Summary: Two old lovers meeting again
Disclaimer: It's just fiction! None of the characterizations and events are fact. Similarities in those are not completely accidental, but can't be taken serious anyway.
Reviews: Would be very much appreciated
A/N: I just had to.
The fresh guilt was apparent on his cheeks. He felt like he was burning up. He hid cautiously under his cap and avoided all contact. He was in a hurry to get home. Never had he planned to go this far. Never had he planned to hurt anyone. His fear and curiosity had tricked him into a malicious and dangerous situation. All kind of feelings got mixed up and plagued his mind. The pleasure, the power, the pain, fear, guilt and anger were twirling and raging through his head and heart. It made him cry and shake. It made him angry and sad. He had lost his innocence forever.
Jason kept two diaries; a public one and a private one. The public one was known by his fans and keenly updated after every post on MySpace and Blogspot. His private diary he kept close to his heart and in a secret case he carried with him everywhere. It was not much of a book, it was rather a collection of papers rolled up into a leather case. It was his life. It was his whole life, including his deepest secrets.
The name Max was a well known name on the many papers. He was young and innocent. He was sweet and supportive, always. He was Jason’s friend until that dramatic night. He was the ghost haunting Jason everywhere he went and at all times. He was the reason for Jason’s careless laughter versus his many tears. In Jason’s mind, he never grew older than the young boy he once was. In Jason’s mind he would always be 10. He was always looking up at Jason with big brown eyes. Jason saw the fear dancing in those eyes. He could have been brave, but he wasn’t.
A trembling finger stroke the dark ink caressing the paper. He read the lines over and over again. Jason had tried to change the story, but it never changed the history. Jason remembered well what was written under the stripes of ink. He could not forget nor forgive. He realized he was crying over it again. He was searching for his soul’s savior; the one to sooth his mind. Was John it?
Jason looked at John with strange eyes. John didn’t dare to ask. There seemed to lie something dark under the surface, something John wasn’t so sure of he wanted to know. He kept safely to hugging and kissing him and talking about small things like their new plan and their future. Something John had some control over. He was going to ask, just not now. He was saving up the nerves to ask and to fight whatever was there to fight. This holiday was too perfect to ruin.
They were packing while playing around. They tried to pack their own stuff and unpack each others. It resulted in chasings and fake fighting. John had to admit; it turned him on. He loved to see the joy in Jason’s eyes and to feel his lips hotly embracing his own. He loved the excited pulse when feeling Jason’s burning hot skin. He wrapped his arms around Jason’s thin frame and dragged him away from his suitcase to throw him on the bed. Jason stumbled backwards leaning into John’s stomach. John didn’t care. Neither did he care about the other blue and black spots and the red marks from nails on his arms. And he didn’t care he hit his thigh hard against the wall because Jason’s wouldn’t let go of him when he fell. He twisted his body around trying to get up. Their bodies rubbed hot and sweaty. They grinned as they retreated once more into a kiss.
John brushed his fingers through the thick wavy hair enjoying the resistance and softness. He loved the movement of panting and gasping for air under him. He had trouble keeping from hiding his right hand between jeans and skin. They had no time to keep playing; they had a plane to catch. John stood up in spite of not wanting to. Jason did nothing to stop him, though his eyes were asking for more.
John pulled him in an upright position: “C’mon J, we really have to pack.” Jason growled reluctantly, but got up anyway.
They had lost a lot of time playing. John didn’t take the time to fold and pack in an orderly direction; he simply threw everything in his suitcase and leaned on the pile of clothes in an attempt to make it fit. Jason, who always traveled light, folded in a record speed and managed to fit everything in one go. It was clear who was the girl in packing. After Jason finished packing his own stuff he helped John closing his suitcase. They touched and averted their eyes to not fall back into playing. John felt the blood rushing to his cheeks and heating his neck. He was glad Jason was trying hard not to look at him.
He ran out of their holiday home after Jason. There was a future awaiting them and a whole lot of challenges. They hardly talked in the car on their way to the airport. Jason was driving this time. He had one hand on the steering wheel and one hand on John’s knee. He had 1½ eye on the road and ½ on John. John pretended to look at the traffic while he was really looking at Jason. He loved how Jason was so average and could easily blend in. Jason was John’s connection with the real life, with what was outside of the craziness of stardom. Jason was a man with one foot in the entertainment business and the other one in the woods of life. John loved that about him.
Was it bad not to talk? Was it bad to move all their fears to the background for a bit?
John caught Jason in his moment silence; he retreated for a moment to pack some personal stuff. John recognized the light brown leather case and the bundle of paper. The paper was yellow and curled up at the corners and held secrets John knew nothing of. John suspected the cause of Jason’s fright was there. John never saw the leather case unattended, so he never got the chance to do some research. Maybe he should ask about it, though the last time he did they ended up breaking up. Maybe he should forget about it; it was Jason’s diary, it seems. So therefore, it wasn’t John’s business; right?
Jason always kept an eye on John. He always suspected John of studying him every move. He suspected John knew more than he should know. Jason was afraid he kept more secrets for his parents than John. Besides the fact it put him in a weaker position, he really didn’t know how he should respond to all the things John knew. He never talked about certain things; those things were better left unattended. Unlike the leather case put in the secret compartment of his suitcase. He knew John knew he was hiding something in it; they broke up because of it. Another good reason to keep it out of sight and out of conversation.
