With a loud yawn, JC raised his arms over his head and tightened the muscles in his chest.  At just before seven, Kyle was still asleep and JC was somehow wide awake.  He stood up beside his bed and scratched at his bare stomach as he reached for his cell phone.  If he called Lori before seven in the morning, maybe he'd catch her at home.  He dialed her number and tapped his fingers on the headboard of his bed as it rang through to her answering machine yet again.  "Hey.  It's me again, just uh… checking in.  Bye."  He hung up the phone and sighed as Kyle stumbled blindly out of bed and toward the bathroom.

            "I go potty."  He mumbled as he pushed the bathroom door open and stood on his tiptoes to turn the light on.

            "Don't miss."  JC smiled.

            "Kay."  Kyle yawned and bumped into the wall as he tried to lift the lid.

            "We should just leave that up you know." JC laughed lightly and dropped his cell onto the unmade bed.

            Kyle didn't answer, but a minute later he flushed the toilet then came out of the bathroom yawning.  "Bye."  He grumbled with a slight frown and climbed back onto the bed.

            "Bye?  Where are you going?"

            "Nigh nigh."

            "It's not bed time, it's time to get up."

            "No."  Kyle shimmied his knees up so that his little toosh was up in the air.  "Nigh nigh."  He yawned and closed his eyes against the pillow.

            "Okay, you can sleep for a little while longer."  JC yawned and went to the window to pull the curtains back.  He stared out at the city and scratched at his shoulder.  "Come out come out wherever you are."  He whispered to Lori.

            He cracked the door open a little to let in some fresh air, then grabbed his notebook and laid back on his bed to wait for Kyle to wake up for good.

 

            It was almost eight thirty when Kyle rolled over, yawned and said,  "We have chip muffin and juice?"

            JC smiled and set his notebook aside,  "You want a chocolate chip muffin?"

            "Juice."  Kyle nodded.

            "I think they might have that."  By then he should have known that all hotel room service menus were just about the same and that chocolate chip muffins would not be a problem.  "Let's call and see."

            JC called down and ordered up breakfast for both of them, including Kyle's muffin and juice.  They ate outside on the little walled in balcony and brushed the crumbs over the edge when they were done.  "How about if we go find a park today?"  JC asked as he ate the last bite of Kyle's muffin.

            Kyle yawned and slid off his chair as he nodded.  "Yeah ana swing ana slide."

            "A swing and a slide?  I bet we can find a park with a swing and a slide.  But first you need to get dressed, so let's go back inside and find you something to wear."

            "No."  Kyle giggled.  "I wear jammies."

            "No way Jose.  You'd look pretty silly at the park in your pajamas.  All the other little kids would laugh and say 'look at that little baby wearing his jammies'.  You don't want that to happen, do you?"

            "No."

            "So let's go get dressed."

            "Jammie rule."

            "Yeah, I know you think jammies rule kid… but we've still gotta get you dressed."

            "And Laaaaance."

            "I know Lance thinks jammies rule too.  But Lance is weird."

            "No, you."

            "I'm weird?"

            "Yeah."

            "You're weird."  JC laughed and picked Kyle up to toss him in the air over the bed.  "You're the weirdest kid I know."

            "No way say."

            "Yes way Jose."  JC laughed and set him on the bed.  "Come on.  We really need to get you dressed and stuff."

            "And you?"

            "Yep, I need to get dressed too."  He nodded and went to the dresser against the wall.  "Do you want to wear jeans or shorts?"

            "Deans."

            "Okay."  JC got out Kyle's little button fly jeans and a little t-shirt.  He pulled them on over Kyle's clean Spiderman underwear and said, "Can you find your shoes for me buddy?"

            "My sando?"

            "Nope, get your sneakers.  We're going to a park so you need to wear real shoes."

            "Kay."  Kyle jumped off the bed and began his search for his shoes.

            JC pulled clothes for himself out of the drawers then went into the bathroom.  "Okay, keep looking.  I'm going to take a shower real quick, okay?"

