I Got What You Need
I am soooo glad to be out of New York - the past two weeks have been hell.
decided that she didn't want to record in Atlanta, but that she wanted
to work in NYC; her boyfriend was in town for promotions during the days
we had scheduled, so she wanted to record there so that she could spend
time with him. So, we had to run around the city to find available studio
space on two-days notice. Fortunately, we found a studio, but we
couldn't get in until 2am. And, I quickly found out that "Miss Thing"
is NOT a night owl.
Monica bitched so much that I wanted to slap her. She complained about the late hours, even after I told her that it was the only available studio space in New York. Then, she got mad when we ended up working until 8am – hey, I didn't know she had plans later on that morning. Then, she didn't even put forth her best effort on the songs.
Ultimately, we ended up not recording, but postponing our recording session by three months. So, I lost two nights of sleep and didn't even record. But, at least I still get paid.
Then, I had drama with Sean.
to stay on as my agent, even though he's still pissed about not being my
manager. We had a meeting with Lance to work some things out. Sean
will hook up my outside production gigs, and will coordinate appearances
and performances with Lance. Lance will handle the business aspects
of my career (along with my new lawyer and accountant), and will be the
liaison between Jive and myself. I had to give Sean a 3% raise to stay
on, but I did it. Lance thought I was being too loyal, but Sean is
one of my closest friends.
But, Sean and I have been a bit on edge around each other since the night he told me about being engaged (and I told him about Lance being my manager). I don't have a problem with him being bisexual, but I do have a problem with him deceiving Jalisa. Jalisa is a nice girl, and it hurts me that she's oblivious to the deception that Sean is living. I know I've contributed to it, but I stopped. I almost want to tell her about Sean's "down-low" lifestyle myself, but it's not my place. I guess I'll have to wait to see if Sean will ever get the nerve to be honest about it all.
Actually, he and I haven't talked, since I attended his engagement party...
* * *
I didn't want
to go. I didn't want to see Sean and Jalisa all lovey-dovey when
he has more skeletons than a biology lab. But, it would've been too
strange if I weren't there, especially since most of our fraternity brothers
were coming for the party. So, I pulled out my black leather pants
with the matching boots, my gold and black print shirt, and drove over
to the upper West side to Sean's condo.
I got to see most of the fraternity brothers, but only one of my sands (the guys that I pledged with) came to the party – Mykiel "Jigga" Thomas. Oh, let me explain something. We all got names when we pledged our fraternity. Since we were the "J" class, all of our fraternity names start with "J". I'm JPEG, Mykiel is Jigga; we also have Juvenile, Ja Rule, Jihad, Justice, and Juicy (don't ask). Sean was in the "H" class, and his name was Hybrid (guess how he got this name); all of his sands are here – Hurricane, Hyperkinetic, Helios, and Hellraiser.
Jalisa and her sorority sisters were there also. Additionally, there were people from Platinum Plus, from KPMG (where Miss "I graduated Summa Cum Laude and got an MBA from Wharton" works); Sean's family and Jalisa's father, Dontae, and some other miscellaneous people. Oh, and Dontae's friend Tracey.
I spent most of the night talking with Mykiel and Shauntae (one of Jalisa's sorors and Mykiel's fiancée). Jalisa was too busy showing off the $8000 engagement ring Sean bought her (she told us all that he paid $8000 for that Rock of Gibraltar). Sean was having a mini-reunion with his sands, and Dontae and Tracey was out on the balcony smoking.
After an hour of listening to Mykiel saying "it's about time he make it official" and Shauntae talk about how they all should have a double-wedding, I decide to call it a night. After saying good-bye to "Jigga" and "Pocahontas" (her sorority did the name thing too), I went to grab my coat from Sean's study. On my way out the door, I feel a hand on my shoulder.
"Let's go out in the hallway," Sean said.
We step out in the hall, and I wait for him to talk.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm going home. I gave my regards, and I'm ready to go home and sit in my shower."
