Category Archives: All That Glitters

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


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.”


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…


After The Glitter Fades – Chapter 3

Chapter 3 — Something in the Milk Ain’t Clean

May 28, 2004 – Philadelphia, PA – The Radisson Plaza Hotel – Mutual Attraction’s Suite – Mo’ette’s Hotel Room

Mo’ette’s POV

I don’t like the feeling, that I’m feeling right now.  It’s been a long time since I’ve actually felt this way.  Please God; please tell me it ain’t so.  I haven’t heard from David since he left here.  Why haven’t I heard from him God?  The minutes… The hours are turning into days and I don’t like it.  What’s going on to keep him from calling me or from answering his damn phone?

“Please God, please tell me what’s going on,” I said aloud as I walked around the room.  “I bet him not calling has something to do with that damn ho on the show with him.”

“Mo!  Mo!  I think you want to come out here!”  I heard Justin’s voice as I stopped my pacing and walked over to the door, opening it to see what he wanted.

“What is it Justin?”  I asked, noticing the strange looks on his and JT’s face as they stood there at the door.  “Well?”

“Ah… Girl, I think you might want to go sit down,” JT said as he and Justin walked into the room, passing me quickly.

“What’s going on guys?”  I asked, looking at both of them like they were crazy.  “Well?”

“Have—have you turned on the TV recently?”  JT asked, looking at me closely.

“What,” I said, wondering what he was trying to get at.

“I asked, have you turned on the TV recently, like any time within the last hour or so?”  He asked, his expression changing to a null one.

“No, I haven’t turned on the TV, why guys?”  I asked.

“Ah, I think you might want to turn on the TV,” he said with a frown on his face.

“Why JT, I’m not in the mood for watching the damn TV right now,” I said as he sighed.  “What’s going on guys, why are you looking like that?”

“I think you might want to watch this,” JT said as Justin turned on the TV in the room and then switched the channel.

“Guys,” I said, stopping when Justin turned to the entertainment channel, showing me what my heart didn’t want to see.  “What in the hell is this?  Is this some kind of joke?”

“No Mo, it’s no joke,” Justin replied with a frown on his face as he looked down.  “That’s him.”

“Get out!”  I snapped as both of them looked at me like I was crazy.  “I said get the hell out!”

“Mo,” JT said as I shook my head, pointing at the door.  I’m in no damn mood for talking right now.  Both of them need to get the hell out of here.

“Mo, if you want to talk about this, you know where to find us,” JT said as he looked down again as he and Justin both walked towards the door.  “Mo, don’t…”

“Just go,” I said, turning my back to the both of them as I walked to the windows in the room.

Oh God, what in the hell is going on?  Who is that damn woman?  Is this some kind of joke or publicity scheme for that damn show he’s supposed to be working on or what?  Why God, why is this happening to me?  I—I thought he loved me.  Did he really love me or was this just some game to him?  I—I always had reservations about things between us and now I guess I have a big reason why.

I’ve loved him for a long time.  David was a part of my life that I had locked away from myself, because I felt I didn’t deserve it.  Now, that this has happened, maybe I didn’t deserve it.  That’s why I left the spotlight so long ago.  But with this happening, I don’t know what’s going to happen to me now.  All I can do is cry…

[1]I heard church bells ringing
I heard a choir singing
I saw my love walk down the aisle
On her finger he placed a ring
Oh, I saw them holding hands
She was standing there with my man
I heard them promise “Till death do us part”
Each word was a pain in my heart

All I could do, all I could do was cry (cry, cry, cry)
All I could do was cry (cry, cry, cry)
I was losing the man that I loved
And all I could do was cry (cry, cry, cry)

Yeah and now the wedding’s over
Rice, rice has been thrown over their heads
For them life has just begun
But mine is at an end

All, all I could do, all I could do was cry (cry, cry, cry)
All I could do was cry (cry, cry, cry)
I was losing the man that I loved (cry, cry, cry)
And all I could do was cry (cry, cry, cry)

Finishing the song, someone knocked on the door again.  Sighing, I walked over to the door to see Jarrod standing there with a smile on his face.  What in the hell does this fucker want?

“What is it Jarrod?”  I asked as he walked into the room, passing me as he clapped his hands.  What is it with these damn men today?  Do any of them know how to wait until they are invited into a damn room?

“I see JT made a good decision, yet again,” he said, smiling at me.

“What are you going on about Jarrod?”  I asked, crossing my arms across my chest.  “What decision did he make, that has you here, talking to me right now?”

“The decision of having you in the group,” he replied as his smile grew.  “I heard you singing just now and I recorded it.  It seems you still got it Mo’ette.”

“What’s your point here Jarrod?”  I asked.

“The point is, you’re going to release that song as a comeback single for yourself Mo’ette,” he said, smiling widely.  “I was rude before, but at this point, welcome to ‘Mutual Attraction’ and by all means, keep singing songs like that.”

“I’m so not in the mood for this right now,” I said, pointing at the door.  “Get out Jarrod.”

“Okay, I’ll get out right now, but I’ll be back later on,” he said as he turned and then stopped before he got to the door.  “I expect you to be in Jacksonville with the others soon.  By the way, have you seen Nikki and the others?  I need to talk to…”

“Do I look like their keeper?”  I asked as his eyes widened a bit as he stepped back away from me.

“Ah…” he said as I shook my head, interrupting him.

“Get the hell out of here Jarrod!” I snapped as he walked on out of the room, closing the door behind him.

An Hour Later – The Hotel Lobby

“Hello, could you tell me what room Justin Tanner is in?”  Chris Keller, Justin’s past band mate asked of the woman behind the counter.

“Is Mr. Tanner expecting you?”  The woman asked, looking at the man closely as she typed something on the computer.

“Ah, yeah he is,” Chris replied with a sly smile on his face.  “Just let him know that Chris Keller is here.”

“Hold on just a moment sir,” the woman stated as she picked up the phone, pressed a button and then waited a few seconds as she spoke again.  “Hi, there’s a Mr. Keller down here in the lobby for Mr. Tanner.  Why yes sir, I’ll let him know.  Thank you.”

“Well,” Chris said, looking at the woman closely.

“I’m sorry sir, but Mr. Tanner isn’t available to see you right now,” the woman responded with a neutral smile as Chris looked at her strangely and then shook his head.

“What do you mean he’s not available to see me right now?”  Chris asked, getting closer to the counter.  “I’m here to see him.”

“I’m sorry sir, I was informed that he’s not available right now,” the woman stated as Chris slammed his hand down on the counter, scaring her.  “Sir…”

“I can’t fucking believe this,” Chris said as the woman motioned with her head as a security guard walked towards the counter.  “This is just like him, doing something like… Okay, what’s going on here?”

“Excuse me, is there a problem here?”  The security guard asked, looking at Chris closely.

“Yeah there is guy.  Why are you here, bothering me right now?”  Chris asked, looking up at the man.

“April, is there a problem here?”  The security guard asked.

“Maybe, I don’t know.  Is there a problem here Mr. Keller?”  The woman asked, looking at Chris with a strange look on her face.

“No, there isn’t a problem here,” Chris replied as he glared at the woman, turned away and then walked away from the counter, spotting Justin and JT as they walked in the opposite direction.  “You!”

“Oh great,” Justin said as he looked up to see Chris.  “What in the hell is he doing here?”

“Who are you talking about?”  JT asked, looking around, following Justin’s line of vision.  “Ah, another one of your friends… I guess that reunion is going to kick off after all.”

“Don’t start baby,” Justin replied, sighing.  “I wonder what the hell he wants.”

“How did he know you were even here?”  JT asked.

“Josh probably told him,” Justin replied, sighing again.  “Or Mom told him, probably to use him to get on my nerves.”

“It seems moms are good at doing that sort of thing,” JT said as Chris stepped in front of them.

“What’re you doing here?  What in the hell do you want Chris?”  Justin asked, looking at Chris strangely.

“I’m here because I would like to know what’s gotten into you.  Being that you’re here with him, don’t answer that question,” Chris said as he shook his head.  “It’s apparent that he’s gotten into you, again.”

“Watch your fucking mouth Chris!”  Justin snapped, pointing his finger at Chris.

“When you grow a pair, then you can tell me what to fucking do,” Chris said, pointing his finger back at Justin.  “What in the hell are you doing here, with him of all people?  Is this what it’s come to?  You sneaking around with him, bringing your fucking career down!  What about the rest of us?”

“Yep, it’s happened, you’ve lost your fucking mind,” Justin said as he shook his head.  “You can’t stand here and try to insult me and then want to turn around and question me about my damn actions!”

“Why in the hell are you with him?  What happened to… What happened to what’s her name?”  Chris asked, looking over at JT, smiling slyly.  “Didn’t he break your heart?  Isn’t he the one that caused you to want to kill yourself so long ago?”

“Shut up!”  Justin screamed as JT’s eyes widened as a security guard walked towards them.

“Mr. Poole, Mr. Tanner, is there a problem here?”  The security guard asked, looking at Chris with a mean look on his face.

“Yes, there’s a problem here,” Justin replied as he turned away from the security guard and Chris as he walked down the corridor quickly.

“Justin,” JT called after him.  “Justin, come back here.”

“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to leave here,” the security guard stated as he touched Chris’ shoulder, directing him towards the main doors.

Chris’ POV

What the fuck is wrong with him?  I can’t believe he’s here with that black man.  When Lynda called and said that he was actually here, I didn’t know what to think.  Now that I’ve seen things with my own two eyes, I wonder if he’s lost his damn mind or what.  This isn’t just some phase he’s going through like she said, he really has a thing for that man, for him to be doing all the things he’s done out in the open, the way he has.

I guess the spotlight finally got to him and made him flip his damn lid.  What in the hell was he thinking, being with that damn porch monkey?  If I’d known a long time ago that he and Josh liked niggers so much, I never would’ve joined them.

“So, what am I going to do now?”  I asked aloud, walking back to the rental car.  “I came here to stop Justin from making a big mistake, but it seems I’m too late; he’s already made the big mistake.”

Sighing, I pulled out my cell phone and dialed Lynda’s number.  Seeing as I didn’t get anywhere with Justin, she’s not going to be happy with what I have to tell her.  I wonder what it is that Justin and Josh see in those ugly ass black people anyway, to make them turn against their own race and lay with them the way are.  Black people are only good for one thing, working and nothing more than that.

“Hello,” I heard Lynda’s voice.

“Hi Lynda,” I spoke, not really knowing what to actually say to her.

“Well hello Christopher,” she responded, sounding like she wasn’t happy to hear from me.  “Did you get Justin to see the error of his ways?”

“No,” was all I could say.  “He basically screamed at me and then had a security guy toss me out of the hotel.”

“He did what?  How dare he,” she said as I shook my head.  “It seems things have gone further than I could’ve possibly imagined.”

“I don’t know what’s going through his mind, but I think this is the real deal with him Lynda.  He and that man are together and I don’t think there’s any turning back for him.  They were actually kissing and hugging, like long lost lovers, out in the open, in front of the paparazzi, like they didn’t even care that people were watching,” I explained as she sighed.

“He’s ruining his career,” she said as I nodded my head.

“It’s not just his career Lynda, but the rest of ours.  If we have any hope of getting back together as a band, he can’t be with that man,” I said, thinking about all the negative things people would say about the band.  “If he doesn’t stop what he’s doing, we have no hope of having a reunion.  His actions now can’t be undone.”

“I know this already Christopher,” she responded as I could visualize the gears turning in her head.  “I’m going to give it another try.  I hear that the black guy’s band is supposed to be heading to Jacksonville.  I’ll head there and try to talk with Justin again.”

“In that case, I’ll be there, waiting for your arrival,” I said with a smile.  “When they arrive, I’ll make another play for Justin and see what I can get started.”

“If he’s going to be with a man, I would rather him be with you, than be with that black man,” she said as I saw some paparazzi running towards the opposite end of the hotel.

“Lynda, I think something’s going on.  I’ll call you back later on,” I said, closing the phone so I could go see what all the fuss was about at the other end of the hotel.

A Few Minutes Previously – Mutual Attraction’s Suite – JT’s Hotel Room

“Justin stop, you can’t keep running from me,” JT spoke as he walked up behind Justin.  “Come on, talk to me here.”

“I—I don’t want to talk right now,” Justin replied, sighing as he shook his head.

“You can’t keep avoiding me forever,” JT stated, taking Justin’s hand in his own.  “Talk to me.  Tell me what Chris was talking about.”

“I said I didn’t want to talk about it,” Justin responded, looking down as some tears fell from his eyes.

“You may not want to talk, but I do.  If we’re going to be together, you need to tell me what the hell Chris was talking about,” JT said as Justin spun around, looking at him with fresh tears in his eyes.  “Justin…”

“Fine,” Justin said as JT looked at him.

“I’m waiting,” JT said as he kissed the top of Justin’s hand.

“I—I was depressed about you.  I—I tried to kill myself as he said,” Justin replied, looking down.  “I—I was really low and—and I didn’t know what to do.  That—that was one of the reasons I decided to leave the guys and go solo.”

“Why did you want to kill yourself Justin?  Why did you want to kill yourself over me?  Remember, you were the one that…” JT said as Justin interrupted him.

“I left you, you left me, we left each other,” Justin said as he sniffled.  “We have a fucked-up history baby, but now we need to be working on changing that, not dwelling on the past.”

“True, but I don’t like hearing that the man I’m in a relationship with, tried to kill himself,” JT stated as he looked down.  “Besides, I’m not worth killing yourself over.”

“You’re worth a whole lot more baby.  I’ll do anything for you,” Justin stated, pulling JT to him and then kissing his lips.  “I love you JT, I love you very much.”

“I—I love you too Justin,” JT replied, looking down.  “But, if we’re going to be together, you have to promise me something.”

“Promise you what baby?”  Justin asked, looking JT in the eyes.

“You have to promise me that you’re not going to do anything to hurt yourself,” JT stated as he looked at Justin closely.  “Promise me Justin.”

“I promise baby,” Justin replied, kissing JT’s lips again.

“Good deal,” JT said, wrapping his arms around Justin, hugging him tightly with a sad expression on his face.

To Be Continued…

[1] Song excerpt = All I Could Do Was Cry by Etta James


After The Glitter Fades – Chapter 2

Chapter 2 – An Unknown Addition

May 28, 2004 – Jacksonville, FL – The Home of Glitter Mo’net

Glitter’s POV

“So, when are you supposed to meet up with Jarrod again?”  Marc asked as I shook my head, wondering why I was still holding the phone to my ear, listening to him belittle me for the things I did.

“He told me that he would meet with me the first of June, nine in the morning,” I replied, thinking back to the last conversation I had with the freaky executive.

“I don’t think that meeting’s going to happen with you,” he said as I looked at the phone strangely.

“Why not,” I said, wondering what else had happened since I left.

“All of them are still here in Philly,” he replied as I wondered why they were still there, when they should’ve been on their way back here.

“Ah, why are they still there?  Why aren’t they on their way back here?”  I asked.

“If you would’ve stayed here, you would know about the new drama that’s going on between JT and Heather Stewart,” he said as my eyes widened, remembering the name from both JT and his past.

“Hey, isn’t that the girl you were telling me about; the one that you helped to…” I asked as he interrupted me.

“Yeah, that’s her and she’s currently here, playing out a new scene of her own,” he stated as I shook my head.  “When she’s done, there probably won’t be a ‘Mutual Attraction’.  So, aren’t you lucky you got out when you did?”

“As I said, I guess we’ll see,” I said, finally hanging up the phone.  “Glitter old girl, what are you going to do now?”

Downtown Philadelphia, PA – A Neighborhood Playground near the Radisson Plaza Hotel

Nikki’s POV

I am exhausted.

Being away from Summer for so long must have short circuited my memory or something. Because this little girl has been on ten ever since we left the hotel. I thought giving her frozen yogurt would prevent this.   Damn was I wrong.

Summer dashed past me going about sixty followed by a big group of kids her age. They’re all fresh from the yogurt shop and showing no signs of slowing down. Every mother present looks like they could kick their own ass for being so dumb.

You’d think that they ate a five-pound bag of sugar chased by chocolate with the way they’re running, climbing and generally being high-energy toddlers. I just hope she burns all this off soon. I’m getting tired!

Now I see why they built this damn playground next door, I think grumpily. These kids are bananas!

“Mommy play!” Summer demanded from over by the swings.

I sighed, but got up to put her in.  She squealed happily as I pushed her.  I can’t help laughing at her exuberance.  She’s such a happy baby, it’s hard to believe she’s mine.

Momma took great pleasure in reminding me that her curse worked.  I just snort, but I have to admit, Summer is definitely my kid.

“Are you ready to go back to the hotel lady?”  I asked, lifting her out of the baby swing.

“No!”  She screamed and then took off running.

“They should bottle all that up and sell it,” Momma cracked as she walked up beside me.  “That much energy needs to be against the law!”

I crack up, laughing until movement over Momma’s shoulder catches my eye.  Oh my God!  I watch in horror as Josh spots me.  The happy look in his eyes warms my heart for a split second, until I remember that Summer is headed for me as well.

“What’s wrong baby?”  Momma asked, trying to turn but I stop her.

