DISCLAIMER: This story has male/male relationships and deals with a fictionalize account of actual celebrities. My intent is to entertain and not to imply that anyone is gay. Please don't remove this without permission from the author.
Accept one simple truth, that maybe you've been brainwashed too. Gregg Alexander
LIKE THE RAIN
CHAPTER TWELVE: THE ROAD AHEAD
Scott Taylor quickly hid behind the archaic tombstone. The rain was falling in his eyes, soaking his shirt, the cotton clinging to his body like a glove. His short blond hair was plastered to his head from the rain, and he absently brushed the drops from his eyes.
Trying to control his breathing, he wondered about the man that he had seen standing almost in the backrow. Dressed appropriately in a dark suit, he looked every bit like the angel that saved him in his dreams. Even the downcast stance he was in while the minister ended the service with a prayer was the same from his vision.
What was he doing here, he wondered for the hundredth time as he leaned against the cold stone? The leather he wore creaked as he slipped down, wrapping his arms around his knees in a fetal position.
Not only was he surprised, but he was scared also. That face that haunted him for so many months, dogging his dreams with a sense of hope. The one person that he had built a safety net around his fragile state of mind. For so many months he had blindly held on to the singer. Now he would have to face him. And he was petrified.
Question's shot through his head making him lightheaded and confused. What was he doing here? He barely knew Garet Black or his family. Was it something that musicians did? Did they all band together when one of them fell? Questions without answers. The only way to end the questions was to walk back over to him and ask them.
But fear gripped him tightly; he looked up and shivered as the rain fell on him. In his elation of seeing Rick hauled away, he had forgotten that he was standing out in the rain. Now some of his old fears struck and he was paralyzed by them. He felt a panic attack grip him, and he shut his eyes to block out the pain.
As the realization hit him, he knew that he had a long way to go before he fully recovered from his demons and his past. So he stayed there, tears falling down his face, soaked from the rain.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
As the minister ended his prayer, Justin opened his eyes and immediately looked over towards the last place he had seen Scott standing. Not seeing anything, his face narrowed and he peered at Lance.
"What do you think he's doing over there?" He asked quietly as the crowd began dispersing.
"Maybe he's saying goodbye in his own way." Lance offered in his deep voice as he absently stared at Shelia Seine talking to the minister.
She was dressed in a flowing black dress, tasteful but yet still stunning. The dressed hugged her in all the right places and she carried herself gracefully as she bent over and kissed the minister's cheek.
"She's beautiful." Lance whispered over to Justin who only grunted in reply. "I'm going to meet her." Lance declared as he made his way towards the front where Shelia was thanking the guests.
"I'm going to find Scott." Justin stated at Lance's retreating back. Lance turned briefly and smiled, "Good luck."
"You too." Justin replied as he walked towards the tombstone that Scott had disappeared behind.
As he walked into the rain, he wished for an umbrella again. Thinking that this suit was ruined by now, he shook his head to clear his mind. Who cares about suits today of all days?
As he approached the side of the tombstone, he could hear whimpering. He paused. Am I ready to do this? Is he ready for me to do this? If I walk away now I'll never know. These things flashed through his mind in the second he paused. Taking a deep breath he turned the corner and saw him.
He let his eyes peer over the form of Scott before speaking. Scott looked different than the last time he saw him at the MTV awards show. For one his hair was shorter, clean. He had gained most of the weight back that he lost during his heroin ordeal, and his body was lean but healthy looking.
When Justin saw him on stage earlier, he had a look of determination on his face. Now, Justin could see the turmoil in those stormy eyes as Scott lifted his head and met Justin's cobalt blue eyes.
Justin wished he could read the expression that fell over the masculine face, but he spoke anyway, "Hi."
For a second, Scott stared at the man before him. His eyes almost shut, as if he was making sure Justin was real. Finally, his eyes flashed with something other than pain, and he spoke softly, "Hi."
Justin saw something else in those eyes, smiling, he said, "Did you know you're all wet?"
Looking down at himself, Scott answered with a shrug. Okay, Justin thought, not a time for joking I see. Trying another approach, he offered, "I want to say how sad I am for your loss."
"Thank you." Scott said, looking up again. "Thank you for coming. I wanted to talk to you again."
Justin had to fight down his excitement. Keeping his features neutral, he said, "I've been waiting to talk to you too. I don't know if this is a really good time but..."
Scott looked off in the stormy haze. Justin could see a battle raging inside the tormented singer. He didn't realize that he was holding his breath until Scott said with a small grin, "No, I think now is the best time to talk."
