When JC woke up the next morning the room was dark, though light was peeking in around the edges of the thick drapes covering the windows.  “Oh man…”  He grumbled as he rolled over to check the time.  It was almost eight thirty and for a moment he was thrilled that he was able to sleep in a little later than usual.  The hadn’t slept past seven thirty in a long time,  “Kyle?”  JC sat up straight in the bed and felt the sheets beside him.  Kyle wasn’t curled up against his chest like usual and JC felt a small finger of panic work it’s way up his spine.

            He flipped the bedside lamp on and swung his feet over the side of the bed in one quick motion,  “Kyle?”  He asked in a normal voice.

            “I seep.”  Kyle mumbled into his pillow from the foot of the bed.  He’d managed to shimmy his way to the bottom of the bed where the thick comforter was bunched up all around him.

            “Sorry.”  JC whispered as he dropped his pillow beside Kyle’s and flipped around on the bed.  “Are you ready to wake up now?”  He asked softly.

            “No I seep.”

            “Okay.”  JC smiled and watched Kyle clench his eyes shut in a vain attempt to go back to sleep.

            “Daddy go seep.”  Kyle pushed JC’s shoulder gently.  “Doe look.”

            “You don’t want me to look at you?”

            “No.”  Kyle frowned with his eyes closed.  “You seep.”

            “I’m not tired.”  JC tried not to laugh as Kyle tried to bury his face in the blankets.  “I’m going to take a shower, okay?”  Kyle didn’t answer, he just cracked his eyes open and gave JC a look he knew well.  The look that said ‘do what you want, just leave my sight.’

            “Okay.”  JC whispered and pushed himself off the bed to take a quick shower before Kyle officially woke up.  He shut the door half            way and kept an ear out for tiny feet hitting the floor as he soaped up and took care of business.

            He finished up and dressed himself, taking a little extra time to do his hair and actually keep a partial goatee.  He’d been so rushed lately that it was a lot easier to just shave it all off and not worry about it, but he needed a change.  “Hi up.”  Kyle grumbled as he rubbed his eyes on his way into the bathroom.

            JC shut off the electric shaver and looked down at Kyle,  “What’s up kiddo?”

            “Hi.”

            “Hi bud.”  He lifted Kyle and set him on the counter.  “Guess what we’re going to do today?”

            “Go ouside?”

            “Well yeah, we’re going outside.  But we’re going to go get your hair cut this morning, then we’re going to go buy you a stroller.  How does that sound?”

            Kyle frowned,  “I have sroller?”

            “Yeah, I think we’re going to need one if we’re going to be hanging out here for a couple weeks.  We’re going to go to Sea World and stuff like that.”

            “Cut hair?”  Kyle tentatively touched his hair, which had grown out a little and looked uneven.

            “Yep.”

            “And you?”

            “No I – “  JC stopped and looked in the mirror.  His hair had taken on a life of it’s own, and he kind of liked it.  “I think I like my hair.”

            “Kay.”  Kyle shrugged and yawned.

            “Let’s get you dressed and your diaper changed and we’ll head out, how does that sound.”

            “Is good.”  Kyle nodded as he reached for JC.

            JC lifted him off the counter and they went out to the room to get him ready to head out for the morning.  “We’ll pick up some Mc Donald’s for breakfast.  You haven’t lived till you’ve had a sausage McMuffin with egg.”

            “An egg?”  Kyle asked as JC strapped the little sandals onto Kyle’s feet.

            “You bet.”  JC nodded.

            “And you?”

            “Yep, me and Frank.  Maybe Les too.”  JC shrugged, he’d have to see what they thought before they all headed out.  “Ready?”

            “Yeah.”  Kyle laughed and jumped off the bed while holding JC’s hand.

            “Rad, let’s get the heck outta here.”  JC laughed and they walked hand in hand down the hall to the craft room that was in the process of being taken down.  They located Frank and let him know that they were heading out to get breakfast and run some errands.

            “I’ll meet you at the elevator in a minute.”  Frank nodded as he poured himself a cup of coffee.  JC and Kyle waited, then the three of them left the hotel in search of a mall with a Mc Donald’s.

 

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

 

            After the hair cut, breakfast and a run into the children’s store to get a top of the line stroller for Kyle, they stopped at a park by the hotel and let Kyle play with some other kids for a little while.  JC watched with a proud smile as Kyle shared the other children’s’ toys and took turns on the slide.  Somewhere along the road he had learned some awesome manners and didn’t throw a fit once while they were there.

            JC strapped Kyle into his stroller and let Frank know that they were going to walk the three blocks back to the hotel.  Kyle crashed as soon as the stroller was in motion and JC enjoyed the walk outside.  He ducked in the side entrance of the hotel restaurant and cut through that way to the elevators where he met up with Frank again.  The six minutes of privacy was just what he needed and he sighed with content as they went up to their floor.

 

            JC’s room phone rang as he set Kyle on the floor.  “I get!”  Kyle screeched as he made a beeline for the phone. The power nap left Kyle with an abundance of energy and JC cringed as he watched the little boy bounce.