"But we even haven't talked really. And, I had a big announcement that I wanted to make."
"What?" I'm curious.
"I was going to tell everyone that you're going to be my best man."
No he didn't...
"Sean, you didn't tell ME that I'm going to be your best man."
"It was a surprise..."
"Well, I really don't know if I can do it. Besides recording and whatnot, I'm not sure if I agree with this."
"Why not? Are you jealous because I'm with Jalisa and not you? You know I'm not..."
"...kick it like that with no dudes," I finish.
"So, why are you trippin'?"
"Look, I'm not jealous of you and Jalisa. Even though she gets on my nerves at times, and she's a total BAP, she loves and trusts you. You've been stepping out on her since college. You messed around with me, with Jackson, with the president of the Gay Students' Association – and that was just in college. And, since I've been in New York, I know you've slept with two other men."
"But, I love Jalisa. I've stayed with her throughout all of this. And, once I get married, I won't cheat anymore. Marriage will take all of that away."
This fool actually thinks that he can be "cured" by marriage – well, that's what I'm getting. And, he actually had the nerve to call me jealous!
"Sean, I'm going home. Then, I'm leaving on Thursday for Orlando. Good night."
* * *
called me jealous. He thinks that I actually want him. But,
the truth is that I did want him.
Sean is a gorgeous man, and he and I had quite a bit in common. We both love music. We both felt out of place. We both didn't quite fit in with the other fraternity brothers – me because I was always either at orchestra or at the computer lab; Sean because of his being ¼ black. It wasn't all about sex, even though that was good too. And, I always thought he and I could be together.
But, he loves Jalisa. Even when he and I were together, he made plans to take Jalisa with him on Spring Break, to his parent's summer home in Myrtle Beach, to Puerto Rico for Christmas. I eventually got used to the idea that he and I will never be more than friends and occasional fuck buddies, but I still would dream sometimes.
It wasn't until
he told me about his engagement, and Josh and I got together that I stopped
dreaming. I still love Sean as a brother, but he and I could never
be. Even if he and Jalisa, and Josh and I don't work out, we can
never be; shit, we can't even go back to being fuck buddies. I no
longer need that dream.
I have a new love in my life. Someone who loves my cooking as much as the sex. Someone who likes to just sit and talk, or cuddle and watch a romantic comedy. I've never really been in a relationship before; well, there was Camille in the 11th grade, but we only went out for three months and broke up the day after prom. But, this is my first adult relationship.
My first adult relationship with a man. A white man. An older white man (he's about three years older – yeah, three years, because Lance and I are the same age). I never would've thought Josh and I would be together. Well, I like it - so far, so good.
* * *
I walk through the gate at Orlando International to see a white guy in a baseball cap and some faded Guess jeans with a sign with my name on it – but it ain't my baby. The guy with the sign sees me and starts over towards me.
It's Justin's ass.
"Hey man!" I say, as he and I do the "brotherman" greeting. I was expecting my baby to pick me up from the airport, but Justin is the next best thing.
I run over to baggage claim while Justin goes outside to start up the car. When I get outside, I see Justin in a blue Porsche.
"Boy," I start, "whose car is this?"
"Mine," he said, as he popped open the trunk.
I throw my suitcase and laptop in the trunk. "How did you...?" I stopped myself before asking a really stupid question – I had, for about 10 minutes, forgot that the boy is probably ten times wealthier than me. But, I think of a good question to ask.
"Why didn't JC come to pick me up?"
"Oh, he's hung over. A bunch of us got together at Joey's last night and hung out. Everybody got plastered early except for me and Britney, since we're underage and law-abiding."
"Well, where's Britney now?"
"Well, I found out this morning that she was only law-abiding while I was awake. She was in a drunken slumber with Lance and JC when I woke up. That's why I'm here and Josh isn't."
"So, how was the flight?"
"It was a flight. I watched a DVD and did e-mail."
