dreams come true
I’ll be with you
I love that smile in your eyes.”
-“If Dreams Come True”, Benny Goodman
“I can’t believe you did that!” Hannah practically screeched. She
grabbed a pillow from the bed she was sitting on and chucked it at the other
bed, directly at Chris.
He ducked it, giggling hysterically. “I don’t see what’s so bad
“You wrote my telephone number in all the bathroom stalls! That sounds
pretty bad to me!” she shouted. She searched around the bed with her hand,
looking for more ammo.
“Aw, it was only your hotel phone number,” Chris said, rolling his
eyes at her behavior.
Joey began laughing and that prompted him to burst out into giggles all
“You’re impossible,” she huffed, shoving the loads of sheets in her
way off the bed and climbing to the ground. “I’ll get you back.”
Chris snorted. “I sincerely doubt that.”
Hannah merely gave him an enigmatic smile and went over to the door. She
pulled on her shoes. “I’ll be back in a sec.”
Before anyone could stop her, she had raced out of the room and slammed
the door behind her.
“Should I be worried?” Chris asked himself. He thought for a few
seconds. “Nah. Stop laughing, Joey.”
Joey buried his face in the bed. “Sorry,” came the muffled response.
“This is just too funny.”
Lance looked over from his seated position in front of the large TV. “I
knew I should have stopped you from drinking all that Jolt. Now you’re
Chris nodded. “Yeah, Joseph. You can’t handle your caffeinated
beverages.” Then he flopped down on the bed and started singing a tuneless
Lance sighed and turned back to the television program. JC was gonna kill
him for letting Chris discover their stash of Jolt. And worse, when he found out
that Chris had decided to practically inhale Justin’s pixie sticks…Dead
“I know a song that gets on everybody’s nerves, everybody’s nerves,
everybody’s nerves,” Chris sang out in that shrill voice of his. But because
of his sugar high, his voice had become even louder and gratingly high-pitched.
“I know a song that gets on everybody’s nerves and this is how it
goes,” Joey burst out, joining in on the fun.
“Shut up!” Lance shouted. “That is so annoying.”
“I think it’s getting on somebody’s nerves,” Chris said teasingly
before dissolving into laughter.
Hannah opened the door to be greeted with an odd scene. Chris was jumping
on his bed, singing at the top of his lungs. Joey had wandered over to the
minibar to examine what was left, and Lance was throwing anything he could get
his hands on at Chris.
She didn’t notice that someone else had followed her into room until
the shocked voice erupted from behind her.
“What the hell is going on here?!”
Everyone paused in mid-action and turned to look at the newcomer.
“Oh good, Juju, it’s only you,” Chris breathed in relief.
Justin nodded and came into the room, thinking that it looked like a
hurricane had run through it. Hurricane Chris. Forgetting to close the
door, he immediately strode over to a pile of bedsheets and picked them up from
“It may be me now, but you better clean up this mess before someone
else sees it,” he commented sensibly.
Chris snorted. “Fat chance.”
“Who you callin’ fat?!” Joey demanded before cracking up. He
drained the rest of the Jolt from the can he was holding and crushed it.
“That’s my Jolt!” came an outraged shout.
Hannah swiftly turned around and saw JC standing frozen in the empty
doorway. His blue eyes were wide and his jaw was hanging open. She nearly
cringed as his gaze took in the disarray of the room and its
“What is going on,” he bit out, taking a couple of cautious steps
into the room.
“Um…surprise?” Chris offered.
JC walked over to Joey and examined the empty cans of Jolt littering the
floor. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the Jolt was mine.”
Joey immediately dropped the crushed can and pointed at Chris. “He made
me do it.”
“What?” Chris exclaimed. “I didn’t do anything. It was all
“Excuse me? My fault? I don’t think so, Keebler,” Lance refuted,
shaking his head. “I had no part in this.” He turned to JC. “Look at my
pupils. Notice how mine are not dilated…unlike some people’s.”
“Damn,” Chris said. “He’s got us there.”
