She laid on her bed with Justin wrapped in her arms waiting for the nightmare to pass. He whimpered as he sucked his thumb and she started o hum row, row, row your boat over and over again until his breathing became steady and he started to fall back asleep. She let him go, and tucked him in the sheets and then caressed his little face as she watched his little body relax… and then she thought of Jimmy and how Justin reacted to him tonight and then sighed as her thoughts turned to Winston.
Win was diagnosed with leukemia two years after they were married. She could still remember going into their bedroom where she just broke down and started crying after that trip to the doctor’s office. The thought of losing him was just too much for her to bare. The next thing she knew Win had come into the bedroom and sat down next to her, taking her in his arms, and telling her that everything was going to be okay.
She was so mad at herself over that. It was Win that needed her support, not the other way around, and from that day forward she made sure that he never saw her cry again. She was going to be strong for Winston so he didn’t have to worry about her and J.W., only about getting himself better and she never showed what a total mess she was inside… and that’s how she spent the next two years.
That night they made love to each other. It was a passionate kind of love, one where your whole heart is pouring out into the other person. Like everything that was in your heart you wanted them to feel from you. When they were done, they had a long talk as they lied naked in each other’s arms, reassuring each other that everything was going to be okay. Win had told her that their love would see them threw anything that they had to face. It was nine months later that Justin was born.
She wiped a tear that fell remembering how sick Win was when Justin was born. He fought so hard to get better, but that wasn’t how it was going to be for him. When his body rejected the round of chemo treatments, she knew that was a bad sign, and then when they tried the alternative medicine, that made him even sicker, but he kept trying anything and everything to get rid of the cancer. He told her that, He wasn’t going to go to his grave knowing he didn’t do everything he could to stay with them.
But that’s when all the nightmares started with Justin…
It was one night at the end of Winston’s life that he was so sick, that he couldn’t keep anything down, that she thought she was going to have to take him back to the hospital. But after a couple hours, and Win refusing to go back to the hospital, he seemed a little better. The kids wanted to go see him so badly, and she didn’t have the heart to tell them no… she didn’t know how much longer they were going to have their daddy around. So, she turned on the TV, got her three men comfortable, and went out to make the boys some dinner.
She wasn’t sure what happened next, only that Justin's scream echoed throughout the house making her stop everything and ran back to the bedroom. When she got to the door, Winston was on the floor throwing up what looked like a mixer of blood and bile and it was everywhere. While J.W. looked on in horror, and Justin was screaming on the floor next to him.
She called 911 and then Margie, who was home and knew she could handle the stress unlike Tia. She had Margie come over and watch the kids so she could go to the hospital to be with Win. That was the first night that she lost any hope that they could beat this disease. When she looked at the charts, her heart sank. She knew what they said about the cancer being terminal, but deep down she always had hope they were wrong, but it was then when she accepted the truth.
She kissed Win telling him that she would be back after she checked on the kids. They were keeping him over night so they could hydrate him, and then she was bringing him back home in the morning. When she got home, Justin was still crying and Margie told her that she couldn’t get him to stop.
Addison did everything she could think of to get him to calm down, a warm bath, warm milk, cartoons, but in the end, her rocking him while singing row, row, row your boat, was the only thing that worked, and still worked to that day. Ever since that night, Justin was afraid of Winston, and not only that, but he had a hard time lying in bed. She thought he related bed to where daddy got sick.
Winston tried to talk to him afterwords, but Justin didn’t want to go near him. That hurt Win so much, and knew Justin didn’t understand what was going on. J.W. on the other hand wouldn’t leave his father’s side. He’d even lay at the foot of their bed so he could be in the same room with his daddy, and she wasn’t going to tell him to go lay down in his own bed. So, instead she bought an inflatable mattress placing it next to Winston, but far enough away just in case he got sick again.
J.W. was happy being next to his daddy, and that made Win happy. The last month of Winston's life, Justin would finally go see him. He would put his little head on his knee patting him, trying to give him comfort. He was told that he couldn’t get on daddy's lap because he was to sick. So, as J.W. sat next to him and Justin laid at his knee one afternoon, Winston passed away. It had only been eight months after that horrible night her Winston left her.
