Justin surprised his mom at home and spent the next day and a half in Orlando, then flew out to meet up with the rest of the group in San Antonio where they were getting ready for a show. "How was the play?" JC asked as they all climbed into the van to take them from the hotel to the radio station where they were doing a mini meet and greet.

"It was cute, Steven did such a good job, man he’s a born actor." Justin laughed and shook his head.

"Steven?" Lance asked from the back seat.

"Yeah, I flew home to see him in a church play thing he did this weekend." Justin explained over his shoulder.

"I thought you were in LA with us?" Joey asked.

"I was, JC and I were at a bar-b-cue at Kelly’s on Saturday but then I had to leave."

"Was Kelly pissed?" Joey asked with a smirk.

"I don’t know." Justin shrugged, "Was she upset?" He asked JC.

"Hmm? Oh no. She wasn’t pissed. She was impressed actually, you know, that you were going home to see your kid brother in his first play." JC laughed.

"Jeez, when I ditch a girl, no matter what the reason is, I’m a dog. I could be bleeding out of my eyes and she’d get pissed because I left to go to the hospital." Joey shook his head and laughed.

"Well you’re getting funky with these girls too, Kelly and I are just friends." Justin said softly.

"Give it up J." Joey shook his head and looked out the window.

"So… what did you guys do in LA?" Justin asked the others as the headed down the freeway. They filled him in on their clubbing nights and pool parties at the homes of other famous friends. It was amazing how much fun stuff they could cram into two short days.

 

Two weeks later, as promised, Justin flew out to Las Vegas to visit Becca. He talked to Kelly for the twenty minute cab ride to Becca’s house and explained that he wouldn’t be able to be out to see her until the guys flew as a group to Nashville to meet with the directors of the Take Two studios where Kelly was finishing up the taping of her new album. Since she had already spent more than a month in the city recording, she made plans to take them all out for a night on the town. The cab from the airport stopped in front of Becca’s apartment building as he was saying goodbye to Kelly. He clicked his phone off and paid the driver, before grabbing his bag and hopping up the stairs to her front door. He knocked lightly then let his backpack drop to the floor beside his feet.

When Becca opened the door a minute later, the first thing Justin noticed was the bluish green bruise across her left cheek. "Ouch, what happened baby?" Justin kicked his bag into the apartment and reached for her face.

"Baby? Oh come on." She laughed and rolled her eyes. "I just got in a little riff with some psycho chick at the Klubb."

"You got in a bar brawl?" Justin laughed lightly and touched her discolored cheekbone.

"Not really, well yeah I guess."

"I’d hate to see what she looks like."

"It’s not pretty. And I mean that in every sense of the word." She laughed and ducked away from his hand.

"So what happened?"

"She didn’t like my bumper sticker apparently." Becca shrugged.

"Your ‘Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful’ one?"

"Right, ‘Hate me because your man thinks so’, anyways, she disagreed." Becca kissed him quickly and smiled. "She looked at it, rolled her eyes and said ‘You wish’, on our way in… so, I mean what was I gonna do?"

"You decked her?"

"Ooooh no. Come on, I know how to brawl better than that. I’m a girl hun, cat fight."

"You clawed her?" Justin laughed.

Becca pulled up her shirtsleeve to show three long red streaks, clearly she had been on the receiving end of the clawing. "Nope, I let her go. Let me finish though, it’s really funny actually." Becca laughed and sat cross-legged on the couch in the living room. Justin sat on the other end and draped his legs over her lap. "So we’re inside and I’ve got my drink now, and I see little miss at the end of the bar with another chick and this guy. I was really nice honey, you shoulda seen me. I smiled at the bitch before I could help myself, and she just smirked and started whispering to her little girlie friend thing. Well… eventually the dainties have to make a joint run to the bathroom, and guess what?"

"They left the guy unattended." Justin laughed and shook his head.

Becca nodded and laughed, "So okay Just, what could I do? I cruised over to the end of the bar and sat in the girl’s seat and smiled. He was sprung, it was great. He started sputtering and became totally unable to communicate and all I did was sit beside him. It was sad." She shook her head at the memory then said, "So little miss and her partner in crime come back and stop cold in their tracks about halfway across the bar and drop their jaws on the floor. I turned to her man and said, ‘Your girlfriend is having a fit you know.’ and he turned to look and practically fell out of his chair. So far I haven’t so much as touched the man and he’s falling all over himself."

