The Backstreet Boys get to know the two new women better.
“Good morning ladies,” he greeted them. “Nice to meet you Ms. Ford,” he said shaking Julie’s hand. Michelle handed him the papers they signed. “Good. It looks like everything is in order. If you’ll follow me, I’ll show you to your office.” They followed him down the hall, past the room where Michelle met The Backstreet Boys the day before, and into a room containing two desks, and a door leading to another room. “This is your office. Feel free to decorate. This door here leads to a wardrobe room. It’s already full of clothes for the group, and everything that’s been worn has a label saying who’s worn it. Look through it and try to memorize everything in there. If you ever need something else that’s not there, just let me know and I’ll get it for you. Any questions?” Both shook their heads. “Good. Now, the boys aren’t here yet, so why don’t you get acquainted with the wardrobe room, and I’ll give you a call when they arrive. We’re discussing their upcoming tour today, and now that you’ve been hired you need to get to know them and figure out their wardrobe.” With that said, he left them in their new office.
“So, what do you think?” Michelle asked.
“It reminds me of a hospital room.”
“Why a hospital room?”
“Because it’s so white, and clean, and . . . sterile.” Michelle looked at Julie, and after a few seconds both burst out laughing. “Well, let’s do what he said and start looking through all those clothes.”
They opened the door and found themselves looking at a room they guessed to be at least fifty square feet. Filling the room were racks and racks of clothes, ranging from baggy jeans and large jerseys to more fitted clothing like sweaters and suits. They looked through it all, cataloguing the clothing and marking down everything already labeled for a specific guy. That took them two hours, with Julie listening for the phone in case it rang. Once that was done, they walked back into their office and decided to check out their computers. They were programmed with all the latest technology, and even had the programs Michelle used at her previous job. While they worked on uploading their list on the computer, in a spreadsheet format so things would be easy to find, the phone rang. Julie answered.
“Michelle Fulham’s office, how may I help you?” Julie gave Michelle a wink. It was the same message she gave whenever she answered the phone for Michelle, and had been for years. “Thank you Mr. Johnson, we’ll be right over.” She hung up the phone. “Apparently the boys have arrived and our presence is being requested,” she said with a smile.
“Alright. Bring the list, since I don’t have everything memorized yet. Did he say where we’re supposed to go?”
“Next door,” she said with a laugh. Michelle smiled, glad that she’d been able to keep Julie with her. She needed someone to make her smile every once in awhile. Julie grabbed the list they’d made and together they walked into the next room. This time the boys smiled at Michelle and looked at Julie. They took in her high top converse, tanned skin, Dickies pants, and white button up shirt complete with a bright blue tie.
“Who’s this?” Nick asked Mr. Johnson.
“I’m Ms. Fulham’s assistant,” Julie answered.
“Oh, well I’m Nick.” He introduced everyone else in the group as well. Julie said nothing, but gave a small smile and a wave of the hand. Michelle hid a smile, knowing the meeting would be an interesting one.
Michelle and Julie took seats across from the group and Mr. Johnson started the meeting. First he gave the women a schedule of the tour, and explained how things would work. They would share a bus with two members of the group while the other three would be in a different bus. The buses were used to travel between cities. They would stay in a hotel at each stop, unless they needed to drive overnight to get to the next location. A short time into the meeting, Mr. Johnson had to take a phone call in his office, leaving the guys and women to get to know one another better.
“So are you both from around here?” Brian asked.
“I’ve lived here all my life,” Michelle answered. “Julie’s lived here for the past couple of years. What about you?”
“Kevin and I are from Kentucky originally. Nick is from New York, and both AJ and Howie are from here.”
“Have you listened to our CD?” Nick asked.
“I might have heard a few songs on the radio, but I can’t think of any at the moment,” Julie said.
“Have you worked with anyone famous before?”
“We’ve worked on photo shoots with several models before, but never performers,” Michelle answered.
