FACT: This was finally a step in the right direction.
FACT: This was finally a step in the right direction.
Surrounded by walls painted a boring shade of beige was a space just big enough to house a couch, long table, three chairs, and a potted plant. It was neither homey nor consoling but the stillness was Cassia’s only victory today. In an attempt her attempt to relish any time that didn’t include the strumming of an acoustic guitar, the giggling of Regina and Brendon from somewhere they couldn’t be seen, the chirping of unfamiliar video games, or the awkward tension that arose in any room she entered, Cassia had taken refuse in the little space. The room still held the evidence of the evening’s earlier activities. Two of Spencer’s drumsticks were splintered and abandoned on the floor near the couch; they never had a shot to make it on stage once Brendon had decided to tap rhythms on everything from the table to his band mates. The small trashcan overflowed with the crumbs and food wrappers that were left over from the band’s rider. Empty soda cans looked like tiny accordions crushed on the floor underneath the table. No one had bothered to clear away the mess quite yet.
Cassia had learned within the first two days of tour that between the times the band retreated to the bus for the night and the roadies finished striking the stage the green room was left abandoned. She had gotten over the fact that just like most venues, this “green” room was disappointingly a dull neutral shade, because she knew that tonight this was her only chance at privacy. And while the cramped space of the bus was quite near unbearable, the sound of crashing stage parts had become a sort of comfort as it echoed from down the corridor. The haunting explosions of metal scraping metal assured her that she hadn’t been forgotten or purposely left behind; in the two weeks since departing, she still hadn’t become the most welcomed member of the tour.
On the bus mere yards from where Cassia had found peace, the gang sat around complaining of hunger. While it had been a floating topic of conversation for nearly 25 minutes no one moved nor made a decision as to where they would find food. Unable to take the monotony of the conversation, Jon wandered off the bus with the excuse that he had forgotten something in the green room. When Spencer asked “What?” Jon shrugged his shoulders and let the busses door slam behind him. There was no need to even pretend he had a reasonable alibi when everyone was silently sure he was going to make another attempt to reach out to the girl none of them understood.
Jon rubbed his hands together startled by the Midwest’s November weather and the fact that he hadn’t even bothered to grab his hoodie off his bunk. He chose to push the thought from his mind, rather than try to distinguish if the goose bumps on his arms were caused by the cold or the fear of Cassia’s reaction to him. Her constant efforts to distance herself from him only seemed to strengthen his desire to find in her the girl he had met in Vegas.
While he had noticed her escape to the green room after nearly every show for the past week he hadn’t gathered enough courage to join her until tonight. The door was barely cracked but he could see her sitting on the floor in the middle of the room surrounded by scatters papers. Her brow was knotted as she studied the sheet she held lightly between the fingers of her left hand. She had a pencil held between her teeth and one stuck through the mess of hair on the top of her head. Even frustrated, as she moved between scrawling in her notebook and studying the paper in her hand she was beautiful. As Jon tapped his knuckles on the door three times he convinced himself that her effortless beauty was the reason his stomach was in knots. He hadn’t been this nervous around a girl since middle school.
Cassia heard Jon knock but she didn’t look up from her work. She had taken it upon herself to review nearly ever bank statement she had ever collected, if not only to assure herself that in just over 6 months when she had another life to support she would not end up on welfare. The whole idea had no grounds in reality though. With the amount of money in her trust fund alone she would surely be able to comfortably retire before the age of 30. Nevertheless, Cassia had always been one to worry and this feeling was even stronger now that Jon sat on the couch behind her looking over her shoulder. She spent most of her days avoiding him so now that he had found a way for them to be alone her cheeks burned red and she regretted tying her hair up in a bun and even packing the rattiest of her sweatpants.
Watching as she grew proportionally more uncomfortable Jon decided he would either had to speak or leave the girl in peace. “You’re off the clock,” he joked, hoping it sounded as natural as it did in his head, “You’ll wear yourself out thinking like that.”
