When the show was over, Sara was hustled out to the bus with the guys to head out to the next city on their tour. It was going to be a long drive, and they wouldn’t arrive in Nashville until close to one o’clock the next day.

Not wanting to press her luck with Joey and Justin, Sara set herself in a corner on the bus and kept quiet as they all settled in for the night. She was getting used to the routine; Lance, JC and Joey would head to the back to get things situated and change if they needed to, while Chris and Justin would fall onto the couch and launch into a playful argument about who was cuter or turn on the Pokemon video game. After a few minutes the three would emerge from the back and Lance would get something to drink, Joey would butt into the video game and JC would come and join Sara on the far end of the couch. That kind of predictable-ness was comforting to Sara and she watched with a satisfied smile.

"So how’s it going?" JC sat down beside her and slapped her knee.

"Good." Sara nodded. "You?"

"Good, but I’m dead tired man."

"Yeah." Sara smiled and looked at the guys on the floor by her feet. They were laughing and playing their video game, but they looked only half awake. "Do you get to sleep in tomorrow since we’ll be on the bus all day?"

"Pretty much, yeah. Chris and I have phone interviews like at eleven or something, but we don’t have to get up early or anything." JC covered his mouth as he yawned.

"We what?" Chris asked as he tore his eyes of the TV screen. He tossed his controller to Joey and pulled himself onto the couch beside JC. "We have to get up early for what?"

"No, we don’t have to get up early."

"For what?"

"For our phone interviews tomorrow."

"I thought that was in the afternoon?" Chris asked, confused.

"Yeah, like eleven."

"That’s not early." Chris frowned.

"I know, that’s what I said." JC laughed.

"Okay I’m losing my mind then. I’m going to bed." Chris shook his head and laughed as he stood up to head toward the back of the bus. He thwapped Joey and Justin on the back of their heads as he passed them, then pulled the drape closed behind him.

The others stayed up for a while longer, then they too wandered back to bed. JC began his almost nightly ritual of reading Sara’s journal. He was becoming more comfortable with invading her privacy, and was actually feeling a lot better knowing that she had made it okay, and so would he.

He read a few pages, then came to an entry that was so "Sara" that it made him smile.

 

 

Dear JC, 12:12am

I am officially not a "student" anymore. I saw Dr. Grayson for the last time this morning. For the last time as a patient anyways. I’m still going there a couple times a week to help counsel the other kids, and my parents and I are going every 2 weeks for family therapy, but that doesn’t really count. They’re only going because they feel obligated to, which I suppose is as good of a reason as any. And believe it or not, I think it’s helping. My mom actually spoke to me today and asked my opinion about something, then didn’t freak because I answered it ‘wrong’ in her book. It was cool… I was like "so this is what a normal family life is like" of course, I don’t expect this to last long, but that’s okay. I think I got used to my family life the way it was this just seems weird. I’m rambling now – ignore me. Hahahah you can’t!!

I saw you on TV last night; you look like you’re doing good. I hope I’m as pulled together as you look. Ha, what are the chances? I think I’ll always think of myself as messed up… is that weird? I mean, I wonder if people who try to off themselves ever feel normal again...if they ever did. See I’m not entirely sure I know what "normal" feels like, so maybe THIS is normal and I just don’t know. Then again, maybe normal doesn’t exist.

I’m reading this book, its called "Dragonfly in Amber" and it’s awesome. I think there must be a book that comes before it though because I’m not getting some of the references, but it’s cool. I haven’t actually read a book since I was at Wycroft. It’s almost been a year, that’s crazy huh? Less than 2 months… I honestly never thought I’d get this far. Without you, or this book version of you, I’m not sure I would have made it. I’m going to have to thank you for that some day. Maybe I’ll give this journal thing to you so you can read it and see how much you really helped. Then again, why would you want to read the psycho writings of me? Oh well, it’s just an idea.

Cassandra and I went to see "Slicer" tonight and it scared the begeezus outta me, I’m sitting here freaking myself out at every little sound, so I think I’m going to go turn on all the lights and turn a funny movie on the TV. Wanna come? Hahah - Sara

 

JC set the notebook down listened carefully. He frowned slightly as he heard Justin jump down from his bunk and yawn, then pull the drape leading to the front of the bus back.

Sara looked up from her book as Justin stepped into the little kitchen area, "Hey." She whispered softly, so that he wouldn’t be startled.

"Oh hey." Justin jumped as he saw her sitting on the couch under the tiny light. "Can’t sleep?"

"Nope." She shook her head and held up her book, "But I’m catching up on my John Grisham novels."

