"Knock knock." The third doctor of the day tapped on the door as he pulled it open. "Hi, I’m Dr. Martinez." He smiled, "This must be Kyle."

"Yeah." JC slid off the table and held Kyle against him. "I’m JC, his father."

"Nice to meet you." Dr. Martinez shook his hand. "You’ve already been checked in I just need you to sign another couple forms, but you can do that upstairs."

"Okay." JC nodded.

"Did you want to carry him upstairs or would you like a wheelchair?"

"No, I can carry him." JC followed him out to the hall. "Is that okay?"

"That’s fine." Dr. Martinez nodded and led the way to the elevators.

JC yawned and pushed the IV poll beside him as they followed the doctor. Kyle cried softly into JC’s shoulder when he saw the doctor standing so close. For a second JC wondered what the other guys were up to, but with Kyle in his arms he couldn’t check his watch and had no idea what time it was. It felt like they had been there for days, though he was sure it was only a few hours.

They rode to the 5th floor in silence then walked to the end of the hall to room 579. It was a private room with a single bed in the center of the far wall and a TV mounted on the other. "There’s a little hospital gown there if he wants to wear it, but you can just leave him in his diaper if you want." Dr. Martinez nodded at the bed.

"Okay." JC mumbled as he tried to lay Kyle on the bed.

"No daddy up." Kyle’s little legs curled up and tried to wrap around JC’s middle as his crying intensified.

"Hey Kyle you need to lay down buddy, take a nap."

"No nap. Go bye." He insisted as he cried even harder.

"He’s had a rough morning." JC looked apologetically at the doctor.

"So I see." He smiled, "I’m going to give him a sedative to help calm him down. After the spinal he needs to lay as flat and as still as he can for a few hours, which is hard for a little one like Kyle." Dr. Martinez smiled. "He probably has a pretty intense spinal headache right about now too, sleeping through it will make it a lot easier for him."

JC sighed as Kyle locked his arms around his neck and held on tight, "Okay."

"I’ll be right back." The doctor nodded quickly then left the room.

"Come on Kyle, you need to lay in the bed."

"No. We go bye now." Kyle said again as he choked out another sob.

"We can’t go bye bye right now, we need to make sure you’re okay."

"I okay, go bye."

"No, you’re not okay. We need to – "

"Yes! I go now."

"No buddy, the doctor needs to make sure you’re well enough to go home."

"Jussin?" He choked out through tears.

"Justin’s on the bus."

"On the bus?"

"Yeah, with the other guys. They’re on the big bus."

"And me?" He took a deep shaky breath as tears ran down his face.

"No you need to stay here." JC explained as the doctor came back into the room with an ampoule of medication. Before JC could look away he whipped out a hypodermic needle and filled the syringe. "Shit." JC grumbled under his breath as he looked down quickly and took a couple deep breaths while trying to keep a hold of Kyle.

"This will help him calm down so he can go to sleep." Dr. Martinez explained as he injected it into Kyle’s IV. He made small talk as he checked Kyle’s temperature and blood pressure, "We’re still waiting on those lab results, so as soon as they’re called in I’ll come in here and go over them with you, okay?"

"Yeah." JC nodded as Kyle’s grip loosened on his shirt. A nurse stepped in and introduced herself as Trudy then got JC and Kyle acquainted with the room by showing them how to call a nurse, how the TV worked and how to work the adjustable bed. JC thanked her and the doctor as they left him alone with Kyle who was sleeping soundly by then.His temperature was still hovering at 103 and JC was more worried than ever now that he’d had time to actually think about what was happening.

JC’s stomach growled loudly reminding him that he hadn't eaten all day, but nothing sounded good. He instinctively checked his watch and saw that it was just barely one. The rest of the guys would be in Cleveland already, probably checked into the hotel and in the middle of a catered lunch.

JC reached for the phone beside Kyle's bed and read the directions printed on the front. He entered Chris' cell phone number, then his calling card number and waited for Chris to pick up.

"H'lo?" Chris mumbled as his usual response.

