"Good show guys," Rosie said.
"Thanks," Justin said. "We always look forward to doing your show."
"Has anyone seen Marc?" John asked.
"He's in there changing," Joey said indicating the next room.
At that moment Marc walked of the bathroom pulling his tie tight.
"Wow!" Rosie said. "You look great Marc. What's the occasion?"
"I have a meeting at Lincoln Center this afternoon," Marc said.
"He's going to be appearing with the New York Symphony in September," Lance said by way of explanation.
"Oh you are. When?" Rosie asked.
"The concerts have been scheduled for the 17th and18th. But I will be arriving about three weeks early to work with the symphony and I will be music director on a new album," Marc said.
Rosie and John looked at each other then leaned in and whispered something to each other.
Rosie turned to Marc. "Marc can we talk? I have a proposition for you."
Putting on his suit coat Marc said, "Sure, do you want to talk here or your office?"
"Here will be fine," Rosie said looking at the others in the room.
"Good, because I've found it to be impossible to keep secrets from these guys," Marc said with a grin.
"Marc, if I'm understanding you right you will be in New York from August 29 th till after your concerts September 19 th , right?" Rosie asked.
"Yeah I'll probably be heading home on the 20 th ."
"Marc, during the same time period I will be working in Vegas as musical director of a new show," John said.
"And we need someone to replace John while he is away. . . . . Would you be interested in the job?" Rosie asked.
"Wow," Marc said a little stunned.
"Marc, you made a great impression with the others in the band. They've all mentioned how much fun it was working with you the last two days," John said. "And you've seen the kind of day we have. In at eight, show at ten, and you are out of here by noon most days. We tape two shows on Thursdays, and you are out of here by three."
"We realize you already have a pretty full schedule for that time," Rosie said. "But if it could be worked out, I'd like to have you join my staff while you are staying here in New York."
Marc was grinning from ear to ear. "I think that would be a awesome opportunity for me," Marc said. "Can you give me a few days to think about it? I should know more about my schedule with the symphony today and I'll have my manager check with my other project to see how flexible they are going to be."
"Sure, we understand," Rosie said.
"Are you guys coming to the concert on Friday?" Marc asked.
"You bet. I wouldn't miss seeing these cutties live for anything," Rosie enthusiastically said.
"Why don't I give you my answer that night," Marc suggested.
"That sounds fair enough. If you have any questions just give my office a call," Rosie said as she got up to leave. "And you guys. . . . I can't wait until Friday night."
Everyone got up and said their good byes to Rosie and John.
Marc was gathering up his backpack getting ready to leave when Lance came to him with a big grin on his face.
"What?" Marc asked.
"You want to do it, don't you?"
Marc sighed, "Yeah, I do want to do it. But I need to see first what kind of schedule I'm going to be pulling with the other two projects."
"You're going to do it," Lance said with confidence.
"You think so?"
"Yep, I can see it in your eye. You've already made up your mind," Lance stated confidently.
"You know you are going to do it," Chris added.
"And what better way to promote your concerts that to be on Rosie's show. You know she will bring them up when the two of you talk at the beginning of the show," Joey said.
"And having your face on TV for three weeks may help you find your family," Justin pointed out.
"I hadn't thought of that," Marc softly said.
"Even if you did lose your family in a crash there is a chance some relative, aunt, uncle, or grandparent may recognize you," JC added.
"I'll get a hold of Lynn after my meeting today and see if it can be worked out," Marc said.
"Do you have time for lunch?" Lance asked.
"Yep, if we can find something close by," Marc said.
"Let's get moving then," JC said.
Lunch was at a Deli just down the street from the studio. The food was good but Marc spent most of his time watching the people in the deli. The place was crowded, and the group was totally ignored after their order was taken. No fans bothered them as they ate their lunch.
Lance looked at Marc and noticed him watching the people in the deli. Lance leaned in and chided, "Stop watching the people and eat."
Marc blushed at being caught. "I've never seen anything like this before."
"Well you're going to be here almost a month. You can come and watch people everyday then. But if you are going to make your appointment on time you need to eat," Lance said. "Beside you will get plenty of time to watch people tonight." "I will? What's planned for tonight?"
"We are all going to Joey's uncle's restaurant. Joey did promise you a good Italian meal. Didn't he?"
Marc arrived early for his appointment at Lincoln Center. He was shown backstage to wait. Marc noticed that center stage sat a beautiful grand piano. With a sigh Marc thought, `It looks like I may be expected to audition."
