© 2005-2010 Julien Gregg
All Rights Reserved
The shows had gone off without a hitch in Osaka, Japan, and Skyler had more fun this time around. He explained to his family that it was raining like crazy the last time he'd performed in Japan. They headed off to Tokyo in high spirits. Skyler made regular calls to JC every night and to Jeff about every other night. He missed JC a lot, but it felt so good to be on stage again. He couldn't believe he'd stalled so long before heading off on this tour. All three of the Osaka shows had sold out, and he'd been told that Tokyo's two shows had also sold out. Standing on stage in front of that many people was like nothing else in the world.
When they arrived in Tokyo, a mob of fans were waiting for them. The weren't allowed to leave the plane until Tokyo police arrived to control the crowd. Skyler and Chad stopped to sign autographs along the way to the cars that would take them to the hotel. Not knowing the language at all, Skyler only smiled and waived for the most part. Brent and CJ moved him along pretty quickly. It wasn't a bad experience, and he felt great about how the fans screamed his name as they pulled away from the airport and headed for the hotel.
They stayed their two night stay at Hotel Nikko in Tokyo Bay, and Skyler loved the rooms they had. His suite connected with Chad and Jason's while Cassie's connected with their parents'. They shopped as much as they could for souvenirs to take home, and they goofed off as much as time would allow. By the time they boarded the plane to head back to the States, they had about twice as much luggage as they'd left with. Skyler laughed when his father said it would probably be a good idea to buy two jets of his own, one to fly him around and the other to fly his bags.
Waiting for them in Miami was the fleet of seven buses that would be home to them throughout the American leg of the tour. Skyler actually liked the bus that would carry him and his family. It was larger than the bus he'd traveled on with the twins on his first tour and everyone was pretty comfortable. The sleeping bunks weren't all that great, but his room at the back of the bus was spacious. There was a large activity area just in front of the sleeping bunks where the entire family would gather. They didn't have to move into the buses until they left Miami, so he had a little bit of time. They did ride to the hotel on the bus, though.
Ben didn't get off at the hotel, though. He did switch buses, but he rode to the stadium to supervise his crew as they put the sets together. He'd told Skyler that it had taken nearly twelve hours to put the sets together in Tokyo. They had another show in Atlanta the night after the Miami show, and Skyler wondered just how the sets would be up in time. His father assured him that they would be, though, and as he climbed into bed in his hotel suite he decided to trust him.
Madonna arrived the next morning, and Skyler had breakfast with her and his family at the hotel. His father had already left by the time Skyler got out of bed, and he hated that he wasn't going to see much of his father on this tour even though he worked for the tour itself. He decided that when he toured again, if his father went with him they'd hire a bigger construction crew.
"So how was Japan?" Madonna asked as they sat down to breakfast in the banquet room. Everyone who was part of the tour was in there other than the construction crew. The dancers took up one whole table all by themselves.
"Japan was amazing," he said with a smile. "We had to wait on the plane for the police in Tokyo, though. There were so many fans at the airport. It was crazy, but it worked out."
"Nice to know you're loved over there, huh?" she asked with a smile.
"You have no idea," he chuckled. "It was unreal!"
"I trust you've heard the big news about this show already," she said, sipping her coffee.
"Sold out in two hours!" he beamed. "Clay called us before we left Tokyo to tell us about it. There were all kinds of fans at the airport here, too, but we didn't even get close to them. We just hopped on the buses and came straight to the hotel. It was like two in the morning when we landed."
"Ah, the crazy life of a rock star," she laughed. "I can't wait to sit and talk to you when the tour is over. You have no idea how much more a world tour is, Sky. You'll be dragging about half way through. I promise."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence," he laughed.
"Oh, I aim to please," she chuckled. "What's on your agenda for today?"
"I'm supposed to be resting now," he said, smiling. "There's a meet and greet in a few hours, then rehearsals. Dinner is supposed to be at six, and the show starts a nine."
"Fun, fun," she said with a sigh. "I have to track down Guy and get Nonnie to sleep for her nap. I guess we'll meet you for dinner. Get some rest."
"Will do," he said as she stood and hugged him. "Love you."
"Always," she replied before kissing his forehead. "Rest."
"Yes, ma'am," he said with another smile.
He'd promised to rest, but fifteen minutes later he was on the phone with JC. He listened as JC went on and on about a concert *Nsync was doing for Save The Music. It did happen to fall on a night that Skyler was off as far as the tour schedule read. He promised to be there for the concert and then went to lie down. His last thoughts before he took his nap were that he would be sitting in front of a mass of teenaged girls before long.
