If I Ain’t Got You – Chapter 13

Chapter 13 — A Friendly Gathering

Dec 31, 2002 – Orlando, FL – Florida Hospital – Angela’s Nurses’ Station

“She’s a horrible, horrible person,” Steve said as the tears streamed down his face.  “I was so humiliated that day, I…”

“Shhh Steve, calm down honey.  That was a long time ago.  Get a grip man,” Angela said as she tried to calm Steve down.

“Get a grip?  She hurt you, just as bad as she hurt us Angie,” Steve said as the memories flooded back in Angela’s mind of what Valgina had done to her.

Flashback

“Charlie, what in the hell is going on here?”  Angela asked, walking over to a car to see her boyfriend and Valgina sitting there, wrapped up in each other’s arms, kissing.

“What does it look like bitch?”  Valgina asked, throwing her drink through the window, the liquid hitting Angela in the face.

“What the hell!”  Angela screamed, yanking the driver’s side car door open and pulling Charlie out of the car first and then grabbing for Valgina as Charlie struggled to hold her back.

“Angela stop, what’s the use in you causing a scene.  We’re over,” Charlie said as he pushed Angela backwards.  “I don’t have time for a silly bitch like you.”

“What!  I thought you loved me,” Angela said, sitting down on the bench near the car as she cried.

“You thought I loved you?  Hell, I didn’t love you.  Bitch, you were just a quick piece of ass.  Take your silly ass on, no one wants you here,” Charlie said as he got back into his car and then drove down to the stop sign as Valgina held her head out the window.

“Ha ha, you silly ass bitch, I told you I could pull your man,” Valgina stated as she shot Angela the bird as the car continued travelling from her as she continued to cry on the bench.

“Hey girl, it’s going to be okay,” Angela heard as she turned around to see a guy from school.

“Who—who are you?”  Angela asked, looking at the young man strangely.

“I’m John, but you probably know me as JT the fag,” JT stated as he sat down next to her on the bench.

End Flashback

“You’re right, she hurt all of us, but we can’t let this one person destroy our lives around here,” Angela said, shaking her head.  “You just wait until I see that Danielle though; I’m going to kick her ass three ways from Sunday.”

“Be my guest.  If she wasn’t in Larry’s office, I’d probably be doing that right now,” JT stated as he sighed and then got up as his and Steve’s pagers went off at the same time.

“What’s up guys?”  Angela asked, looking at both men.

“It’s Justin, come on, let’s go,” JT said as he sighed. “Oh well, New Year’s Eve is bombed already.”

Nick’s Hospital Room

“Where’s Nick?”  Kevin asked as he and Alex walked into Nick’s room.

“He’s not here, you might try looking for him up in Justin Tanner’s room,” Aaron replied as he came out of the bathroom, burped and then stretched his arms over his head.

“Hey there little man, how have you been?”  Alex asked, hugging Aaron.

“I’m cool.  So, I guess you’re here for Brian’s trial,” Aaron stated with a frown.

“Yeah, but it’s not what you think.  I’m here to support Nick, not Brian,” Alex replied as the tears welled up in his eyes.  “I should’ve done that a long time ago, but it’s too late now.”

“What’s too late?”  Kevin asked, looking over at Alex.

“It’s too late to stop Brian from hurting Nick,” Alex said as he sat down in a nearby chair.

“What do you mean, stop Brian from hurting Nick?”  Kevin asked, standing in front of Alex with an angry look on his face.

“I—I knew about some of the things he had been doing to him,” Alex answered, looking down.

“What kinds of things?”  Aaron and Kevin asked in unison.

“I—I knew about Brian’s sexual and physical abuse of Nick,” Alex replied, taking in a breath as his tears came out full force.

“What!  You knew something was going on and you didn’t say anything!”  Aaron snapped, lunging for Alex as Kevin grabbed him quickly, holding him back.

“Yes, but at the same time, I didn’t want to get involved, mainly since Nick didn’t complain about it,” Alex said as he looked down.  “I—I thought he was into all the things he and Brian did together.  I—I thought he was into all the S and M stuff or something.”

“What!”  Kevin snapped, shaking his head.

