The ringing of the house phone startled Brianna from her concentration on the proposal she was preparing for Jon and the Foundation on lunch programs for the local public schools. "Hello?"
"Hi. This is Judy Baker calling from the school."
Brianna frowned. "Hi. Is something wrong with Jake?"
"I'm afraid so. Nothing serious. I think he's caught the flu that's going around. He's warm and he just threw up."
"Poor kid. I'm on my way. Thanks for calling."
"He's in the nurse's room laying down. Just go to the office when you get here."
"Okay. Thanks again." Hanging up, Brianna stood and looked at Romeo who was playing with some toys on the floor in front of her desk. "Come on Little Man. Jake's sick and we have to go get him."
"Okay." He rose and followed her, content to go along with what she wanted....until he saw the winter coat she held out for him. "No!"
"Come on Romeo, we have to go get Jake."
"You have to wear a coat. It's cold outside." November had been fairly mild, but December seemed to be trying to make up for it. Two feet of snow had been dumped on the area a couple days earlier and the temperature had dropped a good ten degrees.
But Romeo wanted no part of it. "No no no no no!" He shook his head vigorously as he backed away from her.
Mary, one of the cleaning staff who had occasionally helped with the kids appeared at the top of the stairs. "I'll keep an eye on him if you want to leave him here."
Brianna looked at Romeo. "Do you want to stay home with Mary or come with me?"
He considered for a moment. "Stay wif Mawy."
"Okay. I'll be back soon." Pulling on her coat and boots, she grabbed her purse and keys and rushed out to her car.
At the school, Brianna found a pale Jake huddled on the cot in the nurse's room. "Hey buddy." She smoothed his hair off his forehead and frowned at the warmth of his skin.
"I know. Do you want to go home?"
"Okay. Can you sit up for me?"
He nodded again and sat up. Brianna reached over to a nearby chair where someone had set his coat, boots and lunch box. She got him dressed and straightened. "Ready to go?"
Jake nodded yet again and held up his arms, obviously wanting to be carried. Brianna obliged, bending to lift him into her arms.
The nurse handed her his lunch box. "Feel better Jake."
Brianna got Jake home and settled into bed with some Tylenol - and a bucket. Returning downstairs, she went into the kitchen to start making a list of groceries and other supplies they needed to cope with sickness in the house.
That's where Mary found her. "Is there anything else you want me to do today?"
Brianna glanced at the clock. "Can you stay until I pick up the other two?"
"Sure. No problem."
List in hand, Brianna set out again. The wind had picked up considerably in the short time she'd been inside and the sky had taken on an ominous cast. It looked like more snow was on the way. I hope it holds off until I get home.
Pulling up in front of the school, she was surprised to see Stephanie and Jesse both ready and waiting. In fact, she'd barely come to a complete stop before they were reaching for the door handles. "Hey guys. You're sure in a hurry today. What's going....on? Uh oh." She'd turned to look at them as she spoke and had her answer as soon as she saw Jesse's pale face. "Are you alright Jess?"
He shook his head. "I feel like sh...crap."
Brianna grimaced sympathetically. "Jake came home early with the flu. Looks like you've got it too. Can you hold on long enough for me to make a quick stop at the grocery store? By the looks of the sky we're in for more snow and we need a few supplies."
Jesse nodded. "If I have to I'll puke in the parking lot."
"Nice Jess." Stephanie wrinkled her nose.
He just shrugged and leaned his head against the window.
At the grocery store Brianna parked and shut off the car. "I'll be quick."
"I'll come with you." Stephanie offered. "If we split up the list we'll be twice as fast."
Brianna looked from Jesse's face to the darkening sky. "Good idea. Thanks."
They were in and out in record time and made it home just as the first flakes were starting to fall.
"Mary, it's starting to snow." Brianna warned as she set down the bags she was carrying. "You'd better get going unless you want to stay here."
Mary rushed into the foyer to grab her coat and boots. She glanced at Jesse's face, frowned and looked at Brianna. "Another patient?"
"Looks like it."
"Do you want me to stay?"
Brianna shook her head. "No, that's okay. I've got it."
A couple hours later, she wondered if her confidence had been a bit premature. After getting Jesse settled into bed with Tylenol and a bucket, she returned downstairs and debated options for dinner that would soothe a queasy stomach.
"What's the matter Little Man? You getting hungry?"
He shook his head. "My tummy hurts."
