"Keep it on the Down Low"

by: AmyK

 

"No, because I’ve already told you 3 times that they are booked completely through March 26th. They aren’t available to travel at all during that time." Meg said as she laid her head on the big calendar in front of her. She’d just about had it. She adjusted her hands-free earpiece and sighed.

"But it’s for a Valentines Day special." Brian, a representative for CBS argued.

"I know. You’ve said that. Three times. See, the difference here is that I heard you all three times, and you seem to have missed that I’ve said ‘no, they are booked’ every time you asked." She closed her eyes as her newly dyed dark red hair fell over her cheek. "I’ve also told you that I can give you an hour on the 4th or on the 10th of February if you want to fly out to tape it."

"But it needs to be taped here in the studios in Los Angeles on the 12th." Brian said, getting agitated.

"Then I’ll have to go with my original answer. No." She sighed and frowned. She was tired of dealing with stupid people.

"Can any of them make it on the 12th?"

"They. Are. Booked." Meg said slowly. "And if you ask me again then this conversation is over and you’ll never get a booking out of me."

"So you’re saying they’re all unavailable the whole day? Not even for an hour?" Brian asked a second later.

Meg reached across the table and hit the "END" button on her cel phone. He’d just breached her zero tolerance rule for idiots. She stood up and put the phone in the pocket of her jeans and adjusted the earpiece. Meg shut her calendar binder and tucked it under her arm as she bounced down the steps of the bus. She was late.

She broke into a light jog as soon as she got inside the arena and found her way to the dressing room in record time. Meg flopped down on the couch next to Justin and growled, "I hate CBS."

"What now?"

"Nothing, forget it. Sorry I’m late." She forced a smile and opened the binder on her lap. "So there’s nothing new to add on my end. I booked some stuff for April, but that’s still a while down the road." She explained to the sea of relatively uninterested faces. Meg was the date keeper for Nsync, assigned by their management staff to field all of the calls from people wanting to book Nsync for shows, interviews, in-store functions, charity events, photo shoots. You name it. If Nsync was going to be there, Meg was going to schedule it.

"What’s new in April?" JC asked, looking up from his pager that he was playing with.

"Um…" Meg flipped the book open and scanned the April pages. "The MTV Rock and Jock basketball game on the 23rd, and Loveline guests on the 30th." She said.

"We get to do the Rock and Jock game this year?" Justin perked up.

"Yeah." She nodded.

"All of us?"

"I booked Justin, JC and Chris. Joey you’ve blocked that weekend out for a family function and Lance you have a FreeLance talent search event the day before in Memphis, and I thought you’d rather hang out down there. If you want to go let me know though, I can call Ed and get you in." Meg explained, glancing again over the color-coded calendar.

"Sweet." Justin high fived JC

"Yeah I’d rather stay in Memphis." Lance nodded.

"What family function do I have?" Joey asked.

Meg scanned the page for the red writing, "Your cousin Tanyas wedding."

"Who can you call to get me out of that?" Joey joked.

"You’re going." Meg shook her pen at him. "Anyone have anything to add?"

"Nope." They all shook their heads and looked about ready to drop. She knew they’d just come from a photo shoot, and still had a sound check, meet and greet and show to do that night before they were herded onto their bus to drive 237 miles to the next city on their list. She didn’t admire them. She at least got a decent nights sleep most days.

"Great, then I’m outta here." Meg stood up and made a beeline for the exit.

"Wait wait wait!" Lance called after her.

"What?" She whined as she turned around, one foot halfway out the door.

"What about today?" He asked.

"You know what you’re doing today." Meg frowned.

"There are no changes?" Lance asked with a smile.

"No." Meg shook her head.

"You sure?" Joey asked with a sly smile.

"Yes." She held her ground.

"Why don’t you check?" Chris asked from his seat on the floor, as Busta licked his hand.

Meg sighed and sat back on the couch beside Justin. "I don’t know what you guys are up to, but you really don’t have any free time to play around with." She shook her head and opened the binder to December. She flipped forward to the 14th and scanned the page.

"No changes." She shook her head again.

"Come on Meggy, play along." Justin laughed and reached over half of the book to point out the glitter stickers that covered the entire square for the 14th.

