Everything was over. The music, the tour, the media and the fans. She sighed softly to herself as she felt the lonliness in her heart burn and ache. She missed him. It had been five months since she last saw him at the party. It had been five months since she's touched him or looked into his eyes. At the time she thought she needed distance. Now all she wanted was him and now she hoped he would take her back.
She dialed his number for the first time in awhile. Her heart was pounding.
"Hello? Who's this?" the voice answered over the phone.
Her hands were shaking. She felt like a shy teenager. "It's Alanna."
"Oh." he lowered his voice. "Hi. How are you?"
"I'm doing okay. And you?"
He shifted around on the couch in his house. "I'm doing good. Finally got done with the tour two weeks ago. Just hangin' around now. It's great."
She smiled lightly; glad to know that he was happy. "Yeah, I bet you are loving it."
"So," he paused to change the subject. "What have you been doing since I last saw you?"
"I've been working and hanging out with a few friends but that's about it." she sighed.
"Are you still living near Orlando?" he asked quickly.
"Yeah, I'm still here.
"That's cool. I'm at the house now. We get like three months off, so this is where I'll be."
"I am only ten minutes away, remember?" she grinned to herself.
"Yeah, yeah, I know." he smiled to himself.
"So, do you think we could meet up and talk?"
There was silence before Joey replied. "Well, I guess we could if you want."
"Joey, if you don't want to then I can leave you be." she sighed to herself as her heart pounded.
"Nah, it's cool. We can meet up sometime. We need to talk about things."
"Ok, good. Um, are you busy tomorrow?"
Joey looked at the clock on the wall and then focused back to the phone. "No, not that I know of."
"Ok then. Would you mind if I come over tomorrow around noon?"
"Do you remember how to get here? You've only been to the house once or twice." he questioned.
"Yeah." she smiled lightly. "I should be alright."
"It'll be nice to see you again. Maybe we can work out some things."
"Yeah, maybe we can."
"Well, I gotta get going. I'll see you tomorrow then?" he asked as he stood up and went into the kitchen.
"Yeah, see ya then." she replied.
Alanna hung up and stared out the window. The empty void in her heart was aching for Joey or so she thought. Only time would tell if her heart was really calling his name.
"Alanna called you?" Lance repeated over the phone the next morning.
"Yeah, like out of the blue man. She is comin' over today." he smiled.
"Oh, uh, I thought you weren't getting back with her?" Lance questioned as he shifted his cell phone to the other ear.
"I don't know what I want to do right now. We're just gonna hang out and talk and catch up with things."
Lance snickered lightly in the background. "Yeah, sure. If I know you at all Joey, you'll be on her like a fly on shit."
"I dunno man. I didn't tell her about our little interview today." he winced.
"Ah, I forgot about that too. How are you two gonna hang out if we have to go to the interview?"
Joey looked out the window towards the pond behind his house. "It's gonna be crazy with the fans and all. It's gonna be kind of a test for me. I wanna see how she reacts from being away from me for five months. If she is upset afterwards because of the frenzy then I know what decisions I have to make."
"Is that really the right way to go?" Lance shuffled his voice.
"I mean, if you still love her, then just work things out and let things be the way they are."
Joey lowered his head and looked at the floor. "I do still love her, Lance. I always have. But, like the way it was before, I can't make her love me. I guess I have to wait and see if she is ready to love me again."
"Just be careful, Joe. Everyone was hurt in one way or the other the last time so make sure you know what you're doing." Lance sighed to himself.
"Don't worry, I'll go in feet first this time. We know what's on the line and we're not gonna make rash decisions again." Joey said as he sat back down on his couch.
"Ok then, I'll see ya later at the interview."
"Aight, man, later." Joey finished and hung up the phone.
He straightened up the couch, checked the fridge to make sure he was prepared for a nice lunch and then hurried up to the shower before Alanna showed up in an hour.
The doorbell chimed throughout the house lightly as Joey was straightening his shirt. His heart was beating loudly as was hers. Neither knew what to expect but were willing to try. It was like going on a blind date with the anticipation swimming rapidly in their veins.
"Hey." Joey answered the door with a bright smile.
"Hi." she replied as she blushed.
"You look great."
She continued to act like a shy child. "Thanks."
"Come on in." Joey said as he stood aside and let her in.
"I missed your house, Joe. It still looks beautiful."
"Thanks." he said politely as he walked behind her down the hall to the living room in the back. "Go ahead and sit down. Would you like anything to drink?"
Alanna looked from the couch to Joey who was standing in the adjoining kitchen to the living room. "What all do you have?"
Joey smiled. He loved that she always wanted options to choose from. "Well, the usual, milk, water, iced tea, soda, coffee, tea..."
"Iced tea sounds good." she smiled back as she turned and sat down on the fluffy couch.
"So, did you have any trouble getting here?" he asked as he prepared the drinks.
"Not really. I forgot one road but got back on it quickly. Traffic wasn't too bad." she replied as she reacquainted herself with the living room she hadn't seen in over a year.
"That's good, I mean you haven't forgotten how to get here." he blushed slightly.
She smiled at him from across the room. "I don't live that far away to forget."
"True." he replied as he walked over to her. "You were with the group for so long that I almost forgot where you lived."
She took her drink from him and continued. "Yea, when I came home after that party I almost forgot where to go at the airport."
Joey looked away from her and turned his attention towards the plush white carpet. "I thought after the party that I would never see you again."
Alanna sighed, knowing that the conversation was going to pull at her emotions. "I didn't think I was ever going to either. I really thought what I did was for the best. Maybe it was just for the moment."
