© 2005-2010 Julien Gregg
All Rights Reserved


Chapter 50


"I see JC didn't take my advice," said Madonna as she and Skyler stood and watched JC across the room, talking with Carson Daly.

"I just ignore him now," replied Skyler. "Let's not talk about JC. This is a party, and I'm so glad to be off tour I actually feel like celebrating."

"Then let's," she said, taking his hand and tugging him toward the dance floor.

Camera's flashed as the two of them danced. Skyler heard people calling his name as they made their way through the crowd on the dance floor, but he wasn't paying much attention to anyone but Madonna. He did see Cassie and Kaleb dancing together and smiled at them when they waived. Everyone who was connected to the tour in any way was there in New York that night. More than ninety percent of those people were actually at Studio 54 for the end of tour party.

Though the tour was over, Skyler was far from stagnant where his career was concerned. He had plans to return to the studio to begin recording his next album soon, and there was the MTV awards that were taking place the following day. Movie premieres and personal appearances were coming as well. He chuckled as he thought about how upset Chad was that he was now just as busy as Skyler.

"What's funny?" Madonna asked in his ear.

"Chad," he replied loudly. "He's mad because he's successful."

"He doesn't seem to be too upset right now," she said, directing his attention to where Chad was dancing with Neve Campbell.

The party went on until close to four AM. Skyler was exhausted by the time he and his family left the club. JC had tried to talk to him at least fifty times, and Skyler had almost laughed as each time he was escorted away from Skyler by Brent. Cassie and Tabitha looked like they were about to fall asleep as they were walked to the SUV that would take them all to Skyler's apartment. He still didn't know where everyone was sleeping while they were in New York. He didn't even remember getting home and to his room. He knew he must have, though. He woke up there the next morning with Chad in bed beside him.

"Morning 'Little Bro'," he said through a yawn as he stretched.

"Yeah, yeah," replied Chad with a yawn of his own as he peered at Skyler with one eye open. "What time is it?"

"Oh, it's only nine," said Skyler as he turned to face the clock on his bed-side table. "We got plenty of sleep. Hell, we got more than we usually do."

"But the tour is over!" cried Chad as he covered his head with a pillow. "Let me sleep."

"Commitments, young star," chuckled Skyler as he tugged the pillow away from him and got out of bed. "I'll shower first. Then I'll check on Cassie and Jason."

An hour later they were both sitting at the breakfast table with their family as Laura went over the preliminary numbers from the tour. Skyler was happy with the numbers. At seven hundred, thousand a show, they'd made plenty of money. Sure the entire tour party had to be paid, but that wouldn't really even dent the loot they'd raked in all over the world.

"So when were you wanting to go back into the studio?" Laura asked as she finished telling them about the money.

"I've got studio time booked in LA," he replied. "Chad's booked at the same time. We made his band a offer last night at the party. They accepted."

"That's wonderful," she said with a smile for Chad. "So when do the two of you begin recording sessions?"

"In a few days, actually," Skyler said. "But tonight I have to sing for MTV. We'll talk about the studio later."

And that very night he did sing for MTV at the MTV Video Music Awards. He was shocked, but happy when Lynn Harless and Justin Timberlake sat with him and his family in the audience, leaving the rest of Nsync two rows back from them. He was itching to know why they'd chosen to sit with him instead of the group, but he kept his questions to himself.

There were no awkward moments with JC back stage, either. In fact it had been set up so that the two stars were never around each other. Skyler didn't present any awards that Nsync or JC were up for, and the reverse was also true. Instead, Ricky Martin handed Skyler the Moon man statue when he was awarded Best Male Video. Kevin Richardson and AJ McLean handed him his award for Video Of The Year, and Janet Jackson gave him his award for Best Dance Video. He sang "Against All Odds" and got thunderous applause, and then it was off to the first of the three parties that he attended that night. He did notice that Justin was never too far behind him.

He was getting ready to leave the third party when Jeff Timmons found him. He had to admit that the dark haired man looked good. They hugged, and Skyler made sure that there were cameras to get the image of their embrace on film. He'd decided near the end of the tour to wage war on the press, and he supposed now was a good time to start the feeding frenzy.

"You look good," said Jeff when they parted. "I tried to find you all over the city."

