Post #5 of the “She told him that she loved him” series. My first thought was that the “only” sounded menacing in this one. Stalkerish. It didn’t sound like fun to me. Maybe I should have written it as a step outside my comfort zone. As it is, I wrote a scene where everyone tells him that they love him, but her love is true.
Justin and Beverly ran from the limousine into the hotel while hotel security held back the crowd. Justin laughed. He took off his sunglasses and held out his arms, basking in the applause. The rest of the band waved. Some signed autographs. Beverly looked like an ant under a magnifying glass stared at by dozens of eyes, begging to be left alone, before security hurried her inside.
“We love you, Justin!”
“Sing ‘Another Night’!”
“I named my son ‘Justin!’ for you!”
Justin jogged to catch up. He waved one last time at the door. Cameras flashed everywhere. He hoped his new laser-whitened teeth were looking good.
The lobby was cleared. “It sounds like a church in here!” He looked around. Beverly stood out of the way with her arms held tight to her body. Justin hurried over to her. “Sorry about that.”
“Is it always like that?”
“Yeah. Is that crazy or what?”
He rubbed her arms. “Hey. You all right?”
“It’s just a lot.” She peered at him. “I’m making sure you’re still in there.”
He grinned. “It’s me. It’s just a long way from Nebraska.”
“Yeah.” Justin’s publicist and his agent came over. Beverly sighed. Before they talked, Justin turned to them and said, “What’s up, guys?”
“You have an interview with the local news at 5:30.”
“And the venue says that we can’t do the pyrotechnics.”
He checked the time. “It’s 12:30. We’ll leave at 3:30. That leaves us plenty of time to get there and do the interview. Handle the pyro. If it’s a safety thing we’ll go without. I’m—”
“Justin, we can’t—”
“I. Am. Going. Upstairs. To. Chill. Out. Handle it!” Justin stated.
His agent straightened his tie. “All right, J. Love you, man.”
“Love, J,” his publicist said.
Justin held out his hand for Beverly. “Want to go hang out?” he asked. Beverly’s face lit up. That was the line he used the first time he asked her out on a date.
He had the largest suite in the hotel to himself. Normally he took a swig from the complimentary champagne or ate a tropical fruit that he couldn’t identify. He ran a bubble bath or he turned on every TV in the suite. With Beverly here, he took her coat, hung it up, and only grabbed a bottle of water.
“Can I get you anything? Water? Juice? There’s a bar, but you don’t drink this early.”
“Give me something they don’t have back home.” Justin found a bottle of papaya juice and handed it to her. Beverly smiled at it. “Were you mad?” she asked.
“I’m sorry about that. Those two bug me sometimes,” Justin said.
“Everyone says they love you.”
“That they do. It’s nice when the fans say it. Some of the others, it’s just a catch phrase. It doesn’t mean anything.”
“I said it first.”
He took her hand. Out of habit, Justin started to put on his stage persona. He forced it away. “I…” Just say it. He repeated the words. “‘Justie, if you’re ever not sure who your friends are, remember that I loved your first, all right?’”
“Oh my God! I sounded like a greeting card.”
“When it gets too crazy, that’s what I think about to clear things up.” Beverly drew her breath. “I really miss you. Y’know, the travel’s not so bad. People screaming your name, that’s amazing. I miss real life, though. I think about Wednesday night roller skating. Walking the dog and meeting you at the corner.”
“My dog misses you too. He barked when I said I was going to see you. He kept looking out the window, then looking at me. ‘Where is he?’”
“Oh, don’t tell me that! Now I’m sorry I didn’t see him!”
“Come down and see him, then!”
“I can’t. We haven’t got time.”
Beverly tilted her head, giving him the look she gave him back in high school when he knew he was bullshitting her.
He couldn’t even try. “All right. Tomorrow morning. Before we leave town.”
Photo credit: “Day 283 / 365” by Jason Rogers at Flickr
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