Running Up That Hill – Day 28

A long time ago we used to be friends
But I haven’t thought of you lately at all

-The Dandy Warhols ‘We Used to Be Friends’

One of the best things about Atlanta, and one of the biggest reasons that we’d chosen to live there, was because Leighanne’s parents lived there. Though I missed my own family, having hers around was almost as good.

We were sitting out on their back porch that afternoon drinking lemonade and eating lunch. It was the perfect southern afternoon. Laid back and relaxed.

To be honest, it was exactly how I had always pictured married life. Before I was a part of the group, I mean. This was what it was all about – spending time with family and loved ones. Not fighting for time because we were on a tight touring schedule.

Not that I didn’t love my job, but lately, through this time off, I’d begun to realize how much I wanted that normalcy.

“So what’s been going on with you kids?” Jack asked, glancing over the table at Leighanne and I.

I looked at my wife and shrugged. Not much had been going on with us, and truth be told, I liked it that way.

“We’ve had a lot of time together since Brian’s been on the break,” Leighanne said, taking her hand in mine. “It’s been really nice.”

Jack nodded. “I bet it has.”

“And there’s one other thing,” she beamed, looking over at me for confirmation.

I guess she wanted to tell them we were trying for a family. I wasn’t totally opposed to her saying anything. I didn’t really want to jinx it, either, but if she wanted to tell them, I figured there wouldn’t really be any harm in it. So I gave her a slight nod.

“We’re trying for a baby,” she beamed, looking at her parents.

The two of them grinned, and her mom even got up to hug her, and then me. “That’s so exciting for you two,” she said with a smile, sitting back down in her chair. “I guess this is as good a time as any for that,” she laughed a little.

I didn’t think there would ever be a good time for us to start a family. But then again, no one goes into this in the perfect moment, right? It’s always a little scary, for any couple. Not just couples who happened to be part of the pop music industry where there was no time for sleep, let alone time for babies.

“I think it is,” I said, looking over at Leigh with a smile.

Regardless of what was happening in my career, at least my personal life was headed down that path I wanted.

And really, that’s what was most important.

~~~

Nick was still asleep when I woke up that morning, but that was fine. I wasn’t about to wake him. Things were still a little awkward between us, and it wasn’t like we had anything to do that day.

I hadn’t had a chance to see Leigh yet since we’d gotten back to LA, but she was on her way over to my place, and we’d planned to spend the day together. We weren’t quite sure what we were going to do yet, but that didn’t really matter. I was just looking forward to seeing her. At least that was nice about us still being on the break – more time to spend with those we didn’t really get to see as often.

My phone rang and I furrowed my eyebrows as I looked at the caller ID.

“Hi Kevin.”

“Hi,” he said with a sigh. What else could have gone wrong that he was calling me? Was it bad that I always assumed something had gone wrong when Kevin called me? I guess it was because lately, that was the reason.

“What’s up?”

“Nothing,” he said, then paused. “Hey, what are you guys up to tonight?”

That was weird.

“Um, I don’t know. Leigh’s coming over, and I have no clue what Nicky’s doing, but I’m willing to bet she’ll be blonde.” I laughed at my own dumb joke.

Kevin ignored it. “Do you guys want to do something later? Maybe go out for a beer?”

Still weird. Since when did Kevin want to hang out and just have a beer? Especially when it was supposed to be our time off. He must have been feeling strange about the fact that we weren’t going back on tour. That made sense, because even though I was happy we had some more time to ourselves, I was feeling very much the same way.

“Well…” I said, glancing around my house. “Leigh’s coming over, but why don’t you and Kristin swing by later, and the four of us can have dinner or something? I’ll cook.”

“Yeah, sure,” he said happily. “That sounds good.”

“Come over around 7,” I said to him. That would give me plenty of alone time with Leigh before he showed up. Although, there was the fact that Nick was here. But that kid slept like a rock. Besides, I’ve heard his rendezvous though the thin hotel walls dozens of times. It was time for some payback!

“All right,” he said. “See you then.”

I hung up the phone and shook my head. I felt sort of bad for Kevin. He always tried to keep it together for all of us, but he was probably hurting just as much. Maybe more, since he always tended to put so much of everyone else’s stress on his own shoulders.

I sighed and began to prepare for the evening.

