Chapter 3 — Tragedy Strikes
Dec 21, 2002 – Orlando, FL – Florida Hospital – The Emergency Room
“Look lady, I was told that Justin Tanner was admitted here. Is he alright or not? I need to know; I need to see him!” Joshua snapped as the woman looked at him strangely and then went back to what she was doing. “Can I see him?”
“I’m sorry sir, but only family is allowed in to see Mr. Tanner at the moment,” the nurse stated.
“At the moment, I’m the only family he has around here. His mother is on her way here right now. Is he hurt badly?” Joshua asked as Donnie Knight, Christina Ashton and some other people walked up behind him.
“Josh, what are you doing here?” Christina Ashton asked as she tapped him on the back as he spun around quickly.
“I’m here to see if Justin’s okay,” Joshua replied as he looked at Christina as if he could beat her down where she stood.
“You need to leave here. You shouldn’t even be here right now,” Christina stated in a cold, harsh tone.
“No, I’m not leaving here,” Joshua stated as he turned away from her and then walked away.
“You can’t just walk away from me Josh. You shouldn’t be here damn it! You hurt him and I’m quite sure he doesn’t want to see you right now,” Christina stated as she caught up to Joshua, grabbed him by the sleeve of his shirt and spun him around as she jacked him up a bit.
“Stop it Chrissy, I must see him. I have to see him and make sure that he’s okay,” Joshua stated as he sniffled as a few tears fell from his eyes. “I—I think it’s my fault that he’s here now.”
“What’re you talking about Josh?” Christina asked as she let Joshua go and then crossed her arms across her chest.
“I—I went to his hotel room earlier to see him and when I wouldn’t leave him alone, he left and then I—I got the call that he was in the accident,” Joshua stated as he shook his head as Christina’s eyes widened.
“What! Why didn’t you just leave him alone Josh? You—you hurt him, you hurt him very badly when you broke his heard!” Christina screamed as she balled her hands into fist, ready to hit Joshua.
“I know I hurt him, but I was trying to make things right. I—I still love him,” Joshua replied as he looked away from Christina.
“If you really loved him Josh, you wouldn’t have cheated on him,” Christina stated as she shook her head and took some calming breaths, trying to get herself under control. “Why did you cheat on him with those guys Josh? Can you tell me that? You know Dan hurt him and…”
“How do you know about Dan?” Joshua asked as he looked up at Christina.
“Justin told me all about it,” Christina replied as she watched Joshua with disgust. “How could you sleep with the man that hurt him like that?”
“How did he now about Dan and me?” Joshua asked as he looked down at the floor as Christina shook her head.
“It’s all about you, what about what Dan did to him?” Christina asked as she pounded her fist into her other hand.
“But—but how did he know about what I did?” Joshua asked with a frown on his face.
“Duh, apparently he caught you two in bed some time ago,” Christina replied as she glared at him.
“Oh my God,” Joshua replied as the tears streamed down his face. “That’s how he knew, he saw us.”
“That’s right, he saw the two of you with his very own eyes, in your bed of all places,” Christina stated as she took a sip of her drink. “You don’t deserve Justin’s love.”
“I love Justin; I love him with all of my heart. I know I screwed up. I just wish he would give me another chance,” Joshua stated as he shook his head.
“He shouldn’t give you another anything,” Christina stated as she hauled off and smacked Joshua across the face, knocking him backwards a bit, leaving her hand print on the side of his face. “You stay away from him or I’ll kick your ass myself. You hear me Josh?”
“You two need to calm down over here,” Donnie said as he walked over to where Joshua and Christina were.
“I’m calm Donnie,” Christina declared as she glared at Joshua and then pointed her finger in his face. “Remember what I said Josh. You stay away from him or I’ll kick your lily white ass personally.”
“I’m not going to stay away from him Chrissy,” Joshua said with a frown. “I love him.”
“Try Jesus Josh, but don’t try me, if you do, you’ll regret it,” Christina stated as she grabbed her purse and then walked away.
