JC and Kyle spent the rest of the day Saturday and all day on Sunday at the beach relaxing in the sand and playing in the water.  Kyle decided that there was nothing in the world he liked better than the ocean, and it was all JC could do to tear him away at the end of the day.

            "Go see a ossin?"  Kyle asked as JC strapped him into his car seat Monday afternoon.

            "Nope, we're not going to the ocean today."  JC shook his head.

            "Yeah, I see sand."  Kyle frowned.

            "Today is a special day, guess where we're going?"

            "No ossin?"

            "No, we're not going to the ocean."

            "Yeah, we go."  Kyle nodded.

            "No we're going to the airport."  JC tugged on Kyle's straps, then slid into the seat beside him as Les started the car.  "We'll see some airplanes up close and we get to pick up one of your favorite people."

            "See pane?"

            "Oh yeah, we'll see lots of planes."

            "See Joey?"

            "No, Joey's in Mexico.  But we're going to see someone else you know."

            "Who?"  Kyle leaned over to look out the window.  He put his hand against the glass and smeared his fingerprints all around.

            "Jessica."  JC smiled.

            "I see my Jessi?"

            "Yep."  JC laughed and rolled down his window a few inches to let in the fresh air.  "We're going to go pick her up right now and she's going to hang out for a while."

            "An see a ossin?"

            "I'm sure we can talk her into going to see the ocean with us."  JC nodded.

            "An see a pegin?"

            "Yeah, maybe we can go to Sea World and see the penguins."

            "Kay."  Kyle smiled and sat back in his seat.  "Jessi my hair."

            "She what?"

            "She my hair."

            "She cut your hair?"  JC asked.

            "Yeah."  He tapped his heels on his seat and sighed.  "Fye daggo."

            "Oh that's right, you guys like to find dragons.  I'll bet there are lots of dragons here, aren't there?"  JC rested his arm across the back of the seat.

            "Yeah."  Kyle nodded.  "We fye."

            "Cool, you guys can find them."  JC smiled and leaned on his windowsill as they headed for the airport.

            Les pulled up to the curb at the main terminal at the San Diego airport to let JC out,  "Daddy go?"  Kyle asked with a painfully worried expression.

            "No, I'm going to go get Jessica, I'll be right back."

            "I can go?"

            "No buddy you've gotta wait here with Les."  JC shook his head as he leaned in the open window.  "Remember, we have to have Frank with us if we go inside somewhere, and Frank isn't here."

            "Go get?"

            "We can't go get him."  JC squinted into the sun as he pulled his sunglasses from his pocket.  "I'll be back in just a couple minutes and then we'll have Jessica with us, how cool is that."

            "Ina minit?"

            "Yep, in just a few minutes."  JC nodded and reached in the window for the hat that was sitting on the backseat.  "Thanks Les."

            "No problem kid."  Les laughed as JC pulled the hat over his longish hair and stood up straight.

            JC tried to blend in with the crowd by wearing plain jeans and a gray t-shirt, but somehow he always felt like he looked different,  He kept his face lowered as he walked through the security check point and located the right gate for Jessica's flight.  He stood off to the side by a gift shop and watched as her plane pulled up to the ramp, he'd made it just in time.

            After a few minutes of waiting the passengers began to file off of the airplane looking tired after their six hour flight.  "Hey."  JC smiled as Jessica walked up to him.  "The first one off huh?  You must be in a hurry."  He laughed.

            "I don't love flying."  She laughed nervously and looked around.  "Where's Kyle?"

            "He's in the car with Les."  JC said softly as he pushed his sunglasses up on his nose.  "Do you have luggage?"

            "Yeah, I have a suitcase and your garment bag."  Jessica nodded and cleared her throat as they headed down the escalator toward the baggage claim area.

            "How was your flight?"

            "It was alright, it's weird to think that I left at eight in the morning and here it is, barely eleven thirty."  She blushed and wished she would just stop talking.  Without Kyle there for a buffer she wasn’t sure what to say.

            "Yeah."  JC gave a short laugh and looked up at the lighted displays above the luggage racks to find the carousel where her bags would be coming.  After a minute they located it at the far end of the baggage claim area and wove their way through the crowd to get there.

            "There, that's it."  Jessica pointed out her blue suitcase and leaned between two older men who were standing at the edge.  "Excuse me."  She looked up at the first one.

            He didn't move so she stepped between them and sighed heavily as she pulled her suitcase from the conveyer belt.  It bumped against their legs as she set it beside her and reached for the garment bag that was coming around to her side again.  "Here, I'll take this."  JC's hand brushed her thigh as he took the handle of the suitcase.

            "Thank you."  She said curtly as she yanked the garment bag between the two older men and rolled her eyes.  "Sheesh, can you believe some people?  Is it really that hard to move four inches to one side to let a poor girl through?"

            JC laughed and reached up to readjust his hat as they headed for the door.  "Kyle is going to be excited to see you.  You'll be amazed at how much he's talking now… it's weird."

            "Yeah?"  Jessica's mood lightened considerably.

            "Yeah it's like someone fed him a dictionary or something."  JC smiled over his shoulder as he stepped in the way of the automatic door to keep it open for her.  "Right over there, the black car by the pillar thing?"  JC pointed and lead the way as Jessica followed with the garment bag in her hand.

            "Thanks for coming out.”  JC said softly as he smiled and unlocked the trunk.  He carefully placed her suitcase and garment bag beside Kyle’s stroller then slammed it shut,  “How’s Connecticut?”

            “It’s there.”  She shrugged and opened the passenger side door.  “Hi buddy.”  Jessica turned around in her seat to smile at Kyle who was strapped into his car seat behind the driver.  JC slid in next to Kyle and put his seatbelt on.

            "Jessi!"  Kyle bounced in his seat and reached out for her.  "Jessi hi!"

            "Hi sweetie."  She laughed and leaned between the seats to kiss his hands.  "I missed you."  Jessica smiled and turned around to sit forward in her seat.  "Are you having fun out here with your daddy and Les?"

            "And Fank."  Kyle nodded.

            "Oh of course Frank."  Jessica laughed lightly.  "It sounds like you have lot's of fun."

            "Yeah."  Kyle sighed with a smile and ran his fingers over his window again.

            “We’re just going back to the hotel Les.”  JC said as he settled into the seat.

            “So when is your first day in court?”  Jessica asked as she flipped the sun visor down to look at JC in the mirror.

            “Um, Thursday.”  JC nodded.  “My lawyer said it would be good for you to get out here a few days early just in case he needs to ask you any questions before we go in.”

            We?  I have to go to court with you?”  She asked nervously.

            “No, probably not.”  JC shook his head, and hoped that she wouldn't.

            “Because I… we can’t just lie in court.”  Jessica frowned deeply and bit her lip.

            “No, I know.  You won't have to."  JC shook his head and glanced over at her quickly,  "I told my lawyer that we aren't dating.”  JC said softly,  “But I don’t think it’s going to get that far anyways.  George just thought that since you knew Kyle and had pretty much helped raise him for four months, you should be here for this.  If anything you could testify to the fact that I was a loser of a dad at the beginning but that I’ve gotten better.  At least… I think I have.”  He smiled sweetly.

            “You have.”  She nodded.

