Leigh Anne nodded. "Yup, he's beyond frightened. I dunno why, but he didn't appreciate the thought of sleeping in a sleeping bag on the dock for the next four months."
"Got Kev?" Jill turned to Kristin, who nodded, smiling.
"Howie will be good, and Nick will be like he always is with Justin," Jill mused. "And I'll just tell him to ignore anything AJ says."
"Does he know he's not going to get his typical forty-five year old businessman father and forty-three year old housewife mother?" Amanda asked.
"Well, no...But he'll figure it out pretty darn quick," Jill smiled brightly.
"So let me get this straight - Justin asked you out, you said yes, but Brian said he wanted Justin to meet them all before you go out on your date. And you're agreeing?" Claudia's eyebrows raised. "Why?"
"Why not?" Jill replied. "It'll do him some good to get a tiny bit frightened."
"He's late," Leigh Anne groaned, looking at her watch. "I'm so glad we told them all to be here half an hour early instead of the real time he was coming!"
"That's mean," Kevin stated, walking in the door.
"Do you know how to knock, old man?" Leigh Anne asked playfully.
"Old man this," Kevin replied, hauling Leigh Anne over his shoulder and walking purposefully towards the back of the house, where Leigh Anne knew she would be dumped into the pool.
"I'm sorry!" Leigh Anne screamed. "You're not old! I love you!"
"Uhm, Bri won't like that," Howie stated, walking in behind Nick, who looked confused.
AJ skipped into the room, swinging a giant red and white swirled lollipop. "What's goin' on? Who's going after Leigh?"
"Did someone give you a bad batch of raccoon medicine, X?" Jill asked, eyeing AJ.
AJ rolled his eyes, settling down. "No, I just thought the skipping would be a nice touch." AJ shrugged, licking the lollipop.
Jill walked up to him, plopped onto his lap facing him, and put her finger right between his eyes.
AJ tried to look at the tip of her finger and ended up crossing his eyes. "Ahh!" He jumped and shook his head before glaring at Jill, who ignored his antics.
AJ's eyes narrowed and he shrugged coolly, his face in a maybe-I-will, maybe-I-won't expression.
Jill's eyes narrowed and her jaw tightened as Kevin entered the room, Leigh Anne a few feet behind him. Kristin let out an exasperated what is he thinking? sigh and combined it with a roll of her eyes and her head. What is he doing?
Kevin cringed and Nick nearly laughed aloud, knowing Kevin had seen that look quite a bit, but quickly shut his mouth when he saw Jill lean close to AJ, her eyes hard.
Everyone in the room but Jill held their breath as she pushed off of AJ's lap so she was standing over him, dangerously close to him.
"You screw around and you'll reget it, McLean," Jill snapped.
Howie sucked in a breath. She had never, ever called him 'McLean' no matter how mad she'd gotten at him.
The room was so quiet the silence began to hurt Leigh Anne's ears as she watched Jill walk away, giving Nick a quick greeting kiss on the cheek before jogging nonchalantly up the stairs.
"Anyone want a drink?" Kevin's voice broke the silence.
"A beer," was AJ's reply, the others just shook their heads. Kevin shrugged and headed to the kitchen, Kristin right behind him.
"Get another one," She said as Kevin pulled out a beer and a Pepsi.
"You want a beer?" Kevin asked incredulously. Kristin drank alcohol, but not beer. She'd drink wine, wine coolers, things like that. Not beer.
"No, AJ's gonna get completely wasted, may as well help him along. Get it over with."
"What is going on with him?" Kevin sighed.
"He'll be fine once Amanda gets back later tonight," Kristin said over her shoulder, returning to the family room.
"I'm here!" Brian breezed into the family room from the other door.
"You're late," Leigh Anne replied.
"Ha! So is Fro Boy!" Brian cried triumphantly.
"No, Fro Boy has three more minutes," Leigh Anne laughed.
Brian glared. "That's not nice."
"No, but it worked and no one got hurt," Leigh Anne shot back.
Claudia and Kristin coughed pointedly and Leigh Anne flinched. "Ok, well, we'll talk later, Bear."
Brian shrugged and nodded as the doorbell rang.
"That's him!" Jill's voice echoed down the stairs. "Be down in a moment!"
Claudia smiled. "I'll get it, he doesn't know me."
Brian smirked as he heard Justin's voice floating around as Claudia led him towards the family room of the large house.
"Justin!" Jill appeared at the top of the stairs and she slipped down them perfectly, beaming at Justin, who stared in awe at her.
"You look beautiful," Justin bit his bottom lip and grinned a crooked grin, making Jill smile.
"Thanks. Come on, they're all wantin' to 'approve' you. Ignore anything X says."
Justin swallowed hard. "Ok. Should I be this nervous?"
Claudia smirked at Jill, then walked ahead of them into the room.
"Why? You've met them all before," Jill smiled.
"Them all? How many are there?" Justin's eyebrows knit closer together as he spoke.
"Uhm, nine," Jill smiled innocently.
"Nine?" Justin asked incredulously. "Jeez, what do you got in there? O-Town and their girlfriends?"
"Uhm, well, you're actually not too far off," Jill said, leading him into the room.
"Hey, Justin," Kevin smiled and Justin's jaw dropped. As Jill reached over to lift it back into place, Kevin continued. "So, ya think my little niece is hot, huh?"
"Your little...She's your...?" Justin stammered.
"Yeah, uhm, Brian adopted me," Jill bit her lip to stop from smiling so widely it hurt.
Justin recovered quite well, in Jill's opinion. "Well, ok. That explains a lot, I was a little confused there for awhile."
The guys laughed and began talking between themselves as Justin turned to Jill. "Who's X, and why do I ignore him?"
"AJ, 'cause he's in a bad mood," Jill replied, turning to face the rest of the guys. "I'm going to run upstairs and grab a hoodie, then I'll be ready, ok?"
Jill ran up the stairs and AJ stood. "Ok, Timberlake, come with me."
Justin cautiously followed AJ into the kitchen where AJ handed Justin a Pepsi. "Ok, you listen up. You ever even sort of hurt her, and I will be the shit out of you. Every single time I see you."
Justin gulped, then nodded. "Ok."
AJ grinned slowly. "Good. Now come on, we gotta get back."
AJ and Justin returned just as Jill jogged down the back set of stairs. "Ready, J?"
Justin nodded and Brian stood. "Nice to meet you, Justin."
Justin smiled back and said, "Nice to meet you, too. I mean, other than for business."
Brian stopped smiling and pointed at Jill. "Do you see how she looks right now?"
Justin nodded warily. "Yes..."
"She better look exactly like that when she gets home tonight."
Justin gulped for the second time that night. "Ok."
"Daddy," Jill said.
Brian just smiled and whispered, "A little fear will do him some good," in her ear as he hugged her.
"Not that much, 'cause I'm sure AJ instilled a little," Jill whispered back.
Brian just shrugged innocently. "Maybe."
Leigh Anne and Kristin, who were both behind Jill, began waving their arms frantically, in a cut-throat motion, telling him not to do that.
"Yeah, maybe," Jill laughed.