After The Glitter Fades – Chapter 18

Chapter 18 — A Lifetime of Love (Season Finale)

Jun 4, 2004 – Toronto, Ontario, Canada – Hotel Victoria – JT and Justin’s Hotel Room

Justin’s POV

Hot damn!  Today’s the big day!  Finally, it’s the day that I’ll be marrying the man that I love so very much.  Today is the start of a new life for the both of us.  After today, there won’t be him and me, there would just be an us.  Just the thought of that makes me feel all tingly inside.

With all the drama that’s taken place the last couple of days, this day better go off without a damn hitch or I’ll be handing out an ass-whooping to the responsible parties.  Speaking of drama, I wonder how Lance is doing.  When I last saw him, he was rather upset about our talk.  I know I caused some drama in the past, but I thought he would’ve understood the way I saw things back then.  With his reaction to things, I guess he didn’t.  Thinking back to the way I was and the way I am now, I acted like a little prick back then.  Maybe he has a right to be pissed off at me. 

Regardless of the past, I want this day to be a good day for all in attendance.  I just hope no one does anything to cause more drama for JT.  I hope his parents can be civil and not cause a big scene… Especially like the one they caused yesterday that lasted almost all day, that kept us from having our wedding rehearsal.  I’m glad that is over for now, but I have a sinking feeling that it will come back to haunt us at some point.

It’s early morning and I can’t get over the sight of him and his son sleeping.  Just look at the two of them.  They look so peaceful, lying in bed, cuddled up like that.  Today is the day that both of them become an official part of my life.  He’ll be my husband and Caleb will be my step-son.  Am I really ready for this?  Hell yes, I’m ready for this.

“Good morning baby,” I said, leaning over Caleb to kiss JT’s cheek.

“Morning Justin,” he replied, yawning as he touched my nose with his.  “What time is it?”

“It’s morning time baby,” I replied as he raised an eye at me.  “Okay, it’s a little after eight baby.”

“Grrrrr,” he groaned.  “Why are we up so early?”

“Because we have things to do today,” I replied as he cut his eyes at me and then pulled the covers up over his head.  “Baby, we have a lot of things to do today.  We wouldn’t have a lot of things to do, if we had done those things yesterday, like we were supposed to.”

“Don’t start Justin,” he replied as I pulled the covers back and kissed the top of his head.

“I’m not trying to start anything baby… I’m just stating a general fact,” I said as he shook his head and then pulled the covers back over his head.

“Justin, we should be asleep right now,” he whined as I touched the top of his head.  “The ceremony isn’t until after lunch.  We have plenty of time to get some more sleep… Emphasis on more sleep.”

“Actually we don’t,” I said, pulling the covers away from him as he lay there, hitting the bed, waking Caleb up in the process.  “See what you…”

“Hey Justin,” Caleb spoke, yawning as he stretched his arms over his head and then turned his head to look at his father.  “Hey Daddy.”

“Hello Caleb,” JT replied as he leaned in and kissed the top of Caleb’s head.

Okay, the TV isn’t on, so what is that noise?  It sounds like someone is arguing out in the hallway.  Who could that be?  I’m not recognizing any voices, so I don’t have any choice but to get up to go see who it is.

“Oh, what in gay…” JT said as I placed my hand over his mouth, so he wouldn’t say what he was going to say in front of Caleb.

“I’ll go see,” I said, sliding out of bed, grabbing my robe as I slipped on my slippers and then walked towards the door as I could distinctly make out the voices I heard.

Oh God, that sounds like Chris.  What in the hell is he doing here?  How did he even know we were here?  How in the hell did he know we were here in Canada?  Did Lance or Joey tell him?  Oh this shit is just great.  I don’t have time for any of his special kind of madness.  I have to do something quick before he does something to set JT off and today will be ruined for the both of us.

Turning around, I saw that JT and Caleb were both asleep again.  Dang, I guess he’s determined to get more sleep, regardless if we have things that need to be taken care of.  Sighing, I walked to the door, opened it quickly and then stepped outside to see Chris with a few security guys.  Apparently, they were keeping him at bay.  If I hadn’t opened the door just now, maybe he wouldn’t have known which room we were in.  Then again, I know Chris and he probably would’ve knocked on each and every door in this damn hotel until he found me.

“What’s with all the noise out here?”  I asked as Chris and the security guys stopped talking and then looked at me.

