Some Good Reasons - 9


Joey knew that morning when he headed out of the house that his car would automatically head towards the WEG compound. He'd detoured his trip to get gas and get the car washed in one of those drive in detailing places, opting to stay in the car with Colton and watch the guys wipe down the window rather than take him out and sit in the lobby of the place. When they'd taken another side trip through the drive through at McDonald's he'd gotten himself a drink and had filled up a sippy-cup thing that Colton liked with some orange soda with the expressed message to his son that his mother didn't need to know that he was getting soda that early in the day.

WEG was the first real destination though after the inconsequential errands. Johnny had mentioned to him briefly the other that that the offer had come through from New York and that they were considering him for a part in RENT, but said that the audition agreement wouldn't be officially sent over until after Christmas and the signings wouldn't happen until the lawyers got their hands on them sometime after the new year. He couldn't help but to be excited about this. Doing a play at the Broadway level had been a dream of his for longer than he could remember. He'd fallen into NSYNC in one way or another, but Broadway and musical theater had always been a part of his life.

"Daddy?"

Joey kept his eyes on the road, but turned his head a bit to show that he was listening. "Yeah kiddo?"

Colton's face was serious as if he somehow knew that they were out on business and not to play. "Are we gonna go see Uncle Johnny?"

"Yep," Joey said and glanced in the rear view mirror, "Do you recognize his street?"

"We're not there yet," Colton said with a simple tone in his voice.

"Nope," Joey said, "Almost though."

At Johnny's, Colton was let out of his seat and Joey leaned a little to hold his hand as they walked up to the house. Joey thought he might go and run up to the door to knock, but Colton seemed a bit sluggish that day, waiting for his father instead of running ahead. Before they reached the door Joey finally felt like a true family man. He hadn't spent a full day with his son for months and hadn't realized just how many things that he'd missed while he was away and how much he missed his son's company.

"Daddy?"

"Hmm?" he asked looking down.

Colton looked a bit confused. "Why does Johnny have a dance place in his house?"

Joey laughed a little. "He's a manager." Joey stooped down and sat on the step in front of the door and turned Colton so he could look at him. "You remember how Daddy goes on stage and dances?"

"Yeah," Colton said.

"Well Johnny is my boss and he likes for Daddy and the other guys to dance. Since Daddyer I have so many fans that like to watch me dance we have to stay at Johnny's house or we'd never get ANYTHING done." Joey loved the way it sounded so simple when he explained it like that. Too bad things were never that simple, never that organized and definitely never that isolated. When they had practices there were always a hundred million things going on. He liked that pace for the most part, but today being reminded of it, just depressed him.

Colton's hat fell off as brushed his hair out of his eyes. He reached and put it back on again then put a hand on each of Joey's cheeks. He mashed his cheeks into his face a little then frowned. "You work too hard Daddy."

"I know big guy," Joey said, "Soon though I'll be home and I won't have to go away so much."

"Soon?"

"I've got one more project that I want to do then I think it may be time to stay in Florida for a little bit and hang out with you." He liked the idea of that. Being in one place for a while sounded nice. He'd probably be bored out of his mind, but the thought of it still sounded appealing if that time involved being with everyone in Orlando. "That is if you can fit me into your busy schedule."

Colton's eyes closed for a moment almost as if he was rolling them. "We have to ask Mommy cuz I forget."

"That's ok buddy," he said, "I'm sure you have time."

A sound of the door opening came from behind them and Joey stood up and picked up Colton to get him out of the way of the door. "Hey there you guys."

"Hey," Joey smiled at Christina Milan as she was coming out the door.

"Hi Colton," she said with a flirtatious wave.

"Hi," he said and leaned into Joey's shoulder

"You're not shy," Joey said to Colton, "You're never shy."

Colton cupped his hands to Joey's ear and noisily tried to whisper to him. "But she's a girl."

"I know she's a girl," Joey said, "What's the big deal about that?"

"A Fatone that isn't a flirt?" Christina asked. "I think your" She stopped short and looked at Joey. "Never mind. Bad choice of words."

"It's ok," Joey nodded knowing that the idea that Colton was only half his and only half Kelly's biologically was still a bit of a touchy subject. "I know what you meant though." There was an odd silence that Joey noticed. When the group had started out and a woman as beautiful as Christina had talked to him he would have flirted right back, but now, with kids and a wife there really wasn't much to say. He could ask about work, ask about Christmas, but nothing seemed that important and nothing seemed to be right to say to someone.

"Daddy?" Colton whispered again into his ear.

"What kiddo?" Joey asked.

"I think she's pretty," he said.

Christina recovered quickly from the compliment with a smile and a laugh.

Joey didn't understand why Colton was being so shy. Normally he was very outspoken and seemed to thrive on attention just like every other Fatone in the world, but today he was fairly reserved and seemed a bit tired, which made Joey think that maybe he was sick or tired or something. "Well why don't you tell her that?" he asked.

"Cuz," he nodded that he didn't want to say it.

"Do you want me to tell her?" Joey asked.

"Yeah," Colton said.

Joey took a deep breath, "Colton says you're pretty. I think he's a little embarrassed though."

"It's ok," Christina said and touched his foot, "I think you're pretty handsome yourself Colton. I like your hat and your sweatshirt. You look like your daddy today."

"See my hat," he said and held out his hat to her with one hand and stuck his other hand in his mouth.

