© 2005-2010 Julien Gregg
All Rights Reserved

Chapter 14

They'd both had a great time at the awards show, and Dianne couldn't stop smiling as she left them in the living room of the suite to change back into her other clothes. Skyler loved seeing her smile, and he promised to take her to another event as soon as he could. She'd tried to say that she already had a dress for it, but Skyler informed her that they would shop for another one when the time came.

Brian and Kevin were coming into the suite as Dianne was going to change, and AJ was with them. Skyler smiled when he saw them, and he got up to greet the two visitors that he'd never met before. AJ looked like he was bored, and Skyler didn't know if that was his normal expression or if he was really unhappy to be there. If he was unhappy to be there, Skyler wondered why he had come at all.

"It's very nice to meet you, Skyler," said Kevin as he shook Skyler's hand. "Brian hasn't shut up about you since your tour started."

"I guess that's a good thing," laughed Skyler. "The pleasure is mine."

"Hey," said AJ when Skyler shook his hand. "I like your stuff."

"Thanks," replied Skyler. "I like yours too."

"Figured you'd still be out and about," said AJ. "Parties all over town."

"We went to a few before the show," explained Skyler. "I wasn't really interested in any of the others."

"Came back to spend time with Brian huh?" AJ said with the first smile that Skyler had seen.

"Exactly," said Skyler with a smile of his own.

"I like what you're doing with the hate crime stuff," said AJ. "You're good people."

"Thank you," said Skyler. "From what I've heard about you, you're good people too."

"Yeah?" he asked, cocking his head and smiling at Skyler again. "Thanks."

The two of them stayed for a little while, and when Skyler said his goodbyes before taking Dianne home, they followed him to the elevator. AJ had warmed up once Skyler talked to him about his music, and Kevin smiled at him every time he looked at him. He liked them both, and he was happy that they seemed to like him. AJ, Nick and Howie were just friends of Brian's, but Kevin was his cousin. Skyler really wanted him to like him. He didn't know how strong of a relationship Kevin and Brian had, but he suspected that if Kevin didn't like him there would be problems in his relationship with Brian. As new as that relationship was Skyler found himself very protective of it.

"Kev likes you," Brian said later that night while they were wrapped in each other's arms again. "He just wanted to meet you. AJ is a bit reserved with other people, but he seemed to like you too."

"I hate to say this, but I was more worried about Kevin liking me than AJ," admitted Skyler. "AJ isn't related to you."

"Well even if Kevin didn't like you for some reason I'd still be with you, Sky," said Brian. "I don't let anyone in my family dictate who I care about."

"I'm happy to hear that, but I don't want to be the cause of any kind of static between you and anyone in your family," said Skyler.

"Oh you won't be," replied Brian. "Everyone will like you as soon as they meet you, Sky. They'll see in you what I see, and then they'll all love you."

Skyler held Brian tighter after that statement. In the dark a smile spread across his face. Brian hadn't come right out and said the words, but he'd as much as said that he cared about Skyler. Skyler knew that much already, but Brian had danced around saying that he loved him. Love was a powerful word, and Skyler was very unaccustomed to it. He wasn't ready to say that he loved Brian, but he knew that he felt very strongly about him. He just wanted to be completely sure that he was actually in love before he said those words.

"I wish you weren't leaving in the morning," he sighed instead of saying anything else.

"I do too," said Brian. "But we'll call each other, and Kevin gave you a copy of our schedule. I know yours, and we'll find time, Sky."

Brian turned in his arms, and his lips brushed Skyler's before settling in for a kiss. Skyler tightened his arms around Brian, and they fell asleep like that a few hours later when they were both sated. Skyler's last thought before sleep took him was how he was going to sneak away from filming to spend time with Brian while he was on tour.

They woke the next morning in that very position, and Brian's smiling face was the first thing Skyler saw when he opened his eyes. They were silent as they went into the bathroom hand in hand. Skyler turned on the water while Brian retrieved towels, and then they stepped into the shower together. Wordlessly Skyler began to lather Brian's back, running his hands over him slowly. He knelt down under the spray to lather Brian's legs, paying special care when he got to the tops of his thighs. He washed each cheek of Brian's ass one at a time and slowly slid his soapy finger upwards from the bottom of his crack to the last bone in his spine.

Standing up and turning Brian around, he began to lather his chest and arms, paying special attention to his nipples. He ran his soapy hands over Brian's stomach while he looked him in the eyes. Skyler had never showered with anyone before, and this was one of the most intimate moments of his life. He loved to touch Brian, and having him stand there and passively let him wash his body told Skyler more than words could ever have.

He knelt down before him and began to lather Brian's feet and legs. He slid his hands between his thighs to distribute the soap, and he stood when he began to lather Brian's scrotum. Brian tilted his head back and sighed as Skyler softly massaged the soap into his tender balls. When Skyler's soapy hand wrapped lightly around him, he sighed again. Skyler carefully but deliberately washed Brian until he was completely erect.

