The days appear to drag by with Katy gone. Chloe and Aubrey are both back at work and the kids spend most of their days with either Jessica or Jane. My head drops to my hands, headphones still encasing my ears. Ashley's voice rings in my ears, blending perfectly with my beat. I don't even notice when she stops singing and I definitely don't notice when she leaves the recording room to come sit next to me. I jump as a hand touches my shoulder.
"Jesus, you scared the hell out of me," I murmur. I remove my headphones and turn to look at her. Her eyebrow is cocked and concern covers her features.
"You're so out of it. Come to think of it, you've been out of it for about a month now. What's going on in that head of yours, DJ B," she questions as she leans back in her chair.
I sigh and run my fingers through my hair. "Katy being gone is just really starting to take its toll, you know? It was hard when she first left, sure. But it almost feels like it gets harder each day. She still has like another two months on tour."
Ashley's hand returns to my shoulder, squeezing gently in reassurance. "Well things could be worse. I think you need to spend some time with your family. Like the rest of them. Maybe take a weekend trip, you know," she suggests.
I bite my bottom lip in contemplation. Aubrey finishes her big case tomorrow and Chloe has the weekend off. A small smile begins to grace my features.
"Yeah, you're right. Let's finish recording this and then I'll let you go, okay?"
Ashley smiles and nods before getting up to return to the recording room.
Ares and Athena wag their tails and bark happily as I walk in the front door. I smile and give them attention before moving to the living room. It's almost four, which means Chloe should be on her way home and Aubrey should be leaving the office soon. I sigh and drop down onto the couch. My eyes close of their own accord, eyelids growing heavier by the second. My laptop begins to chirp from the table next to me and I groan before rolling over. Katy's face flashes on my Skype screen, prompting me to answer. I click the button and Katy's smile is the first thing that greets me.
"Hey, baby! How are you today," she asks happily. I can see the exhaustion in her eyes. Her concert must have just ended.
"I'm tired. But you look worse off than I do, Katy. How did your show go tonight," I ask through a yawn.
She gives me a noncommittal shrug as she begins to change into her pajamas. "Eh, it was okay. The last month has been ridiculously exhausting. I miss you guys so much," she murmurs as she settles back down in front of the screen.
I give her a small smile. "We miss you too, babe. It feels like it gets harder each day you're gone."
Tears well up in her eyes, but she does a good job of suppressing them. "I know, Beca. I'm hoping some of my shows get cancelled or something so I can come early. I haven't been sleeping well. I don't sleep well without you guys. I'm exhausted all the time. I'm ready to come home. I miss the kids, the dogs, the house. I just miss everything."
The front door opens and Chloe gives me a bright smile as she drops down on the couch next to me.
"Hey, Katy," she says enthusiastically. Katy and mine's moods instantly brighten at Chloe's bubble personality and her infectious smile.
"Hey, Chlo! How was your day today? Beca says she's tired so I can only imagine how you feel right now."
Chloe shrugs and rolls her eyes. "I love my job. Really I do. It's just stressful. I need a vacation that doesn't involve being on maternity leave."
Katy and I both laugh. Ares and Athena come bounding into the living room as they finally hear Chloe's voice. They cock their heads in a confused manner at my laptop, hearing Katy but not understanding the situation. The front door opens again and Aubrey walks in, our son and daughter with her. Aubrey smiles as she gives Jeremy to me and Andy to Chloe. Jeremy claps happily as he sees Katy on the screen.
"Katy," he yells excitedly, continuing to clap his hands. Katy smiles brightly and begins talking to him. Aubrey drops down on my other side, pressing a kiss to my cheek. I can't help but lean into the contact. With our jobs I feel like I hardly ever see them anymore.
Aubrey smiles, her hand running through my hair before coming to rest on my back. Katy continues to talk to us for about another half hour before her yawning has us convincing her to go to bed.
"I'll call you tomorrow, okay? I love you guys," she murmurs, the tears springing back into her eyes. We murmur our 'I love yous' back before ending the call.
I relax back into the couch, yawning again. Jeremy wiggles around in my lap until I let him down. He's been a bundle of joy ever since he learned how to walk. I feel Chloe's lips brush my cheek and give her a small smile.
"Long day at the studio," she asks against my skin. I nod and turn my head to nuzzle into her shoulder. She smells like spearmint gum and sterilized needles. It's oddly comforting to me.
"Yeah. We need a vacation, guys. Katy being gone is taking its toll."
Aubrey and Chloe both nod. An idea suddenly hits me. "Guys, how do you feel about France?"
Chloe and Aubrey give me equally confused looks for a moment before they catch on. Katy is currently traveling through France on her tour. Chloe is the first to get excited, but Aubrey isn't far behind.