"That’s cool." Justin whispered with a small smile. He opened the refrigerator and stood there staring into it for a minute as the bus shifted from side to side.

"How about you? You can’t sleep either?"

"Nah, I’ve got stuff on my mind." Justin kept his eyes on the orange juice carton in front of him.

Sara kept quite for a minute, debating with herself, "Is there uh, anything I can help with?"

"Not really, it’s girl problems." He laughed lightly and shook his head, then shut the refrigerator door. "I’m just letting it get to me."

"I’m a girl, maybe I can help."

Justin shrugged and leaned against the little table. He looked down at his bare feet and shrugged, "Can you explain why girls give you a choice and then get pissed when you choose?"

"Sure, you didn’t pick the right one." Sara smiled.

"If there was a right one, why’d she make me choose between two? I mean, there was a fair chance that I’d choose the wrong one, right?"

"Right." Sara nodded.

"So what I don’t get is why give the choice, why not just tell me what you want?"

"Because girls want guys to know what they want without having to tell them." Sara explained softly.

"They want me to know what they want?"

"Yep."

"That’s impossible."

"Pretty much." Sara nodded.

"So I’m screwed either way?"

"Or… or not screwed." Sara laughed as Justin cracked a smile.

"Good call." Justin dropped himself into the chair across from Sara and sighed. "Any other girl advice?"

"Holding doors open will get you far, compliment her hair, think before you speak and smile flirtatiously a lot." Sara smiled. "Like I’m one to go to on something like this." She blushed quickly and fidgeted with her fingernails. "I’m not exactly a relationship expert, having never really been in one."

"You’ve never been in a relationship?" Justin asked as he leaned back in his chair.

"Not uh… not really. Nothing healthy anyway." She shook her head. "I mean, I’ve had boyfriends before, but nothing…" She shrugged and gave him a nervous smile, "Not anything that’s been good for me."

"Hmmm." Justin frowned slightly.

"But you don’t need the gory details." Sara tucked her hair behind her ear and held her book in her lap.

"What about JC?" Justin asked a second later.

"He’s doing good." Sara nodded. "Nothing major since the little stint a few days ago when he kidded around about cutting himself."

"I mean relationship wise."

"Oh." That took Sara by surprise and she blushed at her own reaction, "I uh, I don’t know. We never really talked about his relationships. I’ve uh, I’ve assumed he’s had girlfriends, I mean… he’s a grown man, I’m sure he has." She cleared her throat quickly, "You’d know better than I would."

Justin smiled at her uneasiness; "I mean you and JC."

"We’re friends." Sara shrugged.

"Really?"

"Yeah." Sara nodded and pulled her blanket up as she swung her legs up onto the couch.

"Nothing more?"

Sara thought about it for a minute, then said, "Yeah, I guess we’re more than friends. We’ve gotten a lot closer you know, just because of the situations we’ve been in. I’d consider him more than a friend." She nodded. "He’s more like my guardian angel." Sara added as an afterthought.

"I’d say you were his guardian angel." Justin said softly. "You know… before you got here we’d just gotten used to JC the way he was, his changing was a gradual thing. But now… now it’s like the old JC is back and we can totally see the change. It’s just a little change, but it’s weird. You know?"

Sara nodded and smiled, "Yeah, I know. I didn’t really know the old JC, but I can see a change too. He’s still got a ways to go though." She said cautiously.

"I know."

"But he’s working on it. And you guys helping him has made a big difference."

"Are things cool with you and Joey?"

"I guess." She shrugged and yawned, "Are uh, things cool with us?"

"Yeah." Justin smiled. "Things are cool with us. I’m glad you’re here to help out with Jace, I’m pretty sure we couldn’t have done this by ourselves."

"You guys really underestimate yourselves." Sara smiled and scooted lower on the couch. "But thank you."

"You’re welcome. I’ll let you go to sleep now." Justin stood up and stretched his arms over his head. "G’night Sara."

"Good night Justin." She said softly as he leaned over her and switched the little light off.

JC smiled in his bunk, he was happy to see Sara getting along with everyone, even if Joey was still being kind of weird, at least Sara considered things ‘cool’ between them. Justin was right though; she was his guardian angel.

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

Several days later Sara was helping the wardrobe ladies set up the racks in the dressing room before the show. The guys were taking some down time to play basketball out back or just hang out and relax. Margie, one of the ladies, sent Sara to the break out room to try to track down a missing jacket that was last seen on Justin in that room an hour before.

Sara wandered around the backstage area trying to remember where the tiny breakout room was. She passed the green room, the media room, the half a dozen storage rooms, and finally the breakout room. She sighed with relief and pushed the heavy door open.

