Dear JC, Wed. 1:04pm
Well you already know this, I mean, YOU do the real you not you Mr. JC book man thing. Im home! Well, Im out of Wycroft anyways, even though I wouldnt call this rotting place home. Its where I live anyways. For now. My room is still the same as when I left it, but they had the decency to clean the carpet though, so I wouldnt have to stare at my barf stain all day.
You know what? I hate this room. Its way too girly for me, all pink and purple and yellow. Shit, it makes me cringe. Im leaving here as soon as I can though. Im gonna need a job.
Im not totally free though because I still have to go see Dr. Grayson twice a week, which isnt bad, because I can give Wycroft the finger as I leave every time. Hahahah, man Im cracking myself up today.
I just hope that Im okay at home, you know? Its almost like that hellhole was my safety net. I was okay when I was there because there were a dozen other people there that were 10 times more whacked than me but around here, Im it. Im the wacko. Im like the least sane person around here, compared to everyone else. Of course in my little "wacko" head, Im thinking that Im normal. And everyone else is just weird. Im not making any sense now.
So Ive been home for 7 hours and 25 minutes and my mother has already yelled at me for leaving my towel on the floor in the bathroom. In MY bathroom. In the bathroom that only I use. She said, and I quote "You know, if Wycroft hasnt taught you the common sense it takes to hang up a towel when youre done, maybe you need to go back." HELLO!?! Ive been home half a day and shes already threatening to send me back. Lovely. And besides, who the hell said Wycroft was teaching me common sense?! It was supposed to teach me not to guzzle handfuls of pills and booze, not how to pick up towels and kiss ass dammit. Get me the hell outta here. JC COME AND TAKE ME WITH YOU!! Hahah Im kidding. Ive heard your daily schedule. I dont want any part of that. But seriously. I was normal when you were around. As normal as this wacko CAN be I guess. - Sara
JC smiled at the irony, just a few months ago she was begging to go with him, and now that he offered, she wouldnt come. It had been almost a week since JC had his little breakdown with Sara, and hed called her at least once a day since then. He didnt always need her help but just the sound of her voice reassured him, and it always made him smile when he talked to her.
Things were going much better than JC could have hoped, almost too good. The other guys slipped back into the "normal" day to day routine, breakfast together making fun of those still half asleep, wardrobe, photo shoots, Chris goofing around and getting them yelled at, Justin taking the heat for half of his antics, sound check, "misplaced" mics found in Joey's wardrobe kit, hours of dancing, sweating and laughing then falling onto the bus or plane for their next destination with a round of "good night John Boys", then off to sleep. Never once mentioning JC or his problem.
Everyone was getting comfortable again, everyone except JC. He knew from Sara that talking about what happened and what was bugging him was part of the healing process. But the only person who talked to him about it, was Sara.
JC had made a point of wearing short sleeves, or pushing up his sleeves when they were on the bus alone, but the others wouldnt even look at his arms. They made obvious eye contact, or just didnt look his way at all. Their reactions were to be expected, but JC didnt know how to initiate the attention.
After several days of getting back to normal, JC decided to pull at least one of them aside to talk about it privately. He watched the guys through the day to see who would be his first "victim". JC decided that of all of them, Lance would be the easiest to talk to, and probably the most understanding and receptive. If he could get Lance talking about it, maybe that would help the others come around. Talking to Sara everyday helped, but he needed the guys support as well.
JCs mind wandered for the rest of the day, coming up with just the right words to say to Lance, and just the right way to phrase his feelings. Of course, he didnt know how he felt himself so he had that on his mind too.
At the rehearsals that night, JC was not on the ball. He was missing steps hed been hitting for months, his timing was a beat off and his equilibrium was somewhere near his knees. After the fourth time running through "Space Cowboy" JC stepped sideways instead of forward and ran right into Joey for the third time. The other guys were getting annoyed with JC, that much was obvious. Each time he messed up, that tacked another 4 minutes onto their rehearsal time, and they were already 40 minutes over schedule. The show was the next night and if JC kept on messing up, theyd be in rehearsals until then.
