Running Up That Hill – Day 11

“Looking back at sunsets on the Eastside
We lost track of the time
Dreams aren’t what they used to be
Some things sat by so carelessly”

-The Killers ‘Smile Like You Mean It’

Kevin had called me the night before to let me know that Denise wanted us all to go visit AJ.

I was overjoyed. Kevin, however, had seemed nervous. I couldn’t entirely blame him for that, the last time he’d seen AJ they hadn’t exactly parted on the happiest terms. But things were different now. I was sure that AJ had realized that Kevin had done the right thing by breaking the door down.

The problem was, I wasn’t sure Kevin himself was totally convinced about that just yet. Hopefully this visit would relieve some of his stress about the situation. And hopefully we would see that AJ going to rehab was the best thing for him. Of course we all thought that, but it would be quite another thing to actually see the impact it was making on him.

Brian had also readily agreed to go visit AJ. It would be nice to have the whole group there to see him. If we could get the whole group together, that is.

Not surprisingly, Kevin hadn’t been able to get ahold of Nick. I wasn’t overly worried. Nick had ended up returning my call and had come to LA for our meeting. I was sure that a week was enough time to get the information to him.

That did make me kind of nervous, since I rely heavily on making plans and keeping a schedule. This usually wasn’t a problem when we were out on tour, our schedule was always pre-made and had to be followed no matter what. I knew that Nick would come through, it just made me uneasy. But I guess he couldn’t always be sitting and waiting for the phone to ring.

I tried to forget about it for the time being. Worrying was going to do me no good at all. Everything was going to work itself out, I was sure of it.

~~~

“So you guys are headed back this evening?” I asked Brian as the two of us sat outside my house. The girls were still asleep, but sometimes I liked to get up early. I guess Brian did too, since he had joined me.

“Yup,” Brian said, taking a sip of his coffee. “I guess I can’t say ‘back to reality’, can I?” he chuckled.

“No, I don’t think so,” I laughed.

After that there was silence. Not an awkward silence but not a comfortable one either. Just silence. I was okay with that. I didn’t have much to say, and I didn’t really want to talk about going to visit AJ. I would cross that bridge when I came to it. The more I thought about it, the more it worried me. I didn’t want to worry, so I tried to think about it as little as possible.

“Hey Kevin, can I ask you something?” Brian interrupted the silence after a few minutes. That was probably why he hadn’t been chatty, he’d been thinking about something.

“Sure.”

He sighed, and I raised my eyebrow. It wasn’t a rare thing for Brian to come to me for advice, but his body language was certainly different than usual. He looked unsure of himself.

“Leighanne keeps asking me about starting a family.”

That surprised me a little. I always thought Brian would be the one to bring that up, out of the two of them. “And you don’t want to?”

“No, of course I want to,” he assured me. “I just don’t know if this is the best time. Things are so busy right now, I mean, not right now, but they will be back to normal in a few weeks.”

“Back to reality?” I joked.

“Yeah, exactly,” he smiled. “I just don’t know if it’s the right time. But I don’t know when there will be a better time. I don’t know what to do or tell her.”

I thought about that for a little bit. I had always thought Brian would be ready to start a family whenever Leighanne wanted. “There’s never going to be a perfect time, you know.”

“I know, but especially right now, when we’re just about to start recording again.”

I shrugged. “Better that than when we’re out on the road. I’m sure this album’s going to take a little bit longer anyway, since we’ve barely even started with it.”

He nodded. “Yeah, you’re right.”

~~~

I was really starting to mess up my sleeping schedule by waking up at three in the afternoon. I didn’t even know what to do with myself sometimes, being back home and all.

I knew better than to get out of bed quickly. No, it was best to lay there and sit up slowly. Otherwise I’d just end up with more of a killer headache than I already had. That, and I really didn’t want to spend most of the afternoon puking my guts out as a result of the night before.

After I finally made it out of my room and into the bathroom for a Tylenol, I headed down to the kitchen. Eggs were good for a hangover, right? I doubted that I had any in my kitchen. I was more of an ordering pizza kinda guy instead of a keeping groceries in the house kinda guy. That was Brian’s department. The department of married and lame. Mine was more like the department of single and awesome!

Wait, I was single, and I was awesome… so what the hell was some blonde chick doing in my kitchen? Making eggs that I was pretty sure I didn’t have!?

“Morning, Nick,” she said sweetly as she stood over the stove.

What the fuck? I don’t bring girls back to my house! I didn’t say anything, and I’m pretty sure I had a strange look on my face, because she stared at me and then pouted.

“You do remember me, don’t you?” she asked, still wearing the pout.

“Uh, yeah, of course.” Nope, not at all! “Where did you get the eggs from?” I changed the subject quickly, but I was still trying to think of ways to get rid of her. This was not shit I needed to deal with first thing in the…afternoon.

“I bought them at the store down the street.”

“Oh,” I replied dumbly, but then I got an evil idea. “Yeah…cause usually my girlfriend buys all the food…”

“Girlfriend?” she raised her eyebrow.

“Yup, girlfriend,” I said lightly. Was she going to get the hint? Beat it! Don’t you make me repeat it!

“I’m sure your girlfriend would love to hear about this,” she stressed the word ‘girlfriend’. Yeah, I was pretty sure she could see right through my lie. I mean, if I had a girlfriend why would I be sleeping with strange women? I mean… okay, let’s not go there. Back to the crazy chick in my kitchen!

I sighed. “Okay, look, I’m not really looking for any kind of commitment right now…so….”