            “I sim.”  Kyle said with a sigh from his seat.

            “He… you swim?”  Jessica asked.

            “Yeah, I sim ina ossin.”

            “In the ocean?  Wow… that’s pretty cool.”

            “No sharks.  No bye, only fish.”  Kyle stared out the window with a wistful look.

            “He really likes the ocean.”  JC laughed lightly.  “Everyday he asks if we can go see it.”

            “It’s a good thing you’re so close then huh?”  Jessica smiled as the beach appeared on her left.  “Isn’t your court hearing in LA though?”

            “Yeah, we’re going to drive up on Wednesday.”  JC nodded.  “I wanted to stay down here as long as possible.  It’s pretty quiet and we’ve kind of gotten used to everything here.”

            “That makes sense.”  Jessica nodded.  “Aside from the fact that it’s absolutely gorgeous here.”  She watched out the window as they drove north on the freeway

 

            When they got to the hotel JC helped Jessica up to her room with her bags while Kyle carried JC’s wallet so he could feel like he was helping.  “I uh, you asked me to bring a suit but the only one that I had in my racks that wasn't flashy was the one from last years Latin Grammy’s.”  Jessica frowned as she pushed her door open and stepped in to drop the garment bag on the bed.  “I can always go get you a new one though.”

            “No, I think that one will work.  It should still fit.”  JC and Kyle followed her into the room and set her suitcase on the floor by the bed.

            “I brought my kit along just in case.”

            “Okay.”  JC nodded.

            “And I’ll go pick up a couple shirts and ties tomorrow, so you’ll be set.”

            “I can go get that.”

            “No, it’s okay.  I like to shop, it’s my job.”  She smiled and lifted the garment bag off the bed and walked it to the closet.

            “Yeah but you’re not working right now.”

            “I love to shop, you’d be making my day if I could go to the mall and pick out shirts and ties.”  She smiled.  “I’ll even take Kyle so you can meet with your lawyer in private if you need to.”

            “You don’t – “

            “JC, I know I don’t have to.  But I want to.”  She unzipped the garment bag and took the suit out.  She smoothed down the jacket and frowned, it had somehow managed to wrinkle during the flight.  “I mean, if you don’t want me to that’s fine.”  She added quickly.

            “It’s not that I don’t want you to.”  JC shook his head;  “I just don’t want you to think you have to.”

            “I don’t, it’ll be fun.”  Jessica reassured him.  “You can tag along if you want.”

            “No, actually I should go talk to George again.”  JC sighed.

            “Great, then that’s settled.  I’ll come on by your room around, what?  Ten tomorrow?  Eleven?”

            “Yeah, that’ll work.”

            “Great.”  She smiled,  “I don’t suppose you have an iron and an ironing board in your room, do you?”

            “Uh, not that I know of, no.”  He shook his head.

            “Okay, I’ll call down and have some sent up.”

            “I can do it.”

            “You iron?”  Jessica raised her eyebrow at him.

            “I think I can figure it out.”

            “I’ll do it.”  She laughed lightly.  “I can have the whole thing done in a couple of minutes, don’t worry about it.”

            “We can always send it out.”

            “JC… really, I can iron your suit.”  She gave him a strange look and shook her head.  “I’ll see you in the morning… ten o’clock right?”

            “Anytime around there is fine.”  JC nodded.

            “Daddy go ouside?”  Kyle asked as he grabbed JC’s hand and swung it back and forth.

            “You want to go outside?”

            “Yeah.”  Kyle nodded.  “And Jessi.”

            “Jessica needs to get things put away here, why don’t me and you and Frank go take a walk?  How does that sound?”

            “Ina sroller?”

            “Sure thing, we can get the stroller out of the car.”  JC nodded.

            “Kay.”  Kyle tugged on JC’s hand making his fingers crack.

            “Ow dude, don’t hang on me.”  JC released his hand and massaged his fingers,  “He’s like a little monkey lately, climbing on everything.”  He smiled apologetically at Jessica.

            “I see that.”  She laughed and buttoned the suit jacket before sliding the closet doors shut.

            “All right, we’ll get out of your hair.  You’re sure you’re okay here?”  JC asked as he and Kyle headed for the door.

            “I’m fine.”  She nodded. 

            “Okay then.”  JC seemed to reluctantly open the door for Kyle.  “We’ll see you in the morning.”

            “See you then.”  Jessica smiled and watched as the door closed behind Kyle and JC.  She fell backwards onto the bed with a heavy sigh.  “You’re here to help him with Kyle and in court.  You’re here to help him and that’s all.”  She whispered to herself.  It was a mantra she’d been repeating in her mind since she stepped off the airplane.

            Jessica shook her head and rubbed her eyes, then sat up and called down to housekeeping to have an iron and an ironing board sent up to her room, she had work to do.

 

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

 

            Jessica pressed JC’s suit and made sure everything was in order in her room while trying to keep her mind occupied.  She mentally shopped for the shirts and ties and got together a game plan for the colors she was going to look for while they were at the mall.  She got her things settled then ducked out to walk up the street to get dinner by herself.

            JC and Kyle spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the downtown district near the hotel with Frank.  JC pushed Kyle around in his stroller as they both wore their hip sunglasses while Frank stayed a few steps behind.  JC was more comfortable with taking Kyle out in public on his own, the fans had all but gone away and so far no one had recognized him while he was pushing the stroller.

            He enjoyed the anonymity for a few hours, then they stopped into Fridays for dinner and he signed a few autographs for the fans that happened to wander in.  For a split second JC almost missed that aspect of being a celebrity, then he saw Kyle pouting in his french fries and he remembered why he loved being a ‘no one’.

            “Sorry bout that buddy.”  JC patted Kyle’s back as the girls walked away.

            “They say hi?”

            “Yeah, they just wanted to say hi.”

            “And me?”

            “They wanted to see you too I’m sure.”  JC nodded.

            “No say.”  Kyle shook his head.

            “No say?”  JC repeated.

            “No.”  Kyle shook his head and broke his french fry in half.

            “They didn’t say hi to you?”  JC’s mouth twitched with a small smile.

            “No say hi.”  Kyle sighed.

            “Oh man, next time we’ll make sure you get to say hi, okay?”  JC smiled.  Every day Kyle was reminding him more and more of himself.

            “Lil dude’s trying to steal your thunder.”  Frank laughed softly.

            “Yeah he is.  He’s a born celebrity I think.”  JC laughed.  Which suddenly made sense.  A mom who was an actress, or was trying to be anyway… and a father in a pop group?  The poor kid didn’t stand a chance, it was in his genes.

 

            They finished their dinner then walked on back to the hotel, enjoying the cool San Diego evening air.  JC wanted to bathe Kyle so he’d be ready to go in the morning when Jessica came to get him, so he set out his pajamas and started the water in the bathroom.

            "No!  Jessi."  Kyle pouted, as he stood naked in front of the tub.

            "Jessica is in her room Kyle."

            "Go get."

            "She's having her own dinner and stuff.  You're going to spend almost all day with her tomorrow while I go see George."

            "No."  Kyle frowned deeply.  "Wan Jessi."

            "I know you do big guy, but she is really tired right now."  JC leaned over and turned the water off.  "Let's just take a bath then we can read a story and go to bed."

