DISCLAIMER: This story is fiction and all references of celebrities are made with the up-most respect to their actual lives. Please do not remove from this site without first obtaining permission of the author.
LIKE THE RAIN
CHAPTER ELEVEN: A SAYING GOODBYE
LODI CALIFORNIA, GARET'S FUNERAL
"Hi I'm Kurt Loder with MTV News Update." The voice from the TV slowly brought Scott Taylor back to reality. He had slept in stolen moments, the whole night mourning for his lost friend.
His gray eyes that normally had so much life, where red and puffy. Dark circles under his eyes told the tale of the blond singer.
He was sitting in a chair thinking, not really paying attention to the TV but the news update roused him from his brooding.
"It's a sad day for fans of Zylvan. On this cloudy day in Lodi, Garet Black, former lead guitarist of the alternative band Zylvan, will be laid to rest in his hometown of Lodi, California. Where late last week he succumbed to an overdose from what his manager is calling a severe addiction to heroin."
"Zylvan's first major record release was eerily entitled See You on the Other Side, and showed the future promise of the band. With such singles as Liquid Sky and the voyeuristic In My Dreams proved that the foursome had not only mesmerizing guitar rifts and heavy drum beats but also melodic sound that brings back memories of Queensryche and their Operation Mindcrime record in the late eighties."
"Greg Taylor told us in an exclusive interview yesterday that the band is uncertain of their future and for the moment they have no plans of replacing the black hair guitar player. The remaining members of the band will be on hand for the funeral as well as members of the band Menace to Sobriety to pay tribute to the fallen axe slinger."
"We are told that lead singer, Scott Taylor, will announce a foundation named in Garet's honor for the education and prevention of illegal narcotics for America's youth."
"Fans have been pouring into the Lodi area to pay final respects to Garet Black in his hometown. Representatives of the Black family urge the fans to maintain order out of the memory of Garet. Garet Black is survived by his six-year-old brother Joshua Black and his estranged father."
"We will bring you the highlights from Lodi later today right here on MTV News. I'm Kurt Loder and you have been watching MTV News."
Scott sadly shook his head; Garet wouldn't even be able to rest in peace. Scott stood up and stretched, trying to clear his head. After managing the release from his contract the night before, the feeling of victory vanished and was replaced with a deep sorrow that chilled his soul.
He stepped in front of the mirror and gazed intently at his lean form. The addiction to heroin had left his body pale and worn. After two weeks of sobriety, he had slowly gained weight and his body no longer looked so haggard and drawn.
There were no scars to show on his smooth body but they were there none the less. No amount of eating or exercising could erase the damage that scared his soul. He sighed loudly as he rubbed his hands over his short hair. Still he had no memory of cutting his precious locks, but the look started growing on him. It was as if an entire new Scott was looking back at him in the mirror. His long hair represented the past mistakes and the pain that ate him from within. Now, his shorter hair represented the new lease on life, another beginning of his evolving journey.
His hotel room door opened and a smile broke out across his tired face as Shelia Seine breezed into the room.
"Good morning tiger." She said sweetly as she softly kissed his freshly shaven cheek. "You look like shit, how you holding up?"
Scott looked at her with his weary eyes and replied; "I'm okay. I'll be glad when this day is over."
"I'm sorry sweetie, I wish there was some way I could help."
"I know." Scott smiled. "What time is it?"
"It's almost eleven." The red head answered as she grabbed one of his cigarettes from the nightstand. "We have to leave in twenty minutes."
Scott remembered the promise that Rick had given him the night before. He had under an hour to produce the paperwork or Scott would be forced to go to the police with his information.
Scott looked at her and said, "I got to get ready."
She looked at his half-naked form and smiled wickedly, "Oh, and I thought you were going like that."
"Be serious Shelia." Scott retorted with a grin. "I'm gay remember."
"Boy do I remember." Shelia said offhandedly.
"I need to take a shower, can you do me a favor." Scott asked as he grabbed some boxers from his suitcase.
"You need me to wash your back." Shelia teased.
Scott gave her a glare and said, "No, I'm expected some papers from Rick and while I'm in the shower, can you wait for them here?"
Shelia's smile quickly turned into a frown. She had thought they settled that argument last night. After Scott hung up the phone with Rick, Shelia had told him what she thought about the deal he had made with Rick in no uncertain terms.
"I can't believe your letting that asshole off just so you can break your contract." Shelia stated disapprovingly.