"What is that about?" She asked, looking up at the boys around her.

"It’s for your birthday." Joey rolled his eyes. "Man you’re no fun." He laughed.

"My birthday isn’t until the 26th." She frowned.

"And we’ve got exactly no free time between now and then. So right now is your birthday." Lance smiled.

"You guys… you know you don’t have to do anything."

"We know." Chris jumped up off the floor. "But we are anyways. We have an hour before the meet and greet."

"You guys have a sound check in 15 minutes."

"Nope." JC laughed and opened up one of the big rolling closets.

"What do you think we’ve been doing for the last hour and a half?" Joey asked as he stood to help JC get the gifts out of the roller.

"You’ve been doing a photo shoot." Meg said, wiping her finger across Justin’s cheek to show a line of make up.

"A photo shoot on the stage during the sound check." Chris smiled as he pulled a birthday cake out of the little refrigerator.

"I’m serious you guys… you do not have time for this."

"Yes we do. Stop arguing." JC smiled and set the small stack of gifts on the floor beside Meg’s feet.

"Is it party time?" Allen asked, he was one of the sound guys for the tour.

"Yep, bring everyone in." Joey waved everyone in and they gathered around. Somehow they fit more than 30 crewmembers, tour staff and band members in the little dressing room.

"You guys…" Meg blushed and took the ear piece out of her ear and shoved it in her pocket beside her phone, which for once was silent.

"Ready? One, two, three." JC counted off before they all started singing. Meg sat there with a smile plastered across her face. She knew from the beginning that this whole group supporting the tour was one big family, but they kept surprising her.

Meg giggled as they wrapped up the song and she blew out the single pink candle on her cake. "Thanks guys." She wrapped her arms around the nearest of her new "family" members and hugged them tightly.

"Open your presents!" Justin shouted like a child.

"Okay, okay." Meg sat back beside him as Joey handed her the first gift. The card told her it was from the stage crew, and she tore through the bright paper quickly. Meg pulled the lid off the box to reveal an official *Nsync Crew jacket. Since she was technically management staff, she didn’t get a crew jacket, so this was definitely special. "Yay! Now I’m crew." She laughed and pulled in on over her pale pink tank top. It was big on her, but she didn’t care. She pushed the sleeves up and accepted the second box from Joey.

"That’s from the management." Johnny said from the far corner of the crowd. Meg looked up and smiled at the small group of management staff standing in their own little group. There was Johnny, the big boss man, Kat the tour photographer, Dean the tour manager and Stan the sound manager.

Meg opened the small box carefully and peeled back the layers of tissue paper to show a cool Nike watch she’d been looking at for a while. The numbers were big, and it was kind of shaped like a wave. "It’s perfect! Thanks you guys. Kat must have told you I was drooling all over it in New York." Meg laughed and placed the watch back in her box, so she wouldn’t lose it.

The next gift was from the band, it was a two pound box of chocolate covered macadamia nuts, "Flown all the way from Hawaii!" Henry the keyboardist added.

"Oh man, these are my favorite." Meg practically drooled on the box.

"Are you going to share?" Chris asked, casting a hungry look at the still sealed box.

"Not a chance." Meg laughed and left the box on her lap.

"Here! Open ours next." Joey handed her a big box with a mass of ribbons on top.

"Cute." She laughed and pulled the ribbons off the top before she opened the box. Inside were five individually wrapped gifts. They were wrapped in white butcher paper and had each of their names written on them. "Nice wrapping." Meg smiled and pulled Joey’s out first.

"Well it was all I could find on the bus." JC laughed and sat on the arm of the sofa beside her.

"It’s great." She smiled and peeled back the paper on Joey’s gift. Inside she found a Mr. Bubbles T-shirt along with a bottle of the bubble fluid. Meg laughed and shook her head; "It’s perfect Joey. Thank you." He leaned over the back of the couch and hugged her quickly.

"I knew you’d like the bubbles. All girls like bubble baths." He smiled.

"Does that mean I’ll get my own room so I can use them?!" Meg asked excitedly.

"Don’t hold your breath!" Someone shouted from the back.

