Staring Down The Sun --  Four


"Up next we've got Justin Timberlake."

She didn't like waking up to the sound of Jay Leno.  She'd rather wake up to Jack screaming and Tegan having a fit rather than hear Jay's steely voice coming through from the television.  Despite the fact that the sound of the television had woken her up, it hadn't been the first time she'd found her husband awake in the middle of the night watching television.  Every so often he'd take advantage of the fact that they had access to tapes of  regular broadcast shows such as Jay Leno and David Letterman. 

It took her a moment to get her bearings before she reached for the remote thinking that she'd turned on the television by rolling over on it in the night, but when Meredith turned towards the far side of the bed she knew that it hadn't been a mistake--or rather her mistake anyway.  Justin sat up in bed next to her, legs under the covers, plate in hand, shoveling some of the baked chicken and vegetables left over from dinner into his mouth.  At first she thought he didn't see that she was awake.  He was keeping his eyes on the television that was the only light in the room.  Jay Leno was just getting the show out to a set of commercials, but Justin was watching it almost as if he blinked he might miss something.

"You're so narcissistic," she said with a soft laugh and a cough when his head started to bob along to one of his songs that was being advertised as part of the NOW 35 collection.

He stopped bobbing, set his fork down on his plate and reached for something on the night stand.  His hand returned with a glass of milk.  "I'm watching for Tegan," he said clearing out his mouth a bit before he took a long drink.

The glass was put back down onto the nightstand and he soon resumed his shoveling technique of eating.  "I'm glad you woke up.  I'm taping it, but it'll mean more if you can see it with me for the first time together."  He reached up his arm and pushed a piece of chicken into his mouth as it almost fell out.  His eyes moved to look at her, but his chin stayed pointing towards the television.

"BeeDee," she wrinkled her nose up, "Don't talk with your mouth full."  She pushed herself up on her elbows and tugged on the blanket so she could pull it up over her naked chest.  "You've seen this before."

"I know," he said rolling his eyes, "But I wanted to make sure that I was here when you got to see the show.  I wanted to see your reaction to Tegan's song."

There was a quick flicker of darkness before the theme music to Jay Leno came back on.

Meredith turned towards the television ignoring Justin's eating to watch the show.  "Up next we have one of our favorite guests--"  Jay moved his note cards around a little, stacking them and hitting them against his desk to straighten them.  "--Who has brought a special guest of his own."  The crowd started to cheer.  "Currently in the middle of his sold out summer tour.  Justin Timberlake and his guest."

Meredith watched as Justin walked out holding Tegan's hand.  She smiled at the way Tegan held onto his hand confidently and half skipped along with him as he rounded Jay's desk and waited as Justin and Jay shook hands.

Justin took a seat and Tegan climbed up into his lap immediately.

Meredith felt tears come to her eyes.  It was the sweetest thing to see them interact with each other.  Justin's fatures always softened when he was with the kids.  He tried to be a hard ass, tried to be the leader of the pack, but it was true in every sense of the word that a little girl was always the apple of her father's eye.

"Bear," Justin said breaking her gaze away from the television screen.  "She's just sitting there.  Don't cry yet."

"Yet?" she asked.

"Don't cry at all," he said and pointed towards the screen.

When the crowd noise died down enough Jay said, "So.  You're on tour.  Is this little sweetie a part of your act?"

"No," Justin said with a laugh, "Well, not really.  She's an act on her own."

Jay laughed.  "Opening act?"

"No," he said, "This is my daughter Tegan."

"Nice to meet you Tegan," Jay reached his hand over to shake Tegan's hand.  She looked at Justin for a moment and he seemed to nod to her quickly before she shook his hand.

The crowd began to clap and people started to talk in the background.

Justin sighed.  "My son Jack is home sick with a cold and my wife--"

"Meredith?"

"Yes," Justin said, "She is taking care of him so Tegan got to come to work with me today."

After the crowd's reaction to his announcement Jay leaned over.  "So do you sing Tegan?"

"Yes sir," she said.

