"Hey."  JC shouted over the music and held up his hand.  "Hey I've gotta go."  It was their second day of practice and they were just getting into the flow again.

            "Go?  Go where?  It's not even noon."  Lance laughed.

            "Half day!"  Joey and Chris shouted in unison.

            "No, I have to go get Kyle."  JC shook his head and wiped his mouth on the shoulder of his shirt.  "I've gotta pick him up by twelve."

            "How long are you going to be?"  Wade asked as he turned the music all the way off.

            "Like, an hour?"  JC shrugged.  "His school is up by my house and we'll probably stop and grab some lunch while we're out.  So you guys can have lunch here and when I get back we'll be ready to go."

            "You can see he's given this some thought."  Justin said to Wade as JC used a spare towel to wipe his neck.

            "Why don't you just have Amy pick him up?"  Lance asked.

            "Huh?"

            "Well she's not really doing anything for the next couple weeks.  She's working the late shift so she's home all day."

            "Yeah but then she'd have to drive from your house, to the school, then all the way down here for nothing."  JC shook his head.

            "She was gonna hang out here anyway."  Lance shrugged.  "Just trying to save you some time."

            "Do you think she'd mind?"

            "I'll have to ask, but I don't think she'd mind."  Lance laughed.

            "That'd help a lot."  JC nodded and dug in his bag for his car keys.  "But for today, I've gotta go get him."

            "Okay, I guess this is lunch then."  Wade laughed and dropped himself onto the bench.  "They got anything good to eat around here?"

            "Lots of carbs and proteins and shit like that.  We've got manly food for manly men."  Chris beat his chest like a gorilla and made growl-like noises.

            "Nice."  Wade rolled his eyes.

            JC laughed and trotted for the door to make it to the school on time.  He pulled up in front of the school just after twelve and ran inside.  JC scribbled his name in the book, then walked back to Kyle's room where he was sitting by himself in the little play area.

            "Hey buddy."  JC panted as he walked in the door.  He was only a couple minutes late, but the other kids had already started to get their lunches ready to eat.

            "There's your daddy, see?"  Marci, the high school volunteer smiled as she saw JC.  She reached out for Kyle's hand and walked him over to his cubby where JC was waiting.

            "Sorry I'm late, I was… we're working this week."

            "It's no problem."  Marci smiled up at him.  “Kyle was getting a little worried, but I think he'll be okay."

            "Daddy you no get me."

            "I got you."  JC nodded.

            "No."  Kyle pouted as he took his sweatshirt off the hook.

            "I was a little late, I know."  JC sighed.  "It's not the end of the world."

            "Yeah."  Kyle looked up at JC with tears in his eyes.

            Guilt slapped JC as he reached down to pick Kyle up.  "I'm sorry buddy, we were working and everything and I left a little late.  It was only ten minutes though.  You were a big boy to sit here and wait for me, that's awesome."

            "You no get me."

            "I'm here now."  JC held him against is chest and picked up Kyle's backpack.  "Thanks a lot."  He waved at the teachers then ducked out the door.  "You wanna get some Mc Donald's on the way back to work?"

            "No daddy we go home."

            "We can't go home, I still have to work."

            "Morrow you work."

            "I have to work tomorrow too, yeah.  But I have to go back today too."

            "Noooo."  Kyle whined and threatened to produce more tears.

            "You'll have fun."  JC smiled as they walked out the thick front doors and out to the car.  JC strapped Kyle into the backseat and smiled, “You'll have a lot of fun today.  Guess who's at work with us?"

            "No."

            "Aww, don't be a party pooper, guess who's there?"

            "Jussin."  Kyle pouted as JC shut his door and got in the driver's side.

            "Yeah, Justin is there.  But I meant guess who you get to play with?"  He looked in the rearview mirror.

            "Who?"

            "Amy!  Isn't that cool?"

            "Mimi?"

            "Yep."

            "And she pay?"

            "I'm sure she'll play with you."  JC nodded.  "In fact, I need to call the school when I get there to have Amy's name put on the list so she can pick you up on Thursday."

            "Mimi see my school?"

            "Yeah, I think she's going to pick you up.  I have to ask her though."

            "Kay."  Kyle nodded.  "And have Jaxo and Lessi?"

            "No, I think the dogs are at home."

            "We have?"

            "Maybe you can ask her is she can bring them next time so you can play."  JC smiled.

            "Yeah."  Kyle's frown disappeared and he attempted a small smile.  "And we have kickin?"

            "You bet."  JC pulled into the nearest Mc Donald’s and pulled through the drive through.  As he ordered the girl seemed kind of hesitant and almost nervous and when he pulled up to the window she went absolutely white.

