The Odd Couple, Part III

Frick & Frack

Back to Main Page

Back to Series

Eddie sauntered into the bathroom which was still warm from the previous visitor and turned on the shower full blast, stripping off his clothes and tossing them into a rumpled pile near the sink.  Something in his skin still prickled where Craig had touched him. . . especially after he had. . .

Ridiculous.  Stupid as fuck.

Eddie climbed into the shower, feeling instant relief as the hot water beat down upon his naked skin like the tepid massage of liquid fingertips.  Steam gently aided in the renewed process of breathing freely and he relished the clarity, for he knew that it was probably temporary.  Despite the respite from congestion, he sneezed once with a resounding, "Hit-shuuuuuuh!” noting the way the sound reverberated off the walls in the bathroom’s amplified acoustics.  Funny, he had never heard Craig sneeze in the shower. . .in fact, he rarely let it go in front of Eddie at all, which was why he had been so shocked by his friend’s rather blatant behavior, although he was well aware that the other man was prone to sneezing a bit incessantly in the morning at certain times, a trait that roused Eddie’s curiosity to some degree.

The opening of his sinus passages elicited another echoing “ahshooooo!” from him as he scrubbed at his hair with a handful of shampoo, lathering it into a sopping pile atop of his head as he went to work soaping the rest of his naked body until he looked like a frothing mass of walking bubbles.

The shower was a quick one, for rarely did he linger as Craig often did and he stepped out of the steaming bathroom, one towel wrapped turban style around his head, the other around his waist.

Sometime late in the afternoon, Eddie had disappeared into the dark depths of his room, leaving Craig to finish practicing his lines alone.  At least Lucy was with him.  He delivered to her, finding speaking to an audience much less embarrassing than to an empty room.  He only wished the people who auditioned him would be as intent on his words as she seemed to be.  Except for when she decided to clean her stomach.  He supposed it might break his concentration if they were to suddenly spread their legs and begin licking themselves.  The image made him smirk.  Something to remember if he were too nervous.  Which he would be, if the way he was feeling now were any indication.

Actually, he found himself wishing Ed hadn’t left.  At least with him there, he could pretend to keep his mind on the words, instead of the waves of fear that kept washing over him.  And if he looked too somber, Ed would tease the shit out of him.  Which would make him angry, and then the nerves would disappear.  And there was something oddly comforting about the singer’s presence.

Instead, he swooped down and grabbed Lucy, setting her on his lap.  “So, Luce… what do you think?  Am I going to get this part or what?”  The cat gave him a dirty look, clearly put out at being coddled.  'You are infringing on my personal space,' her eyes told him and he stuck his tongue out at her.

“Watch it or no Friskies for you,” he threatened, tapping her nose lightly with the tip of his finger.  Just then he caught sight of the clock.  Nearly seven.  He knew Eddie’s band usually played at nine, but liked to arrive early to warm up and get in tune.  He hoped Eddie was getting ready.  He didn’t want to have to arbitrate any further battles.

Craig set Lucy on the floor, then padded to Eddie’s room.  The door was closed, as usual.  The man lived like a pig.  It drove Craig crazy to see the piles of clothes and dirty dishes, the sheets of music and notebooks and scraps of paper strewn all over the room.  To avoid battles over cleanliness, Eddie had agreed to keep his mess confined to his room, and Craig would ignore what he couldn’t see.

He listened at the door, but heard no movement from within.  What was he doing?  Craig reached out and tapped at the door.  “Eddie,” he called.  “Are you almost ready to go?”

Receiving no answer, he knocked louder.  “Eddie!”  he said a bit more loudly this time.

Was it possible that the man was buried under a pile of his dirty underwear, suffocating?  Either that or he was jerking off. . .

Not wanting to invade Eddie’s privacy, yet also concerned for his well being, Craig grasped the doorknob and turned it gingerly, peeking inside the ominous dark of Eddie’s room.   Sure enough, the singer was curled up in a fetal ball beneath a mountain of blankets, snoring away while the alarm blared incessantly from under a stack of pillows.  No wonder he had not heard it. . .

“Eddie. . .” Craig implored much louder this time from the doorway, allowing the light from the hall to illuminate the dark room, highlighting various pile of anonymous personal items.

“What?!”  Eddie barked suddenly from his shelter.

“It’s almost seven, weirdo.  You’re gonna be late,”  Craig informed him, planting his hands upon his hips in a most dissatisfied manner.