She took a deep breath trying to hold in the sob, wiping a couple more tears from her face when she turned over to stare at the ceiling now that Justin was back asleep. She laid there quietly in the dark with the only light coming in from the blinds and the clock that sat on her dresser. That's when she looked over at the box with all of Jimmy’s letters in it, and couldn’t believe that he was here.
She thought about the night she went to the senior prom with him and just how gorgeous he looked. Then there was the night after Death Ever After’s first concert, and how that man rocked her world. But when ever she thought about the good, inevitably the bad also came creeping back in. But now as she laid there she knew there was bad that had happened, but a lot of it was heart break… because it was hard for her to explain to anyone just how much she had loved Jimmy.
Los Angeles, five months before they left to Cleveland Ohio…
Addison had been studying her ass off for her finals and was still working on finishing one of her thesis', when she got a call from Lynn. It seemed that Samantha had called to let Lynn know that there was a rumor of the guys coming back tonight going around their favorite hangout, Chubby’s. Her stomach turned at that information, it had been ten months since Jimmy had left to go on tour. Ten months of her just being herself and trying to put her life with Jimmy and everything that had happened behind her. But now he was going to come home and she didn’t know what was going to happen next.
She dropped down onto a bench, her arms full of books, and wondered what her next move should be? “After all this time would Jimmy even want to see her?” She thought to herself, hating how much it hurt her to think that he didn’t. But then there was another possibility. “What if he does want to see her… than what?” She thought, but she already knew the answer to that question, and she knew that she had to get free of her husband. So, instead of going home, she went to hideout at Lynn’s fuck shack in L.A.
She texted all the girls that she wasn’t coming home tonight. Then texted Lynn to let her know she was hiding out at her place. When she got to the condo, she opened the door barricading herself inside, and went straight to work to study for the big final that she had for tomorrow… when she got a call from Sam. “Hey, what’s up?” She smiled flipping through some pages of her anatomy book.
“Hey Addie, I just wanted to make sure that Lynn gave you the heads up that your guys were coming back.” Sam told her.
“Yeah, she did, and thanks for letting us know.”
“Ah, well, you see, I’m calling because I’ve heard through the grapevine that Jimmy was really looking forward to seeing you. In fact, Nickels had make some calls to find you… I just wanted you to know.” Sam said quietly.
The pen that was in her hand dropped as she leaned back against the couch. “Really, that’s what you’ve heard.” She murmured.
“Yeah, it’s what I’ve heard.”
“Okay, thanks for keeping me in the loop Sam, I owe you.” She answered, and then hung up. The knot in her stomach got tighter but she knew that none of the guys knew where Lynn’s condo was so she felt pretty good about being left alone, or maybe Jimmy would be to screwed up to come looking for her… that was what she was praying for anyways. Her life for the past couple years had been a living hell on so many fronts she lost count. But her dream of becoming a doctor was almost within her reach, and by damn if she wasn’t going to finish it!
So, when nine forty that night rolled around and everything was still quiet, she took a deep breath and smiled. She put her cup of coffee on the table taking a much-needed break from her studying, running her hands over her tired face and laughed at the bullet she dodged. She still had some work to finish, but she was going to take a hot shower and head to bed so she was ready to take on the world tomorrow. But as she sat there, she heard the front door open and her body stiffened.
“Ad, where you at?” Lynn called out.
“In the front room.” She answered her body relaxing. “Did you bring dinner, I’m starving.”
Lynn turned the corner with her spiky jet-black hair with electric blue tips, that were now completely flat, and holding up two bags of Chinese food with a tired smile on her face as she made her way to the coffee table. “Hell yeah I did. I sure and hell wasn’t cooking tonight after the day I had at work, and I knew you’d be up to your elbows in homework.. which I was right about by the way.” She winked sitting down and taking the cartons out of the bags.
“Was it bad at the hospital?” She asked reaching over for a pair of chopsticks and the lemon chicken.
“Well, it wasn’t anything out of the normal until good ol’ Nicki boy showed up!” She growled.
“Don’t worry, I told him to fuck off and go home. You’re safe here, so get your ass back to work.” She grinned digging into the fried rice.
“I don’t know how I’m going to get through this tomorrow Lynn. There so much to know… I really think I’m going to fail.” She groaned but Lynn started laughing. “Hey, it’s not funny.” She scowled.