"Well you found me," he laughed. "You look good, too. What's up with you these days?"

"New baby," said Jeff, but something about his eyes told Skyler that Jeff was less than happy. "A boy. Jeff JR."

"Congratulations," Skyler said, hugging him again. This time it wasn't just for the cameras.

"Thanks," said Jeff. "So I hear you're back in the studio soon. LA?"

"Yeah," replied Skyler. "I've got new tunes. I wrote the whole time I was on the bus."

"Cool, I'll have to hang out and catch a listen," said Jeff. "Could really use a friend."

"And you know you've got one," replied Skyler. "Just find me. It isn't hard."

"Right," chuckled Jeff. "Just watch the rags."

"You catch on quick," laughed Skyler. "Listen, I'm gonna jet. You're more than welcome to come by the apartment . . ."

"Can't," Jeff said quickly. "Wife's in town, and I'm in the dog house."

"That sucks," sighed Skyler. "But listen, if you need to talk . . ."

"Thanks, Sky," said Jeff, hugging Skyler one more time.

On the plane the next day, Skyler thought about Jeff. He wondered just what was going on in his marriage. He also wondered about the look in Jeff's eyes when he'd told him about being a father again. Something was wrong there, but he didn't have a clue what to do for Jeff but be there if and when he needed a friend to talk to.

Skyler had no time to rest once he landed in LA. They went straight to the house, but there were reporters all over the place. The family sat in the SUVs while Brent and CJ took care of the press. Once inside, Laura and Clay began their Sky High meeting. Shortly afterward, AJ McLean and Madonna both showed up at the house with song ideas.

"M, you know I'll sing with you any time you want," he said. "I just want to know which album it'll show up on."

"Yours, Sweetie," she said, smiling at him. "I've got a little something different in mind this time, though."

"What are you talking about?" he asked.

"Well, you're recording this week, yes?"

"Yes," he said slowly.

"How about we stick together this week and write a sexy song for your record?" she asked with a smile, and he smiled right back at her. None of them had seen the songs he'd written for the new album, but if Madonna wanted to write a sexy one with him it would fit right in. The press would have a field day with the album, and Skyler would laugh his ass off all the way to the bank.

Two hours later, he was having a similar conversation with AJ McLean. AJ wanted to record a song with Skyler for Greenpeace. Skyler had been looking for a charity to sponsor, and AJ's idea was right on track with what Skyler wanted. In fact, Skyler even had a song that he'd written before the tour that hadn't made it onto either of the two albums he'd been working on. With a few minor changes, the song could become a different one.

"I like the idea," he said. "I tell you what, why don't you take a look at some lyrics that I wrote a little while back and see what you can do to them to make it a song we can sing together for the charity?"

"Will do," said AJ with a smile. "Just get me the lyrics and we'll have a song by tomorrow."

"Sounds good," replied Skyler. "Tell you what, stay for dinner and we'll hunt that notebook down."

They found the notebook, and AJ opted to spend the night and work on the lyrics that night and the following day while Skyler was in the studio. He said he'd have it ready by the time Skyler was ready for round two of recording. Skyler laughed, but he didn't doubt that AJ would come through on his promise.

The next morning found Skyler at Sky High Studios LA with a cup of coffee and sheets of lyrics. Recording was about to begin, and Skyler was ready. He had four songs for the day, and he made everyone understand that he would only sing four songs. His throat was still sore from the tour, and he wasn't going to push it.

"All right, Sky," said William Orbit from the control room. "Let's do it."

Skyler put on his headphones and adjusted the microphone. He looked at AJ, but the other man hadn't even looked up from the notebook in his lap. Skyler cleared his throat just before the red light came on that told him his mic was active. The music began to play, and Skyler put AJ and the song he was tweaking out his head.

"Just think about it. You'll get it," he said and closed his eyes as the music played.

"Lately I've been skeptical, silent when I would used to speak, distant from all around me who witnessed me fail and become weak. Life is overwhelming, heavy is the head that wears the crown. I'd love to be the one to disappoint you when I don't fall down.

"But you don't understand when I'm attempting to explain, because you know it all and I guess things will never change. But you might need my hand when falling in your hole. Your disposition I'll remember when I'm letting go . . . of you and me. We're through, and rearranged," he sang and let the music play in his headphones for a bit.

