86,400 Seconds 7


They go away to a commercial and the noise gets louder as the fans start to talk about all the things that Justin has said in the last few minutes.  It's nothing to hear them, but when a few get up from their seats I go and stand closer to the stage.  Normally fans aren't that bad, but the chance that something could happen always scares me.  There have been a few times that Justin has been rushed by fans and it scared the crap out of him.  He can defend himself in a fight, but trying to deal with a hysterical fan without hurting them in the struggle is harder than it seems.

Justin gives me a funny look then nods that he realizes what I'm doing and settles back into his seat.

When they come back from commercial, the questions continue.

I would have hoped, for everyone's sake that the questions would go onto something more related to the album and less about his relationships.  I'm in no way involved with the PR aspect of Justin's life, but when there is commotion in one part of his life, I get to deal with it in another and after this interview I'm sure that the cameras are going to be on him.  Great if he's trying to promote the album, but not so great if he's trying to start and keep a relationship and keep it out of the press.

"Is it hard for you to meet women you want a relationship with when you're so famous?"  Wayne shuffles some paper.  At first I didn't think that he looked nervous about asking these questions, but now that I get a better look at him as I back away from where the cameras are now pulling in for a tighter shot of the stage I can see it in his face.  He doesn't want to ask these questions.  He has to.

I remember when they'd ask me stuff like that when I was playing football still.  That actually is a good question.  Even though stars seem to be very social creatures, truly they don't have that much time to meet new people.  When the public has to be kept away from them for security reasons it's hard to get out of the social circle that a person lives in.  I'm sure this is the reason that Justin has suddenly become so interested in Vivian.  Of course she's a great girl and they have spent a lot of time with each other over the last few weeks, but I think that they're together because she's on the inside, yet isn't someone that will treat him with kid gloves.

"Yeah, its easy to meet girls,"  Justin's getting cocky and I have a feeling that his mother is going to be calling me sometime in the next few minutes to tell me to get him to shut up.  "But its hard to meet anyone you can actually have a conversation with."

Justin's never been one to be a HUGE conversationalist.  With a few people he'll open up and talk like there is no tomorrow, but for the most part he's always been more of a listener than a talker if he's dealing with strangers.  I know what he means though about the whole conversation thing.  Having something in common with the person you're with is important.  That's when I knew things were going to be ending with Beverly.  When all we had to say to each other was hi and good-bye, there was no chance to keep things going.

"What do women do if you ask them out?"

Why is this continuing?  I'm sure Sonia and Barry from Jive are having heart attacks somewhere in the world.  I know we'll see her later today, probably when he does the press junket and I'm sure she'll have more than a few things to say about this interview.  That's the trouble though. Justin is comfortable out there with Wayne.  They're more than just acquaintances, but not best buddies and having that line be not so clear is letting him say probably more than he normally would.

"I don't ask girls out."  Justin shifts in his seat and takes a drink of water.  "I don't like dating. dating to me is such a weird process. Don't you think? I'd rather get to know somebody in a comfortable environment."

Finally Wayne seems to get enough of that line of questioning and shows a clip of Justin dancing from the last tour he was on with NSYNC.  It's stock footage of him at the Madison Square Gardens concert that they always show.  That was a mess of a night.  I swear, when they add events onto concerts, they should pay security more.  That night we must have gotten an extra two hundred people running around backstage.  It's great exposure for the group, but leaves everyone behind the scenes running around.  I think the only other group that was more stressed than security was the catering group that was running the green room.  Those guys were on constant food and drink alert.

As the shot comes back from the clip Wayne is standing behind his desk doing the dance that goes with the song Bye Bye Bye.  Yeah.  Back in the old days all of the security guys and the band would get up on stage and do the dances.  It's amazing to see six linebackers trying to break dance.  I don't dance.  I go to the clubs and drink myself silly, but I don't dance...only on a dare and that was a long time ago.

"That's pretty good,"  Justin laughs.

"Thanks," Wayne says then sits back down.  "So where did you learn to dance like that?"

