If I Ain’t Got You – Chapter2

Chapter 2 — In Need of Healing

Dec 21, 2002 – Orlando, FL – The Sheraton World Resort – Justin’s Hotel Room

“Come on man; just hop out of those clothes and get into bed with me. I don’t really want to be alone tonight,” Justin whined as Jackson helped him over to the bed.

“No Justin, I’m not going to be doing that. I drove you back here so you could be safe and now that you are, I’m getting a taxi back to my car and then I’m getting home,” Jackson stated.

“Fine, you’re nothing but a party pooper,” Justin said as he fell face-first on the bed, passed out.

“Good night Justin Tanner,” Jackson said as he turned Justin over in the bed and then maneuvered him correctly in the bed and then took his shoes off. “I hope you have a good night kid. I don’t know what caused you to drink so heavily tonight, but I hope things get better for you.”

The Next Morning

Justin’s POV

Damn, my head’s killing me right now. I’m used to having headaches, but what I’m feeling right now is so much severe. My head’s in a fog and I can barely remember what it was I did last night. Looking at the clock, I see that it’s a little bit before nine and I really don’t want to get up to start the day.

“Damn, what in the hell did I do? What happened to me last night?” I asked aloud as I sat up in bed and then rubbed my head. “Oh damn, now I remember it now. I was a fucking dick to that guy.”

Getting up, I stretched and then made my way over to the bathroom. Stopping, I noticed a piece of paper on top of the television. Hmmm, what’s that? It looks like a note of some kind. Who could it be from? How did it get here?

CONTENTS OF NOTE

Dear Justin,

I don’t know if you’ll remember everything that happened last night but you were really out of it. So after bringing you back here, I put you to bed, wrote out this note and then walked out. I don’t know what caused you to drink so heavily but if you ever need a friend to talk to I’m here for you kid. You know where to find me or you can give me a call at 407-XXX-XXXX.

Jackson

END NOTE

“Damn, I hope I didn’t do anything really out of the norm with him. I was drunk and when I drink, I get horny. I just hope I didn’t do anything that he could use against me at some later time,” I said aloud, just as the phone rang. “Who could that be? Hello?”

“Hey baby, what’s up?” I heard a familiar voice that I didn’t want to hear.

“Nothing Josh, I’m getting ready to take a shower and then I’m headed to breakfast,” I replied.

“Since you’re still in town, why don’t we hit Disney and have some fun?” He asked as I shook my head.

“I so don’t think so buddy. I don’t feel like doing anything, especially with you,” I said, wondering how he knew I was here, since I didn’t tell him or anyone else.

“Oh come on baby, it’ll be like old times, just the two of us,” he said as I shook my head again, wondering who he had talked with to find out where I was.

“That’s the problem Josh; things would never be like old times with us, ever again. We’re not together anymore,” I declared, feeling the pain of my words.

“I—I know Justin and I’m sorry,” he said as I sighed. “I—I wish we could change that. I really miss you baby.”

“I’m not your baby Josh and you need to stop calling me that,” I said, highly pissed off. “You cheated on me and…”

“I know I did, but I’m really sorry,” he said as I shook my head again. “I—I really wish I hadn’t done that. I really do miss you baby.”

“Josh,” I said as he interrupted me again.

“Justin please, I love you, I really do,” he said as I could hear him crying.

“Cut the act Josh. I loved you, but love isn’t supposed to hurt,” I said, sighing as I felt the tears welling up in my eyes as I hung up the phone, not wanting to hear any more from him.

How dare he call me and talk about love! If he loved me, he never would’ve done the things he did! He got some damn nerve calling here and claiming that he loves me. Love isn’t supposed to hurt, especially when all he did was lie, cheat and beat on me.

I—I can’t deal with him or anything remotely concerning him anymore. Maybe—maybe I can talk to someone about this and it might help me get over it. Maybe I can talk to this guy Jackson. Sighing, I picked up the phone, looked at the note and then dialed the number listed.

“Hello,” someone answered the line.

“Hi, ah… May I speak to Jackson?” I asked.

“I’m sorry, but Jackson isn’t here right now. This is Kendall, may I help you?” The person asked as I shook my head.

“Ah… Well… Ah… no. I—I’ll just try to reach him later on,” I said with a frown as I turned around.

“Would you like to leave him a message?” The person asked as I ran my fingers through my hair.

“Ah… Well… you can tell him that Justin called,” I said as I looked at my watch. “Thanks, bye.”

“I’ll tell him and you have a nice day,” the guy said as the phone clicked, signaling that he hung up.

“Well that was a bust. I guess I’ll go shower and make the best of the rest of this day,” I said as I walked into the bathroom as there was a knock on the door. “Who could that possibly be? No one knows I’m even here. Who’s there?”

“It’s the bellboy sir; I have a delivery for Mr. Tanner,” the person called out.

“I didn’t order anything and no one should be sending things here,” I said as I opened the door to see the hotel bellboy with a handful of roses and a giant teddy bear. “Hi.”

“Hello sir. All of this just arrived for you,” the bellboy stated.

“Who is all of this stuff from?” I asked, helping the young man bring everything into the room.

“Here’s the card sir,” the bellboy said as he handed me the card that came along with everything. “You have a nice day sir.”

“You too, wait a minute,” I said, reaching into my pocket to pull some money out. “Here you go. Thanks for lugging all of this stuff up here.”

“Thanks sir, it’s not a problem, it’s part of the job,” the bellboy said as he smiled and then waved.

“You’re welcomed,” I said as the bellboy walked out of the room and then closed the door behind him. “I wonder where all of this crap came from…”

CONTENTS OF THE CARD

Justin baby, I know you’re mad with me and I know I hurt you very badly. Please baby, please give me another chance. I love you very much and I can’t see living the rest of my life without you in it. I know I screwed up, but I love you more than you’ll ever know. Please baby, please give me another chance.

Love Josh

END OF THE CARD

“Why won’t he just leave me the hell alone? He betrayed my trust and my love for him. We’ll never be able to be together again,” I said, going into the bathroom and started the water in the shower. “There’s nothing more for the two of us. He ruined all of that. He just needs to leave me the hell alone!”

Sighing, I took my clothes off, walked into the bathroom and stepped into the shower. Getting under the water, I slid down the wall to the floor as my tears overtook me as images of how Josh betrayed me, flashed through my mind. Why is he doing this to me? Why can’t he just let me be?

Jamestown, NY – The Private Townhouse of Nick Canton

Kevin’s POV

“Good morning Sunshine,” I said as I walked into Nicky’s bedroom with a tray of food and juice for him.

“Morning Kevin,” he replied as he yawned and then stretched his arms, sitting up on the edge of the bed.

“I hope you slept well, regardless of the current circumstances,” I said, sitting on the edge of the bed next to him.

“I’m not going back Kevin. I’m sorry you came all of this way, but I just don’t want to be around anyone, not even them,” he said as he looked away from me.

“I know you don’t Nicky, but Janet and Robert want you home, just like everyone else does,” I told him.

“Well I’m sorry Kevin, but I can’t face any of them right now,” he said with a frown.

“Why not?” I asked.

“Because Mom and Aaron tried to warn me. They tried to warn me that I was falling for him and I tried to convince them that I wasn’t. I lied to Dad over and over again about the relationship we had. I lied to him Kevin. I told him that I wasn’t even seeing him,” he explained as a few tears fell from his eyes.

“What’re you saying Nicky?” I asked.

“Dad suspects that I’m gay, but I haven’t actually come out and told him just yet,” he said, looking down as he wiped at his eyes.

“How can he not Know? Janet and the others know, don’t they?” I asked, looking at him strangely. I’m more confused now, than anything.