“What got you into fashion design?” Brian asked.
“I was always good at picking out the right clothes for people, so I decided to do it for a career. I got my certificate from a one year fashion design school. Julie isn’t actually a fashion designer, though.”
“Nope. I got a liberal arts degree from the University of Central Florida,” Julie supplied.
“How did you all get into the singing business?” Michelle asked them. By the time they finished explaining the way their group formed, Mr. Johnson returned.
“So sorry about that,” he apologized. “Now, do any of you have any questions?” No one said anything. “Good. Well, I think that concludes this meeting. Michelle, Julie, I’ll speak to you in your office in a minute.”
They left and headed back to their office. They finished creating their catalogue of clothes on the computers. Mr. Johnson came in after he finished talking with the Boys. He made sure they understood everything about the tour, and gave them their schedule for work until they left on the actual tour. Then he left them alone. They went back into the wardrobe room to take pictures to put next to the labels in the hard copy catalogue. When they walked in, though, they weren’t expecting to see the Boys inside.
“Who knew that door led to a room full of our clothes!” Nick exclaimed. All five guys were going through the racks of clothes, pulling things out, and even trying some things on. Julie immediately rushed into the scene.
“What are you doing?” she yelled at them all. They all turned to look at her. Michelle followed her into the room.
“We were just looking at our clothes,” Nick replied.
“Who said you could come in here?”
“No one,” AJ said. “We just wondered where that door led.” He pointed at the door they came through, connecting the wardrobe room to the meeting room.
“Look, we just catalogued all these clothes, so put them back where you found them, right now.”
“Calm down,” Kevin said.
“Don’t tell me to calm down. You guys just destroyed hours of work, which we now have to redo in order to do more hours of work in order to do our jobs and make you all look good.” The Boys realized she was serious, so they began putting all the clothes back the way they remembered. When they finished, they all apologized. “Just don’t ever mess with the wardrobe without our permission again,” Julie said as they left the room.
“You handled that well,” Michelle commented.
“I just wanted to make sure they got the message.”
“I think they got it, loud and clear.”
They double checked everything, making sure all the clothes were in the right spot. After that, they took pictures of every article of clothing. They took the film to a one-hour photo shop to get the pictures developed so they could complete their hard copy catalogue that they would bring with them on the tour. Julie left, having previously made plans for the night with friends, so Michelle stayed late to finish up.
The next day they were told they had a dinner meeting that night and were to meet Mr. Johnson and the Boys at the restaurant. During the day they did research on the Boys to try and find out more about their previous fashion designer and their personal styles. Both women started laughing at some of the outfits they saw, and knew they had their work cut out for them. When the time came to leave for dinner, Julie drove Michelle to pick up her car. They drove back to their apartment so she could drop it off and then both drove together to the restaurant.
It was a classy restaurant, putting Michelle and Julie a little on edge. They had hoped the meeting would be at a less up-scale restaurant. They walked in and immediately were shown to the table, where the Boys and Mr. Johnson sat discussing the tour. Michelle was seated between Brian and Julie, while Julie was seated between Michelle and Kevin. Shortly after they were seated a waiter came up to take everyone’s orders.
“We’ll all have steak,” Nick said for the Boys and Mr. Johnson. “Do you guys want steak too?”
“I don’t eat meat,” Julie said, “so I’ll have a salad with Caesar dressing.”
“I’ll have the grilled chicken,” Michelle said. While they waited for him to return with their drinks, Nick questioned Julie.
“Why don’t you eat meat?”
“I’m a vegetarian.”
“You mean you don’t eat anything from animals? Not even ice cream?” Before Julie could respond, Kevin spoke up.
“Vegetarian, Nick, not vegan. She eats animal products, just not meat. Right?” Julie nodded.
“How do you know so much about vegetarians?” Julie asked.
“Not all of us are ignorant like Nick,” he whispered so Nick wouldn’t protest.
