Jessica sat on her bus after the show and tried to get into her new book. She wasn’t tired but she knew that if she didn’t go to sleep then she’d regret it in the morning. The shrill ringing of her cell phone by her pillow startled her causing her to drop her book and lose her place, "Hello?" She answered as she picked up her book to flip through the pages in search of the chapter she left off on.

"Jess?" Amy asked softly, "Did I wake you up?"

"No, no I’m up." Jessica smiled and tossed her book to the side. "Are you home now? Lance said you were on vacation?"

"Yeah, Jeremy and I went to New York for five days, it was pretty fun."

"Cool." Jessica nodded, "Did you swing by TRL?"

"We went by and stood on the street, yeah. Jeremy was pretty psyched just to be there in Times Square, you know?"

"Yeah." Jessica laughed, "I remember the first time I went, I was like a talking monkey it was so awesome."

Amy laughed with her and sighed, "So what’s up? I got your message and it sounded important."

"Yeah…" Jessica sighed. "I’m not too sure what to think about this. JC sent me flowers."

There was silence for a second on the other end, "Flowers?"

"Roses." Jessica nodded.

"Hang on. He bought you roses??"

"Yeah, but it’s not what you think." Jessica said quickly.

"What is it then?"

"They were ‘thank you’ flowers."

"Thank you?"

"For taking care of Kyle and stuff." Jessica shrugged. "They were pretty though, pink and yellow."

"Was there a card or anything? When did he give them to you?" Amy asked as she pulled her hair out of her clip.

"Yeah there was a little card that just said ‘thanks for taking care of Kyle’ type thing. He had them delivered to my room, he didn’t give them to me actually." Jessica sighed. "So… but what does that mean?"

"I don’t know." Amy shook her head. "I mean, I really don’t know. JC’s the flower kind of guy though, so maybe they really were just ‘thank you’ flowers."


"But coupled with the kiss… I don’t know."

"The kiss could be written off to stress though." Jessica pointed out.

"Yeah it could." Amy smiled. "What do you think though?"

"Gah. I don’t know what to think."

"Do you like him?"

"Yeah… I guess. But he’s still getting used to Kyle and breaking up with Ali and things."

"Confusing huh?" Amy asked.


"You could always ask him…?"

"Yeah right." Jessica laughed. "I’m not in the fourth grade any more, I can’t just walk up to a boy and ask if he likes me."

"I could always ask my source."

"Your source?"

"Lance." Amy laughed. "He’s good for something you know."

"For a few things I’m sure." Jessica smiled. "Well… if you find out anything great, just don't make a big deal out of everything."

"I won't." Amy laughed.

"I mean it."

"I won't I promise."

"So I heard you're coming out for the last show?" Jessica asked.

"A couple days before, yeah." Amy sighed. "I come in on Thursday night and the last show is Saturday, right?"

"Something like that." Jessica yawned softly.


"Oh hey, by the way. While you're here I get to steal you for a day, we're going to a spa."

"Yay!" Amy squealed like a teenager and bounced in her seat. "Girl stuff."

"I know, I can't wait either." Jessica tried not to yawn again, but it managed to escape.

"Hey hun, I'm gonna let you go. You sound tired, so I'll just call you later." Amy said softly. "I'll see you in a few weeks."

"Okay, sorry I'm yawning in your ear."

"No problem, I'm used to it." Amy laughed then they said goodbye and hung up.

Jessica clicked her phone off and set it aside as she picked up her book to try to find her place again. She read until her eyes drifted closed, then fell asleep on the pages, letting the rocking of the bus send her into dreamland.


For two weeks things went along smoothly, everyone got back into their regular schedule, Kyle got back to being the normal two year old that everyone adored and Jessica put the flowers… and the kiss… out of her mind. The guys were busier than ever learning new choreography for a MTV show they had coming up, so their mornings were spent with Wade at the venue.

"So, uh Johnny called this morning." Sean said as he walked up to JC just before he got to the van.

"Yeah?" JC wiped the sweat from his brow and let the afternoon breeze cool his face. "What’d he say?"

"The investigator we hired hasn’t been able to find any new leads. He wants to know if you want to bring in a second guy to help look."

"I don’t know Sean, it’s been almost two months now. We’ve had that guy looking for that whole time and nothings turned up. Should we even bother?"

"That’s up to you Jace." Sean shrugged. "The tour will be over here in another eight weeks or so, my guess is that if we haven’t found her by then, and if she doesn’t show up… then you probably won’t see her again."

"Which at this point is fine with me." JC exhaled loudly and looked over Sean’s shoulder. As much as he didn’t want to think about Kyle’s mom, she still came to mind more often than he liked. "Who’s going to the game tonight?" He changed the subject and crossed his arms over his chest.

"Uh, you and Joey. I think Chris said something about going, but I haven’t heard for sure. Lance is stuck on calls all afternoon, and Justin is going out with some locals. They won't be done until later."

"Okay, what uh… what about the crew?" JC asked.

"The crew is here putting up the stage and everything to have it all set to go for the double header on Monday." Sean nodded.

"Okay." JC sighed and climbed in the van.

JC rolled down the window as Sean asked, "You headin' back to the hotel?"

"Yeah. Jessica's got some things to do so I'm gonna take Kyle off her hands for a bit." JC smiled and slid his seat back. "We're gonna hang out."

"You and Jessica?"

"Me and Kyle." JC raised his eyebrow at Sean. "I'll see you tonight right?"

"This afternoon. You've got that online chat at two."

"That’s right, in the conference room on the third floor?"


"Cool, then I'll see you at two." JC waved as the driver started the car and took off out of the parking lot.


When he got back to the hotel, JC went by Jessica's room to pick up Kyle and laughed when he saw that she had cut his hair again, "Did you do this?" He asked as he ran his hand over Kyle's short hair.

"I had Mary Jo do it." Jessica nodded. "I didn't think we'd have time to find another kiddie salon."

"Sheesh kid, you're looking more like Justin every day." JC smiled and shook his head.

"I have Jussin?"

"You look like him."

"I see?" Kyle asked.

"Justin's busy right now, you can see him later." JC said as he took Kyle's red bag. "Thanks Jess."

"You're welcome." She smiled and crossed her arms over her chest.

"I know you've gotta run, so we'll get out of your way." JC pulled the door open and stepped into the empty hall.

"I'll be done by like, two thirty though, if you want me to watch him for your thing downstairs." She said hopefully. She was becoming more and more attached to Kyle, to the point that she didn't want to let him go half the time.

"Nah, that's cool. Take some time for you, he can hang out with me down there. It's an online thing so it's not like he'll be in the way. Besides, Joey will be there." JC swung Kyle up onto his hip and made a face, "Did ya hear that?! Joey will be there!"

"Swee." Kyle nodded.

"Sweet? Dammit, Justin's affected your vocabulary." JC shook his head and tossed a smile at Jessica, "I'll see you later."