The door banged against the wall as it swung open much easier than she expected. Joey looked up from the table, startled. "Whoa… oh hey sorry." Sara started to back out of the room. She had the door halfway shut when she noticed the exacto knife in Joey’s hand. Her heart skipped a beat as her lips went cold, "Joey uh… what… what’s going on?"

Joey stared at the blade for a second, then looked up at her, "JC never told us why he cut his wrists in the first place. I was just thinking how far I’d have to go to actually cut myself. I mean, what would it take to get me to that point?" Sara was silent for a minute as she kept her eye on Joey. The TV generation child inside wanted to leap forward and swipe the blade from Joey’s hand, the scared old Sara wanted to turn and shut the door… but either way, she didn’t move.

"That’s um… Joey that’s different for everyone." She looked down at his hand as he spun it between his fingers. "Can you put that down please?" She asked nervously.

Joey let the steel knife fall to the table, then ran his hands through his hair, "So what pushed JC over the edge?"

"I think you should talk to J- "

"I can’t talk to JC about this." Joey looked up angrily, "Because what if it was me? He wouldn’t tell me that. He’d tell you that. I’m asking you because you’re the one he talks to when he can’t talk to me."

"Joey, it’s not one person or one thing that brings someone to suicide. It’s a culmination of a dozen things, or a hundred things." Sara shut the door behind her and crossed the narrow room to where Joey was sitting at the table. She pulled up a chair across from him and placed the exacto knife on the floor.

"I wasn’t going to slice myself open." Joey rolled his eyes.

"I didn’t want to have to stare at it." Sara explained softly. "You want to know why JC tried to kill himself? I can tell you what I think."

"Yeah."

"He’s not perfect." Sara shook her head and shrugged. "And I know you know that, and I know no one expects him to. But that’s how he feels."

"He’s a perfectionist."

"He’s afraid to fail." Sara nodded. "Terrified."

"That’s stupid, we all fail." Joey squinted up at her.

"I know. But to him that’s not okay. People expect more from him. He’s the good looking teen pop star who’s got all his shit together, who’s always on top of things, with the perfect little life and the career, cars, houses… whatever."

"We all get that."

"I know." Sara nodded. "I’ve seen that much these last couple weeks. But you guys can shrug it off a lot easier than JC. I mean, when you mess up at soundcheck, how long does that bother you?"

"A couple minutes or whatever. Depends on my mood."

"Okay with JC, it bothers him for days… weeks."

"Shit…" Joey sighed and rested his head in his hands.

"I know when JC and I first started to talk about his attempted suicide, it was months after he got out. He had said that he felt like he had lost himself in the band, and that he was tired of bending to their expectations. To the fans expectations, or your management, or whoever. He wanted to be able to do what he wanted or to not go out at night if he didn’t want to. He wanted to be able to do anything without having the world comment on it or tell him what to do. He felt like he was always being told "do this, go there, be this way" and that just finally got to him. So he did something that no one told him to do, the ultimate rebellion you know? A big f-you to the powers that be."

"And to us." Joey said softly.

"He didn’t see it that way." Sara shook her head. "He didn’t try to kill himself to punish you guys."

"What about the whole arm thing? I mean, later?"

Sara took a deep breath, she really wished he’d talk to JC about this. "I don’t know exactly."

"Isn’t that why you’re here?"

Sara stared at him for a second, "He wasn’t specific, but mostly it was the same type of things." She said evenly. "Cutters usually do it to release another kind of pain… or to kind of… prove to themselves that they’re human. For lack of a better way to describe it. I think that’s what JC was getting at."

"What does that mean?"

"You guys are treated like you’re not human. All of you are. You’re told what to do and how to be, you’ve achieved godlike status for doing what you do well."

"We’ve worked hard to get here." Joey scowled.

"I know that Joey. I’ve seen you guys bust your asses out there. But from an outsider’s point of view, you’re not real. Think about when you were a kid, right? Michael Jackson was totally out of reach."

"Yeah but he was still human."

"I know, but honestly, wasn’t he on some whole other planet than you? I’m not talking about thinking someone is an android or an alien or whatever… just… like beyond human." Joey shrugged. "That’s how your fans see you. That’s how a lot of people see you, whether you feel it or not. You’re life is so different than theirs that you’re not even on the same level."

"But we’re still us."

"Yeah, I know. That was JC’s problem, he began to feel that separation with the real world. He was so wrapped up and I guess, I don’t know, brainwashed? That’s a terrible way to put it, but do you know what I’m getting at? He’d cut himself to show himself that no matter what he was still human. Still breakable."

"But we’re all like that. Why couldn’t he come touch base with us? We’ve always been each others link to reality. That’s why we’re so close." Joey frowned and sighed.