“Oh yes, it is. I swear you always think you’re going to fail Ad, but your number one in the entire class!” Lynn stated, and then stopped eyeing her. “That reminds me, I heard you got the Summa Cum Laude Honor. Could that be true?”
“Yeah, I guess I sorta did…” She sighed.
Lynn’s eye went wide as she sat back. “Holy shit Addison, that’s fucking great! Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I Don’t know, I guess I just have a lot on my plate and didn’t think it was that big of a deal.” She shrugged.
“Well. I think that makes up for Jimmy fucking up your medical career.” Lynn said before taking another bite.
“Lynn, come on, you know it wasn’t like that.” She sighed taking the fried rice.
“The hell you say! You had a free ride to Yale your junior year of high school! Then you gave up everything for Jimmy so you could go off with him and live his dream… and look at the fucking hell he put you through!” Lynn snapped.
“Yeah well, I’m living my dream now, right?”
Lynn sighed, sat back, and then nodded. “Yeah, I guess you’re right, but still…” She growled reaching into her scrubs and pulling out her cell phone that was going off. “Fucking bitches.” She groaned sliding the cell across the table after she read the text.
“What do you want me to do with it?” She asked picking it up.
“Just look at the text from Marg.”
Addison opened it and read what Margie had sent Lynn. She bit her lip as she read it once more then slid the phone back. “So, all the guys are home, and Jones and Howie have already talked any sense out of Tia and Margie staying away from them.”
“Yup talked them right out of their panties and out of their fucking minds… I love them but they can be such idiots sometimes.” Lynn growled.
“Yeah, but not us, right?” She sighed.
“Yeah, all but us…” Lynn frowned.
Addison leaned back against the couch. “You don’t think they could have; you know…?”
“I don’t know Ad, maybe…”
After that, the rest of the dinner was quiet. She had her laptop out and was trying to finish up the thesis when there was a knock on the door. They both looked at the hallway leading to the front door and then one another. “You don’t think it could be…” She whispered in shock.
“Oh no, I definitely think it is. Let’s just see if we can wait him out.” Lynn suggested.
There was another knock, then another, until heavy fists were pounding on the door. “Addison, please baby girl, open the door!” Jimmy shouted echoing throughout Lynn's small place. “I know you’re in there!” He yelled, then pounded some more. “Lynn, open the damn door. I promise I’m fine! I won’t hurt her; I just want to talk. Lynn…!”
“Oh yeah, he sounds fucking great to me. Maybe I should go open the door for him… not!” Lynn snarled.
Addison sat there quietly, afraid to even breath confirming to Jimmy that she was in fact there. Right now, the best she could do was pretend that she and Lynn weren’t home and try to continue to study… somehow. But then the pounding started up again. “Addison, come on baby girl. It’s been a month’s since I’ve last seen you baby, I’ve missed you, please let’s just talk this out. I promise I’ll clean myself up!” Jimmy shouted, and that went on for over an hour.
When the next round started over again Addison’s head fell into her hands as her knees went up to hold them in place as she sat on the floor. “I was hoping he’d just go find a groupie or something tonight after we didn’t answer.” She mumbled.
“Don’t go there with me Ad, we both know you didn’t want that. But I guess it might be time for me to get the cops involved if this shit goes on much longer. I don’t want to get evicted from this place.” Lynn sighed.
“I’m surprised you still have a front door actually.” She admitted.
When the pounding started up once more, Lynn had had enough. “Damn it Jimmy! Go, The, Fuck, Away!” she screamed out.
There was silence and they took a hopeful breath that he finally got the message and left, until… “Lynn open the door… please.” Nickels voice asked making Lynn’s jaw drop, and then her hands ran over her face before hitting the coffee table, pushing herself to get up. “Son of a bitch!” She growled at the newest problem that had come over.
Addison got up following behind Lynn as she went to the front door. Lynn looked out the peep hole and both hands went to her hair then took a step back as her arms went in front of her face. “What the hell are you doing here Nic?”
“Come on sweetheart, like I told you this afternoon, you know he’s not going to leave until he sees her.” He explained making Lynn turn around to glance at Addison.
Her shoulders dropped and her head fell back staring at the ceiling before shaking her head at what her choices were. “Fine, just let him in…” She mumbled.
