DISCLAIMER: This story is fictional and not to be confused with the real life of any celebrities used. This story contains sexual situations between consenting males. No one was harmed in the writing of this chapter. Please don't remove from Nifty unless I give permission.
THANK YOUS: To everyone that wrote me, giving me shit because I quit writing the series. Thank you for stressing that every story needs completion. So here is the next chapter, hopefully long awaited, but never the less, chapter ten. Thank you readers of Nifty and to the caretakers of Nifty.
LIKE THE RAIN
CHAPTER TEN: A TESTING OF WILLS
GARET'S HOUSE LODI, CALIFORNIA
The sun was setting and the shadows started growing across the floor where Scott sat. Garet's notebook was on his lap and he was intently reading the passages. As the light disappeared, it became harder for him to read. The pounding in his head did little for concentration but he had almost grown used to the intense headaches.
His face was tear streaked and he couldn't stop sniffling. He felt like a tomb raider reading Garet's personal thoughts but for some reason he felt compelled. In the three hours that he had been there, he learned much about the black hair singer that shocked him.
Garet had been struggling with heroin for years, even before the band. Somehow, the talented guitar player hid the truth from everyone. Except Rick, Zylvan's band manager. Seems that Rick had been supplying both Garet and Scott with the deadly drug.
Garet had written everything down with meticulous detail. The stormy relationship between his father and mother was laid out in page after page. All his fears and worries were written down like a guide book to his inner thoughts. Not only that, but Garet had kept record of every time Rick had purchased heroin for him also.
Scott's face was a mask of anger. He couldn't believe that Rick was such an asshole. Money it seemed was the reason behind his callousness. Maybe he was just in it for a quick buck.
As Scott scanned the pages, he found a poem that Garet had written only days before his death. Scott's eyes filled with tears at the unanswered questions that Garet asked. He continued to read it over and over again as he thought of his friend. Alone in a room, sad and lonely, who's only friend was a notebook filled with pain and misery.
Captured all the tears
Stripped away my fears
Standing in this dream
And endless broken scream
Escapes from my lips
Taken all I'm stripped
Burned and broken down
Turned and lost this town
A feeling that you cared
Tell me why am I so scared
Never holding true
But holding onto you
Laughter feels this room
A green and perfect tomb
Death is already won
Lost and broken done
Heaven's faith is here
In this I have no fear
A feeling that you cared
Tell me why am I so scared
Scott couldn't begin to fathom Garet's emotional state in the last days of his life. Scott knew that whatever was going on between Greg and him, Garet had no part of it. Scott was sure that Garion was on Greg's side, after all they've been friends forever.
Scott was saddened at the mess that he made of things. Instead of helping Garet, he had been selfish and blind to Garet's own personal demons. Its strange how two people could be so close yet not know anything about the other.
Now, after Garet's death, Scott had resolved to somehow pay the debt that he felt he owed his friend. Scott's parents had taken Joshua under their wing since the passing of his mother. In her weakened condition, the news of his death shocked her and she collapsed and never recovered.
Joshua's own father signed him over to Scott's parents, Richard and Yulonda Taylor, the day after his mother passed away. Joshua was hurt and confused. Scott felt that it would be a long time before the child understood. But if anyone could help the child out, Scott was confident in his parent's abilities.
He knew they worried about him. After the news of Garet, Scott had left the hotel. Now, four days later, he found himself surrounded by doubts. He didn't know what his future held, but he was determined not to destroy the second chance that God had given him.
Scott was deep in thought as the shadows crept closer until he was sitting there in the dark on Garet's floor. He didn't notice the darkness nor did he hear someone enter the house and walk upstairs. The turning on of the lights roused him and he jerked his head towards the open door.
"I didn't mean to scare you." A deep voice called out. "I didn't know anyone was here."
"Who are you?" Scott asked as he stood up and faced the tall man standing in front of him.
The man was tall and lean. His dark gray suit was rumpled as if it had been slept in for weeks. His salt and pepper hair was ruffled but his black eyes shown keenly. Scott was half reminded of Peter Falk's creation, Colombo.
