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Chapter 05

            The girls thoroughly enjoy the concert.  Half way through during the wardrobe change, Amy looks at Dottie and says, "You're really enjoying this, aren't you?"

            Nodding, she says, "Yeah, I am.  A, I never knew how much baggage I was still carrying around from that year.   I've been so happy with Nick; I didn't realize there was still so much there that I haven't dealt with."

            Amy says, "Maybe I'm not the one to say this, but have you thought about seeing someone?  Like a therapist, maybe?  Someone that can help you work through it."

            Looking down at the tips of her shoes, Dottie nods and says, "I thought about it this afternoon.  Only..."

            "What?" Amy asks, when Dottie's voice trails off.

            Looking back at the stage, watching the crew set it up for the next set, Dottie says, "Amy what if there's more?  What if things get worse because I remember more?"

            Knowing how her friend is hurting, Amy says, "D, you've always got me.  You've got Nick, Brian, AJ and Howie.  We all love you and will help you get through anything.  You've just got to let it go."

            Sniffing back tears, Dottie says, "A, I don't want them to feel sorry for me.  I don't want YOU to feel sorry for me."

            Lightly slapping her friends arm, Amy says, "D, you big dope, I don't feel sorry for you.  I'm more than pissed off that it happened, but I don't feel sorry for you.  I'm so PROUD of you.  You went through hell and while none of us can get that year back for you, we can make what lies ahead better."

            Playing with the hem of her shirt, Dottie says, "Do you think therapy might help?  The tour is over in another two months.  Once we get home, maybe..."

            Hugging her friend tightly, Amy says, "D, I think it would do you a world of good to have someone who doesn't know you help you work through this.  I'm not a professional, but I'm doing my best to make you understand that I love you for who you are and I'm proud of the woman you are."

            When they part, tears are glistening on Dottie's lashes.  She brushes them away and says, "A, thank you.  You've always been there for me and it means the world to me."

            Amy says, "D, listen, I can't pretend to know what you went through, and I won't even try.  But I think talking about it will help you let go. I'm always going to be here.  You can cry on my shoulder, rant and rave, yell at the top of your lungs.  When all is said and done, you're still you and I love you."

            As the guys head back out onstage, Dottie says, "I love you too, A."


            When the show is over, the girls walk around back stage, trying to stay out of the way as the crew breaks down the stage and the guys clean up to head out for the next gig.  Dottie's being really quiet so Amy says, "D, are you nervous?"

            Shaking her head, she says, "Kind of.  But I was just thinking about what you said.  About therapy.  Do you think me holding all of this in is why I haven't made love to Nick yet?"

            Amy says, "It could be. You're trying to keep it all to yourself.  I know it's glib and a cliché, but you can let go of it all now and just live your life.  Nick will wait for you until hell freezes over because he loves you that much.  But if you talk about it and get it out of your system, I think you're going to find living your life will be so much easier."

            Dottie stops and says, "A, will you go wait for the guys and bring them out to the bus?  I think I need some time alone before I talk to them."

            "Of course I will." Amy says.  "Want me to walk out to the bus with you first?"

            Dottie laughs and says, "No, it's ok.  I think I can make it on my own."  Hugging her friend, she says, "Thank you Amy.  Brian's a very lucky man."

As Amy watches Dottie walk away, tears threaten to spill from her eyes.  What she went through was so unfair.  Now that she's finally got a life to live and a man to love, the past is still haunting her.  Amy's determined to help her friend get past all this.  One way or another.


Amy goes to wait in what the guys had dubbed the ‘fun room'.  She leans against the ping pong table and lets her mind drift back over her last talk with Brian.  She still has a hard time believing she told him she was falling in love with him.  Before she can delve too deeply in the ramifications of her confession, the object of her thoughts walks in.

He comes over and says, "Hey, A.  Enjoy the show?"

She smiles at him and says, "It was amazing, B."  Nerves keep her from saying anything else.

He says, "Thanks.  Listen, can we talk?  About earlier?"

She blushes and says, "Can we wait?  Dottie needs to talk to you guys and it's really important."

