His eyes opened as the last remnants of his dream about the first time he met Addison lingered before he turned over and stared at another hotel ceiling, in a city he couldn’t even remember he was in and sighed.
Over the last six years every night he has some sort of dream about his past, especially from when he was young. No matter how the dream started, it always ended with Addison in it. He thought of it as a form of penance for the sins he did to his baby girl. So, he’d wake up every morning reminded of what he had done, and with an aching heart.
This last tour had really taken its toll on him. It had been a long ass year, and now all he really wanted to do was go home, sit back, and relax. But going home had always been hard to do, that’s why his ass was always working and touring.
His hands went over his face as he laid there and wondered if he should just head over to Hawaii again so he didn’t have to be back home. But there was a part of him that just wanted to settle down and be still in his own place for a while, no matter how bad it hurt. Then he thought about what Nickels had said to him recently, and that maybe he should come out to visit him and Lynn at their new place in Nashville.
Lynn and Nickels were married over a year ago now, and he could still remember going to the wedding in the Hollywood Hills. Nick had told him that the big bash of the wedding was really their second wedding, the first one was just them back in Nashville, where the girls had moved so Addison could escape from him, and the second one back home in California.
When he showed up at the wedding, and even though it was the second wedding and the rest of the group was there… it surprised the hell out of him when he didn’t see Addison. Her and Lynn where thicker than thieves and always had been. So, for her not to come, only meant one thing. She didn’t want to see him.
The month before the wedding, Addison was all he could think about. He was looking forward to seeing her again, even though he was nervous as hell. He didn’t want to cause any problems, or start a scene, he just wanted to talk to her, see how she was doing, and see if this new guy was making her happy. That was all.
He’d been clean and sober for years now, there had only been one time he’d fallen off the wagon. It was the day Dax was smiling at his phone, and he saw a picture of Addie, his baby girl, holding some other man’s baby in her arms smiling so happily. It was a day he’d never forget, May 7… the day he relapsed, and went into a drug induced stupor almost killing himself.
As he stared up at the ceiling, his heart still aching, and not wanting to remember what he did after he went on his self-destructive binge. He can still remember vividly waking up in the hospital after an OD, again, and knowing that he was going right back to the bottle when he got out.
All the guys had tried to get through to him, but it was Jones who came after Nic and Dax found him in the bathroom, speaking the only words that penetrated through that thick skull of his… “If Addie ever divorced this guy, would you want her back?” Jones asked sitting on the hospital bed picking up the rehab forms.
“Fuck yeah, I’d want her back.” He seethed. Angry at himself, at Nickels, at Dax for convincing him to sign the divorce papers, angry at everything… he was just so damn angry!
“Okay then, be the man she’d take back Jim. Don’t be the man she was afraid of and left” Was all Jones said, handing him the papers before patting him on the back to leave.
After that day, and what Jones had said, he spent the next nine months getting clean. No more drinking, drugs, or even cigarettes, he was done. He was going to live his life like he should have done when all the shit started after having the affair, and when Addie was his.
His hands went over his face one last time trying to forget the dream before making himself get up out of bed. But even as he walked over to the bathroom, the damn dreams normally stuck around for a couple hours… just to torture him. He got his toothbrush and started brushing his teeth when he walked to the door and looked at the extravagant room. There had been a time when he thought all this shit was so cool. Now, it was just another hotel, in another state, and he really felt done with all of it.
He just made his call to have breakfast sent up, when someone knocked on his door. He looked down at himself in a towel wondering if another damn groupie had found their way to his room, or if they had paid off someone in the staff again to give out his room number. “Open the door asshole… it’s just me.” Dax said through the door.
With a sigh he walked over and opened the door where his co-conspirator of many a crime stood with a shit eatin’ grin on. “I didn’t even have my fucking coffee yet asshole. Isn't a guy entitled to that?” He growled taking his clothes from the bed and going back into the bathroom as Dax strolled in.
“What? I wanted to make sure your ass was up.” Dax chuckled looking around the room. “Hey shit head, you look like someone kicked your dick in the dirt.”
“Yeah, it was a long night.” He answered.
“You didn’t you get laid last night to take the edge off?” Dax laughed.
“No, I didn’t need some high-pitched screamer in my ear last night. I just wanted to relax and get something to eat. I can get a cheap piece of ass any time.” He told him.
There was a silence coming from the bedroom and when he looked over at Dax sitting at the end of the bed he frowned. “What?”
