86,400 Seconds 6

Today as we round the corner to the studio there are girls lining the street.  That part is expected and we always joke that if they aren't showing up that Justin is doing something wrong.  I wouldn't normally think twice about the girls but having Jayden with me is an extra stress, not that I would let her know that.  When we pass the two police cars are parked nearby with four officers pushing the crowd of people back so that we can drive through the gate, I sigh.  The police are always cooperative with me and never give me trouble if they can help it.  Having them here today only means that the afternoon is going to be a lot more hectic than I thought.  Los Angeles sometimes is a little less pressure than New York, probably because the city is so used to celebrities, but it seems today as if Los Angeles has joined New York as one of the worst places in the world for a celebrity of Justin's status to be.  How many days until we disappear to Memphis for a week or two?

My window comes sliding down and the sound of screaming hits my ears.  I don't even remember opening it, but somehow I'm now face to face with the uniformed security guard at the gate.  I know that I should love that sound because it means that I still have a person to guard and a job to do.  I don't.  If it were up to me I'd roll up the window and turn the car around and go home right now.  Even sitting in traffic is better than dealing with this crap some days.  "Justin Timberlake here to see--"

He leans towards the car casually which is a change from the New York scene.  Laid back.  I like that part of Los Angeles.  "You know where you're going?" the guy asks cutting me off before I can explain. 

That happens a lot.  That whole cutting me off thing.  As much as I know my job is to relay information like that, most of the time my job is already half done for me.  "Think so," I say trying to stay calm.

Jayden's voice breaks through the noise.  "Daddy?"

I turn to look at her for a moment and see a bit of fear in her face.

"It's ok," I say in a calm voice, "We're almost there."

"Here's your pass," the guard says leaning a bit more as if he wants to see into the car.  I'm wondering who his supervisor is at the moment because laid back or not, Los Angeles doesn't put up with guards that are trying to sneak a peak at stars in their vehicles.

"Can I help you?" I ask as the hairs on the back of my neck start to stand on end.  I don't like this guy.  I know I should stay calm and cool, but I don't like people like this.  I don't like anyone who seems a little too interested in what we're doing and where we're going and who we're with.

Vivian's hand reaches out and grabs my arm and gives me a squeeze.  She knows me to well in situations like this.  I'd like to wring the guy's neck, but Vivian reminds me that in the company I'm keeping that isn't the way to treat the situation.  "Let's go Tiny, we're gonna be late."

"Right."  I say.  I push the button to close the window and find my way to the studio entrance.

"Dang Tiny," Justin laughs.  "That was pure comedy."

"Comedy?" Jayden asks, "That wasn't funny."

"Never mind pumpkin," I say and turn into a parking spot just underneath the sign that shows that this is where the Wayne Brady Show is being taped.

You'd think that getting in and out of the car is something that is easy to do, but when you're traveling with a star like Justin Timberlake, EVERYTHING is more complicated than it seems.  As soon as I'm out of the car CS appears as well as a camera operator and a kid with a boom microphone as well as a producer.

"CS," I say lifting my eyes to greet him as I reach to open the door.

"How was the drive?" he asks as he walks around to the far side of the car.  He opens up the door for Vivian and I hear him greet her and give her a hug hello before saying hello to Jayden.

I leave CS alone to take care of getting Vivian out of the car and watch as Justin slides out with his backpack already on and Jayden slips out behind him, grabbing onto his hand immediately when she sees the camera crew there.  There isn't really anything to be afraid of here.  Television studios are fairly secure due to the status of the people that normally are working there so I let my shoulders relax a bit, but keep an eye on Jayden anyway.  She's not a shy girl, but strangers have always made her a little leery.

"Mr. Timberlake," the segment producer immediately says reaching a hand out to Justin to shake, "Wayne's running a little late this morning, but insisted that I take care of you this morning."  I hate how she is kissing ass so badly this early in the day.