"After his stay at Wycroft things were tense between you five. I’m guessing. I mean, you all never really came to terms with the fact that he came so close to ending everything." Sara hoped she was making sense to Joey, because she wasn’t even sure she knew what she was talking about. "Consciously you knew." She tapped her head, "But you didn’t see."

Joey took a deep breath and immediately got defensive, "We di – ‘

"I’m not saying that’s your fault entirely. There was a lack of communication there on everyone’s part. You guys were scared to ask JC about it and he was scared to force the issue. That’s why it’s so great that you guys are actually talking about it now. You should really be talking to JC about this, he needs to know that you’re concerned about this."

"How do you do that though? Just walk up and go, "So Jace, you feel like cutting yourself lately?" I mean come on."

"No… that’s not what I mean. Just…" Sara sighed and tried to think of how to put it. "Just be aware of each other, ask them how they’re doing and mean it. Not just for JC, for all of you guys. This pressure and everything isn’t exclusive to JC, you’ve all got it."

"Then why haven’t we all tried to slit our wrists?"

"Because you handle it differently." Sara shrugged. "But just because Chris handles it by goofing around and jumping off things, doesn’t mean he doesn’t need you to ask him every now and then."

Joey nodded in response and met Sara’s eye, "How’d you get so smart about this?"

"I’m not." She shook her head. "That’s just what I’d want. It’s what I do want." She shrugged and cleared her throat, "I guess being a little loopy in the head comes in handy sometimes huh? Suicidal people are the best counselors for other suicidal people."

"Are you still suicidal?"

Sara smiled, "It’s kind of like being an alcoholic. You may quit and never drink again, but you’re always an alcoholic." She shrugged and stood up, "Bad analogy. Are you gonna be okay?"

"Yeah." Joey nodded.

"No more playing with razors?"

"I was just thinking about it."

"That’s a dangerous place to be."

"I mean I was thinking about how bad it’d have to get… not about suicide."

"That’s still a dangerous place to be." Sara looked down at her shoes, then towards the door. "If you want to think about that again, go get one of the guys… they can break it down for you."

"I know." Joey said softly.

"Okay." She nodded, and shut the door behind her. Justin's green jacket completely forgotten, she snuck out to the buses to be alone.

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

They made it to Chicago early the next morning and spent the day running around taping a guest appearance on Oprah, then doing a tour of a new museum, a photo shoot on the river and two meet and greet type things for their fans. By the time they got to the venue they were all exhausted, yet somehow the boys managed to pull another great show out of their hats.

Sara watched from her position beside the stage with her arms crossed. She had seen the show so many times over the last couple weeks that she was beginning to memorize the words and dance moves. The songs were driving her crazy; she had no idea how they did the same thing day in and day out. After the show she decided to ask them as they piled in the bus to go back to the hotel.

"Hey, don’t you guys get tired of singing the same songs every night?"

"We don’t sing the same songs every night." Chris laughed.

"Yes you do. All the shows that I’ve seen anyway."

"Okay but we change the order around a little."

"No you don’t." She laughed and shook her head.

"Yeah we do, sometimes we end the show with "Bye bye bye" and sometimes we end it with the extended version of "Bye bye bye." There’s a difference you know." Chris laughed as he collapsed onto the couch.

"But why don’t you guys ever sing the "Somewhere" song, that’s like, the one song by you that I love and I haven’t heard you sing it yet."

"Somewhere… out there… beneath the pale moon light! Someone’s thinking of me… and loving me… tonight." Chris sang in a little kid’s voice.

"Very cute, I mean your song."

"What song?" Justin asked.

"Somewhere?" Chris asked.

"Somewhere there’s a break in the weather…" Justin sang perfectly on key. "That one?"

"Yeah!" Sara smiled. "Why don’t you sing that one in your show?"

"It’s not on our album." Justin frowned.

"Yeah it is… I’ve heard it before."

"It’s not on this album though." Justin pointed out.

"What?" JC asked as he walked over and sat on the couch beside Sara.

"Somewhere, someday."

"Yeah?" JC looked confused.

"How come you guys don’t sing that one in concert?" Sara asked again.

"The Wycroft top ten?" JC laughed, remembering the journal entry about the song from weeks ago.

"Yeah." Sara laughed with him. "I mean, it’s a great song, it’s the one I like."

"The one?" Chris laughed.

"I’m not a big boyband fan." Sara raised her eyebrow at them.

"Get her off the bus now!" Joey laughed from the back area.

"Them’s fighting words." Lance shouted back in an exaggerated southern drawl. The guys all laughed and Sara sat back and smiled. So this is what they're like when they're all being themselves?

