1,440 Minutes - 4


Just as I think I'm going to get a moment's peace I hear my phone start to ring.  I move to an out of the way corner and pull the phone out to check to see who it is.

The name Ireland flashes across the tiny screen.  I quickly pick up the call.  "Hello Ireland."

"Where have you been?" my best friend's voice comes out of the phone in a huff.  "I've been calling you for a week now."

"I'm sorry hon," I say wondering how long it's been since I've talked to anyone else.  My list of friends has been short for most of my life, but lately--or rather since I decided to travel with Justin for his solo project--I've been ignoring the fact that the list is getting smaller and smaller.  "With Justin starting this promotional thing I've been--"

"That's no excuse for not calling me back," Ireland says.

I find a seat at the end of one of the record collections and sit down to talk.  "I'm sorry about not calling back.  The last two days have been--"

I can imagine her almost bouncing on her toes as she talks.  She's a little bit of a drama queen, but I love her to death.  "I'm freaking out."

"Why?" I ask.

Her voice gets shaky, "Bryan and I just bought a house."

My eyes go wide.  Ireland is one of my only friends and to find that her and her new husband Bryan have just gotten a house is a major thing.  I could totally afford a house of my own, but instead I've always just lived above my parent's garage just across the Virginia boarder near DC.  "A HOUSE?"

"Yeah," she says.

"YOU HAVE A HOUSE!"  I don't wait for an answer and I don't notice really the few stares that customers are giving me.  "I have an apartment and a huge credit card bill and you have a house!"

"You don't have a huge credit card bill," she says, "Justin pays you enough so don't try to pull that on me."

"Still--"  That's a long argument that I don't want to get into.  I don't mind having the bills that I do, because I do get paid enough to pay them, but the idea of her settling down and being married and having the next step be children really leaves me wondering when it's going to happen for me.  I want my job and my lifestyle, but I also would love to have someone to come home to at night.  I have Justin, but it'd never be the same as having a home to come home to and a man that could love me twenty four hours a day.  "I've got--"

The annoyance in her voice could be heard.  "You've got a great job and have seen the world six times over so don't start."

"Still."  I sigh.  I wish I had a home.  I mean I have a place to stay but these days it seems like nothing in my life is permanent.  Even today it seems like this job is going to be on the rocks if I let the afternoon go as crazy as the night before and this morning were.

"Still what?" Ireland laughs then gets serious.  "You aren't getting old are you?  I knew one day you'd want to settled down and--"

"I'm not sure if I'm ready for the picket fence," I say, "But I think I'm ready to have something more than just a huge bill for hotel rooms."

"Then find a man that will give you what you want," she says.

I hate the feeling like I need to sigh yet again, but really trying to have a relationship with the life that I lead is hard.  Maybe that's one of the things that is pushing me towards Justin so much these days.  He's the only guy I've been around for years that would understand my lifestyle.  "Easier said than done."

Ireland groans, "Speaking of Andrew--"

"I don't want to talk about him."

"I was just going to tell you that I heard that you two had broken things off again."

"How would anyone know?"

"He called up his sister and his sister called over here."

"Kennedy was always the best.  Two bad her brother is a freak."

"Tell me about it.  Anyone who works on Saturdays voluntarily is a freak."

"Umm, well I have to say that--"

"You do it because your job isn't nine to five and I believe you just has like 4 months off to do whatever you want while Justin played in the studio so I can see how you'd be working seven days a week."  She sighs.  "Awwe...the rockstar lifestyle is hard to get used to."

"Justin was working that whole time and I wasn't sitting on my butt for most of it.  I was helping my mom and dad around the house and--"

"Poor little rich girl," Ireland teases.  "How is he today anyway?  I've heard that he's been moodier these days."

"He's fine," I say lying.  Ireland doesn't need to hear about all my troubles right now.  She's trying to celebrate and I need to help her.  "We're flying out to LA tonight and his brothers were here yesterday so he's actually in a pretty good mood."

"How are my little honorary nephews?" Ireland asks.

