Dayna walked into the salon off the lobby and leaned on the front desk, "Hi, I’ll be right with you." The young girl behind the desk smiled. She finished up her phone call and marked the new appointment in the computer in front of her. "I’m sorry about that, how can I help you?" She said as she turned to face Dayna.

"Hi, my name is Dayna Brenton, I don’t have an appointment, but I was really hoping I could get in for a session today."

"I think we can work something out." She smiled sweetly and Dayna noticed her nametag said ‘Laura’. She tucked her pale blonde hair behind her ear and presented Dayna with a "menu" of salon items printed on pale green linen paper. "What were you looking for today?"

Dayna looked the list over and smiled, "Wow, all of the above please." She laughed to herself; "Actually do you have some sort of package? I have 4 hours and I know for sure I need a manicure and pedicure, I’d love a facial and if a massage could be worked in there somewhere I could die a happy girl."

"Okay." Laura tapped on her keyboard and frowned, "Are you a guest of the hotel?"

"Yes, I’m in room 9373." Dayna said as she looked over the paper in her hands. Seaweed wrap? That sounded more like a sushi plate than a beauty enhancer.

"Hmm, is the room under your name?" Laura asked.

"Oh, no." Dayna shook her head. "I’m not sure whose name it would be under. I’m on the Nsync crew so it could be any of a dozen names."

"You’re here with Nsync?" She asked quickly as her cheeks flashed pink.

"Yeah, I’m on the crew." Dayna nodded. "It might be under Dave Gonzales, I think he does the room reservations."

"Oh wow, oh… okay." Laura clicked away on her keyboard as Dayna tried not to laugh. Laura had to be close to Dayna’s age, and she knew from experience the ‘older’ Nsync fans were usually embarrassed to admit it. "It looks like Madeline can take you, if you can be ready in like fifteen minutes."

"I’m ready now." Dayna smiled and pulled her hair out of the scrunchie.

"Great, then I’ll um, just go let her know you’re here." She stood up and quickly straightened her skirt, then practically ran down the little hall to a room at the far end. Dayna laughed softly as she imagined the freaking out that was going on behind that closed door.

Laura came back to the front desk calm and collected a few minutes later. She cleared her throat and said, "She will come get you in just a minute."

"Great, thanks a lot for getting me in this afternoon."

"Oh no problem!" Laura blushed again as Dayna sat in one of the plush baby blue seats.

Dayna picked up a fashion magazine from the small table in front of her and mindlessly flipped through the pages until Madeline came out to greet her, "Hi, Dayna?" The petite blonde asked as she extended her hand. "I’m Madeline, how are you?"

"Good thanks." Dayna smiled and shook her outstretched hand. "Thanks for squeezing me in. It’s so rare that I get four consecutive hours off to do what I want."

"It’s no problem, we’re actually having a slow day today." Madeline smiled and led the way down the hall to a small spa room. "Why don’t we go ahead and start with the facial, that way we can leave the grape seed mask on while I do your manicure."

"Okay." Dayna nodded and followed her into the room.

Madeline had her change into a salon smock so that she wouldn’t mess up her clothes, then Dayna lay down on the little massage table and let her get started on the facial. "So how long are you in town for?"

"We’ve been here since Sunday and we leave in the morning tomorrow."

"Did you come out for the Grammy’s?"

"Yeah, the guys had a performance and some shows. Tomorrow we go back to life on the road as usual." Dayna smiled and closed her eyes as Madeline spritzed her face with a rose smelling mist.

"Excuse me, I’m sorry to interrupt." Laura poked her head into the little room with a smile that contradicted her apology. "You left your purse in the lobby and your pager is going off."

"Oh, I’m sorry." Dayna glanced over at Madeline, "Can I make a call in here?"

"Sure." She smiled and wiped her hands on her little apron. Laura brought Dayna her purse and she checked the number on her pager. It was Chris’ cell phone number and she frowned as she dialed it on her own cell, "What do you want? I’m being a girl." She said when he answered.

"You’re… what?"

"I’m in the middle of a day at the spa. You can’t possibly have a hair emergency right now."

"No, there’s no hair emergency… what are you doing?"

"I’m getting a facial right now, Chris. What do you need?"

