Spirit of Steel -- 28


It amazed her that as they were walking into the club that afternoon that there were already people lined up near the entrance to get into the show that night.  She had only experienced the hype and hoopla that went along with being around Justin two other times.  The first time when she'd gone to the basketball game with him back home in Tennessee she'd laughed away most of the attention they'd been getting, figuring that she should enjoy the rock star lifestyle for a bit.  The second time, in Colorado she'd tried to keep her mind on other things--like the storm and her car breaking down.  Now, she didn't have any other distractions.  It seemed as if the whole world had stopped the moment they'd gotten out of the van and every person's eyes were on them.  She didn't remember it being so out of the ordinary, but when she saw the girls from the hotel in line waving to her she knew that whatever happened from this point on, she'd always be a part of Justin's life.  After all, she'd been caught on tape, caught in the minds of his fans, and although she probably couldn't realize what that really meant at the moment she could picture herself being put on VH1 or MTV as "that girl Justin took to Hawaii for Christmas" this year.

She was looking back at the crowd outside, a mix of twenty something's all looking ready to be out for the night instead of wearing more casual clothes that you would see on the beach or on the street in Hawaii at that time of day.  Caught up in staring at the people who were staring back at her as they walked into the door and didn't realize what really was going on until she felt Justin's hand slip from hers.  Thinking that she'd just keep walking forward she found herself bumping into someone instead.  "Oh my--"

"You ok there?" Todd asked with a smile looking down at her.  She didn't know how he'd gotten inside without her seeing him in the first place, but somehow he was there and probably would have gone unnoticed if she hadn't rammed into him.

"Yeah," she said with a sigh and looked out the glass doors as the people outside craned their necks to look inside.  "I'm--I'm--I don't know what I am this afternoon."

Todd laughed a bit and nodded towards the crowd when she looked back towards him.  "Bit overwhelming, isn't it?"

"Yeah," she said and took a deep breath.  She tried to keep her eyes on him, but there was a part of her that wanted to stare at the people that were staring at her.  She didn't know what the fascination was, but there was something about being looked at that made her feel extremely important and yet so extremely self conscious all at once.  She'd gotten this kind of attention before, when she'd been competing, but mostly it had been other athletes staring at her in admiration of her talent--her skill.  This time she was being stared at simply just for walking by.  "I didn't get to say hi earlier at lunch."

Todd shrugged.  "I saw you wave.  It's all good.  No troubles.  How was your flight?"

"Good," she said with a smile.  It was killing her that she couldn't gossip about this trip.  If she'd had a best girlfriend along for the trip she knew that she would have turned into a screaming teenie going crazy over the crowd and the trip and the fact that security was letting her backstage.  She wished that she could even tell some of that to Todd, he'd probably understand, but she didn't.  She plastered a smile on her face and took a breath before speaking.   "I don't know about private planes, but I had fun."

Todd nodded and gave her a wink, confirming to her that she would have been able to talk to him about all this without coming off as something more than just being there and being interested in her boyfriend.  "Carolina?"

"Hmm?" she asked and turned towards Justin's voice.  He was standing with the tour manager and someone probably from the club, from the looks of the man's logoed T-Shirt.

"I'm gonna go in and do my sound check."  He nodded towards a set of stairs that she suspected would lead them into the main performance area of the club.  Most of these places were the same.  They'd have a restaurant or bar in one area for regular customers then have another performance area off to the side so that they could stay open for business even if someone was performing that night.  "If you want anything to eat or drink or whatever you can order something and sit at the bar and eat.  It's gonna be kind of boring for the next little while.  You can come in and listen and stuff if you want."

She nodded.  "I'll come with you."  She turned back to Todd with a smile.  "Have a good one.  I'm sure I'll talk to you later."

"Of course," Todd said with a smile.  "If you need anything come and find me.  I've got door duty again."

Carolina nodded and shuffled off towards Justin.  She would have loved to have taken time to talk to Todd, but somehow she knew it wouldn't look right if she sat outside interested in the bodyguard more than what Justin was doing.  Besides, she had never been to a sound check and was interested to see one.

