Staring Down The Sun 2

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"Sing Daddy.  Sing," Tegan had one of his hands clasped between two of hers as the make up woman was putting a few touches to his face.  She was shaking his hand, not noticing that the woman working on his face was at all in the way of him moving more comfortably. 

If it had been up to him he would have bounced around the tiny green room and hummed to the radio the way that Tegan had been doing off and on for the last fifteen minutes.  The fact was--even if he'd just sat in the corner and said nothing it still would have been better than sitting in a make up chair.  That process was never fun.  It had been a while since he'd worn stage make up.  With his second album, he'd gone for less of the glam that the Justified Tour had been.  This tour--The Dirty Sunshine Tour--was more song and less stage.  He'd had so much fun doing club dates while he was working on his second album that he'd turned it into something more like the live shows of Dave Matthews and Sting rather than keeping the explosions that had gotten him through with NSYNC and the first album.

"Baby I can't sing."  He took a deep breath and closed his eyes as Holly worked on his eyes.  She wasn't doing much, just making his skin look more matte than shiny.  "I have to sit still for Miss Holly so I can look good on TV."

"You always look good on TV daddy," Tegan said leaning down as if she was laughing so hard it had made her bend over.  She gave him that tone that he was being silly for thinking that he wasn't going to look ok on television.

A chorus of sighs went around the room with her comment.  It was embarrassing the way that Tegan was only five now and could make as much of an impact in a crowd as he could and it had taken him almost twenty six years to get where he was.

"Well I have to sit still," He said trying to still sound jovial without playing too much into her game,  "Why don't you sing?  Miss Holly hasn't heard you sing before."

Tegan nodded as if singing for a crowd was something she did every day.  It wasn't.  She'd sung before, but not in front of people outside of their family and tour family circle.  "OK."

Mike waved her over and pulled her up to stand on the coffee table in the room.  He held onto her hand so that she wouldn't fall and moved out of the way so she'd have the full spotlight.  "What are you going to sing?"

Holly saw this and handed her a round brush from her stash in her make up case.  Tegan held this in one hand and held Mike's hand in the other.

"Daddy's favorite song," she said and took a deep breath and began to sing acapella.

I keep on fallin'
in and out of love
with you

Holly dropped the make up poof in her hand to the floor and everyone in the room turned to look at the tiny girl on the coffee table singing the song much the way that Alicia Keys had sung the original version.

Sometimes I love ya
Sometimes you make me blue
Sometimes I feel good
At times I feel used
Lovin' you darlin' makes me so confused

Justin opened his eyes and watched his daughter and when the chorus came he saw this little girl that he'd always thought of a fairly independent person, become a star.  She definitely was her mother's daughter.  He saw that same light dazed look in her eyes just like Meredith had when she sang.  It was the first sign that she was really into the song, when she got that look on her face as if she was standing somewhere else, looking at something else and the only connection between the two places in the world was the song lyrics that were coming out of her mouth.

I keep on fallin'
In and out
Of love
With you
I never
loved someone
The Way that I
Love you

The sound of clapping stopped her as everyone turned towards the door to see Jay Leno standing there.  "I thought the Timberlakes weren't performing tonight."

"Hey Jay," Justin said and got up and half hugged Jay.  "The little Timberlake performs for anyone, anywhere."

"And who is this little cutie?"  Jay came in a sat down on the far end of the coffee table from where Tegan was now standing holding the fake microphone in her hands, smiling.

"Tegan Lynn Timberlake," she said with the precocious tone that Justin knew his mother said he'd had at her age.  She stuck her hand out to shake his hand.  "Hello Mr. Jay."

Jay smiled and shook her hand then looked at Justin for a moment with a nod--sort of an acknowledgement that he'd done well raising his daughter.  "Well Tegan Lynn Timberlake, have you ever sung on TV?"

"Only home movies," Justin said remembering a few times when she'd gotten caught on Steve's camera during the tour.

"I'm surprised she doesn't have a record deal already," Jay said.

"She's too young," Justin said immediately.  It hadn't really even crossed his mind to put her into the business.  He wasn't sure if he wanted her exposed to that kind of a lifestyle.  It was bad enough that she had to experience the highs and lows of his world.  He didn't want her to have to have that kind of pressure come down on her shoulders at such a young age.

