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Chapter 11 — Start of a Scandal
Jun 10, 2004 – Jacksonville, FL (Baymeadows Suburb) – The Home of JT Poole – The Kitchen
“You don’t want to go where? I didn’t know we were going anywhere, Justin?” I said, looking up at Justin, not knowing what was happening here.
“I don’t want to go back to Mommy,” Caleb said as he wrapped his arms around my neck and held on tight. “I want to stay here with you!”
“Calm down Caleb,” I said, rubbing his back, hoping he didn’t scream in my ear again. “Nobody said you had to go anywhere.”
“I—I been with you already and—and I don’t wanna leave you. I like you Daddy and I don’t want to go,” he said, sniffling as I saw Todd and Wes leave the room. “Please Daddy, please don’t send me back to Mommy, I wanna stay here.”
“I’m not going to send you anywhere Caleb, I’m going to keep you as long as I can,” I replied, not knowing how much longer that would be, being that I don’t fully understand what was going on with Heather and her situation.
“You promise Daddy? Do you promise that you won’t send me away?” Caleb said as I just looked at him. I didn’t know if I could make that promise or not.
“Caleb, I’m going to keep you here with me as long as I can,” I said as he looked me in the face. “I can promise you that I’ll do my best to keep you here with me, but I have no control of your mother’s actions.”
“Daddy, what does that mean?” He asked as I sighed.
“It means that I love you very much and I’ll do everything in my power to keep you here with me, as long as possible,” I said as he looked down, his bottom lip looking like he was going to explode.
“Uncle Ken said that you’ll keep me forever and ever,” Caleb said as I looked at him and then up at Justin as he shrugged his shoulders, but continued working with the chicken. “He told me that I never have to go back to Mommy, that you’ll keep me forever.”
“Caleb, I—I wish I could keep you forever, but I have no idea what your mother will do to stop that,” I said as he looked down. “I have you right now, but when things with your mother settles down, I don’t know what she’ll do.”
“She doesn’t care about me, she didn’t want me!” He yelled as he sniffled and then turned away from me. “She only cares about herself. You—you not like that. You care about me, more than she does.”
“What are you saying Caleb?” I asked, taking his hand and pulling him to me. “Why do you feel I care about you more than she does?”
“She always leaving me, she never home. She never around,” he said as he shook his head. “She always left me with Aunt Shannon and she—she crazy!”
“She’s crazy in what way Caleb?” I asked, looking at him as he sniffled again.
“She—she…” He said as all kinds of thoughts flashed through my mind.
“Stop,” I said as I stood up quickly as Justin dropped the chicken leg, it sliding from the counter and hitting the floor, making a mess.
“Baby,” Justin said as I held up my hand and then rushed out of the room, heading to the bathroom down the hall.
Oh God, was my son about to tell me he was abused? Did Heather allow him to be abused by that friend of hers? I thought the woman was a lesbian, but maybe I was wrong about that. She seemed kind of bossy in that damn hotel room. I just thought she was upset about things with Heather, but did I read those signs wrong? Oh God, what happened because of Heather’s actions?
“Okay JT, you have to calm down and get yourself cleaned up. I can’t let my son see me like this. He’s already crying, and I can’t have him see me like this,” I said as I turned the water on and splashed my face, trying to get my nerves calmed. “Come on JT, get it together buddy.”
“Baby,” I heard Justin’s voice as he knocked on the bathroom door. “Baby, come on… Open the door. We need to talk.”
“I’ll be out in a moment Justin,” I replied, taking in a breath quickly as I turned the water off and then turned the door knob, opening the door to see Justin and Caleb standing there with matching sad faces.
“I’m sorry Daddy, I didn’t mean to make you cry,” Caleb said as he wrapped his arms around my leg.
“You didn’t make me cry Caleb,” I said as I heard a phone ringing somewhere in the house.
“Honest Daddy, I didn’t mean to make you cry,” Caleb said again as I felt wetness on my leg as it seems his tears were seeping through my pants leg.
