TEN THINGS J o n a t h a n A n d r e w Y b a n e z
A U T H O R ' S B A B B L I N
Okay, I know there are a lot of BACKSTREET BOYS story out there and most of them are centered on people having with crushes either BRIAN LITTREL, NICK CARTER or KEVIN RICHARDSON. I try to make this a little bit different from the usual with the celebrities themselves falling for the fictional character.
I admit that I am not a BACKSTREET BOYS fan although some of their songs really caught my attention. But I am, indeed, a very big fan of BRIAN LITTREL and KEVIN RICHARDSON, but since it was BRIAN LITTREL who had a heart problem, I think it was best to center this story around him. No, I don't think that he is gay, but it would certainly be interesting if he is.
D I S C L A I M E R
I would like to remind you that this is just a part of the imagination of the author and none of these events ever happen. Any similarity between events in the story and situations in somebody else's life is purely and absolutely coincidental, accidental or, just simply, impossible. This story doesn't state anything about BRIAN LITTREL'S sexuality or choice of lifestyle, implicitly or explicitly. Remember this is just a composition based totally on the imagination of the author.
This story contains a homosexual premise and has homosexual undertones. If you are a minor, you know the rules. Please don't read this and find something more suitable for you age. But if you reach the age of majority, you can come back. If you're a bigot who just wandered here by mistake, you are allowed to stay. I would like to request you, however, to please keep an open mind.
By: Jonathan Andrew Ybanez
T E N T H I N G S X See a rainbow at dawn X Taste the first snowflake of winter X Go to Disney World Flash someone from a car X See the dawn Be a star X Touch a snake X Make someone smile Talk to God Kiss my soulmate
C h a p t e r 1 0
After dinner, Tevyn, already weary from the long trip from Florida, decided to retire inside his bedroom. Even after having his forty winks on the way home, jetlag, I presume, had exhausted him. It is understandable, since it is already quite late in the evening. I, myself, was also tired but I wanted to do some exploration. I decided to have a private tour of the house, on my own and with no one else. I guess I had too much sleep during the flight. That and the fact that the house got me all too excited and fascinated that I find it impossible to go to bed.
So, sometime around 12:00 midnight, I went out of my room and started my sightseeing. Intrigued with my early experience with the butler, I just couldn't stay put inside my room. I slowly and silently emerged from my room, careful not to make any noise and disturb the other occupants.
I gingerly made my way down the massive and intricately patterned granite staircase. Fascinated by the greenhouse, I turned right upon reaching the bottom steps of the stairs. The long carpeted marble hallway had several rooms on both sides. I felt like I was getting lost, even along the hallway. I was glad that I was finally able to locate the library.
I entered the library and found the glass door passage connecting it with the private office and the greenhouse. I entered the door and found myself in the garden. The entire hothouse was encased in glass and steel. I looked up and saw the stars shining above me. The night was beautiful as the full moon shone done up this side of the world.
"It is a lovely evening, isn't it?" A hoarse voice came from the direction of the blooming tiger lilies.
I immediately look over and there was Giles near the pond sitting on some wrought iron garden furniture. "Good evening, Mr. Atkinson. Indeed, it is a beautiful night." I greeted him warmly. "What are you doing out here this late in the evening?"
"Probably for the same reason you have, Brian." He said chuckled wryly, half joking. "Actually, I am also a late sleeper and I usually have my midnight tea inside the greenhouse... Again, it's another bad habit too old and too hard to be broken. Come over here and share with me a cup of tea, or maybe two. And please call me Giles, I am not accustomed to be called Mr. Atkinson."
I went over there and sat beside him. Giles poured some of the hot liquid on a porcelain teacup and handed it to me. "There are also some biscuits and scones, if you like. If you prefer to have some lemon, sugar or heavy cream with your tea, there are some on the table."
"That's okay, I prefer to take my tea plain. I had a hard time getting to bed... the meal tonight was so heavy that it feels like the lobster is sitting on my stomach." I snickered, then, made a lame joke. "Hail to the chef, I supposed... René is one superb cook."
"Yes, René was especially trained in Paris and Bordeaux." He said with his usually blank, expressionless face. "He was even taught by the CIA."
