eed To Be Next To You -- Chapter 2

Settling back into the booth, Lance nudged Justin, “What does this chick look like?”

Justin rolled his eyes and tipped his head back as he took a long swallow of his beer, “A librarian.”

JC shook his head. He didn’t understand why his friends would say nothing if he invited some girl home from a club, but would put so much emphasis on making fun of someone who actually might have a brain in their head. “Dude, you have to learn to see past the clothes. She’s beautiful.”

Justin nodded, “Yeah, FOR A LIBRARIAN!”

Chris pushed in next to JC, “I never knew you had a thing for book worms. Is this like some strange fetish?”

“You guys have no idea. Wait until you see her eyes. You’ll get it.” He smirked.

Stepping out of the cab, Brighid looked at the line outside of Brownie’s. It stretched to the end of the block and then turned the corner. The huge bouncers stood at the door, checking Ids. One of them looked up and smiled, “There's my girls!”

Brighid, Grace and Georgia all walked over. He leaned down so each of them could kiss the top of his baldhead, “Hi Bruce.” Brig batted her eyelashes at him.

“Hey Brig. You’re looking STUNNING!” He waved his usual wave then took a moment to take in the site of her friends. “And Grace-” He paused. “Gracie when are we getting married? HOT! VERY HOT!” He sighed when she shook her head at him. “And Georgia, my little Georgia peach--you’re just blinding me with your beauty.”

Despite his lounge lizard attitude, Bruce was like their older brother and his intentions were only to put them in a good mood even before they walked into the place.

Georgia laughed, “If you’re not careful, they three of us are going to drag you home with us and have our way with you.”

He winked and said, “Promise?”

“So what’s with the line tonight?” Brig asked looked down the street.

“Some big shots are inside-” He paused and put a hand up. “I made sure they didn’t take your spots at the bar, but you might have some competition for attention tonight.”

“Who’s in there?”

“Some boy band guys and about fifty other people they dragged along with them.”

“Crap,” Brig sighed.

“I know I know,” Bruce said, “Don’t let it bruise your ego. I still love you.”

“No,” she said, “It’s just that-“

“One of the guys wants our little Brig to be his tour guide,” Grace said.

“Which one? Where is he? I’ll kick his ass for stealing my girl!”

“Oh relax Bruce! I am big girl and I can take care of myself... but I will let you buy me a drink later” Brig winked and walked through the doors of the bar.

Brownies was usually never this crowded. Brig scanned the room and found that their favorite booth had a big reserved sign on it.

Georgia started jumping up and down. “Look--” She pointed. "This place is rockin' tonight!”

Georgia led the pack over to their reserved booth and waved to the bartender, Robby as they passed.

“You girls ready to get the party going” Robby yelled across the crowded bar.

“Yeah baby! How bout a round to start us off!” Gracie yelled back.

“One round or Kamikaze shots for Brig and her G’s coming right up... You girls are SMOKIN tonight... this round is on the house”

“Thanks Robby! Brig yelled back. “We’ll be at the booth.”

“K Brig I’ll bring them right over”

The girls made their way to the booth not knowing that five pairs of eyes watched their every move with all five jaws dropped to the table and drool collecting on the table in front of them

JC’s eyes had just about dropped out of his head as he saw Brig walk into the bar. Although he could barely speak he nudged Justin and somehow managed to mumble, “Librarian huh?”

Brighid had gone all out this evening and it wasn’t because she was supposed to meet up with the five men in NSYNC. The girls had been planning this celebration for weeks ever since Brighid had gotten the chance to present her proposal. Not one of them thought there was anyway she would fail.

Brighid wore tight black leather pants and a small black tank top. The tank top rose a little over the waist on her pants exposing a small band of skin. She had chosen to go for style that night instead of comfort and had worn her high heel stiletto sandals making her legs look longer then they really were. Her long dark hair hung straight around her and she had chosen to do minimal make up but play up her eyes a bit with some smoky shadows.

Not to be outdone Gracie and Georgia had also dressed up for the occasion. Gracie wore black stiletto boots, with a black leather strapless dress that was slit up the side to mid thigh. She wore her hair down in that tousled curly sexy style and she had chosen to play her eyes up as well with smoky makeup.

Georgia was the only one that opted for color for the evening. She wore tight red pants with a cream colored lacy tank. Her long blonde hair was pulled back to a ponytail at the base of her neck. She had chosen to do very natural looking make-up.

Justin shook his head. “I swear that girl did not look like that this morning”

“Of course she didn’t you idiot. If you were going to work in an office building would you wear a tank top and those AMAZING black leather pants?” Lance said shaking his head.

“Well no use sitting hear drooling Jace go get your girl” Chris nudged JC out of the booth.

“I’m not sitting here and letting him fumble all over himself with those lovely ladies. I’m going too.” Joey declared getting up out of his seat.

