“Joe, don’t worry,” Joy
smiled at his worried look. “I’ve got your phone number here. If
anything happens, I promise. I WILL call you,” she repeated for the
umpteenth time. “See, she’s all fine now. Aren’t you, angel?”
Joy patted Kiki’s head, giving her a big smile. Kiki nodded
enthusiastically, grinning at Joe. He wasn’t convinced, but Mike was
already at the door waiting for him.
“Joe! C’mon, man. We gotta
leave now if we are to get there on time,” Mike called from the
hallway, poking his head through the doorway.
“Yeah!” Joe called back.
“Kiki, be a good girl okay? I’ll call you as soon as possible and
I’ll come see you when we finish our tour.” She nodded silently to
him, sulking. The tubes and wires were gone and she was off the life
support machine, but she still wasn’t strong enough to sit up. She
held out her arms, silently asking for a hug and Joe reached down to
embrace her in a tight hug, kissing the side of her head as he released
her. “Joey loves you.”
He sighed, reluctant to leave
Kiki, as he smoothed his dark green shirt. “Bye angel.” He backed
out towards the door, eyes still on Kiki. “Take care of her!” He
reminded, pointing a finger at Joy. She laughed and nodded, “OKAY! I
Kiki waved from her bed, tears
rolling down her cheeks, lower lip pouting. “He’ll be back soon,”
Joy comforted her, patting the back of Kiki’s hand lightly.
“Hey, cheer up dude. She’ll
be okay.” Mike punched Joe’s arm playfully grinning at him. “Git
those feet movin’, man. The faster we get there the faster we can get
the tour over and done with and you can be back here as long as you
want... or until the next tour...” Mike considered, pursing his lips
before throwing Joe another of his trademark grins.
Joe smiled at Mike’s attempt to cheer him up. He had finally given in to the idea of continuing the tour after lots of bribing, threatening, begging and heated arguments. He understood the position he was placing the guys in, but his stubborn streak had held fast to his intentions of staying back with Kiki.
He had sat in the dark playroom all night, thinking. He wanted to stay with Kiki, but he couldn’t set aside his responsibilities and his passion for his career. He owed the guys this much to continue with the tour. The band was not his alone and he had to take the rest of the guys into consideration.
It had been tough, making the
decision. More often than not, he had squeezed his eyes shut, wishing he
didn’t have to make any decisions, that he didn’t have to be in the
position he was now. He’d finally made his decision, solemnly dialling
Mike’s number on his cell phone. “Mr. DJ’s back in business.”
Joe mumbled and hung up before Mike could say hi or comprehend anything.
“Welcome back, dude!”
Chester called from the collapsible table in the tour bus, holding up
his bottle of beer.
“Get some sleep Joe. You look
like the frog just regurgitated you. Here.” Phoenix tossed him a
pillow. Joe shuffled slowly to the back of the bus and rested his head
against the back of the seat. Hugging the soft pillow, he stared out the
window at the passing scenery until sleep took over.
As the bus headed towards their destination, Joe slept a dreamless sleep. The guys sat quietly drinking their beer before they got up to do their own stuff. Brad picked at his guitar, immersed in the music he made that was coming through his headphones. Mike had sat Chester down for another round of Akira on the television much to his agony while Rob dealt Phoenix a round of poker.
Joe seemed fine on the outside.
He had returned to his normal self, pulling off occasional stunts,
little fights with Remy, but he was quiet the rest of the time. Kiki
wasn’t one of the topics they talked about over beer or during their
journeys across states. They weren’t sure if Joe would be comfortable
talking about her and were half afraid that he might return to the Joe
they saw in the hospital.
He had called the hospital every
moment he was able to. Hearing Kiki’s voice made his day. Joy on the
other hand had to assure him repeatedly that Kiki was alright every time
he called, she had started to sound like a broken record.
“JOE! She’s okay!” Joy had
groaned, exasperated. She’d laughed when he rambled on. “Joe, if you
don’t stop, I won’t answer your calls anymore and you won’t get to
speak to Kiki,” she warned jokingly. That silenced him. Joy started to
worry as the pause stretched on. “Hey, I have to hang up now okay?