“There you are,” Chris said as he walked over to where I stood as I closed the door behind me, not wanting him to disturb JT and Caleb’s sleep.

“Yeah, here I is,” I said as he looked at me strangely.  “What is it that you want Chris?”

“You,” he replied as I shook my head.

“Sorry, I’m not available for you and your craziness,” I replied as he shook his head.

“Lynda isn’t happy right now and you running off to Canada, the way you have, wasn’t the best thing for you to do,” he said as I just looked at him like he hadn’t said anything.  “Why in the hell are you here?”

“That’s my business Chris and not yours,” I said as he shook his head.  “The big question is, why are you here Chris?”

“I’m here to take you back home,” he stated as I shook my head.

“Sorry, I’m not going anywhere with you,” I replied, waving one of the security guys over.  “Look Steve, could you guys kindly get him out of here?”

“Sure thing Justin,” Steve, the security guy replied as Chris moved back quickly, avoiding the security guy near him that was about to grab him.

“I’m not going anywhere without you with me Justin,” Chris stated as he looked at me sternly.  “Lynda wants you back home.  Remember, you have commitments and obligations to honor.”

“Right now, my obligations are right here,” I said as he shook his head.

“Damn it Justin, you’re ruining your career,” he said, throwing his hands up.  “Is this what you want?  Are you ready to throw your career away for—for some damn nigger, that’s going to up and leave you again, like he did the last time?  Is that what you want Justin?  Do you want to get your heart broken by this guy and end up trying to kill yourself again?  Is that what you really want Justin?  Is it?”

“Shut the hell up Chris!”  I snapped, certain that would get the attention of everyone staying on the floor and alert them to what was going on out here.  “Just go away and leave me alone damn it.”

“I told you Justin, I’m not leaving here without you,” he said as I shook my head.

“That’s where you’re wrong,” I said, motioning with my hand as Steve and a few of the others moved towards him.  “Get him out of here.  I don’t care how you guys have to do it either.  Get him out of here, I don’t care if you have to beat him up.”

“I’ll just come back Justin,” he said as I sighed.

“Why can’t you get it through your head Chris?  I’m not going anywhere with you, ever.  There will never, ever be an ‘us’.  You need to give that little fantasy that you have playing in your head a rest and move on with your life.  You’ll never have me.  The person that has me, is right in there, behind that door and that’s not you,” I said as I heard the door open behind me as he glared at me, shaking his head.

“Justin, is everything okay out here?”  I heard JT’s voice behind me as he moved in close and then wrapped his arms around my waist from behind as Chris’ eyes widened.  “Keller.”

“So, you’re willing to just throw your life away for this damn porch monkey,” Chris said as I shook my head.  “Fine, have it your damn way.  If you marry that nigger like you plan to, your career will be over before sundown.”

“If that’s the case, so be it,” I said, motioning for the security guys to get him away from me… us.

After Lunch – Toronto Botanical Gardens

Nikki’s POV

Damn it, J’s going to kill me.

That’s the only thing I could think about as we pulled into the parking lot of the Toronto Botanical Gardens.  It’s been about a good week or two since we’ve seen or spoken to each other.  And he still doesn’t know about Summer.  So, I know he’s going to flip his shit when he sees her.  Smiling, I peek in the back seat at my little doll.  So far, Lizzie’s been a little angel.  No major tantrums during the flight.  She just laid her head on Josh’s shoulder and slept most of the way here.  The was totally good, because my nerves wouldn’t have been able to take it.

“Are you okay over there Nikki?”  Josh softly asked.

I wrinkle my nose and smile at him.  He’s been a real trooper these past few weeks.  Summer didn’t exactly take to having a Daddy so well at first.  She was downright rude to him.  The fact that Momma was encouraging her behavior didn’t help matters either.  It got to the point where I had no choice but to take Elizabeth to his house in order to give them time to start bonding.

Momma was furious at first.  She called me nearly every night to fuss.  But eventually she got over it, I hope.  Summer is Joshua’s child.  He has every right to be in her life.  That him being in her life meant he has to be in my life too was just a bonus.

“I’m fine babe.  I’m just worried about how JT’s going to react to meeting the doll,” I said as different images of him going off the deep end flashed through my mind.

“Don’t worry babe, he’ll be fine,” he softly said.  “He’s your best friend, right?  The worse he’ll do is bitch about you not telling him right away.  If anybody has a right to be mad, it’s me.  But I’m not. I’m just happy to have both of my ladies in my life.”