“The others know, but I swore them all to secrecy,” he replied as he looked up at me. “Dad only suspects because of the things he’s heard. Until I tell him, none of that stuff really matters to him.”

“When are you going to tell him then Nicky?” I asked.

“I—I don’t know Kevin, but right now isn’t the time for me to be around him or any of them. If I was there, I would only make things worse than they already are,” he stated as the tears fell from his eyes.

“That isn’t true Nicky. They all love you very much. They all want you to come home,” I told him. “I’m quite sure that Robert already knows the truth about you being gay.”

“No he doesn’t,” he replied as he shook his head.

“Would it be so bad for him to know about his son’s life? Everyone else knows Nicky,” I said as he shook his head again.

“Yes, it would totally be bad. You know how he feels about gay people,” he said as he shook his head again and then looked down.

“He wouldn’t feel that way towards you Nicky, he’ll still love you,” I said, leaning over and hugging him. “Come on, we need to get ready to go.”

“As I already said, I’m not going back with you,” he said as he shook his head again.

“Look Nicky, you’re going home. You’re going, even if I have to drag you back there, kicking and screaming,” I told him as I got up off the bed. “Now eat your breakfast and then go get ready.”

“You can’t make me go back there Kevin,” he said, glaring at me.

“I’m not going to make you go anywhere Nicky; you’re going to go there on your own, whether you like it or not. I wish you would get it through your damn head that everything in life doesn’t revolve around just you,” I said as he looked away from me. “For the last couple of weeks, it’s been all about you and nobody else…”

“Wait a minute,” he said as I shook my head this time.

“No, you wait Nick! It’s time for you to start acting like a damn man and not the spoiled brat you have been. You’re going home,” I said as I turned around and walked out of the room as I slammed the door behind me. Maybe that will spark some kind of emotion in him and get him to see things for what they are.

Orlando, FL – The Home of Joshua Charles

“Hey babe, why did you call me to come over here?” Seann, a friend of Joshua Charles asked as he walked through the front door.

“I—I called you here because I have something to say to you,” Joshua spoke as his friend smiled and stepped closer to him.

“Well go ahead baby, say what you want,” the guy said as he leaned in to kiss Josh, but Josh moved back quickly to avoid his lips. “What’s up with that baby?”

“Because of you, I’ve lost the man that I love, forever!” Joshua screamed as he moved away from the man.

“Come on, that wasn’t my fault. You’re an adult, you are the one that pursued me, not the other way around. I didn’t run you down or anything, you chased me. You were the one in control of everything,” the man said with a smirk on his face.

“You—you led me on damn it!” Joshua snapped as he got closer to the man and then pushed him backwards.

“I didn’t do anything to you Josh,” the man said with a smile as he shook his head. “You hung out with me because you wanted to. I didn’t do anything to force you into being around me.”

“Yes you did! You told me that if I devoted more time to you, that you would make it worth my while. All I’ve gotten from you were broken damn promises and crap!” Joshua screamed as he slapped the man across the face. “I fucked up a good thing for twenty minutes of terrible sex.”

“Twenty minutes of terrible sex! It couldn’t have been too damn terrible, since you kept coming back and you know we’ve gone longer than twenty fucking minutes,” the man said as he rubbed the side of his face. “You know you loved every minute you spent with me Josh. So why don’t you stop acting like a prick, it doesn’t suite you. There’s no reason for you to be acting this way. You might as well stick with me now that Justin doesn’t want your skanky ass back.”

“What the fuck ever!” Joshua snapped as he turned away from the man. “I hate you! I wish I never laid eyes on you! Damn porno-star reject!”

“Whatever Josh, you don’t hate me, you love me. If you didn’t love me, you wouldn’t have dropped Justin for me so easily,” the man said as he stepped closer to Joshua and then touched his lips. “You know you love me man. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it, you love me and that’s final.”

“I don’t love you, I love him!” Joshua screamed as he shook his head.

“You don’t love Justin; you’re in love with me. If you weren’t in love with me, like you claim you aren’t, you wouldn’t be here, wasting your time with all of this damn talking. Most people that hate others, don’t waste time by talking with the people they hate. So stop with all the dramatics. You know you want to go upstairs so we can fuck our brains out. Why don’t you just admit it already,” the man said as he crossed his arms across his chest.

“No man, you’ll never touch me in that way again, never!” Joshua snapped as he moved away from the man. “Get out! I never want to see you again!”

“I’ll leave you alone for now, but I guarantee you’ll come running your lonely ass back to me,” the man said as he leaned in and kissed Joshua’s lips as Joshua pushed him backwards again.

“I’ll never go back to you Seann! I hope you die and go straight to hell to rot!” Joshua yelled as he pushed the man towards the door. “Now get the hell out and don’t you ever come back here!”

Jamestown, NY – The Airport – The VIP Lounge

“Are you fucking happy now Kevin?” Nick asked as he took a seat across from Kevin as they waited for their flight to be called.

“You don’t have to talk to me that way Nicky and yes, I’m very happy right now. I’m quite sure the rest of your family will be as well. I’m sure they’ll be glad to see you when we get there,” Kevin stated with a smile.

“Well, when we get there, I’m going straight up to my room and not coming out until it’s all over,” Nick replied as he shook his head.

“You’re not coming out until what’s all over?” Kevin asked as he looked over at Nick strangely.

“Just forget I said that,” Nick said as he looked away from Kevin. “It really doesn’t matter.”

“Whatever it is, it matters to me Nicky. Anything that you do matters to me,” Kevin said as he got up and then sat next to Nick. “Talk to me here Nicky. What’s going through that head of yours?”

“I don’t want to talk Kevin. If it mattered to you so much, you would’ve left me alone when I asked you to,” Nick said as he yanked his arm away from Kevin and then got up from his seat as he walked over to the other side of the room.

“Stop it Nicky, you know you’re one of my best friends in the whole wide world. I can’t… I don’t want to see you in pain like this. I know you got hurt, but let it go. You need to find something else that helps you forget about that hurt,” Kevin stated with a sigh.

“There isn’t anything else Kevin. I have nothing, nothing at all,” Nick said as he ran into the bathroom as Kevin ran behind him. “Just leave me alone Kevin, just let me be.”

“Come on Nicky, that’s not true and you know it. You have me, you have your family and the rest of the guys,” Kevin said as he walked down to the stall that Nick was in.

“Just go away Kevin, leave me alone,” Nick said as Kevin leaned against the sink.

“No Nicky, I’m not going to leave you alone. Come on, they’re calling our flight, let’s go,” Kevin said as he waited for Nick to come out of the bathroom stall.

Orlando, FL – The Sheraton World Resort – Justin’s Hotel Room

“What in the hell are you doing here? What in the hell do you want?” Justin asked as he stood in the doorway, watching Joshua Charles stare back at him.

“Please Justin, please give me another chance. I know I screwed up, but I’m really sorry for all of that. I love you Justin,” Joshua stated as he walked into the room and got down on his knees in front of Justin.

“Get up and get the hell out of my room Josh! Get out before I call my security team and have them beat your ass!” Justin snapped as he turned away from Joshua.

“Please Justin; please give me another chance. I promise… I promise that I won’t screw up again,” Joshua declared as he looked up at Justin.

“I said get the hell out of here!” Justin screamed as he pointed at the door for Joshua to get up and leave.

“No Justin, I’m not going to leave, not until you tell me that you’re going to give me another chance,” Joshua said as he clasped his hands together, acting like he was praying.

“Fine then, you can stay here, I’ll leave,” Justin said as he grabbed his jacket and walked out of the room.

