Chapter 6

Eternal Wings
Under Pressure

Written by Anja Geenen

Chapter Six
Slowly John had raised himself from the chair when they were allowed
to get out of the plane. Half ashamed and most of all happy he headed
for the door, the little girl who sat beside him the whole flight
waving happily at him. He smiled and waved back. The little girl,
called Ricky, had remind him of his own little girl and of course the
boys. He flashed a last smile at Ricky as she left the plane with her
parents. John was still getting everything together and made himself
ready to leave the plane and face his family. It looked like Ricky
had tried her best of throwing everything John had carried with him
through the plane. He remembered her asking if he hadn't got a mommy
meaning a wife. He told the girl he had to do something very
important without the mommy, the girl nodded understandably. John
reached the doors and stepped out into the tunnel. Walking people,
excitement of meeting people. John longed to his family more than he
had the last few weeks, or even, more than ever in his life. His
heart jumped up when he heard a little boy's voice, so well known,
screaming of joy; Daddy!!!!

Robert felt already to big to jump up into his fathers arms and
allowed his little brothers and sisters to do so. Instead of jumping
up he just said, Hi. His father looking down on him, come here, he
said. Robert was happy his daddy invited him into his arms. He was
even happier to feel his father and to smell him. I missed ya dad, he
said softly laying his head to his fathers chest. God, thank you for
bringing daddy back, he thought. Thankful he held his father close.

Veronica looked happily at her children and husband. She smiled
softly watching John kissing and hugging his offspring. After that
John's eyes went to Veronica. Hindered by his children he hopped over
to her to give her the sweetest kiss he could give her, whispering
softly into her ear, I love you. Veronica wrapped her arms around
him, feeling the tears coming back, this time tears of joy. And this
time, she won't let him go, he was away for much too long. Veronica
was happy to have John back, her tears dripping on his Hawaii shirt,
holding her family close as if she was afraid they would vanish into
nothing. It felt good to be together again. Veronica still had
questions she wanted John to answer, but not now, she didn't want to
break the magic. It was good of having John close to her again and
she hoped it was really John and not just his body like it was before
he left. She hoped he was really back.

* * *

John had packed out the little bag he had taken with him and sat now
with his wife, tea drinking and watching his kids. John enjoyed the
sight of his playing children en he was enjoyed by watching his wife
sipping tea. She sat there, opposite of him, smiling broadly at him
but with her eyes full of questions. John knew he had to answer her,
he was looking for the right time. John was afraid of hurting her
again and he shove the right moment further away over and over again.
Still they were sitting there, Veronica waiting for answers and John
for the right time.

John started talking after a long time of silence and sipping
tea. "Veronica..." He hesitated for a moment, but pushed through and
started explaining. "Maybe you know why I left. I was just a coward.
I was too afraid of facing the truth. The pressure was too high for
me and I was afraid for you blaming me that I was ruining our family
life. I knew I was ruining it, but I couldn't admit. I needed time to
think about it, what I had to do about it...and what was wrong.
Veronica, I decided to stay with Queen but to give more time to you
and the children. Any time you need me you can call on me. Even when
I'm on tour with Queen, you can call me and I'll come back to you.
You are the most important person to me and I love you...and the kids."
Veronica had listened patiently and was now thinking of what John had
said. She had to forgive him and she had to give him a new chance.
She always knew Queen were very important to John, she also knew that
his family was very important to him as well. This made that she
accepted him and his decisions. "Welcome home honey," was all she

Both Veronica and John weren't talkers and after John had explained
his leaving and Veronica had accepted it they were silent again,
enjoying the late summer evening and watching the people passing by.
Most of all they enjoyed each other, smiling shyly like 2 young
teenage lovers, watching each other lovingly and looking away shyly.
It felt good to be together again. They were both thinking of what
had happened, that was a lot. They cleared the air with just a few
sentences and a whole lot of silence. They were made for each other
as how they understood each other. They could feel each other
thinking and knowing what they were thinking. No more words needed to
be said, it was okay.

