© 2005-2010 Julien Gregg
All Rights Reserved

Chapter 42

"What's going on in here?" JC asked in a forced calm tone as his eyes blazed hatred at Jeff. He shoved his way past Skyler and into the room as Jeff stood up.

"Wow, Big D . . ."

"Shut your mouth, Timmons," spat JC. "Don't ever call me that again."

"Josh, stop this," Skyler said as he closed the door to keep the spectacle from being witnessed by anyone who might be in the hall.

"I thought I'd surprise you, and then I get here to find you with him?" JC asked, turning to face Skyler. "Is this why you told me not to come?"

"Look," said Jeff, stepping up beside JC. "I don't know what you think is going on here, but I just came to say hi to Skyler. I've said that, so I think I'll go back to my room now."

"No," said JC, smiling. "Why don't you spend the night. I certainly won't be. I'll just go to the desk and get a room to sleep in until morning when I can get back on a plane and head back to Orlando."

He started to walk toward the door at the same time Jeff did. Jeff stopped and told Skyler that he'd talk to him later, and then he walked out of the suite. JC turned to glare at Skyler, and Skyler sighed as he thought of what JC had just confirmed for Jeff. If Jeff Timmons had ever wondered about Skyler and JC, now he knew for sure. Anger slowly washed over Skyler as he thought about the irony of how careful JC had been and then in one swift movement, he'd outed himself.

"What?" asked JC, smirking at him. "You're not going after loverboy?"

"Fuck you, Joshua," spat Skyler. "You're a stupid prick, you know that? Jeff was already here when I got here, brainiac. He came to see me, because he heard I was here. He didn't know about us or that I was even gay until you showed your stupid ass tonight. I think you'd better do exactly what you said you were going to do. Go to the desk and get a room, and stay the hell away from me."

It took JC all of two seconds to realize what he'd done, and then Skyler could see his face change. The hard anger drained away from his eyes and was replaced by fear. His mouth opened and closed a few times before his eyes welled with tears. Skyler was almost sorry for what he said, but then he thought about how much damage the truth could do now that he was going to try to get custody of the baby.

"Sky . . ."

"Get out, Josh," said Skyler, opening the door and stepping aside. "And don't come back."

"Sky, please," sobbed JC. "I didn't mean . . ."

"Brent," cried Skyler, and it took all of two seconds for Brent to come through the adjoining door that connected the two suites. "Mr. Chasez was leaving us, but I think he needs a bit of help."

"Are you sure," Brent asked with wide eyes.

"Never been more sure of anything in my life," said Skyler coldly.

"Sky, please," whispered JC as Brent advanced toward him.

"I asked you to leave," said Skyler as tears fell from his eyes.

"Skyler, I love you," said JC.

"Yeah, but you're jealousy just can't seem to remember that, can it?" said Skyler, wiping the tears from his face. "Its over, Josh. I can't do this with you anymore. If it isn't paranoia about getting found out, you're so jealous that you make stupid mistakes and out us yourself. Well I'm not going to be with someone who's so self destructive that they'll bring me down with them. Leave, Josh."

JC put his head down and let Brent lead him from the room. Skyler closed the door behind them and slunk against it, sliding down until he was sitting on the floor. Then he began to sob. It hurt more than anything he'd ever had to do in his life, but he just couldn't stay with him after this. He pushed all of the thoughts of the good times with JC out of his head and walked back over to the couch. He had just sat down when Brent came back through the door.

"Skyler are you all right?" he asked as he walked over to the couch and took him into his arms.

"I will be," replied Skyler. "As long as Jeff doesn't talk to anyone about what happened here tonight."

For the next two hours, Skyler talked to Brent about JC and what had happened before he'd called for him to make JC leave the suite. It was during that talk that Skyler failed to push all that was good about his relationship with JC out of his mind. As he talked himself into exhaustion, he talked to Brent about the sweet side of JC. He talked about the love they shared and how much he could feel that love whenever JC looked at him. He understood that there was so much more to their relationship than JC's paranoia and even his jealous outbursts. He couldn't excuse them, but they weren't a reason to destroy his heart the way he'd come close to that night. Before he would agree to go to sleep he made Brent promise to talk to JC and tell him he was sorry. He decided to deal with Jeff Timmons after he talked to his mother. His last thought before he drifted off to sleep was that he hoped JC would forgive him for hurting him like that.

