© 2005-2010 Julien Gregg
All Rights Reserved
"Well that should be all of it," said Jackie Littrell as she stood in the doorway of the room she'd set up for Skyler and Preston. Cassie was right beside her.
Skyler was in the king sized bed with covers up to his waist. He was so tired after the flight that all he wanted was to sleep. Cassie was going to be in the room next to his and she was holding a baby monitor so that she could hear Preston when he woke. Skyler still couldn't walk so he'd need every pair of hands he could get to help take care of Preston. He hated that he couldn't be doing all of the things that they'd be doing for the baby himself. He knew that this was how the baby would bond to him. Missing out on the bonding was killing him. However it would give him extra incentive to get back on his feet as fast as possible.
Jackie had set up everything he'd need. She'd contacted a doctor friend of hers and had set it up so that a physical therapist would be visiting the house three times a week. She and Harold would help him with his therapy when the therapist wasn't there. Skyler had also asked that Luke Taylor, his physical trainer, come to Lexington as well. He really wanted back on his feet and back to normal as fast as possible.
"Thank you for everything, Jackie," he said, holding back a yawn. His eyes were drooping and he was having trouble staying awake.
"Oh you just get some rest, Skyler," replied Jackie. "The baby's sleeping and Cassie will be in the next room."
"Thank you," he said again.
"It was our pleasure, Skyler," she said. If she said more he did not hear. Sleep took him.
Jackie and Cassie headed downstairs ever mindful of the baby monitor. They met Harold SR, Anne Richardson and Lynn Harless in the living room. Jackie walked over to the recliner and kissed her husband before sitting done in the recliner beside it. Anne smiled at her while Lynn made room for Cassie on the couch.
"Is he sleeping?" Anne asked, looking up at the ceiling.
"Yes," replied Jackie. "He's exhausted."
"Cassie, you must be tired too," said Lynn, looking the girl over.
"I'm all right for a little while," she replied. "I'm supposed to call Kaleb to let him know that we got situated all right. It's just too early to call."
"I'm surprised that Skyler agreed to stay here with what happened between him and Brian," said Jackie to no one in particular. "The fact that he and Brian are trying to be friends again says so much about the man that Skyler is."
"Be prepared for the boys to arrive unannounced now and then to check on him," said Anne. "I can't believe how close to Skyler they are. The last time I saw them all before this happened he was all they talked about."
"It's like that in our camp too," said Lynn. "With everything that's happened between Skyler and JC it's getting a little tense."
"What was wrong with Karen?" Jackie asked as she put her head back against the recliner. "Calling him everywhere he went was lunacy."
"I don't know what she was thinking," replied Lynn. "I do know that it has our boys arguing over a lot of things."
"Trouble in Nsync?" asked Anne with raised eyebrows.
"Well I can't say for sure but I think Nsync may be over," sighed Lynn. "Justin is ready to walk away completely. I keep reminding him of his contract."
"I noticed that he and JC aren't very friendly with each other right now," said Jackie. "What was JC thinking going to the press like that?"
"I don't think he actually went to them," said Lynn. "I think he was trying to leave the hospital and they cornered him. Still that didn't give him the right to talk to them about Skyler. I can't say at all what's going through JC's head. I do know that if he doesn't calm down he'll alienate almost all of Nsync. Management is in an uproar over the fighting going on."
"I had heard that you were seeking other avenues lately," said Jackie. "I didn't put stock in the rumor though."
"I am thinking of leaving Wright," admitted Lynn. "It's just so strange because of the fact that we just got there. To think of leaving this soon is just unreal."
"Let's hope it doesn't come to that," said Anne.
Cassie finally went upstairs to bed about an hour later after several promises from Anne and Jackie to watch over Preston. The two women said goodbye to Lynn as she left for the airport to return home and then started to prepare food for the day. With it being Skyler's first day in the house Jackie had decided that sandwiches would be a good idea. The pair made several and wrapped them before putting them in the refrigerator. Jackie decided that when anyone got hungry enough to eat they could get however many sandwiches they wanted.
Skyler opened his eyes and looked around the room for a moment before he remembered exactly where he was. Rising up to rest on his elbows he saw that Preston wasn't in his crib so he knew that someone had come for him. He yawned as he looked around and finished with a sigh as he saw that his wheelchair was right beside the bed. He moved the comforter off his body and slowly inched his way to the edge of the bed. After reaching out and sliding the chair around to the right angle he carefully transferred himself from the bed to the chair and made his way to the door where he met Cassie.
"You're awake," she said, smiling at him. "I just came up to get more diapers."
"How's Preston?" he asked, shifting in his chair.
"He's fine," she replied with another smile. "Jackie has him downstairs. Luke's here too."
"Could you send Luke up?" he asked happy that he wouldn't have to rely on any of them to help him get in the shower.
"Sure," she said as she made her way around him to get the diapers she'd come for.
