Morning sun was shining in the room when
she opened her eyes for the first time that next day. She was lying on her
stomach hugging a pillow to her face with her head towards the door. Strange
patterns of sun formed designs on the carpet in the living room and when she
rolled over she saw that the sliding glass door was opened and it was then that
it hit her. The heat had woken her up. She'd been fine when she'd been in her
own room with the air conditioning on, but with the door wide open and the mid
morning sun blaring down on them it was extremely hot.
"JC must have left it open," she mumbled to herself as she pushed back the
covers. Moving quickly she walked around the far side of the bed and shut the
door then decided to turn on the air conditioning. It was when she turned back
that she saw him lying on the bed. He'd been curled up in the same blanket as
her, facing towards the sliding glass door almost in the same position she'd
just woken up in, with his face pressed to the pillow, lying on his stomach.
Her feet immediately began to walk a little quieter as she moved passed him. She
saw that he had his baseball hat on still so she went over and carefully removed
it, setting it on the arm of the couch before she left him alone so she could go
shower. She figured he needed the rest and wasn't about to wake him up to tell
him to go to bed.
Collecting her clothes and her brush and hair dryer she went into the bathroom
and spent the next forty minutes getting ready for the day. When she emerged
from the confines of the bathroom she put her things away then went to check on
JC before she quickly wrote him a note and left the room.
She had planned to do laundry that day so wearing a pair of slightly dirty jean
shorts and her bikini top she went down to the lobby and hailed a cab to take
her into town. She knew that there was a laundry facility at the resort, but she
figured that she'd pick up some detergent and some other things to munch on
before she spent her afternoon with her guitar or at least sitting in the sun
It had been a while since she'd been grocery shopping alone. She wished that
Patty or Rodney were there with her, but she knew that she was going to have to
get used to being normal again and starting that out in a little town was
probably better than being back home. At least here she didn't have to explain
to the neighbors why her career had just been flushed down a toilet. Not knowing
JC's snack food tastes other than what he seemed to forage through at gas
stations in the middle of the night with the rest of them, she ended up getting
a whole cart full of things. Everything from milk and some apples down to a bag
of chips and bean dip.
The taxi ride back to the hotel was quiet and when she arrived to the hotel one
of the Valet's helped her carry her bags up to the door. She didn't know if JC
would be awake or not she told the guy that she could get the things into the
room. He nodded and proceeded to line up her six bags he'd been carrying along
the wall so no one would trip over them then left her there, refusing the tip
she offered him.
Moving quickly, but quietly she opened the door and brought the bags into the
kitchen. On her last trip into the room she shut the door and turned on the air
conditioner low. Normally she would have the thing on full blast, being that she
was from a somewhat cooler climate, but now that she was sharing the suite she
figured that JC didn't need to freeze to death since he was more used to the
It took some thought and some practice, but she soon had a method for getting
the food and things from the raspy plastic bags into the cupboards quietly. Even
with her system she still turned her head towards the couch to watch for any
sign of disturbance as she moved everything.
By noon all the things had been put away.
Fearing that she might wake him up she gathered her laundry together, leaving it
by the door, then took the quiet morning to go out on the porch, leaving the
sliding glass door half way open, to write. On her way she threw together some
instant iced tea and took her glass out with her while she scribbled thoughts in
her notebook. It wasn't the most social of activities, but she was getting the
work she needed to get done in between staring into the living room to see if JC
had gotten up yet.
By three she still hadn't seen any activity out of him and was starting to think
that something might be wrong so she decided to go in and wake him up to see if
he was ok.
She didn't need to wake him up though. He was coming out of his coma-like state
when she pushed the door closed behind her, keeping the air conditioning in.
"Morning," he said.
He pushed himself up and ran his hands through his hair scratching at his scalp
as if the friction would get his brain working faster. "What time is it?"
She looked at the clock on the VCR. "Just after three."
"Damn." He yawned and pushed himself up to a standing position. "What have you
been up to?"
