Chapter 11 – Rekindling Times Two
May 26, 2004 – Philadelphia, PA – A Local Classy Restaurant
“JT,” Nikki said as JT shook his head.
“So, you’re giving me an ultimatum here,” Jarrod said as JT smiled.
“Damn right I am,” JT responded, looking at Jarrod with a stern look on his face. “It’s either Mo’ette too or no JT Poole on that damn marquee you have flashing in your damn street dreams that brings in the damn dollahs you’re so used to spending. You won’t see those dollahs no more without me. So yeah Jarrod, think about that lil tidbit. If Mo’ette isn’t in the group, you’ll have to replace me too.”
“Alright then,” Jarrod said as he smiled at JT. “Have it your way. Mo’ette LaCasta, welcome to ‘Mutual Attraction’. All I have to say is this, you fuck up, all of you are gone. Your contracts will be null and void.”
“If at any time you feel like you want to do that, go right ahead and do so,” JT stated with a sly smile. “It won’t hurt me one bit.”
“It might not hurt you, but what about Ms. Knotts there?” Jarrod asked with a smirk. “Do you think she can survive in the music industry without you?”
“I’m sure Nikki’s skills will take her far, without her being with me,” JT stated as he turned and smiled at Nikki. “She’s got class and skills. It seems someone hasn’t been paying attention to our concerts.”
“Don’t fuck up and we won’t have to find that out,” Jarrod stated, smiling as he turned around. “Use your time wisely; I want you four back in Jacksonville by the first of June. Oh yeah, message from the label. Because you gave that little impromptu press conference today, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook with all the crap that’s going on. The world isn’t just going to forget about that. Again, keep your nose clean and I expect to see you all in the studio by the first of June.”
“Fuck you,” JT said as he turned and walked away.
“JT, JT wait,” Justin said as he got up from the table.
“Hey, you need to leave him alone. You’ve caused enough problems around here already,” Jarrod stated, grabbing Justin by his arm, stopping him. “There’s no room for Justin Tanner in ‘Mutual Attraction’. If you feel the need to be in a group, I’m sure you can find your old friends and get back together with them… oh wait, that’s right, your old band mates can’t stand you. I guess you won’t be making that reunion after all.”
“You stupid little prick,” Justin growled as Jarrod stepped back and then held up his hands. “How dare you…”
“How dare I what, tell the truth about you Justin?” Jarrod asked with a sly smile on his face. “Just go back to your life and get out of his. He doesn’t need you causing more issues in his life. I don’t know what happened between him and the other one, but I don’t need you getting in the way.”
An Hour Later – A Secluded Spot Down by the River
Now that Mo’ette’s back around again, maybe things are getting back on the right track for me—for all of us. Maybe this is going to be a new shot for all involved. With all that’s happened, I think it’s time that things took a turn for the better. All I have to do now is get things in my own life in order, so that good things can happen for me too.
For the life of me, I don’t know how to get some order into my life. Every time I try to think about how I should go about doing things, to fix the crap in my life, all I see is Justin’s face. Maybe—maybe he’s the one I should be with. When I think about him, all I can do is smile now. But that smile tends to fade away as memories of how bad my love life is, always causes a great deal of pain.
“Okay Aunt Donna, do you have an inspiring song for me to sing for how I feel right now?” I asked aloud, not expecting an answer as I looked up at the sky, wondering when things in my life would settle down and I could live the life I’ve always wanted.
“I’m not your Aunt Donna, but I do have a song in mind,” I heard behind me as I turned around to see Justin standing there, decked out in a black tuxedo with a bouquet of roses in hand.
“You have a song in mind,” I said as he smiled, nodded his head and then walked towards me.
“Well he searched and searched for nights and days ‘til he found the one he loves. He wrapped him in his arms again and then he thanked the stars above that he found what he’d been looking for and he stared him in the eyes…” he sang as I caught on to what he was singing.
“He said ‘I love you’,” I sang as he got closer. “He said ‘I love you’.”
“So he stared him right back in the eyes with a look of disbelief. Then he gazed off into somewhere else, was it real or just a dream? And he pulled him, oh so close to him and then he whispered in his ear,” he sang, getting a bit closer to me.
“He said ‘I love you’,” I sang again as he smiled at me. “He said ‘I love you too’.”
“So together they will always be until the stars fall from the sky… So, if you find someone you love a lot, you must never let them go… You just hold them tight with all your might and you say three little words,” he sang as he stood in front of me.
“You say ‘I love you’,” I sang as he smiled. “You say ‘I love you’.”
“I love you,” he sang, moving in closer, almost kissing my lips. “I love you.”
