"Get out." Joey said softly. No one moved, no one breathed. "Get. Out." He said again, with more force.

It took a second for Sara to realize that he was talking to her. "No." JC said suddenly. "No, Sara, you don’t have to go."

"Get out." Joey said once more, meeting Sara’s eyes with a look of fury.

"Can you just leave us alone for a minute?" Lance whispered to Sara, trying to keep the peace as usual. He kicked the wet and broken glass out of the way as he moved to Joey’s side. "Just for a minute?"

"Y- yeah." Sara stuttered. She removed her hand from JC’s shoulder and stood up slowly. She reached for the door and was nearly knocked over by Justin as he rushed back into the room.

"What the hell JC?" He asked as he sat beside the older man. Sara ducked out quietly and shut the door behind her. She took a deep breath on the other side as she began to register what she’d just seen. JC had somehow… someway… become a cutter.

"What… what… what does this mean?" Chris asked from behind the others.

"I’ve um… I cut myself." JC explained softly.

"Yeah we can fucking see that JC." Joey said as he directed his anger at JC.

"Hey... hang on there Joe… don’t be mad at JC." Lance placed his hand on Joey’s arm and tried to smile. "Come on."

"No Lance, fuck that. What the hell does that mean JC?" Joey whipped his arm out of Lance’s grasp.

"Joe, calm down. Getting mad at him isn’t going to help." Lance said softly.

"Leave him alone Lance. He’s entitled." JC said as he met Joey’s angry eyes. "You have every right to be mad at me Joey. You do. I’ve let you down, I’ve let all of you down. Miserably." He looked around at his four closest friends.

"You didn’t let us down." Justin shook his head.

"Yes he did." Chris said from his quiet corner. "But not like you think Jace. You didn’t let us down by hurting yourself again, or by… by trying to kill yourself. You let us down by not telling us you were still feeling like shit."

"What would you have done if I told you? What could you have said if I came up to you, or Justin, and said, ‘hey guys, I couldn’t shave this morning because I can’t look at the razor without wanting to cut myself?’, what would you have said?" JC asked quickly.

"JC…" Justin reached out to touch JC’s shoulder as the thought about the conversation he’d had with Sara, "Man, we coulda done something."

"This is bigger than that. This isn’t something that you guys can fix." JC shook his head as tears rose in his eyes. "Sara coming here has made me realize th-"

"It’s her fault." Joey grumbled with a frown.

"No. No Joey it’s not." JC shook his head. "Her coming here only made me realize that I’m not better, and I’m not going to get better unless I ask for help."

"If she-" Joey started.

"I thought I could handle this you guys, I did. But I can’t. But I also know that this is too big for you guys, I need bigger help than that." JC sighed.

"What do you mean?" Lance asked with a worried look. They were in the middle of their tour, JC couldn’t just disappear for a month again.

"Sara needed my help a year ago, or she’d have sunk to where I am now. I need her help now. I don’t expect you guys to understand that. I love you guys, you know that… but… but I need her help right now."

"Screw her. We can help you Jace." Joey shoved is hands in his pockets.

JC smiled slightly, "Not this time Joe. She… she really knows where I’m coming from. We have this messed up history between us. She’s seen me at my worst, and uh… she uh… she knows what that’s about."

"Fuck that JC. Fuck that." Joey leaned against the kitchen counter behind him. "We’ve got more of a history with you. You spent one month in the damn nut house with her, that doesn’t make her an expert on you."

"No." JC agreed, "It doesn’t. But she knows more about this kind of thing than any of you, than all of you. And I don’t mean that in a bad way you guys. You know that. I’m just saying, that when it comes to help for me, I need her right now."

"She can’t make you better." Chris shook his head.

"No, I know. But I can’t make myself better without her. Sara knows where I’m coming from." JC said again.

"But the tour…" Lance said slowly as he stepped forward.

