© 2005-2010 Julien Gregg
All Rights Reserved

Chapter 78

"Let me tell you a secret. Put it in your heart and keep it. Somethin' that I want you to know. Do somethin' for me, listen to my simple story and maybe we'll have somethin' to show," sang Cory in a clear and steady voice. Chad had to admit the kid sounded really good.

"You tell me you're cold on the inside. How can the outside world be a place that your heart can embrace? Be good to yourself because nobody else has the power to make you happy," he sang, smiling at Chad and Jason. Chad grinned back at him but he didn't actually feel it. He didn't like Cory Stephens and nothing was going to change that. Not his silky voice and not his smiles.

"How can I help you? Please let me try to. I can heal the pain . . . that you're feeling inside. Whenever you want me you know that I'll be waiting for the day . . . that you say you'll be mine," he sang.

"He must have really hurt you to make you say the things you do. He must have really hurt you to make those pretty eyes look so blue.

"He must have known that he could, that you'd never leave him. Now you can't see my love is good and that I'm not him.

"How can I help you? Please let me try to. I can heal the pain . . . that you're feelin' inside. Whenever you want me you know that I'll be waiting for the day . . . that you say you'll be mine," he sang and then watched as the band, Chad's band, played the interlude.

Chad wondered when they'd had time to practice Cory's music. They sounded good and even that made him a little angry. First the kid shows up with Skyler's golden seal of approval and then he won't shut up about how Skyler is a god among men. Now the band knew his music almost as well as they knew Chad's. It was really starting to get to him. He was trying hard not to think of how well Jason got along with Cory. No he shouldn't think about that at all.

"Who needs a lover that can't be a friend? Something tells me I'm the one you've been looking for. If you should ever see him again won't you tell him you've found someone who gives you more? Someone who will protect you, love and respect you. All those things that he could never bring you like I do. Or rather I would. Won't you show me your heart? Like I should.

"Won't you let me in? Let this love begin! Won't you show me your heart now? I'll be so good to you. I can make this thing true and get to your heart somehow," he sang, wearing that smile of his again.

"I can heal the pain . . . that you're feelin' inside," he sang and the band stopped playing.

"That was awesome Cory!" cried Tara Neil as she walked over and hugged the boy. "You've got a really great sound."

"Thanks," he said, smiling from ear to ear. "That's my favorite of all the songs."

"Well I haven't heard much of your stuff yet," she admitted. "I suspect that's about to change though. Are you going to sing another one?"

"Nah," he said, smiling again. "This is Chad's gig right now. I'll do my thing when we get to Japan. I really just wanted to hear how it sounded with the band."

"Well you sound just great," she said, patting him on the back before hugging him again.

"Chad, why don't you sing one?" Cory asked, smiling at him. "The band's all set up and all."

"Yeah, come on Chad!" called Tara. "Lay one on us."

"All right," he said with a shrug. Maybe he could show the kid a thing or two that wasn't about Skyler. "Wicked Game guys."

"Got it," said Amon as he started the beat on the drums.

Chad and Cory passed each other as Chad walked to the center of the stage and Cory took his place beside Jason. Chad watched him for a second before he grabbed the microphone and started singing.

"The world was on fire and no one could save me but you. It's strange what desire will make foolish people do. I never dreamed that I'd meet somebody like you. And I never dreamed that I knew somebody like you.

"No I . . . don't wanna fall in love," he sang.

"This world is only gonna break your heart," sang David, his guitarist.

"No I . . . don't wanna fall in love," he sang.

"This world is only gonna break your heart," sang David.

"With you. With you," he sang, smiling at Tara as she smiled back at him.

"This world is only gonna break your heart," sang David.

"What a wicked game to play . . . to make me feel this way. What a wicked thing to do . . . to let me dream of you. What a wicked thing to say . . . you never felt this way. What a wicked thing to do . . . to make me dream of you and I wanna fall in love," he sang.

"This world is only gonna break your heart," David sang softly.

"No I . . . wanna fall in love," he sang.

"This world is only gonna break your heart," sang David.

"With you," he sang and let the band play a bit. He hated the way Cory was tapping his foot along with the beat of the drum.

"The world was on fire and no one could save me but you. It's strange what desire will make foolish people do. I never dreamed that I'd love somebody like you. And I never dreamed that I'd lose somebody like you, no, no I wanna fall in love," he sang.

"This world is only gonna break your heart," David sang softly.

"No I . . . wanna fall in love," he sang.

"This world is only gonna break your heart," sang David.

"With you," he sang.

"This world is only gonna break your heart."

"No I . . ." he sang.

"This world is only gonna break your heart," sang David, and then softer, "This world is only gonna break your heart."