I can’t believe all of this is going on. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that Josh was cruising for more trouble than he’s already in. If he doesn’t watch himself, Christina’s going to rip him a new one.
“Now you’ve gone and pissed her off Josh. You seem to be doing that a lot lately,” I said as I looked at him closely. “What’s got her so pissed with you this time?”
“She’s mad about some things that happened between me and Justin,” he replied.
“Oh that,” I said as I shook my head.
“Yeah that,” he said with a frown on his face. He’s probably wondering how I know about what happened between him and Justin. “She wants me to stay away from him, but I’m still in love with him. I just can’t stay away from him.”
“Well in order for us to maintain some form of order with you guys, you’ll refrain from seeing him. As of this morning, after he got your little mountain of presents, he requested that a restraining order be granted against you, barring you from being within one hundred yards of him. You must stay away from him Josh or you’ll be put in jail,” I explained to him as his eyes widened.
“What!” He screamed out, drawing attention to us. “I’ll be put in jail?”
“Yes Josh, you’ll be put in jail if you don’t leave here right now,” I told him as he shook his head and then frowned. “Just leave and give him some time okay. Maybe he’ll come around and want to talk to you again, but right now, he doesn’t want to see or hear you. So that means you can’t see him, call him or be around him. Do you understand that Josh?”
“I—I don’t fucking believe this!” He screamed out as he stomped out of the waiting area.
“I’m really getting too old for this kind of stuff,” I said just as my phone rang. “Hello…”
“Donnie, it’s me Kevin,” I heard Kevin Richards’ voice on the line. “Nick has been taken to the hospital. The plan is off.”
“Say what? What happened to him?” I asked, motioning for the temporary assistant to come over.
“Let’s just say that his depression has finally reached the ultimate level,” Kevin stated as I could hear crying and sniffling. “We were on our way back to Tampa and he—he slit his wrists in the plane’s bathroom.”
“Oh Lord; how is he doing right now?” I asked as I pulled out my notepad and scribbled that information down.
“We didn’t make it to Tampa, we’re in Orlando at Florida Hospital,” Kevin said as I looked over at the assistant.
“Where are you? I’m currently in Florida Hospital right now,” I spoke.
“We’re just now getting into the ER,” Kevin replied as I looked around, not seeing him. “He’s still alive, but he keeps losing consciousness.”
“Okay,” I said as I walked down the hall, looking for a sign of the two of them.
Tampa, FL – The Canton House
“Oh God! Mom! Mom! Come to the phone, it’s about Nick!” Aaron Canton said as he held the phone out to Janet Canton. “He’s in the hospital in Orlando.”
“What?” Janet said as she rushed over to the phone and then pressed the speakerphone button, turning it on. “Hello? What’s wrong with my Nick?”
“Mrs. Canton, it seems that while he and Kevin were flying back to your location, Nick had a terrible accident,” Donnie’s assistant relayed.
“Oh my God! What kind of accident?” Janet asked as she rubbed her wrists as the tears streamed down her face.
“Maybe you should talk to Kevin Richards about that ma’am,” the assistant replied.
“Why do I need to talk to Kevin? Why can’t you just tell me?” Janet asked as she rubbed at her wrists again.
“Ma’am, I think that’s a matter for Kevin to talk to you about,” the assistant stated. “I’m sorry Mrs. Canton, but that’s all I’m at liberty to talk about.”
“Well then you let Kevin know that I’m on my way there,” Janet stated as she pressed the button to end the call. “Aaron, get your sister, we’re going to Orlando.”
“Is he okay Mom?” Laura asked as she walked into the room.
“I don’t believe so and from what that woman just said, it must be something horrible, since she wouldn’t go into detail about what actually happened,” Janet said as she shook her head, her body trembling. “Pack a bag; we’re leaving as soon as possible.”
