Chapter 14 — Not Really Escaping Reality
Jun 20, 2004 – Atlanta, GA – The Home of Brian Lake – The Family Room
Where in the hell is Brian? I can’t believe he’s been gone all damn day! I just know he’s somewhere, fooling around with a damn man! Why didn’t I just leave him when I had the chance to do so? The others tried to warn me, but I didn’t listen because I thought I was in damn love. We have a child now, so there’s no damn turning back. He doesn’t believe in divorce, but I don’t believe in spending the rest of my life with a man that has a problem, a big damn problem, differentiating which sex he likes, male or female!
Damn it, where is he right now? Is he with Nick? Xander? Jamie? Is he somewhere at a damn sleazy ass hotel with some random man he met on the chat line? Where in the hell could he be right now? What could he possibly be doing right now since he’s not here with me and his child? He’s supposed to be here with me and his child, not wherever the hell he is right now.
Today has been one of those damn days that I don’t want to experience again. Since we’ve been together, this is the first time we’ve missed going to church together. When I walked into the church this morning, all eyes were on us. The way people looked at us, it felt like I was on trial for something. I felt all dirty inside, but I shouldn’t, especially since I’m the one that did nothing wrong. My husband is the wrong doer here, yet I got the daggers of death from the congregation. Those people sat there, watching the two of us as if we were on parade or something. When church was over, I was so happy to get the hell out of there. I normally enjoy hearing the word, but this morning, my heart was just not feeling it.
“Betts, what’s going on?” Sam, my best friend asked as she walked into the room. “Are you okay? Is there something wrong with the baby?”
“The baby is fine Sam,” I replied as she looked at me strangely.
“If the baby’s fine, what’s going on? Why did you have me drop what I was doing to get over here quickly?” She asked with a frown on her face.
“I—I think Brian’s cheating on me,” I blurted out as she looked at me strangely and then shook her head. “He—he left early this morning and I haven’t seen or heard from him since.”
“Oh God, I’m so sorry Betts,” she said as she moved closer and hugged me. “I knew there was something up with him. Do you happen to know who it is? Is it Angie? Donna? Lacey?”
“What? No… I don’t know who it is,” I replied, never thinking in a million years that Brian would cheat on me with another woman, but at the mention of those names and some of the things I’ve seen at some of the recent church functions lately, maybe I have something to worry about on the male and female side of things.
“Then how do you know he’s cheating on you? Has there been signs?” She asked as I really didn’t know what to say. It’s not like I’m going to tell her about Brian’s past with men.
“Yes, there’ve been signs,” I replied, looking down. “Today is a big sign. He goes away like this and stays off and I don’t know where he goes off to. I call his phone and he doesn’t answer.”
“Does he get phone calls from others and he act secretive or something?” She asked as I shook my head no. “Does he make phone calls and…”
“Betts!” Brian’s voice was heard as the front door slammed. “Betts!”
“In here,” I called out as he rushed into the room and then stopped in his tracks when he saw Sam.
“What are you doing here?” He asked, looking at her like he wanted to hit her.
“I’m here, consoling your wife,” she replied as I shook my head as he looked at her strangely and then walked towards me.
“You’re consoling my wife? What are you consoling her for?” He asked as he stood before the two of us.
“I’m sure you already know, being that you’ve been missing all day,” she replied as he smirked at her and then smiled at me.
“What other little tales has my wife been telling you?” He asked as he looked at me closely as I wondered what was going through his mind.
“I think I should be going now,” Sam said as she looked at me strangely and then started walking out of the room. “I’ll talk with you later on.”
“Good night Sam,” I said as I moved away from Brian.
“Yeah, good night Betts,” Sam replied as I heard the front door open and then close.
“Now that your whore of a friend has left us, what has my pretty little wife been up to?” Brian asked as he caressed my face and then pushed a few strands of hair from my face.
“I’ve been worried about you Brian,” I replied as he shook his head. “You’ve been gone all day long and I haven’t seen or heard from you until now. Church went terrible and…”
“Church went terrible? Why is that? I had a great time at church this morning,” he said with a smile. “I had a wonderful time watching you squirm under the watchful eye of the congregation.”
“You were at church this morning? Why didn’t I see you?” I asked.
