It was just an envelope. Just a white envelope, plain except for her name scrawled across the front. Her name, first, middle, and last, scrawled across the face of the envelope in that all-too-familiar handwriting she knew she would never forget. She set the rest of her mail down on the kitchen table next to her purse and keys and walked to her bedroom, staring at the letter. She propped it up against the lamp that stood on her nightstand and went to take a shower. Maybe this was jet lag; maybe she was dreaming.
The relaxing warmth of the water that streamed from the showerhead assured her that she wasn't dreaming. She wasn't jet lagged. She closed her eyes as the shampoo rinsed from her hair, and pictured the envelope in her mind. There was no return address. Her address wasn't even written out below her name. There was no stamp, no postmark.
That meant he had been here.
He'd been to her apartment building. Despite a couple of moves and number changes since they last spoke, he'd found her.
Stop it, Cav, she told herself as she pulled on a tank top and sweats and wrapped her wet hair in a towel. It's not like he was stalking you.
And that was the truth. Jaxon Ellsbury had never done anything to intentionally hurt Cavanaugh. The break-up was mutual, a forced decision when their lives took different paths. Mutual though it was, it wasn't the easiest of break-ups. As she tugged a brush through her hair, she remembered the scene as if it were yesterday, instead of the three years that had really passed.
"Cavanaugh, don't be stupid!" Jaxon exclaimed. "He wants you. Anyone and everyone can see it, except for you."
Cavanaugh narrowed her eyes at him in anger. "Spencer is my friend. He's sure been there for me a whole hell of a lot more than you have the last few months."
Jaxon snorted. "Right, right. I forgot. I was supposed to put my dreams on hold and stay in Wichita so that you weren't alone."
"Don't you hit me with your sarcasm, Jaxon Ellsbury. You guys never wanted to be bigger than Kansas and Oklahoma until they came and dangled all that money in front of your face."
"I needed that money for my family and you know it!" Cavanaugh had to step back, he yelled so loud. True, the money comment was a low blow, but she was reaching in the dark.
"I'm sorry," Cavanaugh whispered, wiping tears away. "But Spencer really is just my friend, Jax. I miss you when you're gone, and it's not always easy."
"I know it's not, Cavanaugh." He knew what she meant, although he was unsure of whether or not she meant her father's alcoholism or spending time away from Jaxon. Maybe both. "And I want to be there for you as much as I can. As soon as we finish this album, I told you, we're going to bring you on tour with us. We've done nothing but fight lately though, and I'm not sure that's a good idea anymore."
She shook her head. "I don't think so either."
Jax put his hands on her shoulder and squeezed gently, absolutely positive that she was still shaking from his outburst. He kissed her forehead. "If you don't go on this tour with me …"
"We'll never fix this mess we're in," Cavanaugh finished for him.
They had stayed up the whole rest of the night discussing it, and had come to the mutual decision to stop seeing each other. It wasn't just the dating though – it was everything. They agreed they would have no contact with each other whatsoever. The both of them had stuck to that agreement, until now. She picked up the envelope, her wet hair falling in curly locks well past her shoulders. She finally closed her eyes and made herself open the envelope. The contents that fell in her lap were minimal. Two concert tickets for Get Up & Go's upcoming show, and a small scrap of paper with one word on it, in that familiar scrawl.
Tears stung the back of her eyes, and she squeezed them back. She denied left and right to anyone who brought it up that she was still in love with Jaxon, although she knew well and good she would do anything to get to see him one more time. What could he possibly want with her now? Get Up & Go was popular enough to show up in the entertainment magazines and websites she subscribed to, mostly for her work, and she knew that he'd dated at least ten girls in the three years since they had parted ways. Perhaps he had run out of Hollywood hotties to woo and was going to try her next. No, Jax wasn't like that.
Cav's thoughts were interrupted by a key turning the lock at the front door of her apartment. She quickly shoved the envelope and its contents into a drawer in the nightstand and grabbed a ponytail holder to pull her still damp hair away from her face.
