Honestly For You 8

Justin leaned back in the chair that he was sitting in and began to chew furiously on the straw in his mouth.  He'd gotten there almost three hours before and had eaten lunch.  Instead of slipping upstairs to go sit with JC and Alex while they smoked a cigarette he'd grabbed a straw and began to chew it as he slid out of the flip-flops he was wearing.  He wasn't normally a smoker, but that afternoon even that seemed like it might calm his nerves a little.  He reached down and scratched his leg and stared at the tattoos on his leg that were revealed to the general public since he'd chosen to wear shorts that day.  He'd seen more than a few flashes go off when he left the hotel and he wondered if any pictures of his legs would end up on the internet.  He'd been searching around one day and found an entire site devoted to his tattoos, which on the one hand was amazing and on the other hand scared him to death.

He stopped chewing and pulled the straw out of his mouth to stare at the way he'd twisted it in his teeh.  It was quiet for once and he didn't want it to end.  Of course there was music playing because JC couldn't go a minute without something playing, but the idea that there were no fans around for miles made him feel calm.  When JC and Alex had run up to the first floor from the basement to go out to the porch it left Rip and Justin to listen to the song that Farzana had just finished recording a demo for.

If I lay my voice down at your feet
Will you still hear my song echoing ?
That I might end this game of hide and seek
Because in you I am complete
Oh in you I am complete

Justin's head had been cloudy all morning.  When Meredith had gotten so upset with him earlier he'd decided to leave things alone, but it wasn't that he didn't want to know what was going on with her.  It was their day off and he didn't want to spend it fighting with her.  Things had been tense for them for most of the last few days and he knew something bigger was brewing, but he figured that from his experience with her that she'd cool off about whatever was on her mind and show up at JC's for dinner.  She would come to visit with Farzana if nothing else and he planned that he would take her aside and talk to her if she was still in a bad mood.

All the voices I hear in my sleep
All the sins of my past echoing
To stay off my knees and on my feet
Oh but they, They can't compete
Cause in you I am complete

"This is great stuff," Justin said shoving the straw back into his mouth to chew for a moment before taking it out and throwing it in the trash.  

He leaned forward and grabbed a pen and scribbled some notes in the little notebook.  He liked the line about sins of the past echoing.  It wasn't something that he would have thought would come from Farzana so he thought he'd write it down.  He'd been doing that lately and had gotten himself a nice little notebook of interesting sayings and words that he never would have used in his own vocabulary.

"Too bad she gave up the singing."  Justin looked up towards the stairway to make sure that JC wasn't there.  He'd never want to argue with him about how Farzana had given up on her singing career to write.  It was a touchy subject for his friend considering that JC had done most of the leg work to get her the contract in the first place.  He knew that if something ever happened to Meredith and she wanted to quit that he'd feel really hurt.  He wouldn't be upset with her really, just disappointed that she hadn't found what he'd found in the business.

"Yeah well she's a better song writer than singer.  She's a great singer, but she's more relaxed not recording stuff.  She'd rather hear someone else sing her stuff...which I will never understand, but it works for me and Alex and JC because we get to produce stuff like this all the time and working with the group and David has been good for her."

"Still--" Justin didn't understand why someone with a talent like hers would want to turn into another Diane Warren.  He knew for a fact that Diane could sing the hell out of a song, but it was rare to ever actually hear her sing.  He hated to think that Farzana would turn out the same way.  "It seems like such a waste to hide her voice like that.  I mean have you ever really heard her...not demo stuff, but her and Jace just sitting at a piano?  The way he plays and the way she sings and that passion that is there is like magic."

"She likes it better this way though Justin," he said, "Ever think about that?"  He took a breath.  "Alex and me can sing pretty well, but you don't see us out on stage...some people are just better not performing."

"I just don't understand that," he said, "I live to perform."

"And I live to produce," Rip said, "Different strokes for different folks."

Justin started to laugh and began to hum the theme song to the television show Different Strokes.  "What you talking about Willis?" he said and for a moment his mind flew to Meredith wondering what she was up to.

"How's Meredith's tour been going?" he asked as he flipped off the song and took the demo CD out of the player.  "I hear that the first night on tour was amazing and that you surprising her like that really threw her for a curve."

