Three Days Ago 4

"Back already?"

She shivered in the wind and wondered for a moment how she'd gotten down to the bus from the studio.  She didn't even remember knocking on the bus door again, but there he was again looking down at her with a slightly worried expression on his face.  Her knees felt weak, not from seeing her boyfriend for the first time in a while, but because of her nervousness.  Even standing with JR made her nervous.  She knew he would be concerned about her quick return and for sure he'd be wondering why she'd shown up so unexpectedly.

"Uh oh."  His lips pursed for a moment before he moved out of the way so that she could come inside.  He must have seen her tense up when he had that reaction and quickly took the initiative to change the subject quickly.  "It's getting cold out here."

"Yeah," Kelsey made herself say as she climbed the stairs.  Her feet felt heavy and for the first time since she'd gotten on the plane the night before she just wanted to lay down and go to sleep.  The rest she'd gotten on the plane and in the coffee shop she'd hung out in hadn't squelched her need for sleep.

She stripped out of jacket and threw it over the edge of the little eating booth.  "It's ok."  She hated that she sounded so tired and depressed.  She didn't want to walk into this trip with such a doomsday attitude, but until she really spoke to Tony she was going to have that nervous image of him in her head.  He looked almost sick to his stomach when he'd seen her.  Her reaction hadn't been much better, but she'd had twelve hours to think about this and he'd only had a few moments to think about it.  "He's busy with the rest of the interview and I'm tired so..."

JR yawned and slammed the door shut then leaned to pull the curtains together so that no one could see inside from the front windshield.

Her eyes adjusted to the dim lighting as she watched him shuffle towards the kitchen.  He grabbed up a cup of coffee and sipped it once before moving to get a big canister of sugar to pour into the liquid in the cup.  "Was he in a bad mood?"  He looked over the lip of the cup at her.  It was totally a parental look, one that she was sure Tony had seen more than a few times in the last week.

"You don't want to hear about this JR," she said instantly feeling as if she was starting trouble.  She slid onto the couch across from him and looked out through the tinted window to check to see if the interview was over.  "You should be sleeping."

JR scratched his jaw and with a lazy tone yawned out,  "What I need is a shave."

"JR," she said firmly knowing that if he was tired he shouldn't be driving and if he wasn't getting enough sleep it was actually illegal that he be on the road.

He nodded and lifted his cup.  "I've got insomnia at the moment."

"Are you getting sick?"

"Naw," he said, "I've got two whole days off as soon as we get to Denver.  I'm getting a room with a big tub, gonna take a long hot shower and sleep for two days."

The door clicked open and Tony came bounding in with his guitar case already off his back.  He set the thing down as soon as he was inside, throwing the door closed along with the curtain.  He walked towards where she was sitting, flopped down onto the seat next to her and kissed her cheek roughly.  "Sleeping for two days sounds good."

She leaned towards his kiss and gave him a smile.  "Well aren't you hyper?"

He bounced a little on the couch next to her as he pulled off his jacket and threw it across the small space.  She didn't know what had happened between the studio and the little living room, but he'd gotten some push of energy from somewhere.  "I just found out the numbers for the album," he said.

"Good news?" she asked.

"I'm making money honey," he said and started to rub his eye with the back of his hand.  He scooped one arm around the back of the couch and curled around her.  She ignored the arm that was around her and concentrated on watching him rub one way and then the other.

Her hand reached out, "Honey, your contacts are going to get stuck--"

"Nope," he said.  He opened his eye wide and with his thumb and his finger pushed and prodded until his contact came out.  He moved his fingers around on it and somehow it ended up in his palm.

"Gross," she moaned out, "You're gonna get some disease if you do that too many times.  You know how many germs--"

"They were hurting."  His voice was sharp with her, abnormally sharp, but considering the stressful situation of the day she didn't expect him to greet anything she had to say that day with open loving tones. "I had them on last night because my glasses broke--"

"You didn't tell me," she said, "I would have brought you your back-up pair."

"Naw," he said and proceeded to pop the other contact out, doing it the same way he'd done the first one, this one also landing in his palm.

"Jesus Tony," she whined and covered her face.  That's so gross."

"Sorry," he said, "They're worse off sitting in my eyes overnight than me sticking my finger in my eye for two seconds to get them out."

"Whatever," she said.

"Throw them away," JR said moving back towards the back of the bus.  "I will never figure out how any one can wear those things."

"Ok already," he said pushing himself up.  He moved across the small space, pulled open one of the lower cabinets near the sink and pulled out the trashcan before flicking the used contacts into the trashcan.  It was crazy to think that a few years before he'd always had to clean the things and be careful not to lose them and now he could wear them overnight and throw them away after a day or so.

When the door was pushed back closed, he turned and faced the sink to wash his hands.

"Now you wash them," she mumbled.

He didn't say anything back to her.  She knew that he wouldn't.  He wasn't into bickering.  That was probably why she was there in the first place.  There were issues between them, they both knew it, but over the phone wasn't the way that either of them handled things like this.  Normally things festered until they were in the same place at the same time and it always seemed when he came home that it was a good time to start over.  She wasn't sure that they were going to get that chance this time.

His hand rubbed against the back of the other, using the paper towel roughly as if it was sandpaper and there were something on his hands that he really wanted off.  She could almost see the muscles in his back and neck tense up.  He was quiet, really quiet, as he stood there.

"So your glasses are broken?" she asked trying to keep the conversation away from where she knew it was inevitably going.

"A little broken," he said turning around.  He leaned against the counter then leaned down to untie his boots, "I'm not totally blind ya know?"

There was silence for a moment as he struggled with the slightly wet double knot in the string.

She moved in her seat a little, pulling her hair back.  "You can't even untie your shoes."

"They're wet," he said and finally pulled the knot apart.

"You can't drive without them," she said.

"I'm on a BUS," he said with heavy tones that let her know that she was getting too picky with him.

"So your glasses are a little broken?"

"Yeah," he said, "The screw came out of one of the sides.  It's all good.  I've got replacements in my bag."

"So why didn't you fix them?"

"The bag is in the belly and I was dead tired last night so I went to bed without getting it done.  Which reminds me--"  He stuck his shoelaces back in the boot.  "JR!"

"WHAT!" JR yelled back coming into the living room.

"Open up the belly for me?" he asked.

Kelsey sat in her seat, unmoving as the two men stomped outside.  When she heard the door open on the side of the bus she turned around and looked out the window.  JR and Tony were clearly having a conversation and she was upset that she couldn't hear what they were saying.

At one point Tony looked up at the window.  She knew he couldn't see her.  The light wasn't good enough to let her image go through the tinted windows, but she still ducked her head a bit.  He seemed upset and glasses or no glasses, his eyes were clouded with some kind of frustration or anger that she didn't understand.

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Last updated: 09/19/04.