"Nothing’s changing there." JC said quickly. "No, don’t worry about that. I can do it."

"But Jace man, if you’re gonna… if you keep… what if you do this again?" Justin asked.

"I… I won’t. I’m not going to." JC wiped his damp eyes quickly. "I’m not you guys. You have to believe me. I haven’t done it in like a month."

"But JC…" Justin frowned.

"I need her help, but I need your support. All of you." JC looked at Joey quickly. "I’ve never asked you for anything but right now I’ve gotta know that you’re going to support me through this, and support Sara."

"But Jace she’s –" Justin started to complain.

JC shook his head and met Justin’s eye, "I know you guys don’t see it, but Sara is how I am going to be able to do this." He sighed and picked at his fingernails, "I’m going to talk to Johnny about letting her come out with us."

"She’s not coming on tour with us." Joey shook his head and stood his ground.

"Joe, if it’ll help JC, you know… maybe we should – " Lance began softly.

"No way." Joey said sharply. "You’ve been fucked up since she showed up the other day."

"I’ve been messed up longer than that." JC said softly. "Joey, I know you don’t understand that. You want to run in and fix this, and I’m telling you, you can’t. It’s not that I don’t want you to man, if you could you know that I’d be the first to let you. I’m saying it’s just not possible. You’re too close to this, you all are. You’re too close to me and too close to everyone else involved. You guys are so close you can’t see what’s right in front of you, it’s like you’ve got your noses pressed against the TV and you can’t tell what you’re watching, you know?" JC paused and smiled, "I’m just rambling now. But listen… I need someone who’s impartial, who’s been where I am, and who isn’t afraid to see me like this."

"We’re not afraid." Chris said softly as he crossed his arms over his chest.

"Yeah you are. But that’s okay." JC said quickly, "I’m afraid to see me like this too, but Sara isn’t, and she isn’t afraid to show me."

"She’s not coming on tour with us." Joey crossed his arms.

"Yes she is." JC said softly. "I don’t need your permission Joe. Like it or not, she is. The only other alternative is for me to leave the tour, and I don’t want to do that. You don’t want me to do that."

The room was silent as Joey stared JC down. Chris looked from Joey, to JC then to Justin and raised his eyebrow at the young man. Both men in the staring contest had wills as strong as steel, and for either to back down would be nothing short of a miracle.

"Guys… come on." Lance said softly from Joey’s side. Neither of them moved for a full minute as the tension rose. "Joe…"

Joey took two quick steps toward JC and before Justin could move to intercept the blow that was sure to come, Joey pulled JC into a tight hug and lightly punched his back, "Why are you doing this?" Joey whispered through clenched teeth. "Dammit JC."

"I don’t know Joe." JC whispered back as he squeezed Joey tight.

Justin and Lance breathed a sigh of relief as they watched JC and Joey hugging in the middle of the room, "You know we’ll do whatever we have to Jace." Justin said as he patted JC’s shoulder. And with that, they started talking.

Joey was the first out of the room an hour later, and he brushed by Sara without so much as a glance. The other’s slowly followed him out of the room, all but ignoring Sara as they passed. She felt herself blush deeply as she searched for the nearest exit. "Sara?" Lance startled her as he snuck up beside her.

"Is he okay?" She asked quickly.

"Well… no." He smiled slowly. "But he uh, he wants to see you in there."

Sensing an ally, she looked up at him slowly, "How are the other guys?"

Lance was taken aback, surprised that she was concerned about the rest of then, "They’re uh... well, avoid Joey."

"Yeah… I gathered as much." She laughed lightly and met his green eyes, "How about you?"

"I’m, well I just want him to get better you know? I just want the old JC back. The real JC." Lance shrugged and looked toward the door where Justin was waving him over. "I’ll uh, see you later." He waved quickly and followed Justin out the door.

Sara took a deep breath and pushed the door open again, as the security and other crew people in the room watched uneasily. Nothing had been "normal" all morning, they knew something was up. "Hey…" Sara said softly as she leaned against the closed door.

