24 Hours -- Part Four

The interview has sped by somehow.  After doing so many of these things, a half hour seems like a few minutes after being asked the same questions over and over again.  Sometimes though, when they ask those uncomfortable ones that PR always tells me to answer, but I refuse to give any truth too, a minute can drag on for an hour.

We've had a few callers and like I expected they're all screaming at me.  This early in the morning is not a time to be listening to that kind of shit.  They're all the same and I almost can recite what they're going to say to me.  Mostly it's just them screaming and me telling them not to get too excited.  Blah.  Blah.  Blah.

Cubby brings us back into the program for the last section of the show.  I can see Vivian looking at her watch already knowing that she needs to get me out of here soon.  "Justin Timberlake hanging out with us on Z100. Our studio audience is here. give us a TRL yell--"

I wince even before the girls scream outside.

"Yeah that's the way to do it." Cubby pumps his fist into the air triumphantly.  "And you know me being the music guy I wanted to talk mainly about your CD and we've done that for a good thirty minutes."

"Uh oh."  I sigh.  "What does that mean?"

"But guess what? Time to talk personal folks."

I bite down on the side of my mouth and take a drink of water and find Vivian's eyes over the heads of the girls outside.  I know what's coming and I feel sick thinking about me having to actually talk about it.

"Cause I'll get in trouble if I don't ask the obvious questions."

"Whatever..."  I tug on my hat and take deep breaths.

"Who ya dating Justin?"

I hate that he's so casual about it.  He knows this shit grates on my nerves.  It's been a pain for me for the seven years that he's known me and yet he still asks the question.

"Me?"  I look around some more and try to find some way to distract him, but the little studio is void of distractions that morning.  "I'm dating, I'm not dating, I'm dating around--"  I take a deep breath.  "Yeah everybody."

Cubby smiles and knows that I'm avoiding the question.  "Tell us about Alyssa Milano, any seriousness to it?"

I choose the only safe answer I can think of.  "I'm dating everybody."

"In other words he's dating Alyssa Milano."  He squints his eyes at me.  "I know that answer Justin."

I know that everyone has seen pictures of us together and technically we've been out together in LA a few times.  It's nothing serious.  We were at the same club a few times and I took her golfing and she had me come and visit the set of Charmed, nothing earth shattering like us going ring shopping or anything.  I'm not ready for that, but yeah I guess it could be considered dating her.  "OK Maybe a little bit. OK..."

"But the Janet Jackson thing was definitely a rumor?"

I see the shocked look on Vivian's face and know this is grating on her nerves.  "Maybe it was."

"Oh! See he's making you think!"

I finally break my serious tone and laugh a little seeing that Vivian is on the phone now probably trying to explain what is going on to he people at JIVE and to Johnny.  "I'm not going to give you anything, man! You could grill me, you could tie me up and beat me I'm not going to..."

I can see his brain rolling into the gutter and I know that I should have just let the whole thing go.  "Some of these girls might want to do that."

"Hey! Hey!"  I hold up my hands, but celebrate a little as Vivian gives me another horrible look.

"You know I also like to start rumors to see how quickly they make it to magazines."

Vivian is now practically screaming into the phone.  The girls out there with her and look at her.

"OK let's start one."  I rub my hands together and try to think of something.  They haven't mentioned Britney and I figure we can trade a little for that gift.

"Is it true you're dating one of the Olsen twins but not sure which one it is?"

The Olsen twins are WAY under-aged and I know that will get me into legal trouble.  Vivian hears this and starts making a cutting motion at her throat.  "Can we NOT start that rumor?"

"No let's start a rumor and I want to see if it makes it into like J-14 in a couple of weeks."

"Let's start um, let's start, who can I be dating?"  I look in the crowd and let my eyes land on Vivian again daring her with my eyebrows that I'd say her name.

The girls out there with her scream.  "ME!"  One girl calls out her name.

I catch her eye and smile at her.  She looks about twelve, and would never be in my realm of friends, but I totally can see the excitement in her eyes and I love her name.  "Your name is Justine?"

Cubby takes the lead and away we go.  "Justin and Justine! Alright I like that!"

I hold up my hands like I've just scored a touchdown.  "I'm dating Justine!"

"Alright I like that, you heard it here first. Have you had a chance to talk to Lance lately about the whole space thing?"

"I haven't, but he's back over there."  Truth is I wouldn't know what to say to him if I did talk to him.  I've got too much on my plate to be dealing with all the legal shit he's gotten himself into.  The selfish part of me doesn't want to talk about Lance, but if it's a choice between who I'm dating and Lance's space project, I'm all for pumping up his trip's popularity.

"Yeah why don't you give him $20 million or how ever much he needs? Give a brother a loan!"

