I hear the click of the door opening, faint voices in the hallway then the slide of the door against the carpeting before some of the carpeting near the door lightens in the rays of the hallway light bulbs.  The carpet is green.  He hates green carpet.  He shivers as he enters, slides the door closed and turns the lock.  His hand reaches out to the wall to turn the tiny kitchen light on.

The cardkey from the room is set down onto the table near the kitchen while he half reads the mail he holds in his other hand.  I know he's only half reading it because his free hand soon digs into his pocket, pulling out a slivery flip phone.  His thumb flips open the edge without a glance towards it and scans through the menu while his eyes still stay on the mail in his other hand.

I like his hands.

He's got piano hands.  Billy Joel hands.  Long digits with flat finger tips and slightly bony knuckles. Strong muscled fingers that easily glide over the keys stretching and maneuvering until he gets the sounds he wants.  The kind of hands that can do a million things at once without hesitation and do it with a steady way about them that leaves one's head spinning. 

Beep.

His eyes move to the phone and he moves his nose around as if he's got an itch he can't stop to scratch.  I love that face.  It's the opposite of the way he looks in public.

Unscripted.

Unpolished.

Beep. Beep .Beep.

He stops and puts the mail down as he dials the rest of the number.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

I see the frustration in his eyes when he hits the wrong number.

Beep.

He clears that, wipes his hand across his shirt and adds the last four digits.

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

I've always told him to program numbers into his phone, but he doesn't ever want to.  He says that programming the phone will cause him to lose his phone and then people will be prank calling everyone that he knows.  Sometimes his logic really is screwed up, but I guess it goes along with the territory of the job.  There is no true logic anymore.  I mean how else can you explain this situation?  There is no logical explanation for anything around him and now that I'm in his world, there is no logical explanation for anything in my world either.

He lifts the phone to his ear and shuts his eyes.  He listens for a moment, one hand going to his belt, thumb running over the belt buckle before he loosens it.  His eyes fly open all of a sudden and he frowns.  "Hey."  He's slow to continue.  "It's me."  He licks his lips.  "I'm here."  He scratches his forehead.  "I made it."  His voice catches and he coughs.  "Sorry.  Anyway.  Call me back.  You know the number."

He pulls the phone violently from his ear and swears into the silent room, still not noticing me.

I want it this way.

I want that element of surprise.

For a moment I think that he's going to look around a bit more and find me.

He doesn't.

His attention returns to the phone.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

A pause.

His hand shakes a bit as his eyes stay on the screen.  They focus and blur. 

I don't have to be anywhere near him to know what's going on. His blinking is a clue to that.  I want to speak up, to tell him to put on his glasses, but he's probably left them in the car or in the studio or somewhere on some plane that is headed to Belgium, not that he's been anywhere near Belgium in the last few years.  Things float around like that and it doesn't help that he's a little forgetful.

Then the room fills with the small voice of his voicemail service speaking at him loudly telling him,  "You've got two new messages, two saved messages."

"Who the fuck called now?" he speaks to himself as he presses the button to hear.  "I just fucking checked this a half hour ago."  His shoulders fall from their normally upright position.  He's been working too hard.  I don't have to have talked to him today to know that.

Beep.

The phone is pushed back to his ear and he turns away from me, moving towards the small kitchen.  The refrigerator is opened and a canned drink is pulled out.  He holds it in his fingertips as he moves back around the counter so I can see him head to toe.  He looks sloppy and tired.  His feet are shoved into running shoes, his jeans are sagging almost off his hips, and his t-shirt looks wrinkled.  He's still got his ear to the phone and his free hand opens the can making that carbonation sound echo in the room.

The phone is pulled away from his ear and his finger presses the button to end the call.

Beep.

His other hand lifts the drink to his mouth and he starts to look around.

"You really are one of a kind," I finally say aloud.

"Jesus," he says almost dropping the can as his eyes finally land on me.  His eyes move to the can as he steadies it then he does the thing I think that will make my heart literally jump out of my chest.  He sticks his tongue out and licks the side and back of his hand where the drink has spilled onto his skin.  "What the hell are you doing here?"