“Do you really?” I asked as he bridged the gap between us, kissing my lips as he wrapped his arms around me as I wrapped mine around him.
“I say I love you,” he sang as he kissed my lips again. “Your aunt sure did have a knack for singing a lot of love songs.”
“Yes, that’s my aunt for you,” I said, smiling, thinking about Aunt Donna. “Everybody loves her music.”
“I’m sure,” he said, kissing my lips again. “Are you finally going to believe me?”
“Believe you? I never said I didn’t believe you Justin,” I said as he raised an eye at me.
“If you believe me, why don’t you…” He said as I placed a finger over his lips, stopping him from talking more.
“I don’t want to get hurt again Justin. I know what you said and I know what you’re trying to do, but do you really think you’re going to be able to be with me and handle the attention?” I asked.
“I’m handling the attention just fine,” he declared with a smile. “When are you going to realize that I’m here and I’m not running away?”
“I don’t know,” I replied as he leaned in and kissed my lips again. “I just don’t want you to be here now and then a day, a week, a month even, that you decide that you can’t handle things and leave me.”
“I’m not going to leave you JT,” he said as he took my hands into his. “I’m here and I’m ready. Hell, if possible, I’m ready for the long haul.”
“You’re ready for the long haul? Are you out of your mind?” I asked, laughing as he frowned.
“What are you trying to say?” He asked.
“I don’t believe you’re ready for the so-called long haul of things Justin,” I said as his frown widened out, distorting his face. “I’m six years older than you Justin. What do we have in common, besides singing of course? Things aren’t like they were when we were on the Mouse.”
“Yeah, but we had so much in common back then, I’m sure we still do,” he said as he kissed my hand. “Why aren’t you giving me a chance here?”
“Because a chance could destroy me,” I replied as he sighed and then looked down.
“I promise you that I won’t let anything come between us,” he said, lifting my chin and then kissing my lips again.
“How can you make a promise to me like that Justin? How are you going to keep it?” I asked.
“Simple,” he replied, kissing my lips again. “I’m not going to let anything come between us baby, I promise you that. You have nothing to worry about. I’m not going to let my career, my family, not even my friends come between us. I’m yours, now and forever, if you’ll have me. All you have to do is let me show you.”
“I—I’m scared,” I said, looking down as he lifted my chin again, forcing me to look into his eyes.
“I know you’re scared, but I’m here for you,” he said, wrapping his arms around me. “I know I’m young, but I’m wiser than you know baby. Just give me a chance and I’ll show you what’s in here.”
“Okay,” was all I said, pulling back from him as he looked into my eyes. “Just don’t hurt me Justin.”
“I’m not planning on hurting you JT,” he said, looking down. “I’m sure we’re both going to make some mistakes in this, but those mistakes won’t be intentional.”
“I’m sure,” I said, thinking about what could possibly go wrong.
“Stop thinking negative JT,” he said, looking at me closely. “Let’s just go with the flow and go from…”
“I already agreed to be with you Justin,” I said as he smiled. “Why don’t we leave before we draw attention to ourselves out here in the open like…”
“You have a point there,” he said, holding out his hand for me to take as I wondered should I take it or not. “You just gonna leave me hanging like that?”
“Are you sure you’re ready to tackle the PDAs Justin?” I asked.
“I’m not the one that’s scared of tackling it,” he said, looking at me. “We could play football right now and I’ll do a whole lot of touch and tackling. So, are you sure you’re actually ready to be out?”
“I want to be out, with someone that’s actually going to be with me,” I replied as he frowned. “I want to be able to show the world I’m with someone that’s more concerned about me and not their career or other things.”
“I’m more concerned about us, not my career or yours for that matter. If we’re going to make things work, it’s gotta be for us and no one else,” he said.
“That’s right,” I said as he motioned with his head at his hand.
“So, are you going to take my hand or what?” He asked.
“Okay,” I said, taking his hand as we turned and then walked back towards the hotel.
Almost Midnight – The Airport
“Welcome to Philadelphia ma’am,” a luggage attendant announced as Heather walked over to the baggage claim area, grabbed her bags and then readjusted Caleb in her arms while he slept. “Ma’am, do you need some assistance with your bags?”
“No,” Heather replied in a rude tone as the man looked at her, shrugged his shoulders and then stepped out of the way. “I got this.”
“Okay,” the guy said as Heather turned away from him.
“I gotta find JT, before something else happens. I’m not going to allow him to screw us over any longer,” Heather said with a stern expression on her face.
“Mommy, where are we? Where are we going?” Caleb asked, looking around as he stretched his arms, almost causing him and Heather to fall.