I’ve got to do some rounds. Kiki’s sleeping. Yeah. Looking like the
angel she is,” Joy smiled warmly.
“Okay, give her a kiss for
me,” Joe said, crushed that he couldn’t say goodbye to Kiki for the
“I will,” Joy said and
replaced the receiver on its cradle, still smiling.
“Was that Joe?” Gretchen
asked with a smirk on her face as she reached the counter where Joy was.
“Yeah. With the same old
things to say,” Joy laughed, rolling her eyes.
“He’s so cute,” Gretchen
sighed dreamily, picturing Joe’s face.
“Get a grip, girl.” Joy
shook her head, laughing at her friend.
“But he is! Don’t tell me
you don’t have a thing for him, cos you’re always smiling when
you’re talking to him on the phone,” Gretchen grinned teasingly.
“What?! No way!” Joy said
quickly. “It’s just really amusing how he can go on and on and on
about the same topic every time he calls... Yeah... he’s adorable,”
she gave in to Gretchen’s accusing looks and laughed. “That
doesn’t mean I have a thing for him okay!” Joy collected her file
and headed towards the ward.
“Yeah? Then what does it mean
huh?” Gretchen called out after her, laughing.
“Nothing!” Joy popped back out from the door, smirking. She knew that she wouldn’t have any feelings for Joe and no amount of teasing from Gretchen could get her anywhere near it. In the short time she had known him, she had seen the many faces of the guy she stumbled upon in the playroom. She’d seen the change he went through and the only feeling she had towards him was that of awe. Of his boundless love and affection for Kiki.
She’d felt a connection with him because of that. The same love they had for Kiki. She had loved Kiki the moment she held the tiny infant in her hands five years ago. She had looked after her, watched her grow up and had grown to love her as her own. She hadn’t been really comfortable when Joe came into the picture.
She admitted that she was jealous of all the time he shared with Kiki, but she’d pushed that feeling aside, seeing how much Kiki loved him. She stood watching Kiki sleep peacefully for a moment before going about her daily rounds.
Joe grinned happily as they got
offstage. The night’s performance was the best so far. The crowd had
gone over the roof and they had stayed on for two more songs before they
got off for the next band. The guys had gotten busy with touring,
interviews and photo shoots. Without them realising, their tour had
stretched into it’s second month.
“Was that good or was that
good?” Brad grinned, packing his Ibanez carefully into its case.
“Dude, that was THE best!”
Rob hopped onto the chair in the tiny room backstage.
“YEAH! We kicked ass!”
Chester laughed, downing a bottle of water. All that screaming had made
“HEY!” Phoenix yelled when
he felt icy cold water running down his neck. He had been sprawled low
on one of the couches in the room, tired out and almost at the edge of
sleep when he felt the water.
Joe let out a cackle as he
squeezed the rest of the water from his bottle onto Phoenix. Phoenix
made a dash for Joe, but narrowly missed as Joe jumped off his chair and
ran towards the door. He had slowly morphed back into the old Joe and
the guys were relieved that he did.
“Get your ass back here, Joe!” Phoenix growled, wiping himself dry with the towel Rob tossed to him.
“Uh-uh. No way.” Joe stood
by the door shaking his head.
“I’ll get you! You watch
that ass of yours,” Phoenix laughed as he got up from the couch,
tossing the towel onto Mike’s head. Joe sprinted across the room,
dodging away from Phoenix who lunged at him.
“HAH! In your dreams!” Joe
yelled, sticking out his tongue when Phoenix missed him again. “You
cannot get me and you will never g... HEY!” he sputtered, turning to
glare at the person who interrupted his speech. Chester stood grinning
with an empty bottle in his hand.
“HAH! Thanks man,” Phoenix
high-fived Chester who had just threw the rest of his water on Joe. Joe
stood in the middle of the room, miserably wet in the face, water
dripping onto his dark red work shirt.
“FOUL PLAY!” he yelled at
Chester. “You guys cheated!” he looked around for another bottle of
water but could find none. Mike had deftly hidden them before Joe could
get his hands on any.