As Marc approached the piano he heard the roar of a theater organ and someone cussing up a blue streak.
Marc walked to the front of the stage and looked down into the orchestra pit. A technician had the back panel off the console and seemed to be making adjustments.
"Too much pressure," Marc said.
"Yeah! No shit!" The technician said shaking his head. "I hate working on these old models. Give me a fully electronic model any day."
Marc laughed, "In the right hands, one of those can make music that can't be matched by anything electronic."
"You play?" The technician asked.
"Yes I do," Marc said as he walked down the steps at the side of the stage. Stepping down into the orchestra pit Marc went to where the technician was working and squatted down next to him. Looking at the pressure gage Marc said, "That's way too much pressure."
"Yeah, every time I try to lower it, it just comes back up."
Marc thought for a moment, than had an idea. "Let me check something." Going around to the front of the console, he scanned the upper bank of stops and switches and spotted what he was looking for. Reaching up he flipped a switch. "How's that?"
"Shit! What did you do? The pressure has dropped to normal."
"Evidently this console is on hydraulics to raise it to stage level. The extra pressure is needed to maintain the console in the raised position. I just switched to the pit setting."
"Man I wish you would have come along two hours ago, you could have saved me a lot of aggravation," the technician said. "You must be new here, I haven't seen you around before."
Smiling, Marc introduced himself, "My name is Marc Newman. I'm here to meet with the music director about upcoming concerts in which I will be appearing."
"Glad to meet you, Marc. I'm Rob Billings. I was sent over to check out this antique for a upcoming series of concerts. I don't think this thing has been played in years."
"Mind if I see what she still has in her?" Marc asked.
"Sure go ahead," Rob said.
"Do you know what piece they needed her for?"
"Not sure. It was something, requiem for organ and choirs"
Marc thought for a moment, "There are several different requiems it could be. But given what this baby can do I'd say it's this one." Kicking off his shoes Marc turned to the organ and adjusted a few settings. Briefly closing his eyes Marc brought up the score in his mind, smiled, and began to play.
Kurk Masur, director of the New York Philharmonic, and several of the members of the governing board were on their way to meet with Marc Newman when they heard the organ come to life in Avery Fisher Hall. They entered the theater, walked down the aisle toward the stage, and stopped only when they could see someone at the organ console. The director motioned everyone to take a seat. Pulling a file out of the stack he was carrying he opened it and flipped pages.
"Kurk, isn't that the requiem the civic choirs has planned for next month?" one of the directors asked.
Kurk nodded as he read the score. A smile came across his face as he continued to listen to the music.
"Who is that?"
"I would say that's our Mr. Newman gentleman."
Marc played through the first and second movement then skipped to the last movement. Glancing over at Rob, Marc noticed he was looking at something or someone behind him. `Well it looks like I did it again,' Marc thought knowing his appointment was probably behind him. ** As he came to the end of the movement Marc let out a big sigh. "You know it would sound better with the choirs," Marc said to Rob.
"It sounded great just like it was," came a voice from behind Marc.
Marc turned and said, "Thank you."
"I take it you are Marc Newman?"
"Yes I am. And you are Kurk Masur, I recognize you from the symphony broadcasts," Marc said as he got up from the organ.
Kurk introduced the board members and they moved their meeting to the rehearsal hall.
"Pete, any sign of Marc?" Justin asked.
"Nope, haven't heard anything."
"Hope he doesn't have to miss TRL," Chris said. "He seemed really excited about our visit."
"Well he still has time to get here," Pete pointed out. "You guys need to get changed and into makeup."
Marc looked at his watch as his taxi approached the MTV studios. After paying the driver Marc made his way to the entrance. After showing his *Nsync ID he was shown to the studio. Joining Pete in the control booth, "Sorry I didn't make it in time."
"That's alright. How did your meeting go?" Pete inquired.
"It went great. They are going to work around my other projects. I just need to get with Lynn and see what we can do with the recording schedule."
"Do you want to join the band? We are coming up on a break."
"No. I just want to change out of this suit and find someplace to set up my lap top."
Sharon the director, overhearing their conversation said, "Marc, the conference room we met in yesterday is free. You can work there."
"Thanks Sharon," Marc said. "Pete I'll see you after the show."
