Chapter 7 – A Coming Out
May 25, 2004 –New York City, NY – The Hyatt – Hotel Restaurant
“Where do you think you’re going?” Heather asked, looking up at the man. “We’re not done here. I have more to…”
“Look Heather, right now, I don’t think JT even cares about what’s going on in the media, since it’s rumored that he disappeared for a few days and then turned up yesterday. It’s also rumored that Justin Tanner’s with him and the girls right now.”
“What? Justin Tanner is around with him, now?” Heather asked as the man nodded his head and then pointed at the box of items on the table. “Oh man, that’s not good at all.”
“Why isn’t that good Heather? What does Justin Tanner have to do with things?” The man asked with a smile on his face.
“Don’t worry about that,” Heather replied as she sighed and then shook her head as all kinds of thoughts flooded her mind. “It looks like I’m going to have to do something more.”
“What more can you possibly do right now, that’s going to shed a better light on things?” The man asked.
“Don’t know, but I have to do something,” Heather stated, tapping her fingers on the table, visibly sweating profusely.
“Well whatever you do, just be careful,” the man stated as he looked at Heather closely. “From all the stuff that I’ve heard, things are pretty right around him and his friends. I don’t think you should be trying to do anything else that could…”
“I’ll worry about what I’m going to do Ken. Besides, what’s the worst that could happen?” Heather asked as she stood up from the table.
“From the way you’re acting, I guess we’ll both find out soon,” the man said as he watched Heather walk away. “When you fall flat on your face, I’ll be there to laugh at you, you silly ass bitch. You think you have the upper hand right now, but I’ll make you pay for hurting me and JT.”
A Few Hours Later – Philadelphia, PA – The Hangar Bar
“Come on JT, why are we here?” Nikki asked, looking around, wondering where they were.
“I’m here to get a drink, I don’t know about you,” JT replied, walking over to the bar and motioning for the bartender to come over.
“Come on JT, it’s way too early in the day to be drinking,” Nikki stated as JT turned and glared at her. “I’m sorry, but it’s too early to be drinking. We—we have a show tonight.”
“No, you guys have a show tonight. I told you all yesterday that I quit,” JT stated with a smile as he turned his attention back to the bartender. “Hi there, I would like to get a Seven and Seven, light on the rocks.”
“Coming right up sir,” the bartender responded as he moved around the bar, preparing JT’s drink.
“JT, please reconsider here,” Nikki said as she grabbed his hand.
“There’s nothing for me to be reconsidering Nikki,” JT stated as he sighed. “This life—this life has hurt me and I’m not going to allow that to continue to happen more.”
“I know you’re hurting JT, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” Nikki said as the bartender placed JT’s drink on the counter as Nikki pushed it away. “JT please, for me—please don’t drink that.”
“I love you Nikki, but I’m going to drink that,” JT stated as he grabbed the glass and then knocked it back. “Can I get another please.”
“Sure thing,” the bartender replied as Nikki frowned and then turned away from him.
“If you want to stay here and drink yourself into a stupor, be my damn guest,” Nikki said, pointing her finger at JT as she turned and started walking towards the door. “I’ll be at the hotel when you come to your damn senses JT.”
“Yeah, okay girl,” JT responded as he knocked the second glass back.
A Few Hours Later
Why is all of this happening to him? Marc claims he didn’t do it, so if he didn’t do it, who did? I would really like to know who’s responsible for those damn lies being perpetrated in the tabloids, the way they are. If Marc’s not behind all of this shit, why is it really happening? Marc’s the scummy, low-down dirt bag that would do something like this. But he claims he’s innocent.
I’ve known JT for a long time and I know he’s not a drug user. Hell, anyone that really knows him, knows that’s a bold face lie. Right now, he’s not doing the drugs, but he’s doing a whole lot of drinking, which isn’t good for his health or his career. Why is he doing this? I know he’s going through something right now, but he shouldn’t be drinking like he is. From what Nikki told me, he’s been here all afternoon and he hasn’t left. I have to get him out of here, if they have any hope of doing a show tonight.
“Hey buddy,” I said, walking up behind him as he put the glass down and then turned to look at me.
“What is it that you want Justin?” He asked, looking at me strangely. “I already told Nikki I wasn’t going to do anything, but sit my ass right here, having my drinks.”