“Josh just walked into the park!”  I whispered urgently, then pushed her in Summer’s direction.  “Get her out of here!”

Momma’s look of fear matched mine before she took off to intercept Summer, before she could get to me.  I pasted on what I hoped was a welcoming smile, just as Josh reached me.  He gathered me close, his arms strong and sure as he hugged me.  I wish that things could be different between us, but that’s not possible.  I think he noticed the difference because he stepped back to look at me quizzically.

“Baby, is everything okay?”  He softly asked.  “You seem upset.  Did I do something wrong?”

“No!” I exclaimed, finally finding my voice.  “What’re you doing here?  I thought you’d be held up in your room, writing or something.”

“I was, but I missed my girl,” he replied, kissing my lips softly.  “I went to your room, but you weren’t there.  So, I took a walk to get something to eat.  I was on my way back when I heard you laughing.  What was so funny?”

I was about to answer him when I saw Summer, struggling with Momma to be put down.  I can hear her starting to whine.  After a few minutes of not getting her way, her face was like thunder.  That can only mean one thing; it’s tantrum time.  Sure enough, she took the deepest breath she could and then let out a shriek that could be heard for miles.  Her cry of ‘Mommy!’ sets my teeth on edge, but I have to ignore her.  Forgive me baby, I think desperately as I smile up at Josh.

With a frown, he looked around to see what all the fuss was about, but luckily, Momma had her back to us.  All he could see was Summer reaching and screaming as Momma tried to corral her fury.

“It looks like somebody needs a nap,” Josh joked, but my child grabbed my attention again.

I watched as she bucked hard enough to make Momma loosen her grip.  Summer landed on her feet and came running to me, crying hysterically.

“Mommy no-no,” she screamed as she climbed into my lap.  “No-no!”

“Summer Elizabeth Knotts, get over here right now!”  Momma yelled, but it’s too late.

Oh God, no.  My worst nightmare just became a reality.

“What the hell?”  Josh said as he stood up.  “You—you have a baby?  How… When… Who… What the hell!”

“Bad!  No-no!”  Summer said, turning to Joshua with a stern frown.  “No say!  Bad!”

Under other circumstances, this would be such a cute moment, if it wasn’t for the look of hurt on his face.  His daughter acting like a tiny censorship committee member should bring tears of laughter, but it doesn’t.  I watch as sadness slowly gives way to confusion, and then finally realization.

“Nikki… Who’s baby is she?”  He asked, not taking his eyes off of me.

“She’s my daughter Josh,” I replied calmly, but inside I’m ready to run.  “That’s not totally true… She’s our daughter.”

“What the hell do you mean, ‘our daughter’?!”  He shouts, startling Summer.  When she begins to cry again, Josh is instantly contrite.  “I’m sorry sweetie.  I didn’t mean to scare you.  I was just upset.”

Summer peeked out at him warily.  She studied Josh.  I guess she likes what she sees, because she reached out to touch his hand, a little grin showing off her dimples, displayed on her face.  Josh gasped, his eyes filling with tears as he gently shook his daughter’s hand for the first time.

“What yo’ name?”  Summer asked, her eyes bright with curiosity.  “I, Summer.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you Summer.  My—my name is Josh,” he replied while drinking her in with his eyes.  “How old are you?”

“I dese many,” Summer declared, holding up two fingers.  “You old!”

“Summer!”  I exclaimed, trying to hold back a smile though.  “Honey, that’s rude!  Apologize to Josh!”

“But he old Momma!”  Summer declared, looking confused.

Lord help me.  This little girl has way too much mouth to still be in pull-ups.  Josh looked amused for a moment.  Then his eyes met mine and I saw he wants to talk… He wants to talk to me alone.  Lucky for me, my mom chose that moment to make her presence known, clearing her throat.

“Hello Joshua,” Momma coolly said. “It’s been a long time.”

“Ah—ah, hello Mrs. Knotts,” Josh replied, his eyes only leaving mine briefly to look up at her.  “How are you?”

The two of them made small talk while I tried to decide what to do.  My attention is brought back to the conversation when Summer squirmed away from me.

“I’m going to take her back to the hotel,” Momma said with a small smile as she dug in my purse for her room key.  “It’s been a long day and it’s past her nap time.  Come on little lady.”

“Otay!”  Summer responded as she held her arms out to be picked up.  Momma rolled her eyes, but scooped her up anyway.

“I’ll see you back at the hotel,” Momma said as she kissed my cheek.  “Call me, if you need me baby.”

Our eyes met and I drew strength from the look of steely determination, reflected there in those wise orbs.  I can do this.  I nod imperceptibly.  She put Summer in her stroller and left me to face my little girl’s father alone.

Josh’s POV

I—I can’t believe this is happening.  How can this be?  She—she told me that our baby—our baby had died.  How can this little girl be—be ours?  I watched Mrs. Knotts walk away with the baby.  Is she really mine?  I don’t know what to believe here.

I planned to ask Nikki to marry me the day after we fought.  Once I’d had time to think, I realized how wrong I was to ask for that paternity test.  Nikki would never have cheated on me.  She loved me too much.  Or so I thought.

I didn’t care what my family thought.  But then she was gone and I was left to grieve for our baby alone.  I only had the guys, because I left my family behind, after all that happened.  How could she do that to me?  I thought she loved me.

She finally turned back to me.  Her face is calm, but I know better.  Her eyes betray her inner turmoil.  But she’ll never show how frightened she is.  Part of me loves that about her, but another, more savage part wants to kill her for keeping my daughter away from me for so long!

“Give me one good reason I shouldn’t be furious right now,” I coldly said as she looked at me with an eye raised.

Her eyes flickered, but suddenly her whole demeanor changed.  Her eyes harden and her spine stiffened, like she was prepared to fight to the death.

“You have every right to be furious with me,” she calmly said, her expression cool.  “I was wrong to make you think I’d had that miscarriage, but I had my reasons.”

“What possible fucking reason could you have to lie like that to me?”  I snapped.  “You let me grieve for our baby for two years!  Two fucking years I’ve cried myself to sleep, wishing I could take back what I said to you!  You let me live with the guilt, like I was nothing to you!  How could you!?”

“I did it to protect my baby!”  She snapped, her calm façade finally cracking.  “You heard what your parents said to me!  They wouldn’t have accepted her!  You sister slapped me and then spit on me!  They called her a monkey!  Why in the hell would I subject my baby to that?”

“I would’ve stopped it!”  I snapped as she snorted derisively.

“Oh, like you stopped them every other time they attacked me?”  She asked condescendingly.  “You never stood up to them for me.  So, why in the hell would I think you’d do it for my child?”

Oh God, she’s right.  I lowered my head.  I let my family treat her like shit, because I didn’t want to be in the middle.  Fear of losing their love and approval cost me the woman I love, and so much more than I can conceive right now.

I smiled as I heard my daughter’s little voice admonish me about using bad words.  She’s so beautiful.  She looks like me and her mother, and maybe a pinch like my biological mother around the eyes.  I have to make this right.

I looked over at her; she’s watching me with a mixture of wariness and anger written across her face.  The thought of her having to raise our child alone for the last two years filled me with shame.  I should’ve been there to see our baby be born and grow up.  Nothing should’ve come between us.  Once I knew about the baby, I should’ve walked away from my family, but I didn’t.  I’ve missed a lot, but that ends today.

“I want to be in her life,” I simply said.  I could visualize the gears turning in her head as she thought things over.  I know she wants to, but fear of the consequences is holding her back.

“No,” she finally says, shaking her head vehemently.  “I’m sorry, but I can’t let you do that.  I won’t let your family hurt her.”

“That’s right!  You don’t know,” I exclaimed, turning her face up to mine.  “Nikki, I haven’t spoken to my family since the day you left.”

Her eyes widened in disbelief.

“But—but you told me…” she began, but I cut her off with a kiss.

“It’s true baby,” I said, pulling her into my embrace.  “When I found out you were in the hospital, I told them that if anything happened to you or our baby, I’d never speak to them again.  And I haven’t.”

“Josh, I—I’m so sorry,” she cried, her shoulders shaking from her sobs.  “I—I didn’t mean for this to happen!  I just wanted to raise our baby in peace.  I thought I was doing the right thing.  Now you’ve lost your family.  I didn’t know… Oh God, I ruined everything!”

I lifted her face so I could look into her eyes.  And just like always, she mesmerizes me.

“Baby hush!”  I exclaimed.  “You didn’t ruin anything.  They did with their ignorance and hate.  You gave birth to our little girl and you raised her.  I should’ve been there!  I left you to do all of it by yourself.”

Now it’s her turn to shut me up with a kiss.

“You didn’t know,” she softly said, her smile blooming.  “And I wasn’t alone.  I had Momma and my uncles to help out.  And my brother James has been amazing.  He’s changed just as many diapers as I have.”

I laughed, but I still feel so much guilt.

“Josh, don’t do this.  None of this is your fault.  I was the one who made the choice to lie about things.  I could’ve told you anytime over the past two years.  I just didn’t know how to tell you the truth.  I didn’t want to hurt you more than I already had,” she said, pulling away, her head lowering.  “Do you hate me?”

“I could never hate you,” I replied, smiling through my tears.  “You gave me a daughter… I’m angry I missed her life, but I understand why you did it.  Now, I’d like to get to know my little girl.  Is that okay with you?”

She studied my for a moment before smiling bright.

“I think Summer would like that,” she responded, standing and reaching for my hand.  “And so would I.”

The Radisson Plaza Hotel – The Hotel Restaurant

Justin’s POV

Okay God, what’s happening here?  What’s going to happen to JT and I now?  I didn’t go through all of this, just to be—be dumped.  Why is this happening to me?  Didn’t I show him that I’d do anything for us to be together?  Haven’t I proven enough to him?  With the way things are going right now, maybe I haven’t or he just doesn’t want to be with me anymore.

Maybe—maybe that’s the case with things now.  Hell, he didn’t even sleep in the room with me last night.  I woke up a few times during the night, hoping he would be there, but he wasn’t.  He was nowhere to be fucking found.  I guess that should be a big eye opener for me.  I fucking jeopardized my career and my family, all for him.

“Good morning Justin, what’s up with you?”  I heard Mo’ette’s voice as I looked up to see her standing at the table as she smiled and then sat down across from me as I took a sip of my coffee.

“Don’t ask,” I replied, placing the coffee cup back on the saucer as she watched me strangely.

“Okay Justin, what’s going on here now?”  She asked.

“I haven’t seen him,” I replied as she just looked at me.  “We’ve been in separate places since—since you guys got back yesterday afternoon.  It’s like he’s doing his best to avoid me or something.”

“What do you mean by that?”  She asked. “Where is he?”

“I don’t know where he is,” I replied, sighing.  “He didn’t sleep in the room last night and I haven’t seen him at all today.”

“Lawd, we don’t need this drama,” she said with a frown on her face.  “Where could he be?  I hope him being missing right now, has nothing to do with Marc being around this place.”

“That jerk is still hanging around?”  I asked, wishing I had called the police and had him arrested for being around, when he shouldn’t have been, violating a whole lot of restraining orders and such.

“Yeah, he was on the tour bus with us last night,” she replied, scratching at her head.  “He was trying to spin some line about how he knew the details of what’s going on between JT and Heather.”

“He tried the same thing with me,” I said, thinking back to what Marc had said. “He was trying to use what he supposedly knew about them, to get into my damn pants.”

“Lawd, will wonders ever… Have you tried calling him, JT I mean?”  She asked as I pulled my cell phone out, pressed the speed dial number for him and then turned the speaker on.

= Hi, you’ve reached me, but apparently I’m not available to take your call.  Please leave your name, a number and a detailed message and I’ll get back with you when I can.  Until later on, keep it real. =

“Apparently his calls are still going to his voicemail,” I said, frowning as I thought about what could possibly be wrong with him.  Did Marc get to him and try to do something to him again?  “We have to find him.  I’m not liking this at all.”

“You’re not liking what Justin,” I heard JT’s voice behind me as I turned my head to see him.

“Baby, where have you been?”  I asked, getting up as I leaned in and kissed his lips.

“I’ve been trying to clear my head,” he replied with a frown as he sat down next to Mo, away from me.

“Where did you do that, since you didn’t come back to the room?”  I asked.

“I slept on the bus,” he replied, looking down.  “Have either of you seen Marc?”

“Why in the hell would we be looking for his skanky ass?”  Mo’ette asked, looking at JT like he was crazy.

“Because I want to know what he knows; I want to know why there’s possibly a child in this world, that looks like me,” he answered and then shook his head.  “Apparently, he knows something that neither of us knows.”

“Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t,” I said with a frown.  “I think he’s just trying to run a number on us, so he can get what he wants.”

“Which is,” he said, looking across the table at me.

“Sex,” I replied as he shook his head.  “I’m not about to stoop to that level, to give that bastard what he wants and I hope you’re not planning on doing something like that.”

“Are you crazy?”  He asked, shaking his head.

“Just making sure that you’re not,” I said as Mo’ette looked at me strangely and then shook her head also.

“Have either of you seen Nikki?”  He asked as I shrugged my shoulders.  “I haven’t seen her since we left the hospital.”

“The last time I saw her, she was in here, talking on the phone with somebody.  I think the news reports about her being pregnant and Josh being the daddy is causing some drama for the two of them,” I said as he shook his head.

“Why in the hell is he here any damn way Justin?”  He asked as I wondered when he wsa going to get back around to asking that question.

“I told him where you guys were and I told him that if he wanted to get back with Nikki, this would more than likely be a good time for him to try and here we are,” I stated as he shook his head an then rolled his eyes.

“Thanks a lot Justin,” he said, picking up the menu.  “Oh, like we really needed him around.”

“Baby, he’s not around us,” I said as he raised an eye at me.  “Well he isn’t.”

“And I’m glad he’s not.  I would be tempted to kick my foot up in…” he said as Mo’ette cleared her throat, interrupting him.

“You know what, why don’t I leave you two here alone, so you can catch up,” she said, patting his hand as she got up from the table.  “I have something else to do.”

“Have fun,” he said, looking over at me as she walked towards the exit.  “So, what were you two talking about, before I actually got here?”

“You,” I replied as he looked over at me strangely.

“Why were you talking about me?”  He asked.

“JT, what’s happening between us?”  I asked, wondering if I should be asking the question or not.

“Nothing,” he replied as he looked down at the table.  “Why are you asking that?  Is that the question you really want to ask?”

“I want to know,” I replied, trying to keep his gaze.  “We’re supposed to be…”

“In it for the long haul,” he said as he looked at me closely.  “Are you?”

“The question is, are you?”  I asked as he put the menu down and then got up from the table.  “Where are you going?”

“You tell me,” he replied, sighing as he turned around.  “I don’t think we’re going to work out.”

“What?  Why not?”  I asked, walking over to him.

“Just go back to your mother and your family Justin,” he said, turning back around and then walking towards the exit.

“What?  I’m not going back to Mom or my family.  I’m staying here with my man,” I said, grabbing his hand as he sighed.  “Why in the hell are you doing this?”

“For your own good,” he replied with a frown.

“Doing this for my own good?  Are you serious?”  I asked, looking at him like he was crazy.

“Yeah, I’m being serious Justin,” he replied.  “I saw how you looked after you and Lynda had it out.  I’m not about to…”

“JT, baby please, we…” I said as he shook his head.

“We aren’t good together,” he said as he looked down.  “We’ve had our problems in the past and…”

“That was the past baby, this is now,” I said with a sigh, wondering what I could say or do to make this right.

“I don’t want you being with me, full of regret and hate, because you chose me, over your family Justin,” he said, looking down again as he shook his head.

“I didn’t choose you over my family, I chose to have love in my life,” I stated as he sighed again.  “I’m not going to fight you on this.  I love you JT and if my mother can’t accept it, then that’s her problem, not ours. I’m not worried about her and neither should you, she’s a grown woman.”

“That’s your mother Justin and I now how close you two are,” he said with a frown.  “She’d give the world for you and you her.”

“True, but she can’t give me what you can,” I said as he shook his head again.

“Stop being perverted Justin,” he said as I pulled him close and kissed his lips as he tried to push me away as I continued kissing his lips.  He stopped resisting and then wrapped his arms around me as we heard people clamoring around us as a camera flash went off.  “Oh great, this shit is really going to hit…”

“Who cares baby,” I said, moving back from him as more camera flashes went off as I waved at the person snapping pictures and then smiled.  “We’re in this for the long haul, right?”

“Justin…” he said as I shook my head.

“I’m not worried here baby, are you?”  I asked, leaning in and kissing his lips again.  “I’m totally cool with us, are you?  I had a long, grueling and dull conversation with Dad last night and he assured me that he’s going to do what he can to win Mom over, in regards to us being together.  He said that when we get back to Jacksonville, he’ll love having dinner with us.”

“What?”  He said as I smiled at him.

“Dad is perfectly okay with us being together.  He’s actually relieved,” I said as JT looked at me strangely as someone else moved closer to us, taking our picture.

“Why is—is he relieved?”  JT asked, looking at me strangely.

“He doesn’t want me living a lie, to make other people happy.  He said he’s known I was gay since before I was on the show,” I said as JT shook his head.  “He’s given his blessings for us.”