"The boys are fine.  Steven freaked out this morning and had a tear-fest before he left for home so of course that threw Justin into panic mode, but all has been taken care of."  I puff out my chest a little and try to take some pride in what I've accomplished for the moment.  "I've saved the day--"

"Yet again," Ireland supplies for me.  She pauses for a moment.  "When is Justin going to return the favor?"

"Soon I hope," I say playing along with the old joke about me and Justin running away to get married.  I've been joking around about this for years.  When Ireland and I are anywhere near each other I try to do girl bonding things with her since most of the other women I know are associated with Justin and NSYNC somehow.  There are times where I need to step away from things, and even though I get some peace and quiet like earlier today, I usually don't get to share that quiet time with anyone other than me, myself, and I.

"What's going on Vivian?" Ireland asks suddenly.  "Something is going on over there."

"It's nothing," I sigh and look around, "I can't say anything right now about it since I don't even know what's going on, but as soon as I can, I'll tell you--"

Ireland is probably nodding her head.  I've told her warnings like this before.  "Is something up with Wonderboy?"

"Nothing's up," I say, "Nothing that I can say anything about.  I've just got some stuff on my mind and we saw you know who yesterday so now the whole world has turned upside down again."

"Where are you?" Ireland says.

"Virgin Megastore in New York."

"What section?"

I look around and notice that I've picked a good hiding spot.  The classical section really doesn't seem to be a likely place to find one of Justin's fans running around.  "Second floor.  Classical section."

"You're safe," Ireland says, "Spill the beans."

I stand up a little and look around one more time before I open my mouth to explain how today has been the strangest day I've had on this job.  "Wonderboy and I slept together last night."

"YOU AND HE SLEPT TOGETHER!"  Ireland's voice is so loud I have to pull the phone away from my ears.  "You were saying that my house is big news and you're sleeping with him!!!"

"I said slept," I say, "Not had sex."

"What happened?"

"Steven couldn't get to sleep last night so Justin and I stretched out on the bed together until he fell asleep then this morning I wake up and we're sprawled all over each other."

"So what does this mean?" Ireland asks, "Are you two together now or something?"

"I don't know," I whine as the events of the last twenty four hours run through my brain.  "I wish that I could say either way that we were together or not together, but right now all I know is that he's downstairs signing autographs and I'm hiding because I'm too afraid of what might happen if we're in the same room together."

"Uh oh."

"He's taking this as such a natural step in our friendship and no matter how much I tell myself to just relax and enjoy it, I can't help but to wonder if this is going to blow up in my face."  I sigh.  "I've known him too long to make a change in our relationship something easy.  I mean I'm standing there and he's trying to kiss me whenever he wants and no matter how much I know that I want that to be able to happen, it's not something that can happen.  I can't just have this twenty four hour a day relationship with him if I want to keep my face and name and whatever else of me out of the press."

"You know Viv, sometimes you have to deal with the press."  She stops for a moment.  "If you have to trade dealing with the press for Justin's love I really think that you'll do it.  You've told me a million and one times that it'd be worth it to put up with that just so you two could be together.  Now that it might actually happen you shouldn't be stepping away from him, but stepping towards him.  I mean if he's trying to be with you why are you running away from it?"

"It's too perfect though," I say, "I mean yesterday morning we were fighting like cats and dogs and this morning I wake up in his arms.  I'm so scared that--"

"You can't be scared of him Vivian," Ireland scolds, "You're in love with him."

"That's what scares me.  I've seen how he is with girls and I've seen how overwhelming he can be and now that I might get a taste of that kind of love from someone I'm not sure I could handle it.  I mean I LIKED Andrew and look how he's messed me up in the head over the years and to actually be IN LOVE with someone and have them interact with me back is just going to mess me up more."

"The reason you and Andrew never got along was because you were in love with Justin the whole time.  If you found a man that loved you like Andrew did and you were still thinking about Justin, then I think that someone is trying to give you a sign and tell you that Justin is the one for you."