Holding out a wet hand, Justin offered to help him up. Gripping his hand tightly, Scott hauled himself to his feet. "Thank you. Want to walk?"
"Sure," Justin stated, his eyes widening at the remembrance of the last time they walked together in the rain so many months ago.
Hoping it wouldn't be a repeat of that experience; Justin fell in beside Scott. Side by side they started walking away from the service.
"What did you want to talk about?" Justin asked.
Giving a weak smile, Scott answered, "Well, for one. I want to apologize for causing such a scene the last time I saw you."
"Don't worry about it. That was ages ago."
"I feel bad. Inadvertently, I started the fight that ended Nsync."
"It was a favor trust me." Justin admonished with a grin. "I've never been happier than right now."
Scott's face lit up. "Really?"
"Yea, don't think about it. Everyone is happy actually. The rest of the guys have their own lives and career's. And I'm putting out a solo album soon."
"That's good. I've always felt responsible. And I know about Jc and everything. I just thought you might be a bit pissed at me for that." Scott said casually, but he was having trouble controlling the emotions that welled up inside him.
"It was for the best trust me." Justin answered as he smiled. Absently brushing the rain from his brow Scott asked, "When are you releasing your new album?"
"After I get back to LA, I have one more song to finish. It should be out in a few months." Justin said.
"No offense, but will it be like Jc's record?" Scott asked, looking at Justin for the first time since they started walking.
"You mean another rip off of Nsync?" Justin laughed. "No. I wrote all the songs on the album and played guitar or piano on each track as well."
"Most of the songs have a rock groove, a soft rock groove but miles away from the pop songs I'm known for. I won't be a puppet dancing on strings that's for sure." Justin said a bit more forceful than he intended.
"That's good. You were always better than re-filtered tunes from other people." Scott said honestly. "I never liked your music before."
"I'm not surprised." Justin laughed. "Most angst ridden singers don't get into poppy love songs now do they."
"I guess not." Scott said with a smile. He was starting to loosen up around Justin. That surprised him. Going with the feeling, he said, "Have you been in LA long?"
"Only a week or so." Justin said as he dodged an abnormally large tombstone that hung over the path. "My first record label wanted to dump me so Lance signed me to his own label. We're finishing the record in LA."
"Lance, from your band?" Scott asked.
"Yea, he started Freelance Productions while we were still together. He has a few artists signed." Justin explained. "For some reason he wanted me bad enough to buy out my contract."
"Maybe cause he saw something he liked." Scott said with a grin. "If anyone knows you have talent it would be him."
"Maybe." Justin mused. "Or maybe he just wanted to help out a friend."
Scott shook his head his eyes growing misty. Justin immediately saw the change and silently cursed himself for bringing up friends.
"I had the opportunity to help a friend once, and I didn't." Scott said softly as he paused before a large angel tombstone.
"I'm sorry Scott. I know what you must being going through right now." Justin said honestly as he faced the blond singer.
"You don't know the half of it."
"No, but I can understand."
Scott smiled at him. For the first time ever, Justin saw a real smile from the brooding singer. The smile lit up his face like the dawn of the first day of creation.
"What?" Justin asked.
"In the end, I did the right thing." Scott said with a laugh. "Want to hear about it?"
"Come, let's walk some more." Scott said grabbing the singer looping his arm in his as they started walking.
Justin waited, loving the feeling of Scott's arm on his own. When Scott didn't remove his arm, Justin gripped the arm tighter and smiled broadly.
"How much do you know about the last few weeks events." Scott asked.
"I know you checked into rehab." Justin offered, trying to avoid the mention of Garet.
"Yea, I guess it was no surprise to you that I was a heroin junkie huh." Scott smiled warmly.
"Not really. I kind of figured that out last time." Justin returned the smile.
"My manager was the one who gave it to me." Scott explained.
Justin thought back to the days with Lou and knew the extent a manager would go through to keep his stars happy and oblivious to everything else around him.
"I've been to that movie."
"He also was the one supplying Garet with his fix." Scott said evenly, trying not to let his emotions get away from him in front of Justin. He had already put the young man through too much.
Shaking his head, Justin nodded. Urging him to continue at his own pace.
"After today, the police are going to open a murder investigation peering into his death." Scott said, his gray eyes flashing in the rain. "Against my former manager."
"They think your manager murdered him?" Justin exclaimed loudly.
"The drugs were tainted with something. Garet didn't overdose, the heroin literally killed him." Scott explained his voice rough with emotion. "They're going to decide if Rick had any knowledge of this before hand."