I fake like I'm pulling my wallet out.  "I'll give him as much money as I have."

"Have you had a chance to talk to him much though?"

"The last time I talked to him--"  I try to think about the last time I did talk to him.  I can't remember.  "I talked to him about a month ago and you know I know it hits the press every other week he's going, he's not going, he's going, he's not going. Last that I heard you know and this is what I would assume is that $20 million you can't just ship over by FedEx. You know I'm sure you have to get it in portions and the last I heard he was training to go up on a mission. I don't know if it's the one coming up or if it's the one after that. I mean they do missions kind of every 6 months don't they?"

"Something like that. Well the Russians are different. They're wacko over there."  Cubby laughs a little and seems to check something off a list he needs to mention before we get off the air.  "OK what about Joey in Rent? Have you seen him yet?"

"Oh, have you seen it? He, honestly, you know me I'm really skeptical when it comes to like performing and I was ready to bash him."  I sit up now and look around.  Really Joey has impressed everyone and this is definitely a project that I want to hype up for him.  "I was just ready to just give it to him. He really shocked me and I thought he was so amazing, really took on the part of it's Mark right? He really took on the part and you know I had seen the play before and I thought he was better than the guy that I saw that had obviously been doing it for 6 months. I was blown away. I thought Joey was amazing."

"Alright now what about Chris and his fashion?"

"Chris and his fashion?"  I rub my temple hoping that there aren't any huge things going on that I haven't heard about.  I really haven't been in contact with them too much.  JC and I were out in LA together all summer so I'm up on what he's doing, but as for the others, I need a crash course in what my boys are up to.

"Yeah, did you talk to him...Is he doing that on the side now?"

"I don't know, I don't know. I know Chris has been working a lot, doing a lot of song writing. I think that's great. I think JC as well."

"He's dabbling in electronica I heard."

"Yeah, yeah."  I haven't a clue what JC is up to.  He's gotten more and more secretive in the last few months.  I don't tell anyone that though because of course that rumor gets turned into a huge fight and then the band is breaking up and all of us are scheduled to be in Loony Bins.  Only Chris is going that way, but even he's mellowed out in the last few months.  It's like since we're not together anymore we can actually be our own people and Chris's person is definitely more mellow while JC is more secretive.  I don't know if it's because I'm hogging the spotlight, as one magazine said, or if it's just them, but either way all of us aren't really talking about work with one another anymore.  "Doing some stuff with BT. Doing some stuff on the Internet I heard. I don't know though. It's all good though."  I know more than I'm saying, but that's his project and he'll be here I'm sure to promote it in a few weeks, I'm sure.  "I mean it's great for when we get together to do the next record, I think. Everybody's going to be that much more developed and ...can't wait."

A song is played and I sit back and close my eyes for a moment.  Justine, the girl in the crowd gets let into the small studio and comes and stands next to me.  I shake her hand and realize just then that most of my fans are like little chihuahua's.  They are so excited to see me that they shake.  If they had tails I'm sure they'd be wagging them and some of the older ones try as hard as they can to do that.  Clubs are a nightmare now.  Before when I was dating someone they'd leave me alone a little bit, but now that I'm back on the market my whole life is like the dating game.

I smile and give her a copy of the CD which isn't coming out until the next day.

"Thank you," she says looking at it.  Her hand goes to my shoulder and even though I can't feel her skin because of the major layers I'm wearing today, my skin begins to crawl.  I don't think of my fans as dirty or anything like that, but in my business you have to be extremely careful of germs and with my morning being how it is, I know that I'm going to be in contact with a million people.

Think of it like coming back from summer vacation.  I always know what time of year it is because Jonathan and Steven always get so sick when they get back in contact with all the kids in their school classes.  During the summer they avoid most of it by playing with only the kids from their street and maybe some of the ones by Nana and Papa's house and then when they hang around me and the guys, we live in this like plastic bubble void of germs and contact with the outside world.

She keeps the CD held out to me.  "Can you sign it?"

"Sure," I say and wink at her.  "Anything for my girlfriend."  I wink at Cubby.

"Thanks Justin," she says and hugs me.

I hold my breath and pray that the girl doesn't have a cold.  I'm getting way too paranoid right now.  My shoulders and arms and hands start to itch and I rub them against my jeans nervously as if I'm wiping the sweat off my palms instead of the germs.  I shrug.  "No trouble."

Cubby pushes the girl out of the studio so we can continue.  "Well I know we got to let you go in a second because I want you to meet all of our Z100 listeners--"

My eyes go to Vivian and she nods her head that I can't stay, which of course sucks, but can't be avoided.

