"Stop. It." Dayna dropped her comb and placed her hands on either side of Joey's head to stop him from moving. "Stop moving."
"I'm sorry." Joey gave her the puppy dog look in the mirror.
"One week on the road and you're already making me nuts." She shook her head and smiled. As much as she complained about it, she wouldn't trade her job for anything in the world. Having the guys wiggle in her chair and give her a hard time was half of what made the job so great.
"We've improved our time." Joey laughed as Lance walked into the room. "Last time it took almost a month to drive you nuts."
"You're proud about all the wrong things." Dayna smiled and ran her hands rapidly through Joey's hair to give him the windblown 'don't care' effect. "I like your hair this length Joe."
"Did you have someone cut it?"
"Nope. I used the flobee."
"You did not." Dayna rolled her eyes as Lance snickered on the couch behind her. She stopped working her hands and looked at Joey. "You did not."
"Yeah I did."
"Joey that's a vacuum that sucks your hair and cuts it."
"I know, it works too." Joey laughed.
"Please tell me you didn't buy one." Dayna closed her eyes as she suppressed the urge to laugh.
"No, I didn't buy one. One of my buddies had one from before so we used it."
"Well to be honest, you did a good job." Dayna let a little giggle escape as she reached for the hair drier. "But from now on go to a salon or see me."
"Okay." Joey nodded and gave her a half smile in the mirror. "I wanna dye my hair again."
"Not right now."
"After the show?"
"Can I do it on the bus?"
"Absolutely not." Dayna shook her head. "I'll do it, but I don't know if we'll have time after the show. Tomorrow might be a better idea."
"What color do you want?"
"Blonde streaks." Joey smiled as Lance chuckled on the couch again.
"He wants to be striped." Lance kicked his feet up onto the couch.
"Not striped." Joey frowned.
"Highlights?" Dayna asked.
"I dont know. Just lighter."
"Lighter I can do." Dayna patted his shoulder and set the hair drier to the side. "You're gorgeous darling. Lance? You're next."
"Yay." Lance offered some fake enthusiasm as he sat in the seat Joey had vacated.
"Can I grab a drink before I go to the dressing room?" Joey asked as he held the door open and swung it open and closed.
"I don't care." Dayna shrugged and spritzed Lance's hair with the water bottle to dampen it. "If you see JC though can you let him know I'm going back to the hotel when I'm done here. I think he was expecting me to go out with you guys tonight but I think I'd rather soak in a bath for an hour or so."
"Okay." Joey nodded and skipped out the door.
"So " Dayna sighed, "How's it going Lance?"
"It's going good." He smiled.
"Hey, you never filled me in on your movie thing, what's going on with that?" Dayna reached for her brush to get started as Lance told her about the project he'd worked on over their break.
"Who's here?" Justin shouted as he walked into the dressing room.
"Just me." Chris shouted back. He heard Justin make his way back to the changing area and smiled up at him as he bent to roll the cuffs of his jeans.
"What's that?" He asked as he pointed to Chris feet. Justin pulled his belt off as he reached for the pants on his rack.
"Whats what?" Chris looked around at the piles of clothes stacked around his ankles.
"Youve got your toes are painted." Justin's pants fell to the floor and he stepped out of them as he shook his performance pants out in front of him.
"Oh." Chris blushed and shoved his feet under the clothes, "Yeah."
"Time out wait. Your toes are painted?" Justin laughed as pulled his new pants on and bent to move the clothes, "Who painted your toes? And how come?"
"Maddie painted them." Chris shrugged. "She wanted to "
"Oh shut up. I dont even want to know what kind of kinky things you guys are doing." Justin held up his hands and covered his ears as he laughed.
"Whos kinky?" JC asked as he walked in on the scene.
"Chris has painted toes." Justin laughed and slapped Chris on the back; "Its some dominatrix type thing he and Maddie have going on."
"Shut up." Chris blushed and playfully threw punches at Justin as he walked toward the front of the dressing area.
"You painted your toes?" JC laughed.
"Yeah he did! Oh shut up you did so!" Justin followed Chris through the racks of clothes as he pulled his clean shirt on over his head.
"I didnt paint anything. Maddie painted my toes because it makes her laugh." Chris sighed and sat on the cold metal chair to put his shoes on.
"Yeah it makes me laugh too." Justin snickered under his breath and left Chris alone, "Ill catch you later Mr. Painted toe man."
"Ignore him." JC smiled as he dropped himself on the chair next to Chris. "He doesnt understand girls."
"Are your toes painted?" Chris asked with a raised eyebrow.
"No." JC shook his head. "And so help me God if you mention it to Dayna Ill shoot you." He pointed an angry finger at Chris with a wide smile. "But I totally get where she's coming from."
"It's just this thing "
"Hey, no need to explain." JC held up his hand. "You do weird things when you're in love, it happens."
"Justin's gonna blow this outta proportion."
"Yeah he is." JC laughed. "Just let him go though. You've gotta keep the peace with the lady."
"Yeah." Chris laughed with JC, glad to have found someone who understood.
"But I'd wear socks if I were you."
"Yeah, thanks." Chris scoffed and finished tying his shoes. "Lets go."
For the next week Chris took the kidding in stride, but made sure to wear socks as often as possible to avoid any new attacks. At night when he was alone in his hotel room or in his bunk he'd glance down at his toes and smile as he thought about Maddie. "Why can't you just be here?" Chris whispered to himself as he tossed his socks toward his suitcase.
Chris sat on the corner of his bed and looked down at the chipped nail polish on his toes. He sighed and brought his foot up to pick at the polish until it was in flakes on the floor, then he reached for the phone. It rang three times before Dayna picked up, "Yeeeeees?"
"Chris?" Dayna took the toothbrush from her mouth and frowned at her reflection. "What time is it?"
"I don't know. Shit, were you sleeping?"
"No, no I was just brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed. But it's just, well it's late."
"I'll be quick, I promise."
"Hrmm, where have I heard that before?" Dayna smiled.
"Hey now " Chris laughed. "For reals do you uh, do you have any nail polish?"
"Nail polish? You want to paint your nails?" Dayna spit into the sink then wiped her mouth before she went out to the main room.
"Do you have any?"
"Um, I think I have some black from when Joey was going through that stage why?"
"I need to borrow some. You don't have anything that's like purple or anything?"
