Chapter 15 — A Lesson in History
Jun 21, 2004 – Jacksonville, FL (Baymeadows Suburb) – The Home of JT Poole – The Main Entrance
“Ah, hello James, what are you doing here?” Justin asked as he stood at the door with a strange expression on his face. “Does—did he know you were coming here?”
“No Justin, my being here is a complete surprise,” James replied as Justin shook his head.
“Yeah, it’s going to be a real surprise,” Justin stated as he sighed.
“I’m here so I can see my boy, my grandson and you,” James stated with a neutral expression on his face. “I came to town, so I could try to mend my broken family. If I’m going to have some kind of bond with my family, I have to start somewhere.”
“I—I guess you have a point there,” Justin responded as he stepped aside to allow James into the house. “So, how long are you in town for?”
“I’ll be here as long as necessary,” James replied as Justin led him down a corridor and then stopped at a door. “Is my boy in there?”
“No sir, Caleb’s in there, playing video games,” Justin replied with a sigh. “JT’s still in bed. I’ll go get him.”
“Okay Justin,” James replied as Justin smiled and then walked off.
Oh this is just great. Is this day going to get any better or what? With all the crap that went down with the police and the Duval County Sheriff’s office this morning, I don’t think James being here right now is going to make JT feel any better about the way things are going. Hell, it took me almost an hour to get him to calm down, so he could go back to sleep. Once the police left, things settled down, but I could tell he was still a bit on edge.
I don’t know what’s going through JT’s mind right now, but I bet it’s a lot having to deal with the police looking for your mother and those very same officers thinking you’re hiding her somewhere in your home, on your property. Now that James is here, will things stay calm or will he blow things out of proportion and turn it out around here?
“Please God, please don’t let this cause a bigger problem around here,” I said to myself as I stopped at the door.
“Mmmmm,” I heard as I stepped into the room to see my baby, still in bed as he moved around a bit, but his eyes were still closed. “Justin?”
“Afternoon baby,” I softly spoke as I walked over to the bed as he opened his eyes.
“Afternoon,” he replied with a smile as he yawned. “Where you been?”
“I was with the mini you and we were playing video games,” I replied, not wanting to tell him that his dad was in the house.
“Who was winning, you or him?” He asked, giggling a bit as he stretched his arms above his head and then yawned again as he smacked his lips. “Have you two had anything to eat yet?”
“Yeah baby, you missed the mountain of cereal,” I said as he shook his head.
“I need something besides the sugary goodness of the cereal you two eat,” he said as he slid out of bed and then got up as we hugged and then kissed.
“Oh? What is it that you need baby?” I asked as there was a knock on the door as he turned around and looked at the door, ready to walk over and open it as Caleb’s giggles could be heard. “Sounds like the mini you.”
“Come in,” he said as the door opened as Caleb rushed into the room, giggling excitedly as he moved over to where we were. “Hey there little man, what’s going on?”
“Daddy, Grandpa cheats at video games,” Caleb said as I groaned as JT’s eyes widened as he turned quickly to look at me. “He threw a blue turtle shell at me and my care blew up.”
“What’re you talking about Caleb?” JT asked as I could actually see that vein throbbing in his forehead.
“I was playing the game with Grandpa and he cheats. He doesn’t let me win like Justin does,” Caleb stated with a fake pout as he took JT’s hand and led him out of the room and down the hall to the game room where James was as I just stood there in the hallway, wondering what was about to happen with this added event for the day.
“Well hello son,” James spoke as he got up from where he sat and then placed the game controller down in the seat as he walked over to JT and Caleb.
“James,” JT said as I shook my head, already knowing things were about to take a turn for the worst, mainly since he called him by his name.
“How are things going son?” James asked as Caleb sat back down in his game chair and continued playing the game as JT and James moved over to a different part of the room as I walked into the room and joined Caleb, but did my best to keep my eyes on what was going on with my baby and his dad.