"Hey." JC said softly.

That was all he had to say, "Jace, what's up? What's going on?"

"We're still at the hospital. They uh… they think he might have meningitis so they just did a spinal tap."

"Oh shit…" Chris said under his breath. "Is he okay?"

"He's asleep. They gave him some stuff to calm him down because he was so worked up after the spinal, you know?" JC pinched the bridge of his nose and rested his elbows on the edge of the bed. "His fever went up to 106 while he was in the tub to bring it down. I swear I've never felt this shitty."

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah." JC whispered.

"How'd you handle all the needles?"

"I almost passed out when they gave him the IV." JC laughed nervously. "But I'm still standing."

"What about the spinal?"

"Ugh, you don’t even want to know." JC smiled and shook his head.

"When will you know what’s going on?"

"Pretty soon."

"What'll they do?" Chris shifted the phone to his other ear.

"Well he's on some serious antibiotics right now, so if it's bacterial meningitis they'll keep him on that. If it's viral then they'll take him off that and just use pain killers if he needs it. If it’s not even meningitis then they’re gonna have to do some more tests."

"What about after? I mean, is this permanent or what?"

"It could be anything. I mean… fuck Chris." JC whispered as his voice cracked, "This shit can be fatal."

"Dammit." Chris said under his breath. "Hang on Jace." He took the phone from his mouth and recounted to the other guys what JC had said.

"Then we cancel the show tonight." Lance said without thinking twice.

"Call Johnny." Chris nodded at Lance who was already reaching for his phone. "Hey Jace? You sure you're okay? Because I can be there in like, twenty if you want."

"You didn't leave?" JC asked, completely surprised.

"Hell no we didn't leave." Chris shook his head. "This is more important."

"Yeah but you guys, we’ve got stuff to do tonight in Cleveland." JC argued, though secretly glad to have his friends nearby.

"Not any more." Chris shook his head. "If this turned out to be nothing we could have flown in time, but not now. We’re here for you."

"Thanks." JC took a shaky breath and reached out to rub Kyle’s little arm.

"Do you want someone to come down there?"

"No." JC shook his head. "There’s nothing to do… I mean, I’m just waiting."

"Because we can come wait with you."

"No, you guys are probably already knee deep in shit from Sean and Johnny for skipping out on Cleveland."

"They know what’s going on." Chris shook his head.

"We have a show tonight and I don’t know if I can make it."

"It’s been cancelled."

"Chris…" JC pressed his eyes shut, "You can’t just cancel a show."

"Yeah, because it’d be so much easier playing without you." Chris’ biting sarcasm came through and comforted JC. "I can’t sing your parts."

"Joey could." JC tried to argue.

"It’s too late. The show’s been postponed."

"Till when?"

"Till whenever Kyle gets better." Chris said softly. JC took another deep breath and tried to clear his head. "You okay man?" Chris asked.

"Yeah." JC whispered. "Yeah, I’m okay. I’ll call you later okay? As soon as I find out what’s going on."

"Okay." Chris nodded. "We’re uh… we’re praying for you guys." Chris sounded almost uncomfortable mentioning prayer, but he knew JC would appreciate it.

Tears rose again in JC’s eyes as he took another deep breath and nodded though Chris couldn’t see him, "Thanks."

"I’ll talk to you later."

"Yeah." JC forced a small smile, "Bye."

"Bye." Chris clicked the phone off to relay the information to the others.

JC hung up the phone and rested his chin in his hand as he held Kyle’s tiny hand in his own and stroked the back of his hand with his thumb. Kyle squirmed in his sleep and mumbled something incoherent then sighed and went still again. "Hey little guy… I’m sorry about this." JC kissed Kyle’s hand and fought back tears that he’d been holding back all day. He scooted his chair closer and laid his head down on his arm by Kyle’s waist, "You’ve gotta be okay Kyle. I know being on the road and stuff sucks, but it’ll… I’ll get better."

