86400 Seconds -- 10


Barry is standing in the other room already on the phone when I return.  "Just a moment.  There are two other orders I'll need along with the ones I've just given you."

"Turkey sandwich, light on the mayo, fries and a Dr. Pepper," I say immediately then take a deep breath before deciding on my own plate.  "Coke, angel hair with Rosini."  Italian seems good to me.  "Did you get stuff for Jayden?"

"Yeah," Barry says, "She put in her order."

Jayden smiles from her coloring.

"I need a turkey sandwich, light on the mayo, fries, and a Dr. Pepper," he says, "then Angel hair and rosini with a coke."

*****

Twenty minutes later my eyes are hurting and I feel like crying myself.

ďA proud heart can survive general failure because such a failure does not prick its pride. It is more difficult and more bitter when a man fails alone."

My eyes scan the page for the second time in a row and I take a deep breath and look out the window.  I seriously need to get onto reading the rest of this damn book.  I guess though it goes along perfectly with my lifestyle right now.  The fact that this line seems to fit my life right now and the fact that I still haven't gotten through this book.

Normally I wouldn't pick out something to read while we were still on the job.  Reading on airplanes is one thing, but reading while out and about in the city is another.  I only do it because Jayden seems happy enough coloring on the bed and lunch has been called for and Justin is wrapping up his last little interview before we break to eat.

Vivian comes sliding into the room.  She looks depressed now, keeps her head low and eyes away from everyone.  That is until Jayden looks up from her coloring.  When their eyes meet there is some understanding that seems to rush through my daughter.  She gets up from her coloring and goes to hug Vivian around her legs.  "It's ok."

Normally not one to show emotion to people outside our small circle of friends, Vivian seems shocked by my daughter's reaction and stands there for a long moment before reaching to pick Jayden up to hug her.  "I know."  She leans back from their hug a moment later and takes a deep breath.  "What have you been coloring while I've been gone?"

And that's it.

I've never seen anyone turn off emotion so quickly.  Justin's gotten pretty good over the last few years, being able to be pissed off one moment and completely hospitable the next, but this is a new art form that Vivian has seemed to have mastered in a matter of moments.  Or maybe it isn't.  Maybe it's been this way for a long time.  Vivian feeling and hurting in the privacy of her own room, only to turn things off and come to work as if nothing was wrong.

Vivian puts Jayden to her feet and the two girls go to the bed and look over the pictures that Jayden has been working on.  The two of them look like sisters sitting there.  Vivian is totally immersed in the pages before her as if she was looking and Van Gogh or Monet instead of at the art work of a small child.

Artwork.  It's amazing how things slip away from you after a while.  I took some art history classes in college and always loved them, but in this business there isn't much room for art, rather art in the painting form.  I'm exposed to music which is an art form, but I think that I'm so entangled in the web of the music industry that everything outside of it seems to melt away, leaving me with the strong urge to see and explore the world outside the hotel, plane, or venue we're in without the time to do it.

Vivian pauses for a moment and asks about a certain picture.  "Who's this?" she asks with a perfectly calm voice.  If she has been doing this a long time she certainly had me fooled and I'm sure that Justin never would have guessed that she was upset.  She definitely deserves an Oscar for this performance. If I didn't know her the way I do or if I had just walked into the room she looks and speaks perfectly normal.  I wouldn't have guessed that only moments before she'd been bursting into tears in the hallway.

At least not until today.

When Justin walks into the room a few moments later he's stretching his arm across his body to pop his shoulder.  It doesn't take him long to focus his attention on the girls and I swear if I was still playing ball I could have blindsided him with a tackle without him even knowing what hit him.  I have to admire the guy for keeping his feelings for her so contained and yet so visible to those who know him.

Even Barry seems to notice and immediately asks, "Are you ok?"

"Yeah," Justin says with a yawn.  "My arm needs to be popped."  He speaks as if he doesn't realize that Barry seems to have gotten some clue about what is going on between him and Vivian.

If Barry has figured it out, he certainly hasn't said a word about it, but I have a feeling if Justin acts the way he does and Vivian acts the way she does, the whole story will be on the cover of the Enquirer by tomorrow morning, let alone, the top memo on the head of Jive Records' desk--a memo that could ruin their sweet relationship before its even gotten a chance to develop.

"Did we order lunch?" Justin asks.

"Yeah," I say aloud, clearly startling Justin.  His eyes have stayed on that side of the room and turn quickly to me.

"What the hell Tiny?" Justin says with a laugh.  "I still can't figure out how you can hide a guy your size."