Now that they’ve moved to a different part of the room, I wonder what they’re talking about right now. With him showing up right now, I’m sure he’s just as surprised as I am. I wonder does James know about what’s going on with Vanessa… Is that the reason why he’s here now?
From what I know of James and Vanessa’s marriage, they’ve been estranged for a very long time. The only time they were together was at our wedding and after that, Vanessa disappeared into the night and hasn’t been seen since.
Damn, looking back at the way things transpired over the past few weeks, one would believe Vanessa to be guilty of anything the record label alleges about her. JT already figured out she had been taking money from him and now the record label alleges that she’s been stealing money from the company, along with Marc. If she’s been stealing money with Marc, I hope she doesn’t’ come back here with that drama. I don’t know how much more drama this house can take.
“Now wait just a minute here, it’s not my fault that you walked out and left us!” JT snapped as I hopped up from where I sat and then turned around quickly.
“I didn’t walk out on you guys, your mother pushed…” James said as JT shook his head, waved his hands and then walked passed me, heading out of the room. “John… Son!”
“Justin, what’s going on?” Caleb asked as I shook my head and then pointed at the game, signaling that he stay here and keep playing as James walked passed me also, going after JT as I followed behind them.
“James, what in the world is going on? What just happened back there?” I asked, following behind him, noticing that the wall color had changed.
“I was trying to convince him that I’m not the monster that his mother has made me out to be over the years,” James answered as we arrived at a different part of the house, a part I hadn’t seen or been in before, a part that I didn’t even know existed. “What is this place?”
“Don’t know, I’ll tell you when I find out,” I said, catching up to JT and grabbed him by the arm, stopping him.
“I’m not in the mood right now,” JT stated as he walked around a counter and then opened up a door that revealed it to be the door to an in-wall refrigerator. “Just leave me the hell alone.”
“Baby, I don’t think you need that bottle,” I said as he pulled a glass down from the cabinet and then poured himself a drink.
“He’s right son, put the bottle down,” James stated as I shook my head, pissed off that he had poured himself a drink, a thing he said he wouldn’t do again.
This is about to get out of hand. Apparently, I’ve stumbled into my husband’s private, in-house bar, which seems to be filled to the brim with every form of damn alcohol that one could ever want. He promised me! He promised me that before he would take another drink, he would talk things out with me first, so it wouldn’t get to that point. Well it looks like he’s going back on his damn word.
“Son please, that’s not the answer,” James said as I looked at him.
“You don’t give any damn orders here! You’re in my damn house, not the other way around,” JT said as he pointed the Vodka bottle at James. “I don’t have to do a gatt damn thing you say and I’m not about to listen to you either!”
“Son please,” James said again as I sighed.
“No James, you don’t have the right to call me son,” JT said as he took a drink. “You might want to get back on that wave you rolled your ass in here on and ride it back to wherever the hell it is you came from. I’m not interested in the bullshit, so take it with you!”
“JT!” I snapped as he looked at me strangely as he took another sip of his drink.
“You might be my husband Justin, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to get off Scott-Free with this mess. Why in the hell did you let him in my damn house anyway?” He asked, looking at me like he was ready to go a few rounds, a knockout drag out round. “With all the shit that went down this morning with the cops looking for mother, you should’ve known he would be the last person I wanted to damn see here!”
“The cops were here? What did the cops want? Is there something wrong?” James asked as JT looked at him as if he could knock him through the wall.
“You know, why don’t you get the hell out of here and go call her to find out,” JT said as he took another sip of his drink as he walked around the bar. “Make sure you make that call while you’re taking a long walk on a short pier at the beach.”
“Baby, he’s your father,” I said as he cut his eyes at me.
“That means nothing to me!” He snapped as he took another sip of his drink and then placed the glass on the counter as he walked towards a door. “In fact, I’ve had enough of this conversation and it’s about to come to a permanent end.”
“Son please,” James said again as he walked over to JT and then grabbed his hand as JT snatched his hand away, causing James to fall forward to the floor. “Owww shit!”