"No." Dayna laughed. "Are you going to tell me what's going on?"
"No." Chris smiled.
"Uh huh." Chris agreed. "Well shit, that's all I was really calling for. I guess I'll go get some next time we stop or something."
"Do you need it tonight?"
Chris shrugged though Dayna couldn't see. "I don't need it, no."
"Would you like to have it tonight?"
"Alright." Dayna sighed and reached for her jeans. "You're gonna owe me though."
"Do you have some?"
"Not on me, but I'd be willing to bet that if I go downstairs and whore myself out to the teeny fans down there one of them will have some."
"Dayna " Chris complained.
"I've got a stack of signed pictures, I can get anything." She laughed.
"Where'd you get those?"
"I swiped them from Dave's office. I was gonna sell them on E-bay but " She shrugged and laughed. "He gave me a couple, I'm not sure why."
"You don't have to go down there, it's no big deal."
"Get outta here, it's not a problem." Dayna pulled her jeans over JC's boxers she'd 'borrowed' and slid her feet into her flip-flop sandals. "I'll swing by in a few minutes." She hung up the phone and grabbed a couple of the signed pictures.
She waved to the security on her way down, and one of them slid onto the elevator with her to make sure she didn't try to escape or get hurt. Dayna's plan worked like a charm. There were about fifteen girls outside by the valet desk holding cameras and looking toward the lobby. When Dayna appeared with the bodyguard they all went on alert.
They shot questions at her but Dayna waited until she was standing in front of them to say anything. "Hi guys, I'm Dayna I do Nsync's hair for the tour. Listen, I need a favor do any of you have funky colored nail polish with you?"
A couple of girls shook their head while two ducked into their ever handy backpacks, "Hey, is it true you're dating JC?" One girl asked.
Dayna blushed and flipped through the pictures in her hand, not entirely sure how to answer that question, "Um, yeah."
"For real? Everyone's saying thats just a rumor and that he's really seeing that chick from that show 'Charmed'?"
"Ahh, no." She shook her head and looked toward the girls who were still in their purses. "I also have some signed pictures here if you guys can come up with some."
"I have some pink." The first girl said as she held out a tiny bottle of polish.
"Awesome, can I have it?" Dayna asked as she held out a picture.
"Yeah! Oh my God really?" She squealed and handed over the polish.
"Thanks a lot, this will really help." Dayna passed out the rest of the pictures then waved and ducked back into the lobby with the guard a few steps behind. They went back up to their floor and down to Chris' room. "I don't know what you want with this but here you go. Pink."
"It's pink." Chris crinkled his nose.
"Do you want black?"
"Then pink will have to do." She laughed and shook her head. "Have uh fun. Or whatever." She smiled then headed back to her room, leaving Chris alone with bright pink nail polish.
"Well shit " He sighed and sat on his bed again. He flipped the TV on and channel surfed until "Wheel of Fortune" came on. "Wheel. Of. Fortune." He said softly as the contestants took their places. He pulled his knees up and shook the bottle of polish as he'd seen Maddie do.
Chris took great care in making sure not to get any on the hotel linens, however he decided he wasn't the worlds best toe nail painter. "Well who cares? No one's gonna see it anyway." Chris sighed and started on the second coat as his cell phone rang.
The clock on the nightstand showed that it was after eleven, which meant that it could only be Madeline calling. He picked up the phone and clicked it on, "Hey babe." He smiled and rested the phone between his ear and shoulder as he continued to paint.
"How'd you know it was me?" Maddie smiled and dropped her purse by the counter in her kitchen.
"You're the only one who calls me at this hour. How'd the hunt go?" She'd been job searching for the last week but so far nothing had panned out.
"Really good. I found this health center near Santa Monica who just happens to be looking for a peer counselor."
"Right on, would that be you?"
"I put in an application and I met with a few of the other counselors today. It looks like a nice little place, it's right near the ocean and it's kind of cozy." She crinkled her nose, "The clientele is kinda eh, but beggars can't be choosers, right?"
"Well what's wrong with them?"
"Nothing's wrong really. It's just, it's a teen health clinic and that wasn't really what I was going for, but I think I can do it."
"Of course you can."
"I'm hitting the high schools next week to see if they have any openings there." She sighed. "But enough about me, how's work?"
"Same shit, different day." Chris laughed, "Oh hey, guess what I'm doing right now?"
"Trying to go to sleep?"
"Wishing you were asleep?"
"Actually dreaming so we're not really having this conversation at all it's just made up in your head?" Maddie laughed.
"Nope. I'm painting my toe nails pink." Chris smiled.
"Yeah, well the purple chipped off and I figured you'd want to know what color they were so you could laugh when you thought about it."
"It was the best I could find."
"Who had it?" Maddie asked. "Oh wait, let me guess. Lance?"
"No." Chris laughed.
"None of them had it. Dayna got it from some girls downstairs I think. It's really bright though." Chris wiggled his toes and laughed at himself. He'd definitely have to remember to wear socks for a while.
"Of course I am." Chris smiled. "Man I wish you could come out here and see all this stuff we're doing. It like there's so much and I can't even tell you about it."
"If I don't find a job here pretty soon, I might just have to come out and see you." Maddie smiled and ran her hand through her hair. "I might do that anyway."
"You'd come out and see me?"
"Of course." Maddie laughed. "You guys look like you're having a lot of fun, I'd like to see it first hand again. We had a good time last time."
"Yeah." Chris sighed and screwed the cap back on the bottle then slid down so his head was on the pillow. "So what are you doing right now?"
"Taking off my shoes." Maddie sighed and kicked her sandals toward the dining room table. "Then I'm going to get a big glass of water and curl up on the couch with my People Magazine."
"Now that sounds like fun."
"It is." She smiled and grabbed a cup to fill with ice and water. "What about you?"
"I'm laying on my bed watching 'Wheel of Fortune' on mute and talking to you."
"Are you tired?"
"Yeah, it's late here and I have to be up early." He tried not to yawn, but his tiredness won.
"Yeah shut up, what time did you get up this morning?"
"Like " She laughed and thought back over her day, "Nine I think."
"Okay I was up at four thirty and I did six, count em, six photo op's and interviews today." Chris dropped his arm over his eyes. "I wish you were here." He said softly.
"So I could give you a back rub?" She laughed.
"Oh man, would you?"
"If I was there, yeah."
