Chapter 1 – The Day the Music Died
May 21, 2004 (Friday Night) – New York City, NY – Hammerstein Ballroom – The Dressing Room Area
“Mr. Poole, you have twenty minutes before the lights go up,” one of the technicians spoke, poking his head into the room.
“Yeah, thanks,” JT Poole replied as he shook his head, picked up the glass that sat on a platter next to him and drained the contents quickly. Sighing, he shook his head again and then placed the glass back down on it. “That didn’t help at all.”
“JT, is there something wrong?” Nikki Knotts, JT’s best friend and co-singer asked as she walked into the room. “You just downed a whole glass of Vodka and Cranberry within a second. Man, you need to lay off the booze. We’re going on in less than twenty minutes.”
“What if I don’t go on Nikki? Will the world stop spinning?” JT asked, turning to face her, looking at her as if she were crazy.
“What’s gotten into you?” Nikki asked, watching JT as he just sat there and then shook his head again. “JT?”
“Hmph,” JT responded as he got up from where he sat and then walked over to the little bar in the room. Opening the refrigerator there, he looked through it and grabbed the small bottle of cranberry juice and then picked up the Vodka bottle as he poured himself another drink.
“Damn it JT, I asked you a question. Is there something wrong? Is there something you’re not telling me?” Nikki asked, watching him as he knocked the second glass of liquid back.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” JT replied, fanning his face as he poured more Vodka into the glass, knocked it back and then burped loudly.
“That’s real gross man,” Nikki said as she walked over to where JT stood. “I don’t know what the problem is, but it’s not going to get solved with you drinking that stuff there. The answer to your problems isn’t at the bottom of the bottle.”
“Whatever,” JT replied as he poured another drink as Nikki snatched the bottle from him. “Give it back Nikki!”
“No JT,” Nikki replied with a frown on her face. “We’re here to perform and I’m not going to have you wrecking this show for this charity we’re performing for. I don’t know what your problem is, but you better solve it quick, without this.”
“You want to know what my problem is? This is my problem,” JT said, flailing his arms around. “My life is fucked up because of what we do!”
“If you’re not happy doing this, then quit JT. No one is making you stay here and sing,” Nikki stated, shaking her head.
“I—I knew you wouldn’t get it,” JT said as he walked past her into the bathroom and then slammed the door.
“Oh, this is going to be a long damn night,” Nikki said, covering her eyes just as someone knocked at the door. “Come in.”
“Isn’t he ready yet?” Glitter Mo’net, another of JT’s co-singers asked as she stood in the doorway of the room.
“Not yet, he seems to be having a moment right now,” Nikki replied, pointing to the bathroom door. “I think he’s drunk and musing over something on his mind. I don’t know what the problem is, so be prepared for some kind of foolery tonight.”
“I think it has something to do with the fight he and Cameron had earlier,” Glitter said with a frown.
“He got into a fight with Cameron, again? Oh, that’s just grand. Were they fighting about another woman, again?” Nikki asked as Glitter shrugged her shoulders.
“I don’t know what the fight was about, but some harsh words were said and Cameron left,” Glitter said as she crossed her arms across her chest.
“That’s not good. JT always expects him to be around for a show. Please tell me that Marc isn’t here. I’m really not in the mood to deal with any of his damn complaining right now. Manager or not, that man really gets on my last damn nerve,” Nikki stated as she shook her head and then looked at the clock on the wall. “It’s that time girl, we have to go.”
“Yep, I guess we’re on,” Glitter said, sighing as she turned and walked out into the hallway. “Is he coming or what?”
“I don’t know, I just hope he shows up when the lights go up,” Nikki replied as she walked towards the door. “JT, it’s time to go, come on man!”
A Few Minutes Later – Out on Stage
“Ladies and gentlemen, it’s my honor to introduce to you, JT Poole, Nikki Knotts and Glitter Mon’et. I give you ‘Mutual Attraction’!” The announcer spoke as the lights went out and three single spotlights shown down on the curtain as it went up to reveal Nikki in one spot, Glitter in the other, but no JT.