"Well I'd love it if she'd sing a verse or two tonight," he said, "Something a little spur of the moment.  Your fans were disappointed when you backed out of the performance that was supposed to be tonight."

Justin felt instantly bad and didn't want to disappoint his fans.  He knew even before the words came out of his mouth that if he did this, it would be something insanely big.  The publicity for him would be amazing, not that he needed it at the moment, but a little trick like that never hurt anyone.  He figured maybe he and she could sing a verse or two...please the fans even if he hadn't brought along the whole band.  "Let me call my wife and check with her about it.  She sometimes can get a little sensitive about this kind of stuff."

"Sure," he said, "I'm going to go out there and start the show, so if Tegan's Mommy--"  He looked at Tegan with a smile.  "--says that it's ok for her to sing then I'll keep a microphone out there for you to use."

"Sounds like a deal," Justin said.  He pulled out his phone then looked at Holly.  "I'm done right?"

"Sure," she said.

"Good."  He dialed and a few minutes later was greeted with Meredith's soft voice.

"Hi honey," she said in a whisper.

He took a deep breath and lowered his voice.  "Is Jack sleeping?"

"Yep," she said, "Two episodes of Thomas the Train and he's out like a light."

Justin laughed.  "I won't keep you, but is it ok if Tegan comes out and sits with me during the show?"

"Is she ok?" Meredith asked immediately.  "She isn't causing trouble is she?"

"Not at all," he said, "Jay actually asked her to perform a song on the show, sing a little and sit out there with me.  I'm not going to let her do it though if you don't want me to."

"Sure," she said, "I don't mind.  What's she gonna sing?"

"Alicia Keys Fallin'?"

"Oh God Justin," Meredith said with a sigh, "Couldn't it be something a little more normal...like Little Orphan Annie or something like that?  Maybe a little My Fair Lady or something cute like that?"

"She sounds amazing though Bear," he said putting in her nickname because he knew it would soften her tone if he spoke to her that way.

"Fine," she said giving in.  "Let me talk to her for a minute."

"Ok."  Justin held out the phone to Tegan who was standing on the coffee table still dancing a bit for Mike.  "Tegan, Mommy wants to talk to you."

Tegan bounded over and started to speak to her mother.  It seemed as if Meredith was reminding her of her manners.  There were a whole lot of Yes Ma'ams and No Ma'ams which was par for the course.

When the phone finally got handed back Justin smiled at the way his daughter was looking so excited.

"Everything set?" Justin asked his wife.

"Yes sir," she said, "Although I think when Jack gets wind of this he'll need to perform too."

"I get it," Justin said with a smile.

"I love you," she said.

"I love you too Bear.  I'll give you a call when we get done so you can talk to Tegan."

"Ok."

"And get the tissues out," he said with a laugh, "Because if you go looking for them after you start crying I have a feeling you'll trip over Jack's toys and hurt yourself."

She laughed into the phone.

"I'll talk to you soon."

"Love you," he said and hung up the phone.

With Jack's room being looked over by the baby monitor that they still had occasion to use, Meredith sat down at the piano in the formal living room.  She'd made dinner and eaten dinner with Jack before putting him in his room for the night and putting plates of food in the fridge for Justin, Mike and Tegan.  Now it was her time to relax for the evening before she had to take care of Tegan's nightly bedtime routine.

The house was quiet, only the sound of the slight wind outside could be heard.  That was something that didn't happen often these days.  They had been on the road for months now and quiet was something that NEVER happened.  Even in Justin's quiet room or on the bus, it was rare that there was a moment in time that was completely dead silent. 

Her fingers moved over the keys slowly and deliberately as she let the song come out of her.  She lost herself when she sat at the piano and realized only much later just how long she'd been sitting there.

It seemed like such a corny way to describe it, but truly that's the way it was these days--songs coming out of her, flowing instead of her trying to bring them out.  When the kids had been born she'd given in to the idea that she was going to be a mother before a singer.  She still did a few appearances here and there, mostly charity events or special awards collaborations, but for the most part she'd given up singing on a regular basis.