            "Kay."  Kyle nodded as he got on his hands and knees to look under the bed.

            "Okay." JC said softly as he shut the bathroom door half way and started his shower.  Halfway through soaping up JC heard the bathroom door open all the way and a little voice say,  "I find my shoe!"

            "Right on."  JC put the soap down and pulled the shower curtain back a few inches.  "Put them by your clothes for me, okay?"

            "You ina bass?"

            "Yep, I'm taking a shower."

            "Ina bass?"

            JC looked down at his feet,  "Yeah, this is a bath too."

            "I can see?"  Kyle walked over to the side of the tub and looked in.  "Wow daddy."

            "Yep, it's real cool."  JC placed his wet hand on the top of Kyle's head and turned him around.  "Wait for me out there, I'll be out in just a minute."

            Kyle sighed and shut the bathroom door behind him as he left JC to finish his shower in private.  When JC was done in the shower he toweled off then dressed in cargo pants and a short sleeved shirt.  He stepped out into the bedroom barefoot and sat on the bed to tie his shoes.  Kyle climbed up beside him and put his feet in JC's lap to get his own shoes tied.  JC double knotted the little blue sneakers and patted Kyle's knee.  "There you go, we're ready to rock and roll."

            "Roll?"

            "Rock and roll."  JC smiled.  "Like Joey, remember?  Rock and roll!"  JC imitated Joey shouting with a guitar in his hands.

            "Yeah, you silly."

            "Joey's silly."

            "And you."  Kyle smiled and took JC's hand.  "We go."

            "Yep, we go."  JC laughed and grabbed the backpack with the toys as they headed for the door.

 

            After driving around for more than forty minutes, JC finally found a small little park in the middle of a residential area that looked good.  They spent the afternoon there with a handful of other children and stay at home moms or nannies that were there as well.  Kyle shared most of his toys, but became possessive of his favorite green shovel.  After the second altercation, JC finally took it away and put it in the car, letting Kyle use what toys he had left.

            It was almost noon when Kyle went over to where JC was sitting on the edge of the sandbox and climbed up into his lap.  He sighed loudly and looked up at JC,  "I have lunch?"

            "Are you hungry?"

            "Yeah."

            "Okay, well let's head back to the hotel then and we'll get some lunch.  Do you want a sandwich or do you want a happy meal?"

            "Kickin ana toy."

            "Okay."  JC nodded and began to pick up the rest of Kyle's sand toys.  A few happy meals wouldn't hurt Kyle this week; besides, it's supposed to be a vacation.  JC tried to rationalize the fast food of the week as they loaded everything in the car and headed out.  Kyle waved through the window at his new little collection of friends, then rested his head against the back of his seat.  "I just wan see Jussin and Joey."

            "We'll see them in a couple days pal.  When we get back to Florida we'll call them, okay?"

            "Morrow?"

            "Not tomorrow, no.  In a couple days."

            "Kay."  Kyle looked out the window as he pursed his tiny lips and frowned.  JC imitated Kyle's pouty look in the rear view mirror then laughed at the little boy.  "No daddy."

            "Oh don't be a pouty boy now.  We're having fun."

            "No."

            "You're not having fun?"

            "I see guy."

            "I know you want to see the guys, and we'll see them when we get back.  They're far away right now, but we'll see them this weekend.  I promise."

            "I see now."

            "We can't see them right now."  JC shook his head and turned the car back toward the main road so he could look for a Mc Donald's.

            They didn't have to go far before the golden arches came into view.  Kyle immediately cheered up when JC opened the happy meal and pulled out the Scooby Doo action figure.  They nibbled on french fries on their way back to the hotel, then sat in the car and ate the rest of their meal before going up to their room.