“I never needed someone… I always led a life of my own…” JT sang as Nikki and Glitter looked around, spotting him in a different spot on stage. “Never waited for the ring of the phone… Never had, anyone here… when I got homeeee… Loves about to change my heart!”
Lawd, this isn’t the song we’re supposed to be singing right now. I thought we were going to open with ‘Can You Feel It’, but I guess between the time we discussed things and now, he decided to change the damn song, without telling any of us. Lawd, I tell you, this man is going to drive me up a damn wall.
Why is it that every time he gets upset about something, he starts changing shit without telling any damn body? This is it damn it. When this show is over, we’re going to have it out and I mean it. I can’t have him making changes like this, that we didn’t discuss as a group. He can really fuck things up with us like that.
“I’m waiting for the doorbell to chime… I always lived one day at a time… I thought that I was getting on fine… Never felt I was alone… Until you changed my mind… Love’s about to change… change my heart!” JT sang as I looked over to Glitter, wondering where we would come into the song, since he’s done most of the singing so far.
Hell, what are we even out here for? This isn’t one of the songs we rehearsed. I hardly know this song. The only reason why I know of it is because his mother sang it a few years back when I first met him.
“Could a day be so long… I always felt secure and so strong… and all the time as I went along, never thought I would desire, so much to belong… Love’s about to change… Love’s about to change my heart, ooooh…” he sang as Glitter started moving over towards him as it seemed he was consumed more by the song than anything else.
“Never ever thought the sky was so blue… Never ever thought that I’d feel so new…” Glitter sang as he snapped out of his little trance.
“Always thought I’d know what to do… But I guess I wasn’t counting on you…” I sang this time as he looked over at me.
“What did I know, oooh… I always felt so much in control… I thought I’d make it all on my own… Never thought I would forget, all that I know…” he sang as Glitter moved around and threw her arms up.
“Love’s about to change… Love’s about to change, love… Love’s about to change, change, change… myyyyy hearttttt,” Glitter belted out as the music kicked up a notch as he made his way down off the top step of the stairs he stood on.
“Change it… Love’s about to change… Love’s about to change…” he sang over and over as the music started to fade out.
Three Hours Later – The Backstage Area
We just walked off stage and the fans are really going wild. Thank God that the show went okay. Surprise there. With all the damn changes that JT made, I’m sure we fucked some stuff up, but based on how the fans cheered us on, I don’t think they really cared if we did or not.
With all the changes that JT made during the first part of the show, I’m sure that fucked up a whole lot. While we sang ‘Ain’t Nobody Better’ and ‘Can You Feel It’, I skipped a few versus of the songs, just so I could keep up with him. Hell, if that performance was recorded by someone, I’m sure they’ll notice all the mistakes we made tonight.
If there are negative consequences for tonight’s show, it’s not our fault. Hell, I tried to keep up, but I did my best to follow along as best I could, with all the changes there were being made on the fly. Regardless of what I did, I’m sure we fucked up a whole lot. We didn’t fuck up too much, but we fucked up enough in my book and I’m not happy about that. I’m just glad the fans didn’t notice any of it. Hell, if they did, they’re not showing it to us right now.
Now that we’re back here, I’m trying to decide if I should rip JT a new one or just let that shit ride, mainly since it’s apparently that he’s dealing with some shit. Then again, what he did tonight wasn’t called for and from my point of view; he should’ve told us earlier in the evening that he planned on singing different songs than we rehearsed. I’m mad with him and the way Nikki’s looking, she’s way past mad by this point. Oh well, he brought that future tongue lashing on himself.
“Have you lost your gat damn mind?” Nikki asked, grabbing him by the sleeve of his shirt and yanking him around. “Talk to me damn it! What’s gotten into you JT? You almost ruined tonight’s show!”
