"Go on, girl!" Chris sang at the top of his lungs to the stereo in the corner of the room as he pushed the bathroom door open. He loved New York. He'd almost forgotten about the quick trip up North, but now was there and was loving it.
With barefeet on the short carpet he hopped his way back out into the bedroom while listening to the song. He wore only the towel that had been hanging on the bar next to his shower. It was a little on the small side, but it covered him enough to keep him warm. No one would be walking in and the curtains were closed, but the weather was fairly cool that night and he didn't want to catch a cold or something.
It was the end of a long day. He was ready to get to bed and hide, seeing that it was almost after midnight and he had been up all day and most of the night before.
"Hey pretty baby with the high heels on..."
He danced his way over to his dresser being careful of his shoes on the floor and the jeans that hadn't quite hit the bed when he'd thrown then from the bathroom towards the bed. He pulled out his sweats and a Pittsburgh Penquins t-shirt, which had replaced his worn hockey jersy to wear to bed. "You give me fever like Iíve never ever known...Youíre just a product of loveliness...I like the groove of your walk."
He slid his boxers on, chosing to through his sweats and his shirt onto the bed, before he searched for his cell phone. Not seeing it right away he wrapped his head in the towel he'd just had around his waist.
"Your talk, your dress...I feel your fever from miles around...Iíll pick you up in my car...And weíll paint the town...Just kiss me, baby." He grabbed up his glasses from the nightstand then made a face at his reflection across the room in the mirror that covered the far wall. "And tell me twice...That youíre the one for me."
Moving back into the bathroom he grabbed up his toothbrush and decided that he'd better brush his teeth before he got into his bed because when he was relaxed like that he knew he wouldn't want to move. "The way you make me feel," he sang then in a lower voice sang the echo in the song, "The way you make me feel." He put toothpaste on the toothbrush and sang the next lines, "You really turn me on...You really turn me on." He wiggled his eyebrows at himself in the mirror.
As he began to brush the brush against his teeth he nodded his head to the beat as he stared at his chest in the mirror. He wasn't the slimmest of men anymore, but he felt like he was still in good enough shape. "You knock me off of my feet...You knock me off of my feet...My lonely days are gone...My lonely days are gone...I like this feeling youíre giving me."
He spit out what was in his mouth and rinsed his mouth then continued to sing. "Just hold me...baby...And Iím in ecstasy...Oh, Iíll be working from 9 to 5...To buy you things."
Chris rinsed his mouth a second time then walked back into the room, shutting off the CD he'd put in earlier so that he could make a phone call to check his messages. He'd made a rule with his mom that he'd turn his phone off when he was at the house with them. On the rare occasion he'd be waiting for a call to come through and would be able to answer, but for the most part no one got to talk to him while he was with his mom and sisters.
His fingers pressed the buttons to the preprogrammed number and then he held the phone in his hands waiting for his heartbeat to slow a little before he pressed call.
When the phone rang in his hand his hands jumped and he dropped the phone onto the floor. The towel that had been wrapped turban style around his head now fell and he found himself digging into the wet towel to grab up the phone and the glasses that slipped off his nose as he leaned over.
"Hello?" he said flipping the phone open and pressing it to his ear as he manuvered the frames of the glasses back onto his face.
"I didn't wake you up did I?" the female voice asked.
"No," he said with a sigh. He grabbed up his t-shirt and flipped it over his shoulder.
"Do you know who this is?"
"I lived with you for almost two years." He could hear the bitterness in his own voice and winced. He hadn't meant to be nasty, but he didn't understand why she was calling him after she'd been so upset with him earlier that week. "I think I can figure it out Dani."
"I'm not bothering you am I?" she asked with a soft voice.
"No," he said confidently as he pulled his shirt over his head and moved to postion himself against the pillows so he could sit comfortably and talk. "I just got back from being gone all day."
"How did the interviews go today?" she asked.
