She stepped into the house with a sigh and
looked around. She wasn't exactly sure what she should do now. She was alone, in
a city that was a little over a thousand miles away from home and she had no one
to hang out with. It was going to be strange to be there without him. She'd been
in tons of hotel rooms over the last few years, but this wasn't a hotel. It was
his home, something completely private and she was going to be staying there.
He'd said to make herself at home while he was gone, but the only thing she
wanted to do was sit on the couch and not touch anything. It was too much to be
there. Too much to pretend for a moment that they might be together when he got
back from LA and that someday she might be sitting in that very same spot really
as his girlfriend and not just someone he'd just met.
When the phone rang she held her breath and wondered how she should answer it. It was late and she was still a little buzzed from the evenings events, but she knew that she should answer it. Should she identify herself? Should she even answer it at all? There was an answering machine that would get it.
On the fifth ring the answering machine picked up. "You've reached me so leave a message," came from the machine in JC's voice then a moment later she heard JC's voice again. "Zana pick up the phone...it's just me."
Farzana almost broke an ankle getting to the phone as JC started to talk to the machine. "Hello?" she finally said putting the phone to her ear.
"Are you ok?" he asked.
"Yeah," she said tyring to calm his breaths. She tugged on her jeans and leaned against the counter then thought for a moment, "You're supposed to be on a plane. Where are you?"
"On the plane," he said with a yawn, "I just wanted to make sure that you got home ok. I called on the air phone."
"Josh you should be asleep," she scolded him. She thought for a moment about calling him by a nick name, but she didn't want to get too comfortable.
"I'll go in a minute," he said, "I just wanted to check in with you."
"I've never had anyone call me on the air phone. Those things cost a million dollars to use." Her mind ran rampid with confusion. Two hours before he'd been silent, almost cold to her other than the kiss, but now he seemed to be himself. She knew that saying goodbye like that was awkward, but she almost worried that his leaving had meant the end of them.
"I don't care...I can afford it," he said, "I just wanted to make sure that you were ok. You sounded strange there for a minute at the airport and I thought I should say something to you about it."
"I'm sorry for being stupid about that," she said, "It's the teenager in me. I'm just--"
"Zana you don't have to explain. I know it's strange trying to be with me. I know I don't make it easy either," he said sounding tired, "I mean we were in the middle of something and I jumped up and ran away from you. I mean I didn't run away, but I left you there."
Her mind wandered, remembering the sound of his breath and voice in her ear a few hours before. "Why don't you try to get some sleep and we'll talk about it later," she said, "You sound like you could use the sleep and I could too."
"You sure?" he asked.
"Yeah," she said running her hands across the counter top. She should have gone with him. If she had been thinking more clearly she would have been there, but she didn't want to crowd him so she'd stayed at home...well at his home anyway. It was strange for her to think of his place as homey, "Call me when you figure out what's going on."
"Don't leave Orlando before I get back," he said.
She hesistated then smiled, "I won't."
"I mean it," he said, "I'll be back in like three days at the most."
"If you get bored go over to Johnny's and get in the studio. I'm sure he'll help you out if you want someone to work with you on those songs...or call Lance up. I think he's gonna be in town for a while."
"I don't want to bother anyone." She wondered what he was up to considering that he was almost trying to hide their friendship the night before.
"You won't be bothering anyone. Just go over and hang out over there...you never know what might come up if you do. I think Meredith is gonna be in town...you should hang out with her."
"I'm not sure that she likes me too much," Farzana said.
"Why are you so hesistant?" he asked, "Weren't you the one who wanted to get out and go and do stuff when we were in the Keys?"
"This is different," she said, "They're you're friends."
"They can be your friends too," he said, "I'm not greedy or anything."
"It's just strange," she said, "I just don't want to be like a third wheel or something...when I was there with you at least I had a reason to be there."
"You do have a reason for being over there," he said, "You work with me..."
