86,400 Seconds 11


The knock at the front door a few moments later sounds the end of lazing around.  Lunch is pushed in on a cart by someone from the hotel, who only gives us a long gaze before disappearing.  As soon as he's gone, Jayden abandons her writing to search over the covered plates on the cart.  She pulls off the first one and looks at it with a turned up nose.  "Pasta?"

"Yeah," I say pushing myself up from where I've been sitting, "I move over and grab the plate and set it near my chair.  What else is up there?"

Jayden lifts another silver top to reveal a piece of desert that looks to be bigger than her head.  She makes an expression of surprise as if she's wished the piece of cake into existence.  "Cheesecake!"

"After lunch," I say firmly and she frowns.

"Dad-dy," she whines.

"Yeah," Justin says and he taps Vivian's arm so they both can say, "Yeah, Dad-dy."

"You two better watch it," I say wagging a finger at them before I take the plate of cake and set it on the dresser across the room from the bed. 

When I turn back around, Justin is up passing out the rest of the plates.  I think he's doing this because Vivian is needing a little extra attention.  At least the boy has learned something in the last few hours.  He may not be able to apologize enough, but paying attention really is a good way to get back into a woman's good graces. 

I hand Jayden a napkin as she starts for her French fries,  "Everyone can have desert AFTER lunch.  I know all your mommies will be mad at me if you don't eat right."

After that seems to be settled, the meal goes down quickly before Jayden sets up a little spot to eat her cheesecake.  Barry has stayed in the other room after grabbing his plate.  He's on the phone with someone, probably a personal call since I don't hear him screaming into the phone about doing things ASAP and before he has to ask for them ten times.

I keep my attention on my daughter since this will be the longest stretch of time I'll have with her.  At first I'm not sure what she's doing, but when she goes to get her cheesecake from the dresser to bring it over to where she's been picnicking on the bed, she's very precise about this part of her eating routine.  The cheeseburger had been fairly messy, but she'd licked her fingers and shoved it away.  The cheesecake is a whole other realm of eating.

Setting the plate on the bedspread she crawls up next to it, sits Indian style and tucks her pristinely white napkin into her shirt before she takes a fork and starts to cut off a little piece of it.  It's almost as if she's gone from eating in a locker room to sitting at high tea with the queen from the look of concentration on her face now.

Justin laughs a bit at her routine then leans towards her as she's putting the piece of cake to her mouth.  "Are you gonna share?"

Jayden turns to glare at Justin.  "Mine."

"Ok," he says and puts his hands up in surrender.  "Sorry."

Barry soon ruins the moment and pulls us all back to work.  Justin slips next door to return to his interviews and the three of us, Vivian, Jayden, and I sit and try to wait out the rest of the afternoon without an incident.

Things seem to go well.  Justin doesn't make any more hurtful comments, Jayden sticks with her drawing and Vivian seems to have calmed down.  We're all just gliding through the rest of the afternoon.

"Vivian can you play with me and daddy tonight?"

Vivian's eyes find mine and she frowns.  "We've got a party to go to tonight," Vivian says around two o'clock.  Justin's now in his last interview and everyone is ready to head back to the house for dinner before we go on to the party.

"You do?" Jayden says.

"Yep," Vivian explains as she puts a few of Jayden's markers and crayons back into her back.  "Justin's record company is throwing a party to celebrate since he's done recording it.  Everyone's going to come to a club and we're going to dance."

Jayden looks at her with a smile.  "Like prom?"

"You know about prom?" Vivian asks.

"Yeah," she says with a nod.  "Gina, the girl that lives next door had a big fancy dress and got her hair done and her date wore a tux and they went to a big dance."

"Well, it's not exactly prom," Vivian explains, "But it's going to be a big party and I'll wear a dress and Justin will wear something nice--"

"I wish I could go," Jayden says and looks at me.

"Ummm."

What do I say to that?  Technically Justin can bring whoever he wants to this party, but really, it's not the kind of place that she should be hanging out.  I want her to experience my life, at least for a little while today, but partying at an industry party isn't exactly what I'd consider an educational experience.  I'm sure her mother wouldn't think that either, which gives me more worry than anything.

"It's not going to be very fun," Vivian says.  "We're going to have to walk the red carpet and have all the photographers yell at us and then we have to talk to a lot of different people, kind of like today."

"MORE INTERVIEWS?" Jayden groans.

"I know how you feel," Justin says coming into the room.  He stretches.  "You guys ready to get out of here?"

"Justin, if you didn't have all those people to talk to tonight could I have a ticket to your party?"

Justin looks at her.  "Yeah," he says, "Tonight is going to be kind of boring."

"Really?"

"Yeah," he says and yawns.  He shuffles over to Vivian and hugs her then kisses her forehead.