JC saw Sara smiling and he laughed lightly, she'd somehow managed to get all the guys, including Joey, to back her up and overall it was making a huge difference. He could see the difference in the guys and ion himself too. They were being more open with each other, even about the little things and that was a great start.

"Hey, at least I haven't said anything about your dance moves." Sara said, snapping JC out of his daze.

"Ooooooh no…" Justin shook his head and stood up.

"Don't even go there." Chris laughed.

"There's something wrong with our dancing?" Lance asked as he came out to the main room.

JC laughed and leaned back on the couch, this was how it should be. The argument continued all the way back to the hotel, then they all called a truce in the hallway and went to their own rooms. It had been a long day, and in five hours they got to do it all over again.

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

"This next song is a very special song, and we’d like to sing it for a very special person." Justin said as he pulled his barstool closer to the end of the stage. It was four days after Sara's announcement that she only liked one Nsync song, and they were in New York. There were only three more weeks left on the tour, and the guys were definitely ready to wrap it up. Joey and Lance joined Justin on stage and sat beside him.

"Life on the road can get really hectic and crazy and everything." Lance added, "And sometimes you just need someone to talk to who’s not directly involved, ya know?"

"Yeah." Joey nodded. "And sometimes you need a lot of support from your friends." He smiled off stage as Chris carried his barstool up to the front with the rest.

"There’s this girl that we know, her name is Sara and she’s been the support that we all needed, even if we didn’t know it at first." Chris smiled and adjusted his in ear monitor.

"She originally came out to help JC through some stuff, but even though we resisted it at first, she really helped us all out too." Justin blushed slightly as he saw JC take a very embarrassed Sara by the hand. "So we’d like to sing this song for Sara, because it means a lot to us, and… and it’s one of the only songs by us that she actually likes." He laughed lightly as JC pulled Sara onto the stage and the music started.

"When clouds above you… start to pour, and all of your doubts, rage like a storm. And you don’t know who you are anymore. Let me help you find, what you’ve been searching for. Somewhere there’s a field and a river; you can let your soul run free. Someday let me be the giver. Let me bring you peace. Somewhere there’s a break in the weather. Where your heart and spirit go free. Someday it’ll be for the better, let this bring you peace."

"Girl I know you think no one sees, the weight on your shoulders, but you can’t fool me. And aren’t you tired of standing so tall? Let me be the one to catch you when you fall." JC sang, willing his voice not to crack. He made it through the rest of the song and gave Sara a big bear hug. The others joined in for a small group hug, and then JC took her off the stage.

"You suck." Sara laughed nervously.

"Aww come on, you loved it."

"I almost barfed. There are a bazillion people out there!"

JC looked back over his shoulder quickly; "I'm glad you didn't." He laughed quickly; "I’ll see you after the show."

"Have fun." She laughed and waved as he turned to run back to where the others were standing.

Sara watched from the sidelines for the rest of the show, unable to wipe the smile from her face. The last couple days had felt like she was on a vacation, rather than on a help mission. She tried not to think about it, but she knew she’d have to leave soon. She’d been away for almost three weeks, and she had rent to worry about… not to mention a job. Sara frowned and pushed that from her mind, she just wanted to enjoy the night.

When the show ended the guys cleaned themselves up then mingled backstage for a little while before they were shuttled back out to the bus. They’d lost track of where they were and where they were going, all they knew was that they were headed south. The guys were unusually energized after the show and could hardly contain themselves as they piled onto the bus.

"You should have seen your face Sara, you looked like you were about ready to blow chunks." Lance laughed as he fell back into the chair.

"I was, I swear. I don’t do well in front of crowds and that was the biggest I’ve ever seen." She placed her hand on her stomach as it did flip flops remembering.

"So we can’t do it again tomorrow?" Chris asked.

"Um. No." Sara covered her mouth as she yawned. "I don’t think that’d be a good idea."

"Who’s tired?" Justin shouted from the back.

"Not me!" Chris bounced up from his seat and turned the Playstation on.

"Not me." Joey said from the bathroom.

"Not me." JC laughed and sat at the table in the little kitchen area.

"I am." Sara yawned again.

"I am too." Lance agreed as he headed for the back.

"You guys are wimps." Justin laughed as he came out with his hair covered with a baseball cap. He sat on the far end of the couch and reached for the extra controller as he and Chris began their nightly game.

"You guys can stay up all you want, I’m going to bed." Sara stood on the couch to reach her blanket and pillow from the cabinets. She made a big scene, shaking the blanket out and hitting Justin in the head with it, then she lay down and put her feet in his back.