"Nobody loves no one," Chad almost whispered and the band stopped playing.

"God I love that song!" cried Tara as she launched herself into Chad's arms. "You look damned sexy singing it too."

"Thanks Tara," he replied with a blush and a smile for her.

He was happy that she'd shown so much more of a response to his song than to Cory's. Let the little shit top that was what he thought. Cory needed knocked down a peg or two as far as Chad saw things. Sure Clay could only talk about how far he'd come in his career but the very fact that he'd been absent from the business for the last three years was something that Chad took as a real problem for the guy. He doubted that his comeback would be anything more than a splash that ended with him getting wet.

He gave his all to the final special show. Baton Rouge was certainly a more frisky audience with girls dancing around in the pit and screaming for him almost like they screamed for his older brother. As the show came to a close he saw Cory's wide eyed look as he the boy scanned the front section of the audience from just off stage. He smirked at him as he passed.

"That was great," said Cory as he followed Chad through the long hall to the dressing room. "The girls were hot."

"They scream like that all the time," lied Chad, puffing his chest out as he walked. "They love me."

Thankfully Cory didn't say anything after that. When Chad got to his dressing room door he turned and saw that Cory was standing in the center of a group of girls that held backstage passes and he winced. Having this guy around for the whole tour wasn't going to be fun for Chad. He really hated the guy.

* * *

"You look good," said Billy Warlock as he and Skyler stood in the lobby of the theater at the premier for Saving Henry.

"Thanks," replied Skyler, smiling. "So do you. Where's Scott?"

"He's over there," replied Billy, turning and pointing to Scott talking to a few of the other actors from the movie. "He's been working on a film that so top secret he won't even tell me what the name of it is."

"The shoot in Australia is top secret but everyone knows what we're filming," laughed Skyler. "Magazines have all run stories about the production and cast already."

"And a few about you and Christian," laughed Billy. "I read the other day that the two of you are quite the couple."

"Right," sighed Skyler. "I was trying not to even think about the tabloids."

"Leaving him in Australia was probably a good idea," said Billy. "The tabloids here are already all over the story."

"I know," replied Skyler. "Jeff told me when I talked to him last night."

"How is Jeff?" Billy asked as they walked into the actual theater and down the aisle to their front row seats.

"He's good," said Skyler. "He's upset about special shows being added to the end of their tour though. It's actually kind of strange. Most of the special shows are usually before the actual tour starts."

"I don't know anything about that kind of thing," laughed Billy as they sat down. "I'm just an actor."

"Hey guys," said Scott Speedman as he sat on the other side of Skyler, grinning like a mad man. "I've been reading about you and your new boy toy, Sky."

"Right," laughed Skyler. "We're so happy to be featured in all of the Australian rags. Now we're in the American rags. We have definitely arrived."

"Whatever," laughed Scott. "So where's Christian?"

"In Australia," replied Skyler. "We thought that if they would run stories about us being a couple just because we're sharing space while we shoot a movie it wouldn't be good to be seen together at events."

"You know if we sit closer to him maybe they'll talk about us," laughed Billy. "Then we could all be the new toys of Skyler Thomas."

"God," sighed Skyler. "They make me sound like a raging slut."

"You are a raging slut, Sky," laughed Scott. "Admit it."

"Right," laughed Skyler. "I have a nineteen month old son. He's the man in my life."

"How is little PJ?" Scott asked. "You never did send those pictures."

"I did too," laughed Skyler. "It isn't my fault that they got lost in your fan mail."

"Seriously," laughed Scott. "The pictures were great. Jeff's kids are adorable as well."

"God I miss them," sighed Skyler. "I'd go to Orlando but I'm sure that Trisha wouldn't let me near them. That woman hates me."

"Of course she does," laughed Billy. "What did you expect?"

"Oh I don't know," he said, rolling his eyes. "Maybe I expected her to act like an adult."

"Are you kidding?" laughed Billy. "She's a celebrity ex, Sky. They never act like adults."

"Good point," he said as the lights went down. "Here we go."

* * *

"Well what do you have against the guy?" Cassie asked Chad when he called that night. "Sky just made a lasting impression on him. It isn't like he hasn't left the same kind of impression on other people."

"That's just it," Chad said hotly, shocking her. "I'm so sick of hearing about Sky all the time. This is my tour, Cassie. Sky's not here. Why can't Cory just shut up about him? It's bad enough that every damned reporter screams questions about Skyler at me when they should be asking me about Rory. This is crazy."

"Careful Chad," she said. "It's starting to sound like you resent Sky or something."