“Oh too bad. You get what you
give,” Mike chuckled, balling up the damp towel and tossing it at
heard a yell and saw Joe on top of Mike. He’d jumped onto Mike who
fell back onto the floor at the impact. The guys laughed, obviously
tickled at the mock wrestling that had started in the middle of the
“Woohoo! Wrestling!” Chester
yelled as the two rolled on the floor, Joe’s arm around Mike’s neck.
“Use the chair!” Rob called
out. Phoenix picked on of the chairs up and pretended to hit it over
“Shit. That hurt,” Mike
groaned, still chuckling as he sat on the floor rubbing a sore spot on
his arm that Joe had fell on.
“Ugh... yeah,” Joe rubbed
his cheek which had turned red.
“Hmm... I’m starved,”
Chester smacked his lips. “Let’s go get something to eat.” He
said, turning his attention to something more interesting after the mock
wrestling match had subsided.
“Yeah... wonder if they have
McDonald’s here...” Brad mused jokingly.
“Uh... dude, McDonald’s...
America... ya think?” Phoenix tried to make a connection for him.
“Yeah. There’s like one in every 1 mile radius. What the fuck are you talking about?” Chester asked, wrinkling up his nose at the lameness of Brad’s question. Brad chuckled sheepishly running his hand over his head, shrugging.
The guys had stopped by the
nearest diner for a bite, dropping Brad’s idea of eating at
McDonald’s since there wasn’t one around and Chester had started
“Guys! I’m starving to
death! When are we going to EAT?” Chester wailed, his hands stuffed
deep in the pockets of his bomber jacket.
“Where the hell is your
McDonald’s anyway. 1 mile radius my butt. We’ve been walking for
HOURS!” Rob shot back at Chester as they walked down the near empty
street at one in the morning.
“It’s only been ten
minutes,” Joe pointed out, looking at his watch, counting the time
difference with his fingers.
“Well, it felt like hours,”
Mike laughed. “Let’s just
eat here okay?” he said, heading towards the diner across the road.
The rest followed silently across the road, glad that they would have
someplace warm to sit in soon.
They had two helpings of
Bubba’s Special and endless refills of coffee each. The diner
was empty except for them and the skinny waitress with big hair and the
cook, supposedly Bubba. They should have heeded the universal
unwritten rule that one should never eat in an empty restaurant
or diner, but it was the only diner in the vicinity and they really
didn’t feel like scouting for any golden arches in the middle of
nowhere just yet.
“Hm.. wonder what the special
is.” Chester said between bites, chewing the yellow mush, trying to
“Maybe that’s why it’s
called the Special.” Phoenix said nonchalantly, finishing his share.
“I don’t think you’d want
to find out, dude,” Joe muttered poking his fork at the brown piece of
meat on his plate. He stuck his tongue out disgustedly.
“Maybe we should have walked on more. We could be sitting in
McDonald’s with a couple of Big Macs and large fries now.” Chester
said in a low voice.
“Shut up. Don’t even say a
word.” Rob said over his cup of coffee.
“Talk to the hand, man,”
Brad held out his hand and continued to eat his food. “Who’s the
smart ass that was complaining about walking too much?”
“I didn’t. It was Mike’s
idea to eat here.” Chester defended himself. They were huddled up
together in a booth, in the corner of the diner. The skinny waitress
busied herself wiping the countertop, cracking her gum every once in a
while to break the silence.
“What?!” Mike’s head shot up, eyes wide. “That’s because YOU were starving to death,” he imitated Chester’s earlier rant. “I wouldn’t mind walking some more. Only SOMEONE bailed after ten minutes,” he glared accusingly at Chester who was grinning.
“Oh...man, I think I’m going
to puke,” Brad said, making a face.
“Get in line,” Chester stuck
his tongue out in disgust. He could still taste the greasiness of his
food. He downed his bottle of beer hoping it would make the aftertaste
go away. He felt slightly worse and frowned.
They were seated in the dark in
the club up the road, drinking. The loud dance music spewing from hidden
speakers was deafening and it didn’t help their condition much. Joe
looked around at his friends, smirking. “What? Am I the only one
who’s not sick over the junk we just had?”
Mike groaned. “No, but don’t
remind me of it. I’d be sick if you do.”