Jason leaned against a wall letting the sun rays warm his face while John turned in the hired car. John was like a girl, always looking for some intimacy, even when Jason really needed to be alone. Jason noticed John learnt; he let Jason have his space the last couple of days. It reassured Jason they could take their relationship a level further than they had previous time. John was always all in, or all out. John didn’t know how to compromise. He could not walk away without cutting the strings. He could not come back to take it easier. Jason could be all passionate and throw in his whole heart, but he also needed to walk away sometimes, without ending it right then right there. He just needed his time and space to put everything in order and clear his thoughts. That was not a bad thing. Jason had a hard time figuring out John’s borders concerning having and letting each other. Jason was going to ask some time for himself as soon they got home. He needed to talk to someone. Someone who knew the ugly truth.
Jason took a deep breath when John emerged from the building. He was to greet John with the sweetest smile he could show. He had to ease John into going a little bit slower. He would have him, just not all the time. Jason straightened his back and got ready to take the walk to the airport. John stuffed his wallet back into his jean pocket. They caught eyes and noticed the other one was just as nervous being in public together like that. It didn’t stop them from staying close; their arms and hands touching while walking. Swinging arms close, fingers curling and stroking every time they met skin. They didn’t talk. Both were caught up in their own thoughts and ideas how to proceed. Both didn’t want to break the peace and connection between them.
John dreamt about how they would live together. He dreamt about how they only needed one word or just a glance to communicate. He dreamt about family life, maybe one day raising a child together. He dreamt about having pets together and running their housekeeping together. He dreamt about a peaceful home where he could fall back and rest and count on support.
Jason dreamt about that too. But he also dreamt about peace of mind. He didn’t want to run anymore; he didn’t want to hide anymore. He didn’t want to be ashamed anymore. He wanted to be able to be himself. He wanted John to accept him that way.
John was aware of his own problems. Maybe he always expected too much of a relationship or his lover. Maybe that was because he always compared the lover to Reiko; his first love. So far no one managed to live up to her standards. Maybe John gave her more qualities than she really had. His memories about her might not be realistic, but she was always in his mind. She was always there reminding John his new lover wasn’t her.
The airport wasn’t a good place for deep relationship talk. Especially with the attention they drew anyway. John was jealous of Jason’s ability to blend in effortlessly. John couldn’t do such thing; he was too tall and somehow he always gave himself away. He learnt to care less about the attention, but sometimes it would just be nice to be given some privacy. Jason slid through masses of people taking care of everything: checking in, checking in their luggage, getting flight information and so on. John meanwhile talked to some people and gave some autographs. He was doing that when Jason returned to tell they were ready to go to the gate. Maybe these people were no Jason Mraz fans. Most likely, they simply didn’t recognize him. And Jason had no intention to make himself known. He even pinched John in the back of his arm when John almost did make him known. Jason didn’t care they thought he was a talentless leach.
John was still frowning and grimacing when he followed Jason to the gate. Jason sniggered when he noticed the deep frown above his eyebrows.
“Forget about them, John. They don’t have to like what I’m doing.”
John muttered back: “But they shouldn’t judge about something they don’t know anything about.”
Jason shrugged it off as he grabbed John’s hands and rubbed with his thumb over the back of John’s hands.
“Baby, it really doesn’t matter. If I had to care about all the people who don’t like me, I would have no time left to make other people happy with what I do.”
John sighed; Jason was right. There was no way pleasing everyone. John put his handbag to the ground.
“How do you do that? Those people looked you right in the eye and still they didn’t recognize you.’
“I dunno,” Jason shrugged. “I suppose I’m not much of a remarkable person.”
That didn’t fly with John: “You are a remarkable person. They’re idiots for not seeing it.”
Jason was flattered with John’s annoyance. He squeezed John’s hands slightly. In a peculiar situation like this, it was the best way of showing how much he appreciated John’s reaction. John enjoyed the little squeeze and the meaning behind it. Those were the little moments to feed on in public situations. Jason let go of John’s hands slowly. John’s eyes were still on their hands. He missed the contact, the warmth. Reluctantly he let go of the situation.
They settled down waiting for their plane side to side. All talking was reserved for future days. This was still holiday and neither of them wanted to ruin what they built up. The last couple of days made clear where they stood. It became clear their relationship deserved a second chance. They celebrated their success in silence. From now on, the battle was back on, but they were ready for it. They were in a better shape than ever.
John made plans to combine his recording with spending time with Jason. He could work normal ours, from 9 am to 5 pm. Maybe they would have lunch together. In the evening he would go see Jason, or Jason would come over to his place. They could go to the cinema together, or listen to the stuff John had been working on. And in the weekend they could go to the beach and John would watch Jason surf. John would try to give Jason the time and space he needed. He would encourage him to relate some deeper secrets to John. And John would try the best he could to help Jason out. They would talk, finally. They would listen.
Jason made plans as well. He was thinking of ways to do some research without John noticing it. John was recording a new album, so during John’s work on that, Jason could find the time to make some phone calls. This situation lingered on for so long, he had to put an end to it. Jason was not to let it ruin another relationship, and certainly not this one again. He had to admit, he was scared. He was scared what to find and to face one person. He was afraid of what might arise from the past.
The stewardess smiled friendly. She recognized both of them, but didn’t give them away; she just looked stunned. Would they like to be bumped up to first class? No? Would they like to sit in the quiet seats? It doesn’t matter? It’s possible.
Jason thanked the stewardess and went ahead to the seats on their tickets. John smiled at the stewardess and followed Jason. Planes in combination with window seats were good for sleeping. Jason tended to fall asleep often in planes and he tended to look silly while doing it. John loved how Jason really didn’t care.
Jason wiggled around in his seat trying to find the perfect sitting position to sleep in. John stuffed handbags in the overhead compartment. When he was finished and sat down next to Jason, Jason was looking around him checking out the position of his chair, seatbelt and his own position. John studied the scene quietly. After Jason finished he turned to John.