“I didn’t want you to see me,” he replied, moving away as he turned around. “I wanted you to feel the exact same way you make me feel every time you accuse me of something I haven’t done. You make me feel alienated and alone. I’m sure you felt that way today. I saw the look on your face when you walked into church and I saw how anxious you was to leave.”
“Of course I wanted to leave,” I said as he shook his head.
“And right now, so do I,” he said as he turned and looked at me. “I’m tired of this Betts. I’m tired of always having to defend myself because of my past actions.”
“Because of your past is the reason you have to defend yourself Brian,” I said as he shook his head.
“No matter what I do, whether I’m here with you or not, I’ll always have to put up with you thinking I’ve done something. I can’t live like that and I’m not going to either,” he said as he sighed. “So, what are we going to do about this Betts? Which one of us is leaving?”
“I—I’m not leaving and neither are you,” I said as he shook his head.
“One of us is leaving this relationship Betts,” he said as he crossed his arms across his chest. “I’ll just go ahead and take the lead and leave here.”
“No Brian, don’t!” I snapped as he walked out of the room. “Brian, don’t do this!”
“You made that decision clear this morning,” he said as I heard his footsteps on the stairs. “When I’m done packing, I’ll go check into a hotel. We’ll talk later on in the week about our child. Goodbye Betts.”
“Brian please,” I said as I heard a door close.
Jun 21, 2004 – Jacksonville, FL – The Omni Hotel – The Hotel Room of James Poole
“Damn boy, was this the best you could do?” James asked as he walked into the room behind David. “This room looks rather small.”
“This is just the main room sir,” David responded as he walked over and pressed a button on the wall, turning on more lights in the room.
“Still, I think you might’ve could’ve done better than this,” James stated as he shook his head. “Go ahead and unpack my things… Get a bath ready for me also.”
“Yes sir,” David replied with a nod of his head and then walked to the room he thought was the bathroom to handle James’ request.
“Boy, I’m a little bit lunchy, does this place have room service?” James asked as David emerged from the bathroom as the sound of water running could be heard.
“I don’t believe so sir, but if you like, I’ll run out and get you something from the place across the street that we passed on our way in or I can try to find a late night place that we could go to, whichever you prefer sir,” David stated, bowing his head, waiting for James’ answer.
“I’m not in the mood for going back out, so it’s best if you run across the street and fetch me something,” James stated as David nodded his head and then walked back into the bathroom, the sound of the running water, stopped as David came back. “On second thought, I’m not ready for a bath either. I think we can find a place to eat.”
“Okay sir,” David stated with a small smile.
“While we’re out, I’ll get the lay of the land and possibly find some place to take my grandson to, if my son would allow me to,” James stated as David nodded his head and then walked over to the table and picked up the car keys. “I wonder what my boy and his son are doing right now.”
“Probably asleep sir, being that it’s after midnight,” David stated as he and James walked to the door.
“I guess I’ll find out later on today, when everyone is awake,” James stated as he and David walked out of the room and down the hall, headed towards the elevator.
Across Town (Arlington Suburb) – The Apartment of Josh Raymond – The Kitchen
“Damn, I really need to get to bed,” I said as I shook my head and then got up from the table. “I shouldn’t be eating this late anyway. Besides, that crap was terrible. If I would’ve had this crap earlier, while Brad was here for dinner, I would’ve been totally embarrassed by whatever the hell that was. Hell, was that really chicken or what?”
I think I’ll think twice about picking up something from that Chinese place again. I think I’ll stick with the regular stuff for a while. Walking over to the sink, I placed the plate on the counter and then started the water.
“I’ll go ahead and get this crap washed…” I said, stopping the water when I thought I heard a knock at the front door. “Who could that be? I’m not expecting anyone at this time of night. Shoot, anyone I know would’ve called to let me know they were coming here.”
It’s almost two in the morning, so who could that be at the damn door? Sighing, I walked out of the kitchen and over to the front door as the knocking stopped. Opening the door, I saw Layla standing there. What in the hell is she doing here, at this time of night?
“What do you want Layla? Do you know what time it is?” I asked as she just looked at me as if I hadn’t said anything. “I thought I told you not to come here anymore.”
“I want you Joshua,” she said as she stepped closer to me, kissing my lips as I pushed her back away from me.
“No Layla, don’t touch me!” I snapped as she shook her head.
