The Past Comes Knocking – Chapter 7

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

Justin’s POV

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

Glitter’s POV

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.

Nikki’s POV

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

Justin’s POV

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

Josh’s POV

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.

[1]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…


[1] Song Excerpt = Somebody to Love by Robin Thicke and Leighton Meester

 

The Past Comes Knocking – Chapter 6

Chapter 6 – Memory Lane Derailed

May 24, 2004 – Somewhere in Pennsylvania – Mutual Attraction’s Tour Bus – The Bathroom

JT’s POV

“So, what happened between you and Wes?”  Nikki asked, looking at me as I sat back down on the toilet seat.

“Wes, after a show one night, he started to act distant.  When I asked him what was going on, he stated that he needed some space.  I asked him why and he basically accused me of sleeping around with other people.  It seemed to me that someone had put it in his head that when he wasn’t around with me, that I was getting my damn jollies from some fans.  At the time, Marc didn’t know I was gay or I didn’t think he knew, but I knew he was the person that was filling Wes’ head with lies,” I said as she shook her head.

“How so,” she said.

“I don’t know why Wes didn’t see through his lies.  Wes knew me and knew I wouldn’t sleep around with women,” I said as her mouth dropped open.  “Marc told him that he was missing out on all the tail I was getting from the female fans and that if he hung around more often, he would be able to test out the female smorgasbord that I was experiencing.”

“Ewwww,” she said, shaking her head again.  “The nerve of some people.”

“Yeah, okay,” I said, thinking back to the night that Wes confronted me about it all.  “He confronted me about all the women I was supposedly sleeping with and I told him that he had to be mistaken.  He clued me into what Marc had told him, the times that Marc had told him and I was totally pissed off about it.”

“What did you do?”  She asked.

“I… Well… I accidentally outed the two of us,” I said as she shook her head.

“Oh?  How did that happen?”  She asked.

“I went to Marc and jumped down his throat.  I wanted to know why he was telling such vicious lies about me to my friend.  He asked what lies I was referring to, so I went into detail about what Wes had told me,” I said, sighing as I rubbed at my head.  “Looking at things as a straight man, that wouldn’t have been a problem for him, telling my friend that I was making it with a different woman every night, so to him, that set the bells and whistles off.”

“How?  From what we know now, he’s not so straight himself,” she said, looking at me as I noticed she was trying to keep from smiling.

“At that time, I didn’t know and Wes didn’t either,” I replied.

“Go on man,” she said, pointing her finger at me.

“So, he asked why I was so pissed off with what he had said.  He said I shouldn’t have had a problem with what was said, unless I didn’t like girls,” I said as she turned up her nose.  “So, he put the pieces together.  He actually came out and asked me was I queer.  He actually said, ‘Johnny are you queer?’”

“And you actually told him you were?”  She asked.

“No, I didn’t tell him, but he kept pushing me for the truth and it slipped out,” I said, sighing as I rubbed at my head again.  “I have an issue with people calling me a fag and a queer and I sorta popped him in the face and knocked him backwards on his ass.  That’s how he got the scar above his right eye.”

“Ah,” she said with a smile.  “So, what happened after that?”

“He figured that we were a couple.  From what I later found out, after I had moved on, Justin told me that Marc had blackmailed him into not getting with me, the reason why he chose Emma over me.  He felt that if we spent too much time together, people would figure out that I was an ‘ass pirate’ and our status would plummet overnight,” I told her as someone knocked on the door.

“Can I come in?”  We both heard Glitter’s voice.

“What for?”  I asked.

“I gotta pee,” she said as I sighed.

“J, you should’ve known at some point, sooner or later that someone would need to get in here for that reason.  You might as well leave and go out there,” Nikki said as she looked at me with a crooked smile.

“Fine,” I said as I opened the door.  “Excuse us.”

“What were you two doing in there?”  Glitter asked, walking past me into the bathroom.

“We were just talking,” I replied as Nikki followed me.

“Okay,” Glitter said as she closed the door as we walked to the front of the bus and then took seats.

“So, go on,” she said as I looked at her.  “Because we’re not in the small, private confines of the bathroom, doesn’t mean that history class is over.”

“Whatever,” I said as she smacked me on the leg.  “Oh, alright then.  So, after the fling me and Justin had, I found out what Marc had done.  I didn’t care at the time, mainly because Wes basically up and left me and then decided that he didn’t want to be a part of my life anymore.  So, things with us as a group started falling apart as well.”