“I am okay Caleb, it’s alright,” I said, rubbing the top of his head as he moved back as I knelt down in front of him. “I—I just had a moment of sadness is all Caleb. I am okay, honest I am.”
“You promise Daddy,” he said as I nodded my head.
“I promise Caleb, I’m okay,” I said as I stood back up as he took my hand and the three of us walked back down to the kitchen as I noticed Wes standing outside the room with the phone in hand. “Is there something wrong Wes?”
“You have a phone call,” Wes stated as I sighed and then walked quickly so I could get to the phone.
“Who is it?” I asked as he shrugged his shoulders and then handed me the phone. “Hello, this is JT.”
“Hi buddy, it’s me, Ken. How are things going?” I heard Ken’s voice on the phone.
“Ken, are you okay? Where are you? Are you still in Toronto, in the hospital?” I asked as Justin and Caleb watched me.
“I’m okay buddy,” he stated as I moved over to one of the stools and then sat down.
“Where are you? Are you still in the hospital in Toronto?” I asked.
“Yes, I’m still in the hospital,” he replied as I shook my head. “How are things going with you and Caleb?”
“Things are fine, but I’m more concerned about what’s going on with you,” I said as Justin knelt down, picking up the piece of chicken that had fallen to the floor and then tossing it into the trashcan.
“Cool it buddy, there’s nothing going on with me,” he said as I shook my head.
“Are you out of your mind?” I asked as Justin motioned at Caleb with his hand as Caleb walked over to the table and then took a seat. “You’re laid up in the hospital and everyone thought you were going to kick.”
“I’m not going to die, I’m okay,” he said as I shook my head again as I walked out into the hallway.
“Ken, I was arrested for attempting to kill you at the hotel,” I said, throwing my hand up as I turned around. “The damn police took me away because they thought I did something to cause you to end up in the hospital the way you are now.”
“You didn’t do anything to hurt me; you wouldn’t do something like that. Besides, I didn’t call you to talk about that; I called to find out what was happening with you and Caleb. That’s all I want to talk about and nothing more,” he said as I shook my head again. Why is this man avoiding that damn subject of his health?
“The two of us are fine, nothing wrong there,” I said, pissed off that he didn’t’ want to talk about what happened in Toronto to cause him to be hospitalized and me to almost be imprisoned for life for a crime I didn’t commit. “Since you don’t want to talk about what almost killed you, could you at least tell me when you’ll you be getting out of there?”
“That’s something I—I don’t know,” he replied as I wondered what he wasn’t telling me. I’ve known Ken for a long time and I know when he’s hiding something from me. “Have you spoken with Heather since Caleb has been with you?”
“No Ken, I haven’t spoken with her, I can’t,” I replied, wondering if he knew she was in jail. “Haven’t you heard about her current predicament?”
“What predicament is that?” He asked as I shook my head.
“She’s unable to talk to anyone for a while,” I replied as I looked into the kitchen to see Caleb, still sitting at the table, watching Justin as he prepared the chicken.
“Why can’t she talk to anyone?” He asked.
“She’s in jail,” I answered as I leaned against the wall. “She was arrested while she was in Philly. The last thing I heard about her, she’s still locked up.”
“Ah, so the tramp finally got what she deserves,” he said as I shook my head again. “I’m glad I was able to help with that.”
“You’re glad you were able to help with that? What do you mean Ken? What did you do?” I asked as I moved away from the wall and then walked further down the corridor, so Caleb wouldn’t hear me.
“I wrote a statement about what she did to you and handed it over to the police,” he said as I shook my head. “When I spoke with the detective that arrested her, he told me that she would be arrested for her actions against you and that she would pay for all the wrong she’s done.”
“Why do I get the feeling that you had that whole scenario set up Ken?” I asked, wondering how she was actually able to be locked up when Howard told me that she couldn’t be arrested in the first place.
“That’s something you don’t need to worry about. Besides, you should be happy the heifer is locked up and not able to cause any more problems for you,” he said as I sighed.