“Don’t touch me! Don’t you fucking touch me!” JT snapped as he moved away from James, bumping into me and then moving quickly to get away from me.
“James, are you okay?” I asked, helping him up off the floor.
“I’ll be alright,” James replied as he rubbed his hand and then looked at me as I noticed the tears in his eyes. “I—I think I better just go.”
“That’s the best damn news I’ve heard all day!” JT snapped as he picked up his glass, refilled it with Vodka and then took another drink.
“Baby, please don’t do this,” I said as he just stood over at the counter, sipping his drink as if he were ignoring me.
“The best thing for everyone is for you to just leave and not come back here,” JT spoke as he took another sip.
“I don’t want to leave son,” James stated as the tears streamed down his face. “I love you son and I wish you would just let me show you that.”
“You already showed me what your love is, it’s nothing,” JT stated as he took another sip of his drink. “Just leave here James and don’t come back.”
“Baby, please listen to him,” I said as he shook his head.
“I love you Justin, but this is something we’re not going to agree on,” he said as he knocked the rest of the drink back. “Don’t fight me on this, you’ll lose.”
“Hell, I already feel like I’m losing,” I said as he looked at me funny.
“What do you mean?” He asked.
“Look at what’s going on here,” I said as he looked at me strangely. “You promised me that you wouldn’t do this and here we are.”
“There was nothing to talk about here Justin,” he said as he looked down. “This man is the vain of all evil in my life and…”
“I’m not the man that hurt you son,” James spoke as the tears continued to stream down his face. “If I’d known what your mother was doing, when you were on that damn show, I would’ve done everything I could to stop her. She pushed me out of your lives.”
“No, you left, you allowed all those things to happen!” JT screamed as he slammed the glass down on the counter, shattering it. “She didn’t leave, you did!”
“I didn’t leave you on purpose son, she had me arrested, I…” James stated as JT shook his head, interrupting him.
“What the hell ever! If that’s the case, you could’ve told someone, if that’s the truth of course,” JT stated as he moved towards James and got in his face. “You could’ve stopped her from allowing that monster to do what he did! Because of you and him, my innocence was taken away from me and I lost my brother!”
“I know son, but I didn’t know at the time of what your mother was doing,” James stated as I wondered what they were talking about.
“Daniel Graves is an evil man that shouldn’t be allowed to exist!” JT snapped as he turned his back to James.
“You are totally right son,” James replied as JT swung around, grabbing him by the collar of his shirt and jacking him up off the floor.
“You know, for her to be a damn star, she made sure that monster was happy, no matter what it was he asked for!” JT snapped. “Money, booze, drugs, sex, me!”
“Baby,” I said, finally putting the pieces together of what was being talked about.
“No Justin, this is between me and the old man here!” JT snapped as he pushed James against the wall. “If that fucker wanted money, she gave it to him. If he needed drugs or alcohol, she got her ass up and went and found it for him! If he needed his sexual tension relieved, she gave him me! For years, he used me when he had a damn sexual itch to scratch!”
“I’m sorry son,” James stated as the tears continued to stream down his face. “If I hadn’t been locked away, I could’ve stopped him from doing those things to you. I’m so sorry son, really I am. I would do anything to take all of that back and keep that fool from messing with you, but I can’t go back in time.”
“That’s right, nobody can do that!” JT snapped as he looked down as the tears streamed down his face. “Nobody can undo what Daniel Graves did to me or Josh! It’s too late for anything to be done!”
“No it’s not too late,” James stated as JT looked up at him. “That monster is dead son, that monster is dead.”
“What do you mean that monster is dead?” JT asked as he looked at James closely.
“He’s dead and gone son,” James stated as I looked at James, wondering where this conversation was about to go.
“How do you know that he’s dead and gone?” JT asked.
“Because I was the one that made sure he was dead and gone,” James stated as I covered my mouth and then stepped back a bit, not knowing what to think.
“What? What are you trying to pull here?” JT asked.