"I was just calling to see what you were up to because I heard you didn’t go to the beach with the kids and I’m bored."

"Well I’m in the middle of this, but if you want to come watch me get a manicure and pedicure you can cruise on over."

"Oh that sounds like fun." He said sarcastically as he rolled his eyes.

"In that case, let me hang up and enjoy it. I’ll see you at two."

"Okay." He sighed.

"I’m in the hotel spa if you change your mind." She laughed lightly. "Bye." She clicked her phone off and sat back to let Madeline finish with her facial. "Sorry about that, those boys can be such pains sometimes."

"A hair emergency?" Madeline smiled and massaged the avocado scrub into Dayna’s skin.

"I’m Nsync’s hair stylist." Dayna sighed and lay back on the table so Madeline could continue.

"Ahh, so you’re the one responsible for ruining Laura’s life by cutting off Justin’s curls, huh?"

"Yep, that’d be me." Dayna snickered under her breath. "It was a bet kind of. If I jumped off this stage thing he’d let me cut it."

"So you jumped?"

"Like I could pass that up." Dayna smiled.

"True." Madeline nodded and continued to exfoliate Dayna’s face. "So was he just calling to bother you?"

"No, he was bored." Dayna laughed lightly. She was about to go on and on about how the guys got on her nerves, that one in particular, when a thought stuck her… maybe Madeline would like to go out with Chris. "That was Chris actually." Dayna shut her eyes and let her work her magic. "He’s a sweetheart. He might come down to hang out in a little bit if that’s okay."

"Yeah, that’s fine." Madeline smiled and continued to apply the scrub with a circular motion. "Is he your boyfriend?"

"No." Dayna shook her head slightly; "He’s my ex to be honest. We’re so different, you know? Things just didn’t work out. But now that we’re friends we get along great. He’s such a sweet guy, any girl would be lucky to date him."

"Is it weird to work with him?"

"Not really. He’s a great comic relief, which is nice sometimes. And he’s the oldest, so he’s ‘been there done that’ with almost everything."

"I could use some comedy in my life." Madeline laughed and used a warm sponge to rinse the green scrub off her face.

"He’s single you know." Dayna said a minute later as Madeline applied the sticky but clear facemask.

"Hmm?"

"Chris, he’s single now." Dayna opened her eyes and met Madeline's sparkling green eyes.

"Oh." She blushed quickly, "Really?"

"Yeah, he’s a really sweet guy, he’s just not sure what he’s looking for… you know?"

"Yeah, I know all about that." Madeline smiled and fanned Dayna’s face dry, then sat her up on the table. "I need to find a good man who can make me laugh and support my shoe habit." The two ladies laughed in understanding as Madeline led Dayna to the manicure table across the room. They made small talk as she got everything ready, then set the bowl of warm rose water in front of Dayna and had her soak her hands.

"So where are you from originally?" Madeline asked as she got her nail files and clippers ready.

"I moved around a lot as a kid, my dad was in the military. But I guess I spent the most time down in San Diego at Miramar."

"Miramar? Like Top Gun?"

"Yeah." Dayna laughed. "We actually lived there when they came to film part of the movie, it was pretty cool having all the cameras and famous people all over the place. But I’m sure you get that a lot here, huh?"

"Yeah, well not too much here at the hotel. Not unless there’s an awards show or something, when they come from all over and stay here." She shrugged. "You kind of get immune to the whole celebrity thing. When you see Farrah Faucet without her make up and Denis Leary pushing a stroller through the lobby it just makes them seem more real." Madeline shrugged. "I’m sure you know what I mean, since you work with celebrities and everything."

"Yeah, I know what you mean. I still get star struck though, in a big way." Dayna shook her head and laughed, "What about you? Where are you from?"

"A squat little down in Illinois. With a population of like… 9 or something." Madeline smiled and sighed softly. "I came out here to make it big and look where I ended up." She glanced around the little room.

"This isn’t so bad. At least you’re here in the middle of everything."

"That’s true." She nodded. "And I’ve seen the celebrity lifestyle, I’m not so sure I’d want that now."

"Me neither." Dayna laughed in agreement and swirled her fingers around in the warm, soapy water.