            “No way buddy, I’ll get it.”  JC laughed and reached over Kyle’s head for the phone.  “Hello?”  He asked with a soft laugh as Kyle tried to scamper up his legs.

            “JC?”  Lori’s familiar voice annoyed JC.

            “You’re not supposed to call here.”  JC said quietly as he sat on the edge of the bed.

            “I wanted to see if I could see Kyle tomorrow.”  She explained.

            “From now on all contact has to go through our lawyers.”  JC sighed.  “Your lawyer should have told you that.”

            “He did, but I tried calling Mr. Carreno and his office was closed already so I thought maybe you and I could work something out.”

            “If you waited too late to call my lawyer then you can try calling tomorrow to set it up.  Don’t call my room to try to weasel your way around the agreement that you wanted in the first place.”  He hung up as Kyle scurried onto the bed and wrapped his arms around his neck.

            “Go horsie!”  Kyle laughed and jumped up on Kyle’s back.

            “Not now buddy.”  JC shook his head,  “How about some dessert?  Do you want some ice cream?”

            “And Laance?”

            “You want Lance to come over and eat ice cream?”

            “Yeah.”

            “Because he lets you put caramel and nuts and everything on it?”

            “Yeah.”  Kyle laughed.

            “I think Lance is out with Amy and some friends.  How about if we see if Justin will come over?  He’s leaving tonight so he can come over and say goodbye.”

            “No, Laaaance.”

            “Lance isn’t here.”

            “No eye keem?”

            “No we can still have ice cream, but Lance isn’t here so it’ll just be you and me.”

            “No Laaance?”  Kyle pouted.

            “Dude, last week Joey was your favorite.”  JC laughed and shook his head,  “Lance isn’t here, he’s playing with some big kids.”

            “Pay game?”

            “Yeah… you could say he’s playing a game.”

            “I pay?”

            “When you get bigger.”  JC nodded and swung Kyle around so that he was in front of him.  “Let’s call and get some ice cream then we can watch “Rugrats”, how does that sound?”

            Kyle sighed and rolled his eyes like only a toddler can,  “Kay.”

            “Okay then.”  JC picked up the phone to order the ice cream. 

            “Cawin Jussin?”

            “You want me to call Justin?”  JC pressed his fingers down on the hang up buttons.

            “Yeah.  Jussin and eye keem.  And have speekos.”  Kyle nodded.

            “Sounds like a plan.”  JC nodded and dialed Justin’s room.

            He let it ring six times before he reached to hang up,  “Hello?  Wait I’m here.”  Justin panted as he answered the phone.  “Hello?”

            “Hey man, what are you doing?”

            “I’m packing, what are you doing?”  Justin laughed.  “Dammit, I think I just broke my elbow.”  He held his elbow in his opposite hand as he cradled the phone against his ear. 

            “Just hanging out.  Kyle and I were going to get some ice cream and I know you’re heading out tonight so I was going to see if you wanted to come over?”

            Justin looked around his half packed room and cringed,  “I’ve got like – “  He stopped and sighed,  “You bet.  I’ll be over in like ten minutes.”

            “You’re sure?”  JC asked, noticing his hesitation.

            “Hell yeah man.  I can’t turn down ice cream with the kid, especially if you’re footin’ the bill, right?”

            “Right.”  JC laughed.

            “How about the other guys?  It can be kind of a last shebang before we all split.”  Justin suggested as he gently massaged his elbow.

            “Lance is out with Amy… but I don’t know about the other guys.”  JC shrugged.  “I’ll give them a call.”

            “Nah, I’ll bang on their doors on my way over.”  Justin smiled.

            “And speeko!”  Kyle shouted as he bounced on JC’s feet.

            “What’s that?”  Justin laughed,  “What’d he say?”

            “Sprinkles… on his ice cream.”

            “Ahh, rad.  I’m down for that.  I’ll be over in a few, keep him mellow till I get there okay?”  Justin laughed and set the phone back on the base.

 

 

            “Jussin here?”  Kyle gave JC an inquisitive look as he tilted his head to the side.

            “Yep, Justin is coming here and he’s going to see if Joey and Chris want to come too.”

            “Kay.”  Kyle nodded as he bounced over to his bag and pulled Elmo out.  “Chris and Jussin and Sink and Emo and Joey and Daddy and me and Jessi and Laaaance?”

            “You and me and Justin for sure.  Elmo too.”  JC laughed.  “I don’t know about the rest of them though, we’ll have to see.”

            “I see all.”  Kyle nodded matter-of-factly.  “And eye keem.”

 

 

            Justin banged on the first door to the right of his,  “What?”  He heard Joey shout from inside with a hint of annoyance.

            “Ice cream.  With the kid.”

            “What?”  Joey shouted again.

            “Ice cream.”  Justin raised his voice.

            “With who?”

            “The kid.”  Justin laughed.

            Joey pulled the door open and gave Justin a confused look,  You’re the kid.”

            “Kyle.”  Justin smiled and shook his head.

            “Oh.  Right now?”  Joey looked at the cell phone in his hand.

            “I’m heading down there right now, come by when you’re done.”  Justin tapped the doorframe and moved to the next one.  He tapped the beat of  “It’s Gonna Be Me” on the door and did a little dance.

