‹ Prequel: Union


The Vasitity of Vancity


Friday, May 23rd, 2014 - The First Day of Tour

Tre cramped up and he released himself on a winding spool of pleasure. He let the concaved arch of his back fall gently onto the barely there bump of his wife's stomach and just relinquished in the moment. Another love making session with his wife had come to a very perfect and pleasant end. He rolled off her and laid himself on his back to rest.

Rose smiled and turned on her side and propped her body weight up on one unsteady elbow resting on a plush mattress. She looked down on her husband and she lent over him with question in her eyes. "You know that would generally make me mad." Rosie rolled her eyes. She chattered a lot and she laid back down and rested her head into the softness of her pillow.

"Oh I know," Tre said. "I never wanted you to feel taken advantage of. You were just hot laying there."

Rose caroled and then started to chuckle, "Waking me up at god knows what time it is for a fuck session." She smiled and nodded her head, pleased with her comments.

"You like early morning surprises," Tre mocked her and he had this certain smile on his face that you would only see on Tre Cool.

"Yes, I know how the saying goes 'I'm that good.' You are that good honey...so just be glad that that was really great or I'd be kicking your ass to Vancouver." She paused. "But, when I think of everything we're leaving behind today when we leave...." Rose said, trailing off as she looked around their shared master bedroom and out the window at the evergreen trees glowing a gold in the morning sunlight. She crossed one of her legs over the other and started to reminisce. This was different, this felt painful. She was leaving everything, her home, her family life and most importantly, herself.

"We're not leaving anything," Tre protested and he crossed his arms across his naked chest. "We still have each other and that's really all that matters. Don't worry about it. It'll be fun, just like starting over. Rejuvenating." The drummer paused and licked his lips. "I'm going on TV tonight, we're doing an interview with MTV Canada."

"I knew that," Rose said, her eyelids dawning upward and her gaze right into the sun.

"Yeah," Tre said, nodding his head by pushing his fingers up and down on the back of his neck. Once discontinuing this gesture, he began to flatten his hair, very deep in thought about his small close-knit family. "I really should call Claudia and let her know we're heading out soon."

"Are you going to have her drive Frankito to the airport?" Rose inquired and she extended her hand over to help her husband flatten his hair for no apparent reason. Under her breath, "Got a few grays..." she murmured.

"Yeah," Tre replied, "I won't be seeing him for a few months so I want to say good bye like I always do. And not to mention, I want to give him some girl pointers before I leave." Tre raised his eyebrows like a sexual deviant proud of the son he knew would more than likely follow in his footsteps when it came to the ladies. "Darn kid, a teen already. I love that boy."

Rose giggled, "Feel old?"

"Well no," he replied in a spastic yelp. "Well damn, 'Mona is 19 now -- yeah I do feel fucking old."

"Aw honey," she swooned in a rhythmical manner, throwing her hand forward to suggest he not worry about it. "You have a good fifty years left. That's a long time."

Tre climbed out of bed with a shrug of his shoulders and his bare ass became exposed to the open room, and his man package a reflection in Rose's vanity mirror. He threw himself a quick glance out the corner of his eye, smiling pridefully. There was an older portrait sitting on the vanity table. He and Rose had posed together before a blue background at a photography studio that may have been at Wal-Mart. He wasn't much different than himself now, maybe one less wrinkle and a few more hairs. Rose though --he noticed this especially -- was a healthy looking 19-year-old woman with simply a few scars adorning her face from a near fatal car crash she'd been in years before. There was a sadness in her eyes he couldn't pinpoint, perhaps it being so soon after she'd lost her first child. But what Tre had to note the most when he looked at that portrait was how much more rounded she was. He knew her secret that wasn't so much a secret anymore and the very notion had eaten him up inside since the moment he'd found out. He hadn't discussed it to her wishes and had never confronted Mike -- something he couldn't bear to not be a man and do, but did for the sake of his Rose refrained.

Rose wrapped the bedsheets about herself again and just watched in the veil of darkness as her spouse searched eagerly for a pair of pants -- anything and then stopped to look at something ahead of him by the mirror. Her body felt warm though and overall quite tired after said sack session. She had little on her mind but sleep and that was her very intention before Tre came to her and began to gently stroke her forehead.

"Rose?" the drummer said, the gentle of his touch reflecting in his voice.

"Mmhmm?" Rose whispered in a tired whimsical groan simply letting her breaths come out shallowly and not opening her eyes.

