Chapter 7

            Lydia walked through the door expecting to see Jeni, Klare, and the guys, but what she found was an empty ally-way. “Mike, did you pick the wrong door? Where are they all?”

            “This isn’t a game show so I know that I have the right door. I have no idea how to answer your last question. Let me go ask Jake,” Mike said while walking over to another big bodyguard.

            After watching them talk for about five minutes and seeing the expression on Mike’s face she decided she’d go over and find out what was going on. When she approached she could hear Jake giving Mike directions. “Turn left at the second light and go straight for two blocks. You’ll be able to see the sign when you turn the corner, but there’s really no need for you to rush. We have Rob, Joe, Al, Bubba, and Max with them. They will be totally protected until we get there. Remember, Mike, Justin’s just a boy and he does crazy things sometimes. Go easy on him ok?” Jake explained.

            “Mike, what happened? Is there something wrong?” Lydia asked a slight worry coming into her body.

            “They left!! That stupid kid!! Justin Timberlake is a dead man!!!”

            “Mike calm down. They are going to be ok, right? Why did they leave?”

            “Justin suggested that they go get some food and bring it back here so you guys could just hang out in the room and talk. That was 20 minutes ago. Your friends are in JC’s room waiting for them to get back, so you can go up there and wait. I have to go get them and bring them back here. I don’t know why those guys listen to him! They are older and should be able to make their own decisions,” Mike said finally calming down.

            “What room is JC’s? I’ll go up there and wait,” Lydia said, all the worry finally out of her body.

            “Room 152 on the top floor. Do you think you can handle that? I’ll have Jake take you there because he has the key,” Mike informed her with a reassuring smile.

            Lydia and Jake walked toward the elevator and waited patiently for the gold colored doors to open. As they slowly slid open, Lydia turned around to see if Mike had already left. He waved to her and turned to walk out the door. She stepped onto the elevator and once again peered out the doors before they slowly and smoothly closed. She was feeling confident about her shyness at the moment, but what would happen when the guys entered the room she wasn’t sure about.


            “Justin, I think we should leave now. We’ve had our food for, like, EVER. Shouldn’t we get back to the hotel? Jeni and Klare are there waiting, and I’m sure that Lydia is there by now,” Lance said while looking at his watch.

            “Lance, chill! We’ll go back I n a few minutes, let me kick Joey’s butt at air hockey first,” Justin said. They had gone to the arcade after they picked up the Chinese food they had ordered while waiting for Lydia to arrive. When Klare had told them that Lydia was running late they decided to order dinner in and get to know the girls better. They wanted to get out for a while so they decided they’d go get the food while the girls waited for Lydia to show up. On their way to get the food at the new Chinese place Justin saw an arcade and convinced the rest of the guys to play a few games. That was a half hour ago.

            JC was about to tell Justin the game was over when he noticed a not-so-happy Mike walk in. “Ummm… J, it’s time to go.”

            “JC, I told you. As soon as I show Joey I can kick his butt at air hockey we can leave,” Justin said not even noticing that Mike was walking up behind him.

            “Well, hello there little Mr. I’ll-do-as-I-damn-well-please, are you ready to leave? Lydia is at the hotel with the girls, and at the moment, I’m not very happy with you Justin,” Mikes voice rising with every word, “What did you think you were doing? Leaving the hotel with out me! I am assigned to you! ME! If anything happens to you I am the one to blame. Next time think before you do something like this!”

            “Mike, I get the point! I messed up, but will you PLEASE stop yelling at me in public? GEEZE!!!!!!” Justin said, looking around at all the people who were now realizing he was there.

            “Yeah Mike. This could hurt our reputation,” Joey said, “Let’s just leave.”

            “Go get in the car. Where are your bodyguards?”

            “They are over there at the table,” JC pointed.

            Mike looked at the table and called for them to leave. Mike’s face was red and his anger was now very visible to everyone who looked at him. All 5 guys jumped into the limo that was waiting outside, while the five bodyguards got in the SUV behind it. They were going to follow the limo to the hotel and meet up with Mike for, what Mike called, a “special meeting”.