            “Yeah?”  Justin head a thud come from inside and he winced as a curse followed it.  “What?”  Lance grumbled as he pulled the door open a few inches.

            “What are – what was that?”  Justin asked as he leaned over to peek into the room.

            “What do you want Justin?”  Lance glanced over his shoulder quickly and tried to catch his breath.

            “I just… well I was – we’re going to have ice cream…”  Justin pointed down the hall as he noticed that Lance was only wearing his pants, and barely that by the looks of it.

            “What?”  Lance shook his head to make sure he heard him right.

            “You’ve got a little something right there…”  Justin leaned forward a little and wiped a smear of pink off of Lance’s ear.  “Got it.”

            “Justin?”  Lance asked before shutting the door another inch.

            “Yeah?”  Justin bit his tongue and tried not to laugh.

            “Get out of here.”  Lance said slowly as he shut the door completely and threw the dead bolt as well as the swing lock.

            “Duuuude.”  Justin giggled as he continued down the hall.  “Talk about bustin’ his chub.”  He laughed and continued down the hall toward JC’s room.  He knocked on Chris’ door and waited for a minute.  Justin heard the shower inside stop followed by Chris singing to himself.  “Chris!”  Justin shouted through the door.

            “Are you naked?”

            “Uh huh.”

            “Wanna get ice cream?”

            Chris wrapped a towel around his waist and opened the door,  “With you?  No.”

            “No, with JC and Kyle.  Kind of a goodbye thing I guess.  JC’s buying the ice cream, you can’t really say no.”

            “Oh, okay yeah I’ll be there.  Let me get some clothes on.”

            “Yeah, please cover that shit up there gramps.”  Justin smiled and reached in to close the door for Chris.  “See ya in a few.”

            He continued down two more doors to JC’s room and knocked again,  “Knock knock knockin’ on heavens door.”  He sang as he tapped.

            “I get!”  Kyle shouted his new phrase as he ran for the door.  He pulled on the handle but nothing happened,  “Open?” He looked over his shoulder at JC.

            “Yeah, let me get it.”

            “No I get.”

            “Okay.”  JC sighed with a smile and flipped the dead bolt,  “Now you can open it.”

            “Hi!”  Kyle shouted as he pulled the door open.

            “Hi!”  Justin gave Kyle an excited look as he rubbed the little boys hair,  “I just interrupted Lance and Amy.”  Justin snickered as he ducked into JC’s room.

            “I thought they were going out?”

            “There must have been a slight change of plans, because they certainly were not out when I knocked.”  He laughed again then swooped Kyle up in his arms.  “What up dog?!”  He shouted.

            “What up?”  Kyle squealed as Justin tipped him upside down and tickled his tummy.

            “So are they coming?”  JC asked.

            “Well dammit Jace I didn’t get that close.”  Justin frowned then laughed as he spun Kyle around.  “I’m gonna miss you.  You’re like a mini-me.”

            “A me?”  Kyle asked through his giggle.

            “A mini-me.  You look like me dude, you’ve got the hair, and the good looks.”  Justin rubbed Kyle head and set him on the floor to watch him walk like a drunk.  “That saunter… dude, it’s all about me and mini-me.” 

            “Don’t spin him like that he’ll be sick.”  JC shook his head as Chris bounded through the door.

            “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!”  Chris danced into the room.

            “Eye keem!”  Kyle was never going to get to bed if they kept hyping him up like that.

            “Is Joey coming down?”  JC asked as he held the phone in his hand.  His question went ignored for a minute,  “Justin?”

            “What?”

            “Is Joey coming down?”

            “He was on the phone, I told him to come over when he got done.”  Justin shrugged and picked up Kyle.  “Hey Chris, think fast.”  He turned around and gently tossed Kyle three feet to Chris.

            “Hey!”  JC dropped the phone and grabbed Justin’s arm,  “He’s not a fuckin’ football man, don’t throw him.”

            “He likes it.”  Justin argued.

            “Again!”  Kyle shrieked.

            “No.”  JC shook his head and kept his hand on Justin’s arm.  “No more throwing.”

            “Your dad’s no fun.”  Justin shook his head and took Kyle back from Chris.

            “Yeah, mean old dad doesn’t want the kid thrown around, doesn’t want to have to kill two of his buddies for cracking his kids head open… I’m so mean.”  JC rolled his eyes and went back to the phone to order up the ice cream and toppings. 

            “Hey Chris, think fast!”  Justin said as a joke.

            JC jumped up with a look that could kill and took two quick steps toward Justin before realizing Justin was still holding Kyle and they were both laughing,  “You’re an ass.”  JC shook his head and turned his attention back to the phone,  “Yeah, no I’m sorry.  I need to order up some ice cream.  Just… I don’t know, what do you have?”

            “Get chocolate!”  Justin shouted.

            “Heck no, get vanilla and strawberry topping stuff.”  Chris shook his head as Joey walked into the room.  “Vanilla or chocolate?”  Chris pointed at Joey.

            “Uh, I don’t care.”

            “Come on, choose.”

            “Chocolate.”  Joey shrugged and fell face first across the empty bed by the window.  “Rock on little dude, what do you have there?”  He asked Kyle.