He brushes the hair back from her face and kisses her gently.   He says, "Will you do me a favor, Beautiful?"  At her slight nod, he says, "Will you ride on my bus tonight?  We really need to talk, ok?"  She nods again and he smiles, kissing her again.  Only this time, the kiss is deep and meaningful and full of desire.  When their lips part, he whispers, "I'm falling for you too."

Before either of them can say anything, Nick comes bouncing into the room, followed by AJ and Howie.  After he looks around, pretending he didn't see that kiss, he says, "Hey, where's Dottie?  Everything ok?"

Amy says, "Yeah, she seems a lot better tonight.  She wanted a few minutes alone before talking to all of you.  She wanted me to wait and bring you to the bus when you're all ready."

AJ says, "Amy, what happened?  What did those jerk-offs say?"

Lowering her head briefly, she meets his gaze and says, "AJ it wasn't what they said.  It was the memories it triggered.  But she needs to tell you."

Howie says, "Then let's go.  James was not happy that his D was crying."

As the guys start out the door, Amy says, "Wait."

They all stop and turn.  AJ says, "What's wrong, A?"

Not sure how much she should tell them, she finally says, "She needs to talk about all of this.  It's the only way she's going to let the past go.  But she doesn't want any of us to feel sorry for her.  I probably shouldn't be telling you this, but it's her biggest fear."

Nick says, "Amy, what the hell is going on?"

Amy says, "She'll tell you.  Just, when you hear, remember what I said.  Even if you do feel sorry for her, don't let it show.  She's more fragile now than when she got out, and I didn't think that would be possible."

As they walk out to the bus, Brian puts his arm around Amy.  She glances up at him and he smiles at her.  Knowing she's worried about Dottie, he says, "We'll take care of her, A.  We'll take care of you both."

Smiling at him, she whispers, "I know that, B."


When they get to the bus, Nick finds Dottie sitting on their bed with her back against the side of the bus.  She's holding two pictures and not really paying attention to the fact that he's standing there.  When she finally looks up, he says, "Hey Gorgeous."

She says, "Hey yourself.  The show was amazing."

He says, "Thanks.  I'm glad you liked it."  He sits on the bed and scoots over next to her, saying, "What was your favorite part?"

Putting her hand on his thigh, she says, "My sexy boyfriend."

He smiles and leans closer, kissing first her cheek, then her lips.  He says, "Everyone's up front.  You want them to come back here?"  When she nods, he raises his voice and says, "OK, guys, she's ready."  He looks at her and says, "I love you D."

Smiling back at him with her eyes full of love, she says, "I love you too."

The rest of them come in and an awkward silence fills the air.  Amy scoots over to sit beside Dottie and Brian sits beside her.  Howie sits at the bottom of the bed and AJ makes himself at home by lying right in the middle of it, his feet dangling off the end.  He looks up at Dottie and says, "What's going on, D?"

For the next 20 minutes, Dottie goes through the story she told Amy earlier.  She keeps her eyes averted from everyone's, focusing on the two pictures in her lap.  When she's finished, no one says anything.  She doesn't look up, not wanting to see the looks in their eyes. 

Nick puts his fingers under her chin and slowly forces her to look at him.  When her eyes meet his, she doesn't see pity.  She sees love.  She sees sadness.  But not pity.  He brushes the tears from under her eyes and says, "Baby, I am so proud of you."

AJ says, "Dottie, I don't know what to say.  I'm furious you had to go through that."

Howie says, "I know it was hard for you to relive, but I'm glad you told us.  There's so much I don't say because I'm not sure how you'll feel about it.  I keep wanting to ask you about it so I can try to find a way to make it up to you.  I know we can't make it go away.  If we could, we would.   But we can help you move past it.  You just have to let us."

Sighing, she lays her head over on Nick's shoulder and says, "Holding it all in is killing me.  The panic attacks are happening more and more and it was getting hard to hide.  Today was just a breaking point I guess."

Nick pulls her closer to him and says, "Dottie, I saw it.  I just didn't know what to do to help you."

Putting her hand on his neck, she says, "You helped more than you can know.  You were here.  I needed that."

Brian says, "D, we're all here for you.  We always will be.  Whatever you need, we'll take care of it.  You know you can trust us."

Amy says, "And you've always got me, D."

Sliding over to Amy, Dottie hugs her and says, "I'd never make it without you."

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