"I'm Officer Arlow. And you would be Scott Taylor." The man replied with a friendly grin.
"Yes, we spoke on the phone didn't we." Scott remembered as he shook the man's hand.
"Yes." Officer Arlow said as he looked around the room. "Did you know this is still a crime scene? You shouldn't be in here."
"Crime scene?" Scott asked.
"I guess you have a right to know." Officer Arlow said almost to himself. "We have reason to think that foul play might have been involved with his death."
"What!" Scott exclaimed. "What makes you think that?"
"For one thing." Officer Arlow explained as he ran his hand over his scalp. "We've found out that the heroin was altered. Something was added to make it quite lethal to anyone shooting it."
"Oh my god." Scott mouthed as he sat down on the bed. His gray eyes' glancing at the notebook that was lying on the floor at his feet.
"Do you think someone gave it to him intentionally?" Asked Scott as he ran his hands over his short blond hair.
"I would like to ask you a few questions if you don't mind." The officer asked. Quickly changing demeanor, he started, "Do you know where Garet was getting his fix?"
Shaking his head, Scott was still trying to work out what he was going to do. "Too be truthful, I was so worried about my own addictions that I didn't even know he was using till his death."
Officer Arlow looked at him for a few moments. He was skeptical that Scott didn't know anything. After all, they lived together on the road, how could one not know.
"Let me get this right." Officer Arlow stated as he looked at Scott with a worried frown. "You don't know anything about his supplier or his addiction."
"No sir I don't." Scott replied defensively.
"Okay then." Officer Arlow tried another tactic. "We all know about your addiction. Do you think it might be safe to assume that whoever was supplying you was also supplying Garet while the band toured."
Scott stood up and faced the policeman. Bending down he grabbed the notebook and said, "I'm sorry but I still haven't recovered fully yet and I need some rest."
Brushing past the tall man, Scott started to leave the room. Officer Arlow called out for him to wait.
"Just one more thing Scott."
Turning around to face him, Scott clutched the notebook tightly against his chest, his gray eyes anxiously waiting.
"I know you feel that you have to protect someone. But if this someone purposely gave Garet tainted drugs, it's the same as murder. And you could go to jail for obstructing justice." Officer Arlow informed the confused man. "No friendship is worth that."
Scott thought about what the man had said. He still couldn't believe that Rick had purposely given his friend bad drugs but he had his doubts.
Finally he spoke, "Sir, I promise, after the funeral tomorrow, I will call you and I will answer all your questions then."
"Fair enough." Officer Arlow agreed. "I'll be waiting for that call."
Scott turned and left the room and made his way down to the rental car. He got in and drove towards the hotel that his parents were staying at. He had some things to think about and talk about.
JUSTIN'S HOTEL ROOM, LA
The last few days had been a blur for Justin Timberlake. With the arrival of Lance Bass, his entire world had been dumped upside down and inside out. Lance's interest in promoting him was a shock. Now, not even a week later, he had left Detroit for sunny California to finish his first solo record since leaving Nysnc a year earlier.
After receiving the news from Lance that he had indeed changed record companies, and the unexpected visit from Jc Chasez, then came the blurry night of celebration. Justin wasn't sure if he was truly recovered from that night.
He couldn't really remember any one instance, just a trail of fuzzy events. The black lights of the club offset the strobes and reflected an eerie sight to it's drunken denizens. Hundreds of sweaty bodies crammed tightly on the floor as the affects of alcohol raced through the bloodstream shifting reality for a moment in time.
He barely remembered the rounds of shots that the three of them consumed that night. Lance Bass, Stevie Borders, and Justin had celebrated till the club closed at 4:00am. The drunker Justin got, the wilder he became. Hands constantly groped the singer as he danced in the middle of the floor. Never really dancing with one person, just letting the beat take him on a musical journey in the night.
That night, everyone had wanted him. Most didn't recognize the singer, but yet something about his raw sexual intensity drew the crowd to him, girls and guys alike. That night Justin was an Adonis that leapt straight out of Greek lore.
