As soon as they got back from Hawaii they were loaded onto a bus to drive out to Arizona for two shows there, then up through Utah, across Nevada and into San Francisco for their show almost a week later. Dayna went about her duties and did what needed to be done, but nothing else. She had a lot on her mind and wasn’t exactly in the mood to be chatty.

When they left Las Vegas the crew buses were leaving considerably earlier than the talent bus, so Dayna whined to Dave to let her ride the talent bus. She had spent the night out with some of her friends in town and only wanted another couple hours of sleep that she would never get on the crew bus.

"Ask the guys, if it’s okay with them it’s okay with me." Dave explained.

Dayna pulled the covers up on the bed and mumbled, "You want me to call them all right now? It’s like four in the morning." She had only been in bed for an hour and she doubted she’d be able to walk.

"Good point." Dave laughed. "Go back to sleep, it’ll be fine. Their bus leaves at eight, you’ve got another four hours of sleep, how’s that?"

"I love you." Dayna yawned and dropped the phone back on the cradle. She was asleep before she could pull her arm back under the covers.

By eight o’clock she was on the bus with Justin and Lance who both looked about as tired as she felt, "Hey." She nodded at Justin as she pulled herself up the steps.

"Hey." He nodded back. "You’re riding with us?"

"I missed the crew bus."

"You missed it?" He laughed.

"It left at like four thirty. I got in at three. Yeah… I missed it." She mumbled. "Is there a spare bunk back there?"

"Yeah." Justin laughed again and led her toward the back. "Here you go, you can be on top."

"Thanks." Dayna attempted a smile and hoisted herself up into the top bunk.

"Ah ha, on top of Chris." He snickered. "You should be comfortable there."

"Funny." Dayna rolled her eyes and poked her head out, "Do you have a spare pillow or something?"

"Yeah. Here, you can use mine." He pulled a large pillow from the bunk directly across from her and tossed it up.

"How come this smells like…" She sniffed it. "Chamomile?"

"It’s soothing, and it puts me to sleep."

"So you have a tea pillow?"

"Hey." He shrugged, "Whatever works."

"You keep proving how weird you are Justin."

"Good night Day."

"G’night. Thanks."

"Anytime." Justin pulled the curtain closed to block the bunks from the rest of the bus.

Dayna made herself comfortable on Justin’s soft pillow and turned on her side. She heard someone come into the bunks just before the Chamomile lulled her back to sleep; she’d have to remember to thank Justin when she woke up.

When she awoke several hours later the bus was rocking gently from side to side and the sounds of daily bus life in drifted back from the front of the bus. Dayna rolled onto her back and stretched her arms over her head as she yawned.

"Dayna?" Chris asked softly from the bunk below Dayna.

"Hmm?"

"Are you awake?"

"Yeah."

"Can I ask you something?"

"Sure." She accidentally kicked the roof of the bunk as she stretched her legs.

"Are you having fun?"

Dayna frowned; this sounded like a baited question. "Yeah, I guess. Why?"

"Just wondering."

"Why?" Dayna asked as she watched the shadows move across the ceiling of the bunk. Chris didn’t answer so she asked again, "Why Chris?"

"It just looked like when we started you were having fun. Then you looked like you weren’t having fun, then we went to Hawaii and you were having fun again, and when we got back you looked all constipated or something."

"Lovely, thanks."

"And well now I can’t tell." Chris continued. "So I was just wondering if you were having fun."

"I’m having fun." Dayna sighed. "There’s just shit going on ya know?"

"Like what?"

"Like stuff." She rolled over and fluffed her pillow. She should have left earlier with the crew bus instead of opting to leave late with the guys. Now she was stuck with Chris three feet away, Lance on the phone with Patty ten feet away, JC and Joey playing video games with more enthusiasm than necessary, and Justin making beat box sounds from the front of the bus.

"I think you like JC a lot more than you're letting on." Chris said softly a minute later.

"I think you don't know what you're talking about."

"Dayna come on." He laughed and pulled his drape open. "I know you better than that."

Dayna sighed and swung her legs over the side of the bunk, slowly lowering herself until her feet touched the floor. Her oversized t-shirt gathered around her armpits as she dropped so she adjusted it as she landed. "Well Chris, you don't know me as well as you think."

"I know you have a red bra on." He smiled. "And that's about all I need to know." Chris laughed as Dayna huffed and yanked his drape shut.

"Whoa. Hey." Joey looked up quickly as Dayna walked into the main room. "What’re you doing here?"

"Right now? I’m debating whether or not you’ll miss Chris if I throw him over board." She smirked.

"Nah." Joey shook his head.

"Nope." Lance agreed.

"Chris who?" Justin laughed.

"We have a Chris?" JC joined in.

"Thanks Day, I knew I could count on you." Chris laughed bitterly from the back before a loud thump was heard.