"Okay kids screw your heads on straight. Lets do it again, from the lead in. Lets go." Their choreographer shouted from the floor as the music started again.
Without thinking Joey scowled at JC, "You think you can get it right this time? Come on Mr. Perfecto."
JC blushed quickly and averted his eyes, the scolding did nothing to improve his performance, and it was more than an hour later when they finally wrapped up and headed back to the hotel.
JC sat alone in his room and brooded over the rehearsals.
Saras phone rang in her purse as she walked into the theater with Cassandra, "Oh man let me just grab this real quick." Sara sighed and stepped aside as the crowd moved on.
Cassandra had grown used to Sara being on her cel phone more often than not the last week or so, and she knew Sara was getting annoyed. "Ill go get us seats, make it quick."
"I will." Sara smiled and clicked the talk button, "Hi JC "
"Sara Im sorry." JC said softly.
"Its okay." She said, her usual response. She pinched the bridge of her nose and closed her eyes as she leaned against the carpeted wall of the theater. "Whats up?
"Its okay, JC whats wrong?"
"Im sorry." He whispered again, sinking to the floor in his hotel room.
Saras heart skipped a beat, "JC whats wrong? What happened?" She opened her eyes quickly and stood away from the wall. JC didnt say a word but she could hear him breathing deeply on the other end of the line, "God JC, what? Did you hurt yourself?" She asked as she began to feel the panic shed dreaded. "Answer me JC." She held the phone tightly as she walked back out to the bright lobby. "Where are you?" She asked quickly. He mumbled something into the phone that she couldnt understand, "Where are you?" She asked again.
"My room." He said softly as he sniffed softly.
"Are you okay?"
"Yes." JC said through tears. "No."
"Okay, what happened?"
"Im sorry Sara."
"Its okay its okay " She said, more to calm herself than anything. She stepped outside and around the corner of the building where there was less of a crowd. "Are you bleeding?"
"No." He shook his head and pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes as the phone cradled itself between his shoulder and his ear.
"Did you cut yourself?" She asked softly. He didnt respond with anything more than a muffled sob. "Its okay JC. Youre going to be okay." She could feel his panic through the phone line. "What happened?"
"Not good enough tell me what happened." Sara insisted, sounding million times stronger than she felt.
"I dont know." JC shook his head and squeezed his knees to his chest. "I dont know."
"Did you cut yourself?"
"No. Not all the way."
"But you started to?"
"I was close, Sara."
"Were you trying to cut yourself or kill yourself?" She asked after a few silent moments.
"Where did you cut?" She asked quickly.
"By my foot." He whispered.
"Youre going to be okay." She repeated, as though the more she said it, the more hed be okay. "Where are you?"
"In my room." He said again.
"No where? What city?" She mentally went over her checking account balance and cringed.
"Phoenix Arizona?" Sara creased her forehead thoughtfully and glanced at her watch, it was only a little after eight.
"Yeah." JC said softly.
"I can be there in a couple hours, are you going to be okay?"
"Yeah." He whispered with a sigh of relief.
"What hotel are you in?"
"The Hilton Rising." JC let out a shaky breath and tried to calm his nerves, Sara was on her way.
"Ill call you when Im on my way."
"Youre welcome." Sara said softly. "Bye."
"Bye." JC hung up his phone as the tears hed been trying to hold back fell down his cheeks.
Sara sighed and dropped the phone back in her purse as she went back into the theater to find Cassandra. "Hey, Ive gotta go."
"Is it the guy?"
"Hes got himself in a bit of trouble. Ill be out of town for a couple days, so uh Ill call you though."
"Youre seriously leaving town right now?" Cassandra asked as the lights went off in the theater to start the movie.
"I have to." Sara whispered. "Ill call you when I get there." Sara waved as she ducked out of the crowded theater and went to find her car. She swung by her parents house only long enough to grab a small bag of clean clothes and a diet coke before she headed out to Phoenix.
