***Please Note:  This story contains scenes depicting sexual acts between members of the same sex.   If you are under the age of 18, or if it is illegal for you to read such material in your state, please do not read further.  If you are offended by this type of material, again, please do not read further.

This story is completely a work of fiction.  The characters and situations in the story exist solely in the author's imagination.   Any reference to the sexual identity of real people is completely fiction.  If you have questions, comments or suggestions regarding this story, please email me.   Flames ignored.

For a list of my other stories, and info about me, go to my Website.

Many celebrities are mentioned in this story, and some of them are even characters in the story.  I am in no way trying to say that I know anything about their personal sexualities by putting them in this story.  Although this story is mainly about a fictional celebrity, I wanted to say that I do not know any of the actual celebrities mentioned in this story.  I am simply borrowing their persona.

"Secrets Of The Morning" is a novel by V.C. Andrews®.  It is not a television show.  The show is only part of this story.  Several liberties will be taken with this story, and although I'll try to stick to the true timeline of events in the careers of *Nsync and Backstreet Boys as well as various other stars, I don't see how I can keep up with that kind of research and continue to work at my day job.  The personalities of the celebrities in this story may be quite different than what you're used to.  I'm not concerned with their professional images.

I hope that everyone enjoys the story and realizes that this is only a story.  I don't know any of the stars mentioned in this story personally, and their sexuality, although sometimes under scrutiny, is never anyone's business than their own.  If, on an odd chance, this story reflects actual events at all, that is completely coincidental.  I'm not a spy, and I would never stalk a star. :)

Eric Draven®

all lyrics in the story are also under copyright...please remember that

any lyrics borrowed from other artists will be credited at the bottom of the chapter

Last Time:

    "JC called last night," Skyler told Kristy at lunch the next day.  He'd just come from his photo shoot, and he'd even given them an interview.  It had actually been quite fun.

    "Oh?" she asked, raising her eyebrows.

    "It wasn't good," he replied.

    "Well, then let's talk about The Advocate," she replied, changing the subject.

    "Ok," he replied.

    He related all of the funny poses they had put him in and laughed over what they'd all thought would be the final decision.  He was standing, nude, in front of a black background with a Yankees ball cap held up to his genitals, smirking at the camera.  They laughed over that together for a few minutes.

    Then he started relating the interview with her.  They'd asked him all about *Nsync, and once again, he denied the homosexual connection.  They asked about the extent of his relationship with JC, and he told them that he'd thought they were really close friends, but that the friendship had ended abruptly out of fear over the tabloid article.  Then they asked how he could be afraid of the tabloids when it appeared that he was taunting them so much now.  Then they asked him if he was gay, and he returned the question with one of his own.

    "Who did you sleep with last night?" he'd asked, only to be told that was none of his business.  To that, he said, "Exactly."


"Skyler Thomas will take the role of Tobias Clemmons, a gay college student who was killed, because he was gay. This, some say, is a bad move for Thomas with all of the tabloid rumors.  Thomas issued a statement saying that he would not turn down a role just because it might make people think."

Kurt Loder:  MTV News

"Adopting the lyrics of his number one single, Its Not Your Business, Skyler Thomas told The Advocate that it was none of their business when they asked if he was homosexual, but he denies that he and JC Chasez had a homosexual relationship, stating that he thought they were friends, but now he knows he was wrong."

Elizabeth Orsini:  Entertainment Tonight

"Skyler Thomas seems to have a thing for boy band members. The cocky star has been seen all over New York City with Backstreet Boy, Howie Dorough. The pair seem very chummy, and when asked about their relationship, Thomas told our source to mind his own business."

Staff Writer:  Star Magazine



Copyright ©2003-04 Eric Draven®.

All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 11

    "Did you have to tease them?" asked Kristy as she sat in Skyler's living room, reading the latest issue of Star Magazine.

    "What?" moaned Skyler, smiling at Howie.

    "Sky, you basically said that you were having an affair with Howie," she sighed.  "They're having a field day. There are pictures of the two of you all over town."

    "Well, we've been all over town," he laughed.

    "This isn't funny, Sky," she said seriously.  "This, with the fact that you're taking the starring role in Hate Crime, only makes you look even more questionable. I thought the idea was to get them to leave you alone."