“Justin!” Joshua called out, getting up off the floor and running behind Justin.

A Few Minutes Later – Somewhere on Interstate 4

Justin’s POV

Why in the hell can’t he just leave me the hell alone? I was starting to heal and now he’s gone and done this shit! I don’t want him back in my life. I don’t want a guy like him, a guy that’s going to cheat on me and then hurt me around every damn turn. I want someone in my life that loves me, someone that isn’t going to cheat on me with the first, second and third piece of ass that comes by. I want a guy in my life that’s going to love me for me and not for how good I can sing and dance or how much money I can make for him. I want something real, something that’s going to last forever. I want someone that’s not going to beat on me, hurt me.

“Why is it that I can’t have what I want God?” I asked aloud as I drove along the interstate, not really paying attention to the rest of traffic as I heard a horn blow, then a loud crash and then felt a giant thud as everything went black. Oh God, what happened? Did I just have an accident? Did I just collide with another vehicle or something?

Moments Previously – Somewhere in the Air – Aboard a Jetliner

Kevin’s POV

“Where are you going?” I asked, looking up at Nick as he got up from his seat.

“Damn, I’m only going to the bathroom Kev. What do you want Kevin? Do you want to come with me so you can shake it and then tuck it back in for me?” He asked, looking at me with a mean expression on his face.

“No, I don’t want to do that Nicky. You don’t have to be rude you know,” I said as I looked down. I wouldn’t mind shaking it off for him; I would do more than just shake it; I would like to do other things with him, but because of Brian’s actions, I fear he’s ruined Nicky’s heart.

“I’m not being rude Kevin. This is me now, deal with it. If you can’t deal with the new me, you should’ve left me where I damn was,” he said as he walked away down the aisle.

“Hello sir, is there something I can get you?” The flight attendant asked.

“No thank you,” Nick replied as he walked past the young man, continuing his trek down the aisle.

Nick’s POV

As I walked into the little bathroom, I made sure the door was locked. Sighing, I took off my jacket and then sat down on top of the small hand basin. Looking at my reflection in the mirror, I shook my head and then sighed once more. Rolling up my shirtsleeve, I searched around my jacket for my little surprise. Finding what I was looking for, I held the small razor in my hand, admiring it closely as I wondered if I was doing the right thing.

“I’m alone now and I can finally do what I need to do,” I said to myself as I turned the water on in the basin. “I know this is wrong, but I need to put an end to all of my pain. I’m sorry, I really am, but I just can’t go on like this. This is the only way.”

As I said those last words, I used the razor to slit both of my wrists. Wincing in pain, I leaned against the sink as I put both of my hands into the water, doing my best to hold myself up. The pain I felt from the slits in my wrists ripped through my body, but I had no choice but to endure that so I can end my other pains. Closing my eyes, I felt a few tears slide down my face as I wondered how good it would feel to be free of all the things I’ve had to endure in my life. I get to say goodbye to all of my pain and I can be happy.

Almost an Hour Later – Outside the Bathroom

Kevin’s POV

It’s been a long while since Nicky went to the bathroom. What’s taking him so long? Why hasn’t he come out yet? I know good and damn well that it doesn’t take that long to piss or to take a damn dump, if that’s what he had to do. I feel it in my heart that something’s wrong, but I don’t know what it is.

As I walked over to the bathroom, I had this strange feeling that things were changing. As I got to the door, I looked around and then tapped on the door as it clicked, opened and then a little boy walked out, shooting me the bird. Sighing and shaking my head, I walked over to the other door and then tapped on it. It showed that it was occupied, but no one said anything. He’s not in his seat, so he has to be in there.

“Sir, there’s another one available, if you need to go,” the flight attendant spoke as he pointed at the other door.

“I don’t need to use the bathroom, I’m trying to check on my friend,” I said with a frown. “I’m trying to get my friend to come out of there.”

“Well maybe your friend isn’t ready to come out just yet,” the flight attendant said with a weak smile.

“Is there some other way to get in there?” I asked, looking over at the young man. “He’s been in there for a very long time. I’ve been out here knocking, but there’s no answer.”

“Are you sure he’s still in there? Are you sure he didn’t come out already and he’s gone to another part of the plane?” He asked, looking at me closely.

“Right now, I’m not sure of anything. I just need to get this damn door open. I think something’s wrong!” I snapped, getting agitated with the situation at hand. “We need to find a way to get this door opened.”

“Hold on sir, let me find the thing to open the door with,” another flight attendant said as she opened a drawer and then looked around for something. “Here it is.”

“Hurry up please, open the door,” I said with a frown.

“Hello, is there someone occupying this laboratory?” The flight attendant asked as she tapped on the door. “I’m giving you time to answer, before I actually open the door.”

“See, no answer. Please just go ahead and open the door already,” I said as I glared at the woman.

“Okay,” she said as she inserted the small key-like object into the door and then turned it as the door clicked and then opened.

“Oh my God!” I screamed out, pushing past the woman into the small area to get over to Nick. “Nick!”

Oh God, what has he done? He’s leaning over the sink and the water in the sink is red. Oh God, why? Why did he do this?

“Let me alert the captain about this,” she said as she moved behind the wall and picked up the phone. “April, we have a situation over here.”

“What’s the problem Tessa?” Another flight attendant asked as she looked over to where we were.

“We need help over here!” I screamed as I shook Nick. “He has a pulse, but he doesn’t seem to be conscious.”

“That’s the situation. It seems the man has slit his wrists or something and he’s unconscious,” Tessa, the flight attendant spoke as she covered her mouth.

“Oh My God, that—that’s Nick Canton of the Fifth Avenue Boys!” April, the other flight attendant squealed.

“Of course it is, this is one of the reasons why you don’t work in first class often,” Tessa said as she shook her head.

“We don’t have time for this! Is there a doctor aboard the plane?” I asked, looking at the people standing around. “We need to stop the bleeding and get him to the hospital!”

“I’ll go speak with the Captain,” April stated as she walked away.

“His heart is still beating, he’s still breathing, but his pulse is very weak. We need to get him to a hospital quick,” I said as I looked down at Nick.

“Hello sir, I’m Captain Parker, what seems to be the problem here?” The Captain asked as he walked into the area where we were.

“We need to land this plane and get him some medical attention,” I frantically said. “Where are we?”

“We’re not too far from Orlando, Florida,” the Captain answered.

“Would you please land so we can get him to a hospital?” I asked as the tears streamed down my face.

“Tessa, call ahead and have an ambulance on site to be ready when we land,” the captain instructed as he turned around. “Give him whatever we have on board to help him stop the bleeding and get things under control.”

“Yes sir,” Tessa replied as she picked up the phone to do as instructed by the captain.

“Thank you Captain,” I said as I looked down at Nick again.

“What—what’s going on?” Nick weakly asked as he opened his eyes.

“Why Nicky, why did you do this to yourself?” I asked, smoothing his hair away from his face.

“I—I’m sorry Kev, I’m really sorry,” he said as he closed his eyes again.

“No Nicky, I’m sorry. I should’ve done something before now. I—I’m sorry that I let Brian hurt you like this. I’m sorry for all of the pain you’ve gone through. I’m sorry for everything that has saddened you. I’m sorry that I couldn’t do for you, what you looked for with other people. I’m sorry I couldn’t love you the way that you wanted me to love you,” I told him, holding him in my arms as I continued crying as Tessa came back into the bathroom with some bandages.