"Wow, what do you think?"
"Rick wouldn't kill him. But at least he'll be charged with criminal negligence and an accessory after the fact." Scott stated venomously. "It's the least that asshole deserves after what he did to both of us."
Justin tried to process everything Scott had told him. He tried to change his earlier assessment of Scott's attitude. The singer was stronger than he looked up on the stage.
Suddenly he realized what the song was about, "That song you sang today was about Rick wasn't it."
"Yep, I wanted him to know that he wouldn't get away with what he done to either of us." Scott said. "Want to hear the funny thing?"
"I'm not sure, but go ahead."
"Last night, I promised Rick that I wouldn't tell the cops anything in exchange for releasing me from my contract." Scott said with a grin.
"He let you out of the contract?" Justin asked.
"So you lied to him?"
"I promised Rick that I wouldn't tell the cops about him supplying me with heroin. I didn't tell them that." Scott said mysteriously. "But I gave the police written proof that Rick gave drugs to Garet and had been the one who gave him the tainted drugs the day he died."
"I bet Rick was happy. Was he the man I saw being hauled away during the funeral?"
"Yep, I called them last night after he agreed to release me. I told them about a certain book I had in my possession that would explain everything I couldn't tell them." Scott said, finally taking his arm off Justin's.
"So you're officially out of Zylvan and Rick's going to jail." Justin summed up, amazed at the turn of events.
"Yep, too bad I didn't know all this before Garet died. Maybe we could've helped each other get clean." Scott said, the pain breaking to the surface.
Justin said compassionately, "Sometimes when you're so far down you can't see things right in front of you."
Scott was glad that the rain disguised the tears that were falling down his face. "Yes, and the one thing I learned. You can't live in the past. You have to face your mistakes and look to the future."
Justin nodded in agreement but he was so wrapped up in the change that his head was spinning. This was not the Scott he knew before. Maybe this was the real Scott that had been hiding underneath all the pain for so many years.
Looking up, letting the rain fall over his face, Scott turned around. The rain washed away his tears and the last vestiges of his former self. He started laughing uncontrollably, overjoyed with this new found freedom. Today he had officially put to rest the last bit of Zylvan and now he eagerly looked to the road ahead.
Justin found himself laughing along with Scott. Not knowing why, but he found himself staring up at the sky as the refreshing rain fell on them.
"Did you know you're wet?" Scott called out through his laughter.
"Not as wet as you." Justin retorted with a grin.
The two stopped spinning, and faced each other with smiles on their faces. "I think it's time to head back." Scott said.
"I don't know. I love the rain." Justin said as he rubbed his scalp, water flailing everywhere.
"I like the rain." Scott said slowly. Like he was trying out the feeling as he spoke.
Justin gave him a queer look and Scott smiled as he started walking briskly back towards the tent they had set up to keep the mourners dry. Justin followed quickly and soon they were under the tent and out of the rain.
Looking around, Justin had to smile when he saw Lance and Shelia sitting next to each other laughing with their heads together.
Scott saw Greg and Garion sitting in a corner talking quietly amongst themselves. Turning to Justin, he said, "Hold on if you can. I have to talk to someone for a second."
"Okay." Justin said as he saw the other two members of the band. "I'll be over there with Lance."
Flashing him a smile, Scott waved and made his way over to the other members.
Garion's eyes were ringed with dark circles and he looked tired. Scott smiled weakly at him but turned his focus to Greg. Greg glared at him, and said, "Scott."
Sighing, Scott sat down and faced the two. "Thank you for coming."
"Like we'd miss his funeral." Greg spouted.
Shaking his head, Scott continued, "I guess there is some things we should talk about."
"Why? You're out of the band." Greg spat.
Scott saw the chiseled face of Greg, his long blond hair pulled back into a ponytail. There was no forgiveness in his blue eyes.
"Is that why your mad at me? Because I quit." Scott asked in an even tone.
Garion spoke up, "Scott, why did you quit?" His face intent on the person he had called friend for years.
"With Garet passing, and Rick going to jail..." Scott stated. "I knew you were behind that." Greg interrupted. "You couldn't leave the rest of us alone could you? You had to destroy everything we worked so hard to build."
"He fucking killed Garet, Greg." Scott said angrily. "He almost killed me. Wouldn't that be enough of a reason to quit?"
"Bullshit. Both of you knew what you were doing. He never forced that shit on you." Greg argued.
"It doesn't matter. I would've got my drugs from someone if he wouldn't had given them. But the point is he didn't care enough about us to help us quit. All he cared about was the next single or the next million he was going to make off our pain."