Somewhere in the Air on a Jetliner
Lynn Hart’s POV
“Look Randy, I don’t’ give a damn about your job right now. Damn it, your son has been in a car accident and he needs you. I’m quite sure he would like to see his father,” I hissed into my phone, trying to keep my temper under control. “Don’t you care enough about him to be there for him when he needs you?”
“Yes I care about him Lynn, don’t try acting like I’ve been an absentee father, because I haven’t been! I’ve been there for him throughout his life and you know I have,” Randy, my egotistical ex-husband and Justin’s father said as I shook my head. “You’re the one that chose to leave, not me. You made that decision Lynn!”
“If you love him like you claim you do, you should be there for him. Stop making damn excuses about your damn job. Fuck your damn job Randy! Your son should be more important to you than a damn job,” I said, scratching at my head. “Just be there for him Randy. You know he’s having a hard time dealing with things since he and Josh broke up. He needs all the support he can get. I don’t know where his mind is right now, but with this happening, he could be thinking anything. Paul and I shouldn’t be the only ones there with him.”
“I know Lynn, I know. I just can’t drop everything that quickly and run out to Orlando right now,” Randy said as I wanted to reach through the phone and strangle the hell out of him.
“Randall Tanner, if I don’t see you in Orlando when I get there, you’ll hate me when you do see me. You know how bad I can be,” I said.
“I’ll see what I can do Lynn, but I’m not going to make any promises,” he said as I covered my eyes as a few tears slipped from my eyes. “I’ll talk to you later on.”
“Bye Randall,” I said as I closed my phone.
Los Angeles, CA – The Office of Jamie Banks
“Come on Chrissy, speak slowly and calmly. Now what are you trying to say?” I asked, trying to understand what my friend Christina was saying.
“Justin was in a car accident in Orlando,” she said as I was finally able to understand was she had been trying to tell me and I got scared.
“Oh my God, is he okay Chrissy?” I asked, standing up from my desk.
“I… none of us really now. None of us have been able to see him yet,” she stated. “All I know is that no one is allowed in to see him until he’s awake and so far, he’s still out. He’s been out of surgery for a few hours now, but he’s still out cold.”
“He was in surgery?” I asked, covering my mouth as the tears slid down my face. “What’s going on?”
“The last time I asked a nurse, she told me that he was just out of surgery, so I don’t know what actually happened, but I know they had to go in and fix something,” she said as I shook my head again.
“I’m going to hop on the next fight out and hopefully by the time I arrive there, he’ll be awake,” I said.
“I hope so too, I’m getting worried,” she said as I could hear her sniffling.
“Chrissy, has Josh been around?” I asked, fearing the worst already.
“Yeah, his skanky ass was here earlier. I already read him the riot act and made him leave. He told me some crap that he thinks he’s responsible for the accident that Justin was in. I hope that isn’t the case. If it is, his ass is mine and he’s had it,” she said as I typed some things on the computer for my flight.
“Oh that’s just great. He really needs to be beaten with a brick you know. I told him to stay away from Justin when I was last there,” I said, shaking my head.
“I told him that too,” she said as I could imagine how she actually told him. “He claims he’s still in love with him and that he wants to make things right between the two of them.”
“If he loved Justin, he never would’ve slept with Kevin Richards,” I said, covering my mouth quickly.
“What? He slept with Kevin from Fifth Avenue too?” She asked as I heard the anger building in her voice.
“Yeah, he slept with him too. I caught them during the last leg of the tour. They were secretly meeting up with each other to have sex,” I said, regretting telling that information.
“I don’t fucking believe this. Is there anyone he hasn’t slept with?” She asked as I wish I hadn’t let that slip out. “Of all the people in the Fifth Avenue fools, I thought he was the straight one.”
“Yeah right, Kevin’s gayer than me and Justin put together,” I said, chuckling as I tried to lighten the mood of things.
“Speaking of gay, how is that husband of yours doing? What’s Marshall up to?” She asked as I could hear the smirk in her voice.
“He’s doing okay. He’s off in the studio, doing his thing with the guys right now,” I replied, picking up some papers. “So I’m all alone for the next few weeks.”