I can’t help grinning when he calls me his lady.  He’s done everything he can to convince me that he’s back in my life to stay.  And I believe him.  He’s taken to being a daddy like a duck to water.  He cooks for Summer and he’s great about disciplining her.  He’s taken to calling her Lizzie, which I think she likes.  Momma and I still call her Summer though.  I couldn’t have asked for a better father for my baby.  And she’s become her father’s little shadow.  He has to take her everywhere with him.  I tease him all the time that she likes him more than she likes me now.

Once Josh parked, we took the munchkin out of her car seat.  She insists on walking.  I don’t even try to argue with her.  The more she walks, the easier she’ll be to put to bed tonight.  As we make our way to the wedding staging area, we run into Joey first.  Lizzie hides behind my leg when Josh introduces them.  She only comes out when Joey’s niece Maddie comes over to say hello.  Joe kisses me, then hugs me hard enough to bruise my ribs.

“I missed you too, Joe.  But I can’t breathe!”  I wheeze.  He puts me down and laughs.  “Which way is JT’s tent?  I need to talk to him before the wedding starts.”

“Sure, lady,” he says with a grin as he points to the back of the garden.  “He’s in the one on the right.”

We thank him then head back.  Summer—erm, I mean Lizzie—quickly becomes a star attraction with the guys of the band.  Just the sight of Chris had my blood pressure rising. How did they put up with that fool for so long?  Before I could make it to JT’s tent, Chris tried to stop me before Josh steps in.  After that, he went on about his business to go nurse his bruised ego.

At the opening to JT’s tent I pause for a moment to calm down.  This is it.  Josh kisses me, his eyes twinkling with amusement.

“Honey, you act like you’re on trial.  It’s just JT.  Relax already,” he says with a comforting smile.

“You’re right.  Come on.  Let’s get this over with before I change my mind,” I say as the thought of that vein in JT’s forehead exploding popped back into my mind as I wanted to laugh, but I didn’t.

When we walk inside, JT is adjusting his tie for what I’m pretty sure is the ten thousandth time today.  He’s muttering under his breath and singing.  I clear my throat to get his attention.  He whips around, grinning from ear to ear.

“Girl, you made it!  I wasn’t sure if you were coming or not!  Where the hell have you been?  I’ve been calling and calling.  Nobody knew where you disappeared to,” he said as I shook my head.

I giggle at his speed speak.  He’s a nervous wreck, poor thing.  I let go of Josh’s hand to give him a great big hug.  I’ve missed his dramatic ass something fierce.

“Well, at first I went home to Atlanta to pick up Summer,” I begin, ignoring his confused look.  “After that, she and I went to spend some time with Josh.  I wanted to let them get to know each other for a while without Momma interfering.  You know how she is about Josh…”

“Nikki, who is Summer?”  JT asks in total confusion.

“We just got here a little while ago,” I continue, totally ignoring him.  I hear Josh chuckling behind me.  I shoot him a look of veiled annoyance.  “This place is beautiful, by the way.  It’s perfect for a wedding.”

“Nikki, who is Summer?”  JT asks just a little louder.  But I’m still chattering away.

“So, anyway, I know Momma’s here,” I state while looking around.  “Has she been in here to see you yet?  She told me she’s going to sing for you guys, so I told her I’d…”

“Nicole Knotts, I know you hear me!  Who in the hell is Summer?”  JT said a bit louder this time as I stopped, knowing what was coming.

“Bad word… nono!”  My baby pipes up from her perch in Josh’s arms.  JT looks at her, his eyes widening.  “No tay bad word!”

“Nikki… Who—who’s child is she?”  He asks, his eyes still wide.

“She’s mine… Ours actually,” I reply, beckoning Josh over to me.  “John Poole, I’d like you to meet Summer Elizabeth Charles.  Summer, this is mama’s friend JT.  Can you say hi?”

Summer waves, her dimples deepening.

“Hiiii,” she says with a huge smile.  “No tay bad word!”

“I—I’m so sorry, Sweetie,” JT says as he looked suitably apologetic.  “I promise not to say bad words anymore.  Okay?”

“Kay,” my baby replies softly.

Apology accepted, I suppose. I glance at my phone then sigh.