"Let's not start that again." Scott glared. "Can you please do this for me without arguing. Please."
Shelia studied her friend for a moment before answering, "If you can look me in the eye and tell me that you're completely okay with this whole deal, then I will."
Scott stood right in her face and stated evenly, "I'm completely, without a doubt, okay with this whole thing."
"You cold heartless bastard." Shelia muttered.
Scott nodded grimly and entered the bathroom. She sat down on the bed and waited for him to finish getting ready. It didn't take Scott long to shower and dress. After choosing a pair of faded brown leather pants and a white fitted T, he sat down next to his dearest friend and simply looked at her.
"What?" She said irritably.
"Shelia, please trust me. I'm doing the only thing I can think of to do. I must cover my ass on this one." Scott tried to explain.
Shelia shook her head sadly, "Every time you comprise your beliefs it just gets easier the next time till you have no more beliefs and you just flow with anything."
"I hope you'll understand one day why I'm doing this." Scott whispered.
A knock on the door interrupted the two friends, Scott opened the door and found Rick standing there holding an envelope.
"Finally." Scott exclaimed.
"Here, I hope everything is like we agreed." Rick said in an arrogant manner.
Scott opened the envelope and read the papers. Rick stood in silence and tried to ignore the glares from the red head sitting on the bed.
Finally, Scott smiled and grabbed a pen. "Everything is perfect." Scott signed the papers and grabbed his copy and handed the rest to Rick.
Rick grabbed the papers and quickly left the room. Scott sighed loudly and looked at Shelia who had switched her stare from Rick and was now giving him the evil eye.
"Let's go to the funeral." Scott said in defeat.
Shelia slowly stood up and hand in hand they walked to the car that was waiting for them. At the car they ran into Scott's parents who were holding a crying Joshua closely.
LANCE'S RENTAL CAR
"Jesus Christ Justin, quit fidgeting, we're almost there." Lance stated for the hundredth time since leaving LA the night before.
"I just don't want to be late." Justin moaned more from lack of sleep than anything else.
"We won't be late, it's not even noon yet." Lance explained again in his deep southern drawl.
Justin adjusted his black tie in his nervousness. He looked tired, his blue eyes puffy and bloodshot. His short brown hair was damped with sweat from being in the confines of a car for fourteen hours. His black pants were a bit wrinkled and he didn't even want to see the state his white shirt was in.
He looked at his friend who had driven the entire way. Somehow he looked refreshed, like he just put his clothes on minutes earlier. Justin was a bit jealous at the manner in which Lance always carried himself.
Both young men were dressed similar. Both wearing black suits out of respect, but somehow Lance looked better in his than Justin did.
"What?" Justin started to say but was cut off by Lance; "It doesn't start to twelve-thirty. We'll make it."
Justin gave Lance a weak grin, "That pisses me off."
"What does?" Lance asked as he concentrated on his weaving in and out of traffic in the light rain.
"That you always know what I'm going to say before I say it." Justin complained.
Lance chuckled. "It's no special feat."
Justin looked at his friend sideways. "What do you mean?"
"You are an easy person to read." Lance explained. "You wear your emotions so close to the surface. Anyone could pick up what you're thinking."
"Besides, I've been around you so long I know you like a book." Lance admitted with a grin. "Even though it's a really short book."
Justin grinned. "But at least it's not boring."
"Nope, it's never been boring that's for sure." Lance agreed.
Justin peered out the window lost in thought. After what seemed like forever, he was going to finally see the man that haunted his thoughts.
He had given up on trying to identify the one thing about the singer that enchanted him. At their first meeting, it was the haunting look in the stormy gray eyes that drew him to the man. Then it was his smile, a smile that opened up the hardened features even if it was just for a brief moment.
Then little by little it was the way Scott looked at him. Almost as if Justin was the only thing that seemed real to the troubled singer. Like a drowning man holds on tightly to the hope that somehow he would learn to breathe underwater, that was the way Scott looked at Justin.
Then it was the way Scott looked at him through his drug-induced declaration at the MTV music awards. A man lost in the clutches of heroin but somehow maintaining a hope that Justin could save him. Something that Justin knew he could never do, only Scott could save himself.
Now, Justin wondered what kind of look he would get today. An angry look, a sad mournful look from the loss of his friend and bandmate, or look that showed promise of an uncertain future that the two good share together.