“Come on buddy, why are you drinking so much?” I asked as he glared at me.
“None of your business really,” he replied, looking at me as if I were crazy as he turned and motioned to the bartender. “Another please.”
“That’s okay, he’s finished,” I said as he turned and looked at me with a mean expression on his face.
“You want to try that again,” he said, looking at me like he wanted to fight. “You have no control of what I do Justin. The last time I checked, you’re not my father and you’re not my mother. Hell, I’m older than you.”
“I know you are, but that doesn’t mean you’re acting like an adult right now,” I replied as he looked at me, pulled some money from his pocket and then threw it on the counter as he got up from the bar stool and started walking towards the door. “Hey, where are you going?”
“I’m getting away from you, before I end up beating your scrawny little ass and that ends up in the damn papers too,” he said as I ran to catch up to him as a few people gathered around the door when they noticed who we were.
The Radisson Plaza Hotel – Mutual Attraction’s Hotel Suite
We have about four hours left before tonight’s show and he’s still not here. Where in the hell could he be right now? If he doesn’t show up soon, tonight’s show will be a damn bust. We’ve been waiting for his ass most of the afternoon and he still hasn’t shown up. Maybe he wasn’t playing when he said he quit.
Hell, even if he does show up, we haven’t rehearsed and we’ll probably end up sounding like crap anyway. We really need to rehearse, before we even try to perform tonight. I’m sure the acoustics in the place we’ll be playing in will be so much different and we need to do some kind of test.
I’m tired of this crap. I can’t keep putting up with this. Time after time, he’s still doing the same things. After tonight’s show, I’m going solo. I’ll rather go at it alone, than having to keep putting up with him and what’s going on. If he wants to let people believe he’s a coke head, then let him, but it’ll be without me.
Come on Justin, where are you two? If I’d known it would take this damn long, I would’ve gone after him myself. They should’ve been back here an hour ago. We don’t have time for this—this damn lollygagging. We have a show to do tonight, but before we can do that, we need to do a quick run-through, to see how we sound. Once we do that, I’ll feel a bit better about things. All that’s concerning me right now is where the hell JT and Justin are.
In the Elevator
I can tell that he’s really mad at me right now. I don’t care if he is or not. He has a job to do and I’m going to make sure that he does it. He’ll just have to be mad, I’m sure he’ll get over it soon. Hell, he’s been mad at me before, I’m sure this won’t be the last time.
“JT, are you going to talk to me?” I asked as he turned and looked at me strangely.
“And say what to you Justin?” He asked, sighing as he looked down. “What is there to really say? My life is crashing down around me and there’s nothing I can really do about it. The man I love—loved just up and left me because he wasn’t getting the kind of attention he wanted. My so-called manager tried to rape me and now a guy that I wanted to be with, at a point in my life, has returned to try to bring some kind of order to my life. How fucked up is that?”
“JT,” I said as he shook his head as a few tears fell from his eyes.
“No Justin, no!” He snapped as he sniffled and then wiped at his eyes.
“I know things are fucked up, but they’ll get better,” I said as he looked at me. “In order for those things to get better, you have to speak up and tell the truth buddy.”
“Why?” He asked.
“Because we both know those things about you in the media isn’t true,” I said, turning him to face me. “You gotta fix this.”
“I—I can’t fix this,” he replied as I shook my head.
“Yes you can,” I said as he shook his head again. “I believe in you buddy and so does Nikki and your mom.”
“Oh that’s really saying a lot about me,” he said, shaking his head as he sniffled again. “The only ones that believe I’m innocent of this is my friend, my mother and someone…”
“I’m sure other people believe in you too buddy,” I said as he shook his head.
“Justin, you weren’t at the other hotel in New York. The people were outrageous there. They were all trying to get any bit of information they could. I had to sneak into the damn hotel. And then, as we were leaving the other hotel, you saw how they were. Those vultures already have me convicted of something I haven’t done,” he stated as he shook his head and then sighed.
“Everyone hasn’t convicted you buddy,” I said as he shook his head. “Chin up buddy. Remember what your dad used to say.”
“He’s not here right now, is he?” He asked as I looked down. “All that’s left is Nikki and my mother.”