The tiny hand still felt warm in his as he let his eyes close to rest his tired eyes. He must have dozed off because the slight movement of Kyle’s hand a short while later startled him. He checked the clock above Kyle’s head to see that he had missed more than a half hour.

JC yawned and ran his hands over his hair; the day had been so completely emotionally draining, he wasn’t sure he’d have what it took to make it through the rest of the day. He stood up to stretch his back and to wake up his legs after sitting for so long. Kyle stirred slightly in his sleep and gave a tiny frown before letting his face relax. "Man kiddo, let’s just go home. Let’s just pack up and get the hell outta here huh? What do you think?" JC reached across the little bed and pulled the thin knit blanket up over Kyle’s legs then sighed. "I wish we could." JC whispered.

His nervous stomach flip flopped again as he heard someone walk by the room. It had been more than an hour since Kyle was admitted and he was just waiting for the doctor to come back with the results of the spinal tap. Until he knew exactly what was wrong with Kyle, he wouldn’t be able to calm down. Even with the results, he wasn’t sure he’d ever be the same again. "We’re gonna rock this town, rock it inside out. We’re gonna rock this town, make em scream and shout…" JC sang softly as he tapped Kyle’s hand to the beat. He thought back to what Joey said about the last song. How "Bye bye bye" was the last song he’d sang as a single and swingin’ guy… somewhere in the back of his mind he thought about that moment and wondered if this might be the last song he’d get to sing to his son. He snapped his mouth shut and took a deep breath and shook his head to chase the thought from his mind. Kyle was going to be fine. All he had to do was convince himself and keep the dark images from his mind.

"JC?" He heard a female ask softly from the doorway.

"Yeah?" JC turned toward the door as he wiped his eyes inconspicuously. He expected to see a nurse so when he saw Jessica standing in the doorway he was startled, "Jessica?"

"How is he?" She didn’t move from where she stood.

"He’s uh… he’s sleeping."

"Yeah." Jessica nodded but remained standing just outside of Kyle’s room. "Have you… did the doctor say anything?"

JC shook his head and looked back at Kyle, "We’re still waiting for the results of his spinal tap." He sighed and wiped Kyle’s brow with the corner of his sheet. "You can come in you know."

She took a tentative step into the room and rested her hand on the foot of Kyle’s bed. "Here, you guys forgot Lello." She handed the floppy dog to JC as he let out a shaky sigh.

"Thanks." He nodded and pursed his lips. JC placed the dog by Kyle’s side then rested his IV taped hand on Lello’s fur.

"How are you?" Jessica asked as she shifted her weight from foot to foot.

"I’m okay." JC said with reservation. "I’d be better if I knew what was wrong."

"Are you hungry? Do you want me to go get you something?"

"No." He shook his head but his stomach growled loudly in the background, contradicting his voice. "You don’t have to."

"Mr. Chasez?" Dr. Martinez tapped on the door, startling both Jessica and JC.

"Yeah?" JC jumped up quickly as his heart sped up, half of him wanted to know what was wrong and the other half wanted to block out the doctor’s voice completely.

"We got the labs back on Kyle’s spinal." He looked at Jessica, "I’m sorry, we haven’t been introduced. I’m Dr. Martinez." He shook her hand and smiled, assuming she was the mother. He paused for a second and consulted the chart in his hand, "Well, it is meningitis, which is what we feared." JC’s heartbeat pounded in his ears and he strained to hear the rest of what the doctor said. "The good thing is that it’s viral and we’ve caught it real soon." Dr. Martinez nodded, consulting Kyle’s chart. "His white blood cell count was 500 which is a little elevated but not enough to really worry. His open pressure was 19, which is on the higher end of normal but still in a safe range. We’re going to go ahead and take him off the antibiotics; they won’t help a viral infection. The protein count was only slightly elevated, glucose was low and the gram stain was negative." He read off the lab report using terms and measurements that JC couldn’t understand.

