The Ties That Bind – Chapter 2


Chapter 2 — Everything’s Golden, Part 2

Aug 23, 2004 – Los Angeles, CA (North Beverly Park Suburb) – The Home of JT and Justin Poole-Tanner – The Backyard

“You’re acting like a pompous jerk!  I can’t believe you did that!”  Joshua Charles snapped as he and JT walked into the backyard as Justin and Nikki followed behind them, shaking their heads.

“Excuse me, you’re the one that’s known for blabbing private matters to the rest of the world!”  JT snapped as he pointed his finger at Joshua.  “If someone’s a jerk here, it’s you!”

“Come on, you two need to cool it,” Nikki said as she walked around in front of Joshua, grabbing his hand as she pushed JT backwards a bit.  “I’m not in the mood for this little melodrama you two are playing out and it needs to have the credits rolling and fading to black now.  Both of you were in the wrong and we need to move on.”

“Is everything alright out here?”  Josh, JT’s brother asked as he walked over to where everyone stood around.

“Hi Joshua, how are you doing?”  Nikki asked, looking over at Josh.  “How is your day going?”

“It was great until I heard all the ruckus out here,” Josh replied as Joshua and JT both stuck out their tongues as Justin giggled and then shook his head.  “Oh ha ha ha.”

“Whatever,” JT said as he turned and then walked over to the barbecue grill.  “Are we cooking out or what?”

“It seems some things never change,” Nikki stated, laughing at the look on JT’s face.  “Do you really think the natives here of LA, grill out all the time?”

“No, but if they hang around us long enough, they’ll get used to it,” JT stated as he looked at his watch.

“What are you even cooking out for?”  Joshua asked, glaring at JT.

“We have yet to break this place in, in this regard,” JT stated as he looked over at Justin.

“Yeah, but that’s something you could do on the weekend.  This isn’t something you do during the week.  Hell, you guys should’ve done this yesterday or the day before,” Joshua said as JT shot him the bird and then walked over to Justin.

“Fine, I guess we can save it for the weekend then,” JT stated as a phone rang.

“It’s mine,” Justin stated as he pulled his cell phone from his pocket to answer it.  “It’s Howard.”

“Why is he calling you?”  JT asked, looking at Justin strangely as Justin answered the phone.

Justin’s POV

He has a point, why is Howard calling me?  If there’s something wrong, he should be calling JT, not me.  Being that I hardly know the guy, except for his connection to JT, I don’t really know why he would be calling me.

“Hello,” I spoke into the phone, wanting to know why my husband’s lawyer was calling me, instead of my husband.

“Hi Justin,” Howard spoke.  “Are you with JT?”

“Yes, I’m with him.  Is there something wrong Howard?”  I asked.

“I’ve been trying to call him, but he’s not answering,” he responded as I looked over at JT.

“Hold on a minute,” I said as I slid my hand into JT’s pocket, pulling out his cell phone and handing it to him as he looked at me strangely.  “Open your phone baby.”

“Okay,” JT replied as he flipped the phone open.  “Wow, I got twelve missed calls.  How did that happen?”

“Who knows,” I said, turning my attention back to Howard.  “So Howard, what’s going on?  What’s with all the unanswered calls?  Is something wrong?  Is it about Heather?  Is there something wrong with the adoption paperwork?”

“No no, nothing like that at all, has nothing to do with work.  I was wondering would you happen to have the number for the guy that performed your and JT’s wedding?”  Howard asked as I’m sure my eyes widened.

“Howard, are you two making plans to go ahead and get married?”  I asked as JT, Nikki and Josh looked at me.

“Yeah, I’m actually on a plane, heading out to you guys right now, if that’s okay,” he said as I shook my head.

“I’m sure it is,” I said as JT looked at me strangely.  “But why are you coming here?”

“We’re both coming there,” he replied.  “We both know how dramatic JT can be, so we’re going to tell him our plans in person and then we’re inviting you both to the wedding.”

“How sweet,” I said, pointing at my ring and then motioning at the phone as JT’s expression changed to a confused one as I motioned at my ring again and then pointed at the phone as JT just looked at me like the light bulb was still flashing.  I know my husband isn’t slow, so he needs to put the pieces together.  “Well I’m sure he’ll be glad to see you two, when you get here.”

“Justin, what’s going on?”  JT asked, watching me.

“Howard and Chad are on their way here,” I replied as he smiled weakly and then shrugged his shoulders.  Okay, what’s up with that look?

“Okay,” he replied, walking towards the house as Nikki and Josh followed him as Joshua just stood over by the fence, watching things transpire.

