As I keep my drink in my hand, Justin moves his plate a little and starts to carve up his chicken into little pieces. He stops for a moment right before he takes his first bite and looks at me. "What?" he asks.
"Nothing," I say.
As he chews his first bite his hands work on cutting up the small red potatoes on the side of his plate. "I was going to tell you this before," he says in between bites, "Your make up looks great. Personally I don't think that you need it, but I like what you did with your eyes." He chews a little more and takes a bite of potatoes and chews that. "Aren't you going to eat?"
"Yeah," I say and turn to my own plate to cut up my chicken and fiddle with my potato. I press on the white of the potato and mash it a little before I pick up a small piece and lift it to my mouth.
"So where'd you disappear to this afternoon?" He holds his fork in his hand and sets down his knife and uses his freehand to wipe his mouth with his napkin.
"I went to Sephora and did a little girly shopping. I figured that you wouldn't want to have to sit through that so I thought I'd sneak away while I could."
"So what all did you get?" he asks.
Part of me wonders why he's so suddenly interested in me. Make up certainly isn't a subject he's all that familiar with and I feel almost as if he's forcing this conversation just to act as if interested in me.
"Just some make up Justin," I say, "Really I wouldn't think that you'd be interested in what I was doing or what I bought."
"I'm interested," he says, "Maybe make up isn't the most exciting thing in the world, but I was thinking that maybe I need to spend a little more time--" He laughs and chews the rest of his bite. "A little more time," he sings, "On you-u-u-u." He pauses and looks around the room. "It's strange to sing that and not have the guys here."
"Do you miss them?" I ask.
"Of course," he says and takes another bite, this time stuffing it into his cheek for a moment so he can finish answering. "It's a lot tougher than I thought it would be. I get out on stage and look around and they aren't there behind me." He watches me for a moment. "It's like that with Britney too. I guess this is just all too much at once. Losing the guys and her at the same time really has turned my life upside down...I think that's why I freaked out a little when--" He sighs, "I looked up to see what you're up to and you disappeared. It just feels strange to not have things stay the same."
"But you like it right?" I ask, "I mean you still are excited about going solo right?"
"Yeah," he says, "Sonia isn't making my life any easier, but yeah. I wanted this. I needed this and so far I think I light how things are going."
"I'm glad about that," I say.
"That's another thing I was going to say," he said, "I forgot to thank you for calling me all those times over the summer. I know I was being kind of a hermit running off to Virginia Beach for a few weeks. I hope I didn't insult you by ditching you like that."
"Not at all," I say, "I knew that you'd eventually get your head back on straight and I knew that being with Pharell and all those other producers was like therapy for you. I just wanted to call and check in with you because the guys were calling me to check up on you."
"They were calling you?"
"Yeah," I say and take a small bite and swallow. "Your mother is your ally and wouldn't tell them the truth about what happened and why you were acting so--" I look at him with a soft look in my eyes. "How you weren't acting like yourself so they called me for a second opinion. It seems like these days I'm one of the only people besides Tiny and your mom that really knows the full story about how you are."
"Have I been moody?" he asks. He looks at my expression. "I'm sorry that I have been. I'm just trying to figure out how to handle everything and it's not going as smoothly as I thought it would go."
We sit in silence for only a little while before I feel his eyes on me.
"Can you not stare at me while I eat?"
"I wasn't staring," he says and makes that oh so sweet smile at me. "I'm admiring."
"Well can you admire later?" I ask.
"Sure," he says.
I chew a few bites more before I sigh. I pick up a piece of chicken onto my fork and stare at it for a moment. I need to do this. I need to just say yes to all of this and pretend for a little that I'm a normal person and that Justin is a normal man. My eyes slide over and stare at him for a little bit. There is NOTHING normal about Justin Timberlake.
"Ummm Vivian?" Justin says.
"Can you not stare at me while I eat?" he mocks me.
"I'm admiring," I say. I take a bite of chicken, chew then sigh.
"You know I never can remember how to spell potato." Justin holds up a little bit and stares at it going cross-eyed. "That who freaking Dan Quayle thing really messed me up. I mean before I heard about that thing I could spell it just fine then after I was a complete mess."
"It should be po-ta-too," I say, "It's not spelled t-o-e so it should be said to t-o."
