The Ties That Bind – Chapter 7

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Chapter 7 — Swing That Closet Door Wide Open

Aug 25, 2004 – Los Angeles, CA (North Beverly Park Suburb) – The Home of JT and Justin Poole-Tanner – JT and Justin’s Bedroom

“Who could that be?”  JT groggily asked as he rolled over in bed as someone knocked on the bedroom door.  “Someone better be close to death.”

“Is there something wrong baby?”  Justin asked as he opened his eyes as the knocking continued as JT turned on the bedside lamp.

“Come in,” JT called out as the door to the room opened as Chad Aldon walked in.

“Hey buddy,” Chad spoke, waving his hand.

“What’s up Chad?  What time is it?”  JT asked, yawning.

“It’s a little after five,” Chad replied, his expression neutral.

“Is there something wrong Chad?”  JT asked.

“I came to tell you that Howard and I are heading on up to Canada this morning,” Chad stated, smiling weakly.

“When are you two leaving, now?”  JT asked as Chad nodded his head.  “I—I thought you guys were going to wait until…”

“We were going to wait, but we decided to go ahead and head on to the hotel, so we could have some alone time,” Chad stated as JT frowned.  “When you guys arrive, we’d have the ceremony then.”

“Ah… Okay then Chad,” JT replied, wondering why Chad and Howard had changed their earlier plans. “You two have a safe trip then. One of you needs to call when you get there, so we know you made it safely.”

“Will do buddy,” Chad replied as he waved again and then walked back towards the door.  “You two have a good morning and sorry for waking you up so early.”

“It’s okay,” Justin said as he waved as Chad walked out of the room and then closed the door behind him.

“I wonder what caused them to change their plans like that,” JT said as he slid back down in the bed. “Oh well, there’s nothing we can do about it now.”

“Nope, there isn’t a thing we can do about it,” Justin said as he and JT snuggled up under the covers as JT turned the besides lamp off.

Later that Day – JT’s Den

JT’s POV

Lawd, I’ve been on this phone for almost an hour now and it feels like I haven’t accomplished anything.  Who knew contract negotiations would take this long and be so nerve wrecking?  I’m on the phone with five of the six company execs and each of them seem to think that they can say and do what they want.  It seems I have to keep reminding them that I have controlling interest in the company and I have the final say so of what goes on.

“I understand all of what you’re saying Rachel, but that’s an avenue I don’t want to travel just yet,” I said as I jotted some information own about the company’s new name and a new musical act they are trying to promote.

“We manage forty groups and of those forty groups, only three of them are turning a profit,” Darren Haynes spoke as I shook my head, wondering why he hadn’t been fired yet, as I gave explicit instructions for him to be gone.

“We can’t promote everyone at the same time,” I said as Justin walked into the room with Joshua and Nikki.  “There’s got to be a method to advertising and promotion that should work with getting everyone’s name out there, with everyone bringing profits to the table.”

“That means we may need a new recruitment and ad department,” Wanda Stone said as I sighed.  “As I brought up earlier, the only groups making money right now is ‘Mutual Attraction’ and ‘Beatz’ and that’s only because of the drama currently floating around both groups.”

“We’re not going to get into that matter right now Wanda,” I said, shaking my head as Nikki walked over and took a seat on the sofa across from me.  “Besides, the drama wouldn’t have happened if you all hadn’t agreed to allow Glitter to do what she did.”

“Glitter’s solo career had nothing to do with the rumors floating around about your drug and alcohol usage,” Jarrod spoke up as he was going to be next on my hit list.

“This isn’t going to be the day for all of you to take shots at me,” I said, waiting for someone else to speak up.  “Anyone else has something to say about me, my relationship status or my child, speak up now or forever hold your peace.  After this point, if I hear anything in reference to me and my family, I’ll make sure you regret it before the end of business today.”

“Baby,” Justin said as he sighed and then took a seat next to Nikki as Joshua sat down opposite of both of them as he rolled his eyes.

“Now wait just a minute, you can’t just be throwing…” Carlotta Jackson spoke up as I wondered when she came into the room, since no one had announced that she was there.