“Could there have been a reason for why he didn’t complain?  Could it be that Brian had him strung out on drugs and mesmerized all the damn time?”  Aaron asked, shaking his head.  “I thought Nick was your friend.  How could you allow those things to happen and not tell anyone else?”

“I just told you.  Since Nick wasn’t complaining about how Brian treated him, I didn’t want to get involved,” Alex said as he wiped at his eyes.

“How—how long have you known about this Alex?”  Kevin asked, glaring at Alex.

“Since—since we came back from Europe,” Alex replied as Kevin and Aaron gasped.

“What!”  Kevin exclaimed as Aaron had to push him backwards to stop him from grabbing at Alex.  “All that fucking time and this has been going on and none of us knew about any of it!”

“Wait a minute.  Are you saying that Brian and Nick were together, when you guys started out as a band?”  Aaron asked, crossing his arms across his chest.

“Not—not exactly,” Alex replied.

“Then tell me how exactly,” Aaron said as he got up in Alex’s face.

“Well… Ah… The—the last couple of weeks before we were scheduled to come back home, Nick started acting strange.  From that point on, I started keeping an eye on him.  One day, after we got back from dinner, I saw him and Brian go into a room at the arena.  Suspicious, I walked down to the door and listened.  After a couple of minutes, I heard what sounded like a slap and then I heard Brian yell at Nick for looking at other men,” Alex explained as he looked down.  “As I continued listening, Brian ranted and raved about Nick keeping his eyes to himself and then I heard the sound again that sounded like a slap.  After that, Nick said he was sorry and I thought it was all over until I heard Nick cry out.  When I peeked into the room, he and Brian were having sex, rather roughly.  Brian had him pinned against the wall with his hand over his mouth.”

“Oh my God, he was raping Nick all that time,” Kevin said as he looked away as the tears streamed down his face.  “What kind of friend am I?  I—I never saw any signs of this going on.”

“They—they didn’t want you to see any signs,” Alex replied.

“So, tell me this Alex.  All the bruises that Nick just happened to have on his body, those weren’t from him falling or hurting himself during dance practice, was it?”  Kevin asked.

“No, it was all Brian,” Alex replied.

“Fuck this!  He better hope the court hinds his ass guilty and he goes to prison or I’m going to hurt him myself,” Aaron said as he shook his head.  “You guys are supposed to be his friends!  How—how could to be around him all the time and not know that something like that was happening to him?  I—I don’t believe this!”

“I—I’m sorry Aaron,” Alex said with a frown.  “I—I just…”

“You didn’t want to fucking get involved.  You said that already Alex.  Do you have any other damn excuses?”  Aaron asked, walking over to Alex and then slapping him across the face.  “You’re just as guilty as Brian!”

“Aaron stop, don’t hit him again,” Kevin said as he held Aaron in his arms as he cried.  “I know you’re hurt and upset, but it’s not Alex’s fault that Nick got hurt, it’s Brian’s fault.”

“No, it’s all of your faults!”  Aaron screamed out as more tears fell from his eyes.  “You all should’ve known something was going on with him… with them!”

“It’s hard to tell when something’s wrong with someone, when they hide it so well,” Kevin said as he shook his head.

“You still should’ve told them and us what was going on Alex.  You probably kept that info to yourself because you thought it would break up the damn band,” Aaron said as he pointed his finger in Alex’s face.  “Fuck the Fifth Avenue Boys!”

“That’s not true Aaron,” Alex responded as he shook his head and then looked down.

“Why are you here now Alex?”  Aaron asked, glaring at Alex.  “You have nothing to lose now that you guys aren’t together anymore.”

“Aaron please,” Alex said as more tears fell from his eyes.

“Why don’t you just fucking leave here!  I don’t think you need to be here,” Aaron said as he sniffled and then turned his back to Alex as he continued crying.

“Please Aaron,” Alex said as Aaron raised his hand, interrupting him.

“Just go Alex, I—I don’t want to see or hear from you ever again,” Aaron said as he walked to a corner of the room and wiped at his eyes again.

“I—I guess I’ll go then,” Alex said as he walked out of the room.

