Dear J, I can’t believe how much time has passed since I wrote to you. It used to be that every moment of the day was something I wanted to tell you right away. Maybe that’s because everything that happened was so exciting. Or maybe it was really that you were on my mind more often then. I still miss you, Jillybean. I miss you to the point where it kind of disturbs me that I now seem to be lacking whatever it was that made me feel like I couldn’t wait to tell you everything.
Since my last entry, our album Whispers was released. It was the big hit Reggie had once predicted it would be. Our song “He Heard She’s Bad” hit the number one spot and stayed there for several weeks, much to our delight. This fueled the idea that in spite of the decision we’d made to go our separate ways, the tour would go on as planned.
We all agreed we owed it to our fans. It was to become our farewell tour.
There were so many things that had to be decided before we left. For months, we spent long hours deciding on themes, sets, venues, artwork and the like. Another decision I made was that since Rachel was traveling with us, Blue should come, too.
The way that kid lights up my life, I couldn’t imagine a single day without her. It was obvious that special plans would have to be in place in order to accommodate her needs. I’d always had an understanding with the paparazzi that if Blue was with me, they wouldn’t take any photos that would show her face. I just didn’t want that kind of pressure in her life. It was bad enough trying to deal with that as an adult. It would be one hundred times worse for a child.
Blue really surprised me when she agreed to every aspect of the plan and made it very clear she wanted to go with us. It was decided that Rachel would tutor her so that when the tour was over, Blue could enjoy her summer and then start school like a normal kid.
I’d known for a while that if the band had to travel, she would insist on going. So what surprised me? The fact that my shy little girl wanted to come on stage during a song. The more I thought about it, the more against it I was even though she pestered me nonstop.
“I want to see what it’s like, Daddy!” she would argue.
The thing is, I didn’t mind so much that she had a curiosity about it. What kid wouldn’t if given the opportunity? What bothered me was that I didn’t want her to actually like it. I didn’t want her to pursue this type of career.
On our last night in Bridgeport, I climbed to a high spot in the hills and took one last picture of the city that had been so good to me. As I sat in the grass and shielded my eyes from the sun with my hand, I actually got a little misty eyed. I was leaving a lot behind. But I was also convinced there were a lot of good things to come.
Throughout our travels, I’d managed to keep Blue off the stage. She stood in the wings every night, watching everything we did and singing every song. From the corner of my eye, I could see her lips moving and her little feet tapping in time with the beat.
During our last concert of the tour, I was feeling strange. Even though it was completely crazy and exhausting, I’d become accustomed to this life. I still got a thrill that I couldn’t describe when I heard the crowds chanting my name and singing my songs. After all this time, I still felt like I needed the crowd’s love. They didn’t really know me and therefore, they wouldn’t hurt me.
Maybe it was all of these mixed up feelings coupled with seeing Blue in the wings that made me throw caution to the wind.
Without warning the band, I yelled into the microphone, “Where’s Blue?”
I grinned as I turned to look at her and gestured her to join me.
At first, she shook her head. Maybe she changed her mind, I thought.
But then the crowd started chanting, “Where’s Blue? Where’s Blue?”
I put my hands out to her again, motioning for her to come out from the wings. As if her feet weighed a hundred pounds, she slowly moved one in front of the other until she was close enough for me to take her hand. She glanced at the audience and took a tentative step backward.
“Don’t look at them, just dance with me, Blue!” I exclaimed, pulling her further out onto the stage. “It’s okay. ”
At first, she held both of my hands as she began to move with the music. Before long, though, she let go and was really shaking it.
Giggles erupted from her lips as she glanced again at the fans and back to me.
When the song was over, I bent down to hug my girl. She whispered in my ear, “I loved that, Daddy! But I never ever want to do it again!”
I laughed as Blue exited back to the wings with one of our security people. Even if I couldn’t remember all the nights of one concert after another, I knew I’d remember this one.
After the last encore, we lined up like we usually did, arm in arm. Confetti dropped from the ceiling and the lights changed colors as the audience roared.
Their enthusiasm was contagious. It electrified the air and jolted me with more feelings of bitter-sweetness. It was good that the craziness was over, but there would be times, I was sure, that I would miss this atmosphere.
After that last concert, instead of hurrying back to a party or to the hotel to finally sleep, we all mingled on the stage. Something in me wanted to stay there a little longer even though the crowd was gone.
We talked about all of the great times we had and vowed to keep in touch. Would that promise be kept? I couldn’t say.
Then it was time to say goodbye to Curtis Kelly……
… his brother Carl Kelly…..
…. and to Cranky Sy…..
An era in my life was over and another was about to begin.
Things actually got a little humdrum as I searched for a place to live. With my new job, I could pretty much go wherever I wanted as long as I was reasonably close to one of the studios. I wouldn’t have to go there often as I could write my musical scores at home. I would have to travel to the studio to oversee the recording of my compositions. It was a pretty ideal situation, but not as easy as it sounded.
While the search for a place to live continued, Rachel and Josh tied the knot. I wish I had more pictures of the family, but I was so focused on the actual ceremony, I was forgetful in capturing anyone else.
Everything about the ceremony was so sweet, you could almost see the hearts in the air. Rachel was really lovely and Josh, I guess, cleaned up all right. (Mom didn’t say anything, anyway.)
Right before he kissed her, I think he was quite astonished that she’d actually married him. I like Josh, but I was kind of bewildered, too. (And don’t think for a minute, Jillybean, that I didn’t …. ummm…. stress to this guy how he’d better treat her either!)
Yep. I think he and I will continue getting along just fine.
I’ll admit, they do make a nice looking couple. It kind of made me wonder what life would have been like if things hadn’t turned out the way they did with Cricket?
But I won’t go down that road. It only leads to sadness and I can’t concentrate on that if I want to make a new and happy life with Blue.
Which brings me to the best news of all.
When Josh and Rachel returned from their honeymoon, we got talking about our futures. My career seemed to be pretty well in hand for the moment. But Josh felt like he was floundering a little bit. He wanted to continue doing something with music, but his song writing skills just weren’t very strong (his words, not mine). But he could arrange music very nicely.
Where I excelled in composition, enabling me to score films, Josh excelled in orchestration. That’s when it dawned on us. Composers needed orchestrators! It seemed a simple solution that after I wrote my score, he could orchestrate and conduct the music in the studio. We would be a team!
After that was decided and details were hammered out regarding our new partnership, we also determined that it would be best to live near each other. Our reasoning had a lot to do with working together, but it had more to do with Blue. I couldn’t imagine separating her from Rachel.
We had considered moving to Storybrook to be close to our parents, but that didn’t seem like it would work out very well. Because I was her father, Blue would never be able to attend a public school. The paparazzi kept the deal I’d made with them, but it really didn’t take people very long to figure out who Blue was.
She’d spent these past years in a kind of isolated way and she longed to go to school. So, the only option I saw was private school. But I didn’t want to send her away to live in a boarding school.
That’s what made us decide to move to Hidden Springs. It was a beautiful area, surrounded by trees, mountains and lakes. There were a lot of residential areas and they had a very good private school that Blue could attend while living at home with me.
So, finally, here we are now.
This is a photo of Josh and Rachel’s house. The Drummond house. (Calling my sister a Drummond sounds so weird to me!)
And right across the street from them is our house.
Home sweet home.