To Be Continued…

After The Glitter Fades – Chapter 4

Chapter 4 — It’s A Boy

May 28, 2004 – Philadelphia, PA – A Shady Hotel

Vanessa’s POV

God, why is this mess happening to him now?  Why of all the times for this mess to happen, it had to happen now?  Why are our lives plagued with this damn drama?  There’s just too much stuff going on.  I’ve worked way too hard for things to fall apart in our lives now.  Between dealing with shit in my own life, now I have to deal with the crap going on in John’s life too.  Again God, why is this mess happening to us now?

Lord knows there are too many hits against us right now.  We don’t need too much more of this.  With the world looking at him because of what’s going on in the media, I don’t think there’s anything else that group can take.  The scandals, mainly his alcoholism and possible drug use, the shit going on with the group, his relationship with Justin and now this mess with Heather, what else is going to happen to show the spotlight on him more?

If Heather tries to go public with that little boy, all hell will break out.  If that gets out, I’m sure he’ll shut down and turn away from everything.  Right now, I don’t need that happening and he doesn’t either.  I’m not going to lose another son because of that damn spotlight.

“What are you doing here woman?”  I heard behind me, turning around to see the man I hoped to never lay eyes on again, but had no choice but to be here regardless.

“You know why I’m here James,” I replied, walking over to where he stood.

“I take it, you calling me here had something to do with the news I’ve seen about John,” he said with a laugh as he shook his head.  “It has something to do with his drug and alcohol problems, the theft of his money, the crooked record deals you’re involved in and that damn sex scandal with the new white boy, correct?”

“Yeah, something like that,” I replied, looking down and shaking my head.

Lawd, sometimes I wonder why I ever married this man in the first place.  He’s the reason why my own child doesn’t get along with me.  If it wasn’t for his actions, the relationship I have with my son wouldn’t consist of us living states away from each other and only get to see each other when necessary.

“Then what’s it like ‘Nessa,” he said, looking at me strangely.

“Most of the stuff about him in the media isn’t true.  Our son isn’t a drug addict and never has been.  He does drink too much, but that’s a trait he got from you,” I said as he shook his head.  “Yes James, he got that trait from you.  When he doesn’t want to deal with his problems, he turns to drinking, just like you fucking do.  Does that sound familiar James?”

“Look woman, I didn’t come here for you to talk shit to me.  If you want my damn help here, tell me now or I can get my black ass back on that damn plane and get out of your life, for good if necessary,” he said, walking towards me.  “I did what you wanted woman.  I stayed away from the two of you, let you two live the lives that you…”

“That we wanted, but I—I think I made a mistake,” I said, frowning as I thought about all the times that John asked about where his father was.

“What do you expect ‘Nessa, you kicked me out of your life!  You kept my sons away from me and when they needed me, they didn’t have me,” he said as he pointed his finger in my face.  “Because of you, I lost something dear to me, something that I can never get back!”

“You didn’t lose it; you threw it away with that damn drinking!”  I snapped, mad as hell at him for talking to me the way he was.  In a way, he told the truth, but in a way, I’m glad I kept John and Joshua away from him.

“What did you expect me to do woman?  Was I supposed to sit around and just deal with…” he said as I slapped him, stopping him from saying more.

“Don’t say no more James,” I said, looking down at the floor, not wanting to hear any more of what he had to say.

“Why?  You don’t want to hear the truth ‘Nessa?”  He asked, looking at me as I could see the hate in his eyes.

“Hush James!”  I snapped.

“Woman, you took my boys away from me and you let them both get hurt by other people!  Because of you, my sons—son will never be the same, ever again,” he said, looking down as he shook his head.  “Why ‘Nessa?  Was the cost of the fame for you so much precious than the innocence of your children?  Was it ‘Nessa?  Come on, was it worth it woman?  How much was John worth for you to be the famous Vanessa Jameson?”

Oh God, I can’t believe this shit is happening right now.  Why did he bring this shit back up?  I—I can’t deal with this shit right now.

“Stop it James, stop it right now!”  I snapped, shaking my head as he grabbed my arms, holding me in place so I couldn’t move away from him.

“No woman, I’m not going to stop!  You took my boys away from me!  I was their father!” He screamed, shaking me back and forth.  “You didn’t have to take them away from me and hand them over to that damn monster!”

“James please,” I begged as he slapped me across the face and then pushed me down to the floor.

“For what you did to those boys, I’ll hate you forever ‘Nessa!  Forever damn it!”  He screamed.  “Does John know what you did to him?  Does he know the reason why his twin brother died?”

“No,” was all I could say.  “He doesn’t know anything and he never will.”

“That’s where you’re wrong,” he said, turning away from me as he walked towards the door as I jumped up quickly, trying to stop him, grabbing his arm as he pushed me off of him.  “Get off me woman!”

“No James, what’re you doing?”  I asked.

“I’m going to talk to my son,” he responded, looking at me like he wanted to hit me again.  “I’m going to tell him just what you’ve done and why I wasn’t around.”

“No, you can’t do that!”  I snapped as he turned to look at me and then slapped me again, knocking me down to the floor.  “I’m not going to let you talk to him James, never!”

“You can’t stop me woman,” he said, going for the door again as I pulled the gun from my purse, aiming at him and then pulling the trigger, shooting him through the back, stopping him from opening the door and leaving the room as he fell backwards to the floor, groaning as he coughed and then clutched at his chest.

“I’m not going to let you talk to John.  I’m not going to let you reveal my damn shame to him,” I said as he grabbed my leg, causing me to trip and fall down to the floor as he grabbed me, pulling himself closer to me, trying to hold me as I hit him upside the head with the gun.

If I’ve told him once, I’ve told him a million damn times… I’m not going to allow him to talk to John and possibly tell him what happened to him or his brother in the past.  I’m not going to let him ruin things.  Damn it, I should’ve just done things myself and not involved him, but I thought he could help solve the problems at hand with his connections.

Damn, with this new situation, I guess coming to him for help was the wrong idea.  I should’ve known better than to try to get help from him.  If I want something done right, I can’t trust anybody and just do it myself.  If I’d known I’d have to put up with this kind of shit, I’d never called him here in the first place and gone ahead with my original plan.  Oh well, so much for this fucking idea.

“You can’t continue hurting him ‘Nessa,” he said as I hit him again with the gun and then got up off the floor.  “I’m going to stop you woman, I promise I will.”

“No, you’re not,” I replied, shooting him in the chest as I kicked him in the side.  “You’re not going to leave this room.”

“You’re not going to win this ‘Nessa,” he said, coughing as I kicked him in the side again as I stepped over his body and then walked over to the door.

“I’ve already won,” I replied with a smile as I looked down at my hands and then put the gun back into my purse.

Opening the door slowly, I peeked outside, looking around to make sure that no one was actually around.  Looking back into the room, I placed the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door, locked it and then walked out of the room, closing the door behind me.  This should give me some time to get back to where I belong, before someone discovers him in there.

“That’s it girl, get away from here quickly before someone spots me,” I said, rushing down the hall, doing my best to make sure no one saw me.

May 29, 2004 – Penn Medicine (Hospital) – A Waiting Area

“Are you okay?”  Justin asked, looking over at JT.  “You look like a long-tailed cat in a room filled with rocking chairs.”

“Ha ha ha, real funny Justin,” JT sarcastically replied as he shook his head.  “They called me an hour ago, yet I’m still sitting out here, waiting.  What’s taking them so damn long?  I want to get this shit over and done with.  Once they say this child isn’t mine, I’m going to do everything I can to make…”

“Mr. Poole, we’re ready for you now,” a lab technician spoke, walking over to JT and Justin.

“Well it’s about time,” JT stated as he got up to follow the woman as Justin looked at him strangely and then got up and followed him too.

“How are you doing today Mr. Poole?”  The lab technician asked, directing JT and Justin into a room.

