Think quick, think quick. "Nope, youíll have to wait. Listen to it with everyone else in New York." Did she say something about going "back"? I knew there was more to this story. I like mysteries.

"Donít I get to hear the old stuff?"

I had to think about that. Some of it is pretty cheesey. I donít even like it. "Maybe later at the party. Only with one of us there to see your reaction."

"That could be embarrassing. For you. I donít get embarrassed."

She was dead serious. She scares me. Sheís gonna be fun to have around. I think weíll keep her.


He thinks heís making things better and heís making them worse. What if she doesnít like it and starts laughing. Iím gonna be there and make sure we skip "If You Want It To Be Good". Baby Nicky singing that is hilarious. I hope Mr. Smartass doesnít suggest watching old videos. My hair in "Loverboy" is truly frightening. His spinning across stage would be good for a laugh, it always gets me. I think itís gonna be ok. If I say that enough maybe Iíll convince myself. I donít know why this is making me so nervous.

We never got around to it at the party. We just partied. One more week. I love this CD. Iím more proud of it than anything weíve done so far. I wrote a song for it. It didnít make the cut, but I think itís excellent. Oh, Kevin stole Tracieís bacon again. I think one day she may hurt him.

Finally the day to leave came. We all met up at the airport. I hate flying. So does Nick. So we got to sit on either side of the girl. Kevin rolled his eyes. Hey, if youíre gonna have a girl guy friend you can use her for comfort on flights. I went to the bathroom when we could. When I came back Tracie was sitting there with a shit eating grin on her face, "Guess what Nick gave me?"

I didnít even want to guess, "What?"

She held up a CD player and 2 headphones, "Wanna listen with me? It is you after all."

Remind me later to hurt Nick. At least heíd given her the Japanese import with extra songs.


I wasnít head over heals in love with the first CD. They sounded so young, hell, they were. Kevin had kicked Nick out of his seat and joined. They wanted a review. "I liked Quit Playing Games, Everytime I Close My Eyes. Lay Down Beside Me, now that I can do. Like that R & B feel. And Iím not crazy about Iíll Never Break Your Heart, but Kevin, babe, you need to not speak like that. What is up with that voice?"

"You mean this one?"

I clapped my hand over the smartassí mouth, "Donít!"

AJ laughed, "What didnít you like?"

"Nickís whiney voice in Letís Have a Party. Boys Will Be Boys. How many of you had even had sex at this point."

Kevin laughed, "Oh yeah, me I think. We did these early promos videos with these pelvic thrusts. I remember teasing them that not a one of them had a clue. Nick was 13 singing heíll be your lover."

"I was hoping to avoid any embarrassing video memories." AJ put his head in his hands. "Next CD"

This I liked. I was jamming. I ripped of the headphones during one song, "This! I fucking love this. This is amazing."

Kevin put the headphone to his ear, "Thatís The Way That I Like It"

I hit the replay button a few times. I kept going. "10,000 Promises, love this." Then we hit a little problem, "Sampling Spandau Ballet? Wrong." Then I nearly peed my pants.

AJ took the headphones off me, "I knew I should find away to skip that song."

"Bad boys." I made a naughty face and pouted. I listened to this song with them talking. "Howie is toast. Nick had never kissed a girl. Brian is a goof. AJ has some good moves. Kevin, that voice again." They laughed with me. "I must go to the ladies. Iíll be right back." I climbed over AJ and grabbed his face, "Iím your bad boy". I kissed him and walked on.


What she didnít understand and that left us dazed and confused was that as she said that and laughed it was the same laugh that AJ does at the beginning of one of the songs on the new CD. "Did you give her Millennium?"

"No. That was fucking bizarre." We both sat quietly for a few seconds. "Any idea why her hearing our stuff is making me so nervous?"

"Because most people we meet anymore at least have heard of us, and she is honest and would tell us if she didnít like it?"