“I’m not trying to pull anything here son,” James stated as he looked down. “Where do you think I’ve been all this time son?”
“I don’t know where you’ve been,” JT replied as he looked at James strangely.
“I—I spent seven years in a correctional facility in Cape Vincent, New York,” James stated with a frown as he looked down at the floor. “I found Daniel Graves after you left the television show and I confronted him. He told me about all the things that he made you do, so that you and Vanessa could be stars. He even showed me some of the things he had you do, he used to tape you. When he told me about all the degrading things he had done to you, I lost it son and I beat the hell out of him.”
“James, I…” JT stated as James shook his head and then continued his story as the tears continued to fall from his eyes.
“I couldn’t handle it son. When I saw him doing those things to you on the television screen, my mind just… It just shut off and something animalistic inside of me took over. I beat him within an inch of his life and I did to him, what he had done to you. When I calmed down, he laughed at me and said he had experienced things more drastic than what I had done and then he opened a door to show me his so-called collection of sex toys. So, I handcuffed him to his bed and beat him so more. I kept on beating him and he kept on laughing at me. I was so mad that I grabbed his baseball bat and then I shoved it up his ass so hard that I saw blood. He stopped laughing as he struggled to get up from the bed. He begged and pleaded for me to take it out, that he was in severe pain. I told him I didn’t care, that he should think about the pain that he had caused you.”
“James, I don’t think you need to go on,” I said as he looked at JT and then sighed.
“He stopped moving around on the bed, so I took the handcuffs off of him and then slapped his face. He had passed out from the pain. I removed the bat from his ass and then sat down on the floor, crying about what I had done. He came to a few minutes later, saw me and then hopped up off the bed and then ran around the room like a damn fool. He was so out of it that he tripped on one of his toys and fell out the window to his death. I got up and rushed over to the window and stood there, watching as the police arrived. They came up to his place an hour later and arrested me,” James explained as JT moved away from him.
“So, you were in prison for seven years… What happened to all the other years that you missed with me James?” JT asked.
“I was released from the correctional facility in May of two thousand and two,” James stated as he looked at JT as JT just stood there. I wonder what thoughts are going through his mind after hearing all that his dad had to say. “At the time, you and your friends were touring the world and you had since them moved from the home I knew of.”
“That’s your only excuse for staying away so long? Why didn’t you approach me with this sooner? Why are you telling me this now?” JT asked as he looked down as I walked up behind him, touching his hand as he allowed me to wrap him up in a hug.
“Because I didn’t know how to tell you son,” James stated as I saw the pleading look in his eyes. “I—I thought that getting rid of that monster would make things alright, but the only thing it did was take me away from you and your brother.”
“So, does Mother know about this?” JT asked as James nodded his head.
“She knew everything I did. In a way, she was somewhat responsible for the actions I took,” James stated as he shook his head. “Vanessa is a very manipulative woman son, I’m sure you already know that.”
“Yes, I know that James… Dad,” JT said as he sniffled. “I—I’m sorry… I’m sorry both of you.”
“It’s okay son,” James stated as he opened his arms wide as JT moved away from me and then hugged him. “This is a happy moment in my life right now. The only thing missing right now is Josh.”
“Well he’s not too far away from here,” JT spoke as the main door alarm sounded.
“Who could that be?” I asked as JT turned and looked at me.
“All you have to do is open that door and see,” JT stated as he pointed at a door across the room. “That door leads to the front door.”
“We’re in the front of the house?” I asked as he nodded his head. “Damn, I’m really going to need a map of this place.”
“When I first had this place built, I had it set up to resemble the shopping mall downtown at the river,” JT stated as James perked up.
“So, this place is like the Jacksonville Landing?” James asked as JT nodded his head. “I stopped in there this morning since I’m staying at the Omni Hotel.”
“Why in the hell did you choose to stay at that place?” JT asked as he turned up his nose. “You could’ve done better going to the Hilton in the opposite direction.”