Sure enough, two hours later he was seated at a table with Brent and CJ on either side of him, signing autographs for over a hundred teenaged girls that screamed and sighed almost non-stop. Brent whispered in his ear that he'd make sure there was Tylenol waiting for him when they got back upstairs. Skyler smiled wide at that.
"Could you sign this one for my little sister?" a girl with long red hair asked. Her green eyes were filled with tears as she handed Skyler another glossy eight by ten photograph of himself. "She couldn't come today, because she had to stay at the hospital."
"What's your sister's name?" he asked, picking up his black marker again.
"Lissa," replied the girl. "She's ten years old."
"Why did she have to stay at the hospital?" he asked as he signed a special autograph for the child.
"She can't leave the hospital at all anymore," said the girl. "I'm not supposed to know, but I heard the doctor talking to my mom and dad about here disease. He said they can't cure it, and it's getting worse."
He talked with the young girl for a few more minutes about her sister's disease. He couldn't ascertain what disease was ailing Lissa from what her sister said, but he'd already decided that as soon as the meet and greet was over, he was heading to the hospital to pay a visit to Lissa and her family. Young Angela, or Angie as the girl preferred to be called, had ridden to the hotel with a family friend. Skyler told her to wait inside the hotel for him and Brent.
Much to Laura's unhappiness, Skyler, Brent and CJ followed Angie and Maria, the friend of the family that had driven Angie to the hotel, back to the Miami Children's Hospital. He was happy when they pulled into the parking lot that the press hadn't gotten wind of what he was doing. They moved from the SUV to the hospital as quickly as they could, causing a few gasps as they make their trek.
Skyler stopped in the gift store to buy just about every stuffed animal he could find for Lissa before boarding the elevator that would take them to the long term unit. Angie talked a mile a minute, and Skyler found himself chuckling at her open humor. He marveled at the fact that she could laugh when her life was in such chaos. He couldn't imagine living most of his days in a hospital at his dying sister's side.
Rich and Alice Mealiff met them in the waiting room as soon as Angie led them down the hall off the elevator. They looked tired and drawn, but were excited to see Skyler. Their first thought was that Angie had done something wrong, but Skyler assured them that he was there to see Lissa. They saw all of the stuffed animals in his arms and both began to cry.
Rich Mealiff stood over six feet tall with a muscled upper body that looked almost menacing. His red hair was buzzed to the scalp, and his green eyes were red rimmed and puffy. Skyler shook his hand as best as he could with all of the stuffed toys in his arms and followed him to his daughter's room. Alice and Angie tailed behind them with Brent and CJ taking the rear.
Skyler wasn't prepared for the sight of Lissa when he got into the room. She was such a tiny little girl with very thin red hair that tried it's best to lie on her shoulders. Her green eyes looked tired, and her lips were dry. Skyler tried his best to smile at her, but the very sight of what her illness was doing to her pained his heart. He nearly sobbed when her tired little face lit up as she recognized him. He placed the stuffed animals around the room before stepping up to the bedside.
"Hi there," he said in the best cheerful voice he could muster. "I heard that you wanted to see me, but something stopped you. I decided to just come and see you instead. Is that all right?"
He nearly cried when she started to clap her hands. Her smile was so bright that it almost made up for the pail skin. The nurse stepped inside the door to check on her, and gasped when she saw Skyler standing there with his arms full of stuffed toys. Lissa giggled and clapped some more. Her parents's faces were covered with smiles, but Skyler wanted to cry.
"You came to see me!" cried Lissa. "Momma, look! That's Skyler Thomas!"
"I know, Honey," said Alice. She stepped back and rested against her husband as she watched her giggling daughter.
"I brought you some things," said Skyler as he began to line the stuffed toys up on the bed. "I brought you a few CDs and pictures, too. If anyone has a camera, we can get some shots together, too."
"We can?" she cried. "You're my favorite person in the whole world!"
"Thank you, Lissa," he said, kissing her forehead. He stepped back and handed her the four CDs he had in his hand and watched as she looked them over.
"Thank you so much!" she cried in excitement. "I only had the first one. Now I have all of them!"
"There are pictures of me, Cassie and Chad, too," he said, handing her the folder that Angie handed him.
"Oh wow! Cassie and Chad singed theirs, too!" she laughed.
"They sure did," he replied. "We didn't like it that you couldn't come to the show, so we decided that you should have something special."
"Thank you, Skyler," she said. Her smile was bigger than ever.