            "Oh my God."  She whispered.

            "Hi."  JC smiled.

            "Oh my God."  She said again then launched into action, suddenly remembering that she was at work and over ten.  "H-hi, you - you're JC." 

            "Yeah."  JC laughed lightly and took the cup holder she offered him.  "How's it going?"

            "I uh… it's fine.  How… how are you?"

            "I'm doing good."  He nodded with a smile.

            "Wow, that's awesome."  She tried not to bounce up and down but she was having a hard time.  "I'm sorry, but I have to ask.  Can I get your autograph?"

            "Sure, absolutely."  JC looked over to his passenger’s seat.  "Do you have anything?  I can't - I don't have a pen or anything."

            "Yeah, yeah hang on."  She disappeared from the window and came back a minute later with a take out bag and a marker.  "Here, thank you so much."

            "No problem."  JC smiled and took the supplies.

            "Daddy have juice?"  Kyle asked from the back seat.

            "It's 7-up, do you want some of that?"  JC set the bag and pen on the seat next to him then leaned back to give Kyle his drink.  "Take a sip real fast; I have to keep it up here with me."

            "No I have."

            "Nope, it'll spill.  I'll hold it and when you want it you let me know."

            "I wan."

            "Come on buddy."  JC sighed and held the cup.  Kyle took a quick sip then sat back and sighed.  "Thanks."  He placed the cup back in the holder then reached for the bag and pen.  "Sorry about that."  JC mumbled to the girl in the window.

            "Oh it's no problem.  He's really cute."  She glanced in the back window.

            "Thank you."  JC scrawled his name and a short message on the bag then handed it back through the window.  "Here you go."

            "Thank you so much."  Her hand shook as she took it back.  "I'm sorry to just you know, throw that at you and everything, it's just…"

            "It's okay."  JC laughed.

            "Oh!  Here."  She produced a bag with their lunches in it and handed it to JC.

            "Thanks.  I'll see you later."  He waved then rolled away from the window.

            "Daddy whosat?"

            "That was a fan."  JC rolled the window up and turned onto the street.

            "Who?"

            "I don't know what her name was."  He shook his head and reached into the bag for Kyle's chicken nuggets.

            "She say hi?"

            "Yep."  JC nodded.  "Remember sometimes people are going to do that."

            "Yeah."  Kyle took two of the nuggets and nibbled on them.  "And now I see Joey?"

            "Yep, now we're going to see Joey and the guys."

            "And sink."

            "Of course."  JC opened his burger and ate it as they drove across town back to Johnny's.  When they got there JC handed Kyle his mini bag of fries and they walked into the studio still nibbling on lunch.

            "Oh there's a healthy lunch for you.  Burger and fries, man that's just what you need when we're trying to work out."  Justin laughed.  "What'd you eat little man?"  He asked Kyle.

            "I have kickin."

            "Chicken?  Chicken nuggets?  Right on."  Justin held his hand out for a low-5, which Kyle happily slapped.

            "And fies."

            "Fries rule."  Justin nodded.

            "Yeah."  Kyle took his fries and went to sit by the bench on the far wall.  JC set both of their drinks down beside him and gave him a handful of napkins.  "Okay, now finish up your lunch then Amy can come in here and play."

            "Kay."  Kyle nodded and stuck a fry in his mouth.  "Anen we go ouside?"

            "Maybe."  JC nodded then quickly drank the rest of his soda and tossed it in the trash.

            "Hey, is that Kyle?"  Joey asked as he stormed into the room through the door leading into the house.  "I thought that was you little guy, what's up?  Did you have a good lunch?"  He asked as he dropped himself on the floor beside Kyle.

            "Yeah.  I have kickin and fies."

            "Sweet."  Joey nodded as he took a fry.  "Yum, those are good."

            "Yeah."  Kyle nodded as he carefully took a sip of his 7-up.

            "I have something for you, I got a little toy thing here."  Joey leaned over and unzipped his bag.  "I forgot I had this earlier.  Here you go, try this out."  He handed Kyle a little yellow plastic harmonica.

            "What is?" Kyle stood up and looked at the object in his hand.

            "It's a harmonica."  Joey smiled and moved it to Kyle lips.  "Blow in there, check it out."  Kyle blew into the long end of it and a sound came out the other.

            "Whoa!"  Kyle's eyes flew open and he grabbed the harmonica with both hands.

            "What's that?"   JC looked over at Kyle and Joey.

            "A harmonica."

            "A real one?"  JC asked.

            "Well it's plastic and cost like, two bucks… but yeah it's real."  Joey laughed.

            "That'll be a lot of fun in the car, thanks Joe."