* * *

Now daddy was home, he was happy daddy was back home, but he was
still angry with him. Didn't he understand how much he had hurt
mommy? Robert was laying in bed. He had heard his father talking and
explaining. He had hardly heard his mother, but from the silence what
was heard now Robert concluded everything was okay again. Still, he
was angry with daddy. Robert remembered the moment he saw his father
coming out of the plane. His feelings were still mixed, happy to see
him and angry with him because he had left them alone all in a sudden
and for so long. Daddy had taken Robert in his embrace and hugged and
kissed him. Hey big man, he had said. Robert first didn't want to hug
his father, but when his father took him in his arms he was happy he
did and he didn't want to let go anymore. Daddy was daddy again. When
they were home again and Robert had helped his dad with packing out
the little bag everything was alright again, the way it had to be.
Daddy had played with them for a while and they all told him how much
they loved him.

When mommy brought the little ones to bed daddy took him apart. "Hey
Robbie." "I'm not that small anymore daddy." "Of course you're
not." "I missed ya daddy." "Yeah? I missed you too. Did you take good
care of mommy and the others?" "Aunt Julie took us to her home and
grandma was here with mommy, but I took care of Mike, Laura and
Josh." "Aah good. Did they behave good?" "Well yeah, Mike was a bit
annoying sometimes." "Was he?" "But I told him he had to
behave." "Rob, are you angry with me?" Robert blushed, turning half
away and staring at his shoes. "Well, a little bit." "I didn't behave
very well when I left huh?" "No..." "Robert, I didn't leave because I
didn't love you anymore...or mommy. I still love you all. I needed time
to think about all kind of things, just like you when you're
grounded." Robert was a bit confused now; "Did mom ground you?" John
smiled; "No, I grounded myself." "Ooh...?" "I have thought about a lot
of things and I think I have to promise you something." Robert stood
there slightly confused. "I promise you I will never ever leave you
alone again and if you need me just ask me, okay?" "Okay...I love you
daddy." "I love you too." Robert wrapped his arms around his father's
neck pulling himself up. John pulled the still small boy's body close
to him, his big boy.

Robert hadn't made him excuse for everything, he did it himself and
Robert had forgive him immediately. Robert wondered if his daddy knew
how much he loved him and how much he needed him. He was thinking of
that when he was in bed. He had listened to his parents talking in
the livingroom. He tried to hear if his dad was making more excuses
and how his mom was reacting on it, but all he heard was the silently
muttering of his parents and at the end even only the silence.
Everything was normal again, Robert and his brothers and sister were
back home and so was their daddy. But it didn't feel yet like it was
all alright. Robert didn't know what was missing or what was
different. He thought about it not feeling the sleep coming. A few
minutes passed and Robert had fallen asleep.

* * *

"Coming!!!" Brian's assistant wasn't there so Brian had to open the
door himself. He stormed off the stairs almost falling but balancing
himself in time, his arms waving around as if he was greeting someone
and knocking down something. Breathless he opened the door, just to
see John in his doorway. "Johnnie, you're back!!!" John grinned back
at Brian. Brian, still gasping for air and inviting John in. Finally
Brian got enough air in his lungs to burst out in happy greetings
of `Welcome back home' and blaming him for some things that happened
before and a whole lot of questions he wanted to be answered. John
meanwhile stepped into Brian's livingroom which was messy. He trod
carefully through Brian's mess and found himself a chair to sit down
calmly. Brian, now breathless from his outburst, watched John while
waiting for thanks and explainings. "Al right," John said, "Let's
start at the beginning. I'm really sorry I said to you that you were
a lousy bastard, but I meant it." John grinned, Brian pulled a face
and waved the excuse away, "I know I am," he answered John. "Al
right. I'm really sorry too I ran away and didn't let hear anything.
I just needed time to think, I was so messed up." John paused,
watching Brian and searching for any reaction. Then he went on: "I
decided to give my family the first priority. If anything is wrong in
my family I'll go back home, my family is really very important to
me. You know, I ran off because of the pressure. I needed a rest."
Brian nodded understandably. That was actually exactly what he had
thought from the beginning, but still the fight he had with John had
bothered him all the time. "It wasn't the fight Bri, really. That
fight was my fault, I couldn't concentrate and that irritated me,
that's why I started yelling at you." "Well," was Brian's answer: "I
wasn't very nice to you either." Then the silence set in for a few
minutes. Brian was thinking of what was said while John studied
Brian's wallpaper. "Your mood is much better anyway," Brian finally
spoke. John smiled mystically: "I had to make something up to
Veronica," he explained. "Aah," Brian grinned back. "So you had a
good night huh? Better than mine I guess." John's grin grew a
little: "Probably." "But still, you are a fucking bastard. You caused
me a few sleepless nights." "Do I have to make it up to you
too?" "No, thank you... But you know what I mean?" "Yes I do and I'm
sorry. I really appreciate it you care for me." Brian shrugged. They
both felt how special their friendship was. It grew already from the
early seventies and became stronger with every down Queen had,
because a down for one of them meant a down for all four of
them. "You've talked to the management already?" "Nope, I still have
to." John didn't feel like talking to his management. Not that Jim
was that bad, but he was like a kind of father over him and John knew
he wouldn't be allowed to leave the office without having had the
speech from Jim. "You better contact Jim, John. He was quite mad."
John nodded. He would, after he had visit Rog and Fred.