"You can use my tub anytime." Joey said in his usual suave way. It would have worked if he didn’t bust up laughing immediately after.

"I’m gonna hold you to that!" Meg shook her finger at him as Justin placed his present in her lap.

"Come on, we’ve only got an hour you know." He laughed.

"Relax kiddo, I can erase your meet and greet and it’ll be like it was never there." She laughed, the guys were always asking her to "just erase" things from their calendar. As if that was all it took. Meg ripped open Justin’s present and held the CD’s out in front of her. The new Limp Bizkit, BBmak and Busta Rhymes CD’s as well as her favorite, Van Morrisons greatest hits.

"I’ll never understand your taste in music." Justin shook his head as Meg leaned over to hug him.

"Thank you! I haven’t had time to go get these yet!" Meg laughed and flipped the CD’s over in her hands to see all of the cover art. "These are awesome. Thank you."

"You’re welcome." Justin blushed shyly as JC placed another box in her lap.

Meg smiled up at him and asked, "From you and Chris?"

"Yeah well, we both wanted to get it, and I didn’t want to have to knock him out. So we compromised." JC explained with a shrug and a smile.

"This should be interesting." Meg said cautiously as she took the top off the box. Inside were a pair of black leather pants and a shimery silver tank top. She pulled the tank top out and whistled, "Whoa guys!"

"What’s that?" Justin asked as he pulled another silver item of clothing from the box.

"Justin!" Chris shouted as Justin carelessly held up the shimery silver thong.

"Whoa!" Half the crew laughed as Meg turned bright red, almost as dark as her hair.

"Jesus JC!" She laughed as Justin quickly dropped them back in the box as if they were on fire.

"What the hell?" Justin laughed.

"They were Chris’s idea." JC laughed.

"It was a joke! Sheesh I didn’t think you’d hold them up for the world to see!" Chris laughed, though obviously embarrassed.

"You guys are nuts." Meg slowly regained her natural color and laughed.

"Well…" JC cleared his throat and explained the gift, "We just thought it’d be nice to see you in something other than jeans."

"You don’t like my jeans?" Meg asked, pretending to be hurt.

"No, that’s not it." JC shook his head.

"We like the jeans… but we love the leather pants." Chris waggled his eyebrow at her and smiled devilishly.

"You know how hot it’d get if I wore leather pants while running around back stage?" Meg asked.

"Humor us." JC smiled.

"We’ll have to see about that." Meg shook her head, but pulled the two troublemakers in for a hug. "Thanks… I think."

They each gave her a quick kiss on the cheek as Lance shyly placed the gift from him on her knee.

Meg opened the last gift slowly, it was from Lance and she wanted to savor the moment. He was secretly her "favorite" member. She pulled the paper back to reveal a beautiful dark blue suede bound journal. Her initials were embossed in silver on the lower right corner in a flowing script. "Lance, it’s perfect." She said softly. "Thank you."

"There’s something inside." He smiled as she stood up to hug him tightly.

"Inside?" She asked, looking at the book. He took it from her and opened it up to the first page, then handed it back to her. The first page was decorated with his casual handwriting, "To Meg (with one ‘g’ – see? I’m learning!) - Because I know there’s more to you than calendars and cel phones. I hope this tour gives you some wonderful memories to fill this journal with. I’m glad you joined us, and I hope you’re having fun so far. Love always – Lance"

"Thank you Lance." Meg smiled and hugged him again, "I’m having a great time so far." She said softly in his ear.

"Okay guys, back to work." Johnny yelled from the doorway. He smiled at everyone and waved as they slowly dispersed to finish getting ready for the show.

"Thanks you guys." Meg repeated as she gave each of the band members another hug. "Now get to work." She laughed and clumsily carried the boxes out to the bus she shared with the other management staff. She dropped them on her bunk and reached for her hair clip. Meg tossed her shoulder length dark red hair into a knot and clasped it together with her black clip before she reached into her pocket to retrieve her earpiece. She fit it over her ear just in time, her phone rang softly in her pocket.

Meg pulled the phone out and without looking hit the "OK" button, "This is Meg." She answered as she sat at the little table. She sweeped a thin coating of crumbs to the floor and waited for a response from the voice on the other end.

