Running Up That Hill – Day 25

I’m feeling rough, I’m feeling raw, I’m in the prime of my life
Let’s make some music, make some money, find some models for wives

-MGMT ‘Time to Pretend’

As soon as we had set foot in my house, I’d felt awkward. I’d been strangely quiet around Nick, which he didn’t notice because as soon as we got to LA his mood changed significantly. It was clear he was excited about going back on tour, which made things all the more worse for me because, obviously, we weren’t. At least, not as soon as he thought.

We’d spent the entire evening just chilling around my place. It was nice, I’ll admit. We’d ordered a pizza and drank a couple beers. Nick didn’t make any mention of going out to enjoy the LA nightlife, as he normally would have. I had to admit I was sort of disappointed by that. I know, I know, the whole reasoning behind getting him out to LA was to stop the partying. But I was feeling so guilty about lying to him about the tour that I just wanted him out of the house. Out of sight, out of mind I guess. I knew it was selfish, but this whole business of keeping the fact our tour had been postponed again was selfish anyway. No matter how much we said it was for his own good, and it was… but he also had a right to know. He was just as much a part of the group as the rest of us.

I’d woken up early, made myself a nice cup of coffee and sat in my kitchen trying to psyche myself up for when I was going to tell him that we weren’t going back on tour for another three weeks.

“Nick,” I’d say to him. “I’m really sorry we didn’t tell you before, but AJ’s not ready yet, and we’re not going back on tour until closer to the end of the month.”

No, that was no good. Opening with an apology was never a good idea.

“Denise called Kevin yesterday, AJ’s not ready… we’re not going back on tour, but you’re welcome to stay with me until we do.”

That would probably just piss him off.

I put my head in my hands. We really should have just told him right away, because now I was in this mess where I knew he was going to be mad, he was probably going to be so mad that he’d so straight back to Florida. We’d be right back in the position we were in before. Probably worse, actually, because he’d try to cure his anger by drinking, and by the time we were supposed to back on the road, we might not have a Nick to take with us.

“Morning, D,” Nick said brightly, bounding into my kitchen and interrupting my thought process.

“Morning,” I replied, not really knowing what to say to him. Once again I tried to psyche myself up to tell him that the tour had been postponed. I watched him as he rummaged through my fridge. Normally I would have made some kind of wise-ass comment about it, but I let it go. You know, since he was about to be angry anyway. “Hey Nick,” I started.

“Well, see ya later,” he said, opening a can of coke and walking out of the kitchen.

What?! “Where are you going?” I asked, following him out into the hall.

“Out,” he said simply, stepping into his shoes without bothering to untie the laces (that had always bothered me about him) and putting his sunglasses on. “Gotta enjoy LA while I’m here,” he said with a grin. “Later, D.”

“Bye,” I replied, just letting him leave. I knew it was a bad idea, but I really didn’t want to have that conversation with him. It could wait, couldn’t it? Just until he got home. There was no sense in ruining his day.

Sometimes, I liked to keep the peace a little too much. And it always came back to bite me in the ass.

~~~

Fuck yeah, I love LA. It’s way better than Tampa, there’s so much stuff to do. You can just walk around in LA at any time of the day or night and there’s always something interesting happening. I could walk down the street and no one would bother me, because I was just another celebrity, doing his thing.

I mean, I was an awesome celebrity, but you know.

I wasn’t about to admit it to Howie or anything, but I was really happy to get away from Florida and get back to the lifestyle that I loved. I loved the ocean and the beach, and that was what always kept me coming back to Tampa, but California had that too. One day, I’d probably just sell my house in Tampa and stay in California.

Maybe not for a while though, because sometimes I still needed my cave of solitude.

But a month was way too long to be there. We never had time off that long and even though I could tell the other guys were grateful for it, I hated it. Hated every minute of it and couldn’t wait to get back out on the road where I belonged. I’d never been someone who loved staying at home, and that was probably because of my fucked up family. Even when I was a kid, I was always looking for ways to get out of the house.

So, LA was perfect for me. I still had the beach pretty close by and more stuff to do. In Florida, I was no one special. In LA, I was someone important. I was a part of the club that was supposed to be there and it felt awesome.

Fuck, I forgot how much I loved LA until I was actually here.