“I—I’m sorry, I—I got confused,” was his only reply as Nikki shook her head and then turned and looked at me.
“You got confused? Is that all you have to say to us?” Nikki asked, crossing her arms across her chest. “IT was like you were doing your best to skate through ‘Can You Feel It’ and what the hell was that opening number? We never ever rehearsed that song JT!”
“I—I know and I’m sorry for that too Nikki,” he replied, looking down as he shook his head. “I knew we planned to open with ‘Can You Feel It’, but when I got out there, I… My mind couldn’t—couldn’t remember the words and the words that came out were the words to the song I sang.”
“Don’t you think you could’ve given us some kind of damn warning or something JT?” I said this time as he looked over at me. “What’s the problem J? Does this have anything to do with Cameron not being here right now?”
“I—I don’t want to talk about him!” He snapped, walking towards the door quickly.
“Stop right there JT, don’t you dare walk through that door! We’re not done arguing with you yet. You’re going to tell us what the hell is going through your damn mind right now,” Nikki said as she walked quickly to block his exit.
“I—I’m in no mood for much talking right now Nikki,” JT flatly said, sighing. “Let’s just head back to the hotel and talk about this tomorrow.”
“No JT, we need to talk about this shit right now!” Nikki snapped, grabbing his arm. “Something’s wrong and you need to inform your group mates about whatever it is that’s…”
“In the morning and not before then,” JT said, yanking his arm away from Nikki as he turned away from her and then snatched the door open, stopping in his tracks when he noticed the security guys and others standing at the door as if they were listening to what was going on.
“Mr. Poole, is everything okay?” One of the security guys asked.
“Excuse me,” JT spoke as he moved past the guy, walking away from us.
“Oh man, that was harsh,” I said as she looked at me and then looked at his retreating form that headed down the hall.
God, what just happened here? Has that man lost his damn mind or what? I know he didn’t just push me to the side like—like I was some damn groupie! I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m not about to wait until damn morning to find out. He needs to tell me now or there might not be a ‘Mutual Attraction’ performing after tonight.
“Girl, are you okay?” Glitter asked, walking over to where I stood.
“Yeah, I’m fine as all hell. I just want to know what’s gotten into him all of a sudden,” I replied as she sighed.
“Where’s Cameron? I think he’s the key to what’s going on around here,” she said with a frown. “It’s not like him to miss one of our shows, regardless if he and JT gets into a fight.”
“I know girl and I’m thinking that maybe the two of them had a real big fight this time, the reason for JT acting the way he’s acting,” I said as I looked down, wondering what could’ve happened between those two men to cause the melt down that just took place.
“You know as well as I do that it had to be something big, to make him act this way. He doesn’t act this bad when we fight. So, it must’ve been a monumental blowout,” Glitter said as there was a knock at the door, interrupting us as one of the security guys walked into the room.
“Ms. Knotts, Ms. Mon’et, we’re ready to escort you back to the hotel now,” the guy announced.
“Wait, where’s JT?” I asked, trying to look out of the room and down the corridor.
“One of the other guards has escorted Mr. Poole back to the hotel already,” the guy replied as I looked over at him and then back to Glitter as I shook my head. This night is getting stranger by the damn minute. Why in the hell is he acting this way? Better question, why in the hell did he break protocol, leaving here without the rest of us?
“S’okay, I guess we can leave then,” I said with a sigh as I turned and gathered my things so that we could leave.
Almost Midnight – The Excelsior Hotel – JT’s Hotel Room
Why is this happening to us—to me now God? I—I thought he loved me. He was supposed to had been here, but he’s not. Is it too much to ask for, having your lover, here waiting for you after you’ve done a good job, is it? So, is he really gone now or what?
I—I guess… Maybe he wasn’t being rude this time. I guess he was telling the truth when he said he wasn’t happy being with me anymore. He—he said he was tired of competing with the rest of the world for my love and affection. He said that I needed to make a choice, him or the world. He gave me that damn ultimatum two weeks ago and I guess he chose tonight as my answer to whatever I chose.
