Some Good Reasons 17


A few weeks later...

"Hi honey," her mother said into the phone.

"Hi mom."

"Opps," her mother said with a laugh, "You're being paged. Hold on Brianna just crawled up into my lap and wants the phone."

"Ok," she said.

There was the sound of her daughter breathing into the phone for a moment before she heard her mom prompt Brianna to say hello. "Hewwo?"

"Hi baby," she said into the phone and swore to herself that she wouldn't cry. She'd only been gone from them for a few hours, but it had really been ages since she'd left them alone with her parents or Joey's parents for more than a few hours at a time. She'd had a few days in the last few weeks where she would have gladly traded the kids away to her parents for a few hours of peace and quiet, but now that they were gone, she couldn't think of anything else except them.

"Mommy," Brianna said, "Home?"

"Nope," she said and looked across at Joey who was reading over a stack of papers. He'd been reading a lot lately, which surprised her. She'd thought that now that he was home he'd catch up on doing other things, but reading seemed to be his passion lately. "I'll be home in two nights. Grandma and grandpa are going to visit with you for the weekend. You get to have a sleepover."

"Weally?" she asked. She could picture her face, wide eyes open in surprise at the news of her sleepover. Even if it just was to grandma's house, sleeping over or camping out with Colton was like going to Disneyland.

"Yeah," Kelly said with a laugh, "Grandma said that you were going to watch movies and go visit Grandma and Grandpa Fatone this weekend too."

"Weally?"

Joey tapped her on the shoulder and she wiped at her eyes trying to push away her depressed thoughts of home.  "You ready to go?"

"Yeah," she said softly and pulled her purse over her shoulder. "Want to say hi to Brianna?"

"Sure," he shrugged and took the phone from her. "Hi Jelly Bean." He tapped his foot a little and smiled. "A sleepover? Wow. You're a pretty special girl. Are you going to let Colton and Trey come with you?" He smiled at Kelly. "You're not? Why?" He sat down and fiddled with his shoelaces. "Oh. Ok. Well tell him to be nice." He laughed a little. "I love you too Jelly Bean. I'll see you after your sleep over." He handed the phone back to Kelly.

She took it and held it to her ear. "Ok Brianna. Let me talk to Grandma again real quick."

Brianna handed the phone over without saying goodbye. She heard it being set down then a few moments later being picked up again.

"Mom?"

"Hi sweetie," she said.

"We'll be home Sunday night. I'll call you in the morning to tell you when we'll be over to get the kids." She looked in her purse to make sure her wallet was there, then found some lip gloss and reminded herself to put some on later. "How's Trey doing with his teeth?"

"They aren't bothering him that much." Her mother paused to say something to Brianna about being able to watch a movie when she got off the phone then came back into the conversation. "He's chewing on a wet rag right now."

"Ok," Kelly sighed, "Tell them that I love them ok?"

"Of course," she said, "You and Joey go and have fun this weekend."

"We will," Kelly said, "I love you."

"I love you too honey," her mother said with a soft laugh.

Kelly said a quick goodbye and hung up the phone. She put her cell phone in her bag then looked over at Joey, "So what's the plan for tonight?"

"We're going to meet Lance and Colleen in the lobby then head over to RENT.  Loni and Randy are gonna be around.  We got invited to a party at my cousin's house in Brooklyn." He straightened his jacket on his shoulders and grabbed up his wallet and shoved it in his jeans, "We don't have to head out that way, but I haven't seen Richie in a while."

"Going out to Brooklyn seems like a good idea." She shook her head. Being at a club meant that she wasn't going to be able to hear her phone ring and as much as she wanted to be young and hip and all that, she wanted to be able to talk to her mother without yelling in case something came up. "Going to some club isn't really the way I want to spend my night."

Joey nodded and pulled the door open and held it as she walked out into the hallway. He closed up their door then took the three steps across the hall to get Loni.  Randy would be meeting up with them in a while, since he was probably assigned to Lance for the weekend.  Kelly knew that she should feel uncomfortable about having a guard around, but after being at home and not really needing one it was a little hard to get used to having one around again.