“His blessings aren’t the ones that count and you know it Justin,” he said with a sigh.  “I don’t want to be on the receiving end of a bullet, fired from a gun by Lynda Hamilton.”

“Mom isn’t going to do no such of thing,” I said, chuckling as JT raised an eye at me as another camera flash went off.

“Yeah right,” he said with a frown as we walked out of the restaurant, holding hands, leaving the mini-paparazzi behind us.

To Be Continued…


After The Glitter Fades – Chapter 1

Chapter 1— The Knotts Conspiracy

May 27, 2004 – Philadelphia, PA – The Radisson Plaza Hotel – Gladys Knotts’s Hotel Room

Nikki’s POV

Damn it, I’m on pins and needles, waiting for Momma to get here.  I don’t know what’s taking her so long.  It’s not like she’s flying around the damn world, she’s just coming up from Atlanta.  I just hope she brings her electric skillets.  I already know she’s pissed off about me seeing Josh again.  I’m really not looking forward to hearing her mouth about that, but there’s nothing I can do to stop it.  Regardless of what I do, she’s going to have her say, no matter what.  Nevertheless, I could use a home cooked meal right about now and nobody cooks smothered chicken better than Gladys Knotts, honey.

“Lord knows, this hotel food isn’t what’s hot!”  I exclaimed, turning around quickly as the knocking on the room door brought me out of my reverie.  “Hold your horses!”

Opening the door, I stopped in my tracks as Momma stood there with a stern look on her face.  If she was a person with super powers, that look tells me she could zap me with energy and knock me the hell out.  I can tell that she’s pissed beyond belief.”

“Momma, you’re here,” I said as I stepped aside, allowing her to come into the room.

“Mommy!”  I heard a familiar voice as I looked up at her.

Surprised, a little body practically bowled me over in enthusiasm.  My panic must be showing because my mother quickly ushered us inside without a word.  I’m stunned that she took this kind of a gamble, bringing Summer here.  She has to know that Josh is still somewhere, lurking in the hotel.  The last thing I need is for him to see my daughter and put two and two together.

“Hey my baby, how are you?”  I asked, hugging and kissing my little girl.

She looked so much like her daddy, that it brought tears to my eyes.  Sure, she has my nose and dimples, but everything else on her from her soft, curly light brown hair to her haunting gray-green eyes screams ‘Joshua Charles’.  I’ve spent the past two years, hiding that fact from everyone.  There’s no way in hell I’m stopping now.  There’s too much at stake.

“Miss you, mommy,” Summer spoke, cuddling into me, her bottom lip trembling.  “You no home!”

“I know baby, and I miss you so much.  But mommy has to work now,” I told her as she shook her head.

“No!  You home!”  My little girl snapped with all the conviction in her two-year old body.  “You home now!”

“Summer, Nana explained why mommy isn’t home baby,” Momma stated with a loving smile.  Her granddaughter can do no wrong as far as Momma’s concerned.  “You don’t like living with me?”

“Love you Nana.  Want Mommy,” Summer whispered as she cuddled more into me.

Hearing the sadness in her voice broke my heart.  Being away from home for months at a time sucks for me too.  I’ve always hated touring.  It’s a million times worse now, that I’m a mother.  But I understand why we have to do it.  If we don’t hit the road, we make no money.  I squeezed my baby tighter, trying to show my love for her as she sniffled.

Sniffling also, I allowed her nearness to soothe my spirit.  She’s always had this calming effect on me.  Ever since the day she was born, all she’s had to do is look at me and my soul is quieted.  No matter how much chaos is swirling around me, Summer has always been my calm in the middle of the storm.

Speaking of chaos…

“Summer, Nana and mommy need to talk.  Will you go in the room and watch TV?”  I asked.  “I promise, we can have cookies and ice cream for dessert.”

“Okay!”  Summer squealed, grabbing her travel bag from my mother as she too off into the other room.  I waited until the door closed before I turned back to face my mother.

“Momma, what in the heck were you thinking, bringing her here?  What if Joshua had seen you?  Seen her?”  I asked.

“That’s exactly why I brought her,” Momma replied coolly.  “I think you need a reminder of just how much you stand to lose, should he find out you faked having that miscarriage.”

“Momma, you know why I did that,” I said, shaking my head.  “Josh’s family never would’ve accepted her.  You saw the way they treated me.  There’s no way I was going to chance them finding out about her.”

“That’s all the more reason for you to break things off now,” Momma stated firmly.  “How in the hell do you think they’ll react to your lies?  Better yet, how will he?”

Sighing, I wanted to come back at her, but what’s the use?  Over the three years Josh and I dated, his family made my life a living hell.  His brother and sister were the worst.  They scrutinized my every move.  Nothing I did was ever good enough and then there were the fights.  They would call me all kinds of horrible names and swear up and down that I was cheating on Josh with any man I even looked at.

Hell, Josh’s sister’s favorite activity was calling me a nigger bitch whenever she saw me.  I could even stand that, but what eventually broke my heart was that Josh never once stood up for me.  His friends Joey, Lance and even Justin stood up to the Charles’ more than my own fiancé ever did, but it was our announcement of my pregnancy that broke his family’s back.

His parents told me point blank that no little half-black monkey would ever be welcomed in their family.  All of them insisted that Josh get a paternity test, since I was supposedly a cheating whore.  Hell, his brother even hinted that the baby might be Joey’s since he was always so hot to defend me, and just like always, Josh didn’t say a word to defend me against the hurtful things they said or did.

When we got back to our hotel that night, he actually asked me to take the test.  He said it was to reassure his family, that the baby was hit, but I knew better.  He believed them, but was took chicken to tell me.  The so-called loving actions of my fiancé

From that point, I was so upset, I stormed out. That was the last time I saw him.  The stress from that meeting was too much and I woke up bleeding early the next morning.  By the time Joshua came to the hospital, I was gone.  I left a letter with the nurse that told him I’d lost the baby and as much as I loved him, I just couldn’t be with someone who refused to stand up to his family.  That lie has haunted me every time I look into our little girl’s eyes.  I know in my heart that Josh loved me.  He still does.  I just couldn’t risk him eventually coming to hate me.  Even more, I couldn’t let him resent the wedge that our baby would have driven between him and his family.

Later that Night – Mutual Attraction’s Tour Bus

“Well there you are,” Mo’ette said, walking onto the tour bus to see JT sitting in one of the seats.  “What’re you doing out here?”

“How in the hell did you find me out here?”  JT asked, looking up at Mo’ette.

“Harry, one of the security guards said that he saw you come out this way,” Mo’ette answered with a frown on her face.  “So, what are you doing out here?  Why aren’t you inside, with Justin?”

“I—I don’t want to talk to anyone right now,” JT replied as he looked down.

“Including me?’  Mo’ette said as she looked at him closely.

“Mo,” JT said with a sigh.  “Why are you here, trying to talk to me?  I’m trying to clear my mind and I’m guessing, you’re here to add more to it.”

“No baby, I’m not trying to add more to what’s on your mind.  I’m here, trying to help you muddle through it,” Mo’ette stated, sitting next to JT.  “I’m here to help baby, you know that.”

“I don’t feel like anyone or anything is going to help me right now,” JT said, sighing.  “Why is life so hard?  If—If I wasn’t in the spotlight, as a celebrity no less, like I am, do you think all of this crap would be happening to me?”

“I don’t have the answer to that one at all baby,” Mo’ette replied with a frown.  “All I can say right now is that your celebrity status is what’s keeping all of this crap going.  Hell, if you were a normal person, somewhere in America, I don’t think anyone would care about you having a drinking problem or who you slept with.”

“That’s how life should be Mo,” JT stated, sighing as he rubbed at his head.  “There’s no reason for anyone caring that I take a damn drink every now and again.”

“You’re a celebrity baby.  The world is always going to be in your business,” Mo’ette stated, placing a hand on JT’s leg.  “Now that you’ve brought me back into the spotlight, the world is going to be in my business too.”

“Ah, I’m sorry Mo, I didn’t think…” JT said as Mo’ette looked at him, shaking her head as he stopped talking as he sighed.  “I—I thought that’s what you…”

“Wanted or needed,” Mo’ette said as she sighed this time.

“A little of both,” JT stated as he got up from his seat.  “What are we going to do?”

“I don’t know baby,” Mo’ette replied with a frown as she looked up at him.

“I thought that if you were back, singing with us, your life would get back on…” JT said as he turned to face Mo’ette.

“You thought my life would get back on track,” Mo’ette said as she looked at JT closely.  “Baby, my life was fine the way it was.  I got—got a man that loves me, I have…”

“Where is David anyway?  I haven’t seen him since the other night,” JT stated as he looked at Mo’ette strangely.

“He needed to go to Los Angeles to get some work done,” Mo’ette stated with a smile.  “I’m sure you’ll see him again, now that I’m part of the group with you.”

“Good to know,” JT replied, sighing as he turned away from her.  “Why me Mo?  Why me?”

“Why you what baby?”  Mo’ette asked.

“Why is all of this crap happening to me?”  JT asked, kicking the wall of the bus.  “No one would care about me if I was a damn nobody.”

“Yeah right, who would care about John Poole, a guy living someplace in Florida, being an alcoholic and possibly using drugs,” Mo’ette stated as JT’s eyes widened.

“I’m not using drugs!”  JT snapped, watching Mo’ette like a hawk.  “I may be a damn drunk, but I’m no crackhead!”

“I know that baby, but does the rest of the world know?  I’m just going by the shit out there in the media,” Mo’ette stated with a frown.  “Those fools have been saying a whole lot about you and it’s going way out of…”

“Yeah, it’s getting way out there,” JT said, looking down.  “Now there’s more shit to add to the damn mix.”

“No there isn’t baby,” Mo’ette said as JT shook his head.

“Ah yeah there is,” JT said, looking at Mo’ette.  “This shit with Heather is mounting.  I just know there’s something wrong here.  She’s…”

“Why do you feel that way?”  Mo’ette asked.

“That little boy looks just like I did when I was a kid his age,” JT stated as he shook his head and then sighed.  “Just being around him, I get the feeling that he’s mine, that he’s a part of me somehow.”

“But you and Heather never slept together, so he’s not your child JT,” Mo’ette stated with a frown.  “This is all some big scam to get you to do what she wants, we just don’t know what that is yet.”

“If it is a scam, what is it that she wants me to do Mo?”  JT asked, shaking his head again.  “I’m starting to have a very bad feeling about all of this.  Things aren’t adding up Mo.”

“Hmph, you telling me,” Mo’ette said as she shook her head.

“Something’s not right here Mo.  That little boy looks just like me.  He looks just like I did when I was a little kid.  His features match mine.  Hell, the lady that did the test even noticed it.  If a complete stranger notices something like that, I’m sure everyone else in the world would too,” JT stated as he looked down.  “I’m just shocked that this is happening to me.  Why did she choose now, to come up with this mess?  Why now and not a long time ago?”

“I don’t know baby,” Mo’ette replied as she sighed.  “Maybe—maybe with all the other drama going on in the media, she thought it was her chance to add to it, to get herself some fame.”

“Why?”  JT asked, sighing as he rubbed at his head.

“Probably to get her name back out there in the world, but I don’t really know,” Mo’ette stated as the door to the bus opened again as someone else stepped onto the bus.

“Look what we have here,” Marc said with a smile on his face as Mo’ette stepped in front of JT.

“What in the hell are you doing here Marc?”  JT asked, moving around Mo’ette.  “You’re supposed to be in jail.”

“Well it seems your new boyfriend didn’t tell you I was out,” Marc stated with a smile as he moved closer to JT.  “I see he’s keeping secrets from you already.  Isn’t that a no-no in your book?”

“What in the hell do you want Marc?”  Mo’ette asked, looking Marc up and down.

“On the contrary, I came here to help you guys out,” Marc replied with a sly smile on his face.  “It seems I know a bit about what’s going on around here, a bit more than you guys do.”

“What in the hell could you possibly know Marc?”  JT asked, looking at Marc strangely.

“I know how your son was conceived,” Marc replied as JT’s eyes widened.

“What!  How could you know a thing like that, when I don’t even know that?”  JT asked, moving past Mo’ette again, getting closer to Marc.

“I just know,” Marc replied, his smile growing as JT shook his head.

“You’re no better than Heather.  You’re just trying to run a damn scam too,” JT stated as he pointed his finger in Marc’s face.  “What is it that you fucking want?”

“Fine, if you don’t want to listen to what I can possibly tell you, just wait until the paternity test results come back and when you are proven to be that little boy’s father, then you come running back to me, that’s if I’m available for you,” Marc stated as he smiled and then turned his back to JT and Mo’ette.

May 28, 2004 – The Radisson Plaza Hotel – Gladys Knotts’ Hotel Room

Nikki’s POV

I loved Josh, but it was just too heavy a burden for me to bear.  So, rather than watching our relationship die slowly, I chose to walk away from the only man I’ve ever loved.  But was it the right choice to make?

“Nicole baby, what are you thinking?”  Momma asked as I looked up at her.

“Momma, did I do the right thing?”  I asked, looking down at the floor.  “She’s his daughter.  He deserves to know that.”

My mother sighed deeply.  She gave me a look that goes to the bottom of my soul.

“Nikki, you made the best decision you could, to protect your child from harm.  That’s what mothers do baby,” Momma said.

“I know Momma, but what about Summer?  Doesn’t she deserve to know her daddy?”  I asked, the tears slowly falling from my eyes.  “I know I’ve messed up my life, but how can I keep her from him?”

“You do it because it’s what’s best for her,” Momma firmly stated.  “You know his racist ass family will never accept her!  How can you even think about putting her in that kind of mess?”

“Momma, calm down,” I said as she shook her head.  Once Gladys gets started, there’s no stopping her.

“Calm down my ass!”  She snapped.  “I watched those racist fools make your life a living hell for two years, and for what?  Falling in love with their son…  You were better to him, than he even deserved.  You stood by him when he needed you, even when his family wouldn’t.  What did that get you?  Spit on and called horrible names.  Then you ended up having to raise my grandbaby alone, while he went on with his life!”

Hearing her anger and hurt, reliving all those horrible moments I endured is too much for me.  My heart broke all over again at the way Josh allowed his family to treat me.  I made the right choice in hiding my pregnancy, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less.  Momma finally noticed that I was crying helplessly.  Thankfully that took the steam out of her sails.  She sat beside me on the couch, gathering me in her arms, rocking me, an action that always calmed me when I was younger.

“I didn’t mean to hurt you baby,” she said, smoothing my hair.  “I just don’t want you to fall for his bull again.  Summer needs her Momma to be strong.  I know you still love him, but you have to love your little girl more.”

“Momma sad?”  A soft voice asked.

Oh no!  I hurry to wipe away any trace of my tears.  I don’t need my baby seeing me like this.  Momma’s right.  She’s the only thing that matters now.  I have to protect her, even if it means sacrificing any chance I might have at being happy with the man I love.  As much, living without Joshua hurts, subjecting my baby to the kind of treatment I got from his family is unacceptable.  She deserves nothing but love, not that kind of hatred that his family is known to inflict.  Smiling big, I open my arms as Summer’s return smile is automatic.  She runs over and kisses my face.  I giggle then tickle her until she’s in tears.

“What do you think about going to get the biggest, bestest ice cream sundae ever?”  I asked.

“Yay!”  She squealed, bouncing up and running to get her jacket.  I watch her go with an indulgent smile.  Man, I wish I had her energy.  Momma shot me a worried look.

“Are you sure you want to give her ice cream?”  She asked, her lip twitching.

“Are you crazy?”  I whisper so the kid can’t hear.  “I found a frozen yogurt place down the block.  She’ll never know the difference.  And it’s next door to a playground.  We got this!”

Momma looked at me strangely and then bursts out laughing just as my daughter came back.  She took my hand with a big, dimpled smile plastered to her face.  I still can’t believe I’ve been blessed with such a happy, beautiful little girl.  My bad mood is officially forgotten.

Jacksonville, FL – The Home of Glitter Mo’net

Glitter’s POV

“Come on now Glitter, did you really think they would be nice to you, after all the shit you did and said to them?  Come on, you gave an interview to one of the tabloids, against my advice of course.  You confirmed a few of the damn rumors currently going on with all of you.  Hell, if you would’ve kept your mouth shut, that shit would’ve died down by now,” Marc said as I was ready to hang up the phone on his ass.  Why in the hell did I call him in the first place?

“Mutual Attraction is a hot story right now and it’s going to be hot for a while,” I said.

“Yeah it is, but you won’t have any of that publicity at all,” he said as I shook my head.  “So, why are you whining and complaining about your career now?  How I see things, you brought all of this on yourself girl.”

“No, I didn’t do anything wrong,” I replied, sighing because in a way, he was telling the truth.  “Those two fuckers, Nikki and JT, brought it on themselves, not me.  They shouldn’t have been doing what they’re doing.”

“Glitter, are you kidding me?  They’re both grown, just like you are,” he said as I frowned.  “You made your decision and they made theirs.”

“JT helped make my decision for me,” I said, thinking about all the times we butted heads.  “It was like he never wanted me as part of the group.”

“You did what you did and now you’re not a part of the group,” he said as I shook my head.  “This is your chance to do what you want.  You always said you wanted to go solo, and not be a back-up singer.  So, here’s your chance to do just that.  You get to prove what you’ve been saying.”