"Thanks," I say in a lazy voice from my seat on the couch.  Normally I would get up and go to him, but I don't.  He's not in the mood for me to be clingy.  "Didn't know I needed an invitation."

"You don't," he says and sighs.  "I mean.  You don't need one, but you scared the shit out of me.  How long have you been sitting there?"

I look at the clock on the VCR then look back at him.  "About a half hour."

"Why didn't you say anything?" he asks setting the can down he moves into the kitchen and grabs a paper towel before he starts to wipe his hand off.

I shrug.  "It didn't seem important.  Besides.  I like watching you."  My hand moves through my hair pushing it out of my face.   "You know you really should do that on camera sometime.  I know it'll drive your fans bonkers."

"Do what?" he asks.

I want to tell him to lick his thumb again.  I don't.  "Swear at your phone."

He looks at his phone then smiles and sets it down.  "Ya think?"

I nod.

His hand moves to his forehead to scratch it.  The side of his thumb provides the scratcher.  "So you've been here a half hour?"

I nod.

His eyes move from my feet to my head.  He seems to just now be realizing that I'm here.  This happens when I see him.  He stares at me for a moment as if he's going crazy and I'm some illusion.  That only makes me think that he day dreams about me when I'm away from him.  Definitely something I do towards him and it makes me wonder if we have ever been day dreaming about each other at the same time, but are three thousand miles away.

"How was your flight?"

I could answer the question easily.  Private limo, private jet--well semi-private considering the only other passenger was the pilot and co-pilot's wives that were going to take the jet south after dropping me off.  I don't want to tell him that it was fine.  I want to touch him.  I want him here with me.  "Are you gonna stand there all night or are you going to come over her and kiss me properly?"

His smile starts out slowly, but soon he's beaming.  "Yeah," he says and shuffles his feet towards me on the couch.

"I hate green carpet."  He mumbles.

"I know you do," I say softly and move my arms out to hug him when he leans towards me.

His lips touch mine for only a moment as his hand slides around the back of my neck to pull me closer.  The pads of his fingers are rough.  I wonder for a moment if he's been playing Mitch's guitar again.  They're dry and rough against my skin, making me take a breath as he tickles my skin.  His mouth opens and mine matches his movement.  Slowly our tongues meet and he moves his other hand to the back of the couch to steady himself, grunting a bit as he moved his legs a bit to get into a position where he wouldn't fall over.

"God I want you," he breathes out between kisses, "Ch-shaan-dra."

I smile against his lips as he hisses out my name.  His lips move before I can tease him about saying my name so intensely.  As he begins to suck on my bottom lip, I move my hand to his shoulder and push back a little.  "Jayce."

"Sorry. Chandra."  His forehead rests against mine for a moment as he catches his breath.  "I missed you."

"I missed you too," I move my hand up and rub my thumb against his lip to wipe away the spit from it.  "Are you done for the night?"

He looks at me for a long time, breath coming out into my face, smelling of mint.

"With your work," I say moving my hand to point towards the door.

"Yeah," he smiles.  His leg moves around mine and he turns and plops down onto the couch next to me.  "Yeah."

I automatically scoot to lean against his chest and am rewarded with his arms curling around me.  "You're drained."

"Nope," he says lips kissing my temple.  "I'm just getting my second wind."

"Sure," I say watching his hand rub against my arm.  "I bet if you closed your eyes right now you'd fall right asleep."  I turn my attention away from his hand.  "You probably haven't eaten today either."

"How do you know that?"

"Because you're looking at me like you're starving."

"I'm hungry for something."  His cold and calm expression only lasts for a few moments.  "And it's not dinner."

I make a sour face at him.  I know exactly what he means by that comment.  We haven't seen each other in weeks now, but I feel like I don't want to rush into things with him.  We don't sleep together at home hit and run style, for me to be here with him isn't going to change things.  I've been out on the road with him before and everything seems rushed.  I've told him over and over that love making is something you have to take time to do.  He knows that, but sometime anticipation and time apart can make a person rush though what should be cherished.

"I could maybe do with some dinner," he says with a laugh.

I move and look him in the eyes.  "Dinner and a movie and maybe hot tub?"