Now, four days later, Justin was lounging in a chair going over his contract with his friend and boss, Lance Bass. As Lance watched the brown hair singer, he couldn't help but smile at him. His forehead was creased as he struggled to read the document in the half-light of the room. His blue eyes were intent on the phrasing. Every so often, he would absently rub his cheek with one hand.
Lance giggled loudly, "After all these years you still don't trust me."
The statement made the younger man glance at his friend with a smile, "Of course not, I know you too well."
"Well don't hurt that pretty little head of yours." Lance warned his friend in his deep southern drawl. "I'll get a lawyer to explain it too you Jenny." Lance intoned in his best imitation of Forest Gump.
"Ha ha ha, real funny." Justin said dryly. "But I would like my lawyer to look it over."
"Of course." Lance understood. "It never hurts to be too careful these days."
Putting the contract aside, Justin leaned back and yawned loudly. "I'm tired."
"It's been a long day." Lance agreed with his friend. "Have you worked any more on that last song?"
"Stevie and I did some more this afternoon. It's not complete yet but we should have it done in a few days." Justin stated as he stood up to stretch his lean frame.
Looking at Lance with a raised eye, Justin thought about the history they shared. Lance hadn't changed much from his days in Nysnc. Still lean and hard bodied; his green eyes still held the mischief they always had. His hair had grown and he looked more like an adult, but Justin knew the kid lurked just under that reserved exterior.
"Have you talked to the guys lately?" Justin asked as he opened a bottle of water and took a long drink.
"Yea, yesterday." Lance replied as he leaned back against the pillows on the couch. "They wanted to talk to you but you were at the studio."
"I was thinking." Justin mused.
"That will get you in trouble."
Giving Lance a wry smile, Justin continued, "After this record is finished, why don't all of us get together for a weekend."
"They would love it." Lance admitted. "Even Jc?"
"Yea," Justin said quietly. "Its time for all of us to put this behind us."
"Do you think they would go for that?" Justin asked Lance.
"Yea, Joey figures if you can forgive Jc then so can he." Lance informed him. "And Chris, well Chris is Chris. He forgets things as soon as they happen."
Justin shook his head in amazement. "I still can't believe they weren't mad at me. After all, I'm the one who left."
"Yea, but they knew Jc was the asshole that made you. Besides, I think all of us were getting a bit tired of Nysnc. With the exception of Jc, all of us are happy now." Lance said as he rubbed his chin thoughtfully.
Justin turned the TV on and they were quiet for a while. Just enjoying each other's company like they had done so many times in the past. Finally, during a really weird commercial, Justin said simply, "Orlando."
"We should get together in Orlando, that way I could see my mom again." Justin mused. "I miss her."
"Sounds good to me. But that's after the record is finished. Until then, we have lots of work to do here."
They continued to watch the TV, an old rerun of Seinfeld. Justin was lost in his own thoughts while Lance peered at him thoughtfully. Lance had many plans for his young friend and he was trying to think of the best way to promote him.
Plus, Lance was trying to figure out a way to get Justin and Scott in the same town. Both of them had followed the story that was unfolding in Stockton with great interest. Lance still couldn't believe that Garet Black had passed away from a drug overdose.
With this new information, he wasn't so sure if Scott was in any condition for a reconciliation with Justin. So as Justin laughed with the fake TV audience of Seinfeld, Lance sat there brooding.
After the episode ended, Justin changed the channel to MTV. Lance showed more interest now; he was always looking for new ways to shoot videos. They watched the flickering images on the screen for almost an hour before a news brief informed them of the funeral of Garet Black in his hometown of Lodi, California.
Justin asked suddenly, "How far is Lodi from here do you think?"
Lance looked at him with his calculating green eyes and casually asked, "Why, do you want to go to the funeral?"
"Maybe," Justin answered, not quite sure of himself. "I know I didn't know him, but that band and its members was the starting point of so many things for me."
"That's for sure." Lance agreed with a small smile.