“We’ll see,” I said, sighing, ready to hang up the phone.

“I guess we will, when you get on your game, showing the whole world, just what you are capable of,” he said as I sighed and then looked around the room, wondering where I should start.

To Be Continued…

The Past Comes Knocking – Chapter 14

Chapter 14 — The Heart That Preys, Part 2

May 27, 2004 – Philadelphia, PA – Penn Medicine (Hospital)

“So, how long does it take to get these results back?”  JT asked, looking at the woman that had swabbed his mouth with a cotton swab, placed said swab in an evidence-like plastic bag and then sealed the bag up.

“It generally takes about three to ten working days for the results to get back, but it could be sooner, depending on the caseload of the lab used,” the woman replied, writing some information on the bag.

“So, is there a way for me to get the results back quicker than that?”  JT asked, looking at the woman closely.  “I really need these results so I can resolve a very pressing matter.”

“I’m sorry sir, but you have to wait, just like everyone else does,” the woman stated as she handed JT a piece of paper.  “Once the results are back, we’ll give you and Ms. Stewart a call.”

“Gee thanks,” JT sarcastically said, getting up from the chair.  “I guess I have nothing better to do than wait around here.”

“You don’t have to wait here sir,” the woman stated.

“I think I’ll wait,” JT said with a frown as the woman placed the bag in a box and then escorted him out of the room.

A Few Minutes Previously – The Waiting Room

Vanessa’s POV

Why in the hell are we here, getting a damn paternity test done?  Did I miss something here?  What in the hell is going on?  From what I was able to gather from Nikki and Mo’ette, that damn fool Heather is back again and she’s trying to cause dome damn trouble.

What kind of trouble is that heffa trying to cause this time?  The last time the heffa was around them, a lot of people lost their jobs and almost lost their lives.  With all the mess going on around here, we don’t need that kind of drama happening.  There’s already too much shit going on in the media and we don’t need her adding more to it.  I’ve pulled as many strings as I can to try and clear up this mess in the media and I don’t need that bitch, coming around here, undoing what I’ve put into motion already.

I really don’t know what’s going on here, but something’s not right.  That little boy with Heather, he looks like JT used to look, when he was around that age.  Is that little boy JT’s son?  If so, how in the world is that possible?  Is that why Heather is here?  Is that the trouble the girls were talking about?  How in the hell is that possible?  Is JT hiding something from me, from all of us?  How can he be the father of that little boy?

“All these years,” I said aloud as Nikki looked over at me with a confused look on her face.

“You say something Vanessa?”  Nikki asked.

“No,” I replied, getting up from the chair as I walked over to the windows in the room.

“Vanessa, are you okay?”  Nikki asked, getting up too and walking over to where I was.

“No, I’m not okay,” I replied with a sigh.  “What’s really going on here Nikki?  Why in the hell are we here?”

“We’re here for JT’s peace of mind,” Nikki replied, looking down.

“We’re here for his peace of mind for what?  He’s gay,” I said, shaking my head as she looked down.

“He said they never slept together, but in this case, how did that little boy get here?”  Nikki asked with a frown on her face.  “I must admit it, that little boy looks a lot like JT.  I don’t know what’s going on, but Heather has the answers to this drama, that’s steadily growing.”

“He’s gay,” I said again as she shook her head and then shrugged her shoulders.

“That’s what he says, but if that’s the case, someone’s lying or there’s a factor here, that we’re not seeing,” Nikki stated as she looked out the window, sighing.  “Maybe we’re missing something here.”

“Is he hiding something from me, from all of us?”  I asked.

“I—I don’t know Vanessa.  I don’t have any answers for you here,” Nikki said as the door across the room opened as JT walked into the room.

“Well,” I said as he looked at me and then sighed.

“We have to wait about three to ten days before we know something,” JT stated, walking towards the main door.

“What?  We can’t stay here that long.  Jarrod expects us to be back in Jacksonville by next week,” Nikki said, walking towards the door also.

“I know that, but I want to get to the bottom of this first,” JT said with a frown on his face.  “I can’t have this looming over me, over all of us.”

“Yeah, it’s looming over all of us,” Nikki said, looking him in the face.  “What’s really happening here JT?  You need to get real with us here.”

“Excuse me?  I need to get real?  I’ve been real with all of you,” JT said, looking at Nikki like she was crazy.

“You’ve been real with us, really?  Then why is there a little boy in the world, that looks just like you?”  Nikki asked, looking at him.  “You told me the other day that you’re gay and that you’ve always been that way.  If that’s the case, what in the hell is going on between you and Heather?  She’s not a damn man.”

“I don’t know what’s going on with Heather,” JT replied, looking down.  “I just feel a bad vice here and I don’t know why.”

“You feel a bad vibe?  Boy, what’s going on here?  Why are you even here, getting a damn paternity test done?”  I asked, looking him in the face.  “As long as you’ve been on this Earth, I’ve never heard about you lying with a woman.  So, how in the hell did this happen?”

“I don’t know how this happened, if it did happen,” JT replied with a frown on his face.  “I’ve never slept with her and I feel she’s trying to run a scam here.”

“Well this one is a…” Nikki trailed off as the door opened again as Heather and the little boy walked into the room with us.

“Good morning everyone,” Heather stated, smiling as she and the little boy walked over to where we were.  “It seems like it’s going to be a very beautiful day, don’t you think?”

“Whatever,” JT said, turning and walking on through the door, leaving us standing there with Heather and the little boy.

“What game are you trying to pull here Heather?”  I asked as the little boy looked up at me.  “Why are you here woman?”

“To get what’s due me,” Heather replied as I shook my head.  She really needs her ass beat, but I dare not do it in front of that child.  Some things a child should not see.

“Again, what is it that you’re due Heather?”  Nikki asked, looking at her.

“We’re not going down that road again, Nikki is it,” Heather said as she shook her head.  “In a few days, the truth will be revealed.”

“What truth is that Heather?”  Nikki asked, crossing her arms across her chest.

“You know what truth,” Heather said with a smile.  “Then the real fun begins.”

“I guess we’ll see,” Nikki said, opening the door as she walked out of the room next.

Around Noon – The Radisson Plaza Hotel – The Hotel Restaurant

“Oh God, I’m so glad you guys are back,” Mo’ette said, walking over to JT, Justin, Nikki and Vanessa.  “We have another problem guys.”

“We have another problem, such as what?”  JT asked, sighing as he looked down and then shook his head.

“Right now, the media is the problem.  It seems someone is at it again,” Mo’ette said, pointing to the television.  “Apparently, someone has leaked some information to the media about you and Justin.  Now you two have been outed.”

“What kind of information was leaked?”  JT asked, looking at Justin and then back at Mo’ette.

“It seems the news stations have been running a story about you and Justin most of the day,” Mo’ette said with a frown.  “It started with just Justin singing at the concert with you and now they have pictures of you two kissing and hugging.”

“What,” JT said, sighing again as he scratched at his head.

“And to add more fuel to the fire, they’re running a story about Nikki here, saying that she’s currently pregnant and Josh is the baby’s father,” Mo’ette said as Nikki’s eyes widened.

“What!”  Nikki snapped, looking like she was ready to hit something.

“Oh my,” JT said, looking at Nikki.  “When did that happen?”

“Around ten or so this morning, but I’m sure it probably aired before then,” Mo’ette replied, pointing across the room at a television screen.  “The story said that Nikki and Josh were back together officially and that she was pregnant and expecting their first baby.  I didn’t know you two dated.”

“Yeah, it was a thing of the distant past,” Nikki sarcastically said, shaking her head as Mo’ette looked at her strangely.  “What else can possibly happen?”

“Who knows,” Mo’ette said as Nikki sighed and then walked away from the table.

Justin’s POV

This just isn’t going to get any better, is it?  When is the media going to leave them alone?  First the crap with him, then the shit with Glitter and now they’re messing with Nikki.  What’s going to happen next?

“Justin Tanner!”  I heard behind me as I put the menu down, turned around and then saw Momma standing at the guest check-in with Dad.  Oh shit, is this really happening right now?  “Justin Tanner, I know you hear me talking to you!”

“What in gay hell,” JT said as he turned around to see Momma and Dad too.  “The shit is about to hit the fan, everyone needs to duck.”

“Here we go,” Vanessa said, looking at me as Mo’ette frowned and then sighed as she shook her head.

“We don’t need this right now,” Mo’ette said as Momma rushed over to the table as Dad shook his head and then covered his eyes.

“Justin Tanner, what in the hell is going on?”  Momma asked, looking at me like I was crazy.  “Do you know what’s going on?”

“No Momma, what’s going on?”  I asked, looking at her like she was crazy as did other people around us.

“You’re on the damn news!”  She snapped, pointing her finger at me.  “Most of the news channels are saying you’re gay and you’re with that guy… What’s his name, the guy that was on the show with you guys!”

“JT,” I said, shaking my head as she stopped and then looked at me funny.

“Yeah, him,” she said, crossing her arms across her chest.  “Why in the world are you with him right now?”

“Because I’m supposed to be with him,” I replied as she stopped again and then dropped her arms.

“What do you mean by that?”  She asked, looking at me closely.  “Why are you supposed to be with him?”

“Because he’s my boyfriend Momma,” I replied as she hauled off, smacking me across the face as Dad moved quickly, grabbing her before she could do more.

“How dare you sit there and nonchalantly tell me that!  How dare you!”  Momma screamed as Dad did his best to hold her back.  “Let me go Paul, let me go damn it!”

“Lynda honey, you need to calm down,” Dad spoke, trying to stop her as she struggled to get away from him.

“Alright, we don’t need this drama here.  Just calm down,” Vanessa said as she stood up from the table and then moved over to where Momma stood. “There’s already too much going on.  We don’t need more added to that.”

“Who are you?”  Momma asked, looking at Vanessa strangely.

“I’m Vanessa Jameson,” Vanessa replied, looking at Momma closely.  “I’m JT’s mother.”

“Do I look like I care that you’re his mother?”  Momma asked as she pulled away from Dad and got closer to Vanessa. “Because of your son, my son’s career is going down the damn drain as we speak!  How could you, a mother, let something like this happen?  Don’t you care about your son or his career?”

“Excuse me?  What do you mean by that?”  Vanessa asked, getting closer to Momma, getting up in her face.

“Ladies,” Dad said as Momma looked at him and he stepped back.

“Just what it sounded like I meant!  Don’t you care about your son or his career?”  Momma asked.  “If you cared, how could you let this happen?  How could you let them be together, opening to cause all this mess?”

“The only one causing mess right now is you,” Vanessa said as she pointed her finger in Momma’s face.  “I don’t know what your problem is, but I’m not going to stand here and allow you…”

“Stop!”  JT snapped, getting up from the table.  “Is this really the time or place for this?”

“Is there any other?”  Momma asked, looking over at him.  “What did you do to him?  What did you do to my Justin, to get him to do this?”

“Excuse me?  I did nothing to Justin to get him to do anything,” JT stated as he looked down and then shook his head.

“Nobody did anything to me Momma,” I replied as she shook her head.

“You lie, that man corrupted you and made you turn your back on all that you know and choose a life of sin,” she said, getting in my face.  “How could you turn your back on the right way and go against God?  I didn’t raise you to be this way!  I didn’t raise you to be with a man!”

“Stop it Momma,” I said as she smacked me in the face again.

“You stop it!  You stop whatever the hell this is and come home with me!”  Momma screamed as I shook my head.

“What is going home with you going to do?”  I asked as she shook her head.  “I’m not going to leave the man I love.”

“You’re not going to leave the man you love?  What?  I—I don’t believe what I’m hearing,” Momma said as she turned away from me and then looked down.

“Lynda, we need to go,” Dad suggested, looking over at me.  “Justin is a grown man.  He’s made his decision and you need to abide by it.”

“No Paul!  I’m not going to let my baby ruin his life like this,” Momma said, sniffling as she shook her head.  “I can’t allow him to live this kind of life.  He—he can’t go to hell!”

“I’m not going to hell Momma,” I said a she turned and then looked at me like I was crazy.  “Momma…”

“Why are you like this?  Was it something I did?  Did one of those gay boys in the band do something to make you this way?”  Momma asked as I shook my head.

“No Momma, you didn’t do anything and neither did any of the guys,” I replied, sighing as she shook her head again and then wiped at her eyes.  “I’m just me.  I love him and I want to be with him.  There’s nothing more than that to say.”

“Yes there is,” she replied, moving back over to where I was.  “Please Justin, please don’t choose this kind of life.  You can’t live like this.  You can’t flourish as a real man.”

“Yes I can Momma,” I replied as she shook her head and then moved away from me as Dad smiled weakly.  “It’s only love Momma.  There’s nothing wrong with love.”

“There’s something wrong with love when it goes against God,” she said, sniffling again.  “I love you Justin, but I’m not going to condone the way you’re living right now.”

“I love you also Momma, but I’m not going to change, just to make you happy,” I replied as she looked at me and then walked towards the door.

“As long as you’re gay Justin, I have no son,” she said as I’m sure my eyes widened as it felt like my heart had been pulled out of my chest.

“Momma,” I said as Dad raised his hand, stopping me as he walked over to where I was.

“Son, don’t worry about this.  I’ll talk to her.  You stay here with the man that’s captured your heart.  Be strong Justin and don’t let anything break your spirit.  I’ll call you later on tonight.  I love you son,” he said, hugging me as he rubbed my back.

“I—I love you too Dad,” I said, sniffling as it felt like my whole world was crashing around me.

“Go to him son, go to him and show him that you’re not going to let this ruin what you two have.  Show him that this isn’t an obstacle for you two,” he said, patting me on the back as he walked away, catching up to Momma as he hugged her as the two of them walked out of the room together.

An Hour Later

Nikki’s POV

“I said no comment!”  I snapped, hitting the off button so hard, I nearly broke a nail.  Ever since that story about my nonexistent pregnancy broke, my cell has been ringing non-stop.  When I find out who leaked that shit, heads are going to roll!

Sighing, my phone rang again.  My emotions getting the better of me, I start to toss the thing across the room, but I remember I need it.  I don’t even look at the caller ID before I hit the answer key.

“Whoever the hell this is, I don’t have any comment!”  I snapped.

“Nicole Shanté Knotts, I know I taught you how to answer a phone better than that!”  I heard a voice I dreaded hearing.

Oh shit, this is the last thing I need right now.  I might as well fall on my sword now, versus letting my mother stew for days.  I already know what this is about, so I just have to suck it up and go with the damn flow.

“I’m sorry momma, it’s just these stupid reporters won’t leave me alone.  I take it you heard,” I said.

“Yes, I did.  I’m calling to ask what in the hell you think you’re doing, getting back with Joshua after the way his people treated you!”  She snapped as I held the phone away from my ear a bit.

I sighed deeply.  I knew she’d be pissed when she found out.  Nothing to do now but jump in and try to smooth the waters.  No matter what I say, she’s still going to be pissed, whether he claims to be a changed man or not.

“It isn’t like that momma.  I had no idea he was coming here, but I’m glad he did.  I—I’ve missed him.  And I still love him so much.  Please don’t be angry,” I said, trying to imagine the look on her face.

“It’s too late for that little girl,” she said as I shook my head.  I’m back to be called ‘little girl’.  She’s beyond pissed with me right now.  “Nicole, you just got over him.  Why would you do this to yourself again?  You know his family hates you.  You deserve so much better than that baby.  You deserve someone better than him!”

Damn, nobody knows how to make me cry, faster than Momma of course.  Dashing away the tears, I try to sound like I know what I’m doing, but I don’t think Momma would actually care.  It’s her way or the highway at times.

“It’s not like that anymore Momma.  He told me he doesn’t care how his family.  He told me he doesn’t care how his family feels.  He misses me and he wants me too.  Joshua does love me.  He’s always loved me.  Can you please try to accept that we’re back together?”  I asked.

Momma’s voice was neutral when she spoke again, but I know her.  She’s so mad, steam is probably shooting out of her ears, like you would see in the Saturday morning cartoons.

“Where are ya’ll right now?”  She asked.

“We’re still in Philly, but we’re headed back to Jacksonville tomorrow morning.  Why Momma?”  I asked, wondering what was going through her mind.

“You stay your brown ass there until I get there.  It’s time for you and me to have a little sit down.  I’ll call you back when I have my flight information,” she said as I shook my head again.

Lord, the click in my ear let me know I’ve been dismissed.  I don’t need this right now!  But Gladys Knotts has spoken.  I’d be a damned fool to try to ignore her decree that I remain here until she decides to show up.  Shaking my head, I stopped in my tracks and walked over to the bar and ordered myself a Cola and asked for a mini bottle of rum to go along with it.

“Well shit, I think I’m going to need me a cool drink,” I said as the bartender looked at me strangely as I sighed.

Mutual Attraction’s Hotel Suite

“JT, I’m so glad to see you.  Would you like to tell me what’s going on around here?”  Jarrod asked, walking over to where JT stood as Starletta followed behind him.  “Since I’ve been up, there have been reporters and paparazzi, trying to get in here to see you guys.  So, tell me JT, what’s going on around here?”

“What’re you asking me for?”  JT asked, walking passed Jarrod.  “I’m in no mood to deal with you right now, so leave me the hell alone.”

