The Past Comes Knocking – Chapter 11

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

JT’s POV

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.

[1]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

Josh’s POV

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…


[1] Song Excerpt = I Love You by Donna Summer

The Past Comes Knocking – Chapter 10

Chapter 10 – An Unwanted Addition

May 26, 2004 – Philadelphia, PA – The Radisson Plaza Hotel – The ‘Mutual Attraction’ Suite – The Main Room

“Look at all of those damn people,” JT said as he, Justin, Josh and Nikki stood at the windows, watching the throng of people clatter around, trying to get into the hotel.

“Yeah, they’re here to see the fags,” Glitter stated, walking into the room as she slammed the door.  “Management is on their way here.  They want this problem solved today.”

“They want what problem solved today?”  Nikki asked, turning around to look at Glitter.

“The problem of our drug-dealing, drug using, alcoholic fag lead singer and his boy toy, that all those people down there want to see,” Glitter stated as Mo’ette shook her head.

“Lawd, that lil’ thang at it again,” Mo’ette said as she got up off the sofa.  “Look here heffa, we’re not going to have that kind of shit going on this morning.”

“Don’t worry about her Mo’ette,” JT said, turning around as he sighed.  “Glitter, I thought you were done… Gone from here, as you said.”

“I am done, but unlike you, I’m not going to ruin my career,” Glitter responded with a smirk on her face.  “I’m waiting for management to show up, so I can protect myself from the likes of you.”

“Why you little…” Nikki said as Josh grabbed her hand, pulling her back to him and stopping her from moving towards Glitter.

“What Nikki?  You’re mad, now that I’m doing something to save myself, unlike you?  You should’ve followed me and saved yourself, but it’s too late now.  You’re going down, just like his ass is,” Glitter stated as Mo’ette shook her head again.

“I’ve had enough of this lil’ girl here,” Mo’ette said as she walked over to where Glitter stood.  “There’s no need for all that animosity girl.”

“Get out of my face has-been,” Glitter said as Mo’ette shook her head again and then took in a breath.

“Listen here honey, that kind of talk doesn’t hurt me one bit,” Mo’ette said with a smile.  “Whether you know it or not, those fans cheered for me last night.  So, maybe you might need to rethink your line of thinking chick.”

“Whatever, you cheap imitation of wine,” Glitter said as Mo’ette hauled off, smacking her across the face and knocking her into the wall behind her as she then turned away from her as JT and Josh moved over to help Glitter up off the floor.

“Trick, you should’ve kept your mouth closed, if you knew you couldn’t back it up,” JT said as he pushed Glitter down on the sofa and then shook his head.

“Let me at that ho!”  Glitter snapped, struggling with JT and Josh to get to Mo’ette.

“Sit your ass down,” JT said as he moved away from her.  “You got hit because you were acting like a lil’ bitch, now shut the hell up!”

“Hey girl, calm down,” Josh said as he pushed Glitter backwards and then stood up.  “We don’t have the time for this shit, with you or anyone else.  Calm down and be cool.”

“Like you have a leg to stand on Mr. Baby Daddy,” Glitter said as Nikki’s eyes widened.

“Mr. Baby Daddy?  What?”  JT said as he looked at Josh strangely.  “You have a child?  With who Josh?”

“Shut up!”  Nikki snapped, walking over to Glitter and then slapping her across the face.  “How dare you!”

“Nikki, what’s going on here?”  JT asked, looking between Nikki, Josh and Glitter.

“You had no right to even utter that!”  Nikki growled.  “Shut your mouth and don’t you dare say another word or so help me God, I’ll beat your ass until I tire out and then beat you some more!”

“Nikki, girl, what’s going on here?”  JT asked, looking at Nikki strangely.

“Don’t worry about it John,” Josh said as he grabbed Nikki and tried pulling her away from Glitter.

“No Josh, let me go!”  Nikki screamed as she struggled to get out of Josh’s grasp.  “I’m going to beat that bitch down like she owes me money!”

“Will someone please tell me what’s going on?”  JT asked.

“He’s her baby daddy,” Glitter stated, smiling evilly as Nikki shook her head.

“I—I didn’t know you had a child Nikki,” JT said as Nikki stopped struggling, covered her mouth and then ran out of the room with tears in her eyes.  “Nikki?  What’s going on?”

“John, just let it go and you—you need to shut the hell up, before you cause more problems than you already have,” Josh said as someone knocked at the door.

“Who could that be?”  JT asked as Mo’ette walked over to the door, opened it and then stepped back.

“It’s the powers that be,” Mo’ette spoke as she moved away from the door.  “Watch your step, I feel there’s about to be some bullshit flowing around.”

“That’s not called for Ms. LaCasta,” Jarrod Lee stated as he walked into the room, closing the door behind him as he looked around.  “It’s been a while since I’ve seen you.”

“Apparently, not long enough for me,” Mo’ette said as she turned away from the man.

“Yeah, the same ole Mo’ette LaCasta,” Jarrod stated as he shook his head and then walked passed her, over to where JT stood.  “We have a problem here JT and I would like to know what you’re going to do to solve it.”