"So, what are you doing here?" Joey asked again as he pulled his sock off.

"You just put those on." Lance shook his head.

"My feet are hot." Joey tossed the sock at him. "Quit whining."

"Apparently I’m here to be a referee." Dayna smiled. "The crew bus left at the ass crack of dawn so I begged Dave to let me ride with you guys." She yawned again. "But I still think I need more sleep."

"You were sleeping back there?" Justin raised his eyebrow.

"Uh huh."

"With Chris?" He asked as Chris stepped into the room.

"Ha." He scoffed and pulled the little ice chest open.

"In his wildest fantasies maybe." Dayna laughed and fell onto the couch by Justin’s feet.

"Been there done that." Chris shook his head and tossed a bottled water to Dayna who caught it expertly.

"You need a haircut." She said as she poked Justin in his ribs with her foot.

"No I don’t."

"Why are you guys so against haircuts? That’s my whole job on this tour and you never let me do it." She pouted.

"You all but shaved my head." Justin reminded her. "It’s fine the way it is."

"Oh yeah." She laughed lightly and leaned her head back on the couch cushion. JC cleared his throat and headed to the back after casting a quick glance at Dayna.

She noticed it and watched as he turned his back and walked away. A part of her wanted to follow him to see what was wrong, and another part didn’t want to move off of the couch. She wrestled with that for a split section before turning her attention back to Joey who was talking about some movie he had seen a couple days before and how it scared the begeezus out of him.

The got to San Francisco that evening and ate a quick dinner in the hotel restaurant with some of the management and crew before they were shuttled to their rooms and told to get a good nights sleep.

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

Early the next morning Dayna lay in her bed staring at the ceiling, wanting nothing more than to go to sleep and not wake up again for at least another year. Her troubles had doubled, and there was no end in sight. Out of nowhere she had developed semi-feelings for JC when all he used to do was annoy her. She still lusted after Lance but the realization that he was never going to leave Patty was sinking in finally. And finally, Chris… Chris and Celeste weren’t going to work out. They hadn’t talked at all since he got back from Hawaii and he rationalized that they were both just too busy.

The phone rang beside her bed and she sluggishly reached over to answer it, "H’lo?"

"Hey there you." Lance laughed. He was not helping.

"Hey." She smiled, though still half asleep.

"I know you don’t technically have to be up right now, but JC and I are going to the roof to check out the fog, do you want to come?"

"To see fog?" Dayna wasn’t sure she heard him right.

"Yeah." Lance laughed. "The fog is really low, and from the roof it’ll look like we’re above the clouds."

"Right now?" She looked down at her flannel pajama bottoms and stained t-shirt.

"Yeah, we’re just going in out pajamas, so don’t worry about getting dressed. I mean, if you want to come."

"I… okay." She rubbed her eyes and tried not to yawn. "Yeah, cruise on over on your way up."

"Okay, we’ll be there in a minute." Lance smiled and hung up the phone. Dayna pulled herself out of the bed and shuffled toward the bathroom where she splashed some water on her face and brushed her hair. It was too early to actually be attractive, but she could at least look like she tried.

She was sitting on the bed tying her sneakers over her bare feet when there was a knock on her door. "Day?" JC asked softly.

"Yeah." She opened the door slowly and handed him her room key, "Can you hold that for me?"

"Sure." JC tucked it in the pocket of his sweat pants and adjusted his white wifebeater. He nervously slid his silver pendant up and down his necklace as the stepped into the hall.

"So we're going to see fog?" She asked again, just to clarify.

"Yeah." Lance smiled and ran his fingers through his blonde hair in a vain attempt to make it look presentable. When he was done it still looked slept on, in a dangerously sexy way. Dayna cleared her throat as they started down the hall. JC had changed since they got back from Hawaii; he seemed almost uninterested at times. He’d go from the old JC, following her around and just being overly attentive, to this new JC who would leave the room as soon as she was done with his hair and barely even smile when they met in the hall.

Dayna frowned and followed both boys down the hall; they could make things so difficult.

Lance went ahead of Dayna and JC and pushed open the door to the roof, "Man it’s cold." He said over his shoulder. Dayna followed him as they stepped onto the roof and walked closer to the edge of the building.

The ledge around the building was as high as Dayna’s chest and she leaned on it with Lance on one side and JC on the other. She would have laughed at the situation if she didn’t feel so confused. "What’s there to be confused about? One guy you like, but he’s taken, the other guy you like and he’s single. Where’s the problem?" She thought to herself.

"This is awesome." JC said softly as he looked over Dayna to Lance, "Did you come up here earlier?"

"No." Lance shook his head. "But when I looked out the window I could tell we were right in the middle of the fog, and that it wasn’t that high." He smiled and bumped Dayna’s shoulder. "Are you okay? You seem kind of quiet."