            When the guys were in the limo and were finally on their way back to the hotel Mike spoke, “I’m sorry for yelling at you like you are two Justin, but you had no reason to go out there and get the food. You could have had Jake, heck, even ME do it for you. You also should have called me or told me that you were going to leave, instead you told Jake. You know Jake’s memory sucks. He doesn’t tell anyone anything until it’s too late!”

            “Mike, I really am sorry. I just wanted to be normal, and I got kinda bored waiting for Lydia. So we went out and had fun. Is that a crime?”

            “J, that’s not cool. We told Jeni and Klare that we would be back as soon as possible. I admit that I am at fault too, I was the one who actually stopped at the arcade,” JC admitted.

            “It’s over. Can’t we just forget it happened???? PLEASE!!! Let’s just have fun tonight. If we all promise not to leave without asking you will you leave us alone?” Lance asked.

            “I’ll drop is as soon as you all promise,” Mike gave in.

            “I promise,” Joey said.

            “I promise, too,” JC said.

            “Me too,” Chris admitted.

            “OK. Sounds great!” Lance said enthusiastically. Everyone then looked at Justin. It was his time to promise, and his would be the hardest one to keep. He was still all boy, and liked to go against the rules.

            “FINE! I promise! Are you happy Mike?” Justin said.

            “Very,” Mike said with a satisfied grin on his face.

     Chapter 8

    Lydia, Jeni, and Klare sat on JC’s bed waiting for the guys to arrive. Lydia had just finished informing them why she had been late and now they were talking about what they were going to wear to the concert. Jeni and Klare had brought outfits to change into, but Lydia didn’t know they were going to be changing so she hadn’t brought

anything. She didn’t really want to change anyway. She had considered bringing nicer clothes to change into but figured it’d be nothing compared to what Jeni and Klare were going to be wearing so she decided not to. Jeni was describing her outfit to Lydia when they heard the guys’ voices in hall. Lydia thought it’d be a good idea for her to open the door for them to give them a good second impression, so she stood up and headed toward the door. Her hand was on the doorknob when all of a sudden it flew open and hit her in the head, knocking her to the ground. She grabbed her head and moaned in pain as she tired to make the room stop spinning. When she finally got the guts, she opened her eyes to see who had, once again, caused her to look like a fool. What she saw caused her to want to crawl under a rock and die. Justin was standing over her with a puzzled look on his face. She couldn’t see an apologetic look and that caused anger to rise in her. How can he stand there and look at me like that? It was HIS fault, he should at least apologize!

            Lydia slowly stood up, without any help from Justin or her friends, and looked at him with disgust written all over her face. She had a knot on her forehead the size of Oreo cookie, and her nose was starting to bruise. “One word for you Justin: APOLOGY!” Lydia practically yelled at him. Justin stood where he had for the past five minutes looking at her.

            “Lydia? I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were in front of the door,” he apologized once recognition hit.

            Lydia couldn’t tell if he was sincere or not but decided to forgive him because he had a point. He couldn’t have seen her through the door. Besides, she didn’t want to cause another problem like she had the first time she had met the guys. “Justin, it’s ok. I forgive you. Now, if you all will excuse me, I have to go get some ice for my face,” Lydia replied while hurrying out of the room and down the hall.

            “Justin! That was great. She drove six hours to hang out with us, and you give her a concussion,” JC scolded.

            “It’s not my fault her fat butt was in the way!” Just retaliated.

            “Oh no you DIDN’T just call Lydia fat, Justin,” Klare and Jeni defended their friend.

            “Justin, that was low man,” all the guys agreed.

            “Fine, take her side for all I care. I get in trouble by Mike for being normal, and now I’m getting insulted for saying the one thing everyone thinks but is afraid to say!” Justin’s anger grew with each word.

            Lydia walked around the corner just in time to hear his comment. “What is it all of you want to say to me but are afraid to say?” Lydia asked, puzzlement in her voice.

            Justin turned around and looked her straight in the eyes and said, “Lydia, YOU ARE FAT.” She looked at him, shocked at his words. Tears streamed to her eyes faster than they had ever done before. She looked at everyone in the room with blurry vision and turned on her heal and walked away.