"You have that effect on men." Justin laughed.

"Apparently. Well… little miss was not too pleased, she asked if I wanted to take it outside, and well… I was done anyways, so I went outside where she immediately grabbed my hair. I thought for a second we were on WWF women in wrestling, then she clawed me and I knew she had to be set straight."

"Ouch."

"Ouch for her. All those tae kwon do lessons paid off finally. I grabbed her wrist and brought her to her knees, then kicked her in the thigh and turned to leave. Well, she was quicker than I thought because when I opened my car door she clocked me here." She touched her cheek gently and continued with a short laugh, "Well then I… I punched her in her big ole fake booby and slammed my door in her face. She’s gonna have to get that looked at you know."

"Baby… you shouldn’t be fighting… it’s a good story, but I mean, you could just walk away."

"Oh please." Becca scoffed, "It’s not like I go looking for fights."

"I know, I just worry about you."

"Well don’t." She crawled over his lap and kissed him firmly on the lips, "I’m a big girl."

"I know." He smiled and tucked her dark hair behind her ear. "I can’t help worrying though."

"Aww, macho man. Must protect female. Must protect tribe." She pounded her chest and imitated a Neanderthal man.

"Yeah yeah." He laughed lightly and rolled his eyes. "So what’s up for tonight?"

"Not much. I thought we’d just, you know… do a little dance, maybe make a little love, basically get down tonight." She laughed and scooted off his lap.

"You’re a freak show." He shook his head and yawned, "Let’s go out and do something tonight. Then tomorrow we can hang out here and just kick back."

"What time do you leave tomorrow?"

"My flight leaves at seven, so I’ve gotta leave here around six."

"It leaves at seven? Where are you going?"

"New York. I’m taking the redeye so I land there at like, four in the morning."

"Ewww, that sucks." Becca scrunched up her nose and frowned.

"Yeah, but that’s okay. I’ll sleep on the plane and be ready to go when I get there."

"Then yeah, we’ll definitely have to party tonight. We can go to the Klubb, they have live bands play on the weekend and tonight I think it’s The Hatchet Brothers."

"Sounds like a plan." Justin yawned quietly and sunk deeper into the couch, resting his head on the arm.

"Why do you always get tired when you come over?" Becca smiled.

"I’m always tired, but when I’m here you actually let me sleep. My body knows this so as soon as I cross the door step, it starts to shut down."

"So what am I supposed to do while you nap?"

"Rub my feet?" Justin smiled with his eyes closed and wiggled his toes in her lap.

"Dream on." She said softly as he smiled contentedly and blindly reached for her hand. She took it in her own and slowly ran her fingers through his, lightly running her nails over his palm as he drifted off to sleep.

Becca let him take his little catnap for a few hours, then woke him up to get ready to go out. They went to dinner at Albertos Mexican restaurant on the strip, then headed for the Klubb. "Oh hey um…" Justin pulled Becca’s hand to stop her as they crossed the dark parking lot to the hole in the wall bar. "I uh, I didn’t bring any ID."

Becca smiled knowingly and said, "Like it would help, you’re underage kid."

"I know, but… I mean usually I can still get into places like this, but not… not without…"

"Not without announcing who you are and having your security boys surrounding you, right?" She smiled and tugged at his hand.

"Right."

"I’ll tell you what, as long as you don’t stand up on the bar and tell everyone you’re only 20, you’ll be fine."

"But Becca, I can-"

"You worry too much." She laughed and dragged him across the parking lot. As they walked through the front door of the club the bouncer guy smiled and waved at Becca, then didn’t even glance at Justin. "See? You’re home free." Becca laughed and led the way to the bar where they ordered their drinks then went to find a small table by the stage at the far end.

"This is a cool little place." Justin sipped his whiskey sour and pulled himself up onto the barstool. He adjusted the plain green bandana over his curls and glanced around. "It looks a lot smaller from outside."