“What?”  Eddie said again, his tone muddled and hazy this time.

“Your gig. . .tonight. . .nine o’clock. . .hellllloooo?”  Craig said in exasperation, knocking upon the wooden door as if it were a replica of Eddie’s hard head.

“My gig?  Oh, fuck!”  Eddie groaned, smacking his hand against his forehead.

Practically stumbling out of the bed, he snatched the nearest shirt from the heap near the foot of the bed and pulled it over his head as he slipped a pair of still-laced Sketchers over his sock covered feet.

“Pants,”  Craig informed him with a chuckle.  “Pants would be good here. . .”

“Oh shit, yeah. . .my pants. . .”  Eddie mumbled, jerking on a pair of jeans over his shoes with far more effort than he really needed to exert.

Leaning against the doorframe, Craig watched with mild amusement as Eddie scrambled to get ready, resisting the urge to inform him that if his room were kept in a state other than utter disarray, he might actually be able to find what he needed upon occasion.

After several intense minutes of mad scrabbling, Eddie managed to pull himself into some semblance of order and sauntered to the door where Craig stood waiting, doing very little to hid his mirth.

“Don’t say it, Parker. . .”  Eddie muttered as he shoved past his friend with a disgruntled scowl.

Craig merely shrugged innocently.  “Say what?”

Eddie paused and glanced over his shoulder at the other man who was dressed in a pair of perfectly pressed black pants and pin-striped dark blue shirt, hair gelled into tousled perfection.

“Parker, it’s a shithole club. . .it’s not a goddamn wedding reception,”  Eddie told him rather curtly.

“And your point is…..?”

“Never mind.”

The throbbing in his head had intensified since he had awoken and no amount of booze or pills seemed to help matters.  To make things even worse, the scratch in his throat had blown into full blown pain from all of the coughing he had endured and the persistent tickle that had plagued him since the previous night refused to abate.  Rather than try and suppress the urge, he squinted at the light above him and coaxed into being.

“Etchiiisssshoooo!  Hehchiiissshooo!!”  he sneezed, covering his mouth partially with one hand out of courtesy for Craig’s health rather than actually caring about the politeness of the action.

“Bless you,” Craig said automatically and then cringed, knowing full well that Eddie despised the sentiment.  “I mean, damn you,” he corrected himself.  “Damn you to hell!

Eddie scowled at the blessing.  There was little he hated more than someone acknowledging his sneezing... especially with such a useless sentiment as a blessing.  Even if there was such a being as a God... why would it waste its time with something so inane as offering blessings to everyone who had a small sniffle.  But then Craig completely reversed his statement and Eddie found himself grinning, almost against his will.

He schooled his face back to the disgruntled expression, and turned toward Craig, who nearly stepped away.  “You're a fuckwad, Parker,” he growled, glowering, but unable to keep the sparkle from his eyes.  “But you crack me up.”  Eddie chuckled, but it turned into a fit of coughing.  He groaned.

Craig shook his head.  “You sound...”

“Like shit, I know,” Eddie couldn't deny it any longer.  There was a problem.  But he had sang through a cold before, and he could do it again.  He would.  “But I have to perform tonight.  There's not another option.”

“You're going to fuck up your voice,” Craig warned.  Actors were some of the few people other than singers who understood the voice as an instrument.

Eddie shook his head.  “I have to do this.  If I don't sing, there's nothing for me.  It's the only time I can...” He shrugged, falling silent.  “You should go into comedy,” he changed the topic abruptly as he locked the door behind them.

Craig looked away from Eddie for a moment.  It was a rare person who knew about his dream to be a comedian.  His parents thought it was even less likely for him to be successful as a comedian than it was to be a successful actor.  Not that they believed either was very likely.  How was it that Eddie knew so much about him?

Suddenly Craig sighed, Eddie's mood seemed to be more contagious than whatever disease he had this time.  He shrugged it off.  He cocked an eyebrow at his roommate then reached out and felt Eddie's forehead.  “Huh.  I thought so.  Feverish.  I think you're delirious.”

Eddie stepped away from the touch, shivering as a brief chill shook him.  “One of these days you should learn how to take a compliment.”

“Perhaps if you learned how to give one...” Craig smirked.  “Now get in the car, or I'll leave without you.”