"There's the happy little couple," Loni said with a smile as he pulled on his jacket. "Ready?"

They nodded and started off down the hall.

Their hands linked together as they walked. It was a natural response to the two of them when they were out and about with each other. Today though Kelly's hand felt strange in his and she pulled his hand up to look at his fingers. She'd known that he'd hit his hand the night before, but he hadn't complained of it hurting so she thought that it had been ok.

"Where's your wedding band?" Kelly asked finding his ring finger bare.

"Here," he said and pulled the necklace out of his shirt with his band on it, "I popped my finger last night and didn't want my finger to swell up. Patrick, the lighting guy from NSA popped his finger once bad and they had to cut his ring off. I didn't want that to--" He stared at her for a moment, "Did you think that I took it off for some other reason?"

Kelly's eyes widened for a minute. She had thought that, but she'd never admit it aloud. She knew that he was upset at her for being so crazy about the weekend away from school and from the kids. "I wasn't--"

"Really is that what you think?"

Loni stood near them, but pulled out his phone and pretended not to be listening to their fight.

"You were mad at me and I--"

"So I was mad--" He stopped in the middle of the hallway of the hotel and stared at her. His hand dropped away from her and he crossed his arms over his chest. "Do you really think that I don't take our marriage seriously?"

"I didn't mean--"

"Kelly," He sighed, "This isn't some thing with me. I would have hoped that by this time in our relationship and all the SHIT that we went through before we got married that you would have learned by now that this isn't just some passing hobby."

"That's not what I meant Joe," she said and looked down the hallway to find one of the maids coming out of a room with a cleaning cart. "Can we talk about it later?"

Joey looked down the hallway, "Fine."

*****

Joey couldn't help but feel upset about Kelly's accusations about the whereabouts of his ring. When he'd hit his finger he'd done the only thing he could think of. He'd gotten the ring put on a necklace and he'd had it with him since. He'd never left the house without it. Although he probably should have put it on another finger, wearing it around his neck felt better to him. It was closer to his heart.

"What a sap," he mumbled.

"What the hell is up with you tonight?" Lance asked as they waited for the girls outside of the ladies room in the theater.

Joey held up his hand without the ring on it. He didn't want to make it too obvious that he was showing off that he didn't have his ring on. A picture of that in the papers would cause mass hysteria he was sure.

"Oh shit," Lance said, "You're in trouble. You aren't allowed to lose--"

"I didn't lose it," Joey said angrily. He wondered why everyone thought he could be so irresponsible when it came to his marriage. He pulled the ring out from under his shirt, "I popped my finger last night on my luggage and took it off." He looked at his hand and pressed on his knuckle a little. "Remember with Patrick dislocated his finger and they had to cut his ring off? I didn't want them to do that to me." He stared down at the ring around his neck. "It took me forever and a fucking day to get her to marry me. I'm not fucking that up."

"So what's the trouble then?" Lance looked at him sideways for a moment, "Kelly thought you took it off on purpose?"

Joey nodded and stuck his hands in his pockets. His finger felt strange without the ring there. When he was in high school and he'd worn his high school ring he'd gotten used to the idea of having something on his finger and when he'd replaced that ring with a silver band that he'd gotten in Germany then again replaced it with his wedding band he'd felt comfortable with something on his finger. Now all he felt was naked without it. His finger was still a little sore from hitting it the night before, but more so it felt cold without the warmth of the ring and the protection that ring came with. "It just pisses me off that she'd think that I'd do that."

"She's been on edge lately," Lance said softly, "Not anything anyone else would notice, but she seems a little stressed."

"She's doing the whole school thing and has a million and one other things going on." He laughed a bit. "I guess it's role reversal. Normally I'm the one running around silly. It seems these days I'm the couch potato and she's the one with the business head."