"This is my home away from home."

"You work here?"

"No." Becca laughed and shook her head, "I still work at Little Darlings, and I wouldn’t take you there to relax."

"You’re still working there?" Justin asked. He’d met her in the strip club almost a year earlier and was surprised to hear she was still there.

"Yep, we covered this. I got promoted to head waitress."

"That’s right." Justin nodded. "So you’re just waitressing? You’re not… dancing?"

Becca laughed out loud and almost choked on her drink, "No, I’m not a stripper. Jesus Just, you know me better than that."

"No, I know." He said quickly as his cheeks turned pink.

"I’m not having that come back to haunt me 20 years down the road." She shook her head as the garage band took the stage to her right.

"Yeah, I know how that goes." Justin nodded and swallowed the last of his drink. He signaled the waitress for another drink and sat back in the chair. He listened to the familiar sounds of a soundcheck, the mic checks and the short round of instrument checks. He felt totally in tune with what was going on on stage, and totally separated at the same time. He watched from the outside as the singer cleared his throat and warmed up his vocal chords a little.

Justin gave a little laugh and shook his head slightly, "What?" Becca asked, catching the motion out of the corner of her eye.

"Nothing, it’s just… that guy up there." He shrugged. "He wants to be a famous singer, he wants to live his life on the road and sing for a living. It’s just like… I want to grab him and say ‘dude, it’s so not like that, don’t give up all this for that.’ You know? Just give him fair warning."

"You don’t like your job?"

"I love my job." Justin shook his head, "But I wish someone had sat me down at the beginning and told me how it really works." He finished his second drink and took the cherry out from its bed of ice. He chewed thoughtfully and added, "I’d do anything to play a little club like this and be able to go home to my own bed every night."

"Really? You’d trade all your fame and money and all that, for this?" She waved her arm around, indicating the smokey club.

Justin looked around and said, "I’d give it some serious thought."

"You need help." Becca laughed, "And another drink or five." She waved the waitress over and ordered Justin a double as the band kicked into their first set.

Justin remembered most of the show and then pulling himself up Becca’s stairs several hours later. But what he didn’t remember was getting onstage and singing "Kryptonite" with the band, or leaving the bar with Becca and the guys to hit their favorite body art studio, or asking the drummer if he could join The Hatchet Brothers as a part time member.

Justin collapsed onto Becca’s bed and was passed out before his head fell to rest on the pillow. She quietly changed into an old pair of his boxers and a tank top, then crawled into bed beside him and rested her head on his shoulder as she too fell asleep.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

When the sun was high enough to wash Becca’s room with warm light the next morning, Justin creased his forehead and rolled over onto his stomach then winced with pain as he sat up, "Ow, damn." He put one hand on his spinning head and one on his aching chest. "Oh maaaaan." He groaned and closed his eyes as he hung his head, forcing himself not to throw up. "Bec? What happened?"

"Ahh, I’d say you had a little too much to drink last night." Becca smiled from the bathroom and shook her toothbrush at him.

Justin ran his tongue over his teeth and lips and made a horrible face, "My God…" He sighed and gently prodded his chest. He felt like he’d been kicked by a horse, and silently prayed he hadn’t been in a fight. The media would be all over it and that would be bad. "Fight?" He flopped backwards onto the bed still holding his chest.

"What? No, you didn’t get in a fight, you’re 100% hungover babe." Becca laughed and wiped her mouth quickly.

"Shit my chest hurts like a moth – " He stopped suddenly as his fingers gently moved over a curl of cold metal. His eyes flew open and he looked down at his naked chest. "Holy shit Becca, when did I get my nipple pierced?!"

"Last night. You wanted to get them both done but I talked you out of it, remember?"

"You… you…" He stuttered and closed his eyes again as the room spun before his eyes.

"No, I didn’t get mine done." Becca laughed and stepped out of the bathroom in his boxers and a tank top.

"You let me?" He croaked.

"Justin, you wanted to. What was I gonna say? No?" She laughed.

"Take it out." He removed his hand, exposing his chest to her.