His eyes widen for a moment.  "You brought a suit?"

I nod that I don't have one with me.

Any other guy would immediately move us to the bathroom to where the huge tub is.  Instead, he sits back and smiles at me.  The cheshire cat smile that I love so much.  The one he uses when I'm around and no one notices me.  It's that look in his eyes and that smile that he shows to the rest of the world, but only is meant for me.  "You want to order or do you want to make?"

My head turns towards the kitchen.  "Do you have any food in there?"

I turn back in time to see his shoulders contract and expand again in a shrugging motion.  "Nothing fancy."

"Let's order."

"I'm gonna take a quick shower and change," he says when I move to get the menu and the phone.

"Ok."  I say looking over the menu.  It's not as extensive a menu as a restaurant would have, but it's got the basics.  Pasta, veggies, burgers, a few chicken dishes and drinks and deserts.  "What do you want for dinner?"

"BLT?" he says.

My eyes lift from the menu and find him stretched out on the couch with his head leaned back and his eyes closed.  "That's it?"

He must feel me watching him.  He opens his eyes and looks as if he's mulling over his choices.  "Fries?"

I look back at the menu.  "Ok.  You want a soda?"

"Yeah," he says suddenly sounding fatigued again as he pushes himself up from the couch.  I look up again just as he stretches his arms and starts to pull his shirt up.  His stomach is normally fairly flat.  He's working so hard lately that it takes him effort to keep his weight up.  When he eats he normally is really picky and when he can't get what he wants, he just skips meals.  It's not an eating disorder in the conventional sense, but I've mentioned to people on tour and to his parents to keep an eye on him when I'm not around.  "Dr. Pepper or Root Beer."

I nod and smile at him seeing the fatigue sitting on his shoulders.  It pulls at his arms and neck making him look very uncomfortable.  "Go take a shower honey."

He nods towards the bathroom then paused to pull his shirt over his head.

My eyes move to his ribs and the way that his belt is pulled tight around him.  "HONEY."

"What?" he asks.  I think he knows what I'm going to say because he doesn't seem at all upset at the shocked sound of my voice.

"You need to eat more."  I frown at him.  "You're wasting away."

He shrugs again and I can hear his sigh all the way across the room.  "I've been busy."

I want to point a finger at him like I've seen his mother do to him on extreme occasions.  I hold this action back knowing it's not going to help either of us.  "That's not a good excuse and you know it."

"I know," he sighs and turns towards the bathroom.  "I'll be out in a few minutes."

Picking up the phone as he leaves I order us both dinner, adding French fries to my burger and his BLT.  I figure if the fries are sitting around he'll pick up a few and eat them, but he wouldn't normally order them for himself.

While he's in the bathroom I listen to him showering, his hands coming to mind yet again.  I can picture him in the shower.  When he is tired like this he stands with his back to the showerhead, water hitting him between the shoulder blades, letting it run down the muscles in his back as he lathers up the shower gel from Aromapharmacy.  He has two kinds, AM and PM and if he's using PM, which I suspect that he is, he'll be feeling even more tired after he gets out of the shower, which definitely isn't the worst thing in the world considering all things.  I got him the shower gels for his last birthday at Sephora and he's been using them ever since.  The AM uses aromatherapy to wake him up and the PM uses chamomile and lavender to "wash away the stress and grime of the day" as the bottle promises.

There is a science to taking a shower according to him.  He pours soap into his hands, washes his shoulders and arms and upper chest then down his legs and he lifts each foot to wash then rinses before he does the same action, catching all the skin on his back side.  It takes him less time than you'd think, but his actions and movements are not at all rushed.  He hits every available spot of skin on his body and gives each spot all the attention that it needs.

When he starts to sing in the shower I know that he's almost done.  He might be tired, but singing is habit for him.  Tonight it's Josh Groban and I can hear For Always being sung in between him moving around to wash the soap from his body.