And there it was. She glared at me, and I continued to concentrate on the ceiling. In my defense, I did have a pretty nice ceiling. She was pretty pissed off though. “So what was I to you, Nick? Just some one night fling?”

Bingo! But does it count if I can’t remember it? “Yeah, I mean, let’s not make this more than it is.”

And this is why I don’t ever bring girls to my house. Besides the fact that they’ll know where I live, it’s also really hard to get rid of them. It’s easier to go to a hotel. Because then I can just leave! Yeah, I know that sounds like a dick move, but what do they expect? That I’m going to fall in love with them at first glance?

Okay, don’t answer that.

“Ugh!” She shouted, and walked past me in a huff to grab her purse, I guess. “You know,” she said angrily, as she put on her shoes. “I really thought you were the nicest one.”

I don’t know where she got that idea. Everyone always thinks Brian’s the nicest one.

“I guess I was wrong,” she was still angry. “Doesn’t matter though. You’re still not the hottest one. Kevin is twice the man you’ll ever be!”

And then she stormed out. Yippie! Now, where was Chris?

After turning the stove off and throwing away the burnt eggs, I began to search my house. It didn’t take me long to find him. He was in the basement on my futon with some other girl. Why all the girls in my house? God dammit.

“Morning,” I said sharply, flicking the lights on. I had way too much of a hangover to be dealing with this crap. “You,” I pointed to the girl after she and Chris opened their eyes. “Out.”

“But,” she protested. “He said that after I went with him I’d get to be with you.”

“Well, he’s a douchebag who lied. Don’t know what else to tell ya,” I shrugged. I felt kinda bad for the girl, but not bad enough that I was going to let her stay. And definitely not bad enough that I was going to take Chris’s sloppy seconds.

She glared at Chris, pretty much the same way the other chick had glared at me, and after grabbing her things, she also left.

“What the fuck, dude?” I asked angrily once I was sure she was gone.

“Nick relax. We had a few drinks, had a good night with some girls, and everything is fine.”

“No, everything is not fine!” Who the hell did this guy think he was, bringing girls back to my place? Why couldn’t he go to his own place? “I don’t bring chicks back here, you know that’s the rule!”

“Will you calm down? It was your idea. You didn’t want to go to a dirty hotel. You told the girl you were lonely and wanted to have company in your own bed.”

“That doesn’t sound like something I’d say,” I said through gritted teeth, even though it sounded almost exactly like something I’d say.

“Well, you said it.”

“Chris, just go home.” I was through with his bar hopping shit. I didn’t need his help to get girls, and I didn’t need him agreeing in bringing them to my house.

“Dude, come on,” Chris protested, but I didn’t give a shit. I was mad at him, I was mad at myself, and I just wanted to order a damn pizza and stay in! Fuck the stupid bar.

“Just go,” I pointed to the door.

He shook his head at me, probably thinking I was acting over dramatic. I knew I was… but still, he was annoying me. And I just wanted to be left alone.

~~~

I looked out the window as the place taxied down the runway. Over the years I had come to find flying relaxing. Not the airport parts of it, but the just sitting down and waiting until we reached our destination. It was nice, we never got time to ourselves like we did when we were on an airplane.

Leighanne didn’t like flying by herself very much, but I think she was okay with it when I was there. She didn’t seem to complain about it unless she had to go on a plane by herself. Maybe she just didn’t like to leave me. Actually, that was probably it.

“Do you want to get some wine?” Leighanne asked, looking through the buy on board menu.

I shrugged, thinking back to the conversation we’d had with Nick a few nights prior. I knew deep down that was because Kevin was worried Nick was going to end up in the same situation as AJ. Not because he actually thought it was disrespectful for us to drink, or whatever he’d said.

Because it wasn’t disrespectful to drink, was it? Maybe if AJ was with us, but not now.

“Sure,” I smiled at her. I wanted to be able to connect with Leigh again. I hated that I’d been so wrapped up in my career that I’d forgotten how important my marriage was to me as well. It was funny, I usually felt like I was so wrapped up in my marriage that I’d forgotten about my career.

Either way, my family was what was important right now. And she was my family.

The plane took off and I looked out the window again. LA was fading away and we were going back to our life in Atlanta. It was the first time in the past two weeks that I didn’t feel sad about leaving the other guys. I liked that feeling. That I didn’t have to be so dependant on the group anymore.

I glanced over at Leigh as she was ordering the wine. She really was great to put up with all my emotional turmoil in the last little while. I hadn’t been myself, but I think she understood on some level what was going on. Of course she couldn’t quite understand it fully, but she knew I needed time to process what had happened.

I thought about my conversation with Kevin earlier. I still didn’t want to bring up the subject with Leighanne just yet, but he had given me a lot to think about. There wasn’t ever going to be a perfect time, he was right about that one. That, and we still had a lot of time before the next tour. Seeing as we hadn’t even started the next album yet.

The more and more I thought about it, the more I thought this was actually a better time than I’d originally thought. Maybe Leighanne had been right before when she’d said that.

I still needed to sit on it for another couple of days before I told any of that to her. I didn’t like to make rash decisions and though I knew this was something we should have been deciding as a couple, I also knew my wife and that she liked to have things her way.

The flight attendant came back and handed us two plastic cups with white wine in them. It felt cheesy to be drinking wine out of plastic cups, but hey, cheesy was basically my middle name.

“To us,” I said, holding up my cup.

Leighanne giggled and tapped her cup against mine. “To us,” she repeated.

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