JC sighed. He stopped Justin, who was scrambling around the room, tossing
things back where they roughly belonged. “It’s okay, J. Just leave it.”
Justin stared at him. “Are you sure?”
He nodded. “It’s late. You should go back to your room and get some
rest. Same with you, Lance.”
“But what about the mess?” Lance asked, not used to seeing JC react
“Leave it,” JC repeated. He rubbed his hand over his eyes, tired and
“We’re sorry,” Hannah said softly, sad that he was feeling so
He looked up and trained his eyes on her, their brilliant shade of blue
now clouded over. “And what did you do?” he asked.
“She didn’t do anything,” Joey defended. “If you need to punish
someone, punish me. Better yet, punish Chris.”
“Shut up,” Chris shot back. He turned back to JC. “But Hannah
wasn’t even in here when we went crazy. Don’t blame her.”
JC shook his head. Was he such a monster, that his friends jumped to
defend someone from his wrath? What have I become? My friends actually think
of me this way? “I’m not blaming you, Hannah,” he said murmured. “I
only blame myself.” Then he turned around and walked out the open doorway.
Justin stared after him. “Okay…and what just happened here?”
“Hell if I know,” Lance muttered. “What’s eating Jace?”
Hannah peeked out the room and saw him walking down the hall, his head
down and shoulders sagging. It was like he had been broken. Her childhood hero
had actually broken.
“I have to go,” she excused, leaving the room and following him. She
ran up to him and caught his arm. “Josh, wait.”
He tugged his arm out of her grasp, his eyes filling with sad and
frustrated tears at hearing his old name. I’m not Josh anymore. He was a
different person. It’s JC now. “Leave me alone, Hannah.”
“No, I won’t. You shouldn’t be alone like this. It doesn’t help
anything,” she said, trying to pull him to a stop again.
He gave an exasperated sigh and threw her hand off him. “What would you
know about that? You have no idea what I’m feeling right now.”
“Look, Josh,” she began, only to hesitate. “I mean JC. Whatever
you’re calling yourself, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that
I know full well what you’re going through.”
He finally stopped walking and turned to look at her. “You know what
I’m going through,” he repeated incredulously. “Sorry, Brat, but I don’t
believe that. You’ve never felt like this before. The feeling just eats at
you, and empties you. All that’s left is bitterness and misery. So understand
me when I say that, no, you have never been through what I am going
She gazed intently at him, shocked to see him like this. “Then explain
to me. Tell me why.”
He tore his eyes away from her searching stare. I shouldn’t have
even started this conversation. “Go away,” he ordered, walking
determinedly down the hall again.
“No!” she exclaimed, catching up with him and planting herself in his
path. “Where are you going, anyway?”
“To get drunk,” he said. “What else?”
“You’ll regret that,” she informed him. “You shouldn’t do
He scoffed. “Oh, and I’m going to listen to you. Sorry, I’m not
drunk yet.” He tried to cut past her but she swiftly blocked his way.
“Don’t be such a jerk,” she reprimanded. When he attempted to
sidestep her she quickly managed to stop him again. “I could do this all day
long,” she lied.
“You’re so annoying,” he insulted. He pretended to head left before
rushing to the right.
“And you’re an idiot,” Hannah replied, cutting him off. “You’re
not too fast, either.”
JC let out a groan, his head pounding. “Get out of my way,” he said
in a low voice.
“Nope!” she answered flippantly. “Does ‘JC’ stand for ‘jerk
commando’? Because if it doesn’t, you could have fooled me.”
“And you wonder why I call you Brat,” he said sarcastically. “I
suggest you move. Now.”
“I suggest I don’t. Ever.”
He observed her obstinacy and gave a resigned sigh. “Alright. Don’t
blame me, then.” As gently as he could, while still showing he meant business,
he pushed her shoulders.
“Don’t push me,” she exclaimed. In return, she shoved him back.
JC fell back a few steps, not expecting an answering push. A hard one
too. He regained his control and stepped up close to her. “Don’t push me.”