“Come on baby, please don’t do this to me,” she said as I shook my head. “I love you.”
“You don’t love anyone!” I snapped as I grabbed the door to close it, but she stopped me from doing so. “Just go away Layla, leave me the hell alone!”
“I’m not going to leave you alone baby, don’t do this to me… Please baby,” she said as I shook my head again.
“I’m not doing anything to you. You did it all to yourself!” I screamed as a few lights across the way came on. “Leave Layla, leave me alone!”
“I love you Josh, I’m not going to leave you alone. We—we’re meant to be together,” she said as I shook my head again.
“We’re not meant to be together Layla, just leave me the hell alone!” I said as she grabbed my arm, trying to pull me close, to hug her. “No Layla, stop it damn it! Get the hell off of me!”
“You two need to close that shit down, it’s too late at night for that shit!” Someone yelled as Layla looked around.
“Yeah, shut the hell up or I’m calling the damn cops!” Someone else yelled as Layla sighed.
“Just let me in Josh,” she said as I shook my head no.
“Layla, get the hell away from me,” I said, trying to close the door again.
“Come on baby, I’m trying to show you that I love you,” she said as I shook my head again.
“I don’t love you Layla, I—I’m gay,” I said, hoping that would shut her up and make her leave me alone. “I’m gay, so I don’t love you. I love someone else.”
“You—you’re not gay Josh,” she said as I nodded my head.
“I’m very gay,” I said as she looked down as I noticed a few tears rolling down her cheeks. “You need to leave before—before ah—ah…”
“See, you’re not gay,” she said as she wiped at her eyes.
“Yes I am,” I replied, trying to think of other things to say, to convince her so she’ll leave me the hell alone. “Robert will be here real soon and if he sees you here, it’ll cause a real big problem. You need to leave here and never come back.”
“I—I don’t believe you,” she said as I sighed again.
“Fine, I’ll help everyone out and just call the police myself,” I said as her eyes widened as she stepped backwards.
“Fine, I’ll leave right now, but I’ll be back,” she said as I shook my head and then closed the door.
Damn, that tramp has me telling lies about myself, just to get her to leave me the hell alone. I can’t be telling lies like that, just to get away from her. The next time she pops up, I’ll just call the police and not let it get that drawn out.
Across Town (Baymeadows Suburb) – The Home of JT Poole – The Parking Area
What in the hell is wrong with me? Am I that much of a fucking screw up? Damn, it only took me a few minutes to mess things up and I wasn’t even trying to. Why can’t I be happy like all of my friends are? Am I fucking cursed or what? It seems everyone around me is happy with someone, but me. JT’s married and has a kid now, Todd finally came out of the fucking closet and now he has a boy-toy, Devon has a few boy-toys of his own and the three of them are happy in their triad relationship and Ronald—Ronald is the strange one, but hell, he’s happy with what he has with the so-called sex slave boys he has. So, why can’t I have someone to make me happy?
Why does it seem like I’m destined to be alone forever in life? Tonight was so perfect and then I had to go and mess it up. I don’t get how I messed it up, but it seems I did. I wasn’t trying to mess things up with Howard, but I did. I was only trying to show him how I felt, but looking back on things, I don’t know what I was trying to show him. Howard is… He—he’s hot and he seems like the perfect guy that I could fall in love with. Damn, he’s really hot and he has a nice personality. He has everything I want in a man… Well almost everything, being that I don’t know how good he is in the bedroom. With the way things happened earlier, I don’t think I’ll ever find…
“Chad,” I heard as I looked up to see Howard standing there with a sad, but serious look on his face.
“Howard, you’re here,” I said with a smile as I stood up from the bench and moved over to where he stood.
“I—I’m sorry Chad, I—I didn’t mean…” he said as I shook my head and then leaned in and kissed his lips softly.
“It’s okay,” I said as he smiled at me. “Do you want to come inside with me and…”
“And talk,” he said as he slid his hands around my waist, pulling me close as we kissed again.
“That sounds perfect to me,” I said as we walked towards the house.
Thank you, God, for sending him back to me. It looks like I’m going to get a second chance to make a good impression on this hot, sexy, intelligent lawyer man. With him coming back the way he did, that could be a sign that things are starting to look up for me. I just hope I don’t do anything stupid to screw this second change up. I like him and I totally want this to work out.
