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Chapter 8

 

              Justin and Juli entered Johnny’s office ten minutes before rehearsal.

              “ We’ll sign,” Justin said for both of them.

Two bundles of paper were placed before them.  Johnny went over the basics as Juli opened hers to the last page.  She looked up at Justin.  Justin took the pen, his hand shaking and signed it.  Juli did the same.

              “ You have a month to become comfortable as a couple.  After a month, the press will be told,” Johnny said.

              Juli nodded.  Barry and Clive signed under each contract as witnesses.

              “ Come on, Jules.  Practice starts in five minutes and I haven’t ate yet,” Justin said.

They walked out, hand in hand, like nothing had happened.

              “ How are we going to tell everyone else?” Juli asked, once they were in the car.

              “ They’ll get a clue.  I’ll simply tell them we’re going out tonight, then tomorrow when the tour starts, we start our act,” Justin answered.

              “ I’ll pick you up at seven, Justin,” Juli said, pulling up in front of the coliseum.

              “ Bye, babe,” Justin waved, and then entered the arena.

              Justin watched her drive off.  He swung his duffel bag over his shoulder, and then entered the main area.

              “ Everyone, give a standing ovation to Justin Timberlake who finally decided to grace us with his presence,” Wade clapped, “ Practice started an hour ago.”

              “ I was told nine,” Justin replied.

              “ It was eight.  Didn’t Juli tell-” Wade began.

              “ Leave Juli out of this, Wade.  We’ve both had a lot on our minds.  I do have a life outside of this,” Justin snapped.

              “ Uh huh,” Lance muttered.

              “ Mmm, Justin and Juli, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, first comes love, then comes marriage, then the deformed baby in the baby carriage,” Chris sang.

              “ Do you feel like going to the hospital today, Chris?  If so, please keep singing,” Justin sent him a dark look.

JC shook his head, a sign for Chris to be silent.  Wade motioned for them to go to their starting positions and sighed to begin the rehearsal.

~*~

              Tour began the next morning at five am sharp.  Juli drove up with the Harless’ and Timberlake’s.  JC’s eyes narrowed.  Justin and Juli seemed to be more touchy than usual, more like a…  JC shook his head.  Justin and Juli being a couple was like oil and water combining.

              “ Morning, Juli,” Lacy skipped up.

              “ Hey, Lace.  I’m glad you’re coming.  I thought I was going to have to room with Justin,” Juli said.

              Justin’s arm caught Juli’s waist.  JC and Lacy gaped as he whispered something in her ear.  JC blinked a few times.  Was that a blush on Juli’s cheeks?

              “ I guess I am rooming with Justin,” Juli smiled secretively.

JC and Lacy exchanged a look.  When had this happened?

              Justin pulled Juli off to the side.  He softly pushed her up against a bus.

              “ I’m going to kill you.  That crack about the thong made them think you were whispering something nasty in my ear,” Juli whispered.

              “ Hey, I’m doing my part,” Justin shrugged.

              JC and Lacy watched the two.  They seemed so loving, so cute, and so damn wrong.

              “ Something’s up,” Lacy said.

JC nodded in agreement.

              “ They’re supposed to be best friends, not lovers,” JC added.

              “ Who’s gone from being best friends to…” Lance trailed off, “ Lacy, I trusted you.”

              “ Not me and JC, James.  Justin and Juli,” Lacy replied.

              Lance’s mouth fell open, seeing the two leaned up against the bus.

              “ When did that happen?” Lance asked.

              “ Justin said he was taking Juli out, but I didn’t think he meant like an actual date,” JC answered.

The three boarded their bus after a long silence.

~*~

              Justin sat with the other four for breakfast.  Lacy and Juli finally joined them.

              “ Morning,” Juli said, sliding in beside Justin.

Lacy snuggled next to Lance, stabbing her waffles violently.

              “ And they say JC isn’t a morning person.  What did those waffles ever do to you,” Lance grabbed the fork and lifted one up to her mouth.

              “ Nothing, I just hate people who can’t trust other people,” Lacy snapped.

              Her gaze was on Juli, who had laid her head on Justin’s shoulder and was oblivious to anything else.  Justin looked down at Juli.

              “ Juli, aren’t you going to eat?” Joey asked, noting her empty plate.

              “ Shh, she’s counting calories,” Justin put a finger to his lips.

              “ I heard that, Timberlake.  I’m not dead when I sleep,” Juli mumbled.

              “ Course not, Jules,” Justin crooned, “ I remember last night very well.  I’m sure you do too.”

Juli’s eyes flew open as she met Justin’s gaze.  Everyone else just gaped.

              Clive walked in with a cheerful smile on his face.

              “ And how is everyone this morning?” he asked.

              “ Peachy until you came,” Chris groaned.

              “ We have the MTV thing at the San Diego venue today,” Clive continued, “ Let’s go.”

              Justin stood up, helping Juli to her feet.  His hand pulled on her wrist softly, pulling her close to him.

              “ I’m killing Clive for this idea,” Justin let his forehead touch hers.

              “ It’s not any worse than any other plans we’ve done,” Juli replied.

              “ Do you two mind?  We have an innocent child here,” Lance yelled.

