© 2005-2010 Julien Gregg
All Rights Reserved

Chapter 44

"Skyler, I have to tell you something," said JC when Skyler got off the telephone. "I don't want you to get mad, though."

"What is it, Josh?" sighed Skyler, walking over to the couch and sitting down beside him.

"Its about Jeff," replied JC. "I know that you were upset that I outed you to Jeff, but I already knew about Jeff. I used to date him, Sky."

Skyler was quiet for a few minutes as he let that little bit of information sink into his mind. JC had dated Jeff Timmons. Skyler had told him all about Brian and Kevin. The entire history of his homosexual life had been revealed to JC without any thought of holding anything back. He wondered why, when he was baring all, JC kept this information from him. How many more were there that JC was hiding from him? He wondered exactly how well he really knew the man he loved. It shook him to think that he didn't know him nearly as well as he thought he did.

"You waited to tell me this today?" he finally asked. "Josh, I told you everything about me. I held nothing back. Why did it take this long for me to find out about you and Jeff?"

JC looked at him, but he didn't say anything for a minute. In that minute a horrible thought occurred to Skyler. Had he not told him because their relationship was still ongoing? Was that it? Was JC no better than Brian? Well, if he was doing the same thing that Brian had done to him, he certainly was better at hiding it. Skyler hadn't even suspected. He felt his stomach try to flip over.

"Please tell me that you're not still seeing him, Josh," he said, fearing what JC would say next.

"God no, Sky," said JC quickly. "Nothing like that. I don't know why I didn't tell you about Jeff. I suppose I didn't say anything because what happened between me and Jeff still stung. He hurt me, Sky. I guess I just wasn't over it yet."

"What do you mean he hurt you?" Skyler asked.

"Well you remember how you insisted that we take things slow when we first got together?" he asked. Skyler nodded but didn't say anything. "That was really good advice, and I'm glad we took things slow. Jeff and I didn't take things slow. When we got together, everything happened really fast. I thought I was in love with him, Skyler, and he wasn't in love with me. I got to the point where I wanted to be around him all the time, and he couldn't handle that. He wasn't ready for the type of relationship that I believed we already had. He was honest with me about that, and I didn't react well. So he decided that we shouldn't see each other at all anymore. It hurt like crazy, and I guess I was still stung by it all when you and I got together."

"How many others were there that you didn't tell me about, Josh?" Skyler asked, struggling to remain calm. He wasn't even sure if he should be angry with him. He wondered if pity was a bit more like what he should be feeling. Things had happened very fast between Skyler and Brian, so he was almost understanding.

"I told you about Ricky," replied JC. "Besides you and Ricky, Jeff is the only one. He's the only one I didn't tell you about, and I'm sorry I didn't."

He had told Skyler about his relationship with Ricky Martin, and Skyler understood why he would be ashamed to talk about his fumbled relationship with Jeff Timmons. What Skyler didn't understand was why he hadn't at least told him that he'd had that second relationship? Even if he hadn't told Skyler it was Jeff, he could have said that he didn't want to reveal his sexuality. He could have told him. That was what Skyler was having trouble with.

"I can understand why you didn't want to tell me about the relationship with Jeff," he said slowly, thinking very carefully about what he wanted to say and how he wanted to say it. "But, Josh, you could have at least told me that you'd had a second relationship without going into details. You completely lied to me."

"No, I didn't," protested JC, shaking his head. "I just didn't tell you about . . ."

"You lied," insisted Skyler. "You told me that Ricky was the only one. I even asked you if there was anyone else."

"You asked about girls," said JC.

"Yes, but you could have said there were no girls, but there was another guy," said Skyler. "You didn't have to lie to me."

They were both silent for a few minutes. JC was terrified of what Skyler was saying. He wondered if this was it for them. Were they over? Was Skyler going to leave him? He loved Skyler so much, and the thought of being without him was too painful to think about. He had to forgive him. He was working himself into a panic just worrying about it. He wished he'd just told him about Jeff when they were telling each other about their pasts.

"Sky, I'm sorry," JC finally said, looking at Skyler with pleading eyes. "I know I should have told you the truth, and I'm sorry that I didn't."

"How am I supposed to trust you if you don't tell me the truth, Josh?" Skyler asked. "How am I supposed to believe anything you say?"

"I'll tell you the truth from now on, Sky," JC said quickly. "I promise."

