Sequel: Folie à Deux

From Under the Cork Tree

Thirty Four

While staying in the hospital, I didn't dream. Or, I didn't remember having a dream whenever I was awaken. It was nice, even though I slept hours, they felt like short naps that refueled my energy. It was a nice little perk I had, I loved not having the same recurring dream of my memories of John. I didn't wake up feeling sad or broken hearted.

When I did wake (the full 4 days I was in the hospital) I was kindly reminded that I was a mommy. I wasn't afraid, I was actually happy; happy to feed and hold her. I couldn't stop staring at her either, I think it was because I was trying to see John in her. I had caught just a little glimpse, but I couldn't see it after the one time. Jojo had a regular baby face, it bothered me, but when her eyes opened I had hope again to find John in her features.

The entire time I had been in the hospital I had been giving details to John's parents of every little thing Jojo did. I described every inch of her delicate little body, going as far as to describe her cute baby smell. Perry couldn't wait to see her, she and Bob were saving up to come to California to visit her; I was preparing the same, to save and fly to New York to see them and go see John's grave. The thought would've made me sad, but I actually felt some joy out of going to that graveyard and showing Jojo her daddy's final resting place. It sounds morbid, but I really wanted Jojo to know that her daddy leaving wasn't his choice, that he loved her more than anything, and that we won't ever forget him, and he wouldn't ever forget her.

Thinking about the future made my eyes burn with tears, and it broke my heart. Jojo wouldn't have what so many of us were lucky to have, but I felt determined to let her know that no one would love her more than him and I, and she had a lot of father figures to have around. I dreaded the day she'd ask where he was, and/or why he was gone.


The day I was set to go home, I hadn't been able to see that night. I had been in the hospital officially for 5 days, and this one night I couldn't sleep. I just couldn't, something had been eating at me, but I wasn't sure what it was. Nothing bad or out of the ordinary had happened, I just couldn't sleep, so I stayed awake until the sun came up. I figured I was excited or jittery to go home, but there was more to it and I didn't know exactly what.

It wasn't even 5AM when the door creaked open; I had been watching infomercials, and I guessed it was a nurse. I was wrong, obviously, when I saw Pete creeping in like a criminal. I laughed, "Hey there, smooth criminal."

Pete jumped slightly, but smiled when he looked at me, "Hey. Why are you up?"

"Why are you creepin' 'round my hospital room?" I countered back.

He shrugged, "Couldn't sleep. Now you."

"I couldn't sleep either," I answered, "I don't know what it is."

"Where's the kid?" He asked as he made his way to my bed; he then plopped at the end of the bed.

"Sleeping of course. I'm suppose to feed her at 7."

"What time are you going home?"

"Doc said noon," I yawned after, "I can't wait to get her home."

"She's gonna dig that room," he smiled wider.

"Yeah, I know. I'm probably going to be sleeping in there for awhile."

"I slept in there, it's awesome," he chuckled.

"You been staying at my place?" I asked him with a cocked brow.

"Yeah," he said with a shrug, "I told ya, I missed you."

I smiled and then laughed, "You're so weird."

"I know," Pete's stupid grin grew.

We were quiet for a moment before I spoke up, remembering he was leaving for tour again. Thinking about it made me feel sad, and I didn't understand why. My feelings were all over the place, so I blamed it on the hormones.

"So, you're leaving for tour soon..." I murmured.

Pete nodded, "Yeah, 2 whole months we'll be on the road, and then we're gonna come back here and start writing and recording for the new record."

"That's pretty cool."

"It's gonna be a lot," he exhaled and then moved to lie down beside me, "can I stay at your place?"

"Uh-huh, but I don't know how long my parents are gonna be here, so the downstairs apartment might be taken."

"It's cool, I'll just crash on your couch."

"What is it with you and crashing at my place?" I asked him with a small laugh.

Pete shrugged, "I like your place. The house we always stay at is gross."

"My apartment ain't that clean."

"It's cleaner than that place."

"Fine, you can stay," I exhaled with faux annoyance.

Pete rested his head on my shoulder, "Thanks, Angel."

We both yawned simultaneously; "Don't mention it."

Pete and I were quiet, the TV drowned out our breathing. Before I knew it I had fallen asleep, as did Pete, though I hadn't known it at the time. The next time I was awaken, a nurse was shaking my shoulder softly to wake me.

"Angelus, is this man supposed--" she stopped herself, "is he your husband?"

The nurse was new, I hadn't met her before. She held Jojo in her arms, rocking her from side to side with a worried expression her face. The nurse wore her ID badge clipped to the sleeve of her purple scrub top; she was young, her name and picture were displayed; April H. Mason.