"It's fine."  Justin took the straw out of his mouth and stared at it closely for a minute then slid back into his flip-flops.

"The song is working ok right?" he asked.

Justin nodded.
 

*****

Like the stars need the sky
and the river needs it's rain
like an eagle needs it's wings
and the fire needs it's flames
like the sun needs the day
and the night needs the moon
like the air that I breathe
that's how I...

When his hand finally reached out and took hers he knew that she was going to cry.  He brought her closer and put and arm around her pulling her tight.  He moved his hand to her cheek and smiled at her and it was as if everything in the whole room, all those thousands of people, disappeared and it was just them up there.

dreamed of you
I dreamed you

When he stepped a little away from her she put the microphone to her mouth and started to sing and the song continued, him holding her hand while their voices mix appropriately, him giving backup vocals when needed on the next verse.

It's hard to explain
but when you know you know
I was so amazed by you
you had me and: 'hello'
I need you in my heart
my body, mind and soul
it only took a moment to take my breath away
will u stay?

For the chorus they sang together and just stared at each other.  At one point he wiped some tears from her cheek, but other than that it was as if they were frozen in time there together.

Like the stars need the sky
and the river needs it's rain
like an eagle needs it's wings
and the fire needs it's flames
like the sun needs the day
and the night needs the moon
like the air that I breathe
that's how I...
I dreamed of you (and I)

Our love can't be denied, no no
there's nothing I can do, nothing I can say
my heart always knew
that's how I dreamed of you

For the next part of the song Justin danced her around a little until she was standing with her back to him and he pulled her so that she was standing against him and he sang to her while hugging her close.  He'd seen someone put their arms around the other half of their duet like that and while he was sure that it was done a lot for the look of it, he mostly wanted to be able to feel her against him like that without making it look like he was trying to cop a feel.

Stars needs sky
river needs rain
like an eagle needs it's wings
and the fire needs it's flames
like the sun needs the day, yeah
and the night needs the moon
like the air that I breathe
that's how I need you

Finally Justin let her go and reached to touch a finger to her lips.  In a very dramatic fashion he stepped away from her and began to sing the last chorus.  He raised his voice a little and let the emotions that came along with the lyrics come out.  For a moment he thought he might scare her since she wasn't used to him being that into the song, but he knew that he needed to show her how much in love with her he was before she forgot.

Like the stars, sky
river and rain
like an eagle needs it's wings
and the fire needs it's flames
like the sun it needs the day
and the night needs the moon
like the air that I breathe
that's how I need you
like the air that I breathe
that's how I...
dreamed of you
I dreamed of you
yeah
yes I did
oh baby

The arena went black as the final piano notes were played.  Justin ran towards her.  He kissed her quickly and hugged her then disappeared off stage.  

*****

"Troubles in paradise?" Rip asked.

"Something like that."  He sat up straighter in his chair and tapped a drumbeat on the arm of the chair then looked out the small window in the corner of the room.  He could see sky and clouds, but nothing more.  He noticed that the basement looked more like a dungeon and felt trapped for a moment, like he was doomed to be trapped in the studio and never get out for the rest of his life.  When his breaths started to become labored with these thoughts he took a deep breath.  "Meredith has been tired lately and our nerves are just shot.  It's nothing serious."

"You sure?" he asked.

"Leave it alone Rip."  Justin's voice rose as he pushed himself out of his seat and started up the stairs.  When his cell phone rang in his pocket he grabbed it out.  "What?"

"Jesus," she said, "Maybe I should call back."

"Shit,"  He rolled his shoulders to try to ease the tension.  He instantly recognized his voice and his day went from bad to worse.  He just prayed that their conversation would be short so they wouldn't blow this into some huge war.  "I'm sorry Mere."  He tried quickly to think of someway to change the subject.  He knew that tension had been building between them, but he didn't want to sit on the phone and talk about it.  He needed to see her face to face if they were going to talk things out.  "What's up?  Did you have a good morning?"

"What's with the sugar coated treatment?" she asked dryly.