"Yeah, and like tomato," Justin says sounding seriously deep for a few moments. "It should be too-ma-too," he says with a laugh. "I mean who wants to eat toes anyway."
"You're insane," I say.
"I've got too much free time," he says.
He looks down at his plate then looks back at me when I don't say anything to him. "Ok what?"
"Ok--" I smile. "To what you said earlier."
He stares at me and I know that he understands what I'm talking about. He also knows that I can go back and forth on this subject forever. "Cut the BS girl and just tell me what you're talking about."
"I want to be with you--" I stutter out. "I mean ah--not BE with you, but be with you."
He looks shocked when I actually seem to answer the question the way he wanted me to. His eyes widen and he holds his fork in mid air, too far to stick the potato on the end of it into his mouth. "Really?"
"Yeah," I say and continue as if nothing has changed.
"Justin," I sigh, "You can't get all hyper about this and we have to be careful about things because I'm not going to spend all my time defending myself in the media."
"Sooo," he says with a little disappointment, "You want to keep it on the down-low."
"Not forever, but I'd like to ease everyone into the idea that we're a couple rather than shove it down their throats. We're together all the time anyway so we'll just casually start to act more like boyfriend and girlfriend rather than holding a press conference."
"And if we do end up getting--" I sigh. This is so like a contract negotiation. "If we end up getting intimate I'd appreciate the no comment answer rather than explaining it to people."
"Ok," he says.
For a moment my heart is in my throat. I hadn't thought about how the outside world is going to suddenly rip me apart about the status of our sexual relationship.
"Vivian," he says, "It's gonna be ok." He puts a hand over mine. "Come on," he says with a laugh. "Come on Too-ma-too."
"Ok Toes," I say with a laugh.
"Finish up," he says pointing at my plate. He looks at his watch, "If we hurry I can take a whole half hour nap with you before I have to answer interview questions."
"Well," he says, "I figure you need a nap to and since there looks to be enough room on that couch over there--" He points with his fork. "--I figure we have enough time to nap a little."
"Yeah," he says with a nod.
I take a few more bites then laugh, "This is going to be so strange."
"It's not going to be strange," he says, "It's going to be different, but not strange."
"It's gonna be strange," I say, "I've been trying not to--" I cut my sentence off and blush at the thoughts that were just running through my head.
"I've been trying for years to get the idea out of my head that I'd just be able to put my--" I pause and look down because I can't look him in the eye. "I can't imagine being able to just put my hands all over you whenever I want to."
He laughs a little, "I knew it--" He points at me with his fork and smiles, "You're a closet freak!"
"No," I say, "I've just liked you for a long time and like any other girl in the world I'll admit I've thought about what being in a relationship would be like with you."
"So what would you think it would be like?" he asks.
"Like this morning," I say, "Waking up with your arms around me and hearing your breath against my ear and feel--" I smile. "Well you know. It's relationship stuff. Just that closeness with another person is--"
"Yeah," he says, "That's something I've missed from being in a relationship. But more for me its that kind of checking in with the other person that I miss. Like that last call--and I know that's totally corny--but really, that last call or chat right before I go to sleep usually is what gets me relaxed enough to go to sleep for the night." His eyes shut for a moment and he takes a deep breath.
"Speaking of that," I say, "If you're gonna take a nap you should do it soon."
"Are you gonna lay with me if I stretch out on the couch?"
"I guess," I say with a shrug.
"You done?" he asks.
I look at my plate. "Yeah."
I hear the voice in my sleep and snuggle closer to what I'm hugging. A chill goes up my back as I start to wake up and realize that only half of me is warm. I push my cheek into what I'm sleeping against and I hear a soft hum against my ear and a warm breath against my forehead.
"Vivian, I need you to get up and get Justin up." The rumble of Tiny's voice hits my ears and I hold my breath almost as if I think if I don't move he'll just think I'm asleep and go away. "Some of the reporters are going to be showing up soon."
The word reporters hits my ears and I'm jolted awake. My eyes fly open as I turn my face up towards the sound of the voice. My mouth sticks together, cotton-mouth like, as if I've got a hang over. Really I just think that I've been sleeping to hard. "Tiny?"