 

            As soon as they walked in the door JC checked the hotel phone for messages, but wasn't surprised when there were none.  His cell phone was in the backpack and had been silent all day.  He took it out and checked to make sure, but again he saw that there were no messages.  JC frowned then dialed Lori's home number again, but expected it when her answering machine picked up for the second time that day.  He sighed and hung up; it would be pointless for him to leave yet another message.  His brow creased with worry and he tried to rub the lines out as he rested his head in his hands.  What if something had happened to her?  He decided to take Jessica's advice and drive over to her house.

            "Come on buddy, we're going to go see what's up."

            "We go bye gan?"  Kyle asked hopefully.

            "Yeah kinda.  We're going to go to your mommy's house to see what's going on."  JC tossed a little bag of snack crackers into Kyle's worn out backpack and dropped it over his shoulder.  "Come on, let's go."

            "We can go ina ossin?"

            "Nope, we're not going to the ocean right now.  We're going to go see if your mommy is home."  JC reached for Kyle's hand as they left the room.

            "Anen we go ina ossin?"

            "If your mommy is there maybe she can take you." 

            "Yeah!"  Kyle giggled as they waited for the elevator.  They rode down to the lobby then crossed the wide floor toward the concierge desk.

            "Hi, do you have like a map or something?  A Thomas Brothers?"  JC asked as he walked up to the desk with a slip of paper in his hand.

            "I can look up an address and directions for you if you'd like, sir." Isaac, the young concierge, smiled.

            "Yeah, that'd be great."  JC handed him the paper and lifted Kyle to sit on the counter.

            "Oh I know right where this is."   Isaac smiled and grabbed a pen.  "Do you know where Santa Monica Boulevard is?"

            "Yeah, that's right up that way, right?"  JC nodded toward the entrance of the hotel.

            "Right, go up San Vicente right here, that'll take you straight through to Santa Monica.  Make a right onto Santa Monica and go down past the 405 a little ways, then you'll make a right onto Chelsea Avenue and then another quick right onto Chelsea Place."  Isaac pointed as he drew a little map on the back of JC's paper.  "It's not too far really."

            "I… okay."

            "My cousin used to live right there on Chelsea, that's why I know where it is."

            "Ahh, cool.  Thanks."  JC took the address with the roughly drawn map and he and Kyle headed out.  JC followed the directions and was lead straight to the apartment complex where Lori lived. He parked on the street, then double checked the address before he got out and helped Kyle out of his seat.

            "Where we go?"  Kyle asked as his feet hit the sidewalk.

            "We're going to your mommy's house."

            "No…"  Kyle whined.  "No wanna see how.  I wanna ossin."  He stuck his bottom lip out in a perfect imitation of Justin's baby pout.

            "I know you want to go to the ocean buddy, I'm workin' on it."

            "No work."

            "I'm working on trying to find your mom so she can take you."

            "No you."

            "We're out here so you can visit your mother." JC sighed as he tugged on Kyle's hand.

            "No her… daddy, you."

            "Come on buddy, not now."  JC sighed as they walked to the back of the little complex and to up to the door at apartment "D".  JC knocked on the thin metal screen attached to the door.  It rattled on its hinges, but didn't produce a very loud 'knocking' sound.

            "We go insye and see?"

            "We can't go inside, I don't have a key."  JC shook his head but pulled the screen open to knock on the solid door behind the screen.  He knocked three times, but there was no sound from inside.  "Dammit."  JC grumbled as he slammed the screen door.  He looked around the small complex looking for any sign of life, but was met instead with Kyle's wide eyes staring up at him.

            "Uh oh."  Kyle flinched as the metal screen crashed against its frame.

            "Dammit."  JC said again, only softer.  He dropped Kyle's backpack onto the ground and knelt beside it.  "She'd better be laid up in a hospital somewhere.   This is driving me nuts."  JC grumbled under his breath then instantly regreted it.  He closed his eyes tightly and shook his head with a sigh.   "I don't think she's home buddy."

            "Uh oh daddy."  Kyle said as he sat on the shallow step.