Justin couldn't explain the bond he felt with the tall singer. He couldn't explain the reason that Scott crept into his thoughts daily. During recording sessions, during his meals, or late at night when Justin was alone with nothing but a memory of a man that affected his life in a way no one else had ever managed.
He could no longer live with the uncertainty of a maybe. He had to know and this trip was his way of confronting his own fears and doubts. No matter what happened this day, Justin would finally have all the answers.
Lance invaded his solace. "Justin, are you okay?"
Justin turned his attention back to Lance. "Yea, just thinking."
Lance could read Justin like a book. While Justin was involved in his own thoughts, Lance was worrying about the same things as his friend.
He knew that Justin had to see Scott again. If even to realize that they could never be together. It was closure that Justin so desperately needed before the singer could move on with his life.
Lance stated softly, "Don't worry, it will all work out. It always does."
"Easy for you say." Justin quipped. "Your not obsessed with him."
"Thank god, I would hate to have to fight you for him." Lance replied lightheartedly. "Besides, I don't think you could take losing to little ole me."
"In your dreams." Justin laughed. "How much further."
Lance didn't answer but simply pointed at a sign. Lodi was the next exit. Justin sat in silence for the reminder of the drive.
As they approached the cemetery, Justin was amazed at the crowd that had gathered in memory of Garet Black. Hundreds of people, possibly thousands had gathered outside the cemetery to honor the guitar player.
Signs were being held up and there were many in the crowd that were playing Zylvan's songs. Justin whistled in amazement, not even the rain would keep them away.
The rain was coming down harder now as they pulled up to the front gate. Once Lance made himself known to the security guards, they quickly gained access. Already the cemetery was full and they had to park quite a ways from the huge tent that they had erected.
After parking the car, both men tried to make themselves as presentable as possible after driving all night without sleep. As soon as Justin was satisfied, they walked towards the tent at a brisk walk.
By the time they reached the safety of the tent, both men were quite wet, as they didn't think to bring an umbrella with them.
They found seats near the back and scanned the crowd. They saw many musicians that they knew and a few movie stars. Not only was MTV present, but almost every other major network had a camera stationed somewhere in the tent.
On the dais, a single wooden desk was sat in center stage. On the desk was a simple gold urn that held Garet's ashes. Flowers dotted the stage and the entire tent was surrounded as a true testament of the outpouring of love that the guitar player received.
Not long after they took their seats, Scott walked out on the dais with a red head woman on his arm, followed by two people that Justin could only assume were his parents. Scott's parents were walking with a little boy in between them as they took their seats to one side of the stage.
Justin peered intently at Scott. He had cut his hair and he looked a bit healthier than the last time Justin had seen him. Scott had a determined look on his face and his shoulders were thrown back showing false bravery to the cameras. Justin noticed that the other two members of the band were hanging back far from the blond singer. He silently wondered about the reasoning for that.
Lance whispered, "Breathe Justin."
Justin glanced at his friend and smiled sheepishly as he realized that he had been holding his breath while he stared at the man who dominated his thoughts.
"He looks so different." Justin commented softly.
"Do you see that red head next to him?" Questioned Lance.
"That's Shelia Seine, she was in that movie last year with Leonardo DiCaprio." Lance informed Justin. "She's beautiful isn't she."
Justin smiled and said, "Maybe Scott can introduce you to her."
Lance thought about it, running it over in his mind. Then, "I think she's with Leo now or at least that's the rumor's I hear."
"You know all about rumors." Justin said absently as he watched a tall man approach the makeshift podium.
Justin assumed that the man was the Black's minister. He listened as the man began to speak nervously in front of the cameras and microphones that were trained on him.
"Ladies and gentlemen, friends and family. We are gathered together today in remembrance of our friend, Garet Black."
"Due to the public nature of Garet's life," The minister stated as he motioned to all the cameras around him. "We understand the interest, but out of respect please refrain from any outcry and treat Garet's memory with respect."
The minister paused for affect before speaking in a clear voice, "I knew Garet for all of his short life on this earth. I remember the day of his christening; he screamed bloody murder all during the entire ceremony. Little did I know, that quest for having the center of attention would follow him for his entire adult life."
"Garet Black was a man that I consider lucky to have known. His life wasn't always easy but he somehow managed to keep his outlook in perspective. Coming from where he did, it never ceased to amaze me how tireless he cared for his younger brother and ailing mother. He lived a life that was selfless and freely gave of his time and money so that his mother and brother could live in a comfortable manner. Mrs. Black told me stories of him, how he would send all the money he made on tour home for them."