“Since you’re coming here, you won’t be. You got me and the others to keep you company,” she said, laughing. “It’ll be like old times. I’ve talked with Joey and he’s coming out as soon as possible and Chris and whoever he’s dating will be here too. I tell you, that little elf goes through girls like I write checks.”
“Ain’t that the truth? I guess it’ll be fun as long as Josh doesn’t show up to cause any unneeded problems,” I said.
“Well the doctor and Donnie are talking right now. Why don’t you call me back later with your flight information and I’ll have someone meet you at the airport, alright,” she instructed.
“Okay babe, I’ll see you when I gets there,” I said as I typed some more stuff into the computer.
“Later Jamie,” she said as I hung up the phone.
“This is all so terrible,” I said as I placed my papers back down on the desk. “Diana, I need you to cancel the rest of my day’s appointments, I’ll be leaving for Orlando immediately.”
“Okay James, is there anything else you’ll need me to do?” Diana asked.
“No, I’m going to make one call and then I’m headed home to pack. Once I’m done with that, I’ll head on to the airport,” I told her as I picked up the phone again and dialed my husband’s number and waited for him to answer.
“You got Marsh, what’s up?” I heard him say in his strange way of answering the phone.
“Hi baby, what’re you up to?” I asked.
“Hi Jamie baby, what’s going on with you?” He asked as I sighed.
“I’m going to head out to Orlando for a while,” I said with a sniffle.
“Is there something wrong baby? Are you crying?” He asked.
“Justin… Justin was in… He was in a car accident. I’m heading out there to make sure that things are okay with him and I’ll probably be there for a few days, possibly a week to help and support him,” I stated as I wiped at my eyes.
“That’s my baby, always thinking about other people,” he said as I sniffled again. “Now I know why I love you so much.”
“You say the sweetest things,” I said as I looked over at the clock on the wall.
“Of course I do Mr. Banks. You’re my husband and I’ll always say sweet things to you,” he replied as I looked at the phone.
“Is Andre around?” I asked.
“No, he’s not with me at the moment. He’s probably up in the other studio, working on some tracks with the guys. I’m down here with the studio tech guys, trying to figure out why this track isn’t sampling right,” he said as I shook my head.
“Well tell him I said ‘Hello’ and that I’ll see him when I get back,” I said with a smile.
“Alright baby,” he said as I could hear the sadness in his voice. “If you need me to come out there with you, just call me back and let me know. You know I’d go with you, if you want me to.”
“I’ll be okay baby. I don’t want to take you away from your work baby,” I said.
“No way babe, they can handle things without me here. I’ve laid down my tracks. I was only helping the guys with their stuff. I can go with you, that’s if you want me to go baby,” he said as I smiled again.
“That’s totally up to you Marshall,” I said, pushing some things around on my desk.
“In that case, when are we leaving?” He asked as I heard him fumbling for something.
“I’m leaving here as soon as I can baby. I’ve booked a flight on the next plane out to Orlando. I’m heading home to pack and then it’s off to the airport,” I informed him.
“Add a ticket for me and then grab some things for me too baby and I’ll meet you at the airport” he said as I smiled again.
“Okay baby, I’ll see you there,” I said as I made some kissing noises on the phone. “I love you baby.”
“I love you too. I’ll see you then,” he said as I hung up the phone.
Orlando, FL – Florida Hospital – The Intensive Care Unit – Nick’s Room
“Oh Nicky, you’re awake,” Kevin said as he sat in the chair next to the bed.
“Where am I?” Nick asked as he looked around the room.
“We’re at Florida Hospital in Orlando,” Kevin answered.
“I’m alive? Why? Why am I alive damn it?” Nick asked as the tears streamed down his face. “Why didn’t you just let me die Kevin? Why damn it!”
“I wasn’t going to just let you die Nick. I would never let something like that happen to you, not if I can help it,” Kevin said as he watched Nick closely.
