Lost Without You

Chapter -- 16
by JT Poole and Nikki Brown

Orlando, FL -- JT's House -- Nikki's Room

Nikki's POV

"Who the hell is this calling me this early in the morning?" I thought grumpily as I picked up my phone and noticed that it was a little after one in the morning as I flipped the phone open. "Whoever you are, you better have a damned good reason for callin' me this late!"

"Nikki? It's Nick," he said softly, sounding like he was still in a world of hurt. "I-I just wanted to talk to you for a little while... how are you?"

"I'm fine—but how are you?" I asked softly, hurting for him. "Brian needs his ass whooped for that shit! Why the hell were you two fighting anyway?"

"I only came over there to try to talk some sense into him about quitting Backstreet," Nick explained, grunting as he changed positions I suppose. "I never wanted to fight him... he's like my big brother and I love him."

"Well that's wonderful Nick, really it is—but why are you giving him and JT such a hard time?" I asked, getting a little pissed off. "I mean, since day one you've been on their cases. Hell, if I didn't know better, I'd almost think you were the one in love with Brian and you're jealous of what he has with JT."

"That's not it at all Nikki—really it's not," he stated. "I've seen Brian do this before. He meets a new guy, falls in love really hard, and then the guy either ends up leaving him or he tries to sell the story to the highest bidder. Either way, Brian winds up getting hurt and I end up having to pick up the pieces. I just don't want him to go through this again."

"Nick, Brian is a grown man darlin', you can't expect him not to want someone in his life... and you and the rest of the Backstreet guys can not live his life for him," I explained as gently as I could. "You are causing more problems than you're solving by treating him like a child and trying to dictate who he can date. Besides, JT is one of my best friends and I know that if he says he loves Brian, then he'd go to hell and back for him. Just please, back off and give him a chance okay?"

"Why should I Nikki?" He asks, his voice rising. "He's a man! He'll only hurt Brian in the end! I already told you it's the same thing: the men Brian likes are only out for one thing... well two things, sex and fame. How do I know this JT isn't the same?"

"Because for one JT already has his own money!" I snapped, getting fed up with his attitude. "Secondly, JT's been hurt too Nick, so why in the hell would he want to put Brian through the same thing he's been through? All JT wants to do is love him, but you wouldn't know that would you? You won't even give him a chance to prove that he's not out to hurt Brian!"

"I don't know what JT has or hasn't been through—I can only go by my experiences with the men Brian has hooked up with before," he stated, his voice returning to normal. "JT could be a really nice guy—and from what you've told me so far, I think he is—but I have to look out for my friends... just like you're looking out for yours."

"Whatever Nickolas," I snapped, tempted to hang up on him. I was pissed off now. How dare he say that shit about JT! I heard him sigh, but I was intent on giving him the silent treatment until he'd at least agreed to give JT a chance.

"Nikki, come on—please talk to me," Nick begged, sighing yet again when he finally figured out why I was being silent. "Okay, okay... I'll give him a chance, but if he hurts Brian, I'm gonna kick his ass."

"You can try, but I seriously doubt that's gon happen," I relented, giggling as I envisioned that fight. "You think Brian whooped your ass? JT doesn't fight—he shoots first and asks questions later."

"Well damn," he said, laughing softly. "He groaned then. "Look, I'd really like to spend some time with you tomorrow after this meeting... if that's okay with you that is."

"Of course it is silly," I said, stifling a yawn. "I'll see you tomorrow, say around noon?"

"Noon it is beautiful," he said in that voice that made me feel warm all over again. "I'll see you then Nicole... you have a good night."

"You too Nicky," I said with a huge grin before hanging up and settling down to sleep again, the shit eating grin still firmly in place. I can't wait to see him again!

Monday Morning -- A Little After 7

Chad's POV

This is totally bogus. I shouldn't be going to school so soon. I should be staying here with him mourning or something. I'm not ready to go back to school yet. I need some time...time to heal. Three days isn't enough for me to get through my issues of losing my mom and getting thrust into his life. My mother just died! Doesn't he understand that? Well in his case, maybe he doesn't since he was never around for either of us. What is his problem anyway? I should be allowed some time to adapt to my new life.

"Chad son are you up yet?" He calls from the hallway.