“Damn, I better go find my momma,” I tell JT.  We share a long, suffering look.  Yeah, he knows Gladys.  “You know she’ll lose her mind if she thinks I’m avoiding her.  J, I’ll see you in a little while.”

He nods, his eyes never leaving my daughter.  Yeah, it’s still sinking in.  And I know I haven’t heard the last of his big mouth about this either.

An Hour Later – The Garden Front

“Good afternoon Mr. Poole,” Brett Hammond spoke, walking up behind JT.  “Are you ready for your big day?”

“As ready as I’m ever going to be,” JT replied, looking down at the ground.

“That response has a touch of doubt.  Are you sure you’re ready for this?”  Brett asked, placing a hand on JT’s shoulder.

“My heart feels I’m ready for this, but I think my mind is a bit scared,” JT replied, looking up at the man.

“Being scared is something to be expected on one’s wedding day,” Brett stated with a smile.  “You’re not the first man to have the jitters on their big day.”

“I’m sure I’m not,” JT replied as he looked down again.  “I just wish there wasn’t so much turmoil going on in my life right now.”

“Hopefully that turmoil will disappear once there’s a melding of your hearts,” Brett stated as JT turned and looked at him and then shook his head.

“Sorry sir, but the turmoil going on in my life has nothing to do with my heart or Justin’s,” JT stated with a frown on his face.

“So, it’s a matter of external indifference?”  Brett said as JT nodded his head.  “Then that means you two would need to do what you could to not let that negatively influence your relationship.”

“That’s the problem sir,” JT stated, sighing as Brett squeezed his shoulder.  “Regardless of how much Justin and I love each other, there will always be an outside factor that causes problems for the two of us.  Rather it be my family or his, our careers or things from our past, drama will always be somewhere around the corner, looming over us.”

“Drama doesn’t always have to be around the corner Mr. Poole,” Brett stated as he patted JT’s shoulder.  “Moving forward is a way of getting past all of that negativity that others create.”

“I—I don’t know about that,” JT stated, looking down again.

“Once others see that you and Justin aren’t willing to put much stock into the unnecessary drama they are trying to produce, it would more than likely end,” Brett said as JT looked at him with a smile.

“Maybe you’re right about that,” JT stated as he sighed and then smiled again.

“Are you ready to be united with the man you love?”  Brett asked, looking around.  “It’s almost that time.”

“Yes—yes I am,” JT replied as Josh Raymond walked up to him.

“Hi there,” Josh spoke, extending his hand to Brett and then smiling at JT.  “I’m Joshua Raymond.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you Mr. Raymond,” Brett said as he looked at Josh closely.  “You have a striking resemblance to Mr. Poole here.  Are you two related?”

“Yes,” JT replied, looking down.  “We’re twins.”

“Twins,” Brett responded, looking at Josh again and then back to JT.  “Well that’s a blessing all in its own way.  So, are you here for the wedding?”

“I’m here to see my brother,” Josh stated with a small smile.

“Well I’ll leave you two, to it and I’ll wait for you Mr. Poole at the designated area,” Brett said as he patted JT’s shoulder and then walked away.

“I take it James told you where to find me,” JT stated, looking at Josh.

“Yes,” Josh replied, looking down.  “I—I spoke to him a few minutes ago.  He—he would really like to be here for the wedding.”

“Not going to happen for him or Vanessa,” JT stated, shaking his head.  “The both of them are not welcomed here today.”

“So, you’ve cut both of them from your life, completely?”  Josh asked with a frown on his face.  “Why would you do something like that?”

“Lies,” JT replied as he looked down.  “Look man, I don’t even know you.  From what I’ve been led to believe for so long, you’re dead and…”

“James told me that Vanessa is the cause of the world believing me to be dead,” Josh stated, sighing as he looked down also.  “She…”

“That’s not the truth,” JT stated, looking over at Josh.  “Mother is responsible for some terrible things, but I don’t believe she’s responsible for the world believing you to be dead.”

“Then who is?”  Josh asked, looking at JT closely.

“Daniel Graves,” JT replied, looking up to see that Mo’ette had walked into the area along with Nikki and Josh.

“Who is Daniel Graves?”  Josh asked, looking at JT strangely.

