Archives for the Date August 4th, 2021 2021-08-04 21:01:57


Little Bit Better Than I Used To Be

Catch up: Chapter 1 (Starry Eyes) || Chapter 2 (Save Our Souls) || Chapter 3 (Dancing On Glass) || Chapter 4 (Merry-Go-Round) || Backstage (1) || Backstage (2) || Chapter 5 (Danger) || Backstage (3) || Chapter 6A (Love Walked In) || Chapter 6B (Without You) || Backstage (4) || Chapter 7 (Stick To Your Guns) ||| Also posted at AO3

Chapter 8: Time For Change

Change // Now it’s time for change // Nothing stays the same // Now it’s time for change…

I’ll change // I’ll change // Not tomorrow, but today…

Soundtrack: “Time For Change,” Mötley Crüe, 1989 [click here to listen]

Six weeks she’d been here – the longest and shortest weeks of her life.

She almost didn’t recognize who she’d been, that terrifying first day.

She had a new purpose, now. A positive attitude. Energy.

And Jamie.

Drinking coffee with him in the mornings, on the porch, watching the world wake up.

Answering his questions about what it was like to work in an emergency room – especially all the gory details.

Learning about the grind of constant touring, and how many hotel rooms he’d destroyed, and how toxic the environment backstage could be – a miasma of booze and drugs and groupies and promoters with one hand in your pocket.

Quietly sharing the gory details of Frank’s betrayal.

Smiling when he played new songs for her, including one that was clearly written from the point of view of a woman trapped in her addiction.

Pushing down the fluttering in her stomach, every time she saw him in the hallway, or bumped into him while washing dishes in the kitchen.

Yes, they were close. But how close? And was it real? Would it last beyond the otherworldly walls of The Ridge?

She broached the topic in her next session with Gillian.

To her credit, Gillian listened intently. Then took a while to respond.

“It’s natural to feel this way. Especially due to the circumstances of your divorce. And as we’ve discussed, one of the things that drove you to the pills was your lack of self-confidence.”

“Which I’m feeling constantly,” Claire interjected. “I’ve shared with you that after my divorce, I just wanted to stop feeling. Because I couldn’t feel happy. And feeling sad was too much. So I just wanted to feel nothing. And now…”

“Now you’re feeling something. And it’s something really, really good. But it’s also something that’s terrifying.”

Claire nodded. “I’m feeling so damn much. I like it. But I’m so scared that I’ll lose it.”

Gillian smiled. “Has he given you any indication that he wants to walk away?”

“No – just the opposite. His history terrifies me – he doesn’t know how many women he’s been with. He’s not proud of it, but that’s something I’d need to live with. And his addiction…”

“Is no worse than yours. You’ve overcome the dependency – your body is getting used to not having it, and you’ve removed all opportunities to get a hold of the pills. With him, it will be different. Alcohol is everywhere. He won’t be able to keep control of those opportunities, like you can.”

Claire turned to look out the window – watched the tall pine trees sway gently in the breeze. “I hadn’t thought about that.”

“But you are thinking about a life with him?”

“God help me, I am.”

“And everything that comes with it? Living in the public eye? The touring? The constant temptations? The fans? The press?”

Claire shrugged. “I survived medical school. A misogynistic supervisor during my residency. And a husband who hit me, before he ran off with his graduate student. Are you trying to talk me out of this?”

“No – that’s certainly not my place. You’ve got your life back, Claire – I want to make sure you’re living it the way you want to.”

He’d played Led Zeppelin’s Tangerine for her this morning, when she’d brought him coffee out on the deck.

And yesterday morning, despite the rain, they’d huddled in a corner of the dining room at six thirty A.M., heads close together, sharing the headphones of her Walkman, singing along to Duran Duran, and she laughed when he told her a crazy story involving him, Simon Le Bon, a tube of body glitter, and a trashed taxi cab.

To have that every day…

She heaved a bone-deep sigh.

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