“I could care less about where…” I said as he interrupted me.
“She’s in jail and she’s not going to bother you anymore,” he said. “She can’t cause you any more trouble, especially since she’s locked up.”
“I’m not worried about her causing any problems for me,” I said.
“You finally have the family that you’ve always wanted and there’s nothing she can do about it,” he said.
“Nope, there’s nothing she can do about that. I’m married to Justin now and I’m getting my life together, the way it should be,” I said, still wondering what it was he wasn’t telling me. “She should get it through her head that there’s no chance of the two of us ever being together. Because we have a child together, it doesn’t mean anything.”
“You only have a child together because she raped you,” he said as I looked down.
“Ken…” I said as he interrupted me.
“Buddy, that’s not the start to a happy family, but I’m glad you have yours finally. You have what you want, the man you love, a son… You have the life we were meant to have, had she not interfered and ruined things for us so long ago.”
“Ken, that’s the past. There’s no point of us talking about that,” I said, thinking about his motivation of writing a statement and giving it to the police against his sister. He’s still pissed off about what Heather did so long ago to break us up.
“Come on buddy, you have to admit… If she hadn’t lies to my parents and did the things she did, we would still be together today,” he stated as I shook my head.
“I don’t know Ken, maybe we would, maybe we wouldn’t, who really knows,” I said, looking up to see Justin standing in the doorway, with a strange look on his face.
“I know, but like you said, that’s in the past,” he said as I sighed. “Okay buddy, I’m getting tired. I’ll talk with you later on.”
“Okay Ken, you have a good evening and take it easy,” I said as the phone clicked, signaling that he had hung up the phone.
“This is just too much to…” I said as Justin interrupted me.
“You okay now?” Justin asked, looking at me closely. “Dinner is ready and Caleb and I are waiting on you.”
“Okay,” I said as we both walked down the hall to the kitchen.
Jun 19, 2004 – The Parks International Building – A Conference Room
“Hello ladies,” Darren spoke as he walked into the room.
“Darren, could you please explain to me and these ladies, the reason for why we’ve been summoned here?” Syndi Perry-Lambert asked as she stood up from her seat at the table. “We’ve been here for a while and I don’t…”
“If you’ll be quiet Mrs. Lambert, I’ll tell you why you ladies are here,” Darren stated as Marc Prestige walked into the room behind him. “Marc, let me introduce you to the ladies of ‘Desire’. That’s Syndi Lambert, that there is Lisa Irwin, she’s Dana Bullard and you already know Starletta London.”
“Oh look at this shit right here. It seems a damn rat has crawled from under its fucking rock to appear in front of us this evening,” Syndi stated as Starletta stood up.
“Please tell me that Marc isn’t supposed to be the new person managing this group,” Starletta said as Syndi, Lisa and Dana looked over at her.
“Say what? Why is this guy here Darren?” Lisa Irwin asked as she stood up next and then looked over at Darren like he was crazy. “That fool tried to ruin his last client’s career. Why do we want him managing ours?”
“Okay ladies, before we get to the reasons why Marc is here, we need to have a talk about all of your contracts with the label,” Darren stated as Syndi shook her head.
“There’s nothing wrong with our contracts Darren,” Syndi stated, glaring at Darren. “We just had this conversation a month ago.”
“Yes we did Syndi, but that was before a new development within ‘Desire’ took place,” Darren stated with a sly smile. “Lisa, you’re out!”
“What!” Syndi snapped as she walked around the table to where Darren stood.
“Plan and simple, she’s out of the group. The label has no use for her talents any longer,” Darren stated as he smiled at Syndi. “The label believes you three can carry on as ‘Desire’ without a problem. If you feel you need Lisa to remain in the group, then we’ll have to replace you as well.”
“What in the hell is going on here?” Lisa asked as Syndi looked down and then shook her head. “Why in the hell am I getting kicked out of the group? Did you guys know about this? Well, did you?”
“I—I didn’t know about this Lisa,” Syndi stated as Darren laughed and then shook his head.