Justin shrugs and gives the same textbook answer that he always gives when it comes to interviews.  "I never took dance lessons or anything."  This isn't really the truth because everyone knows that when the group was first starting out Justin and the guys had private classes.  Technically they weren't to work on general things, but more to polish their dance moves for their shows, but it was still classes in my mind.  I guess that just happens though when you get this big.  You pick and answer and repeat it over and over again even if it may not be completely true.  "Going to clubs and stuff, I just learned to dance a little bit."  He moans.  "I don't knowww!"

"With so much hype around you, is it hard to trust new people?"  Wayne paused.  "I mean we see you with publicists and guards and assistants and record label people."

"My entourage?" Justin jokes then gives me a nod.  I wish I'd brought my sunglasses.  I'd look like an ass if I wore them inside, but it'd at least give me a little protection.  I need a break sometimes from looking like such a hard ass.  I have to be this way for work, no expression and very quiet, but with shades on at least I can look around and have people not notice that I'm just as in awe of all of this as everyone else is.

"Yeah," Wayne says and suddenly I find myself on camera.  "Like that big guy."

"That's just Tiny," Justin says in a casual way.  I know he's not dismissing the important role I play in his life.  He's trying to get the attention away from me and back into the interview.  I'm not the star here.  He is and that's the way it should be.  "Tiny and a few other people around me are close to me.  I know a lot of people, but I don't KNOW a lot of people if you get what I mean."

"I think so," Wayne says.

"Its not easy to make new friends. I have friends who I grew up with and I'm also still very close with the guys from Nsync."  He pauses.  "There's a lot of love around me even if sometimes I don't get to see everyone every day."

"People you don't know claim that they love you, but what's the best compliment anyone has ever paid you?"

Justin goes for the safe answer on this one.  It's gonna get him the awe factor and round out the whole sympathy vibe that's been running through this interview so far.  To them he's this lonely guy that just needs a new woman in his life, not the one that is already moving onto a new relationship.  "My mom tells me that she's proud of not just my talent, but of the person I am."

Wayne of course makes a big deal of this then closes up the show.

They go to commercial and Justin comes down off the stage.  Tense doesn't begin to describe the air around us.  "Think she's gonna be pissed?"

"Who?" I ask innocently even though I know exactly what he's talking about.  In my own life, if I'd just done what he'd done I would definitely bring flowers home with me, but since he has no chance to stop and get some I'm sure his mind is trying to figure out how to approach the situation on his own.

Justin raises his hands a bit then drops them letting them hit against his thighs.  "Give me a break.  YOU KNOW WHO."

"Oh," I say with a half smile, "If she doesn't rip your balls off in the first five minutes I think she'll eventually get over it."

Justin's hand moved protectively in front of him.  "What?"

I laugh at his reaction.  "I'm kidding."  I sigh.  "She is gonna be pissed though.  How could you say something like that?"

"It was what we went over with the PR people the last few weeks.  They knew I'd get bombarded by questions about it and we planned out kind of a cookie cutter answer for everyone."

I sigh.  PR hurts as much as it heals, in this case I think it's going to be something that could seriously set their relationship back, which is a shame.  They deserve someone to take away the stress of their work, instead of bringing more on.  "You better explain that to Vivian really quickly or you're gonna be sleeping in the dog house tonight."

Justin moved to rub the back of his neck.  It's my job to know the person I'm guarding and to anticipate what that person is going to do so I can do my job the best way I can.  Today he's tense and tired and I'm sure even though he's on a high from having the album come out, there is a lot of pressure on him to do and say the right things and he probably already knows that the conversation that he just had wasn't exactly the kind of conversation that anyone from the record label or PR people would want him to be having.  "Thanks."

"Justin."

We both turn around to find Barry from Jive coming down the hall.  He's got a black backpack on and I know from experience that this is his little traveling office.  Everyone has those now.  They'll have a laptop, palm pilot and a whole bunch of files in a backpack.  Justin tried this for a while, traveling with a backpack, but after he busted two of them he decided that he'd just get AOL email on the hotel computers.  For once the guy thought that it would be the least expensive way to keep up with everyone.

