anything but ordinary 12


Farzana sat down on the couch and looked at the interviewer.

"When did you realize that this is what you wanted to do?"

"I begged Mom to let me take voice lessons when I was eight. I started playing guitar right before my 14th birthday. I had been writing poetry and I always had melodies going through my head, but I never played an instrument. I fell in love with [the guitar] and locked myself in my room and came out two weeks later with a song. I am more comfortable in a room of 5,000 people than five people. I was a really shy, quiet kid, but once there was a lot of people around, I always wanted to be the center of attention. I was a ham."

"How would you describe the vibe of your style of music?"

"I really wanted to make a record that was true to what I did. I didn't really think a lot when I went into the studio about how I wanted it to sound.  I didn't say, "Ooh, we have to make it a little pop, 'cause that's what's going on." When me and my friends first started buying records when we were 14, pop was really mainstream. That's what I have grown up listening to. I just wanted to have an album for kids to say, "Hey, this is someone my age writing lyrics for another teenager. I feel like this and have never been able to express it." I think that I got that across, because I get emails from people who are like, "I like this guy and this is how I feel."

"So you're in your twenties now, right?"

"Yes," Farzana said, "It's been a while, but yeah, I've hit my twenties."

"Not the typical twenty something year old," the interviewer said, "How has your daily life changed since all this started happening?

"Before this started, I woke up at 10 and I would be in my pajamas until noon. I would write songs all day and just hang out. Once this started, I was like, "This is a lot of hard work!" For a while, it was really gradual and easy."  It was like, "Whoa!" I haven't slowed down much since."

"You've been producing songs for a few people," I said, "It's definitely a different type of fun, but either way, I'm having so much fun. I learn something new every day. I see something new everyday. That's the coolest thing about music. That's why people like Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones are still putting out records. Because every time you pick up the guitar you learn something, and you can write something that didn't exist five minutes ago"

"You've been learning new things about your boyfriend," the interviewer said.

"Yeah," she says, "I've been living out in Los Angeles and working in LA while JC has been traveling.  It's strange though because we barely see each other.  He was home from Europe for about five days before I had to fly out here and he had to fly out to New York.  I might see him this weekend and I might not.  We usually don't know until that moment that its going to happen."

"Sounds like a hard life," the interviewer said.

"Yeah," she shrugged, "But it's worth it.  We've been living that way for so long that it's normal to us now.  I'm mean it's ordinary."


"Farzana is going to be up in Toronto for the next few days then I think I'm going to get her to go to the Keys or something on vacation with me.  I feel like I haven't seen her in a year."  JC swirled his drink around in his glass.  "I was thinking of proposing to Farzana next week."

Lance coughed on his drink.  "Next week?"

"She's got a few days off to take a break this weekend from her spur of the moment promotional tour and I told her that I'd take her to The Keys..."  He looked into Lance's eyes then laughed.  "I don't even have a ring.  I was thinking I'd pick one up here in New York, but now that I think about it I'm not sure that I should be ring shopping--"

"I can cover that," Lance pulled out his phone and dialed a number as if JC had just called four-one-one and Lance was going to connect him to the person he needed.

"Hello?"  He smiled, "Yvonne.  I need a favor--"  He laughed.  "Not that kind of favor.  I was wondering if I could shop tonight with a buddy of mine."  He looked at JC with a smile, "Well...we're both actually going to be in the dog house if we don't pick up gifts for our women.  Colleen's--my girlfriend's birthday is coming up and well JC has been gone away from his woman for a while so we figured that a diamond something or other from Tiffany's would--"

"Smooth over negotiations," JC said with a laugh.

"Smooth over negotiations," Lance said into the phone.  He listened for a moment, then look at his watch and nodded.  "Ok.  See you then."  He hung up the phone and put it away.  "We've got an appointment in about two hours with the Tiffany's buyer."

"The Tiffany's buyer?" JC asked.

"When Johnny got married I was in New York and went with him to get the rings.  Yvonne Greenwich met with him about his rings and--"

"You never forget a name or a face," JC nodded with a smile.

Lance shrugged.  "I figured it would come in handy one day so I keep her in my address book and take her to lunch every other time I'm in New York."