Cassia glanced at him over her shoulder twisting her mouth into a pout when she failed to think of any clever reply. She was sure her glare was making him uncomfortable yet she tried to study his expression. If nothing else she was going to determine why he continued to give her chances, surely she had made an irrevocable impression on them all.
Nervous now, Jon gulped down the numbers on the paper in her hand, “Are those our numbers?” He asked although clearly it was none of his business, “We’ve sure made a killing already. Are we selling gold spun hoodies or something?”
Pulling the pencil from her hair, Cassia let the chestnut locks fall around her shoulders, before she explained, “You’d have to ask your accountant about that, that money doesn’t belong to the band.”
Jon recalled her hesitation in accepting any assistance for him, now it all made sense, “You were right then, you don’t need my help.” He sighed. She didn’t need his help, and she surely didn’t want his help. The fear that he’d have a child somewhere he’d never really know terrified him a little more every day.
Her cheeks grew even warmer with embarrassment, she shook her head apologetically, “Jon, that’s not what I...”
“You don’t have to explain.” He assured her. She licked her lips unsure whether she was really expected to go on. Jon took that as his cue to start the monologue he had prepared for their reunion. “I didn’t sleep for three days.” His voice shook; he was still unsure how she would receive this.
As his expression changed Cassia became concerned. She tilted her head to the side with interest and placed down her paper to give him her undivided attention. She hadn’t detected this tone in his voice since the night he showed up at the diner. She blinked through the silence hoping he would continue.
“When I flew home from California, I was a wreck. I didn’t sleep for three days. I guess it was a shock, I’m not really sure how else to explain it. Nothing was the same anymore...”
“I know the feeling,” She mumbled pushing aside papers until she found the black piece of film she was looking for.
When she stopped maintaining eye contact Jon was afraid he had said something wrong. When he noticed tears glistening at the corners of her eyes he dropped to his knees so he was sitting in front of her and apologized.
She met his gaze hopefully now; as she did he looked away timidly. “What’s this?” He asked holding his fingers a few inches above the shiny black sheet in her hand now. It was definitely not another bank statement. Even without careful inspection he could tell it would change everything even more.
Cassia angled it so Jon had a better view, “It’s the first ultrasound picture. From just after 8 weeks, I had an appointment right before tour started.”
Jon squinted at the fuzzy imagine unable to distinguish a baby from blur while at the same time lost his breath in awe. “So this whole thing is kind of really...real.”
“You’re telling me,” Cassia laughed, “I’ve thrown up twice today and the amount my mood shifts has gotten kind of unreasonable.”
“About that...” He trailed off, “I know Ryan and Spencer haven’t been welcoming, but it’d be cool if you could cut them some slack, they haven’t exactly been informed yet.”
Her lips formed an understanding, oh. “I guess the explains a lot them, by this point I’m sure they think I’m complete bitch.”
“Give them a chance, they’ll come around.”
Jon’s fingers brushed hers gently as he took the ultrasound picture to get a better look. Cassia pointed the areas the doctor had highlighted during her appointment. “From the looks of this picture let’s try not to be too surprised if it turns out to be part alien.” She laughed reclining back to lean on the couch, Jon mimicked her action to sit beside her. The pair looked silently off into the distance their minds reeling with similar themes.
Now that’s Cassia was laughing with him, now that she was talking openly and honestly, Jon was having a difficult time joking about their situation. The had only been the coping mechanism he was protecting himself behind. Jon looked at her from the corner of his eye, a smile was playing at the corners of her mouth but her expression didn’t change. “Have you told your family?” He asked.
Cassia tilted her head from side to side unsure of how to answer the question, “I told my sister.” She finally confided.
He paused before speaking again, “My mom suggested Ginger Ale,” he told her, “for the nausea, we can get some if you’d like.”
“That would be really nice.” She replied the smile finally showing itself as she relaxed for the first time since finding out she was pregnant. As the silence between them became more comfortable with each passing second she allowed her head to rest of Jon’s shoulder. The sat, content with the progress they had made, until Regina announced from the hallway that the pizzas they had ordered just arrived.