“I’m ready to take off.” John was still searching for his seatbelt.
It didn’t take long for Jason to doze off.
He bit his lower lip forcing the tears back. The voices above him sounded somehow distant; still they echoed loud in his ears. Jason heard a vein throbbing inside his head. He was praying it ended soon. It was a sensation he imagined to be different, better than this. The contradiction of the situation confused him, it made him sway and dizzy. He tasted blood when he bit through his lip. The voices of big boys above him where cheering. Jason was hiding his face, the red lines and tears. His body was ragging with uncontrolled shivers and spasms till he collapsed.
They were so silent. The world seemed to have collapsed onto them. He felt so tired and heavy; his body was crushing hard down onto a heavily breathing form. Jason had to get out of here.
He didn’t know how he escaped. He only knew he had to run as fast as he could. They were following him and catching up fast. It seemed like he wasn’t making any progress, but the big boys were. Before he knew it, he was face down again. He was fighting hard and tried to scream.
Jason sat upright with wide eyes. Nightmares were never convenient, but this time it really wasn’t. John stood in the aisle staring down worried.
“You all right?”
Jason gasped in air as he looked around; still in the plane, still in the air. A strange man glaring at him with strange eyes. Jason stared back still under influence of his dream.
“Jay!” John spoke more forcefully.
Jason responded in a hurry: “I’m okay.”
John’s eyes glided of Jason studying him. Obviously, he was not okay. John decided to let it go for now.
“You want something to drink? Some water?”
Jason nodded thoughtlessly. John disappeared to the front of the plane. Jason wondered why the past was acting up. He moved in his seat stretching as much as he could. His muscles were sore; apparently he tensed up during his dream. Slowly he managed to get his breathing back in control. This way it was not going to be easy to keep his past and future research a secret.
What bothered him the most was, he seemed to mix the past up with the present. John was there. His face and his voice had been everywhere. He was the voices above him. He was the body beneath him. He was the big boys following him. Jason’s fingers dug deep into the chair.
John ignored Jason’s tense expression and the fingers digging. He put Jason’s water in front of him on the table and sat down, his hand landing on Jason’s knee. He squeezed him lightly, just to let him know he was there for him. Jason nearly jumped and pulled away from John, which resulted in John retreating with shock in his eyes. Jason breathed out and settled back into his chair. He found John’s hand and put it back on his knee, his hand on top.
The tension eased gradually during the flight. John was alarmed though; he kept a close eye on Jason the whole flight.
John was running late. He put the album on hold to fix things up with Jason. He didn’t count on the new inspiration that came to him. For John any relationship was always a source for writing. A relationship with Jason meant a book worth of songs. John never considered starting all over, but he did this time. Jason was in his head constantly. All the good and sweet things, but also all the weird, unsettling and bad things. Over the course of the last few days, John’s feeling, Jason had some major issues, increased. The thoughts stuck like a lump in his throat. He had the phone close by to call any moment. He shouldn’t do that, neither did he have the time for it. Only one little call just to say hi, that should be possible. John flipped his phone up and down in his hand. Chad, who was in a working mood, was getting irritated by it.
“John, call him right now, or put your phone away and try to stay focused.”
John pursed his lips in a thin line, his eyes betraying what was on his mind. Chad turned away from John shaking his head; getting back together with Jason was a bad idea.
Jason was moving his dirty clothes out of his suitcase to replace it with fresh clean clothes. Billie hang around watching and checking how things were.
“Had a good time with John?”
“You back together?”
Jason nodded again.
“You worked things out?”
Repeated action; it annoyed Billie.
“You lost your tongue?”
Jason stood up right to face Billie; the irritation was apparent in Billie’s voice.
“Look,” Jason started: “John and I are meant for each other. We worked things out, but we realize we still have a lot of work to do. All that matters is, we know we can do it and we know we made the right choice, because we love each other. We’re aware that you and other people don’t agree. The difference is; you don’t know, but John and I do.”
Billie never meant to tear them apart, but he was not going to be quiet either. It just didn’t seem like a good idea, not even after Jason’s preach.
“Bill, can you do something for me? Can you do the laundry for me? I don’t have enough time left; they’re expecting me and I’m already running late.”
Billie took over Jason’s nodding.
Jason grabbed and pushed the pile of dirty clothes in Billie’s arms: “Great, thanks!” He proceeded to sit on his suitcase to close the suitcase with clean underwear and t-shirts, two clean pants and one fresh hat in place. He was ready for another long trip of touring. Time was urging him on, the minutes ticked away, slowly but surely. Jason felt like a heel for running in, drop dirty laundry and then running out again. He’d talk to Billie properly when he comes back from touring.
“Don’t forget to feed the cat,” he yelled while running out and fumbling in his pant pocket to find his phone. Billie stayed behind holding the laundry seeing Jason disappear again.
John was under fast dial number 1. Jason was phoning while stuffing his suitcase and other stuff in the car which led to him holding his phone between his ear and shoulder and dropping it a few times. He was just moving the phone from one ear to the other when John picked up.
John had just put his phone away to do some serious working. Even though his heart jumped when he heard the phone go off, he felt bad for being distracted.
“Hyellow,” he answered the phone. The voice on the other end of the line replied with a ‘Heey’.
“You all right? You okay? Got home safe?”
“Yeah, but already off for touring.”
“Yeah, I’m in the studio already as well. How long will you be gone?”
“About three months.”
John sighed: “That’s long.”
“At least you’ll get some work done,” Jason smiled.