When he opened his eyes to find the sun peaking through the blinds on the windows, he sighed. That's when he felt the weight in the bed beside him. He thought at first that Brent had crawled into the bed when he'd come back from talking to JC, but when he turned to look into those familiar hazel eyes, a small smile crept over his face.

"I'm so sorry, Josh," he said before he was enveloped in JC's arms.

"Don't," said JC as he held him. "I'm the one who's sorry. You were right. I'm an ass, and a stupid one at that. Let's just forget what was said and have breakfast. You have to face your mother today. We don't need to weigh you down with anything else."

They showered together, but try as he might, JC wouldn't let any funny stuff begin. He'd only kiss him before shoving him under the shower spray an washing his hair for him. He even attempted to dry him after the shower, but Skyler was having none of that. They were laughing like idiots when they finally made it to the breakfast table, showered and dressed. Barbara was already there waiting for them with Madonna.

"Well you two look like you're in good moods," said Madonna as she watched them both try very hard to stop laughing and sit down at the table. "Skyler, I ordered fruit for you."

"Thank you," he said, regaining his composure. "Good morning, ladies."

"I've talked to your mother this morning, Skyler," said Barbara, getting right to business. "After a quick breakfast we'll head go to talk with her."

"She said no lawyers," replied Skyler as he cut orange in half.

"And I won't be going into the visiting room," she replied with a smile. "I'll be waiting outside."

"You're going to tell her you want to raise the baby, right?" Madonna asked, and she noticed that JC's eyes widened. She'd thought they would have discussed this already.

"I am," he replied. "If she tries to fight me, we can take her back to court, yes?"

"We could," agreed Barbara. "Let's save courtroom strategy for after the meeting, shall we?"

They talked about what Skyler could expect when they entered the prison over breakfast, and Madonna noticed that JC was quiet as he glanced at Skyler now and then. She wondered just what his opinion of Skyler's raising the baby really was. She'd heard from Brent that some kind of fight had transpired between the two morning love birds, but she saw no evidence of it. Whatever Brent had done to patch the couple's problems had worked. She just hoped that the baby didn't reopen the wounds.

After a quick kiss for the love birds, Madonna, Barbara and Skyler made their way, with Brent tailing them, to the elevator where the encountered Mr. Jeff Timmons. Skyler stopped in his tracks and just stared at him. Madonna was about to say something when Jeff spoke up.

"I just wanted to wish you good luck, Sky," he said. "Please let me know how it goes, ok?"

"Sure," replied Skyler after a moment. "Thanks, Jeff."

"Any time," he replied before turning and walking down the hall.

"Gonna tell me what that's about?" asked Madonna as the trio boarded the elevator with Brent.

"Later," he replied as he pressed the button that would take them to the parking garage.

Instead of talking about JC or Jeff Timmons, they talked about Claire as Barbara drove them to the prison. Madonna promised help with the baby when he needed it, and Barbara told him he could hire a nanny to travel with them while he was on tour, but he reminded them both as they pulled into the prison lot that the baby wasn't even born yet.

Inside the brown brick building, Skyler heard the duty officer gasp when she saw him. He also heard her mumble under her breath that he was going to cause a riot if he was seen by too many of the inmates. He smiled at the heavy-set red haired woman and told her who he was there to see.

"I know who your mother is, boy," she said, and Skyler's smile vanished.

"Well, do I have to sign in or something?" he asked, not even trying to keep the bite from his voice. "I don't want to be here any longer than I have to be."

"Oh, we'll do our best to cater to you, Mr. Thomas," she replied with a sickening smile. "Have a seat."

Skyler locked his blue eyes with her green ones and thought of saying something else, but instead he walked over to the row of hard plastic chairs and sat down. He glared at the woman from his seat, and she snickered and picked up a telephone. He suddenly wished that Barbara had come in with him. He doubted the bitch would have treated him so rudely if the lawyer were with him.

A dark haired man that reminded him a lot of Jeff in a guard's uniform came through a door and picked up the clipboard that sat on the desk in front of the rude woman. He listened to something that she was saying before shaking his head and turning to Skyler.

"You can come with me, Mr. Thomas," he said, glancing at the woman. "And don't let Gladys rub you wrong. She's a cold bitch."

Skyler couldn't help smiling at the man whose name tag told him that his name was Ron Anson as he got up and followed him through the door he'd come through. Then he had to submit to a quick search as the guard apologized again for the way Gladys had treated him. He told Skyler that Claire was their least favorite inmate.

