Honestly For You 7

"Pasadena City Limits!!!"  Justin raised his hands over his head in triumph.  His cards fell from his hands onto the table and she figured that they were done with the game.

"BeeDee," she said setting down the cards in her hand on the table.  Her eyes caught the sign that Justin had read and knew that it wouldn't be long until they'd get to the hotel.  She collected up the cards and put them into the box and slid it across to Todd.  "My ear."

"Sorry babes," he put his arm behind her back in the booth seat then pulled her close to him to kiss her cheek.  "Is your ear ok?"

She nodded, but pouted.  He moved her chin with a single finger and kissed her lips.  She was restless after almost six hours in the bus and needed to move around a little.  She didn't like the look that Todd had given her when they'd kissed.  She slid from the bench seat and crossed over to the refrigerator.  "Gross!" she said opening the door.  "When we go to Vegas we're riding on my bus."

They'd be in southern California for a week. She'd do two shows in LA at the Duck Pond then have two days off then do a show in San Diego before back up to LA to do another day at the Duck Pond.  With all those shows in the same area they'd be staying at the same hotel and commuting to San Diego before moving across towards Vegas for a few days.  "Your bus is filthy."

"It's not filthy," he said, "It's just left over Taco Bell from lunch."

"Well it smells like a dump in there," she said plugging her nose as she grabbed out a coke and opened it up to drink it.  "Why are you so excited about LA anyway?  I know it's party central and all, but the smog makes it hard to breathe let alone sing and--"

He reached out and grabbed the can from her.  She frowned at him as he lifted the can to sip then handed it back to her when he was done.  She took her seat and watched him lick his lips.  It made her think of him kissing her.  The last few days had been ok when it came to hanging out with him in public.  The song had been doing well both on stage and on the radio.  They were about to get the first week sales numbers when they got to the hotel, but it was the ability to spend so much time off with him that really was the treat.  She'd been fairly moody because of the fatigue that came along with touring, but he seemed to understand and tried to encourage her when she'd gotten tired.  They'd had one day off while in the San Francisco Bay Area and had spent it at a park in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere since it had been sunny.

They'd slept next to each other each night, but hadn't had sex in a few days.  She'd had her period during rehearsals so that wasn't the reason although they'd both joked around about having headaches a few of those nights.  It was the fatigue of touring that caused the most issues, but she was wondering if their fairytale romance was starting to be come a normal relationship now that they were seeing so much of each other.  The last time they'd spent that much time together had been when they'd taken time off for Joey's wedding three months before.  Since then they'd caught each other for a few hours here and there, but hadn't spent more than two days in a row together since they had recorded her album.

"You know how I hate the bus."  He ran his hands through his hair that had grown out from the shaved style he'd had it in when he'd met up with her in Seattle.  "I need a haircut.  Maybe I'll run by and get one when I head over to JC's."

"He's in town?" she asked knowing that Farzana would be in town due to her working with David Foster, but she didn't think that they would have enough time to stop by and see them.  JC had been traveling a lot lately from Orlando to New York to LA and then had spent some time with his mother and father in Maryland for a while.

"So is Tony and Alex and the rest of them," He said and took her soda and drank more of it.  "We're going over to play in the studio."

"Play in the studio?" she asked leaning back.  She'd prayed that he'd be able to stay with her for the two days that she'd have off that week.  She knew that it was important that he go into the studio and work on his solo album, but at the same time she wanted to tell him that she needed some time off to not be doing anything that had to with work.

"Yeah," he said, "JC got the hard copies of my songs from Sweden and he, me, Tony and Rip and Alex are going to mix them up a little."

"Too many cooks ruin--"

He shook his head, "It's gonna be good.  You should come with me and write some.  Farzana's been going crazy in the studio.  JC called me the other day and said that she's written almost twenty songs since Joey's wedding."

"Wow," Meredith opened her eyes wide, "I should call her and maybe see if she wants to go to the spa or something."

He frowned at her, "You're gonna go waste a day at the spa?"

"Waste a day?"  She couldn't believe that he would judge her choice like that.  She didn't want to feel bad about what she wanted to do with her day off.  It seemed as if he'd already made her feel instantly lazy.  She didn't like the idea that because she'd rather relax on her day off then work, that he would think she was wasting her time.  "Whatever."  She pushed herself out of the table and went into the back room and began to make the bed.  It was hot back there so she slid the tiny window open a little and opened she shades half way.

It only took a few minutes, but she finally fell onto the made bed and curled up with a pillow.  She expected Justin to come and find her and ask what was wrong with her, but when he didn't come right away she closed her eyes and waited for the bus to stop.  Her emotions were at the surface these days and while she'd been careful to keep them to herself while she was in the public eye it was harder to do so when she wasn't in front of a camera or a audience.  With a few moments of peace she thought about getting some sleep.  She wiped her face and rolled over to her other side and reached for the remote and turned on the cd player.  A Brian McKnight CD that Justin had been playing the night before came on and she was lulled to sleep by the sound of Brian and Justin's voices singing My Kind Of Girl.