"Why don't you tell us the real reason you quit?" Greg said with a thinly veiled mask of anger.
"You're mad that I took control of the band." Greg stated with a smile.
"Fuck off. There is no band without Garet." Garion yelled out. All eyes in the tent turned to the group arguing. "I'm sick of this shit Greg. All of it."
Greg had a hurt look as he stared at his best friend since High School. "You agree with him."
"Can't you see what has happened here?" Garion said, his voice still loud enough so everyone could hear. "While Scott was in a coma, all you did was try to cash in on the publicity of the band. While one of our friends was fighting for his life, you were worried about missing tour dates."
Shaking his head, Greg explained, "No, someone had to keep the band on track."
"Bullshit, you should've been there for him. Both of us should've been there for Garet. If we would've, he might not be dead today."
"Fuck it Greg." Garion yelled. Turning to face Scott, he said with tears in his eyes, "I'm sorry about it. All of it, I should've been thinking about you instead of worrying about a stupid band."
Scott answered, "No, all of us made mistakes. No one did the smart thing here."
"Listen to yourselves." Greg spat out. "Garet died because he was a fucking junkie. None of us could've changed that."
Clenching his fists tightly, Scott glared at him, "How do you know? Did you even try?"
"I don't have to listen to this shit." Greg stated. Standing up he turned and looked at Garion, "I'm leaving. You coming with me."
Without waiting for a reply, Greg stormed off. Garion looked at Greg and then back at Scott. "Scott, I'm truly sorry. I let down one friend already, I won't let down another one."
Scott hugged his friend tightly, whispering, "I understand. Don't let him do something stupid."
"Bye." Garion called out as he headed after Greg. Scott watched them go with a sigh. It wasn't how he hoped it would turn out but it was probably for the best.
Turning around, he saw Justin laughing with Richard and Yulonda. Lance was playing with Joshua while Shelia watched the whole scene with a peculiar look on her face.
"Hey son." Richard called out as Scott approached.
"Hey dad." Scott replied, giving his father a hug. "I love you." He whispered.
His dad kissed his cheek, and said, "I know. I love you too."
"Mom." Scott said as he kissed her softly on the lips.
Yulonda was smiling, a look of pure satisfaction on her face as she hugged her only son.
Scott turned and said, "Hi Lance. Nice to see you again."
Lance looked up and with a grin, "It's very good to see you doing better Scott. I've been praying for you."
Looking at Justin with a grin, he added, "Justin was quite worried about you to."
Scott blushed and looked over at Shelia who had a look on her face that said she knew something he didn't.
Scott said to his parents, "Have you met Justin?"
"Yes, Shelia introduced both of them to us while you were talking to Greg and Garion." Richard answered. "How did it go with them?"
Motioning with his hands, he turned his wrist slightly, "Hit or miss."
"Your parents were telling me of the time you broke your arm." Justin said with a grin. Scott blushed as he remembered walking into the house holding his arm.
He had jumped off the swing and landed funny, breaking his forearm. He had run inside the house screaming. His forearm was bowed from the break and he had asked his mom with his eyes wide, "Is it sprained?"
"Mom I told you to stop telling stories about me." He scolded her good-naturedly.
"It's a mother's right to talk about her baby." She said with a grin as he patted his cheek lovingly.
"Dad." He pleaded.
"Don't look at me." His father said as he backed away, his arms spread wide.
"I think it's funny." Justin said, looking at Scott with a mysterious look on his face. "I want to hear all those embarrassing stories about you."
Shelia saw Yulonda's face turn pale by Justin's statement. Trying to change the subject, she asked Justin, "How long are you and Lance staying in Lodi?"
"A few days." Justin said at the same time Lance stated, "We're leaving tonight."
They looked at each other. Justin pleaded with his eyes, tilting his head to one side. "We'll see. Justin has to finish his album."
Shelia smiled wickedly at Scott and said to Lance, "You know, it would be cool if you stayed at least the night. I would like to get to know you a bit more. I have a house in LA you know."
Lance's face lit up and he said eagerly, "I guess we can stay at least tonight. I don't look forward to another long drive with him." He said motioning to Justin who started grinning from ear to ear.
While Yulonda stood there with a shocked expression, Richard had a bemused look on his face. Speaking out he said, "I know I speak for my wife when I say it would be an honor for you two to join us for dinner."
Smiling, she added, "It's always a pleasure to meet Scott's friends."