“You should have. There’s nothing left here for me to live for Kevin,” Nick replied as he looked away from Kevin. “Besides, you’re just delaying the inevitable.”
“Please Nicky, please don’t talk like that. You’ve scared me enough. Don’t do this again. I couldn’t bear to see you like this again,” Kevin stated as a few tears fell from his eyes.
“You don’t have to see me like this, you can leave,” Nick said as he turned away from Kevin.
“I’m not leaving you like this Nicky,” Kevin said as he got up from the chair.
“Just go ahead and go. I won’t mind if you did. It’s not like everyone else hasn’t left me,” Nick said as he sniffled. “You won’t be any different.”
“What you mean by that Nicky?” Kevin asked as he grabbed Nick’s hand, holding it in his own.
“Just go away Kevin, stop fooling yourself. You’re only here out of pity,” Nick said as he tried to take his hand away from Kevin. “Or is it because Laura asked you to come get me, pick one, but I don’t care.”
“Stop this Nicky,” Kevin said as he shook his head.
“No Kevin, I won’t stop. Just go, leave me alone,” Nick said as he shook his head. “I don’t need or want your fucking pity!”
“I—I don’t pity you Nicky; I just wish there was something I could do to help take your pain away,” Kevin said as he looked down.
“When I needed your help with my pain, you turned me away. It’s too late now Kevin,” Nick said as more tears fell from his eyes.
“It’s not too late Nicky, it’ll never be too late,” Kevin said as he sat down on the bed next to Nick.
“It’s too late for us,” Nick stated.
“What? What’re you talking about Nicky?” Kevin asked as he moved closer to Nick on the bed.
“You know what I’m talking about. Remember when I told you that I loved you?” Nick asked, not even looking up at Kevin.
“Yeah I do and I love you too Nicky,” Kevin replied as Nick shook his head.
“No Kevin, I really loved you,” Nick said as he started crying harder. “Just go away Kevin, go back to those other men that you gave your love to.”
“Ni…” Kevin started, but then stopped.
“Just get the hell out of here and never come back!” Nick screamed as he jerked Kevin out of his thoughts.
“I—I’ll leave for now, but I’ll be back later on Nicky,” Kevin said as he leaned down and hugged Nick. “I still love you, regardless of what you say.”
“Just go!” Nick screamed again, pushing Kevin away from him.
Around the Corner – Justin’s ICU Room
“No! Please stop! Just leave me alone! I told you… just stop… I—I don’t want to see you… no, no more… please, I don’t want to see you anymore,” Justin spoke, apparently having a bad dream about something or someone.
“Justin honey, wake up,” Christina said as she touched Justin’s cheek lightly, trying to wake him. “Justin, you’re having a bad dream.”
“Where—where am I?” Justin asked as he tried to sit up in bed. “Owwwwwwwww!”
“No Justin, don’t try to get up,” Christina said as she sat back down in the chair that was next to the bed.
“Chrissy?” Justin spoke as he tried to move his head. “Where am I?”
“You’re in the hospital honey,” Christina replied. “Do—do you remember what happened sweety?”
“No, I—I don’t think so. What happened to me Chrissy?” Justin asked as a few tears fell from his eyes.
“You were in a car accident Justin,” Christina replied as she reached over and smoothed Justin’s hair back away from his face.
“Oh God!” Justin exclaimed as his tears fell faster. “That really happened to me! It wasn’t a dream!”
“No honey, it wasn’t a dream,” Christina replied as she looked down.
“That happened because I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going. I was too busy trying to get away from Josh, that I caused a damn accident!” Justin yelled as he turned his head away from Christina.
“I’m sorry honey,” Christina said as she held Justin’s hand. “Don’t worry about Josh; he knows to stay away from you. If he doesn’t, I’ll kick his ass personally.”
“No Chrissy, don’t do that, you don’t have to worry about him,” Justin stated.
“Why don’t I?” Christina asked.
“I—I had Donnie get a restraining order against him,” Justin replied as he sniffled. “Just make sure that he doesn’t come here. I—I don’t want to see him ever again.”