"Hey." JC said, keeping his head in his hands. "I’m sorry Sara."

"For what? JC don’t be sorry."

"For not telling you… and for the guys, they really aren’t like that. Joey’s just really protective and Justin is… well he’s a kid, he’s not sure about a lot of things. He thinks he’s all gro-"

"JC it’s okay." Sara shook her head and sighed. "You don’t have to explain them to me, their guys… enough said."

"I’m really gonna need your help now Sara."

"I… I know." She said slowly as she examined her shoes.

"A lot." JC added. "I’ve uh… I need to stop this and you’re like, the only one that knows what the hell I feel like."

"Yeah." She agreed softly.

"Can you… can you come with us? With me?"

"What do you mean?"

"Just for a couple days or something."

"Come with you? Like… your tour thing?" She frowned at him.

"Only for a little while, till I get this shit settled." He said quickly.

"JC I can’t do that." She shook her head. "I’ve got my job, and I’m moving and everything. Plus Dr. Grayson would crap a cat if she found out I was ditching therapy to help out another of her former patients."

"But I need you." He said, sounding desperate.

"No you don’t." Sara shook her head and tucked her hands in her pockets. "You can do this JC, and I can help you. But I can’t just drop everything and hop on your tour bus with you."

"But Sara…"

"I’ll tell you what JC, you go on with your shows and things for a couple days, you can call me whenever you want to or need to. If after a week or whatever you really don’t think you can do this, we can uh… we can talk then."

JC sighed, she was making perfect sense but he didn’t want to go that week. "I can’t just tell you now that I need you to come out in a week?" He smiled shyly.

"I think you’ll be okay after a week. You won’t be as scared or whatever. I can help you over the phone like you did for me. That can work, you know?"

"If you ever needed me there you know I would have been on the first flight."

"And that’s all I can offer you right now JC. If you need me there, I’ll be there. But you’ve got a great support group here, don’t let that go to waste."

"They don’t-"

"Yeah they do." Sara smiled. "You underestimate them. They understand you better than you think."

"I’m not gonna be cured after a week on the phone."

"Nope." Sara shook her head and thought for a minute, "This is going to take a while, there’s no quick fix for suicidal feelings, you know that. But since going back to Wycroft isn’t an option here, and since I can’t come with you… your only other choice is to get a doctor to come with you and counsel you."

"I don’t want some stranger coming in here, I can’t trust that."

"Then JC, this will have to work." She crinkled her forehead with a sad look.

"Okay." He said softly.

"Okay." She smiled quickly and looked at her watch, "Crap… I've gotta go to work." She shook her head and ran her fingers through her hair. "Are you… you're sure you'll be okay?"

"Yeah." JC nodded slowly as he looked at his shoes.

"I'm sorry, JC, really… but I can't, I really can't miss work." She reached for the door behind her and grasped the handle.

"No... no, it's okay."

"I get off at 8:30 tonight… if uh, if you want to call me then."

"We'll be on the road I think." JC frowned.

"You can still call if you want." She smiled.

"Okay." He laughed softly and stood up to walk over to where she stood. "I'll give you a call later."

"You're gonna be okay." Sara said softly as worry creased her forehead. "I'll uh… I'll see you soon."

JC smiled and reached out to touch her arm, "Yeah." He hesitantly pulled her into a hug and rested his chin on her shoulder, "Thanks for being here Sara. Really."

"You're welcome." She smiled into his chest and lightly touched his side as she tensed up.

"You still don't like hugs?" He asked, not letting her go.

"I'm uh… I'm just not used to it." She whispered.

"Do you want me to stop?" He relaxed his arms a tiny bit as she shook her head slowly. "I'm all about the hugs." JC laughed quietly and stepped back.

"I've really um… really gotta go." Sara shuffled her feet and looked down at her hand on the doorknob.

