moved away,” Lily answered.
“Oh,” Brian said. His gaze lingered on Lily for a moment. “I’ll just get Caitlin and be out of your way.”
“You’re more than welcome to stay if you want,” she said. Lily wanted Brian to stay so badly. Even with JC there, Brian was all she could think about.
Brian looked at Lily. Her eyes seemed to be begging him to stay. Yet as much as he wanted to, he couldn’t let himself stay. It was too hard to be around her. “Thanks, but I think I’m just gonna go to bed.”
“All right,” Lily said as she watched him pick up Caitlin out of the playpen.
Brian’s gaze lingered on Lily once again and he smiled slightly. “Goodnight, guys,” he said before leaving the room.
Lily sighed heavily and sat down on the end of the bed. “You okay, Lily?” JC asked.
She sighed again. “Yeah…Why do I let him get to me so much?”
“What’s going on between you and Brian?” JC asked as he moved to sit next to her on the bed. Lily told him the whole long story and he listened quietly. When she finished there were tears in her eyes and her voice was quivering. “Why doesn’t he want me?” she asked.
“Lily…” JC said softly as he put his arm around her. “He does want you. I saw it in his eyes when he looked at you. But judging by what you just told me, he’s scared of getting too close to you.”
“But then why did he kiss me?”
“Because he likes you. Because you’re sweet and beautiful. Because you’re Lily,” JC said.
Lily looked up at him and smiledslightly. “Thanks, JC.”
JC smiled. “Everything will work out.”
“How do you know?”
“I just do…Hey, do you remember when we were seven and I asked you to marry me?”
Lily giggled at the memory. She could still see JC as a little boy standing outside her house with a handful of flowers. “Yeah. I said no cause I thought you had cooties. You got in so much trouble for picking your mom’s flowers.”
JC laughed. “Yeah, but it was worth it. I got you to kiss me, didn’t I?”
“Yeah, but I only did that so you’d leave,” Lily said.
JC clutched at his heart. “Oh! I’m so hurt! I thought you really loved me!” he joked.
“No way! You had cooties,” she said with a laugh.
“Still think I got cooties?”
The question seemed to have stopped the conversation. Lily felt warm with JC smiling the same way he had so many years ago. He leaned toward her slowly, almost cautious, as if he were afraid of her. Lily closed her eyes and felt his kiss for only a second. She pulled away, confused and frightened at what had taken place. JC looked equally confused, but for different reasons.
"I'm sorry!" they both blurted out at the same time. "Wait...why are you sorry?" they asked, speaking at the same time again.
"I just...I shouldn't have done that," JC explained, stumbling over his words. "You just told me about Brian...I was dumb..."
"No!...no...You weren't...I'm sorry for pulling away like that...it was nice...it's just..." Lily trailed off.
"Yeah, I know." They both remained quiet for a very awkward few minutes until JC broke the silence again. "Well...at least you know I don't have cooties." He attempted a smile.
Lily giggled and smiled back. "Maybe you grew out of it."
"Yeah, you're probably right."