“We’ll talk about that one day, a day when I’m not about to get married and said subject isn’t so touchy.  We’ll have a sit down and talk all about the person and the issues that he and mother created,” JT stated as he looked at Josh and then frowned.  “It’s that time.  You—you and your foster brother are welcomed to join me over…”

“Do you want me to join you John?”  Josh nervously asked as he looked down, avoiding looking at JT.  “I know we don’t know each other and all…”

“You are my brother,” JT stated, looking at Josh as he placed a hand on his shoulder.  “It would be nice to have some family around at my big day.”

“Why aren’t you allowing James and Vanessa to be around?” Josh asked, looking at JT strangely.

“I’m not allowing them to be around because I want my big day to go off without any problems.  I’m keeping them away to keep the peace in my heart and soul.  I want to remember this day as a great day, not a bad one,” JT stated as he shook his head.

“But—but they are our parents John,” Josh stated as JT looked at him and then shook his head again.

“Parents or not, they’ve done nothing good for me as of late,” JT stated as a tear rolled down his cheek.  “Today, I’m going to marry the man that I love, a man that loves me and I’m moving forward with my life.  My moving forward doesn’t have anything to do with them, only my husband and my son.”

“I—I hope you will include me in your life too,” Josh said, looking down as JT placed his hand on his shoulder again.

“We just found each other, I can’t leave you out by the way side of things,” JT stated, pulling Josh close as he hugged him.  “Besides, I’m not going to do to you, the things that Vanessa and James would more than likely do to you.”

“Which is?”  Josh said, looking at JT.

“They’ll cause great turmoil in your life, the same as they did to mine,” JT stated, sniffling.

“John, I—I think you should have our parents here.  I—I know James would like to be here.  You getting married is the reason he came here,” Josh stated as he smiled weakly.  “When we talked about you, all he could do was talk about how proud he was of you and that he was happy that you had found someone to make you happy.”

“James said that about me?”  JT asked as Josh nodded his head.  “I—I guess I misjudged him.”

“Maybe you did, I wouldn’t know, but I think you should have your parents here today,” Josh said as he looked at JT closely.  “If you want to cut them out of the rest of your life, that’s fine, but you should have your family around to see this big day.  You may hate it now, but one day in the future, you—you may regret it.”

“You may have a point,” JT said as he hugged Josh again.  “Thanks Josh.”

“You’re welcomed my brother,” Josh said with a small smile.

A Few Minutes Later – The Wedding Venue

James’ POV

I’m glad my boy changed his mind and allowed me to be here at his big day.  I know that if he would’ve gone ahead with his previous plan, he would’ve regretted it in the long run.  A man’s parents should be in attendance to their son’s wedding.

We’re all gathered around to witness this lovely event as the wedding march music starts.  I must say, for a gay wedding, everything looks beautiful.  I actually expected to see a lot of girly things, but yet, that’s something I haven’t seen.  I’m keeping my attention on my boy as he slowly walks down one aisle with Joshua, my other son, while Justin walks down another aisle with his best friend Josh.

“Good afternoon family and friends,” the preacher spoke, stepping up to the podium as the two grooms met in front of the altar and took the other’s hand.

“Hi baby,” I heard Justin say as he looked my boy up and down and then smiled.  “You look amazing baby.”

“You too,” JT responded as Joshua moved to the other side of JT as Josh moved to the other side of Justin.

“We’re gathered here in the presence of these witnesses for the purpose of uniting in matrimony John Poole and Justin Tanner,” the preacher stated as Vanessa walked up next to me with an angry look on her face.

Damn, I wasn’t expecting her to be back on her feet so soon.  I guess she was able to get some medical attention quick.  How did she survive a point-blank shot to the chest like that?  That shot was meant to kill her, but it seems she’s escaped the odds, as always.  What a lucky woman she is.

“The contract of marriage is most solemn and is not to be entered into lightly, but thoughtfully and seriously with a deep realization of its obligations and responsibilities.  Please remember that love, loyalty and understanding are the foundations of a happy and enduring home,” the preacher stated as I looked at Vanessa as she glared at me.

“Vanessa,” I whispered as she cut her eyes at me, looking as if she was ready to fight.

“No other human ties are more tender and no other vows more important than those you are about to pledge to each other here and now,” the preacher stated as I wondered what was going through my boy’s mind right now, at this very moment.

“Do you, John Poole take Justin Tanner to be your mate for life?  Do you promise to love and comfort each other, honor and keep each other in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer, for better or for worse and be faithful to each other as long as you both shall live?”  The preacher asked.

