Same disclaimer applies, as usual. Also, I'd like to invite anyone who is enjoying my stories to join my yahoo group, ca.groups.yahoo.com/group/futurecanadiansgroup. Also, feel free to email me if you'd like. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Gimme More (Britney Spears)"
Sunday morning, Ian woke well before Joey, Danny, or Jen. The sun had barely risen over the horizon when he climbed down the stairs and sat in the living room to watch TV. Danny was up a bit later, and after talking for a while, the younger of the Scott children left the house to get the things necessary for the `surprise' he wanted to give to his girlfriend of all of a week. Ian stayed in the living room, and was still there when Danny returned. Danny said something to him before going into the kitchen to get breakfast started. A half hour later, he took the same tray that Joey had used the morning before to deliver what smelled like a truly heavenly breakfast to his girlfriend.
Within the hour, Joey was awake and sitting next to Ian on the sofa. Joey started a round of playfulness by kissing Ian's neck as they sat watching something on Nickelodeon. When he stopped, Ian wrapped on his leg with his open palm and then rubbed the area. Joey started giving Ian raspberries on his neck, which made his laughter carry throughout the house. Danny and Jen were walking down from his bedroom as all of this was going on. Danny coughed a little bit, and Joey returned to his sitting position on the couch. The two began giggling like children as Danny and Jen gave them a look and continued into the kitchen to dispose of the tray Danny had used to deliver the breakfast.
After a little while, Danny and Jen were ready to go back toward Birmingham after having had a long, leisurely weekend together away from the regularity of their lives at home. Joey stuck around for a bit and enjoyed Ian's company before departing from Ian's home at around 5:30 that evening. After watching Joey's car from the front porch until it went out of sight, Ian walked back inside. Without everyone there, it seemed empty and quiet; it seemed boring and uninvitingly large. Ian went into the kitchen and munched on some of the fruit that Danny purchased that morning for Jen's breakfast. He took the small basket of strawberries and went back into the living room. There was absolutely nothing on TV, but there seemed to be something calling to him. All day, he'd felt something pulling at his soul.
After a bit he, along with his small container of strawberries went stood from the couch and walked into the studio. There, atop the piano, were a set of papers that seemed to just be shuffled around. Ian looked at them, studying them until he figured out the order they were supposed to be in. There were some things about the piece that he liked; there were others that were absolutely putrid, though. It was as if part of the song had been written after a hit of cocaine. Those were the parts that he couldn't understand why he'd written that way.
He sat at the piano and played through some things to get his fingers used to playing again. He started by playing scales, then he moved into something by Beethoven that he'd learned when he was younger. He played a few measures of Mussogsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition XV: the Great Gate of Kiev", a song he'd played at his very last recital during high school. When he stopped, it was almost as if he felt an energy in his body that had long been absent. He felt like playing the piano was for him what Samson's hair was to his physical strength.
As he began to play through the piece, memories of what had prompted it came flooding into his mind. He remembered being in Brazil one summer when he was still in high school. He remembered how his parents had gone back to America with Danny for whatever reason, and he was left there for a couple of weeks. He and his cousin, Matias, worked to convince Matias' mom and their grandmother to let them hike up mount Corcovado to where the Christ the Redeemer statue overlooked their hometown. Until well after the sun had set and the moon had risen, Ian stayed in the studio playing through the song. He reworked some parts of the song and then played through them. At around two, he had a song worth sharing with the world.
He looked at the clock on his cell phone to realize the late hour. He made sure all the doors were locked before climbing the stairs to his bedroom. He peed and then climbed into the bed, which seemed larger given his solitude. It took him a bit longer to fall asleep that evening, but when he did, he slept well, clutching the pillow that still smelled of Joey's masculine aroma.
At around 9 the next morning, Ian was awoken to sound of his real estate agent, Julie, calling him from his driveway. She had been in the neighborhood early in the morning to show a house to a group of prospective clients. She found herself close to Ian's home and decided to pay him a visit. He was, after all, coming by her office later in the day. Ian quickly pulled on a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and some flip flops and walked downstairs to the front door. Julie, a taller than average lady with a beautiful smile and perfect hair, came in to a smiling Ian. They spoke for a moment as Ian fixed himself a cup of coffee. He asked about her husband, Nick; she asked about Ian's family, including her uncle Dan. As Ian sipped the coffee, they chatted about the most mundane things. She was and had always been the only member of Dan's family to accept him fully as family.
"So what did you want to talk to me about?" she asked Ian as they stood in the kitchen.
