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Chapter 5

 

              Justin and Lance could hear Juli and Lacy’s laughter as soon as they exited the elevator.

              “ No, no makeup, evil Lacy,” Juli was yelling.

              “ I’m making you come,” Lacy replied.

              “ Come on, I’ll be the third wheel,” Juli protested, “ Ugh, you’re putting baby blue on my eyes.”

              “ Shut it,” Lacy ordered.

              Lance knocked on the door.  There was a loud crash, then silence.  Finally the door opened to a messy room.  Lacy’s eyes peeked out around the door.

              “ You’re going, Justin?” a smile crossed her face.

              “ Hello, loyal BOYFRIEND here,” Lance crossed his arms.

              “ Yeah, I’m going.  Where’s Jules?” Justin asked.

              Juli appeared at the door.

              “ I thought,” Juli trailed off, “ Give us ten minutes.”

She shut the door.  The minutes ticked by as the two guys fidgeted in their suits, waiting for the girls.  Finally Juli opened the door.

              “ Close your eyes, Lance.  I have taken Lacy and made a goddess,” Juli ordered.

              Lacy exited and Justin’s jaw dropped.

              “ Looking good, Lacy,” Justin smiled.

              “ Ok, you can look,” Juli said.

The look of awe on Lance’s face was priceless.

              “ Is that really you, Lace?” Lance asked.

              “ Yep, Juli is my hero,” Lacy answered.

              Lance hesitantly took her arm as is she were a precious doll.

              “ I’m not gonna break, Jamie,” Lacy giggled as the elevator doors closed.

Juli closed the hotel room door behind her.  Justin stared openly at her.  A simple white dress that fell to her ankles with her curls cascaging ro her waist was enough for Justin to forget about the party.

              “ Lock her up and give me the key,” Justin muttered, running his eyes over her.

              “ Someone’s staring,” Juli smiled.

              “ You look…wow,” Justin stammered, flushing a little.

              Juli sensed his embarrassment as he ducked his head.  She simply took his had, knowing he was still a shy boy.

              “ You look very handsome too,” Juli straightened his collar in the elevator.

She nervously played with his tie too.  Justin finally took one of her hands as they walked out.

              “ Don’t worry.  Everyone will love you, Jules.  It’s like any other Jive party,” Justin reassured her.

              “ Except I was with JC then,” Juli replied.

              Juli and JC had been the couple of the century until the press found out.  Juli was lucky to have kept her reputation intact and JC’s friendship.  No one still knew why they’d so suddenly broke up when they seemed so strong.  Juli smiled wistfully at the memory before getting into the limo.

~*~

              “ We’re here.  Just remember to smile,” Justin whispered.

He helped her out of the limo.  Camera’s flashed as they walked towards the building.

              “Are you two a couple?

              “How long have you been dating?

Reporters yelled questions.  Justin merely smiled and kept walking, keeping a tight grip on Juli’s shaking hand.  They finally entered the building.

              “ I don’t think I’ll be seeing anything but little black…Wow,” Juli gaped.

              She’d been to some Jive parties, but this one outdid them all in its splendor.

              “ I hate these formal things, especially on my birthday.  Give me a club and a beautiful girl any day,” Joey pulled on his tight collar, “ Thank god we only have to make an appearance.”

              He walked on ahead.  Everyone seemed to stare as Justin and Juli entered the main room.

              “ Justin, why is everyone staring?” Juli smiled, whispering through clenched teeth.

              “ Because you look great and we probably are going to be the talk of the party tonight,” Justin looked down at her.

              Juli nervously bit her lip.  Justin smiled warmly to a couple nearby.

              “ Justin,” the salt and pepper haired man greeted him.

              “ Mr. Marks,” Justin shook his hand.

              “ And who is your lovely date?” Mr. Marks asked.

              Juli blushed, not used to all the attention suddenly bestowed upon her.

              “ This is Juli Thomas.  We grew up together,” Justin answered.

              “ You know what they always say: Friends always make the best mates,” Mr. Marks nudged Justin with a knowing smile.

Now it was Justin’s turn to blush.

              “ It was a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Marks,” Juli smiled graciously, “ Excuse us.”

Juli moved away with Justin not too far behind.

              “ Sorry about that, Jules,” Justin whispered.

              “ It’s ok,” Juli walked out onto the balcony.

              The Atlantic Ocean glittered in the distance under a fading sunset.  The clouds were streaked with yellows, purples and pinks, like colored cotton candy.

              “ How beautiful,” Juli breathed.

              “ You’ve changed since I last saw you,” Justin said.

              “ It was only a month,” Juli shrugged.

              “ You’re not wearing makeup anymore now and you’re a lot more toned and-” Justin began.

              “ I’m glad you noticed.  No one else ever does,” Juli interrupted.