“Justin, just tell JT I’ll call him when my plane lands,” Howard stated as I wondered what was going through JT’s head.  “Until later on, bye now.”

“Bye Howard,” I said, closing the phone as I slid it back into my pocket as I noticed Joshua watching me.  “Josh, everything okay buddy?”

“Yeah Justin, everything’s fine,” he replied as he turned around and walked towards the house.

I hope he’s being truthful with me.  Since he’s been here, he’s been acting strange around me.  I still feel like he has an issue or something with us—me.  I still feel like he’s uncomfortable being around the two of us.

Two Hours Later – LAX – The Baggage Claim Area

Howard’s POV

Thank God, my plane just landed and I’m here in one piece.  It seems like each time I fly somewhere, there’s way too much turbulence during the flight.  Now that I’m here in LA, I’m going to grab my bags and meet up with JT and Justin.

“Hi there,” I heard behind me as I turned around to see Joshua Charles, Justin’s friend, standing there with a smile on his face.  “I take it you’re Howard Marshall, JT and Justin’s friend.”

“Yes, yes I am,” I replied, not expecting to see him here.

“I’m here to take you to JT and Justin’s house,” he spoke, looking around.  “Are these all of your bags?”

“Yes, this is everything,” I answered as he smiled and then grabbed the handle of my wheeled suitcase as he gestured with his head towards the door.  “Not to be ungrateful or anything, but did something happen to JT or Justin?”

“Now that I know of,” he replied as we walked down the corridor.  “Justin asked me to come pick you up and here I am.”

“Oh,” I replied, not expecting that answer from him.

Is there something wrong?  I was hoping he would tell me why JT nor Justin were here to pick me up.  When I last talked with Justin, he told me that he or JT would be here to pick me up.  Regardless, I really wanted to talk with JT about some things, but I guess I have no choice but to wait for that conversation.

“Mr. Marshall, are you okay?”  I heard Mr. Charles ask as he stopped walked and then turned to look at me as I noticed the concerned look on his face. “Are you okay?  You’re doing a whole lot of mumbling over…”

“I was mumbling?  I—I didn’t even notice, I—I’m sorry,” I replied as I looked down at the floor.

“I’m sorry I’m not your choice for transportation, but I’m only doing a favor for a friend,” he said, looking as if he was hurt.  “It shouldn’t take long to get to JT and Justin’s place.”

“I’m sorry Mr. Charles, I wasn’t trying…”  I said as he shook his head as we continued walking down the corridor.

To say the least, we walked a bit longer, got outside and he led me to his car.  The ride from LAX was a big grueling, being that neither of us said a word.  I wasn’t trying to upset him or cause a problem.  My goal was to come here and talk with JT, but now I feel like I’ve caused an unneeded problem with one of his friends.  How am I going to solve this unneeded problem?

An Hour Later – North Beverly Park Suburb – The Home of JT and Justin Poole-Tanner – The Family Room

“Sorry buddy, that wasn’t the right answer,” JT stated as he sat next to Caleb, helping him with his homework assignment.

“I can’t do it Daddy,” Caleb whined as JT shook his head.

“When it comes to school work, can’t isn’t a word young man,” JT stated as he took the pencil from Caleb’s hand and then started working the math problem, showing him how to do it.  “See, you have to make sure you remember to carry your remainders over.”

“But it’s too hard Daddy,” Caleb whined as JT shook his head.

“No, it’s not hard buddy, you just need to learn how to do it correctly,” JT stated as he handed the pencil and paper back to Caleb.  “There are more examples of how to work the problem on the worksheet.  If you follow what I just did and those examples, you’ll get it.”

“Okay Daddy, I’ll try harder,” Caleb stated as a door opened across the room.

“Guys, we’re here,” Joshua Charles announced as JT turned around.

“We’re in the family room!”  JT called out as Celeb got up as JT patted him on his back and then sent him on his way.

“Wow, this place looks nice on the outside,” Howard stated as he walked into the room and over to JT, hugging him.  “Not as big as the military complex out in Jacksonville.”

“Oh ha ha ha, this place is just right for us,” JT said with a small smile.  “So, how was your flight?”

“It—it was okay,” Howard replied as he turned around slightly, noticing that Joshua and Justin had left the room.

“Why do I get the feeling that you’re lying to me?”  JT asked, looking Howard in the face.

“My flight was fine, my trip here is another story,” Howard stated as JT shook his head and then rushed out of the room.  “JT!  JT, where are you going?”

“That damn jerk is at it again!”  JT snapped as he walked down the hall, looking into room after room until he found Justin and Joshua in the kitchen.  “You fucking jerk!  What did you do to Howard?  Can’t you just leave well enough a…”

“Baby, stop it, it’s not…” Justin said as JT held up a hand, shaking his head.