"We need to work on that." Chris whispered as he pulled at his hair. "Maybe I can get you a job as the tour counselor or something. Tour counselor and personal Chris masseuse."
Maddie laughed and Chris smiled at the sound, he could be happy for the rest of his life is he could listen to her laugh all day. "Pull some strings for me, okay?"
"Hey, we've got no strings attached."
"Ha." She rolled her eyes and sat in the corner of her couch with her magazine at her feet. "I'll let you go sweetie, you sound really tired."
"No it's okay." Chris mumbled as he yawned again.
"You're yawning in my ear." Maddie replied softly.
"I know, but I just want to talk to you."
"You need to sleep."
"No, I need you to come and lay with me and maybe rub my back or something." Chris let his eyes close as he smiled in content.
"I would if I could."
They sat in comfortable silence for a minute before Maddie whispered, "I love you Chris."
"I love you too."
"I'm gonna let you go get some sleep, give me a call tomorrow if you can."
"Okay." Chris sighed and fluffed his pillow beneath his head.
"You too." He smiled and waited for her to hang up the phone before he flipped his phone off and reached for the light. He really would do anything to have her there with him, and not just for the back rubs that she was sure to give him. Not for anything physical, but just to have her there to wrap his arms around to wake up at all hours of the night with the scent of her floral soap in his mind, to listen to her fumble around in the bathroom in the dark as she tried to be quiet, to know that no matter what he had planned for the day he'd still get to wake up with her within arms reach. Forever. Was that too much to ask?
"Gah, this must be girlfriend week on the Nsync tour. Don't they know we're going to be done in like, five weeks?" Dayna grumbled as she placed her hands on her hips. "Justin, why do you even come in here? Grow some hair and then we'll talk."
"I'm not sitting in your chair so chill." Justin laughed. "We're all scheduled time for hair and make-up, you're the hair part of that so I come here like I'm told." He looked up at her and ran his hands over his head. "Girlfriend week?" He brought her back to her original rant.
"Joey's on again off again girlfriend slash 'just a friend' thing is out here."
"Yeah. When did they go 'on' again?"
"I don't think they are, I think he was just missing the home flavor or something."
"She's from Brooklyn?"
"Oh yeah. You should go talk to her, she's crazy. She's like a girl version of Joey." Justin laughed.
"That scares me."
"You haven't met her before? She's been out."
"Yeah, I've seen her but I don't think we've met." Dayna shrugged, "But anyways, she's out right now then Patty will be out on Friday for the weekend, and - "
"Do you still want to off her?"
"Patty? No, she's alright." Dayna shook her head. "We did that girly bonding stuff in Hawaii a couple months ago."
"I'll never understand that."
"It's chick stuff, you aren't meant to understand. She's cool though. I'm not gonna go work out with her or anything like that, but she's good for Lance. I swear she puts up with a lot, I can't even imagine being at home while my boyfriend was on tour. I'd go nuts."
"She's put up with that for a while now."
"I know, which gives her many cool points in my book." Dayna sighed, "But anyway, so she'll be out this weekend and Maddie I guess is coming out on Monday."
"What are we gonna do with all these girls?" Justin laughed with a dreamy expression on his face.
"Me? I don't have one." He turned away from Dayna suddenly, but not before she caught his sly smile.
"Nu uh." Justin shook his head as his cheeks flashed pink.
"Oh yeah you do look at you."
"If I had a girlfriend back home I wouldn't invite her out onto the road because this is nuts. Besides, if I was dating someone it would be too new to actually expect them to drop everything and come out for a couple days of riding on a bus with me and four guys she didn't know." Justin looked up at Dayna, "Besides, she would have class and I wouldn't want to take her away from that because school is important."
"If you had a girlfriend back home."
"Right if I did." Justin laughed.
"So can I get a name?"
"You can make one up if you want."
"I can't believe you haven't told me anything about this. You're a terrible little brother, you're supposed to tell your sister everything so she can weed out the skanks and torment you."
"If there was anything to tell you, I would."
"Justin " She whined.
"Oh stop it, do you want some cheese with that?"
"You're a brat."
"Yeah well " He shrugged. "You've known that."
"Get out of my room, you suck. I'm not your friend anymore." Dayna pouted and pretended to pull him off of the couch.
"Don't make me go!" Justin giggled and threw himself flat on the couch.
"Then tell me come on, be a pal."
"There's nothing to tell you. Really. I've been friends with this girl for a while and we're kind of testing it out."
"Testing what out?"
"Why didn't you tell me before?!"
"Because you have a tendency to go a little ape shit when it comes to other peoples relationships." Justin laughed and raised his arms defensively to block her blows. "See? Look at you, you get violent when I bring it up."
"I'm only violent because you didn't tell me." Dayna smacked him again and laughed, "What's her name?"
"How old is she?"
"What's the harm in telling me? It'll get me off your back and I'll leave it alone."
"She's 20 and a junior at Berkeley out in California. I've known her for like, ten years or so then over the break we hung out a lot and we only just started this whole thing like a month ago."
"Right after the tour started. You were all busy and wrapped up with JC."
"That's no excuse, I see you every day."
"I'm sorry?" He tried to escape Dayna's flying hand again.
"It's okay." She sighed. "That's really cool though Justin. Being friends first is the best way to start a relationship. I'd still like to meet her though."
"Ha, not a chance." Justin mumbled under his breath as he rolled off the couch and stood up. "Maybe after the tour."
"You're no fun."
"You'll have plenty of ammunition for Corey, Patty and Maddie, you don't need another girl in there."
Dayna sighed and smiled as Justin pulled the door open, "You're probably right." She laughed as the door swung halfway shut then was thrown open again as Joey rushed in, "What's so funny?"
"Justin." She shook her head; "He's a weird kid."
"You can say that again." He fell into her chair and sighed, "Hey you know what?"
"I love my hair."
"I do too."
"Thank you." Dayna smiled.
"You're my favorite hair stylist ever."
"Joey " She used a warning tone, wondering what he was getting at.
"No, you really are."
"What do you want?"
"Nothing." Joey shook his head as she began to spray his hair. "I don't want anything really, but I was wondering if maybe just maybe I could ask you a favor?"
"We're going out to a club tonight and -"
"Well, me and Justin and Corey."
"Corey doesn't have anything other than jeans and I was hoping maybe you'd be nice enough to lend her a skirt or something. Since you're the coolest, most nicest person I know." Joey smiled sweetly at her in the mirror.