“Come on Syndi, you knew someone was going to be removed from this group,” Darren stated as he sat down at the table and then opened his briefcase. “So, now that issue is out of the way, we can get on to the real business at hand. Let’s get this started.”
“This isn’t over with, not by a longshot,” Lisa Irwin said as she shook her head and then walked out of the room, slamming the door behind her.
Atlanta, GA – The Home of Brian Lake – Brian’s Private Studio
“Welcome to my Studio JT,” Brian Lake greeted as he shook JT’s hand, ushering him into the room. “It’s so good to finally meet you in person.”
“It’s nice to meet you as well,” JT replied, walking into the room. “Cool layout you have here.”
“Thanks,” Brian replied as he walked over to a control panel in the room and then pressed a button as some more lights activated in various parts of the room. “So, Justin tells me that you’re looking to collaborate with other artists.”
“Yeah, I’ve been looking to branch out a bit and do a solo, duet album, away from my group,” JT stated as Brian smiled. “I’m trying something a little different, but new to keep my name fresh with the fans.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean man. It seems you’re off to a great start with that,” Brian stated, walking around to a desk and picking up a newspaper, showing it to JT. “I really liked your last single. It brought the spotlight back to some other things going on. I liked how you pulled that off without any company backing. It just popped up out of nowhere.”
“Yeah, that’s how I planned it,” JT stated as he looked around the room again. “With all the drama the company execs had created over the past few weeks, I decided I’d had enough of the theatrics. I had to do something different to keep the media off of the drama and put it on what really matters, the music.”
“Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t you drawing attention to the ones that were creating the drama?” Brian asked as JT nodded and then smiled. “I like that.”
“Glad you do,” JT stated as he pulled a CD from his pocket and then handed it to Brian. “Hopefully, you’ll like this also.”
“What’s this?” Brian asked.
“Hopefully it’ll be a number one hit,” JT stated as Brian pressed a button on a console as a CD tray opened up as he placed the CD into it and then pressed the button as the CD loaded into the player as music filled the room.
“Nice tune, it’s very catchy,” Brian stated as he snapped his fingers and bopped his head to the beat of the song. “What’s this called?”
“Mischievous,” JT answered as Brian smiled again.
“I like it,” Brian stated as he walked around the control booth as he motioned for JT to follow him.
“Do you think you would like to accompany me on this song?” JT asked as Brian turned, facing him with a strange look on his face.
“I—I like the song JT, but do you really think this is the song I should sing with you? This seems like the kind of song you would sing with—with your husband Justin, not…” Brian stated as JT coughed, interrupting him.
“Excuse me Brian, why do you think that?” JT asked as he looked at Brian strangely.
“From what I’ve heard so far, this seems like a song that you would want to… Well, you know,” Brian said as he motioned with his hands at JT as JT just stood there, watching him strangely. “A song that would make you want to do the… Come on, you know.”
“I don’t know,” JT stated as Brian shook his head.
“JT, I think this is a song that would make people want to get busy,” Brian stated as JT’s eyes widened as he shook his head.
“That so wasn’t the way I was headed with this song,” JT stated as Brian pressed a button on the console as the music stopped, started playing backwards a bit and then started playing forward again.
“Are you sure about that?” Brian asked as he pressed another button on the console as the music stopped as he pressed another button and then the music started to play again. “Listen to the words and tell me what you think is the right answer here.”
Come on over baby, let’s get things ready
Once the sun goes down… we’ll hit the town
We’ll be heating it up… while others eat it up
The night is all we have… so let’s get down
So come on over baby, let the fun times begin
Are you ready?
“Okay, I see your point there, but I was looking to sing this with someone else, not Justin,” JT stated as Brian looked at him strangely.
“Seriously JT, if I were to sing this song, I would sing it with my wife or another woman, not with a man,” Brian stated as he looked at JT with a neutral expression on his face. “I’m sorry to say it this way, but I’m not going to sing a song that could have the fans thinking I like men. I’m not trying to make this sound harsh or anything, but I’m not gay.”