“And me,” I replied, lifting his chin and then looking him in the eyes as I leaned in and kissed his lips. “I’m here for you buddy.”
“Justin, I…” he said as I shook my head.
“I’m here for you John, I’m here for you,” I said, letting him know that I was ready to be with him, if he was willing to have me.
“Justin, that—that can’t…” he said as I shook my head again.
“No John,” I said, covering his lips with my finger, stopping him from talking. “I fucked up, but I’m here now and I’m willing to do what’s necessary to fix those mistakes made. Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it, just tell me buddy.”
“No Justin,” he said, looking down. “We’ve gone down that road before.”
“We have, but I wasn’t ready then, I’m ready now,” I said as he shook his head.
“How do you know you’re ready now?” He asked.
“I’m here,” I replied as he sighed and then looked down again.
“That’s not a sign of you being ready Justin,” he said, sighing again. “You might be horny, but I don’t know if you’re ready.”
“I’m ready. I’m here with you—for you. Do you really think I would be here, if I didn’t care about you?” I asked as he looked at me. “I’m not Charlie, Wes, Todd or even Cameron. I didn’t just up and leave you like they did. If I remember correctly, you left me.”
“Now you’re splitting hairs Justin,” he said as I shook my head.
“I still have feelings for you John. I love you, I never stopped loving you,” I said, looking him in the face.
“Justin, you can’t love me,” he said as I shook my head.
“I do love you John. I’ve loved you since the day we met when we were on the Mouse,” I told him. “I was young then, but I knew what I wanted way back then. Momma always told me to always follow my heart and go after what I want and right now, that’s you.”
“Justin…” he said as I shook my head, wishing he would stop fighting this.
“There isn’t going to be any knock-out, drag outs and neither of us is running away, we at least I’m not,” I said with a smile. “I’m going to stand right by your side. If you’re not ready to be with me, I’ll still be right here, until you are.”
“We’ll see,” was all he said, pressing the button to start the elevator moving again as we rode up to their floor in silence.
Mutual Attraction’s Suite – The Main Room
“Thank God, you’re alright,” Nikki said, walking over to JT and hugging him around the neck.
“I’m fine Nikki,” JT stated with a sigh as Nikki popped him on the shoulder.
“Have you lost your damn mind?” Nikki asked, popping JT again. “We go on in less than two hours and we haven’t rehearsed or anything!”
“I know that, but I—I sure we’ll do a good job,” JT said, looking at Justin and then back at Nikki. “Are you guys ready to go?”
“We’ve been sitting around, waiting on your ass,” Glitter replied, shaking her head as she got up. “Let’s go.”
“I guess we’re going,” JT said, turning around as he headed towards the door as Justin followed them.
Philadelphia International Airport – The Terminal
Okay Josh, what are you really doing here? Are you really going to take a chance on trying to repair what was broken so long ago? Justin said she was still wearing my ring, is she really? I wonder does she still think about me. Does she think about the times we shared together, the things we did?
Okay, I’m here but where’s Justin? He told me that he would be here when I arrived, so where is he? Maybe he’s walking around here somewhere looking for me, like I’m looking for him. Did I make a big mistake, coming here to see her? Is this going to backfire on me?
“Good evening, Mr. Charles,” I heard behind me as I turned around, not recognizing the man standing there. “Hi, I’m Joel Seibert; I’m part of the security team for ‘Mutual Attraction’. Mr. Tanner requested that I come escort you to the concert so you would be able to meet up with him there.”
“Ah, okay,” I said as he held out his hand, showing the way for me to go.
Oh great, I wonder how long this is going to take. I didn’t know I would be sitting through a concert this evening. I thought I was going to a dinner or something and then head to a hotel. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to sit through this until it’s over. I guess I’ll get to see how well she and JT perform since it’s been a while. I hope they do a good job and get things over and done with as quick as possible. I’m tired and I’m ready to see sleep.
Scranton, PA – Scranton International Airport – The Baggage Claim Area
“Mommy!” Heather heard behind her as she turned around to see her best friend and her son approaching her.
“How’s Mommy’s little man doing?” Heather asked, scooping the little boy into her arms, holding him tightly.
“I’m doing fine Mommy, how was your trip?” The little boy asked, hugging Heather around the neck.
