Hours before the night's show, Nico and Randall do a sound check, leaving Jacklyn behind in their hotel. In honor of their album's name, Pink Hell, Randall has decorated his kit with pink flames, and Jacklyn has added pink streaks to her hair, but Nico drew the line at playing a pink guitar.
"You're the Eye-talian."
Nico looks up from adjusting his pedals at the speaker, the long drawl in his voice reminding him that they're in Texas today. They've been touring for months, and it's easy to forget where you are. "I'm an Italian," he answers, somewhat irritably, and gets back to fiddling with his stomp boxes, making sure everything is perfect for the show later.
"You gonna make an honest woman of my daughter?" the Texan continues.
Nico looks up again, this time really seeing the man. Dwayne Austen is a celebrity, and even though Nico is not a real fan of the country genre, he knows his work, and his face. But the last pictures he's seen were of a younger man, and it takes a few moments to recognize the country star in the man standing in front of him.
"Well?" Dwayne insists, stepping onto the stage.
"That's really none of your business," Nico says, laughing inwardly at the thought of an old fashioned American shotgun wedding. In his case, though, it's the bride who remains reluctant to walk down that aisle, Nico has always been ready to 'make her an honest woman'.
"Does what she wants," Nico cuts him off. The closer he gets, the stronger the smell of whiskey on his breath. Jacklyn wasn't kidding when she told him her father had a serious drinking problem.
"I have a right to see my granddaughter," Dwayne says truculantly.
Nico sighs, "Look, I have work to do here. I'll talk to Jacklyn. That's all I can do for you."
Dwayne seems to accept that, as he moves off the stage, turning around once to call out, "You treat my baby right, you hear?"
Nico shakes his head sadly. "Better than you," he mutters.
The tour couldn't be put off forever, but Jacklyn and Nico didn't want to leave Trillare behind to be raised by strangers. Randall wasn't eager to leave Stacey home alone with their newborn, Philip, either, and that created the perfect solution. Stacey was hired as the official nanny of the tour, so both couples could bring their babies along.
"This will probably get harder when the kids get older," Stacey muses as they sit for a moment, the infants tucked into their cribs and sleeping, "They'll need tutors when they're school age...you grew up like this, didn't you, Jack? Was it hard? Did you ever wish you just had a normal life?"
Jacklyn remembers living from hotel to hotel, every day a new city, a new set of walls to look at. Home was a place you'd only visit a few weeks out of the year. "I wished for a lot of things, Stacey," Jacklyn says, "But I couldn't even imagine what a 'normal life' was supposed to look like."
"I had a normal life," Stacey giggles, "I hated it. But I worry about raising our kids this way, you know? But you came out of it okay..."
"Well, no worse than anyone else, I guess," Jacklyn says.
With the babies asleep, Jacklyn leaves them to Stacey's supervision and goes back to her own room to rest before the show. As she undresses before the mirror, she stops to give her body a thorough examination. Are her tits lower than they used to be? she wonders, worrying about the toll having a baby has taken on her body.
She takes her breasts in her hands, lifting them to where she's sure they used to stand. Definitely sagging, she sighs.
"You need some help with that?" Nico asks, walking in on her.
"Oh, hey," she laughs, embarrassed to be caught like this, "I was just..."
"Feeling yourself up? Yeah, I saw that," Nico laughs, stepping behind her and pulling her back so her ass rest against his crotch, "Do you mind if I join you? Or I'll just sit over there and watch you play with yourself."
"I wasn't playing with myself," she laughs, "Do my tits look okay to you?"
"I don't know," he answers, reaching around to cup one of her beasts in his hands, at the same time grinding his pelvis against her. "Well, that still works," he whispers as she feels him get hard behind her. "Your tits are more than okay, baby," he murmurs against her neck.
He undresses and carries her over to the bed.
"Whatever you're worried about, don't," he whispers, kissing her breasts as she wraps her legs around him, "I love you. That's forever."
"We're going to have to start being more careful," she sighs as she collapses down onto his chest, "Or we'll end up with another baby." She's tried the pill and subdermal implants, but the hormones give her terrible mood swings, so they've had to rely on other methods of birth control, but condoms or a diaphragm only work when you actually use them before having sex, and remembering to take care of that is something neither she or Nico have the presence of mind for.
"Would that be so terrible?" Nico asks, "I'm not saying we should be trying for another baby. But if it happens..."
"Things are crazy enough with just one baby," she says.
"I'd like to be married before becoming a father again, anyway." he says quietly. Jacklyn stays quiet, avoiding this conversation again. He's worked hard to prove himself to her, always lets her know where he is when they aren't together, and when they are, his attention is always hers as he tries to earn his way back into her trust. Maybe she's worried that once she says 'I do' things will change, he'll take her for granted. That's what she tells herself when the doubts creep in that make her shy away from the commitment he's asked of her. But deep down, she's knows it's not him she's afraid of, it's herself.
"I met your father today," Nico says, only remembering his encounter with Dwayne after they've showered and started getting dressed.
"Why didn't you tell me before?" she asks.
"I was going to tell you as soon as soon as I got in. But I got distracted," Nico laughs, "He wants to meet Trill."
"Was he drunk?" she asks bitterly.
"He'd been drinking," Nico answers.
"You can't seriously want him near our daughter."
"That's not up to me, Jack. He's your father. I'm just relaying the message."
"That bastard," she says, grinding her teeth, "He knows I won't let him near me or Trill, so he's trying to use you as a go between."
"Baby, I'm on your side, here," Nico says gently, "Don't let him get to you like that."
"I spent my whole childhood wanting him out of my life," she sighs, getting up to wrap herself in Nico's arms, "Why can't he just stay out?"