Three hours later Sara was driving down the 10 freeway with her windows down and her radio blaring, trying to keep herself awake. It was only shortly after eleven, but being in the car always made her tired. She reached over and turned her radio down, then picked up the cel phone on the seat next to her. She dialed information in Phoenix and got the number for JCs hotel, then called up to his room.
"Hello?" He answered softly.
"Its me. Im on my way, but itll be another about two hours or so. Are you doing okay?"
"Yeah." JC nodded and took a deep breath.
"Okay." Sara concentrated on the straight stretch of dark highway in front of her. "I uh how am I going to get into the hotel?"
"I already called the front desk, they know youre coming." JC said with a shaky sigh.
"Okay." She nodded and rolled her window up half way, "What does your day look like tomorrow?"
"Full." He ran his fingers through his hair.
"Can you get out of any of it?"
"Yeah, the morning stuff I think I can. But everything else I cant. We have a show and stuff."
"Okay, thats fine."
"Youre driving?" JC asked a minute later.
"Yeah." Sara said, "Eighty miles an hour down the ten freeway."
"Drive careful." He said softly.
"Ill let you go so you can concentrate."
"Okay." She nodded.
"Thanks uh, thank you."
"No problem. Just make sure I dont get arrested when I show up and try to get on your floor."
"You wont." He smiled as tears rose in his eyes again. "Ill see ya."
"Two more hours hang in there." She said reassuringly as she hung up the phone and went back to focusing on the road ahead of her.
Sara yawned and knocked tentatively on JCs door as she looked nervously up and down the dark hallway. She heard him shuffling toward the door and messing with the lock. When he pulled the door open she had to stop herself from cringing, he looked horrible.
"Hey " She said softly as he held the door open. She took two steps in and shut the door behind her before he reached out and pulled her in for a much needed hug.
"Sara, Im sorry." He said as his tears started fresh.
"Its okay JC, its okay." The words fell from her lips easily, shed been saying them all night. Sara tried to relax into his hug because she could tell it was what he needed, but that still came hard for her. She hesitantly placed her arms around his waist and patted his back lightly, "You doing okay now?"
"Yeah I think so." JC whispered and stepped away. His eyes were red and puffy and his hair was a mess. He reached up tentatively and smoothed his hair down as he took a deep breath, "Im a wreck."
"You look fine." Sara smiled at his vanity, but averted her eyes. She watched as his hand began to shake and his breathing became irregular.
"Shit Sara what happened?" He whispered hoarsely.
"You slipped." Sara said softly. "It happens."
"Not to me." JC said with little force.
"Yes, to you." Sara looked him in the eye and held his gaze, "Youre not indestructible, JC."
"Im not this weak."
"JC " She said sadly, "This doesnt mean youre weak." She took his hand and pulled him to the couch where she sat in the corner. "Youre human when are you going to realize that?"
"I know Im human." JC fell into the opposite corner of the couch and pulled his feet up beside him.
"No you dont. You think youre a superhuman. Humans fail all the time but thats hard for you."
"Sara, when I fail, I fail Chris and Justin and Joey and and Lance."
"No you dont JC. You think you do, but you dont. They dont see it that way, youre just too hard on yourself."
"I cant change that."
"Yeah you can." She whispered and smiled at him in the dim light. "So, what happened tonight?"
"I started to cut my leg." He said softly.
"I dont know."
"Yes you do."
"Sara I dont know." He shook his head.
"What were you doing this afternoon?"
"Yeah." JC nodded.
"Did something happen there?" She asked.
JC bent his head and sighed, "I wasnt getting it right."
"Let me see."
"Sara " JC looked down at his bare feet on the couch beside him.
"Come on." She reached over and gently touched the top of his foot. Sara wrapped her fingers around his ankle and pulled it towards her and into her lap as she pushed the cuff of his worn sweat pants up.