"Yes daddy, I'm up," I say, not really wanting to move from my spot in bed.

What is he thinking? This is all a totally new experience for me. I'm not ready to go back to school, let alone go to school here. I'm not use to this place and all. I don't know any kids around here. I'll have to start over and try to make new friends. Oh yeah, this is all I need to start off a horrible experience in the `Durty South'. Lawd what is I gon do?

"Chad why aren't you out of bed yet?" Daddy asks me, walking into the room with a frown on his face.

"I don't want to go to school Daddy," I say, pulling the covers up over my head as he sits down on the edge of the bed.

"Why not Chad?" He asks me, pulling the covers back as I look at him funny.

"I don't wanna go daddy," I tell him as he looks down at me, looking over his glasses. "I feel it's too early for me to be going back to school. I need some more time."

"Oh son," he says, hugging me. "I know you're still missing Tasha, but you can't get behind in your studies."

"I'm sure I'm not going to miss anything just by missing a few more days' daddy," I tell him as he gets off the bed.

"Tell you what, we'll go by the school today and get everything situated so you can meet your teachers and then you can come to work with me. How does that sound son?" He asks me.

"Are you trying to pull a fast one on me daddy?" I ask him.

"Pull a fast one? Why would I pull a fast one on you? How do you know what a fast one is anyway?" He asks me, standing there with his hands on his hips, looking all prissy.

"Well mommy said you could be a sneaky man at times," I tell him as he smiles at me.

"So you and your mother talked about me? She told you about me being sneaky?" He asks me as I nod at him. "Well I can be sneaky if I wanna be, but I wouldn't do that to you right now."

"Are you sure daddy?" I ask him.

"Yes son, I'm very sure," he tells me as he pulls the covers back to see that I was already dressed for the day. "You're already dressed? Chad my boy, were you trying to pull a fast one on your dear ole dad?"

"No daddy, I wasn't trying to pull a fast one on you," I tell him as he shakes his head.

"Get up out of that bed boy. We need to get downstairs and eat breakfast," he tells me as I get out of bed and walk over to him and take his hand.

"So what did you cook for breakfast daddy?" I ask him.

"I didn't cook anything. Brian is downstairs making breakfast for us, so you'll have to ask him. I just hope it's edible," he tells me as he starts laughing.

"What's so funny daddy?" I ask him

"I've never tried Brian's cooking before," he tells me as I look at him funny.

"You've never tried his cooking?" I ask him as he shakes his head no as we get down the stairs and walk into the kitchen. "Good morning Brian."

"Morning Chad," Brian says, turning around to smile at me as he stirred something in a pot on the stove. "Hello again handsome."

"What you got there handsome?" Daddy asks him, walking over to the stove to peek into the pot as Brian leans in and kisses him.

"Well let's see here, I have some eggs, sausages, pancakes, hash rounds and some grits," Brian replies as I smile and sit down at the little table in the room.

"Sounds good Brian," I tell him as Auntie Kess walks into the room, looking strange as she takes a seat behind the counter.

"Kess are you okay dear?" Daddy asks her as she raises her hand and lays her head on the counter top.

"It's too early for loud noises J," she says as Brian starts tapping a plate with a fork. "Ughhhhhh!"

"Looks like someone has a hangova," Brian says as she just sighs and moves to the other side of the counter.

"Daddy what's wrong with Auntie Kess?" I ask daddy as he smiles and turned around.

"Kess had a good time last night," he answers me as Auntie Nikki walks into the room.

"Oh hush man," Kess says as Nikki claps her hands together. "Nikki now isn't the time, it's too early for that damn crap."

"Hey hey hey little ears," Daddy says as Auntie Nikki starts laughing.

"Nobody told yo ho-ish ass to go out last night. You know you had a meeting to get to this morning," Auntie Nikki tells her, setting down next to me. "Good morning Sunshine."

"Good morning Auntie Nikki," I say as dad places a plate of food in front of me.

An Hour Later -- Boyles Private School for Boys


This place is just as bad as it was when I came here a long time ago. Am I doing the right thing by enrolling him here? I don't want him to turn into some spoiled preppy brat that looks down his nose at everyone. Then again, I know here he will get a better education than in a public school, but then again, he might miss out on the finer parts of a child's life. Why is this so hard? This is all so new to me. I'm going to crack up soon.