“Remind you of what?” there
was a flash of mischief in Joe’s eyes. “The greasy yellow mush? Or
the piece of shit swimming in gravy? Oh, maybe the stale coffee that
smelt like burnt rubber...” he jabbered on, only to be joined with a
chorus of groans from the rest.
“Shut up, you prick! I liked
you better when you were all quiet,” Chester mumbled, frowning at Joe.
“But that was a nice meal
wasn’t it? I think I liked the pie best. The hard crusty pastry and
the mushy filling that looked like baby poo... mmmmmm....” he licked
his lips, pressing his face as close to Mike’s as possible. Mike
simply pushed his face away, making a noise that sounded like a cross
between a groan and a chuckle.
“JOE!” Rob yelled at Joe who
ignored them, rambling on about the culinary disaster they just
“Dammit Joe, stop it! You got
a call, see,” Brad nodded towards Joe’s cell phone that was blinking
crazily on the low table.
Joe stopped, wondering who would
be calling at the ungodly hour of ... 3:24 a.m. he glanced at his watch
and balked at the time. Whipping up his phone, he merely glanced at the
number and clicked on the answer button.
“GOOOOD morning, Joe’s
Tattoo Parlour,” he said animatedly to the phone. “Can I interest
you in tattooing your butt?” he added just to humor himself.
“Joe?” he frowned when his
phone crackled before he could say anything. He looked at his phone and
shook it hard before putting it back against his ear. Chester cracked up
at that. He was half drunk and anything was funny to him now.
“I can’t hear you...!” He
called out loudly over the music and crackle when he thought he heard a
“JOE! IT’S ME!” He stood stock still when he heard the familiar voice. The grin on his face fell when he caught the tone of the voice.
The guys were looking intently
at Joe through the glass door where he was standing outside the club.
Chester squinted, leaning forward to get a better look. He kicked
himself for leaving his glasses behind. Great.
Just when I need to read lips, he joked to himself.
Rob was gripping his bottle of
beer hard, watching in apprehension as Joe talked over the phone. He
seemed to be getting more agitated by the moment, pacing the sidewalk,
running his hand through his black hair anxiously. Mike placed his mug
on the table and stood up. He knew something was wrong and by the look
on Joe’s face, and that something had Kiki’s name written all over
“Guys, I better get out there
with him before he does something stupid again,” Mike informed the
guys as he slipped pass Chester’s legs towards the door. As the rest
of the guys sat watching, Mike placed a hand on Joe’s shoulder,
letting him know that he was there.
Joe ended his call mechanically,
dropping his hands to his side. He stared blankly at nothing. Mike
groaned on the inside when he caught the blank look returning to Joe’s
face. He waited by his side till Joe snapped out of his trance.
Muttering Kiki’s name under
his breath, Joe sprinted across the street. Shit,
Mike thought. Where’s he
“JOE! Where are you going?”
He called out after Joe’s back. When he didn’t get a reply, he ran
across the road to keep up.
“JOE! WAIT UP, MAN!” He
yelled, hoping Joe would hear him. “JOE! What the hell are you
Joe finally stopped, turning
round to look at Mike with a dark flash in his eyes. He felt like he was
walking around in a dream, watching himself answer the phone call and
sprinting across the road. His mind was blank except for one thought.
Kiki. After all those weeks. After all those calls. She had been fine.
Strong enough to get up to answer his phone calls and play with the rest
of the kids in the ward. He had just spoken to her the day before, just
before he got on stage. What happened? He pushed all bad thoughts away
from his mind and stared at Mike who was looking back at him
expectantly, a few feet away.
“I gotta go see Kiki!” he
said, out of breath. “I GOTTA GO SEE KIKI!” he repeated, running off
up the street towards the direction of their hotel.
The guys had turned to exchange
looks when Joe left. Mike had turned to look into the club at them
before running after him. His look was one of panic, crossed with fear.
“Shit. Where did they go?”