"I need a vacation," I whine.  "I don't want to deal with this right now.  There's too much going on in the schedule to--"

"Your schedule is always packed," Ireland says, "So either you make time for it or it goes by the wayside."  She sighs.  "In the meantime I think you need to get away from the teenies and do some shopping."  She laughs, "Get some retail therapy.  I should know.  I just threw down a hundred seventy five thousand dollars on a house payment and I feel great."  She laughs.  "Just think what clothes, lingerie, and shoes--oooh...I know you love shoes--could do for you."

"I am in Times Square," I say, "I should at least go next door to Sephora or something.  I might not get a chance to in the next week or so and I think I need some mascara."

"Screw mascara.  You need to go in there and get a whole new make up bag full of goodies."

"Fine. Fine." I stand up and start to walk towards the stairs that will lead me back downstairs.  "I just wish you were here to share the shopping spree with me."

"I've done enough shopping for one day," Ireland says, "Just go and shop and take pictures of what you buy and send them to me."

"I will," I say, "You have to send me a picture of your new place."

"I definitely will," she says.

"And tell Brian that I'm happy for you."

"I will.  He's out buying a lawn mower right now."  She groans.  "If he makes me buy a mini van I'm divorcing him.  SUVs are one thing, but those stupid minivans are gonna be the death of me.  I'm not going to turn into a soccer mom.  I refuse."

"First you have to have kids to turn into a soccer mom and seeing how you and Brian both don't have any athletic ability what so ever, I see you being more of a music mom or something like.  Or maybe a math mom--"

"I don't even have children and you're already making fun of them."

"Just don't get those My Kid Is An Honor Student bumper stickers and they'll be ok."

"You're gonna give my kids complexes," Ireland says, "I'm not letting them near Auntie Vivian until they're thirties."

When my feet hit the entry level floor I notice Justin looking tired and instead of going to check on him I slip out the door and onto the street so that I can shop and not have him see me leave.   I check the line to see how many people are left and figure that a half hour in the store a few doors down won't get me into trouble.

I try to sneak by the fans but a few girls spot me and follow me into Sephora.

"Ask her," someone behind me whispers and I soon feel a hand on my shoulder.

"Excuse me."

"Oh," I say and pretend that I don't know what's coming, "Was I in your way?"

"No." the girl that is in front of me has to be about fifteen or so and instantly I wonder why the girl isn't in school at the moment.  "I just wanted to ask you something."

"What would that be?" I try to act very innocent because I know that the girl and her friend are so nervous.

"Can I get your autograph?" the girl asked.

"And can we get our picture taken with you?"

"I'm not famous or anything," I say.

"But you work with Justin and we know all about you--" the girl that didn't tap me on the shoulder says.  "I read that article in J-14 last year about you and thought it was really great that someone from DC got into the business.  Everyone out there seems to go into government jobs."

The J-14 magazine maybe had three paragraphs in it about me.  The two page spread had explained about some of the staff that works with famous people.  Johnny was interviewed and I happened to be at the compound at the time so they asked me three or four questions and I answered them before I disappeared away from the reporters when they interviewed Justin for a separate article.

"I guess," I say trying not to sound too unhappy about the idea of getting recognized.  "So did you all wait in line to see Justin?"

"Yeah," the one girl says as she hands me the autographed CD that Justin was signing next door.  "Can you sign it on the inside since he signed on the cover?"

"Sure," I say.  I take the pen and sign my name and a little smiley face and hand it back to her as the other girl hands me hers.  I sign again.  "There."

"Pictures?"

"Hmmm," I look up over the Calvin Klein make up and find a Sephora employee straightening some mascara on the far side of the display.  "Excuse me?"

"Yes?" the woman says.

"Can you take our picture really quick?"

"Sure."

The picture is snapped with me leaning towards the camera with the two girls.

"Thanks Vivian," the girls say.

"Thanks," I say to the Sephora employee.

"No troubles," the woman says, "Is there anything else I can help you with?"

"Maybe in a minute," I say and nod towards the girls.

The woman nods and walks away. 

I feel a little bit cornered by these two girls, but they seem sweet enough so I don't worry too much about it.  "Tell Justin we love him."

"Don't tell her that," the one girl says.

"Why not?"

"Because--"  The girl looks at me.  "It's rude."