            "Jessi peese?"

            JC sighed and ran his hand through his hair,  "Not tonight Kyle… come on buddy."

            "Daddy peese?  Have Jessi?"

            "Jessica is busy right now.  She's going to come and get you right after breakfast tomorrow though, I promise."

            "See now?"

            "No, we can't see her right now."  JC shook his head and lifted Kyle into the tub.

            "Caw her?"

            "We can call her when you get done with your bath."

            "I am."

            "No, you're not done."  JC sighed and poured water over his shoulders and hair.  "We'll finish up here, put on your pajamas then we can call her, okay?"

            "Kay."

            "Then we're going to bed."

            "Jessi morrow?"

            "You bet, you'll be able to see her a lot tomorrow."  JC nodded.

            "Caw nigh?"  Kyle looked up and got water in his eyes.  By then he was used to it and just wiped it away while JC reached for his washcloth.

            "Yeah, we'll call her tonight."  JC got Kyle cleaned up and shampooed then let him play for a couple of minutes with his bath toys.

            JC removed Kyle from the bath and let him drip dry for a second as the child wiggled, then wrapped him in a towel and sat him on the counter to brush his tiny teeth.  JC brushed his alongside his son, then they went to the bedroom to change into pajamas.

            "Say hi Jessi?"  Kyle asked from his position flat on his back.

            JC secured Kyle's diaper then pulled him to his feet as he checked the clock,  "Yeah we can call her.  Come here."  He sat on the bed and patted his thigh for Kyle to come sit with him.

            "I say?"

            "Yeah, you can say hi."  JC nodded as he picked up the hotel phone.  He dialed her room extension number and waited as it rang down the hall.

            "Hello?"  Jessica asked after the third ring.

            "Hi Jessica, this is JC."

            "Hi."  She smiled and brushed her hair off her cheek.  The skin-refining mask she had on caused her hair to stick, but at least it was clear.

            "Um, Kyle wanted to call and say hi so is it okay if I put him on?"

            "Oh yeah, of course."  Jessica laughed softly.

            "Okay buddy, here you go."  He held the phone down to Kyle.

            Kyle held the phone to his ear and JC laughed, the handset was twice as big as Kyle's head.  "Hi Jessi."

            "Hi Kyle, what are you doing tonight?"

            "Have bass."

            "You had a bath huh?  Are you all clean?"

            "Yeah I keen and tees."

            "You brushed your teeth?"  Jessica asked with a smile.

            "Yeah, see?"  He smiled big into the phone to 'show' Jessica his clean teeth.

            "Wow!  That's pretty cool."  Jessica laughed and cradled the phone between her shoulder and ear, getting the clear mask on the mouthpiece.

            "I see morrow?"

            "What?"

            "I see morrow?"  He repeated.

            "You want to see tomorrow?" 

            "Yeah, you."

            "Oh you want to see me tomorrow?"  Jessica asked.

            "Yeah."  Kyle sighed and looked up at JC.

            "Sure thing.  I think you and I are going to go shopping while your daddy does some work."  Jessica nodded. 

            "And Fank?"

            "Yeah, I uh… Frank will probably come along too." 

            "Cut hair?"

            "I don't think you need a hair cut, do you?"

            "No."  Kyle shook his head.  "I have book."

            Jessica smiled at his rapid change of subject,  "You have a book?  What kind of book?"

            "Has dog and spot."

            "Wow, that sounds cool."

            "Daddy say book."  Kyle sighed,  "Go nigh nigh."

            "Oh he reads you the book when you go night night?"

            "Yeah."

            "Well that's pretty nice of him."

            "Yeah, I go nigh nigh."

            "Okay kiddo, I'll see you tomorrow, alright?"

            "Kay bye."  Kyle handed the phone back to JC and slid off his lap.

            "Hello?"  JC asked into the receiver, to see if she'd hung up yet.

            "Wow, he is a talking machine!  That's awesome."

            "He's like that Chatty Kathy doll, only there's no 'on/off' switch."  JC laughed and shook his head.  "Anyway, I'll let you get back to what you were doing, he just wanted to call and say hi."

            "Okay."  Jessica smiled and rubbed lotion into her elbows.

            "So we'll see you tomorrow morning, right?"

            "Yep, I'll be there."  She nodded.

            "Great.  See you then."

            "G'night JC."

            "G'night."  JC hung up the phone and sighed, then turned to Kyle.  "Okay little monster.  Go get your book and climb into bed.  It's getting late."

            “Yeah.”  Kyle yawned and slid off of JC’s lap to grab his book from his backpack, then climbed up on his own big bed.  “I moster?”

            “Yeah, you’re a little monster.”  JC laughed and helped him pull the blankets back to slide beneath them.  “Wow, this is a pretty long book.”  JC flipped through a couple of the pages.  “You like this one huh?”

            “Yeah isa moster.”  Kyle dropped his head on the huge pillow and looked up at JC expectantly.

            “There are lots of monsters in this one.  You know what?  I remember reading this story when I was a little boy.  ‘Where the wild things are’ is a great story.”  JC said softly as he turned back to the front page.  “I’ve gotta thank Lance for getting you all these cool books.”

            “No bye.”  Kyle shook his head.

            “No, they don’t bite.”  JC smiled and scooted Kyle over so that he could lean against the headboard to read Kyle the story.  He turned the page and began to read as his mind wandered.

            He never in a million years thought he’d have a little boy who was just like him, sitting in a big bed in a random hotel room… while he read ‘Where the wild things are’ using all the fun voices and inflections that his father used with him.  He looked at Kyle closely every time he turned a page a slowly watched him fall asleep as his blinks became longer and farther apart.  As he read the last line in the story JC yawned and ran his hand over Kyle’s short hair.  “I love you tough guy.”  JC leaned down and kissed Kyle’s forehead as the toddler slept.

            JC sighed and stood up to set the book on the table, then looked longingly at his own bed a few feet away.  He took his book out of the nightstand drawer and lay on top of the covers to read until his eyes grew tired, which didn’t take long at all.

 

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

 

            At ten thirty the next morning, Jessica appeared at JC’s door ready to head out for the day.  “So where are you guys going?”  JC asked, trying to sound interested instead of worried.

            “Um, well I talked to the concierge here and she gave me two malls nearby that I’m going to try.  But if we find what we need at the first we’ll skip the second.”  She smiled.  “Then after that…”  She shrugged.  “What about you?”

            “I’m meeting with George in about an hour.”  JC nodded.  “My uh… my lawyer.  We’re going to you know… uh go over stuff and try to get more ready.  I didn’t know this stuff took so much you know?  I hope I never have to go to court again.”  He smiled nervously.

            “Me too.”  Jessica laughed.  “I’ll tell you what, I’ll call back here when we’re done shopping and if you’re here, great… if not we’ll find something else to do for a few hours.”

            “Okay.”  JC fumbled with Kyle’s backpack in his hands.  “You’ve talked to Frank?”

            “He’s waiting down the hall.”  Jessica nodded.

            “And you’ve got his car seat and stuff like that?”