            "Anytime."  Joey laughed then pushed himself up off the floor.

            "What do you say to Joey, Kyle?"

            "Danks Joey."  Kyle said shyly.

            "You're welcome little dude."  Joey messed Kyle's hair as he walked back to the center of the floor.  "Hi Amy."  He nodded toward the door as she walked in.

            "Hi Joe."  She smiled and waved to the others.

            "Hey babe."  Lance threw his napkin in the trash and walked over to give her a hug and a kiss.  "Mmm, you stopped for lunch on the way over."  He licked his lips.  "Something salty."

            "Fries."

            "And you didn't even bring me any."  Lance sighed, then kissed her again.

            "Mimi!"  Kyle ran across the polished floor to where she and Lance stood.  "Mimi I have fies and a toy!"

            "Well hi Kyle!"  She stepped away from Lance to pick Kyle up.  "I didn't know you were going to be here."

            "I here."

            "I see that."  She laughed and tucked her hair behind her ear.  "So what's the plan for today?"  She asked Lance.

            "We're just running through everything."  Lance shook his head.  "We're changing a few little things that just sucked last time around, but basically we're trying to get back in shape."

            "Sounds fun." 

            "Yeah."  Lance rolled his eyes.  "Hey, Jace needs to know if you can pick Kyle up for him."

            "He's here."  Amy frowned and looked down at Kyle who was swinging from her hand.

            "I mean on Thursday."

            "Oh… well yeah, I guess.  From where?"

            "Daycare."

            "Is my school."  Kyle protested.

            "From his school, sorry."  Lance laughed lightly.

            "Yeah, sure.  Just… you know, have him let me know where and what I need to do."

            "Hey Amy!"  JC called from across the room.  He fanned his t-shirt out from his body as he walked over.  "I'm glad you're here I've got a favor to ask you."

            "Can I pick up Kyle?"  She beat him to the punch.

            "Yeah…"  JC looked from Amy to Lance.  "I was gonna ask her you know."

            "I know."  Lance smiled and shrugged.

            "Would you mind?  It would just be for this Thursday and then next Tuesday and Thursday."  JC reached down to pick Kyle up and pry him off of Amy's arm.

            "Sure, that's no problem.  Just let me know where and all that good stuff."  She smiled.

            "I will, thanks a lot."

            "No problem."  Amy smiled back then took Kyle from JC as Wade came in shouting instructions.  "Come on buddy, let's go finish your lunch and then you can show me your new toy."  She tickled Kyle's side as they headed back to where he had all of his things set up.

            The guys shook their legs out and rolled their shoulders as Wade started the music to get them going again.  Amy and Kyle watched them dance while he nibbled on his fries and played with his harmonica quietly.

            They paused between songs more than an hour later as Amy stretched her sleeping legs out in front of her.  "Hey Jace?  Can I take Kyle outside to play?"  She asked as Kyle pretended to brush her hair with his new yellow harmonica.

            "Sure."  JC leaned over and placed his hands on his knees as he tried to catch his breath.  "Not in the water though."  He added as an afterthought.

            "Okay."  Amy stood up and reached for Kyle's hand.  "Let's go outside."

            "Ina pool?"  Kyle asked.

            "No pool."  JC shook his head quickly.

            "Peese?"  Kyle asked.

            "I didn't bring my suit today kiddo, but maybe next week."  Amy squeezed Kyle's hand and smiled over at JC.  "But I bet if we go out there we can find a lot of things to play with.  Do you know how to play croquette?"

            "Kokay?  What is?"

            "Oh man, it's a cool game."  Amy smiled then caught Lance's eye in the mirror.  She nodded to the far door to let him know she'd be ducking out for a while, then she and Kyle left the studio and stepped out into the beautiful Florida weather.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

            The rest of their rehearsing days went well and before hey knew it their second week was half over.  Jessica had received her ticket and would be arriving in Florida the Thursday before they left to give them a few days to hang out and relax before the tour.  Nothing was planned as far as what they would be doing with those few free days, but as long as they were relaxing, JC didn't really care.

            JC helped Kyle choose clothes for the day and was pleasantly surprised when Kyle didn't put up a fight.  He'd been getting more and more stubborn about picking out his own clothes, but JC didn't want to let him wear the same swim shorts, hiking boots and extra small tank top every day.  That day Kyle happily dressed in denim shorts and a faded green t-shirt that Chris had made especially for him with a baby-fu image on the front.

            "Daddy isa skeeto."  Kyle pulled the shirt away from his chest and looked down.  "Is Chris."  He looked up at JC as he tied his sneakers.

            "Yep, Chris gave that to you, pretty cool huh?"  He double knotted the laces and patted Kyle's leg.