“I’m not about to leave you alone and you better get into the mood to deal with me.  I want to know what’s going on around here,” Jarrod stated as he followed behind JT, getting up in his face.

“Man, don’t make me hit you,” JT said, glaring at Jarrod.

“Go ahead and do that and you’ll be in jail before sun down,” Jarrod stated as JT cracked a smile and then shook his head.

“Come on, you act like I would actually care about something like that,” JT stated as he moved passed Jarrod, heading towards his room.  “If you’re going to make a threat to me, at least make it one that’s fucking believable.”

“I’m so tired of this damn attitude from you JT.  I’m your fucking boss…” Jarrod said as JT laughed and then shook his head again.

“Yeah, you’re my fucking boss alright that keeps sticking it to her,” JT said as he pointed at Starletta.  “Let me know when you’re done diddling her; then we can talk about what’s going on.  Until then, stop acting like a damn whinny ass bitch!”

“Why, I…” Jarrod said as JT shook his head, walked into the room and then slammed the room door in his face.

“Damn, you’re going to just let him talk to you like that,” Starletta said as she looked at Jarrod strangely.

“Shut the hell up,” Jarrod said as he turned around quickly and then stomped back into the room, slamming the door behind him, leaving Starletta standing there watching like a fool.

“Well excuse the hell out of me,” Starletta said, waving her hand dismissively as she turned around and walked towards the main room door as it opened quickly as Justin, Mo’ette and Vanessa rushed into the room.  “Damn, where’s the fire?”

“JT!”  Justin called out, almost knocking Starletta down.  “I’m sorry, I’m looking for JT.”

“Damn, you’re excused,” Starletta replied, turning around to look at Justin as Mo’ette glared at her.

“Look here ho, we don’t have time for the shit you’re about ready to spew.  Keep that shit to yourself, under lock and key, in your throat,” Mo’ette said as she turned around and then walked over to JT’s room door, joining Justin as she banged on the door.

“I’m not in the damn mood!  Get away from that damn door!”  JT screamed as Justin stopped knocking and then looked down as he shook his head.

“Fine, I’ll just leave here,” Justin said with a sigh.

“No baby, you stand your ground here,” Mo’ette said as she looked at Justin closely.  “This is just a small bump in the road baby.  Don’t let what happened earlier, bring you down.”

“It’s way too late for that,” Justin said as he shook his head again.  “He’s in there and I’m out here.  That’s not right.  We should be together, not apart like this.”

“For now, that’s how it’s going to be!  I’m done!”  JT snapped.

“JT baby, stop all of this madness and get your ass out here,” Vanessa said as she stood next to Justin and Mo’ette, tapping on the door.  “This isn’t funny boy!”

“JT, listen to us, get out here and talk to your man or let him in there with you,” Mo’ette said as she tapped on the door next.

“I said get away from that damn door!”  JT screamed.

“No and that’s final JT,” Mo’ette replied as she banged on the door again. “Get your narra ass out here!  Don’t make me kick this muthafuckah down!”

“That’s okay Mo, just let it go,” Justin said as he sighed and then wiped at his eyes.

“No Justin, I’m not going to let this go,” Mo’ette said as she pulled Justin into a hug.  “This is just a small bump in the road.  I’m sure you two are going to get through this.”

“I don’t think we will Mo,” Justin said as he sniffled and then wiped at his eyes.  “He’s trying to play the good guy here, when he doesn’t need to.  I don’t’ care about what Momma thinks right now, I care about him.  He doesn’t need to do what he’s doing for my sake.  We’re supposed to be together.  Why can’t he see that?”

“Because—because maybe we don’t need to be together.  I told you there would be issues that you couldn’t surpass,” JT’s voice was heard through the door.

“Issues I couldn’t surpass?  I’m here; you’re the one in there, hiding!  I’m not letting my mother hold us back, you are!  I’m here, trying to be with you.  You’re the one that’s in there, trying to hide from me!  You’re the one that’s scared here, not me!”  Justin snapped as he kicked the door, turned around and then walked off.

“Justin!”  Mo’ette called after Justin, rushing behind him as Vanessa shook her head and then kicked the door too as it opened.  Sighing, she walked into the room to see JT sitting on the bed, crying.

“Boy, what are you doing in here?”  Vanessa asked, walking over to JT and then sitting down next to him.  “Justin is out there, hurting and you’re in here… You’re in here, crying like a damn fool.”

“Thanks a lot mother,” JT said as he sniffled and then wiped at his eyes.  “The vote of confidence I needed.”

“You’re welcomed son,” Vanessa sarcastically said as she smacked JT upside the head.  “What in the hell is wrong with you?  Why are you in here, when that young man is out there, probably ready to walk away from your ass and you’ll…”

“Yeah, like all the others,” JT said as he sniffled and then looked down.  “I knew it was only a matter of time before…”

“You knew it was a matter of time before what?”  Vanessa asked, looking at JT like he was crazy.  “This had nothing to do with me or Marc, this time it was all you.”

“What!”  JT snapped, looking up at Vanessa.

“Who are you going to blame for this one not working out JT?”  Vanessa asked.  “Marc isn’t here and I had nothing to do with this baby, so you only have yourself to blame for Justin leaving the…”

“What!”  JT snapped again as he got up from the bed quickly.

“That’s what I said boy,” Vanessa said as she shook her head and then stood up. “That crazy ass white boy likes you.  Hell, he might even love you on some level.”

“How do you know that?”  JT asked, looking at Vanessa closely as he wiped at his eyes.

“That white boy stood up to his parents and chose you.  From what I know about Lynda Hamilton, she’s cut throat when it comes to her son and this business.  That woman will do any and everything for him.  They’ve always been there for each other, but I’m sure you already know that,” Vanessa stated as she shook her head.

“Yeah, I know that.  Justin isn’t going to be with me long, he’ll figure out that he’s tired of not having his mother talk to him, blame me for his mother not talking to him and then he’ll leave me,” JT stated as Vanessa shook her head again.

“You aren’t getting it,” Vanessa said as she sighed.  “Justin chose you and not her baby.  That’s saying a whole lot.”

“No it’s not mother,” JT said as Vanessa hit him upside the head again.  “Owww Momma!”

“Boy, I’m getting really pissed off with you here,” Vanessa spoke as she shook her head and then raised her hand as JT slunk back against the wall.  “You’ll never know how it feels for a parent to have their child choose someone else over them.  When Justin told her that he loved you and that he wasn’t going to change for anything… You know, that should’ve been enough for you.  Stop acting like a damn fool boy.  Justin is trying here, but are you?”

“I…” JT started as Vanessa interrupted him.

“Are you trying John?”  Vanessa asked, looking at JT strangely.  “All these years, all the complaining about not having what you wanted.  Well you got it and now you’re trying to turn it away.”

“I’m not trying to turn it away,” JT replied as he looked down.

“What?  If you’re not trying to turn it away, then what in the hell are you doing John Timothy Poole?”  Vanessa asked, sighing as she shook her head again.  “Sometimes you remind me of your daddy, way too much.”

“Don’t bring him into this,” JT said as he sighed.

“Why not bring him into this?  You don’t want me reminding you of how much you two are alike,” Vanessa said, pointing her finger at JT.  “You’re both stubborn, you both drink, you both…”

“Momma!”  JT snapped as Vanessa raised an eye at him.

“Boy, don’t raise your voice to me like that again,” Vanessa chastised JT.  “You might be a grown man, but I’ll knock the hell out of you.  I’m not Mo’ette, Glitter or Nikki.”

“I know you’re not,” JT replied as he sighed again.

“Do you even like the boy or not?”  Vanessa asked, crossing her arms across her chest.

“Yes, I like him, but…” JT replied as Vanessa interrupted him.

“No buts about it boy,” Vanessa said as she looked at JT closely. “Do you want to be with him?  Do you want him being the one?”

“I don’t know if he’s the one or not,” JT replied as he looked down.  “I’m tired of getting hurt.  I put my…”

“No baby, you’re the one hurting you right now and no one else.  As I said before, Marc isn’t here and I had nothing to do with this,” Vanessa stated as she turned JT’s face to look at her.  “If you want to be with that crazy ass white boy, be with him.  Damn JT, be a damn man, man up and stop being negative all the damn time.  I’m tired of this.  I could be somewhere else, living my life, but no, I’m here, trying to help you fix yours.  Be you baby.  That’s all you have to do in life.”

“Momma,” JT said as he sniffled and then wiped at his eyes.

“No boy, be you and stop snotting up the place, you a grown ass man,” Vanessa said as she shook her head and made a strange facial expression as JT wiped at his eyes again.  “Go in there and clean up your face and then go find your man.”

“But what if…” JT said as Vanessa shook her head again.

“Go in there and clean up your face and go find your man.  Once you two are okay, come find me.  I think we need to have a talk about the Heather matter,” Vanessa said as she pushed JT towards the bathroom.

“Okay, thanks Momma,” JT said as Vanessa hugged him and then kissed him on his forehead.

“Welcome boy, now get in there and clean your face.  You are getting snot everywhere,” Vanessa said, laughing as JT stuck out his tongue as she raised an eye at him.  “Get in there.”

“Yes ma’am,” JT replied as he walked into the bathroom.

To Be Continued in Book 2 – After the Glitter Fades


The Past Comes Knocking – Chapter 13

Chapter 13 — The Heart That Preys, Part 1

May 27, 2004 – Philadelphia, PA – The Radisson Plaza Hotel – Down the Hall from Heather’s Hotel Room


Come on God, what in the hell is going on around here?  There’s really a little boy back there, with her.  He—he looks like her, but he also looks like he could be mixed with—with… Oh God, I—I don’t know what to say or think right now.  Come on God, what’s going on around here?  Am I going mad?  Am I fucking drunk or what?  This can’t be happening… This can’t be real!

Lawd, what in the hell is she doing here with a little boy?  What is she doing here with a little boy that she claims to be mine?  I—I’ve never slept with her or any woman for that matter, so how can she have a little boy that she claims to be mine?  How God, how is that possible?

“Oh thank God,” I heard Nikki’s voice behind me as I turned to look at her.  “What’s going on JT?”

“She really has a little boy,” I said, looking at her closely.  “The little boy looks like he could be a mixed-race child and…”

“Hmmmm,” she said, looking at me closely.  “Could be, but that doesn’t mean it’s your child JT.”

“Yeah, but—but he—he has that look and I’m having a strange vibe right now,” I said, thinking that little boy could really be mine.  I just don’t know how, since I know I’ve never had sex with her.

“How could he be yours, if you’ve never slept with her JT?”  She asked, crossing her arms across her chest.  “You have to have sex to have a child JT and as things are, you’re gay.  She doesn’t have the right equipment for you, I’m guessing.”

“I don’t know what’s going on around here Nikki, but I think that little boy down the hall is mine,” I said, shaking my head.  “I just don’t know how that is possible.”

“Well maybe you need to go find out, if you think he’s yours JT,” she said, looking at me with a strange look on her face.  “The only way you’re going to find out that information is going straight to the cow and from what I’ve heard so far, she’s back there in that room with the little boy.”

“Don’t you start too,” I said, not wanting her to start acting like Mo’ette.

“Well I’m just saying JT,” she said, looking me in the face.  “All of your answers are back there in that room.  You have to go get them, if you want to know.”

“Yes, I know and I’m scared of that,” I declared, looking down again. “But it’s really late and I think sleep is going to win out, more than my curiosity and questions right now.”

“Before you think about sleep, you’re going to be bombarded with more questions,” she said, turning and looking down the hall as she turned back to me.  “Justin.”

“Justin,” I said, looking down again, forgetting all about him.  “Damn it, I bet he’s freaking out, probably more than I am right now.”

“You think,” she said, shaking her head.  “What do you think is going through his mind right now?”

“Hell, I don’t know,” I replied, trying to actually think of what he might be thinking in a situation like this.

“Maybe you should go find out,” she said, sighing.  “I’m going back to my room.  You can fill me in on the rest of this drama, at a later time hopefully.”

“Okay,” I said as we both walked towards Heather’s room to collect our so-called counterparts.  “Thanks Nikki.”

“Anytime friend,” she said with a small smile on her face.

An Hour Later – Mutual Attraction’s Suite – JT’s Hotel Room

Justin’s POV

I just got back here and right now, I—I don’t know what to actually think about things.  Has JT been lying all these years or is Heather the one lying, like always?  I don’t know whether to believe him or her, but right now, the evidence seems to be on her side in things.  Like dang, there’s actually a little boy down there with her, so no one can actually call her a liar about that fact, but is that little boy really JT’s son or what?

God, why is this happening to me?  Is everything in my life going to be a damn hurdle?  This was supposed to be easy, not this—this damn hard.  This is really scaring the hell out of me right now.  I’ve known JT for a long time and since I’ve known him, he’s always been gay and claims he’s never laid a hand on a woman sexually, so how did that little boy, that looks so much like him, get here in our world?

“Come on God, what’s really happening here?”  I asked aloud as the light in the room came on.

“I’m not God, but I can do my best to try to answer the question,” I heard behind me as I turned around to see Marc, JT’s supposed to be ex manager, sitting on the sofa with a smug look on his face.

“What in the hell are you doing here?”  I asked, walking over to where he sat.  “You’re supposed to be in jail.”

“You know lawyers are a beautiful thing handsome,” he said, getting up off the sofa as he stood up, moving in front of me.  “If you pay them enough, they can do a whole lot for you.  I’m sure you know that already.  Come on Justin, you know money runs the world.”

“I don’t care how much you paid, you should be in jail right now for all the things you’ve done,” I said, pointing my finger in his face.  “You did a whole lot of crumby things and…”

“Do you want to know what’s going on with JT or do you want me back in jail, it’s your choice Justin,” he said, looking me in the face, knowing that my interest in what was going on would probably win out over him going back to jail for breaking the temporary restraining order that’s lingering over his head, that JT and Nikki had placed against him.

“Okay Marc, what do you know?”  I asked, keeping my eyes on him.

“No no no Justin, what do I get out of this, for telling you what you want to know?”  Marc asked, smiling at me.

“Are you trying to make a damn pass at me Marc?”  I asked, stepping back away from him.

“Let’s not call it a pass Justin, let’s just call it an incentive.  You give me something and I tell you what you want to know.  We both win with that little scenario, don’t you think?”  He asked with a smile on his face.

“How dare you!”  I snapped, turning around and walking towards the door.  “How in the hell did you get in here any damn way?”

“Regardless of what you might think Justin, I still have my sources around here,” he replied.  “Because JT and Nikki hate me, that doesn’t mean that everyone around here does.  Some people agree with some of the things I’ve done.”

“Yeah right.  Those people that agree with you are just as slimy as you are,” I said, shaking my head.  “Since you’re here, against the restraining order that JT and Nikki have against you, why don’t I help you out in a hurry and…”

“What?  No, you can’t do that Justin,” he said, rushing to get to me, grabbing my hand as I pushed him backwards off of me.  “I have something you want.  You can’t—you can’t just throw me out.”

“I’m sure I can find out what I want to know, from someone else.  I’m not about to lower myself to your slimy ass standards, just to find out some information,” I stated, crossing my arms across my chest.  “Get out of here, before you make me regret, not calling hotel security sooner.”

“Come on Justin, I know you want to know what I know,” he said with a sly smile on his face.

“No thank you,” I replied, opening the door.  “Get out Marc, before you see the police sooner than you should.”

“But I can give you what you want right now and you wouldn’t have to wait, as I’m sure you would if you waited on others to tell you,” he said, smiling brightly.  “I’m right here and I can tell you what you want, just give me what I want.”

“As I said, I can find out what you probably know from someone else, that isn’t going to try to get sex or whatever the hell it is, that you want from me right now.  Get the fuck out of here Marc!”  I snapped as a security guard rushed over to the door.

“Marc?  What in the hell are you doing here?”  The security guard asked, pulling out his walkie-talkie.  “You’re not supposed to be within one hundred feet of JT or any of the others here.”

“JT’s not here, so I’m not violating the damn restraining order,” Marc stated, moving passed the security guard.

“Where is JT?”  I asked, looking at Marc and then over at the security guard.  “That’s rather odd; I haven’t seen him since I’ve been back here.”

“He’s not here sir,” the security guard replied, looking at me strangely.

“Something’s up,” I said, moving around the security guard, walking out of the room and heading towards the suite door.

Previously – A Few Floors Down – Heather’s Hotel Room

“JT,” Heather said as she moved away from the door, extending her hand, waiting for JT to walk in.

“Okay Heather, I’m here,” JT said, walking into the room.  “What in the hell is going on here?  Who’s that little boy?”

“He’s your son JT,” Heather replied, walking over to the sofa and sitting down, motioning for JT to sit down also.  “There’s nothing more to say in that regard.”

“No Heather, there’s a whole lot more to say in this regard.  How is that little boy my son?  How in the world did we have a son together?  It’s not possible Heather, we’ve never slept together,” JT stated as he flailed his arms around.  “I’ve never slept with you to produce a child.”

“Yes, you have,” Heather stated as JT stopped and then looked at her as he got up from his seat.

“You’ve really lost your damn mind Heather,” JT stated as he shook his head and then turned around.  “We’ve never slept together.  What game are you trying to play here woman?”