Skyler wheeled himself to the bathroom and transferred himself from the chair to the toilet carefully. He was just sliding back into the chair when Luke knocked on the bathroom door. Luke Taylor was a very attractive guy. His dark hair was cut short and his chiseled face was always darkened by a chronic five o'clock shadow. His brown eyes were a shade unlike Skyler had ever seen. His muscled body was tight and constantly looked flexed. He came into the bathroom and instantly knew what Skyler needed him for. One of the things that Skyler liked about Luke was that he didn't always have to tell him what he needed or wanted. Luke seemed to know him well enough to guess for himself.
He walked over and placed the shower chair in the shower and then helped Skyler out of his clothes before sitting him in the shower chair. The water temperature was adjusted exactly the way Skyler liked it. He was shocked when Luke stripped down to his boxers and climbed into the shower behind the chair. He wasted no time in making sure that Skyler's hair and body got wet and then he was applying shampoo to Skyler's hair and massaging his scalp.
As soon as his head was rinsed Skyler felt Luke's soapy cloth covered hand scrubbing his back. Soon he moved to Skyler's arms and shoulders. Next came the chest and abdomen, legs and feet. He handed Skyler the soapy cloth so that he could wash his genitals himself. Then he held Skyler up so that he could wash his own backside. Then he was shutting off the water and rubbing Skyler dry with a towel. Once he was dry Luke excused himself to go and get a robe for Skyler and boxers for himself. Not long after Skyler was robed and wheeled back to the bedroom where Luke helped him into clothes and handed him a brush for his hair.
This became a daily ritual and Luke never complained about a thing. He stepped aside when the physical therapist arrived the next day. Aaron Millford was a stocky man with a bald head. His green eyes were Irish through and through and Skyler heard the crisp accent when the man spoke. He was dressed in a pair of blue jeans and a t-shirt. His grip was firm and he smiled a lot making Skyler think the man was either happy to be working with him or perpetually happy in general.
In the second floor bedroom that Skyler and Preston used a set of parallel bars was installed. For three hours every other day Aaron had Skyler up and walking using the bars to steady himself. It was difficult work but Skyler pushed himself as hard as he could. By the end of the first week Skyler was able to stand for brief periods of time before his brain forgot to keep his knees locked. It was one of those times that found Skyler sprawled on the back patio. He twisted his body around and looked up to see the very last person he wanted to see standing over him.
"If you're just going to stand there and stare at me you can leave," spat Skyler as he looked up at JC. "Or you could help me up. It isn't polite to kick me when I'd down you know."
"I don't want to just stand and look at you," said JC. "Let me help you up."
"Get away from me," spat Skyler, pulling himself further away from JC with his hands.
"Sky . . ."
"What is going on here?" demanded the voice of Brian Littrell as he came through the sliding glass doors to the patio. "JC, what are you doing here?"
"I came to see . . ."
"Brian, could you please help me back to my chair?" Skyler asked, cutting off JC.
"As you can see, Mr. Chasez," said Brian as he helped Skyler back into his chair, "you really aren't wanted here. Now you've upset Skyler and I'm going to have to ask you to leave. I'd go if I were you. My mother is on her way home."
"I just came to talk to him," said JC without moving an inch.
"So you snuck up to the patio instead of going to the front door?" Brian snapped. "You know you're not welcome here. I don't know why you even came."
"I'd like to go inside, Brian," said Skyler, turning his head away from JC. "Is Cassie back with Preston yet?"
"No," said Brian. "I didn't see anyone when I came in. Where's Luke?"
"He went to pick up some things at the store," explained Skyler. "I was fine out here and I even stood up for a while. I fell though and that's when I saw JC."
JC watched the interplay silently. He couldn't believe that Skyler was living in Brian Littrell's family home. He'd thought Skyler hated Brian. That's what he got from the way Skyler talked about him while they were still together. He wished that he'd never have been so stupid when the tabloid story had come out. If he hadn't then maybe he'd still have Skyler instead of standing and watching him in the arms of Brian Littrell.
"Lucky I came when I did then," said Brian.
"What are you doing here anyway?" Skyler asked. They hadn't left the patio yet and JC was starting to think they were putting on a show to make him miserable. "Not that I'm not happy to see you."
"I decided to take a break and come see how you were doing," chuckled Brian. "Mom and Dad didn't even know I was coming. Apparently they're still at the airport waiting for Justin and Joey."
"Yeah I asked them to come," said Skyler as if he had to explain. "I was bored and wanted friends to talk to."
"Instead of the same old faces huh?" Brian chuckled. "Sounds good. They should be back any time now."
"Hey guys," said Luke as he came out onto the patio from the house. "I found Cassie and little Preston on my way back." He pointed at JC. "What's he doing here?"
"Leaving I hope," sighed Skyler. "I'd like to spend some time with my son."
"Sure thing," said Brian as he turned the chair and wheeled him inside while Luke held the door and glared at JC.
"Do you want me to make him leave?" Luke asked once the door was closed.