Jessica watched them leave then sunk down onto her bed surrounded by a pile of clothes that needed to be ironed before she sorted them out and stuck them on racks to show the guys. She definitely had some work to do, and she'd put it off long enough.

After two hours of sorting the clothes into piles by size, then piles by designer, Jessica was ready for a break. She grabbed her coin purse and headed to the gift shops off the lobby to grab some snacks and maybe some post cards to send home to her friends that she'd managed to lose touch with.

She chose a bag of M&M's and a bottle of diet coke then stood by the door to pick out postcards that would accurately portray what she'd seen of Atlanta. She looked and looked but saw none with just a picture of a messy hotel room or the lobby.

"Hey Jess." JC reached for Kyle’s hand as they walked into the little gift shop, startling her with the sound of her name.

"Hey guys." She smiled and bent to scoop Kyle up in her arms. "Hey there handsome! Do you want to help me pick out some post cards?"

"Yeah." Kyle smiled as she placed a kiss on his cheek.

"So what are you guys up to tonight?" She glanced at JC quickly, then looked through the cards in front of her.

"Well, I’m going to the game tonight with Joey."

"The game?"

"The Marlins are playing the Braves." JC explained. "I was gonna take Kyle, but the game doesn’t start till 8:05 and I think that might be a little late."

"Yeah, probably." Jessica nodded. "But hey, I’m not doing anything tonight. I can watch him."

"Yeah?" JC asked hopefully. He was hoping she’d volunteer. He hadn’t had a real night out with his friends in a long time, and even though he knew that was part of becoming a parent, he knew that most parents had a partner to help out.

"Sure, I’ll have to come by your room though. I got a shipment of samples in this afternoon so they're all over my room and I’d hate to get them messed up."

"That’s fine." JC nodded hurriedly. "What uh… what kind of samples?"

"Outfits that designers have sent for you guys. The spring is the busy season so I’ve got handfuls of them. I have to break them down into size, sort out whose is whose and send back the stuff we don’t need."

"So we get new clothes?"

"Maybe." She nodded. "This is just the first shipment, there will be more."

"Well do we get to see them?"

"Some of them, yeah."

"What do you do with the ones we can’t see?" JC asked.

"Send them back for the proper adjustments." Jessica shrugged and pulled three cards from the rack in front of her. "Eventually you’ll see everything that’s sent."

"Cool." JC nodded. "So you can watch him?"

"Sure, you bet."

"Thanks." JC smiled and reached for Kyle, "We’re on our way to get some dinner before I have to leave, right Kyle?"

"Yeah." Kyle laughed.

"What are you going to get?" Jessica asked Kyle as she straightened his shirt.


"Noodles huh?" She laughed and looked at JC for clarification.

"He’s on a spaghetti kick." JC shrugged, "He just can’t get enough of it."

"Ahh, all those carbs huh? Well he's active enough to burn them all off… lucky kid." Jessica sighed and shuffled the cards in her hand. "So what time should I come by?"

"Oh, in about an hour?" JC checked his watch. "Maybe an hour and a half? We're gonna hop in there to eat then go right back up. The uh… the crowd scene looks pretty tame, but you never know." JC looked toward the main lobby.

"Yeah." Jessica nodded. "I'll just plan on being there in about an hour. If you're there, great. If not I'll hang out."

"Okay." JC smiled as Kyle fidgeted in his arms, "See you then."

"Bye." She said softly as he ducked out of the little shop and met up with his security guard.

JC and Kyle sat in a booth at the back with their security team and ate a quick dinner before heading back upstairs for JC to get ready for the game. Kyle played with his Elmo doll by the huge sliding glass window as the sun set over the edge of the balcony.

Jessica arrived right on time, knocking on JC's door as he buttoned his blue and green short sleeved button down shirt, "Hey…" He said softly as he cast his eyes downward. "Come on in." He held the door open as he buttoned the bottom one single handedly.

"Hi guys." Jessica smiled as Kyle jumped up off the floor and ran over to wrap his arms around her legs.

"Hi!" He giggled and tried to climb up her legs.

Jessica picked him up and made a face at him, "Are we gonna have fun tonight?"

"Yeah." Kyle nodded. "Daddy Joey baw."

"They're gonna go watch a ball game, that's right."

"No me." Kyle shook his head.

"Not this time. Maybe next time." Jessica nodded.

"Yeah nesime."

"Hey Jess, thanks a lot for taking care of him tonight. I haven’t had a night out with the guys for a while." JC smiled and tilted his head slightly.

"It’s no problem." Jessica smiled, it wasn't a problem at all. "You deserve it."

"I don’t think it’ll go too late." JC leaned in to give Kyle a quick kiss across his cheek. "He had a good nap today so he should crash around eight or nine."

"Okay." Jessica nodded, she knew the drill.

"Alright." Kyle took off across the room as Jessica put him down and laughed, "He’s a live wire tonight."

"That’s okay." Jessica laughed and put her hands in her pockets. "Have a great time at the game, and don’t worry about getting back early."

"Thanks." He smiled and waved lamely as he headed for the door. "Hey Kyle, I’ll see you later buddy."

"Bye daddy." Kyle shouted from the floor as he dug in his backpack for his matchbox cars. He pulled three of them out and lined them up between his feet then made car noises as he drove one around in circles.

"Bye." JC reluctantly shut the door behind him. It felt weird to be leaving Kyle with a "baby sitter" when he didn’t have to. If it was for work, or a meeting or something beyond his control he didn’t have a problem, but this was something purely recreational. This was him going out to have fun and it felt strange having Jessica watch Kyle for him.

He tried to put those feelings beside him as he met up with Joey in the hall. Tonight was his night to cut loose and have fun with his friends like he used to. He smiled broadly as Joey did a victory dance in front of the elevators.

"Chasez!! My man! Who's gonna sweep the game tonight my brotha!?" Joey shouted, overly excited as usual.

"The Marlins of course!" JC laughed and slapped hands with Joey, knowing the Marlins didn't have a chance.

"That's what I like to hear. Go tell those guard dudes we're ready to blow." Joey leaned over and repeatedly hit the 'down' button. JC walked across the hall and tapped on the security's door to let them know they were ready to go. An outing like this required no less than three guards, but that night they had four. It was an outing for everyone, and no one wanted to miss the chance.


JC yawned as he slid his key in the lock, secretly hoping that Kyle would be up just so he could say good night. The lock beeped at him, but didn’t change colors. He tried it another two times before it went from red to green and he was able to push it open. "Hey guys." JC whispered loudly as he walked into the half dark room and kicked his shoes off. "Marlins lost."

The TV was on in the corner but the volume was turned down as low as possible as an old episode of Bonanza played. "What are you watching?" He laughed softly as he dropped his bag by the table. "Jess?" He turned around when she didn’t respond and smiled slowly. She was sound asleep on top of the covers curled around Kyle who was also sleeping.