"I… is this…? I’m actually looking for my son?" The female voice said softly.

"Who is your son?" Meg asked.

"Um… Justin."

"Lynn?" Meg smiled.

"Yes?"

"This is Meg, you got me." Meg laughed.

"Oh! I was going to say… who’s answering my baby’s phone?" Lynn laughed and asked, "I’ve misdialed again haven’t I? I always hit that 4 instead of the 7."

"Yeah, that’s okay. Is there something I can help you with?" Meg smiled and spun the salt shaker in front of her.

"Well, I was just calling to see if he was going to be able to fly home on the 23rd instead of the 24th. He wasn’t sure last time we talked, and his grandparents are going to be in town."

"Ahh, well you’ve actually reached the right person then. Let me see what I can do for you." Meg flipped the calendar binder open and flipped to the 23rd. The boys had a group meeting with Johnny that morning to discuss the tour so far, and another meeting that afternoon to go over the final details of their new years show, but other than that they were relatively free. "It looks like he should be able to make it. We’ll be in Denver that day, and he’s got meetings until about… it looks like probably one. I can try to book him a flight home that afternoon."

"Would you? That would be great."

"Sure." Meg smiled and penciled in "flt home – jrt" on the calendar. "I’ll call you back as soon as I get the flight information."

"Okay, do you have my number?"

"Yep." Meg nodded, double checking her phone list to be sure. She rattled off the number to reassure Lynn, then hung up and immediately dialed the travel agency. "Yeah, hi Tim. This is Meg, I need to make a reservation for two passengers one way from Denver to Orlando, first class, leaving December 23rd after 2pm."

"Okay, let me see what I’ve got." Tim pecked on the keyboard for a minute and asked, "How about 1:45pm?"

"That’ll work." Meg nodded and reached for her pen.

"Okay, names?"

"Justin Timberlake and Kenneth Winters." Meg recited the names out of habit, Justin and his security.

"Great." Tim pecked away some more then gave Meg the flight number, airline and confirmation number.

"Thanks Tim, oh hey. They will need access to the VIP lounge in both airports, just in case."

"You got it." Tim laughed, "We can’t have your pretty boy get mauled by his followers."

"No we can’t." Meg laughed and hung up the phone before dialing Lynn back to let her know the flight information. Lynn was surprised as always that Meg could get the flight booked so fast, but hey… she was Wonderwoman.

Meg fielded a couple more calls that night from her position on the bus and rearranged some appearances to give the boys some consecutive hours off. She printed up the next two days schedules and hustled inside to post them on the rolling closets for the wardrobe girls to know where to take who’s clothes and at what time. Meg then took her time and walked out to the guy’s bus. She let herself on and left the two day schedule where she knew each boy would find them, right in the middle of their pillows.

Meg stood in the middle of their bus and just looked around. All of the buses were basically the same, as far as their design and setup went. This one just felt special. The kitchen area was relatively clean, but there was a bag of chips sitting in the sink with the top rolled down, and a pizza box that she knew would contain at least a couple pizza crusts if she cared to look. There was a sweatshirt tossed carelessly over the back of one of the couches, and Playstation game controllers wrapped up neatly on one of the cushions. There were a couple pairs of shoes on the floor by the couch and laptop computer opened, but not turned on, on the opposite couch with the cords draped over the back of the couch.

This bus felt homey, comfortable like people lived here. The bus she was on with the management was run like an office. Everyone had a day that they had to clean the place, no food was ever left out on the open. There were no "toys" on the bus, only a TV, VCR and stereo to keep them amused. The only thing that was ever out of place was the three laptops plugged in around the table and by the driver’s seat.

Which would explain why she spent most of the time on one of the crew buses. They lived like slobs and loved it. So what if shoes and clothes were piled up on the couch? More cushions for when you crashed on the couch after an exhausting game of Tempest 2000. The only edible stuff on the bus was loaded with preservatives and/or grease and could be purchased at gas stops and 7-11’s. Meg smiled at the thought of grocery shopping at 7-11 and reluctantly stepped off the boy’s bus.