The more they talked the more Dayna became convinced that Chris would like her, "I just can’t get over how perfect you’d be for Chris." Dayna shook her head and smiled, "Really, you guys sound a lot alike. I should call him back and have him come down, you’d like him."

"Oh… no you don’t have to do anything like that." Madeline shook her head quickly.

"It wouldn’t be a pro- " Dayna was cut off by a sharp knock on the door.

"I’m sorry to bother you again." Laura said as she opened the door half way. "Chris Kirkpatrick is out here and he said you wanted him to come down?" She couldn’t keep the huge smile off her face as she talked.

"I didn’t want him to come down, I said he could if he got bored." Dayna rolled her eyes and laughed. "I guess he’s bored, can you send him in please?"

"Yeah." Laura bounced out the door and a minute later Chris stepped through.

"Hey." He nodded in Dayna’s general direction.

"You’re really bored enough to come down and watch me get my nails done?" Dayna smiled and shook her head.

"Well it was either this or sit in my room and watch "Gladiator" on pay-per-view again. What’s on your face?"

"A grape seed mask." Dayna said quickly, "You could have gone with the kids, you know."

"Spare me." Chris shook his head and made a sour face. "This is my day off man, I’m not gonna spend it with them."

"Ahh, where’s the brotherly love?" Dayna laughed.

"I ran out." Chris sighed and pulled up a chair. "So what are you doing?" He looked at her hands soaking in a soapy bowl.

"I’m getting a manicure." Dayna smiled and sighed with content. "This is heaven, you should try it."

"Yeah." He laughed shortly.

"We actually have quite a few men come in for manicures." Madeline said, reminding the others that she was there.

"I’m sorry, Madeline this is Chris. Chris, this is Madeline."

"Hi." He gave her a small wave as she smiled, her hands otherwise occupied. "You really have guys come in for that?"

"Yeah, soft hands are a big turn on." Madeline smiled and lifted Dayna’s hand out of the solution then dried it carefully on the towel.

"Right." He rolled his eyes and laughed.

"It is." Dayna smiled over her shoulder as Chris leaned back in his chair.

"I’m not getting a manicure." Chris shook his head.

"That’s fine." Madeline smiled and massaged Dayna’s hands with a light cream.

"So what are you doing tonight while we’re at our thing?" Chris asked as he played with his watchband.

"I’m going with you."

"Why?"

"Because there’s a media meet after and I have to make sure you guys are pretty." Dayna closed her eyes as Madeline continued to massage her hand.

"That was cancelled." Chris shook his head.

"How come no one ever tells me stuff like that?"

"It was only cancelled this morning. We have the night off it looks like."

"You guys are lucky then, the morning and evening off? What kind of parallel universe are we living in?"

"Pretty cool huh?" Chris stifled a yawn and watched as Madeline removed Dayna’s other hand and began the procedure all over again.

"Yeah, that’s cool." Dayna smiled and looked from Madeline to Chris, then back.

"I’m going to have Charlotte come in to do your pedicure, if you don’t mind." Madeline said softly as she reached for the garnet red nail polish. "Feet are her specialty, and trust me you won’t be disappointed."

"No that’s fine." Dayna nodded.

"That’ll give me some time to work on Chris." She smiled over at Chris who frowned and sprung to attention.

"Do what?"

"I’d love to get my hands on yours." Madeline smiled and looked at his hands in his lap.

Chris quickly moved his hands to the table and blushed; "I don’t think so."

"It’s okay, I won’t tell." Madeline whispered and concentrated on the nail polish. She looked up and met Chris’s eyes and smiled again, "You’ll love it."

Chris spent the next five minutes trying to talk himself out of the manicure, but Madeline had him beat, "If we get started and you don’t like it, we can stop and you can go back up to your room with your scratchy, dry hands."

"No one pays attention to my hands anyways." Chris shook his head as Madeline stood by the sink and helped Dayna peel her now dried mask off. Charlotte came in to get her things ready for the pedicure as Chris remained in his seat.

"Girls will, if they look nice. You’ve got great hands there, but they’d be even better if they were cleaned up a little."

"Come on Chris, what else do you have to do that so important you can’t take a half hour?" Dayna laughed and sat in the vibrating spa chair in the corner.