"Daddy can we please go now?" Chad whispers to me, pulling on my hand as we sat in the headmaster's office listening to him talk about this, that and the other.

"Shhhh son, you have to get all of this stuff," I tell him as the headmaster turns around to catch me whispering to Chad.

"Mr. Poole?" The headmaster asks, clearing his throat.

"Yes?" I say, looking at him quickly as he waves his finger.

"That kind of action will not be tolerated here," he says as I look at him like he was crazy. Who did he think I was? I `m a grown damn man here. I'm not about to sit here and allow him to tell me not to talk to my child.

"Sorry Headmaster," I say, standing up. "We'll be going now. I don't think Chad needs to be here any longer."

"Wh-what?" The Headmaster asks as me and Chad walked out of his office as Chad turns around and waves bye bye to him.

"You wouldn't like it here would you?" I ask him as he shakes his head no.

"Well let's try public school next and see what happens," I tell him as he frowns at me. "But we'll do that tomorrow."

"Okay daddy," he says as we walk out to the car to head to Jive.

Later in the Conference Room

"Good morning everyone," JT says walking into the room. "I'm very sorry about the delay. Is everyone up to speed on Backstreet business?"

"Not yet," Brian replies, standing up from his chair and clearing his throat.

"Brian please don't do this," Nick says, frowning as Brian glared at him and turned his attention towards Johnny and Trey.

"Brian please listen to him," Kevin says as Trey and Johnny both looked back and forth at the three men. "We can't do this without you bro."

"What are you talking about Kevin?" AJ asks, placing his coffee cup down that didn't seem to have coffee in it.

"He's talking about me quitting the Backstreet Boys," Brian answers him as a few mouths dropped open and both Trey and Johnny stood up hurriedly.

"What do you mean quitting Backstreet?" Trey asks, a mean expression on his face.

"Exactly what it means Trey. I'm done with this, I'm not going to put up with the crap no more," Brian tells him as Trey walks around the table.

"Put up with what Brian?" Trey asks him.

"Put up with Nick's crap and having to deal with trust issues from other people in the band," Brian says, glaring in Kevin's direction.

"You can trust all of us Bri, we're your brothers," AJ says as Brian shakes his head.

"I used to think you guys were my brothers, but I've seen the error in my judgments. I was totally wrong," Brian tells him, walking over to where JT stood. "I love this man and since I started dating him, I've had to deal with unwanted and unnecessary stress. If you were my brothers like you say, you would trust my judgment for my love of him and let the two of us live our lives, not try to cause unneeded drama."

"I'm sorry Brian," Nick says, standing up. "I was only looking out for you. I didn't want you getting hurt again."

"JT isn't going to hurt me Nick," Brian tells him. "JT has had to deal with some similar crap of his own. Why would he do to me, what has already been done to him?"

"I don't know Bri," Nick replies, looking down. "Compared to some of the guys you've been with, he's one that doesn't stand to gain anything being with you."

"I stand to gain his heart Nick," JT states, speaking up since the conversation got started. "I've had some horrible relationships in my life and I want this one to be a positive one."

"Well it started out a positive one baby," Brian says, glaring at Nick, taking JT's hand in his.

"Well I must admit that I don't agree with the things both of you have done since I've met you, but I must also say that if you'd only minded your own business Nick, those things wouldn't have happened to you," JT tells him, stifling a giggle. "I know you might be trying to watch his back Nick, but Brian's a grown man that can make his own decisions."

"I know that, but..." Nick says as JT cuts him off.

"No buts about it Nick. Brian's a grown man capable of making his own decisions. I hope you know that. Looking at him, anyone can see that he's not mentally challenged in any way. So there's no need for you to jump to conclusions and try to make decisions for him Nick," JT states, smiling at Brian. "I'm sure if he needs your help, he'll come to you and ask for it."

"I'm sorry you two," Nick says, still looking down at the table.

"Apology accepted," JT says, looking at Brian. "Well?"

"Well what baby?" Brian asks as JT nudges him in the side. "Oh alright, apology accepted. I guess I'm not quitting now that at least one of them gets the message."

"I already understood Brian. Like I told you yesterday, I didn't want to get involved," Kevin says, standing up and walking over to JT and Brian.