The hand on his shoulder made him jump.  The huge room was dark and filled with Farzana’s voice from the concert happening just a few feet away on stage.  He didn't think that anyone knew that he was even there.  He’d thought that he’d pushed himself into a small enough corner as to not be noticed, but the hand was there and when it grabbed him from behind onto his shoulder he saw his life flash before his eyes.  He instantly pictured himself being injured and left for dead backstage.  It was something he had to laugh at considering how “I Know What You Did Last Summer-ish” it was.

When he turned to see her father standing there looking at him he took a deep breath.  JC knew for a fact that Farzana wouldn’t have invited her father.  Having her play there at the club had probably been in the news and he’d probably figured that a surprise attack there would be better than trying to get into the hotel considering Rodney was at Farzana’s side for most of the day.

The man didn’t look happy.  He instantly wanted to punch him in the guts for all the problems he’d caused in their lives, but as soon as he saw the somber look in his eyes he stopped and looked around.  He found a stage door with an Exit sign over it and pointed towards it.  He looked like he had something to say and JC wasn’t about to get a mixed up message because of the music behind them.

When the door was pushed open and they were fully outside, JC propped something in the door so they wouldn’t get locked out.

“I wanted to talk to you,” Mr. Jabar said in a weaker voice than he’d had the last time they’d seen each other.  He kept his hands at his sides and looked tired.  His face wasn’t quite into a frown, but JC could see that he’d been in better moods.

JC shoved his hands in his pockets and shivered.  Toronto was cold that night and it didn’t help the feeling of dread that JC had as he faced the one man that could tear his world apart.  One word from him could cause all the plans that JC had finally gotten together in his head to crumble.  “So talk.”  JC pretended to be angry more than afraid of what might come.

“I wanted to apologize,” Mr. Jabar said slowly.

JC wanted to let his jaw drop, to look like one of those cartoon characters that has just heard shocking news, because that was the last thing in the world he thought he’d hear come out of that man’s mouth.  What he remembered of the man was him being a very demanding person and jumping to conclusions about Farzana’s life, and in his own mind, it meant that Mr. Jabar hated him and the way he thought that Farzana should live.

“For what?” JC asked.  He moved his feet a little farther apart and braced himself.  “For almost ruining Farzana’s career or let’s see, breaking us up?  OR would it be for making my life a living hell trying to make her understand that she has the right to be happy in life?”

Tension was thick between them.  He saw Mr. Jabar pulling in breaths of air.  It was an Oscar winning performance.  He actually looked like he was in pain and that this whole conversation was a stress to him.  “For it all,” he said simply.

Believing him took too much trust for JC.  Too much time had gone on since he’d seen the man be civil to Farzana, actually when he thought about it he couldn’t remember a time when they had been civil to each other.  Farzana had done her best not to upset the man, but JC figured that his expectations of her were too strict and he knew that Farzana was far better off not living in Canada and not being in school.  She was too talented to waste her voice and her writing abilities in college.  Of course college would have been a learning experience for her and she would have been getting a lot out of it, but in the music business a person had to strike while the iron was hot and for the moment Farzana was in the middle of a raging fire that he knew would bring her to a very steady and long-lasting career.

“Is this just a plot to get Farzana back in Canada for good?”

“I’m trying to admit that I was wrong JC.”  His voice came out almost as if he was pleading for mercy, like some criminal who is about to die, but wants to beg for forgiveness at the last minute claiming that it was all a mistake and that because he realizes that fact that he should be forgiven.  “Some things have come to light in the last few days and I feel like I need to mend whatever rift is between me and my daughter, before it’s too late, but I also wanted to mend the rift between us.”  He paused for a moment.  “I saw my daughter in an interview two days ago on television speak about your relationship and it dawned on me that the only thing that has ever made her that happy has been you and music.  I don’t want to ruin that for her.”