            Jessica smiled and tilted her head to the side.  The man who at one time never knew where his son was or who had him was now worried about him leaving with the one person he didn’t need to worry about.  “Yes, I’ve got the car seat, all of your phone numbers, the poison control number, Johnny’s number, a helmet in case we have to use a motorcycle, syrup of ipecac in case we need to induce vomiting, a twelve pound first aid kit and a pair of kiddie cuffs to keep him locked to my side.”  She tried to joke.

            “That’s not funny.”  JC said as a smile threatened his lips.  “Okay, so I’m a little worried, is that a bad thing?”  He laughed lightly and shook his head as he dropped the backpack at her feet.

            “It’s not a bad thing at all.”  Jessica laughed.  “I seriously have all of your numbers though, and his car seat and Frank.  We’ll be fine.”

            “I know you will.”  He ran his hands through his unruly hair.  “I just have to say it.”

            “I know you do.”  She smiled and lifted Kyle into her arms.

            “Bye daddy.”

            “Bye Kyle.”  JC smiled and picked up the backpack to hand to Jessica.

            “I go soppin now.”  Kyle smiled at JC then looked at Jessica,  “Hi.”

            “Hi.”  Jessica laughed.

            “Yep, you’re going shopping, how cool is that?”

            “Cool.”  Kyle nodded.

            “I’ll call you when we’re done.”  Jessica dropped the backpack over her shoulder as she and Kyle headed for the elevators where Frank was waiting.

            “Have fun.”  JC called after them.

            “We will.”  Jessica waved over her shoulder and laughed as Kyle imitated her.  “You’re daddy is silly.”  She said softly with a goof smile.

            “Yeah, he silly.”  Kyle giggled and shook his head.  Frank kept his own comments to himself as they boarded the elevator and headed out for the day.

 

            Jessica and Kyle hit the mall with Frank by their side as they walked from store to store window shopping and browsing.  Kyle was getting a little more color now that he was actually out in the sun and fresh air more, and Jessica was glad to see that.  They picked up a few shirts for JC to wear, along with ties that could be mixed and matched with any of the shirts.  She wasn't sure how long the court proceedings would go, but he could always re-wear the suit and dry clean it on the weekend.

            After their excursion to the mall, Jessica and Frank took Kyle back to Sea World so he could show her the sharks and penguins and everything that he was so excited about.  He only lasted a few hours, but that was more than enough time for everyone.  They made it back to the hotel in time for dinner with JC, so they met him down the street at the Cheesecake Factory.

            JC looked as tired as Jessica and Kyle felt, but he didn't say a word about his day other than that he had met with his lawyer and he felt like he was ready for Thursday.  Jessica and Kyle told JC about their fun day shopping and at Sea World, then they all headed back to the hotel to get a good nights sleep before the drive to LA the next day.

 

            Chris called from LA that night just as JC was putting Kyle down for bed,  "Hello?"  JC asked softly as he held his cell phone with one hand.

            "Waaassssuuup?"  Chris shouted into the phone.

            "Hey Chris."  JC laughed and stepped out onto the balcony so he wouldn't wake up Kyle.  "How's it going?  I heard you were coming out this way."  JC leaned on the railing and pressed his phone to his ear.

            "Yeah I got in last night, plane delays suck ass.  Where are you?"

            "I'm at my hotel."  JC yawned.

            "In LA?"

            "No, San Diego."

            "I thought you were going to be up here?"  Chris frowned.

            "I will, tomorrow."  JC explained.  "The court and everything is up in LA, but we've been down here just because it's a lot calmer, you know?"

            "So you'll be at the Hilton, right?"

            "Yep."  JC nodded. 

            "Sweet, then I'll catch up with you when you get here."  Chris laughed.  "How are things going there?"

            "Good."  JC nodded.  "Jessica came out yesterday… I think Kyle was getting damn tired of seeing me all the time."  He laughed and tugged at his lip.

            "Jessica?"  Chris asked slowly.  "Oh really?"

            "Yeah, she's… since she basically helped raise him for like four months, they might need to talk to her.  The lawyers I mean"

            "Uh huh."  Chris smirked.

            "George asked that she come out."  JC said a little quicker than necessary.       

            "And I'm sure you were devastated."  Chris rolled his eyes.  "Come on."

            "Chris… I'm telling you.  George wanted Jessica to come out in case she needed to testify on my behalf or whatever because Lori thinks and she and I are dating.  I told him we weren't though but he still wants to see her because she's been around us since the beginning."

            "And…?"

            "And Kyle digs her… he really misses you guys.  So do I."

            "Us guys?  Or Miss Jessica?"  Chris laughed.

            "All of you.  He was around everyone for like, four months straight then all of a sudden you're all gone.  He was bummin for the first week, it was sad."

            "He was bummin?"

            "Yeah every time we'd go somewhere he'd ask if you were going to be there, or if Justin could come."

            "Aww, are you serious?"  Chris asked, completely forgetting his original train of thought.  "That's cute man, the little guy misses us."

            "He's going to be so excited to see you, are you going to be in LA for a while?"

            "Yeah, I'm doing FuMan stuff until Friday kinda off and on, but after that I'm on my own.  So I figure I'll hang out here for another week or so, you know… to see the dude and entertain you between your trips to court."

            "Ha, thanks."

            "You're gonna owe me big time though, you know how much I hate California."  Chris said sarcastically.  "All this sunshine and perfect weather, kick back pace, like no humidity, the mountains… all that.  Man I hate it."  He laughed.

            "I'll take you out to dinner or something to make up for the inconvenience."  JC smiled, he'd missed the guys just as much as Kyle.  "So hey, I'll see you tomorrow okay?  We should be up there in the afternoon sometime."

            "Cool."  Chris nodded.  "I'll track you down."

            "Alright, I'll see you later then."

            "See ya."  Chris nodded.

            JC hung up the phone and let himself back into his room where he went over the custody worksheets George gave him that week, just so he would know all the legal speak behind what the judge and lawyers were saying.  He knew enough of the basics, but he was definitely interested in knowing more.

            He read the booklets and worksheets until his eyes dropped closed, then he made his way to bed and crashed.

 

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

 

            JC took his time getting Kyle ready in the morning, and only called Jessica when both he and Kyle were completely dressed and fed.  "Hey, I just wanted to make sure you were up."  JC said as he wiped the crumbs from breakfast off the table.

            "Yeah, I've been up for a while."  Jessica nodded and looked at her watch out of habit.  It was after ten in the morning, she was showered and dressed even.  "What time did you want to leave today?"

            "Um, I don't know.  It doesn't really matter I guess.  LA is only a couple hours north, so as long as we leave before five tonight we'll be cool."

            "Yeah, but you've got the rush hour traffic to think about, you're going to want to miss that."

            "Shit, you're right.  What time does that start?"

            "I don't know for sure but I'm gonna guess that you won't want to be on the freeway at five."  Jessica laughed and leaned down to tie her sneakers.

            "Yeah that's true." 

            "We go ossin?"  Kyle asked as he scratched at his ear.

            "Hang on a second."  JC said to Jessica.  "What?"  he asked as Kyle walked up to where he stood.

            "Go ina ossin?"

            "No we can't go in the ocean today, we're going to drive to LA, remember?"

            "First ossin?"

            "We'll see."  JC nodded and turned his attention back to Jessica.  "Kyle wants to go to the ocean."