"No," said Skyler. "Let's just pretend he doesn't exist. He'll leave on his own eventually."
"Let's hope it's before Mom and Dad get back," said Brian as Cassie came into the living room with Preston in her arms. As she handed the baby to Skyler she glanced out the sliding doors.
"What is JC Chasez doing here?" she asked, looking at each of them in turn.
"He showed up while I was on the patio," said Skyler. "I've told him to leave."
"Well I want a word with him," she said as she walked around the chair toward the sliding doors.
"Cass . . ."
"Just who the hell do you think you are?" she hissed as she opened the door. "First you break his heart and now you come to make him miserable while he's trying to get better? Honestly, JC, I can't believe I ever thought you were human!"
"Cassie, I didn't . . ."
"Shut up!" she snapped. "When are you and your crazy mother going to get it through your heads that Skyler doesn't want anything to do with you anymore? I mean come on! It isn't like this is a new break-up or anything. You're the one that stopped communicating with Skyler. It was your decision to end things. Do us all a favor and stay the hell away from us."
"Just stop it Cassie," JC yelled. "This isn't your business. You don't even know what went on between us. I came to say I was sorry and see if we could at least have a conversation."
"Don't yell at me, JC," she said coldly. "I'm not Skyler. You don't have the right to yell at me for anything. There isn't going to be a conversation. You've said you're sorry and I'm sure Skyler heard you. Now leave before you make yourself look like a bigger ass than you already have."
JC turned and walked away from the house. He couldn't believe Cassie. Yes he'd been the one to freak out and stop talking to Skyler. Yes he'd been the one to have Joey tell Skyler it was over between them but Skyler was the one who wouldn't let him say he was sorry. He wouldn't even let him try to take it back and fix things. He loved Skyler with all of his heart and he couldn't understand why Skyler couldn't forgive him. This wasn't the first fight they'd had. What made this one so horrible that Skyler couldn't forgive him?
He made his way to the driveway in front of the garage just as he saw Jackie and Harold Sr. pull up in a truck. He sighed and put his head down wondering if things could get much worse. He got his answer as a rental car pulled into the drive. Justin was behind the wheel and Joey was in the seat beside him. They slowed just enough to gawk at JC before pulling into the garage. JC sighed as he watched.
Justin, Joey and Lance hadn't spoken a single word to him in weeks. They'd each made it clear to Chris that they'd chosen Skyler's side as if there was a side to choose. As far as JC was concerned this wasn't a battle. However it seemed that the end of his and Skyler's relationship would soon be the end of Nsync and his career. They were set to start recording the new album now that the lawsuit was over. Would any of them show up at the compound? He didn't have time to ponder that one. He saw the doors of the truck open and braced himself for what was coming.
"Just what in the hell do you think you're doing here?" demanded Jackie as she and Harold Sr. got out of the truck. "What on Earth made you think that you'd be welcome here?"
JC stared at her and said nothing. He couldn't think of anything to say to the hateful words that had come out of her mouth. He'd wanted to tell Skyler he still loved him, but it appeared that Skyler didn't care. Now to have Jackie Littrell in his face was a bit more than he could take. He wished that he'd gotten to his rental before the Littrells had pulled into the drive. If he'd made it to his car he'd have escaped this.
"Son, I believe my wife asked you a question," said Harold as he rounded the truck to stand beside Jackie. "You'd do yourself a favor to answer her. And I've got one for you myself. Have you been bothering our guest?"
"I came here to . . ."
"I don't care why you've come, JC," sighed Jackie. "When are you going to get it through your head that Skyler doesn't want you around? How many more times do you have to hurt him before you finally get it?"
"I think we could probably help him get the point, Mrs. L," said Joey Fatone as he and Justin came out of the garage. Justin was staring coldly at his former best friend.
"Boys, I want you to run up to the house and tell Brian to phone the police," said Harold. "Make sure that Brian knows to tell them to come quickly." He looked at the pair for a moment and when they didn't move an inch he said, "Now you both go on. We'll have ourselves a talk with Mr. Chasez here. Won't we, Jackie?"
"Look," sighed JC, nervously running his fingers through his hair as he spoke. "I didn't come here to cause trouble."
"Then you shouldn't have come at all," spat Justin. "You're not wanted here. By anyone, Joshua. Just go before you make it worse."
"Oh and you are?" hissed JC. "Justin, I don't know what your problem is. I don't know what Joey or Lance's problem is. All I know is that I came here to talk to Skyler and try to salvage our relationship."
"You don't have a relationship with Skyler anymore," said Joey. "You blew that back in July. I don't know what rock you're living under but Skyler Thomas hates you, Joshua."
"And what about you two?" JC asked, looking from Justin to Joey and back again. "Do you two hate me?"
"Well this isn't love for you, Joshua," Justin said coldly.
"Boys I asked you to get up to the house and tell my son to call the police," said Harold, taking a step toward JC.
The next chapter will be posted soon.