Work

THE NEXT DAY
Nick's point of view

"Yes you are going and I don't want to hear anything from you about it," I said sternly.
Julianna pouted. "I don't want to go to the doctor," she said softly.
"You're sick, you need to get better," I said and placed my hand on her forehead. "You're still burning up, come on, let's go, your appointment is in a half an hour," I told her and offered my hand to help her up.
Julianna sighed and took my hand. I pulled her up gently and held her steady as she swayed on her feet from the fever.
"Give me a few minutes to get dressed okay?" she asked.
I nodded. "Sure, I'll be in the living room," I said and left the room. I sat down on the couch and put my elbows on my knees and placed my chin on my hands. I really hoped that the doctor could make her feel better.
Julianna emerged from her room dressed in a turtleneck and jeans a few minutes later.
"Ready?" I asked.
She nodded glumly.
I gave her a reassuring smile and led her to my car.
We got to the doctor's office fifteen minutes later and I waited until Julianna filled out the necessary forms. We were then told to go to the waiting room and wait until the doctor could see us.
Julianna leaned her head on my shoulder and closed her eyes. I put my arm around her shoulders and felt her relax. I sighed and looked out the window at the cars passing by.
"Julianna Palmer?" asked a nurse coming out of the office. I nudged Julianna gently and she lifted her head.
"That's me," she said quietly.
"Come with me please," said the nurse and held the door open.
Julianna hesitated. "Can he come too?" she asked pointing at me.
"Yes," replied the nurse.
"It'll be okay, come on," I assured Julianna and went into the office with her. She really didn't like doctors at all; I was beginning to realize. In fact, I had a feeling she was a little scared of them.

Julianna's point of view

I sat in the doctor's office as the nurse took my pulse, temperature, and blood pressure.
"Your fever is 101.9," she commented looking at the thermometer and then wrote it down in my chart. I felt Nick give me a reassuring squeeze on my hand. I was so glad he was there with me; I really hated doctors.
"Hi Julianna, I'm Doctor Jones," announced a man coming into the room. He was in his late thirties with light brown hair and brown eyes. He looked to be a bit shorter than Nick.
"Hi," I said softly.
"Hey Nick," said the doctor turning to face Nick.
Nick grinned. "Hey Doc," he said.
"So what seems to be the problem?" asked Dr. Jones turning his attention back to me.
"I'm sick," I stated. Duh, why else do people go to doctors? It's not like I would be there if I was healthy. With all the degrees you need to be a doctor, you'd think this guy would figure out at least why I was there.
"What hurts?" he asked looking at my chart.
"My throat mostly and my head too," I replied.
"Okay, let's see what we have here," he said putting down my chart. He felt my throat and then looked at it. "I see," he commented as I closed my mouth.
"See what?" asked Nick from beside me.
"It looks like your friend here caught a nasty case of strep throat," replied the doctor and took what looked like a long cotton swab. "Open your mouth again please," he instructed. I did so and he stuck the swab in my mouth and swiped it along my glands, which made me gag. "Yeah, I know, it's not pleasant, but I gotta make sure that this is actually strep throat," said the doctor sympathetically. "I'll send these to the lab and the results should be ready in a couple of days. In the meantime, I'll prescribe you these antibiotics," he said scribbling down a prescription. "Take one pill three times a day starting today. Then, after the results are done, you can call in to get them, if they're positive, keep taking the pills for another week. If the results are negative, it won't be necessary for you to take them. Although I'm one hundred percent sure that they will be positive," he explained and I nodded. "Now, it's very important that you take these for another week because strep throat is something not to take lightly. If you don't take care of it, it can have complications dealing with your kidneys, or even heart," he said seriously.
My eyes widened at the thought. Kidneys? Heart? All from a sore throat? Geez. "I'll take them," I said softly.
"Good, you can get the pills downstairs in the pharmacy and if you get worse, return to the office immediately," he instructed.
I nodded and slid off the examining table. Nick got up too.
"Thanks Doc," he said shaking the doctor's hand.
"Thank you," I also said.
"You're welcome, feel better," he said with a smile.
Nick and I said bye and left.
After we got the prescription, Nick drove back to my house.
I collapsed onto my bed as soon as I reached it.
"Tired?" asked Nick softly.
I nodded. My throat was throbbing with pain.
"Here you go," said Nick handing me one of the pills and a glass of water. I took it quickly and lay back down. I was asleep within minutes.