Chester stood up, pulling Rob up. “C’mon! Let’s go!” he called
after the guys, dropping a wad of cash on the table for the drinks. As
they ran across the street, they looked around. Mike and Joe had long
disappeared. They stood about, wondering where the guys were when
Chester slapped his palm to his forehead and whipped out his cell phone
from the pocket of his cargo pants. He jog dialed Mike’s number and
waited for him to answer.
“Mike where the fuck did you
guys go?” He asked when he heard Mike’s voice. “What happened?”
“I’ll explain later. Get back to the hotel first,” Mike hung up without waiting for Chester’s reply.
“Don’t try and stop me!”
Joe warned as he held his head in his hands. He’d plopped down onto
the deep green sofa in the hotel lobby dispiritedly when he realised
that he didn’t have the keys to
their rented car.
“Joe, what did Joy say? What
happened to Kiki?” Mike asked sitting beside him. Joe merely shook his
head in silence, thinking of a way to get to Kiki.
“Dammit, Joe. You gotta tell
me what’s going on!” Mike urged in a raised voice. Joe looked up at
“Dave! Gimme the keys!” Joe
jumped up of the couch and rushed towards Phoenix when he saw them walk
through the door, ignoring Mike’s questioning looks.
“What?” Phoenix took a step
back not know what Joe was talking about.
“THE CAR KEYS!” Joe yelled,
holding his hand up as Phoenix stared at him, fishing the keys out of
his jeans pocket.
“Hey! Are you dumb or are you
dumb?” Chester asked Phoenix who gave him an accusing look. “What?
You’re just going to give him the keys and drive all the way back in
that condition? No way, I tell ya,” Chester grabbed the keys from
Phoenix’s hand before Joe could take it.
“Give here!” Joe turned to
“No! You’re not going
anywhere until you tell us what’s going on!” Chester said , holding
the keys away from him.
Joe glared at them for a moment
and then gave up, sighing dejectedly. “Kiki’s gone into a seizure
again.” His voice came out barely above a whisper. The guys looked at
“I HAVE to go see her. NOW!”
Joe looked up abruptly at them. He made a grab at the keys, but Chester
managed to pull away in time.
“AARRGHH! FUCK YOU! Gimme the
damn keys, Chester!” Joe yelled, lunging at Chester who tried to back
“Give me the keys, Chester,”
Joe tried asking nicely, his patience rapidly going out the window.
“Nuh-uh! I ain’t gonna let
you drive when you’re all freaked up like that!” Chester retorted,
hugging the keys possessively to his body.
“CHESTER! GIMME THE FUCKING
KEYS!” he yelled, jumping at Chester again, growling.
“NOWAY!!!” Joe managed to
grab his arm as they struggled. Brad reached out to hold Joe down as
Chester got out of his way, eyes wide with surprise at the sudden
“Lemme go!” Joe struggled in
Brad’s grip. “LET ME GO!” He tugged his arms away from Brad and
glared at him, shoving him in the chest.
“Hey!” Brad called out, but
didn’t do anything to retaliate. The people in the lobby were looking
at them suspiciously.
“It’s okay, we’ve got this
handled.” Rob said in a low voice to the bus boy who came up to them
to see what was going on. He stood watching them as Joe glared at his
Mike stepped up towards Joe and
placed his arm around him. Joe shrugged it off angrily.
“Look, we’ll take the first
flight back there in the morning, okay?” Mike suggested, hoping Joe
would calm down.
“Morning?! I HAVE to see her
NOW!” Joe almost yelled back at him through his teeth. “It might be
too late,” his voice softened again at that thought. he frowned. “I
have to see her now...” his voice trailed off.
Mike stared into Joe’s eyes.
They only reflected sadness and a wild anger that Joe was trying hard to
hold back. He understood what Joe was going through. He admitted that
this wasn’t something that he had actually gone through, but looking
into his friend’s eyes,
he couldn’t let him stay here and suffer any longer. There was a long
pause as they all looked at each other.
“I’ll take you there,”
Mike said, taking the keys from Chester’s hand as the rest of the guys
turned to look at him.
“What?!” they said in
“Now?” Chester asked the
first question that popped into his head dumbly.
“No. When the cows come home.
Of course now,” Mike muttered.