The next two days flew by.  The shows at the Duck Pond had gone well and the sales numbers were fairly good for the single and there was talk of filming them live at the Vegas show and making that into a video to show on TRL.  Everything seemed to be going well, but when she woke up the morning of her first day off she found Justin in the shower.  He'd spent the night in her hotel room, after sneaking over from the room next door again.  She wished that he'd chosen to go back to his room to shower because it was definitely too early at nine am to be running around like he was.

"I ordered room service," he said coming out of the shower.  He came over to her and leaned and kissed her, acting like everything was normal then said, "I'm supposed to meet up with JC for lunch at Mel's if you want to come over to his house this afternoon.  Farzana is working today, but is gonna be home in time for dinner."

"I don't know if I want to go over with it being you and the guys," she said.

"Come on," he said, "You'll get to see Rip and Alex in the studio and JC was saying that he's been missing you."

"I don't want to go," she said, "I'm gonna go to the spa downstairs this morning I think then come over tonight."

He shook his head.  "You're missing out."

She pushed herself out of bed.  "Yeah...missing out.  Missing out on actually relaxing for five minutes."

"Why are you getting so upset?" he asked.

"I'm not upset.  I'm tired Justin."  She moved away from him when he stepped towards her.  "I'm gonna go take a shower.  I'll call you when I'm done wasting my morning."


She ignored him.  When she stepped into the shower she dunked her head under the spray of water and counted to ten.  She wanted to scream at him, but she couldn't.  She couldn't figure out what to do.  The more she worked the worse she felt about it and with everyone around her counting on her to do well it was all starting to wear on her.  She knew she could perform, that had been clear from the start, but all the rest of the things were starting get to her.  She hated interviews, hated answering the same questions over and over again and hated the idea that she had to live on a bus for days on end.  They'd stayed in hotels, but it seemed as if home had become this little tiny six by eight room in the back of the bus since they'd left Washington.

Her shower was fairly short and when she got out she wrapped herself in the hotel robe.  Justin had disappeared so she went to the phone, dialing the operator who soon connected her to the spa.  It only took a moment after she told them who she was to arrange for an eleven o'clock massage.  It would give her enough time to get her hair dried and tell Gritty that she was going to be downstairs.  She figured that he'd drop her off at the spa and go next door to work out.  She didn't know if Todd would be going to JC's with Justin, but he figured that if he wasn't that he'd be going to a friends house or something.

When she hung up with the spa she grabbed out her clothes for the day.  Red nylon running pants and a FuManSkeeto shirt were put on then she grabbed up the black and silver sweatshirt that Justin had given her the other day before she slid into a pair of Vans skate shoes that looked more like slippers than sneakers before she grabbed up the phone and called Gritty.

"I'm going to the spa this morning then I'm gonna head over to JC's tonight when Farzana gets done with work."

"Sounds good to me," he said, "I'll catch my gym time today while you're in the spa then tonight I think I'm gonna hook up with some people for dinner...you should be fine over there at JC's for a few hours right?"

"Sure," she said, "I'll get JC to give me a ride back to the hotel."

"I'm gonna go get breakfast, do you want to come?"

"Yeah," she said, "Justin called and was going to have stuff delivered so I better wait until it gets here then I'll meet up with you."

"I'll be down in a second," he said.

Breakfast was delivered soon and she directed them next door.  "I think he prank called this in," she said with a laugh to the bellhop and waited to hear him open the door to the next room before she grabbed her phone and wallet and headed out.  She hadn't had to pay for much in the past few days, but she knew that tipping the person in the spa would be something she'd need to do.

"God you're really tense," the masseuse said.

"Thanks Luke," she said as she tried to relax her arms and legs.  She lay on her stomach as the male masseuse ran his hands up and down her spine.  At first she'd been uncomfortable with the idea of this stranger putting his hands all over her, but he'd given her a smile and told her that everything would be ok.  He joked that Gritty wasn't someone he wanted to mess with so by the time she was lying in just her underwear and a towel covering her she was starting to feel a little more relaxed.

"I'm sorry," he said, "But you must be working hard or you wouldn't be like this."

"I don't want to be rude or anything, but can you not talk?" she asked, "I just want to sit here in peace and quiet for a little while."

"How about I turn on the radio or something," he said, "I've got this great CD that will relax you."

"Ok," she said and waited as his hands left her body and she heard him move across the room.

don't throw on all that make-up for me.
there aint a single part of you i wouldn't want to see.
ya see, make-up only makes up
for what's lacking on the inside and you aint lackin', babe.

Luke's hands slid along her spine and began to work on the knots in her shoulders as Tony Lucca's voice filled the room.  He pushed the towel aside and moved across the expanse of her back as he began to massage in lavender scented oil into her skin.

and don't feel ya gotta dress no certain way.
there aint no statement you could make
that could say much more than you already say...say say
i say i hear you, babe...i hear ya babe.

i hear you when you call for me-
when you're reachin' out to offer me
the sweetest taste of heaven.
i hear you when you shout it out-
"it's love without a doubt now".
i'm in your arms again.

it's been so strong for so long
all i can do is hold on
and take you by surprise
when you make it home to my eyes...