"The Central Investigation Agency?" I raised an eyebrow.
"No, the Culinary Institute of America,... the one in Florida." Giles laugh quietly. He took a sip from his cup and said. "I myself fancy some clotted cream on my tea, English tradition, I suppose. I guess, it's really to each his own."
I looked at the pond and saw the Japanese Carps swimming around. Wondering how these fishes could survive the intensely freezing island winters out here in the open, I asked the butler. "Isn't it too chilly out here for these fishes to live?"
"The pond water is warmed by a heater designed to stay at a stable temperature. If there is a deviation from the chosen warmth, the heater will immediately adjust back to the desired temperature." He explained. He took a sip from his cup and continued, in a wry and matter-of-factly manner. "But I am quite sure that's not the reason why you came out here tonight."
"Well, I am intrigued with the greenhouse. Tevyn explained to me how it opens and closes at a touch of a button. Japanese technology, I supposed, can create wonders." I said as my hands absorbed the warmth from the teacup. I paused and continued with a sheepish grin. "But, of course, the incident tonight also kept me up."
"What incident..." The butler raised his eyebrows. Then suddenly the cloud in his head cleared up. He sipped some tea and muttered. "Oh, that incident... the one after Tevyn bumped me. What would you wish to know, Brian? I would assume that Tevyn had told you much."
"Actually, I don't know anything other than his dad is in Cavendish. And then there is his mother, who he said is probably in Peru or Greenland doing some supposedly worthy "white-man's-burden" causes. And, of course there is him, a university student in Toronto."
"Then you barely scratch the surface, Brian." The butler shook his head and sighed deeply. "Barely scratch the surface."
"Barely scratch the surface?" I repeated his words in wonder. "What exactly do you mean?"
"Do you know where the Winters' riches originally came from, Brian?" He asked me, plainly I might add.
"Absolutely, no idea..." I shook my head. "I had no idea that Tevyn was this loaded until we arrived at the Charlottetown Airport."
"Tell, me Brian, do you know where Love Canal is?"
"If I am not wrong, I think Love Canal is somewhere near Niagara Falls, New York. Why?"
"Yes, that is correct, Mr. Littrel, Love Canal is located in the Niagara Falls Area. Tell me..." He paused as he took another taste of tea from his cup. "Tell me, then, Brian. I want to know how familiar are you with the Love Canal Incident?"
"Not really, but I think I have an idea." I answered quietly. "If my history teacher had taught me right, I think it involves some toxic waste and some landfill in New York State."
"A good start but you don't have the complete account of events, yet. Let me tell you a tale, Brian. A twisted story that changed and possibly destroyed the lives of thousands across the Niagara Falls Area in both the United States and Canada." He took another drink from his cup. "Brace yourself, Brian. This may be a bit too shocking for your taste."
"Before we start anything, first let me give you a quick background of Love Canal." He said, as he poured some tea on my cup as well as his. "Love Canal was a neighborhood in the southeast LaSalle District of the City of Niagara Falls, New York. It was appropriately named after the late 19th century entrepreneur, William T. Love."
"Love..." He emphasized. "...had envisioned a navigable waterway to bypass the falls and, also, a hydroelectric plant to harness power for the industries developing along the river. The total length of the canal would stretch about seven miles. Or that would have been the total length of Love's endeavor if his plans had pushed through. Unfortunately, because of the recession at that time and loss of his financial backing, Love's plans proved to be a dismal failure with only one of the entire seven miles of the canal had been dug."
"In the start of the 20th century, Love Canal was auctioned off and was later used a disposal area by several chemical companies." He stood up and went to the pond. Gazing at the pond waters as the fishes motionlessly stayed near the rocks, he continued his narration. "Between the early 1940's to the middle 1950's, a company named Hooker Chemical used Love Canal as a dumpsite and landfill for toxic chemical waste products. Over 19 million kilos of poisonous and deadly substance has been dumped there!"
He came back to his seat. I could see that his hands were trembling with passionate outrage. Giles was trying hard to control the tears in his eyes. He took another sip from his tea. He took a deep breath to calm himself down and continued his story. "Around 1953, when the landfill reaching its maximum capacity, Hooker Chemical filled the site with layers of dirt. As the post-war housing and baby boom spread to the southeast section of the city, Hooker Chemicals decided to sell the landfill to the Niagara Falls Board of Education for a dollar."