“That’s simple Jarrod, nothing,” JT replied as he looked at Jarrod.  “Why is it that I’m seeing you now Jarrod?  Why is it that when the newspapers start making speculations about my life, you show up?  When I told you what was actually going on around here, you could care less about me or the group, so why are you here now?”

“I’m here because the label thinks there’s a problem here now that needs attention,” Jarrod stated as JT shook his head.

“Okay,” JT said, smiling as he turned around.  “So Jarrod, what are you going to do about the problems that the label believes are present with me?”

“Well, I’m going to solve two problems right now,” Jarrod declared, pulling out his cell phone as he dialed a number and then waited for someone to speak.  “Yes, send her in.”

“Send who in?”  JT asked, looking at Jarrod strangely.

“Glitter’s out and she’s being replaced,” Jarrod stated as JT looked at him strangely again.

“She’s being replaced by who?”  JT asked.

“You’ll meet her in a few minutes,” Jarrod stated, walking around the room as he checked out different things, in various places.  “So, what’s the deal with you and Justin Tanner?  Are the rumors true?  Are you two dating?  Did you two come out at the last concert?”

“No,” JT replied as Mo’ette turned and looked at him strangely as Justin dropped his head down.

“Then what’s going on JT?”  Jarrod asked, turning and walked over to him.  “What’s with all the drama in ‘Mutual Attraction’?  Why is Marc in jail right now?”

“He’s in jail because he put his hands on me,” JT replied, looking down as a few tears rolled down his cheeks.

“Tell him the rest,” Nikki stated, walking back into the room.  “Tell him all of it!”

“Tell me all of what?”  Jarrod asked, looking at Nikki.  “There’s more?”

“Hell yes, there’s more,” Nikki stated, moving closer to Jarrod.

“No Nikki, just let it go,” JT stated as someone knocked on the door.

“Shall I get that?”  Mo’ette asked looking over at Jarrod.

“No, I’ll get it,” Jarrod replied, walking over to the door as he opened it and held out his hand.  “Hello Starletta, how are you doing this fabulous morning?”

“Did he just say ‘fabulous’?”  JT asked, looking around at Jarrod and then back at Nikki.

“I’m okay,” a medium height black woman replied as she came into view of others in the room.  “How is everyone else doing?”

“Fine,” JT replied in a harsh tone as he walked to the other side of the room.

“What’s going on here Jarrod?”  Nikki asked, looking at the woman and then at Jarrod.

“This young lady here is Glitter’s replacement,” Jarrod announced as he smiled at Nikki.  “Starletta London, welcome to ‘Mutual Attraction’.”

“Like hell…” JT started as Jarrod cleared his throat and then held up his hand.

“Well that’s what Glitter says she’s been living in around with you guys for the last few weeks,” Jarrod stated as he glared at JT.

“I’m sure,” JT said, turning and walking towards the main door.

“Stop right there JT!”  Jarrod demanded, pointing his finger at JT.  “If you leave this room, you’re out of the group.”

“Hell, fine by me, bye,” JT said, walking out of the room as he slammed the door behind him.

Scranton, PA – The Home of Heather Stewart – The Living Room

“I can’t believe it!  He’s really done it now!”  Heather screamed, kicking the table over as she picked up a vase and then threw it across the room, smashing it against the wall.  “Him and Justin are together now!  How dare he!  He’s not supposed to be with Justin!”

“Mommy, are you alright?”  Caleb asked, tiptoeing into the room.  “Why are you breaking things Mommy?”

“Oh baby, I’m so sorry,” Heather replied, moving over to the little boy and wrapping her arms around him.  “I’m so sorry baby, I didn’t mean it.”

“Why you so mad Mommy?”  Caleb asked, crying softly.  “Why you so upset?”

“It’s alright baby, Mommy’s sorry,” Heather stated, rubbing the little boy’s back as she smoothed his hair back on his head as he cried.

“Are you sure Mommy?”  Caleb asked, sniffling as he pulled back away from Heather, looking her in the face.  “I don’t want you to be mad or upset Mommy.”

“I know you don’t baby,” Heather replied as the phone rang in the room. “I wonder who that could…”

Philadelphia, PA – The Radisson Plaza Hotel – The Lobby

“Excuse me, may I have your attention please!”  A security officer spoke up as everyone stopped and looked in his direction.  “You people are on private property and need to vacate the premises immediately.  The owners of this property are requesting that you all leave here immediately because you are disturbing the other patrons here.”

“Whatever guy!”  Someone screamed.

“Again, you all need to leave here, now!”  The security officer yelled as some other the reporters looked at him like he was crazy.  “You’re welcomed to wait outside, across the street, but you can’t stay inside.  Your actions are hindering the hotel’s customers from going about their business.  You need to cease and…”

“Whatever!”  Someone else screamed as the security officer pulled out his walkie-talkie.

“You’ll be the first escorted outside,” the security officer stated, pointing at the person that just screamed.

“Look!  There’s JT Poole of ‘Mutual Attraction’!”  Someone screamed as camera flashes went off all around the area.