*****

"One last one?" Kevin asked him from where he was standing behind his keyboard.  Everyone looked tired and a bit annoyed about having to work when it was such a nice day out.  He didn't blame them.  He would have loved to have been outside in the sun or at least off the stage standing with Carolina watching it all instead.

"Rock Your Body?" Justin said away from the microphone.  He turned towards the front of the club and grabbed his microphone making the mic stand lean towards him.  He counted out, "Five four three--"  He cut off the last two numbers and listened as the band started up just at the right time to start into the song.

His eyes closed as he sang the first part of the song, wanting to make sure that he was in the right key before he started into the rest of the song with his eyes open.  When he did lift his eyelids a smile formed on his lips and his attention directed towards Carolina who was sitting at one of the side bars with a bottled water in her hand.

Got time but I don't mind
Just wanna rock you girl

He tipped his head sideways to let her know that he was staring at her.  She nodded her head and started to laugh.

I'll have whatever you have

Carolina held up her bottle of water and he started to laugh before he quickly got into the next lines of the song.

Come on let's give it a whirl
See I been watchin' you
And I like the way you move
So go ahead, girl just do
That ass shakin'thing you do

He almost fell over when he saw Carolina move her butt in her seat.  She started to blush and ducked her head, as if she could hide.  It seemed as if everyone else in the room noticed how he was singing to her and had turned their attention towards her.

So you grab your girls
and you grab a couple more

Taking a big chance Justin slid his microphone off the stand and sat at the edge of the stage.  Since no one else was there he pointed at her and waved her over, but tried to make it seem more casual than him actually calling her over to sing to her.

She shook her head for a moment then finally got up and walked over towards him.  There was a barrier in between the stage and where she was standing so he jumped down and stood on floor level and leaned against the railing watching her closely as he kept singing.

And you all can meet me in the middle of the floor
Said the air is thick
It's smelling right
So you blast to the left, then you sail to the right

He never expected it from her, but she started to dance a little.  It was all going well until he heard Kevin give out a laugh behind him and he realized that there was too much attention on the two of them.  Carolina backed away, leaving him with the water bottle in his hand as if that had been her plan all along--to deliver the bottle to him at the stage.

She instantly retreated, this time moving towards the back bar in the place.  She kept her back to him and he saw her order up another bottle of water from the bartender before she took a seat back there.

He kept his eyes on her for a bit more before he climbed up towards the stage again and took his spot on the stage before the song ended.

"Done?" Justin said looking at everyone.  All the people on the stage seemed to run away from their posts on stage.  "Good."

He walked around towards the stage door and walked out front with everyone else.

"Is there somewhere that we can sit that is out in the sun, but isn't out on the front street?" Justin asked one of the bartenders closest to him.

"There's windows upstairs on the second level," he said pointing up towards where there looked to be sliding glass doors that at the moment were closed, but that looked to be able to be opened.  "Do you want to order something and eat it up there?"

"Yeah," he said holding up a hand.  "Let me see if--"

"Sure," the bartender said, "Just order up with me.  I'm gonna run up there and open up the doors for you.  If you don't go out on the balcony too far no one will see you up there."

Justin nodded.  "Thanks."

When he got over to Carolina she gave him a smile and hugged him.  "That was fun."

"I'm glad you liked it," he said, "It's better though with more people in here.  It's always different in front of a crowd."  He looked around for a moment.  "You want to go upstairs and have an early dinner with me?"

"Sure," she said.

He put an arm around her and they made their way upstairs just in time to see the first bartender that he'd talked to moving the door open.

"You'll definitely hear them out there, but they won't hear or see you," he said.

Justin nodded towards him.  "Thanks."

"You guys want to order something?"

"Yeah," Carolina said with a smile, "Cheeseburger and fries.  Nothing fancy."

"Same for me," Justin said as he watched Carolina take a seat.


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