The minister's eyes started tearing up but he bravely continued, "With the circumstances of his death, it falls on our heads to understand the life he choose to live and his death."
"I could stand up here and judge his life, condemning him for his use of drugs. Or I can say words of anger at the people around him that felicitated his addiction. But that's not my place and I'm not the judge. No, today we remember a friend, a brother, a bandmate, and for others a talented musician." The minister bowed his head and led the congregation in prayer.
After the prayer, many friends of the family spoke of their memories that Garet had left them. In a tear stricken plea, Joshua stood up and said how much he missed his brother and mother and about how angry he was at all the bad people who made drugs and sold them.
Through out the funeral, Justin could not stop fidgeting in his seat. Several times Lance smacked him discretely to sit still like you would a small child. Justin took a deep breath when Scott approached the podium.
Scott stood there motionless for a moment before saying, "Friends, family, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for coming. And to all those watching." He motioned to the cameras. "Thank you for your prayers and support at this time. I would like to say extra thanks to all the fans who have written letters and sent flowers, on be-half of Zylvan and Garet, we thank you."
"Today I am speaking to you with a heavy heart. Not only did my bandmate pass away, but also one of my dearest friends. I've known Garet for many years and I can say without exaggeration that my life has been made richer from his friendship."
"Not only was Garet a great musician, he also was a great person. You've heard many things about his generosity and his loyalty to his family. But I would like to tell you a story that you might not have heard."
Scott paused to wipe away the tears that were flowing down his face before continuing, "Two years ago, right after our record started taking off, Garet and I took advantage of a night off by going to a little park outside of some small town in Washington."
"You know the kind, has a few swing-sets, a merry-go-round, some see-saws. He had brought a bottle of wine, the kind in those big jug bottles." Scott informed the audience with a grin.
"As we drank the bottle of wine, we played like two little kids without any care in the world. We spun ourselves sick on the merry-go-round; we broke each other's tailbones on the seesaw. Just laughing and enjoying the night and the cheap wine."
Lance looked over at Justin and had to smile. Justin was completely entranced by the blond singer; his eyes focused on the stern features.
"After a while, we sat down on the swings, as we passed the jug back and forth, Garet confided in me. All his fears, and his dreams. He asked me a question that I will never forget."
Scott paused for effect but saying, "After I'm gone, do you think anyone will remember me or my music?"
"I told him that together, we'd make a mark on music that won't be soon forgotten. In my naiveté, I thought the two of us were invincible. You see, Garet left this earth too soon. He left us at the beginning of a career that could've spanned a lifetime."
Scott gripped the podium tightly, "He was such a great guitar player but he never realized how truly talented he was. Almost every night I would see sweating and throwing up before taking the stage. He was so petrified that he was going to screw up or freak out and make of fool of himself or us."
"He told me of his stage fright that night. And he told that after he got out on stage and his fingers found the chords, all his fears vanished. He told me that he would be a better person if he could be on-stage twenty-fours hours a day. We all know he did wonders on stage, for any who saw him play can testify to that." Scott choked and then quickly regained his composure.
"I guess what I'm trying to say is this, Garet asked us if he will be remembered. I say yes, to me I will never forget his friendship or the music we made together. To the fans, they'll never forget his blistering guitar riffs or his flamboyant stage presence." Scott turned around to look at Joshua who was trying desperately not to cry. "And for a brother, he will always remember the times that Garet played with him. All the times Garet held him tightly and said he loved him."
"But what of the rest of the world." Scott said as he looked over the crowd before resting his eyes directly into the camera. "What of the thousands that are oblivious of this sad day? What of them?"
Scott sniffled and then continued in a strong steady voice, "That is why I would like to announce to the world, the Garet Black Foundation. In Garet's honor, this foundation will raise money for education and prevention of drug use in our teens. It is our hope that counseling centers can be opened free of charge to the public. There in these centers we will try to help drug addicts kick their habits and teach them how to become functioning members of society through education and lots of love and support."
The crowd erupted in cheers and applause. Justin could not help but feel moved and a tear snaked down his cheek as he applauded. Lance was already two-steps ahead and was planning how he could use his influence to contribute and help the foundation.
Scott continued when silence was returned, "I think Garet would be most proud of this legacy. I think he would approve. As for me, I can only say that I love him and I will feel the lose for many years to come as I'm sure many of his fans will feel the same."