Almost 4 AM – The Master Bedroom
Lord, what’s going on around this place? I don’t know if I should be crying or throwing my hands up and saying fuck it all. Between being pissed off with my husband, a few of his friends and his family, I don’t know what to say or thing right now. For the life of me, I’m starting to think our life together is doomed—doomed to experience bad things. I hope that’s not the case, but it seems like every time I turn around, something bad is going on. Please Lord, please let things get better around here for all of our sakes. With all that’s happened tonight, I don’t think any of us can handle any more drama.
“Justin,” I heard as I turned around to see JT look up from his pillow at me.
“Yeah baby,” I answered as he patted the empty space next to him.
“I’m waiting for you, I can’t sleep,” he said with a sniffle.
“Give me a moment,” I said as I pulled my t-shirt over my head and tossed it across the room as I toed my socks off and then climbed into bed next to him, wrapping my arms around him as he moved his head to my chest, cuddling up to me.
“I love you Justin,” he said as he sniffled. “I’m sorry if I didn’t show you that today. I didn’t mean to make you feel—feel like shit.”
“I didn’t feel like shit baby, I felt like there was a part of you that I didn’t have,” I replied, voicing my feelings for the first time the whole day, even though it was almost five in the morning. “It was like you showed a different side of yourself when Chad popped up.”
“Chad is one of my dearest friends,” he said as he sniffled again. “He…”
“He bought you a house for your birthday,” I said as he pulled back from me and then slid up in the bed, looking at me.
“No Justin, he bought us a house,” he said, his eyes never leaving mine.
“Baby, how could he buy us a house?” I asked, looking at him like he was crazy.
“The house that Chad bought, I’ve had my eyes on it for a very long time. He knew that I liked the house. Hell, if he hadn’t bought it, I would have. I love this house, but I’m not wanting to spend the rest of my life here in Jacksonville,” he said as he looked down. “Now that Nikki has her own family and Glitter’s acting like a prime-time bitch, I would rather be out in LA, than here. This place holds…”
“She has her own family, but that doesn’t mean you need to get rid of this place,” I said as he looked down again. “If you get rid of this place, you’ll regret it later.”
“I’m not going to get rid of this place, but I’m not going to spend twenty-four seven here,” he said as he sniffled. “Too much shit has happened here; I think it’s time for some changes. That shit with Glitter should’ve been an eye opener. Hell, I thought you would agree with me on that.”
“I do agree on some level, but…” I said as he shook his head, interrupting me.
“If I stay here, I’ll go insane. I don’t need no more drama from Glitter or anyone else for that matter. I need some peace in my life and I’m sure you want the same,” he said, wiping at his eyes.
“What about your friends, your brother that lives here?” I asked.
“That’s what they make plans and trains for Justin,” he replied as he shook his head. “I’m tired of talking Justin. Let’s just go to sleep.”
“Okay baby,” I said with a frown as I reached over to the bedside table lamp and turned it off. Thank you God for allowing things with my husband to finally settle down. I thought he was going to go on and on about Glitter, Marc and Vanessa for the rest of the night. He’s tired and ready to sleep and I guess we’ll pick this subject up again later on when he wakes up.
Jacksonville, FL (Baymeadows Suburb) – The Home of JT Poole – Chad’s Guest Bedroom
I’m having the most wonderful time of my life right now. Hot damn, it’s almost six in the morning, but I don’t really mind that at all. If I were at home right now, I would just now be getting up to start my boring routine of going jogging, coming back home to have breakfast, read the paper, catch the news, shower and be off to work. I’m glad that I came back here to see Chad. If I hadn’t, I would more than likely be home, regretting my actions.
Since coming back here to talk with him, we’ve been in the same spot, in this bed, kissing, cuddling and of course, talking. Is he the guy I’ve been waiting for? Have I found what I’ve been missing for so long? I—I’ve never felt this way before and I don’t want this feeling to end. Is this what love feels like?
“Howard,” Chad spoke as he moved around in my arms, adjusting himself to the curvature of my body.
“Yeah Chad,” I replied as I felt him drawing circles on the skin of my stomach with his finger.
“Are you happy that you came back here to see me?” He asked, his other hand playing with the drawstring of my track shorts.