"That's Pete," I said softly, I didn't even have to look over. "He's the Godfather."

April exhaled, relieved, "Oh, okay. Sorry, I wasn't sure."

"It's fine. Is Johanna ready to eat?" I asked.

April hummed and gently gave her to over to me, "I'll be back soon. Your doctor should be down within an hour to talk to you."

"Thanks," I murmured.

The nurse left, leaving a squirming Jojo with me. Jojo was fussy, her wide ocean eyes were half lidded and her lips puckered; she all but verbally begged me to feed. Before I began, the room had been too quiet, the TV had been turned off, so I turned it back on, clicking to find something to watch while I fed Jojo. I gave up, leaving the channel on whatever and began to feed Jojo, who had begun to whine.

"Okay, here, here," I said before she latched on. "Don't think whining will get you everything, missy. Your daddy ain't here to spoil ya."

"But her uncle is."

I nearly jumped hearing Pete's tired voice behind me. I looked at him and saw his eyes were squeezed shut and he was stretching. He sat up and began to climb off the bed, "Did I drool on you?"

"Nope," I answered, watching him move around the room, "what're you doin'?"

Pete kept his back to me, "I don't wanna look--I don't wanna make you feel uncomfortable."

I chuckled, "Pete, you've seen much more of me before, for Godsake's."

"Not-uh," he turned to face me, "I've never seen you naked!"

I smiled, "Okay. But, you've seen me at my worst, I think you can handle me breast feeding. Or, you don't want to?"

Pete blushed, his entire face turned pink, "It's not that I don't want to...I just don't wanna disrespect you."

"I don't think you ever could," I answered simply.

Pete's face had cleared as he came back over and sat at the end of my bed. He didn't look directly at my chest, he looked at me, then rubbed his neck. I giggled, "It's okay, Pete, you don't havta look."

He chuckled nervously, his face burning red this time around, "Can we talk about somethin' else?"

I giggled again, "Sorry. Can I ask you something?"

Pete looked at me again, "Yeah. What?"

"Would you like to be her Godfather? You don't have to be if you don't want to, I're the closest male friend that I have."

Pete smiled softly, that genuine sweet smile that I liked, "Yeah, of course I will."

"Thanks. I was going to ask Anthony, but you've been around a lot more, and you know a lot more about me than anyone, aside from Rae."

"I feel kinda honored," he said with a small laugh, "thanks for thinkin' 'bout me, Angelus."

"It was a no-brainer."

Pete and I talked a bit more; after Jojo finished feeding, Pete held her, burping her until she was through and fell asleep in his arms. He looked so great with her, I sneaked a few grainy pictures of him holding her on my sidekick. That's when an idea popped into my head.

"Pete, can you help me set up a blog?"

I said my goodbyes to the nurses and was whisked away home with my parents driving, me, Jojo and Pete in the back. I felt so happy to be heading home, but there was this heavy, aching feeling inside of my chest. It didn't feel like the ache I felt in my back, stomach and pelvis, it was more of a sting.

My heart felt as if something was stuck through it. I felt like something sharp had pierced it, but it had been there for some time. Like I had grown accustomed to the feeling, only now I was acknowledging that it was there. Such a strange feeling, I couldn't place it. I decided to ignore it, there wasn't anything -I thought- that I could do about it.

The ride home was quiet, occasionally we spoke, but the rest was silent. Once we arrived, my mother carried Jojo in her car seat, and my dad, along with Pete, helped me out the car. Rae has come from my apartment and helped, bringing in the balloons, flowers and my overnight bag into the downstairs apartment. Since I was sore, I decided to stay downstairs until I felt up to walking up the stairs. The first thing I did once we were inside was set myself down on the comfy and worn in couch.

My parents busied themselves around me; my mom began to cook and my dad brought down the bassinet for Jojo; Pete helped him, bringing pillows and my favorite blanket for me. I thanked them all, took a pain killer, and within 20 minutes I had fallen asleep, feeling relief from the sore and sharp pain battling inside of my body. But, as I slept, I could hear my friends and family talking softly, eating and cooing at Jojo; I never felt so content, and saddened in my entire life.

Things were okay, but at the same time they weren't.

That broken record: John, John, John. I had suddenly missed him immensely, in my dreams, in my sleep. I missed him so badly; my heart hurt, along with my head. Only, as I begun to feel it all consume my being, I didn't cry, which surprised me.