“Ladies and gentlemen, it looks like JT Poole has finally decided to make an appearance,” a reporter stated as a camera man moved in close as JT, Nikki, Glitter, Starletta and Jarrod made their way into the lobby area.

“JT, do you care to comment on recent events in your life?”  A reporter asked, thrusting a microphone into JT’s face.

“No and get the hell out of my face with that thing!”  JT snapped, walking past the reporter and the camera man.

“Come on JT, the whole world is waiting to know the facts about what’s going on with you, your group and Justin Tanner.  Care to comment on the little tidbit for the fans?  Are you two gay and a couple JT?”  The reporter asked, still trying to shove a microphone in JT’s face.

“Alright people, step back,” a security officer spoke, getting in between the reporter and JT.  “I’m sure there will be time for this later, we’re late for an important meeting.”

“What the hell ever man!”  Someone in the crowd screamed as JT stopped and then turned around.  “Why not just go ahead and tell the truth about things?  Why are you keeping quiet, unless you have something to…”

“I have nothing to hide,” JT announced as Jarrod’s head popped up as JT walked back towards the reporter.

“Apparently you do, since you haven’t spoken out about the things being said in the media about you,” the reporter stated, standing in front of JT as he held the microphone up to him.

“Maybe I don’t want to stoop to the media’s level and talk about something I know to not be true,” JT stated as he folded his arms across his chest.  “I don’t see a point in wasting my time with disputing something I already know isn’t true.  If you want to believe what you people print, go right ahead and do so.  As I said, I’m not going to waste my time.  My true fans know the truth and the people that are only listening to the hype know what they can really do.”

“Is that your stance on everything?”  Someone else in the crowd asked.  “What about you and Justin Tanner’s relationship?”

“What relationship?”  JT asked, looking around. “All we did was sing together, you know, that’s what singers do.”

“The song you two sang together was rather provocative and seedy,” another reporter said with a sneering expression on their face.

“It seems like you two were trying to come out to the world with those lyrics and how close you two were.  It seems almost as if you’re gay and you’re screaming it to the world.  Are you harboring any homosexual tendencies Mr. Poole?”  Another reporter asked.

“No, are you?”  JT asked, looking over at the person.

“Then what’s the deal with you and Justin Tanner?  How do you think the last show is going to go over with your other fans?”  The first reporter asked.  “If…”

“If what?”  JT asked, looking over at the reporter.  “If I were gay, how would I feel about the fans turning away from me and my music?  Is that what you were going to ask?”

“No, but that’s a better question, go ahead and answer it,” the person said as JT shook his head, Jarrod covered his eyes and Nikki sighed as JT turned around and then continued walking down the corridor.

A Few Minutes Later – A Men’s Room

“Are you okay Justin?”  Josh asked, walking over to Justin as he leaned against the wall with tears in his eyes.

“I’m fine Josh,” Justin replied, looking down as he sniffled.

“Come on buddy, what did you expect?”  Josh asked, rubbing Justin’s shoulder.  “Did you actually expect him to come out to the world and announce that you and he are together?”

“In—in a small way, I guess my heart did,” Justin replied as he sniffled again.  “I’m finally ready Josh.  I’m ready and I—I don’t think he believes me.”

“Have you showed him that?”  Josh asked, looking down.  “A kiss and showing up at a concert to provide support for him doesn’t give all the answers you know.”

“I know that Josh, but—but I—I thought… Oh forget it,” Justin said as he sighed and then turned away from Josh.  “Just leave me alone.”

“Buddy…” Josh said as Justin held up a hand, stopping him.

“Just leave me alone Josh.  Besides, you’re supposed to be here, working on things with Nikki, not in here, trying to calm me down and cheer me up,” Justin said as he sniffled and then wiped at his eyes.  “I’m going to be fine, just go check on her.”

“Okay,” Josh said as he patted Justin on the back.  “If you want to talk more, you know where to find me.”

“Okay thanks,” Justin replied as Josh walked out of the bathroom, leaving him alone.

A Few Feet Away – A Hotel Conference Room

“So, she’s gone just like that?”  Nikki asked, turning to Jarrod as he nodded his head.  “This is just too much to…”

“It’s too much what Nicole?”  Jarrod asked, looking at Nikki closely.  “I agree with Glitter here.  If she’s had to put up with what I’ve seen here today, I would want to leave too.”

“You know what Jarrod, that’s totally fine with me,” JT stated as he turned around to look at the man.  “I don’t think she ever should’ve been here with us this long.  All she ever did was complain about any and every little thing possible.  There’s only so much a person can take when dealing with her.”

“Hell, all she ever talks about is her spot in the damn spotlight,” Nikki said, sighing as she shook her head.  “Damn glory hound.”

“One of these days, she’ll get what she deserves,” JT said, leaning against the wall.  “I say good riddance to her crazy ass.  I’m not going to shed any damn tears for her loss here.”

“JT, you need to keep your damn nose clean and don’t run nobody else off,” Jarrod stated, looking back at JT as he pointed a finger at him.