JC folded his arms across his chest.  “If you could only understand what you’ve done, I don’t think that you have a clue that you’ve already put a very black mark on our relationship, her life, her career and—“

“JC—“

Standing his ground, he took a deep breath and watched Mr. Jabar wipe at his eyes.  “What brought this on?  You make a convincing statement there about understanding our relationship and wanting to bless us or at least accept the fact that she’s a grown woman and all that--I can almost believe it, but in the back of my mind I have this sneaking feeling that you’re trying to sweet talk your way back into her life.”  He ran his hands through his hair and over his face.  “I just keep wondering what you want from her.  It must be important if you’re putting on this show.”

“Punish me if you want,” Mr. Jabar said, “But I am serious about this.”  He took a deep breath.  “You and my daughter have become very close and I’ve realized that the struggles between her and I might be holding you back from doing something that you might want to be doing.”  A smile broke onto his face.  “I saw some report about you and your friend—Lance, isn’t it?—going on a shopping trip to Tiffany’s in New York.”  He laughed a little.  “Going Christmas shopping a little early this year aren’t we?”

“Yes sir,” JC said softening a little at the thought of the ring that now sat in the plane at the airport waiting for him to pick it up to give to her.  “I love her very much,” he said.

“I know that you do,” Mr. Jabar said putting a hand on his arm.  “That’s one of the reasons why I’m finding myself wanting to repair the damage that I’ve done to my daughter, and to you, because I know that she deserves a man like you and if I mess that up for her I may never be able to forgive myself.”

“She loves you very much,” JC could feel tears form in his eyes.  If what Mr. Jabar said was true, he had just given him permission to marry Farzana.  “It kills her that you haven’t been a part of our lives for the last few months.  She misses home a lot and almost didn’t make this trip because the thought of coming here and not being able to see you and BJ and her mother makes her sick.  I haven’t been the most supportive person when it comes to this.  I tell her to avoid you if you upset her, which I think is justified after what has happened.  To tell the truth, I didn’t want her up here and caught in the storm of whatever fight if I couldn’t help her with because I had to work.”

“Are you planning to ask her to be your wife?”

“I’ve been thinking about it for a while,” he said, “But I wouldn’t want to do it if you were against it.  It’s one thing for her to be living in Los Angeles with me while she’s working, but marrying me is something that is too important to have something like that hanging over it.  I know that your opinion is held in high regard by Farzana and having your blessing would really make things smoother for the two of us.”

JC could feel a little rain start to fall and wondered how much of the show was left.  He knew that what they were saying was completely important, but being out in the rain wasn’t good for either of them and him being away from Farzana for so long was making him nervous.

“I think that despite all things that you’re good for her,” Mr. Jabar said, “If that’s really what you want to do then I guess I can’t keep you from it.  I would hope that I would be invited to the wedding, but if it comes to pass that I’m not, I’ll understand the reasoning behind it.”

“Thank you sir,” JC said respectfully.

Looking up at the sky Mr. Jabar seemed completely relaxed.  “Why don’t you go back in?”  He motioned towards the door for JC.  “I need to get home.”

JC looked at the door then at Farzana’s father.  He looked smaller now, less threatening, and somewhat pathetic.  He stood there in the drizzle of rain seeming to not know what to do next.  “Aren’t you going to talk to Farzana?”

“I don’t want--”

“Yeah,” a voice came from the doorway, “Aren’t you going to talk to me?”

The sound of her voice grated immediately on his nerves.  He knew that voice.  It was the same one that she used when he’d let the house in a mess or had caused her to be late to a meeting.  When he turned around Farzana was standing in the doorway, her face lit only by the exit sign and backlit by a flashlight that was probably being held by Rodney, but JC couldn’t see him.  He didn’t know if it was the high of coming off stage or just the excitement of the night in general, but she looked like she was ready to start a fight with her father, which JC knew would cause more strain between all of them.

“Farzana,” JC started to say, but she cut him off.

“Daddy if you want to fight with JC at least don’t do it in the rain.  I don’t know about you, but it’s too important for JC to keep his voice and his body in shape—“  She walked out onto the concrete and stood between JC and her father.

Whatever mending that had just gone no was going to be destroyed if she kept this up.  He reached out and put a hand on her shoulder  “Farzana—don’t.”