"Never change," Tre told her and he brushed her cheek softly. "You're perfect love."

* * *

When the busy day had really began, Tre had some last minute packing to do before they were all to leave Oakland and their current way of life for almost a year. He had a lot on his plate, but he knew from experience it was nothing he couldn't handle.

They left for the Oakland airport early, their band's jet ported in waiting of them. Their family SUV traveled west across the city. Tre took in everything, memorizing it, though unsure why. Oakland was his home, had been for the past twenty-five years. On his way out of town a part of him expected to see imaginary dogs throwing crap and "the fritter fat boy," but the bay had changed so much over the course of time it wasn't the eighties or the early nineties anymore. Tre saw planes overhead, he could tell they were nearing their destination. One hand he kept planted on his cell phone, expecting calls from his band and the label which always phoned on the first day of any tour.

It was uncertain what was to be expected from this tour that could truly see to it the again rise or the fall of Green Day. Things were going to be unveiled soon and it was a very nerve-racking thing to have to endure, for everyone.

"I was in an airplane, because I'm not too good with flying. I was flying home from Los Angeles, and those flights home always make me think, 'What if I don't make this?'" - Billie Joe Armstrong

Rose had her own thoughts about things. At this particular time she couldn't even put to her mind her hereditary fear of flying or the swarms of fans she was destined to face once they arrived at their destination; she was so wrapped up in the excess baggage of her life. Her eyelids drooped over her vibrant green pupils and she took a downward glance at her spouse's left hand strewn across his lap whilst his right rested on the wheel. His gold wedding band was on him, he had worn it long enough that it had sunken into his skin and flesh, she observed. Rose began playing with her own wedding band and slowly did an examination up her hubby's forearm and to his biceps seeping out of the white t-shirt with some random logo on it. He was still his magnificent specimen of man, no matter if he were the 33-year-old American Idiot drummer she had met years before, or his current age of forty-one. Rose smiled inside smugly, her face remained almost dormant of any expression whatsoever.

A light iridescent blue sparkled in Tre's eyes and he glanced into the rear view mirror at his daughter who was looking down and playing with some imminent object she had dragged into the vehicle with her. The usually cocky man looked away from her and placed his hand over his wife's where he saw it sitting in her lap. He took his eyes off the road, only for moments at a time. He wanted to thoroughly be able to enjoy the last moments he'd have in the bay with his family for a long time. Michelle would be much older by the time they returned, Tre realized. He wanted to take in the moment for being beautiful, just him, his wife and their daughter. At home.

Maybe something like Rose had mentioned to him that morning about leaving things behind.

A steady flow of traffic came and went from the airport when they got there, making it like rush hour even trying to get into the parking lot. The family were feeling impatient, the mere thought of being here made their hearts race in anticipation.

By luck, Tre found a parking space at the far end of the lot. They were yards from the terminal, but close enough he felt he could run. Each packed themselves out of their family SUV, touching down on cement with either Creepers, Chanel or Gymboree shoes.

Rose looked at the sky and then around her at the Berkeley Hills she would be leaving behind. Those hills were her solitude and now she was stepping out of her comfort zone and venturing out into the world with only the familiarity of her daughter, husband and his band. She felt brave doing so without as much as a tear shed; usually these type of occurrences were very disturbing and disruptive to her.

Tre took his daughter's hand and came around to open up the lift gate on the back of his vehicle. The suitcases were stacked neatly together, so well they hadn't shifted at all during the trip to the airport. Tre made a point of noting it to his wife and daughter too.

"Michelle honey, you hold daddy's hand," Rose dictated like any Mother would.

"Okay Mommy," Michelle said innocently.

"Yeah, we're good," Tre said, looking to the airport terminal for any sign of his band mate's vehicles. He retracted his eyes and looked at his wife who stood a mere two feet in front of him. She pursed her lips in annoyance and he smiled at her impishly and very insecure.

"Okay," she said flipping her hair back over her shoulder and adjusting the strap of her white tank.

"I wonder where the guys are," Tre hummed, placing the wheels of all their luggage bags on the airport's concrete lot. He squinted his eyes looking across rows of cars, from one end of the lot to the other.

Rose saw a plane ascend and disappear into the clouds floating above Oakland. She shuddered suddenly with no explicable reason and felt herself grabbing for the hand of her 5-year-old daughter. She held her tight like a teddy bear, for protection or simple comfort -- she couldn't be sure.

