The sound of JC's cellphone ringing wasn't the way he wanted to wake up,
but when he'd set it by the bed the night before to recharge he should have
expected it to ring. Rolling onto his side he reached and picked it up. When
he saw that it was Melinda's cell phone that the call was being made from
he knew he should answer it. She'd probably heard that he was in town.
"Good morning Melly," he said.
"Don't call me that," she said, "What's going on with you and the House of
Blues? I heard through the grapevine that you got into a fight over there?"
"No," he said with a sigh and pushed himself up so that he could sit up.
That's when he noticed Farzana still asleep next to him. She hadn't slept
that well the night before so he lowered his voice, "Shit Melinda. You should
know not to believe rumors. That wasn't what happened at all."
"Why are you whispering?" she asked.
"Hold on a second," he said. He slid out of bed, grabbed up his shirt that
he'd taken off in the middle of the night and walked out of his bedroom.
The heat of the day had already crept into the house so he tugged his shirt
over his head and threw it over his shoulder. He took a breath, "Farzana
was still asleep so I didn't want to wake her up."
"You're walking down the stairs," she said, "I can hear you. Did you sleep
with her? You got into a fight last night and now you slept with her?"
"And you say that our fans start all this drama," he groaned out. He moved
into the kitchen, throwing his t-shirt across the room so that it landed
on the couch in the living room before he went and started the coffee maker
going. Next would be food, but all he found that he was sure to still be
edible was some frozen orange juice. "I didn't sleep with her...shit..."
He winced in pain as the sun got to him again. "I slept next to her...next
to her, but I didn't sleep with her and I didn't get into a fight. You're
as bad as the teenies sometimes girl."
"Lizet called me JC," she said, "I'm not a gossiping teenie. She thought
that I should know. She wanted to warn me that there might be some calls
coming in on this. I'm surprised you didn't call me and tell me about this
"Farzana got a little roughed up last night, but nothing happened." He'd
forgotten where he'd put his pitcher so he instead pulled the top off the
frozen can of orange juice. "Do you know where I put my pitcher?" he asked.
"Why would I know that?" she asked, "It's damn your house."
"Sorry," he said. He leaned against the counter and looked up and saw his
blender on top of the fridge. Seeing that it was big enough to make the orange
juice he pulled it down and set it on the counter.
"So you didn't get into a fight?" Melinda asked.
"No," he said as he shook the frozen can a little and plopped the frozen
orange juice concentrate into the blender. "I told you that three times already."
There was a short pause as if Melinda was crossing off some list of questions
she wanted to ask and searching for more to add to the interrigation. "What
happened to Farzana? You know this can't be a good thing. It doesn't look
good that you were dating Bobbie for so long and now you're seeing Farzana."
She paused for a moment. "What are you doing?"
He took the can and read the directions then went to the sink and filled
up the can with water. "Making orange juice. I have no food here, but there
was a frozen can of that concentrate crap so I'm making it."
Melinda laughed. "Ah...the JC cooking skills come out. Isn't it a sin to
live in Florida and make orange juice from concentrate?"
"It's all I've got and I'm thirsty." He poured the one can of water into
the pitcher and set it under the stream of water while he looked for a spoon.
He couldn't find one so he used a chopstick he found in the drawer to stir
the orange juice mixture around.
"Are you going to tell me what hapened to Farzana or not?" she asked again.
"You keep interupting," he said, "I'll give you the quick version. I think
someone put something in her drink and pushed her around. I wasn't there
with her so I don't know what happened."
He hadn't been there and it was something that was going to grate on his
nerves forever. Bobbie had always told him that his business always got in
the way, but this was the first time that something really bad had happened
because his mind was somewhere else. He shouldn't have left her in the crowd.
He should have been protecting her.
"Is she ok?" Melinda's voice now changed from business mode to human mode
for a moment.