            "Yeah.  Isa cool skeeto."

            "You need a haircut."  JC mumbled for the hundredth time that week.  "Seriously, when Jessica gets here you're going to have to get a haircut."

            "Have Jessi?"

            "Nope, not today."  JC shook his head and helped Kyle to his feet.

            "Yeah."

            "No, she's coming tomorrow."

            "No day."

            "She can't come today."  JC laughed.  "She's riding on an airplane and her airplane won't get here until tomorrow."

            "You drive a car?"

            "Yeah, I'm going to drive the car to the airport tomorrow."

            "Drive get Jessi day."

            JC smiled and reached over to mess Kyle's hair, “I can't drive and get Jessica today."  He shook his head.  "She'll be here tomorrow and then she'll be around for a while."

            "Peese daddy?"

            "I'm sorry Kyle, we can't see her today."  JC sighed but smiled, he was happy to see Kyle so excited to see Jessica.  JC was even more excited himself.  "But tomorrow after school we'll be able to go pick her up and bring her home so you guys can play, and then… guess what?"

            "What?"

            "Then she'll be here for a couple days and then we're going to ride in an airplane with the guys and go far far away."

            "Ina pane?"

            "Yep, in a plane."

            "We fly?"

            "Yep, we're going to fly in the airplane."

            "Cool."  Kyle nodded and sighed.  "No Jessi now."

            "Nope, not now.  Tomorrow."  JC smiled and picked Kyle up.  "Should we go get her a cake?  So we can have cake and ice cream when she gets here?"

            "Yeah!"  Kyle giggled and reached to tickle JC under his chin.  "I tiko you."

            JC laughed and ducked away from Kyle's fingers as they headed for the garage.  "Ahh!   You got me!"  He laughed again and opened the garage door.  "Dude, what kind of cake should we get?"

            "A bug."

            "A bug cake?  Ewww, you want a cake made out of bugs?"  JC made a face as he strapped Kyle into his car seat.

            "Yeah."  Kyle laughed and sat kicked his feet.  "Isa laaaady bug."

            "Gross, we don't want to eat lady bugs.  What if they fly in our mouth?"  JC got in the driver's seat and looked at Kyle in the mirror.  "Wouldn't that feel weird if there was a lady bug in your mouth?"

            "She fly and go - "  He waved his hand around in erratic circles, imitating how the ladybug would fly around.

            "That would feel weird if it was in your mouth."  JC made a face in the mirror.

            "We tend?"

            "You want to pretend it's a bug cake?"

            "Yeah."  Kyle nodded.  "A candy cake."

            "A candy cake?  Now that's more like it.  What kind of candy should we have on the cake?"  JC smiled into the mirror then turned his attention back to the road as Kyle answered.

            "A lickris and a sucker."

            "Licorice and a sucker on the cake?  I think we can do that."

            "And we have a cado?"

            "A candle?"

            "Yeah."

            "Um… sure we can have a candle on there."  JC nodded.  "We'll go to the store after practice today and get a cake and some licorice and a sucker and everything."

            "Kay."  Kyle nodded and ran his fingers over his window.  "Daddy I go simmin?"

            "Um, yeah you can go swimming if Amy and Frank are there."

            "You?"

            "No, I can't go swimming today."  JC shook his head.  "I have to practice still."

            Kyle sighed and tried to cross his arms over his chest, “I just want you sim."

            "I know you do buddy, and I wish I could swim with you.  But I have to work today so I can't.  But I'll tell you what?  When Jessica gets here we can all go swimming at home."

            "We can sim at work?"

            "Work?  You mean Johnny's?"

            "Yeah."

            "I don't know if we'll go out there."

            "Yeah."

            "Maybe."

            "Jessi can see."

            "Yeah… maybe we can do that."  JC nodded as they turned into the long driveway leading up to the compound.  Joey, Justin and Lance were there already and he could hear Justin's rap music blasting from the studio.  "Dang, he's going to ruin his ears with that stuff."  JC sighed.

            "He likes."  Kyle shrugged and looked out his window as they pulled up to the house.

            "I know he likes it."  JC shook his head, “But Justin's weird."

            "No daddy.  Jussin cool."

            "Don't let him influence you like that."  JC laughed and parked beside Justin's car.  He got Kyle out of the back then set him on the ground so he could run into the studio a few yards away.  "Make sure Justin is in there before you go in."  The irrational father-like position was becoming more and more common for JC.

            Kyle ran up to the open door and leaned in then laughed and pulled his head out to look at JC.  "Daddy is Jussin and Wade."