"We'd love too." Justin said quickly, giving Scott a big smile. "Won't we Lance."
"Yes Ma'am." Lance replied as he looked at Shelia.
For a moment no one said anything. Justin and Scott were staring at each other while Lance and Shelia was busying tickling Joshua.
"Well." Richard said, breaking the silence. "Why don't we go back to the hotel and get out of this weather."
"That sounds good." Justin said.
"Right, Shelia, why don't you go with Lance and Justin and show them how to get there." Yulonda suggested.
The trio quickly made their way back to Lance's rented car while Scott, his parents, and little Joshua rode back in the limousine.
Sitting across from his parents, Scott let Joshua lay on his lap. He absently stroked his hair. Smiling, he said, "You know, it's kind of nice having a little brother."
"He's a wonderful kid." Yulonda stated as she looked at him fondly. "It will be nice to have someone to take care of again."
"Oh." Richard said with a groan. "I'll have to learn how to play baseball all over again."
"You mean you once knew how?" Scott asked with a grin. His father had tried to show him the fundamentals of the game when he was a kid. Even Scott knew his father didn't have a clue about the game.
"Luckily you were never really interested in sports." He replied, a bit ashamed of his lack of skill in that area.
"Because I never learned how to play." Scott teased.
Richard was laughing loudly and his wife told him to tone down his voice. "Don't wake him up. He's had a trying day."
"Sorry dear." Richard said with a chuckle. "Well, I might not of taught you to play ball but I'm real proud of what you did today. Standing up to your manager took courage. We're both proud of you."
"Thanks." Scott said, tears coming to his eyes. "I couldn't let him get away with that."
Yulonda peered out the window as she asked, "So, is Justin your boyfriend or something?"
A look of panic flashed over Scott's face. Looking at his dad with fear in his gray eyes, he stammered, "What are you talking about?"
"What?" Yulonda looked directly into her son's eyes. "I just wanted to know if he was your boyfriend." She stated, her lips drawn together tightly.
"Why would you think he was my boyfriend?" He asked softly.
"The way you two were looking at each other. I just thought..." She offered weakly.
"No, he's not my boyfriend." Scott stated adamantly. Adding softly, "I've only met him a few times."
Yulonda once again stared out the window. Her face unreadable. Scott looked at his father who only smiled at him devilishly.
"What makes you think I'm gay?" He demanded his eyes wide.
"Maybe because you didn't deny it when I asked if he was your boyfriend." Yulonda replied gently. "Or maybe because I'm your mother and I know these things. But definitely because of the look of fear on your face right now."
"I won't ask you. Because I don't care." She cut him off in mid-sentence. "And because we've been apart for way to long. I loved you when you were my little baby. I loved you when you grew angry and declared to your entire school that you hated your parents. I loved you when I found out you were a junkie fighting for your life in a hospital. And I love you still."
Tears were flowing down his cheeks as he gently moved Joshua from his lap. Reaching over, he gripped his mom in a hug, burying his face in her shoulder. She caressed the back of his head and softly whispered her love for him over and over.
"I'm sorry for all that." He whispered. "I'm sorry for disappointing you."
"Hey." She ordered as she pulled his face from her shoulder. Grabbing his head in both hands, she looked into his eyes, "You've never been a disappointment to me, NEVER."
"I know how you feel about homosexuals." He said through his tears. "You used to always tell me they were going to hell and that they deserved to die."
"Oh son." She said. "I'm so sorry. I didn't know."
The two cried together for a while, mother and son. Richard sat back grinning, watching the two. Looking over at Joshua, he knew that the same mistake would not be made again. He marveled at the realization that life is one giant learning process and you're never to old to learn that lesson.
"Are you really okay with it?" Scott asked quietly.
Beaming at her son, she answered, "Of course. I always wanted grandkids but...I have Joshua now. I think he'll do."
"I love you." Scott stated fiercely. Looking at his dad, he raised his eyebrows questioningly.
"I told you I loved you already." He grinned. "Why would that change now?"
He sat back down, being careful not to crush Joshua. Asking his father, "Why didn't you say anything just now?"
"For two reasons." He stated, looking at his wife. "Your mother had to learn that any kind of hate is wrong. And you had to learn that love is un-conditional."
The limousine stopped in front of the hotel. Waking Joshua up, Scott carried the half-asleep boy inside with his parents holding hands following him.
1463.17 IT'S COMING
Notes: I may be reached atWolfflyer26@Yahoo.com for questions or comments. All emails will be answered(cause I'm cool like that)
Copyright©2002 Glacier Boy