"Of course, Hooker Chemicals had already placed a disclaimer on the Deed of Transfer which supposedly served as warning to the Board of Education of the chemical wastes buried underneath the property. They were already washing their hands of any liability, those bloody sons of bitches." He laughed a bitter and angry laugh. He took a sip from his cup then continued his story. "Without any real knowledge of the potentially lethal consequences, the Board of Education bought the piece of real estate. I mean who in their right mind would not to buy 15 acres of land for a measly dollar."
"So the board set up the 99th Street School directly on top of a ticking time bomb. Soon families began pouring into Love Canal, not realizing the danger lurking within their neighborhood, their schools and, most of all, in what they might have believed to be the safety of their very own home! The families had absolutely no idea that the water supply they are drinking as well as the air they are breathing are contaminated and saturated with deadly waste." He began shaking again, this time Giles was hysterical already.
"Hundred of families, Brian... hundred of families wasted!" Shaking his head, Giles banged his fist on the table.
"What are you trying to say, Giles?" I felt an uneasy choking feeling on my throat.
"One of those families, Brian,... one of those families were the Winters."
"Hundred of families, Brian... hundred of families wasted!" Shaking his head, Giles banged his fist on the table.
I remained quiet... I was quite aware of my silence. I was speechless,... quite unsure of what to say next. Giles broke the ice by asking. "A penny for your thoughts, Brian."
Giles' story suddenly made my blood run cold. I took a quick sip from my hot cup of tea as I said silently. "So, this was how Tevyn contracted..."
"Leukemia." Giles finished my sentence for me.
"Yes, leukemia..." I muttered in a low voice.
"Do you still want to hear the rest of the story, Brian?"
"We have already gone this far. I guess it would be wrong not to give the whole information." I try to give the most indifferent shrug that I could muster as I poured some more tea on my cup. "So how did the Winters fit into the picture?"
"Well, around the early 1977, due to inexpensive housing, the Winters family decided to move to Love Canal. At that time, there were four members of the Winters' household." Giles cleared his throat as he resumed his narration. He poured some more tea on his cup, as he spoke. "Mr. Richard Winters worked as an credit analyst and economist with a New York-based financial company in Niagara Falls while Mrs. Therese Winters was a teacher at the 99th Street School. At that time, they had two children. The older one was Toby and the second was Regina. Mrs. Winters was pregnant with her third child."
"Around the same time, 5-year old Toby started to experience severe migraines and unexplainable periodical nose-bleeds. 3-year Regina and numerous other children from the same community had also experienced similar physical problems but Toby had fared the worst." He said indifferently. "A few months later, Toby pulmonary system had collapsed and slipped into a coma. Within the year, Toby Winters died of inexplicable causes."
"Around the same time in November 1977, Tevyn was born but it was a very delicate and highly precarious birth. Immediately after his birth, Tevyn was diagnosed with leukemia." Giles continued silently. "A few months later, sometime around April 1978, an investigative reporter named Michael Brown wrote a series of articles on the hazardous waste and landfills in Love Canal. The expose had finally shed light on the mysterious epidemic that swept through the area."
"And Tevyn's sister..." I muttered silently, avoiding any chances of having eye contact with the butler. "What had happened to Regina?"
"Regina was diagnosed with a brain tumor a year after Toby died. " Giles replied as he poured some more tea on his cup. "That event became the milestone in of the Mrs. Winters' life. The soft-spoken elementary school teacher became a forthright activist almost overnight, aggressively working and seeking out all possibilities to rectify the damages."
"She vowed to get justice for her three children." He continued. "As Regina lay wasted, Mrs. Winters fought along side Lois Gibbs, the President of the Love Canal Home Owner's Association and other Love Canal residents. She already lost one of her children. One of the remaining is critical condition and the other one has an uncertain future. Somebody has to bleed in order to compensate her loses. She had fought tooth and nail."