Skyler looked at JC's luggage sitting against the wall next to the door. He was packed and ready for his flight. His own security man was driving him to the airport in the rental car they'd rented when JC had arrived in Detroit. This conversation would take too long if Skyler said all of the things that he wanted to say. In the end all that mattered was that he really did love JC. Leaving him wasn't something he wanted to do, but trusting him now would be hard. He just had to make him understand that it would take time for him to regain trust that had been lost from this.

"Look," he sighed. "This isn't the time for this discussion, Josh. You have to leave in a few minutes, and you can't miss your flight. You don't have to worry, though. I'm not leaving you. We're just going to have to work on this. This is big, Josh, but it isn't the end of us as far as I'm concerned. We can get through this, but you have got to tell me the truth."

"I promise that I'll tell you the truth all of the time, Sky," said JC, wrapping his arms around Skyler and holding on tight. "I'm sorry that I didn't tell you the truth this time. I won't make that mistake again. I love you, Skyler."

"I love you, too," replied Skyler, holding him tight. "Just give me some time to think about this, all right?"

"Anything you want, Sky," he replied. "Anything it takes to make sure that we're all right."

* * *

"He lied to me, M," said Skyler later when he was on the telephone with Madonna. She'd arrived in London, and her first call was to Skyler to make sure that he was all right.

"From what you've told me it sounds like he was ashamed of what happened with Jeff," said Madonna. She wasn't a fan of JC anymore. His attitude about the baby was what had caused his fall from grace in her eyes, but she didn't think that this situation with Jeff Timmons was really what Skyler thought it was. Sure he'd omitted the truth and out right lied about being with anyone else, but his reason for it was viable. How many times had she lied out of shame?

"That's what he said," sighed Skyler. "I can understand why he was ashamed. It sounded to me like he was a bit immature in their relationship and Jeff got out of it as fast as possible. He says that they've only recently became friends again."

"Well I wouldn't hold this against him too much, Sky," advised Madonna. "You love him, and he loves you. Don't let this be the end of that love."

"I already told him that I'm not leaving him," he informed her. "I just don't know how long it will be before I trust him again."

"In the middle of this, did you get a chance to talk to him about the baby?" she asked. She supposed that this had overshadowed the baby, but if JC had said something that had caused Skyler to doubt his decision, she wanted to know about it.

"To be honest I completely forgot about the baby," he sighed. "I know that I have to talk to JC about this. If we're going to build a life together at all, he has to accept the baby. I don't know what his thoughts on the adoption are."

"When is the next time you'll be spending time with him?" she asked.

"Not till after I record the song," he replied. "Nsync is being tightly controlled while they work on this album. I guess the management thing is really bad right now. I talked to Lance about it before all of this, and he said that things were crazy in Orlando. I don't know for sure what's going on. That's JC's gig, not mine."

"Right," she sighed. "Just make sure that the next time you sit down with JC you talk about the baby. Skyler its important."

"I know," he said. "I still have to sit down with the twins and talk about the baby. All of this is out of whack."

"It'll get better," she said. "You've had a lot dropped in your lap, Sky. This thing with JC just came about at the wrong time. Not that there was a right time for it, but you know what I mean."

"I do," he agreed as someone knocked on the door. "M, I gotta go. Someone's at the door, probably Laura or Clay. They both said they might show up here."

"You call me when you get back to LA, Sky," she said. "Before if anything big happens or if you just want to talk."

"Thanks, M," he said.

He really didn't feel like discussing anything about JC with Laura or Clay. He just didn't know for sure where things were with JC. The baby was something he had to discuss with both of them, though. Adopting the baby would make things a lot different in his career and the way he handled it. He just didn't know how different. He hoped that nothing would really change. He was sure the press would come after him every time he turned around, but that certainly wouldn't be a change. It wasn't Laura or Clay at the door, though. He opened it to find Jeff Timmons.

"Hey," said Jeff, smiling at Skyler when he opened the door.

"Come on in," said Skyler, remembering that he'd asked Jeff to call once Nick and Drew arrived. He supposed it wasn't a bad thing that Jeff came to the suite instead of calling. If he hadn't, Skyler would just be sitting there thinking. Besides, after what JC had told him he really thought a conversation with Jeff was needed. He just wondered what revelations this conversation would bring about.

"Nick and Drew went with Justin to see a band," explained Jeff as he walked into the suite. "So you and I are alone for the night. I can't get through to Trisha, so I thought I'd come bug you."