"It's not rude," I say, "It happens all the time."

"Still, you shouldn't think that someone who knows him is going to get a message to him for you."

"Really," I say, "It's ok."  I look around a bit.  "I need to get back to my shopping girls, but I'm glad that you got your autographs and if I ever see you guys again remind me where we met and I'll try and see if I can get Justin to take a picture with you or something."

"Thanks Vivian," the girls walk out the store and I see them through the window as they completely freak out.  I'm glad they didn't do it in the middle of the store, that always causes issues.

As they disappear the woman that was working on the mascara display looks up at me.  "Can I help you?"

"I don't really have a list that I'm looking for."  I sigh.  "I've been out of the city for a while and I'm in need of some retail therapy."  I pick up a tube of lip gloss.  "I was thinking something totally girly girl to destress with."

"Well we could just show you some products or we could go for the full out make over.  I always find that either a haircut, a make over, or a full day at the spa can cure anything."

"Make over sounds good," I say jumping at the chance to do something for myself for a while.

The woman's smile gets a little wider.  "Well let's head on to the back and we'll see what we can do for you."  She leads me to a set of seats next to a high counter and sits me down.  "So what kind of products have you been using?"

"A mix and match of stuff mostly," I say, "My--"  I pause for a moment.  "My employer has a connection with MAC so every once in a while I'll get a gift bag from them, but I travel so much that I normally just pick up whatever I've run out of, even if it's in Walgreens or something."

"Have you ever had a make over before?"

I nod no.  "For my birthday three years ago some friends got me an appointment to go, but I couldn't actually use it.  Something came up and I had to leave town before I could get into the shop--"  I sigh.  I sound like I'm talking about taking my car in to get a check up.  "My schedule is too hectic these days to set aside time enough for something like this."

"So what about today?" she asks.

I look at my watch.  "I've got maybe another hour."

The woman turns away and brings back a cotton ball with some face wash on it.  She starts to wipe it over my cheek bones and nose and smiles, "I think Stila would go great with your coloring."

I know from magazine articles and a strange shopping trip that I took with Britney when she and Justin first started dating that Stila is some of the most expensive make up that a person could buy outside of a boutique.  It's good product from what I hear, but I'm not sure if I should splurge or just be reasonable with my money.

She throws the dirty cotton ball away and finds a clean one.  Her hands move precisely, almost dancing to some choreography as she shows me a bottle of clear liquid before pouring some of it's contents onto the new cotton ball.  "This is just a little eye make up remover."  I close my eyes as she dabs the cotton ball on one then switches eyes.  "I love that color on you, but I was thinking that maybe we'd try a little something more dramatic.  If you put something a little darker right near your lid and something a little lighter up by your brow I think it'll really brighten your face, and I think you could use a little more blusher--"

I keep my eyes closed as she finishes with removing my make up and only open them again when she starts to explain the foundation that she's picked to match my skin tone.  "This is a great shade for you.  It's at the end of the summer and it looks as if your tan might be fading a little, but this should transition a little with that."

"I never really thought of that," I say.

"You don't?"

I can't believe I have to explain this to her.  It's embarrassing sometimes admitting how much of a geek I am when it comes to make up.  I've never had that girly bonding stuff.  I hang out with Ireland, but because she's always been in a committed relationship, we don't normally sit around talking about make up or looking nice.

On the off chance that I would have to dress up, a make up artist usually just checks me over last night to make sure that I'm presentable before we leave to go someplace.  It used to be Dani's mission in life to get me into a make up artists chair, but since my place was behind Justin and not in the spotlight I always seemed to shy away from it.  "I'm a little bit of a tom boy and I work with mostly men so my make up tips normally come out of magazines."

"Some good things can come out of magazines and I don't blame you for seeking tips since you work with all men."  She starts to cover my cheeks with a light foundation and I close my eyes.  "So you said that you travel a lot--Must be hard to be on the road with only men.  Try working here.  I come in every morning and it's all girls and if there is a man here, he's most likely to be gay...they make wonderful shopping partners, but really Sephora isn't the place where you'd even need make up to impress someone."