“I think we can bypass all the small talk here and just go ahead and take care of what I’m here for,” JT stated as he looked at the woman.

“Okay then, let’s get right to it,” the lab technician spoke as she opened a file cabinet, thumbed through some file folders inside and then handed JT a sealed manila envelope.  “These are the results of the paternity tests that were completed for you Mr. Poole and for Caleb Hunter Stewart.”

“Swell,” JT sarcastically said as he opened the envelope so he could read the test results.

Contents of DNA Report

Sixteen genetic loci were tested. Testing process: DNA amplification with PowerPlex® 16 System, detected using the ABI PRISM® 3130xl Genetic Analyzer and analyzed with GeneMapper® ID Software. 

Interpretation:  Based on the DNA Analysis, the alleged Father, JOHN TIMOTHY POOLE cannot be excluded as the biological Father of the Child, CALEB HUNTER STEWART, because they share the same genetic markers. The probability of the stated relationship is indicated below, as compared to an untested, unrelated person of the same ethnicity.  

Combined Direct Index:  17,446

Probability Percentage:  99.9942%          

Therefore, assuming a prior probability of 50%, the probability of paternity is 99.9942%

End DNA Report

JT’s POV

Oh God, I—I can’t believe this!  How can this be possible?  Someone must’ve fucked up somewhere.  How can that little boy be my son?  He just can’t be.  This is totally impossible, damn impossible!  I’ve never slept with a woman in my whole… How did this happen?  What did Heather do?  How did that little boy get here?

“Are you okay JT?”  I heard Justin ask as I looked over at him and then handed him the test results as he looked at the paper, reading them quickly as he looked back at me.  “JT?”

“I—I gotta go talk to Heather,” I said, getting up quickly.

“Mr. Poole, is everything alright?”  The lab technician asked.

“No, but right now, there’s nothing you can do about that,” I said as Justin shook the woman’s hand, thanking her for assisting us as I walked out of the room, heading towards the elevators quickly, so that I could go find Heather.

“JT baby… Baby, wait up,” I heard Justin say as he rushed to catch up to me.

“I—I don’t know how this is possible,” I said, pressing the call button for the elevator multiple times as if that would make it come any faster.  “I… I’ve never slept with Heather, so how can Caleb be my son?”

“She’s the only one that has the answer to how that’s possible,” he said as I shook my head.

“Apparently, Marc knows something too,” I said as he shook his head.  “I have a sinking feeling that he had a hand in whatever this was… Is!”

“I wouldn’t put anything past Marc baby,” he said as the elevator doors opened as we stepped inside the car.

“Right now, it doesn’t matter, I’m going to find Heather and get some answers,” I said as we rode in the elevator as the silence between us was a bit deafening.

A Few Minutes Later – A Rental Car Headed to the Radisson Plaza Hotel

“So, you’re not going to say anything at all?”  Justin asked, looking at JT strangely.

“What is there to say Justin?”  JT asked, keeping his eyes on the road, while he drove.

“There has to be an explanation for all of this,” Justin said as JT sighed and then shook his head.

“Oh there is, but only Heather can provide that explanation,” JT said with a sigh as he stopped at a traffic light.  “I have this feeling that she and Marc did something downright disgusting to make all of this possible.  I knew Heather was a bit on the crazy side and all, but I didn’t think she would do something like this to get what she wants.”

“What is it that you think she did?”  Justin asked with a frown.

“I’m starting to think that maybe she did something like steal one of my used condoms from the trash or—or maybe she—she raped me while I was asleep.  Hell, there were many times she had the opportunity to do something like that.  Hell, I don’t really know what happened.  But then again, her raping me is the only way this could’ve happened,” JT stated as he shook his head again as he turned into the hotel’s parking area.  “Those are the only ideas that are floating through my head at the moment.”

“Baby, do you really think she… Never mind,” Justin said as he looked down.  “Do you remember where you were when this could’ve possibly happened?”

“No!”  JT snapped, looking over at Justin as his expression changed.  “I’m sorry, I… I’m just a bit on edge right now.”

“I know you are baby, I would be too, if I was in this situation,” Justin replied, undoing the seatbelt as he leaned in close and hugged JT.  “We’re going to get through this baby, we’re okay.”

“You think we’re going to be okay, yeah right!” JT exclaimed as Justin frowned while he undid the seatbelt around JT’s waist.

“Yeah baby, I think we’ll be okay,” Justin replied, pulling away from JT as he looked him in the face.

“I don’t know what to think or feel right now.  A man in my situation should be happy about finding out that he had a child, a son no less, but I’m not happy, I’m fucking mad.  I shouldn’t have a son!”  JT snapped, slamming his hands on the steering wheel.

“Well now you have one,” Justin stated, looking down.  “Look at it this way; you know the mother and you…”

“I’m going to find out what’s going on, before I have a nervous breakdown,” JT stated as he opened the car door and then stepped out as he smoothed his suit, sighed and then walked towards the hotel’s back entrance as Justin followed behind him.

“Wait up,” Justin said with a frown, trying to catch up to JT.

“Wait up for what Justin?  I want to know what that bitch did, mainly what she did to me,” JT stated as he walked through the hotel doors, walking through the lobby, noticing all the people around in the area.  “Oh my God!”

“Look, there he is!”  Someone screamed.

“Look, he’s with Justin Tanner!”  Someone else screamed as JT turned around in a circle, looking around at all the people in the area.

“Shit, I’m not staying around here,” JT said, turning around, almost bumping into Justin.  “You can stay down here and talk with these damn vultures if you want, but I’m going to finish the task at hand.”

“If you’re not here with me, I’m not staying down here with these freaks,” Justin replied as he and JT made a mad dash to the other side of the room, taking the stairs.

A Few Minutes Later – Heather’s Hotel Room

“Are you sure you want to face her right now?”  Justin asked as he and JT stood at Heather’s room door.

“Oh, I’m more than sure Justin,” JT replied, banging on the hotel room door, waiting for Heather to answer.

“Hello, is there something I can help you with sir?”  JT and Justin heard as the room door opened as a strange looking woman stood in the doorway.

“Who are you and where’s Heather?”  JT asked, looking at the woman strangely.

“Why are you here?” The woman asked, looking at JT and Justin closely as she crossed her arms across her chest.

“I’m here to talk to Heather,” JT replied, looking at the woman as if she were crazy.  “Not that it’s any of your damn business.”

“Right now, it’s very much my business,” the woman stated, pulling out a notepad and a pen from her blazer pocket as JT shook his head.

“Where is Heather?  I need to talk to her about Caleb,” JT stated as he looked at the woman, waiting for her to step aside so he could enter the room.

“Why do you need to talk to her?”  The woman asked, looking JT up and down as she wrote some things down on the notepad.  “Why do you need to talk about the kid in there?”

“I need to talk to her… Because that’s our damn business, not yours lady,” JT stated, moving away from the woman. “Now, where is Heather?”

“He’s okay, he’s Caleb’s father,” someone said as the woman looked around and then moved out of the way to let JT and Justin enter the room.

“Well come on in,” the woman said as JT sighed and then stopped in his tracks, Justin bumping into him, when he saw all the people that moved around in the room.

“Ah, what’s going on in here?”  JT asked as Justin walked around the sofa and then stopped in his tracks as he pointed, covering his mouth as he gestured with his hand for JT to come closer.  “Ah baby… Baby, you might want to come over here to see this.”

“I might want to see what,” JT said as he walked over to where Justin stood and then stopped in his tracks again when he saw Heather lying on the floor.  “Oh my God; is—is she dead?”

“No, she’s not dead, but someone surely tried,” the woman responded as she walked over to Justin and JT.  “So, can you two tell me where you were for the last few hours?”