John couldn’t see the smile, but heard it. That sweet voice; it made John’s heart melt. He was going to spend a lot of time Youtubing to see what Jason was up to and to hear that voice and see that smile and the enigmatic eyes.
“I’ve gotta go, Chad is waiting for me,” John apologized.
Jason, who was still in a bit of hurry, shrugged it off: “That’s okay, John. I’ll call ya when I get to the next town.”
“Okay,” John made no attempt to hang up. He listened to Jason waiting as well and the hardly audible breathing through the horn. Every extra little bit was one John treasured.
Then Jason ended it abruptly with the words: “I love you,” before hanging up.
John didn’t even get the chance to say ‘I love you too’ back. A little baffled he put his phone back into his bag.
Jason bit his lower lip as he pulled away from his drive way. In the mirror he watched his house slowly disappearing. Every tour was a joy and a pain in the ass. It was great meeting new people and bringing the music to them, but he missed his loved ones dearly. Maintaining a relationship while on tour was one of the hardest things Jason could think of. Right now, his departing made him incredibly nervous. They just got back together and vowed to each other they would work very hard for their relationship this time. How was that going to work with them not even being in the same state? Jason had no clue.
Maybe he wasn’t ready for this relationship. Maybe he needed more space and time to work things out. Old ghosts and new challenges; how was Jason supposed to deal with both of them at the same time while tour life was demanding its attention and energy. Jason felt stupid; like he was running away. He wasn’t running away; he just never expected John to text him back.
Young boy with his feet up against the wall. Jason wondered what Max’ dad would say about the mud stains on the wall. Max acted tough, but Jason knew he was afraid of his dad. Where Jason got lost somewhere in between divorces, Max was running all the time. Where Jason tried to catch his parents’ attention, Max tried to avoid as much attention as possible. Where Jason missed some loving, some correcting words to keep him on the right path, Max was searching in the dark trying to find his own path. Jason loved him more than anything.
Max lit a cigarette and puffed on it encouraging the head to light brighter and fill up with ash. He quietly and carefully moved the cigarette to the ashtray to lose the ash. If he burned a whole in the blanket, there would be hell to pay. Jason sat next to him, back to the wall and knees under his chin. He took over the cigarette to suck his lungs full of smoke. He needn’t to cough; he got over it years ago, when he was 13 or 14.
Jason admired the slender fingers taking over the cigarette. He loved the soft, pink lips gracing the tip. Jason wanted to taste those lips. Forbidden, but sweet and present. Never talking the things they weren’t supposed to say. Their eyes told on them anyway.
The tour bus pulled out of the alley. Jason watched his band and crew loading in stuff. Being on tour throws you back on the people you’re traveling with; they become family. Jason knew there would be a time he had to tell them about John. Some were there the first time John and Jason went out. Others weren’t. Most of the ones who were there never understood their relationship. The band and crew were the least of Jason’s problems. During their being away they didn’t discuss them, but they were there, always. Jason never had too much problems with the press; he was usually one step ahead of them. In John’s case, the press seemed to put in more effort to find the last gossip about John.
Jason checked his phone to see he had 6 missed calls, all from John. The screen was blinking blue at him with envelopes and all. Jason moved to the side of the truck out of sight to check his messages. First the text messages telling him he had voicemail. Then one text message from John telling him John loved him and that he had to pick up his phone at least ones. And oh yeah, hugz and kissez. This fashionable etalk was not John’s style; he did the ‘e’ in the talk, but he was barely aware of fasion. Jason messaged back: “Gonna listen now. Expect me in 1-2-3..” Then he dialed 1. John almost picked up before the phone could ring.
“Hi, guess what I recorded today!!!”
“A song and John, you’re screaming.”
“That’s because I’m excited. I wish you were here. I could use you during recording. We laid down some vocals, and it was hell. I can’t seem to get it down properly. Maybe you have ideas? We really need...”
Jason interrupted John before he could finish:”Wow John, calm down!”
“I’m sorry baby. I miss you.”
“I miss you too. What’s the problem?”
That was the wrong question; it set John off on another waterfall of words.
“I’ve got this song and it got some deep moments. I want it to sound deep, but every time I sing it, it comes out light, too light. It gives completely the wrong impression. It’s not like my voice is too high, but I screech or I scream.”
Jason interrupted him again: “Like you do now?”
John sighed: “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
Jason kicked gravel up against the wall while he listened to John doing some breathing exercise to calm down. The noise of unloading and the buzz of a new show were all around Jason. He listened with a half ear to his crew rolling out pieces of the stage background. Another half ear was waiting for John to start rambling again and the other ear was listening to the restless fluttering of his heart. He still hadn’t called Max. He still didn’t take the time to find out how to reach out to him. He still hadn’t figured out how to work things out. John was taking a deep breath to start the next run of words; Jason checked in the one ear to listen.
“Tomorrow I want to try it again, but can you help me out here? I’ve send you a sample and I need you to listen to it. Can you help me out? Can you give me some example or something? The song is kinda light, but also kinda heavy in subject. I need the two to complement each other. You know what I mean? You know what I mean. You’ve done songs like that, didn’t you? I need it before tomorrow; we’ll do another session tomorrow to get it right. It would be nice....”
Once again Jason stopped him: “Yes John. I’ll send you an example. You need something deep for something light...?”
John couldn’t hold back: “It’s not per se light, but it’s not really heavy either. But that part I need you to do...”
“I’ll listen to what you sent me.”
Jason expected another monologue, but John paused. Jason listened barely breathing, waiting for John, almost wondering if John hang up the phone.
“I love you. You know that, right?” John suddenly spoke.
Jason pulled a pained face at the question: “Of course I do. Why do you ask?”