She shut and locked the door behind her and walked back toward the arena. Before she entered the booming loud backstage area she reached into her pocket for her phone and dialed Justin’s cel phone number from memory, "Hey yeah this is Justin’s phone. If this is mom or any other family type person, leave a message with the latest I can call, I love you. If this is Johnny, I’m not here and I’m never coming back! If this is Meggy Meg, don’t add anything! I don’t have time! If this is one of the fellas, hang up and find me. If this is my honey baby doll, leave a message and I’ll call you as soon as I get done. If it’s anyone else you’ve got the wrong number." Justin laughed and Meg noticed how he casually left out his girlfriend’s name. It was a pain in the butt to change that message as often as he changed girlfriends.

"Dammit that’s a long message. Listen, your mom called – oh, this is Meg by the way. Anyways, you’re going home for Christmas on the 23rd after your meetings with Johnny and the DC people. Your flight leaves at 1:45pm and arrives in Otown at 10:05pm. Kenny’s flying with you and we’ll have a car there to pick you up, unless you arrange something with your mom. It’s in the book but I wanted to let you know. Have a good night." Meg smiled and clicked the phone off as she pushed the door open and flashed her badge to the guard just inside. He knew who she was as she walked by quickly.

Lance and the others ran out from under the stage after their grand finale and headed for their dressing rooms, without even pausing to wipe the sweat dripping off their noses. Meg watched them from the hallway as they ran into the dressing room where no one would see them again for at least 15 minutes.

Lance peeled off his sweat soaked dress shirt and flung it towards the pile of discarded clothes that would be sent to the dry cleaners within the hour. He walked into the shower room wearing only his boxers, which he took off quickly before he jumped into the shower. He heard the others come in and take quick showers also, before changing into comfortable traveling clothes.

Meg watched from her dark little corner as Chris and Joey came out of the dressing room, laughing with each other and being loud as they headed for the back exit where they would make a mad dash for the bus. Justin came out a minute later and swaggered down to the green room to mingle with the press for a little bit before he too headed out to the bus.

JC was next, he covered his mouth as he yawned then ran his fingers through his dripping wet hair. He scratched his stomach quickly as Stan the sound guy came up to him with a clipboard. They began chatting then walked slowly towards the exit while Stan pointed to some figures on the paper. JC nodded slowly and stifled another yawn as they rounded the corner.

Meg waited for a couple more minutes, but Lance didn’t show up. She couldn’t have missed him, he was never the first out. She waited for a couple more minutes before walking across the backstage area to the door of the dressing room. She knocked once, and waited for an answer. It was still loud back there, and she doubted she would have heard a response anyways. Meg pushed the door open slowly calling out, "Justin?" as she did so. She had to have a good enough reason to be in the dressing room, and telling Justin about his change of plans was the best she could come up with.

"What?" Lance asked as he poked his head out of the bathroom. His dark blonde hair dripped water across his cheek when he leaned. "Oh hey Meg. You looking for me?"

"Oh, um, no." Meg stuttered. Lance was standing in the doorway dripping water from his mostly naked body. Only a small blue towel separated Lance from the rest of the world. "I uh… I was looking for Justin. He’s had a schedule change."

"Ahh, well I think they’ve all left." Lance glanced around the room quickly. "No changes for me huh?" He asked with a slow flirty smile.

"Nope." Meg smiled, and shook her head. She tucked her dark red hair behind her ear and cleared her throat nervously.

"Can you make some changes for me?" He continued to smile.

"Oh, sure. What do you need?" Meg asked in a very business like manner.

"I’d like some free time on Friday to go on a date."

"Oh." That caught Meg off guard, she quickly collected herself and said, "I can um, I’ll see what I can do. How much time will you need?"

"I’m not sure. But hey, do you think you could find me a date too?" He laughed quietly. "It’s just not fair you know. Chris gets time of to go out with Dani, and I get nothing."

"Where’s the justice?" Meg laughed. "If you want some free time I can arrange it, just maybe not on Friday."

"Really? I can do that?"

"Sure." Meg nodded. "What did you think I was here for?" She laughed lightly and tried not to stare at his towel.

Lance came out of the bathroom completely and held the towel tight. "Well I mean I know you schedule our time, I just didn’t know you took our requests."

"You asked for your moms birthday off, remember?"