“Sure... and you'll have to sing for me.  That would be really .... interesting.”  He smirked; Craig's inability to carry a tune was practically legendary.  "You don't want me to drive?” Eddie asked, gazing rather longingly at his pick-up.

“I do not ride in rust buckets,” Craig said in a mockingly lordly tone, waving his hand dismissively.  “And besides, if you get hammered, I don’t think you’d enjoy walking fifteen miles back to the apartment.”

“Jeff would drive me. . .” Eddie grumbled crossly, folding his arms before him much in the manner of a spoiled child as he sank into the Saturn’s plush seat.

“I don’t know if even Jeff could stand you right now, Sunshine,”  Craig teased, ruffling Eddie’s hair affectionately with one hand as he backed out of the parking lot.

“I’ve got your sunshine right here, asshole,”  Eddie fired back, grabbing his crotch lewdly.

Craig giggled almost boyishly.  “You said sunshine and asshole in the same sentence.  Tell me, is there a light at the end of the asshole tunnel, Eddie?”

“Idiot,”  Eddie grunted, turning up the collar of his jacket with a cough although mildly amused.  The utter stupidity of Craig’s observation was so ridiculous, it was almost funny.   Such was his friend, always finding the humor in the most inane of places and pointing it out for all to see.  And laugh about.

At times, Eddie wished he could borrow the cheerful vibrancy of his friend, for as long as he had known Craig, he had rarely seen him depressed, let alone pouting as he himself indulged in at the present moment.  Perhaps it was childish, but things had simply not gone as planned, a fact which thoroughly irritated Eddie, for despite all of his disorganization, keeping the schedule with the band was very important to him.  So important, in fact, that his life practically revolved around it.

“Mind if I smoke?”  Eddie asked.

Craig shook his head.  “Nope.  Just roll down the window a bit.”

He resisted the urge to inform Eddie that smoking was probably the worst possible thing he could do for his voice at this point, but he was in no mood to cross the testy singer.  Better to just let him have his way and possibly get a few drinks in him later.  Then, at least, he would forget about his misery even if his voice did not last for the entire show.

Eddie cracked the window only enough to allow the smoke to flow outside, instead of getting trapped in the car.   Even that was enough to make him shiver with chill.  Fucking disease.  At least he’d have a couple of days before their next gig.  He could hole up in his room until the thing left him alone.

The lighter popped from the dashboard, loud in the silence.  Eddie stuck a cigarette in his mouth, lit it and took a long drag.  Despite the coughs that threatened, the smoke soothed him.  He held it for a moment, wishing he were smoking something else, then exhaled out the window in a cloud.  He glanced over at Craig, who was watching the road unnecessarily carefully. He knew he was being childish, pouting over something like this… but this knowledge only made it worse.  And for Craig to know… he crossed his arms over his chest, clutching his notebook, and slouched down in his seat, scowling out the window.
Craig peered at the singer out of the corner of his eye.  Still pouting.  He sighed quietly.  Alcohol… lots of it and soon.  Hopefully he’d be ready to pass out by the end of the gig.  If only he had something to keep him unconscious until he got better.  Though if Eddie continued in this mood, he figured he just might have to strangle him.

 * * * * * * * * * * * *

As he pulled into the small lot behind the club, he heard Eddie curse under his breath.  Mike’s Nissan and Jeff’s Honda were already there.  Craig checked his watch.  7:30.  They were late.  The shit was going to hit the fan.  Craig only hoped that some of it would hit him first, the protectiveness rising with a flash of anger on Eddie’s behalf surprising him.

Eddie barely acknowledged Craig’s presence as he strode toward the door, still hunched into his jacket.  The wind had picked up a sharp edge, Craig realized.  Winter was coming much faster than he would have liked.  The long months of cold, grey, bleakness sometimes got him down.  He followed Eddie into the warmth of the club.  Even without a crowd, the place smelled like old beer and stale sweat.  He shuddered.  Eddie was right, the place was a shithole.

As Eddie blinked in the dimness of the club, he rubbed his forehead, wishing the headache would let up.  Or at least that someone would unpack the cotton from his brain.  How he was going to be able to remember his lyrics was beyond him.  Then he caught the sound of scales, Mike’s guitar, up and down, loosening up.

Eddie crossed into the main room.  They were all there.  Mike, Jeff, Stone and Matt.  Fuck.  He would have to be last.  And there was no one to blame but himself.   Double fuck.  Hoping to avoid the rest of the band for a moment, he headed over to the bartender instead and ordered a mug of tea.  With a couple of shots of whiskey.  The warmth would soothe his throat, and hopefully the whiskey would obliterate the headache.