            “Now?  Or when we get to LA?”

            “I don’t think he cares.”  JC smiled.

            “Well you can go now… as long as we leave before like, 2 we should be fine.”  Jessica stood up and tucked her tank top into her shorts.

            “Do you want to come?”

            “To the beach?”

            “Yeah.”  JC laughed lightly.

            “Jessi go?”  Kyle asked.

            “Hang on, I’m asking.”  JC said to Kyle.

            “I uh… I don’t want to go in the water or anything, I’ve packed my suit and stuff already.” 

            “Well we can just go play in the sand and walk around if you want.  We won’t go in the water, I’m not driving in a car soaking wet.”

            “Okay, well sure I’ll go.  When are you leaving?”

            “Are you ready now?”

            “As soon as I brush my hair, yeah.”  Jessica nodded.

            “Cool, we’ll be there in a minute then.”  JC smiled and hung up the phone.

            “We go ossin?”

            “Yep.”

            “And Jessi?”

            “Yep, Jessica is going to go with us.”

            “And Fank?”

            “Frank and Les too.”  JC nodded.  “But we can’t go swimming, we’re just going to go see it and say bye bye to it.”

            “Can’t see?”

            “We’ll see it again, it will just be in a different city.”  JC smiled.

            Kyle gave him a confused look and shook his head with a sigh,  “We go.”  He grabbed Lello off the packed suitcase and walked over to the door to shake the handle.  “We go bye.”

            “You bet, let’s go bye.”  JC stepped over the bags then stopped and rethought his actions.  He picked up the phone and called Jessica to have her bring her luggage down as well, then let Les and Frank know of their plans.  They might as well load everything into the cars before they went to the beach so that if they needed to they could leave straight from there.

            JC grabbed the suitcases and Kyle’s backpack as well as the garment bag, and carried them down the hall while Kyle held onto one of the backpack straps.  “We’ve got lots of junk kid.”

            “No you have.”  Kyle said as he looked at his father carrying all the bags.

            “Dude, like half of this is yours.”

            “No you carry.”  Kyle shook his head.

            JC laughed as the others appeared in the hallway,  “So we’re loading out now?”  Frank asked as he dropped his single duffle bag by the elevator doors.

            “Yeah, that way we can leave right from the beach.”

            “That kid’s gonna grow gills if you keep taking him to the beach.”  Frank laughed and picked up Kyle to toss him in the air.  “Right?”

            “Right.”  Kyle laughed as his arms flew out to his sides.

            “Right on.  Who we waiting on here?”  Frank dropped Kyle to the ground and looked around.

            “Jessica and Les.”

            “Les is pulling the car around.” 

            “Then we’re waiting for Jessica.”  JC looked down the hall in time to see her drop her suitcase beside his.

            “I’m here.”  She smiled.  “Hey Kyle.”

            “Hi Jessi.”  He ran over and hugged her legs as the elevator dinged behind them.

            “That’s us.”  Frank picked up one of JC’s bags as well as his own and they piled everything into the one elevator.  Les and JC loaded the bags into the back of the van they rented to drive to LA while Jessica buckled Kyle into his car seat.  She sat in the seat behind Kyle, leaving the bench next to the door open for JC.

            “Where to kids?”  Les asked as he looked in the rear view mirror.  He started the van and let it idle for a minute as JC got Kyle’s backpack situated on the ground.

            “Oh uh, just to the beach.  Same place as before.”  JC looked up through his shaggy hair and smiled at the driver.  “But we’re not going in the water dude, so none of your little tricks.”

            “Nope, no tricks here.”  Les laughed and shook his head.  “To the beach we go.”  He pulled out of the parking lot and they headed for the coast.

 

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

 

            They strange group of five walked around La Jolla shores and collected more sea shells and rocks as they drew in the dry sand and ate sandwiches from a deli up the street.  They goofed around until Kyle began to doze off in JC’s arms and he decided to call it a day.

            “He’ll sleep most of the way in the car anyway.”  Jessica smiled as Kyle laid his head down on JC’s shoulder.

            “Yeah.”  JC nodded and tried to cover his mouth as he yawned.  “I think I might too.”  He laughed as they folded up the blanket and headed back to the van on the far end of the parking lot.  They settled in for the drive and made themselves comfortable.

            JC, Kyle and Jessica all napped as the motion of the van rocked them to sleep, and only woke up when they pulled off the freeway in Beverly Hills more than two hours later.  “Daddy up?”  Kyle whined as he pulled at the straps of his car seat.

            “We’re almost there buddy.”  JC said as he stretched his arms out in front of him and cracked his back.  “What do we got to drink up there?”  JC tapped the back of Franks seat as he yawned.

            Frank pulled open the small ice chest and said,  “Coke, apple juice… uh… bottled water and a Dr. Pepper.”  He pulled the Dr. Pepper out and handed it to Les,  “Nevermind, no Dr. Pepper.”

            “I’ll take the Coke.  Jessica, do you want anything?”  He asked as he looked over his shoulder.

            “Hmm?  Oh no, that’s okay.”  She shook her head and ran her fingers through her tangled hair.  “Are we almost there?”

            “We’re almost there buddy.”  JC repeated as he laughed again.

            “Ha ha.  Where are we staying?”

            “The Hilton, same as before.  You must be tired of that hotels huh?”  JC crinkled his nose and smiled.  “I know I am.”

            “This’ll be over soon.”  Jessica sighed and gave him an encouraging smile.  “Then we can all go home.”

            “Yep.”  JC smiled and popped the top on his Coke.  “Of course you can go home anytime you want.”

            “I think I’ll ride it out.”  She smiled as the van turned into the driveway of the familiar hotel.  “Home sweet home.”

            “Yep.”  JC laughed and leaned to look out the window.  “Alright buddy, are you ready to go inside?”  JC asked Kyle.

            “Yeah.”  Kyle sighed and shifted around in his seat.

            Les pulled up at the main entrance then jumped out to get the luggage out of the back of the van.  A bellhop met him at the curb with a cart and helped to load the heavier suitcases onto the roller while JC, Kyle, Jessica and Frank headed into the lobby to get checked in.

            “I have?”  Kyle looked at the soda in JC’s hand.  JC bumped Kyle up on his arm and held the can with the same hand as he slid his new room key into his pocket and picked up the backpack at his feet.

            “Yeah, be careful though.”  JC handed the Coke to Kyle and they walked across the lobby to the bank of elevators with Frank leading the way.  Jessica followed a few steps behind, surprised to see how empty the hotel lobby was.  When she was on the road with the guys there were usually dozens, if not more, girls in and around the lobby.  She switched the garment bag to her other hand and took another look around as the elevator doors opened in front of them.

            "Here Kyle, let me carry your soda up for you."  Jessica reached out her hand as Kyle took a short sip from the can in his hand.

            "No I have."  Kyle shook his head.

            "He's okay."  JC smiled as they stepped on the elevator.

            "The can is full though Jace, he's going to - "  She was cut off as Kyle fumbled the can and dropped it on its side across his thigh.  The soda poured out freely across the front of JC's shirt and down Kyle's leg.

            "Shit!"  JC exclaimed as he used his free hand to grab the can.

            "Uh oh."  Kyle put his hand over his mouth.  "Daddy uh oh."