Barry from Jive, I want to say to him when he walks up.  I don't.  It's funny how we name people around here.  Barry from Jive is different from Barry from the lawyers office.  There is also Sonia from Jive as well as Hair Sonia.  In this game it's hard enough to remember first names so trying to remember last names is a nightmare.  We have to give nicknames or no one would remember anyone.

Barry from Jive looks pissed.  That's a look I'll never forget from him.  It doesn't happen often, at least not directed in our direction, but when it does happen, the expression on his face is burned into everyone's memories.  I can't tell if he heard all of the interview or not, but Justin slides a bit closer to me as if I'm supposed to save him from his label executive.  He must have heard something.  It really isn't Barry's job to control what comes out of Justin's mouth concerning his personal life, but I'm sure he's going to bitch about taking the focus away from the album longer than it should have been.

"That interview--"  Barry is a forty something year old guy that has been in the music industry since the beginning of time.  Instead of coming out saying what's really on his mind, he has to filter it into something appropriate.  "--was interesting."

"Yeah," Justin said cocking his chin towards him and closing one eye as if he was readying himself for a lecture.

"Let's try and not make your ex-relationship--hell any relationship that you're in--the focus of these interviews, ok?"  Barry gave him a parental look that even his own father doesn't give him.

Justin nods like a good boy then as Barry turns to lead the way back to the green room makes a rude motion.  I stifle my laugh knowing that this isn't the time for me to be sympathizing with Justin.  I need to be the adult here when clearly there is a need for some guidance.  Justin sees my reaction and makes another rude motion with his hand.  Why is it so easy for guys to make a jacking off motion in times when nothing else seems to fit?  You don't see girls doing that, making rude motions like that.  That's another thing that I miss about not having a woman around for myself.  I'm not at all ashamed to say that I need a little civility in my life.  A little reminder is nice every once in a while.  I get out of practice a bit when I'm on the road too long and I'm not a great influence on Jayden when I get lazy.

"Are you ok?" Justin asks.

I nod at him and point the way to the green room.

Tense.  If I had paid more attention in English class I could name a million different words that could describe tension.  The only word that comes to mind right as we walk in the door is uncomfortable.  That doesn't even start to describe the look that Vivian gives Justin as he walks in the door.  He seems to know that he's in trouble and stays back from her instead of going up to greet her.  Or maybe his hesitation is because Barry is now joining us.  Either way, there is a definite coldness that has settled between them.

"Barry," Vivian says and gives him a Hollywood Hug--the fake hug that all celebrities give business acquaintances.

"Vivian," Barry greets her then looks over at Jayden.  "Hello there sweetheart."

Jayden ignores him and comes over to stand near me, hugging my legs shyly.

"Pumpkin, you remember Barry," I say hugging her and rubbing her back.  "He's the guy that works at the place where Justin's records are made."  It's a harsh description of a record label, but for a kid her age, it's a good enough one.

"They don't make records at Jive," Jayden says looking up at me.  "They have office people that work at Jive."

"How do you know about record labels?" I ask, not understanding how she knows about the business.

"I saw it on MTV," she said, "When I watched--"

"Mommy let's you watch MTV?" I ask knowing that the last time we talked about Jayden's TV watching habits, MTV wasn't on the list of stations that she was paying attention to.

"I watched at Lara's house," Jayden says, "Lara's brother baby-sitted us and we watched Making The Video for one of the--"  She looks up at me with a confused look.  "What's that other group's name?"

"Backstreet Boys?" Vivian supplies.

Jayden leaned against me again.  "Is that the one with Howie?"

"Yeah," Vivian answers.

"Yeah, that one," Jayden says.

"You're one smart cookie," Barry says then shuffles across the room.  "Are you all ready to go?"