“You still having dreams of her?” Dax asked, but already knew the answer to that.
“I’ve never stopped having dreams of her, you know that.” He sighed shaking his head leaning against one of the chairs. “Hell, now I just try to get through the fucking day not to think about her. Even when I tried to move on, I can never really move on… it’s just the way it is.” He shrugged. “So, why don’t you tell me why you’re really here.” He said, but Dax didn’t move, didn’t speak, just sat there and frowned like he was doing something that he didn’t want to do… “What the fuck is up with you?” He growled getting a little pissed from the vibe he was getting. He like dealing with his heartache on his own, not with company!
Dax hand ran over his beard as he stared at the floor and then back up at him. “I need to tell you something, but I need to know you’re not going to freak the hell out. I mean, I’m not sure how you’re going to react, but you just can’t go over there storming into the front door…”
“Dax, what the fuck are you talking about?”
“Well you see, it’s Addison…” Dax replied.
At just the sound of her name, his legs went week and grabbed onto the chair waiting for the bad news that Dax wasn’t sure to tell him about. It didn’t surprise him that something bad had happened and he didn’t know about it. None of the guys even said her name around him anymore, even though Dax, Jones, Howie, and Nickels lived around her and were still a part of her life.
“What’s wrong? What’s happened?” He growled.
“Nothing’s wrong Jimmy.” Dax answered, and then shook his head. “Well nothing physically is wrong with her if that’s what you’re thinking. But a lot of shit has happened.
“What does that mean?”
“Well, over the last year or so Addie hasn't been doing so good. And now we’re at the point that even Lynn is worried about her.” Dax offered.
“Why, what happened?”
“The guy she was married to, Win, he died.” Dax explained.
“Shit. When did he pass?” He asked taking a seat getting lost in his thoughts.
“Do you remember Nickels and Lynn saying they had their first wedding in Nashville?”
“Well that was because Win was so sick, he couldn’t travel, and Addie wasn’t going to leave him… not even for Lynn’s wedding. That’s why they had the real wedding there. Lynn wasn’t going to have anyone but Addie as her maid of honor, and Lynn and Nickels said their real vows with all the girls at Tia and Howie’s place…Win died a week after the wedding in L.A.” Dax told him.
His hands went through his damp hair and then stayed at the back of his neck. “That’s why she didn’t show…” He mumbled out loud, but was only speaking to himself. “I thought she didn’t show up to the wedding because she didn’t want to see me.” He admitted.
Dax didn’t say anything to that as he rubbed his hands on his thighs looking more put off then he did when he walked into the room. “So, a, I talked to Margie the other day just to see how everything was going…”
“Margie, why Margie?” He asked.
“Just because, okay. And, well, Shit! I just don’t know if this is the right thing to do.” Dax sighed.
“For fuck sake asshole, just spit it out already!” He snapped.
Dax shook his head, but mentioned something that Jimmy had forgotten about. “Did you write to Addie from rehab?” He asked.
“Yeah, I did. How did you know about that?”
“Well it seems that Win got all your letters and hid them from her… and Addie just kind of lost it. She’s lost both of the men that she loved. One to drugs and alcohol and the other to cancer. She’s broken Jimmy, she misses Win so much that it’s eating her up inside. But when Margie was trying to comfort her, Addie said that she misses you to.” Dax sighed.
“She really said that she missed me… she told Margie that?” He asked in disbelief.
“Yeah, and I guess she has been reading the letters you sent her too.” Dax answered.
His hands went through his hair wondering what he should do. “Give me her address, or her number, I’ve got to call her, or shit, see her!” He stated jumping up from his seat.
“Damn it Jimmy, this is why I didn’t want to tell you shit! You can’t go stomping down there scaring the shit out of her! She’s got children now.” Dax shouted.
“Then why did you…hold up, what? She’s got, kids? How many?” He asked only remembering the one.
“I told you because Lynn said it was time to. And Addie has two kids. She had the last one two years ago when Win got sick.”
Addison had a family… he walked over to Dax and reached out his hand ready to lose his damn mind. “Let me see them. Don’t look at me like that, I know she sends you pictures all the fucking time.” He accused.
Dax's shoulders sagged, taking his phone out of his back pocket. He swiped threw a couple photos and then stopped. “I guess this would be a good one. It’s Addie with her two boys. It was about a year ago after, well, after.” He said handing over the cell.