Tre had offloaded all of their bags from the trunk of his SUV single-handedly whilst also holding his daughter's hand to the opposite of Rose. He let her go and took full charge of seeing to it his vehicle was locked and all the suitcases came with them.

Rose led the way. She started off for the terminal before her husband who had a pair of disguising shades thrown over his eyes and was dragging a couple of Louis Vuitton suitcases behind him. She turned back to look at him, paced herself and held Michelle's hand at her stomach side. He looked the same sort of way her elder relative had done himself up when he had come to get her from the airport nine years before. Such a mysterious man, not to be known but just pondered upon.

There was a jealousy nestled in her that she could never tell anyone of, but she couldn't help but gloat to herself inside after accepting the fact that she did indeed live the American Dream -- whatever that is.

Tre's cell phone went off like he'd been waiting for it to do. He was so quick to unhand the luggage, flip his phone open and bring it to his ear it was remarkable. His family had come to an abrupt halt at the very sound of his Star Wars ringtone. "Hello?" Tre answered, looking forward to his wife, spoken in an excited tone.

"Hey Tre, you at the airport?" spoke the raspy voice of Gary, Green Day's management divisor at Warner Bros. Reprise Records.

"We're at the airport now, who do we talk to?" the clad drummer replied and he began to pace the parking lot like he often did whenever he was on the telephone. He smiled, the words from management, introducing him and walking him through how the tour had been planned out made him tingle inside.

"Okay, go to Departures and talk to a woman named Leslie Goldman. She will direct you guys to where your Canadair jet is parked." Gary paused in an attempt to catch his breath after it was obvious he'd spent so long planning the next year of the band's career. "Once in Vancouver, you'll check in at your hotel, there should be a regular chauffeur waiting like you're used to. I've talked to MTV up in British Columbia and they said they are expecting you guys there at four-thirty. The label just needs to go over some interview guidelines with them, they need to be informed of what they can and cannot talk about with you guys. Rob will have some involvement with this too, hence he is the core producer."

"Right, I understand that," Tre replied and he mistakenly began to zone out and watch Rose pick up the handle of one wheeled suitcase and start to slowly walk away with their daughter. His eyes were cloudy, he was unseeing.

"What are they saying?" Rose mouthed, suddenly finding herself anxious to know as well with her head turned over her shoulder and her steps slowly droning.

Tre held his hand up as he continued to listen on the phone. He was so intent to pay attention carefully, getting the facts straight about where he was to go, who he was to meet and what cities they'd be spending the coming week in. Tre was business, he looked it and he felt it standing there the wealthy man he was, flying out on pricey escapades to do a job he loved.

"Tre, there's one more thing we haven't discussed."

Tre bit his lip and gave his full attention to his manager. "Yes, what's that?"

"You each have your own buses now to take you from city to city as you know. I've made sure your bus has been customized to accommodate you, your wife and your child," the raspy-voiced man ensued.

"Perfect, thank you," Tre replied. "Is there a soda pop fridge under my bed?"

"You know, there was a time when you called that a beer fridge," Green Day's candid manager chuckled. "Yes, there is a soda pop fridge under your bed."

"Cool," Tre answered and he simply shrugged his shoulders as if it were nothing. "Beer's bad for you Gary!" The drummer finished the phone call off on that note and then hung up. He shrugged his shoulders once again like nothing. He could do anything or have anything he wanted and he took it for granted but simply laughing it off arrogantly. "Okay, away we go!" he called to his wife and child and they all began a quick jaunt towards the air terminal.

* * *

Things were starting to matter less to Rose. There was this strong burning in her conscious once the day of tour actually arrived, and it said fuck everything. She needed a way to cope with her husband and she being in the presence of likely company. If she acted like she didn't care, than things would stay together and nothing would ever fall apart, she assumed. After all, the very burden of keeping together the trio band of twenty-five years was solely on her hands and she knew this.

It didn't surprise anyone when the rain had never seemed to yield in Oakland except the day before their departure. It was raining here in Vancouver too, only seven hundred and fifty miles from home, up the North American Pacific coastline.

There was an atypical afternoon that had arrived when Green Day and their families had quite comfortably settled into the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Burrard Street, downtown. There was sometime to go before anyone would be stepping onto any stage and everyone spent the time in their own according ways.


Billie choose to seclude himself in his suite where even Adrienne and his grown children were shunned. Mike on his lonesome took his son sightseeing and Rose and Tre went to a late lunch, early dinner in the lounge downstairs with their daughter.