“I kept rambling on and didn’t give you a chance to say something and you didn’t call.”
“I was busy”.
“So was I and I still called you about 10 times. You didn’t pick up the phone ones.”
“You called 6 times and I only just found out.”
“You could have guessed I would call.”
“I only called you 6 times.”
“John, knock it off! I was busy and I’m just not gonna answer my phone when doing interviews or sound check.”
”What about calling? You could have called me.”
“John, I’ve only been away for 4 days. I promise you I will call you, but just not 3 times a day. Don’t you have an album to finish?”
“You seem distracted.”
“That’s because I am. I’m touring right now. I’m doing interviews and meet&greets all the time. Or I’m sound checking or actually playing a show.”
“No, no. You don’t really want to put in much effort in us, do you?”
“What you’re doing, John? You know I’m busy, and you know I need some time to work things out.”
“You’re running again. Let’s put this relationship on hold till you’re done running.”
Jason wanted to protest, but John didn’t give him the chance; John broke the connection before Jason could say anything. Steaming mad Jason stomped away from behind the truck. His crew stared at him suspiciously guessing what might be up.
John threw his phone in the corner of the studio. Chad watched him with raised eyebrows; he didn’t want to mingle. He was not a big fan of Jason, but he knew how much John cared about him. Chad also knew John had the ability to screw up the greatest and best relationship. John was Chad’s best friend and he really cared about John. If Jason was the one for John, then Chad wouldn’t stand in the way.
“Breath, John. You’re making a fuzz over nothing.”
John was still huffing and puffing: “What the hell do you know?”
Chad shook his head briefly before turning back to the soundboard.
“I don’t think we gonna finish it tonight. Let’s go have diner,” Chad suggested.
John had now arrived in his sulking period.
“I was an ass, Chad, wasn’t I?” John pouted.
Chad stood up to grab his stuff and pat John on the shoulder: “Don’t worry about it, John. Call him, apologize and make up with him.”
John nodded: “Yeah, you know what? I’m gonna surprise him.”
Chad stopped in his track to look at John: “What do you mean, you’re gonna surprise him?”
“I’m going to him and surprise him. Spend the weekend with him. See him play. Stuff like that.”
Chad couldn’t believe his ears: “John, you’re already behind on schedule. You can’t leave now. You have an album to finish. We still need to do a lot.”
“Relax, Chad. We’ll catch up later,” John reassured before running out on Chad.
Jason still believed he didn’t do anything wrong. It seemed John was looking for excuses to break up. Or was he wrong? Was John right? Jason tried to put it out of his head, but it kept popping up in his thoughts all the time. Jason was trying to figure out his planning. Time for tour-stuff. Time for the past. Time for the future. And John. Time to tell what was on his mind, cause everybody noticed he was a little distracted and not his cheerful self.
Jason sat down with Tricia, dropping a hint he wanted to talk. Tricia, always open for any vibe, to catch it and lend an ear. She smiled at him. She knew him pretty well. Jason offered her a home a few years ago, and they’ve been sharing their lives ever since. She was not a love interest; she was a really good and close friend. One who was almost always there to listen en to share with.
“What’s up?” she encouraged him.
“I had a falling out with...” Jason realized Tricia didn’t know anything about his relationship with John. Did it really matter? No, Tricia was cool.
“I had a falling out with my lover.”
“You’ve got a lover,” Tricia gasped in wonder.
Oh right, she didn’t know he was in a relationship at all. Jason’s eyes wandered while he contemplated telling her he was dating John Mayer or if he should keep his lover anonymous. He smiled: “Yeah, I started dating someone when we had some time off.”
Tricia nodded understanding: “Go on.”
Then there was the question of the sex of the person. Tricia didn’t know Jason dated guys sometimes. To not immediately give away he was dating a male, Jason kept it neutral and repeated: “We had a falling out. I was accused of not calling. I explained I was busy, but it was not accepted.”
Tricia tried to keep her face still, but she couldn’t help curling her lip in wonder what was going on? She had the suspicion Jason was not dating a girl this time. Why else would he talk like that? Jason saw the curling and her eyes gave away her suspicion.
“I’m dating a guy, yes. Can you promise me not to tell anyone else? We need to work a few things out first.”
Tricia nodded: “Of course. Let him give the chance to calm down and call him later.”
“Thanks,” Jason said. He stood again and patted Tricia on the shoulder: “I knew I could count on you.”
Tricia stayed behind baffled: “What?” Why was Jason in a hurry all of a sudden?
Jason got his diary out and skimmed over the last pages. They were filled with pointless banter. The banter was the evidence he was putting something really important off.
Jason was hesitant to call him. He had no clue what he could expect; It had been so long. He was ashamed for not calling. Another victim of his procrastination. The names played in his head; John / Max. Max / John. The phone was warming in his hand. Jason noticed he had to recharge soon; he should not forget. Maybe he should turn off the phone and leave it all be. Maybe he was looking for excuses to not have to call anyone and retreat into his own mind. He cast the phone aside and let himself fall into the pillowed seats of his tour bus. Thoughtfully he stared at the phone in between pillows. He should, but he didn’t want to. He should. He should. He should.
Jason leaped up, grabbed the phone and dialled the number. The air got stuck in his throat when he heard the phone connecting. Jason was hoping for the voicemail.
“Hello?” a voice said.
Jason gritted his teeth, his eyes wide; he hadn’t heard that voice for a long time.
“Who is this?” the voice inquired?