Uh oh. She walked over to crouch down feel his forehead. "Does your head hurt?"
"Bri, where's the...."
What ever Stephanie was going to ask for was cut off and forgotten as Romeo made a choking sound, then threw up....on Brianna.
"Ew, gross!" Stephanie grimaced.
"Grab some paper towels please Steph."
"It's okay Little Man. You couldn't help it." Three down.
Cleaned up, Romeo in bed, Brianna was once again in the kitchen, this time with a clipboard and sheets of paper.
"What are you doing?" Stephanie sat on the stool beside her.
"Making a chart to keep track of when they've had Tylenol so that I don't over dose them. With so many sick this is the easiest way to keep track." She eyed the teenager. "How are you feeling?"
Stephanie shrugged. "I've got a bit of a headache, but otherwise I'm fine." She stood and walked over to the window. "When does Dad get home?"
"Day after tomorrow. They've got a show tonight...or last night, I've lost track of the time difference, then they're coming home." The thought crossed her mind that he hadn't called today like he usually did, but she pushed it aside. She had enough to worry about right now.
"Hope the snow stops in time."
A couple hours later, Brianna stepped out of Jesse's room to empty his pail and met Stephanie coming out of the bathroom. Her pale face and reddened eyes said it all.
Stephanie nodded and headed for her bedroom.
Sighing, Brianna cleaned the pail she was carrying, put it back in Jesse's room, then went in search of another one for Steph.
It wasn't until almost midnight as she wrote the latest Tylenol doses on her chart that she realized Jon still hadn't called. Amanda hadn't contacted her either, but she couldn't help but feel something was wrong.
Frowning, she went into her office and booted up her computer. A quick internet search provided videos of interviews done the day before and clips from the show. Uh oh. The interviews showed a very impatient Jon fidgeting in his chair, checking his watch constantly while Richie answered the majority of the questions. Wonder what's got his panties in a twist?
Before she could investigate further, a cry from upstairs had her rushing up to Romeo's room. His bucket was empty, but it very quickly became apparent that while one end had paused in its spewing, the other end had started.
"I sowy! I sowy!" Romeo cried.
"Shhhh Little Man, it's okay. You can't help it." She reassured him as she set about getting him and his bed cleaned up.
Then it was time for laundry and the next round of bed checks and Tylenol. She'd just sat down when her phone rang. "Hi honey."
"Hi. You've got to talk to Amanda."
Brianna sighed, not sure she had the energy to deal with anything more. "What's wrong?"
"She's fucking up left, right, and centre." Jon growled. "My ginseng's alway late, she's mixing up interviews, switching them around without telling me so I don't know who I'm talking to, my food's either cold or too spicy, and yesterday I asked for lozenges and she brings me COUGH DROPS! It's a train wreck! You need to fix it."
"I can't fix it from here." Brianna sighed, too tired to deal with him in diva mode. "Did she really not tell you about the interview switch or did you not pay attention or check your schedule before you walked in?" She'd been there, dealt with that. "As for the rest....it's her first tour Jon, and she's never worked with a musician before. She's not familiar with how it works and what your specific preferences are."
"You picked it up right away."
Her lips twitched. "That's 'cause I'm good."
"I have a whole new appreciation of your skills Golden Eyes." He admitted.
"I'm glad to hear that. You just need to be patient and give her time to find her balance."
"I don't have time for that! You were supposed to train her!"
Her own patience snapped. "I can't train her from thousands of miles away! You're a big boy Jon, open your mouth and tell her what you need - and don't yell it at her. Or fire her and get someone else."
"You need to..."
"You'll have to deal with it. I don't have time for this Jon. I have four kids sick with the flu. I'm up to my elbows in vomit and shit. I don't have any time for yours. I'll see you when you get home." Disconnecting, she tossed the phone onto the couch beside her.
Jon blew out a breath, cursed and tossed his phone aside.
"Problem?" Richie asked from the doorway.
"The kids are all down with the flu."
"Hmmm. Bet they're glad we left Sunshine at home."
Jon just grunted.
"Glad we're going home tomorrow." David rubbed his throat as he joined them. "My throat is killing me."
"Well, keep it to yourself." Jon instructed. "I've got enough to deal with." He'd been ignoring the tickling in his own throat for two days.
Richie raised a brow at his front man's grouchy tone. "Missing your wife already? Or just horny?"
"How are you going to make it through the rest of the tour?"
Jon was wondering the same thing himself.