“What reason do you have for being an ass to Howard?”  JT asked, glaring at Joshua.

“If someone was being an ass, it wasn’t me,” Joshua responded as he pointed his finger in JT’s face.  “You might want to turn around and talk to your friend there.”

“No, I’m talking to you jerk,” JT said as he pushed Joshua’s finger out of his face.  “You’re going to fuck around and make me…”

“JT stop,” Howard said as he grabbed JT’s hand, pulling him from the room quickly.  “I’m sorry, I’m really sorry.”

“Howard, what are you talking about?”  JT asked as he looked at Howard strangely.

“I—I’m sorry for causing this problem,” Howard replied as he looked down.

“Howard…” JT said as Howard interrupted him.

“JT listen to me,” Howard said as JT closed his mouth, watching him.  “I—I was talking to myself and didn’t know I was.  I said some things and he heard me and after that, he went quiet and that was it.  He didn’t do anything wrong, it was me.   It was all me.”

“Are you kidding me?”  JT asked as he looked at Howard strangely again and then looked back in the room at Justin and Joshua.  “You’re telling me that he didn’t do anything—anything at all.”

“He didn’t do anything at all,” Howard replied as he looked down.  “I didn’t mean to cause any problems here JT.  I was just a bit…”

“It’s okay Howard,” JT stated as he sighed and then shook his head.

“No, it’s not okay,” Howard stated as he looked down at the floor and then shook his head.  “I didn’t want to be a bother to you, but it seems like it’s way past that point.”

“No, you’re not being a bother to me,” JT stated as he looked into the room to see Justin and Joshua watching the two of them.

“Well my heart and my mind are saying otherwise,” Howard said as he sighed.

“Well putting this drama aside, what’s going on Howard?  What did you want to talk to me about?”  JT asked.

“I wanted to talk to you about Chad… We’re going to go ahead and get married and I—we—we want to do it in Canada, where you and Justin got married,” Howard stated as he motioned with his head at Justin.

“I thought you two were going to wait a while,” JT stated as he looked at Howard closely.

“We were, but decided that we can’t wait,” Howard stated with a smile.  “I love him JT and I can’t wait for the two of us to be married.”

“Well you know I’ll support any decision you two make,” JT stated as he and Howard hugged again as a throat clearing pulled them apart.

“We weren’t doing anything,” Howard spoke up quickly as he moved back from JT as the two men looked at him strangely.

“I’m sure you weren’t,” Justin stated as he kissed JT’s cheek.  “Baby, I think it would be nice if you apologized to Josh.”

“It’ll be a cold day in…” JT stated as Justin sighed and then moved back a bit.  “Oh alright, fine.”

“Thank you baby,” Justin replied as JT walked into the room.  “Are things okay?”

“Yeah,” Howard replied as he looked down.  “I didn’t mean to cause any trouble between you guys and your friend there.”

“It’s okay Howard, don’t worry about it.  That’s over and done with for now,” Justin stated as he patted Howard on the back.  “Let’s get your things and get you to a room.”

“Okay,” Howard stated as he and Justin walked outside to get his things.

A Few Minutes Previously – The Kitchen

“You’ve been an asshole for years John, so I’m not expecting anything different now,” Joshua nonchalantly said as he turned his back to JT.  “But I accept your apology none-the-less.”

“I really wasted my damn time, coming in here to apologize to you,” JT stated as he pointed his finger at Joshua. “Why apologize to someone that’s made it a point to damn cause problems for everyone around him.  If it wasn’t for you, most of the damn drama that happened on the damn Mouse wouldn’t have happened.”

“None of that shit was my fault John, it was yours.  You should really learn to keep your dick to yourself and your pants up.  Maybe then you’ll stay on your feet for a change,” Joshua shot back as JT took in a deep breath and then closed his eyes.  “I still wonder what Marc ever saw in you.”

“Well it was something that he didn’t see in you Josh,” JT stated as he moved closer to Joshua.  “It was always you, dissing me, but I never really knew why until Marc told me about the little escapades you two would have when Keri or Lindsey wasn’t available for you.”

“Shut the hell up!”  Joshua snapped as JT smiled.  “You don’t know what you’re talking about!”

“I know what I’m talking about Joshua,” JT stated as he pointed his finger in Joshua’s face, just centimeters from his nose.  “All that anger for me, because I was getting the ass that you couldn’t get anymore.  Was that it Joshua?  Was that the reason why you told Virgil, Fred and Wanda about what was going on?  Was that it Joshua?  Is that why you allowed us to get caught having sex?  Come on Joshua, you getting quiet on me.  Don’t stop talking now, because it was rather convenient that when Marc broke things off with you and started things up with me, those really freaky, strange things started happening on set.  You happened to know why that was Josh?”

