Chapter 2: Cards That Bend

Isaac watched as Tommy attempted to stuff his last hoody into his backpack with slight amusement. They were sitting in the airport waiting for their boarding call to ring through the speakers.

"You right there?" Isaac asked.

Tommy seemed to ignore him at first, instead busying himself with pulling the two ends of the zips on his bag together. When he finally sealed the deal he looked up, his blonde hair flipping out of his face as he did so.

"Yep" was his reply. He then sat back in his chair and put his feet up on his now stuffed backpack.

"You alright? You seem….different" Isaac thought out loud, throwing a concerned look Tommy's way.

Tommy just shrugged and smiled appreciatively "Im fine. Just end of this tour….its weird y'know." Isaac nodded knowingly.

"Yeah it's kinda like where do we go from here? But other stuff will come up, we'll all see each other again. We'll never stop being like family."

Isaac looked up as the intercom suddenly interrupted their conversation, calling them to board.

"Tommy, what seat number are you?" Sasha appeared in front of him, flashing her ticket his way.

"Umm i dunno…" he unfurled his boarding pass from his pocket and tilted it "…like J12".

Sasha looked defeated "Hey Brooke…." and she rushed off to compare tickets.

Tommy smiled after her.

"Looks like you gotta put up with me beside Ya" Sutan smiled as he grabbed Tommy's ticket from his hand and compared it with his own. Taylor murmured something about 'life partners' under his breath before he looked away, laughing to Terrance.

Tommy never did like flying. He didn't want anything to do with the window seat (much to Sutan's delight), and once seated, he pulled his seatbelt as tight as it could go and gripped the hand rest until his knuckles were white.

"We haven't even taken off yet" Sutan laughed, pulling out an inflight magazine and scanning the drinks menu thoughtfully.

"Shuddup" Tommy hissed.

There was silence as the plane took off and Tommy sat with his eyes closed trying to think of happy things to keep his mind off the fact that they could possibly fall out of the sky any minute now. Sutan just looked on with amusement.

Once up in the air, Sutan put the magazine down and turned to Tommy, who was beginning to relax slightly.

"So….you ganna tell uncle Sutan what's wrong or am i ganna have to guess and give you my take?" he asked, his eyes fixed on Tommy.

Tommy's hand gripped the armrest once again - half because of small jolts of turbulence and half because of the question being asked.

"Whataya mean?" he asked in what he hoped was a theres-nothing-wrong tone.

Sutan glared at him. "Because i think you got your kitty tail in a knot because a certain someone has left the tour". He didn't bother giving Tommy time to respond. He knew he wasn't going to get any answers unless he outrightly asked.

Tommy's eyes settled on his feet but he remained quiet.

"We all know there's something there, man. We're not blind. You've been sharing a bed with the guy for the last 2 months….unless one of you sleeps on the floor in your shared rooms. But hey, its not everyone of us that gets our tongues twisted every night…quite literally may i add."

Tommy shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

"Changing topic?" he said quietly, quickly peering around to see who was within earshot.

He'd never felt so awkward in his life - and Tommy was naturally an awkward person.

Sutan just smiled "No, because i think this is quite a relevant topic, Mr TommyJoe. Hell, we got another 17hrs or so on this plane…you've got all the time in the world to start talkin'. I can wait".

Sutan was prying. He knew it. But everyone could tell Tommy wasnt himself. Naturally, Tommy was the quietest out of the whole crew - not shy, but he was one of those people who didn't feel the need to fill every void of silence with conversation. Yes, TommyJoe could open up to those he trusted. He was a funny guy when he wanted to be and his lurking-in-the-shadows way about him often made some of the impromptu things he did some of the most hilarious moments on the tour (Sasha still held a video of him pole dancing in the tour bus one night in her iphone). But for those that knew him well, they knew there was quiet Tommy and then there was the theres-something-eating-at-me-but-i-refuse-to-talk-about-it Tommy.

"Me and Adam ….it's nothing. When it all ends, he goes back to LA and I go to Burbank. Theres nothing else to it." Tommy was now focusing on Taylor in an empty seat a couple of rows ahead, tuned in to the on-flight dvd player. He briefly thought about moving to sit with him and avoiding all these questions, but in all truth he was too terrified to unbuckle his seatbelt.

Was the plane making a weird noise or was that just him?

"Wanna know what i think?" Sutan asked, and Tommy could only roll his eyes knowing he was going to be told anyway, "I think that you want there to be something else to it. You can play the straight card all you want. But even cards can bend."

Tommy was seriously considering making that mad dash to Taylor now.

There was a sudden jolt of turbulence that shocked him back into his seat and caused him to press his back firmly back into his chair. He wasn't moving anywhere.

It was ganna be a long trip home - with Sutan blurting out whatever came to mind and offering whatever kind of counseling he felt Tommy needed.

Only problem was….as much as Tommy hated to hear it…Sutan was always right.