It had been about two weeks since I last saw Chanel and I had begun to really miss her, only it was hard to show because Selena had flown out to see me and show her face by my side. My next show was at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, but all I wanted to do was relive my Pasadena show.
Backstage, I had left the crew to be in my dressing room alone so I could catch a break to possibly call or FaceTime Chanel, but that intention was shot down when Selena came knocking on my door.
“Hey you,” she said sweetly.
“What's wrong with you? You seem a little out of it.”
“I think I'm just tired. A little hungry too, not going to lie.”
“I can get you something.”
“It's okay. I just need a quick snack. I go on stage in about an hour and I don't want to perform on a full stomach.”
“Can I talk to you about something?” she asked.
“You've been acting different with me lately. Why?”
“Not as affectionate or into this.”
“You do know you and I are just a publicity stunt, right?” I was confused.
“I know that. But there's still something between us even when the cameras aren't on us.”
“Yeah, a friendship with benefits.”
“You're being kind of an asshole right now.”
“Selena, I'm being honest with you. I'm not going to sugar coat what we are. I'm not going to tell you how to feel either because that's something you can't control, but understand that you and I are not together. We are not a real couple. All we've ever been is a publicity stunt and friends with benefits because it was convenient for us to be exclusively that to each other.”
“But I like you. A lot. I always have. Why can't we be more than that, for real? You already act like my boyfriend and you seem really into it too.”
“It's called acting, Selena. I have to act like your boyfriend. I have to act like I'm in love with you. I'm sorry that I sound so cold and like a terrible guy. You know I'm not. I just don't feel for you what you feel for me. I'm sorry that that hurts your feelings, but that's how I feel. I don't want to be more than friends with you. You're a beautiful girl, an amazing friend, but that's all you are to me.” She looked upset and shed a tear. I stood up from my chair to sit beside her and wipe the tear away. “Please don't hate me. I wasn't intentionally trying to hurt your feelings, but you deserve to know the whole truth to what this is.”
“I don't hate you. I know it’s not because of another girl either. You two would be all over the media. I just wish things were different.” That's where she was wrong, but I wasn't going to correct her.
“I'm sorry,” was all I could say to her. She took a deep breath, wiped another tear away, and then smiled.
“It's fine, I'm fine. We're still friends and there are no secrets between us. So, happy faces for the camera and we make everyone happy.”
“Speaking of making everyone happy, I've been told to make you my one less lonely girl tonight since you popped up for your ‘surprise’ visit. Are you cool with that?”
“When have I ever declined being serenaded by you?”
“Then I'm not starting now,” she said with a chuckle. “I saw videos of you singing to that fan in Pasadena. It was really nice of you to do that.” I thought back to that night and how I felt singing to Chanel. A smile grew on my face. “What made you decide to do the routine that night? And what made you pick her?”
“It was just a really great crowd and my first show of this year North American tour. I thought I'd start off strong. As for the girl… I don't know. She just stood out to me.”
“Do you know her?”
“It was just a question. I believe you. Anyway, I'm going to head back to my dressing room. I'll see you on stage.”
Selena left my room and closed the door behind her. I waited a couple of minutes to make sure she was actually gone. Once I was sure that she was, I took my phone out to FaceTime Chanel. But I was interrupted once again.
“Justin, it's Scooter. I need you to rehearse with your vocal coach.” I groaned to myself.
“Can it wait ten minutes?”
“Now,” he ordered. I heard him walk away. I decided to video call Chanel either way. She didn't take long to answer.
“Hey superstar,” she answered with a smile. “Aren't you supposed to be on stage?”
“Very soon, yes. I've also been ordered to do a vocal rehearsal right now and I'm delaying.”
“I wanted to talk to you.”
“About what? Is everything okay?” she asked in a nervous tone.
“I miss you,” I said with a grin. She giggled and rolled her eyes.
“You had me concerned. I thought something was actually wrong.”
“I miss having you around too. But it's only a couple of more weeks. You'll be back home soon.”
“Why is your voice so comforting?”
“Why are you flirting with me at this dangerous time?”
“I like seeing you smile.”
“Justin, I said vocal rehearsal, NOW!” Scooter yelled from outside of my dressing room.
“Sounds like you have to go.”
“Yeah, I do,” I replied in a low voice. “After the show I'm going back to my hotel. I'll FaceTime you again when I get settled in.”
“Take your time, superstar. The life of fame is hectic.”
“You're amazing.” I made her smile.
“I'll talk to you later. Bye.”
“Bye Nelly.” She hung up.
I couldn't wait to be back at the hotel.
It was nearly two in the morning in Minneapolis, which meant it was only midnight in Calabasas. I had finally been settled into bed. My first priority was FaceTiming Chanel again. When I did, she did not hesitate to answer.
“You look comfy,” she said.
“You have no idea how amazing this bed feels.”
“I can only imagine after putting on a three hour show.”
“I saw Selena surprised you and popped up there.” I almost slipped up and told her that it was planned all along, but I caught myself.
“She did. Then I did the One Less Lonely Girl routine on her to make her trip worthwhile.”
“Yeah, I saw that too,” she said with a little disappointment in her voice.
“A fan page I follow on Instagram did a live stream during the routine. I saw the whole thing.”
“Oh,” I said with a hint of guilt.
“Look, you don't have to feel guilty about it. She is your girlfriend. You have the right to do those things. I know I'm not the only girl you make feel special.”
“I'm serious. At the end of the day, we’re just best friends.” I wanted to tell her so badly that I was actually single and not in a relationship, but I knew I was still in a position where I couldn't do that.
“I'm still sorry. Also, I hate that you always know what I'm feeling just by looking at me. It makes it hard for me to hide my emotions from you.” She cracked a smile.
“If it makes you feel better, I hate that you can do the same to me.”
“It's a gift.”
“It's an annoyance.” We shared a laugh that was disrupted by a knock on my door.
“Justin?” Selena asked from the outside. I froze.
“Uh, Chanel, I'm going to call you back.”
“Okay,” she said calmly. I hung up the call and got up to answer my door. Selena walked in wearing a red silk robe tied at the waist with her arms crossed.
“Is everything okay?” I asked her.
“Yeah, everything's fine. I just thought you could use a little company.” She continued to walk into my room and ended up standing by my bed.
“I was doing just fine alone,” I said as I walked back to my bed. I sat where I had been while on my call with Chanel, against my pillows and completely relaxed.
“Well, I was lonely. I thought maybe you could help me out,” she said as she untied her robe, revealing a lingerie set she had been wearing. I sighed. “And I know I could help you out.”
“I hate to admit it but you look very tempting.”
“Why do you hate to admit it?” she asked as she sat on me in a straddling position.
“Again, we are not a real couple. If anything, all we are is friends with benefits.”
“So take advantage of the benefits.” She started kissing my neck and before I knew it, her behavior had convinced me to keep going.
I turned the lights off and took advantage of the benefits laid out in front of me, literally.