“My nose has never been dirty Jarrod!  I’m not going to put up with this shit from you of all people!”  JT snapped, pointing his finger at Jarrod. “I did your funky ass impromptu press conference in reference to the damn drugs.  If you don’t believe me, let’s head to the damn hospital for a little test.”

“There’s no need for that JT,” Nikki said as she turned and looked at Jarrod.

“Well back to what I was saying,” Jarrod said as he stood up.  “Starletta is here now and she’s going to do her best to keep this group going.”

“I think we’ll do better with Mo’ette,” JT stated with a crooked smile on his face.

“Why in the hell would we bring her into the group?”  Jarrod asked, looking at JT strangely.

“Because she fits with us,” JT replied, looking over at Jarrod as he crossed his arms across his chest.

“I don’t think she would,” Jarrod replied.

“Either she’s in with us or I’m walking.  Take your pick Jarrod,” JT stated as he got up, waved and then walked out of the room.

A Few Hours Later – A Local Classy Restaurant

“SO, what are we going to do?  Are you really walking away from it all?”  Nikki asked as Vanessa walked over to the table and then took a seat.

“With all the crap that’s going on right now, in a heartbeat,” JT answered, looking down as he shook his head.  “If I’m going to continue with ‘Mutual Attraction’ then Mo’ette needs to be a part of the group.  I’m not going to sing without her being with us.”

“Baby, you can’t let your career ride on me being in the group with you,” Mo’ette said as she held JT’s hand.  “You gotta look out for you.  I can look out for myself.”

“I agree with her boy.  You can’t just base your future on her being a part of the group,” Vanessa said, looking over at JT as if he were crazy.  “You gotta think about your future… Jarrod isn’t…”

“I really don’t care what Jarrod has to say right now.  What I’m doing right now is looking out for all of us,” JT stated as he looked over at Mo’ette and then at Vanessa.  “How is he just going to bring somebody else up in here to sing with us, without even holding auditions with us?  It would be different if she came in and auditioned like the rest of us did.”

“If she can’t sing, we’ll throw her ass out,” Nikki stated as she picked up the menu.  “We’ve gone through too much shit to get to where we are, to have everything crash and burn around us.”

“Yes, I know that, but…” JT said as Nikki interrupted him.

“But nothing JT,” Nikki said as Justin and Josh walked over to the table and then took seats.  “What’s up guys?”

“Was about to ask you the same thing,” Justin said as he sat down across from JT as Josh sat down next to Nikki.  “Have ya’ll ordered yet?”

“No, not yet,” JT replied, looking down at the menu in front of him, trying to avoid the extra set of eyes on him.

“Great, that means we arrived just in time,” Justin said as he picked up a menu and opened it up.  “So, what were you guys just talking about?”

“We were talking about the new girl,” JT replied as he looked up to see Jarrod and Starletta walking into the restaurant.  “Speak of the devil.”

“Oh great,” Nikki said, sighing as she shook her head.  “I guess dinner is going to be drama filled too.”

“Oh no it’s not,” JT said as he put his menu down.  “If the two of them start some shit, I will get up and walk up out of here and no one will see me again.”

“Come on buddy, don’t let them get a rise out of you,” Justin said, motioning with his hand for JT to calm down.

“It’s not a matter of letting anyone do anything… I’ve had enough of this crap Justin,” JT stated as he shook his head.  “I’m tired of living my life around the actions of what others do and what they damn think.”

“I know you are buddy,” Justin replied, sighing.  “Just calm down and let them be.  Just be cool about things.”

“You already pushing it Justin,” JT said as Justin raised an eye at him.

“Well, I didn’t know we were having a meeting here,” Jarrod stated as he walked over to the table with Starletta on his arm.

“Probably because we didn’t tell you,” JT said as he turned away from Jarrod.

“Alright JT, let’s hear what he has to say now,” Nikki said as she put her menu down again.  “I want to know why it was that he just brought some person up in here, that nobody knows and then expect her to be a part of this group.”

“Maybe you should’ve paid closer attention to Glitter’s actions,” Jarrod stated as Nikki shook her head.

“You have a point there, lesson learned,” Nikki stated as she crossed her arms across her chest.  “So…”

“So, you all will head back to Jacksonville with Starletta,” Jarrod stated with a smile.  “She already has a place there, so she should be able to meet up with you guys before you head into the studio for the next album.”

“So, that’s it?  Glitter’s gone and we’re supposed to start on our next album with her?”  JT asked, looking at Jarrod and Starletta strangely.

“That’s it JT,” Jarrod stated as he glared at JT.  “Your tour is over for now and all’s right with the world with the so-called impromptu press conference you did earlier.  It seems that hit all the major circuits quickly.”

“Ha, everything isn’t all right with the world,” JT said as he shook his head.  “You brought her here and just expect us to accept her with open arms and…”

“And work with her, like you would work with any other artist,” Jarrod stated as he glared at JT again.  “With all the shit that’s going on in your life right now, you don’t need any extra drama, now do you?”