“I’ll take him there. Look
at him. If you stop him he’s only gonna do something ridiculous like
hitch hike back to Kiki at two in the morning,” Mike explained. “You
guys stay here and if there’s anything I’ll let you guys know,
okay?” The guys nodded, giving Joe hugs of support.
“C’mon,” Mike smiled at Joe as he lead him outside. “Hang in there, okay? She’ll be alright,” he reassured Joe who attempted to smile back, but scrapped the idea when he couldn’t feel anything.
Mike glanced at Joe who was
snuggled against the car door, arms crossed, looking out the window in
silence. He was awake. He wouldn’t be able to sleep after all this,
Mike thought, looking at Joe’s reflection on the window. He sped down
the freeway, backtracking the route they had taken two months ago.
Whatever sleep or queasiness had left his system as he drove on. He was
wide awake and concerned.
Joe stared blankly at the black
sky, oblivious to the pale moon and stars that decorated it. He wished
that he was there beside her that very moment instead of in a rented car
with Mike keeping silent. As if on cue, Mike turned the knob of the
radio. The music of their first single poured out into the small space
they shared. Mike chuckled at the sound of his own voice and turned it
up. The music didn’t seem to move Joe. His mind and soul wasn’t in
Mike said a prayer under his breath as the song came to an abrupt end. The silence was killing him but he didn’t want to interrupt it either lest Joe flared up again. He’d prayed for Kiki, hoping that she would be alright. He knew how much Kiki meant to him and Mike didn’t want to see Joe this way. The spark in Joe’s eyes was gone.
That was what concerned Mike.
Sure, Joe has his quiet brooding moments, but this was different. Mike
shook off the thought of this affecting the band. They couldn’t blame
Joe for something he didn’t do. When he finally pulled up at the
hospital parking bay, the sky was a light tint of orange. The first hint
of sun had started to show. Joe was out the car before he could even
kill the engine.
Joe headed straight for the
elevator without a word. Mike threw a sideways glance at Joe who was
tapping his fingers impatiently on the elevator panel. Joe shifted
restlessly. It was all he could do to stifle the scream that was at the
tip of his tongue. He closed his eyes willing the elevator to get to
it’s destination faster.
The thoughts flowing through his
head were like cars jammed up at a bottle neck road. He would have
laughed at his own metaphor if he wasn’t feeling this miserable. He
pushed the thought about cars away. He didn’t need that right now. He
needed to find out if Kiki was alright. And the elevator wasn’t being
as cooperative as he wanted it to. He cursed silently under his breath.
Mike reached out silently to grip Joe’s shoulder. As the door slid
open, Mike’s hand dropped to his side as Joe immediately stepped out.
He followed before the door closed again.
we were girls we’d be holding hands... and he’d be sobbing his
freakin’ eyes out, Mike thought absently
as he followed Joe down the hallway. Thank
goodness we aren’t, he continued the monologue in his mind. EEWW...
he shuddered, shaking his head and quickening his steps to catch up with
Joe had completely ignored the nurse who came up to him. “Hey! It’s off visiting hours! You can’t go in there!” She called after his fast disappearing back. Mike turned to look at her, shrugging apologetically.
Joy’s head shot up in surprise
when a sliver of light fell upon Kiki’s frail body in the dim room.
“Joe?!” She exclaimed in a
whispered tone when she recognised the figure standing against the
light. “Oh my god, what are you doing here? It’s five in the
morning,” She slid out of the chair she was watching Kiki in and
headed towards Joe and Mike.
“I had to come see her. I
wanted to know if she’s okay,” Joe said in a low voice. Mike merely
offered a comforting smile at the tired face that looked up at him
wearily. Joy had obviously been crying. Her eyes were red and swollen
and her voice was cracky, plus the fact that she had been up since the
Joy nodded solemnly and stepped
aside as Joe moved past her towards Kiki’s bed. Images and memories of
the first time he saw her this way came flooding back, hitting him hard.
The deja-vu feeling was one of misery and anger. She was decked with
tubes and wires that were frighteningly large and imposing. The machines
besides her bed made the only sound that came from the room that night.
