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Chapter 6- April 2001

 

              Juli parked her car at the studio lot and walked inside to studio number seven.  A 5-part harmony surrounded her as she hummed along.

              “ You can call me selfish, but all I want is your love,” Juli sat on the couch, waving Justin’s cell phone.

Justin pouted, but quickly turned his attention back to the music.

              “ What do you think?” another body dropped beside her.

              “ Hey Wade,” Juli gave him a hug, “ It’s good.  I prefer, “the Game is over’.”

              “ JC song love,” Wade retorted with a grin.

              Wade was a few years younger, but Juli loved him like a little brother.  His ability to be so goofy, and yet so serious, reminded her of Justin.  Justin watched them, a slight frown on his face.  Sure, Wade was nice and all, but it irked him to see Juli sitting with someone that close.

              “ Juli,” Justin banged on the glass, “ I’d like my cell phone, please.”

              Juli got up, entering the sound booth.  Justin huffed as she took her time.

              “ Hugs?” Juli smiled.

Justin sighed and gave her a hug.

              “ How’s my boy today?” Juli asked.

              “ Justin, get over to the mikes now,” a crabby JC snapped.

              “ Gone, I’m gone,” Justin sang.

              “ You’ll be gone alright,” JC muttered.

              “ JC, it’s called Midol.  Try it,” Juli said, entering the mixing booth.

              “ Why don’t you?” JC grinned, giving her a hug, “ Lance, Lacy’s here.”

              The ever-cheerful Lacy bounded in.

              “ I have wonderful news,” she sang.

              “ What?” Lance walked out to greet her.

              “ You guys get a break.  Johnny wants to se Justin, alone,” Lacy lifted an eyebrow in a questioning manner.

Justin looked confused, then his expression turned serious.

              “ Whoa, golden boy is actually frowning.  What did you do?” Lacy asked.

              “ I don’t know and that’s what scares me,” Justin answered.

              “ Smile, Justin.  Didn’t your momma teach you not to frown that way or your face might stay that way?” Juli tried to cheer him up.

              “ Ok, come on guys, rehersal time,” Wade stood up.

              “ I’ll go with them, Justin to learn the moves,” Juli said.

              Juli subbing in for Justin was a normal thing.  When the press needed to do interviews with Justin, he missed many rehersals.

              “ Johnny won’t be too hard, Justin.  Don’t worry,” Juli gave him one of her many hugs.

              “ I’m just surprised he wants to talk to me, alone,” Justin bit his lip.

              “ Justin, its Johnny.  Now go with Lacy,” Juli pushed him on before running after the other four.

~*~

              Justin hesitantly entered Johnny’s office.  Johnny, Barry and Clive all sat along the conference table.

              “ Ok, ok, ok, I did switch the salt and sugar on tour,” Justin admitted.

              “ Nice to know, Sit, Justin,” Johnny ordered.

              Justin was sitting before Johnny finished talking.

              “ Don’t look so scared, Justin.  We’re just here to discuss a simple matter,” Johnny said, “ Your personal life.”

              “ Please not my love life, because at this moement-” Justin began.

              “ Exactly,” Johnny interrupted, “ Now that you and Britney are no longer together, we need a new girl for you.”

              “ Wait, I don’t like where this is going,” Justin spoke up.

              “ Justin, we need to hype this up.  Get *N Sync back in the tabloids with ‘Celebrity’ due out in a few months.  A girl would do nicely to help,” Barry spoke up.

              Justin glanced around the table.

              “ What are you proposing?” Justin asked with a sigh.

              “ A simple contract.  You will find yourself a girl who will sign this contract, then you will have a month to become comfortable as a couple,” Clive answered.

              “ Like who?” Justin leaned back, putting his feet on the table.

              “ Juli might be a good choice since you two are very comfortable together,” Barry said.

              It was dead silent as Justin sat back up.

              “ Don’t even bring Juli into this,” Justin snapped, feeling protective over his best friend.

              “ She would portray the part well, Justin and Juli is very beautiful,” Johnny added.

              “ My Mom put you up to this, huh?” Justin crossed his arms angrily.

              “ Actually, I came up with the idea,” Clive replied, “ ‘Celebrity’ has to do good or Jive might consider dropping your contract.”

Justin simply got up and walked out.

              He angrily stalked to the dance studio.  Justin watched Juli who was easily filling in for him.  He smiled.  She was even wearing his bandana so the guys felt more comfortable with her.

              “ Justina, you’re off,” Wade said.

              Justin chuckled, getting Wade’s attention.

              “ Justin, you’re back.  You’re twin here is getting on my nerves,” Wade replied.

              “ Feeling brave, aren’t we, Wade?” Juli rolled her eyes.  “ Here’s your bandana, Justin.  I just got booted off,” Juli handed him his bandana.

              “ What did Johnny want?” JC asked.

              “ None of your business,” Justin snapped.

              JC visably backed off.  Wade called a five minute break.  Juli simply pulled Justin over to the side.

              “ Spill it, bud,” she ordered.

Justin crossed his arms stubbornly.

              “ I can’t help you unless you tell me what’s wrong,” Juli replied.

              “ Just leave me alone, Juli,” Justin stalked off.

              The other guys saw Juli’s bottom lip tremble.  She was in shock.  Justin never blew her off.  She leaned against the wall and slid down it in tears.  None of the guys had ever seen her like this.

              “ Juli,” Joey bent beside her.

              “ Leave me alone,” Juli whispered, cradling her head in her arms.

              JC walked over, bending down beside her.

              “ Juli, babe, what’s wrong?” he asked.

              “ I don’t know.  He just yelled at me.  We never argue.” Juli cried into JC’s shoulder.

              JC looked up angrily.  Justin was sitting on a couch nearby, staring sullenly at the ground.  Even though JC and Juli weren’t a couple, they still were in love.  JC stalked over to Justin.

              “ Why the hell are you blowing off Juli?  Where is your common sense, boy?” JC hissed.

The empty look in Justin’s eyes scared JC.

              “ Stay out of it, JC.  You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Justin replied.

He got up and left.

              “ Practice is over for today,” Wade announced.

Juli got up and trailed Justin to Johnny’s office.

              “ Ok, Johnny, I’ll do it,” she heard Justin sigh.

              “ When you find a girl, tell us, or we could recruit Juli,” Clive said.

              “ I told you to leave her out of this,” Justin snapped.

              Justin came out to see Juli in the hallway.

              “ Juli, bad things happen to those who are naughty,” Justin said.

              “ I know.  Last year I got a lump of coal from Santa,” Juli replied seriously.

Justin smiled.

              “ Did you hear?” Justin asked softly.

              “ Yeah, come on, Mister.  You have a lot of explaining to do,” Juli grabbed the strings on his sweatshirt and pulled him behind her.

Justin pulled them away and took her hand.

              “ I’m sorry baby for the things I’ve done,” Justin sang.

              “ You’re forgiven as soon as you tell me everything,” Juli replied.

              “ Okey dokey, Bob,” Justin swung her hand up and down like they had when they were kids.

Juli shook her head, almost laughing at the mental picture of Justin and her at 75 walking down the street, hobbling on canes, but still swinging their hands.  Juli stopped.  When they were 75, Justin would probably be doing that with his wife, not her.  A sense of loniless washed over her, but she pushed it away, knowing to savor everyday.

 Chapter 7-coming soon!!