"Jesus Christ!" he said.  He wondered for a moment if she was starting her period or something.  It was probably a sexist thing to think, but there wasn't anything else that would explain her moody nature to him. "I don't ask you if you're ok an you get mad and then I ask you how your morning was and you yell at me."

"Maybe I shouldn't come over to JC's," she said.  He couldn't see her, but he imagined the face that she was giving him over the phone and wanted to reach out and tickle her.  She was taking herself way too seriously at the moment.

Justin sighed, "No...no...come over.  I'm sorry."  He put a hand across his forehead and rubbed his forehead and the bridge of his nose as he walked up the stairs to the first floor.  "I didn't get enough sleep I think and I'm getting a headache.  I'm sorry for being a prick."

"Are you sure?" she asked, "Cuz I know you wanted to spend time with the guys."

"What does that mean?" he asked.  It had been true that he'd sounded a little more than excited about hanging out with JC, but it didn't seem at all strange that he would want to see a band mate that he hadn't seen in almost a week.  She wouldn't understand the connection he had with his friends.  Even when he was pissed at them it was hard to have them be out of state.  They were connected in a way that no one could understand; hell they didn't even understand it.

"I don't know," she said.

"Just come over," he said and walked into the kitchen and looked at JC.  "When is Farzana gonna be back?"

"Around three," he said looking up. "Is that Mere?"

"Yeah."

"Lemme talk to her."  JC held out his hand to take the phone away from him.

"Fine," Justin sighed and spoke into the phone.  "JC wants to talk to you."

"Ok."

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Forty minutes later Justin heard the door open and went rushing up the stairs.  He was half way around the corner when he saw Farzana coming in the door.  She wore jeans and flip flops and a strange red and orange shirt that looked like something more JC's style than hers, but it seemed to work.  She had a bag over her shoulder and sunglasses that were in the process of being taken off when she came in the door.

"Oh...it's you."

"Thanks Justin," she said putting her glasses and car keys onto the table just inside the door.  "Thanks."

"I was expecting Meredith," he said, "Sorry."  He awkwardly went over and hugged her.  "I didn't mean to sound not excited to see you."

"It's ok," she said and leaned and kissed his cheek.  "Are you ok?  You look a little tired."

He shrugged and sighed.  "A week on tour kinda does that to a person."

"Oh," she said, "Let me tell you...I know the feeling."  She looked around a minute, "Where is my little boyfriend?"

"In the studio," he said.

"Well at least I won't lose him ever," she said with a sigh and let the bag that was over her shoulder drop to the floor.  She took her hair out of the pony tail she had it in and fixed her hair a little, "I'm starving...wanna help me find something to eat before Josh pulls me into the studio for the rest of the day?"

"Sure."  He shrugged and wondered for a moment if she was happy with the way things were going.  She didn't seem like she liked to be in the studio, from what he saw.  She'd just come from work though and maybe going from one studio to another wasn't her thing.  He knew she loved the music or she wouldn't be working with David and the group he was , but he would have figured that she'd be more excited to be in the studio with JC instead of actually working in the studio with a record label instead.

"Come on kiddo," she said taking his hand.  He must have zoned out a little because she gave him a strange look.  "I'll make you a margarita and we'll hang out for a minute before we go down to the dungeon."

"Ok."  His shoulder's dropped as he followed her into the living room and through to the kitchen.

"So how has the tour been?"

"Can we not talk about the tour?" he asked.  He didn't like the sound of his voice.  He knew he'd been tired, but he sounded like he was regretting the whole thing, which was the farthest thing from the truth.  He liked being on tour with Meredith, probably more than he did with the guys.  He had half the responsibilities and got to spend time with Meredith when he could get her away from her promotional stuff.  It seemed to be the best of both worlds for the moment, if you ignored the tension between them.

"I take it that things aren't going well," she said as she pulled out the blender and a container from the freezer that had already formed ice in it.  She turned and went to find a lime or something and looked up at the ceiling.  "JOSHUA!!!  YOU LITTLE FUCKER!!!  YOU ATE ALL MY LIMES!!!"

"SORRY ZANA!" JC's voice came from the lower level of the house a moment later, followed by a little bit of a laugh then footsteps could be heard on the steps and a moment later, JC, Rip and Alex were all standing in the kitchen watching along with Justin as JC pulled Farzana into a hug and kissed her.