              “ I always notice.  Like in second grade when we chopped off all our hair.  I told you you still looked pretty,” Justin smiled dreamily at the memory.

              “ Even though we looked like twin brothers.  I remember being called Justin a few times,” Juli grimiced.

              A soft wind blew, interrupting the silence.  Memories flew through their heads.  They’d always been there for one another, through anything.

**~Flashback~**

              Justin approached Juli who sat behind a lemonade stand.

              “ Juli, it’s not even hot.  Why are you selling lemonade?” Justin asked.

              “ Mommy says if I earn the money for the basketball,I can have it,” Juli answered.

              “ Come on, Jules, you can use mine,” Justin said, spinning his on his finger.

              “ No, I’m staying here,” Juli looked up stubbornly.

              “ Ok,” Justin plopped down beside her.

Juli smiled, giving him a hug as they sat out th ewait.

**~End of flashback~**

              They never had sold any lemonade.  Justin smiled wryly.  He’d always stood up for Juli, even when she was wrong and she did the same.

              “ I’m so glad I still have you, Jules,” Justin pulled her into a hug, “ You’ve always been there for me.”

They were silent, just listening to one another’s even breathing.  Things were changing and everything was bound to get turned upside down.

~*~

              “ Mmm, they do make a cute couple, Clive, but how will they react to this?  How do I convince Justin to go along with this?” Johnny Wright looked up questioningly.

              “ I’m sure you’ll think of something,” Clive replied.

~*~

              “ Happy birthday dear, Justin and Juli, happy birthday to you,” people sang.

A huge birthday cake was placed in front of the two.  Like two children, the two fought over who blew out the most candles.

              “ Thank you everyone,” Justin said, looking at the *N Sync guys and girls plus his family.

              “ Ditto,” Juli chimed in.

              “ For the presents and cake,” Justin continued.

              “ Ditto,” Juli said.

              “ And for baby blue thongs,” Justin finished with a cheeky grin.

              “ Dit-” Juli stopped as the other four guys burst into laughter, “ Oh no you didn’t.”

              Juli picked up a table knife, chasing Justin around the table.

              “ To the death,” Juli challenged.

Everyone was laughing hilariously at the two.  Juli pushed Justin against a wall.

              “ Against a wall there, Justin?” Juli held the knife at his neck.

              “ I give,” Justin dropped his knife.

              “ Girls rule, boys drool,” Juli danced around the living room.

              “ Sure, Juli,” Justin swooped down.

              He hoisted her up, running towards the pool.

              “ No, Justin,  I’m gonna kick you where it hurts,” Juli screamed.

              “ Ow,” Justin wailed.

A loud splash was barely heard above the laughter.

              Juli entered, wet, but looking very proud of her self.  Lacy handed her a towel.

              “ Justin’s, shall we say, nursing a well-aimed kick wound,” Juli dried her hair.

Justin finally entered.

              “ God, Juli, that’s gonna leave a bruise,” Justin whined.

              “ Yeah, on your poor kids,” Juli retorted.

              “ Break it up,” Lynn ordered, “ Lord knows, you’ll be the one having them, Juli.”

              Both Justin and Juli’s mouths dropped open.  They stared at Lynn.

              “ Uh huh, have you taken that pill yet, Lynn?  The one for disillisionment?” Juli finally said.

              “ Oh you two both know I’m speaking the truth.  You’ll end up married and live happily ever after,” Lynn shrugged.

              Everyone saw the side glances Justin and Juli sent each other.  Juli finally looked all the way at Justin, disgust apparent on her face.

              “ Eww,” both exclaimed, looking away at the same time.

              “ Ok, family fued time.  Thanks everyone,” Justin said.

              Juli left for the pool.  This time she’d worn her swimsuit, but it wasn’t much more modest than her underthings.  Juli dived in, finally deciding to keep on her shirt.

              “ They’re on the warpath again,” Justin said once she hoisted herself up to sit beside him.

              “ Sometimes I really hate it when they do this,” Juli sighed.

              “ Especially when its in front of people.  I mean, we’re best friends.  I can’t see us as more unless we’re acting,” Justin said.

              “ I know, but I’m really starting to get scared,” Juli sniffed.

              “ Why?” Justin asked.

              “ I’m so afraid they’re going to ruin our friendship.  I mean, I can’t imagine not being able to wake up and call or talk to you because our friendship was ruined,” Juli was on the verge of tears.

              “ You’ll never lose me, Jules.  I promise,” Justin stuck out his hand, “ Secret handshake?”

              A smile crossed Juli’s face.  They shook hands three times, then gave each other a hug.  The handshake wasn’t flashy or fun, but a binding prmise.

              “ Come on, let’s go get some popcorn and see what’s on HBO,” Justin helped her up.

Juli followed him out.  No matter how trivial the problem was, Justin always wanted to know about it.  He was special and why any girl didn’t want him was a surprise to her.

Chapter 6