"You want me to lend my clothes to your girlfriend?"
"She's not my girlfriend." Joey said quickly.
"She's a girl and she's a friend whatever."
"You know what I mean." Joey rolled his eyes. "So can she?"
"Joey there's gotta be a mall around here somewhere." Dayna sighed and made a face.
"Is that a no?"
"What size does she wear?" Dayna frowned.
Joey turned the chair around with his foot and caught a spray of water in his face. He wiped his eyes and smiled, then placed his hands around Dayna's waist, wiggling his fingers on her back. "I'd say it's pretty darn close."
Dayna rolled her eyes and removed his hands, "That's real nice."
"Hey you asked."
"I'm sure I have something she can borrow." Dayna caved in. "But you're gonna owe me."
"I always owe you." Joey shrugged. "Next time we do a wardrobe order pick something out for yourself."
"Anything for you." Joey blew her a kiss and turned the chair around again so she could finish doing his hair. "You really do rock Day."
"I know." She sighed.
"And you are my favorite hair stylist girl."
"Thank you." Dayna smiled as Joey closed his eyes and his mouth so she could work her magic on his newly highlighted locks.
Dayna played nice with Corey and Patty while they were visiting, but was positively thrilled when Madeline showed up early the next week. "Yay!" Dayna did a happy little dance down the hallway of the hotel when she heard Maddie's light female voice coming from Chris' room.
"Yay?" Lance raised his eyebrow and laughed as she bounced by.
"Maddie is here."
"Maddie gets a 'yay' from you?" Lance laughed.
"Yep." She laughed and continued down to Chris' room where she knocked on the doorframe. "Hello?"
"Come in." Chris shouted through the half open door.
"Hey guys." Dayna smiled as she stepped into the room catching Chris and Maddie in a warm embrace.
"Hi." Maddie laughed lightly and took a step back, "I'm so glad you're here, it sounds like Chris and the guys will be swamped most of the week." She made a face as Chris wrapped his arm around her waist.
"Yeah, we'll have to start some trouble." Dayna raised her eyebrow and asked, "How long are you here for?"
"Um, just until Wednesday afternoon. I'm flying out of Kansas City at like twelve thirty I think." Maddie licked her lips. "So I'll get to see tonight and tomorrows shows."
"You'll love it." Dayna leaned against the doorjamb and looked at Chris, "We're doing hair and make-up on site for the VMA promos this afternoon so don't come to my room at one."
"We're doing it there?"
"I thought it was an outdoor shot?"
"It is." Dayna nodded. "I don't make the rules I just follow them."
"Lovely." Chris shook his head and squeezed Maddie's side affectionately. "Are you going to tag along?"
"Sure, if I can." She shrugged.
"It'd be better than hanging around here all afternoon."
"True." Maddie nodded and kissed Chris quickly.
"Okay, well hey let me know if you're left behind when the guys go do stuff or something." Dayna smiled at Maddie. "They're busy, but that's no reason for you to sit in a hotel room waiting."
"I will, thanks." Maddie laughed as Dayna stepped out into the hall. "See you later." She waved then walked back to her room, knocking on the other guy's doors to let them know of the schedule change for the afternoon.
Maddie went to the VMA promo shot with them that afternoon and played around with all of the guys during their breaks. She fit in real well with everyone and all of the guys seemed practically smitten with her. Dayna noticed how Chris would just stand back and watch her interact with everyone with an adoring smile playing in the corner of his mouth.
Dayna caught Chris' eye and smiled as Maddie laughed loudly at one of Joey's dirty jokes. "Hey " Dayna said softly as she leaned against the wall by Chris. "She's really cool."
"Yeah." He smiled proudly.
"And not easily offended, that's always a bonus."
"Yeah." Chris laughed and cleared his throat. "You're staying for the show tonight, right?"
"Earth to Chris, I'm there every night."
"I mean you're staying for the show right? I know sometimes you duck out early."
"I've been there almost every show this time." Dayna shook her head. "Yes, I will be there tonight and tomorrow."
"Okay." He nodded and looked back at Maddie. "I wish we could have time off to actually visit, you know?"
"I know what you mean." Dayna nodded. "I mean I dont know, but I can imagine."
"If I could get away with it I'd take a week off."
"I know you would." Dayna smiled, "But then you'd never come back."
"That's for sure." Chris laughed with her and shook his head. "Are we done here?"
"Yep, time to head for the venue as soon as the vans pull around." Dayna sighed.
"Right on." He smiled and walked across the room to Maddie and dropped his arm over her shoulder. Dayna couldn't hear what he said, but both Joey and Maddie laughed and headed for the door.
"Have you ever in your life seen Chris like this?" JC asked as he walked up behind Dayna and wrapped his arms around her waist.
"Well, considering when I first met him he was single, then dating me, then dating skanks no, I've never seen him like this before." Dayna laughed.
"You've never put it that way before, you drove him to date skanks? Were you really that bad?" JC laughed and rested his chin on her shoulder.
"Worse, apparently." Dayna turned her head to kiss him quickly. "I think I'm the same now though, you're just better equipped to handle it."
"Oh, is that it?"
"Okay." JC laughed and released her from his arms. "The vans are hear, let's get outta here." He pulled her by her hand toward the exit and into the second van parked at the curb. They were joined by Justin and Joey as well as two security guards.
The venue was empty with the exception of essential crew when they arrived a short while later. Chris and the guys were shuttled off to do their sound check while Dayna took the opportunity to show Maddie around a little and attempt to bond with each other. They played for a while in the game room, then stopped by the stage to watch the boys hard at work, and finally retreated to Dayna's hair room where her kits were set up.
"Well it looks like they've already invaded." Dayna sighed and lifted the tan leather jacket off of her chair and dropped it on the couch. "Nothing is sacred or off limits around here." Dayna laughed and began to go through her stuff. "I'm sorry, I need to start setting up before they show up."
"Oh, no problem." Maddie smiled and shook her head. "Do you get a discount on your supplies or anything? Or do you just buy them retail?"
"Um, almost everything that I use here is comp'd because I use Tigi products exclusively for their styling. Of course I'm biased, I love their Bed Head line."
"I've never used it before." Madeline shook her head and leaned on the little counter.
"It's heaven sent, let me tell you." Dayna reached for her Shine Freak gel and opened the container, "Smell this and tell me that's not delicious."