“What happened to her?  Why aren’t you people getting her some help?”  JT asked, looking at the woman strangely.

“We’re waiting for the paramedics to get up here.  The hotel doctor has looked at her and now we’re just waiting,” the woman stated as she looked at Justin and JT strangely.  “Being that there are so many people downstairs, clamoring about to see some celebrities staying at the hotel, it might be a long wait.”

“See, what your actions have done,” another woman said as she walked over to JT.  “If it wasn’t for you, she wouldn’t be like this right now.  She would be fine, but no, you had to yell at her and then call her names!”

“Lady, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” JT said, looking at the other woman closely.  “You’re the woman that was here the other night.  Who are you?”

“Shannon, if you didn’t already know,” the woman replied with a mean expression on her face.

“Well Shannon, when did I supposedly yell at her and call her names?”  JT asked, looking at the woman as a tall white man walked into the room.  “Ken, is that you?”

“Hello John, it’s been a long time,” the man spoke, walking over to JT.

“What’re you doing here?”  JT asked, looking at the man closely.  “The last time I saw you, you swore that you would never set foot anywhere near Heather.  So, what are you doing here right now?”

“She’s my sister man.  I can’t stay away from her,” the man identified as Ken stated with a frown.  “When she told me what she was planning, I had no choice but to come here and try to stop her.”

“What did she tell you she was planning on doing?”  JT asked, looking at Ken closely.

“John, maybe we need to go somewhere else and talk about that,” Ken suggested as JT shook his head.

“No, we can talk right here,” JT said, glaring at the man.

“No JT, I think we need to go somewhere else, that’s if you want to know everything that I know,” Ken stated as JT’s eyes perked up a bit.

“Fine,” JT said with a frown on his face.  “Lead the way.”

JT’s POV

Okay, what in the hell is going on around here?  First, I see all those damn people downstairs in the lobby, probably trying to get more pictures of me and Justin, being together or they were trying to find out more about my so-called drug issues.  Then, we come up here to talk to Heather, only to see more people scattered around in various places in her room and her ass laid out on the damn floor.

Am I actually awake or am I still asleep, trapped in a bad dream?  Is that heffa dead or what?  Something must be up, for that damn woman to be asking questions like she’s a damn cop or something.  The way Heather’s laid out on the damn floor; it looks like she’s the one that’s strung out on drugs.  And the world thinks I’m the drug addict.

Now that I see Ken here, what is his involvement in what’s going on?  What can he possibly tell me, that I don’t already know?  Him being here now, may be a sign that I’ve been waiting for.  Maybe he has some good answers, to the damn questions that are floating around in my head.  Since he swore he would never be around Heather, this must be something big, to make him go back on his word the way he has, being that he’s here now.

“Follow me buddy,” Ken said as Caleb walked out of one of the rooms.

“Uncle Ken, where are you going?”  Caleb asked, rushing over to where Ken stood.

“I’m going to talk to your dad for… Shit,” Ken said as Caleb looked at him and then looked back at me as he ran a hand through his hair.

To Be Continued…

 

The Awakening – Chapter 5

Chapter 5 — Non-Masters of the Universe

Day 17 — Someplace in Minnesota — An Abandoned House

“Let me go, you fucking monster!” A woman screamed, thrashing about on the floor with a strange collar around her neck as she tried to get it off.  “I’m not going to be your prisoner!”

“Come now Ms. Stroyer, it’s far too late for all of that.  You’re already my prisoner,” General Ranger spoke with a smile on his face. “You’re only wasting your time, struggling with the collar the way you are.  Regardless of what you do, you’re not going to get that off.”

“I am not going to be your prisoner!”  The woman screamed out as a strange phenomenon appeared near her body, that she tried to reach out for, but General Ranger moved over to her quickly, kicking her in the face, knocking her unconscious as the phenomenon disappeared.

“Sorry woman, I’m not going to have you using that skill of yours to escape from me again,” General Ranger stated as he knelt down in front of the woman and then lifted her chin as he inspected her face and then shook his head.  “What a shame Ms. Stroyer, now I have to kill you.”

(<SPLINGKKKK>)

“Sorry Ranger, you won’t be killing anyone!”  JT screamed as he appeared in the room.

“Malevolent, you are way out of your league here,” General Ranger spoke calmly as he waved his finger at JT.  “You need to turn around and leave here, now.”

“I’m not leaving here!”  JT snapped as his hand crackled with energy as his psychic sword appeared.  “I knew if I followed you through the shadows, I would find what you were hiding!  Get that thing off of her!”

“Let me remind you again, you don’t give orders to me,” General Ranger spoke as he pressed a button on his belt as JT’s psychic sword fizzled and then disappeared.  “Men, take him!”

“Oh no!”  JT screamed, looking around as the room filled with military soldiers.  “Not again!”

“Maybe that’s a sign that you should stay the hell out of my business little boy,” General Ranger stated as he stood up and then walked closer to where JT stood.

“I’m not going to allow you to hurt people like me,” JT stated as his eyes flashed with energy, but nothing happened.  “What in the hell is happening here?”

“That’s for me to know and you’ll never find out!”  General Ranger yelled as he ducked down on the floor as the soldiers fired their rifles at JT.

(<PLOOOP>)

“No!”  Darren yelled as he appeared in the room in front of JT, hands spread as he used his magical powers to shield JT from the bullets.  “Are you okay Malevolent?”

“There’s something on his belt, he’s using it to block me from using my powers!”  JT screamed as his eyes flashed with energy again as he waved his hand, weaving a magical spell as he moved past Darren, grabbing General Ranger and then throwing him threw one of the multiple phenomenon that appeared in the room.

“What just happened here?”  Darren asked as he looked at JT strangely.

“Let’s just say that I put General Ranger someplace else,” JT replied as he knelt down to the woman on the floor as one of the soldiers ran over, grabbed him and then pulled him away from the woman.

“You can’t do that freak!”  The soldier yelled as he punched JT in the face, knocking him down to the floor.  “That is property of the United States Government and you’re not allowed to touch it!”

“You must be out of your damn mind!”  JT screamed as he stood up quickly as his hand glowed brightly as his psychic sword appeared again as he stabbed the soldier with it.

“Ahhhhh!”  The soldier screamed, sliding off of JT’s psychic blade as he slid down the wall to the floor.

“Darren, see to the woman,” JT directed as he held out his hand, using his powers to fight the soldiers as one of them rushed him with an energy saber while another used a flame thrower.

“The name’s Conjurer,” Darren stated as he pulled at the collar around the woman’s neck, having no success with his actions.

“Whatever, just get that thing off of her!”  JT screamed as lightning flashed from his hands, knocking one of the soldiers down to the floor.  “Hurry up, her pain is slashing through my psychic barriers… I can’t stand it!”

“I’m trying!”  Darren screamed as he used both of his hands to pull on the collar around the woman’s neck.  “It’s not budging!”

“Try something else!”  JT screamed as he floated into the air as he zapped one of the other soldiers with a bolt of energy, sending the man crashing into a wall.  “This is madness!  These guys just keep coming!  It’s like I’m throwing everything at them and they keep coming back!”

“Not for long,” Tara responded as she flew into the room, using her lasso to rope in two of the soldiers as she pulled them together, causing them to smash their heads together, shaking the lasso as the men fell to the floor as she pulled her lasso back to her and then grabbed another soldier, picking him up and then throwing him across the room and out of a window.  “Conjurer, what’s taking you so long with that tiny collar?”

“I don’t know Amazon, there’s something wrong with it.  It doesn’t want to come off,” Darren stated as the woman opened her eyes and then moved away from him quickly.  “Miss, are you okay?”