            “Have Legos.”  Kyle walked over and handed Joey the two he had in his hand, then opened his mouth and took a third out.

            “Whoa!  Hey now!”  Joey dropped the Legos on the floor.  “He drooled all over them.”

            “Kyle, hey man those don’t go in your mouth.”  Chris knelt beside Kyle and used his hand to open Kyle’s mouth,  “You got any more in there?”

            “No.”  Kyle shook his head.

            “Don’t put them in there.  That’s not cool, you could choke or something.”

            “Go my tummy?”

            “No, they’d get stuck right here.”  Chris touched his throat,  “That’s not a good thing.  Don’t put those in your mouth, okay?”

            “Kay.”  Kyle shrugged.  “Joey ouside?”

            “Sure, you wanna go outside?  Let’s go.”  Joey pulled himself off the bed and he, Justin, Chris and Kyle headed out to the balcony while JC placed his order.

            “So where’s Lance?”  Joey asked.

            “He’s uh… busy.”  Justin snickered.

            “Busy with what?  This is a group thing, he should be here.”  Joey shook his head and tried not to laugh.

            “He’s getting his funk on.” 

            “How do you know?” 

            Justin leaned on the balcony railing and laughed,  “I knocked to invite him to come and he… well he already was.  Or something.” 

            “Oh Christ, yeah thanks Justin.  I needed to hear that.”  Chris made a sour face and went back into the room.  “Dammit that’s a mental image that’ll linger.”  He pulled the drapes shut over the open doorway and whined,  “Make him stop JC.”

            “What?  What’s he doing?”  JC asked.

            “Justin’s giving me mental pictures that are nasty dude.”  Chris pressed his hands against his eyes.

            “About what?”

            “Lance.”  Chris cringed.

            “Say no more.”  JC shook his head and opened the drapes,  “Knock it off Justin.”

            “All I said was that – “  Justin started to defend himself.

            “Shut up!”  Chris shouted.

            “Come back inside, the ice cream will be here in like ten minutes and I’ve gotta set down some ground rules.”  JC waved everyone back inside.

            “There are rules for ice cream?”  Joey raised his eyebrow at JC with a cautious look.  “I don’t like the sound of that.”

            JC shook his head and explained that he was staying at the hotel for another two weeks, and in that room so he’d appreciate it if the ice cream could be kept off the floor and walls.  “And if you could please keep it off of each other, that would… well that would be cool.”  JC nodded.

            “Well what’s the fu – friggin point then?”  Chris censored himself as Kyle climbed onto his lap.

            “To have fun and celebrate you guys going home tomorrow.”  JC pointed out.  “For you guys to say ‘see ya’ to the little dude.”

            “He means Kyle.”  Chris said quickly.  “Not me.  I’m not going anywhere but Florida.”

            “Since you guys are leaving early tomorrow, and I’m not getting up to see y’all off, I thought we could get the party out of the way now.”  JC explained.

            “Right on.”  Justin laughed,  “Now let’s eat.”

            The ice cream arrived a little while later and they dove into the chocolate, vanilla and mint ice cream with the wide assortment of toppings.  “Who puts coconut on their ice cream?"  Justin made a face as he stirred the coconut shavings in the bowl.

            “Me have.”  Kyle reached for the spoon and dropped the shavings across the table as he dropped a spoonful on his ice cream.

            “You like coconut?”  Justin gave him a look.

            “Yeah.”  Kyle nodded and put both of his hands on the table to lean over and look at Chris’ ice cream.  “Have one and two?”

            “I have two scoops, you bet.”  Chris nodded.  “Chocolate and mint.”

            “I thought you wanted vanilla?”  JC asked.

            “Well yeah but then you got mint.”  Chris took a bite of his ice cream.

            “I have two?”  Kyle asked as he sat back down and looked at his half scoop of vanilla.

            “You can have another one if you finish what you’ve got there buddy.”  JC nodded at the bowl that was over flowing with toppings.  “Why do I have a feeling we’re all going to be sick tonight?”

            “I’m glad I’m not one dealing with diapers tonight.”  Joey snickered and smothered his ice cream in chocolate syrup.

            “Go easy on the chocolate Joe.”  Chris warned with a raised eyebrow.  “Those airplane bathrooms are tiny and not very well ventilated.”

            “You’re not on my flight anyway, so can it.”  Joey pointed his chocolate covered spoon at Chris.

            “I fly too?”  Kyle asked as he dropped three cherries into his bowl.

            “Not yet buddy, we’ll go flying pretty soon though.”  JC said softly.  “In a couple weeks.”

            “Yeah, ina week.”  Kyle nodded and picked an M&M out of his ice cream.  He stuck it in his mouth and wiped his sticky fingers on the table.

            “So uh… what do you guys have planned for the break?  I mean, I know Chris is doing his FuMan thing, but what about you guys?”  JC asked as a way to change the subject.  He didn’t even want to think about the court process, and talking about whether or not Kyle would be able to fly home only reminded him that he might not.

            The four men sat around the table eating ice cream and watching as Kyle got more on the table than in his mouth.  Joey and Justin talked about their plans and kidded each other about just how much time they were going to spend in bed, both with and without others in it with them.