            "Yeah 'uh oh' is right.  She's not being very nice right now."  JC took a deep breath.  "It's okay though kiddo, I'm just a little frustrated right now."  He dug around in the bag until he came up with a marker and an old envelope.  He scribbled a note for Lori to call him, then folded it and tucked it between the screen and the door.  As he slid the note between the doorframe, he leaned over to look in the nearest window.  A light dusting of dirt covered the screen and left a black smudge on JC's hand as he shaded his eyes to get a closer look.  The apartment was as empty as the courtyard.  JC heaved a heavy sigh as he shook his head again, "Let's go."  He put the pen in the bag and took Kyle's hand.  They walked quickly back to the car and took off for the hotel.

            "Now we see a ossin?"  Kyle asked from the back seat as JC made a U-turn in the street and headed back in the direction they came from.

            JC checked the clock on the dash,  "Nope, it's time for your nap."

            "No."  Kyle frowned from the back seat as he fought a yawn.

            "Yeah, you didn't get one yesterday so you really need one today."  JC nodded.

            "No, I see a ossin."  Kyle protested.

            "We can go to the ocean tomorrow maybe."

            "Noooo."  The tiny voice whined from the backseat.

            "Listen to that whine.  Do you want some cheese with that?"

            "Nooooo daddy, no cheese."

            "With a whine like that I'd say you definitely need a nap."  JC nodded and turned onto Santa Monica Boulevard.

            "Noooooo!"  Kyle whined even louder.

            "I'm gonna take a nap too.  We can both take a nap then after that we can go do something fun."

            "No wan nap!"

            "I know you don't want to, but you're one tired little boy."

            "Nooo!!"  Kyle whined as he kicked his feet at the seat in front of him.

            JC bit his lip and refused to give him any more attention for the rest of the ride back to the hotel.  He carried a still whining Kyle up to the hotel room, took off his shoes and laid him on the bed.  "Come on buddy, we're both gonna take a little nap."

            "No daddy."  Kyle whined, but stayed on the bed.

            "Yep.  I'm tired."  JC lay on his own bed and sighed as he dropped his head onto the pillow.

            "No."  Kyle scowled and sat indian style between his pillows.

            "Fine, you can sit there all you want, I'm taking a nap."  JC reached into his backpack and pulled his walkman out.  He placed the earphones on his ears and hit play as he lay back on the pillow.

            "No!"  Kyle shouted as he tried to climb off the bed.

            JC slid one of the ear pieces off and lifted Kyle back onto the bed,  "Listen to me Kyle, today is not the day to push me.  If you want to scream and have a fit you go right ahead, but you're going to do it on the bed."  He dropped Kyle back in the center of the bed as the little boy began to cry in anger.

            JC lay back on his bed and moved the earphones back into place.  He stared at the ceiling and turned his music up to tune out the crying from the bed beside him.  Within twenty minutes Kyle had cried himself to sleep and JC removed the walkman.  He set it in his backpack again, then fluffed his pillow and lay his head down again to take his much needed nap.

 

            The hotel phone rang on the nightstand, pulling JC slowly out of his deep nap.  He cracked his eyes open as it rang a third time but before he could focus on the phone, he heard the plastic handset being lifted and a tiny voice saying,  "Hi."

            "Hey is - Kyle?  Is that you?"  Lance asked.

            "Yeah."  Kyle nodded.

            "What… where's your daddy?"

            "Seepin."

            "He's sleeping?"

            "Yeah.  Isa nap."

            "It's like, three or something out there."  Lance frowned and Kyle remained quiet.

            "I doe see a ossin."  Kyle mumbled.

            "What?"  Lance asked with a smile.

            "I doe see a ossin."  Kyle repeated.  "Daddy say no and see mommy."  He sighed and held the huge handset to his ear with both hands.  "Can see you?"

            "Can I see me?"

            "No me."

            "Can I see you?"  Lance asked.  He wasn't as fluent in toddler speak as JC.  "Nope, I can't see you."

