The House of Blues was packed that night. In the parking lot he'd parked
in a VIP section and they'd walked in the long way, back by the water and
came in a back door, being checked by security twice before they got into
the main part of the restaurant/bar. Neither of them were phased by the extra
measures taken, although he thought that she looked a little worried when
they entered the big crowded room.
A loud whistle pierced the air over the sound of talking and a voice called
"Lucca!" JC yelled over the crowd throwing up a hand to wave. His hand found
her's the crowd of people and he turned back towards her. "Tony's over there
at the bar. His set hasn't started yet."
She nodded and followed him squeezing onto his hand nervously. If he had
been with Bobbie he would have squeezed her hand back, but instead he drew
her up closer to him and put an arm around her guiding her over to the spot
where Tony was signing autographs and having a drink before he went on.
JC hugged his friend after not seeing him for a few months then pulled Farzana
up next to him. "Tony, this is Farzana. Farzana this is Tony."
"Nice to meet you," Tony said, "Thanks for coming out here and dragging him
with you. I didn't think he'd get to see the show until I got back to LA."
"No trouble," she said.
"I've got some stuff to talk to you about J," Tony said, "But I gotta go
on in a minute so can you guys wait around and we'll hang out afterwards?"
"Sure," JC said, "I think we're gonna head over and grab a table."
"Just go to VIP," he said, "Some people from high school are over there hanging
out. They've got it blocked off so you should be safe."
"Cool," JC said, "We'll see you afterwards."
"Nice meeting you," Tony said to Farzana and gave him a look.
JC knew that this was one of his "nice girl" looks and pulled Tony into another
hug, "Don't start gossipping now Tony. I still have dirt on you and Keri
I could share."
"Sure," Tony said, "You guys have fun and stay safe."
Safe. The word triggered something in his head. He had forgotten after so
many days of freedom down in The Keys that he needed security with him and
when he turned around to face the crowd he couldn't catch his breath for
a moment. He'd totally forgotten that he should have called someone to be
there with the two of them. He wasn't safe there alone.
"You ok?" Farzana asked him.
"Sure," he lied, "Let's go get a drink."
"Ok," she said.
It took a minute, but he finally got to the bar and found Lizet serving that
night. He turned back to Farzana once he'd said hello. "What do you want
"Just a coke," she said.
"Yeah," she said.
He turned back to Lizet. "A coke and a Corona with lime."
While he waited he pulled out money for the drinks and leaned against the
counter. "You look nice tonight," he said to Farzana, "In case I forgot to
"Thank you," she said.
Moments later the drinks were in their hands. JC paused for a moment to run
the lime around the mouth of the bottle then squeezed the lime a little and
shoved it into his beer. He licked his thumb and watched Farzana's eyes watching
his fingers. This was kind of fun. He held out his finger to her. "Want some?"
"No thank you," she said looking at him nervously. He'd made her uncomfortable,
but somehow he liked that feeling. She could have easily said something back
to him about being nasty or something, but she'd just taken her drink to
her lips instead..
Without another word to each other they made their way over to the VIP section.
"I don't know who I might know over here so be patient with me...ok?" he
asked, "If they are here I haven't seen them in about 6 months so the family
reunion could get a little sickening."
"It's ok," she said.
"I'll try and introduce you to everyone," he said, "But knock me up side
the head if I get carried away. Ok?" He felt bad about doing this to her,
but he couldn't avoid them. Staying in the general population of the club
would be hazardous, not only to him phsycially, but to him mentally. He didn't
need to have people asking for his autograph when it was clearly Tony's night
to get the spotlight.
The next half hour was spend socializing with his friends. Most of them he
didn't really remember at first, but after a few stories he remembered them
and started to talk to them. He noticed Farzana being taken into the group
of girls there and smiled at her when she got caught up in a conversation
about her being on the road with the guys. Everyone wante to know what it
was really like.
He loved the way that she just smiled at him. Bobbie would have looked bored
or something, but she seemed to be enjoying herself. Actually made him feel
a little bad. He figured that she was kind of bored just hanging out with
him since she seemed to be having so much fun with everyone else.
When the show started everyone seemed to quiet down. JC took a seat and pulled
Farzana's chair up next to his. He put an arm around the back of her chair
as they watched Tony. It was strange to be there with her. Normal trips to
Tony's shows were done with Bobbie in LA. This was all just to strange.
The set lasted for about an hour and he enjoyed the quiet time. When everyone
started to clear out and go to the bar Farzana got up and went to talk to
Jenna, a girl he barely knew, but seemed to have latched onto Farzana.
He talked with his guy friends for a while then slid over towards her and
slid an arm around her ducking his head to speak to her. "I need to go talk
to Tony for a minute about some stuff," he said, "Are you gonna be ok? I
"Yeah," she said looking around, "I think I'm gonna go to the restroom then
go out onto the patio and get some air. So come and find me when you're done."
"Ok," he said, "You want another drink before you go?"
"No," she shruged, "Go talk to him. I'll be ok...and tell Tony that the show
JC nodded and leaned and kissed her cheek. "Have fun Zana. I shall return."