"No way Jose, that’s damn sexy." She sat on the bed beside him and patted his tummy; "It’ll make it more sensitive, see?" She reached up and slowly drew her finger over the piercing, causing him to flinch backward.

"Ooow ow don’t." Justin swatted her hand away.

"It doesn’t hurt, don’t be a baby."

"It does hurt." He whined and tried sitting up again.

"Wuss." Becca rolled her eyes and reached toward the night stand, "Here, take these and drink this, you’ll feel better." She handed him two Tylenol and a cold bottle of Sam Adams.

"No." He shook his head.

"Take it or you’ll be miserable all day."

"I think I will be anyway." Justin grumbled, but took the pills and bottle from her. He chased the two small tablets with a long swig and actually felt more human. "My teeth are hairy, I need a shower and a toothbrush." He pushed himself to a standing position and closed his eyes tightly as he balanced himself on her tall dresser.

"Don’t take it out." Becca called after him as he shut the bathroom door and started the shower. She laughed to herself and shook her head as she went out to the kitchen to get Justin a bowl of cereal.

He cleaned himself up and dressed in his nylon warm up pants and a big t-shirt, then stumbled out to the living room where Becca had a bowl of Cookie Crisp waiting for him on a TV tray. "There’s some breakfast for you, that’ll make you feel better." Becca smiled.

"Thanks." He mumbled as he sat down on the couch and took a bite, "Promise me you’ll never let me do that again."

"What? Drink?"

"Drink that much." He clarified. "Or get anything pierced."

"Did you take it out?"

"Hell no, it hurts to touch it. I’m going to have to wait for it to heal and then take it out." He frowned and took another bite of his cereal, careful not to make a mess down the front of himself.

"Don’t take it out." Becca laughed, "By the time it’s healed you’ll realize how sexy it is."

"It doesn’t feel very sexy."

"Just wait."

"How would you know?"

"I’ve dated guys with piercings. Trust me on this. In a week you will get turned on just by having someone brush against it."

"Just what I need, thanks." Justin rolled his eyes. "Johnny’s gonna loose his mind."

"Your manager checks out your chest?"

"He’ll find out."

"So what? It’s your body. I swear, you’d think that man owns you or something." Becca sighed and finished her bowl of cereal.

"He does practically. For the time being."

"I’d shoot myself." Becca said softly.

"Which is why I love coming here to see you." Justin smiled and pushed his bowl aside. Sugary cereal was not going to settle his stomach. "With you I can be normal."

"So it turns out I’m good for something huh?" Becca smiled flirtatiously.

"Amazing huh?" Justin raised his eyebrow at her and tried to look seductive, but the dark circles under his eyes and the paleness of his lips proved that he felt awful. Becca set her bowl on the ground by her feet, and pulled Justin across the couch and onto her lap. He lay his head on her legs and she played with his hair, "So that’s why I’m dating you, why are you dating me?" He asked softly.

"What do you mean?"

"Why are you dating me? You’re a 26 year old part time waitress, part time student. Why are you dating a 20 year old boyband guy?"

"Because you’re cute." She traced his dark eyebrow to the corner of his eye and smiled.

"That’s it?"

"Are you fishing for compliments?"

"I’m just curious."

"I didn’t know you were so young when I met you, you were in a strip club for crying out loud." She laughed. "And I didn’t know you were in a boyband either. You were cool, when the other guys were grabbing my ass and stuff, you put them in their place and were grown up about it." She shrugged. "Turns out you’re fun in bed too, so that’s a bonus."

Justin blushed and closed his eyes slowly as she twirled her finger in his hair, "So I’m cute and good in bed?"

"Fun. There’s a difference." She laughed lightly and flipped the TV on.

"Hey." He frowned, but didn’t open his eyes.

"It’s kind of exciting too. Knowing that no one else knows about us, and knowing that I’ve got a piece of what half the teenage world wants, that’s kind of fun."

"Awww." He smiled up at her and gave her the puppy dog eyes.

"And…" She started softly, then stopped altogether. "You uh, you make me think that I can do this, ya know? School and everything. If you can juggle the half a bazillion things you got going, I can manage work and school."

"Really?" Justin opened his eyes, surprised that she’d actually opened up to him.

