Like anyone who writes feed back,
good or bad is needed.
The good feed back, strokes our ego. The bad feed back, strokes
the delete key. <grin>
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"Mom, where are they?" Jess asked.
"Jess, don't worry, they will make it," Becky said trying to calm her daughter down.
"Well if they don't hurry they will miss my graduation."
"Honey, don't worry," Becky said reassuring her daughter. "Its time for you to go line up. I'm going to find my seat."
Becky went out and took her seat next to her husband, John. As the school band started playing Pomp and Circumstance, Becky felt a hand on her arm. Turning she found the smiling face of her brother sitting in the seat next to her.
"Sorry we're late," Matt said. "They had us circling the airport for an hour."
"Well I'm glad you guys made it," Becky said looking past Matt. "Jess would have disowned you both if you missed her graduation."
"Sorry, Becky, Lance's flight was late getting in," Joey said.
All heads turned to watch the graduating class of 2005 enter the stadium. As Jessica approached, her face broke out into a big smile, when she saw her uncles had made it on time.
Holding Joey's hand, Matt looked over and saw him beam with pride as their niece passed.
Looking back over the last five years I was amazed at how our lives had changed. My accident had been a turning point in my and Joe's lives. Joey had stayed by my side the whole six weeks I was in the hospital. Concerts and appearances were canceled. *Nsync seemed to have fallen off the face of the earth. But by the third week the press got wind of their whereabouts. And the media frenzy that ensued was unbelievable. Rumors were flying. The guys' management was putting pressure on them. Joey's refusing to leave my side, made their management mad. There was talk of Joey being kicked out of *Nsync if he didn't return right away. But the other four stood by Joey, telling management that no one was going to be replaced. Unless they wanted to replace all five of them. And since the name *Nsync belonged to the five of them, no one else could use it. Their strong front worked, management backed down.
The media pressure started to take its toll. Communication on my part was limited with my jaw wired shut, and both arms in casts. All I could do is sit and watch what was happening. Justin and Lance had stayed by Joey the whole time. JC and Chris headed back to Orlando after seeing I was going to make it.
Then the news story broke about me being Justin's gay lover. The next twenty-four hours were a zoo. But in the end, it was Joey's strength that made the difference. It was his decision to stop hiding from the public and announcing our engagement to the world. The fallout came quickly, and to our surprise, for the most part it was positive.
I was released from the hospital a couple days after the press conference and we hid out at the Inn.
*Nsync, and Joey in particular, remained a hot topic for weeks. M-TV and VH1 ran countless shows about Joey's pending wedding. Letterman and Leno spent many nights making fun of us. I knew how much this was hurting Joey. And a few days after my jaw was unwired and the casts removed I received a call from Rosie O'Donnell wanting to talk to me.
The next day I interrupted their rehearsal for the upcoming Grammy Awards and asked them all to watch the Rosie show with me. In Rosie's opening monologue, she chastised the other talk show hosts for their insensitive comments. She told everyone that she had a long talk with me and that she felt that any relationship based on love was good and that it should be given the same respect as any other union. She also spoke to their fans, saying that the courage it took for Joey to make that announcement should be admired. And she praised the others in the group for giving Joey and myself their unwavering support.
The following week Joey and the guys flew out to New York for the show. Joey wanted me to go with them but I was not up to the trip. But I was not alone that night; Becky, Ted, Jess and my father were with me watching the program.
When they were introduced, the audience went wild. The reception was unbelievable and their number had to be delayed for five minutes until the audience quieted down and took their seats. *Nsync performed their nominated song, This I Promise You. They received a second standing ovation at the end of their performance.
That night they received two Grammy's for This I Promise You., one for best ballad and one for song of the year. When Joey received his second Grammy he thanked everyone involved in the recording of the song then he looked into the camera and said holding up both awards, "I'm bring these home to you, Matt. I love you."
Our simple wedding turned into a major production. To keep both of our families happy, we compromised on a lot of things but we stood firm on several points. One was the minister, after talking it over we asked Della Reese to perform the ceremony and she agreed. And that there were to be six best men. I asked Justin, Lance, and Jeff to stand up with me and Joey asked Chris, Josh and Steve to stand up with him.
After the wedding, Joey and I flew to Hawaii for our honeymoon.
As soon as we returned, the guys went into the studio and completed their third album Celebrity. I joined their staff as their financial manager and toured with them that year. The next year I added the title of road manager and have held those positions ever since.
The last five years have been memorable, their fifth album has just beat their 2000 sales figures giving them the honor of holding the top three positions for the most CD's sold, for all time. And this year my first legitimate novel was published and has made it into the top ten.