THE FOLLOWING MORNING

"You're insane," stated Nick as I put my shoes on.
"No I'm not," I said stubbornly.
"Jul, you're not seriously thinking that you're going to go to work!" he exclaimed.
"I'm not thinking it, I'm doing it," I told him and looked for my purse.
"You're sick, you can barely talk, and you sway on your feet," he said seriously. "You're in no condition to go to work," he added.
I turned to face him sharply, which caused the room to spin. I grabbed onto his shoulder to prevent myself from falling. I took a deep breath and waited for the dizziness to pass. "Nick, didn't you ever perform while sick?" I asked.
"That's different," he said crossing his arms over his chest.
"How?"
"A concert can't be pushed back, a scene can."
"They've been pushing it back since Monday. It's Thursday now and they can't push it back anymore."
"How are you going to work when you feel so sick?"
"Simple, there's a scene in the movie where I'm sick, so this will actually be easy. I don't have many lines there and they won't have to make me look sick, cause I already am," I said shrugging.
"I'm going with you," he said.
He was kidding right? "No, you're not," I said and grabbed my car keys.
"Okay, first of all, I am not letting you drive, and second, someone needs to take care of you. So I either go with you or I'm staying here and so are you," he said his face serious.
I sighed. There was no arguing with that guy; I learned that since he's been hanging around. "Fine, you can come," I told him.
Nick smiled. "Good," he said and grabbed my car keys out of my hand and set them back own on the table. "We'll take my car." He then put on his baseball hat and sunglasses and held the front door open for me.
I nodded silently, not wanting to argue, primarily because my throat was killing me from all the talking I'd done.
We went outside and I got into Nick's car and waited till he got in too. We drove in silence because Nick probably sensed that I didn't want to talk. As soon as we got to the set, I was rushed off to wardrobe and make-up.
Ten minutes later I came out of the make-up trailer and spotted Nick sitting on the set of what was supposed to be my room.
"Hey," I said softly. Nick looked up and grinned. "Enjoying yourself?" I asked.
He nodded. "Yep, it's fun to see the people running around," he said laughing.
I let out a chuckle. It was then that I saw Courtney Dar and Samantha Pelne approaching. I groaned inwardly, and it had nothing to do with the pain in my throat. They were the two girls in the movie with me and also the ones who hated me and my guts.
"Ooh, well if it isn't Miss Star," said Courtney in a too-sweet tone.
"Hi Courtney, Samantha," I said nodding to both of them.
"Where's your boyfriend?" asked Samantha smugly.
"Lance and I broke up," I said. Not that it was any of her business.
"Of course. After Nick dumped your sorry ass for cheating on him, Lance found out about Nick, and dumped you too," said Courtney. She was enjoying this way too much.
Nick jumped up from his seat and was about to say something but I put my hand on his arm, "Nick, I don't feel so great, can we go sit somewhere else?" I said softly. His blue eyes were flashing with anger directed at my two co-stars but he listened to me.
"Sure," he said, placed his arm around my shoulders and we walked away.