~~~

I was sure Howie thought it was out of the blue that I’d called him asking to hang out, and honestly, it was.

What Kris had said the day before had got me thinking. Through all the drama, I really did miss hanging out with those guys. Through all of the drama, it was hard to remember that at one point, we were inseparable. We used to do everything together, especially when we were first starting out.

I remembered thinking that it was annoying at the time, and that I’d wanted to go off and do my own thing. Now, I found, I was missing it. We’d all begun to grow apart, and our seemingly never ending break from the tour was only making it worse.

Which was why Kris and I were standing in Howie’s main entrance, holding a bowl of potato salad.

Okay, so maybe we weren’t cool anymore, but at least we were going to be hanging out!

“Thanks guys,” Howie said with a smile, taking the bowl from me.

We walked into his house and he led us into the dining room, which he had set up all nicely. Of course he did – this was Howie we’re talking about. Always the host. Leigh was sitting at the table and smiled at us.

I quickly introduced her to Kristin and glanced around. “Is Nick joining us?”

“Uhh…” Howie said, coming back in from the kitchen. “I don’t think so. I haven’t seen him much today. I mean he’s here, but he’s just been in his room.”

Kristin raised her eyebrow at me. I could tell what she was thinking – Nick really was like having a kid.

An overgrown, spoiled, rich, teenage kid.

Still, it would have been nice to have him at dinner.

“Oh well,” I said, sitting down. “I’m sure that when he smells food he’ll come downstairs.”

~~~

I couldn’t believe they were having a dinner party.

How old were we? Forty? Weren’t we international pop-stars?

Fuck, Howie and Kevin were getting old. No wonder they didn’t care the tour was postponed. They didn’t give a shit about going out and doing shows and having girls throw themselves at them. Instead they had lame dinner parties.

I bet they were going to play board games afterwards. Fuck, they were so lame!

But… I was hungry. And Howie’s a pretty good cook, I’ll admit it. Once, he made these little crab cake appetizer things. I mean, they were tiny, but they were good.

Stupid Howie.

I walked downstairs and looked at the four of them. They looked like they were about to start discussing world issues or some shit like that.

“Hey Nicky,” Howie said as he dished some food out onto his plate. Was that salmon? Come on, Howie.

Okay, I actually like salmon, but that’s not the point!

“Hey,” I said, eyeing them.

“You want to join us for dinner? There’s lots of food.”

Ugh, I really was hungry, but I was just going to grab a burger and then go hit up the LA scene. But that salmon really did smell good… “Fine.” I went to get a plate and cutlery from the kitchen and sat down at the head of the table.

It was kind of awkward sitting there with two couples, but at least one of them wasn’t Brian and Leighanne. The most annoying fucking couple in the world.

Oops, did I say that out loud?

“Is it some kind of special occasion or something?” I asked, piling potato salad onto my plate. Kristin must’ve made this. I knew because she’d made it for us before, and it’s fucking amazing. You haven’t lived until you’ve had Kevin’s wife’s potato salad.

I was kind of jealous of Kevin for that. Not because I wanted to have a wife, but mostly because he had an awesome wife. How’d he ever score a chick like that anyway?

“No,” Kevin shrugged. “Does it need to be?”

It seemed kind of weird that they were over at Howie’s place when it wasn’t a special occasion, but maybe they just wanted to act like grown-ups and have a lame dinner party.

“I’m out,” I said after quickly shoveling the food into my face. Which was pretty much potato salad. There better be some of that in the fridge tomorrow!

They all looked at me, and I sort of waited for Kevin to grill me on where I was going, but he didn’t.

That was also weird. It was a weird Kevin day.

“Bye Nicky,” Howie said, giving me a wave.

“Later,” I said, walking out of the dining room. “Don’t stay up too late playing Monopoly!” I laughed on my way out.

They probably were going to play Monopoly, too. I hoped by the time we were back out on tour that they went back to be awesome.

Well, Howie anyway. Kevin’s not usually awesome. But at least he seemed like he was in a good mood! I grinned. Maybe Kevin could stay the same and Howie could go back to being cool.

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