"Don't get too deep into shop talk. I would like to leave sometime before
"Gotcha," he said and turned to make his way towards where he'd seen Tony
go off stage. He knew the place well enough to know how to get backstage
so he made his way there trying not to get noticed by the crowd. A few people
seemed to notice him and flashes went off as he walked, but he made it there
Her bathroom trip ended up taking about fifteen minutes due to the line,
but when she emerged she found herself a little lost. Jenna had disappeared
and she didn't know if she'd be able to get back to where JC was so she decided
to make her way out to the patio like she'd told JC. At least out there she
figured she'd be able to grab a seat and wait for him instead of being pushed
around by the crowd inside.
She turned thinking it was JC behind her, but it turned out to be Garrett,
one of JC and Tony's high school friends. He looked as if he was just coming
out of the men's room. "Hey," she said, "Garrett isn't it?"
"Yeah," he said, "Where's JC?"
"He's out back with Tony I guess talking shop or whatever," she said looking
around once more just to make sure that she didn't miss him in the big room.
"Cool," he said, "I'm gonna go have a cigarette...want to come out back with
me?" He looked around for a minute, "It's kinda crowded in here."
"Sure," she said, "I was headed that way anyway."
"Let me lead the way," he said, "It's easier for me to elbow my way through."
"Thanks," she said.
He took her hand and they pushed their way through the crowd. She wasn't
trying to be paranoid, but she thought she'd heard a few people say comments
about her being there with JC, but when she looked around people didn't seem
to be paying attention to her so she kept her eyes on Garrett's back and
finally made it outside.
When they found a spot on the railing of the porch Garrett pulled out a pack
of cigarette's and a lighter. He offered her one and she refused then he
put one into his mouth and lit it. "So you're JC's new woman?"
Farzana almost choked, "Well don't beat around the bush."
"Sorry," he said taking a drag on the cigarette. "Bobbie has just been his
sidekick for so long that I think everyone was shocked to see him here with
She didn't make eye contact with him. Her eyes stayed on the cigarette. With
one lung full of air and smoke he'd pulled in almost half the cigarette.
"JC and I are working together and hanging out while he's on vacation."
"Oh," he said flicking the ashes away. "He's been a hermit the last few months.
The Crew hasn't seen him around here since like Febrary."
The air that had been hot and muggy earlier seemed to have cooled down a
bit and she found herself shivering a little. She'd worn a sweater that night,
but it seemed as if the change in temperature was more extreme than she'd
thought it be. It was still fairly warm, but the slight wind made it cooler.
"He's been pretty busy."
"You want a jacket or something?" he asked pausing to pull another drag on
his cigarette. She liked the way he turned almost completely away from her
when he blew the smoke out his mouth, "I've got one inside behind the bar."
"I don't want to put you out," she said and leaned against the railing taking
a moment to look across at the Virgin Megastore that had the NSYNC Celebrity
Album cover hanging in the window. For a while that night she'd forgotten
that he was a huge superstar, but the poster sized advertisement brought
it back to her quickly.
"I'm gonna go get another beer anyway," he said and then motioned to his
cigarette, "After I finish this anyway...do you want a drink?"
"Sure," she said, "Can you get me a coke?"
"Sounds good," he said.
He left and Farzana drew her cell phone out and checked to see if she had
any messages. When she didn't she put the phone away and stared over at the
"Excuse me," a voice said in front of her. She turned to find a younger girl
and her friend standing there. "Are you Farzana Jabbar?"
"Yeah," she said with a smile.
"Can I get your autograph?" the girl asked, "I saw you play in California
and my friend bet me that it wasn't you..." She turned to her friend, "I
told you so."
"No trouble," she said and took the pen and paper offered and signed the
When Garrett returned he had his jacket flung over his arm. He held the drinks
in both hands so he moved his arm so she could take the jacket and pull it
on. When he looked at the girls he seemed a little confused. "Hey girls."
"Hi," they said then looked at Farzana. "Thank you."
"No problem girls," she said and looked back over at Garrett as he handed
her the drink.
"So what was that all about?" he asked.
"Some of my fans," she said wincing at the sound of the word fans. She was
used to people at the shows coming up to her, but this was different and
the fact that she'd lost her record deal made the moment bitter sweet.
"Oh," he said, "You should have told me. I would have brought you your drink
on a tray or something."
"I'm not that well known," she said, "Really."
Time passes quickly in social situations and it seemed like only minutes
later that she was asking to see the time and realized that it was almost
one in the morning.
"I need to go find JC," she said tiredly.
Garrett put his beer down and jumped the fence into the bushes that lined
"What are you doing?" she asked.
"Come on," he said, "I know a way to cut around back from the outside."
"You sure?" she asked.
Her head seemed groggy and she wasn't sure that she should be jumping fences
in her current outfit, but Garrett seemed to convince her with his smile.
He'd been paying attention to her all night unlike JC who seemed to be paying
attention, but not the right kind of attention to her.
"I'll carry you."
"You sure?" she asked.
"Yeah," he said, "Come on."
True to his word he carried her over the plants in the Garden and set her
down on the cement before taking her hand and walking down to the far side
of the restaurant. He found a small hole in the huge fence that lined the
street between the House of Blues and Bongos then a moment later pushed a
small door open.
"We aren't gonna get in trouble are we?"
"No," he said, "Just come on."
She nodded and went through the fence. "It's kinda dark back here," she said.