JC smiled and reached to unbutton his shirt, he could imagine the fuss Kyle had made to make her sleep in his bed. She had scoffed and rolled her eyes when JC mentioned that Kyle was sleeping in the bed with him now so it must have taken some serious convincing for her to go for it.

The chair behind him made a perfect hanger for his shirt as JC untucked his wifebeater and removed his belt. He tip toed to the bathroom and traded his jeans for his sweat bottoms then brushed his teeth and stepped back out into the room. JC scratched his stomach as he yawned and clicked the TV off, silencing Hoss in the middle of a monologue.

JC pulled the covers back on the empty bed and clicked the light off before fluffing his pillow and making himself comfortable. He yawned and listened to the rhythmic breathing of the two sleepers in the bed across from him.

For the first few minutes he just tried to find a comfortable position, then he pulled the second pillow from the bed and rested it against his chest just to feel like something was there. Over the last few weeks he’d gotten used to having Kyle in the bed with him and he found it hard to sleep without him there.

He forced his eyes closed for a half hour then finally stood up with his pillow in his hand. He stared down at the bed by the window and chewed his bottom lip in thought, there was plenty of room with Jessica all the way over by the wall and Kyle sprawled out in the middle. If he could just move Kyle over a tiny bit he could fit right on the edge there.

JC brushed his hair out of his eyes then bent over the bed and carefully moved Kyle’s leg over and rolled him onto his side. He slowly lowered himself onto the bed beside Kyle while trying to keep the bed from shifting too much as he pulled his legs up and folded his pillow in half under his head. Kyle sighed and flopped over onto his back again, smacking JC in the head in the process. JC moved his tiny hand and smiled as he closed his eyes and fell asleep with his son’s hand in his.


Jessica stretched her arms slowly and gently pushed Kyle’s small body away from hers. It was much warmer in the bed than she expected and she wished she’d have thought to open the window before she went to bed. Kyle made a grumbling type sound as he rolled over in his sleep, "It’s okay kiddo, go back to sleep." Jessica whispered as she rubbed her eyes and went to throw her leg over Kyle to climb out of the bed.

Instead of meeting with the soft comforter, her leg struck something solid and warm. Her eyes flew open and a small squeak escaped from her throat before she realized that it was only JC, "Shit, you scared me." She held her hand over her racing heart and fell back onto the bed.

"What?" JC mumbled as he pushed himself up onto his elbow still mostly asleep.

"What are you doing here?"

"It’s my room." He argued.

"I mean in the bed." She frowned and tried to catch her breath as her adrenaline level returned to normal.

"Shhhh." JC held his finger to his lips and looked at Kyle who hadn’t moved an inch. He stood up carefully then stood beside the bed as Jessica carefully climbed over Kyle to the spot JC had vacated. JC offered his hand to help her stand then smiled, "I couldn’t sleep. I was used to having Kyle in bed with me."

Jessica would have argued, but it was too early and nothing came to mind, "Well… then you… ugh, nevermind." She anxiously ran her hands through her hair and looked around on the floor for her shoes. "You could have woke me up when you got in."

"You were sound asleep, I didn’t think I’d be able to wake you." JC rubbed the sleep from his eyes, "Next time I’ll do that though."

"Yeah, next time." Jessica rolled her eyes, as if there would be a next time. "What uh… what time does the caravan take off today?"

"I uh… I’m not sure for you guys. Our bus leaves at three." JC yawned and stretched, exposing a few inches of his stomach. He adjusted his white tank top as he lowered his arms and looked at Jessica. "You can ride with us if you want."

"I have to set up and stuff." She grumbled as she shoved her bare feet into her sneakers. "But thanks."

"Sure." JC nodded and sat on the edge of the bed by Kyle.

"Did… did you have fun?"

"At the game?" JC asked. Jessica blushed quickly, wondering if he thought she meant did he have fun in bed. She nodded and leaned down to tie her shoes. "Yeah, it was fun. We lost, but it didn’t even matter. We got to hang out, drink a few beers, eat footlong hot dogs and pretzels. It was awesome."

"I’m glad you had fun." Jessica smiled quickly then stood up and reached for her purse. "I’ll see you guys later."

"You’re leaving?"


"Kyle’s gonna be up here in a few minutes and we’re gonna order up breakfast if you want to wait." JC scratched his shoulder and tried not to yawn again.

"No, that’s okay. I’m not a big breakfast eater." She said as she dropped her purse on her shoulder. She took a step towards the door, then turned sharply and crossed the room to the bed again. She stood beside JC and tossed her hair over her shoulder as she leaned down and placed a kiss on Kyle’s warm forehead.

JC caught a whiff of the delicate perfume she wore and smiled, it smelled like rose water, "What are you up to today?"

"I have a team meeting." She said automatically. She wasn't sure if she did, but it sounded legit.

"What uh… what time do you guys leave?"  Jessica asked again running a frazzled hand through her hair.

"Three." JC smiled, for some reason the image of her looking flustered amused him.

"I'll see you  tomorrow at the venue then." She stepped into the hall and let the door drift closed behind her.

Jessica rushed to her room and looked around. She had piles of clothes that still had to be sorted and put onto racks before they left, and she'd procrastinated long enough. She took a quick shower then dressed in denim shorts and a tank top before pulling empty racks up to her room to begin her sorting.

The racks were covered and on a truck when she climbed onto her crew bus and headed out of the city at noon, while JC and the guys lingered over a casual lunch. They boarded their bus at three, right on schedule and dispersed throughout the sitting areas to settle in for the long haul.

Kyle went to the back with Justin and Joey to play video games while Lance, JC and Chris sat in the front room reading or listening to music. JC had his ever handy notebook out and was scribbling away, trying to catch up on all of the writing time that he'd lost since Kyle arrived in his life. He got more than an hour or writing in before there was a commotion at the back of the bus.

"Ow! Shit!" Joey screeched from the back only seconds before Kyle started to howl.

"Jace!" Justin shouted from the back of the bus.

"What?" JC shouted back, not quite sure what to make of the loud sound.

"Dude, get back here." Joey grumbled as Kyle cried.

JC bolted from his seat as he recognized the sound of Kyle’s cry and got to the back of the bus in three long strides, "What? What happened?" He threw the curtain to the side to see Joey rubbing his brow and Kyle crying in a heap on the floor.

"He freaked." Justin shook his head.

"What are you talking about?" JC knelt in front of Kyle and scooped him up in his arms to try to calm him down; "It’s okay buddy."

"Joey told him that I got to play next and he had a full on tantrum." Justin shook his head and sighed.

"What?" JC looked at Justin like he had sprouted another head in the four seconds he’d been there.

"Damn kid beaned me in the eye with a controller and fuckin bit me." Joey grumbled as he threw Kyle a dirty look.

"Watch your mouth Joe." JC said as he continued to cuddle Kyle as his cries subsided.