"Yep." She smiled down at him, then kissed him quickly. "So, today’s another couch day huh?" She changed the subject quickly.

"I think if I stood up right now, my head would roll off my shoulders, down the stairs, out to the street and into the path of an oncoming 18 wheeler."

"Ouch." Becca cringed with a smile and flipped the channels. "That’s okay, the couch sounds good to me. I’ve got ShowTime free this weekend too, so we’re set."

"Right on." Justin said softly ass he turned onto his side to face the TV. They watched the end of "You’ve got mail" and all of "What lies beneath", then ate a small lunch and curled up on the couch, preparing to watch "Gladiator" before he had to leave to go back to New York. The movie had barely started when Justin’s pager began to beep in his bag near the front door. "Shit." He pulled himself off the couch and grabbed the small black beeper. He hit the buttons to silence it then looked at the number lit up in the background, it looked familiar and he frowned as he dialed the Orlando area code.

"Who is it?" Becca asked with a hint of annoyance.

"I’m not sure." Justin mumbled under his breath as it rang in his ear.

"WCM management, this is Jessica." A young girl answered the phone.

"Oh crap!" Justin exclaimed, "Sorry, this is uh, Justin Timberlake, I was paged?"

"Ahh, yes Johnny Wright was looking for you. You had an urgent call from a Kelly?" Jessica explained as she shuffled some papers around on her desk.

"Okay? Why is she calling you guys?" He asked into the phone. "It’s my management office." Justin said softly to Becca.

"Um, let me connect you with Mr. Wright." Jessica tapped on her keyboard and a second later Justin heard Johnny’s familiar voice on the line.

"Hey Justin, how’s it going?"

"Fine." He said quickly, "What’s up?"

"Kelly called in a panic, she wasn’t able to reach you at home and she didn’t have a number to page you to."

"What’s going on?"

"She was in a car accident, she’s at Cedars in LA, but she’s all right."

"Shit, you’re sure?"

"Yeah, she’s barely got a scratch on her, I talked to her for a few minutes when she called in. They’re just keeping her there for observation. But she wanted me to get a hold of you to have you call."

"Okay, what’s the number?" Justin asked as he dug in his bag for a pen. He sighed and looked at Becca, not wanting to leave, but knowing that he’d almost have to. He got the number of the hospital and her room number, then called there, "Hey you…" he said when she answered the phone.

"Justin?" Kelly said as she started to cry. "Where are you? I thought you were going home and I called you there and you weren’t there." She said through tears.

"I had a uh, change of plans…" Justin explained. "What happened?" Becca frowned at him and he just shook his head as he headed for the front door.

Brodie followed him out onto the little landing as he sat on the first step and listened to Kelly tell him what happened between sobs. "I was driving home from Dominic's this morning and at the bottom of the hill some guy ran the stop sign and he slammed into my car." She cried. "And my airbag came out and I spun all the way around." She sniffed and tried to catch her breath.

"But you’re okay?"

"I guess so." She squeaked and wiped her eyes with the edge of the sheet.

"Is your mom there?"

"Yeah." Kelly sniffed and brushed her hair out of her eyes.

"Okay." Justin nodded.

"Can you come?"

"Kel, I can’t." Justin said softly as he draped his arm around Brodie. "I have to leave for New York tonight and by the time I could get to LA I’d have to turn around and leave again."

"But Justin…" She started to cry again.

"Kelly, I can’t." He shook his head and tried to sound worried. "I’ll call you later tonight, and tomorrow when I get to New York."

"You have to go right now?"

"Yeah, I’ve uh, I’ve gotta go."

"Justin, I just totaled my car and I’m in the hospital." She raised her voice to a pitch higher than normal.

"But you’re okay. Johnny said you’re only at the hospital for observation and there’s not a scratch on you."

"I know I’m fine but Jesus Justin…"

"I can’t come out there right now, I told you that." He said, getting defensive.

"So I get the mandatory 2 minute phone call?"

"I’m right in the middle of something Kel."

"I thought you had the weekend off. You need to get your stories straight." She wiped her eyes again and frowned as her mom walked into her room.