"I'm going to sell the house."
"WHY? You're going to leave me alone in Nashville???" she jokingly asked.
"Well, I haven't been here in a year."
"I'm just teasing. Even if you sell the house, though, you have to come and visit us...often!" she said.
"Yes ma'am," Ian answered with a smile on his face.
"So how much were you thinking of asking?"
"That's one thing I wanted to talk to you about. I'm not sure how much I should ask for it," Ian commented. They ran through what Ian was willing to include in the sale of the house. They discussed the modifications that had been made to the house and property to make it Ian's, including converting a carport into a full garage. They talked about the house and the property compared with other properties available in the area. Finally, it was decided that they would initially offer the house at around $5 million dollars. Ian was happy with the price that she suggested.
A bit later, Julie went about her day. Ian didn't know, but she already had a client in mind to buy the house. She just didn't want to get his hopes up or anything. After she left, Ian showered and put on clothes that could be worn in public without people looking at him going `what the fuck?'. He packed up his suitcase and put it in the back of the truck.
He was getting ready to leave when Julie called his cell phone. She said that she had somebody that would like to see the house this afternoon and wondered if he were going to be there for a while. Ian agreed to stay and ran through the house making sure that everything was just so, including his bed and bathroom, along with Danny's and Pete's rooms.
At around 2:30, Julie arrived in her red Mercedes; two other people were in a silver SUV. The lady in the SUV was nicely dressed in a fashionable suit. He was wearing a white shirt, with a solid blue tie. He had slacks and shoes that created the perfect image. Ian walked out onto the porch as they were walking up the steps to the front door. Julie took a moment to introduce the people, who were very complementary about the way the front of the house was kept. The man made a joke about how if the rest of the house were that way, they'd make an offer that afternoon. Ian responded in kind, telling him to come on in and check the place out.
Julie took his wife and showed her the parts of the house that she was most interested in, all while Ian worked on her husband. The man, named Luis, like most men, was quite impressed by the electronics Ian had set up in the living room. He loved the projector and the way that everything was controlled by motion sensors. He liked the studio, but said he didn't know how he would use it. Perhaps he could turn it into his office, he expressed to Ian. After a second, the two men heard his wife, Mary, calling from the third floor. Luis and Ian went into the foyer to see what she was yelling about. She told him to come up to the third floor and see the master suite. He and Ian walked up as Ian tried to explain, in finite words, what all had been done to the third floor. He was especially taken by the circular bed sitting in the middle of the room. He noted that it had a very interesting aesthetic. They fell in love with the master bath and the fact that closet was bigger than the one in their current home, in New Orleans. Standing in the bedroom, they said that they were very interested in the house, but that they would have to talk with their financial advisors before they could make an offer. Ian and Julie accepted this, and all of them shook hands. As was customary and hospitable, Ian and Julie walked downstairs with them and then saw them out of the house. As they parted ways, Ian shut the door, with Julie still inside.
"I have a really good feeling about this," Julie said. "I've been doing this for years, and I can tell when something's going to happen."
"I hope you're right. How did you find someone so soon?"
"Well. They've been clients for almost a month, and I haven't been able to find a house just like they're looking for. They've stuck with me, though."
"So you knew about this this morning?"
"Yeah, but I didn't want to say anything and get your hopes up," she confessed to Ian.
"Oh! That's fine!" Ian said with a smile. Having not heard the car pull away from the house, Ian walked to the window and peeked outside. "They're still here," Ian said.
"Hmm..." Julie commented as she looked out another window to see them sitting in their vehicle talking on the phone. "Either they're going to make an offer today, or they're telling somebody how crazy they think I am," Julie said as she looked at them.
For a half hour, even after Julie and Ian had lost interest in their guests outside, they continued to sit there. Ian and Julie were enjoying a cup of hot tea in the kitchen when, an hour after they'd exited the house, they knocked on the door. Ian and Julie both walked to the door to find Luis and Mary standing outside.
"Ian," the man started, "I know that this is a lot to ask, but do you have a computer with a printer that connects to the internet?"
"Yes," Ian said as he asked them in. He took the man to the studio and powered on the printer for him. The man opened the web browser from the activation bar on the bottom of the screen. Ian walked from the room but heard the sound of the printer feeding paper and printing something.
"Mary," the man said. "Ready?"
"Sure," she said with a smile. "Ian. We spoke with our financial advisor, and he's saying that a fair price for a house this size, in this area, should be around $4.5 million with all the modifications that you've done to the house, so we would like to formally make you an offer for that much."
