Sunday, May 27, 2012

Chapter 60: Push My Luck

Recording the songs for the Pink Hell album didn't take very long; the material demands a raw, powerful performance without a lot of embellishment in the studio, and the band got the instrument tracks down in no time at all. All that's left are the vocal tracks. Nico doesn't have to be in the studio for this, the vocals are all Jacklyn, but he comes anyway, hanging out to listen as she sings. Her range is amazing, and she's not afraid to take her voice as far as it will go. She invests every note with emotion, shrieking, trilling and growling through each line, opening her wounds and letting the song bleed out.

"This album is going to be a monster hit," Bill predicts, coming in to stand behind Nico's chair. "She's got something you don't see very often anymore in this industry; real talent. This is by far the best material she's ever written. And I guess we have you to thank for inspiring this, don't we?" he continues, slapping Nico on the shoulder. "Listen, I know what you did with Marilyn. Lucky for you, Jack has turned your shit into gold, and she's moving forward. But, you fuck up like that again, you do anything that jeopardizes this band, you don't work in this town anymore. Got it?"

"It won't happen again," Nico says, humiliated at having to be told off by Bill, "Not because I give a shit about working. Because I love her."

"Whatever your reason, you keep her happy." Bill says.

After they get home from the recording session, Nico finds Jacklyn crying in the nursery, watching Trillare sleep.

"Hey," he says gently, embracing her from behind. He doesn't have to ask, he knows she's reliving it all, that recording the songs has dredged up all the emotions that went into making them. She gives everything to her music, and it takes its toll on her. 

She's been struggling to keep it under control, to keep him from seeing her like this, but it's like trying to stop a flood once the dam has broken. 

"Let's go away for a few days," he suggests, "To your cabin, get away from all this."

"Just run off?" she asks. "We just finished recording. There's going to be so much work to do..."

"Exactly," Nico says, "We're going to get blown away by a shitstorm of publicity for this album, and then we'll be on tour. You need some time to recover. And we need some time, as couple."

"What about Trill?"

"Andrea and Debbie would love to have her for a few days."

"All right, let's do it," Jacklyn agrees.

After the long drive out to the mountains, Jacklyn and Nico arrive at her cabin in the early evening. They find an old Rolling Stones CD and pop it into the stereo, celebrating their privacy with a dance.

"This was a brilliant idea," Jacklyn says as she sways against him, "I haven't had this much fun since we started recording."

From the first time they got together, everything sped by so quickly for them, the pregnancy, engagement, his affair, their separation and reunion, all mixed in with demands of the band. 

"It's been too long since we've had time like this," she says, leaning against him as the music ends, "Alone, no pressure..."

"That's why we're here," Nico says, "We needed this."

After night falls, the couple take a moonlit walk to the waterfall just across from the cabin.

"Jacklyn, cara mia," he starts, but doesn't go on. There are only so many ways he can say he's sorry, only so many times he can apologize before he's just repeating himself. So he just looks into her eyes, caresses her cheek, and says nothing more.

They've discussed it over and again, she's asked her questions and he's answered them truthfully. She's put all her feelings about his betrayal into song, and together they've worked those songs into an album.  Soon, they will be touring for that album, performing those songs every night, night after night.

Tonight, they put the past behind them, and put the future out of their minds.

Tonight is just tonight, taken out of the flow of time, a now that has neither past nor future.

While Jacklyn cleans up the breakfast dishes, Nico picks up one of her father's old guitars and starts playing.

"I thought we weren't working while we're here," Jacklyn says.

"This isn't working," Nico laughs, but he puts the guitar down anyway, "Let's go out for awhile."

Their cabin is part of a remote community in the mountains, serviced by a small town, which the couple set out to explore.

"Look, a tattoo parlor!" Jacklyn points to a storefront, "Let's get some ink."

It isn't everyday that this small town tattoo parlor and salon gets to service rock stars. While Nico sits for the tattoo artist, the hairstylist begs Jacklyn for a chance to work on her hair, which she declines as gracefully as she can.

Nico gets his tattoo on his shoulder. Jacklyn chooses a more intimate location for her new ink, and is taken into a more private room to get her work done. While she's being worked on, Nico visits a jewelry store next to the salon and buys a little gift for her.

By lunch time, they've exhausted everything the town has to offer, so they head back up to the cabins and pack a picnic which they eat by the waterfall.

As they pack up their things, they notice preparations for a wedding party being set up in the small pavilion by the lake.

"It's a romantic place for it," Jacklyn observes. "I hadn't thought of this, but this really is the perfect place for a wedding." she says, thinking about all the wedding planning she'd been involved in before his affair came to light and she broke off their engagement. "I'll have to remember this. I mean...that is..." she starts stammering, realizing she's been thinking out loud.

"Here, I bought this for you, while we were in town," Nico interrupts her, saving her from further embarrassment. 

"Oh," she gasps as he places the gift in her hands, "A ring. I can't...I'm not ready..."

"It's not that kind of ring," Nico says gently, "I left that ring at home. This is just something I saw and thought you would like."

Jacklyn slips the ring onto a finger on her right hand, feeling a little foolish. The ring is shaped like a snake, after all, and obviously not an engagement ring.

"I love it, Nico, thank you," she says. He was right, it's the kind of thing she'd buy for herself if she had seen it first. "I'm sorry I took it the wrong way. Everything has been going so great with us, but I'm just not ready yet, you know, for that..."

"I know," Nico says, "That's why I'm not asking you to marry me, here and now. I'm happy for what we have, I'm not about to push my luck and ask for more."

So, I just thought I'd share with anyone who's interested, the artist who is kind of the musical inspiration for Jacklyn is PJ Harvey.
Here's a couple of videos:

Rid of Me


  1. This was great.

    I loved seeing Jack and Nico heal the rift in their relationship. They really needed that time away from everyone.

  2. I'm so glad Jack and Nico are healing and I'm really glad he's making such an effort to take things slowly. Taking a break from it all was a pretty smart idea.

  3. Snake!


    Sorry, I don't actually have anything useful to say.

    Oh, I loved the brief conversation with Bill.

  4. Thanks! Nico and Jackie did need some time off together.

  5. Aww Nico is really working to get back with his Jack! It's great and I like that he is taking it slow and working at her pace. The dance is better letting her lead and it'll get him the end result much faster.

    1. You are so right, and Nico knows it. He's very persistent, and he's going to get her back, even if it means he has to give up the chase and let her set the pace.