The Ties That Bind – Chapter 4

Chapter 4 — Everything’s Golden, Part 4

Aug 24, 2004 – Los Angeles, CA (North Beverly Park Suburb) – The Home of JT and Justin Poole-Tanner – The Family Room

“Justin, are you sure things are okay with you two?”  Howard asked as he walked around in stood in front of JT, looking him in the face.

“Everything is fine Howard,” JT stated with a small smile as he moved away from Justin, watching Howard.  “It seems Justin was a bit worried about something else.”

“Are you still worried Justin?”  Howard asked, turning his attention back to Justin as he put his hands on his hips.

“No—no, I’m not worried anymore,” Justin replied with a small smile, looking down, trying to avoid Howard’s glare.

“Good, I’m glad,” Howard replied as he looked back at JT.  “With that being said, I just got a call and was informed that we can see Mr. Hammond to discuss our marriage plans.”

“Oh, that sounds great.  When are you going to see him Howard?”  JT asked.

“Today,” Howard replied as JT’s eyes widened.

“Today?  Are you two flying out to Canada to meet with him?”  JT asked.

“No, he’s on his way here, to see us right now,” Howard stated with a smile.  “he’s going to do his counseling session with us today and then we’ll fly out to Canada on Friday.”

“Ah, okay then,” JT responded as the doorbell sounded as he turned and looked at Justin.  “Is that him?”

“Possibly,” Howard stated as the three men walked out of the room.

“Great, it’ll be nice to see the man that married us,” JT stated as he looked at Justin.

“Yeah, I guess it would be,” Justin responded with a smile.

Mid-Day – Cudahy, CA – Park Avenue Elementary School – The Cafeteria

“Hi Caleb,” Max Cahill spoke as he took a seat at the table across from Caleb.  “You just get here?”

“Yep and so did Zach,” Caleb replied as he motioned with his head as Zachary Faulk walked over and took a seat at the table also.  “Hi.”

“Hi Caleb,” Zach spoke as he looked at the food on his tray and then frowned.  “Do you happen to know what this is man?”

“Is it still moo’ing?”  Max asked as Zach poked at his food and then shook his head.

“I’m glad Daddy prepares my lunches for me,” Caleb said as he opened the bag in front of him and then pulled out a sandwich, a bag of chips, a banana and some cookies.

“So, when are you going to invite us over for some fun?”  Zach asked as he looked over at Caleb.

“Ah, I don’t know, when do you guys want to come over?”  Caleb asked.

“How about today?  I don’t have anything to do after school and I don’t want to spend my afternoon, doing nothing,” Zach stated, smiling at Caleb.

“I know what you mean,” Max stated as he took a bite of his food.  “This tastes like steak and gravy, but it looks disgusting.  Is it supposed to be steak and gravy?”

“I don’t know,” Zach replied, shrugging his shoulders as he took a bite of his food and then grimaced, putting his fork down as he shook his head and then pushed the tray forward.  “I might have to start brown-bagging it.”

“Me too,” Max spoke with a frown as he took another bite of the food.  “So, would today be a good day to come over?”

“Today should be okay,” Caleb replied as he took a bite of his sandwich.

“Cool,” Max said, looking over at Caleb.  “Can I come over too?”

“I don’t see why not,” Caleb stated as he took a sip of his milk.

“What are we going to do?”  Max asked.

“We can play video games if you like,” Caleb answered, popping a few chips into his mouth.  “Me and Justin play video games when I’m done with my homework and my chores.  Sometimes Uncle Josh plays with us too.”

“Sounds like fun,” Zack stated as a young girl stopped at the table, waved at him and then continued on her way.  “Hey girl, what’s up?”

“Hi Zach,” the little girl spoke, stopping as Zach got up from the table and walked over to where she stood as he grabbed her hand, kissing the top of it.  “You’re so sweet.”

“For you m’lady,” Zach said with a smile as the girl giggled and then took her hand back as she walked away as Max and Caleb both rolled their eyes.

“Who’s that?”  Max asked as he looked at Zach as the girl disappeared around the corner.

“That’s Cindy, she’s in my art class,” Zach replied with a faraway look in his eyes.  “I just can’t stop thinking about her.”

“Calm down man,” Max said with a chuckle as Caleb just watched the interaction between his two new friends.

“I’ll be calm in a minute,” Zach stated as a siren sounded, signaling that they were having a fire drill.

“What—what’s going on?”  Caleb asked, looking around quickly as he dropped his sandwich down on the top and stood up.