“I—I didn’t mean to imply that you are, if that’s the way you took it,” JT stated as he looked down. “I—I think I better go.”
“JT,” Brian said as JT shook his head.
“No Brian, you have a point,” JT stated. “There’s no need in ruining your reputation and career because of a song.”
“JT, please don’t be that… I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said it the way I did,” Brian stated as JT looked at him.
“It’s totally fine,” JT replied as he accepted the CD. “I guess I should sing this song with Justin.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I would love to work on a project with you JT as long as the music doesn’t create a problem for my career or my reputation.”
“Well I think us working together in any way would present a problem for your reputation,” JT stated as he walked out of the room, leaving Brian standing there with his mouth open.
A Few Hours Later – The Home of JT Poole – The Studio
“Baby, are you okay?” Justin asked as he and Caleb walked into the room.
“No, I’m not okay,” JT replied as Justin looked at him strangely. “My meeting with Brian Lake didn’t go over well.”
“Really? What happened?” Justin asked as he moved over to where JT sat, busy writing in his song book.
“He doesn’t want to ruin his reputation,” JT answered as Justin’s eyes perked up a bit and then he frowned.
“What? How did his reputation come into play?” Justin asked.
“He didn’t want to sing ‘Mischievous’ with me,” JT replied as he shook his head. “He stated that if he were to sing a song like that, it would be with his wife or a woman, not with a guy. He said I should sing the song with you instead.”
“Wait a minute, Brian said that to you?” Justin asked as JT nodded his head. “I—I don’t know what to say.”
“I do,” JT stated as he got up from the desk and then closed the song book. “I’m not going to waste my time with a closet case.”
“How—how did you know he was a closet case?” Justin asked as JT raised an eye at him.
“Justin, I’ve been gay for a very long time and I know how to spot another gay man,” JT stated as he turned and pressed a button on a panel. “Besides, if he’s not ready to brave the waters of the gay world, who am I to help him cross the bridge? I’m not the one to force him to do so.”
“I—I just thought he—he were…” Justin stammered as JT interrupted him.
“You thought he was ready to come out, because you two fooled around in the past,” JT stated as Justin’s eyes widened.
“How—how did you know that?” Justin asked.
“Justin, how long have we’ve known each other?” JT asked as Justin frowned.
“We’ve known each other a very long time baby, but what does that…” Justin replied as JT interrupted him again.
“Besides liking me, I know the type of guy that you would fall for Justin. You’ve always had a thing for the cute, short and blond,” JT stated as Justin’s cheeks reddened. “But, I’m not going to hold that against you… I once had a thing for that man, but that disappeared when he married the woman and they had a child.”
“I don’t like you baby, I love you. Besides, things with Brian was short—very short. It was just a fling during the time we were on tour with his band,” Justin stated, moving closer to JT and leaning in and kissing his mouth. “I love you and Brian Lake doesn’t compare to you, at all.”
“That’s so sweet and very good answer,” JT stated as he groped Justin’s ass as Caleb giggled. “Hey little man, what are you doing over there?”
“I’m just waiting for you two to stop being mushy so we can go have some fun,” Caleb replied as JT shook his head and then laughed.
“What kind of fun were you trying to get into little buddy?” JT asked with a smile.
“I want to go to the Jacksonville Landing,” Caleb stated as he stood up from where he sat. “Some kids at camp were talking about the video game arcade there and I would like to go.”
“Oh really? Is it better than the video game arcade here?” Justin asked as he looked over at JT with a smile on his face.
“Yeah, is it better than the arcade here?” JT asked with a pout.
“I don’t know Daddy, I would like to go find out,” Caleb stated as he walked over and wrapped his arms around JT’s legs. “Please Daddy, please… Can we go?”
“Yeah, I guess we can go,” JT responded as he and Justin pulled apart. “Oh and Justin, I’m sure we’ll talk more about the Brian thing later on tonight.”
“I’m sure we will,” Justin replied with a frown as the three of them walked out of the room.
To Be Continued…