"It's strange, but I just feel like I should be there." Justin tried to explain.
"I can check for you." Lance said but added a condition. "If we go, you have to promise me that when we get back, you focus all you're energies to completing the album."
"If we go." Justin said with smile.
"Like you said, ever since meeting them our lives have been turned around. It's like we are connected to them some how."
"Now who's talking crazy." Justin inquired. "But I do think we should go and show support. I hear that they are going to be making a stand on drug abuse. I would like to be a part of that."
Lance stood up and said, "I'll find out. It can't be that far."
"Thanks." Justin replied.
Lance left the suite and Justin settled back in his chair and wondered what Scott was doing and if he was okay. Silently wishing for Scott to hold on and not to run back to the drug that ended his friend's life. Justin's thoughts were dark as the fading sun kissed the horizon one last time.
Scott found his parents along with Shelia on the private deck of their hotel room finishing up the remnants of dinner. His mother was enjoying a cup of herbal tea while his father smoked his after dinner pipe. Shelia was nibbling on a peanut butter cookie when Scott opened the patio door.
"Where have you been?" Yulonda asked anxiously as she rushed over and hugged her son.
Scott mumbled as he returned her hug. Shelia was glaring at him over her bottle of water as he sat down next to her.
"I'm sorry for worrying you." Scott offered lamely. "I'm not use to telling people where I go."
Scott's father Richard smiled warmly, "I understand. But you shouldn't worry you're mother like that."
Richard was smiling like he knew a secret that no else knew. Pipe smoke trailed over his balding brown hair and his blue eyes glistened in the light of the torches surrounding the patio. Yulonda was sipping her tea and trying hard to control her motherly concern that leaked out her green eyes. Her graying hair was tied back out of her face and she was looking intently at her son across the table.
Shelia was a different story altogether. Her eyes mirrored her anger and she didn't hold it in. "I can't believe you would be such an asshole."
Yulonda's eyes widened by the harsh language but she didn't say anything. She just looked at the red head as she continued her tirade.
"Leaving the hospital like that was stupid." Shelia yelled at Scott as she pointed a finger at the blond man. "We didn't know if you were dead or if you ran off and got high again."
Scott had a look of a scolded child who had been caught with his hands in a cookie jar. He lowered his head, as Shelia demanded, "Where were you?"
"I needed to think about some things." Scott replied in a small voice.
"Did you forget how to use a phone?" She demanded.
She ran over his answer to her question, "You needed to think about things. How can you be so selfish?"
Shelia couldn't contain her anger at him, so she stood up and started to pace across the patio deck ranting and shouting at him for a few minutes. Scott surrendered to her berating till she sat down next to him again.
"Are you calm now?" He asked sincerely.
She reached out with her hand and smacked him hard on the cheek. Then crying she hugged her friend tightly and sobbed in his ear, "Don't ever do that again." She warned. "I don't want to lose you, not now, not ever."
Scott squeezed her back and whispered quietly in her ear, "You don't have to worry. I'm not going anywhere. Now will you let me explain."
Shelia regained her composure and leaned back in her chair and looked at him expectedly.
Scott rubbed his face where a handprint was clearly visible. Looking over at his parents, he winced as they started laughing.
"You know what Scott." Richard asked. "I don't think you should upset her again. She's a feisty one."
"Thank you." Shelia interjected.
Yulonda didn't say anything but she reached over and lightly caressed the red head's hand. Shelia gave her a grin and punched Scott in the shoulder.
"I've been thinking about things." Scott held up his hand and cut Shelia off from saying something. "This is serious."
Shelia closed her mouth and brought the cookie to her lips.
"I went to Garet's house today. I met a cop there who told me that Garet's death might have been murder."
"Oh." Yulonda let out as she glanced towards the patio doors to assure herself that Joshua was still asleep in the bedroom. "That poor kid."
"Why do they think that son?" Asked Richard as he tapped out his pipe.
"The heroin was laced with something. Garet didn't overdose, the drugs killed him." Scott explained as a tear fell down his cheek. "They think it might have been intentional."