"Trisha?" Skyler asked as he and Jeff sat down on the sofa.

"My wife," replied Jeff, shocking Skyler again. He didn't know how many more surprises were in store for him, but he hoped there weren't many.

"I'm confused," he said slowly. Hadn't Jeff said he was gay?

"Yeah, I guess I have some explaining to do," chuckled Jeff. "I'm a homosexual in a heterosexual marriage. I know the two don't mix well. I started to question my sexuality after my relationship with Josh. I met Trish right after I broke up with him."

"Look," said Skyler. "Your private life is none of my business."

"But it is if I want to be your friend, Sky," replied Jeff. "And I do want to be your friend. I just don't know what being my friend will do to you and Josh."

Skyler thought about that for a minute. On his side, being friends with Jeff wouldn't mean anything as far as his and JC's relationship was concerned. Jeff was a married man, so what could JC think bad about it? Of course he understood that JC could think whatever he wanted, but he didn't think it would be too hard to make him understand that it was only a friendship. As for what he felt about the fact that JC and Jeff used to be in a relationship, he wasn't sure.

"As far as I'm concerned, a friendship with you won't do anything to me and Josh," he said. "I don't have a problem with the fact that you and Josh used to have a relationship."

"I wasn't worried about you, Sky," replied Jeff. "Josh might have something to say about it, though."

"I'll take care of Josh," said Skyler. "Besides, he can't choose my friends for me."

"Sounds like something is already wrong," said Jeff, cocking his head to the side and looking at Skyler in anticipation.

"Well, he didn't tell me about his relationship with you," said Skyler. "I can understand if he didn't want to out you, but he could have at least told me that he'd had a relationship with more than one guy. When I asked him about it, he said there was no one else. That was a lie. I'm trying to decide how to trust him after that."

"I can't give you advice there," said Jeff. "I'm not exactly being completely truthful with my wife, either. But I'm doing it for a different reason than JC. I don't want her to get so angry that she runs to the press."

"So many things are harder for us just because we are who we are," sighed Skyler. "I don't like it that we have to keep so many secrets, but I understand the reasoning behind it. Josh didn't have that problem with me, so I don't understand why he lied."

"Well maybe he thought he had to keep my secret," said Jeff. "I don't know why he lied to you, Skyler. I just know that if you love him, you'll find a way to trust him again. Love has a way of making things like that easier."

"I do love Josh," said Skyler. "There's just so much going on right now."

"Yeah," agreed Jeff. "How do you feel about adopting the baby?"

"I don't know how I feel about it, to be honest," said Skyler. "One minute I'm excited about it, and its all I can think about. The next minute I'm terrified and trying hard not to think about it."

"What terrifies you?" Jeff asked.

"The biggest thing is that I'm afraid I'll make huge mistakes and ruin the baby's life," Skyler replied honestly. "I'm terrified that I'll end up doing something wrong that will seriously affect the baby's life in a way that I can't fix. There are so many things that I could do wrong, Jeff. I don't want to wake up one day and see that this child's life is screwed up and I'm the cause of it."

"Why do you think that?" Jeff asked. "I'm sure you'll do all right, Sky. From what I know of you, you're a great person who thinks of others first. I've seen the way you are with your fans. You treat them all like they're the most important thing in your life. I've heard about how you took charge and got things taken care of with your brother and sister, and I've seen them with you on television. The way you look at them tells me so much about you. You'll make a great father."

"You're not telling me anything that Madonna hasn't said," sighed Skyler. "Its not that I don't believe that you both believe in me. I just don't know if I'm really ready. I mean, what will having a child do to my career? That sounds selfish, I know. Its thoughts like that one that make me question what kind of father I'll make."

Jeff looked at him in silence for a few seconds. Skyler watched as he pulled out his wallet and opened it to a picture of a blond haired baby with a little pink ribbon in her hair. Jeff smiled with so much joy in his eyes as he looked at the picture. "This is my daughter, Alyssa," he said, smiling at Skyler. "She's the best thing that ever happened to me. I had many of the same thoughts and fears that you're having right now before she was born. Skyler let me tell you that a baby will become the most important thing in your world. I know from personal experience. The fear doesn't go away, but it makes you pay attention to what you're doing. You really will make a good father, Sky. You'll make sure of it."

The next chapter will be posted soon.