"Kelly, I told you there was a change of plans. We were supposed to have the weekend off, JC and Chris still do. Lance, Joey and I got called away to do a benefit thing so that’s where I am. I’m right in the middle of the ceremony thing and I need to get back in there. If you’re not bleeding and not hurt, you’ll be fine until I can call you later." He sighed. He didn’t want to sound so mean, but she had to understand that he couldn’t just drop everything he was doing just to rush to LA to be with her. She could really be needy at times, and that was getting on his nerves.

"What benefit thing?" She asked.

"What’s up with you? All of a sudden you don’t trust me?" Justin asked as a blush creeped into his cheeks.

"Well I’m laying here in a hospital and you can’t take five minutes to talk to me?"

"I would love to sit here and talk with you for the next hour, I really would, but I can’t. You know how these things go, and how it looks when your pager goes off while you're on stage and you have to leave. I’ll give you a call tonight, you’ll be home by then."

"Fine." She sighed.

"Don’t be mad, you know I’d be on the first flight if I could." He smiled sweetly and dropped his voice to almost a whisper.

"I know."

"Okay then." He smiled and scratched Brodie under her collar. He blew a kiss for Kelly and whispered, "I miss you."

"Miss you too." She said as her voice cracked. Justin clicked off his phone and sighed as he pushed himself up. He pulled the screen door open and herded Brodie back into the apartment where Becca was sitting on the couch flipping through the TV guide.

"Sorry." Justin tossed his phone and his pager at his backpack and fell back onto the couch beside her.

"That thing needs to die." Becca said softly, her good mood spoiled. The movie had been on for a couple minutes and Justin had missed the opening sequence.

"I’d ditch it if I could." He sighed and dropped himself on the other end of the couch. He lifted his feet up and dropped them onto her lap where they’d been when he got his page.

Becca lifted his feet and dropped them on the floor; "You could at least mute it."

"That would denote the whole purpose." Justin laughed lightly.

"Then vibrate or whatever. You have the weekend off, don’t they know what that means?" She crossed her arms over her chest and stared at the television.

"I can’t hear it when it’s on vibrate, and I don’t really get any time off because that’s the biz."

"Was that call really so important that it couldn’t wait till you got ‘back to work’ or whatever."

"Ke – " Justin started to say Kelly, but stopped himself just in time, "Bec, that was my management." Justin repeated. "I can’t just ignore a page from my boss, even if he just wanted to know if I’m wearing socks."

"I’d be pissed if my boss called and asked me if I was wearing socks."

"That wasn’t what he called for." Justin smiled and tried to keep the conversation light, though he could see Becca was getting upset.

"So then what was so important it couldn’t wait?"

"There was a change of plans for tomorrow." Justin said softly as Becca sighed and rolled her eyes. "This is how it goes… I’m always on call basically. Like a doctor. They’re never not doctors, and I’m never not in Nsync."

"Yeah but even doctors get vacation time."

"I get vacation time too." Justin nodded. "I ditch the pager, stay away from phone, don’t talk to anyone and avoid crowds. But I’m not on vacation this weekend."

"You’re not working."

"No, but I’m not on vacation. This is just time away from the office, if you wanna put it that way. I’m still working, I just don’t have to be anywhere."

"That’s bullshit Justin. If you’re not doing something for work, they shouldn’t just call you. I swear, that thing goes off every time you're here."

"And out of all those times how many times do I actually call the person back? Once? Twice?" Justin frowned.

"So? How many times do those other guys get paged when they’re out with their girlfriends."

"Ahh, see you hit the nail on the head right there. How many people know that I have a girlfriend, and that that girlfriend is you?" Justin wrapped a curl around his finger and smirked at her.

"Who cares? You’re still on your own time." She pouted.

"Sheesh when did you turn into a pouty little girl?" Justin laughed and shook his head.

"I’m just getting sick of you always having to answer pages, or leave early, or cancel plans or whatever."

"That’s my job hun… I can’t change that." Justin sighed; this was a pointless argument.

"And that’s another thing." Becca started.

"Becca come on. Let’s just watch the movie." He didn’t want to start anything when he only had a few hours left.