“He—he needs to be on trial with Brian,” Aaron stated as he shook his head.  “All of you do.”

The Gym

“Come on Justin, you’ve been quiet all morning.  What’s wrong with you man?”  Steve asked, rubbing Justin’s legs.

“Nothing,” Justin replied with a frown.

“Come on man, I know something’s bothering you.  You were all smiles last night when I left you and now you look like someone stole your cute little puppy,” Steve said, watching Justin’s face.

“I said nothing alright!”  Justin snapped, sighing as he turned his head, looking away from Steve.

“I—I’m sorry Justin,” Steve said with a hurt look on his face.

“No, I’m sorry Steve.  I—I shouldn’t have yelled at you like that,” Justin spoke, reaching out to Steve and hugging him.  “Will you please forgive me; it’s not your fault that Janet Canton is a bitch.”

“Okay, what happened?”  Steve asked, coming to the realization who Justin was talking about.

“She—she doesn’t want Nick being my boyfriend,” Justin replied, sighing.  “She doesn’t want him seeing me.”

“Why not?”  Steve asked, watching Justin.  “What does she have to do with you and him dating?”

“She—she doesn’t want him with me because I’m a cripple.  She doesn’t want me around him.  She claims us being together is unhealthy for Nick,” Justin stated with a frown as he shook his head.

“I thought I told you not to use that word again,” JT said, walking into the room with Mark and Kasai.

“Well hello boss… Hey, what are you doing here little man?  It’s a little bit early for school to be out,” Steve said, looking over at JT and then over at Kasai.

“I had to go pick him up from school, he was in a fight today,” JT stated as he walked over to the mat and then sat down next to Justin.  “He wanted to leave school so quickly, he couldn’t wait for the New Year’s break.”

“Oh man, you were in a fight?  What happened?”  Justin asked, rolling around on the mat with Steve so he could see Kasai.

“Some kids at school were picking on me,” Kasai replied as he looked down.

“Go on,” Mark said, tapping Kasai on his shoulder.

“So, I decided to beat on each of them,” Kasai added as he looked up at Mark.

“And…” Mark said, nudging Kasai.

“And I threatened to kill everyone,” Kasai said as Steve’s eyes widened as he shook his head.

“Whoa lil man, that’s enough to get you kicked out of school,” Steve said, looking at JT and then at Mark strangely.  “Did you get kicked out of school?”

“Oh no, he didn’t get kicked out of school, but he’s suspended for a few days, after school starts again,” JT stated with a frown.

“Aww man, see what happens when you don’t think things through,” Steve said, turning his attention back to Justin.

“They didn’t have any business bothering me.  I wasn’t bothering them and it seems no one else was trying to stop them,” Kasai stated as he sat in a chair close to the door.

“Come on Kasai, you know better than that.  Because people bother you, you don’t take that and turn around and use violence to solve the problem,” Steve stated as he shook his head again.

“Violence solves a whole lot of fucking problems,” Kasai said as he realized what he just said as his eyes widened.  “Oops.”

“What did you just say Kasai Martin Poole?”  JT asked, getting up from where he sat and then walked over to where Kasai was.

“I—I didn’t say anything Daddy,” Kasai replied with a scared look on his face.

“Oh yes you did.  How long have you been using that kind of language?”  JT asked, looking at Kasai with a stern look on his face.

“I—I…” Kasai stuttered out as JT shook his head and then waved his hand dismissively.

“Never mind, I don’t even wanna know,” JT said as he turned his back to Kasai.  “Mark hone, deal with him.”

“Daddy,” Kasai said as his eyes widened in fear.

“I hate to do this Kai, but you’re grounded for the next two weeks,” Mark stated as he looked over at JT.  “During that time, you won’t be watching TV, playing video games, no fun, just staying in your room.  You will only leave your room to eat and go to the bathroom, nothing more than that.”

“Daddy… please,” Kasai whined, looking between Mark and JT with an agitated look on his face.

“You heard what your father said,” JT said, waving his hand again as he turned his attention back to Justin and Steve.

“Okay, fine then,” Kasai said with a sigh.