I only wish that it was that easy to make up with Beverly.  I guess that's probably why I'm not with her now.  Making up isn't that hard if you have the time to do it, but with a schedule like mine, I really don't have time to do anything the right way and it shows in the way that I live my life.  One day though I guess I'll get sick of this and I'll go back to living a nine to five kind of life, but for now I get to experience this.  These people and this life is mine.

Justin smiled at Vivian.  "The only reason I'm going is because Vivian is going."

"Sure," Vivian laughs, "Like Johnny and Clive and the record label don't have anything to do with it."

"They don't," he nods confidently and winks at her.  "If you weren't here, I wouldn't go."

"I doubt you'd be able to get away with that," I add to the mix.  It's the truth.  Right now there are so many people involved in his life, me included, that if he wants to do anything that strays away from his schedule it has to be planned days in advance.

"The only reason I would go," Jayden says, "Is if I could wear a pretty dress and get my hair and make up done."

"The little diva," I chuckle as I gather up everything and move to make a call to have the call pulled around to the front door.  I would go down and get the car myself, but when I call down to check the front lobby area, there are still fans milling around.  I don't know how they've found us, but they have and they don't seem to be leaving any time soon.

"I think we could do a little hair and make up," Vivian says looking at me.  "I'm sure your mom doesn't mind if you wear lip gloss, right?"  She goes for her backpack.  "And at the house while I get my hair done we'll do something with yours."

I don't say anything even though I know I should make some kind of comment.  I should step in, I should act the part of the father, but I can't.  Jayden turns towards me with this smile on her face that I've never seen before.  They say that smiles go ear to ear, but this one really does.  She looks so happy with the idea of dressing up.  Jayden isn't allowed to wear make up, but a little lip gloss never hurt anyone.

Justin's phone rings and he puts it to his ear then laughs hysterically at whatever the person has said.  "It's Lance," he says to us before starting a conversation with someone about a basketball game that is playing on TV tonight.  I can't remember what game is on tonight, but it seems as if the two of them are making a bet about the game.

Vivian finds the lip gloss and is applying it when my phone rings announcing that the car is ready.  "Ok kids," I say, "Jayden, you walk with Vivian and we'll get out of here."

Justin nods, still on the phone, as he hands Vivian her bag and helps Jayden on with her bag also.

"LB, I gotta jet.  Tiny's about to pop a hernia over here.  I need to get back out to the car.  You coming tonight?"  Justin looks over at me with slight worry in his eyes.  It's as if this whole thing is finally getting to him.  he finally realizes that he has to ask his band mates if they are going to be around, when before he might go off and do something alone, but always end up in the same place as them in the evening.  "Oh," he said, "New York?  Man I was just there--No  I know you know...but--yeah--I'm fine.  No.  I totally understand.  Duty calls.  I'll check you around, ok?"

When we step into the elevator Justin ends his call and shoves his phone into his bag before he reaches for Jayden's free hand, Vivian has taken her other hand and is looking across her towards him with a frown.  When she reaches with her free hand to jab at his side, he breaks into a smile, scratches his forehead for a moment then laughs a bit.  "That guy has turned into Hugh Heffner.  He's jet setting this week.  It's Vegas tomorrow and he's in New York tonight."

"He's not gonna--"

"Naw," Justin says, "It's.  It's just as well."  He shrugs a few times, "More than one of us in a room together and they'll be rumors going around about us doing another album."

"Yeah?" I say watching him.

Vivian's eyes meet mine and I wink at her.  "He's a trouble maker anyway."  I want to joke about this, but really the mood has just taken a nose dive.

"If Lance can't come," Vivian says, "Can I have his ticket?"

"No," Justin says and leans to tickle her.  He picks her up in his arms and hugs her, setting her down when she begs for him to stop tickling her.

"Come on you two," I say as we get to the lobby floor.

Justin returns Jayden to her feet and everyone leaves the elevator and heads across the lobby.  We head straight for the car, which is already waiting, but as soon as Vivian and Jayden are safely inside Justin leaves the door open a bit on his side of the car and a few autographs and pictures are taken.  I hate to push these kids away, but it's free time we're burning right now and no matter how much everyone loves to interact with fans, free time is more precious than anything else we have right now.

It doesn't take long to get through the crowd that has gathered and when we're back on the road again, Justin's got his head leaned up against the window and isn't talking.  If he'd brushed off his disappointment about Lance not showing up, it returned as soon as he had a moment to let it.

"Daddy?" Jayden says from where she's sitting with Justin.  "Daddy?"

"What pumpkin?" I say back to her.

"Daddy, Justin's not going to take a nap this afternoon is he?"

"Maybe," I say glancing back at the guy who is clearly exhausted from the day.  There is something more there that has tired him out.  We all know it, but no one is going to talk about it aloud.  Just like everything else important in life.  It gets shoved under the carpet or in a corner.

It reminds me of Beverly and supposedly the things that she wants to talk to me about.  I'm sure it's just trying to figure out our schedules or whatever, but it's going to be  a pain for all of us until everything gets said.

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Last updated: 08/14/04.