JC nodded, "I'll talk to you tonight."

"Okay." She smiled and nodded as she pulled the door open. "Take care of yourself."

"I will." He nodded back and leaned against the door jam. He gave her a small wave as she crossed the room and pulled the door open to leave. She shut the door behind her without looking back and walked quickly down the hall to the elevators.

"Hey!" Justin shouted after her from the other end of the hall. Sara turned around as she hit the call button for the elevator, and cringed. "What'd you say?"

"About…?"

"About coming on the road with us. You're not coming are you?" He asked, still twenty feet away.

"No." Sara shook her head, "I'm not."

"Good. He doesn't need that, you know." Justin stopped a few feet away and stood his ground. "We can get him through this, we know him a lot better than you."

Sara was silent for a minute, then calmly nodded and said, "I sure hope so, because up till now the four of you haven't been supportive at all. I hope that you've changed and have realized that JC is not better, and is in fact worse. I hope that you can all be grown up enough to know that whoever he turns to for help, is who he thinks he needs, and whether that’s me or you or Joey or Martha Stewart… that's his decision. But mostly I hope that whatever he decides to do about this, that you guys will be the great friends and brothers that I'm sure you are… and respect his choice."

"We've always been there for JC." Justin said, defensively crossing his arms over his chest.

"Oh yeah? Then explain to me why for the last year not one of you have asked about his attempted suicide, or how he's doing?" Sara stepped onto the elevator and turned back to face the stunned Justin. "I'm not trying to be a bitch, I'm just pointing out the obvious. I'd rather think that "Brothers" would care enough to check up on their buddies, and not let them hack their arms to shreds." She finished her sentence as the doors shut in Justin's face. She got the satisfaction of seeing his jaw drop before the shiny chrome doors reflected her image back at herself.

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

"Dude, Sara… I don't know what you said to Justin, but he's joining Joey's 'let's hate Sara' club." JC said that night when he called. It was almost ten and Sara was just sitting down to dinner. She poured milk in her peanut butter captain crunch and pulled the phone cord across the kitchen to the bar.

"Great." Sara sighed and tapped the spoon on the counter. "So how uh... how was the rest of your day?"

"It sucked. Justin just kept staring at me, Joey wouldn't talk to me, Chris tried too hard to make everyone laugh. Lance was the only semi normal one, but even he was kinda on the edge."

"Did you guys have to work?"

"Yeah, we had some appearances and photo stuff." JC pulled his knees up to his chest as he sat in the shower of the tour bus, the only place he could have some privacy.

"You're doing okay though?" She took a bite and tried not to chew into the phone.

"Yeah." He said softly. "I almost wish I hadn't said anything though. I mean, they're treating me like I've grown a third arm or something."

"Well… they're still getting used to the idea that they've been wrong about you." Sara swallowed and continued, "You've probably freaked them out."

"I know, but still."

"But still nothing, give them a day or two." She took another bite and chewed slowly. "Of course, I'd be willing to bet you're hiding off somewhere and not putting yourself around them, right?"

JC looked around at the tiny bathroom and laughed, "Yeah."

"So how's that helping anything?" Sara smiled.

"It's not. I know. I just don't wanna talk about it right now."

"Ooooh JC… poor poor JC. That's kinda the point don’t you think?"

"Yeah yeah, I know." JC yawned and rubbed his eyes. "How was your day?"

"I went to work and stood for eight hours then came home. But it's all good now, I've got my captain crunch and my sprite, I'm happy."

"Is that all it takes to make you happy?"

Sara thought for a minute, "Yep. And the remote control. And warm socks. See? I'm easy to please."

"Hrmm, I wish that was all it took."

"Well try it. Go grab a bowl of cereal, the remote and a pair of socks."

"All we have is sugar cereal, and I already ate." JC laughed, enjoying the feeling.

"Sugar cereal is the best for dessert." Sara laughed and took another bite.