Maddie sniffed tentatively and looked surprise, "Wow, that's awesome."
"And it works like a charm. All those little frizzies and stuff are gone." Dayna replaced the lid and put it back in its place. "But anyway, as far as the shampoo and stuff goes they usually use whatever's in the hotel or whatever they buy for themselves. I have Tigi stuff here on the rare occasions that I actually have to shampoo their hair but " She shrugged and smiled.
"That's cool." Madeline laughed and leaned to check out her brushes. "You must have a lot of fun with their hair." She reached over and pulled out the hair mascara.
"Yeah I do. They let me do what I want sometimes, and other times I just do it anyway." The girls laughed and Dayna reached into her kit to show Maddie some of her other little tricks.
"Hey girls." Chris smiled as he walked into the room.
"Hey." Dayna caught his eye in the mirror and went back to sorting through her stuff.
"Hi honey." Maddie laughed as he wrapped his arms around her waist, "Are you done?"
"Not hardly." Chris scoffed. "I'm not allowed to go on stage looking this scruffy. I've gotta let Dayna make me all pretty."
"That's no small feat, let me tell you." Dayna grumbled as she looked through her kit. "Who was in here? Was it JC?"
"JC? No not that I know of, why?" Chris asked.
"Because that blue hair gunk I have is missing and he's the only one that hates it." Dayna explained as she got on her knees to look under her shelf.
"We all hate it." Chris laughed.
"No, JC's the only one that hates it. Lance likes it, Joey doesn't care and I don't use it on Justin."
"Do I hate it?"
"I don't even think you know what I'm talking about." She looked up from the floor. "So JC wasn't in here?"
"I don't think so." Chris shook his head then gave Maddie a weird look, "She's not sane really." He laughed and kissed her cheek quickly. "Are you guys going to hang out back here tonight?"
"Yeah." Dayna stood herself upright. "Well I think so. Do you want to go out front?" She asked Maddie.
"Nah, I think we'll stay back here."
"I've got wicked cramps and if I have to put up with half of those fans I'll get fired." Dayna smiled sweetly. "I could never be famous." She laughed and pushed the door open. "I'm gonna go find JC, but if he wanders around here will you tell him to sit right there and not move? I'll be back in ten minutes and we've got to get started."
"You bet." Chris released one arm from around Maddie's waist and waved. "I should go get dressed."
"Oh sure, just leave me here." Maddie laughed and pretended to pout.
"It could be worse. I could have left you here with Dayna."
"She's really nice." Maddie looked toward the door.
"Cramps and all?"
"It's a chick thing." She giggled and looked over her shoulder to kiss Chris before she stepped out of his embrace. "Go get dressed, I'll see you later."
"Are you going to wait here? Because I'll be back in here for hair in like, twenty minutes."
"I'm going to go get something to eat then I'll probably end up here, yeah."
"Okay." Chris nodded and put his hands in the pockets of his baggy jeans. "That's a cool shirt by the way." He nodded at her sleeveless black and white FuManSkeeto shirt.
"Thanks, I found it laying around here."
"Yeah I'll bet." Chris laughed. "All righty, I'll see you later." He kissed her again then they headed for the door. He turned left to go hit the dressing room while she went right to the cafeteria.
"What're you doing?" JC asked as he walked into the dressing area. Chris was standing in front of the mirror silently mouthing words to himself while he held his hand out.
"Nothing." Chris shook his head and tucked his hand in his pocket. "Dayna wants you to wait in the hair room for her because she has to get started." He passed on her message as he was told to.
"For reals man, you talking to yourself?"
"I'm not talking to myself."
"You're talking to your reflection." JC smiled.
"What if I change my mind?"
"What if you tell me what you're talking about?" JC laughed and patted Chris on his shoulder. "You've been acting weird all week."
"I think I'm going to propose to Maddie tonight." Chris said with a deep and heavy sigh.
"You what?" JC blushed deeply and cleared his throat.
"I want to do it tonight."
"Shit I didn't know you were even thinking about that " JC shook his head as his stomach tumbled. "You've got the ring and everything?"
"Yeah, yeah I've got all that."
"So wow, you're really gonna do this?"
"I think so." Chris exhaled deeply and pressed his hands over his eyes. "We're doing 'Falling' tonight, right?"
"Yeah, of course. Same as always man, the first verse to the chorus."
"Can we do the whole thing?" Chris asked.
"You wanna change the play list - " He checked his watch, " - like an hour before we go on?"
"I'm just asking." Chris snapped.
"And I'm just saying " JC held up his hands. "Listen, if you wanna do the whole thing I think we could work it out, but what are you planning on doing? Are you going to bring her on stage to do it?"
"I'm not sure."
"You don't have this planned out very well." JC laughed and shook his head.
"That's because I don't know what the hell I'm doing." Chris began to sound defensive.
"Hey don't freak out here. This is a good thing Chris, this is cool." JC moved a step closer to Chris. "Listen man, you let her paint your toes purple. You call her when we have four seconds free while the photographer changes film, you get all kidlike when you talk about her and she obviously loves you just as much."
"So whatever you do tonight Chris, it'll be right."
"Not if I throw up on her though."
"You're not gonna throw up." JC laughed.
"The song is perfect though JC."
"I know it is, you did some awesome work with it." JC smiled at Chris' nervousness. "I'll go talk to Kevin and let him know we're going to extend that one out a little bit so you can do what you need to do or whatever."
"I really just want her to hear it."
"She'll hear it, she'll hear all of it."
"Okay." Chris nodded and checked his pocket. "Can I wing the rest?"
"You can do whatever you want."
"I want to propose." Chris took a deep breath, certain that that was what he wanted.
"Then there you go." JC slapped Chris on the back and looked him square in the eye, "I feel your pain man, but this is right. You know that so go out there and do it."
"Thanks man." Chris nodded and smiled for the first time.
They finished getting dressed then Chris headed to the game room to track down Maddie. He found both her and Dayna playing some one on one with the little basketball hoop they had set up there. "So youre going to be back here tonight?" Chris asked for the third time as he walked up.
"No." Maddie shook her head and rolled the ball into the corner.
"No?! I thought you said you were??"
"If I said I was then why are you asking again?" Maddie smiled and leaned against the basketball hoop stand.
"I just want to make sure." Chris bit his lip and looked from Maddie to Dayna. "What about you?"