When I woke up, the pain didn't go away, it just stay, hanging heavy in my chest like an ornament. It was dragging the branches of my soul down, and I hated everything and everyone. How insane and unbelievable was this? It all took over too fast and too hard. Just a few hours home and already I wanted to die, or to flee, to break all responsibility and end it all.

I couldn't. It isn't me. I love my daughter too much to leave.

It was all in the mixing bowl of my mind, never smoothing out the ingredients to make it all better. Nothing great would come from the sadness, pity, anger and love. I just wanted my head to stop revolving and replaying that sad, sad record.


We were home a week, I had spoken to John's family, causing a rift in my "wellness." I wasn't getting any better thinking about my dead husband. I saw his face in my mind, I could picture him so vividly. And it didn't help that my daughter is his splitting image. It tore through me like a hurricane.

This is when I began to write. I wrote on my computer about John. Pete had created my own little web page where I wrote and wrote. I knew no one would read it, it was for me, but more for Jojo and venting. I posted pictures of her and Pete, I wrote how I felt about him, how I was grateful for him. In my head, I knew my little girl would be able to see this and possibly be more than grateful for Pete, and she would see how he helped me through losing her daddy.

All of my writing and venting was saving me in a way. Having a baby didn't save me, but it healed and capped John into never, never being forgotten. My dead husband would live on through our daughter -along with the music.

As I began to write my tenth post, mostly about the pain I was in, Pete stopped in. My mom and dad were out, getting groceries and formula, since I was too sore to feed Jojo. First, I hadn't even heard him knock, not until Jojo had begun to cry.

I set my computer down and picked her up from her little rocker beside the coffee table. Jojo stopped crying once she was in my arms; I carefully settled her against my chest and moved to the door, opening it after another knock.

"Hey," I moved aside, "what's up?"

Pete had his hoodie zipped all the way up, a Jack Skellington beanie pulled nearly down over his eyes, and his hands quickly dug into the tight pockets of his skinny jeans. "Hey, I came by to see you and the kid."

I closed the door and followed him back to the couch. Jojo was wide awake and touching my face and hair; lucky for me, Pete took her, gently, and she immediately out her hands to his cheeks. He grinned at her, that big goofy smile of his, which made her touch his lips and mouth.

"She likes you," I murmured softly.

"Yeah," he kept his eyes on her. "I'm gonna miss her."

That's when my stomach fell; he was leaving for that 2 month tour.

"The tour," I said to myself.

Pete hummed, leaned back and playfully tried to move Jojo's hand from his face, "I got pictures of her, it won't be so bad."

"I bet she'll miss you too."

Pete looked at me then, "Yeah. Not only me, Andy and Patrick too. She barely knows Joe."

"Joe and babies shouldn't mix," I laughed, "he's always high, he'd probably think she was a little monster."

Pete smiled, "She is a little monster. A cute little monster."

Pete continued to play with Jojo until his cell began to ring; he frowned deeply and handed Jojo off to me, "I gotta go. The bus is comin' in an hour."

"You're leaving already?" I asked as I held Jojo.

He nodded, looking at his phone, "Yeah."

I felt dread, it wasn't horrible, it was just uncomfortable sadness.

"I'm gonna miss you too," I muttered absentmindedly.

Pete whipped his head around at me, as if I said something brilliant.

"I'll miss you too, Angel," he smiled sincerely.

Pete stood after he checked his phone one final time, "I gotta go."

I stood with him, still cradling Jojo, "Alright."

I walked him to the door, opening it and watching him step past the threshold. Before I could say goodbye, Pete moved back, standing in front of me. The scene was like some cheesy romantic comedy; he stood in front of me, less than an inch shorter than me, but still having that dominate aura around him. I knew what was going to happen, but it didn't register; my stomach knotted as the feeling slowly coursed my veins.

Pete was going to kiss me.

He swallowed, licked his lips and leaned forward, head tilted. I too swallowed and waited; my eyes were opened until I felt his lips against mine. They were chapped, but nothing too unpleasant; it was actually a lot sweeter than I anticipated. Hell, I wasn't anticipating any of this when he first showed up. It was a nice addition to a goodbye.
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First, let me apologize for taking nearly a month to update! I'm so sorry about that, I've just been having a tough time in my personal life, and I'm barely overcoming all the mess. So, I hope this makes up for it, at least...? I'd like to hear what you think, or what you expect to happen because my brain feels like it's on the fritz.
So, to read my excuse click here.

Thanks for reading and continuing to stick with me, I truly appreciate it

shameless plug (for the hell of it)
The Side Effects of You
Crunching Numbers
Save His Soul
Tear You Apart
A Madness of Two