Marc left the control booth just as the show went into commercial break. Standing in the back of the audience Marc waited until Justin spotted him. Giving Lance a nudge Justin pointed to the back of the audience. Lance smiled at the sight of Marc. Marc smiled back and gave a little wave as he headed to find wardrobe.
"Hey Marc," Sally said as Marc walked in.
"Hey Sally. Do you have my garment bag?"
"Sure do," Sally said as she grabbed it off the rack. "If you just leave it with me I'll see that your suit gets pressed."
"Marc, your laundry should be in your room when you get back. I've made sure you got your own laundry bag. It will make things a little less confusing on our end," Sally said with a chuckle. "It took us a while to figure out why Lance's laundry had increased so much and why all the different sizes."
"I never questioned the fact that stuff I knew was dirty kept showing up clean again," Marc said with a grin.
In the conference room Marc was able to set up his laptop and log on to the net. From the monitor on the wall he was able to see and listen to the show.
`I wonder. It's probably too late to call Angel. She is five hours ahead of us here in New York.' Marc thought.
Logging on to his messenger service he saw that Angel was on line.
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Marc sat back and smiled. Picking up his cell, he made a call.
"Good afternoon. This is Lynn Harless; how may I help you?"
"Hi Mom, this is your step son that calls often.," Marc said.
Smiling Lynn said, "Hi Marc. What are you and your brother up to?"
"Right now he is standing in front of a big window over looking Time Square and he is shaking his butt in front of several hundred screaming girls."
"And what are you up to?" Lynn laughed.
"Well I called to let you know about what has happened today. You knew we did Rosie's show this morning. After the show she came back to the dressing room she asked me . . . . . "
Marc was busily wrapping up his work when the guys came looking for him.
"Hey! What's up?" Chris said.
"Hi guys," Marc said while looking up from his laptop. "I'm just putting the finishing touches on your web site update."
JC walked around the conference table to take a look at Marc's screen. "Hey those are shots of today's shows. I know where you got the shots of Rosie's but how did you get the shots from TRL?"
Marc looked up smiling then pointed to the monitor on the wall. "There is a video out jack on the monitor. I just hooked up my computer to the monitor and captured some of the video. Ran it through a couple programs to clean up the image, and presto *Nsync on TRL."
"We need to get ready to go to supper," Lance pointed out.
"K, just give me a minute to shut down and pack up," Marc said.
"The limo is out front," Pete said. "Let's go."
Security led them to a freight elevator and everyone got onboard.
Marc leaned into Chris and asked, "If the limo is out front why are we using this elevator?"
"The limo is a smoke screen. Our transportation is out back," Chris pointed out.
"Oh. This is a new twist," Marc said as they exited the elevator and headed out the back door to waiting vans. The six guys along with two security guards took the first van with Pete and the remaining security took the second van.
As they rode to the restaurant they listened to the local rock radio station. The opening bars of I Drive Myself Crazy came on. "Oh! Oh! I know this one," Chris said, as the guys began to sing along. And to everyone's surprise Marc leaned in to JC and sang his part along with him, adding a new harmony to the song. Chris, Joey and Justin turned around in their seat grinning at Marc and JC's new duet.
"Awesome!" Justin said.
"Yeah, you two sound great together," Joey said.
"Marc, you have to perform with us," Chris said.
"I just did," Marc pointed out. "Guys, you know how I feel about appearing with you on stage. So please don't push the issue. You're just going to be happy with singing like now, just for fun."
"But you two sound so incredible together," Chris said pushing the issue.
"Thank you Chris for the compliment. But right now I only have one person I'm interested in doing a duet with," Marc said as he took Lance's hand and gave it a squeeze.
Chris got a wicked smile on his face. "Yeah, we know. But you two really need to get some practice in. All we've heard from you two is moans and groans."
Lance and Marc looked at each other and they both started to blush.
Arriving at the restaurant the group was shown to a private dinning room. Three large tables were set up and a large group of people were waiting for their arrival. The guys fanned out greeting everyone, which they seemed to know.
Marc stood watching until Joey grabbed his arm and started to introduce him to everyone.
"Marc, I want you to meet my mom, Phyllis Fatone. Mom this is my new best friend Marc Newman."
Pulling Marc into a hug Phyllis said, "It's so good to meet you in person."
"Yes, I agree. A face to go along with the voice is nice."
Joey had a perplexed look on his face. Marc laughed, "Joe, we've had several phone conversations about you."