She stared up at him, breathing in his cologne that mingled with his
aftershave. His gaze was so close. So was his well-formed mouth. And that
annoyingly stubborn chin. He’s intoxicating…
He looked down at her, watching closely as her pupils focused on him. The
odd gray color of her eyes shined from behind the lenses of her glasses, and a
few stray wisps of hair had fallen from her ponytail and over her forehead. He
couldn’t stop himself as his hand rose and gently touched her face, his
fingers stretching to-
What is he doing? He’s touching me. Why is he touching my face?
Hannah’s breath picked up in anticipation.
“Got your glasses!” he boasted, yanking them off.
“Josh! JC! Ugh, whatever! Give them back!” she demanded, jumping up
and trying to reach them as he held them far above her head.
“Nuh uh, I don’t think so,” he said, smiling fatly. “Now who’s
going to move?”
“Not me,” she stated. “I think I’m very comfortable right
“Fine,” he decided. “Then I guess you won’t be wanting your
glasses back. I wonder how you’ll read your sheet music tomorrow.”
“I’ve got it memorized,” she retorted.
“Then how will you watch TV and read the newspaper and walk around? You
need these glasses,” JC argued. “You need them bad.”
“No, I don’t. I have contacts.”
He glared at her. “That’s not true.”
“Isn’t it?” she asked calmly, his expression blurry to her.
“It’s not fair!” he shouted. “Here, here are your stupid glasses.
Jeez, all I wanted was a drink and some peace. But nooo, the little brat has to
get in my way. Why does nothing go right for me?!”
Hannah slipped her glasses back on and blinked as his annoyed face came
back into focus. “There there, it’s alright,” she comforted, patting his
“I’m going to sleep. At least you can’t bother me there,” he
decided. He looked at her for a few more seconds before sighing in exasperation
and heading back to his room.
Hannah watched him retreat, letting herself smile after the door closed
behind him. She was glad that he had opted to return her glasses, because the
contacts thing was a bluff. If he had called it…she didn’t know what she’d
be doing right now. Probably walking into a plant.
For even those short minutes without her familiar glasses covering her
face, she had felt terribly vulnerable and exposed. At least she hadn’t been
able to see him clearly, or she would have probably crumbled under his
She walked to the elevators and pressed the button. At least he wasn’t
sad anymore. She would rather he be mad at her than sad with himself. That was
something she was definitely sure about. I never want to see you sad, Josh.
“Jace, man, are you okay?”
JC looked at his concerned friend and nodded. “I’m fine, Justin.”
He climbed into the bed that Chris had switched with him, to make up for the
mess he had made in the other room.
“Because you look kinda annoyed,” Justin continued, not accepting his
response. “What happened?”
“I wanted to go get a drink from the bar, but a certain annoying pest
stopped me,” JC explained, rolling his eyes. He rolled over onto his side,
hoping that the action would dissuade Justin from carrying on the conversation.
“Why did you want to go down to the bar?” Justin persisted.
“No reason,” JC grumbled. “Just a bad day. That’s all.”
“Justin!” he exclaimed. “Stop asking so many questions and let me
sleep! Please. I have the biggest headache because of Brat, and this isn’t
There was silence from the other bed, and then the light switch clicked
as Justin turned it off. “Sorry, I was only worried about you,” he mumbled
An uncomfortable mood settled over the two in the room. JC tried to force
himself to go to sleep, but his conscious wouldn’t shut up. You didn’t
have to be so mean about it. He’s only concerned. It’s not his fault.
“J, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you like that,” he
finally said, staring up at the ceiling. “It’s just…”
“What?” Justin asked.
“You know how sometimes you get that feeling? The one that hits you
right in the chest? It’s like there’s something empty inside,” JC
explained quietly. “And it’s not exactly sadness, and not depression either.
It just doesn’t go away.”
Justin thought his words over. I guess I’ve felt that way. The
explanation was a little vague, but he got the gist of it. “Yeah. Is that what
JC sighed. “I don’t know how to make it go away. I thought that maybe
when Bobbie came, it would disappear. But it didn’t.”