The crowd of course had to react to that with a chorus of ooohs and ahhhs.

"Do you sing with your mom and your dad?"

"Yes sir," she said with a big nod, "And Jack, but daddy says that we can't sing with Uncle Jonathan because he's tone deaf so we only can sing certain songs with him."

"Oh really," Jay laughed.

"My brother isn't a singer," Justin said, "He's in art school right now while he's finishing up high school and has hooked up with a few companies to do some t-shirt logos.  He even designed the logo for my new album."

Jay nodded and looked at his cards.  "So all the Timberlake's are talented."

Tegan tugged on Justin's jacket.  "Jacks too small to have talent."

"Tegan Lynn," Justin scolded, "He's got talent."

"Wow," Jay said, "Competitive family."

"He's three," Justin said, "And I think that he's going to be a sports star.  He doesn't seem to into the singing, but give him a ball or a bike or a skateboard--"

"Daddy?" Tegan interrupted, but when she didn't get the attention she turned to Jay.  "Mr. Jay?"

"What Tegan?" he asked.

"Can I sing my song now?" she asked.

The crowd put in their two cents about that request, laughing and shouting out that she should sing.

Jay's eyes opened wide as he smiled at Tegan.  "You have a song you can sing for me?"

"Yes sir," she said.

"What song is that?"

"Miss Alicia's song," she said with a smile.

"Miss Alicia?"

"Alicia Keys," Justin said, "Fallin'."

"It's my Daddy's favorite," Tegan said.

"Well--" he said and motioned for someone to come over and a microphone was produced.  "How about you take this and go stand out front there and Kevin and the boys will play your song."

"No," Tegan said, "I sing it acca--"  She sighed then moved and cupped her hands together to whisper in Justin's ear.  It picked up on his microphone.  "What's that word Daddy?  The one about no music?"

"Acapella," Justin whispered loudly.

"I sing it acapella," Tegan said.

"Well then," Jay said with a laugh, "We have to go to commercial break real quick and then you can sing your song."

Jay threw the show to commercial and she turned to look at Justin.  "She really has a presence on stage."

"She stole my interview," he said.

Meredith narrowed her eyes and wanted to throw the narcissistic word back out at Justin even if he was joking around about it.  "Jealous of a five year old honey?"

"No," he said with a pout and stashed his plate onto the nightstand before drinking the rest of his milk in two gulps.

The show came back and now Tegan was standing out in front of Jay's desk holding the microphone.  She seemed extremely relaxed, unlike her mother in every way since Meredith still got nervous when performing even after all this time.

I keep on fallin'
in and out of love
with you

There was silence from the crowd and there was silence in the bedroom.  Meredith had heard her daughter sing before, but standing there with a microphone and on an actual stage made it all more real for her.  Her daughter had talent, real talent, the kind of talent that the Mickey Mouse Club show producers had seen in her husband.  For a moment she wondered if anyone would pay attention to this or if no one would register that their daughter had a voice bigger and more trained than she should have.

"Oh my god," she breathed out.

"Just watch," Justin said and scooted over to put an arm around her.  They snuggled together as the song continued.

Sometimes I love ya

Tegan paused dramatically then began to sing again, this time putting even more heart into the verse.

Sometimes you make me blue
Sometimes I feel good
At times I feel used

She paused again and made a face, something that she'd imagine Justin would be making if he was singing the song.

Lovin' you darlin' makes me so confused

[Chorus]
Now baby
I,I,I,I'm
Fallin'
I,I,I,I'm
Fallin'
Fall,fall,fallin'
In and out
Of love

Tegan took a deep breath and continued.

With you
I,I,I,I never
loved someone
The Way that I
Love you

The crowd erupted and Meredith began to cry.

Justin never should have let her watch the program.  She was bawling by the time Tegan had moved back to sit in his lap and he had a feeling that Meredith would get up and go look in on her before they turned in for the night.  She was like that.  She tried not to be, but she really was weak when it came to the kids--hence the days home with Jack and the mushy feelings towards seeing their daughter on television.


Alicia Keys -- Fallin'


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