He set the book in his lap and leaned back, nape of his neck resting against the rough horse-hide of the chair. Not his choice of sitting accouterments, but then again, this wasn’t his place. More a borrowed place.
Regardless of ownership, he loved this place. It allowed him to escape the endless ebb and flow of the world. Of reporters and paparazzi; a million people calling his name, pulling him in a million difference directions. The second leg of their tour started in two weeks and he was wiped out. He loved touring, loved interacting with the fans, but the older he got the more downtime he needed if, for nothing else, the fragile thing he called sanity.
Not that he considered himself anywhere near sane. Life in the music biz had never been sane. His parents had called him high-sprung; his friends crazy and the band members, probably, an arrogant prick. Which, he was. He was all of the above, but fronting a band like The Secret Agents and being the main creative genius, didn’t tend to engender one towards sanity.
Jay walked in and sank down into the other chair, shifting around to get comfortable. “I hate these chairs.”
Chris raised his eyebrows. “And you are sitting there why?”
“To bug the hell out of you.”
Chris snorted. “Well done, Jazzman. Well done.”
“The call earlier was Kerry,” Jay said, leaning over to look at the book in Chris’ lap. “He’ll be back by the beginning of next week. Rudy should be here by then, too.”
Kerry was thir bassist. Rudy the drummer, both coming in upon the departure of an original band member.
“So why the hell are you here and not amongst that gypsy band you call kids.”
“It’s so not a gypsy band,” Jay protested.
“How many kids is it now?” Chris asked. “Ten… twenty?”
“And one on the way.”
“Well, yeah.” Jay blushed, faint redness spreading across brown skin. “I’ll be heading home for few days so I can be back with the others.”
They fell silent.
“Are you all right?” Jay asked.
“Yeah,” came the answer, more upbeat than was the truth. He was never wholly all right, but he’d learned to keep himself to himself. It made things easier all around. No one need know the maddening world inside him.
He felt Jay watching him, figured he wasn’t fooling the other man.
“No more broken mirrors,” Jay said, suddenly serious.
“Make sure you eat.”
“Yep.” He was lying and they both knew it.
Rising, Jay lay a hand on his shoulder. “Call me.”
“Yep.” He didn’t watch Jay walked out. Heard the faint sound of the outer door closing behind him.
Alone folded him inside. Hidden, sinking into the disorder of his own mind.