"That's horrible." Yulonda said with a frown. "Who would do such a thing?"
Scott leaned back in his chair and frowned deeply. "They think that his supplier did it."
"What would be the purpose of that?" Richard asked as he sucked on an empty pipe. "Did Garet have any enemies?"
Shaking his head, Scott replied, "No, Garet was harmless."
Shelia was watching Scott intently, she figured he was leaving something out but she kept it to herself. She did file it away in the back of her mind for later.
"Do they know who his supplier was?" Richard asked.
"They're still investigating the possibilities. They want me to go down and answer some questions after the funeral."
"That's good, maybe you can help them out and put the people responsible in jail." Yulonda stated fiercely.
Changing the subject, Scott asked, "How's Joshua doing?"
A look of sorrow came over Yulonda's face as she said, "As good as can be expected. He doesn't really know what's going on. We're not sure if he needs to go tomorrow."
Scott looked at them questionably; "Do you think that's best? Maybe he needs to be there, maybe he won't understand now but later on he will. He might regret it and hold it against you when he's older." Scott mused.
"We'll decide in the morning." Richard said as he clasped his wife's hand. Looking at his son, he continued, "I'm sure the two of you need to talk, so we'll go and check on Joshua."
Shelia said, "Thank you."
Scott waited for his parents to close the door before reaching for his cigarettes. Lighting one up, he offered one to Shelia.
"No thanks. Now, why don't you tell me what really happened today." She demanded.
"I was going through Garet's things and I found this." He motioned to the notebook by his side. "It's Garet's journal or diary. Anyway, I know who was giving drugs to him."
"Our manager, Rick. The same guy who was giving it to me." Scott stated with a hint of anger.
Shelia's green eyes widened and she asked, "Do you think he did it on purpose?"
"No, I don't. What would be the point to kill off a member of his most successful band." Scott answered as his brow was creased in thought. "The only thing I can think of, either Garet bought some from another dealer, or Rick just bought bad drugs."
"What are you going to tell the police?" Shelia asked as she reached over for one of Scott's cigarettes.
"I'm not sure yet. I think I need to talk to Rick first."
Smacking her head, Shelia said, "I forgot to tell you. Greg's called like a million times today. He demands that you talk to him as soon as possible."
Scott's face flashed in anger. "I've got some things to discuss with him too. Like why in the fuck is he putting out videos without my permission? And just where the fuck has he been the last couple of days. I haven't seen him or Garion since I left the hospital."
"I told them about the funeral tomorrow. They should be there." Shelia informed him.
Tossing his cigarette in the ashtray, Scott declared, "Good."
"Maybe you should talk to him before the funeral." Shelia offered.
"I guess that would be better. How would it look if we started fighting during the funeral?" Scott added.
"Do you have his number?"
"Yea, it's inside. Let me go it."
GREG'S HOTEL, STOCKTON, CA
Greg was pacing back and forth across the hotel room. Garion and Rick were busy watching MTV. Greg was muttering loudly to no one in particular. A trail of smoke followed the long blond hair drummer.
"Will you sit down?" Rick demanded.
"Where the fuck is Scott hiding?" Greg shouted. "We have things to discuss."
Garion was looking at the two men as he brushed his blue hair. Garion's eyes were puffy and dark. Since the news of Garet's death, he had trouble sleeping. For the last couple of days, he had been existing in a permanent fog.
Rick stood up angrily, "I'm sick of you're bitching. Garet's dead and all you can think about is you're fucking career."
Greg stood nose to nose with his manager. Through his sneer he yelled, "He wouldn't be dead if you wouldn't have given him that shit."
"Fuck you." Rick spat. "Don't blame this on me."
"Who should I blame it on?" Greg demanded.
Garion yelled above the two men, "Don't you even care he's dead."
"Of course I care." Greg spat. "Now we have to find another guitar player and teach him all the songs to finish the tour."
"You fucking asshole." Garion stated through clenched teeth.