"Yes, we have," Phyllis said. "And if my son would have the courtesy to call more often I wouldn't have to resort to calling Marc to find out if he is still alive."
"I'm not that bad," Joey said in his defense.
Phyllis and Marc looked at each other and said in unison, "Yes, you are."
The meal was fantastic; if it appeared on the menu, a platter of it was passed around the tables. As the meal was winding down Marc felt his cell vibrate. Excusing himself Marc went to answer his phone.
Returning to the table Marc asked, "What did I miss?"
"We were talking about what club we are going to hit tonight," JC said.
"Yeah, we don't have anything scheduled for the morning so we can be out past midnight," Chris added.
Marc looked to Pete for some guidance. Pete gave Marc a nod.
"It sounds like a plan. There will be just one slight change. I won't be joining you tonight," Marc said.
"Why?" Lance asked.
"I'm meeting with our band and the musicians we are adding for Letterman."
"That sucks," Justin said.
"But we agreed to go out only as a group," Joey said. "If you don't go we can't go."
"That won't be a problem," Pete said. "Because I will be going in Marc's place."
"Oh, great," Chris said softly.
"Guys, don't you think Pete deserves some fun time too. He's not going as a watch dog. That's what security is for," Marc said with a smirk.
Everyone said their goodbyes, and the group made their way to the waiting vans.
"Marc, do you have transport?" Pete asked.
Marc spotted the third security van pull up. "Yeah, my ride just arrived."
Lance was hanging back as the others got into the van. "James what's wrong?"
"I feel guilty going out dancing while you're working."
"Don't be. Go and enjoy yourself. We can go out together tomorrow night after tomorrow's madness is over," Marc said.
"Yes! Now get going," Marc said with a chuckle.
"K, see you back at the hotel," Lance said as he turned to get into the van.
"Marc, would it be ok if I just hung with you tonight?" Justin asked.
"Don't you want to go dancing?" Marc asked.
"Yeah, but where they are going the odds are they won't let me in anyway," Justin said sadly.
Marc looked at Justin for a moment before saying, "Sure Justin, we can hang out together."
Justin grinned at Marc.
"Hey Curly, you coming or what?" Chris shouted from the van.
"No. I'm going to hang with Marc," Justin said. "See you all back at the hotel."
Justin and Marc strolled into the rehearsal hall.
"The man decides to make an appearance," Brian, *Nsync's musical director, said with a grin.
"It looks like everyone made it," Marc observed.
"When you said you knew a group of musicians that could do the job I didn't realize you were talking about the Madison Symphony," Brian chuckled.
"Even though some of them do play for the symphony, they are all members of the University of Wisconsin Jazz Band," Marc said with a grin.
Brian and Marc worked on integrating the two groups. First working on the three songs *Nsync was to perform. Justin filled in the vocals with Marc joining in on the choirs in an attempt to give the new members an idea of what to expect. Delighted with the sound of the combined groups they moved on to stage two of their plan.
The elevator door opened to their floor. Justin and Marc were met buy the sober faced security guard.
"Are the others back yet?" Marc asked.
"No. You're the first to show," the guard said.
Entering their suite, Justin asked, "You heading to bed?"
"No. I think I'll wait up for the others," Marc said.
"You up for a movie?" Justin asked.
"Sure, let me take a quick shower then we can see what's on."
"A shower sounds good. Meet you back here in ten minutes," Justin said as he headed for his room.
Justin came out of his room dressed in his boxers and t-shirt. Marc had already claimed the couch and was flipping through the movie channels.
"What's on?" Justin asked.
"Armageddon is coming on next," Marc said.
"Cool! You want anything to drink?"
"No. I'm fine," Marc said.
Justin got himself a soda than sat on the floor in front of the couch. The movie had started and Marc noticed Justin kept changing positions trying to get comfortable. After the sixth change Marc leaned forward and said, "Justin the couch is a lot more comfortable than the floor. This couch is big enough for the both of us."
Justin looked up. "You mean it?"
Marc nodded, "Of course. Now get up here and get comfortable." Justin got up and lay down next to Marc. "Can you see?" Justin asked.
"Scoot down just a little," Marc said as he placed his hand on top of Justin's head.
Laughing Marc asked, "How many inches of fluff do you have up there?"
"That's not fluff," Justin said indignantly.
"Ok, your golden locks. You must have a good two inches up there."
"I guess I should think about shortening it a little."
"Is there a reason for so much on top?" Marc asked.
