Is this what I wanted? Jacklyn asks herself, looking out over balcony at the beach below. She's famous and rich, but something is missing.
"Pack a bag, and meet me outside your apartment," she says. Nico was surprised by her call, but does as she asks.
"Where are we going?" he asks as he gets into her car.
"I'm kidnapping you," she answers.
The mountains are a half a day's drive out of L.A. "This cabin belongs to my father," Jacklyn explains as she gets a fire going, "We used to come here when he wanted to get away from, you know, the life. He was a country star, back in the day."
"I know who your father is," Nico says, "I read your wiki."
"See, that's exactly the kind of crap he used this place to escape from," Jacklyn says as she leans back into his arms, sitting in front of the fire. "Well, he didn't have a wiki back then, but you know what I mean."
"That's the price of being famous, Jacklyn," Nico says, "Everyone knows who you are. My father is famous, too. A singer. But he only sings in Italian, so no one here knows him. But back home, he's a big deal, you know? Everywhere we went, we were his sons. It's a lot to live up to."
"So you came to L.A. to escape that?"
"No, I came to L.A. to earn my own fame, and not sponge off my father's."
As night falls she takes him into her bedroom. Jacklyn isn't shy about getting what she wants, but she hasn't said what Nico is to her, if he's just a toy she's distracting herself with, or if it's something more serious.
"I'll try not to burn them this time," Nico says as he slides the waffles into the oven.
"I'll just stick to this," Jacklyn answers, mixing a tray of drinks.
"Hey," Nico says, abandoning the waffles to hop up onto the counter. He gently takes the drink out of her hand and pulls her against him, "Do you want to tell me what's going on here?"
"What do you mean?" she asks, resting her head on his shoulder.
"The heavy drinking, the running away to hide in this cabin...I know it's been rough on you, with Ben dying like that. But it's more than that, isn't it?"
"I miss the way things were," she says, "Ever since we got signed, everything has gone to shit."
Nico laughs lightly, and kisses her hair, "You miss the glamour of having to choose between eating or buying new strings, and getting evicted because you can't make rent? Or is it the vomit smell backstage at the Cobra Room you're nostalgic about?"
"I know," she says, "It was hard, but it was real, you know?"
"You're still real, Jacklyn," Nico answers.
Jacklyn pulls out of his arms. "I have this song I've been working on. I usually work my songs up with Ben, so it's not finished. Do you want to help me with it?"
Her father left a few guitars in the closet here, and after they get them tuned up, Jacklyn plays what she has for him. Nico is a quick read, and picks it up before she even finishes. She's heard him play hundreds of times, and always admired his skill with a guitar, but she never gone through this part of the process with him before. He takes the little tune she composed to go with her lyrics and gives it a depth and complexity her sloppy guitar playing just cannot meet. Ben used to do this for her, but Nico is even better at it.
This is what it's all about, this is what she's been missing, making music. All the lip syncing videos, the interviews and photo shoots, none of that has any meaning, but it also can't take away what's real, the music.
"We play great together," she says when they finish her song, "If we weren't sleeping together, you could take Ben's place."
"I can't do both?"Nico asks.
"Being in a relationship with a band member...I don't know, it just invites trouble."
Nico laughs, "Do you remember the fights I used to get into with the singer of my last band?"
Jacklyn joins in his laughter. Nico's fights with Jim were the stuff of legend. One time Jim even hit Nico on stage with his microphone stand during a gig. "Oh, I remember," she gasps between laughs.
"Well, we weren't sleeping together, I assure you. Band relationships are always tricky, you know that. You've been through a few yourself. I don't see how we could be any worse."
He's great in bed and great on stage, what more could she ask for? "All right," she says, "But we make band decisions together, so Randell, my drummer, has a say, too. Let's head back to L.A. so you can play for him. And Arthag," she sighs, "We can't do anything without his approval, either."