Rose had a casual white wifebeater that she never changed out of that day because she was simply too comfortable in it. Her husband had changed since Oakland unethically and was now wearing a black t-shirt with a Zildjian logo across the front. Rose puttered aimlessly, taking unpremeditated sips off a Diet Coke sitting on the bar like tabletop before her.

She looked from one end of the lounge to the other, observing different people coming and going. More than half were Asian descent, though more than likely Canadian citizens. It was so similar to Berkeley, Rose thought, again aimlessly. There were always so many people of different races around the bay, many being exchange students at U.C. Berkeley or simply refugees of Chinese sweatshops. She couldn't get home off her mind, when at home she couldn't get the tour off her mind.

Tre looked to her, he took her hand in his and gave it a gentle squeeze, the diamond in her wedding band denting the flesh of his palm. She gave him this deviant smile that made his nose twitch like Samantha Stevens. He always felt so sexually charged and ready for her, but a restaurant under the Hyatt Regency was surely no place for that, especially since they were on parental time.

The waitress came by for the third time before their initial meals arrived and topped up their drinks. She seemed too old to know who Tre Cool was, therefore the discussion never even arose. Rose was semi-pleased; this was like being any ordinary family eating out at any regular restaurant. She always tried to play ignorant to it, but there were a lot of things about her life and marriage that could have been more normal but simply weren't because her husband was who he was. She had grown accustom and always accepting because this was the closest thing she could get to what she always wanted in her life and she took it and was happy with it.

Their meals arrived at 5:30 in the groggy evening and they ate as a family to be envied by those orphaned or less fortunate.

Michelle had a tiny Island Farms milk carton she was letting the contents of suck up a straw and into her mouth and daddy had a coffee cup that needed refilling every five minutes or so. She looked at her father across from her at the table; she was sitting on the side of a padded booth with her thigh pressed firmly to her mother's. She let out a silent belch as her milk carton came back down on the table.

"Daddy," Michelle said, nipping for a french fry on her cheeseburger platter.

"Mmhmm?" Tre replied, throwing his shades off his eyes and tucking them back atop of his head and over his hair.

"Will you make your hair green again?"

Rose spat her drink out, catching it with a napkin as she excusably began a tyranny of laughing and coughing on her soda.

Tre thought for a moment, looking to Rose and realizing she'd obviously told their daughter about all his wacky hair experiments of the past as well. He grinned, he smiled and he did everything. "Probably not," he replied, looking across the booth and down into the aquamarine eyes of his youngest child. "Why do you ask sweets?"

"I want to see it green," Michelle said blatantly. "It'd be silly Daddy."

Rose shrugged her shoulders and elongated her jaw into an awkward smile with wide eyes. "I'm not saying a thing," she muttered and threw her arms up in the air defensively.

"No, Daddy's getting a bit too old for that," Tre said pessimistically, stretching out his body like he were a tired old man whom had fallen asleep in a wheelchair in the hallways of a nursing home.

"Too old?" Rose spat. "Hardly." She turned her head with a smile before taking in the sight of a young girl, sixteen possibly seventeen standing at the end of their table. However old she was, Rose couldn't tell anymore because she was getting well underway in her adult years herself. The raven-haired beauty straightened her posture to attention.

"Excuse me, are you..?"

Tre straightened his posture a long with his beloved and put on his stage face, no more than a raise of his brows and a much bigger smile. "I are," he replied, "can I help you?"

"No, not really," the woman said looking very impish and beside herself with anguish. "I'm just going to your show tonight, I saw you here and thought I'd come say hi. I hope I'm not being intrusive."

"No, not at all," Rose said politely, speaking up as her leading man kin Billie Joe Armstrong would do. Family dinner was over, she was being faced with a follower of the thing that seemed to compact all the people in her life. And now things were abnormal again as they would always return to.

"Hi Rose," the younger woman said solicitously, playing with her blond hair in an intensive manner.

Green-eyed Rose could have jumped from her seat when the stranger said her name. It felt peculiar and different on so many levels but a part of her felt more comforted by the idea of pretending to herself it gave her an arrogant charge.

By the look on her face, it was if the knowledge of being in the presence of Green Day's drummer and the frontman's family put this fan's heart at bay in a place of being uptight. She turned to their daughter and smiled, "Hi Michelle."

"Hi," the 5-year-old said with a small cautious voice.