Justin turned his head away and looked out the kitchen window down into the LA basin looking for something to keep his attention from the happy couple across the room.  He could hear them playfully bicker over the limes and near the end of the conversation JC tapped him on the shoulder.  "We're going to the store to get limes.  Wanna catch a ride with us?"

Justin knew that it wasn't that big of a deal to go places with security, but it was still light out and if he gauged right in his head close to when school would be getting out so he didn't want to chance being stuck in a shopping center with fans.  "I'll stay here," he said, "If that's cool."

JC tipped his head to the side and studied his face, "Sure.  I'm sure Todd would have kittens if he knew you were out anyway."

"Yeah," Justin said then moved to the fridge and grabbed out another beer and opened it and then took a seat in the tiny dining room next to the kitchen.

He yelled his goodbyes as the guys left, but Justin kept his eyes on his beer bottle.  He was reading the surgeon general's warning about drinking and pregnancy and a thought crossed his mind about Meredith and having a family with her.  He wasn't sure at this point that he was ready to broach the subject of marriage, but he pictured her with children and somehow knew he'd be in her life for those moments.

Farzana came into the dining room after putting the ice away then took a seat across from him.  "So are you gonna tell me what's on your mind or are you going to be the silent moody type all night?"

"I'll chose silent and moody for a thousand Alex," he said mimicking the Jepordy game show.

"Come on J," she said, "Tell me what's wrong."

"It's Meredith," he said then lowered his eyebrows, "Or it's me--Either way the two of us have been fighting a lot...nothing major to break up about, but just little things."

"Like what?" she asked.

"I got pissed off the other night when I couldn't get into the dressing room to see her and then this morning she and I fought over I don't know what.  She just yelled at me for nothing--"  He sat up a little in his chair, "I tried to just write it off as being part of her whole PMS thing, but she swears that I'm being sexist or whatever."

"You are being sexist," Farzana said firmly.

"God," he said, "I didn't mean it like that.  I just have learned in the last year or so that she gets really short tempered during--" He paused for a moment wondering how he'd gotten so comfortable with someone and was even talking about his girlfriend's period with someone.  "It always happens at  that time of the month so--"

"What'd she yell at you for this morning?"

"I don't know.  I asked her if she was going to come over to JC's today and hang out with the guys.  I know she might not find it to be the most exciting things to do with her day off, but you never know when you might find a hit song or whatever.  I just wanted her to be able to be around some of the best producers--"  He leaned across the table and hit at her hand lightly. "--and the best songwriter I know."

"Thanks for the compliment Justin, but you just answered your question for yourself."

He turned to look at her feeling tears almost coming to his eyes when he thought about her being mad at him.  He could take her being upset at him, but that morning she'd been mad and he'd walked out and left her there.  "I did?"

"You said it was her day off and you also said that you wanted her to be working.  You can't have it both ways sometimes.  Being on tour--like I need to tell you this--is hard work and I think for Meredith she really likes her days off. I don't think she hates her career, but when you're doing promos and everything like that it's hard to know where the publicity ends and where you begin."  Farzana smiled.  "You have to remember that she's about five years behind where you are in your career.  You also have to remember that she's a solo artist and it's a lot different from being in a group.  All the attention is on her unlike with NSYNC where there are five of you to take on the press."

Justin nodded.  "Why isn't she telling me this stuff?  I mean I know I can be an ass when it comes to work, but I--"

"Maybe you need to listen harder," she said, "Or listen differently--"

Justin frowned.

"What?"

"Why all of a sudden do I feel like I'm in an after school special?  I feel like I should hug you and then look for a camera to make a cheesy fade out picture."

Farzana laughed, "I thought you already had a lot of experience with that...that whole Mickey Mouse thing comes to mind."  She saw him frown again and then pulled at his hand, "Let's go and grab something to eat.  Maybe Josh didn't eat all my food."

Lyrics--Complete by Stephen Speaks -- www.stephenspeaks.com
**I think from these lyrics that the You in the song is referring to God, but I changed it up a little to fit the story.**

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