John hopped excited around his car. He packed a weekend worth of clothes, got his ticket and the route. He loved how he was to spend some time on the road all by himself. The solitude of his car gave him the peace he couldn’t find in the studio, or even in his own house. Chad was a good guy, but he was always there, it seemed. Especially concerning this new situation, with Jason in it, John needed more space to think and feel. He could get that in his car with Jason in the back of his head and the open road in front of him.
John ran for the last time a check. He had his travel documents, clean clothes and money. He’s got his route and music and a bottle of water. He might want to ditch the plastic bottle and exchange it for a more permanent one; Jason would most certainly appreciate it. He’d buy one on at a gas station or something.
John got into the car and put on his sunglasses. He put on some music and put on his seatbelt. All set. Humming he pulled out of the driveway. He was looking forward to seeing Jason. He was even looking forward to apologizing for his crazy behaviour on the phone. He’d make everything up and more. The forecast of what was coming cheered John up.
He was not so brave; he hang up on Max without even making himself known and didn't even think of calling John. Instead he was filling his diary with frustrations and accusations. Keeping this diary next to his blog, it was like comparing an angel to a devil. What would his fans think if they find out?
His diary witnessed and suffered many bad moods and frustrations. The black ink left in clutchy scratches and stains were the silent evidence as were the wholes caused by fierce scratching into the paper. The paper was wrinkled at places where sadness dropped its tears during many sobsessions.
All between the negative lines and the dark words laid down by poisoned memories and feelings were the moments of truth and honesty. Jason could not be, nor ever had been, more honest than in his diary. Next to the outscreams of terror anf false accusations were the confessionals of someone hurting and praying.
Jason hang over his diary with his pen ready to scribble. He didn't know what to write. He reread the previous contribution. In all it's frivolous banter it was ernest. Jason needed to be honest to himself and admit he was a coward. One who had to learn to fight. Maybe John was right; he was running and hiding to not have to face his personal demons. Maybe it was John who irritated him, and brought the best out of him. Jason felt the need to dedicate another page to John. Writing to him, like he was
writing a letter to him. Or like he was talking to him, face to face.
John sang along to the radio in falsetto voice. He was feeling good. In his head he created several make up plans and surprise plans. Nothing was going to stop John to have a great, sweet and exciting weekend. Nothing was going to stop John to enjoy Jason’s existence to the full. No one was going to stop John to go crazy in his car and sing as loud and out of key as he could. He grinned at passer-by’s and waved at some girls. He was not going to go too far; he was on his way to his boyfriend. His beautiful, sweet but weird little boyfriend. He was all John needed.
John was still singing and swinging when he parked his car a few blocks from the venue. The city was loaded and parking space were scarce. It didn’t matter; John could walk the few blocks. After 5 hours alone in the car, the wind and people were a welcome variation. John didn’t even care about the glaring and staring. He only had to be careful with the press; they were always everywhere and they documented his life as if he was the main character of a book. It was okay, John got used to it. However, he didn’t want to put Jason in a embarrassing situation, so he had to be careful with how to approach Jason’s settlement. He was just a visitor of a concert. He was just being polite for showing some interest in the work of one of his colleagues. That was how he was going to present himself to the crew. It shouldn’t be a problem.
John saw the tour bus before the venue, but figured Jason would be inside. Except for the regular pedestrians it was quiet. The work moved inside for building up the stage and for Jason to do some interviews. John knew those tour schedules.
It took him some time to find the right bell to ring. The bell was answered by someone who probably was a member of the crew belonging to the venue. The light in her eyes turned from cautious to excited when she recognized John.
“Is Jason Mraz in here,” John asked casually ignoring the fresh excitement red on the girl’s cheeks.
She shook her head a little too wild: “No, he’s in the tour bus. I can see if I can find someone of his crew, or you could just knock. I don’t think he minds, because you’re John Mayer.”
John smiled charmingly. He didn’t know if Jason was doing anything, and he didn’t really want to disturb him if he was busy.
“Could you find me someone of his crew,” he finally inquired.
The girl nodded excitedly. She left the door open and John waiting in front of it. John found it too rude to just enter, so he waited till someone’s appearance. Meanwhile he stared at the bus. There was really nothing to see; the windows in the bottom were blinded and in the ones in the top the curtains were drawn. It was perfectly still. John wondered what he was doing; probably relaxing. Maybe Jason already saw him. Then why didn’t he come out? Was he still mad with John?
“John,” it sounded somewhere between a question and a statement.
John recognized Jason’s tour manager, Matt. Matt was a good gay guy. He was always ready to run for Jason and his planning was always smooth and well organized. John once joked Ken, John’s tour manager, and Matt were exchangeable. Even though it was a joke, there was a truth to it. Skills wise it was. Thing was, the connection of tour manager to artist was also based on personalities, and John wouldn’t ever exchange Ken for anybody.
“I think, it’s okay to go inside; he’s just with an old friend,” Matt went ahead to the tour bus. John followed him without speaking.
John half heartedly tried to figure out the code of the bus when Matt typed it in to open the doors. John’s sense of politeness made him not quite following Matt’s fingers. Matt just gestured inside not even checking if Jason was engaged in anything. John didn’t think about it either and entered into a scene he certainly didn’t expect to see.
It was not like he was prancing around through the bus naked. At first sight it was nothing shocking, but John recognized the brown leather case. Papers and photo's were peeking out from all sides and some of them were spread over the whole floor. Jason was sitting on his knees leaning over them. He was completely into his diary, the old papers and photo's. The wind twirling from outside warned him. It was not the scene that disturbed John. It might have been the leather case, or maybe John was getting clean with that, if only Jason's eyes hadn't been filled with guilt.