“You—you don’t know what you’re fucking talking about,” Joshua said as he turned away from JT.

“Oh, I don’t?  Would you like to call Marc on the phone and verify that?”  JT asked, moving around in front of Joshua, getting in his face.  “I don’t mind calling him, having him tell the sordid tale of your relationship with him.  I’m sure he could refresh your memory about how you would sneak into his dressing room and let him suck you off or how when Keri or Lindsey wasn’t on set and you needed the release, you would even fuck him.  Do I need to make that phone call Joshua, because if so, I don’t mind making it!”

“What in the hell is going on in here?”  Justin asked, rushing into the room, getting in between JT and Joshua.  “We could hear you two arguing all the way outside.  If we heard you, I’m sure Caleb heard you too.  Now, what in the hell is going on here?”

“Why don’t you ask Hall of Mouse Liberace there,” JT stated as he snapped his finger and then walked out of the room.

“Say what?  What does that mean?”  Justin asked as he looked at Joshua and then looked out of the room, watching his husband walk down the hall.  “Josh, what’s going on here?  Besides the obvious, why were you two arguing and why did he call you the Hall of Mouse Liberace?”

“Just let it go,” Joshua said as he walked around Justin.  “I—I’m going home to my wife and child.”

“Josh, don’t leave like this,” Justin said as he grabbed Joshua’s hand, stopping him from leaving.  “Tell me what happened here.”

“No,” Joshua stated as he shook his head as a few tears fell from his eyes as he pulled away from Justin and then walked on out of the room, heading towards the front door.

“Someone’s going to tell me what’s going on,” Justin said as he walked out of the room.

An Hour Later – Out by the Pool

“Hey baby,” Justin spoke as he walked outside as JT waved a hand, not looking up at him from where he sat at the pool with his legs and feet in the water.  “Okay baby, why aren’t you talking?”

“I got nothing to say,” JT responded, not looking up at Justin.

“You’ve been quiet since the blowout earlier between you and Josh,” Justin stated as he sighed.  “Come on baby, talk to me.”

“Talk about what?”  JT asked, still not looking at him.

“Come on baby, why are you avoiding talking to me?  What did I do?”  Justin asked as he kicked off his shoes and then sat down next to JT, kissing his cheek.

“You did nothing,” JT replied, still not looking at Justin.

“Well, if I didn’t do anything wrong, why are you punishing me?”  Justin asked.  “I don’t like it when my husband chooses to close me out or ignore me, the way he’s doing right now.  I don’t like being treated like the scum on the bottom of his damn shoes.”

“I’m not treating… I’m sorry Justin,” JT replied as he sighed and then looked at Justin.  “I’m sorry.”

“What’s going on baby?”  Justin asked as he placed a finger under JT’s chin, lifting it, forcing JT to look at his eyes.  “Talk to me baby.  What’s going on here?  What’s going on between you and Josh?”

“Nothing,” JT replied as he shook his head.

“Come on baby, are you kidding me here?  Every time that you two are in the same place together, for longer than a few minutes, you guys argue and then fight,” Justin stated as he sighed.  “This has been going on since we were all on the show.  I’m guessing it has something to do with…”

“Just let it go Justin,” JT stated as footsteps could be heard approaching them.  “There’s no need in dredging up the past.”

“Hey guys, what’s up?”  Howard asked as he and Chad walked over to them.  “Is—is there something wrong guys?”

“No, there’s nothing wrong at all,” JT replied as he got up and then walked over to one of the chairs to get his towel. “Come on Justin, let’s get back inside, it’s getting late.”

“Fine,” Justin replied as he shook his head, got up and grabbed his shoes, walking towards the house as Howard and Chad both shrugged their shoulders.

“Hey Justin, is there some place around here where I can get some food?”  Chad asked as he looked at Justin closely.  “I’m really hungry and I don’t think my hunger can wait until morning.”

“There’s no need for going someplace, we have a fully stocked kitchen,” JT stated.

“No buddy, no need for making a mess this late at night,” Chad stated as he and Howard embraced.  “A burger place would be okay.”

“There’s not even a burger place in this neighborhood,” Justin stated as he looked at Chad.  “You’d be better off, finding something in the kitchen.”

“Is that okay with you baby?”  Chad asked, looking at Howard.

“That’s fine with me,” Howard replied as he and Chad kissed.

“Come on,” Justin said as he held the door open for the two lovebirds.

To Be Continued…