“Mark honey, can you enforce your punishment right now?  I don’t want to see that boy,” JT said as he shook his head again.

“Honey…” Mark said as JT looked over at him.  “I guess I can.  Are we still having lunch together today?”

“Yeah we are.  Are you going to cook or should I bring food with me?”  JT asked.

“I’ll cook,” Mark answered as he looked at Kasai and then back to JT.

“Cool then.  Could you cook enough for six?”  JT asked, looking over at Mark.

“Six,” Mark said, looking at JT strangely.

“Yeah six.  One, two, three, four, five, six,” JT said, holding up his hand and counting off his fingers as Mark and Steve looked at him strangely as he started laughing.  “I’ll be bringing Justin, Nick, Steve and Angie home with me.  I’m sure you know how to add.”

“Ha ha, real funny baby,” Mark said with a smile.  “I’ll see what I can do.  I’ll see you guys in a bit then.”

“Yep, you sure will,” JT said, laughing again.

“What’s that all about?”  Steve asked, looking at JT strangely again.

“I have the wildest idea,” JT said with a smirk.

“What kind of idea?”  Steve asked.

“I overheard you two talking,” JT said as he looked over at Justin.

“Oh?  You know that Janet Canton is a bitch that doesn’t want this cripple associating with her son,” Justin sarcastically said, sitting up on the mat.

“You aren’t a cripple and who cares what Janet Canton says or thinks?  I think you should see Nick as much as you can,” JT stated as he moved over to his duffle bag.  “This is why I’m taking you and him to my place for lunch.  It’ll give you and him some time to be together and you can think of it as your first date or something.”

“How are you going to get us out of here?”  Justin asked, looking at JT closely.

“Simple, I’ll just say it’s part of your therapy session,” JT replied with a smile.  “Since you do need to learn how to get around outside of the hospital, I thought I would introduce you to that a little bit early.”

“Ah cool, I think,” Justin said as he hugged JT.  “That makes me happy.”

“Wow, he hugged someone and he’s happy,” Steve said, laughing as Justin smacked him on the arm gently.

“I’m glad you’re happy Justin.  I’m going to call Angie so she’ll be ready to go,” JT stated, pulling out his cell phone.

Sometime Later – The Poole-Walden Estates

“Honey, we’re here,” JT called out, walking through the front door with Angela, Steve, Nick and Justin, following behind him.

“I’m in the kitchen baby,” Mark called out.  “Everything’s almost done, go ahead and get comfortable.”

“Alright, we’ll be sitting out in the family room,” JT said as he threw his things down at the door.  “Where’s Kai?”

“He’s up in his room, where I sentenced him to,” Mark replied.  “What do you all want to drink?”

“I think there’s enough iced tea for all of us,” JT stated.

“There is?  Where is it?”  Mark asked, peeking his head from the kitchen.

“It’s out in the garage’s fridge,” JT replied, walking out of the room.

“How are you feeling Justin?”  Angela asked.

“I’m feeling a whole lot better, now that we’re here together,” Justin answered as Steve got up and then walked away as Angela smiled and then walked over to where he stood.

“Where are you going Steve?”  Angela asked, looking at Steve strangely.

“I’m going to check on Kasai and talk with him a bit,” Steve replied, walking over to the stairs.

“Alright, so how long do we have here?”  Angela asked, looking around.

“We’ll be here for two hours, why do you ask?”  JT asked, walking back into the room.

“I just wanted to know whether or not I had to gobble my food down like a mad woman,” Angela said as she laughed as JT sat down.

“No, you don’t have to gobble your food down in a hurry.  We have a whole lot of time here today, so take your time.  I got you cleared to stay here with Nick, since you’re his main nurse,” JT said with a smile.

“Cool, so what did Larry have to say about that?”  Angela asked, looking at JT.

“Nothing much.  Since Justin and Nick are both high priority cases at the hospital, I’m allowed to take whatever means necessary to make their therapy program work for them,” JT stated as Mark walked into the room.

“Alright guys and girl, it’s time to get down,” Mark said as everyone laughed.  “It’s on.”

“I bet it is,” JT said, hugging Mark.  “So, what are we having?”