"Well yeah but that was for a special occasion." He smiled. He really needed to stop doing that when he was standing so close to Meg, or he’d have to pick her up off the floor.

"Yeah and that’s all I’m supposed to accommodate." Meg smiled and looked at her shoes. "But I do make special exceptions."

"Well that’s cool." Lance cleared his throat. "I’ll tell you what, if you can get me like… I don’t know… a couple straight hours, I’ll take you with me."

Meg laughed out loud and asked, "Take me with you where?"

"Wherever I go." Lance shrugged.

"You’ll probably just spend the time sleeping." Meg rolled her eyes and smiled.

"Well…" Lance shrugged, giving her a flirtatious smile. "Would that be so bad?"

Meg blushed and shoved her hands into her pockets as he reached around her to grab his clean shirt. She could feel the warmth of his body after the hot shower, and could smell the sweet soap he’d used. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply as she said, "I’ll um, I’ll see what I can do."

"Great." Lance smiled. "Thanks."

"Sure thing." Meg cleared her throat quietly and turned towards the door. "You’ve got like 10 minutes you know. Till you have to be on the bus."

"I know." He nodded and pulled the t-shirt over his head.

"Okay." Meg opened the door and let herself out. She stopped on the other side of the door and leaned back against the wall. "Oh man…" She sighed to herself. "Man oh man."

As soon as Meg got on the bus, she flipped open her calendar binder and looked at the next week for Lance. He was just as busy as the others, but she’d move mountains to get him his free time, just on the off chance he meant what he said about taking her with him.

She juggled around a radio interview and an individual photo shoot so that they were back to back, which gave Lance and Justin three consecutive hours off. It wasn’t for another two weeks, but it was better than nothing. Meg wrote it on their calendar, but decided to surprise them with it when it got closer to the date, she knew they’d only forget if she told them now.

 

A week later they were in Los Angeles for the Holidays in Hollywood TV special that would be aired live that afternoon, and things were getting hectic. There were girlfriends to pick up at the air port, suits to fit, shoes to find and nerves to calm. They were prepared to sing a couple of Christmas standards, as well as their hit "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays"

They had been in LA for 2 days rehearsing for the holiday show as well as for the concert they’d be putting on the day after the show. Nothing was working the way it should, and tempers were short.

Meg was sent to chauffeur two girlfriends from the LA airport while Bobbie and Dani met the guys at the hotel. Meg realized they were one date short about halfway to the airport. She wondered who it was and secretly hoped it was Lance who was the single one that night. She played out the fantasy in her head how he’d ask her to go at the last minute and she’d say yes and things would grow from there.

 

 

"Where’s Kat-a-reeeena?" Justin asked, stretching out Joey’s girl of the moment’s name to an annoying length.

"She dogged me." Joey shrugged. "She couldn’t get off work."

"So you’re going solo?" Justin tried not to laugh.

"Shut it J, at least I’m not taking my mom." Joey smirked over his shoulder at the younger man.

"Dude, I took her one time. She had a blast. And check it out, all the chicks loved it." Justin laughed and pulled his long black leather jacket on.

"Sheesh, too bad I can’t call one of those rent-a-date places. All I need is a girl for a couple hours." Joey sighed and stood up, straightening his shirt.

"Yeah, Johnny’d about have kittens if you tried that."

"Not like that." Joey thwaped Justin upside his curls. "Like a dating service."

"Why?" Justin looked at Joey like he was nuts. "We’ve got at least three available chicks at our disposal."

"What? Who?"

"Pink." Justin held up one finger.

"Yeah." Joey rolled his eyes and laughed.

"Kat." Justin held up two fingers.

"Forget it Justin, I don’t need a date that bad."

"And Meg." Justin held up a third finger.

"Hey that’s right." Joey looked surprised. "She’s single?"

"Well she doesn’t have a boyfriend nearby." Justin laughed and leaned closer to the mirror to tuck a few stray curls into place.

"You think she’d want to go?"

"I don’t know. Ask her." Justin shrugged and stood up straight.

"Where is she?" Joey asked quickly.

"Oh you know what? I think she went to the airport to pick up Jenn and Kacey." Justin frowned.

