The end of the road was finally there.
For now, at least but a two week break was exactly what he needed right now. To be with his beautiful wife and his wonderful children. Spring break would be soon and another family trip to Hawaii was unavoidable.
He was looking forward to it but there was one more show to play.
"Rich." Jon walked into the dressing room without being invited. "After Bed of Roses, you need to sing so I can take a break."
"What?" Richie asked surprised. "Really?"
"Yeah, just sing I'll Be There For You again. You're good at that one."
"Great." Richie agreed.
Jon handed over the a piece of paper with the setlist on. "Here and... well... Sorry about a few weeks ago."
Richie waved it off. "No problem, you were right. I am your guitar player, not the singer."
"Alright. See you on stage then."
An hour to go before the show, he was getting worked up quickly. The show would take at least 2 and a half hours. Tomorrow morning they would all fly home again.
After a few seconds of thinking, he got up from his chair in the dressing room. The past six weeks had been different from other tours. For some reason there was a lot of tension and even though Jon had apologized, Richie didn't believe it.
He walked out of the room and went to knock on Jon's door.
"It's open." Jon said from inside.
Unlike Jon had, Richie had at least waited for an answer. He opened the door and walked in. "What's going on?" Richie asked bluntly.
"What?" Jon asked confused.
"All of this, it's different from what it usually is. We don't hang out, we don't talk it's like we're avoiding each other."
Jon looked at him confused.
"Even before the tour started. Are you mad at me?"
Jon didn't answer, Richie kept staring at him, wanting an answer. Something needed to be explained.
"Well?" He asked again. "Are you?"
"No." Jon finally answered.
To Richie that didn't seem very honest but he took it, it was better than nothing. "So want to hang out? Talk some?"
"Sure." Jon agreed.
Richie took one of the bottles of water that were standing on the coffee table and sat down in a seat.
"So, how's the wife and kids?" Jon opened the conversation.
Richie looked up and frowned. "Daniel's got a cold."
"The first one?"
"Yeah, Sarah's pretty worried about but it's just a cold, you know. Happens all the time."
Jon nodded, agreeing. "Do you have more pictures of him?"
Confused Richie looked at him. Then realized, "right, you haven't even met him yet." He reached for his phone from his jeans pocket and went to the gallery to find Daniel's most recent pictures.
His phone was full of pictures of Daniel. Just Daniel or the boy with every family member. He passed the phone over to Jon.
"He's grown so much." Richie said as Jon was swyping his phone to see all the pictures.
"Yeah, I bet. I can remember Romeo being that little. Can't believe he'll be 9 at the end of the month."
Richie was amazed too. He too could remember Romeo being a baby. Time really went too fast.
"He's cute." Jon passed the phone back. "Poor kid got your looks." He teased.
Richie smiled, he was very proud Daniel looked like him.
Like he had hoped, Daniel's eye had darkened and were now a dark brown. His hair was still short but it was also darker than when he was born.
"Why don't you make a detour tomorrow and come visit us. You could finally meet him." Richie suggested. "You're the only one that hasn't met him yet."
"Good idea." Jon agreed.
The next morning, Richie wasn't flying home alone. For once, he had company. He also had the luxary to fly with Jon's private jet instead of a commercial airline.
"Richie?" Sarah asked from the living room as she heard the front door open although it was hard to hear over Daniel's cries. Who else could it be? She stoof up with Daniel and carried him. By the front door she met Richie and Jon. "Please get him to sleep." She passed Daniel over and took Richie's bag instead. "He hasn't slept all night, he's exhausted."
"I'll get him to sleep." Richie assured her, hugging his son, who finally calmed down.
Sarah finally noticed Jon and walked them both back to the living room.
"Why don't you go get some sleep?" Richie suggested, noticing how tired Sarah looked. If Daniel hadn't slept all night, she hadn't either.
Sarah smiled, so relieved by the idea itself. She kissed her husband. "I'm so glad you're home now." She said honestly. "I missed you."
"I'm home now, don't need to miss me anymore. Go get some sleep."
Daniel didn't slepe but was quiet as he laid with his daddy.
"Wanna hold him?" Richie suggested to Jon.
"Yeah sure." Jon said all too gladly. Who could resist babies?
Richie passed his son over but as soon as Jon was holding him, Daniel started crying all over again.
Jon tried to calm him, patting his back, rocking him but Daniel continued to cry. "Don't think he likes me." Jon said, sounding disappointed.
Then Richie realized. "No, he doesn't like strangers. I completely forgot, he does that every time when someone new holds him. After a few times he gets used to it."
"He knows who's holding him?" Jon asked but moved Daniel back to Richie.
He hugged his son again and he stopped crying. "I guess. He'll get used to it eventually."
After spending the whole day together, Richie was sure he had his best friend back. The tension seemed to have gone and they could finally talk again, simply hang out with each other.