    "I didn't do anything to make them start with me in the first place," he snapped.

    "Calm down,"  she said.  "I wasn't trying to make you mad."

    "I'm sorry," he replied, rubbing his temples.

    "Tired again?" she asked.

    "A little," he replied.  "I have a head ache."

    "What do you think about these articles?" she asked Howie.

    "I don't have a problem with it," he laughed.  "They still talk about me and this Sabrina girl, anyway."

    A crazed fan told the tabloids that she was pregnant with Howie's child.  The baby was due in five months, and the tabloids were having a great deal of fun with it.  Howie thought it was hilarious.  Kevin, on the other hand, didn't like the negative publicity.  He was going to love the new articles, saying that Skyler and Howie were gay.

    "Playing with them can be so much fun," laughed Skyler.

    "You really aren't concerned about this are you?" she asked, stunned.

    "Kristy," he said.  "I have a number one hit single, and three more in the top ten. Mission Impossible is number four on the charts. I'm just about done shooting my first movie, I have a special guest starring role on one of the most popular night time dramas, and I'm about to go on tour again. Then there's a starring role in a highly controversial movie. Why would any of this bother me?"

    "And don't forget, Christina Aguilera is going with you to the premier of Anger," laughed Howie.  "And she wants to stir up some tabloid dish, too."

    "You two are awful," she sighed, shaking her head at them.

* * *

    "Oh, my God," cried JC.  "Now he's dating Howie Dorough!"

    Justin grabbed the issue of Star Magazine from JC and read the article.  By the time he was done reading it, he was laughing like crazy.  JC glared at him, but that only made him laugh harder.  He couldn't stop, even though he knew that laughing about this was upsetting JC.

    "What's so funny?" asked Joey, coming into the room.

    "Star Magazine has pictures of Skyler and Howie Dorough," fumed JC.  "They're dating."

    "Let me see that," said Joey, ripping the magazine away from Justin.

    "He does seem to be playing with the tabloids," said Lance from across the room.  He held, in his hands, a copy of the new issue of The Advocate.  Skyler was on its cover.

    "That's just great," stormed JC when he looked at Skyler, holding a ball cap over his genitals on the cover of the magazine.  He got up and left the room.

    "Guys, this is really getting out of hand," sighed Lance, joining Joey on the sofa.  "JC is going to drive himself crazy if he doesn't stop this."

    "He called Skyler the other day," said Justin.  "But the conversation didn't go well. He's been like that ever since."

    "Have you talked to Sky?" asked Lance.

    "Not recently," replied Justin.  "He's been too busy."

    "Well, evidently he hasn't been to busy to hang out with Howie," said Joey.  "They've been photographed all over New York."

    "I don't understand this," said Lance.  "He was so upset over the tabloids saying that he and JC were gay. Now he's playing with them."

    "He's doing it on purpose, Scoop," said Chris.  "He wants to play with them. I think he's pissed."

    "After the song," said Justin.  "I thought he'd be a little more low profile."

    "Well, that doesn't seem to be the case," replied Lance.  "He's been on the cover of just about every tabloid this week, now there's The Advocate."

    "I know," replied Justin.

* * *

    "Gawd," said Skyler, smiling at Justin.  "Its great to see you!"

    "I missed you, too, Sky," replied Justin.

    The two of them were sitting in the Viper Room where the rap party for the film, Anger, was under way.  Justin, Lance and Joey had flown to New York to attend the party.  Howie was there, and that didn't sit well with Lance at all.  Justin thought it was funny, and Joey didn't care either way.

    "You've been having fun," said Lance, eyeing Howie angrily.

    "Hey," said Howie.  "We're not doing anything."

    "Tell that to the press for once," said Lance, and he walked away from them.

    "He's a little upset," said Justin.  "JC has been a bear since Star Magazine."

    "He's being ridiculous," said Skyler.  "If he had just calmed down on the telephone that night, I would have explained myself."

    "Causing more trouble, young ones?" asked Niki, sitting down at the table next to Skyler.

    "Continuing it is more like it," laughed Howie.

    "This isn't funny," said Justin.  "Sky, you've got to stop this."