“How long have you felt like this?” Justin demanded, growing even
“I don’t know,” came the confused reply. “On and off, for I guess
a few weeks. But J, don’t think I’m going to do something stupid. I’m not
suicidal or anything.”
“I know,” Justin assured him. “But if this is bothering you so
much, maybe you should find a way to fix it.”
JC frowned in the dark. He wished it were as simple as that.
“Were you like this the whole day?”
He pondered the question. “Actually, I wasn’t,” he said in
surprise. “I wasn’t when Hannah stopped me in the hall.”
“Well, that’s good,” Justin offered optimistically.
JC snorted rudely. “Is it? You should have seen her, man. She was so
annoying! She shoved me. It’s like she hasn’t even grown up after all
Justin laughed. “Hannah shoved you? Did it hurt?”
“What?! No, it didn’t hurt. What are you implying, boy?” JC
“Hey, I ain’t implying nothing!” Justin exclaimed. “But you were
the one whining about it. ‘She shoved me’,” he mimicked in a high-pitched
voice. “’Oh boo hoo!’”
“I will so get you when this headache’s gone,” JC promised.
“I’ll be sure to hide the Advil,” Justin answered, still laughing.
“Hannah shoved you. That’s great! Yet another reason to like her.”
Their threats continued in the no longer stifling atmosphere of the room.
Neither one of them paused to think about how the barely acknowledged topic of
Bobbie was moved over to make room for their discussion of Hannah. It didn’t
strike either one of them as odd.
“Hey, Lillian, these are for you,” Karen said, tossing her friend a
stack of envelopes.
“Thanks. Where are you going?” Lillian asked, flipping through the
usual fare of junkmail and bills.
“Clubbin’, girl! Wanna come?” Karen stood in front of the front
hallway’s mirror, doing some last minute primping.
“No, I can’t. I have to catch up on some schoolwork,” Lillian
explained. “But you go have fun. Don’t get into any trouble.”
Karen laughed. “Yes, mom.” She grabbed her keys, gave Lillian a
departing wave, and sweeped out the door.
Lillian picked out two envelopes from the rest, both of them with
handwritten addresses and no company logo anywhere to be seen. Finally. Some
real mail. She hoped that one was from Justin.
Ripping open the first envelope eagerly, she drew out a folded piece of
white paper. There was nothing written on it. Curious, she opened it and a small
picture fell out. It was the size of a wallet photo.
She smiled as she realized that it was a photograph of her and Justin. A
white heart was drawn around their heads, probably from a white-out pen. But
there was something odd about the picture. She and Justin weren’t looking at
the camera. They were talking with each other and seemed to be ignoring the
photographer. And the quality wasn’t very good, either.
Then Lillian paused. The clothes they were wearing. The background. It
was from New York, only a few days ago. Why would Justin send me a picture
like this? Neither of us are even smiling.
She shook her head and reached for the second envelope. She quickly
opened it and took its contents out. It was a letter.
Hey there Princess,
I’m already missing you. Did you get my little surprise? I know it was
a little weird, but I thought it was unique. How’s school? I hope they’re
not killing you up there. Remember my offer; I still need a personal assistant!
And no, I don’t think Lance would be a good candidate. I know you too well,
don’t even try to suggest something like that. Anyway, just wanted to tell you
that I love you, and I miss seeing your beautiful smile everyday. I think Mike
misses you, too. Today he asked me if I would shut up if he brought you back.
Yeah, that man is hilarious. Write back, sweetie.
P.S.- Here’s a kiss for you. <Muah>
Yes, I really kissed the paper.
Lillian smiled happily, laughing. He was so sweet. And poor Mike. If he
wasn’t already bald, his hair would be falling out in clumps. Being on the
receiving end of Justin’s persistence was not easy.
She picked the picture back up and shrugged. Well, if he thinks it’s
unique…I guess it’s okay. She placed it on the coffee table and went
back to writing up her lab report.