Hannah stared at herself in the bathroom mirror. She’d changed clothes four times already. And she hated every outfit. But now, they were out of time. Her three o’clock appointment was rearing up on her, and she needed to get over to the studio.
“I’m going to be sick,” she mumbled.
Justin called out from where he reclined on the hotel bed, “What did you say?”
She heard him rise and then he was standing behind her. “Sweetheart, we need to get going, or you’ll be late.”
“I know, I know,” she said. “I just need another minute.”
He placed his hands on her shoulders. “You look beautiful...a little green around the gills, but still beautiful.” He grinned at her reflection.
Hannah couldn’t breathe. She ran some cold water in the sink, splashed her face, and then -- too late -- realized she just washed off all her make-up. “Oh, no!” Hastily, she dapped her streaked face with a hand towel and dug through her make-up bag for some powder and mascara.
“Here, let me,” he said turning her around and taking the items from her hands. “You’re shaking so bad, you’ll poke yourself in the eye.”
“Don’t tell me you know how to put on make-up?”
He chuckled. “Josie made me sit through so many fashion shows that I could probably do it with my eyes closed. Not that I’ve ever done this before, of course.”
“Of course,” she replied smiling and loving how he could ease the herd of squirrels inside her stomach. Or was it a colony? “Do squirrels live in herds or colonies?”
Justin got a weird look on his face. “What are you talking about?”
“I don’t have butterflies. I have squirrels.”
“Squirrels, huh?” he asked, patting foundation powder on her forehead and down her nose. “Jumpy ones?”
He worked on fixing her for a moment longer, scrunching up his face as he concentrated. “I think they’re called drays.”
“A dray? I have a dray in my stomach. Wonderful.”
He smiled as he coated her eyelashes carefully. “It could be worse. A group of locusts are called a plague.”
“How do you know these things?”
Capping her mascara, he shrugged. “Animal Planet...Josie watches way too much tv.”
Hannah turned around and studied his handiwork. “Not bad, Jack...I think you’ve missed your calling in life.”
“Hmm,” he said, leaning down to nuzzle her neck. “I think we better get going before you miss yours.”
Taking a moment to straighten the collar of her shirt and brush invisible lint off the knee-length silk skirt, she swallowed down the jumpy critters and grimaced. “I need to change first. I look like I’m trying too hard.”
Justin grabbed her tight before she could slip away from him. “You look perfect.” Turning her around, he placed a soft kiss on her mouth. “You look beautiful. And if I have to watch you strut around here naked one more time, we won’t make that appointment today.”
“Okay...okay...” She took a deep breath. “Where’s my guitar?”
“On the bed.”
“Okay...um, just let me...”
“Hannah,” he warned her. “You’re going to be fine.”
“I know...I just need to throw up first.”
And she did. Hannah hugged the porcelain throne for a good two minutes. It was a testament to Justin’s character that he held back her hair, ran soothing strokes down her back and gave her a wet towel to wipe her mouth afterward. “Better?”
“No,” she moaned.
“How about some toothpaste and mouthwash?”
Twenty minutes later, they stood outside of Raw Studios, and Hannah’s stomach flipped over again. “You’ll stay with me the whole time, right?” she asked Justin in a whisper. “You won’t leave me?”
“I’m not going anywhere, sweetheart,” he said and ushered her inside.