"Yeah. I'm glad you're in town. I can show you around, and you can meet my mom."
"OK. But, I don't know how much free time I'll have. I'm here for a month, but I have to do some outside production work, I have to mix those tracks we cut in New York, I have to start recording my album, and I think Lance has some other stuff lined up for me too."
"Well, we'll find time. Oh, did Josh tell you about Lance?"
"I don't know... tell me what?"
"Lance is gay too."
Did he just say that Lance was gay? No, he didn't say that.
"Yep. Lance and JC and you and Britney. You're all gay."
"Nope. He came out to us last week. Apparently, JC confronted him about his strange behavior. Lance had been a little distant before we left New York. We all thought it was because of you being his newest client, but JC saw something that the rest of us missed. Well, after some prodding, Lance finally told JC the truth. He said he knew for a year that he was gay, but that he was scared that we wouldn't want two gay guys in the group."
"I still can't believe it."
"Yep, T., he is. After about a week, JC finally convinced him to tell the rest of us. Of course, Chris, Joey and me don't care."
is gay. I never would've thought that it would be. In a month's time,
I get a boyfriend and a gay manager, and both are pop superstars.
And, though it doesn't matter, they're white.
Wait. They do have a lot in common... would Josh...? No, I'm trippin' – I don't have to worry about Lance and Josh.
"Hey," Justin said, "you want to get something to eat?"
"Yeah. Let's go to the drive-thru."
"Is Wendy's OK?"
We pull into the drive-thru. Fortunately, there's only one car in
front of us – we beat the lunchtime rush. I order a number 6 and
Justin orders a number 2 with a large frosty and chicken nuggets.
After getting our food, Justin pulls over to an empty parking spot at the
edge of the Wendy's lot.
He passes my food. "Mmmm," he mumbled as he bit into his sandwich. We ate our food in silence, occasionally glancing at the other to smile.
After polishing off his frosty, Justin throws the cup into his bag and stares at me.
"What," I asked.
"So, who are you working with?"
"Huh?" I'll try to play dumb.
"You're trying to play dumb, T. You must not want me to know who you're working with; it's cool. I know that a lot of artists try to keep silent on their collaborators."
"I'm glad you understand."
"I mean, it's not like you're working with Backstreet or anything..."
I choked on my Cherry Coke. Brown liquid and chunks of French fries flew all over the dashboard.
"Shit! You got pop and stuff on my ride," Justin tried to angrily express as he passed some napkins, and starts to wipe the dashboard.
After Justin and I wipe up the mess, he turns back to me.
"So, that's who you're working with?"
"You went to college, right? Had two majors, right? Graduated with honors, right? But you have the hardest time answering my simple questions. So, are you in town to work with BSB or not?"
"Yeah. When I gave the A&R department at Jive tapes of my music to pass on to you, they also gave copies to a couple of your label mates, all of whom I have work lined up with. You guys and Backstreet Boys were the first to bring me aboard, but I'm also scheduled to record some tracks with Mystikal and Tru Vibe."
"Man. I wish you didn't have to work with BSB. They're cool and all, but we saw this as an opportunity to kill the rumors that we're copycats."
I had to laugh.
Justin started up the car. "Don't laugh."
"Justin, that rumor has been dead for a while. You're last album outsold theirs by over a million copies. And, it was more critically acclaimed than theirs as well. So, you need to get off of that boat."
"Really? I must be out the loop," he said, as he pulled out into traffic
"No, not out the loop – just caught up in the pop bubble."
I then remember the conversation that Justin and I had the first night we met in New York.
"Hey Just – are you still interested in collaborating?"
Justin turned to me and grinned a joker smile.
"Put your eyes back on the road before we crash, man!"
"Oops. I'm sorry. I'm just excited about us working together."
"Yeah. The song that we did for you guys' album was butta – I'm sure we can do some things for my album."