"OK," Ian said, looking at Julie, who was smiling.
"Can you give me a little bit and let me talk to Julie and my step-father, who's my attorney?"
"Sure," Luis answered.
"If you'd like, y'all can walk around the house. I can make y'all some tea really fast. Whatever y'all want to do is fine," Ian said.
"Alright. We'll just hang around here, if you're sure that's OK," Luis said.
"Fine with me," Ian said with a smile. Ian motioned for Julie to come with him into the studio. When she was inside, Ian shut the door and took a deep breath. "Is this normal?" he asked.
"Honestly," Julie started, "it's far from normal. However, it you get the right buyer with the right seller, anything is possible, and that's what I believe has happened here."
"And what do you think about their offer?" Ian asked.
"I think that it is a great offer. I think that, with the housing market the way that it is right now, you should seriously consider it. I mean, when you bought the house, you paid 1.5 million. You're able to sell it for three million dollars more than that, if you take their offer. It's a 200% profit, if you look at it that way."
"So you would advise that I take it?" Ian verified.
"Yes sir. I would advise that you take it, and use the money to buy another house as quickly as possible," Julie advised. "I actually found one close to your parents' house that I'd like for you to look at."
"Wow. It pays to have a real estate agent in the family," Ian said.
"Yes..." Julie said, shaking her head. "And besides, it would give Nick and me a chance to come see your parents and brothers."
"And to see your parents," Ian said.
"We're not gonna go there, though," Julie said with a smile on her a face and with a wink in her eye.
"So call Dan and see what he says," Julie said. "Tell him I said hi. I'm gonna run and talk to them for a second."
"OK," Ian responded as Julie hugged him and walked outside.
Ian sat at the chair and opened up his email program. He sent a quick message to Dan's Blackberry, wanting to know if he were in the office or court. Within a matter of moments, he received a message that simply read, "Office. You OK?" With that, Ian picked up the phone and called the main number for the firm where Dan was a partner.
"Mosby, Antrobius, and Scott. How may I direct your call?" the receptionist answered.
"Hi. Could I speak with Dan Scott please?"
"Can I tell him who's calling?"
"Ian. He'll know who it is," Ian said, not recognizing the voice. A second later, Dan answered the phone himself.
"What's up?" he asked, without saying hello.
"So I'm going to recount a story to you and then get your opinion," Ian started before telling Dan all about the morning meeting with Julie, the showing this afternoon, and the couple's rather quick offer. He told Dan about Julie's opinion and then asked his advice.
"Where you gonna stay?" Dan asked, jokingly.
"You sure?" Dan said. Ian could hear the smile on his face. He didn't care that Ian was planning to stay with him for a while.
"Fine! I love you, too," Ian said, joking just as much.
"All kidding aside, I would trust Julie's instinct on it. If she thinks the offer's sound, go for it."
"OK," Ian said. "I'm gonna have to put my piano in the basement for a bit, though," he went on.
"That's fine. You just can't play after Pete goes to bed," Dan said. "Otherwise, he'll be up all night."
"Cool. Thanks Dan."
"Not a problem, Kid. You gonna be home tonight?"
"Yeah," Ian answered. "Unless I have to be out of the house by this weekend, then I'll have to stay up here and work some magic."
"OK. Just call your mother in a bit and let her know."
"Alrighty," Ian said to the man who might as well have been his father.
"See ya later, Kid."
"Bye, Dan," Ian said, hanging up the phone. He leaned back in the chair for a second and looked around the room. It was likely to be one of the last times he'd see the place, and he wanted to take it all in.
After a minute, he stood from the chair and walked to the door of the studio. Part of him was nervous; part of him was elated. Either way, he was about to leave to go back to Birmingham. With a smile, he saw the couple and Julie standing in the dining room, admiring his china.
"Where did you get this china?" Mary asked after he announced his entry into the room.
"My grandparents actually got it for me. The drove from Rio de Janeiro up to Salvador de Bahía to get it."
"You're Brazilian?" Luis asked.
"Sem. Eu sou," Ian answered in Portuguese. "Nasci la mais cresci aquí nos Estados Unidos." (Yes. I am. I was born there but raised here.)
"Muito bem! Eu sou de São Paulo," Luis answered back. (Very cool! I am from São Paulo.)
"Ah! Minha cidade favorite!" Ian responded. (Ah! My favorite city!)
"Awesome!" he said. "So do we get the house?"