            "Yeah, uh oh is right."  JC grumbled.  "Lovely, we're going to be all sticky now."

            "Sick?"

            "Sticky.  The soda is going to make us all sticky."  JC sighed as Jessica laughed lightly, giving him the 'I told you so' look.  JC mumbled a few more choice words under his breath as he tried to balance both Kyle and the drink in one arm while holding his backpack in the other. By the time the elevator stopped on their floor, the can was already sticking to his hand and Kyle was sucking the soda out of his shirt.

            "Do you want me to carry something?"  Jessica smiled sweetly as she stepped off the elevator and blocked the doors from shutting on him.

            "I think I've got it."  JC shook his head.

            "I got."  Kyle nodded and continued to suck on his shirt.

            "Don't put that in your mouth."  JC looked down at Kyle,  "Come on dude, we need a bath.  Can you walk?"

            "Yeah."  Kyle squirmed until JC set him on the floor, then they walked side by side down the hall to their room.

            "Here."  Jessica reached for the backpack and dropped it over her shoulder to follow him down the hall.  He unlocked his door and ushered Kyle inside, then came back out for the garment bag and backpack.

            "Thanks."  He nodded and took the bag.  "Where's your room?"

            "Right across the hall."  Jessica looked over her shoulder at her door.

            "Cool."  JC nodded and pulled his shirt away from his stomach.  "This is gross."

            "It's nothing a little OxyClean can't handle."  Jessica laughed and slid her key in her lock.  "What time are you leaving in the morning?"

            "Oh um, court starts at nine so we'll probably leave here around 7:45 or 8:00."  JC nodded.  "Do you want me to bring him to you, or did you want to watch him in my room?"

            "Um, I'll still be in my pajamas at eight in the morning."  She laughed.  "So go ahead and bring him over here."

            "I'll leave my key with you in case you need anything out of there."

            "Okay."  She nodded.

            "I need to go get cleaned up."  JC said as he looked over his shoulder at Kyle,  "Whoa!  Kyle, no way buddy.  No more soda."  He glanced back at Jessica.  "I've gotta go."

            "Have fun."  She tried not to laugh as his door swung shut.

            JC sighed and assessed the situation,  "Okay kid, let's check you out."  He leaned down to Kyle's level and took the half empty can of Coke away from him.  "You're a mess."  JC laughed and shook his head.  "Alrighty…"  JC carefully undressed Kyle down to his diaper and pulled out the diaper wipes.

            "I mess?"

            "Yeah a little.  I think if we just get you a new diaper you'll be alright, you didn't get too much on you."  JC wiped the little bit of soda off of Kyle's leg then laid him on the ground to remove the diaper.  He changed it like an expert and got clean clothes for Kyle out of the suitcase by the door.  While he was in the bag he took a minute to hang up the garment bag and shirts in the closet.

            "No bass?"

            "Nope, you’re cool."  JC shook his head and pulled Kyle's clean shirt over his head.  "I'm gonna hop in the shower though, because I didn't get one this morning and I'm all funky now.  Can you stay in here with Lello and watch a movie or something while I do that?"  JC snapped Kyle's shorts at his waist and tucked the collar into the back of his t-shirt.

            "Yeah."  Kyle nodded and grabbed Lello off the bed.  "See TV?"

            "Yep."  JC took the remote and clicked the TV on, then surfed until he found cartoons.  "Okay Kyle, I'll only be a couple minutes, okay?"

            "Kay."  Kyle dropped himself on the floor at the foot of the bed and stared up at the TV.

            "When we get home man, there will be no more TV."  JC mumbled to himself as he walked into the bathroom to start his shower.

            Kyle sat in silence as JC propped the door open with the backpack and hopped into the shower.  Almost as soon as the shower curtain was pulled closed, there was a knock on the hotel room door.

            "Uh oh."  Kyle looked up in surprise, then looked at the bathroom.  "Uh oh daddy."  When JC didn't respond, Kyle crawled to his feet and tucked Lello under his arm to go investigate.  He walked to the hotel door and looked up at the handle,  "Hi?"

            "Hey, who's that?"  Chris shouted through the door at the sound of the small voice inside.

            "I Kyle."  Kyle frowned at the door and leaned in close to try to look through the crack.

            "Hey Kyle, go get your daddy." 

            "Kay."  Kyle shouted then ran to the bathroom door on the other end of the room, "Daddy door."  He said loudly from the bathroom doorway as JC showered.

            "What?"  JC asked as he rinsed the shampoo from his hair.

            "A door."

            "No, don't shut the door."  JC shook his head and reached for the washrag on the tub faucet.  "I'll be out in just a minute."

            "A door daddy."  Kyle insisted.

            "Leave it open buddy.  Just two more minutes."  JC washed quickly as Kyle shook his head and went back to the hotel room door.

            "Hi?"

            "Hey, Kyle?"  Chris shouted through the door.

            "Hi."  Kyle smiled at the sound of his name.

            "Where's your daddy?"

            "Ina bass."  Kyle said in a normal voice.

            "Where is he?"  Chris bent over to shout at Kyle's level through the door.

            "Ina bass."  Kyle said louder.

            "I'm hurrying buddy, just a second."  JC shouted from the bathroom.

            "Is he in the shower?"  Chris laughed as he shouted toward the doorjamb.

            "Yeah."  Kyle raised his voice.

            "Does he smell bad?"

            "Yeah."  Kyle giggled as JC shut the water off.  "He a mess."

            "Hey buddy, whatcha need?"  JC asked as he stepped out of the bathroom with water dripping down his bare torso.  The towel around his waist was being held with one hand while his other wiped the water from his face.

            "I doe no."  Kyle shrugged as he looked at the door.  "It say hi."

            "What said hi?"

            "Isa door."  Kyle looked over his shoulder at his dad.  "Say hi."

            "What?"  JC shook his head to remove the excess water from his hair.

            "Hello?"  Chris shouted through the door.

            "Whoa, who is that?"

            "Isa door."  Kyle giggled.

            "Who is it?"  JC asked as he put his hand on the lock.  "Watch out buddy."  JC used his foot and backed Kyle away from the door.

            "Let me in you knob.  I've been shouting through this door for like, an hour.  Someone's gonna call the cops here in minute."

            "Hey!"  JC's face broke out in a huge grin as he flipped the lock and threw the door open.  "Hey man, how's it going?"

            "Whoa hey now."  Chris smiled as JC opened the door half naked.  "Go put some clothes on then I'll hug you."  He looked down at Kyle,  "What's up little dude?"

            "Chris!  I go sim."

            "Get outta here.  You went swimming?"  Chris looked shocked.  "Right on.  Come on over here and tell me about it while your dad covers his butt."

            "I'll be right back."  JC smiled and dragged his suitcase into the bathroom to dress.

            Chris waved as he sat on the floor and pulled Kyle onto his lap,  "So tell me about this swimming stuff, where'd you go?  In the pool?"

            "Ina ossin."  Kyle laughed.  "But no shark, no bye only fish."  He shook his head.

            "You're serious?  You went in the ocean?  Dang, that's pretty cool."

            "Yeah and no shark."

            "Well that's good.  Sharks are kinda scary."