"I don't resent Sky for anything, Cassie," he snapped. "What would I possibly have to resent him for? He started my career. If I even seem to forget that someone will remind me faster than I can blink. It's stupid. These are my songs you know? I wrote these damned songs not Skyler Thomas. You'd think someone would notice."

"Who is saying anything about it?" Cassie asked, thinking that something was very wrong with her brother. She just didn't know what it was.

"The press," he cried into the phone so loud that she had to pull it from her ear. "Cory won't stop talking about Skyler and its driving me nuts. I'm going to start locking myself in my room after sound checks and never coming out until I have to."

"Chad calm down," she said quickly. "Cory is just excited about Skyler. I'm sure he's just as excited to be on tour with you."

"No he's not," snapped Chad. "All he ever does is ask me about Skyler."

"I'm sure he . . ."

"Never mind, Cassie," he said, cutting her off and she was shocked to hear the click in the line that signaled that Chad had hung up on her.

She stared at the telephone in her hand for a few minutes until Tabitha came into the room. Chad had hung up on her. She couldn't remember him ever doing that in the past. Then there was the sound of his voice. Chad was really upset about something but Cassie couldn't understand what it was. Sure Cory's constant talk of Skyler would get on anyone's nerves, but what was Chad so upset about?

"Cassie is something wrong with the phone?" Tabitha asked as she sat on the couch across the room.

"I could hope so," she said, cradling the receiver. "There's nothing wrong with it though. Chad just hung up on me."

"He hung up on you?" Tabitha asked with wide eyes. "Were you fighting?"

"I didn't think so," Cassie said, walking over to sit beside her. "He's really upset about Cory Stephens."

"I thought they were getting along," said Tabitha. "Cory seemed nice enough when I talked to him on the phone last night."

"Well I guess that Cory's just a little too excited about Skyler," she replied. "Chad says that all Cory ever talks about is Sky. Then he said that the press is constantly asking him questions about Sky."

"Well that's a good thing," said Tabitha. "They could be nailing him to the wall over Rory and his arrest."

"Chad doesn't see it that way though," Cassie said sadly.

"I'll have to talk to your dad about this," said Tabitha. "If anything is going on I'm sure he knows about it."

"I'd call Sky but I think he's in the air again already," she said, biting her bottom lip. "He called last night after the premier and he talked about how proud of Chad he was. Chad's talking like Skyler is a curse over him."

"Well I'll talk to your father about this," said Tabitha. "He'll get to the bottom of it. What time is Kaleb coming home?"

"He's teaching right now so it'll be a little while," replied Cassie.

Kaleb had started a dance class and with his fame from dancing with Skyler the classes had sold out. Cassie was happy for him. It seemed that a lot of the dancers were cashing in on the fact that they were contracted to Skyler lately. Chad was the only one who seemed to resent the fact that his fame really had come from the fact that he was Skyler's little brother. Cassie could understand a little resentment but what she'd heard out of her twin was cold and angry.

* * *

"Hey Sexy Man," sighed Jeff as he sank further into the recliner with his phone pressed to his ear. "I saw you on television at the premier."

"The movie looked great," Skyler replied. "We landed in Melbourne an hour ago and I just got to the apartment. Chris is shooting and Preston is having a nap. What's going on in your world today?"

"Not much," said Jeff. "Just cuddle withdrawal."

"Well maybe I can fix that soon," said Skyler. "We're going to be taking a break soon and I thought about bringing Preston and flying out to see you for a night or two."

"That would be great Sky!" cried Jeff, sitting up straighter. "When?"

"I'm not sure," he replied. "Renny told me not to tell the others until he's got it all worked out. I was surprised when he came to the airport to get me."

"It would be so good to be able to see you and the little one," Jeff gushed. "I miss you both like crazy."

"I think Renny just wants us all to be away from the press for a while," sighed Skyler. "There are more stories about us all in the tabloids. This time they're saying things about the fact that Chris and I are all over Melbourne together. We're shooting the same movie, but they never say anything about that. All they ever say is how happy we look together. It's starting to piss everyone off."

"Don't do anything to stir them further Sky," warned Jeff. "You know it'll only get worse if you do."

"You don't have to worry about me doing anything Blue Eyes," Skyler soothed. "The others are another story though. They're following them around now too."

"Well hang in there," said Jeff. "And tell the others to just ignore the press."

"That'll work with everyone but Shannon," sighed Skyler. "Anyway I have to be in the recording studio soon and once I'm done with that and Renny actually has it all worked out we'll be together for a little while."

"I can't wait," said Jeff with a huge smile on his face. He was going to have Skyler in his arms again in no time!

Heal The Pain is a song by George Michael. Wicked Game is a song by Chris Izaak.

The next chapter will be posted soon.