"Sure! I hope that you enjoy it!" Ian said as the two shook hands. They signed some paperwork to formalize the offer an hour or so later at Julie's office. The time between their departure and the signing of the documents was used by Ian to pack up some of his clothes and put them into the truck with his suitcase. After signing the papers, Ian drove directly from downtown Nashville toward Birmingham.
For a little over three hours, Ian drove from Nashville back toward his family's home in Montevallo. By the time he got there, everyone in the family was excited that he was home. He noticed that his Audi, or rather Jen's Audi, was sitting in the driveway, so he assumed that she was there. A black Honda small-sized SUV was there as well. It was a car that he didn't recognize right away, but figured it was someone that the family knew, given that it was parked off the driveway. Only people that had been coming around for years knew to park off the driveway.
After parking his car behind Jen's, he climbed out of the truck and walked toward the front door. He decided in an instant not to worry with the clothes. He could always con Danny into getting them out later, unless he and Jen were hot for one another. Walking into the house, he heard the laughter of late teenaged people in the kitchen. Dan and Olga were sitting, along with Pete, in the living room watching something on the TV.
"EEN!" Pete said at the sight of his older brother.
"What's up, Petey?" Ian said as he bent down to hug Pete.
"Not much. I'm glad you're home, though. This weekend was boring as hell without you and Danny here," Pete said honestly.
"Pedro Scott!" Olga said. "Do you want to be grounded?"
"No ma'am," he said.
"Then watch your tongue, young man!" she spouted again.
"Well. Why can Danny and Ian cuss, and I can't?" Pete asked honestly.
"Because they're adults and we can't ground them as effectively as we can you," Dan answered as Ian tried not to bust out in laughter. It was partially Olga's gaze that helped him stifle.
"That sucks!" Pete said.
"So what did you do all weekend?"
"Well. Daddy took me to Kid-gym with him, and we got to swim for a while. It was fun. Then Mom took me shopping for clothes...which wasn't fun," Pete said honestly.
"I'm sorry, Kid," Ian said.
"Will you take me shopping this week?" Pete asked. "It's more fun to go with you." Ian looked up at Olga who was shaking her head behind Pete's back.
"We'll see," Ian said, not knowing what else to tell him.
"OK," Pete said with a smile and a wink. Ian didn't know what the wink was for, but then again, Pete probably didn't either.
"So how did everything go?" Dan asked.
"I accepted the offer," Ian answered.
"What offer?" Olga asked.
"I got an offer on the house?"
"Really? Didn't you just talk to Julie this morning?"
"Yes ma'am," Ian answered with a smile. "She knew some people that would really like it, so she brought them by, and they made an offer right there."
"Wow," Olga said. "That is practically unheard of these days, with the market like it is."
"I know. That's why I didn't waste any time haggling or anything. I just took their offer."
"How much? If you don't mind me asking."
"4.5," Ian answered.
"4.5 what? Thousand?"
Ian smiled proudly. "Nope. $4.5 Million."
"Holy shit!" Olga said.
"Language, Mom," Pete said as he climbed up between his parents to watch TV some more.
"Yes, Petey," she said, messing with his black hair.
"IAN!" Danny's best friend, Aaron, said as he came into the room.
"What's up A-ron?" Ian said as he hugged the kid who might as well be his brother.
"Not much. I heard you had a good weekend," he said with a naughty, teenaged look in his eye.
"I think my brother talks too much!" Ian said loud enough for Danny to hear from the kitchen. He heard snickering from his brother and Jen in the other room.
"So I've seen Jen's brother. Was it good?"
"Aaron! There are things in life that you shouldn't discuss in front of your m-o-t-h-e-r," he commented, spelling out the final word. Olga smiled.
"It's OK, Ian. I was also wondering if he rocked your world and the foundation of the house, as Danny was telling us last night!" Olga joked. Dan snickered. He looked the two of them and contemplated, for a second, the very odd sense of humor that both of them shared.
"Jeez! Does everybody know?"
"I don't," Pete said.
"Good," Olga said, "that is something your father will have to explain when you're old enough."
"God, sometimes it sucks being a kid," Pete said with an indignance that lasted until he began laughing at the antics of SpongeBob and Squidward.
"It sucks worse being an adult," Ian said honestly.
"Ian. I've got somebody you have to meet," Aaron said, pulling Ian into the kitchen. "Babe, this is Danny's older brother, Ian."
"Ian, this is JJ, my boyfriend."
"Ah! Nice to meet you!" Ian said.