"I’m serious Jace, I don’t know what’s got into him." Justin flopped down on the couch.

"Well you couldn’t just let him play?" JC asked with a scowl.

"He’s been playing all friggin morning, he needs to learn how to share and take turns. He’s turning into a spoiled brat." Joey took his hand away from his forehead and frowned.

"He’s two, cut him some slack." JC stood up with Kyle in his arms.

"Two doesn’t make a difference. He shouldn’t be throwing stuff at Joey and trying to take a bite out of him." Justin yawned. "What he needs is another spanking."

"Another? Did you hit him?" JC glanced from Joey to Justin.

"I smacked his ass when he bit me, that’s when he started to cry."

"Keep your hands off him Joe." JC pressed his lips into a tight line trying to keep his temper in check. He hadn’t heard half of what Joey had said, and none of it had sunk in as Kyle squirmed in his arms.

"He had his teeth in my arm Jace, and it’s not like I beat him senseless I swatted his diaper padded ass enough to let him know I meant business. You should try it, maybe then he’s quit walking all over you." Joey was shocked to hear the words come from his mouth, but they had to be said.

"Jo – I – " JC stampered, then turned to carry Kyle to the front of the bus where Lance was sitting.

"What happened?" Lance asked.

"Joey hit him." JC said with a huff as he sat in the chair across from Lance.

"Seriously?! What for?"

"He said Kyle hit him." JC sighed. "Did you hit Joey?" He asked Kyle as the little boy rested his head on his daddy’s shoulder. Kyle nodded slightly and took a deep and shaky breath. "Why’d you hit Joey?"

"Hit me."

"Did you hit him first?"

"No pay." Kyle said as tears rose in his eyes.

"He said you couldn’t play?"

"Jussin pay." Kyle sat up and crossed his chubby arms over his chest, imitating a stance JC often took.

"It was Justin’s turn to play." JC nodded.

"No my." He insisted.

"You need to take turns Kyle, those are games for everyone to play, not just you."

"No." Kyle shook his head. "Mine."

"No way buddy, you have to share. If you can’t share you don’t get to play anymore."

"I pay!"

"You can play if you can take turns. Sometimes you’ll have to watch the other guys playing."

"No I by."

"You what?"

"I by." Kyle frowned deeper.

"You bite?"

"I by Joey."

"He bit Joey?" Lance asked with a surprised look.

"You bit Joey?"

"Jussin no pay." Kyle’s tears over flowed.

"Whoa, hang on there kiddo." JC shook his head. "You don’t bite anyone."

"I by Joey." Kyle nodded.

"No, you don’t bite Joey."

"Yeah I by."

"I know you did, but that’s not good. That’s a bad thing. I don’t want you to ever bite anyone again." JC’s voice took on a stern tone that scared even himself. "And for that matter no more hitting period."

"Joey hit."

"Joey spanked your butt, I know."

"He bad?"

"No, he hit you because you bit him." JC sighed. "No more video games today."

"Yes I pay."

"No, no more video games today." JC shook his head and leaned back against the couch.

"He bit Joey?" Lance asked with a hint of a smile.

"Yeah. Shit." JC grumbled under his breath. He placed Kyle on the floor in front of him, "You need to go tell Joey you’re sorry for hitting him in the head with the controller and for biting him."


"Yes." JC tugged at his arm, but the little boy stood still, "Kyle, now."

"No go." Kyle pouted as Lance watched with an amused smile; the little boy was just like his father.

"Yes, right now. You need to go say you’re sorry."

"Joey sorry."

"No, Joey doesn’t have to apologize, he was punishing you."

"No." Kyle insisted.

JC closed his eyes and exhaled sharply, "Yes." He picked Kyle up as he began to squirm and walked to the back of the bus. "Hey Joe." JC pulled the drape to the side to see the two guys kicking back on opposite couches. "Kyle has something he wants to say."

"No." Kyle pouted.

"Yes." JC raised his eyebrow at Kyle then waited for a second, "We’re going to stand here until you say it Kyle."

"Sorry." Kyle grumbled as he hid his face in JC’s shoulder.

"So he can hear you."

"He hear."

"Say it so he can understand you."

"Sorry." Kyle said softly.


"For by." Kyle covered his eyes with his hands.


"For I hit." Kyle continued to cover his eyes.

"Thanks man." Joey paused the game and stood up. "I’m sorry I had to spank you, but biting hurts." He rubbed Kyle’s back and JC saw the tiny red teeth marks on Joey’s arm.

"Hey Joe, I’m sorry I got upset too." JC added softly.

"It’s alright." Joey nodded.

"Did he bite you hard?"

"Eh, I’ve had worse." He smiled with that sly Joey look that made JC laugh.

"Yeah I bet you have." JC smirked.

"Don’t sweat it, I doubt he'll do it again." Joey shook his head and reached up rubbed Kyle's head. "No more biting, right kiddo?"

"No by." Kyle mumbled into JC's chest.

"He won't." JC shook his head and adjusted Kyle on his shoulder.

"Hey Jace?" Chris shouted from the front of the bus.


"What time does our flight leave tomorrow?"

"Um, eight ten." JC smiled at Joey once more, then carried Kyle up to the front so he and Chris wouldn't have to shout.

"We have a phone interview at seven." Chris looked at the tattered paper in front of him. "How's that gonna work?"

"We're the last to board the plane, so we'll take the call from three till whenever in the lounge, then cut it off when we board." JC shrugged.

"It's supposed to be an hour call." Chris pointed out.

"Well it can't be." JC sat at the little table and set Kyle down beside him.

"Did you really bite Joey?" Chris asked Kyle.

"Leave it alone Chris." JC sighed and opened a box of crackers. He placed a few in front of Kyle then pressed his hands over his eyes.

"Right on man, he's been asking for it." Chris laughed.

"It's not a joke Chris." JC removed his hands to glare at Chris. "He shouldn't be biting anyone and you making it into a cool thing isn't helping."

"I was messin with the kid, he doesn't know."

"He knows you think it's cool when he bites Joey." JC frowned and took a cracker for himself.

"You need a nap." Chris shook his head and stood up.

"Yeah I do." JC whispered as he bit the cracker in half. He glanced down at Kyle's tear stained face and realized they both needed naps. JC waited until they finished up their snacks, then they retreated to their bunk to snooze for the duration of their ride to the hotel.


They played their show that night while Jessica watched Kyle in the back stage area. He seemed quieter and almost sad as they played together. "I see daddy?"

"You'll see him when he's done." Jessica shook her head and pulled him away from the door.

"A minnit?"

"No, it'll be longer than a minute." Jessica frowned slightly and tugged at his hand.

"I see a minnit." Kyle said forcefully as he pulled her toward the door. "Peese one."

"I… Kyle honey we can't go out there."

"Yes, one."

"It'll hurt your ears."