“Damn it! I had no idea he meant what he said!” I snapped as I frantically walked around the room as the tears streamed down my face as I clutched his nightshirt in my hands. “He said that if I turned my back to him and walked out on that stage tonight, he would leave. I guess he mean it this time.”
Since he’s not here right now, he wasn’t at the show and he’s not answering the phone, I guess he meant every damn word he said. I guess my performing at the charity event signed my walking papers with him. It’s just not fair… He wasn’t being fair. Why make me choose? He knew that wasn’t a choice a could make. I love performing and I love him. I just can’t pick one over the other. Why make me choose between the two things I love doing in the whole wide world?
“Damn him!” I snapped, wiping at my eyes. “He acts as if I couldn’t love him wholly or something. What in the hell have we been doing for the past two years? I don’t see what the problem was—is!”
Why God? Why is he acting this way? It’s not like our business was out there in the streets? The world saw us as very good friends and that’s how he wanted it. When we first got together, he made it very clear that he needed our relationship to be kept discreet, because of our careers. So far, what we’ve been doing has remained our little secret. So what’s with all the damn dramatics now? Maybe—maybe I missed something during our talk…
Three Weeks Ago – Kansas City, MO – The Faulkner Coliseum – The Dressing Room
“Look JT, I love you, but I just can’t compete here. I know you love singing and performing, but there has to be some give and take here. It seems I’m always the one sacrificing my time to jump, when you up and leave and head to a new damn town to do another damn show. What about me?” I said as he sat on the couch, scribbling notes on his notepad. “Are you even listening to me JT?”
“Yeah, I hear you Cam,” he replied, not evening looking up at me.
“Yeah right,” I said, walking back over to the door. “I’m tired of having to play second best to the world for your time, love and attention. Do you really love me JT?”
“Yeah, I love you,” he answered, still not looking up at me as he erased something on the notepad and then scribbled something else. “In the moonlight, I see your face…”
“JT!” I snapped as he looked up at me this time.
“What?” He said as I shook my head.
“Oh, what’s the fucking use,” I said as I walked over to where he sat, getting in front of him as I took his hand.
“Cam,” he said as I shook my head.
“I can’t handle this anymore JT. I want… I need someone in my life that’s—that’s going to be there for me, not what we have going on right now. I just can’t do this anymore. I’ve been jumping through hoops for far too long JT,” I said as he just stared at me as if I hadn’t said anything to him. “Did you even hear me JT? Is any of this sinking in?”
“Yeah, I heard you Cam. What do you mean you’ve been jumping through hoops?” He asked.
“You know what I’m talking about baby. Whenever you need me, I’m always here for you, but is it that way for me, with you? Whenever you go, I’m always wherever you are, but when I go places, you’re never there for me,” I told him as he just shook his head.
“That’s not true Cam, I’m always…” he said as I shook my head and then covered his lips with my fingers.
“You’re always busy JT,” I said, looking him in the face. “Because of you and the girls, I’ve lost time that I’ve needed to work on me and my career.”
“What time have you lost Cam?” He asked.
“You guys are already famous and…” I said as he interrupted me.
“Is that it Cam? You want to be famous and you’re mad with me right now because you don’t think you are? Is that it?” He asked as I got up and then moved away from him before I let my anger get the better of me and I did something I’d regret later on.
“No, that’s not it at all,” I replied, turning to face him. “I’m tired of having to share you with the rest of the world. That’s what it is.”
“You don’t share me with the rest of the world Cam,” he said, getting up.
“Yes I do,” I said, crossing my arms across my chest. “The girls, your fans and everybody else associated with your career come before me. Hell, even the lowly janitor gets more attention than I do.”
“That’s not true and you know it,” he said.
“That’s a lie!” I snapped as someone knocked on the door as I walked over and snatched it open. “What?”