“Nah man let me go over and feel out the situation and I’ll bring them over or come back and get you” JC tried to reason with the rest of the boys.

JC saw Justin’s eyes widen and he turned around just in time to see the three girls pound their Kamikaze shots.

“Ready girls?” Brig counted off, “1, 2...” then quickly threw back the shot. The three glasses hit the table at the same time and the girls high-fived each other then flipped their hair.

Lance smirked, “These are not your average librarians.”

Justin growled, “SHUT UP! That is NOT how she looked.”

JC got up and made his way across the bar to Brighid’s table, “Good evening Ms. Montgomery.”

Brighid smiled politely and nodded, “Hi. Nice shirt.”

JC looked down, “Thanks. It’s new.”

“What do I owe you?” She leaned back against the booth, raising an eyebrow at him.

“If you dance with me, I’ll call it even.”

Georgia laughed, “And if she doesn’t?”

“I’ll crawl back over to my friends looking like an ass, and leave her alone.”

Always the soft touch Grace laughed, “Brig, you can’t make him crawl back to a table full of guys with his tail between his legs.”

JC nodded, “Listen to her, she’s right. You know what would help even more?”

Georgia motioned to the bartender. Holding up three fingers she waited for him to nod and then turned her attention back to JC, “What can we do to help you?”

“The three of you could join us.”

Georgia rolled her eyes, “I didn’t ruin your shirt.”

Grace’s jaw dropped, “George! Play nice!” She shifted a little, “You’ll have to excuse her. She’s had a long week and not nearly enough alcohol.”

Robby walked over with a fresh tray of Kamikaze shots, “Brought one for your new friend. Who’s tab are we running tonight?”

JC raised his hand, “Put their drinks on my tab tonight.”

Brig laughed, “Well if you’re trying to win Georgia here over, that’s a good start.” She slid a glass toward him, “Care to join us?”

“Sure.” He watched as they all clinked glasses, counted and downed their shots. He threw his back and smiled.

Grace pulled slightly on Brighid’s arm, “Cut the poor guy a little slack Brig, he’s standing here, drinking girly shots trying to get one little dance.”

“My friends would love it if you guys would join us.” JC smiled sheepishly.

Brighid glanced over at the guys, “Justin looks more like he'd like to kick us. Your boy seems to have issues.”

“He’s being cheated on, and he finally figured it out. You have to cut him a little slack tonight. But I promise you, the rest of them are harmless.”

Georgia sucked in her breath and shook her head, “Now THAT sucks.” She glanced at Brig and Grace and the shrugged, “OK, bring your boys over.”

JC smiled and looked a t Brig, “And here I thought you were tough alone. With these two around, I’m a little scared.”

Grace laughed, “Oh come on! We’re not so bad!”

“Speak for yourself.” Georgia winked at her friend.

JC jogged over to his friends, “They won’t come to us, we have to go over there.”

Lance, Joey and Chris were out of the booth and on their feet in a hurry but Justin didn’t move, “And why in the hell should we get up and go to THEM? Do they know who we are?”

Joey smacked Justin on the side of the head, “Get up. He’d do it for you.”

“This is bullshit.”

“So sorry.” Chris said pitifully, “Get up, put on a happy face and let’s go.”

The group made their way over to the girls, who slid into the center of their booth making room for all five guys. JC sat next to Brighid and point at each of his friends, “OK, this is Joey, Chris, Lance and Justin…you met him today.”

She nodded and smiled at each of them, “I’m Brighid, and this is Georgia and Grace.”

Lance leaned forward to look around Justin, “So what do y’all do?”

Georgia waved Robby over again before answering, “I’m a stock broker.”

Joey choked on his drink, “I wish my broker looked like you.”

“Write me a check and she can.” Georgia winked at him.

Lance leaned a little further, “And how about you Miss Grace?”

“Interior design.” She cocked her head slightly, “Mind if I ask where you call home?”

“Mississippi.” Lance smiled.

Grace nodded, “I KNEW it. I can pick out a Mississippi accent anywhere.”

“You can?”

“Sure. When you have family in the south, you can tell the difference.”

Justin scoffed, “Is that so? So where am I from?”

Grace squinted slightly and then smirked, “Memphis.”

Justin raised an eyebrow, “Common knowledge.”

Georgia laughed, “Not if you hate pop music.”

Chris covered his heart with both hands, “OUCH!”

Lance laughed, “OK. OK. And Brighid, what is it you do all day long?”

“I’m in PR.”

Justin slouched slightly, “Figures.”

JC shot him a look, “J, I’m sure you can get security to take you back to the hotel if you’re not feeling well.” He turned his attention back to Brighid, “So can I make another attempt at getting you to dance with me?”

Suddenly the DJ’s voice rang out through the bar. “In honor of the three VERY special ladies in our presence tonight the song of the night is “Tainted Love” going out to Brig, George, and Gracie! Have fun guys!”