"Sometimes it's taxing."  I say thinking about just how long the last day and a half have been.  Getting ready to go on his promotional tour in Orlando had seemed like cake, but now that we were here in the city things were being dragged out and tiring me out more than most days.  "I work with a high energy group and a tight schedule."

"So do you like working for Justin?"

"How--?"

"I overheard the girls talking to you," she says.

"Oh."  I relax a little.  "It's fun.  It's just tiring to have a schedule like we have."

"Well I'm sure that if you're working with a million and one boys you should look the part of the pretty woman."  She smiles.  "I'll make you up and give you some tips so all the boys will be falling all over you."

"Thanks," I say, "Even if I turn out looking like the ugly duckling, having someone dote on me for a little bit is relaxing."

"You'd never be the ugly duckling."

I sigh.  "Thanks."  How funny is it that I can hear people compliment Justin all day long, but I can't take a compliment at all.  I feel my face turning pink.

"Awee," the woman says, "You should get out some more.  I think you have sister syndrome."

"Sister syndrome?"

"Yeah," she says, "When my cousin was working with all guys she kind of became the little sister and they sort of forgot that she was a girl.  It happens a lot to women.  If they are away from men that compliment them, they don't remember how to take compliments."

I want to follow this line of conversation, but soon I find my phone ringing.

"Ugh," I say.

"Do you want me to finish you up while you talk?"

"Yeah," I say, "Might as well since I have this nagging feeling that they're going to be calling me back to work."

She starts to work on my eyes as I pick up the call.  "Where are you?"

"I'm next door," I say hearing Tiny's voice on the line.

"We're going to head to lunch soon," he says, "So you should come back over."

I try to keep my eyes closed and try to sit as still as I can even though panic rises in my chest.  "Justin's almost done?"

"No," Tiny says, "He's freaking out because you disappeared so I figured I better tell you to come back."

"I'll be back in a few minutes," I groan.  I don't know if I like this new Justin.  It's hard enough to get my job done on a typical day and this suddenly new personality that Justin is taking with me isn't really appreciated.  I guess I just don't know what I want anymore.

I hang up the phone and look at the woman in front of me.  "I don't want to run away from all of this, but I need to get back soon."

"Would you like me to wrap all of this up for you?" she asks.  "I'll bump you ahead in line and ring it up really quickly."

I hate when Justin uses his status to jump in line, but at the moment I have to run and getting in the head of the line is going to save me.  "Thanks."

I shove my phone away and follow the woman to the other counter.  "Here," she says handing me a clear tube of lip gloss, "I didn't get to your lips, but if you put on some lip gloss it should look ok for now.  I'll throw in a berry colored lipstick and some liner for you for later."

I pay with cash and frown when a hundred dollars is quickly out of my wallet.  I'm still a little upset as I take my bag next door again.  This time I walk up to where Justin is and find an extra folding chair and sit down.

As I make myself comfortable Tiny watches me closely then taps his cheek and points at me.  When Justin sees him reacting like that he turns in his seat and watches me.  His eyes look me up and down and he too touches his cheek and then points a little and mouths the words.  "I like."

He turns around in his seat and talks with the next fan in line as if his slight comment hasn't made a dent on me.  I on the other hand let his small gesture and the words I like run through my head.

The next hour is spent watching Justin sign autographs.  It's insanely boring because most fans have the same reaction to him.  They never believe that Justin is really in front of them and when he actually speaks to them they scream at him and giggle and if he were to wink or do anything special they repeat that he did that to them over and over again.  It gets annoying to sit and watch that, probably for the pure fact that I can't react to Justin the way I want to.  I want to melt when he smiles at me and I want to be able to go up and give him a shoulder massage while he sits there like Bobbie used to do to JC.  Its insane for me to want something normal from a clearly out of the ordinary situation.

"We've only got about fifty more people," Tiny says breaking the daze that I've slipped into.

"I'm gonna go use the restroom and I'll be back."

I find the manager and ask to use the restroom then slip into the bathroom for a moment of peace and quiet before I continue with my day.  I swear it's moments like this that make me want to quit it all and see what else I should be doing with my life.


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