That's Amore by
The Simmer for 45 Minutes Remix by
Justin came home just as Lance was standing in the kitchenette picking chervil leaves from the herbs pot. In the living area, Joey Fatone was doing the same thing on the big screen, collecting the leaves in his hands. Joey had big hands — even off screen — that must be just perfect for a few other things apart from picking herbs.
"Now just chop them roughly," Joey said, and Lance tried to pry his thoughts off Joey's hands, or even the way he handled the knife, and focus on his own little mound of chervil. "And spread them o-" Lance grabbed the remote and pressed pause, then took up his knife. Now this would take a little longer. He knew the rest of the recipe anyway: Spread the chervil over your pasta, add some grated cheese.
He heard Justin out in the hallway and the door to the bathroom bang twice, before Justin wandered in when Lance was grating the cheese.
Justin sniffed and peered into Lance's pot. "Mhm, you cooking?"
Wordlessly, Lance offered him a fork.
"Ish at ashparagush?" Justin asked with his mouth full, then swallowed. "Tastes great. You know, I always think you're gonna be a good wife to a happy guy some day."
Lance swatted at him with a wooden spoon, but Justin danced away into the living area. He stopped and started laughing when he saw Joey frozen on screen.
"Dude, don't tell me you tivo him. You work for him, Lance, you see him every day."
"Shut up." Lance blushed. "He's a good cook." It wasn't like he could write the recipes down during the show, and for once it had been an easy recipe that Lance trusted himself not to mess up.
Justin snickered. "Amongst other things, I bet."
Lance scowled at him. "I don't know what you're talking about. And stop laughing, you idiot, or there won't be any desert for you."
Justin shut up at once. "There's desert?"
"Tiramisu. In the fridge. It's from the Italian place down the street actually," Lance admitted, slapping Justin's hand away from the fridge door. "I said desert, not starter."
Justin pouted but he didn't try opening the fridge again, leaning his hip against a counter. "So did you just spontaneously notice that Joey doesn't only look good but he can cook too, or is there an occasion? Did you get a raise? Promotion? Are you camera crew now? Sound technician? Assistant director?"
"Oh, shut up." Cable Technician certainly wasn't a dream job, but it was money, and it was all right, even if all he did most of the time was trail behind Chris with big loops of cable over his arms, making sure Chris didn't roll over it. The people were nice, and Chris had only teased him for one evening when Lance had stumbled over the cable on his second day.
Lance filled a large bowl with the pasta and fetched two plates, setting everything down on the counter. He only noticed that Justin was still waiting for an answer when he turned around to take the wine out of the fridge and Justin was looking at him expectantly.
"It's just that we've been rooming together for a month now," Lance muttered, handing Justin the bottle. "I thought we'd have a nice evening."
"Aw, Lance." Justin looked at him fondly, then grinned. "You're such a sap."
"That's it," Lance growled, holding the bowl out of reach. "No food for you."
"C'mon," Justin was still laughing as he followed Lance to the table, carrying the wine and two glasses. "I'll be good, I promise. I'll just sit here with you, eat your delicious food and not even make any comments about your little crush on a certain TV cook."
Lance threw a spoon at him.
"Oh crap," Chris muttered when they were both slipping into their jackets in the crew room.
Fatone's Kitchen was the last show they'd taped tonight — three episodes. Lance was ready to go home, wash three full dinner's worth of kitchen smells from his skin and throw something into the microwave. Or maybe he'd fix some macaroni and cheese for him and Justin; he didn't have the energy for big cooking today. Justin wouldn't care anyway as long as he didn't have to cook himself.
"What's up?" Lance asked.
Chris pulled a slim jewel case out of the pocket of his jacket, holding it up. "I promised I'd give Joey a copy of this album, and I forgot."
Lance shrugged. "Give it to him on Monday then."
"Nah. He's still in the studio. It's just that I'm supposed to be meeting —" Chris glanced at his watch. "Fuck, I'm already late."
"Give it here then," Lance said, "I'll go."
"Sure?" Chris looked skeptic. "I can —"
"You go and don't let your date wait." Lance plucked the case from Chris' hands, sliding it into his own pocket.
"Oh, it's not a date." Chris grabbed his bike helmet from his locker. "Not really, anyway. C, this friend of mine — I keep telling him I'm straight, and he keeps insisting that he is too, but he wants us to go out on these just-you-and-me things anyway. Today it's clubbing, I think." Chris snorted. "Whatever. Hell, I could go gay for him."
Lance raised his eyebrows. "You couldn't be gay, Chris. You'd miss women too much."
"Probably," Chris shrugged. "But then I'd get to fuck pretty boys like you, Bass."
"Forget it." Lance laughed. "I'm out of your league, you know I am."
Chris flipped him off on his way out the door, calling a "Thanks, man" over his shoulder.
There were still people in the hallways since there were still shows being taped or prepared. In contrast to that, the studio was almost eerily quiet with only the kitchen part illuminated. Joey was nowhere to be seen.
"Hello?" Lance called cautiously.
Something rustled behind the counter, and Joey's head popped up. "Oh, hi." He finally stood up, holding a large plastic bowl. "You'd think they'd put those things in reach, wouldn't you."
"Um… yes?" Lance offered, then remembered the disc, pulling it out of his pocket. "Here, Chris wanted me to give you this."
"Oh, thanks. Just put it, um, on the table maybe."
Joey pulled some more utensils from under the counter, stacking them on top. "Lance, right?" Suddenly, he paused, eyeing Lance critically. "Do you have a few minutes?"
"Um, I don't know if I'm supposed to —" Lance shifted uneasily, then blurted, "What are you doing here?"