Courtney's point of view

"Did she just call that guy Nick?" I asked pointing at the guy's retreating figure.
Sam shrugged. "Yeah, so what?"
"Think there's any possibility of him being Nick Carter?" I asked.
"No way, he dumped her a long time ago, no way he'd hang out with her after she cheated on him, and with Lance from *NSYNC of all people," said Sam shaking her head.
"I guess so," I agreed. It was then that we saw the guy walking towards us, sans Julianna this time.
"What the fuck is your problem?" he exclaimed.
"What's it to you?" asked Sam rudely.
"You're treating my friend like a piece of crap!" he yelled.
"She deserves it after what she did to Nick," I told him.
His face filled with more anger. "She didn't do anything to Nick! If you didn't believe the press conference then believe me!"
"Why should we?" asked Sam with a short laugh.
"Because I am Nick," he said coldly and took off his hat and sunglasses.
Sam and I gasped. Nick Carter was standing in front of us and fuming with anger.
"Now for the last time, Julianna and I never dated. We recently became friends and I cannot believe the way you're treating her! She's such a great person and you took one look at a picture, which was a lie, and decided otherwise. How could you judge people like that? You didn't even give her a chance to show you what kind of a person she is before you brushed her off. You're making her life miserable and enjoying every minute of it. How can you be so cruel?" he spat out.
"I…I…we're…" I stammered. I didn't even know what to say.
"Exactly, now that you've been proved wrong, you have nothing else to say. You know, I'm actually glad that Jul is not friends with you, cause with friends like you, who needs enemies? I'm outta here," said Nick and walked away.
We saw him come up to Julianna on the other side of the set and say something to her. She seemed mad for a moment but then nodded and leaned her head on his shoulder when he sat down.
Sam and I looked at each other. "I think we made a big mistake," I said.

Julianna's point of view

"You didn't have to do that," I told Nick. "I'm sorry for losing my temper a bit but I couldn't stand the way they were treating you, especially when you didn't do anything wrong," said Nick sighing.
I sighed too. "I know, but I just want to get this day over with and go home," I said.
Nick looked at me with concern written all over his face. "Do you feel sick?" he asked.
I nodded. "But I have to do this," I said getting up. I swayed slightly and held on to Nick for support. "I'm okay," I told him before he could say something.
I went over to the director and listened as he talked about what had to be done that day.

THAT EVENING
Nick's point of view

"I'm gonna kill you for going to work today," I stated as I helped Julianna into bed.
She groaned and turned away from me. "I don't wanna talk, just sleep," she whispered.
I sighed and walked around her bed to face her. "Why did you go to work? You are still pretty sick."
"I didn't want to let anyone down," she said softly.
I brushed a stray hair away from her face. She barely made it through the day at work. A few of hours after she got there her fever got really high and I was ready to take her home right away but she wouldn't let me until she had finished the scene, which she wound up doing nearly seven hours later.
"When are you going to learn to put yourself first?" I asked but got no answer. I looked at her and realized that she was asleep.
I sighed and walked out of the room, making sure to be quiet. I was about to sit down on the couch when my cell phone rang.
"Hello?" I said quietly and moved to the kitchen, away from Julianna's bedroom.
"Nicky hey, where are you?" came Brian's voice.
"Oh, hey Bri, I'm at Julianna's," I told him and sat down on a chair.
"Again?" Brian sounded surprised.
"Well, she is my friend you know," I replied tensely.
"That's not what I meant," said Brian defensively. "It's just that a couple of months ago you two couldn't stand to be in the same room with one another," he reminded.
"Things change," I told him.
"She's still sick?" he asked.
"Yeah, and the crazy girl went to work today," I said with a short laugh.
"She what? Is she insane by any chance?" exclaimed Brian.
"I'm beginning to suspect that she is," I said nodding.
I heard Brian sigh. "Is she getting better?"
"I have no idea, she seemed worse today than she was a few days ago," I told him.
"That can't be good. But listen, Nick, I'm calling you to remind you that we're leaving at seven tomorrow, so be ready," said Brian.
"Huh? Run that by me again Bri?" I said in shock. Leaving where?
"Oh no, don't tell me you forgot about Germany!" groaned Brian.
"Right, Germany, of course…" I trailed off while racking my brain for any scrap of memory about the trip. I came up with a big fat blank.
"Great, now I owe Kevin twenty bucks," said Brian dryly.
"Why?" I asked.
"Cause he bet me twenty bucks that you were gonna forget about the trip, and I actually told him that you wouldn't forget, that you've matured," Brian said and gave a small laugh. "What was I thinking?"
Great, now I've got the guys betting on my recklessness. "How long are we gonna be there?"
"About a week."
Week? Damn, that was long.
"Why can't we record the songs here?" I asked, getting annoyed with myself for forgetting something so important.
"Cause we also need to do promotional stuff, you know how it is Nick," replied Brian and I nodded to myself. Yeah, I did know how it was.
"Fine, I'll be ready at seven tomorrow," I said and looked at my watch. "Bri, I gotta go home, I didn't realize it was after eleven," I added and got up.
"Okay, I'll see you tomorrow then," said Brian.
"Yeah, bye."
"Bye." I hung up the phone and ran my hand through my hair. Great, I just had to forget about Germany. I wasn't even packed or anything.
I quickly left a note for Julianna and then went home. As soon as I got there, I threw some stuff into a duffel bag, plopped onto my bed, and went to sleep.