Joey looked back at her again. "What do you mean for the moment?"
"Well, the whole time we were apart I thought about things. I thought about our relationship and our friends." Alanna put her drink down on the coffee table and turned to Joey. "Joe, we were together for two years. We met after your break from the last album then I was with you through the recording of the new album and then through all the press, radio and tv appearances. I let everything get to me before it really even started. I accepted you and not your music and it wasn't right."
"Ok, wait, slow down." Joey consoled her as he took her hand in his. The feel of her skin on his sent chills down his spine. "At the time I think you did the right thing for leaving. I had other priorities and you weren't ready for that. I was dragging you along to somewhere you didn't want to go. Trust me, you were right."
"Well then, why do I feel so bad?" she said softly.
"I'm not sure but I think I still do to." he said, looking into her eyes.
Without hesitation, she spilled her feelings out to him. "I think its because I still love you, Joe."
Joey paused for a moment, letting what she said sink in. "You don't need to tell me that."
"What?" she retorted as Joey stood up and walked to the french doors leading to his backyard patio. "Why not? I thought we were going to talk about things."
"Alanna," he started but stopped when she walked up beside him. "I don't want to hurt you."
"How are you going to hurt me?"
"Because I only have three months then I'm back to work again. You don't like that part of me and I'm not going to put you through that again." he sighed.
Alanna grabbed his arms and turned him towards her. "I sat and thought about you every day for five months. I thought about my best friends that I deserted and my feelings for you that I gave up on. I was the one being selfish and afraid and you were just trying to love me. I will not lose that again, Joey."
"Alanna..." he started but was interrupted.
Alanna let go of his arms and backed up. "I hurt you too much by leaving you, didn't I? The damage is already done and you probably don't even love me anymore." she paused as a tear ran down her cheek. "I'm probably making a fool out of myself, aren't I? Are you with someone else?"
Joey lightly grabbed her arms this time and pulled her close enough to him that all he would have to do is whisper. He could smell the sweet scent of her perfume as he continued. "I'm not with anyone else. I've loved you too much to ever even look at another female. I still love you more than anything."
Alanna didn't even respond. She wrapped her arms around him and kissed him quickly yet deeply. It took Joey a couple seconds to want to break away.
"Wait. I have something I have to do." he said between a kiss.
"What do you mean?"
"Um, I have an interview to do today. It's downtown in about an hour." he backed up.
"Oh, I'm holding you up." she replied as she fixed her lip gloss.
"You can come along if you'd like." he mentioned as he grabbed their drink glasses and took them to the kitchen.
"No, I'd just be in the way." she followed him to the kitchen. "And, I think after just now that you will probably want some space."
Joey walked back up to her and stood in front of her closely. "I've had enough space. I've been waiting for us to meet up again and put things back together. I want you with me."
Alanna sighed. "Ok then, I'll go." she smiled as she realized her heart was definately calling out his name.
They spent the hour talking and putting broken pieces back together before heading into town.
The fans screamed and grabbed everything as Joey and Alanna made their way into the radio station. As soon as they got into the lobby, Alanna stopped to fix herself and to catch her breath.
"Are you okay?" Joey asked as he straightened his shirt.
"I'm fine, just give me a second."
"I know you don't like this stuff; the media and the fans. Are you sure you want to go through all this again." he asked as he looked to the fans on the other side of the door.
Alanna looked to him and smiled. "I'm sure. I'll be fine. Let's get going."
"Alrighty then." Joey replied as they jumped into the elevator to the third floor.
They walked down the hallway towards the room that they were doing the interview when the rest of the guys came around the corner. Noticing Alanna by Joey's side they stopped abruptly.
"Alanna?" Lance yelled with excitement after not seeing her for so long.
"Hey you!" she smiled as they gave each other a big hug.
"What's going on?" JC asked as he stood by Joey's side.
"Yeah, did we miss something?" Justin jumped in.
"Well, Alanna stopped by today and we talked for awhile and she decided to come along." he smiled as he and Alanna looked at each other.
"So, does this mean..." Chris started but was interrupted.
"Hey guys, you're on the air!" someone yelled from inside the room as they quickly rushed inside. Alanna stood outside and watched from a window.
"Hey everyone out there listening. This is Ruby Kay on Wild 101.1 here live with none other than *NSYNC! The boys decided to stop by today before they take a break for awhile and before we start I have some hot news for everyone out there!" she paused and looked at Joey and he knew what was coming. "Okay, Joey, can I mention something here to everyone out there listening?"
Joey smiled slyly as he situated himself in the chair. "I know what you are going to say, so sure go ahead."
"Ok, we'll I noticed you brought someone with you. Someone you were associated with for a long time. Is that your ex flame, Alanna, out there?"
"Ruby Kay, you got me on that one." he and the other guys snickered. "That would be her that is with me today."
"So, is there anything interesting we would like to share with the world here? Like, are you two back together or what?"
Joey blushed a bit but then replied. "Well, we met up today after we've been apart for five months as you all know. We talked and hung out a bit. I'd say the future looks positive."
"You heard it here first everyone! This is Ruby Kay on Wild 101.1 where Joey and his ex flame, Alanna, are now hotter than ever! Okay, girls, you are gonna have to take a back seat to this one, he is once again attached! And now that we've got that out of the way, let's get on with the interview shall we?"
Joey turned around and looked out the glass towards Alanna. He knew she could hear their interview as she stood there with tear glossed eyes and a content look. They had repaired what was broken and everyone was happy. He hoped their future would be better than ever. Before turning back he whispered I love you.
She whispered I love you back with a sun splashed smile and a warm happy heart.