"Yeah you said that Kev, but you could have told me what was going on behind my back. That still hurts man. We're supposed to be blood," Brian says as Kevin just leaned in and hugged him.

"We are," Kevin says, pulling back and patting Brian on the back.

"Okay I think we have one thing cleared up. Can we move on to the next order of business?" JT asks, walking around the table to pick up the phone. "Could you send the guys of «N Sync in please? Thank you."

"So the guys are already here?" Johnny asks, walking over to the phone and picking it up. "Julia could you please send in WEG's company lawyer, thank you."

"A lawyer? What for Johnny?" JT asks as the door opens and four of the guys of «N Sync walk into the room followed by Terrence Knight, WEG's lawyer.

"Joey Fatone was arrested over the weekend. Since he's ROR, there might be something to hinder him from fully honoring his obligation to the band. Before the guys can agree to anything, Terrence needs to handle any stipulations of intent," Johnny tells JT as Joey Fatone walks into room and Howie screams.

"What the hell was that?" Johnny asks, looking at Howie.

"D, baby calm down," AJ says, cuddling Howie to his chest. "Everything's going to be alright."

"Is there something going on with you two? Is there something wrong with Howie?" JT asks, walking around to the two men.

"Everything is just fine!" AJ shouts, still cuddling Howie to his chest. "Just keep that bastard away from the two of us."

"Alex calm down," Kevin says, standing up as AJ continued to rub Howie's back as he trembled.

"Is there something going on here that involved you two and Joey?" Johnny asks, watching the interaction between the two men and the expression on Joey's face.

"Just keep him away from the two of us damnit! If he comes anywhere near D again, jail will be the least of his fucking worries!" AJ shouts, doing his best to not upset Howie more.

"Ah maybe we should talk about that later," JT suggests, walking back to his seat and sitting down.

"No JT, we need to handle this matter right now," Trey says, getting back up from his seat and walking to the front of the room. "If there's a problem with Howie, AJ and Joey, maybe this isn't such a good idea to have the guys do a joint tour together «N Sync.

"Now wait a darn minute," Lance Bass says, standing up as JT glares at him. "If the three of them have a problem, then maybe they need to do something to fix it, not cause unneeded drama for the rest of us."

"Unneeded drama? Why I oughta break my foot off in your ass Lance! You don't know what happened! You weren't there!" AJ shouts as Howie clutches him tighter.

"We're not here to deal with personal issues and shit, we're here to make the fans happy damnit," Lance says, knowing he was getting a rise out of JT.

"That's right Lance, they will be performing for the fans," JT says as Lance glares at him, closing his hands into fists. "If there's a problem between AJ, Howie and Joey, then «N Sync won't be performing. If the three of them are having problems, those problems could flow over into your performances, which might hinder the overall success of the tour."

"We don't need this shit man!" AJ shouts standing up with Howie as they left the room.

"If AJ and Howie have a problem with Joey, then I say they work that out in private and not involve the rest of us," Lance says as JT stands up this time.

"Well I think if they have problems just by being in the same room together, they shouldn't perform together," JT says, watching Lance's every move. "From what I and everyone here just witnessed, I don't think they'll be able to get along together on the road."

"Well that means they do what they need to do to stay away from the other," Lance says, slamming his fist down on the table as everyone around the room looks at him.

"Lance I suggest you get yourself under control here," JT says, gritting his teeth loud enough that Brian could hear.

"JT are you alright?" Brian asks, standing up, whispering into JT's ear.

"I'm just dandy," JT says aloud, visibly calming down. "We need to get back to the task at hand."

"That's right we need to," Lance says as JT glares at him again.

"As I was saying earlier," JT says, opening a folder and passing the projected revenue and sales figure sheets around the room to the guys of «N Sync. "These are the figures that Kevin, Trey and Johnny projected would your overall expenses and your ending revenue at the end of the tour. With both groups working together on this tour along with another group called `Diamonds', you guys should make a killing."

"'Diamonds'? Who is that?" Kevin asks as JT holds up his hand and walks over to the phone.

