© 2005-2010 Julien Gregg
All Rights Reserved

Chapter 36

"You've sheltered your dreams
but what does it mean
to you if you can't say
you have someone to side with you
when you're going against the grain
I've been there before and one thing's for sure
it's time I need some help
This heart holds out for you
waiting here for no one else.

"I'm in it for love
I'm not in it for the love of a stranger
'Cause there ain't enough time
there ain't enough love to be found in this world
If we're in it for love
there can be no hurt, harm or danger
There's no limit for us
let the walls come tumbling down."

Skyler listened to the music in his headphones after he sang the last lines of lyrics. He was thinking about Christmas as he sat there in the recording booth of his home studio. Madonna and Guy were there with him along with Nile and Patrick. They'd been recording since the day that Skyler signed the deal with Maverick to form Sky High. Now all he wanted was to get his album finished.

Christmas morning had been special for him. He'd woke up in JC's arms, they'd shared tender kisses and then showered again. After they'd dressed they went down to breakfast. Chad and Cassie were already in the kitchen with Zack, eating pancakes and sausage. They'd each wished him a Merry Christmas. The gifts that he'd gotten the twins had gone over famously, and he nearly cried when he opened the gift that JC had bought for him.

Thinking about it, he fingered the pendant that hung on a chain around his neck as he sang the chorus to the song he was recording. JC had bought him a twenty-four karat gold CD pendent with "Dizzy" engraved on the front. On the back, the inscription read, "With all my love, you make me dizzy, J."

There were many gifts that morning and afternoon, but the pendant was the one that Skyler would cherish for the rest of his life. He'd vowed to always wear it and never take it off. He'd toyed with it during the entire two days of negotiating with Maverick. When he walked out of the office with a signed contract in his hand, he'd been beaming and couldn't wait to call JC and tell him that Sky High was officially in business.

He was leaving for Greece in the morning to begin filming the video for the first single off the new album. This was the final song to record, and as he sang the last line of lyrics, he smiled at Madonna. She smiled back and gave him a thumbs up. He could see Guy chuckling at her.

"Perfect, Skyler," said Nile into his mic. "All that's left is a little dubbing and editing. You're all set for Greece now. You can fly out knowing that your album is complete."

As they all sat together to listen to the playback of the song, Skyler told Madonna and Guy what Chris had come up with for the video. They were both excited about the ideas, and Skyler gave them another of the million smiles he'd been flashing everyone all week long.

"So you'll be in Greece for a week," said Madonna. "What's up your sleeve for when you get back?"

"Quiet time," he replied. "Chad's leaving for Australia to sing at a benefit on the fifteenth, and Cassie will be off with Britney on her promotional tour until the seventeenth, so I'll have two whole days alone with JC."

"What about Zack?" asked Guy as Madonna sat in his lap.

"He's going to visit friends in New York," said Skyler. "I'm giving him some time off. I'll join him in New York to get ready for the release party."

"You're still pushing for a Valentine's Day release, right?" asked Madonna.

"Yeah, I'm going to be having a birthday party anyway, so it might as well be a release party as well," he said. "As long as we have the video shot everything will be fine. Nile and Patrick assure me that the album will be completely finished within a few days, so that'll be done in plenty of time."

"How does it feel to be in complete control over when your music is released?" asked Madonna, smiling at him.

"To be honest, it still feels like a dream," he replied.

Sky High's deal had given Skyler complete control over almost every part of his career. It also made him forty million dollars. He now had more money than he knew what to do with. They'd even found a Los Angeles building to purchase and use as the LA base for the company. Both Clay and Laura were currently looking for apartments to buy in Beverly Hills. He smiled as he thought about it. He still felt like the whole thing was a very good but strange dream that he would wake up from at any moment.

"Well you can run off now," she chuckled. "Work is done for now."

"Ah," he said seriously, "work is never really done."

"Speaking of work, how's Carlos doing on his album?" Madonna asked. "I haven't talked to him in a while."

"They were supposed to be recording all week this week last I heard," he replied. "They're over in the studio at Sky High. I rarely go up that high in the building, so I don't know much yet."

"That high, huh?" she laughed.

"Well my office is on the top floor, but I've only been in it twice since the building was renovated," he explained. "I'm not a corporate person. Most of the time, if something needs my signature, I just sign it at the breakfast table."

"Spoken like a true executive," laughed Guy.

* * *

"We're finalizing tour information over the next few days," said Clay as he looked over the papers on the table in front of him.

This was one of Skyler's Sky High breakfasts. They were all held in his dining room with Clay, Laura and Andrew Wahl, Skyler's new publicist. They discussed everything and anything that had to do with either Skyler's or Chad's careers. Today it was the tour. Twelve cities were confirmed so far, and Clay was trying to get the rest confirmed. Skyler sighed as he sat back and waited for whatever his manager and agent had to throw at him next.