            "Yeah."  Kyle nodded.  "I see mokey."

            "A what?"

            "A mokey."  Kyle stood up and imitated a monkey scratching his side.

            "Oh a monkey!  You did?  Was it really a monkey or was it just your dad being a dork?"  Chris asked.

            "Hey!"  JC shouted from the bathroom.

            Chris laughed as Kyle shook his head,  "Wasa mokey." 

            "That's rad.  Did you see anything else?"

            "Saw efant and pegin."  Kyle nodded and gave Chris a thoughtful expression,  "And a mommy and a daddy and a Joey seal."

            "A Joey seal?"  Chris laughed.  "Man, there aren't too many of those around.  You're pretty lucky."

            "Yeah."  Kyle sighed and sat in Chris' lap again.  "I see my mommy."

            "You did?"

            "We go a mooby."

            "What movie did you see?"  Chris asked as he looked toward the bathroom.

            "Doe no."  Kyle shrugged.  "Have dogs."

            "Ahh, did you have fun?"

            "Yeah and Fank."

            "Oh Frank went with you?"  Chris asked.

            "Yeah."

            "That's rad."

            "And my Jessi."

            "Jessica went with you?"  Chris looked confused, that couldn't be right.

            "No see me."  Kyle laughed.  "No mooby."

            "Oh, she's here and she saw you?"

            "Yeah."  Kyle nodded as JC came out in jeans and a t-shirt.

            "Dang, did you give him a dictionary or what?  He's talking all over the place."  Chris shook his head and lifted Kyle out of his lap as they stood up.

            "He's brilliant, what can I say?"  JC shrugged and picked Kyle up for an impromptu hug.  "So what's up man?  How's work?"

            "It's good."  Chris nodded and leaned against the counter by the mini-kitchen.  "We've started work on the fall line so I've got some designs to go over and stuff like that."

            "Cool."  JC nodded.

            "But hey, let's go grab some dinner or something, I'm starving."  Chris smiled.  "Are you hungry little dude?"

            "Yeah."  Kyle nodded.

            "Rock on, let's go."  Chris reached for Lello and handed it to Kyle.

            "I've gotta call Les and Frank."  JC handed Kyle to Chris and went to the phone to call the security guards.

            "Oh man, you've gotta take the crew?"

            "Yep."  JC nodded at Kyle,  "Just in case."  He smiled.

            "In case Kyle gets a little outta hand?"  Chris laughed and swung Kyle upside down.  "Oh no!  He's losing his mind!  Ahh!  He's outta control!"  He tickled the little boys tummy and laughed like a hyena with him.

            "You guys are crazy."

            "No you!"  Kyle laughed as he looked at JC upside down.

            "No way, you're crazy."  JC shook his head then turned back to the phone and let Les know about their plans for dinner,  "Yeah I don't know where we're going, but Chris is with us."

            "We're just going like across the street or something.  I'm not even gonna try to get my car outta the parking place I wedged it into."

            "You have a car?"

            "Uh huh.  I had to rent one for while I'm here.  Its costing an ass and a leg but what can I do right?"  Chris shrugged.  "I've gotta get from here to Santa Monica somehow you know?  And I stopped taking public transportation years ago."

            "You didn't bring Kev with you?"

            "Kevin?  Hell no.  I don't need a babysitter."  Chris laughed.  "He's off, you're the only one with a crew right now."

            "Well tonight you get one too."

            "Yay."  Chris rolled his eyes as he lifted Kyle back to an upright position.  "What do you want for dinner buddy?  A hamburger?"

            "No."

            "Chicken nuggets?"

            "No, I have cheeeeese."

            "Just cheese?"

            "A samich."

            "A cheese sandwich?  Right on."  Chris looked at JC,  "Come on dude, lets go."

            "Lets go."  Kyle giggled as Chris bounced toward the door.  They picked up Les and Frank on their way out and walked as a group up the street to the Denny's on the corner.

            "This is prime time, first class dining right here."  Chris laughed as he dropped himself into the booth.  "But hey, they've got cheese sandwiches for the kid."

            "This coming from a man who could live on taco bell tacos."  JC smirked and sat across from Chris.  He adjusted Kyle's booster seat on the bench between himself and the wall, then situated Kyle in it.  Les and Frank took a table beside them and kicked back with coffee and dessert while the guys ordered.

            Their food arrived a couple minutes later and they got busy catching up with each other,  "So how's it going man?"  Chris moved his garlic bread to the side of his plate as the pasta underneath steamed.

            "It's going good."  JC nodded and tore Kyle's sandwich in half.  "Court starts tomorrow so I'm about ready to barf."  He laughed nervously.

            "I'll bet."  Chris kept his eyes on his plate.  "How do you think that'll go?"

            "I don't know, it's a crap shoot basically.  I mean, I think I've got a pretty good argument going over here, but…"  He shrugged.  "You never know."

            "Have you talked to Lori about it at all?"

            "No, she won't talk to me about any of this without her lawyer present.  Basically she's putting it off until court tomorrow."

            "Is that gonna be a madhouse?"

            "No, I don't think so.  Shit I hope not."  JC frowned and took a bite of his chicken.

            "Is Kyle going with you?  Or what?"

            "No."  JC shook is head.  "He doesn't have to go to court at all."  JC lowered his voice.  "He's staying with Jessica and Frank tomorrow… so if you wanna go hang out or whatever."

            "Cool, yeah maybe I'll do that.  I don't have anything to do until tomorrow night.  Dinner with David and Ryan.  Have you seen the site by the way?  That place is kickin.  Those guys have kept it looking real good."

            "I thought you had girls on the team doing the site?"

            "Yeah, I do.  But David and Ryan are the only ones who are here this week."  Chris smiled and looked at Kyle.  "Hey dog, you wanna go check out some cool stuff tomorrow?"

            "And Jessi?"

            "Sure Jessica can come too."

            "You might want to see what she has planned."  JC said softly.

            "Yeah, we'll check with her then maybe we'll go ride some rides or whatever."

            "Rides?"  Kyle's eyes perked up as he brought a bite of his sandwich to his mouth.

            "Maybe."  JC said with a raised eyebrow.  "You've gotta eat your orange slices there though."  JC pointed at his plate.

            "Dang, you're a mean dad."

            "He can't live on cheese sandwiches."  JC looked at Chris and shook his head.

            "Sheesh…"  Chris sighed with a smile.

            "Keep it up and I'll make you eat your orange slice too."  JC laughed.

            "Dammit."  Chris laughed and ate his spaghetti in silence.

 

            When they were done eating they walked back up the street to the hotel and rode up to their floor.  "Dude what are the chances that we're actually on the same floor?"  Chris laughed.

            "They probably recognized our names and figured we were friends or something stupid like that."  JC rolled his eyes and headed in the opposite direction down the hall.

            "Yeah at least they put us on opposite ends though.  I don't know if I could handle being in a room close to you."  Chris laughed and pinched his nose as he made a face.

            "Riiiiight."  JC rolled his eyes and adjusted Kyle on his shoulder.  "I'll see you tomorrow."

            "Good luck man."  Chris pointed at JC and gave him a decent, supportive smile.  "What room is Jessica in so I can call her in the morning?"

            "514.  Right across the hall from me."