Brian took the shower gel and turned Skyler around. He pressed his soapy body to Skyler's back as he reached around to lather Skyler's chest and stomach. He slid back and forth against Skyler's back, getting him all soapy and running his erection back and forth over the cheeks of Skyler's ass. He knelt behind him to soap his legs, and as he stood, he cupped Skyler's scrotum in his soapy hands. He softly kneaded his balls in his hands and then gently rapped his soapy hand around him.

He ground his soapy body against Skyler's back as he slowly and carefully slid his soapy hand up and down the length of Skyler's erection. Skyler tilted his head back against Brian's shoulder and sighed from the pleasure Brian was giving him, and soon the only sounds that either of them made were soft sighs and very quiet moans. When they were both spent, Brian pushed forward until they were under the spray. He made sure that all of Skyler was rinsed completely, and then he turned the showerhead to remove Skyler's deposit from the shower wall.

"I have to get downstairs," said Brian with sad eyes as they were getting dressed.

"I know," replied Skyler. "I'm going to miss you like crazy, Brian."

"I love you, Sky," said Brian, stepping in front of him. He took Skyler into his arms and held him tight, not caring if Skyler couldn't yet say the words back to him.

"I can't say that, yet, Brian," Skyler said into Brian's neck. "I'm not ready for that."

"That's all right," said Brian, pulling back from the embrace. "I just wanted you to know how I feel."

He walked Brian to the door of the suite and kissed him goodbye. He hated the fact that they would be separated for so long. He wished that he could just go with him, but he had responsibilities to tend to in New York. They'd be flying home in a few days, and Brian would be traveling for quite some time. He sighed as he walked into the living room of the suite where the twins were watching Oscar coverage on E! Entertainment with Brent. Skyler stopped cold when he heard what was being said on the television.

"Last night was the night of stars as stars from music, movies and television came together for the seventieth annual Academy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California to honor the peers and collect awards," said the male reporter. "'Celebrity Confidential' was there, and we have a few stories that didn't make it into the Oscar press.

"Skyler Thomas, the actor turned singer, who has been sweeping the world with his sorrowful ballads and catchy dance tunes is the center of our next story," he said. "Jillian Summers has the story of the missing father who Skyler is ignoring. Jillian."

"Thanks, Tom," said a female reporter. "Benjamin Thomas, a construction contractor in Denver, Colorado told reporters that he is Skyler Thomas's missing father. Thomas claims that he was never missing and that he has tried numerous times to contact Skyler Thomas, but the star has ignored all attempts. Mr. Thomas's letters have been unanswered and his telephone calls never reach his son."

"Turn that off," said Skyler as he picked up the telephone.

The twins were staring at him as Brent turned off the television, and Brent tuned to look at him when he sat back down. Skyler didn't know what to think or say. He was sure he'd been told nothing about his father trying to contact him. Why had he left? What did he want now? So many questions flowed through Skyler's mind as he waited for Laura to answer the phone.

"I don't know what's going on, Skyler," said Laura. "He called here this morning, and now the phone keeps ringing."

"Is he my father, Laura?" asked Skyler.

His stomach was trying its best to compress, and his knees were weak. He knew that his palms were sweating, and he could hear his own heartbeat in his ears. If this Ben Thomas was actually his father, he had a lot of questions to answer. Skyler had one to answer himself. Did he really want to find out if he was his father? If he did find out would he want to see him?

"I don't know, Sky," she said. "Clay is calling an investigator to look into this. Do you want to call the man yourself?"

"I don't know," he said as a lump formed in his throat. If she wanted to know if he wanted to call him, then she had to have his number. "What's his number?"

Skyler looked at the telephone number that he'd written down for a long moment after he'd terminated his call to Laura. Did he really want to call this man? What did he want? Skyler believed that it had to be money. The man had walked out on them so long ago, and not once had he tried to contact them in any way until now. He had to have an agenda. Skyler was afraid to find out what his agenda was.

"Is he really our dad?" asked Chad, looking at Skyler with angry eyes. Cassie's eyes were stormy, but the expression on her face was one of pain.

"I don't know," he finally replied. "Clay is checking him out."

"But you have his telephone number," said Cassie. "Are you going to call him?"

"I don't know," he repeated. "If he is our father then why now? If not for money or publicity, why?"

He walked over and sat between them. He understood Chad's anger and Cassie's pain. Just thinking about the phone number written on the piece of paper by the telephone made Skyler remember every night he'd cried himself to sleep wondering why his father had left him. He'd been a lot younger than the twins, but they'd both asked many questions about their father as they grew. Their mother had responded to their questions just as she had to Skyler's. She told them that Ben Thomas was a man who had never wanted children. She accused him of very horrible things and said that once he heard about the twins he left her. She wasn't sorry to see him go either.