            She ran down the hall and turned the corner to get to the elevator she had come up on, tears still falling freely down her face. When she got to the elevator doors, the whole effect of his harsh words finally hit her. She hunched over, holding her stomach, as she fell to the ground sobbing. “How could I have actually thought I loved him?!? Damn it Lydia, you actually let yourself feel this for him!” she choked out between sobs. She knew she had to get to her car so no one saw her like that, but she didn’t think she had the strength to at that moment. She didn’t think she would ever be able to, even if she wanted to, get up and face the nasty world that was going on around her. I want out. I Need out. I don’t want to be here anymore. I’m tired of falling in love just to get my heart smashed by a conceited guy who uses me to get what he wants. Why do I even try to survive this cut-throat world? No one cares about me. I’ve been out here for about 20 minutes and no one has come after me yet. I guess I was only here to satisfy their guilt. They thought that if they invited me and made me feel better about the situation that happened last night that I’d feel better about myself. That’s gotta be why they invited me because no one seemed too upset about what Justin said. Her thoughts caused her to sob even more. She didn’t understand why God was putting her in these situations. Why the, world all of a sudden, was going against her and was actually helping her friends.

             Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard footsteps coming down the hall she had run from about 20 minutes ago. “Yeah, they come looking for me twenty minutes later!” she mumbled under her breath.

            She decided she wanted to get out of sight before the person coming saw her. She pushed the button to the elevator praying it’d get there soon. She could now hear the mumbling voice of the person the footsteps belonged to. She knew that she wouldn’t be able to catch the elevator before the person saw her, and she could only imagine how awful she looked, so she hurriedly looked for a hiding place. For the first time she had really noticed what the room she was standing in looked like. It was painted a baby yellow color and had flowered border at the top. It looked to be more than an elevator room, it was more of a lobby area. It had tables and couches. It was rather big also. Lydia decided she was going to hide behind the sawdust colored sofa. It was close enough for her to get there fast and far enough away that the person wouldn’t be able to hear her. She quickly walked to the sofa and crawled behind it. She could see her surroundings by looking in between the space of the floor and the bottom of the sofa.

            When the shoes of the person were finally in site a sudden fear rose in her body. She could tell it was one of the guys because she could see up to waist high, and her friends didn’t wear jeans like this guy did. He also had a bodyguard with him, but she couldn’t tell which one it was. The guy was wearing Adidas shoes with three baby blue stripes on the sides. His bodyguards voice sounded familiar but she couldn’t decide which one it was. They all seemed to sound alike in her opinion but this one had it’s own familiarity to it. The guy on the other hand, she knew instantly. She had heard his voice many times since the group had first formed. Hearing his smooth voice made her want to crawl out of her hiding space and jump into his arms and tell him all her fears. No one had ever had that affect on her before, except Bryce. She didn’t want to have a boyfriend yet, right that minute she needed a friend more than anything.

            The two men slowly made their way to the couch she was hiding behind, but they didn’t see her. Once they were seated she heard his voice, “I don’t know what I’m going to do. She’s gone, I really wanted to get to know her. It’s my fault that she’s gone too. I should have stopped what happened, but there was no way. There was to much anger built up and it wasn’t stoppable.”

            “It’s not your fault J, it’s not. You can’t blame her for wanting to get out of this place, now can you? You saw how hurt she was,” the bodyguard replied.

            “I know Jake. I just wish, once again, that I could have been able to befriend her. From what I can tell, she doesn’t have a very high self esteem, and that episode didn’t help any.”

            With sympathy in his voice, Jake said, “I don’t know if you would have been able to save her self esteem. I think that someone, I’m not sure who would, but someone helped her lose that.”

            “I want to find her Jake, I want to help her. I, in no way, have feeling for her other than friendship so you can wipe that suspicious look off your face. She needs someone, and Klare and Jeni are too damn star struck with us to see that!”

            “Ok, I get the point. I’ll tell Mike that we’re going to go out for a while, you sit here while I’m gone. Don’t leave!”

            “I won’t. Thank you for doing this though. I was always a softy for these type of people. I should probably be a psychiatrist!” he laughed. Jake stood up and started to walk away. Lydia could hear his footsteps start to fade away as he got further down the hall.

            “God, please let Lydia be safe. Let her realize that she has a friend in me, that I’m willing to look past her figure and get to know her. Please. Amen,” the man sitting on the couch said.