* * *

A nice, pretty, new assistant opened the door. The girl blushed shyly
when she saw John standing there. "Hi," she said softly, her cheeks
colouring red. John smiled his most beautiful smile at her and asked
if he could come in. "Of course," was the shy answer. He followed her
into the livingroom and sat down on the chair which was offered to
him. Then the shy girl went in search for her employer. John studied
the room, the wallpaper, the floor and the toys on the floor. He was
deep in thought when the blond one entered the room. "So," he said to
John: "You're back." John looked up and smiled: "Yeah, I'm
back." "How was your trip?" Roger looked annoyed, but John could hear
the worry and the anger in his voice. Roger was trying hard to hide
his feelings about what had happened. "I'm ok Rog." "Yeah?" Roger
acted like he was busy cleaning up or something. "I'm sorry, really.
I needed some time to think. A lot has happened, I couldn't cope with
it, the pressure was too high for me. I needed to get out." Again
Roger answered only with: "Yeah?" Then the silence set in. John felt
uncomfortable with the whole situation and Roger went on acting like
he didn't really care, although he knew John knew or noticed how he
felt about it. "You know John, it was fucking stupid what you did. I
mean..." he waited for a reaction not looking up at John. When nothing
came he started talking again. "Don't do it again. Promise me you
will never do that again. I was fucking worried you know that?" As he
finally faced John he saw a shy but thankful smile on his
face. "Don't look like that." "Thanks Rog." "What for?" "You're okay,
really." Roger was pass anger now and grinned: "I know I'm okay.
Where there nice girls, by the way?" John's answer was just a
shrug. "Next time you run away I'll follow you and er..." "Yeah Rog,
but you really missed nothing." "No nice, good looking girls?" "There
was one. But she was quite fat." "Hmm, yummie." "Yummie!!??
Naaaah." "You just chose the wrong country." Good old Roger, he
hasn't change. John decided to go visit the next who had to be
Freddie. "Aah yes, run away again," was Roger's reaction when John
told him he had to visit Freddie. Then completely ignoring the fact
John was leaving Roger started talking again: "Saw my new assistant?
She is cute, isn't she?" John smiled: "Yeah," he answered as he left
Roger's house.

