Around 5pm, I arrived at the H20 arena ready for them. No one had any idea that I was coming back. Walking behind the scenes, I saw Baylee.
“Aunty Bri.” Baylee squeeled. Baylee ran up to me, Leighanne not far behind him catching up.
“Careful honey.” Leighanne called out as I bent down to hug Baylee.
“We missed you.” He told me.
“I missed you to sweetie. Been good for Mummy and Daddy?” I asked giving him a kiss.
“Yup.” He smiled.
“How you doing hun?” Leighanne asked.
“After not long flying in from Melbourne, exhausted but I’m here.” I replied as we hugged.
“Come on.” She said, putting her hand for me to take and guided me through to the stage where the guys were. They were rehearsing ‘Drowning’. I grabbed a microphone and during the chorus I went on stage. All faces dropped, including the band.
“No wonder we weren’t able to call you! We had been trying to call for what a day or two now and nothing. Problem solved.” Howie said.
“I wanted to surprise ya.” I laughed.
“You certainly did. Welcome back!” Brian spoke.
“How you doing?” Nick asked.
“As good as I can get. I’m ready for work now.” I replied, Nick putting an arm around my shoulders.
“Good to have ya back.” He said give me a kiss on the cheek.
“Um, how’s...” Howie began to ask.
“Getting there.” I replied.
For the concert that night, I was on the side of the stage. Leighanne and I were having the time of our lives. “I feel like a fan again for some reason.” I laughed in between songs.
“Hard not to.” She replied holding my hand for reassurance before wolf whistling, Brian looking towards where we were and laughing his head off.
Following morning, we all had breakfast in Nick and Lauren’s hotel room, enjoying the full English breakfast, finding out what we had been up to. “Wanna come shopping with us?” Howie asked me.
“You bet! Always wanted to shop in London. Bugger it, want to shop everywhere.” I replied.
She’s one of us.” Brian laughed. The guys had the day free off press and didn’t have to go to sound check til later. Media and fans naturally followed us but we just ignored it, the guys meeting fans.
“Guys, I know you are wondering about Alex and I and what’s going on when he gets back which is about a week or so away.” I began to say as we were having dinner before Leigh, Leighanne and I were going back to the hotel with the kids.
“Who says we were?” Howie said.
“It’s written all over your faces. It’s going to be alright. Kevin and I are starting back on press in the morning and I’m gonna be busy. You guys are going to be flat out. The only time we would be seeing one another is really on flights and first thing in the morning and after the shows.” I told them.
“You sure you are going to be able to handle it?” Brian asked.
“Yeah sure, why not? We did agree on that. We just aren’t communicating as much.” I replied.
Following morning, Kevin and I were going from one interview to another. “Ah just feels like a few years ago.” Kevin laughed as we were in a cab going from one radio station to another.
“You going alright with it?” I asked.
“Feel like a kid all over again.” He replied as the cab stopped at the next interview. It was interview after interview. My popularity had soared since I started touring and the interviews grew. Some we had to do on phone interviews because we were running out of time.
A week later we were in Sweden, Alex was due to arrive. We had talked a few minutes since we separated but there was no spark. Alex was talking to the guys as normal. I was more or less like a stranger to him.
The first concert in Stockholm, I was opening up for them at the last minute after illness for the person that was opening up and had to be hospitalised.
“I just got word that the boys are coming...Howie, Brian, AJ and Nick......make some noise!” I screamed to the audience and ran off stage for them to appear.
Lauren wanted me to go back to the hotel with her, spend the night with her as after the show, the guys were going clubbing and she couldn’t be bothered clubbing. At first I said no but I sent her a text message saying I was staying on. Leighanne was staying at the hotel as Baylee was coming down with a cold and Leigh was keeping her company.
“You gonna come clubbin with us?” Alex asked me when they all came off stage from the final encore. The guys looked at me shocked.
“Yeah why not?” I replied shrugging as if I didn’t have a care in the world. You couldn’t tell that Alex had burns to his body, except that he was wearing full length sleeve shirts. All the tattoos had been burnt. While we were at the club, Alex was his normal self as if nothing had ever happened. Brian came up to me when I was at the bar wondering what was going on with Alex. “I seriously have no idea but while he’s like this I am taking it while I can.” I told him.
“Don’t think it could be a publicity thing?” Nick asked joining us at the bar.
“Who knows now?” I said as I walked back to the table where Alex and I were drinking, non alcoholic drinks.
3am, we all get back to the hotel room. To not wake the Leigh, Leighanne and the kids, Brian shared Alex’s room and Howie shared my room for the night.