This was supposed to be his blissful two days alone with JC. That, however, hadn't come to pass. JC had been whisked back to Orlando to work on the *Nsync album, and Clay and Laura had descended upon Skyler with contracts and various other forms of paperwork that required his signature. He was leaving for New York in the morning, and he'd not even been able to speak to JC on the telephone.

"Andrew and I will be with you in New York," said Laura. "Clay will remain here and join us when the tour dates are finalized. While we're in New York, you might want to consider a talk show."

"I suppose it couldn't hurt," he replied, though he'd actually rather have had a few days of nothing to do at all.

"I'll call around and see what I can set up once we arrive in New York," Andrew piped in. "It shouldn't be difficult to get you booked. Everyone's been calling since the announcement of the Sky High deal."

He'd heard about all of those calls while he was shooting the video in Greece. He sat staring at his American Music Award Statue that Chad had accepted for him two weeks ago while he was in Greece. He been Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist. The award made him smile almost every time he looked at it. Today, however, he had a headache and he was tired of strategizing and discussing the tour. He wanted to enjoy his time off instead of being in the middle of one discussion or another about his career. He supposed that this was what came with being the CEO of his own entertainment company.

"Your father has hired his entire crew for construction, so that's not a problem," Clay said as he looked over the paperwork in front of him. "Technicians have all been hired, and the confidentiality agreements have all been printed and are ready for signing. The only things left, other than finalizing the dates and rehearsals are purchasing the buses and furnishing them."

"There's plenty of time for that," said Laura. "We've already set up meetings to look at a few buses in April. As for rehearsals, that's completely up to Skyler and Chad. They've both hired their own choreographers, so as soon as they both sit down with them and map out a schedule that will be taken care of."

"You have three photo shoots scheduled in New York," said Andrew. "Two of them are the day after you arrive, and the third is set for Valentine's Day."

"Happy birthday to me," chuckled Skyler. "Photo shoots and release parties. Just remember to let everyone know that I don't want to see even one red heart decorating the club, and no themed presents."

Skyler despised birthday gifts that could double as Valentine's gifts. For seventeen years that was all he ever received for his birthday. None of them had come from his mother or step-father. They'd never given him a gift of any kind. The gifts had come from teachers and fellow students. He'd been polite and accepted each one, but when no one could see he threw them away. He watched Laura writing down that he hated Valentine's gifts for his birthday and chuckled.

"Rita and Lou are both ready to send over the first batch of fan mail," said Andrew. "They've gone through at least fifty mail bags in the last three days."

"I'll take it with me to New York," he said, yawning. They'd gotten him out of bed at six to discuss all of this. "It will give me something to do when my mind refuses to shut down and let me sleep."

* * *

There were fans waiting for him at the airport. They'd lined up all over the airport, and security was holding them back. Skyler signed autographs for one half hour before Brent stepped forward to pull him away from the disappointed fans. Once they were safely inside the limo, Skyler thanked him.

"You don't have much down time coming, huh?" Brent asked as Skyler sank back in his seat. The limo pulled away from the loading zone and headed off through the parking lot as Skyler watched the fans file outside through his window.

"I haven't actually seen the schedule yet," he replied. "I'm sure Dianne and Andrew are bitching because they weren't allowed in the limo with me to pound it into my head. I'll hear all about it when we get to the apartment."

"Did you get a chance to read those lyrics?" Brent asked carefully. Skyler had been very touchy about anything to do with music since the day the tour dates had been announced.

"I read them on the plane," he replied with a smile. "Good lyrics. Just don't tell me you're thinking of leaving my staff to write songs."

Brent and Eric had both been spending a little time with Bob Macante, Sky High's newest executive. He was heading up the film department, reading scripts and talking with writers about Sky High's first feature. Bob had told Brent about a script he was thinking of accepting, and Brent decided to write lyrics based on the script after reading it. He'd asked Skyler to look at them the day before. Skyler was actually thinking about contacting Bob to find out if they were going to actually accept that particular script. He was interested in writing the music for Brent's lyrics and singing the song for the soundtrack.

"Not a chance," chuckled Brent. "You know I love you too much for that."

"There's nothing saying that you can't work for me and write lyrics," suggested Skyler.

"You think they're that good?" Brent sounded genuinely surprised.

"I even have a tune in my head that I think would go good with them," replied Skyler, looking him in the eye. "I might even want to sing the song once it's finished."

"Are you serious?" breathed Brent with wide eyes.

"Of course I'm serious," Skyler said with a smile. "Brent, the lyrics are great. If Bob accepts that script, I do want to write the music and sing the song for the soundtrack. I just don't know when I'll have time."

They talked back and forth about the song all the way to Skyler's New York apartment. Skyler enjoyed Brent's excitement, and he was beginning to get excited as well. He decided to call Bob as the car pulled into the parking garage. He thought that a little friendly shove was in order. He did like the song.

"There you are," said Dianne as they got out of the car, and Skyler groaned. He loved Dianne with all of his heart, but hiring her as one of his assistants was looking like the wrong decision. "You didn't get a copy of the schedule, so I had the cab drop me here."