“I do,” my boy replied with a strong smile as the preacher smiled back at him as he turned his gaze to Justin.

“Do you, Justin Tanner take John Poole to be your mate for life?  Do you promise to love and comfort each other, honor and keep each other in sickness and health, for richer and for poorer, for better or for worse and be faithful to each other as long as you both shall live?”  The preacher asked as Justin smiled and then looked at my boy.

“I do,” Justin replied, smiling at the preacher.

“Who has the rings?”  The preacher asked as the wedding march music started up again as everyone turned around to see my grandson.  He walked down the main aisle with a velvet pillow in his hands, which carried two platinum bands atop it.

“Hi Daddy, hi Justin,” the little boy spoke as he stood in between my boy and Justin.

“John, place the ring on his finger and repeat after me,” the preacher said as my boy picked up one of the rings from the pillow and then placed it on Justin’s ring finger.  “I give you this ring as a token and pledge of my constant faith and abiding love.  With this ring, I thee wed.”

“I—I give you this ring as a token and pledge of my constant faith and abiding love.  With this ring, I thee wed,” my boy said as he smiled again.

“Now you Justin, place the ring on John’s finger and repeat after me,” the preacher said as Justin picked up the other ring from the pillow and placed it on my boy’s ring finger.  “I give you this ring as a token and pledge of my constant faith and abiding love.  With this ring, I thee wed.”

“I give you this ring baby as a token and pledge of my constant faith and abiding love for you.  With this ring, I thee wed,” Justin said, smiling at my boy with a bright smile.

“Now that you’ve joined yourselves in matrimony, may you strive all your lives to meet this commitment with the same love and devotion that you now possess,” the preacher stated as I looked over at Vanessa, remembering the day that we stood in front of a preacher and listened to those very words.  “By the virtue of the authority vested in me by the sovereign state, I now pronounce you husbands for life.  You may now greet your husband.”

With that said, my boy and Justin embraced and kissed each other.  The crowd around my boy and his husband erupted in applause as my grandson wrapped his arms around both my boy and Justin’s leg as they continued kissing.

“I now present to you all, John Poole-Tanner and Justin Poole-Tanner,” the preacher announced as everyone continued clapping.

“Hello my boy,” I said, walking up to him and Justin as he looked at me strangely.

“James,” he said as Justin looked at him and then nudged him in the side.  “Okay dang, Dad.”

“I’m so happy for the two of you,” I said as my boy looked down.  “Welcome to the family Justin.”

“Thank you sir,” Justin said as he leaned in close to my boy and then kissed his cheek as he rustled my grandson’s hair as the little boy smiled up at him.  “I’m glad to be a part of your family.”

“Congratulations,” Joshua said as he walked around to where we were and then hugged John and then hugged Justin.

“Daddy, he looks just like you,” my grandson said.

“That’s because he’s your daddy’s twin brother,” Justin said as he knelt down to the little boy and then touched his nose as the little boy giggled as Justin stopped moving and then stood up quickly.

“Justin, are you okay?”  I asked as he looked as though he was looking through me.  “Justin…”

“My parents are here,” Justin stated as he walked away from us.

“Oh God, I think there’s going to be some trouble,” my boy said as he shook his head.  “I wasn’t expecting them to be here.”

“Who’s that?”  I asked.

“Justin’s parents,” my boy replied, kneeling down to my grandson.  “Caleb, this is my daddy, your granddaddy.  Why don’t you stay right here with him for a bit, while I go talk with Justin, okay buddy?”

“Okay Daddy,” my grandson replied as my boy looked at me sternly, motioned with his head down at my grandson, pointed his finger at me as I nodded my head as he walked away.

This is supposed to be a wonderful day for my boy.  With the way things are looking right now, maybe that’s about to change.  I pray for those people sake that they don’t do anything to cause hurt to my boy on his day.

A Few Minutes Previously – A Few Feet Away

“What are you guys doing here?”  Justin asked, approaching his mother and father.

“So, you went ahead and married him,” Lynda, Justin’s mother spoke as she shook her head.  “Are you happy now?”

“Yes, I’m very happy right now,” Justin replied, watching his mother.  “But that doesn’t explain why you guys are here right now.”

“We’re here to stop you from making a big mistake, but it seems we’re a bit too late,” Lynda stated as she looked down and then shook her head.  “I hope you’re happy with what you’ve done here!”

“What is it that I’ve done here?”  Justin asked, looking at his mother closely.