            "Cool."  Chris nodded as he pulled his key from his pocket.  "Just remember to breathe, and picture the judge in his undies."  Chris laughed lightly.

            "Great, thanks.  I needed that mental image."  JC laughed and opened his own door.

            "I see Chris?"  Kyle asked as they walked into their room.

            "You'll see him tomorrow I think."  JC nodded as Kyle yawned.

            "Go nigh nigh?"

            "I think so buddy, it's getting late."

            "Have jamma?"

            "You bet."  JC set Kyle down in the room and let him grab his own pajamas from the suitcase.  JC kicked his shoes off and turned several of the lights on before he pulled back the blankets on the bed to get things ready for bed.  He just wanted to go through the motions as usual so he wouldn't have to think about going to court the next morning.

            JC sat at the head of the bed and set the alarm to get up on time the next morning while Kyle brought him his blue and green stripped pajamas.  "Alrighty dude."  JC lifted Kyle onto the bed and changed Kyle into his soft pajamas.  "One of these days you'll have a room all to yourself with your own bed and your own blankets and everything."

            "And you?"

            "Yep, me too."  JC smiled.

            "At home?"

            "Yep, at home… you'll have your own room at home."

            "Kay."  Kyle shrugged, having his own room wasn't something he was familiar with at all.  "Go ouside?"  Kyle scooted off the bed and went to the sliding glass door.

            "It's late buddy, let's just go to bed."  JC checked his watch.

            "Peese have ouside?"  Kyle swung the curtains back and forth.

            "Only for a couple minutes."  JC relented.  He didn't want any kind of a scene that night, he wanted things to be perfect.  They stepped out onto the tiny balcony and left the little door open.

            JC pulled one chair closer to the door and sat while Kyle crawled over his lap to get to the other chair in the corner.  The high stucco walls made it hard for him to see out, but they were safer that way.

            “Can sing?”  Kyle asked as he pulled his legs up onto the little chair and tried to look out over the wall.

            “You want me to sing?”

            “An me.”

            “What do you want to sing?”  JC smiled as looked out over the crowded streets below.

            “A pane.”

            “A song about a plane?  I don’t think I know a song about a plane.”

            “Yeah sing.”  Kyle nodded.

            “What song should I sing though?  I know a lot of songs.”

            “A pane.”

            “Okay let me think… I don’t know any songs about planes.”  JC laughed softly and shook his head as Kyle squirmed in his chair.

            “One?”

            “Yeah, maybe I know one.  Hang on, let me think for a second.”  JC laughed lightly and closed his eyes, trying to search his mind for the right lyrics.  “Okay… ready?”

            “Yeah.”  Kyle laughed.

            JC took a deep breath and rested his chin in his hand as they kicked back in their patio chairs,  “Daniel’s traveling tonight on a plane… I can see the red taillights, heading for Spain.  Oh I can see Daniel waving goodbye.  God it looks like Daniel… must be the clouds in my eyes…”  JC frowned, it wasn’t exactly a happy song.  “I don’t know all the words to that one.”

            “Anano one?”

            “Another one huh?”  JC sighed as he looked out over the dark sky trying to find an airplane,  “I don’t know.  Maybe if we saw an airplane I could remember one?  What do you think?”

            “We can see?”  Kyle scooted off the chair and tried to climb onto JC’s lap.

            “Yeah, let’s see if we can find one.”  JC wrapped his arms around Kyle and held him close as they looked up into the night to find the blinking light of a passing plane.  After a few minutes JC saw one in the distance,  “Uh oh!  There’s one.”  He pointed for Kyle who was starting to nod off as he warmed up on JC’s lap.

            “Where?”

            “Where’s it going?”  JC asked.  “I don’t know, that’s a good question.  Maybe it’s going to Hawaii.”

            “A home?”

            “Yep, maybe it’s taking someone home.”

            “And you and me?”

            “Yep, when we go home we’ll ride in an airplane.”  JC nodded.  “Ah ha… I know an airplane song.”  He laughed and shifted Kyle in his lap.

            “You can sing?”

            “Yep.”  JC nodded.  “All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go… I’m standing here outside your door.  I hate to wake you up to say goodbye.  But the dawn is breakin’, it’s early morn, the taxi’s waiting, he’s blowin’ his horn… already I’m so lonesome I could die.  So kiss me and smile for me, tell me that you’ll wait for me.  Hold me like you’ll never let me go.”  JC squeezed Kyle to make him laugh.  “Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane, I don’t know when I’ll be back again.”  He sang through the first verse and chorus again, that was the only part her remembered.   “Alrighty kiddo, I’d say this party is over.”  JC said softly as Kyle’s eyes drifted closed for a second.  It was way past his bedtime, but JC didn’t really want the night to end.

            “Again?”  Kyle yawned.

            “Okay, but then this is the last song bef – “  JC stopped suddenly as he bit his cheek.  “The uh… the last song then you have to go to bed.”  He said softly.

            “Kay.”  Kyle nodded as he slid down in JC’s lap to rest his head against JC’s arm.

            “Okay…”  JC took a deep breath and looked out at the bright lights of the city.  “All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go… I’m standing here, outside your door…”  He willed his voice not to crack and wished Joey had never uttered the words “this is the last song” so long ago.  All he could think was that if he went to court the next day and lost Kyle… this could be the last song he sang to Kyle.  “Okay buddy.”  He whispered as he carefully stood up and propped Kyle on his shoulder.  JC slid the door open quietly and stepped into the air-conditioned room where he laid Kyle on the turned down bed.

            “Seep?”  Kyle mumbled as his head hit the pillow.

            “Yep, time to go to sleep.”  JC whispered.  He sat on the bed by his son and stroked his hair as Kyle began to snore,  “I’ll sing to you some more tomorrow, okay?”  He didn’t expect and answer from the sleeping boy; he kept his thoughts positive as he pulled the sheet up to Kyle’s shoulders and rested Lello near his pillow so he’d find him when he woke up.

 

            JC crossed the room in the dark and took his suit from the garment bag hanging in the closet.  He pulled it out and hung it on the back of the bathroom door to smooth the jacket out and get a good look at it.  He hadn’t worn it since the year before, and he hoped he would never have to wear it again.  Jessica had offered to get him a new suit, but this one was fine, it would serve the purpose and it fit.

            The collection of shirts and ties Jessica had picked up for him were hanging in the closet as well, so he turned on the little light and chose what he would wear the next day.  The plain white dress shirt was easily dressed up with the black and gray stripped tie.  He set out his plain black shoes and socks, then turned to look at himself in the mirror.  JC ran his hand over his tight jaw and decided to wake up early so he'd have time to do a better job shaving.  He had missed a spot that morning, and he wanted to look as professional as he could.

            He made a face at his reflection and ran his fingers through his hair; it was too late for a haircut… he should have thought about that when he had time the day before.  "You look like a caveman."  He grumbled as he squinted at himself in the mirror.  "But even cavemen can make good fathers."  JC tried to think positive as he sighed and turned the bathroom light off. 

            The sheets were cool against his legs, but they warmed up quickly as he made himself comfortable and closed his eyes.  With a solid eight hours of sleep behind him, he could do anything.

 

 

 Next...

 

Copyright � 2001, Amy Lynn