Johnny is dying, and Drake is forced to go on without him. Tony performs with the band for the first time onstage. Angelo reluctantly leaves his family to finish his contract with Concord Music. Tragedy strikes, and Tony and Drake seek comfort in each other.
Drake was not in a good mood. He’d had a huge fight with Johnny before they had left for New York. Tensions were running high. No one wanted to be the first to go into the dressing room and talk to Drake. Mac and Pepi sat in one of the lounges off stage, neither one of them talking. They were all feeling it, especially Tony, who had already thrown up three times. “I can’t do this,” he said to himself in the mirror for the fiftieth time. “I can’t fucking do this.”
“Well, if you say it enough, you’ll make it true,” a deep voice said suddenly from behind him.
Tony glanced up in the mirror to see Angelo standing there. His heart pounded in his chest, and he smiled. Angelo, he mouthed, then turned around and threw himself into his arms, practically mowing him over.
“Whoa, whoa.” Angelo laughed, reaching out and placing his hand on the wall behind him to steady himself. “Easy.”
Tony held onto him tight, closing his eyes. “You came back. Thank you. Thank God, because I need you. We all need you.” He forced himself to back away. “Your dad went into the dressing room two hours ago and hasn’t come out.”
Angelo nodded. “Is he all right?”
“No. He and Dad had a huge fight before he left.”
“I don’t know.” Tony shook his head. “I missed most of it. I was outside in the pool. When I came in, I heard Dad say something about Drake not understanding, and Drake accused Dad of being selfish. That’s all I know.”
Angelo sighed. “And you?”
Angelo laughed. “It’s natural. You’ll be all right.”
“I need you to hold my hand out there.”
“Might be a little awkward,” he grinned. “Where are Uncle Pepi and Mac?”
“Somewhere down the hall, hiding from Drake. Your mom is here somewhere.”
“I know, I saw her already. Well,” he heaved a big sigh, “I’m ready to move into the battle zone.”
Tony nodded. “You want me to come with you?”
Angelo shook his head.
“I’ll just stay in here and puke some more.”
Angelo laughed and slapped his shoulder. “You’ll do okay. And worse comes to worse, picture them all naked.”
“Are you going to be in the front row? I have no problem picturing you naked.”
Angelo smiled and left the bathroom.