Just as he finished ordering, Mike glanced up and noticed him.  “Hey Vedder, thanks for gracing us with your presence.”

Eddie ground his teeth together, biting back a sarcastically irritable response.  He was lucky to be here at all, the way the he felt, but he wasn’t going to give Mike the satisfaction of that knowledge.

“Fuck off, McCready,”  Eddie grumbled, which was the only reply he could muster.  Leave it to Mike to shit a golden brick over a half of an hour.  But then again, he would probably do the same if Mike had been in his place.

Perhaps he deserved to be berated.  After all, the rest of the band had played sick on many occasions, so why couldn’t he ever seem to conjure the energy to make it through the night with just a damn cold?  Pathetic, that’s what he was.  Letting the guys down.  Letting his fans down.  And. . .letting himself down.

A gentle hand descended upon his shoulder, interrupting his tirade of self-belittlement.  Craig stood beside him, giving Mike a less than friendly stare, his expression politely yet firmly conveying that McCready knock it off. . . and now.

“Hey, Parker. . . don’t even start with me,”  Mike warned him, lighting a smoke with shaky hand.  “This isn’t your business.  It’s band business.  Get it?”

Craig’s eyes never left those of the other man as his hand slid from Eddie’s shoulder and onto the bar’s worn surface.  Ever so casually, he reached out to pluck the cigarette from between Mike’s lips, bringing it to his own and taking a long drag.  Smirking, he puffed several rings of smoke in the guitarist’s direction which settled about his head like a demonic wreath, all the while saying nothing.

“Prick,”  Mike muttered, fanning away the halo of smoke.  “If we weren’t at a gig, I’d kick your preppy ass.”

Craig snorted a laugh, stubbing the cigarette out in one of the overflowing ashtrays with a grimace.  Menthol.  Ugh.  “I’m shaking in my Calvin Klein’s.”

“You should be,” Mike growled.  But he did not hold Craig’s gaze, and he quickly retreated back to the stage with the rest of the band.

Craig crossed his arms over his chest, observing how the band stepped together, facing the singer.  Closing ranks.  Four against one, not exactly winning odds.  But Craig would not allow anyone to hurt Eddie.  The man did that well enough all by himself.  He leaned back against the bar, watching with a steady gaze as Eddie followed Mike to the stage.  He was walking carefully, as though he would break if he made one misstep.  He should have cancelled, though Craig knew well the drive to perform.  Hopefully once he started he would be able to ride the adrenaline through the show.

Eddie bent his head, his hair curtaining his face.  He nodded and behind him Matt began a driving beat.

Craig leaned against the bar with a sigh and motioned for the bartender, ordering a bottle of Corona with extra lime. He just prayed that Eddie made it through the gig without passing out and from the looks of his current state, the hope could prove to be a long shot.

* * * * * *

The time to perform came all too soon for Eddie, who could have definitely used a bit more of a buzz before facing the packed club’s eager patrons.  Too late to consider his alcohol consumption right now with Mike giving him the evil eye from the stage.  He sauntered onto the stage as the lights dimmed, mic in hand, head hung low as if in a depressive slump.

Tensing, Craig leaned forward in his seat, desperately hoping that Eddie wasn’t passing out as Matt clicked his drumsticks together to establish the tempo of the certainly raucous tune.  Eddie’s head bobbed to the rhythm until the song burst into being.

Craig watched in mild amazement as the music began to transform Eddie from a sullen singer into a veritable firecracker of energy, the charge of the thumping rhythm seeming to lift the veil of darkness from his face and replacing it with determined euphoria.  Eddie’s powerful baritone reverberated through the smoke infested bar, reaching into every crevice and filling it with the ferocity of his music convictions.

No matter how many times Craig had seen the band perform, Eddie’s stage presence never failed to floor him completely.  The singer cavorted about the stage, spinning and dancing like a maniac, working the crowd into a bouncing frenzy of noisy whoops and shouts.  Had Craig been with a date and not alone, he probably would have joined in the masses, but he preferred to watch from a reserved standpoint this evening.

Remarkably, Eddie managed the entire set without a hitch, a feat which truly surprised Craig, for he knew the singer wasn’t up to par.  Given his enthusiastic antics, Craig was tempted to suggest that he perform ill more often!