Jimmy took it, and saw for the first time in six years, his baby girl. The long hair that she’d always had, was now to her shoulder in chunky blond waves, but she was just as beautiful as he remembered. She smiled with her boys in her arms, but had her aviators on blocking him from seeing those violet eyes that he loved so much.
The oldest boy had auburn hair and freckles and could guess he looked like his father. The youngest though, he was all Addison, with sandy blond hair and those same violet eyes. “What’s their names?” He finally asked.
“The oldest is Winston Jr., but Addie calls him J.W., and the youngest is Justin, named after Lynn’s dad.” Dax told him.
As much as he wanted to see his baby girl, in truth it was hard seeing her with two children that weren’t his. He gave the cell back to Dax, as his heart was aching even more then the fucking dream. She was still so damn beautiful, and he missed her so damn much. “I hope you told me this for a reason Dax, other than to rip my heart out of my fucking chest.” He growled.
“Well the thing is, Winston wrote you a letter.”
“A letter? What for?” He asked.
“Well, all of us had gotten to be good friends with Win over the years. But when he got sick, he kept asking questions about you.” Dax started then shook his head. “Nickels really stuck up for you and told Win how you cleaned yourself up. But that’s when he gave us specific instructions on whether to give it to you or not, or when we should.”
“I still don’t understand?” He growled.
“He wanted Addie to have a life without you in it. But if we all saw Addie collapsing in on herself or not able to move on, that’s when we were told to give you the letter he wrote. And then Nickels opened his fucking mouth and told Lynn what Win’s plan was… and you know how Lynn is when it comes to Addie, and wanted updates on you.” He sighed.
“Yeah, I know all about how Lynn is... but what the hell was this about, really?”
“Well Win wanted us to see if you still had that “fucking anything with a pussy” reputation going on…” Dax said, then Jimmy lost his cool.
“What the fuck does it matter what the hell I do?! That asshole fucking won; he got my baby girl.” He said through gritted teeth, as his fist clenched together.
Dax groaned as his hands went over his face. “Come on Jimmy, everything that happened between you and Addie was on you, you know that. You gave her up man when we got big… you just didn’t realize what you were losing until she walked out on you.”
Jimmy jerked the chair back and plopped down into it. His hands went through his hair, trying to calm his thoughts down enough so he could speak. “I know what I did to Addison, Dax, you don’t need to remind me of it. I’ve lived with what I did to us, fuck, what I did to her every day, of every hour, of every fucking second, for the past six years. I know I fucked up with my baby girl, and I know I deserve everything I got.”
“I know Jimmy, we all know how you feel, and what you’ve done to clean yourself up, and we told Win that. We sat and had a day long conversation about you, and about Addison. He wanted to know all the stories, know all the good times we all had together. He also asked me if I thought you still loved her. So, do you still love her?”
The floor was all he could look at; he couldn’t even look up at Dax. “Of course I still love her. I can never love anyone else. I’ve tried.”
“That’s what we told him.” Dax said getting up from the bed making his way to the door. “When we get home, Lynn says it’s time to give you over the letter, then you can decide if you want to go see Addie or not. But I’ve got to warn you, if you do decide to go see her… she’s in rough shape.”
“Hey, how long have you had this letter from her husband?” He asked trying to figure out the timing of everything.
“A little over a year now.” Dax answered.
“Why would you just now tell me about this shit only now!?” He growled getting up from the chair wanting to beat the shit out of his best friend. “I could’ve had Addie back in my life a year ago… what the fuck man!” He seethed.
Dax face got red as he stomped his way over to the door. “Look at you man! You need to chill the fuck out!” Dax snarled back. “Addie has been grieving the loss of her husband Jimmy! The last thing she needs is you showing up at her front door going postal on her ass about how much you still love her and shit… you need to take a fucking breath and think!” He fumed taking the door knob once again. “If you really love her like you say you do, then you’re going to have to use your fucking head of yours and think. Eight years ago you completely fucked up your marriage, and yourself. Now you have a chance of winning back the love of your life, but you have a lot of redeeming to do in her eyes my friend. Just remember what you did to her the night we found you in Eerie.” Dax reminded him, then slammed the door shut behind him.
Jimmy looked at the closed door remembering all to well what he had done to Addison, when when Nickels and Dax took him to see his handy work, that he had done to his own wife. That was one of the only things he did remember… and it was also one of the nightmares he had to live with every single day.