“What was with AJ tonight?” Howie asked as we sat down on the couch taking off our shoes drinking a bottle of water each.
“God, I don’t know. Before the show he barely said boo to me and then after the show, as if nothing ever happened. What do you think?” I replied sinking into the couch.
“I’ve known AJ the longest, seen everything and I have no idea. He could have realised what a jerk he’s been and this is him making it up to you. But he would have done something better. He would have apologised to you in some way.” Howie thought.
“As I was saying to Brian at the club, I’m taking whatever I can have at the moment. I know if this continues, I wanna have a talk with him.” I added.
“I’d get an explanation in the morning.” Howie told me.
“See what happens.” I replied.
Next morning, Howie had gone and was in the next room playing with James while Leigh and Leighanne were down in the gym working out. That was for me just after lunch. I sent a text to Alex to see if he was up. Got one back, yup. I was doing as Howie suggested. See Alex and see what was going on.
When I knocked on the door, Alex opened it slowly with one hand. He had the bandages all the way up his arms with half a shirt on. “Want some help?” I asked him as I entered the hotel room closing the door behind us. After closing the door, I helped him put the other arm in of his shirt, not wanting it buttoned up, he was wearing a t-shirt underneath.
“How you going?” I asked as we went more into his hotel room.
“Yeah getting there. Slower to get started in the morning. When we get back to LA, I go back for more skin grafts and stuff.” Alex replied as we sat at the kitchen bench not looking at each other.
“Bet last night would have been tough? Not being able to do all routines and all. Would have sucked for ya.” I commented.
“Ah I’ve done it before but yeah it was hard.” Alex replied.
“Ah Alex....” I began to say a few minutes later.
“Bri, don’t.” Alex cut in.
“You didn’t even know what I was going to say.” I said.
“It’s pretty obvious isn’t it? You wanna talk about it. I don’t ok.” Alex snapped.
“Then what was last night? Why invite me to the club?” I asked.
“Because I wanted to ok. Because I didn’t want to have everyone falling awkward between us.” Alex replied.
“Us...Yeah, about us...Are we an us? Last I saw we were.” I snapped.
“Yeah of course we are.” Alex replied, raising his voice.
“The last few months sure haven’t felt like it. When I woke up in the hospital, I asked about you first. Not our child. You!” I stammered.
“What do you expect me to say? Huh?” Alex asked yelling at me.
“Something. I’ve been trying but you don’t want to talk about our child, me, us. I feel as though last night was some kind of publicity stunt.” I cried.
“Maybe I don’t wanna talk about it. Maybe I just want to forget it. Forget everything that happened and our child.” He yelled back at me. That just tore me up.
“How could you say that! How dare you say that!” I yelled at him.
“Bri, Bri, I didn’t mean it that way.” Alex tried to say.
“Leave me alone.” I cried running out the door.
“How could he say that? How could he say that Brian?” I cried into his arms in his and Leighanne’s room, Baylee spending time with Kevin.
“I’m sure he didn’t mean it.” Leighanne tried to say.
“You didn’t see his eyes Leigh. He looked directly at me and that he wanted to forget about everything including the baby.” I answered in between my tears.
“Don’t you worry about him alright. We’ll work something out.” Brian assured me, lifting my head up, wiping the tears away from my face, Leighanne putting an arm around me.
“I just wanna go home...but for me, where’s home?” I said.
“We’ll talk to Kevin alright. Come on, let’s go back to your hotel room alright, Brian will talk to Kevin about organising things.” Leighanne suggested. She went with me into their bathroom and cleaned my face up before we left their hotel room, one either side of me in case Alex approached me. When the door opened, Nick and Lauren were at their door entrance wondering what was going on.
“Bri you ok?” Lauren asked.
“Bri?” Nick asked. I couldn’t answer them.
For the rest of the day I was in my hotel room upset and broken hearted about what Alex said. I kept trying to tell myself that Alex didn’t mean it but it help. Around dinner time, Kevin, Nick, Brian and Howie were at my door.
“We’ve been talking.” Nick spoke as I let them in.
“We had a talk with AJ about everything. With the tours for the both of you, and with what AJ has said, it’s going to be easier for you and I to go separately. Different flights, commitments , etc.” Kevin explained.
“But that’s going to cause a nightmare for you.” I told him.
“For the first few days yeah but it will be alright.” Kevin replied.
“I am sorry.” I apologised.
“You have nothing to be sorry about. You have done nothing wrong. Alright? Always remember that.” Nick said giving me a tight hug. Nick’s hugs always gave me security for some reason.
“I haven’t put stress on you guys?” I asked.
“No, none.” Howie replied looking directly in my eyes to trust him.