"I thought that was just something we told my mom and dad," she said.
"No," he said, "I want to represent you...or at least find someone to do it so you can keep on with your music. You need to keep working and get your album out."
"As long as you start to sing again then I'll keep up with my album."
"I'll sing you to sleep tomorrow night," he said.
"Really?" she asked, her heart begining to race before she could stop it. She couldn't fall in love with him. It was going to be the death of her.
"You should get off the phone and get to sleep," he said, "At least try and call Lance up and talk to him about recording and stuff."
"I will," she said yawning.
JC hung up the phone and immediately fell asleep. Normally he would have been asleep the instant he sat down, but that night he was worried about Farzana. He knew he should be thinking of his brother. Tyler should have been his priority, but all he could think of was the way that Farzana had been with him earlier that night. She was so innocent, so untouched by the business and so what he needed in a woman.
Finally, just as he was getting fully asleep, the plane started to descend into LAX. He wasn't at all excited to be back in LA so soon, but he knew that Tyler needed his help and three thousand miles wasn't enough space to keep him from his brother.
By the time he got out of his seat and moved to the isle he was in a foul mood already. He didn't know what his brother was thinking getting a DUI in LA when he should have been in Bowie with their parents, but he knew that he had to pull him out of trouble so that his parents wouldn't get upset. He hated fighting in general, but to have his parents fighting with his brother or sister was even a bigger strain on him. He knew that if they were alright then the whole world would be ok, but the moment they fought he felt like his whole world would fall apart.
"Josh!" he heard his named called as he stepped out in the waiting area. He turned his head and found Bobbie standing there waiting for him. He would be lying if he said that it didn't effect him to see her standing there, but it did.
She looked good, but then again there wasn't a time when she hadn't looked good. Some would say that was a good thing, but for him it annoyed him. He needed someone who woke up in the morning looking like a normal person instead of like a model, the way that Bobbie always seemed to.
"It's sooooo good to see you," she said and threw her arms around him, hugging him. "I missed you."
JC stepped back and almost wanted to brush her germs off of him. He didn't like this. He didn't want there to be any doubt about why he was there, but he also knew he couldn't be rude to her, in public that was. He couldn't cause a scene because it would just get turned around in the press and would be called a lovers quarrel instead of what it really was, just a fight.
"Where is my brother?" he asked trying to make it clear the reason for him being there.
"We'll go get him in a while," Bobbie said, "Let's get you some breakfast and have you change your clothes and stuff."
"I should have had Alex pick me up," he mumbled as they walked out to the parking garage.
"That's not a very nice thing to say," Bobbie said, "I didn't have to come out here. I thought you'd need a ride."
JC watched her walk ahead of him and for a moment thought about just going to find a cab, but he knew he couldn't abandon her like that. "Bobbie!" he called after her and hurried his footsteps. "Bobbie, I didn't mean it. I'm sorry. I'm just tired and I was in the middle of something back in Florida and now I don't know what to do or how to act around you and Tyler needs my help and it's just a lot of GOD DAMN pressure to be under."
"You don't have to swear," she said, "I know that you're under pressure, but you don't have to treat me so poorly. Wasn't it enough that you kicked me out of the house and sent me packing while you went to God knows where?"
"I couldn't stay here," JC said, "I've done it enough times to know that I can't be here with you and have things work out..." He took a deep breath and tried to focus on something important. Tyler. He pictured his brother in some jail cell or something waiting for him and it hurt to know that she was being selfish talking about their problems.
"Fine," she said, "Find your own way home!" she rushed towards the elevator that would take her up to the parking level she needed.
JC found himself not wanting to follow her. He pulled his phone out and immediately called his house in Florida. He should have called Alex to get a ride, but what he needed what a kind word so he was calling her. She'd know how to handle what was going on. He didn't even have a clue if she'd tell him something helpful, but just the sound of her voice on the other end of the phone would be a comfort for him.