            JC sat back and laughed, thoroughly enjoying the last night he’d have with his friends for a while.  The only one missing was Lance, but he understood why he wasn’t there.  Right about then JC would have left his own party for some action, but then he looked at Kyle and laughed,  “Yeah right, and miss this?”  He thought to himself as Kyle carefully picked each shred of coconut out of his mostly melted ice cream and stuck it back in the coconut bowl.

 

            Between the five of them, they finished off almost all of the ice cream and amazingly enough, kept it off of the carpet and walls.  They turned to watching TV when they’d had their fill of ice cream, and Kyle schooled them all on the “Rugrats” characters.  As the sun set completely JC turned on the room lights and stretched his arms over his head before he reached for his bowl again.  The thought of taking another bite made his stomach protest.

            Justin checked his watch and frowned,  “Hey Jace man, I’ve gotta get outta here.”

            “You’re leaving?”  JC put his bowl of mostly melted ice cream aside and walked over to where Justin stood by the door.

            “Yeah, I’ve gotta finish packing still.”  Justin cringed,  “And I’ve gotta be at the vans in like, an hour.”

            “You’ve got work to do then.”  JC laughed.  “Come on Kyle, Justin’s leaving.”  JC raised his voice to be heard over the hum of the TV.

            Kyle sighed and dropped Lello on Chris’ lap,  “Go bye?”  He looked up at Justin expectantly and took his hand.

            “You’re staying here with me kiddo, Justin is going home to Florida.”  JC smiled.

            “Alright kid, I’ll see you later.”  Justin said as he headed for the door.  He picked Kyle up and bounced him on his hip as he rubbed his hair,  “Just keep your hair short like this.  You’ll always be cool man.”

            “I cool.”  Kyle nodded.

            “Yeah you are.”

            “And you?”

            “Yep, me too.”  Justin smiled.  He caught JC’s eye and nodded toward the hall,  “I’ve got shit to do at home for a week or so, but if you need anything just gimme a call okay?  It’s nothing that can’t be put off till later.”

            “Thanks, I think we’ll be fine.”

            “Nah, I know you’ll be fine.  If you need back up or whatever though.”  Justin smiled and handed Kyle to JC.  “Call me anyway, let me know what’s up with all this.”

            “I will.”  JC nodded.  “Have a great break, tell your mom and everyone I said hi.”

            “Of course.”  Justin laughed.  “Do you have any idea when you’ll be back in Florida?”

            “Nope.”  JC shook his head.  “I go to court in two weeks… I don’t know how long it’ll take but I’ll be home as soon as that’s done.”

            “Let me know, we’ll have a cook out or something.”  Justin nodded.

            “I will man, thanks.”  JC and Kyle waved as Justin started down the hall.  “Say ‘bye bye bye’.”  JC whispered with a smile.

            “No you say.”  Kyle whispered back.

            “No, you say it.  Come on, he’ll laugh.”  JC smiled.

            “Bye bye bye Jussin bye.”  Kyle giggled into his hand and wiggled to be put down.

            “Bye bye bye Kyle.”  Justin laughed and slid his key in the lock.

            JC and Kyle went back into their room to start cleaning up and to kick the other guys out,  “Its getting late guys, this dude has to have a bath and go to bed.”

            “You’ve got sprinkles in your hair man.”  Chris said as he ran his hand over Kyle’s head.  “Eww, and chocolate sauce stuff too.  That should be fun to wash out.”

            “Yeah, thanks Chris.”  JC laughed and rolled his eyes.

            “Hey, I wasn’t the only one with chocolate sauce.”  He pointed to Joey who was licking the rim of his bowl.

            “Yeah but I didn’t put it in his hair.”  Joey argued.

            “Just load everything up on the cart so I can put it in the hall.”  JC yawned as Kyle ran over to where Joey sat to lick his own bowl.  “Don’t lick the bowl Kyle, that’s gross.”

            “Is eye keem.”  Kyle frowned.

            “Nope, you’ve had enough.”  JC shook his head and carried the jar of peanuts over to the cart.  “You wanna give me a hand here?”  he looked over his shoulder at Chris who was washing his hands at the sink in the mini kitchen.

            “I just cleaned up.”  Chris complained.

            “So you’re gonna take a shower anyway.”  JC sighed and took the bowls from Joey and Kyle,  “Stop.”

            “Party pooper.”  Joey pretended to pout as he helped clean up the rest of the mess.  They finally got all the bowls and toppings back onto the cart and wheeled it out to the hall for housekeeping to pick up.

            “Thanks guys, this was fun.”  JC held Kyle’s hand as he leaned against the doorframe.

            “Yeah, we’ll have to do this again when you get back home.”  Joey nodded.

            “You bet.”  JC smiled.  “What time are you guys taking off tomorrow?”

            “The ass crack of dawn.”  Chris yawned and slapped Joey on the back.  “Flying out at seven in the a.m.”

            “Why so early?”