Once Joey made the big step into marriage, it didn't take long for the others to follow. Chris and Dannielle took the leap on New Year's Day 2002. Justin and Britney tied the knot the following June with the biggest wedding ever seen.
Unfortunately, that union lasted less than a year. Justin wanted to start a family but Britney would have nothing to do with it. Being pregnant was not conducive to her image and career. JC is still single and still playing the field. There was one girl he was dating about a year ago he seemed to be serious about but his work and touring was too much for her to contend with and they parted.
And I can't forget my best friend Lance. He and Jess have been formally dating for the last two years. Their relationship has been kept low-key until last month when he escorted her to her senior prom. We are now waiting to see how long it will be until Lance pops the big question.
It is kind of funny, today Lance is here watching Jess graduate. The one thing he was denied in his life, to graduate with his class, he is now sharing with the girl he loves.
Now here we are, home for the first time in months. And all it took is getting an invitation to Jessica's high school gradation to get us here. Setting in the middle of a football stadium, listening to boring speeches, and the endless procession of graduates names being called to receive their diplomas. Why couldn't my sister marry someone named Adams, instead of Phelps. Two hundred and sixty-four names before Phelps. I know, I counted everyone. But the moment the name Jessica Phelps was called, all the other names became meaningless.
There she was, my Jess. No longer the pain-in-the-ass kid I grew up with but a beautiful young lady. Yep, life has been good. We've had our ups and downs but all in all I don't think Joey or I would not change a thing.
"Uncle Matt, Uncle Matt, dance with me"
"Why of course my Lady Diane," Matt said as he bent down and picked up his grandniece. "You having fun?"
"Yes, Uncle Matt. It's fun having all the other kids here for the weekend," six-year-old Diane Bass said.
"It's hard to get everyone together for a weekend. I hope everyone can make it," Matt said.
"Uncle Justin and Aunt Charlotte just arrived with the twins," Diane reported.
"Good. They had the farthest distance to come," Matt said as he whirled Diane around the dance floor.
Diane was giggling as their dance was interrupted. "Diane, your mom is looking for you."
"Ok, Uncle Joey. Here, you dance with Uncle Matt," Diane said as she ran off to find her mother.
Joey smiled as he pulled Matt into his arms. " It looks like everyone made it," Joe said.
"Yeah, Diane just told me Justin and Charlotte are here."
"Wait until you see Charlotte," Joe said with a laugh.
"She is so big. I know her due date is still six weeks away but she looks like she could pop any time."
Laughing softly, Matt said, "What are the chances of having two sets of twins? Justin and Charlotte must be the most fertile couple I know."
"Matt, this weekend was a good idea," Joe said. "It's good to see everyone together."
"Well, since *Nsync stopped touring and everyone working on their own projects it's hard to get to see everyone," Matt said with a sigh. Placing his head on Joe's shoulder Matt thought about their lives.
'Yeah, it's hard to get together. Chris and Dannielle still live in Orlando with their two daughters. FuManSkeeto has grown to one of the top clothing chains in the nation. Chris seems happy with his life. And he enjoys the now yearly TV specials the *Nsync still does. The guys may not have all the moves, but their sound is still unbeatable.
Justin turned out to be the biggest surprise in the group. After his failed first marriage to Brittany, Justin pulled away from us for a while. Like I thought, he needed time to take a look at his life and make some decisions. When Justin came to me and told me wanted to seriously try his hand at acting, I told him to go for it. After a couple years of supporting actor parts, Justin decided he needed to change his image. Hitting the gym, Justin managed to turn himself from the cute teen pop star, into a handsome muscular hunk. And the parts he was offered also changed. Gone are the sweet love stories, now he's getting the action, adventure, hot and heavy love stories. It was during the filming of one of his first action movie that he meet and fell in love with his costar, Charlotte Church. Each had a career in totally different fields of music, and they would see each other at award shows but it wasn't until the movie that they were able to spend some time together and really get to know each other. Their fairy tale wedding was the biggest thing to happen in England since the Queen's coronation. Justin's fans were a little disturbed that the wedding took place in England, but the birth of Mathew and Joseph eleven months later brought the fans focus back to Orlando, as Justin and Charlotte proudly posed for photos with their two-day-old sons.
Lance, my best friend, turned out to be the most amazing person I have ever known, except for Joe, that is. Lance kept his word to me. He was there for Jess during my time in the hospital and the months that followed. Their friendship developed slowly over the years. When Jess turned eighteen we all thought Jess and Lance would take the big step and marry. But to our surprise Lance insisted Jess go on to collage and get her degree in music. Two days after her graduation Jess and Lance were married. Almost nine months to the day, Diane Beth Bass came rushing into the world.
