AN: I am not sure how this chapter will unfold, where it will even begin. It starts where things often do where Tommy and Jude are concerned, music. Hopefully this chapter turns out well and makes up for the long lapse in my writing. When I find the physical files for World I'll get that updated. Song belongs to Three Days Grace, and it was kind of the inspiration that got me flowing again. I leave it to you, the readers, to tell me if that's a good thing or not. ^_^ In case no one was alerted until this chapter, there is an official chapter 3 now, make sure you read that before reading this one. On to Chapter 4!
Chapter Four: Nothing to Lose But You
It had taken nearly a week for Jude and Jayden to be released from the hospital, another month before she could start to balance life outside of the treatments. Chemo is starting to take its toll on the teen, being a mother figure, a high school student, a pop star; all of it is a lot to juggle without being sick. They're managing. Kwest, Speid, and Tommy keep a closer eye on her every mood. The slightest change in anything and it's an interrogation.
What only Tommy truly understands, is that music is her safe place. In making music, she's not sick, she's not learning how to co-parent a small child, build a family before she's even finished her senior year. So, leaving Speid in charge of Jayden and going to the studio two days out of the hospital didn't surprise anyone. Darius gives them both a gruff look but doesn't say a word. In truth, he was rather proud of himself, he'd won the pool on how long after discharge before she'd talk her way into Tommy bringing her into the studio to work.
"Let's try that one more time, Girl. Put everything into it, lay it all on the line. Like you did when you wrote it. I could feel it the first time you showed it to me. You've got this." Tommy, clicks the mic off on his end as Jude nods, he was right. It isn't her usual style, which makes it a little off, but it still tells the perfect story.
She takes a deep breath, closing her eyes was he cues up the music again, taking it right from the top. Her voice lilting and almost delicate by comparison to things she's done in the past. This is their new beginning, in so many ways. Despite the fact the song came to her while she and Jayden were being held captive, it doesn't change the depth of the lyrics, or the raw emotion that plays over her face as she lays out the final notes, letting her voice fade one last time.
"Perfect! Come on in here, hear for yourself. There's just some final touches to do in mixing and then it's ready to go on the album. Then, it's off to production."
"Sure, then there's just the promotion concert in a few days. Press releases… Not to mention we still have yours to finish." Jude rolls her eyes before putting one of the head phones against her ear to hear as he plays the track back for her.
As she listens to the last track, the ever-demanded ballad that Darius felt the album needed, Tommy sighs heavily. While they had been working on her album they had secretly been putting effort into his debut solo album. They had gotten permission from the big guy to do it in secret. The three of them, well and the band and Kwest, are the only ones who knew that they were working towards getting him out there with her. Taking all the raw emotion of everything he's been through, that they have survived together. His self-destructive behavior; all of it. He is trying to channel it into an album. The words, the notes, it's all there.
What only Jude understands is just how hard some of it really is. Putting yourself out there, raw and open for the world to see. It's hard. He's pulled out of his thoughts by her, "So, I think we should get Darius to let you open the show. It would get what we're working on out there and shock the audience and the press. I mean, think about it. It would be a PR wonderland for him."
"Maybe…" His hesitation is evident in the tone of his voice. The reservations he has in his own ability to perform solo. Performing for her birthday, for her for any reason is entirely different than really trying to make it as a solo artist himself. Assisting her here and there is entirely different. The validity of her idea though, the way the press would eat it up if they arranged the set list just right… That, he can't deny would be a killer show. "Let's work up an arrangement and see what he thinks. The worst he can really do is tell me no again. Though, he does really like the good press he gets when we collaborate."
"Exactly!" Her excitement is almost intoxicating. During the rough road of recovery, he's been on, through the whole of his life. Their own roller coaster of emotions, it's all laid bare in the music between the two of them.
"All right, let's go talk to the big man. You're doing the talking. He's more likely to say yes if you're doing the talking. You know that you're his favorite artist. You're one of the biggest reasons he was willing to agree to the terms when he took over G-Major."
"Yes!" The chair spins half way around as she stands, grabbing his hand and yanking him towards the door to get the green light from the boss man.
"What!" Darius' voice bellows from behind the huge, closed office door after Jude knocks rapidly. The sound of his voice, not even waiting for actual permission to open the door before she's charging excitedly into his office. His concern for her health is still evident. The fact she's still paler than normal and really should be resting, he heaves a heavy sigh as he glances briefly at Tom. He knows who's running the show right now, folding his arms over his broad chest as he waits to see what his highest paid and highest earning artist nearly bounces towards his desk with Tom in toe.
"We had a brilliant idea for the show! What if we include Tommy and some of the stuff we've been working on for his solo album. Kind of introducing the new Tom Quincy to industry, better still…" She looks at Tommy beside her for confirmation before she looks back at their boss, still beaming. "Tom Dutios. You know the press will have a field day. Think of all the killer publicity, both for my album, which is just about ready to roll out, just final mixing…"
"Whoa, slow down. Let me get this straight, you have finished your latest album ahead of schedule, and you want me to agree to add him to the show… You haven't even brought me a single song you two have done for his album."