"Yeah," he said, "She hit her head and scratched up her forehead a little,
but she's ok." He poured the second can of water into the blender then went
back for the third, this time turning the water on full blast to make the
job go quicker.
"So I don't need to put out a statement or anything?" Melinda asked.
"No," he said wincing at how she seemed to be more interested in the newsworthiness
of the event more than Farzana's condition. "Everything is ok on this end.
I know everyone at House of Blues so it should be pretty hush hush."
"Next question," she said, "Are you gonna come and visit me today?"
"Sure," he said, "I'm gonna hang out for a while, but I'm trying to talk
Johnny into letting me have stome studio time out at WEG so Farzana and I
can put together a song."
"Want me to check the schedule for you?" she asked, "I'm over here right
"Could you?" he asked.
"Sure," she said. He listened to her walk for a while the she said, "Ok...there
is time tonight late night if you want it."
"Can you put me in?" he asked, "I don't need the bigger mixer. I'm just doing
demos for her for."
"Sure," she said, "This is gonna cost you."
"I know. I know," he said, "I'll give the Theresa the check when I get there."
"It's not like we don't know where you live," she said with a laugh. "Speaking
of that the plumber guy is going to stop by again tomorrow to check the new
drywall that he put up. He'll paint it up too for you so make sure that you're
home or leave Farzana there so it'll get done.
"Got it. Plumber guy. Dry Wall." JC stared at the orange juice for a moment
then went and grabbed out a cup. "Lemme go get food. I'll talk to you later."
"Take care and don't get in any fights on your way over here. Ok?"
"Yes Mom," he said, "I'll try to be good."
JC downed two glasses of orange juice then looked around for food. He had
yet to go shopping so he went back upstairs to get dressed so he could go
to the store. He pulled on jeans and a t-shirt, slid into sports sandals
barefoot, pulled on a baseball hat then went over to the edge of the bed.
He hated to wake her up, but he knew that he should make sure that she was
ok before he left.
"Zana?" he said softly and shook her lightly.
Her eyes flew open and she looked angry for a moment then smiled, "What time
"Early," he said, "You don't have to get up, but I'm going to the store so
do you want anything?"
"Anything is good with me," she said yawning.
"Cool," he said, "The store is about ten minutes away so I should be back
in about a half hour. If you need anything then call my cellphone...ok?"
"Ok," she said.
He wanted to crawl back into bed with her, but he couldn't. He made sure
that she was covered then leaned and kissed her forehead. "I'll be back with
breakfast next time."
"Mmmm," she said and took a breath and closed her eyes for good.
True to his word, the next time she opened her eyes the smell of breakfast
cooking greeted her. After being in hotels so much that year it was strange
to wake up to that smell. For a moment she thought she was back home, but
when she saw where she'd been sleeping not only did she realize where she
was, but the events from the night before seeped into her head. She'd been
so stupid to trust him. Patty would have yelled at her harshly for getting
hersel into a situaiton like that.
When she heard music coming from the first floor Farzana figured it was time
to get up. She didn't know what the schedule was for the day so she rushed
through a shower and changed into jeans and a t-shirt before she ventured
to the first floor.
She interupted yet another phone call when she reached the first floor. "No...Mom,
I'm coming home next week," he said into his phone as she walked into the
kitchen. He had a spatula in one hand and a glass of orange juice in the
other while holding the phone between his shoulder and ear.
He saw her and waved her over and they had a conversation without words as
he pointed to orange juice, eggs, and bacon that were on the kitchen counter
waiting to be eaten. "Tell Heather and Tyler not to worry about me so much...and
tell Dad that I'll see him soon," he finally said.
He was in the middle of making an omlette so with one hand holding onto her
orange juice she reached up with the other and held onto the phone until
he said goodbye then took it from him, clicked it off and hung it up again.
"Is your mom getting worried about you?" she asked.
"Yeah." He paused and looked at her a little, "Are you ok?"
"I'm fine," she said.