"I sat out for a while and I went down to the store and got some food and stuff
so we don't have to eat out if we don't want to. I was about to go see about
doing some laundry if you have any that needs to be done."
"No," he said, "I'm good." He looked around for a minute then moved towards the
bedroom, pulling his shirt off as he went, "I'm gonna jump in the shower then
maybe see about finding something to do for the rest of the afternoon so don't
forget your key."
"I won't," she said and watched his bare back retreat around the corner.
The groggy feeling that he'd woken up with didn't leave until long after his
shower. He was dressed and had plopped down in front of the television to call
in to check his messages when his head finally seemed clear enough to think.
"Hey," Alex's voice came through the line with a slight hint of sarcasm to it,
like always. It was a good thing to hear. If he'd sounded worried he would know
that Bobbie had been giving him trouble. "Bobbie is out of the house. I don't
know if she took any of your shit with her, but she's gone and I have the key.
I've got the alarm on and I called and changed the password so she can't get in,
like you said...so I guess we're back to the regular tour schedule. I'll check
the place out every so often and grab your mail or whatever for you."
JC knew that Alex was a god. He was as close to him as a brother and JC knew
that one of these days he was going to have to pay him back. He'd have to think
about getting him a present or something. He'd already gotten most of the things
he needed for the studio so he'd have to think hard on this one for a while to
find the right gift.
"JC," the voice on the message said and he took a deep breath. He'd been
deleting all of her messages so far, but he decided to listen to this one, just
in case it was important. "JC I gave my key to Alex so I guess this is good-bye.
I'll be staying at my parents and you know my cell number if you need to get in
touch with me. I still don't understand all of this, but I guess it's for the
He clicked it off before she could say anything more. He didn't want to hear the
sob story or whatever about her being the lonely girlfriend left at home. He'd
heard it too often in the last few months and didn't need to hear it again.
"Hey Jace," the comical voice of his younger voice said, "So mom says you're in
Key Largo with Farzana. I hope you're having fun because she's driving everyone
up here nuts. Oh...and Bobbie has called me like six times. I didn't tell her
anything, but you should give Heather a call. She was worried about you too."
Taking a deep breath JC clicked along to the next message.
"C," the next voice said, "Where in the freaking world are you man? I though LA,
but I got the machine there and got the machine in Orlando so I called your
mamma and she of course says you're being a hermit. Call me and tell me where
you are and we'll party like rock stars...oh wait...we are rock stars! Ugh...Busta,
damn it. C...some advice. Never get a dog. Busta just sat his fat ass on my shoe
and shit on me." A laugh escaped his mouth as he heard Chris pick up the dog and
run to the back of his house with him scolding him the whole way. "Cya!" Chris
finally said and the line went dead.
Finding himself a little overwhelmed by the messages he went back through and
deleted the ones he'd listened to then went in search of a pen. He needed to
make a list of people to call back. He found his day planner in his backpack and
pulled it out to an open page then went in search for a pen. He normally kept
one in the book, but it must have fallen out.
The first one he found as he dialed his brother's cell phone was his lucky
writing pen. The one he'd left by the keyboard. When he reached for it his hand
hit into the instrument and he pulled his hand back as if he'd been burned.
"Hello?" the voice on the line said, "JC you there?"
Finally JC answered his brother knowing that he'd get worried if he got a call
coming in from his cell phone, but no one said a word. "Hey T," he said, "Sorry
about that. I got distracted."
"So where are you?"
"Key Largo Resort...I think it's the Marriot."
"You think it's the Marriot?"
"I had it booked for me. All I know is that I'm here and I'm in my room."
"Penthouse?" he asked.
"Damn...just you down there with all those women...oh wait...you're with Farzana
"I'm here with her, but I'm not WITH her," he stressed the point with his voice
as he moved back to his seat on the couch to start his list of people to call
"It's all in the details," Tyler said with a laugh, "So what happened with you
and the Boobster?"