John stood in the door observing the scene with Jason on his knees looking up at him with all that guilt in his eyes. He did not move, not even when John rushed in to grab the leather case. Photo's and papers fell from the case to the ground flying all around them, floating on the wind. John caught glimpses of words and faces. It was too much to take in at once, but he had to know. If not now, soon he had to. John should get to know, if not from Jason, he would read and find out, somehow.
“What is this, Jason? You have to tell me, cause I know this is why we keep falling apart. What are y...”
John stopped in the middle of the sentence, because he read his own name.
Jason attempted to take the diary from John: “That’s private, John.”
John dodged Jason’s grabbing hands trying to finish reading. The further he read the less sure he was he wanted to. The quick glimpse of his own name made him curios to know what Jason had to write about him. He figured if Jason was ever going to be honest and sincere about him, it would be in his diary. John did not set out to read the blunt accusations and offensive content bearing his name. That was not the person John set out to be. Not to Jason, not to anyone. How could he have written that down?
Jason grabbed John’s sleeve pulling his diary back into reach and snatching it from John’s hands. Too late, the hazel eyes told him. John’s face made clear he felt betrayed. The hurt was apparent in his eyes and his pursed lips only barely held the hurt feelings and anger inside. Jason moved away from John expecting an outburst soon. Cautiously he wiped the photos and sheets together to put them back into the leather case. John had seen too much already.
“I restrict you, huh? I bully you, don’t I? I’m all that is bad in your life, ain’t I?” John spat out.
Jason leaped away from John at the sudden outburst. Maybe expected, but still scary and unpredictable. Jason clutched his diary against his chest eyeing John suspiciously. With nothing in his hands, John wasn’t sure what to do. He couldn’t attack Jason; he could not thrash him up or do the other things his hands wanted to do. He wasn’t sure about anything anymore. He didn’t understand anything anymore. What had he done or said for Jason to write that down? Did Jason really think of him that way?
The expression on John’s face changed from angry to a gray calm. “Now I understand,” he said in a deep voice. “We could never make it work. Not ever, not in the past and not in the future.”
Jason opened his mouth to say something? To defend the foul written words or the impression they seemed to have left on John. He could not let it end like this, not this time.
“John!” he exclaimed, half in shock, half in desperation.
John’s eyes lid up in the lightest hazel Jason had ever seen.
“If this is how you feel,” John spoke, “then this is never gonna work.”
Jason shook his head: “That’s not how I feel,” he quickly replied.
John looked him straight in the eyes for a few seconds before letting his gaze go down to the diary which Jason was still clutching to his chest. John seemed to be contemplating, thinking it all through once more. Then his gaze returned to Jason’s eyes while he shook his head: “You have so many issues and I have my own issues...” his voice trailed off. Jason’s eyes wide in fright; this could not end all of a sudden.
He tried one more time: “John, this is not how I feel,” the tears were close to falling.
“This is my diary. I allow myself to express all my feelings at any times. I know it’s not always rational, and I know it’s sometimes harsh, but I never meant to hurt you or offend you.”
John had still not returned to his own confident self. His train of thought was going in all directions confusing him on and on. He attempted to order his thoughts and feelings and cutting the fine lines of emotions against betrayal and what John thought had happened.
“Yeah...maybe...” he reacted to Jason.
Jason came closer cautiously. Unfolding his arms to touch John’s arm lightly, but John retreated from him. His eyes expressing the question how he dared to touch him right now. What struck or was hit. It was not just the words, it was something beyond it. It worried John and it was the origin of his reactions and the way he stood opposite Jason. It was not only Jason’s fault, but John didn’t know how to say that to Jason, cause there was still no explaining in how he felt or what he was afraid of. The symbol of all John held for bad and wrong was burning hot against Jason’s chest. Was once again the object which reminded John and resulted in useless arguing.
John had no idea how he walked out of there. The wind in his face helped clearing the fog from his brain and distinguished all the lies and hard play John had been breeding on. In only not much more than 10 minutes, John had damned Jason, pittied him, and loved him. There was no simple answer like running away or arguing and protesting the things that always seemed to go wrong for them. John strode in big steps nearly running through town. He left his car behind, apparently to return later on, he told himself. Or maybe he was in such a hurry, he didn’t think of taking the car, was closer to the truth. The memories so fresh mixed up with old ones seemed to strangle his throat. He tried to swallow the lump, but it got stuck, even though his stomach seemed to have gotten a little of it too. He had to throw up.
He heard some outcries of disgust and he felt the eyes piercing his back. He didn’t want to know about anyone or anything right now. He begged in silence they would leave him alone. But with all the attention he had drawn, that chance had flown. He leaned on something that appeared to be a fence. He had dropped his sick in someone’s garden; he couldn’t be bothered. He had to get away as soon as possible; the tabloid press was never too far away. He wanted to get up and was helped. A firm grip supporting him towards his own car, John realized. When he looked up and their eyes met, there was nothing but darkness. What title would this chapter bear?
Jason sliced pieces of fruit into small blocks ready to disappear into the blender. He would make a smoothie or five and some juice. John wasn’t very hot on the smoothies, but he loved the juice. His thoughts wandered on the rhythm of the knife hitting the hard wooden board underneath. The falling of water he heard in the background and registered and filed away under ‘John hasn’t finished yet’. He had found him slumped over a fence. He had thrown up in public in someone else’s garden. Jason decided they would apologize tomorrow. They were in no shape to involve others in their problems.