"She makes a bunch of noise about who her sons are," he explained, and Skyler sighed.

"So let me guess," he said as he signed the form that Ron held out on the clipboard. "We're universally hated around here?"

"Not universally," replied Ron with a smile. "I actually paid quite a bit of money to see your show when you performed here last year."

"As I live and breath," laughed Skyler. "A fan in this place."

"Mr. Thomas, you have fans in everyplace," chuckled Ron as he ushered him through an iron door with a small window cut into the top of the frame.

Skyler had to sign another form when they stopped at the desk on the other side of that door, and he smiled at the older gentleman sitting behind the desk. He wasn't surprised when his smile wasn't returned. There was no time to dwell on it, though. He was led through another door that he had to be buzzed through and asked to sit in the steel folding chair at the small table in the center of the small room.

He'd just sat down when the other door across from the one through which he'd come into the room opened and his mother was led into the room. They looked at each other once she was seated across the table from him for a long minute before either of them said anything. Her blond hair was cut short, landing just at the nape of her neck, and her blue eyes looked tired. Skyler supposed that pregnancy wasn't agreeing with her, however he couldn't see any signs of her pregnancy.

"You look great, Skyler," she said finally, and she folder her hands on the table in front of her. One hand gripped the other tightly, the classic sign that his mother was nervous.

"How are they treating you here?" he heard himself asking and couldn't believe that his first words to her would be anything that resembled concern.

"Let's not go there, Skyler," she replied. "You aren't really concerned for how I'm being treated, but I can't say that I blame you after everything that's happened over the years. How are the twins?"

"Do you really care?" he asked, thinking that if he wasn't supposed to pretend concern, then she shouldn't feign interest.

"Of course I care, Skyler," she said coldly. "You are my children after all. I may be a bad mother, but I never claimed that I didn't care."

"No," he replied hotly. "You showed us how much you didn't care every time you let Chuck hurt us."

"Look," she sighed, unfolding her gripping hands and running them through her hair. "This isn't what I called you here for. I assume by now you know that I'm pregnant."

"I've been informed," he replied, eyeing her warily.

"Well then I assume you've been told that I can't keep the baby," she said. "The prison shrink is trying to convince me to abort the damned thing."

"You can't . . ."

"Relax," she said, holding up a hand. "I told that son of a bitch that I wouldn't give anyone the satisfaction of seeing me abort this baby. No, what I want is for you to take the baby when its born. Give the little one a home. God knows that even if I wasn't in here I wouldn't be a good mother. Look how I raised you."

"So you're just going to give me the baby? No arguments or anything?" He wasn't sure he trusted her at all. She could have something up her sleeve, but for the life of him he couldn't figure out what it could be.

"Skyler, if I don't have a family member to take the baby they could make me abort," she said, looking at him as if he were crazy and should have known that already.

Somehow he didn't believe that anyone could make her abort the baby. He wasn't completely sure, but he didn't believe it was legal at all to force a woman to terminate her pregnancy. He wasn't about to tell her that, though. This was what he wanted after all. He'd come here hoping to talk her into letting him take care of the baby, and here she was trying to convince him to take the baby. It was a crazy world, he thought to himself as he shook his head. He saw the look on her face when he did it, and he knew that she had mistaken the movement.

"Of course I'll take the baby," he said. "I'll have Barbara draw up custody papers. Whatever it takes. You should know that I'd take the baby. Family is very important to me."

"Not custody, Skyler," she said, looking at him hard. "I want you to adopt the baby and raise it as your own child."

He was stunned. He sat there, looking at her with his mouth hanging open like an idiot. Adopt the baby. He hadn't even let himself think about adoption. He couldn't believe that she was so eager to have him agree to it, either. He almost thought there was some other motive for this, some sort of amusement that she would have at his expense. Yet if he had Barbara draw up the right papers, she couldn't back out. After all, if she did the state would take the baby and none of them would ever see him or her again.

"I'll adopt the baby," he said slowly. "I can have Barbara draw up papers that make it a binding decision if you want."

"Have your lawyer draw up any papers you want, Skyler," she said. "I'm not playing you, kid. I want you to adopt this baby and make sure it has a good home. I know that with your money you can give it the home it deserves."

The next chapter will be posted soon.