“We’re in Philadelphia sweetie,” Heather replied with a small smile. “We’re just going to visit a few of Mommy’s friends.”
“It’s dark outside mommy,” Caleb said as he looked around again and then yawned. “I’m still sleepy.”
“I know you are sweetie, Mommy’s going to a hotel, so you can get some more sleep,” Heather stated as she looked around and then pulled out her cell phone.
“What are you doing Mommy?” Caleb asked, yawning again.
“Mommy’s checking to see which hotel we need to go to,” Heather stated as she read through her text messages. “Yes, we need to go to the Radisson, that’s where they are right now.”
“That’s where who is Mommy?” Caleb asked as he yawned again.
“Some of Mommy’s old friends,” Heather replied as they started walking again, heading outside to where the taxis waited. “I need to get to the Radisson fast.”
“Alright lady,” the man replied as Heather loaded her items into the car.
The Radisson Plaza Hotel – Mutual Attraction’s Hotel Suite – Nikki’s Hotel Room
Come on God, what is it going to take for things to mend between the two of us? We’ve been talking about things for the past few hours and it seems like we’re going backwards instead of forwards. What is it going to take for her to get passed all of the things we went through in the past? What do I have to do to get back into her life? All that we’ve gone through in the past is just that, the past, but she’s still holding on to it. I know there’s a lot of bad stuff back there, but we have to get passed it somehow.
“I just don’t know Josh, I don’t,” she said, looking down at her hands. “If we were to get back together, how would your mom act towards me? What about your brother and sister? They treated me like dirt and for what?”
“You don’t have to worry about them, I don’t,” I said as she shook her head.
“That’s easy for you to say,” she said, sighing. “They didn’t treat you like the scum of the fucking Earth.”
“Nikki…” I said as she held up her hand for me to stop talking.
“No Josh,” she said, shaking her head. “They had no right to treat me the way they treated me. I’d been nothing but good to all of them and they treated me like some damn beggar child on the streets of Georgia or something.”
“Now wait a minute Nikki…” I said as she held up her hang again, stopping me.
“They treated me as if I was beneath them,” she said as I noticed the tears falling from her eyes again. “I’m not up to dealing with that kind of crap in my life Josh. I’m not going to go through that kind of hell again.”
“You won’t, I promise you that,” I said as she raised an eye at me. “You won’t have to go through that because I don’t too much communicate with them that way.”
“You can’t just get rid of your family Josh,” she said as I shook my head.
“They got rid of themselves,” I replied, looking down as I thought about the things that went down between all of us that pushed me away from them.
“How did they do that Josh?” She asked.
“It’s a long story that we don’t really need to get into. We’re talking about us, not my family,” I said as she sighed.
“We didn’t work out because of your family Josh,” she said, getting up from her seat s she walked over to the windows in the room. “Every bad thing that happened between us, had something to do with your family Josh. Don’t you see that?”
“I know Nikki, I know,” I said as she turned and looked at me.
“Yes, I know you know, the reason why I have a problem with trusting what you say right now,” she said as she shook her head. “If we were to get back together, I know someone in your family would have something negative to say about it and cause trouble, as usual. I don’t want the things that happened in the past, to be repeated in the here and now.”
“Those things won’t be repeated, I promise you that,” I said as she sighed and then looked down.
“Don’t make promises you know you can’t keep Josh,” she said as she looked up at me and pointed her finger at me, just as someone knocked on the door.
“Who could that be?” I asked, wondering who would be knocking on the door at this hour of the night as she walked over and then stopped.
“Who’s there?” She asked, standing at the door.
“It’s JT girl, open up,” we heard JT’s voice as I sighed, wondering what the hell he wanted as she opened the door.
“Is there something wrong?” She asked, looking at him.
“I was about to ask you guys the same thing. What’s with all the shouting?” He asked, pushing the door open as he and Justin walked into the room.
“We—we’re just talking is all,” Nikki replied.
“Yeah, rather loudly I might add,” JT said as he looked over at me. “Josh, I don’t wanna have to beat you up or something. Don’t be hurting my girl here.”
“JT, be nice,” Nikki said as I laughed as he raised an eye at me.
“I am being nice,” JT replied, looking at her and then at me. “This is a new day and age. We’re not on the Mouse right…”
“Come on JT, just let it go,” Nikki suggested, putting a hand on his shoulder, stopping him. I see he’s still harboring some animosity towards me about the Mouse. I might have to play that to my liking in the future. “It’s after midnight. There’s no need for creating drama, where there shouldn’t be none.”