"See," Aaron said, "I told them I knew Ian Scott!"
"Yeah. And now you've got a witness," JJ said with a smile on his face.
"So what are y'all doing tonight?" Ian asked.
"We're planning the party we're gonna throw at your place down here when you get it," Danny informed him.
"Wait. I haven't even looked for a place, and you're starting a party?" Ian asked.
"Yeah. We're hoping you have...like...acreage so that we can have it and not really disturb anyone."
"You're too much, DanDan," Ian said as he walked to the fridge and grabbed a soda.
"So is that cool?" Danny asked, with a smile on his face.
"I bet we could get Joey to come and keep him occupied," Danny said to Jen.
"What? I've never had THIS MUCH shit on you!" Danny said with a laugh. Ian tried to pretend he was mad, but the smile gave away that he was actually amused by his little brother.
"He said for you to call him, by the way," Jen said.
"I'll do it in a little while," Ian said with a smile on his face, thinking about Joey's smile, his masculinity, and his heart of gold.
"Cool," Jen said.
Aaron's cell phone started to ring almost as soon as she said. He looked at the caller ID. "Shit," he said just before flipping it open. "Hello?" he said, trying to hold back his feelings of malcontent. "I'm over at Danny's," he answered a question from the caller. A few minutes passed. "Mom!" he said. "I told you that I'm over here. I'm not at a fucking gay bar!" he said after a second. "Hold on," he said as he took his phone away from his head. He stood up from the table and walked into the living room. "Dr. Scott, can you tell my mother that I'm over here and not at a gay bar."
"Sure," she said, taking the phone from Aaron. "Hi Sylvia," she said. "Uh huh..." she went on, trying to at least be friendly. "I was under the impression that he and Danny were going to hang out here tonight." There was a momentary pause on Olga's end as she listened to Aaron's mom say something. "Well. I assure you that they will not be going to a gay bar anytime tonight. Besides, they're too young to be going to bars," Olga said. "Oh they do?" she said in response to something Sylvia said to her. "I will talk to Danny about it, then. Thank you for letting me know, Sylvia," Olga said, rolling her eyes. "OK. Great. Bye now!" she said as Sylvia offered her own goodbyes. She closed the phone back and walked into the kitchen. "Aaron. You're staying over here tonight, and you're not going to a gay bar. You're not drinking here, either. And Danny. Do you have a fake ID?" she asked.
"Yes ma'am. To get into titty bars," Danny answered.
Olga shook her head. "Give it to me, please," she said, holding out her hand.
"But Mom. I paid a lot of money for it," Danny said, glancing at Ian.
"I don't care!" Olga responded. "Hand it over." By the time Danny pulled his wallet from his back pocket, Aaron had his fake ID in his hand already, handing it to Olga. Danny pulled his out and handed it over. "Jen?" she said, waiting on Jen to hand hers over. "And JJ?"
"I don't have one, Dr. Scott," JJ said. Olga gave him the `Latin Mom' look, though, and he crumbled like dry cake, pulling out his wallet and handing it over.
She glanced at them. "Danny. How much did you pay for these?" she said with her back to Ian. Ian held up one finger followed by two fists to say $100.
"One hundred dollars," Danny answered.
"DAN!" Olga called. Dan came into the kitchen in a second and inspected the fake IDs.
"$100?" Dan said.
"You got shafted!" Dan said. "My fake ID in the 70s was better than this crap!" JJ laughed. "Is something funny, young man?" Dan asked seriously. JJ hadn't been around the Scotts enough to recognize the quirkiness that existed between Dan and Olga.
"No sir," JJ answered, hiding his face as Danny and Aaron tried not to laugh at him.
"This says you're 34!" Dan said. "How do you explain this to people?"
"I have a baby face...sir," JJ answered, still hanging his head low.
"Ian?" Dan said. "How much did yours cost?"
"$12," Ian answered honestly. "And it put me as a more believable 23," Ian went on, walking up and sipping his soda.
"And did it work?"
"Let's just say that I got so sick that I puked on a drag queen," Ian responded with a smile on his face. "Then I had to walk all the way back to the School of Fine Arts from Southside."
"Ooh," everyone there commented.
"What's a drag queen?" Pete asked, walking into the room.
"Go back into the other room for a minute, Petey," Dan said. Pete gave them all a `go to hell' look and complied with his father's instructions.
"Seriously, though. You guys could get into a lot of trouble for having these," Dan said in a fatherly tone.
