Christina nearly cried when Justin won. It was just this bitter sense of disappointment, even though she was happy for him.
She stayed for his after show out of a twisted sense of loyalty, or maybe guilt, even though she didn't really feel like dancing. Somewhere across the city a limo was pulling up with two of the most powerful women in music feeling each other up inside. They let Christina backstage, clutching a glass.
Justin asked, "So, you didn't say anything."
Christina knew this was coming. "I couldn't," she told him, apologetic.
"Yeah, no, I know," Justin said.
They stood there akwardly for a couple of seconds, and Christina physically felt the rum sloshing in her tiny little stomach. "So, congrats," she said, and actually meant it, even though her hands instinctively went to grasp an award that wasn't there.
"Um. you too," Justin said. He also meant it.
It was probably the only time Christina would get to feel the way a wedding dress would sit, being as how the guys she fucked were rentals, out of the building before you could say "spend the night" nevermind "wedding", and as for the girls, the united states of america supreme court was not going to pass that law any time soon.
It just, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
"Are you going out?" Justin asked her, though it was three thirty in the morning already.
She said, "Are you?" He shrugged. She said, "maybe," and pictured walking down the aisle on Justin's arm. "You really deserved this," she added, and when he glanced at her sharply, Christina amended, "It was a good video."
Justin shrugged. Christina was one of the only people who knew that the house that Britney wanted to build had a glass wall, a huge shower, and a back entrance with white steps lined with stones. She was also one of the few that knew Britney kept a camcorder in a drawer in her kitchen.
"So was Beautiful," he said to her, and for a minute Christina thought he was talking about Snoop, and then she didn't know what else to say. "You wanna go out?" Justin said to her suddenly.
"Uh," Christina said. "Yeah." She looked at him, his red eyes. "I couldn't say anything to anyone," she told Justin. "It, they made us promise."
"Yeah," he said. "I know."
She hadn't really considered not winning *anything*. Not a lot, sure, because there were a lot of people nominated in a lot of categories, and she didn't have the best video. But each time she had to clap for someone else she admired - another drop in her stomach.
Justin's driver dropped them off. She held open the door for Justin, trying to apologize silently. He stepped through first without a thought, and Christina told him, "we'll celebrate." She didn't say what. She praised the after-show, while Justin got high with Pharrell, and then the three of them danced until dawn.
The only concession to her stupid resentment Christina made was to ask, around six, "I wonder what Jennifer Lopez is doing right now?"
"Hah!" Justin said, eyes and smile wide. "Fucking Ben Affleck?"
"Fucking Ben Affleck," Christina said. Her words were slurred, and she wished she was wearing white. "They're getting married."
"Whatever," Justin said. "It won't last." He slumped down in the car seat. "Why did you come with us?"
She sat up in the seat. "you didn't think she wouldn't try and get back at you?" and Justin stared at her. "Forget it," she said, "I'm drunk, I didn't mean it." She sat back. "I'm sorry."
"Hey, you didn't walk away empty handed," Justin said to her. Christina nodded, tired. She didn't explain about being a consolation, since Justin was the one with the awards. And she was happy for him, because he did deserve them, he deserved all of it.
"You know the funny part?" and he slid up to her in the car, familiar, close. "We all walked away with something worth it," Justin told her, arm draped around her shoulders.