Just above his ankle, where the skin was soft and white, there was a small slit. No deeper than a bad paper cut and about 2 inches long. There was a tiny line of blood on the edges but it had since dried and began to flake off.
"Sara, its just "
"No its not just anything." She shook her head and ran her finger over his cut. "This was more than that. You were trying to get rid of your pain JC."
"I dont have pain." He said softly.
"Yes you do." Sara said. "I feel like a hypocrite sitting here telling you what you feel, but JC, thats what this is about. Thats what people who do this are doing."
"People who slice themselves?"
"People who hurt themselves. Whether its cutting, or burning, or starving, or or taking pills. Theyre trying to get rid of the pain."
"What about you?"
"Me too." Sara whispered and looked up to meet his eyes. The room was warm around her and she couldnt tell where her fingertips stopped and his foot began.
"Really?" He asked softly a few minutes later.
She nodded slowly and lay her hand on his shin, "Yep."
"Cool." JC whispered, covering his mouth as he yawned.
"Cool?" Sara laughed lightly.
"You know what I meant." JC sunk deeper into the couch and rested his head on the arm. "Thank you for coming out here Sara really."
"Youre welcome, really." Sara smiled back at him as he closed his eyes and fell asleep, comforted by the weight of her hand on his leg.
Sara sat in the half darkness and watched as JCs breathing slowed down and his hands relaxed from the clenched fists they were in. She was exhausted from the car ride, but she couldnt make herself fall to sleep. Finding no point in wasting energy, Sara removed JCs foot and stood up to switch the light by the bed off, then waited for a minute as her eyes adjusted.
The dark green blanket on the bed was bunched up on one end so Sara picked it up and carried it to the couch. She sat back in her little corner and pulled her knees to her chest as she draped the blanket over herself and JC.
JC lay on his back with his bare feet barely touching Saras thigh. She pulled them onto her lap and lay her hand flat on his ankle, then just stared at him while he slept. His lips moved in slow silent words as his forehead creased for the slightest of seconds. Sara smiled, wondering what he was dreaming about, then without warning, tears rose in her eyes and spilled over onto her cheeks. "JC please dont do this " She whispered as her bottom lip trembled. "Please please dont do this again. I cant do this JC." She cried softly and let all of the emotions of the night envelope her. Her tears trailed down to the tip of her nose before they fell onto the thin blanket. "You scared the shit out of me tonight, and I cant handle that. I cant handle caring so much about someone, about you, if you keep doing this. You of all people JC you know that other people are low on my priority list but somehow youve crawled to the top of mine. Please, please JC, dont do this again." Her voice was barely a whisper as she sniffed softly and wiped her eyes on her sleeve, glad to have finally said something to JC, even though he was asleep and never heard a word.
"JC!" Joey shouted through the door as he tapped incessantly the next morning, "Rise and shine sweet cheeks!"
JC sat up quickly, throwing his feet to the floor before his head cleared and he understood what Joey was shouting. He stood up and used the back of the couch for balance as he hobbled across the room to the door. Sleeping on the couch had left him with the worst leg cramps imaginable. "Yeah?" He croaked as he opened the door, faced with a washed and perky Joey.
"You look like something the cat dragged in." Joey laughed and pushed the door open. He stopped three feet into the room when he saw the honey colored hair over the arm of the couch, "Ahhh you dog!" He whispered loudly as he slapped JC on the back.
"Im calling out this morning, I feel like shit." JC said softly as he tried to guide Joey back to the door.
"Yeah Ill bet." Joey rolled his eyes. "So seriously, kiss her goodbye and let's go. Johnny will have a fit if youre not downstairs and in the ride in 30 minutes."
"Im serious Joey, Im not going this morning. I feel worse than I look and I didnt get any sleep at all last night."
"Well yeah but boning down is never a good excuse, not for Johnny." Joey laughed and grabbed the little bag of cookies left on the little kitchen counter.