"In the early months of the year 1980, Hooker Chemicals offered to settle out of court with all the complainants. The amount wasn't much but just enough to help the residents start off." Giles took a sip from his cup. "Mr. Winters wanted to take the money and leave Niagara Falls, but Mrs. Winters thought otherwise. She still wanted her justice. As Mr. Winters had told me, they supposedly argued for months and months without end. But around November 1980, with Regina's further physical deterioration, Mrs. Winters realized that she had enough. The Winters had accepted a tidy sum of money for an out-of-court settlement from Hooker Chemicals. But events became worst."
"What do you mean?"
"The compensation from Hooker Chemical was overshadowed by a grim event. A few weeks after receiving the settlement from the chemical company, Regina Winters succumbed to brain cancer. That was around three years after Toby's own demise." The butler continued his morbid tale. "Love Canal contained too many unpleasant memories for Mr. and Mrs. Winters to handle. Around spring of 1981, Mr. and Mrs. Winters, together with their remaining son, Tevyn, finally left Niagara Falls and settled in New York City."
Giles paused and looked at me, his face as calmer now than a while ago. He already lost the tense appearance on his face. "With his knowledge and experience in financial analysis, Mr. Winters managed to make a killing in the stock market." He continued. "Mrs. Winters, on the other hand, had extended her outlook. Instead of just chasing one offender, she decided to broaden her horizon and search for other wrongdoers. She had coordinated the Environment Protection Agency, Greenpeace, United Nation Environmental Programme, and other human and ecological rights advocacy and protection groups."
"Around 1989, Mr. Winters decided that he had accumulated enough money. He and his family left New York City and moved to a more peaceful place. They already found a place on the Eastern Coast Canada. So they bought several real estate properties all over the island and the maritime province and moved up here." He looked around and displayed his hands with a flourish. "Hence, his castle. All Mr. Winters wanted was some peace of mind. He just wanted to escape all the sad memories."
"When they first came to Charlottetown, the Winters family already has a net worth of about US$140,000,000.00. By now, at a very conservative estimate, the entire Winters Estate is approximated to be around US$675,000,000.00." He explained sternly. "Do you understand now why I am very protective of Tevyn?"
"Of course, you will never hear about the Winters asset outside these four walls. Mr. Winters made legally sure that all matters concerning the business would remain far away from home. So where did all the money go?" Mr. Atkinson gave me lop-sided smirked. "An enormous chunk of the Winters fortune stayed in Wall Street for investment and continuity purposes, after all, one can't live by bread alone."
"A substantial part of the Winters' asset was set up for Tevyn's trust fund. Another portion was used to fund a particular foundation for a rehabilitation project of Love Canal while a considerable amount was set up for a Religious Mission for orphans and abandoned children in South America. The remainder was used to finance Mr. Winters' pet project... a foundation for cancer research by University of California in Berkley. I think it was his way to find a cure to help his last son. You see, after Tevyn's birth, Mr. Winters had found out that the toxic waste in love canal had not only destroyed the lives of their children, it had also rendered both of them sterile."
"Just question Giles... Don't want to be too nosy, but are Tevyn's parents divorced or something?" I asked, trying to be as tactful as I could. "Both of them seemed to be,... to be going on their separate ways."
"Yes they are..." Giles nodded without even a flinch. "They've been divorced since around 1996. Mr. Winters just wanted to escape from the world. He told her that they enough money to secure themselves the peace of mind that had eluded them for years. But Mrs. Winters thought differently. She told him that she will not rest until everything in this world is put right. After Mrs. Winters signed a waiver that she will never touch her ex-husband's money, she left. So technically, the entire Winters' estate belongs to Tevyn."
"Is Tevyn that close with his parents?" I said as I sipped my tea. I added some more since it was getting lukewarm.
"Tevyn loves his dad very much... but he is very distant from his mother." Giles replied then he paused. "Tevyn came out a year before the divorce. His dad was initially shocked but immediately accepted him. Mr. Winters said that Tevyn is only son and nothing will change that. Mrs. Winters on the other blew her top, saying she can and will never accept a gay son. I think that was just one of the reasons why they got a divorce."
"For all her human and animal right advocacy,..." I muttered. "I think she's a hypocrite!"
"Tevyn's sentiments exactly..." Giles shook his head and smiled sadly.
"Giles..." I called out. "I was just wondering."