She reached inside her case and extracted a full color brochure with Skyler's smiling face on the front. Above his face was the word "February". He suppressed a chuckle as he took the pamphlet from her. This wasn't Dianne's doing. This had Andrew written all over it. Dianne told him almost everything that could be found inside as they rode the elevator to the top floor.

"So I have nothing tomorrow?" he asked. She nodded. "I'm going to call Bob in the morning. What time does Chad arrive?"

"I'm already here!" cried his little brother as the door to his apartment opened and Chad launched himself into Skyler's arms. "JC's here, too."

"Hey, little brother," said Skyler, holding Chad tight. "How was your gig?"

"I had a blast," laughed Chad, letting go of Skyler and stepping back to allow him and Dianne inside the apartment. "Clay looked like he would have a stroke a few times, but I think everything went pretty good."

"There'll be a video?" Skyler asked as he nearly collapsed into the recliner.

"It's in my bedroom," replied Chad.

"We'll watch it later," sighed Skyler. "Where's Josh?"

"He's in the shower," said Chad. "He was all excited about the tour announcement."

"Yeah, I thought it would be a bit longer before we knew anything definite," replied Skyler. "Clay said it would be a few weeks, but he announced the dates right after breakfast."

"Oh, Mark called a few hours ago," said Chad. "He said to call him back."

"He wants to know when I want to start rehearsals," sighed Skyler. "I haven't even contacted all of my dancers. I'll need to audition a few new ones, too."

"I need to hire dancers," said Chad.

It was clear that Chad was very excited about the tour. The first date was in June. There was plenty of time before they had to be ready. Skyler liked seeing Chad excited, but lately Skyler just wasn't in the mood to even discuss the tour. He'd had to force Clay to allow him to reschedule certain events that were supposed to happen while he was in New York. That had been a hard conversation, and in the end Skyler had just put his foot down. He was still doing two photo shoots and Rosie's show. He was actually looking forward to seeing Rosie again. It had been a while.

"Hi, Baby," said Josh as he came into the living room wrapped in a towel. "I tried to be dressed and ready for you, but you got here too fast."

"Yeah, we left a little earlier than I'd planned," said Skyler, standing to kiss JC.

"What are you up to tomorrow?" JC asked as Skyler settled back into the recliner. JC perched on the arm.

"Free day," sighed Skyler. "I'm going to call the office, but after that I have the day to myself."

"Wish I was that lucky," sighed Chad. "I have two photo shoots and an interview tomorrow."

"Ah the life of a young celebrity," laughed Skyler. "Eat it up, little brother. This is what you wanted."

"Thank you for reminding me," Chad said sarcastically, but he was unable to hide his smile.

"Where is Laura anyway?" Skyler asked. It had just occurred to him that she hadn't been at the airport or the apartment.

"She called," said Chad. "She went to her apartment to get some rest. She said for you to call her tomorrow."

"She's plotting something," sighed Skyler, but his attention was drawn to the loud chanting.

The three young men looked at each other and then started to look around. After a few minutes they realize that the chanting was coming from outside of the building. Skyler thought that there had to be millions of people chanting for them to hear it from the penthouse. Chad rushed to the terrace and gasped.

"Skyler, there are like tons of people out there!" he cried, throwing open the sliding doors and letting the chants come inside louder. They were chanting Skyler's name.

Skyler and JC looked at each other in surprise. JC didn't want to go out onto the terrace. He didn't want anyone to really know that he was there. Skyler held back saying anything that would start an argument after JC told him that. The last thing he wanted was to fight. He wasn't thrilled about the crowd outside in the street though. It was only a few minutes before Brent and Eric were letting themselves into the penthouse.

"The police are on their way," Eric said as he almost had to pull Chad back inside. "Stay inside."

"Sky, you're going to have to go out there," said Brent, causing Eric to look at him hard. "They're screaming for you. If you go out there it might be easier for the police to get them to break it up."

Skyler resisted another biting comment for JC and got out of the recliner. The chanting grew louder the closer he got to the doors to the terrace. He took a deep breath, straightened his back and walked out onto the terrace as the chanting changed into screaming. If his fame was getting old, he thought as he waived to the crowd, this sure didn't prove it.

As he stood there waiving at the crowd, police arrived to break up the gathering. Skyler waived and smiled for the fans, but he was thankful that the police had arrived. It took nearly an hour, but finally the crowd disbursed and the street was empty. Skyler waited until the last person left before going back inside and closing the sliding doors. He closed the blinds on the doors as well before reclaiming his seat in the recliner. JC had moved to the couch, and he was looking at him expectantly.

Skyler didn't know what to say to JC. He was a little irritated that JC didn't want anyone to officially know he was there. It wasn't like just being in Skyler's apartment would make the press speculate that they were a couple. Since Utopia's break-up, JC had become completely paranoid. It was starting to drive Skyler crazy. He knew that if they didn't sit down and discuss it soon there would be a huge problem to work out. The question in his mind was if they'd be able to work it out at all.

In It For Love is a song by Donnie Osmond.

The next chapter will be posted soon.