"No, one." Kyle insisted. Jessica frowned, she'd never seen Kyle this insistent about seeing his dad.

"Okay sweetie, hang on." Jessica picked him up and looked around for a security guard that she recognized. She spotted Les just outside the door so she walked up and tapped his shoulder, "Hey, do you have ear plugs?"

"Yeah, you need em?"

"For Kyle." Jessica nodded.

"I dunno if they'll fit." Les frowned and pulled the little box out of his pocket.

"Can I tear them in half? I'll get you some new ones."

"Yeah, go for it. I've got a dozen." Les laughed. "Here." He took Kyle from her as she took the foam earplugs and tore them in half.

"Okay kiddo, if we're going out there you need to put this in your ear, okay? But don't touch it, okay?"

"Kay. See daddy?"

"Yep, we're going to see your daddy." Jessica nodded and worked the bright orange strips into Kyle's tiny ears, leaving an inch sticking out on each side. He looked funny, but he'd save his hearing. "Thanks Les." Jessica smiled and took Kyle back.

They walked around the back stage area till they came to the stairs on the side of the stage, just out of view from the huge audience.

"Joey?" Kyle asked as the boys danced on stage.

Jessica leaned close to his ear, "Daddy is right there. See him with the red shirt?"

"Daddy?" Kyle asked, though Jessica couldn't hear him very well.

"In just a second he'll be over here… hang on." Jessica bounced him on her hip and watched as the song ended and the five guys held their pose.

JC glanced over and saw Jessica standing by the stairs, he wasn't sure what he saw at first, but when he realized that Kyle was in her arms he leaned over and patted Lance's back quickly and said something off the mic.

"Hey." JC panted as he raised his voice. "What's up?"

"Kyle just wanted to see you." Jessica shook her head and waved him back on stage.

"Is he okay?" JC asked loudly.

"Yeah." Jessica nodded to reassure him.

"Hi daddy." Kyle said softly as he reached for JC.

"Hi buddy." JC hugged him tight for a second then kissed his head. "I've gotta go, I'll see you tonight okay big guy?" JC looked over his shoulder at the others on the stage. Joey raised his arms in a questioning gesture. JC shook his head and held up his finger. "He's okay?"

"He's fine. Sorry to break up your show." Jessica blushed.

"No problem. See you after." JC turned and sprinted back to the center of the stage.

Jessica and Kyle watched for another couple minutes, then they went back to the playroom where she took out his earplugs, "I see."

"Are you okay Kyle?"

"Yeah, I see daddy."

"Do you feel better now that you saw him?"

"Yeah." Kyle yawned and grabbed Lello off of his backpack and curled up on the little couch. Jessica sat on the far end and flipped through her magazine as Kyle fell asleep using his dog as a pillow.

When the show was over JC went straight to the playroom before bothering to change his clothes, "Is he okay?" He asked Jessica as he looked at Kyle sleeping on the couch.

"Yeah, I don't know what that was about, he just wanted to see you." Jessica shrugged.

"I've been real busy the last couple days." JC said softly with a sigh.

"He probably misses you." Jessica nodded.

"Yeah." JC's brow furrowed, he missed the little guy too.

"You'll have a couple days in New York though." Jessica tried to smile.

"Yeah, we'll be able to hang out a little there."

"All you have is the MTV and Rosie tapings right?" Jessica asked.

"Yep." JC nodded and ran his hand over his sleeping son's back. "Can you carry him out to the van? I want to be able to leave as soon as I change. We've got an early flight out tomorrow."

"Sure." Jessica nodded and sat beside Kyle on the couch. "Go ahead and change, I'll get his settled."

"Thanks." JC mumbled under his breath as he turned to leave. Jessica packed up Kyle's little bag and picked him up to carry him out to the awaiting vans. She strapped him into his seat without waking him up, then waited for JC and the others to come running out of the venue.

Jessica left the van and went back inside to clean up the clothes, she was flying out the next day also, but she would be able to sleep in. She yawned, then shook her head and stomped back through the venue halls.


"It’s nice to have you on our flight this morning." The flight attendant smiled as the guys boarded the plane and took their seats in first class. Chris and JC flipped their phones off as they stepped onto the plane and tucked them away as they were instructed.

"Thanks." JC nodded and slid Kyle’s car seat into the window seat before securing it safely and sitting in his own aisle seat.

"Where are we going?" Justin asked with a smirk as he sat on his knees and looked over the back of his seat at JC.

"The Big Apple." JC gave him a tired smile and swirled his finger around in front of him, "Turn around and sit right." He said out of habit.

"Yeah okay dad." Justin shook his head and flopped down in his seat.

"Hey C? Can I show Kyle the cockpit?" Lance asked as he stepped into the aisle with Kyle in his arms.

"Hehehhe, you said ‘cock’." Chris laughed in his butthead voice.

"Shut up." Lance laughed and shook his head at Chris as he balanced the toddler on his hip.

"Uh, yeah. I mean, if it’s okay with them." JC nodded and watched as Lance backtracked up the aisle to where the flight attendant was standing.

"Hi, uh do you think I could take Kyle here up to see the cockpit? You know, just take a look?" Lance asked with a shy southern smile.

"Oh sure." The young lady smiled back and blushed quickly as she forward and knocked on the pilots little door. "Excuse me Captain Riley? We have some guests here that would like to see the inside of the cockpit." She said cheerfully.

"Ahh, hello there." The captain stood up and straightened his jacket. "Hi, I‘m Captain Riley."

"Hi Captain, Lance Bass."

"And who is this little guy here?"

"This is Kyle, he’s two."

"Hi Kyle, do you want to see how I fly the airplane?"

"Yeah." Kyle nodded shyly and grabbed a handful of Lance’s t-shirt.

"Okay, it’s very very important that you don’t touch anything though, okay?" Captain Riley asked.

"Kay." Kyle nodded as his eyes widened. "You fly?" He asked softly.

"Yep. I sit right here in this seat next to Mr. Lee and we fly the plane together. Pretty cool huh?"

"Yeah cool." Kyle looked all around the tiny cabin.

"We wear these little head sets so we can talk to each other." Captain Riley put the earpiece in his ear with the mic by his mouth.

"Like you?" Kyle asked Lance.

"Yeah, kind of like me." Lance laughed.

"No I can push?"

"No no, you can’t push these buttons." Lance shook his head.

"Do you want to sit in my seat?" Captain Riley asked.

Kyle’s eyes opened even wider as he nodded and wiggled down from Lance’s arms. Captain Riley lifted Kyle under his arms and set him down in the huge seat, "Can you see the sky? It’s kind of like driving a car huh?"


"Does your daddy let you drive a car?" Captain Riley smiled and glanced at Lance.

"No ten." Kyle shook his head.

"He pretends." Lance laughed.

"Have key?" Kyle asked as he looked up.

The captain laughed and shook his head, "Nope, no keys. I just push a couple buttons and the plane starts."