All three girls squealed and pushed their way out of the booth. George turned back towards the table “so boys you coming? They’re playing our song!”

Chris jumped up quickly “Yo C you pick great friends! They like 80’s music! I am THERE!" He wiggled his eyebrows. "Ladies?” He motioned to the dance floor. "Care to join me?"

Joey got up and followed Chris and the girls “You don’t ever have to ask me twice to head to a dance floor”

Brig tugged on JC’s hand, “You said you wanted to dance, let’s go!”

Lance turned to Justin, “So J what do you say, you gonna sit here and sulk all night or are you going to at least TRY and have a good time.”

“Fine I’ll go dance. GEEZ can’t a guy be in a bad mood for a day?”

“Not when there are three gorgeous ladies asking you to dance!”

When Justin and Lance finally made their way to the dance floor Chris, Georgia, Brig, and Gracie were jumping up and down singing the song at the top of their lungs. JC was standing there laughing as Joey was looking at the girls biting his knuckles mumbling, “They are jumping up and down C do you SEE THIS! I love you for getting your shirt ruined this morning man!”

The guys formed a sort of circle around the girls as the girls continued to jump around and sing the song at the top of their lungs.

The song ended and the girls started to make their way across the dance floor as a slower song started to play. JC grabbed Brig around the waist. “Didn’t you say you were going to dance with me?”

“We did dance!”

“No WE didn’t you danced with your friends and my friends stood around and ogled you! Come on Brig just dance with me once.”

“JC but no one usually dances in this bar... it is only when the play “Tainted Love!”

“Well then I guess that we will just be putting on a show for everyone then! Come on Brig its one song. Cut me a break and just dance with me”

“Why do you want to dance with me so much?” Brig said while stepping into his arms. The sounds of Leigh Nash’s “I Need to Be Next to You” filter out throughout the club.

"Is it so wrong to want to hold a beautiful woman?" JC smiled.

Brig couldn’t hold in the laughter and started laughing so hard she had tears in her eyes, “did you get that one out of a book? Man you are all about the cheesy lines!”

JC blushed and looked down at his feet, “I'm way off my game. I have no idea why I'm nervous. I'm totally creeping you out aren't I? I'm sorry.“

“No it’s okay. I guess I am just not totally used to a guy being that forward with me either.”

“Well mind if I continue to be forward and cheesy and say that I would like to get to know you better?”

“Well why don’t we see how the rest of the night goes and we can talk about that later. What do you think?”

“I think I can live with that.” JC replied pulling her closer.

“Dude what is up with the C man tonight? He is pulling out all the stops with this girl!” Joey said randomly at the table.

“Yeah well he better know exactly how to STOP otherwise I will kick his ass” Georgia said.

“Chill girl, JC isn’t gonna hurt her. Most likely it will be the other way around. Girls are nothing but trouble.” Justin grumbled.

“You know what Curly Man? Get off your fucking high horse for a second and end the damn pity party. If you are going to be this much of an asshole tonight then you can leave.”

Lance gave Justin a warning look as he opened his mouth. “Sorry I am being such a jerk tonight I am just in a bad mood.”

“Well Curly man that I suggest you have a couple more drinks and try to get out of your funk you are pissing off all of your friends.” Georgia replied.

“She’s right man, just forget about her for one night and try to have a good time.” Lance encouraged.

Lance turned his attention to Grace, “So you said you have family in Mississippi?”

Grace nodded as Robby brought over a tray of martini glasses and smiled, “It’s about time for these right?”

Georgia nodded and pointed at the guys, “What are you all drinking tonight?”

Lance smiled, “Jack and Coke.”

Justin tried to order a beer but Georgia cut him off, “Listen, you need something a bit stiffer tonight. Robby, bring him a whiskey shot and one of these.” She lifted her vodka martini off of the tray, “You like olives or lime curly man?”

“Lime?” Justin looked at her.

“You heard the man, he’ll take a lime in his.”

Chris held up his hand, “Bud please.”

Joey grinned, “Jack and Coke.”

Robby nodded, “Done.” He turned his attention to Brig. “What about Brighid’s friend?”

Lance shrugged, “Bring him a Jack & Coke too.”

Grace lifted her Cosmopolitan to her lips and closed her eyes, “No one makes these like Robby.” She looked back at Lance, “I’m sorry. You asked about my family in Mississippi.” He nodded and she smiled, “My Aunt and Uncle live in Jackson.”

Lance’s eyes lit up, “They DO?”

“Mmm hmm.”

“Who are they?” He sat up as if they were discussing something that needed extra attention. “I must know just about everyone in Jackson. That’s where I grew up.”

“The Westmorelands.”

“As in?” He put his elbow on the table and put his fingers to his forehead, tapping a few times there before he finally opened his mouth wide before speaking again. “Alexis Westmoreland?”

