Coliseums were all looking the same now. He didn't have a clue
what city they were in, but the gray concrete insides of the coliseum seemed
familiar enough. Justin walked down the hallway staring at the in
ear monitors that he wore during the show. His batter pack was malfunctioning
and he was trying to figure out if there was something caught in the speakers
or not. For a normal person, walking and staring at something like that would
be hard to do, but for him he seemed to use some sixth sense to wind his
way through the hallways towards where he remembered where the production
"Have you seen Mere?" he asked without looking at the man that was walking along with him. He'd woken up that morning in the bus to find Meredith already out and working and had only seen her for a little while before they'd run through their song once. He'd been having trouble with his ear monitors so while she went offstage, he'd tried to work with the crew to fix the problem, but things still hadn't been settled.
His shoulders slumped as he walked making the jeans, t-shirt, and running shoes he wore seem even more sloppy on him. His hands and half a brain stayed on the trouble that was in front of his eyes as he stared at the ear monitor, but the other half of his brain was worried about her. He didn't like that she was gone when he woke up, but being back on a work schedule was definitely going to put a cramp in the schedule that he had gotten used to over the weekend. Being with her like that had made him feel at least a little normal and he wanted that back desparately.
Todd didn't flinch when Justin's question was directed out to the general public and not in his direction. He coughed and bumped into Justin a little to make him move out of the way of someone coming their way. "Last I saw her she was heading towards the buses. Gritty was saying that she had a headache earlier."
"Hmm," Justin shook the ear monitor and frowned. It had sounded earlier like the thing had blown out on him. He'd been warned before that he messed with the sound levels too much, but it seemed now that maybe he had turned the volume up too loud and really had broken the dang thing. Feeling the frustration, he dropped it, letting it hang from the cord that was running up his back and down over his shouler from the battery pack on his belt.
When Justin finally looked at him Todd was frowning. The guy was a little more than bored this tour. Justin was being the good boyfriend and not doing as much partying, making it hard for Todd to socialize with people outside the tour. He was working hard now to find things to do with himself. "You want me to go check on her while you talk to Dean?"
"Naw." He tried to stay calm about things. His heart went out to her if she did have a headache. His instinct was to run out there immediately to ask her what was wrong, but knew that he shouldn't. He had been with her all weekend and thought that she was starting to get bugged by him. If she was still feeling bad a little later he'd see what was wrong, but at this point he didn't want to crowd her. "I'll get this fixed then run out there." He looked at his watch. "I've got time. I think."
"Oh. Did you call your brother and tell him that he's gonna be in Orlando for his birthday?"
"Shit." Justin picked up his ear monitor and looked at it again. He should have called his brothers to tell them that they were coming to Orlando for Steven's birthday, but he hadn't gotten around to it. He didn't want to think about going home again until it was time to go back. No sense in spending time day dreaming about things that weren't coming up for a few weeks. "I'll do it later. I'll call him in the morning. Jonathan and Steven should be ok until then. They'll never get to sleep tonight if I tell them now."
Suddenly he stopped and looked around. He had thought that they had been going in the right direction, but he wasn't sure now. "Where the hell are we?"
Todd laughed a little and pointed towards the door marked Production.
Justin almost tripped over his feet as they went into the room. Willy the sound guy was sitting with a tool box open in front of him and a huge sound board turned upside down working on it, but when Justin came in he turned and looked at him. "Troubles?"
"I can't hear," he said then smiled a little when he realized what he'd just said. Farzana had told him to listen differently and he was trying to, but it was hard.
"What?" Todd asked staring at his face.
"Nothing," Justin said as he removed the battery pack on his belt and put the monitors on the table. "Just thinking."
Todd frowned. "If you're getting all kinky in your head about your woman please don't let me know."
"Nothing like that," Justin said.
Todd bumped him with an arm. "You sure?"
"I should call my brothers," he said.
"Nice save," Willy said with a laugh and began to work.
Justin grabbed up his phone, but found that the signal of his phone was weak. He knew he should stick around and see if Willy needed him to check the monitors so he looked around for a minute and found a landline phone. "Can I use that?"
"Sure," Willy said, "But you have to use a calling card thing for it."
"No troubles," Justin said and picked up the phone. He punched the numbers quickly and soon was hearing the phone in his dad's house in Tennessee ringing.
"You've reached Steven and Jonathan and mom and dad too--" The recorded voice of his little brother almost brought tears to his eyes. He'd seen them a few weeks ago, but hadn't spent enough time with them. "Leave a message."
"Hey Steven, Jonathan, Lisa, and dad. It's Justin--"
The sound of the phone being picked up and a squeek filled the line. "Justin?"
"Steven?" he asked.
"Yeah," he said, "Mommy wouldn't let me answer the phone, but when she heard it was you she said I could get it."
"How are you doing buddy?" he asked leaned against the wall to talk.
"Good," he said, "Are you coming to my birthday party?"
Justin sighed. He hated conversations like this. He hated to hear his brothers or his parents upset at him. It was almost worse than having Meredith upset with him. "I'm not sure if I can."
"What?" Steven said, "You pro-omised."
"Well--" He took a deep breath and prayed that his brother wouldn't cry. He didn't want to have his brother cry at him right now. There was too much to do that night and trying to calm him down wasn't going to be able to be worked into his schedule. As sad as it sounded, it wasn't that he didn't want to talk to him that much, but when Steven got upset he needed more time to talk to him and explain things to him. He was sensitive and needed extra care that Justin didn't have time to give at the moment. "I was thinking that you and Jonathan could come down to Mommy and Paul's house the weekend after your real birthday so that you guys, Meredith and Me can have a party with Mommy and Paul."
He heard his brother perk up. Coming to visit always seemed to make him happy. "We can?"
"You have to ask Lisa and Daddy," Justin said, "I'm sure--"
"Can Jonathan and me go to Orlando to see Justin?"
He heard Lisa's voice in the background then a moment later Steven got back on. "Mommy wants to talk to you."
Todd laughed at him as Justin straightened up his posture when his step mother got onto the phone.
"I know it's short notice, but do you think they could come down for the day or something?" He said, "I'm not gonna be able to make it home for his birthday and I haven't seen him and Jonathan in a few weeks now."
"I think that would be ok," Lisa said.
"Are you sure?" he asked, "I know that you and Dad get upset when I fly them places."
"I think this will be ok," she said. "Are you ok? You're sounding tired."
"I am," he said, "It's been a long week. Mere and I went down to Orlando for her birthday and only stayed a day or two now we're back on the road."
"Well you take care of yourself and Mere too," she said, "When you make plans for your brothers call me and let me know when you want them. I'll have your dad call you and leave you a message tonight. I'm sure he'll be upset that he missed you. Also you should call Grandma. She was missing you yesterday for some reason."
"Ok," he said, "I will. Tell Steven that I'll get him his birthday present when he comes to visit."
"I've gotta run, but I'll talk to you guys soon."
"Love you honey," she said.
"I love you too Lisa," he said, "Tell everyone else that I love them too."
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