“Is there a problem over here?”  Nikki asked as she and Josh walked over to where Justin and his family were.

“Woman, who in the hell are you?”  Lynda asked, looking at Nikki as if she were crazy.  “Who is this woman Josh?”

“This woman happens to be the love of my life,” Josh replied with a smile as Lynda shook her head with a look of disgust.

“What in the hell is wrong with you two?”  Lynda asked, looking at Justin and then over at Josh.  “Was there a widespread outbreak of jungle fever and nobody told me?”

“Excuse me!”  Nikki snapped, looking at Josh and then at Justin.  “Really bitch?  Really?”

“Lawd,” Justin said as he shook his head.  “I’m not getting into the middle of that.”

“Come on baby, now isn’t the time to…” Josh said as Nikki shook her head.

“Oh yes hell it is, it’s the perfect damn time to put this racist bitch in her place!”  Nikki snapped, pointing her finger in Lynda’s face as Justin’s stepfather stepped back, shook his head and then walked away.  “I told you Josh, I’m not going to tolerate racism around me or our child!”

“She’s not going to tolerate racism around her or your child?  What child?”  Justin asked, looking at Nikki and then at Josh with a confused look on his face.

“But baby, this…” Josh said as Nikki shook her head, interrupting him again.

“But baby nothing!”  Nikki snapped as she got closer to Lynda.  “Now you listen here you throw back, third-world wench from another time… Everybody doesn’t think like you do.  If Justin and Josh want to be with other races, they have that God given right to do so!  You and no other damn person on this planet have a say so in what they do or who they do it with!  You can’t control who they fall in love with, so why don’t you just crawl back into that damn hole you slithered out of and make yourself a nice comfy home because times have changed!”

“Why, I…” Lynda said as Justin shook his head and then stepped in front of Nikki.

“Momma, she’s right,” Justin stated as he looked at Lynda.  “Would you be here, making this big scene if I was with Lance or Joey right now?”

“No, I wouldn’t be here at all,” Lynda stated as Nikki shook her head.

“That’s a damn shame,” Nikki said as she turned around.  “That’s what’s wrong with this damn world… All this damn hatred and for what?  Damn, it’s only love!”

“Nikki, baby calm down,” Josh said as he followed behind her as she walked away.

“I love him Momma and now that we’re married, he’s going to be a very important part of my life.  Either you can be in my life or be out of it, but he’s not going anywhere,” Justin stated as JT walked up behind him.

“Don’t you understand what has happened here today?  You’ve ruined your life and your career Justin,” Lynda stated as she shook her head.

“No Momma, I’ve only enhanced my life,” Justin stated as he smiled when he felt arms around his waist that pulled him close to the body of the man he loves.

“We’ve known each other for a long time Lynda, but I had no idea about this part of you,” JT stated as he rested his chin on Justin’s shoulder.  “I’d always heard the rumors about how cut-throat you could be, but I never believed the things I heard, because of your reputation in the industry…”

“Do you think I care about what you think about my reputation?”  Lynda asked, looking at JT as if he were crazy.

“Well, in that case then, I hope you have a good life Lynda,” JT stated as he moved away from Justin.  “I was hoping that you would be around in our lives, but maybe it’s for the best that you won’t be.”

“No JT, you are the one that won’t be around,” Lynda stated as she walked over to where JT stood, pointing her finger in his face.  “If I have anything to say about things, you won’t be married to my son for long.”

“Okay, if you say so,” JT said as he walked away from her.

“I love you Momma, but I will never forgive you for this,” Justin said with a frown as he turned and walked away from Lynda.

“Boy, don’t you dare walk away from me… Get back here!”  Lynda screamed, throwing her hands up.  “Get back here Justin!”

“Son,” Justin heard as he stopped walking as he looked up to see his stepfather.  “I’m so proud of you.”

“Oh Dad,” Justin said as his stepfather stepped closer and hugged him.  “How—how could she do this to me today?  Why Dad, why can’t she just let me be?”

“As I told you before son, you let me deal with her,” Justin’s stepfather said with a small smile.  “Right now, your only concern should be your husband, the man you love.”

“But she—she’s never going…” Justin said as his stepfather shook his head and placed a finger to his lips.

“No son, you need to be with your husband right now,” Justin’s stepfather said as he motioned with his head in the direction had walked in.