* * *

The door was opened by Phoebe and John was invited in. The house was
big and elegant, just like Freddie, it was perfectly Freddie's style.
Freddie came in carrying two glasses of champaign offering John the
left glass. After that Freddie studied him careful. He stood back
looking and nipping from his glass and finally asking: "So you're
okay now?" "Yes, thank you." Freddie could make you comfortable in a
strange way and John felt it. But Freddie could be very mad too and
sometimes even unreasonable. Because it was Freddie, John accepted
that sight of Freddie, because Freddie really WAS very special
somehow. John couldn't remember anybody understand what it was or how
he did it, and maybe even Freddie didn't understand or know it
himself. "I'm happy I'm back home," John sighed. "And we're happy
you're back." "Thanks." "You know I mean it." John watched the floor
shyly. He studied Freddie's expensive carpet as they talked. Freddie
explained him how worried they were and how they had tried to track
him down. It made John feel guilty and all he could do was excusing
himself. He had to explain he never left with the intention to worry
them, or that he left without caring about what anyone was thinking
about it. "Drink your champaign." John looked at his still fully
filled glass. "I'd rather have some tea." "No, we got to celebrate
you're back." "No Freddie, I need to drive." "Someone will bring you
back home." "And my car?" "Will be brought home by someone. Here,
drink." Freddie grabbed John's arm bringing it up till the glass with
champaign was before John's mouth. John sighed as Freddie withdraw
his hand and waited till John took a sip. "Alright, you win." John
took careful a sip not taking his eyes from Freddie. "Don't you trust
me Johnnie? I think I got more reason for not trusting you. Now,
explain, why did you leave?" "Too much pressure. I needed time to
think and I needed rest." "Yeah, that's what I thought. And now
you're better?" "Yeah, defnitely." "What did you think about?" "What
I wanted. What went wrong." "Well, what went wrong and do you
want?" "I want more time for my family and I need more rest." "So
you're trying to tell me that you're quitting Queen?" "No, I need more
rest, I don't wanna quit Queen. I just want more time for my
family." "Okay, you're saying more family, less Queen?" "Er...yeah...I
think so." "You're still not sure?" "I was before you started
asking." Now Freddie turned away. He found his way to the table where
the bottle with champaign was and filled his glass again. With a
thoughtful face he drank his champaign. John watched him waiting for
what was coming. He knew Freddie would do only what he didn't expect.
And this time it meant Freddie put his glass on the table, walk up to
John and tell him: "Welcome back home." Freddie was finished and
walked to the door to leave the elegant room. "The show is over dear.
Go home to your family and spend some time with them. Ooh, and
be carefull on the road." John nodded and watched Freddie disappearing
in the great house.
A few minutes later John stepped into his car, thinking what Freddie
had said and analysing it. He concluded Freddie was just wondering
why he left and didn't call.
Freddie stood behind the window, seeing John driving away. He thought
John understood what he meant, or he would find out later. John was
intelligent and Freddie trusted him to find out.

The last one to visit was Jim Beach. Ooh my, John thought. I knew he
had to survive a speech and he would lose this time with the
discussion, but he had to face the truth. "Well well," Jim said as
John stepped into the office. John smiled shyly. Jim offered John a
chair and watched him carefully before starting his speech. "You
probably know how much we tried to track you down?" "Yes I do." "Can
you imagine how worried we were?" "Er...I guess not..." "No, I don't
think so either. If you could, you'd call us where you were." "I'm
sorry I didn't." "Can you promise me something?" "Yes?" "Don't go
anywhere without telling me where you going!" "Okay." "Now repeat
what I said." "Hey, I'm not a little child anymore." "Then don't
behave like one." "I'm really sorry. I was so messed up. I needed
time for myself. I needed time to think." "Next time if you got
problems tell them. We will help you." "Okay, but..." "Just do it
okay!" John needed to explain why he left. "I need to explain my
behaviour. I needed time and peace to think about everything that
happened lately." "And you couldn't do it with us knowing where you
were?" "I have to admit, I had to call." "Good. You now know
it?" "Know what?" "What you had to think about." "Yeah, I decided to
spend more time with my family, and less with the band." "You're not
quiting the band?" "No, defenitely not." "Hmmm...Okay. Let's make some
rules. 1 You never ever leave anymore without telling someone of the
management or the other bandmembers where you're going. 2 When there
are problems, please tell me and we can try to solve them. 3 Okay,
you can have more time for the family, but when the band really needs
you, you're there. 4 When you want to leave ask if it's possible. If
the band doesn't need you for a time. Can you promise me you will do
that?" John nodded silently. "Okay. Now, you're feeling better after
being away for so long?" "Yeah, I got some things clear for myself,
my needs especially and the needs of my family. I also discovered how
much my family meant to me and the band. I overworked myself, I have
to take better care of myself." Jim was contented and decided to let
John go again. "John, I really apreciate it you came to talk and to
explain, but next time do it before you leave." "I will Jim. Thanks."
Jim led John outside the office and watched him disappearing out of
the building.

John sat in his car driving home. He thought about what he had
learnt. He had discovered how much he loved his family and how
important the band for him was. Both were great parts of his life and
he couldn't live without, not anymore. From now on John took better
care of those he loved and who he called his friends. He suddenly
knew it again, he didn't need the money or the fame to be rich, he
had his family and his friends.

Chapter 5