"What's with the camera?" Justin asks with a tired voice as he shakes her hand with the wrong hand, still keeping his other hand occupied with keeping track of Jayden.  Justin is never not a ham in front of the camera, but I can see the way that he approaches the situation is cautious.  I see why when his eyes move down towards Jayden, who he's pulled to stand in front of him now, with one arm curling around her tiny body keeping her close to him. 

Protective.  It's nice to know that he feels that way about her even if she was getting a little annoying in the car.  She means well, but she's a kid and doesn't always know the rules.  Justin seems to understand that.

Justin squints in the sun and puts his one hand up to shade his eyes.  "It's not on yet, is it?"

"We filmed you driving up," the producer says with a flirting look at Justin.  If she only knew that he was actually with someone she'd probably back off, but because that can't happen right now, she's practically throwing herself at him, like all the other women in his life do.  All of them except Vivian of course.  "They're off right now, but we were planning to film a little teaser of you walking in the hallway for Wayne's monolog."

"Ok."  He sighs and finally looks for Vivian.  "Viv?"

"I'm coming," Vivian says coming around the car towards us.  "Hmm?" she says as she comes around the side of the car.  "Oh, Hey Amber."

"Vivian," Amber says with a smile and half hugs her.  The women seem to know each other, but I'm not sure I can place the girl's face.  I'm getting old.  I can't remember anyone these days.  It all seems like a blur.  "It's been a long time, hasn't it?"

"Yeah," Vivian says, "We'll have to catch up."  Justin sighs so she turns to Justin, "What'd you need?"

"Hold onto Jayden for me," he says and my shoulders tense up.  I don't want her to be in the way and she already seems to be causing trouble.  Justin knows that I don't want Jayden on camera unless it's planned out and Beverly knows about it and keeping her out of the spotlight is something that takes planning on trips like this, planning that I clearly didn't think of today.

Vivian nods and takes Jayden's hand.  "Jayden honey, come stand over here."

"Do I gots to?" she says.

I clear my throat and she moves, looking up at me as if she knows she's about to get herself into trouble.

"You set for us in there?" I ask CS as he comes up next to me.  He seems to show up just as my nerves are getting raw.  Sometimes I can't stand dealing with people.  It's a wonder that I still have a job on days like this.

"Sure are," he says, "The crowd has been warned about staying in their seats and we've got you on the right side of the stage.  You know how this stuff works."

"Yeah," I say.

"We ready?" Amber asks suddenly looking at me.  I don't know why she's looking at me.  It's not my show to be running.  She should be looking at Justin.

"Yeah," Justin says then turns to Vivian.  "Walk behind us."

Vivian nods and tickles Jayden a little.  "We don't want to be on television anyway."

I want to assure Jayden that things are going to be ok and to stay with Vivian, but Vivian gives me a look so I don't have to say anything.

I nod and CS pauses to walk with Vivian and Jayden as I follow Justin into the hallway, the camera man and boom microphone guy walking in front of us looking back as we walk.  Amber takes up a spot with us, off to the side a bit leading us down the hallway towards the green room.

Hallways in studios are a nightmare.  They all look alike and are a nightmare when dealing with security issues.  Hell, I even think that fire codes are broken because of the maze structure of this building.  Sometimes I wonder if this is done on purpose.  The long walk lets everyone in the building know which stars are there and while people are really good about not interrupting anyone in the green room, it always seems as if there are too many people in the hallway.

"You all flew in last night?" Amber says as they walk along.  I glance and her and wonder if she knows that she's immediately on my annoying person list.  "How was the flight?"

"Good," Justin says with a smirk on his face.  He looks at me and I can see him sigh even though Amber doesn't seem to notice.  I try not to crack a smile.  Instead I cross my eyes for a moment at him and he laughs.  "It was a night flight."

"I never can sleep on planes," she says, "Those seats are so small."

"Private jet," Justin says, "I slept on the couch."

"Lucky guy," she says.  She walks another few feet before she speaks again.  "You were on TRL yesterday weren't you?"

"Was that yesterday?" Justin asks.  "I can't remember."

"Oh," she says and finally seems to get the idea that he doesn't want to talk.