    "They started it, Justin," he replied.  "I'm not going to crawl under a rock, so they'll stop picking on me."

    "No, you're going to pick back until you end your career," said Justin.

    "That isn't going to happen," Niki laughed.  "His popularity is off the scale."

    "See?" said Skyler.

    "When do you start shooting the new movie?" asked Joey, trying to get them all to talk about something else.

    "After the tour," said Skyler.  "There are no set dates, yet."

    "Are you excited?" he asked.

    "Kind of," Skyler replied.  "It is a very important story."

    "Its just going to add fuel to the fire," said Justin.

    "Justin," sighed Skyler.  "I know that you and Lance are having a problem with this, because of JC, but I'm not going to let the tabloids dictate my every move. If JC can't handle that, that's his problem. He stopped talking to me in August. Why is it such a problem now?"

    "Because he's in love with you," said Joey.

    "Well, he has a funny way of showing it," replied Skyler.

* * *

    "Happy Birthday, Skyler," giggled Justin the next morning.  Justin, Joey and Lance had stayed in Skyler's apartment, even though Lance seemed to be pissed at him.

    "Thank you, Curly," replied Skyler, yawning.  "I think we were at the party just a little too late last night."

    "Yeah," laughed Justin.  "Can't you hear Joey snoring?"

    "Is that what that sound is?" he laughed with Justin.

    "Morning, Happy Birthday, Sky," said Chad, stumbling through the living room toward the kitchen.

    "He's never awake until his second bowl of Apple Jacks," laughed Skyler.

    "A boy after my own heart!" quipped Justin.  "Yo! Chad!"

    Lance came into the living room as Justin followed after Chad.  He sat on the couch and folded his arms.  The two friends were silent for a little while as they regarded each other wearily.  Skyler hated that they had gotten to this.  Lance was a good friend, and making him anything other than happy killed Skyler.

    "Morning, Scoop," he said, sitting beside Lance.

    "Happy Birthday, Sky," sighed Lance.

    "Are we going to argue again?" asked Skyler.

    "No," he said.  "I think we're done with that. I don't like being mad at you."

    "Good, because I suck at being mad at you, too," said Skyler, hugging him.

    "So, what's on the agenda for the day?' asked Lance.

    "Well," replied Skyler slowly.  "Breakfast, relaxation and then dinner at Doc's."

    "You love that place," said Lance, smiling for the first time since Skyler had seen him.

    "I do," he agreed.  "Come on, let's go make French Toast."

    After breakfast, Joey, Justin and Chad gathered in Chad's room to play video games, and Cassie was in her room studying for a test.  That left Lance and Skyler alone to talk.  They were both happy not to be arguing, but they were discussing a very volatile subject.  JC Chasez.

    "He really is a wreck, Sky," Lance tried again.

    "Do you remember all the times I called to talk to him, and you had to tell me he was busy?" asked Skyler.  "He wasn't really busy. I know all about it. If he really loved me, he would have talked to me about it, Lance. If he trusted me, we'd be together today."

    "But with all of the stuff you're doing to play with the tabloids," he said.  "What is he supposed to think?"

    "Again," replied Skyler.  "If he'd just talk to me, he'd know what was going on."

    "He thinks that you and Howie are together," said Lance, making Skyler laugh.

    "Howie?" he breathed.  "That's just too funny. Howie and I are just friends, Lance."

    "JC doesn't know that," replied Lance.  "Look, all I'm asking you to do is go talk to him."

    "Why should I fly all the way to Orlando to talk to him?" asked Skyler.  "He won't even talk to me on the phone."

    "Because you still love him," replied Lance.  "I can see it in your eyes when we talk about him."

    "But yet, he doesn't fly to New York to talk to me," said Skyler.  "And you say he's still in love with me, too."

    "You two are so stubborn," sighed Lance.  "If I could just find a way to get you both in the same room, at the same time, I'd make you talk to each other. But damn it, Sky, one of you has to make the first move here."

    "Well, I'm sorry, Lance," he said.  "That isn't going to be me."

* * *

    "Well, Carlos Marquez and Jordan Knight both lent their voices to the album," Skyler told Kurt Loder.  "So, its going to be kind of difficult to find singers to cover them for the tour."

