Having JC in such a good mood was a treat for her. She knew that he usually
was a pretty upbeat guy, but having him THIS excited about being on his vacation
made her not want to ruin that mood at all. Zeppie's wasn't exactly the kind
of place that Farzana usually frequented, but she didn't protest a bit as
she and JC entered the place. There was a sign by the door that said for
customers to seat themselves so they took an open booth across the room on
the far side of the pool table.
"So you're gonna write your vacation away?" he asked turning to Farzana with
a serious face. It was the first real thing he'd said to her since he'd picked
her up. Most of his other babble was small talk and pleasantries. She'd been
staring at the people in the room and at the bar tender then when she'd felt
a little uncomfortable with the look on the man's face she'd turned to check
out the condiments on the table looking at the hot sauce jar with disgust.
She'd always liked spicy foods, but there was something about southern hot
sauce that made her sick to her stomach.
"I plan to," she said. "I feel like I should do some work at least. The label
is paying for my vacation and I feel like although I know I deserve the time
off, that I need to get some more songs together. It's only fair."
"That must really be a bummer. I mean, don't get me wrong," he said, "I love
writing, but I love my vacations more."
Farzana placed her forearms on the table between them and leaned forward
narrowing her eyes at him. "What is it with you and this whole vacation thing?"
JC leaned back and a moment later she felt his foot accidentally hit into
hers under the table. When it happened he sat up and she could hear his feet
slide back to his side of the table. She sat back too, still keeping her
eyes on him to make sure that he understood that she wanted an answer from
"So?" she asked, "Are you ALWAYS this mysterious?"
"No." There was no expression in his eyes, as if he was blocking out anything
that might give her any kind of a clue as to what was going on in his head.
"Why are you playing psychiatrist right now?"
"Because, and no offense when I say this, but you look like you could use
"I'm completely happy right now."
"That's the thing," she moved her hand and grabbed a sugar packet and began
to push it around the tabletop. "It's not like you to be THIS happy."
"So now I'm crazy because--"
"I never said you were crazy," she said straightening her back to sit up
straighter, "Maybe there is something on your mind, something that you're--"
"Uh oh," she cringed. "Maybe I should take my foot out of my mouth."
"You used my full name so I know I've crossed the line."
Silence washed over them until the waitress arrived.
"What can I get ya to drink?" she asked.
"Beer." JC took the menu offered him and handed it to Farzana then took the
second one for himself.
"Coke." Farzana sat back and rested the menu on the edge of the table, but
didn't open it.
"Be right back," the waitress said not writing down their requests.
When the woman was gone JC opened up his menu and stared at it then spoke
softly as if he was speaking to the menu instead of her. "I broke up with
There was another long silence between them. Farzana should have said something
immediately back to him, but she couldn't think of something to say. She
couldn't really say that she was sad that they'd broken up. She'd spent most
of the tour hating his girlfriend and wishing that it were her that was at
his side for everything. "That's sad to hear," she forced out trying to be
polite about the whole situation, "I didn't mean to rub salt in the wound."
"Don't be such a drama queen," he said with a slight laugh, "It's good...I
mean right now its strange...she's moving out of my house in LA, but I'm
sure--" He paused to take a breath, "I'm sure that things will get back to
Farzana's eyes skimmed over the menu of burgers and other main dishes, but
she couldn't decide what she wanted. She tried to concentrate, but all she
could think of now was the heavy feeling in her stomach. She was nervous
not only about what she'd already said to him, but what she could say to
him that night and her head was spinning as she thought about the fact that
their dinner date really might be a DATE. Before she'd just considered it
two friends getting together to have dinner, but now with Bobbie not in his
life, their little get together had a lot more meaning to her.
"So what about you?" he asked reaching over to pull her menu away from her
face. "Why are you so obsessive about work right now?"
She moved the sugar packet on the table back to the little container of them
on the table then put her menu on the table and put her hands in her lap.