"Speaking of which, I’ve got to get things started in here." Captain Riley reached into a little bag under his seat and pulled out a pair of silver plastic wings. "Here you go Kyle, you’re an honorary pilot now." He handed them to Kyle and smiled up at Lance. "Thanks for bringing him by."

"Hey thanks for letting us check it out." Lance laughed and reached for Kyle who was reluctant to leave the seat.

"Would you mind if I got an autograph… it’s for my niece." Captain Riley said softly as he reached for a pen.

"Oh sure, that’s no problem. In fact, if you’ve got a couple minutes I can go get the rest of the guys too." Lance nodded and took the pen the captain offered.

"That would be very nice, thank you." He smiled.

"Anytime." Lance lead Kyle out to the seats and lifted him onto JC’s lap, "Hey, the pilot wants to get our autographs for his niece." Lance handed JC the pen then realized he’d forgotten to grab something to sign. "Here." Lance reached into the seat pocket in front of him and pulled out a white barf bag.

"Nasty." JC made a face, but signed the bag anyway.

"See ya Kyle." Lance smiled and leaned over to Justin’s seat.

"I fly." Kyle opened his small hand to show JC the silver wings.

"Oh wow! Did Lance take you to see the pilot?"

"Yeah." Kyle nodded. "I fly."

"He let you fly? That’s cool." JC nodded.

"No can touch." Kyle shook his head and put his hands in his lap, "Only he."

"Only he can?"


"That’s good, because he knows how to fly the plane."

"Yeah." Kyle nodded and shifted himself on JC’s lap.

Kyle sat in his seat and stared out the window for the duration of the short flight, commenting on how high they were and how he wanted to fly. "I fly later." Kyle sighed as the plane began it's decent into New York.

"Okay buddy, you can fly later." JC nodded and covered his mouth as he yawned. He had some things planned for him and Kyle in New York. JC had the MTV Icon show to tape that afternoon, and Rosie the next day, but between the two tapings they had some free time, and a whole day after Rosie. He worked with Sean and their security and managed to get some kids things to do while they were in town.


The taping of the Icon show went smooth, all of the rehearsing they'd done over the last couple weeks paid off and the choreography appeared seamless. They performed two classic Elton John songs, the producers would decide which one they would air when all of the performances were taped.

JC, Les and Lonnie took Kyle to Central Park that afternoon to ride on the carousel and check out the ducks in the lake. Both Kyle and JC were worn out by the end of the day, so they went to bed early to rest up for their big day at the Rosie O'Donnel show the next day.

Jessica slept in a little and wandered down tot he little cafeteria room on their floor to grab some juice and a bagel before she started her day. She was surprised to see Lance and JC standing in the middle of the room with Kyle between them, looking shocked.

She grabbed a bottle of orange juice from the tub of ice and walked over as Kyle's high pitched scream filled the room. "What's going on?" Jessica asked as she walked up behind them.

"He's… he's having a fit." JC shrugged and tried to reach for Kyle before he could kick Lance in the legs.

"Why? What happened?" She set her bottle of juice down on the table beside her and stared on with a confused look.

"I told him he couldn't have ice cream for breakfast." JC rolled his eyes and picked Kyle up, the tiny hiking boots came only an inch from JC's groin. "Hey!" He practically shouted as he held Kyle away from his body. "Knock it off Kyle, I'm serious. If you kick me… if you kick anyone, you're going to be sorry."

"He doesn't know what that means." Jessica said softly from just behind JC. "Tell him what will happen if he kicks you."

"You're going to get a spanking." JC said forcefully as Kyle continued to flail his feet around. "I mean it Kyle, you wanna find out how serious I am? Keep kicking." JC's arms began to shake with the weight of the squirming little boy.

"Dude Jess, he snapped." Lance said with a soft laugh.

"He's two. Now you see why it's called the terrible twos."

"He pulled this the other day on the bus too." Lance added.

"What happened on the bus?" Jessica asked.

"He threw a video game thing at Joey’s head and bit him." JC slowly lowered Kyle to the floor.

"He bit him?" Jessica asked as she looked at the adorable two year old.

"Yeah." JC sighed.

"Sheesh." She shook her head and kept her "you’re spoiling him" speech to herself. Kyle gave one last attempt at kicking JC before he turned on the waterworks. When JC didn’t make a move to spank him Jessica sighed and reached for him before she could stop herself. "May I?" She looked at JC as she pulled Kyle from his arms.


"Kyle? Calm down." She set him on the floor and held his shoulders as he stomped his feet. "Calm down, why are you upset."

"I have!" He shouted.

"No, you can’t have ice cream." Jessica said softly. He swung his foot out to kick her shin and she squeezed his arms tighter, "Your daddy told you if you kicked again you’d get a spanking." She let go of one of his shoulders and swatted his behind. "Are you done?"


"Are you going to keep kicking?"

"Yeah." He said through sobs.

"Then you’re going to keep getting spanked." Jessica maintained her cool as she pulled him over to a quiet corner and sat him on his bottom. "You can sit right there on a time out until you’re ready to behave like a person."

"No say."

"Yes, you’re going to stay there." Jessica put her hands on her hips and stared him down as his sobs subsided to gulps and hiccups.

JC and Lance stared on in awe, "What’d you do?"

"I followed through." Jessica said with a little more snap than necessary. After only two minutes Kyle was done crying and just looked sad, "Are you ready to be a gentle boy now?"

"Yeah." He sniffled as he stood up and balanced himself against the wall.

"Okay, do you know why you were in time out?"

"For eye keem."

"No, you were there because you were kicking your daddy and Lance and me and that’s not okay. Kicking isn’t a very nice thing to do to people who love you very much." Jessica explained as she got down on his level. "Can you say you’re sorry?"

"I sorry." He mumbled.

"Okay kiddo." She pulled him in for a hug then looked over her shoulder at JC, "I’ll bet your daddy has something cool to show you in your room if you look out the window." Jessica smiled.

"Is cool?" Kyle looked up at JC who in turn looked at Jessica.

"Hot air balloons." She whispered with a smile.

"Heck yeah I’ve got something cool to show you." JC smiled and picked him up as he dangled Lello from his hand.

"That was awesome." Lance laughed.

"That was a time out." Jessica sighed and shook her head. "I think the honeymoon is over, JC’s going to get a real taste of what it’s like to have a two year old."

"How do you know so much about kids?" Lance laughed.

"I baby sat a lot." Jessica smiled.

"Ahh, so putting up with us should be a piece of cake huh?"

"You’d think so, huh?" She laughed and reached for her bottle of water. "I’d better get going. I’ll see you later though, two thirty."

"I’ll be there." Lance smiled.

"You’re only doing Rosie today right?"


"Then we leave tomorrow?"

"Yep." Lance nodded and stretched his arms over his head. "We fly out to meet the stage crew in Raleigh."