    "Can we expect any surprises like last time?" asked Kurt.

    "Oh, I'm sure I'll have a trick, or two, up my sleeve," laughed Skyler.  "We'll just have to wait and see."

    "So, the dates for the tour have been finalized?" inquired Kurt.

    "Most of them," he replied, looking, momentarily, at the camera.  "Madonna is still doubling as my tour manager, so she's still working on all the bookings."

    "So how has it been, working with Madonna for a year now?" asked Kurt.

    "Madonna is like my rock," replied Skyler.  "When I get in over my head, she's right there to dig me back out. She really is an amazing woman."

    "What was it like when The Enquirer ran the story about you and Madonna having an affair?" probed Kurt, smiling at him.

    "That was just too funny," laughed Skyler.  "We both got a good laugh out of that one."

    "But you weren't laughing when the story came out about the supposed homosexual affair between you and JC Chasez," said Kurt.

    "No," he replied, looking down at his feet.  "That was different. JC and I were really good friends, and that article destroyed our friendship."

    "Why is that?" asked Kurt.

    "Well, it definitely wasn't on my side of the fence," replied Skyler.  "I think the article scared JC. The last thing he wanted at the time was trouble during the already rocky time that *Nsync was facing."

    "You still remain close with Justin Timberlake and Lance Bass," said Kurt.  "How do they feel about that article?"

    "Well, they know its all a load of bull," replied Skyler.  "We laugh about it occasionally. I mean, the tabloids have said a million things about me."

    "They certainly have," agreed Kurt.  "Some say that you are constantly daring the tabloids to say something about you. Any truth to that?"

    "I was for a while," he replied.  "It was fun to tease the press. They took pictures of me and Howie Dorough, then started up the same rumor with him that they tried with JC. Then I showed up at Anger's Premier with Christina, and they didn't know what to do."

    "You certainly kept them on their toes for a while," said Kurt.

    "Yeah," agreed Skyler, smiling.  "But I knew that they would eventually tire of me and move on to someone else."

    "You don't think they'll start up again once Hate Crime is released?" asked Kurt.

    "Well, I'd be disappointed if they didn't," laughed Skyler.  "But I don't care. I mean, if all they have to do to occupy their tired little rag is pick at me, I'm always game for a good shock fest."

    "How do you come up with ways to toy with the tabloids so much?" asked Kurt.

    "Well, that's simple," said Skyler, smiling again.  "I just think of the worst thing I could do and get caught, and then I do it."

    "Nicely put," laughed Kurt.  "Let's talk about Utopia for a minute. People say that you urged Carlos Marquez to go solo during the recording phase of Mission Impossible. Any truth to that?"

    "Absolutely none," replied Skyler, shaking his head.  "Carlos wanted to try a solo album. Utopia has never even said that they are breaking up. They've just put out a new album, and they're planning to tour. Rusty is planning to make a movie, Jerry is already shooting one, and Mickey has started his own clothing line. Each one of them have outside projects going on. Why would Carlos making a solo record be any different?"

    "You sound very passionate about them," said Kurt.  "Do you feel any sort of responsibility was yours for the success of their first album after sitting on the shelves of record stores for so long?"

    "Not at all," he replied.  "Utopia gained their success through hard work, great live performances, and marketing. I had nothing to do with their success."

    "But some say that if they hadn't toured with you last year, they would still be playing to high schools," said Kurt.

    "And those kinds of statements are what fueled the rumors that we were at odds with each other," said Skyler.  "That's the same kind of thing that happened between *Nsync and Backstreet. When someone outside of a situation starts to talk about things, they have no idea about, they get it wrong, and before you know what's happening, a rumor is born. Sometimes, a rumor is so delicious that people refuse to believe it is just a rumor."

    "And the fact that Carlos Marquez is billed as your opening act for the Mission Impossible Tour, should put that rumor to rest," said Kurt.  "Are you excited to be touring with a member of Utopia again?"

    "Very," said Skyler.  "We made a great team last year, and I expect a lot of last year's magic to shine on us again this year. Carlos is a very good performer, and the fact that he chose to tour with me again, makes me very proud."