“The drama that’s going on here is caused by you and this—this bimbo,” JT said, getting up from the table as Justin covered his eyes and then shook his head.

“Excuse me, who in the hell are you calling a bimbo?”  Starletta asked, moving away from Jarrod.

“Oh lawd, let me stop this mess right now,” Mo’ette said as she stood up.  “Come on ya’ll, we don’t need this right now.”

“Here’s the deal Jarrod,” JT said as he turned around.  “You want this—this groupie in the so-called group, then as I said before, Mo’ette joins us too.  If not, then I’m out, it’s simple as that.  Take your pick Jarrod, which is it?”

To Be Continued…

 

The Past Comes Knocking – Chapter 9

Chapter 9 – A Failed Love Attempt

May 25, 2004 – Philadelphia, PA – The Radisson Plaza

“So, have you calmed down now?”  Mo’ette asked, looking at Justin closely.

“No, not yet, but I’ll let you know when I do,” Justin replied, looking at her and then wiped at his eyes as she shook her head.

“What in the world has gotten into you?”  Mo’ette asked, looking around quickly.  “What possessed you to knock the hell out of that guy like that?”

“I—I didn’t want him hurting JT more,” Justin replied as he sniffled and then wiped at his eyes again.

“You really do love him, don’t you,” Mo’ette said as Justin nodded his head.

“I fucked up a long time ago, but I’ll be damned if I let someone else cause him hurt and pain,” Justin said as he looked down.  “I’m going to do my damnedest to make sure that he’s okay and no one else hurts him.”

“Baby, you don’t have that much time, control or power to do that,” Mo’ette said as she rubbed Justin’s back.

“Well, to make sure that he’s okay, I’ll have to,” Justin stated as he shook his head.  “I’m not going to let him be hurt more Mo.  I—I was a fool once, but I’m not going to be a fool again.  I’m not going to let anything and I mean anything stand in the way of the two of us being together, that’s if he wants to be with me.”

“That’s a lot to take in, considering that he just got out of a relationship with someone else baby,” Mo’ette said with a frown on her face.  “Adding to that, the drama of what Marc has done and the things going on in the media, it’s just too soon.”

“Maybe so, but I’m here for him Mo,” Justin stated as he looked down and wiped at his eyes again.  “I’m going to do everything I can to show him that I mean what I say and I’m going to stand by that.”

“Okay baby,” Mo’ette said as she looked down.

Down the Hall

“No Vanessa, I’m not going to leave him alone, I love him,” Cameron stated as he shook his head.

“If you loved him, you wouldn’t have left the way you did Cameron,” Vanessa said as she stood in front of Cameron.  “You did this to yourself.  What’s going on had nothing to do with Justin; it had something to do with you and your actions.  You had no right doing what you did, on either account.”

“I know, but I…” Cameron stated as Vanessa shook her head.

“No Cameron,” Vanessa said as she turned around.  “Leave here and don’t come back.  If you come back here again or go anywhere near my son, I’ll make you regret ever meeting me.”

“Hell, I already regret meeting you,” Cameron stated as Vanessa’s eyes widened.

“Okay then, have it your way,” Vanessa said as she pulled out her cell phone and then dialed a number.  “Hi, this is Vanessa Jameson.  I need a security officer down the hall.  I’m currently standing near the lobby.  Someone needs to be escorted out of the building and then barred immediately.  If the police needs to be alerted, please do so.”

“What!  You can’t do that!”  Cameron snapped as Vanessa looked at him like he was crazy.

“On second thought, go ahead and get the police here quickly,” Vanessa stated with a smile.

“Now wait a minute, you don’t have to get the police involved in this,” Cameron stated as Vanessa looked at him as her smile grew.

“It’s too late for that,” Vanessa stated, turning around as she walked down the hall.  “You have a few minutes to try to get away from here, before security and possibly the police get here to lock you up.  You might want to use your time wisely instead of trying to argue more with me.”

“Fine, you win you stupid bitch,” Cameron stated as he shook his head, turned around and then ran down the hall to exit the hotel.

May 26, 2004 – 22nd District Police Department – A Holding Area

“I can’t believe that fucker actually had me arrested!”  Marc screamed, kicking a wall as a person in the cell with him looked at him strangely.  “After all I’ve done for him… He did this shit to me!  Oh he just wait until I get out of…”

“That kind of talk is the reason why you’re here right now guy,” the jailer said, walking passed the cell.  “Keep it up and you’ll never get out of here.  You’ll become a permanent visitor, if you know what I mean.”

“I’m not going to be a permanent anything here.  I’m still waiting for my damn phone call!”  Marc snapped as the man in the cell with him shook his head and then got up off the cot and moved closer as the jailer smiled and then walked away from the cell.

“Night boys,” the jailer said, waving as he continued walking down the corridor as the man in the cell with Marc smiled again as the lights went out.  “You boys get some rest in there now.”

“What the fuck ever,” Marc said as he shook his head, turning around to notice that the other guy was standing right behind him.