"I'm not hiding," I say simply.

"Still," he says, "You just seemed to have jumped out of--"

"Maybe it's because you're acting distracted," Vivian supplies, sounding completely normal in the sarcasm that she's directed at him.

"Distracted?" he asks.

"Yeah," Barry says and reaches to touch his forehead as if he was Justin's parent instead of a work colleague.

Justin moves his arms up to his head to push him away.  "What are you doing?"

"Checking to see if you are sick or something."

"I'm perfectly fine," Justin says.

Vivian makes a slight snorting noise, protesting against his comment.  I close my book and slide it into my bag and turn to watch them spar.  If Barry wasn't there Vivian probably would have picked up one of Jayden's markers and flung it at him, but instead she keeps her eyes on the papers and when Jayden hands her a piece of paper she colors.

"Look, you guys relax.  I need to make some calls in the other room.  I'll grab lunch and call you guys when it gets here."

Justin sighs and walks over to the bed.  He pulls one of the pillows out from under the cover, folds it in half before laying himself out on his stomach on the bed, facing the wrong way so that his head is towards the foot of the bed.  "I could use a rest."

"Good," Barry says and leaves the room.

Vivian again looks as if she's going to say something, but she keeps her mouth shut and stares at the back of his head as he presses his cheek to the pillow.  I feel for the girl.  The tension in the room seems pretty thick, even with Barry gone.  I wish that Vivian could let his comment run off her back, but clearly its not going to.  Not today and probably not tomorrow from the way her eyes have now turned into slits and her mouth is twitching as if she's throwing curses on him.

"Are you having fun Jayden?" Justin asks turning his head towards her.

"Yeah," she says, "Coloring is really fun and I got to get a cheese burger and cake for after."

"You ordered cake?" I ask slightly louder than I should.

"Cheese cake," she says, "Not as good as the stuff we got in New York that one time when I came to visit, but Barry says that this stuff is ok cuz the guy who owns this hotel loves cheese cake as much as me."

"Really?" I ask making a note to myself to kill Barry later for turning my daughter into a sugar-aholic.  If I had my way I'd make him baby-sit her when she's been sucking down coke and cake all day long.

"Yeah," Jayden smiles.

"It's ok," Justin says propping himself up again to look at him.  "Jive is picking up the bill and Jayden is on vacation today so let her have her way a little bit."

I curse under my breath and look at Jayden, "Fine.  Justin can explain to your mom why you were eating--"

"Dang Tiny," Justin says, "Don't be so hard on her.  I'll take the blame.  Beverly never gets mad at me.  Everyone loves me."  He smiled widely.

Vivian makes another slight snorting noise in protest and Justin rolls over onto his back, pushing the pillow under his head.

"You know if you have something to say Vivian you might as well say it.  I've never thought of you as the type of person to keep your opinions in check."

Vivian bit on her lip only a moment then seemed to not be able to hold back her feelings anymore.  "You're such a jerk."

"There we have it," Justin says holding his arms up in triumph.

Vivian made another face at him.  "Why are you celebrating the fact that you're a jerk?"

"Because," he says, "You finally said it and now I can apologize and then we can move the f--"  His eyes move to Jayden.  "We can move on."

"Move on?" she asks.

"Yeah," he says, "You can't get too mad at me for this Vivian.  It's not like I'm out there and able to just say what comes to mind.  You of all people should know that I have restrictions and--"

Before this whole thing turns into an all out brawl I can see Vivian's focus changing.  Her eyes have squinted and she looks at him as if she wants to kill him then a moment later her face softens.  She seems to realize that she can't win this argument.  Justin's words are true.  He can't just say what's on his mind.  Just the way that he can't tell  DJ's to fuck off or tell VJs what he really thinks of other artists while on air.  He also can't go around publicizing a relationship if he wants to.

"Well you don't have to look so freaking happy about saying it the way that you do."  Her voice cracks with her emotions.

"Vivian," he says softly.  He's turned away from me so I can't see his expression, but it's clear the emotion in his voice is that of someone who is trying to make up for what he's done wrong.  "Vivy, you know that I wouldn't say something to hurt you."

Jayden moves and cups a hand up to Justin's ear.  She looks at me as she moves her mouth next to his ear then whispers loudly.  "You should say sorry.  Daddy says that if you say sorry they have to say that it's ok."

Vivian breaks into laughter and I sit back in my chair.  It seems as if the littlest one of us is going to be the one to smooth over the rough edges and send us back into our schedule for the day.