“With that being said, Justin let’s go,” JT said, glaring at me as he turned and looked at Justin. “If you need my help, you know where to find me Nikki.”
“I know,” she replied, looking down. “You two have a good night.”
“You too,” JT replied, taking Justin’s hand as they walked out of the room. I guess that’s a sign that he and Justin are together now. I guess Justin got what he wanted.
“Now that our interruption has left, we can get back to…” I said as she shook her head, interrupting me. “What?”
“What was that all about?” She asked, looking at me closely.
“What was what all about?” I asked as she glared at me. “Oh alright, I’ll tell you as long as you don’t look at me like that.”
“Well get to telling,” she said, crossing her arms across her chest as she tapped her foot.
“It’s nothing really, just jealousy is all,” I said as she continued tapping her foot. “When we were all on the Mouse, he had some issues with our directors and the producers of the show. When push came to some shoving, he was kicked off the show.”
“He was kicked off the show, why?” She asked.
“Because…” I said as she looked at me.
“He was kicked off the show because of what Josh?” She asked, her gaze never leaving mine.
“He was kicked off the show because he was involved with someone and it got out,” I replied, wondering if I should tell her the whole truth about what happened.
“He was involved with someone? That’s it?” She asked.
“Yeah, he was involved with someone,” I replied as she looked at me with that look that said she didn’t believe a thing I just said.
“Why do I get the feeling that there’s more to it than what you’re telling me here?” She asked.
“That’s it,” I said as she started tapping her foot again.
“Do I need to call JT and ask him?” She asked.
“No,” I quickly said, sighing as the tapping of her foot on the floor got louder. “You know we had to uphold family and wholesome values on the show. They didn’t like anything that didn’t fit into their moral view of things.”
“Why do I get the feeling that someone told them about him and the person he was involved with?” She said, hitting the nail damn square on the head. Hell, you can’t get anything past her. “I have the strangest feeling that you were the one that told the so-called powers that be of the Mouse, that he was involved with someone. Am I right about that?”
“Well… Yes and no,” I replied as she raised an eye, looking at me strangely.
“What do you mean yes and no Josh?” She asked.
“Yes, I was involved with the powers that be in finding out about them, but I didn’t tell them,” I said as she looked at me funny.
“Josh?” She said as I held up my hand.
“I didn’t outright tell them about him and Marc, they just happen to find out,” I said as she shook her head.
“How did they just happen to find out Josh?” She asked. “And who is this Marc? Are you talking about our manager Marc?”
“No, not your manager, one of our cast mates on the show,” I said as she looked at me as I shook my head. “I’ll show you a picture of him in a bit.”
“Yeah okay,” she said as she started tapping her foot again. “So, what happened Josh?”
“We were waiting for the two of them for a meeting and when they didn’t show up, I was sent to go look for them. I already knew where they were, but I didn’t want to go get them. So, to make matters worse, I was sent anyway and one of the producers, along with a security guy came along for the search,” I explained as she shook her head.
“Oh, this just gets better and better,” she said, turning away from me.
“I didn’t do anything purposely to get him in trouble,” I said as she sighed. “They actually did a room-by-room search, until they found them. It’s not like I could’ve given him and Marc a warning or stopped Virgil and the security guy from walking in and catching them doing what they were doing.”
“What were they doing when you couldn’t stop them from being caught?” She asked.
“Come on, I’m sure you already know the answer to that,” I replied as she looked at me.
“So, they were having sex when they were discovered?” She asked as I nodded my head. “And you just stood there?”
“I didn’t stand there, I walked away. He and Virgil had words and that turned into a screaming match that everyone in the building overheard. Virgil said some things to him that he didn’t like and then Virgil got hit,” I explained as her eyes widened.
“What was said?” She asked.
“I don’t really know what was said,” I replied. “It was later speculated that Virgil had called them flaming faggots and something about him telling them that they were going to hell sparked a lot of tension between a few people on the set. That led to him and Marc being asked to leave and not come back.”
“Wait a minute, he told me once that he left the show and later went back,” she said as I sighed, dreading this conversation altogether. “If they asked him to leave and not come back, how did he and Justin meet?”
“Justin was around at the time,” I stated as she turned and looked at me again. “All of this happened in the mid-nineties.”
“Did this happen right before the show was getting ready to be cancelled?” She asked.
“Something like that,” I replied as she crossed her arms across her chest.
“Something like what Josh?” She asked as we both stopped, being interrupted by what sounded like arguing out in the main room. “What in the hell is that? We don’t need any more drama. For God’s sake, I hope that isn’t Glitter.”
To Be Continued…
 Song Excerpt = I Love You by Donna Summer