“Maybe someone didn’t tell you that I own controlling interest in the company and I can do as I damn well please,” I said, waiting for someone else to say something.  Being that they’ve gone and pissed me off, I think it’s time I go ahead and start the house cleaning.  “I remember giving someone instructions to get rid of Mr. Haynes, go ahead and add Ms. Jackson to that list as well.”

“What?  Are you trying to fire me?”  Carlotta asked as I smiled.

“No, I’m not trying to do anything, you already are,” I said as Justin shook his head and then sighed.  “I’m not going to have any of you try to run my name in the ground and cause problems.  The rest of you can either go with the flow or you can make your exits behind Mr. Haynes and Ms. Jackson.  Do you guys and girls feel me on that note?”

“Yes,” I heard from multiple people as I sat back in the chair.

“Being that this call has lasted longer than it was supposed to, I have other obligations to attend to and I will speak with you all tomorrow morning,” I said with a smile.  “All of you have a nice day.”

Pressing the button to hang up the phone, I removed my headset and then got up from the chair, stretching.  With all eyes on me, I wondered what was going through Nikki and Justin’s minds.  I’ll find out in a few minutes when I tell them about how my phone conference went.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada — The Queen Anne Hotel – Chad and Howard’s Hotel Room

“Why didn’t you tell me you didn’t like flying baby?”  Chad asked as he and Howard walked into the room.

“It’s not that I don’t like flying, I just don’t like experiencing a lot of turbulence on a flight,” Howard replied as he put his things down on the bed.  “But it was okay, you were there to keep my mind off of things.”

“I’ll do my best to always be around to keep your mind off the bad things,” Chad stated as he walked up behind Howard, embracing him and kissing his neck.  “That’s what you do for the man you love.”

“I’m glad,” Howard replied as he turned around in Chad’s arms, kissing his lips.  “Now that we’re here, what are we going to do first?”

“Whatever we want to do baby,” Chad stated with a smile.  “We don’t have anything to do until tomorrow.”

“Why don’t we just stay in bed all day then,” Howard suggested with a smile as Chad nodded his head.

“I think we should start with a shower and then we’ll end up in bed,” Chad said as he unbuttoned a few buttons of Howard’s shirt.

“Sounds good to me,” Howard replied as the two kissed again and then walked over to the bathroom.

Los Angeles, CA (North Beverly Park Suburb) – The Home of JT and Justin Poole-Tanner – JT’s Den

JT’s POV

Now that we’ve had something to eat, we’re back here in the den to get back to the business at hand.  We should’ve continued things while we were eating, but someone suggested that we didn’t discuss business while we ate, so we didn’t.   I don’t mind working on business stuff and having a meal.

It seems my husband isn’t happy with me right now.  While we ate our meal, he hardly spoke to me.  I think he’s pissed off with me because of the way I talked to some of the record company execs on the phone.  Hell, he should know by now that when it comes to business and my money, I can be just as ruthless as the others we can’t stand can be.  For the past few weeks, he’s been hinting to me that I need to be a bit nicer to people.  He thinks that if I was, the things I want to happen, would happen a bit easier and faster.  Yeah right.  I was nice and those record company fools tried to stop me from having a career.  Me being nice to them is way past over with.

Nikki, my friend and co-singer has been asking tons of questions about things that are currently going on.  She’s been absent from my life for a bit, so she doesn’t fully know about all the changes that’s taken place since Justin and I got married.  Had she not disappeared to Atlanta or wherever it was her and Joshua disappeared too, she would already know the answers to the questions she’s been asking.  Hell, she would know about how Dad helped me buy control of the record company, so I can keep some stability in our lives.

Now we’re sitting around in various spots and I guess everyone is waiting on me to say something.  Picking up my notebook, I flipped it open to the page where I had scribbled some notes.  Looking up, I saw Justin looking at me strangely.

“Is there something wrong Justin?  Why are you looking at me like that?”  I asked as he shook his head and then frowned at me.

“Baby, did you have to be so rude to those people on the phone earlier?”  He asked as I raised an eye at him.

“Excuse me,” I said as he sighed and then waved his hand dismissively at me.  “Don’t be waving your hand at me mister.”

“Why can’t you be nice to the people that you work with?”  He asked as I shook my head.  “With all that we heard earlier you, you fired someone else.  Who was it this time?”