JC took a deep and staggered breath as he tried to calm himself down. He’d been so nervous, playing the worst possible scenario over and over in his mind, this was unexpected. "So… so what happens now?" He held his hands in his lap to keep them from shaking and wanted nothing more than to have all of the guys there to pound him on the back and tell him they knew Kyle would be okay.

"Well, with viral meningitis there’s not much we can do to treat it. What I’ll do is keep an eye on him and try to get his fever down. Once it’s below 103 you can take him home and just try to keep him comfortable."

"What about his IV?"

"We’re going to leave that where it is to keep his fluids up and to leave the line open in case we need access."

"Okay." JC nodded and his mind drew a complete blank. He knew he had a dozen questions to ask but at that moment all he wanted to do was pick up Kyle and leave.

"How contagious is this?" Jessica asked softly when JC didn’t say anything.

"Depending on the type of virus, it varies. If there are other children around I’d keep an eye on them for similar symptoms." Dr. Martinez explained.

"He’s not around any other kids, but what about adults?"

"Most adults have been exposed to these viruses at some point in their life, but less than one in every one thousand actually contract viral meningitis. As adults your immune system is built up enough to ward off many of these viruses. Chances are, unless you have a compromised immune system, you should be fine."

"How soon would symptoms show up though?" Jessica asked as she thought about the seventy-member crew and the other guys who were in close contact with Kyle every day.

"If they ‘catch’ this meningitis, symptoms will surface within five to seven days after contact."

"Do we need to do anything? Get a shot or something?"

"No, no nothing like that. Since he’s mainly around adults, I’d say if they haven’t shown symptoms by now they probably won’t." Dr. Martinez nodded, "But just make sure to wash his hands, and yours, after you change him or blow his nose."

"So just like if he had a cold?" She didn’t think it could be that easy.

"Yes, exactly. This is a virus so you’re going to prevent it like a cold. Wash your hands a lot and don’t touch your mouth or eyes often."

"What about flying? We might have to fly to some of our next locations, can he do that?"

"Sure, that’s fine. You might want to wait until the fever breaks, but that’s just a comfort suggestion. Medically and physically he can fly anytime, you all might just be more comfortable if you wait until his fever is gone or at least reduced."

"How long should that take?" JC was glad that Jessica was there to ask all of the questions he had forgotten.

"Four or five days usually… as long as a week." Dr. Martinez shrugged.

"Is there anything we can do to help reduce his fever?" Jessica looked over at Kyle as he slept.

"Sure, Baby Tylenol is actually the best thing I can suggest. It’ll help with his head ache and stiff neck as well."

"What else can we do?"

"Keep up his fluids, lots of rest… basically take it easy for a couple days. Treat this like a flu or any other kind of bug, that’s just about how he’ll feel anyway."

"And what should we be looking for?"

"If his fever jumps again, or if his symptoms get worse. If he starts vomiting bring him in immediately, or to the nearest hospital." Dr. Martinez tapped his clipboard.

"When can we go home?" JC asked, opening his mouth for the first time.

"Tomorrow. With the lumbar puncture, he’ll need to lay flat for 6-8 hours and we’d like to observe him after that to make sure he remains stable."

"Okay, yeah I want him to stay." JC nodded. "Can I stay with him?"

"Here? Absolutely." Dr. Martinez nodded. "We’ll have a cot brought in here for you. Will both of you be staying?" He looked from JC to Jessica.

Jessica shook her head and cleared her throat, "No I uh, I won’t be staying."

"Okay." Dr. Martinez said as he placed Kyle’s chart back on the foot of his bed, "Do you have any more questions?"

"No." Jessica shook her head.

"What are the side effects? I mean, I know this can be uh…fatal, but… but you made it sound like he’ll be fine." JC looked up at the doctor.

"I think we caught it early enough." Dr. Martinez nodded. "The damage comes when it goes undetected for any length of time, or if the patient has seizures or black outs. Dr. Herzog, the neurologist be down later to look him over, but I really think he’ll be fine."

"Thank you." JC nodded.

"If you have any more questions buzz a nurse and if they can’t help you have me paged." "Okay, thanks."