"No, yeah I’m okay."

"No yeah?" Lance laughed and ran his fingers through his hair again. Dayna fought the instinct to reach up and smooth it into place by lacing her fingers in front of her and clicking her thumbnail against the backside of her ring.

"I’m all right." Dayna smiled. "I’d be even more all right if you ditched Patty and swore your undying love to me." She added to herself.

She must have lost herself in Lance’s hair because when JC cleared his throat beside her, she almost jumped. "Are you cold?" He asked.

"A little." She nodded, and hugged her arms closer to her body.

"Here, let me help." JC moved behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist, pressing his warm body against hers as the wind blew her dark hair across his cheek.

Dayna tensed up for a second, then relaxed when she began to feel the warmth. She tried to carry on a normal conversation with Lance but that was hard to do when JC’s arms were holding her so tight. The scent of JC's aftershave invaded Dayna's senses every couple minutes and she tried not to close her eyes and breath deeply.

Lance made small talk about how beautiful it was above the clouds and how he hoped heaven was a little warmer than that, then he scratched his neck and smiled, "I’m gonna go back inside, it’s a little too frosty up here for me."

"Okay." Dayna said, thinking she and JC would follow.

"I’ll see you down at the vans at nine." JC nodded as Lance headed back to the door.

"We should go in too." Dayna said as she reached to remove his hands.

"No, let’s wait a minute." He held her tighter and rested his chin on her shoulder.

"JC… I’m cold." She was looking for any excuse to go back inside.

"You’re warming up I think." JC whispered with his lips touching her ear.

"What are you doing?" Dayna asked as one of his hands found its way under her shirt. His hand was cool against her stomach, but he didn’t let her go… and she didn't move away.

"You’re definitely warming up." JC nodded. "In fact, I think you might even be warming up to me."

"JC…" She sighed with exasperation.

"I think you might be Dayna."

She turned her head to argue but instead her lips were met with his and he kissed her. He was almost hesitant at first, to see if she was going to slap him or push him away, but when she didn’t he turned her around to face her and deepened the kiss.

"How can he always taste like mint?" Was the first thing to cross Dayna's mind as JC turned her around. "JC come on." Dayna sighed and gently pushed him away. As soon as her hand touched his chest she wanted to pull him closer. "What are you doing? Don’t push him away! You like him!" Her internal voice screamed.

"What?" JC smiled and tried to close the gap again.

"JC…"

"Dayna…" He mimicked her. "You felt that, I know you did." She didn’t answer so he continued, "I promised myself that if you hadn’t changed by the time we got back from Hawaii I as going to leave you alone." He paused and reached for her hands. She didn’t pull away when he laced his fingers through hers, but her teeth began to chatter just slightly. "But I can’t Dayna. I don’t know what it is but I just feel like this is right."

"JC this is just confusing."

"Why? What’s confusing? Tell me why you’re confused and let me set it straight for you."

"I don’t know JC. I’ve still got these feelings for Lance I mean… my God I don’t think they’ll ever go away, and then there’s the whole Chris thing." She sighed deeply.

"Chris thing?"

"Our past."

"Your past doesn’t mean anything right now."

"Yeah it does." She nodded and tried to stop her teeth from clacking against each other in the cold. "After him I swore off Nsyncers."

"But you wanted Lance."

"Yeah." She sighed.

"Dayna, I think you only like Lance because he’s unavailable. He’s the ‘safe’ Nsyncer that you can like without ever worrying about there being any kind of relationship there."

"You think that’s what it is? You think Lance is safe?"

"No, I think that you think he is." JC shook his head. "If me being in the group is the only thing that’s stopping you from kissing me right now, then that’s stupid. The group is part of my life but it’s part of yours too. Don’t you see how this can only be a good thing? How many couples get to work together and love what they’re doing?"

"But JC what if it all goes wrong?"

"I don’t think it will." He pulled her just the tiniest bit closer to him.

"But what if it does?"

"Then we’ll deal with it. Just like you and Chris."

"That was hard."

"Things change so much Day… and you worry too much. You need to live in the now and not worry so much about something that might happen somewhere down the road."

Dayna looked over JC’s bare shoulder to the bank of clouds behind them, "What if I don’t want to?" She asked softly.

"Then say so." He challenged. She stared at him in silence as the wind tossed her hair over her eyes. "The ball is in your court now Dayna, it’s your call."

"JC… I’m just not sure."

"Okay." He nodded and placed his hand on the side of her neck ad ran his thumb down the side of her cheek, "What do I need to do to make you sure?" When she didn’t answer he kissed her again and he had no doubt she felt that. She didn’t pull away that time, but she didn’t move any closer either. When he finally took a step back he let out a deep breath, "So uh, let me know when you’ve made up your mind. Either way." He pressed her room key into her hand then quickly brushed his arm over his mouth and turned back to the stairs.