    "There's another rumor about a joint project between you and Howie Dorough," said Kurt.  "Any truth there?"

    "We've talked about writing a few songs together for my next album," said Skyler.  "But that doesn't mean much. I talk to several singers and songwriters about stuff for my next album. The fact is, I'm still riding high with Mission Impossible. There were collaborations on that album, and I'm sure there will be more on the next album. If it works, don't fix it."

    "Any truth to the other rumors about you and Howie?" asked Kurt.

    "Absolutely none," said Skyler.  "Howie Dorough and I are just friends. Why is it that I can't have a friend without everyone thinking we're in bed together all the time?"

    "A sad side effect of fame?" offered Kurt.

    "I don't think that's true," replied Skyler.  "If that were true, none of us would be doing this."

* * *

    Skyler was sitting across a table from Madonna.  She'd come to New York to talk to him about his tour, and they'd decided to meet for lunch.  She had a very busy schedule, and Skyler could understand.  Cassie and Chad were upset that they wouldn't get to see her, but they would see her soon enough.

    "When does your interview with Kurt air?" she asked.

    "I have no idea," he replied.  "There doing some editing right now."

    "I still wish you, or Kurt, would tell me what you said," she sighed.  "I hope you didn't stir up a bunch of trouble."

    "I didn't," he insisted.  "Unless Kurt edits the footage to make it seem like I did."

    "Kurt wouldn't do that," she assured him.  "So, any word on the Skyler/JC front?"

    "That's over, M," he said sadly.  It still hurt him to think of JC.  Lance's words kept coming back to him every time he thought of JC.

    "Somehow, I don't think that's entirely true," she said.

    "I thought we were going to talk about the tour," he reminded her.

    "Right," she laughed.  "Niki will tour with you again this year. She said she had so much fun with you last year."

    "Right," said Skyler sarcastically.  "She had fun kicking me in the teeth."

    "That was for your own good," laughed Madonna.

    "What else?" he asked.

    "Well, I've got a copy of the tour schedule for you," she said, handing him a folder.  "A lot of other things are in there, but you can read them for yourself. The one big thing is our new confidentiality agreement. Every member of both bands will be require to sign one before they can even see the inside of the tour busses."

    "You're trying to stop what happened last year from happening again, aren't you?" he asked.

    "Exactly," she said.  "I should have insisted on this then."

    "Well, there's no chance of a repeat from last year," he said, looking down at his plate.  "JC won't be coming to visit me."

    "Will you quit moping and go see him?" she lectured.  "This has gone on long enough. Cassie tells me that you're still moping around most of the time. Even Howie doesn't seem to cheer you up. I know there's nothing going on there. But maybe there should be, so you would at least smile again."

    "What, have you been conspiring with Lance?" he asked.

    "No, but if he's telling you the same thing," she said.  "Then I need to kiss him. Skyler, you have got to stop this. I've never seen anything like this before in my life. And believe me, no one knows drama like Momma."

    "Again, this has nothing to do with my tour," he said defiantly.  "Let's stick to business for this chat."

    "Fine," she replied annoyed at his tone.  "Carlos will already be on tour with you, so we don't have to worry about finding anyone to fill in for him on Something Real."

    "That covers one song," he replied.

    "Why can't Carlos do both of the songs?" she asked.  "Jordan Knight isn't the only one who can sing that song with you."

    "I know that," he replied.  "I just never thought about it that way."

    "Well," she laughed.  "Lucky for both of us, I'm  here, and I'm thinking."

    "Good thing," he laughed with her.

    "Well, we're already interviewing and auditioning band members," she said.  "Debbie has that all under control."

    Debbie Moss was in charge of Skyler's band on the last tour.  She was a no-nonsense kind of woman, and Skyler loved her.  He was so glad that she would be coming on tour with him again.  Other than her, Niki and Carlos, no one from the previous tour would be returning.

    "She's telling all of them about the confidentiality agreement, I trust," he said.

    "Absolutely," said Madonna.  "If anything like last time happens, we'll sue the entire band."

* * *

    "How's it going, Fame Grabber?" chuckled Lance when Skyler called him from Toronto. 