“What?” she asked.  “I’m just trying to stick up for myself like you told me to.  I know that I’ve been a wuss in the past, but I’m not doing it this time.  If he can’t accept me for what I am then I don’t want to hear it from this ass—“

“Farzana, don’t,” JC pleaded again.  He was proud of her for standing her ground, but at the same time this was definitely the wrong time to do it.  She needed to be calm about this or the feud between them was going to last much much longer than it already had.

“JC it’s ok,” Mr. Jabar put up a hand, “Just remember what I said—“

“What’d he say?” Farzana demanded.  “What the heck could he have said to you?”

“Farzana go inside,” JC said as her father started to walk away.

“What are you doing out here anyway?” she asked, “Are you smoking?”

“No,” he said.  “Go inside.”  He pointed the way and prayed to God that he wouldn’t get upset with her and ruin the plan he had for proposing to her.

He hated that she kept looking outside towards her father with anger in her eyes.  “What happened out there?”

He pushed her forwards inside and looked around.  “Where is your dressing room?”

She led the way.

“What’s gotten into you?” he asked.

“Nothing,” she said angrily.  He knew that this had been a frustration to her for a while now, but this was the first sign of a real fight in her he’d seen and he wasn’t sure how to handle it.  “I’m just mad that he came here tonight and it wasn’t to support me, but to cause a fight between you and him.”

He stood there and took a long deep breath.  She was really cute like this, hair falling around her face with stage make up on, looking like she should be an innocent girl, but the make up couldn’t hide the anger in her pupils.

“Are you done?” JC asked.

She pushed him away a little.  “Why are you being so calm about this?” she asked.

“Because you’re being silly about this,” he said.  He took her hands in his and looked into her eyes for a long time before he spoke.  “I mean, look at you.  You’re so pissed off about your father that you seem to have forgotten that you haven’t seen me in four days.”

Farzana stopped what she was doing and curled her arms around him.  He’d missed that.  This time he’d only been away from her for about five days and it seemed strange to say, but being away for five days had been harder than being away from her for a month.  He figured that when he’d gotten home to Los Angeles he’d convinced himself that she’d be around for a while, but her trip had changed all that and his brain had gotten messed up in the process.  “I’m sorry.”  She pulled back to kiss him then pulled back,  “Wait.  What are you doing here?”  She smiled at him.  “I thought you weren’t going to be here until tomorrow.”

H e wanted to tell her right then and there, but as they slipped into her small dressing room leaving Rodney and all the other security guards behind.  “I wanted to take you to The Keys for two days,” he said, “If you’ll come along with me.”

She sighed.  “The Keys?”  She paused.  “I can’t right now.  I have too much going on.”

"I explained to Wendy that you need to be gone until Monday night.”  He hugged her and moved a hand to her chin to tip her head back to look at him.  His lips poised above hers for an instant then he finally kissed her.  “I have to be back in the city to get some more production stuff done with Brian and you have interviews so it’d be the perfect time to get away.”

“JC, I don’t have any clothes?” she said, “I mean beach clothes.”

He shrugged.  “So we’ll buy you a bikini at the hotel.”

“Are you sure?” she asked.

“Honey.”  He scooted closer to her and hugged her tight.  “I missed you and flew up here to pick you up.  I want you to come away with me for the weekend.  I’m sure.”

“When do we leave?” she asked.

“Whenever you’re ready,” he said moving back a little, “We’re taking a private flight down there so we can get there any time you want to.”

“It’s a long flight.”

“So we’ll sleep on the plane—“

“It’s gonna be—“

“It’s gonna be fine,” he said, “Grab your stuff and we’ll hit the hotel to get anything else you need before we hit the road.”

“The Keys?” she asked suddenly in a hyper mood.  “The last time we were in The Keys was when we met.”

“I know,” he said praying that she wouldn’t figure out the reason for his trip there.  He wanted it to be a surprise.  “It was where we met and I think that after the last few weeks I think we need to get back to the basics again.”

“Awwee,” she put a hand to his cheek and looked at him.  “I love you.”

He cocked his head to the side.  “I love you too Zana.”


The interview questions near the end and the answers come from a Michele Branch interview:  http://www.mtv.com/news/bands/branch_michelle.jhtml and has been changed to fit the character of Farzana and the story line.


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