Julianna's point of view

I looked at the note in my hand.

Jul,
I'm sorry but I gotta leave for Germany for a week. I didn't want to wake you up so I left you this note. Get better, and don't you dare go to work! You got that? If you go to work, as soon as I come back, I'm gonna send Kevin to your house to give you a huge lecture about taking care of yourself and not going to work when you're too sick to do so. Okay, I'm going now, take care of yourself! I'll call you when I get to Germany.

Nick

I laughed at Nick's silly note and put it down. I pulled on my jeans and grabbed a long sleeved shirt and put it on over the tank top I was wearing. I pulled my hair into a tail and grabbed my bag.
Nick can say whatever he wants about me not going to work while sick, but that doesn't mean I'll listen to him.
I got to work and immediately went to wardrobe. After getting dressed, I had to sit for an hour and a half while the makeup artist, Cynthia, had to make me look not sick.
Finally, I came out of the makeup trailer and headed straight to the set of my room. I lay down on the bed, closed my eyes, and tried to rest a bit. I felt pretty sick but I wanted to make sure that I would be able to get through the day at work.
Maybe I should've listened to Nick and stayed home. As soon as that thought entered my mind, I knew I was sick. I had to be if I was considering that Nick might have been right.
"Julianna?" I heard a soft voice call out.
I opened my eyes and saw Samantha standing there. "Look, I'm not in the mood for any of your insults right now, okay?" I told her.
"I'm not here to insult you," she said.
"Come again?" I was surprised.
"I'm here to apologize," said Samantha.
I brought my hand up to my forehead. Yep, my fever was making me delirious. I just imagined that Sam was actually going to apologize. Ladies and gentlemen, this is what happens when Julianna goes delusional.
"Huh?" was all I said.
"Yeah, you heard correctly, I want to apologize," she repeated.
"So I'm not delusional?" I asked.
"No, but I am very sorry for treating you the way I did," said Samantha, the scariest part was that I could see she meant it.
"So am I," came Courtney's voice.
I was looking back and forth between them trying to figure out if this was some sort of a trick or not.
"We really are sorry, Nick was right, we didn't even give you a chance to show us what kind of person you were before jumping to conclusions," said Sam. "Do you think that maybe we can all try to be friends?" she asked with a timid smile.
I was too tired and too sick to even come up with any smart-ass comebacks. "Yeah, I'd like that," I said. "But, if you don't mind, can we start the getting-to-know-each-other-better part a little later? I feel like crap honestly, and we still have a whole day ahead of us."
"No problem," said Courtney smiling. She then frowned. "Maybe you should go home if you feel this bad," she suggested.
"Now you sound like Nick," I told her with a small smile.
She laughed. "Okay, well, let us know if you need anything," she said and Samantha nodded.
"Thanks," I told them. They waved bye and then went to the other side of the set to go over some lines.