"Yep." Lance smiled and yawned. "Man I need to wake up before this taping thing, don't I?" He laughed and ran his hand through his hair.

"Yeah, that helps." Jessica gave him a small smile as she sighed and reached for her juice. "I'll see you later." She tilted her bottle at him and took a drink as she headed for the door. She had a few hours of sorting and labeling the new clothes before she was expected at the Rosie O'Donnel studios to dress the guys.


Once everyone was present and accounted for Jessica made herself busy straightening pant legs and tucking in shirts, "You're 25, how come you still can't tuck in your shirt right?" Jessica asked as she shoved her hands down Joey's pants.

"Hey Jess?" Joey said softly as she smoothed his shirt around his boxer covered butt.

"What?" She sighed.

"I have a confession to make." He snickered.


"I tuck my shirt in crooked just to get your hands in my pants." Joey laughed.

Jessica removed her hands and tugged at his shirt, "Joey? You're pathetic."

"I know… I'm terrible. I've been bad. I think you should pull me over your knee and spank me." He smiled up at her with that twinkle in his eye.

"Joey…" Jessica shook her head and laughed, "Tuck it in right from now on or I'll have Lonnie do the tucking."

"Dude, keep that man with the meat hands outta my pants."

"Then tuck it right." Jessica laughed and moved on down the line. When she was satisfied with everyone's attire she gave them a wave of approval then made herself scarce as the make up crew came in to shade them for the TV lighting.

Sean tracked Jessica down a half hour later in the green room and took her to the little play room just off the stage, "Kyle's here today, can you keep an eye on him in here?"

"I… yeah… he's here? I thought he was staying at the hotel?"

"JC changed his mind." Sean shrugged.

"Why? What's up?"

"I'm not sure, but can you watch him here? They've got daycare staffers… but you know how he gets."

"Yeah... no problem." Jessica nodded and followed Sean down the hall. JC wasn't the type to change his mind all of a sudden and for a minute Jessica felt a wave of panic sweep over her. There was a reason JC wanted Kyle there, and for him to change plans at the last minute it had to be something important.

Jessica stayed with Kyle in the little playroom just off the main studio floor to watch Kyle as the guys went out on stage. Rosie O'Donnel was one of their favorite shows to do, but JC looked undeniably nervous, a new look for him.

She watched them on the little monitor with no sound as they performed a ballad on stage, then went to sit around her little desk. They chatted for a little bit and she watched Justin demonstrate with his hands how with the new show they flew down onto the stage and how the movie sidewalks added to the choreography. Chris said something smart and everyone laughed as Justin sat down, "Can we turn the volume up?" Jessica asked one of the other helpers in the room.

"Sure." She smiled and reached up to the TV set. The volume rose a little so that Jessica could hear it over the noise of the children in the play room.

"So… you guys? Can I mention what you left in the green room back there?" Rosie asked cautiously.

"What… what did we leave?" Lance looked down the row at his group mates.

"Oh." Justin leaned forward and held his hand a few feet from the floor. "Dude."

"Oh!" Lance looked at JC, "Are you mentioning that?"

"Um, yeah." JC said quickly before he could change his mind. He'd decided before they came out that he'd be bring Kyle out if the opportunity presented itself, which is the only reason he brought Kyle to the studio at all.

"So I can mention it?" Rosie asked.

"Yes, you can mention my son Kyle." JC smiled as the crowd kind of half cheered and half gasped.

Jessica looked up quickly and blushed as she heard JC tell the world about his son, from his own mouth. The door cracked open behind her and an assistant with a headset poked her head into the room, "Jessica?"

"Y-yeah?" Jessica stood up quickly and straightened her skirt.

"Can you please bring Kyle up front?"

"Sure." She blushed as she leaned down to pick Kyle up off the floor.

"Go bye?"

"We're gonna go see your daddy I think." Jessica said softly as Kyle rested his head on her shoulder.

"Follow me, when I give the cue walk on out to the desk, okay?" The assistant gave Jessica a warm smile.

"I… is it okay with JC?"

"Yes." She nodded. Rosie's voice echoed through the hall as they got closer to the stage and Jessica heard JC's soft voice ask Rosie to bring Kyle out.

"You want him out here?" Rosie asked.

"Yeah, if that's okay with you." JC nodded. "Just get him out here before I change my mind." JC thought to himself.

"He is the cutest thing in the whole wide world. I mean, I've gotta say my kids are cuter because they're mine and that's a rule and everything but my God he's gorgeous." Rosie gushed.

"Thank you." JC smiled and blushed as the other guys patted his shoulders.

"He's got good genes." Lance laughed and messed JC's hair.

"How old is he?" Rosie asked as the curtain behind her parted and Jessica walked out with Kyle on her hip.

"He's uh, he's two." JC nodded and stood up as Jessica walked up. "Thanks." He smiled at her and reached for Kyle. He took him back to his seat and set Kyle on his lap, "This is Kyle, can you say hi to Rosie?" He leaned down and spoke softly into Kyle's ear.

"Hi." Kyle said shyly as he looked out toward the bright lights and the studio audience.

"Hi Kyle, you're so cute." Rosie laughed and leaned forward over her desk.

"Yeah." Kyle smiled and tried to hide his face in JC's jacket.

"He knows he's cute." Joey said.

"He's just like JC." Chris laughed and reached over JC's shoulder to mess Kyle's hair.

"Is he on tour with you guys? Or just visiting?" Rosie asked.

Again, everyone looked at JC, "No, yeah he's on tour with us now." He nodded. "We've only got a couple weeks left so he's just hanging out."

"Has he been with you the whole time?"

Lance looked from Rosie to JC, who just nodded, then back to Rosie, "No, he's only been with us a couple weeks."

"Months." Justin said.


"A couple months." Justin repeated.


"Yeah, last time we were in LA, remember?"

"That was a couple months ago?" Lance asked.

"About... something like six or seven weeks ago, something like that."

"It's been that long?" Lance asked as he looked at JC.

"So he's been with you for a couple months? Where was he before that?" Rosie asked.

"He was uh, with his mom." JC nodded and planned his words carefully.

"Was that her?" Rosie looked back toward the curtain.

"No." JC said quickly. "No that was Jessica, she's uh... she does our wardrobe and stuff. She's helped out with Kyle a lot, she's great."

"Go dow?" Kyle squirmed out of JC's lap and stood by his chair.

"No, hang out right here buddy. Where's Lello?"

"He seep." Kyle sighed and turned his back on the camera. "Go bye?"

"I've gotta finish working out here, do you want Jessica to take you back there for a minute? You can go play with the other kids?"

"Chris." Kyle shook his head.

"Chris has to stay here too." JC said softly as he pulled Kyle a little closer.

"Hey Kyle dude, you wanna go look for some alligators out there?" Chris asked from his seat. "I'll bet there are a lot out there under the seats."