              “ Lacy’s not innocent, Lance,” Justin retorted.

He leaned down and gave Juli a soft kiss.

              Everything froze.  JC’s hand stopped in mid air to run through his hair.  Lance’s mouth stopped moving as he held his cell phone and Lacy just gaped.  Juli almost stumbled, but Justin kept her upright.

              “ What was that for?” Juli muttered.

              “ To show Clive we’ve adjusted to the change,” Justin replied.

              “ Couldn’t you have done it a different way?” Juli pinched his side hard.

              They slowly joined the group.

              “ Come on, you guys,” Chris led the way out.

JC grabbed Juli back.

              “ What is going on?” JC asked.

              “ What do you mean?” Juli tried to look innocent.

              “ The kisses, you two are acting like lovers,” JC replied.

              “ Not any worse that you and Bobbee,” Juli retorted.

              “ God, Juli,” JC stalked away.

Justin stood between JC and Juli, deciding who to side with.  Juli won.  Justin walked over and pulled her close.

              “ Justin, come on,” Dre, a security guard had to pull Justin away.

              “ I’ll be back in a few hours,” Justin promised.

Juli nodded.

              Justin was thrown into the van.  Four pairs of steely eyes glared at him.

              “ What is with you and Juli?” Lance asked.

Justin took a deep breath.  He saw Clive look up slightly from his planner.

              “ We’re acting normal.  Juli and I, well, we just, um,” Justin stuttered, hoping they were falling for it.

              “ I told you they looked cute together,” Lacy slapped Lane’s shoulder, “ Justin and Juli and dating.”

              Justin flushed at her knowing tone.

              “ Ok, you were scaring us.  We thought it was another one of your plans,” Joey said.

Clive snorted, then noticed everyone staring at him.

              “ Justin and Juli together, uh, yeah right,” Clive quickly covered his mess-up.

              “ No, seriously, Juli and I are dating,” Justin said seriously.

Talk resumed on other subjects.  Justin’s pager vibrated.  He looked at it.  There was a message from Clive: You even had me going.  Good job.  Justin glanced over to see Clive nod approvingly.  Justin smiled, then joined in on the conversation.

              Juli was waiting at the venue, talking to Carson while she waited for Justin to come out.  Justin came behind her, putting a finger to his lips.

              “ Look out,” Justin swooped down on her.

Carson laughed as Justin spun Juli around.  Some fans watched curiously.

              “ How is my favorite *N Syncer?” Juli smoothed his jacket.

              “ I am fine, O adored goddess,” Justin teased.

              “ O beautiful adored goddess, thank you very much,” Juli laughed. 

              “ Forgive me,” Justin dropped to his knees.

              “ I wouldn’t do that, Justin.  If any reporter sees that, you could make front page of the tabloids,” Juli giggled.

              “ Marry me?” Justin asked dramatically.

              Juli’s right hand dropped to her forehead dramatically. 

              “ Carry me away, my prince,” she giggled.

Justin picked her up.  Juli easily moved and had him giving her a piggyback ride.

              “ Juli, pull up your pants,” Joey yelled.

Juli giggled as she tried to pull up her jeans while bouncing on Justin’s back.

              “ Juli, get away from Justin.  We have to stop,” JC pulled her off Justin’s back.

Juli quickly pulled up her jeans. 

              “ Don’t you just hate the kind where it’s just frayed at the top?  They never stay up,” Juli chatted with some of the fans.

Justin watched from his place with a slight smile.

              “ Bye,” Juli waved.

She had to get back to make some phone calls and do stuff.  Justin waved back, watching her go.

~*~

              Juli stood out on the hotel balcony, staring at the Pacific.  Two arms encircled her waist.

              “ I’m back,” Justin announced.

              “ That was fun,” Juli said.

              “ Except for the fact that you were totally shocked when I kissed you,” Justin replied.

              Juli flushed, hoping he couldn’t see her in the dim light.

              “ I’m just not used to it.  We still have a few more days to get used to each other,” Juli shrugged.

              “ Practice makes perfect,” Justin nodded, “ I’m going to take a shower.”

Juli nodded and he moved away.

              She laid on one of the beds, flipping channels aimlessly.

              “ Juli, bring me a towel, boxers and sweats, please,” Justin called.

              “ Sure thing,” Juli was used to the request. 

She grabbed the forgotten items and handed them to him.  Justin stepped out, causing Juli to turn quickly.

              “ The towel is on, Jules,” Justin said, amused.

              “ I, I, didn’t, umm,” Juli stammered, “ I’m outta here.”

              Justin chuckled as she bolted out.  He finally exited to find her laying on the bed, eyes closed.  She looked like an angel with the dim light settling on her like a heavenly glow.  Justin brushed her forehead with a quick kiss, pushing some curls out of her face.

              “ Justin, come on.  We’re going clubbing,” Joey yelled.

              “ One sec,” Justin scribbled a note for Juli, then grabbed his jacket and left.

              Juli opened her eyes.  She picked up the note and crumpled it without reading it.  She pulled her knees up to her chest and let out the tears she’d been holding back for days.  Today was her daddy’s birthday.

Chapter 9