            Kyle sighed and climbed up on JC's bed.  "Daddy isa phone."  He poked JC's side.

            "Who is it?"  JC mumbled as he rolled onto his side.  He'd heard the phone ring, then Kyle talking… but he wasn't sure if he was totally awake.

            "I doe no."  Kyle held the phone out to his father.

            JC's eyes flew open; he wasn't dreaming this.  He sat up quickly and took the phone from Kyle,  "Hi, who's this?"  He asked quickly.

            "It's me man, what are you doing sleeping out there?  It's like, three."  Lance laughed.

            "Hey."  JC smiled and turned to Kyle as he rubbed his eyes.  "It's Lance buddy, were you talking to him?"

            "Yeah." Kyle nodded and crawled around on JC's bed.

            "What's up?" JC asked.

            "Nothing much, I'm just calling to see how things are going."  Lance cradled his phone between his ear and shoulder as he walked out to his backyard.

            "Eh, we haven't heard from Lori yet.  We went by her house today and she's not there.  She hasn't returned my calls or anything."

            "Really?  You tried her at work?"

            "I've tried everything."  JC nodded as he ran his fingers through his hair.

            "Well shit, that sucks.  So you went out there for nothing?"

            JC shrugged though Lance couldn't see.  "We'll see, maybe she'll show up."  He said the words but he didn't believe them.  He was already starting to lose what little faith he had in Lori.

            "Well at least you're in LA and not someplace that sucks you know."  Lance laughed.

            "Yeah."

            "Speaking of which, how long are you guys out there?"

            "Just till Thursday."

            "Ahh, okay."

            "Why?

            "Amy and I are heading out there on Saturday, I thought if you were gonna be there we could meet up for dinner or a show or something."

            "A show with the kid?"

            "I hadn't thought that far ahead."  Lance laughed.  "Oh well.  We'll catch up with you guys when we get back."

            "Okay."  JC nodded.  "How are things going there?"

            "Where?  Here?  As in Florida?"

            "As in with you guys."  JC smiled and put a pillow behind his back as he sat against the headboard.

            "Daddy we see a ossin?"  Kyle asked as he crawled over JC's legs to sit beside him.

            "We'll drive by and see the ocean tonight after dinner."  JC said softly to Kyle, then turned back to the phone.  "So?"

            "We're doing fine.  Great actually."

            "Has she gone crazy with wedding plans yet?"

            "No… no not yet.  We're still working on a date."

            "You haven't set a date yet?  Man, you guys are lagging."  JC kidded Lance like they had for most of their time in Europe.

            "Yeah well, as soon as I proposed I took off for two months so we haven't had that much time to talk about it."

            "I'm not buying that."  JC laughed.

            "Well we've gotta wait until our new tour schedule comes out and everything like that.  Whenever it is it'll be after the next tour.  That way we'll have a year."

            "A year?"

            "Yeah, Amy says any good wedding takes at least a year to plan, so… I don't know.  I'm kinda gonna just let her do what she wants with it." Lance smiled.

            "You're a good man Charlie Brown."

            "Yeah whatever.  I mean, I'll help where I can and everything, but Stacey and my mom explained that it's Amy's day.  But anyway, that's jumping the gun a bit, we're not even there yet."

            "True."

            "So how about you?"

            "Me?  I'm fine."

            "And Jessica?"

            "She's fine too."  JC smiled.  He knew what Lance was getting at.

            "Any wedding bells?"

            "No, no, no.  Not yet.  Not anytime soon."  JC laughed softly.  "I've got a little more baggage than you do."  He smiled at Kyle and playfully shoved him over.  "Right buddy?  You're my baggage."

            "I a case?"  Kyle giggled as he lay on his side.

            "Yep, you're my suitcase.  You're full of all my stuff."

            "No, my suff."  Kyle giggled as JC tickled him.

            "You guys are nuts."  Lance laughed.  "Anyway, I'll let you go."

            "Okay, let me know when you get back to Florida and we'll hang out or something."