~~~

Carson Daly was not my favourite person. Typically, I hated TRL. Don’t get me wrong, I loved our fans and I loved that there was an outlet for us to connect with them, but Carson’s attitude always left me wanting to punch him in the throat.

Probably because he always acted like he was above us, when we were the reason he had a job in the first place. But of course, you’ll never hear him admitting that.

Either way, I got stuck with the duty of calling in to TRL and letting them know that our tour had been postponed again. Management had pushed back a little on that, wanting us to actually go there, but I really didn’t want to. I knew they just wanted us to do promo, but it didn’t feel right. I didn’t want to make a promotion out of the fact that AJ needed more help. That wouldn’t make us look good.

And surprisingly, they actually agreed. So, I sat in my living room, phone to my ear, as I waited to be told I was on the air.

“We’ve got Kevin Richardon on the line, hey Kev, how’s it going?” Carson said, once we were ready to go.

“Hey Carson,” I said smoothly, wanting to get this over as soon as possible. “It’s going.”

“I know you called in to let us know some important news about your tour, you want to let us know what’s been going on?”

I took a deep breath. “Yeah, sure. Basically, AJ’s going to be coming out of rehab in a week, but he’s going to be transferred to a transitional care facility. Unfortunately, that means we’ll be pushing back some of our tour dates again, so now, we’ll be starting up on August 24th in Milwaukee.”

“Right,” Carson replied. “So in about three weeks from now.”

“That’s correct.” I just wanted this phone call to be over.

“Any update on AJ at all and how he’s doing?”

“Uh, yeah,” I responded slowly, carefully planning what I was going to say. “We went to visit him a little while ago, he’s doing really well. We’re really looking forward to getting back out on the road.”

“That’s all that matters,” Carson said, though I’m not honestly sure he actually meant it. I really hated that guy. “Thanks for calling in and letting us know. Take care, Kev.”

“Thanks Carson, you too.”

I hung up the phone and breathed a sigh of relief. At least the hard part was over.

~~~

I rarely, if ever, watched TRL. We’d been on it enough times for me to know what it was about, and besides, I couldn’t care less who the top ten videos of the day were. Even if we were number one, did that mean anything? Not really.

But I had to admit, when Kevin told me he was going to be calling in, I was curious to see what he would say. I was still annoyed with him, and maybe that was why I felt compelled to watch. I wanted to see how well he was going to be able to hide his attitude that he’d had as of late.

Not well, I was guessing.

“I don’t know why we’re watching this,” Leighanne said. She was sitting beside me on the couch, her legs draped over my knees.

I shrugged. “I just want to see what Kevin says.”

“We’re on vacation,” she reminded me. “Why do you want to think about work?” she asked, leaning upwards and brushing her lips against my neck.

It wasn’t a vacation, but I didn’t bother correcting her. I suppose, for her, it sort of seemed like one. Though I didn’t really want to, I ignored her passes at me as the show began. She sighed, but she got the hint and pulled away slightly.

I studied the screen as Kevin talked to Carson. I wasn’t sure if he actually sounded like he didn’t want to be having this conversation, or if I was just noticing it more because I knew the truth. Either way, Kevin sounded tired, bored and was giving really politically correct answers.

Which, I had to hand it to him, he did a good job of. Sometimes he has a habit of saying too much and getting us in trouble. He’s usually good at saying the “media-safe” answers, but once in a while, when he’s in a mood, he’ll let something slip out that he shouldn’t have.

Then management loses it. But it never actually causes us any damage. Maybe we should try being honest with our fans more often.

“That wasn’t so bad,” Leighanne said to me when it was over. It wasn’t very long – he was only on the phone for about two minutes. Which I guess is all they really needed. TRL never cared about hearing just our voices, which is incredibly sad when you stop and think about it.

“No, it wasn’t.”

“So do you think you’ll actually be back on tour on the 24th?” she asked me, and I couldn’t tell if she looked hopeful for the fact that we would be, or the possibility that it might get pushed back again.

But I really couldn’t see that happening. And to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was happy or sad about it. I definitely wanted AJ to get better, but I wasn’t sure I actually wanted to go back out on the road. “Yeah,” I said. “I do.”

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