            “Because dude, the sooner we leave, the sooner we get home.”  Chris laughed and stopped at his door.  “So hey, give me a call when your stuff get settled here, or whenever.  I’ll be back out in LA in like, two weeks for FuManSkeeto stuff, so I’ll catch up with you then for sure.”

            “Okay.”  JC nodded.

            “But if you need anything before just call.”

            “I will.”  JC smiled and swung Kyle’s hand gently.  “We’re gonna sleep in tomorrow a little… so have a safe flight.”

            “Thanks.”  Chris laughed and pushed his door open.

            “You too Joe.”

            “Me too what?”  Joey shouted down the hall.

            “Have a safe flight.”

            “Ahh, I will.  See ya.” 

            “Bye bye bye Joey and bye Chris.”  Kyle laughed and bounced around JC’s feet.

            The two older men laughed as they waved,  “Bye bye bye Kyle.”  Joey shook his head and stepped into his room.

            “See you in a few weeks buddy.”  Chris smiled and shut his door.

            “Well, how about a bath?”

            “And you?”

            “Yeah, I think I’ll need a shower too.”  JC yawned.  “Let’s get a move on it.”

            JC made a few last minute clean ups then dunked Kyle in the bath before his eyes began to droop closed.  Kyle slipped into dreamland as JC secured his diaper and dressed him like a rag doll in his pajamas.  “Man oh man kid.  You’re like twenty five pounds of dead weight here.”  JC lifted him as he slept and laid him on his bed before he tucked Lello under his arm.

            JC took a quick shower then went over his binder of tentative dates for the European leg of the tour until the pages began to melt together.  He climbed into bed and fell asleep as he listened to Kyle breathe deeply in the bed across from him.

 

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

 

            Jessica stood outside JC’s door the next morning and frowned.  She just wanted to say goodbye to Kyle before she left, but what if they were still sleeping?  “It’s after nine Jess, they’re awake.”  She whispered to herself as she knocked gently on the door.

            She heard Kyle’s giggles from inside and smiled as JC opened the door,  “Hey.” 

            “Hey Jessica.”  JC smiled.  “Are you – you’re leaving?”

            “Yeah, I’m heading out with the crew.”  She glanced over her shoulder to where some of the other crew was waiting by the elevators.  “Back to good old Connecticut.”

            “I’ll bet you’re glad to be going home, huh?”  JC smiled as Kyle nudged his way around JC’s legs.  JC picked him up and propped him on his shoulder as he held the door open with his foot.

            “Yeah, I guess.”  She shrugged and tilted her head to the side slightly.  “You’ll be okay here?”  Jessica asked as she reached out to rub Kyle’s back through his pajamas.

            “Yeah, we’ll be fine.”  JC nodded, and hoped he was right.

            Jessica sighed and thought about staying behind to help, but she chased that thought from her mind,  “Well let me know what happens with… with uh… everything.”  She said softly.

            “I will.  I’ve got your number in my phone I think.”

            “And take care of this little guy.”  She forced a smile as she leaned in to kiss Kyle’s forehead.  “Bye sweetie, I’m gonna miss you.”

            “He’ll miss you too.”  JC laughed lightly,  “I’ll definitely keep you posted on this whole court thing… but we’ll all get together before the European leg starts anyways right?  To try on the clothes and go over the wardrobe?”

            “Yeah, I’ll meet up with you guys a few weeks before.”  She nodded.  “I haven’t even gotten the dates yet though, so I don’t know what you’ll be doing over there.”

            “Yeah… we’ll be pretty busy.”  JC smiled as Jessica sighed and patted Kyle’s back, as if she just didn’t want to leave.

            “Alright, well I’d better go.  I’ve got a bar hopping party in my honor tonight… can’t be late.”  She laughed and tried to look excited.  “I’ll talk to you later.”

            “Bye Jess.”  JC waved with his free arm,  “Thanks again for all your help.”

            “No problem.”  She shook her head and hit the call button for the elevator.

            “Jessi go bye?”

            “Yep, she’s going to her home.”  JC nodded as they watched Jessica step onto the elevator. 

            “We go home?”

            “We’ll be going home soon.”  JC nodded and forced a smile as he turned to go back to his room.  “But you know what?”

            “Yeah.”  Kyle nodded.

            “What?”  JC asked as he opened the door.

            “What?”  Kyle asked in response.

            “You’re a goof.”  JC laughed and walked into the room to set Kyle on the bed.  “Guess where we’re going today?”

            “Hair cut?”  Kyle touched his extra short hair.

            “No, we did that yesterday.  I’ve got something exciting planned for today.”

            “Go sroller?”

            “Yep, you’ll get to ride in your stroller too.”  JC laughed.  “We’re going to the Zoo.”

            “A Zoo?”  Kyle frowned.  “Why?”

            “Because it’s fun.”  JC laughed and looked at Kyle’s truck pajamas with an unidentifiable stain on the shoulder.  “Let’s get you cleaned up.”

            JC dunked him in the bath and washed the little bit of ice cream that he missed off of his body, then carried him to the bedroom wrapped in a thick hotel towel.  Kyle shivered as JC rubbed him all over with the towel and covered his head,  “Ahhh!  Where’s Kyle!?”

            “I here.”  Kyle laughed as he pulled the towel off.