            "You got it.  Have fun in LA."

            "We will."  JC nodded.  "Wanna say bye to Lance?"  He asked Kyle.

            "Yeah."

            "Hang on, the kid wants to say 'bye'."  JC held the phone out to Kyle.

            "Bye bye bye Laaaaance.  No lie bye bye."  Kyle giggled.

            "You are crazy Kyle."

            "Yeah."

            "I'll see you later alligator."

            "Lato agator."  Kyle covered his mouth as he giggled and handed the phone back to JC.

            "See ya."  JC laughed into the phone as Lance said goodbye.  He hung up then looked at Kyle,  "So now what?"

            "Ummm…"  Kyle pretended to think for a minute.  "I sink we see a ossin."

            "We're going to drive by after dinner."

            "We have dinner now?"

            "Yeah, we can have dinner now.  What do you want?"

            "Cheese and sawich and carrot and cookies!"

            "Wow, all of that?"

            "Yeah.  I a hungry boy."  Kyle patted his tummy and laughed.

            "Well I'll tell you what?  How about if we go out and get some dinner."

            "Cheese sawich."

            "Right, a grilled cheese sandwich, then after that we can drive by and see the ocean.  How does that sound?"

            "We can see a ossin first?"

            "Nope, after dinner."

            Kyle sighed and shook his head.  "Kay."

            "Okay, cool.  Then let's go."  He reached out and took Kyle's hand as they headed out.

 

            They sat side by side in the narrow booth at the restaurant by the beach and ate their dinner.  Kyle nibbled on his carrots but ate almost half of his sandwich before announcing that he was done.  JC just smiled and offered him some fries from his own meal as he finished.  As JC dipped his fry in ketchup, he wondered if Kyle would ever get used to eating real food, home food, when they were finally back in Orlando.  After living on room service, catered food, fast food or vending machine food for so long he wasn't sure if he would ever get used to real food.

            When they were done with their meal JC left the bill and a large tip on the table and they ducked out around a crowd of rowdy looking college kids.  JC loaded Kyle up in their car then they headed west to look at the ocean before they went back to the hotel.

            "Look!"  Kyle cheered and kicked his feet as JC pulled up on the curb beside the ocean front walk in Santa Monica.  "We go?"

            "It's too late to go in the ocean tonight, we have to go when the sun is out."  JC shook his head.

            "We can see?"

            "We can see it right now, yep."

            "No we out and see?"  Kyle looked at JC with a big smile.  "Peese?"

            JC looked up and down the almost vacant street.  "I… sure.  We can get out for a couple minutes, but then we have to go back to the hotel, okay?"

            "Kay."  Kyle nodded and tried to undo his buckles.

            "Okay."  JC sighed and turned the car off, then opened the back door to help Kyle get out.  He carried Kyle down the sand almost to the waters edge and shivered.  "It's cold out here buddy."

            "Ina water?"

            "The water is probably freezing right now." JC shook his head.

            "Is code?"

            "It's really cold.  Like ice."

            "Wow daddy."

            "Yep."  JC laughed and bounced Kyle over to his other hip.

            "I hava pool and no fiss."

            "You have a pool?"

            "Yeah."  Kyle nodded.

            "And no fish?"

            "Yeah."

            "Okay."

            "No fiss ina pool daddy.  Is for a ossin."

            "Oooh, yeah.  You're right.  There are no fish in our pool, they belong in the ocean."  JC nodded.  "You're pretty smart."

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

            "It's pretty cold here, yeah.  Are you ready to go back now?"  JC asked.  Kyle nodded slowly and looked over JC's shoulder up the coast.  "Morrow we ina ossin?"

            "I think we can come back tomorrow maybe."  JC nodded.  "We'll have to see."

            "We see now."