            Slowly tears slid down her face. He cares about me. He really honestly cares. Why am I hiding from him, of all people? He wants to find me, to be one of my friends. Maybe my only true friend. I need one of those. She unconsciously sniffed her nose to clear it. Her thoughts brought tears of joy to her eyes. She finally had a friend. A REAL friend. She needed to sniff her nose again but remembered he was sitting on the couch. She was lucky that he hadn’t heard the first one, that puzzled her how he hadn’t heard it, but she was happy he hadn’t.

            It had been five minutes since Jake had left and she couldn’t hear his returning footsteps yet. She decided that it was time to come out and tell him that she was there. She softly said his name, “JC.” He didn’t respond, so she decided to say it a little louder, and prayed that she wasn’t making a mistake. “Josh Chasez, are you there??”

            “Who the heck is that??” his voice rang out, “No one calls me Josh!”

            “I’m umm…,” Lydia started.

            “I don’t know an ‘Ummmm,” JC replied.

            “Josh, it’s me, Lydia.”

            “Lydia? Lydia Jankins?” JC asked while standing up and beginning to look around the room.

            “Yeah, that would be the one,” she replied as she started crawling out of her hiding space.

            He turned around and helped her up. “I thought you left,” he said.

            “I was on my way, but I just couldn’t take it anymore. I sat there crying for about 20 minutes, then I heard you coming so I hid,” she confessed.

            “Lydia, listen. Justin was having a bad day, I don’t think he meant anything he said. He wouldn’t intentionally hurt you, or anyone for that matter. Come back to the room with me. We can hang out. I’m interested to get to know you,” he said sincerely.

            “Josh, thanks. I’m glad we can hang out for at least a little while. You have a show to do tonight remember?”     

            “I remember, but friends always come first. One thing though.”

            “Name it.”

            “Don’t call me ‘Josh’.”

            “Sorry ‘bout that. I won’t.”

            “Ok, let’s go.”

            Lydia and JC linked arms and started walking down the hall toward the room she had run from earlier. They were halfway down the hall when Jake stepped into the hall. “J, I thought I told you not to leave!”

            “I didn’t leave, she came to me,” he said with a smile.

            “I’m afraid it’s true. I was there the whole time,” Lydia admitted.

            “Lydia, you are one crazy girl,” Jake laughed.

            “Thanks Jake,” she replied with a sarcastic tone. For the first time in a long time, she felt someone really cared about her, and she had heard it with her own ears.

            They came to the door and JC put his hand on the knob. “Are you ready?” JC asked before he opened the door.

            “I’m not sure I can do this. I have made a fool of myself every time I see you guys. I don’t want to do it again,” doubt noticeable in her voice.

            “Lydia, alone you are as helpless as a blind kitten, but with friends, anything is accomplishable. We’re in this together. Got that?”

            “Yeah, I got it. Let’s go,” Lydia said. Lydia, full of confidence, and JC, full of hope, opened the door and stepped in to see all the faces staring back at them. Third time’s a charm right??




                                                           Chapter 9


            “Look what I found,” JC stated as he looked down at Lydia. He reached for her hand and gave it a little squeeze for reassurance.

            “Oh my gosh Lydia! Where’d you go?” Klare said standing up and walking toward her friend.

            “I was… never mind. I’m here now,” Lydia replied with a smile on her face. She had decided on the way back to the room that she was going to talk to Justin about her feelings and find out what was going on with him. She was kind of nervous about what she would say and how he would react but she knew she had to do it. “Well guys, what do you wanna do?”

            “We were thinking that we teach the guys our game,” Jeni stated, a sly smile creeping across her lips.

            “What game would that be,” Joey asked getting excited about what the game could include.

            “The game is called ‘Spill Your Guts’. It’s a game that Lydia made up at my birthday party last year. It’s basically Truth or Dare but without the dares,” Jeni explained.

            “You guys game?” Klare asked with a challenging grin.

            “Oh HECK yeah,” all the guys cheered in unison.

            Lydia looked over at Justin to see if he was going to play. She had the best question to ask him and she couldn’t wait for it to be his turn. Everyone sat down on the beds and formed a slight circle. All the girls had mischievous looks on their faces and that caused Chris to become very anxious. He was nervous about what these girls would ask him. After all, these girls had played this game before. He was sure they had some pretty good questions up their sleeves.