Rose extended her hand, "Nice to meet you, you are?"

"Oh, I'm just...I'm Desiree," she stuttered and took Rose's hand and shook it very humbly. "I was wondering if I could get an autograph, possibly?"

Tre nodded, "Definitely. You'll have to go fetch me a pen though, I'm not stocked up for the evening just yet," he said showing bold confident arrogance in his tone that mirrored his wife's although her feelings were only a mindset. They both began to chuckle.

The blond girl laughed as well, kindly taken to her idol's cocky joke. "I brought one over, I'm just sitting by the bar eating dinner with my boyfriend." She pulled a Sharpie from the pocket of the black cargo pants she was wearing. She passed it to the drummer, deliberately grazing him as she did so.

"That's cool," he replied and he began signing her up a personalized autograph on his unused napkin. "So you're from Vancouver than dear?"

"Gosh no, I took the ferry over from the island," she replied.

"Oh?" Tre replied. "Where be that, than?"

"Umm," Desiree laughed, "just outside of Victoria. That's the capital."

"Oh, that island," Tre muttered like a smart ass and he glanced down at the napkin sitting flat out under his left hand. "So what should I write on this thing?" He had a puzzled look on his face.

"Umm, just to Desiree..."

"How about, 'To Desiree, the sex was great --love Tre Cool," the drummer said in his usual nasally and quirky voice. He turned to his wife and she was simply biting through her lip, smiling and shaking her head at him in silence.

"That sounds great, my friends will be envious of me," the fan said admirably. "I can't wait until the show tonight. Germanic Roses is the best thing to ever happen to me, ever!"

"Aw, that's always so great to hear," Tre said, shrugging his shoulders and bunching his own cheeks up in a baby smile as he passed the signed napkin off to his young fan.

"Thanks so much you're so nice, it's awesome to meet you guys!" she yelped, jovial and overwhelmed at the mere thought of meeting the Californian drummer. The young woman took the napkin, turned to his wife and nodded her head, "May you?"

"May...." Rose said, confused at the latter statement of the estranged person. She let her eyes fixate on the napkin and her face lit up with a smile. "Oh...you want me to sign, do you?"

"Please," Desiree persisted in a way that seemed to beg and her day looked all the more bright as she placed the serviette abroad in front of her idol's relative.

"Of course," Rose hummed, her cheeks red as she stole the Sharpie from her husband's hand. "Hmm, I'll just sign my name beside his." Rose signed her name in small handwriting, she left no message; it was very subtle.

Desiree kept combing her blonde hair back with her long fingers and when Rose passed her back the napkin she felt so overwhelmed and compelled to graze her like she'd done her husband. "You guys are awesome! Thanks! Say hi to Billie for me Rose, and Mike! And I like your hair, it's pretty!" The young woman took off, bouncy and red towards the bar, leaving her Sharpie behind without much thought.

Rose looked down at herself and bit into her tongue hard and then gave her pretty hair a mindless poof. Her mind did an array of tricks all at the mention of Mike by someone as clueless as an adolescent pre-adulthood fan of Green Day. No one knew anything that happened, that was the beauty of her own little world.

"Hope you enjoy the show!" Tre called across the lounge and he smiled, throwing his cool dark shades back down over his pristine blue eyes. "I'm that good."

"Where have I heard that before," Rose whispered, kicking her man playfully underneath their booth. He looked at her, his head coward with a sly grin.

"Who that Mommy?" Michelle asked before taking another sip of drink up the straw of her milk carton.

"Your Daddy's fan," Rose replied and she resumed eating her clubhouse sandwich. She ate, she didn't say much more but she could sense her husband's eyes were watching her. She had thoughts about her stability on her mind. The moments that had taken place just then astounded her. She was alive and had faced a fanatic. She had done it, endured it and actually found she liked it...loved it even. She was someone, even if her life had just seemed to fall into place inexplicably. Someone was better than being a no one and that was the story of every person she was destined to meet on tour that year. They were all people without a face. They were people like she had been at one time.

"Hey there little woman, that Daddy's fan asked for your autograph as well," Tre cooed, for once his arrogance faltering to something that sounded like a want to share the limelight.

"It's okay," Rose giggled, "I don't put any work into being recognized by your fans.".

"Sure you do honey," Tre insisted, "it ain't easy being that smokin' hot. I know, because I'm really effin' hot too."