            JC laughed and headed back to the car.  "You're right, we can see it now."  He said softly.  The solidness of Kyle's warm body against his shoulder and the little arm around his neck made JC shiver again with happiness.  Every now and then JC would have a moment of emotion around Kyle and each time he would think to himself that he couldn't believe he had a son.  JC used his free hand to pat Kyle's back, then moved the little boy closer to kiss his forehead.  Kyle wrapped both arms around JC's neck and giggled.  JC hugged him tight and never wanted to let Kyle go.  It was times like this when JC was certain that he was capable of unconditional love.

 

            When they returned to the hotel a short while later, Kyle changed into his pajamas and grabbed his herd of stuffed animals from his suitcase.  Over the course of the tour he'd managed to collect a small zoo from all of the adoring fans.  He piled them on the floor at the foot of his bed, then sat in the middle and pulled Lello onto his lap.  That floppy brown dog would forever be his favorite.

            JC checked his watch as he kicked his shoes off and sighed.  He'd give Lori one more shot before he gave up on her completely.  "Wanna watch a movie?"

            Kyle went to sigh, but yawned instead.  "Yeah."

            "Okay, cool."  JC popped the Elmo movie into the VCR and handed Kyle one of his pillows.  "Make yourself comfortable, I have to use the phone."

            "Kay."  Kyle snuggled up with the pillow that was almost as big as he was, and rested his feet on the tummy of the stuffed elephant.

            "I'll be right back."  JC took his cell phone and retreated to the attached living room, then shut the bedroom door part way to block out the sound of the movie.  He dialed Lori's home number and tried to keep his temper in check as her answering machine message played through again.

            When it beeped in his ear, JC let out the deep breath he had taken and said,  "This is something like the third message I've left you, and I'm not going to leave any more.  We went to your house today and you're not there, you're not at work… you're not anywhere you said you would be.  So either you call or you don't.  You know how to reach me any time of the day or night."  He hung up before he could let himself say what he was really feeling, then tucked his phone back into his pocket and went back to the bedroom to finish watching the movie with Kyle.

            "Emo say ooooooh noooooo!"  Kyle giggled.

            "He did huh?"  JC smiled down at Kyle and was glad that Kyle didn't have a clue what was going on.  He stared at Kyle for a minute then reached over and rumpled his hair, "I love you kiddo."

            "Love too daddy."  Kyle sighed, and kept his eyes on the video.

            JC smiled with pride, he had all he needed right there and if Lori was going to throw away her chance to see him that was no longer his problem.

 

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

 

            Before they got to Los Angeles, JC had talked to several of his local friends to find the most private beaches in the area.  They came up with some suggestions of where to go and when, so JC and Kyle decided to try one out on their third day in town.  "Come on buddy, we're going to the beach."

            "Ina ossin?"

            "Yep, we're going to the ocean.  Finally."  JC laughed and opened Kyle's drawer in the dresser against the wall.  "I don't think we brought too many sand toys, but we can just play in the water and stuff."

            "Kay."  Kyle bounced in from the little living room and helped JC get all of their swim gear in order.  "I have a potty."

            "Then go."  JC nodded toward the bathroom.

            "I can't."  He looked down at his drawstring shorts.  "Isa tie."

            "Oh yeah."  JC bent to untie the string, then patted Kyle's toosh, "There you go buddy."

            "Thanks."  Kyle bolted for the bathroom where JC heard him lift the lids with a small grunt.  They weighed almost as much as he did practically, but he'd gotten used to it.

            "Daddy?"  Kyle shouted from the bathroom.

            "Yeah?"

            "We go ina ossin day?"

            "Yep." JC laughed.  "We're going to the ocean."

            "No see a mommy how?"

            "Nope, we're not going back to your mommy's house."  He got the beach towels from the suitcase and sat them on the bed so he'd have everything ready to go.

            "She can see a ossin?"

            "If she calls us she can come to the ocean with us, sure."  JC said.  "But I don't think she's gonna call." He muttered to himself.

            "Daddy?"  Kyle asked a minute later from the bathroom.

            "Yeah?"