"Im hanging out with Maddie." She shrugged.
"So youll be back here too?"
"Yeah." Dayna gave him a weird look.
"The whole show?" Chris asked.
"Whats wrong with you?" Dayna asked softly as she nodded toward a private corner, "Excuse us for a minute." She said to Maddie who just shrugged.
"Dude Chris, whats the problem?"
"Youre acting like theres a hit man out there and you want to make sure you know where were going to be at all times."
"I just I want to know."
"Youve never been a good liar." Dayna shook her head.
"Its nothing. I just were singing one of the new songs tonight and I kind of wanted to know where Maddie was going to be " He let the sentence dangle, hoping that Dayna would pick up on his meaning.
"Okay?" Dayna crinkled her forehead, then the realization struck her, "Oh! Oh, okay. You want to sing it to her? Which one is it?" Dayna smiled and lowered her voice a notch.
"Falling." Chris cleared his throat and looked over at Maddie as butterflies took off in his stomach.
"You've been singing that one for a couple weeks now." Dayna frowned.
"We're doing the whole thing tonight." Chris shook his head.
"Oh man shes going to positively swoon." Dayna giggled and bounced up and down like a teenager. "Where do you want her? Ill be sure to have her there."
"Just you know just make sure you guys are by the stage or something. Not out front."
"Are you taking her out on stage?" Dayna cast him a worried glance. She knew enough to know that Maddie wasnt big on crowds.
"No. I dont know. Probably not." Chris shook his head and stuck his hand in his pocket. "Just be by the stage or wherever so I can at least see her."
"Okay. I can do that."
"Thanks." Chris nodded, but didnt smile.
"Are you sure youre okay?" Dayna laughed. "You look like someone just served you liver and onions."
"No, Im alright." Chris insisted as they walked back over to where Maddie stood.
"Is everything okay?" Maddie asked as she looked from Dayna to Chris, then back to Dayna.
"Yep." Chris nodded and kissed her cheek.
Maddie met Daynas eye over his shoulder and hoped Dayna would spill it when Chris left, "Youre strange sweetie." She laughed and patted his back.
"I know." He forced a smile and kissed her quickly. "I've gotta go, we need to hackey still." Chris sighed and tucked Maddie's hair behind her ear.
"Okay, I'll see you out there in a little bit." She smiled as he peeled himself away from her and slid out the door. "What was that about?"
"Nothing." Dayna smiled and shook her head.
"You lie almost as well as Chris." Madeline laughed. "Is it bad?"
"No, no it's nothing bad." Dayna smiled and blushed. "He's just he's got a surprise planned for you and he wants to make sure it goes off without a hitch. You'll like it, I promise."
"He's not taking me out on stage is he?" Her face paled as she placed a hand over her stomach, suddenly alive with nervousness.
"No." Dayna shook her head; "He's got more sense than that."
"Okay good." Maddie smiled weakly, "That wouldn't be pretty."
"Trust me, I feel the same." Dayna nodded toward the door, "Let's go get some chairs and make ourselves comfortable by the stage. I promise you won't be embarrassed."
"If I am I'm taking you with me."
"Deal." Dayna laughed as they headed down the opposite hall from where the guys were getting psyched up for the show. Dayna grabbed a couple folding chairs and took them to the stage wings where they'd be spending the evening, just in case they needed to sit. With as much energy as the show created, she doubted they'd need them, but it was always a good idea to have seats handy.
Madeline and Dayna stood in the wings by the little set of stairs and watched the show from there. Everything was new for Maddie, which made it even more exciting for Dayna who had seen all of the effects and props dozens of times before.
Between songs Chris would look over quickly and smile or nod before launching into their rehearsed skits or choreography. When they appeared above the stage and soared through the air to the stage in the center of the floor, the crowd went crazy and fed the excitement of the stadium. They sang a few verses of some of their new songs as well as a short medley of some of their older songs, then took their time returning to the main stage by way of the catwalk.
JC walked slowly and reached down to the fans for the whole distance, collecting stuffed animals and creatively folded notes on his way. Lance followed behind with a bottle of water that he tossed out at the fans as Chris ran ahead of both of them, making it to the stage first. He ran back to the band area and brought a single barstool to the center of the stage and sat on it while he tapped his feet and waved to the fans closest to that section of the stage.
Lance, JC and Justin ran down the steps to the right of the stage en route to the dressing room where they had only two minutes to change into their third wardrobe set for the night while Joey and Chris remained onstage with the fans.
"The next song we're going to do was written by us for a very special girl out there." Joey shouted to the crowd as he walked slowly down the catwalk to the main stage.
"No it wasn't." Chris protested from his barstool on stage.
"Yeah it was." Joey frowned and gave Chris a look.
"Dude, have you seen the liner notes. It wasn't written by us it was written by me." Chris shook his head and smiled as the crowd of fans went nuts. A coil of nervousness unwound in his stomach and he hoped he'd remember the words.
"Okay okay, it was written by Chris for a very special girl out there." Joey rolled his eyes. "Mr. Picky-about-the-details."
"Hey, when you write a song you can claim the credit for it." Chris laughed and slapped Joey on the back as he walked by.
"You think you're tough stuff huh? Writing a song on the album, whoopee!" Joey laughed. "You think you're so good, why don't you sing it?"
"I'll sing it."
"Why don't you sing it by yourself, I mean if you don't need us." Joey looked to the audience for support as the other's made their way down the catwalk on their own.
"Dude Joey, I'll totally sing it by myself." Chris laughed and scanned the crowd then inconspicuously checked the wings of the stage for Maddie, "This song is for Maddie, she's here somewhere tonight but I uh I don't know where exactly. So if you can hear me Mads, this song is for you." Chris jumped off the stool and adjusted his headset. "I'm gonna need some music Joe, I mean, I don't want to totally wing it."
"All right, if it's music you want, we can do that." Joey waved at the band to begin playing "Falling" and all but silenced the crowd.