THAT EVENING

I dragged myself into my house and sat down on the couch. God, I felt awful. I should've never gone to work.
I looked at my answering machine and saw that I had five new messages.
Beep.
"Jul? Where are you? It's ten forty five in the morning your time so I'm going to assume that you're either asleep or in the bathroom, you better not be at work!"
Beep.
"Okay, it's twelve thirty and you're not picking up the phone. I seriously hope you're not at work."
Beep.
"It's three fifteen in the afternoon, do you know where your Julianna is?"
Beep.
"Six nineteen, pick up the phoooone."
Beep.
"Nine forty eight. Okay, that's it, I'm getting Kevin. Now where is he? I know I saw him around here somewhere. Hey Kev! Julianna obviously wants that lecture about not going to work when sick…"
I rolled my eyes at Nick's messages and went to my bedroom.
As soon as I closed my eyes, the phone rang. I glared at it hoping it would shut up, no such luck.
"Hello?" I said.
"Jul? You know, I had a very nice conversation with your answering machine today, five times!" came Nick's aggravated voice.
"Nick, I'm really tired, can we talk later?" I asked.
"You sound worse than yesterday!" he exclaimed. "When are you going to start listening to me?"
"Never, now can we please talk later?" I repeated.
I heard Nick sigh. "Julianna, please, for the love of God, don't go to work tomorrow. Allow yourself to get better," he pleaded.
"Will me staying home tomorrow get you off my case?" I asked, also sighing.
"Yes, but it won't get you out of that lecture from Kevin. Which, by the way, he already agreed to give," said Nick. I could practically hear his smile over the phone.
"Fine, I'll listen to Kevin when he gives the lecture, goodnight Nick," I told him.
"Goodnight," he said softly. I hung up the phone and rolled over onto my right side. Sleep never sounded, or felt, so good.

Nick's point of view

"I swear, one of these days that girl's gonna drive me insane," I said after I hung up the phone.
"She can't do that Nicky, cause you're already insane, as evident by the fact that you're talking to yourself," commented Brian as he was passing by.
"Funny Bri," I said dryly.
Somehow I had serious doubts as to whether Jul would actually listen to me and stay home tomorrow. Well, in her case it was tomorrow, in mine it was today. Since Germany was six hours ahead in time, it was already five in the morning where I was.
I yawned and looked around the recording studio. We had all been there since eight the previous night. Who needs sleep, right?
"Come on Nick, we gotta finish this last song," urged Kevin.
"Kev, we've been working on this song for the past four hours, how can we not be done yet?" I groaned.
"Don't whine," he told me.
I crossed my arms over my chest. "I do not whine!" I said.
"We should be done in another hour or so," he promised and I looked at the other guys. They looked as tired as I felt. Only Kevin somehow managed to look wide-awake.
"Yeah right," I grunted and went over to sit next to AJ on the couch.
"Is Julianna still sick?" he asked.
"Yeah, and getting more stubborn with each passing day," I replied.
AJ laughed. "Just like someone else I know," he commented.
"I am not as stubborn as her!" I retorted.
"Sure Nicky, whatever you say," said AJ shrugging his shoulders.
"Well, I'm not," I repeated and glared over at Kevin, who was changing some of the lyrics on the song we were trying to finish. Now, how were we supposed to finish when he keeps changing something every damn minute?
"Kev come on, the song is fine!" exclaimed Howie, seeing Kevin's changes.
"It'll sound better this way," insisted Kevin and handed out the revised version of the song to all of us.
I looked at the paper. "You just changed the entire chorus!" I yelled.
Kevin turned to look at me. "But I made it better," he said.
"Kev, at this rate, we'll be lucky if we finish the song by the end of this millennium," said Brian tersely.
Kevin sighed. "Fine, let's just get the chorus down okay? Then everyone can go back to the hotel and sleep," he suggested and looked around the room for objections. He didn't get any.
I was just glad that Kevin finally showed his human side and saw how much everyone needed sleep.


chapter 11 chapter 13