            “Ok, who goes first?” Lance asked.

            “I’ll go,” JC said, “but does everyone have to answer or just the person you ask?”

            “Hmm… why don’t we make it everyone. I’m anxious to know the answers to some of these questions.” Jeni replied.

            “O-ok,” JC stuttered. “Ummm… let me see. Have you ever had a crush on any of us, and if you have…who?”

            Lydia answered first. “To be honest, I have. Up until today anyways. I always thought I was going to marry Justin. I’m going to stop now though, this could get VERY open and I don’t want it to now.”

            “Really? You liked me?” Justin asked puzzlement in his voice.

            “Like I said, I’m not going to talk about this now. Maybe we’ll talk later.”

            “OK! Moving onto…JENI,” Joey yelled.

            “ME? Why not Klare?!” she asked, shocked Joey had volunteered her.

            “You’re going to have to answer anyways. Why not now?”

            “FINE. I have had a crush on one of you,” she admitted.

            “WHO??” Joey and Chris practically yelled.

            “You guys don’t wanna know,” Klare warned them while smiling at Jeni. She knew who it was, and she could only imagine the look of disappointment on Joey’s and Chris’ faces when they found out.

            “Yeah we do. Tell us,” they begged.

            “Fine, I used to have a crush on… JC,” Jeni announced.

            “WHAT???” Joey yelled, “He’s all bone!”

            “No he’s not. Look at the man… he’s gorgeous!!” Jeni and Klare announced together, both blushing bright red. Lydia looked to her right to see JC in complete shock. She couldn’t help but smile at him. She leaned over closer to whisper in his ear. “Don’t you know you have many female fans?”

            He turned to look at her and their faces were dangerously close. Lydia pulled back quickly and felt her face become warm. That was close Lyd. You heard him say he didn’t like you like that. Besides you don’t want a boy friend at the moment, right? Her thoughts were interrupted by his low voice by her ear with his warm breath hitting the skin on her neck. “I knew I had fans, I just didn’t know I was gorgeous,” he said with a smirk.

“You are so full of yourself,” she said playfully.

Is she flirting with JC? Dang, I hope he doesn’t fall for her. She’s an awesome chick.  I wanna know her better. I’ll just tell J to back off. That’ll work, right? Lance thought to himself. His thoughts were pushed away from JC and Lydia when he noticed that Lydia was now whispering something into JC’s ear and he got big eyes. What’s she saying? I would kill to have Chris’ hearing at this moment. He can hear EVERYTHING. I’ll ask him. Lance leaned to his right to ask Chris if he heard what Lydia said, but before he could get any words out Lydia was standing up and walking towards him. He was about to move over for her to sit down when she walked by him and went to where Justin was sitting. She sat in the chair next to him and watched him read his magazine for a minute and said something to him. Lance had forgotten about the game but decided this would be a great time to see if they were still going to play it. It would give him a chance to really find something out about Lydia, maybe even stall her from leaving the room with Justin. “Guys, sorry bout this, but are we still going to play ‘Spill Your Guts’? It looks like we are kinda just sitting here talking about nothing.”

            Joey looked at him with a sad face, “Go ahead Lance, play by yourself. I’m going to sit here and cry because Jeni doesn’t like me!”

            “Joey, you’re such a baby,” Jeni said with a chuckle.

            “I am not!” he pouted. Seconds later he was laying on the bed laughing at his own stupidity.

            “Look what I have to live with!” JC laughed while pointing to Chris who was on his way to tackle Joey. Lance decided that since Lydia was across the room sitting with Justin, and Jeni and Klare were watching Joey and Chris wrestle each other it would be a good time to ask JC what was going on with Lydia. He causally walked toward JC, who was sitting on the bed, and sat down next to him.

            “What do you want to know Lance?” JC asked before Lance could say anything.

            “What do you mean?” he retaliated.

            “You always walk like that when you wanna know something. What is it?”

            “What’s up with Lydia? I mean, Justin embarrasses her and insults her, yet she’s sitting there with him. And he’s STILL ignoring her!!”