            "Okay, go on inside."  JC nodded and opened the back of the car to get Kyle's supply of snacks and toys out.  He lugged all of the gear into the studio where Wade and Kyle were standing in the middle of the floor.  The rap music had been replaced with "Bye bye bye" and Wade was dancing on autopilot.

            "Try it man, it's like this."  Wade demonstrated as Kyle watched.  "Give it a try."

            Kyle laughed and bounced around as he waved his arms.  "Daddy I dance and you!"

            "I see that buddy, you've got rhythm."  JC smiled and set Elmo on the far bench.

            "Okay Kyle, watch."  Wade tapped his shoulder and made him focus, which was hard for Kyle.  "Go like this, like you're saying bye bye."

            "Sing a bye bye song?"

            "Right."  Wade reached over and rewound the track a few seconds.  "Jump, watch, like this."  Wade demonstrated, then rewound the track again and stood behind Kyle.  As the music played Wade moved Kyle's arms, then lifted him up for the jump and turn and ended it with the all too familiar "Bye bye bye" wave.

            "Hey, if he picks this up then we'll have a replacement dancer, you know… in case we need a break or something."  Justin joked as he tied the waist of his warm up pants.

            "You're doing good Kyle."  Wade laughed as the chorus began again.  "Let's try it again."  He stood behind Kyle and did it again as Kyle laughed hysterically.

            JC smiled and shook his head, “Can you guys keep an eye on him for a minute?  I need to go up to the house and put his lunch in the kitchen."  JC held up a brown bag.

            "Sure."  Justin waved over his shoulder as he walked up beside Wade and Kyle.

            "Justin."  JC said from the door.

            "Yeah."  He looked over his shoulder at JC.

            "Keep him inside.  I mean it."

            "I know."  Justin smiled and rolled his eyes, "Inside at all times, I got it."

            "Okay."  JC tried not to sound reluctant, but he knew first hand how fast Kyle could move when he wanted to.  He walked quickly up the side of the building to the main house, where he let himself in and said hello to Johnny who was on his way out.

            "Hey JC, how's it going out there?"

            "Pretty good, I think we're ready."  JC nodded.

            "You better be."  Johnny laughed.  It's the same show you've been doing for I don't even know how long now."

            "Yeah… true."

            "How's Kyle doing?"

            "He's doing great."  JC smiled and held the brown bag up.  "He had to bring his own lunch today because all he's been wanting lately is bologna sandwiches.  I don't know how he got started on that."

            "Kids are weird man."  Johnny laughed again and moved his bag to his other hand.  "Is everything okay out there with him?"

            "Yeah…"  JC shrugged.  "He's kind of bored I think, but Frank and Amy are usually here to entertain him.  He's had a blast in the game room and playing outside and everything."

            "That's cool.  We're not exactly equipped for a daycare here."

            "I know."  JC laughed.  "Thanks for letting me bring him… and, you know… on tour.  I know it's kind of a hassle, but…"

            "It's cool."  Johnny shook his head.  "He's a pretty good kid and until he starts throwing fits or breakin' stuff, we'll be cool."  Johnny slapped JC on the back quickly.  "You're doing good."

            "Thanks."  JC smiled and blushed slightly.  Hearing that come from Johnny always made him feel proud.

            "I'll let you get back to work now; I'll swing by the studio when I get back tonight, okay?"

            "Sure, thanks."

            "You bet."  Johnny waved then ducked out the front door to where his private car was parked.

            JC dropped Kyle's lunch in the fridge then took his time weaving his way through the halls and corridors or the compound to get back to the studio.  When he pushed the door open Joey and the others had arrived and Wade was setting up a stack of CD's by the stereo.

            "It's about damn time."  Wade caught JC's eye in the mirror and smiled.  "You ready to work now?"

            "Yeah we've been waiting here for like... an hour."  Joey sighed and wadded his sweatshirt up before tossing it on the pile.

            "Yeah, I bet you have."  JC laughed and went over to his gear.  Kyle was busy dancing in the center of the room to music no one else could hear.  "Hey buddy, I need you to come over here so we can get to work."

            "I work."

            "Nope, you need to hang out over here.  Amy will be here soon so you can play with her."  JC waved Kyle over to where he was setting out his books and Elmo doll.

            "No daddy I work."  Kyle stopped spinning and stumbled around in a circle like a drunken man.  "I sing and bye bye."  He did the wave and laughed.

            "Oh no way."  Chris shook his head.  "Oh come on, you didn't teach the kid the dance did you?"  He looked at JC and shook his head.

            "Hey!  It wasn't me."  JC pointed to Wade then held his hands up.

            "He's got talent, I can't help that."  Wade argued.  "If he wants to dance with us he can, but he's gonna have to stay off to the side so you guys don't get tripped up."