"It seems that you're not satisfied. There's too much on your mind. So you leave and I can't believe all the bullshit that I find. Life is overwhelming. Heavy is the head that wears the crown. I'd love to be the one to disappoint you when I don't fall down.

"But you don't understand when I'm attempting to explain, because you know it all and I guess things will never change. But you might need my hand when falling in your hole. Your disposition I'll remember where I'm letting go . . . of you and me. We're through, and rearranged.

"You and me, we're through, and rearranged. Rearranged.

"You're no good . . . for me. Thank God it's over.

"You make believe that nothing is wrong until your cryin'. And you make believe that life is so long until you're dyin'. Yeah, you make believe that nothing is wrong until you're cryin'. Cryin' on me. You make believe that life is so long until you're dyin'. Dyin' on me!

"But you don't understand when I'm attempting to explain, because you know it all and I guess things will never change. But you might need my hand when falling in your hole. Your disposition I'll remember when I'm letting go . . . of you and me. We're through, and rearranged.

"You're no good . . . for me. Thank God it's over.

"Rearranged," he sang and waited for the music to change again.

"Just think about it. You'll get it." he said and let the music fade out.

"Perfect, Skyler," enthused William. "They'd told me that you're a one-track artist, but I had to see it with my own eyes. Ready for the next one?"

"Sure, but then I'll need a break," he said rubbing his adam's apple. "Just cue it up, boys."

"Sure thing," said William as he nodded to Gary Rathburt, and the music began.

"There's things that you guess and things that you know. There's boys you can trust and girls that you don't. There's little things you hide and little things that you show. Sometimes you think you're gonna get it, but you don't and that's just the way it goes.

"I swear I won't tease you, won't tell you no lies. I don't need no bible, just look in my eyes. I've waited so long, baby, now that we're friends. Every man's got his patience and here's where mine ends.

"I want you sex. I want you. I want your sex," he sang and let the music play as he looked into AJ's stunned eyes.

"It's playing on my mind. It's dancing on my soul. So why don't you just let me go. I'd really like to try. Oh I'd really like to know. When you tell me you're gonna regret it. Then I tell you that I love you but you still say no!

"I swear I won't tease you, won't tell you no lies. I don't need no bible just look in my eyes. I've waited so long, baby, out in the cold.

"I want your sex. I want your love. I want your . . . sex!

"It's natural. It's chemical. It's logical, habitual. It's sensual. But most of all . . . sex is something we should do. Sex is something for me and you.

"Sex is natural, sex is good. Not everybody does it but everybody should. Sex is natural, sex is fun. Sex is best when it's one on one. One on one.

"I'm not your father. I'm not your brother. Talk to your sister. I am a lover. C-c-c-c-come on!" he sang and let the music play as AJ still looked at him with a stunned expression on his face.

"What's your definition of dirty, baby? What do you consider pornography? Don't you know I love you till it hurts me, baby? Don't you think it's time you had sex with me?

"What's your definition of dirty, baby? What do you consider pornography? Don't you know I love you till it hurts me, baby? Don't you think it's time you had sex with me?

"Sex with me. Sex . . . with . . . ME! Huh! C-c-c-c-come on!"

"Prefect!" cried William. "That one's gonna nock 'em right on their pretentious asses, Sky. Good job."

"Turn this off," said Skyler, taking off his head phones and getting up to stretch. He was done for the day. His throat wouldn't handle any more singing.

"My God, Sky," said AJ when Skyler got back to the control room. They were replaying the song he'd just sang and dancing around to the music. "That was some song."

"Time for an image change," explained Skyler. "Tired of being the good boy."

"I'm guessin'," laughed AJ. "It's a good song with a funky beat, but WOW!"

"It got my motor running," said Jeff Timmons with a strange smile as he looked at Skyler.

"That's exactly what I had in mind when I wrote it, Jeff," joked Skyler. "Like it?"

"Love it," he replied. "But oh my God the press is going to burry you."

"Counting on it," said Skyler with a smirk.


Rearranged is a song by Limp Bizkit. I Want Your Sex is a song by George Michael.

The next chapter will be posted soon.


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