Up in JT's Office -- 15 Minutes Previously

Kess' POV

Now it's time for me to face Lance and get down to the bottom of things. He's done just about everything in his nasty power to ruin me and the girls. It's like he's doing what he can to fuck up my group and I'm not going to sit around and let him do it. The shit he's pulling has gone on long enough. I'm not going to just stand on the sidelines anymore and watch more hard work go down the drain. I'm not going to wait around for more of his guys to cause problems for us.

Once I get down to that damn conference room, it's going to take all of Jive's security to get me off of his white narra ass. If he doesn't like what I have to say and what I'm going to do fuck it. Get the hell on. I'm not JT, I don't have to be nice to his ass for business reason. He talked that shit to me, I'mma get up in that ass.

This is it, it's time for me to put my foot down and get things on the road. We have less than a day to get this going and with that Lila bitch around, it's not going at all. I'm not trying to be totally rude, but that ho can't sing worth shit. It's about time that I do something about her and that new guy isn't the one to fix it. Walking over to where Chad was sitting behind JT's desk's playing on the computer, I was about to pick up the phone when it rang, scaring the hell out of me. Picking up the phone, I hear JT's voice.

"Hey Kess, could you come down to the conference room please?" JT asks me as I look down at Chad.

"Sure I can come. Do you want me to bring Chad with me or leave him up here?" I ask him, looking at the little boy as he smiled up at me.

"Bring him too," He says as I stand upright again.

"Alright I'll bring him. What am I actually coming into the conference room for?" I ask him.

"You can talk to Lance about how you feel about what he's doing to `Diamonds' and hopefully you two can work out some kind of solution to the current problems at hand," he tells me

"Okay handsome, we'll be down in just a moment," I tell him as I hang up the phone and me and Chad head out of his office, closing the door behind us.

Down the Hall from JT's Office

Nikki's POV

"Hey you guys... what's goin' on?" I asked as I caught up to Kess and Chad. "Where are you on your way to?"

"We're going to see JT and try to straighten out this mess Lance's new management guy started for `Diamonds'," Kess replied, snapping her gum as she took Chad's hand. "I just hope we can get this straightened out `cause I'll be damned if I'll let that little worm fu—I mean screw up my group."

"I'm sure JT can handle Lance," I said with a grin as we piled into the elevator and rode downstairs. "So, how's your head?"

"It's gonna be much better once JT kicks the sh—I mean crap out of Lance," Kess replied, grimacing when the elevator dinged for our floor.

"Thas what yo ass gets for goin' out ho-ing last night," I snapped playfully, laughing when she flipped me the bird behind Chad's head.

"Well, here goes nothing," Kess said as Chad and I settled down to play one of his video games. He'd only beaten me one time when the door opened and Kess stuck her head out, looking mischievous. "Nikki, can you come in here for a minute girl?"

"Sure... Chad you stay right here okay baby boy?" I said with a grin, smiling when he completely ignored me and went on playing his game.

I rolled my eyes, shaking my head at the strangeness of teenage boys and followed Kess into the conference room. JT sat at one end of the table near the wall. I smiled at JC and Justin, making a face at Chris before I went to stand next to Kess.

"Nikki, you know the members of «N Sync, their manager Johnny Wright, and of course Brian and Nick. Well, these two handsome guys are Kevin Richardson and Trey Anderson," JT said by way of introduction. I nodded at everybody, blushing when my eyes met Nick's briefly before turning my attention back to JT.

"It's a pleasure to meet you both, but why am I here JT?" I asked in confusion. Kess came to me, steering me into a quiet part of the room.

"Nikki, I need to ask a huge favor of you—would you audition for `Diamonds'?" Kess asked, grabbing my arm again just as I was about to walk out of the room laughing my ass off. "I'm serious! I wouldn't be asking if it wasn't an emergency, but if you don't do this then I'll be stuck with that Lila bitch, and I'd rather let the group go than let her come in and fuck up what we've worked so hard for. So please say yes."

"I guess I can do it—but I don't have any music or anything," I said with a worried glance over my shoulder where everyone was watching us. "I don't know how good my voice will be accapella."

"You could sound like an alley cat in heat and still sing the pants off that skank bitch," Kess stated reassuringly, hugging me briefly before going back over to the table. "She'll do it, but she needs some time to warm up."

"No problem girl... you can use the adjoining room," JT said, getting up to open the door and showing me inside. He closed the door quickly, looking nervous. "Are you sure you know what you're doin' Nikki? I don't want you to embarrass yoself out there."