As the band disappeared into a back room for the short break between sets, Craig pushed his way through the milling crowd, trying to reach Eddie.  On his way past the bar, he asked the bartender for another tea with whiskey.  Nauseating drink, in his opinion, but Eddie seemed to drink it every time he was sick.  He claimed it was an old remedy his grandmother gave him as a kid.  With slightly less whiskey, of course.  This from the man who also claimed his grandmother made hallucinogenic jam.  Either he had the world's most interesting grandmother, or he knew how to spin a good yarn.  Craig was betting on the latter... though, considering the depths of his friend's weirdness, perhaps he should give more credence to the former.

Craig managed to make his way to the back room, through the still raucous crowd, without dumping more than a few slops of the tea on himself.  As he brushed past another linebacker sized guy without a shirt, dripping with sweat, Craig began to think Eddie was right to criticize him for his choice of clothing.  He may have to burn his outfit once he got home.  He wasn't sure he'd ever get the eau de frat-boy out of them.

He slipped into the room, completely unnoticed by the others in the band.  Mike and Stone were gathered in a tight circle, laughing and talking about some chick in the crowd in loud voices.  Matt and Jeff were dribbling a basket ball between themselves, intent on a discussion on which was a better team... the Bulls or the Knicks. Craig wasn't sure where either team was from.  For a moment, he hesitated in the doorway, unsure if Eddie was even in the room.  Then he caught sight of him, sitting on an old folding chair in the corner of the room.  He was glaring down at his feet, chin on one hand, looking vaguely lost.

Craig crossed the room quietly, standing by Eddie and laid a careful hand on his shoulder.  “Hey, Vedder,” he said softly, holding out the mug of tea in offering.

Eddie glanced up at him, blue eyes shining with some indefinable emotion.  Craig squeezed his shoulder.  “Good set,” he said.

“Thanks,” Eddie mumbled, accepting the steaming cup gratefully.

“Feeling. . .?” Craig began.

“Like shit?  Yeah,” Eddie grumbled, his voice suddenly hoarse and congested as he sipped the hot liquid.

Truthfully, he felt worse than shit.  More like shit that had been baking in the sun for five days and then trampled into the dry earth by a herd of four hundred pound Jenny Craig rejects eager for the taste of some forbidden cookie.

Now that his singing had ceased, the persistent tickle that plagued him had arisen with a vengeance.  Struggling valiantly to suppress the urge, he pressed a hand beneath his nose, but touching it had apparently been a most devastating mistake.

“Hehmmpphsshh!”  he sneezed, trying desperately to squelch the sound, lest the other band members overhear what may very well turn out to be a small fit.  “Hitchhsst!!”

Craig eyed him warily.  “That doesn’t sound too good,” he noted, immediately wishing he had not voiced the observation, for he was certain Eddie would bite his head off given the mood he was in.

Instead, the singer sighed wearily, taking another long swallow of the god-awful concoction without so much as a grimace.  “Yeah, I know.”

He knew?  Well, this was a surprise.  Eddie must be feeling horrid to even conceive of admitting that he felt as such.  Not wanting to add to his apparent suffering, Craig attempted a smile.

“Well, look on the bright side.  If the guys get on your nerves, you can always hock a chunky one in their drink,”  he said with a wink.

Eddie smirked.  “Parker. . .remember when I said you should go into comedy?  I take it back.”

Craig laughed, wincing as a rather well-endowed woman winked suggestively in his direction.  Eddie’s eyes followed Craig’s look of slight disgust and chuckled.

“What’s the matter, Parker?  Afraid she might fuck your brains out?” he teased.

Craig arched one eyebrow.  “I’m afraid she might bite my dick off,”  he said with a shudder.  Gripping the collar of Eddie’s shirt he feigned a swoon.  “I’m too young to die!”

“And far too beautiful,” Eddie added.

“You know it,” Craig struck a pose and Eddie finally grinned... even though it looked more like a grimace.

Suddenly a voice interrupted them.  “The fuck was that, Vedder?”  McCready, of course.  Craig glanced at him and winced slightly.  This was not going to be
pretty. But before he could say anything, Eddie pulled himself together visibly, mask dropping over his face until the only hint of his former distress was a faint tinge
of pink around his nostrils.