I had actually been thinking about collaborating with Justin for a while. We clicked in the studio very well, and it wouldn't hurt to have him associated with my project either. I'll probably try to do a song a two with JC also. And, Lance will probably co-executive produce the album with me.
I feel my cell phone vibrate. I pull it from my pocket and flip it open.
"Hello. Thomas Dublin speaking."
"What's up, boy?"
It's Beyonce. "Girl, why are you calling me on my cell?"
"Kelly, Michelle, and I were going to come by and kick it with you for a while - we're in town for to promote the tour. We called your apartment, but got the machine.
"Well, Miss Thing, you got the machine because I'm not home. Hell, I'm not even in New York City. I'm in Orlando."
"Who's that?" Justin says.
"Oh, just Beyonce."
"Just Beyonce!!! Who are you talking to T. Dub?" Beyonce is the only person I let call me T. Dub.
Justin motions for me to pass the phone. I pass it to him, and anticipate Beyonce's response.
"Hello, honey!!!" Justin drawls.
I hear Beyonce mumble something. I reach over on the phone and hit the speakerphone button.
"It's Justin, baby!" There goes that Tennessee drawl again.
"I know that – stop playing."
"If you don't quit with the third degree, Thomas and I are just going to say..."
He stares at me, and I understand. I clear my throat as Justin holds his first finger up. I breathe in on the second finger. And, on the third...
"Bye Bye Bye." In perfect harmony.
"Kelly! Girl, Thomas is with Justin Timberlake!"
"It took you long enough to get it, Miss Survivor." I say.
"Forget you, boy. But, what are you and Justin doing together?"
"I'm showing him around my "hood." Justin says in his best fake-gangsta voice.
"Wow. I can't believe that I'm talking to Justin Timberlake."
"And, I can't believe that I'm talking to Beyonce. Girl, you're hot."
"Beyonce, Justin is a big fan of Destiny's Child. When I first met him, he went on and on about "Haterade."
"Yeah. That's one of my favorite songs. I can't wait to check you guys out on tour."
"I'm can't wait to see you guys on tour. Britney and I already got seats and backstage passes for the Miami show."
We hear Beyonce in the background. "Girl, him and Britney got tickets for our show. We large now."
"Well B," I say, "we got to go. I got thangs to do. I'll holler."
"All right. You better call me before the end of the week, nigga."
After I put my phone back in my pocket, Justin is very silent. We drive for about 15 minutes without a word. I look over at me – he is expressionless as he stares ahead.
"A penny for your thoughts, Justin."
Justin doesn't even change his facial expression. "I can't believe she said the "n" word."
"Well, don't be so bothered by it. Beyonce and I use that word around each other from time to time."
"But, I don't
like that word. I grew up learning that the word is offensive and
needed to be erased from our vocabulary."
Justin continued. "In elementary school, I remember our class spelling bee. Dennis Arnold, the only black kid in our class, won the spelling bee. And, the kid that Denny beat to win the spelling bee called him a ... "nigger" right there in front of the class. He ran out of the class in tears, Thomas. I cried because Denny was so hurt by that kid saying that word. So, when I hear anyone utter that word, I think about the pain that it can cause."
I never heard a white person express such a strong dislike for the word.
Hell, I'm almost convinced never to say it again.
I really don't use it that much myself. I use it occasionally in conversations with friends, but that's about the extent of it. But, Justin has seriously got me thinking...
"So... where are you taking me? Hopefully, we're heading to Josh's house."
we're going to my house so that you can meet my mom, then we're going to
He's taking me to meet his mother. Oh, that reminds me – Josh and I have to talk about meeting each other's families.
I don't know about his family, but I doubt my grandparents would be enthusiastic about him. I told them the day after I graduated from college that I was gay, but we never discussed it after that. Grandpa just shrugged, and Grandma mumbled something about Sodom and Gomorrah. But, they haven't treated me any differently since I came out to them.
I wonder how
long Justin plans on keeping me over at his place. I want to get
to the arms of JC as soon as I can.
To Be Continued...