Rose stuck out her tongue and then smiled at her husband. "No effin's in front of our little one. " She paused, took another sip of her cool beverage and placed her gaze to her spouse's chest area. "So, how are you feeling about doing TV tonight?" The 27-year-old woman extended her hands across the table and raised her eyebrows high to attention with the change of subject -- without looking her man in the eyes.

"Fine," Tre replied. "I'm kind of excited, kind of nervous. I always get like this, right now I feel like I am suspended above a lava pit." The 41-year-old man looked across the restaurant, reading a martini glass-shaped clock on the wall behind the bar. He incoherently flinched his nose again like Samantha Stevens from the sixties television show Bewitched and clenched his coffee cup hard enough to break its handle off.

"You're tense," Rose said knowingly. "It's okay hon, I'm here for you." She had her hands almost touching her husband's arms from across the tabletop but he just looked at her and smiled without taking her hands in his. She drew her gaze up when he refused her comforting offer.

"I'm not that tense," he laughed, sipped his ungodly sugared coffee and then held his hand out to see how much the caffeine was making him shake along with already apparent stress. "Hmm, you just watch out, I am Tre-bleeping-Cool and I am fearless."

"I believe you Frank," Rose grinned, "and I'm glad I'm here with you."

"Me too," Michelle said nodding with a smile.

Tre looked at his daughter again and let his smile grow enormous. He felt so happy, so perfect that no man should feel the way he felt at that moment. He slid his hands across the table and placed each on a shoulder of his wife and daughter. "This night means a lot to me. I love you girls," he said, smiling like no man should smile.

* * *

Tre left early and went to MTV on his own account. There were no special arrivals when it came to him and his band. They'd all find their own way to the television studio at some point before four-thirty.

Back at the hotel, Rose had the television set on in her en suite -- it was approximately quarter to four. She nonsensically flipped through the channels while her daughter jumped up and down on the leather love seat beside her. She'd told her young one to sit down maybe ten times or more but after that the unruly child just became unmanageable so Rose chose to ignore her. She could feel a mild headache coming on, it might have been afternoon morning sickness or maybe just the butterflies in her stomach from long waiting in anticipation about the show that evening. The extraordinary mother rested her head down on an armrest of the love seat and let her eyes close only partway. Michelle kept bouncing on the seat next to her, making her own seat cushion fly up and down. She rubbed her temple and sighed like any parent does when their child is just becoming too much to handle.

It was so instinctive to want to just to get up, find her purse and pop a couple of pain killers. But the pregnant woman had no choice but to just ride it out so instead of sitting next to her noisy 5-year-old she got up and went into the bathroom. She sat down on the toilet for a tinkle and then she could have sworn she heard a knock on the suite door.

Small steps came trailing through the hotel room dining room on ornate polished wood floors and Rose heard them before they even did so. She immediately sat up off the toilet once finished, not even taking the time to wipe herself properly. "Michelle! Don't answer it!" Rose exclaimed, wary that it could possibly be some fans playing a practical joke, hence room service always made a point of calling before they came upstairs. She knew her husband's band was already known to have hitched a ride to the television studios, so one of them being at the door didn't even cross her mind.

"Who is it Mommy?" little Michelle asked as though her mother should just so happen to miraculously know who stood on the other side of their suite door.

Rose came back out to the conjoined foyer, living room and looked to the door. "Who is it?" she called powerfully through the door, making herself sound strong and bold. She listened and looked to her daughter, standing at her side eager to greet whomever had come to visit them.

"It's Mike," that familiar voice caroled.

"Oh dear god," Rose uttered under her breath, semi surprised to hear his casual introduction. She had had quite an unpleasant conversation with that very man the day before, during her Aunt Ollie's funeral. She had suspected him gone, hence he was due at the studio downtown in twenty minutes time. When she had thought about it some more --mildly influenced by how much Michelle was now jumping around with excitement -- she opened the door to her cousin's best of friends.

"Hi," Mike said, standing on a welcome mat in the carpeted hallway. He began to eye about Rose's suite before even giving her a glance, firstly taking notice of her young daughter who was now jumping on the bed of her temporary bedroom and then running across a red-carpeted living room toward him. He was quite readied in his stage attire, a maroon vest and matching pant set off by his sophisticated stem-green tie. "May I come in?" he inquired and he finally looked her square in the eye as though he were feeling very comfortable with his decision to knock on her door.

"I suppose," Rose said, eying about in the hallway behind Mike. "Has Frank left?"