"Gee, thanks for the encouragement best friend of mine," I said with a snort, pushing him toward the door. "Now get out so I can warm up."

I stood there for a minute taking several deep breaths to calm my nerves before I began doing simple scales on the piano in there. I decided to sing one of my favorite songs to warm up and I sat down and began to play softly. Deniece Williams "Black Butterfly" began to drift out, soothing me as I started to sing.

Morning light, silken dream to flight
As the darkness gave way to dawn
You've survived, now your moment has arrived
Now your dream has finally been born


Black Butterfly, sailed across the waters
Tell your sons and daughters
What the struggle brings
Black Butterfly set the skies on fire
Rise up even higher
So the ageless winds of time can catch your wings

While you slept, the promise was unkept
But your faith was as sure as the stars
Now you're free, and the world has come to see
Just how proud and beautiful you are


Let the current lift your heart and send it soaring
Write your timeless message clear across the sky
So that all of us can read it and remember when we need it
That a dream conceived in truth can never die

Cause now that you're free and the world has come to see
Just how proud and beautiful you are  


Yeah, yeah, yes

Once I was done singing "Black Butterfly", I got up to walk into the next room but everybody was sitting there staring at me totally stunned—JT included. I'd gotten so caught up in the music that I'd forgotten how loud I tended to get when I sang certain parts of that song.

"I'm ready now," I said softly, trying to focus on the task at hand so I wouldn't totally freak out about singing in front of the men in this room. I went to stand in front of the door, a small smile playing around the corners of my lips as I began to sing the second song I'd chosen.

Everyday we used to slip away to talk
We would talk about the goodness of your heart
Now it seems a myth that never existed at all
And it leaves me feeling empty, with this hollow cold

Make it like it was
The way it used to be
When I hungered for your love constantly
Make it like it was
It was easier for me
I know you're able to make it like it was

At a certain time you would find me on my knees
Asking you to supply all my brother's needs
Now it seems the needs are a secondary thing
And it truly makes me wonder what's really happening

As I began to sing the chorus again, Nick and Kess had huge grins on their faces, which helped with the butterflies I was feeling. I'm guessing I was doing a pretty good job `cause even Johnny and Trey were looking at me like they would kill the first person who spoke before I finished singing, but they needn't have worried. Everybody was too busy watching me sing to I really wanted to impress the hell out of everybody there, so I threw myself into the bridge and finale, wanting to wow everyone present.

Now when I compare, there's really no comparing
I just want it the way it used to be
Just the thought of living without your love
Makes me ask that you make it like it was

Make it like it was
The way it used to be
When I hungered for your love constantly
Make it like it was
It was easier for me
I know you're able to make it like it was
When I hungered for your love constantly
Make it like it was
It was easier for me
I know you're able to make it like it was

When I hungered for your love constantly
Make it like it was
It was easier for me
I know you're able to make it like it was

Make it like it was
Make it like it was

When I was done, I looked around expectantly, worried about how I'd sounded. Everybody was still in the same position that they'd been in the entire time I was singing. I looked at JC, who was probably the only person in the room that had known I could sing, and when he winked at me, I knew that I'd nailed it. Hot damn!


"Nikki that was so wonderful. I never knew you could sang like that," I say, getting up and hugging her.

"I knew she could," JC says, a big ass shit eating grin plastered on his face as Nick starred at him like he was ready to kick ass.

"How did you know she could sing JC?" Nick asks him, looking at him and then turning his attention back to Nikki.

"He knew because we're all friends around here," she tells him as he calms down a little bit, but still pouting at Nikki. "Josh is a friend of mine as well as the other guys of « N Sync."

"Okay Lance what did you think?" Kess asks him, walking around the table to stand next to me and Chad.

"Well frankly, it sounded like any other person out there in the world that's trying to get into the industry," he nonchalantly says as Nikki turns around to look at him, his expression not wavering, a sign that he was in one of his sarcastic moods.

"Ah Chad son, I think you need to into the other room," I tell him, patting Chad on the back as he walks into the other room that Nikki was in moments previously, still playing Nikki's Nintendo Gameboy™ that had totally enthralled him.