"Dammit." She scolded herself as the door swung shut behind him. "Dammit dammit dammit." She stomped her foot like a five year old and barely held herself back from jumping up and down in frustration.

She wanted to be upset at someone but the only stupid, foolish, selfish and insane person in the situation, was herself. She stomped back down the stairs to her room where she showered and got ready for the day, trying to get rid of the sick feeling in her stomach.

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

Dayna spent the day with all of the guys going from appearance to appearance, then to the set of their new video that was using the Golden Gate Bridge as a backdrop. She did their hair without speaking, then returned to the hotel hours before they were done with their commitments for the day.

The jacuzzi down by the pool was empty when she lowered herself into the steaming bubbles. She sat for an hour until the sun had set completely, thinking about what JC had said, then about what Chris had said… and even more about what she felt.

"Stop being stupid." A tiny voice inside her head said as she lifted herself from the water and wrapped a towel around her waist. She wrung her hair out over the brick walkway, then went back through the lobby and up to her room.

Dayna took a shower to wash the chlorine out of her hair, then pulled on a pair of comfortable shorts and a sweatshirt. When she was done she pulled her hair into a french braid and flopped onto her bed. The clock in front of her glowed 7:43pm and she tapped her teeth with her fingernail.

She sighed and stared at the phone on the nightstand right in front of her. She’d done all the thinking she could on the subject; all she had to do now was call him. Just pick up the phone and dial, he’d be there in less than a minute.

She grabbed the phone and punched in the five digits of the room number and waited. "Hello?"

"Hi Justin." Dayna sighed.

"Day?"

"Yeah."

"What’s up?"

"Nothing, just practicing." She rubbed her eyes and fell back on her bed.

"Practicing for what?" He laughed.

"Nothing."

"Well… I’m uh… I’m glad I could help." He laughed again. "Is there anything else you need? I’m on my way out the door."

"Where are you going?"

"Out with the guys."

"The guys?" Dayna sat up and frowned. "All of them?"

"Joe and Lance." Justin explained.

"Oh."

"What’s up with you Day?"

"Nothing." She insisted. "Have fun."

"We will." Justin shook his head and smiled, "I’ll see you in the morning, right?"

"Yeah, I’ll be in Ballroom A3 at seven. Don’t be late."

"I won’t." He rolled his eyes. "What’s it for?"

"I don’t know."

"Well then what good are you?"

"I’m no good at all." Dayna smiled. "See ya."

"Bye." She heard him laugh as he hung up the phone. Dayna dialed the next number quickly before she could change her mind, then listened to it ring. "Oh come on… pick up." She mumbled into the receiver.

"Whaaaaaat?" Chris practically shouted into the phone.

"Hey you."

"Dayna Dog?"

"Yeah."

"Sorry, I thought it was Joey again. He’s been calling for an hour asking me what – nevermind… you don’t care." He laughed. "What’s up?"

"Nothing."

"Nothing?"

"Nope." She shook her head.

"You just called me to…?" He let the question dangle for a minute. "To tell me how wonderful I am? To ask me to spot you while you do a backhand spring? Go disco dancing?"

"JC kissed me today."

"I know."

"You know?"

"Everyone knows." Chris laughed.

"Beautiful." Dayna sighed. "Really?"

"No I’m kidding, I don’t know. He told me so I wouldn’t get pissed if I heard it later." Chris laughed. "Like I’d really get pissed or something."

"Well there’s that whole ‘man code’ thing. You can’t date your best friends ex."

"No that’s the ‘girl code’. The ‘man code’ says ‘get it where you can, fuck your friends’."

"Nice." She sighed.

"So what’s the problem Day? Was I right?"

"When?"

"The other day on the bus. You like JC more than your letting on?" She could hear him smirk even over the phone line. "It’s okay to like him Dayna. He’s a good guy." She sighed into his ear and he laughed, "Come on Day, I know you better than you think. You know I’m right. I saw you guys together in Hawaii man, you were having fun and he was being the JC we all know and love."

"Yeah but – "

"No buts Dayna." He shook his head. "Listen, do what you want, but I’m telling you, you’d be a moron if you didn’t give him a chance."

"What if it doesn’t work?"

"So what? How many girls have you set me up with?"

"I don’t know."

"A lot though, right?"

"I guess."

"Okay and how many have worked out?"

"Well a couple of them could have but – "

"Dayna… how many worked out?"

"None."

"See? You’re not marrying the guy. So what if it doesn’t work out. You and I didn’t work out and it’s all good."

"That was a fluke and a necessity. I’m not friends with any of my other ex’s and we were forced to work together."