"Watch your feet, Sara." Justin frowned over his shoulder.

"You’re on my bed." She grumbled back.

Sara pulled the blanket up to her shoulder as JC sat on the floor by her head; "I’ll shoo them off to bed in just a little bit." He said softly.

"It’s okay." She sighed. "I can’t believe you did that to me tonight."

"You didn’t have fun?" He asked with a small smile.

She tried to suppress it, but a tiny smile escaped, "Maybe a little."

"Yeah, I thought so." He smiled and bent his knees up to his chest, resting his arms across his kneecaps. His heart sank for a second as he watched Sara get herself comfortable on the couch; so many things had changed since she got there. He was feeling better than he had in years, and he had no doubt it was all thanks to Sara; she'd helped him in more ways than she thought.

Sara closed her eyes and tried to block out the sounds of the guys playing video games as JC watched the TV screen with a blank stare. He’d glance over at Sara every few minutes, just taking in the sight of her. So many things had changed.

The guys played and chatted for a little while before they called it a night and headed for the bunks. JC waited a few extra minutes, then he followed them to the back and yawned as he hoisted himself up into his bed and got situated. He pulled Sara’s journal out from under his pillow where he’d kept it for the last few weeks. He only had a dozen more pages to read, and he was saving them for a special night. He felt as though when he finished reading Sara’s journal, he would be finishing up their relationship… and he didn’t want it to end. But he knew after the show that it was time. He turned to his marked page, and slowly began to read.

Dear JC, Monday 8:45am

Nothing major has been going on lately. You know what though? Dr. Grayson is like, totally normal. She’s human and I don’t know when that happened. She’s always been this psycho manic head shrinker and now out of no where, I know where she’s coming from. Shit. Maybe I was really whacked and now I’m turning normal. Oh please God don’t let that be it. Please don’t let me be turning into Dr. Grayson. AHHHHH!

Well, I haven’t talked to you in about three weeks. And your cell phone is still nonexistent. I forgot to mention that last time so I guess for now I’ve just gotta wait for you to call me back again. I saw on MTV that your tour is starting, wow, this week I think. Or next week. Either way, it’s really soon. I’ll bet you’re really excited about that, it sounds like a bunch of fun.

I just… this is gonna sound bad, and I hope that you don’t take this wrong. Not that notebooks can take things wrong, but you know what I mean. This has been on my mind a lot and this book is where I come to spill my thoughts, right? Right. No need to answer. Okay… last time you were on tour you got so stressed or whatever that you tried to off yourself. And now you’re going back on tour again. I just hope that you’ll be okay. Which is ridiculous because out of the two of us you’re the most stable, and I’m sure you’ll be fine. I mean, Jesus, just look at you. You’ve got your life back together. I’m the one that’s forever messed up. But anyways, it’s just a thought itchin in my mind. I hope you’re okay.

Enough about you, now on to me. I’m moving into Cassandra’s building in 6 weeks. She talked to the landlord guy and worked it out so that I get a little break on the rent in exchange for keeping the little plant areas in front of our places looking nice. I don’t know what’s gonna go on with that though because I somehow manage to kill my SILK plants… I don’t know if anything that’s alive will stand a chance. But oh well. It’s worth a shot.

It’s gonna be weird living on my own. I’ve never done that you know? I’m a little worried about what’ll happen. Will I slip again? Will I have to swallow my pride and crawl home after a month? This is just something huge, ya know? But that’s what Dr. Grayson is there for I guess. And Cassandra. She’s been a big help too. She seems so much more together than I feel. Hahahah. Anyways. That’s enough for now, I have to go to work. Did I mention I have a job? Go me. - Sara

"Go you." JC whispered with a smile. It was eerie just how right on Sara had been about him going back on tour, she’d been right about a lot of things in her little journal. He read for another half hour before he came to the final entry. He stared at it for a few minutes before taking a deep breath and starting at the top.

Dear JC, Thursday 10:16pm

Well JC, I’m going to see you in a week. One week, wow. I couldn’t get out of work to go see you when you’re actually here in LA, so I’ve gotta drive my happy ass down to San Diego, but it’ll be worth it to see the look on your face. I wonder if you’ll recognize me?