Chris looked toward the side stage to try to find Dayna and Maddie, he couldn't see them but the song was starting and he had no choice but to sing, "I don't know how I don't know why, but girl it seems you've touched my life You're in my dreams; you're in my heart I'm not myself, when we're apart..." Chris faced the audience but concentrated on his peripheral vision for signs of Maddie or Dayna. In a flash of movement in the wings he saw Maddie rush to the short set of stairs leading up to the stage. She stood beside one of their bodyguards with a broad smile on her face as she gave him a little wave. Chris smiled back as she brought her fingers to her lips to blow him a kiss. "Cause I'm falling falling girl I'm falling for you and I pray I'm falling too -" Chris blushed and reached to cover his microphone as he cleared his throat. To everyone else it just looked like he was adjusting it for better sound, but the guys heard him in their monitors as they joined him on stage to sing the harmonies.
Justin turned to look at Chris to make sure he was all right as he picked up where Chris left off, never missing a beat. The crowd of course, would never know that wasn't how it was supposed to go, but Chris knew and it threw him off balance for the rest of the song. He smiled and came in on the second verse then finished out the song with the help of the others.
The crowd went crazy as the song ended and a thick fog covered the stage. Chris' heart soared with the excitement of the crowd's reaction. He positioned himself over his pedestal to be lowered under the stage with JC and took a few deep breaths to calm himself down. They had a quick wardrobe change while Lance, Joey and Justin talked to the crowd and read a few of the fan letters they'd received before the show.
"Hey! Whats the deal man?" JC asked as they ran from under the stage toward the dressing room.
"Nothing." Chris scowled and placed his hand on his tumbling stomach then removed his jacket.
"Nothing? You chickened out." JC laughed and held the door open for Chris.
"I didnt chicken out." Chris tossed his soft suit jacket across the room and pulled the denim jacket off the hanger.
"You didnt? Did I miss something?" JC laughed and slapped Chris on the back. "Its okay man."
"I forgot about that flying thing and I didnt want to drop it over the crowd I mean shit, that would just be beautiful you know." Chris shrugged, "Then when I saw her I practically choked."
"You did alright."
"She thinks Ive lost my mind."
"Well yeah but she should expect that by now." JC laughed and unbuttoned his dress shirt as Chris tossed his multi-colored t-shirt at him.
"I just want to get this over with."
"I know the feeling." JC nodded and looked up at Chris almost shyly. Before Chris fully comprehend what JC meant, he continued, "You dont have to do it in a big way Chris. Maybe in front of 50,000 people isnt how its supposed to be."
"No youre right." Chris shook his head. "She would have barfed."
"She wouldnt have set foot on the stage."
"Nah, I can get her on stage, but no she would have been sick. Being in front of a crowd is one of her phobias."
"One of them huh?"
"Yeah, between me and her its a wonder we get anything done." Chris laughed and slid his belt through the loops as JC tapped the face of his watch, "Yeah yeah yeah."
"Ninety seconds and counting " JC jumped over the back of the couch and bolted out the door. Ninety seconds before Chris was due back onstage and all he could think about was ducking down the opposite hall to hide out in the green room with Maddie.
He sighed and shook his head to get himself back in the game. He needed a coach to come and give him a pep talk, but instead Justin rushed into the room. "Dude, what are you doing back here?" He asked as he peeled his sweat soaked shirt over his head. "Ugh, that's nasty." He made a face and tossed it toward the laundry pile. "So ?"
"You'd better be thinking about getting back out there because JC's doing the hyper Chihuahua dance by the stage." Justin glanced at his watch, "And by my super sonic heavy duty Batman watch says you've got about twenty seconds before he blows his top."
"Yep." Chris stood up and reached for the door. "Hey, what do you think of Maddie?"
"Seriously?" Justin asked. Chris sighed deeply and waited for an answer, "Nice butt, great rack." Justin laughed and ducked away, anticipating a thwap from Chris.
"Thanks." Chris rolled his eyes and headed down the walkway to where JC was waiting anxiously by the steps.
"Cuttin' it close tonight, man." JC laughed and hopped up the stairs.
"Yeah." Chris mumbled as he followed him and ran across the stage. He plastered the big smile everyone knew and loved across his face as he and JC took their turn talking to the crowd while the others went to change.
Chris made it through the rest of the show without mishap, then rushed off the stage before the final note ended and grabbed Madeline. "Oh man, there you are!"
"I've been here the whole time." She smiled.
"Nu uh, when I went to sing that song for you no one was here." Chris laughed and kissed her quickly as the others ran off the stage behind him. He pulled her hand and they made their way toward the dressing room.
"Poor timing man, I'd been standing there all night with my water and well it kicked in. I can't help it you chose the exact moment that I had to pee to dedicate a song to me."
"Did you hear it?"
"Yes I did." She smiled up at him and kissed him again as they walked through the dressing room door that Joey was holding open for them. "I loved it."
"Yes really." She laughed and laced her fingers through his. "And I love you too."
"I love you too." Butterflies took off in Chris' stomach as he squeezed her hand. "Let us change then we'll be ready to go."
"Don't go anywhere." Chris said quickly.
"I'm not." Maddie laughed and shook her head; he was up to his antics again.
"For reals, no bathroom breaks or anything. I'll be back here in like, ten minutes."
"And I'll be waiting right here." Maddie smiled and shook her head. "Well I might be over on the couch, but you know "
"Okay." Chris nodded and leaned in to kiss her again. "Ten minutes."
"Got it." She laughed and watched as he followed the others into the back area to change. "Is he always like this on the road? I swear I've never seen him this high strung before." She smiled at Dayna as she leaned against the wall and took a bottle of water.
"He was just nervous about singing the song for you." Dayna laughed.
"Yeah but that's over. He's still acting weird."
"Well he's Chris. He's entitled to act weird. It's expected of him." Dayna ran her hands through her hair, "Man, all I want is a shower and a bed. I'm pooped."
"Are we going back to the hotel after this?"
"As far as I know, yeah. I haven't heard anything about a club so you never know." She covered her mouth as she yawned.
"Dayna!" Justin shouted from the changing area.
"Where's my socks?" He shouted.
"How would I know?" Dayna frowned and shook her head at Maddie, "I swear, you'd think I was his mom."
"Because you're the only one that was in here and they aren't in my shoes and you're still pissed that I took that blue shit outta your kit."
"I knew that was you, you suck."
"Yeah but do you have them?"
"What would I do with your socks Justin?"
"I don't know." Justin laughed.
"Hey braniac." Joey tossed Justin's socks over the rolling rack for him. "You stuck them in my shoes. Nasty."
"They're clean." Justin shrugged. "Nevermind Dayna."
"I don't know how you can work with them everyday." Maddie laughed and shook her head. "I'd spend all my time laughing."