“What happened with the group?”  She asked.

“Syndi wasn’t happy being on the road with us so much, mainly because she didn’t get to see her husband or her kids as much as she wanted.  I told her in the beginning that touring and performing long hours was a part of life when you’re a singer.  She didn’t care at the time when I told her.  It seems Syndi is more like Glitter, more concerned with the name and the fame.  After the media started taking shots at her about not being with her kids, then her motherly clock kicked back in and she wanted to be a mom again.  The main point of it all was she wasn’t happy and told us to find a replacement for her, thus you entering the picture.”

“Yeah, I remember those tryouts and such,” she said, smiling brightly.  “But during that time, I saw you and Wes, so he wasn’t completely gone from your life.”

“No, he wasn’t completely gone, but those were just residuals,” I said as she shook her head and then laughed.

“So, what happened with Mo’ette?  I never got the real story behind why she left,” she asked.

“Mo’ette got tired of putting up with the constant harassment from Marc about her weight.  I had no problems with her and neither did the fans, well at least none that we knew of.  Marc’s issue was that he thought she portrayed a bad image to the fans.  He thought that she glamorized being fat, making a statement that being fat was okay.  So he badgered her at every turn about her weight, telling her that she needed to slim down.  It got so bad that he would actually pop up during meal ties and make her feel bad while we ate.  He would say some horrible things to her.  He would sit at the table and ask her stupid questions like, ‘Are you sure you want to eat that?’  ‘Don’t you think you can pick something that isn’t so fattening?’  ‘Do you think that’s going to help you lose weight?’  He actually called her ‘fat ass’ on stage while we were singing,” I explained as her eyes widened.

“He did what?”  She said, squinting her eyes at me.

“Yes, he called her ‘fat ass’ while were on stage, performing one night,” I said as she shook her head.  “After that, she called it quits.”

“I don’t blame her,” she said, sighing.  “It sounds like he put you guys through hell.”

“Yep, that’s Marc for you,” I said as we both heard the bathroom door open.  “So, before summer could start, you and Glitter were a part of the group and we had changed the name as you know.”

“So, what brought Justin back into your life and what about Todd?”  She asked.

“Todd is only a friend,” I said as she crossed her arms across her chest and then looked at me strangely.

“Come on JT, don’t try to fool me here,” she said.

“I’m not trying to fool you Nikki; Todd is only a friend of mine.  We never had a relationship beyond that,” I told her, lying a bit to her, but I promised him that I would keep his secret.

“So, you never slept with him?  You never kissed him?  Had any kind of sexual encounters with him?”  She asked as I shook my head in the negative. “Really?  He—he always gave me that vibe—that vibe that you two are really close—closer than you’re claiming right now, but I always put that thought out of my mind.”

“Good, there was nothing going on between the two of us,” I said as she smiled.  “His wife would probably beat the three of us for thinking something like that.”

“His wife?  He’s married?”  She asked as I nodded my head.

“Yeah, he’s married and got kids to boot,” I replied, thinking about the last time we were actually together.

“Because he’s married and got kids doesn’t mean he can’t fool around with a man,” she said as Glitter walked over to where we sat and then joined us.

“So, what’s up guys?”  Glitter asked as I looked up at her and then noticed the look exchanged between her and Nikki.

“No, you tell me what’s up.  Why are you two looking at each other like that?”  I asked.

“Ask your girl there,” Glitter said as she pointed at Nikki.

“Okay, what’s going on around here?”  I asked.

“I’m in no mood for any crap that you’re ready to spew Glitter,” Nikki said as she pointed her finger at Glitter.  “I’ve heard enough from you for one day.”

“Did I miss something here?  What’s going on between you two?  Why do I get the feeling that ‘Mutual Attraction’ is about to be non-mutual?”  I asked, looking between both women.

“This heffa here believes the things that are being said about you in the damn media,” Nikki stated as she got up from her seat.  “She believes those lies and wants you to admit to what’s being said.”

“I see,” I said, getting up as Nikki grabbed my hand.

“JT, don’t…” Nikki said as she held my hand tightly.  “I believe you.  The people that care about you, believe in you.  If you say you don’t do that stuff… you’re not doing that stuff, then I trust in you.  Fuck what she believes J.”

“She’s entitled to her opinion Nikki, just like everyone else is,” I said as she sighed.  “If she believes that I’m a drug user and I sell and push drugs at all of our concerts, then that’s her belief.”

