Chapter 5

“No matter how your heart is grieving

If you keep on believing

The dream that you wish will come true

So dream.”

                        -Cinderella, “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes”



“Tell Lily to get her butt over here! We’re watching the one with Cameron Diaz!”

            “Joey, calm down. She already told you, she can’t come over and watch SNL with us because she has to write a report to her professor about the internship,” Chris responded patiently.

            “Oh yeah. But she’s missing a good one!” Joey said, motioning to the TV.

            “Joey says that you’re missing a good episode. You know, the one with Cameron in it,” Chris explained. He listened to her response to his message, then relayed it back to the rest of the room.

            “She said she doesn’t give a flying fu-”

            “What? No, she didn’t. Lillian never cusses,” JC interrupted.

            “Ok, fine. She said she already saw that one and it wasn’t that good. She said that Joey needs to get some taste.”

            “Oh. Yeah, that sounds better,” JC decided, nodding his approval.

            “Hey!” Joey exclaimed. “I do not need to get some taste. I resent that. You guys are being so mean.” He pouted and crossed his arms over his chest.

            “Lillian says to stop being a baby,” Chris laughed.

            “I am not being a baby!” came the protest from Joey.

            “She says that if you keep acting stupid, she’s gonna kick your butt, old school!”

            Lance started cracking up. “I can’t believe she remembered that ‘Simpsons’ episode we guest starred in. ‘Old school!’” he growled, imitating Joey’s voice from the episode.

            “At least I got a catch-phrase!” Joey retorted. “All you had were like two lines.”

            The three immediately began arguing over who was the funniest in the episode. Lillian could hear them laughing and she knew someone had shoved Chris; the phone dropped to the ground. She sighed, waiting for their squabbling to subside.

            She really loved them, but sometimes they acted like they were high and caffeinated at the same time. I didn’t hear Justin’s voice. I wonder where he is. She glanced over at the empty bed next to her own. Maybe out with Elaine again.

            She heard some more scuffles over the phone, and then some heavy breathing.

            “Hello?” she asked, wondering if Chris was ready to talk again.

            “Hey, this is Justin,” a voice drawled in a soft southern accent.

            Huh? Why is he on the phone? I thought he was with Elaine. Or out. Or hating me still.

            “Oh, hi,” she said warily.

            “So how are you?”

            “Um. I’m okay. I-it sounds like you guys are having fun over there,” she attempted, trying to make some conversation.

            He laughed, and the sound sent a tingle down her spine. Come on Lillian, being a little melodramatic aren’t we.

            “We are,” he replied. “We’ve got a free day tomorrow, so we can sleep late today. And it’s pretty fun to watch Chris and Joey go at it. Kinda sad too, but still fun,” he joked.

            “I’m sure it is,” she laughed, albeit a little nervously.

            “Sooo,” they both said at the same time.

            “Look, I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m talking to you right now,” he began.

            Lillian nodded, then realized he couldn’t see her. “Yeah, I am.”

            “I wanted to apologize. For being such an asshole to you all this time. I was just feeling insecure. I guess I was, I don’t know, jealous.”

            Lillian was a little surprised that he would actually admit this to her. It made him seem so vulnerable. “Vulnerable” wasn’t a word she would use to describe the Justin Timberlake. She felt her heart soften towards him.

            “Oh. That’s okay. I’m sorry, too,” she confessed.

            Now it was Justin’s turn to be surprised. “You? Why are you sorry? You have no reason to be.”

            “No, I shouldn’t have shouted at you. I’m sorry for that. And believe me, you have no reason to be jealous of me,” she assured.

            “Yeah, I realize that now. Thanks for understanding. Wait, hold on a sec.”  He handed the phone over to someone else.

            “There’s enough love to go around, baby!”

            “Sorry,” Justin said, coming back on the phone. “That was Joey. Don’t mind him, he gets kinda kinky past one a.m.”

            Lillian laughed at both Joey’s antics and Justin’s comment.

            Encouraged by their civil conversation, Justin added quietly, “You don’t even want to know what it’s like to share a room with him. Let’s just say that you don’t want to fall asleep. Ever.”

            She giggled, then said, “You poor guys. I have to go finish my paper, so tell the others good night for me.”

            “Will do. Sweet dreams, Lillian.”

            “You too. Bye,” she responded a bit belatedly. She could hear the other phone click as it was hung up. After staring at the phone in her hand a few more seconds, she dazedly returned it to its cradle. She pressed a hand to her chest to calm her wildly beating heart. It was just a casual conversation, nothing more, nothing less. I wonder what prompted his change of heart. But I’m not complaining. He sure can be charming when he wants to be.

            An hour later her paper was finished and she snuggled into her pillow, blankly staring at the wall next to her. Her heavy lids finally drifted shut, but she couldn’t get him out of her mind. His voice played in her head endlessly; Sweet dreams, Lillian. She smiled, deep in her slumber.


*                       *                       *                       *                       *


Lillian stared at the different titles, pondering which one to choose. She reached for one, then decided against it and drew her hand back. Her hand lingered over another one before she shook her head in disapproval.

            “Lilypad, hurry up! Just choose one. It’s not hard,” Joey complained.

            “Joey, you know what I think of that name,” she replied absently. “And besides, these movies are all so good. I want to pick the perfect one. Remember, patience is virtue.”

            “Ugh!” he gave up, exasperated. “Remember, patience is virtue,” he mimicked in a high falsetto voice.

            “I don’t sound like that,” she stated. She finally selected the tape she wanted, and handed it to Joey for his opinion.

            “I think we have a winner!” she claimed proudly.

