Moving rooms sounded easier than it was going to be. She knew that it wouldn't
be a piece of cake, but it was a little more complicated than she thought
it would be. She decided to pack up that night, but figured that she wouldn't
move into the new room until the morning. She tried to insist that JC should
have his own room for the night since he'd yet to enjoy his independence
yet, but he insisted she move immediately. So two hours later he'd made a
call to the hotel to inform them that he now had a guest and Farzana was
standing at his door with a new key in her hand and the bellhop holding her
"Good evening," the bellhop said when silence filled the entryway and they
stood frozen there staring at each other not saying a word.
"Hey." JC smiled putting a hand onto his baseball hat moving it around a
little on his head before he tugged on his t-shirt.
She could tell from the strained tone of his voice in that one word that
he was just as nervous about this as she was. She'd seen him on stage in
front of fifty thousand people and being interviewed by just one, but the
look on his face was almost fear as he stood there watching her. He'd lost
the hyperactive spirit that he'd had before. She wasn't sure that it was
purely because of the nervousness of the moment or if it was due to the fact
that he was tired in general, but either way JC was a lot more quiet and
reserved now than he'd been earlier. He was back to normal and she hated
the fact that she was the reason for it.
The bellhop left the bags near the couch and turned to both of them with
a smile as he had done when he'd come to her room to help her with her bags
and to bring her the new entrance key, "Has everything been ok so far?"
"Yeah," JC said then motioned his head toward the door and the guy followed
Farzana picked up her bag and moved it a little then leaned against the back
of the couch and waited. JC was having some sort of conversation with the
guy, but his tone was low enough that she couldn't really hear him. There
was some mention of someone's sister or something like that, but she didn't
catch the rest of it.
When the guy left she watched JC critically for a moment. He seemed too serious
now, worried like someone was going to barge through the door and find the
two of them sharing a room as if it was a crime. It wasn't at all something
that she could keep totally out of her mind, but she hadn't expected a sneak
attack from someone. "What was that all about?"
"Nothing. I just told him that I'd sign something for his sister. We talked
about it earlier, but I wanted him to know that I was serious about it."
JC picked up her bag and carried it into the bedroom.
"Hey! What are you doing?" Before she could get an answer she found herself
having to follow him into the other room.
"Putting your stuff in the closet," he said, "Actually you can put it in
there--" He put the bag down and let her at the bag. "--I'm not using it
all so you might as well use it."
"You haven't even unpacked yet," she said noticing the two open bags in the
corner, "How do you know that there is going to be space for my stuff?"
"Yeah well I will in the morning...besides I'm not the clothes horse of the
family. That's Justin's job. I just have a few pair of jeans and a few shirts
and stuff. This huge thing is way bigger than what I brought."
"Tired?" she asked in a moment of weakness.
"Yeah," he said and yawned a second time.
"Stop it or we're both going to be yawning."
"Sorry," he said, "Speaking of...I think I'm gonna turn in kind of early
tonight...I know it's gonna ruin the rock star image, but I'm beat."
"Well I'll be quiet then," she said as she began to move her suitcase onto
the edge of the bed, "It shouldn't take me that long to hang this stuff back
"Take your time. No rush. I was thinking of watching a movie or something
before I go to bed," he said, "Want to watch with me for a little while?"
"It's your TV," she said being careful not to have any of her under clothes
get out of the bag that she was unloading. "You can do whatever you want
Instead of leaving her alone he sat down on the edge of the bed and watched
her. A few weeks before she would have begged and pleaded for time with him
like this, but at the moment she was having a hard time not being nervous
in front of him. She wasn't taking lightly the implications of her moving
in with him for the next few days.
"Were you gonna try to write tonight?" he asked, "Like you said you were?"
"Yeah." She looked out onto the balcony. "I can sit out there if it's gonna
"No," he said, "I can watch in the bedroom if I'm gonna be in your way. You
can sit out in the living room if you want."
"In my way?" she asked feeling very unsettled about this whole thing, "Shouldn't
it be the other way around?"
"No," he said, "You're my guest and since you're working and I'm not you
should have first dibs on practice space."
"Are you sure?" she asked.
