Some Good Reasons 16

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It wasn't until the kids were fast asleep before Joey approached Kelly about the RENT audition and the reason for her being so upset with him all of a sudden.  He knew that if the kids were awake both of them would have the luxury of checking on them or playing with them to keep them away from the real issues that had suddenly crowded the house.

"You ok?" Joey asked coming into their bedroom.  It was completely quiet and the overhead light was off.  The lamp beside the bed was on and she was propped up against some pillows with a book open in her lap.

She sighed and turned back to her text book after only a quick glance at him.  It was the coldest reception she'd given him in years.  Her eyes roamed over the page and she moved to book up a little.

"Thanks," he said with a sarcastic tone pulling off his shirt and throwing it into the hamper across the room.  He slid out of his shorts, down to his boxers and threw his shorts into the hamper before moving around the side of the bed to sit down.  He normally wouldn't have been that careful about his clothes, but nothing was going to spark an argument with her.  If they were going to fight it was going to be about the play or school, not about his dirty clothes on the floor.

"I'm trying to read Joey," she said sounding annoyed.  Her fingers gripped the book as if at any moment she'd pick the book up and throw it at him, "Sorry if me doing my homework is ruining your day."

He sighed, but felt at least a little relieved to see that her wedding ring was still on.  If she'd taken it off, he would have been worried.  "Are you going to be this way until the New York trip?" he asked defensively.

She folded her book up and leaned and put it on the nightstand.  "Do even understand why I'm not thrilled with the idea of you going off to New York to be in a play?"

"I have a few ideas,"  He sat down on the bed.  "--but since I seem to be confused about most of the things that have gone on in this house in the last few days, why don't you just explain it so I don't get it wrong."

"Fine," she said and sat up straighter.  She started to speak, but closed her mouth and covered it with her hand.  He could see the tears welling up there and turned more towards her and reached for her empty hand not knowing what else to do.  He couldn't stand to see her so upset, but in the same breath, he knew that it was frustrating him to be the cause of that hurt.  "You keep going away."

He moved his hand further when she didn't take his hand.  "I'm not going away."

"I don't know if I can do this Joey."  She didn't look at him.  She looked at the ceiling, at the floor, across the room then finally at him.  "I don't know if I can go through this again."

He was shocked to see her so dramatic about things.  "Go through what again?"

Her eyes stared at him intently.  "Every time I think I've got to back home to stay for a while you always are leaving."

"I'm not leaving."  He repeated it and had a feeling he'd need to say it again considering how she didn't seem to understand him.

"Yes you are.  You're going to be in New York and I'm gonna be here with the kids and school and it's just--"  She sighed heavily.  "I'm starting to worry that maybe getting married wasn't the right thing to do.  I mean we love each other and we have some great kids, but we don't seem to be on the same track anymore."

"What?"  He was floored by her admission.  He never meant for his job to be something that would break up their marriage.  He wanted to be with her, needed to be with her, but clearly she was right.  Something wasn't clicking with them.  Sometimes things like that happened, but he never expected her to be as upset as she was and basically informing him that she was thinking that they split up over this.  "Kelly.  Please."  He felt tears in his eyes.  "I'm trying to--"  His voice cut off.  "I can't--"  He pulled his hands away from her and put his hands on his head.  His breathing got really shallow, his eyes closed and he started to listen to the sound of his breath going in and out.

"Joey?"

"I'm--"  He started to say then instantly knew that he needed to leave the room.  "I'm gonna throw up."

His feet carried him into the bathroom and he found himself emptying his stomach into the toilet.  Every time he sat up to think for a moment his eyes would water and he'd throw up once again.  Just hearing her say that, knowing that she'd been clearly thinking it for a while made him sick, not because she would think of the separation on her own, but because his actions clearly were having a different effect on her than he'd thought.  He'd wanted things perfect and so far, even though there had been rough patches along the way, thought that he'd been succeeding in having himself a successful marriage.  When he thought that he could sit without throwing up again he sat on the bathroom floor and stared out into the bedroom.  Kelly was sitting on the edge of the bed watching him.

"You ok?" she asked him with a quiet voice.

He nodded that he was ok then turned and flushed the toilet before he moved to wash his mouth out.

When he returned to the bedroom he grabbed up his pillow and turned towards the door.

"Joey?"

"I'm gonna sleep on the couch tonight," he said calmly knowing that tonight he wouldn't sleep at all.  "I can't--"  He looked at the bed.  "I...I...I just...can't."  He turned his back on her and moved down to the first floor to set himself up on the couch for the night.

*****

It took him almost three hours before he finally got up and dialed the phone.  He took the phone out onto the back porch and sat down.

"Hello?"

Joey's voice caught in his throat and tears formed in his eyes and the bile taste of his throwing up returned to the back of his throat.  "Daddy?"

"Joe?"  He could hear his father sit up in bed and heard his mother getting up too.  He hated to do this to them, but needed to talk and his father was the only one he could think of to talk to.  "What's wrong?  What happened?"