There were a number of reasons why Skyler didn't believe that his father had ever been abusive. For one Skyler could almost remember his father's smiling face looking down at him. Another reason was Chuck. Chuck had done so many horrible things to Skyler over the years, and if his mother hadn't been sorry to see his father go because he had hurt him, why did she seem to agree with whatever Chuck decided to do to him?

He thought about the time when he was ten years old, and his mother had come home to find him lying in his bed, crying. He'd had to make sure that he didn't move his left arm in any way, or the pain would become intense. She went in to talk to Chuck about what had happened, and then she came back to yell at Skyler for being so loud and making Chuck angry on his day off. Skyler had lain there for nearly six hours in pain. His mother told him to stop acting like a pansy and get ready for supper, but he couldn't move his left arm without crying out from the pain for the rest of that evening.

After a night of crying from the throbbing pain in his arm, his mother finally decided to take him to the emergency room. They x-rayed his arm only to find it broken in two places. When they asked him how he did it, he thought very hard about telling on Chuck. His mother glared at him from behind the doctor's back the entire time, though. He finally told the doctor that he'd fallen down the stairs at home. He couldn't believe the doctor believed it, but then he had no way of knowing that there were no stairs in their home.

But if his father wasn't abusive, then why did he hate him so much? Why did he leave when his mother told him that she was pregnant again. He hadn't even been there the day the twins were born. That made Skyler angry. No, his father was never abusive, but he still abandoned them. All of the years of Chuck's abuse could be ultimately blamed on his father. If Ben Thomas hadn't left the family, then none of the bad things would have ever happened to Skyler and his siblings. The thought made him angry all over again.

Mark came to the hotel while Skyler and the twins waited to hear from Laura and Clay. He hugged Skyler and told him that he would stay with him until he heard. Madonna was already there by that time, and she was just as upset for them as Mark was. Skyler had told her about what he was thinking, and she could find nothing to argue with. She agreed that his father had much explaining to do, if this man really was his father.

The twins had turned the television back on in an effort to take their minds off of what was going on. It had proven useless, though. The story was on MTV, VH1 and of course E! Entertainment was talking about continually. Skyler got his first glimpse of Ben Thomas, the contractor from Denver, when the channel ran an interview with him. He was shocked and felt sick when he saw him. He looked older, but Skyler swore that the face was the one he remembered. He'd seen no pictures of his father since he as a small child, but his half memory of the smiling face of his father was only a younger version of the face on television.

"It is him," he moaned as he watched. He turned up the volume on the television, so they could hear what he was saying.

"Well, the divorce was brutal," said his father on the screen. "After the divorce, my rights were terminated."

"Why was that?" asked the female interviewer.

"Claire told the judge that I was very abusive to my son," he replied. "That wasn't the truth, but the judge believed her. He terminated my rights to my son, and I was forbidden to contact him."

"But you've come forward now," she said.

"Yes," replied Ben. "I'd heard about Claire's arrest, and I obviously knew that Skyler was eighteen at the time. That's when I first started trying to contact him. I talked to Barry Graham, but he refused to even give Skyler a message."

"Barry Graham is Skyler's former manager," said the interviewer. "He refused to even tell your son that you were trying to reach him?"

"He told me that I wasn't the first to call him and say that they were Skyler's father," he said. "I wasn't exactly shocked to hear that. My son is a star now, and the world had heard his interviews. Barry accused me of wanting money like the others, but all I want is to talk with my son and explain why I left all those years ago."

"Have you talked to Laura Ullman, your son's agent?" asked the interviewer.

"No, I have not," replied Ben. "I couldn't get in touch with her at all."

Skyler turned off the television, and everyone turned to look at him. He ignored them as he got up and walked over to the phone. His hand shook as he picked up the receiver and dialed the number on the piece of paper. His father had said that his mother lied to the judge. That was why he left. His mother had divorced him and made him go away. He wondered why his father didn't even mention the twins. Did he even know about them? Surely he knew they existed. He'd said that he'd seen the news coverage of his mother's arrest. Cassie and Chad were always mentioned in the news connected to their mother and step-father's arrests.

"Hello, Thomas residence," answered a woman's voice.

"Hello, I'm trying to reach Ben Thomas," said Skyler.

"He's not in right now," said the woman. "Can I take a message?"

"This is Skyler Thomas," he said.

"Skyler," she said, "hello."

"Hello," he said, wondering who he was talking to. "Who am I speaking with?"

"My name is Tabitha," she said. "I'm Ben's . . . your father's wife."

"Oh," he said slowly. He had no idea what to say to that. "When will my father be back?"