“Are you a vegetarian too Michelle?” Nick asked.
“She wouldn’t have ordered chicken if she was,” Brian said. Nick muttered something under his breath, and everyone smiled.
“So what made you decide to be a vegetarian?” Kevin asked Julie.
“I decided to become a vegetarian for a couple of reasons. I’m opposed to animal cruelty, but I also think it’s a healthier option for me. If I wasn’t a vegetarian, I might not get in all my fruits and veggies for the day,” laughed Julie. While Julie answered Kevin’s question, Michelle asked her own questions.
“You never mentioned how you became a part of this group. Care to elaborate?” she asked Brian.
“Actually Kevin called me up and told me about the opportunity to join a group, and here I am, in one of the most successful boy bands.”
“How do you know Kevin?”
“Oh, he’s my cousin,” he said with a laugh. “I guess we never mentioned that before. Kevin’s mom is my dad’s sister.”
“Do you enjoy having a family member with you in the group?” Before he could answer, Mr. Johnson interrupted everyone and called them back to business.
“I’m guessing you two haven’t had time to look over the schedule yet,” he said to Michelle and Julie, “so you may not have noticed the Boys are traveling to Europe for part of the tour. This isn’t part of your contract, but we wanted to know if you would be willing to also travel with the group in Europe as well as the U.S.”
“Yes!” Julie said emphatically. “I mean, so long as Michelle agrees.” She looked at Michelle to see her reaction.
“I agree with Julie.”
“Then that’s settled,” Mr. Johnson said. “Now I don’t have to worry about finding a temporary designer during those months. Next order of business is to make sure you understand how the tour works.” He went on to explain the security measures that would be put in place, when the group would stay in hotels versus traveling in the buses, and other important details. When Mr. Johnson finished, everyone’s food arrived and they began eating.
“Do you speak any foreign languages?” Howie asked both women. Michelle shook her head; Julie swallowed her bite and answered.
“I speak some French, but I haven’t used it in awhile so I’m not sure how good it is.”
“Let’s hear some.” Julie obliged their curiosity and spoke a few sentences in French: “Je veux voyager en Europe, mais je ne parle pas bien français. I said ‘I want to travel in Europe, but I don’t speak French well.’”
“Do you speak any other languages Michelle?” Brian asked.
“Nope, just English. Do you?”
“I try to learn a few words when we’re in a different country, but no, not really.”
“I used to want to learn French, but after hearing Julie talk I’m glad I never did.” Brian laughed.
“What made you choose French?” Kevin asked Julie.
“I think it’s a beautiful language, and some of my favorite novels were originally written in French. I tried reading Madame Bovary in French, but I gave up after the first chapter, shamefully.”
Soon everyone finished their meals and the waiter collected their plates. He brought a dessert menu and asked if anyone wanted to order anything. The Boys said they’d look over the menu, so they passed it around and picked out what they wanted. Julie ordered a piece of chocolate mousse cake. Michelle ordered nothing.
“You don’t want dessert?” Brian asked.
“I rarely get dessert at restaurants. If I want I’ll just take a bite of Julie’s cake.” Julie gave her a look, but Michelle just smiled. “What did you get?”
“I got a brownie topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.”
The remainder of the meal went smoothly and quickly. Everyone said their goodbyes, and Julie and Michelle headed back to their apartment. When they arrived, they sat down on the couch and discussed their opinions of the Boys now that they knew them a little better.
“They aren’t stuck-up, like some of the models we’ve worked with before,” Michelle said. “I’m happy about that.”
“Yeah, they seem like nice guys, or most of them do. AJ never said much, and Nick’s just ignorant.”
“And immature, would be my guess. Did you have fun talking with Kevin?”
“Yeah, he was nice. I found it interesting that he knew the difference between vegans and vegetarians. What about you and Brian?”
“He was nice too. I’m hoping they won’t lower my opinion once we start spending more time with them.” They went to bed shortly after finishing talking.