The Radisson Plaza Hotel – The Swimming Pool Area

JT’s POV

I—I thought he got the hint to leave me alone, damn it!  Does he really think I’m just going to take him back and forgive what he did?  Hell no, I’m not taking him back and there won’t be any forgiveness, not in a million damn years!  He left me and that’s totally unforgivable.  How could I ever be with someone that would just up and leave me at the drop of a damn dime, because he’s in a pissy mood, because I wasn’t spending enough time with him.  Us splitting up is his damn fault and no one else.  He has no excuse for that shit and I don’t want to hear anything he’s come up with to say about it.  I just want him to leave me the hell alone.

Speaking of being left the hell alone, why in the hell is Justin really here?  He said that he was here for me, that he was ready to be with me, but why now?  Why is he here now?  Why didn’t he want to be with me when I wanted to be with him?  Why did he have to be scared of what his family and the fans would think?  Hell, Blaine and Anthony got together on the damn show and they’re still together, in the spotlight no less.  The two of them are still acting and singing, so what sets Justin apart from them?

“When it comes to Justin Tanner, he’s ‘One of a Kind’,” I said aloud, walking around the pool.  That reminds me of a song that Aunt Donna sang back in the 70s, when she and my favorite uncle sang together.

[1]You’re one of a kind
I gotta have ya
well you’re one of a kind
I need to have ya

Right from the start
you tore me apart
you took the best part of my heart

Body and soul
you took me out of control
you stole the best part of my heart

You’re one of a kind
you’ve got magic
I know you’re one of a kind
baby you’re static

Right from the start
you tore me apart
you took the best part of my heart

Body and soul
you took me out of control
you stole the best part of my heart

Right from the start
you tore me apart
you took the best part of my heart

Body and soul
you took me out of control
you stole the best part of my heart

“Is—is that about me?”  I heard as I looked up to see Justin standing there.

“Could be,” I replied, looking back down again.

“You’re one of a kind… I gotta have you… well you’re one of a kind.  I need to have ya,” Justin sand, looking at me as he walked towards me slowly.  “Right from the start… You tore me apart… You took the best part of my heart…”

“Justin,” I said as he shook his head as he stood in front of me as he leaned in close and then kissed my lips.

“Body and soul… You took me out of control… You stole the best part of my heart,” he sang as he leaned in close and then kissed my lips again.  “I’m ready John, please—please accept me; don’t push me away.”

“Why shouldn’t I?  You pushed me away Justin.  You were the one that was scared to live your life the way you said you wanted to live it,” I said as he looked down.

“I know, but that’s all changed now,” he said as I shook my head.  “It doesn’t matter to me, like it used to matter.  I see now that I want—I need someone with me… I need someone by me, to love me and I love… I love him.  I want that someone to be you John, I still love you.”

“How can you say you still love me Justin?”  I asked.

“Because that’s what I feel John,” he replied, leaning in and kissing my lips again.  “I can still remember the night we shared.  I wished it could’ve continued, only if you hadn’t walked out on me.”

“Right from the start, you tore me apart,” I said, repeating the words to Aunt Donna’s song.

“I—I know, but I want to make your heart whole again,” he said as he wrapped his arms around me as we shared a deep, passionate kiss.  Hell, I don’t care who saw us out in the open like this.  I’m really enjoying this kiss.

A Few Feet Away

Vanessa’s POV

Dear God, I hope my boy knows what he’s getting himself into this time.  My boy has gone through a lot of heartache and pain and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better.  With his hesitance to solve the current problem at hand, I don’t think him getting involved with someone else, another celebrity no less, is going to do him any good.  The cameras were already on him and if he’s with Justin, that’s going to be double the coverage.

But why is Justin here now?  That young man will more than likely cause him more hurt and cause a great deal of pain too, just like Cameron did.  Why is it that my boy always falls for the young ones?  Why Justin?  There’s a six-year age gap between them.  They shouldn’t be trying to get together right now, especially with all this madness going on in the media.

I heard Mo’ette say that Justin was here to help and support my boy and Nikki, but is he really here for help and support of them or is he here for himself?  What’s the real angle to the reasons why he’s here?  If he’s here to help, he can do that as a friend, he doesn’t have to be a lover.

“You two might want to take that someplace else,” I said, walking towards JT and Justin.  “You’ve been out in the open for far too long.  You don’t know what kind of prying eyes can be out here right now.”

“It’s after three in the morning,” JT said as I shook my head.

“Boy, you know the paparazzi never sleeps,” I said as he sighed and then looked down.

“She’s right Justin,” he said as Justin looked down and then moved away from him.  “We might need to take this inside, behind closed doors.”

“We, as in the two of us?”  Justin asked as I wanted to shake him a bit, but I said I wouldn’t interfere with my son and his relationships anymore.

“Yes,” was all he said as Justin smiled.  “Let’s go.  Are you coming mother?”

“No, I think I’ll sit out here a bit longer,” I replied as the two of them walked away.

I can already tell that Justin being around is going to cause unneeded trouble for him.  What’s wrong with that boy?  He was never this careless with Cameron or Wes.  He’s taking chances with his secret now that Justin is here, that he didn’t take with the other two.  Does he even care about that sort of thing now or has Justin done something to his damn head?  I guess we’ll all find out in time.