"And Aaron," Olga started. "I'm going to tell your mother that you don't have one, since you don't anymore, but if I find out that you've done something like this again, you will have to deal with me. You've been around long enough to know that's not a good thing. OK?"
"Yes ma'am," Aaron responded.
"OK. Y'all go back to whatever it was that you were doing!" Olga said as she and Dan turned to go back into the living room. "Oh! And Ian..." she started. "Don't think I didn't notice the glance that your brother gave you and the fact that you told him how much to tell me. If you do this again, it will be YOU that has to deal with me. Understood?"
"Yes ma'am," Ian responded, glancing at Danny.
After they left the room with the IDs, Olga made a comment about how bad those IDs were. Dan said something about how they really did waste their money, that he knew a guy that could have gotten them better ones for a third of the price. Then they started laughing at the kids and their lack of knowledge of such things.
"Damn. How are we gonna the liquor for the party now," JJ asked. Danny looked at Ian.
"No sir! Do NOT look at me. You know what she's capable of!"
"We could ask Joey," Danny suggested.
"Danny," Jen said. "Don't you know that Latin moms have a weird telepathic network? Joey would get in as much shit as Ian would."
"Ian," Danny said in a moment of randomness. "You should get a place with a lake or on the river or something."
"Cause I bet Jen is SMOKING in a two piece," Danny said.
"DANNY!" Jen said, her face blushing.
"I'm just kidding babe," Danny said as he got up to give her a peck on the cheek.
"What is into you tonight?" Aaron asked.
"He's horny," Jen and Ian said simultaneously, to laughter from everyone else at the table.
"Yeah," Danny said to more laughter. "I haven't even...y'all know..." he said, making a hand gesture that eluded to self pleasure, "in two weeks."
"Poor baby," Aaron said, reaching across the table and patting his cheek.
"If I weren't your favorite fag stag, I'd kick your ass!" Danny said.
"You couldn't even come close to kicking my ass," Aaron said to Danny sitting across the table. Ian smiled as he watched the exchange between them for a second. As he walked from the kitchen, though, to the living room, he phone began to ring. He smiled as he saw Joey's name flash onto the screen.
"Hello," Ian said with a certain excitement in his voice.
"Hey, are you where you can put your TV on Global Broadcasting?" he said, almost insistently.
"Yeah," Ian answered. "Dan," he started, turning to his stepfather, "can you put the TV on GTV for a second?"
Pete initially protested, but Dan turned the TV to the channel that Ian requested. The show that was on was just coming back from a commercial and the host was smiling brightly on the screen. "And for those of you who keep up with the goings on in the music industry, we have some interesting news out of Nashville. Code United Music, a divions of Jamzone records, made two announcements this afternoon. They announced that Ian Scott, the man responsible for putting Code United on the map, had been cut from their list of artists. They said that all the negative publicity surrounding Ian's drug use and reported homosexual activities wasn't in line with the image that they wanted to give the public..." he went on.
"What the fucking hell? It was one of their fucking parties that I got high for the first time!" Ian shouted back at the TV as if they could hear him. Ian listened intently as the picture changed from one of him to one of the `oh so talented' Miranda Carvalho.
"And in something completely related, Code United caused reporters to scratch their head by announcing that they'd decided to replace Ian Scott with Britney Spears. They said they were excited because Spears had chosen their label after lengthy negotiations between Spears' management team and `several' labels. They expect her first Code United release to be available to the public in the middle to late part of 2007," the reporter announced.
"Pete," Olga started, "go upstairs."
"Yes ma'am," Pete said, recognizing the tone of their mother's voice.
"Danny!" Olga said.
"We're going to town for a little while," Danny said. "Can we take your truck, Een?"
"Yeah," Ian answered.
"You OK?" Joey asked as he was still on hold.
Before Danny and the rest of the group could get out of the door, Ian started, almost unaware of Joey's question. "They dropped me...to sign...that coonass bitch troll from hell? I mean, she does all kinds of drugs, drives down the street with her babies in her lap, can't stay in rehab or in a psychiatric program without fucking something up. What they FUCK were they thinking?" Ian managed to say before Olga pried the phone from his hands.
"Joey. I'll make sure that he calls you back in just a little bit," she said.
"Is he OK?" Joey asked.
"He will be. Just give him a bit, and he'll call you back," Olga stated again.
"Bye, Joey," Olga said.
"Bye," he said, concern in his voice, as the two hung up the phone.
Dan had already stood from the couch and was watching Ian's reaction. His brown skin was turning redder and redder the angrier he got. "They fucking dropped me for HER!?!" Ian exclaimed.