"Excuse me?" Nikki asks him, walking over to the table and leaning on it in front of Lance. "What's your problem Lance? You got a problem recognizing good talent when you hear it?"

"The only problem I have is sitting here listening to this crap altogether," Lance says to her as she looked on, ready to smack him as Kess did that instead.

"What the hell!" Lance screams, standing up as Nikki pushed him back down in his chair and smacked him across the face as Kess joined in doing the same over and over. "Fucking bitches! Johnny call security damnit!"

"What for?" Johnny asks him as Nikki stood there waiting to smack his ass again if he said something else out of the ordinary. "I think she had a right to smack your ass. As for Kess slapping you, I feel she has a right to with all the stuff I've heard you've put `Diamonds' through. Nikki's singing was beautiful. If I could, I would sign her and `Diamonds' under WEG."

"The hell you can't! They are under contract with Freelance!" Lance shouts, slamming his hands down on the table.

"And your point is?" I ask him. "Nikki sounds good and I think she would be a good addition to `Diamonds' and the rest of the tour. I think they'll do good on the tour."

"The hell they are," Lance says as Nikki lost control of her hand and started smacking his ass again. "You better not hit me again!"

"You keep talking shit around here and I will," Nikki says as I start giggling, causing Lance to get a little bit angrier."

"I don't need this shit from you two! If you won't handle this matter Johnny, then I will," Lance says as Johnny just shrugged his shoulders, not moving an inch. "Fine then damnit! Since you won't stop Kessandra's attack on me, then I have no choice but to nullify her and the group's contract with Freelance. As of this minute, your contracts are hereby null and void!"

"What? You can't fucking do that," Kess says, looking at him and then back at me "Can he do that JT? He's not our manager, you are."

"Since he's the primary owner of Freelance he can, but since I manage you and I own a part of Freelance he can't," I tell her as Justin, JC and Chris turned around and looked at Lance.

"What? You own some of Freelance?" Justin asked, standing up and looking over at me.

"Yes I do Justin. Do you have a problem with that?" I ask him as he stood up from his chair, an angry expression on his face.

"I don't fucking believe this baby. When were you going to tell me that?" Justin asks, looking at Lance. "Here we are about to get married and one thing you should have told me, you haven't. I think you should have told me that you're ex owns a portion of your company!"

"Justin now isn't the right time for...," Lance says, turning around as JC, Joey and Chris stood up from their chairs.

"You two are getting married? When were you going to tell the rest of us?" Joey asks, starring daggers at Justin.

"We were going to tell you after the meeting," Justin says, looking down at the table, fearing that he had ruined things for him and Lance.

"Well now isn't the time," Lance says, looking at me. "When I return back to my office, I will destroy your contract Kessandra and you'll never be able to show your face in the industry again!"

"Not so fast Lance," I tell him as he turns around, his mouth open. "Kess and `Diamonds' is my concern not yours. You can't destroy their contracts."

"I can do whatever the hell I want," Lance states, slamming his hands on the table again.

"When Kess and the girls are concerned you can't," I say, turning around and pulling out some papers from a folder on the table. "I've been waiting for this moment. I knew eventually one day you would start some trouble. I'm not going to let you fuck up their careers like you screwed over Morgan and Ken!"

"How dare you..." Lance says as I shake my head.

"Shut up Lance," I tell him as Justin takes offense and starts to say something but I shut him up too. "Justin I don't want to hear anything from the cookie gallery so mind your business for once. Johnny are you still prepared to buy Kess' contract from me?"

"Sure I am," Johnny answers, standing up now. "How much are you accepting for their contracts?"

"Let me see, I think...I think a penny would cover it," I tell him as Lance's eyes almost popped out of his head.

"You can't fucking do that JT!" Lance screams.

"I can do what the fuck I want," I say as Trey got up from his chair and moved away from Lance. "For the last couple of weeks you've done all kinds of crap trying to change things behind my back and without my permission. I own forty-nine point ninety-nine percent of Freelance and still have legal standing to do what I want to with my share of the company. Because I tended to not interfere in what happened with the company in the past, I'm not going to continue to allow you to keep fucking up and screwing people over. I'm not about to allow you to get away with any of this crap."

"I don't care what you say JT, you're not going to get away with this shit!" Lance shouts as I walk over to him.