“Mommy’s trip was fine,” Heather replied as she let the little boy go and then stood up. “He wasn’t any trouble, was he?”
“Oh no girl, Caleb was just fine,” the woman replied with a smile. “Do you have all of your things?”
“Yeah, I’m ready when you guys are,” Heather stated as her friend grabbed a bag as they left the baggage claim area, heading towards the parking lot.
“So, did you get anything accomplished?” The woman asked.
“I think I did, but I won’t really know for sure for a few days,” Heather answered with a strange look on her face. “I’m sure things will fall into place by then.”
“Sounds great,” the woman said as she looked down at the little boy. “What are you going to do from this point?”
“I’m going to play it by ear,” Heather replied with a smile as she looked down at the little boy as her smile widened.
Philadelphia, PA – The Starlight Ballroom – The Backstage Area
“Ah JT, are you sure you want me to help you do this song?” Justin asked as he looked at JT with a concerned look on his face.
“Yeah, I’m really sure about it Justin,” JT replied, looking at Justin and then he sighed. “Do you want to do the song with me Justin?”
“As I told you earlier, I’ll do what I can for you,” Justin replied as JT sighed again.
“But do you want to do this song with me or not,” JT said, looking at Justin with a stern look on his face.
“I’ll do the song, I just want to be sure you want to do this song with me,” Justin stated as he looked down. “With the way things are going so…”
“Mo’ette, are you going to help us sing this song?” JT asked, interrupting Justin.
“You know I’m here for you baby,” Mo’ette replied with a smile.
“Well let’s do this then,” Justin said with a small smile at JT as the three of them joined hands, bowed their heads and then said a silent prayer while Glitter and Nikki finished up a number on stage.
“I’m ready,” JT said, smiling as a technician walked over and made some adjustments to his microphone and then moved over and did the same to Justin’s microphone.
“You’re ready to go sir,” the technician said as he smiled and then walked over to Mo’ette and then attached a microphone pack to her back.
“Here goes,” JT said as the three of them walked towards the stage where Nikki and Glitter stood.
“So, you guys are going to do a few songs and then what?” Glitter asked, looking at JT and Justin strangely.
“We’re going to sing a song and then you two will come back out and sing the rest of the songs with me,” JT stated as Glitter looked at him funny.
“I—I don’t like this,” Glitter stated as she looked down at her hands. “We should be singing with you, not them. He’s not even part of the group and she—she’s just some has been.”
“Oh, here we go,” Nikki said, shaking her head as she moved away from Glitter.
“She’s a what?” JT asked, stepping in front of Glitter, looking as if he was ready to smack her. “Take it back Glitter!”
“Why should I? She’s a washed-up, has been,” Glitter said as she put her hands on her hips, looking at JT like she could spit nails. “No one knows who the hell she is, so that makes her a has-been.”
“Oooh, baby girl there harboring some jealousy ova-thur,” Mo’ette said as Nikki and Justin shook their heads. “JT, if that pretty young thang don’t want me sangin’ with ya’ll, I don’t have to.”
“No Mo’ette, I want you to, it has nothing to do with her,” JT stated as he glared at Glitter. “If you have something else to say, save it for after the damn show Glitter.”
“Whatever,” Glitter said as the intermission music ended as the lights went up as the announcer started speaking.
“Okay, it’s time,” JT said as the music started playing for the song they would sing.
“Paris, France to Michigan, London town and through Berlin, I can’t believe this place I’m in, everywhere and back again. Porcelain and China dolls, give me one and I’ve seen them all. You got my back against the wall, I wonder where I’ll be tomorrow,” Mo’ette sang as the spotlight hit her and then moved as she stepped down the steps and onto the stage.
“But wait, now how long could this take, it’s hard to find a mate, when you’re gone before he wakes. They say it’s hard to achieve, but can’t a girl believe?” Glitter sang as Mo’ette and JT looked at her like she was crazy.
“Is there somebody who still believes in love? I know you’re out there. There’s got to be somebody. I’ve searched the whole wide world, but I can’t seem to find, somebody to love,” Justin sang as he wondered what other things to expect from Glitter.