Josh, the confirmed bachelor of the group, songwriter, producer, and ladies man. Only one woman has ever been able to lure Josh into a partnership. And what a partnership it has been. Bass and Chasez the hottest writing dual in music today. Jess and Josh got together just after Diana arrived. Josh was having trouble with a song and he asked Jess for some help. In one weekend, they completed JC's song and together wrote three more. All four songs went into their next album and two of them have won awards for best song.
Two years ago Jess was over to our apartment visiting when she saw a manuscript on my desk. Asking if she could read it, she took it home. Three days later, she and Josh came to me with a idea. They wanted to turn my story into a musical, and to show how serious they were, they had already written three songs. A partnership was formed. I provided the story, Jess and Josh wrote the music, Lance and I produced it, and Joey starred in it. On May 12, 2012, "My Man" opened on Broadway. Between the five of us, last month we walked away with nine Tony Awards.
"Earth to Matt," Joey said.
Laughing, Joey asked, "Where do you go when you zone out like that?"
"Nowhere. I was just thinking."
"About what?" Joe asked as they danced.
"Just our life."
"Oh, . . .Well I think you need to brace yourself. Mike just decided to make a appearance," Joey said.
"Did he come alone?"
"No. He's brought a girl."
"Stacy or Mary?"
"Someone new. What's that? Four girlfriends this year?"
"Yeah," Matt sighed. "I think he is trying to beat your record."
"Oh, oh. Here they come," Joey warned.
"Dad, Pop," Mike said. "I'd like you to meet Betty Sommers. Betty, I'd like you to meet my parents, Matt and Joey Fatone."
"It's so good to finally meet you. Mike has told me so much about you," Betty said nervously.
"I'm glad to meet you Betty," Matt said while shaking Betty's hand.
"Mike didn't tell me there were going to be so many famous people here."
"Dear, there are no famous people here. It's just our family," Matt said.
"Mike, if you wouldn't mind," Joey said. "I'd like to borrow this young lady of yours for a dance."
"Sure, Pop," Mike said with a chuckle as he handed Betty over to Joey.
Matt took Mike's hand and said, "Dance with your old man."
Smiling, Mike said, "Only if I lead."
"Of course," Matt said as they started to dance.
"Dad. What do you think of Betty?"
"She is a very pretty young lady."
"I think I love her," Mike said.
"Oh! . . .I hope you are not rushing into this son. I remember being sixteen. I must have fell in love with someone different every month."
"You were never sixteen," Mike joked with his father. "Who did you fall in love with?"
"Well there was the football team, the track team, the basketball team and of course your Uncle Jeff."
"What! You and Uncle Jeff got it on?" Mike asked a little surprised.
"No. I had a crush on him. He was my best friend then and he still is. We never did anything."
After a few moments Mike said, "Dad, thank you for being you."
"When you and Joey took me in, I know I was a mess. You showed me what a family was like. I don't know how the two of you put up with me the first year, but you did. You both showed me how to love and trust people."
"You were a brat when you came to us. And now you are a kind, caring, and loving young man. And I'm proud to be your father," Matt said giving his son a hug as the music ended.
Joey returned Betty to Mike, "Son, your young lady is a very good dancer."
"Yeah, she is," Mike said gazing at Betty. The music started and Mike said, "Will you excuse us."
As Betty and Mike danced off, Joey pulled
Matt into his arms and kissed him.
"Yes. Very happy," Matt said. "Joe, can we slip away from this party?"
"Yeah, I think so. Why?"
"I'm in love with this handsome Italian stud. And I want to make passionate love to him right now," Matt said with a evil grin.
Joey smiled broadly, "Let's go."
The End? Not by a long shot!
I would like to take a moment to thank you, the readers, for your support. This story started out as a short story based loosely on seeing *Nsync live for my first time. I was one of sixty thousand fans that made the trek to the Route 66 Speedway to see *Nsync perform their final show in their No Strings Attached Tour 2000. After the concert, while waiting in a massive traffic jam, the idea for the story formed in my head. Little did I realize the short story I wrote would be so well received. I never expected the responses asking for more.
Well here we are at the end. Joey and Matt's lives turned out to be loving and enduring. I will miss this story, but I need to concertrate on My New Life and get it moving again.
I want to thank just a couple people for helping me to get this story written. First I need to thank my editor, David. You people can not imagine the condition of the story that gets sent to him. Lucky for me, each time he works his magic and what comes back is a chapter that I am proud to post. And there is my Hawaiian conection Jeff. Thanks man for putting up with my questions and letting me pick your brain. It helps me when writting to see things from someones other point of view.
A BIG Thanks to all of you. It is your comments that keeps me going.
Hugs and Kisses to you all,