“No!  Please—please don’t hurt me!”  The woman screamed out as Darren held up his hands.

“I’m sorry lady, I’m not trying to hurt you.  I’m only trying to help you here,” Darren stated as JT appeared in between the woman and Darren.

“If you can’t get that thing off of her, I’ll try!”  JT screamed as he reached for the woman as her eyes glowed brightly as a strange phenomenon appeared next to him and he was pulled into it.

“What in the hell did you do that for?”  Tara asked as she pushed the woman backwards as she jumped for the phenomenon, but it closed before she could enter it.  “Where in the hell did he go?”

“I don’t know,” the woman replied as she looked around.  “Where am I?  What’s going on?”

“What do you mean?  Is there something wrong with your mind woman?”  Tara asked as she grabbed the woman by the hospital gown that she wore.  “Where did you send my friend?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” the woman replied as her eyes glowed brightly again as a strange phenomenon appeared behind Tara as she moved away quickly, turning around to see JT leap from the phenomenon, looking as if he were out of breath as he fell to the floor.

“Are you okay?”  Tara asked as she looked at JT closely as she helped him up off the floor.

“What in the hell was that?”  JT asked as he looked at the woman as if she were crazy.  “Where in the hell did you send me?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” the woman replied as another phenomenon appeared in the room as General Ranger stepped through with more soldiers.

“Men, take them down now!”  General Ranger stated with a smile as his soldiers rushed JT, Tara and Darren.

‘No, I won’t allow this!’  JT telepathically screamed out as he moved quickly, using his telekinesis, lashing out at the soldiers around, knocking all of them against the wall and held them there.  “You won’t hurt anyone here!”

“That’s the guy I know!”  Tara snapped as she used her lasso to rope General Ranger in as he pressed a button on his belt and then smiled.  “Something’s going on guys, Conjurer you know what to do to me!”

“Got’cha babe,” Darren responded as he waved his hand in Tara’s direction as her clothing changed to something resembling a strange metallic armor as she landed on the floor and started throwing blows with General Ranger, pounding on an invisible barrier around his body as two soldiers attacked her from behind.

“Too late Ranger, your power dampening field isn’t going to stop me,” JT stated as he moved past one of the soldiers and then grabbed General Ranger by the throat, holding him tightly as the man struggled to breathe.  “What have you done to the woman?”

“That… Is… Not… Your… Concern… Freak!”  General Ranger barely got out as JT held him tight against the wall.

“I would rather you give me the information, than I have to go gallivanting through your mind, trying to find the information myself,” JT stated as his eyes flared with psychic energy as he and General Ranger floated above everyone else.  “It’s all up to you man, but let me go ahead and tell you, I won’t be gentle!”

“You don’t scare me!”  General Ranger stated with a smile as JT shook his head as his eyes flared brighter as the psychic energy manifested in the form of a firebird as it attacked General Ranger’s head.  “What in the hell are you doing?  My mind… My mind!  It… My mind is on fire!”

“I told you I wouldn’t be gentle,” JT stated as his eyes crackled with psychic energy as a strange field of energy flared around General Ranger.  “Her name is Helia Stroyer.  His scientists experimented on her and—and some strange militia group attempted to sabotage the experiment, which resulted in her gaining the power to create and travel through the phenomenon we passed through earlier.”

“Malevolent, there’s something wrong!  What’s happening with General Ranger?”  Darren asked as he floated up to where JT and General Ranger were as he grabbed JT’s arm, pulling him away from General Ranger.  “There’s a strange energy matrix around General Ranger… I can feel the energy pulsing around him.  Something’s not right here.”

“Run!”  JT screamed as he floated down to the floor, grabbed the woman and then waved his hand, disappearing as Darren grabbed Tara and faded from view also.

A Few Miles Away — An Emergency Room

‘Where’s Chase?  I haven’t seen him around for a bit,’ JT telepathically stated as he appeared from his portal, carrying Helia in his arms.  ‘Hello… can anyone hear me?  Hello, where is everybody?’

“Look!  It’s one of those super heroes!”  JT heard someone yell as he turned around quickly, his powers altering his clothing, replacing his costume with his regular street clothes.  “That’s so cool!”

“What in the world is going on around here?”  JT asked as he looked around, noticing that a group of townspeople had gathered around him and his passenger.  “Why aren’t these people running away?  They—they’re just standing there, watching me, like this is something normal for them to see.  Is it?”

“Maybe it is normal to them,” JT heard as he looked around, but didn’t recognize where the voice had come from.

“Hello,” JT spoke, walking towards the doors to the building. “Can someone help me here?  I need to get a doctor.”

“Don’t worry about the people, just go on into the hospital,” JT heard as he looked around again, still not recognizing the voice or seeing the person the voice belonged to.

“Something doesn’t feel right here,” JT spoke as he looked around again and then stepped forward, his body floating off the ground with his passenger as he floated through the doors to the building, moving through the halls, but didn’t see anyone inside the hospitals.  “Something is very wrong here… I’m not sensing any minds here at all.  Where in the hell are we?”

“Maybe you’re in hell, maybe you’re not,” JT heard, but still didn’t know where the voice came from.

“Who are you?  Where are you?”  JT asked as psychic energy flared around his eyes as Helia disappeared from his arms as he fell to the floor.  “Owww!  What the hell!  Why did I fall like that?”

“Probably because you’re mine now,” JT heard as he looked around and then got up off the floor quickly as he noticed that people were in the room, watching him.

“What in the hell is going on here?  Where did all these people come from?”  JT asked as he jumped into the air, but nothing happened.  “I—I can’t fly.  What in the hell is going on?”

“Have you had enough yet?”  JT heard as he looked around again, still not knowing where the voice came from.

“Okay JT, what’s really going on here?”  JT asked as he rubbed at his head.  “One minute, I’m kicking Ranger’s ass telepathically and the next, I’m trying to escape from him and what was about to happen and now this… Whatever the hell this is.  Where am I and what’s going on?  Whatever this is, something just feels wrong.”

“That’s because something is wrong, you are wrong. People like you shouldn’t be,” JT heard as he looked around and noticed that the people that watched him before had changed and looked like ancient beings.

“I—I must be losing my mind here,” JT stated as he shook his head as he turned away from the beings near him.

“Maybe you are losing your mind,” JT heard the voice again as he shook his head.

“Asaya Masalli Magottai!  Star Power Change!”  JT screamed out as his body glowed brightly as his body floated into the air, shining brightly as his image shifted quickly, revealing a new set of clothes as what looked like angel wings appeared and then disappeared quickly as he floated back down to the floor.  “It seems someone is trying to play some mind games with me.  That’s my arena and things are about to change!”

Elsewhere

“Are you fucking crazy?”  Brian asked as he looked at Tara as if she were crazy.  “Where in the hell is he?  Did you two just leave without him?  What in the hell is wrong with you two?  I thought you were his friends!”

“Calm down Chase,” Tara spoke with a sigh as she shook her head.

“Yeah man, cool it,” Darren stated as Brian looked over at him and then shook his head.

“How dare you tell me to calm down!”  Brian screamed as he threw up his hand.  “You left him back there with those men!  They—they could’ve killed him by now!”

“I don’t think anyone killed JT,” Tara stated with a frown.  “Besides, we both saw him leave with the woman.”

“Yeah right, now I think you’re lying!”  Brian snapped as he turned his back to Tara.  “If he left, he would be here right now!”

“Did we really see him leave Darling?”  Darren asked as he looked at Tara.  “Did he really leave or is he still back there?  Did he teleport away or did he use his powers to camouflage himself, like he did that time when he got you two into trouble, remember?”