“I’m not trying to play a game at all JT,” Heather responded, getting up.

“Yes you are,” JT replied, pointing his finger at Heather.  “We’ve never slept together Heather.”

“Yes, we have JT,” Heather replied, walking over to JT.

“No, we haven’t,” JT stated as he shook his head.

“Fine, if you don’t believe me, get a paternity test done,” Heather stated, looking JT in the face.  “Caleb is your son and a paternity test will prove it to you.”

“Fine, I’ll get a paternity test and when the results come back and prove that I’m not the father, you need to go and get yourself some mental help,” JT stated as he shook his head.  “I can’t believe you’re causing all of this, in the midst of something else going on.  What is wrong with you?  Like old damn times, you always had to be the center of attention and when you weren’t, you made yourself the center of attention.”

“Hold up JT, I’m not the one that’s causing something here, you are,” Heather stated as she pointed her finger at JT.  “You’re the one that’s causing a problem here, not me.  I’m here with our son, like I should be.  You’re the one that’s destroying what we should have.  You—you did this, not me.”

“What!”  JT snapped as Heather turned and looked at the bedroom door and then turned back to him.

“Calm down, don’t you dare wake up our son,” Heather chastised JT as he glared at her.

“He’s not our son, he’s your son possibly, but not mine,” JT stated as Heather shook her head with a mean look on her face.  “I can’t believe you’re doing this.  Why are you putting that little boy through this, whatever the hell this is?”

“You’re doing that, not me,” Heather stated, shaking her head again.  “It’s time that you took a role in his life.  I—I’ve raised him for ten years; it’s your turn now.”

“It’s not my turn, I’m not his father,” JT said, shaking his head.  “You really need to get yourself some help Heather.  This has gone a bit too far.  This goes further than you making claims that Fred had made passes at you, while he was drunk at one of the cast parties and that Albert, Damon and Josh had beaten you up and raped you on the set one night after rehearsals.  What are you going to say and do next woman?  How far are you willing to go Heather?”

“How dare you!”  Heather growled, glaring at JT.

“How dare I what Heather, tell the truth about your mental stability?  I shouldn’t talk about your lies?  I shouldn’t be talking about the things you’ve done to ruin the lives of other people, because they had something you didn’t have,” JT said as he shook his head.  “Because of the lies that you told, Fred lost his family!  The lies you told made his wife leave him.  She filed for divorce a few days after your little lies hit the press and she took the kids away from him.  That hurt him and drove him to drinking and even…”

“From what I hear nowadays, you would know about the drinking and the drugs too,” Heather sarcastically said, glaring at JT and then turned her head.

“Yeah, sure I do.  I know a lot about drinking, you’re one of the reasons why I drank so much back in the day.  It was always you Heather.  I always defended you to other people and then you do this to me,” JT stated as he looked down and then shook his head.  “Why are you doing this to me?  What did I ever do to you, to make you want to do something like this to me?  Do you hate me that badly?  You would have to, to do something like this to me!”

“I don’t hate you,” Heather stated, walking around the sofa to JT.  “I wish you would… JT, Caleb is your son, if you would just…”

“No Heather, stop this.  I—I’ve had enough of this,” JT said as he shook his head and then sighed.  “I’m not going to stand here and have you continuously tell me that little boy is mine, when I know he’s not.  We’ve never slept together!  Stop this madness, before you cause a bigger problem here!”

“What in the world is going on out here?”  JT heard behind him as he turned to see the woman he saw earlier, standing there with her hands on her hips.  “Caleb is awake and he wants to know why his mother is fighting with some man.”

“Who in the hell are you?”  JT asked, looking at the woman strangely.

“You don’t talk to her like that,” Heather stated, glaring at JT as she walked towards the room where her son was.

“You don’t fucking tell me how to talk!”  JT snapped, shaking his head as he pointed his finger in Heather’s direction.  “Vanessa Jameson is no damn where in this room!”

“I don’t care if your mother is or isn’t in this room.  I won’t have you talking any kind of way to my friends, because you’re…” Heather stated as JT interrupted her.

“Shut the hell up Heather!”  JT snapped, walking towards Heather.  “I’ve seen and heard enough for one damn night.  I will see you in the morning so we can fix this so-called problem here.”

“What are you talking about, fix this so-called problem?”  Heather asked, looking at JT strangely.

“In the morning, we’re going to get a paternity test,” JT stated, glaring at Heather.  “Since you claim that little boy is my son, you’re going to prove it.”

“I don’t have to prove anything, I know the truth here JT,” Heather stated, glaring at JT.

“Well if you want recognition from me of him, being my son of course, then it needs to be proven that he’s my son and when it’s proven that he’s not, I want you to get the hell out of my life.  You’ve taken things a bit too far this time!”  JT snapped, throwing his arms up.

“Fine, have it your way JT, but you’ll be proven wrong,” Heather said with a frown on her face.  “You want a paternity test, that’s totally fine with me.”

“Fine,” JT said, glaring at Heather as he turned and walked towards the door as the other woman watched him.  “I’ll see you in the morning, bright and early.”

After 7 AM – Mutual Attraction’s Suite – JT’s Hotel Room

“Oh baby, where have you been?”  Justin asked, walking over to JT and hugging him.  “I’ve been worried to death about you.”

“I’m fine,” JT replied, pulling away from Justin as he walked over to the windows in the room.

“Are you sure, you don’t’ sound fine baby,” Justin replied, walking up behind JT.  “What’s going on?  Where have you been all night?”

“I’ve been walking around,” JT replied, sighing as he rubbed at his head.  “I’ve been trying to make sense of everything going through my mind.”

“Make sense of what baby?”  Justin asked, caressing JT’s cheek as he stepped around in front of him.

“Trying to make sense of what Heather said, what’s currently going on with my career, you, the group, everything,” JT responded as he looked down at his hands and then sniffled.  “I—I don’t know what to think about everything going on right now.”

“Why not baby?  Have—have you changed your mind about things, about us?”  Justin asked, looking down as he stepped away from JT.

“Should I be changing my mind Justin?”  JT asked, lifting Justin’s chin so they could look each other in the eyes.  “Should I be changing my mind about you Justin?”

“I don’t want you to change your mind about me baby,” Justin replied, moving in close and kissing JT’s lips.  “What happened between you and Heather?  What’s going on?”

“She has a son named Caleb,” JT replied, sighing.  “She claims that he’s my son, but we’ve never slept together.  I—I think she’s trying to run a game here, but I—I don’t know.  I’m getting a real bad vibe about things here and it’s scaring the hell out of me.”

“Why baby?  If you two have never slept together, why are you worried about this?”  Justin asked.

“Because something here doesn’t feel right,” JT said as he sighed again.  “Something’s not right here and I can feel it.”

“Such as what baby?”  Justin asked.

“I—I feel like that kid could be my son,” JT stated, looking down again as he sighed and then shook his head.

“How is that possible baby?  If you two have never had sex, there’s no possibility of that kid being yours,” Justin stated as he looked at JT strangely.  “Baby, are you hiding something from me?”

“No, I’m not hiding anything from you,” JT answered, sighing again.  “I just feel… I feel that this little boy is mine.  From what I saw, he has some features of mine, I just don’t know how that is possible though.”

“What did Heather say?”  Justin asked.

“She just kept saying that he’s mine.  She said that we slept together, when I know we haven’t done so.  She said that I was responsible for what’s happening, that I’m causing the drama here, not her,” JT stated as he sniffled and then wiped at his eyes.  “So, to help solve this issue, we’re going to get a paternity test this morning.”

“There isn’t a need for a paternity test if you know you haven’t slept with her baby,” Justin stated.

“Yes there is,” JT said with a frown.  “She’s not going to stop with the lies until it’s proven to her otherwise.  I don’t need this looming over me Justin.  I want to get this shit nipped in the bud as quickly as possible.  I don’t want this getting out, that I possibly have a son and I’m not recognizing him.  There is too damn much shit going on in the media already.  I don’t need anyone getting wind of this shit too.”

“Calm down baby,” Justin said, sighing as he pulled JT close and hugged him.

“No Justin!  Don’t tell me to calm down!  You’re not the one this shit is happening…” JT said as Justin held up his hand.

“It’s happening to you, but I’m here with you, so I’m feeling the effects too,” Justin stated as he looked down.

“Whatever,” JT said, turning away from Justin.  “Your name isn’t already out there, in the spotlight, like mine is, with the current shit going on.”

“Well, that’s because you haven’t checked the news lately,” Justin said, pointing at the television.  “Some of the news channels have outed me, but I’m okay with that.”

“Outed you, how?”  JT asked.

“Let’s just say that your last concert was my coming out party,” Justin said, looking at JT closely.  “So, I’m out baby and I’m in the spotlight, just like you.  They have us connected and Glitter has already given her take on things.”

“She’s what!”  JT snapped, shaking his head as he waved his hand.

“Yeah, she’s already given an interview,” Justin stated, crossing his arms across his chest.  “So it all be official.”

“I knew that heffa was going to be trouble,” JT said, sighing yet again.  “Oh well, just another damn thing to add to the list of problems that need fixing.”

“I don’t see that as a problem that needs fixing baby,” Justin said, walking over to where JT stood.  “If the world knows we’re together, there shouldn’t be a problem.  I’m okay with it.”

“Yeah, you are for now,” JT said as he turned and walked towards the door.

“Baby, wait… Where are you going?”  Justin asked, following behind JT.

Philadelphia International Airport – A VIP Area

“Lynda, what’s going on?  What are we doing here?  Why did you have me drop everything and meet you here in Philadelphia of all places?  Is everything alright, are you alright?”  Paul Hamilton asked, walking over to where Lynda Hamilton stood, watching a television monitor in the room.

“No Paul, everything’s not right.  I’m not alright.  I had you come here, so you could possibly stop me from killing Justin, when I find him and get my hands on him,” Lynda Hamilton, Justin’s mother spoke as she shook her head and then sighed.  “Have—have you seen the latest news reports of what he’s been doing?”

“Yes dear, I’ve seen a few of the reports on the news,” Paul replied as Lynda eyes widened.  “Lynda, Justin’s a grown man, he can…”

“That’s right Paul, he’s a grown man, that’s about to ruin his damn career,” Lynda said as Paul shook his head, placing a hand on her shoulder, stopping her.

“That’s just it dear, it’s his career to ruin, not yours,” Paul stated as Lynda hauled off, smacking him across the face as his eyes widened.  “Lynda…”

“No Paul, that’s not his damn career to ruin, it’s our career.  A whole lot of blood, sweat and tears went into helping him get to where he—where he was, since he seems to be plummeting now!”  Lynda snapped, pointing her finger in Paul’s face.

“Dear, you need to calm down.  You’re making a scene here,” Paul said, looking around as other patrons around in the room watched them.  “Justin’s a grown man; I’m sure he can handle things on in his life.”

“No Paul, apparently he can’t, since he’s here, somewhere around here, doing only God knows what,” Lynda said, crossing her arms across her chest as she glared at Paul. “Why do I get the feeling that you’re okay with all of this?”

“What’re you talking about darling?”  Paul asked, looking at Lynda closely.

“You’re okay with him being gay and with that—that black man,” Lynda said, looking at Paul closely.

“I have no choice but to be okay Lynda, it’s not my life, it’s his,” Paul stated, looking at Lynda with a loving look on his face.  “Justin’s a grown man; we have to let him be his own man.  There’s nothing we can do to change what has happened and we can’t change his heart.  If that black man is the person that he loves, there’s nothing you or I can do to stop that.”

“Paul, he’s ruining his life, his career,” Lynda said, shaking her head.

“Again, it’s his life, it’s his career Lynda,” Paul said as he caressed Lynda’s cheek.  “Are you here in Philadelphia, to try and change his mind about the choices he’s made?”

“Yeah, that’s why I—we’re here,” Lynda replied with a frown.

“Well I think we’re wasting our time here Lynda,” Paul stated, kissing Lynda’s lips.

“I don’t think I’m wasting time here Paul.  I—I need to talk to him about all of this,” Lynda said as she looked down.  “I need him to tell me what’s going on.  If he’s gay, that’s fine; he just needs to be sure about what he wants.”

“Lynda, there’s nothing that needs to be talked about,” Paul stated, pulling Lynda to him, hugging her close.  “Justin isn’t a baby anymore, he’s a grown man that can…”

“He’s still my baby and I feel he’s making a big mistake,” Lynda said as the tears streamed down her face.

“If he’s making a mistake, it’s his mistake to make baby.  He’s the one that has to experience the mistake and learn from it,” Paul said as he rubbed Lynda’s back.

“I—I just can’t…” Lynda said as Paul shook his head.

“No baby, we need to let Justin live his life,” Paul said, pulling back from Lynda as he kissed her lips again.

“Once I talk to him, then we can leave and he can live his life,” Lynda said, looking Paul in the face.  “Don’t fight me on this Paul, you won’t win.”

“I… Okay baby, let’s go find Justin,” Paul said with a defeated look on his face as he grabbed his things as he and Lynda walked out of the area.

To Be Continued…

The Past Comes Knocking – Chapter 12

Chapter 12 – Another Revelation

May 27, 2004 – Philadelphia, PA – The Radisson Plaza Hotel – Mutual Attraction’s Suite – JT’s Hotel Room

Justin’s POV

It seems like we’re finally moving in the right direction now.  I so thank you God.  I thought we were heading for another meltdown with all the things currently going on.  Now that I’ve finally gotten him to believe me, maybe we can pick things up and move them along to some loving.  We need to be making love, not making war, as it seems that’s what’s going on in ‘Mutual Attraction’.

Now that we’re back here at the hotel, I’m glad that he’s calm and quiet.  I really thought he was going to go off when he heard Nikki and Josh arguing.  Now that I think about things, maybe I shouldn’t have invited Josh here, to try to make up with Nikki.  After seeing the way he reacted to seeing Josh, I thought he was going to freak out and bring up some shit from the past that we don’t really need to get into.  I’ve worked way too hard to get back on his good side, to have to deal with shit that neither of us can change or control.

I’m not trying to complain God, but it seems like I’ve done just about everything I can to prove to him that I’m in this for the long haul.  What else do I have to do, to show him that I’m here and plan on being here with him as long as I can be?

“What’re you thinking about?”  JT asked, playing with the hairs on my arm.

“I’m thinking about us,” I replied as he looked down.

“Oh,” he said, stopping his stroking on my arm.

“No, nothing bad baby,” I said, taking his hand as he looked away from me.

“You—you’ve changed your mind?”  He asked as I shook my head and then forced him to look at me.

“JT, come on,” I said as he sighed.  “This is our time.  What do I have to do to get you to understand that I want to be with you and that I love you?”

“Nothing,” he replied, looking down again.

“Come on JT,” I said again.  “Hell, I’ve sang with you on stage and even outed myself to the fans.  The way we were dancing close that night and the song we sang, it was all a dead giveaway baby.”

“That’s not…” he said as I shook my head.

“It’s a lot,” I said, forcing him to look at me again.  “Why can’t you understand that I’m ready for this?”

“Are you really ready for this?”  He asked.  “This isn’t about sex Justin.”

“I know it’s not about sex,” I said as he looked down.  “We’ve already had sex, I liked it and I want it as much as I can get it from you, but I want more than just sex from you.  I want your heart JT, I want your love.”

“Justin, I—I’m…” he said as I stopped him.

“I’m scared too, but we’re going to get through this… All of this,” I said, pulling him close and then kissing his lips.  “We’re going to get through this together.”

“How can you be so sure of that Justin?”  He asked.

“Because I know my heart and I think I know yours,” I said as he frowned.  “I can somewhat understand where you’re coming from.  It’s not like we don’t already have a bad past together baby.”

“That’s right Justin, we do have a bad past and it’s going to take a lot to get over that stuff.  Because you’re here right now and you’ve sang some songs to me, don’t mean that all is forgiven,” he said as he got up off the sofa.

“I know baby,” I said as he turned around.  “When it comes to love for the both of us, we’ve had to deal with some bad luck and some stupid…”

“Stupid people,” he said, turning around to look at me.  “For me, you were one of those stupid people Justin.”

“I know I was, but I’m trying to change that now,” I said, walking over to him as I turned him to face me.  “Please baby, please forgive me for the things I’ve done wrong.  I’m trying here and I want this to work for us.  I don’t care about the past; I don’t care that you’re older than me and I don’t care about what the fans or anyone else say.  I want to be with you and I want us to be together.”

“Yes, I know that’s what you want, but do you actually think that’s going to happen?  Do you really think you’ll be happy being with me?  Do you really think your career will continue with me in your life as your man?”  He asked, looking down again.

“Yes and guess what, they can either accept me for who I am and like me for my skills or they can get the hell on,” I said as he shook his head.

“Your mom is so going to kill you,” he said as he shook his head again.

“Right now, my mother has no say in what I or we do,” I said, moving close to him and kissing his lips.  “Only we matter.”

“I don’t want to hear I told you so and I sure as hell don’t want you blaming me when your career crashes down around your damn ears.  I think you might need to wash the blond highlights out of your hair and get real Justin,” he said as I turned away from him.

“Do you want me or not JT?”  I asked, looking down, actually dreading his answer.