"You'd think so." Dayna shrugged. "It's not so funny after a while."
"I'm funny." Joey retorted as he shouted over the half wall.
"Funny looking maybe." JC snickered.
"Keep talkin' Chasez." Joey warned.
There was a soft 'thunk' as JC swore out loud, "That's foul. Jesus Joe, do you piss in your shoes or something? Gross." JC lobbed the offending shoe over the racks and Lance shout out his own obscenity.
"Do I have to come back there?" Dayna shouted as she put her hand on her hips.
"Yes." JC laughed. "Please? We've been bad, I think we need spankings."
"Sign me up!" Lance laughed and pulled his shirt over his head as he stepped into the front area.
"Can Maddie come too?" Chris asked, not wanting to leave her out.
"Hell yeah, bring it on! I get to go first." Joey tore around the corner with his pants unbuttoned and his shirt half off.
"You guys need help." Dayna shook her head. "Joey put your clothes on."
"Hey!" JC shouted from the other side. "You'd better not be naked out there Joe."
"I'm not naked." Joey frowned then laughed. "But I can be."
"No no no, that won't be necessary." Dayna covered her eyes. "You wouldn't want to traumatize Maddie would you?"
"He doesn't have anything I haven't already seen." Maddie shrugged and the room went silent.
"Oh really?" Joey raised is eyebrow at her.
"Bad choice of words." Dayna cringed as she laughed and reached for Maddie's shoulder to turn her away from Joey. "You're inviting him to expose himself bad call."
"Joey." Chris shouted with a warning tone as he continued to change. "Put the beast away."
"The beast?" Dayna laughed out loud and released Maddie's arm. "You guys really have too much free time on your hands."
"Dude, I didn't name it." Chris shook his head.
"Topic killer. No more." Dayna covered her ears and laughed as Maddie dropped herself onto the deep couch. "It's terrible that you have to be exposed to this after such a nice night."
"It's alright. I've seen worse."
"Ahh that's right, you're seeing Chris I've tried to block those Chris' episodes from my mind." Dayna laughed and fell onto the couch beside Maddie.
"So hey." JC whispered as he leaned on the clothes rack separating his changing area from Chris'. "Are you gonna do it tonight?"
"Yeah." Chris whispered back as he pulled the small velvet box out of his roll around. "I'm so nervous, I swear I might barf." He laughed shakily and smiled up at JC.
"You'll be fine."
"If I barf I want you to take this and run like hell." He tossed the box from one hand to the other to keep his hands busy.
"Okay." JC smiled. "Does she have any idea this is coming?"
"Not at all." Chris shook his head. "But uh but I've gotta do this. She's awesome Jace. I mean, more than just a beautiful girl and all that she's just she's everything."
"I know how you feel man." JC nodded and kicked at Chris' feet. "You got purple toes?"
"Yeah." Chris laughed.
"Yeah I thought so." JC laughed lightly and slapped Chris' back. "You'll be cool this is right."
"I know it is." Chris stood up and straightened his collar. "But I'm serious. If you see me start to puke or whatever, you run over and take this and get the hell outta here." He gave JC a small smile.
"You got it." JC laughed and ran his hand through his hair as he headed for the front room.
"Hey Jace, is Dayna still out there?"
"Hmm?" JC poked his head around the corner.
"Is Dayna still out there?"
"Yeah, she's out there. She's waiting for me."
"Okay." Chris licked his lips.
"Why?" JC asked with the tiniest hint of anxiety.
"I just there's something I've gotta do first." Chris nodded and put the tiny box in his back pocket.
"Okay " JC gave him a confused look and wondered how Dayna fit into this plan. "Go get 'em." He forced a smile as Chris scurried by with a look of purpose in his eyes.
Chris stepped into the main room and saw Maddie standing off to the side with Joey by the door. He waved with a smile then held up a finger letting her know he'd only be another minute. "Hey Dayna?" Chris asked with a half smile as he walked over to where she was helping herself to a cookie. "Can I talk to you for a minute?"
"Yeah, yeah sure." She nodded and brushed the cookie crumbs from her lips. "What's up?"
"I uh I just wanted to say 'thank you'." He pulled her by her hand into a quiet corner where they could talk in private. "For Maddie, and... and everything." He laughed nervously and looked at his shoes.
"Well, you're welcome." Dayna smiled proudly but still looked confused.
"Who would believe that you would find me the perfect girl huh? You, of all people." He laughed lightly and glanced back over his shoulder at Maddie as she twisted her hair into a loose bun while laughing with Joey.
"I've got good taste in women."
"Well yeah, but don't forget about the Felicia Fiasco, or the Celeste Silliness." Chris laughed.
"Yeah but now you have the Madeline Masterpiece." Dayna looked past Chris to where Maddie stood.
"Yeah." Chris followed her gaze and couldn't stop the slow smile from spreading across his face. "You know, I've decided I can basically separate my life into three eras." Chris let go of Dayna's hand and counted on his fingers, "Before you, when my life was normal. During you, when you made my life nuts." Chris shook his head and smiled as he met her eye, "And after you, when you made my life perfect." He added softly.
"So do I even need to ask which one you prefer?" Dayna raised her eyebrow at him and smiled slowly.
"After you, without a doubt." Chris nodded and looked over at Maddie, his affection clearly shown in his eyes. "Anyway, I uh I just wanted to thank you." Chris smiled and kissed her cheek quickly before he crossed the room to be with Maddie.
That was when Dayna noticed the square lump in Chris back pocket, and she knew what he was up to. Her jaw dropped open slightly as JC walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist, "Whats that look for?" He asked as he quickly kissed her neck.
"You know what hes up to, dont you?" Dayna said with an accusing tone. She laughed and turned her head to look him in the eye, knowing that he couldnt lie to her face.
"Yep." JC nodded.
"And you didnt tell me?"
"None of my business." He laughed then kissed her lips. "Besides, I had other things on my mind." He said softly as he dropped his eyes to her neck.
"Well wait, what do you think of it? I mean hes going to ask her, right?" Dayna spun around in his arms to face him.
"So I think you worry too much about Chris love life." JC smiled and kissed her again as Dayna realized that Chris was more than right. She could also separate her life into three eras; before him when her life was normal, during him when she was nuts and after Chris when her life was perfect.
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Copyright � 2001, Amy Lynn