“Yep, another one bit the dust,” I replied as he looked at me funny.

“Who?”  He said, looking at me plainly, no expression whatsoever now.

“Ms. Carlotta Jackson,” I replied as he rubbed his head.  “That was the one that called the other morning and made those derogatory remarks to you.”

“Oh really?  Then I’ll give you a pass on that one,” he said as Nikki held up her hand like she was in grade school or something.

“When did you get the power to fire people?  Did someone upgrade your contract or something?”  Nikki asked as I smiled.

“After all the crap that went down with Marc and Mother, I got some help from Dad and he helped me buy the company,” I said as Joshua turned his head, looking at me like he was crazy as he sighed and then and a hand through his hair.  “I own the controlling interest in the record company, so I now have the power to fire people, I be one of the execs.”

“Ah, is that why Glitter has been acting more of a fool as of late?”  She asked as I nodded my head.  “So, you are the one that put the kibosh on her solo career, right?”

“Yeah, pretty much so,” I replied as she shook her head.

“You know she’s going to cause more problems until she gets what she wants,” she said as I shook my head.

“She may try, but she’ll only be hurting herself,” I said with a smile.

“So, what did you guys actually accomplish today?”  Justin asked.

“I got everyone’s contracts back to normal,” I replied as the two of them looked at me strangely.  “The group is back to the way it’s supposed to be, with the exception of Mo’ette.  Glitter is still onboard with things, but she’s going to take some time off to get her shit together.  Her goal is to get her mind and soul clear so she can stay focused on the music and nobody else’s business.  With that being said, we have a little bit more time for us to play house.”

“Yay,” Justin said as I looked at him.

“Also, Starletta will not be joining us, she’ll be a part of Syndi’s group, ‘Desire’ and she’ll perform with them,” I said as Nikki just looked at me.

“So, Mo’ette is with us?”  Nikki asked as I nodded my head.  “You do realize that her and Glitter don’t get along.”

“I know, but they’re going to have to until…” I said as Nikki held up her hand, stopping me.

“You do realize that Glitter is the cause of most of the problems between us, right?”  She asked as I nodded my head.

“I know she is, but she’s under contract and if I get rid of her, she’ll only sue and she’ll more than likely win,” I said with a sigh. “Regardless, she’s been in breach of contract many times in the past and she’s now on notice of that fact.”

“Meaning what?”  Nikki said as she looked at me.

“Meaning that if she does something else, then I and the others can take action,” I said as Nikki frowned.

“What about all the stuff she’s done so far?  Had it not been for her skanky ass, none of our personal business would’ve ended up on the damn frontpage of the skag-rags,” Nikki said with a frown.  “I’m guessing since all that stuff happened before you took control of things, you can’t take action on it, right?”

“Right,” I answered as I looked over at Justin.  “Mister, I got a call earlier this morning about your show.  I totally forgot about things happening with your schedule.  You’re leaving for New York at the end of the month, right?”

“That’s right baby and I wrote that down in your book, so you wouldn’t forget it,” Justin stated as he looked at me as I noticed Joshua frowning from where he sat.  “What are we going to do about schedules and such around here?”

“Well part of the scheduling part is already taken care of,” I said with a smile.  “I talked with Marty yesterday and he’ll be moving in tomorrow.  He’ll be able to take care of things with Caleb when we’re not here.”

“Marty?  Who’s Marty?”  Nikki asked as she looked over at me strangely.

“Marty is part of Justin’s security detail.  He’ll be joining us here at the house as a full-time, live-in security guard for all of us here and he’ll be the nanny for Caleb,” I explained as she frowned.  What’s up with the frowning?  Is there something wrong?  “Nikki, is—is there something wrong?”

“Ah, no JT, there’s nothing wrong,” she replied as I could tell there was something wrong as she looked across at Joshua and then back at me.  “I—I haven’t thought about what I’m going to do in regard to Summer’s care when we leave to go back out on the road.”

“Ah,” I said, somewhat figuring out what was going on.

“In the past, when I had to go out on the road, Momma was around to watch her.  I guess now that we’re out here in LA, I’ll have to make…” Nikki said as Joshua sat up straight and then cleared his throat, interrupting her.