“I—I don’t know what he did,” Tara replied, still frowning.  “If he’s still back there, don’t you think he would’ve told somebody by now?  Don’t you think we would’ve gotten some kind of sign like lightning or bodies being thrown out the building or something…”

“He’s probably unconscious or something and can’t tell anybody anything!  You people are supposed to be his friends damn it!  It seems like I’m the only one that truly cares about him around here!”  Brian screamed as he shook his head as the tears streamed down his face.  “You guys are real fucking losers!”

“Being that I’m a bit worried and concerned, I’m going to let you get away with that, without kicking your ass for what you just said,” Tara stated as she glared at Brian.

“You would have to catch me first,” Brian said as he displayed the middle finger to Tara as a strange phenomenon appeared as JT and Helia stepped from the portal.

“JT!”  Brian screamed as he moved quickly over to JT, hugging him and then kissing his cheek.  “You’re alive and okay.”

“Yeah, I’m alive and okay,” JT replied as he looked at Brian strangely.

“Sorry,” Brian said as he averted his eyes and moved away from JT quickly.

“What’s going on Malevolent?  Are you okay?”  Darren asked as he walked over to where JT and Helia stood.

“It seems Ranger tried to pull a mind trick on me,” JT stated as he shook his head.  “He tried to use one of my own tricks against me.  I caught on to what was going on and broke free before I thought I was losing my mind.”

“We don’t need you losing your mind J,” Tara stated as she walked over and patted him on the back.  “Is she cool and clear?”

“She’s clear, but I don’t know about cool,” JT replied as he placed Helia’s body down on the ground.  “It’s time to get that collar off of her.”

“How are you going to get it off?”  Darren asked as he looked at JT strangely.

“Simple,” JT replied as he pointed his finger at the collar as a strange phenomenon surrounded the collar and then it was gone.

“J, did you morph her powers?”  Tara asked as JT smiled and then nodded his head.  “See, I told you that your powers just didn’t up and dissolve.”

“Yeah you told me that, but I think it’s time we made our exit,” JT stated as he looked over at Brian and then over to Darren.  “Are we ready to leave here?”

“As ready as I’ll ever be,” Brian replied with a smile as JT sighed and then raised his hand as the five of them disappeared.

Bensonhurst, NY — The Home of Darren and Tara James — The Living Room

(<SPLINGKKK>)

“Damn, it’s about time you guys showed up.  Where have you guys been?”  Jennifer asked as JT and his passenger appeared in the room.  “Who’s the newbie?”

“She’s Helia Stroyer, she was one of General Ranger’s prisoners,” JT replied as he walked passed Jennifer as she grabbed his hand, stopping him from walking.

“Is she safe to be around us?  Is she safe to be here?”  Jennifer asked.

“Yes, she’s safe Jen,” JT replied with a frown.  “I scanned her mind before I even decided to bring her with us.”

“What about the other prisoners?  Do you know where they are?” Jennifer asked as she looked at JT closely.

“We’re going to find her Jen,” JT stated as his eyes glowed.

“Your eyes are glowing.  Is there something wrong JT?”  Jennifer asked as JT stepped back away from her.

“I—I must go,” JT stated as he turned around quickly and then vanished from the room.

“What in the hell… That was totally new,” Jennifer stated as she looked around at the others.  “I’ve never seen him leave like that before.”

“I wonder where he went this time,” Tara stated as she looked at Darren and then walked passed Jennifer.  “I’m hungry, anybody want anything?”

“Hey guys, I—I want to say something,” Brian announced as he moved in front of Tara, stopping her from going into the other room.

“What is it Brian?”  Tara asked as he looked down.

“I—I’m sorry for how I acted back there,” Brian replied as he looked up at Tara with a sad look on his face.

“It’s okay for now,” Tara stated with a small smile.  “Just don’t let it happen again.”

“I—I’ll try not to let it happen again.  Sometimes I let my emotions get the better of me,” Brian spoke as he looked down again.  “Sometimes I see things that aren’t really there.  Just goes to show that I tend to place hope where hope shouldn’t be placed.  Just another lesson I’ve learned.”

“Brian…” Tara stated as Darren grabbed her by the hand and then pulled her on into the kitchen.  “Darren, what’s gotten into you?”

“Darling, I know where that conversation was headed and I say you just need to let it go,” Darren stated as he looked Tara in the face.  “That young man is in love and…”

“And JT isn’t reciprocating,” Tara stated with a sigh.

“That’s the problem,” Darren stated with a frown.  “Brian is looking for an instant love and I fear he’s not going to find it where he wants to.  JT is a very cold man and Brian is trying start a fire that doesn’t have a spark…”

“Maybe he has a reason for being cold, I wouldn’t know.  I haven’t spoken or seen him in a very long time.  I don’t know what his life has been like since he left the team so long ago.  Neither of us know what he’s been through, so we can’t make judgments about him being cold or whatever.  Since I’ve known JT, he’s been one to keep his heart protected first.  When we were kids, his heart was broken by one that he truly loved and that hurt hardened him.  Since then, he keeps his mind focused on the tasks at hand.”

“There are other things to consider besides just the task at hand,” Darren stated as Tara just shook her head.

“Well for now, we’re just going to let JT and Brian handle their issues and we’ll work on the ones we have,” Tara stated as Darren raised an eye at her.  “Yes, we have issues, like you thinking I was the one that busted the door or you hating on JT the way you have been.”

“Come on Darling,” Darren stated as Tara turned around and walked over to the refrigerator.  “Baby, please I was only…”

“When you’ve made amends for your actions, I’ll let you know,” Tara stated with a small smile as she pulled items from the refrigerator to prepare for a quick meal.

Washington, D.C. — The Pentagon — A Secret Restrictive Area

General Ranger’s POV

Damn it all to hell!  This can’t be happening again!  I can’t believe he was able to get away like that!  How am I going to explain this failure to the council?  Hell, they’ve been keeping an eye on my progress with the program and they’re not going to like this one bit.  With the loss of Stroyer, they’ll surely try to replace me with someone else.  I can’t let them do that.  I’ve invested too much of my life, my money and my time on working with this program.  I have to get him back at all costs.

With the way things happened with Stroyer this evening, he shouldn’t have been able to get near her with that collar on and he shouldn’t have been able to touch me, being that the same technology in the collar is built into my armor.  How was it that he was still able to use his psychic powers?  The power dampeners were all on and he kept going as if they were not present.  He was able to invade my mind without even breaking a sweat.  I was told that the dampeners would make my mind impenetrable to all psychics, but that wasn’t the case.  It seems the designer of the dampener and my armor needs to scrap this design and start again.

With all that’s happened over the past few months, I have to catch this black man.  It seems everything I throw at him, something else happens so he’s able to escape me.  I can’t let him escape me again.  I have to capture him so we can discover what gives him his power.  His power is the key to all the other powers that I’ve seen.  Is it his mind that is the key or is there another answer?  Whatever the case, the answers lies within his body and my goal is to catch him so I can gain those answers.

“He has Stroyer for right now, that may work to my advantage in getting him back to me,” I said under my breath as I walked into the area as the men there saluted.  “Cadet, I need a squad of twenty men for a level seven assignment.”

“Yes sir,” the cadet replied as he saluted and then walked over to a computer terminal to handle my request.

I’m going to set up this new squad and then I’m going to make sure they are heavily trained in everything I can throw at them.  Before I go after that black man again, I’m going to be sure that my men can take him down.  I’m not going up against him unprepared.  He will be mine again and once that happens, I’ll know his secrets, all of them.

To Be Continued…