"Yeah." Kyle smiled and looked up at JC, "I go bigator."

"Yeah you can go catch alligators with Chris." JC laughed.


"Big alligators, you bet." JC nodded and watched as Chris took Kyle's small hand in his.

"We'll be right back Rosie." Chris waved over his shoulder as he and Kyle jumped off the little step of the stage.

"So his mom isn’t around?" Rosie asked softly.

"Uh, no. We're kinda looking for her actually." JC shook his head and looked out at the audience where Chris and Kyle were looking around under seats for alligators. "That’s actually a – do you mind if I kinda clear some of that up here?"

"Of course not, go right ahead." Rosie smiled.

"I know we’re here to talk about the tour and stuff… but this is uh, this is something that needs to be said and you know Rosie, you’re a reliable source."

"Of course." She laughed. "So what’s the deal here?"

"I um… Kyle’s mother was having some problems taking care of him by herself and rather than give him up to the state she left him with Chris when we were in LA a couple months ago. Chris called me back in Florida and it’s all gone from there. I... you know, we get things like this all the time – "

"Girls leaving kids with you?" Rosie asked, trying to keep it light.

"No, I mean girls saying we’re the fathers of their kids or whatever. So at first I was skeptical. Real skeptical. I totally thought she was whacked." JC took a deep breath as Joey bumped his knee against JC’s to let him know he was there.

"So you didn’t know about Kyle at all?"

"Not until he was left with Chris." JC shook his head. "So um, I took the paternity test and everything and it proved that I was Kyle’s father." He shrugged and looked out to find Kyle and Chris lying flat on their stomachs trying to reach under some seats. He cracked a small smile and turned back to Rosie, "I didn’t know what to do, I mean… in the business this isn’t the best situation, you know that."

"Yeah tell me about it."

"And as a guy, I knew the media would be all over it, ‘Boyband member has a kid!’ or whatever, so that’s why we made the public statement right off the bat. But…" He sighed. "It’s a lot more work than I thought. I’ve gotta give mad props to all the single parents out there. Mothers and fathers man… this is hard work."

"But you’ve got four built in babysitters here." Rosie laughed.

"Yeah, well they help out a lot, I’m lucky I’ve got lots of help. Jessica, man… she’s been like, the best supporter throughout everything."

"And Kyle was sick a while ago, wasn’t he? You guys missed a couple shows?" Rosie asked.

"Yeah… in Ohio." Justin nodded and looked over at JC.

"Yeah… yeah that was scary." JC's smile fell a little.

"What’d he have?"

"He had meningitis. Viral meningitis." JC picked at his fingernails then looked up at her slowly.

"Oh wow… and how’s he doing now?"

"He's doing great now…" JC waved to indicate the toddler clambering down the stairs holding onto Chris’ hand. "He’s back to being two." JC laughed.

"So did you fall into this whole ‘daddy’ thing pretty quick?" Rosie asked.

JC looked around at the three guys sitting on stage and they all kind of snickered, "No, not really. I didn’t know what end was up practically. I’d give him a bath and get soap all in his eyes, put his clothes on backwards, forget to change his diaper… I was a mess."

"All parents do that." Rosie cast a guilty look toward the camera.

"And you lost him once too…" Joey so thoughtfully pointed out.

"Yeah… I lost him in a hotel in Seattle. Oh my God, I seriously thought I was gonna barf." JC shook his head. "Have you ever done that?"

"Lost a kid? Yes I did that once when Parker was three. At the shopping mall, I was looking at shoes and then bam he was gone."

"I know! It’s like, one minute they’re there then the next they’re just gone." JC took a deep breath, "That’ll put a stain in your pants."

The other guys laughed and Joey leaned forward, "He’s gotten better though."

"Have you guys seen the difference?" Rosie asked.

"Yeah." Justin and Lance said in unison.

"Not so much in JC, but all of us. Kyle’s kinda brought us back to ground level you know? Got our heads out of the clouds. Jumping on a hotel bed and looking for airplanes in the sky for a good time… man it doesn’t get much more basic than that." Lance smiled.

"And everything we do is so cool to him." Joey laughed. "Like if I trip over my shoelaces, he thinks it’s the funniest thing ever. And if I cross my eyes? Oh man, he laughs till he farts, it’s great."

"So he just boosts your egos and makes you think you’re cool?" Rosie laughed.

"Yeah, watch this." Joey turned toward the audience, "Hey Kyle? Kyle my man!"

"Hi Joey." Kyle waved from the edge of the stage.

"Who’s cooler than Nsync?" Joey asked.

"No body." Kyle laughed.

"And who has the coolest hair ever?" Justin asked.

"Me an Jussin."

"And who has the best video games?"

"I do." Kyle laughed and looked at Chris. "No mo?"

"Nope, no more alligators." He shook his head. "Wanna go talk to Rosie?"

"I have baw?"

"Yeah, I’m sure she has some koosh balls." Chris nodded as he picked Kyle up and hopped back onto the stage where Kyle wiggled out of Chris’ arms and scampered into JC’s lap.

"Did you find a bunch of alligators out there, Kyle?" Rosie asked.

"Yeah." Kyle panted and wiped his brow. "I put osin."

"You put them where?"

"Ina osin."

"In the ocean?" Rosie asked.

"Yeah." Kyle nodded. "No owie."

"Oh good, I don’t want you to hurt them." Rosie said as she handed him a koosh ball. "Well guys, do you have anything else to add about the tour or anything?"

"Nope." Lance shook his head.

"Yeah, come see us." Chris shouted from his seat.

"And don’t forget to watch the MTV Icon special for Elton John next week." Justin added.

"I’m gonna have to tape it, those shows come on too late for me." Rosie made a face.

"Really?" Lance asked.

"Yeah I’m in bed by like, nine every night. I put the kids to bed then have a bowl of cereal… then I’m out like a light." Rosie laughed. "Just wait JC, one of these days you’ll be doing the same thing."

"I know I will." JC laughed and shook his head as Kyle smiled in his lap.

"Well hey Kyle, thanks for coming by and for getting rid of all the alligators in the audience."

"Wecome." Kyle mumbled.

"Will you come back and see me again? Maybe we can chat?"

"Yeah." Kyle nodded.

"You can give me some gossip about these guys." Rosie leaned over like she was telling him a secret. "Do they smell weird sometimes?"

"Yeah." Kyle whispered as he nodded and made a face.

"Who smells?"

"Jussin." Kyle whispered then covered his mouth as he laughed.

"Oh!" Justin protested from two seats away. "Oh come on man, I bathe!" Justin and Joey went back and forth about their bathing habits for a minute as JC sat back and watched with a small smile tugging at the corner of his mouth.

JC took a deep breath; everything was out in the open now, and he felt a hundred times better. Maybe someone would recognize Kyle and call in with some advice on how to find Lori… maybe Lori herself was watching.




Copyright � 2001, Amy Lynn