"And that would be?"
"When was the last time Tevyn had chemotherapy?"
"He is such a willful child. He had been on chemotherapy since he was born, or so I had been told. And had been on cobalt since he was 12 years old. When he had reached 16, he decided that he had enough and stopped all kinds of treatment. According to him, it wasn't doing him any good at all." Giles shook his head and smirked a bit. "And, quite frankly, I had never seen him better or healthier. In my own opinion, if he continued treatment, his health would have just deteriorated. Tevyn would have gotten wasted, just wither and die."
"So he just gave up?" I asked him bluntly.
"It's not about giving up..." He replied silently. "He is tired... one can't blame him for being tired, can you?"
"Of course not!" I replied hastily with a very stiff look on my face. I paused and then I asked. "So, why are you telling me all this?"
"Well, I did asked you if wanted know about..."
"Smart-ass!" I interrupted him. "But really,... why? Why tell me everything, the family background, the fabled winters' riches? I mean I am nobody special. I'm even not a blood relative or anything"
"Well, simply put?" He raised an eyebrow. He paused for a moment and then told me with a sort of air of mystery. "Because you are the one."
"And by that you mean..."
"By that, I mean you are the ONE."
"I know that statement already say it all..." I said with a hint of sarcasm. "But could you elaborate that statement a bit?"
"Now who's the twat this time!" He grinned.
"Well, when they arrived here, I think he was around twelve at the time, Tevyn started to have these,... these strange dreams. They were very strange recurring dreams, in fact." He narrated as he recounted the events. "In his dreams he was a young boy named Rich..."
"Richard McLachlan." I interrupted suddenly.
"Exactly!!!" He looked at me strangely. "How did you know?..."
"I don't have a clue,... I mean he introduced himself as Tevyn Winters in my dream... but somehow I knew his alter ego is Richard McLachlan."
"Anyways, he met this young boy named Brian Littrel near their cabin in Cavendish, claiming to be his soul mate..." Giles shook his head a bit then continued, chuckling a nervous laugh. "I thought it was all balderdash and never thought about it until tonight... when you came into our house."
"So of all the sudden, you believe me?"
"It's difficult not to. You looked exactly as Tevyn described. Same wavy hair, same eye color..." He examined my face then chuckled. "The same ratty face..."
"Just kidding, but seriously... you look everything that Tevyn had described. Tevyn even..." He paused, narrowed his eyes and exclaimed. "Wait! Hold on for a moment... Don't tell me that you have some sort of heart problem, too!"
"Guilty as charged." I said as I lifted my hands up in surrender.
"Extraordinary. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction." Giles was awed, then, he countered. "So how do you think you fit in the picture?"
"Absolutely no idea." I replied, raising my hands in surrender. I stared at him with a wistful look on my face, scratched my head and comically added. "Exasperating, isn't it? I was hoping to get some hints from Tevyn but I think he is as clueless as I am."
"So what's this 'keeping an eye on Tevyn' thing?"
"I talked to Nick about that,... you know the soul mate thing and all. He said maybe we were brought together so I could help Tevyn with his leukemia. So I thought maybe that's our connection, I would become a donor. Anyway, I already had taken and passed the bone marrow compatibility test." I explained. "So that's the tightest justification I've got now, actually... you know,... for the connection."
"We could have already made the transplant back in Florida but Tevyn said his dad is waiting in Cavendish for him. The doctor agreed to postpone the operation if he takes the proper medication. I decided to tag along so at least I can be sure that he takes the medicine the doctor had prescribe him."
"I see..." Giles nodded. "So what now?"
"Just as I said, I will see it through that he takes his pills and that he takes the operation." I said with determination on my face. I paused as I searched my pocket. "Which reminds me,... I have a list of medicine the doctor in Florida had prescribed him yesterday. Could you send someone to the pharmacy to buy about two weeks worth for me? Like I said, whether he likes it or not, I intended to follow doctor's orders and have the operation.
"Really..." Giles said, unconvinced
"You sound a bit skeptical..."
"Tevyn did swore off treatment...." He said as he rubbed is chin. "What makes you think that you make him change his mind?"
"Simple..." I said as faint smile crossed over my face. "Because I'm the ONE."
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