Early Morning – Mutual Attraction’s Suite

“What the hell is going on here?”  JT asked, walking into the main room.  “What’s the problem here, at this time of morning?”

“The problem is I’m out of this little circus!”  Glitter screamed, throwing a newspaper at JT.  “It was one thing having to deal with your ass being a drunk and a possible drug user, but now we have to deal with your ass being a fucking fag too!”

“Excuse me!”  JT snapped, moving over to Glitter quickly as she stepped back.  “Somebody better get her ass!”

“What the hell is wrong with you?”  Nikki asked, rushing into the room as Josh followed behind her.  “It’s too damn early in the morning for this shit, what’s going on now?”

“He and Justin is what’s going on!”  Glitter snapped as she picked up the newspaper and handed it to Nikki to show her.  “They’re in the fucking paper!  They’ve been outed!”

“What?  Oh, that’s just fucking great,” JT said as he looked down and then covered his mouth.

“What did you fucking expect to happen with all the shit you two pulled last night?”  Glitter asked as she looked at JT like she wanted to hit him.  “You were literally singing to each other on that damn stage, in front of every fucking body!”

“Just calm down Glitter, this can easily be solved,” Nikki said as she turned and looked at JT.

“Really?  Really Nikki?  How is this going to be solved?  Hell, he hasn’t done anything to solve the first damn problem!”  Glitter snapped as she threw up her hands.  “I’m done with this, I’m outta here!  You two can deal with this shit, but I’m not!  Esta La Wago Bitches!”

“Glitter!”  Nikki snapped as Glitter shot her the bird and then walked out of the room, slamming the door as she went.  “JT, are you okay?”

“Yeah, I—I’m okay,” JT replied as he looked at Nikki.  “I guess it was bound to happen, sooner or later.”

“Well, what are you going to do about it?”  Josh asked, looking over at JT.  “You have to make a statement or something.”

“Why should I?”  JT asked, looking over at Josh.  “Why fight the truth?”

“You still need to say something about the drugs,” Josh said as he walked over to JT.  “You can’t just let that stuff keep on going or you and Nicole won’t have a career at all.”

“Why do you even care Josh?”  JT asked, looking at Josh like he was crazy.

“I—I care,” Josh replied as he looked down.

“You could’ve fooled me,” JT said as he turned and walked back into his room, slamming the door behind him.

“What was that all about Josh?”  Nikki asked, looking at Josh strangely.

“Just the past and it seems to be catching up to the two of us,” Josh replied as Nikki raised an eye.  “What?”

“I would like to know what’s going on Josh,” Nikki said, crossing her arms across her chest, looking at Josh with a stern expression.

“Where do I start?”  Josh asked, sighing.

“Why don’t you start with the scene from last night in the hallway,” Nikki replied.

“Ah… Well, maybe I shouldn’t,” Josh stated, looking down.

“If you’re looking to have another shot with me, you better,” Nikki stated, looking at him closely.

“Do you and John talk often?”  Josh asked as Nikki cut her eyes at him.  “Okay, does he talk to you about his life?  His life before he got famous?”

“Well no, he never talked much about his life in that way,” Nikki replied, looking down.  “Why do I get the feeling that there’s a whole lot that I don’t know about?”

“There probably is,” Josh replied, looking around as he led Nikki over to the sofa.  “When I first met John, he wasn’t the person everyone knows now.”

“Meaning what Josh?”  Nikki asked, waiting for Josh to tell her more.

“Meaning that when John first showed up, so long ago on the Mouse, you probably wouldn’t have recognized him then,” Josh stated. “He was a shaky kid that was very jumpy.”

“Really, why is that?”  Nikki asked.

“John’s home life wasn’t all that it should’ve been.  Based on how Vanessa made it out to be, throughout the years, he—they went through hell,” Josh stated with a frown.  “Between dealing with his mental instability at times, the only reason why he was on the show was because of his singing.  Had it not been for his singing, he would’ve been kicked off the show a long time ago.”

“What’re you telling me Josh?”  Nikki asked, looking at him strangely.

“John has some very bad mental issues.  John suffers from depression and some other issues that he didn’t fully tell us about.  Back then, he got into trouble because of his anger issues, but as I can see, he’s learned to control his anger and better handle his feelings,” Josh stated as he looked down.

“I don’t think he has a problem controlling his anger or dealing with his feelings,” Nikki stated as Josh looked at her and then shook his head.

“Back then, he had a big problem,” Josh stated.  “He started drinking on the show, to help him better deal with the issues in his life.”

“Really,” Nikki said, looking down.  “So, he was drinking way back then?”

“Yeah, Vodka was his drink of choice,” Josh said as he looked down, not noticing that JT was standing nearby, listening.

“If you had some questions about my life, you could’ve asked me Nikki,” JT said as he turned and walked out of the room.

“JT!”  Nikki called out, turning to Josh.  “Oh great, now he’s gone.  Is this day going to get any better?”

