The limos weren't getting here for another hour, but we were all already ready. For once. For maybe the FIRST time in a very long time. And I do mean ALL of us. All five of us. All five of our dates.
Maybe it was nerves; for the first time ever, we were going out in public with the people we were REALLY dating, and not the people that the public knew about. Ever since that stalker scare last month, well, they were all out in the open anyway...and despite all fears to the contrary, it hadn't harmed our reputation one bit.
It had changed their lives, though. The one thing that we'd wanted to avoid at all costs was exposing the people we loved to the harsh spotlight that was always on us. But...it was there now, and there was nothing to be done about it, and at least we were able to acknowledge them now. To thank them in our speeches and touch them in public and mention them in interviews.
Chris and Dani were still Chris and Dani. They were our rock, our stable thread between our public relationships and our private relationships. Dani had made the choice long ago to stand by Chris despite the harassment she knew it would get her, and Chris had made the choice to say 'fuck you' to management and let her. I'm betting now they're both happy with the choices they'd made. Then again, they always were.
I watched Danielle smooth her dress over her thighs and smile broadly as Chris whispered something in her ear. She looked radiant, as always, and Chris in a tux was a sight to behold, surprising as that may seem. Dani'd gone above and beyond the call of duty, talking to each of the dates personally, letting them know what to expect, from the perspective of someone that had been there.
That was something the rest of us, no matter how good our intentions, weren't able to do.
Josh's girlfriend, Zanna, was probably the most appreciative of the advice. She was a shy, little thing, who'd never had any desire to be in the spotlight before. She was a hell of a sound technician, though, and was unlikely to get starstruck given the fact she'd already worked with most of the who's who of the business over the past couple of years.
I knew Josh was trying to get her into producing in her own right, but she wasn't taking the bait just yet. They were great together, both enjoying lenthy periods of solitude where they did their own thing, then spending 24-7 together for a while until they were ready to do their own thing again. It wasn't what I would have wanted, but it worked for them and that was all that mattered.
Lance was in a distance corner of the room with his girlfriend, Lynette, and her two-year-old daughter Randi. I felt anger raise up when I saw them--not at them, not at all, but at the fact that it took a threat to Randi before the police got serious about the guy that was stalking our significant others. She was just a little girl; she was so terrified! At least all that's over now.
Lance was holding Randi, her arms flung around his neck and her cheek pressed against his shoulder. There was no way the poor kid was going to stay awake through the whole thing, but Lynette still felt safer when Randi was with her, and Lance felt safer when they were BOTH with him, so they were dressed in matching green velvet dresses and were both going to be going with him.
I liked Joey's boyfriend. I liked him a lot, even though he scared the CRAP out of most people when they met him for the first time. He was a tattoo artist--the guy who'd done Joey's first tattoo, actually--and had this giant dragon tattoo that snaked from his right wrist to his shoulder, then down his side where it curled around his hip onto his back. It was truly a wonder to behold.
So yeah, the guy was pretty intimidating to look at, with his black and blue spiked hair and his nose and eyebrow rings and the dark expression that he could throw on at the blink of an eye...but think about it. Joey's been with him for SIX years, so the guy definitely had to have something going for him. And the rest of us were all pretty used to him. Hell, even Randi liked him, and she was scared of *Santa Claus*.
He and Joey were making out on the couch--nothing heavy, just kissing and nuzzling and stuff--and it was cute, in a strange and twisted way. It was their way of relieving tension--Dirk definitely wasn't someone that was used to appearing on awards shows. Or anywhere in public, really. But he was a character and he'd do fine.
I looked at them all with a satisfied smile and felt a pair arms come around me from behind. I turned my head to look into my wife's sparkling blue eyes. Yeah, wife. I've been married for two years, but we were under contract not to tell anyone about it. I'm glad we aren't bound by it anymore, because I hated spending so much time apart from her.
The guys were all leery of the marriage to begin with, seeing as how we were both so young, but I'd been in love with Jana since the moment I met her. I've never regretted being with her, not for a moment. And hell, marrying a publicist is a pretty good career move, too.
"Justin," she whispered in my ear. "Why don't we go somewhere we can be alone while we're waiting?"
I nodded at her, though she probably knew my answer before I gave it. I took one last look around the room before she led me away and smiled again. For once, I felt like things were exactly as they should be.