Eddie stood to face his bandmate.  “Look.  You know I'm sick.  It's fucking obvious.  And I'm tired of you acting like it's some crime against humanity.  I'm doing the best I can out there.  So if I slip in here... just let me.”

“But it's not going to be just in here, is it?  You made it though the first set and that's great; wonderful even.  But look at yourself.  Listen to yourself.  You sound like shit.  I don't care what you think of me or my actions.  I care about the audience. Do they really deserve to have you at less than your best?”

“What the hell do you want of him?”  Craig burst out suddenly, unable to stay silent.  “He is doing the best he can right now.”

Mike whirled to glare at Craig.  “Oh, look who's opened his big mouth.  Parker... Eddie's ever-present defender.  The roommate.”  Somehow the word was dirty
in Mike's tone.  Intimating things that had never passed between Craig and Eddie.  “Why don't you go find yourself some other boy-toy and let Eddie focus on the band.”

“What's that supposed to mean?” Craig asked, voice dangerously quiet.

“You know damn well what it means.  It means quit trying to hitch a ride on our rising star.  Go find your own fame.  Fucking Ed won't make you any more than the nothing you already are.”

Craig's stomach clenched, anger burning through him. “What gives you the right...”  He stepped forward, poking Mike in the chest with one finger.  “You know
exactly jack shit about Eddie and me.  And whatever we have or don't have has nothing to do with you.  So why don't you take a flying leap of a fucking short pier.”

Mike grabbed Craig's finger with one hand and began to twist.  “Don't you fucking touch me...”

Suddenly Eddie stepped in between them, eyes glittering with anger and fever.  Chills shook him, but he ignored it, clenching his teeth to keep them from chattering.  “Stop it.  Right now.  What the hell do you think you're going?  Just leave me alone, all right?  Both of you.”

It was too much all at once.  The noise of the crowd from outside the door... the conflict between his best friend and his bandmate... the fact that he thought
this flu just might kill him out right.  Eddie wanted nothing more than to leave, to walk away from everything, go back home and curl into bed with Bijou. But he knew he couldn't.  He had to go out there... had to finish the show, before he collapsed.  And he
had to make it good.  Because McCready had a wasn't about the tension between them, it wasn't about how he was feeling.  It was about the audience. This was for them.  To create an experience.  And he needed to get into the space where he could give that to them.  At whatever cost to himself... he would give everything he had and more to make this night work. He could not imagine anyone leaving disappointed.  He slumped back into his chair and cradled his head in his hands, ignoring everyone around him and pulling inside.  Pulling together every last bit of energy to send out into the crowd as soon as they went back on.

Craig shot Mike a look that could have melted the ice in his drink.  “Fine. . .” he said, “I’ll be waiting by the bar in case you need me to call an ambulance.”

* * * * *

The second set was blur of fever and alcohol that Eddie could not recall . . . nor did he want to.  Although he usually lingered to assist in loading up the equipment, he knew that in his weakened state, he would be of little use to the band and regretfully took a sullen leave.

Once inside the warm confines of Craig’s car, he hunkered down into the seat once more, bundled in his thick jacket, saying nothing other than the occasional cough or sniffle.  His roommate said nothing in return, apparently having had his fill of Eddie’s shenanigans for the evening.

Eddie could hardly blame him.  It wasn’t as if he tried to be a sulky jerk. . .it just happened at times.  Just why Craig even put up with him was beyond his comprehension.  Perhaps he was growing tired of it.  Perhaps, tired of him.

Stop it, he berated himself internally.  Craig had seen him in far worse states than this before yet he had never abandoned their friendship, although at times, Eddie failed to see why.  He didn’t know if he could stand himself for much longer given the foul disposition he radiated, which was utterly disappointing.  Usually, after a gig, he was full of life. . .on a high, even.  But not tonight.  He was just too sick and far too tired to even consider doing anything other than sleeping.  Thankfully, he had a good four days in between club dates and was grateful for the chance to actually rest.

Craig remained silent until they reached to the apartment, announcing to Eddie that he was going to study his lines.  In his room.  Alone.  Well, he hadn’t actually said that last part, but he might as well have.  It was painfully obvious to the singer that he did not wish to be in the company of his misery any longer.  And who could blame him?

Feeling far worse than he had earlier that day, Eddie called Bijou to him and trudged to the confines of his darkened room, flopping onto the bed with a sigh, not bothering to shed his smoke and sweat drenched clothing, sleep claiming his senses the instant his head made contact with the pillow.