"I’ll swing back around a little later to check up on everyone, okay?"

"Yeah." JC took a deep breath and looked back at Kyle as the doctor smiled and let the door shut behind him.

"Wow." Jessica whispered softly. The tension in the room seemed to leave with the doctor and without warning they could both breathe easier.

"Whoa… shit." JC took a deep breath and let it out loudly as he ran his hands through his hair. "Wow, I just… I can’t believe he’s okay." JC’s chest tightened as he shook his head and swallowed hard. "How do people do this? I mean… parents get bad news about their kids every day, right now there’s a parent somewhere being told that their kid is gonna…" JC shook his head trying to chase the thought from his mind, "How do they do this? I swear I don’t know what I’d be doing if this were bad. How did I get so lucky, man?"

"Parents are built strong."

"Not me, I’m barely hanging on here." JC sat back in his chair and leaned on Kyle’s bed. "I seriously have never in my whole life felt like this. Nothing can ever compare, it makes me want to call my parents and just… I don’t know. Just call them."

"You should." Jessica nodded.

"I will." He mumbled.

"How’d they take the news?"

"About Kyle?"

"About all of this."

"My mom was pissed at first I guess." He shrugged and sighed. "They don’t know he’s sick though."

"JC…" She sighed, prepared to give him another lecture, but she stopped. "Do you want me to have someone call them?"

"No, I will." He ran his fingers through his hair; "I just wanted to wait until I knew."

"What about the guys?"

"Yeah… I should call them." JC reached for the phone by the bed again. He followed the directions again and waited as Chris’ cell phone rang in his ear.

"Do you want me to go?" Jessica whispered and pointed toward the door.

JC frowned and shook his head then sighed, "Hey Chris."

"Hey, what’s up?" Chris asked.

"Um… well Kyle’s got meningitis." JC’s stomach still sunk at the word. "But it’s uh, it’s viral so it’s not that bad."

"What are they going to do?" Chris asked softly, trying not to let his own voice shake.

"Nothing really, they just – "

"Nothing? How can they do nothing man? Can you get a second opinion?" Chris interrupted with rapid fire questions.

"No there’s nothing they do to treat viral meningitis, they just give him meds to reduce his fever and he said that Kyle would be good as new in a week or so."

"Serious? I thought meningitis was bad?"

"It can be." JC nodded and caught Jessica’s eye, "I guess we’re just lucky."

"Yeah, I’d say so." Chris smiled, "So that’s cool, when are you guys coming back?"

"Not till tomorrow." JC shook his head. "After the spinal tap they want him to lay flat and still for a couple hours so he’s gonna stay over night."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah, I’m gonna hang out here with him and things. If Sean’s around can you let him know?"

"Yeah, I’ll tell him."

"And um, Jessica is here too, so uh… you know… let him know that too so he doesn’t freak."

"Oh." Chris paused, "I didn’t know she was there."

"She stopped by to bring Kyle his dog."

"Lello?" Chris smiled and shook his head.

"Yeah." JC laughed lightly.

"Cool."

"Yeah, so uh, let the other guys know what’s going on and everything."

"I will man, you just take care of Kyle, okay? He’s the tour kid and everyone here is really worried about him."

"Thanks." JC nodded.

"We love you man, give Kyle a big hug from all his uncles."

"I will." JC nodded and lowered his voice; "I love you guys too."

"Talk to you later."

"Bye." JC hung up the phone and then immediately dialed his parent’s home on the east coast. They weren’t there so he left them a quick message, "Hey guys, it’s me. Um, I just wanted to let you know that I’m at the hospital right now. Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. Kyle’s pretty sick, he’s got viral meningitis so they’re going to keep him here over night. It’s uh… the doctor said that there’s really nothing to worry about, he’s on fluids and baby aspirin to get his fever down and stuff but uh…" He paused and took a deep breath, "Anyway, I just wanted to let you know. We’re in room 579 if you wanna call or whatever. He should be out of here tomorrow so I’ll call you guys then." He glanced at Jessica quickly then leaned forward onto the bed to place his hand on Kyle’s thigh, "I love you guys, and uh… thanks for everything… just um, everything." JC said softly as he traced his finger over Kyle’s small hand and hung up the phone.