Lance watched him closely. "Are you ok with her going to school?"

"Yeah," he said with a nod. He really was all for her doing something for herself, but it was just different for him to not come home and find her there. Someone would say that it was a very sexist view of their lives, but really it was such a comfort to know where she was and what she was doing that it left him a little off balance that she would be doing something that didn't include him. "Definitely, but it's just strange to have to work around her schedule since we really have only worked around my schedule before. It's not bad really." He reached up and scratched his chin and stared across the upstairs lobby and saw the girls coming back. "Just different."

"That's kind of the fun of it," Lance said.

Joey wasn't quite sure where Lance was coming from. He didn't have a clue how disrupting his life could be considered fun. "Fun of it?"

"Not thinking about yourself for once," he explained, "Colleen's flight schedule is being jacked with so we've been going through the same thing. She's going into part time now so that we can spend time together, but I don't think I'd want her to give it up." He laughed, "I mean I can fly free now because I can use her buddy passes."

Joey laughed a little as Kelly came over to stand near him. "What's so funny?"

"Lance only likes Colleen for her free airline miles," Joey said.

Colleen took it as a joke and hit at Lance's shoulder lightly, "That's it. No more free flights home for you." She leaned and kissed him, "You can walk home."

Lance smiled. "Sure."

******

The time that they spent at the Nederland Theater was short.  The four of them were whisked inside to their seats just before the show was starting.  Joey noticed how Kelly seemed nervous during all of this, but tried to ignore it, or at least not make a big deal about it.  She was uncomfortable about being in New York in the first place and bringing more attention to that wouldn't help either of them.

During the play Joey kept his hand in Kelly's.  He was nervous to watch the show and spent most of the play ignoring the other characters and focusing on the parts he would read for the director the next day.  When it was done they were whisked out a back door.  It was the price of being a celebrity, rushing through everything.

"You guys want to come out to Brooklyn to Richie's with us?" Joey asked in the car.

"Sure," Lance said with a shrug looking at Colleen, "Unless you want to go back to the room?"

"No," she said, "We should go.  I haven't really spent that much time in New York lately since most of my trips are overnight normally.  I think it'd be cool to see more of the city."

"Brooklyn is great," Kelly said, "I've been there a million times with Joey on vacations when we'd go and see his family."

Lance sighed.  "I haven't seen your cousin since--"  He thought for a moment.  "Shit, since forever.  I think it was that one summer he spent down in Orlando working at Disney."

"I know," Joey said, "He's been busy.  He was finishing high school the last time I saw him and now he's gonna be finishing college.  He's planning on moving down to Orlando and going to Full Sail and getting into the business after that--so I thought we could stop by and see him since he's gonna be our neighbor soon."

"Richie's moving down to Florida?"

"Yeah," Joey said with a shrug, "Aunt Ann called my mom a few months ago and told her that.  He's gonna try and get some producing gigs after he goes to technical school."

"I didn't know that," Kelly said, "Where is he gonna live?"

"I'm not sure," Joey said.

"Well remind me to tell him he's welcome to stay with us for a while if he needs to."

Joey nodded and sighed.  She was starting to act normally again.  He knew that their lives weren't easy, but he'd thought that by this time in their relationship that she would have gotten comfortable with the strange way that they lived.  There were a lot of perks to their lives.  The two them lived very comfortably, didn't have to worry at all about paying bills and their kids would end up with great educations and lives because of the cushion of money that they'd both built for themselves. 

Most people would have assumed that Joey added all the money to their lives, but the fact that Kelly could exist without spending it all as soon as it got into the bank account really was what saved them.  They owned a nice home, but not as big as they could have gotten.  They owned fairly conservative cars considering how much money Joey was pulling in, and they kept their travel and expenses low.

"Joe?"

"What?"  He turned and looked at her.

"You ok?" she asked.

"Perfect," he said and hugged her to him.

"Good," she said sounding more confident than she had in a few weeks.


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