Staring Down The Sun - Thirteen
San Francisco had been a tough show to get through. Coming back from a vacation no matter how short it had been always left everyone scrambling to get back into work mode. Somehow that paled in comparison to what was going on in Seattle. In the city that had been so magically for them in earlier years, everything seemed to be cursed. When they'd arrived into the city it had been drizzling and stormy, a strong contract to the sun they'd enjoyed in California. The weather wouldn't have been that big of a deal. Worst weather had crossed their paths before, but when lightening struck in the middle of the night blowing out the power in the area when the arena was, everything had been set back for three hours until the power had been turned back on.
Now, standing on stage already dressed in his show clothes, with security keeping people outside for another twenty minutes so they could finish up sound check, Justin found himself wanting to throw his microphone across the stage and scrapping the whole show.
Just when he didn't think that he could stand another minute of setbacks, he heard some noise on the side of the stage. He would have totally ripped into the person, but soon he found Jack crawling up the last of the steps to stage level, pushing himself up and running over towards him.
"Jack," Justin sighed shoving his microphone in his back pocket so that he could reach down and pick him up. He moved the little guy's security pass out of the way before he hugged him. "What are you doing up here buddy?"
He looked around and soon found Meredith staring at him from the side of the stage. He knew that look in her eyes. She'd sent Jack as a buffer, someone to break him out of his mood before he really did ruin the evening by throwing a fit. It didn't happen often, and most of his fits tended to be only sudden outbursts that ended with him in the green room or dressing room or bus for a half hour alone, but with Jack he couldn't do any of those. It was against his nature to say a mean word or be frustrated with their son around.
"Dis," He puckered his lips and slammed his face into Justin's cheek, first kissing him then leaving him a wet raspberry on his cheek with a laugh. "Dat is fom Mommy."
"Oh really?" Justin moved Jack to his other hip and wiped his face. "Thanks big guy."
"Way-come," Jack sighed then looked at the band. "Hi KeB-Bin!"
Kevin looked up over his sunglasses and bottled water and waved. "Hey there Jack."
"Ok," Meredith appeared on the side of the stage. "Jack, show Daddy what you wanted to show him so that they can get their sound check done."
"OH!" Jack startled to wiggle and Justin let him down.
"What are you gonna do big guy?"
"Dis!" Jack put his hands way over his head then took a few steps before he moved to do a somersault. He did the first one and then with his eyes closed started to do another one.
"YAY!" Everyone clapped for him when he got up from the second one. He took a quick bow then turned to do another one.
It seemed that Jack's little break was good for all of them, but everyone seemed to be waiting for him to leave so that they could finish. They were twenty minutes away from the doors opening, about two hours away from actual show time and no one wanted to be standing around when they all had work to do. If they were lucky, they'd get off stage and get to grab a quick breather before starting the hour and a half show that would take them through their evening.
"Come on Jack," Meredith said calmly, "We have to get off stage so Daddy can work."
"No!" Jack started to do another somersault.
Justin took a deep breath, clamped his jaw closed for a moment before he spoke. "Jack. You have to go with Mommy."
Jack plopped down on his butt and immediately started to pout. Normally this would be a cute thing for him to go through. If there was time everyone would stop everything and watch him act like a baby because normally it was a cute thing to see--watching his facial expressions mix between things his mother and things his father would both do with their own expressions.
This was not cute. This was a fit. A full out fit. Zero to sixty in two seconds flat.
Throwing a fit in the middle of the stage wasn't something that he wanted to deal with and when most days he'd just laugh off his son's antics, today it was getting too much. He started to move towards him and Jack seemed to notice and move away. Meredith turned to talk to Kevin for a moment, apologizing for the interruption and that's when it happened. He felt himself snap. He didn't know what was going on, but he soon found himself with a screaming Jack and his hand lifting away from where he didn't know if he'd smacked him or cut him to pieces from the sound of his son's screams.
When his eyes lifted up from where Jack was screaming everyone was staring at him and Meredith was coming towards him with a clearly upset look on his face. It was then that he realized he now couldn't hear. He could see everyone speaking to him, but nothing of what they were saying seem to sink in. He let Jack go and watched Meredith take him away before Mike appeared in front of him, took him by the shoulders and shook him slightly as if he could see that he needed something to wake him up from the daze he was in.
He looked around for a moment then took a deep breath. "What?"
"It's ok kid," Mike said then put an arm around him and lead him off the stage turning back towards Kevin and everyone else. "You got it?"
Justin couldn't understand what was going on. His head was cloudy and he was getting a headache.
"Where'd Meredith go?"
"Probably out to the bus," Mike said. He kept wrangling him down the hallway until they got to the dressing room. "Go on and take a breather and I'll go check."
Justin nodded, plopped down on the couch and closed his eyes. This wasn't good. He didn't have a clue what was going on, but he knew it wasn't good at all.
"Can you believe that?"
The voices in the hallway pulled his eyes open and he looked towards the door. He knew that he'd totally snapped, but he didn't realize until just then that there had been probably a hundred or so people that had seen him do it.
His hands itched to call his mother. He would probably be considered a momma's boy for calling her, but he needed to talk to someone and he figured that Meredith probably would be upset with him at the moment. He searched for his phone in his bag and couldn't find it. His hands shook, as if the adrenaline of the moment wasn't letting him calm down enough to think. He knew it was there somewhere, but it seemed to be lost from it's usual hiding spots.
Swearing under his breath he flipped the backpack out onto the couch that he'd been sitting on. He pushed everything around and still was wondering where his phone was.
He looked up to find Mike standing there watching him with a strange look on his face.
"What are you looking for guy?"
"My fucking phone," he said with grit in his voice.
"Meredith has it," he said, "You handed it to her before you went on stage so that it wouldn't ring--"
"Oh." He looked down at the pile of crap that had been in his backpack and sighed. "Fuck." He pushed most of it back into his bag then found himself crumpling into the seat. "What the hell is going on?"
"Are you on something?" Mike asked.
The look on Mike's face was killing him. It was a pained expression, one that clearly spoke volumes as to what was going on behind the few words that his guard was speaking to him. "Are you sure?"
Justin threw up his arms. He wanted to curl into a ball and cry the rest of the night. He didn't know what had happened to him. He was just as scared that he'd actually hurt Jack as he was about the fact that a scary side of him had taken over and he hadn't been able to control what was going on. "YES!"
Justin's heart rate slowed a bit as he leaned back on the couch and stared up at the ceiling. "Where's Mere?"
Mike took a seat on the other couch. "She's putting the kids in front of a movie and she'll be back in here before you go on."
Justin nodded. "Ok."
"Is there anything I can grab you from catering?"
Justin shook his head. "Am I grounded or something?"
"Not really," Mike said.
Justin's chin tipped down and he looked across at Mike. This whole situation was uncomfortable and Mike was looking just as in pain as Jack had looked when Mere had carried him away. "Not really?"
"Mere said to keep you away from the bus so that she could get the kids settled down."
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