“But that’s not true and you know that.  Because she believes it, doesn’t make it right.  Her opinion isn’t fact JT,” Nikki said as she turned and glared at Glitter.

“If I’m guilty of those things, so are you two as well,” I said, looking at Glitter.  “You two have been on the road with me, since we started things.  So, if I sell and push drugs at the concerts, then you guys are just as guilty as I am.  Not just my concerts, they are your concerts too.”

“Now wait just a damn minute,” Glitter said, moving closer to me.

“I think I’m going to go ahead and call it a night,” I said as I pulled away from Nikki and then headed down the aisle towards the bunks as Glitter just stood there, ready to get bitchy.

I can see this is going to be a long journey.  With all the shit going on in my life right now, will all the things I believe to be glitter, turn out to be gold or just faux?

Scranton, PA – The Home of Heather Stewart – The Backyard

“Hey Shan, what’re you doing here?”  Heather asked, walking over to the fence.

“Hey girl, what’s up with you?”  The woman asked, looking at Heather closely.

“What makes you think something is up?”  Heather asked.

“Let’s just say Caleb called and he said that you were upset,” the woman replied with a frown.  “He thinks that there’s something wrong.”

“Everything is just peachy,” Heather stated as she shook her head.

“Does your current mood, have anything to do with your manager William coming over the other day?”  The woman asked.

“Don’t get me started about William,” Heather stated as she kicked the fence.  “That bastard needs to be shot or something.”

“Dang girl, what did he say?”  The woman asked.

“He was a fucking jerk!”  Heather snapped and then covered her mouth quickly as she looked around.

“Hush up, before Caleb hears you,” the woman said and then sighed.  “What was so bad about what he said?”

“He told me I have to start over… I have to start all the way over,” Heather stated as she sighed and then shook her head.  “He said that unless there’s some other way to get the world to notice me, then I have no choice but to start from the bottom and work my way back up to the top.”

“What?  Are you kidding me?”  The woman asked.  “You were a star on an international TV show.  Is he serious?”

“Yeah, he was being serious,” Heather stated as she looked down.  “He said with my ten-year absence, no one knows me and doesn’t want to give me a chance.”

“Bullshit,” the woman said as she looked back at the house.  “You are a star, you have a fan following.”

“From what William said, I don’t,” Heather stated as she looked back at the house.  “My fan base disappeared when I had to disappear to raise my child.”

“I know that, but that doesn’t mean you’re not…” the woman said as Heather interrupted her.

“I gave up my life to have a baby,” Heather stated as she shook her head and then looked down.  “The life I wanted, ended because I was a fool.”

“Say what?  What’re you talking about Heather?  What do you mean the life you wanted, ended because you were a fool?  What are you trying to say?”  The woman asked, looking at Heather closely.  “That doesn’t sound right.”

“The life I wanted was taken away from me,” Heather stated as she shook her head.  “I was supposed to be number one.  I had the number one show in the primetime slot and I was the talk of the town.”

“I knew you were girl, but what’s going through your mind right now.  Why are you talking crazy?”  The woman asked. “I thought you had Caleb because you wanted him and you were in love with his father.”

“I had Caleb because—because I thought, I… Oh, never mind what I thought,” Heather stated as the woman looked at her strangely again.  “It doesn’t even matter anymore now.”

“What doesn’t matter Heather?”  The woman asked.

“Just forget about it,” Heather stated as the phone rang inside the house, interrupting them.  “I gotta go get that.  I’ll see you later.”

“Okay girl,” the woman replied, waving as she walked away.

Los Angeles, CA – The Home of Wes Ransom

Wes’ POV

What in the hell’s going on with John and his friends?  Has he finally lost his damn mind?  I’m sure he’s seen all that shit in the news, so why hasn’t he done something to stop that?  Those rumors are floating through the damn media and the industry quickly and that shit can kill his career, quicker than an Asian hooker high on smack can lay her john, no pun intended there.  If he doesn’t do something quick, he won’t have a damn career left at all.

“Why in the hell is he allowing this mess to go on the way it is?”  I asked aloud, walking into the bathroom to start the water for my shower.  “He knows the media is going crazy with this shit.  If he doesn’t do something now, he probably won’t have to worry about anything at all; he just won’t have a career.”