Also, this is going to be my last little letter thing in here. This whole thing started as therapy for me. Okay well no. It started so I could get out of having to see Dr. Grayson 9128317 times a week; it turned into therapy though. But… now I don’t think I need this. Mr. JC book man thing. I think that you’ve served your purpose, and I’m pretty much just babbling in here now. I’m going to keep a journal, because hell, this is fun. But you... my favorite little binder with the stickers on the front, are done. So let me end this on a high note (music lingo thrown in there, see? Damn I’m good)

Remember last time we talked? Well, of course you don’t. You’re a book. But the real JC, he’d remember. Anyway, you talked about how you are constantly changing your life’s soundtrack? With songs to fit whatever moment you're in, or whatever you’re feeling and stuff? I thought you were weird for saying that, I mean really, who runs around thinking of songs that go with their life? Like music playing in the background of a movie. You’re just nuts.

But now, check this out. Now you’ve got me thinking in songs. I heard this one today and I had to call the radio station and find out who was singing. It’s some Sara McLachlan chick (great name if I do say so myself), so I ran out to Target and bought the CD. The most impulsive thing I've done since my last handful of Prozac. Is it possible to wear out CD’s? Because if so I think I may do that with this one. I love it. I insanely love it. It’s great to feel this kind of passion towards something again, even if it is just a song. Anyways, here’s how it goes. I can’t get it out of my head and it makes me think of you. Don’t read too far into it though loverboy.

 

So afraid to love you

More afraid to lose

Clinging to a past that doesn’t let me choose

Once there was a darkness

A deep and endless night

You gave me everything you had

Oh you gave me life…

And I will remember you

 

See? And it makes me all teary eyed too. I can be such a girl sometimes.

But I will you know. Remember you I mean. - Sara

 

JC shut the journal and tucked it under his pillow in the corner of his bed, he was finished. He climbed out of his bunk and quietly shut the drape behind him, then went out to the dark sitting area where Sara was breathing softly in her sleep. He balanced himself on the back of one of the chairs as he rifled through his CD collection as quietly as he could. He found the one he was looking for and slid it into the CD player, then adjusted the volume and skipped forward to the song.

JC sat on the edge of the couch by Sara’s stomach and just watched her sleep, slowly rocking with the motion of the bus. He didn’t need her here anymore, that had been clear for a while now. He had only asked her to stay for himself, for selfish reasons. He knew he would be okay as far as hurting himself if she left, he just didn’t want her to leave just yet. "Sara?" JC whispered softly as Sara McLachlan played softly in the background. He knew what he was about to do ranked high on the cheese scale, but he was going to do it anyway. "Sara?" He asked again, this time reaching out to touch her hand.

Her eyes fluttered open and she stared up at him with a confused look, "JC? Are you okay?" She mumbled.

"Yeah." He whispered with a smile. "Will you dance with me?"

"You’re on crack." Sara said as she pulled the blanket up to her chin and rolled away from him.

"Please? Come on." JC rubbed her arm and shook her lightly.

"You know it’s the middle of the night and it’s hard enough to sleep on this bus without you shaking me and asking me to dance." She whispered loudly, refusing to turn back to him. She took a breath to continue her whispered tirade, then stopped when she heard the music. "You’ve been reading my journal." She turned around and pushed herself into a half sitting position.

"I finished it." JC nodded. "Now will you dance with me? Please?"

"You have lost your marbles. Give me the phone, I’m calling Dr. Grayson." She laughed quietly and shook her head.

"Come on…" JC took her hand and pulled her up as her blanket fell to the floor. She stood there in the middle of the floor in her flannel pajama bottoms and tank top staring up at JC. He smiled down at her and took her hand in his as he pulled her close and swayed to the music.

Sara stood rigid for a minute, then relaxed as his hand warmed her lower back. She slowly turned her head to the side and rested her cheek on his chest as she sunk into him. "This is the perfect song Sara… you’ve got a good ear."

"It was stuck in my head for weeks, thanks for bringing it back." She said sarcastically.

"I’m serious." JC pulled back an inch and looked down at her in the darkness.

Sara stared up at JC for a minute as he slowly smiled, and averted his eyes upward, "What? What are you doing?" She whispered as he looked back at her.

Butterflies took off in his stomach as he laughed lightly, almost nervously, "I don’t need you anymore, Sara."

Her heart sank as the smile fell from her face. She caught her breath quickly and was grateful for the darkness to hide her uncomfortable blush. "I uh…" She let go of his hand and tried to take a step away.

"No, Sara…" JC reached out and held her by her wrist as he pulled her back to him. He laughed again and brushed a stray curl off her forehead. "Wait, listen. I just meant that for this whole thing… you’ve done your part and I really think I’m better. I know I am. I don’t need you anymore, and the only reason you’re still here is because I’ve wanted you here."

"Great, thanks JC." Sara’s forehead creased into a frown as she pried her arm away and knelt to pick up the blanket. If she’d just wasted the last few weeks on him when he didn’t need her, he could kiss her ass. She had a life she had to get back to, and if he didn’t need her she’d leave him alone.