"I don’t have her number." Joey sighed and sat back on his bed. "Do I?" He flipped open his cel phone and looked through his stored numbers.

"Her number is just like mine, but instead of 7 it’s 4."

"What are you talking about?"

"Instead of 1709 it’s 1409." Justin said as Joey held the phone in front of him.

"So should I call?"

"Joey I don’t care." Justin laughed and headed for the door. "So you go stag. What’s the big deal?" He pulled the door open and left Joey alone in the room.

"Me go stag? I don’t think so." Joey shook his head and dialed.

Meg was halfway to the car with the girlfriends when the phone in her purse began playing its little melody. She was cranky enough because she’d picked up Kacey and Jennifer at the airport. Meg had been around long enough to know that Jennifer was Lances on again off again girlfriend. That was enough to send her already foul mood one notch lower.

"This is Meg." She said quickly as she cradled the tiny cel phone between her ear and her shoulder. She unlocked the trunk of the rental car and stood back as the girlfriends placed their luggage inside. "Hello?" She asked again when no one said anything.

"Meg?" Joey asked.

"Yeah, what?" She sighed and hopped in the front seat to start the car.

"This is Joey."

"I don’t have my book with me right now Joe, can we talk about this later?" Meg distractedly cleared off the front seat by tossing the maps in the back on the floor.

"I don’t want anything in the books, I have a question for you." Joey smiled, thinking he was smooth.

"What is it?" Meg asked as the other girls hopped in the car and buckled their seatbelts, leaving the trunk wide open. Meg sighed and jumped out of the car to slam it shut before rolling her eyes and getting back in the driver’s seat.

"What are you doing tonight?"

"I don’t have time for 20 questions Joey." Meg frowned.

"That’s Joey?! Oh tell him I said hi." Jennifer said from the back seat.

Meg ignored her as Joey continued, "Do you want to come with us tonight?"

"No." Meg sighed. She tried to look over her shoulder to back out of the tight parking space. The phone fell off her shoulder and into Kaceys lap.

"Hi Joey!" Kacey said happily as she picked the phone up. "Are you guys ready to party the night away?" She giggled.

"Excuse me." Meg scowled and snatched the phone out of Kaceys hand. The tiny blonde cast a look of distaste Meg’s way then concentrated on the traffic outside.

"Meg?" Joey asked.

"Yeah, I dropped the phone."

"You don’t want to go?"

"What are you talking about Joey? You have the holiday thing tonight."

"I know." Joey smiled.

"Then what do you mean?" Meg asked as she merged onto the freeway.

"Don’t make this so complicated. I mean exactly what I said. Do you want to come with us tonight? With me."

"To the thing?" Meg asked.

"Yeah." Joey nodded, even though she couldn’t see him.

"You’re serious?"

"I don’t have a date."

"Well yeah but…"

"Well yeah but nothing." Joey laughed. "Yes or no?"

"I don’t have anything to wear." Meg said a minute later.

"Yes or no?"

"Then no." She shook her head. She really needed to concentrate on traffic, not on Joey.

"Come on… you’ve got to have something you could wear? Jeans would be fine."

"No they wouldn’t. I’m in a pissy mood tonight Joey."

"Perfect." He smiled. "Then come with me, it’ll cheer you up." Meg thought of spending the evening watching Lance with Jennifer. Cheerful was not a word that came to mind.

"Thank you for asking, but no thanks."

"Hey!"

"Joey what? I’m in the middle of LA traffic right now with two girlfriends in my car and I’m cranky enough as it is." She frowned as Kacey reached over and turned the radio up. "Hang on Joe." Meg took the phone away from her ear and used that hand to flick the radio off completely, "Can you see I’m on the phone?" She asked Kacey. "Listen Joe, we’ll talk about this when I get back to the hotel, okay?"

"Damn you’re vicious." Joey laughed, having heard the comment to Kacey. "Was that to Kacey or Jennifer?"

"The first." Meg said quickly. "My nerves are being worked. I’ll see you in 20." Meg flipped the phone off and threw it into the backseat opposite of Jennifer. "I hate traffic." She grumbled under her breath as they silently made their way through LA.

 

On to the next part…

 

Copyright � 2000 Amy Lynn