A few days have passed and this shit is still going on.  With all that I’ve read, why in the hell would he let this go on for this long?  Does he want to lose his fans or what?  I’ve known him for a long time and I know he’s not a drug user and I know he’s not using his shows to sell and peddle drugs throughout the world.  Whoever started that rumor, that person needs their asses beat three ways from Sunday.  Damn, he used to say that all the time.  I really do miss him.  I miss being with him.

“I should’ve never let Marc trick me into leaving him,” I said aloud as I stripped out of my clothes and then stepped into the shower.

We’ve been apart for a long time.  Maybe now’s my chance.  Maybe I can find out where he is and do what I can to help him out with this mess.  Once I do that, maybe I can work on getting back into his life, getting him to trust me again.  I know with how things ended with us, I know he doesn’t care for me, but maybe with some help from some of our old friends, maybe I can win him over and change the bad to something good.

“Maybe Wes, just maybe,” I said as the water rained down on me.

May 25, 2004 – Philadelphia, PA – Mutual Attraction’s Tour Bus

“Well good morning guys,” Justin said as he stepped up onto the bus, stretched his arms over his head and then yawned.  “So, are you guys going to check into a hotel or what?”

“That’s something I don’t know yet,” Nikki replied, looking over at Justin.  “Please tell me that you didn’t follow us all the way here, by yourself.”

“Yep, I followed you guys all the way here,” Justin responded as he yawned again.  “What are you guys going to do today?”

“Don’t really know Justin,” Nikki replied, looking down.  “You were there at the hotel.  You know how things ended in New York.  Do you actually see this getting any better right now?”

“I know how things ended, but that can be changed Nikki,” Justin replied with a frown.

“There hasn’t been any talk of what’s going to happen about the stuff in the media and I don’t know if we’re going to be performing here or not,” Nikki stated as she shrugged her shoulders and then shook her head.

“So, where’s JT?”  Justin asked.

“I guess he’s still in his bunk, sleeping it off,” Nikki replied as Glitter walked up to the front of the bus.

“Well hello Mr. Tanner,” Glitter said as she waved at Justin.

“Hello,” was all Justin said, turning his attention back to Nikki.  “Not to be pushy or anything, but go wake him up so you guys can get things rolling.”

“I’ll go wake him up, but it looks like you need to get some sleep yourself,” Nikki said as she looked at Justin closely.  “When was the last time you got some sleep Justin?”

“Hmmm, that’s a real good question,” Justin said as he looked at Nikki and then scratched at his head.  “But I’m okay, don’t worry about me.  He should be our main concern right now.”

“Being that you haven’t had any rest, I’m going to worry about you, even if you don’t worry about yourself.  Besides, you let me handle things with JT and you go get some rest, please,” Nikki suggested, pointing her finger at Justin as he smiled.

“Okay, fine girl,” Justin responded as he looked down and then back at her as he pulled a piece of paper from his pocket.  “This is my number.  If something happens or you need me, please don’t hesitate to give me a call.”

“Okay,” Nikki replied, taking the piece of paper from him.  “Now go get some rest man.”

“That means I need to go find a hotel quick,” Justin said, turning around just as Vanessa walked onto the bus.

“Or you could just go back there and get into a bunk and go to sleep,” Vanessa suggested.  “I’m sure there’s an extra one back there.”

“I’m sure there is, but I—I don’t want to create—create a problem,” Justin said, looking down.

“I don’t think it would be a problem,” Glitter said, smiling widely at Justin.

New York City, NY – The Hyatt – The Hotel Restaurant

“So, why am I here Heather?”  A tall man asked, taking a seat at the table that Heather Stewart sat.  “This better be important.”

“It is important,” Heather replied with a sigh.  “This is all bullshit.  It doesn’t seem to be working.  Why hasn’t he made any appearances or anything?  It’s like he doesn’t care about his career or something.”

“Come on Heather,” the man said as the waiter walked over to the table.  “What did you really expect to happen?”

“I—I expect him to get what he deserves,” Heather stated as the waiter cleared his throat.

“Yes, I’d like to have a cup of espresso,” the man spoke, looking up at the waiter as the man smiled and then walked off.  “You may want him to get what he deserves, but is that the best thing?”

“Yes, that’s the best thing,” Heather stated with a frown as she shook her head.

“Are you sure Heather?  He’s famous right now and you doing what you’re doing, may prove fatal for the two of you, if he found out,” the man stated.

“I’m doing what I’m doing, because he forgot about me,” Heather stated as she shook her head.  “I’m the one he forgot all about and left behind to be famous.”