“Yes, I’m very happy,” I replied as I could feel his facial muscles move against my chest. I hope he’s smiling about that.
“I’m happy too,” he stated as I ran my fingers through his hair. “If he makes you feel like a million-dollar bill, say oh oh…”
“I didn’t know you could sing,” I said, recognizing the lyrics from one of the songs JT sang on his bootleg demo that he sent out to the radio stations recently.
“Just a little bit,” he replied as a phone could be heard, ringing very loudly somewhere in the house. “Damn, I wonder who that could be at this time of the morning… JT’s really going to rip someone a new one for that.”
“You’re probably right about that,” I said, thinking about the times that JT yelled at me for calling him before noon. “Whoever it is, I hope it’s worth it.”
“For their sake, it better be an emergency,” he said as the sound of a slamming door was heard. “Uh oh, someone’s in for it now.”
“No baby, stop!” I heard Justin’s voice and then another door slammed.
“Uh oh, was that Justin?” He asked, moving closer to me.
“I believe so,” I replied, sliding up a bit in the bed as the sound of another door slammed.
“I—I hope they’re not fighting,” he said, sliding up in the bed also as he moved into a sitting position.
“With all that’s happened, now isn’t the time for fighting amongst the two of them,” I said, thinking about all the stuff going on in JT’s life, mainly the new additions of a child and a husband. It seems like the new additions in his life are helping with keeping him calm, but not much. I fear that before everything else is said and done, JT’s going to have a mental breakdown and I don’t know what’s going to happen then.
The Main Entrance
“Come on baby, you need to calm down,” Justin stated as he and JT stood at the front door, watching a few police officers walk around as the paparazzi snapped pictures at the gate.
“I’m not about to calm down!” JT snapped as he turned and looked at Justin. “My mother isn’t even here and the police is here, looking for her!”
“Let them do their job baby,” Justin said with a sigh. “When they see that she’s not here, they’ll leave and we can go back to sleep.”
“That’s not the point Justin!” JT snapped as he shook his head. “Those fools out there is what I’m worried about! They’re taking pictures of what’s going on here, like I’m a damn criminal!”
“You didn’t do anything baby,” Justin said as JT shook his head.
“You know as well as I do that the fans and the media is going to see something else,” JT stated as he shook his head again. “They won’t care that the police is looking for my mother, they’ll think that the police is here to get me! I didn’t do anything wrong and yet, I’ll be the one persecuted in the damn media!”
“Maybe things won’t turn out like that,” Justin said as footsteps could be heard behind them.
“JT, what’s going on? Why are there police cars outside? Is something wrong?” Todd asked.
“The police are here, looking for my mother,” JT replied as he held his head down.
“Oh good, I thought they were here to get… Never mind,” Todd stated as he turned around in a hurry and then rushed down the hall.
“See, even my damn friends think the police are here to get me!” JT snapped as a reported jumped the fence and rushed to the door.
“JT Poole, can you tell the world what’s happening here?” The guy asked as he held a tape recorder up to JT’s face.
“What in the hell do you think you’re doing? Get the hell out of my face man!” JT snapped as he pushed the man backwards, causing him to fall down to the ground.
“Did you see that? He attacked me!” The guy yelled, motioning to the police officers. “I want to press charges, he attacked me!”
“I attacked you? You’re on my property damn it!” JT screamed as the police officer grabbed the guy and escorted him back to the gate.
“Baby please,” Justin said as a few camera flashes went off.
“Those fuckers are invading our privacy!” JT snapped as Justin sighed.
“It’s okay,” Justin replied as a police officer walked over to where they stood.
“We executed the search warrant and didn’t find anything Mr. Poole. Sorry for the inconvenience Mr. Poole,” the police officer stated as he handed JT a piece of paper. “This is for any damage that might have been caused. Call the number at the bottom and someone there will help you out.”
“I don’t…” JT started to say as Justin covered his mouth.
“Thank you sir,” Justin spoke as he waved with his other hand and then moved back as he kicked the door closed with his foot. “Let it go baby, we can go back to sleep now.”
“Whatever,” JT said, glaring at Justin as he stomped off down the hall. “I’m going back to bed. If those vultures are still outside when I wake up, they’ll regret it!”
“Baby,” Justin said as a door slammed.
To Be Continued…