“Probably not,” Josh replied as he sighed.

Outside the Hotel

“We’re standing outside the Radisson Plaza Hotel here in Philadelphia where it’s rumored that JT Poole of the singing group, ‘Mutual Attraction’ and Justin Tanner are staying.  Rumor has it that JT and Justin performed together in concert last night and as fans stated, it seemed like it was the duo’s coming out party,” a news personality stated, moving towards the main doors of the hotel.  “Follow along as we try to get inside to find out more about the so-called rumors.”

“What in the world is going on out here?”  Vanessa asked, stopping at the door to the hotel as she noticed the throng of people standing around as she turned quickly, rushing into the hotel as she pulled out her cell phone.

“Look, it’s Vanessa Jameson!”  Someone screamed as people rushed towards the hotel’s entrance.

“Security, this is Vanessa,” Vanessa stated as she spoke into her phone while walking towards the elevators.  “There are reporters and paparazzi outside the hotel.  Alert everyone to be on their guard.”

The Hotel’s Bar

“Look man, I don’t see what the problem is.  Just give me a Vodka and OJ damn it!”  JT demanded as he slammed his fist down on the bar-top.

“We’re not open right now sir,” the person behind the bar stated.  “Look, I don’t work here behind the bar, I’m just cleaning up.”

“Well, while you’re back there cleaning up, you can grab that bottle of Vodka over there and get some OJ from out of the cooler down there,” JT stated as he pointed at the man.  “I don’t have time for this bullshit!”

“Look guy, I don’t want any trouble.  Don’t make me call hotel security in here for you,” the person stated, looking at JT as if he were crazy.

“Go ‘head, call ‘em!”  JT snapped, getting up from the bar stool and grabbing the person by the collar of his shirt.  “I want that damn bottle of Vodka and I want it now!”

“Here man, just take it already!”  The man screamed as he grabbed the bottle of Vodka and then handed it to JT quickly.  “Just let me go, please!”

“Thank you,” JT said, moving away from the bar.  “Never mind, I don’t want the OJ, this will do just fine.”

“Fine by me,” the man said as JT threw some money on the counter and then walked out of the bar.  “Fucking freak.”

“Are you alright?”  Nikki asked, walking up to JT.  “I should’ve figured you were down here.”

“I’m fine.  What do you want Nikki?  Did you hear something you didn’t like?”  JT asked, looking at Nikki with an angry look on his face.

“No, that’s not it,” Nikki replied with a sigh. “I’m worried about you JT.”

“I’m sure you are,” JT replied, opening the bottle of Vodka as he started drinking straight from the bottle.  “Leave me alone Nikki.  Do what Glitter did and leave.”

“I’m not leaving,” Nikki stated, grabbing JT’s hand, stopping him from moving away from her.

“Look Nikki, I’m not in the mood right now,” JT said as he took another swig from the bottle.  “I’ve had all I’m going to take from…”

“Do you really think I’m in the mood?  In the span of two days, I’ve found out staff I didn’t know about the person that calls himself my best friend,” Nikki said as she slapped JT on the arm.  “How do you think I feel right now JT?  I thought I knew you, but I—I guess I was wrong.”

“I guess so,” JT replied as he shook his head and then took another swig from the bottle.  “It doesn’t really matter anymore.”

“It does matter JT!”  Nikki snapped.  “I’m your best friend and you’ve kept parts of your life secret from me.  It sounds as if you don’t trust me at all!”

“Should I?”  JT asked, taking another swig from the bottle.  “Like I said, it doesn’t even matter.  Save yourself the trouble and just follow Glitter’s example.”

“I’m not following Glitter no damn where,” Nikki said as she looked JT in the face.  “If I’m going to follow someone, it’s you back to the room so that we can talk some more.  Let’s go.”

“Whatever,” JT said as the two of them walked down the hall.

The Lobby

“We’re here in the lobby of the Radisson Hotel here in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love.  From rumors of last night’s concert starring ‘Mutual Attraction’, there was a lot of brotherly love going on between JT Poole and Justin Tanner,” a reporter from a nationally syndicated talk show stated as he stood in the middle of the lobby as loads of people did their best to get into the building as camera flashes went off all around.  “Today, we’re waiting for JT Poole or Justin Tanner to make an appearance so we can find out if there’s any truth to the rumors going around.”

“Well, if the rumors are true about what happened at last night’s show with JT Poole and Justin Tanner, that could be career suicide for the both of them,” another reporter from the show stated as she looked around.

“Yeah, especially with the recent events floating around with JT, this could possibly be the end of ‘Mutual Attraction’,” the man stated as the woman looked at him.  “You got to admit it, that if he had spoken up in regards to those drug accusations, maybe there wouldn’t be so much going on right now.”

“That could be true, but we don’t know the truth to anything yet,” the woman stated as some screaming could be heard.  “It looks like there’s some activity outside.  What could be going on out there?”

“Why don’t we go see,” the man stated as he and a camera man walked towards the door.

To Be Continued…


[1] Song Excerpt = One of a Kind by Donna Summer