"Ian. Calm down, sweetie," Olga said. Ian had already gone into shut down mode, though, and barely knew she was talking. She put a hand on his shoulder, but he gave her no reaction.
"Ian?" Dan said.
"I gave up coke for THIS!?" Ian said again, starting to shake.
"No," Dan answered. "You gave up coke because it was killing you."
Olga recognized the look and put her arms around him, hoping that the act would calm him.
"Mom. Get off me, please," Ian stated very calmly. Olga complied, letting him go.
"Ian," Dan said again, moving closer. "Ian?" he said again with no response. "Olga, go upstairs with Pete for a few minutes. Make sure he's OK."
"Alright," Olga said reluctantly, baking away from Ian but keeping a strong, motherly eye on him.
"Ian," Dan said again, putting his strong hand on the side of Ian's face. His skin was clammy. He turned Ian's face toward his and looked directly into his eyes.
"They cut me...for HER!" Ian said as Dan attempted to control the motion of his head.
"It's OK, Ian. You're better off without them controlling your career," Dan said.
"What career?" Ian said, his muscles beginning to tense as he longed for a hit, just one hit, to get him through that moment. "I have no career anymore! They stole it from me...and gave it to HER! I gave that company a name!"
"I know, Ian. You did your part to make them a success, and they did you real shitty," Dan responded, "but you can't hold that against them now. They're your past. You have to look toward the future. You have enough money to do whatever you want for the rest of your life. I know a lot of people that would LOVE to be in your position."
"Dan," Ian said as he started to cry. "Please get me something to help me."
"Like what?" Dan asked, still holding onto Ian and forcing him to focus on him.
"Just one hit."
"Please," Ian started crying profusely.
"Because it will just sink you back to where you were before."
"I can control it this time," Ian started, "I promise."
"No you can't. You won't be able to," Dan said. It wasn't that he didn't have faith in Ian; it was that he was trying to make Ian realize that he was talking, right then, like an addict. Ian's tears forced him to be unable to make a coherent sentence in either English or Portuguese.
"Come and sit down. I'll get you some water."
"Beer," Ian said.
"No. Water," Dan said as he guided Ian around to the couch. "Just sit here for a second, and I'll be right back."
"K..." Ian said, rocking back and forth as he sat on the couch. He wasn't thinking. The news had forced him into a dark place that he'd hoped to escape from. His hands were so tightly clenched together that he couldn't open then. As Dan was trying to quickly fix a glass of water for Ian, Ian's emotional spectrum went from confusion to anger. It was a deeply rooted anger that he couldn't explain. He'd only been that angry on one other occasion, the night he almost died from a cocaine overdose. He looked at the glass coffee table in front of him and focused in on it as he continued to move back and forth on the edge of the couch. He couldn't have smashed it easily, but this plan was thwarted by Dan's return.
"Here ya go," Dan said as he sat next to Ian. He could see the rage in Ian's eyes as he tried to get him to take the glass and sip the water.
"They replaced me with her," Ian mumbled, the rage coming through his tone, volume, and words. He did take the glass, though, and sipped the water. Dan rubbed his back, as his natural father should have done. After a second, Ian realized what was going on and turned to Dan. "Why are you doing this for me?"
"Because that's what I'm supposed to do," Dan said, in all honest. Ian started crying, but this time, it was completely different.
"Why did my real dad have to be a shit head and leave Mom the way he did?"
"The actions of some people can't be explained, even by an attorney. Besides, for what it `s worth, I consider myself your...quote...real dad," Dan said. "I mean, I did earn it by teaching you how to ride a bike, tell you about girls..."
"Like that helped," Ian said, jokingly.
"Well. It counts!" Dan said.
"You have been so good to me all my life. Even after Danny was born, you were still there for me."
"You might just, technically, be my step-son, but I still love you just as much as I love your brothers," Dan said.
"DAD!?!?!" Pete yelled from the top of the stairs. "Mom said I have to go to bed, but it's only 8:30."
"Do what she says, Pete," Dan said.
"NO ARGUMENTS!" Dan said in his dad voice. Pete huffed and puffed, but did as his father instructed. "Now. Look at me," he said to Ian. Ian turned his head. "You will be OK. You will get through this and move on. I know it's probably easier to hear that than to understand it, but, trust me, it will happen."
"I should just take my money and buy a house in the middle of the Amazon and never show myself in public again."
"Now where the fun in that be?"
