Oceanside: Starfish Cove Wellness Center
J's Journal 1
First night here. Puked my guts out. At least I got my smokes. I can't sleep, don't want to sleep. Been staring at that big rock out in the ocean. Stared at it all day. Saw Cooper Stanfield, larger than life, right here on the beach walking around with one extremely fine girl. Thought he had some kind of trouble with that, reason he quit touring, so who’s that? No matter, ain’t my business. He’s set up for life and I’m out here fighting the shakes.
J's Journal 2
Got some shit for not writing in the book. Made a mistake in group and talked about my nightmare. Writing it down don't make it go away. Got to get through this and get out. Get back to my music. I know what they want; I'll toss them a bone. All I got is my music. No one's gonna take it from me. Ought to just up and leave but I gotta keep my band, my music. That was the deal.
J's Journal 3
Gemma come to see me today, said something about a contract, shopping me around, working a deal with Cooper's label. That's a good thing right? Means I got something to go back to. Didn't know Cooper had himself a daughter until I ran into her last night. Right under my nose all this time pounding on my damn wall. Might be I can use this. Girl's got her own demons.
J's Journal 4
Damn Rennie’s one very fine little girl, fine and broken golden glass. Didn't want to say what I thought about her deal, whoever it was she fucked or fucked her. It's not right, her momma's boyfriend, he’s gotta be one sick son of a bitch, didn’t know it was Ren yeah right. I know wasted and I’d know if I got that in bed. Hey Princess, take another look at yourself though; no reason to think you're better than me. And where's she get off calling me 'toad'?
J's Journal 5
If that don't beat all, Cooper Stanfield brings his little girl a Martin. Ebony bridge, long saddle, ebony bridge pins, vintage nickel tuners. What's she gonna do with it? Smash it against the wall most likely. I would like to get my hands on that acoustic. Yeah the guitar. Need to get that girl out of my head.
R: Day Seven
Dad blew in and blew out and brought his Martin for me. I wasn't expecting that and I'm kind of excited. Something's not right with him though. He didn't stay long and he paced around the terrace and took a call and talked for about 15 minutes standing in the corner under the tree. I don't even remember the last time I could see how someone felt. Could I ever? It feels like I have eyes now. Is that new or did I always have them and didn't know it?
R: Day Eight
Mom called. I told her I don't want to go back to university. I was expecting her to argue with me but she didn't. It's hard to talk to her; Ryan's always between us and I guess he always will be. She asked if I was eating and said Nic stopped by and did I need socks and underwear. I tried to use the 'eyes' thing on her but maybe it doesn't work through the phone. I wonder if she even likes me anymore. She wanted to get off the phone. I could see that much. Felt kind of shitty the rest of the day. Played with the Martin but stayed inside. Toad banged on the door. I let him bang for a long time before I went out and sat on the beach with him. Kind of wondering where he's from and why he's so fucked up, but I’m not going to ask. I know what it’s like to have something you can’t share.
R: Day Nine
Ate lunch with Toad. I'm tired of eating by myself, that's all. He saw Dad bringing in the Martin and wanted to know what I was doing with it. I wouldn't tell him. A Martin? What’s a Martin? Oh you mean that guitar? That front desk girl kept hanging around staring at us; actually I think she was staring at the Toad. He was tilting back in the chair and flirting with her. God she must be really desperate if she thinks he's hot. It was annoying. I told her to go find a phone and answer it and Jimmy laughed at me.
R: Day Ten
I let Toad come into my room. I know what he wanted, he wanted to get his hands on the Martin. I didn't let him, not yet. He spent a long time looking at some photos I hung up, me and Nic and me and Cruz. "Those are the guys you told me about?" he wanted to know. What, like I would hang up pics of Gabe and Ryan? I sat down on the couch and watched him look at them, and just told him, "No." His turn to get the laughter in his face. He was a little pissy about it. He's actually not bad looking, and he's cute when he's mad. Let him wonder about Nic and Cruz.
A cool clear evening, and Rayne took the Martin out on the beach and sat down and ran her fingers across the strings, pulling out quiet music. Dreaming music. She hummed, sang softly, closing her eyes and finding the chords and the rhythm she wanted. It was an old song but one she loved and one she'd changed to suit her voice and her mood.
"Rennie, what the hell, girl you can play?"
Rayne set the Martin down and looked up. Jimmy had found a way to sit up on the edge of the terrace wall, a perilous perch, and he was way way up there looking down, watching her with a very, very satisfactorily astonished expression. She tossed her hair back and smiled. "Of course I can. Come on down, show me what you can do."
She sat back, waiting, silent, hearing the music in her mind, Jimmy striding out and curling up next to her in the wet sand. "Damn, that’s good, Ren," he said. "No shit, I mean it. I never heard it done like that. How’d you come up with that riff? It might be better a little faster though. I can show you, if you want."
No he never had heard it done like that, and it was extremely sweet to hear it from him; he was good and he didn’t have any reason to bullshit her. “Sure! I said show me what you can do. So show me.”
Jimmy pulled the Martin into his lap, long fingers sliding across the frets, making the guitar moan and sigh. He changed up, replayed what she'd created, the same long, complex, quiet and intricate riff, but subtly different, richer, and even more melancholy, then he stopped and looked at her.
He placed the Martin gently to the side, stood up and glanced away from her and then back, lit a cigarette, dragged hard, flicked it still lit and burning away into the surf. “Rennie,” he said quietly, “tomorrow, it’s gonna be my last day here. I got something to do, and I’m cutting out. I was thinking, maybe you don’t want to stay either. You got a guy waiting for you? Something you want to go back to?”
Stunned, Rayne didn’t move, staring up at him, blank. What was he saying? Or asking, was he asking her something? What did she have to go back to? Cruz? She didn’t want to see him yet; she might never want to see him. Home? With her mother? That was never going to work. If she left now, she’d disappoint her father, and that was just about the only thing she clearly did not want to do, disappoint him. Maybe she would anyway though; no matter what she did, she wasn’t Wyatt. She couldn’t see her way; it was all dark and cloudy in every direction, nothing but darkness behind her and nothing much ahead except the strange road right in front of her. All she had to do was take it.
NEXT CHAPTER: Sessions Chapter 23