"I've just lost my manager, the one who got me my record deal. I'm a little
scared that without her and Reese to back me that I might lose my contract."
"Wait?" he said, "Reese was backing you?"
"He's the executive producer as well as my co-author for my first album."
"How many songs?" he asked.
"Out of thirteen songs," she said, "Only two weren't ones with his name on
them. I had one with Diane Warren and one done by Chris Trevit--"
"Chris Trevit? You mean the sound engineer?" he asked, "I think we worked
"Yeah," she said, "He worked on a lot of the songs on the album so when it
came down to the wire and we needed another song he gave me the lyrics to
1840 and we recorded it."
"I like that song," JC said.
"You've listened to the album?" she asked knowing that 1840 hadn't been a
part of the half-hour set she'd done on tour.
"Yeah," he said, "We got copies when we were interviewing for opening acts.
I have to admit that it wasn't my favorite at first, but Lance kind of convinced
me that we should bring you along and as the tour--" He stopped and slight
blush hit his cheeks. "Well anyway I liked the set you did so I listened
to the album some more."
"Really?" she asked.
"Don't sound so surprised. It was a good album."
"You think?" she asked.
"Yeah, he said with a smile and looked her in the eyes. "Didn't you think
it was good?"
"Yeah," she said, "I don't count. I wouldn't sing it if I didn't like it."
When silence interrupted their conversation again JC leaned forward and motioned
with a finger to have her move closer to him so he could tell her something.
"Just some advice for you," he said in a raspy voice, "Artist's opinions
always matter...don't ever be afraid to tell people your opinion of what
"Ok," she whispered back letting a full smile cross her face.
It was one of those moments when JC would have kissed the girl that we was
with...well he would have kissed Bobbie anyway, but she wasn't Bobbie and
he didn't want her to be so he pulled back a little then leaned forward again.
His head was still battling with the idea that he was a free man again. He'd
had feelings for girls before while he was on the road, but now was the dangerous
part. He was still recovering from his messed up relationship and he didn't
want to get his feelings mixed up. A girl he was dating didn't need to be
just a replacement for what he was missing back in LA, but needed to be the
one he wanted to be with and who wanted to be with him for the same reason.
JC was about to tell her more when the waitress came back. "What can I get
you kids?" she asked setting the beer and a mug down in front of JC and the
tall cola glass in front of Farzana.
"You first," JC said motioning to Farzana as he opened up his menu again
and looked over his choices. It was probably due to the fact that he didn't
have to worry about what he ate for a while. He was always conscious of what
he ate during the tour knowing that some foods didn't agree with him and
that some foods were too fatty for him, but now, with nothing ahead of him
he had nothing to hold him back from just eating whatever he wanted. Even
in his head it sounded kind of strange that he was that worried about what
he ate, that always seemed to be a girly problem, but it did make a difference
not only for his physical health, but also for his mental health that he
ate a well-balanced meal. Today though he was on vacation and he thought
about ordering whatever seemed to be in front of his eyes at the last moment.
"I'll have a cheeseburger, no onions, no tomatoes, and fries," she said.
"Ok," the woman said scribbling down the order then looked at JC, "What can
I get you handsome?"
"Cheese burger, no onions with mushrooms," he said and closed the menu.
"Fries with that?" she asked.
"Can I get Cole slaw?" he asked hoping that his change of order wouldn't
put the woman out. On tour he wouldn't think twice about ordering whatever
he wanted since most hotel restaurants knew who he was and kissed his ass
any way he wanted them to. He was trying to be normal though so he didn't
want to make more work for the woman.
"Sure," she said and scribbled down the order. She collected the menus and
then with a smile left the table, "It'll be about ten minutes or so."
"I feel like we should be talking about something other than touring and
music, but I can't think of anything else right now," JC admitted as he poured
his beer into the mug. "It's so strange not having to go to an interview
or radio spot or show."