“It’s a fire drill,” Zach replied as he got up from the table.  “Come on guys, follow me.”

“Okay,” Caleb stated with a frightened look as he and Max followed behind Zach.

Somewhere Around Town

Laci’s POV

Damn it!  I’ve been walking around this damn town all day!  I’m tired and my damn feet hurt!  It shouldn’t be this damn hard to find someone in this town!  What in the hell is going on?  Is Fate trying to keep me from having the life that I so desire and need?  What does it take to find Justin Tanner in this God forsaken place?  A celebrity such as him shouldn’t be this hard to find.  Hell, he’s a world class celebrity for God’s sake!  With my damn luck, it’s like I’m looking for a magical being and not a man.

I’m tired and I don’t know how much longer I can put up with this.  It’s way after lunch and I need to find an affordable place for the two of us to eat.  With what I currently have in my pockets, I don’t think PJ and I will be chowing down around here.  These people must be fucking crazy.  Each place I’ve passed by, a regular burger costs the same as a damn steak.  What sense does that make?  Why isn’t there a good, cheap burger place around when you need one?  Being around here, I can already tell that I’m going to miss the good, cheap things about Grand Junction.

“Hi there,” I heard someone say as I looked up from where I sat to see a police officer standing there with a strange look on his face.  Oh great, I don’t need any attention from the damn police.  What does this fucker want?

“Hi officer,” I spoke, not wanting to spend too much time with this creep.  “Is there something wrong?”

“I was about to ask you the same thing miss,” he replied with a smile.  “It’s really hot out today and I don’t think you and the little guy should be out in this heat.”

“Ah, we’re fine officer,” I said, trying not to look at him too much.  “We’re just resting a bit and then we’ll be heading back to our hotel.”

“Okay miss,” the officer spoke as he tipped his hat and then walked off.

Great, he’s gone and now we can get back to finding a place to get a good meal—an affordable meal.  As I stood up, something shimmering under the table caught my eye.  Kneeling down a bit, I saw that it was a gold bracelet.  Okay, is my luck improving?  Picking the bracelet up, it had some weight to it.  Oh yeah, this is real and I think our money problems are about to improve.  All I need to do now is find a pawn shop or a jeweler and see what this thing is worth.

North Beverly Park Suburb – The Home of JT and Justin Poole-Tanner – The Backyard

“We’re two and a half months strong and we’re still going sir,” Justin spoke as he and Brett Hammond shook hands.

“Yes, I see that and I’m very glad,” Brett Hammond responded as he walked with Justin, JT, Howard and Chad around the backyard.  “You guys have a beautiful home here.”

“Thank you for your kind words Mr. Hammond,” JT spoke as he and Justin stopped walking at the edge of the yard as Howard and Chad continued walking.  “So, is everything set for those two?”

“Yes,” Brett replied with a smile.  “All there’s left to do is for them to fly out to Toronto and have their ceremony, same as you two did.”

“Great,” JT said with a smile as Justin looked down.

“Are they going to use the same location that you two used or do they have another location in mind?”  Brett asked as JT shrugged his shoulders.

“I don’t know, we haven’t talked about their location plans,” JT stated as Brett smiled.  “Is the location where Justin and I got married available for them to use?”

“I’m sure it is,” Brett replied, smiling again.  “I already told them that I’ll be happy to perform the ceremony there, if they like.”

“That sounds perfect,” JT stated as he looked at Justin and then frowned.  “Who wants to call the Hotel Victoria and make arrangements?”

“I think we might want to try some place else,” Justin stated with a neutral expression on his face as he looked down.  “We don’t need a repeat of the drama that went down during our honeymoon.”

“We didn’t have a honeymoon Justin,” JT stated as he looked down also.  “But, that’s a whole different matter altogether, no need harping on that.”

“You have a point baby,” Justin stated as he and JT embraced as Brett smiled.

An Hour Later – The Driveway

Josh’s POV

Thank God, I’m back home in one piece. This town is crazy.  I can’t believe I actually got lost four times today.  I got lost four times!  I don’t know if I’m going to be able to take, living in this town for long.  I’m either going to have to get a tour guide, get a driver to drive me around or I might not be traveling around this place.  I spent over three hours trying to find my way around and had it not been for a police officer, a bus driver and a kid on the street, I wouldn’t have gotten back here safely.  If I hadn’t left early this morning when I did, I probably would’ve been late for that darn interview.