            "You hear that buddy?  You can work but you have to stand over there okay?  That way we won't run into you."  JC picked him up and set him down by his toys where he'd have enough room to dance on his own.

            "Kay daddy."

            "Okay daddy let's go."  Wade imitated Kyle and laughed.  They took their positions as the music started, and launched effortlessly into the routine.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

            They had a good practice while Amy and two of her friends entertained Kyle for the day.  Amy brought Lexi and Jackson as well, so Kyle was in seventh heaven.  He ran around the huge, open yard with the dogs and threw the ball for them for hours. By the time lunch rolled around Jackson and Lexi were panting under the bushes along the house and Kyle was munching on his bag of pretzels on a picnic bench.  Amy, Julie and Deb were sitting around with him laughing and eating their own lunches when the guys strolled out.

            "Hey guys." Lance waved and took a drink of the ice-cold soda he had in his hand.  "Where are the pooches?"

            "Seepin."  Kyle pointed to the bushes.  "Jaxo tired."

            "Man oh man, look at them.  Did you wear them out?"  Lance asked Kyle as he rubbed his hand over the little boy's hair.

            "Yeah, we run and run like this."  Kyle spun his arm in circles.  "And now we seepin."  He sighed and looked at the dogs.

            "Wow, that's pretty cool, it sounds like you guys had fun."

            "Yeah."  Kyle nodded, and turned back to his lunch.  Lance sat on the opposite bench beside Amy as JC walked over with a piece of pizza in his hand.  "Daddy I have pazo."

            "I see that."  JC nodded at the pretzel in Kyle's hand.  "Is that pretty good?"

            "Yeah."

            "Do you want some pizza?"  He offered the slice to Kyle.

            "No."  Kyle shook his head and crunched on his pretzels.

            "You don't like pizza?"

            "I like."  Kyle nodded.  "I have pazo and apo."

            "Did you eat your apple?"

            "Yeah."  Kyle sighed.  "I eat it all."

            JC looked to the girls for back up and they all nodded at him.  "He's like a little version of one of you guys or something, he just eats everything."  Amy laughed.

            "Yeah, well he burns enough calories running around everyday.  What I wouldn't give for his energy, I swear."  JC laughed.  "I'm glad he's a good eater or I'd be sunk.  He'd be a five pound two year old."

            “How much does he weigh?”  Joey asked.

            “Um… we checked last week and he was like 28… 29 pounds.”  JC looked down at Kyle.

            “Really?”  Joey raised his eyebrow.  “You mean the dogs outweigh him?”

            “By a couple pounds, at least.”  JC laughed.

            “I big.”  Kyle put his hands over his head.

            “Yeah you are.”  JC messed his hair and sighed, “You really need a hair cut dude.”

            Kyle sighed and put his pretzel back in his bag, “Yeah.”

            “Lunch is over guys.”  Wade shouted from the doorway as Justin tried to breakdance in the center of the floor.

            “We go home?”  Kyle swung his legs over the side of the bench and scooted off.

            “Nope, not yet buddy.”  JC shook his head, but scooped Kyle up in his arms to kiss his cheek.  “We’ve got a couple more hours in there and then we can get out of here.  And you know what?”

            “What?”  Kyle giggled and squished his nose up at his dad.

            “We get to go to the store and get a cake and candy and stuff.”  JC whispered.

            “And lickris?”  Kyle whispered back as he rested his forehead against JC’s.

            “Yep.”  JC laughed and kissed Kyle’s cheek again.  “Okay, are you going to stay out here with Amy and her friends?”

            “Jaxo and Lessi.”

            “And of course Jackson and Lexi.”  JC nodded.

            “Yeah I say and pay.”

            “Okay, be good.”  JC set Kyle back on the bench beside Deb.

            “I good.”  Kyle sighed as he sat back down and reached for his box juice.

            “Thanks guys…”  JC smiled at the girls.  “We’ll be done here in just a little bit.”

            “Jace!  Today!  Let’s go!”  Chris shouted from inside the studio.  JC rolled his eyes and headed back into the studio, leaving Kyle in the care of three doting young ladies.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

            They finished their rehearsal and as soon as the music was shut off Justin wiped his face and threw his towel.  "We done?"  He asked as he hoisted his bag up onto his shoulder.

            "Yeah."  Wade nodded.  "You're going out like that?"

            "I've gotta pick up my woman at the airport."  He grinned like the Cheshire Cat and stood in the doorway.  "So are we done?"

            "Yeah yeah, we're done."  Wade waved over his head as he removed the music from the stereo.  "Go get your ball and chain."

            "Catch ya tomorrow."  Justin saluted then ran out to his car where a guard was waiting to accompany him.