“I can do it,” Joshua replied as Justin, Nikki and I looked at him.  “What?  Why are all of you looking at me like that?  Is there something wrong?”

“Nikki,” I said, looking at her as she frowned again and then looked at Joshua.  I have no idea where this conversation is about to go.  From what Nikki told me about her relationship with Joshua, she doesn’t really trust him to be completely alone with her daughter.  She has fears that he’s going to run off with her, punishing her for keeping his child away from him for so long.

“Well,” Joshua said as he looked at me and then over to Nikki.  “I’m sure I can take care of my own daughter while you guys are gone for a few days.  I am capable of feeding, clothing and making sure she’s safe.”

“No one said you weren’t capable of that,” Nikki responded with a frown as I shook my head.

“The way each of you guys just looked at me, one would think that you guys don’t think I can do it,” Joshua stated as Justin looked down as Nikki sighed.

“Moving right along,” I said, trying to change the subject, putting the attention back to what I was talking about during my phone conference.  “So, I did my best to get our schedules where we would alternate being away, but I wasn’t really successful in that area.  I was able to get the schedule for ‘Mutual Attraction’ where we only perform our shows on the weekends.”

“That sounds great,” Justin said with a smile.

“We’ll only perform on the weekends until the end of this year.  I don’t know what next year holds though,” I said with a frown because I couldn’t persuade the other execs to see things my way.

“I think that’ll work out for us,” Nikki said with a small smile as she looked over at me.

“The way things were explained to me, we would leave on a Thursday evening or Friday morning, depending how far our destination is,” I said as I flipped some pages through the notebook.  “Wanda also informed me that ‘Desire’ would be joining us for the first leg of shows and then we’ll split off from each other in December.  We’ll get to celebrate the holidays and then we’ll start back up in Mid-January.”

“Our first Christmas together baby,” Justin said with a smile.

“I’m loving this schedule more and more,” Nikki responded as she smiled also.  “Performing only on the weekends and we get the holidays off.  That’s best news I’ve heard so far.”

“I agree, that means Caleb won’t miss out on schooling and he’ll get to be with us as much as possible,” I said as someone knocked on the door.  “Come in.”

“Hey bro,” Josh spoke as he waved, walking into the room.  “Hello everybody.”

“Hi Josh,” I, Justin and Nikki replied with a wave.

“What’s up?”  I asked.

“I’m just letting you know that I’m heading into the city for a bit,” he said as I nodded my head.  “I should be back before dinner.  If something changes, I’ll call and let you know.”

“Okay, have a good time bro,” I said, waving again as he smiled and then walked out of the room.  “Oooh, on another note, we won’t be here the end of the week.  We’re flying out to Toronto for our friends’ wedding.  Would you guys like to come with us?”

“A wedding?  Who’s getting married?”  Nikki asked with a smile, looking over at me.

“Howard Marshall and Chad Aldon,” I replied as Joshua looked across at Justin and then over at Nikki.

“Wait, isn’t that the lawyer guy,” Joshua said as Justin nodded his head.  “Why are you guys wasting time to go to his wedding?”

“Because he’s our friend,” I replied, wondering why he would ask such a thing.  Sometimes I wonder about Joshua Charles, the boy just stupid sometimes.

“I think I’ll pass,” Joshua responded as I shrugged my shoulders, not caring if he wanted to go or not.

“Why don’t you want to go Josh?”  Nikki asked as she looked across at him.  “We could have a mini-vacation for the weekend and show Summer some different culture at the same time.”

“You have a point baby, but why does it have to be at some fa—some guy’s wedding, that we hardly know?”  Joshua asked as I looked at him closely because he almost said something to get his ass kicked in this house.

“What were you about to say?”  Justin asked as he looked across at Joshua as I figured he noticed that little slip up too.

“Nothing,” Joshua answered as he stood up quickly, turning to Nikki as he sighed.  “How much more information do you guys have to go over?  This crap is boring and…”

“And what were you about to say Josh?”  Justin asked as he stood up, looking at Joshua strangely as I wondered what was about to happen.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen that look on Justin’s face before.

“Justin, I said as he held up his hand as I stopped talking.  Okay, I’m going to shut up now.

“Is there something going on here that I don’t know about?”  Nikki asked as she looked at Joshua first and then turned to Justin.  “Guys, what’s going on here?”