"You sure?" he asked.
"Please JC...I don't want to talk about it." She felt tears come to her eyes
and wiped them away quickly.
He sipped his orange juice, "I made coffee too." He pointed at the coffee
maker then said, "What about you? You should call your parents and tell them
where you are."
Calling her parents was the last thing she needed to be doing. Her father
would have a cow and her mother would probably have a heart attack if they
found out where she was and what had happened the night before. "I'll call
"Who's Hannah?" he asked.
"My friend from back home," she said, "Remember how the week after Patty
left and Tom came out on the road with me? She visited me for a few shows."
"Oh yeah. That blond girl that kept running after Justin."
"Yep." She smiled thinking about how Hannah had helped her through having
Patty leave the tour. The purpose of the trip out to visit her had originally
been to keep her spirits up, but it had turned into almost a therapy session.
She'd needed her friend there and had been grateful for the company. Hannah
had spent most of her time when they were half crying over Patty's departure,
running after Justin. "That's the one. She's kinda crazy, but you have to
"If you say so."
"So what's the plan for the day?" she asked as she began to take small bites
of her eggs.
JC took a bite of bacon and smiled at her, "I have to go over to WEG and
I booked some studio time for us tonight, but in the mean time we can just
relax, except for the plumber guy coming over tomorrow to fix the bathroom
we have no plans really until later."
"Are you going to go to the doctor's?"
He leaned against the counter and grabbed another piece of bacon. Before
he could put it in his mouth she grabbed it away. "I'll call in a while,"
he said with a grumpy tone.
She looked at him sternly. "Are you going to go?"
"Yeah," he said, "I'll call in a minute and make an appointment."
"Thank you," she said. She felt a bit silly for treating him like a child,
but he seemed like he needed the little jump start to get him there.
"I'll go if you let me make some calls for you about the--"
"I told you I didn't want to talk about that," she butted in.
"I told you that I wouldn't," he said, "I meant that I wanted to call and
talk to some people at Jive and at Arista and some other places about getting
you some meetings."
"I don't have a manager," she sighed, "I need a manager."
"What about Tom?" he asked.
"That was a short term solution," she said.
"Well I can probably help you get a manager too," he said with a smile, "That
is if you want to talk to Johnny and maybe Lance about it."
"Lance?" she asked.
"Yeah," he said, "Lance is looking for some new clients and I think that
he'd take you on since you've already been developed a little and don't need
as much guidence."
"I don't feel right about this," she said.
"Why?" he asked finally remembering that he had the bacon in his hand. He
took a bite and chewed. "You help me and I help you."
She was nervous. They'd fallen into this type of conversation that if she
didn't know better sounded like they were dating or at least seeing each
"What?" he asked.
"Nothing," she said, "It's just that all of a sudden we're acting like--"
She paused. "I'm stupid for thinking this, but--"
"What?" he asked casually.
"It seems like we're acting like a couple," she said cautiously, "I mean
I know I told you how I feel about you and you've made it clear that you're
not interested in dating and all, but it seems comfortable between us."
"It is," he said, "And I know that it could get confusing, but I do like
spending time with you."
"So where does this leave us?" she asked.
"I want to spend time with you," he said, "I don't know where that will take
us, but for now hanging out is good. I want to help you get back into the
business...Does that sound good to you?"
"Yeah," she said, "I just feel bad about mooching off you."
"You won't be mooching," he said, "As soon as you get your contract and your
songs get air time I'll get writing royalties. I'll get paid back eventually."
"And what if that doesn't happen?" she asked, "I don't know if I'll be able
to pay you back for studio time and stuff."
"Don't worry about it Zana," he said, "If you can get me back to singing
then it'll be worth it and having you around is getting me to write again...it's
Farzana smiled at him, "Ok then...You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours."
JC pulled her into a hug then suddenly.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
"Scratching your back," he said and she felt his fingers run across her back.