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Chapter Fifty One

October 3, 1998

Orlando, Florida

I don’t know what sleep is anymore. I know that I used to enjoy it, but now...now it seems like something only in a myth. I have worn a hole in the carpet, walking around and around and around. My arms are numb from the same bouncing motion over and over again.

Ben loves to cry.

Ben really loves to cry.

I know that babies cry when they need something, but I have done everything for him. He’s regularly fed. He’s regularly changed. He’s regularly bounced, loved, burped, swung...and yet he still cries.

Nick and Brian were both gone, pulled away by Lou and the rest of management for a meeting on their next album and preparing for getting a key to the city of Orlando. These were the pressing issues of the moment.

Not a screaming baby.

“Ben, it’s okay, buddy,” I cooed. “Are you hungry?”

I was hungry. I couldn’t remember the last time I had eaten. Or slept.

What was sleep again?

Ben cried so much that I hadn’t even made it to see Winnie in the last twenty four hours. The guilt was immeasurable. I wished more than anything that I could pass Ben off, get a few hours of sleep, and then go to the hospital. What I wouldn’t kill for my mom to be here…

But my mom wasn’t interested in coming. She wasn’t interested in being a grandma. Hell, it shouldn’t surprise me. She isn’t very interested in being ‘mom’ let alone ‘nana.’

It wouldn’t even be so bad if I had a friend…

A friend.

October 4, 1998

“I just so happened to be between movies right now. Leo started this crazy preschool that serves all these swanky finger foods. When I went to preschool we ate glue and I didn’t turn out bad. But hubby...well, y’know ‘Hollywood’ has to live up to the standards.”

Kal breezes in with a rush of lilac scented perfume. I can’t believe I called her.

I can’t believe she agreed to come.

“For as long as movies take in pre-production, it’s hard to believe that it takes a month to film, don’t you think?”

I nod. Or at least I think I nod. My body is on the cusp of shock.

“You look like hell. Where’s the two men that got you into this situation?”

“Two men?”

Kal just grins. “It sounds dirtier that way.”

“Ugh, I can’t think about dirty.”

“That I believe. You look like shit. Gimme that handsome boy.”

My arms barely break away from my body. Ben’s cries increase as he slides into Kal’s arms. I rock backwards.

“Go to sleep. Now. It’s a command.”


“HIM AND I WILL HAVE A TALK!” Kal yells over the cacophony.



I give her a smile. “Thank you.”




I stumble down the hallway. I don’t know what sort of cosmic forces were in play to make one of Hollywood’s biggest actresses want to be my friend, but I wasn’t going to complain.

Especially now.

October 5, 1998

“How’s my girls?”

“I’m exhausted. Winnie’s doing good. She smiled at me this morning.”

“She did?”

I smile up at Nick. He swings into a chair, his long legs tucking up, pressing against me. “You look so tired. We shouldn’t have left.”

I lean against him. “I have reinforcements.”


“Kal’s here. She’s helping me.”

“Kal? Movie star Kal? Like Ginger on Gilligan’s Island Kal?”

I laugh. “Yup.”


He nuzzles my neck. “Brian’s having a rough time. He threatened to quit about three times. Kevin finally smacked him. Not like a guy hit or anything. It was more of a southern ‘snap out of it’ slap. He followed it with a hug. Those cousins are weird.”

“Where is he?”

“He went to go check on Ben. He’ll head over here soon. I wasn’t expecting to see you here.”

“He’s not going to expect to see Kal there.”

Nick smiles. “That should be an interesting conversation. I’m kinda sorry I’m missing it.”

“Brian’s not her favorite person.”

“Maybe she’ll take pity on him. I mean, given the circumstances.”

I sigh. “Yeah.” I turn around, looking up into his face. I’ve gotten used to young, floppy haired Nick. I’ve gotten used to his oversized clothes and the slight scent of french fries mixed with a splash of some off brand shower gel. “You guys are going to be here for Winnie’s surgery. Right?”

“Of course. Brian has the date committed to memory. He pretty much snapped at Lou when some stupid possible appearance was mentioned on that day. It was awesome. We really need to ditch that asshole, actually.”

I don’t answer. I glance back at Winnie, touch her little fingers.

“I keep thinking about Leighanne.”


I nod. “I can’t stop. I can’t stop thinking about what I know and what’s lost and...where is that going to put Brian? I can’t really picture a world where Brian’s not with her. Will that make him a different person? I mean, obviously it will. But…”

“You’re not thinking about….”

“About what?”

“Being with him?”

Nick’s forehead is knotted. I want to run my finger over the tension lines. I smile.

“No, you’re kinda stuck with me,” I say lightly. “Actually,” I pause. “I can’t even think about relationships right now. All I can hear is Ben’s screams, even when I’m here. I think about taking care of Winnie after the surgery. Truthfully, you’d be better off finding someone that doesn’t have so much baggage. Someone that is willing to have sex again.”

Nick laughs. LAUGHS! As if I said something hilarious. “You’ll have sex again.”

“You have no idea the battlefield of my body,” I say seriously. He just grins.

“Trust me…” He rubs my shoulders.

“You’ll have sex again. But with me. A lot. And it will be good.”

“Really good.”