He had no one to blame but himself. That thought popped into his head and he frowned. He closed his eyes in frustration when he saw her up close. Holding her delicate hand in his, he cursed himself silently in his thoughts as he felt the first tear slid down his cheek.
should have stayed on when the rest were bugging him to leave, he
thought bitterly. She’ll be alright. Just like she did the last time. That was the
only hopeful thing he could think of at the moment. He remembered
someone telling him that he should think of something positive in
moments like this. Fuck that
person. He don’t know shit about bad things happening. Wouldn’t even
know if one hit him right in his fucking happy face.
There was no sign of waking from
Kiki. As the minutes passed, Joe’s heart grew heavier. He had been
sitting by her side for as long as he could remember. Mike looked in on
his friend sadly before turning back to Joy who was standing in front of
“I don’t think she’s going
to make it, Mike,” Joy said tearfully. Her dejected voice broke
Mike’s heart. He’d always had a soft spot for people in need.
Chester had always scoffed about him being too nice. He felt his eyes
stinging as he looked at the nurse who had cried her eyes out.
“Don’t say that. You know
she will,” he shot back at her quickly. She looked up at him solemnly,
shaking her head slightly. “Hey, what happened to that perky little
nurse we knew huh? Kiki will be okay in a couple of days. So don’t go
sulking and crying like that in front of Joe.” He half scolded, half
understand...”her voice trailed off as her eyes threatened to water
again. “She won’t make it...”
“Shit, Joy. Stop that.” Mike felt fear creeping inside him as he watched her breakdown again. His eyes shot up to look at Joe’s back.
Let something good happen now. He closed his eyes momentarily and
pulled Joy into his arms for a hug, holding her tightly as she cried
silently. He stood outside Kiki’s room, rocking Joy in his arms,
keeping his eyes on Joe and Kiki.
“Better?” He gave her a warm
smile when she finally pulled away. She nodded, still sobbing. “Okay.
You keep that way. Just don’t let Joe see you crying your eyes out.
He’s going to go ballistic thinking all the wrong things about
“Mike...” Joy trailed off,
interrupted by Mike who shook his head, silencing her.
“Mike... Kiki... She...”
“Did someone call for a
cheer-up committee?” Chester interrupted as Joy was about to speak.
“Chester?!” Mike turned to
look at him in surprise. “What
are you guys doing here?” He asked as the rest of the guys appeared
“We came to see how Joe and
Kiki are doing,” Brad said.
“Yeah, it took us about five
minutes to realise how much it would kill us to be three hours away from
you guys not knowing what’s going on.” Phoenix offered a matter of
“So we took the tour bus
along. We managed to bribe the driver to get us here as fast as
possible,” Chester grinned.
“That’s great man,” Mike
“So how is he?” Rob asked
from the back of the group.
“Joe? He’s alright I guess.
Still in there with her,” Mike’s voice returned to his serious tone.
“What about Kiki? How’s she
Joy looked up at the guys,
waiting for Mike to answer. He turned to look at her, hoping she
wouldn’t start crying again. “She’s fine,” he muttered.
“You don’t sound to
convinced, man,” Phoenix said, looking at Mike.
“Guys, she’ll be okay,” he
said, slightly irritated. Joy merely threw him a glance and shook her
“She’s not okay...” she
spoke up. The guys stopped talking and turned to look at her.
“Joy, don’t do that again.
Please...” Mike begged her, looking at her with doleful eyes. “Go
home and get some rest, okay. You can come back later when you’re well
rested. I’m sure the other nurses can take care of Kiki. Besides
“Will you listen to me,
Mike?” She said slightly louder, clearly agitated at Mike’s
behavior. “YOU shut up okay?” Her eyes flashed with anger and
sadness. “Kiki’s not going to make it this time.”
The guys stared at her in
disbelief. The silence seemed to stretch forever.
“What? What do you mean
she’s not going to make it?” Rob broke the silence, his dark brows
furrowed with worry and question.
“Her white blood count is extremely low and she’s beginning to show signs of the HIV virus flaring up.” Joy mumbled, glaring at Mike for not letting her speak earlier. They stared at her, dumbfounded as they let her words sink in.
|TOP | Last updated 15 February 2002 19:42 (AUS EST / +1000 GMT).|