For a moment, Joey looked as if it was a completely dumb thing to ask what he was doing in a half dark studio way after the show was over, then he seemed to realize how strange it must look to Lance. "Oh, I'm rehearsing. Sort of. They're letting me try out new recipes here. 's easier if I know how they work out here before we start taping, you know. And I promised the sound editors they'd get any leftovers. Poor guys always have to stay late on Friday. Anyway, we're doing that special soon, Hits for Kids? I'm trying out a new pizza recipe. Actually, the sauce is new. Have you ever made pizza yourself?"
"Um," Lance said. He didn't suppose putting extra cheese on a frozen pizza counted.
"See? But it tastes so much better."
"But aren't there, like, a thousand recipes for pizza already?"
"Oh, but we're not just making any pizza here," Joey lectured him. "We're making the best fucking pizza on the planet. At least unofficially; I'm not allowed to say that in front of the kids. I got the recipe from a friend. Did you know you can make pizza sauce from ketchup? Kids love anything that has ketchup in it." He grabbed a green apron off a hook on the wall, handing it to Lance. "Are you ready then?"
Lance wondered when exactly he had agreed to cook with Joey, but he slid off his jacket and slipped the apron over his head anyway.
"Oregano, Lance," Joey reminded him. The pot that says oregano on the side in these big-ass letters?"
Lance blinked. "Isn't that —" He glanced down at the potted herb in his hand. Oops, basil. Why did these herbs all have to look the same anyway? Joey must think he was a complete spazz in the kitchen. So far he'd dropped the box of mushrooms, sending half of them rolling off on the floor and nearly cut off one of his fingers slicing tomatoes. Sheepishly, he put the basil back and picked up the right pot. "Sorry."
"It's all right, man." Joey had already turned back to chopping peppers, his knife moving rapidly just out of reach of his fingers. Lance watched him, envious. If he tried something like that, he'd probably lose half a hand. "Just remember that we're making the best fucking pizza on the planet here, so pay attention. Capisce?"
"Okay." Joey eventually dumped the chopped peppers in a bowl and swept the seeds into the trashcan. "I think we've prepared everything now."
Lance looked around the overflowing counter, bowls with pepperoni, ham, vegetable cubes, corn, cheese or tomato sauce standing everywhere. In the corner, there were a few hand towels covering little mounds of dough they'd made earlier. Lance wondered how many kindergartners Joey planned to feed with all this stuff or if the sound editing guys were just extremely hungry and he'd make less with the kids.
Joey cleared some space between bowls and spread some flour on the counter, then uncovered the dough and plopped one of the mounds on the flour. "All right. There's three ways to get your pizza in shape. One, hand tossing. Not doing that here." Joey kneaded the dough while Lance watched, fascinated by the way Joey's fingers were digging in. He pulled himself together, scolding himself. So far he'd been quite good keeping everything under control.
"Two, roll it out," Joey said. "Boring, obviously. Three, spread it by hand, which is what we're gonna do. And the kids'll love it." He handed Lance the container of flour along with another lump of dough, and Lance cleared his own space on the counter.
Soon he was frowning down at his dough. It just wouldn't cooperate at all, always shrinking back into its original shape whenever he tried to spread it out. It wasn't much flatter than before, never mind anything like round.
Lance looked around. There wasn't anything for rolling it out, but maybe hand tossing? Joey was turned away from him, already putting toppings on his first pizza. Lance picked up his unwilling dough and tossed it experimentally. Okay, nice. Now if he wanted it to flatten, he needed to toss it higher and spin his wrist like so —
"Lance!" Joey whirled around scowling, Lance's lump of dough hanging from his left shoulder.
Lance winced. "Sorry." He didn't manage to be apologetic for long, though. Joey looked just priceless with his lips pressed tight like that, like he thought he should be angry, and the dough slipping slowly from his shoulder. When it finally fell, Lance couldn't stand it any longer and burst out laughing.
Until something soft and cool hit him in the forehead. He looked down at the small piece of dough that he'd instinctively caught in his hands, blinking.
Joey grinned and threw a few more pieces at him.
Lance just calmly stuck his hand into the flour, watching Joey's look go from amused to oh-no-you-don't. He did.
Joey growled from under his powdered beard, and before Lance could even react, Joey had tackled him to the floor. The flour container came down right beside his head, emitting a cloud of white that made Lance sneeze.
He wrestled for the upper hand, but Joey was bigger and stronger than he was, and he finally gave up, going limp under Joey, wheezing from laughing so hard. "Oh my God. I haven't done that in ages."
"Me neither," Joey said, then leaned down and kissed him.
Lance didn't even have the time to close his eyes, much less do anything like kiss back, before Joey suddenly rolled off of him and sat up. "Sorry."
"No, it's —" Lance didn't quite know what to say, apart from hey no, please go on. "Why did you do that?"
"I'm sorry," Joey said again. "Shit. It's just — you were looking so sweet just now, and — I mean, I noticed you before, of course I did, but I never — Look, just forget it happened, okay?"
"Um, no." Lance sat up as well. "Because I've been thinking about this for weeks, and if you think I'll just forget what it feels —"
Joey kissed him again. This time Lance did kiss back, sucking on Joey's tongue when it slid into his mouth. He wrapped his hands in Joey's hair to pull him even closer, tilting his head for a deeper angle. When Joey finally let Lance's lips slide from between his teeth, Lance was lying on his back again, looking up into Joey's smiling face.
"I should've done this way sooner," Lance said, wiping his fingers over Joey's white forehead. "If I'd known —"
"We can do it again." Joey grinned at him, plucking a piece of dough out of Lance's hair. "I'm here every Friday."