"Don't call her that man," JC said putting his pen down to rub his forehead,
"That's not cool."
Tyler was silent for a moment, "You two aren't a couple so what's the
"Just don't talk shit ok T," JC said, "You know how the press gets."
"You're not the press the last time I checked," Tyler spat at him, "I just
wondered what happened."
"You know what happened," he said, "The same thing that happened last time I
came home from the tour. She freakes out when I'm not there then freaks out when
I am there. Its a never ending battle so this time I told her to move out and
that it was finally over."
"Just booted her like that?"
"I gave her a few days notice," he said, "She moved home...she already called me
to tell me where I could find her if I wanted her."
"Can I have her?" Tyler asked.
"That's not funny at all T," JC said, "I wouldn't wish her on you...too much
drama with that one."
"I KNOW," Tyler agreed.
"So what are you up to now that you're not on the road?" he asked his brother.
"I start classes next week," he said, "I'm gonna fit in a semester of school so
mom doesn't bitch before you guys go back out on the road."
"Going to Maryland or Virgina?" JC asked.
"Both actually," he said, "I have one business class at one campus and a math
class at the other."
"That's good," JC said, "I'm proud of you for doing that...I wish I could get
into school or something, but I don't have time to."
"You'll get back," Tyler said knowing that JC always had wanted to take college
classes, "One of these days."
"Yeah," JC said, "Could be sooner than later."
His brother's shock came out immediately. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"Laryngitis." His eyes moved over towards the keyboard and he took a deep breath
remembering the nights in the studio with Alex and how his voice had actually
cracked when he'd tried to sing the songs they had planned to work on for the
upcoming Wild Orchid album.
"You sound fine."
His head began to ache at the thought of trying to explain it all to him. It was
confusing in his own head. He had writers block and he seriously hadn't been
able to get a note out of his mouth. "I can't sing. I tried at Alex's and
squeaked like a 10 year old," JC said softly.
Tyler was silent on the other end of the phone. "Maybe your voice is just worn
out from the tour?"
"Nope. I thought about that, but I think it's more than that," JC explained and
pushed himself up and went out onto the balcony, "There is something wrong with
me. I mean have you ever known me to not be able to sing?"
"That always passes," Tyler laughed, "You know you always get this way when
"No. This is serious."
"JC chill out, have a margarita or something and wait a week. You're supposed to
be on vacation."
"I am," he stated.
"Well act like it then."
The door to the suite opened and JC looked over to see Farzana coming back in
the room with a laundry basket with her. He waved and turned back to his
conversation, "I've gotta run. I'll call Heather either tonight or tomorrow so
just tell her to chill out."
"Have fun," Tyler said.
JC rubbed his forehead hoping that his brother's wishes of luck and relaxation
would actually come true. At the moment he didn't feel so relaxed just yet. He
had to return calls and reassure everyone that he hadn't lost his mind, which
was going to be a little bit of a challenge at this point. "Good luck with
"Thanks," he groaned, "Back to the grind."
"Whatever," JC said, "You know you love it."
"No," he stated firmly, "Mom LOVES it. I only LIKE it."
"You know you love it," JC said and looked at Farzana as she went into the
bedroom. "I'll talk to you more about it later, ok?"
"Ok. See ya."
JC put the phone down and scribbled a not to himself to call his sister and ask
his mom about Tyler's classes a little more.
After jumping a little he turned and looked at her. "My brother..." a smiled
curled onto his face thinking of how funny his brother had become lately. They
used to fight a lot as kids, but now they were in a state of friendship that was
comforting. "You met him I think in LA or Vegas or something like that...he's
starting back to school for the semester...taking some business classes between
"That's good of him to do. As much as I don't want to give up my career going
back to school will be ok, but--" She sighed, "I want to go back on my own
terms, ya know?"
"Yeah...Doing anything on your own terms is better than being forced to do
things," he said.
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