"It's not you," she finally breathed out, "You're the same..." She made eye
contact with him for a moment then turned away feeling as if she didn't have
the right to look him in the eyes when she talked to him. Strange as it sounded,
she thought that only the woman who held his heart should be the one to tell
him these things and since that definitely wasn't her she tried to explain
it without explaining it. "Everything around you is different. In your work-life
all those people who seem to always help you surround you, protecting you
from the outside world, but in the process end up moving you away from people
so that you never really get to know people and no one gets to know you--"
She paused when she realized that he was really listening to her feedback.
She wondered if he'd blinked yet since he seemed so intent on staring at
her. It made her self conscious to know that he was paying that much attention
to her. "I mean that's what it seems like to me," she said, "I had so many
people running around that I never really got to make my own decisions."
"Why did that make me totally think of that Bobby Brown song Prerogative?"
JC said with a laugh taking some vegetables to eat. She couldn't remember
the last time she'd seen him eat something other than junk food, besides
the night before, but she considered French fries and coleslaw and burgers
to be junk compared to a meal that he should have been eating considering
how much exercise he did on the road.
Farzana laughed and started to hum the song. If she hadn't been eating she
would have done a little dance to go with her song. "I love that song," she
said, "And the whole video was funny...Bobby Brown dancing in front of huge
letters...with that haircut...maybe you guys should put that in your next
"Sure," JC said with a laugh, "That'll go over big with them."
"You never know," she said.
"So what's the plan for tonight?" he asked easing the tension between them
with a topic change.
She pushed her food around a little, "I don't know. Wanna play cards?"
"Cards?" he asked. His comment made her feel stupid. It wasn't what he said,
but the tone that he said it and the look in his eyes. He normally wasn't
mean, but it seemed as if the idea of playing cards with her, some game out
of the realm of the manly poker game, would be ridiculous.
"We could go dancing or something--" She pushed some food around on her plate.
"I don't know...go back to Zeppie's for a beer?"
Returning to the scene of the crime seemed about right, but was it a crime
for her to be in love with him? She didn't think that it was. She liked being
out and about with him. She'd missed out on all that while they were on the
road. She'd stayed away partly due to the fact that she'd been shy and partly
because Patty had warned her about being linked to someone and what it would
do or wouldn't do for her career. Now that they were kind of unknowns she
figured she could make up a little that she'd missed out on. She felt like
she deserved it.
"You can't drink," he said pointing his fork at her again. His smile lit
up the room as he made fun of her a bit.
She liked his hands. She'd watched him a million times play the piano with
the guys or smooth his hands over the strings of the bands' guitars. He had
piano hands, his fingers were long and lean and the tips were smooth, as
if he was crafted, not just born. She held her breath. "You know what I mean..."
She tried to move her eyes from him, but they wouldn't budge, "We could play
"I'm not up for going out," he said, "Maybe tomorrow night. How about a walk?
You still haven't given me the tour."
"That is going out," she stated, "Besides, its better when its light out
and it's starting to get dark."
"Zana, the next time a man asks you to take a walk with him at night don't
think about what you're seeing," JC said.
"Or whatever?" she asked finding herself being offended by what he was insinuating.
He was telling her basically that she was naive; that she didn't know anything
about relationships and that she should be falling at his feet.
"Yeah," he said, "We don't have to talk."
"What does that mean?"
"It's nothing," he said putting his fork down, "I'm not hitting on you. I
was trying to let you know that we don't have to talk if you don't want to."
Farzana held her breath and put her fork down. "I think I'm gonna turn in
"Shit," he sighed out. "I'm sorry Farzana."
"The full name again," she mumbled.
"I'm sorry for being an ass," he said, "I wasn't--" He put his fork down,
pushed back from the table and went out onto the porch, leaving her alone
in the room. She could see the back of him standing out there alone with
his hands on the railing. He wasn't on the phone but she could hear him talking
to himself and it wasn't anything she thought he'd want anyone to hear.
"JC?" she finally said when it got quiet again.
"Yeah?" he asked.
"Come and eat," she said, "This stuff is getting cold."
"In a minute," he said.
She reached and picked up his plate, grabbed his glass and napkin and silverware
and brought it out to the porch, "Then eat it out here."
He stared at her for a moment then took the plate and sat down. "I'm sorry
"There isn't anything to be sorry about, other than the fact that you're
so god damn worried about what other people think about you that you don't
even say what's on your mind," she said. "You wanna know why I didn't talk
to you on the road?"
"Yeah," he said looking up at her from his seat.
"You were taken," she said with a shrugged and walked away. She hoped to
God that it would explain her behavior and he wouldn't ask her about it again.
She hadn't wanted to reveal her crush to him, but if they were going to live
together for the next few days he needed to know.
JC didn't let her get far. He practically jumped from where he was sitting
to follow her into the kitchen, carrying his plate with him. He was taken.
He was taken? Taken by what? Taken by work? Taken in a relationship? Why
did it matter to her if he was taken or not?
"What does that mean?" he demanded as she put her plate in the sink and started
to wash the dishes. When she didn't respond to him being next to her he grabbed
her hand. "What does it mean that you wouldn't talk to me because I was taken?"
"JC leave me alone," she said with a sigh as if he'd placed some huge burden
on her by asking what she'd meant. She stared at his plate, "Are you done
with this?" She didn't let him answer. She took the plate, dumped the food
in the trash, and began to wash it vigorously.
He stood behind her and watched her moving, pushing him away. She'd done
that before when she'd had her own room, disappearing quickly and not wanting
to go out. He had made so much progress that he didn't want to lose any ground.
Progress? He didn't even know he was trying to make progress on anything.
He was trying hard to be normal, but he was realizing that in his life there
was no normal.
Normal wasn't him yelling at some girl to tell him some answer that he could
already imagine her saying. "Answer my question."
She dropped the plate into the sink and picked it up again. "I'm tired and
my mouth is running when it shouldn't."
"Just tell me," he pleaded now getting angry that she wouldn't just talk
to him and tell him the truth.
"You were taken--" She paused and stared at him. He wondered why all of a
sudden she seemed breathless. She was nervous, but there was something else
there, like she was hiding information or something from him. "You were taken
up with work and life and--and now you're not and that..." She paced across
Here it came. He was sure of it. The real reason for all this tension.
He'd seen the little ways she'd been watching him. He'd seen it all the time
that they were on the road. Maybe that was the reason he didn't want to have
her go home. Maybe it was why he'd had her move in like that and Maybe that
was why she and he had shared a bed the night before even though he had plenty
of opportunities to leave and go to his own.
She shrugged. "And that's it."
"Oh," he said and sighed. He'd thought she was going to say something else.
"You badger me like that then you just say oh?" she asked, "I think you need
a vacation...a real vacation where you can turn your brain off. You're losing
"I thought you were going to say something else," he said.
"Like what?" she asked.
"I don't know," he said, "Just something else." He turned and left the kitchen
not wanting to admit to her that he'd been a little pretentious about the
whole situation. He'd automatically assuming that she liked him and that
being taken had meant that he wasn't single instead of he was involved in
the business and couldn't get away from work.