Walking over to his guitar, Scott sat down on a stool. Pulling a microphone closer, he started playing a haunting melody.
Speaking softly so as the crowd had to strain to hear him, he began, "I know it's not proper to bring this up at his funeral but I have too."
Continuing playing, the singer raised his voice, "By now everyone knows the circumstances surrounding his death and they know of my own addictions. I found a personal notebook of Garet's and I read something in there that broke my heart. He wrote a poem and one of his lines in that poem was misery likes company. As I read that I became increasingly angry. Angry at myself for being so absorbed that I never knew about his own problems. Angry at the person that gave him the drugs. Angry at him for hiding this pain from me. Angry at him for dying. But most of all I was angry at God for taking him from me."
"I know now that my anger is misplaced. I wrote this song out of memory for him. I wrote this song to remind myself that the person's responsible need justice." Scott almost whispered.
Softly Scott began to sing.
Misery likes company, You liked the way that sounds
I've been trying to find the meaning,
So I can write it down
Staring out the window, its such a long way down
I'd like to jump, but I'm afraid to hit the ground
I can't write a love song the way I feel today
I can't sing no song of hope, I got nothing to say
Life is feeling kind of strange, since you went away
I sing this song to you wherever you are
As your guitar lies bleeding in my arms
I'm tired of watching you die, it makes me want to scream
But I know the drugs were burning, man it's so hard to believe
Each day you know you're hurting
From the needle to your vein
I get so numb sometimes, that I can't feel the pain
I can't write a love song the way I feel today
I can't sing no song of hope, I got nothing to say
The drugs I know were burning, burning in your veins
I send this song to you wherever you are
As your guitar lies bleeding in my arms
Staring at the paper, I don't know what to write
I'll have my last cigarette-well, turn out the lights
Maybe tomorrow, I'll feel a different way
But here in my delusion, I don't know what to say
I can't write a love song, the way I feel today
I can't sing no song of hope, I've got nothing to say
Life is feeling really sad, since you went away
I send this song to you wherever you are
As your guitar lies bleeding
I can't write a love song, the way I feel today
I can't sing no song of hope, and I won't allow you to be saved
You thought you'd get away with it but I've got knowledge
In my brains
And I send this song to you wherever you are
You made his guitar bleed in my arms
You'll pay for his guitar bleeding in my arms
Scott's voice faded out and a silence came over the crowd. He calmly set the guitar down and walked off-stage leaving a stunned audience. Justin looked at Lance who was rubbing his cheek thoughtfully.
Justin whispered, "What did he mean by that last part? Who'll pay?"
Lance replied softly, as his eyes scanned the crowd, "He knows something."
Lance saw the two other members of Zylvan whispering frantically together on the stage while a man he didn't know rushed after Scott.
"Justin, look." Lance pointed. "That man didn't like the song at all."
Justin saw the man grab Scott's arm and pull him behind a large tombstone about twenty yards from the pavilion. Justin strained to see through the falling rain but the tombstone abstracted his view.
The minister started speaking again but Justin wasn't paying attention. The whole time he continued to stare at the spot he had last seen Scott.
A few minutes went by and Justin shook Lance again. A policeman was walking towards the tombstone with a grim look on his face.
Scott tried to contain his anger as he faced Rick, "Fuck you."
"We had a deal Scott." Rick said harshly. "You promised me you wouldn't say anything."
"Did you think I would let you get away with killing him?" Scott spat out as the policeman walked up to him.
Rick's face went from a bright red to pale when he saw the policeman standing behind Scott. "I didn't know the drugs were bad." He stammered as the policeman frowned at him.
The policeman read the manager his rights as he handcuffed him with a smiling Scott beside him.
"It doesn't matter if you knew or not. You were slowly killing him just as you were slowly killing me." Scott whispered in his ear. "Justice came for you today Rick. Face it like a man."
Rick screamed out as he was hauled away, "I'll get you for this Scott. You'll never work in this town again. You'll pay for this."
Scott replied softly, "Yea, but you'll pay first."
Scott turned and peeked around the tombstone. Seeing everyone's head bowed, he knew the end of the service had arrived. Scanning the crowd, his mouth dropped opened.
"What the fuck are you doing here?" He stated as he saw that wonderful face that had invaded his comma dream.
I can be contacted atWolfflyer26@Yahoo.com Lyrics copyrighted and owned by Bon Jovi. Alternate lyrics are done out of respect
Copyright©2002 Glacier Boy