"Babe," he says with a soft voice and rubs my back a little, "I'd love to let the two of you sleep the rest of the afternoon away, but Sonia and those reporters are going to be here soon and I know you don't want them to find--"
My brain is still foggy. I don't even remember how I got from the table to the couch in the first place. I mean I remember a little bit I guess, but I'm still not awake enough to know if it was all real or not. "Two of us?"
"Yeah," he says.
I turn and suddenly find that Justin and I are trying to grope each other in our sleep. I feel his arms flex pulling me tighter to him as he mumbles something in his sleep. My leg has wedged itself between his and I'm practically twisted around him like a pretzel. This would definitely not be a moment to let reporters in the room. I'd look like a complete floozy if they found me lying there like this. I turn a little back towards the door, paranoid that someone might walk in the room and smile up at Tiny. "Thanks," I say knowing that Tiny knows and sees all, but never tells anything to anyone--anyone important anyway.
Justin's arms are around my waist and his hands have shoved themselves into the back pockets of my jeans and his fingers are moving a bit now as if he feels me slipping away from him a little in his sleep.
I yawn and look at the table which has suddenly been cleared off and has snack foods on it, all reminisce of our lunch together now hidden from the reporters that will be in the room soon.
"I cleared that our for you guys and gave it to catering so they didn't have to be in here. I explained that Justin had an early morning and was napping and would be upset if he was woken up."
"Thanks tiny. I mean it. I know that sometimes--"
"Just get him up and get him going and I'll worry about the rest," Tiny says to me, "You two have a little while, but you might want to move things around on the couch a little just to be sure."
I nod. "Give me about ten minutes to get him up then I'll come out there and help Sonia funnel the reporters in and out."
"Ok," he whispers and moves away.
When he's gone and the door is closed I turn towards Justin and watch him sleep for a moment. He's on his back and using a bulky throw pillow underneath his head. He sleeps with his mouth open slightly and his cheeks are totally relaxed, leaving him looking actually kind of funny at that angle.
"Justin," I whisper. I move so I can be propped up a little to look down at him. "Justin you need to get up." He's so cute when he's asleep. Totally relaxed in every possible way. This afternoon he starts to snore a bit when I talk to him. "Justin baby, wake up. The reporters are going to be here soon and so will Sonia."
"Hmm?" he says, his eyes open and he smiles at me then yawns sleepily. "Awwee-lready?"
"Yeah," I sigh and kiss his chest. "You gotta let me up so we can get ready for them."
"Do I have to?" he asks with a totally innocent sound to his voice that makes me wonder if this is what his mother went through with him when he was little and getting ready to go to school. He moves an arm so that I lay back down on his chest again, "I was just getting to the good part of this dream I was having." His hips move and his legs stretch. "Oh crap--" He grabs me close, "Don't fall."
"I won't," I say with a smile.
"It was you and me on a beach in Hawaii."
"Really?" I smile and try to picture us in some exotic place. I took a vacation with him a few months ago, but spent most of the time working out his schedule with Sonia and his mom and getting the first rounds of wardrobes done for a photo shoot, since I know Justin's style better than most...and of course there had been a slight cold hanging over me so that whole beach trip had been wasted. "Tell me about it while we get up and get ready for the reporters."
"Fine," he says.
I start to move, but he clamps his arms down around me. "Kiss first." He puckers his lips in a pouty way and closes his eyes.
"Fine," I say and lean and kiss him.
"Thank you," he says politely and lets me get up.
I stand and stretch my arms over my head and a moment later feel his fingertips where my shirt has broken away from my jeans. I look down at them then at his face and he smiles.
"Don't even start that Timberlake," I say as I fix my hair. "You have reporters waiting on you and I know any moment Sonia is going to--"
The door breaks open and Sonia comes in the room. She stares at us for only a moment before she moves to turn on the lights.
Justin throws an arm over his eyes. "Crap Sonia!"
"What?" she asks.
Justin grumbles. "I was sleeping."
"Well you need to get up now," she says with a chipper tone that makes me want to throw my phone at her.
"I'm gonna go and check to make sure that the boys made it home ok. Do you want me to grab you a drink or something?"
"No," he says and moves his arm away from his eyes. He glances at Sonia then makes a kissing face.
I slap at his hand. "Get up and don't give Sonia any trouble, ok?"
Justin pushes himself up, rubs his hands over his face and smiles, "OK. Sonia, who's up first?"
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Last updated: 07/03/04.