"Spencer," she smiled, greeting her boyfriend. He held out a bouquet of daisies, her least favorite, and smiled back.
"Hey there," he said quietly, setting the flowers on the coffee table. "I missed you."
Cavanaugh accepted his kiss. "I missed you, too. New York was so busy."
"Is that why you didn't answer any of my calls?" Spencer asked behind her. Cavanaugh had picked up the flowers and went to put them in a vase in the kitchen. She didn't have to turn around to know that Spencer was scowling at the pile of her things on the kitchen table – he insisted that things be in order at all times. She filled the vase with water and set it in the window above the sink.
"I'm sorry, sweetie. I couldn't answer during the day, with all the meetings I had and everything," she lied. "By the time the shows were over in the evenings, it was so late."
Spencer hugged her from behind, kissing her neck. "Well, I forgive you. How much did you miss me?" His hands traveled down her thighs, and his lips found her neck again. Cavanaugh pushed him away.
"Come on, don't start now. I just got home."
Spencer sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. "We've been together for over a year now, Cav. How much longer do I have to wait?"
She turned to him, suddenly angry. "As long as I want to wait, Spencer. If you love me like you say you do, then why does it matter?"
It was a common argument. Cavanaugh was adamant about waiting for marriage to have sex with someone, but Spencer didn't see it the same way she did.
"What else do I have to do to prove that I love you?"
A whole hell of a lot, a voice in the back of her head told her. She ignored it though and let her expression soften. "Can we please not fight right now? I just got back."
"Fine." His expression was still cold and unwavering.
"Tell you what," Cav told him, pulling out chicken and salad from the refrigerator to start some supper. "I'll let you stay over tonight, if you promise not to push this issue."
It was enough for Spencer, for that moment, anyway. The rest of the night passed by quickly and pleasantly, until they went to bed. It wasn't Spencer's persistence that kept her awake; it was the dreams of Jaxon Ellsbury.
Spencer left early the next morning. He was finishing his last semester of college and didn't dare miss a class with exams the following week. Cavanaugh was happy for the time without him, she had to admit. She didn't have to be at work until the afternoon and she could take the morning to think.
The first thing she did when she received the text message that Spencer was in class and would call her later was to power up her laptop. She logged on to Get Up & Go's website and looked over their latest releases. Besides their first CD, which she begrudgingly remembered every single word to, they had recently released a second album – the reason for the new tour. She purposely skipped over the tour dates section and over to the media section of the website. And there they were.
Miles Hamilton was the lead singer and also played piano and keyboards for the band. He was the heartthrob, no doubt about that. He had trimmed his shaggy brown hair since she had seen him last, but his blue eyes were as crystal clear as ever. Miles had been her best friend for a long time, and then she broke up with Jax and it obviously meant a break up with him, too.
Andrew Brooks was the guitarist for the band. His bleached blonde hair was a sharp contrast to the jade green eyes that screamed out as you looked at him. He was the prankster of the group, but that was what Cavanaugh had loved him for the most – whenever she was down, Andy was more than able to cheer her up.
And finally, Jaxon. He'd let his dark blonde hair grow out to his shoulders, and his brown eyes were just as soft as ever. Every time she saw a picture of him where he was actually looking at the camera, she felt like he was looking at her. Sometimes she wondered if he meant it that way.
After cruising the message boards a little and getting annoyed with the many girls who claimed their love for the men she knew so dearly, she shut her laptop and pulled the ticket out of her nightstand, finally looking at the date. It was set for a week from the upcoming Friday. Something was going on that day, she was sure. She was also sure it wasn't just her mind making excuses not to see Jaxon. She scrambled from the bed and found her day planner.
You've got to be kidding me.
Spencer's graduation ceremony was the same night as the Get Up & Go concert. The tears stung her eyes again, and this time she let them fall. How could she really be facing more or less same decision again?
Jaxon Ellsbury was just falling victim to a decent sleep when the stopping of the tour bus shook him awake. He groaned and buried his face in the pillow. Maybe they had just hit a pothole or something.