“Hi there,” I heard behind me as I turned around to see a cute, sexy white guy standing there with a little boy with him.  Who is this guy?

“Ah hi, can I help you?”  I asked, looking at the guy, trying not to stare at his beautiful eyes and those nice full lips.

“Is this the home of JT Poole and Justin Tanner?”  The guy asked as I nodded my head.  “Finally, we found it buddy.”

“Do they know you’re out here?”  I asked, looking at the guy, feeling as if I should know him from somewhere, as if I’ve seen a picture of him before, but I can’t quite place where from.

“Probably not,” the guy replied with a small smile.  “I’m here with my little buddy Zach, he’s here for a playdate with—with Caleb.”

“Ah, well come on in then, I’ll lead you two inside and let them know you are here,” I said, waving as I closed the car door and then walked towards the house as the two of them followed behind me.  “I’m Joshua Raymond, I’m JT’s brother.”

“I’m Chad Faulk and this guy is Zach, as you already know,” the cute guy said as the little boy waved as I waved back at him.

“I’m sure Caleb is around here somewhere.  He’s probably down in his room, playing video games or something,” I said as I opened the door, walking into the house to hear loud music.  “What in the world…”

“Cool tunes,” the cute guy said as he bopped his head to the beat.  “Sounds like Fatboy Slim.”

“JT!  Justin!”  I called out, hoping someone heard me over the music.  “You can stay in here, I’ll be right back.”

“Alright dude,” the cute guy said as I waved and then walked down the hall.

What in the world is going on around this place?  Normally, JT or Justin are in here, helping Caleb with his homework.  What’s going on right now and why is the music so loud?  Where is that music even coming from?  As I walked down the hall towards the bedrooms, I stopped when I passed the one where JT’s friend Howard was in.  The door was cracked a bit and I saw that Howard and his boyfriend Chad were in there, in bed, having sex.  Damn, that looks so hot.  The two of them, rolling around on the bed, touching, thrusting, experiencing a kind of love and emotion…

“Josh,” I heard JT’s voice as I turned around to see him and Justin standing there, watching me.

“JT hi, there you are,” I said as he looked at me strangely as I noticed the music had stopped.  “You—you guys have company.  Someone is here for a playdate with Caleb.”

“Yeah, I know that,” JT replied as Justin smiled weakly and then walked away.  “Josh, are you okay?”

“Yeah, I—I’m fine,” I replied as he frowned.

“You don’t sound find Josh,” he replied as he motioned with his head as he pointed down the hall.  “Come on, let’s go talk.”

“I… Okay,” I said as he took my hand, leading me down the hall as we walked into his den.

“Okay Josh, what’s going on?”  JT asked as he looked me in the face.  “Are you okay?”

“What—what do you mean bro?”  I asked, looking at him strangely, wondering what he was getting at.

“I mean, is there something wrong?  You were standing back there in the hall, shaking—trembling as if there was something wrong.  Did something happen?  Are you okay?”  He asked, placing a hand on my shoulder.

“I—I’m fine bro,” I replied, looking down.  Hell, I don’t know what happened back there.  One minute I was watching his two friends have sex and the next, my mind is blank.  Did I black out or what?

“If something is wrong, I hope you know that you can talk to me about it.  I am your brother, I am here for you,” he said as he moved in close and then hugged me.  “I can’t read your mind Josh, we didn’t get that bond as twins.  If something is wrong or bothering you, you have to talk to me and let me know.”

“Okay bro, you’re right about that,” I said with a sigh.

“Good deal, glad you agree,” he said as he moved back from me and then turned around.  “If you need or want to talk, we’ll be in the backyard for a bit with the kids.  It seems Caleb has a playdate that he forgot to tell me about.”

“If—if I need something, I know where to find you,” I said as he smiled and then waved, walking out of the room as I stood there, wondering how much time had went by before he and Justin showed up to snap me out of my trance.

An Hour Later – The Backyard

“So, how do you two know each other?”  Justin asked as he took a seat across from Chad Faulk as they all sat around in the backyard, watching the kids play.

“I acted in a few shows with him,” Chad replied with a small smile.

“Oh, was it something recent?”  Justin asked.

“No, nothing recent,” Chad replied as he looked out in the yard, watching the kids.  “It’s been a few years since we’ve interacted on the big or small screen.”

“How did you two become friends?”  Justin asked.