“Fine.” Lynn growled.
As soon as the door opened, she saw Jimmy and even with him being stoned out of his mind, he was still the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen. Just seeing him always took her breath away, but now that came with so much hurt as well. She wished he’d just leave her alone and let her heart and mind heal from the hell he’d put her through, but that wasn’t his way. He pushed past Lynn and went straight to her. “Baby girl…” His deep voice murmured.
She looked around his body to Lynn whose mouth was strung tightly before she slammed the door shut. Lynn glared hatefully at Jimmy who didn’t bother to even notice, and then back at Addison.
She gave Lynn a small nod to let her know it was okay to leave, and Lynn started to walk back to the front room. Nickels glanced over at her before trying to take Lynn’s hand, but Lynn just yanked it away rolling her eyes as she walked into the front room. Nickels frowned right before putting a smoke in his mouth and lighting it up as he followed her.
When it was just her and Jimmy, she glared up into his red, blood shot eyes and just wanted to smack the hell out him for what he had done to himself, and to them. “Why are you here?” She hissed.
“You know why I’m here.” Was all he told her.
Her hands went to her hips as she looked at the floor. “I can’t believe this; I can’t believe you do this to me every single damn time Jimmy!” She snapped, but he didn’t say a word, or budge. “Okay, fine, then let me ask you something, were you screwing around the whole time you were gone?” She asked, but he didn’t even bother to answer. Why that still stung after all this time, and everything she’d been through, she couldn’t really say, but it did… badly! “Great, just great.” She whispered shaking her head, and then sighed. “Look, I have finals tomorrow morning and I’m tired, so damn tired, and I need to go to sleep. So now that you’ve seen me, you can go home and go sleep it off, okay?”
His eyes wondered over her, then touched the side of her face like he was making sure she was real. “I missed you so damn much Addie, don’t you get that?” He answered taking a step closer.
“Yeah, right, by your lack of answering my question about you screwing around or not says the contrary Jimmy.” She seethed crossing her arms over her chest.
His head leaned down and his mouth hovered over hers. “No, you don’t understand, I miss you, I miss us together. I’m so sorry I keep fucking up baby girl. Please forgive me… I swear I won’t do it again, I fuckin’ love you.” He murmured right before his lips took hers.
This man had a power over her like nothing she could explain, and just his touch makes her not think straight. But she gathered her wits and managed to finally push him away. “Jimmy, I’m tired. You need to leave, now.” She whispered
One hand went around her waist while the other stayed entangled in her hair. “No, I’m not going anywhere, I need you, and tomorrow I want to wake up with you in my arms.” He growled.
She hated that even after everything he’d done, she still loved this man so damn much. She hated that she still craved his touch even after he’d hurt her. All she wanted was her Jimmy back, the one who loved her so much he’d move heaven and earth for her, but at this point, that was never going to happen. She had turned into her own worst nightmare, a woman who kept letting an abusive man come back… and yet, if she gave in tonight, there’d be no problems for her getting to her test in the morning.
Her eyes roamed over the face of the man who she'd been in love with for such a long time. He had been her home, but now…no, he had made his choices of what he wanted, and that was the drug, booze, and woman, and she didn’t fit in it anymore. It was time for her to really accept that fact.
They stared at each other not saying a word for quite some time. He was drunk, high and very determined at the moment. While she on the other hand, was tired, heart broken, and beat down. Let’s not forget nervous on a very important exam that could possibly coast her dreams if she didn’t get a good enough grade. Great combination to do battle with the rock star.
This would be the last time she’d allow this to happen with him. After she passes her finals, and her dreams were set in motion … this Jimmy, the drugged hazed one, he was no longer part of the equation in her life. This is the end, the real end, and even though her heart broke at that thought, she also knew it’s what had to be done.
This time when his lips came to kiss hers, she let him in. His big body engulfed her as he wrapped her up in his arms. His growl was deep and hungry as her arms went around his neck holding on to him kissing him back. Without any further words between the two of them, he picked her up going into a spare room and kicked the door shut behind him.
She rolled over to her side staring at the box. That was the last time she had been with Jimmy. It was her good bye and she could still feel the butterflies in her stomach when he came through the door looking at her like he always did, like she was something special to him. It was the same look he had given her today when she saw him again… and it was the same butterflies that were in her stomach as well. But the man who was laying out on her couch, that wasn’t the same man she had seen years ago, it was her Jimmy, and that made her heart melt and ache all at the same time.