            “Whew, I thought I lost you.”  JC placed his hand over his heart and laughed as he grabbed a diaper and lay Kyle on the bed.  “We’ve gotta do something about these.”  JC mumbled under his breath as he adjusted Kyle on the diaper.

            “Is a diaper.”  Kyle pointed out.

            “Yeah it is.”  JC nodded.  “You’re almost too big for these ones.  We’re gonna have to start thinking about using the toilet, dude.”  He sighed as Kyle continued to squirm.  “Okay buddy, are you ready to go to the Zoo?”  JC asked as he fastened Kyle’s diaper and pulled him to his feet.

            “Yeah.”  Kyle sighed.  “And Jessi?”

            “No, Jessica went home to be with her friends there.”  He knew that having Jessica missing would be confusing for Kyle.

            “I see?”

            “Nope, we can’t see her right now.  But we’ll see her again in a few weeks.  I promise.”  JC nodded and hoped he wouldn’t have to break that promise.  If Lori got custody Kyle wouldn’t be going to Europe with them at all.  “Here, why don’t you wear your safari outfit thing so you’ll look like you’re looking for animals.”

            “I look?”

            “Yep.”

            “And I see?”

            “Yep, you’ll see a lot of animals today.”  JC pulled the khaki shorts with a dozen pockets out of Kyle’s drawer and held them out for him to step into.

            “Kay.”  Kyle sighed and held JC’s shoulders as he buttoned the shorts.  JC pulled his animal print t-shirt over Kyle’s head and tucked it in then stood back,  “We go now?”

            “Yep, we’re about ready to go.”  JC nodded and picked Kyle up.  “Wow kiddo, you’re getting big.”

            “Yeah.”

            “No really.  You’re almost getting too big to carry.”

            “You carry?”

            “Yeah I can still carry you.”  JC nodded and double checked Kyle’s backpack before he threw it over his shoulder.  “I’d say we’re about set.”  He caught his image in the mirrored closet doors on his way out and realized he couldn’t spend a day in public without his hat and glasses.  “Oops, hang on.”  He set Kyle down and dove into his bag.  “I need these.”  He pulled his cap low over his forehead and folded the glasses on the neck of his shirt so he could get them when he went outside.

            “Gases on eye?”  Kyle asked as he pointed to his closed eyes.

            “Yep.”  JC nodded and picked him up again.  “They go on my eyes so the sun doesn’t hurt them.”

            “Me too?”

            “Yeah.”  JC smiled.  “We can get some for you too.”  They’d have to do that when they got to the Zoo, they’d have a matching set.

            “Look lie Jussin?”  Kyle asked as they headed for the elevators where Frank was waiting for them.

            “Dude, you don’t look like Justin.  He’s whacked.”

            “Whack?”

            “Yeah, Justin is whacked in the head.” JC laughed.  “You look like me.”

            “No.”  Kyle shook his head and laughed.  “My hair.”  Kyle touched his fuzzy head and laughed again.

            “Okay yeah your hair looks like Justin, but that’s about it.”  JC chuckled and nodded to Frank.  “What’s up?”

            “Not much.  Where we headed?”

            “The Zoo.”  JC smiled.  “Is the stroller in the car?”

            “Yeah.”  Frank nodded.  “Everything is loaded up and ready to go.”

            “Cool, then let’s get out of here.”

            They walked as a group down to the car and loaded Kyle into his seat.  JC sat in the front with a map and navigated while Frank tried not to get lost in the maze of freeway separating their hotel from the Zoo.  By the time they made it to the parking lot, it was almost ten in the morning and Kyle was starting to doze off in his sear.

            “Hey!  We’re here!”  JC said excitedly as Frank opened the driver’s door and popped the trunk.  “Are you ready for some fun?”

            “Yeah.”  Kyle yawned and rubbed his eyes.  “Have fun.”  He sighed and looked unimpressed.

            “Just wait pal.”  JC laughed and got out to help Frank set up the stroller.  He strapped Kyle in and put the backpack on then they headed into the park.

            They stopped at the first gift shop they came to and picked up a tiny pair of plastic sunglasses for Kyle.  He chose the ones with green lizards on the frames and giggled when JC put them on over his own glasses,  “For me?”

            “No.”  Kyle laughed and shook his head.  “Is mine.”

            “Oh okay.  Let’s see.”  JC put the glasses on Kyle.  “Oh yeah, they look better on you.”  He nodded.  “Okay, let’s get those.”

            They walked to the register and paid for the little glasses then headed into the front part of the Zoo where there was a large map.

            “Well, where to first?”  JC asked Frank as the two grown men stared at the pictures.

            “What can see?”  Kyle craned his neck to look at JC from his seat in the stroller.

            “We can see everything dude.”  JC nodded as Frank looked around cautiously, forever in the security mode.  He’d tried to talk the security guard out of going, but common sense got the best of him.  One fan was all it took, and with Kyle around that could be dangerous if JC was suddenly surrounded.

            Frank tried not to stand out, but he was almost too noticeable to miss.   “As long as we stay out of the reptile house, we’ll be cool.”  Frank said softly.

            “You don’t like snakes?”