"Yeah," he said, "I'm gonna go find the TV guide and see what movies are
"Sure," she said with a shrug trying to hold back the teeny-bopper in her
who was freaking out inside because she was standing in JC's bedroom about
to spend the evening with him. This had only happened her dreams before.
"Don't mind me...I'll be done here shortly."
"No rush," he said and got up and left the room.
"Why am I being such a goober?" she mumbled to herself as she unpacked more.
She had been talking to herself the whole times she'd packed up her things
and the whole time she'd been waiting for the bellboy, but actually saying
it aloud in his room, in his suite, was making her feel more crazy than she
should have been feeling.
"Did you say something?" he asked coming back in with her other bag and guitar
case. He put her other bag by the one she was working on and held up her
guitar case, "Where do you want this?"
"Careful with that thing!" she said and grabbed it away, "From now on can
you leave my guitar alone? I know it's bitchy to say, but I won't touch your
keyboard so you don't touch my guitar."
"Well then I guess no one touches the keyboard," he mumbled as he nodded
and left her alone again.
It only took her ten minutes to unpack. In that time she heard his cell phone
ring at least three times, but he never answered and spoke. She wondered
if it was Bobbie that was calling or if there were more people on his list
of people to avoid that day.
Not wanting to disturb the peace in the living room after she heard the television
flip on, she grabbed the top drawer closest to the sliding glass door that
led to the balcony to put her things in. She figured that it would be out
of his way considering that he'd probably be on the nearer side of the room
than the further.
"Hey JC?" When no sound came from the other room she called again, "Hey JC?"
He was staring at the keyboard, sitting on the couch with the tv guide in
his hand and the television on. His eyes were on the keyboard as if he expected
it to jump up and bite him and there was fear on his face.
"JC?" she asked.
He didn't move.
"JC?" she asked again.
Finally his moved from the keyboard and he looked at her. There was a dazed
glossy expression on his face, but at least he was looking at her.
"You ok?" she asked.
He shook his head and coughed then looked at the television, "Yeah." He looked
around for a moment as if he'd just returned from a long journey and needed
to reaquaint himself with his surroundings. "You done unpacking?" he asked.
"Yeah," she said, "I'm going to go change into something more comfortable
and I'll come and watch a movie with you."
"If you're tired or whatever I can pull the bed out and I'll set it up for
you to go to sleep."
"Naw," she said looking at him closely, "I'll stay up for a while."
When she was gone JC put his hands to his face and rubbed away the rest of
the daze he'd been in. He hadn't meant to freak her out but he knew that
he had. He'd been watching television when one of their songs had played
on a commercial for a new collaboration album and he'd looked over at the
keyboard and lost it for a moment, slipping into some kind of coma that wouldn't
let his eyes leave the direction of the dining room table.
Finding the hum of the television in front of him not enough to keep sharp
so he jumped up off the couch and opened the sliding glass doors that lead
to the balcony. It was still really hot outside even with the wind so it
didn't really help him cool off, but the fresh sea air did him some good.
He had to remember where he was and that he was supposed to be having fun.
Work and Bobbie could be dealt with later if the need came around. For the
moment he needed to get his head back into work and back to seeing if he
could help Farzana. At least if he couldn't get it together for himself he
needed to hold it together for her. She needed someone to lean on at the
"Having fun out here?"
JC turned to see Farzana in pajama bottoms and a faded out gray t-shirt with
the Canadian flag on it. "Uh yeah," he said, "I'm just checking out the view."
"It's dark out."
"Yeah well you can see most of the resort and can see the Marina...I mean
it's not a sunset, but after seeing the lights of the San Fernando Valley
it's nice to see something else or a while. No smog out here." He leaned
against one of the posts that ran from the floor to the ceiling and crossed
his arms over his chest.
"I hate LA," she said casually coming out to the railing to stand next to
"It's not--well it's no Toronto, but I think you need to get to know it more
than just being there in hotels and for shows. There are a lot of cool things
to do there."
"There's the Getty Museum," he said, "They've got a great art collection."
"Art?" she asked.
"Don't look so shocked," he said finding himself yet again insulted that
someone didn't think he was sophisticated enough to actually appreciate the
more mature things in life. He didn't know much about the paintings, but
he felt like someone didn't need a degree to like a painting. "They're going
to get some Monet paintings there in a few months."
"You like Monet?" she asked.
