That night Juno visited the place with the silver walls again. There was another party. Strange people were converging on Jackson in the harsh light as usual. The droning music was louder than ever. Coke was everywhere.

The band stopped and the blonde girl took the mike. Her name was Nico. She could’ve been Joni’s older sister. She beckoned Jackson to join her. He walked up to her unsteadily, all eyes following him. He picked up a guitar. They sang Jackson’s song again, These Days. As her dark voice rang out Jackson fingered a strand of his soft hair.

She seized his hand and pulled him with her through the sea of faces to the lift. The doors opened and they stepped inside. The ashen-haired guy joined them and watched through his large shades as she sank to her knees before Jackson. The doors closed.

Juno would’ve given anything for a sleeping nightmare.

 

Joni stayed in the US this time. After Philadelphia she and her husband moved on to a club called The Living End in Detroit, and then to Cambridge, Massachusetts.

One balmy night in late April Juno, who’d been keeping basic track of them in her crystal ball, decided to go see in person what they were up to and where they were headed. Another song or two would come in handy, too.

The audience consisted mainly of students. Everybody seemed in a good mood, and the smell of cut grass and new departures blew in on the breeze every time the door opened. Candles flickered excitedly on the tables.

From his seat right up front Ry watched Joni and Chuck settle onto the stage. Somehow it took them a long time. They had two high stools to sit on, and kept on shifting them back and forth and adjusting their guitar straps. Juno couldn’t help feeling they were kind of shifting and adjusting around each other. They weren’t talking a lot.