"You and JC have been friends for a couple years now, that’s not gonna change just because you won’t give it up or whatever." He rolled his eyes. "How come I have to be the logical girl in this conversation?" He waited in silence for a minute. "Is that what you called me for?"

"Kind of." Dayna nodded.

"Hey… when we were in Hawaii and I saw you guys goofing off it was like I as finally seeing what I lost in you. For like, two nanoseconds I wanted you back." Chris laughed lightly. "But… but I didn’t make you happy like that. JC makes you act like a kid and that’s what you need, you know? That was my big gripe with you, that you didn’t have enough fun or goof off enough." Dayna could hardly believe what she was hearing. "You’re like the perfect girl, now that you’re with JC."

"Chris I’m not wi – "

"Now don’t go getting all sentimental or whatever." He cleared his throat with a smile. "We’re over each other and that’s nowhere I wanna go again." Chris played it off with another chuckle, "But go call JC man… it can’t hurt."

"Thanks Chris." Dayna said softly.

"No problem." He checked his watch. "I’m gonna go see if I can catch Joe and Just before they take off. I’ll talk to you later, okay?"

"Okay." She nodded.

"Bye." She heard a click and then silence as she tried to absorb what Chris had said. Apparently when she’s around JC she was the perfect girl. He wanted someone who was more fun and outgoing, and around JC that’s what she was. Chris’ observation did nothing to help her confusion. Dayna ran her fingers between the numbers on the phone for a minute before she sighed and dialed JC’s room.

"Hello?" He answered with a hint of annoyance.

"JC?" She asked, just to be sure.

"Who is this?" He demanded.

"It’s uh… um, it’s Dayna."

"Oh! Oh, hi." He seemed to relax at the sound of her name. "Sorry, I’ve had like five calls tonight from random girls."

"Ahh." She nodded and fought the urge to hang up the phone.

"Whatcha need?"

"Nothing I was just um… well I’m not doing anything and I was going to see if you wanted to come over and watch a movie." Her nervousness showed in her voice and she was positive that he knew exactly why she had called.

"No thanks." He said softly as her heart sank. "I’m movied out. Do you want to go see a show though? Chris mentioned something about this little hole in the wall jazzy kind of blues club that’s not too far."

"You mean leave?"

"Sure."

"Are you allowed?"

"We’ll take Lonnie and Trent." He smiled. "They’ll disappear when we go inside."

"Yeah, we can do that." Dayna nodded slowly.

"Cool, I’ll go call them now and I’ll come down and get you in a couple minutes, okay?"

"O-okay." Dayna nodded as her palms began to sweat.

"Okay, bye." JC hung up and she slowly returned the handset to the receiver.

Dayna took a deep breath and went back to the bathroom to brush her teeth and make herself presentable so she could change her clothes into something appropriate. She was in the process of applying moisturizer when there was a knock on the door.

"Damn, give me some time to get ready." She uttered under her breath as she wiped her hands on the little towel.

"We can’t go." JC sighed when she opened the door.

"Oh… why uh… why not?" Dayna held the door open for him.

"Because I changed my mind." JC smiled and stepped into her room.

"You changed your mind?" She asked.

"Yeah."

"So now what do you want to do?"

"I don’t know." He shrugged.

"I guess we could just stay here." She looked down at her bare feet and cleared her throat, "Um… JC I’ve been thinking."

"Yeah?" He tried to act nonchalant.

"Yeah." She nodded and sat on the corner of her bed. "I can’t believe how dumb I’ve been the last couple weeks… or months or whatever." She wrapped a stray string from the hem of her shirt around her finger to make the tip turn bright red. "I’ve been working so hard to find the perfect girl for Chris to try to keep my mind off of you and Lance. But what I should have been doing was ignoring that stupid quest, and paying more attention to the one who was actually giving me the attention that I was looking for, for Chris." She looked up at him and shook her head, "I’m sorry I’ve been such a brat."

"It’s okay."

"No it’s not. I can’t for the life of me imagine what you’re doing here JC. I mean… if I were you I’d have given up a lot time ago."

He shrugged and put his hands in his pockets, "Well I just…" He left his sentence hanging as an uncomfortable silence fell over the room. "I was waiting for you to come to your senses."

"I have." She nodded with a smile.

"Have you?"

"Yeah."

"Okay." He nodded. He didn't want to make it too easy on her after all she'd put him through, but he couldn't help but smile. "So… movies?"

"Oh um… sure." Dayna nodded and clicked the TV on, not entirely sure how this would go. She'd never been on an awkward first date with a friend before and her equilibrium was thrown off for some reason. She stumbled as she reached for the TV to change the channel and JC reached out to catch her by the elbow.

"You okay?" He laughed lightly.

"Yeah." She nodded.

"You look nervous all of a sudden." He smiled with an almost smug look.

"Y-yeah." Her cheeks flushed quickly.

