The fans' new theory of Les and Jimmy being in love quickly spread through social media channels, music lover's forums, and A Wave Tossed In the Ocean fan sites. But the band members themselves remained completely unaware of the rumours until a week or so later, at a questions and answers press conference. The conference started out pretty normal for the four boys. Reporters crowded into the room all asking their questions at once, Charles was constantly smoothing his hair and trying to catch the attention of the many cameras, Felix was hanging back but answering every question quite politely when he was asked, Jimmy was joking around with the reporters, and Les was happily launching into the details of the band's music and the story of their formation whenever prompted. But today, the group's professional life was not on the reporters' minds.
"Les! Jimmy!" A young man waved to get the attention of both, and they turned. They posed and smiled as a flashbulb went off, Les's arm aorund Jimmy's shoulders, but they didn't miss the reporter's question when he asked them: "When are you two getting married?"
Les blinked. Jimmy laughed.
"Probably sometime after we've found girlfriends?" Jimmy shot back good-naturedly. "Don't rush us, all right?"
The reporter shook his head with an odd sort of amused smile, as if he thought they were being deliberately difficult. "It's all right, boys. We're all very open-minded here. We support everyone regardless of orientation."
"That's... great," Les replied, unsure where this was going.
A young woman with big glasses had overheard this exchange, and she joined in, notepad and pen poised at the ready. "What my colleague wants to know," she began, with a knowing air as if she too thought the boys were being deliberately evasive, "is when you two are getting married to each other."
A long silence followed, only broken by the background noise of questions still being fired at Charles and Felix. Les was stunned. Since when was he marrying Jimmy???
"Wait a minute." Jimmy had recovered himself first. "Who says we're getting married?"
"Oh, don't be coy, boys." The female reporter shook her head with something of amused impatience. "It's all your fans have been talking about. I know you might have wanted to keep your relationship private for the time being, but the secret's out now. Now you owe your fans the details." Her pen was already scribbling across the notepad.
Les shook his head, quite as much to clear it as to tell her "no". "No, it's not like that. Jimmy's my best friend. We love each other as friends, that's all."
The two reporters nodded in a very unconvinced way, and by now others were joining the conversation.
"There's nothing to be ashamed of," a woman with a pixie cut declared. "None of your fans will judge you for being in love - but they might for not letting them in on those juicy details!"
"We're not in love," Les repeated impatiently. "There's all kinds of ways to love someone. Just because I care about Jimmy doesn't mean I have any romantic feelings for him."
"Come now, boys," pressed a man in a baseball cap. "There's not a thing to be ashamed of. This is the twenty-first century, and no one worth paying attention to will have any problem with your being in love with one another."
"Our future girlfriends might," quipped Jimmy, trying to bring the conversation back to a place where his marrying Les could not be considered a serious suggestion.
"Oh, don't!" cried a woman with bright pink cheeks and long bangs. "We should be far past the times when you'd have to hide your true feelings and marry women just to please society!"
And so it went. No matter what Les or Jimmy said, they could not convince the press that they didn't romantically love each other. Eventually the conversation caught Charles and Felix's attention, and they were able to make their excuses on behalf of the band and pulled Les and Jimmy out of the room and away from the endless stream of questions.
"I don't get it!" cried Les, as soon as they were alone. "Why do they think that just because Jimmy's my best friend, all of a sudden I have to marry him? Don't any of them have best friends?!"
"You don't mind if I don't marry you, right?" said Jimmy with a bit of a grin. "Because that would be way too weird."
Les had to smile a bit, but the conference still bothered him.
"It's not a big deal," Charles tried to reassure them. "You guys know you're not in love. Who cares what anyone else thinks?" He straightened his jacket and stood taller as a pretty young girl walked past them on the sidewalk. Evidently Charles did care to some degree about what other people thought of him.
"Yeah, but..." Les gestured with his hands, trying to put his thoughts in order. "You heard those reporters. All our fans think we're in love now! This isn't just some small story that's going to blow over. We need to set this straight!"
Felix had been listening intently the entire time without commenting, deep in thought. "I know someone who might be able to help us," he piped up now. "Anjanette, Ferdinand, Tammy, and Becky."