"Do you really want to try and stop me?" I ask him, getting up in his face, just inches away from kissing him. "You've fucked me and a lot more people over. I looked the other way when you and Justin screwed me over, but I'm not going to look the other way this time! I see it a little poetic what I'm doing right now."

"You fucking bitch!" Lance shouts, pushing me away from him as Brian jumps up out of his chair as Kevin grabbed for him.

Oh hell naw! He put his fucking hands on me. I think he has lost his mind or he must have fell and bumped his head. Something that happened to him, to make him think it would be cool to put his hands on me in that manner. Oh he is so lucky that this happened here in Jive and not somewhere on the streets. Today is his lucky day, he gets to live a little bit longer. I don't get to pop a cap in his ass for pushing me just now. I'll let this time go, but if he does something else, all bets are off.

"I'm going to just let that one slide," I say, brushing my suit as he swings at me, nailing me in the jaw, causing me to fall into Kevin and Brian. "That's it!"

Before anyone else could do or say anything, I was on top of Lance like he was a winning lottery ticket and I was trying to steal it from someone else. He fucking hit me and I'm going to beat his ass for that shit. I don't have my gun to shoot him, so I'll resort to punching instead.

"JT stop before you do to much damage," Trey says as he and Kevin tried to pull me off of Lance as Brian stood behind them laughing.

"Get your hands off me!" I shout at them as I held one hand around his neck and the other ready to punch Lance again. "If you don't want none of this, I suggest you step the fuck back!"

"JT stop this! This isn't called for," Nikki tells me as she walked over to the two of us, kicking Lance in the side and helping me off of him. "Don't go getting yourself into trouble for beating his ass."

"Nik...oh what the fuck ever. I've had enough of this. I'm going to get my son and I'm going to lunch," I tell them as I get up, kicking Lance too and walking into the other room where Chad was located.

Back in the Conference Room

Brian's POV

Damn, JT was freeing the demon all over his ass. I knew JT had a lot of hatred and unresolved issues with Lance, but I didn't know it was that bad. When he opened up that can of whip ass on Lance, I knew to stay back and not bother him. Watching him beat Lance like that shows me that the two of us have a lot more in common than I thought. Like my mother always says, you have to watch them quiet ones.

"You can't let that crazy ass motherfucker leave out of here like that! I want someone to call fucking security and have him arrested for attacking me! Go in there and hold him until the police gets here! I want to press charges against him for what he just did!"

"Shut the fuck up Lance!" Nikki tells him as I was sure JT could still hear the shouting over in the other room.

Since we were able to hear Nikki singing in there, I wonder if Chad was able to hear the commotion out here. I hope not, that's one thing JT got mad with me for last night. He told me he didn't want Chad subjected to any of that kind of drama. I know that now his life includes Chad, there's a lot of stuff that probably won't be going on around him.

"You can't talk to me like that Nikki!" Lance shouts, raising his hand to hit her but she stopped him, pushing him up against the wall and smacking him as Justin and JC stood back.

"You know I owe you big time for hurting JT the way you did! If you'd like to cash in that asswhipping chip right now, I don't mind honoring it! Take your damn pick Lance!" Nikki shouts at him as the drama was getting tight in the room.

"Nikki please calm down. There's been enough excitement in here for one day," JC said, stepping closer to Nikki and holding her in his arms as Nick got up from his chair and left the room in a hurry.

Oh well, I'm not going to worry about him right now, I'm going to go check on my man and his son, since it seems this meeting is shot to hell for today. Maybe I can get some more quality time in with the two of them before we leave on Wednesday. Hopefully by then, we'll have all this crap straightened out and we can leave for our first stop on the tour in ATL.


Author's Note: Black Butterfly" is © 1984 by Deniece Williams, Columbia Records and all respective songwriters. "Make it Like It Was" is © 1989 by Regina Belle, MCA Records and all respective songwriters. I didn't write them, and I don't own them. I only used them to convey a point.


I don't know any of the members of «N SYNC, Backstreet Boys or any other celebrities mentioned. I don't know anything about their sexual orientation or the orientation of any other celebrities in this story (even though I wish some of them were gay). This story is fiction and you shouldn't take it for anything else but that. This is for entertainment value only folks.