"Fine," he said with a sigh and closed his eyes. He didn't want to talk business. He didn't want to talk to anyone else that night. He was actually in a good mood for once and he didn't want to ruin that mood after having spent the night before tossing and turning over her.
Dani didn't know why she was calling. There was no reason to call. She knew that she'd see him the next day, but she couldn't stop herself. She should have been fast asleep, but when she couldn't get to eyes to stay shut, she'd found her phone and dialed the number. Now as she sat there and listened to the silence filling the air she felt almost embarrassed.
"Was there anything else you wanted to know?" he asked yawning into the phone.
She didn't know if he was really tired or if he was trying to get out of talking with her. She used to be able to tell how he sounded, but tonight all she could think about was the idea that this was the first time in months that she'd called him out of nowhere. She had called him for business or to set up phone calls with clients with him, but she hadn't just randomly called him in what seemed like forever.
"No," she said lazily. It sounded dumb for her to admit that she had called to say nothing. She hated when people did that to her so now she found herself wondering why she couldn't just wait until morning.
His voice came out quickly after that. "As much as I'd like to sit here and chat with you, I was just heading to bed."
"Ok," she replied and closed her eyes for a moment.
Part of her wanted to tell him everything that had gone on in the last few weeks, but she couldn't get past the fact that she'd told him to go away. Crawling back to him now would only cause more issues.
"I'm gonna go then."
He was about to hang up when her mouth started to finally work. It wasn't that she wanted to have the last word on things, but at the same time she didn't want him to have control of the situation. She'd always found it comforting to know that she had some control in things. Chris's career had been the one to dictate their relationship to them in the past. Dani always would be the one to plan and schedule things around Melinda's endless list of activities for the group to do, but now that they weren't together he seemed to be taking more of a stance on things. She didn't want to lose the comfortable positions they'd come to know as their lives. She wanted to be in charge. She needed to be in charge. It was the only power she had in things anymore.
She rolled over onto her back and stared at the ceiling. "Chris?"
"Yeah," he said sounding annoyed with her stalling.
"Can we please call a truce or something for the wedding?" she asked, "I know that neither of us are ready to admit who is wrong and who is--"
"We all know who is wrong and who is right, or at least who YOU think is wrong and right," he said.
"Chris," she sighed, "That's what I mean. This is important. It's Joey and Kelly's wedding and I don't want to ruin that for them because the two of us are fighting or whatever."
"I'm not fighting," he said, "You're the one who came and found me that day and you were the one who wouldn't listen."
"Fine, fine," she said.
Even though she was being stubborn herself she at least wanted to present the idea to him. She needed to make sure that he knew her intentions for the party and wanted to make sure that nothing happened to ruin their friends' day. She didn't want to be the reason that they had a bad mark on the day. It had taken them a long time for them to get together finally after Colton had showed up and they didn't need any more things to put a damper on something that would have been considered the fairy tale relationship.
"Can we please just make an agreement to have a good time and stay away from each other so we don't cause a scene?" She knew he was going to bring up the fact that she was the one who had been hostile towards him so she added, "That means ME as well as you." It was a bit of an admission, the way she stressed the word me, but it didn't come blurting out with the fact that she was in the wrong.
"I wasn't planning on creating a national disaster." He snapped. She knew that she had crossed the line with this conversation when he spoke the rest, "Despite popular belief I can control myself a little and be MATURE when need be."
"I'm gonna hang up now."
"One more thing," he said. "Michele tried to tell you this before, but we aren't lovers. We dated for a while, but I'm sure someone already told you that, not that it's any of your business in the first place."
"Then why'd you bring it up?" She wanted now more than ever to hang up the phone and leave the state.
"Because...It's embarrassing the way you were being so immature about it and the way you blew her off like then when she tried to talk to you. I don't know what happened to you in the last few months, but it's rude of you to be like that with her. If you have issues with me that's fine, but don't pull that high school crap. If it were high school I could see that your comment might fit in to the conversation, but it's not, so leave Michele alone about stuff like that."