Garion stood up and stormed out of the room. Greg threw his hands in the air and glared at Rick. "What the fuck are we going to do now?"
Rick rubbed his hands through his black hair. "We can talk about this after the funeral."
The ringing of the phone interrupted the argument. Greg picked up the phone and said, "Hello."
"Greg, it's me."
"Where the fuck have you been?" Greg yelled into the phone.
"Fuck you." Scott shouted back.
"Where are you?" Greg demanded. "You need to get your ass over here."
"I don't think so." Scott declared. "It wouldn't be very good idea if I did that."
"We have things to attend too." Greg said as he took a deep breath trying to calm down. "We have to release a statement, find another guitar player."
"Another guitar player?" Scott said in amazement. "One of our closest friends died and all you can think about is replacing him."
"Some one has to think about the band." Greg said defensively. "Between you're medical problems and Garet getting himself killed, I'm the only one who has kept this band on the right track."
"Greg, you inconsiderate asshole." Scott spat. "While I was in the hospital fighting for my life, you released a single to cash in on the publicity."
"Rick and I thought..."
"Fuck Rick. Is he there now?" Greg asked.
"Yea, you need to come over here. There are things I need you to do." Greg stated.
"It's over Greg." Scott informed. "I fucking quit."
"You're just gonna quit." Greg shouted.
Rick stood up and grabbed the phone from Greg's hand. Shoving Greg out of the way, Rick said, "Scott, its Rick. Why don't you come over here? We have lots of things to discuss."
"Its too late. I quit. I don't want to be in a band like this. Does Greg even care that Garet's dead?"
"Scott, this is an emotional time for us all." Rick explained in a calm tone. "But you can't quit."
"And why not?"
"You have a contract with me. You just can't quit, I own you." Rick reminded him.
"Oh really." Scott said sarcastically.
"Yea, you'll do what I say." Rick stated as Greg shouted his agreement in the background.
Scott changed the subject; "The police talked to me today."
"What's that have to do with anything?"
"They're going to say after the funeral that Garet's death was murder."
"What?" Rick asked as he sat down.
"What's he saying?" Begged Greg.
"Yea, its seems that the heroin was laced with something. He didn't die from an overdose, the cops think someone gave him bad drugs on purpose." Scott explained with a smile on his face.
"Oh shit." Rick whispered.
"Yea, no shit. They asked me if I knew who his supplier was. I told them I didn't know but when they asked me who was giving me my drugs. Well..."
"Did you tell them?" Rick demanded.
"No, I wanted to talk to you first." Scott answered bleakly. "But since you won't let me quit, I might have to tell them who was giving me the drugs. Do you think it would take them a long time to figure out who was giving Garet drugs? Do you?" Spat Scott.
"Let's talk about this." Rick implored.
"What the fuck is he saying?" Greg demanded loudly.
"Shut up Greg." Rick exclaimed. Softer, he asked into the phone, "What do you want Scott?"
"I want out of my contract. You can keep the rights to any Zylvan songs that are published. You can keep the name of Zylvan, all I want is to be free and clear of you." Scott ticked off the items on his fingers. "No returning any money, I walk away debt free of you."
"If I do this, you won't tell the police that I was you're supplier." Rick asked.
"I promise, I won't tell them anything." Scott stated.
"Deal, you'll have the paperwork tomorrow." Rick promised.
"I want those papers before the funeral, or I will go to the police right after." Scott threatened.
"You have my word." Rick stated again.
"Thank you, see you tomorrow." Scott said as he slammed down the phone.
"What the fuck was that all about?" Greg asked again.
Rick put the phone down calmly. Leaning back into the chair he said, "I'm releasing Scott from his contract."
"What?" Exclaimed Greg.
"Don't worry." Rick replied. "He's leaving with nothing. I still own the rights to the band and all its songs. Looks like you've finally got control of the band."
Notes: As always, you may contact me at Wolfflyer26@Yahoo.com. All emails will be answered promptly. Why am I so Scared is an original poem.
Copyright©2002 Glacier Boy