“We used to hang out after taping and we sorta just clicked.  For a while there, we were always together, almost like brothers,” Chad stated as Justin looked over at JT and then back at him.  “After the show was over, we kept in touch.  Man, those were the good old days.  We used to hang out a lot, but that changed when I moved back to the west coast.”

“Why did you move back over here Chad?  I thought you liked it better in New York,” JT said as he took a sip of his drink.

“I definitely enjoyed New York, but family comes first.  My lil man there is the biggest reason I came back to this coast,” Chad stated as he motioned with his head in Zach’s direction.

“Seems like a wonderful kid.  I’m glad Caleb has found a friend around here,” JT stated as he looked down.  “I was afraid he was going to have a hard time making friends, being that he’s so quiet and all.”

“Baby, I think he was only quiet because there weren’t any other kids around for him to play with,” Justin stated as he looked across at JT.  “He looks to be having a great time right now.”

“So I see,” JT said with a smile as they watched the boys wrestling around on the ground.  “I’m shocked that you’re not out there, running around with them Justin.”

“I’ll let them have at it for now,” Justin said, grabbing JT’s hand as he pulled him down into his lap.  “I’d rather play with you right now baby.”

“Oh, stop it you horndog,” JT responded, giggling as he and Justin kissed.  “So Chad, are you dating anybody?”

“No, not dating anyone at the moment.  I’m sadly single over here,” Chad replied as he looked down.  “I’ve been so busy lately, I haven’t had the time to date.”

“There’s always time for dating Chad,” JT stated as he looked over at Chad.  “You couldn’t have been that busy to…”

“I just cut a new album and I’ve been doing a few shows,” Chad spoke, interrupting JT, before he could say more.

“You cut a new album,” JT said as he rubbed at his head.  “I’ve been busy working too, but as you can see, I got my man right here.  There’s always time for a date buddy.”

“Everyone isn’t that lucky buddy,” Chad stated as he shook his head.

“You are lucky Chad, but maybe you should put your focus on some…” JT stated as Justin poked him in the side.  “Owwwww.”

“Baby,” Justin said as JT glared at him.  “We don’t need you trying to play matchmaker around here.”

“Oh alright,” JT said with a pout as Justin smiled and then tickled his sides.

“You two are so cute together,” Chad declared as he looked away quickly.  “Guess who I heard from recently?”

“Who?” JT asked as he looked over at Chad.

“Angela Simonson,” Chad answered as he laughed at the expression on JT’s face.  “Remember that time when you and Ducky were fooling around in the pool and she got splashed with water, totally drenching her?  That moment was classic.  The look on her face was priceless.”

“Yeah it was, until she pushed you, Terry and Nick into the pool and then went on that little rampage that got her kicked off the show,” JT stated, laughing as Justin just watched them.  “What is she doing now?”

“Producing,” Chad replied as JT shook his head and then frowned.  “And she’s trying to start a new show, just like the one we were on.”

“What?  Lawd knows there doesn’t need to be another teenage drama soap opera going on,” JT stated as he shook his head.  “There doesn’t need to be another ‘Love Cali Style’ for a new audience.  Hell, ‘Love’s Melody’ was enough.”

“What’s ‘Love’s Melody’?”  Justin asked as he looked at JT strangely.  “Was that a TV show or something?”

“No, it was a mini-series that catapulted him into the adult spotlight,” Chad stated with a sly smile.  “Isn’t that the movie you met Chad Aldon on?”

“Yes,” JT replied with a frown.  “Met Todd on that show too.”

“Really?  How come I never saw this?”  Justin asked, looking over at JT.  “I thought I’d seen everything you’ve been in.  Why haven’t I seen this?”

“Probably because I’m not happy about that part of my acting career,” JT replied, looking down.

“Why not baby?”  Justin asked.

“Probably because he was always lying down throughout the show,” Chad replied as he laughed and then smiled as JT shook his head.

“Damn, you make it sound like I was a ho or something,” JT stated as Chad raised an eye and then shook his head again.

“You were,” Chad replied as JT sighed.  “You were a male gigolo that was getting it on with all the females around.  Only if the fans knew the real you back then.”

“They probably would’ve hated me more then, than they do now,” JT stated, sighing again.

“Come on buddy, I don’t think any of the fans hate you,” Chad stated with a frown on his face.  “They might dislike some of the choices you’ve made as of late, but I don’t think any of them hate you.”

“Guess that goes with the life of being a celebrity,” JT stated as Caleb and Zach ran over to where they were.  “You can’t please everybody.”

To Be Continued…