"Justin Timberlake's hanging out. So the quicker we wrap up the interview the more time you have with them. Any more questions though I don't want anybody mad at me. We have way too many questions I'm going to get to, so Scotty B, the person right next to you has a question."

"Before we go fill in the blank--

I nod.

"A 4th Nsync album will blank happen."

"Definitely happen."  I nod.

Cubby waves a hand at the girls.  "A final word to the fans?"

"Thanks for coming and I hope you all like the record."

"And we'll see you at Jingle Ball Dec. 12?"

"Possibly!!!!" I lean away from the microphone then lean in again.  "Oh wait!  I just want to say hi to my brothers back in Tennessee.  Little J just made the church basketball team and I told him I'd say good luck.  So good luck Buddy!  and Superman, I'll talk to you later on today.  Don't give Daddy and Mom trouble."

Everyone oohs and awes when I say Daddy.  I hate that.  What am I supposed to call him?  Randall?  I think not.  To hide my disgust with the rest of the world, I make a cute face and laugh along with Cubby as he goes to another song and talks into the microphone some more.

The studio is switched over for the next show.

Tiny jams the doorway with his body and steps between me and the fans.  I have to avoid the girls in the hallway because I don't have time to pose for pictures with them.  It sucks to avoid them, but it sucks even more to sign some autographs and not sign all of them.  I hate being rushed off like that, but the schedule is too tight today to sit with them for more than just a wave.

"Bye Justin!" They yell as I take my backpack back from Vivian and shove my phone into my pocket.

"Bye," I yell back then look at Vivian.  "Did anyone call?" I ask knowing that she's been yelling on the phone the whole time that I was on the air.

She just sighs.  "I'll talk to you about it later."

I know there is a speech coming and I know she doesn't want to freak out on me in front of fans.  I look back towards them as Tiny leads us back to the car wondering if I should kidnap one of those girls for the day just so Vivian doesn't beat me up.

"Long morning honey?" I ask sarcastically.

Tiny laughs behind us and I know that I'm in trouble.  I don't know who she was talking to on the phone and not knowing is scaring me more than knowing probably would have.

Tiny pushes the button for the elevator and we wait again.  I can see her forming her sentences in her head.  I would think about hugging her against me and joking around with her like I do with Melinda or Laura from WEG, but I know Vivian won't take my shit and might end up kneeing me in the balls like Tiny predicted.

"What's wrong Vivian?" I ask in a silent voice trying to be serious for a moment.

She looks at me, almost shocked to see me asking her something so personal.  She opens her mouth to say something, but I can see the light in her eyes dim a little as she lets out an answer.  "Nothing."

"Are you sure?" I ask.  "I know I've been an ass this morning, but really if there is something that's messing things up for you this morning I'll stop."

"It's not worth the time to explain it," she says.

The elevator opens up and a group of business men from the upper floors are standing inside.

Vivian's face lights up in what I call her PR face.  Her smile is too wide and her eyes are too light.  "Mr. Clearwater."

"Vivian," the older man said, "It's good to see you again."  He looks up at me.  "Justin." He nodds   It's nice to see you too.  I was just upstairs listening to the morning show.  I'm glad that your album is finally coming out."

"Thanks," I say not understanding who this guy is and why I need to be nice to him.  "It's been a long time in coming."

"Thanks for picking up the album for the station.  I know that you and the other program directors--" Vivian looks at me.  "--have a lot of albums come your way and Jive and Justin and WEG for that matter are glad that you've been so supportive of Justin's project.  I was just telling him that we should go up and see if you were around, but the studio time ran over and we have other stations to get to this morning."

"Don't name any names," he says with a laugh, "I know how it goes."

He looks at me.  "Don't let them spread you too thin," he says.  "I know the other guys in the past have been helping you out keeping your energy level up--"

I sigh and act a little shy listening to him.  "Its a little different, but nothing especially hard for me."

"That's good to hear," he says.  He sticks his hand out and I shake it.  "I don't mean to ignore you on our little ride here, but I've got a meeting across town and I need to brief my team here."  He does quick introductions.  Three men:  Parker, Darius and Frank who are from various departments around the company that I clearly can't remember even though they've just told me.

"No trouble," I say.  "I'm sure Vivian has a million and one things to brief me on before our next stop."

"Yes," Vivian says and starts to pull out her palm pilot.

The doors close and Mr. Clearwater speaks to the men that he's with and Vivian shows me the schedule.  She can tell I'm not paying attention, but it doesn't seem to matter.  This is all for show anyway and she'll explain it all again.

z100 Interview copied from:  http://justjustin.nsync.nu/news/09_29_2002.htm
**I've added and taken away to fit the storyline, but basically that's what was on the air in New York.**