            Johnny came in the opposite door as Justin left, “He doesn't waste any time, does he?"

            "He's gotta go get Brit at the airport."  Joey explained as he slowly packed his bag up in the corner.

            "Ahh, that's right."  Johnny nodded and tucked his hands in his pockets.

            "I'm out too.  See you guys tomorrow."  Wade waved his handful of CD's and trotted out the door to where his car was waiting.

            "See ya, dancer boy."  Chris raised his hand in a wave from his position flat on the floor.

            "So Joe, your parents are coming in tomorrow right?"  Johnny asked as Joey shoved his sweatshirt in his bag.

            "Uh huh.  They're coming in around noon."  Joe nodded.

            "And you've got friends or something coming, right?"  Johnny asked JC.

            "He's got a giiiiirl coming out."  Chris teased.

            "We're leaving for Europe on Sunday.  This is kinda late to be having a girl come out."

            "It's Jessica."  Lance smiled.

            "Ooooh, oh that's right."  Johnny laughed.  "That's right, Sean said something about that."

            "Yeah."  JC blushed.

            "Is my Jessi."  Kyle piped up.

            "Your Jessi huh?"  Chris smiled and rubbed Kyle's hair.

            "Yeah, and she ina pane and I see."  Kyle pointed up to the ceiling.  "She high."

            "That's right; she's going to fly in an airplane."  JC nodded.

            "Chris, you got anyone coming in?"  Johnny asked.

            "No."  He pretended to pout.  "I don't have any friends that -”

            "You don't have any friends."  Lance joked as he tossed his dirty socks at Chris.

            "Shut up Lance.  I don't have any friends that are flying in."  Chris threw the socks back and nailed Lance in the shoulder.

            "Well hey, you guys are done here right?"  Johnny asked, looking around the room at the four grown men.  "Why don't you guys just chill tomorrow, hang out with your friends or whatever?  You can just cruise in on Friday for the pep talk that you know is coming then we'll be ready to go."

            "Ha ha, you're funny."  Chris rolled his eyes and zipped his bag closed.

            "I'm not kidding.  I think you guys could do the whole show in your sleep, so why don't you relax for a day and kick back?"  Johnny shrugged.  "I'm sure Wade won't complain if I call him."

            "We're not complaining."  Joey said quickly.

            "Are you serious though?"  Lance asked, already making afternoon plans for some quiet time with Amy.

            "Sure I'm serious.  Take tomorrow off; just be back here Friday at the usual time.  We'll shoot for a half day Friday. I just wanna lay down the law and smooth out any bumps that have come up."

            "Sweet."  Joey stood up and looked toward the door.  "I'm for reals not coming in tomorrow though."

            "I don't want you to."  Johnny laughed and shook his head.  "Now go before I change my mind."  He playfully shoved Joey out the door and looked back at the others.  "I'll give the kid a call to let him know.  You guys have a good day tomorrow."

            "Thanks Johnny."  JC waved distractedly as he packed up Kyle's toys.

            "Bye bye Johnny."  Kyle yawned as he headed for the door empty handed.

            "Hey little dude, wanna help me out here?"  JC held Kyle's sweatshirt out for him to take.  "I've got my hands full."

            "No daddy, no wan."  Kyle shook his head and stepped out the door.

            Chris laughed, “Dude, he doesn't want to."

            "You're not helping Chris."

            "Well you asked him if he wanted to, he doesn't."  Chris laughed again and grabbed Kyle's sweatshirt from JC.  "I'll take it."  He followed Kyle out to the car and waited for JC to unlock it.  "Here Kyle, hold this."  Chris handed the shirt to Kyle.

            "No."

            "Uh, yeah."  Chris draped it over Kyle shoulder then helped JC get the back of the car open to put all of Kyle's gear in.

            "He's kind of opinionated."  JC said under his breath.

            "Yeah a little."  Chris smiled slowly.  "I wonder where he got that."

            "Must have been his mom."  JC looked at Chris sideways and smiled.

            "Uh huh.  That was what I was thinking."  Chris laughed and slammed the back of the car shut.  "I'll catch you guys on Friday."

            "All right, I'll see you later."

            "Tell Jess I said hi."

            "I will."  JC lifted Kyle into the back seat and clicked his car seat straps into place.  "Say bye to Chris."

            "Bye Chris."  Kyle pouted in his seat and sighed.

            "Bye."  JC laughed and climbed into the front seat so they could head to the store to order their bug cake.  They went to a bakery near their house and looked at the cakes they had on display, but the one thing they didn't have was a bug.