Slowly she got up from the bed, making sure not to wake Justin, and then quietly made her way out to the front room. She stood on the opposite side of the wall looking at him lying on her couch. He was really here and this wasn’t some kind of dream. She crossed her arms watching his chest fall when he spoke shocking her from her spot. “Are you going to stand there all night watching me? You’re going to give me a complex baby girl.” His deep voice chuckled.
“I thought you’d be asleep.” She answered.
“No, I’m still awake, there’s too much shit going on in my head to sleep. Is everything alright with Justin?” He asked.
“Oh, yeah, he’s fine now… sorry about that.” She murmured.
“There’s nothing for you to be sorry about baby girl. So, did you want to talk?”
“No not really, I just wanted to see if this was real.” She confessed.
“I’ve been wondering that myself… are you real?”
“Yeah, I’m real. But I still can’t believe that you’re here.” She admitted.
“I’m really here Addie. But are you thinking it’s a good thing I’m here, or a bad thing?” He asked.
She stood against the wall looking over his outline that hadn’t moved. “I’m glad you’re here. It just had me thinking about a lot of things is all.”
“Not all bad I hope.”
“No, not all bad. I remembered you taking me to your senior prom and how much fun I had that night, and how I loved seeing you in that tux.” She smiled.
“I remember that night to… you were so damn beautiful. You know, I thought for sure I was going to get lucky that night.” He chuckled.
“Well it was a good thing that we found out that I couldn’t take any of the birth control or you might have never lived out your dreams of a Rockstar… instead you could have been just a normal guy working as mechanic or something raising kids.” She laughed.
He was quiet for a couple minutes before he answered. “I don’t think that would have been a such a bad thing you know. You and me married, and having a couple kids. In fact, it sounds pretty damn good.” He admitted.
“Maybe now, but you wouldn’t have felt that way if that was your life Jimmy, we both know that.” She whispered.
“Yeah, maybe you’re right. But it is something I think about all the time.” He confessed.
The thought came back of the night before her exams, and their last night together. “Can I ask you something?”
“Ask me anything you want baby girl.”
“Do you really not remember all the things that happened after Crystal?” She asked.
That had him finally move and sit up on the sofa. He slouched over, his elbows digging into his knees, shaking his head. “Damn this is tough; I hate you having to say that woman’s name. But I’m going to tell you the truth. After I knew things between me and you were never going to be the same again, the only thing I thought to do was make myself numb so I didn’t have to think how I fucked up our marriage Addie, and that’s the truth. There’s not much I remember of those three years, maybe a few things here and there, but nothing more than that.” He admitted.
“Like what?” She whispered.
“Like the night I broke your wrist. I can still feel it snap in my hand, and the pain on your face when it happened. Everything before that, I have no idea, just your wrist and the look on your face when you held it, and how you looked so fucking terrified of me.” He murmured. “I don’t even know how you left, hell, when you left, but I do remember drowning myself with whiskey and whatever pills I had laying around. Anything after that, I have no clue.”
“Okay…” She nodded but Jimmy got off the couch and made his way to her.
“No Addie, it’s not okay, but it’s the truth.” He growled coming to stand in front of her and then leaned in with his hands going to the wall. His lips came to hers and the kiss was soft and then she opened her mouth so she could taste him, and then her hands came up to stop him.
“I’m sorry, but I do think we should take this slow…I mean, I want to take this slow Jimmy.” She admitted.
He nodded but didn’t move. “You want to take it slow, then we take it slow.” He answered and then went back to lay down on the sofa. “Night baby girl, I’ll see you in the morning.”
She just stood there, her body so turned on that she could literally go strip that man and take him herself. But she knew what should be done… “Yeah, good night Jimmy.” She answered as she started walking down the hall amazed that Jimmy had listened to her.
“Hey Addie…” He called out.
“Yeah?” She said stopping in the hallway.
He was quiet for a second before he answered. “It’s nothing, never mind. Good night.”
“Okay, night.” She answered, wondering what he was thinking, but then shook her head and decided it was best to go to bed and not to think about anything more for the rest of the night.