“I’ll have to speak to David about that,” James stated as I looked at him strangely.
“What’s the deal with David? Is there something you want to tell me?” JT asked as James just looked at him.
“David is my manservant,” James stated as I wondered was he telling the truth about that.
“Is that all he is to you Dad?” JT asked. “Everywhere you go, he’s there. Every step you made at our wedding, he was close by, as if he was a second skin to you. Is he your boyfriend?”
“No, David is not my boyfriend, he’s my manservant,” James stated as he looked at JT closely. “He makes sure that my every want and need is taken care of.”
“Sounds like a boyfriend to me,” JT stated as James glared at him. “Okay, I’m just saying Dad. I would be okay with it if he were.”
“Well there’s nothing for you to be okay with, he’s a manservant and nothing more,” James stated as he folded his arms across his chest as the doorbell sounded again.
“I think one of us needs to get that,” I said as I walked over to the door that JT indicated earlier and opened it to see an unknown black woman standing there with Todd and Wes. “Guys, who’s this?”
“Ah Justin, where’s JT?” Todd asked as I looked at him funny.
“Why?” I asked as he motioned with his head at the woman.
“Hi, my name is Juanita Bishop and I’m here from Children and Family Services of Duval County and I’m here to see a JT Poole and a Caleb Stewart,” the woman spoke as I’m sure my eyes went wide as saucers.
Lawd, what new hell is this? Why is this person from family and children services here? What in the hell is going on now? Please God, please don’t let there be no more drama, I don’t think this house can handle any more today.
“What’s going on?” JT spoke as he moved around me, walking towards the woman. “I’m JT Poole, what is it that you need to see me and my son for?”
“I’m here to see the two of you to clear up some things,” the woman replied as JT looked at her strangely.
“What things need to be cleared up?” JT asked as he folded his arms across his chest, taking a defensive stance.
“Maybe we should go somewhere a bit more private and discuss this,” the woman suggested as JT shook his head.
“No, right here is just fine,” JT stated as he waited for the woman to continue.
“I’m here because there’s been an accusation of neglect,” the woman stated as I shook my head.
“What? Who made the accusation? Was it Heather? Who made this accusation against me? I’m not neglecting my son,” JT stated as he shook his head. “I really don’t need this drama!”
“Mr. Poole, maybe you should calm down,” the woman spoke.
“That’s Mr. Poole Tanner to you,” JT spoke as I smiled, being that’s the first time I’ve officially heard him use my last name with his.
“Excuse me?” The woman spoke as she held up a clipboard, flipped some pages and then looked at JT strangely. “You are John T. Poole, right?”
“I’m John T. Poole Tanner,” JT replied as he shook his head. “Okay lady, out with it. Who made this bogus accusation against me, so I can call my lawyer and sue someone, this is…”
“Sir, I’m here to see you and your son so I can get this matter squared away,” the woman said as JT shook his head.
“You’ve seen me and that’s enough for right now,” JT stated as the woman looked at him strangely. “I’m not going to let some stranger, in off the street, just barge into my house and demand to see my son. I don’t care who you are.”
“Sir, I’m trying to help you out here,” the woman stated as JT shook his head.
“Ma’am, I don’t know you from Eve off the street,” JT stated as I walked up behind him and stopped him from going on with his rant. “So, if you would so kindly get the hell out of my house.”
“Fine Mr. Poole, you’ll see me again,” the woman said as she wrote something down on the clipboard and then walked out the main door of the house.
Personally, I didn’t think it would’ve been a problem for her to see Caleb. I’m just wondering myself about who could’ve made those accusations against him. Was it Heather that made the accusation or someone else? Being that it’s been really quiet on the Heather front, it’s been a few days since we’ve heard anything about her, maybe it’s her time to start spouting off some new hot shit. Okay God, I begged. I guess I need to beg a bit more. With all the crap that’s happened here today, maybe moving out to LA isn’t such a bad idea after all. Moving into a different house, one without a built-in bar would be great.
To Be Continued…