Three Days Ago 2
She was a third grade teacher in Brooklyn New York. After five years of teaching slightly hyperactive, normally active and something she liked to refer to TDHK’s or “Tasmanian devil hyperactive kids” she figured that she could handle just about anything. That theory had been proven right, up until the night before when she’d gotten on a plane in New York around ten at night without making a reservation and flew her way out to Cheyenne, Wyoming, giving only a quick notice to her principal and her co-workers saying that she was taking some much needed time off.
The conversation she'd had with Tony on the bus just moments before she'd quickly booked her flight and the conversation that they'd had the day before when he was in Chicago had left her feeling the urgent need to get on tour with him and spend some time with him. With her having classes and him being gone, they'd spent a good few weeks apart, nothing that either of them seemed to be handling well, but they'd put up with due to the circumstances.
Now, in the early morning hours, as she rode across Cheyenne towards the radio station in a mini-van taxi with her rolling suit case and backpack crammed into the seat next to her so that she could get out faster than having it stuffed in the back, she found herself not being able to control the excitement that had welled up over the last few hours.
Flying into a place like Cheyenne wasn't the excitement. This was that deep in the gut bubbly feeling that comes only when the anticipation of that first sighting is so great that the rest of the time with him would pale in comparison, no matter how "special" they tried to make their time together turn out to be.
This was definitely a gamble. Not only a gamble as far as her timing went, but more a big gamble considering that her career as well as her relationship was finding itself on the line at the moment. No one put her in that position, not even Tony probably felt that she was on the edge like she was, but either way there she was in the middle of no where Wyoming speeding towards him, half praying that showing up wouldn't step on anyone's toes and that he'd be happy to see her instead of concerned that she'd shown up on her own.
“Here we are,” the driver said as they pulled up to the radio station, weaving past a group of kids that were standing on the edge of the sidewalk. “That’ll be ten bucks.”
She pulled her wallet out of her backpack, found twelve dollars and handed it to the driver. “Thanks.”
“No problem.” He nodded then turned back around in the car and waited for her to get out.
It took a moment, not only because she needed to zip up her jacket in the weather, but also because she was trying to figure out how to deal with the crowd outside. She wasn’t exactly afraid of them, but she didn’t know how they’d react. Not that many people knew about her. Well they knew about her in the sense that they knew that Tony was taken, but no one would have expected her to be flying into Cheyenne, Wyoming, when she hadn’t been seen with him in the two months since he’d left on tour.
As she pulled out her suitcase and her backpack she squinted against the wind, trying to see if anyone was inside the tour bus parked across the parking lot and more importantly if anyone was awake. She hated the snow, and reminded herself to tell everyone that she met that day that snow in April was inconsiderate as well as inconvenient. Pushing the arm of her jacket back, she looked at her watch and realized that Tony would be on the air at the moment and that if she didn’t hurry and catch JR before he went to sleep she was going to be in big trouble.
Giving the fans a once over, she waited for the cab to pull away before she approached the bus, keeping her back to the people standing outside the building. They were watching her. She didn't dare turn back and look, but there was a definite rise in the noise level behind her when she lifted a hand to knock on the bus door.
With a quick knock she soon saw the door crack open. “Honey Bee?”
“Hi JR,” she said with a shy wave. Her fingers started to freeze and she wondered if that was a sign of bad things to come. She normally tried to have a good attitude about these things, but was worried that her surprise wasn't going to be a good surprise after all. “Got room on there for one more?”
She'd always thought of him as some fatherly-uncle-type figure in Tony's life. She'd been fed over the phone a hundred and one JR-isms that seemed to explain everything in life, only now was she realizing just how grateful she was for his warm personality even if his exterior was tough.
He pushed the door further open. “What are you doing here?”
Her stomach dropped at the tone of his voice. This wasn't the welcome she was expecting at all. “I shouldn’t be here should I?”