"It wouldn't be, but then I could completely detach myself from the world and never have to deal with this shit."
"Ian. When you moved to Nashville, you knew the risks of becoming famous. You know that people would want to watch your ever move, and you knew that you'd have to figure out a way to deal with it. Your first attempt didn't turn out so good, but you have a second chance. You will learn how to deal with it, but you have to have faith in yourself."
"God. I can't believe I asked you to find coke for me," Ian said.
"I can. I knew it was only a matter of time before you did," Dan did. "I think I handled the situation pretty good."
"Yes. Thank you," Ian said, looking away for a second. Dan put his arm around Ian's shoulder and pulled him into a sideways hug. Ian rested his head on Dan's shoulder and let his mind drift into blankness and numbness for a few minutes.
"So tell me what you did this weekend," Dan said, trying to get Ian to focus on something that had, obviously, brought him so much pleasure.
"We went to dinner Friday and then to the bar I used to play it," Ian said.
"Did you play?"
"Yeah," Ian said. "It was so much fun, but I got sooo drunk."
"You didn't drive did you?"
"Nope. Danny did."
"OK. So what else did you do?"
"I spent all day Saturday with Joey. It was so nice to be around somebody, other than y'all, that doesn't treat me like a superstar or a super fuck up."
"Then...we had the most incredible sex of my life!" Ian went on. "I think I'm falling for him, Dan."
"Is he a good guy?"
"Oh yeah. And I'm not just talking in a sexual way," Ian answered.
"I wasn't going to ask!" Dan said with a smile on his face.
"Dan. He's so nice. He's my age; he's almost finished with a PhD; he smart; he's funny; and, I so do not deserve to have him around."
"Ian. Yes you do. You deserve a decent guy who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated," Dan consoled.
"He doesn't deserve to have to deal with my shit," Ian said.
"If he's the kind of guy that you've described, I'm sure that he'll take it all in stride and be there for you however he can," Dan said.
"Who knows?" Ian said. Just as he was finishing, Olga came back downstairs and sat next to her oldest son. Dan released him from the embrace and Ian went over to his mother. "I'm sorry about that, Mom."
"No worries. I'm just glad you're OK, baby," she said as he hugged her. Dan was still rubbing his back. It seemed to be the way that they'd always managed to comfort Ian, together.
Danny and Aaron returned a few minutes later, without Jen or JJ, who they'd dropped off at their respective houses. By that time, Ian was calm enough to sit there with them for a while. He managed to laugh and cut up with them, but there was a foul negative energy surrounding him the whole time. Around midnight, the two of them went to bed: Danny in his room and Aaron in the guest bedroom that was joking called `his room', since during high school he seemed to spend more time over there than at home. As Ian sat in the living room, unable to sleep, he remembered that he hadn't called Joey back. He thought for a moment that it might be too late, but he had to try. He grabbed his phone from the table beside the couch and scrolled through the few numbers that were there until he came to Joey's. Pressing the send button, he waited through a few rings until the line was opened by Joey's answer.
"Hello?" Joey said as he answered, obviously asleep.
"Hey, Joey. I'm sorry for waking you up," Ian said.
"You didn't..." Joey started before yawning, "wake me up."
"I just wanted to call you and let you know that everything was OK," Ian said.
"Ah. Well thank you," Joey said as he rolled over on his bed. "I didn't mean to upset your or anything by calling."
"You didn't upset me," Ian said. "The news upset me. I'm not sure you ever could."
"Cool..." Joey responded. "So are we still on for Wednesday?"
Ian thought for a second and smiled. "Of course," he answered, almost as if Joey asking that question started to make things better.
"Cool..." Joey said again. "Well. Would you mind if I let you go? I'm really sleepy."
"Sure, Joey. I'll talk to you then," Ian said.
"K...Bye, babe," Joey commented.
"Bye..." Ian said as they both hung up the phone.
As the solitude again settled over Ian, he began to wonder if and when he would be able to hear such things again and not react almost violently to things. As he tried to think, he remembered shutting himself down, shutting out his mother before Dan was able to talk him back down. He remembered wanting cocaine for a moment, to dull the edge on the situation.
A while later, he turned off everything in the house and went upstairs to his room. Oddly enough, despite the fact that his bedroom in Montevallo was the size of his closet in Nashville, it felt more spacious and roomy. It was filled with the emotions of his family. It was filled with the protective atmosphere that was always created, fostered, and encouraged by a Brazilian woman who was larger in life than stature and a man with all the passion of a man raised on the plains of Texas.