"Wow," she said, "That's cool and it has your name on it."

"But it's not like Uncle Chris's."

"Uncle Chris's?"

Colton nodded and put his hat back on. "It's not FuMan. I don't like that cartoon guy. He's scary."

"The FuMan Bug isn't scary Colton," Joey said, "You have tons of stuff with that on the label and you never said anything before."

"Mommy says that if you don't have something nice to say that you shouldn't say anything at all."

Christina laughed, "That's good advice. My mom told me that too.

"So where are you off to?"

"Home," she said, "I was here over the Christmas break working on my album because I only had a day or so more to go and we wanted to get everything out of the way, but now I'm off to Miami for two weeks with the family while the techies get their hands on my music."

"I know how that goes," Joey said, "I'm sure Johnny will get you good people to do the mastering though."

"Yeah," she said, "No worries for me. I'm off to my vacation."

Joey moved Colton a little on his hip to balance him. "Well we better go in and let you get out of here."

"Yeah," she said, "Nice seeing you boys again."

Joey nodded, "Nice to see you too."

"Say goodbye Colton," he said.

"Bye," Colton waved.

"Maybe next time he'll be a little more talkative."

'"Maybe," she said and waved one more time.

When they went inside Joey was about to remind Colton that he needed to be quiet inside, but he put a finger to his lips on his own and muttered out from behind the finger. "Gotta use our inside voices."

"Yeah," Joey said trying not to sound too condescending with his voice.

When they were walking past the dance room Joey was about to sneak in to see if anyone was there knowing that Colton liked all the mirrors in the room, but he didn't get a chance to go in because Melinda was walking out. "Hey there you."

"Hey," Joey said, "What are you up to?"

"I needed to talk to Johnny about an offer that was coming through from New York. Is he here?"

"Yeah," she said, "He's upstairs probably on the phone. He's been on the phone all morning. The man doesn't believe in vacationswell winter vacations anyway."

Joey sighed. "I know how that goes. I'm surprised Kelly even let me out of the house today."

"Hi Colton," Melinda said.

"Say hi kiddo," Joey said as Colton hugged his neck.

"Hi," he finally said.

"He's been shy today. Maybe he didn't get enough sleep or something."

Melinda tapped Colton's foot and squeezed his arm a little, "Probably tired out from Christmas and getting all those presents."

"I gots a lot of stuff. I gots ta write thank you notes, but I'm too tired now."

Melinda smiled. "I'm sure that you can do it later. It's been a long week for everyone so I don't anyone has been writing their thank you's yet."

"Did the charity get a lot of gifts this year again?" he asked.

"You'd be amazed. I'm sooo glad that Johnny thought of that. Toys for Tots and Ronald McDonald House don't have to do any Christmas shopping this year in the

Orlando area because of the fans."

"We've got some good ones. Remind me to send out a thank you to that girl with the website that promoted it."

"It's already on my list of things to do. We sent out a generic one, but I'll get on everyone's cases when the New Year meeting happens."

"When is that again?" he asked knowing that their monthly "check up" meeting was coming up soon." Joey liked the fact that even though everyone was doing their own thing at the moment that they all were still a group. They planned and meteven if only by phoneonce a month to make sure people knew where things stood with them. They were planning to tour in a few months, but it had been pushed back because of Kelly's pregnancy then Meredith's and probably would be shoved back a little more if Chris's health was still an issue. Not many people knew about what was going on, but Chris somehow had confided in him about the medication he was for his hyperness and the fact that they were working on the dosage.

"Should be a week or so after new years day. Maybe the seventh or eighth?" she said, "I have to arrange it this week. It's gonna suck to have to call people while their on vacation, but you know how that goes. Work is work."

"Yeah," Joey said.

"Come on up. I think that I may have some work for Colton to help me with while you talk to Johnny," she said.

"Like what?"

"I've got these great tasting envelopes that need to be licked by someone."

"Do you have grape?" Joey asked and looked at Colton. "Colton loves grape stuff."

"And cherry."

"I like Cherry too," she said.

"We should go up." Joey knew that he needed to get in butt in gear. If he was gonna spend time playing around with Colton at least a little bit that day and spend some actual time at home he was going to have to get things settled so he could shut off his phone and pager and enjoy his family for a while. "I want to get up and meet with Johnny then go grab dinner for Kelly at the store."

"You're traveling without security these days?"

Joey rolled his eyes. How many conversations had they had like this over the years. Joey knew it was important to be safe when he did things, but it was ridiculous to think that he couldn't jump into the store for about five minutes without getting mobbed by fans. "I'm gonna run into Publix for like five minutes."

"Be careful. Thos girls know where you live now. Your whole side of town is dangerous now."

"Not because of me. It's Justin and all those dumbass's that decided to move into the same neighborhood that messed things upa girl gets in over there and can see most of NSYNC, OTOWN and BSB."

Melinda laughed, "You said BSB."

"Yeah," Joey said, "It does kind of sound funny coming out of my mouth."

"Well go on up." She said, "Do you want me to watch Colton?"

"NO!" Colton said and held onto Joey's neck.

"I guess that's a no," Joey said with a laugh, "I'm sure he'll be good for Johnny."

"Yeah, cuz he's the boss."

"That's right," Joey said with a nod.

"Daddy?" Colton said.

"What kiddo?"

"I gotta go to the bathroom."

"Ok kiddo," he said, "We'll go then go up and see Johnny."


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