Standard Lines

Chapter Ten

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve

June 6, 2008


What delay? It's all forgotten on this end. I know how touring goes. We used to do it together back in the day, remember?

Fuck reminiscing. I have the present on which to're having a BOY! Holy shit! I can't imagine, Jules...Nick with a son? That's so weird. Nick wanting his son to have his name, though...that sounds much more like the Nick I know. Gracefully egotistical--ha! I hope you're keeping his big head in check, and I'm not talking about the one below the waistline. Personally, I like the name Shawn Elliot. It's strong, but subtly so. Perfect for a kid of yours. :)

You came to Charlotte?! I'm going to pretend I'm not bitter that you didn't swing by the house. Of course, I understand your decision to avoid a detour. I can only imagine what Howie and Nick would've had to say to each other after so many years. Hell, I can only imagine what I'd have to say to Nick. I know he's being good to you now, but I'm still angry with him for his horrible treatment of you at the beginning of this year. Angry enough to deck him, I'm sure. So, yes, probably good that you didn't stop by. The phone calls are nice enough.

I can't believe Nick thought to perform songs from the last album. I remember cooking for all of the Boys after those recording sessions--surely you too remember those huge barbeques we used to hold. I think the memories are part of the reason Howie doesn't grill anymore. It just doesn't feel right if Kevin isn't standing behind him, trying hard to offer pointers without completely taking control of the job.

Just reading about "Safest Place to Hide" makes me miss the old days. It's interesting that you should mention Brian, though. I spoke to Leighanne just yesterday. She was calling from a payphone, Jules. Apparently, Brian saw her cell phone bill, grew suspicious of all the long distance calls, and traced the numbers. He knows that she's been talking to us, and...he didn't take it well. He threatened to leave and take the kids with him if she didn't cease contact. He's got her scared shitless--she was in tears when she called.

Can you imagine sweet, grounded Brian threatening to divorce Leighanne? They were so in love the last time we saw them, Jules. What the hell happened to our family?

Nick's picked up guitar? And he plays it well? What on earth is this world coming too? Will we find a cure for cancer next?

I really need to stop hating on Nick. I know you love him. I just...I hate what he's put you through, Jules. He'd better be treating you like a queen out there on the road. If he's not, just say the word, and I'll come kick his ass.

Love that you guys have a bet going about who can collect the most hotel key cards. That's appropriately ridiculous. Reminds me of the careful couple I used to know. ;) I'm glad Nick's crazy bandmates are around to keep you company, too. I know that the road can get lonely, and it's good that you're surrounded by so many wonderful, entertaining people.

I can't, however, believe that he blows you off when you confide to him your worries about the post-birth period. What an insensitive pratt! You should trust him? Right, because it's not like he's ever given you a reason not to... *snort* I'm serious, Jules. I can make him rue the day Howie married me. Hopefully Alicia will keep an eye on him for you when you have to head home. I want to believe the best of Nick, but...we both know how cynical I am.

Not going to comment on the album title. The Boys never flexed enough creative muscle in naming their albums. I'm inclined to blame Jive, but that might just be my strong dislike of record labels. I've heard Howie complain of them far too often.

You asked about Howie. The sad truth is that I wish I knew the answer. He's not getting any better, Jules. He had to cancel a trip two days ago because he was too exhausted to travel, and he's got this horrible flu that he can't seem to shake. He goes into these terrible coughing fits--ones that sometimes last all night--and I can't do anything but make him tea and rub his back until he quiets. He's worried about sleeping in bed with me because he knows that one of us needs to be well enough to take care of the children, but...I can't leave him alone, Jules. Not when he's this sick.

It's killing the kids to see him like this. Just yesterday night, he was helping to put them to bed, and Laynie asked him to sing her a lullaby...Jules, he was so hoarse that he couldn't even get a note out.

I forced him into the steam shower this morning, hoping to clear his sinuses and ease his aching muscles. He was too weak to fight me. I undressed him for the first time in two weeks, and I could see his ribs poking out of his tanned skin. He's gone an entire week without doing his precious sit-ups, but he's still losing weight. Hell, Jules, after seeing him this morning, I think he may be skinnier than I am.

All this, and he still refuses to see a doctor. Can you believe it? I told him I was giving him three days to get better. We're older, yes, but I'd like to think we have quite a few years left together, and I'm not going to watch Howie go down because he couldn't swallow his pride long enough to get medicine for a stupid case of the flu.

I'm praying that that's all this is.

The kids are enjoying their summer immensely. They love that Daddy's been home so much, and we've put them both in day camps so they can hang out with other kids their age. They come home every day bubbling over with stories to tell. They jump up onto the counter, swing their legs back and forth, and relay all kinds of crazy things while I cook dinner. Rooster likes the swinging legs--he's made a game of trying to steal their sneakers while they're chattering.

I finished my third novel yesterday. I'd be thrilled to bits and pieces if I weren't so worried about Howie.

He's going to get better. I have to keep telling myself that.

Sad stuff aside, I loved seeing the pictures of you and Nick in People. I even bought the issue so I could read the whole damn article. I left it on the coffee table. If Howie's seen it, he hasn't said anything.

I miss you and love you to pieces. Take care of yourself and the baby. Oh, hell, take care of the blonde oaf as well.

All my love,


P.S. I've enclosed a picture of Little D with his new drum set. As though I don't get enough headaches already...

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