Green rooms are green rooms and this one has no surprises.  We go into the room and Justin plops down on the couch and so does Vivian and Jayden crawls in between them on the couch.  I stand near the door.  If I sit down I know I'll be slow to get up so leaning seems to be the way to remedy that.  I lean all day long when I'm not actively walking around when Justin.

Amber stood in the doorway and watched everyone for a few moments.  In times like this I wish I could say everything that comes to my mind, but I know that I can't.  It's not appropriate for me to tell someone like Amber to get away.  If she were paparazzi I could stand in the way and at least shield Justin from all this, but Amber is supposed to be there, even if she is annoying. 

Finally I think she realizes that the silence between everyone is because of her.  She runs her hand through her hair and smiles then lets out a breath.  "I'll leave you all alone.  They're starting to tape in about fifteen minutes.  I'll try to get Wayne in here to say hello, but like I said, he's running a bit late."

"Thanks."  Justin nods.

Amber stops before she leaves, as if she's forgotten something.  I know she's stalling.  They always stall  "If you need anything just press nine on the phone and the operator will get you what you need."

"Thanks," Justin repeated.

Amber slipped from the room.

"She's annoying," Jayden said with a matter of fact manner.

"Jayden!" I say to her.

"What?" she asks innocently.

"You shouldn't say stuff like that," I say.

"But she was annoying Justin," Jayden says starting to pull out her coloring book.

Justin's laughing isn't what Jayden needs to hear right now, but it's the reaction she gets from him and from Vivian.

"Come on," I groan and lean against the wall.  "Don't encourage her."

Jayden starts to color and Justin leans back in his seat.  "I would have asked her how long it's gonna be until I go out there, but I didn't want her to stay and now I don't want her to come back."

"Justin."  Vivian laughs then looks at Jayden.  "Tiny is right.  You shouldn't talk like that."

"Oh come on."  His arm slips along the back of the couch and his hand rests on Vivian's shoulder as she pulls out her schedule book.  "You know that's what everyone wanted to say to the girl."

"Yeah," she says, "But that doesn't mean you should actually say it."

"Give me some vices," he says, "I have to give up everything else.  At least let me say what I want to."

"Mommy says that you shouldn't say nothing if you can't say nothing nice," Jayden says, "But she breaks that rule all the time when she talks about--"

I know exactly what she's gonna say before it comes out of her mouth.  There is no secret that Beverly doesn't like me anymore and that there probably have been some horrible things that have come out of her mouth when it comes to the subject of me, but I didn't think that she was saying this stuff in front of Jayden.

"Jayden," Justin says instantly, "Why don't you color me a picture while I go do my interview?"

"Ok," she says, "I'm almost done with one from my Beauty and the Beast book.  Do you want that one?"

"Show me it," he says distracting her and while she's looking in her bag he turns his head towards me and nods.

I nod back to show that I appreciate the interference he's running for me.

As soon as Jayden has all her stuff set out for herself to color, Amber is back at the door.  "They're ready for you," she says giving him a close look.  "Lori might throw some powder on your face, but for the most part I think you're all ready to walk right on set."

Justin pushes himself up and looks over at Vivian.

"Amber, can you wait outside for a minute," I say looking at the look Justin is giving Vivian.  Running interference seems to be the theme of the day so I don't stop myself from getting her out of the room so that Justin and Vivian can have a moment.  I don't know what she's gonna say to him or him to her, but I know they need a minute.

"Sure," she says with hesitation in her voice.  "I'll be right outside.  Please don't take a long time though."

"Just a second," Justin says.

With Amber outside Justin walks around the coffee table and hugs Vivian and kisses her.  She wishes him luck and looks at Jayden.  "We'll wait for you here."

He nods and straightens up and we move out of the room.

As we approach the set I can hear everyone on set talking.  The crew is running around in circles, taking away some kind of prop as we walk towards the walk way that Justin will come out of to go to the couch to talk to Wayne.  I stand with him and listen to the producers talking before they come back from commercial.