"That actually looks like more fun." He eyed the chair as Dayna turned it on and closed her eyes.

"You want a pedicure?" Madeline raised her eyebrow at him.

"Hell no, I’ve gotta draw he line at a manicure."

"So you’re going to let me work on your hands?" She asked with a sly smile.

Chris sighed and switched seats so that he was sitting in front of Madeline’s little table, "I guess so." He dropped his hands in the warm water in front of him, and sighed.

"So do you have fun doing what you do?" Madeline asked as she rubbed Chris’s hands under the water in the soapy solution

"Yeah, it’s pretty cool." Chris nodded and watched her hands carefully under the water.

"It looks like a lot of hard work, I mean, I’m sure it is. I don’t know how celebrities do it, you know?" She smiled quickly and used the nailbrush on his hands under the water.

"I guess." He shrugged and watched intently as she scrubbed. "It’s not always like how you see though. We’re not constantly stalked by fans or surrounded by cameras." He paused for a second and laughed, "Okay well maybe we are. But it’s not as bad as some people think."

"I just don’t know if I could handle the invasion of my privacy."

"Yeah but that’s not as bad as people make it seem either. If you really don’t want something to get out, you just have to be more careful with who knows. Like… okay, no one knows I spent three years in the state penitentiary, right?" He looked up at her thoughtfully as she blushed deep red.

"Uh… n-no… I guess not." She said softly. She brought his hands out of the water and dried them carefully on the towel in front of her.

"I’m kidding." Chris laughed. "It was only a year."

"Don’t listen to a word he says." Dayna said loudly from her reclining position across the room.

"Shut up Day." Chris scowled in her direction then turned back to Madeline. "Dayna ruins everything. I’m trying to make a joke and be funny and she jumps in to blow it out of the water. I think we should all hate Dayna." Chris looked back over his shoulder at her, but she was no longer listening.

"So… no state pen for you?"

"Nah, I haven’t done anything exciting enough to land me there." Chris laughed as she worked lotion onto her own hands then reached for his. "A lot of celebrities get to do cool jail time stuff but not us. We’re good little pop stars. But I guess that goes along with the business, huh?"

"I guess so." Madeline nodded and slowly worked the lotion into his hands.

"Do you know a lot of celebrities?"

"Not really." She shook her head. "But my brother is in the business, I mean kind of. He’s a theater actor, so he’s on the stage. I guess that’s sort of the same." Madeline laughed lightly and used both hands to massage Chris’s hands.

"Yeah." Chris sighed and closed his eyes; Dayna was right, this was heaven. "Does he act locally?"

"Yeah, in fact he’s playing at the Pantages Theater tonight, ‘Barefoot in the park’." She smiled proudly and pulled on his fingers.

"Really? That’s one of my favorites." Chris laughed. "We did that in high school. I didn’t get the part of Paul… I guess I was too short. So they made me work lights." He shook his head at the memory.

"Well hey, if you want to go, I can get tickets."

"Really?" Chris asked with a slight tilt to his head.

"Sure, I know a guy." Her eyes twinkled as she smiled. "If you’re not busy I mean."

"No… no that’ll work." Chris nodded. "That’d be great."

"Cool, I get off at four today, so I’ll just go home and change and meet you back here around six thirty?"

"Sounds good." He smiled and sat back in his chair as Madeline buffed his fingernails.

Dayna leaned back in her vibrating chair as Charlotte massaged her feet. She heard the conversation between Chris and Madeline and she smiled to herself, hopefully this date would go better than the last one.

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

The next morning, Dayna crawled out to the bus with the crew at five thirty then promptly fell right back to sleep. An hour down the road Dayna was snoring in her bunk on the bus, relishing the time that she got to sleep in, when her cell phone rang loudly in her ear. Her eyes flew open as she sat up quickly trying to locate the shrill ringing. She grabbed her phone off the little shelf and flopped back onto her pillow without bothering to look at the caller ID number. "Hello?" Dayna grunted and pulled her pillow over her head.

"Did I wake you up?" Chris asked, and she could just tell he was smiling.

"Yes." She growled.

"Good." He laughed and pressed down on the number keys to beep loudly in Dayna’s ear.

"You’ll be bald by nightfall." Dayna grumbled as she reached to turn her phone off.