“Baby girl, where you at, looking at me like a putty cat… wondering where that thing is at… wondering where your ring is at,” JT sang is he busted a move and slid closer to Mo’ette as the two of them bumped hips. “Nobody ever did it quite like this… nobody ever did it quite like you. Do your hair, I bought you shoes, we can hit the town like superstars do. You fall in love, then let me show you love… give me the key to your heart and I can give you what you want. When you’re waiting for love… and you’re lookin’ for someone, I’mma turn this gossip girl into a woman.”
“Is there somebody who still believes in love? I know you’re out there. There’s got to be somebody. I’ve searched the whole wide world, but I can’t seem to find, somebody to love,” Justin sang as he joined JT and Mo’ette in center stage as Glitter stood back and watched. “Is there somebody who still believes in love? I know you’re out there. There’s got to be somebody. I’ve searched the whole wide world, but I can’t seem to find, somebody to love.”
“Make a move, do the thing, turn around, strike a pose,” Glitter sang as she rushed to center stage to join the others. “Make a move, do the thing, turn around and strike a pose.”
“Ooooh, I like it… Oooh, I need it… Oooooh I want it… hey hey,” JT sang as he started bumping with Mo’ette again.
“I know it’s hard to achieve, but can’t a girl…” Mo’ette sang as she raised her hand and threw her head back. “Believeeeee?”
“Is there somebody who still believes in love? I know you’re out there. There’s got to be somebody. I’ve searched the whole wide world, but I can’t seem to find, somebody to love,” Justin sang as he took JT’s hand as Glitter’s eyes widened as JT tensed up a bit. “Is there somebody who still believes in love? I know you’re out there. There’s got to be somebody. I’ve searched the whole wide world, but I can’t seem to find, somebody to love.”
“Somebody to love,” Mo’ette sang over and over again as the music faded out.
Half Hour Later – Backstage
“What in the hell was that out there JT?” Glitter asked, pushing JT’s shoulder. “Have you lost your damn mind?”
“I think I should be asking you that,” JT said as he looked at Glitter as she shook her head.
“I’m talking about the two of you damn it!” Glitter snapped, shaking her head again as she pointed her finger at Justin. “You two out there, making damn goo-goo eyes at each other, out on stage! Are you trying to cause more problems for us?”
“Excuse me,” JT said as Glitter pushed his shoulder again, causing him to fall backwards to the sofa behind him.
“With all the lovey-dovey things you two did out on stage, I’m sure someone has put in a call to every damn tabloid and media outlet in the damn world, telling them about how JT Poole of ‘Mutual Attraction’ and Justin Tanner were damn close to making out on stage, while doing a damn duet!”
“We weren’t making goo-goo eyes at each other,” Justin said as he looked at JT.
“We weren’t trying to make out either,” JT said as he looked down.
“Then what in the hell do you call what you two were doing while singing, ‘You Put a Move on My Heart’? Better yet, what in the hell were you thinking when you held hands while singing, ‘Somebody to Love’? From those actions alone, I’m sure you’ve blackballed your damn career Justin,” Glitter stated as Justin shook his head.
“Ha, I can care less about my career Glitter, you don’t have to worry about me, I’m a big boy,” Justin said as he walked over to where JT and Glitter were. “I know what I’m doing.”
“I’m sure you’re a big boy, that doesn’t change what happened out there on stage,” Glitter said as she shook her head. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d think this show was you guys’ coming out party or something.”
“Maybe it was,” JT responded as he turned away from Glitter.
“Yeah, maybe it was,” Justin said, looking at Glitter as he moved passed her and then sat down besides JT on the sofa.
“I—I can’t believe this,” Glitter said as she sighed and then moved away from JT and Justin as someone banged on the door. “I wonder who that could…”
“Have you lost your damn mind?” Marc asked, standing in the doorway of the room, breathing heavy, like he had been running a marathon or something.
“What in the hell happened to you?” Glitter asked as JT got up off the sofa.
“What happened to me? No, what happened to JT and those other fools?” Marc asked, shaking his head. “If you wanted to make a damn statement about being gay, I’m sure you could’ve chosen another damn night to damn do it!”
“See, apparently I’m not the only one concerned with what I damn saw on stage!” Glitter snapped as JT shook his head and then turned away from her.
To Be Continued…
 Song Excerpt = Somebody to Love by Robin Thicke and Leighton Meester