"Everyone's fine," Joey said holding his hand to his forehead, "I ju-just ne-needed to talk to you.  I can't sleep and--"

"Hold on a second Joe," he said and turned away from the phone.  He could hear his father telling his mother that he'd be back and could hear him moving through their house, away from the bedroom.  "Ok.  Now tell me what's going on."

"I'm sorry I woke you up.  I didn't mean to screw up--"

"Joey," he said, "Tell me what's going on.  Don't worry about me and sleep and your mom.  She'll fall right back asleep and you know I can sleep tomorrow."

"I think Kelly is gonna leave me."

"WHAT?" his father said loudly as the shock of the statement overcame the both of them.

"I've got a chance to do a play--a play on Broadway and Kelly seems to think that I'm away too much and that me going away is something that I want to do--"  He sighed.  "If Broadway was in the middle of Orlando I'd stay home, but it's Broadway."

"What play?" his father asked.

"RENT."

"My God," his father said.

"I know.  I can't pass it up.  I mean it's real.  It's not a movie, it's not some bit part.  I'm going out for a main, lead, role."

His father's voice beamed through the phone and while he was excited that his father was proud of him, he still knew that this was a double edge sword.  "Congratulations."

He sighed and closed his eyes.  "Thanks."

"So Kelly thinks that you're leaving her because you want to be away from her, not because this is something you've wanted since you were eight?"

"About that," he said, "I know she wants the best for me, but she told me that maybe we aren't meant to be.  We've been trying to work with her school schedule and I want to do that for her, but in my mind school can always wait, but this chance, Broadway, is kind of a once in a lifetime kind of thing and as much as I don't mean that in a hurtful way, I don't think that Kelly sees it that way."

"So what's going on at the moment?" his father asked.

"She told me that she's not sure where we're headed,"  His hand shook and he moved the phone to his other ear.  "I threw up a few times then moved down to the living room, didn't sleep and now I'm on the back porch talking to you."

"Joey, go upstairs and talk to your wife."  His father sounded upset with him.  "You can't run away from this."

"I'm not running," he said slightly too loud then looked around.  He didn't think his neighbors would be listening to his conversaiton, but with the neighborhood this quiet he didn't want to wake anyone up.  "What am I supposed to say?"

His father sighed.  "Tell her that you love her."

"I did that."

His father seemed very awake now and his energy was coming through the phone.  "Well do it again and again and again until she realizes that you're trying to live your life the best way you know how and that your dreams are something that you should both be fulfilling and if you'd kept each other from doing anything in life you're only going to regret it later."

"She thinks that I'm leaving her-"  His heart broke when he thought about that.  "--that I want to be away from her."

"Take her with you."

"I wasn't going to leave everyone here," he said, "But she just started school and I know that's something that she's been wanting to do for a long time.  I can't take that away from her.  I can't destroy something of hers to get something of mine."

"Then we'll plan it out.  Your mother and I love those kids and if we become daycare to make things happen for everyone, then we'll do it.  I'm sure you can work out a schedule with the play people to get your weeks off or weekends off.  It'll take a little work on everyone's part, but I think you should do both."

"I wanna do both, but Kelly doesn't seem to think that we can manage it.  I know I'll be away and I don't think I have to tell you how much I'm gonna hate that, but my life lately is all about sacrifice.  I mean we both discussed this when we signed the new contracts with Jive.  We were going to sacrifice as much as it took to get the job done, but not let our careers run our lives into the ground--"

"Kiddo, I don't know what to tell you.  YOu have to make the choice of what you want to do.  I know that you love your wife and your kids enough to do the right thing."

"I want to at least try out for the play.  I don't know if I'll get the part, but if I don't try out for the part I know that I'll regret it forever."

"Then tell Kelly that.  Truthfully, you don't have to make the real decisions until you get the part.  You don't have it at the moment, which is a blessing in disguise.  You'll get some time to make a clear rational decision about this."

"Yeah," Joey said.

"So go back up to bed Joe," his fahter said, "And bring those kids over tomorrow if you need a break from them.  Grandma and Grandpa could always use some company over here."

"I will dad," he said feeling more confident about the whole thing.

*****

When he got upstairs and crawled back into bed next to Kelly she turned over and stared at him in the dark.

"I'm sorry," he said, "I know that I can't have everything in life, but--"  He sighed.  "I want to try out for the part.  The audition is what I really want.  I need to prove to myself that I'm more than bit parts and harmony.  I just want you to agree to let me audition.  I don't know if I'll get the part, but I just want the chance to see if I could have done it."

She sighed.  "I don't know."

"It's an audition.  If I get up there and completely blow it, we'll have nothing to worry about and if I get it, we can see what we both want to do, but I don't think I should pass up the opportunity to at least try."

Her head moved on the pillow and even though he couldn't see her expression, he knew her well enough to know that there was worry in her eyes, in the way her mouth lay a little open and the way that her hands were probably gripping onto the pillow.  "That's a reasonable request."

"Just give me that," he said, "And--"

"I'll give you that Joe," she said, "I'm not happy about it, but I'll give that to you."

She turned over and faced the other way, but didn't flinch when he scooted towards her and pulled her back against his chest.  "Thank you."

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