            “Dude, you know how she said that she once had a crush on him? Well, from what I’ve heard from Jeni and Klare, it was more of an obsession. You know how some girls are. They don’t give up very easily. They want to have that feeling of love, even when that love comes at costs.”

            “All she wants is to feel is love? What about her parents? Don’t they love her?”

            “I don’t know. I just know that her self-esteem has been slammed before by some one, who, I don’t know, but it has been. Remember, Lance, I just met her. I know as much about her as you do. I would like to know more though. I want to help her.”

            “Do you have feelings for her?” Lance finally asked while looking over at her and Justin.

            “Nope, I just wanna be her friend. I think that’s all she really NEEDS at the moment,” JC replied, eying Lance suspiciously, “You like her don’t you Poofoo?”

            “What? No. She’s just…cool. That’s all.”

            “Sure,” was all he said as he followed Lance’s gaze toward Justin and Lydia.


Lydia decided it was time she confronted Justin after all he’d put her through. She had been sitting there for ten minutes watching him read his new Sports Illustrated magazine and was about to go crazy with all the thoughts running through her head. It’s now or never girl. Just clear your throat, ask him to take a walk, and tell him what you wanna say. It’s not that hard! You can do it. You have to for yourself and to show him that he can’t get you down. She gave her self her pep talk. She slowly removed her elbows that had been propping her head up off the table and placed her hands in her lap. When that movement didn’t get his attention she cleared her throat. He still showed no signs of acknowledgment so she decided she’d get his attention verbally.

            “Justin,” she said in a low voice. When he didn’t answer she repeated, “Justin.”

            “What Lydia?” he asked in a voice she had never heard. It sounded like she had just pulled him out of his deep thought, but then again, he WAS a man reading Sports Illustrated.

            “I know your reading and all, but can I talk to you?” she said in a meek voice.

            “Sure, I’m not busy at the moment. I just have a show to do in 2 ½ hours!” he replied in a cold, sarcastic voice. Lydia didn’t know why he had a problem with her, but she wanted to find out. From what she had read on fan sites he was supposed to be a very nice guy. These teenyboppers know NOTHING about the real Justin Timberlake. I’m actually thinking about posting this little event in that message board I always go to. She was pulled out of her thoughts when she heard Justin’s chair slide backwards from the table.

            “Where are you going?” Lydia asked, her voice full of fear that she had lost her chance to find out what was wrong with this man.

            “Didn’t you wanna talk? Let’s go now so it can be over with,” he said beginning to pull her chair back.

            “You’re going to talk to me?” Lydia asked, now smiling.

            “Yeah, I don’t want you to think I’m a total prick. Besides, I don’t need the rest of the guys on my back for ignoring you.”

            Justin, by the time I’m done talking to you, you’ll LOVE me. I’m not going to let you judge me by my cover, and I’m going to give you a second chance. Don’t blow it please, were her thoughts as she crossed the room with Justin by her side and the eyes of JC, Lance, and the rest of the group following them to the door. They stepped into the hallway and Lydia started her conversation.   

           Chapter 10

    “Justin, I want to know why you have a problem with me,” Lydia began as a sudden burst of courage sprang up in her.

            “Lydia, I have no problem with you,” Justin replied.

            “That’s bull! I KNOW you have a problem with me because you treat me like crap. You didn’t even give me a chance. You looked at me like one of your fans. Did it ever occur to you that maybe I’m a cool person to be around? You don’t seem to mind Jeni and Klare, and THEY ARE FANS! Why am I different?”

            “Lydia, have you looked in the mirror?”

            Oh my gosh! It’s because I’m fat! That’s why, duh! She thought to herself. “Well, Justin, I have looked in the mirror, this morning in fact. Have YOU?” she challenged, trying to keep her cool but slowly starting to fail.

            “Yes I did. What I saw was a celebrity, a very hott celebrity.”

            “WHAT? Was JC standing behind you or something?”

            “No, he wasn’t standing behind me. It was ME in the mirror.”