She nodded and laughed, “Is my cousin.”

He slapped his hand on the table. “She went to school with my sister. I know Alexis!”

“You know Lexi?” Grace shifted to look at him more fully, “That is the coolest thing. I spent all sorts of time in Jackson when I was little. Lexi is just a few years older than I am so I just loved spending time with her.”

“They all seem to be having a good time,” JC remarked as he pulled her closer to him on the floor, turning her in his arms so she was in front of him so they could see the booth.

“Those girls can get along with everyone and I’m sure Grace is telling Lance all about her cousins and family in the south.” She turned in his arms and stopped dancing for just a moment, “He’s the one from Mississippi right?”

“Yeah.” His eyes widened. “Stalker much?”


“Then how’d you know that?”

“I had to do research on bands like yours for some PR campaigns we’re running. I hate to admit this, but I have read the last years worth of J-14 and Teen People as part of my research.”

“But you didn’t know who I was this morning?”

“Well,” she said matter-of-factly, “I didn’t expect to be physically running into anyone like you on the streets in Chicago.”

“Like me?” he asked.

“You’re like-” She seemed to be trying to hold her tongue. She opened her mouth to speak, and then closed it again several times before she continued. “-I mean who thinks that a singing group is going to be in Chicago anyway.”

“It’s a fairly big city and there are a lot of businesses here that we deal with,” he said, “Some of the best unknown recording studios are here and half the fun of being here is that no one knows who we are.”

“So that whole line out the door isn't based on the fact that you're here?” Her hand motioned towards the door and hit into someone. Wide-eyed she instantly apologized. “I’m so sorry.”

The girl that she’d hit into made an evil face at her then seemed to realize who she was dancing with and smiled at JC.

“Are they all like that?” Brig asked when the girl had disappeared back into the crowd.

“All like what?” he asked.

“All like the zombie type, doing nothing but smiling when they see you.”

It was amusing to see someone’s reaction to his lifestyle. He’d been living his life for so long this way that it almost didn’t phase him anymore when things like that happened.

“They’re not all like that,” he pondered the direction he should take this conversation. “The line outside is-” He found himself about to brag about their success and stopped himself. He could tell that she was already forming opinions about him in her mind and so far she seemed like someone who stuck to her guns, or at least held on tooth and nail until the last minute to cave. “The line outside is a mess, but you have to understand that we live like this everyday and God willing the lines will be out there for a long time.”

“You like that kind of crap?” she asked.

“I don’t like it,” he said, “But those are our fans and the day that we don’t see them waiting for us outside is the day that our careers are over, so it’s a double edged sword. Can’t live with them and can’t live without them.” He shrugged and pointed towards the table. “I think that bartender guy is back with our drinks.”

“Let’s go grab them and sit at the bar for a few minutes. I am sure Georgia wouldn’t mind entertaining your friends.”

Robby made his way over to the booth for what seemed like the millionth time that night. He sat down the tray of drinks and looked over the table.

“Geez George, you think these boys have had enough yet?”

“Never enough Robby! We are celebrating tonight!”

“Celebrating what?”

“Brig got her client and now it looks like she and Gracie are landing a few studs."

JC and Brighid finished the last of their drinks and decided to make their way back over to their friends. As JC and Brighid walked back to the table, immediately Brighid’s gaze landed on Georgia. Lance and Gracie must have gone to the bar to chat, but Georgia was holding court with Justin, Chris, and Joey. Joey had his checkbook out and appeared to writing a check to Georgia.

“George WHAT did you do to these boys?”

“Well Brig darling while you were off flirting with that handsome guy over there. The boys and I decided to partake in a little or Robby’s Irish whiskey and a few martinis.”

Brig groaned, “Oh my god, you didn’t. GEORGE you KNOW that no one can keep up with you!”

Justin had already started to turn green, and Joey handed a check over to Georgia, “Baby you can be my stock broker any day” he slurred out while taking another sip of his martini. Chris just sat there shaking his head and tried to focus his eyes on JC and Brighid.

“Oh Man! What I am going to do with these guys? We can’t bring them back to the hotel this wasted. The fans have been surrounding it since last night”

Lance and Grace made their way over. “Oh man those guys are hammered” Grace said as she looked at the three boys that were trying to keep their heads up straight.

“Lance got any idea what we do with the three stooges? There is no way we can get them back to the hotel without all hell breaking loose.”

“Why don’t we just all go back to Gracie’s place? It’s not like it’s not big enough.” Georgia’s eyes lit up with the suggestion.

“Great Georgia just volunteer Gracie to have us all stay for the night.”

“Don’t worry Brig it’s fine. Besides Lucita is coming Monday morning to clean anyway it isn’t as if I’ll have to clean up after them myself. Besides it’ll give me a chance to show off my work to Lance.”

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