“I—yes I do,” Justin said with a smile as he looked up to see JT watching the two of them.

“Go on son,” Justin’s stepfather said as Justin shook his head.

“Come with me,” Justin requested as he took his stepfather’s hand.

“Okay son,” Justin’s stepfather replied as the two of them walked over to the area where the reception would be held.

An Hour Later

“Hooray for the happy couple,” Paul Hamilton, Justin’s stepfather stated as he held up his glass.

“I would like to toast the happy couple,” Nikki said as she held up her champagne glass.  “May the both of you have nothing but happiness and love in your lives.  Congratulations you two… May you live long and prosper.”

“I second that,” James said as he held up his glass and then smiled at JT and Justin.

“Here here,” Josh said as he clinked his glass with Nikki’s glass as Gladys Knotts stood up.

“Wow, Nikki’s Star Trek™ geeky side came out for a second there,” JT said as he laughed and then smiled at Nikki as she pointed her finger at him.  “Thank you for that nice toast my friend and…”

“John Poole,” Gladys Knotts said as she moved around the table as JT’s expression changed.  “I’m shocked at all I’ve seen here today, but I guess it’s okay with me.”

“Okay,” JT replied as he took a sip from his glass.

“You know, I used to think you were a gigolo, sleeping around with women in every town that you guys visited, but now I know the truth,” Gladys said as she poked JT in the shoulder.  “Why did you hide this from the rest of us for so long?”

“I… Ah… I…”  JT stuttered as Nikki stood up.

“Momma please,” Nikki said as Gladys turned to her, waving a hand at her dismissively.  “That’s none of your business.”

“Hush chile, it is my business,” Gladys said, cutting her eyes at Nikki.  “Here he is, this big time sanga and I thought he was poking…”

“Momma!”  Nikki exclaimed as Gladys rolled her eyes.

“Oh all right now,” Gladys said as she leaned in close, hugged JT and then kissed his cheek.  “Congratulations on your big day.”

“Thank you ma’am,” JT spoke as Gladys moved away from him and walked to the opposite end of the table.

“I’m glad you two are married so we can get the hell away from here,” Mo’ette said as she took a swig from her glass and then placed it on the table.  “I’m ready to go back home.”

“Being that they’re married now, I guess you can go where you want,” Nikki said as she looked over at Mo’ette with a sad expression.

“But before people start leaving, I would like to sing a song for the newlyweds,” Gladys announced as she smiled and then looked at JT and Justin.  “That’s if it’s okay with you two.”

“It’s fine with me,” JT stated with a smile as Gladys nodded her head as Nikki got up and then walked around to where she stood as Nikki motioned for Mo’ette to join them.

“What, I…” Mo’ette protested as Nikki glared at her.  “Fine.”

“Thank you,” Gladys said as she looked over at JT and Justin.  “This song is for you two on your special day.  I Hope You Dance [1]is the title of this ballad I’ll sing for you two with assistance from my lovely daughter and her friend.  Here we go.”

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat
But always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you’ll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances
But they’re worth taking
Lovin’ might be a mistake
But it’s worth the making
Don’t let some hell bent heart
Leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out
Give the heavens above
More than just a passing glance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
(Time is a real and constant motion always)
I hope you dance
(Rolling us along)
I hope you dance
(Tell me who)
I hope you dance
(Wants to look back on their youth and wonder)
(Where those years have gone)

I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance
(Time is a real and constant motion always)
I hope you dance
(Rolling us along)
I hope you dance
(Tell me who)
(Wants to look back on their youth and wonder)
I hope you dance
(Where those years have gone)

(Tell me who)
I hope you dance
(Wants to look back on their youth and wonder)
(Where those years have gone)

“That—that was so sweet,” JT stated as he and others around the table clapped at the performance given by Gladys, Nikki and Mo’ette as Mo’ette shook her head and then walked away with tears in her eyes.

“I hope we dance always baby,” Justin said as he wrapped his arms around JT’s waist and then kissed his lips as Caleb giggled from James’ lap.

“It seems there was a silver lining behind that glitter that faded away,” JT stated as he smiled as he and Justin moved around, dancing to the music that played.

“There sure was baby, there sure was,” Justin replied as he kissed JT’s mouth as people around them clapped and cheered as they continued to dance.

To Be Continued…
When The Glitter Turns Gold

[1] Song Excerpt = I Hope You Dance by Gladys Knight