"Don't be. We've watched movies dozens of times."

"I know, but this is just… different." She looked down at her bare feet between his.

"No it's not." He laughed again and tilted her chin up; "It's just me, so relax." He brushed his lips over hers and reached over to turn the TV to the movie channel. He sat on the bed like nothing was different and waited for her to take her position by his feet. She lay down on her stomach with her legs by his waist and tucked a pillow under her chin.

"What movie is it?"

"Almost Famous."

"Okay." She nodded and turned back to the TV.

"Are you going to sit all the way down there?" JC asked a minute later.

"Uh huh."

He sighed and reached behind him for the pillow. "Okay." He dropped his pillow beside hers and positioned himself just like her, with their legs and shoulders touching, "This is comfortable?" He asked with a hint of doubt.

"For me, yeah."

"Okay." He nodded and gently nudged her shoulder with his. When she turned to smile at him he took that opportunity and kissed her briefly as the opening credits finished. "I can live with that."

She smiled back and casually dropped her foot over his calve just to feel him there, then went back to watching the TV. As usual, she was asleep before the movie was half over.

JC stayed up for a while after Dayna drifted off. He had wanted to hold her close all night for so long and now that he was given the chance, he didn’t want to miss a minute of it. Reluctantly he creeped from the bed and turned the lights and TV off before returning to the warm spot he had left behind. He placed his hand on her hip, then let it slide down to her stomach as her back pressed against his chest, keeping him warm without the help of covers.

She smelled like a mix of flowery lotion and Irish Spring soap, and JC knew he’d never forget that scent. JC let his eyes close slowly as he smiled, knowing that he'd get to watch her wake up in the morning.

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

"Damn, look at you. You’re like a giddy little glow worm, what happened to you?" Chris laughed as he barged into the little room Dayna had set up across from the dressing room. He had spent the day visiting hospitals and schools in the area and was trying to get hyped for the show. He dropped himself into her chair and banged a random beat on the armrests.

"Nothing happened." Dayna insisted, but she couldn’t stop smiling.

"Yeah right nothing happened. You’re practically pink, it’s sick." He smiled in the mirror. "Oh man… did you guys…? Ugh!" He shuddered and made a face in the mirror.

"No." She used her spray bottle to dampen his hair then intentionally spritzed him in the face. "Don’t be crass, we just hung out."

"Did you go to Monkey Bars?"

Dayna gave him a look, "No, but that sounds interesting. We just stayed in."

"Oooh I see. I’m glad you had fun."

"I really did." She turned the chair around so they were facing each other, then combed out his hair so that it lay flat and almost touched his nose, "Jeez Chris, I’m cutting this today."

"No just leave it."

"Absolutely not, you’re looking shaggy."

"I like it."

"Then fire me." She reached behind her for the scissors and snipped before Chris could move. "Much better." She smiled and cleaned up the edges.

"I don’t know if I like this new Dayna."

"This isn’t a new Dayna." She shook her head.

"Oh yeah? Since when are you this chipper at seven in the morning? The old Dayna would be snapping my head off and serving it to me on a platter if I bounded in here like this."

"I would not." She pretended to scowl, but ended up smiling again.

"For reals Day, you’re scaring me."

"I’m just in a happy mood today."

"I think JC spiked your drink with something lethal." Dayna just smiled and shook her head as she made a few snips around his ears. "Did Patty fall into a hole in the Earth?"

"Chris… come on. Can’t I be happy without people calling in the National Guard?"

"It’s just unusual." Chris shrugged. "Bordering on annoying."

"You wanna see annoying?"

"No!" He said quickly. "I really don’t."

The door slammed open as Joey and Justin crashed into the room in what looked like a mini-wrestling match. "Hey! Not in here. Break it up or go outside." Dayna kicked at them as they passed.

"He started it." Justin squeaked while Joey held him in a headlock under his arm.

"This is your chance to noogie him, Day." Joey laughed and offered Dayna Justin’s head.

"Oooh, let me grab the bleach… hold him still for a minute Joe." She reached into her bag to pretend to look for bleach.

"No!" Justin squirmed and wrapped his arms around Joey’s middle. "Come on you asshole let me go! If she bleaches my hair I swear I’ll kill you!" He laughed and pinched Joey’s side.

"Go Dayna! Quick man, hurry up he’s pinching me." Joey tried to move away from Justin’s hands but still keep him in the headlock.

"Okay I’ve got it. Let me at him." She held the bottle of purified water in her hand and let it dribble onto Justin’s scalp.

In one swift move Justin was out of Joey’s hold and halfway across the room rubbing the bottom of his shirt on his head. "Fuck, you’d better hope that wasn’t bleach buddy." His face was behind his shirt so he couldn’t see Joey and Dayna laughing hysterically.