"Jax, dude. We're at the venue." Andy pulled back the curtain that tucked Jax away into his own little bunk and shook his friend. "Come on, man. Sound check."
He slid out of the bed and smoothed out his clothes. What he was wearing was fine for now. He pulled a rubber band out of his pocket and pulled his hair into a pony tail at the back of his head. Andy was off the bus just as soon as he had roused Jaxon from his sleep, but Miles lingered behind.
"You ready?" Jax asked, giving him a motivational slap on the back.
"Yeah, just waiting for you," Miles informed him. "Hey, look, I know this is a touchy subject, but –"
"No, I haven't heard from her," Jaxon interrupted. He wasn't trying to be rude, but if he'd let Miles finish that question, then he'd have to hear her name. The next time he heard that name, he needed to know that she was in close proximity to him.
"Did you get her the ticket?"
"Yeah, last weekend, when we were home. She was out of town, I guess. I slipped it in her mailbox."
"Well, let's hope she comes."
"Let's not talk about it anymore. I don't want to spend the next week and half thinking about her more than I already will." Jaxon slipped on some sunglasses and waved to the few fans already converging outside the venue. He and Miles stopped to do a couple autographs and take a couple pictures, and then hurried inside to do the sound check.
The show went off without a hitch. Jaxon spent less time than he normally did greeting fans afterwards, anxious just to get back to sleep and get to the next show. Every sleep, every dream, every venue, it was all taking him closer to the show he had given Cavanaugh a ticket for, the closest show to their hometown. Then he would know if she was going to come back to his life or forever leave him wondering what if.
It was Miles who pulled the curtain back this time. His watch told him it was just a few minutes since he laid down. "What gives?"
Miles handed him a beer. "Here you go, man. Come sit with us."
Jax took the cold bottle and jumped down from his bunk and joined Andy and Miles on one of the benches towards the front of the bus. They each had a beer and were kicked back with the television on.
"What is this?" Jax asked. "An intervention?"
Andy laughed. "Well, you are getting a little obsessive about Ca-"
"Dude." Jax held his hand up. "Don't say her name. Please."
"Whatever. Since you dropped that ticket, you sleep and you perform. Have a life. What brought all of this on, anyway?"
"Come on, you guys don't want to hear about this. What're we watching?"
Miles and Andy exchanged worried glances but let it go for now. Better to take their own advice and let it go until they knew if Cavanaugh would come to the show or not.
The days flew by for Cavanaugh. She worked for K42 Records, a local independent record company that was growing quickly and becoming known worldwide just as quickly. Her degree was in business management, with an entertainment industry specialty. Her professors had all warned her that getting into a successful position in the entertainment industry would be difficult, but Cavanaugh already knew that it was all about who you know, and the connections you can make.
Her father's best friend Ken Hollingsworth worked for the record company and loved Cavanaugh like she was his own daughter. When she started high school, he set her up with an office job on his floor. She filed papers, ran errands, and did the menial tasks that were above anyone else to do. The more she worked around Ken's office – he and his co-workers were the in-house managers for new acts that came in, or existing acts that dropped their pre-label manager once signed with K42 – the more she knew that was what she wanted to do. When she told Ken of her desires, he happily took her under his wing and showed her the ropes. He found she had a natural talent for taking charge – not being bossy, just taking the lead – and helped her through her school courses when she was ready to give up.
Ken could tell she was distracted the week after the ticket came in the mail. He continually asked her what was on her mind, but she just shrugged and told him she was having some problems with Spencer. Wasn't that technically the truth? Two days before the concert, she was tempted to sit and tell him the whole story. She opted instead to call her best friend Lexie and have a spill-fest that night.
"Lex? It's Cav. Pull out the tequila. I've got a story for you."
A/N: Well, I know it's been awhile since I worked on anything -- anything here, anyway. I have a story outside of FP that's different from most of the stories I have up here, so I probably won't post it. I am, however, going to edit this and then will probably put it on Lulu. I don't see this ever actually getting published, but I would like to see it in print.
Hope everyone who takes the time enjoys re-reading this ... I know it's one of my personal favorites. :)