The theme song is playing and people are cheering and clapping.  I stand with Justin until we hear Wayne starting his intro.

"My last guest on the show today is--"  The screaming starts.  "Ok.  I'll skip the frou-frou stuff and just say it."

"JUSTIN!" someone screamed.

Wayne continues.  "JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE!"

As Justin moves out towards the stage I move around to the side of the set so I can seem him a little better.  At times like this I have flashbacks of the movie Bodyguard with Whitney Houston.  I swear half that movie was spent watching Kevin Costner walk through the back halls of whatever place that he was at.  It's true that we do a lot of behind the scenes work, but really I could have waited and walked out onto the other side of the stage from where they are now going to sit and I would have never been noticed.

Justin sits down with a sigh after the initial hello to Wayne. 

"You're getting to be an old man these days," Wayne says with a laugh.

"What about you?" Justin says, "Didn't you just have a kid?"

"Yeah," Wayne says with a smile towards the camera.

The band leader makes a comment about showing the pictures or something about having a video tape of the birth with him at all times.

"I don't carry that thing with me everywhere," Wayne explains, "I'm a proud Daddy, but I don't have much time to watch television these days."

"I know what you mean," Justin says, "I don't get much time either."

"Do you try to watch yourself?" Wayne asks.  "I mean it seems like you are on television every three seconds these days."

"You know what?" he says. "I turned on TRL the other day, and I'm the old guy now. Avril Lavigne and B2K, they're the new little faces of teen pop, as much as they'd tell you to <bleep> off if you told them that."  I roll my eyes right now knowing that his mother is going to kill him for swearing on a day time show.  "As for me, I'm somewhere in the middle, starting from zero, rebuilding my whole base. This year has been all about change. Big change. I ended a four-year relationship. I bought a house in L.A. I embarked on a solo career. And, on top of that, I did it all in front of the world, without losing my head." **

"Love can do that to you," Wayne says, "Not only relationship wise, but the love of your work.  It really can get to a person, but you seem to be pretty stable."

"I've got good people around me," Justin says, "I've got a great record label and a great family, so it's not that hard, even if a lot of what I went through with the whole relationship thing kind of knocked me off my game a bit."

"Is that the first time that love has knocked you off your game?"

"I've been in love a few times," Justin sighs.

"How many?" Wayne asks.

"Three times, actually,'' he continued. "I was fifteen the first time. She cheated on me, and I broke up with her. That's reason enough, right? 'Oops, sorry, see you.' I'd been going with her for a year. The second one I saw for a year and a half. And the third one" -- and here he paused, thinking of Spears -- "was for three and a half years. It was the same with her as with the first girl who broke my heart and the second. They've all gone down the same way. All of them. Three strikes, I'm out. I mean, she has a beautiful heart, but if I've lost my trust in someone, I don't think it's right for me to be with them. I'm not going to let my baggage with somebody else become my baggage with a new person. But I'll tell you, man, I have little, little hope. Three strikes. Little hope.''**

I know the instant that we are off stage that things are going to go downhill for him.  Vivian isn't going to like this at all.

"You're done?" Wayne says.

"For a while," Justin says.

"Why?" Wayne continues.  I can see PR people having heart attacks right now over this conversation.  "Was it all that bad?"

"When we were together it was bliss,'' he says, "like something from a damn fairy tale. But right now, I just don't see -- it's just so hard. So hard. I'm the type of person, if I'm not exactly sure about something, then I'll wait it out and see. I may not ever get over her. That's why I'm kind of chilling. I'm waiting to see. I do have to come to the realization that I might never.'' **

Suddenly he leans forward and says, "I think now, more than ever, everything is OK. But I still love her. I really do still love that girl.'' **

I cover my face with my hand.  I don't know what Vivian is going to say, but one thing is for sure.  The rest of the day is going to be tense.

** the Justin quotes come from Rolling Stone Magazine for the quotes check out the Justin articles at http://www.rollingstone.com.  They've been slightly changed to fit the story line, but the words are really his.

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