"You'd get along fine with Joey then."

"Yeah, if he didn't hate me I'm sure we would." She laughed and wiped her mouth.

"True." JC nodded. "So um… I can call you anytime I start to panic?" He asked a minute later.

"Yeah." Sara nodded and took a sip of the milk in her bowl. "Anytime. You know that."

"Okay." He nodded. "What if you're at work?"

"That's what my cell phone is for."

"Hrmmm."

"Are you trying to get me to say there's ever a time when you can't call?"

"Is there?"

"No." Sara sighed. "You can call me at 3 in the morning, while I'm working AND in the shower, and that's okay with me. As long as it's important. If you call me at three in the morning to say 'hi', I'll have to punch you in the nuts."

"Ouch."

"Yeah. Ouch." Sara laughed and stood up to rinse her bowl out in the sink. "Well JC, if you're doing okay for tonight, then I'm going to let you go. You've been yawning in my ear for the last five minutes, and I've gotta be up early tomorrow."

"Okay." JC said reluctantly. "I'll call you later then?"

"Give me a call tomorrow."

"I will." JC smiled and leaned his head against the thin linoleum wall. "Thanks again."

"If you keep thanking me I'm going to choke you." Sara laughed. "Just say good night and hang up."

"Geez, you're so mean." JC laughed.

Sara smiled, glad to hear him laughing and hoping he meant it, "Good night, JC."

"Good night, Sara." JC hung up the phone and pulled himself off the hard floor. He stumbled back into the sitting area where the conversation immediately stopped. JC stood in the little doorway and stared down at his friends for a minute, knowing that they had been talking about him. "I'm uh, gonna turn in. Keep it down out here, okay?" JC forced a smile and tried to hide his uneasiness as he stepped over Chris and Lance's legs on the way to the bunks. He climbed up into his bed with only the sound of the tires on the pavement following him.

JC took his jeans off and dropped them over the side of the bunk and pulled the thin blanket up to cover his bare legs. He lay in the darkness running his fingers over the barely noticeable scars on his inner arms, and tried to lull himself to sleep.

 

JC tossed and turned for most of the night, finally forgetting about sleep, he pulled his blanket off his bunk and hobbled out to the sitting area. He took his backpack down from the overhead cabinets and sat on the couch as he sorted through all the crap he had stashed in there. JC pulled Sara’s journal out and smiled as he leaned back in the chair and propped his feet up on the chair opposite him. He flipped forward to where he had left off the other night and began to read again.

 

 

Dear diary, Thursday 8:20pm or so. "Friends" is almost over.

Okay. That was weird. I had a headache today and when I told Dr. Grayson she handed me an aspirin. As soon as the thing hit my hand I like had a panic attack or something. I couldn’t breathe, I totally saw stars. It was so scary I felt like I was having a heart attack or something, and Dr. Grayson just sat there and looked at me! I was like, "help me out here, cant you see I’m dying??" But she just sat there and kept saying that I was okay. What the hell is wrong with me? And to top it off, I lost the pills so I still have a raging headache. Great huh? - Sara

9:04pm

I know what it was. I haven’t touched a pill since the night I chugged them. Maybe actually holding one in my hand again kinda made me think about doing it again. But I wonder why I didn’t just pop it and get it over with. What was that about? Shit… maybe I don’t want to kill myself anymore? Jesus how scary would that be? - Sara

It’s the middle of the night and my clock died. How ironic.

I was kidding. Back there in the last part. I don’t really want to kill myself anymore. And no, that has nothing to do with Dr. Grayson. I haven’t wanted to kill myself for a while now. Weird. It’s kind of weird not having a feeling that I’ve had for so long, you know? I guess maybe JC helped more than I thought. Fucking nuts man. He does something as stupid as just being my friend and I’m cured? Nah, it can’t be that simple. I’m missing something here. Maybe you know? Do you know, oh little book of mine? Nope. I didn’t think so. JC? Do you know? Why don’t I want to kill myself? And why can’t I touch a pill without going ape shit? Damn I wish I could ask you. - Sara

 

JC frowned and ran his knuckle over his bottom lip, he'd definitely felt the same way about razors, or anything sharp for that matter. He hadn't been able to use anything other than Joey's electric shaver for the longest time, and even now he still had issues.