            He glanced down at the cover, before cracking up into laughter. “Lilypad, you are my new best friend. Guys,” he said, turning to the others who were dispersed among the hotel room, “Guess who just found my special tape.”

            JC groaned and Chris immediately began laughing too. Justin and Lance rolled their eyes.

            “Please,” said Justin, casting his eyes to the ceiling. “Please do not say that it’s what I think it is. If there is a God, let it 

not be-“

            “’There’s Something About Mary!’” Joey yelled excitedly. “And it’s the one with the outtakes. The dirty,” he added, lowering his voice, “dirty outtakes.”

            “It’s not possible,” muttered JC. “Just when we were able to hide it from Joey for two weeks. Lily, I can’t believe you found it.”

            Lillian blushed at the four pairs of accusing eyes on her. “I’m sorry?” she offered timidly. “I never saw it before. My friend said it was really funny.”

            “Not after you watch it for seven days straight, on a continuous loop,” Lance murmured in an undertone to Justin, who nodded in agreement.

            “What was that?” inquired Joey belatedly, who was just ecstatic to have found his tape. Or rather, for Lillian to have found it.

            “Nothing, nothing,” he replied, resigned to his fate. “I guess we have no other choice. Put the movie in, Joey.”

            Joey quickly shoved the tape into the VCR and turned off the lights. Lillian dropped down onto a bed beside Lance, and Chris and JC took seats on the other bed. Justin flopped down horizontally on his stomach at the foot of Lance’s bed. Joey, after pushing the play button repeatedly, sat down cross-legged right in front of the television, his grin stretching from ear to ear.

            A song came on the screen, with the words showing up at the bottom like a karaoke monitor. Joey sang along full-heartedly.

            “Why do you build me up, buttercup baby, just to let me down, and mess me around . . .” he belted out, bobbing his head with the beat.

            The rest of the guys looked at each other mischievously before joining their friend in the song.

            “And then worst of all, you never call, baby, when you say you will, but I love you still . . .”

            “I need you-“ Joey sang, pointing to the others.

            “I need you-“ they echoed, pointing back.

            Then they all came together in perfect harmony, “More than anyone darling, you know that I have from the start. So build me up, buttercup, don’t break my heart!” They finished the song with a flourish, and Lillian clapped excitedly, laughing giddily.

            “Wow, that was so good! I mean, of course it was good, you guys are ‘N Sync after all. But still!” she cried.

            The guys all exchanged smug glances, and launched into action.

            “Well, you know,” Justin smirked, patting his hair.

            “Aw, stop it,” JC shrugged.

“I’m blushing!” proclaimed Chris bashfully.

            “Thank you, thank you,” said Lance, pretending to bow to an attentive audience.

            “I know,” Joey said, deadpan. “I do like to be the one with the leads.”

            Everyone stopped to stare at him, then after a couple of seconds of complete silence the whole room echoed with laughter.

            “Funny, Joseph. Really funny!” JC hooted, patting his friend on the back.

            “Guys, I was serious,” Joey protested. “Come on, guys!” he complained when he received no response.

            After a few more minutes of snickering, they all finally calmed down enough to pay attention to the images still playing across the screen.

*                       *                       *                       *                       *

            Lillian couldn’t believe it. Sure, some parts are funny. But this scene! Karen must be insane to think this part is funny!

            She was watching as Ben Stiller’s character was in the bathroom, before his big date with Mary. He was . . . for lack of a better term, getting intimate with himself. She was glad the lights to the room were off, because if anyone turned to look at her they would have immediately noticed her flaming cheeks.

            As he became more involved in his task, Lillian couldn’t help but turn away from the movie. Oh my gosh. She wasn’t that naïve, she knew that guys did that sometimes. But it was different when she was sitting and watching it happen, albeit in a movie, surrounded by five extremely attractive men.

            Lance glanced over to see Lillian swivel her head to stare at the wall. He chuckled at her innocence and slipped a friendly arm around her slender shoulders, covering her eyes with his large hand.

            “Don’t worry, I’ll censor it for you,” he laughed.

            “Thanks,” she replied dryly. “Just tell me when it’s over.”

            Justin turned around to make a comment to Lance, but he saw that he was preoccupied with Lillian. His arm was draped across her shoulders and he was whispering to her. I didn’t know they were that close. That’s odd. Not that it matters to me, he thought, almost as an afterthought. Still, Lance was right. She’s not that bad.

            Further into the movie while nothing exciting was happening, Lillian’s gaze fell on Justin’s long body stretched across the bed. His head was rested on his folded arms, and his legs were dangling over the edge of the bed.

            Wow. He really is handsome. The muscles in his back. The strength of his arms. His face, with his jaw and mouth and eyes. She was practically ready to swoon, and her eyes glazed over at her thoughts.

            Lance looked again at Lillian and saw her eyes virtually devouring his younger friend. He almost laughed, but quickly stifled it. Who would have guessed. Little Lillian lusting after J. He wondered it Justin or any of the other guys realized it. Well, I guess nothing’s wrong with it. They are the same age after all. I just don’t know if Justin would ever like her in that way, though.

            Chris sneaked a glance over to the other bed. What he saw made him smile slyly. Lance was staring at Lillian, who was staring at Justin, who was staring at the movie. Lance obviously looked interested in what one of his friends felt for the other, and Chris was relieved. Finally, someone else to talk to about the whole thing. It took long enough. Can’t let this psych major go to waste, after all.

            The rest of the night continued in the same fashion. Lillian kept darting her eyes over to Justin, Lance looked over every once in a while, and Chris was impatient to talk to Lance later. Justin remained completely oblivious to the emotions stirring around him.




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