Skyler talked with all of them as he posed for various pictures with Lissa and then the other members of her family. He found out that she had a rare form of cancer that was located in her brain. They'd practically exhausted their savings, and both had already lost their jobs from lack of attendance. All of this made Skyler angry. He decided that he was going to have a talk with Laura and Clay about helping the Mealiff family out in the their time of trial.
Before he left the hospital, he had called Clay and his father to make some arrangements so that Lissa and her family could watch the show from one of the sky boxes at the stadium. The doctor didn't like the idea, but he agreed as long as she could be transported in her bed with portable medical equipment. A nurse was found to accompany her as well. After Skyler signed autographs for some of the staff at the hospital, he and Brent left for the hotel. Everyone was sitting down to dinner when they arrived.
They were all talking about the work being done at the stadium to ensure that Lissa could see the show and still have her medical treatments. Laura and Clay were absent from the dining room, because they were at the stadium making things happen. Soon they would contact Rich and Alice to find out just how far in debt they were. Skyler planned to pull them out of the hole and make their lives a bit easier in their time of need.
"Everyone is talking about your bold move today, Skyler," said Madonna when he sat down at the table with his family.
"M, you should have seen her," he said, putting his head down and swallowing the lump in his throat. "She was so happy to see me, and I couldn't stand to just walk out of there without giving her what she's wanted for so long. So I decided to bark at people and make her dream come true."
"Oh, I wasn't downing you for this at all," she said quickly. "I'm proud of you, Sky."
"And so are we," said Tabitha as she squeezed his hand. "I couldn't be more proud of you if I was your real mother."
"Mom, you are my real mother," he said, sliding over to hug her tight. "Don't ever think of yourself as anything else."
"So do we get to go up and say hello to her?" Cassie asked once Skyler had moved his chair back into position.
"Well I want to go up and say hello before the show," he said. "There are a few parts of the show that I want to warn her parents about. You and Chad can come up with me. I also plan to stop in after the show to make sure that they had a good time."
"Sounds good," said Chad.
"I also want to make it clear to anyone who can make it happen," he said firmly. "They are not to be charged for anything. Not even a soda. I want this to be a great night for them. Guys, they haven't had many lately. Let's make this special."
An hour later, he was in sound check. Angie and Alice came down to watch, and he winked at them a few times as he and the dancers danced around the stage. He had to stop the music twice to find out what was giving feedback, but after that they made it through three songs with no problems. The choreographer was there to catch any mistakes they made in the dance routines, but they'd done this a few times already. They had it down. Skyler was stoked about the show, and he couldn't wait to feel the crowd.
"Sounds great," Skyler breathed as he wiped his face with the towel that his sister handed him. "We're ready. I want everyone to rest until the show. No heavy stuff, guys. If you want to visit with family, that's fine. Just stick around the stadium, and make sure that there's no trouble. See you guys in two hours."
In roughly a half hour, Chad's show would start. Skyler followed Angie and Alice up to the skybox with Cassie behind him. Everything was set up perfectly in the skybox, and Skyler looked out at the stage to make sure they really did have a great view. He was told that the screens on either side of the view window would be used as well. They'd have three options when it came to how they watched the show.
"Thank you so much for all of this, Skyler," said Alice once they were seated next to Lissa's bed. "I don't know how you did all of this so quickly, but thank you."
"This is my pleasure," he said with a smile. "Believe me. I just want you and your family to have a great time tonight. Now there are some parts of the show that I need to discuss with you guys. Some things are going to happen on that stage that you may not be comfortable having your children watch."
"Will you be nude?" asked Rich seriously.
"No, Sir," replied Skyler. "There is no full nudity in the show at all. The guys, and myself, will be shirtless off and on, and there is a mock striptease at the beginning of my show. I assure you that I only go as far as a bare chest."
"I think it will be fine," said Alice. "They see worse than that on television."
"All right, then," he said with a smile as he turned to face Lissa. "Lissa, this night is for you. I hope you have a great time."
He leaned closer and kissed her cheek, and she wrapped her frail arms around him. She whispered in his ear that she was already having the time of her life, and he had to swallow another lump in his throat. As he stood, he smiled at them. This was it.
"Well then I should probably get going," he said. "Enjoy the show, guys. We'll come back up here after the show is over."
"Thank you again, Skyler," said Alice while Rich smiled at him and shook his hand.
The Concert Chapter Links Are Below At The Bottom. To Read This Concert Click Concert 4.
The next chapter will be posted soon.