“If I remember correctly, he didn’t forget about you Heather.  You two got into a fight, that you started and then you left, because you couldn’t handle the truth,” the man stated as he looked at her closely.  “You are not a part of his life Heather.  The only thing that really connects you to him is Caleb and that’s only if Caleb is really his son.”

“How dare you,” Heather said, glaring at the man.  “Caleb is his son.”

“Okay, how do you know that?”  The man asked, the expression on his face speaking volumes to Heather.  “Has there been a paternity test performed in the last ten years that I don’t know about?”

“A paternity test isn’t needed.  I already know that he’s Caleb’s father.  That’s something I never ever have to wonder about,” Heather stated as she shook her head while pointing her finger in the man’s face.  “JT’s his father and pretty soon, the whole world will know that bit of information also.”

“Why would you want the whole world to know that Caleb is his son?”  The man asked.  “Do you really think that’s going to put you back into the spotlight and make you famous again, like him?  Is that how you plan on getting back into the spotlight Heather, well is it?”

“The world should know that their precious, sensual soul singer has a past,” Heather stated as she looked down.

“Girl, the past you’re trying to say he has, he doesn’t have,” the man stated as Heather shook her head.  “We both know that you did something ugly to get Caleb here.  JT wasn’t even aware of what was going on when Caleb was even conceived.”

“Regardless of that, he’s still Caleb’s father and there’s no reason for you even bringing that up,” Heather stated as she pointed her finger in the man’s face again.

“Why are you so damn adamant on the whole world knowing about you and Caleb all of a sudden?”  The man asked, looking at Heather as if she were crazy.  “Are you that damn anxious to get back into the damn limelight, that you’ll reveal your dirty schemes to the whole world of how Caleb actually got here?  Come on Heather, really?”

“It—it has nothing to do with that Ken,” Heather stated as the man shook his head.

“Really Heather?  You know, if you tell the world that Caleb is the son of a popular singer, that’s going to put the spotlight on both of you for an undetermined amount of time,” the man said as he shook his head.  “But, I warn you Heather, if you do that, you need to have your facts straight, before you continue going through with all of this.”

“I do have my facts straight Ken,” Heather stated, pointing her finger in the man’s face yet again.

“Well, I’m just letting you know right now, that if you don’t have your information in order and JT isn’t really Caleb’s father, like you claim, he can more than likely sue you for slandering his name.  If you’re not being truthful, we both know he’ll win his case against you,” the man stated with a small smile on his face.  “For your sake, I hope Caleb is his son as you claim he is.”

“I’m not worried about that Ken.  I know for a fact that he’s Caleb’s father,” Heather stated as she took a sip of her drink.  “JT Poole is his father and it’s about time that he started doing right by him.”

“How is he supposed to do right by someone that he doesn’t even know exists?  He doesn’t know about Caleb,” the man stated as the waiter returned with his order.  “Thank you.”

“Will there be anything else?”  The waiter asked, looking at the man.

“No,” Heather answered, waving her hand dismissively at the waiter as he turned around and then walked away, pushing the drink cart away from the table.  “So, now I have to figure out what my next step is going to be.”

“You’ve already got things started with trashing him in the media.  With all the things I’ve read and seen, everyone actually believes him to be a drug user and a pusher, using his shows to distribute drugs to everyone worldwide, through his tours.  Why did it have to be drugs Heather?”  The man asked.  “I’m sure that all he has to do is take a simple drug test to dispute that and nip it all in the bud.”

“That’s true, but he hasn’t done anything so far,” Heather said as she shook her head.  “He hasn’t done anything at all.  There must be something else going on.  If it were me, I would’ve done everything I could think of to clear my name when all of this started.  My plan was to get the fires boiling under him and then add more fuel by adding me and Caleb to the mix.”

“Sometimes things happen with people, that doesn’t allow for them to clear up a problem when it presents itself.  I’m sure you know what I mean Heather,” the man said as he tapped his finger on the table.

“Whatever Ken,” Heather said as she shook her head.

“Yeah, whatever Heather,” the man said, opening his jacket and pulling out a small case.  “Take a look at all of this and you’ll see what I mean.”

“What is this?”  Heather asked, looking at the man closely.

“Just look at that stuff and think about all that you are doing, while you rest up from your plane flight,” the man said as he took another sip of his drink and then got up from the table.

To Be Continued…