            "Excuse me?"  JC asked the grandfatherly looking man behind the counter.  "Hi, we were looking for a specific cake, but I don't see one out here.  Do you make by request?"

            "Sure, what are you looking for?"

            "Isa bug."  Kyle said as he pressed his nose up against the glass to look at the donuts.  "Daddy look have a donut."

            "Yeah, check those out."  JC placed his hand on Kyle's head to keep him from wandering.  "We're looking for a bug cake."  He smiled up at the baker.  "For my son."

            "A bug cake huh?"  The older man laughed and stood on tiptoe to look at Kyle.  "I can make any kind of cake you want, you want a bug cake little guy?"

            "Yeah."  Kyle nodded and grabbed onto JC's pants, suddenly shy.

            "What kind of bug?  A caterpillar?  Maybe a worm?"

            "Isa laaaaady bug."

            "Oh, a lady bug.  That'll be a great cake."  He made a note on a pad of paper then asked, “And what color do you want your lady bug to be?"

            "Geen."

            "Green… hmm… okay.  Any other colors?"

            "Lello."

            "Green and yellow, that'll be a sharp looking lady bug."  He laughed then looked at JC.  "Red and black icing don't taste very good."

            "That's fine."  JC smiled as Kyle tried to climb his leg.

            "What size were you looking for?"

            "Um, not too big.  It's just going to be for three people… maybe this big."  He made a small circle with his hands and shrugged.  "Just a small cake, like a birthday cake."

            "All righty, now did you want anything written on the cake?"  He looked from JC to Kyle.

            "No, I don't think so.  Just a cool looking bug."  JC unclenched Kyle's hands from his pants and picked him up.

            "Okay, that's fine.  Now when would you like to pick it up?"

            "Tomorrow if I could."

            "Sure thing.  I'll have it ready to go by about, ten… will that be early enough?"

            "That'll be perfect."  JC smiled.

            "Have a bug cake?"  Kyle asked softly.

            "Yep, tomorrow we'll have a bug cake."  JC laughed the followed the gentleman to the counter to pay for the cake.  He took his receipt then both he and Kyle waved as they headed out.  JC drove across the street to the grocery store where they went inside and picked out some suckers, licorice and a package of candles to decorate the cake with.

            When they got home Kyle took one of the suckers and ran upstairs while JC went into the kitchen to make something for dinner.  While he looked through the cupboards for something edible, he picked up the phone and called Jessica to tell her about their day off.

            "Hello?"  Jessica answered her phone sounding distracted and more than a little frustrated.

            "Hey you… good news." JC smiled and leaned on the counter with a box of rice-a-roni.

            "What?"  Jessica asked.  She was in the process of packing, and was kicking herself for waiting until the last minute.

            "We got tomorrow off."

            "We… you did?"

            "Yeah.  Joey's mom and dad and everything are coming down and Chris has to take his dogs to his friends house or whatever and I need to come get you so Johnny told us to just cancel the day.  We're only running through the show for the billionth time, I think we've got it all down."

            "Oh, well okay.  That's cool."  Jessica smiled.

            "Yeah, so we'll be able to hang out a little.  We have to be back for the technical pre-tour talk on Friday, but after that we'll be set."

            "Cool."  Jessica looked down at her bags then collapsed on the bed.  They would still be there in ten minutes.  "So we'll have tomorrow, part of the day Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday?"

            "Yeah, kind of."  JC nodded.  "We leave Sunday night."

            "That's right."  She nodded.  "So are you packed?"

            "Just about.  Most of my stuff is in the wardrobes, but I've got like, three bags to take.  Two of them are Kyle's though."

            "I'll bet.  You've got to bring his toys and everything." 

            "Yeah, so I've got almost one whole suitcase dedicated for toys.  I haven't packed those yet though.  I was going to let him help choose which ones to bring."

            "That's a good idea.  Maybe we can do that tomorrow night."

            "Yeah, we'll figure it out when you get here."  JC smiled.  "Only one more day."

            "I know."  Jessica smiled and blushed as she shivered.  She couldn't wait to see JC again, just to see if everything from before was still the same.  It had only been a few weeks, but in that time she'd second guessed herself a dozen times.  Once she saw him again, she would know for sure if everything was how she remembered it.

            "I'd uh… I'd better get going.  Kyle stopped making noise upstairs and that usually means he's getting into something."  JC laughed softly.  "But I'll see you tomorrow, okay?"

            "Okay, give Kyle a hug for me."

            "I will."

            "Okay, bye."  Jessica grinned like a teenager with a crush as she hung up her phone and looked at her half packed suitcase.  "Only one more day…"  She sighed and dove back into her closet, intent on finishing within the hour.

 

Next...

 

Copyright � 2002, Amy Lynn