"You guys are horrible." Chris shook his head, but laughed with them anyway.

"What was that?" Justin asked as he dropped his shirt back into place.

"Water. Relax."

Lance walked in as Justin dropped himself on the couch, his big shoes hanging over the far end. "I’m next." He said.

"I was here first." Joey whined and shoved Justin’s feet off the couch to make room for him to sit.

"Dayna?" Lance asked the referee.

"You didn’t call it Joe." She shrugged and turned the hair drier on to drown out Joey’s arguments. She finished Chris’ hair and sent him to wardrobe then patted the back of the chair, "Okay Lance."

"Are you gonna cut?" He asked as she reached for the brush.

"Nope." She shook her head and pulled the brush through his hair to make it silky. "We’re going to let this go for a little, it’d look good kind of brushing your ears."

"Not too long though." He frowned in the mirror.

"You’ll like it." She smiled and reached around to turn the corners of Lance’s mouth upward, "Smile."

He laughed and closed his eyes to let her do her work. Lance’s hair looked sloppily sexy when she was done, with just a little more length than he usually had. "Wow." She smiled at the perfection she had created. "Man that one’s going down in the hall of fame, I need a camera."

"You like it?" He laughed and caught her eye in the mirror.

"I love it, if I do say so myself. Dammit how come you can’t have a dozen photo shoots right now, this would send girls reeling from coast to coast." She shook her head, "Seriously though, I’ve impressed myself here." She stared at his soft and perfect hair for a minute before she sighed and scooted him out of the chair, "Oh well, I’ll have to do it again tomorrow. Who’s next?"

"Me!" Joey jumped up and slid into the chair as Lance pulled the door open.

"Thanks Day." He waved over his shoulder.

"Anytime, and I mean it Lance, don’t touch it."

"I won’t." He laughed and shut the door behind him.

"Okay Joe, what are we doing today?"

"Bleach it." Justin offered from the couch.

"You want me to?" She asked Joey.

"Uh. No." He raised his eyebrow at her in the mirror. "Just style it and that’s all. No cutting or dying or anything like that."

"Okay."

"And no glitter."

"I thought you liked the glitter?"

"I did, but not today. When I take a shower to wash it out the glitter goes down my back and down to where you don’t even wanna know."

"That’s gross." She made a face.

"You’re telling me? It’s like I’m wiping fairy dust off my ass for days."

"Oh Joey." She gave him a dirty look as she laughed and tossed her little towel at him. "You’re disgusting."

"See? Bleach his hair. That’ll shut him up." Justin snickered from the couch.

"I don’t have time tonight, maybe later." Dayna spritzed Joey’s hair and started in with the spray gel.

JC walked in just as Dayna was finishing Joey’s hair, "Hey." She said softly as her smile brightened. She blushed slightly as she scratched at the nape of Joey’s neck to make the hair there look tousled.

"Hey." He smiled at her in the mirror and placed his hand on her hip for the briefest of moments as he walked by. "Who’s next?"

"Justin."

"Then me?" He asked.

"You bet." She nodded and continued to smile.

"Okay, this is gonna get sick." Chris shook his head as he stood up from the couch.

"Didn’t I send you to wardrobe?" Dayna asked as she held the comb to her mouth. "Yeah… yeah I think I did."

"You don’t need to tell me twice." He laughed, then blew her a kiss as he walked by and let the door slam behind him.

Justin stood up to take his place in the hair chair so JC fell back on the couch. "To be honest Just? There’s not much to do with this hair."

"I know." He nodded.

"I mean, I get make it wet and brush it… but there’s nothing to style." She ran her fingers through his short hair.

"I know." He laughed.

"Do you want glitter or anything?"

"Glitter? I’ve gotta say no."

"It’ll look cool."

"No it won’t."

"How about blue tips?" She asked.

"Glitter?"

"No, just blue tips."

"The curls don’t have tips." He shook his head.

"Come on, give me something to do here." She ran her fingers through his hair again as she spritzed it with water just out of habit.

"Fine, do whatever you want." He shrugged. "Just nothing permanent." He added as an afterthought.

"Okay." She reached for her hair drier and lightly dried his short curls then took the hair mascara out of her kit. "You’re the best." She said softly as she ran the wand over his hair leaving barely noticeable streaks of blue over his curls. She singled out individual ringlets and colored them down to the roots, then leaned back. "You can’t really see it, but just wait till you get under the lights."

"Sweet." Justin smiled and stood up to use the hand held mirror to see the back of his hair, "Yeah you can barely tell it’s there."

"You’re gorgeous kid." Dayna gently shoved his shoulder, "Now go get dressed."

"My turn?" JC asked as he pushed himself off the couch.

"Yep." Dayna smiled and waved as Justin ducked out the door.

"Tired?" JC asked as he leaned back in her chair.