It felt so odd to ask about his father. He didn't even know what to think about having a step-mother. He hadn't even thought about the possibility that his father had remarried. He didn't know what he thought about that. Step parents weren't high on Skyler's list of people that he was comfortable with, but Tabitha hadn't exactly done anything to him.

"I'm not sure," she replied. "He's in Los Angeles right now."

"Do you have the number to his hotel?" asked Skyler as his heart nearly skipped a beat. His father was in LA.

"I know he'd be very happy to hear from you," she said and then gave him the number.

"Thank you very much," he said.

"Skyler, your father will be very happy to hear from you," she said. "Jason and I are flying to LA tomorrow to join him."

"Jason?" asked Skyler.

"Um, well," she sighed. "I don't know if Ben wanted to tell you this himself or not. We have a fourteen year old son, Skyler. His name is Jason. You have a younger brother."

A step-mother and a half brother. Skyler had to sit down after hearing that. He didn't know what to think about having a step-mother, and he was blown away by the knowledge that he had another sibling. He wondered what he was like. He wondered what he thought about him. So many thoughts ran through his mind, and as he looked at the twins, he knew he had to tell them.

"You're coming to LA tomorrow?" he asked after a silent minute as he thought about Jason.

"Well, your father was hoping that he'd find a way to get in touch with you while you were in LA," she said. "I assume you saw him on television."

"I did," replied Skyler.

"We'll fly out tomorrow evening after Jason gets out of school," she said.

"Right," replied Skyler. He hadn't thought about that. "Well, thank you for giving me the number to the hotel."

"Skyler, your father didn't leave you," she said.

"I know that now," he replied. "I really need to speak with him. Thank you, Tabitha."

He stared at the twins for a minute after he'd terminated the phone call. He was trying to figure out how to tell them about Tabitha and Jason. They were both looking at him expectantly. So were Mark, Madonna and Brent. He simply didn't know what to say. He sighed, putting the piece of paper down beside the phone. He ran his fingers through his hair and sighed again.

"Who is Tabitha?" asked Cassie.

"And Jason," added Chad. They looked at each other and then back at Skyler.

"Tabitha is our step-mother," he said slowly, watching their faces. "Jason is our younger brother."

"We have a brother?" asked Chad, looking stricken.

"I guess so," said Skyler. He really didn't know what to think or feel about any of this. "She said that she was his wife, and Jason is their son."

"Where is our father?" asked Cassie. "You said something about a number to his hotel."

"He's right here in LA," said Skyler. "I guess I should have realized that. The interview was in LA. It had to be taped this morning or yesterday."

"Is that the number to his hotel?" asked Chad, nodding at the piece of paper next to the phone.

"Yes," said Skyler, looking at the paper as well.

"Are you going to call him?" asked Cassie.

"Yes," he replied, looking back at her. "I want to talk to him."

"Well, I don't," said Chad. "I don't care what he said about the divorce, Sky. I just don't want to talk to him right now."

"Neither do I," said Cassie. "I'm not ready."

"That woman and their son are coming tomorrow, right?" asked Chad, and Skyler could see resentment in his younger brother's eyes.

"Tomorrow evening," replied Skyler. "Chad, Jason is our brother. It isn't his fault that any of this happened."

"Dad left us," said Chad. "I don't care why. He left us, Sky. He left us with Chuck."

"You don't have to talk to him or see him," said Skyler. "You can both stay here if I go to see him, and I promise not to invite him to the suite until you've decided to talk to him."

He was about to call his father's hotel when Clay called back. He told Skyler that the Ben Thomas from Denver was his father. He said that when he looked into his background, he found that he was married to Claire Banes in Detroit, Michigan. He'd grown up in Bay City, Michigan, and he was married to Tabitha Walker now. He had another son named Jason Thomas and he was currently in Los Angeles.

"I know all of that already, Clay," said Skyler when the man fell silent. "I was just about to call his hotel and set up a meeting with him."

"You already knew?" asked Clay.

"I saw him on television," explained Skyler. "Laura had already given me his number in Denver, and I called there. I talked to Tabitha, and she told me that she is his wife, and they have a fourteen year old son named Jason. She also told me that Ben . . . my father is in LA, and she and Jason are flying out here tomorrow evening."

"Have you talked to him?" asked Clay.

"No, I was about to call his hotel when you called," reminded Skyler. "The twins don't want to talk to him or see him right now, though."

"I can understand that," said Clay.

"Well, I want to meet him," said Skyler. "I know now why he left when he did, and I even know why it took so long for him to come forward and try to contact me. What I don't know is why Barry Graham didn't tell me that my father had contacted him shortly after the incident in Detroit."

"What are you talking about?" asked Clay. "Laura didn't mention anything about that."

"That's because Laura probably doesn't even know about it," replied Skyler. "But I assure you, I will find out why Barry didn't at least tell me that someone called claiming to be my father."

The next chapter will be posted soon.