“Is everything okay in here?” One of his precious security guards asked as I closed the door in the guy’s face.
“That was really rude of you Cam,” he said, glaring at me.
“Oh, I’m so sorry about offending your fucking security guard JT. All I have to say is this, it’s either me or the world, you take your pick,” I told him.
“What do you mean, take my pick?” He asked.
“Just that JT, you need to choose, me or the world. I’m tired of taking a backseat to the rest of the world. If you love me, show me that you love me,” I told him, grabbing my jacket as I turned and looked at him.
“How am I supposed to do that?” He asked.
“I’m sure you’ll figure that out big guy,” I said, walking towards the door. “One of these days you’re going to walk out on that stage and I won’t be waiting for you when you walk off.”
“Cam, you don’t mean that,” he said as I shook my head and kept on walking.
Why God, why did this have to happen? I didn’t choose the world, I’ve always chosen him. I always valued him over everything else. Why now God? When I called him on the phone, he didn’t even want to talk to me. He just let the calls go to his damn voice mail. Why is he ignoring me? It’s like he’s cut me off already and not even giving me a chance to try to make things right. He’s already acting as if I’m no longer a part of his life. We’re lovers damn it!
The Next Day – The Marius Hilton Hotel – Nikki’s Hotel Room
Has the whole world gone mad or is it just me? Did I wake up in the damn Twilight Zone or is someone playing a horrible prank on me? Whatever the hell this is, it’s not funny and I’m not happy with all that I’ve ready so far. I can’t—I can’t believe my eyes here! That stuff in the damn paper isn’t true! I knew the rumor mill was buzzing last night, but this shit is ridiculous. With the way things went down at last night’s show, I should’ve expected something negative to happen, but not something like this. Expecting a little bit of speculation is one thing, but this crap is insane!
It’s just like the damn paparazzi to say some shit like this against us! Since we made it big, there have been some real bold rumors about all three of us, but this one takes the damn cake. I’ve known JT for a very long time and the lies printed in this damn paper aren’t true!
“We need to have a press conference and nip this shit in the bud, before it spreads too damn far,” I said aloud, walking in front of the windows in the room, to see that there was a crowd of people down below. “I’m going to go get JT and Glitter. We need to sit down and come up with a strategy on how to handle this crap.”
Sighing, I walked away from the windows and stopped, considering all the crap I’d read in the paper. Thinking about the way JT’s been acting lately, could some of that stuff actually be true? No, that stuff isn’t true. I’ve known him too long for that stuff to be true. Sighing again, I grabbed my purse, my cell phone and prepared to leave the room as the cell phone beeped in my hand. Checking the caller id, I saw that it was Cameron. I wonder what it is that he wants. Now isn’t the time to be talking to him. I’ll deal with him later on, now I have to get Marc and deal with this fiasco at hand, before ‘Mutual Attraction’ ends up being mutually gone.
“This is just some bullshit. I can see it now. Marc’s going to flip out when he gets wind of this, if he hasn’t already,” I said, walking to the door, just as someone knocked. “Who the hell is it?”
“It’s Glitt girl, open the door,” I heard Glitter’s voice as I yanked the door opened as she stood there with a few tabloids and a few local newspapers in hand. “We got a real big problem on our hands girl.”
“I know,” I replied as she shook her head.
“No, this shit seems to be viral. It’s already global it seems and it’s even on the news and music stations already,” Glitter said as she walked into the room.
“Where’s JT?” I asked.
“He’s not here with you?” She asked, looking around the room and then sighed as she shook her head.
“No, he’s not here with me. Where the hell is he?” I asked.
“If he’s not here with you, your guess is good as mine girl,” she replied as I shook my head.
What in the hell is going on here? Why isn’t he around when we need him to be? First the crap from last night and now this. Is there something going on that none of us know about?
To Be Continued…
 Song Excerpt = “Loves About to Change My Heart” by Donna Summer