“Go ahead Josh, tell her what’s going on here,” Justin said as he got closer to Joshua.  “I would like to know what’s going on too.”

“Nothing’s going on here.  I’m bored and I’m ready to go,” Joshua replied as he backed away from Justin as Justin stepped closer to him.  “What’s up with you?  Why are you approaching me like that?”

“What?  You scared?  I want to know what’s going through that head of yours,” Justin replied as he pointed his finger in Joshua’s face.  “What’s wrong with you going to a gay wedding Josh?  Are you scared to be around us faggots?”

“Hey hey,” I said, sighing as I put my notebook down.

“Justin,” Nikki said as I shook my head, figuring the shit was about to hit the fan now.

“You don’t want to see two men that love each other, get to celebrate their love for one another?  You don’t want to see them join together in matrimony?”  Justin asked as I sighed and then shook my head. At the rate he’s going, he’s going to make Joshua out himself.  Is that what he’s going for?

“I can give a fuck about…” Joshua said as Justin shook his head, smiled and then stepped backwards from him.

“I’m sure you could, but that wouldn’t be the desired outcome you wanted, now would it,” Justin said as I sighed again.

“Justin,” I said as Nikki stepped in front of him.

“What’s going on here Justin?”  Nikki asked as she looked him in the face and then turned to Joshua.  “It used to be you and JT arguing, now it’s Justin.  What in the hell is going on here and I want to know right now.”

“I don’t know what’s going on here,” Joshua replied, not even looking at her.

“Something’s going on here and I want to know what it is,” Nikki stated as she walked around in front of Joshua and pointed her finger in his face.  “You said you wouldn’t lie to me and…”

“I’m not lying to you baby,” Joshua replied as Justin chuckled as Nikki snapped around, looking at him.

“Your whole life is a damn lie!”  Justin snapped.

“Justin!”  I snapped this time, moving around my desk quickly as I got over to where he was.  “Stop right now, don’t you dare say another word.”

“Baby, I was only…” Justin said as Nikki looked at me strangely as I glared at him.  “Fine.”

“You two know something.  What is it?”  Nikki asked as she tapped her foot on the floor as she put her hands on her hips.  “Out with it, now!”

“I don’t know anything,” I spoke up, lying to her as she glared at me and then pointed her finger at me.  “I’m serious here, I don’t know what’s going on here.”

“Somebody better tell me something quick or there will be three unhappy men in this damn room,” she said as I looked at her.  “Josh, you’ll be single…  JT, you’ll need to find someone else to sing with you… Justin, you won’t have a friend.”

“What!”  I snapped again as she crossed her arms across her chest, still tapping her foot on the floor.

“I’m waiting,” she said as she looked at Joshua, then me and then at Justin.  “If I walk out of here not knowing what’s going on between you three, you won’t have no one to blame but yourselves for the unhappiness you’ll have to endure.”

“I don’t know what in the hell is going on with Justin.  You’ll have to ask him,” Joshua said as I shook my head, wishing Justin would’ve just kept his mouth closed.  “There’s no reason for you punishing me for his dumb ass actions!”

“My dumb ass actions are because you’re a jealous asshole!”  Justin snapped as I sighed and then shook my head.

“Who is he jealous of Justin?”  Nikki asked as I frowned.

“Nikki, I think that’s something you and Joshua should discuss later on, away from here,” I said as she turned and glared at me.

“No, whatever the hell this is, it will be talked about right now!”  She snapped as she pointed her finger at each of us.  “This arguing between you two have been going on for years and now it’s pulled Justin into it.  Something is going on and I want to know whatever the hell it is.”

“Nikki,” I said as she shook her head.

“Don’t ‘Nikki’ me damn it!”  She snapped.  “Either tell me or I’m out of all of your lives, permanently!”

“Josh, just go ahead and tell her already and stop acting like the little bitch you want to be,” Justin said as I turned and looked at him.  Damn, he’s really putting it all out there.

“I’m not a little bitch you fucker!”  Joshua snapped as he pointed his finger at Justin.

“The picture is starting to become clearer now,” Nikki said as she sighed and then shook her head.

“Josh, are you gay?”  Nikki flat out asked.

To Be Continued…