"Eh, not really." She shook her head and smiled even bigger.

"So what did you do today?"

"While you guys were out traipsing around the city I was back here washing my clothes and cleaning out all the crap in my footlocker. I had a lot of junk in there."

"Now that sounds like fun." He laughed.

"Yeah, tons of fun." She rolled her eyes and set her hands on his shoulders as she stood behind him and smiled in the mirror. "How about you? How was your day?"

"It was alright. We went to a couple hospitals. That’s always kind of depressing, you know? Seeing all of those sick kids and everything."

"Yeah, but you make their days just by showing up." She pointed out.

"Yeah." He smiled and sighed. "Yeah, that’s a cool feeling. But those images stick in my head. The kid with their head in one of those halo things, or too weak to do anything more than smile. Man, that’s hard."

"That’s a good thing though. It keeps you grounded."

"That’s for sure." He turned his head to look over his shoulder at her. "So what are you going to do to my hair tonight?"

"I dunno, I really liked Lance’s hair. Maybe I’ll let you go kind of bed head tonight too."

"Me and Lance will have matching hair?" He raised his eyebrow.

"Not exactly." She shook her head and turned him back around. "Let me do it." Dayna whisked her fingers through his slightly damp hair and pulled it up at different angles to spray it with hairspray. "You’ve got the best hair." She said half under her breath.

"It’s getting too long."

"It looks nice." She disagreed.

"Can you cut it next time?"

"Maybe."

"Maybe? It’s my hair."

"And it’s my job."

"You were just complaining that we never let you cut it and now you don't want to?"

"Chris never lets me cut it and he’s looking like a sheepdog." Dayna dried his hair then used her fingers to separate it a little. "You look okay with the hair that’s a little too long to be short."

"Okay." He sighed. "I guess you’d know huh?"

"Yep." She smiled and turned his chair around to face her. "This is still kinda weird huh?" She asked as half her smile fell.

"Weird? What? Us?"

"Yeah."

"How?"

"I don’t know. It’s like yesterday it was you and me, and today it’s us." She shrugged.

"You think it’s weird?" He smiled and reached for her hand while he remained seated.

"I don’t know. A little I guess. It’s like I don’t know how to act around you and the other guys." She shrugged. "Do they know? Are they supposed to?"

"They’re gonna know." He laughed. "There’s no stopping that. It’ll be like when you and Chris started dating, you’re just kinda there."

"Thanks." She rolled her eyes.

"To be honest hun, the guys aren’t gonna care. And they probably already know."

"I know, but still." She laughed nervously. "Oh well, I’ll get over it."

"You’ll have to." He stood up and kissed her as someone banged on the door.

"You’re late." Justin said as he poked his head into the room. "Wardrobe is having a fit so if you could remove your hands from Dayna’s butt long enough to get dressed, they’d really appreciate it."

"Okay." JC waved him off with a stern look and a quick blush. Justin laughed and let the door swing shut behind him. "I guess that means I’ve gotta go." He laughed.

"Yep."

"So… I’ll see you tonight?" He asked almost shyly.

"I’ll be here after for the clean up, then I’m leaving with the crew to head out to the next stop."

"You can ride with us if you want."

"Nah, I need to stick around to clean up and stuff. I’m already checked out of my room and it’d just be easier to leave from here." She shook her head.

"You can stay in my room you know."

"I know." She smiled. "But I’ve got things to do. Tomorrow afternoon we can do stuff, you’ve got a couple free hours."

"We do?"

"Yeah, you get into the city at around eleven and you don’t have to be to the venue till three, so you’ve got some time."

"Okay." he nodded. "Well uh, I’d better go."

"Yeah." She nodded as Justin banged on the door again.

"Move it C." Justin shouted.

"You’d better go before he has a heart attack."

JC wrapped his arms around Dayna’s waist and kissed her again as he pulled her close. "Just wait till after the show to leave so I can see you before you go."

"I will." She nodded. "Now hurry, or I’ll get yelled at."

"Okay." He kissed her again then ducked out the door throwing insults at Justin all the way down the hall.

Dayna sat in her chair and spun around as she leaned her head back and watched the ceiling dance. In the past twenty-four hours her life had done a turn around and she was happier than she’d been in a while. But something was still bothering her as she dragged her feet on the thin carpet to stop the spinning.

Now that Dayna had found the happiness she hadn’t even known she was looking for, she thought she could leave Chris alone. But she couldn’t. Now that she knew what he was missing, she was even more determined to find Chris the right girl. One that would treat him right and have fun with him, laugh at his jokes and make him smile. Someone who would make him feel the way JC made her feel.

She made up her mind to begin the search again, with a more thorough screening process.

 

 

 

Gotta comment? Send it here J

 

Back to the stories page…

 

 

Copyright 2001, Amy Lynn