Jessica pulled a chair over next to JC, the only place there was room in his tiny private room, "Are you okay?" She asked as she leaned on the bed by Kyle’s ankle. Watching JC torture himself like this was almost too hard to watch, but she was glad that this affected him in such a major way. If she ever had any doubts about his devotion to Kyle they were all swept away as she saw a tear fall down the side of his cheek.

JC looked away and swiped at the stray tear. He nodded, then rested his chin in his hand as he leaned his elbow on the bed. "I’m okay." He mumbled as his stomach growled again.

"I’m going to go to the cafeteria to get a drink, what do you want to eat?" She gently placed her hand on JC’s shoulder.

"Nothing."

"You’re starving, let me bring you something."

"I’m fine, I don’t want anything."

"Too bad." Jessica patted his shoulder and stood up. She left quietly and found her way to the cafeteria on the bottom floor of the hospital. She got herself a soda, then picked up a cold sandwich and a drink for JC.

"Here." She set the food on the bed by JC’s arm and opened his soda. "You need to eat something."

"Does being around kids put you in the mom mode or what?" JC asked with a small smile. His eyes looked tired and his mouth watered as he unwrapped the sandwich.

Jessica shrugged and rested her chin in her hands; "I guess when I’m needed, yeah." She looked down at Kyle as he slept, then quickly glanced at JC. "Hey I’m uh… I’m really sorry I flew off the handle at you the other day." She dropped her eyes and ran her finger over the edge of the sheet in front of her.

JC swallowed his first bite of the sandwich and wiped his mouth on his sleeve, "I deserved it." He nodded.

"No you didn’t. Not the way I approached it. You might have needed to hear it but not in the way I presented it." She shook her head. "I just… he’s such a great kid and I’ve really gotten attached to him and everything. From my isolated view it just looked like you were shlufing him off on everyone else."

"I was tr – "

"No I know…" She shook her head. "That’s why I’m apologizing. I know this has to be nuts for you. You’re doing okay."

JC was quiet for a minute as he ate his sandwich and took several sips from his soda. "I was in denial I think. Or something. Not denial, I mean, I know he’s mine." He wiped his mouth again and cleared his throat, "I don’t know, I just didn’t want to face it. But Jesus, when I lost him in Seattle? I swear I thought I was going to hyperventilate or pass out or something. I couldn’t breathe practically. It was like everything from the last couple weeks just… just came down, you know? All of this… this caring just came out of hiding and I was scared shitless."

"That was scary."

"More than just scary. I’ve never felt like that before. I can’t lose him Jess… not now. I just got him; he’s the most important thing in my life. He just makes everything else seem so insignificant."

Jessica nodded and looked at the sleeping child, "That’s good." She whispered.

"I had no idea that it would feel like this, you know? I mean, I’ve thought about having kids in the future or whatever, but I just never thought it was like this."

"How?"

"Like I’d do anything to trade places with him just so he wouldn’t have to do this. All the needles and doctors and… and everything. I’d do all of that if it meant he didn’t have to. No one ever mentioned how being a parent could make you feel so helpless. There’s nothing I can do right now except wait this out and it sucks."

"I know it does."

"I feel like I’m not doing anything."

"You’re being here and he needs that."

"He needs to be better. He needs the fever to go away and he… he just needs to be better."

"Just think how thrilled he’s going to be to see you when he wakes up." She rested her chin in her hand as she watched Kyle roll onto his side, frown in his sleep then roll back. JC didn’t say anything; he just looked over his opposite shoulder and out the window. "Do you want me to go?" Jessica asked as JC sniffed quietly. He laid his head down on the bed and looked up at Kyle, then shook his head as he squeezed his eyes shut tight. Tears rose in Jessica’s eyes as she watched JC’s shoulders shake with silent sobs.