I close my eyes
and there in the shadows I see your light
You come to me out of my dreams across
the night

He starts to wash his hair.  I can tell because his voice starts to get a little choppy as if washing his hair is distracting him from singing.  He uses Fekkai for Men.  He hated it at first, spending that much on shampoo seemed like a crime, but he was finally convinced that a man that makes as much money as he does can afford to use something other than Pert Plus.  Old habits are hard to break, but now he gets a little stressed when he's running low on shampoo and conditioner, especially since his hair is getting longer these days.

You take my hand
though you may be so many stars away
I know that our spirits and souls are one
We've circled the moon and we've touched the sun
So here we'll stay

For always, forever
Beyond here and on to eternity
For always, forever

For us there's no time and no space
No barrier love won't erase
Wherever you go
I still know
In my heart you will be
With me

I hear the shower go off, the sound of the curtain being pulled back and then I hear him step out into the bathroom.  He is silent for a long time, drying off most likely then he returns to the outer room.

"That was quick," I say as I watch him walk across the room in just a towel to where his clothes are lying in his open suitcase.

"Yeah," he says, sounding more like he's awake now.

"Feel better?"

He nods as he pulls on boxer shorts.  They're blue and green boxers, nothing fancy, and looking well worn, after I broke him of the habit of throwing away each pair after he wore them.  Yeah, he can afford to wear a new pair each day and cater to his strange paranoid habits, but when I told him his old underwear probably ended up on sale on EBAY or something he quickly cut himself of that habit.

When the knock sounds on the door he grabs up a pair of pajama bottoms.  I don't know why he has those pants with him.  They're the ones that his mother got for him for Christmas last year.  The ones with the little downhill skiing bears and Christmas trees on them.  He pulls them on then pulls on a wife beater before jogging over to the door to get it, leaving me to keep my seat on the couch.

The guy delivers our food quickly, refuses a tip then leaves us to eat.

"You ordered extra French fries?" he says pulling the covers off the two plates of food.

I can see him staring at the plates with a slightly disgusted look on his face, which is strange.  "You need to eat more.  You always get skinnier on the road," I say, "And I know you get more tired when you're this busy.  You need to eat more food to keep your energy up."

He shoves a few French fries in his mouth before picking up the plates and bringing them over.  He sets his down on the couch cushion and hands me mine before returning to the far side of the room to get our drinks before he settles down next to me to eat.

I take a few bites and watch him eat for a bit before I take a deep breath.  He eats slowly.  Most people would look at him and think that he's got some sort of eating disorder because he's always so skinny, but truly is only one time in the day where he can take his time, or at least when he's in his hotel room he can have the luxury of eating slowly.  "I missed you."

"You already said that."  He leans over, licking his lips, and kisses me.  He tastes salty from the fries and rubs his lips against mine longer than normal.  "I missed you too."

His hand lands on my thigh and he squeezes me there, moving his hand higher on my thigh after a moment.  The heat in his palm is clear and concentrated, and specific, the type of heat that tells me exactly what is on his mind.

"Jayce?" I say.

"Hmm?" he asks lazily as he watches his hand move up my thigh even higher.

"What are you doing?" I ask knowing full well what his plans are for me.

"Touching you," he says softly, his voice lowering a bit as he turns his eyes towards mine.  His hand moves up and down, only a few inches in each direction, but the slight pressure and heat of his hands make every one of my nerve endings stand on end.  "I've missed touching you."

"Really?" I say shyly and move my hand to touch his on my thigh, stopping the delicious friction of his hand against my leg.

"Of course," he said, "You know that.  I've told you that more than for a few times since I left--"

It's fun to watch him lose his words.  When he's unscripted like this I find myself falling for him even more.  "I know," I say more confidently looking him in the eye.

He sits up a bit and reaches for more french fries and shoves them in his mouth and chews, while looking at me.  "You were teasing me."

"A little," I say as I reach out and wipe some salt from his mouth.

"I'm glad you could visit me," he says softly.

"I'm glad I could visit," I say softly.

His hand reaches and takes my food away from me and sets it on the plate then takes the plate and moves it to the floor next to the couch.  His eyes never leave mine, he doesn't even blink.  It's as if he's taking me in, memorizing me, so that this night can play over and over again in his mind during the times that we're apart.

Neither do I.

And his hands start to play...

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Last updated: 09/19/04.