"It was a way to equal out our heights. When we started I was the youngest and the shortest," Justin explained.
"Well kid-o you may not have noticed it but you have grown up. You don't have that problem anymore."
"Yeah I have, haven't I," Justin said softly.
Justin was laying on the edge of the couch while he watched the movie. Marc noticed how tense Justin seemed as he balanced himself on the edge. Reaching out Marc pulled Justin back against him. "You can't relax trying to lay on the edge of the couch."
"I wasn't sure if it would be all right," Justin said softly.
"Well, do you like being close?" Marc asked.
"Yeah I do like being close to you."
"And I like being close to you too. It just feels good," Marc said as he let his arm hang over Justin.
They continued to watch the movie. Marc could feel Justin relaxing and as his breathing slowed Marc knew Justin had fallen asleep. Not too long afterward, Marc too dozed off.
It was after three in the morning when the others returned to the hotel. Entering their suite they found Justin and Marc curled up on the couch sound asleep.
Since the TV was still on Lance knew what had happened. Going over to the couch, Lance leaned in to Marc and gave him a soft kiss of the cheek. Marc stirred and slowly opened his eyes. Seeing Lance, Marc smiled. "You're back," Marc softly said.
"You going to sleep out here or are you coming to bed with me?" Lance asked.
"With you," Marc answered. Looking down Marc softly rubbed Justin's chest. "Justin, it's time to go to bed, the movie is over."
"It is?" Justin softly said as he stretched
"Yeah, it ended over a hour ago. The rest of the guys just got back and they are headed to bed also," Marc said.
Sitting up still half asleep Justin noticed the others, "Hi, how was your night?"
"We had a good time," JC said. "But it's time to head to bed."
"K, I'll be right there," Justin said as he got up. Spotting Lance he went to him and gave him a hug. "You are so lucky," Justin whispered.
"Yeah, Marc is so comfortable to lay next to," Justin said still half asleep. Giving Lance a kiss on the cheek he added, "Good night, I'll see you in the morning."
"Night Justin," Lance chuckled.
Going to Marc Justin gave him a hug. "Thanks for letting me hang with you tonight," Justin said. "You're going to blow Letterman's people out of the studio."
"That was my intention. Go get some sleep, I'll see you in the morning," Marc said.
"K, love ya, Marc, . . . night."
"Love ya too. Goodnight," Marc said as he gave Justin a final squeeze and a pat on the back.
As they parted, Justin leaned in and gave Marc a goodnight kiss, on the lips. Marc was surprised that Justin would kiss him in front of the others. When they parted, Justin had a mischievous smile on his face and he gave Marc a wink. Faking a yawn, Justin turned and headed for his room.
Chris and Josh were stunned at Justin's goodnight kiss. Joey seemed to be enjoying the moment as he grinned at his two friends' reactions. Shaking his head, Joey went to Lance. "I'm beat. See you in the morning, Lance," Joey said as he gave Lance a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Turning to Marc he also gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek. "Night, Marc, love you man."
"Night Joe, love ya too," Marc softly said.
Turning to Lance, Marc asked, "You ready for bed?"
"I sure am," Lance said. "Night, guys."
"Night," JC managed to say.
Closing and locking their bedroom door Marc pulls Lance into an embrace and softly kissed him. Pulling back Marc wrinkles wrinkled his nose,. "You smell all smoky."
"There was a lot of people smoking tonight," Lance said.
"Why don't you grab a quick shower," Marc suggested.
"K," Lance said as he started to remove his clothes. "Marc, what was that all about out there?"
"You mean Justin's goodnight kiss?"
"I think it was his way at getting back at Chris and Josh for choosing a club he couldn't get in to. It's just a head game he's playing."
"Well I think it worked. They were stunned," Lance chuckled.
"Yeah, and I think Joey's goodnight just added to their quandary," Marc noted. "Hurry up and get your shower. I'll keep your spot warm."
Chris and JC still stood in the living room staring at Marc's bedroom door.
Finally Chris broke the silence. "What just happened?"
"I think my roommate just kissed Lance and Marc goodnight," JC said.
"Yeah, I think I saw the same thing," Chris said. "And did I see Justin kiss Marc on the mouth?"
"Yeah," . . . . . "Weird!"
"Isn't Brit suppose to be joining the tour soon?" Chris asked.
"Yeah, she's joining us next week in Raleigh," JC said.
"Good. I think Justin needs to spend some time with her."