            “I’d deal with them if I had to, but I’m not going around looking for trouble either.”  Frank shook his head and smiled as JC pushed Kyle toward the primate exhibit.

            “We see now?”  Kyle asked as he pushed his little sunglasses up on his nose.  “Can get mokey?”

            “Yep, we’re going to go see some monkeys and some gorillas and orangutans, maybe even a baboon.”

            “Baboo?”  Kyle laughed and shook his head.  “Wassat?”

            “It’s a funny looking monkey type thing.  If I see one I’ll show you.”

            “Kay, and Lello.”

            “Of course I’ll show Lello.”

            “No eat Lello?”

            “No, monkeys won’t eat Lello.  They like to eat fruit and vegetables, like bananas.”

            “Mokey eat nanas?”

            “Heck yeah they do.”  JC smiled and popped a wheelie for Kyle in the stroller, to get him up the curb.

 

            They spent more than four hours at the Zoo and Kyle completely overshot his nap.  He began to get cranky around two so JC and Frank decided to head back to the hotel, knowing that Kyle would sleep for the half hour it would take to get there.  That would be a good enough nap for him, they’d get something for dinner when they got back to the hotel.  JC’s back ached as he leaned onto the handles of the stroller and pushed Kyle out to the parking lot.  Strollers were made for short people, not tall men.  He’d walked semi-hunched over all day and would be paying for it the rest of the week.

            As they began to load their gear into the van, JC’s cell phone rang.  He fumbled through the backpack while trying to balance a very tired Kyle on his hip, then finally answered it on the sixth ring,  “Hello?”

            “Hi, JC?”  George asked.

            “Yeah?”

            “This is George Carreno, how’s it going?”

            “It’s uhh, it’s going alright.”  JC nodded and dropped the backpack on top of the stroller before Frank shut the trunk.  JC went to the back seat and leaned in to put Kyle in his seat.

            “I talked with Lori today, she’d like to see Kyle tomorrow if that’s okay with you.”  George said as JC adjusted Kyle’s shoulder straps.

            “Did she say what time?”  JC’s heart skipped a beat at the sound of her name.

            “What time is good for you?”  George asked.

            “Any time after nine, so I can get him up and bathed and stuff.”  JC sighed.

            “Okay, let’s say ten thirty then?”

            “That’s fine.”  JC nodded.  “For how long?”

            “That’s up to you, I know she’s expecting an hour.”

            “So at least an hour?”  JC tugged on Kyle’s seat to make sure it was secure, then sat back in the passenger seat.

            “Yeah, an hour is standard.  It’s up to you if you want to let her stay longer.”

            “Do I have to be there?”

            “No.” George shook his head.  “That’s what I was going to ask next.  Did you want her to go to your hotel?  Or my office?”

            “No, the hotel is fine.”  JC shook his head.  He’d look into getting another room for the day so that they wouldn’t have to have the visit in his personal room.

            “Did you want me there?”

            “I’ll be here for the most part.  We’ll have to see how it goes.”

            “If you leave…?”

            “Frank will be in the room the whole time.”  JC shook his head.  “Kyle doesn’t leave his sight.”  JC shut the car door and fastened his own seatbelt.

            “Sounds like everything is set then, she’ll call your room from the lobby and let you know when she’s there.”  George sighed.

            “What if she’s late?”

            “Give her a fifteen minute grace period, after that the visit is canceled.”

            “Does she know that?”

            “Yes, she does.” 

            “Okay.”  JC sighed and rested his elbow on the windowsill.  “So all I’ve gotta do is let her up and visit right?  That’s all?”

            “That’s all.”  George nodded.

            “Okay.”

            “If you want me there just say the word.”

            “Will her lawyer be there?”  JC asked as they pulled out of the parking lot.

            “Not that I’m aware of.  As far as she said, it’ll just be her.”

            “If he shows up then yeah I’ll want you there.  Can I call you?”

            “Of course, you can call anytime.” 

            “Okay.”

            “Hey while I’ve got you on the line… are you busy Thursday?”  George flipped forward in his calendar.

            “Nope.  I don’t have anything planned, no.  Why?  What’s up?”

            “I’d like for you to come by, we’ve got some stuff to go over.  That’s a week before our court date and it’s getting close.”

            “Yeah, yeah I can come by.  Can you call and leave me a time and directions to your place on my voice mail?  I don’t have anything to write with.”

            “Yeah, I’ll call that right now.”  George smiled,  “Are you out and about today?”

            “We hit the Zoo, poor kid is zonked.”  JC laughed lightly.  “So tomorrow?  Ten thirty?”  JC fiddled with the radio and tried to find a good station.

            “Yep.”

            “Cool, I’ll call you later.”  JC rolled down the window as “Butterfly” by Crazytown played from the speaker by his foot.  He hung up the phone and tossed it into the empty seat beside Kyle.  “Beautiful.”  He mumbled.

            “Lori called?”

            “Yeah, she has a visit tomorrow.”  JC frowned as he looked out the window.  “Man this sucks.”  He sighed and stuck his hand out the window to move it up and down like a plane.  “Sucks, sucks, sucks.”

 

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Copyright � 2001, Amy Lynn