“I’ll do my best to keep him away from you honey,” Christina stated as he closed his eyes and was fast asleep again.
Sometime Later – Nick’s ICU Room
“The doctor’s here to talk with you Nick,” Kevin softly spoke as he walked into the room, followed by an older man that looked to be in his late fifties with an almost Santa Clause appearance.
“Good evening Mr. Canton, how are you feeling?” The man asked as he walked over to Nick’s bed. “I’m Dr. Andrew Donaldson.”
“Why am I hurting like this?” Nick asked as he looked over at the doctor.
“Where are you hurting Mr. Canton?” The doctor asked.
“My head is pounding… My fingers, arms and hands feel like they’re on fire, some kind of tingling sensation,” Nick answered.
“That could be just the blood flowing back into the collective blood vessels in your arms, hands and fingers and as for the headache, that could be the after effects of the tranquilizer you were given to calm you down earlier,” the doctor stated.
“Why was he given a tranquilizer?” Kevin asked as he walked over to Nick’s bed and looked at the doctor. “Why did you need to do something like that to him?”
“Mr. Canton got a little bit unruly earlier today. He wasn’t very nice to the nurses and orderlies that came in to check his bandages. So to calm him down, a tranquilizer was administered to help ease his unruliness,” the doctor explained as Kevin looked at Nick and then back at the doctor strangely.
“Nicky, why are you doing all of this? Things aren’t that bad,” Kevin stated as he looked down.
“Didn’t I tell you to leave and not to come back here?” Nick asked as he glared at Kevin.
“I’m not going to leave you Nicky. I’m not going to abandon you,” Kevin replied with a frown.
“Leave here Kevin, leave here now!” Nick screamed out as he thrashed about on the bed, finally noticing that he couldn’t move his arms or legs. “What the hell is going on here? Why can’t I move my arms and legs?”
“The restraints are to keep you from hurting yourself or possibly anyone else,” the doctor replied as he wrote some things down on Nick’s chart.
“Doctor, is that really necessary?” Kevin asked as he watched things play out in front of him.
“You tell me Mr. Richards. Is he like this often?” The doctor asked as he and Kevin walked to another part of the room. “Is this normal for him?”
“No, this isn’t normal for him. I don’t know where any of this is coming from. He’s always been a nice and easy going person. Within the last couple of months, he’s changed,” Kevin stated as he looked down again as some tears fell from his eyes.
“What led to this change, if you know?” The doctor asked as he looked at Kevin, while keeping an eye on Nick’s actions.
“I think this is because so many people in his life has broken his heard and let him down,” Kevin stated as he looked up at the doctor. “I just hope he sees that he has a lot to live for… sees that he has people around in his life that actually care for him. I wish he’s just stop with this stuff.”
“So depression is what’s fueling most of his behavior?” The doctor asked as he looked over at Nick and then back at Kevin.
“I—I think so. It’s been one let down after another with him,” Kevin stated as he wiped at his eyes. “I just think he can’t handle it anymore and so he left his family and friends behind and started plotting to end it all.”
“End it all,” the doctor said as he looked at Kevin strangely as he turned a page in Nick’s chart.
“I think he wants to kill himself,” Kevin stated as he looked back over to Nick, noticing that he was still thrashing about on the bed, trying to get free.
“Has anyone thought about trying to get him some kind of counseling?” The doctor asked as Kevin shook his head.
“This was all so sudden. This happened before we could get him any help,” Kevin stated as he turned to see Nick getting free from his restraints. “Nicky, stop!”
“Fuck you Kevin!” Nick screamed as he ran out of the room.
“Oh my, I’ll alert hospital security,” the doctor stated as he walked over to the phone. “Mr. Richards, with the actions you’re describing, I’m going to call a colleague of mine and maybe he would like to talk with her.”
“I doubt it, but you can try,” Kevin said as he rushed out of the room in search of Nick.
To Be Continued…