“Justin, you are so different from what I thought you’d be. When I first heard about you and Nsync I always thought I wanted to date you, hell, even marry you. Now I don’t even know if I want to be your friend. I’ve tried my hardest to be nice to you, to somehow show you there’s more to me than just my 184lb exterior. You just won’t look past that. Not everyone is as thin as Christina and Britney, Justin. You need to learn to accept that. All the other guys have, why won’t you just give me a chance to prove myself to you?” She was now worked up and wanted to tell Justin about all the crap she’d been through and hope that somehow that’d bring out the human in him. That’s all she wanted at that moment. She didn’t really think she even wanted to date him anymore. All she wanted was a chance to prove to him that she’d be a great friend to him. Celebrity or not, he needed to learn that not everyone is tall, thin, with perfect completion and pretty hair, he needed to learn about her.

            Justin had been looking at the ground throughout her whole lecture. Some of it had sunken in and it did affect him. He had noticed that the other guys had accepted her for her; they even wanted to get to know her. He thought back to all the run-ins with her, and his heart started to change. He remembered last night and how he had been so worried about her when she had run away and how she seemed so helpless while she cried into his shoulder after they had finally caught up with her. His mind then went to just a few hours ago when he had said those nasty things to her. She looked hurt, really hurt. Justin, man, you’re the reason she was crying earlier. YOU caused her to hurt. How did you’re ego get so big? Why did you let it get to you and affect the way you treat other people. You never EVER would have done that if you were in high school, and…normal. Normal. Justin could hardly ever remember being normal. He remembered his morals. No hitting girls, don’t have sex before marriage, you should say prayers before going to bed, following those had never been a problem. Now he was doing something worse than hitting a girl, he was destroying her self-esteem. He remembered Jeni telling him about Bryce and what he had done to her. That couldn’t have helped her at all. Now he was the cause of this. This wasn’t him, this wasn’t the real Justin Timberlake. Where he’d gone, he wasn’t sure. What he knew was that he wanted to find him again. He now didn’t have those cold feelings toward Lydia when he saw her. When he looked at her, he saw a woman who was hoping for a chance to help him, even help herself.

            Justin looked up to find that Lydia had walked to the wall across from him. She had sat down, leaning against it, and was now looking for any facial expression that would help her find out what he was thinking. When she noticed he finally looked up, she had to question.

“Justin,” she asked in a small voice, “did anything I said get through to you?”

            He could hear the hope in her voice. “Lydia, it got through. I know I haven’t given you a fair chance to show me what you are like. In fact, you helped me realize that I’ve lost the real Justin that you were talking about earlier, the one that cared about everyone’s feelings. Help me find him, and I’ll treat you like every other fan.”

            “Justin, I’m sorry you lost yourself in all this fame that you now have, but I don’t think you heard me right. I don’t want you to treat me like one of your fans. I want to be your friend. I know that when you leave New York tomorrow that Jeni, Klare, and I won’t ever hear from you again, well personally anyway. I don’t want that. You have a show tonight, in about an hour and half, in fact. That’s not enough time for you or I to get what we want.”

            “And what exactly do you want Lydia?” Justin replied, having a semi-angry voice.

            “Justin, will you calm down? All I want is your friendship. I want to be one of those people you know you can count on. The kind everyone wishes they had,” she replied to his question. When she looked up into his eyes she no longer saw the cold, hard look he used to give her. She saw a hopeful look. Come on Justin. We can help each other. I know we can help each other!!!

            “Lydia, you know this isn’t going to be easy, with me on the tour and you in school, right?”

            “I know that, but friendships aren’t easy. We got through a conversation without me crying and you screaming at me, so I know we’re making progress,” she stated as a smile danced across her lips.

            “You’re right. This is a good thing. Let’s go. I need to get the guys to go down to the venue to get ready for the show.”

            “Have you already done sound check, or are you going to be running really late?”

            “No, we shouldn’t be late. We did sound check at noon. So everything is good.”

            “That’s good,” Lydia stood up and started walking toward the hotel door but stopped when she heard Justin’s voice.

            “Lydia, I’m really, truly sorry for everything I’ve put you through.”

            She turned around and gave him a smile, “Justin. It’s ok,” she assured him. Then grabbed his hand and walked into the hotel room to tell the guys that everything was going to be ok between Justin and her. Just as she opened the door Jeni and Klare ran up to her with big, bright smiles on their faces. Lydia’s nerves became very alert. She knew something good had happened, or was about to, and she hoped it included all three of them and Nsync, for her sake and Justin’s.