"Yes, he's been gone for over an hour. God knows what he's doing," Mike sighed and he took that as a welcome to step into Rose's suite.

"Mike!" Michelle yelped and she came charging at him, attacking one of his lean long legs with a hug.

"Well hello," Mike laughed at the little critter and took his rough-skinned fingers and messed with her head of light brown hair.

"Where's Ryan?" the 5-year-old was very eager to know.

"He's napping right now dear. I was going to take him over to Adie's suite before I leave, but if it's alright with your Mommy, maybe he can come play here for a bit when he wakes up?" Mike suggested to the young girl, much to the dismay of Rose who now knew that there would be no way she could turn the proposal down after her daughter had been captivated by it.

"Yes!" Michelle shrieked. "Mommy, can Ryan come over?"

"Umm...I guess," Rose replied sheepishly, scratching the back of her neck and pursing her lips with hardly a chance to think it over. She looked at Mike, glaring though trying to not make it very obvious.

"Great!" Mike exclaimed, content with what he knew would seem like an imposition to Rose. "So 'Chelle, do you think you could let your Mommy and I talk alone for a minute?"

"Okay," the little girl said and she ran off with clumsy steps like any child of her age. "I'm going to play Barbies!"

"Thank you for that, Mike," Rose snorted, now allowing her true colours to shine through without her daughter to witness them. Before she would let him speak to her again, "Let's go into the sitting room," she said.

"Alright. I just came by quickly, I have to go soon."

The duo strolled at a distance from one another into the area of the suite that was built like a den with a wonderful view of the city. The snow-covered mountains were becoming crisp images in the darking sky and they made her feel alive, whilst he felt very much consumed by what he knew he wanted to come over here to say.

"Sit down," Rose said though it were an order and she sat herself in a wicker chair facing the window.

"I prefer to stand," Mike argued, biting his lip as he watched her sit.

As quickly as she took her seat she brought herself back to an upright stance. "Fine then, we'll stand," she snorted again.

"Look Rose, I just wanted to apologize for your aunt's funeral," Mike said very suddenly. She crossed her arms at him whilst only looking out the window and he grew nervous. "I didn't mean to startle you or be forward," he continued, staring at her face reflection in the dark-paned window. "You know I only wanted to let you know how I feel."

Rose smiled sweetly like cotton candy as she let the tall man's words process in her mind. She took this not as a moment to get overwhelmed by, but rather an opportunity to set the record straight with this man she once made a big part of her life. Her smile turned a little more shallow and her red-painted lips parted dryly like velcro. "Michael Dearest, do you remember when I told you that one day what we had would delinquish?" Mrs. Wright the Divine Cool raised her hand and placed it on the musicians left cheek, softly grazing his sideburn. "Do you remember?"

Mike looked admirably into her eyes and then shut his own. Her touch felt so surreal to him --like he couldn't relate to having not felt it for the past two years. "You haven't called me Michael Dearest in so long, I can't remember," the famous man uttered breathlessly. He opened his eyes and the woman he thought his one true live removed her hand of affectionate memories. "I remember what you said though. Whenever we'd make love it was all I could think of. There was such a sad aspect in knowing that my son could never have a mother figure in his life. And I could never really have you because you were already taken by the luckiest guy in the world." Mike paused before his persona began to appear angry and then he spoke again. "I should have been into barely legals, then maybe you would have been mine from square one."

Rose listened with an open mind as Mike poured his heart out. She had lots of things she needed to comment on but his latter statement needed immediate attention, she felt. "I'm my own person. I'm not yours, nor am I Frank's. We only love each other with a passion," Rose reminded her opposing conversationalist.

The bassist nodded in agreement, "I know that," he said assuringly. "I would do anything to have you love me with a passion again." Mike spoke softer, " I would die," he placed his hand tenderly on her cheek as she had done to him, "I would kill."

"You don't mean that Mike," Rose said, at the moment not at all taken aback by his statements or the fact that he was touching her in a memory jogging way as she had intended on him. It had no bearing on her his touch anymore though she could never deny her love for him to herself, she most certainly could to his face. She wasn't lonely for a man, she had her husband and that's what she wanted him to see. Looking at him with unseeing eyes, Rose began to feel haunted by his words though he may never yield his own feelings toward her.

"I do mean that."

She shook her head, "Bring Ryan over. You can pick him up at Adie's suite when you get back, I don't want Frank to see him around here. I don't want him to see him anywhere."