"You know it's really harsh when you insult me like that--"
"Insult you?" she asked.
"Who says that all boyband members just have to be into video games and parties,"
he said, "I mean we bring those on the road to keep occupied, but there are
other things in life."
"Like what?" she asked, "I mean like what else are you into that isn't the
typical boy band thing?"
"I wanted to be an architect when I was your age."
"An architect?" she asked, "You like geometry?"
"I like to draw and I'm pretty good at math."
"I'm horrible at math," she groaned.
"What?" he asked.
She held her head down, staring at his feet or at her feet, something away
from his face, his eyes. "My father wants me to come home and go to college,"
she said, "I have a few months untill he's gonna come and kidnap me and bring
me home if I don't get my career in gear."
"Your career is in gear," he said.
"Do you remember why I'm here?" she asked, "It's because I lost my record
"That's no reason to say that you're a failure. You spent almost two months
on the road with one of the biggest acts in the world--not that I'm bragging--but
things happen and sometimes you have to regroup. We had to do that a few
years ago after the whole Pearlman lawsuit, but look at us...we're badder
than ever now."
"Yeah well you have a great manager and a--" Farzana bit down on her lip.
"I should be happy for her you know? she got back with her husband and Gabby's
got her dad back, but where does that leave me...ya know?"
"Zana," JC sighed out watching her deal with tears that now seemed to not
stop, "Come here."
He hugged her. It wasn't a sexual thing at all. He knew that she needed someone
since she'd been practically abandoned by everyone around her.
"I'm sorry I'm being such a goober," she said, "I didn't mean to just fall
into your life and mess things up," she said, "I should be used to this right
now...ya know? The whole business is tough."
"Zana, just because you're crying right now doesn't mean that you're not
tough enough to handle the business," he said, "You should see us guys sometimes.
I've seen everyone in the group crack at least once a week at times...you
just under a lot of pressure right now and you need to just take it one step
at a time."
"You make it sound like I'm an alcoholic or something," she said with a laugh
moving away from him to wipe her face."
"You're not an alcoholic," he said, "You're a WORKAHOLIC, which, as I know
myself, is just as bad as being an alcoholic at times."
"Ya think?" she asked.
"Definitely," he said, "So are you gonna be ok?"
"I think so."
"Wanna watch that movie?" he asked.
"Sure," she said.
JC walked back into the room and began to remove the pillows from the couch
and pulled the bed out. It was already made up so he made sure that the frame
was in place then threw some of the cushions back onto the bed before he
went to the closet that the bellhop had showed him and grabbed out a few
When he came back over the bed Farzana had already taken a seat and had flipped
on the television to a movie channel. "You want this side?" she asked.
"No," he said and threw her a pillow, "You want me to close the door?"
"Maybe in a little while. It's not that cold yet," she said.
JC had to tell himself over and over again that this was Farzana and not
Bobbie he was dealing with. Most movie nights with Bobbie were just a cover
for them to make up an excuse to make love. The movie would only be watched
for about the first twenty minutes, if that, before it would be forgotten
for more interactive entertainment.
"You ok?" she asked breaking into his thoughts.
"Yeah," he said.
"Well sit down then," she said with a smile, "I think I remembered right
that you like the Star Wars movies right?"
"Which magazine did you get that out of?" he asked.
"I don't remember, but do you want to watch it?"
"You don't have to watch what I like," he said, "If something else is on
you can watch that."
"It's your tv," she said, "I'm just the guest."
"Will you stop that?" he asked, "You're my guest, but I don't want you to
feel like a guest, ok? We're sharing this suite for our vacation so make
it your home away from home too...oky?"
She looked kind of scared to, but she smiled at him and snuggled up to a
pillow as he took his seat and made himself comfortable. Just as he got settled
his cell phone rang. He grabbed it up, saw that it was Bobbie and clicked
the phone on. "Don't call this number anymore," he said and hung up then
turned the phone off knowing that the voicemail would kick in if he left
"Bad blood?" she asked.
"Naw," he said, "Just needed to get the point across."
"That sucks," she said. She moved her hand across the space between them
and took the phone from him. She leaned back over and put it on the end table
on her side of the bed. "Phones are the devil."
"Tell me about it," he groaned and moved a little so that he could get comfortable.