"Thats Sara." JC said softly as he took Joeys elbow and led him back to the door. "Tell Johnny that Ill talk to him later, and Ill meet you guys at the venue at two."
"Yeah." JC nodded as Joey reluctantly stepped into the hall.
"When the hell did she get here?" Joey demanded.
"Last night." JC cast his eyes downward and studied the blue and gold design in the carpet.
"Im telling you JC, shes fucking you up. I mean look at you. She shows up and 8 hours later youre calling out for our appearances and you look like a train wreck."
"She only got here four hours ago, and shes not the reason I look like this." JC said, trying to control the hint of anger that flared up.
"Shes nothing but trouble, Jace."
"I cut myself last night." JC said shortly. He looked up and met Joeys shocked eyes. "Thats why shes here." Joey stared at JC as his heart skipped a beat and he blinked. "So tell Johnny Ill talk to him later, and get your head out of your ass." JC said slowly. He didnt wait for a response before he shut the door in Joeys face.
JC turned around and looked his small hotel room over. He was awake now, there was no going back to sleep. He limped over to his backpack beside the bed and pulled Sara's journal out, yet another thing that comforted him when he was down. He pulled the curtains back just a fraction to let in some light, then sat at the head of the empty bed and opened the notebook to the last marked page.
The pages made wing like sounds as he turned them over the next hour. JC found himself absorbed in Sara's daily "normal" life. No cameras, no security, no schedules, no screaming girls, no annoying friends, no sitting on a bus for 12 hours at a time. He wanted Sara's life, more now than ever. She had managed to pull through this whole ordeal and return to a somewhat normal life, meanwhile JC was slipping back to cutting himself and having nervous breakdowns.
He rubbed his eyes after a few pages, then continued
Dear JC, Saturday 11:45am
We just had an earthquake. Like, 2 seconds after I hung up the phone with you. I guess that was my reminder I forgot to tell you something. Dammit.
Well you called again today (really, you dont have to call just to tell me you made it to Miami okay. I trust you when you say youre a good driver) I forgot to tell you again. I keep saying I forgot but I didnt really. I thought about it the whole time you were talking, but how can I just bust in with, "Yeah thats cool, Florida sounds nice. By the way. I took a handful of Prozac last night and had to get my stomach pumped"? Ive gotta tell you. I dont recommend that. They had to shove a tube up my nose, and were not talking about like this tiny nose sized tube either. Were talking the industrial sized roto rooter type tube. It wasnt as fun as last time, maybe because I was actually conscious this time.
As I was barfing my guts out Dr. Grayson walked in, and let me tell you, thats a completely surreal feeling to be watching your insides exit through your mouth while thinking Jesus Christ, if Dr. Grayson could see me now shed shit then looking up to see her standing there. She wasnt shitting though, but I guess thats good. Shes not making me go back to Wycroft either, but I DO have to go back to the three times a week counseling. I told her I was writing in the damn book and she said she didnt care. I could either go see her three times a week, and stay out or I could go back to Wycroft, and still see her three times a week. Naturally I opted to stay the HELL out of Wycroft.
Besides. How much would that suck? For me to tell you I mean. I mean, there you are, over in Florida, getting your life back on track, making all these big plans, thrilled as daisies that I've got my shit together, and I go do something like that? You dont need to hear that now. Im not gonna do it again, so really, whats the point in having you lose what little faith you have in me. Like they say what he doesnt know cant hurt him.
I hope thats true, because I dont want to hurt you. Im gonna have to tell you I guess maybe next time you call. If I forget to tell you next time, remind me. Ha ha. I made a joke. Sara
JC looked over at Sara, asleep on the couch with her knees curled up to her chin and the thin green hotel blanket resting over her shoulders. She didnt look at all comfortable, but she hadnt stirred at all since JC woke up. "So you slipped too." JC whispered from across the room as he smiled slowly and shook his head. "Youre human too." He sighed and turned the page, more anxious than ever to read what shed written to him in her journal.
On to part 5
Copyright � 2001 Amy Lynn