The Main Room

“I’m sorry ma’am, but you can’t come in,” one of the security guards spoke as Heather stood in the doorway with hands planted firmly on her hips.

“Why in the hell can’t I?”  Heather asked, doing her best to stand her ground with the guard.

“Ma’am, I’m sorry, but you’re not authorized to be here,” the security guard stated as Heather shook her head and then pushed passed the man into the room.  “Ma’am!  Ma’am, you can’t be in here!”

“I’m here and there’s nothing you can do about it,” Heather stated as she turned around to face the man. “Where’s JT?  Which room is he in, damn you.”

“I can’t give you that information ma’am,” the security guard said as Heather turned around, walked over to a door and started banging on it.

“This is Charlie, we’re going to need some help in the main room,” the security guard spoke into his walkie-talkie as Heather raised an eye at him.

“I have a damn right to be here!  Where in the hell is JT?”  Heather asked, walking over to the next door and banging on it.

“Ah, who the hell are you?” Starletta asked, standing in the doorway with a bed sheet covering her body as Jarrod rushed up behind her.

“You’re not JT,” Heather said as she moved to the next door and then banged on it.

“What in the hell is going on out here man?”  Jarrod asked, looking over at the security guard.

“I don’t know sir.  This woman seems to be looking for Mr. Poole,” the security guard replied.

“Well stop her damn it!”  Jarrod snapped as Heather stopped, turned around and then looked at him as the door she was about to knock on opened as Nikki and Josh stood there, watching her like she was crazy.

“Heather?  What are you doing here?”  Josh asked as Nikki looked at him and then back to Heather.

“Josh, do you know this woman?”  Nikki asked, crossing her arms across her chest.

“Yes, I know her.  She was on the Mouse with us,” Josh replied as Nikki looked back at Heather and then back at him as she shrugged her shoulders.

“Ah Jarrod, what’re you doing in the room with her?”  Nikki asked, eyeing Jarrod as he stood next to Starletta.  “I can’t believe this.  Are you two fucking, each other?”

“Don’t know the answer to that one, but it looks like they already did that, past tense babe,” Josh said as Nikki cut her eyes at him.  “Sorry.”

“You hush,” Nikki said as JT’s room door opened next as Justin walked out.

“What’s going on out here?”  Justin asked, looking around.

“You!”  Heather screamed, rushing over to Justin, hitting him in the chest as one of the security guards grabbed her and did his best to try to hold her back as Justin just looked at her strangely.

“What in the hell is going on?  Heather, what’re you doing here?”  Justin asked, watching Heather as the security guard struggled to hold her.  “Have you lost your damn mind?  What in the hell is wrong with you, running at me like that?”

“How could you!”  Heather screamed as she continued struggling with the guards to get free.

“How could I what?”  Justin asked, looking at Heather strangely.

“How could you do this to me?”  Heather asked as Justin just stood there, scratching at his head and then shrugged his shoulders.

“What is it that I supposedly did to you?”  Justin asked.

“Heather?  What’re you doing here?  What’s going on out here?  Jarrod, what in the hell are you doing in the room with Starletta, half naked no less?”  JT asked, walking up behind Justin.

“No, the question is, why are you two here, together damn it?”  Heather asked.  “You’re not supposed to be together damn it, you’re supposed to be with me!”

“Excuse me?  Who are you talking about?”  Justin asked, looking at Heather closely.  “The last time I checked, neither of us liked pussy, so you must have us mistaken for someone else.”

“You fucking bastard!”  Heather screamed, getting free of the security guard that had her as she moved over to Justin, slapping him in the face as two other security guards grabbed her as Justin backed away as JT stepped in front of him.

“What in the hell has gotten into you Heather?”  JT asked. “Have you lost your damn mind, again?”

“I already asked the crazy bitch that question!”  Justin snapped as he rubbed at the side of his face where Heather had slapped him.  “If she puts her hands on me again, someone get the police up here and have her escorted out!”

“Not to sound rude or anything, but what in the hell are you doing here anyway Heather?”  Josh asked, walking over to where Heather stood.  “Why are you here at this time of night?  I’m sure this… Whatever the hell this is, could’ve waited until morning.”

“I’m here to get what’s due me,” Heather replied as she struggled to get free of the security guards that held her in place.

“You’re here to get what’s due you?  What are you due Heather?”  JT asked, looking at Heather like she was crazy.

“You!”  Heather snapped as JT’s eyes widened.

“What in the hell do you want with me?”  JT asked, stepping back.

“You—you should’ve been mine,” Heather stated as she looked down and then shook her head.  “You’re not supposed to be with him!  Damn it, you’re supposed to be with me… And our—our son.”

“Come again,” JT said as he shook his head.

“Son?”  Justin and Nikki said in unison.

“Did she say son?”  Justin asked as he looked around.  “Come on, really?”

“What in the hell is going on?  A son?”  Nikki said as she looked at Heather and then over at JT.

“Ah Heather, we don’t have a son,” JT stated as he shook his head. “Have you been drinking again?  I heard that when you left the Mouse, you encountered some hard times, but this is rid…”

“It’s not ridiculous JT, we have a child,” Heather said as she pushed one of the security guards away from her and then kicked the other one on the leg, making him let her go.  “The two of us have a child together.”

“Are you fucking crazy!?  We don’t have a child together!  We can’t have a child together!  We’ve never slept together damn it!”  JT snapped she moved away from Heather.  “Why are you making up these damn lies?”

“I’m not lying JT,” Heather stated as the tears ran down her face.  “He’s here in the hotel, living and breathing.  He’s both of our flesh and blood!”

“You’re lying!  You’re lying damn it!”  JT screamed, moving away from Heather again as he backed up against a wall, bumping into it as he shook his head.  “This isn’t real!  This is all some nightmare!  This is some kind of prank, right?  I—I must be asleep and I need to wake up!  Wake up damn it!  Wake up!  I must be fucking drunk!”

“JT, JT calm down,” Nikki spoke calmly, trying to comfort JT as the main room door opened as Mo’ette walked in.

“What’s going on in here?”  Mo’ette asked, stopping in her tracks when she saw Heather.  “Lawd, it’s the crazy and deranged ho that tried to ruin our lives.”

“Who, her?”  Nikki asked, pointing at Heather.

“Yeah, that ho,” Mo’ette replied, shaking her head as she stopped again when she saw JT.  “Oh lawd, what did she do this time?  Is he okay?”

“No, he’s not okay Mo,” Justin replied as he stood next to JT.

“So, what did you do this time?”  Mo’ette asked, looking at Heather.

“She said that the two of them have a child together,” Justin spoke as Mo’ette closed her mouth quickly, rolled her eyes and then shook her head.

“What!”  Mo’ette screamed.  “They don’t have a damn child together!”

“Oh yes hell we do!”  Heather snapped, pointing her finger in Mo’ette’s direction.

“Lawd, this lil’ heffa don gon and lost her rabid damn mind, again!”  Mo’ette screamed as she moved over to Heather.  “I don’t know what game you’re trying to play here, but it ends now ho!”

“It’s not a damn game Mo’ette,” Heather replied, trying to get herself under control.  “If you don’t believe me, follow me and I’ll show you.”

“How—how are you going—going to show something—something that doesn’t exist?”  JT asked, sniffling as he wiped at his eyes.

“Our son does exist JT,” Heather stated as she turned around. “Follow me and meet your son, if you dare.”

“Oh, I gotta see this,” Mo’ette said as she, Justin, JT, Heather, Nikki and Josh walked out of the room.

Twenty Minutes Later – A Few Floors Down

“So, where are we going Heather?”  Mo’ette asked.

“We’re going to see my and JT’s son,” Heather replied as she stopped in front of a hotel room door.

“So, where is this so-called son at?”  Mo’etet asked, looking at Heather like she was crazy.

“Why is it that you’re always in other people’s business Mo’ette?”  Heather asked, pointing her finger in Mo’ette’s face.

“Oh no she didn’t!”  Mo’ette snapped as she moved closer to Heather, making a move to smack her as Justin grabbed her arm, stopping her.  “Someone better get this ho!”

“Mo, please,” Justin said as he stepped in front of Mo’ette.

“The ho got one more time to put her damn finger in my face, before she draws back a damn nub,” Mo’ette said as Justin sighed.

“Stop it!  We don’t have time for this,” JT said as he held his hand up as he stepped in between Mo’ette, Justin and Heather.  “Just go ahead and show us whatever this is.”

“I’m not going to stand around and let you refer to my—our child as if it was a piece of trash or something!”  Heather snapped, pointing her finger in JT’s face this time.

“See this shit here.  I don’t believe her now,” Mo’ette said as she turned around.  “This is all a big waste of damn time.”

“No Mo’ette, just give her a moment to prove what she’s saying,” JT said as he looked down and then shook his head.

“You want me to give her a moment to prove herself?  Why are you even wasting your time JT?  If you two never slept together, then we shouldn’t be standing here any damn way,” Mo’ette said as she balled her hands into fists.  “If you two didn’t have sex, there isn’t a child, it’s pretty simple baby.”

“No, we never had sex,” JT said as he looked at Heather strangely.  “So, Heather how did this happen?”

“Don’t ask me that right now,” Heather replied as she placed the keycard into the door lock.  “Your first question should be what’s his name and…”

“Okay Heather, what’s his name?”  JT asked.

“His name is Caleb,” Heather replied as she pushed the door open as it beeped.  “Come in, just JT though.”

“Oh no heffa, we’re all coming in to see this travesty,” Mo’ette said as Heather turned around and smacked Mo’ette across the face, knocking her backwards into Justin.

“Don’t you ever!”  Heather snapped, pointing her finger at Mo’ette.  “My child is not a travesty bitch!”

“Lawd, here we go,” Justin said as he, Josh and Nikki did their best to hold Mo’ette back.  “Stop Mo, calm down.”

“No Justin, no!  I’m not about to calm down right now!  This heffa is at it again and you know she is!  This time we don’t know what kind of madness she’s got going on behind that damn door.  Who knows what she’s going to cause this time.  She broke the group up the last time and with this, I don’t know what will happen to any of us.  This girl is pure evil and all of you know this!  She’s nothing but damn drama and that’s something none of us need right now.  With all the other mess going on in the media, we don’t need this heffa adding more to it!”  Mo’ette snapped as Heather turned around and then pushed the door open more.

“You guys stay out here,” Heather said as she glared at Mo’ette.  “JT is the only one that needs to be in here.”

“Fine, JT just go with her,” Nikki said as she turned around.  “The sooner this is over, the quicker we can get back to other things.”

“Yes, other things,” Josh said as he looked at Justin as JT walked into the room with Heather as the door closed.

Justin’s POV

Oh God, what in the world is going on here?  Am I dreaming this?  Is this really happening?  Is Heather, the crazy bitch from the show, really here right now?

Come on God, what’s the deal where?  I asked you for us to be together and then you throw this in the mix of things.  What’s up with that God?  What is the deal here?  What is Heather trying to pull here?  Does John really have a child with her or is this some kind of scam she’s trying to run on him—well all of us?  What is her damn angle here with all of this?  If she and JT have a child together, how did they get this child here?  I know John and just the thought of him having sex with a woman sickens him something fierce, so how did that happen?  Did they sleep together or what?  Since he claims that he hasn’t slept with her, is he lying to all of us or is she?  Did he sleep with her on a whim or what?

“Hey Justin, what’s on your mind?”  Nikki asked, rubbing my arm.

“A whole lot,” I replied, looking down at the floor, noticing the ugly pattern of the carpet.  “We—we just got together and now—now this shit happens.  I can’t seem to catch a damn break at all.”

“Honey, don’t you worry about this,” Mo’ette said, looking over at me.  “We all know that scamming heffa is up to something.  I just wish I knew what.  I want to know what her damn goal is here tonight, with this damn mess.”

“I want to know too Mo,” I said, looking at Mo’ette as she sighed and then looked down.  “What’s the point of her saying that she and JT have a child together when we all know that’s not the case.”

“I don’t know baby,” Mo’ette replied, crossing her arms across her chest as she tapped her foot on the floor.  “I just don’t understand that one bit.”

“Neither do I,” I said, sighing as Nikki gave me a hug as Josh watched us.

Inside Heather’s Hotel Room

“Okay Heather, what’s going on here?”  JT asked, looking around the room.  “What’s the meaning of all of this—this mess?”

“Why JT, why didn’t you wait for me?”  Heather asked.

“Why didn’t I wait for you for what Heather?  Why would I be waiting for you?”  JT asked, looking at Heather like she was crazy.  “What’s going through that mind of yours Heather?”

“No JT, what’s going through your mind?  Why Justin of all people?  Why are you hurting me—hurting us with the one person that always did what he could to interfere with us,” Heather stated, looking at JT like he was crazy as she pointed her finger at him.  “It was always him.  Why him and not me JT?”

“I don’t know what you’re thinking Heather, but I’m gay.  You already know that.  I’ve always been gay and that’s not going to change for you or anybody else,” JT stated as he shook his head.  “I don’t have time for this… I’m outta here.  This was all a big waste of time and…”

“No JT, this wasn’t a big waste of time,” Heather stated as she shook her head.  “Caleb isn’t a waste of time, he’s my whole world and he should be your whole world too.”

“Who is this Caleb, where is he?”  JT asked as Heather walked to another door, knocked and then stepped back as the door to the room opened as a woman stepped out with a little boy in her arms.

“JT, this is your son, Caleb Hunter Stewart,” Heather stated, walking over to the woman as she took the boy from the woman’s arms, hugging him to her.  “Sweetie—sweetie, wake up for mommie.”

“Mommie,” the little boy spoke, opening his eyes as he stretched his arms over his head and then looked up at Heather.  “Where are we Mommie?”

“We’re in a hotel Sweetie,” Heather answered, smiling at the little boy as he yawned.

“Okay Mommie,” the little boy replied as he yawned again as JT just stood there, watching the interaction between the two of them.  “Who’s that man over there Mommie?”

“Ah—ah, that’s an old friend of mine,” Heather replied, looking over at JT and then looking back at Caleb.  “This is JT.  JT and I used to perform together on a TV show when I was younger.  Say ‘hi’ baby.”

“Hi,” the little boy spoke, waving at JT.

“Hello,” JT spoke as he looked down quickly as Heather put the little boy down on his own feet.

“Why don’t you have a seat JT,” Heather suggest as she and the little boy moved over to the sofa and then sat down.

“I—I think I need… I need to leave.  It—it’s really… It’s really late and I have some things to do early in the morning,” JT stated as he turned and rushed to the main door.

“No JT, don’t leave, please stay,” Heather said as she got up quickly.

“I—I can’t do this, not right now,” JT said as he opened the door and then ran out of the room, passing everyone that waited outside.

“JT!  JT, what’s wrong?”  Nikki called after him.

“Alright heffa, what did you… Oh my,” Mo’ette said as she stopped in her tracks at the doorway when she saw the little boy sitting on the sofa.  “There’s really a little boy in there.”

“There’s a little boy in there with her?”  Justin asked, looking at Mo’ette as he moved quickly around her into the room, stopping in his tracks as well when he saw the little boy with Heather.  “Oh God, I—I think I need to get some air.”

“Baby, I think we both need to get some air,” Mo’ette said as she covered her mouth and then shook her head.

To Be Continued…

The Past Comes Knocking – Chapter 11

Chapter 11 – Rekindling Times Two

May 26, 2004 – Philadelphia, PA – A Local Classy Restaurant

“JT,” Nikki said as JT shook his head.

“So, you’re giving me an ultimatum here,” Jarrod said as JT smiled.

“Damn right I am,” JT responded, looking at Jarrod with a stern look on his face.  “It’s either Mo’ette too or no JT Poole on that damn marquee you have flashing in your damn street dreams that brings in the damn dollahs you’re so used to spending.  You won’t see those dollahs no more without me.  So yeah Jarrod, think about that lil tidbit.  If Mo’ette isn’t in the group, you’ll have to replace me too.”

“Alright then,” Jarrod said as he smiled at JT.  “Have it your way.  Mo’ette LaCasta, welcome to ‘Mutual Attraction’.   All I have to say is this, you fuck up, all of you are gone.  Your contracts will be null and void.”

“If at any time you feel like you want to do that, go right ahead and do so,” JT stated with a sly smile.  “It won’t hurt me one bit.”

“It might not hurt you, but what about Ms. Knotts there?”  Jarrod asked with a smirk.  “Do you think she can survive in the music industry without you?”

“I’m sure Nikki’s skills will take her far, without her being with me,” JT stated as he turned and smiled at Nikki.  “She’s got class and skills.  It seems someone hasn’t been paying attention to our concerts.”

“Don’t fuck up and we won’t have to find that out,” Jarrod stated, smiling as he turned around.  “Use your time wisely; I want you four back in Jacksonville by the first of June.  Oh yeah, message from the label.  Because you gave that little impromptu press conference today, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook with all the crap that’s going on.  The world isn’t just going to forget about that.  Again, keep your nose clean and I expect to see you all in the studio by the first of June.”

“Fuck you,” JT said as he turned and walked away.

“JT, JT wait,” Justin said as he got up from the table.