"I know," she said and sipped her coke, "Civilian life is so boring."
"Civilian life," he laughed at her comment. It was the perfect description
for their professional lives. They were both these little soldiers being
commanded by the managers and record labels to be in certain places at certain
times. "As sad as it sounds it's the perfect way to explain life," he said,
"We're soldiers with no fight to fight."
"How depressing are we?" she asked, "We're practically in the Bahamas and
we're sitting her talking about work and how pathetic our lives are?" She
sat up straight. "We need to get out and do some stuff...or I mean at least
we separately need to do some stuff."
"Is that caffeine kicking in over there?" he asked with a laugh trying not
to think about the way she'd separated them in her sentence. He understood
that she didn't want to apply that they would forced to do things together,
but he kind of liked the idea of having a partner in crime if he wanted one.
"No," she said, "I just hate feeling sorry for myself when really there isn't
much to feel sorry about...ya know?"
"Yeah," he said and sipped his beer. He put the mug down and moved his finger
down the side of the glass, "So what have you done so far while you've been
"Nothing," she said, "I mean I've been out at the beach, but there is so
much to do, like water skiing and all that."
"Then go and do it," he said.
"I will then," she said moving her shoulders back trying to look a little
"Ok," he said with a smile and she relaxed.
"So what would you be doing if you were back in Toronto?" he asked.
"I'd probably be at the club I used to sing at. I did gigs there for a really
long time and I'm like the local celebrity so I'd just hang out with my friends
and laugh and joke around."
"You'd probably have a sleep over or something like that?" he asked with
a mocking tone.
"Maybe," she said turning her nose up at him, "And you wouldn't be invited."
"Like you'd really want to sit around and listen to me and my friends talk
about how hot guys are and how our nail polish matches our sneakers."
"It'd be interesting...maybe I could start to understand women," he ran a
hand through his hair and thought twice about what he was about to say. He
always had felt pretty insecure about sharing information with people, but
somehow Farzana made him feel comfortable enough, like they were just two
old friends chatting about old times and new things. He shouldn't have been
blabbing anything to anyone about Bobbie or anything else for that matter,
but with her it was easy to slip up and just let everything go.
"What?" she asked. "You were going to say something else, but you stopped."
"I'm sorry," he said and drank a huge drink from his beer then swallowed.
"I'm not being very good company right now...I mean it's sad, but this is
the first real conversation I've had with someone in months. Outside of work
and being with the group and all I don't get out much. Its almost like I
don't know how to talk anymore."
"Really JC you don't have to spill your guts to me or anything. I just had
been wondering why you seemed so...well so not you."
"Everyone thinks I'm crazy now," he said, "My mother chewed me out before
for coming down here without security or anyone. I can't believe I can't
just do something without having to explain myself to someone."
It really was a worry for him. Since the whole AJ going into Rehabilitation
and Mariah Carrey going into a mental hospital he didn't wonder why they'd
be worried, but really it wasn't like that. He just needed to be somewhere
and live a lifestyle for a while that was unlike his regular life. He needed
to not be himself for a while.
"You ok?" she asked.
"Can you stop asking me that?" he asked, "I'll tell you if I'm upset and
I'll tell you when I'm not and at the moment I'm fine so can we just have
dinner and have a nice evening without discussing it?"
Farzana looked shocked and he was just about as shocked, as she seemed after
he snapped at her.
"No," he said, "I am...I'm just not ready to talk about the last few weeks
"Ok," she said, "So anyway...you want to go snorkeling with me tomorrow?"
JC leaned back and watched her. His snapping at her had hurt her. He'd seen
the recognition of the insult in her eyes, but she'd taken a deep breath
and moved on. It wasn't the best quality to test in a person, but at least
she handled things better than Bobbie. Bobbie would have burst into tears
immediately. "I think as long as we don't go first thing in the morning that
I'd go and do anything with you tomorrow afternoon."