            "We cawin Jussin and he go?"

            "We can't call Justin, he's in Florida."  JC put sunscreen and a few toys in the red backpack along with some snacks to get them through the afternoon.

            "Yeah we cawin Jussin."

            "He can't come with us today, he's far away.  It's just gonna be you and me at the beach."

            "Ana fiss ana shark?"

            "And the fish and the sharks, you bet."  JC smiled.  "Dude, did you fall in?"

            "No."  Kyle giggled.

            "Then what are you doing in there?"  JC set Kyle's swimsuit on the bed and stood up.

            "I go a potty."  Kyle sighed.

            "Well hurry it up, we don't want to be late for the beach."  JC laughed at himself as he realized how stupid that sounded.  Kyle didn't know he sounded stupid though, so JC didn't mind.  "Come on."

            "I done."  Kyle flushed the toilet and ran out into the room with no clothes on.

            "You're naked!"

            "Yeah."  Kyle giggled and grabbed his swim shorts.  "Lesso."

            "Let's go, that's right."  JC tugged Kyle's swim shorts on over his little tanned legs then pulled the t-shirt over Kyle's head.  "Okay, let me go change and we'll be on our way."

            "You chain?"

            "I've gotta get my shorts on too."  JC nodded.

            Kyle giggled and shook his head.  "You a nut."

            "You're a nut."  JC laughed and took his swim shorts into the bathroom to change.  He slipped his sandals on over his bare feet, and grabbed the towels and the bag and then they headed out to the beach.

 

            They were stopped by a couple of fans in the lobby of the hotel so JC stopped and signed a few autographs for them.  The girls snapped off a few pictures with their little disposable camera, then Kyle tugged JC's hand toward the exit.  "Say bye bye."  Kyle grumbled.

            "See you later."  JC smiled and waved then let Kyle pull his hand.

            "Bye."  The girls smiled and bounced up on their toes with excitement as they watched the two guys leave.

            "No more fans."  Kyle scowled.

            "No more?"

            "No."  Kyle shook his head.  "We go ina ossin and no fans."

            "We have to be nice to the fans."  JC explained softly as they walked out to the car.  "You know that.  We've just got to say hi sometimes and sign stuff."

            "No, I don wan."

            "Okay, I'll try not to."  JC smiled.  Kyle had had his fill of fans in Europe.  They couldn't go anywhere without being mobbed, and Kyle had more than one temper tantrum when they were forced to stop and sign stuff as a group.  He just didn't understand that his father was famous and that fans were part of life.  As their tour went on JC sent Kyle with Jessica more and more so he wouldn't have to be bothered with the crowds as much, and he seemed to like that better.

            "No fans ina ossin."  Kyle said again.

            "Okay."  JC laughed and picked Kyle up to carry him across the parking lot to their car.  He hoped that the beaches he was told to go to would be as quiet and private as his friends had said, he too could go for a day without being bothered.  They packed all of their gear into the trunk of the car and drove north a ways before heading west to the beaches.

 

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

 

            JC and Kyle spent the day at a quiet beach and were not disturbed at all.  Very few people even walked by while they were there, and those that did didn't spend their time looking at the young father and son playing in the sand.  At the end of the day JC loaded everything back up into their rental car and drove back to the hotel, stopping at McDonald's on the way to get dinner.  The happy meal rounded out Kyle's day at the beach and ended the day on a happy note for both of them.  As they ate on the floor of the hotel room JC licked the salt from his lips and frowned as felt at his hip for his cell phone.  Panic rushed as his hand met the waist of his shorts, and no phone.  JC jumped up off the floor and went to the beach bag to look for his phone, but when he finally found it it was on the nightstand where he'd left it that morning.

            He looked at the little screen to see if anyone had called, halfway expecting Lori's number to show up.  JC bit his lip as he dropped the phone on the bed with a sigh.

 

            There were no missed calls.

 

 

 

 

Next...

 

 

Copyright 2002, Amy Lynn