    They'd been in Canada for almost two months, playing a lot of cities that Skyler hadn't heard of before.  His popularity was just as solid in Canada, and he'd been having a blast, but touring really made him miss JC all over again.  He was finally going to cave in and go see him.

    "Canada has been very kind," he replied.  "I'll be in Orlando in a week. Will you guys be gone yet?"

    "Didn't I give you a copy of our schedule?" asked Lance.

    "We didn't get to see each other before I left, remember?" he asked.

    "Right," laughed Lance.  "Busy Skyler."

    "Right," he agreed.

    "Well, we don't leave to start the tour for three weeks, so we'll still be here," said Lance.  "Planning to visit me?"

    "And the rest of the boys," said Skyler.

    "Even JC?" asked Lance hopefully.

    "Especially JC," said Skyler.  "Being on tour just makes me miss him like crazy, Lance."

    "He's been listening to The Way Back To You for days," reported Lance.  "He's missing you, too."

    "Well, I'll call you again, closer to the time that we'll be there," said Skyler.  "I want you to make sure that JC is at home when I get to town. We're coming in three days before the show, so I'll have a whole free day and night to make him listen to me."

    "That's my boy."  Skyler could hear Lance's smile through the phone.

    "Five minutes, Sky," called Niki as he hung up with Lance.

    "Ready," he called back.

    Cassie and Chad were as excited as always, and he smiled when he saw them dancing to Carlos's last number.  Soon, both of them would be sixteen, and he hoped that Niki could get Madonna to work a free day in as close to their birthday as possible.  He wanted to do something special with them.

    This year, he'd given them both jobs on the tour to keep them busy.  Cassie was in charge of picking up all of the clothes around the dressing rooms, Skyler had six wardrobe changes for this show.  Chad kept all of the trash picked up in the "party" room.  They were both happy to have responsibilities, and Skyler didn't have to worry about them so much.

    Niki was usually watching them last year, but she had a bigger part in the show this year.  Giving them jobs to do kept Skyler from worrying about them when he was on stage.  He hugged and kissed them both just before he made his way to the stage.  He smiled as they both called out to him to wish him good luck.

* * *

    Skyler was a nervous wreck as he sat across the isle of the plane from Cassie, Chad and Carlos.  Niki sat beside him, and she constantly told him he was doing the right thing.  He just hoped that JC would at least listen to him.  If he didn't listen, then Skyler would be crushed all over again.

    It had been almost a full year since the two of them had actually talked.  He just hoped that it wasn't really as over as he'd tried to make himself believe for most of that year.  Lance and Joey assured him that it wasn't.  Justin told him that JC had posters of Skyler all over his bedroom walls.  Chris told him that he was kind of getting tired of listening to the same three songs every day.  It seemed that JC was rather fond of listening to The Way Back To You, The One That Got Away, and Perpetual Prisoner.  They were the three most sorrowful ballads on Mission Impossible.

    If that was true, then Skyler was sure that JC still loved him, or at least couldn't get him off his mind.  Lance kept insisting that absence made the heart grow fonder, and Skyler could only hope that this was true in JC's case.  He missed him like crazy, and getting on the plane to go and see him had really been difficult.

    His pride had been bruised when JC broke his heart by not even giving him the chance to defend himself over that stupid tabloid article.  Part of him was still very angry with JC for reacting the way he had, but the other part just wanted to say he was sorry for letting this go on for so long.

    "You ok, Sky?" asked Niki, dragging Skyler out of his thoughts and back to the plane.

    "I will be when I talk to him," he replied softly.  "If he talks to me."

    "I'm sure he will, Sky," she said.  "Britney told me when I talked to her the other day in Toronto, that JC asks her a million questions every time he talks to her. He knows that she calls us all the time, and he pumps her for information."

    "Really?" asked Skyler, another spark of hope trying to heat his chilled heart.

    "Yeah," she said.  "She says that JC is just as depressed now as you are. We both think its because of this tour."

    "What do you mean by that?" he asked.

    "Well, you miss him more now, because the tour reminds you of him, right?" she asked.  Skyler nodded.  "Well, Britney and I think that JC misses you so much right now for the same reason."

    "I hope you're right," he said.

    "Britney said that JC told her he's dreading their show in Chicago," she said.