"Yeah," I say and look at Jayden.  She moves across the room and gets her backpack then lifts Justin's bag up so he can get his.

When everyone is ready to go Jayden lifts her arms to me.  "Carry me."

"Pumpkin I can't," I say looking down at her.  I have to have my hands free.

"Please?" she asks.

Vivian steps up and puts a hand on her shoulder.  "Jayden, I'll carry you."

"No."

"Pumpkin," Justin finally says and pulls her up.  "How about I carry you?"

Jayden leans against my legs and stuffs her face close to my pant leg.  This is really getting to me.  I know she's missed me and all, but she's usually not this clingy and in the past has let Vivian or whoever else is around take care of her when I can't.  "I want Daddy to carry me."

"Jayden."  I crouch down and look her in the eyes.  I don't want to be mad at her.  I can't be mad at her, but she has to know that we need to leave and if she wants to be carried it can't be me.  "Either Justin can carry you or you can walk, but we don't have time to sit here and discuss this."

She whines then turns to Justin and lifts her arms up.  He pulls her up into his arms and she leans against him as if she needs a nap.  Vivian moves closer to them and touches her forehead.  She and Justin exchange an uncomfortable look before Vivian turns her attention back to the girl in his arms instead of keeping it on him.  "You ok Pumpkin?"

She nods and looks at me as we walk back out to the car, this time with a little better look on her face.

Barry is going to ride with us. 

"Everyone put their backpacks in the back," I say moving to open up the back end.  There isn't enough room for backpacks and people in the back seat, even if one of them is a half-pint.  The back seat and trunk are smaller spaces than they look like from the outside.  The trunk is extremely small due to the speakers in the back trunk area, but we manager to get all the bags back there.  Barry doesn't hand over his bag.  I'm sure for him it's like a security blanket and if it was back there all he'd be like a nervous Chihuahua if he didn't have his computer within reach.

He crawls in the front with me and Jayden sits between Vivian and Justin in the back seat.  There isn't a sound coming from the three of them as I start up the car.  Justin rolls his window down a bit to wave at the girls outside on the street and Vivian tips her head back and closes her eyes while Jayden curls up against her and closes her eyes too.

"Long few days?" Barry asks.

"Yeah," I sigh knowing that this tension isn't a good thing for any of us.  If Barry notices it then the rest of the world is probably going to see the reaction that Vivian and Justin are having towards each other.

"We'll try to get him out of there quickly so we can get him some rest.  There are a few other events that we've added for tomorrow and then he's got the weekend off to go and visit with the Harlesses."

I nod.  It'll be a good thing to have a few days off.  if Beverly is in a good enough mood I think I'll try to see if Jayden can spend more time with me.  I need more time with her.  I'm losing touch.

As we pass the girls the screams get loud and I glance back to see Jayden covering her ears with her hands.  Vivian flinches only a little with the sound then turns her head towards the window and let's the sun touch her face through the window.

Justin waves and smiles and laughs for a little bit before we pull far enough away from the fans.  He sighs and scoots down in his seat, knees bumping into the back of my chair.  When I look in the side mirror to make my merge into another lane, I can see that his head has turned and he's watching Vivian with a pained expression on his face.  At some point in the day I'm going to have to disappear with Jayden and let him talk to her or this is just going to get worse.

"Daddy?"

"What pumpkin?" I ask.

"Can I watch TV at the hotel?" she asks.

"I think so," I say looking at Barry.

"We've got a suite so she can sit in the bedroom and watch TV while Justin talks in the main room."  Barry pulls out a sheet of paper from his backpack.  When he's got it out and is reading I put down my window and let the wind come into the car.  It's expressway driving that lets me go a little faster than normal streets, but even with the slightly elevated speed, I don't feel much relief from the heat that is now settling in on the city.  It perfectly reflects the tension in the car.


The interview questions and answers at the beginning of this chapter with Wayne Brady come from a Justin interview: More magazine (UK) May 2003.  There is a copy of this article at http://www.kellicb.com/moth.html in the news section.