“On today’s menu, there’s baked chicken, parsley potatoes, broccoli with cheese sauce and garlic rolls,” Mark replied as he kissed his fingertips.

“Oh, so you think you have it like that, it better be good man,” JT stated, snapping his fingers.

“You know everything that I make is always good and delicious, so you better watch your tongue young man,” Mark said as JT laughed and then shot him the bird.

“I just love it when you say things like that to flatter me, calling me a young man, how cute,” JT said as they went into the dining room.

“Is Kasai coming down to eat with us?”  Steve asked, leaning over the stair railing.

“Yeah, tell the little bugger to come on down,” Mark said, smiling weakly.

“Are you sure about that baby?  It’s a little bit too early for parole,” JT said, looking over at Mark.

“He can come down to eat a meal.  When he’s done eating, he’ll be going right back up to his room to serve his sentence,” Mark said, kissing JT on the cheek.  “Okay guys and girl, dig in.”

“This looks wonderful Mark,” Justin commented, moving over to the table as Nick started to sit next to him.  “It smells yummy too.”

“Wait, you two sit over there,” JT said, pointing to the end of the table.  “Steve, you sit here and Angie, you are here.”

“Kai will sit here, right next to me,” Mark said, patting the seat next to him.

“I don’t want to sit there,” Kasai replied, moving away from Mark.

“You will sit there Kai, now sit down,” Mark said in a stern voice.

“You heard what your father said, now sit down,” JT said, waving his hand at Kasai.

“I don’t want to sit there,” Kasai argue, his voice rising a bit.

“Don’t make me get up from this chair boy,” JT said, looking over at Kasai with an angry expression on his face.  “If I get out of this chair, you’ll not like me when I make first contact with you.  Now sit your lil ass down boy.”

“Do you need more time added to your current sentence?”  Mark asked, walking over to where Kasai stood.  “Just sit down and stop making a scene in front of our guests.”

“I’m not the one making the scene here, you two are,” Kasai replied, glaring at Mark.

“You know what; I’m tired of hearing this.  Go on, get up to your room and don’t come back down until I tell you to,” Mark said, glaring at Kasai.

“I…” Kasai said, looking over at JT.

“Nothing Kai, you heard what I said, now move,” Mark said, pointing at the stairs.  “Get!”

“Daddy,” Kasai whined.

“You heard what Mark said, get to stepping boy,” JT said, turning away from Kasai.

“Fine!”  Kasai exclaimed, running up the stairs to his room quickly as the sound of a door slamming could be heard.

“That went fairly well,” Mark said with a frown.

“Okay, what’s going on with him guys?”  Angela asked, looking at JT.  “It’s like he’s a whole new person now.  That’s a new side of my nephew that I don’t like.”

“Don’t know what’s going on with him Angie and I don’t like this new side of him either.  I think something’s wrong, that he’s not telling us,” JT said with a frown.  “There has to be something more to this, than what we already know.”

“There’s nothing wrong with that boy.  He’s just smelling himself like my mom used to say it.  He just doesn’t want to follow the rules around here.  We give him an inch and he expects a foot in return,” Mark said, sitting down at the table.

“Kids,” JT said, shaking his head.  “I’m sorry you all had to witness that.”

“We were kids too.  We’ve all done something like that at some point or another.  I now I acted worse than that at times,” Justin said, chuckling as JT raised an eye at him.

“That’s just not nice to laugh about Justin.  They’re trying to make an example,” Nick said, looking at Justin with a strange expression on his face.

“Oooooh, he’s talking, he’s talking,” JT said, pointing at Nick with a smile on his face.  “I actually thought his voice was non-existent.”

“I can talk.  I only talk when I have something important to say,” Nick replied, looking down.

“Everything you say to me is important Nick,” Justin said, kissing Nick’s hand.

“Awww, that’s was so sweet,” JT said, turning and looking over at Mark.  “Why don’t you say sweet stuff like that to me?”

“I do, you just don’t listen all the time,” Mark said, shaking his head.

“Oh whatever man,” JT said, smiling at the way Nick and Justin watched each other.

To Be Continued…