    "That was the last time we were really together," said Skyler, remembering the night they'd shared.

    "I know," replied Niki.

* * *

    "Its about damned time," said Britney, smiling when they got off the plane.  "JC is sulking at home, watching the replay of your Kurt Loder interview, and Justin is about to go crazy, waiting for you to get there."

    "Its good to see you too, Sis," he said, pulling her into a hug.  "I missed you."

    "I always miss you, Sky," she said, smiling as they let go of each other.  "But if I don't get you over to JC's, Justin is going to kill me."

    They talked all the way across Orlando.  Skyler was nervous, and Britney tried to keep him together while fielding questions for Cassie and Chad the entire trip.  Carlos was on his way to the hotel in a rental car, and Skyler felt bad about that.  He'd wanted him to ride with them, but there just wasn't room with Niki and the twins.

* * *

    JC sat watching Skyler smile and laugh on his television screen, and it made him miss him even more.  He couldn't believe he'd been so stupid about this for so long.  He knew where the leak had come from, but he'd let too much time pass before he found out, and he was sure that Skyler was done with him.

    He'd called Skyler back in March, and he was angry over the stories about him and Howie.  He'd let that anger get the better of him, when all he had wanted when he called was to tell Skyler he was sorry and beg him for another chance.  He'd been miserable all year long without him, and he had no one to blame but himself.

    He'd read every magazine interview, watched every televised interview and listened to Skyler's new album countless times.  It was all slowly driving him insane.  He knew that Skyler was still in Canada, and he was too afraid to fly out there to see him.  What if he refused to see him? What if he flew all the way out there, and the rumors about Sky and Howie were really true? He couldn't bare that.  So, he sat there, wallowing in his misery, and watching Skyler on television.

    He'd been driving the rest of the guys nuts for two months.  As soon as he'd heard that Skyler's tour had began, he'd started to miss him more than ever.  He remembered all too well the night they'd spent in Chicago.  The night kept running though his head over and over again.  He'd give anything to go back to that night and just stay there forever.

    Lance had been his rock during all of this.  Even though he knew it hurt Justin that he wasn't confiding in him about Skyler, he turned to Lance when he was especially down.  He was glad that Lance was sitting there with him now, because he wanted nothing more than a shoulder to cry on.

    "JC," said Lance, startling him.  "You've got to stop this."

    "I can't," he moaned.  "I miss him so bad, Lance."

    "Then why didn't you go and see him before his tour started?" asked Lance.  "You could have flown to New York with us for the rap party. You wouldn't even go to the premier."

    "I couldn't face him, Scoop," sobbed JC.  "This is all my fault."

    "Oh, he's not completely innocent," replied Lance.  "He's just as stubborn as you are."

    "Do you really think that Skyler still loves me?" he asked, and Lance could see the agony and hope in his friend's tired eyes.

    "Yes," he said.  "I know for a fact that he does."

    JC leaned over, and Lance held him while he cried.  He hated to see JC like this.  He was always the one that they all went to when they were down.  It wasn't easy to watch him suffer when he was always the strong one.  He wished that Skyler would get there soon.  Then the doorbell sounded, and his prayers were answered.

    "Will you get it, Scoop?" asked JC.  "I don't really want to see anyone tonight."

    "I'll be right back," said Lance, getting up and going to the door.

    JC foolishly hoped that it was Skyler at the door, but he knew that he was still in Canada.  He decided he would find out where he would be when they finally got back to the states, and he would go to him.  He'd beg him and plead his case.  If God was happy, then Skyler would take him back.  He picked up the phone, intending to call Madonna.

    "Hello, Joshua," said Skyler from the living room doorway, and JC was stunned.

to be continued

My other stories on Nifty:

Christopher's Story
Nicholas And Mark

Adult Youth:
Boys Of Summer
Midnight Encounter

For a complete list of all of my stories, go to my website.

Stories That I Really Like On Nifty:

High School:
Matthew Figures It Out
Carrots And Celery

Family Album
My Step-Brother, Jacob

Working It Out

Prolific Nifty Authors That I REALLY Recommend:

Greg Bowden
Eric Case
Justin Case (In Loving Memory)