This is shorter than the other chapters. Consider it as a bridge between Parts
Two and Three.]
funny how the distance can make you feel close
the things you lost are the things you want most.”
-Eva Cassidy, “Say Goodbye”
Justin sat in the large cushioned chair, swiveling slightly from left to
right. He tapped his pen impatiently against the wood veneer of the large
“So, let’s configure the profits made from this tour,” Johnny said.
“Minus all the expenses, of course.”
Tim, sitting next to Johnny, nodded and grabbed his calculator. Together
the two of them went over the various bills, receipts, and sheets of paperwork
strewn across the table.
While they worked, the five guys in the band sat in their chairs, bored.
Two days back from the tour and they were already back to the same routine.
Joey reached into his pocket and after some searching, triumphantly
pulled out a quarter. From across the table, Chris caught the glint of the coin
and sat up eagerly, ready to play some football.
Justin saw what they were doing and decided to follow suit. He took one
of the notepads sitting near him and ripped off a piece of paper, then folded it
into a triangle.
“Come on, flag football,” he mouthed to Lance.
Lance nodded and they began their own match, quickly getting involved in
the game and not paying any more attention to the financial calculations.
JC watched the two games with interest, barely stifling his laugh when
Joey’s quarter hit Chris in the nose.
“Guys!” Johnny said loudly.
They immediately turned to face their manager, all putting on innocent
faces except for Chris, who was rubbing his nose.
Johnny gave them his you-aren’t-fooling-me look, but opted not to say
anything. “I’m happy to inform you that this tour was a major success. Much
more so than the ‘No Strings Attached’ one. Here,” he said, holding out a
piece of paper with a number circled on the bottom, “This is what it comes out
The five of them leaned in to get a closer look at the number.
“Holy shit!” Chris exclaimed.
“Yeah, I wouldn’t put it in those words exactly,” JC said, “But
that is a lot of money.”
“Be proud of it, you earned it,” Johnny replied with a smile on his
face. He looked around the table and saw that they still had wide eyes. It was
good that some things could still surprise them.
“Well, you’re off for the rest of the day. Do what you want,” he
suggested, getting up and ushering them out the door.
“Man, I feel like I’m sweating liquid gold,” Joey joked. “This is
“Let’s not get too cocky,” Lance warned. “We’ve all watched
‘Where Are They Now?’ on VH1. Let’s not forget MC Hammer.”
Chris laughed. “You said ‘cocky.’”
Lance rolled his eyes. “So what are we gonna do with this free day?”
he asked, changing the subject.
“Let’s cruise around,” JC said. “It’s nice to finally be able
to drive ourselves around again.”
“I think I’m going to head home for now. Unpack the rest of my
clothes and everything,” Justin decided instead, heading to his car.
JC gave him a concerned look. “Alright, but call us when you’re
Justin nodded and got into the car, driving away. He needed some time to
think, and it was better to just be alone.
He unlocked the door to his house and stepped in, letting the cold air
wash over him. It was always weird the first few days back from touring, because
everything was so unfamiliar. The house didn’t even smell right. It was like
he was just visiting instead of actually living there. Well, living
He climbed the steps and went into his room, lying down on the bed and
getting comfortable. Then he reached over to his nightstand and took a book that
was lying next to the clock. Dandelion Wine. The book itself wasn’t
important, it was what was inside it that he wanted. He pulled it out.
It was the letter from Lillian. He must have read it at least a hundred
times already. The paper was starting to get a little wrinkled because he folded
and unfolded it so much. Carefully smoothing it out on his lap, he scanned the
I’m not really sure what to write, to be honest. What happened at the
club was awkward, I guess, for lack of a better word. And since then, we’ve
both been kept pretty busy. But don’t think for a second that we’re not
friends. I won’t forget about all the fun things we did together, like playing
pranks on Lance and teaming up every so often for the L and J connection. Some
of our memories were priceless, and although you may forget about them after new
things come and replace them in your mind, I know that I will always cherish
When we first met, we didn’t exactly hit it off, obviously. But given
time, things settled down. You taught me some things, like giving people second
chances and being more trusting. A year ago, I wouldn’t have even considered
writing a letter like this. You might not realize it, but you did help me.
I wish that things didn’t turn out this way. There could have been
other possibilities, but I suppose this is how it’s going to be. I regret that
sometimes, but whenever I feel sad I can look back at the happy memories that
you were a large part of. I guess that’s all I wanted to write. Take care of
Justin sat there, reading it over and over again. This nagging feeling
kept bothering him, like there was something he was missing in the letter, like
there was a deeper meaning behind the words. He reread it constantly, thinking
that maybe it would come to him. What was she trying to tell him?
‘I wish that things didn’t turn out this way…I regret that
sometimes.’ He regretted things too. He should have talked to her after
the kiss, at least showed some type of response instead of avoiding the whole
situation. But it was too late now. He didn’t even know where she’d gone.
Not college, because it was the summer. Not to any relatives’ house, because
she didn’t ever talk of any and he knew both her parents were gone.
What’s the point, J? It’s over. Move on with your life. It’s not
as if you love her…
He sighed, finally folding the paper back up and slipping it back between
the pages of the book.