Jason perked his ears when the water was turned off. He paused the knife on the chopping block as he listened. It lasted only a few seconds before he resumed cutting the fruit. Whatever was to happen that evening, Jason didn’t look forward to it. It would probably involve some screaming and crying. Or worse, a lack of response from John. A diary was a diary, something personal, something not anybody had the right to ask about or read in. It sure shouldn’t be a point of discussion. The air around him nearly strangled him; he found it hard to breath. He kept his breathing shallow, avoiding the feeling of a thick dampness in his throat. Jason scooped half the blocks of fruit into the blender. He watched the pieces go round and round till no piece was identifiable to one certain fruit. He let his mind drift on the monotonous buzz of the blender. He didn’t hear John coming into the room.
John’s hair was still dripping wet. He only tied a towel around his waist when he stepped into the chill air of the living room. Unconsciously he checked if a window was opened. Jason stood at the kitchen sink blending one of his smoothies. John never understood how he could drink that pulp. To John it tasted all the same, because Jason never kept to pulping only one fruit or vegetable. He would probably also make some fresh juice; he knew John didn’t like the smoothies very much.
John sighed, this was not the best moment in their relationship. Something of faith, trust and a mutual respect were once again on the line. It shouldn’t be that way.
John startled Jason when quietly saying his name: “Jason.”
Jason peeked over his shoulder cautiously, trying to hide he was startled.
“A moment, please,” he whispered back.
Jason took the lid off the blender and poured the thick liquid into a jug. He ignored John’s presence and took way longer than he normally would have. He could procrastinate the moment for some time, but at some point he had to give in. John was patient; he stayed where he was letting Jason take his time. When Jason started to squeeze fruit for juice, John stopped him.
“Jason!!” he spoke more forceful.
Jason reluctantly turned to John: “Yes,” it was more a statement than a question.
“I don’t know anymore who you are. You turned out to be someone else than I thought. I don’t know if I can trust you. I don’t understand you at all. But...”
He just stood there. John wondered if he even understood what he had said, or that he even listened to John. The lack of reaction only confirmed what John had been thinking and now he wasn’t sure if he should finish his sentence.
Jason let his eyes wander down over John’s body. He seemed to have made up his mind. It could go two ways; he could choose to come closer, or he could choose to run away. Jason wasn’t convinced about either one of the options.
“I didn’t agree on trying over so I could walk away again. Thing is, I’m stuck. I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t see a way out.”
Jason shook his head: “There is no problem.”
John frowned at him.
“You read something in my diary. My diary, John. I use my diary to remember all the good times, but I also use it to vent. I don’t know what you read, but it’s not the way I really feel and think about you. I probably wrote that...”
“Max,” John interrupted him.
Jason’s mouth stayed open and his eyes widened. Was it fear?
“What about Max? You’d rather be with him than with me?” John looked at Jason questioning.
Jason’s mouth still hang open. There was no defense Jason could think of.
“You’d rather be with Max,” John this time stated.
Jason knew what to answer, but it was a bit of a lie, or was it?
“I just want to express how much I love you. I want to be with you every time we’re not together. I want to run away from you every time we are together. I want to tell you how much I miss you when you’re not there. I want to cry when I think of how deep I feel about you. I don’t know how to live without you. I don’t know how to live with you. I don’t know what to do.”
John stood lanky in the middle of the room. His eyes were filled with doubts, riddles and questions. It was hard enough with only two of them in the equation. Max was there, not physically, but his memory was carried constantly by Jason. John heard that name a few times. That name made John jealous of everything he was not. He was not that in balance and in control. He was not that steady, a rock to lean on. He was not stable in relationships, not that damn confident about it. He was not Max and he was jealous of it. If only he was that, Jason might forget about Max.
“I know,” John replied after a long silence.
Jason stood in the kitchen, his hands clutching a knife. John stayed clear away; for some reason he expected Jason to leap at him to end it for all and forever. Or he would not; that was not Jason’s style. Was he hurt too much, or insecure enough to do it anyway. Snapping like a twig under pressure in storm. John was not sure. Or would he, John, lose it and leap on top of him; he had some reasons. Good or not, enough to let anger take over. He should not, he could not. Not ever attack him. He just couldn’t. Too much thoughts in his head. The shower did not relief. With the water running down his back warming him up, he had time to think further. He came up with even more questions which made him even more anxious.
Too much. Stop right now!
John forced himself to focus and be in control. Maybe only a few seconds went by, even though it felt like an hour had passed. Jason was still standing there with the knife in his hand. There were no good answers.
“Does Max help you?”
Jason returned his gaze back to John: “What?”
“Does he help you? Max?” John’s voice was calm, almost soothing even.
Jason’s eyes widened a little, his mouth opening to answer, then he paused for a few seconds before replying: “We don’t talk that much anymore.”
“But does he help you?” John forced on.
“Sometimes, yes. But like friends,” Jason added quickly.
John eyed Jason. He was not sure how to phrase his question. John’s stare was on Jason, steady while Jason’s eyes wandered from John constantly. Jason was obviously nervous.
“Does he complement you? ...Better than me?” John continued.
Jason’s eyes floated back to John’s eyes, catching for another moment. He did not answer right away. He attempted to walk away. So it was true?
“So it’s true?”
Jason turned back to John to return a question on his own: “So what is true?”
“You and Max,” John’s voice nearly only a whisper.
“Me and Max?” Jason inquired incredulously.
John walked cross the room clearly looking for something. Jason put the knife down; he was not sure why he picked it up at all when John said his name. Did he really expect John to attack him?
Jason’s musings distracted Jason long enough to only notice John approaching him with a phone in his outstretched hand. Jason looked from the phone to John puzzled.
“Call him,” John ordered.
Jason flinched. What was happening?
John urged Jason to take the phone lifting it up higher to Jason. With some doubt Jason took it never taking his eyes off of John. John stood opposite Jason for a few more seconds and then turn to disappear into the bedding area.