“No,” he said then smiled, “That’s not what I meant. I’m surprised to see you." He blinked a few times and she thought of her students back at home and how they'd react to a surprise. She hoped that the rest of her visit went better than this. She wanted wide open happy eyes instead of wide open curious eyes that JR was using with her. "Tony didn’t say that you were coming out. You ok?" He rattled off the rest slightly nervously. "The guys --Joe and his band-- are flying out to Denver today so I was wondering who was knocking on the door. I was about to call the cops on those kids over there if it was them.”
“He doesn’t know,” she said with a shrug pulling her suitcase up the stairs and into the tiny living room of the bus as he stepped out of the way.
“Came to surprise him?” JR asked.
She nodded and nervously placed her things out of the walkway, shoving one of the suitcases into the small alcove where the table was. “I’m sorry to spring this on you. I know that it’s against the rules and all—“
“It’s alright. I’ll give a call up to the home office and let them know that you’re here. You know you’re always welcome. You’re on Tony’s list and all, so you’re fine.”
She nodded. “Do you think I should go inside or should I—“
“Definitely go on in,” he said, “You want me to walk with you?”
“I’m sure you have something better to do—"
“Not at all,” he said, “I was gonna go in anyway and use the boys room.” He laughed. “I wish to God someone would invent a bus toilet that could handle what toilets are supposed to handle.”
Even though it was probably too early in the morning for her to be that understanding about the bathroom jokes, she laughed along anyways. “Thanks JR. Making a sacrifice for the team and all.”
“No troubles,” he said, “Genius will be glad to see you since everyone has been off the bus for two days now.”
She nodded and shoved her hands into her pockets as they went down the stairs and back out into the cold.
"You nervous girl?"
"A little," she said eyeing the crowd. "Sometimes surprising someone really is a bad surprise instead of a good surprise. Ya now?"
JR watched her closely, his eyes only making contact with hers for just a moment before he seemed to take in the worried expression on her lips. "It'll be fine." He patted her shoulder. "From what I can tell he kind of needs the break in the tour. He's got a few more shows to do before vacation and no offense to the other guys, but having you along will be nice. At least it'll be nice for me."
"Thanks JR," she said with a sigh.
"Come on," he pulled the door open for her and motioned for her to go in first. "There should be someone around here that can take you up to the studio."
"I'll take care of it," she said and walked towards the front desk to speak to the receptionist there.
"Good morning." The greeting was given to her as the girl finished up writing something onto a piece of notebook paper.
"Hi," she said softly, "My boyfriend is being interviewed this morning and he doesn't know that I've come to visit. Is there any way that I can sneak up--"
The girl looked up at her from where she was sitting. "You're Kelsey Vasant."
She cringed a bit at being recognized then forced a smile, "Yeah."
"What are you doing here?" the girl asked. She hated when people rapidly fired off questions without letting the person they were speaking with to answer the question. "It's not your anniversary or something totally romantic like that is it?"
"No," she shrugged a bit and busied her hands by undoing her jacket. "I got some time off work and Tony's been traveling around so much having so much fun that I thought I'd come out and spend some time with him." She cringed at just how fake that explanation sounded.
"Let me call up and get someone down here to show you the way." Her hands flew into motion dialing a number on the phone. "I'm sure they'll play some trick on him when they find out that you're here."
Before she could protest the idea of making her visit a big deal and potentially exposing more of their relationship on the radio, a girl named Alexis was shaking her hand and smiling. "Come on back. I'm sorry I wasn't down here to get you when you arrived."
"It was a shock. No one was expecting me here today."
"Oh." Alexis frowned a bit.
"Please don't pull me on the air," Kelsey said quickly. "I just want to stand there, wave to him to let him know I'm here then go and take a nap in the bus--" She cut herself off when they got to the studio.
Tony was sitting with his back to her, guitar resting on his knee with headphones on talking to one of the DJs. She could hear overhead an older NSYNC song playing, so she knew they were off the air for the moment.
Alexis knocked on the glass window that separated the hall from the studio before hooking an arm through Kelsey's pulling her into view.
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Last updated: 09/19/04.