Out of her back pocket she pulls out a CD and bounces over to his office stereo. The guitar is softer than he expects, the drums kicking in slowly as it builds, but what really grabs his attention, causes the gruff man to sit forward and really take in the song, is the emotion and the rawness of it. The chorus has him looking between his biggest money maker and his best producer, his expression serious as he takes it in. Grabbing the remote from a drawer in his desk, restarting the song…
I stay up, every night.
I should have thought twice
When I put our lives on the line.
I'm a mess
You're the only hope that I hold inside
The self-destruction, the damage I've done
You're the reason I'm still alive.
That's where he pauses it, looking at both before nodding. "If this is just the beginning, I think it's an excellent idea. This album, Tom, based on this is far better than Frozen ever could have been. This, is what will have you right up there with your girl as one of my best-selling artists. Put a new set list together for me by tomorrow, give me a sample first thing tomorrow morning. Get the band and Kwest up to speed on the changes."
Jude looks like she's on cloud nine while Tom looks almost as though he's going to be ill. He knew the chances that he would agree to her idea were high, she's his super star. The reality of it is an entirely different story. It means taking the stage again in front of a crowd like he hasn't faced since Boyz Attack! Yet, the look of utter satisfaction and pure joy on his girl's face is enough to silence the fear and doubt. "Why are you two still standing here?!" Darius bellows, pulling them both back into the moment before Jude salutes their boss and once more drags Tommy by the hand out of the office.
She's gentle when she closes his door but that's the slowest she is until they find the band in one of the spare studios messing around, killing time until they're needed, minus of course Speid who is on Jayden duty at the moment. After all, until she'd gotten this wild idea and got it green lit almost as quickly, there had been nothing for the guys to do. They're work on her album was already done, all they'd had to do was finalize her main vocals. Now the rest is all mastering that Tom and Kwest will handle. She'd have had more of an issue in not being including on that side of her own album if it hadn't been for the fact she's getting to take his position on his album and be his wing man, the way he's been hers for so long on their musical journey.
"Guys! Guess what?!" Her excitement is infectious, the guys stop in the middle of a paper airplane war to look up at her.
"You're pregnant!" Wally jumps up, exclaiming.
"You're getting married!" Kyle's response almost mingling with his band mate's, and the look on Tommy and Jude's faces are priceless. The shock and horror are enough to send both guys all but rolling on the floor as they each bend over, arms wrapped around their bellies as they laugh hard enough it's a wonder they are capable of standing.
While Tom looks equally horrified and enticed by both guesses, Jude smacks both of her band mates into he back of the head before jumping into things. "Darius is letting us change up the set for the show Friday."
"Wait, you mean the show we're supposed to do in two days?!" Both guys look at her like a deer in the headlights, wide-eyed and unblinking.
"Yes, don't worry, it's going to be a breeze, I've pretty much got it in my head just exactly how to rearrange it. You guys and Speid just have to be ready to back Tommy as well as me."
"You're doing it? Like, for real?" Wally asks Tommy, one brow arching, he's surprised that he'd agreed to put himself out there so soon after everything. The man had so much on his plate with Jude and Jayden, the kidnapping alongside her health. Adding getting ready to perform solo for the first time in just two short days. They'd had to have been working in secret a while for him to have enough ready that she'd talk everyone into this crazy idea. "Have you guys talked to Speid?"
"No, I was going to call him after I talked to the two of you and have him come down with Jayden. He's a good kid, he'll love it. He's in the studio at home with us all the time." They'd rather quickly turned the garage into a studio after Tommy and Kwest had moved in and her condition had been discovered. It allowed her to keep working when she was too weak to come in or too compromised to be out in public. It also came in handy when one of them couldn't sleep, they could go work without having to drive into the studio or wake anyone else up. The soundproofing had been professionally done, of course. That part had been a gift from Darius, the parts of the transformation they couldn't really afford to do professionally, he had seen to it that it got done.
"So, what do you have in mind?" Kyle plops back down on a stool."
"Well, I was thinking if we pull songs from both albums, kind of back and forth rather than opening and headlining. Make sense? Like, if you really think about it, everything we've all been working on for my album and his tells our story. I thought we'd open with Nothing to Lose, and end with the ballad we just finished for my album. If we pull a couple tracks here and there from his album and some from a couple of my other albums and this one, it'll be like telling our story in concert. The press will love it, the fans will love it, it'll be epic!" Jude's excitement just seems to keep growing the more she's explaining to them how she wants to put the show together.
"It's brilliant, dude." Speid pipes in, over the speaker on Wally's phone. He'd called their band leader the minute she started talking without even bothering to say hello. He picked up the gist of what was going down half way through her idea, they were linked in a weird way when it came to music. Not the same way she is with Quincy, but like you'd expect twins to be.
"Right?! It's perfect! So, get Jay loaded up and get your ass down here. You guys need to get a better feel for Tom's part of the set, my stuff we've all done often enough we'll just need to do a full scale run through once you guys are caught up on some of his stuff we haven't quite worked with you guys on. I'll have Kwest help me in the booth with Jay and the board." Jude waits until Wally ends the call before looking up at Tommy, "Ready to be on the other side of the glass for a change?"
"For you? Absolutely." Tom kisses her forehead as the group starts getting setting up while they wait for Kwest, Jayden, and Speid to get into the studio. They'd chosen to remain in the spare studio as to keep the changes secret beyond the group and Darius, that way it would remain a surprise, no chance of it leaking out to the press ahead of time that Tommy would be on stage.