About that time she came back, "I like."

"You like what?"

"You guys, the music. Itís not my normal thing, but itís good. Overall. I canít wait to hear the new one. Iím excited." AJ and I both smiled.

We got to New York and checked into the hotel. AJ gave her his room and shacked with me. Just like old times. It was kinda cool. I was nervous as hell. What if this CD tanked? It would be over before it began. This one could really break us in the States. "I gotta go out. Iím gonna go nuts."

About that time Nick, Brian, and Howie banged on the door, "Weíre nervous. We gotta go out."

"Hey, you guys wanna go out?" Tracie had appeared through the connecting door between our rooms.

Nick put his arm around her, "We were just discussing that. Letís find out whatís going on."

"We can go to MonWow."

We all stared at her, "Really?"

"Give me five minutes." Tracie got on the phone. MonWow is a private club that moves locations a lot. There was usually an up and coming sort of band there and it was a safe haven for anyone in town. One of a dozen clubs where celebrities could go unnoticed. You had to know someone to get in, and we didnít. Until now. I had heard of it, in passing somewhere, but didnít know enough yet to know how to go about getting in. We werenít quite there yet. But Tracie knew. I knew there was more to her story.


Yes, this was a risk. But I needed to blow off steam and of all the places in the whole city I knew for sure I would "safe" there. I got the address and we headed out.

"Youíre sure about this?" Nick said looking around. "This is a warehouse."

I smiled and knocked on the door. I knew this bouncer, "Tracie? Good lord girl we thought you were gone for good. Get your ass in here." Carlos gave me a hug and looked at the five men behind me, "They with you?" I nodded. "Welcome to the show."

Once inside we had to stop and let our eyes adjust to the darkness. Carlos led us to a table near the stage, "Julia is tonight, does she know youíre here?"

I smiled, "I didnít know Julia was here."

"Ah, the girls are back in town! Iíll send over a waitress."

AJ leaned forward, "This is cool. I feel like weíve arrived. Iím gonna go check this out. Get me a shot and a JD and coke." He took off with Howie and Brian in tow.

We sat and looked around. Tables surrounded a small stage and over to the side was a makeshift dance floor. The music was loud and a mix of everything. It wasnít uncommon to hear Nine Inch Nails right after Duran Duran. They played Nirvana and Nick and I hit the floor. This I found humourous. He loved Nirvana and that genre, but the music he sang was a polar opposite. He told me that he didnít listen to the type of music they performed. I liked that. Told me he wasnít locked into anything, could look around and see things for himself.

It came time for the show and we sat down. I had met Julia six months before I left New York. We became friends fast. I loved her music. She wrote what I felt a lot of the time. Some upbeat happy, some sad, and some angry. She was one of the few people who knew why and when I left. It was a girl respect thing between us. Halfway through her first song she saw me and we exchanged smiles. I saw her looking at the men I sat with and almost laugh. She dedicated "Bury You" to me. Boy, did that fit, "If I could bury you, would anyone even notice you were gone."


Thatís some ugly song. Mean. I wonder what it means? Cute woman. Dark curly hair, thin, dark eyes. I like her music too. She said she writes it all. Good for her. She jumped off stage and came over and hugged Tracie, "I am so glad to see you. I was worried."

I want to know what about. Tracie introduced all of us and we sat down. Julia has this killer Australian accent. I could listen to that for hours. She never said anything that gave me any clues about how they knew each other or what this was all about. She knew who we were. Kevin laughed, "Tracie didnít know who we were."

"You didnít know who they were? Their new CD is gettings tons of talk up."

Tracie rolled her eyes, "Fine, I suck. Whatever."

This was what I needed. Nervous. Pam gets in tomorrow. She lives in Chicago. Weíve been apart for about two weeks this time. I miss her. Iím glad sheíll be here for all this craziness. Iíll spend time with her and sheíll see how important she is too me. Even with all the stuff going on.



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