"Wait! Dayna hang on." Chris laughed again. "Hey, I know you probably had something to do with it, so thanks for setting me up with Madeline last night. I had a great time."

Dayna’s mood brightened considerably and she took the pillow away from her eyes. "You did?! Right on, how was it? Where’d you go?"

"It was cool, we went to see her brother in that play, and then to the cast party after. That was at the stage director’s house right on the beach, so that was nice. Everything was going great then she dropped the bomb – she’s not down with the whole ‘dating a celebrity’ thing. So I’m gonna have to ditch the band or something like that. But dude, I didn’t even get back to the hotel till like, four thirty this morning."

"Well that sucks…" Dayna sighed. Why did she get the feeling that was how it was going to go? The perfect ones would have ‘celebrity’ aversions? "But if you didn’t get in till sunrise, what in god’s name are you doing up at this hour?"

"I couldn’t sleep." He smiled.

"You’re too damn awake to be talking to me right now." Dayna yawned. "Go tell Lance about it, I’m sure he’s up."

"I told Lance and he didn’t care."

"Well hey, I‘m glad you had a great time and all, but I’m going to go sleep some more. I’ll see you this afternoon before the show."

"Okay, thanks again." Chris smiled and clicked the phone off.

"Anytime buttmunch." Dayna said to the dead phone in her hand. She turned the phone off to avoid any more early morning calls, then rolled over and went back to sleep.

They got to the next city on their tour that afternoon and got everything situated back stage. Dayna wandered around the arena just to stretch her legs out a little, and came upon Lance sitting by himself up in the nosebleed seats. "Hey, shouldn’t you be down in wardrobe?" Dayna smiled as she walked up the steep concrete steps to where he was sitting.

"Probably." He forced a smile and sat back in his seat.

"So you’re up here hiding?"

"Basically."

"Why are you hiding?" She asked as she stuck her hands in her pockets. He shrugged one shoulder and leaned forward to rest his elbows on his knees.

"Are you scared of what they’re going to make you wear?"

"No."

"Does the thought of seeing JC’s underwear give you nightmares?"

"Yes."

"Whose underwear doesn’t give you nightmares?"

"Justin’s."

"Are you upset?"

"No."

"Do you want to talk?" He shrugged in response and kept his eyes forward, "Do you hate your hair cut?"

"No." He smiled and shook his head.

"Have you been reprogrammed to only give one word answers?" Dayna smiled and sat on the step beside his seat.

"Yep."

"What’s the square root of 23,409?"

"153." Lance said a minute later.

"You amaze me." Dayna smiled.

"Of course." Lance smiled back and ran his fingers through his hair.

"Ah ha, two words." She tucked her hair behind her ear and asked, "So what’s up? Why are you hiding up here when you could be getting mostly naked with four other guys?"

"I don’t know. I just needed to be by myself for a minute, you know? I never get the chance to just sit. And then there’s the whole Patty thing."

"Patty thing?" Dayna asked, trying not to sound too hopeful.

Lance sighed and shrugged, "Just being away from her all the time you know? It’s hard."

Dayna blushed quickly and bowed her head so that her hair covered her now pink cheeks. "Yeah, I know what you mean."

"It’d be so much easier if she could come out on tour with us, but at the same time that would suck for her. It’s like I can’t win."

"We’ll be done with the tour here pretty soon." Dayna could hardly believe she was trying to console Lance when the topic was Patty.

"I know." He nodded and stood up to stretch. "Then I’ll be able to go home and spend a few weeks with her and my family and everything. She’ll probably be sick of seeing me by the end of the first week." He laughed and scratched the side of his neck, "Anyway… I guess I should get back to work huh?"

"Probably." Dayna nodded.

"Chris didn’t know how good he had it dating you on the tour. At least that way you guys could see each other more that once a month." Lance tilted his head to the side; "If I was smart I’d just date you."

Dayna laughed uneasily, forcing herself to keep her mouth shut. "You need to get back to work." She said through clenched teeth.

"Yep, thanks." Lance pulled her in for a quick and friendly hug, then trotted down the stairs, his steps echoing through the arena.

 

On to part 6…

 

Copyright � 2001 Amy Lynn