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Four Months Later

 

After New Year's I was back in LA.My parents had come to a decision to keep the house in Illinois though I had long since vacated my apartment. They thought it would be best particularly if I was coming back and forth; at least a few times a year. At least for now, since no one knew how long I would be in California. I was still undecided if I could even afford to move out there permanently.

As soon as I saw Nick at the airport I flung myself into his arms and had no intention of letting him go. We were inseparable (no pun intended) for the next few days Joe joked we were like twins separated at birth because we were together constantly.

I woke up the following Monday staring at the ceiling of Kevin's room trying to remember where I was, then I remembered I was at the Jonas house, preparing for my album release in a few weeks. The single "Inside Your Skin" was due to drop Friday and the album coming out on the 20th, today I had a photo shoot.

I squinted at the clock on the nightstand; the red numbers reading 10 after eight, the photo shoot was in a little over an hour I had to get moving.

"We have to go!" I said impatiently to my dad as I pulled a lightweight lilac sweater over my head. "I still have to eat breakfast."

I bolted down my breakfast, Nick watching with an amused smirk. "Slow down," he said chuckling, "we don't have to leave for an hour."

I looked up from my cereal bowl, milk dripping off my chin, "Who are you," I said with a small smile, "my manager or my boyfriend?"

Nick continued to laugh softly. He leaned over the back of my chair and kissed me softly, "Both, I think."

"Don't let one interfere with the other." I said softly against his lips.

"I don't intend to." Nick murmured.

 

An hour later (well close to an hour and a half when you count in the traffic) we arrived at the studio and I was bustled off to hair and make up. I hardly recognize myself when they were finished, I hardly ever wore make up, I looked older, more sophisticated. At wardrobe I was wearing a slinky satin top and dark washed jeans with moccasins on my feet my hair cascading down my back, perfect but simple.

When Nick saw me his jaw dropped. "Wow," he breathed, "you look beautiful Justice."

I ducked my head feeling embarrassed, "Thanks."

The photographer a man in his mid-30s came over to shake my hand.

"Hello, I'm Matthew Davis." He smiled.

I frowned at him, "Do you want me in the chair or not?" I asked, not sure what action he was going to take things.

"Let's do both, I want to see all of you."

He took a couple shots of me in my wheelchair against a white backdrop and a couple against the dark backdrop that he took pictures of me reclining on a stack of pillows; casual, sophisticated, seductive (well almost).

 

In the end they shot a number of pictures of me in various poses, at least he got my good side without my spastic hand or the weird way my knees bent when I wasn't sitting in my wheelchair, although my favorite pose was me sitting at an old-fashioned writing desk with paper and pencil and papers scattered crumpled on the floor. After an hour or two I was done and I couldn't wait to see how they came out and which pictures would be used for the album art.

 

Nick and I chilled out after that we got together with Rob Hoffman and he took some pictures of us, good ones and the professional aspects could be stripped away and it was just Nick and Justice, boyfriend and girlfriend and not Nick and Justice, manager and artist. For the first time I relaxed, I leaned over to kiss Nick as the camera flashed, unaware we were being watched.

 

The next morning I had an interview with Ellen DeGeneres and it was this interview that began a sequence of events that almost made me lose Nick forever.

"So how do you like it here in LA?" Ellen asked.

I nodded, "it's nice, I enjoy being here." I said carefully, aware every word I said would be put under a microscope later.

"You were just signed to the Jonas Brothers record label a few months ago, and it was Nick Jonas who discovered you correct?" She asked.

I nodded again, "I went to a camp he was teaching and he really liked my songs." (and a bit more I thought)

"Your dad told us that the doctors said when you were born you wouldn't be able to do anything, so I guess my question is how does it feel to be living your dream?"

My face broke into the first true smile since I had been on camera. "It feels great! I'm so happy there are many people to help me."

"So tell us about your album, what's your sound like?"

"I guess it's just soft rock, maybe more acoustic times, I don't know." I shrugged.

"You recorded with Nick Jonas correct?"

I nodded, "well, not exactly, he did my backing vocals and that's it." I tried to keep my voice neutral.

"Inside Your Skin" what exactly is the song about?" Ellen asked she looked politely interested.

"Well..." I chose my next words very carefully, "it's about wanting to know someone, wanting to know someone so intimately and deeply that you almost become a part of them, and no, I don't mean physically." I didn't mention that Nick had inspired the song that was the last thing the media needed.

"I hear you mention Nick a lot, any connection?"

"Well, "I said, suddenly having a picture of a slightly aggravated Joe Jonas in my head when he'd been asked about the purity rings for the ten millionth time "he is very important to me." I said carefully.

"You seem to be a little bit more than that." A picture of me and Nick kissing showed up on the viewing screen next to her. It had obviously been taken with a zoom lens from a different angle and you couldn't see our faces, but Nick’s  curly hair was unmistakable.

Here was the other shoe dropping, I was in trouble.

 

I couldn't get off the set fast enough as soon as my performance was finished I raced to find Nick and Mr. Jonas.

"Nick, the press knows about us the paparazzi got a picture when we were in the park yesterday."

"I know," Nick said darkly, just as his dad walked into the green room holding a tabloid.

"This isn't good Nicholas, obviously we couldn't keep your relationship with Justice a secret forever, but the ball’s in their court that gives them the upper hand. They seem to think you just took on Justice because you felt sorry for her because of her disability."

"That isn't true!" I spluttered, my face heating up in indignation.

"I know," Nick said quietly, "but sometimes the media twists your words and says the complete opposite of what you meant."

A determined look crossed Nick's face, his mouth set in a grim line. "Dad, I want to issue a statement to the press, not a full press conference... it doesn't need that, just a reliable paper I want to give our side of the story."

"Are you sure, son?" Mr. Jonas asked, he looked concerned.

"People who buy Justice's album won't understand some of her songs without it. I want her to be able to tell the full story behind "Inside Your Skin" honestly."

Less than an hour later Mr. Jonas had Tonya on the phone,

Nick took the phone out of his father's hand, "Tonya, this is Nick Jonas, I want to issue a statement, no, I'm not doing it over the phone meet me at the house in fifteen minutes."

 

Fifteen minutes later Tonya, Nick and I were seated in the Jonas's living room. Tonya had a notepad propped on her knee, her eyes shifting from Nick to me and back again her pencil poised.

"So, what do you want to tell them?"

 

Chapter End Notes:

I cleaned up a lot in this chapter omitted some things for clarification and redundancy and changed a few things to explain how Justice was dealing with certain things in regards to her disability.

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