Her thoughts went to Justin when she listened to the lyrics.  She should have gone to JC's with him, if not to make things not messed up between them, but for the pure fact that she'd be able to relax there.  Even sitting in that room with only one person around, she still had to watch her P's and Q's.  If she'd been with the guys she could have watched a movie or called Addy to talk or maybe even could have called Farzana to have lunch or something.

where no one's gonna hold you any higher than i do.
i'll lift you high- give you all the strength of wings to fly, fly, fly.
no one's gonna make it any clearer than i do-
clearly i love...but honestly, for you.

you don't need to read up on the latest things.
it aint no world of yours out there- the circus of magazines.
they're just photo-opportunities, making you who they want you to be-
you're so much better, yes you are.

there aint much you're gonna have to do for me.
girl i'm yours so easily.
i give you all of love's simplicity for free... feel free.
feel free to take me, babe. just take me, baby.

take me where tomorrow lies-
where the white wings of the angels fly-
fly me high to heaven.
take me where you want to go
cause girl you know i'll follow.
you just tell me when.

it's been so strong for so long
all i do is hold on and take you for a ride,
girl you're finally home by my side.

The lyrics were starting to depress her and no matter what she did she did she couldn't stop herself from letting the tears flow.  She was relaxing, but at the same time she was letting out not only the tension in her muscles, but the emotions that had been close to the surface.  She'd seen a movie onces, something called At First Sight, and in the movie the woman got a massage and started to cry.  Luke was nothing like the character that Val Kilmer had played in the movie, but she felt the same way that the woman in the movie had.  With this much time to think about things, she was allowed to actually feel the things that she should have been feeling weeks ago.

where no one's gonna hold you any higher than i do.
i'll lift you high- give you all the strength of wings to fly, fly, fly.
no one's gonna make it any clearer than i do-
clearly i love...but honestly, for you.

"Are you ok?" Luke finally asked.

She nodded and pushed herself up a little.  She wanted to call her mother or Lynn or Addy and talk to them, but she didn't know where they were or what they were doing and her conversation wasn't going be something that she could say in five minutes.

"I'm just tired," she said.

"Oh," he said, "It's that whole At First Sight thing."

Meredith grabbed the towel and started to sit up.

"Stay there sweetie," he said, "Cry if you want to.  I'm not gonna tell anyone.  I know how that goes.  Sometimes my wife gets this way."

"Your wife?" she said.

"Did you think I was gay or something?"

"No," she said, "I just didn't expect you to have a wife."

Luke removed his wallet from his back pocket and flipped it open.  A family photo was shown to her.  Luke, his wife and two small children smiled for the camera.  "That's me, Vivica and Zoe and Joy."  He looked at the picture for a minute.  "She thinks I'm crazy that I work here," he said, "She works for the WB and is a work a holic and I'm Mr. Mom."

"Really?" she asked, "She's a workaholic?"

"Yeah," he said, "It's the nature of the beast.  The movie and television business is that way."

"Try the music business," she said.

"You were great the other night by the way," he said.

"You were at the concert?"

"Yeah," he said, "My sister in law got us all tickets and we left the kids at home and an adult night out."

"Really?" she said, "I didn't expect adults to listen to my stuff."

"We felt a little old," he said, "But the music was good enough to get through the screaming to listen to it live."  He sighed, "I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to bring up work.  You're supposed to be relaxing."

"No," she said, "It's ok.  I just have forgotten a little that people actually out there.  I mean I fill an arena full of people, but with a crowd that size all those people become faceless and nameless...if that makes any sense."

"It makes perfect sense," he said, "So why are you crying?"

"I'm on tour with my boyfriend and we've been battling over the whole work-play thing.  He and I are both in the business and there is just some times when--"  She stopped and turned to look at him.  "I'm not ungrateful or anything, but it's hard to be in a business and have your significant other in the same business.  Sometimes we don't get a rest from the work...it's like a twenty four hour kind of thing...even when we're not working he's talking about recording or writing and sometimes it just gets to be too much."

"That's exactly what happen to me and my wife," he said, "I worked in show business for a while as an actor and it was like we almost had too much in common.  I mean it's good to understand what she does all day, but at the same time all our conversations aren't about movies or tv."

"The thing that makes my situation worse is that he was the one who discovered me and his mom is my manager so it's like I'm stuck now."

"Are you thinking that you might want to change your career?"

"I love what I do," she said, "But it's like eating ice cream...if you always eat chocolate ice cream you're gonna get sick of it sooner or later...not that you want to stop eating ice cream, but that maybe you want mint ice cream instead."

"Isn't there a way to have mint and chocolate?" he asked with a smile.

She sighed.  "Someway there has to be, but I haven't figured it out yet."

Song lyrics-- Honestly For You -- Tony Lucca -- http://www.tonylucca.com

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