“Hey, you need to leave him alone.  You’ve caused enough problems around here already,” Jarrod stated, grabbing Justin by his arm, stopping him.  “There’s no room for Justin Tanner in ‘Mutual Attraction’.  If you feel the need to be in a group, I’m sure you can find your old friends and get back together with them… oh wait, that’s right, your old band mates can’t stand you.  I guess you won’t be making that reunion after all.”

“You stupid little prick,” Justin growled as Jarrod stepped back and then held up his hands.  “How dare you…”

“How dare I what, tell the truth about you Justin?”  Jarrod asked with a sly smile on his face.  “Just go back to your life and get out of his.  He doesn’t need you causing more issues in his life.  I don’t know what happened between him and the other one, but I don’t need you getting in the way.”

An Hour Later – A Secluded Spot Down by the River


Now that Mo’ette’s back around again, maybe things are getting back on the right track for me—for all of us.  Maybe this is going to be a new shot for all involved.  With all that’s happened, I think it’s time that things took a turn for the better.  All I have to do now is get things in my own life in order, so that good things can happen for me too.

For the life of me, I don’t know how to get some order into my life.  Every time I try to think about how I should go about doing things, to fix the crap in my life, all I see is Justin’s face.  Maybe—maybe he’s the one I should be with.  When I think about him, all I can do is smile now.  But that smile tends to fade away as memories of how bad my love life is, always causes a great deal of pain.

“Okay Aunt Donna, do you have an inspiring song for me to sing for how I feel right now?”  I asked aloud, not expecting an answer as I looked up at the sky, wondering when things in my life would settle down and I could live the life I’ve always wanted.

“I’m not your Aunt Donna, but I do have a song in mind,” I heard behind me as I turned around to see Justin standing there, decked out in a black tuxedo with a bouquet of roses in hand.

“You have a song in mind,” I said as he smiled, nodded his head and then walked towards me.

[1]Well he searched and searched for nights and days ‘til he found the one he loves.  He wrapped him in his arms again and then he thanked the stars above that he found what he’d been looking for and he stared him in the eyes…” he sang as I caught on to what he was singing.

“He said ‘I love you’,” I sang as he got closer.  “He said ‘I love you’.”

“So he stared him right back in the eyes with a look of disbelief.  Then he gazed off into somewhere else, was it real or just a dream?  And he pulled him, oh so close to him and then he whispered in his ear,” he sang, getting a bit closer to me.

“He said ‘I love you’,” I sang again as he smiled at me.  “He said ‘I love you too’.”

“So together they will always be until the stars fall from the sky… So, if you find someone you love a lot, you must never let them go… You just hold them tight with all your might and you say three little words,” he sang as he stood in front of me.

“You say ‘I love you’,” I sang as he smiled.  “You say ‘I love you’.”

“I love you,” he sang, moving in closer, almost kissing my lips.  “I love you.”

“Do you really?”  I asked as he bridged the gap between us, kissing my lips as he wrapped his arms around me as I wrapped mine around him.

“I say I love you,” he sang as he kissed my lips again.  “Your aunt sure did have a knack for singing a lot of love songs.”

“Yes, that’s my aunt for you,” I said, smiling, thinking about Aunt Donna.  “Everybody loves her music.”

“I’m sure,” he said, kissing my lips again.  “Are you finally going to believe me?”

“Believe you?  I never said I didn’t believe you Justin,” I said as he raised an eye at me.

“If you believe me, why don’t you…” He said as I placed a finger over his lips, stopping him from talking more.

“I don’t want to get hurt again Justin.  I know what you said and I know what you’re trying to do, but do you really think you’re going to be able to be with me and handle the attention?”  I asked.

“I’m handling the attention just fine,” he declared with a smile. “When are you going to realize that I’m here and I’m not running away?”

“I don’t know,” I replied as he leaned in and kissed my lips again.  “I just don’t want you to be here now and then a day, a week, a month even, that you decide that you can’t handle things and leave me.”

“I’m not going to leave you JT,” he said as he took my hands into his.  “I’m here and I’m ready. Hell, if possible, I’m ready for the long haul.”

“You’re ready for the long haul?  Are you out of your mind?”  I asked, laughing as he frowned.

“What are you trying to say?”  He asked.

“I don’t believe you’re ready for the so-called long haul of things Justin,” I said as his frown widened out, distorting his face.  “I’m six years older than you Justin.  What do we have in common, besides singing of course?  Things aren’t like they were when we were on the Mouse.”

“Yeah, but we had so much in common back then, I’m sure we still do,” he said as he kissed my hand.  “Why aren’t you giving me a chance here?”

“Because a chance could destroy me,” I replied as he sighed and then looked down.

“I promise you that I won’t let anything come between us,” he said, lifting my chin and then kissing my lips again.

“How can you make a promise to me like that Justin?  How are you going to keep it?”  I asked.

“Simple,” he replied, kissing my lips again.  “I’m not going to let anything come between us baby, I promise you that.  You have nothing to worry about.  I’m not going to let my career, my family, not even my friends come between us.  I’m yours, now and forever, if you’ll have me.  All you have to do is let me show you.”

“I—I’m scared,” I said, looking down as he lifted my chin again, forcing me to look into his eyes.

“I know you’re scared, but I’m here for you,” he said, wrapping his arms around me.  “I know I’m young, but I’m wiser than you know baby.  Just give me a chance and I’ll show you what’s in here.”

“Okay,” was all I said, pulling back from him as he looked into my eyes.  “Just don’t hurt me Justin.”

“I’m not planning on hurting you JT,” he said, looking down.  “I’m sure we’re both going to make some mistakes in this, but those mistakes won’t be intentional.”

“I’m sure,” I said, thinking about what could possibly go wrong.

“Stop thinking negative JT,” he said, looking at me closely.  “Let’s just go with the flow and go from…”

“I already agreed to be with you Justin,” I said as he smiled.  “Why don’t we leave before we draw attention to ourselves out here in the open like…”

“You have a point there,” he said, holding out his hand for me to take as I wondered should I take it or not.  “You just gonna leave me hanging like that?”

“Are you sure you’re ready to tackle the PDAs Justin?”  I asked.

“I’m not the one that’s scared of tackling it,” he said, looking at me.  “We could play football right now and I’ll do a whole lot of touch and tackling.  So, are you sure you’re actually ready to be out?”

“I want to be out, with someone that’s actually going to be with me,” I replied as he frowned.  “I want to be able to show the world I’m with someone that’s more concerned about me and not their career or other things.”

“I’m more concerned about us, not my career or yours for that matter.  If we’re going to make things work, it’s gotta be for us and no one else,” he said.

“That’s right,” I said as he motioned with his head at his hand.

“So, are you going to take my hand or what?”  He asked.

“Okay,” I said, taking his hand as we turned and then walked back towards the hotel.

Almost Midnight – The Airport

“Welcome to Philadelphia ma’am,” a luggage attendant announced as Heather walked over to the baggage claim area, grabbed her bags and then readjusted Caleb in her arms while he slept.  “Ma’am, do you need some assistance with your bags?”

“No,” Heather replied in a rude tone as the man looked at her, shrugged his shoulders and then stepped out of the way.  “I got this.”

“Okay,” the guy said as Heather turned away from him.

“I gotta find JT, before something else happens.  I’m not going to allow him to screw us over any longer,” Heather said with a stern expression on her face.

“Mommy, where are we?  Where are we going?”  Caleb asked, looking around as he stretched his arms, almost causing him and Heather to fall.

“We’re in Philadelphia sweetie,” Heather replied with a small smile.  “We’re just going to visit a few of Mommy’s friends.”

“It’s dark outside mommy,” Caleb said as he looked around again and then yawned.  “I’m still sleepy.”

“I know you are sweetie, Mommy’s going to a hotel, so you can get some more sleep,” Heather stated as she looked around and then pulled out her cell phone.

“What are you doing Mommy?”  Caleb asked, yawning again.

“Mommy’s checking to see which hotel we need to go to,” Heather stated as she read through her text messages.  “Yes, we need to go to the Radisson, that’s where they are right now.”

“That’s where who is Mommy?”  Caleb asked as he yawned again.

“Some of Mommy’s old friends,” Heather replied as they started walking again, heading outside to where the taxis waited.  “I need to get to the Radisson fast.”

“Alright lady,” the man replied as Heather loaded her items into the car.

The Radisson Plaza Hotel – Mutual Attraction’s Hotel Suite – Nikki’s Hotel Room

Josh’s POV

Come on God, what is it going to take for things to mend between the two of us?  We’ve been talking about things for the past few hours and it seems like we’re going backwards instead of forwards.  What is it going to take for her to get passed all of the things we went through in the past?  What do I have to do to get back into her life?  All that we’ve gone through in the past is just that, the past, but she’s still holding on to it.  I know there’s a lot of bad stuff back there, but we have to get passed it somehow.

“I just don’t know Josh, I don’t,” she said, looking down at her hands.  “If we were to get back together, how would your mom act towards me?  What about your brother and sister?  They treated me like dirt and for what?”

“You don’t have to worry about them, I don’t,” I said as she shook her head.

“That’s easy for you to say,” she said, sighing.  “They didn’t treat you like the scum of the fucking Earth.”

“Nikki…” I said as she held up her hand for me to stop talking.

“No Josh,” she said, shaking her head.  “They had no right to treat me the way they treated me.  I’d been nothing but good to all of them and they treated me like some damn beggar child on the streets of Georgia or something.”

“Now wait a minute Nikki…” I said as she held up her hang again, stopping me.

“They treated me as if I was beneath them,” she said as I noticed the tears falling from her eyes again.  “I’m not up to dealing with that kind of crap in my life Josh.  I’m not going to go through that kind of hell again.”

“You won’t, I promise you that,” I said as she raised an eye at me.  “You won’t have to go through that because I don’t too much communicate with them that way.”

“You can’t just get rid of your family Josh,” she said as I shook my head.

“They got rid of themselves,” I replied, looking down as I thought about the things that went down between all of us that pushed me away from them.

“How did they do that Josh?”  She asked.

“It’s a long story that we don’t really need to get into.  We’re talking about us, not my family,” I said as she sighed.

“We didn’t work out because of your family Josh,” she said, getting up from her seat s she walked over to the windows in the room.  “Every bad thing that happened between us, had something to do with your family Josh.  Don’t you see that?”

“I know Nikki, I know,” I said as she turned and looked at me.

“Yes, I know you know, the reason why I have a problem with trusting what you say right now,” she said as she shook her head.  “If we were to get back together, I know someone in your family would have something negative to say about it and cause trouble, as usual.  I don’t want the things that happened in the past, to be repeated in the here and now.”

“Those things won’t be repeated, I promise you that,” I said as she sighed and then looked down.

“Don’t make promises you know you can’t keep Josh,” she said as she looked up at me and pointed her finger at me, just as someone knocked on the door.

“Who could that be?”  I asked, wondering who would be knocking on the door at this hour of the night as she walked over and then stopped.

“Who’s there?”  She asked, standing at the door.

“It’s JT girl, open up,” we heard JT’s voice as I sighed, wondering what the hell he wanted as she opened the door.

“Is there something wrong?”  She asked, looking at him.

“I was about to ask you guys the same thing.  What’s with all the shouting?”  He asked, pushing the door open as he and Justin walked into the room.

“We—we’re just talking is all,” Nikki replied.

“Yeah, rather loudly I might add,” JT said as he looked over at me.  “Josh, I don’t wanna have to beat you up or something.  Don’t be hurting my girl here.”

“JT, be nice,” Nikki said as I laughed as he raised an eye at me.

“I am being nice,” JT replied, looking at her and then at me.  “This is a new day and age.  We’re not on the Mouse right…”

“Come on JT, just let it go,” Nikki suggested, putting a hand on his shoulder, stopping him.  I see he’s still harboring some animosity towards me about the Mouse.  I might have to play that to my liking in the future.  “It’s after midnight.  There’s no need for creating drama, where there shouldn’t be none.”

“With that being said, Justin let’s go,” JT said, glaring at me as he turned and looked at Justin.  “If you need my help, you know where to find me Nikki.”

“I know,” she replied, looking down.  “You two have a good night.”

“You too,” JT replied, taking Justin’s hand as they walked out of the room.  I guess that’s a sign that he and Justin are together now.  I guess Justin got what he wanted.

“Now that our interruption has left, we can get back to…” I said as she shook her head, interrupting me.  “What?”

“What was that all about?”  She asked, looking at me closely.

“What was what all about?”  I asked as she glared at me.  “Oh alright, I’ll tell you as long as you don’t look at me like that.”

“Well get to telling,” she said, crossing her arms across her chest as she tapped her foot.

“It’s nothing really, just jealousy is all,” I said as she continued tapping her foot.  “When we were all on the Mouse, he had some issues with our directors and the producers of the show.  When push came to some shoving, he was kicked off the show.”

“He was kicked off the show, why?”  She asked.

“Because…” I said as she looked at me.

“He was kicked off the show because of what Josh?”  She asked, her gaze never leaving mine.

“He was kicked off the show because he was involved with someone and it got out,” I replied, wondering if I should tell her the whole truth about what happened.

“He was involved with someone?  That’s it?”  She asked.

“Yeah, he was involved with someone,” I replied as she looked at me with that look that said she didn’t believe a thing I just said.

“Why do I get the feeling that there’s more to it than what you’re telling me here?”  She asked.

“That’s it,” I said as she started tapping her foot again.

“Do I need to call JT and ask him?”  She asked.

“No,” I quickly said, sighing as the tapping of her foot on the floor got louder.  “You know we had to uphold family and wholesome values on the show.  They didn’t like anything that didn’t fit into their moral view of things.”

“Why do I get the feeling that someone told them about him and the person he was involved with?” She said, hitting the nail damn square on the head.  Hell, you can’t get anything past her.  “I have the strangest feeling that you were the one that told the so-called powers that be of the Mouse, that he was involved with someone.  Am I right about that?”

“Well… Yes and no,” I replied as she raised an eye, looking at me strangely.

“What do you mean yes and no Josh?”  She asked.

“Yes, I was involved with the powers that be in finding out about them, but I didn’t tell them,” I said as she looked at me funny.

“Josh?”  She said as I held up my hand.

“I didn’t outright tell them about him and Marc, they just happen to find out,” I said as she shook her head.

“How did they just happen to find out Josh?”  She asked.  “And who is this Marc?  Are you talking about our manager Marc?”

“No, not your manager, one of our cast mates on the show,” I said as she looked at me as I shook my head.  “I’ll show you a picture of him in a bit.”

“Yeah okay,” she said as she started tapping her foot again.  “So, what happened Josh?”

“We were waiting for the two of them for a meeting and when they didn’t show up, I was sent to go look for them.  I already knew where they were, but I didn’t want to go get them.  So, to make matters worse, I was sent anyway and one of the producers, along with a security guy came along for the search,” I explained as she shook her head.

“Oh, this just gets better and better,” she said, turning away from me.

“I didn’t do anything purposely to get him in trouble,” I said as she sighed.  “They actually did a room-by-room search, until they found them.  It’s not like I could’ve given him and Marc a warning or stopped Virgil and the security guy from walking in and catching them doing what they were doing.”

“What were they doing when you couldn’t stop them from being caught?”  She asked.

“Come on, I’m sure you already know the answer to that,” I replied as she looked at me.

“So, they were having sex when they were discovered?”  She asked as I nodded my head.  “And you just stood there?”

“I didn’t stand there, I walked away. He and Virgil had words and that turned into a screaming match that everyone in the building overheard.  Virgil said some things to him that he didn’t like and then Virgil got hit,” I explained as her eyes widened.

“What was said?”  She asked.

“I don’t really know what was said,” I replied.  “It was later speculated that Virgil had called them flaming faggots and something about him telling them that they were going to hell sparked a lot of tension between a few people on the set.  That led to him and Marc being asked to leave and not come back.”

“Wait a minute, he told me once that he left the show and later went back,” she said as I sighed, dreading this conversation altogether.  “If they asked him to leave and not come back, how did he and Justin meet?”

“Justin was around at the time,” I stated as she turned and looked at me again.  “All of this happened in the mid-nineties.”

“Did this happen right before the show was getting ready to be cancelled?”  She asked.

“Something like that,” I replied as she crossed her arms across her chest.

“Something like what Josh?”  She asked as we both stopped, being interrupted by what sounded like arguing out in the main room.  “What in the hell is that?  We don’t need any more drama.  For God’s sake, I hope that isn’t Glitter.”

To Be Continued…

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

The Past Comes Knocking – Chapter 10

Chapter 10 – An Unwanted Addition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Philadelphia, PA – The Radisson Plaza Hotel – The Lobby

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

“Whatever guy!”  Someone screamed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Few Minutes Later – A Men’s Room

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Few Feet Away – A Hotel Conference Room

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Few Hours Later – A Local Classy Restaurant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To Be Continued…


The Past Comes Knocking – Chapter 9

Chapter 9 – A Failed Love Attempt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Down the Hall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Radisson Plaza Hotel – The Swimming Pool Area


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Few Feet Away

Vanessa’s POV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Early Morning – Mutual Attraction’s Suite

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Really, why is that?”  Nikki asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Probably not,” Josh replied as he sighed.

Outside the Hotel

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

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

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

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

The Hotel’s Bar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Lobby

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

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

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

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

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

To Be Continued…

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