She sighed with resignation and slumped back into the couch to watch the movie in silence.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Justin yawned as he checked into the hotel in New York early the next morning. He had a few hours, so he went up to his room to get his things situated. They would be there for a couple days so he unpacked his bathroom stuff and set out his little picture of his family back home. He missed them a lot, but with the double girlfriend duty he was pulling, it was hard to get home to see them. He sighed and reached for the phone to call his mom, but the phone rang before he could pick it up.

"Hello?" He answered as he tried not to yawn.

"Good. You’re here. Change of plans, you’ve got one hour before you gotta catch the van to the studios. Lance and Joe are there already, we’re just waiting on you, Jace and Chris." Daniel their tour manager said quickly.

"I… okay." Justin nodded and rubbed his eyes. "All right, I’ll be at the elevators in 50."

"Great." Daniel paused, "Did you have a good weekend off?"

Justin smiled and held his hand over his eyes, Daniel always tried to make the guys feel like this was one big family, and he liked that. "Yeah, I had a great weekend, how about you?"

"Mine was good. I was working on this weeks stuff though." Daniel laughed lightly, "But I’m outta here for Wednesday and Thursday."

"Right on." Justin laughed.

"Okay kid, see you in a few."

"Bye." Justin hung up and fell back onto the bed. He stared at the ceiling for 40 minutes to keep himself from falling to sleep, then pulled himself up and changed his shirt. He was careful not to bump or brush his new piercing as he pulled his clean shirt on and buttoned it up the front, then ran down the hall to meet the others.

Justin was the first to the elevator, and the first to be escorted down to the awaiting van. He stayed close to their security as they crossed the lobby and stepped out into the parking lot where the black van was parked and running. He slid in with a quick wave to the fans, then slumped down in his seat and crossed his arms

"How’s Blair?" Justin asked as JC climbed into the back seat beside him a minute later. He covered his mouth as he yawned and rolled his shoulders.

"She’s good." JC smiled, "She wants me to try to make it home for her moms wedding next month, but… I don’t know." He shrugged and dropped his bag on the seat between them. "How’s Kelly?"

"She’s fine. I guess, I mean, I haven’t seen her since the bar-b-cue thing." Justin shrugged. "She totaled her car this weekend, but she’s all right."

"You didn’t go see her?" JC asked with a raised eyebrow.

"No." Justin shook his head.

"Okay be straight with me J, are you guys dating?"

"Why do you want to know?" Justin grinned slowly.

"C’mon…"

"Jace, it’s better if you don’t know. It’s bad enough I get hounded about it, at least this way you can honestly say you don’t know." Justin sighed and looked out the window, wishing he were back in Las Vegas or Los Angeles… anywhere but there.

"Yeah but I mean… we don’t usually have secrets between us, you know."

"I know." Justin nodded. "But this is different. Who I date shouldn’t matter."

"It doesn’t matter."

"Then leave it alone." Justin said as he turned to look at JC. He didn’t mean to be short with JC, but this topic was working his nerves, he’d had about enough.

"So who did you go visit then?" JC asked a couple minutes later as they continued to wait for Chris.

"A friend."

"A girl friend?" JC asked slyly as Chris stopped to sign a couple autographs on his way to the van.

Justin looked at JC with a smirk, "Why should I start telling the truth now?"

"Dude, what does that mean?"

"Nothing." Justin rested his chin in his hand and looked out the window as Chris jumped in and shut the door.

"Okay let’s go." Chris bounced around the front seat adjusting the radio station. "What’s up guys, where’d you go?"

"Justin went to see ‘a friend’." JC smiled and thwaped Chris’s head.

"Ahh, how’s lil miss Kelly?" Chris laughed.

"Ah ha, it wasn’t Kelly." JC pointed out quickly.

"You didn’t go see Kelly?" Chris turned around to look over the back of the seat.

"Does it matter?" Justin asked.

"Not to me." Chris turned back around and messed with the in-dash equalizer as they headed for the familiar studios. The sun began to peek out through the early morning haze as they got to the studios and met up with the two other guys to start their busy day.

 

 

On to chapter 5…

 

Copyright 2001 Amy Lynn