Like a flower waiting to bloom
Like a light bulb in a dark room
I'm just sitting here waiting for you

A smile came to her lips as she thought of the next line.  This song was amazing.  She only wished that she'd written it herself.  Sadly, and yet gladly, she'd gotten it as a present from Farzana for her third wedding anniversary.  Meredith had recorded it immediately after hearing the demo and there would be no way to thank Farzana for writing it for her.  Even though it had been a personal song to Meredith, it had turned up on a soundtrack a few years before, some romantic comedy that Meredith did a quick cameo in, playing a wedding singer.

To come home and turn me on

She leaned into the piano.  Her fingertips tingled as she let them flow across the keys.  She normally wouldn't have gotten so into the song, but the chance of interruption was low so she set her course and rode the wave of emotion that came along with the melody.  She found herself almost breathless at the end of the first stanza so she took a breath before starting the next part of the song.

Like the desert waiting for the rain
Like a school kid waiting for the spring
I'm just sitting here waiting for you
To come on home and turn me on

It startled her a bit later as she heard Justin's voice join hers.  Their voices blended well.  They always had and tonight was no different.  He came into the song at just the right part and ended up sitting next to her, letting her fingers move over the keys, letting his voice accent hers instead of drowning it out.  His hands fell into his lap  for a moment and she watched his shoulders relax.  He'd pulled open the front of his dress shirt before coming into the room and soon his hands came out to his cuffs and rolled up the sleeves.

My poor heart, it's been so dark since you been gone
After all, you're the one who turns me off
You're the only one who can turn me back on

At the end of the stanza Justin's voice turned into a soft laugh as he leaned to kiss her neck.  His warm lips on her neck caused goosebumps up and down her arms and a chill run up the back of her neck.  "Hi there."  His tone was easy which meant that they'd had a good afternoon.

"Hi," she said and looked around wondering where Tegan had gotten to.  She loved her daughter, but left unattended any five year old would find trouble to get into.  "Where is our little star search contestant?"

He reached over and stroked her cheek softly,  "Upstairs.  Asleep."

Meredith's eyes widened at his soft touch.  They'd been doing well in the romance department, but to have a night at home in their own bed would be a treat.  They had yet to rechristen the house this trip.  They'd been too tired the first night, Jack had been up in the middle of the night the second night, then Meredith had fallen a sleep the third night so tonight would be a good time to be together with both kids already asleep.  "Too much excitement?"

"She did well today," he said with a nod as if he could tell she was worried about why Tegan was asleep this early, "You want to stay up and watch it?"

"We'd better," she said, "And tape it because I'm SURE that the Aunts and Uncles and Grandparents will kill us if we don't record this for all times."

"Hmm," he said, "I think VH1 will kill us too if we don't record it--"  He leaned back a little, cracked his back then sat up straight.  "I mean what will Behind the Music: Tegan Timberlake be without her very first performance."

"Funny," she said with a sigh.

"What's wrong?" he asked, "You've been sighing all day."

She ran her hands through her hair and let them fall noisily onto the piano keys.  She needed a spa day.  She needed a vacation.  She needed a nap.  "Jack's cold is wearing on me."

Justin cracked his knuckles then moved to rub her back.  "Was he being a terror?"

"No," she said knowing that he would press her about this a bit if she didn't answer him, "But he wasn't feeling better this afternoon."

"I'm sorry," he said.

"I know you are BeeDee."  She leaned against his shoulder.

"Are you too tired to hang out with me tonight?" he asked in a raspy voice moving his one hand to her thigh so that he could manuver his fingers between her legs.

Her eyebrows raised at the tone of his voice and the movement of her hands and she closed her legs a bit to feel more of the pressure of his fingertips against her jeans.  "Hang out with you?"

"There's my little bear," he said and moved to kiss her again.

"There's my little BeeDee," she said.

"Hey!"

"Ok," she rolled her eyes and laughed at the thought of him being upset over a comment that had nothing to do with his masculinity.  "Not so little BeeDee."

He reached and tickled her.  "Hey!"

"Oh my god!" she said with a fake valley girl accent.  "Look Becky...It Is Sooooo Big."

Justin grabbed her and tickled her and somehow she landed half in his lap.  When their laughing subsided he looked down at where she was being held in his arms.  "I love you."

"I love you too," she said simply.

Alicia Keys -- Fallin'

Nora Jones -- Turn Me On

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Last updated: 07/10/04.