He sighed and rubbed his eyes as he grew more tired. Most of Sara's journal entries were just filled with daily stuff at Wycroft, and a lot of bitching about the other "wackos" that were there. JC read every word and almost felt as though he was violating her trust by peeking into her private world, but she'd given him the book to read. He rationalized his guilty feeling by telling himself he was obligated to read what she'd asked him to.

JC pulled the blanket up to his chin and turned sideways on the couch so that the little clip on light cast its glow on the pages in front of him. He held the journal with one hand and read the next couple entries. When he finished the third one, his heart leapt into his throat,

Dear JC,

It’s a lot easier to do it this way – I mean since I refer to you all the time anyways. It makes more sense to address these to you. Really – who’s this "diary" guy and why does he care? Or she… I guess it could be a she. Anyways… I was talking to Dr. Grayson today and your name came up (as it occasionally does in our sessions hahah) and I realized that I never told you about my dream, even after you shared it with me, so I guess I can start off doing that. Yes, I am aware that you’re just a book, but hey – therapy is therapy right? Don’t answer that. Okay… here goes.

In my dream I succeed.

Yep, I do it… I do it exactly the same as I did in real life only I succeed. How fucked up is that????? But like you said, I’m sort of standing there watching myself, which… I’ve gotta tell you, is a weird ass feeling. So I’m watching myself sit there on my bed just… rotting I guess. Not doing anything except thinking about how to throw my parents. I’d thought about suicide before, who hasn’t? But I was actually thinking about it. So I watch myself walk around the whole house grabbing anything in a little orange pill container thingy, and I’m like, telling myself where to look next. So I get them all together on my bed and I’m looking at it all, and the little voice inside my head (it’s my voice you freak – I'm not a total schizzo) says – that’s not gonna cut it. So I go back through the house and I get any kinds of pills I can find. Laxatives, Advil, dexatrim, it didn’t matter, if it was small and swallowable I was going to down it. So I get them all together on my bed and I poured them all out and wow, there were soooo many colors. It looked like M&Ms or something.

I’m rambling now… anyways – so then the voice in my head says – yeah but you wanna make it a sure thing? Go get that booze in your closet. Yeah… I kept a stash in there for when I couldn’t handle the parents. Oooh rebel. So I got that down and sat on my bed and actually broke the pills up into sizes and colors then just started taking one from each group and swallowing them. Three… four at a time, it didn’t matter. Before I knew it I had swallowed about half of the pills on my bed and almost the whole bottle of vodka. I felt like I was going to barf, which I knew would just make the whole evening fucking pointless, so I chased it all with a shot of everclear and lay down on my bed of pills and pill bottles and went to sleep.

Only… the dream me is just standing there watching me. And my mom doesn’t come home from the club early or anything, and it’s like I can feel the me on my bed trying to get up, to wake up or move or… or anything, but the dream me just watching doesn’t do anything but watch. Then… well then I watch my body rapidly turn into like a mummy because no ones come to find me and that’s when I wake up. Yeah yeah yeah, I know, real deep. But anyways. There you go. Mr. JC book man.

So how are you? Lovely weather we’re having, huh?? - Sara

 

 

JC frowned and marked the page in the journal, he could not believe Sara had that dream, that horrible dream, every night that she was in Wycroft. He had no idea how she survived reliving that every sleeping moment.

If Sara could get past that… he could surely overcome this. He sighed with resignation and reached up to switch the tiny light off, he'd read enough.

 

Chapter 4

 

Copyright � 2001 Amy Lynn