"Wait, Sara?" JC sounded confused. The song started over in the background as he took her shoulder and turned her around to face him.

"Listen JC, it’s great to hear that I’m not needed and all…" She said sarcastically. "But if that’s all you woke me up for, I’d like to go back to sleep now."

"No that’s… Sara that’s not what I meant."

"That’s what you just said."

"No, I know… but that came out all wrong then. I just meant that I don’t need you anym-"

"Thank you." Sara waved at his words, proving her point. She pulled the blanket onto her lap as she sat.

"Let me finish." He sat beside her, but she scooted away. He raised an eyebrow at her and smiled, "It’s not a matter of need anymore, I can do okay without you." His words didn’t brighten her day at all. "But… I don’t want to. I’ve been afraid to tell you that because I thought you’d leave."

"Well according to you, you’d do just fine if I did."

"I don’t want you to." He shook his head and smiled. He reached out and covered her hand with his. "I’m afraid that if you leave, I won’t see you again, not that I’ll slip back into this downward spiral again."

"JC that’s ridiculous. Of course you’d see me again. If… I mean if you wanted." She frowned at him, but didn’t move her hand.

"I don’t know… we’re both, well… done with each other. You don’t need me anymore, and I don’t need you. But on the other hand, I do… kind of."

"You don’t need me JC."

"No, I don’t know how to put that." He was quiet for a minute, then said, "Like the song says, I’m so afraid to love you, but I’m more afraid to lose you. That’s… that’s why this song is perfect." He half smiled, "As cheesy as that sounds."

Sara didn’t say anything for a minute, she just pulled at the loose strings on the edge of her blanket, "JC I’m still all messed up."

"No you’re not." JC shook his head. "You just have to stop thinking that way. Come on, you snapped me out of it, you need to snap yourself out too."

"Why would you want to lo- to uh love someone like me?"

"Because Sara… you’re just… I’m not sure. I can look at you and you know exactly what I’m thinking, and you’re just crazy enough to make me smile constantly, and you don’t take any crap from the guys… and because when I think I’m going nuts, you set me straight." JC smiled and traced her fingers with his.

"Then look at me, let me see if I know what you’re thinking." She challenged him. He leaned closed and stared her in the eye, trying not to laugh as he did. She stared for a second then shook her head, "You know what? You’re right, you are nuts." JC laughed softly and looked down at her hands, then leaned closer, bringing his lips only inches from hers, "Don’t kiss me JC." Sara said softly.

"Why not?"

"Because." Sara said, though she didn’t move. "That would ruin everything."

"I just want to say ‘thank you’ for saving me… again."

"Then shake my hand." She said as she looked him in the eye. He smiled and shook his head as he closed the distance and kissed her softly. At first Sara didn’t respond, but after a second she closed he eyes and leaned into JC. He placed his hand on the back of her neck and let her hair fall over his fingers as he continued to kiss her.

When JC finally pulled back he smiled at her and leaned his forehead against hers, "Thank you."

Sara laced her fingers through his on top of the blanket on her lap and whispered, "Thank you."

"I think I love you Sara." JC said softly. He smoothed down her hair with his free hand and smiled at the surprised look on her face.

"No you don’t." She whispered back.

"I think so." He laughed lightly and drew his finger over her bottom lip. "I think so." He repeated, then smiled and kissed her again.

 

(these lyrics were sent to me by a reader, and I really think they fit the story well, so I'm adding them here)

"I'm Movin' On"

by:  Rascal Flats

I've dealt with my ghosts and faced all my demons
Finally content with a past I regret
I’ve found you find strength in your moments of weakness
For once I’m at peace with myself
I’ve been burdened with blame, trapped in the past for too long
I’m movin’ on

I’ve lived in this place and I know all the faces
Each one is different but they’re always the same
They mean no harm but it’s time that I face it
They’ll never allow me to change
But I never dreamed home would end up where I don’t belong
I’m movin’ on

I’m movin’ on
At last I can see life has been patiently waiting for me
And I know there’s no guarentee’s, but I’m not alone
There comes a time in everyone’s life
When all you can see are the years passing by
And I have made up my mind that those days are gone

I sold what I could and packed what I couldn’t
Stopped to fill up on my way out of town
I’ve loved like I should but lived like
I shouldn’t
I had to lose everything to find out
Maybe forgiveness will find me somewhere down this road
I’m movin’ on

I’m movin’ on
I’m movin’ on

 

 

(Part 3: Crazy Love)

 

It's the end… woo hoo! Let me know what you thought J

Back to the completed stories page

 

 

Copyright � 2001 Amy Lynn