Her chair didn’t make a sound as she slid it closer to where he sat. She tentatively reached out and placed her hand flat on his back, just to let him know she was there. Her heart broke as she watched him sit there and cry softly. This man that had always been in control of everything, always on the ball and number one in all he attempted… was falling apart slowly at the hands of a toddler. She felt more than heard him exhale his deep breath as she leaned forward to place her other hand on his arm that was lying on the bed with his hand covering Kyle’s.

Jessica kept her eyes on Kyle as she softly pressed her lips to JC’s shoulder and whispered, "He’s going to be okay Jace… don’t worry."

"I can’t not worry." JC whispered back with emotion, "Not until he’s out of here." He felt her hand slide from his back up to his opposite shoulder in a sort of half hug. "Thanks for coming here Jess."

"You’re welcome." She nodded and rested her chin on his shoulder.

"He loves you a lot, you know." JC forced a small smile and wiped at his eyes with his free hand. "He thinks you’re cool."

"He loves you too Jace." Jessica said softly. "You’re all he talks about when I watch him. Daddy this and daddy that, all over the place."

"Yeah?" JC turned to look at her over his shoulder and was startled by how close she was.

"Yeah." She moved back a bit to make the gap between them a little bigger. "You’re the coolest person in the world to him."

"I’m the big man huh?" JC blushed quickly as he turned back to face Kyle, trying to push the rush of feelings away.

"You’re the man." She nodded and removed her hand from his shoulder.

"Why didn’t you go with the crew?" JC asked a minute later.

"Because Kyle’s sick." She gave him a look, as if he were crazy for asking.

"Well yeah but…"

"I love him JC. I’m just as worried as you are right now, and just as hopeful that we… that he can leave tomorrow."

"Does Sean know you’re here?"

"Yes."

"Is he pissed?"

"No." She shook her head. "He’s not mad about anything. In fact I think the only reason he would be upset was if we weren’t here. If right now we were in Cleveland at the venue thinking Kyle just had a bug. You’re lucky that you caught this so soon."

"Yeah." JC nodded.

"Kyle’s lucky." She added. JC just shrugged and looked at Kyle’s sleeping face.

"I don’t know about that. The poor kid got dumped in a hotel lobby to be left with a really crappy father." JC tried to keep it light but the guilt from the previous weeks fell down on him.

"You’re doing fine JC. You’ve gotten so much better, Kyle’s very lucky to have you."

"He’s lucky to have you." JC turned to look at her again, "We all are."

She held his gaze for a second trying to figure out what the look in his eyes meant, "Thank you." She tore her eyes away and cleared her throat. "I’m uh… I’m going to go back to the hotel. Call in the morning okay? Let me know how things are?" She scooted her chair back towards the wall and stood up.

"You don’t have to go."

"No, I… I’ve got to go." She nodded. "I’ll let the other crew guys know what’s going on and everything. I’m sure they’re all real worried too."

"Okay." JC nodded reluctantly. He didn’t want her to go now; just having someone else there made his worries lift.

"If you need anything tonight let me know, someone can be here in just a couple minutes." She reached under the bed for her purse as he nodded. "And if anything changes call."

"I will." He stood up beside her and touched her elbow, "Thanks again Jessica." He wrapped his arms around her in a heartfelt hug.

Jessica hesitantly placed her arms around his waist and hugged him back, "Anytime." She said as her cheek rested against his chest.

As he released her he let his lips graze her cheek, just missing the corner of her mouth. He could have stepped back then to let her leave and she would have, but instead he purposely licked his lips and kissed her.

She didn’t move for a second and she wondered if it was really happening; then just as soon as it started the kiss ended and Jessica stood there breathless.

"I’m – " JC began to apologize after he licked his bottom lip.

"I’ve gotta go." She cut him off and turned away quickly before he could see the pinkness rising in her cheeks and the look of surprise on her face. She fumbled with her purse as she pushed the thin drape aside and left JC alone in the room with his son.

 

 Next…

 

Copyright � 2001, Amy Lynn