"Are you done?" she asked. She hated when he was right. It didn't happen too often with the two of them, but when she did it was hard for her to deal with it.
"Yes," he replied then she heard his phone cut off.
She sighed and turned her phone off then rolled over and stared at the empty bed next to her feeling even more depressed than she had felt in weeks. She didn't know what caused her to be so nasty with him and why he was nasty back, but she wanted it to end.
When she heard the door open she turned back over and found Meredith standing in the doorway. She looked half asleep and was rubbing her eyes. "You ok?" Meredith asked.
Dani nodded, "I'm fine. I was just on the phone. I'm sorry that I got a little noisy."
"It's ok," Meredith said, "Justin heard you and thought something might be wrong, but you know how he is about getting out of bed. The place has to be on fire for him to really wake up."
"Well tell him thanks for the concern," she said, "Its fine now."
"Are you sure you're ok?" she asked.
"Yeah," she said, "I just have some unfinished business that is hanging on with someone and it always seems to--" She shook her head. "I'll tell you about it in the morning."
Meredith watched her for a long time then finally agreed. "Ok."
Dani turned the lamp off next to her and lay back down, trying to forget all that was now clouding her mind.
Chris lay his head back on the pillow and felt completely conflicted with his emotions. On the one hand he knew that he'd been right in yelling at her about the way she'd treated Michele, but on the other hand he didn't want to fight with her. If he could have it any other way he wished that he'd be able to erase every bad thing that had ever happened between them. He wanted to go back to the begining when things hadn't been so messed up and they actually got along without having to try to do so.
He was about to fall asleep when his phone rang again.
"Honey Taylor's sick," she said, "Her appendix burst this afternoon."
"What?" He shot up from where he was relaxing. "Is she ok?"
"She's ok honey. She's been in the hospital before so she should be fine, but--"
"I'm coming home. I'll catch a flight tonight and be there when she wakes up in the morning."
"No honey, really it's not that serious. I just wanted to let you know what's going on."
"No," he said, "I'll be on a flight soon."
"Ok," his mother sighed. "I'm just not used to being in the hospital with her. Usually it's you and I know you're ok because you're not scared of all this."
"Mom calm down for me ok?" he said, "I need to make a call and get a flight scheduled then I'll call you back."
"Leave me a message. I can't take calls in here and I'll have one of the guys pick you up."
"No Mom," he said, "Just sit with Taylor and tell her that I'm coming to see her. Ok? I'll leave you a message and tell you when I've got my plans set."
When he hung up the phone he called the airport and made arrangements then called the front desk and made sure that a car would be waiting before he packed his things. He carried his bag next door and knocked on Sabrina's door and told her the plan then called Joey in Orlando and told him what was going on and that he'd need a ride. He would have chosen the other guys, but Joey would know that he needed to be with his little sister.
On the way to the airport Chris dialed Dani's cellphone. He knew that he shouldn't involve her in things, but he wanted to talk to her, to hear her voice.
"What's wrong?" she asked.
"Taylor's appendix burst and she's in the hospital." His voice shook. "I'm sorry...I didn't mean to wake you up, but can you do me a huge favor?"
"What?" she asked, "What do you need?"
"Go and be with my mom and Taylor?" he said, "I'm on a flight to Orlando that will get in around three am and I'll be over there, but please go sit with them."
"Of course," she said.
"Thank you Dani," he said with a sigh of relief.
"Are you ok Chris?" she asked.
"Yeah," he said. "Yeah. I'm just worried."
"I know Chris," she said, "Don't worry though. It'll be like four hours until you see her."
Chris leaned back in the seat, "I'm sorry for being an ass earlier. I didn't mean to snap like that. I'm just--"
"Don't worry." She sighed. "Just go get on than plane and we'll talk about that later."
"Right," he said, "Love you."
"I love you too," she said quickly.
He hung up the phone then realized the words that had come out of his mouth and the ones that had come from her.